• Chalk It Up- 5 Ways To Play With Chalk

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    I am so excited to be guest posting over at The Real Thing With The Coake Family. If you are not following KC yet, then you need to. She posts about all kinds of DIY things, from American Girl accessories, to interior design, to crafts, to holiday decorations, basically you name it and she posts about it. Not only does she do amazing projects, she words them in ways that even the most uncrafty of us (aka me here) can follow and make great things. Click here for her blog.

    She is doing this great weekly Summer Of Fun party, featuring different bloggers. And I am getting to kick it off!!! Well, without further adieu, lets get this Summer Fun rocking and rolling. I thought that we would start the party with something that everyone loves: CHALK. Kids love it, adults have fond memories of playing with it, and lets be honest it just screams summer. Plus it is so simple (not to mention cheap), all you need is a piece of chalk.

    Activities-for-Kids-500x750

    Here is my top 5 list of the best chalk activities, for kids of all ages (2-102):

    BUT…… to see what they are you are going to have bounce over to my lovely friends blog. Click here.

  • Father’s Day Gift Idea


    fathersFather’s Day is a holiday that always baffles me. Mix that with being a horrible gift giver and it is just primed for disaster. Even my hubby will tell you that, despite my efforts, I always miss the mark. So while I want to go all out, I typically end up with just cards. The whole process, which typically starts after Valentine’s Day, just stresses me out. What makes a good Father’s Day gift?

    Well this year I nailed it. (My wonderful husband, if you are reading my blog today, please stop now. I finally got it right, so don’t spoil it for me. I mean you, don’t spoil it for you.)

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    If you are married to a wonderful outdoorsy man who likes hanging out on the boat around the lake; or even the husband that loves laying around the pool. Then this will be for you. Frisky has come out with some amazing Aqua Shoes, and the best part, they are on sale for only $6.99

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    They come in a variety of sizes and colors. A word to the wise, they do run small. If your hubby is a half size, like mine, then buy the next size up. While you certainly don’t want them to be big, if they are to small then no one will wear them. There is a cord in the back to pull then tight, and lock into place.

    IMG_4967

    The bottoms have tons of tread so you don’t have to worry about your loved one slipping and falling. They provide lots of stability and support. If you are needing more information click here.

    So what do you think? Are these something that your hubby would like? Or did I miss the mark again? Let me know.

  • What Moms Really Want For Mother’s Day

    what-moms-want-mothers-day-2

    Can you believe that Mother’s Day is THIS weekend. As in just a few short days. In my head it is still March (hey at least it is another “M” month). No matter what date I think that it is, it will be Mother’s Day this weekend. We are always torn between whether we should visit my mother in law, my mother or do something for me. I think that when we have young kids in the house we have different wants for Mother’s Day. As opposed to when they leave the nest (I know my mother would love us to go over to her house, even if she has to cook dinner AND do the dishes). So this would be the for mommies with young kids still at home.

    • How about a day not wiping someone else’s butt? I don’t know about you, but that is high on my list. Not doing any diapers, or dealing with a potty training toddler, or the preschooler who has for some unknown reasons decided that she will no longer wipe her own butt and you have to do it.. again. To have a day, where your butt is the only butt that you have to worry about, would be great.
    • Speaking of that, what about getting to use the bathroom all by yourself? Personally, I don’t remember the last time I got to go pee without a girl needing something. My girls, I swear, have some weird sixth sense and the moment that I sit down they need something. Right then and there. The idea of having a moment of privacy is a distant fantasy.
    • No dishes! I think that this will resonate with most moms. (Unless you are one of the few who has a husband that does the dishes. And if that is the case, just keep it yourself) A day without dishes, a day without unloading the washing machine, a day without washing out pots and pans. With our family of five, and eating all of our meals at home, we go through a lot dishes. And I realize that I could have a day free of dishes, if I just left them in the sink. But I am talking about a day without dishes, where they also magically get done. That would be nice.
    • What about someone else cleaning the house? Coming home to a fresh clean house, when you weren’t the one that spent all day making it a fresh clean home, is wonderful. While my husband is so incredibly busy, and works harder then anyone else I know, once a year having him clean the house would be amazing. And who knows what seeing him sweeping the floors might lead to.. wink wink
    • Enough quiet time to get my morning meditation done. I am trying to meditate every morning. It really improves my day. I set my timer for five minutes (and yes only five minutes), to start my day with a clear mind. Taking deep breaths, staying calm. But I get 90 seconds into this, and I have one girl screaming upstairs. Three minutes into it, I have my preschooler poking me asking me what I am doing. Four and a half minutes into it my oldest is coming down to ask if I am done. For Mother’s Day I would like to get my whole five minutes without an interruption.
    • Car Wash– And not just a drive through, wash the outside kind of car wash. How about a car wash that includes vacuuming out the inside and wiping off the dashboard? I don’t know about you, but my family lives in my car. Even though I say no food in my car, I have crumbs everywhere. How did they get there?

    But honestly all I want is a nice quiet day, with my family. Maybe an afternoon movie, at an actual theatre. I love going to the movies. Or just a simple, “Thank you mom”. Some form of appreciation for everything that I do everyday would be nice.

    What do you want for Mother’s Day? When you boil it down, what would make it the best Mother’s Day ever for you?

  • Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana Of Cambridge

    Princess 2

    Such exciting news from the other side of the pond!! A Princess was born! The morning of May 2, 2015 at 8:34am, she made her grand debut. A perfect addition to the royal family, complete with ten fingers and we assume ten toes. When she was presented to her loyal subjects (totally unsure of what the royal family calls the rest of us), the little Princess slept through the whole ordeal looking positively adorable.

    The-birth-certificate-of-Princess-Charlotte-of-Cambridge

     

    And let us not even start on the name. How cute is Charlotte? Any chance that they will refer to her as Princess Charlie? Or perhaps Princess Char, when she hits her teen years? Being on this side of the pond, I have never thought about how incredibly long royal title are. Have you? Her full name will be Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge. When she is in trouble do you think they roll out the entire title, like we pull out the full name?

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    Then you have The Duchess Kate, I am always amazed at how well put together she looks. She certainly has come a long way since she met William. Now I realize she has a team of people to make sure she never has a hair out of place, or lipstick on her teeth. But how is it possible that only a few hours after birth she looks stunning? Yes yes her team went to her hospital to make sure she looked great. However, the whole actually getting up and going outside to be photographed, knowing that those photos were going to make history, and in heels no less, was all her. I don’t know about you, but it took me DAYS before I got up enough energy to go outside. My ride home from the hospital included me un-showered, no makeup, and certainly no blowout for my hair. Then it would be months before I allowed anyone to photograph me.

    I am a fan of the Royal family. Not a fan of the actual thought of having royals, I don’t think that I would want to live in a country where a single family was allowed to rule over everything. Just because someone was born they get to be a king or queen. But the idea of being a real life Princess; it is part of the little girl I was, that I am not going to give up. Plus you have to love Kate’s story. She is really hard not to like.

    What about you? What was your ride home from the hospital like? Were you all ready to take over the world or did you need a bit to be all put together? How about a more simple, do you follow the Royal family?

     

  • Hair Need Some TLC

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    Have you heard of Parlor By Jeff Chastain? Well you need to! This product line is pretty amazing stuff. My hair is very fine (I have lots of it, but the strands themselves are no more then a thread), limp-less hair. It is hard to make my hair do ANYTHING! I was so excited that I was chosen by BirchBox, to give this a try and let you all know about it. Full disclosure: I did receive this product at no cost for the sole reason of writing this review. However, all opinions are my own and all words are my own.

    Now with that out of the way, they sent my their new Detangling Leave In Conditioner and their new Smoothing Blowout Spray. I was disappointed in how they worked with my hair. The leave in conditioner was not as detangling as I was hoping and the smoothing spray left my hair looking oily. Bummed, I gave them to my girls.

    It was a completely different product on their hair. HOLY COW it was magic stuff. I am so so so impressed with how it worked for them.

    blowdryFrom the box: “Combines a smoothing treatment with a blow dry aid for full, beautiful blowouts that won’t fall flat. Also protects hair from heat.

    Tink (my oldest) has hair similar to mine. It is pretty fine and lots of it. Now when you blow dry it, it looks great. However, after about four to five hours, it falls completely flat and the back (and only the back) starts to crinkle. Not really curl, not really wave; but a crinkle. And only in the back. We have tried everything to keep this from happening. Nothing has helped. However, this product was the golden ticket. We spray this all over her hair and brushed through. Then continued to blow dry out. Her hair has never looked better. It was very shiny (but not oily looking), any frizz at the ends that tends to show up was gone, and the weird crinkle in the back of her hair never popped up, plus there was lots of body throughout the day. My daughter is thrilled.

    Leave in

    From the box: “Detangles hair for better manageability while also adding moisture and shine. Also protects from your hair from heat.”

    Belle’s hair is very unmanageable. At least it is straight, no idea about what we would do if it was curly. But it is very thick, a little wavy and down to her waist. Trying to brush it out is very difficult and results in tears. Needless to say brushing it wet is even worse. This was magic. After getting out of the bath, I sprayed this all over her hair (we used a good amount), then started to work. Only it wasn’t work. The comb literally fell through her hair. It brushed right out, taking no time at all to brush out all of her hair. Even after the blow dry, it was easy to brush out. There are no tears doing her hair while using this product. A must have for anyone with daughters who struggle to brush their hair.

    What products do you use? Would you use a higher end product on your kids hair? What have you found for your kids that works?

  • Top 5 Things I am DONE Doing

    Top 5 Things

    I am done. D. O. N. E. Now don’t go judging me, I am a good mom. I promise I am. My girls are happy, healthy, well adjusted, and polite girls. They are well behaved, and patient. Basically, they rock and since they rock, then I must have done something right. Going to pat myself on the back and give credit where it is due there. But that said, I am done doing the following things. Not only am I going to be done doing them, I am not going to feel bad any more about not doing them.

    1. Baths Every Day– I have girly girly girls. There is no playing in the mud, running through the dirt, sweating while playing baseball; going on over here. They simply do not get dirty enough every day to warrant a bath every single day. Anyone with all girls know, that it is not just the bath time that is time consuming; there is also brushing out all that hair (and all of mine have long hair), then you have to blow dry it all (cause who likes sleeping with wet hair). To get all three of them bathed, blow dried and into bed it takes a good hour to ninety minutes. There is much more that I would like to be doing with them for that length of time. If they get dirty, then yes of coarse they will get a bath; but if we are bound inside cause it is 1 million degrees outside, then I think I will let the bath slide a bit.
    2. Have The Girls Finish Their Plate- This is something that so many of us grew up with. You don’t leave the table until you finish your plate. Personally I hated that, and even spent more then one night at the kitchen table because I did not want to finish my green beans. Anyone else with those types of memories? I refuse to make my kids finish their plates. As long as they take a bite (and one easy no fuss bite) of everything on their plate that is all that is required. Now they don’t get seconds of garlic bread if they have not eaten their veggies, but I don’t think that they will starve themselves by refusing to eat. And if there is something for dinner they really like, they will choose to finish everything so they get seconds. Since this has always been our policy, our girls are very adventurous eaters. Willing to try everything, because they know that if they don’t like it then that one bite is all they had to have.
    3. Always Being Patient– I try to be patient, I try to stay calm, and I try to stay positive. But lets be honest, the fourth time your kid has asked for something in a row, that you have said no to the last three times, you are going to loose it. And that is ok. It is impossible to always be the calm serene picture of pure patience. As long as you can admit (and apologize for) losing it, then all is good.
    4. Having A Clean House- In my house there are 5 people, a dog and a cat. My house is not always white glove tested clean. On any given day, there will be dust on the shutters and dishes in the sink. There are so many other ways that I want to spend my time, and items that take a far greater priority then if my floor is mopped. It is not a hazmat zone, but I am done trying to have my house always company ready. If you don’t call ahead, then expect my house to have a live in feel, not a picture perfect house.
    5. Trying To Be Perfect– What is it with moms these days. It feels like everyone is always trying to one up each other. Now, I don’t know about you, but I do know that I am not perfect. In fact I am no where near perfection. This use to really bother me, I wanted to be the perfect mom. I wanted everyone to think that I was perfect, that I had this whole mommy life thing under control. Let me let you in on a little secret, there is no perfection. No one is perfect. Once I gave up on being perfect, life got much happier.

    What about you? What are the areas that you let slide a little? Are there things that you are just done doing?

  • Top 5 Reading Apps

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    Is it just my kids, or do most kids spend a lot of time on the computer, tablet, phone? My girls spend so much time on their computers. Yes this has a great deal to do with the fact that they go to an online school, it makes most of their day online. But it feels like they are always plugged into something. My two youngest girls, love their tablets. Once they are done with school for the day, the run and grab the tablets.

    They use to play a lot of games and it got me thinking. If they are going to be spending so much on these devices, there has to be a way for them to also be learning. On the hunt I went. I picked reading (stay tuned for the best math apps too) and started to search the apps. To say there are a lot of reading apps, is not anywhere close to what I found. There are hundreds of reading apps. Now not all apps are created equal. Some are really great, some are lacking; some are free and some cost as much as $12 a month. It was crazy the variety that was out there.

    Below are my top 5 apps. They had to be affordable (no $12 a month here, thank you very much), they had to have lots of books to choose from, they had to reach a broad reading range, and last but certainly most important, the girls had to want to play them without my prompting. Good criteria I think. Thoughts? Did I miss any? (These are in no order)

    raz-kidsRaz-Kids-

    This is my favorite one. The girls love it, you can pick the level that they are reading at based on the common core levels. (Yes some of you will hate it just because of that, but it really makes finding the right level and the rest of the books in that level super easy to find. Even the girls can find their own books). You can read the stories, it can read them to you, and it even has a quiz at the end of each book to make sure that not only can they read it but your kid can UNDERSTAND what they read. Plus it is totally free. The only downside is it has to be through your school, so all you homeschool mama’s call and complain about it.

     

    far fariaFar Faria

    This one is the girls favorite. It opens to a Neverland type map, and you select the location that you want to go to; Bedtime Buffs, Fairytale Falls, Mt Make Believe and a lot more. Everything is very colorful and detailed. Like Raz-Kids, you can read the story or have it read it to you. It has two versions of the app, a free app and a paid. The free app, you can read one book a day; with the paid you get unlimited.

     

    homerHomer

    We all love Homer. There is no free version, so that is a bummer. But it is only $7.99 a month, not to terribly expensive. It has a ton of activities: it can read you the story, you can read them, you can record you reading them, it has exercises that work with sounds of letters, and so much more. Baby (age 3) would spend all day on this app if you let her. She loves playing with it and listening to the engaging stories. Plus her reading ability is growing by leaps and bounds, since she spends a good deal of time with the pre-reading activities. Saying that she is doing “school”. Anything that gives a positive spin to school work is good in my book.

    reading rainbowReading Rainbow

    Was any other parent excited to have Reading Rainbow back? I know that I was. Growing up I loved this show, and I was thrilled that the app was coming out. My girls would see how great it was too. They liked it, but for the free version they were only allowed to pick 5 books. After a day, they were done with it. It is a really great start up app, that being said, it is $10 a month. With all the money that they raised, it seems like they could have offered this at a much lower price point.

    Bob BooksBob Books

    What a great app, even the free version is robust. What I like about this particular app, and what separates it from the other reading apps, it starts spelling. It has lots of activities that will say the word “CAT” and give you the letters. Then you have to put the letters in the correct order. While it is very easy, it certainly helps with letter sounds and the visual letter.

    So those are my top 5 reading apps. Do you let your kids use a tablet, phone, laptop? What apps do you like?

  • Top 5 Things To Do For New Moms

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    We all want to help out new moms. It is even more exciting when it is a family member, or a close friend that just had a little one of their own. And with us already being moms, we are more then eager to share our tips, our tricks, and our stories. There is something that kicks in, we truly want to help. But what is the best way to help these new moms? Here is my list of the top 5 things to do for a new mom:

    1. Don’t Give Advise– You are going to want to, lets be honest, you will want to with every fiber of your being. You have been there, you know (and understand) what she is going through. But unless she is directly asking you for a specific piece of information, then only offer advice for what she is asking. Anything else is unsolicited and annoying.
    2. Bring Food– If you are going to be going over to her house, bring food. And not in something that she will have to worry about washing and getting back to you. Remember how hard those first few weeks are? Yup, bring something that is easy to freeze and reheat, then can throw out the container.
    3. Better Yet Clean- Those first few weeks (or really those first few months) are exhausting. Trying to keep house, is very low on the list of things to do. Offer to help out. If she is uncomfterable letting you help,  and she might be. It is hard to let friends help clean the house without feeling guilty or awkward. If you can, or get a group of people together, pay to have a cleaning service come in and clean. Just the basics for her: kitchen, bathrooms and floors. While it is weird to have friends clean up, not many people feel weird about letting a service come in.
    4. Offer To Take Other Kids Out- It seems like once you have more then one, then the offers to help out get more sparse. A new mom, is a new mom whether it is a first kid or the fourth. For me the more I had, the harder it was. There is no sleeping when baby sleeps, if you are also running around after a toddler. Offer to take the older kids to a movie, for ice cream, just to the park.
    5. Offer to Babysit– I know what you are thinking, “What new mom wants to go out during those first few weeks?”. That is not what I am talking about. Offer to watch the baby while she is at home. Let your new mom friend get in a shower, take a nap, finish something; while she knows the baby is right there but being taken care of. While you are at it, unload or reload the dishwasher without being asked (or asking if it is ok).
    6. An Extra One– When you are stopping by, or saying hi, bring over the essentials. No one will ask for them, but what mom doesn’t need more paper towels, baby wipes, diapers, toilet paper. Just bring some by, any new mom will appreciate it. Heck I still tell people if I am mad at them, that bringing by eggs, milk or bread (and some times all three depending on what you did) will solve just about ANY issue.

    New moms are notorious for not letting people help. They often say, “I don’t need anything” or “Oh no you don’t have to”, do it any way. It is okay to be a bit pushy, just stay away from being overbearing.

    What are some of the things that you have done for a new mom? What do you wish someone would have done for you?

  • WLINGUA- Wait What?

    logo-Wlingua-fondoblanco

    WLINGUA- that is a mouthful isn’t it? It is an awesome new app, that helps you learn Spanish. And as you know, there is Spanish from Spain and Spanish from Mexico. You can pick either one to learn. With being here in the southwest, we opted for Spanish from Mexico.

    Wlingua is an app that helps learn Spanish in very easy way: it’s available for iOS as Android (and of coarse you can log in through your computer). You can download this amazing app for FREE. If you are on your mobile app click here for IOS and here for Android for the direct links.

    Learn Spanish with Wlingua! This is the online Spanish course you were looking for!! 420 lessons from a basic to an advanced level with easy explanations that will help you learn Spanish fast.

    I am loving this app. It is making learning a new language super easy and fun! Actually, my daughters have spent all day working through their lessons. They are having a mini competition to see who is not only getting it done, but getting the highest scores on the quizzes, and who is remembering the most from each lesson. It is fun to see them so excited about learning!

    The way they do the mini-quizzes at the end of the each unit is quite unique. They have you match the Spanish words to the English words. They have you listen to the words and match. Then they have you fill in the blanks. If really covers a lot of material in many different ways to make sure that you are mastering the lessons that you are going through. Plus when you sign up, you automatically get signed up for a free trial of their premium side. When you score 100% on the quizzes, you win additional time on your trial. How awesome is that?

    If you want more information click here.

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  • Everything You Have Ever Wanted To Know About……. Cleaning?

    Cleaning, it is one of the chores that we all HAVE to do. Some of us may like it more then others, some of us may be better at it then the rest of us; but we all have to do it. There is no way to get out of it. Well I guess that if you don’t mind coming home to a dirty house, then you can get out of it. But for the most part, there is no getting out of it.

    E-cloth

    For those who know me, know my lack of cleaning ability. Not that I don’t try; but I seriously have no ability when it comes to cleaning. Between schooling the girls, getting dinner on the table, laundry, working on the blog; there is just not enough time to scrub the house. Also, I don’t like keeping all those chemicals in the house. With the kids and animals, it just seems like an accident waiting to happen. So even on the rare occasion I feel like cleaning, I simply don’t have the supplies to do it.

    Basically a million excuses for not doing housework. I am kinda the master of getting out of cleaning. HOWEVER, we are getting ready to move into a new house. A beautiful, new home; that my hubby has made into my dream home. It is perfect. Everything from the layout, to the way the light comes in the breakfast room, to the real hard wood floors. It is truly a master piece; and I can’t wait to move in and spend the holidays there. Everything for me is giddy about this change. Well, there is one thing that makes me a bit hesitant: how am I going to keep this castle clean?

    Well I happened to stumble upon E-Cloth Chemical Free Cleaning. Not only did I happen to stumble across them, they were getting ready to hook up a few bloggers with a full set of their cleaning cloths. Talk about fate.

    So I started to look into chemical free cleaning. And I found two amazing facts….

    • First- It is a real thing.
    • Second- It is just as effective as traditional harsh cleaners.

    I was blown away. So with the right cloth, I can get a clean house with just the use of hot water. Mind blown. Looking at their line, they have a specialized cloth for every area of your home; from the kitchen, to the bathroom, from the floors to the fans. Each cloth is designed a little different to accomplish the task at hand. For example, the one for your stove top has a bit of scrubby guys to really remove any baked on food; while the dusting cloth is much more soft. I love that the all over kitchen cleaner, has a scrubby corner; cause I don’t know about your kitchen, but it seems like mine always has some sort of jelly sticky mess on it. They even have cloth’s designed for glass and other shiny surfaces.

    There are no chemicals to keep in the house, all you need is water AND they are all machine washable. No need to buy a new one every week. Sign me up!!! What about you guys? Do you do chemical free cleaning? Are you ready to through out all those toxic chemicals that you normally clean with?

    Well, I am hosting Christmas this year. So be sure to check back in to see how I was able (and how quickly and easily) to get my house all cleaned up for the holidays!

    This post contains product that I received at no cost in exchange for this post. It did not influence my opinions of the product or my review. All my thoughts are completely mine. 

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