My Fall Uniform

I received these items to review from Sweet P & Fi. I was not compensated in any way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own.

I am a capsule wardrobe dropout. I just couldn’t stick to 30-40 pieces exclusively for a whole season because I like to mix things up. I do, however, like to have a go-to outfit for the days when I want to feel comfortable, confident, and put together without too much thought. Honestly, we want to feel like that every day, right?

My fall uniform is something you will find me in at least four days a week. It’s more of an outfit formula and looks like this:

long top + skinny bottoms + boots

This formula gives me a starting point, but it also allows for lots of creativity, so I never feel stuck like I did with a capsule wardrobe. While I adore this uniform, I have a found a few challenges within this formula.

First, long tops such as tunics don’t always fit me well because I am smaller on top and wider on bottom. More fitted tunics are tough because, if I pick a size to fit my hips, the shoulders are much too big. This is why I pick longer tops either with stretch, a slight flair at the hips, or with lots of flow.

Second, skinny bottoms can mean lots of things: skinny jeans, jeggings, skinny pants, faux leather leggings, and leggings. I LOVE comfy leggings for my “skinny bottoms” option, but leggings present lots of questions. Are they soft? constricting? see-through? Will they fall down over and over again?

As fall officially sets in this week, I’ve been pulling out my fall clothes, planning different variations of my uniform, and adding a few new key pieces to update it for 2016. My new go-to place for all things fashionable is Sweet P & Fi, an online boutique, owned by lovely local mom, Molly!

Here’s my fall uniform, the Sweet P & Fi edition!

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The very second I saw this tunic, with its amazing fall color, front pocket, cowl neck, and perfect fit, I knew I had to make it mine. It has a great texture and won’t be too hot on a sunny fall day. Sweet P & Fi is also getting the same top in black – I must have it! These will be up on the site very soon, so keep your eyes open!

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What is it about a pocket that makes a tunic so much more awesome?! It just does. The cuffed sleeves are another fun detail – you can show off your arm party on both arms!

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Let’s talk about the leggings – yes, those are leggings! They totally look like jeans, but they are incredibly soft and don’t fall down! HOORAY! I wore them all day and felt fabulous in them!  Check out the ribbing around the knees – isn’t that fun?

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One last Sweet P & Fi piece you may have missed in this outfit – those leather earrings! Molly makes them all herself and they are SO reasonably priced. I picked some brown snakeskin-like leather to go with all the warm autumn colors and I adore them!

I can’t tell you enough how much I love Sweet P & Fi. Molly has great taste and is very picky about what she adds to her shop. She also cares about giving her customers a good deal. Her prices are AMAZING and shipping is free! FREE! Here are a few of my other favorite pieces:

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Pumpkin Spice Latte top (SUPER soft)

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flowly floral top (from the awesome sale section)

Let’s sweeten the Sweet P & Fi deal even more – use the code HWTB15 to get 15% off your entire order through Sunday, October 2nd! Don’t forget – shipping is free!

Two questions for you:

  1. Do you have a fall uniform?
  2. What Sweet P & Fi pieces are you loving?
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In Case Your Kids Want to Talk About the Election…

I have never wanted to NOT talk about an election more than this one, but because of the nature of our overly-connected, social media world, that seems to be ALL people are talking about right now. I’m thankful to have a four-year-old at home with me all day who wants to talk about Legos and coloring and Star Wars, but it’s different with the older kids. They hear things at school. They see political commercials. They overhear conversations between adults. They have questions.

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While I don’t want to talk about the election, I am raising American citizens and I am also raising Christian young men. I put aside my distraught feelings for a while to write out a plan for talking to our children about the election through the eyes of my faith. You can read my thoughts over on the Tommy Nelson blog today.

Yes, I feel great despair about the direction of our country, but I also look to my children and to Jesus and find hope. Let us speak words of life to our children and lift up words of prayer to our God:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. -1 Timothy 2:1-4

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Life Is Tough, But So Are You

This post contains affiliate links. I received the tee to review for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

I have a problem when life sends tough stuff my way. I tend to focus on the tough stuff and not on the way through it. I wallow. I worry. I complain. Life is tough, and I don’t like it.

I’m really thankful God is growing me in this area and doesn’t allow me to stay in that place for long. Life IS tough, but so am I. I didn’t always think this way. Strong and tough were not labels I would have always claimed. That has changed over the past fifteen years because I’ve been through moments that required strength I didn’t even know I had. Rather than focus on the fear, worry, or discouragement I felt in those tough moments, I choose to focus on the toughness inside of me that carried me through and brought me out a better person on the other side.

What are those tough moments in your life that uncovered your strength?

For me, three particular times of my life come to mind. These are all very positive events in my life, but they each required (or still require) all the toughness I could pull together.

  • Childbirth
  • Motherhood
  • Running a marathon

Childbirth and running a marathon tested my body beyond what I ever imagined, but they also maxed out my mental toughness. I have so much joy associated with the memories of giving birth to our boys and crossing that marathon finish line, but I also knew that I could do just about anything if I could make it through those exhausting feats.

Motherhood is a whole different kind of tough and this is where I needed (and still need) the biggest mental adjustment. It is also where I need the strength of God inside me most. Raising children is no joke, people, but it is some of the most important work I will do. My children will make mistakes, butt heads with me, and need the same lessons taught to them many times. We’re all sinners and life together is messy. When it gets tough, I need to not feel defeated or discouraged, but rather repeat to myself: “This is tough, but so are you.”

Now I have the shirt to remind me:

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When I don’t have the toughness I need, I know God is there to strengthen me and to surround me with family and friends that will hold me up and call out that strength. We need to be those people for each other.

I know so many people going through hard things – illnesses, divorce, natural disasters, job loss, etc. I wish I could give each of you a great big hug, pray with you, then remind you that you are just as tough as those circumstances. Let’s be done with despair and defeat and worry. I’m ready to embrace my toughness with a smile.

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The new “Life Is…” t-shirt line from Cents of Style captures all of life perfectly. Life is tough, but it is also beautiful, sweet, grand, and an adventure. However you see life or WANT to see life, one of shirts will speak to you!

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The “Life Is” collection launches today with a fabulous sale! Pick your favorite shirt and use the code LIFEIS1 at checkout to get it for just $15.95 with free shipping! That is a huge steal for these gorgeous, high quality tees.

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How do you see life? How do you want to embrace this life? Grab a shirt today to claim that vision!

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The Best of Fall Fashion!

This post contains affiliate links. I received the sweater to review for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

This time of year is a struggle for me. The calendar says fall starts this week and it is my FAVORITE SEASON EVER. The temperatures this week, however, are still screaming SUMMER. I really don’t like that at all. While I hide from these 90º days, I’m going to dream of sweaters and jeans and boots until they become a reality.

Thankfully, Cents of Style is there to indulge my love for fall fashion with the most amazing pieces to wear this season. I’ve picked out a few of my favorites from their new releases, but it only scratches the surface! Let’s start with these fabulous fall fashions:

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clockwise from top left

  1. Jessa Diamond Sweater Kimono – more details AND a sweet discount later in the post!
  2. Tobin Cut Out Ankle Bootie – I love this new take on the ankle boot this year. The cut-out detail gives it so much fun flair!
  3. Diana Geometric Cutout Dangle Earrings – Fall screams gold to me. I love the warmth of it paired with browns and reds and oranges. These make a statement – and kind of look like leaves!
  4. Rylan Crochet Peasant Tunic – I adore this color and tunics are my favorite. Paired with jeans, boots, and those gold earrings…ah, fall perfection.
  5. Nisha Wool Panama Hat – Everybody needs a great fall hat. Go with a brown one like this to complement the colors of autumn!
  6. Esther Wood and Gold Cuff Bracelet – More gold jewelry, I know, but doesn’t your arm deserve to get in on the fall fun? Love this bold, but simple cuff! And the wood accents are genius!
  7. Lexia Geometric Kimono – If you live in a place with a warmer fall, this lightweight kimono might be more appropriate. I just can’t get over the fun geometric pattern and fringe!
  8. Giovanna Glass Bead Necklace – Long tassel necklaces pair perfectly with long sweaters and skinny jeans. The camel color is very in this fall, so this necklace will match every outfit!

Now back to that diamond sweater kimono…

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THIS is the reason I want the temps to cool down. I want to wrap myself up in sweaters that feel like blankets and not sweat to death!

A sweater kimono is a layering piece to take everywhere with you this fall. I’m picturing a hayrack ride or bonfire…pardon my daydreaming, but I just want to go there right now! The key to pulling off this look with a heavier piece on top is to keep the pants nice and sleek. I would opt for skinny jeans or leggings with boots to complete the fall look!

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You have to get your hands on this sweater kimono, so we’re offering you a deal! Use the code KIMONOHOME at checkout to get the Jessa Diamond Sweater Kimono for only $17.95, including free shipping!

The sweater kimono is available in four great colors (navy is sold out – bummer) that will make any fall outfit pop AND keep you nice and snug. The black is stunning, the gray makes a subtle statement, and the burgundy is bold and beautiful!

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I needed a brown sweater to round out my fall wardrobe and this one is it. I’m picturing it layered over burnt orange, plum, and, of course, lots of cream or white. So many options, and it has the cutest wood buttons on the sides to create sleeves!

Go grab your sweater kimono for just $17.95 with code KIMONOHOME before they sell out!

Which color did you choose? What are your fall fashion favorites from Cents of Style?

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A Silly String + S’mores Party!

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

I’ve been wanting to host this party for weeks, but sickness, travel, and busy schedules have prevented it from happening…until now! I’m so excited to finally share!

Believe it or not, when my oldest kids were younger, they did NOT like to get messy. Finger painting was not fun to them and any messy food made them uneasy. They outgrew this disdain for messes, then little brother came along who doesn’t mind messes at all, so I can either resist or embrace this new kind of fun. I’m choosing the latter!

I can’t say that I’m going to miss summer, but I do want to take advantage of these nice days as we transition into fall. A silly string + s’mores party is the perfect way to have some messy fun with those elementary age kids on a late summer/early fall day!

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You don’t need much to pull off this super fun playdate – just silly string and s’mores supplies!

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There is one other key to success when hosting a silly, sticky, chocolatey, marshmallowy party. You MUST have WaterWipes on hand! We even had some travel packs to send home with our guests! More about the wipes in a bit, but first back to the fun!

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We went with the silly string fight first so the kids could burn off some energy and work up an appetite.

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One great tip for clean-up – tell the kids to make the biggest silly string ball possible! It can be a competition or they can make one huge ball together. This was fun for them AND helpful for me!

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The kids (and adults) were definitely ready to chow down on some s’mores by the time all the silly string was gone! First, we had to get rid of the silly string from everyone’s hands – WaterWipes to the rescue! Having older kids is awesome because they can use the wipes to clean up after themselves!

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Now to the yummy stuff – I always thought s’mores had to be an evening activity, but why put limits on devouring this delicious gooey treat? With school nights and busy schedules, we opted for afternoon s’mores and enjoyed every single bite!

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We had an awesome mess with the warm temps, gooey marshmallows, and melted chocolate everywhere! FYI: peanut butter cup s’mores are where it’s at.

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I choose WaterWipes even though I don’t have babies anymore because chemical-free wipes are ALWAYS a good idea, no matter what the age of your children! WaterWipes are made with 99.9% pure Irish water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract. I wasn’t sure how much I would like them after using traditional baby wipes for so many years, but they are the best, most durable wipes I’ve ever used.

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WaterWipes can even stand up to the mess of silly string and s’mores on a bunch of elementary kids! They had so much fun with this party and clean-up was a breeze thanks to WaterWipes! As I’ve said many times before, I may never stop using wipes in our house because they are so handy for messes of all kinds!

Would your kids enjoy a silly string and s’mores party?

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The Boot & Scarf Combo Sale is Better Than Ever!

This post contains affiliate links.

This is my very favorite sale from Cents of Style every year, but I think this year is the best yet!

On this fourth anniversary of Fashion Friday, Cents of Style is celebrating by offering the boot and scarf combo with the pieces every woman needs this fall: ankle boots and a blanket scarf! When you use the code FOURYEAR, you’ll get the boots AND scarf for only $29.95 with free shipping! CRAZY GOOD DEAL!

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I wasn’t sure how I felt about ankle boots for a long time, but last year, I fell in love with them.

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Skinny jeans, wide leg jeans, even a dress pairs perfectly with ankle boots! The ankle boots in this sale come in four great colors: black, tan, taupe, and burgundy.

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After you’ve picked out your favorite ankle boot, just pick out your favorite of the six blanket scarves offered in this deal, enter the code FOURYEAR at checkout, and you’ll get everything for $29.95 shipped! I ADORE my Cents of Style blanket scarves!

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I am just dying over these fabulous combos for fall:

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I really need to pick quickly, and you should, too, because this deal always sells out FAST! You can use the code FOURYEAR to get the ankle boot/blanket scarf for only $29.95 shipped through Sunday, September 18th!

Grab your combo, then tell me what you picked in the comments!

 

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The Ethically-Made Tunic

I am an Elegantees ambassador. I received this tunic at a discounted price and receive a commission when you purchase with my discount code at no extra cost to you!

Tunics are a wardrobe staple for me. I can pair them with leggings, skinny pants, or jeans. A tunic can be dressed up or down easily with the right accessories and shoes. And tunics are oh-so-comfy!

Yes, I love tunics, but I’ve discovered one stands above the rest for an important reason: it is ethically-made and provides meaningful employment for women rescued from sex trafficking in Nepal!

Elegantees is a favorite shop of mine because of their mission AND gorgeous designs. Elegantees designs are what I would consider “basics with a flair.” Their tops and dresses can be worn so many ways. I was so excited when they asked me to share one of their latest designs which just launched today!

Ethically-Made Tunic

The Madeline is a fabulous dropped shoulder, a-line tunic. It is both comfortable and classic. The navy will transition so well into all the fall outfits I have planned, particularly with boots and skinny pants!

Elegantees Navy Tunic 3

One of my favorite things about the Madeline is the length. Some “tunics” these days are not quite long enough to cover my behind, but the Madeline does so quite well. I am 5’6″ and wearing an XS, so I think you’ll be quite happy with the length no matter your size!

Elegantees Navy Tunic 2

It may seem weird to be excited about this, but the Madeline tunic is also MACHINE WASHABLE! As a busy mom, I do not do well with “hand-wash only” items. I just can’t do it. I need pieces I can wear and wash and wear over and over again!

The Madeline tunic also comes in beech (olive green) and marsala (soft rose/pink). I am seriously considering adding both to my fall wardrobe because I LOVE THIS TUNIC.

Elegantees has so many great fall pieces in their line right now – you MUST get to shopping. I even have a discount for you – use “homewiththeboys” to get 10% off your entire order! Please let me know if you have questions about sizing, etc. I’m happy to help because I am happy, regular Elegantees customer! It’s pretty amazing to know the clothes you love to wear are also employing women who have been freed from the sex trade. When you get your first piece with this tag, you’ll know how I feel:

Elegantees Tag

Which Elegantees items will you be adding to your wardrobe?

What are your favorite ways to wear tunics?

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Think About Their Eyes!

This post was sponsored by Think About Your Eyes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

I remember our oldest son mentioning a few times here and there that he couldn’t see a clock that was far away, but he didn’t talk about it that much, so I didn’t do anything about it. As someone who has never had vision problems, it didn’t occur to me that he might be having trouble beyond what he said.

At his first yearly checkup at our pediatrician after the first mention of difficulty seeing, he was still able to pass the vision test, so I thought we were all good. We were also homeschooling at the time, so he wasn’t sitting in a classroom struggling to see things written on the board. As the next year went on, however, I heard him say, “I can’t see that,” more and more often. By the next year’s physical, it was confirmed that we needed to see an eye doctor.

As I said, I don’t wear glasses or contacts, so this was new territory for me. Thankfully, my husband has worn glasses since childhood, so he has been able to give Big J advice and support from another glasses-wearer. He was nine-years-old when he had his first eye doctor appointment and we found out he was quite far-sighted. A prescription was given and glasses were ordered.

I will never forget our oldest son’s reaction when he first put on those glasses. He could suddenly see so many things he had never seen before – the individual leaves on a tree, our kitchen clock from far away, and much more. He was so excited and I was so emotional! I thought glasses might bum him out a little, but it was the exact opposite – it was all joy!

Big J Glasses

All of this happened right before he started going to school and I am so grateful for that timing! As we’re starting a new school year, I know that he is not impeded by poor vision in the classroom. No child should worry about their education suffering because they cannot see. And eye doctor appointments are not only for kids with glasses or contacts as 50% of parents believe. That’s why this new program, Think About Your Eyes, is so important!

August is Eye Exam Awareness Month, so now is the time to prioritize your child’s eye health. I’m partnering with Think About Your Eyes this month because 25% of school-age children have vision problems and I don’t want you to miss them in your child like I almost did with my son! 24% of parents are like me and wait for their child to complain about vision trouble before getting an exam. He didn’t know what “normal” vision was, but one comprehensive eye exam showed us that he needed help. I really wish we would have had his vision checked sooner.

80% of what children learn comes through vision, so getting those eyes checked as school starts up this fall is crucial. You will help ensure there are no visual obstacles to learning and you could prevent more serious complications that could occur from untreated problems.

Check out this video from Think About Your Eyes:

Need some help scheduling those exams? Check out this doctor locator from Think About Your Eyes! They’ve got you covered for making this important task easy on you!

Let’s celebrate Eye Exam Awareness Month by scheduling eye exams for our kids!

Have you had your child’s vision checked lately?

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It’s a Sister Thing

This post contains affiliate links.

My sister and I have not lived in the same place during our adult years. Despite the miles between us, we are closer than ever. Marriage and motherhood have given my sister and I so much to bond over. She is a wonderful aunt to our boys, and her two daughters and my three boys just adore each other! We only live less than three hours apart, so I’m thankful we get to see each other in person several times a year. And phone calls are a must, when we can find a few minutes of quiet!

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Now we’re adding another bonding experience. This fall, my sister and I will do something we’ve never done before: take a sisters-only trip! The trip is about sister time and being able to chat for hours without kids interrupting us (YAY!), but it’s also about another shared interest: running!

Sisters First Half

My sister ran my first 5K with me and I had the fun privilege of running with her for her first half marathon last fall. Next up is our sisters trip to run another half marathon together! We’ll also get some fun shopping and relaxing time before and after the race and I CANNOT WAIT!

Sis, if you’re reading this, I am super thankful for you and for the way our relationship has grown better and better over the years. I have a little present for you to celebrate our trip and our friendship. (I just borrowed it for a few minutes for this photo shoot, but it’s all yours!)

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I like to wear reminders of the things that are important to me and I like to give gifts that do the same. This rose gold “Sister” necklace is both meaningful and fashionable – does it get any better?! I know it will look perfect on my gorgeous sister!

Sister Necklace

Cents of Style has so many great necklaces to celebrate the things important to us in their Tribe collection and they are just $11.99 each with free shipping when you use the code TRIBE4 at checkout! Just look at all the amazing choices in this collection:

Tribe Circle Tribe Long

At this price, I think I need go order a few more for myself (since the sister one is for my sister!) and as gifts!

What Tribe necklace will you be ordering during this sale? Don’t forget to use the code TRIBE4 and order before this sale ends!

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Why We’re Still Using Wipes In a Diaper-Less House

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

I really wish I would have know about WaterWipes when we had babies in diapers. With all three babies, we used wipes and detergent with no added fragrances because sensitive skin runs in our family. Our middle son still struggles with sensitive skin and eczema, so we’ve kept to fragrance-free as much as possible.

We’ve been done with diapers in our house for over a year now – HALLELUJAH! We had a bunch of wipes left over and, even without bottoms to wipe, I found myself still using those wipes for everything. Over the baby years, I didn’t even realize how handy and convenient they had become to me for all kinds of messes. Ice cream cones, sticky suckers, marker-covered hands, and more were no match for my stash of wipes!

WaterWipes Car

Fast forward to several months ago and my introduction to WaterWipes – the timing could not have been better as I was running out of my previous fragrance-free wipes and needed to restock. I’m so glad I didn’t buy more because WaterWipes were just the thing I had been hoping to find over all these years!

WaterWipes are a chemical free baby wipe with just two ingredients: 99.9% pure Irish water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract. I feel great about using these for all sorts of messes with my family because there are no harmful chemicals! All of the usefulness of baby wipes with none of the extras – what’s not to love?!

Why we're still using wipes in aDiaper-less house

Why do I keep using wipes even though we are diaper-less? One word: convenience. My three boys are always getting dirty and I’ve been known to make a few messes, too. I keep a pack of WaterWipes in the minivan, in the bathroom, in the kitchen, and in my purse, so I am always ready when a mess pops up!

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I’m pretty sure our latest road trip to Colorado would have been a whole lot messier without WaterWipes! We used them on the car ride, for picnic lunches, and on our hikes. It was so handy to have them in my backpack to clean off hands before a mid-hike snack or clean up extra mud.

One more reason to love WaterWipesthis beautiful video on the importance of skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby!

My boys may be growing up fast, but this video has me fondly remembering those newborn skin-to-skin snuggles. Such a sweet time in motherhood! I love the emphasis on purity by WaterWipes, both in love and in the product!

How are you using wipes in your home?

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