Author Archives: jessicalieb

About jessicalieb

Jessica is a family lifestyle blogger living in Raleigh, NC with her husband, four sons (8, 5, 3 and 1). Jessica started thebkeepsushonest.com in November of 2009, but has been blogging since 2003. Jessica writes about family life, recipes, travel and products for families. She is also a Work-from-home-mom who manages marketing and social media for a local accounting company.

Entenmann’s Little Bites & Smurfs {Giveaway}

I grew up watching The Smurfs, it was one of my favorite cartoons, so I’m pretty excited about the new Smurfs movie, “Smurfs: The Lost Village.” I also grew up eating Entenmann’s® snacks so I’m super excited that Entenmann’s® is offering a special promotion for the new Smurfs movie.

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With the purchase of two 5 count, one 10 count, or one 20 count specially marked Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Smurf Blueberry Muffins packages, receive $5.00 off a movie ticket to see the “Smurfs: The Lost Village.” Available nationwide for a limited time until 4/30/17

Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Smurf Blueberry Muffins are the perfect Smurf-approved baked snacks. These moist, delicious muffins are made with real blueberries, contain no high fructose corn syrup, no trans-fat and are certified Kosher. At less than 200 calories per pouch, Entenmann’s® Little Bites® are the perfect family snack to enjoy at home or on-the-go.

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My boys aren’t familiar with Smurfs yet so I’m excited to take them to see “Smurfs: The Lost Village”. However, they are familiar with Entenmann’s and they love Little Bites.

CONNECT

GIVEAWAY

One lucky reader will win a $25 Fandango gift card and (3) coupons for $5.00 off the purchase of any Entenmann’s® Little Bites®. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Ends 4/18/17.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends on April 18, 2017. The winner to be chosen at random. Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. See giveaway rules for more information.

The coupons for product redemption, information, and gift card have been provided by Entenmann’s® Little Bites® so that I could try the product and share my thoughts and information about Entenmann’s® Little Bites®. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Entenmann’s® Little Bites®.

5 Top Picks for New Parents

Top Picks

My 4th and final baby is now officially a toddler. For what seems like eternity I was in constant baby mode. I was surrounded by tiny clothes and all the latest baby gear. I’ve tried a lot of different baby products over the past 8 years and I’d like to think I’ve got a pretty good idea of what is essential and what is not. I’ll be honest you don’t need a ton of gear to have a baby but there are a few items that just make life easier and I’m all about making life easier.

So if you’re a first time parents or not, here are a few of my favorite items for new parents.

  1. Ergo Baby Carrier – Little ones love to be held but life is busy and sometimes you need to get up and do stuff, like make yourself lunch. There’s nothing better than wearing a baby so you can eat.
  2. Medela Breast Pump – If you choose to breastfeed your baby a good breast pump is a must. I breastfed all of my boys but it wasn’t until baby 2 that I finally invested in a good breast pump and it saved my life… and it literally saved his life.
  3. NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator – I know it seems gross but I’ve tried all sorts of contraptions and the NoseFrida rocks. Babies get congested and you’ll use an aspirator way more than you thought and the NoseFrida gets it done. The NoseFrida was huge life saver when baby 3 had RSV.
  4. 4Moms MamaRoo – I used our 4Moms MamaRoo with my 3 youngest boys and it. was. amazing. The different movements make it so versatile a great for a baby that loves movement while they are sleeping.
  5. Aden + Anais Swaddling Blankets – Aside from a few structured swaddles the Aden + Anais Swaddling Blankets are the best for keeping baby cozy and snug while they sleep. Plus they always have the cutest designs.

I’d also suggest a good convertible car seat and reliable stroller as these things can be used for several years.

ABOUT BABY CUBBY

The Baby Cubby team is made up of parents who have been there and are passionate about encouraging, inspiring, and reminding parents how amazing they are and how important their role is. They find the highest quality and safest baby gear to provide to parents in a fun shopping experience. They always price match, even amazon, so you know you’re getting a great deal
Plus, they carry only the highest quality and safest gear so that you can shop confidently. Free Shipping everyday at BabyCubby.com over $49

This post has been sponsored by Baby Cubby. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

Sylvan Heights Bird Park

A few weeks ago we finished up all of our homeschool groups for the year so I decided that during the month of April (and maybe part of May) we’ll be taking as many field trips as possibly. My hope is to take at least 1 a week (depending on weather and other commitments).

We started off at the Sylvan Heights Bird Park in Scotland Neck, NC. Since we have a membership to the NC Zoo we got free admission to Sylvan Heights. It’s a little over an hour drive from our home and a nice drive through the NC countryside.

Since we got in free we decided to spend a little on some of the extras they offered. We purchased some duck food ($1 per bag), an endangered species passport ($3), scavenger hunt($2), parakeet food sticks ($1 per stick) and ice cream ($3 each). Here are some of my thoughts on our extra expenses. Next time I would only buy 1 bag of duck food if any. The ducks were well fed and not that interested in the food we gave them although the kids did enjoy trying to give them food. Jude love the endangered species passport, it’s gear toward kids that can read well and has questions they must answer after finding the different birds. We probably won’t buy it next time since we already did it but I would recommended it. The scavenger hunt ended up just being me marking things off the sheet. It’s designed for younger kids that can’t read by my younger kids weren’t really into it. I would suggest to pass on this unless you have a very attentive young child. The parakeet food sticks were a lot of fun although there were a lot of birds trying to eat the food you had. It can be a little overwhelming for young kids. But I would totally do it again, it was a lot of fun to see my kids covered in birds! And of course, Ice cream is always worth it.

My kids favorites from our trip were the ice cream, playground, flamingos, peacock, all the ducks (including 1-day old ducklings) and owls. I liked the macaws, scarlet ibis, great argus, emu and black neck swans.

Overall, we had a great time at the Sylvan Heights Bird Park and I highly recommend taking a trip out that way if you get the opportunity. Photo Apr 05, 10 01 00 AM Photo Apr 05, 10 01 32 AM Photo Apr 05, 10 11 36 AM Photo Apr 05, 10 14 12 AM Photo Apr 05, 10 21 04 AM Photo Apr 05, 10 24 46 AM Photo Apr 05, 10 30 07 AM Photo Apr 05, 10 30 59 AM Photo Apr 05, 10 31 16 AM Photo Apr 05, 10 44 46 AM Photo Apr 05, 10 58 56 AM Photo Apr 05, 11 03 12 AM Photo Apr 05, 11 06 14 AM Photo Apr 05, 11 09 17 AM Photo Apr 05, 11 13 15 AM Photo Apr 05, 11 16 58 AM Photo Apr 05, 11 17 23 AM Photo Apr 05, 11 18 54 AM Photo Apr 05, 11 19 28 AM Photo Apr 05, 11 22 15 AM Photo Apr 05, 11 31 31 AM Photo Apr 05, 11 31 49 AM Photo Apr 05, 11 31 59 AM Photo Apr 05, 11 35 46 AM Photo Apr 05, 11 36 51 AM Photo Apr 05, 11 38 18 AM

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

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I’ll be honest, Beauty and the Beast wasn’t a movie I thought I would be interested in seeing. And then as I learned about the full cast and started to see the trailers my interest grew. When I was growing up I was a little too old to fully enjoy the Beauty and the Beast animated movie but I remember watching it several times while babysitting and the most recently with my children.

What got me excited about screening Beauty and the Beast was really the cast, what a great collection of amazing actors. Of course Emma Watson as Belle is a great fit but the rest of the cast plays such an important roll. I particularly love Dan Stevens as the Beast, even with all of the computer animation that transformed him into the beast his mannerisms and facial expression are portrayed wonderfully and help capture the humanity of the Beast. Instead of seeing Beast as a creature you see him as a man trapped inside the beastly body.

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What makes this movie different from the original animated Disney classical is that it takes us further into the store of Belle and her family. We also learn more about the Beast and how they develop throughout the story. There are several scenes and songs that are not in the original but fit seamlessly into the classic scenes you love.

Often when animated movies are made into life-action movies I’ve found that they are overly dramatic and intense but there was a fine balance in this movie that still makes it appropriate for children.

I love Ewan McGregor as Lumiere singing “Be Our Guest” and Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts. But I think my favorite character was Luke Evans as Gaston, he does a wonderful job making you kind of like Gaston but also really hate the true monster he really is.

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Overall, this is a very fun movie, great for kids and adults alike.
Opens in theaters today, March 17, 2017.

 

I received passes to the featured event in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own.

Preparing for Spring {Giveaway}

This post has been sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

It snowed on Sunday but last week it was in the mid 70’s and the flowers had started to bloom. The snow washed away the pollen that was collecting on my back deck. North Carolina weather is crazy so you always have to be prepared .

I started to pull out the boys shorts and tee shirts last week but I kept the snow pants within reach. We bought new outdoor toys and summer shoes last week but alas this week we are bundled up in our winter wear by the fire.

Wednesday

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Sunday

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I try to be a prepared mom by being prepared for whatever hits, be it a heat wave or cold front. It seems like we are just getting over our winter colds and then our allergies start to flare up. I keep Children’s Dimetapp® Cold & Allergy in my medicine cabinet when spring arrives just in case. In a great tasting grape flavor, Children’s Dimetapp® Cold & Allergy has congestion-fighting power to relieve stuffy and runny noses, while providing relief for itchy and watery eyes, for children ages 6 and up.

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*It is important to remember to always read and keep the cartons for complete warnings and dosing information on Pfizer Pediatric products and to use as directed.

I’m ready for all of the lovely spring weather but I’m ready for the sneezing and runny noses that accompany the pollen explosion that happens each spring in my yard. But we’re prepared this year… so bring on spring.

GIVEAWAY
One lucky reader will win and Children’s Dimetapp® Cold & Allergy. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway Ends 3/26/2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends on March 26, 2017. The winner to be chosen at random. Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. See giveaway rules for more information.

This post has been sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

I stood around for 3 hours to get my book signed… and I liked it.

I’m a picky reader. I often start books but don’t finish them because…. well honestly I think they suck. So when I find a book series or author that I really enjoy reading it’s kind of a miracle. After Simon was born I bought Jenny Lawson’s (The Bloggess) first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir and read it almost entirely on my phone, in the middle of the night while nursing my young baby. It was such a fun read I would occasionally wake up Joe just to read him excerpts from the book.

So of course I also read Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things.  I bought the hardback book and read this one while nursing Abel. Different book, different format, different baby but still an extremely fun book to read. Then I saw that Jenny was coming to do a book signing in Raleigh for her newest book, You Are Here: An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds. I’d never been to a book signing event but I knew I really wanted to go to this event. Then stuff happened (like sick kids) and I didn’t get my book pre-ordered in time so I didn’t get into the reading but I did score a ticket to the signing line so I took it. 

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It was cold and I had to wait at the end of the line for about an hour outside but then as luck would have it I was in group #1 from the signing line so I got to go inside the store after the reading was over… to stand around for another hour or so… but at least I was warmer and could look at more books. I bought a book for the kids, Goodnight, Numbers by Danica McKeller (a signed copy). I also ran into my blog friends Marty and Cyndi. They got tickets to the event and somehow happened to get better signing line tickets so they gave be their letter R. Then someone asked if they could trade their I for my R and of course I said yes. Lucky me.

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Of course I had no idea what I was going to say when it was my turn to meet her and get my books signed. I mean we don’t know each other, I know way more about her life after reading her books but she knows nothing about me so I just decided to tell her that I read her books in the middle of the night while I nursed my babies… it seemed appropriate, but it was still weird. However, Jenny was the sweetest and most loveliest person. She took times to smile and greet each person and thank them for coming.

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It was a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon even if I did just stand around waiting for someone to write in my book. (I didn’t have any of my kids with me which made it even better.)


Meal Planning & Chalk Markers {Giveaway}

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Every week I write out a meal plan for our family of 6. Joe bought me this cute chalkboard menu from Target a while back but the chalk that came with it kind of sucks. But I didn’t even realize there was another other until I heard about Chalkola. Chalkola Chalk Markers are make writing our my weekly meal plan so much easier. There are 2 different size markers for writing on chalkboards, whiteboards, glass, or plastic.

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The smaller makers are great for teachers, moms, artists. I have started using them on my white board for our homeschool work. I love that they come in a variety of fun, vibrant colors (including metallic) and are easy to wash away.

The kids use the Jumbo markers for creating art pieces. (Note: These marker work best on non-porous surfaces. The reason being that Porus surfaces have small holes which can absorb the liquid chalk ink and sometimes it gets difficult to completely erase them.)

I can’t wait to share what fun creations we make with our colorful selection of Chalk Pens from Chalkola.

Give them a try!
Discount Code: Save 15% off all Chalkola Products – Use Code: 15OFFSTR

Giveaway
One lucky reader will win a set of Chalkola Markers. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway Ends 3/24/17.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Giveaway ends on March 24, 2017. The winner to be chosen at random. Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. See giveaway rules for more information.

This post has been sponsored by Chalkola. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

Brothers Fight and Brothers Love

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I hate when my boys fight. It drives me insane to hear them bicker with each other and boss each other around and whine about each other. But sibling rivalry and bickering is very common, in fact I think it’s sort of healthy. My children fighting can actually be a really good thing, surprising right? I want my children to know that they have a safe place where they can work out their emotions and learn how best to communicate with others when they have conflict. I’m there to mediate and guide them toward restoration. And what’s even more surprising is how much I learn about myself and my failures to communicate effectively. I often catch myself saying passive aggressive or belittling things to my own children when their constant bickering has gotten on my last nerve. In those moments it’s glaring transparent that the same behaviors I see in my children they learned from me and boy does that hurt.

I’m working on becoming better at conflict resolution not only for my own self but for the sake of my children. I want them to be compassionate and forgiving people therefore as a family we are working toward becoming more compassionate and forgiving. It’s a hard thing for me to work on especially because I am frequently overwhelmed by my daily life and I let my emotions get the best of me. I snap at my children because I’m distracted or just plain exhausted and it’s not an excuse but those are the times that I see what’s really buried down deep in my heart. I pray and ask for forgiveness but I’m really working on choosing to invest more in myself and my children when it comes to working on our relationships.

However, as much of the yucky habits my kids pick up from me there are moments when I see so much good. Habits they are picking up from following mine and Joe’s example. I love to see them help each other out. They are very giving boys, always wanting to make sure each of their brothers gets the same things they do. They hug each other and say “I love you” to each other. They pray with each other at night and pray for each other when one isn’t present. They as for forgiveness when they know they’ve wronged another.

So maybe these brother fight fiercely with each other but they also love fiercely and I guess I’m OK with that.