What’s in My Citi Babies Diaper Bag? | Day Trip to Central FL Zoo!

Hey guys!

I’m so excited to share this post with you!

Hubs has this entire week off to spend with us so, we’re kicking things off with a day trip to the Central Florida Zoo! It’s not far from us and being that this will be our first trip since re-instating our annual passes, I knew we’d need a pretty stocked backpack for a full day!

When our Citi Babies Explorer backpack came in last week, I couldn’t wait to pack it full for a day full of adventure! We’re always going with the boys so, I knew this backpack would be perfect for our active family!

1O0A51461O0A51451O0A5144

Let’s get into our packing list:

  • Hats for each boy
  • Swim Suits
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Drinks for the little boys
  • Water Bottle for us
  • Snack Cup with Trail Mix
  • Towels
  • Picnic Blanket
  • Wet Bag
  • Sunscreen
  • Baby Powder
  • Wallet
  • Keys
  • Changing Bag *Included

1O0A5160

Honestly, I couldn’t believe anything more than 2 huge beach towels fit inside this backpack. I rolled each towel and pushed them to the bottom which left tons of room to continue stacking the rest of our necessities for the day!

1O0A5151

I wasn’t exaggerating, look at the size of just one of those towels compared to the backpack’s size! You seriously wouldn’t think anything more that two of those would fit!

1O0A51591O0A51561O0A5158

I’m a huge sucker for organization so, the fact that this backpack has 5 internal pockets, a zipper section, plus two exterior open pockets, and two exterior zipper pockets, quickly gave the Citi Babies Explorer and A+ in my book!

1O0A51541O0A51531O0A5152

Check out that exterior front pocket! Each of the cup holders are insulated so, we filled the boys’ cups for the day before heading our and they stayed cold during our outing! We’re usually packing an additional lunch cooler to keep drinks cold so, the insulated cup pockets were a lifesaver!

1O0A5150

zoo (9 of 11)zoo (11 of 11)zoo (5 of 11)zoo (10 of 11)zoo (7 of 11)zoo (1 of 11)zoo (2 of 11)zoo (3 of 11)zoo (1 of 2)

video recap banner

citi babies pin.png

Pop-Oh-Ver | BEST Kids Toy for Pretend Play! + a GIVEAWAY!

Calling ALL parents of the world!

Role call, roll call!

I have come across something spectacular, something amazing, something that will make your kid’s pretend play hour 1 MILLION times better for YOU!

I know, you’re already dying to know what it is, sitting and waiting for me to tell you all about it. Here’s the thing: this magical chair-covering toy is so awesome that I probably don’t even need to tell you WHY we love it so much. Just look and see for yourself!

(enter the sound of ascending drums…)

Introducing, Pop-Oh-Over!

1O0A3733.jpg

Check this out- all you have to do when your kids are ready for pretend play is grab a couple dining chairs from your kitchen table, tie a few bows, and voila! You have a mess-free, space-saving, mythical creature of a toy!

1O0A37681O0A3797

before and after pov.png

1O0A38081O0A3804

1O0A38021O0A38051O0A3806

So, what did I tell you? This thing is awesome, right?!

SAVE the space a huge, plastic, noisy kitchen set would make with this simple, easy to store, folding kitchen!

Not only does this adorable set fold up and install with ease buttt (HUGE BUTT-see what I did there?1 bahaha) it’s made with high quality fabric, magnetic doors for the microwave and oven, clear pockets for all of the appliances, and it keeps the littles entertained for seriously long lengths of time. Yep! You’re welcome, I’ve just turned your 60-minute max pretend play distraction into several hours of busy fun!

1O0A3912

1O0A3897.jpg


So, what’s our scoop? Do our kids prefer it over the bulky kitchen set they’ve had for years from IKEA?

Well, does an image in your mind of it currently sitting at the end of our driveway with a sign that says FREE on it, answer your question?

1O0A3744.jpg

1O0A3751

1O0A3756

1O0A37711O0A3874

We’ve had this beauty for about 2 days and K has woken up and gone to sleep standing in front of it SINCE DAY 1. At this point, I think I may actually need to get a set of chairs to delegate for his kitchen play since I don’t see us using the space-saving option any time soon!

1O0A3781

1O0A3883


 

Now, I know you’re convinced and any parent-kid duo would love a FULL set of their own!

Want to know how you can win the Pots + Pans set, Oven + Stove Pop-Oh-Ver, and Microwave + Countertop Pop-Oh-Ver?!

(*Chairs, food, and other items not listed on the pop-oh-ver website are not included.)

giveaway.png

First, make sure you comment on this post and tell us the single most reason you would like to win!

Second, grab additional entires by following all of the Pop-Oh-Ver and The Happening Housewife social media pages via the Rafflecopter link below!

Third, for even MORE entries: See that Pin down there? Give it a click and save it to your favorite Pin Board!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER! Pop Oh Ver | Rafflecopter Giveaway

Pin It Image

pop oh ver pin.png

Baby’s Best Friend + A Giveaway!

Hey mamas!

This one’s for you and that sweet, squishy-cheeked little baby you have!

Read below for the deets on an amazing online boutique and your chance to win a $50 credit for yourself or your little!

1O0A2110

Have you ever purchased an outfit or plush for your baby that is just PERFECT all around? Everything about it screams, “I have to have this in all of the available sizes and colors!” That’s the exact thought I had when we opened our box from Picket Fence! It was like Christmas all over again for our baby Linc and the packaging alone made me want to hop online and order everything available in baby size from their shop! I know you’re dying to know-what was in our box? A charming romper with fish on it’s front and my personal favorite, a Woodland Jelly Cat bunny!

1O0A2021

The fabric of his adorable romper is soft, stretchy, and breathable (making it the perfect match for our on-the-move little guy!). The colors are vibrant and even the tag on his butt puts that extra stamp of “feel good” on it!

1O0A2059

And check out those fish! Aren’t they great for summer? We’re going on a family vacation this July and I can’t wait to show Linc off in this newest addition to his wardrobe!

1O0A2031

I know I know, I could go on about his darling romper and I may be biased because I have my own but, seriously-who’s heart doesn’t melt for a baby in a romper?

1O0A2087

Now, for my favorite item in our box: Linc’s new Jelly Cat bunny. It has him cuddling and kissing all day long! If you have yet to feel a Jelly Cat plush, you’re totally missing out. These things are like the Messiah of stuffed animals. A Jelly Cat bunny has the softest fur you’ll ever pet and the most floppy, easy to hold arms and ears! Linc has carried his bunny around the house since it found it’s new home and it’s ears have become his most prized teether these days!


I know what you’re thinking now, “how can I get my hands on a Jelly Cat of my own or one of these rad rompers?” (For your baby, right?) Here’s the scoop:

win.png

I’m giving away a $50 credit for Picket Fence to one of my followers! All you have to do is head on over to their site and let me know what YOU would like to see in their shop! Once you browse through their collection, I know you’ll want to give them a follow and BONUS, you’ll get extra entries into our giveaway just by following!

HEAD HERE TO WIN!

 


Pin It Image

Picket Fence.png

10 Things No-one Tells You About That Are Essential in Your Hospital Bag, For a Better Post-Partum Stay!

This post contains affiliate links which help me fund the free + fun posts on the blog and sometimes, Friday night pizza nights!

We’ve all been there: stalking Pinterest for the best, most secretive must-haves for your hospital bag, only to find the same results each time you scroll down. You then turn to rely on friends, family,  or New-Mom Facebook groups for answers. Well, I’m here to save you from middle of the night Pinterest scrolling and sanctimommies of the Facebook world, with this single post! As a mom of 2 with a third arriving any day now, I’ve had my fair share of experience with hospital bag packing!

Congratulations mama + get ready for the best ride of your life!

10 Things for Hospital Bag.png

1. Pads but, not just any pads, THESE pads:

During the first 12-24 hours you’ll bleed ALOT, like more than I’m sure you’re actually picturing in your mind right now so, the adult diaper style pads the hospital supplies you with are great during that time but, afterwards when you’re not bleeding from what feels like your vagina to your butt, you might want something a little more comfortable. After two babies and a third just days away, I’ve had my fair share of pad trial and error and THESE are by far the best for medium to heavy bleeding!

2. Boy Short Underwear like these: MAMIA Women’s Seamless Stretch Boy Shorts Panties (Pack of 6)

If this is your first pregnancy, then you haven’t yet experienced the joy of mesh undies after birth. They’re great, really, if you don’t plan on moving from where you’re sitting at any time to feel a gush leak out one side. Boy shorts are AWESOME, they keep your pad in place, tightly confined to its appropriate and carefully adjusted area, and you won’t feel awkward when a nurse comes in while sitting in nothing but boy shorts and a nursing bra versus mesh undies and a pad sticking out on the side!

3. An actually COMFORTABLE nursing bra (or several). This one is my FAVE: A Pea in the Pod Full Coverage Nursing Sleep Bra

With my first, I didn’t know the absolute need for a nursing bra. Things changed when round two came. I promise you won’t regret investing in just a couple of comfortable, easy to manage nursing bras. The Pea in the Pod Nursing Sleep Bras are my personal favorite. They’re ultra soft, light weight, pull down easily, and don’t have weird clips or straps. They’re soft enough and without lining that you’ll have no worries cuddling your new babe while wearing it or sleeping in between feeding sessions.

4. A legit heating pad
You won’t regret this one. Your hospital probably has heating pads available, SOMETIMES, as long as there’s one not in use by other new moms. Even so, the heating pads they offer are okay but, ESPECIALLY if you’re on baby number 2 or after, you’ll likely want a heating pad that gets hot and stays hot. Of course not to be used when cuddling baby or feeding but, when they’re sleeping or away at the nursery, you’ll want some warm relief. The Sunbeam Heating Pad is top rated and for good reason. It’s already packed in my hospital bag and is off limits to anyone in our home until after baby is here and mama fully recovers.

5. House shoes. Not slippers, Not socks

Okay, I’m talking: easy to slide on, rubber bottoms, that your grandmother used to wear when she cleaned house or got ready in the morning. Socks, ewe unless they’re keeping your feet warm in the hospital bed. Slippers, just the same. Someone will likely come in and mop and clean your room once or twice during your stay but, if you decide to walk around the baby floor or down to get fresh air in the hospital courtyard. You’ll want the rubber bottoms.

6. Something to keep you occupied after baby arrives

There are only so many channels on the hospital’s cable network and only so many Law and Order SVU episodes you can watch before wanting to pull your hair out. Bring a book, magazines, cards, a board game for you and hubby, or something else you enjoy doing in a tiny, quiet space. *Also, snacks that can be eaten in between meals.

7. Something to help you fall asleep…
Fast! Practice meditating, bring Lavender Essential Oil and your Diffuser, your favorite pillow, anything. You’ll need it. Once things become quiet and everyone leaves you alone with your new baby for the first time since he/she has made their arrival, the exhaustion and tiredness will quickly set in and so will baby’s next feeding time or diaper change. The adrenalin will settle and your body will soon start to remind itself that it needs rest after all the work you put in for however many hours. Your team of nurses will visit periodically to make sure you’re awake and feeding your baby when it’s time, they’ll help with diaper changes and charting urine and bowel movements if they’re due, and anything else you or baby may need. So, take the time to rest when baby allows.

8. A short, light-weight robe

Don’t get something that will drag on the floor. A nice, light weight, knee-length robe will do the trick! One like THIS ONE (which I own and love) will make feedings easier without making baby hot and visits from friends and family more comfortable. Not to mention, your hospital bed is only so big, there’s no room for all the extra fabric of a long, heavy, terry cloth or fleece robe!

9. Your own towel

Have you ever stayed in a hotel with exceptional service but, hop out of the shower to a towel that only wraps halfway around your body? Well, that’s what you’ll get if you don’t bring your own. You’ll thank me for this one after your first shower post baby.

10. DISPOSABLE Breast Pads

If you produce a pretty fair amount of milk or more, you’re sure to leak…A LOT. You’ll be feeding your baby often but, some mamas are extra gifted when it comes to producing milk and have quite a bit of leakage in between feedings. Try the reusable ones at home if you desire but, during your hospital stay, the disposables will be so much easier and more convenient!

Pin It Image

10 Things for Hospital Bag Pin.png

This post contains affiliate links which help me fund the free + fun posts on thehappeninghousewife.com! Find a full disclosure on the sidebar of my blog.

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Disguise Learning with Play using STEM! (+ A Snapology LEGO GIVEAWAY!)

I’m so excited to be partnering with Nakturnal for a giveaway! Read below to find out how you can enter to win a LEGO® brick set of the Snapology Mascot- Sebastian Gator! Find a full disclaimer on the sidebar of my blog!


It’s no secret that we eat, breathe, live LEGO and all things STEM-based in our home. Not a day goes by that one or both of the boys isn’t stimulating their brain with those small colorful blocks, folding a paper airplane out of an old piece mail, or manipulating K-Nex into crazy, crime-fighting vehicles and winding roads.

When we realized that Col was a little different than other kids, it took no time at all to see the potential benefits of what STEM-based learning could do for him. Writing, Reading, and Speech as separate subjects are definitely a must-have in your child’s learning plan but, for kids like Colin, a science and mathematical learning environment is the most beneficial way to grow their unique little minds!

Snapology-9735

Fast forward to when we had K! We were quick to realize once he was at a play age that typically developing kids thrive in the same STEM-based environment as well! Which made play time between the two of them a bonding experience and way to encourage them to teach each other new ways of learning!

Now that you know our little back story, let’s get to why you’re really here: “How do I disguise learning with play using STEM and what exactly is it?”

  • What is STEM?

STEM is a way of learning based on the idea of educating children of all ages in four specific areas — Science, Technology, Engineering, + Mathematics in an applied, hands on approach. Rather than teach the four subjects separately, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.

Pretty cool, huh?

  • What are the benefits of STEM?

1. It’s CURRENT!

In a technology-based society, science is forever changing and growing. As work places change by frequently updating their software, and equipment that we use in our daily lives becomes more advanced, STEM knowledge is vital. Staying up to date on the latest techy trends is a must in today’s world!

2. GET CREATIVE!

Creativity is one of the many benefits of a STEM education by implementing the idea of “Learning by Doing!”

Ironically, creativity is also the result of a STEM-based education ! STEM-based learning encourages students to get their hands ‘dirty’, solve problems, create new designs and functions, and make tools out of something that otherwise wouldn’t be!

3. INNOVATE, INNOVATE, INNOVATE!

With the growth of technology, is the freedom to invent and engineer almost anything you can dream of! Starting at a young age, we can encourage our kids to use their minds and create the impossible with STEM.

Disguise Learning with Play Header

Snapology-9749

1. OFFER THE RIGHT TOYS

I’m totally not suggesting that you go out and spend hundreds on an entirely new toy collection but, when birthdays and holidays come around, encourage friends and family to give more significant gifts that stimulate learning rather than the typical stuffed animal or piece of junk that will end up in a garage sale pile a few months later!

Some of our favorites:

  • LEGO
  • Magna-Tiles
  • Tegu Blocks
  • KIDS FIRST Engineering Tubs
  • Marble Run
  • Lincoln Logs

When choosing toys, try to make sure they incorporate and/or encourage one of the following: tinkering, building, circuit creation (adding pieces and parts to the toy that make it GO! or turn on and off), problem solving, or tech-based growth and learning.

Does the anticipated and totally loathed “LEGO dump” have you resisting adding them to your STEM collection?! Check out my post to help with that!

lego 6

2. ALLOW UNINTERUPTED + FREE WILL TINKERING

Sometimes, regardless of the mess it makes, you just have to let your little ones free with their tinkering toys without borders. I know, I’m with you. Walking into our home to a ‘road’ of K-Nex that stretches from the front door to, well, I don’t ever really know where, can be super annoying and seemingly pointless but, they’re actually using their little minds to create something super awesome and through the mess is some really great learning!

3. HELP + ANSWER WITHOUT FRUSTRATION

I know this one can be a bit difficult, especially when your knee deep in your own project but, when your little comes to you for advice or answers, they’re seeking you out for a reason! Curiosity is natural for growing minds and by shooting them down or showing frustration when they’ve asked the same question every single day for a week, you’re discouraging one of the greatest forms of learning. If you don’t know the answer to a question yourself, let them watch as you figure it out. Whether it be from a book, video, or the internet, seeing you seek out an answer encourages them to continue doing so through you.

4. ALLOW FREE PLAY WITH CRAFT SUPPLIES

Yes, for real. I mean, don’t give your kid all access freedom to liquid glue and finger paints but, offer them a bucket of dry supplies! Rubber bands, tape, twine, paper clips, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, clothespins, dowels, empty toilet paper rolls can all be used in creating some really awesome things. Change it up every other week or so with fresh supplies and new tools!

5. TRY A “BUILDING SNACK” TRAY

Similar to free play with random craft supplies, you never know what your little one will come up with when you offer them a tray of “building snacks” at the table! We love pretzel sticks, mini marshmallows, grapes, sliced olives, cheese cubes, and cheerios. You’ll be amazed at their first cheese cube-pretzel stick car with grape wheels!

6. INCORPORATE EDUCATIONAL SHOWS DURING SCREEN TIME

If you allow screen time in your home, there are a TON of education shows that go hand-in-hand with STEM-based learning! One of my favorite things as a mom to my littles is walking in on them super indulged in old school Bill Nye and The Magic School Bus. I love when they approach me to spill their guts about friction or some other super sciencey topic three days after watching an episode. It’s always a proud moment for us, even if they got it from a screen!

Snapology-9732.JPG

We use all of these tools in our day to day life as a family and although it took a little practice, it’s now just routine! Our family truly enjoys play time together AND apart because of this method and as parents we’ve learned to embrace the repetitive questions and constant mess of LEGO!

 


WIn Snapology.png

Giveaway closed.

Congratulations to Jenna!


Want to win a Snapology Sebastian Gator LEGO Set?!

(Recommended for ages 6+)

As parents of special needs + typically developing kids, we know from experience that every child is different and so is their preferred method of learning. So, as a soon to be family of three crazy boys, all different and unique, we’d love to know: Which of the ideas in this post is your littles’ favorite way of STEM-based play? (Haven’t tried one yet? Answer: Which idea are you most likely to implement first?) Comment below to be entered!

*Winner will be chosen at random 10 days from the post date on July 23, 2017 and will be notified via email. US entrants only please. Prize is a LEGO® brick set of the Snapology Mascot, Sebastian Gator, mailed directly to your home!


Curious about Snapology?!

Snapology is a STEM-based kids’ facility that hosts totally rad play dates, birthday parties, field trips, workshops, + summer camps where littles (ages 1 and up) use LEGO, K’nex, art + mosaic, code, robotics, and more to learn through play! Sounds super awesome right?! Well, they’re looking for someone interested in becoming a franchise owner in the Central Florida region! Give them a call or apply online today if this sounds like the spot for you!

Pin It Image

stem, autism, special needs, homeschool, LEGO, giveaway, win, LEGO giveaway

6 Ways to Stroll with Evenflo Pivot

A huge thank you to Evenflo for gifting this stroller to our growing family in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions and thoughts are 100% my own.

Florida, sweet Florida!

There aren’t many places that you can spend the first weekend of March in swim trunks and flip flops and for that reason, we’re so happy to raise our babies in this sweet Sunshine State! For us, March calls for open windows, fruit picking, diving into the questionable temperatures of the pool, and renewal of our annual passes to the Central Florida Zoo!

zoo 1

Over the weekend, we hopped in the car and made the short trip to visit the zoo! I’ve been dying to test drive our new Evenflo Pivot Travel System since it’s arrival and knew the zoo and all it’s terrain would be the perfect spot (even though the cheerios on the tile and our super plush shag rug did offer substantial terrain on the night of our new stroller’s unboxing).

What I really loved about pushing the Pivot around all day is the “toddler seat recline to bassinet” action. (Side note: We have a luxury brand stroller that I had to have JUST for the bassinet and to tell you the truth, the whole seat removal and replace with a bassinet and vice versa, is a TOTAL pain.) With the Pivot, there’s a lever on the back of the seat which reclines it ALL.THE.WAY. down to a bassinet. I really just can’t get over how much of a time and energy saver that is. How do you get it back into seat mode? Pull that lever and lift up. Seriously, it’s that easy! There’s a buckle on the back side of the seat to give the seat shape and keep it stable. I’ve got to give it to Evenflo for making it so easy and affordable to leave the extra bulky bassinet behind and transform your stroller from sit to sleep mode in 2 easy steps, WITHOUT the hassle of unlocking, removing, and storing a bassinet!

stroller 7

stroller 9

Not only does the seat transform into a bassinet but, it can be unlocked and reversed for a parent-facing stroll. This was perfect while we waited in the long line to renew our membership before entering the zoo! The belly bar is easily removable and has an awesome snack tray which occupied little K with carrots and cucumbers during our wait!

Stroller 2

Stroller 3stroller 10

Once we got into the zoo, we just flipped the seat around and he was content all the way until he needed to exercise his bitty legs when we entered the petting area!

zoo 2

Going through two toddler stages, several strollers and wagons, tons of terrain and adventure, and the constant feeding of growing boys while on the move, I think it’s safe to say that we’re pretty experienced when it comes to knowing a good push to bad push in a stroller and the severe need for a well thought-out stroller basket.

Knowing that we’d be spending our entire day at the zoo, changing from play clothes to swim suits and back again, and snacking during our visit, the large and realistically functional basket on the Pivot, was a HUGE plus. It’s super easy to get in and out of, with a large enough space for two towels, a wet bag, lunch box, and more! I can’t thank Evenflo enough for creating this stroller with such an easy to access basket! TOTAL LIFE SAVER.

stroller 5

zoo 4zoo 3

Now, let’s talk about the push!

I’ve had my fair share of stiff wheels, blow outs, terrible turns, and squeaky strolls when it comes to strollers. Five years ago, being a first time mom, I was so excited to have an over the top, drop-in, majorly bulky travel system. BIG mistake, HUGE.

Going into our second baby with a toddler on the run, I REFUSED a travel system and instead told myself I’d be a baby-wearing feign. WRONG. (I mean, I love wearing but, I’m certainly not an 80% of the time baby-wearer. Heck, I’m not even a 30% of the time wearer.) Eventually, I caved and purchased a Sit and Stand…TERRIBLE. The idea was great but, the push was so difficult that we never used it.

Now onto my third baby, with TWO toddlers CONSTANTLY on the go and a storage unit full of mom knowledge acting as my brain, it’s easy to know what works and what doesn’t in only a matter of minutes (BEFORE purchasing and exiting the store to find you’ve made a huge mistake weeks later). Even my husband can appreciate a good stroller with an easy push and after our day trip, we both agreed that Evenflo has totally nailed it with the Pivot! Each of us had a chance to push through dirt and rocks, over boardwalk trails, water covered walkways, and mulch with ease!

stroller 6

We wrapped up our long day filled with tons of snacking, playing in the sun, petting and visiting our favorite animals, and test driving our newest addition and I think it’s safe to say that every one came home a happy camper!

After a little thought, hubby and I have both decided to let go of our luxury stroller (with the bassinet) and replace it’s spot in the back of the mom mobile with our new Evenflo Pivot!


Want a full list of the 6 Ways to Stroll with the Evenflo Pivot? (Of course you do, that’s why you’re here!)

  • Front Facing Carseat Drop In
  • Rear Facing Carseat Drop In
  • Outward Facing Bassinet
  • Parent Facing Bassinet
  • Front Facing Seat
  • Parent Facing Seat

Evenflo Pivot.jpg

Because each system comes with a SafeMax Infant Car Seat which features an Anti-rebound bar, we can’t wait to install it in our family car to bring baby #3 home!

Pin It Image.jpg

Evenflo Pin.jpg