parenting

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?

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

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

 

Having Your Kids Close In Age

Let me just start by saying I am in no way qualified to advise anyone on how to plan their lives. Whatever I post on my blog is either taken from experiences or my bottomless brain. In no shape or form is my opinion meant to disrespect anyone.

Now that we’ve got that covered…

This morning I saw a post somewhere on social media(I choose not to name or specify) about reasons to have your kids close in age and it was of a sarcastic and entertaining nature albeit some truth bombs were dropped. I’ve been planning to write about the downside of having kids close in age and by downside I don’t mean anything bad towards our little ones. It’s just overwhelming for people in different situations. This post is focused on the plus side of having kids close in age.

  1. They play together. I think this is the one we all look forward too. We want to get some things around the house done or cook a meal, even drink a cup of coffee in peace. When they enjoy each other’s company, you can get a minute or two to function elsewhere. It’s also a beautiful thing for me to experience because the age gaps between me and my siblings are a decade plus. Although my kids get into little fights over this or that I truly see and enjoy the camaraderie between them.
  2. They go to school together. When they are around the same age bracket eventually everyone will be in school within a few years of each other. If you plan on going back to work after all of your children are in school this might be easier than having to take leave from your job during the larger age gaps.
  3. They enjoy similar things. Both my kids think Chuck-e-Cheese is the greatest place on Earth (It’s really Target btw) and I’ve often felt like we hit two birds with one stone going there. Both kids have the time of their lives. I remember being dragged somewhere that wasn’t interesting to me when I was younger and I do feel like it’s something that’ll probably drive me crazy having to choose which kid to please on a particular day.
  4. I want to date my husband. My husband and I are the only caretakers that our children have and because of this, it’s hard to go on a date or get some alone time. I do feel like when the kids grow up together, we’ll eventually be able to do couple things again without having to worry about a younger child at home.
  5. I want to get rid of the baby stuff. After I had my first child, I knew right away I wanted another one, it was just a matter of time. After the second one, however, I didn’t feel the same. I knew that I was done having kids for the most part. My youngest is just shy of two and I cannot wait for her to be potty trained, I cannot wait to get rid of the last set of baby toys, items and clothes. One thing I had to do after the first baby was clutter my life to hold onto things that I’d have to use with a second child.

As always, thank you for reading and if you share any thoughts on the topic, feel free to drop me a line in the comments. Also, Have a great weekend 🙂

xo Coffee Doll

Pros and Cons of Being A Stay-at-Home Mom

Motherhood is one of the most rewarding jobs you’ll ever have, however, like with any job, it can be overwhelming and downright frustrating. As I was writing how to be a productive SAHM, I made a mental list of the pros and cons of being a SAHM and felt like it deserved its own post. Some points play the role of both a pro and a con.

PROS

  1. The best thing about being a SAHM is getting to be with your kids all day, getting to witness everything that they do and learn on a daily basis.
  2. You’ll be present for all of their growing moments, first words, first steps,  and there is nothing greater than witnessing your child hit milestones for the first time.
  3. If your child falls sick, you’ll be there and not at work which may be hard to get out of.
  4. You can focus on a routine for your children and house, and get things done in an orderly manner compared to the stresses of working and coming home to tired and cranky children.
  5. You’re the sole caregiver for your child.
  6. It’s cheaper for most women to become stay-at-home moms as it is very costly for childcare and work hours are very demanding.
  7. You’re in control of how your activities and days are planned. You won’t have to worry about being called into work and having to organize a last minute babysitter.
  8. You get to teach your children and guide them in a way that you see fit and it’ll be consistent as kids can get confused with different rules.
  9. There’s no one looking over your shoulder telling you what to do or how to do it. You’re your own boss.

CONS

  1. You’re never alone. You can’t use the bathroom without an audience and sometimes you have to skip a shower and swallow your meals.
  2. You almost never get “me time” to do anything for yourself and if you’re like me, you don’t have girls night out either.
  3. Your job never ends. You’re working 24/7 and you’re exhausted most of the time.
  4. You tend to get bored and frustrated living the same routine day after day.
  5. When your social life ceases to exist after motherhood, it’s really awkward and difficult to make friends. You WILL miss engaging in social activities and having adult conversations that don’t involve kids.
  6. When they start fighting, misbehaving and talking back to you, you’ll want to rip your hair out. You’ll be stressed beyond belief.
  7. Living on one income is not an easy thing to manage and you may often feel like a failure, like your life is not reaching anywhere.
  8. It’s been almost five years since I’ve worked outside of my home and it literally feels like forever. I feel like the unemployment gap only worsens your chances of getting back out there, however I hope I’m wrong.

One suggestion that I always make in my SAHM posts is to get a hobby, whether it be joining a gym, writing, painting etc. When you have something to call your own, apart from your family life, it’s a way to cope when the going gets tough. I love to wind down by day by reading just before I sleep. It’s a relaxing way to calm your thoughts before bedtime. That’s just what works for me. If you have girlfriends, organize outings or activities that are not kid related. Even though both things are closely related, in order to be a happy mom, there needs to be a balance between caring for your family and caring for yourself.

xo Coffee Doll