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Spring Style With Carter’s

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. I received a complimentary gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for my participation. #SpringIntoCarters

Some of the brands I have become most loyal to have been because I first partnered with them on my blog. Carter’s would probably be at the top of that list. This is my third time working with them (see Spring and Fall 2014) and now they are my absolute favorite brand to buy for my son. Not only are those clothes trendy and hip but they hold up INSANELY well with a really active boy. All for a crazy affordable price.

Since all of Silas’ clothes are suddenly looking like he is preparing for a flood (seriously he is growing like a weed) I was excited to head to our local Carter’s store to pick up some new spring favorites. Now we just need spring to show up soon. As Silas gets older he has opinions on his clothes and it was quite adorable to watch him wander through the Carter’s store pointing to exactly what he wanted. It is clear his taste leans towards athletic and preppy (as long as it isn’t too preppy- I could not talk him into a bowtie for Easter no matter how hard I try). I’d say he has pretty darn good taste.

Sporty

Sporty Green

Shirt, Shorts, Shoes (similar)

Sporty Black

Shirt, Shorts

To me the sporty trend is all about clothes you can play hard in. But just because you are playing hard does not mean you can’t look good. Carter’s sporty clothes are brightly colored and can easily be mixed and matched. Can we have a moment of silence for these shoes. We got them last year right before school and Silas has worn them pretty much every day since (and the boy plays HARD). Just last week they got holes in them. They cost under $20 and I was HEARTBROKEN to see that Silas has grown out of Carter’s shoes.

Casual

Blue Stripe

Shirt, Shorts

Tiger

Shirt, Jeans (on clearance so check stores)

Let’s ignore the fact that my son’s legs are practically glowing they are so white. It’s been a long winter. The first outfit is just a great summer basic. And that shirt will pair fantastic with khakis while we wait for it to warm up. The second outfit is Silas’ favorite of the whole haul. I actually got the jeans on a second trip to Carter’s when I was spending the $20 of rewards I got from the first trip. I got them on clearance and love that they are a skinny fit and a light grey.

I also love that all of Carter’s pants have adjustable waist. With Silas growing so fast I went a size up in everything so they will last longer. While his pants literally fell off when I first put them on, a quick adjustment and they were perfect. Their clothes hold up so well I think I can get a few seasons out of these.

Preppy

Preppy Blue-Grey

 

Shirt, Pants

Blue Preppy

 

Shirt, Pants

 

Gingham

 

Shirt, Shorts

The first outfit absolutely kills me because he is so proud of the fact he put it together. He almost struts when he wears it. The second outfit isn’t his favorite but I love it so much. It totally reminds me of an outfit I had with a similar print but with whales instead of sailboats. It just felt very 80s preppy to me. The last outfit I desperately wanted to pair with a bowtie for Easter but Silas looked at me like he was a teenager and I was his super uncool mom. If only he knew how hip bowties were. I’m still working on him.

I had $100 to spend and was AMAZED at how far my money went when combined with Carter’s amazing sales. I also had a 20% off any $40 purchase so that took even more off my total. And as I stated above, I also earned cashback because I am part of their rewards program. Besides great outfits for spring make sure to check out their Easter shop and their swim shop so you are all set for the upcoming seasons.

carters_0326_marchblogger_coupon

You too can take advantage of the 25% off Carter’s coupon. Plus through April 5th, the entire site is 50% off (as well as other incredible markdowns and sales in store). It is perfect for last minute Easter shopping and stocking up on spring essentials such as tees, shorts, tunics, leggings, tops, polos dresses, skirts & swim. Check them out at your local store or online at Carters.com.

What is your favorite look from the spring line?

A Brief Jump on a Soapbox

Today we got a letter detailing the new dress code for my kids’ school next year. I love my kids’ school for a million reasons and am the first to champion it if you ask. But what started out as a minor irritation with the letter has ballooned as the day has gone on and I just can’t get my frustration out of my head.

First of all, let me just praise the language of our dress code for being gender neutral. The rules don’t specify that they are for girls which I appreciate on some level. But on another level it frustrates me because 80% of what is in it clearly applies to girls. I would love to see a boy get sent to the office to change for “tight fitting clothing that draws attention to their body”.

And herein lies my issue.

I am raising two beautiful girls in a world with impossible beauty standards. Everywhere they turn they are seeing girls showing off every possible part of themselves in an attempt to sell magazines, increase ratings or #breaktheinternet. Clothing stores are filled with clothes that turn girls into miniature strippers and don’t even get me started on Halloween costumes. Combating this culture is so important, especially for followers of Christ.

But I also know full well how weird body transitions are and how difficult it is to feel comfortable in your own skin when you are a teen and tween. It sucks when we do find clothes that make them feel good and confident but are deemed inappropriate because of random standards. And when those standards are cloaked in terminology like “God honoring” when the bible says simply we should be modest with no definition of what that is (except to not wear braids or gold jewelry which I have yet to see covered in a dress code).

To be clear, I TOTALLY get the need for standards within reason. I think dress codes definitely have a place. But taken to far, then the message is one of shaming. And we all know exactly why girls are repeatedly told this in Christian circles. It is because our bodies could be tempting to men.

What I wish we all understood is that reducing girl’s bodies to be just a thing that tempts the boys around them does the exact same thing that all the skanky magazine covers does. Girls bodies are simply objects. Either objects to be used to get men’s attention or objects to be covered up so that we can avoid being a temptation. All we become is sexual beings. Not glorious bodies strong and fit and created by God to be exactly what they are with beautiful souls underneath.

When I was in school the style was baggy clothes and we wore like 10 layers at once. Even our socks had 3 layers. Either I went to a school where teen boys were extra horny or CLOTHES WEREN’T THE ISSUE. They still snapped our bras, made lewd comments and chased us around the playground. Because it isn’t the clothes. It is the heart. And it is high time our men started taking responsibility for their own hearts.

It is a slippery slope from telling a girl her shoulders must be covered to asking a girl what she was wearing when she was raped to telling a woman whose husband was unfaithful that perhaps she shouldn’t have let herself go. All things I have heard thrown about in Christian circles.

Let’s be clear, a boy getting “distracted” by a girl in a tank top is no less of a problem than a girl being called out of class and shamed by being asked to change. This year my middle school daughter was forced to wear her coat all day because she had on a shirt without sleeves (which wasn’t even part of the current dress code). She was humiliated and kept asking me what she did wrong. I had no answer. Because the truth of the matter is, SHE DID NOTHING WRONG.

I would love to see as much time and focus spent on teaching young boys how to treat and respect young girls as there is spent teaching girls that they must cover up so as not to tempt them. We simply MUST stop placing sole responsibility on girls for how men behave. Let’s have a little bit more faith in boys to control themselves and a little more faith in our young Christian women that they aren’t all mini seductresses in training trying to lead men astray. I would love to have far more time praising girls for the way they were formed and teaching them that they should dress in a way that honors God because they are valuable, precious daughters of the King.

And let’s just switch to uniforms so this mama doesn’t have to take up sewing in order to meet dress code in the summer.

I would love to know your thoughts. How do you teach your girls about modesty?

Sunday Chat

So I think I might be having a midlife crisis. I suddenly cannot deal with my kids getting older.

Silas lost his first tooth this weekend. A minor milestone, but it is just another reminder that my baby is getting older. I skipped his Kindergarten orientation last week because if I don’t go it won’t happen right? Sigh. I should probably also stop calling him my baby…..

If this is any indication of how I will handle the empty nest years I think it is safe to say I might need to be sedated.

It makes me laugh how different my kids are despite being raised in the same house. I know this isn’t rocket science, but is always fun to see just how different they will handle things. When Lily lost her first tooth we weren’t allowed to touch it at all or hysterics would ensue. It eventually fell out while she was eating and she had to write the tooth fairy a lengthy letter describing what had happened.

Hannah also had a lot of drama about touching her tooth. We kept trying to pull it but she was having none of that. The thing was basically spinning around in her mouth by the time it fell out. It was so gross.

Silas has been working on loosening his tooth for a week. I told him today it looked like it was probably ready to be pulled and he said no. So I dropped it. Five minutes later he casually strolls in the room opens his mouth and gives me a big grin. One tooth is missing. Apparently he just walked upstairs, yanked out his tooth and walked back down. He cracks me up.

So the hubby and I just tooth fairied our last first tooth. Can someone pass the wine?

What’s new with you?

 

Summer Learning With Brain Chase

Is it just me or is time flying by insanely quickly? Here in Michigan we are 2 weeks away from Spring Break and everyone knows after you get back from that you blink and school is done for the year and we are cruising into summer. I can’t even think about it because that also means only a few months of summer and Silas will go to Kindergarten. I didn’t even go to the orientation meeting last night because I can. not. deal. My baby!!

Anywho, where was I before I curled up in the fetal position and started breathing into a paper bag?

Yes. Summer.

I try to strike a balance every summer between keeping things loosey goosey so we can enjoy ourselves and having enough structure so we don’t kill each other. It’s a delicate, delicate balance. There are many days when I don’t think we are going to make it. #keepinitreal

I will admit, one thing I’ve never much planned for is educational activities that help my kids retain what they’ve learned through the year. I’ve always believed summer is all about fun (and not killing each other) and learning always seems like kind of a lame mom thing to do. But did you know that studies show that by the end of summer, students perform, on average, one to two months behind where they left off in the spring. Yowza. That is not good news.

So how can I help my kids retain what they learn but still have it be something fun so as not listen to choruses of “summer is not for school mom!!”?

Well I am beyond excited to share a new program I have recently learned about that is so fun my kids cannot WAIT to start participating this summer.

Brain Chase logo

Brain Chase is a 5-week online summer learning challenge for 2nd through 8th graders. In order to keep kids interested and engaged in learning they have created a massive global treasure hunt powered by reading, writing and math. And get this- there is an actual treasure buried somewhere in the world. The student who finds it gets a $10,000 scholarship and trophy. How’s that for motivation?

I recently chatted with the founders of Brain Chase and was blown away by how much thought they put into making their program challenging, self-directed, individualized to your kid’s needs and, most importantly fun. They have partnered with leading education sites like The Khan Academy, the myON digital book library, as well as certified teachers who will be grading your child’s work throughout the program.

2014 winner with map

Plus did you catch the REAL LIFE TREASURE HUNT? Clues can be found throughout the curriculum and your kids can guess at the location every 24 hours. My kids are obsessed with treasure hunts. They come by in naturally. The first computer game I ever played was Where In The World Is Carmen Santiago? (somehow my husband has never heard of this game) I loved following clues and figuring out puzzles. So much so I was asking the founders if I could sign myself up for their program. Mama needs $10,000. Unfortunately that was a big no. #sadtrombone

Brain Chase characters

With Brain Chase, each day kids are responsible for an hour of academic work (about 5 hours per week). If you have multiple kids and buy them each a Brain Chase membership, they will each have a separate log in that tracks their individual progress. There is testing done at the beginning to make sure each child is working at an appropriate level for them. Kids are rewarded for the work they do, not the level they are at or even the accuracy. It was really important to the founders of Brain Chase that kids who struggle still feel success.

Brain Chase isn’t cheap. But when you compare it with the cost of tutoring or intensive summer camps it really is comparable if not cheaper. And right now, they are offering early bird pricing through April 15th. Even better, all Just Jilly readers can get 15% off with the code JUSTJILLY15  bringing the price down to $127. When I think about all that is offered for that $127 I really do feel like it is an incredible value. You will get:

  • 5 weeks of customized, structured challenges on external reading and math websites, all of which is organized and tracked through the Brain Chase dashboard
  • Weekly writing exercises with feedback from credentialed teachers
  • Weekly progress reports emailed to parents
  • Exclusive access to an original animated adventure series loaded with hidden puzzles and clues
  • 3 adventure tools mailed to your home to help solve special bonus challenges (last year one of the tools was a secret decoder ring – A DECODER RING!!)
  • Participation in a massive global treasure hunt for a golden trophy containing the key to a safe deposit box holding $10,000.

I have a million more things I could tell you about this amazing program, but check out their website and this video for more info. Or feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

Seriously, don’t you want to do this yourself? Am I just a giant nerd???

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Brain Chase and The Motherhood. All opinions and nerdy obsession with finding buried treasures are my own.

Sunday Chat

Any Michigan State fans out there? Today’s loss was just BRUTAL. Ugh. Thankful they got a 7 seed and will hopefully do well in the tournament. I am a Michigan State fan because my hubby is a graduate from there. I actually graduated from the awesome Augustana College which is a Division III school. We are in the final four!! So I am cheering them on as well. Do you follow March Madness? I must admit I get sucked in every year. Football is my first love. I wish they did a tournament like March Madness. Although I would probably lose my mind so maybe it is for the best.

The weather here has finally turned glorious. To any of my southern readers you probably find 50s cold, but our streets are packed with kids riding bikes, no one is wearing coats anymore and I even saw a few people in shorts. Our winter is long and freezing so we take anything we can get and go crazy. Even our dog has an extra spring in his step when he heads outside. We all have spring fever for sure.

20150311_125015~2

What 45 degrees looks like at my kid’s school’s recess

I also washed and put away all the winter snow gear this weekend. I realize that is totally asking for a blizzard in April, but I am washing my hands of winter. Our ten day forecast looks glorious and I am pretending spring is here to stay. I am like the girlfriend standing in front of Michigan telling him that if he loves me he will not snow again. We’ll see if we are meant to stand the test of time. Don’t make me quit you Michigan!

This week I have Kindergarten orientation for Silas. HOW IS THIS HAPPENING??!! I continue to struggle with the fact that my baby is going off to Kindergarten next year. He is so ready. Like he is already talking about it constantly and can’t wait. Sigh. Time is just flying by and I can’t seem to do anything to stop it. There are so many awesome things about the ages my kids are right now. Honestly, so many things. But I would like a little magic pill to freeze them all for a little bit longer. Anyone got one?

What’s new in your neck of the woods?