The 7:00pm Magic Hour – Our Bedtime Routine

So I had a reader request come in last week to share a bit more about our nightly bedtime routine – and pretty much asking how we get the two littles down to bed at 7:00pm every night.

Let me start by saying, its magic.

And my magic, I mean the magic hour.

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What we do obviously won’t work for everyone. I stay at home with the kids all day and to be honest, by 7:00pm I’M DONE.

I’m done physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually – D O N E

I’ve given it all. They’ve taken it all. I’m officially tapping out.

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A major reason I’m so done is because we are out and about all day, everyday.

I can’t sit at home with the littles – we have to be outdoors, exploring, checking out the city, hitting up museums – I like to keep moving. That’s just me – if we stay at home all day, I’d be bored, they’d be bored. We’d likely kill each other.

I’ve sort of created a monster in the face that Brooks wakes up most mornings and asks “Mommy, what are we doing today” because I’m his little cruise director that plans entertainment for him constantly. #facepalm

BUT the good thing is that the fact that we are always on the go everyday, by 7:00pm – not only am I tired, the kids are tired too. Winning!

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I’ve read somewhere, I can’t remember where for the life of me, because I’ve been searching for it to link here, but that young kids are ready for bed and between 6:30 – 7:00 their bodies release something {forgive my severe lack of scientific terms here} that helps them go into a deep sleep quicker around that time. May sound crazy, but I’ve found it 100% true with my two littles. They are both ready for and wanting bed by 7:00pm. Some days if they don’t nap well I’ve even put them down as early as 6:15-6:30pm – we keep them up until 7:00 to be able to spend a little time with dad.

With Brooks, since we were new parents and didn’t know what we were doing – we put him on a schedule a little later. Also, with one it was a tad bit easier to be more flexible since there’s only one. With Graham, I was a little more knowledgeable and comfortable with the whole schedule thing – around 4/5 months we started the 7:00pm bedtime routine and it’s been going great ever since. It was a little touch and go at first since I didn’t want one waking up the other, but that was never an issue for us, knock on wood.

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Here’s how it all goes down: We usually do dinner around 5:00pm – Graham is hungry by then – he doesn’t miss a meal – so I start with some ‘appetizers’ for him and prep the rest of dinner while Brooks gets to watch a 20 minute show. Brooks usually joins the dinner train around 5:30pm. Depending on what we are eating and if I’m hungry I may eat with the boys or will wait to eat with Charles. Every day is different.

Graham usually eats for a solid hour – I am constantly giving him different things to eat and play with – he’s a great eater and loves a variety of foods. In his defense as well, lunch at our house is always light so by dinner both boys are a little hANGRY and ready for some eats – which works in my favor in getting them to clean their plates!

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Charles gets home around 6:15pm and I aim to have the boys done with dinner and cleaned up by then. Usually thats the case, but sometimes we are running a little late and dad gets to enjoy the dinner mess. Sometimes this includes a baby bath in the kitchen sink.

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Dad takes over when he gets home and I clean up the boys’ dinner disasters and do a few other crazy things around the house. Sometimes I take Jackson out for a walk, water the plants, pick up everything from the day. On these crazy hot days  I also try to sneak in a quick shower while Charles is playing with the boys – they deserve some time alone and I deserve a quick shower! And by quick I mean QUICK!

I’m downstairs and ready to get the boys to bed with Charles by 6:45pm – we both take a little and change them and get them ready for bed. Brooks has a little extra time getting ready because we try to do a visit to the potty, brush teeth and all that jazz.

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Charles takes Brooks in his room – they usually play for a few minutes before reading a few stories together and then it’s lights out. I should add that last week Brooks chewed through his last pacifier, which I had to cut down, and ever since then he’s been re-learning how to put himself to sleep without it. He hasn’t cried. Hasn’t asked for a new one. Hasn’t really said anything about it – except “my wuba broke mommy” and I say ” you chewed it and I had to cut it to be safe” and he says “its fixed?” – he still holds onto it, but no more pacifier sucking. I thought that was going to be a major issue, but he didn’t phase him. Other than him rolling around in his crib a little more, it’s lights out at 7:00pm for Brooks.

When Charles takes Brooks, I take Graham in his room. He is still nursing 4 times a day – I plan to introduce milk soon, so we shall see how that affects things, but usually Graham nurses at 7:00pm and either nurses to sleep and I put him in his crib or finishes nursing, is antsy, I put him down in his crib and he gets himself down.

I think it’s a combination of the fact that we have good sleepers and the fact that we have a strict routine that we stick to day and in day out. Sometimes the boys might have a late nap, or not seem tired or be so crazy running around that anyone around them might think there is no way they are going to bed at 7:00

But guess, what – they are!

We put them down the same time every night, and they are ready for it. They expect it. They want it. They need it.

They need to rest. They are happier when they have a good sleep. They get a good sleep when they go to bed earlier and they have better days the next day when they are well rested.

This is what works for us. I love giving my all during the 12 hours they are awake and knowing that at 7:00pm I get some time to myself – to blog, to work my Stella + Dot business, to have a glass of wine, to relax with the hubs – it’s amazing to be able to look forward to that and to have that time.

And most days the boys get up between 6:45 – 7:30am

#proof

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Anything after 6:00am is fine with me when they are asleep in bed by 7:00pm.

Brooks is 100% consistant {knock on wood}, even with giving up his pacifier, he’s been a champ. He’s still in his crib and I know when he grows out of that, things might change a bit, but until then – I’m enjoying his schedule!

Graham is a little less consistent but only by a tiny bit. He has other issues – like teething – that sometimes affects him going down smoothly every night. But it’s usually only for 30 minutes or so that I have to nurse him longer or sometimes rock him a bit – but if he doesn’t immediately fall asleep nursing, he prefers putting himself down – he pushes me away when he’s done with me – ha! And I’m all for him getting himself to sleep too!

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I think you have to pick a time that works best for your family and stick with it. May seem a little crazy, may be a tough week, but I really think that if you are consistent day after day for a week or so at most, your little will follow along. I get keeping your kid up later if you work! Charles misses out a bit since he only gets a short time with them in the evening, but he knows they are happier during the day when they get their sleep early at night, and he’s good with that.

Yes, I’m that crazy person that will leave a party early to put my kids to bed. But guess what – I’m ok with that too and I relish in clocking out at 7:00pm every night!

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Now it’s your turn to share ->

what’s your bedtime rouine with the littles look like?

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My First Golden Tote

So, it’s no secret I like to shop.

I love clothes, I love pretty things and I love to share pretty clothes with you!

I was so excited when the lovely folks at Golden Tote reached out to me to try out their service and share with my fabulous readers. Pretty clothes?! I’m in. Duh. tote life

Have YOU heard about Golden Tote?!

Golden Tote is pretty much two of my favorite things combined into one cute little monthly bag – Clothes AND Surprises!  

Here’s the deal -> First, you choose your tote! New totes go on sale the first Monday of every month. The Mini Tote contains 2 clothing items, one you choose and one surprise. The Golden Tote contains 5 clothing items, two you choose and three surprises. The Surprise Tote contains 3 clothing items, all a surprise.

Depending on which tote you choose you get to pick one or two items you love, and the rest is a Surprise! Adorable, stylish clothing, at insider pricing, {more than 50% off retail prices} and I really love the fact that you get to pick specific pieces but there’s also the surprise in there too!
GT I was able to try out the Golden Tote version myself, so I was able to pick out two items I really wanted to try and then I would be getting three other items which would be a surprise. I took a style profile and let my stylist know a little bit more about me, what I like and what I’m looking for. You even have the option to share pictures – of yourself or even a pinterest board of your style.

I have to say I sort of really love this idea. You get to control a little bit of the situation with your picks, and then based on your picks, other items are pulled for you as a little extra styling treat. Win!

When it came time for me to choose the two items I definitely wanted, it was a really hard choice, because everything was so amazing and so cute. I wanted it all. That made me feel even more amazing about the surprises that would be coming my way – I felt really good about it and couldn’t want to try it out!

And guess what – everything arrived in a cute little tote! Ha!
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Tie Sleeve Top – Orange TIE SLEEVE DETAIL

First up is my first pick. When I saw this I immediately knew I had to have it. I love the off the shoulder, open arm look and the pattern, please. I’m in love. The oranges, blues, hints of pinks, a little ikat, a little tribal. Love. Serious Love.
TIE SLEEVE

Because this was one of my picks it came with a styling card. TIE SLEEVE TOP

Even better in real life – don’t you love it when that happens?!

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// shorts // shoes back topOTS

I am really happy with this top. I think it’s cute with shorts, will be cute with jeans and we will have a very happy time together because of all the fun colors. I don’t have anything like this in my closet and I can’t wait to go out and wear it!
BACK OTShead down

And I know its meant to be worn off the shoulder, but it’s cute up on the shoulder too for a bit of a different look!
worn up

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Puella Splice Swing Dress – Green PUELLA SWINGPUELLA SPLICE SWING DRESS

This was a hot ticket item I knew from the start. It came in a beautiful blue and it was sold out quick, but I was excited to get my hands on the green, I need more green in my wardrobe! I enjoy green.
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I have to say that swing dresses are totally in this season and for flippin’ good reason. They are amazing and I’d like to buy all of them thank you. They are so comfortable and light, flowy and {I think} flattering on everyone. I love the pattern on this on personally and the green makes me happy. I’m glad I got the green.
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Plus I look at this when I’m wearing the cute booties and I can’t help but get excited to style it for Fall – a big chunky sweater and we are in business! Going to be so cute!

puella green

Did I mention it’s got a little bit of a twirl action too? I have a thing for dresses that twirl.
puella twirl

And more twirls.

puella twirls

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Sweet Claire White Floral Dress 
SWEET CLAIRE

This dress was one of those things where you pull it out of the box and you sort of immediately disregard it. I totally did that with this dress. The white threw me for a loop. But then I put it on and I sort of fell in love again.

floral

First things first. I’m floral obsessed. I want all of it. Give it to me now.

Second of all, this dress is sort of like a t-shirt, but in a long, comfortable, flowy dress form. I’m into that.

And it’s floral. So, I’m done.

floral front

I think it’s cute and comfortable now for the Summer but I also think I can totally wear this in the Fall with boots, sweaters, jean jackets. I think the white and the neutral pink floral pattern makes it pretty amazing to style and wear.

oh hey

This is really never something I would pick up to even try on in a store but I have to tell you, I really enjoy it.
twirl

Aaaaaand it twirls.

twirls back twirl

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Potters Pot Striped Swing Dress STRIPED SWING DRESS

Next up is this black and white striped swing dress. I have to say, again, I wasn’t excited when I saw it at first. I have a few black and white striped dresses in my closet already – that I never seem to wear. Why would this be any different?

Well, let me tell you – because it’s a shift dress and it’s awesome. black and white

I don’t own many of these t-shirt, flowy dresses that are currently all the rage, but you can bet that will change in the next few weeks {maybe days?} because I love them all apparently. And I think they look really cute!

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And AGAIN I love this for pretty much all seasons – comfortable now but you can totally layer later to warm it up a bit. It’s amazing and I love to have versatile pieces like this in my closet.

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Not to mention that the black and white stripes are pretty classic!

potters stripe

Oh, and you can bet your bottom dollar this puppy twirls!

I sense a theme in this tote!

bw twirl

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THML Embroidered Panel Tank THML PANELcross topthml
x

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I have to say, I was blown away by this Golden Tote and am pretty set on keeping it all because it’s awesome {in my opinion} BUT I love to hear from YOU! What is/are your favorite{s} item from this Golden Tote? Please share what you think I should keep!!

goldentote reveal

Favorite Item from my Golden Tote

 
pollcode.com free polls

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So here’s the deal – with Golden Tote – you can keep your goodies or send them back for a refund. No big deal, easy peasy. Makes things pretty simple if you ask me, but you get to try out lots of amazingness too!

What do you think about Golden Tote? Is it something you would try?

Would you get the Mini, Golden or Surprise Tote?

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Friday Favorites: #NSale for the Littles

So I shared with you last week on my favorite #Nsale picks – I plan to share with you next week what I actually picked up for me! Stay tuned for that! But in the meantime I wanted to share with you some of my favorite picks for the littles!

Nordstrom carries some amazing brands, many of which I have worked with myself and really love. Some of the things on this list I have had for my two boys and used for the past 2.5 years – there is such good stuff up for grabs on sale for the new fall season! Check out my favorite picks for the littles and let me know what you think!

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NSALE LITTLES

one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine / ten

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What are your favorite #nsale picks for the littles?

Please share!

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Don’t forget to enter my Learning Resources Wow + Wonder Giveaway as well as my Arnold Bread Giveaway too!

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Learning Resources Wow + Wonder Science Kit Giveaway

If you know me as a mom in real life, you will know that I can’t sit in the house all day with the kids.

I’ll be bored, they will be bored, it won’t be good. Most days you can find us frolicking around Philadelphia – hitting up museums, parks, anything goes. Being out and about works for us and believe me, the fresh air and sunshine keeps us all sane and does each of us good.

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BUT the reality is, there are rainy days, sick days and even some days its too damn hot to go outside because you might literally melt! So I always like to have a little fun activity up my sleeve for the littles – Brooks mainly, but Graham loves to watch big bro do anything and everything so its a double win.

I was so excited when I was contacted by Learning Resources for Brooks to try out their new Primary Science Wow and Wonder Science Set. I knew it would be the perfect activity for our next day indoors!

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#crazyhairdontcare

Little kids are fascinated by so many things around them, but very few things hold their attention for long. And you can bet I will pretty much buy ANYTHING that keeps my little ones attention for 15-20 minutes to give me time to breathe during the day! Ha! 

 Luckily, the new Primary Science Wow and Wonder Science Set was a massive hit in our house. As you can see by the crazy hair in these pictures, we got this kit a few weeks ago before we left for the beach. We tried it out, Brooks loved it. We went to the beach, Brooks asked “to play science” – we got home last week and it was one of the first things he did. He didn’t forget about this magic kit!

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The new Primary Science Wow and Wonder Science Set has 10 double sided super-fun experimental activity cards for your child to explore colors, magnets, bubbles, and more. This STEM-supporting set includes everything you need to help junior scientists learn color identification and the properties of magnetism while conducting fun, hands-on investigations.

The set includes:

  • Bubble wand and dish
  • 2 test tubes in a stand
  • Horseshoe magnet
  • Twisty Dropper,
  • Color Mixing Glasses with 6 lenses
  • And a Guide

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Brooks is still a tiny bit young for some of the activities included in this kit, but there are two parts that he seriously loves and is obsessed with {more on that later} but I love that it’s something he can grow with and something that will challenge him as he gets older.

With this kit you get a variety of cards with experiment questions, how-to and ideas. Not everything you need to do these experiments is included, but they are pretty much things you have around the house {like dish soap for the bubble experiment}

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Here’s another look at the guide cards, front and back:

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Brooks is 2.5 {almost – next week!} and he just loves to play and explore and figure things out. This kit is great for that and provides endless opportunity to “science play”

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His two favorite parts of the kit, at the moment, are the color mixing glasses, which comes with 6 different lens colors for you to switch out and experiment with. We are working on our colors now, so this is great!

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His real favorite of the set is the Bigger Bubbles experiment – its so simple {you just mix with a little dish soap} but he LOVES making the bubbles. He uses the dropper, goes back and forth between the two test tubes, drops water into the bubble wand dish and goes to town.

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Seriously, this has been my savior in between lunch or dinner when I need to get things cleaned up and keep one of the two contained. He happily sits here playing with his science kit. I love it, he loves it. It’s a win all around for everyone.

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I can’t wait until he’s a little older and we can do some more of the more challenging experiments together – something to look forward to for sure!

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Up for grabs today is your very own Wow and Wonder kit that I would like to gift to one of my fabulous readers! 

Just leave a comment letting me know who you want to win for and a science experiment you would like to try! Ha!

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