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About the author  ⁄ Jenna & Lisa

Jenna and Lisa, Savvy and Sassy, are professional educators and mothers with more than 30 years of educating experience and over 20 years of combined parenting experience between them. With a true passion for engaging with moms and sharing their bright and relatable savvy and sassy know-how, Jenna & Lisa bring current and exciting content to Savvy Sassy Moms for all stages of motherhood as well as help and guidance for all the in-betweens! Connect with Savvy Sassy Moms on Instagram

The leaves are falling and the weather is becoming colder, which means it’s time to layer up! I always find myself running at the last minute to get ready for the season and this year is no different. The summer seemed to linger for so long, that I couldn’t bring myself to shop for fall… not just for me, but for the whole family! And, when it comes to fall work clothes, I have to think ahead to what I can wear during meetings, but also when I’m out with my family and while travelling — I am in desperate need for clothing that is multi-functional.

Gap + Pendleton Collection: Fall 2016

Gap and Pendleton are celebrating American style with the introduction of a limited-edition collection featuring clothes and accessories for men, women, kids and babies. The collection brings together two classic American brands, celebrating Gap’s beloved denim and Pendleton’s signature plaids specially curated from Pendleton’s rich archive of historic styles. When I heard about the collaboration, I knew it would be the perfect fit for our fall looks.

Gap x Pendleton for Kids- Fall 2016

Gap x Pendleton for the entire family

Both kids have been going through a bit of a denim shirt phase — they each have multiple denim shirts that we continue to replace as they get bigger. The babyGap + Pendleton Chambray Patch Tunic is the perfect layering piece. The plaid detailing on the cuffs, inside the collar and on the elbow patches freshens up the denim shirt for fall. For a more feminine feel, the babyGap + Pendleton Convertible Henley Tunic is to die for!

From a fall walk through the ravine to the pumpkin patch with the kids, both my husband and I were covered in Gap as well! The Gap + Pendleton Fringe Poncho is a must-have for any lifestyle. I haven’t taken off my poncho since it arrived! This fashionable item is getting noticed day in and day out and the kids love sneaking in for an extra cuddle when the wind picks up. My husband, who is never ready to accept coat weather, has been living in his Gap + Pendleton 1969 Puffer Vest. He loves that it has the same durability and comfort of a Gap vest with the added detailing of the quilted weave with premium denim along with the plaid brushed flannel lining and the faux sherpa collar lining.

Gap + Pendleton Fringe Ponchos

Savvy Sassy Moms x Gap x Pendleton

On our recent trip to Las Vegas to the ABC Kids Expo, the Gap + Pendleton Fringe Ponchos were a staple of our team wardrobe. Whether we were travelling by air or meeting with exciting companies at the Expo, this piece was a true lifesaver. We couldn’t take them off!

Gap x Pendleton Shirt Dresses- Fall 2016

We are also loving the Gap + Pendleton Long Sleeve Shirt Dress. Lisa and I wore them in different colors at the Expo and have been loving them since! It is such an easy dress to wear over an all black outfit or buttoned up as a dress. Throw on a pair of cute booties or sneakers to change the look! The Gap x Pendleton line is only on the shelves for a limited time, so head to Gap in stores or online before they are out of stock!

What’s your favorite piece from this line?

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As we edge closer and closer to cold temperatures, a fight arises in my house. Often, before school, I will notice my daughters scamper past me, without saying goodbye other than yelling across the hall. After school, I realize this is because both of my girls have forgone a jacket.

Aritzia - Winter 2016

Now, while I don’t think there is anything more chic than staying warm in the winter, my daughters could not be more embarrassed to wear a jacket to school. Throughout my day, I am constantly worrying whether my girls are wearing their jackets outdoors, and if they are, if those jackets are even zipped up. As the resident veteran mom at Savvy Sassy Moms, I now know that my girls are never without their jackets if they are able to shop for, select, and love their jackets.

As avid Aritzia shoppers, it was no surprise that my girls have chosen Aritzia winter coats, time and time again. My oldest, now 19, still wears the parka she bought from Aritzia in 2010. Not only are these coats timeless and warm, they are most definitely cool by my girls’ standards, as well as my own. They love shopping at Aritzia and I do too (but don’t tell my girls that).

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This year, my 17-year-old daughter and her friends took their jackets out on the road. I am grateful to note that the girls are warm, comfortable and fashionable. These coats will stand the test of time and continue to be worn throughout the fall and winter months.

The sales team always asks my girls about what they are looking for and selects merchandise that is geared towards their specifications. Aritzia’s team is stylish and extremely dedicated to the individuality and style of the client and well versed in their products.Aritzia Style- Winter 2016 Photoshoot

Here, Mia and her friends are ready for any outdoor adventure they choose to take on, bundled in their Aritzia coats. These jackets will allow them to explore all throughout the day, until the sun comes down. Aritzia has always been a staple in our home, and while kids continue to grow and mature, Aritzia has grown with them, outfitting them in essential basic pieces from middle school to adulthood with pieces that moms can wear, too.

Aritzia parkas, available online and in stores

From left to right:

Golden by TNA Oslo Parka in Ice White, $395
Community Autonomy Parka in Dark Olive + Total Eclipse $325


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Where will your children be wearing their parkas?

Photos by She Inspires Me Photography.

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We have all noticed that it  has been getting darker earlier, which means that the seasons are changing and the days are getting shorter. This weekend, we will be changing the clocks back an hour for daylight saving time… and, we will all be gaining a precious hour of sleep. If your kids are young, while you are looking forward to gaining an hour of sleep, you are likely dreading this change because we all know that even the smallest change can throw off your child’s entire sleep routine. A change in their sleep routine likely means a change in yours, and that is never good (unless by some miracle they are sleeping in). We have some tips and tricks to get you through the time change this fall.

Daylight Savings Time Tips and Tricks
Tip #1: Start early

Give yourself and your child time to adjust to the change. Instead of pretending that the time change won’t affect your little ones sleep, start preparing by putting your child to bed 15-minutes later each night for a couple of nights before the time change. If your child goes to sleep at 7:30, start by putting them to bed at 7:45 and then 8:00 and so on. If your child needs two nights per 15-minute change, then ease into it over the course of a week. If your child is still napping, don’t forget to change the timing of the naps while you transition, as well!

Tip #2: Routines are key

If you don’t know by now, I am all about a bedtime routine. While you start to transition make sure to keep your bed time routine consistent. We all slip a little on the bedtime routine from time to time, but this not the weekend to do it! Start with a warm bath, read a book, have a snuggle and then off to sleep.

Tip #3: Don’t forget the mornings

You might be so focused on getting your child to bed at night, that you may not have given thought to the morning! Try and keep your mornings consistent as well. Encourage you child to stay and play in their room, or leave your little ones in the crib for a bit if they wake up early. If you use a clock that communicates to your child that it is the night time or the morning, don’t forget to the change the time on the clock.

Tip #4: Take care of you!

We have a way of ignoring the clock and telling ourselves that it’s still the old time! Instead of deluding yourself, pay attention to the clock and go to bed at a reasonable time. You never know when the little ones will start calling for you, so you better be well rested!

Tip #5: No plan is perfect

Remember: We are all human! This means that no matter how much you plan, no one likes change, not even moms. Be patient, take a deep breathe and remember, that in a week or two, you won’t even remember that you turned the clocks back. Expect an extra temper tantrum here or there or some other unwanted behaviors and try not to misdirect any blame. The only one to blame here is Mother Nature!

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If you give a mouse a brownie (1)

As educators, we are always keeping up to date with the best books for our kids. There is nothing we love more than a trip to the bookstore to see the newest picture books on the shelves, then bringing them home to read to our children.

Oldies, but goodies

There are some books that we read to our kids that are just as good as when we heard them when we were children! I remember listening to If You Give a Mouse a Cookie over and over again. The story always sparked my imagination and encouraged it to run wild. Reading this book to my own children, years later, does the same thing and I love watching my kids guess what Mouse will want next! While Jonah is only 4-years-old, we have read the book countless times because when we finish reading the book, he always asks me to read it again. My kids are huge fans of the series and are no stranger to all of the characters: Dog, Moose, Pig and Cat.

When we put our teacher hats, this book brings forth classroom activities that stimulate language, mathematic skills and sensory-motor activities. I have used this book to bring families into the classroom as part of my school outreach program. Parents and children always see to get something out of this series and, of course, the children want to hear the stories again and again.

New release

We were thrilled to hear about the release of the newest addition to the series, If You Give a Mouse a BrownieMouse is back in this delicious new story in the #1 New York Times bestselling “If You Give” series, which has sold over 14 million copies, from author and illustrator duo Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond. This book is also the first one to feature Mouse in 14 years, which we couldn’t be more excited about! With its rhythmic text and circular tale, If You Give a Mouse a Brownie is perfect for beginning readers and story time for both my children. As we read the book over and over again, they are able to use the beautiful pictures to help them predict what will happen next.If you give a mouse a brownie

Books aren’t just for bedtime

Reading books is one of the best ways to interact with your children, but when you can take it to the next level of interaction, your kids really love a book. When the word “brownie” is in the title, you can just guess what’s coming next! After reading the newest addition to the series, we were in the kitchen in no time, mixing up our own batch of delicious brownies! Books bring families together and the list of benefits of reading to your children goes on and on.

If you haven’t read any of the books in the “If You Give” series, you are missing out! If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is a must, and as of October 18th, you can purchase If You Give a Mouse a Brownie to add to your collection.

We love the series so much that we will be giving away a copy of both books on the Savvy Sassy Moms Instagram account, along with a $50 Visa card for you and a friend to help build your library! Thanks to Harper Collins for sending us a copy of the books and providing the prize pack for the winners. Enter now by clicking on the image below.

If You Give a Mouse a Brownie Instagram Giveaway

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Everyone at this time of year is in back-to-school mode, including us doctors. While the house might be quieter during the day, I can tell you that both my office and emergency rooms across the country reflect what has come to be known as the “Week 38 Phenomenon.”

Asthma Flare Ups

Research has shown that hospitals see a sudden spike in emergency room visits for both children and adults who suffer from asthma in mid-September and the beginning of October, just where we are right now in the calendar, sees this flurry in flares. Why? There are a number of reasons why. Among them, viral respiratory infections begin to rise and kids in close contact at school spread these viral infections from one to another… then kids bring the infections home to their adults. In addition, there are also allergens in the air and children are exposed to children who may bring allergens on their clothing from home, such as cat allergen, dog allergen and the like.

Asthma  affects millions of kids and many do not have control of their asthma.  It is the number one emergency room visit for kids. About 25 percent of all children’s asthma hospitalizations are known to occur in the five week period after kids go back to school. Often over the summer, kids can become complacent about taking their asthma medication. Couple that with close crowding, virus transmission and allergens to create what many have called the perfect storm for an asthma flare.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a two-component disease. Many of the symptoms of cough, wheezing and shortness of breath are caused by narrowing or constriction of the bronchial breathing tubes that happens when the muscles around the airways becomes tight. Then, the airway lining can become swollen and inflamed leading to mucous production. This too narrows the airway.

Asthma triggers include air pollution pollen, certain foods, spray-on deodorants, perfumes, dust, exercise, tobacco, smoke, mold and pets.

Some of the signs that asthma is flaring includes the need of more reliever medication, a cough, nausea or light headedness, and difficulty in sleeping. The 30-second asthma test can identify whether or not you might be having a flare. This is a test developed by GSK that has been validated.

I think my child is having an asthma flare-up

Treatment of asthma is designed to reduce the inflammation on an ongoing basis with the use of inhaled steroid medication. This preventive medication is critical to ongoing control of asthma. Dilators can be long acting or short acting. There are many medications on the market to control asthma.

As a parent, it is important to make sure your child is taking their medication regularly. Often when a child feels better, they stop taking the medication. Your child’s teacher should be informed about management of asthma for your child including the use of rescue medication should they have a flare. Make sure you talk to your child about the importance of hand washing. Education for all is important.

Dr. Marla Shapiro is a family doctor and a specialist in preventive medicine and community health. Don’t miss her tips on how to prevent your kids from getting the common skin condition, molluscum contagiosum.

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Jenna, Lisa & the Savvy Sassy Moms Team
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As you get back into the swing of things and the excitement of the new school year begins to calm, the requests for extra-curricular activities begin to roll in. How do you know how much is too much, when signing up for extra-curricular activities? How can you tell where their talents lay?

Over Scheduling Your Kids

Let your children take the lead

If your children are asking for specific programs, let them lead the way. Don’t push them into your favorites… you should probably wait for them to signal their own readiness to try something new. I always thought that my daughter would be a terrific ballerina, but when she got to the dance studio, decked out in her adorable ballet outfit, she always sat on the sides — she really didn’t want to be there, nor did she feel comfortable.

If you see that your child is talented in a specific area, hone in on it. And if you see your child kicking and screaming at even the mention of going to a certain program, it is probably best to veer away. With that said, sometimes it’s the program that isn’t the best fit, not the activity. Last year, I took my son to skating and each week was a fight. He is so determined to play hockey, so I had to give skating lessons another try. This year, we tried a different skating school and he is a different kid! He looks forward to going every week and we can already see the improvement in his skills. Every program and teacher is different, so look at all of the variable before throwing in the towel.

After school doesn’t mean academic-free

If you see your child struggling in a certain subject at school, like math, it is probably best to include that as an extracurricular. Although it may be a war every week to get them to go, it will probably be worthwhile in the end. It’s also nice to sign them up for something they like alongside an extracurricular they don’t exactly enjoy, in order to balance things out.

Signs Your Child is Ready for Extra-Curricular Activities
Narrow it down

Give choices to your children. They won’t be able to do every program out there — with so many leagues, lessons and activities to choose from the choices are endless and trying too many activities might lead to failure. If your child is in kindergarten, you will be the one making most of the choices. Choose based on your child’s interest, listen to what they are saying they want to participate in as well as what you feel they will be good at and find a happy medium! Many programs have a trail class — take advantage of them to see if it’s the right fit for your child. If your child is older, they may feel overwhelmed with the conversations going on at school and all of the exciting options, which may make it hard for them to choose what to participate in without over-doing it. With that said, many programs are seasonal, so sign up for a session this fall and try something new in the winter!

Remember, it is also important to have quality time with your children. Children of today can often be seen talking about their busy itineraries and full schedules after school. Play still plays an important role in your child’s ability to foster relationships and understand how the world works around them. Some children need to be in a variety of programs to foster their needs and talents, but remember every child is different! Programs can instill skills that your child will have for life and may hone in on in their life later on.

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When I think back to Halloween when I was a kid, the first memory that comes to mind is pumpkin carving with my dad. We knew Halloween was close when my dad would spread a big garbage bag on the counter and invite us to get elbow deep in pumpkin seeds. It was the one night of the year where it was OK to make the kitchen messy (even though my mom trained us to keep it all on the garbage bag) and have some slimy, gooey fun! Together with my siblings, we decided what shape we wanted the eyes, nose and mouth to be and gave my dad specific direction on where to cut. As the years have gone on, and I now have children of my own, the tradition lives on.

Choosing the pumpkin

Halloween Tips for Parents

Picking the pumpkin is half the fun. In my own little family, we have extended the tradition by going to the pumpkin patch every October to pick the perfect pumpkins. When picking your pumpkin, look at all sides to see if one area of the pumpkin is just right for carving. Try to plan out what you will carve ahead of time so you know whether to pick a taller or wider pumpkin. In our house, we get a pumpkin for each child so that they can each choose what will be carved on their own pumpkins.

The art of carving a pumpkin

As you walk or drive through your neighborhood, don’t be discouraged about the detailed jack o’lanterns that you think you are not creative enough to make. I’m here to tell you that carving a pumpkin involves much less skill than you think! The most important part of the pumpkin carving process is the tools. Do yourself a favor and don’t even attempt to carve a pumpkin without a double-sided serrated knife. You’ve probably seen them sold in a set around this time of year. It will make it all so much easier! Here’s what you need to know:

How to carve a pumpkin with kids

  1. Once you have picked your pumpkin, cut off the crown of the pumpkin.
  2. With a big spoon, or a pumpkin scooper, remove all of the goodies inside. Note: Save the pumpkin seed and bake them later for a yummy snack!
  3. Once your pumpkin is clean, draw on the outside of your pumpkin with a dark colored marker so you know exactly where (and where not!) to cut. For your pumpkin faces and Halloween themed designs click for free printable stencils. Pumpkins don’t have to have to be Halloween themed, after all, doesn’t a pumpkin scream ‘Happy Halloween’ all on its own? Head over to Pumpkin Pile for pumpkin carving stencils of everything you can think of from Elmo to Superman and everything in between!
  4. Once you are done, put a candle inside and you are ready for your neighbors to come a knockin’!

Pumpkin carving with stencils

Wanna ditch the knife all together? Try painting on your pumpkin. You can paint silly faces on them, turn them into a character or just simply put a pretty design on them like chevron or polka dots. Spruce up your pumpkin with a Halloween decorating kit or become resourceful and borrow some of Mr. Potato Heads parts! Tattoos aren’t just for people… try some pumpkin tattoos for a quick and easy pumpkin transformation.

Last year, I carved Superman and a Ninja Turtle for our pumpkins and the year before Mickey and Minnie welcome our little trick or treaters! Follow us on Instagram and Snapchat to see what my children request this year.

What are you carving this Halloween?
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With the arrival of fall also comes the arrival of breast cancer awareness month, a significant month for so many women. For the month of October, there is an annual campaign that takes place to raise awareness, not only about breast cancer itself, but about the steps that need to be taken to detect the disease in its early stages. This campaign is one that is close to my heart as my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer more than 10 years ago. As she has told me many times, early detection is what saved her life. She always went for routine mammograms, and on an ordinary day during one of those routine checks, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After aggressive treatment, I am thrilled to say that she has been cancer free for more than 10 years.

Pink Lotus Foundation Logo

Many women find themselves in a position where they do not have medical coverage or are being declined coverage in their most vulnerable state. As you can see from my mother’s case, early detection is key in saving lives. While there are many nonprofit and for-profit organizations spending billions of dollars to find a cure, the Pink Lotus Foundation is doing its part to help women get the treatment they need until a cure is found.

What is the Pink Lotus Foundation?

The Pink Lotus Foundation is a nonprofit organization that enables low income, uninsured and underprivileged women in the Unites States to receive 100% free breast cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment services. Sadly, many women are left without care due to lack of or delayed care and this sadly results in many deaths due to breast cancer. To raise awareness, the foundation’s’ Executive Director, Andy Funk, who is also an Ironman triathlete, rode his bike 365 miles miles nonstop, alone, unsupported and unassisted from Los Angeles to Las Vegas – in under 24 hours. He rode through the grueling desert to support and raise funds for low income, uninsured and underserved women in need of breast cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment and support. Please watch the incredible video below.

How can you get involved in #savinglives? Almost all of us have been affected by cancer in one way or another. We have held the hands of those going through chemotherapy, we have nursed loved ones after a surgery or we have been a shoulder to cry on. However, many people have lost their loved ones to breast cancer and for them, you continue to support the cause so that others will live. There are many ways that you can help. You can make a donation, volunteer your time, or be an ambassador of #savinglives and spread the word to underprivileged groups and communities by letting them know that help is available. Every woman should have access to receive free care and The Pink Lotus Foundation is making this available to all.

This post is sponsored. All opinions are our own.

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As back-to-school becomes a distant memory, parent-teacher conferences are the next big item on the school days agenda. Whether you’ve come to love or hate them over the years as a parent, these parent-teacher conference tips will help you make the most out of your short time with your child’s teacher to help set them up for success for the rest of the school year.

Mrs. Savvy

How can I make the most of parent-teacher conferences?

So the question is, what do you really want to get out of parent teacher conferences? The teachers will be ready and prepared to discuss your child’s strengths and needs and will likely present samples of work that your child has produced over the past couple of months. You may even see some pedagogical documentation through video clips, drawings and photo images that are being collected to observe student learning. Teachers will have used rigorous, evidence-based data to present your child’s learning in the classroom.

Parent-Teacher Conference Tips to Make Them a Success

Parent-teacher conferences are a great time to create a shared understanding of student learning and how it has carried over into your child’s life outside of school. It is at this time that you will be able to see how your child is progressing and how the teacher is personalizing the learning to meet your child’s needs, as every child learns at their own pace and in their own way. To get the most out of parent-teacher conferences, you may want to begin by asking the teacher how they are supporting your child and what tips they can recommend. This will open the conversation and give the teacher a chance to share how the learning can continue in the home which can impact the progress in profound ways. This partnership can play a huge role in your child’s future success in the continuum of learning. It will also give your child time to practice the skills they are learning at school when they are in their home — when they have the opportunity to rehearse, revise and make mistakes in a non-threatening environment, like their own home, they can bring it back to the classroom to move their learning forward.

Parent-Teacher Conference Questions

One of our favorite questions to get and to ask at parent-teacher conferences is “Who is my child socializing with?” When our children come home from school and we ask them about their day, they typically answer, “It was fine.” When we ask the teacher who they find our children gravitating to, they typically have a good understanding of who they work well with in small groups, who they spend recess with and who they tend to partner with. This gives us a better understanding of how our children learn and who they learn best with. The teacher can also give us tips on how to progress social skills through additional after school programs where they see your child’s skill base.

Parent-Teacher Conference Questions

Be an active listener and hear what the teacher is telling you. You are there to learn about your child’s progress in school. We know you want to be polite and engage in small talk, but now is not the time — you only have a short window with your teacher! You may want to express a few points about how your child learns from previous experience or your child’s interest to help engage in learning. Try to establish an action plan and a line of communication for future conversations. Ask about challenges your child is having or needs so that you can work with your child at home.

What to ask at parent-teacher conferences

One of the most important things to remember throughout your child’s education is that your child is their own person. As we mentioned, every child learns at the own rate. In all of our years of teaching, we have always been asked the same question, “How is my child doing in relation to the rest of the class?” Our tip: Don’t compare your child to others. Instead, you can ask the teacher specific questions about how your child is developing in relation to the age appropriate curriculum. For example, “Is my child meeting the expectations in numeracy and data management?” or “Is my child picking up the skills to be a strong reader?” The more you ask, the more you will learn!

We know that it is never fun to hear that your child is having difficulty. Always remember that you can’t help if you don’t know what’s going on. So while you may be upset, remember to take a deep breath and ask how you can help. By having an open line of communication with the teacher, they will be able to provide you with activities to do with your child at home or strategies to implement so that you are all working as a team.

If you feel that there was not enough time at the interview (there never really is) try to schedule another time to talk, perhaps an email or telephone conversation in the near future.

Try to establish a positive relationship with the Teacher, your child will be with them the entire year.

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