Director Jewels

Saturday, November 22, 2014

BabyLit: Board Books and Tote Bags and Playsets, Oh My! #HolidayGiftGuide2014

Disclosure: I received sample products to review. No compensation was received and all views expressed are my own.

I love giving gifts that promote literacy. My kids have a vast collection of books because the former librarian in me just can't say no to a new title for our home library. I'm so excited to share with you today one of my favorite book brands - BabyLit. I've loved this company for years and would have included them in my gift guide even if they had not wanted to submit some products for review!

When I first learned about BabyLit, I thought it was too good to be true. Classic literature in the form of sturdy board books for babies - with subjects like colors, counting, sounds, and was a perfect combination!

Not only does the company offer books and play sets for kids, there's a variety of items to make grown-up book lovers smile, as well.

This Wuthering Heights tote is one of my new favorite go-to bags. It's made out of heavy cotton canvas, so it's perfect for transporting books. I've been looking for a new library bag, and I think this one fits the bill perfectly. The color scheme reminds me of my Etsy shop logo, and makes me even happier to carry this bag around!

There are totes available in many different styles - including a very adorable "I Heart Darcy" version.

The kids are always excited when I present them with a new book, and this occasion was no different. We sat down to read our BabyLit books both old and new one afternoon last week. They thought storytime was infinitely more fun just because they got to pull books out of my tote bag!

I love all of the BabyLit titles, but some of my favorites are A Christmas Carol, Dracula, Jane Eyre, The Jungle Book, and Pride & Prejudice.

Thanks to BabyLit generously agreeing to send us their two newest board book titles - Frankenstein and The Wizard of Oz - we now have the full board book collection in our library!

These new titles are just as lovely as all of the previous BabyLit releases that we have enjoyed. Each features pages that are strong enough to hold up to dozens of occasions of little fingers prying at them. The books are written by Jennifer Adams with illustrations by Alison Oliver and these two ladies make a great team!

The Wizard of Oz is a colors primer, featuring a different color on each two-page spread. As the story is true to the original book, there are a few things that you may find different from the most popular incarceration of the story (the MGM film). Keep an eye out for some silver - not ruby red - slippers!

Frankenstein is an anatomy primer and uses the large purple monster to help kids remember the names of each part of the body.

There are little things in most of the books that may be missed by kids, but that a fan of the original literature would certainly pick up. The best kinds of children's books are those which are enjoyable for both parents and their kids, and I can honestly say I would be happy to read any BabyLit title over and over again.

We can't wait to try the picture books like Edgar & the Tattletale Heart next!

If you think you will love BabyLit as much as I do, you can visit them on the web or follow via Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram for all the latest updates and product releases.

Disclosure: I received sample products to review. No compensation was received and all views expressed are my own.  For more info, you can view my Disclosure Policy.


 "A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Lincoln - the wild hair is killing me. Love.
Addie - birthday girl. More photos in her 2 Year post.

Friday, November 21, 2014

#GiveHappy with OshKosh B'gosh Clothing this Holiday Season

Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for OshKosh B’gosh. I received an OshKosh B’gosh gift card to purchase product and to thank me for my participation. All views expressed are my own.

Take a moment, moms - think back to when you first saw a positive result on a pregnancy test. Tell me that your heart didn't skip a beat at just the idea of getting to dress a tiny little person in whatever fashions you selected for them! Yes, most of us are primarily excited about the miracle of a new life growing in our bellies - but the adorable clothes available for parents to choose these days are a definite perk!

My kids have always seemed to have more clothes than they really need, but now that they are getting older, the stash I bought when they were babies is starting to run out. When you have a newborn, you don't usually think about buying size 5 boy's clothing! So when I was given the opportunity to visit my local OshKosh B'gosh store to check out their winter clothing selection, I was all over it. I had so much fun shopping at OshKosh B'gosh last year, there was no way I could say no!

OshKosh B'gosh is known for their adorable overalls and clothing in simple, classic designs - something that I love. My kids do have some clothing that features their favorite characters, but I am really migrating to the simpler pieces these days. You can't beat a classic!

I am ALWAYS a sucker for pajamas!

The store was packed with clothing for the upcoming winter season and I feel that I was able to purchase a lot of the clothes my kids needed for winter all in one stop! I even managed to stock up on socks and hair accessories without breaking the budget!

My trip was made even more exciting by the 25% off coupon (you can print a copy here). I love the chance to snag a good deal - the day I visited OshKosh B'gosh, practically everything in the store was already on sale and I was able to use the coupon in addition to the sales!
Print your 25% off coupon now!

 OshKosh B'gosh remains one of my go-to destinations for classy designs for my kids. I love that their designers are not striving to make kids grow up too fast - simple, comfy styles are really what works for little ones and they're experts at that.

I may have had a little too much fun updating Lincoln and Addie's wardrobes on this shopping trip! I was excited to add some classic shirts in white and gray for Addie, plus coordinating navy accents.

I'm loving stripes right now, so these shirts (one on clearance for a super great price) were a no-brainer! Addie's favorite color is pink, so I know these will see a lot of wear this winter!

For Lincoln, I picked out this great half-zip sweater. He doesn't have many dressy outfits because as a three-year-old boy, it seems unlikely that he will be motivated to look nice and keep his clothing in one piece. But this sweater is definitely durable enough to hold up to his rough antics.

I've noticed that all of the OshKosh pieces in our clothing collection have great durability. The items that my kids have outgrown were not placed in consignment or garage sale piles, but were added to my bins of smaller sized clothing in case we have more babies someday. I much prefer buying clothing that I know will last through multiple kids!

I spied a great collection of holiday outfits and adorable pajamas when I was shopping at OshKosh B'Gosh earlier this month. Pajamas are my weakness...seriously, I just love them. Lincoln thinks the fire chief pj's are pretty cool, and Addie has been obsessed with owls since her first birthday party, so they were a perfect choice!

OshKosh B'gosh wants shoppers to #GiveHappy this holiday season and I'm doing that just by celebrating the little moments with my kids! This is something I try to do anyway, but it's great to have a reminder. Little things like giving hugs or kisses, reading extra stories at bedtime, or letting little hands help when I'm cooking set a happier tone in our home - and what mom doesn't want that?

How do you #GiveHappy? I'm making a list of small things we can do to brighten someone else's day! I can't wait to help my kids learn that it's better to give than receive this holiday season.

Follow along with OshKosh B'gosh on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates!

Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for OshKosh B’gosh. I received an OshKosh B’gosh gift card to purchase product and to thank me for my participation. All views expressed are my own.

Little Blue Truck's Christmas {Children's Book Review} - #HolidayGiftGuide2014

Disclosure: I received a sample copy of this book for review. No other compensation was received and all views expressed are my own.

We have been huge fans of Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle since the very first tie we read it to Lincoln. Since he was (and remains) a truck-obsessed kid, it was the perfect book for him a couple of Christmases ago. When I learned that there would be a new Little Blue Truck holiday-themed title released this year, I was so excited! It's going to be the perfect addition to our gift-wrapped book advent tradition.

If you're already familiar with Little Blue, here's the scoop: he's a friendly little truck who loves helping others. In his first two stories, we learn lessons about why it's wise to make time for your friends and help others even if they haven't been the nicest to you. I quite honestly have Little Blue Truck and Little Blue Truck Leads The Way memorized - they've been read so many times here in our home!

Little Blue Truck's Christmas is sized slightly larger than the other Little Blue books and is a great size for holiday gifting. It is not a board book, but features very sturdy pages that most toddlers would not be able to destroy without some effort.

Little Blue has a job to do at Christmas time - hauling Christmas trees to their new homes! Kids can use their counting skills as Toad helps load up the back of Little Blue with an assortment of trees.

Once he has delivered trees to his animal friends (who allow us to practice animal sounds on each page), Little Blue ends up with one perfect tree left just for himself. The final page features Blue and his decorated tree, which sparkles and shines with built-in twinkling lights!

The rhyming scheme of the story does not disappoint (sometimes holiday books strive to make words work together, but this one does not feel forced) and the illustrations by Jill McElmurry perfectly capture the wintry wonderland of Little Blue's world at Christmastime!

I cannot wait to give my kids this book this holiday season - I know it is going to be a new family favorite! This 24-page book retails for $14.99 and can be found on Amazon.

Disclosure: I received a sample copy of this book for review. No other compensation was received and all views expressed are my own.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Interview with Addie: 2 Years Old

I almost forgot to do a birthday interview with Addie for her second birthday! While she is talking very well, most of these questions are a little too pointed for her understanding, so most of the answers are me speaking for her. I have no doubt that next year, she will be spewing out answers and opinions nonstop!

How old are you?  Two. Her actual answer when asked this question is "I'm shix!" - 6. She's too smart for her own good.

What makes you happy? Getting her way. Nursing.

What is your favorite toy? Paw Patrol pups, Doc McStuffins, princess purse,

What is your favorite stuffed animal? She's actually hilariously obsessed with our plush Bowser (Nintendo villain) right now. She runs around saying "he's scary!" and "I like him!" and "where IS he?!" We can't figure out why he is so important to her, but it's really funny.

What is your favorite real animal? Dogs.

What is your favorite thing to sleep with? Mommy. She hates being covered in a blanket while she sleeps.

What is your favorite color? Pink! She'll answer this one sometimes.

What is your favorite fruit? Grapes.

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Whatever Mommy is eating and none of what is on her tray.

What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Whatever Mommy is eating and none of what is on her tray. She'll usually eat macaroni and cheese, plain cheese, shredded cheese, grapes, a carrot or two, broccoli, tomato or broccoli cheddar soup, and apple slices without too much complaining.

What do you want to eat for your birthday dinner? See above. We had chicken and potatoes for her birthday dinner. I think she ate three bites total.

What is your favorite drink? Milk.

What is your favorite dessert? Cupcakes or the peanut butter cups she mooches when Mommy has purchased them from Trader Joe's.

What is a food that makes you want to puke? Most vegetables aside from broccoli, carrots, or corn.

What is your favorite thing to do? Read books, nurse, snuggle.

What is your favorite TV show? Octonauts, Paw Patrol, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
What is your favorite movie? The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Lady & the Tramp (she doesn't watch them all the way through - just the nice and "not scary" parts with daddy while waiting for brother to go to sleep each night).

What are you really good at? Talking!

What is your favorite song? She's been overheard singing the Paw Patrol theme and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer a lot this week.

Who is the Coolest Person on Earth? Lincoln. She wants to do everything Lincoln does.

What do you and your mom do together? Dance in the kitchen. Snuggle for naps and nighttime. Read books. Run errands. Put on pretty hair accessories.

What do you and your dad do together? Chest bumps. Rough, crazy play. Watch movies at bedtime.

When you were little, what did you do? Fuss and cry!

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? Grandparents' houses or the zoo or the aquarium.

What do you think your parents are too strict about? Who needs to sleep all night? Or share their toys?

Who is your best friend? Lincoln.

What are some of your favorite words to say? All the words. She blows me away with the stuff she says. All day long, she talks in full sentences!
What is your favorite thing to do outside? Slides on our swingset or at the park.

What is your favorite book? This is tough. She really likes an Under the Sea book that her grandparents gave her last Christmas...or anything with a princess...or Curious George... She rarely turns down a book.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Something in a position of power! Or maybe something that allows her to work with animals. I can't wait to hear her real answer next year when she will likely understand this question!

Maybe it's silly to answer these questions for her, but I think it's fun to have a little piece of her life at age barely 2 recorded!

Just for fun, here's Lincoln's 2nd Birthday Interview.

Questions compiled from A Beautiful Ruckus, Ali Edwards, and Paper Nook.  Thanks!
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