Author - Jennifer Bullock

Birthday Celebrations to Remember

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Basic Invite. I only work with brands that I myself would use or think worthy of promoting to others. All opinions are from a personal point of view.

 

Throughout the year, we tend stay away from celebrating our selves during other holidays, choosing to focus on what those days mean for our family or what we can do to serve and love others, but birthdays are another story. Birthdays are a big deal in the B house.

Daddy B and I want to be very intentional when it comes to creating traditions for our family. Some years we vary up the way we celebrate different holidays, but there are always certain details that remain the same.

Another reason we celebrate is because my mom always made sure that birthdays were special, even in the times we had very little money {which was more often than not}. Those parties are something good from my childhood that I can nostalgically look back on. If I try hard enough I can probably remember most of my birthday parties and even those I don’t remember I have pictures to relive those years with.

It’s important for all of us in life to have memories to look back on.

Here are some practical ways that you can help you celebrate birthdays and also ways to keep those memories alive.

 

Take lots of pictures and video – Obviously one way we can reminisce about a birthday celebration is to have photos and video either on hand or these days online, that can remind us about funny moments, {like the time we couldn’t get the pinata to break open}.

Create a unique theme – We allow our girls to choose their own birthday party theme, however from experience I understand it’s hard to buy specific supplies for uniquely themed parties without breaking the bank {think peacock birthday party theme}. You can however use the unique theme and get away with it by choosing 1-3 coordinating colors for the party. Items like table settings, balloons, etc won’t be as expensive and all of your decorations and party supplies will seem like they were meant to go together.

 

You can also use kids birthday invitations to enhance your party theme. Now more than ever companies like Basic Invite are making it simple to help you craft invitations that are customized to fit your child’s theme whether it’s from a party store or a unique creation.

 

 

They offer:

Almost Unlimited Colors – Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail. This is what we feel sets us apart from almost any other online stationery company and is what we feel is our biggest draw.

Custom Samples – Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before they ever have to place their final order.

Over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes – Basic Invite is just as colorful with our envelopes as we are with our invitations. Customers can choose from over 40 different colors when it comes to their envelopes so that they can make their invitation stand out even before it is opened. All of our envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed.

Free Address Collection Service – Use our free address collection service to request your addresses with just three simple steps. Share a link, collect addresses, and get free envelope printing.

Making it easy and painless to enhance your child’s party theme with the help of an amazing selection of birthday invitations.

 

Have one stand out detail – You don’t have to be the parent that has everything at one party, performers, face painters, costume characters, and the list goes on. If you have so many big amazing things at one party it’ll not only set that as the standard for your child, but will make things seem less special. I recommend choosing one stand out detail, here are some examples:

Child’s Animal party: hiring a petting zoo

Child’s Science Party: creating wacky experiments

Child’s Milestone Teen Party: renting a limo for short rides or a ride to the party venue

Child’s Super Hero Party: hire a superhero to make a party appearance

Other non-specific stand out details could be that you get an amazing cake made, or a special person shows up (this could even be the child’s favorite friend or a surprise family member), or even that the party attendees have a special costume, oftentimes you can buy these in bulk online for a discounted rate.

Create Birthday Traditions – It doesn’t have to be expensive, time intensive or even something wacky and bold, but creating family traditions for birthdays is almost a sure way for your child to remember their special day as they grow up. Some favorite traditions may include:

Getting one dollar for every year you’ve lived {10 years old $10}

Singing the Happy Birthday song to family members on the phone

Special birthday meals {breakfast is usually a big one}

Wearing a fun hat or using a special plate

Depending on your family and your child there could be so many ways to make their special day amazing. Some children would prefer smaller parties with just a handful of friends, while others want huge parties, while some have gift ideas others may want guests to bring donations to a local charity.

When it comes to making your child’s birthday {or really any birthday special} it all comes down to the thoughtfulness that goes behind making that person feel loved. There are so many different ways people like to be shown love, but really taking the time to celebrate them, especially on their birthday, will be something they will remember and hold close for years to come.

 

Now let’s hear from you, comment below: What are your favorite traditions, or ways to make a memorable birthday celebration for your child???

 

 

Wonderbly Book Review

Whether you have children with unique names or common names it’s always fun for them to read a book with their name in it. At Wonderbly they combine storytelling and personalizing to bring the child into the story. They allow you to customize so much more than a lot of other personalized book publishing companies.

Miss C recently received an opportunity to create her own story from Wonderbly. She thought it was so cool that she could personalize her very own book. It was so simple for us to customize online at www.wonderbly.com

She chose the Kingdom of You book, perfect for ages 3-10 (and maybe even a little beyond). We typed in her name, selected her gender and were able to choose from three “adventurers”.

They currently have two light skinned characters, (one with blonde hair and one with light brown hair) and one darker skinned character (with dark brown hair). {I’m sure it’s hard to have several different characters since the book is pretty personalized but would love to see Lost My Name expand in this area.}

After those initial steps you have even more selections to personalize the book and really make it yours. I personally like that it’s not only the name or character that they are changing in the book. C chose from several options and ended up with a fun, and unique story. We love that it’s personalized and something that she was able to create.

The story and illustrations in the Kingdom of You are super cute, and very well done. Wonderbly books are as much entertaining for the child as they are for the parent.

 

Books from Wonderbly are on average around $24.99, but with the customization and the incredible quality of the book I would say it’s a fair price.

I would highly recommend these books as a gift, not only will they be fun and exciting for the child to read, but it will be something that no one else will gift them. So if you’re looking for something unique check out several different Wonderbly products.

 

This is not a sponsored post, we received complimentary product to try out and are giving our honest opinion and thoughts.

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.