Father’s Day with Fellowes: DIY “I Love Ewe” Father’s Day Cards

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Fellowes Brands. I received a product sample to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”Fellowes Shredder

A few months ago, I introduced you to our brand new Fellowes M-12C Shredder, a gift that I gave to my husband just before Christmas.  At the time, I called it the ultimate husband gift, and that’s been proven true over and over again since then.  Because although I had tried it out a bit before giving it to him, nothing compares to the test that he’s given it over the past few months.  He’s shredded thousands of documents, hundreds of pieces of junk mail, and when he got his new debit card, the old one went right into our Fellowes shredder.

But there’s no doubt that most of his Fellowes M-12C Shredder‘s workout comes from documents.  Because if you remember, my husband’s job involves a lot of paper.  A ton.  Stacks and stacks of paper enter our house weekly.  More paper than you could ever imagine.  Luckily, the Fellowes M-12C handles it all, even the staples and paperclips.   And because of the work that he does as an attorney, many of these documents contain sensitive information like addresses, banking information, and social security numbers, so the secure cross cut of the Fellowes is essential.  It even comes with a 1 year warranty and 5 (FIVE!) year cutter warranty…though thankfully we haven’t had to use either.

Ordinarily, my husband’s shredder stays tucked under his desk in his home office.  The slim, sleek design keeps it out of sight and it blends in perfectly.  On the rare occasion when the kids go into the office, the Safe Sense technology puts my mind at ease.   The second little hands (or any hands) get too close, it turns itself off.  The light lets you know that it’s working, so you never have to worry.Fellowes Shredder Safe Sense

It would be fair to say, we have a lot of shredded paper in our house these days.  That 4 gallon bin is big, but I feel like we empty it a lot lately!  In fact, last week when as I was emptying it, I had an idea – Surely, we could do something with all that shredded paper!  So I decided to put together some cute shredded paper lamb Father’s Day cards.  Fellowes Shredded Paper

Want to make one of these baaa-utiful Father’s Day cards?  It’s easy!  And while you’re at it, be sure to pick up a Fellowes M-12C Shredder for the dad or grad in your life.  It’s really is the ultimate gift!DIY I love ewe Father's Day Cards

You will need:
White shredded paper
1 Piece of colored card stock
1 Piece of white cardstock
Black construction paper/cardstock
Elmer’s glue
Googily eyes
Wax paper
Pencil or pen
Markers (your choice of colors)
Paint brushes (optional)

Step 1 - Fold your cardstock in half to form a card shape.  Draw a circle on your white piece of cardstock.  Since my circles are normally far from perfect, I traced the top of one of our drinking glasses – it’s about 4″ wide.  Cut out the circle.

Step 2 - Cover the circle with glue, and as much as I generally dislike my kids crafting with glue, the more glue the better…which is why it’s important to do this step on wax paper.  We brushed our glue on with paint brushes to make it a bit more even, just make sure to wash your brushes right away so they aren’t ruined. Once covered with glue, drop the shredded paper onto the glue.  You want your lamb to have a nice full, fluffy coat, so use LOTS of paper.  You want every little last bit of glue to be covered with paper.  Set it aside to dry.Fellowes 12C Shredder Lamb Father's Day Card

Step 3 - Draw a circle on your black paper about 1 1/2 – 2″ in diameter.  This will be your lamb’s head.  For this step, we actually used half of a plastic Easter egg as a guide, but freehand is fine for this step.  My kids also did their lamb’s ears freehand.  Once the head and ears are cut out, glue googily eyes on the head and attach the ears using glue.  Allow them to dry completely.DIY Sheep Father's Day Cards

Step 4 - While your pieces are drying, add the message to the card.  Ours said “I Love Ewe Thathi” on the outside, and “Happy Father’s Day” on the inside (“Thathi is the Sri Lankan word for father).  At my girls’ suggestion, we used a cute red heard left over from their Valentine’s instead of writing out the word “love”.DIY Sheep Father's Day Cards in process

Step 5 - After the glue on the circle is mostly dried, trim the excess around the edges.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you want your lamb’s body to be round.  Once trimmed down, cut a strip of black paper for the legs, then cut it into 4 equal segments (my kids segments weren’t quite as equal, but I think it adds to the cuteness of this card).  Attach the head and legs to the card using glue and allow to dry on the wax paper.

Step 6 - Attach the lamb’s body to the front of your card, in between the writing, using plenty of glue.  DIY Fellowes Shredded Paper Sheep Father's Day CardsAfter it’s dried, gift it to someone you love with a Fellowes M-12C Shredder!DIY Father's Day CardsTo learn more about Fellowes and their wide range of products, be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

FlexBrew 2-Way Coffee Maker: Brew Your Way {Review & Giveaway}

Many thanks to Hamilton Beach Brands for providing my family with a FlexBrew 2-way Coffee Maker for the purposes of this review.

While most people have owned a K-cup brewer for quite a while, my husband and I have stuck by our traditional coffee maker.  Sure, we’ve talked about getting a K-cup brewer, but it was always seemed like somewhat of a luxury.  And then, about 2 months ago, I received a K-cup machine as a gift.  I was so excited!  I don’t drink a ton of coffee myself, but my husband is quite the coffee connoisseur and I knew that a new coffee maker would be something that would make his life so much easier.  Not to mention, that I had plans to make hot chocolate and tea from time to time.

The day after our new K-cup coffee machine arrived we went out to the store, bought my husband’s favorite coffee, and went home to brew…only to immediately receive an error message.  And another.  And another.  Our excitement over our new K-cup machine was instantly dampened.  It was only then that we found out our K-cup machine only took certain K-cups and there was no way to use coffee beans or grounds.  It suddenly settled in that it wasn’t going to work with my husband’s favorite coffee.  It wasn’t going to work with the brand of hot chocolate I preferred.  And they don’t even make K-cups of my mom’s favorite coffee (yet!).  Our brand new machine was then pushed to the side and left for only occasional use, when we found a K-cup that it happened to fit.

So needless to say, I was pretty interested when I heard about the Hamilton Beach 2-Way FlexBrew Coffee Maker.  You see, the FlexBrew has two separate coffee making sides – a carafe side and a single serve side.  The left side of the FlexBrew contains a 12 cup carafe to brew for a party or brew just for you.  Just set the programmable time (complete with 2 hour shutoff) and the coffee will be ready when you want it.  And if you just can’t wait until the entire pot is ready, there’s a automatic pause and serve option that allows you grab a cup before the brew cycle is done.Hamilton Beach FlexBrew

On the single serve side, the FlexBrew allows you to make up to 14 ounces of coffee at a time and brew it straight into a larger size travel mug, thanks to the adjustable cup rest.  Simply pop your coffee pod of choice into the brewer, press into place, and fresh coffee will start to brew.  Easy!

Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Display

Simply put, the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew was a hero from the moment it arrived in our house.  Those K-cups I purchased a few months back?  My husband actually got to use them.  In fact, we’ve tried multiple different brands and types of coffee and haven’t had received a single error message (thank goodness!).  My mom, who doesn’t use K-cups as her favorite coffee doesn’t come in K-cups, can use this machine for her favorite ground coffee.  In fact, I’d venture to guess that just about anyone could use this machine because besides offering the options of coffee grounds or K-cups, it’s very easy to use.  Complete with quick start guide, this FlexBrew will have you sipping your favorite brew in no time.   The FlexBrew coffee maker offers a ton of flexibility and convenience that’s not offered by a lot of other coffee makers, all wrapped up in a beautiful brushed stainless steel look.flexbrew

The Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 2-Way Coffee Maker is the morning your way, regardless of how you like your coffee!  Retailing for $99, you can find the FlexBrew at your favorite home store (Sears, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc) or on the Hamilton Beach website.

Want to win a Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 2-Way Coffee Maker of your very own?  Great because I’m giving one away!  Simply enter using the rafflecopter form below and it could be yours!  Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card in the Hello Summer Giveaway Hop!

Hello-Summer15Welcome to the {second annual} Hello Summer Giveaway Hop
hosted by Lindsey Blogs and Viva Veltoro.

The days are getting longer and hotter and we’re saying Hello to Summer in fun giveaway style!
Beat the heat and hop around to all the participating bloggers’ giveaways at the bottom of this post.
Also, be sure to enter to win the GRAND PRIZE for this event,
an ULTIMATE Backyard Prize Package courtesy of Step2!Hello-Summer-Grand-Prize

Featuring their Home Run Baseball Trainer, a Clubhouse Climber, and Naturally Playful Sand & Water Table, this grand prize package is valued at over $700 and will keep your kiddos entertained all summer long! You can enter at Lindsey Blogs or Viva Veltoro.amazon-300x190

For this giveaway one lucky reader is going to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!  That should add a little fun to your summer, right?  Enter using the rafflecopter form below and it could be yours!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And now that you’ve entered my giveaway, make sure to hop around to all the other participating blogs to win some great prizes!

Lindsey Blogs, Viva Veltoro, and the Hello Summer participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Fun in the Sun with the SwimWays Baby Spring Float

“I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for SwimWays. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”Fun in the Sun with SwimWays

Happy (slightly belated) Mother’s Day!  Did you celebrate yesterday?  We did!  In fact, I wanted to post yesterday, but it just didn’t happen.  Instead I slept in, then my family took me out to lunch, and then it was back home for some much needed pool time with these 3 crazy kids:SwimWays Baby Spring Float

I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.  It was absolutely gorgeous and our pool is finally the perfect temperature.  It was just a small taste of what this summer is going to be like, and, quite frankly, I’m pretty excited about it.  I see lots of pool time in our future!  This year, Greenleigh knows how to swim and Hazeline is extremely excited about trying to swim on her own.  And Everett?  Well, he’s a lot more interested in the the pool this year than he was last year.  Which is why I was quick to open up our brand new SwimWays Baby Spring Float yesterday.

I’ve used the SwimWays Baby Spring Float with each of my kids and we were definitely due for a new one.SwimWays Baby Spring Float Sun Canopy

Designed to give babies ages 6-24 months security and confidence in the water, the SwimWays Baby Spring Float is the perfect way to introduce baby to the water for the first time or renew their interest in the water after the winter months have past.  Everett was in the pool a little last year, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going to be in the water a lot more this summer.   SwimWays Baby Spring Float Pink and Orange

Unlike so many other baby floats, the SwimWays Baby Spring Float is fabric covered with a soft mesh seat, which makes it more comfortable for baby.  There are two air chambers that are easy to inflate and deflate, adding to the floats stability.  Between the air chambers, is a mesh area that’s perfect for splashing or placing a few toys.  Everett really liked this part!  I love that mine came with a canopy – which is perfect for the amount of sun we get here in Florida – but if you’d prefer one without the canopy, it can be removed (or you can purchase the original Baby Spring Float instead).  And when you’re done, the inner spring allows you to just deflate the SwimWays Baby Spring Float and fold it up…but if you’re baby is anything like mine, you might have a problem getting them out of the pool.SwimWays Baby Spring Float in Pool

I see lots of pool time in this little guy’s future!  It won’t be long until he’s heading off to swimming lessons!

For those of you with little ones that will be heading to the pool this summer, don’t forget that the fourth annual National Learn to Swim Day is May 16, 2015!  You can learn more about National Learn to Swim Day, how SwimWays can add fun to your summer, and so much more at the #SwimWays Twitter Party on Friday, May 15 from 1-2 PM ET!  Don’t miss it!

Out and About in the Urbini Emi Travel System {Review}

A big thank you to my friends at Urbini for feeding my stroller addiction and providing me and my family with an Urbini Emi to test drive.

Out and About in the Urbini Emi Travel System ReviewAbout a year ago, I was given the opportunity to test drive the Urbini Touri, a lightweight travel system.  In short, I fell in love.  It was so lightweight and easy to use, there was no other choice but to fall in love.  And for about a year we’ve used and loved that stroller.  It’s gone with us to airports, malls, theme parks, and just about everywhere else…and along the way, I’ve heralded just how much I love my Urbini.  So when I heard about the Urbini Emi, a full-sized, luxury travel system that debuted earlier this year, I definitely needed a test drive.  Luckily, my friends at Urbini agreed.Urbini Emi Travel System Review Car Seat and Stroller

The Urbini Emi travel system features a full size stroller with full recline and quick fold capability.  The front swivel wheels make turning easier, and, like the back wheels, are equipped with suspension to make driving a dream.  The removable bumper bar provides a place to rest the car seat while acting as a travel system, but also accommodates a removable click-fit child’s tray for when it’s not in travel system mode.  And with a weight limit of 50 pounds, the Emi is probably the only stroller you’ll ever need.Urbini Emi Travel System Review

To complete the travel system, the Emi is accompanied by the Sonti Infant Car Seat, which fits babies from 4 to 35 pounds.  Equipped with a 5 point harness, crash and side impact protection, and LATCH, safety is clearly at the top of the Sonti’s priorities.  But all that extra protection doesn’t have to add extra weight because, in taking a hint from the lightweight nature of other Urbini travel systems, the Sonti only weighs only 7.2 pounds.  Seven!  Anyone who’s carried one of those huge infant seats with a baby inside knows that’s a big deal!Urbini Emi Travel System Review Car SeatUrbini Emi Travel System Review Car Seat HarnessNeedless to say, when I got the Emi, I was pretty excited.  I mean, who wouldn’t be?  I couldn’t wait to go out and test out all the luxury features.Urbini Emi Travel System Review Full Sized

Now, after using this travel system for a little over a month, I have trouble deciding which feature is my favorite.

Toward the very top of the list would have to be how it drives.  It is absolutely a dream to drive.  Thanks to the four wheel suspension, this stroller glides with every step.  The easy pivoting wheels make steering a breeze and even the most last minute change of direction a snap…and I should know, because my 4 year old isn’t really all that decisive and we have a lot of last minute changes of direction while I pushing my 1 year old. Urbini Emi Travel System Review Walking

But it’s not just the smooth ride that makes the Emi special.  Because when it comes down to it, the Emi is packed with modern, convenience-based features that both parents and kids will love.   For example, the parent console provides a place for 2 drinks, along with an easy to reach compartment for your cell phone and keys, perfect for on the go.  Urbini Emi Travel System Review Parent Console

And I can assure you that my little snacker, loves his child tray.  It gives him a place for his sippy cup, crackers, and a toy car.  What else could a boy need?Urbini Emi Travel System Review Snack Tray

I love that the child tray can be removed to leave only a bumper bar, and the bumper bar can be removed completely to leave the stroller open completely, with no worries about my child scooting out of the stroller completely because of the adjustable harness that snaps closed.Urbini Emi Travel System Review Sonti Car Seat

The handle bar has 3 settings, so no matter your height, the Emi should have a setting for you.  At 5’6″, I prefer to use the highest setting, but I normally like my handle bar a bit higher than most people.  And that extended sunshade has really come in handy this sunny spring.Urbini Emi Travel System Review Handle Bar Collage

The storage in the Emi is a huge bonus, and it’s not just the extra large basket under the stroller.  The Urbini Emi comes with a zippered pouch on the front of the storage basket, in case you need a more secure location for your personal items while you’re out and about.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to throw my phone, wallet, and keys in the storage basket under a travel system only to worry about them being floating around loose.  The Urbini Emi solves this problem in a way that I’ve never seen before, but what should be included in every stroller from here on out.Urbini Emi Travel System Review Storage UnderneathUrbini Emi Travel System Review Storage

While the Emi doesn’t quite fold as thin as I’d like, the easy fold lift strap (located on the seat of the stroller), is ridiculously easy to use.  And, once folded, the stroller latches closed so it won’t open without warning.Urbini Emi Travel System Review Lift Strap to FoldUrbini Emi Travel System Review Folded

But perhaps the best part about the Emi is the price.  With a price of just $250, this travel system rolls all the extras you normally find in pricier travel systems into a bargain price point.  I’m pretty sure I paid at least $100 more for my first travel system and I can assure you it didn’t come with all the features that the Emi does.Urbini Emi Travel System Review Out and About

Overall, I think that the Urbini Emi is a great travel system at an amazing price.  It’s modern, convenient, and easy to use features make it a perfect travel system for first time moms and seasoned moms alike.  For more information on the Urbini Emi Travel System, head over to Walmart.com or follow Urbini on Facebook and Twitter.

The Mrs. $50K Mother’s Day Giveaway!

theMrs_youtubeThe All-Female Band The Mrs. Continues Their Mission To Uplift and Empower Women Everywhere With The Words of Wisdom “#YouToldMe Mother’s Day” Contest! One Lucky Participants Will Win $50,000!

Hot on the heels of the release of their latest single “You Told Me,” which debuted at a New York City Mother’s Day gala celebration benefitting Dress for Success and hosted by Jenny McCarthy, the all-female rock band The Mrs. continues to honor moms everywhere. The Mrs. is launching the #YouToldMe Mother’s Day Contest to give participants across the U.S. a chance to win $50,000 for sharing their mother’s life lessons and words of wisdom. One lucky winner will be selected on Mother’s Day, May 10, 2015.

Recently, The Mrs. commissioned a survey of 5,000 mothers, and found that nearly 95% of them feel inadequate – and 90% agree that feeling like they’re not “enough” is a universal pattern among mothers. The Mrs. is on a mission to help change that! The band hopes to continue to draw attention to the incredible work moms do in caring for their families every day by having entrants write about their mother’s words of wisdom. The Mrs. #YouToldMe Mother’s Day contest is designed to draw attention to the value of all the little things moms do and say every single day.

“We all have worries, fears, and times when we feel we are not enough,” said The Mrs. founder and drummer, Andra Liemandt. “We want to empower women to believe they are enough just as they are.”

As part of their growing female empowerment movement and to help support the financial security of women, The Mrs. is aligning with Rising Tide Capital, a non-profit organization that will provide financial advisement to the contest recipient.mrs_mothersday_50Kincentive622

To enter the contest, and for complete rules and details, go to http://themrs.com/youtoldme/ to access the entry form. There is no purchase necessary.

When I look back at my own childhood, I feel so incredibly grateful for the example set by my own mother.  She tried so hard to push me to be better, but let me know that I was enough just as I was.  She taught me to let go of the little things, and fight for the big ones.  I try to instill these very same things in my own kids every single day.

Who Is The Mrs.?

The Mrs. became known across the country for their powerful message of self-acceptance. Their first single “Enough” inspired the #ImEnough movement that is resonating with women from all walks of life, empowering them to love themselves just as they are. To bring this message to life, they created a talking “magic mirror” and have been successfully convincing women everywhere that they are, indeed, Enough! For more information, visit www.themrs.com. The Mrs. “You Told Me” song is available on iTunes; video is available on The Mrs. YouTube Channel. Stay connected with The Mrs. after the contest is over by following them on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosures: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C., age 21 or older. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on May 10th, 2015. This blog is not accepting entries; you must go to http://themrs.com/youtoldme/ to enter this contest. For full official rules go to TheMrs.com. I have been compensated for sharing this giveaway with you.

Snap a Selfie & Spread the Love with a $2,000 Grant from Huggies!

Snap Nominate Share

This past weekend, our town celebrated Founder’s Day.  It’s a celebration that we attended 2 years ago, shortly after we moved here, but this year was different.  This year it was apparent that we’ve put down roots here.  We’ve found a sense of community.   And as I sat there in our local park watching the firework show with our friends and neighbors, I though about just how lucky we are to have found this perfect “little” town.  We know (and love!) our neighbors.  My daughter adores her school.  And we’ve become involved in all sorts of community activities, ranging from sports to holiday events and so much more, thanks to the Cooper City Recreation Department.  So when I heard that I had a chance to help out the community that has helped us feel so much at home – through the Huggies #UltraHug contest - I knew that I wanted to be a part of it.

The contest is simple, just upload a picture of you and your little one to Twitter or Instagram, add the hashtag #UltraHug, and nominate a community project, park, or initiative that could use a little love in the form of a $2,000 grant from Huggies (make sure to put your nomination in your tweet or instagram post so it counts!).  Many of the photos posted will be shared in a collage on the Huggies landing page dedicated to the contest, so everyone can feel the love until July 6th, when voting will begin to narrow down the 20 finalists.  Those 20 finialist will later be whittled down to 10 winners who will win a $2,000 grant from Huggies for their nominated community initiative.  It’s that easy!  And who doesn’t like to snap a selfie?

So here’s my entry:Huggies UltraHug

I’m nominating my local recreation department for all that it does for our community.  From summer camps for elementary school kids to mommy & me classes to senior gatherings and everything in between, the Cooper City Recreation Department has something for everyone, and the cost is always more than reasonable.  My can kids swim in the pool over the summer and attend Girl Scout meetings at the recreation center during the year.  The busy employees and volunteers at the Recreation Center are responsible for putting on our yearly Founder’s Day celebration and organizing races like the 1 mile run we participated in over the weekend.  For all the Cooper City Recreation Department has done for us, I’d like to nominate them for the Huggies $2,000 grant.

And the next time you’re at your local Walmart or on Walmart.com, be sure to look for the new Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers with improved protection at a better value.  Huggies Snug and Dry Ultra on shelf

We’ve been using these diapers for about a week now and I’ve been extremely impressed.Snug and Dry UltraNot only are they a great price, but they hold up to  and we haven’t had a single leak!  That’s definitely something to smile about!

So who would you nominate for the Huggies #UltraHug contest?  What local park, organization, or project means a lot to you?

Racing to the Finish Line with the Contigo Gizmo Sip Water Bottle (+ Giveaway!)

Thanks to my friends at Contigo for sponsoring this post and providing Gizmo Sip Water Bottles for my little ones.

Greenleigh has a new obsession – running.  Given her love for soccer, t-ball, gymnastics, and just about anything athletic, it makes perfect sense that she’d love to run, but we didn’t quite know the extent of the love until a few months ago when we ran a 5K as a family.  Immediately after, Greenleigh wanted to know when we were going to race again.  And she didn’t want to just participate – the way that we did in the 5K – she wanted to win.  So the day after the 5K, I went looking for others races that she could run, and I quickly found out that our city was holding a family fun race in April.  Unlike our previous race, this one was only 1 mile, which made it a pretty good starter race for her.

So Saturday morning we got up all too early to go and run.  Okay, okay, so technically I walked…but I pushed a huge stroller with 2 kids as I walked.  That counts for something, right?Founders Day Run

Much to Greenleigh’s dismay, she didn’t win, but the race did teach us a lot.  We learned that we need to work on pacing, even if it’s just a short race.  We figured out that getting a good spot at the starting line is key.  And, most importantly, we learned how important it is to stay hydrated both before and after a race.Contigo Gizmo Sip at the Start

The day we raced, the high reached 96 degrees, a new record for our city and county.  While it wasn’t 96 degrees while she was running, it was definitely in the 80s and the humidity was heavy.  Luckily, this heat was predicted and I had the kids’ Contigo Gizmo Sip Water Bottles filled and ready.Contigo Gizmo SipDesigned for kids 3 years and up, the Contigo Gizmo Sip Water Bottle comes with the same AUTOSEAL technology that’s in all my favorite Contigo travel mugs, which insures a 100% spill-proof, leak-proof, and mess-free drinking experience.  And for me, as a mom, that means less clean up.  To sip from the water bottle, kids just need to remove the spout cover and press the AUTOSEAL one-touch button.  Once they’re done, they simply release the one-touch button, replace the spout cover, and it’s dirt and germ free until the next use.  And they come in two super cute patterns: Cherry Blossom pictured above, and Sapphire pictured with Greenleigh below.

These water bottles were a total hit with my kids!  Hazeline didn’t run the race, but she definitely enjoyed drinking from her Gizmo Sip Water Bottle while she was in the stroller.  She particularly liked being able to see the seal move when she pressed on the one-touch button.  And once I reached the finish line,  the first thing Greenleigh asked for was her Gizmo Sip Water Bottle.  She loved being able to carry it around by the handle as she waited for results.  In fact, she found it so convenient, she’s already planning to take it to her soccer and t-ball games this week.  And I’m happy to have her take it along considering how easy it is to clean.  Pop it in the dishwasher and it’s ready for it’s next use!
Contigo Gizmo SipThese water bottles are perfect for sports, school, summer camp, and anywhere else your kids need to stay hydrated this summer!

Think your kids would like the Contigo Gizmo Sip Water Bottles?  Right now you can get 25% off any Contigo kids purchase at Contigo.com using code “GIZMO25″.  And if you’re feeling lucky, fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win 4 Contigo Gizmo Sip Water Bottles!  Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Philips Avent Toddler Cups: A Cup for Every Age & Stage

A special thank you to my friends at Philips Avent for providing me with the toddler cups pictured below.

My house has been baby bottle-free for nearly 3 full months.  Even I can’t believe it.  Better yet, the transition to sippy cups was nearly seamless.  Like, not one single issue.  No incessant crying for the bottle.  No refusing the sippy cup out of sheer spite.  Not even a tantrum.  Seamless.  And oh-so-different than when I transitioned the girls…that wasn’t pretty.

Want to know how I did it?  Philip’s Avent’s new range of toddler cups!Philips AVENT Toddler Cups A Cup for Every Age & Stage

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I’m a Philips Avent mom.  This time around I used Avent bottles, pacifiers, and the Comfort Double Electric Breast Pump, and in the past I’ve used Avent baby monitors and soothers.  I find Avent products to be simple to use, easy clean, and I stand by my assertion that my Comfort Double Electric Breast Pump helped me more milk than with any other breast pump I’ve ever used.   So as I began to think about transitioning Everett from bottles to sippy cups, it seemed only natural to reach out to my friends at Philips Avent and see what they might have that could help.  And as luck would have it, they have a brand new line of toddler cups, each designed to foster a new level of drinking independence.

The Philips Avent Toddler Cup range is a staged process, which can start as early as 4 months and go until 2 or 3 years old when your child can handle a traditional cup.  There’s a cup for every stage and each cup builds new skills, while addressing issues that tend to arise during specific stages of development.  You can move as quickly as you’d like through the stages, or a bit slower if you have a baby that takes a little longer to get the hang of it.Philips Avent Cup Collage

The Stage 1 My Trainer Cups combine the bottle and sippy cup into one…this is sheer genius if you ask me.  Ideal for babies 4 months and up, this cup comes with a Classic or Natural silicone nipple and a soft spout.  It’s a bottle when the nipple is on and a sippy when the spout is used, so you can get twice the use out of it.  And the detachable handles make it easy for babies to hold their own sippy cup when they’re ready.  This cup allows you to introduce the sippy cup early, but it’s an easy first step.  No initial shock of just handing a child sippy cup and assuming they’ll figure it out the way so many parents (including myself) do with their babies when they turn 4-6 months.  Instead you hand them a shape and nipple that they’re used to, and then gradually add handles and the spout when they demonstrate readiness.

Once your baby has mastered the Philips Avent My Trainer Cup, they’re ready to move on to Stage 2 and the the My Easy Sippy Spout Cups and My Penguin Sippy Cups.  For kids that are ready to graduate from My Trainer Cup, but aren’t quite ready to move to a hard spout cup just yet, The My Easy Sippy Spout Cups offer a soft spout solution, while the Penguin Sippy Cup line offers both hard and soft spout solutions.  Regardless which you select, they’re BPA free and offer 100% leak-free drinking, thanks to the built in valve.  And the spout is angled, ensuring that your baby learns to drink the right way – without leaning back too much – right from the start.Philips AVENT Penguin Spout CupDid I mention that the penguins and other cute patterns make this stage a little more than adorable?  ‘Cause they do.  They really do.

Stage 3 offers your toddler the opportunity to start drinking from a straw with the Philips Avent My Twist n’ Sip Straw Cup.  The valve integrated in the soft silicone straw, ensures a spill-free and leak-free drinking experience, while the unique twist top design ensures that the straw stays clean while on-the-go or not in use.   And because this can be the stage where kids start filling up on liquids instead of eating food, there’s a measurement guide on the side of the cup so you can make sure that your little one is getting the right amount of fluid each day.

Right now, we go back and forth between Stages 2 and 3, but once Everett’s ready, we’ll transition to the Stage 4 Philips Avent My Natural Drinking Cup and Grown Up Cup (you might remember me reviewing the Natural Drinking Cup a while back with Hazeline).  Everett’s not quite there yet, but this cup allows toddlers to sip from the rim, like a traditional cup, but reduces the possibility of spills with the help of an internal leak-proof valve.  It will give him the feeling of being “big” – just like his sisters – without me having the feeling that my floors are going to be covered in his drink at any minute.

So while a little part of me wants to cry that my baby – my last baby – is off of bottles, I love that it was an easy transition.  And that’s mostly thanks to the Philips Avent Toddler Cup range!Philips Avent Baby & Toddler Cups

If you’re currently transitioning to the sippy cup, my advice to you would be to start early and try Philips Avent Toddler Cups in each of the stages.  You can find them on the Philips Avent website, Amazon.com, and a few of them in Walmart stores!

Win a $15 Amazon Gift Card in the Welcome Winter Giveaway Hop!

Welcome Winter HopWelcome to my very first giveaway of 2015 – The Welcome Winter Giveaway Hop hosted by The Review Wire!  And I can think of no better way to welcome winter than to giveaway a $15 Amazon Gift Card…that way you can purchase whatever you would like to welcome winter.  Mittens?  A sled?  Furry slippers?  Doesn’t matter what it is, this gift card can help you buy it!  Enter using the rafflecopter form below and it could be yours.  Good luck everyone!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
And now that you’ve entered my giveaway, be sure to hop around to win some more great prizes!

Disclaimer: This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on January, 30 2015. The Welcome Winter Hop Event Bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes.

Companies and bloggers, if you would like to participate in events like this one, sign up to be emailed about future events hosted by The Review Wire.