Whole house clean with the Shark Sonic Duo Cleaning System

If you know me, you know how much I adore cleaning gadgets. Even a good scrub brush makes me happy, but if the product actually saves me time and energy, I’m ecstatic. Such is the case with the Shark Duo Carpet and Hard Floor Cleaner that I was sent after meeting the Shark team at the MomTrends Shark party during BlogHer.

Isn't this gorgeous? The view isn't half bad, either.

Shark Sonic Duo in Chicago

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Kmart makes fiscally responsible Back to School easy

Kmart disclosure
I’m sure by now you’ve seen the Kmart Back to School commercials with the kids on the playground telling “Yo Mama” jokes to compliment each other’s new Kmart gear. Just like the infamous “Ship My Pants” commercial of earlier this summer, it’s clever and funny, and every time it comes on, I find myself stopping what I’m doing to watch it.

I mean, who doesn’t want to be so fashion forward and fiscally responsible that the kids are talking about it on the playground? Well, now you can be that cool mom simply by shopping at Kmart for back to school.

Kmart Back to School 2
And, their fall sales and deals couldn’t come at a better time, because in addition to back to school items and school supplies, fall means the start of many different activities that all cost a good chunk of change. With so much going on, your budget can get pulled in a lot of different directions, and it’s easy to realize you’re over budget before school has even started.

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Crayola for Back to School

Back to School with Crayola
Don’t shoot me, but I’m actually looking forward to Back to School shopping. I’m excited about walking the aisles and aisles of notebooks, protractors, pencil boxes and art supplies looking for the perfect supplies to send my daughter off to school with. Maybe it’s my love of office supplies talking, but I love digging through all the brand new school supplies and taking in the scent of new crayons and freshly sharpened pencils.

Yes, I know all you seasoned moms are now shaking your heads at me.

It’s not that I look forward to plunking down cash for brand new crayons when our {slighty} broken ones are just fine, it’s just that school is more fun when you have a backpack full of new school supplies. I’m looking forward to loading up my art-loving daughter with all the fun stuff for school {and for at home} that can make her entire school year exciting.

In fact, I didn't even mind that we had to store-hop a bit in order to get everything we needed, er, wanted, because it was as much about the adventure as it was about our crazy awesome Crayola haul we came home with. Seriously, just look at all this fun stuff we get to play with!

Crayola Haul

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Chicago event introduces new expanded Bitty Baby line from American Girl

AG Bitty Baby
At American Girl, the message is about celebrating oneself and all the things that make us unique and special.  In fact, they have a whole line of customizable 18” My American Girl dolls that are a perfect example of this.  For the past few years they have been offering the award-winning My American Girl customizable doll experience where you can choose from different skin, eye, and hair colors and styles to best match your child’s unique features.

My American Girl doll
But, until this August, the Bitty Baby line was far less customizable.  With only 7 options available to choose from up until now, the line was not all-encompassing by any means.  There were many children, my daughter included, that didn’t have a Bitty Baby option for them.

Which Bitty Baby Will You Choose
My daughter has light hair, light skin and brown eyes, which I have realized doesn’t really exist in the doll world.  Dolls with brown eyes have dark hair and oftentimes darker skin as well, and blonde haired dolls almost always have blue eyes.   

Or, at least they did.  On August 27th, the new Bitty Baby dolls will come in 11 options with all sorts of combinations of light and dark skin and eyes, which makes it far more likely that you will find that perfect doll as unique as your child.  Like their My American Girl line, now you can pick skin tone, eye color, and hair color to customize your child’s Bitty Baby experience. 

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CamelBak Eddy bottles are perfect for back to school

I know some people swear by them, but I hate sippy cups.  Really, really hate them.   I’ve never had one that didn’t leak, had a million parts, or that didn’t take up my entire cupboard with plastic parts, accessories and odd-shaped cups.  So, instead of investing a ton of money on a very short-lived item, I asked my friends for an alternative to the sippy cup.

Their answer was the CamelBak Eddy bottle that has a neat bite-valve mouthpiece and straw.  One quick look around our Stroller Strides class or a day at the park with friends and CamelBak was the clear preference of moms and kids. 

That next week, I went and loaded up on some CamelBak Eddy bottles and immediately fell in love.  I had worried that at age 18 months my daughter would be too young to use a cup with a straw, but because the bite valve needs to be engaged in order to drink, she didn’t inhale water like she did with other cups.  If it had been a problem, the rumor is that you can simply remove the straw and they can use it more like a traditional sippy cup, but we’ve never done this. 

The CamelBak Eddy quickly became our go-to bottle for days out at the park or on the town, vacations, dinner time beverages, and for playtime here at home.  On our recent Chicago trip and two day train trip home, these bottles pretty much saved our sanity.  No worrying about where we would find drinks while out and about, and no stressing over open cups, missing pieces, or whose drink is whose because we all had our own Eddy bottle at the ready.Camelbak goes everywhere

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Back to School with Fruit of the Loom “Underwear for Overachievers”

Sponsored Post 2
Back to school with Fruit of the Loom

Every mom of school aged kids is aware of the infamous school supply list at the start of each year. If you’re not familiar, these lists typically involve large amounts of cash and leads to a bunch of questions about why your child needs 25 individual toothpicks, red yarn, and three tennis shoe laces, amongst other things. While I have no doubt that these items are necessary and will lead to awesome learning opportunities, I’m much more excited to back to school shop for things that don’t come on that list.

Things like fun t-shirts, jeans, and new kicks that will make getting dressed for school less of a chore each morning. Fruit of the Loom thinks that if you’re going to the trouble of refreshing your wardrobe that you should also consider the basics – like socks, underwear, tees, and tank tops. Even though these items won’t be seen at school, it makes all the difference in how your child views getting dressed each day and can take a morning struggle and make it far more peaceful.

Underwear for Overachieverrs
The Fruit of the Loom Underwear for Overachievers program was started to help parents upgrade their children’s basics while stocking up for school. By offering seasonal bonus packs that include FREE underwear, t-shirts, socks, and undershirts in each pack, it maximizes your back to school dollars while making it each to prepare for the school year ahead.

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Seattle style for the great outdoors from Kaidel Sportswear

Family cycling jerseys from Kaidel
As our header would have you believe; we are big into biking as a family. I’ve posted before about how Spandex-free biking is the way that I roll, typically with skirts, dresses, cute little flats, and other items you wouldn’t expect to see on someone pedaling past you. But, what you don’t know is that my husband secretly wants to be a real biker. You know, the kind that doesn’t wear flip flops.

The past few years have been a slow upgrade process; first with the fancy new street bike, then with quick clip pedals, and then the biking shoes to fit the pedals. The next step was getting him to look more like a biker, with appropriate clothing and gear so he could go out on all day rides comfortably.

So, naturally when Kaidel Sportswear, a Seattle company, contacted us with the chance to try out their family cycling and running jerseys, we said yes. And, as excited as I was to find some fun Seattle-themed biking gear for hubby, I also loved that they carried childrens bicycle jerseys as well so I could get father/daughter cycling jerseys.

Father daughter kaidel jerseys

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Disney’s Planes races into theaters on Friday

Are you super excited about Disney’s new movie, Planes? We were counting down the days to the Seattle press screening with the excitement that you only see at Christmastime. But, with a son that is fascinated with all types of transportation, a movie about planes is just about as cool as a film can get. … Read more

Lee Jeans rocked at BlogHer ‘13 Chicago

If anyone out there has never been to BlogHer before, you’d probably think it was ridiculous how much people obsess about clothing beforehand. I am along the lines of “if it fits” and I’m definitely in the minority at a big blogging conference like BlogHer. It’s not that I think those that plan way ahead are silly {I mean, there are literally thousands of socially connected women with cameras at the ready}, but high fashion has never really been my forte.

Really, I’m just a jeans a t-shirt kind of gal… unless it’s scorching hot, and then I’m a skirt and tank top kind of gal. And, this year there was so much talk of how hot Chicago is in the summer that jeans seemed a little silly. In fact, I almost turned down the chance to try out a pair of new Lee Jeans thinking that they would just be taking up space in my bag and I would never get a chance to wear them.

Thank goodness I didn’t turn down a brand spanking new pair of Lee Jeans, because Chicago turned out to be freezing in comparison to our Seattle summer this year. I wore a dress exactly one day of my 7 day trip, and was freezing that entire day. As for the rest of the time? I was rocking my Lee jeans and loving it. Lee Jeans in ChicagoI wore my Lees with flip flops, wore them with sneakers, and wore them with my favorite new accessory – my Tieks by Gavrieli foldable ballet flats with the bright blue soles. I wore Lee jeans to a wine tasting, a dinner with one of my favorite brands, a boat cruise, a BlogHer session, and a whole bunch of private parties. 9NU2X5

This is me with Xenia from Thanks Mail Carrier {left} and Liz from A Nut In A Nutshell {right} at the Sheraton Social Hour that kicked off BlogHer. The strangers thing was a joke, I'm pretty sure we've been friends forever.

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Music anywhere with the HMDX Jam Bluetooth wireless speaker

Summer fun with music
In my family we love music. Music while we craft, music while we cook, and even music while we clean. But, while we have wired our house for sound, the fun unfortunately ends at our doorstep. We’ve been known to turn the music up and keep all the doors and windows open so we can still hear it outside while we garden, bounce on the trampoline, or play in the yard, but that unfortunately doesn’t work for when we’re at the park or beach.

And, really, what’s a beach party, cookout or camping trip without good music? Recently, we got to review the HMDX Jam Bluetooth Wireless Speaker courtesy of AT&T and it's now our go-to music source for whenever we're not indoors {and even sometimes when we are}.

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