When I was filling out Elle's application for pre-school it asked, "What chores and responsibilities does your child have at home?" She was three at the time, and I remember thinking to myself, "Are kids even supposed to have chores at three years old?" 

Turns out that I was a little late to the party when it came to instilingl small amounts of independence in her. With Elle being my first and only child for three years, I often would put her clothes on, buckle her seat, put the dishes in the sink for her simply because it was faster and I didn't mind. What I didn't realize is that those small things were things she could do with me, and that allowing her to do them (though it took longer) was a great way to help her prepare for school.

With my second child, Levi, I had an opportunity to learn from that mistake and start introducing a bit more independence early on. As part of the Real Mom Series, I thought I would share the responsibilities and chores Levi and Elle have to give other moms age appropriate ideas of how to incorporate them into their lives.

LEVI - 2 yrs old
- Puts plate in the sink
- Puts dirty laundry in the laundry room
- Helps put toys away

ELLE - 5 yrs old
- Picks out her clothes for school
- Puts on her own clothes and shoes
- Puts dirty clothes in the laundry basket
- Sets her place setting
- Puts dirty dishes in sink
- Brushes her teeth
- Picks up her toys and room
- Stays in bed until 6:30am


We don't have any kind of reward system for doing these things. Of course, verbal appreciation and celebrating how they show independence is involved, but we didn't want to implement a reward system for age appropriate expectations. However, when they go above and beyond what they are expected to do we definitely reward that. 

I'd love to hear other ways you incorporate responsibilities and chores. Please share in the comments, and be sure to check out how these other moms handle responsibilities with their kids: The Effortless Chic, Hey Mama Co., The Life Styled, Design Addict, Design for Mankind

Back to School Fashion for Kids

This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. I received the included back to school essentials and clothes as compensation.

I blinked and summer was over. “Where has the time gone,” said every parent ever when August rolls around. It always goes by so fast, and then you find yourself scrambling to get all of their school essentials taken care of in a weekend. At least that’s what happens to me. Sticking to one store to get what Levi and Elle needs for back to school clothes simplifies life, and I need simple right now. II love going to Kohl’s because they always have cute clothes at great prices.

Elle is really into skirts these days, and Kohl’s has a variety of cotton, machine-washable skirts with shorts underneath. I love these skirts because she can play and be modest at the same time. With elle the more sparkle the happier she is, so I found her skirts with gold glitter on it in neutral beige and gray with graphic t-s to mix and match.

$7 t-shirts are a steal! We made out like bandits. We’re going to go back to Kohl’s to get more with my Kohl’s cash that I earned.

I also got her My Little Pony Socks and some zip-up ankle boots. She particularly loved that they had a “high heel” and some glitter on them. Ha-ha! Anything to make her smile and keep her feet happy is fine by me.

Boy clothes have come a long way. It used to be like an Easter egg hunt to find cute boy clothes, but Kohl’s has them everywhere. I love that all I have to think about are t-shirts and pants for Levi. I found some stretch denim and khaki joggers with a bunch of cotton, graphic t-shirts and he is set for the school year.

I also got Levi new shoes, and I fell in love with these gray ones by Carter’s with velcro because they can go with any outfit and they are ones he can start learning to put on himself. Although, I must say he is a master at taking them off (le sigh). Maybe it’s because he wants to stare at his new Paw Patrol socks and tell me the name of dog. Either way, it’s cuteness all around.

If you’re feeling the back to school pressure and your mind and wallet need some peace, be sure to shop between August 4th and August 20th at Kohl’s. You can get $10 of $50 you spend on back to school clothes. Just use promo code BTS10 if you shop online, and that includes kid’s clothes, junior clothes, young men’s clothes, footwear, Juniors’ accessories, and character backpack purchases. You can thank me later. Also, Kohl's friend and family sale will be happening August 17th-20th and you get a whole 20% off with the code SAVER.

My blog may contain links to other websites. These affiliate links are not associated with Kohl's. I’m not responsible for privacy policies of other websites. When you click on a link your information may be collected by those websites so I encourage you to read their privacy policies.

Photos by Rennai Hoefer

A New Season

New seasons bring new weather, new smells, new textures, new feelings and new experiences. Fall is the season I welcome the most because it means it's ushering in a season of beauty here in Arizona. It's kind of like what spring feels like for the rest of the United States. Fall here is when we no longer sweat and never have to wear jackets. It's the season where we can start being outside for the next six months and breathe in the fresh air. Sweaters and boots are the most we put on to bundle up, and we are set. I'm excited to share with you a peek at LILLA P. 's fall arrivals because their sweaters are all I will need this year.

I raved about LILLA P. this past spring as being an amazing company for basics. Their fall line doesn't disappoint with basics like stylish jogger pants, long-sleeve t's, and sweaters. However, I really love their fall collection this year because there are hints of fashion trends tastefully executed among the timeless styles. 

For example, this loose knit wine colored sweater is simple, but the cut-out shoulders incorporate a big fashion trend in an understated way. This sweater would sell just fine without the cut-outs, but I'm glad they are there because it brings some femininity to the top. 

Denim skirts are going to be huge this fall. I love that LILLA P. made a chambray flutter skirt as a nod to the trend, but added femininity to the fall staple with a flutter design. This skirt is the perfect length (I'm 5'7"). I am wearing a medium, and I'm a size 4. 

Be sure to check out the rest of LILLA P's beautiful fall collection for those seasonal staples that carefully balance classic and trendy. They won't disappoint. 

Photos by Rennai Hoefer; product given as payment.

Best Cleansers

The amount of facial cleansers I have tried over the years has to be in the hundreds. When I was a teenager I was looking for the magic cure for acne, and now as a 33 year old woman I'm looking for the fountain of youth. Okay, maybe it's not time for that quite yet, but I'm definitely looking for a cleanser to be gentle to my skin, take off the makeup and brighten my skin's appearance. 

In my recent review of Dermalogica, I shared I have started on a quest to take better care of my skin. I tried Rodan + Fields as well, and even though I found satisfaction in them both, I couldn't help, but wonder would I still like something better? So, I tried out a few more. Here are my thoughts:

Pharmagel Hydra-Cleanse: This is a very gentle cleanser that takes off your makeup extremely well. My skin really liked this product. My only beef with this product is the smell. It has an old lady smell to it, but I would buy it again regardless because I liked it so much.

Pharmagel Ezyme Ex-cell: This daily scrub was less abrasive than Rodan + Fields, but, unfortunately, it still was too harsh for my sensitive skin. I would rather use the Dermalogica exfoliant over this one.

Skin Fix Foaming Oil Cleanser - I love this gentle cleanser on my skin. It smells great and makes my skin feel soft afterwards, but the only problem is that because it's oil based you can't use it with lash extensions. If I decide to get mine off I will definitely use this. Plus, it's accessible at Target.

Skin Fix Gentle Foaming Clay Cleanser - This definitely exfoliated my skin in a more gentle way. I can't say I saw a huge difference, but I think alternating between the oil cleanser and this cleanser is a great daily beauty routine for me. This is probably what I will stick with for now because it's affordable and accessible. 

CLE Melting Cleanser - This cleanser has the best smell! It's so fresh and clean. It definitely does a great job removing makeup. The gentle non-foam formula is good for sensitive skin. The only downside is that is that it's not accessible as grabbing it at Target. My skin also felt so clean it had that rubbery feeling. I would recommend applying a strong moisturizer afterwards. 

Photos by Rennai Hoefer; product was given for review.

Modern Nursery Decor From Walmart

This post is sponsored by Walmart and contains affiliate links. 

Designing a nursery is like creating a room for a surprise guest and yourself at the same time. Often times I find myself a bit more experimental with decor in a nursery space because you don't have to worry about rooms flowing together and the durability of furniture (minus the crib). I focus on whether the space will be an enjoyable spot for mom and baby to bond and sleep. I partnered with Walmart to share with you a modern nursery design using some of their beautiful and affordable products. 

We bought our crib from Walmart five years ago. It has hosted countless dreams of both our kiddos and provided safety at the same time. If I were to select a new crib for my little ones I would pick this light wood Babyletto Gelato 4-in-1 Convertible Crib. Paired with this bold blue and white rug creates a beautiful contrast that's gender neutral as well. 

Black and white will never go out of style. It's modern and classic, and this black and white crib bedding by Babyletto, with neutral, functional decor items such as storage baskets, wood blocks, sheepskin pillows and a macrame planter creates a simple and functional space for mom and baby.

Every baby room needs a rocker, and I loved that I saw such an iconic design on If I saw this adorable sheep sitting in it I definitely would have to take a load off. I use my rocker every day with Levi, and he is two years old next month. I think finding the right chair for your space is a necessity. Walmart has a great selection. 

Grab all of the items below, and be sure to check out for other decor items for your baby.