Category - Mom

Summer Schedule for Kids – Free Printable

Summer is all about fun and relaxation, I get it. However, a loose schedule is definitely something that our family needs to avoid meltdowns and still feel like we’ve accomplished a few things during the day.

After school let out we had about a week and a half where we just had down time and that was great, but I could clearly see a need for a little bit of structure to combat the, “I’m bored” or “what can I do now?” moments.

Browsing through Pinterest I saw a great Summer Rules Printable that I liked and wanted to create something similar that fit our family needs a little better.

I created a large poster and thought a watermelon theme would be cute for the summer. {Your artistic skills may be better than mine.}

 

 

Then we realized an individual list for each child would be helpful so they could check off items daily. Here is the printable that I created. Please feel free to use for your own family as well. I know task will vary by child and household so I’ve also included a blank printable that you can use and fill in yourself below.

 

Click the link to print: Summer Rules List MommyBKnowsBest

 

CLICK HERE FOR BLANK SUMMER RULES PRINTABLE

 

We placed the printouts in a plastic dry erase pocket so the girls could write and erase easily, each child has a different color pocket and I’ve really seen them take personal responsibility in completing these tasks without being asked.

 

 

Are your summers more scheduled? Are they less scheduled?

Do you create any summer lists??

Leave a comment below!!

 

 

 

 

Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Field Trip

We received admission for the children in attendance to be able to experience and write our thought about Sea Life. The experiences and opinions in this post are that of MommyBKnowsBest.com and attendees.

 

 

Miss C’s first grade class has been studying the ocean, focusing on different ocean zones, and sea animals. Their most recent project asked them to choose something that lives in the ocean and become an expert on that animal. Children chose sand dollars, blue whales, giant squid, sea otters, and more. They were also challenged to find ways that these animals were being harmed and figure out a way to help them.

Sea Life Aquariums not only help to educate people about sea animals but they too are helping the ocean to thrive. Their motto: Breed, Rescue, Protect is exactly what they do. We felt with the current unit, going to Sea Life for a first grade field trip was the perfect fit.

 

Sea Life has a lot of great offerings for field trips for schools, pre-schools, homeschoolers and many other groups. We were able to learn that Sea Life is part of the largest seahorse breeding network in the world. At the Charlotte-Concord, North Carolina location, Catherine, our guide was incredibly helpful in tips on finding the octopus, and shared with us all about the new turtle shelter.

 

 

Throughout our visit we were able to enjoy talks where we learned in-depth about sea animals living at Sea Life. We even got to see the manta ray and other fish and sharks being fed by a trained Aquarist while Kathy talked to us about methods of feeding and what breeds were in the tank.

 

 

Sea Life offers great group rates, educational workshops, and behind-the-scenes tours whether you’re learning about the ocean and sea life or just looking for a great field trip where kids will learn AND have fun at the same time. Check out their website to find more information on group tickets, field trips, and more: www.SeaLife.com

 

 

Tips for Keeping Your Kitchen Clean in Summer

“I’m sharing affresh® in my life as part of a sponsored series for Socialstars™ #affresh

 

Summertime means a lot of things in our home, it means the kids are home from school every day, it means hosting friends and family for celebrations and gatherings, and it means our kitchen is in FULL use. More kitchen use means more kitchen mess means more kitchen cleanup.

There are so many reasons to make sure you are keeping on top of kitchen cleaning other than to make it looks nice.

Here are a few reasons to keep a clean kitchen in the Summer:

  • Keep away ants and other bugs that LOVE dirty kitchens
  • Make it easier for entertaining {one less room to clean}
  • Not feel like you have chores hanging over you when fun activities pop up
  • Smelly kitchen can effect the way your entire house smells
  • Dishes are clean and easy to grab for a quick meal in between pool time
  • Enough counter space to pack a park lunch
  • Lessens the amount of germs for a healthier summer

 

Is the kitchen a hard place to keep clean?!? YES!! Especially when you aren’t the only one living in your home, but you can see it’s an important room to tidy up. Luckily there are some ways you can make cleaning the kitchen easier.

Enlist Help

With Miss A and Miss C tall enough to reach the counters and old enough to put things away on their own I can give them a good bit of kitchen cleaning chores. Even if you have a small child you can find these fun kitchen helper stools at almost any online retailer and they can easily help with wiping the counter or putting away unbreakable, non-sharp dishes.

 

Remember, help doesn’t just have to be your littles it can also be a spouse/significant other, or a friend {just be sure to return the favor}.

When you’re enlisting help be sure to make it fun, put on some music or make it a game to pass the time and encourage cheerful workers.

Keep it Simple

Use products that will clean without a lot of work. This is what I call “Return on Rub”. If you spend hours using a product that makes you scrub and sweat, and you’re not left with something sparkling clean, it’s so not worth it, am I right???

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Clean Smart. I clean smart using products I know that work, and products that are super easy to use.

Remember the smelly kitchen I mentioned above? One reason kitchens get so smelly is because the ever-so-helpful garbage disposal won’t clean itself. I know, maybe in the year 2030 that will be a thing, but in the meantime giving our garbage disposal a deep clean with minimal effort is humanly possible.

affresh® Disposal Cleaner is designed specifically to clean and remove odor causing residue using powerful foaming action.

 

Not only does it work, {trust me I tried it}, but it’s easy to use. Follow the instructions listed on the back of the box once a month or as needed.

 

 

 

1. Get ready for awesome affresh® cleaning to take place

2. Turn on hot water to a low flow

3. Place 1 fresh, citrus scented tablet in your disposal

4. Turn on the disposal for 15-30 seconds and watch the foaming action

After turning off your disposal and rinsing any foam residue, enjoy a fresh smelling disposal in practically less than a minute.

Wherever there is a specific cleaning job to do, you can count on affresh® cleaners to provide the right tool for the job. Purchase your affresh® cleaners HERE

 

Break it Up

When you’re thinking of steps you need to clean your kitchen think broad and make a list, when you break the work into chunks and spread it out it becomes easier to tackle. If you’re a visual person writing down your task might be a great help. We have a white board in our kitchen that has many uses including writing down and checking off chores.

Here is a list of some tasks that may be helpful to send you on your kitchen cleaning journey:

  • Counters
  • Appliances {you could even break these down more}
  • Sink & Disposal {see tip above}
  • Floors
  • Cabinets

Your tasks may vary depending on the size of your kitchen, your appliances and your personal preference, but hopefully this is a great start to a clean kitchen this Summer.

 

What tips do you have to keep your kitchen clean, and you’re not allowed to say, “don’t use it”, I’ve tried that but eating out every meal is too expensive. 

 

caseable Phone Cases { Guest Review }

I constantly find myself changing my phone due to the nature of the case. I switch between the case with the best phone protection to the case that looks great.

Are you a cell phone case flip-flopper too?

Those who know me know I am not one for bulky cases. I often opt for slimmer cases because even though bulky cases are great for protection, they are thick and heavy which I find to be an inconvenience. {Not to mention they hurt my hands.}

Despite the reasons I don’t like thick cases, I still find myself not fully content with slimmer cases. While the look of the case is important, there is one common problem with slim cases: protection. If you drop your phone, you want it to be safe from shattering. I’ve dropped my phone because often times slim cases are very slick, to the point where a “death grip” is needed in order to prevent yourself from dropping it. It has been difficult finding a case that meets all the criteria, since one set of pros and cons are often sacrificed for another.

caseable cases have proven me wrong in thinking a case with all these characteristics does not exist.

 

The look of their cases are unique and will appeal to anyone who is looking to buy one. Because of the vast selection, it took me quite a while to narrow my picks down to just two. I found many that I liked and want to buy. Unfortunately, the website did not have a search bar which made it hard to find a specific kind of case. {Hopefully they will add a search option to make shopping on their site easier.}

Protection in slim cases normally fails to protect the entire phone. caseable cases have a unique texture, unlike any cases I have used. They are soft, but provide just enough traction to have a good grip on your phone without being worried it will slip out of your hand.

Usually the case will cover the left and right sides of the phone, but fall short on the top and bottom of the phone. This case covers more of the bottom and top by curving around it, providing additional protection if dropped. The case doesn’t cover the entire top and bottom of the phone, which some people might not like. I personally think it is better that it doesn’t because it’s easier to remove the case.

Another thing, {that my friend brought to my attention} is that the difference in weight of the phone with and without the case is not noticeable. When I pick up my phone I don’t notice right away, but feel comforted when I realize the case is on my phone.

 

 

By buying a caseable case not only are you protecting your phone, but the environment as well. These cases are made out of recycled water bottles, which is a plus in the purchase of one of these cases. While the price is a bit on the higher end, I think the price suits what the case provides. A five-dollar case on Amazon would not come close to the needs I have in a case for my phone as a college student and soon-to-be-teacher.

I would recommend a caseable case if you are looking for a case that will both look great, and give you the protection you are looking for.

caseable is giving MommyB Knows Best readers a discount good for $7 off any purchase when you enter the code  Summer7 at checkout. Head to their website www.caseable.com see their full line of phone cases for iPhones, Samsung, and more .

We received product samples from caseable in order to experience the product and provide you with honest thoughts.

 

Hayley is finishing up her sophomore year in college studying to be an elementary school teacher. In her free time Hayley enjoys photography, singing, watching Netflix, spending time with friends, and writing on her personal blog. Find more of Hayley’s work at halestakescollege.blogspot.com

What’s In My Diaper Bag? – Diaper Bag Essentials

This is a sponsored post with Beech-Nut brand, however all opinions are my own, honest thoughts.

 

Let’s face it moms are always on-the-go, whether it’s doctor’s appointments, playdates, or running errands. It’s so hard to try to remember the list of things to bring with you as you scramble to make it out the door. Organization and pre-planning go a long way in the mommy world, and while it’s not possible to plan everything {ie, diaper blowouts, or traffic jams; both equally horrible}, there are some things that you can plan that are easy and will simplify your life.

Today’s What’s in My Diaper Bag? – Diaper Bag Essentials post isn’t an absolute list, it’s a list to get you started in the right direction and allows you to make changes that will fit your family and personal on-the-go needs.

Playtime

The type of toy will vary depending on your child’s age, but generally speaking choose toys that are easily washable. You already know those toys are going straight to the ground. Sophie la Girafe Teether** {pictured above} is a must-have diaper bag toy. She’s easy to find in stores and can be wiped down quickly {don’t use her as a bath toy}.

Some fabric toys that wrap around the carseat or shopping cart are great too. {Always look for machine-washable to save yourself some time and stress.}

Mealtime

Easy travel dining ware, like pop-up bowls and disposable flatware are great for meals on the go.

I also highly recommend easy snacks. We’re pretty mindful of what our kids are eating and compare brands to see which are the healthiest and Beech-Nut** really stands out. Not only are their baby and toddler snacks and cereals real ingredients, but they are super portable and a great addition to your diaper bag essentials.

 

Check out their Naturals™ and Organics™ lines:

 

Don’t forget the two-in-one highchair/shopping cart cover like this multi-colored Eddie Bauer Reversible Cart & High Chair Cover**. We loved ours and highly recommend keeping one in your diaper bag. {Opt for darker colors to hide stains.}

While we are at it, I love these Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Milk Feeding Bib the unique dribble catcher absorbs moisture and is ideal for drips or teething and they’re reversible as well.

Changing time

Of course diapers and wipes are important, we heart Pampers brand. Be sure to put a few diapers in your bag, get a travel wipes case, and remember to check every so often to refill.

Changing Pads often come with diaper bags but personally I’ve always been hesitant to use them because I feel like they may not be super clean, I typically go with disposable options and you can find earth-friendly versions as well.

Don’t feel like carrying a dirty diaper around in your diaper bag? Yuck! I highly recommend having the handy Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Bag Dispenser & Bags** attached to your diaper bag at all times. It clips on to the strap AND smells great.

 

 

Remember the extra change of clothes for when messes occur, trust me you’ll thank me later.

Mommy time

It’s always nice to have a few things for mom stashed away in your diaper bag. Remember some bottled water, a quick snack, extra clothes, and maybe even some shower wipes to freshen up a bit. If you can sneak a good book or magazine in, GO YOU!!

Healthy time

Disinfect the world. Okay I know some germs are good, but for public places and unexpected stops I love a good disinfecting wipe. Yep, I’m that mom.

You can buy a set of nail clippers, a thermometer, all your baby’s health needs separately, but why when you can get everything in a complete set that comes with a great little bag to keep everything in one place in your diaper bag. Love this set by Safety 1st. Check out their Deluxe Healthcare & Grooming Kit**.

Okay on this last one, I have not personally tried this but feel like I have seen parents in a standing ovation over this health product. Ladies, and gents, I give you the Fridababy NoseFrida® Nasal Aspirator**. Again, people swear by it and reviews on shopping sites are pretty impressive.

 

And don’t forget the cute Oh Joy!® Backpack Diaper Bag** that’s super stylish and just the right size to hold all your essentials and not be overwhelmingly large.

 

So tell me, What’s In Your Diaper Bag? No, seriously, I really want to know! Leave a comment below, can’t wait to see what your must-haves are.

Exploring Love Languages – Words of Affirmation

 

“Words can build you up,
Words can break you down,
Start a fire in your heart or
Put it out.”

 

These are some of the lyrics of the song Words by Hawk Nelson. This has been true since the beginning of the spoken word, even as children we proclaimed in a sing-songy voice “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. We sang this not because it was true, but as a chant to ward off the pain that some harsh words can bring.

Though everyone is impacted in some way by words, there are some of us that give words great value. This means that discouraging or hurtful words feel even more sharp, and words of praise and encouragement mean the world to us. If it isn’t obvious by the way I’m describing this Love Language, Words of Affirmation is the number one way I feel loved.

 

 

Welcome to another installment of the Exploring Love Languages series on MommyB Knows Best. If you still haven’t read the  or taken your 5 Love Languages test (or test your family/friends) I strongly encourage you to check it out Exploring Love Languages and How to Show Them post.

If you know your love language(s) that will help you understand how you most like to be loved and also be a good determining factor in how you typically show love. Showing love to others is great no matter what way you choose to show it but in some instances love is received best using the love language of those we pour our love into. If we really care, I believe it’s important to get to know not only their personality but their love language as well.

Let’s dive into yet another love language and learn together. Each love language is so unique and I’d love your help, if you fit in the current category or know some great ways to show love using this love language won’t you please leave a comment with some advice?

 

To someone who doesn’t share this Love Language here are some ways to express love to people who value Words of Affirmation:

Use high value words

The words love, grateful, appreciate, proud, special, needed, best are some great words to focus on when speaking with someone who likes Words of Affirmation. Can you think of any others?

Compliment them

Pick something you really like about that person and tell them, it may not come easy to compliment, but will mean the world to them. Also, the more personal and specific you can get the better. Try to compliment them in an area that you know they work especially hard in. For example, if they volunteer a lot it’s likely that’s something they love and will be honored that you think enough to mention it.

Write it down

Words of Affirmation don’t have to be spoken words, they can also be written, whether it’s in a card, text, or a short note these words will be appreciated.

Reader Megan H says, “Words is not my love language but I speak words very well as words is one of my husbands love languages and also my daughters. Simple text each day to say you love them or are thinking of them are great. Also lovers of words like cards and simple notes too.”

As with all Love Languages there are several ways to show love in the way a specific person feels it. These are just a few ways to get you started. Do you have any advice on how to love (or how not to love) a person whose love language is Words of Affirmation?? Share in the comments below and if this is your love language be sure to share this post with others.

The Children’s Place Online Order Cancellations

After needing to update our girls’ wardrobes we did some shopping at The Children’s Place earlier this month. During a special promotion we received Place Cash to spend on purchases at a later date.

Yesterday I took advantage of a quiet moment to order a few things we were still lacking, excited at the great prices and the fact that The Children’s Place carries size 16 in girl’s clothing. After using my rewards coupon and Place Cash I checked out.

This afternoon, however I received an email that my orders had been canceled, which seemed very weird to me. After about an hour on the phone (34 minutes on hold and the other on and off hold with a very polite customer representative), I was told someone had hacked Place Cash numbers and used them from purchases and as a preemptive strike The Children’s Place was cancelling all online orders using Place Cash.

I received an email with new coupon and rewards codes, I’m a little surprised they didn’t offer anything for the inconvenience of having to reorder and being on the phone for so long. Also, I’m a little apprehensive filling up the cart again and also hoping we don’t miss out on any styles/sizes that we were able to “purchase” yesterday. I understand these things happen and the rep at The Children’s Place has been very understanding.

If you are stuck in this same situation, and would still like to use your cash, hopefully you won’t be on hold for the same amount of time, but be sure to call 1-877-752-2387.

 

Please comment here to let us know what your experience was.

By Ceci

In searching for skin care items for Miss C, who has been diagnosed with eczema and small plaque parapsoriasis, I try to be very mindful of products that are naturally based. Because she has such sensitive skin I don’t want to put harmful chemicals or something that may irritate her even further.

I was approached by the founder of the company By Ceci, Cecelia Huddy to try out a few things from her natural body care product line. In asking for soothing and food scented items she provided some great test products.

Let me first say, I love how her focus is on making her products natural and not only selling to her customers but teaching them as well.

By Ceci products are all-natural:

  • scented using natural essential oils
  • colored with only natural herbs and botanicals such as turmeric, charcoal, indigo, and kelp
  • uses sustainable palm oil and is upfront with any products she uses.

When you go to the ByCeci website  you can tell Cecelia not only stands behind her products, but she wants customers to learn why she uses specific products and is completely upfront about what is in her product line.

 

 

Here are some of our thoughts:

I loved the smell of her lip balm {especially the Choco Mint} but admittedly had a problem trying to push up the tube for application.

The Hint of Vanilla Body Oil is amazing. It not only goes on smoothly but it dries clean and not sticky, and if you like the smell of vanilla you will love this! I’m loving this for keeping my arms moisturized this winter.

There are so many soaps to choose from and they smell great but look even cooler. We tried the Castile Soap for Miss C’s sensitive skin as it’s one of the more gentle cleansers. It’s made with olive oil (great for the skin) and is unscented. This soap has been AMAZING for C’s skin, it goes on super smooth and leaves her skin moisturized without making her itchy or rashy, it’s truly one of the very few soaps we can use on her highly sensitive skin. So glad we were able to try it out!

If you like to take comfort knowing what products are being used on your family’s skin and that those products are being made in an environment where the maker is focused on using quality product and ensuring the happiness of her clients, I’d highly recommend by Ceci products. Head to their website to check out their philosophies and products: byCeci.com

We received product and have chosen to review based on our positive experience. This is not a paid or sponsored post. Your opinions may vary.

Exploring Love Languages – Quality Time

Welcome to another installment of the Exploring Love Languages series on MommyB Knows Best. If you still haven’t read the first post or taken your 5 Love Languages test (or test your family/friends) I strongly encourage you to check it out Exploring Love Languages and How to Show Them post.

If you know your love language(s) that will help you understand how you most like to be loved and also be a good determining factor in how you typically show love. Showing love to others is great no matter what way you choose to show it but in some instances love is received best using the love language of those we pour our love into. If we really care, I believe it’s important to get to know not only their personality but their love language as well.

Join me as we dive into another love language and learn together. Each love language is so unique and I’d love your help, if you fit in the current category or know some great ways to show love using this love language won’t you please leave a comment with some advice?

 

Let’s get started with The 5 Love Languages – Quality Time

 

Quality time is often hard to come by, especially if you consider having to split that time with spouses/significant others, children, friends, extended family. Bit by bit there seems to not be enough time in the day, however if your love language is quality time it’s important to create opportunities to feed this love language.

I personally enjoy quality time though it’s not one of my top love languages, however there are several people near and dear to my heart who hold quality time above other love languages. Here are some tips for getting quality time with those you love. Please feel free to add your ideas in the comment box below as well.

 

Give someone total attention

For a person with quality time as their love language they want your full attention, now that doesn’t mean you have to stare them straight in the eye for hours on end, however it does mean that you make frequent eye contact, be a good listener, and show them you are enjoying time with them.

Do something they love

Sometimes we need to step outside our own interests and hobbies and plan quality time based on what the one you love likes to do. If you’re not sure, do some detective work, check out their Pinterest board, listen to what they talk most about, ask their friends/family. It’s especially thoughtful when that person realizes all you did to find out what they love.

Make an effort

Whether your loved one lives close by or is long distance it’s important to make an effort to spend time with them. While quality time can be a little easier if the person lives close enough to physically be together, this may not always be the case. If you are however miles apart, this means taking occasional trips to visit, making time to talk on the phone to catch up, and with the ease of technology video chatting.

Ok friends, tell me, what are your thoughts? Do you have any advice on how to love (or how not to love) a person whose love language is Quality Time?? Share in the comments below and if you feel loved with quality time be sure to share this post with others!

 

Family Date Night – McAlister’s Deli Kids Eat Free

If you’ve been reading my posts lately you’ve probably noticed I’ve been featuring Love Languages and how we can learn about our own love language as well as how others like to be loved. I’m excited to feature quality time in my next series installment and with Valentine’s Day around the corner have been thinking of ways I can show my family through quality time how much I love them.

Thinking of the things we like to do as a family and activities that have been successful in the past are great ways to figure out what will be good options for family dates. Each family is unique, so I encourage you to sit down and think of what memories you have made and also consider some new family activities that will show love especially to those whose love language is quality time.

 

 

My girls would eat out at restaurants for every meal if that was an option, not just because the food is good, but they truly enjoy being able to sit down and talk as a whole family. While we always make time for conversations with each other, there’s just something about going to a restaurant that gives us more time and freedom to do that.

At McAlister’s Deli they encourage Family Date Nights and we love that because instead of preparing dishes or grabbing something to add to our meal, DaddyB and I can sit and enjoy more uninterrupted time with our kiddos. I mean what better dates could we ask for?!?!

 

 

We love how at McAlister’s Deli they bring the food to our table and clear our place when we are done, and that means more time to hear the funny stories our girls share. Plus, with great promotions like Kids Eat Free night we are able to enjoy our meal without spending as much.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, McAlister’s Deli is encouraging you to have a family date night with your loved ones. Head to a participating McAlister’s Deli near you on February 14th where kids under 12 eat free.

(More details here: McAlister’s Family Date Night)

Love family date nights??? How does a YEAR worth of family date nights sound??! Your family can enter to win today. Head to: McAlister’s Deli Sweepstakes and enter once daily through February 14th, 2017.

 

What are you waiting for? Start making plans for family date nights. No cooking or cleaning but all the benefits of quality time, plus life is too short not to have family date nights!

 

This is a sponsored post in partnership with McAlister’s Deli. Any opinions in this post belong to MommyBKnowsBest.com