Back to School- GIVEAWAY

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Start your kids off on the right foot!

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My boys are fans of Pediped footwear. And I’m a fan of the support the shoes give their feet. Huck and Hayden get very excited about these shoes…. we’re hoping you child will be, too. Pediped is GIVING ONE OF YOU A FREE PAIR of shoes to have your child fully “supported” going back to school (and in style). All you need to do is comment below on this blog post! YEP! IT’S THAT EASY. Let them know you have a child that would love a pair of their shoes. These shoes are so well-made, they hold up beautifully. Many of the shoes run $60, so this is an awesome giveaway. PLEASE, PLEASE leave your instagram, facebook or twitter handle so you can be contacted. I will be announcing the winner this week and will let you know via stories on FB and instagram. And will comment back on here on this post with the winner, too. You’ll need to provide the size and style you want, an email and address. ALSO…. DON’T THINK I’M LEAVING the MAMAS OUT… stay tuned for another shoe giveaway this week for from Rothys!!! Yay.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S EVEN MORE…. Pediped is having a fun BACK TO SCHOOL HUNT! Here are details below:

#PEDIPED BACK TO SCHOOL CONTEST: Starts Monday 8/5!
Kids heading back to school, but missing shoes from their school checklist? Follow along and join our pediped.com BTS Hunt to win a pair of shoes for $1! Two winners announced each day through August 9th. GO CHECK IT OUT! ENTER to win there, and HERE on the blog.

On a similar note, I mentioned recently in a post about Hayden (and thumb sucking) that one the reasons I believe Joel is so adamant about Hayden stopping the thumb is because of Huck. Huck started walking on his toes at a very young age. Even with doctors and therapists, stretching and excercies, the toe-walking became a serious habit that is extremely hard for him to break now at 7 years old. Huck is working hard to stop. His feet and legs hurt sometimes and it’s harder to find shoes that fit comfortably. Pediped’s brand is great and very helpful for our situation with Huck. They are sturdy and weighted. Finding shoes that help keep his heels down are paramount!

Good Luck, y’all.

xoxo

AAJ


MOM/DAD ALERT: MOST affordable Back-to-School run ever! Plus, a $50 OshKosh gift card for one lucky reader.

Back to school Alert Post is brought to you by OshKosh, but of course, all opinions are my own!

Back to school Alert Post is brought to you by OshKosh, but of course, all opinions are my own!

Last week, Huck asked me if I would get him some new "stuff." He said, "You know, for my closet." So, I did. And boy, did I score. 

I went to OshKosh for new items for Hayden and came home with a huge bag of clothes for Huck for under $50. (And right now, there's free shipping online!) I knew the clothes would be great, but I didn't realize how genius the prices would be. And if I had a girl to buy for...it'd be over! I'm a sucker for unicorns and rainbows and sequins. I may be too "big" to wear stuff like that myself (although it sneaks its way in), but it's pure cuteness on little girls. Seeing tweens walk around shopping created a sense of nostalgia for the innocent years of my youth. Getting so excited over a unicorn. Remember when life was that simple? A unicorn t-shirt made you so very happy. (Okay, fine, truth be told, a perfect unicorn t-shirt would still make me pretty happy for the moment!) I digress, I tried to get Huck some pieces that he would think are really cool for his first week in FIRST GRADE. He isn't too picky about his clothes yet, but he knows what he doesn't like. I present things asking, "Do you like it, or do you love it?" No other options. Ha. And if he loves something, he gets very excited. It's like Christmas morning kind of excitement that makes the giver of the gifts feel like Santa. Rewarding.

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Huck is seriously developing a sense of his own style. He likes to button ALL the buttons of his shirt (up to his neck cause it's way cooler that way, he tells me). And he loves hoodies. I can't believe I met this child when he was was 2 and could barely talk, still in diapers.

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Hayden, on the other hand, just likes to be able to move and dance.  That's pretty much his only requirement at this point. He just started wanting to see what his outfit looks like in the mirror once we get dressed (so I just got him a little mirror for his room;) When I can, I like dressing him with a nod to southern prep. Is that what one would call it? I'm kind of copying a vision I have etched in the archives of my brain of boys when I was growing up in the south. A button-down, slightly collegiate look. I love the boys matching at times, but with Huck developing his style more, I'm going to get away with that look less and less. I got them both the dark denim skinny jeans from OshKosh, so they'll be twinning that way. #winning. FYI- make sure you wash the dark denim together for the first time. 

I got Huck the "piece out" long sleeved hoodie (with a pizza on the front, one piece out...), three new pairs of jeans (it's buy one pair get TWO free right now!!) and some t-shirts. And l wrote all text above for this moment here: I was Santa Claus. He didn't just like what I got him, he loved it!

I just saw their "character" shirts with Mickey or Batman, etc. are under $10 right now! I'm grabbing a few for Christmas gifts for boys and my nieces, too. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page here to find). 

And while I was already there, I picked out some pre-school clothes for Hayden (even though he isn't starting immediately, we still have plenty of "school" mommy and me or camp-type classes). I love these prices, did I say that already? Sorry if I sound like Dori. I'm grateful to find places like Oshkosh that are so budget friendly for these growing weeds of mine. I feel like we need a new size too often.

So, this is the really fun part. Because Oshkosh was kind enough to sponsor this post, one of you will get sent a $50 gift card! All you have to do make sure you liked the instagram post HERE and are following @ashleyaubra and "Like" @AshleyJonesOfficial on facebook. That's it. For an extra entry, leave a comment here and tag friends in the comment section under the instagram post. The winner will be picked  randomly on Friday, August 17th. If you know a mama or papa that could use this gift card, tag them!! And if you end up winning, tag Oshkosh in your photos on social media so I can can see how your little ones got decked out for back-to-school. And if you don't end up winning the gift card, you're still winning with this coupon code below for an extra 20% off your $40 purchase (which will get you a lot!). 

I added more photos if you scroll down because the boys are so fun together. Just over sharing;) And last but not least, even though this post is sponsored by OshKosh, all the thoughts are my own.

 
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Could I love anything more?

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I was recently at an event where I was asked by several other mamas if Joel and I are considering having another baby. It's a common question, I know. I get asked it a lot. It's such a cliche, but I can't imagine loving another child as much as I love Hayden and Huck. I loved the time with Huck (and loved him) so much before Hayden was even here.... now that I have these two, I can't fathom another little baby! So, I'm interrupting the wellness posts (and looming other posts on work) to ask y'all about this cause it's just on my mind.

Before having Hayden, I used to think it was so silly for parents to say they couldn't comprehend loving another child as much as they loved their current ones. Well, my mind couldn't comprehend something that sounded so ridiculous. You just do, I thought to myself. My parents had three kids. My best friend has four kids. All kids are loved immensely. 

But, I get it now. It's not that you think you wouldn't love them as much, it's more about spreading your attention. This time with Hayden alone is so special, I want to love him and teach him as much as I can. Hayden is the only child often. Huck is in school and with his mom when he is not with us. But we do everything in our power to make the most of every minute with Huck. 

I do believe the concern of spreading yourself too thin is legitimate. Do you? I don't work outside of the home everyday, so that's a plus. Who knows if it's in the cards for us to ever expand the family, but I'm hoping you will share your thoughts if you have more than one child...or a blended family. My guess is that most of you will say things evolve organically, the way God intended. 

photos by  @ographr

photos by @ographr

On a different note, I plan on sharing more about the StarFish Project soon. Their mission "restores hope to exploited women in Asia." They provide life-changing opportunities through  Holistic Care Programs and social enterprise where women create beautiful jewelry and become managers, accountants, graphic designers, and photographers.

I am happy to support companies that are in the business of helping women and giving back to their community. I'm wearing these delicate dangle earrings here. FYI: the packaging is so sweet, with a note from the woman that made them. 

xoxo

AAJ

CALIFORNIA GROWN

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Growing up in the south, we took a lot of pride in our home state of Texas. I could (kinda) draw the shape of my state about the same time I could write my name. Texans love the shape of their state, if you haven't noticed. There's a Texas shaped potholder in every kitchen in that state! In 7th grade, we studied Texas history and I wanted to know everything I could about our great state.  The wildflowers (I would "flower press" the Indian paintbrushes and bluebonnets to glue to homemade cards!), the smell of BBQ floating through the humid Texas air when we would walk our neighborhood at night, the Alamo, TexMex (it’s a very special kind of Mexican food)…. I could go on, but you get my drift. 

So, I want my children to have the same relationship with California, their home state. It’s a special place with so much to offer. California has given me my life in a way…. many gifts. My university education, my career, my family….and amazing food and drink! Can we say Napa Valley wine and olive country? Avocados, berries, vegetables… ok, you get it. And I didn't even mention the gift of the ocean! But seriously, if you are purchasing California Grown products for your family, it’s a good thing wherever you are.

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We recently enjoyed a day at the Farmer’s Market. Have you done this as a family? It’s really fun…but beware, the kids want to eat and touch EVERYTHING. My goal was to show the kids how rewarding it is to go and personally meet the farmers that helped grow, harvest and pick the food that was going to be on our tables. I believe in buying locally grown food. Even in the heat wave we are currently experiencing on the west coast, I prefer the outdoor farmer's market. So, continuing part of the wellness series on the blog, today we're encouraging eating pure, clean and fresh. 

I could go into all the benefits for the environment (less pollution and byproduct shipping), so pat yourself on the back for doing something good for all of us, but specifically, I like the benefits for the family. I get a more intimate look at the food that will be going into my children’s bodies. And mine! California Grown for me means that it's fresh. It hasn’t been sitting in a warehouse somewhere being preserved, which in turn allows us more of the nutritional benefits. 

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We had one goal that day: making salads from scratch! Don’t laugh. I know that sounds silly. It’s a salad! But for a 6 year-old and a 2 year-old (that follows the leader), it was a fun endeavor to go find the green fluffy lettuce, kale, the cucumbers, carrots, berries, etc. Huck took samples from several California Grown olive oils (we met the people that made it and they explained the whole process). Huck found a “spicy” one (Jalapeño) and thought his dad would like it. I explained we’d use this home grown olive oil on our salads later. It's amazing. When you use FRESH INGREDIENTS, simplicity is the key. Each commodity has so much flavor, you don’t need any tricks or additional products. Simple, straightforward, clean ingredients make the taste buds sing! Tomatoes, pine nuts, avocado, parmesan, lettuce and cucumber with a drop of fresh Jalapeño olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and ground pepper. WOW. (for extra credit, I finely chop the lettuce. AHHH. The best! And I like to aggressively "massage" the kale to soften it before I finely chop.) If you guys have a special salad recipe, I would love to hear it. I recently incorporated grapefruit in this same salad and it was marvelous.

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And all the berries! The blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc. We’re making  a berry salad and adding homemade whipping cream to it!  (I think we’re throwing in some peaches, too). The kids and I literally wash the berries and Huck drizzles a bit of the cream over it. If it's a dessert salad, add a bit of brown sugar. (And if it's basically for dessert, add a slice of angel food cake. Too easy!) That's it!

My desire to learn about the different parts of our great country hasn't ceased as I get older… each state has so much personality and specific gifts it offers. What’s the best thing about your state? What is your favorite locally grown product(s)? Is that something you value? What should I try to purchase from your state or at least try when I’m there next? 

To my boys’ home state, (and my honorary home state) I must say, thank you for the love, California! We love you right back. And we support CaliforniaGrown.org. I am so happy to partner with you for this wellness series to share this love!

ps- for those of you that are curious- my dress was just restocked in all sizes;)  I'm wearing a size small. 

And also, thanks for all the support you all showed about B&B. I'll be writing about all that very soon. 

xoxo

AAJ