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 032015
 

DIY Homemade Bug Spray

Here in New England, the majority of our year is cold.  We get spring for a few weeks in May and then it goes right into summer for the months of June, July and August.  By mid-September, the weather is already starting to cool off again.  After the brutal winter we had here in Boston this past year, I couldn’t be happier that the warm weather is finally starting to make its way up here.

I am totally a summer girl, too.  I love everything about it.  As someone who is always cold, I am all for the heat.   There’s one thing I hate, hate, hate about the warm weather, though.  Bugs.  I am such a scaredy cat when it comes to bugs and if I see one in my house, I will stand there and scream until my husband comes running with a tissue to kill it.  Of course, that doesn’t work out so well for me when I am home alone, but I digress.

I live in a woodsy area, so there is really nothing I can do about the bugs except try to repel them as much as humanly possible.  The thing I don’t like about most bug repellents that you buy at the store is that they are filled with harmful chemicals. With two little boys and a dog running around the house, I can’t be spraying chemicals everywhere. That forced me to look for a more natural solution and today I am going to share it with you.  It’s super easy to make and it smells awesome, so you won’t mind spraying it around the house or on yourself. Continue reading »

Apr 302015
 

10 Perfect Foods for Snacking on Road Trips

If there are two things I love in this world it would be road trips and snacking. When it’s time for us to head on a road trip I have to pack my favorite snacks. Of course, I can’t forget the kiddos favorite snacks either. Speaking of road trips, my family just got back from a big road trip last weekend (an 8 hour drive each way to and from Washington DC), so I spent a few days rounding up everything that we like to munch on before we left for our trip. I have found that the following ten foods (and beverages) are perfect for snacking on road trips. Your vehicle may not like you, but your family will love you.

1. Nuts – if you do not have any allergies in your family, then nuts make the perfect snack food for traveling. I like to make a variety trail mix for our road trips that often includes nuts.
2. Berries – I love junk food no doubt, but I’ve also found that berries tend to be a great snack for road trips. The more added sugar I eat while traveling, the worse I feel, which is why I choose to eat something healthy like berries.
3. Cereal – if you want something quick and easy for a road trip, then consider cereal. Cheerios, Trix, Berry Crunch, and all of those yummy cereals make a perfect crunchy snack for the road.
4. Veggies – I love taking veggies with us when we travel. I’ll buy a huge bag of carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower and make pre packaged veggie bags. We love ranch so I also buy those little ranch packs to bring with us to help make the veggies a little more flavorful. Continue reading »

Apr 292015
 

grocery shopping with little kidsGrocery shopping is not at the top of my list of happy places. But, I like to eat so therefore I must go grocery shopping. How I’ve grocery shopped has significantly changed since having kids. I have used grocery delivery services, shopped under cover of darkness, taken only one kid with me, and even tried shopping as a family. Now I just take them both with me.

I was terrified taking twins shopping by myself. I have heard so many horror stories of moms bailing on a cart full of groceries and everyone leaving in tears. I see so many kids throwing themselves on the floor screaming because mom said “no” to a precious, life affirming toy they want. I did not want any of those things. So, I devised a plan and executed it with military like precision.

Here are 5 Tips for Shopping With Little Kids:

1. Keep their eyes on that prize. As soon as I found a store that gives kids balloons for free I completely used that to my advantage. The second we walk in I point to the balloons at the customer service counter and say, “see they only give out balloons to kids who aren’t screaming or crying. Do you want a balloon? Then we need to listen, follow directions and use our manners.” BOOM! Now if anyone so much as whimpers I hold that balloon idea hostage. Continue reading »

Apr 272015
 

Spring Cleaning Tips to Keep Things Fresh and Organized: Quick and Easy to get the jobs done! - sixtimemommy.comIt’s that time again! The weather is changing and it’s time to get things around the house organized and ready for the nice warm weather! At my house that job never seems to be done but, I find if I plan to do my Spring Clean out and Winter Clean out way ahead of time I usually get it done much quicker. Having a plan of attack is really necessary for me, I forget everything and seem to have developed a scatter brain the older I got, and the more kids I had! If you are anything like me this just may help!

These 5 tips have helped me get things done quickly and efficiently. No real tricks, but I go down the list in order and it works for me! Maybe it could work for some of you!

1. Clean out the Closets:
We have so many people in our house cleaning out closets can take a few days. But it’s necessary. Rotate the winter for the spring clothes. Put away the costs, hats and boots. I organize in tubs, label the lids and tuck away.

2. Go Through Cupboards:
I find over the winter months I get many containers that are winter themed. Snowmen, wreaths, even Santa. It’s time to tuck them away and organize all the Tupperware, food that’s been piling up (canned soups, etc!) inventory what you have, what you need and what can be tucked away or donated! Continue reading »

Apr 272015
 

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

5 Ways to Sneak in Some ME Time

Before I had kids, I knew that being a mom was more than a full time job, but it took me actually doing the job to realize the true meaning of that statement.  Don’t get me wrong, I love every minute of it, but having kids is a lot of work.   I have been on the go non-stop since I had my first son ten years ago.  Literally.

I have to make sure my boys are fed every day.

IMG_7454

And don’t even get me started on the insane amount of laundry I do in this house.  Every. Single. Day. Continue reading »

Apr 242015
 

30 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas That Won't Break the Bank!

Can you believe Mother’s Day is rapidly approaching? This is the one day of the year that we get to honor our moms. Just like any other holiday, the media gets a hold of it and turns it into this expensive holiday. It’s important to honor your mother on Mother’s Day, but you don’t need to spend a fortune doing it. Check out this list of 30 frugal Mother’s Day gift ideas.

1. Make a homemade card for mom.
2. Pick a bouquet of homegrown flowers
3. Upcycle an old t-shirt into a scarf
4. Make a coupon book for things she loves and adores (cleaning?)
5. Create a craft using your hand print
6. Put a play on for mom
7. Tell mom how much you love her with a letter.
8. Upcycle an old picture frame by adding your own decorative touches.
9. Head to the dollar store to put together a spa gift basket Continue reading »

Apr 222015
 

Rock Your Next Roadtrip With These 10 Apps

Roadtrips can be a lot of fun – if you plan in advance.  Aside from stocking up the car with Mad Libs, snacks and portable chargers for all of your devices, did you know that there are some really helpful apps that can help make life on the road a bit easier?  We’ve all heard the saying “there’s an app for that”, right?  Well, it’s true.  I just survived an eight hour road trip with my family this past weekend and here are a few of the apps that I downloaded onto my Droid that helped us along our way.

1. Waze

Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. You can join drivers in your area who share real-time traffic & road info to save time, gas money, and improve daily commuting for all.

In addition to just looking up the traffic in your area, you can also actively report accidents, police traps and other hazards you see on the road. Get road alerts along your route and find the cheapest gas prices around you shared by the community. Plus, you can add friends, send locations or keep others posted on your arrival time.

Note: Continued use of GPS running in the background can dramatically decrease battery life. Waze will automatically shut down if you run it in the background and haven’t driven for a while.

Download this free app on Google Play here!

2.  Spotify

What is a roadtrip without great music? With Spotify, you can listen to artists and albums, or create your own playlist of your favorite songs. On Spotify, you can even get personalized recommendations.

Spotify is free and you can play any artist, album, or playlist on shuffle mode

Get it for your Droid here. Continue reading »

Apr 082015
 

Girl Playing With Pet Spaniel Dog Outdoors In Garden

Do you have an animal-loving kid on your hands? If so, you should consider getting your child involved in activities at your local animal shelter.

Many parents are surprised at the array of programs that many shelters offer for kids of all ages. And, there are lots of things, big and small, that kids can do to help the animals.

Make Treats or Cards

Kids can make all kinds of projects, like toys, treats and more, to help animals in a shelter. Some shelters ask for kids’ help making frozen treats at home that they can deliver to the shelter pets.  Your child can also make thank you cards the shelter can give to adopters when they give a dog or cat a forever home. Homemade toys are another popular item kids can make. Check with your local organization to see what kinds of toys, crafts or treats they can use.

Volunteer

Volunteering to walk dogs, socialize kittens or perform other duties at the shelter is a great way for your child to get involved. The age minimum varies, however, so call your community organization to find out about their requirements. And, many shelters ask that kids under 16 volunteer along with a parent or guardian, so it can also be a fun activity you can do together! Continue reading »

Apr 042015
 

10 Uses For Dawn Dish Soap

You may have fond memories of Dawn dish soap as a kid. It seemed as though every household had it and used it. While you might remember your parents using Dawn dish soap to get dishes squeaky clean, did you know it can be used in other ways as well? Take a look below at 10 uses for Dawn dish soap that you can try. You may never look at this blue liquid the same way again!

1. Make mega bubbles.
Dawn dishwashing liquid makes amazing bubbles. To make your own mega bubble solution, simply mix ½ cup of dawn with ½ gallon of warm water. To make them even more mega, add a tablespoon of Karo syrup.

2. Remove price tag residue.
Dawn does a great job at removing price tag residue. If you buy items at thrift stores or garage sales and they have residue on them, just dab on some Dawn and rinse.

3. Enjoy a cheap manicure.
Add a few drops of Dawn to a dish of warm water and let your fingers soak in it. Your nail beds and cuticles will soften right up and your nails will get clean. Continue reading »

Apr 012015
 

The first question people ask when they hear I am a stay at home mom with twins is, “how can you afford that?” The truth is no one can entirely afford to live solely on one income. It is hard to make the dollars stretch for most families not just my family of four.

Before kids I was tracking expenditures for corporations. Now, I track expenditures for my own household.

Before kids I was tracking expenditures for corporations. Now, I track expenditures for my own household.

I have not worked a traditional 9-5 job in five years. I thought I would stay home just the first year. Then I thought one more year. Eventually, we decided I will stay home until the kids go to Kindergarten. So, how have we afforded for me to stay home this long? Well, to start, it is amazing what you will live without once you have kids. And, if you have them two at a time like me, you really learn quick how to get creative with what income you do have. Continue reading »

Mar 282015
 

5 Ways to Save Money at Chuck E Cheese

Whether you want to admit it or not, your inner child loves Chuck E. Cheese! We all know that it can really add up when you head there for an adventure, so it’s important to save some dough where possible. Check out my tips for saving money at Chuck E. Cheese.

Find Discount Deals

Once in a while you can find a local deal for a Chuck E. Cheese near you. When you see those deals, make sure you grab them. This is probably the best way to save money because you are getting a significant discount on the whole shebang.

Don’t Get Pizza

Just so you know, you don’t have to get the pizza when you head to Chuck E. Cheese. There’s no law that says you have to get pizza, wings, or salad. In fact, you can grab drinks and an appetizer and you’d be good to go. I know part of the fun is the food, but if you want to save money, you’ll have to sacrifice in some way.

Limit the Coins

The last time we went, we probably had around 100 coins. We went a little overboard, which you do not need to do. In order to save a little money, you can limit the amount of coins you use. Is it as fun? No. But those coins do add up and can cost you a lot of money. If the kids get ancy about winning a price, take them to the dollar store and let them pick out something. Continue reading »

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 »