MommyCon 2016 Giveaway

With only a few events left in the year I thought it would be a great time to do a giveaway for a pair of MommyCon tickets.

But first, What is new? 
 MommyCon  has released a new app that has all information regarding your local MommyCon event.

MommyCon also has two ticket options. One option is the General Admission option which cost $45 dollars. This includes access to the exhibit hall, all Saturday General admission seminar, workshops and an awesome gift bag. Another option is the Expectant Parent ticket available to expectant parents and parents with Newborns. This option is $100 and includes all benefits of the General admission ticket plus a Beco Ring Sling and a special session on how to use it.

Of course there is also the VIP ticket options for special sessions on Friday. The VIP sessions available and ticket pricing vary from city to city. Links for your city are included below. 

What is MommyCon?
Well, it is a convention centered on parenting, babies, baby gear, and parent support. It mainly focuses on the more natural / organic side of parenting, BUT no one is preachy on this subject. They advocate for it, but also don’t shame parents for doing things differently. (more on that later) Vendors from many different types of products such as breastpumps (evenflo, ameda), swaddle suits, teething products, all natural baby and home care products, car seats, etc. You name it, they have a vendor or a booth that has it. 
There are also different seminars you can attend I will post the schedule so you can see what types of informational seminars there were.
You meet really neat and some really odd parents…HA! I was probably the weirdo.
There are VIP or sessions you have to pay extra for but also get these amazing goody bags from.

For a more Detailed overview visit my last year's post

For Now here is a list of the remaining events:
General Information about all MommyCon events
How registration works: All you need is your ID. You can also bring a printed or digital copy of your registration confirmation. If your e-ticket is unavailable, please bring your ID to the MommyCon registration desk to receive your MommyCon badge or wristband.
What do you need to bring: yourself, your bump, your baby and even your kindergartner! We plan around the growing family and offer a changing room, plush nursing area and even a play area. Children 16 years of age and under are free to attend with a paying adult. There is no limit to the number of children you may bring.
Stroller Policy: We recommend that you leave the stroller at home. If this is not an option, please be mindful of crawling children and do not block the aisles. We will have a stroller check, but we are not responsible for lost or stolen items.
Donations: We have teamed up with Share the Love for cloth diaper donations and The Carrying On Projectfor baby carrier donations. Both of these organizations take new and used items to give to families in need. Share the Love provides cloth diapers to families who could not otherwise afford them, and the Carrying On Project provides baby carriers to military families.
MommyCon DC -Sat, July 23 
VIP tickets: Upgrades are now on sale! Click here to register for all of our dynamic sessions. 
Schedule:  You can view our schedule by clicking here
Shopping: We will have over 50 exhibitors in attendance, and in addition to our signature event elements, we will also have a huge pop up shop with a phenomenal local retailer.
Hotel Information: We have a room block at the Cambria Hotel & Suites. The rate is $139/night. In order to book a room in the block, please call the hotel at 202-299-1188 and request the "MommyCon" rate.
Parking: We have an exclusive deal for parking with Parking Panda. Click here for the best available rates. Use code: "mommycon2016"
Food Options: The convention center will have a variety of food options available for sale. Items include sandwiches, salads and hot food. If you have trouble finding the food area, just ask our registration staff. 



MommyCon OC -Sat, August 20
VIP tickets: Upgrades are now on sale! Click here to register for all of our dynamic sessions.
Schedule and Exhibitors: You can view our preliminary schedule and exhibitor list by clicking here
Hotel Information: Our current hotel block is at the Hilton Orange County.
Parking: Reduced parking will be available for attendees.
Food Options: The hotel will have lots of healthy food options available in their cafe. Attendees are welcome to bring their own food and snacks, as well.
How registration works: Please bring your printed or e-ticket on your phone to registration to obtain your badge.

MommyCon Orlando -Sat, September 3 
VIP tickets: Upgrades are now on sale! Click here to register for all of our dynamic sessions.
Schedule and Exhibitors: You can view our preliminary schedule and exhibitor list by clikcing here.
Hotel Information: Our current hotel block is at the Caribe Royale. We suggest booking early as our room block always sells out. The rate is $109 within our block by using code "MommyCon" when you call in, (407) 238-8000, or click the link above.
Parking: Parking is complimentary.
Food Options: There will be a variety of food options available for sale. Items include sandwiches, salads and hot food. If you have trouble finding the food area, just ask our registration staff. Attendees are welcome to bring food and snacks, as well.

MommyCon San Jose- Sat, October 29
Schedule: Our schedule will be released a minimum of 30 days prior to the event. For the most up to date speaker announcements, follow us on Facebook.
Shopping: We will have over 50 exhibitors in attendance, and in addition to our signature event elements, we will also have a huge pop up shop with a phenomenal local retailer.

Hotel Information: Our room block is at the adjoining Hilton San Jose. Our room rate is $119 per night and can be booked by clicking here and using code: "MOM"
Parking: We are working on nearby parking options, and will update here when more information becomes available.

Food Options: The convention center will have a variety of food options available for sale. Items include 

MILK Conference (Costa Mesa, CA)- Friday, Novemeber 11 to Saturday, November 12 
MILK:  MILK is first and foremost a conference about providing information that supports feeding with confidence. The two-day event takes place in beautiful Southern California. This hybrid-style conference merges parenting events with an authentic medical conference that provides incredible information at a pricepoint that emerging professionals and parents can afford. Speakers in 2015 included: Dr. Jay Gordon, Elizabeth Bachner, Dr. Bobby Ghaheri, Kimberly Seals Allers, Dr. Henrik Norholt, and more. We aim to bring the best in emerging infant feeding practices to a discerning audience in 2016. We look forward to seeing you at MILK!

Event Information
Schedule: Our schedule will be released a minimum of 30 days prior to the event. For the most up to date speaker announcements, follow us on Facebook.
Exhibiting: We will have 20+ exhibitors in attendance in addition to signature event elements such as the Bottle Bar, Lactation Treat Station and the Feeding Lounge.

Hotel Information: Our current hotel block is at the Hilton Costa Mesa. Click here to book your room!
Parking: Parking is available at the hotel at a discounted meeting rate.

Food Options: The hotel has an onsite Starbucks and restauraunt featuring contemporary American fare.
GIVEAWAY!!!
I would love to give one of your an opportunity to attend MommyCon for free! You will receive 2 tickets to any MommyCon event of your choosing. This contest is open to US residents only and must be at least 18 years old to enter best of luck. If you cannot wait to buy your ticket SAVE $5 with code CRAZYLOVE16 at checkout. 



MommyCon Ticket Giveaway

What you need to know about kids with special needs (from a non-parent)

I was an instructional aide and I had the privilege of working with special needs children. I mostly worked with children that have Down syndrome, Autism, cerebral Palsy, and orthopedic impairments. I love my job, I love who I have become because of it. Without this job I feel I would have missed a lot of Christ’s creations. These children have taught me more than I could have ever taught them. I was only 17 when I started , I became an adult while working there, I got married, and had my daughter.  A lot of my character was developed there, my young eyes were exposed to the world. I am thankful for every single moment…seriously. 


What you need to know about kids with special needs

They can do it!
For the love of all that is good…GIVE THEM A CHANCE!!!! They will surprise you. I guarantee it. Even if they end up needing help, don’t just write off their capabilities. I have seen so many people make the excuse, “oh, he has down syndrome he can’t.” “ he belongs in functional skills.”  This by far was the hardest thing for me to see. Because they have a special need, doesn’t mean you have no expectations… have them, push them, encourage them, and above all do it with love, and they will grow! They will surprise you! The worst that can happen is they don't get, but if you don't given them a chance, the will miss out on so much more. 

They have feelings too. They Want to be Included.
I have on many occasions had to help my students get over hurt feeling’s because no one wanted to play with them or some asked “What’s wrong with her face?” There are times I have talked to my students and they are sad because they have never been invited to a birthday party. Here is the thing, Most of the time they know what you’re saying, they are aware of what is around them. Talk to your children about how to be kind to children with special needs. How nothing is “wrong,” they’re not “sick,” they’re not “broken.” Instead tell them that they were just born different, to help us see things differently, they were born to help us see the beauty in things, to teach us kindness, and compassion. How boring would this world be if we all looked the exact same way?   Tell them that they too can be good friends. Tell them to not be afraid. Instead tell them to be patient. Oh, and invite them to your kids parties, They won’t ruin it. I promise. Their parents will mostly likely stay close by and may even lend you a helping hand. (in my experience, they have always helped and never has there been a "incident")


They Make good friends.

I am not just talking about the individuals with special needs,  but also their families. Why, because they get it. They really do. They know what it is to have struggled. They know about having to fight for your family. They totally understand you when you are at your wit’s end. Now, they may not come over every weekend, or talk on the phone for hours but the second you need them, they will be there. Some of my closest friends, the people I feel I can trust, are the families of my former students. Like I said, they just get it. 

As far a the children with special needs, there are challenges when it comes to being friends with a child or adult with special needs. Let's be real for a moment, having friends, especially as children is a challenge anyway.  When it comes to special needs some challenges could be with recognizing physical space or moving from one activity to the next. Realistically,  you learn to work with it, The biggest advice I can give you, is teach your child to be vocal about what is too much. Here is an example. I have a friend with down syndrome who comes to play with my 3 year old. We will call her Dee. Dee loves to hug, she doesn't always know she is hugging too tightly or too long or just to frequently. My three old will tell her "Dee, that's too much," Dee will often say back, "Oh, sorry." Don't be afraid to help them learn. They need this.  My three year can handle it, and she loves her Friends with special needs. She begs to have play dates with them. She is also learning a lot from being around other children with special needs. To tell you the truth, I don't think she sees a difference right now. Dee has been part of her life since before she was born. It's just normal for us. 


They Will Change Your Life

I know, I know "How cliche" It is so true! I don't know what it is. I know I wouldn't be the same person without these experiences I would be the woman nor the mother I am today. I never woke up thinking " I want to work with special ed." In fact, I got the job out of desperation after the law firm relocated to a place that was over an hour away. I thought, this would be temporary, I would go get my degree and leave. I never thought my career goals would change, so that I could stay in this environment. I feel like I found myself, through my students, They made me slow down and look at the beauty around me. On a particularly challenging day, I was out a recess with my kids, I was in a bad mood, then one of my students came and hugged me and said Mrs. K, It's a beautiful day, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the sky is blue!!! Then she skipped away happy as a bee. As silly as is sounds. She turned my day around. I had been focusing on the wrong things. Experiences like this happened so often, they forced my perspective to change. Without that, who know what I would be today, 


Get out there, If you don't know anyone with special needs, go and volunteer at a school, the buddy walk, special olympics events. Have your Children befriend them at school. 

What have you learned or enjoyed about knowing an individual with special needs. 



Toast Painting


By now it is no secret Kaitlyn loves anything to do with art. This has made me think back to my time working with preschool age children. I am so thankful I worked with wonderful teacher who had such amazing ideas. This is one of our favorites.

What you need:
  • Toaster /toaster oven
  • Bread
  • Milk
  • Food coloring
  • Cups ( I used sauce cups)
  • Food safe paint brushes ( you can find cheap ones in the cake décor section at Wal-Mart, Michael’s , Hobby Lobby, etc)

The process:
  1. Add a little bit of milk into as many sauce cups as you want. We had four sauce cups so we made four colors: Red, Blue, Yellow, and green
  2. Mix in food coloring until you reach the desired color
  3. Take your bread and paint brush and start painting. Make sure not to add too much liquid to the bread, just enough to color it
  4. Once your masterpiece is done put it in the toaster and then add butter, if you wish, and enjoy!

MommyCon Anaheim 2015

My MC loot, I did but some of the cloth diapers, the silikids lids, and a swaddler
pretty much everything else came with the VIP or General Admission (I had 2 tickets)

This was the year I had ever heard of MommyCon and  the first year that I attended. Like many of you, I didn’t know exactly what to expect nor did I know if it would be worth it. I just want to go and see. I searched the internet for more info and I wanted to know of the experience of others. I found a lot really great experiences and a lot of negative experiences. I thought I would add my experience to the bunch.

First off  WHAT IS MOMMYCON?
Well, it is a convention centered on parenting, babies, baby gear, and parent support. It mainly focuses on the more natural / organic side of parenting, BUT no one is preachy on this subject. They advocate for it, but also don’t shame parents for doing things differently. (more on that later) Vendors from many different types of products such as breastpumps (evenflo, ameda), swaddle suits, teething products, all natural baby and home care products, car seats, etc. You name it, they have a vendor or a booth that has it. 
There are also different seminars you can attend I will post the schedule so you can see what types of informational seminars there were.
You meet really neat and some really odd parents…HA! I was probably the weirdo.
There are VIP or sessions you have to pay extra for but also get these amazing goody bags from.

VIP Sessions
These sessions were not exactly what I was hoping for…expecting...I thought I would learn about a particular subject but ended up being a little different….Here is a break down, session by session. All sessions had a snack bar....



Cottonbabies with Jennifer Labit 
She took the time to listen to our questions and answer them
 MY FAVORITE. 

I thought I would learn about the ins and outs of cloth diapering, but it ended up being a session geared towards empowering women and answering questions about how to start, continue, and manage a business. When I walked in and Jenn started asking for business related questions, I thought to myself “Great….not what I wanted.” It ended up being exactly what I needed. Jenn talked about her struggles as a mother, deciding between buying diapers and feeding her family, her experience with post par-tum depression, her not so perfect messy home. She was REAL. She said something that hit so close to home. “Don’t let perfection be the expectation” I walked out of there feeling like I could conquer the world and that it was ok to ask for help.
After the session Jenn and I had a little conversation. Now, she doesn’t know me and didn’t know the struggles I was facing, but she hugged me and looked me in the eye and said, “take care of yourself, really, Take care of yourself.” Then we continued talking. I needed to hear that…
Cost: $40
Goodie Bag:
Awesome canvas tote, Bumgenious Cloth diaper, wet bag, and bum cleaner, and lot's more….



Babywearing with Ergo and Beco
Everyone walked away with one!

This one was a little more informative but mostly fun. We walked in and each company talked about the how to properly use a carrier. Although, this was specific to the carriers, they explained the physics of how the weight is distributed, which I feel applied to many carriers. They talked about how to check to see if the child in safely in any carrier. Before entering the session, you had to draw a paper that either said Beco or ErgoBaby. After the information part they, handed out the carriers. The choices where a Beco Gemini, Beco Soleil, Ergo Original, or Ergo 360. They actually had the parents who did not have a carrier take first pick. I ended up with an Ergo 360, yay! After everyone got their carrier, We played a game. I met another mom from my area, so that was pretty awesome.
Cost of session
$60
Goodie:
Ergo 360 Carrier and Chompy Chic Jewlely


The Leaky Boob with Jennifer
I love that she was so honest about her parenting/feeding experiences

This again was not what I was expecting. I wanted to know about breastfeeding. I struggled so much with my first and had to stop nursing because I just stopped producing. I was hoping on hearing about tips to help. Instead, Jessica talked about her experiences with feeding her children. First, we started with and introductory game that had us find mothers with similar experiences as us. Easier said than done! (which I think was the point) This was eye opening. After that,  Jessica started talking about Her experiences and how they were all very different and very difficult.  As a new parent that had to stop breastfeeding, I felt like a failure. I knew formula wouldn’t kill her, I just set a goal for myself and because I had to go back to work, I couldn't keep up with the pumping. I wasn’t there for my daughter. It weighed on me. Breastfeeding was hard; I thought I was an idiot because I had such a hard time…Guess what. She did too and so did most moms. As a new mother, I wish I would have known that this doesn’t just come as easily. She kept saying “I am enough” and “Fed is best.” Enough said. We are all doing the best we can and our best IS enough.
Cost:
$45
Goodie bag:
ErgoBaby Nursing pillow, nipple creams, hand pump, Ameda Breast Gel pads, Bamboobie reusable nursing pads, crocheted monkey toy, lactation tea, baby teether, voucher for a free nursing tank (can use with any bra). All in a canvas tote

After Dark with Xza Higgins 
Can you see how much fun it was?

So they had margaritas, you could request virgins. We started off with a little intro and a who had gone with sex the longest game. Ha! Then we had a woman’s physical therapist talk to us about how we can enhance our sex life and achieve better orgasms, faster. Then we just had fun talking about our awkward moments and any other sex questions we might have had. This is usually not my cup of tea, but I thought…why not? It was totally fun and I laughed so hard!
Cost: $40
Goodie bag:
EzPz bowl, a vulva shaped pillow toy, Punani Paste, Uber Lube, Lavender Sugar body scrub, feminine wipes,

MommyCon

The convention itself was a little crazy, This was the hotels fault not MommyCon. They rooms for the sleep consult were removed from everything else..weird. Parking…there wasn’t enough. In case this may happen to you get there early.  My niece was working for the convention, we had to be there early, so we got lucky. Vendors showed up late, people didn’t know where to go; it was kind of crazy for some. Hopefully next year there will be better organization, they had to change up a lot of things because the Hotel didn’t provide enough space. ( there were several other big events and another convention going on)  Next year it will be held elsewhere.
There were a lot of vendors, everyone one of them was great! There was a cloth diaper resource center where you could play and look at the many different types of cloth diapers, ask questions, and get any other info you may need.

There was a babywearing section. Here you could choose from several baby carriers and wraps and try them on, learn how to wrap. This was great!  I learned a lot.

They had play areas for the kids everywhere, they also had a art station for the kids with art supplies from Wee can To.


The seminar themselves were also really informative. They had time for Q & A’s so this was a great time to get in any questions.
Towards the end of the day I felt soooooo tired. Actually towards the middle I was done! Ha! I didn’t want to go home, but I was dead tired. So was everyone else, especially the littles.
The giveaways included: t-shirts, water, bottles, car seats (Britax, Orbit, Chicco, Clek), Diaper bags (Juju be, baby K’tan), Humidifiers, 4 moms  mamaroo and breeze, EzPz merch, breast pumps, and sooo much more!
Ticket: $35-$45 (depending if you got pre-sale or used a discount code)

(if you cannot afford a ticket, they have sponsorships you can apply for)
Goodie bag:
Kiinde starter set, Evenflo breastpads, Juju Be Be Quick, Foodie container, baby bottle, food pouch, Kind bar,

All in all, It was worth just in what I came home with. I learned bit on some topics but not as much as I would have liked, but I liked the focus of this year. Which was not matter how to choose to parent, how you feed your child, it is right for you. Next year I will probably go again and I will take more girlfriends with me. 

Next the Southern California event will be on August 20th in  Costa Mesa Will I see you there???
You can check the event calendar to see if there is a MommyCon coming near you.


Use Code: CRAZYLOVE16
for $5 off any MommyCon event ticket!!!

Bubble Painting


Now there are several ways to do this, but this is the way we chose to do for my daughter’s art party. She loved it so much we do often. It is so simple and easy to do and it is so much fun!


Here is what you will need:
Bubble solution and bubble wands or straws
Food coloring
Paper.

When I first tried it out, I used acrylic pain.  It worked alright, but the bubbles became really heavy, thick, and extremely messy. This made the bubble fall really fast and turn into globs and a stringy mess. So I decided to try and use food coloring and that worked out much better.

I used gel and liquid food coloring and both worked just as well.

The Process
  1.      .    Pour a couple drops of food coloring into the container of bubble and then I shake it up.
  2.  .. Once the foam on the bubbles settles you are ready to start creating.
  3.     You lay your paper out on a protected surface or a surface you don’t care about getting messy and start blowing bubble towards your paper.
  4.          After you start adding colors, it starts to look very neat!


So there you have it. Bubble painting. 

Ice Cream in a Can (or bag)

This was by far Kaitlyn’s favorite summer activity. We made ice cream in a #10 you can and even use a big ziplock bag. It was so easy and so much fun!
What you need:
  • A gallon size Freezer bag or a #10 can
  • 2 sandwich bags
  • Lot’s of ice
  • Rock salt or just plain old table salt
  • Half & half or Milk
  • Vanilla
  • Sugar
  • Spoon  and toppings if you want


Recipe
  • 1 cup  Half and half or Milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar

The process


  1. Start by adding about 3 cups of ice and 1 cup of salt to the #10 can or your Ziplock bag.
  2. Next stuff one sandwich bag into another
  3. Add half and half, sugar, and vanilla into the bag and seal
  4. Put the sealed bags into the larger container and either start shaking it. If you are using a #10 can make sure there are no sharp edges on the inside. With the can you can kick the can around. Kaitlyn had fun with that part!

 
Long dead grass --> drought and day before cutting grass...ah well
If you  are using a bag you can easily feel and see when the cream starts to solidify, once you reach the desired consistency you are ready to enjoy.

With the can you’ll obviously have to open it up and check, but again Kaitlyn had fun checking on her ice cream.


There you have easy peasy yummy ice cream. 


DIY Dipped Table Runners



My daughter has been asking me for a paint party with all the colors. She is so excited helping me plan all the details. So we decided table runners in different colors would be cute...So here they are






You'll need:
  • Fabric preferably 100% Cotton (I used 2.5 yards for 6 runners)
  • Tie-Dye kit OR RIT Dye in color (s) of choice.
  • Scissor or Rotary blade
  • Straight Edge (unless you can straight lines one your own...)
  • plastic or glass container
If NOT using a Tie-Dye Kit
  • rubber bands
  • gloves (totally optional...)
(These items came with my kit)

THE PROCESS
  1. Cut Fabric into 2 long strips, no measuring necessary. Leave the fold in your fabric as it came off the bolt and cut the 2.5 yards of fabric in half at the width. You should now have 2 long strips of fabric.



2. Take one of the strips you cut in Step 1 and fold it into thirds vertically. Make a small slit mark at the fold. The easiest way for me to cut the long piece into thirds, was to first unfold the fabric after making the slit mark. Refold horizontally and cut at the slits using your straight edge and rotary blade or scissors. In the picture below I placed the ruler where the slit mark was. Hopefully that made a little sense. You should now have 3 runners. Repeat with the second strip of fabric to end up with 6 runners.  
 
Here is what the runner looks like after 

3. Roll them up like a taco and secure with a rubber band. 

4. Mix your dye according to packaging directions. My directions were as simple as filling the bottles with water and shaking.
5If you haven’t already, pour your dye into the container of your choice. Make sure it is small enough to give you at least an inch of dye to dip into.
6Dip one end of the fabric in and watch it soak up the dye!
7. Hold it there for a few minutes... then repeat on the other end. 
Don't you just love my assistant...I DO!
8. Remove from Dye, allow to sit a few minutes before laying it out.  This is what makes it less likely to get unwanted spots when unrolling...a lesson I learned the hard way....
9. Unroll let dry, If you have a heat gun you can speed up the process and also help set the color. 
10. Repeat with each color. I needed Orange, Yellow, Lime, Turquoise, Pink and Purple. As you can see there is no purple in my kit. I just mixed the Pink and Turquoise to get purple.

****If you want and ombre effect, there are two things you can do....
  • Use RIT dye! The RIT dye gives that effect on its own….You’re good!
  • If using a Tie-Dye kit, start with a very shallow puddle of dye, dip one end....then the other....then add a little water and dip again until you reach your desired level of ombré.