The Story of Diva and Flea Paris Prize Pack

Bestselling, award-winning author and illustrator Mo Willems needs no introduction around these parts. We got a chance to hear him read his latest Elephant and Piggie book in Brooklyn earlier this year (where he wrote his infamous Pigeon and Knufflebunny series) and have become even bigger fans if that’s possible. Now Mo has teamed up with award winning illustrator Tony DiterLizzi to bring you his latest book, The Story of Diva and Flea, about a scrappy little dog and street smart alley cat who become unlikely friends on the streets of Paris.

Mo Willems was living in Paris when he was inspired to write this story about a dog named Diva that lived in his apartment building and her friend the alley cat. When he couldn’t capture the illustrations just the way he wanted them, he had one artist in mind who could — Tony Diterlizzi. Tony is a bestselling author and illustrator who co-created The Spiderwick Chronicles, won a Caldecott for illustrating The Spider & The Fly, and even teamed up with Lucasfilm last year for a retelling of the original Star Wars trilogy in picture book form. Needless to say, he’s one talented dude.

To celebrate the launch of The Story of Diva and Flea on October 13th, we’re giving away a Paris themed prize pack with a copy of the book and this crystal Eiffel Tower lamp from Pottery Barn Kids to one lucky winner! You have multiple ways to enter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you’d like to learn more about how Mo and Tony came to collaborate on this project, this video is a really interesting glimpse!

diva and flea

Apple Blackberry Pie


Fall is one of my favorite times of year. I love to bake pies and this one I adapted from its original version I found five years ago has become a fall favorite in our home. Unlike the original recipe which calls for assorted apples, I prefer Gala apples which give the pie a more natural sweet taste that balances the tart blackberries. The sweet and tart is a really good mix for a light yummy dessert. It’s really great for Thanksgiving also — I make it with a homemade crust and yum! I usually make the crust the day before and chill it in the fridge overnight I like to break up the baking over a few days so that it’s easier for the girls to help me. Trying to make a home made crust and pie filling and put it all together is a little more complicated all in one baking session vs having the crust ready ahead of time. The homemade crust is really a necessity though; it makes all the difference to how the pie turns out as a whole.

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Full Coverage Swimming Suits for Mom

Most of you probably aren’t in the market for a swimming suit right now, but there are some great end of season sales going on at stores like J Crew if you want to plan ahead for next summer. Since we’re moving to a tropical destination where the temperatures average 85 degrees and humid year round, I’ve been stocking up on swimming suits and rashguards for our entire family. I got Charlie’s swimming trunks and rashguards at Stella Cove, Olive’s at Beach & Bandits and Billabong, Mr. Bee’s at J Crew, and mine at Kortni Jeane and Rey Swimwear. I’ve been able to find some really cute full coverage one and two piece swimming suits!

Row 1: Rey Swimwear 1, 2, 3  |  Row 2: Kortni Jeane 1, 2, 3  |  Row 3: Albion Fit  1, 2, 3  |  Row 4: Modcloth 1, 2,  3 |  Row 5: Anthropologie 1, 2, 3  |  Row 6: J Crew 1, 2, 3

1) Rey Swimwear – I bought the first swimming suit in the guide above, the Ann in Seaspray. They have beautiful vintage inspired designs, and it was hard to pick just one! They also carry adorable girls’ swimming suits too.

2) Kortni Jeane focuses on modest swimwear and offers mix and match tops and bottoms. The peplum details do a great job of hiding your tummy, and I really appreciate the lining and removable bust pads which swimming suits often lack. I wanted to buy one for Olive too, but they were sold out of all the colors I wanted.

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My postpartum experience

When I was pregnant, I would talk to moms about their experiences with labor and delivery. What I didn’t ask about was their postpartum experience. The recovery from delivering a baby was probably more of a shock to me than actually delivering the baby.  I do have to say that the labor and delivery for both my girls were pretty smooth. Still, I think the postpartum experience is not talked about enough and can often come as a surprise to some new moms. I remember telling all my friends who didn’t have a baby yet all the details of my postpartum because I felt like it was this well kept secret that I thought my friends should know about. Hopefully sharing this info will better prepare you for what to expect because I’m laying it all out in the open for you!

Once Lil’ Pizza was out, the lower half of my body was still pretty numb from the epidural so I was still feeling pretty good, and of course focused on holding my little miracle. I didn’t really move around much so I don’t remember much pain while in the hospital.  The nurses were also giving me pain meds around the clock so that I was feeling minimal discomfort. The thing that I remember most about my time in the hospital were the times I had to go to the bathroom. The nurse assisted me the first few times I went to the bathroom since the effects of the epidural were still wearing off. The nurse handed me this mesh underwear and went through the steps of what I needed to put inside this underwear. My OB almost recited it like a song, “peach pad, ice, tucks tucks tucks, foam and spray.”

Let me break it down for you. First, you lay this huge pad on the mesh underwear (the hospital’s pads were peach colored). Then you stick a long skinny ice pack on top of the pad. After that, you spread out some Tucks pads, spray some Epifoam (a numbing foam) and then spray yourself down there with Dermoplast (a numbing spray). The “underwear” is pretty heavy but it wasn’t too bothersome because I was sitting in the hospital bed most of the time. Every time I used the bathroom, I would go through the whole process and make a new underwear filled with all the goodies. Oh and remember, you are also bleeding down there, and will continue to bleed for about a month or so. As annoying as it was to make this every time, I almost became dependent on it because it relieved any discomfort I was feeling. I think the nursing assistant got annoyed that I kept asking for more ice packs, but I wasn’t going to skimp on the ice packs because it definitely helped.

Going #1, #2, passing gas, coughing, or laughing will all make you feel uncomfortable. I made sure to take the Colace (stool softeners) as long as they were offering it to me, which definitely helped. Incontinence is so embarrassing but totally normal. Sometimes I would start peeing just before I sat on the toilet.

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Mildly Messy Texture Dough Trio

Mildly Messy Texture Dough Recipes

Do your kids enjoy exploring new textures? Or maybe you have a child who resists textures, but who needs to get a little more comfortable with them? These three play dough recipes are a great way for them to start feeling (and smelling!) new things.

They will leave hands a little messier than regular play dough, but that’s part of the experience.

Each of these doughs are easy to put together because there’s no cooking involved. Because of the ingredients and how they come together, they aren’t long-lasting doughs. They’re small batches though, so plan on playing with them for a couple days and then tossing them. This also makes them great for adding even more texture. But more on that later.

Let’s make some dough!

Coffee Dough Ingredients

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What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

I wrote this checklist of what to pack in your hospital bag 6 weeks before Olive’s due date, but because she was born 5 weeks early I never got a chance to pack one. Now that I’ve had two kids with two different types of births, I thought I’d share what I wish I had brought with me. With Charlie I had an unplanned c-section and a 4-day stay in a private room. With Olive I had an unplanned VBAC and a 2-day stay in a shared room (plus Olive stayed an extra 5 days after I was discharged).

Ultimately even if you don’t have any of these things — like I didn’t with Olive — your SO can easily run to a 24 hour drugstore or the hospital pharmacy to get anything you need, so I don’t think you have to worry too much about having everything you need. That said if I were having a hypothetical third baby, this is what I would pack:

What-to-Pack-in-Your-Hospital-Bag (1)

1) birth plan, insurance card, photo id – I never made a birth plan, but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway because neither of my births went according to plan! Charlie ended up a c-section after 3 hours of pushing, and Olive ended up a VBAC even though she was a scheduled c-section.

2) toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. My hospital actually gave out nice toiletry bags with all the essentials. That first shower feels like absolute heaven!

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Fingerpainting Without the Mess Taken to the Next Level

I love making things. I really always have. My Mom used to skip the toys and dolls and just bring a few crayons and a tiny notepad in her purse because she knew that they could keep me entertained and happy for hours.When I dreamed about becoming a mom, crafting was one of the things that often popped up in my mind. I purchased Lil’ Tea Cup crayons before she was even born and I already have some put away for Lil’ Tea Pot which are lovingly stored for the day when he stops chewing on everything.

Today I wanted to share with you a simple, Pinterest inspired craft – taken one step further. I wanted something that was fun and quick for a toddler that allowed them to be independent without eating the medium of choice and getting covered in mess. I am all for making messes but sometimes we just like to keep things tidy too, right Moms!?crafting with Norah3

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