Fashion Friday: Where the Wild Things Are

Posted by Carly Morgan

Where the Wild Things Are clothing at Target

I know, I know. It’s the day before Halloween and I should be sharing all kids of Halloween things but c’mon…you guys have your Halloween together and if you don’t by now, I don’t think I can help.

What I can do is share a thousand bazillion photos of my son because (1) ohmypumpkinlookatthatface and (2) this shirt is on CLEARANCE at Target and I saw it and I almost bought it again because I love it that much and then I realized I only have the one son. So that means youuuuu should buy it! Because I’m sorry, but even if it wasn’t on the cutest son I have, it would still be the cutest shirt I’ve ever seen.

I'll Eat You Up shirtTarget boys clothingCalvin in Target shirtCute Where the Wild Things Are shirtLittle boy Where the Wild Things Are shirtToddler Boy in Striped Shirt from TargetShirt with book quote "I'll Eat You Up"Back of Where the Wild Things Are shirt

Crafting with Airheads: Weave Custom Candies

Posted by Carly Morgan

This post has been sponsored by Airheads. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Woven Airheads Candy Craft

Of all the candies safe for Eva’s nut allergies, Airheads is one of our favorites. It travels well, takes up no space in the diaper bag, and is fun to play with. To be honest, I’ll take Airheads over modeling clay any day because it smells a lot better and the kids eat whatever they create (saving me from having to find shelf space for yet another art project!). One of Eva’s favorite activities is to make miniature fruit shapes out of her Airheads until she has a whole fruit salad going on. Calvin prefers to make himself mustaches.

This project, however, is part candy fun and part homeschooling genius. One of the life skills that Eva is working on is the concept of weaving and it turns out that Airheads are a ton of fun to weave. They stretch and bend nicely and at the end of it you’ve created a big custom candy in your favorite colors. I’m just happy to have another outlet for Eva to practice her manual dexterity and it’s not like Eva’s going to complain when I start pulling out the Airheads!

First, pick your Airheads. It doesn’t really matter which you go for, but I did four of my favorites for this example:

Airheads Craft

Unwrap the bars, use a rolling pin to flatten them a bit, and carefully slice each bar into three strips. To make an even square, it usually takes just about six bars (with a little leftover to keep little hands happy).

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Put two of the strips perpendicular to each other, press gently on the corners to create a frame, and start your weaving.

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Little tip: keep the strips close together if you’re planning on cutting shapes out of the finished square. It makes the lines on the shape a little cleaner.

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Once your mat is woven, use your rolling pin to press the colors together (a few passes should do) and then use your cookie cutters if you’re making shapes. Push the cookie cutter into the mat and then use your hands to peel the excess from around the edge of the shape before you remove the cookie cutter.

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Voila! Are they not cute??

Woven Airheads Candy

Eva uses the cookie cutters sometimes, but the best part of this activity for her is the weaving. She can weave for a long time, changing the color patterns, moving the strips around, and sneaking a little bit off the end every now and then. For four years old, I’m really proud of her mad candy weaving skills.

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Even if she doesn’t use the cookie cutters, she always comes up with a creative use for her woven candy mats. Like making a telescope…

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Kids are weird.

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There isn’t a lot of prep with this one and clean up is easy, so consider this if you’re looking for a sweet party activity but you’re worried about guests who have nut allergies or who can’t be around gluten. These candies are totally safe for those groups and (as Eva has demonstrated), all you have to do is provide the candy strips and stand back. This candy is begging to be played with.

For more fun ideas on how to craft with Airheads visit and follow them on Pinterest. To learn more about Airheads candy visit their website and follow them on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

Posted by Ever Clever Mom on Thursday, October 29, 2015

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Crafting with Airheads- Weave Custom Candies

A Preschool Potion Making Playdate

Posted by Carly Morgan

A Preschool Potion Playdate Four year olds love glitter, getting messy, and being with their friends. So, naturally, this glittery potion making playdate was a hit! The good news is that it only cost me about $30 (including new toys!) and took about 15 minutes to prep and 15 minutes to clean up. I got the idea from Little Charmers, a preschool show on Nick Jr. The show is focused on three friends who all have magical powers and the theme of the show is that you can do anything with friends, so I knew that a playdate was in order and wanted to surprise the girls with both a fun activity and a few little surprises to inspire them. I received a package with a few Little Charmers toys, so I picked up a matching set at the toy store. That way both friends would get a new friend of their own (stuffed pals from the show) and a wand for creating magic. Little Charmers toys To set the scene, I arranged for a lunchtime playdate (complete with kid food) and started by letting the kids watch an episode of Little Charmers online so they’d be familiar with the characters. Little Charmers IMG_8621 While they were enjoying the show, I wrapped their surprises up (no names – it was a surprise to me to see who got what!) and wrapped our dining table in some festive gift wrap because easy clean up is the name of the game around here. Little Charmers holiday gifts Then I got busy in the kitchen, preparing a tray of necessary magic-making potion supplies. I had picked up some salt shakers and other cheap glass dispensers at Walmart so all I had to do was fill them up with fun stuff. I used: /// baking soda /// vinegar /// Jello mix in different colors /// a mixture of dish soap + water /// glitter in different colors /// sequin mix Potion Making Activity Once the kids were done watching the show, it was time for the surprises. We started with the gifts first and they were excited to recognize the toys from the show they had just watched. Little Charmers gifts for preschoolPreschool presentsLittle Charmers Wands Then, it was time to practice making their own charms. Each girl got a little plastic work area (the top of disposable roasting pans) with some empty jars and bottles from the pantry). I brought out the tray of potion  making supplies and got the anticipated “oohs” and “aaahs” but then I was surprised that they started to work almost silently. I was a little worried that they were going to find this activity boring, which would have been disappointing after I had set it all up. IMG_2865 IMG_2869 IMG_8683 Nope. It turns out that they were approaching the science of potion making with the seriousness of med students. Everything was carefully measured, checked, stirred, and compared as they made potions for growing taller, having fun, making rainbows, flying, and being best best best friends. IMG_8711 IMG_8728 IMG_8749 IMG_8765 IMG_8766 IMG_8804 IMG_8812 IMG_8825 They were entertained for more than an hour (stopping only when I was worried they were actually going to overflow their work areas) and the funny thing was that their potions ended up looking completely different even though they were using the same materials. All in all, this playdate was definitely a winner and we’ll be doing it again! Little Charmers inspired potion making playdate What Eva doesn’t know is that I also got the new Little Charmers Magic Hazel Doll. She comes with her cat and a cape that “disappears” when you push a button so I know Eva will be excited to find her under the tree come Christmas. I’m hoping they come out with larger dolls of her friends as well so she can have some buddies! Little Charmers are the perfect holiday gift! Visit the Little Charmer’s website to make this holiday season magical! Little Charmers Hazel doll See our Little Charmers inspired potion making playdate in action:

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A Preschool Potion Making Playdate

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Teal Pumpkins, Allergy Awareness, and a Safe Halloween

Posted by Carly Morgan

It’s the big week! Are you set for Halloween? I hope so and I hope you’re going teal if you’re handing out goodies!

Teal pumpkins for food allergies

I’m hoping to see a lot of teal pumpkins this year while we’re trick-r-treating. Teal pumpkins mean that the house we’re visiting has allergy-safe (non-food) treats. It’s a project that was started by FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) and I think it’s slowly starting to gain some ground as awareness spreads.

Some quick thoughts if you’re on the fence about offering something safe for allergy kids:

/// It’s not just nuts that trip kids up, so non-food is really the way to go. If you add up all the food allergies these days, 1 in 13 kids is affected. So, if you get 200 trick-r-treaters, that’s about 16 kids whose parents are a little stressed out on National-Give-My-Kid-Food night.

/// You don’t have to offer a non-food treat to everyone. Having a teal pumpkin just means that you have an option the kids can ask for. So, if you’re worried about the cost, having about 30 non-food things on hand in addition to candy is still a huge help for those families.

/// Non-food treats don’t have to be expensive. Here are some ideas for things we handed out last year:

/// You don’t actually have to paint a teal pumpkin if you don’t want to (although I think they’re a fun pop of color and I’ve seen people do pretty amazing things with a little bling). FARE has provided downloadable signs that you can put on your porch either to say that you are doing non-food treats only or that you have non-food treats on hand if the visitors don’t want the candy you’re giving out.

teal pumpkin project posters

One last thing – we had a new situation come up this year that I had never thought about, so I’m sharing it in case you’re in the same situation. Eva visited a little Halloween party with a kid-made spook alley run by a few older girls. I didn’t go with her, so when I asked about it later she told me that she was really scared but she tried to be brave. Makes sense for a four year old, right? I asked if the girls were trying to scare her, protective-mama-visions of mean big kids filling my head, but she said they were all very nice and encouraging. However, there was pasta all over the floor (probably as pretend entrails) and bowls of food that she was supposed to stick her hand into full of goopy mysterious who knows what.

She wasn’t scared by the ghosts and creepy things. She was scared because she didn’t know what she was touching and Eva’s not supposed to do that…especially with food.

She was fine, but I realized I never would have thought about that before having an allergy kid! I swear, Halloween really is the scariest holiday and it makes me sad that Eva is so busy being truly scared of going to the hospital that she doesn’t notice she’s supposed to be scared of the witches and goblins and ghouls. Right now, she’s a little on the fence about going trick-r-treating at all, but we have a system set up where her cousin grabs the candy for her and puts it in her bucket and then we empty her bucket and pay her for each piece of candy since even safe options become unsafe if they touch wrapped candies that contain nuts.

Here’s hoping we see some teal pumpkins to make her feel a little safer.

Non-food allergy safe treats for Halloween

PS – A quick shoutout to the Utah Food Allergy Network for hosting the allergy-safe non-food trunk-r-treat last weekend. It’s the best part of the holiday for us and the kids had a blast collecting treats, playing games, and participating in the costume parade. It’s really such a relief to be somewhere where we don’t have to be so on our guard for a couple of hours! I even chatted with a couple of parents who don’t let their kids participate on Halloween night (allergies more severe than Eva’s, if you can imagine) so this event is their one big holiday party. I gave out just over 200 treats, so that’s a lot of kids who will be looking for those teal pumpkins on Saturday!

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Runner Life: Essential Running Gear for Pregnancy

Posted by Kate Ardohain

Big list of all the running gear needed for pregnancy

In high school, I never thought that I’d become a runner. It wasn’t until after college that I started running (thank you to The United States Army!) and since then I’ve done a marathon, a few half-marathons (including the Tinker Bell half in Disneyland), and some community races. I was worried that I would have to stop running when I became pregnant, which would have been sad because it makes me feel so great, but if anything I think running consistently has given me more energy and made me feel more confident about giving birth. (Just 8 weeks left – eep!)

Running gear for pregnancy

Here’s a short list of the general running gear that I used pre-pregnancy and throughout my pregnancy:

Sweaty bands headbands

I personally have the sparkly blue one and the sparkly purple one… when you’re running with no make up on and still want to have some bling. These headbands are the stretchy kind that go around your whole head to wrangle all your flyaways in (of which I have quite a few) and they are the ONLY headbands I have tried that don’t do the two things I hate about bands like this: 1 – stretch out when you wear them so the next time you put them on, it’s not tight enough and 2 – (the opposite problem) it’s too elastic and moves backward on my head while I’m running (or before I’m even out the door) and shoots off the back of my head or is dangling on my ponytail one block into my run.

The sweaty bands headbands have a velvet inner lining and just a small, about 2 inch section of elastic on the bottom that slips under your ponytail near your neck. It never slips off the back of my head (I literally wore mine for two half marathons and ALL my training running totaling hundreds of hours) and they have not stretched out in the 3 years I’ve had them. They have 600 styles to choose from including colors, designs, and logos as well as different widths depending on your preference for a thinner or thicker band. They cost about 15 dollars and they are popping up at retailers everywhere (when I got mine, they were only in little running stores). They are even sold at Target and Nordstrom now! I will never wear another headband for working out.

Armpocket Ultra i-35 Armband

Because I am generally an outdoors runner, I don’t like wearing headphones because I don’t think it’s safe with everyone texting and driving and just generally not paying much attention to the road. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve almost been hit by someone not totally stopped at a stop sign or driving too fast in a neighborhood while looking down at their phones. For these reasons, I use an armband with my phone inside on speaker mode to listen to Pandora while I run.

The one I have is by Armpocket Ultra i-35. It has two shallow pockets inside that I stick an old ID in and an emergency contact card as well as some bandaids. I also keep two pieces of gum in the smaller pocket (Dentyne Ice in spearmint, the little tablet kind so it doesn’t melt and get sticky like a stick of gum would). The band I have has a clear window for your phone to be positioned outward so you can use it even while it’s zipped up in the case, but I don’t use that. Once I set whatever Pandora station I’m feeling for that run and start my RunKeeper, I put my phone in there upside down (because the speaker is on the bottom of my Samsung Galaxy) and let it go until I get home and pull it back out again.

I don’t have super skinny arms and the sizing of this one is perfect for me. It has a large Velcro piece on the back and a stretchy layer by the front so it stays put. I’m not gonna sugar coat it, it does get sweaty and if I use it while wearing a tanktop, the sweat tends to make it slip enough that I will have to adjust if I’m out in the heat for longer than about 30 minutes, but I normally wear shirts with short sleeves so the sweat just collects into my shirt instead of into the band or onto my arm. Good news is you can throw it in the wash if it gets too disgusting.

RunKeeper

I have used this app on my phone since May of 2012 and have logged 976 miles with it as of today. It is FANTASTIC. The basic version is free and it shows me everything I need from a run: distance, duration, pace, calories burned (based on the profile you input with your height and weight), split times (pace for each mile), and elevation charts. It also has options for audio cues pace, distance, time, etc., a countdown timer (good for me since I start it and have to put it away in my armband), an auto pause for when you stop at intersections or just stop for a break (note: if you are walking to take a break it will continue to track), and training programs for multiple distances (5K, 10K, half and full marathons).

I used RunKeeper’s half marathon training program for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon in May of this year and I felt more ready for that race than any I had trained for in the past (I had trained for and run two marathons and two half marathons prior with alternate training programs.) The last cool feature is a audio dimmer that will dim your music if you are listening to it through your phone (ie Pandora or iTunes) to tell you your audio cue information so you don’t have to struggle to hear over your favorite jam. I can’t say enough good things about it and the fact that it’s free for all this is amazing to me.

Sports Bra (Moving Comfort Fiona and Under Armour HeatGear Bra)

Anyone with big boobs will tell you the right sports bra (or any bra for that matter) is CRITICAL. When I first started running back in 2005 while I was training for my first marathon, I went to a running store and spent some money on a serious sports bra. Before pregnancy, I was a 32DDD and those girls don’t tame well with some 20 dollar sports bra from a cheap big box store.

At that time, I purchased a Moving Comfort bra in a double D size (to further tame the bounce). It’s about 50 dollars but worth every penny. It has a normal bra like closure in the back (not a slip over your head elastic rib band) and has really padded straps that are adjustable with a ridiculously strong, super human Velcro. I’m serious here… you would think, Velcro? For bra straps? And running? There’s no way that will hold me in. Oh, I beg to disagree. My first Moving Comfort sports bra lasted me 2 years and even went to Army basic training with me before it got so disgusting I had to get rid of it for the sake of everyone around me. I bought another on just like it after that (but in black, the first one was white which I wouldn’t recommend only due to the dinginess factor) and wore it for years.

I continued to buy them until I moved to California last year and the rib band (which is a textured material) started really chafing my boobs underneath. In the bra’s defense, this could definitely have been due to the age and general wear and tear of running in it for so long. (By this time, I had worn this type of bra through 2 marathons, 2 half marathons (including one in the heat of Iraq), and Army training). I went to find a new one, but the Sports Authority I went to didn’t carry them so I resorted to an Under Armour bra. Again, I bought a cup size down (32DD) to keep those babies in tight and didn’t have any chafing issues after that.

This one only has a little padding on the straps (although not as padded as the Moving Comfort) and a normal bra like closure in the back. It also has a smooth rib band, unlike the Moving Comfort one. My only compliant with this one is that the straps don’t stay as well as I’d like. They adjust like a normal bra with the plastic slips but they tend to fall when I’ve been running for a long time. Because of this, I had my husband cinch mine up and pin the straps with safety pins under where I need to them to stay. I can’t feel the pins and even wash and dry the bra like that with no issues. I’ve had this one for about 15 months and it has lasted me throughout my pregnancy so far, with the only change being the adjustment to the final clips on the back as my rib cage is expanding.

Marika Tek XL running pants

I have always been the girl with the chubby thighs that rub together and tend to chafe when I run (or walk for that matter). Quick sidenote: when I was in the Army, we had a uniform for physical training (PT) that included these horrid black shorts with built in underwear (because Army men tend not to wear anything under their shorts and NOBODY wants to see all that). The shorts, like most things used to be in the Army were made for a male body and were not cut for hips or a booty. Basically, this meant that if you had either of those things, you were forced to get ones that were either way too big on your legs in order to fit your hips or were too tight on your hips in order to fit properly on your legs.

This horrible “style” led to what myself and my Army girlfriends deemed “Hungry Crotch Syndrome” or “HCS.” (Some of you are smiling to yourselves already because you’ve been witness to this before). HCS consists of the inner thigh part of your shorts being consumed by your crotch because your thighs are rubbing together and forcing them upwards to no man’s land. It’s just no good all around. It’s unpleasant and uncomfortable to deal with yourself (who wants to spend every other step trying to bow your legs out to let gravity help or to pull them down everytime they ride up) and it’s disturbing to see from an outsiders perspective (ow, that looks painful… or holy crap, that person needs new shorts).

Anyway, that all being said, I opt for long biker shorts or stretchy pants for working out. When I got pregnant, I wore my same running shorts for about 4 months until I started getting enough of a bump that they felt super tight on my waist and were rolling down my stomach while I was running. I tried to wear some of my other bigger sized pants but with my growing bump, the waistband would slip down causing my pants to literally start falling off and the very tops of my thighs to start rubbing together and chafing. I went to Target and got a pair of Marika Tek stretchy capri length pants that were in an XL. I got them on clearance for 10 dollars and they have grown with me through my pregnancy up to now (32 weeks) with no problems. They have a wide waistband that I can pull up really high and it doesn’t leave marks on my stomach. They are also really soft and comfortable.

Sidenote: when Carly and I went to the ABC Kids Expo last weekend, there was one product that I was completely fawning over: the 2XU pregnancy running pants and shorts. They look like regular 2XU compression running pants but with the maternity pants elastic panel for your baby bump. I totally wish that I could have taken a pair home with me but they aren’t technically for sale yet (soon!!). They are also making postnatal pants with a more of a tummy compression for after baby that I am looking forward to trying out and I promise to report back.

Always Discreet Pads

This one was a pretty crucial one for me as I started running with a bump. Although I had been running for about 6 months consistently before pregnancy, the one thing I noticed that was different was the fact that I felt like I always had to pee. It didn’t matter if I had gone 10 minutes before I left the house (or 30 seconds before I left the house), the growing pressure that I felt in my bladder was extremely uncomfortable. First, I tried wearing a panty liner but during running because it was so thin, it would get all bunched up in my underwear and shift which is just no good. Also, if I happened to leak a little (sorry to say, but it happens) it wasn’t very absorbent and I would inevitably come home with a wet spot on my pants.

I found these Always Discreet Pads one day while doing my normal grocery shopping and decided to give them a try. They are a little bulky (very bulky if you’re used to nothing or used to just a panty liner) but it stayed put during every run and if I leaked a little, it was absorbent and I had no issues because, hey, that’s what they are meant to do (they are originally designed for sensitive bladders or incontinence)! It was also great because I tend to have quite a bit more discharge while I’m running than normal (and more than normal while pregnant) and it contained all of that.

Bladder control felt worse when I was going downhill so I tried to stay on relatively flat surfaces, but during month 4 of pregnancy running, I really had to run and walk on intervals so I could give my bladder a break. I would run for two minutes and walk for 30 seconds while my bladder regained its composure. After doing intervals for about a two weeks, I started running for as long as I could without stopping and, honestly, the comfort of knowing that if there was a tiny accident, it wouldn’t be leaking through my pants, was really nice. Now, I just slap one of these babies in before every run and I have zero issues.

Just a quick note: I never leave any kind of pad or panty liner on longer than I have to for working out because the warmth and moisture combination tends to breed a lot of bacteria and can lead to yeast infections, which are much more prominent for pregnant women. Trust me, I learned this the hard way.

BONUS ITEM – Fitbit

Throughout my pregnancy I have really focused on staying active. I have always been the kind of person that would rather exercise than diet and I remained that way during pregnancy. I like to eat what I want to eat and not restrict myself but I also didn’t want to use my pregnancy as an excuse to sit around eating Chips Ahoy and doing nothing just because I was making a human. One thing that really helped me stay motivated and active was my Fitbit.

Recently, these little trackers have become all the craze. When I was about 3 months pregnant, I got the cheapest version (Fitbit Flex) which tracks steps, calories, distance, and active minutes and only shows the little light up dots for each 2,000 steps I reach. I do wish mine was also a watch, but that one, the Fitbit Charge, was too bulky for me.

Having a Fitbit has helped me by not only keeping me accountable but by motivating me to get up and move when I haven’t reached my 10,000 steps for the day and gotten that satisfying vibration on my wrist. I walk during my lunch break at work and walk or run with the dog in the evening. The only thing I don’t like about it is the fact that my arm needs to be moving (as oppose to a pedometer that tracks from your hip) and if I’m walking the dog and on the phone, my arm isn’t swinging back and forth as it would normally. I don’t always get to 10,000 steps but some days, the activity I can get in has to be enough for me (also, you’d be amazed at how many steps you get in daily just doing your normal activities like walking around your office or cleaning your house).

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