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Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue Collection at Kohl’s #MagicAtPlay

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Kohl’s. I received a promotional item to facilitate my review. #MagicAtPlay

Can I see a raise of hands for all the moms and dads out there who are excited to see Disney’s new Planes movie?  Does anyone have kids who are excited?  While the movie isn’t released until next month, July 18th to be exact, you can get exclusive Disney apparel from Jumping Beans now available at Kohl’s.  You can shop in-store and online for some great little outfits for summer!  For those who like to plan ahead, you could even grab some great deals on Planes long sleeve tees, pants, and hoodies for back-to-school.

Disney Planes Tee

Isn’t this shirt just adorable?

Disney Planes Shorts

 

Especially with these cute shorts!

Check out the rest of the Kohl’s Planes: Fire and Rescue Collection today.

See more of the collection on my Little Boy Style Pinterest board (or see my Little Girl Style Pinterest board for Minnie Mouse clothing exclusively at Kohl’s).

Save Big with Carter’s Friends and Family Sale! #CartersFam

I participated in an Influencer Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Carter’s. I received a gift card to facilitate my shopping trip and to thank me for participating.

Carter's Store

As we enter the last days before Christmas, the pressure is mounting to find the perfect gift for everyone on our list.  Teachers, babysitters, co-workers, parents, cousins, and aunts and uncles.  Oh, the pressure!  Well, I have an idea to help any last minute shoppers save on gifts for kids.  When people asked me what I wanted my daughter to have for Christmas I told them the type of clothes she needed and the size….oh, and books!  My girl loves to read.  While toys and gadgets may be the thing we first think of when buying gifts it’s important to not forget some of the staples, like fuzzy fleece pjs, warm jackets, new socks, and tiny mittens.

Carter’s, has adorable and affordable gifts for all the little people on your Christmas list.  I don’t know about you but I’ve had to buy for a bazillion baby showers this winter and I still have a few more to go.  Carter’s is a one stop shop for any children’s clothing sizes newborn-7.

Do you love Carter’s like I do?  If so, you’ll want to take advantage of Carter’s Friends & Family sale like I did this past weekend.  I spent $100 and. I. racked. up!!  I left with 14 pieces of clothing, one bracelet, one necklace, and 4 cute hair bows all for just under $100 plus tax.

Carter's Clothes

This is only one of the many cute outfits I bought!  Her velvet pants, ruffled shirt, and glitter trimmed black sweater make for a great Christmas outfit that she can wear all winter.

Carter's Outfit

Here’s another view of it.

Okay, back to the sale.  Carter’s Friends & Family Event is taking place from 12/19 – 12/24 and there are some HUGE markdowns taking place.  Many of the sales racks were marked 70% off!  Plus, to make your shopping a little sweeter I have a 25% off coupon to share with you.

Carter's Coupon

Fine print: The above-mentioned coupon excludes clearance, doorbusters & Carter’s at Home.  This promotion is available both in-store and online {but isn’t it so much more fun to shop in-store when it comes to babies and kids clothes?}.

Cute Carter's Dress

Check out this adorable denim dress!  I was so upset that they didn’t have it in the size I needed for my daughter.  Mark my words, I will be back….it’s just too cute not to come back and get.

Carter's Rewards

Not to mention that when I come back I’ll have a free $20 to spend where I “earned” it from spending $100 this visit!

Let’s sum up the sale:

  • -Up to 70% off
  • -Extra 25% off coupon
  • -Earn $10 for every $50 you spend
  • -Super cute clothes that everyone will love!

Ready to shop?  You can find a Carter’s store near you with the Carter’s store locator tool or you can visit Carter’s online to check out all this seasons adorable styles.  Either way, happy shopping!!

Get Quick Care at CVS MinuteClinic #MC

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CVS MinuteClinic. I received promotional items as a thank you for participating.

My entire family was just hit hard with a massive 48 hour stomach bug.  48 hours seems like a short period of time unless you have the bug.  I’ll spare you the details but It. Was. Rough!  Luckily for us our CVS is just up the road and has a MinuteClinic inside.

MinuteClinic

The MinuteClinic is a walk-in clinic located in select CVS/pharmacy stores in 28 states and DC.  They are open seven days a week and they even have evening hours.  The best part is, you don’t need to make an appointment!  In the past I was able to go in and get a flu shot one evening while my husband was able to be home and watch my daughter for me.  That was so convenient!  It was much nicer than making an appointment, dealing with a little one in a germ-filled waiting room, and then trying to keep her still and my arm relaxed while I get a shot.  Just thinking of that scenario makes me nervous!

The MinuteClinic is a convenient and affordable option.  It may be hard to get a last minute appointment at your doctor’s office {or an evening appointment!} and the ER and urgent care/med express centers have much longer wait times and higher costs.  CVS is a great one-stop shop for all of your cold and flu needs!  You can get diagnosed, get your prescription, get over the counter meds, and stock up on chicken noodle soup and Gatorade while you’re there.

Cold and flu symptoms can be quite similar so check out this great chart below to determine if you have the common cold or if you are actually suffering from the flu!  {Feel free to bookmark this page or pin this chart for an easy reference later.}

Cold or the flu

I hope that you and your family are staying well this winter but if you get under the weather don’t forget to check and see if you have a MinuteClinic near you.  Follow @MinuteClinic on Twitter to stay connected with MinuteClinic!

Cord Blood Banking #CordBlood411

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for the Cord Blood Registry. I received promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Cord Blood Registry

When bringing a new one into the world there are a million things to consider.  From nursery decorations, to breast or bottle, to swaddle or not to swaddle, and to bank cord blood or not.  The last one I mentioned, to bank cord blood or not, doesn’t get discussed as much as other new mom issues but I think it’s an important one to be discussed.

If you’re a regular reader, you’re already aware that I’m having a baby next month, Lord willing.  I mention it every other post, I don’t know how you could miss it. 🙂  That means it’s time for my husband and I to set down and decide whether or not we’re going to set aside the cord blood for later use in our family or if we’re going to donate it.

Baby Feet

I’m embarrassed to say that I wasn’t as familiar with cord blood banking when I had my daughter.  We looked at the price tag {which was hefty} and chose not to save it but I assumed the hospital would save it and donate it on our behalf for public use.  This is a precious commodity and it never crossed my mind that it would just be thrown away.  This time we’re either going to make the plans ahead of time to donate it or to keep for us.  There won’t be any waste this time!

Before I go into the details of what cord blood banking is for those who don’t know I have to tell you that the hefty price I mentioned earlier has gone down quite a bit.  It’s now around $1,700 {with a $130 yearly banking fee} as opposed to the $5,000 it was when my daughter was born.  $2,000 is still nothing to sneeze at but hopefully this drop in price will help make it more affordable for families to take advantage of.  Donating cord blood is completely free though!

Through the Newborn Possibilities Program, Cord Blood Registry offers free cord blood and cord tissue processing with five years of storage to families with a medical need so that they may use the newborn stem cells now or in the near future.  To date, the Newborn Possibilities Program has processed and saved stem cells for nearly 5,000 children.

What’s the Big Deal?

Stem cells are immature cells that have the ability to become other kinds of cells that form organs and tissues. They are powerful, unique cells that are the building blocks of the body.

After a baby is born and the umbilical cord has been clamped and cut, some blood remains in the blood vessels of the placenta and the attached portion of the umbilical cord. This cord blood is rich in powerful hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cells.

Cord blood stem cells have been used in the treatment of more than 80 conditions and are currently being evaluated in FDA-regulated clinical trials for their potential regenerative ability in common health issues including autism, cerebral palsy, pediatric stroke and traumatic brain injury.

Who “Banks” the Blood?

The Cord Blood Registry (CBR) is the world’s largest family cord blood bank and the first and only newborn stem cell bank to pioneer FDA-regulated clinical trials with leading medical centers.

Is Cord Blood Banking Right for You?

Here are some things to read over to see if this may be right for  your family.

  • – Consider the future: Regenerative medicine is a new approach to treatment focused on promoting normal function in the human body through cell based therapies in which stem cells play a vital role. In fact, many believe that regenerative medicine will revolutionize healthcare. Emerging research suggest that stem cells from cord blood have advantages over other stem cell sources in regenerative therapies. The clinical use of stem cells has grown each year, increasing the likelihood that you or a member of your family could benefit from the newborn stem cells you bank.
  • – Know your family history: Does your family have a history of illnesses for which newborn stem cells are currently being used or studied?  If so, you may well benefit from banking cord blood for the conditions treated today, but importantly, for conditions that are currently being studied through clinical research.
  • – Know your options: The primary options for cord blood banking are to store your stem cells with a family bank or to donate to a public bank.  Family banking offers storage of cord blood stem cells for the family’s exclusive use.  This costs a one time processing fee and an annual storage fee.  Free banking is available for families with a medical need.  Public donation allows you to donate stem cells to help someone in need.  Later down the road you may be able to access your donation if  you need it but there’s no guarantee that your donation will be available for you.
  • – Talk to your doctor: If you think cord blood banking is something you’d like to do, it is important to discuss it with your physician. They’ll help you sort through your options and will also work with you and the hospital to ensure you have what is needed at the time of delivery for a smooth collection.

Right after birth is the only time to gather this potentially life-saving blood.  Choosing to bank or not is a huge decision so I urge you, if you’re considering CBR, to take your time and read over all the facts that way you and your family can make the best decision for your family.  To check out more information, visit CordBlood.com.

Cute OshKosh B’gosh Holiday Styles

Disclosure: I am participated in an Influencer Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for OshKosh B’gosh. I received a gift card to facilitate my shopping trip and to thank me for participating.

OshKosh Store

I don’t know about you but I love to see kiddos in cute clothes.  It makes me happy!  Another thing that makes me happy though is having money in my bank account so how do I find adorable clothes at an affordable price?

Here’s my checklist to save on kid’s clothes:

  1. I know which stores have styles that I like, that fit my daughter well, and {this is important} are made well.
  2. I learn the coupon policies of these stores and sign up to be on their coupon mailing and email list.
  3. I shop sales, I gravitate towards the clearance rack, and I use coupons to save on the newest styles.
  4. Also, if I shop online I shop through Ebates to earn cash back {OshKosh B’gosh will earn you 3% back!}.

OshKosh Measuring Tape

My husband and little one went shopping with me to OshKosh B’gosh and to my surprise they had a lot of fun.  My husband enjoyed trying out their measuring tape although I couldn’t believe how big my girl is getting!  He also kept a running total for me of the items I was holding, taking into account the different discounts throughout the store.  He’s a math guy so this was fun for him.  Go figure!

OshKosh Overalls

While I didn’t snag any overalls this visit {because we already have some} I was a bit jealous of the price – 50% off!!  I almost bought another pair just because it was such a great sale but I held back.

OshKosh Check Out

The staff was very friendly but not the kind that follow you around and bug you to pieces {I avoid those type of stores like the plague!}.  I was kicking myself for forgetting my 25% off coupon at home but our lovely cashier went above and beyond and gave me the discount anyway since I’m a preferred customer.  See, it pays to be signed up for coupons even if you forget them!!

OshKosh Shirt

Here’s my little sweetie sporting her brand new sparkly shoes and sweet rose shirt.

OshKosh Cute

This outfit cracks me up – I think it makes her look so mature!  This was a summer dress on clearance {around $10 I believe} and I paired it with a sale priced cardigan, red beaded necklace {which she’s carrying in the picture}, glittery gold tights, a blue hair bow, and sparkly red shoes.  I think this will be a great outfit for the holidays!

OshKosh JacketForgive me for going a little overboard here but she was having such a good time drawing inside her box that I took several pictures and I just couldn’t decide on one.  Check out this fleece jacket though – $7 – unbelievable, right?  There were many different styles to choose from but I loved this polka dot one.

All in all, we had a wonderful shopping trip to OshKosh and walked away with some gorgeous pieces!  We scored all that you see above plus a skirt, shirt, bracelet, and dress that’s not pictured, for only $106.  I’ll have to post more pictures later but my two year old could only be cooperative for so many outfits at a time.

For those wondering, my husband predicted a higher total than we owed but that was before he knew the cashier would give us a coupon for additional savings.  I won’t do the math to figure it out but I assume he was spot on!

OshKosh Coupon

Did I get you in the mood to shop?  Well, don’t leave home or shop online without this 25% off your purchase of $30+ {Fine print, Not valid on doorbuster specials, amazing values, and clearance items. Expires 12/31/13.}

For the latest updates follow OshKosh B’gosh on Facebook.

RSV: What it is & Tips to Keep Baby Healthy

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for MedImmune. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

I talk about the dangers of RSV all the time to my husband, to other moms, and especially to new moms.  RSV is incredibly serious and not many moms are aware of what it is or how dangerous it can be.  I feel like a little unofficial RSV spokesperson.

Ashley and Baby Pea

 

This is me and my little sweet pea when she was 1 day old.  It’s hard to believe she’s over two years old now and expecting another sibling soon!  I’m due during the peak season of the RSV so this is good information to go over again for myself and to kindly remind those who may want to come by and visit.

What it is:
Respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus (RSV) is a common seasonal virus that causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in healthy, full term babies.  Nearly all children catch this at some point by the age of two.  Preterm infants, however, are born with undeveloped lungs and immature immune systems that put them at heightened risk for developing severe RSV disease, which often requires hospitalization.

I have had a few friends who’ve had their babies in the hospital for weeks and one that had to stay in there for months.  Thankfully, none of the children I knew died from RSV but anytime spent in the hospital is too long.

  • -RSV infection is more likely to root in premature lungs where developing airways are narrowed and especially fragile.
  • -Preterm babies carry fewer virus-fighting antibodies—a precious gift from mom that all infants need while their own immune systems mature after birth.

Key RSV facts:

  • -RSV occurs in epidemics each year, typically from November through March, though it can vary by geography and year-to-year.
  • RSV disease is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life in the United States, with approximately 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 400 infant deaths each year.
  • -RSV disease is responsible for one of every 13 pediatrician visits and one of every 38 trips to the ER in children under the age of five.
  • -Despite being so common, many parents aren’t aware of RSV; in fact, one-third of mothers have never heard of the virus.

If you visit a new baby:

  • -Wash your hands frequently—upon entering the home and especially prior to holding the baby. Parents, and the new baby, will appreciate it.
  • -Leave toddlers at home, especially during the winter months. Young children, especially if they attend day care or preschool, often carry germs and viruses, like RSV, that are easily spread.

Learn the Symptoms of Severe RSV Disease:

Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:

  • -Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • -Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
  • -Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
  • -Fever [especially if it is over 100.4°F (rectal) in infants under 3 months of age]

How Can I Help Protect My Baby From RSV?

RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. Additionally, the virus can live on the skin and surfaces for hours. There is no treatment for RSV disease once it’s contracted, so prevention is critical. To help minimize the spread of RSV disease, all parents should:

  • -Wash their hands and ask others to do the same.
  • -Keep toys, clothes, blanket and sheets clean.
  • -Avoid crowds and other young children during RSV season.
  • -Never let anyone smoke around your baby.
  • -Steer clear of people who are sick or who have recently been sick.

Did you read that above?  There is no treatment for RSV disease once it’s contracted, so prevention is critical.  That should get your attention.

RSV Infographic

World prematurity day is Nov. 17th so use this as an opportunity to talk with loved ones about their little one’s health and RSV prevention.  For more information please visit RSVProtection.com.

Do you see those little buttons below here?  Use those to share this post with your friends and family.  Especially if you have a new baby, a baby on the way or if you know someone who is expecting or has a new baby please share this with them.  RSV is a dangerous, dangerous virus and it could be a matter of life or death if not caught soon enough.

Aflac, Health Care Reform, & Open Enrollment Information #MC

Are you ready for Open Enrollment?  I’m not one who likes to discuss insurance or do paper work but I’ve come to understand that it’s an important, or even essential, part of life.

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Aflac. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Aflac

Even though I hate discussing insurance and the thought of doing paperwork gives me chills I know it’s important to have the best health insurance possible for my family…and I let me husband take care of the paperwork.

I felt confident in my knowledge of our health insurance coverage, until that is, all this talk about health care reform.  Understanding the requirements of health care reform is crucial to knowing how it will affect me and my family and how we can plan for the future.  Our family is fairly healthy but if we didn’t have insurance we would be hurting!

Aflac shared with me a few startling statistics that I want to pass on.

The 2013 Open Enrollment Survey found that:

  • – 74% of workers sometimes or never understand everything that is covered by their insurance policy today.
  • – Now, nearly 4-in-10 (37%) workers think it will be more difficult to understand everything in their health care policy with the changes dictated by health care reform.
  • – Nearly a third (28%) of employees are confused, worried or simply unsure about the change their employer is making to their health care coverage or benefits options due to health care reform. {Surely that number is higher, right?}
  • – 60 percent of workers have not begun to educate themselves about coming changes to their benefits package due to health care reform. {Now that I believe!}

Here are a few things that can help you to better understand your insurance coverage and make sure you have the best plan for you and your family.  I’m definitely going to share these tips with my husband so we can discuss our plan.

Aflac’s Top Tips:

  • – Prepare ahead of time: Be aware of annual insurance policy changes and compare your new benefits package to your policy from the year before. Do your homework to ensure you choose the right policy that fits your family’s needs and make sure that all of the health insurance costs you’re responsible for are within your budget. Also, review the deductibles and additional out-of-pocket costs for health care services and pharmacy purchases you’ll be responsible for paying to ensure your plan offers the coverage you need.
  • – Don’t make assumptions:  Ask your HR manager if your policy options changed to include new benefits made available by health care reform.
  • – Check your spouse’s benefits package: Your employer doesn’t have to offer insurance to your spouse and as costs increase, more companies are cutting this option. Even if your employer does offer your spouse insurance, the company is not obligated to pay anything toward the premium. If your spouse has access to employer-sponsored health insurance through his or her job, it may make the most financial sense to purchase two individual policies as opposed to one family policy.
  • Don’t double up: Health care reform legislation requires plans in the individual and small group markets to offer essential health benefits like pediatric vision and dental and, chronic disease management services. Check all aspects of your major medical plan so you know what is covered and what isn’t.
  • Examine premium costs carefully: Cheaper isn’t always better, since plans with the lowest monthly premiums likely mean you’ll pay more in co-insurance and receive less coverage.  That may be the perfect plan for your family if you have a savings account built up but make sure you choose the plan that is right for your family.
  • Consider supplemental insurance such as accident, hospital or critical illness plans to help reduce rising health care expenses.
  • – Take a look at Aflac’s Open Enrollment Resources.

Aflac Open Enrollment

Open enrollment season is coming soon so take the initiative and make sure you and your family have the coverage you need to maintain your lifestyle even if the unexpected happens.

Do you have any insurance tips to share?  If so, please share them in the comments!

Enter Jif’s Most Creative Sandwich Contest #MC

Now through November 8th, Jif Peanut Butter is running their Most Creative Sandwich Contest and I’m entering.  I think you should too!

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Jif. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Apple Peanut Butter Sandwich Recipe

Being pregnant with morning sickness {for 5 whole months!} I learned what worked for my body.  Snacking regularly on peanut butter was one of those sanity saving tricks that helped me make it through the day.  Because I soon grew tired of plain peanut butter sandwiches I found other creative ways to eat peanut butter.  One of my absolute favorites is this apple peanut butter sandwich that I created!  I have to emphasis that I created it because it’s one of the few recipes that’s truly 100% mine. {Okay, so my mom suggested adding the nutmeg but that doesn’t really count, right?}

I’m planning on entering my simple sandwich in Jif’s Most Creative Sandwich Contest and if you have a creative sandwich recipe that uses 2 tbs. of peanut butter I encourage you to enter to!  There is a $25,000 college fund and a trip to New York City up for grabs!  Go here to enter Jif’s Most Creative Sandwich Contest and be sure to read all of the entry rules too.  The contest ends on 11/8/13 so don’t delay if you want to win!

Tropical Fantasy Sandwich

Take a look at this fun Tropical Fantasy Sandwich that made it to the finals of the contest last year.

Here are the ingredients in my Apple Peanut Butter Sandwich:

– 1 apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced {I used a Gala apple}
– 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
– 1 pinch of nutmeg
– 8 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter
– 8 slices of bread {I used wheat bread}
– 1-2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

To see the full recipe go here to EmbracingHomemaking.net where I have it posted.  If you try it please let me know how you like it!

Fellowes Infographic: How To Pick the Perfect Shredder For Your Home

Fellowes Infographic

Sugar-free Gum For Kids from Orbit

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Orbit for Kids. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Otbit for Kids Logo

 

Good oral hygiene is very important for my family.  Brushing, flossing, and mouth wash are all apart of our daily routines…well, most of the time.  Sometimes I’ll skip flossing even though I know better!  I wish I could brush after every meal and every snack but that’s not always practical and possible.  Chewing gum, sugar-free gum, has always been a great option between brushings.  It helps my teeth feel clean and freshens my breath.  Win-win!

Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved gum but I’ve never liked the strong mint flavor that so many have.  Now having kiddos and being around more kids I realize that I wasn’t alone with those thoughts.  That I’m not alone with those thoughts.  Fruit flavored gum is still my favorite gum to this day.

I’ve loved Orbit gum for quite some time now but they’re newest gum has me excited.  Yes, it’s the little things in life that make me happy.  Orbit now has a line of gum called Orbit Kids.  They’re sold in a bag that has 10 micro-packs with 6 pieces of gum in each.  These smaller packs are perfect to give to kids.  Not to mention that the size of Orbit gum is great for kids!  I can still remember my grandmother tearing a stick of gum in half to share with me.  There is no tearing needed with Orbit, it’s the perfect size!

Orbit for Kids Two Flavors

The best part of Orbit’s new gum isn’t the packaging but the new flavors they’ve unleashed.  Are you ready to hear what they are?  Strawberry Banana.  Sounds awesome, right?  Well it is!  Don’t take my word for it though, go out and buy a bag or two for yourself.  They also have a Bubble Gum flavor too but I haven’t tried that one yet.

If you’re looking for a way to keep your kid’s teeth clean through the day or if you just want to try a new flavor of gum give Orbit Kids a try!

Do your kids chew gum?  What’s your favorite flavor of gum?