summer clothes for boys!

One of the most frequently asked questions I get in emails and blog comments is, “Where do you shop for your boys?”

I have to admit that when I first found out that I was expecting a boy when I was pregnant with Hudson, I didn’t really know where to start. I’ve written before about shopping for a baby boy, which is really oh so much fun! You can read that post here. Most of my choices for baby boys have stayed the same over the last four years. (Four years! How did that happen?)

So I just thought I’d share some of my favorite brands and places to shop for my little guys. Now that Hayes is a full blown toddler (wearing a size 2T and 3T) and Hudson is a preschooler, my shopping choices have changed a little bit.

The most wonderful thing about when boys start to wear separates in the summer (as opposed to John Johns and bubbles), is that they can wear them for at least two seasons. Hudson is even wearing some clothes this summer that I bought for him when he turned 2! (When they lose that baby belly, the shirts can be worn longer and the shorts start below the knee and end up slightly above the knee, which I think is so cute!)

boys swimwear

 

For swimwear, I have found some really cute things. Hayes wears Hudson’s hand-me-downs, of course. But Hudson has some suits this year from Vineyard Vines, Ragsland, and Shrimp & Grits Kids. I also found a pair of matching swim trunks from Zulily that I purchased with credits. Another great brand is Funtasia Too! They usually have really cute appliqué tees that go with the swim trunks.

I prefer shorter trunks for little boys, as opposed to board shorts or trunks that come past the knee. Just my personal preference.

kelly's kids boys

 

Another one of my absolute favorite resources for shopping for my boys is Kelly’s Kids. I wore Kelly’s Kids when I was little and my boys wear it, too. I think the quality is absolutely fantastic. It’s a little bit pricey, but like I said before, when they’re wearing separates, they can wear them for at least two summers. And then Hayes gets Hudson’s hand-me-downs.

I love these matching brother outfits! Hayes still wears John Johns and shortalls for Sundays, but I mostly keep him in separates during the week.

kelly's kids boys 2

 

Another couple of adorable Kelly’s Kids outfits for this summer. Those white shorts are one of my favorite things. You can cinch up the waist and let it out so they can wear it for a couple of years. And I love that I can mix and match the shorts with different color polos.

mini boden choices for boys

 

We just love Mini Boden. I love the big appliqué tees, the soft pullovers, the comfortable polos, and even the cute little soft shorts. (I like shorter shorts on little boys just because their legs are so short and Mini Boden does have a few options for shorter shorts for boys.)

ragsland boys

I always joke that my boys wear a little uniform of white appliqué tees and gingham seersucker shorts. I also love little smocked tee shirts. It’s says “little boy” without being too stuffy and it’s easy for them to play. Ragsland has a fantastic selection of separates and absolutely adorable clothes.

honey bee tees boy clothes

Perhaps my absolute favorite place to shop for summer play clothes for my boys is Honey Bee Tees. Darby’s blog, Fly Through Our Window, is one of my all time favorites, and her shop is also a favorite. The t-shirts are so soft and I just love the sweet, simple designs. And that red crab hat has hardly left Hudson’s head so far this summer!

vineyard vines boys

 

One of my favorites for Hudson has been Vineyard Vines. It is definitely pricey, but we got him a couple of button down shirts, a couple pair of chinos, and he just alternates those for Sunday mornings. I also love pairing the button down shirt with those awesome white shorts from Kelly’s Kids. And that Vineyard Vines Shep pullover is the absolute cutest thing! Hudson loves his VV t-shirts to wear to the pool and just around the yard on Saturdays.

 

Other Great Resources

I also love to shop through my friend, Ashley’s shop, She She Made. She makes the most adorable custom outfits for boys and girls, but I have especially loved the separates she has done for Hayes over the last year. So cute! (She also has a Facebook page where she hosts sales and you can follow her on Instagram @sheshemade.)

Another couple of great resources for basic polos, solid tees, and solid shorts (that aren’t too long) are GAP and Old Navy. I’m really particular about pants, but every boy needs a pair of comfortable khaki shorts and just some basic tee shirts.

I go to a lot of trunk shows in the spring and fall and that’s where we get most of our boys’ clothes. My favorites are Hannah Kate, Kelly’s Kids, Shrimp & Grits Kids, Blessed Be The Name, and Orient Expressed.

So I think I’ve successfully shared my favorites for shopping for boys. I’m super thankful that we have two boys and all the boys clothes make their way through two little guys!

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Gift idea from Minted: Calendars!

It has been a few years since I’ve ordered a wall calendar for our family, but when I found out about the calendars from Minted, I got so excited!

The calendars are called “the most beautiful calendars in the world,” and coming from Minted, I believe that to be the truth.

They’re printed on luxurious, matte paper and they’re designed by indie designers. Over the years I have ordered Christmas cards, invitations, and greeting cards from Minted and have never been disappointed.

But these calendars… with this quality… and the personalization options make them the best gift to give to grandparents and just as a family gift for us.

I went through and designed mine with pictures of our family throughout the last year. The design process is very easy.

I chose the Days of the Week Grand Calendar for our family. Then I went through all of our photos and chose which ones I wanted to use for each month. The process was easy peasy, and I can’t wait to see the final product when it arrives.

We chose to use a picture of Hayes at his birthday party for the photo for May, his birth month. And used a photo of Todd with the boys for his birth month. I was able to label special dates on the calendar for birthdays and anniversaries. I’m excited about using the calendar this year and giving a few as gifts!

So I just wanted to share these gorgeous calendars with you all. There are two different sizes and at least a dozen different designs that you can choose. Happy gifting!!

 

 

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Hudson’s first Gamecock football experience

A couple of weeks ago, Todd and I started talking about taking Hudson to his first Gamecock football game. We thought the game against UAB would be a good one for him to attend, as we expected that the crowd would be a little more tame since it wasn’t an SEC opponent.

RC and PC kept Hayes at their house, and we got Hudson all decked out in his Gamecock apparel for his first Williams Brice Stadium experience.

We decided not to tailgate, and to just get to the stadium an hour before kickoff. We knew that would give us plenty of time to make our way to the stadium and get situated in our seats before any of the pregame entertainment began.

Hudson was so excited about his hat and the Gamecock on the back of his hat and on his shirt. We held his hands and walked to the stadium. He was paying very close attention to everything. He noticed all the cars, all the Gamecock gear, all the policemen and police cars.

Our first stop was at the concessions stand. We had promised Hudson a Sprite (a treat he’s only had once before) and popcorn. He was so excited! We got inside the stadium really early, so it was easy for him to see everything and he was able to see the band file onto the field.

When the Gamecock first crowed over the loud speaker, Hudson was immediately fascinated by the whole experience. He loved the fireworks every time we scored and he loved the rooster crowing. He clapped when everyone  clapped and loved shouting, “Go Cocks!” at the top of his little lungs.

We made three trips to the restroom- and he still never actually used the restroom. I think he just wanted to see the restroom. He just got the full Williams Brice experience!

We left right before half time. He had started to lose interest in the game and we’d run out of chicken fingers. I asked him if he was ready to go home, and he said, “Okay, mommy. Let’s go home.”

He was such a grown up little boy. I was so proud of him on Saturday. He was super excited and appreciative of everything he saw. We may take him to another low key game this season. He was such a little trooper.

We went to RC and PC’s house after the game to pick up Hayes. Hayes was already in bed, and Hudson immediately started telling everyone where he’d been that night. He told them all about seeing Cocky and the huge jumbo-tron (he called it the big TV) and the Gamecocks winning. He was so proud of what he’d gotten to do, and that just made my heart explode with happiness.

We woke Hayes up and put him in the car to go home. On the way home from RC and PC’s house, the car was pretty quiet and both boys were sleepy.

I heard Hudson start talking to Hayes about where he’d been that night. He started telling Hayes about the Gamecocks and Cocky. He told him about the popcorn and Sprite.

And Hayes, he doesn’t say a lot, made a few excited noises and laughed.

And then Hudson said, “Don’t worry, Hayes. You can go, too, when you’re a big boy.” And I looked at Todd and had to fight back the tears.

Going to his first game is such a simple thing, but it’s such a big first in his relationship with his Daddy, who is a Gamecock fan since he was about Hudson’s age.

He may not remember his first experience, but he’ll always have the pictures. Todd and I, on the other hand, will never ever forget Hudson’s first experience and how we introduced him to a tradition that he’ll be a part of for a long time. (And we’ll just continue to keep our fingers crossed that he remains a Gamecock fan and doesn’t cross over to the dark side. Kidding!)

 

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10 Tips to Make the Most of Your Time in the Kitchen

I love to cook. It is one of my favorite things to do. But there are only so many hours in the day, and every day doesn’t allow for me to cook gourmet meals. Sometimes I only have thirty minutes to get it together. And there are days when I just don’t feel like cooking.

It’s because I love to cook that I don’t want it to become a chore. I like to be prepared every week for what I’m going to make for supper during the week. I like to have all of my groceries on hand and I don’t want to make any last minute trips to the grocery store–especially with two small children. I want to enjoy my time in the kitchen!

So I came up with a little list of 10 tips to make the most of your time in the kitchen. Some of these are time-saving tips and some are sanity-saving tips.

1. Create a binder of recipes with your favorite go-to meals that are the easiest to make. I have a binder that has all of my favorite recipes. Some of these are torn out of magazines, some have been passed down from my grandmother, mother and aunts, and some are printed from websites. But these are my favorite meals that are the easiest for me to make.

2. Make sure that at least half of these are 5-ingredient recipes. For more 5-ingredient recipes, go to Cooking Light. Having 5-ingredient recipes cuts down on prep time and hopefully on cooking time. Save the fancy meals for nights when you have more time and you don’t have as much going on. Getting food on the table is one of our nightly chores, but it’s much better when we all enjoy the process.

3. Create a meal plan over the weekend. I use a great printable in my home organization binder to create my meal plan. I sit down with my recipe binder and sometimes bring out some cookbooks if I feel like getting more creative for a special night. I try to find common ingredients so I can cut back on my grocery bill. Extra tip: While you plan your meals, make a grocery list and organize your grocery list by the way the store is laid out. This will help you save time while you’re shopping.

4. Grocery shop on Sunday. I like to make sure that I only have to go to the grocery store one time every week. This helps me save money and it ensures that I am ready for every night of the week before the week even starts. By doing it on Sunday, I can leave the boys at home with Todd so I can get through the grocery store faster.

5. Prep your meal in the morning. One of the ways I can cut back on the time it takes to prepare our meal every night is by prepping the meal in the morning when I wake up. I get the vegetables chopped and put them back in the refrigerator. Or I peel potatoes or put the food in the crock pot.

6. Have at least one crock pot meal in your meal plan. The crock pot makes life and dinner time so easy. Use it!

7. Wash the dishes as you go or ask your husband to do the dishes while you cook. If Todd is home while I’m cooking, he’s my dish man. It makes me feel less overwhelmed if he’s cleaning up behind me while I’m cooking. Then when we’ve both finished eating, we can relax instead spending another thirty minutes cleaning up.

8. Make 4 freezers meals at the beginning of each month. In case of an emergency, you’ll already have dinner ready to go and you just need to thaw and put it in the oven. Sometimes I have a meeting and Todd is home with the kids. Sometimes we have a day where the boys don’t nap and the last thing I want to do is cook. By having the freezer meals ready, we have a few nights a month where we can take it easy.

9. Let your kids pick one favorite meal per week. This keeps them involved and makes it fun for them, too. And they’ll be more likely to help out with dishes and setting the table. There’s nothing more frustrating than cooking supper for your family and then seeing your kids not eat it. This way they know they had a part in choosing the menu for the week and they know they can look forward to their certain favorite meal.

10. Embrace leftovers. Maybe not three nights of leftovers, but at least once. We’re big into eating our leftovers. Especially if it’s a meal we loved. You don’t want good food to go to waste and we don’t want to be in the kitchen every night. You can spice up your leftovers by turning them into another meal completely.

How do you Keep It Simply Smart with your time in the kitchen? Share your time and sanity-saving tips with me for a chance to win $100 to Cooking.com.

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