The Capsule Wardrobe Break-Up: It’s Not You, It’s Me

Last fall, I dove head first into planning and using a capsule wardrobe. It had been something I wanted to try for a LONG time and I was so excited to finally execute my plan! I purged, I planned, I purchased intentionally, and I spent three months wearing only the 40 items in my closet. I even wrote a post called “Why I Need a Capsule Wardrobe.”

After three months, I decided the capsule wardrobe and I were just not meant for each other. So we broke up.

The Capsule Wardrobe Break-Up

To be perfectly clear: I still love the capsule wardrobe concept and I think every woman should try it at least once. But between my ENFP personality (ooh, shiny things!) and my love for trying new things in fashion, I couldn’t stick to just my 40-item capsule after those three months.

So what didn’t work?

The capsule wardrobe made me feel like I was on a diet. The Hubby and I don’t do diets well. We like to eat healthy 90% of the time, but we don’t like being told what we can and can’t eat by some plan. This is how I ended up feeling during my capsule trial period – restricted and wanting things I “couldn’t” have.

Even though I chose to not to stick with this way of dressing, the capsule wardrobe process WAS a good experience for me. I took the time to intentionally look at the clothes in my closet, eliminated the pieces I wasn’t wearing, and thought of new ways to wear the pieces I already love. I also found myself buying less on impulse which is always a good thing!

Instead of sticking to a strict capsule wardrobe, I’m just going through my wardrobe with a cutthroat mindset each season. And as far as buying, I’m shopping for better-made versions of the essentials and going with fair-trade and ethical fashion companies whenever possible.

This post is about me breaking up with my capsule wardrobe, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it. You may love it. It was freeing at first to have a smaller set of pieces to choose from when getting dressed each morning. And some people thrive in this way…just not me! I’m leaving up my capsule wardrobe posts because I still believe in the resources and process. Who knows – I may give it another go for a different season at some point!

I still believe I needed a capsule wardrobe for that season as I originally posted. It helped me get creative and clarify my style. I found a few “uniforms” I love to stick to – more on that soon! It was a great exercise in discipline and intentionality, both of which I could use a lot more of in my life!

My Dear Capsule Wardrobe,

It was good while it lasted. You helped me grow, but I had to move on. I just couldn’t be me when we were together. I know someone else will love you much better than I ever could. It’s not you. It’s all me. Thanks for the memories.

All my best,

Erin

Have you tried a capsule wardrobe? How did it work for you?

*****

If you have no idea what I’m talking about with a capsule wardrobe or you think you might want to plan your own, start here:

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Be a Part of a Miracle with #MiracleMom Products!

This post is part of the #MiracleMom campaign with Children’s Miracle Network and Chico’s FAS, Inc. I was given these gifts as part of the campaign. I was not compensated in any other way for this post.

I have been connected to Children’s Miracle Network since my high school days. As part of our high school Key Club, every year we would stay up late working the phones for the Children’s Miracle Network telethon! It was so much fun and we heard lots of amazing stories of children saved through the medical care they received at CMN hospitals.

Now, as a mom, the work of Children’s Miracle Network hospitals is even more meaningful to me. Last year, I had the honor of touring our local children’s hospital and it moved me to the core. These hospitals that specialize in the care of children are so important, so life-changing, so necessary.

I am proud to be partnering with Children’s Miracle Network and the Chico’s FAS, Inc family of brands as a #MiracleMom to share a way YOU can be a part of the miracle through a few special purchases this week!


Support your local Children's Miracle

Every year, 10 million children enter a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital for treatment. That’s 10 million miracles. Some miracles are small, some are large, but they are all made possible by donations.

Each of these special products from the Chico’s FAS, Inc family of brands provides money to your local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. These funds help provide so much for local kids receiving treatment for every illness and injury imaginable. Things like blankets in the NICU, child life services often not covered by insurance and funding towards research or specialized equipment.

Let me tell you about some of the beautiful products being offered as part of this fundraising effort! 

CMN charm bracelet

Chico’s will donate $10.00 from every $20.00 purchase of their “Miracle Charm” bracelet. I’m not usually a charm bracelet fan because they are often too big for my wrist, but this one is adjustable and has so much meaning! That balloon is my favorite – the symbol of Children’s Miracle Network!

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White House Black Market will donate $15.00 from every $30.00 purchase of their “Convertible Miracles” necklace. What a beautiful, delicate necklace that means so much. You can wear all three parts together – which looks fabulous – but you can also wear each piece separately or mix and match! It can go with any neckline! I included the picture above so you can see where each part of the necklace hits on a regular crew neck top!

Two other opportunities to purchase with a purpose  for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals include:

I love these opportunities to shop and support the causes we love. Children’s Miracle Network hospitals are definitely one of those causes for me. Get out and shop these #MiracleMom products – or shop online in your PJs! – this week to make a difference!

Which #MiracleMom product is your favorite?

 

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Weekend Snapshots

Hooray for three-day weekends! Three-day weekends mean our Weekend Snapshots are coming to you on a Tuesday this week and I’m pretty sure I’ll be confused about what day it is all week. Who’s with me?! Here’s what our Memorial Day weekend looked like…

We finished up school last week, so summer has officially started and these guys are pumped about it! They got their summer fun buckets Friday night and have been wearing their new sunglasses nonstop ever since…even when it’s raining.

This mama celebrated summer by trying the new Crafted Press from Caribou Coffee! It’s not my normal sweet latte or mocha, but I really enjoyed it and will try it with a shot of caramel next time!

A new exhibit came to the Durham Museum this week and we spent Saturday checking it out! The exhibit, Lost Egypt, is perfect for the kids – lots of hands-on learning and creating! The highlight, though, is a REAL MUMMY. Yep, this whole exhibit was a huge hit for our family and we’ll be heading back a few times before it leaves at the end of summer! Oh, and that’s our new camel friend, Mahrud. He’s pretty friendly.

We all tried dipping our fries in our Frosty for this first time this weekend. Verdict: DELICIOUS.

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Sundays are salad night for The Hubby and I. This is my new favorite creation: BBQ chicken, corn, bacon, red pepper, romaine, and spinach. I think I’ll use the leftovers to recreate this for lunch today because I’m drooling just looking at the picture.

Also in the boys’ summer bucket were some foam water guns! The sun FINALLY came out on Monday, so it was a full-on battle in the front yard! I know this will be a regular occurrence all summer long!

  

Memorial Day just wouldn’t feel complete without some grilling and S’MORES. Of course, after a beautiful, sunny day, the wind picked up just as we headed out to roast our marshmallows, but we made quick work of it…and messy work of it! Messy is the best way to eat s’mores – the only way to eat them, really! S’mores are also the reason I keep baby wipes around.

                  

We cannot forget the whole reason for our long weekend. Memorial Day is a day to remember that our freedom is not free. A time to say THANK YOU to those who serve + have served + to their families. We are humbled by the sacrifices they make to protect us. We celebrate, but we also solemnly remember with much gratitude.

How was your Memorial Day weekend? What were the highlights?

I’m linking up with Weekend Snapshots over at Her Heartland Soul!

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A Yummy #TasteAndBelieve Challenge!

I participated in a In-Home Party Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Any reason to get together with friends is a good reason, am I right? When that reason involves the words “salted caramel” and “brownie,” I’m all in. Girlfriends and chocolate go hand-in-hand perfectly.

I got together with a few friends from my bible study this week to treat them to some decadent sweet and salty indulgences…but I had a little surprise for them! I had sampled one (or a few!) of these little bites of heaven before our little get-together and I couldn’t wait for them to give them a try AND let them guess just which company was behind their yumminess! See what I did with that twist there?!

Besides my favorite pairing of salted caramel and chocolate, I love adding fruit to the mix when chocolate is involved, so I set out a cute little tray of the brownie bliss treats and strawberries and made sure all signs of packaging were out of sight.

WW Close Up Treats

These treats are not only yummy, they are also adorable and look great on a platter, don’t you think?! They wouldn’t last long though!

WW Grabbing Treat

As we chit-chatted, everybody grabbed their sweets and took their first bite…and nobody could stop there because YUM. My favorite part was watching everyone try to figure out the company of origin for the brownies – it was a good excuse to take just one more bite…or many!

WW Answer

After all the guesses were submitted, I finally revealed that these yummy salted caramel brownie bliss treats were made by…

WW Reveal

Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods! Surprise! I wish I could have passed them off as my own creations, but it was fun to reveal that each treat was just 90 calories and 2 points for Weight Watchers PointsPlus!

WW Reveal 2

Did you know there is a whole Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods line? It includes yummy treats such as Triple Chocolate Brownie Bliss, Mint Chocolate Brownie Bliss, Peanut Butter Brownie Bliss, Chocolate Crème Cake, Lemon Crème Cake, Red Velvet Crème Cake, Carrot Crème Cake, Chocolate Brownie, Coffee Cake, and Cookies! WOWZERS.

WW Me with Treat

If you’ve been wanting to give one of these treats a try, NOW is the time because you can be a part of the Tasting is Believing Challenge! Until May 31, 2015, buy any Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods product, try it, and if you don’t love it, get your money back! Find these treats at your local store for a suggested retail price of just $3.29 per box!

The #TasteAndBelieve Challenge has me convinced! Which of these Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods will you try as part of this yummy challenge?!

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Hands-on-Prints Books: Engaging Kids in Reading!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Hands-on-Prints books. I received books to facilitate my review. This post contains affiliate links.

We are a book-loving household. We have books of all kinds coming out of our ears. I’ve really tried to trim down our selection over the years, but I can’t seem to stop adding to our collection when I find something that looks good!

The introduction of Kindles in to our home has helped slow the rapid growth of our stacks and stacks of books, but there is still nothing like holding a physical book in your hands, especially when it comes to children’s books.

Hands On Prints All

I’m thrilled to introduce a new series to you that will really engage your children in books through great content, wonderful illustrations, and their senses!

Hands On Prints Books

Christinia Cheung earned a Masters in Early Childhood Education and established a Montessori school that celebrates differences in personality, learning preferences and cultural backgrounds. Through these experiences, she was compelled to write her Hands-on-Prints books.

Hands On Prints Boys

This series of five books inspires simple and complex learning about the world, especially incorporating sight and touch to create an interactive visual experience for children. Hands-On-Prints books really are a unique set that my children and I are greatly enjoying!

Our family favorite is Around the World from A to Z!

Hands On Prints AZ

Around the World from A to Z takes kids on a journey to explore the activities, famous landmarks, and cultures of countries. Rock climbing at Mt. Rushmore, martial arts at Mount Fuji, and snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef are just a few of the fun adventures highlighted in Around the World. My boys loved seeing what activity would be on the next page and finding the location on the map in the upper right corner of each page!

Hands On Prints AZ Finger 2 Hands On Prints AZ Finger

Each page also features a raised, textured cursive letter of the alphabet for little hands to trace! Our oldest showed his younger brothers how to trace them correctly and I’ve caught them doing it over and over again. This book has so many things to get kids involved in learning! We are big fans!

Hands On Prints Chartres

Several years ago, The Hubby and I visited Europe and one of our stops along the way was in Chartres, France. We explored the gorgeous and incredibly unique cathedral in this town and were fascinated by the story of its construction. Because of that visit, this next book is a sentimental favorites. Geometry through Architecture: The Chartres Cathedral details all the ways shapes were used in the building, particularly as symbolism in the stained glass windows. I loved looking through this book with Big J and showing him our own pictures of the cathedral from our visit. He is his mother’s son – very interested in reading and history – so this was a great connection point for us!

Hands On Prints Coconuts

Other books in the Hands-On-Prints series include Nuts for Coconuts, A Persistent Vine, and Do I Have To? What If I Don’t Want To?

Hands-On-Prints books take children on adventures that develop their knowledge and a sense of discovery! I love how these books encourage kids to think outside of themselves and their normal circumstances. They truly do inspire the best in young learners!

Which Hands-On-Prints book would be most interesting to your child?

Leave a comment with your favorite to be entered to win! Giveaway ends Tuesday, May 26th at 9PM CST!

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Vino Van Gogh: Paint + Sip Fun with Friends (Giveaway!)

I received tickets to this even from Vino Van Gogh in exchange for a review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own!

I’ve seen people I know doing these canvas painting parties all over the place and coming home with the most beautiful creations to hang in their homes. It looked like fun, but I had never tried it myself, so I jumped at the chance to attend a Vino Van Gogh event here in Omaha with one of my best friends!

Vino Van Gogh is different than most canvas painting classes because places because they hold their events at popular restaurants, so when you order food and drink you’re getting it from a place like J.Coco or Nosh or, in our case, Nebraska Brewing Company! When you look at the Vino Van Gogh event calendar, you can see the location of the event as well as what the painting will be for that night. I chose our event based on both the location and the painting – we were thrilled with both!

I knew this would be the perfect thing to do with my dear friend, Val – a relaxing night for two busy mamas who don’t get to see each other often enough! We chose the Vino Van Gogh event at Nebraska Brewing Company and the painting “Cherry Blossoms.” It was fun and relaxing and we enjoyed it so much! Here are a few highlights from the evening:

Vino Van Gogh Collage 1

Vino Van Gogh Collage 2

Your registration for the event includes the cost of the class and all supplies. Drinks and food are not included, but each location offers their own specials for Vino Van Gogh participants! I’m not a wine drinker, but I did enjoy some yummy food after we were done painting!

Vino Van Gogh Group

One of the most fun parts of this evening was seeing all the different interpretations of the same original painting! Carl was a great teacher who both taught us and encouraged us to make the paintings our own. I love watching people be creative, whether it comes naturally or not!

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Our finished masterpieces! Mine is now hanging in the hallway as both beautiful art and a great memory with a wonderful friend!

Vino Van Gogh Giveaway

If you’re in the Omaha area and have been wanting to try a Vino Van Gogh event, you’re in luck because I’m giving away two tickets to the event of your choice!

To enter, just tell me in the comments the last time you did any kind of art! For extra entries, you can like Vino Van Gogh-Omaha on Facebook and tweet this message:

Tweet: Win 2 tickets to the #vinovangogh event of your choice in #omaha from @homewiththeboys! #giveaway http://ctt.ec/FlaPX+

Leave a separate comment for each entry! This giveaway will close Friday, May 22nd at 9PM CST! One random winner will be notified by email!

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Weekend Snapshots

I’ve been connecting with more bloggers in my area recently, and one of those is the lovely Erin from Her Heartland Soul! We finally met in person at Once (the musical) last week where we both enjoyed ourselves immensely! Erin does a fun link-up every Monday morning called Weekend Snapshots and, in an effort to chronicle a little more of life at “home with the boys,” I’m going to be joining in! And here’s my first edition!

Our weekend started with having friends over from dinner. Hosting people makes my heart sing and we haven’t done nearly enough of it since residency began. The Hubby actually took this first step and invited friends from work, and despite the doctor of that family being called back to the hospital twice, we had a lovely time while they were here!

While we were having dinner with friends, Big J was at a sleepover for the birthday of one of his best buddies. I use the word “sleep” loosely because they didn’t sleep. At all. Which resulted in this on the way home Saturday…

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Bless his heart. He also slept for FOUR hours that afternoon. I’ve never seen that boy so tired and completely out of it!

While the big boy slept, the rest of us spent a bunch of time outside – The Hubby mowing, the boys riding and scooting, and me taking pictures. Of course. I’m not a huge fan of summer, but I do love being outside as a family!

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Faces of JJ

Mowing
Scooter and Bike

j and JJ bikes

I’m just dying over Double J’s face in that last one. Really, I die over all his crazy, silly, adorable faces. Last child for the win.

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Obviously we had to refuel after our outdoor adventures and Five Guys was the perfect remedy to our hunger. Mmmm…burgers…

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When your nine-year-old asks to cuddle and watch National Treasure, the answer is always yes. And it must be documented because I know he won’t want to do this forever.

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We ended the weekend on a yummy, healthy note. Turkey burgers from Costco are one of our favorite quick healthy meals and summer veggies make the perfect side dish! I can’t wait to head to the farmers’ market soon to grab some local fresh produce – maybe that will be a part of the next Weekend Snapshots!

What did your weekend look like? What were the highlights?

 

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The Night at the Theater That Recaptured My Heart

I received the tickets for this show from Omaha Performing Arts, but I was not asked to write a post in exchange for them. I just couldn’t help myself.

I’ve always been a lover of musical theater. The first show I saw was a tour of Phantom of the Opera in Minneapolis during high school and I was mesmerized. Phantom is not my favorite musical of all time, but you never forget your first show experience.

There have been many more memorable musical theater experiences since that first one, with Les Miserables in London and The Lion King in Las Vegas topping the list. As music majors in college, we went to shows in our area all the time. But with kids and life, we haven’t been to many shows in the last few years.

I didn’t realize how much I missed live musical theater until last night.

Omaha Performing Arts gave me two tickets to the first night of Once, a musical that tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. Once was actually a movie first and became well-known because of it’s Oscar-winning song, “Falling Slowly.” I’m pretty sure you’ve heard it. It was then made into a stage production and won EIGHT Tony awards in 2012.  From what I had heard, I was sure it would be a good show.

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Good is not an adequate or accurate word to describe what I experienced watching Once. From the moment my good friend and I walked in to the musicians jamming on stage pre-show, we were in awe. They weren’t like actors up there – they were musicians playing their own music and drawing me in to the show.

Once

 

photo credit: Joan Marcus

I found myself holding my breath from the beauty of the music several times during the show. Irish influence, a cappella, raw love songs – there was a little bit of everything in Once and I wanted more of all of it. When the first act ended with the singing and dancing of the song Gold, I had chills and tears and all the feelings.

Once Tour 1005 Small

 

photo credit: Joan Marcus

I fell in love with live musical theater again last night. Once was everything musical theater should be and everything I had been missing but didn’t even realize. Captivating melodies, GORGEOUS harmonies, soulful dancing, and acting that made me feel almost like I was interrupting someone’s real-life private moments.

** I feel like I should mention there is language that may offend some people, including several f-words. I am not a fan of foul language, but it did not turn me off from the musical at all. Just wanted to throw that out there. **

I may have been in my own city watching this musical, but I was transported to my past experiences in London and Vegas and Minneapolis and so on. And it was pretty great to experience it with one of my dearest friends for her birthday!

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If you need me, I’ll be looking for more opportunities to head to the theater with my hubby, my kids, my friends – anybody who wants to go – because it has recaptured my heart and I can’t get enough.

Are you a musical theater fan? What was your most memorable musical theater experience?

If you want to see Once in Omaha now through May 17, 2015, get your tickets here. And if you’re NOT in Omaha, follow @OnceMusical on Twitter to find out when they might be near you and GET YOURSELF THERE.

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That Special Thing About My Mom {One of Many}

This post is part of a Mother’s Day partnership with Shari’s Berries. I received free product, but was not compensated in any other way for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

This past Mother’s Day weekend, my parents agreed to have the boys at their house while The Hubby and I went to run a race. If you know my mom, this wouldn’t surprise you in the least.

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My mom has always been the woman who welcomes people in, and of course, she gladly welcomes her grandchildren any time. We are so blessed by their willingness to watch the boys and the ways they make the weekend fun for them.

It was in the original Mother’s Day plans for us to come back from our race and to indulge in some beautiful, yummy treats from Shari’s Berries with Mom. They asked me to pick out some wonderful gifts for my mom that we could all share. But on Saturday, Mom came down with a stomach bug and ended up being quarantined in the basement while Dad tried to corral the crazy that is our boys.

By the time, we arrived on Mother’s Day, Mom was feeling a little better and the Shari’s Berries treats had arrived, but you know how it is with the stomach bug – decadent treats (and taking pictures with them) were not a good fit for the day. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve been sick like that, the last thing I want is for people to be around. But Mom always makes the best of every situation and we were welcomed in as if she had been healthy all weekend. This is what makes her my wonderful mom. She’s not just a good hostess, but also never makes anyone feel like an inconvenience, even in the most inconvenient circumstances.

Shari's Berries Treat Box

Later in the day on Sunday, we opened up the Shari’s Berries treats – because Mom insisted – and enjoyed the scrumptious gourmet chocolate covered strawberries. Fruit and chocolate are always a good combination, but Shari’s Berries takes it up a notch with delicious toppings and lovely presentation!

Shari's Berries

Mom was able to enjoy a treat from the Mrs. Fields box that was a little less rich – the cinnamon sugar cookies were soft and perfect for a stomach not quite ready for chocolate decadence! There was also toffee fudge in that box that I hope she’s been able to enjoy by now because YUM!

Shari's Berries Both Boxes

I wanted to share pictures with you today that captured the welcoming, loving spirit of my mom on that Mother’s Day, but instead my words will have to do. I’m not sure any words or pictures could accurately capture what makes her the mom I love so much. Just know that there has never been a person who was not welcomed with open arms in her presence and her home, even at the most inopportune times. Like when you’ve had the stomach bug and three crazy boys in your house on Mother’s Day weekend.

I love you, Mom. Thanks for being who you are – an amazing example of unconditional love, making the best of every situation.

What makes your mom so special? How did you celebrate her this weekend?

 

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Sensible Portions Puffs: Snacks for the Whole Family!

This is a sponsored post from Hain Celestials. I was compensated for this post, but all opinions are 100% my own.

I know I’m not the only mom who has kiddos CONSTANTLY asking for things to eat, right?! I’m always on the look out for better-for-you snacks to feed the whole family when they need to munch on something. The boys have found a new favorite in Sensible Portions Puffs from Hain Celestials!

Puffs

Made with organic corn and no fillers, Sensible Portions Puffs are baked and deliciously seasoned bite-size poppable treats for the entire family to enjoy! Sensible Portions Puffs are made with the belief that an after-school snack, or a movie-watching treat, can be fun and delicious while also being a better-for-you, smarter snacking option.

Puffs Eating

The boys take after me and like something a little salty for an afternoon snack along with some fruit or string cheese. I don’t want them to fill up on junk, especially with dinner right around the corner. Sensible Portions Puffs satisfy that salty craving with their four yummy flavors: Veggie, Cheddar, Tomato Basil, and Sour Cream & Onion.

Puffs Boys

The boys loved all four flavors, but the Cheddar were definitely a favorite! The Hubby enjoyed all of the flavors as well, while I had a strong preference for the Veggie Puffs! These really are the perfect thing to snack on – low-calorie and without any nasty fillers! You can grab your own at WalMart stores for just $2.88 a bag!

I want your family to be able to give Sensible Portions Puffs a try, so we’re giving one of you four bags – one of each flavor! To enter, just tell me about your favorite better-for-you snacks for your family! For an extra entry, tweet this and come back to leave a separate comment telling me you did:

Tweet: Enter to win 4 bags of #SensiblePortionsPuffs from @homewiththeboys! http://ctt.ec/3dJF1+ #giveaway

Leave your comments by Monday, May 11th at 8PM CST to be entered!

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