The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

My husband says I am really difficult to buy presents for.  I certainly don’t think I am.  I think he can be difficult to buy for.  Oh sure. I usually know things he wants/needs but he always wants a very specific this or a certain feature like that or a very specific model ect…. Over the years we have definitely learned each other’s preferences better, but it is still difficult.  Recently we learned about the Best Buy Online Gift Ideas Experience.

best buy gifts #wishlist #giftideas #ad

I sure wish this had existed when we first got married!  The new feature on the Best Buy site, helps you do two things.

1. Their new program helps you create your own birthday wish list.

2. Gives you ideas and inspirations for finding that perfect gift!

Creating your own birthday wish list is a cinch.  You simply log on, and browse their website.  As you find items you would love, you add them to your list.  And don’t worry.   You can easily manage your wish list and add items or delete items as needed.  For husbands, friends and family members this makes shopping SO much easier because they know this is something you want and would use and appreciate.  For my husband especially, it honestly lowers his stress level over choosing something from me.  I can go add in different items and then he can surprise me with one…or more =)

Additionally, if you are looking for a gift for a friend and they do not have a birthday wish list, you can still use the Best Buy Online Gift Ideas Experience to help inspire you.  They have the items broken down by price range so it is easy to find something amazing and affordable.  You can further search by guys gifts, teens and more to help narrow down the selection even further.  Since Best Buy has the latest in tech gear. you are sure to find the right gift for the right person.

Since my birthday is right around the corner, I am going to go create my own birthday wish list at Best Buy right now.

What Best Buy items would you place on your wish list?

 

Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.

It is incredibly hard to believe, but our oldest daughter is going into 7th grade this year.  I am not sure where the time has gone.  Since she is now in middle school we wanted to find something special to help really send her to school in style.  Then I was asked to do a review for LockerLookz and I knew we had found what we were looking for!

LockerLookz #ad

LockerLookz specializes in locker decor for girls ages 8-14.  Kayla is 12 and she agreed that this was perfect for her!  They have everything from lighting to magnets..all designed JUST for lockers.  Such a fun concept!  Even their website was designed with these girls in mind.  It lets your daughter create her own virtual locker.  Here is what Kayla chose.

LockerLookz #ad

This is how Kayla designed her virtual locker at LockerLookz!

 

After she created her locker design, we simply added it to the cart and we were ready to check out.  It was simple and very fun!  She had a great time deciding on which wallpaper she wanted, what color scheme she wanted to go with and which items coordinated the best with her choices.

LockerLookz #ad

She ended up selecting a wall paper, a mirror, a bin, a plush rug, a white board and some cute magnets.  I love the colors she combined.  She was definitely showing her own style!

LockerLookz #ad

Our school here starts at the very end of the month, but in a week or so we get to go in and actually put her new gear into her locker.  She is literally counting down the days. Ha!

LockerLookz #ad

LockerLookz is really neat and great idea for some back to school fun for your kids.  And I have some great news for you as well.  LockerLookz is offering one reader their OWN collection as well!  You can go online with your daughter and choose one wallpaper and up to three accessories of your choice, based on availability.   You have up to $69.99 in value to use on these 4 items!  I encourage you to get your daughter, niece, granddaughter or whoever would be using these and let them create their own virtual locker!  Not only is it fun then, it is like Christmas on the day their gear arrives!

LockerLookz #ad

Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen

The people we bought our house from had  done some work to the kitchen.  I appreciated this but never felt like the flow worked really well.  The refrigerator was right inside the doorway to the kitchen on the left with a wall cabinet on the right.  This made for a cramped, tight squeeze.  Here’s a pic to show what I mean.

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The counters were granite but they were tiles not a a slab.  The grout was really dirty and the tiles showed every smudge.

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The cabinets themselves were in pretty good shape and replacing them wasn’t in our budget.  However, the paint was chipping and peeling in many spots.

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The one thing we really needed was more storage.  With a family of 8, I was really missing having a pantry.  I started brainstorming to think of ways we could reconfigure the kitchen ourselves on a small budget.  Here are a few more pics to show what we started with. Please excuse the messy cabinets.  We had already removed a lot of the doors to paint.

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We finally decided that we would cut out an opening in the wall that the fridge was on and frame in a box for the fridge to recess into.  We would removes the bar and extend the the wall out a bit and create a pantry next to the refrigerator.  This would give me an additional 3 feet of floor space which would allow for an island to make up for the lost counter space.  We decided to paint the cabinets and create faux butcher block counters using the same table tops from Lowes that we used in our bathroom remodel.  I really liked the backsplash so we wanted to keep that.

I started by sanding down the cabinets and doors.  This was a royal pain but we felt it was necessary.  We used the electric sander on the door and drawer fronts and I did the cabinet bases by hand with good old sandpaper.  Thankfully, my oldest was around to help :)

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We decided to splurge and purchase a paint sprayer to paint the cabinet doors.   We bought the HomeRight C800766 Finish Max Fine Finish Sprayer and I highly recommend it!  It was a lifesaver and I wish we had gotten one years ago!  It made it so much easier and it will come in handy when we re-stain the deck in the spring!

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I decided on a blueish gray color.  I didn’t want anything too dark but the off white that the cabinets had been was too light,  It showed every little speck and splatter.

WhileIi worked on that, my awesome hubby started on the wall cutout.  First he tore off the older countertops and pulled up the bar.  We saved one of the cabinets to re-use as our island base.

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He then started knocking out the hole for the new addition.

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This is when it tarted to get a little chaotic.

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While he worked on the framing, I started on the island.  As I said, we used one of the old cabinets as a base.  I screwed a wood base onto the top of the cabinet with about a foot hang over on each side.  I still wanted a place for the little kids to sit so I made sure there was enough of an overhang for a stool on each end of the island.

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We put a piece of cement board on top of that as a base for tile.  Since the butcher block is not super heat resistant, I wanted a counter that I I could put hot dishes on and tile was an easy, economical choice.  We chose 12×25 tiles to reduce the number of grout lines.

My hubby is amazing and he worked on the kitchen every free minute he had.  By the end of day 3, he had the new addition framed, dry walled and painted.  He made shelves for the pantry out of strips of wood and plywood. At 3 feet by 2 1/2 feet, the pantry gives me so much storage!

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I took on the faux butcher block counters.  We again used the pre-cut table tops from Lowes.  We paid about $85 for the tops and another $15 for trim pieces. MUCH cheaper than new granite or even laminate.  I wanted them darker so I stained them a dark walnut color.

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After much research, we decided to use a regular clear coat on the top of the counters.  Some sites said to use a “food safe” sealer but I found a lot of info saying that as long as you aren’t cutting on the counters (which we don’t plan on doing), regular clear coat was fine.  I ended up putting on 4 coats.

I wanted new oil rubbed bronze hardware to go with the wood so I sold our old hardware and found a GREAT deal online on hinges and pulls.  I got 15 Cabinet Pulls, 6  Cabinet Cup Pulls and 16 hinges for $52!  If you’ve priced hardware lately, you know what a deal this was!  The cup pulls alone were $3.99 a piece at Lowes.  We changed out the hardware, glued down the new counters and installed a folding door on the new pantry.  After a lot of hard work and aching muscles, we were done.  Here’s the finished product!

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I absolutely LOVE it!  Recessing the refrigerator made a huge difference. It feels so much bigger and I have a ton of new storage.  The corner with the fridge is no longer crowded.

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The counters turned out really nice and they are so much easier to clean.

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I’m also really happy with how the island turned out.  I used remnants of a few pallets we had left over from our pallet wall project as well of pieces of plywood cut into strips.

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Since I took these pictures, I painted the bar stools a burgundy color.  It adds a nice pop of color to the kitchen.

My brother made this wall cling for above the pantry.

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Here are a few more pics.

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Forgot to mention, we did a temp patch of the floors using stained plywood cut into strips.  We plan on replacing the floors eventually so we didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something that would get torn back up.  It actually blends in better now that I have clear coated it. The dining area feels so much bigger with the island gone.

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The only thing we want to do is take out the yucky florescent light and replace it with a small ceiling fan with light.

In all we spent about $590 total, including: paint, hardware, tile, grout, wood, drywall, nails, stain, tabletops for counter, pantry door, and misc odds and ends.  Not bad for a kitchen redo!

This post ended up being really long!  If you stuck it out, thanks!

 

Belinda is a wife, mom, blogger, and Brand Ambassador. She has six children including 5 boys and 1 girl. Belinda enjoys reading, photography, crafts and DIY projects, and watching her boys play soccer. You may contact Belinda at mudpiesand tiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Belinda

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.

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It seems like summer break gets shorter and shorter each year.  We’ve had a great time but it came to an end this week when my kids headed back to school.  While they weren’t super excited, they were happy about getting new school supplies and clothing.  They were especially thrilled to pick out new shoes from Florsheim Kids.  Florsheim makes high quality, stylish shoes for boys and we are huge fans!  The boys had fun browsing the different styles and choosing some for school.  I was really happy with their choices!

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My nine-year-old chose the Varsity Low Jr. in navy.

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I love this shoe!  It’s an updated version of a classic tennis shoe.  The yellow really pops against the navy and I like the detailing.

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The shoes have a combination of leather and suede with a breathable mesh fabric lining.

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They have a nice, soft cushioned sole and L says they are really comfortable.  He likes that he can wear them with or without socks.  As with the other Florsheim shoes we’ve gotten in the past, these are lightweight and flexible.  This is important for active little boys!

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My 7-year-old chose the Varsity High Jr in gray.

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When I took these out of the box, he yelled, “those are awesome!”.  I think that describes them pretty well!  These are really stylish and I love the blue and gray together.  I like that they will go with just about everything.

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The top of the shoe opening is nicely padded for comfort.

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N calls them his basketball shoes and he wants to wear them everyday.  Since they lace up higher, he has needed a little extra practice in loosing the laces enough to get them on by himself but he’s a quick learner.  He was so excited to wear these on his first day of school!

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My 5-year-old started Kindergarten this week.  It was exciting and a little sad at the same time.  He was a tad apprehensive so we have really been building up school the last couple of weeks.  I was happy to find that on his first day, he had gotten up early on his own, dressed and was ready to go with his backpack and new shoes.

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The Varsity Slip Jr. are super cute and I love that they’re easy for K to put on and take off.

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They have yellow elastic on each side that allow just enough stretch to slip on and off while still fitting snug.

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K really likes them and I like that they fit him well.  Comfort is my number one priority and Florsheim always delivers.

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The boys love their new shoes and having them for school just added to the excitement of the first day.

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I know I can count on these shoes to hold up really well and last the entire school year!  You can see Florsheim Kids entire selection at www.Florsheim.com/kids.

One lucky reader will win a $60 gift card to Florsheim Kids!

Belinda is a wife, mom, blogger, and Brand Ambassador. She has six children including 5 boys and 1 girl. Belinda enjoys reading, photography, crafts and DIY projects, and watching her boys play soccer. You may contact Belinda at mudpiesand tiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Belinda

I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for OshKosh B’Gosh. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. #backtobgosh  #BgoshJeanius

This year we are prepping to have three kids in school.  That means 3 sets of school supplies.  3 lunchboxes.  3 water bottles.  3 different schools and 3 different schedules.  Needless to say…we are busy.  One thing I do not have time for is driving around from store to store to store to find what we need for the kids.  That is why we LOVE shopping at OshKosh B’gosh.

OshKosh Coupon #backtobgosh  #BgoshJeanius #IC #ad

 

We have 4 kids, but only 3 are going to school this year.  However, when we shop at OshKosh, I can shop for all 4 kids there!  That means just 1 stop for this busy mom.  As an added bonus our 12 year old daughter, Kayla really loves their clothing so she is excited to go there and shop with me.  OshKosh does a great job of transitioning their clothing.  For the younger kids, the styles are more simplistic and cute.  As the sizes get bigger, they do an excellent job of making them attractive to tweens.  Kayla was in love with their new  Black, White & Indigo Collection.  In fact, she selected part of this collection to wear for her first day of 7th grade this Fall!

OshKosh Coupon #backtobgosh  #BgoshJeanius #IC #ad

 

The sales lady at our local OshKosh was super friendly and she really hit it off with our son Benjamin.  She spent time helping him find some awesome 5 year old fashions.  She found him a glow in the dark shirt and an awesome pair of blue jeans.

OshKosh Coupon #backtobgosh  #BgoshJeanius #IC #ad

The blue jeans were the same quality and style we expect when we shop at OshKosh, but even better now.   Why better?  Because right now, you can buy B’Gosh Blue Jeans and the prices start at just $10.  At the register you then have the chance to support the B’gosh Jeanius Campign.  Basically you either buy a pair of B’Gosh Blue Jeans and donate them or you can make a cash donation at the register.  From now through September 16th, all those donated jeans and funds will be used to help kids in need be ready for their school year.  We did end up getting Benjamin an awesome new pair of jeans and he chose these adorable jammies!

OshKosh Coupon #backtobgosh  #BgoshJeanius #IC #ad

 

Our daughter Grace managed to find some great styles as well.  She is 10 and in that in-between phase.  Not quite ready for tween styles, but wanting to develop her own style.  She easily found several items to bring home with her!

OshKosh Coupon #backtobgosh  #BgoshJeanius #IC #ad

 

We had an amazing shopping trip at our local OshKosh.  Do you have a store near you?  Use this Oshkosh store locator to find out.  And if you are like me, and want to save a little money too….check out this awesome coupon!

OshKosh Coupon #backtobgosh  #BgoshJeanius #IC #ad

This coupon is good in stores and online too.   How are YOU preparing for the kids heading back to school?  I would love to hear your best tips so leave a comment and let us know.

OshKosh Coupon #backtobgosh  #BgoshJeanius #IC #ad

 

 

 

 

Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen