Friends Are Worth Celebrating

I am a member of the Netflix Streamteam, all opinions are my own.
sisters friends

I never really stressed about friendships until I got older, maybe it’s because I have always been a bit of a loaner and it took having kids and the desperation that comes with motherhood for me to reach out to other moms. There is something really special about having a friend who truly gets you, a friend who you can tell anything and everything knowing you will get advice or comfort back but not judgement. That is what I wish for my girls, true and lasting friends and while I know they have that in each other, one of the many benefits of having all girls close in age, it is good to have other friends too. Two of my three girls who are school aged have found their group of friends but the third is still looking and I worry about her, about the fact that she has not found a true kindred spirit to bond with in anyone else yet. For now she has her sisters and that bond is deep and strong and wonderful to watch. Listening to my girls giggle together in a conspiratorial way melts my heart, it really is amazing.

Now that three of my girls are in school together I love hearing tales of the bigger sisters looking out for the younger ones on the playground and how they play together. It’s so great to see the special friendship bond they have as sisters in action outside of the home. This Thanksgiving not only am I thankful for family but I am also thankful for friends, in fact I think we will host a Friendsgiving so my girls can celebrate the great friends they do have. To get us in the mood for friendsgiving we will be enjoying some of our favorite tales of friendship. Right now the little girls are loving Veggie Tales and the dynamic duo of Bob and Larry. Fox and the Hound 2 is another great tale of friendship as is Clifford, all great shows you can stream on your devices thanks to Netflix.


sister hug kiss


Teaching kids to love others and value friendship from a young age is crucial. My almost 3 year old is just starting to understand friends and what friendship means and it is adorable. She loves to walk around listing all of her friends, my favorite is when she lists her cousins.

What about you, do you have some great friends in your life? Do your kids have great friends?

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Product was provided, all opinions are my own.
comparison photo


As a blogger one of the things you learn early on is that appearance is everything. No one wants to look at photos of your messy house or crazy kids, they want to see magazine idealism and perfection. Recently at my Bible Study group we were discussing perfection and how you should never compare your insides to someone else’s outsides and it really struck me. You hear over and over again that “Comparison is the thief of joy” but does that stop us from comparing? Nope!

Every time I need to take a blog photo I am looking around at the mess, pushing, shoving and kicking things out of the way. Why do you think no one takes big wide angle shots in their home! Oh no is it close up food photos, outside fashion photos and cropped photos. I get it and really I don’t want to see messy photos either but we often forget what it takes to get things looking “perfect” for the camera.

Libman sent me a fun kit to help get my room camera ready and I have to say I am loving the easy grab and quick clean aspect of the Libman Freedom mop. No need for a bucket like traditional mops and no cords and plugging in like other floor cleaners. I have found that I hardly ever put my Libman Freedom Mop away I just keep it in the kitchen as I am constantly grabbing it for a quick clean up after my kids make a mess. And even better the kids can clean up themselves, even the almost 3 year old likes to spray and wipe with the Libman Freedom mop. The pads are machine washable and the new cleaning solution bottles measure the perfect amount for you every time meaning less waste.

Messy embarrassing room (hangs head in shame)

Messy embarrassing room (hangs head in shame)


Clean Room thanks to Libman Freedom Mop

Clean Room thanks to Libman Freedom Mop

You can grab a coupon to get your very own Libman Freedom mop, get your Libman Freedom Mop Coupon HERE. Stop pushing germs around with your old school mop and grab a Libman Freedom mop and get your home camera ready, or at least one corner so you can take a photo and pretend it is all perfect at your house right?



Halloween Food: Witch’s Fingers and Eyeball Punch #drinkTEN

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

witchs fingers


Halloween can be so much fun, it really is amazing the creative things you can do with food and kids love it so much. This Halloween instead of turning to my staple Halloween treats I created something new and without the full calorie guilt. My love of Dr.Pepper is well known and Dr.Pepper TEN is my absolute favorite, not quite diet but not all the calories either. I swapped out original Dr.Pepper for Dr.Pepper TEN to make my favorite Slow Cooker Dr.Pepper BBQ Chicken and then I put it inside crescent rolls to make creepy fun Witch’s Fingers. This is the perfect hearty snack or appetizer for kids on Halloween as they are stuffing their faces with candy have them grab a Dr.Pepper TEN BBQ Chicken Witch’s Finger and you know they at least got some protein with all that sugar.




Dr.Pepper TEN BBQ Chicken Witch’s Fingers

  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can Dr Pepper TEN (12 oz)
  • 1 bottle BBQ sauce (approx 19 oz)
  • 2 packages crescent rolls
  • Pastry horns

Add the chicken breasts, BBQ sauce and Dr Pepper TEN to the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours.

Lay out the crescent rolls and cut them into thin strips. Coat the pastry horn in cooking spray then wrap 1-2 strips on the pastry horn. Cook at 375 on an ungreased cookie sheet for 4-6 minutes (depending on how big you made them). Once cooled slide off of pastry horn.

Fill the crescent roll with shredded chicken. Use a food pen to draw on a fingernail. Serve and enjoy!

dr pepper chicken witchs fingersCollage


Your little trick or treaters will need something to wash down their witch’s fingers so why not serve them Halloween Eyeball Punch made with Canada Dry TEN so less calories and less guilt. This punch is super simple and always a crowd pleaser for both kids and adults.


eyeball punch


Halloween Eyeball Punch:

  • 2 2 liter bottles of Canada Dry TEN
  • 2 cans of fruit punch frozen juice concentrate
  • grapes

Mix it all together and add the grapes last, the grapes fizz and are lots of fun for the kids plus they look like little eyeballs floating around in the punch.


halloween food





In case you are unfamiliar with the collection of TEN pops there are several versions and you can find them at your local Kroger or other grocery store with all the other soda.  Available in Canada Dry TEN, Dr Pepper TEN, 7Up TEN, A&W TEN, Sunkist TEN these are the perfect low calorie treat so you can swap out the regular version and people won’t even notice but they will appreciate less calories on a day filled with treats!


TEN soda aisle

Chatting with Tammin Sursok About Motherhood Plus a Giveaway #FavBabyFirsts


Last week I had the chance to chat live during a Google Hangout with actress Tammin Sursok about motherhood and her new Moms with Strollers video series on Youtube she is creating with Johnson & Johnson. I would love to say it was awesome except I had major technical difficulties and missed over half of it, yay technology, but I did get to chat with Tammin before we went on air and she is so sweet and down to earth. Now I have a totally embarrassing confession when I first logged into the Google Hangout it was just me and Tammin and she was trying to figure something out on the computer and I was trying to get myself all set for us to go live and I was chatting away totally thinking she was the Johnson & Johnson Rep and then after a few moments I realized my mistake, well she is so sweet and just another mom like the rest of us!

Be sure to check out our Google Hangout with two other bloggers Lisa from Crazy Adventures in Parenting and Megan from Sunshine and SippyCups. We had a great time chatting with Tammin and being real about motherhood. I think all of us can agree motherhood needs companionship, you need other mothers to share your joys and your horror stories. Only another mom can truly understand this crazy journey called motherhood and that is why I love that Johnson & Johnson is doing the Moms with Strollers series bringing together real moms to discus this roller coaster ride called motherhood. Tammin thought she was supposed to be back to normal life after 6 weeks doing things like going on trips and hosting Thanksgiving, what?!?!?  And the crazy part is she did both of those things just 6 weeks post-partum, that is when you need other moms advice!

Tammin Sursok has teamed up with Johnson & Johnson Baby to do a fun video series on Youtube called Moms with Strollers. She has great discussions with other moms about motherhood and having a baby. Topics so far have included Baby’s First Moments, and Advice Overload both topics all moms can relate to be sure to check it out.


WIN IT: One lucky That Chic Mom reader will win a JOHNSON’S® FIRST TOUCH® Gift Set, tell me your favorite baby first moment to be entered to win, see form below!

I am a Johnson & Johnson Baby Ambassador, all opinions are my own.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Celebrating Milestones with Buzzbee #streamteam

I am thrilled to be a member of the Netflix Stream Team, all opinions are my own.
mini milestones


This year has brought a lot of milestones to our house, it’s been a whirlwind of firsts and while many of these are a big deal to the child who hits the milestone they might not seem like such a big deal to everyone else. I sent my third child off to Kindergarten and it hit me a lot harder than any of my other girls. She’s the child I always worry about, the one I always underestimate and yet the one who always proves me wrong. The thought of sending her off to kindergarten all day gave me serious anxiety, you would have thought she was my oldest. With Kindergarten came her first organized sports team, yay for soccer, as well as her first time being away from me for long periods of time regularly.




At our house I am really strict about what media my kids are exposed to and even though my daughter is in Kindergarten she is not allowed to see most of the videos her peers are watching. She is highly impressionable and picks up and imitates behaviors she sees on shows all the time. While that can be really frustrating as a mom it can also work to my advantage when she is exposed to shows that reinforce good choices. A show we can both agree on right now is The Hive starring the adorable little bee Buzzbee.

The Hive, available on Netflix, consists of 2 seasons of 20 minute videos full of age appropriate lessons for my 5 year old. Buzzbee has to navigate family life with siblings both older and younger which is something my daughter has to navigate too. Buzzbee also has to navigate friendships and school, things my daughter is working out for herself right now so the show is right where she is at. I love that Netflix helped us to find a show that works for our family and is commercial free, we really love Netflix at our house, it works well for our whole family.


5 Halloween Safety Tips Plus a DIY Flashlight Costume

I am a Rayovac Ambassador, all opinions are my own.
tiger costume



Halloween is such a fun holiday that young and old love but it is the only holiday where little kids are dressed in dark colors and crossing the street at night and that makes moms nervous. As a mom who still has little ones I am especially nervous about their safety, but with a few deliberate choices you can make Halloween safe and fun for everyone.





Here are 5 Halloween Safety Tips to keep every safe on Halloween:

1. Carry a flashlight. Consider having each child carry a flashlight but at the very least the accompanying adults should have flashlights and have the kids should cross the street with the the flashlight carrying adults. Consider carrying a glow-in-the dark flashlight like the Rayovac Glow in the Dark flashlight (right now get $1 off with promo code GLOWINTHEDARK when ordering from plus free shipping on orders of $25 or more).

2. Stay in a Group. Make sure your kids are not darting off in every direction, have them stick together in a group especially when crossing the street, a larger group is easier for cars to see.

3. Keep Costumes Safe. Try to incorporate some glow in the dark or light spots on your child’s costume, choose face paint over masks when possible so your child can see better and make sure they are wearing footwear that fits well especially if it is a wet night, those leaves get slippery.

4. Know the Neighborhood. Pick a neighborhood you know for trick or treating and avoid dark houses, around us you put your porch light on to show you are participating.

5. Driver Safety. We try not to drive at all during trick or treat hours but if you must drive be extra vigilant especially in residential areas.


flashlight costume


For those of you who want to be really safe and  embarrass your children, then dress up like a flashlight with this simple DIY Flashlight costume. Simply cut a semi-circle out of cardboard and tape it to a headband with packing tape, wear all black with the name of your flashlight brand in glow in the dark letters on your shirt and of course carry a flashlight. I had a glow in the dark Rayovac tee but you could use paint or tape to put any name you wanted on your shirt. This is the perfect costume for the accompanying adult who is on safety duty during trick or treat night and loves to embarrass their kids, although mien think it’s awesome and have been wearing the flashlight headband all afternoon!

How to Potty Train Your Child in One Week

how to potty train in one week


So it’s time to start the dreaded potty training adventure with your little one, while the thought of not buying diapers anymore is enticing the actual potty training itself can be daunting. I am currently finishing up with our all in potty training of number 4 and much like her big sisters it went well, rough start with a great finish. The way I potty train is an all in approach that I take once my kids have showed signs of readiness and typically takes a week with 3 rough days at first and then just building confidence and good habits.


potty training

How to Potty Train Your Child in One Week:

1. Gather supplies. You will need a potty ( I recommend the Joovy Loo Potty Chair) and if you want an insert for a regular toilet, new underwear that they get to pick out,  sheet protectors and mattress pads (so accidents don’t ruin the mattress) and diapers.

2. Make Sure Your Child is Ready to Potty Train. Over the years I found only a few signs of readiness that are strong indicators your child is ready and willing to be potty trained. Can they keep their diaper dry for several hours at a time? Do they acknowledge when they have to go to the bathroom? Are they showing interest in using the potty? Are they bothered by a wet or soiled diaper? Can they pedal a bike? ( this may seem odd but the coordination of muscles used to pedal a bike is the same coordination needed to stop and start the urine flow) I know there are others but I have found that these are key indicators that they have a genuine interest in learning to use the potty.

3. Do Some Prep Work. Be for you dive right into potty training you need to lay the groundwork for using the potty. As you begin to see some of the readiness signs start suggesting they use the potty. If they begin removing wet or soiled diapers remind them that they can use the potty and get rid of the diaper all together. Once your child is showing consistent interest it’s time to loose the diapers.

4. All or Nothing Approach. I prefer the all or nothing approach. I find pull-ups to be very confusing for kids and they prolong the potty training process, not to mention they are expensive. If you need to use a diaper use a diaper but don’t use the pull-up. I take my child to the store to purchase new underwear, we discuss how special underwear is and how we always keep it dry. Upon retuning home the diaper is removed, new underwear put on and away we go. If it is nice out I try to stay outside as much as possible the first few days. I do use a diaper at night until they are staying dry in the day then I no longer have a diaper at all.

5. Avoiding Accidents. The job of avoiding accidents falls on you the trainer for the first few days. I set a timer for every 30 minutes and every time it goes off I take my child to the toilet. By making them use the potty often you avoid accidents and build up self-confidence. Place the potty in the room you are playing in that way they don’t feel going to the potty is like a punishment removing them from play. If you know your child has to go consider giving them books or putting on a video while they sit to distract them.

6. Waterproofing. Accidents will happen so instead of sticking diapers on your child when you are worried try to take steps to protect your home. Make sure your child’s mattress has a waterproof protective sheet on it. I would put a plastic backed picnic blanket on the couch when my daughter had rest time so if she did have an accident no big deal. Try to do activities in areas of the house that provide easy clean up.

7. Stay Home. Plan on staying home as much as possible the first week you take away diapers. It is an adjustment for everyone and your child will learn better when they are in their own home and you can consistently monitor them. The first 3 days are the most critical so if you can avoid taking them anywhere that is ideal after that plan your outings with available potty’s or take a potty in the car. If you must go on a longer car ride put a diaper on the seat NOT ON THE CHILD, remind them not to have an accident that the diaper is not on them, but you are covered if they do.

8. Give them Praise. Make sure you are staying positive and praising your child for a job well done. If you want to reward them that is up to you, some of my kids respond well t a small treat like a skittle or starburst for each successful trip for others I found that stickers and toys back fired and became a bribery as opposed to my daughter actually learning to control herself and use the potty. High fives, hugs and lots of praise are a great way to encourage your child and when they have an accident be understanding and compassionate more often than not they are more devastated than you are.

9. Accidents Will Happen. Be realistic accidents will happen for a while especially at night but just be aware of potty cues and make sure you child is not drinking too much before bed and that will pass as well and you will soon have a fully potty trained child. If your child seems to be fine with accidents make them help clean it up I find that to be a great motivator to use the potty and stay dry. I keep a portable potty in my car the first few months so when they have to go and you are not near a restroom you don’t have to worry about accidents.


I hope these tips help you to have a successful one week of potty training boot camp and getting rid of diapers for good.

There’s More Than One Way To Use a Bookshelf

When you have a larger family like I do a lot of things don’t work well for your family, the table for 4 obviously makes no sense for a family of 7 but there are other things too. Keeping a family of 7 organized can be a daunting task and if the clutter is not kept in check it can really overwhelm you and take over. One of the worst areas in my house for clutter is right inside the door. If each person leaves one pair of shoes we have 14 shoes laying all over the place and that creates a huge mess, you can’t even walk. Traditional shoe racks don’t work well for us as they rarely hold enough pairs which is why I love the idea of using the Sauder Tall Bookcase as a catch all shoe rack inside my front door. At the door by my garage I am ok with a basket and hooks but by my front door I want something that looks nicer and more polished. The Sauder Tall Bookcase has 10 separate shelves and each shelf can comfortably hold 2 pair of adult shoes and more kids shoes. In my family each person can have a shelf where they neatly line up shoes and keep my floor and foyer clean (a mom can dream right).


sauders bookshelf


sauder bookshelf clothing


sauder shelf


Another great use for this fabulous Sauder Tall bookshelf is for laying out my girls clothes. One of the things that can be a nightmare with a big family is laundry and clothing. I try to set my kids up to be able to do things themselves which is why I prefer to have everything hanging. Getting everyone dressed in the morning can be a huge headache at my house so in order to make it all easier for everyone I lay out their clothes. The Sauder Tall Bookshelf is perfect for laying a complete 5 day wardrobe out for 2 of my girls who need help. On Sunday I can lay out the outfits for the week and know my girls are set with no morning drama. I can even utilize the shelf labels to help my girls know which outfit is for which day.


sauder tall bookcase


And then of course this gorgeous bookshelf is perfect to be just that a bookshelf in any room including a bedroom like we have it shown in my girl’s room. For more great versatile furniture uses check out my Pinterest Board with some great ideas.


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sauder. The opinions and text are all mine.

Cheap and Easy Paint Themed Kid’s Birthday Party

paint themed birthday party


My daughter wanted an at home party for her 5th birthday and we were on a pretty tight budget to host all the girls in her class so I came up with this fun paint themed birthday party. The paint theme was a huge hit and was perfect for keeping 5 year olds engaged over a 2 hour period plus it was really inexpensive to do.

I planned the party so it was not during any mealtime that way all I needed was snacks to help keep cost down. I found these adorable pretzel rod paint brushes and rice krispie treat paint brushes on Pinterest.

paint party table


painting treasure boxes


First we started by painting treasure chests. I found an assortment of adorable boxes at Michael’s for $1 each. Initially I was going to do large sheets of cardstock but we decided the boxes would be more fun and engaging, and the girls loved them! I covered two large tables in my back yard, filled disposable cups with paint (for easy cleanup) and put out lots of paint brushes. I found this great deal on Amazon for Economy Watercolor Brush Canister of 144 for $1.48!


piggy paint manicures table


Next we had stations set up for the girls to get their face painted and to get their nails painted. The goody bags for the party were these adorable Piggy Paint Birthday Party Packages. Each baggie came with nail polish, nail file, toe spacers, a sheet of nail art and 2 pink cotton balls. Each girl used her own nail polish that we then sent home with the instructions to add the nail art at home later. My awesome sister-in-law painted the kids faces, we used Snazaroo Face Paint Sticks which worked well and were only $5.


cupcake decorating


The final painting activity we did was decorating cupcakes. I made white cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes and lemon cupcakes and bought several colors of frosting. Then I bought a ton of candy and let the kids go to town decorating their own cupcake. We did this at the same table in the yard where we did the painting, new tablecloths of  course, which was awesome for keeping the mess minimal.


cupcake toppings


Finally we burned off all that sugar and energy with a giant Genuine Surplus White Parachute that I borrowed from my friend. It was a such a great idea I am thinking of buying one myself for future use, it really was a great way to have organized play with almost 20 Kindergarten girls!


parachute game


The party was a huge success, the one thing I did royally mess up though was not having enough adults to help. That meant hardly any pictures got taken because my husband and I were constantly running around getting things set up, ect. Live and learn right? Next time I will hire the teenage neighbor and her friends to paint nails and faces and run the games  for me.

Piggy Paint provided the birthday party package for feature.

Dear Underestimated Child, Keep Proving Me Wrong

dance picture


As a parent we are supposed to be non-biased and love all of our kids equally right? You know treat them the same, give them the same, all that jazz. Well here’s the thing, we are all human and try as we might we can’t treat every kid the same and for the most part I think that is a good thing. What is right for one child is not right for the other, I think each child needs to be assessed and treated like the individual they are. This is how I try to raise my kids, we have a saying in our house

“Fair doesn’t mean equal”

That  being said there is one pitfall that I am constantly battling and that is underestimating my child. I have one daughter in particular who I always underestimate. Maybe it’s the fact that her birthday is one of those cutoff ones that could go either way and I always tend to think she is not ready for things. Maybe it’s because she is physically tiny or maybe it is my residual guilt from my health issues when she was a baby. OR maybe it’s my own inability to let her go and grow and maybe it’s all of these combined, but she always is ready even when I am not.


When it came time to sign her up for dance I was sure she was not ready for the class that did an on stage recital,  I thought she still needed the play movement class. At the recital she flawlessly did both her dances and was even the leader in one…


When it came time to decide on whether or not to send her to Kindergarten I was sure she was not ready even though she had proven me wrong repeatedly over the last year. Thank goodness my husband sees her true ability even before I do. When I agreed she should go I was stressed for weeks, I have never ever stressed about a kid going to Kindergarten before! And guess what… she is doing great.


Whatever the reason I just keep underestimating her and she just keeps proving me wrong. Thank goodness for that! While I never tell her she isn’t ready I secretly fear it in my heart. I hope that as a mom I can get past this and help her succeed in life, not hold her back.


So to my daughter who I constantly underestimate, I am sorry, so very, very sorry if I have held you back. I am sorry if you felt like I did not believe in you and I am so glad God gave you the spunk and determination to prove me wrong over and over again, because I really do believe in you and I know you can conquer the world if you set your mind on it!

Furniture Delivered to Your Door from Sauder

I love finding ways to make my life easier and more convenient and if I can order what I need online and have it delivered to my home, well that is a life saver. Recently we did some bedroom switching and now have our three oldest girls in a room together and needed a big bookcase, one that allows each of them to have their own shelves but does not take up a lot of room.

I spent a lot of time browsing the Sauder website and had multiple pieces of furniture that I was considering. One of the things I really love about the Sauder website is that it shows the pieces of furniture styled in a room making it so much easier to see the true style and potential of the pieces.

We decided that tall was our best choice as it took up the least floor space and we wanted the bookcase to fit in between the two windows in my girls room. The Sauder Tall Bookcase from the Barrister Lane Collection was exactly what I wanted and at $209.99 the price was perfect. We measured the space between the windows and thankfully it was perfect so I ordered it and waited.

Sauder is Ohio based which meant my bookcase came really fast. Unfortunately my bookcase arrived with some broken pieces. This was something that worried me having such a heavy piece shipped, but it ended up not being a big deal. I spoke with a Sauder customer service representative and getting the replacement parts was so simple, plus they came in two days. Even with my piece coming broken I would definitely order from Sauder again.

sauder tall bookcase

I love how the bookcase looks and so do my girls, they each have plenty of room on their shelf and now they have a special place to put treasured possessions. The bookcase is sturdy and good quality and I am nothing but pleased!

sauder bookcase collage

Have you ever ordered furniture online before? If not would you consider it as an option?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sauder. The opinions and text are all mine.

Having 5 Kids is Making Me Dream of RV’s Because It’s Just Too Hard Otherwise

clear lake boat pic

It’s funny, I never really thought about my family as being “too big” or really all that controversial. I make my choices and you make yours, I chose many kids you chose a few… end of story. I always heard people joke about it being a small family world not set up for big families like mine, but I never really felt it until this summer. This past summer while on vacation I suddenly felt like we were too big, too big to enjoy things others enjoy, too big to fit in and definitely too big to do normal things. Maybe it was just that I subconsciously avoided situations that could not accommodate us well thus avoiding this before but it took going on vacation with all 7 of us for me to finally feel too big. Let me tell you vacationing as a big family is hard, like really hard.

Suddenly I understood how people felt when they stuck out like a sore thumb. Suddenly I realized why some of my friends with bigger families said “that’s not an option for a family like ours” I just always thought they were being a bit dramatic. But here’s the deal most things anywhere you go are set up for 4 people with a max of 6, but you see we have 7. Even though my kids are young and small they still need a seat, need a ticket or take up space and I am starting to realize things are changing for us.

When we bought the bigger car I didn’t feel too forced, I mean many people with only 2 kids drive the same car I do by choice. As for restaurants they have a way to accommodate larger groups it just so happens my lager group is my immediate family. No it was family destination travel that broke me, it was the tiny hotel room. This summer was the first time that all of us in one hotel room was insane, like this has to be a fire hazard insane. My kids are young and small and it wasn’t the amount of sleeping space it was the amount of being space. Two days into our trip it hit me, we can no longer stay at places that only offers standard hotel rooms, we must have a suite. Someday we can return to these places when I am comfortable with 2 adjoining rooms, but not for a long time. We have been fortunate enough to rent houses with extended family on many vacations so we have not really done many single hotel rooms before and this was the first time since becoming a family of 7. I even spoke with a friend who writes a popular online family magazine,s he told me she planned on dong a piece on vacation places that are good for bigger families, she scrapped the article when she found none.

My husband and I came home from that trip a bit shell shocked, it was an awful trip for us. And that was the first time I took him seriously when he said some day we should rent an RV and travel. Years ago he said that and I laughed at him, I mean laughed out loud and said yeah right. Now it sounds luxurious and spacious and guess what. my friend with 6 kids bought a pop up camper this summer and was raving about it. I of course asked to rent it from her!

Of all the things having a large family has changed for me I never thought it would lead me towards dreaming of a shiny new RV…

How to Teach Good Study Habits to Kids

good study habits


It amazes me how much school has changed since I graduated, kids are now reading before Kindergarten where as I distinctly remember learning in first grade. Standardized testing begins in 2nd grade some places and kids are asked to learn more, do more and remember more than ever. Establishing good study habits from a young age is key and will help to set your kids up for success as they navigate middle school, high school and even college.

My husband and I had very different study habits in college, mine were fine tuned after years of good studying and his were a mess from never really learning to study and he ended up having to learn in college, not a good time to start. In this digital age it can seem foreign to some people to do things like make flash cards, but these old school habits can really help in the long run.

From a very young age teach your kids to seek out a place for homework that is conducive to learning, a place that is free of distractions (aka no TV or iPad running in the background). Help your child to gather the needed supplies for homework in this area to avoid interruptions as they seek out supplies. As your child learns different techniques help them to establish which seem to work well for them. I know that for me actually writing out information helps commit it to my memory better so I write out my notes, no typing, and then I hand write flash cards. Other people do well when they read aloud and still others when they listen. With all the recording devices we have now you can read aloud and record it to listen to later. Forming partnerships and study groups is another great way to learn information. When your child is young you be the study partner and then as they get older help them to find friends who will help them learn in a group dynamic. Peer pressure can be really powerful, this summer we formed a book club to help my daughter work on her reading comprehension so that she is better prepared to discuss the books she reads in school.  And finally time management is a key factor for studying and here are some great tips for teaching time management to kids.

If your child practices these ideas from a very young age they will have great study habits established when school gets really hard as they get older.

Don’t Wait for the Truck, Have Ice Cream Any Time! #IceCreamRun

The following is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.
walgreens ice cream


We love, love, love frozen treats at our house, so much so that my kids even created a club called the Popsicle Club! My kids enjoy Popsicle’s pretty much every day and I often join them too, although my favorite is Frutare strawberry! My husband is the true ice cream lover, give him a bowl of Breyers natural vanilla ice cream and he is happy as can be, all this talk of frozen treats is making me hungry. Lucky for me the closest store to my house is a Walgreens and they carry a wide variety of Unilever brand frozen treats that means Magnum, Breyers, Klondike, Frutare, and Popsicle are just a few blocks away when we need to restock.


popsicle club


The other night the kids inducted a new member into the Popsicle club and we celebrated with Popsicles and ice cream after a quick run to Walgreens for all that we needed. No need to wait for the ice cream truck to come around and spend a lot more money and end up with less treats when we can just pop over to Walgreens and find all that we need for an ice cream party.


UNI_WAG_IceCreamScale_Asset2[5][1] Did you realize Walgreens carried so many great frozen treats?

Wonka Peel-a-Pop Playdate! Let’s Unpeel Fun!

The following is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.
wonka peel a pop playdate




wonka peel a pop banana

We love frozen treats at our house, that is what makes summer summer right? Frozen treats shared with friends is even better so we got together with some friends to celebrate summer and enjoy a new frozen treat Wonka Peel-a-Pop. These fun new treats literally peel open like a banana to reveal a yummy creamy vanilla center with a chewy peel in either grape or vanilla flavor.


wonka cupcakes


wonka cupcake decorating



At our play date we had pizza then decorated cupcakes with all kinds of delicious Wonka candy, the kids really liked that. After consuming lots and lots of sugar I sent the kids on a scavenger hunt in the back yard to find the Golden Ticket. As you can see the kids loved searching for the Golden Ticket and as a prize everyone got a Wonka candy flavored lipgloss!


scavenger hunt

wonka golden ticket


peel a pop dipped in nerds


Finally we got to the best part of our playdate, trying out new Wonka Peel-a-Pop frozen treats. The kids loved how you eat them… first bite off the top, then peel the sides down like a banana, then enjoy! One little girl even dipped hers in nerds! True to the spirit of Willy Wonka Peel-a-Pop frozen treats are magical and delicious right out of Willy Wonka’s factory! Find both flavors of Wonka Peel-a-Pops, Banana Vanilla and Grape Vanilla, at your local grocery store or Target.