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

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

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

Ice Cream for Breakfast?

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Do you ever stop to remember the exact moment that your little rascals developed an insanely ridiculous sweet tooth? Now I’m not talking about a little treat here and there, I’m talking about how they attempt to bully me into giving them chips, oreos and ice-cream for breakfast. It doesn’t work, however. As much as I’d like to say, “Here’s your damn ice-cream, now let me finish my cup of coffee for once before it gets cold,” I don’t. I try to stick to my guns but the rascals outnumber me, and they try to break me early o’ clock.

Breakfast at our house would normally consist of some grain and a side of fruit, one of the only meals that they’d eat without me begging them to but lately it’s been getting crazy. My younger one, a toddler is the better eater and even she thinks chips are a breakfast option. Someone looking in from the outside would think my kids are like this because I’ve spoiled them or given them bad habits early on but this is so not the case. This is one of the instances where you children will defy your parenting no matter what you say or do, no matter what tactic and disciplinary action you take.

I just want to say to all the parents who struggle with their kids’ defiance and have no idea where it comes from, don’t blame yourself. The first thing I do whenever this happens if try to figure out if I did something to trigger this behavior or maybe I was too neglectful at some point. I really beat myself up when my four year old exercises her dominance over everyone basically. I deeply feel like it’s something she picked up from me or my husband, maybe it’s an attitude we have or maybe it’s something we said. While I’m trying to figure out the best parenting tactics to combat her newfound behaviors, I’ve observed two things. When your kids start school they pick up new behaviors and attitudes, they say things you have never said in front of them. And the second is that younger kids mimic their older siblings every chance they get. Truth to be told, you need to teach kids to not be little sh*ts but they learn to be little sh*ts all on there own.

So if you’re really beating yourself up over all of this, please don’t. You’re doing the best you can and some things are just inevitable when it comes to children. Our role is to guide our children to becoming the best human they can be, a mixture of compassion, empathy, strength, kindness, determination and diligence.

Have a great weekend folks! xo Coffee Doll

I’d Like To Get A Pet but…

As someone who has owned pets most of her life, getting a pet now seems far-fetched. Pets require a lot of maintenance, attention and love…basically they’re a lot of work. It’s like having another child. I’m probably giving the impression that I’m anti-pet but the truth is, I’m not one of those people who can half-ass it when it comes to a pet. Like I said, a pet is like having another child and if I can’t manage being a pet owner to the fullest of my ability, I prefer not have one while my insides tear apart when I see our four-legged friends in the street.

If you are considering getting a pet and you have children like I do maybe my points will create some insights for you. I’m sure no pet loving individual would like to acquire a pet only to be overwhelmed and have to give it up.

Maintenance

Pets require a lot of care besides feeding. Dogs needs to be walked, cat boxes need to be cleaned, bird cages and fish bowls needs to be kept tidy etc. Kudos to people who do it but my two tiny humans create enough disaster for me all by 9a.m. I couldn’t fathom adding an extra thing to do after my daily tasks are completed.

Space

If you don’t have adequate space for a pet you might not want to consider owning one. Pets need to move around in their living area comfortably. Bear in mind the dropping temperatures and weather during the winter months. I often wonder how dogs do their business when there’s a blizzard.

Allergies & Kids

When you have children, you not only have to think about allergies but you have to think about what your children may or may not do. For instance my toddler would probably knock over a fish bowl when I wasn’t looking or let a bird out of its cage. She may not even be gentle with a larger pet so to own a pet with smaller children is definitely something worth consideration. (Disclaimer: This entire article applies to people who are now contemplating owning a pet not previous pet owners with children TY)

The Cost Factor

Something to also keep in mind are pet food, supplies and vet visits which are far from cheap. If you aren’t prepared for an extra bill each month, then please do think long and hard about being a pet owner.

If you are debating whether or not to get a pet, please know that the benefits outweigh the negatives although the negatives are ones to be carefully considered. Unfortunately when I moved, I had to leave my dog with my parents but I can honestly say he was my best friend, a protector, a stress reliever, a little thing that made my heart smile. Pets can assist you with exercise or daily routine. They provide the best companionship and are very calming. Something about owning a pet touches your insides.

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

 

One-sided Friendships

According to statistics I don’t have what you would call a real friend. Most of the friendships that I have had in the past appear to be more acquainted in nature. I’ve never had that ride or die, bosom buddy kind of friendship. Nobody’s ever really had my back enough that I can put full faith in them. I used to be a tad bit delusional when I believed that people actually cared.

*This is not meant to be a sappy, sorry-for-myself rant. I thought it may be beneficial to someone who might find themselves in a similar situation…and no, I am not lonely. I have two kids…dear God…I…am…never…alone!*

Earlier on, I might have been disappointed and hurt over other people’s actions towards me but after being put through it time and time again, I’ve grown a thick skin. I’ve come to not put much expectation into people, especially ones that I’ve just met. If you’re ever in a situation that you feel like the inferior one, the one that’s not being paid attention to then you might want to reevaluate such friendships and relationships before they become a toxic thing in your life.

Read on to find out why I’ve decided to chuck a few people out of my life…

  1. You’re always doing them a favor. I find myself on this end of a friendship so much that it sickens me. If you’re always the shoulder to lean on when something fails in their life, or only check up on you when they need something done…then this my friend is a one-sided friendship.
  2. Long periods of no contact. When Life is peachy, your friend is hard to reach. Always busy, or battery dead.
  3. You feel alone. Despite having a “friend” you feel as though they don’t listen to you…hell they might not even know you. They don’t pick up on it if you’re having a bad day or are stressed out and they certainly don’t hear you when you voice your troubles. Unfortunately, you may be the four a.m. friend to call but there is no four a.m. friend for you.
  4. You never hang out. I’ve been in friendships where I never physically see the person. It’s always a call or a text to find out something or ask for something. Bottom line is if they don’t make time for you then you’re not that important.
  5. They never have your back. You know those times where you stand up for someone because you care enough for them….and then there’s those times when said friends couldn’t give a rats ass about what’s being said about you. They’ll listen to gossip, and sometimes encourage it….at this point that’s not even a friend.
  6. They take you for granted. They never express their gratitude or appreciation for you  despite always being there for them. They’ve come to feel entitled to your undivided attention and resources.
  7. You’re always wrong. How dare you counter their incorrect statement with actual evidence? You must be out of your mind.
  8. It’s always your fault. Friendships, like relationships have their own planet of arguments and disputes…but it’s always your fault, isn’t it?
  9. You’re the peacemaker. After an argument, you’re always the one to chuck your feelings out and maintain the peace. They’re never the first to approach you with an apology.
  10. They really don’t care. To them you are unimportant. It doesn’t matter what buttery voice they come at you with next, they simply don’t value you as an individual person with feelings.
  11. You are disposable. When you have that gut feeling that this friend can just drop you at any time and don’t look back….then yeah, you’re probably right about that.

 

xo,Coffee Doll

Hope you guys are having an amazin’ week thus far 🙂