I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand the taste of tap water. I grew up in a household where we used water filtration systems for as long as I can remember. Everything from water pitchers to the expensive systems that connect right into your sink plumbing. Because of this, I’m pretty good at telling the difference between tap water and filtered water. And while your local city water does a good job (usually) at making your water drinkable, there are still some things that make it through into your water. Not to mention the chemicals and additives you may not want. We recently had the opportunity to try out the new Brita Stream water pitcher and I wanted to share my thoughts with you.

The Brita Stream pitcher couldn’t have come at a better time. Our refrigerator broke the same week this pitcher arrived. Thankfully, I’m married to a very handy husband who can fix just about anything by watching YouTube videos and spending a little time on Google. But it also meant that thanks to the Brita Stream pitcher, we had filtered water a-plenty the entire time! Even Liam had fun pouring his own glass of water.
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After I opened the box, my first thought was confusion. Where is the water reservoir?? You see, if you’re used to these water pitchers, you’ll know that the water reservoir usually takes up half the pitcher. You fill up the top half, wait for the water to filter down to the bottom half and then you’re able to pour the water into your glass. This is especially aggravating when we visit my family in New York City during the summer. It’s something we always swear we’re going to change in coming years and only visit during cooler months. But then we don’t. So you’re painstakingly waiting, dehydrated from the humidity and heat, as the water filters through. With the Brita Stream, your wait is no more.

The filter in the Brita Stream connects directly to the top and filters as your pour. This allows you to have filtered water instantly. I’m actually thinking about sending one of these babies to my grandmother so that we have instant filtered water the next time we’re in the city. If you don’t believe me, I put together a quick video to show you just how quickly your water can go from tap to filtered. Hydration tip – I like to add fresh fruit to mine sometimes to give it a little extra flavor.

A blogger friend of mine wrote about some of the funk found in ice machines, like mold and other icky things. (You can read her post here). While her post referred mostly to commercial ice and soda machines, I also wonder if the same could be said to the ice machine and water dispenser on my own refrigerator. After all, it was here when we moved in. We don’t know how old it is and we’ve certainly never cleaned it out. Even though the ice and water seemingly tastes fine, I wonder how much there is you can’t see.

There’s none of that guesswork with a water pitcher. You clean it when it’s dirty and you change the filter when it needs it. There’s a light indicator on the top of the pitcher that lets you know when the filter needs to be changed. And each filter is good for 40 gallons of fresh water. For the average family, that’s about 2 months. You can also create an account on Brita’s website and they’ll send you a reminder when your filter needs to be changed.

Cost-wise, the Brita Stream costs about $35 on Amazon. This is a pretty good deal considering the cost of purchasing disposable water bottles on a regular basis. The filters vary slightly in cost, depending on on how many you get at a time. A pack of three filters, for instance, will run you around $20. And remember, at two months a filter, that’s half a year’s supply. Have you added up how much you’ve spent on water bottles lately?

Other plusses of the Brita Stream include its controlled pour feature. This makes it easy to refill reusable water bottles without overflowing them too quickly. Or in my case, it allows a toddler to fill his own glass without overshooting it. You can also easily add ice to the pitcher. This makes it easy to have ice-cold filtered water when you want it. And the water tastes good. It filters out the chlorine taste. To me, that’s the biggest indicator of tap water. And, ick.

Oh, and I almost forgot. The filters don’t require any soaking. NO soaking. I have no patience for prep work like that and I was so surprised I didn’t have to do that with this filter. As soon as I took the pitcher out of the box and washed it, it was ready to be used.

The biggest con, if I had to find one, is that a water pitcher is just one more thing to take up space in the fridge. We’re used to an in-fridge filtration system, so it took a little rearranging to find some room for it on a shelf. But if you’re willing to find the space for it, it’s definitely worth it. Plus, it has a fairly slim profile, so it still doesn’t take up that much space. And the stuff in my fridge could probably use some paring down anyway.

In all my years of using a filtered water pitcher (in college, apartment living and travel), this is by far the best one I’ve used. It’s definitely worth a try!
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We received the Brita Stream hydro water filtration system for free from Influenster in exchange for our honest opinion. The photos, video and opinions on my blog and social media are completely my own.

Want to learn more about how you can be the first to try out and review new products too? Sign up for an Influenster account to get started!

Do you have a little that likes to help in the kitchen? Liam loves being a helper. With anything, really, but especially when we’re making something yummy. He’s been getting pretty good at it, too. He can now dump cups of flour and sugar or teaspoons of vanilla into a bowl without spilling. It’s so cute to watch him be very careful not to spill. Last weekend, I surprised Liam with a little morning baking sesh in the kitchen and he loved it. We made glazed mini donuts! He was so excited the entire time and had a hard time letting the donuts cool before tasting them. Okay, maybe me too.
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We made a simple vanilla glazed mini donut recipe and added a little food coloring to a few to make them a little more festive for Valentine’s Day. Liam turned out to be quite a good glazer. (Is that even a real word?)
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I have this thing with Funfetti cake (because it’s awesome), so I decided to throw some sprinkles in half of our donut batter. The results were….okay. I’m sure there’s a better way to do it. Like maybe less sprinkles the next time around. The sprinkles cooked great in the pan, but the ones on the top of the donuts puffed up and ended up looking more like fruity pebbles. And honestly, Liam didn’t care about the sprinkles in the donuts as much as he like the donuts with sprinkles on top.

But all-in-all, these were quite yummy. You can definitely adjust the sugar levels to your liking, if you want something a little less sweet. I also used almond milk and non-dairy butter to make these dairy-free. I also loved that this recipe only made one pan of mini donuts. It was perfect for our family to have a few leftover. But not so many that we’d have to toss what we couldn’t eat in time.

These are definitely a cake-style donut. They’re baked, so they’re not the melt-in-your-mouth fried goodness you’ll get from a donut shop. But that also means they’re a little healthier too. So you can have the whole pan, right? Just kidding. Or maybe not.

I did a little research before we baked and I found that heating the glaze is definitely the way to go. Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try yourself! I think we may try a blueberry donut next time. What’s your favorite donut flavor?

Ingredients:
1 c flour
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter (melted)
1 egg
1/3 c milk (plus a Tbsp or so more, if needed)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for Glaze:
1/4 c milk
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
food coloring, if desired
sprinkles, for topping

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a mini donut pan and set it aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients.
  4. In a second bowl, mix together all the wet ingredients.
  5. Gently mix the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients until combined and no lumps remain. Be careful not to over mix. If you’d like to add sprinkles or anything into your donut batter, gently fold it in.
  6. Pour the batter into a large ziplock bag. Twist the back of the bag tightly so that the batter fills up one bottom corner. Snip the corner and gently pipe the batter into each donut space in the pan. Fill each space about 3/4 of the way full.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until slightly golden.
  8. Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes in the pan. Then, gently loosen the donuts from the pan with a knife (if needed) and turn out onto a wire cooling rack. Allow the donuts to cool as you prepare the glaze.
  9. In a small saucepan, whisk together the milk, powdered sugar and vanilla extract for the glaze. Heat the glaze on low heat, stirring constantly, until the glaze is smooth.
  10. Remove from heat and add food coloring to desired hue.
  11. Dip the donuts into the glaze and return to the cooling rack and top with sprinkles, if desired. Be sure to have a baking sheet underneath the cooling rack to catch any drops of glaze. Allow glaze to set about 20 minutes.
  12. Serve immediately. Leftovers can be stored in a covered container for a day or two.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, what are your plans? I’m supposed to have jury duty. We’ll see if I have to actually go in, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to spend all day with my favorite boys instead. And I may also try catching up on some sappy Hallmark movies during nap time. Hope it’s a good one!
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Let’s be real – what kid really likes getting his face wiped? It was always a battle of the wills at our house. Liam would try to see if he could out-maneuver my incoming hand, dodging my advances until I could finally wrestle him still enough to wipe his face after dinner. And mealtimes are a messy sport, especially when you have a little one just learning how to eat solid food. Liam’s a little older now, but how this kid can simultaneously use every single napkin we own in one mealtime and still have sticky fingers is beyond me. If you haven’t given NeatCheeks a try, you might want to add it to your shopping list the next time you head to the store.
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We’ve been using NeatCheeks for wiping little faces and sticky hands since 2015. Right about when the company was first featured on the ABC reality show Shark Tank. At the time, I was willing to give them a try, because they seemed better than our alternatives at the time. (i.e. a wet rag or diaper wipes, which aren’t exactly face-friendly). I never thought that these would become a staple in our household.

They’re especially helpful for moms like me who don’t like mess and stickiness. We did baby-led weaning with Liam when introducing solid food. It was really hard for me to let go of some control and allow him to make a mess while exploring new foods. I noticed that with NeatCheeks, it made it a lot easier to relax. Because I knew that cleanup was much easier (and Liam wouldn’t protest about it).
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The wipes come in three different package sizes – a full-size pack, travel packs and individually-wrapped packs. The original is slightly sweetened with Stevia, but has no scent. Our favorite, though, is the peach-flavored wipes. Something about the light flavor and scent of peach reminds me of long summer days. Liam usually requests the peach over the original if we have them available. NeatCheeks recently announced a new flavor – berry lemonade. We haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds amazing. You can preorder the new flavor directly from their website and should be available this spring.

One thing – probably the best thing – that I love about NeatCheeks is that they’re gentle on faces. All the ingredients used in making the wipes are all natural, non-irritating and hypoallergenic. And pediatrician and dermatologist tested. As a mom to a kid with sensitive skin, this is so important. Wiping his face with a traditional face wipe (or worse, diaper wipe) makes Liam’s cheeks break out. I don’t have to worry about that with NeatCheeks.

Speaking of ingredients, NeatCheeks wipes have a very short list of ingredients which you can find here. Because these wipes are slightly sweetened, wiping faces becomes a fun experience for your child. Yay, mom win!

Cost-wise, I think that NeatCheeks is priced similarly to other all-natural face wipe options. I tend to order in bulk when I see them on sale, which allows us to have them on hand whenever we need them. We travel quite a bit with Liam, and it’s nice to be able to just toss a travel pack into our backpack whenever we head out to explore some place new. The individually-wrapped wipes are perfect when we have lots of littles over, like for birthdays or other kinds of parties.
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Purchasing is super easy. You can order online through the NeatCheeks website, on Amazon, Jet.com and Target.com. You can also find them in select Target stores (93 of them, to be exact), Kroger, BuyBuyBaby, Babies ‘R’ Us, Walgreens, and Nordstrom Rack.

Now that Liam’s a little older and can use utensils (if he wants), we use NeatCheeks less often at mealtimes. But they’re still a necessity for eating juicy fruits, like watermelon and cantaloupe (two of Liam’s favorites). And of course, frozen treats (especially in the hot summer).
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They were the perfect thing for Liam’s first s’more experience. And even better? I only had to use ONE!
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I keep at least a travel pack in my purse or diaper bag when we’re out and about. You never know when you’re going to need them – for your kid or someone else’s. Because it’s the nice thing to do. 🙂

Plus, there are tons of great non-food uses for NeatCheeks too. They clean up messy fingers after paint time really well. And personally, I like the travel pack size to use as a makeup remover. It’s super gentle on my skin and doesn’t leave the oily residue that most eye makeup removers do. Products with multiple uses are a huge win for me.

You can learn more about NeatCheeks (including all the ingredients) on their website. You can also follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for sale information and new flavor releases!
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Let’s face it – I think we could all use a little more love around here. This is always true, but I think it’s more needed as of late. Have you been feeling the same way? The good news is that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! This is a great time to get in the spirit to give love and show love. And wear it, too! I’ve put together a great roundup of some of the trendiest Valentine’s Day graphic tees for littles, (And a few for mamas!) There are so many great designs out there this season, but I was able to choose a few of our favorites. Hurry, though. Some of these shop shipping deadlines are coming up really soon!
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  1. You are so loved. $24 from Plucky Mustard. Check out the LOVE design in her shop too!
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  2. Breaking Rules, not Hearts. $26 from Ahoy Amigo. Currently on sale for $18.valentines-day-graphic-tees-1
  3. All You Need is Love. $24 from Beautiful Melody Designs. Also available in adult sizes and other kid’s apparel.

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4. LOVE. $23 from Declan and Crew. Also available in black.

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5. Tic Tac Toe. $38.50 from Henry and Claire. Limited quantity. Check out the other Valentine’s Day Rompers in the shop.

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6. Heart Eyes for Days. $24 from Lavender and Lace Co. Multiple color options are available.

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7. Yoda One That I Want. $24 from Neverland Crew Clothing. More Valentine’s designs are available too.

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8. Heart Thief. $14.99 from River Babe Threads.

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9. So Glad I Pricked You. $22 from Sandilake Clothing. Other great Valentine’s Day designs are available too!

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10. Bésame mucho. $20 from Funky and Little. Adult sizes are available too!

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And I can’t forget about the mamas!

11. Love Has No Limits. $25 from Henry and Claire. This is our adoption fundraiser tee (all proceeds from these shirt purchases go towards our adoption costs). And they’re also available in slouchy women’s tees. Kid sizes are available for pre-order, but most likely won’t be here in time for Valentine’s Day. These tees are great all year ’round, though, so make sure you get one! (And we SO appreciate the support if you do!)

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12. Declarations of Love (LOVE YOU MORE). $26 from Little Scouts Co. Also available in kid sizes.

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13. Be Mine? YES ALWAYS FOREVER. $35 from Dream Big Little Co. You can also snag this in kid sizes.

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14. Love Wins. $30 from Mama Said Tees. This is also available in tees and an additional design.

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15. LOVE. $22 from Paper Doll Clothing Company.

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Hope you enjoyed this list of Valentine’s Day graphic tees! People can’t help but smile when they see Liam in his. So grab your Love Day gear and go show some love to those around you. Drop me a comment here on the blog or on our Instagram and let me know that you did. I’d love to hear!

 

 

My child loves being outside. Rain, shine, snow…you name it, he doesn’t care as long as he’s in the great outdoors. But when the weather’s not the perfect 75 degrees and sunny, it can be hard to find the appropriate footwear for the occasion. This fall and winter, we’ve been trying out the waterproof kids boots from See Kai Run. They’re amazing! They’re super fashionable (which is a win for mom). But they also fit the needs of Liam’s little feet and the weather outside. They’re definitely one of my favorite items of Liam’s so far this season. I just wish they came in my size. I’d snatch these up in a heartbeat.
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The most important thing for waterproof kids boots is that they should be…..waterproof. I don’t know what it is about puddles, but Liam has this innate need to jump in every single one regardless of the temperature outside. These boots keep Liam’s feet dry in rain, puddle-jumping and in the snow. There’s a special water gusset on these boots that help keep water and debris out. In the off-chance that the inside of the boots did get wet in the rain, you can take the lining out to dry.
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Even though the boots are designed to keep moisture out, the breathable, mesh lining helps keep feet from getting too sweaty. The boots are also pretty lightweight and flexible. I remember the first pair of snow boots we ever bought for Liam. They were so heavy for his little legs that he had to shuffle his feet instead of walking. I wish we had known about See Kai Run back then, because these boots are so much lighter. It also makes them great for hiking.waterproof-kids-boots-5

One of my favorite things about these boots is the generous toe box. Years ago, Jamie and I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with a group of friends. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my hiking boots didn’t fit me the way that they should. I’ll spare you the details, but I still have issues with a toenail because of it. It’s one of the reasons why choosing shoes that fit my kid well is so important to me. The wrong shoe fit can can cause lots of issues, especially with little, growing feet.

The bottoms of the shoes have a great traction pattern. This is great for hiking up and down hills or trekking through mud. Liam’s old snow boots had practically nothing on the bottom. We always had to be extra careful when he walked on other surfaces with slick boots. But the boots from See Kai Run help him walk with more stability. We did a little bit of hiking with Liam this fall and can’t wait to do more when the weather warms up. So these are perfect.
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The $60 price tag on these boots might seem like a hefty price to pay for kids shoes at first glance. But a quick Google search will show you that the cost of these boots is right about average for winter/rain gear. Plus, with these kids boots from See Kai Run, you’re not just paying for style. You’re also paying for the boot’s lightweight and comfortable fit and other great details I noted above. I’d say that these boots are worth ever bit of $60 and more. But if you’re looking for ways to save, you can always follow See Kai Run on Facebook and Instagram for sales and giveaways. Like right now. Select waterproof kids boots are on sale on their website. This is the perfect opportunity to grab both your child’s current size and the next size up at a steal. That’s how I like to roll anyway.

We’re still waiting for more snow this winter. Not sure if we’ll get a good snowfall in, but these boots have been a staple travel item when we visit Nana and Papa in Michigan. And if these waterproof kids boots can manage a good Michigan snow, then they’re pretty much the best thing ever for any kind of weather.

Happy trekking!
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