mom blog

Back to School Haul|Pottery Barn Kids|Lunch Essentials


My four year old will be entering Pre-K for the 2017-2018 school year as she didn’t meet the cut off age for Kindergarten. Can’t say I’m not bummed about that because I’ve been teaching her basic math, and reading. I hate to think she’ll be kept back a year but it’s completely out of my hands. 

As Pre-K didn’t require much except the basics like hand soap, paper towels, wipes etc. I thought I’d do a review on our backpack and lunch items and why we had to buy so many different containers. 

If you don’t know this already, I am a bit obsessed with Pottery Barn Kids because of it’s durability. I feel like with PBK kids gear, I don’t have to buy backpacks and lunch totes yearly. From reviews, I’ve seen other moms talk about their kids using them for years. The price point for this kind of quality is not bad at all. I also like the backpack size which fits a preschooler perfectly without swallowing their tiny frame. So that was also a plus. 

Now that you know what I like about PBK backpack and lunch tote, here’s what I don’t like. The backpack is fine for now as she doesn’t need to take much stuff, a change of clothes and a folder maybe. But we’ll definitely have to upgrade once she hits grade 1, or even next year depending on the supplies she has to take to school. 

Let’s talk about the lunch tote and why you see two of them in the picture with a crap load of containers. PBK has a variety of different lunch totes but we went with the classic because my daughter doesn’t eat much. That being said, although you can’t go wrong with the quality, not many containers fit in there with other items such as a smaller container or juice box/water bottle. You’ll definitely want to purchase a bigger size tote for an older kid. The second lunch box is just a thermos brand one from Target. I randomly choose the largest sized one for when we send a food jar and a container. 

Here’s the price breakdown of what you see in the picture. I also did not pay full price for the PBK backpack and lunch items so I got a pretty good deal there. 

PBK backpack. These originally go for $39.99. Whoa! I know that’s a lot but with the coupon I had, I got it for $19. Sign up for their newsletter to get notifications on good deals. 

PBK Lunch Tote. Originally $20 but I got ours for $11.

Thermos Lunch Tote. $8.99 at Target.

Rubbermaid Lunch Blox. These are so cool. The containers clip onto the ice pack. Perfect size for small eaters. $8 on Amazon. 

PBK Food Jar. Orginally $18 but I payed $10 for ours which was cheaper than the thermos brand one so we went with that. 

Aladdin Food Jar. This is not a steel food jar like the thermos and pottery barn one. It’s made of plastic and keeps food hot for a lesser time. However, my daughter requested this and because I didn’t get her a trolls character backpack, I caved. The wide opening is perfect for soups and it seems durable enough to last us for years. $10 at Target. 

PBK double compartment container. This one I really like because there’s an ice pack that fits in the lid. Will be great for a little lunchable type situation. Originally $12.50 but I payed $8 for it on sale. 

PBK utensil set. Originally $8.50, paid $5 on sale. It’s a fork and spoon with a little holder. I thought it was practical and at five bucks, why not? 

PBK ice pack. That little horse you see in the picture is actually an ice pack. It came with another one in the shape of a peace sign. I ordered a couple of those some time back because they were .99 cents a pair. Originally $8.

Thermos Water Bottle. $15 at Target. 

Camel Bak Water Bottle. These are $13 each. I bought two at Babies R Us during a buy one half off sale. 

I would like to insert a disclaimer here. This is not a sponsored post. All items were purchased by me and reviewed truthfully for my fellow moms who are looking for deals and ideas. 

Hope this provided you with some options for your little one’s upcoming academic year.

Xo Kat

Mom Fails & Summer Update

Last weekend we took the kids to the lake and boy were we not prepared. We needed some essentials like water shoes, swim suits, sunscreen etc so off to Target we went on our way. 
Let’s just say, although the day was a hit, I had some total mom fails. Obviously, it’s not cool to plan a day at the lake hours before we actually go. As I was rushing around in Target for our last minute essentials, I realized I didn’t have the luxury of looking for deals. Swim suits for kids were almost $20 and if it had been May or June, I wouldn’t have cared but it’s almost the end of August which means fall is approaching. Which means my daughter won’t wear said swim suit more than two times before it’s time to put it away. And it probably won’t even fit her next year. So I felt a huge no creep up my spine about that $20 swim suit. My eyes hit the clearence rack and my hands started skimming through to see if there were any hidden gems under ten bucks 🙂 Lo and behold, I found something and it was cute, for only $7.50. I hit the jackpot there I thought. It’s only after sauntering over to our car that I realized I picked up a leotard not a bathing suit. My daughter absolutely fell in love with the style and color and we were on a press for time so I figured….would anyone really notice or care? 

Well we ended up not returning it and my daughter used it and no one could tell the difference except me. I’d say it was $7.50 well spent 🙂 

If you’re thinking that’s where it ends, it didn’t. We were initially supposed to pick up food on our way as the plan had been made so last minute, I was only able to throw in a few pouches of apple sauce and some chips in out bag. Well, DH got us all the way to the lake then asked…isn’t there somewhere we can buy food here? We were both so hungry and it turned out there was a place we could get lunch, only we had to pay double price for food and triple for a drink. 🙈

Despite our parenting fails, the kids had a blast and can’t wait to take their grandparents when they visit. 

How has your summer been going? Are you excited for school to reopen or has it already reopened in your state? Ours open in two weeks and boy am I happy to get back into an early routine. 

Happy weekend! Xo Kat

Oh and Because it was an on the spur decision to visit the lake, my Kindle was completely discharged so I grabbed a random book off my shelf. Let’s just say I couldn’t get past the first chapter😪

I Removed My Kids Pictures from The Internet

Back in 2012 when my first daughter was born, I couldn’t help but share photos of her online. At the time, I used Facebook and Instagram as my main sites for social networking. They were both set on private settings which meant that only people I allowed to see my pictures would see it. I was still apprehensive about posting the pictures but almost all of my family lives on another continent so it was the only way for them to see her.

By the time my second child came around, I grew even more skeptical about posting my kids’ pics online. I started to limit the number of photos I posted as well as not post so frequently. When it comes to my kids I am very protective and a little anal to be honest, and I have since removed all of their photos from social media. Read more to find out why…

Lack of Privacy – Even the people you know personally don’t have respect for your pictures. Time and time again I specifically said don’t share my kids’ pics yet people were sharing them and using them as their profile pictures. How rude! I couldn’t imagine using someone else’s kid pictures. Another privacy concern is strange people viewing your children’s pics. No matter how much you try to keep your photos on lock down, it’s still on the world wide web, an infinite space with all sorts of people. Anything can be hacked, anything can be sent at the touch of a button. Now, I am in no way bashing anyone who shares pics of their beautiful kids but I’m left paranoid after some of the things I read.

Respect for my kids – I’ve always said that I would be mortified if my parents uploaded all of my childhood snapshots online for the world to see. Till date, I hide as much of my awkward childhood pics as I can. It’s just the way I am. One day I got to thinking what if my kids really have a problem with this later on? So I just don’t do it anymore. When my kids reach an age where they can make a sound decision if they want their pics online or not then I would be okay with sharing.

These are my main two concerns with putting my children’s pictures out there on a social platform. Do you feel the same or do you oppose? All comments are welcomed!

xo Kat

 

My Favorite “Me Time” Indulgences

Can you tell I’m not a summer person? Just kidding. I have been MIA for a while and with good reason. Uh oh! Here comes the vent! It’s honestly been overwhelming with the kids, work, house things, outings, errands ever since summer started. I forgot how hard it was having two kids create chaos all day as opposed to just having my toddler with me when my preschooler is in school. Insanity!

As a little hello to my new-ish subscribers and a salute to my fellow parent bloggers, here’s how I survive admidst the chaos.

Books! Books! Books!

I’m never not engaged in a book. As soon as I finish one, I begin another. No intervals. If you’ve read things on my blog from way back you’ll see how drowning myself in stories and book worlds helped me escape from a lot, deal with a lot and conquer a lot. It’s no different today than it was back then.

Creating my own stories

At this point you’re thinking I’m a real party animal, right? On a serious note, it’s something that always came naturally to me. Weaving my own stories and characters and it takes a lot of the stress off my back so to speak. It’s a positive activity that I enjoy doing with all my heart and it helps me wind down from a long tiring day just as much as reading.

Thrift-store Book Hunting

Oh, that wasn’t a different thing than reading? I enjoy finding gems for a buck a piece. I feel like I hit buried treasure when I see hard backs in pristine condition and I almost feel guilty for paying so cheap for them.

TV Junkie

I don’t watch TV daily, a few episodes a week if anything but I do love to get caught up and engrossed in a good long running series. Few of my favs are Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Vikings, Supernatural. What are some of yours?

Treat Myself to Something Extra

Whoever says money can’t buy happiness didn’t fully think that through. (Again just kidding.) It might seem trivial to some but a lot of parents would agree with me on this. We sometimes enjoy a nice fancy dinner or sometimes just splurging on a favorite make up product does the trick.

Planning

This seriously is one of my favorite things to do. I’m always planning things, from outings to redecorating to enhancing my own life. I am still a work in progress and I dedicate a lot of my spare time to working towards many goals. It might sound like a task but I feel proud when I accomplish something.

It’s not selfish to take a time out for yourself even though you feel guilty for doing it. The key to holding everything together is to take care of you first. Leave me a comment and let me know what are your favorite indulgences.

xo Kat

What My Second Kid Taught Me About Parenting

After the birth of my second child almost two years ago, I have been feeling more incompetent that ever but I’m not beating myself up over it because I know I’m outnumbered. I don’t have help with my children so they are with me all the time and it’s tough. My husband is in the picture but he works long hours and whenever he takes them off my hands, I still have other things to catch up on…like the tons of laundry that I often wish to discard.

The first thing I’ve learned as a parent the second time around is that no two children are the same. How naive of me to believe the second one would be carved out of the same stone as the first. I noticed from birth actually that she’d be a little tornado walking around, pulling things down, creating chaos as she goes. But she loves us equally as hard as my first and for that, I’ll let the broken candle holders slide.

Some of the things that you might be faced with as a second time parent are explained below.

Sleeping Pattern. My first child slept through the night around three months. My second will be two and although it has toned down a bit, she still wakes up during the night a few times a week. One is a late sleeper and can you guess which one wakes at the crack of dawn…at the sound of any kind of movement?

Different milestone pace. I’m not speaking on behalf of everyone but most people I’ve talked to had this to say. The first child took their time when it came to thrashing your house and your belongings. I could’ve left anything out unattended…a cup of coffee, important papers and I’d meet it in the same place when I get back. However, I can’t afford this  kind of trust with my second. Children also develop at different paces. My first was advanced with speech but way behind in walking and running whereas my second is the exact opposite. It’s important not to compare and feel as if something is wrong. Everyone is just wired differently, even kids.

Less Baby Paraphernalia and Toys. When preparing for your first child you watch every video, read every article and download every baby app. All of that makes you want to purchase everything baby related in case they might need it or you believe they might need it. Well I’m here to tell you that babies really don’t need that much stuff. Newborn things are expensive and they basically grow out of it by the time they can crawl. So for your second child, you don’t buy as much stuff and if you’re like me…you let them wear their siblings hand me downs and pass on toys.

Outnumbered. When you’re outnumbered, it feels like going from one kid  to two kids is more like going to ten kids. That’s how it was for me honestly. This is not a scare tactic but let me state some truths here. You’ll be pulled in two different directions while trying to balance everything else in life. I’d be lying if I said it was easy peasy lemon squeezy. Some mothers do their jobs flawless and although I believe myself to be a very nurturing and caring mother…a little cool at times, I am very sloppy. I get overwhelmed and if you came over to my place, you’d see a chair full of not so dirty/not so clean clothes. Yes! Those clothes that are not dirty enough for laundry but clean enough to wear again.

Defeat. I often feel defeated trying to juggle everything together…the kids, and my own life, and goals that I am still working to achieve. No one said it was easy and I don’t expect an easy route but boy is it tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Children, whether it be one or more is a full time job and it’s one that needs to be done willfully and skillfully, sprinkled with love. I feel inadequate as a wife and stay at home mom when I see my tired husband cleaning our filthy living room. Some days I cry wishing I could do better to manage everything on my own.

In spite of everything us parents deal with on a daily basis, our love for our little brats go deeper and deeper. They’re our pride, our joy and our reason for waking up in the morning and doing what needs to be done. My second child taught me that parenting on a whole is very challenging, not that it wasn’t before but now there are two children with different personalities and needs. Some thing I’ve learned along the way is that we don’t always need to have everything planned and figured out. We’re learning as we go. Our job is to be the best we can be for them and trust me when I say that it’s enough.

xo Coffee Doll.

Have a great weekend guys! What are you doing this weekend?

Where do you get your blog content?

Where do I get my blog content?

I get my blog content the same way I get ideas for writing stories…through everyday life. Something or someone might spark a conversation in my head that I have with myself and voila! Things come to me while reading, cleaning, shopping etc. I’m pretty sure all of our minds work this way.

It’s how to stay inspired and passionate about what you write that’s tough. I’ve been hoarding blog ideas since 2014 when I first started blogging and although I have quite a few topics to explore, I often don’t feel inspired every time I sit in front of my computer.

Firstly, you need to know what you want to write about, what you want your blog to be about. You need to do some soul searching and find out what you’re passionate about. I’m a mom, and I love reading and writing. Slowly my blog is becoming a book blog, but it’s something I am passionate about and something I can talk about for days. So most of my content is based around parenting, lifestyle and books.

If you’re a personal blogger just writing about your journey, you can write like you’re writing in a journal, documenting your days and your experiences.

Once you’ve figured out your main idea for your blog, you want to brainstorm ideas and write them all down. I promise you that you won’t use all of it but you’re setting a foundation if you want to do this daily or weekly.

Plan out your topics, select a few you’d like to elaborate on and just write then publish! Voila!

Getting all of your ideas from your blog doesn’t always come off the top of your head. It depends on what you’re writing about, you may want to use images, and you may have to do some research. The best way to keep track of all your ideas is to write them all down. As for getting images, you don’t have to have the best camera. I myself use free images from pixabay.com and they work just fine.

Happy Blogging!

xo Coffee Doll

The Monday Syndrome

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Good Monday y’all! Let’s talk about The Monday Syndrome. I don’t know if that’s a real thing or not, pardon me if it is but it’s the only term that comes to my mind.

No, I’m not referring to our grogginess on Monday mornings when life resumes and we have to leave those few minutes of a weekend behind. I’m talking about the Monday “Go Getter” Attitude. Sometimes we leave things for next month, or next year but most likely everyone has a “leave it for the beginning of next week” attitude. I’ll start gym next week Monday because it’s already Wednesday and the week is practically over or I’ll start my diet next Monday or I’ll start to write at the beginning of next week(that’s me by the way). Our lives are consumed by a “let’s leave it for Monday” attitude. Right? I can’t be the only one.

There are procrastinators and then there are people who just can’t seem to get a handle on their lives. I’m both by the way. I know I procrastinate but I have a sound reason. My children just won’t zip it enough for me to hear my own thoughts and I’m always busy running behind them that the few moments of procrastination just to hear myself think are gold. But seriously though, it is hard to juggle everything already going on in your life so when a new task arises, we leave it for next Monday.

Whatever it is we leave for next Monday shouldn’t always be left for next Monday. I know, I know. It’s hard to find motivation to get yourself moving but it’s important to understand why our brains think we can’t start things right now, right this minute. I think my way of thinking is so uniformed that if I start something in the middle of the week, I feel all sorts of panic, like I’m running out of time, like life on Earth is coming to an end.

Wanting to be a perfectionist can hinder your progress believe me. Sometimes you won’t be starting next Monday, you’ll be starting five Mondays from that Monday. Not seeing the bigger picture and focusing on current struggles(which describes my case of The Monday Syndrome perfectly) makes you want to jump out of your skin and not start anything. Maybe it’s the fear of failing and not so much the fear of starting. Another thing I get hit with hard from time to time(more often that not) is bad estimation of time. My brain fails to process that things take time to reach a level of satisfaction, hence I’ll kinda put it off until next Monday, and then the next until I’m a hot panicking mess.

Do you suffer from The Monday Syndrome? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear!

See you next Monday!(jk jk)

xo Coffee Doll

Image: Pixabay.com

 

I shop cheap for my kids: Here’s the why & where

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Not that I’m crapping on anyone’s parade but sometimes when I see wee little babies/kids wearing a high-end brand name shirt I inwardly cringe. Apart from them outgrowing clothes, they’re pretty much rough with it. My kids change clothes about four or five times a day. There’s always food stains, art stains and dirt marks from playing outside. Now I’m not against investing in a nice outfit for a picture or to go somewhere nice but my goodness! I cannot purchase expensive things for my children. Can you? I know every kid is different, some are tidier than some. My older one is on the careful side but she too runs her clothing and shoes into the ground.

All of our shoes are dirty. As much as I try to get them different shoes for playing/going out somewhere nice, it’ll end up the same…battered and filthy. Quality of clothing is definitely a concern when you want the longevity of an item. But children’s clothes are expensive as it is, cheaper quality or not. Personally I love to shop where I can sign up for e-mail coupons or buy one get one free.

I’d like to share some of the places that I shop at for basic, everyday clothing, mostly worn at the park or at home. I do get cute outfits at these stores as well.

Note: This is not a sponsored post.

  1. Target – Yes I am a Target mom and I love all things Target. They often have sales for children’s clothing/shoes and they have an app called Cartwheel which has additional coupons that you can scan at the checkout. Target has really inexpensive shirts and leggings for kids that they can run down at the park or at home.
  2. Carters – Although I feel like Carters could have a cuter variety, they do have a lot of sales and send coupons so it works out. Their clothing lasts a long time considering I wash my kids clothing a lot. They also have really cute and affordable footwear, great quality.
  3. H&M
  4. The Children’s Place – I’m not totally fond of the quality of the shirts at Children’s Place but they do have cuter items than a lot of other stores for children. They have very affordable dresses and accessories as well. I recently bought my kids jeans from here and the quality is nice. I especially loved the variety. I was able to get the super skinny jean here for my kids.(No it doesn’t fit them tight. Their legs are longer than girth)
  5. Old Navy – I don’t really shop at Old Navy for my kids but they are similar to Carters in the sense that they have a lot of sales.
  6. JC Penney, Sears, Kohls – The quality at these stores are on the better side, not to mention great quality brand name shoes like Nike, New Balance etc. If you shop smart, you can get items at great prices.

Those are the main stores that I shop at for my kids(and myself). To me it makes no sense to get my children’s entire wardrobe from high ends stores. Where do you shop for your kids? I’d love to hear!

xo Coffee Doll

How’s Spring Break 2017 going for you?

When I pictured Spring Break at the beginning of the year, I thought for sure I’d be able to do a few outings with the kids, leaving behind the immense loads of laundry that’s usually piled up. Well so far, we haven’t gone anywhere mind blowing(for the kids) but I’m holding out, we’re not even halfway past the week. My kids seem to be as happy as a clam with a few bottles of bubbles and sidewalk chalk in the backyard. It’s the little things that count, right?

With a husband that works a lot, I often get overwhelmed with taking care of the kids, the constant cleaning and trying to fit my own thing into life. Twenty four hours is simply never enough. As I write this, my house is a tad bit messy and my kids are chattering, screaming, fighting so much that I can’t even hear my own thoughts.

I’ve been squeezing in my own slice of heaven these last few days however. I’ve been wearing PJs until well in the afternoon, catching up on TV Shows(the walking dead’s finale was fantastic), reading a bit. I’ve taken a small break from writing as it is a job(FYI one without pay) and decided to just chillax and do nothing too strenuous. I’ll probably be back to work by the weekend because in my head, my stories never stop.

So how’s your Spring Break been going so far? Leave me a suggestion in the comments…I want to leave the house but I have no idea what to do.  The weather is beautiful outside, probably the most beautiful it’ll be before that summer humidity dawns upon us.

And…..most importantly, what are you reading this week?

xo Coffee Doll

 

Stereotyping Stay-At-Home Moms

At some point in time, do you fellow stay-at-home moms feel like there’s a stigma attached to solely taking care of your kids? From what I’ve experienced, there is. There are times that I find myself defending my decision to be a stay at home mother to people whose opinions shouldn’t even matter. I often have to reassure people that I’m not a sad woman in a sad situation and that I’m doing what’s best for my family. I internally cringe when I meet another adult and one of the first questions they ask is…are you working? I mean it happens so often especially at school. And the look of pity or disappointment on their faces at my response makes me want to run far, far away.

Most of our mothers and grandmothers were homemakers, so why does being a SAHM mother in this era such a condemned thing? Why is it equated with being uneducated and lacking in skills or productivity?

It was never my intention to be a SAHM when I was younger but when you start a family, things change, priority changes and the factors affecting your situation will mold how you handle your lifestyle. People’s behavior also changes toward you and around you. You’re treated as if you have nothing important to say, as if you’re limited in your knowledge and thinking.

From my observations, these are the most common misconceptions about stay-at-home mothers:-

  1. No education. People often associate being a SAHM with a lack of education, because clearly all we can do are domestic chores. Despite having gone to college prior to having children, people treat me as though I’ve never seen the inside of a college nor do I understand what’s happening there.
  2. Lowly status. Yes, I do feel looked down upon and talk down at because I’m not sitting in an office from nine to five. Somehow I’m less of a person and not really doing anything in life that matters.
  3. Welfare dependent. Automatically you’re considered to be milking tax payers money dry to live on welfare with your multiple kids.
  4. No knowledge of the workforce. Because you’ve been a SAHM for years, people think you haven’t worked a day in your life and you’ll never venture out to work again. There’s absolutely nothing you can do other than taking care of children and doing domestic chores.
  5. No skills. Well I’m a SAHM but writing is a skill, is it not? I’ve seen many SAHMs doing successfully with their online stores, blogs, whatever creative skills they have and many use it to make some extra income.
  6. Submissive or boring. It’s a common misconception when you see a mother wrapped up with only her family life to believe she doesn’t have more to her or want more for her life. We do have our own personalities and dreams and we don’t just submit to our lifestyle but being a SAHM is a full time job and it’s what comes first. When we can squeeze in the extra time, we’ll get other things done.

As a SAHM I’ve definitely had my share of disrespect, even at my kid’s preschool. People degrade you in their way of speaking, thinking you don’t know much and can’t convey much. At the end of the day we’re doing the most rewarding job although it may be overwhelming at regular intervals but it doesn’t take away from who we are as people. I myself used to believe all SAHMs know how to do is cook and clean until I became one…and let me tell you…I’m no chef in the kitchen. I’m screaming my head off, sighing and tired most of the time just like you.

XO