Jan 232017
 

It’s the new year, we’ve all heard about self care and how important it is to find some “me time” in our everyday lives. Let’s be real for a second; that’s not how it works. It’s not as simple as just “finding some time for me”. There are always things that need fixing or finding or fetching and half the time it’s the kids themselves. In my life, and I’m sure you’ve been here too, there’s not a lot of real life “me time”. Instead of getting upset about it or running myself ragged, I use these quick tips to make the most of my time so I can enjoy a little time by myself.

How to Find Real Life “Me Time”:

Figure Out What Makes You Happy
This is probably the hardest part of enjoying time alone without the kids. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what they enjoy and just go with the flow. One of the things I try and do is set some time aside during school, sleep, whatever it takes, to just relax and unwind. Isn’t that what all mom’s like? Quiet moments of sitting still! During those few quiet moments I try and think of something that I’d really like to do. Make a list if you have to, I know I’ll forget half of them if I don’t put it in my phone or write it down somewhere. Now I know what to do when I come across some free time. It’s impossible to schedule it so I have to be ready when the time arises! Continue reading »

Jan 172017
 

During winter months, you may notice that your kids gradually start spending more and more time indoors, sitting in front of their computers, TVs or smartphones. While this type of fun is perfectly fine once in a while, it’s not healthy and definitely not family-oriented if your children have no other memories of charming winter time other than those that gadgets provide them with. In that respect, it’s time that you organize some cool outdoor activities for a whole family to enjoy. And most importantly, relax – these activities do not have to cost you an arm and a leg. All that’s necessary is your creativity, positive energy and love that you all share.

5 Frugal Family Bonding Outdoor Activities That Your Kids Will Love During Winter

Go out and make something
Winter time offers a lot of possibilities. If you happen to enjoy some good snowfall during winter, turn it to your advantage. Together with your kids, you can have a lot of fun in the snow. Making a snowman and other various forms, as well as using snow as a big canvas for your little works of art is a great and frugal way to bond as a family. Don’t feel sad if snow just doesn’t want to color your streets and yards white – you can make your own artificial snow that can serve the purpose of getting all artsy and crafty just fine. Continue reading »

Jan 112017
 

If the thought of being able to put money into savings makes you laugh hysterically, clap your hands.

If you clapped, you’re not alone. It can be incredibly difficult to put money into savings. And that’s just when the savings are your own. When you start considering how you’ll manage to save any money for your kid’s future — well, that can seem even more impossible.

If you want to save money for your kid’s future, or at least want to try, here are a few tactics to consider:

Start a 529 Plan

Like a 401k, a 529 plan is helpful, but it can be daunting if you’re new to it. The IRS has a detailed and helpful Q&A page that makes for a great introduction to this popular college savings plan.

The short and sweet explanation is this: A 529 plan allows you to save money specifically for education costs without being taxed on the account’s earnings — provided you spend those earnings on approved education costs. It’s considered your asset, so it won’t affect your kid’s financial aid and you can transfer it to their sibling if they’re not interested in pursuing higher education. Continue reading »

Jan 032017
 

how-to-survive-raising-boys

If you are raising boys then you surely have become familiar with that everlasting boy humor. That humor that is inappropriate for the dinner table yet becomes a frequent occurrence. That toilet seat that never gets put down and that ever growing smell that seems to be boy’s feet. Sure some of you are the lucky parents with boys who don’t exhibit most of these qualities on a regular basis but for the rest of us, we are just getting started in learning how to survive raising boys.

How to Survive Raising Boys

The initial step to ensuring that you survive the years of raising boys is to make sure that your weak stomach disappears. There will be times that you smell odd things on stuffed animals, wonder what’s hidden underneath their beds and why on Earth they still smell after having showered just that morning. Continue reading »

Jan 022017
 

After the initial novelty of it wears off, nobody really likes the cold, especially if you are being forced into it. And if we are being honest, nobody really likes being forced to exercise. So when you are forced to combine those things, it takes a great deal of willpower just to motivate yourself to lace up your sneakers and get out the door.

Not everyone has that strength to do that which is why a lot of people gain undesirable weight during the winter and make annual resolutions for the new year.

Exercising outdoors can be beneficial for your body. The crisp air can keep your energy from draining as quickly as it does during steamy summers keeping you fresher through your workout and the fresh air will help your circulatory system exhale carbon dioxide and other toxins more efficiently. You will however have to take a few extra precautions to protect you from injury and other harm that can come from exposure to lower temperatures.

So here are a few tips to help make your outdoors exercise time more tolerable so that you can keep up with your workout regimen when the thermometer drops:

Cover Your Head and Hands:

Most of your body’s heat is lost on a cold day through the outermost extremities so it is essential to keep your head and your hands warm. If these parts of your body are exposed, it is going to cause the rest of your body to feel much colder than it actually is. There are gloves specially designed to protect your hands from the elements while enabling you to keep your dexterity in your fingers and maintain grip when performing such tasks as riding a bike outdoors while still keeping your hands warm. For your head, even a simple baseball hat can help provide a layer of insulating protection although a beanie-style hat is a better choice if the temperatures are near or below freezing temperatures. Continue reading »

Dec 272016
 

For healthy weight loss to occur we need to reduce our intake of calories which means we should focus on eating foods that are high in nutrients, but lower in calories. If they taste great and can satisfy our biological hunger, that’s even better. That’s why smoothies are the perfect “meal” when you are trying to eat healthier while dropping a few pounds.

Here are just a few ways that incorporating smoothies into our daily diet can help us reach our nutritional goals:

How Smoothies Can Help You Eat Better And Lose Weight

Smoothies are Packed with Nutrients: You can pack a lot of nutrients in your smoothies with ingredients like fresh or frozen berries, assorted fruits and plenty of dark, leafy greens vegetables. For an added kick, substitute coconut water instead of plain water to maintain the consistency you desire while at the same time adding essential minerals and electrolytes.

Smoothies Can Fill You Up Without the Calories: By using ample amounts of leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and chard, you can create a smoothie that’s both low in calories and high in fiber, which helps give you that feeling of being “full” without eating a huge meal. Cucumbers, peppers, and even tomatoes can help add more dietary fiber to your smoothie without adding unnecessary calories and limiting the amount of sugars. Sugars, even if they are all natural, tend to be digested relatively quickly, leaving your body craving more in a short amount of time. For cutting down on sugars even more, try to use fruit sparingly and opt for low sugar varieties like berries for best results. Continue reading »

Dec 202016
 

‘Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house, no child was complaining, not even a spouse. The gifts were unwrapped and toys played with care, while parents reveled in the peace and quiet in the air… Well, that lasted 10 minutes. We know it’s not long before the first “I’M BORED” escapes your kids’ lips during holiday break.

We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve been in a slump due to the rainy day blues.  Instead of curling up into a ball and succumbing into boredom, there are dozens of different activities that you can do to keep yourself occupied.  Even if the weather is miserable outside, there is no reason as to why you should be miserable inside!  Below is a list of 4 great things that you can do to chase rainy day boredom away.

1. Plan a Scavenger Hunt

This is the perfect activity for families who have children that enjoy participating in activities.  A scavenger hunt is not only fun for the kids, but it is also fun for the parents.  Make a list of 20-30 items that the family will have to find throughout the house and the individual who finds all of the items first is the winner.  You can choose the prize, such as allowing the winner to pick what’s for dinner and desert that night. Continue reading »

Dec 062016
 

I have received information and materials from Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc., McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post. 

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

how-to-freeze-your-favorite-foods

Time seems to be a commodity that is in ever-shortening supply these days. Especially this time of year when the holiday are quickly approaching. Because of that, we often don’t take the time to eat right and often opt for quick and simple solutions when it comes to dinnertime. That option isn’t always the healthiest. But with just a little pre-planning, you can make a variety of dishes that can be prepared beforehand and stored in your freezer which you can reheat quickly and enjoy when the time is right. Not only will this save you time when your week gets hectic, it will also cut down on your intake of take-out and fast food, making you a healthier and happier person.

Here are some tips for simple freezer meals that will let you enjoy a home-cooked meal without the time usually needed to do so:

Know What Not to Freeze
Before you freeze any of your dishes, make sure you know what kinds of foods won’t lose quality and consistency during the freezing process. Some foods don’t hold up to freezing temperatures. For starters, you should never freeze dairy or cream-based ingredients, such as milk or sour cream, yogurt, or cottage cheese as it will often crystallize and separate into its components upon thawing. If you are going to be freezing cream-based soups, be careful with how it tastes when it is reheated. You also want to avoid certain fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruit, cucumbers, watermelon, and lettuce. Cooked eggs are another food that will lose its consistency after freezing. If you want to freeze potatoes, they should either be raw or be mashed potatoes. Continue reading »

Nov 282016
 

Teaching your Children to Help Out Around the House

small-disclosure

Does it seem like your house is never clean, despite wasting your day away picking up? Chances are you have kids! Children tend to be messy, both when playing and even eating. It can be frustrating as a parent to be responsible for all this mess, especially if your children are getting older. Instead of following those kiddos around, constantly picking up their messes, try getting them involved in the cleaning process instead. Here are some great tips you can use to help teach your child to help out around the house.

One Toy Rule

Start with the one toy rule. Not sure how this rule works? Basically, each child gets to start with one toy to play with. It can be any toy in the house, but that’s the only toy they’re allowed to have out. Once they’re done playing with their toy, they need to put it away before they can grab something else to play with. This will help keep your house clean and toy-free so that there’s not an overwhelming mess by 9 am. Continue reading »

Nov 152016
 

how-to-stay-hydrated-when-you-hate-water

Whеn іt соmеѕ tо a ѕwеаtу wоrkоut, wе lоvе a wаtеr brеаk rеwаrd аѕ muсh аѕ thе nеxt fіtnеѕѕ fіеnd. But аѕ the mеrсurу rіѕеѕ, іt’ѕ mоrе іmроrtаnt thаn еvеr tо fосuѕ оn оur fluіdѕ аll day long. Aftеr аll, wаtеr іѕ thе mоѕt еѕѕеntіаl nutrient оur ѕуѕtеm nееdѕ.

While іt’ѕ truе a tаll glаѕѕ оf wаtеr іѕ the bеѕt knоwn wау tо ѕtау hуdrаtеd, thеrе are рlеntу оf аltеrnаtіvе орtіоnѕ іf уоu dоn’t lіkе thе tаѕtе оf tар оr couldn’t bе bоthеrеd wіth bоttlеd wаtеr. Surе, уоu саn іnfuѕе plain оle drіnkіng wаtеr wіth flаvоrful fruіtѕ lіkе lеmоnѕ аnd raspberries. But you саn аlѕо rеасh for ѕоmе оf thеѕе wаtеr-rісh fооdѕ аnd fluіdѕ that kеер thе H2O bаlаnсе juѕt rіght—аnd wоn’t requirе so mаnу trірѕ tо thе wаtеr сооlеr!

How to Stay Hydrated When You Hate Water

Eat It Up

Whо ѕауѕ уоu саn’t have уоur wаtеr—аnd еаt іt, tоо? Aссоrdіng tо thе Inѕtіtutе оf Mеdісіnе’ѕ rесоmmеndаtіоnѕ wе ѕhоuld еаt 20 реrсеnt оf оur dаіlу wаtеr іntаkе. Sоuр, yogurt and oatmeal аrе аll grеаt fluіd-fіllеd fооdѕ, but these ѕummеr-frіеndlу fruіtѕ аnd vеggіеѕ саn аlѕо hеlр wіth hуdrаtіоn. Nеxt tіmе уоu’rе fееlіng thіrѕtу, ріlе these on уоur рlаtе.

1. Wаtеrmеlоn

In the wоrld оf thіrѕt quenсhеrѕ, wаtеrmеlоn wеіghѕ іn аѕ a mаjоr соntеndеr. Based оn іtѕ nаmе, іt’ѕ nо ѕurрrіѕе thіѕ fruіt is mаdе up оf 92 реrсеnt wаtеr! But іtѕ ѕаlt, саlсіum аnd mаgnеѕіum іѕ whаt makes іt іdеаl fоr rеhуdrаtіоn, ассоrdіng to a 2009 ѕtudу аt thе Unіvеrѕіtу оf Abеrdееn Mеdісаl Sсhооl. Thе ѕummеrtіmе staple іѕ аlѕо a gооd ѕоurсе оf роtаѕѕіum, vіtаmіn A аnd vіtаmіn C. Continue reading »

Sep 202016
 

Fingerprint Pumpkin Craft

I got invited to a Halloween party this year and want to bring a little gift for the hostess.  I hate showing up to a party empty handed, so I ended up making this really easy fingerprint pumpkin for her.  It only took a few minutes to make and I think it came out really cute. I had most of the supplies to make it on hand, but if you don’t already have them around your house, you can pick up everything you need for just a few dollars.

I am actually so happy with the way it came out that I am considering making a few more for the kids to give to their grandparents this year. Nana and Papa always love homemade gifts like this.

Here’s what you need:

  • Orange craft paint or stamp pad
  • White card stock or craft paper
  • Small picture frame (You can get them at Michael’s for $1)
  • Pair of Googly eyes
  • Craft glue
  • Black marker
  • Green craft foam or green marker
  • Scissors

Continue reading »

Sep 132016
 

diy-pumpkin-spice-candle

Anyone who has ever been to my house knows that I almost always have a candle burning. With a house full of boys, sometimes there are not-so-great smells lingering in the air that just need to GO!  Candles are a quick solution for those yucky boy smells and they work fast, which is why I love them so much. Within a few minutes of lighting them, the smell is usually gone.

Now that the chilly weather has arrived here in New England, I have embraced all things pumpkin and decided that a pumpkin spice candle was just what my house needed.  Even better, I decided that I spend way too much money on candles and wanted to try my hand at making one myself.  So I did.

DIY Pumpkin Spice Candle

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups soy wax flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon liquid vanilla candle scent
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Long waxed candle wick
  • 8oz Mason jar
  • Long wooden skewer or pencil
  • Glass measuring cup

diy-pumpkin-spice-candle1 Continue reading »

Sep 062016
 

Hello!!!!! It is September. What does that mean?? Fall is approaching, pumpkin spice everything, back to school and HELLO ALLERGIES. I do not know about you guys in Massachusetts, but in Illinois when September hits look out allergies!!!! And Literally on Sept. 1 my sons nose was turned on like a faucet.

So what does this all natural momma do. Break out her all natural remedies.

brandi1

How many people love this vapor bath stuff, whatever brand it may be that you use. Well I am one of those mommas, but since I am now and essential oil momma, I make it myself!!!!! Continue reading »

Sep 052016
 

How To Save Money Without Coupons

Do you want to save more money on items for your household, but don’t want to spend time clipping coupons? There are ways to save money without spending your whole day with scissors and paper. Check out some of these ways to save money without coupons.

#1. Look at the Ads

This may seem like foreign language to some, but you can save money by looking at the ads in a newspaper. Some grocery stores and big box stores even have their ads online, which means you can look anytime you’d like.

#2. Save up for the Item

When you put an item on a store card, you may feel as though you’re saving money but there’s a catch. You will be paying interest on your credit card, which in return does not help you save money. You can save money without coupons by paying cash for items. Cash is king when you want to save money and not pay interest on anything.

#3. Buy Online

Although some people like to support the local economy, you can save more money by buying online. A lot of stores offer free shipping online and this can help you save something as simple as gas money. Know exactly what you’re going to buy and stay on budget. If you can’t trust yourself and think you will spend way too much money, get an accountability partner to ensure you’re not spending more money than you are supposed to. Continue reading »

Aug 182016
 

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

Homemade Slime #recipe #craft 1

Have you guys seen the new Ghostbusters movie yet?  I took my twelve year old and two of his friends to see it the weekend it came out and we loved it – not that I had any doubt that I would.  The original Ghostbusters (from the 80’s) is my ALL-TIME favorite movie, so there was no chance I was missing the new, updated version.  It has an awesome, and I do mean awesome, cast and definitely lived up to the hype – oh and I’ve seen it three times already.

Since we’re such big fans of Ghostbusters, I decided that I need to make some homemade ectoplasm (slime) for the kids to play with. Slime, goo, gunk, glop, ooze or whatever you’d like to call it, this creation will please boys (and girls) of all ages. It’s incredibly easy to make and only requires 3 ingredients!

The combination will create chemical reaction that can be fun for a hands-on educational experiment. Chemical bonds form as you mix the ingredients. The molecules stick together and become polymers which create the slimy texture. The formula is also non-toxic and, when kept in an air-tight container, it can last years. It’s not recommended for consumption, but it won’t harm those little ones who just can’t help but try and taste it.

You Will Need: Continue reading »

Aug 162016
 

Opened First Aid Kit

When someone thinks of a first aid kit, perhaps only band-aids come to mind. However, a first aid kit is much better off if it has more of the necessities in it. Summer is here and it’s time to ensure you have everything you need in your first aid kid. Here are some ideas:

25 adhesive bandages in various sizes
If you are like me, you go through A LOT of them, so if you are prepared with different sized band-aids, you will be covered for boo-boo’s of all sizes.

Antiseptic Wipes or Alcohol Pads
It’s important to clean the wound before you put on a bandage and keeping wipes in your first aid kit will help you do this quickly and easily.

Antibacterial Ointment
Whenever your child gets a cut or an open wound, it’s important to clean it before putting on a bandage. Using an antibacterial ointment such as Neosporin can help clean the cut and keep the bacteria out. Continue reading »

Aug 082016
 

Back to School Morning Routine Hacks

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Tyson Foods, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #JDgreatdays  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Guys, it’s happening – back to school that is.  The kids are going to be out there waiting for the bus before we know it and trust me, I know how chaotic school mornings can be.  It’s important to find ways to cut back on the chaos and make everyone’s lives a little easier and I believe I’ve found the secrets to a smooth morning.

1. Lay out clothes the night before.
Picking out clothes seems like something that shouldn’t take more than five minutes in the morning, however, when you’re in a hurry it can take forever. If you take five minutes the night before and lay out yours & the kids clothes, you will eliminate having to worry about it in the morning.

2. Set the alarm for a few minutes early.
Try getting the family to wake up at least 10-15 minutes earlier than normal on school mornings. Kids can be slow getting around because they are struggling to get used to a routine, so getting up a few minutes earlier will give them a little more time to wake up and get going. This might mean sending the kids to bed a few minutes earlier as well. Continue reading »

Aug 012016
 

8 great grilling hacks

As summer is here, it’s time to dust off the outdoor grill and get busy.  My friends at Scotties asked me to share my favorite soft summer moments that make me slow down and savor this wonderful summer season.  Without a doubt, having cookouts with friends and family tops the list. I love hanging out with good company and enjoying some great food while I’m at it. You don’t have to be a gourmet “grillmeister” to enjoy grilling and produce an amazing summertime meal. Check out these 8 great grilling hacks to help you out.

Super clean. Although, not the most favorite part of the process, but a necessary one after each use. Keep your grill covered and then break out the grill brush and give it a good scrub so you have a great grilling surface all times.

To marinade or not marinade? Take a few extra minutes in the morning, and simply add a nice marinade or a brining liquid to your proteins. Then, save time when you get home and fire up the grill. Make sure to use a little cooking spray or olive oil over the grates to help prevent sticking. Marinades high in sugar, like some barbecue sauces, tend to burn and stick, so be careful.

One tool to do it all. You really only need one good long pair of tongs for all your grilling needs. Keep it handy and keep it clean in between uses and it’s all you’ll need. Continue reading »

Jul 262016
 

Helpful Things I Learned from MacGyver

MacGyver is one of the best guys when it comes to “life hacks”! There are so many great things that I learned from MacGyver; he really does give out some of the best tips and tricks! Some of these can really come in handy, others are just really clever, and some I can’t believe are even real. I suppose this is kind of tribute to the master…In today’s day and age we’re all pretty obsessed with life hacks and MacGyver was the OG of life hacks! If you’ve ever needed to remove a stripped screw, unlock a door from the outside, or turn a chip bag into it’s own bowl then this is the post for you. If you’ve never needed to do any of those things this is still the post for you, you’ll likely rest A LOT easier knowing that you CAN do all of these things just like MacGyver!

Remove a Stripped Screw

You can use a rubber band placed over the top of a stripped screw to remove it without the screwdriver slipping!

Never Leave Home Without a Swiss Army Knife

Okay so maybe leave it at home when you go to the airport but other than that you should have one. It’s got everything you need for all kinds of situations! Continue reading »