Trendy Mom Reviews
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Thursday, May 5, 2016

(Win it!) Letters to Baby: A Huggies Campaign to Warm Your Heart #dearbaby


I am now in the second trimester of my pregnancy and recently began to feel my baby move around. I also had the opportunity to see him in 3D/4D which was amazing!  I feel a stronger connection each day.  When I saw the Huggies "Letters to Baby" campaign, it was perfect timing because it gave me a creative outlet to share my love for my baby.  In today's post, I'll tell you more about the Huggies "Letters to Baby" campaign and will give you ideas of places to store your letter, including a time capsule and/or email account for your child when they are older.

This is the Huggies "Letters to Baby" video that brought tears to my eyes and made me realize how wonderful it is to take this special time to write a letter to my baby while I am pregnant. 



My Letter to Baby
The Letter
In my personal letter, I shared the details of our connection and how I have cherished his every accomplishment since I knew of his existence. This includes reading about his weekly developmental milestones during my pregnancy and celebrating his accomplishments such as the little kicks that I feel or seeing him suck his thumb on ultrasound. (Yes, practicing sucking is an important skill in the womb in preparation for eating after birth!) I shared how I daydream about what he'll be like as he grows and that I hope that he finds ways to contribute to the world around him so that he feels the joy from the value that he adds to the world around him. I also let him know that no one will ever love him like his mom! We have a special and unconditional bond. 
Sharing the Letter
In addition to writing my own letter, I also asked family members to write letters so that I could add them to a time capsule.  In the time capsule, I included a lot of information about the year 2016. I included a list with the prices of many everyday items, a book of USPS Forever Stamps with the price of postage written on the back, and popular music. I also added trendy items such as Star Wars Legos and more.  It was easy to use my creativity to fill the time capsule and I think that he will love everything. The letters from our family members will be the most meaningful part! 

Here is a photo of the time capsule.  I made a small donation in exchange for the silver packaging pouches at a local food storage facility and had them seal them for me. I created one to give him at age 10 and another for when he turns 21 years old.



In addition, I created an email account for my baby and will give him the password once he grows up. I scanned and sent each letter to his email account. I also took photos and made videos that I emailed to his account. I plan to continue emailing him throughout his childhood and sharing the password once he moves away for college.

What will you include in a Letter to Baby?

Win it!
One lucky winner will receive a one month supply of Huggies diapers!  Enter using the Rafflecopter below. The winner must have a U.S. shipping address. No P.O. boxes. The winner will have 72 hours to reply to our email with their shipping address. Otherwise, we will select a different winner. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Sometimes it is hard to be 5 years old: There's a Netflix episode for that! #StreamTeam

I always tell my son to enjoy is childhood because it goes by quickly. At the same time, I know that it is hard to be 5 years old. He was surprised when I wasn't thrilled with his artwork that he drew on the wall.  He was scared when he used the toilet for a science experiment, filling it with rolls of toilet paper and seeing it overflow after he flushed. He sometimes thinks that it is outrageous when I tell him to share with friends. At the same time, I know that he is still learning the rules and working on social skills.   In today's post, I will share - There's a Netflix Episode for that! I'll share some shows that help us with parenting because they have positive messages that address topics that are sometimes frustrating for little ones.  

We have been watching Netflix shows that proactively teach our little one about rules, sharing, and general social behavior.  This is a great way to help him to learn while having fun. After all, watching a good show on Netflix is more fun than learning the hard way about many rules! 

Here are a few shows that we love for toddlers and elementary school age children

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Sibling Rivalry
Watch Ep. S1E1: Babee's Room
Buzzbee and Rubee compete over who Babee (their new sibling) gets to room with. Mom and Dad must explain to Buzzbee and Rubee that Babee needs to grow up before she can share a room.
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Responsibility
Watch Ep. S1E1: Puppies & Guppies/ Sorry We’re Closed Today
Larry and Laura Carrot want to adopt puppies but quickly learn it takes responsibility in order to watch over and care for a pet of their own.
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Following the Rules
Watch Ep. S1E6: Stormy Weather/ Baba’s Adventure/ Rock Music
Mama tells Oona and Baba to stay close with a storm approaching. After ignoring her advice, Oona and Baba get stuck in a seagull nest during the heavy thunderstorms.
Here are good shows for elementary school age children and tweens:


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Self-Love
Watch Ep. 113: Star
After Dulcinea feels like no one in the group needs her help, she tries to use a newly-discovered wishing star to show her worth -- but fails -- showing her that presence alone has lit up her friends’ lives all along.
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Teamwork
Watch Ep. 103: Smart is the New Cool
After McKeyla insists she works better alone, she learns that four is better than one when her friends jump in to help her rescue the Prince from a botched space mission.
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Peer Pressure
Watch Ep. 106: The Legend of El Explosivo
After getting grounded for sneaking off to Bobby Popko’s house, Jackson realizes he needs to stand up for what he knows is right and not give in to please his friends.

These shows are great for teens:
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Social Media FOMO
Watch Ep. 102: Girl Meets Boy
Cory challenges his class to unplug from their phones for a week. When Riley and her crush Lucas sit down to talk face-to-face, personal stories bring them closer.
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Self Improvement
Watch Ep. 104: Kimmy Goes to the Doctor!
Kimmy quickly realizes that she can’t fix her problems by simply “Buhbreezing” them away – real change comes from the inside.
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Body Image
Watch Ep. 101: #BootyCall
According to the kids of Degrassi Community School, butts are the new boobs. But Shay’s realization that “brains are the new butts” can speak to a number of body image insecurities.

Netflix has been a great resource for us as parents because there are so many shows that have positive messages for children.
Finally, let me wish everyone a Happy Mother's Day!  The photo below is of my baby bump!  We are looking forward to watching Netflix and enjoying breakfast in bed on Mother's Day!

Learn More
We are part of the Netflix Stream Team. Follow #StreamTeam on social media for posts by other bloggers!
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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May the 4th Be With You! #StarWarsDay #PlayLikeHasbro #MayThe4thBeWithYou

Do you know what today is? It is May 4th - Star Wars Day - the one day of year when it is perfectly acceptable to obsess over Star Wars for 24 hours straight! My husband and boys are HUGE Star Wars fans, so we decided to surprise them with a good childhood memory on this special day. It's easy to plan this special day since Hasbro has so many Star Wars toys. My husband dressed up as Darth Vader and then presented trendy Hasbro Star Wars toys to our little Stormtroopers. 

Part 1: Bestowing of the STAR WARS NERF FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER DELUXE BLASTER

My husband first presented our little Stormtroopers with their very own Star Wars Nerf blasters. These trendy blasters allow them to battle against the RESISTANCE with the 12-dart clip, slam-fire action, removable sight, detachable stock, and 12 Nerf darts that fire up to 65 feet! (Good childhood!)



Part 2: Bestowing of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS 12” Figures and STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS BUILD-A-WEAPON 3.75-Inch Figures
Star Wars figures allow little ones to use their big imaginations. We chose a couple of different figures - Luke Skywalker, Kylo Ren, and Stormtrooper for the boys. A few figures to play with are a great way to continue the Star Wars fun indoors!




Learn More

May the 4th be with you! Happy Star Wars Day! Follow #PlayLikeHasbro and #StarWarsDay on social media to learn more fun ideas for this trendy day. (We have been following along all morning because it is fun to learn new ideas!)

Here are the product descriptions in case you want to learn more and order them from the Hasbro website:


STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS 12” Figures and STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS BUILD-A-WEAPON 3.75-Inch Figures
Choose your side in the battle between the RESISTANCE and the FIRST ORDER! Each 3.75-inch STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS BUILD-A-WEAPON action figure features five points of articulation and comes with a standard weapon accessory as well as a second custom weapon accessory. Custom weapon accessories can be combined together with the custom weapons of the other three figures in their Mission Theme group to form a larger weapon! Characters include heroes and villains from STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS such as REY (Jakku), FINN (Jakku), KYLO REN, POE DAMERON, CAPTAIN PHASMA, X-WING PILOT ASTY, FIRST ORDER GENERAL HUX, PZ-4CO, GOSS TOOWERS and SARCO PLANK, as well as characters from the classic films such as LUKE SKYWALKER and DARTH VADER and STAR WARS REBELS characters such as KANAN JARRUS, EZRA BRIDGER and THE INQUISITOR. There are four Mission Theme groups to choose from, each featuring four figures. Each figure sold separately.

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS 12” Figure Assortment
(Ages 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $9.99/Available: Now)
The battle to restore order to the galaxy just got bigger! Each 12-inch scale STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS12” figure features five points of articulation and an accessory. Choose from heroes and villains from STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS such as FINN, KYLO REN, FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER, FIRST ORDER TIE PILOT and REY (Jakkku). The series also includes the iconic villain DARTH VADER from the classic Star Wars films! Each sold separately.


STAR WARS NERF FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER DELUXE BLASTER
(Ages 6 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $39.99/Available: Now)
The fight to restore order to the galaxy comes home with the first-ever STAR WARS NERF blasters! Battle against the RESISTANCE with this blaster that comes with a 12-dart clip, slam-fire action, removable sight, detachable stock and twelve NERF darts that fire up to 65 feet!
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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Gender Reveal: Our Experience at Stork Vision in Frisco


If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro, you are lucky because we have access to StorkVision centers that offer elective ultrasounds during pregnancy!  As someone who moved from a large town several years ago, I love that the metro has so many special opportunities that were not available when we lived in a rural area.  The opportunity to see my baby at StorkVision in Frisco is a memory that I will always treasure.  They made it special for our family to get together to view the baby.  Let me share my experience that I highly recommend to families in our area.

We visited the Stork Vision in Frisco and had an amazing time. This particular location caught my attention because several people have recommended this location to me. Plus, they have many glowing reviews on Google and Facebook.  This location is special because it has a boutique feel and the owner has 17 years of experience. She knew all of the tricks to get the perfect images of my baby.  My visit to this location was the happiest day of my pregnancy because it was a luxury experience with my entire family and I got to connect with my baby for the first time as I saw him in 4D. I could even tell that the baby looks like my husband!  


The Stork Vision in Frisco has a beautiful boutique floor with comfortable couches, warm decor, and a selection of baby items that you won't be able to resist.




For instance, check out these adorable little crowns for princesses!




These tiny baby shoes are adorable.




They have a nice selection of My Baby's Heartbeat Bears.  If you aren't familiar with these, they are very trendy for moms-to-be.  They record the baby's heartbeat and then place the recording into the stuffed animal.  




It's soothing to hug the stuffed animal and listen to your baby's heartbeat. For instance, we have "Peanut" the elephant who is soft and cuddly.




The ultrasound room was similarly given close attention to detail. The beautiful furniture, decor, and even blankets to make it feel warm and inviting.  I was even surprised to lay on the exam table and find that there was a comfortable memory foam mattress.  I didn't want to get up because it was so comfortable!




Our ultrasound experience was amazing.  My baby was active during the ultrasound, but not quite in the perfect position.  I loved that the owner was experienced and knew exactly how to get the baby to move for the perfect images. We started with 2D and found out that our baby is a.... BOY!  Check out his little profile.



We also laughed when we realized that we were looking at his bottom!





My son loved that she labeled a photo of the baby waving. He keeps this photo in his room.




After 2D, we moved on to the 3D/4D.  This was a surreal experience. We actually got to watch the baby in action.  We saw him laying on his side, opening and closing his mouth, moving his little arms, and even moving his little legs. It was amazing to even see his little fingers and toes.  I suddenly felt extra connected to my baby because I could feel and see him move at the same time.  I've watched the videos over-and-over.  I dream about them in my sleep when I feel him moving.  It's nice to know what he looks like when he moves around and have the images in my mind.  Here are a few photos.




Here is a video.




Here is another.




Let me share just one more.  (When it is your baby, you can't get enough of these videos!)




After our session, we received DVDs and a phone app with the photos and videos from our entire session. We also received a printed 3D photo.  I treasure these images and videos!  To be honest, there are days in my pregnancy where I feel awful from morning sickness, but these photos and videos help me to quickly forgot about my discomfort because I visually see my baby and it cheers me up.  Some people say to get a hair cut, new clothing, or see a movie to cheer yourself up when you aren't feeling well from morning sickness.  I tried all of those things, but the photos and videos of my baby are truly what give me an extra boost on those tough days!


Finally, they also sent us the Stork Vision Frisco app that we could share with our friends and family. This app is amazing because it lets everyone view the images and videos!  It's nice to have quick access to everything so that you are also able to share with friends when you are not home or at a computer.  Here are a few photos from the app.


This is the top of the main screen.




You then scroll down to view photos and videos.


You are able to share the gender through the app if you choose. I'm having a... BOY!



In addition to the great photos and gender reveal, I also want to share part of the video that made me laugh - Peek-a-Boo!





It's so nice to have this on my phone so that I am able to watch whenever I want!

If you are an excited mom like me, you can't get enough glimpses of the baby that has been growing inside of you.  You have so many hopes and dreams for the baby and feel connected through everything from morning sickness to tender little kicks, but seeing the baby on ultrasound is the best! This was truly the best day of my pregnancy so far.  I can't wait to visit again when my baby is a bit larger to see the updates!

Learn More

Visit Stork Vision Frisco's website, Facebook, and Instagram pages.
Click here to find your optimal viewing schedule.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Recipe: Peanut Butter & Banana Steel Cut Oatmeal

Recipe: Peanut Butter & Banana Steel Cut Oatmeal
I am almost halfway through my pregnancy!  I've been having trouble gaining weight and my doctor encouraged me to eat more high density foods and protein.  In today's post, I'll share a recipe that incorporates peanut butter into oatmeal for a protein boost. I'll also share some other snack ideas at the end of the post.


Ingredients:




Directions
1. Bring 3 cups of water to a  boil and then add the steel cut oats and simmer for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, until desired consistency.

2. Stir in the Justin's All Natural Classic Peanut Butter packet.


 

3. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon.



4. Distribute into four bowls.
 

5. Chop the banana into thin slices.  Add the banana slices and pecans to the top of each bowl of oatmeal. Optionally, sprinkle with cinnamon.
 



6. Enjoy or refrigerate leftovers.


As I mentioned earlier, I am trying to add more high density foods and protein to my diet. I found a trendy brand called Justin's in the organic section of our local Kroger store. (They also sell this brand at many other stores. Click here for their store locator.) They have great almond, hazelnut, and peanut butters in both jars and packets.  The jars are nice for home. I keep the packets in my purse with crackers in case I feel low blood sugar when I am away from home.  They also have fun treats like dark chocolate mini peanut butter cups and little packets of pretzels with almond and peanut butter!  



Mmm... pretzels with trendy dips! Justin's has my pregnancy cravings covered.

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Happy Mother's Day with zulily.com

If you follow regularly, you know that I recently shared that I am pregnant!  My morning sickness is finally easing up and my energy level is increasing.  It's such a relief because I am ready to move on to the fun part of pregnancy - the part where I get to feel my baby moving, dress in cute clothing, eat 300 extra calories/day, and shop for trendy baby supplies.  In today's post, I'll share some interesting stats and tell you about how I love surfing the zulily.com website to find deals.

I am in a baby group and we were discussing our baby budgets. Many of us were having sticker shock when we started to add up costs.  I found a Mother's Day article on zulily.com where they shared great information and tips for budgeting all things baby!  These things jumped out at us:

  • With annual childcare costs hovering around $6,000, it’s crucial to choose (and pay!) the right person to watch your kids. In our survey Julia Roberts was voted the top celeb moms would let babysit, but Kim Kardashian didn’t make the cut and was only selected by 3% of respondents.
  •   Raising kids can get pretty pricey, so it’s no surprise a third of mothers surveyed said they’d compete in a monthly random dance battle (32%) in exchange for free baby gear, attire, etc.
  • Almost half of mothers surveyed (45%) said the most missed pre-mom indulgence is actually having a day off.
  • 33% of moms agreed that the most common squabble couples have regarding new parenting is about money.

With all the above stats, it’s no wonder moms everywhere are always on the lookout for smarter ways to spend on baby, and online retailer zulily is dedicated to helping their plight by serving up fresh, unexpected items for baby and the whole family, in fact, just in the last year customers have saved millions of dollars on baby gear items. Here’s the breakdown that is surprising:
  • Savings on baby blankets: over $2.4M
  • Total savings on key items needed to set up a nursery: over $2.6M
  • Savings on all baby feeding supplies: over $4.5M

Be sure to check back on zulily.com or on their app every morning to discover new finds, especially on Mother’s Day (May 8th) for their Moms First event, to shop everything a new mama wouldn’t want to be without.

*The study was conducted online using a Google Consumer Survey, which uses inferred demographic and location information to employ stratified sampling method by distributing the surveys based on the targeted audience to its publisher network and/or android smartphone users. The study consisted of 1000 respondents between April 4th and April 7th among women aged 25-54. The margin of error is +/-5 percentage points.
**Sales Data Methodology: The methodology used to report on the 2015-16 maternity and infant purchasing trends was created by reviewing more than 262,000 products, from April 2015 – April 2016. zulily has approximately 5 million active customers, as of Q4 2015.



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Our Experience with Blue Apron (PS: The first few people to sign up for the free trial will receive a free week of meals.)

I am now in the second trimester of my pregnancy. My appetite is generally lacking, so I like to make sure that what I do eat is good quality and packed with a variety of nutrients.  I decided to try Blue Apron because they have appetizing meal kits that include many ingredients that are outside of my normal routine and add variety to the nutrients to my diet. My husband and I have been trying Blue Apron for a week now and are really happy. The meals have been unique and delicious. Plus, my husband really likes the Blue Apron wine subscription that includes guidance on which wines to pair with meals.  In the remainder of this post, I'll share our experience with the Blue Apron meal kits and then my husband's personal experience with the wine subscription.

We started by visiting the Blue Apron website and browsing the menu options to select our first week of meals.  Not only do they have great recipes to try, but they also publicly post the recipes that you are able to visit the website again later to remember recipes that you have tried with them in the past.


Let's start with the food packages.  The designers of Blue Apron seem like perfectionists because the package was perfect. We opened it to find the recipe sheets on top.




All of the ingredients were neatly packed into the box with the ice and meats on the very bottom.





We quickly unpacked the box and then decided to start with the trendy Seared Chicken with Sautéed Purple Potatoes, Kale and Apple.  Here are the ingredients. You'll notice that everything was in perfect condition and in the exact proportions. 



We were initially a bit intimidated to get started because we didn't want to make any mistakes, but it was actually easy to prepare this meal thanks to the step-by-step instructions. My husband and I actually finished the prep quicker than they listed in their instructions since we split up the tasks and worked together.  That helped our confidence!  By the time we finished making the complete meal, we felt like pros!  Blue Apron made it easy to create a delicious and nutritious meal that was outside of our normal routine.  For instance, here is a photo of us preparing the purple potatoes, apples, kale, sliced almonds, and mustard. 





The photo below shows the final meal. It was delicious!  Plus, I felt happy seeing the variety of colorful nutrients that I was eating for myself and the baby. 



My husband then paired his meal with a delicious glass of Giuseppe Caviola Super Tuscan Blend 2014 wine.   These wine bottles are really nice for a "dinner for two" because they are 2/3 of the size of a typical bottle of wine.  He enjoyed a glass with lunch and then enjoyed the rest later.  If I weren't pregnant, I would have loved to have tried the wine since he raved about how amazing it was! 


The next meal that we tried was the Grains of Paradise-Crusted Steaks.    Here is a photo of the ingredients.




Here is a photo of our finished meal.  





It paired well with the Rancho Petaluma Windsor Oaks Vineyard Zinfandel 2014 wine that came in our monthly Blue Apron wine shipment.





The final meal that we tried was the Vadouvan Chickpea Burgers with Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds and Yogurt Sauce.    Here is a photo of the ingredients.




 Here is a photo of our delicious meal. 



We paired it with the Rogers Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc wine.




Finally, let me share photos of the wines that my husband enjoyed. It's really nice because Blue Apron sends a box with six wines, each being 2/3 the size of a typical bottle of wine. This is perfect to serve with the "dinner for two" meals.  Our box was carefully packaged as shown below.


This is layer 1.




This is layer 2.



Here is the collection.



This is a great way to sample trendy wines that were hand picked by Blue Apron experts to pair with the meals.  My husband was thrilled with all of the wines and said that he will order more for me once I am no longer pregnant or nursing. I'm really looking forward to this because he was so enthusiastic about them!


In summary, we tried Blue Apron for a week because I am pregnant and wanted something special that would entice me to eat more since my appetite has been large. I was especially focused on meals packed with nutrients that are outside of my normal routine.  Blue Apron was perfect for this goal and we enjoyed our experience.  Plus,  my husband will tell you that he enjoyed the wine subscription with trendy wines that paired well with the meals.  He has raved so much about the wines that I am looking forward to trying some of them once I am no longer pregnant or nursing.  (I am so jealous!)  


Try it!

Visit Blue Apron to learn more and to browse the menus for upcoming weeks and the wine options. I received the opportunity to share a free one week trial subscription. Click here to learn more and for all of the details about the subscription.
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