Classic Dot Brand Reps and Enthusiast Search

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Do you like baby moccasins?
Would you like to receive a free pair each month, or a 40% discount on each pair?


Well it just so happens that my super cute moccasin company, Classic Dot, is searching for some babies and tots with photography savvy moms to show off our moccs and help spread the word about our shop! 

The search for brand representatives and brand enthusiasts is happening now on the Classic Dot Instagram page, so hurry on over and see the original post for how to enter your sweet babes!

We are looking for mamas who take high quality photos and have an active Instagram following.

The search ends this week so be sure to go enter!

Sincerely,
Nicole


Fun (and easy) outdoor activities for kids

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Some days are best spent at home, especially when there is a baby in tow. I love to try and take the kids out to do fun stuff, but it typically takes a whole lot of coffee and motivation. 
It also usually means that Annabelle will miss her morning nap and that can throw everything a tad off schedule. Some days that's totally ok and we just try our best to go with the flow, but more often than not our days are spent at home during this season of life.
Home doesn't have to mean boring, or indoors for that matter. 
Here are some fun and super easy spring activities for days when the sun is shining and staying home is your best option.


1. Backyard scavenger hunt // Write down a list of things for your kiddo to search for in the backyard. If your child is young like mine and nowhere near reading, then draw a picture of each item. If you are like me and in no way an artist, hop on your computer, find some clip art, and print out a list. Easy peasy. Toddlers especially love it when they can recognize something, so get ready for some excitement when they look at your picture and are able to go find whatever item (ex- a pinecone) and match them.

2. Chalk // This classic never gets old. Jacob got chalk in his Easter basket this year and loves to go outside to scribble draw with it. I tried to teach him hopscotch the other day, which was a total fail with a two year old but still fun!

3. Bubbles // If you've got little ones than you probably already know the magical powers of bubbles. I just sit in the yard, Annabelle in my lap, blowing non stop bubbles for Jacob to chase. This can go on for a ridiculous amount of time, but is guaranteed to use up every last bit of your child's energy.

4. Water Balloons // Whether you are just filling them up to let your kiddo play around with texture, or if you actually get into a fight of sorts, water balloons are always a good time.

5. Backyard Picnic // Grab a big blanket, prepare an easy lunch, and head outside! Kids always think that anything out of the ordinary is super fun, and a picnic is a nice break from the norm. Jacob typically takes a nap after lunch, so it's always nice for him to get some fresh air before going inside for a snooze. Added bonus: Easy cleanup! 
  
I'm not big on "sensory bins" or any type of activity that requires a ton of prep work for me. I'll give those a shot every once in a while, but it's never anything that I can consistently keep up with. All of these activities are incredibly easy, so easy in fact that I can't believe I based a blog post around them. But if there's anything I've learned, it's that sometimes in this Pinterest world of parenting we forget about those easy/simple activities.
There's a reason why we call them classics.

Let me know if you have any fun and easy spring activities to share!

Sincerely,
Nicole 

Our current season: 2 years old + 6 months old

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

When Jacob was born I wrote monthly updates about him and what he was up to at his current age. 

With Annabelle, my poor second child, I have done no such thing.

With that being said, I thought it would be fun to share what both kiddos are up to these days at their current ages.



Jacob // 2 years (26 months)
We hit a rough patch right after Jacob turned 2 (read more about that here), but things have been looking up and now life with this guy is all kinds of fun! He is finally talking up a storm and saying new things to us every day. He has learned how to say "pwease" when asking for things, which might be the cutest thing on earth and makes it impossible to say no. We're pretty sure he knows how adorable he is, because to get out of doing something he doesn't want to do (like eating dinner) he will sweetly say "pwease hug?" because who can turn down a hug from their toddler?
He is also a mimicking fiend, so chances are he will repeat what you said or imitate what you are doing. We are waiting for a swear word to pop out, but luckily it hasn't happened yet. 
Jacob loves to play outside, and this spring weather has been heaven on earth for him.
He can dribble a soccer ball like nobody's business, and we are excited to see the little athlete he is turning into. He remembers everything, which as a parent can be a total bummer (ha). He is such a little lover, and will give out kisses and hugs like its his job. My favorite time with him is first thing in the morning or right before bedtime, when he snuggles up with me and becomes a total mamas boy.  

Annabelle // 6 months
This girl is not going to be upstaged by her big brother, that's for sure. She is super attached to her mama, and still refuses to take a bottle. If I walk into another room, she will stick out her bottom lip and start to cry. Very dramatic this one is. 
She loves to laugh and giggle, and jumping is one of her favorite things to do. She has started solids and is already a better eater than her brother was. So far we've tried sweet potatoes and carrots with cinnamon, both of which she approves of. Rolling is her current method of transportation, and we find her in all sorts of different places if we take our eyes off of her for a minute. She loves to grab her brothers toys and really make his blood boil. She currently is not sleeping, at all, except for a few hours a night when Mommy gives in and lets her sleep in her bed. In fact, just the other day I woke up to her big doe eyes gleaming at me just inches from my face and I almost melted right then and there. 

Watching the relationship develop between these two is priceless. Jacob loves his baby sister and protects her fiercely (when he's not accidently smashing her), and Annabelle thinks her brother is the funniest person on earth. When Jacob wakes up in the morning or from a nap, one of the first things he does is look around and ask where "sissy" is. I can't wait to see their friendship continue to grow as they get older. 

Life is anything but easy right now, but I am constantly thinking how lucky I am to be the mama of these two.

Sincerely,
Nicole

It's not you, it's your toddler {don't let your toddler be the judge of your mothering abilities}

Friday, April 8, 2016


Our children's behavior and our skills as mothers have become one in the same, and I'm hear to share that they shouldn't be. 
Toddlers can be little a-holes sometimes. If they were adults they would be committed to an insane asylum. 
Jacob went through a particularly difficult, rip your hair out, pour me another glass of wine phase shortly after his second birthday. The complete and utter insanity lasted for about a month and I can honestly tell you that most days I did not enjoy my tots company, even though I love him something fierce. 

Every night, even some whole days, I felt like I was completely failing him as his mother. I felt like his behavior had to be a reaction to something I was doing wrong, and that I was going to ruin my child forever. I tried to give him more attention, plan fun activities, but everything always ended up in tantrums and frustration. 

Then something magical happened: Jacob returned back to a more normal level of toddler craziness all on his own. I now enjoy hanging out with my little dude again, we play games, chat about life, laugh, and snuggle a lot. He's one of my favorite people and we have a blast.

This brings me to the conclusion that it is not always us. That just because our toddler is going through a difficult phase, it does not mean that we are bad mothers. We cannot always take the blame for our children's crazy antics, and we need to stop being so hard on ourselves. How we feel about ourselves as mothers should not be determined by our children. Just because your son or daughter has a particularly "off" day, week, or month does not always mean that you are doing something wrong as a parent. 

I have since stopped letting my toddler be the judge of my mothering abilities. If two year olds are insane to begin with, aren't I just as insane to let them determine how I feel about myself? 
These little creatures can sometimes make us forget that we are the ones in control, and guess what?
I know I'm a damn good Mom because I am doing the best that I can. 
If you worry about being a good mom, then you have your answer. You are one.
Don't let your toddlers behavior fool you.

Sincerely,
Nicole

*Photo by Ashley Matteson Photography

Work at home mama: How I do it

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

As you probably already know I'm the mama of two precious little ones, Jacob and Annabelle.
I'm also the owner of Classic Dot, an online shop that I launched earlier this year.

I've been a stay at home mom ever since I had my son two years ago, and I truly believe it is one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs in the world. 
It wasn't until after the birth of my daughter last year that I formed the idea to start my own business. 

My company has been up and running for a few months now, and I am in no way an expert in the work/life balancing game. 
What I do know is that anything is possible, and you can still make your dreams happen even when you are in the deep trenches of motherhood.


How do I make it work? Here's a few things I've learned so far that have made life a tad bit easier. 

Prioritize
My job as a mom is my first priority. I try to do the majority of my work during nap times and bed times. Unfortunately we don't live in a perfect world and children are notoriously unpredictable, so some days when my toddler is content entertaining himself and my baby is happy I'll squeeze in a little work here and there. I generally try to get new orders from the previous night packaged during breakfast time when my husband is home, that way they can ship out while the kids and I are enjoying the days activities. 

Planning ahead is crucial 
I try to automate things as much as possible and get stuff done ahead of time when I can.
For example, I don't typically take pictures for social media and post them on the same day (although many times I do with my person accounts). Pictures for my business are typically taken a head of time and scheduled in advance.

Get Mobile
I can take care of 90% of my business from my phone. 
This allows me to get stuff done anywhere anytime, and is especially convenient with little ones. I don't know about you but if my toddler see's my laptop out it's like a moth to a flame. Game over. This also allows me to utilize all the time I spend nursing my five month old. Girlfriend likes to eat around the clock, and this is always when I get my Instagram posts up and emails checked. 

 My children are my everything, but starting my own business has been fulfilling in an entirely different way. I love connecting with other mamas and creating something of my own has been extremely empowering. There is such an incredible society of women who are small business owners and bloggers, and it's wonderful to be included in that community.

I started Classic Dot during one of the most insane times possible (right after the birth of our second child and after a big move across the country), but it has all worked out! I found the time and it didn't interfere with my job as a mom.  
If you have a dream know that it's possible to go for it at any time in your life! 

I'm going to be starting a new feature here on Pearls & Prosecco highlighting other mamas who are making it work and building their businesses while raising their families. If your a mom boss or know one that would be interested in having herself and her business featured please leave a comment or shoot me an email. This can be anything from small biz owners to bloggers!
I am super excited about this new feature and I look forward to all of your suggestions!

Sincerely,
Nicole



What Annabelle wore + how I shop for the kids

Friday, April 1, 2016

If you follow me on Instagram (@ncravinho) then you've probably seen me use the hashtag #whatannabellewore on a pretty regular basis. I love dressing my kiddos and always have. I know that one day they will probably have some opinions on what they wear, so I'm trying to have fun with it while I can.
Here's a roundup of my favorite #whatannabellewore posts as of late:


I know a lot of people think it's ridiculous to spend lots of money on baby clothes- I do too. With that being said I also think that quality is important and I only put my kids in 100% cotton. The majority of their clothes come from BabyGap, but I never ever pay retail price. If you shop smart Gap can be cheaper than most other children's clothing stores- and better quality!
Here are my tips for getting the best deals possible at Gap:

Wait for 40% off
I do most of our shopping online, and I SWEAR almost every week GAP has a 40% off deal. I never buy anything until there's at least a 40% off promo code to use.

Sale + Sale
This goes along with waiting for 40% off- I only buy what's on sale. That's my trick for getting amazing deals. I only look at the sale sections for my kiddos (and myself if I'm being honest), and I apply the 40% off to the already reduced price.

Gap Rewards
If you find that you buy the majority of clothes for your littles at Gap, signing up for their credit card can be super beneficial. We aren't a family that likes having many cards, but the rewards I receive back are worth it. I've received rewards anywhere from $5-$35, and you can use those on top of any other discounts- nothing is excluded from them! Also, if you are a card holder you get an extra 10% off when you shop in stores on Tuesdays. I've gone into Gap on a Tuesday before when they were offering 40% off already and because of my Gap card was able to receive 50% off, plus I could use my Gap Rewards. SCORE.

Buy out of season
Anyone who is good at bargain hunting will tell you this one. It can be tough with kids/babies because it can be a guessing game as to what size they will wear, but I try to do it when I can. Christmas PJ's on sale? Well, I'll guess Annabelle will probably be wearing 12-18 month around next Christmas. I tend to do this with holiday related items, because they don't usually to go on sale until right before said holiday or after. 

No, this post isn't sponsored by Gap. I've received a handful of questions regarding how I dress my children and if I spend an arm and a leg on their clothes (I don't), so I thought I was share some of my tricks with any inquiring minds.

Sincerely,
Nicole

P.S.- All of the Classic Dot moccasins in the pictures above are 20% off this weekend with code WEEKENDFUN.