My essential sun protection products

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Hi everyone!  We are still down here in (super) SUNNY Florida and the topic of sun protection has been on my mind a lot lately and is sure is hard to escape down here.  So, I am a bit of a freak about Skin Cancer for a lot of reasons, mainly because it is a Cancer that you can actively protect yourself against.  I annually visit the dermatologist for a body check so to nip any potential issues in the bud.  I also like to use the following products for both myself and my babies.

  1. Baby Sunscreen Wipes by MD Moms – Broad Spectrum Water Resistant Sun Screen Towelettes Made By Pediatricians- These are TRULY a must have.  They are so so convenient, one wipe can cover an entire body and are fabulous for faces.  I use them on myself as well. They are gentle and developed by pediatricians.  I cannot recommend them enough.  They slip right into your purse, diaper bag or even pocket!  AND my kiddos do NOT mind them at all.  Wiping can be SO much better than spraying.  Less mess and more precise.  Get them HERE! This is the cheapest I have found them ($16.95 for 20)                                                 Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 8.40.40 AM
  2. Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush (SPF 30) Perfectly Clear Sparkle (Medium Shimmer)– I have talked about this baby before, but I am OBSESSED.  I slip this in my purse, diaper bag or pocket wherever I go to apply at any time.  It gives your face a lovely brush of light shimmer and protects on the go.  I use it on my babies as well.  I don’t really use it on the body, just the face as it works best for that.  It also lasts FOREVER and doesn’t go bad, so it is worth the $40 price tag.  Get it now! There are only 10 left!                                                                                              Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 8.48.54 AM
  3. I play Unisex baby solid flap sun protection hat UPF 50+– When it comes to sun protection you really can’t get any better than this hat.  The flaps cover the ears and back of neck (most sensitive and exposed parts) and the wide brim fully covers the face.  I can’t recommend this hat enough.  It is SO cheap ($9.99!)and has lasted TWO seasons for us!  Such an irregularity for kid gear, especially in the swim category.  Um…and they are too darn cute 🙂Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 9.24.51 AM
  4. iPlay baby rash guard Unisex Long Sleeve– Another sun essential, this rash guard takes all of the worry out of skin protection.  I have seen MANY a rash guard but these are the BEST.  They are breathable and most importantly long sleeve! I don’t understand the ones that are short sleeve- doesn’t that miss the whole point!? Prices vary but are SO worth it.                        Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 9.32.59 AM
  5. Aden and Anais Classic Muslin Swaddle Blankets– I take one of these babies EVERYwhere.  It fits perfectly into ANY bag, I’ve even wrapped it around my waist when I’ve had no bag.  These are PERFECT for sun protection.  They are light and airy so kiddos can breathe, but shield the sun as well.  I usually throw one over the stroller lid so the babes can sleep or sit in the shade.  I LOVE these.  I know the price is a lot, but We have used the same ones for FOUR years now!  They wash and wear well.

Gabriel is saying YOU need to protect yourself from the sun!  He is slathered with aforementioned wipes and see the blanket on the stroller?  Do it.  

OK!  I hope you picked up a tip or two 🙂  Email me or comment with any additions or questions!  Enjoy the sun and PROTECT your little ones and yourself.

Packing for 3…Kiddos

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Guys.  We are in Disney now, but getting here was only half the fun (insert rolling eyes here).  LOL- I’ll be back with that travel-hell story later.  But for now, I am here to share my type-A, anal retentive tips for packing 3 kiddos.


Bottom row:  PJs by child,  Middle Row: Outfits by child, Top row: specialty items (unders, socks, matched outfits)

  1.  Ziplock bags.  MANY- I reuse these ALWAYS (because, you know, the Earth) as poop diaper bags or snack bags for our travels.  I label them and stuff them while pushing the air out of them for packing ease.
  2. Outfits- I ALWAYS pack in “outfits.” Some people I know like to throw in a pile of shirts and a pile of bottoms.  That makes my stomach ache to even think about 😉  so I pack in outfits. It is SOOO much easier when you arrive and can just pull outfits as needed!
  3. Matchy-Matchy- It makes life SOOOO much easier to get all three littles matching outfits. NO fussing, NO arguing and SOOO much easier to find them in a crowd if needed!


    Plane outfits, but of course!

  4. How MUCH to pack- So, what I do with my kids, noting that they are boyos, is I use a simple algorithm.  OMG what a NERD.  Legit though, so I count the number of days we will be there (I always pack separate for the trip there and back outfits) and I multiply by 1.5 to get the amount of outfits I need.  Because boys be dirty :0  Seriously, though, this rule has always worked for me.  So like, for Disney, I knew I would need essentially 5 days of outfits.  So I packed 7.  BUT I also had an additional matching outfit for the boys for the first day of Disney AND separate plan outfits for the plane there and back.  Sounds crazy, but it works. IMG_7744
  5. (TO SAVE MONEY) Snacks- By all means, pack snacks.  As many snacks as you can!  I stuff a large Ziplock with them and am always SO happy I do.  I also throw a sippy cup for each kid in there (has to be same color, of course (no fighting!), but with different lids to differentiate which child.   This saves so much money because then you can just buy one drink and split among the cups.  Seems obvious but… 🙂
  6. Separate accessories- Underwear, socks, etc. need to be separated, and not just thrown in the side pocket, for us, because then we are fishing around for 18m versus 4T, vs 5T yada yada. Not fun.  So…Ziplock.  Geeeeez, you’d think this was #sponsored It isn’t 🙂

Oh, and then have one of your sidekicks carry your luggage 🙂  Teehee, what a cutie, no?!


What are your packing tips?

Reflective Run

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Happy #MarathonMonday to everyone. This sure is a special one and I wanted to celebrate by doing a reflective run a la GOTR.  For one of our past lessons, the girls did a 40 minute reflective run where, with no speaking, they thought about any and everything for the whole run.  We processed through the run both before and after.  For mine, I decided to not listen to any music save for some musical meditative prayers and absolutely NO TV.  I decided to dedicate each mile to something different.  Also for each mile ran, I said a mi shebeirach (These comforting words can be said on behalf of those who are ill. Whether friends or loved ones are struggling with physical, emotional or spiritual challenges, this prayer speaks to our desire for their healing. SOURCE).


So, here are my mile dedications:

  1. ME!  I cannot help but to feel incredibly blessed by my health, wealth and happiness. My heart is so full and so I dedicated this mile to me, for my thankfulness and good life.  Also this was a return to running after 5 days of no running due to a foot injury.  What an amazing first mile it was.
  2. My Uncle- Without exposing the privacy of my family, there is a major health struggle in my family right now and my uncle is fighting the good fight. I run for those who cannot, and today, for Sam.
  3. My mother, aunt, new aunt and grandmother- These woman are most affected by the health crisis and so for them, I run.
  4. For my “village”- you know who you are.  You are the ones who make this life worth living. You include my babies, my loves, my peeps 🙂  Thank you thank you.  I wish you all health, happiness and light.
  5.  FOR BOSTON- For EVERYONE affected by the tragedy, ESPECIALLY, my girl Erika Brannock who is currently visiting on site.  Marathon Monday is huge for a runner like me who geeks out like crazy for this stuff, but now has taken on a new meaning since the tragedy.
  6. For Boston’s RENEWAL- For all of the running community, united not only in tragedy but also in HOPE.

Enjoy Marathon Monday!

How to: Making a Level (LEGO) Cake

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Hellooooo!  Happy beautiful Sunday!  I wanted to check in and tell you about this awesome (IMO) LEGO cake I made.


For Zachary’s birthday, I knew there were 3 cakes I would need to be responsible for:  school cupcakes, family Lego cake and LARGE kid-party Lego cake.  The first two were done last week.  The last one for this morning’s party definitely gave me the most hesitation, with good reason.  It was a pain in the ass.  Not going to lie.  Anyway, I got this idea from one of my best friends in my head, Rosanna Pansino, star of “Nerrrrrdy Nummies.”  Obsessed.  Anyway, I watched her YouTube video about said Lego cakes a few times with Zach and then got to work!  The thing I was most concerned with was how to make the cake level.  There are SOOOO many instructions on the internet, so I picked one that utilized things I had at home and gave it whirl. It actually worked perfectly!  See below!  OK, let’s get BAKING!  You will need:


Box cake mix (I made two- one vanilla and once chocolate)- I like box. Always uniform.

4 tubs of frosting and gel food coloring (red, yellow, green and blue)

Large marshmallows

Cooking scissors

Cooking spray

Rectangular 12″ baking pan

Tape measure

Frosting spreaders

Dish towel cut into strips


OK, So…to make a level cake, follow directions on box. Spray pan VERY well.  Cut dish towels into strips and soak in cold water.  Then, pin the strips around the pan. I used paper clips which actually worked perfectly.  GUYS, THIS REALLY WORKS!

Cool completely in the fridge.  I wrapped mine in saran wrap over night. When you are ready to cut the cake into your Lego bricks, you will make sure it is completely cool.   Lay a tap measure across the cake.  You will be making 3 total cuts.  You will cut at 4″ and 8″ to make 3-3 inch wide blocks.  Then, cut the last rectangle in half to make 2 squares.  So, each cake will make 2 longs and 2 squares.  I had 4 chocolate and 4 vanilla.


Now, for the frosting, I microwaved it for about 10 seconds so to make it easier to spread.  Here is where it gets tricky:  you have to put 2 coats of frosting on- the first being the crumb coat, because you cut the cake which makes the frosting crumb-filled.  Avoid this “look” by doing one frosting coat and refrigerating and then doing again.  After you have frosted all Lego bricks, lay out on a large cake board.  Snip the large marshmallows in half. “Frost them” with your fingers- so much easier.  Then, line them up on the bricks to look like the Lego studs!


Chocolate Lego men optional 🙂 I made them from molds and melts.

This is not a great picture but I was really pleased with how it turned out!  And what a great tip regarding a level cake!  I will certainly be using that in the future!  Enjoy!


Current Obsessions

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  1.  Punjammies–  I saw this ad for these babies on my FB page (I know, totally the best way to decide you NEED something) and decided I NEEEEEEEEDED them.  I sent a message to my dude and…they came within the week.  Now THAT is awesome 😉  Seriously though, from their site, PUNJAMMIES™ are loungepants made with hope by women in India who have escaped human trafficking. Whenever you purchase PUNJAMMIES™, you invest in the freedom and dignity of these women and girls who are working to forge a new life for themselves and their children.  I saw them on Amazon, get them here! (BLOG LOVE-thank you!)IMG_7244
  2. Any/Everything LEGO!  Zach just turned 4 yesterday and he subsequently has 3 parties that this Mama needed to bake cakes for.  His school party involved cupcakes (CUPCAKE TOPPERS AND HOLDERS HERE) IMG_7314              and his family party involved THIS amazing cake (if I say so myself).  I bought silicone chocolate LEGO molds (buy them here-blog love, thank you) and then melted green, yellow, green and red candy melts. You have to temper them so they are at the right temperature but Zachy and I got the hang of it real fast.  They were also delicious!  Next weekend is his kid party and BOY do I have amazing plans for that!  Stay tuned!
  3. Speaking of anything Lego, SNAPOLOLGY!  So this is a funny story; I was leading a birthday party for one of my lovies and one of the parents there later approached me and asked me to work with him teaching these amazing Lego courses.  Shhhhh!  They don’t know it is educational!  LOL!  Anyway, I have a post in the works about this awesome program, but for now, I just finished a course on the Main Line and today I start one at TPS- The Philadelphia School and I am beyond stoked!
  4. LAUNDRY– I know.  Listen, let me explain.  I do a lot of laundry.  Like A LOT.  At any given time, there could be 5 other boy/man laundry piles added on to my pile. And my pile used to be small!  I really only wore one outfit a day.  BUT, now with my littles who have dirty hands and dirty everything, I am finding myself cycling through at least two shirts a day and my running of course creates a load in and of itself.  OK, so needless to say, I think constantly about how I can minimize the amount of time it takes me to do laundry.  Well yesterday, I think I found what works for ME.  This will sound crazy, but I FINALLY allowed myself to fold shirts “Inside out” and it has been LIFE changing. I swear it has cut my laundry time in half.  I used to let my type-a dictate my laundry habits, pulling those damn shirts right-side in and taking SOOO much time. Now, I leave them inside out, my time is cut in half AND it is MUCH easier to decipher whose stuff is whose!  My kiddos are VERY similar in size and having the rage staring at me is helpful! I know, the smallest things…
  5. These running photos.  I took them with the self timer up against the fence at GOTR practice on Monday. I had brought Zach for his birthday as a special treat and boy did he enjoy it!  I am SERIOUSLY obsessed with these pics!
  6. Which leads me to…GOTR– I know. I wax poetic often for this organization but I simply cannot say enough amazing things about this amazing organization.  OH, and look at this kid and my girls…
  7. My job.   As you might know, I work for InterExchange Au Pair, USA.  I.  AM.  OBSESSED. I love my job. I love talking to people, both from here and abroad, and helping to forge connections across and between cultural boundaries.  I also love helping families to find flexible, affordable and reliable childcare in the form of au pairs.  I was blessed to have an au pair for two months and it was more amazing than I ever could have imagined.  She truly became a part of my family.  It was epic.     Email me for details!

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    This is hysterical, BTW

  8. MY LIFE.  I feel pretty blessed, to be honest.  I turn 36 tomorrow and have nothing but thanks to give.


Don’t Call it a Comeback

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Boy did that suck.  I think I would say that the Love Run 2016 ranks among my top 2 worst racing experiences ever.  I can’t really think of what the other one would be either right now, so maybe the worst? LOL.  Legit though, OH MA GERD.


Mama has a LOT of work to do for BS.  Here are my race thoughts, and why it sucked SO badly.

  1.  I left my sneakers at home.  I know.  Seriously.  I put my UGGS on to keep my feet warm as we were driving there and about 10 minutes away from home at 7:47 (are starts at 8!) I realized I did NOT have my sneakers.  We had to go back.  Here is where my plan to eat something got foiled quickly, as did my WHOLE race/game plan…
  2. I started as a result, 11 plus minutes LATE!  Well, smarty girl over here thought it would be a good idea to go “FIND” my pace group.  REALLY!?  What a stupid idea in hindsight!
  3. I had NO Garmin.  I own three.  I was missing either the watch or the charger to ALL THREE. Kill me.  I tried to use the app on my phone to pace but BOY did that backfire. As I was trying to “find my pace group” of 9 minute miles, I apparently ran the first 4 miles at an 8:17 pace (REALLY, ROOKIE!?? DERP) and in 33 minutes.  SOOOO dumb.  Needless to say my whole body cramped at about mile 5 just as I saw….
  4. HILLS!?  I legit had NO clue or recollection that there WERE any hills for this race!  I got bored staring at the course map at about mile 5.5 (when said hills enter the picture) so I did not know.   The night before the race I searched for an elevation chart too and couldn’t find one.  I  know. I can’t.  SO stupid.
  5. I puked between miles 4 and 5.  Multiple times.  I NEVER puke while running.  I think the combo of no breakfast/water intake prior to the race plus busting my rear for the first 4 miles was the culprit.
  6. I forgot to take Advil.  This old gal likes to take 2 Advil the morning before any rave longer than 5K.  I forgot and I felt it.  My muscles were SOOO warm from running the first 4 miles at 1:48 HM Pace and then…they were NOT.
  7. This one is TMI (but most of my blog is then, isn’t it?) but the WHOLE week prior I had my lovely “cycle” for the first time in 16 months (since G was born). It is clear that despite my best efforts to supplement, the lack of iron and other nutrients hurt me in the end.

Yup.  This pic just about sums it up.

All in all, it was just a shitty shitty race.  I didn’t feel good the whole time.  I usually settle in and really am able to clearly think thought the whole race and have a few “enjoyable” miles.  I feel like I just never settled in.  It didn’t happen this time, and that is ok.  It is an accomplishment no matter what.

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Ummm…at least my race pics (attempting jumps twice…wonder why I ran out of gas) are make me look like I was enjoying?

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The final stats.  BOOM.

HM Taper Week: Love Run

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Yo.  So if I can’t actually run this week, I sure as heck am going to talk about it, blog about it, read about it, and bother you about it.  LOL. #sorrynotsorry


Anyway, I like writing about the taper, because for me, this is the HARDEST part about training.  You run and run and run for months and then…YOU DON’T!  YOU CAN’T!  For someone like me who is seriously addicted to the endorphins and who gets intense therapy thru running, the taper is super challenging for me.  I go stir crazy both mentally and physically.  SO…here is how I get by for this week:

Mental hurdles:

  • Plan for extra TLC for myself to replace the running endorphins
  • Plan the race- study the course, make play list, etc.
  • Luckily I had a HUGELY busy week that left me with no mental capacity to freak about not running and actually the space in my schedule was needed this week!

Physical Hurdles:

-TRUST the training

– Cross training is A-OK, but do not go too hard

– REALLY strange; all of the sudden at the end of last week’s training cycle I started feeling what could only be described as a hint of a (gasp) SHIN SPLINT!  Argh- funny enough I think it was NOT from my training but rather, that I had trekked majorly through the city on foot last week–in CHUCKS, nonetheless (WORST shoes to walk many miles in) and lord knows my walk pace equals some other’s “easy jog” (Mama doesn’t take her time).  SO, this week was PERFECT to lay low in terms of impact cardio.  I hit that Cybex though with some serious power (and a magazine, coffee and chill).

-CARB LOAD!  The best part!


OK, so now it is Saturday.  All in all, the taper week went well and luckily the weather looks so crappy that most of my OCD running crazy thoughts were spent mostly focused on the shit weather forecasted for tomorrow.



I will admit, I was a little underwhelmed by the Expo. It seems they wanted to turn it up a bit and have a little party action at XFinity LIve, but A. I don’t drink and B. REALLY!? Before a half marathon?!  There was a tent outside where you would get your bib and swag but I would have MUCH rather seen MORE Vendor Booths and LESS Beer Huts.  I know.  NERD.  But seriously.  The tent was soaking wet inside, dark and difficult to navigate.  NO BUENO.


OK, I will be back with a race recap tomorrow (hopefully).  Praying for no DNF and to have a good race.  I will be racing for those who CANNOT, tomorrow being my Dear Uncle who is fighting the good fight.