Osmo – Toys of the future, today.

Have you ever been amazed by how easy it is for a toddler or young child to pick up a smart device and start using it? It just comes naturally to them.

Imagine what would happen if we could tap into the intuitiveness of a touch screen and apply it in a hands-on learning situation.

Osmo - a new way for kids to connect with technology

What if you could bring the ease of apps and video games into the classroom without spending a ton of money. Turn a puzzle into an interactive learning experience. Or, get kids not just excited about playing video games, but having fun while processing that energy into cognitive ability.

An unconventional iPad game platform that takes kids beyond the screen, using mirror technology

That’s exactly what the folks at Osmo have done and the results are game-changing.

Osmo - Play Beyond The Screen

It’s as if they found a bridge between the virtual world that let’s children become a part of the equation. Fortifying actions through touch and reinforcing the skills by truly connecting and making them a part of the process.

I found out about Osmo about 10 minutes ago.

I watched this video and had tears in my eyes before it was over.

I was so compelled I didn’t just need to write about it here, I had to purchase not one, but two of them.
Sight unseen.

I’m that excited about it.

Why two you ask?

One for me and one for you! How could I keep a discovery like this all for myself? Osmo should ship just in time to make this THE present you’ll want under your tree this year. I know it’s crazy to even consider Christmas gifts in July … but this is one you won’t want to miss.

I can’t wait to share our journey with Osmo with you.

Osmo is available for pre-order right now for just $49. That’s half of what the price will be when the product comes out later this year.

Here’s what you get:

- Osmo Reflector Component
- Base Station
- Osmo Games – Tangram, Newton, and Words
*** iPad NOT included

Osmos reflector for iPad. Changing the way your kids interact with technology, for the better.
Osmos Game System - a revolutionary new way for kids to experience and learn from technology

Stay tuned for the KSW LOVES OSMO giveaway happening this fall.

In the meantime, find out more about Osmo here.

Summer Capsule Wardrobe from H&M

The H&M 2014 Summer Capsule Collection -- love how these pieces work well together and with other items I already own
We all know being a mom is a full-time job. Add in all of the roles and commitments we take on and we really do need a powerhouse wardrobe. Something capable of taking us straight from the gym, to the park, to a client meeting, and then out to dinner … on a budget. The thing I love about this Summer Collection from H&M is I can easily picture myself doing all of those things stylishly, comfortably and affordably.

Imagine yourself:

OUT FOR A COFFEE DATE WITH FRIENDS

You want to look casual, comfortable, yet put together. For a morning like that, I love this navy blue patterned romper paired with the easy, breezy shirt jacket. Throw on some strappy black sandals, add a simple gold necklace and maybe even a bracelet to complete your look.

GOING ANYWHERE IN PUBLIC

Your first instinct is to jet out of the house in your yoga pants and comfy, albeit stained gym tee and pull your hair back in a ponytail. I know because this is often my uniform of choice, but look how much more stylish you could be if you swapped the yoga pants for these loose cargo pants. The crusty, stained gym tee for this dressed up tee and complete the look with heeled sandals instead of your usual flip flops or dirty sneakers. Amazing what a difference this makes, but you’ll still feel as comfortable as ever

DATE NIGHT / VACATION

Every lady needs a secret weapon in her closet that makes her feel like a million bucks, the secret is keeping the shape simple. Go for a bold print or stick with basic black – either way this dress is a winner.

THE GO ANYWHERE DRESS

This dress can take you anywhere you need to go. From the park to soccer practice to a a backyard barbecue. I appreciate that the hem is fun, without having too much of an extreme high low hemline for grown ups. The fact that it is just $15! makes me want to buy two.

DATE NIGHT / SOCIAL GATHERING

A sleek, but flawy tulle skirt is perfect for a fancy dinner, baby shower, or any social event where you need to look your best.

MOM 2.0 UNIFORM

The structured look of a jacket … in jersey! Pair this wardrobe staple with your favorite skinnies or even toss it over a maxi dress for a simple, pulled together look in a hurry.

THE BELOVED MAXI DRESS

There is no such thing as too much of a good thing. This midnight maxi is incredibly versatile, the racerback style gives it a sexy update.

A few items from H&M to add some fun and functionality to my summer wardrobe

A few more fun additions for summer:

Just picture this lace tank paired over the top of the racerback maxi!
Some fresh new tees for summer, this striped one with the tie in the back is darling!
Striped wedges, simple gold bracelet and a fun new phone case for just $6!
This pair of gold cuff bracelets is coming home with me! They’ll look great with any long summer dress
The heel on those sandals is fantastic!
I’m a sucker for a striped tote, but appreciate a leather bag too. This one is the best of both worlds.

New H&M store opening in San Antonio, TX this week!!!

This post is brought to you in anticipation of the new H&M store opening up in San Antonio this week!! I used to live in H&M clothing when we were in Germany and haven’t shopped there since I’ve had kids. I don’t usually spend much money on myself, but I am planning to take a few bags of outgrown clothes to their grand opening event and take advantage of the sales and discounts. I love that they are adding a recycling component and taking a more sustainable approach to fashion, they currently have about 100 items available online made with organic cotton or through sustainable practices.

If you’re local, come on out to the event. We can stand in line and score some great deals together!
P.S How great does Gisele Bundchen look as the H&M spokesmodel? Now I want those striped pants too … I can see this becoming a problem.

* These links are NOT affiliate links, I just have a sincere love for H&M and helping moms feel more beautiful in their own skin. Disclosure: H&M is giving me a free outfit in exchange for this post, but as you can see I’ll be picking up much more than just that on my own. I LOVE YOU H&M!!!

Must-Have Photo Apps for Instagram

List of great photo apps! I love every single one of these

If you’re like me, you take the majority of your pictures with your phone. And you share them with family and friends over the social network app, Instagram.

You start out just uploading and sharing your favorite photos, but as time goes by you find Instagram is also a great outlet for self-expression and your photos can be edited to create mini works or art. My refrigerator is covered in Instagram magnets!

Sure there are filters built into the app itself, and those will satisfy you for a while. Eventually, you’ll want to personalize your photos just a bit more. Develop a signature style that is unique only to you. Thankfully, there are HUNDREDS of neat photo editing apps out there to help you do just that.

You could spend hours editing photographs on your phone … and make some truly beautiful pieces of digital art, but today I’m going to share 6 apps that will get you in an out of editing mode in a jiffy so you can get back to enjoying your life and the moments worth photographing!

My Must-Have Photo Apps Are:

My favorite photo editing apps, use at least one of these a day

Pic Tap Go

Pic Tap Go ($1.99) is hands down my favorite editing app. Besides the fun names and tons of ready-made filters you can use straight out of the box, you can also control how much of a filter you want to apply to each photo. Layer multiple filters on top of one another for a truly custom effect.

Pic-Tap-Go is my favorite photo editing app! I love that it learns my style of editing and allows me to save my favorite recipes for fast processing next time

Save your favorite styles as custom “recipes” so you can use them over and over. Once you’ve saved a few, you’ll have a one of a kind edit to your photos with just a few clicks of a button.

VSCO CAM


When I first stumbled onto the #VSCOCAM hashtag on Instagram I thought it was something only professional photographers could use. VSCO CAM (FREE) creates photos that look as close to actual film photograph as I have seen. The power of professional photo edits right at your fingertips.

Note: This app stopped working on my phone some time ago and I learned to live without it, after researching for this post I see why, They have done some MAJOR updating and it is basically a whole new app. I can’t wait to download and fall in love all over again.

P.S. I could get lost and live forever inside of VSCO Grid.

Afterlight

If Instagram and VSCO CAM got together and had a baby, it would be Afterlight (.99). Filters familiar to those you use in Instagram, plus frame and texture capability so you can crop photos into hearts, letters, stars and much more. Lots of fun to play with.

OVER

OVER is my favorite app for adding text to photos

There are a lot of apps out there that will let you add text to your photos. None of them are as sharp as OVER ($1.99).

PicFrame

Like OVER, there are many apps that will let you child collages. What makes PicFrame (.99) so great, you can add video inside your collages! A dream for those who love to scrapbook and a handy way to share personal updates with family and friends.

Waterlogue

I read in a review for Waterlogue ($2.99) recently, it was “The app you never knew you wanted” and I wholeheartedly concur. Be amazed as the app paints your photos right before your eyes just like a watercolor painting. The detail is uncanny and there are several options to choose from to create just the look you want. Matter of fact … I bet Mom would love a painting for Mother’s Day!

A Great Series of Simple Photography Tips for Everyday ParentsThis post is part of a series of smart phone photography tips I have created for Melissa & Doug. While not an exhaustive list of apps, I think these are particularly well-suited for moms trying to capture childhood on their smart phone.

For more great tips on all things Instagram, be sure to follow these Pinterest Boards, Insta-Love and Capturing Childhood.
Follow Stacy of KSW’s board Insta-love on Pinterest.



Kids Rooms & Things on the Brain

Cute ideas for kids rooms and things spotted on KSW

Spring has not yet sprung.

But that isn’t stopping the tinges of spring fever I feel coming on. I’ve got kids rooms, and home decorating projects and bright colors on the brain … if you can’t tell.

We are moving closer to the day when Sweet will move into a room of her own (tear). I’ve been planning that room in my head for years!, but I can’t hep falling in love with the graphic wall trend. As much as I love this candy colored room, I know little miss would never go for it. She’d much rather doing something bold like this.

I’d love to do a black & white room for the boys. They live and breathe all things legos and Star Wars right now anyway, and how amazing would it be to have a giant moon in your room you could doodle all over? Mr. Printables does it again.

I’ve got some big plans on how we can best utilize their space, look for more on those projects coming soon, but first … this gorgeous unicorn is blowing my mind. Can you believe she made that using just 4 ingredients? Count them – carrots, pear, garbanzo beans, and raisins. Amazing! I will never be that clever.

Speaking of clever things … how about some Ana & Elsa Frozen dolls made out of perler beads? Pretty awesome right? I think this will be our next birthday gift for a friend. Get the full how to on Spoonful, then check out my pal Michelle of MollyMoo who comes up with incredible ideas like this on the regular.

I’d stay and chat longer … but I am eyeballs deep in taxes. Thanks for sharing this much needed visual break with me.

Daily deals for moms, babies and kids

Have you ever shopped Zulily before?

Pictured Here: Lima Bean Kids / Nui Organics / Kricket Boys

I super puffy heart them and I bet you do too. If you aren’t familiar with them yet, they are an online store for moms and kids running daily deals at discount prices.

I get an email from them each morning filled with deals on great brands I have come to know and love through their site. The sales go quickly, each one last 3 days and often times products sell out quickly but I have learned to make Zulily really work for me.

When I find a brand I love and know I would like to purchase from again, or at least check out their latest products, I heart that brand on the Zulily site and they alert me the day before they go on sale again. If something I really wanted sells out before I have a chance to grab it, I set up an email alert for them to notify me when the product comes back in stock again.

Many brands go on sale quite frequently, so I never worry if I miss something the first time around.

Asics Kids / Ositos Shoes / Krickets Girls / DC / Save the Day

I use Zulily to stock up on quality school clothes, outerwear, shoes and pajamas for my kids.

I love their funky, colorful boutique fashions for Sweet. They often carry cool skateboard styles for Happy, and Little loves their graphic and super hero tees and jammies. I can often find cute sneakers for all the kids for less than $10!! <- I can’t even do that at Payless. And for a little bit more, I can even get a name brand shoe.

Zulily is my go-to place for all dress up clothes and costumes. We have quite the one of a kind collection and 90% of it came from their site. This week I am adding that shiny wizards cloak and hat. We already have the super hero mask, cuffs and cape shown here, but I think we might need a girl Captain America in our mix because that shiny silver mask is just too cute.

Insider Tip: Fabulous tutus like these and shiny capes go on sale all the time. These make the perfect gift for every girl and boy

Zulily also offers some wonderful deals on toys. We have used them to play Santa purchasing everything from cardboard playhouses, to Melissa & Doug toys, to wooden balance bikes.

They really are my favorite online store.

Here’s a sampling of the goodness I found on there today:

Teal Whitney Jumper (Bright Days) / Orange Cap Sleeve Dress (Bright Days) / Fizzy Soda Tee (The Good Ones) / Road Trip Hoodie (The Good Ones) / Light Blue Mystique Sneakers (Kick-Start)

See what I mean? Head on over and see what you can find today

Disclosure: Zulily is offering me store credit in exchange for telling you a few things I love about their site. It’s a natural fit since we really do love the site and order from there several times a month. Let’s hope this is the first of many chances for KSW to work with Zulily!

New Years Eve in my mind

ideas for New Years Eve

It’s 6pm on New Years Eve and the party at our house is in full swing. In my mind’s eye, it looks just like this. Elegant and sparkly, kid-friendly and lots and lots of fun.

In reality, we’re lying on a bed of pillows on the floor watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in our sweatpants.

I wanted more for all of us. Something prettier than this, but we’ve been knee deep in house projects for the last few days and truth be told we’re all a little tuckered out. Tonight, we’ll relish in each other’s company, cuddle a lot, eat popcorn and chase each other in the dark with glow sticks, it will be equally wonderful in our own little way.

I’ll file these lovely projects aways for another fun family night.

Family Friendly New Years Ideas:
- New Years Eve Party Hats
- Glitter Fun Paint
- DIY Glitter Wine Glasses
- New Years Wishing Wands

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and feeling blessed you keep coming back to share your time with me. Looking forward to lots of fun new happenings in 2013.
……
New Years Eve Wear for Mom & Daughter found here
Gillian Dress (SOLD OUT) /Sparkle Skirt / Gold MaryJanes

Is it that time already? Holiday Gift Guide time

I still feel like I’m barely over September, but here it is November nonetheless. One of my favorite parts of prepping for the holidays is helping others find the perfect gift … it sort of goes hand in hand with my Pinterest obsession.

This year I am teaming up with Zina of Let’s Lasso the Moon and Tiffany of Peanut Blossom to bring you some of the best holiday gift guides you will find on the web! I’m kicking my segment off with some fun & funky finds for everyone on your list.
2012 Holiday Gift Guide

1. Striped Top With Bow “Suspenders”

Like this adorable top, while available for purchase in the UK, would make one very awesome DIY project! A budget friendly tee and some contrasting ribbon is all it takes to make this statement piece.

2. Colorblock Rusana

Coldwater Creek isn’t my normal go-to choice for clothing, but this colorblock wrap is just the right amount of cozy. Picture it outdoors on a crisp day with jeans and boots and you’ll see why I’m so sweet on it.

3. Driftwood Windchimes

A colorful addition to your porch or patio, these driftwood windchimes would make a great gift for almost anyone on your list and at $25 they are easy on the budget too!

4. Gizmon iPhone case

The gadget lover in me really wants to try this funky, retro iPhone case.

5. Baby’s First Keepsake Blanket

And this knitted chevron blanket needs to find its way into my life stat … that or I need to find a baby quick to gift this to … good thing I already have 3 in mind!

There will be plenty more gift guides coming your way between now and Christmas time. Do you have someone on your list who always leaves you stumped on what to give? Or do you just need a few ideas for your little one? Let me help, send me an email or leave a comment describing what you need and I’ll be happy to try and solve that problem for you. We have enough going on this time of year without having to stress out about finding “that perfect gift” for everyone.

Disclosure: Some links contain affiliate links

Back to School Shopping

School shopping – One of my favorite past times since … well – ever! Still this year I’m a bit older and a bit wiser and little bit less eager to hand over my cash for things like paper, socks and shoes. Lucky for me, I like a great bargain and a good deal almost as much as I like shopping.

Here’s how I saved while stocking up this year:

1) I Cleaned out my kids closets.

Before we even thought about shopping this year we gave our closets a total overhaul. I handed down items that could move from one brother to another, held on to sentimental pieces I am hoping to turn in to a handmade quilt and washed and sorted the rest to take to local consignment shops.

I made almost $100 with a trunk full of too small clothes and still had 2 large boxes to sell elsewhere or donate to kids who really need them.

Amount Saved – Over $100

2) I Bought Used.

With my cash from cleaning out the closets in hand, I scoured the same consignment shop racking up like-new polos for school, swim shorts my boys can wear here in Texas year round and nice jeans for my daughter I never would have paid full price for. By purchasing the same day I sold, my items were tax free too – saving me another 8%!

Amount Saved – Approx. $130

3) I Only Buy Kids Stuff on Sale.

I’m not sure I have ever paid full price for an item for my kids. Seriously, some times they ask more than I am willing to pay for my own clothes! It kills me to think of paying so much for such a tiny piece of fabric. I buy clothes on sale, during buy one, get one 1/2 off or other promos, with reward points and on store credit as often as I can. Military appreciation days and shopping at the Base or Post Exchange for brand name shoes are a personal money saving favorite of mine. I scored the Nikes in this photo for $25 from our local PX, that’s the most I ever pay for my kids shoes. The fun purple sneakers for my daughter were $17 on sale at Target last week.

Amount Saved – $200

4) Stock Up All Year

No one says you have to buy all your back to school items in July & August. Look for great deals in stores and online all year long. Even scour flea markets and thrift shops for barely used back packs and binders and things. I bought my daughter’s Hello Kitty lunch box, exactly as pictured 2 for $10 last year on sale at my local grocery store. My youngest got the Spider Man lunch bag I pack for us when we’re on the go.

I found the cutest colored socks ever, almost like the ones in this photo on sale at Walmart yesterday for $4. She has enough rainbow socks for 2 weeks of school for less than $10. This may not sound like a huge saving, but this little one is all about the crazy colored socks and the smile on her face when she saw them made them worth the purchase. If your little girl likes cool socks too, you can often find them in the $1 aisle at Target.

Amount Saved – $50

5) Jump on a Great Deal When You See It

I know I just told you I only buy things for my kids when they are on sale … but with this purchase, I didnt have to wait. We started looking for a nice, quality back pack for my son months ago. I wanted something built to last and something he wouldn’t grow tired of or be embarrassed of later. I thought I had settled on a sturdy lifetime guarantee Lands End backpack, but when we found this option at Target for just $10 and it was solidly constructed – I knew we had our winner. We plan to jazz it up a bit for him with some angry bird keychains on the zippers.

This step also covers all the incredible back to school supplies sales. Crayons for $.25 – check, Markers for $.50, check, folders for $.05, you betcha! School supply shopping is truly my favorite part of this season. We stock up our homeschool and writing center too. This year, I even grabbed these great deals on tax free weekend so I saved even more!

Amount Saved – $35

6) Take advantage of your rewards

I picked up both the dresses you see here thanks to gift cards from Target and reward points from Old Navy for less than $10. You can still find the Purple here and Blue Polka Dots here.

Amount Saved – $15 (this month)

So there you have it, that’s how I saved more than I spent on back to school shopping — we saved more than $525 this year!!

Have a tip of your own? Share it with us in the comments section so we can all save a little more. We’ll thank you big time come holiday shopping season.

Don’t miss the rest of our Back to School posts this year, join me on Facebook or get plenty of lunch ideas sent straight to your inbox.

Style for a Steal …

We’ve been slowly creating a space for Sweet in her corner of their shared bedroom. Two boys and one girl in one small room makes for a space a little too crowded with sports and dinosaur posters for my artsy girl. I really wanted her to have one area that she could tell right away, just from looking, truly belonged to her.

It’s not quite ready and I wasn’t planning to show it to y’all just yet … but a peek at One Kings Lane tonight and I knew I had to share at least this one part with you now.

memo boards in kids rooms

I picked up three of these Waverly Memo Boards at Kirkland’s last week for around $10 a piece. I debated the cost for quite awhile, but when I told the shopkeeper I wanted to use them to make a headboard for my daughter’s daybed she assured me a $30 headboard was quite a steal. I took her word for it and purchased the boards, still I was feeling a little guilty about the splurge, until tonight …

When I spotted this Bold Graphic Storage Ottoman on One Kings Lane for over $200!! The print is identical to her new headboard and I have to say, I’m loving my $30 impact in this space compared to this much more expensive version.

Bold Graphic Storage Ottoman - $229 on One Kings Lane

her art wall is slowly ... but surely, coming along :)

What do you think — Score, right?