Coco's Blog

Thursday, 04 November 2010 19:56

The Sniffle Duffle Kit

Sniffle DuffleWith cold season in full swing at our house the past few weeks, I was particularly excited to come across a wonderful product – the Sniffle Duffle Kit. This kit was created by a mom tired of cold germs spreading around in her home and started Zubie’s Village.  The Sniffle Duffle Kit is perfect for my kids and I am certain that you too will find it helpful for your family and even yourself.

The Sniffle Duffle Kit helps keep germs from spreading from one person to another. How? Well, it’s a small compact sack that stores tissue! This sack comes in a variety of patterns and can hang on a belt loop, backpack, in the car, your purse or baby's diaper bag. What a great idea! One of the best features is the little elastic pouch on the back where you can store used tissues. The kit also includes an alcohol free, non-toxic pen hand cleanser and an organic lip & face balm to help prevent and comfort irritated skin associated with the sniffles.

Zubie’s Village not only came up with a great product, but we love what you won’t find in their products - PARABENS, PHTHALATES, ARTIFICIAL FRAGRANCE, ARTIFICIAL COLORANTS, SULFATES, RETINOLS, PETROCHEMICALS, ALCOHOL, TRICLOSAN.

I feel like I’m always reminding my children to wash their hands or blow their nose all the time, especially when colds are going around our place. The Sniffle Duffle is definitely one way to keep cold & flu germs from spreading to the rest of your family. Great for allergies too!

Have you used the Sniffle Duffle? Let us know what you think! Haven't tried it?  Visit our Facebook page, "Like Us" and leave us your feedback in the "Giveaway: Sniffle Duffle" post for a chance to win one of two Sniffle Duffle Kits.  The contest closes on Tuesday November 9, 2010 at 12 p.m. EST.

A few notes:

  • This is not a paid advertisement.
  • This giveaway is only open to residents of Canada and the US.
  • 2 winners will be randomly selected.
  • I will notify the winner on Tuesday November 9, 2010 via Facebook (please respond within 48 hours). You can email us your contact information to ensure confidentiality.
Monday, 01 November 2010 14:54

Remembering Gratefulness

Fall Leaves

We all have those days when everything seems to go wrong. The last 2 weeks have been full of many such moments around our house.

My 3 kids have been sick, on and off, with colds and sinus infections….and my cold turned into a horrible sinus/bronchial infection last week. To top it off, my husband has been extremely busy with his campaign for political office, so I have been working solo on many days around the house. Needless to say, the opportunities to complain about pretty much everything have been plentiful, and I have definitely done my share of doing so!

This morning, however, I was reminded of how trivial some of those complaints have been. This morning I learned about a local mom who has truly struggled the past two weeks, whose preschooler has been fighting liver cancer and lost his tough fight early this morning. I can only imagine how much this family is suffering, how much they have gone through the past 2 weeks. I feel a bit ashamed for my little problems and my whining. Unfortunately, for me, sometimes it takes a hard reminder to be grateful for what is going great in my life.

With the craziness of Halloween behind, I always feel that I can look forward to the next season. I love everything about it – the smells, the sounds, the hope, but especially the thanksgiving and faith.  I pray for this family that is hurting and so that I may learn to appreciate the good around me, even on sick days.


Sunday, 07 October 2012 04:01

Halloween Memories

Halloween trick-or-treaters

Halloween is just around the corner  and my kids are excited!  We moved from a neighborhood with a few trick-or-treaters to a very family friendly area where (we hear from neighbors) we have lots of kids.  I have to admit that my lack of Halloween decorations is a little embarrassing but  I am doing a little more each year :)

I enjoy getting the kids dressed up and going out trick-or-treating.  It's an easy way for me to relive being a kid!  I have funny memories of celebrating Halloween when I was growing up. First, my mom made it a point to never spend too much money on the day. She always said that Halloween was once a year and costumes were too expensive, so my brother and sisters and I learned early on to come up with our own homemade costumes on most years. My younger sister was a witch on many many occasions because it was such an easy costume to make. Often the youngest kid’s face was transformed into a cute lion or bunny face with an application of my mom’s makeup.  Case in point - see picture below - I am not sure what my younger brother and sister were supposed to be this Halloween!Halloween Kids

I remember that the dicey Chicago weather at the end of October somehow always played a factor in our trick-or-treating efforts.  It seemed that it was always cold or raining.   Then there were the teenagers that went out later in the evening and egged the whole neighborhood (including trick-or-treaters) that were out too late.

The most prominent Halloween memory?  It’s a tie….I must have been 4 or 5 years olds when my mom made my sister and I masks out of a cardboard box (from the new bathroom carpet set)!   It was cold that day, so my mom and dad made my sister and I get into the car and they told us to roar loudly out of the window! That still makes me laugh, what were they thinking?!   And then there was the time that one of our family friends invited us to go trick-or-treating in a Chicago suburb.  That was exciting because we didn’t really know anyone who lived outside the inner city, so to go to the suburbs was a big deal.  I was more excited about being in the suburbs than the trick-or-treating, but the large amount of candy was nice too!

The best part of Halloween as a kid was that my parents always let us fill up on the candy! The day was always exciting, no matter how budget friendly our costumes were or how bad the weather may have been. Hope that you have a fun day too! Secretly, the REAL reason I am excited about Halloween is because the day after my mind can shift to planning Christmas! This week I had to fight the urge to head over to the Holiday aisles that were starting to be stocked and stick to looking through the dwindling Halloween aisles!

Friday, 17 September 2010 16:36

Peep and the Big Wide World

Peep and Big Wide WorldI am always excited to come across quality programming for children, but I am especially happy when the series is also available in Spanish.

Peep and the Big Wide World is an Emmy award-winning series that teaches preschoolers about science through the adventures of Peep, a newly hatched chick, and his two friends Chirp and Quack (a robin and a duck).

My three children (ages 2, 4 and 6) have asked consistently for me to show them the videos from Peep and the Big Wide World since they first watched it 2 weeks ago.  I completely understand why – the 3 main characters engage young learners as they use science to solve problems that they encounter in the process of exploring their urban park home, a place they call the “big wide world.”  The friends learn about scientific concepts by exploring Shadows, Color, Water, Sound, Plants and Ramps.

So yes, my kids love the series, but do I like it?  Yes!  It’s one of the only programs that teaches Spanish bilingual preschoolers about science.  Each half-hour episode contains two animated stories focused on a problem that can to be solved by highlighting specific science or math concepts.  In one of our favorite episodes, All Fall Down, Squeak the Mouse warns Peep that soon the entire sky will fall down.  Peep learns, with the help from a friend, that in the Fall season many things fall – leaves, apples – but not the sky or the sun.   On our last walk around our neighborhood, my children and I talked about the approaching Fall season and its signs – leaves falling, the cool breeze in the air.  My 4 year related the falling leaves to the series and reminded me that the sky won't fall down!

Each episode is followed by two live-action segments of real kids exploring science and math in everyday places, which can be easily reproduced at home (that’s a BIG plus for our homeschooling moms!).  What science is in our kitchen?  Can we use science to solve a problem at home?  Science is made fun and easy to understand for curious little explorers.

The series in entertaining and child friendly, little ones don’t really know they are learning by watching. It doesn’t feel “scientific,” but rather the show draws you in from the beginning with its friendly animation and narrator’s voice – that of comedian and mother of two Joan Cusack.  Her voice is perfect for the series!  I love that children can get excited about science without even realizing it, and the fact that the series is available in Spanish is a big plus for my family!

We also love that the concepts presented in the series are reinforced through a variety of activities. Educational resources, such as their everyday science activities, an assortment of coloring pages, a recommended reading list and fun games are available for free on their website.

Peep airs English and Spanish episodes on public television, but also on V-me (check local listings).  You can find Spanish language clips on their website or on their YouTube channel. DVDs with both English and Spanish audio tracks are also available.  We hope that you check out this innovative children’s series and let us know what you think!

Thursday, 16 September 2010 17:04

Mabel's Labels

Mabel's Labels

As a mom to 3 young kids, I know that kids loose things – quite often! That’s why I was so excited to learn about Mabel’s Labels through a good friend.

We have been using them on so many things around the house – shoes, clothes, sippy cups – you name, and a personalized label from Mabel’s Labels in some of our favorite colors helps us keep track of it.  I was so excited to finish back to school shopping this year because of Mabels’ Labels – all I had to do was “peel and stick” their labels to school supplies – and yes, the school wanted each marker, marker cap, pencil, etc. labeled!  Last year I made the labels on my computer, but this year my job was easy so easy - just peel and stick the super cute and colorful labels!

One of the reasons that we love Mabel’s Labels is because it was started by a group of moms who had a simple goal – to keep their kids from losing their things.  How many hats, gloves, or even shoes have your kids lost?  We can all relate.  We’ve definitely had our share of missing things around the house, but Mabel’s Labels is helping us get things back!  And as practical moms, these moms made sure that their products are durable, dishwasher, microwave and laundry safe – a 10 in my book!   At, we love to support innovative moms who create products that make our lives easier!

Mabel's Labels TagsMabel’s Labels has a variety of products that will help you keep track of your family’s things.  Mabel’s Labels have an extensive variety of products for your labeling needs including clothing labels, household & kitchen labels, bag tags, shoe labels, ID wristbands, personalized stationery products and even allergy alert labels.

I do have my personal favorites…Mabel’s Labels Shoe Tags are simply the best.  Just stick these labels on the inside of a pair of shoes, apply the special seal on top, and no more guess work as to whose shoes belong to whom at the next playdate or birthday party. Tag Mates are great because they let you label clothes on the care label.  My 1st grader accidently left her uniform sweatshirt at school and we got it back right away!  Best of all, the labels are not itchy and I can finally give up on using a marker to label clothes.

Back to School Back Mabel's LabelsMy favorite Mabel’s Labels product is their Ultimate Back to School Combo. This $44 combo pack includes all the durable, waterproof labels needed to keep your kids’ stuff out of the lost and found.  This Combo Pack Includes: 50 Tag Mates™,  40 Skinny-Minis™, 16 Shoe Labels and 2 Teeny Tags™.

I'm now looking forward to receiving my next Mabel's Labels product - the Custom Canister and Spice Lab.  Finally I'll b able to quickly and stylishly organize my pantry!  Once that task is complete, I'll move on to the garage - it's a mess in there and I'm certain that the Custom Bin Labels will come in handy.

NOTE:   This giveaway is now closed, congrats to our two winners - Jessica and Frances!

Have you used Mabel’s Labels products? Let us know what you think! Haven't tried them yet?  Which of their products would you and/or your family most enjoy using?  Visit our Facebook page, "Like Us" and leave us your feedback for a chance to win one of two Ultimate Back to School Combo packs described above!

A few notes:
  • I have tested Mabel’s Labels in our home, this is not a paid advertisement.
  • This giveaway is only open to residents of Canada and the US.
  • 1st two people to leave their feedback will win the giveaway.
  • I will notify the winner on September 16th, 2010 via Facebook (please respond within 48 hours). You can email us your contact information to ensure confidentiality.
  • If you have won one of our giveaways in the month of September you may not win in this one - sorry!
Friday, 10 September 2010 06:02

Let's Dance

Irish and ballet dancers

How should I feel about my daughter wanting to participate in Irish dance at school? I happen to think that Irish dancing is beautiful, so it’s not the actual activity that I’m having a problem with but maybe it’s more the personal cultural aspects around my girls participating in Irish dance.

My parents were both born in Mexico and I grew up watching Mexican folkloric dance. I had always hoped that my children would want to participate in this type of dance as an activity. My daughter has seen both type of dances performed at school functions and church festivals, so I’m a bit torn that she has expressed interest in only Irish dance.

There is that part of me that wants to let her explore her interests and let her do Irish dance, but on the other hand I want to point her in the direction of the beautiful folkloric dances that I grew up watching. I remember being mesmerized when I would see Mexican folkloric dancers perform.  The dresses were so colorful, the dances were so lively and the music was simply beautiful. My husband understands my point of view, but he didn’t grow up with this type of dancing, so it’s not personal to him.

Maybe I’m thinking about this too much?  I also think about what my family and friends will say - will they think I’m not educating my kids about their Latino culture?  One of my friends had a small concern - "Would your daughter fit in?" Did she mean this because my daughter a.  is 1/2 Mexican and 1/2 White or b. doesn't look "Irish" or European?  She meant both.  I've thought about this and the truth is that her school's Irish dance group is surprisingly diverse.

A while back I remember hearing about an Irish dance team called The Keltic Dreams.  The dancers are African American and Latino girls and boys from the Bronx, NY!  It seems that this outlet has been such a positive experience for these young students - they’ve been to Ireland and met the President of the USA!  In the end, that's want I want for my daughters - to be involved in positive activities that build her self esteem, encourage them to work hard and are fun.

Oh, and by the way, my 4-year-old daughter has only expressed interest in ballet, so chances are that this year we’ll be at ballet and Irish dance practices.  I'm willing to give it a try.




Tuesday, 07 September 2010 19:30

Camping Time

CampingThis past Sunday my husband took my 6 and 4-year-old girls camping.  It was their first time doing so and they were so excited, even though it was only in their grandma’s backyard.

We went to grandma’s house in the early evening for dinner.  The girls and their dad had camping food – the dried packaged kind that you add hot water to – they actually seemed to enjoy it.  I, on the other had, enjoyed my mother-in-law's baked chicken!  My husband and his brother set up the massive tent…I took some pictures and off I went with my 2-year-old son.

I’m glad that the girls had such a nice time with their dad.  I picked them all up the next morning and the girls were going on and on about their mini camping trip – they told me about the stories their dad told them, the brownies grandma brought out to them, and how they got a little cold.   Honestly, if my husband Dan didn’t like camping it may not be something the girls would be exposed too.  My family never camped while I was growing up. Camping was one of those things that seemed really cool to me, but it’s just something my family didn’t do.

Dan recently went on a backpacking trip in a national park with a group of friends – he loves this sort of stuff. Last year he and his friends went camping in the snowy mountains.  They had to wake up every hour to remove the snow on the top of their tents so the tents wouldn't collapse!  They keep their food safe in "bear cans." This is fun?  For Dan it is and I suspect for my girls it will become something they may enjoy doing.  Just as much as I love office supply and paper stores of all sizes, my husband loves sporting good stores.  On his last trip to perhaps his favorite store – REI – he took our two girls along and they came home with new sleeping bags.  They were very excited to use them this past weekend!

I’ve heard the girls and Dan talking about a possible beach camping trip sometime soon – who knows, after what the girls have told me, I think I may join them!


Thursday, 26 August 2010 17:53

Making New Mom Friends

To escape the 102 degree weather outside, I took my kids to a favorite place that we used to visit quite often. It’s a large indoor play area, complete with a bounce house, a few pretend kitchen areas and way too much other stuff to list.

My children are now 6, 4 and 2-years-old. We hadn’t been there in about 3 months, but we used to come to this place about 1-2 times per month when I only had my two oldest. I met lots of friends for plenty of playdates here and generally had a good time.

Is it wrong that I feel that I was not as friendly as I could have been to the other moms on this particular trip? Maybe it was the fact that I was keeping an eye on my 2-year-old who insisted on using the bounce house with the older kids. This time I noticed that I was focused on keeping track of my kids, checking my email, and writing (sort of) a blog for the site.  I mean, I remember when I used to want to make friends at this place, or at the park, or other child friendly places.

I wanted to meet other moms who had children in the same age range as mine. Now, I have 3 kids and I feel like I make friends very easily at their schools and their activities. I am always open to new friendships, but maybe I feel like I am not trying as hard to make that 1st move. Is that wrong? I figure that I am more likely to have something in common with the other moms whose kids are already doing what my kids are doing or moms who are involved in activities I enjoy. What do you think? Have you gotten comfortable with your group of mom friends, or are you always open to making new friends and trying new playgroups?


Friday, 13 August 2010 02:38

Me, A Soccer Mom?

Soccer girls

It’s almost official, I am about to become a soccer mom. I don’t have anything against soccer moms, or baseball moms, or hockey moms, etc. Many of my good friends are soccer moms – and yes, they get very excited about their kids games.

Our oldest daughter is 6-years-old and is playing on her first sports team. Honestly, she had no interest whatsoever in soccer until my husband volunteered to be the team coach. Now she asks almost everyday when they will start to practice and she puts on her cleats and black/pink soccer shoes (of course) and shows us her soccer ball “tricks.”

My husband’s siblings all played soccer, so I suppose you can say it runs in the family. As a matter of fact, they were phenomenal soccer players – although Dan didn’t quite inherit the soccer gene!  Anyway, I have joyfully avoided enrolling my kids in sports because of 1. the extra time commitment to our already hectic schedule and 2. I just don’t see myself as a sports mom type. But here I am, getting really anxious to find out my daughter’s uniform color so I can get matching hair bows for the whole team and so I can buy some team spirit stuff. I always laughed at the vehicles in the school parking lot painted in team colors to cheer the kids on game days – now, it doesn’t seem so crazy.  

I am looking forward to what our first season in kids sports involves and how we react to it around our home…my daughter is looking forward to seeing her friends at games and has already told her team coach – her dad – that there is no way she can take the ball away from a friend who is on another team.   I’ll keep you posted throughout the season.

Saturday, 07 August 2010 17:09

Swimming Lessons for Me

Girl on Diving BoardFor the past two weeks my 6 and 4-year-old daughters have been taking swimming lessons through the local park district. My 6-year-old has taken a few lessons over the past summers, so she is very comfortable in the water while this was my 4-year-old’s first lesson.

It was great watching them become more confident each day, but two moments stick out. My 4-year-old told me after the 3rd day in class that she LOVED swimming. This little girl was scared to even go near the water last year and I had been worried that she would not enjoy her swim class this summer. I was fully expecting to have her scream or cry for the first few classes! This just reminded me that she was finally ready...

The other neat moment came when my 6-year-old’s swim instructor asked her to go onto the small diving board….this was her first time ever on it. She looked so nervous, she took very small steps up the few stairs, and walked every so carefully along the board. She stood at the edge for a while, her arms at her side, and finally, she jumped into the water…she was so excited when she got out of the pool! She was ready to do it again and again!

These little moments of accomplishments make me happy. I know, there will be many years when they can do “big” things and I am looking forward to those too, but these little ones too are sweet. I want to always remind myself of that, to tell my kids that their small accomplishments and progress along the way to bigger things are just as important.  Maybe this is because I want to raise confident girls who feel like they can take on the world...or the pool for now!

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