Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Week of Clothing Wednesday!

Week of Clothing Wednesday!

This is pretty much what Sammy wore/is wearing this week. We love our chucks! They give every outfit that genuine cool feeling. Notable new fave is the Friday shirt from Target. $8.00 and it looks awesome on. Not generously sized but really cute. We're loving our OshKosh vests for this fall/rainy weather. Monday's Boden shirt is so great on. I really love their stuff. The monkey shirt was a must have from Carters along with Thursdays rocket shirt from there too. Sammy is just about to turn three. We are pretty solidly in the last bit of 2Ts from Carters and OshKosh which give us a bit more length. We will move to our Children's place denim and pants with special cuffs soon. Stay tuned for Sammy's Halloween costume reveal later this week. They moved Trick or Treating to Friday so I should have those up Saturday. My mom is visiting so hopefully I will have some time to myself! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Easy and Cute Toddler Halloween!

Halloween is very nearly here! We are so excited. Honestly I could have written this post a couple of weeks ago and probably done someone some good- but put this away in your mind for next year.

In the Midwest, Halloween is cold. I find that the "all over" costumes are best. Look at Carters and Target and you'll find some great ones that come with a bit of padding for warmth. They are so easy. You can add a pair of knit pants and long sleeved shirt to make even warmer depending on how cold it is on the actual day you Trick or Treat. And they are still pretty comfortable.

Pottery Barn Kids has AMAZING costumes. We got ours there this year and really love it. We got it early because we thought it would more than likely be sold out in the 2T-3T size. So we wasted $. We could have waited and got it for $20 less. They are still in stock. I am not giving away his darling costume just yet- but we are SO excited. Hopefully he cooperates for some great pics. My mom- Sammy's Mimi- is coming to Trick or Treat with us this year. She's flying in that day. We have pumpkins and all sorts of decorations to make it memorable! Pottery Barn Kids is slightly smaller sized. Target, Carters, Babies R Us, they all seem to be sized a bit more generously.

Generally on costumes- don't wait. If it's cute- it's gone. Unless its priced really high. (cough cough PBKs $100 for costume and treat bag). Always be looking for coupons and discounts. We at least got 10% off through an online code. But keep your eyes peeled. Now would probably be a great time to get your kid's costume for next year. Especially if they are a toddler and won't have an opinion on the topic. Might as well save and get a great one.

After Halloween, feel free to sell your costume on ebay or donate to a store. We've saved them and I cannot imagine we'll ever use them again. Here is Sammy in last year's costume - a bear- which we purchased from Target for $25.00. It was warm and easy!

Tips for Little Dude Winter Coats

Winter Tip!

Its Winter- its cold and your child needs a warm coat. Here are a couple of tips that I use to save money, time, and get a great coat that I really love!

Style wise- get something that looks good with brown and black. I usually get green. I also try to get something that has a removable hood. I sometimes cannot stand a hood. I like for it to be not crazy poofy because they're outside playing and need to be able to run around. You want something that will be warm and be functional.

First - I use the same brand as often as I can for coats. Hawke & Co. I buy it every year in January for the next size. The coat Sammy is using I bought last year at Von Maur for $19. It was 75% off. They are very warm and really cute. I did the same thing the year before and was so glad to have found that deal and way of preparing ourselves for winter. I am able to get a great coat at a really great price. To be quite honest, I would not pay for that full price so Sammy gets a nicer coat this way.

You probably want to check in a couple of times to make sure they still have coats. The idea is to get them right before they get the Spring merchandise and are putting coats on sale to get rid of them. Hence the 75% off. 

Same goes for Carters. I find that coats fit generously and getting the year before usually works out just fine. I get Sammy a coat and a fleece. Since I love him to have a North Face fleece I always get after its been marked down and used more often than not! We also use vests from Osh Kosh and generally get a fleece vest from Carters too. I like to have a couple of options because our weather is really strange.

Target, Carters, and Etsy are great places for hats. Buy one that comes down over the ears so you don't need extra coverage such as ear muffs that will never stay on. Their hands are still really small but Carters and Target both have mittens and gloves for wee hands. Get the toddler size in the hat so you can use it a couple of  years. They wash pretty well- just don't use the dryer! I do generally buy a couple of hats. They are cute and I cannot  help myself.

Planning ahead is really your friend here! I don't have two coats for Sammy, I usually have two of everything so one can be in the wash and the other can be in use "just in case". <-- That is the story of my life! But I usually get just one coat.

Please also remember coats and seatbelts don't mix. I have a remote start and start the car before we get in. I put his hat and mittens on and a blanket. Then put his coat on like a blanket. We put it on right before we get out of the car. Sammy is still rear-facing so it all stays tucked in pretty well. I hope forward facing I am not picking it up a bunch.

Sammy in his Hawes  & Co coat with a Target hat!

Don't forget sunglasses. Snow can make things very bright! Also please consider donating your child's coat to a charity that speaks to you, after they outgrow it! There are too many kiddos without warm winter gear.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Outfit Idea! Osh Kosh Bomber!

Toddler Bomber Jacket Outfit
Target has a great bomber jacket from OshKosh. Get them soon because there was only one in my store. Trying might be a safer bet. I love Carters jeans right now- just a little touch of detail to make them fun. I got Sammy a cute pair of shoes similar to these but grey with red laces from Target. They were $25.00. They look great. And photograph well which is important to me. Thermals are wonderful because they layer or add warmth alone. I love the look they give. Some great ones are at Target. Lots of great things there for dudes in fall. Saving money is looking pretty good!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gap Clothing Review/ Clothing Haul

Gap was having a 40% off sale last week so I splurged and got Sammy two graphic tees and a sweatshirt. The prices were pretty decent and the styling was really amazing. We got this nautical shirt. This red birthday shirt, and this great sweatshirt.

The fit on these is pretty great. Arm length wise we have about 2 inches of room to grow. That's ok because I really want these to fit through spring. The length overall was great. I think a taller kid is probably going to be best sizing up to give six months in the shirt, but we all know I like tighter clothes so I stayed true to size.

The nautical shirt. Amazing. Fit is great. A little bit of stretch and the colors are so bold and bright. The arms rolled back a bit looked darling - the stripes just gave it that intentional look. Really cute. This would look great with a pair of colored skinny jeans. I am thinking of getting Sammy some yellow ones to pair. For the first time I used a pair of green cargo pants from Cherokee and they worked great. Truly a versatile piece.

Red shirts and red heads can be hit or miss. The birthday shirt turned out pretty well. The print is great- excellent styling. Again bold and bright. Fit is the same as the other graphic tee. We will use this for his actual birthday coming in November so be expecting some pics of it then! We felt the price was well worth the really cute print and bold red color. Sometimes it can be really hard to tell the vibrancy of the red online. Our only Gap is 40 minutes away and honestly- I usually shop there online because I hate going to that particular mall.

Finally the sweatshirt. The color is subtle- very pale grey/blue. Neutral and will go with anything (except khakis). The sleeves are a bit long- probably two-three inches of room to grow after one wash. It could shrink further and that number could change but after washing it looked like we had a bit of room to grow. The graphic on this is really cute in person. Glad we went with the ship version. We debated a bit. (yes the hubs for sure has an opinion on clothing for the wee one)

Sammy is still rearfacing in his carseat and hoods present a problem for us. It really is too much fabric in that general area so I skip hoods. I was really excited to find a layering piece that didn't have one attached. Plus I love knitting up great winter scarves for him and hats. Just our spin on it- and I feel safer in the car.

All in all- glad we shopped there and got three pieces to add to his fall/winter wardrobe for $42.00.

Keeping Socks Together! And Other Sock tips

Socks. Seriously how many does one kiddo need? And where do the missing ones go? Socks can be that last problem to be solved before you're heading out the door.

We have had the toughest time keeping Sammy's socks together and easily located to get out the door in the morning. After three years of this rigamarole - I have a couple of tips that I use to keep my sanity. When you are a mom - a plan for the details is vital to keep you calm and on time.

1) When taking off socks, roll them together as you would to store in sock drawer. Just place like that in the laundry. This keeps them together through the wash. They usually dry up fine for me and get very clean. We have a front loader and I use Tide powder. If they don't dry completely- I usually just throw in the dryer again to get the next load.

2) After your child has thrown them across the car, pick them up. This seems so simple but it is really easy to just get them out of the car and deal with that later on. I just grab them really fast, ball them up, and put into the laundry pile. Mentally keep track of them so you can make sure you're getting dirty clothes put up daily.

3) Keep a few neutral pairs downstairs or in a secondary location. We have a second floor and going upstairs quickly is a challenge. I cloth diaper and I keep 2-3 pairs of socks in my downstairs diaper stash so I can just grab and go when in a hurry. If Sammy is coming upstairs too- we have a serious delay because Thomas must be turned on and we have to lay down in Mommy's bed.

4) Lay out the whole outfit the night before. I usually put socks and shoes on our shoe mat because I have a sock and shoe removing kiddo. He could get off a straightjacket so socks are no issue for him. Just having his things ready to go saves us so much time.

5) Clean out couch weekly. I find so many under the couch. Our littles spend a bunch of time on the floor so their things tend to end up underneath the furniture- and in it!

Another problem we've had is ankle socks during Summer. I prefer the "no show" look. Target has them in the bigger boy section. I think before they hit about three- sandals in the summer is probably the only option other than sizing down and having them just be smaller. Some socks seem to do this ok.

Great sock brands- Carters! We have wood flooring so I love having the gripper. We also love the Gap socks. They usually are pretty cute and hold up well. I think the hanes brand is just fine, not as great for wash and wear but cost a ton less. Circo brand are ok but they have that nylon liner inside and no gripper. Not my fave but we have a set of Thomas ones and some monsters that are fun. Generally I like them to be from Carters or Gap due to the wash and wear and stretch. We have some 24 month that are still hanging in there and Sammy wears a size 9 toddler shoe. They also size 2-4 so they have a more generous fit. Gap is 2-3 so less generous but you can single socks which is nice for when you see something nice. 

Hope this helps you get out of the door a bit more quickly!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Help! My Kiddo is Between Sizes

Sammy isn't a huge kid. And I like his clothing to FIT. I like shoulder seams to hit shoulders. I prefer pants to fit lengthwise without needing a cuff.

I find that we generally need to size up before the next size fits. I am sure it is well-intentioned by the clothing companies but it kinda drives me crazy. I hate that couple of months where he is in between sizes and things may not fit yet.

I have a few tips that can help.
1) Be aware of how different things are sized. Carters for example- their jeans run long. The Childrens Place run short. Buy when they have sales but know that you'll use those Carters ones a bit later. I also know I can get the Carters fabric type pants in that smaller size and they'll last longer. I tend to invest in their separates because the length lasts but I know starting off- Children's Place is going to be a staple for awhile. I tend to buy some of each knowing ahead of time how these will get worn.

2) Know your widths! Osh Kosh and Walmart seem to run wider. Since Sammy is cloth diapered but skinny, I know those jeans will fit after his Bodens are too tight. The loose fit seems to give us a couple more inches to play with and may make all of the difference.

3) Shirts are hit or miss. I tend to use the button downs during this time because I can roll the sleeves. They can be tucked in or incorporated with a sweater vest to "shrink" it to fit. My son usually up sizes in the winter so that is probably not a universal tip esp for those kids with birthdays in the summertime. I like shirts to fit tighter so we generally just wait to up size a shirt, they generally fit well after we need a bigger size in pants so I just use them longer. Pants are where the majority of our issues come from.

But again, knowing what sizes run large is great here. Cherokee and some of the Target brands run smaller than Carters, and Childrens Place is smaller as well. I typically can have Sammy wear his Childrens Place stuff first while we are still getting those last uses of Carters in the smaller size.

4) Carters sets are my saving grace during this time. They just run smaller and shorter than their separates. I buy the store out of those! I generally find that our Carters does not stock them in toddler sizes,so I have to get them online. Most of the time, Carters coupons are only for "in store" but sometimes they have online coupons too. When you get that coupon and can afford it, is the time to hit up Carters online. I also find that some of the cuter shirts we like for Carters are only online too.We try to buy all of that online when we have a deal and everything online is 50% off. Their shipping is $6 flat. Carters generally stocks all of the baby stuff in stores but toddler stuff can be hit or miss. We live half an hour away from any Carters so I am not heading up there in my rare free time to not get what I am looking for!

5) Buy jeans that are meant to be cuffed. This doesn't irritate me as much as pants that are not meant for it. Carters has little fabric pants that have fabric underneath and they are meant to be cuffed. Boden usually does too. Carters will have the little plaid cuffed pants. These you can use longer because in the fall they are a bit shorter and you just adjust the cuff as your kiddo grows. Easy peasy and as long as you are careful not to make the outfit too matchy matchy- this can be a big style plus.

Hope this helps- I know I am OCD about some things and fit is one thing that bothers me big time. Knowing how different brands fit your child can save you during the times of transition.

Inexpensive Basics to Make a Wardrobe Pop

Good clothing can be expensive. And giving your child the look you'd like them to have can really get pricey. I generally focus on one thing when I'm dressing Sammy. He will have on great shoes (red laces!) or a cool sweater from Boden. Something special. Generally I go ahead and pair those items with basics so the interesting item can shine. Also my son is cute, as all of our children are- and I don't want the clothes wearing him. I typically tone down anything with pairing it with a basic item.

Some places I like for basics are just everyday stores. The $4 pants from Target, Circo brand. Old Navy has inexpensive jeans during their sales, The Children's Place and Consignment stores are all excellent places to look for timeless pieces you'll get your money out of. I love to get these things the season or year before on clearance. Jeans aren't going out of style. When you have a good coupon make use of it. Always be working on the next size up wardrobe.

Boy fashions I feel, are pretty stable for a while- trends are slow to come and slow to leave. Right now bright colors and pattern are on trend. But these little kiddos need clothing they can wear outside and get dirty. So it serves two purposes to get clothing that you really don't hate to send them to daycare/school in. You are going to let their own cuteness shine, and it won't break your heart when the knees are ripped out.

I hope this helps save a bit of money and helps you feel more in control while shopping. I know we'd all love to just buy out Nordy's and get whatever our hearts' desire but the truth is that when we focus on interesting pieces and use discount tactics to get awesome pieces - we won't feel deprived at all! And the best part is that our kids are amazing human beings that could rock a paper sack.

Sammy is wearing a great button up from Osk Kosh Target. The print is really vibrant. It was $14 which is more than I typically pay for many items. He wears this with some khakis that were gifted and Toms that I got off of Entire outfit cost me under $50 which isn't awful. I like that the print has a lot of colors that i can bring out. I am buying some colored jeans shortly so stay posted! I intend to work in colored pants into a toddler's wardrobe and not let them overwhelm the overall look. <3

Monday, October 21, 2013

Getting a Great Little Boys Haircut!

Getting my son's hair cut has been kind of a nightmare. He has darling red hair and was blessed with a cowlick- right in the front. (Just like mama!)

I have no brothers and have never had any interest in male hair before having my son. I don't understand the use of clippers or any thing not directly related to female hair. I've become better at navigating the waters of little boy haircuts- so I thought I would share!

First- check out the spot before you head in. What kind of toys are there? Will this create a meltdown? Is there a super long wait typically? You need to see it before having your child in there to prevent tantrums and a rough go of it. I find that if I can relax the whole visit goes better.

Ex. Sammy LOVES trains. Adores them. The first spot we used had a train table. Big meltdown every time we went in. He wanted to play, didn't want to leave. I was generally alone with my son and this was embarrassing and just made the whole visit awful. I switched to a new place with a slide. He's entertained for a bit but he can't try to pocket the slide out the door and he's generally ok to leave without a tantrum.

Secondly- Pinterest. Seriously get yourself a visual. You don't speak hair. Get something you can show to the hairstylist and prevent a bad cut.

Make some mental notes of what you like about this haircut- the length on the sides. How long do you like the back? Are you going to use styling products? They will probably need to tailor the picture you bring to your child's hair so its best to know what draws you in. I have a board for my son on Pinterest and I typically pin a couple so she can see the looks I like and we go from there.I try to find something that if it needs a styling product, it looks ok without. I am not gooping up Sammy's hair every day. He has eczema and we can't bathe daily.

Thirdly- Keep going to the same person. This can be hard with the kiddie salons being kind of chaotic- but make an appointment and keep visiting the same person when you find someone you like. Our lady is really nice, totally hyper and high energy. She is great at hair and after a few bad cuts, we're going to stick it out with her.

Lastly- Tip decently and say thank you. We're all busy moms but we really have to take the time to show people we not only see the contributions they make in our lives, but also that we are appreciative of the little things they do to go above and beyond.

Hope this helps some! We had a really bad cut about eight months ago and have been letting it grow ever since. I always fell into the "very short hair for little boys" camp. But given the cowlick, we need the length. I thought I would find that magic cut so I never had to wet Sammy's hair down in the morning and brush it into submission... That day never arrived and I realized I will have to wet it down to get us out of the house. C'iest La Vie!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Saving Money on Kids Clothing

Saving money is a big deal for my family. I'd say we're like most everyone and trying to put as much money back into savings as possible.Saving money when we can is a no brainer, and spending less for the same things is an all around win. I have found in my years shopping for my son, that everything kid related is basically on sale. If you are paying full price- you can probably save if you do some shopping around.

Below is a list of things I do to save on clothing for my son. I will keep adding this list as I have more time and more deals come up. I try to buy a bit from everywhere so I have a good breadth of experience to share. This is a bit disconnected as I intend for this to be a guide and list for each brand.

Carters is basically always on sale. They usually have a promo running. If you can wait until they are 50% off, you are going to save the most. They send out coupons for in store 20% off. Sometimes 25% off. And bring a grandparent on Wednesdays and save another 10%. So for example if you have $100 worth of clothing you will pay $33.75 + tax. Its not 85% off because you'd take 50% off then get a total, then take 25% off of that new total, and 10% off of that new total. But still - really amazing discounts. They also have a rewards program for every $50 you spend you get $10. This is off of your total after coupons.

Their stuff washes up amazing and really wears well. I love the quality and when you hit the trifecta of saving there, you are getting clothing cheaper than you could manage at Walmart. You can easily have two kids in this stuff. Their fit I think is generous and cut well, not too wide. Their sets run a bit smaller than their separates. Carters fitted non fleece jammies (usually in a 4 pack) run a full size smaller than their shirts.

Buy online. They generally have free shipping and some sort of discount. Don't wait at Boden. It if is cute, it runs out of stock very quickly. I only shop there with a coupon code because their stuff is more expensive but I think the quality is really nice. Its "hand me down" quality in my book. They also have resale boards on facebook where you can find gently used clothing. Nordstrom carries this brand but unless you have a discount from them- don't buy there. Boden sizing is sometimes odd and they only have the one line. Sizing is standard no matter where you buy this brand. I find it can run smaller in the pants and larger in the shirts. Sometimes the sleeves are long. Their stuff is really whimsical and worth the money I think. The Baby Boden line kept me pretty poor for awhile!

Old Navy/Gap
Wait for sale and shop early that day online.It runs out if it is cute. Gap is expensive. Their stuff is cute but they always have some sort of 30% or more discount going on online.Their stuff is not great quality in my book. Not much really looked great enough to pass along. Some of the jeans maybe. If you get something you just love from there, only use it for special occasions and pictures- really limiting your washes. The colors don't seem to hold well in my experience. And the brands run small. My son wears a 2T/3T shirt most of the time and is sometimes in a 4T at these stores.

Tea Collection
Their shirts are great. Pants too. But their prices keep us away. I've never noticed a sale great enough that we'd get more than a couple of shirts. I like their shirts for statement type of shirts. They run small and slim. I generally think their stuff is well made and the cotton is dense and durable. The wash and wear quality is good and you'll get 2+ kids through this stuff. Made for the long haul!

Osh Kosh
Fits wide! Saving is the same as Carters - they are the same company. Sizing is quite different. We bought a couple of shirts there and they were made for a chubbier/more muscular child. Sammy is a bit thin and he did not fill out these shirts. Because of that I generally only buy vests, some pants, sweaters, and accessories from the Target line.

Target Brands
Target has their own line of Carters, Circo, Osh Kosh, Cherokee, ect
Cartwheel and Target card will save you! (Target debit is amazing. Everyone needs one for 5% off through your checking account)
Keep an eye out here. The Osh Kosh goes fast if it is cute so you want to get in there fast. They run wide but wear amazingly. We have some well used pants that look brand new. Stains come out well. The 5% off helps and the prices are decent to begin with. Cartwheel is an app that you can clip coupons and stack them on your existing discounts/coupons. I can sometimes get another 5-25% off. When you are getting a great deal like that, that is the time to go get what you like there. I have a grocery budget and will spend whatever I have left over at our SuperTarget while I am there. Its a nice way for me to build up on cute pieces that my son will need. I try to be buying the next size while he is firmly in the one below. I shop clearance racks often there and save more. Boys clothing tends to keep the same trends for a while. You will be fine shopping for a year ahead.

This is a wonderful site. You can send them your used clothing and get in-store credit or cash. They have great brands. I sent in a lot of my old clothing and got about $25 to spend. I was able to get two polo button downs and a polo cable vest for under $20 and they look brand spanking new. I still have some money to spend but they have deals. They often have brand names and still send out coupon codes for more savings. You might not find exactly what you want but I love it for dress up clothing that I want to be nice but will only be worn once or twice.

I will try to keep adding as I find better ways to get the great clothes we all love for our children at good deals. 

Surprising Place for Cute Clothing!

Surprising Place for Cute Clothing!

We recently had to get my husbo an entire work wardrobe in one weekend. He is tall so generally I find great deals as JC Penney. I usually do not shop there for myself. Its just out of the way and I really don't have a ton of time for myself and clothing. I am an online shopper primarily because I can find great deals. Kids clothing and coupons is really a winning combo and if you're doing it right- you have a coupon most of the time.

We found some great basics and tees over at JC Penney in the toddler section. Great colors and fit. Their clothing appears to fit just a slight bit smaller than Carters. They had fresh prints that look great- very whimsical. The price was amazing $7!

I'd give everyone a strong push to check that place out. I found great items there and everything was on sale. Give it a whirl. Don't buy Carters there. The pricing isn't great. Truly your best bet to find a deal on Carters is either go into the store or Meijer grocery store. Other than that - you are overpaying.

Knowing what colors look great on your child is such a help. My son has red hair and red is not really great on him. But BLUE! It makes his hair pop and really shines. I am not a fan of anything baggy on my son, well baggy for a boy. I like it to fit snugly. This shirt is a big more baggy than I really like but he will grow into it and I rolled the sleeves a bit before he went off to school.

Below is the shirt we found. Print is a robin hood bear. Paired with Toms and some Osh Kosh for Target grey pants. Monster socks complete the outfit! LOVE!


Sammy + Trains


This is my son Samuel. He's nearly three. I wanted a place to document his adorableness. And a place to showcase that little boys fashion can be just as fun as little girl fashion. I love dressing him and showing off that awesome kid. We have a ton of interests and I was hesitant about starting a blog about such a topic really. Our lives are short. I want to make the most of it but that being said we're not shallow. He reads a million books (well I read to him but semantics!) There are million topics I am passionate about in regards to parenting. We are actually pretty "crunchy". Sammy is cloth diapered and we do a lot of toddlerwearing.  I am doing this because fashion is something that is fun and accessible for moms. Sometimes after that C section or amazing home birth (we had the former), you don't feel like shopping for yourself. Little kid clothes are always cute, and buying them makes me feel instantly excited to fawn over my offspring!

This is place for me to compare brands and tell others of coupon codes and how I am able to dress Samuel in what I love for less. Fit and sizing are often confusing when online shopping and I hope to DE-mystify that for everyone. Please feel free to reach out for anything. I love sharing the tips I've learned the hard way. I view motherhood as a community and we should strive to lift each other up.