Summer 2017 Family Music Playlist

It’s a rare day if my family is not playing some sort of music or dancing around the house. I do my best to change up the music we listen to, but it’s often easy to default to our “go-to” playlist.

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Since we are now officially into the summer season, I wanted to spice up our jams. Here are our go-to songs/albums for the next few months (or longer, which is extremely likely)!

Trolls (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack): We were just introduced to Trolls via Netflix and let’s just say, WE LOVE IT! I’m so sad we haven’t been watching this for months. One of the main reasons we truly enjoy this flick is because of the music. The soundtrack, all of it, is just wonderful, cheery, and upbeat, just like any successful summer vacation should be.

Harry Styles – Carolina: I was never one to listen to One Direction, but now I’m sad I didn’t, because Harry Styles’ voice is that of an angel. As a Carolina girl, of course I love the song, but my toddler loves to bob his head and tap his foot to this uniquely upbeat song. “Oh yeah!”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Awesome Mix Vol. 2: We loved the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 and still play it all of the time, so to say we were excited to get our hands on the Vol. 2 is an understatement. There is something about blasting “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra that pumps up the entire the family. SPOILER ALERT – we are dancing around the living room like toddler Groot in the opening scene. Watching my two-year-old dance to this song just confirms that he would be the perfect little Groot for Halloween (now that’s an idea!).

Ed Sheeran – Shape of You: I know what you’re thinking, “that’s a strange selection Hannah.” You could be right, but this is the first song our 2-month old heard on the way home from the hospital, so it holds a special place in my heart. Ed was the first artist both of my boys heard when they entered this world. His soulful sound usually lulls my babies to sleep, but this song is so catchy, all we want to do is dance!

Dwayne Johnson – You’re Welcome (from Moana): I often listen to Disney playlists, because I love to belt out a princess tune from time to time, and recently I came across the Moana soundtrack. We haven’t seen Moana yet, because the toddler was too little to go to the theatre, but we are looking forward to the day it becomes available on Netflix. While we wait to watch it, we love listening to soundtrack, in particular Mr. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s song “You’re Welcome.” Who would have thought a WWE Champ would steal our hearts with his musical stylings?

Talking about these great songs/albums has me wanting to bust a move!

What’s on your family’s summer playlist?

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7 Toddler Must-Haves for the Pool Bag

It’s that time of year again. The time where we take everything out of the diaper bag and move into the pool tote. Now last year, my oldest was still too small to fully enjoy the pool, but now as a spritely two-year-old, he was ready to jump in feet first!

Pool Day with Rorie

Like every other family on Memorial Day weekend, we trucked it to the pool with all of our neighbors to christen the pool for the start of the summer holiday. Our neighborhood has both a “big kid” pool and a kiddie pool equipped with a frog slide. To say my son was in awe as we approached the iron gates of the neighborhood watering hole is an understatement.

My youngest is still small enough (8 weeks) where I don’t have to worry about him flinging his body into the crystal blue lagoon, unlike my oldest. The only concern with the newborn is to keep him cool and comfortable, so scouting out the perfect shaded area was the initial mission. Once we found OUR spot, it was time to prepare ourselves for the energy of our two-year-old. I wasn’t too concerned, because I spent the entire night before our pool excursion packing the pool bag full of toddler must-haves.

Here are the 7 items I take to ensure my toddler has a fun and safe time at the pool:

1. Skin safety is of the upmost importance with the little ones (you should also protect yourself), so I make sure my kids are lathered head to toe in sunscreen. Even though he is a redhead, he doesn’t burn easily, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need to apply and then reapply multiple times during our time at the pool. Here are three sunscreens I recommend and would use on my kids any day!

Protect All Over Sunscreen by Beautycounter
– Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby Sunscreen
– Tom’s of Maine Baby Sunscreen Lotion

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Photo courtesy of Beautycounter

2. Swimming diapers are so important! The pool had to temporarily shut-down, multiple times, this weekend, because a certain family refused to put a swim diaper on their kid. If you’ve seen the movie Caddyshack, the scene where the Baby Ruth candy bar is thrown in the pool and mistaken for a “doodie” is what happened in our neighborhood pool. Instead a delicious chocolatey treat, it was actual “doodie.” I never ever want to be the parent whose kids pooped in the pool. Not that I would be embarrassed, just that people are ruthless with their words. With this said, my kid is clad in Pampers Spashlers!

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Photo courtesy of buy buy baby

3. When you have a kid as fearless as ours, you can never be too safe. Since we haven’t put him in swim lessons (I know, I know, I need to get him in classes ASAP), I need to make sure if he flings his body into the pool he will in fact float back to the top. Speedo Swimming Fabric Arm Bands are perfect for my kid. They slide right on, but stay in place while in the pool. As an added bonus to the safety they provide, these floaties are adorable!

Speedo Swim Wings

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

4. Your kid probably plays with toys at home, so they will of course want to play with toys while at the pool. I went to my local Dollar Tree and stocked up on water toys (i.e. water pistols, buckets, balls, etc.) to add a little extra fun to pool time without breaking the bank. I didn’t head over to the mama holy land, Target, as I normally would because of the unspoken neighborhood pool rule – If you leave your toy(s), they get inherited by whatever family finds them or they live a sad life in the moldy lost and found box near the lifeguard’s office. Take my advice, it’s the way to go, on all levels.

5. My son loves to play in the pool, but he doesn’t like to carry the wetness into the car. Instead of mixing in his wet swimsuit in with the other pool bag items, we put them in our AWE Süsse Wet Bag. Listen, this wet bag is wonderful! It keeps the wetness inside and does not leave a mildew smell. Not to mention, my son is obsessed with saying his alphabet and our wet bag has alpha monsters. He practices his ABCs while we carry it to the car.

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Photo courtesy of AWE Süsse

6. My son doesn’t understand the concept of “adult swim,” so when he has to abruptly get out of the the pool, let’s just say a stage-five tantrum ensues. In order to distract him from the ten painful minutes he has to stay out of the pool, I offer up snacks, snacks, and even more snacks! The Munchkin Snack Catcher is perfect for toting around crackers, goldfish, grapes, and other delicious treats while keeping the crumbs contained. As a former lifeguard in my teen years, there is nothing more frustrating (well maybe cleaning poop out of the pool) then having to cleanup soggy cracker pieces from the pool deck. Don’t be that parent.

 

Munchkin Snack Catcher

Photo courtesy of Walmart

7. My son is going through the phase of wanting to be just like mom and dad. When we have our sunglasses on, he always wants to snatch them off our faces and put them over his eyes. Since our sunglasses our too big for his face, he ends up playing with them, twisting and turning them until they break. When I was strolling through Target, their dollar section had mirrored glasses for kids. I grabbed a few pair to throw in the pool bag, diaper bag, car, etc. so my son would have them on hand. Not only does he get to be like mom and dad, but he protects those deep chestnut eyes from the sun’s rays.

 

 

I would say our first trip to the pool for the swim season was a success and it was in large part to my mommy preparation. Now as the summer continues and our trips to pool increase, my pool bag will transform to meet my kid’s needs, but for right now, these items are perfect for keep my toddler safe and entertained while taking a refreshing dip.

What are your must-have pool bag items? Let me know what you would add in the comments!

Product Review and Mom Approved: Beautycounter Baby

There is something to be said about the products we use, especially the products we elect to use on our kids. I don’t know about you, but I try to pick the healthiest options for my kids when given the opportunity.

With a baby and a toddler, I am constantly slathering on balms, creams, and oils to ensure all the rashes, bumps, and irritations are treated quickly and efficiently. Since my average day requires the use of at least two remedies to sooth and heal, I want to make sure the least toxic products touch the innocence of my children’s skin.

Beautycounter’s Baby line is designed to keep our most precious gifts protected by placing the safest products in our hands. I have been religiously using and applying the Calming Diaper Rash Cream and Baby Soothing Oil on both of my children.

Beautycounter babyline

No matter the age of our little one’s, diaper rash cream is a necessity. Beautycounter’s Calming Diaper Rash Cream “treats and prevents irritated skin with safer ingredients.” I love Beautycounter’s diaper rash cream, because it doesn’t linger and leave a greasy residue after application. The application of this cream is one that I can praise.

If you are privy to the use of diaper rash creams, you know that many of the creams have a strong odor, a chemical smell that is often difficult to eliminate. The Beautycounter diaper rash cream is free of scent; an added bonus. When changing diapers all day long, we already smell far too much, so we shouldn’t have to smell the diaper rash creams as well.

For all of my cloth diapering mamas, the Calming Diaper Rash Cream is safe to use. We, especially Beautycounter, can appreciate the sacredness of the diaper, especially the cloth diaper. If you’re using disposable or cloth, this diaper rash cream is safe to use.

Along with the Calming Diaper Rash Cream, I was introduced to quite possibly my favorite of the Baby line items, the Baby Soothing Oil. With an increased boost in essential oil use, it’s even more important to be careful about the oils we use on our kiddos. We can easily assume all oils are the same, no matter the packaging, but this is not the case. When it comes to Beautycounter’s Baby Soothing Oil, you can trust this oil is safe to use. The combination of jojoba, sunflower seed oils, and organic coconut, keep my children’s skin soft, smooth, and relaxed.

There is often caution to using oils on newborns, but Beautycounter’s formula is safe for my baby boy. When he had a small case of cradle cap, a small dab of the Baby Soothing Oil helped clear it right up. When my toddler is, well, acting like a toddler, I will rub a small dab into his chest and shoulders before bedtime to sooth his nerves.  An additional benefit is that the oil does not leave a greasy residue behind. This soothing oil has become a staple item in our nighttime routine.

*Moms if you run out of eye makeup remover, a small dab of the Beautycounter Baby Soothing Oil will take it right off! *

Just as a mother handles their precious baby with care, Beautycounter is an extension of this love and tenderness. When I was introduced to Beautycounter, I welcomed my family to a world of products that are safe and effective. I encourage all of my fellow parents to take the leap and introduce Beautycounter to your loved ones. This mom approves!

Interested in these products? You can get yours by checking out the links throughout the blog. You will not be disappointed!

5 Lies I’ve Told My Toddler

As my son rapidly progresses through the “terrible twos,” I now understand why my parents told the occasional white lie. It wasn’t because they wanted to give themselves a break, but that they wanted to spare us both (the parent and toddler) from the frustration of all the emotions raging through their child’s tiny body.

My son, for the most part, is a happy-go-lucky kid, but sometimes that unhinged two-year-old makes his appearance. In a matter of seconds, he is a puddle of anger and sadness inconsolably running around the house reeking havoc.

In order to tame the miniature hulk bursting from my son’s body, I’ve had to tell the occasional fib. Here are 5 lies I’ve had to tell my toddler to calm his nerves and give myself a moment to breathe.

  1. I didn’t turn Netflix off. Netflix asked to take a nap. He’s exhausted! As we are getting ready for bed and all he wants to do is continue that one episode of Trollhunters. You know, that one episode we’ve watched over 30 times in the last three weeks. Sometimes you do what you have to do to in order to keep your sanity and get your kid to bed because he boycotted naptime at school.

 

  1. Give mommy one-minute; just one. Mommy really needs like 10 minutes, but you don’t know that. You don’t understand the concept of time, right?

 

  1. The dogs put Anton in the washing machine. They thought it was time for him to take a bath. So blame them, not me! He takes his stuffed alligator (Anton) all over God’s green earth, which means that gator is covered in anything and everything. I’m thinking of my child’s health.

 

  1. Oh man! We ran out of cheese puffs. Sorry buddy. As I make this statement, I stare at the three bags of organic puffs I bought at the store the other day. I really just don’t want to vacuum the couch today. Also, you need eat some fruit. Please take this apple.

 

  1. I have no idea where that book that is. I think it went on vacation. Perhaps to the beach! Moms and dads you know what I’m talking about! I love Peppa Pig, but Easter has passed and we are still reading the “Peppa Pig Easter Egg Hunt” book. Let’s expand our minds and read a new book, please!

What white lies do you tell your kids? Be open and honest. There is no judgement here. Trust me!

Karma at the Department Store

I’ve always heard that how you behaved as a child will be reflected in your own children. Now my parents will gloat my sister and I were good, dare I even say great, kids about 98% of the time. Like any child, we had our moments, but they were few and far between.

My 2% of reckless childhood behavior all took place in department stores. I found it to be a thrilling adventure to hide amongst the racks of clothes at Belk, Hamricks (that’s a throwback), and department stores of the like. There was something comforting about wrapping myself in a variety of cotton-blend garments.

While I found it to be therapeutic, it caused my mother an immense amount panic. She would pace back and forth throughout the store calling my name. Little did she know, I had my eyes on her the entire time.

As soon as she found me, she didn’t yell at me, but I was the recipient of the “mom look.” The “look” that will stop any child in his or her tracks and cause them to crumble in fear. I never truly understood why she was so upset with me; until the moment my kid took off into the racks.

We recently went to our local Belk to return a few items. This was the first time we really went out on a shopping adventure as an entire family; the four of us. My husband was at the counter making the exchange with the sales clerk and I was overseeing the little ones.

I bent down to pick up our newborn’s muslin blanket that had fallen onto the floor and when I popped back up, my two-year-old was no longer at my side. It’s amazing really, how fast the mind can go into a negative headspace when your child has vanished. There were a series of 99 horrible scenarios that raced through my mind, but I took a deep breath and remained calm.

I heard the faint giggles of a red-headed little boy muffled by what seemed to be piles of clothes. At that moment I had a flash-back of spinning around in the center of the clothes rack with my arms stretched out wide. I took action and searched for a little pair of feet in size 6 black canvas sneakers under the racks.

Rorie Ayden for Karma Blog

My Red-Headed Little Boy

At last, amongst the women’s leisurewear, I saw two chestnut brown eyes peering through Lily Pulitzer-like workout pants. I was instantaneously relieved when he popped out of the rack that I hugged him and then gave him the “mom-look” that I had been accustom to when I disappeared into a world of textile bliss. Just like when my mom would give me the “look,” my son stopped dead in his tracks and slowly turned to me with apprehension.

There’s a saying, “Karma has no menu. You get served what you deserve.” I was definitely served what I dished out to my parents in my youth. To my mom and dad, I apologize. I now fully understand the torment that takes place when you can’t find your child, even if they are enjoying the true bliss that is the clothing rack.

The Plate Spinner

Do you know those people in the circus or on variety shows who spin china plates on sticks? As a wife, mother, full-time employee, etc. I feel like the World Plate Spinning Champion. I know I’m not the only one carefully trying to balance plates in hopes of preventing a serious crash on a daily basis.

Listen, I’m only three weeks into this two child parenting gig, and so far I haven’t broken any of my plates, but I’ve come close. I don’t know how parents with more than two children do it. I praise the parents who manage to keep their sanity, the homestead afloat, and have more than two kids. You’re my heroes!

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My oldest (two-years old), is obsessed with his baby brother and wants to do everything he can to help us. Which is great; however, with this said, we’ve hit the “no” phase of toddler life. Every request is accompanied with “NO!” It amazes me that such a small word can cause a world of parenting frustration.

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On top of saying no to anything and everything, he’s slowly transforming into a miniature Godzilla. He walks into his playroom, rips out every drawer and dumps out the contents, flips over all of toy displays, and then walks out of the room proud of his destruction (insert mic drop). When we ask for him to cleanup or help us clean he says, you guessed it, “NO!” My husband and I look at each other and all we can say is “why?” and slowly shake our heads in disbelief.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s still my little love bug and the sweetest, but lord have mercy, the toddler years are rough. I did I mention; it’s only just begun?!

The newest member of our family is a mellow baby with a sweet disposition. We’ve finally have his days and nights fixed (thank you Jesus!), but he’s now awake all day long and wants to eat, ALL.THE.TIME. I feel bad for dairy cows everywhere. I’m a walking, talking, milk factory.

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He just farted…

Along with is hearty appetite comes some of the manliest farts I’ve ever heard. This child could put the loudest gas passers to shame. The toots don’t come alone; they are accompanied by the dirtiest of diapers. At least I know he’s healthy, right?!

All the spit up stains, dirty diapers, and gas is worth the love of this baby boy. He fits perfectly into our lives and it feels like he’s been here since the very beginning.

This is not a platform for me to complain and ask for your sympathies, I’m just taking a moment to highlight the messy life I love so much. Life with two kids, boys, under the age of three keeps me on my toes at all times. I’m beyond thankful for my husband as well as my family. It’s true, it does take a village to raise a child!

Circus music softly plays in the background, as I keep my plates balanced and steadily spinning.

The Newborn Night Owl – Part 2 (The Update)

We did it folks! We’ve had a breakthrough! At 17 days old, our newborn has made significant strides in his sleep schedule. We went from waking up every one to two hours to waking up once for a 30-minute feeding!

Let’s all collectively jump up in the air and click our heels together while simultaneously dishing out high fives.

I made it my mission to find a routine that was going to work best for my little man. With my firstborn it was a matter of feeding him right before bed and he would quickly drift off into dreamland. With our newborn, I had to establish a strict routine. This routine can not be changed. It must remain the same.

I have a feeling he’s going to be extremely particular in the future.

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Little man likes to stay up, wide awake, with mom and dad right until we are ready for bed ourselves. We begin our routine by changing his diaper. I’ve been putting him a diaper that’s one size larger for bed, so he has more movement. Once he’s changed, I swaddle him up tightly. I’ve found the most success with the Summer swaddle wrap. It’s a blessing! Finally, I breastfeed him and then top him off with a bottle of breastmilk.

By the end of the routine, he is clean, comforted, and full. When he wakes up for his nightly feeding, we repeat the same steps.

I fully recognize, there may be a change in this routine as he continues to grow and develop, but if this works right now, I’ll take it! Yay for sleep!

10 Things I Never Thought I would Say to My Boys

As the mother of two boys, I’ve said a handful things that I never thought would come out of my mouth. I don’t say these things just once in a blue moon. No! I repeat these phrases on a loop each and every day.

Let’s face it boy moms, our little love bugs are in fact gross, but it’s OK, we love them no matter what. Life with boys is a constant adventure and each day is full of unexpected surprises. Truly unexpected 😮

Here are the top 10 things I never thought I would say to my boys:

Potty Training

  1. We do not put the potty seat on our face (life of potty training a boy).

 

  1. Buddy you don’t need to worry, it’s still there. Your penis isn’t going anywhere.

 

  1. We don’t drink the bath water off of the bath mat!

 

  1. Yes, you do have to wear pants today.

 

  1. Please don’t lick the wall. It’s not food.

 

  1. Instead of grabbing your crotch and walking around, please let mommy know when you’ve gone to the bathroom.

 

  1. No, we can’t run around the house naked.

 

  1. Can you please get mommy a tissue? We don’t want snot running down your face into your mouth.

 

  1. Can mommy go to the bathroom by herself? I love you, but I need some privacy.

 

  1. Let’s not eat the [insert snack item] from under the couch.

 

What are some of the strange things you’ve said to your kids?

7 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman

As I get closer and closer to the day of delivering our second child, I thought I would get a few frustrations off my chest. People can say some of the most ridiculous and offensive things to women during their pregnancy. I’m the type of person who makes a mental note of every time someone says something that really grinds my gears (clearly I don’t hold any grudges).

Over the past 39 weeks, I have made a list of the top 7 thing you should never say to a pregnant woman, unless you are looking to be obliterated by hormone induced rage.

  1. So you’re having twins, right? Are you sure one is not hiding behind the other?

    I’m pretty positive my clinically trained doctor would have informed me if I was having twins as well as the ultrasound technician that I spent 45 minutes of my life with.

    When it comes to the second child it’s all about the muscle memory as my doctor put it. So, yes I know I look bigger than normal, but trust me there is only one baby in this womb.

  1. Oh you’re having another boy?! I’m so sorry…you can always try again for a little girl!

    How do I put this? Just because you would be disappointed by not having the opposite sex the second time around, doesn’t mean I’m upset about having another boy. I’m looking at you Harris Teeter Florist. What is the “nuclear family” anyway these days?

    My oldest son is a true blessing and has made me realize that being a boy mom is just alright with me! I’m probably more equipped to play Star Wars, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Power Rangers than I am dressing up in princess clothes and plastic high heels. Don’t get me wrong, if we are to be blessed with a little girl later down the road, I will be thrilled. As cliché as it sounds, I just want happy and healthy babies.

  1. You’re having another one…already?

    Yes, I am having another baby and yes, it was planned. Please don’t make assumptions about my timeline. There is nothing more frustrating than receiving unwanted judgement. I appreciate you keeping your thoughts to yourself (she said in the politest way possible).

  1. Don’t you think this will be hard for your son? Gosh, I couldn’t imagine loving another baby!

    Honestly, of all the things you could say, this is probably the worst. All I do is think about my son and the impact another kid is going to have in his life. I’ve cried more times than I want to, so you bringing this to my attention, does not help the situation or my emotions. Words of encouragement are more than appreciated though!

  1. Can I rub your belly?

    When someone asks me this question or goes straight for the belly rub, I envision myself grabbing their wrist and flipping them over, like in a scene out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This has never happened, because I have more self control than that, but it would feel rather satisfying.

    Please note, that if you are not my husband, two-year-old son, or a close (very close) relative, I would rather you not pet my stomach.

  1. Oh, you’re naming him that?

    No, it was a joke. I’m not naming my son this particular name that my husband and I spoke about in length. That would be ridiculous!

    I promise I would have asked for your input if I needed it. I won’t question your selection in names, if you don’t judge mine.

  1. Are you sure you know what you’ve gotten yourself into?

    What does this even mean? I, in no way, believe this is going to be the most perfect transition, but if the universe wants to make it easy, great! I believe I have the right people involved in my daily life to ensure my family unit moves into a family of four with ease.

    No, I don’t know exactly what I’ve gotten myself into, but you best believe we are going to get through this triumphantly.

So, the next time you want to make a comment to a pregnant woman – pause, think about what you’re going to say, and decide if it’s best for your safety to keep your mouth shut. I promise you, hell hath no fury like a pregnant woman scorned.

What’s in My Toddler’s Easter Basket – Hoppy Easter 2017

There are two things you should know about me; 1. I love most holidays and 2. I love to shower my loved ones with gifts. So, when the Easter Bunny asked me to step in this year and put together my son’s Easter basket, I hopped right on board!

My son is at a great age where he gets excited over gifts and celebrations, which means Easter 2017 is going to be a whole lot of FUN! I had a blast carefully picking out each stuffer for my son’s Easter basket.

Here’s a look at what goodies he will be receiving this year:

As I mentioned in my blog post, Toddler Favorites: Top 5 Netflix Movies and Shows, my son LOVES Disney’s Zootopia, so I wanted to make sure I included a few pieces from his favorite movie in his basket. I found this great action figure set of Nick, the Fox, and the characters from the ice cream parlor scene. In addition to this playset, I found a Zootopia Play Pack which includes crayons, coloring sheet, and stickers. The Play Pack is perfect to throw in the diaper bag and have on hand at restaurants or on-the-go.

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Zootopia Play Pack Grab & Go via         Dollar Tree

Spring is here and the sun is shining, quite brightly I might add, so I grabbed my son an adorable pair of mirrored sunglasses from Target. He’s always trying to steal my sunglasses, so now he can have a pair of his own.

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Toddler mirrored sunglasses via Target

Along with the sunglasses, the Target dollar section has adorable Easter items, perfect for any bunny. Of those items, I grabbed a blue bunny bubble wand and light up bunny baton. We are going to have countless hours of fun blowing bubbles outside and playing Troll Hunter with his light up wand.

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Bubble Wand via Target

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Bunny Baton via Target

My son has been mastering drinking from a cup without a lid, so I found the most adorable tribal cup from Target to add to his basket. It matches the plates and bowls we already have in stock. We will be practicing with water until we are spill-free for up to 10 days straight.

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Tribal Drinking Cup via Target

Finally, no Easter basket is complete without candy. My kid could care less about chocolate, it’s the only way we truly differ personality wise, so I grabbed him some gummy treats. Along with Zootopia, he’s a fan of both Mickey Mouse and Dory from Finding Dory. The gummy treats are accompanied by stickers. My son is obsessed with stickers and sticking them on everyone else except for himself.

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Disney Junior Gummies and Stickers via Dollar Tree

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Finding Dory Fish Gummies via   Dollar Tree

Easter 2017 is going to be exciting with a new baby and new home to celebrate in, but I want my son’s Easter basket to be an added piece of bliss on April 16th.  He deserves all of the hoppy-ness in the world.

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What are you putting in your kid’s Easter basket this year?