Sammy Makes Six
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Inspiring His Style for Back-to-School

This post has been sponsored by Mirum, all opinions are my own.

It's that time of the year - the kids are headed back-to-school. Which means that if you're a parent, you're probably in the thick of back-to-school chaos: back-to-school shopping, orientations, last minute doctors appointments, etc. We've been at it for a few weeks now and are pretty close to being completely done, just in the nick of time because our school starts this Wednesday. That's in just two days! 

As excited as we are to watch the kiddos set off on a new school year, you still can't help but worry about them a little bit too. The two girls will be just fine because they attend the same grade and always have each other, but as the oldest, Angel is off on his own.

Last year was a bit challenging for Angel as it was his first year at a new school, he had to make new friends and get used to a very different curriculum - a much harder one than he was used to. Because their school is a very demanding one, there were a few moments where we weren't sure that he would make it to the end of the year without being sent back to his old school, or if he would be promoted to the next grade. 

But with a lot of extra work and effort Angel made it through and is ready to face the new school year head on. Having been there a full year now, he knows the expectations of his school and knows he has to work at full steam from day 1. Plus being the second year at the same school, he now has a small batch of good friends to hang out with and he feels more confident in his skin.  

Confidence plays a major role in all our lives, especially teenagers. Do you remember how hard it was to be a teen? I do! That's why we've always made an effort to help this kid find his style and his way forth. As parents, we want to control everything right down to the clothes our kids wear, like we did when they were babies. But Angel is almost 14 and has his own opinions on style and how he wants to carry himself, which seem to change pretty often. 

One thing that is a constant though is his personal care - and here is another area where we get to inspire him, by building him a perfect AXE Back To School Kit filled with products from his two favorite AXE scents from Ralphs: Axe Gold and Axe Phoenix. Did you know that AXE now makes shampoo + conditioner plus body wash too? 

Which is perfect because now Angel has an entire personal care regimen in his favorite scents that he can mix and match including: Axe Gold Body Spray and Body Wash, Axe Phoenix 2in 1 Shampoo + Conditioner, Body Wash,  and Antiperspirant Deodorant. Having an entire range of his favorite products at his fingertips, goes a long way to ensuring that he actually uses them. We've already gone through those years where he wasn't interested in showers and smelled like onion rings - believe me, we don't want to go back.

If you have a child in this age range then you probably worry about bullying as much as we do. That's why we are happy to support AXE in their partnership with Ditch The Label, an anti-bullying organization. For each purchase of an AXE Styling product this summer at  Kroger family of stores, AXE will donate $0.25 to Ditch The Label, with a guaranteed minimum donation of $50k and a max donation of $125k. Void where prohibited. 

Click the link to find out more information about Ditch The Label

Whether it's giving him the tools to fight bullying or the tools to help him smell and look great, we are here for it all. As a parent, it's our job to equip these kids as best as possible so that they can be ready to deal with what life has to throw at them. Helping them build self esteem and confidence in their own skin (which includes proper hygiene) is as important as buying a really cool school wardrobe. 

Inspiring Angel to find his own style, while always being true to himself is so important. As he enjoys his last two days off from school, I hope we've done enough to help him navigate his way through this new year. 

As you're finishing the last of this year's back-to-school shopping, don't forget to stop by your local Ralphs to stock up on his AXE favorites using the Digital Coupons below. 

  • Buy ONE (1) Axe Body Spray product, get ONE (1) Axe Body Wash product FREE (excludes trial and travel sizes). 
  • Save $1 on any ONE (1) Axe Hair product (excludes trial and travel sizes). 
  • Save $1 on any ONE (1) Axe Deodorant or Antiperspirant product (excludes trial and travel sizes). 

Tips for Keeping School Lunches Fun & Easy

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LunchesWithLove #PackedWithLove #CollectiveBias

Summer flew right by and once again it is the busiest time of the year, the back-to-school season! In just a few short weeks these kiddos are going to be back in class -- enjoying a whole new school year and getting their education on. Luckily, all of our kids attend the same k-12 school, which means that our mornings are not as crazy as they could be, like when I was dropping kids off at three different schools. But even so - our mornings are just like any other household's weekday morning, hectic and stressful.

Our school does not offer a lunch program. That means that on the daily, we have to pack 5 snacks and 5 lunches, plus some extra snacks for walking home or the after school program. That's a lot of lunch and snack prep! Today I am sharing just a few tips for making lunch and snack prep a little easier for you, the person that has a long list of to-do's, every single morning.

Tips for Keeping School Lunches Fun & Easy

The first tip for keeping school lunches and snacks fun and easy for kiddos is to pack them in a cute lunch bag. One of the best things about going back to school is new school gear, and that includes and fun lunch bag! Letting the kids pick their own lunch bag allows them to let their personality to show through and they will be happy to reach for their lunch bag several times a day.

Purchasing cute and colorful containers and ice packs are another way to keep things fun and fresh for the kids. Two snacks and one lunch per day, for an entire year can get pretty tedious. Changing up the contents of their lunch bag goes a long way to keeping kids from getting bored.

Pack the main lunch bento-style so no time is wasted opening up packages, especially for the little ones. Here I try to change up their daily sandwich and fruit, while always including something crunchy and yummy like Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels. These are some of their favorite pretzels and the mini size is perfect for packing in a lunch box.  

Snyder’s of Hanover has been America’s pretzel bakery since 1909. With simple ingredients and robust flavor, Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels are always in our pantry and they make a great addition to any lunch bag. Nothing livens up a lunch more than the hearty crunch of Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels.

Keep snack times easy for the kids by including a few packs of Snyder’s of Hanover lunch packs Mini or Sticks. These pre-packed options, make grab-n-go easy for the kids, plus the portion size is that perfect snack time amount -- they can enjoy a quick snack and then grab some playground time.  

These perfectly portioned 100 calorie packs of mini pretzels are made with unbleached wheat flour, in a peanut-free facility - safe for school! Each pack contains 10 100-calorie bags and make packing easy and quick. Make sure to add extras for sharing!

One of the most important tips that I can share with any parent when it comes to packing school lunches is to pack what the kids will eat. It makes zero sense to pack a lunch that the kids will pick at or even throw out. These kids are in school for so many hours in a day, they need to have happy tummies if they are to concentrate and feel good.

So even if it means that we have to prepare sandwiches and cut up fruit the night before, each child gets what they like. Angel likes PB&J's, Anthony likes turkey with mustard, Julius no mustard just mayo and the two girls get ham and cheese. Sure -- it would be easier to make a week's worth of sandwiches over the weekend and just throw them in the lunch bags each morning, but half of those would be coming back at the end of each day and we would have some hangry kids.

When they open their lunch bag each day at school, kids should be happy and excited. Lunches are a little extension of a parents love for each child and a full kid is a happy kid.

Look out for an offer in your weekly circular for a chance to save on Snyder’s of Hanover® and Lance® products starting 7/29/18 until 9/30/18. Now is the time to stock that pantry up in preparation for back-to-school.

  • Save $1.00 on ANY 2 Lance® Sandwich cracker or peanut multipack 8oz or larger
  • Save $1.00 on ANY 2 Snyder’s of Hanover® Products 5oz or larger

Need more ideas for packing back-to-school lunches with love? Click the image below to enter the Back to School Mega Event Sweepstakes for a chance at a weekly packed with love lunchbox prize. Prizes include: $2,500 scholarship, Laptop, tablets and more!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. LIMIT ONE (1) PRIZE PER PERSON. The Sweepstakes begins 7/16/18 at 12:00:01 AM ET and ends 8/26/18 at 11:59:59 PM ET. Open only to eligible legal 50 US/DC residents who are 18 years or older and the age of majority. Subject to Official Rules available at See Official Rules for daily entry instructions, odds of winning, prize details, restrictions, etc. There are ninety (90) prizes available. The total approximate retail value of all prizes to be awarded is $23,238. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. Sponsor: S-L Snacks National, LLC, 13515 Ballantyne Corporate Place, Charlotte, NC 28277. Administrator: US Sweepstakes & Fulfillment Co., 625 Panorama Trail, Suite 2100, Rochester, NY 14625.

Heading Back-to-School With Cute School Gear

This post has been sponsored by Babblebox, on Behalf of Justice. However, all opinions are my own.

I can't believe how quickly summer has just flown by. In 3 1/2 weeks, our kids are headed back to class, which means it's back-to-school shopping time! I actually really do look forward to shopping for a new school year with Sammy. She is the last of my kids and she is my last go at the whole back-to-school thing. She's going into 6th grade this year, so I do have six more years to go, but if you're a parent then you know how quickly the years pass by. Needless to say, I enjoy the back-to-school season and having this time with my child to prepare her for a new school year. 

Plus, who doesn't love to go shopping! We love taking a few full days to hit the mall and slowly go through the list of items she needs. And of course we always have to make a stop at her favorite store, Justice. I have been shopping at this store since my older girls were young and it was called Limited Too. That was also their favorite store, which is why it was no surprise when Sammy turned 7 and decided that this is where she wanted to do the majority of her shopping as well. 

As usual, Justice has hit it out of the park when it comes to the back-to-school selection. Sammy was lucky enough to receive a few items as part of this campaign, and she is in love with everything. These are probably the very same items she would have picked in-store for herself. 

She received the: 
Ombre Foil Dot Initial Backpack Sammy's favorite, but it's not just cute. It's super practical for her school life and everything she needs in a backpack to get her through the entire year. 
Ombre Foil Dot Initial Lunch Tote: under $13 and the perfect size for a lunch and snack, plus extra drinks. 
Ombre Foil Dot Initial Water Bottle: A must-have at Sammy's school. We live in a very hot area which requires a few water bottles a day. Now she can take her own bottle, less waste and more affordable than purchasing water bottles.
Ombre Foil Dot Initial Pencil Case: what a cute way to store her pencils and erasers. 

She also received a graphic tee with a cute and colorful design. Sam loves Justice Graphic Tees and this one just makes her happy. It'll definitely be a fun one for her to wear on free-dress days at school. 

Let's talk about the Ombre Foil Dot Initial set and how cute it is! Sammy is all about that sparkle and having her initial on her backpack, lunchbox and even her water bottle is pretty darn cool. 

The Ombre Foil Dot Initial Backpack (available in 13 initials) is Sammy's favorite. Because her school is uniform-only, her backpack is one of the only ways she can show off her personal style and each year she always picks something super fun and cute. The Ombre Foil Dot Initial Backpack is not just cute though, it has padded straps for comfortable toting, her backpack is super heavy year round so this is very important. It has two side pockets, again important for water bottles and drinks. It has a very large front pocket that will fit her daily folder and loads of room inside. And, look at that pompom - that will definitely perk up her navy school uniform. 

This is the face of a happy girl who is super thrilled with her colorful and vibrant, sparkly back-to-school goodies. It's going to be fun to look for other matching school supplies.

With her new backpack, cool graphic tee and Justice jeggings, she now has the perfect outfit for free-dress days and can't wait for the first one. 

My favorite part about shopping at Justice with Sammy is that she is able to show off her personality and different styles. Whether it's a dress for the school awards program or her everyday sporty gear, we can find it all in one place, and most of the time we score some amazing deals! So definitely - stop on by next time you're in the mall. Or better yet, run on over because the girl backpacks are going to be so popular, you can't wait till last minute!

Find all the Justice items we have shared in this post online or in-store. We will be stopping by this weekend to pick up my granddaughters backpack and she's already eyeing the Unicorn Flip Sequin one. It's going to be a fun shopping trip for sure.

Tips to Keeping Your Home in Tip-top Shape for Your Family (and Your Cat)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreeandCleanLiving #CollectiveBias

When I was growing up my siblings and I were not allowed to have pets. My mom believed that it wasn't possible to have pets in a home, and still maintain a clean house. If you're a pet parent then you know it's completely possible-- just because you have pets doesn't mean your home has to smell bad or be dirty. Right now there are over 6 cats in my place and one dog and besides finding cat hair collected throughout several corners (they seems to gather there every 5 minutes), you might not know that there is an entire cat family living there. 

Helping Him Find His Style w/ AXE

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Mirum, all opinions are my own. 

This kid...he's getting to be so grown up! Now when I look at him it's hard to believe that he's that same little boy with the big hair (just like abuelitas) and the big smile who could not put down his toys. Now what he can't put down is his cell phone. They grow up way too quickly don't they?

Watching him grow has definitely been interesting, especially seeing the changes that have taken place in just a span of a few years. He went from hating to brush his teeth, we literally had to stand at the sink and watch him brush every morning and night, to now waiting for him in the car each morning because he refuses to leave without also rinsing. Now he is all about the fresh breath. 

He also went from being so-so about showers to showering daily and always making sure he smells good. He's been using AXE products since last year and has a few favorite scents. Plus he lives for the days that his uniform school allows them free dress day, so he can wear his cool clothes and show off some of his personal style. 

Because he has an affinity for AXE products, I am always on the lookout for a good deal to keep him stocked up. His favorite scent is AXE Phoenix, which he uses in the entire range: Antiperspirant Deodorant, 2-in-1 Shampoo + Conditioner, Body Wash and the Body Spray. Plus with the current Ralphs digital offer, I grabbed him a Body Spray in the NEW AXE Gold scent, for some mixing and matching.

Save $2 on any TWO (2) Axe products (excludes trial and travel sizes). Offer is valid from 4/30 - 5/27.  Access the digital coupon via the Ralphs app and have it ready for your next shopping trip to Ralphs.

I think AXE has actually played a pretty big role in Angel becoming more responsible when it comes to his personal care. It was about a year ago when he got his first AXE products, with his own personal shower caddie filled with shower goodies, that he really began to enjoy being a more cleaner and better version of himself. 

If you're struggling with a teen who needs a little bit of guidance when it comes to hygiene, giving them a shower caddie filled with personal care products might just give them that boost they need. It doesn't even have to be the Body Spray -- you can start off with the Antiperspirant Deodorant, 2-in-1 Shampoo + Conditioner and the Body Wash (Angel's favorite).  

Hey, if all it takes is a body wash to get teen boys into a shower, then let's buy them oodles and oodles of them. 

If your son has a school gym or sports bag, then don't forget to stock up doubles. Angel doesn't leave the house without a deodorant in his backpack. 

Angel still has a lot of growing up to do and I'm sure the ride is going to be even more interesting to watch from now on. Bring on the teen angst and grumpy behavior that is common in teenagers. At least we can feel good knowing that he smells good as he takes all those twist and turns that teen life is made up of.

It's easy to help #InspireHisStyle by stocking up on his AXE favorites, especially when a good deal comes long like the Save $2.00 on 2 (currently at Ralphs). What are some of your sons favorite AXE products?