Jul 312015
 

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

Minecraft Creeper Veggie Tray

Are you one of those parents that faces a major challenge in getting their kids to eat their veggies?  I am.  My oldest son is the exception when it comes to veggies – he can’t get enough.  On the other hand, my little guy will almost never put a vegetable in to his mouth willingly. Talk about complete opposites.  So with my youngest, sometimes I have to get a little fun and creative when it comes to getting him to eat his veggies.  I have tried lots of different things ranging from sneaking them into other foods (my pasta sauce for example) to buying delicious Kraft Dips to help encourage my son to eat his veggies!

Here are some of the things I’ve tried over the years to get him to eat his veggies. These ideas are so convincing that you might even start eating your veggies, too.

Bake Amazing Meals

Okay, so looking at veggies, it’s pretty clear as to why kids don’t want to eat them – they look boring. So why not take those veggies to the next level?  Try making dishes like stuffed peppers or bright and colorful salads to help convince your children to eat their veggies.

Sneak Them Into Other Foods

I have been known to mix some cauliflower into my mashed potatoes or chop up some veggies really finely to put into my pasta sauce. I love that the kids don’t even realize they’re eating veggies and as long as you tell them at some point when they’re are older, like when they’re 50, it’s not considered lying!

Make Sure They’re Hungry

One of my favorite ways to get my kids to eat their veggies is to make sure they’re hungry. It’s one of the first things I feed my kids when it’s time for a snack. They are more likely to eat their veggies if they are hungry and trust me on this one, I know from experience. 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 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.

IMG_7904

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 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.

Bubula3

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 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 »

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 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 »