Jul 252014

25 Gluten Free Snacks

With so many people these days realizing that a lot of their health problems have to do with Celiac Disease or Gluten Allergies it is becoming more common to see Gluten Free listed on foods and in restaurant menus. Unfortunately, it still takes some work and understanding to come up with easy to snack on gluten free foods. Here is a great list of 25 Gluten Free Snacks for you to choose from to satisfy that need for something crunchy, savory or sweet without causing discomfort.


Greek Yogurt: Pair with some granola or fresh fruit for a hearty snack or on it’s on for a boost of protein in your diet.

Fresh Fruit: Fresh fruit of any variety is always a healthy option. Bananas, apples and oranges are easiest to pack on the go and in lunch boxes.

Hard Boiled Egg: Hard boiled, deviled or scrambled with some fresh veggies they are great high protein no gluten snacks.

Hummus with Veggies: Make your own or grab ready made and serve with celery, carrots, cucumbers, snow peas, broccoli or cauliflower. Make sure to read labels because gluten sneaks into many processed foods without notice. Continue reading »

Jul 242014

10 Ways to Clean With Lemons

There are a ton of cleaning products on the market, and you’ll notice that many of them include lemon on their labels. There is a reason for this. Citrus fruit, particularly lemon is a powerful cleansing agent that disinfects, breaks down grime and smells amazing. The good news is that you can get all of the benefits of lemon as a cleanser without all the harsh, unsafe chemicals that come in store-bought cleaners. Coupled with another powerful and natural cleaner such as baking soda, lemon can get rid of soap scum, hard water and mold, as well.

Here are ten ways to clean with lemon:

1.  Clean and freshen your garbage disposal by cutting up a lemon, running the hot water and then running the disposal. Continue reading »

Jul 212014

6 Ways to Nix Sibling Fights This Summer

Has the bickering and fighting already started? If you don’t figure something out soon, you might not be able to keep your sanity this summer. Check out these ways you can nix the constant battling between the siblings.

#1. Getalong Shirt

You may have seen this “getalong” shirt floating around, but I’ve heard it actually works. When the kids start fighting, stick them in a huge shirt. This will make them find a way to get along or stay miserable for a long period of time. It might only take one or two times of being put in this shirt for them to get along.

#2. Summer Challenge

It can be hard to stress the importance of getting along as siblings. Natural fighting is going to occur, but you must put an end to summer bickering. You can do this by promoting a summer challenge in the family. This encourages no fighting, if you fight, you have to complete a task on the chore list. Moms have the power to make pretty long chore lists. Continue reading »

Jul 202014

DCF 1.0

Summertime is notoriously the worst time of year to book a flight. Prices skyrocket as more people travel, but you don’t have to just accept that. There are many ways you can save money on airfare this summer with a few tips from industry insiders and seasoned travelers.

1. Buy your tickets on Tuesday

Does this surprise you? Airlines, in general, offer sale fares on Tuesdays at 3 p.m. If you can hold off until then, you can get the best deal on your flight. But don’t just stop at one site!

2. Shop around Continue reading »

Jul 182014

7 Tips for Beating the Summer Heat

When the weather gets warm, everyone wants to be outside. Whether you are outside for your job or for fun, you may want to learn a few tips on how you can help beat the summer heat.

1. Wear clothes that are light colored and made of light fabrics. Dark colors absorb heat. Just by wearing darker colors, you could be raising your temperature several degrees before you even begin any activity. Choose lightweight fabrics that can breathe. Cotton is a great choice, as are synthetic breathable items like fitness wear that wick moisture away from the body. Continue reading »

Jul 162014

Beach Essentials For Families

Now that the weather has warmed up, summer is in full swing and that means picnics, camping, cookouts and my personal favorite thing about summer - the beach! These are the activities that make it Summer, and make for great memories. Taking the kids to the beach can be so much fun, but if you aren’t properly prepared, it can end in sunburns and tears.

To get the most out of your day at the beach, and to keep everyone safe and happy, here is a comprehensive list of what you must have with you. Keep in mind that the list may vary depending on the ages of your children, but there are some things that will apply regardless of age:

  • Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. And hats. And protective clothing. Kid skin is delicate, especially if your children are fair-skinned. Come home from the beach with sea shells, and maybe some sand, but no sunburn!
  • More towels than you think you will need. Continue reading »
Jul 142014

5 Tips to Making Travel and Exercise Successful

If you love to exercise, but are about to travel, you may need some new tips. Making exercise and travel work at the same time is possible. Here are some tips:

#1. Park Further Away

You may not get a lot of chances to exercise while you’re on vacation, but you can make small choices that really add up. For example: parking further away from your destination and walking is one way. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is another. Of course, also making a conscious decision to watch what you’re eating during the day can also help limit the amount of extra stairs you need to climb.

#2. Walk Everywhere

Sometimes we have the tendency to think that we should be a little extra lazy on vacation. However, walking everywhere is truly one way you can make exercise and travel successful. You don’t have to feel guilty about the extra bites of food you took if you walk around town everywhere. Plus, when you walk around the beautiful city or location you’re visiting, you actually get to enjoy what’s going on around you. When you walk, you can take better pictures, smell the yummy smells, and get a better view. There may be an opportunity to hike wherever you’re vacationing. Don’t be afraid to do a quick search to see what hiking options you may have. Continue reading »

Jul 132014

Beach Vacation Tips -  What You Should Know About Sharks

Virtually every family will visit the beach for summer vacation at one time or another in their lives and few will do so without thinking of sharks. Thanks to movies like Jaws, sharks are now feared beyond all reason. While sharks are certainly dangerous in the wrong circumstances, the odds of a person being attacked by one is miniscule. Still, there are plenty of things you can do to mitigate the odds of being attacked. Here are some tips to give you confidence to go into the ocean without fear of sharks:

Know when to swim – Sharks are most active at dusk, dawn and night. This is when they ramp up their feeding behavior and start looking for food. If you swim during these times, you have a much larger chance of being mistaken for a food source. By the way, the shark does generally hunt people as a food source. If you are bitten, the vast majority of them time it was an accident or investigation. Sharks bite to see if something is edible. Continue reading »

Jul 072014

5 Ways to Keep Kids Learning this Summer

It’s summertime, doesn’t this mean poolside relaxation? All adults wish that was the case, but you need to keep your kids learning this summer. Here are five ways you can keep your kids learning, but still have a few moments to yourself by the pool.

#1. Computer

You’re not a bad mom or dad if you use the computer to teach your kids a few learning skills. There are awesome websites out there that simply teach our kids better than we can. Starfall.com and ABCMouse.com are great websites for preschoolers. Your school might even have a few recommendations for ideal learning websites. If you think a computer might be too much, just set a timer and only allow the child to use the computer for that amount of time.

#2. Adventure

Taking your children to see people, places, and things this summer is one way to keep them learning. There are plenty of free places to visit, so don’t fret about money. Exposing your child to different learning environments will help them greatly in the long run. Visit zoos, children’s museums, parks, libraries, and the occasional water park for optimal learning opportunities. Continue reading »

Jul 042014

DIY Patriotic Star Bunting Banner

Are you having a cookout today for the 4th and in need of a few last minute decorations.  This quick craft is super easy, inexpensive and will liven up any 4th of July party!

Patriotic Star Bunting/Banner Craft Materials:

*1 24 ct. package of Patriotic cupcake liners. I found mine at Dollar Tree for only $1.00 each.

*1 roll of twine

*single paper punch

*scissors Continue reading »

Jul 032014

4 Helpful Tips for a Successful Picnic

One of the beautiful things about the nice weather is the ability to get outside and eat in the manner that the Italians call al fresco, which means to eat outside. Around these parts, though, we usually refer to it as a picnic. How should one go about having a successful picnic? Here are four important subjects to consider.

1. Where to Have the Picnic? ­

When I think about having a picnic, the first  location that pops into my mind is under a shady tree, but there are so many other options.  Parks, beaches, even a rooftop can be the perfect setting for your picnic. Perhaps the easiest way of choosing a location is considering how far you wish to travel and/or the distance from your home. Try using online maps (I use Google maps) that display everything within a given perimeter and you can choose from there.

2. Who to Invite? ­ Continue reading »

Jul 022014

10 Patriotic Decorations

I don’t know about you, but I can hardly believe that the 4th of July is almost here.  I love to decorate my house for as many holidays as possible, but sometimes the holidays sneak up on me and I don’t have time to run out & buy decorations – so I make them.  Here are ten of the cutest red, white and blue decorations that are not only super cute, they are easy to make, too!

Patriotic Star Art | Organize & Decorate Everything

10 Patriotic Decorations Star Art

Patriotic Favor Bags | The Country Chic Cottage Continue reading »

Jun 302014

10 Fireworks Safety Tips

As we get closer to the Independence Day holiday on July 4th, it is time to start thinking about fireworks and safety. Although many areas now prohibit the use of fireworks within city limits or select subdivisions, there are still a lot of areas where it is okay to shoot off fireworks in your own backyard. This year don’t take chances, instead take not of these 10 Fireworks Safety Tips that will help protect your family while giving you a chance to enjoy fun holiday celebrations.


ALWAYS SUPERVISE CHILDREN & TEENS. No matter how knowledgeable or responsible your kids are it is never a good idea to leave them unsupervised with fireworks or fire of any kind. Always be mindful of where they are and what they are doing with the fireworks. This applies even to the use of sparklers that are common for children to handle by themselves.

ONLY SHOOT FIREWORKS IN CLEAR AREAS AWAY FROM HOMES, TREES OR FLAMMABLE OBJECTS. While it may sound fun to stand in your front yard right next to the house to shoot off Bottle Rockets and Roman Candles it is very dangerous. Taking the chance of a firework landing in an area that could end up catching on fire is never a good idea. The best locations to shoot fireworks are large open areas where the remnants that fall from the sky can be easily located. Continue reading »

Jun 292014

10 summer outdoor games and activities

Summer time is just around the corner! I have been on the hunt for some fun outdoor games and activities! I have put together a great list that the kids are sure to love! From Lawn Twister to Capture the Moon, I can not wait to try them all! How fun would a Trike Car Wash be for the little ones? Can I go through it myself? Some of my best memories as a child are the things I did with my friends & siblings outside in the summer time. I am ready to help my children create some of those memories, too.

  1. Lawn Twister
  2. Glow in the Dark Baseball
  3. Glow in the Dark Bowling
  4. Jumbo Scrabble
  5. Water Balloon Pinata
  6. Cold Potato
  7. Capture the Moon
  8. Water Balloon Target Practice
  9. Glow in the Dark Ring Toss
  10. Trike Car Wash

What are some of your favorite outdoor summer activities?

Jun 232014

Summer Staycation Ideas

Need a getaway, but you can’t leave town? Take a staycation! A staycation is a vacation, except it doesn’t involve having to pack your bags and leave home. There are different variations of this. Some staycations are taken completely at home, and some involve multiple day trips to nearby areas, or even an overnight outing in a local area.

Just like a traditional vacation, a staycation is best when planned. Researching local activities, deciding on a budget and getting the family involved can help make your staycation a success.

The next time you have a few days off, but for whatever reason you can’t leave town, try a few of these summer staycation ideas for easy fun and relaxation! There are ideas for every budget, and many of them are free! Continue reading »

Jun 042014

3 diet myths that don't work- and 3 that do!

Losing weight isn’t easy, but if you are buying into diet myths you may actually be sabotaging yourself. Don’t listen to bad info, and instead diet the right way (even if it includes a few myths you don’t think should work). Here are the three diet stories that you shouldn’t fall prey to, and three you should definitely attempt.

Myth 1: You can’t eat anything after 6 pm. Continue reading »

May 262014

summer scavenger hunt ideas

Summer vacation is always a much anticipated time for both kids and parents. No school, warm weather and sleeping in! Inevitably though, after a week or so the phrase “I’m bored” starts becoming a daily lament. Prevent boredom before it starts by having a “bag of tricks” up your sleeve. There are tons of activities that kids and parents alike can do to stave off summertime boredom. One such activity is a scavenger hunt. If you have never done one, you are missing out. Here are some summer scavenger hunt ideas that will keep your kids busy and engaged whether they are hanging out at home, on a long road trip, or at a park or other outdoor space. Continue reading »

May 252014

How to Exercise Safely in the Summer Heat

If you’ve been cramped up all winter waiting for summer to get outside and get active, now is the time to cash in on the promises you made to yourself. Exercising outdoors is invigorating but can also be dangerous if you are not equipped properly. Here are some tips to keep you safe.


Running is one of the most popular outdoor activities and it is a lot of fun to run outside. Let’s face it the thud of a treadmill quickly loses its attraction! Many people don’t even think about how the heat may be affecting them when they take to the road. However, even if you are used to being outdoors, extremes of temperature combined with your condition on any particular day can spell disaster. Always take steps to protect yourself, such as carrying enough water, wearing proper sun protection such as a hat, sunscreen and clothing, and mixing up direct sun exposure with shaded paths.

No matter what kind of exercise you plan to do here are some tips to keep you safe. Continue reading »

May 182014

Tips to Keeping Bugs at Bay So You Can Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Sunshine, warm weather, outdoors, and lots of fun… and bugs! Just the thought of the bugs and the bites is enough to make someone cringe about being outside during the summer, but it doesn’t have to ruin your plans. Keep bugs away and still have fun outdoors with these simple tips.

Clean up around your house and yard

One of the simplest ways to keep those bugs away from you is to not attract them in the first place. Any heaps of trash, standing pools of water, or openings in your home that could allow bugs to enter should be cleaned up to not attract those pesky creepy crawlers.

Keep yourself clean, but not fragrant Continue reading »

May 072014

20 last minute teacher appreciation gifts

In case you weren’t aware of this, Teacher Appreciation Week is this week!   Don’t sweat it if you didn’t know about it or had a mommy brain moment and it slipped your mind.  Here are some great last minute creative and adorable gift ideas for your little star students to wow their teacher with!

Teacher Snack Gifts

Teacher Supply Holder And Bottle Cap Magnets

One In A Melon
Continue reading »