Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. I was provided sample products for review purposes, but was not financially compensated for this post. Opinions are entirely my own and based on my personal experience with FASTEN products.
Ask any busy mom – when it comes to kids, every second counts. Each moment of our busy days is meticulously planned (yet somehow, we’re still always late 😩), and you can bet I’ve factored in time for putting on mittens and hats, zippering coats, grabbing snacks for the road, running back into the already locked house to get purple blanky and kitty or a forgotten backpack, hitting the Dunkin’ drive-through for a medium hot Hazelnut… the list goes on. But nothing throws us off more than last minute trips to the bathroom – especially when we’re on our way to dance class.
Dance moms know that potty emergencies take on a whole new meaning when leotards are part of the equation. Simple bathroom trips with little kids are a project to begin with, but when you add peeling off all the layers, tugging down leotards and tights, and pulling it all back together again, you’ve exponentially increased the hassle factor. And your minute-to-minute-get-there-on-time plan is an absolute wash; everybody’s rushing and crying and miserable (including me!).
Enter: FASTEN. I stumbled across this brand on Instagram, and couldn’t be happier I did. Their genius patent-pending technology makes bathroom breaks a breeze by eliminating the frustration and wasted time of taking everything off.
The hidden snaps and magnetic strips are magical – they unfasten at the waist and open easily (why didn’t I think of that?!), enabling a quick, clean, fuss-free trip to the potty. That way, tiny dancers can get back to what matters most: mastering their pirouettes. 💃🏻
And now, a word from the real experts.
Lane was excited to try out her new leotard and called it “comfy.” This is huge coming from her, as this girl tugs at tights and leotards like no other and will literally cry actual tears if her clothing is not comfortable.
Lauren, on the other hand, will put fashion over function any day of the week, and was mostly concerned with whether or not the leotard would have a tutu. To her delight, the skirt is attached, which is another win for me. One less thing to fuss with! That being said, she was happily surprised when she didn’t have to take off her entire ensemble to use the bathroom, and commented that it was “convenient.” Yes, she knows that word. Yes, she’s 3.
Ready to give FASTEN a try and make life easier for your own little superstar? Click here for free shipping! Happy twirling!
I am happiest in the summer, when the sun is warming my skin. When I’m barefoot and wearing a sundress. When I’m able to get in my car, open the windows and sunroof, and drive somewhere without cumbersome winter coats, and boots, and mittens, and hats, and scarves. When I’m not cold.
I am a creature of the sun. Despite having grown up in Massachusetts, I spent almost ten years of my adult life living in Los Angeles, where I could happily prance around coatless all year long if I really wanted to. Don’t get me wrong – I wore “fall boots” and cozy clothes during the colder months for fashion and to feel seasonally appropriate, but never out of necessity. But despite the weather perfection in Southern California, we decided that the East Coast was the right place for us to raise our family.
So here we are in December, 8 years later, and it’s snowing. The sparkling, powdery stuff that used to delight me as a kid is not so delightful these days. In fact, I now hate the snow. HATE. There are a bunch of reasons why, like the fact that I can’t stand winter coats, warming up my car for ten minutes before going anywhere, inconvenience, or being cold. But the girls’ eyes absolutely light up at the first snow, and I know I’m in for it…
Playing outside in the snow.
I know it sounds harmless. But let me educate you if you have never played outside in the snow with very small kids. It’s freezing. It’s wet. It takes 45 frustrating minutes to get everyone into all their layers of snow gear, some of which is always too small or too big. It’s slippery. And there’s this when it’s all over:
A wet, messy pile of more stuff to do. More things to add to all the other things when you really just want to snuggle under a blanket on the couch with a cup of tea and a movie.
There is this frown when your 5-year-old realizes that her boots are full of packed in, cold snow, but she hadn’t noticed outside because she had been having too much fun playing “Elsa and Anna’s Ice Palace” with her sister.
So why do I do it? Why don’t I bribe them to stay inside with promises of hot chocolate with marshmallows, tablet time, and movies? Well, my childhood memories of playing in the snow are happy. Maybe even magical. For a kid, there is almost nothing better than the carefree feeling of running through a yard covered with a fresh blanket of clean, white, glittery, delicious snow. It means snow angels, snowmen, snowball fights, and imaginative play. Something I hadn’t realized was that to Lane and Lauren, it means something even more special.
See, last year at Mother’s Day, Lane made me a present at school. It was a frame she had decorated with sequins and gems. Inside it was a picture she colored and a list that her pre-school teacher helped her complete. There were all kinds of things about me – like things she thinks I’m good at (going to the gym was what she said – she must have made it during the one week I went to the gym last year), things I always say to her (“I love you” – so glad it wasn’t “Hurry up!”), and then there was one that really got me. It said “My favorite memory with my Mom.” And next to it, she wrote, “When I was really little and it snowed really high and my mom made snow angels with me.”
In that moment, I knew that sucking it up every year and facing the brutality of snowsuits and icy puddles in the kitchen was going to be my reality each winter until the girls didn’t want to do it anymore. Because to them, playing in the snow with me is part of the fabric that’s becoming their childhood. So, as much as I will continue to dread so many things about winter – one thing will warm my heart: knowing I’m making my kids happy.
Rae the elf is back, the tree is up (only 4 shattered ornaments this year… so far 😩), and the Christmas music is on heavy rotation. The holidays have officially arrived at our home! ‘Tis the season for ginger bread houses, holiday crafts, (extra!) sparkle, and of course… Christmas lists! Here’s a roundup of Lane and Lauren’s most wanted gifts this year.
•Rock & Roll It roll-up piano
From the moment the girls set eyes on this at our local toy shop, they were in love. This roll-up keyboard lays flat for playing at the kitchen table, on a desk, on the floor, wherever – and conveniently rolls up for easy storage. It records, plays songs and background beats, and most importantly, indulges their love of music. Here’s hoping Santa brings this awesome instrument this year – and here’s hoping the girls remember how to share once Rae returns to the North Pole!
Lane and Lauren are officially OB.SESSED. with Descendants and Descendants 2, and honestly, so am I! The songs are just as sassy as the girls are, and I’ve spotted them studying the dance tutorials on the Disney NOW! app, perfecting all of Mal and Evie’s moves. They are going to lose their little VK minds when they discover that this microphone’s got pre-loaded backing tracks to some of their faves, like Ways To Be Wicked.I’m pretty sure Dada and I will be in for some exclusive live performances, especially because I’m hoping Santa brings two of these. Some toys are just too good to share – plus, Mal and Evie each need their own mic. Obvi!
Both girls are in school now, and spend a lot of time at home drawing, coloring, and mastering their penmanship (the apples don’t fall far from the tree – I love the art of writing on actual paper and am teaching Lane cursive. Lauren is on her way, too – Lane draws her traceable letters and helped her learn to write her name!). This eWriter is lightweight and has a screen that is engineered to feel just like writing with pen on paper. Their masterpieces will remain on the screen as long as they wish, and can be erased with the touch of a button, so my little writers can create over and over again without paper waste and messy markers. The best part? This baby doesn’t need charging. Perfect boredom buster for car rides!
I am all for learning through play and toys that teach, so I was pumped when the girls spotted this puzzle game at the toy store. Both were immediately fascinated and took turns choosing challenges from the puzzle book to solve with the colorful, 3-D puzzle pieces. I thought Lauren would lose interest quickly since she’s so young, but turns out she’s not one to back down from a challenge! Luckily for her, this puzzle has hundreds of possible solutions. Hooray for enhancing their critical thinking and spatial reasoning skills!
People who have been following us for awhile know that Lane is a die-hard Elena fan – remember her Avaloran fiesta? Well, the love is still going strong and I just know that she will be delighted by this larger than life Elena doll. In fact, I’m almost positive that if this doll shows up under the tree, she will immediately be given a designated spot in Lane’s room near the rest of her prized Elena paraphernalia – and will more than likely go on her “Lauren may not touch this” list.
This one’s just for Lauren, although if Lane will share her Elena doll, I’m sure something might be worked out. Little Lauren caught sight of this adorable role-play center on a YouTube Kids toy review and has been talking about it ever since. If there’s one thing she can’t get enough of, it’s dress-up and pretend play. This all-in-one nursery will provide countless hours of exactly that as she explores the electronic patient laptop, light-and-sound features, and accessories. Mama was hoping the days of large toys like this were behind us (we gave up on any hope of designating toys to a specific area long ago – we’ve lost the battle dollhouses, train sets, pop-up tents, etc.), but we will find a nice spot in Lauren’s room for her own little doctor’s office… if Santa brings it, that is!
Over the summer, we took the girls to HASCON, Hasbro’s first-ever toy convention. This unique event was incredible, and featured amazing displays, activities, and interactive experiences connected with all of Hasbro’s most popular brands. Lane and Lauren got “pony-fied” (think bright nails, colorful hair extensions, and glitter tattoo “cutie marks”) at a pop-up salon in a recreation of My Little Pony’s Equestria, created art with a larger-than-life Play-Doh “Doh Vinci” exhibit, and listened to world-renowned storytellers… but despite all the excitement, Lauren’s favorite part of the event was discovering the classic game Hungry Hungry Hippos! She sat down and started playing this game, and after that, there was nothing that could pull her away! I can’t wait to see her face light up if Santa happens to leave this under the tree.
I blame Cookie Swirl C for the fact that the L.O.L Surprise! Fizz Factory set ended up on this list. I imagine Santa knows what exactly this toy is all about, but I’m a bit puzzled. It appears to be some sort of glittery chemistry experiment in which the result is a fizz ball of some sort with a hidden surprise that’s revealed when the ball dissolves in water…? I think? Whatever it is, Lane is obsessed with it and is adamant that it appear on her most wanted list. To be honest, it looks like something that will be used a couple of times and never again, but time will tell. According to the product description, these fizz balls can be made with household ingredients. Sounds messy – stay tuned.
Of course, Mrs. Claus would never allow Santa to get away without leaving at least a couple of cute new things for the girls to wear… From what I hear, she has great taste and found these fabulous things to leave under the tree… now if only she could stitch them in Mama size!
Lauren is all about sparkle, and I know she will totally rock this adorable, edgy jacket from Crazy 8. It’s available online now for $21.99, but I actually scored this at our local store for $14 last weekend!
Lane looooooves purple, so these were an absolute no-brainer. I had no idea a child could wear out sneakers so quickly, but the ones she got in September for school are just about ready to kick the bucket. We’ll see how these metallic kicks hold up to kindergarten recess, but at $14.99, you can’t really lose.
If it doesn’t have a tutu, Lauren is not wearing it. Dressing this little fashionista in the winter is no easy task – she regularly attempts to negotiate wearing her favorite summer sundresses to pre-school, despite the fact that there’s snow on the ground. Thankfully, these supercute leggings align with my little diva’s flair for fashion and love for tulle – but we can pair them with sweaters and boots!
I hope the girls’ wish lists inspired those of you still searching for gift ideas for the fabulous little girls on your “nice lists…” now let’s hope Lane and Lauren stay on Santa’s good side for the next two weeks!
I know I can’t be the only last-minute Mama out there. With fewer than 24 hours until Thanksgiving dinner, the girls and I needed a quick, easy, fun treat to make together. We are huge fans of Rolo pretzels, so we thought we’d put a Thanksgiving spin on them after seeing something similar on my Facebook feed.
We are super happy with the way these festive treats turned out, and the best part was that both girls could make them on their own! Ready to try these yourself? Here’s what you’ll need:
• mini pretzels
• Rolo candies
• candy corn
• Reese’s pieces
• Candy eyeballs
How we did it:
The girls strategically lined the pretzels up neatly on a cookie sheet (and may or may not have snacked a bit).
Next, they centered Rolos, small side down, on top of each pretzel.
Then, to soften the candies, I put the cookie sheet in the oven at 250 degrees for about 2 minutes.
Now we were ready to decorate!
I put a few warm pretzels on each of their plates and they were on their own! We added edible googly eyes, a Reese’s piece for the beak (or is that the gobble?), and three candy corns for the turkey feathers. Our first few were a little messy, but after doing a couple, we were all pros! Of course, we couldn’t resist a little finger licking along the way…
Because the Rolos were still soft even after we finished decorating, I transferred all of our masterpieces to a cooling rack and popped it in the fridge for awhile so they would set. Our finished treats? Adorable and delish!
Next up will be Christmas treats, so if you know of any cute, festive, kid-friendly treats, please share in the comments! Maybe we can avoid last minute shenanigans next holiday (Probably not). 😜
In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours! 🦃🥧🍁
Disclosure: I received complimentary LipSense products for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience. I was not financially compensated for this post.
In a past life prior to 2012, I indulged in weekly mani/pedis, took regular trips to the salon for highlights, and practiced Bikram yoga three times a week. Now, my nails are short and bare (well, other than the Elena of Avalor band-aid currently wrapped around my pointer finger) and the time I used to spend working out has been filled with driving the girls to gymnastics and dance classes. I would sooner cover my imperfections with a cartoon cat SnapChat filter than apply real makeup.
I’m not going to lie, though. As much as I love momming, I do miss taking care of myself. So if there’s anything that I can incorporate into my insane routine that will make me feel pretty, I will give it a try. Enter LipSense, which claims its color will last between 4-18 hours without “kissing off, rubbing off, or budging off.” Sonya at Red Gate Beauty sent over the color of my choice (I like a nude lip, so I went with First Love), along with the clear gloss top coat.
Now, my go-to lip is a smear of Chap-Stick, so when I saw TWO(?!) steps to this routine, I groaned a little. There were detailed application instructions that involved ten seconds of dry time between coats and specified to swipe on in one direction, and it was just overwhelming to think about going through all this every morning when every second counts. But, I really wanted to see if this product lived up to the hype, so I powered through it.
Upon applying the color coat, my lips felt tingly, which the product claims is normal with the first few uses. As the color dries on the lips, it feels a little tight and sticky, but that feeling goes away once the clear gloss is applied. It’s a far more involved application process than my usual Chap-Stick, but I really liked how it looked.
Now, let’s talk about how long lasting this stuff actually is. The color seriously does stay on. It lasted through a Dunkin’ Donuts iced hazelnut, a mid-morning apple, and all the way up through lunch. Once the gloss coat wore off though, that tight, feathery feeling came back. I didn’t bring the gloss with me to work, so I defaulted to my Chap-Stick as a top coat, and let’s just say it didn’t have the same effect. The feathering got worse, and I had to wipe it all off. But, I’m sure if I reapplied the gloss, this stuff would last all day!
My overall opinion on this product is that it’s fantastic for a night out. It’s perfect for longer events like weddings, dinners, etc. when you want a long lasting color that you don’t have to constantly reapply. For someone who doesn’t mind re-applying the gloss throughout the day, it would be great for work, too. But for my everyday, I just don’t want to be re-applying anything that requires me to look in the mirror. So, I will definitely continue using LipSense when I want color that lasts a few hours, but you’ll still catch me in Chap-Stick when I’m on the go (#basic). Now, if only LipSense would come up with a product that puts itself on, and reapplies when needed, I’d be hooked! 😉
Thinking about trying LipSense for yourself? Head over to www.redgatebeauty.com! Sonya is offering 15% off to readers who use coupon code bloggymoms15 at checkout. Let me know what you think of it in the comments!
It’s October 31st, everyone! While Lane and Lauren are getting pumped up to hit the sidewalks as a unicorn and kitty tonight, I am finally getting around to sharing this super cute pumpkin craft we made last week. These fun yarn Jack-o-Lanterns are pretty easy to create, but they did take a few days to complete, as we needed a lot of drying time for glue overload!
What you’ll need:
Clear glue (pour a good amount into small paper bowls).
Green and black fuzzy sticks (I still call them pipecleaners!)
Start by blowing up balloons to your desired size. Hint: the larger the balloon, the longer this craft will take! So, if you have very young children with shorter attention spans, you may want to stay on the smaller size.
Next, cut your yarn into long, but manageable strands. You’ll need a lot! Then, dip individual strands into your bowl of clear glue. Carefully wrap the yarn around your balloon. Repeat until your balloon is substantially covered with yarn, and almost looks basket-like. Lane was really soaking her yarn in the glue, so be sure to work on a protected surface.
Once you’re happy with the look of your “pumpkin,” allow substantial time to dry. Our yarn balloons actually took a couple of days to dry, as the girls used a TON of glue, and we had to rotate the balloons to allow all parts exposure to dry.
When your yarn has dried completely, it’s time to deflate your balloon!
Don’t expect a satisfying POP!, though. We deflated really carefully to avoid damaging the delicate hardened yarn. I cut a small hole near the knot on the balloon, and we watched as the balloon slowly deflated within the yarn. You may need to gently press the balloon through the holes to help push all the air out.
The girls’ tutorial 😍:
The results looked like this:
Finally, it’s time to decorate! Green fuzzy sticks can be shaped into a stem, and googly eyes are strategically placed and secured with hot glue (the girls showed me EXACTLY where to apply the glue for optimal eye placement!). The black fuzzy sticks can be used in so many ways: to create a creepy spider for your pumpkin, a Jack-o-Lantern mouth, etc. Lauren decided her pumpkin would be an “eyeball pumpkin” and opted against giving it a mouth. 🙂 Here are some photos of our finished products!
We’d love to see any Halloween or fall-themed crafts you guys tried this year. Please share in the comments! Have fun trick-or-treating tonight!
Toy reviews, unboxings, movie trailers, cake decorating tutorials, even watching other kids play (!?)… the girls love them some YouTubeKids. As opposed as I am to overdoing the screen time, we do allow the girls restricted tablet time – and it’s given them plenty of ideas! Lane has been begging for ages to start a YouTube channel, and with some extra time on my hands this summer, I’ve finally given in. They are absolutely thrilled to present their new channel, Lane and Lauren’s World!
Please take it easy on me – I’m new at this stuff, so our first two videos include glimpses of my thumb and some choppy editing… but we’re just getting started! Our first video features the girls opening Hatchimals CollEGGtibles blind bags (and we’re even giving away a free blind bag to a lucky viewer – just “like” the video, subscribe to their channel, and leave a comment to enter!) and the second video is a read-aloud of one of Lane’s kindergarten summer reading titles “Today I Will Fly,” by Mo Willems.
The girls are already planning their next few videos, so expect to see more read-alouds in addition to princess fashion shows, day trips with the family, toy reviews, fun activities, and dance-offs! YouTube Kids has changed its policies, so new channels need 100 subscribers before they can register a custom URL, so it would really help us out if you could subscribe and spread the word to any toy-obsessed princess fanatics you may know and love. Or, you could just share with fellow tired moms who need a few minutes to make dinner or pick up the kitchen without interruption!
CLICK HERE to check out Lane and Lauren’s debut episodes and please subscribe and enter our Hatchimals giveaway! We’d also love some suggestions and ideas about books or toys you’d like to see the girls review! Share your comments here or over on their YouTube channel.