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 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 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 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 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 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 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 »

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 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 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 162014
 

Are you looking to have a little Elf on the Shelf fun this holiday season? If so, take a look at these fun and frugal Naughty Elf ideas a try! You will find that it can be so fun and easy to help your Elf on a Shelf get into some holiday trouble. Here is how you can get started!

1. Clubbing Elf
This elf loves to get down to the beat and dance until the dawn. Grab a pack of glow sticks at your local dollar store, activate them, and then tie them around the elf. He will look like he is ready to party in no time. Cue the house music!

Clubbing  Elf on the Shelf

2. Boozy Elf
Uh oh! Looks like someone found the booze! Boozy Elf looks great when set out with a bottle, wine corks, and a wine glass. For extra fun, stuff him inside of the glass. Bottoms up! Continue reading »

Dec 072014
 

Perfect Christmas Pranks for the Kids

Every year I have to be THAT mom and have a little fun with my kids. Life just isn’t the same if you do not spend time having fun. I think Christmas time is the perfect time to have a little good clean fun with the boys. I wanted to share some of my best prank ideas to pull on the kids.

Empty Box Wrapped Up

Okay, this one might be just plain mean, but it’s hilarious. Wrap a huge box with wrapping paper and place it under the tree. Don’t say anything and let your kids open it Christmas morning. I’m just saying that you have to have something amazing for them to open after pulling a prank like this.

Early Christmas

Take things from around the house and wrap them up. Surprise the kids about a week before Christmas and tell them you are having Christmas early. They may just love opening a box of brownie mix a week before Christmas.

Wake Them Up Early Continue reading »

Nov 182014
 

How To Prepare a Boy's Closet For Winter

Getting the family’s clothing ready for winter is a true task. I have all boys, so I feel as though it is a lot of work prepping their closet for winter time. I wanted to share my tips for preparing my boys’ closets for winter time.

Go through what fits and what doesn’t fit.

My boys grow like weeds during the spring and summer. It takes me a while to go through their closets to see what still fits and what doesn’t fit. I will admit that some of the clothing they outgrow during the school year and that’s easy to take care of.

Add at least five pairs of jeans and 7-10 long sleeved shirts.

I know there are guidelines to which you should follow when it comes to how many pieces of clothing your child has in their closet. However, knowing what boys are like and how fast they go through clothing, I go ahead and stock up. Five pairs of pants and 7-10 long sleeved shirts are just the basis for me. I try to add on where I can. I also make sure the boys are stocked up on socks and underwear as well. Continue reading »

Oct 302014
 

9
Keeping our kids safe is one of the most important jobs a parent has. That’s why it’s important to establish safety rules for trick or treating.

Isn’t it ironic that trick or treating basically goes against everything we teach or kids? (Don’t talk to strangers, don’t go up to houses, and don’t play in the street). For those couple of hours they’re trick or treating all kids should have some sort of guidelines. Check out these safety tips:

#1. Have Your Child Wear Bright Colors

Bright colors are a must if you’re going to go trick or treating this year. Make sure your child isn’t wearing all black and drivers can see them as they’re walking. If your child is going to wear all black, in the dark, it’s a good idea to have them wear a bright vest.

#2. Pick a Safe Route

My kids and I hit up the same route every year. It’s important that your family picks out a route that’s safe for you as well. Remember that during October the days get shorter and it can be harder to see. If you’re not sure of where you’re going it can be hard to see in the dark and can make for a dangerous situation. Continue reading »