10 Trader Joe's items for busy moms

We know we don't have to convince you of the magic of Trader Joe's. The chocolate-covered anything, the gourmet cheese, the irresistible snacks...they've had us at "hello." But as we've become busy moms, Trader Joe's has taken on even greater meaning for us. The amount of convenience health foods they have is simply unmatched. Here are our favorites!

1. Balsamic glaze. Add it to salads, pizza, sandwiches or pasta to take things to the next level!
2. Butternut squash zig zags. Fun enough to convince your kids to eat their veggies.
3. Chicken apple sausage. For nights when you have no idea what you're going to cook.
4. Tomato basil marinara. Because boiling a little pasta and topping it with this stuff is the easiest meal of the week.
5. Chile lime chicken burgers. These burgers are amazingly delicious, made of totally clean ingredients and so much easier than making your own.
6. Spinach and kale Greek yogurt dip. How else will you get your kids gobbling spinach and kale?
7. Organic brown rice. It's in the frozen section and ready to save you in the times when you forget to turn on the rice cooker (ie, every time)
8. Instant oatmeal. Yummy and ready to be heated in the microwave, without the sugar of Quaker packets.
9. Mirepoix mix. A life-saver for soups and pastas. So worth the money when you can save a solid 10 minutes of chopping time!
10. Chicken cilantro mini wontons. Another easy meal when paired with rice — or the mirepoix mix for the fastest wonton soup of your life!

How much do you pay a babysitter?

Before we became parents, we never knew how much debate could be caused over the question of how much to pay a babysitter. But now we know better. It seems everyone has a strong opinion about how much a babysitter should be paid, and those opinions range from $2 to $25 an hour.

Enter, the babysitting conundrum: if babysitters are in high demand and you would rather pay on the low end of the scale, you risk having the competition take away your go-to, trusted sitter. But if you're paying on the high end while your neighbors are paying much less, you'll feel frustrated every time you for out the cash for date night/girls lunch/momma alone time/dentist appointments.

What's a parent to do with a quandary like this? The absolute best advice we've heard is to consider these questions, set a rate and then communicate that rate to your sitter before they accept the job. That way, expectations are matched for both parties, no one leaves disappointed, and you'll know if really need to be paying more (if the babysitter doesn't accept the job.)

Another great theory we've heard is to pay an hourly rate equivalent to the price of a movie ticket in your area. And if you're stumped on what to pay when you have only one child...or maybe a LOT of kids, try the $5 per child, per hour rule. (So if you have two kids you'll be paying $10 per hour, three kids and you'll pay $15, etc.)

Still thinking through how much you should pay? Here are some other points to consider when setting your rate:

  • Will your babysitter be driving to you or are you picking them up? Pay more for the convenience of a sitter who can drive.
  • Will your babysitter be expected to tidy the house, bathe your kids, make dinner or do any other jobs that can be tough to tackle? Pay more if so, and tip them if they go above and beyond.
  • Will your babysitter simply be keeping the kids alive — a.k.a. sitting with them while they watch a movie? Or do you want them to engage in more meaningful activities? Consider this when setting your rate.
  • How old is your babysitter? Pay less for younger, less experienced sitters and more for older, more experienced ones.
Luckily, the babysitting dilemma seems to get easier the more experience you have with it. You'll learn what babysitters expect, what other parents are paying and what you think is fair. Still, we'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject in the comments below! 

7 new trends to try this fall

Perusing fashion blogs, pinning away on Pinterest, managing a billion online returns and trying on clothes at the mall — all while wrangling kiddos — can be a real buzz kill to our inner fashionista spirits. We need somebody to give us a report on the hottest trends in a simple, digestible list so we can get to tackling our wardrobe shopping for fall.

Hence, we've done all the research for you and now present the best of fall trends! These trends are new, fresh and ready to revive your closet. Read on for our favorites of 2016!

1. Bell sleeve tops. Like you're living in the movie "Ever After" — but it's real life! We are obsessing over the flowy, romantic tops we're seeing this fall. Give us all the voluminous sleeves and peplums!

2. Oversized vests. Vests are a unique layering option for fall and a great way to add interest to an outfit. We've seen some amazing long vests in black, camel and olive that will really pump up your maxi dresses or simple jeans and tee look.

3. Adidas fashion sneakers. Lifestyle tennies have been a trend for a few years now, but Adidas is the latest brand to take the fashion blogger land by storm. Stock up on your favorite pair in fall colors, and praise the heavens that footwear trends are so darn practical!

4. Wide-leg, cropped jeans. After a decade of skin-tight skinnies, denim is naturally reverting to the opposite end of the spectrum with wide-leg silhouettes for fall. We love this funky nod to the 70s and are scurrying to find the perfect pair!

5. Jumpsuits. Like denim, jumpsuits have taken a turn in the wide-leg direction. We love that jumpsuits make getting ready super simple (one piece to put on!) but aren't as fussy as a dress.

6. Statement calf booties. We've seen super short ankle booties around for the past few years. While those are still in style, the hottest new bootie is calf length, and comes in crazy patterns perfect for adding a dash of fun to your outfit.

7. Culottes. One more item to add to the wide-leg pants trend: culottes! They may remind you of your grandma in the 50s, and that's precisely what makes them so glorious. They're retro, fun and funky all at once. 

September Mighty Hero Cohen

Meet Cohen our Mighty hero for September. Did you know that September is Childhood cancer awareness month? Did you know that worldwide a child is diagnosed with cancer every 2 minutes? Childhood cancer is the NUMBER1 cause of death by disease for children under the age of 15 in the United States. Lets come together and GO GOLD for this handsome fighter Cohen and all others fighting this! You can donate to Cohen and his family here www.psiadoreyou.com Every penny of your donation will go to Cohen. Stay Stong buddy. We love you!

Cohen was born on March 2, 2015.  He has an older sister and an older brother who adore him! Cohen has a smile that can light up a room! He is a happy baby who is adored by everyone he meets! 

On Monday,  February 1, 2016 Cohen's parents rushed him to Primary Children's Hospital due to a terrible tummy ache. After some tests, Cohen was sent home with the thought of maybe it was just a bad case of gas. On Friday, February 5, 2016  Cohen was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma. 

Cohen has a huge road to recovery ahead of him. He will be in and out of the hospital He has many test and procedures ahead of him. Countless amounts of medicines. Time off of  work plus driving back and forth to the hospital. 

Let's all pull together and show Cohen and his family how much we love them! Financial burdens should be the last of their thoughts at this time. 

10 delicious cheap eats in Salt Lake City

As many of you know, our company is based out of the Salt Lake City area, and though we have customers all over the country, a lot of them live in Utah like us!

Hence, we decided to put together a list of restaurants our inner foodies simply can't do without. They're all ridiculously delicious and affordable enough that the whole family can grab a bite without breaking the bank. So whether you're a local or find yourself in town for a layover someday, bookmark this post and then get to chowing!

1. Bruges. Waffles will never be the same once you've tasted a liege waffle from Bruges. These authentic Belgian waffles are made with an overnight yeast dough dotted with pearl sugar pockets...it'll be making you say, "OMG" for days.

3. Spitz. The doner kebabs ubiquotous all over Europe now have a home in SLC, thanks to Spitz! The mixed meat Zesty Feta Doner wrap and the loaded sweet potato Street Cart Fries are a flavor explosion in your mouth — and the salad is seriously the best we've had at any restaurant, like, ever!

4. Chungas. We like to call this one of the best little secrets of the SLC area. This westside spot is totally unassuming and totally amazing. They are THE spot to go for authentic Mexican eats.

5. Even Stevens. Even Stevens has taken the Wasatch Front by storm in the past few years, and for good reason. Every sandwich is on point, the sugar cookies are amazing, AND they donate one sandwich to someone in need for every sandwich purchased.

6. Pizzeria Limone. Pizza is our "stranded on a desert island" food, and we say Pizzeria Limone makes some of the best. It's fast, cheap, tasty thin crust you'll have to try for yourself to see how real the addiction is!

7. Bocata. Who knew mall food courts could be so gourmet? Owned by Settebello Pizzeria, this sandwich shop has unique and high-quality ingredients to fuel your City Creek shopping escapades.

8. Cubby'sOh Cubby's, how we love thee so. Though the original location is in Provo, Cubby's opened up shop in Sugarhouse last year and we are oh so grateful! Their steak salad, tri-tip sandwiches and burgers are all incredible.

9. The Park Cafe. The first time we ate here, we couldn't believe the affordable price point and can't-go-wrong menu. The vibe is fun, the location is great and the hearty breakfast food is a smash hit.

10. RubySnap. This list wouldn't be complete without a bakery! RubySnap churns out the most divine cookies in all the land. We're talkin' flavors like dark chocolate mango, molten spicy chocolate and Lemonhead lemon sugar cookie. Be warned, it's dangerous territory!

The busy mom's guide to school lunch 2016

Packing school lunches is one of the things we dread most about back to school season. Don't get us wrong, we have plenty to look forward to (like grocery shopping alone!) but our kid's lunches seem to go from creative to schlepping the scraps in less time than it takes a toddler to inhale a Gogurt packet. (Approx. 15 seconds, if your kids are anything like ours)

Hence, we hope this guide to school lunch can save the day and keep the mundane from creeping in for at least another month or two! Read on for a lunch box buying guide for any age, followed by a roundup of our favorite non-sandwich meal ideas.

1. For your older kids who appreciate a little irony. (No, they won't be getting French fries in their from-home lunch anytime soon!) $7.99 at Target.
2. A clip-in Bento to keep our slightly-OCD selves in pure merriment. $7.92, Amazon.
3. A cute lunch box that's out of this world. $12.59 at Target.
4. We love the external bottle holder on this one. $22 at Land of Nod.
5. Perfect for any age and can hold a ton. $12.80, Amazon.
6. Skip Hop has an adorable selection perfect for the pre-schoolers. $14.99, Amazon.
7. Eco-friendly and comes in bulk. The best of both worlds. $13.95, Amazon.
8. The Cadillac of Bento boxes, with endless ways to fill each cute little nook! $55 at Planet Box.

8. Fondue

1. String cheese
2. Apple sauce packets
3. Babybel cheese
4. Trail mix packets
5. Clementines
6. Grapes
7. Raisins
8. Dried mangoes
9. Turkey or ham roll-ups
10. Cashews
11. Skinny Pop popcorn
12. Clif Z-bars for kids
13. Homemade granola
14. Chobani yogurt
15. Baked chickpeas
16. Carrot sticks and Ranch dip
17. Cucumbers and cherry tomatoes
18. Hardboiled eggs
19. Apple slices and peanut butter
20. Homemade protein bites

5 Cute back to school traditions for your family

No doubt about it, August is in full swing! We're mixed with feelings of sorrow about glorious summer days ending and joy at getting back to a routine.

Though time feels like it's racing at warp speed as we squeeze in a few more trips and get the kids ready for school, we can't help but get excited about planning some new back to school family traditions. Check out the list below for inspiration running the gamut from simple and fun to all-out Pinterest Mom perfection.

1. Back to school feast. Recalling Stephanie Nielson's annual "back to school feast" idea gave us the inspiration for this post, so we figured it had to be listed first. Stephanie prepares a dinner, presents a family theme for the year and gives her kids homemade crowns and small gifts to send them into the new school year. The whole shebang is absolutely swoon-worthy and darling!

2. The backpack fairy. Parents magazine offered up the idea of "the backpack fairy" to get your kids excited for their first day of school. Kids put their backpack at the foot of the bed when they go to sleep the night before school, and they awake to it full of fun surprises like a lunch treat, new item of clothing, backpack accessory or extra fun school supplies.

3. Bedroom door decorations. Although this idea was originally for a holiday or birthday, we love the idea of decorating your kids' bedroom doors to really pump them up first thing in the morning. It's an easy and fun way to boost their confidence!

4. Back to school interviews. Back to school photos are definitely nothing new, but we love the idea of making the moment even more meaningful by including a chalkboard of answers from your child's "back to school interview." Make the chalkboard with chalkboard paint and chalkboard pens, then wipe clean and save it for next year!

5. Back to school bash party. Poca Cosa blog wins the creativity award for her "back to school bash" idea. If you really want to go all out, check her post to see how she created an entire party filled with school subject-themed activities, cafeteria-themed food and more. So adorable!