Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!

The countdown to Halloween is on and my kids are SO excited! We have lots of fun Halloween events planned over the next 10 days and next week it's all about Halloween on my blog!

This week was a tough one, which was unfortunate because we couldn't fully enjoy the Summer-like weather that blessed Pittsburgh. A nasty virus decided to make the rounds through most of our family. 

Lily was the first victim. She spiked a high fever and had blisters in her throat on Tuesday night. A quick trip to Urgent Care confirmed that it was just a virus but she did have a bladder infection. SURPRISE! She started and antibiotic and was better in 12 hours. Lexie got hit with it on Wednesday night and she spiked a 105.1 degree fever. No school for her today, but she was also better by 10 AM. Grant and Dylan weren't feeling well tonight. Dylan is going to be so upset if he has to miss his Halloween party tomorrow! As for me, I skipped the fever and went straight to bronchitis.

Liam is the last man standing. That alone is amazing considering he's supposed to have a weaker immune system! We're just keeping our fingers crossed that it doesn't hit him. Although he doesn't get sick often, there is always the potential that he could get really sick really fast. (Been there.)

When you have 4 kids, life doesn't stop when you're sick and I am exhausted. I told my husband that I would love to spend a weekend alone in a hotel room doing absolutely nothing. Is that wrong?!?

Moving on...we're going to attempt to enjoy the last Summer-like day before the Fall weather hits  and hopefully we will ALL be healthy over the weekend and following week!

It's Friday which means it's time to let out a sigh of relief that another long week has come to an end! It also means that it is time to share all of my current favorite things!



This was, without a doubt, the highlight of my week!  I was asked to be part of the Netflix Stream Team for the third year in a row. I absolutely love everything about Netflix so I was thrilled! The welcome package did not disappoint. Thank you so much for your incredible generosity, Netflix!



I'm having so much fun sharing the Everyday with Liam series for Down Syndrome Awareness Month! He's such a photogenic little dude with the most contagious smile. I just want people to realize that life with Down syndrome can actually be quite ordinary!

{Shirt - Littlest Warrior Apparel} 


Grant and I  are dressing up as a certain "famous" TV duo for Halloween. Any guesses? And yes, I'm now a brunette! I don't know if that's my favorite. I mean, it's actually quite terrifying when I look in the mirror but I'm sure the shock will go away!



Friday nights spent visiting our horse at the stable will always be my favorite. Our time with Cherokee is limited so we're trying to make as many memories as we possibly can.

 Oh, just taking her horse for stroll. Who needs a dog?!?


I just received the Simply Earth subscription box for review and I LOVE that they give 13% of their proceeds to help prevent human trafficking. I've only used essential oils for a few things prior to receiving the recipe box but they make it easy by providing you with oils, recipes and everything you need to make them. I'll share more after I make the essential oil recipes but I just want to say that the Happy Joy essential oil smells amazing! Stay tuned for a Simply Earth Instagram giveaway!



The weather was incredible on Saturday and we spent the afternoon at a pool party for a member of our framily! It was the perfect day for swimming!



Here's a sneak peek of Lily's adorable Halloween style for next week!  Everything is from The Hair Bow Company. Use the code stefaniespick2016 at checkout to save 15%!

The HairBow Company Halloween


Speaking of sneak peeks, here's something I picked up at Target this week. The Fall weather is hitting on Saturday so I should be able to wear it soon!



The highlight of Lily's week, which happened to be the day she got sick, was losing her first tooth!!!  This milestone is so bittersweet for me because this is when they start transitioning into big kid!



I'm going to end this with a bunch of favorites all in one shot! A new super soft fuzzy blanket (because I melted my favorite blanket in the dryer), my favorite tea cup from a blog exchange, Teami Relax tea in the adorable diffuser (use code LS10 to save 10% on your favorite blends), a great new book and two cuddly bunnies!


I hope you all have a wonderful Fall weekend! What's on your agenda?
Let's Be Friends!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Random Thoughts of an Exhausted Mama

I have a confession to make. I am absolutely struggling to stay afloat this week.  My To Do list grows longer each day, I am overwhelmed by all the schedules I have to maintain, my email inbox is out of control, everybody wants something from me right now and more than half of my family is sick, including me.  As hard as it is to admit, I simply can't do it all right now!


I had big plans to finish writing a deep post tonight but I can barely form a full thought right now. I was going to skip writing entirely tonight, but I can't sleep due to this stupid cough. How about a few random thoughts from today?


It's 7:35 AM! The kids have to be on the bus in 15 minutes. What happened to my alarm?!?

I don't want to be awake right now.

I only slept an hour last night. I'm never going to make it though the day.

Is it possible to cough to death? Because I really feel like it could be.

My hot tea is way too strong.  Even though it makes me cringe, I will just deal with it because I'm too lazy to make another cup.

Why do kids scream bloody murder over the most mundane things? The rabbit hopped under the bed! OMG!!!! 

I definitely have bronchitis. If I keep coughing my head is going to explode.

I'm never going to get used to having brown hair. What was I thinking?!?

I really need to do the dishes. And mop my floors.

Why oh why oh why do I offer to be a contact parent every year? Getting everything organized this year is, without a doubt, the hardest it has ever been. Why are people so uncooperative? This SUCKS.

We're late!!! Again. Forget it...I'm taking you to school without your shoes on.

(While sitting in the preschool hallway putting on said shoes.) Liam's teacher probably thinks I'm a mess.

I only have to drive down this 3 mile stretch of road 4 times today instead of 6. Winning!

Did I even eat anything yet today? Nope.

81 degrees on October 19th is AMAZING. I need to move to a place where it's like this year round.

Mostly junk in the mail. Again. Why do I even bother walking over to the mailbox? But, wait...our beloved "Mr. Rogers" pediatrician is retiring. Why am I crying over a retirement letter?!?

Is the package I've been anticipating here yet? Nope.

I should finish decorating for Halloween. You know, BEFORE the actual holiday.

Seeing Liam run toward me with a huge smile on his face when I pick him up from school will NEVER get old!

Lily probably could have gone to school today. Why do they have that fever free for 24 hours rule?

How on earth am I going to be 4 places at once this Friday and next Friday? Can somebody duplicate me?

I just bought a $10 book for myself and I feel GUILTY. Why don't I feel guilty about spending $150 on Halloween costumes for my kids?

Why are Halloween costumes so expensive?

Oh, good. I forgot my wallet. I have to drive back to the house to get it then drive back to the store to pick up the bag the cashier oh so kindly held for me against rules. I have NEVER done this before. Why today?!?

What day is it? Do I have to be somewhere tonight?

Oh, good, the family wants a home cooked meal again.

I'm not even hungry.

I HATE packing lunches. Hate it.

I forgot to order Liam's orchestra book. He needs it on Monday.

I just called Dylan Liam. I obviously need to go to bed.

Oh, yay!!! One kid is completely better and another one spikes a 105.4 degree fever.

Which daughter is staying home from school tomorrow and which daughter can go back? I honestly forget.

Never mind. Why is the sick kid crying because she can't go to school tomorrow? That's just weird.

This debate is a waste of time. This entire election is a sick JOKE.

Why am I watching this bloody show? I don't even like it!

11:30 PM. Everybody is in bed. Siiiiiiiigh.

Too bad I have to do the dishes.

I'm going to lose my mind if this cough doesn't go away soon.

I have approximately 525,600 things to do before bedtime.

3:00 AM. I stayed up too late again.

I forgot to mop my floors.

And that's a wrap! I'm going to head to bed, sleep for a very short 4 hours interrupted by coughing, and repeat!

Let's Connect!


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Mom's Guide to Prepping for a Day of Swimming {Featuring Speedo USA}

DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Speedo USA. I received these products in exchange for my honest opinions.

I've been a mom of four for 3 years now. I'm used to the constant noise and chaos. I've adjusted to the fact that there is literally never a dull moment. Juggling schedules and rushing to meet demands is what I do best.

One thing I will never become accustomed to, however, is the stress that comes with trying to leave the house on time AND with everything we need. (Bonus points if I don't forget a kid! I'm kidding of course.) No matter how much I prepare, we usually end up rushing out of the house in a whirlwind. By the time I get behind the wheel of my car my heart is racing and my stress level is through the roof! 


Over the years I've learned that bigger activities, such as spending the day swimming, require a lot of preparation beforehand.  I'm thrilled to collaborate with Speedo USA to bring you the best ways and the best products to make prepping for a day of swimming a breeze for busy moms like you!

A Mom's Guide to Prepping for a Day of Swimming #SwimWithSpeedo #ad


Make sure you choose the proper swimwear. Comfort and coverage is key! Speedo USA offers a wide variety of swimwear for your entire family. 

Although buying swimwear for boys is pretty straightforward it gets a bit trickier for the girls. As a mom of young girls I struggle with finding cute, comfortable suits that are also appropriate for their age. 

This Tie Dye Splash Rash Guard 2 Piece Set is perfect for Lily. It's modest, it's comfortable and it comes in the bright colors that she prefers. It stays in place as she swims and doesn't shift around at all! 

This suit features durable chlorine-resistant fabric and the no wedgie worries silicone gripper to keep the bottoms in place. Although our swimming is currently limited to indoor pools these days, I love the fact that I don't have to use as much sunscreen in the Summer thanks to the extra coverage from the rash guard. We both love this suit!



Visit HERE for more options for Girls Swimwear from Speedo USA.

One of the biggest struggles for a woman is swimsuit shopping. I'm fairly certain that almost everyone hates it! It's really hard to find a cute suit that comfortably fits your new mom body. As soon as I spotted the Piped Sheath Dress I fell in love! And when it arrived, it fit PERFECTLY.

The Piped Sheath Dress features 4-Way Stretch, Speedo Endurance+ long lasting fabric and soft sewn-in cups for support. Not only is the cut flattering but I love how it stays in place as I chase after my kids and it manages to look cute when I inevitably run into a crowd to grab my toddler. There are no embarrassing slippage moments thanks to the great fit! This suit comfortably keeps up with my active mom lifestyle and quickly became my favorite!


Visit HERE to see the wide variety of Women's Swimwear at Speedo USA.

Purchase items that will keep your little kids safe. Although you should never let your guard down when your child is near water, knowing that your child will be safe and secure when you are a few steps behind them is essential!

Liam is an active, adventurous kid. He is always on the move and often jumps into the pool without hesitation. He will be starting swim lessons soon and I'm always following behind him but I love the protection that the adorable Supersaurus Vest provides.   

The Supersaurus Vest  is part of the Begin to Swim Collection. To learn more about the Supersaurus Vest, go to Speedo USA. It's available in colors for boys and girls. Not only does Liam look adorable in this vest but he's also safe. That gives me peace of mind!


Speedo USA has a wide variety of Kids Accessories. See all the options HERE.


Purchase a great swim bag and make sure you keep it fully stocked at all times.  Our swim bag is always ready to go. All I have to do is add in the last minute items before we leave. Here's what I keep in our swim bag:
  • A towel for each family member plus one extra
  • Cash and change
  • Our pool/gym membership cards
  • Extra training pants and baby wipes
  • An extra swim diaper
  • Reusable water bottles
  • A mini first aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • A wet brush and extra hair ties
  • Lip Balm
  • Hand Lotion
  • Makeup bag which includes personal products, deodorant and saline solution
  • Convenient snacks
  • A change of clothes for each family member

Swim Bag

The Ventilator Tote from Speedo USA is an amazing bag! It's large enough for my big family and the mesh insert allows items to dry quickly.  The pockets on each side of the bag are perfect for holding our reusable water bottles and the zipper pocket in front holds all the small items that get lost easily in the bag (hair ties, lip balm, hand lotion). The bag features an interior zipper pocket that is perfect for personal items such as cell phones and iPods. This bag is breathable and it's comfortable to carry thanks to the padded straps.

Swim Bag

My favorite feature of them all is the included mesh change purse that clips onto a loop inside the bag. I use this to store my driver's license, membership cards and money. Thanks to the handy clip this little bag is always within easy reach and I can get to it quickly when needed!

Speedo Swim Bag

See all the packs and bags from Speedo USA HERE.


Lay out the suits the night before. I like to drape our swimsuits over our swim bag so they can be easily found the next day. My kids always know where they are and can change quickly when asked! This way there are also no battles to deal with over which swimsuit they want to wear! (Mom win.)


Double check your bag to make sure you have everything you need for swimming and sit it by the door the night before. Take the time to toss in your license, pool membership card, cash and change, clean clothing for each family member and convenient snacks.


Have everyone put on their suits BEFORE you leave the house. That way you don't have to deal with chasing kids through a changing room while you're half dressed. Besides, no kid likes to wait to swim. This tip saves time and allows you a stress-free entrance to the pool!



Grab those last minute items, such as cold drinks and cell phones, and put them in your swim bag. You're almost ready!



Have your kids use the bathroom before you head out the door. Trust me on this one. I have over a decade of parenting experience. TRUST ME. After that, you're ready to herd your kids out the door!



HAVE FUN!!! Hopefully all the prep you did beforehand will allow you to have an enjoyable, stress-free day!


Empty out your bag as soon as you get home. Toss wet towels and suits into the laundry and restock any items you will need the next time you go swimming.

Hopefully you had a great time swimming! And if you're extra lucky your exhausted kids will take a nap! 



While I can't promise that you will be able to make it out the door on time without any stress, it will go a bit more smoothly if you follow these tips! Here's to a great day of swimming!

Thank you to Speedo USA for sponsoring today's post! I am so grateful for the chance to be introduced to these amazing products. They are definitely my family's new favorites! #SwimWithSpeedo

Swim With Speedo

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Affiliate links are not associated with Speedo USA.