Category - Family

Gabriela McBride, American Girl’s First African American Doll of the Year 2017

Exciting news folks! One month ago American Girl announced and started selling their Girl of the Year for 2017. Meet Gabriela McBride, American Girl’s first African American Doll of the Year.

Gabriela is a true talent who uses her passion for the arts—specifically spoken word poetry—to overcome personal obstacles and create positive change for her community. Gabriela launches with a beautiful 18-inch doll, plus several performance-inspired outfits, accessories, and toys. We’re also happy to share that, unlike past Girl of the Year characters, Gabriela will be available throughout 2017 and beyond.

And, to connect students with Gabriela’s inspiring message and to bring awareness to spoken word poetry, American Girl is partnering with Scholastic to create and distribute Express Yourself, a program for classrooms that empowers students to use the arts as a tool for self-expression. Available in March 2017, the classroom resources give teachers the tools to encourage students to find their creative voices, just in time for National Poetry Month in April.

As a multi-cultural family we love celebrating the uniqueness in the world and in our own home. We are so excited about Gabriela and love everything about her.

 

  • Her passion to inspire others and fight against the adversity of her stutter.
  • Her beautiful skin tone and soft curly hair
  • Her adorable athletic wear and fun style

 

It’s always great for your children to be able to see role models that can remind them of themselves. I am thankful for the virtues woven throughout Gabriela’s story that will inspire my girls to want to stand up for what is right and push through hard times.

Can you see the smile on this girl’s face???

 

We encourage you to take a look at American Girl’s first African American Girl of the Year, celebrate diversity, and inspire others around you. Head to American Girl’s Website for more details on Gabriela McBride, other great dolls and accessories.

 

We received Gabriela McBride as a product review. All opinions in this post belong to MommyB and her sweet, sweet children.

Exploring Love Languages – Gifts

Welcome to the Exploring Love Languages series on MommyB Knows Best! If you didn’t get a chance to read the first post or take your 5 Love Languages test (or test your family/friends) head back to the Exploring Love Languages and How to Show Them post to do that now.

If you know your love language that’s great, that will tell you how you most like to be loved and probably be a good indicator of how you typically love others. While I think loving others is great no matter how you do it, you may find that sometimes when you show love it’s not received in a way you might think, of course this could be the product of many factors, but one thing I’ve found is that my way of loving others may not be their preferred way. While we don’t need to “change” everything we do for others isn’t it nice to meet them where they are, especially our family members/children?

I thought it would be great to explore some love languages and gain some insight so we can all love a little better. As my love languages don’t fit every love language, I’ll need your help, if you fit in the current category or know some great ways to show love in this category won’t you please leave a comment with some tips and ideas too? We’re all in this together.

 

Let’s get started with The 5 Love Languages – Receiving Gifts.

 

 

Occasionally I’ll hear that the receiving gifts love language is a greedy one, when in reality I think each love language is valid and important. I’ve been told by several “gifts” friends and family that it doesn’t matter the size or price point of the gift, rather that someone took the time to think of them enough to give a gift.

Here are some gift ideas from across the board, some are free and others are thoughtful and I would love to hear your ideas in the comment section below!!

 

Personalized gifts – Nothing says “this gift is specifically for you” like a personalized gift. Think about something that the recipient will love like a tote bag or a journal and get their name or initials on it. Every time they see or use that item they’ll think of you, it’s a win-win.

We bought this great Summer tote from Simply Personalized for Miss A, and she loves that it has her name written in one of her favorite colors. There are a lot of great websites that will personalize almost any kind of gift.

 

Handmade gifts – This is where you will definitely want to know your recipient, some LOVE receiving handmade gifts and feel they’re from the heart, others will be disappointed thinking you don’t really know them all that well. Hayley M. mentioned to make sure if it’s handmade it’s also something that person will use. This one can be tricky but hopefully the intentions aren’t lost in translation. PS if you don’t feel super handy you can also check out Etsy.com or local vendors for some pretty amazing handcrafted items. I treasure this necklace my sister got me in memory of our mom.

 

Meaningful gifts – When it’s clear you’ve taken the time to really think through gift giving this person’s “love tank” will be overflowing. One tip I’ve found is by peeking at Pinterest boards and other social media sites the gift getter is on to see what that person has been eying. In the past, I’ve also loved making gift giving a game, making a scavenger hunt or completing a puzzle to find the gift. Some people like Jennifer M. Don’t care what the gift is as long as it means something.

 

Themed gifts – Find a theme, whether it’s red for Valentine’s Day or smiley faces to brighten someone’s day, a theme can help you buy gifts when you’re not completely sure of what to get and be a fun gift to give.

 

Things to avoid:

  • giving gift cards unless you know the recipient REALLY wants gift cards
  • missing gift giving special event, especially birthdays and Christmas
  • generic gifts, Megan H says “like coffee mugs because I’ve been gifted so many”, also things like body wash sets, slippers, again unless you know that’s what they REALLY want
  • thinking they don’t like your gift when they receive lots, Hayley M says, “I often choose one gift (unintentionally) that is my favorite and over use it. I will make my way to the others at some point.

 

I’ll admit as an over thinker I often don’t even up giving gifts because I always second guess what I am getting. Will they like it? Is it what they want/need? Will they even care? I’ve come to the conclusion though that we can’t make everyone happy, however we can at least try and our intentions do matter. So please don’t second guess yourself when it comes to gift giving, the effort counts!

 

Is gifts one of your love languages or do you know someone who is? Leave us some tips in the comment area below!!

 

**I received product from Simply Personalized which I chose to write about, this is not a paid or sponsored post.

Exploring Love Languages and How to Show Them

I love exploring personalities and learning more about myself, my family, and friends and why we are the way we are. I feel like getting to know others is so valuable in understanding them, and so important for building relationships. One of my favorite tools is The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

This tool helps you figure out how you and others love to be loved. If you ask me that’s pretty valuable. If you think so too, {I hope if you don’t you’ll think about why it might be a good idea to “step into someone else’s shoes”}, then I encourage you to check out The 5 Love Languages, there is a great website, books, and online resources available.

If you’d like to take the online test, head to The 5 Love Languages Website click “Learn Your Love Language” then select “Myself” or “My child” depending on whose love language you are trying to figure out.

*Note that the site starts quizzes at ages 5, which is in my opinion an appropriate age to start figuring out your child’s love language, if you are trying before this age you may have some difficulty answering the questions, but it won’t hurt to try, just know as they get older you want to retest as some answers may be swayed by maturity and not having certain life experiences.

The five Love Languages, in no specific order are: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. It’s said to be true that more often than not we love others the way we like to be loved. So if you highly value physical touch for example then you are more likely to give others hugs and kisses when you want to show them love and similarly with other love languages.

 

 

On my blog I’ll be starting a series exploring ways you can show love to others using their love languages, because we know it’s easy to love the way we like to be shown love. Hopefully you’ll gain some insight into other love languages and have some easy ways to show love.

 

30 Days of Conture Skin Enhancement

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Conture Skin Care. All opinions are my own.

 

If you read my post a couple months ago you learned a little about the Conture Skin Care system. If you haven’t read it feel free to head HERE.

As a busy mom, who gets little rest and takes better care of her kids than herself {are some of you relating right now?!?!}, skin care isn’t the first thing I think of. However, with the New Year and taking a look at things I’d like to improve in my life my health and self-care are at the top of my list. Though I struggle with mommy-guilt I know taking care of myself is important and that includes my skin as well.

I have so many friends who have had skin cancer scares or even have had surgeries because of skin cancer and while using this system and other skin care products won’t directly effect health concerns, taking care of your skin will help you be more aware of any changes in your skin and noticing any areas of concern.

 

After 30 days of trying out the Conture Kinetic Skin Toning System here are some things I love:

  • The instructions and online “How To Use” sections are very easy to follow
  • Different settings for more delicate areas of your face
  • Painless way to care for your skin
  • The three serums Kinetic, Kinetic AM, and Kinetic PM feel great going on and are dry clean {meaning they’re not sticky or tacky to the touch, which I LOVE!!!!}
  • The system is wireless so no having to plug it in
  • Great for travel use
  • Really works, check out my before and after results

 

I feel like my skin is smoother and healthier, can you see the difference?

{Sorry about the different lighting same camera same room, *unedited photos.}

The only thing that I didn’t really like about the system is that it did take some time, especially considering the fact that my skin care routine took 5 minutes or less a day, again, if skin care and self care are something you are trying to work on or something you value for your overall health and beauty as well, it’s important.

You are worth the short amount of time it takes to use the Conture Kinetic Skin Toning system, trust me.

For more information on the Conture Skin Care system, visit their website at Conture.com and for an amazing 25% discount off their entire product line be sure to use the code MommyB25

Fresh Market Charlotte Refresh

This is a sponsored post, however all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Before last week I had never stepped foot inside The Fresh Market grocery store. With the amount of competition in the Charlotte area amongst the grocery stores it’s easy to choose a chain and stick with it, even if it means sacrificing some things. I know some families will give up quality produce for being able to have a one-stop shopping experience, and I know others who will go to several stores to save the most money. With The Fresh Market’s new features shoppers can enjoy having their most important grocery needs met.

The Fresh Market recently enhanced its shopping experience in several Charlotte area stores.  Along with introducing a new logo, they’ve also lowered prices, and they have also increased product offerings to better serve customers.

I was able to meet with one local manager, who told me about all the recent changes and what to expect from The Fresh Market with the addition of so many great products.

It’s clear that fresh fare remains top priority, {it is of course named after freshness}. The Fresh Market offer an impressive selection of produce, meat, seafood and products from local farmers, and also high-quality items simply sourced from the best providers across the globe. I found out that they wrap and butcher their own meats, and if you’re a chicken lover their $2.99/lb chicken thigh Tuesday is now available at that low price every-single-day.

Stores now provide a larger variety of local offerings throughout the store. As you browse the aisles these items are clearly labeled and easy to spot, great for quick shopping trips. Local produce from farmers across North Carolina {Scott Farm and Lively Orchards} are displayed prominently in the store as well.

In perhaps the most dramatic change, shoppers will now find 1,300 everyday grocery essentials including baby, pet and household cleaning products to supplement the premium, gourmet and specialty items customers have come to love. Expanded product offerings at stores and optimized grocery space accommodate an increased selection of grocery and household items. The Fresh Market has also lowered prices on hundreds of items across the store making shopping both more convenient and budget-friendly.

If you’re looking for a quick bite or heading out for your lunch break, you can now find a new variety of freshly prepared, salads, entrees and wraps.

Select stores feature a new, dedicated sampling stations to offer shoppers the chance to taste flavors from across the store, including the weekly dish from the signature Little Big Meal program.

I personally love the Little Big Meal program where shoppers can easily pick up that week’s featured ingredients conveniently located at the station and whip up a delicious meal at home. Here’s an example of their current offering during my visit:

In addition to all the other great changes, The Fresh Market now offers a more comprehensive destination for health and wellness products with its new Mind & Body department {at select stores}. These areas feature a selection of over 3,300 vitamins, minerals and supplements, as well as a specialist to answer customer questions and offer recommendations.

I personally was very thankful for the clear signage that is present to guide shoppers with dietary restrictions or food allergies. These items include 1,600 organic items, 850 certified gluten-free items and 1,900 certified non-GMO items. I was impressed by how many gluten-free items they offer including many that I had never seen before.

 

The specialty grocer will continue rolling out refreshed stores across the country so make sure you visit a nearby location and take advantage of the great changes!

“The refresh of our stores will place an emphasis on delicious fresh fare, convenience, and health and wellness options,” said Rick Anicetti, president and CEO of The Fresh Market. “The company is investing in what our customers love most about The Fresh Market, while adding new categories requested by our shoppers. We look forward to offering the Charlotte community those special products they always enjoy at The Fresh Market, while adding more options to ensure they can experience extraordinary eating experiences more often.”

Be sure to check out The Fresh Market website for updated deals, specials, recipes, cooking tips and more.

With the level of care that goes into customer satisfaction and the clear regard for their shoppers as seen by the changes to so many aspects of the store, The Fresh Market is definitely a grocery store that is now on my list and I hope that you will consider checking out a location near you, to see how they’ve changed, like me, you may be pretty impressed.

 

Kids Marvel Dreams Come True – Holiday Gift Idea

It’s no secret that my girls LOVE superheros thanks to their dad and uncle. While they like DC comics they will tell you they like DC but they love Marvel. When I received these Marvel themed gift products I had a feeling the girls would be excited, but I didn’t realize how excited they would be.

Miss A being the artist that she is loves the Marvel – The Amazing 1000 Dot-to-Dot Book, and by love I mean I have to practically pull her away from the book to eat dinner, do chores, {fill in with anything other than dot-to-dot}. I don’t blame her though this book is definitely something I have not seen on shelves, is very calming {which I love}, and isn’t something she’s going to finish in a day and be done with, so the value is pretty high as well.

 

Lil C as you may know is my little fashionista {since she was 3}, and has been working on hand and machine sewing with some great teachers. When she opened her eyes and saw the Marvel Universe Crochet Kit she was so excited to get into the box and get started. She’s waited patiently so I could take pictures and I’ll have to help her a little because she’s never crocheted before, but I’m excited to help her out. This kit comes with the materials to make two superheros, Spiderman and Captain America. There are also instructions to make 12 Marvel Super Heroes. The instruction booklet has lots of colorful pictures and easy step-by-step instructions. We can’t wait to create our first super hero!

I’ll be sure to share our work on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat so be sure to follow!

If you want to grab these up for your kiddos {or yourself, I won’t tell}, you can get yours through my Amazon affiliate links*.

 I know these are presents that will make your Marvel loving child happy!!!

*{Using my affiliate links means you are helping keep MommyBKnowsBest.com running while not spending any additional $.}

The B Family Moves Again

Some of you may remember when we moved just two years ago this past Summer. We were able to sell our home to a company that would turn it into a rental, which was a blessing because otherwise we would not have been able to sell that house for anything close to what we owed.

We moved into a beautiful home in a county where taxes are lower and while the area was a little more rural than our previous home it was also quieter and a much nicer neighborhood, plus we were close to the girls’ school.

We hadn’t originally planned to move, we actually were missing entertaining space for birthday parties and hosting gatherings, and in figuring out pricing for a screened patio, we realized that money could also go towards a downpayment on a home closer to school friends and DaddyB’s work.

That brings us to today. We moved into our new home this Summer and construction on some major structural issues began right away, little did we know though that this house would be our “fixer upper”.

I pride myself on having an eye for detail, however in our walk through we missed a lot of touches that we didn’t think about having to fix/replace. So here we are, working on project #1,264 of our new/old house, and while it’s draining mentally we’re also making this home our own.

I can’t wait to share with you the projects we’ve taken on ourselves and the changes we’ve been blessed to hire contractors for. None of the projects were funded or sponsored by brands, but can’t wait to share our experiences, good and bad.

How about you?? Are you working on any home projects? Comment below I’d love to hear your stories!!!

Puppy Love Actually – The Dog Who Saved Me

It seems like DaddyB and I went back and forth on whether or not to add a puppy to our family but once we decided we started looking into hypoallergenic breeds. We had our hearts set on a mini cockapoo and started looking online for breeders to ensure that our puppy would be 100% the breed listed because I have horrible allergies and asthma.

In starting our research, and little did we know that our new puppy would come at the perfect timing. In looking at breeds we tried to figure out which breed looked best in glasses and a hipster scarf and ended up choosing a mini schnauzer.

All kidding aside, we saw some great characteristics in the breed and found a great breeder not too far from where we lived. While we were on the waitlist we saw some adorable puppies for adoption through the breeder but we knew we wanted a salt and pepper girl {the most common, gray/white} version. We figured we would wait until April so we had the Summer to focus on the puppy, but God had other plans.

Less than a week after my mom unexpectedly passed away, we received an email that the breeder had 7 puppies and only one was a salt and pepper girl. We were filled with joy which was few and far between and knew she was destined to be our puppy.

Preparing for a puppy definitely kept us busy during a time that could have been even sadder. Though we never realized how much work a puppy is {and let me tell you, it’s a LOT}, I know in my heart that our puppy has really helped me through missing my mom. She’s sweet when I’m in tears and when I need a break from life she always wants to lay down on or next to me and cuddle. And while our entire family loves her {most days}, I think I was the one who needed her and she couldn’t have come at a better time.

 

Meet our sweet, feisty, cuddly, puppy Gracie Mae:

gracie-mae

 

We couldn’t love her more.

mommyb-gracie-collage

Tips for Younger Children with Eyeglasses

Last year Lil’ C mentioned she was having a hard time seeing things in her Kindergarten classroom. Little did I know there were several signs that I brushed off that were pointing to her needing glasses. After a visit to the eye doctor, I realized that Lil’ C’s headaches probably weren’t related to allergies but most likely from eye strain.

While I was glad we went to see the eye doctor I wish I would have figured out that C’s eyes were bothering her sooner. Regardless, we found out that her eyes only need a little bit of help as her eye muscles are still developing. The ophthalmologist said this is a pretty common issue with children in this age group.

mommyb-glassesusa

Isn’t she cute?!?!

Since I’ve never needed glasses I wasn’t sure how to properly clean them or wear them. Luckily we’ve learned some great tips on eyeglass care for children that will help C take care of her glasses.

 

“If they’re not on your face they’re in your case.” This was a rhyme that C was taught to ensure that her glasses go in a safe place when she’s not wearing her glasses.

These days having glasses is “cool” and everyone wants a chance to wear them, unfortunately it’s also an opportunity for your child’s glasses get broken. Role play with your child scenarios where they learn to be comfortable saying, “no” to their friends when it comes to trying on glasses.

Purchase at least 2 pairs of glasses in case one is broken or misplaced. Of course buying glasses can get pricey so I suggest finding the frame shape for your child and checking out discount glasses websites like the ones we found at GlassesUSA.com. Aside from having a pair that she can use in case one is damaged, we also found that it’s nice for her to have a pair in her bedroom for nighttime reading and downstairs for school work since she’s not required to wear her glasses 24/7.

Have your eye doctor, or another adult show your child the correct way to remove their glasses. Often times Lil’ C will pull her glasses off with one hand causing her glasses to need adjusting and even going as far as bending the screws in her glasses {oops}. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way, but teaching your child is the best way to help their glasses last.

Purchase the protection plan. Trust me, it’s well worth it. See tip #4, C needed a new pair of glasses after bending one of her screws and scratching up her lenses a little, luckily we only had to pay a small copay for a replacement pair.

 

We received a

A Few Of Our Favorite Things Holiday Gift Guide

These are a few of our favorite things…

This Holiday Gift Guide edition features lots of our favorites and we know you will love them too!!

 

holiday-gift-guide

 

Favorite Kid Reads

Do you have a superhero lover in your family?? Downtown Bookworks has some pretty awesome book collections for your DC Comics loving kid! While Miss A is partial to Marvel, the new DC Superhero Girls series has definitely caught her eye. Here are some great DC books you’ll definitely want to pick up this holiday season.

mommyb-holiday-gift-guide-dc-superhero-books

 

Favorite Tech

The MEEM Memory Cable is GREAT for those who don’t always remember to back up their phone. It’s easy to use and backs up your phone every time you charge. The MEEM App gives full control; your personal data remains safe in your hands and inaccessible to anyone else.

meem-tech-gift

MEEM is available for Android (16gb / $49.99) and iPhone (32gb / $69.99) and on Amazon

Favorites for Her

I love a good picture of my family and can’t wait to get some pictures up on the walls of our new home. Diamonds in Ice features a great line of really unique glass photos at great prices. I especially love their coasters and ornaments great for gifts for mom or grandmom, pet lovers {or anyone really}.

diamonds-in-ice-picture

Anything from Kristin Schmucker, she has beautiful devotionals, awesome mugs, and even pretty jewelry all infused with inspiration for a grace-filled day. If you subscribe to her emails she has some pretty great deals too. Head over to:  thedailygraceco.com

Favorites for Him

If your guy is a fan of football, especially Texas football then Pigskin Rapture will be a great gift for him. Pigskin Rapture: Four Days in the Life of Texas Football by Mac Engel and Ron Jenkins is a first-ever, one-of-a-kind, 360 degree look at the athletic and cultural phenomenon that is Texas football, and launched the new Lone Star Books imprint this fall. This book is just under $13 right now on Amazon. Click the link above to purchase through my affiliate link.

 

pigskin-rapture

Favorite Stocking Stuffers

I love heading to Etsy for stocking stuffers. The creations that people come up with are a great addition to fillers. Depending on how big or small you go for stocking stuffers here are some great sites.

Vintage Stamp Jewels – pretty delicate pieces

One More Sunshine – adorable custom clothes pins

CurioPress – fun designs {love their stamped pencils}

BumbleFly N ButterBees – awesome handmade wooden toys

 

Favorite Charities

I love companies where you can purchase a gift and in turn you’re also giving to a charity. Giving Soaps is one of those small companies that is using their business to help others. They sell great, quality items that are organic and smell heavenly! Shipping is free and they always use recycled products to ship. This is a great gift option for someone who is very earth-focused.

giving-soaps-gift-basket

 

Sometimes giving to charity is a better gift than receiving a physical gift. Our family currently sponsors a little boy named Haftom in Africa and I’m so thankful that we have enough to help someone else in this world out. Whether you gift someone else the sponsorship or decided that your whole family will sponsor a child I personally recommend World Vision. {There are a lot of other amazing places to sponsor a child, I can only vouch for World Vision because we use their services.}

Thanks so much for checking out the holiday gift guide. Have a blessed holiday season and remember giving is where your heart is, not what gift you buy.

 

While this list could go on and on with loads more ideas we want to hear where your favorite places to shop and what your favorite items are this holiday season. Leave a comment, feel free to leave a link!!

 

I received samples of some of the above products, but was not paid for my opinion or inclusion on this list. The above companies and products are all things my family and I would recommend organically.