Author - Jennifer Bullock

Beach Wedding Favors

In July I had the amazing opportunity to go to Mexico to be in my best childhood friend’s wedding. Let me just say, a destination wedding, especially a beach wedding was simply breathtaking. Now I’m not only saying this because the bride was stunning and I love the couple, but seriously if you’re ever invited to a beach wedding, or are planning a wedding, I highly recommend it.

Not only is the beach a great venue for a wedding, but the favors that are available are adorable!! My best friend and bride Rushel did a great job selecting favors that would both be useful and be something that the wedding attendees would keep to remember her special event.

One of my favorite beach wedding favors was the message in a bottle favor from the WeddingsAway Etsy boutique. Carrie, the shop owner, has a great selection of wedding and special occasion items in her shop. The bride loved the options that were available with her Mini Message in a Bottle Favors.

The favors were not only made well, but they arrived on time and I thought they were a great touch with the added magnet and mini sea shells.

Some of the other favors included:

Necessities

Bug repellent bracelets – an essential to keep the pesky mosquitoes away.

Sun Screen – super important for a beach wedding, some international travelers may forget or have a hard time packing.

Fashionable items

Flip Flops – the bride diligently gathered guests shoe sizes, if the wedding party is larger than 30 I would recommend ordering some of each size. She also tediously personalized them herself, and to me, may be worth it ordering them from a supplier if you really want them personalized, you can also leave them plain too.

Sunglasses – we know theses are a must for sunny weddings, but they also make great photo props too. The entire guest list and bridal party donned these for a fun wedding photo opp in Mexico.

Fun Favors

Drink Cozies – personalizing these favors is super easy and helps keep your guests hydrated. I’ve also spotted slimmer versions for smaller bottles and drinks.

Hand Fans – should be listed as a necessity and a fun favor, but as we all know sitting in the sun on or near the beach can get warm, fans can be both beautiful AND functional.

 

What favors would you add to this list??

 

*Thanks to WeddingsAway for the Message in a Bottle favors!! For ordering information check out Carrie’s Etsy page: etsy.com/shop/WeddingsAway

 

 

Concord Mills Announces New Play Area

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Concord Mills Mall. I only work with brands that I myself would use or think worthy of promoting to others.

 

After several renovations both inside and out to Simon Mall’s North Carolina location, Concord Mills, upgrades are here and beautiful.

While there are new stores and restaurants in and surrounding the mall, some of the biggest changes come from within.

Among the changes, Concord Mills boasts updated bathrooms and new flooring that now make the mall much more attractive and pleasant to shop in, and for families one of the biggest attractions is the brand new mall play area.

Sponsored by Sea Life Aquariums located inside the mall, this new play area caters to a wider range of ages. The previous play area was mainly focused on crawlers through young children, but the new area has three distinct places for toddlers through young teens to play and learn.

 

  • Toddler Pod: Features sprout designs where little ones can climb and spin.

 

  • Elementary Pod: Features elements including climbing blocks and an electronic piano with touch sensitive pads featuring eight different musical notes.

 

  • Tween/Teen Pod: Features the light tower challenge and the interactive electronic game, which uses light and sound. Parents can get in on the fun here, too!

 

This new addition allows shoppers with different age children to play in the same general area at the same time.

As a busy blogging mom, one of my favorite features is the new soft seating area complete with charging stations that allows parents the opportunity to recharge as their children play. I also love the bold color choices for the play area and how open and inviting it is.

 

 

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the play area your kiddos will thank me. Whether you’re shopping for back-to-school supplies, or updating your closet for Fall, this fun area will keep your kids busy and give mom and dad a little break.

Check out Concord Mills website simon.com/mall/concord-mills for your favorite stores and don’t forget to stop by the new play area.

 

Comment: What would be your family’s favorite feature of the new play area??

 

 

Carowinds KidsFest Celebration

A couple of weekends ago we had the privilege of attending Carowinds’ KidsFest with our family. Although it was only for that weekend, I can assure you the many times we have been to Carowinds and hosted events this is certainly a theme park that has a lot of activities and rides for children of all ages.

While we were at Carowinds, we were able to watch and participate in singing and dancing at Harmony Hall midway with our favorite PEANUTS™ characters. We took a break from the head to color under some shade that was provided by The Community Blood Center of the Carolinas (CBCC). We also got hands on with with Atomz Lab, learning about earth worms and physics. The nice people at Cabela’s taught us some safe ways to shoot arrows and C even got to try her hand at shooting foam-tipped arrows at floating targets.

One of my favorite parts of our day was the opportunity to meet local heroes. We were able to meet and thank the Flint Hill Fire Department, and people really enjoyed checking out the police car and appreciating Officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD).

Unfortunately due to rain, we missed Disney Junior’s musical act Choo Choo Soul, but they did still perform at PEANUTS™ Showplace, and everyone who attended had an amazing time.

The only thing I felt could have been more kid-friendly was the DJ music as it seemed to cater more to the adults, but overall the entire event was a blast. We saw kids hula hooping, enjoying Planet Snoopy rides, and also loved the pop-up vendors and games.

We hope that Carowinds continues to host more kid-friendly events and look forward to those already scheduled.

 

What are your thoughts on Carowinds when it comes to younger children? Would love to hear your feedback.

This is not a sponsored post. We received media passes in order to experience and give our honest thoughts. All opinions are that of MommyBKnowsBest.com, each individual experience may vary.

Miffy Product Line – Walmart Exclusive

As a brand ambassador for Miffy I am excited to bring you news and exciting updates on all things related to the brand. I am not paid for my opinions.

 

Friends, today is a great day, not only because it’s another day to celebrate life, but also because Miffy’s exclusive product line with Walmart has launched.

 

If you’ve been watching Miffy on Nick Jr. or have checked out her books you’ll know just how adorable and delightful she and her friends and family are.

If you’re not familiar with Miffy, she was “born” on June 21, 1955. Why are you just now hearing about her? Well she grew up in the Netherlands and recently came to the United States via Nick Jr. “Miffy’s Adventures Big and Small,” debuted on Nick Jr. in 2016 and you can watch the show Monday through Friday {check your local listings}.

Miffy stories are now translated into more than 50 languages and the TV show currently airs in several countries across the world, so not only is she sweet and wholesome for our kiddos, but she’s universally age-appropriate.

My girls, though a little bit older, thought the Miffy toys were super cute.

 

 

Miffy’s Adventures Big and Small plush Miffy includes a super soft miffy. Press her hand for several phrases and a special Miffy song. Ages 18 months and up.

 

Miffy’s Adventures Big and Small figurines include Daddy, Snuffy, Miffy, and Mummy, and is appropriate for ages 2 years and up.

These and more items can be found both in stores and online. Head here: walmart.com to find out more information and make your purchase.

 

For even more Miffy fun check out Miffy at miffy.com and on social channels:

Facebook – @MiffyandFriendsUS 

Instagram – @Miffy_Official_USA 

Twitter – @MiffyOfficialUS

Creating a Relaxing Summer Morning Routine

“I’m sharing affresh® in my life as part of a sponsored series for Socialstars™ #affresh

 

If you read my previous post on Summer Schedule for the kids you’ll know we like a mix of schedule and flexibility in the summer. Some mornings we sleep in and other mornings we have to get up early for play dates or errands, but we always make time for breakfast and that includes a delicious cup of coffee for me.

 

To make things run a little more smoothly in the morning I use our daily magnets to set up how our day will look so the girls will know what to expect for the day first thing in the morning.

If we are going to a play date or the pool I’ll also get any items we will need, like snacks, water bottles, pool toys or towels ready the night before so we can just grab and go. That ensures that we’re not running around trying to find items last minute and also equals less stress for everyone.

I find for me, preparing things the night before helps us to not feel rushed eating breakfast and allows us to enjoy our mornings together.

Since I drink coffee every day I want to make sure my coffee maker is fresh and clean and honestly I don’t want to spend a lot of time doing that when I’d rather be playing board games with my girls or taking them to the park.

I love the affresh® Coffeemaker Cleaner. It is a speciality cleaner designed to work specifically with coffeemakers. That means it is compatible with multi-cup and single serve brewers, cleans hard water deposits and mineral build-up, and it’s super easy to use. There’s no need to mix, measure or stir, I just drop in a tablet and let it do the work. {One of my favorite things is that my whole house doesn’t smell like vinegar after it’s done cleaning.}

 

Here’s just how simple it is:

How to use for multi-cup coffeemakers:
  1. FILL the reservoir with water to max level
  2. Drop 1 tablet into reservoir. (For coffeemakers with covered reservoirs, fill the brew pot with water and dissolve 1 tablet in the brew pot, then pour solution into water reservoir)
  3. RUN 1 brew cycle (or ‘clean’ cycle if applicable) into brew pot.
  4. DISCARD dirty water from brew pot and then fill reservoir with fresh water to max level
  5. RUN 1 brew cycle using fresh water then discard to rinse the coffeemaker.
How to use for single serve brewers:
  1. FILL the reservoir to max level. Drop 1 tablet into reservoir.
  2. RUN 2 brew cycles selecting largest cup size, discarding dirty water between brews.
  3. DISCARD remaining water from reservoir. Fill reservoir with fresh water to max level.
  4. RUN 2 additional brew cycles and then discard to rinse coffeemaker.

Or as I like to say fill, drop, fizz, bubble, brew, clean!

 

For more information about affresh® Coffeemaker Cleaner, check out affresh.com

 

No matter what machine you use to brew your coffee, you can’t beat a virtually hands-off cleaning product, especially when it comes to some coffeemakers that make it tricky to clean thoroughly. So if you’re dreaming of easy summer mornings and a fresh cup of coffee, affresh® Coffeemaker Cleaner may become your favorite cleaning product.

 

 

If you have a busy summer like us affresh® cleaners provide so many quick cleaning options that will allow you to spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying your family. Purchase your affresh® cleaners HERE.

 

What are some things you do to help summer mornings run smoother?

 

 

Summer Schedule for Kids – Free Printable

Summer is all about fun and relaxation, I get it. However, a loose schedule is definitely something that our family needs to avoid meltdowns and still feel like we’ve accomplished a few things during the day.

After school let out we had about a week and a half where we just had down time and that was great, but I could clearly see a need for a little bit of structure to combat the, “I’m bored” or “what can I do now?” moments.

Browsing through Pinterest I saw a great Summer Rules Printable that I liked and wanted to create something similar that fit our family needs a little better.

I created a large poster and thought a watermelon theme would be cute for the summer. {Your artistic skills may be better than mine.}

 

 

Then we realized an individual list for each child would be helpful so they could check off items daily. Here is the printable that I created. Please feel free to use for your own family as well. I know task will vary by child and household so I’ve also included a blank printable that you can use and fill in yourself below.

 

Click the link to print: Summer Rules List MommyBKnowsBest

 

CLICK HERE FOR BLANK SUMMER RULES PRINTABLE

 

We placed the printouts in a plastic dry erase pocket so the girls could write and erase easily, each child has a different color pocket and I’ve really seen them take personal responsibility in completing these tasks without being asked.

 

 

Are your summers more scheduled? Are they less scheduled?

Do you create any summer lists??

Leave a comment below!!

 

 

 

 

Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Field Trip

We received admission for the children in attendance to be able to experience and write our thought about Sea Life. The experiences and opinions in this post are that of MommyBKnowsBest.com and attendees.

 

 

Miss C’s first grade class has been studying the ocean, focusing on different ocean zones, and sea animals. Their most recent project asked them to choose something that lives in the ocean and become an expert on that animal. Children chose sand dollars, blue whales, giant squid, sea otters, and more. They were also challenged to find ways that these animals were being harmed and figure out a way to help them.

Sea Life Aquariums not only help to educate people about sea animals but they too are helping the ocean to thrive. Their motto: Breed, Rescue, Protect is exactly what they do. We felt with the current unit, going to Sea Life for a first grade field trip was the perfect fit.

 

Sea Life has a lot of great offerings for field trips for schools, pre-schools, homeschoolers and many other groups. We were able to learn that Sea Life is part of the largest seahorse breeding network in the world. At the Charlotte-Concord, North Carolina location, Catherine, our guide was incredibly helpful in tips on finding the octopus, and shared with us all about the new turtle shelter.

 

 

Throughout our visit we were able to enjoy talks where we learned in-depth about sea animals living at Sea Life. We even got to see the manta ray and other fish and sharks being fed by a trained Aquarist while Kathy talked to us about methods of feeding and what breeds were in the tank.

 

 

Sea Life offers great group rates, educational workshops, and behind-the-scenes tours whether you’re learning about the ocean and sea life or just looking for a great field trip where kids will learn AND have fun at the same time. Check out their website to find more information on group tickets, field trips, and more: www.SeaLife.com

 

 

Tips for Keeping Your Kitchen Clean in Summer

“I’m sharing affresh® in my life as part of a sponsored series for Socialstars™ #affresh

 

Summertime means a lot of things in our home, it means the kids are home from school every day, it means hosting friends and family for celebrations and gatherings, and it means our kitchen is in FULL use. More kitchen use means more kitchen mess means more kitchen cleanup.

There are so many reasons to make sure you are keeping on top of kitchen cleaning other than to make it looks nice.

Here are a few reasons to keep a clean kitchen in the Summer:

  • Keep away ants and other bugs that LOVE dirty kitchens
  • Make it easier for entertaining {one less room to clean}
  • Not feel like you have chores hanging over you when fun activities pop up
  • Smelly kitchen can effect the way your entire house smells
  • Dishes are clean and easy to grab for a quick meal in between pool time
  • Enough counter space to pack a park lunch
  • Lessens the amount of germs for a healthier summer

 

Is the kitchen a hard place to keep clean?!? YES!! Especially when you aren’t the only one living in your home, but you can see it’s an important room to tidy up. Luckily there are some ways you can make cleaning the kitchen easier.

Enlist Help

With Miss A and Miss C tall enough to reach the counters and old enough to put things away on their own I can give them a good bit of kitchen cleaning chores. Even if you have a small child you can find these fun kitchen helper stools at almost any online retailer and they can easily help with wiping the counter or putting away unbreakable, non-sharp dishes.

 

Remember, help doesn’t just have to be your littles it can also be a spouse/significant other, or a friend {just be sure to return the favor}.

When you’re enlisting help be sure to make it fun, put on some music or make it a game to pass the time and encourage cheerful workers.

Keep it Simple

Use products that will clean without a lot of work. This is what I call “Return on Rub”. If you spend hours using a product that makes you scrub and sweat, and you’re not left with something sparkling clean, it’s so not worth it, am I right???

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Clean Smart. I clean smart using products I know that work, and products that are super easy to use.

Remember the smelly kitchen I mentioned above? One reason kitchens get so smelly is because the ever-so-helpful garbage disposal won’t clean itself. I know, maybe in the year 2030 that will be a thing, but in the meantime giving our garbage disposal a deep clean with minimal effort is humanly possible.

affresh® Disposal Cleaner is designed specifically to clean and remove odor causing residue using powerful foaming action.

 

Not only does it work, {trust me I tried it}, but it’s easy to use. Follow the instructions listed on the back of the box once a month or as needed.

 

 

 

1. Get ready for awesome affresh® cleaning to take place

2. Turn on hot water to a low flow

3. Place 1 fresh, citrus scented tablet in your disposal

4. Turn on the disposal for 15-30 seconds and watch the foaming action

After turning off your disposal and rinsing any foam residue, enjoy a fresh smelling disposal in practically less than a minute.

Wherever there is a specific cleaning job to do, you can count on affresh® cleaners to provide the right tool for the job. Purchase your affresh® cleaners HERE

 

Break it Up

When you’re thinking of steps you need to clean your kitchen think broad and make a list, when you break the work into chunks and spread it out it becomes easier to tackle. If you’re a visual person writing down your task might be a great help. We have a white board in our kitchen that has many uses including writing down and checking off chores.

Here is a list of some tasks that may be helpful to send you on your kitchen cleaning journey:

  • Counters
  • Appliances {you could even break these down more}
  • Sink & Disposal {see tip above}
  • Floors
  • Cabinets

Your tasks may vary depending on the size of your kitchen, your appliances and your personal preference, but hopefully this is a great start to a clean kitchen this Summer.

 

What tips do you have to keep your kitchen clean, and you’re not allowed to say, “don’t use it”, I’ve tried that but eating out every meal is too expensive. 

 

Tips for Teaching your Family Safe Online Behavior

This is a sponsored post in partnership with KidGuard. Any opinions or thoughts are that of MommyBKnowsBest.

Navigating the web as an adult can be tricky, whether you’re faced with security problems, or just overwhelmed by the harsh comments on social media, it always seems like there’s something you have to look out for.

 

 

In an age like today it’s almost impossible to not be online especially for younger generations. For parents, if your child is on a social media platform or website that you’ve never seen that’s a big problem.

Remember when your child was little, you wanted to know a couple of things right?
It was important to:
  • Know where your children were
  • Know what they were doing

The same rules follow suit online.

Yes, your children are older, more responsible, however it’s still important to:

  • Know what sites and platforms they are on
  • Know how they are using social media and the internet

And how do you do this if you’re not online with them?

We have to educate ourselves every step of the way with parenting. Right? Here are some things you’ve probably done as a parent that you can apply to parenting children who are online.

We ask our parents and friends for advice

You may not ask your parents unless they’re super tech savvy but talk to friends, specifically friends who you know have navigated parenting children who are online and done it well.

We read books and articles

There are so many great resources out there. I highly recommend KidGuard, they have recently published a how-to guide to educate parents on the importance of developing their children’s digital citizenship and safe online behavior filled with amazing tips for motoring cell phone use, GPS tracking, facts about Cyber Bullying that you may not have heard, and it’s a free resource. Check it out here: KidGuard Parents’ Survival Guide to Online Safety.

We buy products that help us parent

Whether you look into downloading software or add apps, choose tools that will give you the end result you are looking for, whether it’s security, limited screen time, privacy, or all of the above. Some are available for free, or trial periods, but I have found that the programs that are paid are often well worth the money spent. Consider it an investment into the well being of your family.
So what’s your first step? There’s no “right” way or formula for teaching your family online safety, rather the important step is to start. Pick one of the three ways above and get started, once you realize how helpful resources like KidGuard {kidguard.com} can be a whole new world will open up to you and you’ll be a step closer to parenting at your best in a tech-savvy world.

What’s In My Diaper Bag? – Diaper Bag Essentials

This is a sponsored post with Beech-Nut brand, however all opinions are my own, honest thoughts.

 

Let’s face it moms are always on-the-go, whether it’s doctor’s appointments, playdates, or running errands. It’s so hard to try to remember the list of things to bring with you as you scramble to make it out the door. Organization and pre-planning go a long way in the mommy world, and while it’s not possible to plan everything {ie, diaper blowouts, or traffic jams; both equally horrible}, there are some things that you can plan that are easy and will simplify your life.

Today’s What’s in My Diaper Bag? – Diaper Bag Essentials post isn’t an absolute list, it’s a list to get you started in the right direction and allows you to make changes that will fit your family and personal on-the-go needs.

Playtime

The type of toy will vary depending on your child’s age, but generally speaking choose toys that are easily washable. You already know those toys are going straight to the ground. Sophie la Girafe Teether** {pictured above} is a must-have diaper bag toy. She’s easy to find in stores and can be wiped down quickly {don’t use her as a bath toy}.

Some fabric toys that wrap around the carseat or shopping cart are great too. {Always look for machine-washable to save yourself some time and stress.}

Mealtime

Easy travel dining ware, like pop-up bowls and disposable flatware are great for meals on the go.

I also highly recommend easy snacks. We’re pretty mindful of what our kids are eating and compare brands to see which are the healthiest and Beech-Nut** really stands out. Not only are their baby and toddler snacks and cereals real ingredients, but they are super portable and a great addition to your diaper bag essentials.

 

Check out their Naturals™ and Organics™ lines:

 

Don’t forget the two-in-one highchair/shopping cart cover like this multi-colored Eddie Bauer Reversible Cart & High Chair Cover**. We loved ours and highly recommend keeping one in your diaper bag. {Opt for darker colors to hide stains.}

While we are at it, I love these Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Milk Feeding Bib the unique dribble catcher absorbs moisture and is ideal for drips or teething and they’re reversible as well.

Changing time

Of course diapers and wipes are important, we heart Pampers brand. Be sure to put a few diapers in your bag, get a travel wipes case, and remember to check every so often to refill.

Changing Pads often come with diaper bags but personally I’ve always been hesitant to use them because I feel like they may not be super clean, I typically go with disposable options and you can find earth-friendly versions as well.

Don’t feel like carrying a dirty diaper around in your diaper bag? Yuck! I highly recommend having the handy Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Bag Dispenser & Bags** attached to your diaper bag at all times. It clips on to the strap AND smells great.

 

 

Remember the extra change of clothes for when messes occur, trust me you’ll thank me later.

Mommy time

It’s always nice to have a few things for mom stashed away in your diaper bag. Remember some bottled water, a quick snack, extra clothes, and maybe even some shower wipes to freshen up a bit. If you can sneak a good book or magazine in, GO YOU!!

Healthy time

Disinfect the world. Okay I know some germs are good, but for public places and unexpected stops I love a good disinfecting wipe. Yep, I’m that mom.

You can buy a set of nail clippers, a thermometer, all your baby’s health needs separately, but why when you can get everything in a complete set that comes with a great little bag to keep everything in one place in your diaper bag. Love this set by Safety 1st. Check out their Deluxe Healthcare & Grooming Kit**.

Okay on this last one, I have not personally tried this but feel like I have seen parents in a standing ovation over this health product. Ladies, and gents, I give you the Fridababy NoseFrida® Nasal Aspirator**. Again, people swear by it and reviews on shopping sites are pretty impressive.

 

And don’t forget the cute Oh Joy!® Backpack Diaper Bag** that’s super stylish and just the right size to hold all your essentials and not be overwhelmingly large.

 

So tell me, What’s In Your Diaper Bag? No, seriously, I really want to know! Leave a comment below, can’t wait to see what your must-haves are.