Aug 272015
 

Tips For Making Homework Less Stressful

Homework has a way of being incredibly stressful on the whole family; however, there are things you can do to make it a whole lot less nerve-racking. Here are some tips for making homework time less stressful on the whole family.

Plan Ahead

It’s always nice to know what kind of homework will be coming home and when. I always try and communicate with the teacher when it comes to homework. Most teachers send an idea of what will be coming down the pipeline, which helps us prepare. It’s also nice to know if homework won’t be assigned on a particular day because this could be made into a “special” day!

Rewards are Always Welcome

Think about how many times in a day adult’s award themselves with something. It’s time to allow kids to award themselves for a job well done too! A week without fighting about homework? Let them pick their prize! Choose a reward system that works for your family and stick with it.

Stay on Schedule

It’s easy to remain stress free about homework when you know when it’s going to be done. Staying on schedule at a specific time with homework can help make this process a lot less stressful. Pick a time during the week that works every night. When a child knows what time they will be doing their homework it also takes a lot of guesswork out of their day. They know at 6 o’clock they’ll be doing homework so there’s no need to even question it. Continue reading »

Aug 192015
 

Everything You Need for a Date Night at the Drive-In

We have a list of things we do every single summer.  They’re kind of like traditions in our family and we always make sure we do them at least once every summer. One of the things on our list is going to the drive-in.  It’s such a fun way to watch a movie and it’s always a hit with the husband and kids.   When you’re planning a night at the drive-in, there are some things you will definitley need to bring with you to make your night a success. Whether you’re going on a date night with your hubby (or wife) or your whole family is in tow, don’t forget these essentials.

**Disclosure: Thanks to Breyers for sponsoring this conversation.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

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Lawn Chairs Continue reading »

Aug 182015
 

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

5 Ways to Help Your Child Transition from Elementary to Middle School

Is your child headed from elementary school to middle school this year?  In the town we live in, our middle school has grades 6-8 and my oldest son is transitioning in to 6th grade at the middle school this year.  It seems like there are a million things to do to prepare for the switch, but I have come up with a list of things that can help both you and  your child make sure you’re ready without causing any extra stress. Just keep in mind that middle school is a more complex environment than elementary school.

1. Visit the middle school

I know this isn’t an “aha” moment but you might be surprised at what visiting a middle school can do for the middle schooler’s brain. Also, ensuring your child knows how the school works is important. Nothing raises anxiety more than the first day of school than not understanding where classrooms are. Sometimes it’s also nice to see a school that’s not crowded with a ton of children in the hallways. If your school doesn’t hold an open house or walk-through day like ours does, call up the school and see if there is a time when you can take your child in to tour the school. Continue reading »

Aug 102015
 

7 Tips for Packing Successfully For a Move With Kids - massholemommy.comAt the end of August we are moving, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. Where we live right now is pretty toxic (not literally, but the lack of respect and issues we’ve had to deal with the past 2+ years would make make your jaw drop!)

So, we’ve had to start getting things ready to go. I’ve had to figure out some tricks to get things moving along, get the kids to help and organize what we need, what we don’t need and how to deal with the stress that comes along with a move, finding a new place, securing the new place, changing addresses, making arrangements for hook ups, etc etc!

I wanted to share with you, just in case you need to move sometime in the near future what I’ve learned that will hopefully make the moving process for us go a lot smoother from here on out, and maybe you too!

Arm Yourself With a Good Plan:
I need a plan for everything in life, moving was a big one. Sit down and write out a plan to tackle your budget, boxes, rooms, junk and where you will start and finish. Anything you think you may need to plan for, do it. Even if small, or silly. You just never know and costs add up quickly especially those unexpected ones! Continue reading »

Jul 142015
 

Surviving Spousal Deployment

This review was made possible by iConnect and Duracell. I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions are 100% mine.

If you’re facing a spousal deployment in the near future, it will no doubt be some of the hardest days and months of your life. However, thousands of people make it through this difficult time period, but how? Here are some tips to make it through any period of deployment.

Journal When You Can

Some of the best medicine on the planet for going through a hard time is journaling. Writing down how you feel and getting it all out is one way to combat those feelings. Whether you start a journal or blog, writing can help you document pictures and events during the deployment.

Make Sure You’re Financially Secure

Before your spouse leaves for deployment, make sure all the finances are in order. There’s nothing worse than dealing with debt and late bills than when you’re doing it by yourself. If you can, also make sure you have an emergency plan in place, just in case you come across an emergency situation and need the extra funds. Continue reading »

Jul 102015
 

Hatching Butterflies - What You Should Know

Watching a butterfly go through the stages of metamorphosis is an amazing experience. At least, that’s how I remember it from Kindergarten. I can remember the level of excitement in our classroom as we ran to peer into the converted milk carton every morning. “What’s it look like TODAY?!” we’d wonder.

A friend of mine gave my girls each a painted lady caterpillar in a small cup to watch it transform into a butterfly. “Oh good! Something educational and fun to watch in our very own home,” I thought. We set the cups on top of the counter and waited while the caterpillars ate through all the sugary substance inside the cup. The girls and I were so excited to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to our new family members every night. My darling cutie pies even named their little creatures after each other. It all seemed incredibly sweet until I realized something… caterpillars poop.

I started to notice all these little pellets piling up inside the little cup. “Ewwwwwww….. she pooped mom!” So, that was educational. I also started having nightmares of little spiky caterpillars crawling up my arms and I couldn’t stop them. They were a little tiny army I couldn’t out run! Suddenly, I realize there isn’t anything magical about this early stage of hatching caterpillars!

It took several days for the little wiggly things to crawl to the lid of the cup, attach themselves and hang in a letter “J” just as the instructions stated they would. It was time to transfer the little creatures to their habitat (a new, poop free cup). When I opened the lids on the cups there was a horrible smell and the cocoons seemed stuck inside of a fuzzy web. Not at all a glorious site (or smell). Continue reading »

Jun 302015
 

7 Fun Travel Games for Kids

Traveling as an adult is one thing because we know how to deal. However, traveling as a kid can get kind of boring. It’s important to make sure your kids are occupied as they travel, but how? Check out these 7 fun travel games that are perfect for kids.

Name That Tune

If your family is big into watching television, you might consider playing “Name That Tune.” When it’s your turn, you start humming the theme song to a show or movie. The rest of the car has to decide what show or movie the song goes to.

Nature Hunt

When you’re in a car there are limited things for kids to do and that’s why creativity is important. Depending on what part of the country you’re traveling in, a nature hunt from the backseat is a ton of fun. Everyone has to look for a new type of wildlife, tree, or flower. Everyone needs to keep a list of what they saw and at the end of each round, go over who found the most interesting objects. This game is also great for rest stops!

20 Questions

It may seem as though our kids already ask us 20 questions a day, but this game is a ton of fun in a moving vehicle. The main person needs to think of a subject and everyone else in the car takes turns asking questions about the object. The idea is to guess what the original object was. The objects in this game can be silly, fun, or serious! Continue reading »

Jun 282015
 

Small Disclosure

Summer sure did get here quickly! A summer BBQ is the perfect way to spend those glorious sunny days outdoors. Here are some awesome tips for throwing that perfect summer BBQ.

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Don’t Forget the Shade

Everyone loves some sun, right? Just make sure you provide your guests with a way out of the sun. Set up a nice tent or beach umbrella for people to get a break from the scorching sun.

Lots of Cold Drinks

Is there anything better on a hot sunny day than cold drinks? I think not. One of my favorite things to do for our guests is fill a cooler with ours and their favorite drinks. It keeps everyone cool, calm, and satisfied when they can grab something cold to drink while standing around chatting.

Add Water Fun

When it comes to BBQs around our house, we add some sort of water fun. There may be water balloons, a slip and slide, or even a little kiddy pool. You need to have the best entertainment for the kids, so they’ll let the adults have some fun too. Continue reading »

Jun 252015
 

fridge

**While this is a sponsored post, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way*

Do you ever feel guilty when you open the fridge door and you realize that food has gone off before you’ve even had a chance to eat it? If you’re a busy mom or dad, it’s quite easy to overlook certain food items when you’re prepping family meals – before you know it, the product goes in the food waste bin. But there is a way to make food last longer and it’s all about the organisation of your fridge and freezers. Because storing food in the right way really, REALLY makes a difference to how long certain types of food stay edible. Here are some top tips:

The top part of the fridge is for ready to eat items

Did you know that the top part of the fridge is the warmest part?  Place everything that is ready or nearly ready to eat here: milk, cheese, yogurts and leftovers. If things are going out of date quicker than you expect it may be that you need a new fridge or freezer – check out this Tesco buying guide for ideas.

Utilize the bottom of your fridge for fresh food

The bottom part of the fridge is the coldest – always store items like fresh and cold meats here. Wrap different types of meat separately and ensure that there is no air in plastic bags before you seal items. Continue reading »

Jun 232015
 

Why You Should Go Camping with Your Family

When was the last time you went camping with your family? If you haven’t gone in a while – or you’ve never gone, this summer may be the best opportunity to go! I recently enjoyed my very first camping experience and I wanted to share some of the reasons why I think you should go camping with your family. After all, you only live once, so making memories with the people you love is what it’s all about!

**Disclosure:  My family was invited as guests of GoRVing and Kampgrounds of America (KOA) to spend a weekend of fun at the Mystic,CT KOA. As always, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Since I had never been camping before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after my first time last weekend – I am now a firm believer that camping is good for the soul. As a novice when it came to camping, the lovely park model cabin that we got to stay in couldn’t have been a better way for us beginners to camp for the first time.

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And guess what?  These park models are actually recreational vehicles (RV’s), which are built on wheels so that even though they are intended to stay in one place, they’re portable.  If you are new to camping, these are a great way for families to get try camping for the first time.  I bet once you try it, you’ll be as hooked as we are now.

Have a look inside the cabin we stayed in: Continue reading »

Jun 222015
 

5 Small Blogging Tips That Are Just Good To Know - massholemommy.com

In the blogging world there are so many dos and dont’s. Some of which we don’t all know right off the bat – so it’s great to search before you do something if you aren’t sure but it’s also great to ask a fellow blogger their opinion. I have been blogging since I was 11 (I’m turning 30 in July, so you can do the math!) and I’m still learning as I go along….

But, I’ve also been helping a few fellow bloggers on the side. I don’t claim to know everything because I don’t and I’m still learning myself, but the things I have learned along the way I really strongly feel other bloggers should know, and the sooner the better… So, I’m sharing them with you today.

NOFOLLOW. When you are posting links make sure to always do NOFOLLOW posts if you want google to rank your blog. This is so important. It’s the best advice I ever got a few years back, and tell anyone I help with blogs – always use nofollow. If you don’t know what that means, or what the consequences are – please look it up. I’ve had quite a few people approach me to work with me but ask to use dofollow links (opposite of nofollow) and I’ve had to decline because I can’t risk my website. I won’t risk my website. Continue reading »

Jun 172015
 

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

road trip essentials for families

Ah, the family road trip. There is nothing quite like it. The preparation, the unexpected glitches and plenty of fun and silly times. A road trip creates memories that will last a lifetime. To make the most of your trip, you need a combination of preparation and a “roll with the punches” attitude, because the unexpected will occur, and is often what makes those memories.

walmart road trip bridge

Many of you already know that my family took an eight hour road trip from Boston to Washington DC this past April. It was our first major road trip and since it was such a success,  we’re planning a six hour road trip to Hershey, PA next month!  I definitely feel more prepared for future journeys after our first major road trip this year. If you are planning a trip this summer, here are some road trip essentials for families you won’t want to leave home without: Continue reading »

Jun 162015
 

After having a newborn, keeping the house clean can be a real chore. Let’s be honest, keeping the house clean is always a ‘chore.’ However, after having a baby, I seem to struggle with keeping the house as clean as I’d like.  Check out these tips for keeping the house clean with a newborn in the house.

*Disclosure: I received a free product in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way*

#1. Clear the Clutter

Anytime I can get rid of extra items in the house that we’re not using, I do! There’s something invigorating about getting rid of clutter that we don’t need lying around our home. I have found that this is one way I can help keep my home clear of clutter and make keeping the house clean a lot easier.

#2. Write Out a Schedule

I keep a basic schedule at home of when I will clean what. Of course, since a newborn dictates my schedule, it’s a very flexible schedule. I have found that if I write out what I need done, it’s much easier. For example—Mondays are my laundry days and Tuesdays are the days to get the vacuuming done.

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Continue reading »

Jun 092015
 

6 Reasons to Hire a SAHM

I remember the day I interviewed a mom returning to work after staying home with her kids for three years. She was ready, she was assertive, she had skills. I thought she was perfect for the job, but my boss at the time disagreed. Her reason, “her skills aren’t relevant anymore. All she has done is stay at home with kids for three years.” I felt like I took a dagger to the heart that day on behalf of stay at home moms every where.

At the time I was only a few months pregnant, and had freshly announced my pregnancy. When I rebuked my bosses comments she insisted I must be feeling sympathy for my “future self.” As in, one day I’d find myself returning to work after leaving my career to “just” take care of kids. I’d also be out of date, behind the times and irrelevant. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I owe her comments a great deal of credit for pushing me to find value in my skill sets as a stay at home mom.

6 Reasons You’ll Want to Hire A Stay At Home Mom:
 
1. Multitasking– the very nature of being a parent requires one to perform several tasks at once. If I can change a diaper while making an appointment with the plumber over the phone, I can certainly handle more than one office task at a time.
Continue reading »

Jun 082015
 

6 Easy Ways To Boost Energy Without Caffeine

**This is a sponsored post, but as always, all opinions are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

When the afternoon slumps kick in and you want to reach for a cup of java or a sugary snack, there are ways to kick start your energy level without the use of caffeine or sugar. Try one or more of these 5 easy ways to boost your energy the healthy way.

Exercise. Get up, take a walk, or do some light stretching. If you can, get outside and walk around the block briskly to not only get your heart rate pumping, but the fresh air can help wake you up. If you are indoors and can’t get out, get up and do some stretching or a few old school jumping jacks.

Meditate. Just breathe. Sit back, relax, and breathe in and out with your eyes closed. Clear your mind of everything and focus on just your breathing. Mindful meditation techniques like this can not only relax your body, but your mind becomes open and therefore your natural energy can increase.

Sleep better. Try a bedtime relaxation routine to ensure a more restful night’s sleep. Turn the TV off earlier, put the cell phone away, and decompress from your day. Try a cup of hot herbal tea and some light reading until you find yourself in dream land. Continue reading »

May 262015
 

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

Bouncy House Safety Tips

Here in Massachusetts we only get about three months of summer, so when that warm weather finally comes around, our family likes to take full advantage of it.  I’m talking beach days, trips to the zoo, picnics, playground play dates – you name it and there is a good chance we’ll be doing it come summer. Another thing I love about summer is that both of my boys were born during the summer. So every year I throw a huge joint birthday party for the boys and what outdoor summer birthday party would be complete without a bouncy house?

As much fun as bouncy houses are at a summer party, things can go awry really quickly if your kids do not know the rules or safety tips of using a bounce house. Check out these 5 bounce house safety tips to keep in mind this summer.

Bouncy House

#1. Feet First Continue reading »

May 202015
 

5 Ways to Celebrate Dad This Father's Day Without Breaking the Bank! Need an idea? Maybe two? Check out this great list of 5 easy, budget friendly from the heart ideas! - massholemommy.comYep! It’s already time to discuss Father’s Day! It’s right around the corner.

I have a hard time figuring out what to get my husband for Father’s Day. He’s picky, but also doesn’t use much so it’s hard to figure out just what to get him!

Here are 5 Ways to Celebrate Dad this Father’s Day Without Breaking the Bank:

Homemade From the Heart:
Pictures are always a great way to the heart of dad. Recycle an old picture frame, print off a great photo of the kids and create or find a heartfelt saying to add to the frame. This can be displayed in his office, or living room and remind dad how much his minis truly do love and appreciate him!

Make him his Favorite dish With the kids:
Surprise him with his favorite dish. Main or dessert. Get the kids to help as much as possible, or even just supervise them doing it all! Take photos too! Continue reading »

May 192015
 

7 Best Food Finding Apps

Did you know that May was National Hamburger Month?  Consider yourself informed. Cheeseburgers are pretty much my favorite meal and although I have my favorite places (Wahlburgers), sometimes I like to try burgers from other places.  Ok,  that is a total lie. I am obsessed with Donnie Wahlberg Wahlburgers burgers, but since I am not all that close to the restaurant (it’s about 40 minutes from my house), I am forced to get my burger fix elsewhere on occasion.

Love me some Wahlburgers!

Love me some Wahlburgers!

There are lots of restaurants around my neck of the woods, but if I am not having a Wahlburger, chances are that I want to find someplace new to eat.  Or what if I happen to be away from my home turf — how the heck would I know what restaurants are good where ever I happen to be?  Today, I am going to solve that problem and tell you the 7 best apps I have come across to help you find whatever kind of food you’re looking for. Continue reading »

May 172015
 

5 Frugal Travel Tips for Families

If you think that family travel has to cost a fortune, you are wrong! While you may not be able to take a luxury, around the world vacation for $1000, there are plenty of ways to have a memorable, fun trip to a great destination without having to break the bank. It is possible with some planning. Here are some frugal tips for family travel that you can use to plan that vacation you have been putting off:

1.  Do your homework. The best way to spend too much on your trip is to impulsively pick a destination and accommodations. By doing some extra research you can find better deals, places you hadn’t thought of, and free or discounted activities you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

2.  Airfare is a major expense, and often a roadblock to distance travel.  However, there are ways to take the sting out of this expense. There are many websites that you can visit for the latest advice on “travel hacking” your way to anywhere in the world. Continue reading »

May 142015
 

11 Hidden Disney Secrets

Are you a self-proclaimed Disney nut? There are so many secrets and tips to learn that you could never know them all. Before your trip to Disney Land in California or Disney World in Orlando, brush up on your Disney knowledge.

1. There are two lanterns in the window of the Hall of Presidents. These lanterns reference Paul Revere’s Ride, a poem about how the revolutionaries lit two lanterns if the British came by sea.

2. Want a behind-the-scenes peek of the park? There are underground and backstage tours that you can book. You can even check out Epcot Gardens, where hybrid fruits and veggies are grown, some in the shape of Mickey Mouse.

3. Wonder how staff members and the Disney cast get around the park without being spotted? There are underground tunnels that they use to move between different areas of the park. Otherwise, characters from Tomorrowland would have to pass through Frontier Land!

4. There are Smellitizers throughout Disney, which are machines that emit smells that are perfect for the specific area. For example, Main Street always smells like vanilla and baked cookies. The Pirates of the Caribbean line always smells salty, like water. Continue reading »