Tuesdays Top Ten Tunes

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

So I wanted to start doing something different with my writing about music on the blog.  You can look forward to Tuesdays Top Ten each week.  That’s right.  You will get to check out ten of the songs that I am listening to each Tuesday.  I hope that you can sit back, check out these You Tube videos and enjoy some Tuesday tunes with me.

“Torn and Frayed” — The Rolling Stones

What can I say about this song.  I LOVE it!!  It is such a fun song, beautiful lyrics and something that just pulls at my soul as I listen.

 

 

“Yarmouth Road” Mike Gordon

Okay I will be honest about this one.  It is more than just the song for me.  Mike Gordon just so happens to be my biggest celebrity crush.  So I just love watching him and I personally find this video to be delightful!

 

 

“Country Roads” John Denver

This song always reminds me of family.  My grandpa lives on a farm in Southern MO and it reminds me of traveling back to spend time with him and all of the years I spent growing up in a small town.

 

 

“Cavern” Phish

I love this song.  I find the lyrics to be beautifully written and hope to one day feel confident enough to sport a tattoo with the line “Steal away before the dawn and bring us back good news” on my side.  Yes, this is the song that has inspired the next tattoo that I will get.

 

 

“Ribs and Whiskey” Widespread Panic

I will admit that I am only a small Panic fan but I can’t help but get up and dance with my kiddos when this one is on.  So this morning we are dancing to some Panic.

 

 

“Highball with the Devil” Les Claypool

So I am going to check out Primus and the Chocolate Factory tonight.  I thought that I would share one of my all time favorite songs of Mr Claypool’s.  I have to admit that I am pretty excited and I have decided that I must just be a bass girl because I certainly can’t imagine seeing many bands live as much as I like to see Primus.

 

 

“Sultans of Swing” Dire Straits

Another oldie but goodie.  This is one of those songs that just takes me to a special place every single time that I heard it.  It makes me feel relaxed and helps when I am having a tough time.  Today has not be tough by any means but it is still one of my favorite songs to chill out to.

 

 

“Forever Young” The Band (with Bob Dylan)

Who doesn’t love this song?  It reminds me of everything that I want for our amazing children.  I want them to have the innocence of being forever young.  In a tough world out there it seems that kids are growing up just too fast and I don’t want that life for my beautiful little ones.  On a side note, while thinking about my children and listening to this one this morning I was actually moved to tears.

 

 

“Anything Possible” Jaik Willis

This song is the perfect mantra for any of you who have ever wanted to do something greater with your life.  I like to play this one for my kids to remind them that they can do anything and be anything that they want in life.

 

 

“Nashville Cats” Del McCoury Band

This is one band that I feel like everyone should love!!  I have seen them twice recently and had such an amazing time at the show that I really could not ask for more out of them!!

 

Music Review: Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band’s So Delicious

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Do you love a good time?  Do you listen music all of the time?  Well if you are a music fan or have just listened to music lately at all you have got to check out Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band’s newest album So Delicious.  This album is really fun and perfect for parents like  me.  My kids absolutely love the songs on this album.

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The album is the band’s fifth album and one that I can not seem to put down.  To be honest, since I saw their show a few weeks ago and picked it up I have not listened to anything else in the car.  I even drove most of our six hour trip home with this playing.  It is just that good.

It was produced by Yazoo Records which is a division of Sanachie.  Yazoo is a well known blues label which fits nicely with the bands grassroot blues style.  For younger musicians (hey, they’re my age!), the trio who come from a small county in Southern Indiana really know how to play some amazing music.  You’d think that they were from the deep south with their backwoods style.

One thing that is refreshing about the album is that the songs are songs that you can relate to.  I love when I feel a band play music that I feel like I could have written about my own life.  So much of today’s music seems to be superficial and about material wants but with this easy going album I feel like I can relate as I sing along.

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“Let’s Jump a Train” starts off with more of a powerful classic blues sound.  It is the type of song that the band plays that really gets the crowd going.  You also get the beautiful slowed down intimate and melodic “Scream at the Night”.  This one has become a personal favorite of mine and is one that I seriously  cannot get enough of.  I love how soothing it is and the meaning behind the words.  I agree that the world really doesn’t “need another love song.”

“Raise a Little Hell” is a fun song that is along the lines of the previously recorded “Clap Your Hands.”  It is a song that just begs the audience to join in.  It was a ton of fun when I saw them play it live at Knuckleheads in KC and is one song that I can assure you, you don’t want to miss.  Even my children love getting to yell “we just came to raise a little hell,” which seems oddly appropriate most days.  It might even feel like a mantra to them since they so often enjoy raising a little hell here at home.

If you know a little bit about Reverend J Peyton plays the guitar and does lead vocals.  He grew up in southern Indiana and learned to play at a young age.  He really spent a lot of his free time learning how he was going to play the guitar just a little bit better.  One of the most amazing things about the band is seeing Josh play the guitar.  He is able to play the bass line with his thumb while he is playing the melody with his fingers.  Sometimes the interweaving of these two sounds so good that it is hard to believe that just one person is playing the guitar.  “Front Porch Trained” is a song that really shows off these impressive playing skills.

What’s more impressive is learning that he played a party just after graduating from high school only to wake up and find that he might never be able to play again.  He was suffering from severe pain in his hands.  This pain was so bad that he really believed that he was not going to play.  For someone who has only wanted to play music since he got that first guitar in his hands at 12 years old, this was devastating.  Thankfully for all of his fans, a special surgery helped him to be able to play again and led him to Breezy which helped the band to instantly come together.

When you hear “Music and Friends” you get a glimpse into his childhood dream.  Best of all this song really portrays the mentality that the Reverend has when with his fans.  He says that he just wants “to make music and friends” and that is so true.  You really feel like you are listening to a friend after you have been to so many shows.  He will walk up and greet you, say hello, and talk to you a bit like you are just an old friend stopping by for a drink.  This makes seeing a show so rewarding for the fans who feel like they get to really interact with the band.

One thing is for certain So Delicious is a fun and lively album that really shows off the band’s style, skills, and passions.  It is a perfect choice for fans who really get to relate to things and be a part of the music that is being played.

If you are interested in checking out this album for yourself you can purchase the CD here for just $14 (trust me it might end up being the best $14 you ever spend!).  You can also purchase the vinyl here for $18.

A Classic Choice for Spring Weddings, Mother’s Day, and More

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Feltman Brothers has been around for a long time.  In fact the company has been around since 1916.  That’s right, next year they will have been around for 100 years making classic baby, toddler, and children’s clothes.

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Of course classic does not mean outdated.  These close are beautifully vintage inspired designs that are made from high quality materials and are completely comfortable for your little one to wear.

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite designs from Feltman Brothers and the great places where your little one could wear them.

A Beautiful Choice for Spring and Summer Weddings

Almost every family is going to be invited to at least one wedding this spring or summer.  Planning what you are going to wear to a wedding can be super challenging.  When you shop at Feltman Brothers you will be able to easily pick up clothing for your children that is going to be perfectly suited to wedding season.

For Your Baby Boy

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The Boy’s Two With Car Embroidery ($53.95) is perfect for your baby boy.  It is a classic choice that is going to look great regardless of where the wedding is taking place.

Baby Girl

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The Bishop Dress with Pearls ($70.99) is the perfect choice for your baby girl during a wedding.  It is beautiful but simple, timeless, and classic.

Toddler Boy

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The Smocked Body Suit ($59.95) is a fun choice for your toddler.  It offers function and style with classic details and designs that make it perfect for a wedding.

Toddler Girl

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The Rose Garden Dress ($61.99) is beautiful and will make your toddler shine at any wedding that you attend.  It offers perfect timeless qualities while being made from comfortable but cool high quality materials.

Classic Styles to Celebrate Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and many moms find the day to be full of stress.  There are usually cameras out and you are sure to want your little ones looking great for pictures.  Well stop stressing and start shopping at Feltman Brothers.  If you shop now you can get your favorite outfit just in time to celebrate your special day.

Baby Boy

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The Boys 2 Piece Shortall with Appliqued Train ($53.85) offers moms the chance to have their baby boys in classic styles while spending their special day together.

Baby Girl

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The Girls Diaper Set with Scalloped Edges ($43.50) is a beautiful choice for any baby girl during your Mother’s Day celebrations.

Toddler Boy

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The Boys Cardigan with Rolled Edge ($39.95) is the perfect lightweight choice for your toddler to wear this Mother’s Day.  It will help keep him warm in air conditioned rooms (if you live somewhere warm) or outside in the cool air (if you live somewhere cooler).  It is adorable as well and can be dressed up or down to help fit your little one’s personality.

Toddler Girl

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The Sleeveless Dress with Pintucks and Lace ($63.99) is a gorgeous choice that is going to leave your little lady looking gorgeous next to you all day long.

Feltman Brothers produces beautiful high quality clothing.  Recently I was sent a dress to check out with Adeline.  She really likes the material of the dress and it has been one of her favorite choices when she gets to pick out her own clothes.  As you can tell from looking at these adorable classic styles, there really is no wrong time to choose Feltman Brothers for your child.

BubbleBum Creator Grainne Kelly Talks Carseat Safety, Travel, and More

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Carseat safety is easily one of the most debated parenting subjects.  There are those who are certified as a carseat specialist and are willing to be helpful to new moms but there are also those who think that they are better than moms who do not have the right information.  Once I spoke up about being told by my doctor and calling the police department and being told by them too to forward face my daughter just before her 1st birthday.

I later learned how dangerous this was for my baby and I turned her back around.  However this happened so I spoke up in a heated debate that sometimes people are given the wrong information.  The way that these other moms attacked me made me feel like a horrible and worthless mom.  It was scary enough when I found out the right information on my own.  I did not need some mom harping on me and badgering me for being “too stupid” to sit down and do hours of research about carseats.
In reality I was a full time working mom and just did not have time to spend time scouring the internet comparing carseat safety facts to try and figure out which ones were right.
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A few months ago I was able to send some questions to Grainne Kelly, the creator of Bubble Bum, to talk about carseat safety and awareness.  Here are my questions and her wonderful answers.
Me:  As a new mom I was unaware of all of the things that you need to consider when you are purchasing a carseat.  What would you say to a new mom about the process of finding a great carseat?
GK:  Find a child passenger safety technician when you are making the purchase.  They are trained to fit every car seat and will be completely impartial with their advice.  Not every carseat fits every car so that it is priority.  Know your baby’s weight before you go looking for a carseat as you will need this to make the decision.
Me:  How do you determine what carseat your child should be in?
GK:  The child’s height and weight are the two fundamental criteria for all carseats.  Try to get a seat that will keep your baby rear facing as long as possible, i.e. at least until the age of 2 as this is what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.
Me:  I have a daughter who is very petite for her age and she sat in a five point harness through kindergarten.  She would get upset because kids made fum of her so it was to keep her in there.  What would your advice be for someone in the same situation as me and my child?
GK:  Five point harness is safer for your child until they become heavier than the weight restriction of the seat.  I always ask, what is more important, your child’s life or their street cred?  A carseat should not be confused with a non fashionable coat that the child can put on and off when they feel that they don’t like it.  Explaining to the child from an early age very clearly what happens when they do not sit in the carseat should be enough.  BubbleBum is designed for kids who feel that they are too big for booster seats.  BubbleBum is a brand that is cool and comfy and the kids are quite proud to have something a little different from the norm.  Also because BubbleBum doesn’t make baby products, the brand is not seen as a ‘baby seat’ company.
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Me:  How do you gently share with someone the best carseat for their child?  Parents can so easily be offended when you try to share anything.
GK:  The number one priority is finding out how to help the child travel in the safest possible way.  Sometimes just sharing your own story can be enough rather than trying to change their opinion.  Parents do not put their children at risk intentionally, it is only through lack of education.  Directly the parent to a child passenger safety tech will be helpful as they are fully qualified on the safest method of travel.
Me:  I have read a lot lately about how unsafe it is for children to be in their coats in carseats.  Can you share some safety tips for shopping for carseat safe coats or when you should remove your child’s coat in the car?
GK:  Put the coat on the child and set the straps on the carseat.  Remove the coat and look at the straps, if you can pinch more than an inch on the straps then the coat is too bulky.  Wind cheaters are best and if you need to remove the coat, simply strap the child into their seat and put the coat on backwards over the straps (provided of course that there is no hood).
Me:  A lot of families are going to be traveling soon.  It can be so tempting to take your baby out of the carseat to feed them or calm them when they are upset.  Do you have any tips for anyone who might be in this situation?
GK:  If your baby needs feeding while traveling, please remember that removing them from the carseat when the car is in motion is a really poor decision.  Pull over to the side of the road or try to schedule driving times around feeding.  Your muscles will not be able to hold a baby in the event of a crash.  Not even the Terminator is strong enough to hold a baby during a crash.
Me:  Speaking of travels, how do you easily entertain kids of different ages in the car safely?
GK:  For small babies and younger kids we try to use soft toy and fabric book options, as well as movies and music.  For older kids we keep a plastic tub of toy soldiers and finger toys so they can have some imaginative play while traveling.  Top Trumps is also a family favorite of ours for kids of all ages.  We tend to keep one special game (a new one) for that part of the journey where the kids are tiring of the normal Ispy, etc and produce it as a distraction.  It is all about distraction from the journey.  Dry snacks and alphabet snacks are also really fun for the kids to play with together.  Try to make the journey part of the vacation too.  All kids want is for someone to tlak to them and for someone to listen most of the time.  Our marathon 2 hour game of “I went to the shop and bought….” is a favorite with children and adults alike.
Me:  Also, when a child is sleeping what position should they be in while they are sitting in their carseats?  Sometimes I get worried because of how my child is laying on their necks and such.  Is there anything that can make this more comfortable for them?
GK:  If a child is going to fall asleep in the car, please ensure that the vehicle straps remain in the correct position.  Even though children look uncomfortable, quite often they are perfectly fine, lets face it otherwise they wouldn’t be asleep!  We will have a solution on the market for this early 2015, called the SNECK. 
If you are wanting to know a little bit more about Grainne Kelly and BubbleBum.  Here are a few facts to help you out.
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Grainne Kelly is a Safe Kids USA certified CPST, travel expert, and the inventor of BubbleBum, the first ever inflatable booster seat, which has made traveling easier than ever!  It’s the perfect solution for car rides, fly-ins with car rentals, cab rides, and everyday car pooling.  Weighing in at less than one pound, BubbleBum can deflate in minutes making it simple to throw in a backpack or large purse.  BubbleBum includes belt positioning clips in place of arm rests, so it is possible to fit three boosters across the backseat of a car, minivan, or SUV.  Kids also love the car booster seat’s fun colors!
The BubbleBum booster seat is available for you at http://bubblebum.us and WalMart Stores.

The Perfect Simple Baby Shower Gift

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Have you ever been invited to a baby shower for someone that you did not really know?  Do you hate being the one to ALWAYS buy something from the registry?  But do you want to make sure that the item that you buy is actually going to be used?

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Well here is one thing that I can assure you as a mom is a great baby shower gift.  In fact I personally did not receive one of these when I had babies and I did buy a small diaper clutch that was similar but really I  wish that I had been lucky enough to receive the Cozy Cover On-The-Go Changing Pad when I was pregnant.

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So Simple, But So Useful

For such a simple gift this thing is awesome!!! I will be honest.  I get invited to a lot of baby showers where I really do not know the mom or dad personally.  In fact, I know the grandparents or it is my mom’s friend’s daughter or something like that.  I go and I always take a gift but sometimes I just want to take something useful and different.

An Easy Go To Gift

This is my new go to gift.  I can pair it with diaper rash cream, diapers, and wipes and I know that it is going to be used.  I love that the gift is practical and something that most moms do not even think about registering for.

What I Love Most

Here are the top five things that I love most about the Cozy Cover On-The-Go Changing Pad.

Practical

A on the go changing station is always practical.  Plus with the size it can be kept anywhere and always taken with you so that you do not end up in a situation where you do not have what you need for a diaper change.

Affordable

The Cozy Cover On-The-Go Changing Pad retails for $9.98.  That’s right if you do not know someone and just want to take a small gift, this one is under $10!!  I love the price point and was quite surprised by the quality because the diaper clutch that I chose was more expensive and did not have the same features that I love about this one.  In fact if I had owned both, the other would have never been used!

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The Changing Pad

Okay so we have all had that gross moment where are very squirmy and wiggly baby is getting their hands or bodies off of the changing mat.  Normal changing mats are so thin that it is really hard to change your baby on there after the first two months.  This one works great and is big enough that your little one can wiggle without getting off of the mat.

The Room

I cloth diapered so when I tested this product I tried it out with cloth diapers in mind.  I liked that there was a enough room for diapers, wipes, and a small container of diaper rash cream.  It was easy to tuck it all away and I would have been able to take everything that I needed with me.

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The Design

Another thing that I really love about the Cozy Cover On-The-Go Changing Mat is the design.  I love that it is all one piece and very easy to put it back together.  With other designs they are often two pieces and it can be tricky trying to juggle a baby, fold a changing mat, and get it put back together.  This design is so much easier that it would be especially nice for nervous first time moms.

Keeping up with the latest baby trends can help you to find great gifts for those baby showers that you get invited to.  The Cozy Cover On-The-Go Changing Mat is one great design that you are sure to love and one that is going to be the perfect gift any time.

10 Ways to Use BooginHead’s SplatMat if You Don’t Have a Baby or Toddler

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

So I see so many blogs out there writing about this great product but it is always targeted as something that is just for babies and toddlers.  Well I am here to tell you that this is not true.  In fact I am going to share with you ten of the ways that I continue to use the BooginHead SplatMat with myself and my children who are all over the age of 3.

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I guess before I can tell you how I use the SplatMat that I should share with you a few things about the SplatMat.  The SplatMat is a great little mat that is made from a thick plastic material.  It is reusable and is made to last for a while.  In fact I have found that mine is holding up really well and we actually use it all of the time!

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The idea behind the SplatMat is that you have a waterproof clean place to sit with your baby and toddler when you are out and about.  The great thing that I have found is that it is something that actually fits in almost all of my purses and is something that I can take with me wherever I go.  Some of the places and ways that I have used it might surprise you.

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Perfect Picnic Spot

The most popular use for our SplatMat is as a picnic spot.  We picnic a lot with the kids because they love it.  They love being able to run and play while we are eating.  I hate for our eating area to be dirty.  While we do own picnic blankets that are larger, if we have a hike to where we are eating or if we have an impromptu picnic we have the SplatMat to save the day.  I actually keep mine in my big bag that goes everywhere with me.  It is not my purse but it is a second bag that I keep a change of clothes and other essentials in.

Camping Shoe Mat

Another great use that I have found for the SplatMat is that it make the perfect “welcome rug” for your tent.  It is waterproof and plastic.  You can throw it in the wash when you get home and it provides a nice place to stand and take off your shoes before stepping into the tent.

Concerts and Festivals

We also use our SplatMat when we are at concerts and festivals.  It is really handy to carry with you in a purse (it fits in my mid-sized crossbody bag really well.  It will keep you from having to sit down on wet or dirty ground which is always a plus for me.

City Parks

When you are visiting the local park like I do a lot, then it is likely that you sit down if your kids are old enough to play independently.  This year I am looking forward to quiet days at the park while I read books on my blanket.  One great thing about the SplatMat is that it is the perfect space for me to sit while my kids are playing.  If they get wood chips or sand on it, it brushes right off.  It is really a handy item to keep in the car for trips to the park.

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Restaurants

This one is not one that you will use if you do not have semi-youngish children.  I have found that the SplatMat makes the perfect handy mat to throw under a toddler’s chair at a restaurant.  Most of the time Adeline is not too messy but when we are out to eat and there is rice involved it is a different story.  Since rice is one of her favorite foods and I hate leaving a mess for servers to clean up, I have found that the SplatMat fits right under her chair and catches all of the rice which I can carry out and throw away when I get home.

Rain Protection

I will admit that the SplatMat is not the best rain protection available today.  However, when I was recently caught out in the rain and had a nice little walk to get home I was able to use the SplatMat as a makeshift rain fly for our stroller.  It worked well and she was mostly dry.

Watching Games

My son plays soccer so we attend a lot of soccer games.  There are not a lot of bleachers at our soccer fields.  Sometimes I do not feel like lugging chairs around, especially if I am alone with four kids at the game.  In these cases the SplatMat really does make a great place to sit during the game.

At the Beach

I love the beach but I hate getting sand all over everything.  I have found that the SplatMat is a must for each time that you go to  the beach because the sand, whether wet or dry, will just brush off.  It is so handy to be able to spread it out and have a place to sit and eat lunch or enjoy a snack.

At the Water Park

Recently we went to an indoor water park with our kids.  It wasn’t very crowded so I did not feel the need to rent a $20 locker for our stuff.  I did want to keep our stuff from getting wet as much as possible so I tucked the SplatMat around it and it was nice and dry when we were ready to leave.

Hiking

Finally I find that the SplatMat works great if you are on a hike and need a quick place to rest.  It also works well to have a nice place for your children to eat a snack or even take a short nap just off the trail before you continue on.

The SplatMat is one “baby” product that you are going to keep around for a long time.  Even if you do not have a baby, you might find that it is great choice for you to be able to take along with you just about anywhere that you go.

Does Your Child Struggle to Buckle Up? Well, Not Anymore

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

As a mom of four I have seen my fair share of struggles with my children.  I have seen them stressed out and struggling to do something that is hard for them and more.  One of the things that I have noticed over time is that meltdowns and bad behavior often follow frustration.  So if I can do something to prevent one of children from being frustrated then I do it.

One thing that both my five year old and my six year old struggle with is being able to easily buckle themselves in when there are other things in the car.  They seem to be able to do fine as long as no one else is next to them but if there are toys for a long trip or if we are in the car where there are three carseats across then they really have a hard time getting themselves buckled up.

This has led to a melt down on more than one occasion.  It has led to quite a few big meltdowns in fact so it is something that I try to avoid at all costs.  Thankfully I was introduced to MyBuckleMate and I know that this is at least one frustration that I can take care of for my children.

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MyBuckleMate is this really cool clip that fits around the buckle so that your child can easily buckle their safety belt on their own.  There are quite a few things that I really find to be great about this product.  I am sure that you will appreciate them as well.

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MyBuckleMate Allows Your Child to Gain Independence

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Teaching your child to be independent is hard work.  If you are like me, you want your child to want to be with you but that does not mean that it isn’t just a little bit frustrating when they need you to do everything for them.  With MyBuckleMate they will be able to buckle their safety belt on their own.

Save Time When Getting in the Car

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Another thing that I love is that you can save time when you are getting in the car and getting ready to go.  Do you know how frustrating it is when you have somewhere to be and you can not seem to get all of your children loaded and in the car quick enough?  Well, this is the answer to your problem.  Your child is actually going to be able to buckle up on their own which makes life so much easier for you.

So overall MyBuckleMate is a great little invention that really does what it is meant to do.  Best of all, it can make life just a little bit easier for moms.  Our job is hard enough as is so why make things harder on yourself?  Oh and if you think that this is just for people which older children in booster seats, you’re wrong.  I have found that it also works great for making it easier to buckle in a carseat.

Knuckleheads and the Rev Proved to be One Night I am Glad I Didn’t Miss

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Last night proved to be another amazing night with the Rev, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band that is.  As always Breezy was blazing on her washboard and the Rev showed his own amazing ability to play guitar.  I have been a HUGE fan of the band for a number of years now.  I think that the reason that I keep coming back for more is that they are just damn good.

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Since I have been a fan for years there are some songs that I crave seeing at each show.  While I will admit a little big of disappointment that I did not get to hear Mama’s Fried Potatoes, I was delighted that I got to hear Two Bottles of Wine.  I also was very excited to hear some of their new tracks from the newest album So Delicious.  Raise a Little Hell and Front Porch Train are quickly turning into new favorites.  I have seen them both played live the last few shows that I went to.

As a fan I love the amazing interactions that you get to have The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band.  I was delighted to run into the Rev as I was walking into Knuckleheads.  I got to have a short conversation with him about how I wished that I got to see them more these days.  I feel blessed that I have been able to see them so many times but I would love to see them more.  The Kansas City show did mark my fifth state to see them in.  Yes I have seen them in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, and now Missouri.

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I do have a slight request for the band if they are reading this….kids size shirts please please please.  Yes, you have onesies but my little ones are far past the onesie stage and they are big damn fans.

In fact, just yesterday, I had the four of them in an antique store and my 5 year old, Huxley, looked up at a washboard on a wall and said “hey, it’s that instrument that Breezy plays.”  Yes, he has no clue that a washboard was once used to wash clothes but instead he knows that it is the instrument of choice for Breezy.  As a mom, even though the antique shop owner was looking at me oddly, this was a very proud moment and one that continues to make me believe that taking the kids to see live music in the summers has been one of the best decisions that I have made.

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As for Knuckleheads,  I must say that when I was inside this garage turned bar that I fell in love.  The place is really cool.  They have this amazing waist high bench where you can set your purse and beer while you dance.  Seriously this is something that every single bar needs because I have never seen something so great.  I am a girl and I always have my bag with me.  Usually this makes for a painful night trying to dance and not knock someone out.  However here I could just throw it down in front of me.  Perfect!!!  Also the beer selection was decent, yes I could drink some Boulevard Single Wide….and the food looked good (but I had just eaten some BBQ so I was not hungry!).

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How to Save Money on Home Repairs

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

As a homeowner, taking care of your home is extremely important. By taking care of your home, you lengthen the life of your home, ensuring that you have a well-cared for place to live as you get older. Plus, you also ensure your home keeps its value, which is important when it comes to building equity in your home, whether you want to use it now or at a later date.

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Most homeowners know that caring for your home costs money, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Everybody likes finding ways to save money, and the following are a few great ways that you can save money on your home repairs.

Conduct Routine Maintenance Checks

One way to save money on home repairs is to catch and treat any underlying problems before they become expensive nightmares. Make it a point to do some routine maintenance checks around your home. Inspect your pipes and water supply, and look for signs of leaking or water damage. Inspect your circuit breaker box and your outlets, etc. You should also inspect the outside of your home for exterior damage. If you notice any issues, you should hire a professional to come examine the issue more thoroughly.

Be Proactive

Another great way to save money on home repairs is to be proactive about your home, your safety, and your maintenance. For example, if you live in an area that’s prone to earthquakes, you should install some earthquake prevention metrics throughout your home, such as securing large furniture to walls, installing earthquake valves on your water pipes, and investing in a backup generator. When you’re proactive, you eliminate the risk of having major damage happen to your home at a later date. Plus, the cost of preparing your home and being proactive is significantly less than what you’d spend if something went wrong.

Tackle Some Projects Yourself

If you have smaller projects around the home, you can save some money by tackling the project yourself instead of hiring a professional to do the job. When you do the work yourself, you will only need to spend money on the items you need, not on the labor too. When it comes to repairs, the labor is usually the most expensive part, so opting to do the job you can result in a significant savings. Plus, thanks to YouTube and other DIY websites and articles, you can learn how to do just about anything yourself.

Get Multiple Quotes

Sometimes a home repair project may be too much for you to handle, and that’s okay. When this occurs, the best way to save money is to get multiple quotes. If you end up taking the first quote you receive, you’ll likely spend more than you have to. By getting quotes, you can compare different professionals against one another. Plus, if you let them know that you’re shopping around, you may start to receive some discounts or other incentives from the company in order to receive your business.

Planning Your Perfect Easter

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Do you try to make every single holiday perfect for your children?  I struggle with trying to make holidays perfect for my four children.  One of the things that I tend to do is make things too big for them.  I tend to go WAY overboard and this year I decided that it was time to spend time thinking about the things that are more important than gifts.  So we have decided to cut back some with our children.  However I am determined to make this year’s holidays just as great as the holidays from the past.  We are just doing things differently.

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Steps for the Perfect Easter

Step 1 — Find the Baskets

The first step for me when planning the perfect Easter was to find the perfect baskets for my kids.  I chose the following adorable baskets from the The Girly Twirly Gift Company and have been very impressed with the quality, size, style, and choices that were available.  I was able to get something for each of the kids and was able to find the perfect choices thanks to all of the options that were available.

The Pink Polka Dot Personalized Treat Bucket ($18) was perfect for Adeline.  This bucket is adorable and girly and she was able to easily carry it with her when she was getting eggs.  It is the perfect basket choice for a little one.

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The Navy Stripe Personalized Easter Mini Tote ($18) was perfect for Andrew.  He is going to be able to use it again and it is easily filled with age appropriate items for my tween.

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The Lime Monogrammed Mini Market Tote ($26) was a great choice for Huxley.  He was able to carry it when it was full of eggs at the egg hunt and it is just the right size for him to enjoy.

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The Aqua Seahorse Personalized Large Market Tote ($36) was also great for Althea.  I love the design on this one and think that it is just too cute.  I had let the kids pick out which colors and prints they liked this year and I was so excited when she picked out the seahorses.

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I would highly recommend The Girly Twirly Gift Company for all of your Easter basket needs.  If you do not need Easter baskets still these would be perfect for Teacher Appreciation Week gifts, Mother’s Day or those upcoming baby showers that we all have this spring.

Step 2 — Think of a Theme

One thing that I think looks cute is when Easter baskets have a theme.  This year I chose items that would fill our Easter baskets that fit different themes.  Huxley’s theme was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Adeline’s theme were her favorites — ponies and Frozen, Althea’s was Frozen, and Andrew’s was all about things that he enjoys.

Step 3 — Choose Practical Gifts

I have always picked up a ton of little Easter themed stuff for the kids’ baskets in the past.  This year I was determined to do things differently.  So they each received a water bottle which is a practical gift since we use water bottles all of the time.

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Step 4 — Find Things to Help Make Your Kids Smarter

I love finding gifts that make my kids smarter.  This year each of their Easter baskets have two age appropriate books in them.  I chose books that were part of their themes too!

Step 5 — Throw In Something for Fun

My kids love bubbles so I threw bubbles in their Easter baskets so that they’d have something that was a little fun in there as well.  This is a cheap little filler that made their baskets more fun.  I also added one bigger item (a projector night light for the middle two, coloring book and crayons for Adeline, and an IOU for Andrew for some hooks that he wants  for his medals to be displayed in his room — they don’t sell these locally or online but they sell them in KC where we are going the day after Easter!).  Plus I added one or two small eggs that are filled with treats.  The baskets are cute and definitely not overdone as they have been in the past.

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