Back to School Shopping with Hanna Andersson and more...




Back to School Shopping with Hanna Andersson

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in conjunction with Hanna Andersson. My opinions are my own and all fashion selections were made by Tomato.

Tomato heads back to school this September. She is very excited to start school again and back to school shopping at Hanna Andersson this weekend made it even stronger. We were so excited when Hanna Andersson opened a brick and mortar store at The Promenade last December. I was able to attend the Hanna Andersson Marlton Opening and it made me so happy that our favorite catalog was now a quick drive away.

Back to School Shopping at Hanna Andersson Marlton NJ

Tomato will be turning 5 soon, so shopping with mom has now progressed from being taken along as a toddler to a cute, girls’ day out. Taking her shopping at Hanna Andersson and having a snack at the tables outside at the Promenade reminds me of the shopping trips I took with my Nana. My Nana could shop like no other and it was a special trip each year for my sister, mom and I. We went with her to the Lord & Taylor on the Main Line and had lunch at The Birdcage restaurant, picked out a pretty dress and a Madame Alexander doll. When Tomato and I enter Hanna Andersson, all of those memories flood back and I hope to create new ones with her. I know that we are picking out special clothes for a special day, and I love sharing that with her. Tomato was already talking about having a new outfit for the first day of school, so she had something in mind when we entered the store.

Back to School Shopping at Hanna Andersson

When you walk into the store, the staff immediately greets you and the displays are so inviting with bright colors and patterns that match my daughter’s spunk perfectly. The stores always have a good sale or two going on, so contact your nearest store to see what sales they have. As an added bonus for my readers, you can use the offer at the bottom of this post to receive 15% off your purchase between now and October 18th. It is valid in stores and may exclude some items, so please check the fine print for details.

Back to School Shopping at Hanna Andersson NJ

Tomato made a bee line for a beautiful striped reversible dress. Somehow she knew it was a twirly dress that she could spin and dance in, so it was what she chose as her first day of school outfit. Back to school shopping was proving to be a breeze. We went from display to display talking about what she liked and what else she wanted to choose. One of my favorite things about Hanna clothes is the sizing. Because they size for a range of ages instead of just one age per size, we get years and years out of their clothes. Tomato wore some of their size 80 and 90 dresses, which became tunics and then shirts, for 3 plus years. We just put the last 90 item away. So, you are not only buying quality design and fabrics, but you are buying longevity. They are the label I look for at consignment sales since I know the value I get out of them for her. If you’re lucky enough to get some as hand me downs, I am pretty sure the sound of angelic choruses accompanies their discovery in the hand me down bag. My best tip for shopping at the store or in the catalog is to buy up a size in order to get the most out of the outfit. I know that Tomato is going to twirl in this dress for at least three years and that’s why we shop Hanna for back to school shopping. Personally, I wish they made it in adult sizes too because this work from home mom would be in this for meetings in a flash. The Hanna women’s line is ever present in my closet too for the same quality and longevity reasons that I shop for Tomato.

Back to School Outfit from Hanna Andersson

She also picked out an adorable outfit for the fall.  She grabbed the skirt first and then chose the shirt and sweater to go together. Ever my bold personality child, she went with a great print skirt and mixed mustard and pink together to make a great oufit. We browsed through the rest of the store and oohed and ahhed at how cute the backpacks and lunch boxes were. Being me, my eye was drawn to the newest in their Star Wars and Disney collaborations. We bought the Star Wars Christmas jammies last year for my husband, Tomato and I and the new jammie designs this fall are great.  As Tomato tried on her outfits and we peeked in the clearance racks for great deals, we shared giggles and smiles. It was great to have a girls’ day out just like I had with my Nana. I hope she remembers these days with the fondness that I have for my own memories of 30 years ago. We’ll definitely be heading back as the seasons change to pick out some other great new clothes.

If you are looking to do some back to school shopping in the near future, make Hanna Andersson a stop on your agenda. You’ll find a courteous staff, impeccably made clothes and accessories and I hope you can make some memories to last a lifetime too. Enjoy the offer below too! It can be printed out or you can show it on your phone at the register. Happy Back to School Shopping!

Hanna Andersson Back to School Offer

 

        
 

2015 Can-It Forward Day

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Jarden Home Brands. All opinions are my own, including my excitement over the fact that the jars are purple.

Ball Can It Forward DayIt’s been a busy summer here at our house. Work has kept me booked all day, but we still look to cook from scratch and make our own food as much as possible. It’s easy to pick up the phone and call for pizza or run up to Chipotle, but we’re working to incorporate the veggies we buy at the farmer’s market and the items we already have in the pantry. As we eat down our surplus, pantry space becomes more available and my mind drifts to wanting to learn how to can our food. I look forward to the Can-It Forward Day each year as we stream the feed on the computer while we go about our day. This year it is on August 1st from 11 am to 4 pm.

Ball Canning Sip & Straw Lids and Purple Heritage Collection Jars

Saturdays have become a little of my housekeeping day and I’d love to add a little canning of Jersey Fresh produce to those days. Having those items in the pantry come winter would certainly help us to not to reach for the phone for pizza and still have local produce on hand. This year, Jarden Home Brands sent us some new items to check out and use in anticipation of Can-It Forward Day 2015. First off, the jars are purple! I love that they have been playing with colors with their jars over the last few years. The Ball Purple Mason Jars are part of their Heritage Collection and the Design Series lids in red and purple will make my pantry even cuter. Our first use of the jars was to make smoothies and use them as a glass with the Sip & Straw lids. Tomato and I loved them and it was a great way to get her to hydrate with a smoothie on a hot day. The glass jar can be washed in the dishwasher and the Sip & Straw sets are top rack dishwasher safe. A win for mommy for cleaning up the kitchen! The Heritage Collection jars are in pint and quart size. This makes them great for trying out canning with the smaller sizes or you can use the larger ones to do longer items like beans and pickles. I’ll be using some of these to store dried pasta and rice too and intersperse them on our shelves for a little pantry spruce up.

Ball Canning Sip & Straw Lids Heritage Collection Purple Mason Jars

Jarden Home Brands has been kind enough to offer a coupon for a free case of jars, so leave a comment below telling me how you would use the jars and I will randomly draw a winner!

Now, I know what you are thinking. Can I really can my own food? This question goes through my head each summer and I have friends who have done it for years with confidence. I like to err on the safe side when trying something out for the first time. So, a reliable place to start for directions is the Jarden Home Brands site or grab a copy of their Ball Blue Book: Guide to Preserving. The cookbook has over 500 recipes to try out. Their safety and health rules are strict and I like that they have tested these recipes out over many years.

Another great resource is to check out today’s live stream from Jarden Home Brands headquarters in Fishers, Indiana. They have a brand new, state of the art facility and as the webcast streams, you can pop in and ask questions on the chat function. New this year too will be a celebrity mason jar auction, so set your laptop or tablet up at your dining room table today and listen and watch to learn more about canning your foods. It’s a great way to take advantage of and preserve your current local harvests. I’ve got the webcast set up to stream from here, so enjoy, have a great weekend and don’t forget to comment to enter to win a free case of jars!

 

Top 2 Tips for Food Allergy Travel

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Stonyfield and Tommee Tippee. All opinions are my own. Also, I am not a physician, so please consult your allergist for all suggestions for your particular allergy.

We are planning a lot of day trips this summer and as a food allergy family, we have to plan our meals and snacks carefully in order to keep Tomato safe. Whether we are running out to tour a new spot in the Philadelphia area or heading to the shore for the week, there are some things that we think of for taking food with us as we travel.

Top Tips for Food Allergy Travel

Tip #1: Pack what you know!

I always pack items that we have tried before and with which we have had success. With Tomato’s food allergy, we have a running list of companies that we know are safe for her particular peanut allergy. I always consult the list before I head to the supermarket and before I pack snacks and lunches or dinners for the day. One of the companies that works for us and is safe for us is Stonyfield, so I always have their YoToddler yogurts on hand. They are small, portable and for Tomato, they hit the spot. She loves the flavors and I know it’s something that she will eat and be full and ready for the next part of the trip.

Tip #2: Pack utensils and plates and bowls that you have from home.

The easiest way for me to know that the food we have is safe is to make sure Tomato is eating off of plates and bowls that we bring from home. When we got the new Tommee Tippee Easy Scoop Feeding Bowls, I was thrilled because it gives us two bowls to travel with and they fit into each other with ease. This helps to limit the bulkiness and makes packing things in our backpack simple. Plus, it lets us have a bowl for two meals or a snack and a meal. This is super important for food allergy travel for us! Tomato is in love with these bowls too. She likes that the spoon has a hiding place. She loves that there is pink. Plus, I love that the spoon is clean and coming from our house instead of grabbing a disposable one from a food spot while we are out. I never know what those have touched before, so this set gives me peace of mind.

Tomato is so used to taking her own food when we go places now. We know that it’s what is best for her allergy and she really goes with it. It helps when we have found foods that she likes and are easy to take on the road. Having portable plates, bowls and utensils add to it. These new ones in our collection are BPA free, so I am not worried about that either. They are also dishwasher safe, so when we land at home, clean up is easy too. That’s always good!

If you are a food allergy parent, how do you pack safe foods for your child?

        
 

LikeThat Garden App: Planting the Right Garden for You

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for LikeThat. All opinions are my own.

As I am sure other parents can identify with, “I need an app for that” seems to apply to every search for efficiency and time management around the home. As I said the other week, we are in a transition into me working more outside of the home. I am slowly coming to reality of what that means for the garden here. Recently, I started using the LikeThat Garden app in order to capture ideas as I go for walks around town.

LikeThat Garden App Planting the Right Garden for You

I am in search of perennial flowers that are low maintenance. These are ideal for me to continue to have a garden that I love to look at, cut flowers from and can maintain with our busy schedules. Annuals are of no interest as of now and I’m looking for plants that bloom at different times of year and are of various heights. This helps me to add depth and continual blooms to the garden as we keep it low maintenance and on budget.

So, I took my new app out for a test drive over to one of my favorite gardens in our area. They have a great easy to care for garden on a hill similar to our front yard hill. It is filled with sedums and other flowers, but I wasn’t sure what the flowers were. It’s a cascade of pinks, whites and purples and I love when it blooms each spring. I love it and would like to replicate the effect at our home. In their strip of land between the road and the sidewalk, they have stunning Irises. So, I used the app to capture a picture, choose which flower it is and save it to my favorites. I can access the picture and my search history whenever I activate the app.

LikeThat Garden App Photo Grab

LikeThat Garden App Ideas

LikeThat Garden App Info Page

 

In addition to getting suggestions as to which flower you photographed, you can click on each option and be taken to a Wikipedia page where you can figure out if the plant is a perennial or annual and if it fits your zone. You can also make it a favorite to save the info for later. To say that I am going to be using this app on every walk to amass a master list for the front hill transformation would be an understatement. I can’t promise that I won’t pull the car over on errands and hop out to use it too. It speaks to the research happy history major that I was. No longer will I wonder what a flower is and with the visual and text components, I’ll start adding the information to my own memory for when Tomato asks. Of course, once I show her the app, I may also not get the phone back and we’ll be off on a great homeschool style science tangent.

So, if you know someone who is always asking “What flower is that?” or a would be gardener who doesn’t know if certain flowers can work in his/her garden, I highly recommend the LikeThat Garden app. Get outdoors, walk, do a color walk with the kids to collect info about flowers of different colors and enjoy building your fantasy garden. Grab the app for FREE for iOs or Android and explore!

 

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

Phew! The last year has been a great whirlwind of launching a new business, being a wife and mother and homeowner. It’s been a while since I’ve hopped into this space and I am going to be launching a lot of changes in the next few months. The first big change is that I have rolled over my URL to now be www.beckyelmuccio.com. I’ve ben thinking of rebranding for a while and as I started my social media management business, I kept thinking that I would like for the blog to be a bit more lifestyle based and even include the not-so-crunchy green things that we do. I’d like to be able to pop in here and talk about education as we supplement what Tomato is learning in school, talk more about how we are aiming to be debt free and what it is like to care for a home and garden when both parents are working and we don’t hire a housekeeper. That last one is a work in progress, but it relates back to wanting to pay down our debt, so we’re striving for balance and on occasion the sink has no dishes in it. On occasion.

In addition to my URL changing, I’ve updated my Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts to reflect the shift away from Crafty Garden Mama. Anyone following on those already would not have seen any drastic shift, but new followers will find me as @beckyelmuccio on each. Next to come will be a design change. I’m working on a new header, new theme and dusting off some old posts with great new pictures thanks to my new DSLR camera. I’ll be talking a little more about the clients that I have in my social media business too. I love supporting small businesses and local downtowns and I think those looking to eat locally with their foods, like many of you are, may also be interested in how to support local businesses.

In our home life, we’ve been having a year of transition. Even though most days I am working from home or at the amazing new co-working space in town called Kings Hall, it has been a big shift for me in regard to still being the one to maintain our home. DH works 10-11 hours a day as a teacher and coach, so I am the one to help out at home. I’ve learned to figure out how and when to do tasks, but man, has Google Calendar been amazing!! I’ll be back with a post about how we are using the daylights out of it to understand where all of our time falls.

Finally, Tomato is growing up. How she is already 4 1/2 is beyond me. But, we have entered a new realm of interests and she has certainly found her own personal style. And it is pink. And glittery and we are still finding ways to source this new style in eco-friendly fabrics and from companies that aren’t spraying their clothes down in formaldehyde before they ship them.

So, what have all of you been up to?

 
   
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