We just spent a magical week at Walt Disney World to celebrate the boys’ birthdays. (It’s sometimes a blessing when all three of your boys have birthdays within 46 days of each other.) I had originally made plans to go the day they got out of school, which was exactly a week before Thanksgiving. Upon examining the crowd predictions and history of holidays at the parks, I bumped the trip up a few days and sadly, the boys had to miss a few days of school. But now, I am SO glad I decided to do that because last night, the last night at Disney World, the Magic Kingdom was jam packed with people! The wait times for rides were all 30 minutes or longer and we had been at the park all day long. Did I mention we had been to the parks 5 days in a row? We were exhausted. I know you know how I feel if you have been to Disney World!View Post
During my childhood, we made so many ornaments, both at home and at school. Salt dough ornaments, popsicle stick reindeer, picture ornaments, and other fun creations were all so fun to make! My mom held on to our ornaments through the years and my kids really love looking through them each year.View Post
The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.
Holiday shopping is in full swing! We received the Best Buy Toy Gift Guide in the mail a few days ago, and the boys all took turns looking at it and telling me what they wanted. Well, it soon turned into that they wanted pretty much everything! With three birthdays in November and December, as well as Christmas, Best Buy has what every kid wants!View Post
You know the holidays are in full swing when you see Hallmark Channel‘s lineup of Christmas movies! I am teaming up with Hallmark Channel to tell you all about “The Sweetest Christmas.” All opinions are mine, but this post is sponsored by Hallmark Channel.
I love a good Christmas movie, and Hallmark Channel is back this season with a great lineup! This Saturday at 8 pm, 7 central, “The Sweetest Christmas” premieres on Hallmark Channel and it is the perfect movie to snuggle up and watch with someone you love. Watch the preview here:
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyToraniFrappe #CollectiveBias
If there is one side dish that always gets devoured, it’s rice It’s such a good filler and it’s very versatile, so I always keep some in the pantry. This Instant Pot Fried Rice is SO good. Serve it alongside orange chicken, beef & broccoli, or even Instant Pot Korean Beef. I love that you can add just about anything to this rice. You can precook chicken and add it before or after cooking and it’s delicious either way. Scramble an egg and add it in, too! No one in my house likes peas, sadly, so they didn’t make an appearance in this recipe but they can easily be thrown in!View Post
We all know that sleep is important for survival, but did you know that the quality of your sleep and the mattress you sleep on can improve your mood, health and life? Read on to see why I am saying that the gift of sleep is the best idea this holiday season, brought to you by Nectar mattress!
I am a mom that has always been concerned about our family’s sleep. I jokingly say that I have not had a good night’s sleep since before I was pregnant the first time…9 years ago….and I do know the toll the lack of quality sleep can have on someone over time. When I do not sleep well, I feel it in my body and my lack of patience. I try to stay strong, but it is hard!
There have been times when I have actually gotten to stay in bed for over 8 hours straight and I still do not feel rested enough. Anytime I sleep in a hotel, when a sick kid is in our bed, or when I am sleeping on an air mattress during the holidays. It sounds odd, but the quality of what you are sleeping on can predict whether or not you feel well rested the next day.
How Do You Know If You Are Getting Enough Quality Sleep?
- you wake up feeling rested in the morning
- you either don’t need an alarm clock or you can get up easily when your alarm sounds
- you are not in more pain when you wake up than when you went to sleep
- you do not feel sleepy quickly when driving or doing something quietly during the day
- you do not fall asleep immediately upon getting into be
What About A Used Mattress?
In order to get truly quality sleep, you need a quality mattress. Mattresses are easy to obtain. You can probably find a free or almost free used mattress on a local sell site right now, but used mattresses are NOT a good idea. For a truly fantastic good night’s sleep, you need a new mattress that no one has slept on, that is supportive and comfortable.
Why A Nectar Mattress?
We love the Nectar mattress because it is just the right amount of both softness and support AND we get quality sleep on it! But, here are the specifics if you are interested in WHY it’s so awesome:
- TENCEL COOLING COVER – promotes air circulation, heat wicking and is bedbug resistant
- GEL MEMORY FOAM – delivers weight distribution and pressure relief
- BREATHING BASE LAYER – reinforces the contouring and support layers serving as a stable foundation
- QUILTED GEL MEMORY FOAM – provides loft, air circulation, while perfectly contouring to your body
- ADAPTIVE HI CORE MEMORY FOAM – recovery foam supports the body while providing rebound and bounce
These five layers of genius invention make up a perfect night’s sleep.
The Nectar is also CertiPUR-US® Certified, which means that each mattress is made without ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP, mercury, lead, which is important to me as a mom, because I like to know what my family is sleeping on and if it is safe!
How Do I Get It To My Bedroom?
Okay, y’all, this is the fun part! The Nectar mattress arrives compressed and rolled up at your doorstep. Two people can easily carry in the king size mattress. All you do is unwrap, unzip, cut the plastic and it fills out and “inflates” instantly and ready for setup.
Other Fabulous Incentives
Right now, Nectar is offering a sale! Save $125 and get two FREE Nectar pillows. Shipping and returns are always free, too. And best yet, you can try the mattress out for a year in the 365 Night Home Trial.
I highly recommend adding the Nectar mattress to the wish list of everyone in your family, because if everyone is getting a good night’s sleep, tomorrow is going to be MUCH better! (And also so all of the kids won’t find their way to your cozy bed in the middle of the night!)
BBQ Chicken Queso is sponsored by Curly’s. All opinions are mine.
Being from Texas, queso is basically considered a food group! Queso is made in many different ways with many different delicious cheeses. I wanted to change up the game with this delicious BBQ Chicken Queso! It’s perfect for tailgating or watching football games at home! The best part is that it can be made ahead of time and warmed on the stove or in a crock pot.View Post
As children grow up and go through different phases, we parents have to adjust our approach to just about everything. Read on to see how I’ve simplified shopping with kids, while encouraging them to be independent with this simple trick and a little planning, with help from our sponsor, Stonyfield® Organic YoKids®.
When we had our first son, going out was so intimidating. Packing the diaper bag, leaving right after a feeding and between naps…it was pretty stressful. Then they hit that toddler stage which is pretty fun because they aren’t so demanding. And I don’t know if it’s just my kids or what, but when I am alone and have to go to the store or run errands, they immediately get “hangry” the moment my foot steps inside the store. Why is that? I spend so much time making sure they have had breakfast but suddenly they are just SO hungry!
Admittedly, I used to be the mom that would grab a box of crackers off the shelf and open it before buying it, just so my kids would let me shop in peace. And yes, I’ve also let them sneak strawberries out of the carton to munch on during our trip…before they were washed. Yes, I know! That’s not good!
How do you simplify shopping with kids?
So somehow, after having three kids, I finally had a good idea to get us through errands and shopping trips without them starving and without me pulling things we hadn’t bought off of the shelf so I could shop. Yes, I’m embarrassed that it took me 8 years to think of this.
So, what do I do? While I am getting ready to leave, I tell the boys to pack a snack. Even the youngest can do this! Pack a water for themselves, a snack or two, and the only stipulation is that it has to be something of nutritional value. For example, they can’t grab a handful of gum and throw it in their bag. (Believe me, they totally would!) I’ve taught them that snacks with protein will get them through the day, and I’m happy that they have finally picked up on my words of wisdom!
I always try to have the essentials on hand so they can just grab and go. It doesn’t take long and they can pack a good snack in a matter of minutes, which helps me out because I don’t have to pack snacks that they may not like and for all three of them!
My boys love yogurt, so I always try to have a good supply on hand for lunch boxes and also shopping trip snacks! Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurts are a great choice for kids. They are portable and low-fat, and all Non GMO Project Verified, which is very impressive and important to me. They have no high fructose corn syrup and 25-40% less sugar than the leading kids yogurt. (YoKids cups, smoothies, and Squeezers; pouches will be available with up to 35% less sugar than the leading kids’ yogurt starting December ’17).
Why is it important to feed kids organic yogurt? Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurts are always made without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, artificial hormones, antibiotics and GMOs. Of course my kids don’t care about all of that, they care about the taste and these yogurts are always delicious and always a top choice!
Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurts are great for any kind of trip. We have taken them on road trips, overnight trips to the grandparents’ house, to soccer games, and more. They are the #1 organic kids yogurt brand and it’s clear why.
Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurt is a certified B Corp, which means it’s a company that meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. As a B Corp™, they have goals to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems. This means a lot to me and is something I can discuss with my kids and teach them about their place in the world and that what we do can make a huge difference.
After we are at the store and they have devoured their snacks, they are then ready to help tackle the shopping list with me. The two older ones can read a list, one can push the cart if need be, and the little guy can put things in the cart. There is no whining because everyone has a job and a full belly. Shopping trips are much more peaceful now!
How do you make shopping trips and errands with kids more peaceful?
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Stonyfield® Organic YoKids®.
I was given the opportunity to take this Ford Transit Connect on a road trip with all three boys this summer. Thanks to Ford for giving me this fun ride at no cost as we explored the area of Texas where I was born and raised!
For the longest time, I was nervous about traveling alone with the kids. With hubby being a youth minister and being gone 3-4 weeks out of the summer, however, it soon was evident that getting out with the kids was an absolute necessity. While we love traveling with Dad, we cannot miss opportunities to make memories together.
I am from a small town in West Texas. No, not Lubbock or El Paso, but more Central West Texas, near Abilene. It is where I was born and raised and my parents still live to this day. Trips home are important to me and so much fun for the boys, too. I load up the car and we have a great time.
Get Your Car Checked
Our old van is getting on up there in the miles, so if we were traveling in that, my husband would be sure to check the tires and levels before heading out, so we could be safe. I am lucky that we were able to travel in the new Ford Transit, because being confident and safe on road trips with kids is of the utmost importance. You want to avoid stops at all costs, especially if you are the only adult on the trip!
Create A Playlist
You don’t want to be fooling with your phone or music while you drive, so make sure to either create a playlist of songs the family loves or that you are able to play all of your songs, hands free. I loved how easy it was to connect my phone. And the sound was amazing, too!
Adjust Mirrors Before Leaving
This little mirror right here was my absolute favorite part of the Ford Transit Connect. It was able to swivel any direction and I could always keep my eye on all three kids at once!
Pack Plenty of Books and Games!
We visited the library before heading out, where we stocked up on the books. Even though we have many books at home, there’s something about library books that keep them entertained longer. We also made sure to charge all tables and electronic games for the trip. Oh and of course, don’t forget your chargers!
Point Out Landmarks
Every time we go to my parents’ house, I always point out this huge metal longhorn. Not only is it totally awesome for a little boy, but it means that we are getting pretty close to Grammy & Grampy’s house!
Things that I passed often as a child are pretty fascinating to an eight year old who loves history!
The road home is always a sight for sore eyes!
Find The Murals
Small towns in Texas are known for having amazing murals. We take them for granted but they really are gigantic masterpieces that may go unseen to most people!
Find The Playgrounds
Small towns also usually have playgrounds that are super old, which makes them super fun! My boys love, love, love walking down to the same playground that I grew up on and having fun with their cousins. Sure, you’ll have to ignore the chipped paint, but kids do still play on these playgrounds, so they’re most likely safe, otherwise. Getting out of the cities and away from the same old playground really is awesome for a kid!
Tell Kids About Your Own History
I took the boys on a tour of where my grandparents used to live. I made sure to bring my parents along for the ride so they could get the story straight. It’s likely they won’t remember much, but who knows, they just might.
This plot is where I used to visit my grandmother many years ago, before she passed away and later the house burned. It’s still full of so many memories.
Take Time To Relax
If you’re the only adult on a trip with kids, you will need to just take it easy and relax. Don’t have an agenda. Enjoy your time with each other and with any relatives or friends that you are visiting. And play lots of games!!
Have you ever traveled with kids, by yourself? Share your tips!