Back to school, already? PLUS #Giveaway #TrueTales

pink&blue buttonLast week in The True Tales from the Pink & Blue Trenches series- we heard about Melissa’s strong passion for Elmo backpacks.  This week, I am telling you about my recent experience AND co-hosting a NEW Back to School giveaway with Home on Deranged- courtesy of my affiliate,

Back to school preparation = homework for mom!

This year I offered to buy Hayden a new backpack and he adamantly refused to consider a change. I even tried to entice him with an LED light-up one that I KNEW the teachers would just love.  Nope.  He wants to keep his ninja turtles backpack.  Okay, that was easy. (Side note: this led to an interesting conversation with my husband about whether or not we got new backpacks each year). I honestly think I carried most of my books and transported mostly paper assignments in a very coveted trapper keeper til high school.  Remember covering and designing those brown paper bag book covers? That was the best thing ever! I digress, I think he will survive 4 yr old pre-school with his old backpack.  My niece, however WOULD not hear of this!
 photo PREKDrbackpack_zps6d5acd97.jpg

Speaking of at least my two of my nieces, THEY LOVE to TRY clothes on. Yes seriously. Those little fashionistas grab stuff of the rack and race to the dressing rooms. WHAT?  Is this a girl thing? Does anyone have a boy preschooler, who likes to shop or at least is manageable? Tell me your secrets…Obi Mom Kenobi.

Because unless it is a costume- my boys are only willing to get dressed from PJ’S to day clothes/day clothes to PJ’s. I just have to hope what I pick fits.

Back to School

Seriously, I want to get my shopping list accomplished and the boys just made me miserable last year.

A gal pal of mine invited me along to go back to school shopping on TAX FREE weekend. Kids free. GULP.  Dad volunteered have a “boys” day, while I braved the crowds.  YES!!!

Always the planner, I began my strategy….

  • Collected my coupons
  • mapped the best routes to the various stores
  • made notes on sizes/various brands and needs
  • packed up former clothes to make room for new ones

Seriously, it took me TWO days to GET READY to GO back to school shopping!

First stop. Starbucks. Of course.

I must say, this year the crowds were not that bad!  The worst part was the waiting in line for a register.  My bigger problem was, I planned to shop for FALL and most of the really GOOD deals were on SUMMER.  Even with coupons- I only bought 1 pair of pants, 1 sweatshirt and 3 shirts.  Most of the boys’ tops had huge character graphics and logos- which, let’s just say he already has stock in.  I wanted a basic casual shirt suitable for the first day of school or pictures and failed to find one.

Again I was disappointed in the variety/selection of boys clothes compared to girls clothing- however 1/4 of all in-store girls’ apparel features FROZEN- so maybe I am actually lucky.

And I did enjoy my day out shopping- so I shouldn’t complain!

So this is what does work for us?

Hayden will gladly tell me if he likes something he sees on a computer. BONUS! I get his feedback and he is more apt to be excited to wear it! features discount codes regularly, has a good selection, works with quality vendors, ships fast and always has been true to size for us!

I found a lovely v-neck fine gauge sweater (perfect for first day, photos or holiday pictures!)  I am still deciding on the shirt I want to pair it with!  I look forward to showing what we pick out in a future post!

Online shopping= no waiting for a register!  YES!

NOW!!!! wants to make sure you are ready for BACK TO SCHOOL and is offering one lucky reader a chance to win a $50 gift code! Enter the below rafflecopter! Open to US/CAN~ends Sept. 5, 2014

a Rafflecopter giveaway is on Facebook and Twitter!
Check them out for regular product savings and latest looks!
PLUS Shop NOW for the best selection on Halloween costumes & boutique style holiday wear!



Back to school time- The kids are ready, is mom?

pink&blue buttonWelcome back to Thursday! It’s time for some True Tales from the Pink & Blue Trenches series. We’ll pick a topic each week about trying to figure out just what is the difference in raising a house of boys vs. raising girls, if any and share our thoughts with you!.


post written by Melissa, from Home on Deranged

This week, it’s my turn here at Home on Deranged to talk about the fantastically fun times that are back to school. Now, I admit to being a bit of a novice in this department, since our girls are in a preschool/daycare combo, and I don’t have to worry about school supplies and such. But that doesn’t mean I don’t see it all around me! Next week, Jodi will have her take on the annual ritual and her family’s reaction.

Elmo backpacks are the devil: back to school time sucks

When I think about back to school, I can remember the thrill of shopping for new clothes (at Sears, by the way) and school supplies. I was the school junkie: I loved going to class, meeting my teachers, learning new things. Until high school, at which point I was so utterly bored out of my mind that I just did my time. Although I still bought new clothes every year. Duh.

When we enrolled the girls in the preschool/daycare last year, I cried. It was hard to be away from them. But then I recognized the freedom that it afforded me, the work I could actually accomplish, the occasional movie I could begin seeing in a theater again. It started to work.

Lately, we’ve had to ponder: are the girls ready to move to a more traditional preschool? There’s a great Montessori school in town, and one of the churches also has a 3 day/week program. Do they need a more structured setting than they have at their home-based daycare, where they know all 11 other kids? Tough call.

I’m a great advocate of education, even early education. I was in preschool at age 3, and managed to get a masters degree eventually. Clearly, I didn’t get tired of learning. But I did get tired of going to school, and I don’t want our kids to burn out before they even get started.

And, they’re my babies! My babies!!!

About a week ago, Annie came through looking for her Elmo backpack. We had bought the girls backpacks last year after they demanded to have them like some of the other kids. They have since been used to tote stuffed animals from one room of our house to another. But who’s counting?

Anyway, our very clever 3 year old asked for her backpack, which we provided. She filled it up with books, toys and some of her bead collection, put on her Anna dress and shoes, climbed on her Radio Flyer trike, and told me, “I’m going to school. Bye!”

What the freaking what??? Who told her about this???

Needless to say, I cried for about 30 seconds. Then I gathered my thoughts and remembered how every. single. morning. she screams and cries, “I don’t want to go to school! I want to play at home! I want to stay with you!”

Elmo backpacks are the devil. Back to school time sucks.

How are you coping with back to school? Do you get excited or dread it? How about your kids? Or if you homeschool, tell me how it works for you! Share your thoughts in the comments, because I need all the help I can get!

Join us again next Thursday!  We will have a Back to School special surprise for you!

Cookies Kids #Giveaway- Quality Children Clothing for Less! (ad) ends 8/28- US

Welcome to Cookies Kids Giveaway

Sponsor: Uplifting Families

Cookies Kids Giveaway

The noise of boys is so pleased to partner with participating blogs to bring you this fabulous giveaway from Cookies Kids and Uplifting Families!

Cookies Kids carries quality children’s clothing for less. You can find brand such as Nautica, Carters, French Toast, Guess, NBA, US Polo and many other great brands. They have been in business since 1975 in New York and then expanded their market online. You can find everything from school uniforms, clothing, shoes, and toys all in one convenient location for less. They focus on providing quality children clothing and excellent service to its customers. If you place an order and if you have a problem, simply contact a customer service representative or log into their website to request a return authorization. They have a referral program and you can earn $10 for each friend that you refer to Cookie Kids.

Christy from Uplifting Families had the opportunity to review a boy’s outfits from Coookies Kids. The clothing that we received was high quality and my boys loved their new outfits. You can read the full review here.

How would you like to win a $100 Gift Certificate to Cookies Kids? One lucky winner will receive a $100 gift card to Cookies Kids. This giveaway is open to US residents 18 years and older. This giveaway is open from August 11th through August 28 at 11:59pm. Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond to the email.


Disclosure: Uplifting Families received samples or credit facilitate the review and giveaway. All opinions are 100% my own and may differ from your own. One entry per household. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase is necessary to participate in this giveaway. All participating bloggers aren’t responsible for prize fulfillment and weren’t compensated to participate. This giveaway isn’t affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, G+, or any other social media platform.

MAM Love to Learn Contest #win $2500 college savings bond

MAM-Logo.inddRemember student and mom Karlesha Thurman? This photo that she snapped at her California State University graduation ceremony went viral recently, with some complimenting her and showing wonderful support while others bashed her for publicly breastfeeding. With it being National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and with back-to-school upon us, MAM teamed up with Karlesha to stand up for moms’ rights to freely feed their kiddos and to advance education. MAM is giving your baby the opportunity to become the strong, educated person Karlesha is by running a Love to Learn contest to win a $2,500 college savings bond at


They also have a wonderful, exclusive Q & A with Karlesha about her experience that you can read here: Facebook

How do you educate your kiddos? What is the most important lesson you hope to teach them, and what have they taught you about life in turn?

MAM Love to Learn Contest Details!

Share with MAM at; one lucky parent will win a $2,500 college savings bond!

BONUS!!! Earn an extra entry (and a chance to win Scholastic book prize packs) by tweeting your favorite children’s books, one from when you were a child and one you love to read to your child to @MAMbaby with #MAMlovetolearn.  Deadline to enter is 8/31/2014.

*Note I was not compensated for sharing this valuable contest with you, dear readers!  Good Luck

Bubble & Bee Organic- It’s No Sweat! (review) #Organic #Natural

Bumble & Bee Organic

*Note I was provided Bubble & Bee Organic products to facilitate this review. Oppinions are mine and based on my personal experiences.

Discovering Bubble & Bee Organic

In my mission to reduce chemicals in our everyday use, I’ll admit it.  I have struggled with leaving my antiperspirant. Not to get too personal but I am a heavy “sweater”.  I know aluminum is an awful choice to apply daily, to open, shave pores.  I also know your body is designed to sweat. Sweating is a natural function and serves a real purpose.  However who wants body odor? Not me.  My family wouldn’t appreciate it either.

I had read a article on tips to detox your body from antiperspirant (scrub with loofa, wash, apply baking soda, apply deoderant and repeat 4-6 times daily for 4-7 days) yes, apparently that nasty chemicals stuff can remain in your pores that long! I have tried several so-called natural deodorants from my health market but most contained *natural fragrance.  Bad. I investigated making my own, but found the cost of the ingredients to be pricey to DIY.Bottom line: I always returned to my chemically laden, commercially available option.

I contacted Bubble & Bee Organic after reading a review and it arrived the day I left for a huge family vacation.  Worried it might fail me, and not wanting to be the “talk” of my entire extended family- I decided to review the Pit Primer and Pit Putty Cream upon my return.  I did, however, bring the Body Butta (Lime & Coconut) along and tested this first.

Bubble & Bee Organic Body Butta (Lime & Coconut) 4 oz. $16.95/8 oz. $24.95

Bumble & Bee Organic

Worried you might smell like a margarita? Nah, no worries. The scent of the Body Butta is soft, subtle and fun! At a glance and first touch the texture is creamy, and feels “whipped.” When applying, the Body Butta will rub in like an oil (NOTE: the product readily absorbs without a greasy after effect!)  My skin was soft and STILL hydrated the next morning!

Love it! The 4 oz. size would be perfect for an occasional massage- but I NEED to re-order. So do yourself a favor and order larger size if you plan to use regularly.

Ingredients: Organic shea butter, organic coconut oil with retained coconut meat, organic jojoba oil, organic sweet almond oil, organic macadamia nut oil, organic coconut extract, organic lime extract. Certification: 100% USDA Certified Organic by UDAF

Benefits: 100% organic, contains no water, contains no synthetic chemicals or estrogen mimickers PLUS vegan, no animal testing and gluten-free! WOW!

Bubble & Bee Organic Pit Primer 2.5 oz. $7.95

Bubble & Bee Body Pit Putty Cream (Orange Vanilla) 2oz. $10.95

Bumble & Bee

I featured these products together- because I feel they work hand in hand! And yes, they both work.  The Pit Primer removes any trace of odor and preps your skin for deodorant.  I typically use after my AM shower and only twice have I HAD to use mid-day for a necessary “freshen up” (and it worked well).  I apply with cotton ball. Containing only 3 ingredients! Certified organic by UDAF

The Pit Putty? Quite simply amazing.  This is BY FAR the BEST deodorant I have found. Available in multiple scents, application styles (jar or stick) and sizes! I love the orange/vanilla scent PLUS it has a non-greasy feel and superb protection. My husband was not even aware of my switch until almost a full week (when I told him!)

Pit Putty Cream Contains: only 7 ingredients!  Need help deciding on a deodorant? See the handy Bumble & Bee comparison chart!

Yes you can still sweat, but it will not be a problem with these products!

So no nasty chemical and it works?  Deal.  I am sold. I am a fan.

By the way, the design of the product labels are awesome.  The are fun, humorous, witty and stand-out. You will want to read the product info!

Follow Bubble & Bee on Facebook and Twitter for more product updates!

BONUS!!! Check out the Bubble & Bee Organic blog & learn about the Chemical of the Day!  Take a moment to educate yourself and choose your products wisely!

Now enter the bbelow giveaway for a chance to choose your own
Bumble & Bee Organic Pit Putty!

ends 8/26 US only! Good luck!

Pit Putty giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway