Mar 192015
 

**Disclosure: As a Verizon #VZWBuzz  #VZBoston Lifestyle Blogger, I’m a member of a pretty cool team of influencers who share information about mobile living.   I was provided a device at no charge and compensation for my participation.  There has been no editing by a third party, nor any promise of positive feedback.   All opinions are my own.

It’s that time of  year again, folks.  Two words: spring cleaning.  None of us love it, but it’s a necessary evil.  And, honestly, don’t you feel good when you’re little piece of the world is all spic & span?  I know I do, even though it usually only lasts for a couple of days (if that).

Off topic a little bit for a second, but a few weeks back I got a Droid.  I’ve always been an Apple girl, so I have been spending the last few weeks getting acquainted with my new phone.  A few weeks ago, I was sitting on my couch playing around with my new phone, a dust bunny rolled by.  Eventually I got up to pick the big old dust bunny up and throw it away, but before I did,  I thought to myself, “I need to make this phone work for me.”  And I did.

I decided to go into Google Play and search for apps that were going to make my life easier and help me get my house in tip top shape. I narrowed it down to seven of them, actually.  Here they are (in no particular order).

1. Spring Cleaning Checklist

This is a free app that has spring cleaning checklists for every room in your house.

Spring Cleaning Checklist App

This app literally covers everything in your house. I mean right down to cleaning your blinds and wiping down windowsills. Continue reading »

Mar 162015
 

Healthy Snacks for Hungry After School Bellies: Make them something good and filling that won't disrupt their dinner!My kids come home every single day starving. How? I’ll never know. Their lunches are completely full to the top of their lunch boxes, and when I say full I mean 5 snacks and a sandwich. Their lunches are full of healthy and filling foods so I just don’t get it. However, When they are hungry – they are hungry so what else can you do besides feed them?

Well, Lately I’ve decided to be a little more on the strict side when it comes to after school snacks. They get home from the bus stop around 3:30/3:35 and we usually eat dinner around 5:00-5:30 so I’d like to them to eat their dinner more than snack on a bunch of snacks.

I’ve come up with some idea’s for after school snacks, my kids just LOVE them so hopefully yours will too!

Tuna Cheese Dip with Crackers & Breadsticks – This is fairly easy and has nothing out of the ordinary in it. I use Dolphin Friendly tuna in water. Drain, Mix well with Mayo, Shred some cheese – put to one side of container, and serve surrounded by cheese crackers and mini breadsticks! Yum. They absolutely love this one.

tunaA Bento Full Snack - I love using Bento box type lunch boxes and having fruit chunks, veggies with dip and crackers ready for them! Sometimes I’ll cube cheese, put celery and PB in there or even just put out a bunch of things and let them fill their box, once that’s full that’s their snack. Continue reading »

Mar 062015
 

Making the Most Out of a Bad Situation: No one likes being left with a huge issue or situation especially if it's bad. With kids? it can seem even more extreme than we are used to, heres how we deal with it! - massholemommy.com

The past year or so I’ve really been pushed to my limit as a parent. My patience has worn thin and my temper has gotten the best of me. No, I’m not talking about my kids making me mad, or having no patience with my kids. I’m talking about things that involve my kids. School issues, to household occurrences out of our control that put my kids health or safety in jeopardy. I’ve been put to the test and I will say, I’ve cracked. The pressure has been way too much for this mama bear.

As you may be well aware, because I know even Robin has shared here how much snow she has gotten this winter over in Mass, well Toronto has been hit pretty hard too. Not with much snow, we are all pretty used to snow – but temperature wise, it’s been really awful. This February Toronto has been under quite a few deep freezes. So much so over 2,200 people have called into the City without water due to freezing pipes.

Guess what? We are one of them! Right now there are 400 homes without water. As of now we’ve been without water over a WEEK. Yes, a week. Our toilets won’t flush, our showers and bath tubs won’t fill up, we can’t wash our hands, or dishes. It’s been something I have never ever experienced before and I can’t say I’m too happy, my limits have yet again been put to the test and I failed miserably. Continue reading »

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 032015
 

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

5 Easy Steps Kids Can Take to be More Green

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 »

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 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 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 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 052015
 

5 Awesome Alternative Ways to Show You Care Everyday

I’m a firm believer that everyone should feel loved every day of the year. I know that everyone gets caught up “the every day.” However, this year I want to do something a little different. Instead of just celebrating love once a year (Valentine’s Day), I want to celebrate it every day! Here are five awesome alternative ways to show you care every day.

#1. Try Saying It

Sometimes we get so caught up in what we can buy a person that we actually forget to say words like “I love you” or “I appreciate you.” Instead of spending your life’s savings on something silly, try saying something meaningful with your mouth. If you’re not good at talking, I suppose you could write down how you feel, but who has time for that?

#2. Do Something Out of the Ordinary

What if you woke up and started your spouse’s car for them? We all know it’s getting a little cold out there and it’s not easy to get up and start the car in the morning. Show your loved one you care by doing something that’s out of the ordinary. Do something so radical that they won’t believe it’s you doing it. And yes, this is an act of love that you can do every single day!

#3. Don’t Yell at Them Continue reading »

Jan 272015
 

Monster Burger Fun Kids Meal

When it comes to eating, we are a fairly simple family.  Some of us are fussy, so there are only a handful of meals that everyone in the house agrees on that they like.  Burgers happen to be one of those meals. We all love a nice juicy burger in our family, but sometimes Chris and I like to have a little fun in the kitchen.  We recently made these monster burgers and the kids absolutely loved them.

The thing is, if you’re making a burger anyways, you don’t need anything extra to make these (well, unless you don’t normally have a jar of olives on hand).

All you have to do is cut “teeth” into your cheese slices before you melt them onto the burger in the pan. Continue reading »

Jan 212015
 

10 Insanely Clever Organizational Tips For The Home

Are you tired of a not so organized home? There are a few simple things you can do to make your home more organized than ever. Check out these ten tips for an insanely organized home.

#1. Spend time deep cleaning your house first, so you’re not dealing with a mess the whole time you’re organizing.

#2. Take everything out of the area that you are organized, get rid of the non-usable stuff, giveaway some of the items you’ll never use, and then reorganize the area.

#3. File important papers away in one area of the house, instead of having it spread all over the homestead.

#4. The closet? No one wants to organize the closet, but it’s time to tackle that beauty. Take everything out, get rid of clothing you haven’t worn in over a year. I always hang up my shirts and fold my pants. You can choose what works for you!

#5. Are you out of organizational spaces? Go thrift shopping to find some inexpensive organizational furniture you can up-cycle. You’ll be able to get organized and still stay on budget. Continue reading »

Jan 152015
 

6 Tips For the Picky Eater in Your Family

Does your child have a hard time eating the food items you’re making for them? My boys sometimes struggle with what I put in front of them, so I decided to try several different things.

#1. Patience is Key

I know that you want to move onto the next activity instead of watching your child slowly eat their peas, but you need to be patient. A child isn’t going to eat the food in front of them faster, just because you want them to. Try to be as patient as possible to make things easier for your child.

#2. Introduce New Foods

You may try 101 foods before you find a food your child will like, and that’s okay. I sometimes feel guilty for “wasting” food. Instead of feeling bad, I just make smaller portions now. If they love the food, I can always make more, instead of throwing tons of it out.

#3. Fresh is Best

It can be so tempting to give our children chicken, pizza, fries and lots of other processed foods. One of the best things you can do for your child is to offer them fresh foods. It’s healthier for them and you’ll love it if they grow up enjoying these types of foods.

Picky Eater

#4. Add Choices Continue reading »

Jan 102015
 

5 Winter Energy Efficiency Tips For Your Home

Are you ready to start prepping your home for the winter months? One of my “main” things during these winter months is to try and save as much energy as possible. I’ve learned that the more energy I can save, then the more money we also save in the long run. Check out these five energy efficiency tips for the home.

Use carpet or rugs on wooden floors.

If you have hardwood floors, it may be harder to keep your flooring warm. I always use carpet or rugs when possible because this helps to add heat retention, which means warm air will stay put longer.

Set your thermostat to 68 degrees.

It’s funny because in the summer time I keep the air conditioner at 72 but in the winter I keep the heat marked at 68 degrees. The heat bill seems to really add up during those winter months. I have found that keeping it at 68 degrees is a smart financial move. You can always put more clothes on while my house if you’re cold (just no taking clothes off, please)! Also, don’t forget to change your furnace filter at least every month. Continue reading »

Jan 082015
 

Have you ever gotten a delicious looking cupcake, you know one like this:

The Right Way To Eat a Cupcake #yum

You look at it in all its delicious glory and think to yourself “how the heck am I going to open my mouth wide enough to take a bite?”.  Unless you’re a boa constrictor, most people’s mouths don’t open that wide.  Plus, you end up getting frosting all over yourself when you try to take a bite.

So, here’s what I do:

I slice the cupcake in half. Continue reading »

Jan 052015
 

5 Tips for Prepping Your Vehicle for Winter

Getting your vehicle ready for winter is probably one of the most important things you can do over the next few weeks. Having your vehicle prepared for winter can give you peace of mind. Check out these five tips for prepping your vehicle for winter. Yes, girls care about this topic too! I mean, I haul my precious cargo around in my vehicle, I need to have it ready for winter.

Make sure the vehicle has plenty of fluids.

Just like any person needs fluids, so does your vehicle. You really can’t skip out on this part. Whether your car needs an oil change or needs windshield wiper fluid, this is a vital part of prepping your vehicle for winter.

Don’t forget about ensuring the tires are good to go.

Tires are one of the most important parts of winter driving. I know some people who get special tires just for winter. I just try to make sure my tires are nice and blown up for winter driving. The last thing I want to deal with is a flat tire on the side of the road with six feet of snow staring me in the face. Continue reading »

Jan 032015
 

5 Tips for Getting Back into a School (1)

I don’t know if it’s just our family, but getting back into a routine after vacation is really hard. It takes us at least a week to fully get back to normal. There are some things we do to help get back into a routine and I thought I would share those tips with you.

#1. Easy Does It

Some people love to come home, get everything unpacked and then relax. Our family prefers to just bring everything into the house and then slowly unpack. We’re not in a hurry when it comes to unpacking and getting everything put away. Do what works for you to help keep the stress to a minimum.

#2. Always Give Yourself a Day

You see, we try not to get back late at night and then head back to work and school. We’d rather have a whole day off to get back into the routine of things. My kids always seem to be well rested after they’ve had a day to recuperate from traveling or having a few busy days in a row.

#3. Skip the Fast Food

When we are traveling or not into a routine with school, it can be easy to eat out a lot. When it’s time to get back into the routine, we try and focus on eating at home and as healthy as possible.  Sometimes eating fast food can make us feel sluggish and give our bodies an even harder time of recuperating. Continue reading »

Dec 252014
 

Holiday Returns - 21 return policy links to your favorite stores

It might be the thought that counts, but you can keep the thought and still return the Santa brought you that you don’t like or need . Trust me, you won’t be the only one. If you’re like me, you’re probably itching to get to the store with (or without) the receipts and return the unwanted gifts. The most important thing to know before you get in line at the stores is the exact return policy. It’s going to save you time and quite possibly a hassle.

To get you started, here are the holiday return policies for a few of the biggest retailers.

Walmart
http://help.walmart.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/9/~/returns-policy

Game Stop
http://www.gamestop.com/gs/help/Returns.aspx

Target
http://help.target.com/help/subcategoryarticle?childcat=Return+policy&parentcat=Returns+%26+Exchanges&searchQuery=search+help Continue reading »