Mar 052015
 

**I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Reebok and Finish Line. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for participating**

Are you looking for ways to keep your kids active? It’s so tempting to allow our kids to stay inside to play video games and watch television, but it’s important for them to get moving! I wanted to share some ways you can keep your kids active around the house.

#1. Have a Dance Party

Nothing gets the body moving faster than a dance party. Plus, your kids will love the fact that they are getting in exercise without even really trying. You can have a freestyle dance party, or you can try and learn a specific dance together.

#2. Set up an Obstacle Course

Putting together an obstacle course is really simple, you just use what you have lying around your home. You can create an indoor obstacle course or put together one outside. Either way, your kids will have a great time completing and competing.

#3. Create a Drum Line

What little person doesn’t like to bang on items? Just like a marching band marches, allow your kids to create a drum line and begin marching around the neighborhood. Anything and everything can be used for drums. Use old pans, sticks, or anything else you can find. The most important thing is that your kids have fun.

#4. Play Silly Games

When it comes to getting active, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Playing silly games with your kids is one way to keep them active. Games like “Follow the Leader” and “Simon Says” are great games that kids of multiple ages can play together. Don’t be afraid to try new games that keep your kids active. You never know which ones they’ll love. Continue reading »

Mar 042015
 

Big Hero 6 Cupcakes Baymax Recipe

**Disclosure:  My family received a copy of Big Hero 6 on Blu-ray & DVD at no charge.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Have you ever wanted to make your favorite character from Big Hero 6, but weren’t sure where to start? We recently got a copy of Disney’s Big Hero 6 on Blu-ray & DVD and I wanted to bring Baymax to life for my kids while we watched the movie, so I put my baking skills to the test. You can make these Baymax from Big Hero 6 cupcakes too! Just follow along.

Supplies:

  • 1 or 2 cupcake pans
  • 1 box of chocolate cake mix
  • 1 tube of black icing
  • 1 tube of vanilla frosting
  • Cupcake liners

Big Hero 6 Cupcakes1

Here’s what you do:

1.  Mix the cake mix together as instructed on the box. Continue reading »

Mar 032015
 

5 Easy Steps Kids Can Take to be More Green

**This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #bringinginnovation #CollectiveBias**

Have you ever wondered how you can get the kids more involved in being “green” around the house? There are tons of ways you can help the kids of your home become greener. I can tell you that the first step in being successful in this area is modeling the following behaviors yourself.

Shut the Front Door

Literally! My kids will come inside and forget to shut the front door. If you stand beside our front door and the screen door is open, so much cold air pours in. I don’t know about you, but it’s extremely cold where we are and an open front door makes the house just as cold.

Energizer New EcoAdvanced Recycled Batteries Shut the Front Door

Recycle 

We go through a lot of plastics in our house and because of that we’ve started recycling. By reducing the amount of stuff the kids throw away, they are helping to not only be green around the house but for the whole planet.  Before you recycle it, is there anything you can reuse or repurpose?  Try turning something old into something new. Continue reading »

Mar 022015
 

Crafting With Kids- The Good, The Baahd and The Ugly

So here is the reality of crafting with preschoolers- not much of it is pretty. Things can get downright messy and sometimes the glitter and glue can get out of hand. After attempting this sheep craft I wondered how much of the ugly do we really get to see on Pinterest? (This is pretty ugly).

My husband and I laughed at this little sheep idea I had for Chinese New Year. I thought it would be great to have the girls dump glue onto a paper plate and smear it around with a paint brush.

Crafting With Kids- The Good, The Baahd and The Ugly1

Then use chop sticks to transfer the cotton balls to the plate (because the chopsticks make it so Chinese). Continue reading »

Feb 282015
 

Mint M&M Bark Image

I don’t know how it is in your family, but in my house, each of us have a major sweet tooth.  Sure, a bag of M&M’s can satisfy that craving on most days, but every now then isn’t it fun to go all out and make something a little bit fancier with your candy?  That is why I love this mint M&M bark.  It’s super easy to make and even more importantly, it will not only cure your need for something sweet, but it will totally take care of your craving for something savory, too.

Here’s what you need:

1 cup mint M&M’s
1 1/2 C. broken pretzel pieces
1 12 oz package of Wilton dark chocolate candy melts
St. Patty’s sprinkles (green & white)

Directions:

1. Line a 9×13 baking sheet with wax paper or foil. Spread 3/4 cup of the mini M&M’s and all of the broken pretzel pieces onto the lined cookie sheet. Continue reading »

Feb 262015
 

Age Approrpriate Easter Basket Ideas: without all the junk! who needs it anyway?? - massholemommy.com

It’s never too early to start thinking about Easter! It’s coming soon so I’ve started thinking about what I can do. What exactly do kids need in an Easter basket? Probably nothing, but what would they like? Every single year I go all out. Last year I started toning it down a little bit and making sure there was a lot less candy and chocolate involved in all Holiday’s and I try to shop as frugally as I can when it comes to Baskets, Gift Bags and Treats for special days.

What I will buy my 11 year-old I most definitely won’t buy my 5 year old or 3 year old, so there’s lists I make to ensure I fill up the baskets with age appropriate toys, books, trinkets and gadgets that they will actually use. So, I sat down and came up with some ideas after looking around the dollar store and two other stores.

Ages 1-3:

  • Board Books
  • Blocks
  • Bunny Stuffed Toy
  • Puffs Baby Food
  • Socks
  • Cars
  • Light up toys

Continue reading »

Feb 252015
 

GE

Dr. Seuss’s birthday is quickly approaching on March 2nd.  Can you believe he would have been 111 years old this year?  His books are timeless classics and my boys both enjoy reading many of his stories.

One of my favorite books growing up was One Fish Two Fish by Dr. Seuss. This book came out in the 1960’s and continues to be a huge hit today. I love taking the concepts of Dr. Seuss and turning them into something fun for the kids to do. The craft we did is a spin off One Fish Two Fish by Dr. Seuss.

Supplies:
Construction Paper
Various Color Paint
Glitter
Paint Stampers
Paper Plates

Directions:
1.  Spread paint out on paper plates. We chose to use red, blue, and green because those are the only paint colors we had on hand. Dr. Seuss would want you to use your imagination, so go ahead and give it a try! Use whatever paint you have on hand.
2.  Dip your hand in the paint. If your kids are younger, they will need some direction. Your “fish” can go to the left or to the right. Whichever you choose.

GE
Continue reading »

Feb 242015
 

5 Things to do in Mystic CT During the Winter

When you think of Mystic, CT, what comes to mind?  Boating?  Fishing?  Summer?

Sure, Mystic is a fantastic place for your summer vacation, but did you know that a visit to Mystic during the winter can be just as much fun? I know, you’re probably thinking – “Don’t a lot of things shut down for the winter?”  Well, the answer is yes and no.  There are a few shops and restaurants that only open for the summer in Mystic, but for the most part, everything stays open year round. Not only is it a great place for a romantic getaway, Mystic has some really fun, family friendly attractions as well.  My husband, Chris, and I spent this past weekend in Mystic and today I am going to share five things that you can do in Mystic during the winter.

1.  The Mystic Seaport

The Mystic Seaport is known as the Museum of America and the Sea. It includes three major components for people who visit: a re-created 19th -century coastal village with historic ships, a working preservation shipyard, and formal exhibit galleries.  The Mystic Seaport is located across 19 acres of land along Connecticut’s Mystic River.  There is definitely something for everyone at the Mystic Seaport.

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The preservation shipyard is something to see.  My husband and I got to spend a few minutes watching a really skilled craftsman use 19th century tools and techniques to preserve this historic wooden ship.  It was fascinating to watch. Continue reading »

Feb 232015
 

Gross Science Project

Recently, I have been hearing my oldest son, who is ten years old, start to talk about what he wants to do when he grows up.  I have heard a few different ideas floating around like becoming a chef, being an inventor and being a scientist.

I just want him to be happy with whatever he chooses to do with his life, but since he’s still so young, I figure I can take the opportunity to help him explore all of the things he’s been mentioning.  In addition to working together in the kitchen, my son has been busy inventing all sorts of things up in his room.  I also bought a few books with simple science experiments that we can do at home to help encourage his love of science.  My son zoned in on one activity in particular: making boogers.  Yes, boogers.

Have you ever wondered where boogers and snot come from? C’mon admit it, everyone has! Children and adults alike get boogers and snot from time to time; no one is exempt from these things. Snot and boogers are actually formed from proteins and sugars in our bodies, that mix and in turn become stringy. That my friend is where snot comes from. When those strings of protein harden, you have boogers. It is gross and fascinating at the same time! Find out more about how boogers and snot are made when you try this homemade boogers and snot recipe below!

Here is what you will need:
½ cup of hot water
2 packets of clear gelatin
¼ cup of sugar
Green food coloring
Spoon Continue reading »

Feb 212015
 

Homemade Snow Ice Cream Recipe

To say that we have had a lot of snow here in the Boston area is an understatement.  I am just south of the city and we currently have about 4 feet of snow on the ground here.  I wish I were exaggerating about the snow total, but sadly it’s not joke.  Since we’ve been trapped in the house a lot this winter, one thing we like to do is make homemade ice cream out of snow.  Yes, snow.  It’s super easy to make and the kids love it.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cups sugar
  • CLEAN Snow
  • Optional:  Food coloring and/or sprinkles

Continue reading »

Feb 192015
 

Krusteaz Brinner Night3

**Disclosure: Product was received at no charge in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Did you know that February is National Hot Breakfast Month? Well it is, and the folks at Krusteaz want to make celebrating this month a whole lot easier! If you are not familiar with Krusteaz breakfast mixes, now is the time to get acquainted. Krusteaz makes all sorts of breakfast favorites including pancake mixes, muffin mixes, and of course waffle mixes. In just minutes you can be enjoying a hot breakfast too!

Krusteaz Brinner Night5
Not a breakfast person? Then why not try brinner? You know, breakfast for dinner? Brinner is a fun way to switch up dinner time and treat your family to some of their favorite breakfast foods! Who says you can only eat pancakes for breakfast? In our home, we had an impromptu brinner night! For our brinner night, we cooked as a family and enjoyed our favorite Krusteaz mixes along with fresh fruit, juice, and sausage. The kids loved the change of pace, and the adults loved feeling like a kid again eating our favorite breakfast foods. The mixes were easy enough to prepare that the children could help with the stirring, so it made for a meal that was not only tasty but fun to prepare as well. I mean, who doesn’t love flipping pancakes? Continue reading »

Feb 182015
 

How to Create a Rockin' Kid Friendly Chinese New Year

Many of you may not know that one of our favorite holidays to celebrate as a family is Chinese New Year. I love it because it’s such a unique holiday that not everyone celebrates. It’s a time to break out of the bubble and celebrate something on our own.

Check out these 5 ways we celebrate Chinese New Year with our kids.

#1. History Lesson

You don’t have to agree 100% with everything behind the Chinese calendar to have fun with this holiday. I use this as a learning experience for my kids and we go through why Chinese New Year is celebrated. Buddha has a rich history and it is fun to read up on it.

#2. Fortune Cookies

Since we don’t know everything about Chinese New Year, we do what we love best. We make our very own fortune cookies. Of course, you know my history with cooking; things don’t always turn out right. We have fun coming up with our own fortunes. I will tell you the boys have come up with some very interesting fortunes in the past.

#3. New Chinese Recipe

Every holiday deserves FOOD! Our family finds a recipe that we’ll love and we try to make it every Chinese New Year. Everyone in the family has to try it, even if it doesn’t look appetizing. Over the years, we’ve made some very interesting Chinese concoctions. Continue reading »

Feb 172015
 

How to Help Your Child Through the Mid-School Year Slump

Most kids get the “mid-year slump.” It’s that time in the middle of the school year where they’ve had their fill. The holiday break seems to help with this slump, but it doesn’t solve everything. It’s important to take the time to address this issue and help your child through it, so it doesn’t become an even bigger problem later. Here are some tips to help your child through the mid-year slump.

Be Motivating

As much as you can, try to motivate your children to do their best. I don’t think a child ever gets tired of hearing “you can do it.” I try to remind my kids that they can do anything with a little perseverance. You might be surprised as to how motivating something like this can be for a child who has lost all passion and motivation.

Create an Incentive Chart

We all know that when we get a reward out of something, we’re going to do better. Well, the majority of the human race is like this anyways! I like to create an incentive chart for my kiddos. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, but a little incentive goes a long way! Continue reading »

Feb 162015
 

Quick, Easy & Cost Effective Ways to Minimize Bathroom Clutter

We have 3 bathrooms in our home but only two are working at the moment. The one in our basement well, no one uses it and the door stays locked. So, we have two bathrooms. One on our main floor, and one upstairs where all the bedrooms are. We have a family of 8, and a lot of stuff. All over the place, stuff. So what happens when 8 people use two bathrooms? Lots of organizing and keeping tabs! But, thankfully I’ve become quite a pro at making sure things are where they need to be and organized how I like them.

Not to say that others in the home do the same, because it’s been a struggle to get anyone to clean up after themselves in the bathroom (hello, socks don’t belong on a bathroom floor!)

Not everyone has the finances to build new bathrooms or expand current ones. So, here are my quick, simple and cost effective ways I keep my bathroom clutter to a minimum: Continue reading »

Feb 142015
 

Mardi Gras Mask Craft for Kids

Are you ready to celebrate Mardi Gras in your home? If not, take a peek below at this easy to make Mardi Gras mask craft for kids. During Mardi Gras, people swarm the streets in all sorts of masks, animal costumes, and other outrageous gear to celebrate. You can make your own Mardi Gras masks that are full of life in just a few simple steps. Here is how you can get started!

Supplies needed:
Sheets of felt
Scrapbook paper
Paper straws
Craft glue
Scissors
Optional: glitter, rhinestones Continue reading »

Feb 122015
 
Baby books are cute...until there are two to fill in.

Baby books are cute…until there are two to fill in.

Being a twin mom is hard. That first year is especially difficult as you adjust to the demands of two newborns. One of my challenges that first year was keeping up with recording everything in two different baby books. By the time I remembered to write things down the moment has passed and I couldn’t recall every exact detail. So, I switched to a calendar.

Calendars are great until your kids find where you stashed the pen.

Calendars are great until your kids find where you stashed the pen.

I hung both calendars right over the changing table so I would NEVER forget to document every sweet detail. Then I stopped documenting once the kids could reach the pen. *Sigh* Continue reading »

Feb 112015
 

***Disclosure: This conversation was sponsored by the OneDay app, but my love of it is all my own.  My thoughts and opinions were not influenced in any way***

Do you want to know something that drives me absolutely bananas?  When I whip out my iPhone to take a photo of my boys, who I lovingly refer to as the “gruesome twosome” and I get that pesky error message that says I can’t take my picture because the storage on my phone is full.

Grrrr!

As soon as I delete and/or archive my photos, I am back at it and before I know it, that error message is popping back up on my phone again.  And it seriously happens at the worst possible times, right?  You know what I’m talking about – preschool graduations, school plays, while both of your boys are in the Jedi Training Academy show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios…..yes, that really happened.

jedi training academy

So in case you haven’t figured it out yet, my name is Robin and I am addicted to taking iPhone photos. I mean heck, we are one of “those” families that travel to Disney World every year and I still can’t return from a trip there with less than 1000 photos.   They’re the same pictures year after year, but I just can’t seem to stop myself.

You’ve also probably noticed that I only mention taking photos, not videos.  I have always refrained from taking videos with my phone because of my photo storage paranoia.  I know that videos take up more storage and I do not want to go through the panic that I went through while my kids were in the Jedi Training Academy ever again.  I was in such a rush to delete photos that day (because the show my boys were in was already in progress) that I just deleted a bunch of things without really taking the time to look and see if I actually did want to delete them. I would have kicked myself for missing out on photos of them in their Jedi robes, so did what I had to do.  Believe me, the struggle was real. Continue reading »

Feb 102015
 

10 Incredible Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day Without the Candy

If you are looking to skip the candy this year in favor of some new traditions I have gathered 10 great ideas for you to pull from. From the simple to the more involved ideas you are sure to find some way to celebrate Valentine’s Day without going into sugar shock.

  1. Special breakfast- Tint pancakes pink with food color, cut out with heart cookie cutters, then fold bacon into a heart shape before cooking. What a loving way to start the day!
  2. Sweet notes- Tuck sweet love notes inside packed lunches don’t forget to finish it off with a lipstick kiss. (Skip the perfume- rose flavored ham sandwiches probably aren’t that great)
  3. Mini Spa- Draw a bath, light candles, add a decadent beverage- men and women can enjoy this non-sweet treat.
  4. Go homemade- A simple and thoughtful gift that you poured your heart into is an ideal way to show how you feel. Cards, photo frames, handwritten poem, or something else along those lines.
  5. Play Games-Set up a night with just you and your sweetie or a couples game night, gather your favorite games and snacks.
  6. Paint your heart out- Go to a pottery or canvas painting studio and create something for each other.
  7. Refresh them-Surprise your sweetie with their favorite imported beer or specialty wine to toast the holiday.
  8. Do dinner- Whether you go out to a nice restaurant, or cook it yourself, a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner is a great way to spend the evening.
  9. Hand out Tickets- Lottery, sporting event, ballet, or symphony- do something the other one loves even if it isn’t your cup of tea.
  10. Love coupons- Yes it may be a bit corny but I think it still works, who doesn’t love a back rub or a whole night of total TV control?

Celebrating V-day with your love bird can be fun without all the sugary sweets. What’s your favorite non-candy way to celebrate V-day?

Feb 092015
 

**This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and DripDrop®, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #DrinkDripDrop #DripDropHydrates  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV**

Stay Hydrated With DripDrop

If you know me in real life, you know that I workout a lot. I am almost always at one of the two gyms I belong to or working hard towards getting my black belt.  I have struggled with weight all of my life.  I have had my share of ups and downs, but I work pretty hard to keep the weight off. Like I said, the struggle is real and I totally get it. All in all, I would say that I am living a healthy lifestyle, but it took me a long time to figure out what I was doing when it came to losing and maintaining my weight.   Here are a few of the tips I have learned along the way.

  • Start each day with a healthy breakfast.  It starts up your metabolism for the day and helps you burn more calories.
  • Eat well.  That food pyramid is set up for a reason – follow it.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water every single day.
  • Get your Zzzz’s. There are a million studies out there that confirm that getting enough sleep is beneficial in our overall mental and physical health (which includes our waist size)!
  • Make getting regular exercise a priority.

That all makes sense, right?   I try to stick to those general rules and I feel that by following them, I stay at a fairly comfortable weight. They are all pretty simple to do and if you do all of those things, you will be well on your way to living a healthy lifestyle, too.

I had been going along on my merry little way, but then in December, this happened:

IMG_7056

I was doing a kick one night in my krav maga class and landed wrong.  All of the sudden I felt something pop and an MRI a week or so later confirmed that I had ruptured one of the muscles in my calf. Not only did I get to wear that super cool walking boot for about six weeks while it healed, I wasn’t able to workout – at all. Continue reading »

Feb 072015
 

In case you live in the area and hadn’t heard, The Great Wolf Lodge opened here in New England last spring.  Ever since it opened, my kids have been asking and asking to go.  You see, they play an unusually high amount of television ads for the Great Wolf Lodge, so if you watch tv at all, like us, you’ve seen hundreds of commercials for it. I’m not exaggerating.

Anyhow, last weekend we finally got a chance to check it out.  The boys were beside themselves when they heard we were going.

IMG_7083

IMG_7081

There are over 400 rooms at the Great Wolf Lodge and there are several room options, but we stayed in a family suite.  Our room had two queen beds, a a twin-size sofa-sleeper, a microwave, a coffee maker and a 32″ TV. Continue reading »