Category - Mom

Advent Ideas for the Whole Family

I know Advent has already started! I can’t believe it’s December already, not only because it was 70+ degrees here in North Carolina, but also because I don’t feel like it’s time for the end of this year. {Tell me I’m not the only one in this boat.}

In lieu of Advent, one of the most awesomest times of year that we get to celebrate the birth of Jesus and show even more love and kindness to those around us, our family likes to honor advent and count down the days until Christmas with a paper chain filled with fun activities and thoughtful acts as well.

Advent Ideas for the Whole Family MommyB

 

Here is our list {in no specific order} of things on our Advent chain.

  • Make a gingerbread house
  • Decorate the house {inside/outside}
  • Donate Food to a local food bank/cause
  • Make homemade presents
  • Wrap presents {with Christmas music and snacks of course}
  • Christmas Craft
  • Invite someone to church
  • Watch Christmas Movie {movie marathon or movie night}
  • Have a holiday playdate
  • Make a birthday cake for Jesus and sing Happy Birthday
  • Send Christmas Cards {kids help address, stuff, stamp}
  • Take gifts to civil servants, doctors, etc.
  • Head to our favorite botanical garden {we love Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens}
  • Visit a {live} nativity {we enjoyed Billy Graham Library’s festivities}
  • Read Christmas stories from the Bible and check out some great books our family likes to read.
  • Write a letter to Jesus {and leave it under your tree or read aloud and share as a family}
  • Go caroling with some friends in nearby neighborhoods or Senior Assisted living communities
  • Drive through your neighborhood or a neighborhood that’s known for it’s lights display
  • Make paper snowflakes and then display them
  • Help your child make or purchase gifts for their classmates {we made play dough one year}
  • Help your child make or purchase gifts for their teachers
  • Send a care package to missionaries, {we’re going to send ours to the Yon family}
  • Celebrate St. Nicholas Day, which just so happens to be my birthday. {Believe it or not the real St. Nicholas focused on giving more than receiving and so this day we plan on doing something kind for others}
  • Have a secret Santa with family or friends but instead of giving gifts write thoughtful notes or draw pictures.
  • Have a neighborhood night in {invite neighbors for yummy food and great fellowship}

Again, those are only a few ideas and the ones we’re using this year, it’s easy to find other ideas online as well.

 

I’d love to hear if you celebrate Advent and how you celebrate it. Also let me know if you decide to use any of these ideas too!!

Matthew 1:21 “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

 

Happy December!

Keep Your Sanity During Holiday Travel

As an ambassador for Rayovac I have been compensated for this blog post. All thoughts and opinions on the products are my own.

Travel during the Holiday season can be a bit overwhelming. Add some children (maybe even a bitty baby), maybe a pet, inclement weather, traffic, construction, and the stress level can be almost unbearable. Trust me, I’ve been there!

Here are some tips on how my family stays sane during Holiday travel, {hope they come in handy!}:

Keep Your Sanity During Holiday Travel MommyB

It’s electric! Boogie Woogie.

{great now I have that song stuck in my head} Seriously though, we’re not HUGE screen time parents on your average day, but a 4+ hour trip, especially those longer than 10 hours call for some sort of electronic play, at least in our car.

This can be tricky though for several reasons, but here are a few tricks to keep a handle on the situation.

1. Charge EVERYTHING up before you leave. The night before or the day of your trip get your charge on.

2. Bring extra batteries. I recommend Rayovac Alkaline batteries because they’re a trusted brand name AND hold charge just as long as their competitors plus they’re a lower price, great for energy sucking travel toys. **

3. Set time limits on electronics (don’t let the kiddos play on screens for several hours on end or you’ll have crabby kiddos).

** Rayovac has some great coupons available for even greater savings on their already low priced products! Head to the Rayovac Facebook page to unlock them!!

Rayovac Coupons

 

MommyB Happy Traveling Baby

Baby Love

1. If possible, it’s best for someone to sit next to baby. It’s easier (and safer) than stopping the car or trying to reach back.

2. Plan for several stops for feeding and changing.

3. Consider buying a car-safe musical toy or mobile to keep baby entertained on the ride. Bring some extra batteries just in case!

Keep Sane During Holiday Travels MommyB

Game Plan

Decide ahead of time what games and activities you’ll bring or use to keep the kiddos occupied.

1. Of course this varies by age, but we like to bring mini dry erase boards for them and us to write words, draw pictures, and do math problems {bonus points for fun learning}.

2. Other great activities for kiddos are counting cars (choose a color and get counting), car bingo (find great printables on Pinterest), I spy, and any versions of animal, mineral, vegetable (we use nouns – person, place, thing).

3. Plan to stop at interesting places along the way. It can be planned (preferably) or impromptu, but this will give the whole family a break and if it’s an activity something fun to do, and if it’s just a beautiful scenic rest stop something to talk about on the rest of your trip.

 

What tips and tricks do you use to keep your sanity during Holiday travel?

 

Whatever you come up with for your family’s travel plans, just make sure you enjoy it. Not every second will be the most fun or memorable, but taking the good from what can be mundane is what truly builds up our family time.

Safe travels this Holiday season!!!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of my partnership with Rayovac. All opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are my own, yours may vary.

Black Friday Deals at Rack Room Shoes

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Rack Room Shoes.

Attention Black Friday shoppers, I know there are a good bit of you who read my blog. You won’t want to miss this! Rack Room Shoes has  several Black Friday Deals and they’re all listed here.

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Some reasons I love Rack Room Shoes are:

They offer on-trend footwear with a wide selection of name brands for all the people in my family. Rack Room Shoes has several different styles to choose from including comfort, dress, casual and athletic shoes.

Rack Room Shoes is known for it’s everyday “Buy One Get One 50% Off” promotion on all styles and their Rack Room Rewards® program allows customers simple, instant savings including member’s only perks; exclusive discounts, coupons, and $15 in rewards for every $200 spent in the store.

Check out these great Black Friday shoe sales Room Shoes store:

Pre-Black Friday Deals

(NOW – November 25)

• Every SHOE on sale plus Rack Room Shoes everyday BOGO 50% off deals (Charlotte only)

• Bonus Buys at $19.98 – over 100 styles!

• Scratch and Win Giveaways for the first 100 customers to make a purchase

– Prizes include Free Shoes for a Year, Free Pair of Shoes, $100 gift card and $10-25 promotional gift cards

 

Home for the Holidays Getaway – the perfect family getaway, on Rack Room Shoes!

Enter in-store November 27 and November 28

HomeForTheHolidays_Image

Allow Rack Room Shoes to send you and yours on the perfect family getaway! The Holidays are better with family and friends, so enter for your chance to win the merriest of merry holiday getaways!

• Fly home, or fly away up to 10 family members (friends are family, too!)

• Your home, or a home away from home

• Elf shoes for your helpers (or human size shoes for the entire family)

• Holiday dinner with all the trimmings

• $5,000 to stuff your stockings

a $25,000 value!!!

 

Cyber Monday

Online only special – December 1st

• Save $10 off $50 + FREE shipping

 

So mark your calendars and start saving on great footwear today! Don’t forget to get your Black Friday shoe sales at Rack Room shoes!

 

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Rack Room Shoes, any opinions expressed in the post are my own honest thoughts. I would not be promoting Rack Room unless my family already liked using their products and services. Your opinions may vary.

Diabetes Awareness Month Tips and Savings

This is a sponsored post in partnership with The Motherhood.

Did you know November is Diabetes Awareness Month?? According to the CDC, more than 29 million Americans have diabetes and even more that don’t know they have it. That’s a lot of people! If you aren’t personally affected by diabetes I bet you can think of someone who is.

I’ve seen people living with diabetes all my life.I grew up with a couple of children who had Type 1 diabetes and required an insulin pump and shots. In my own family, my mother had Type 2 diabetes {praise God has not been diabetic for years because of weight loss and healthier living}, and my father-in-law who passed a couple of years ago had diabetes that left him with several diabetes related conditions.

While it’s never something you want to hear that people have to live with, there are ways to modify your diet and supplements/medications that can help manage diabetes.

Diabetes Awareness Month Tips & Savings #ad

This month Johnson & Johnson is focusing their HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® program on helping manage the effects of this disease. They’re also offering up to $35 on select items at healthyessentials.com and I’m so thankful for this program!

 Here are some tips and products to help with areas of diabetic concern:

1) Supplements may support overall health.

2) You may be concerned about plaque and gingivitis, so healthy oral care habits are essential.

Product recommendations:

Listerine UltraClean for Diabetes Awareness Month #ad

LISTERINE® ULTRACLEAN® Dental Floss, Shred-resistant dental floss stretches, flexes and slides easily between teeth. MICRO-GROOVES® Technology removes 2x more plaque than Glide® Mint Floss.

LISTERINE® ULTRACLEAN® Mouthwash,– The only leading mouthwash with an anti-tartar ingredient and new EVERFRESH™ Technology for a dentist clean feeling that lasts up to three times longer vs. brushing alone. Has the clinically proven plaque and germ-killing power of LISTERINE® Antiseptic.

3) Lotion or cream such as LUBRIDERM® can help moisturize your skin. Talk to your doctor before use.

Product Recommendation:

LUBRIDERM® Daily Moisture Fragrance-Free Lotion, Replenish and moisturize dry skin. It’s fragrance-free, fortified with Vitamin B5 and skin-essential moisturizers. The clean-feeling, non-greasy formula absorbs in seconds and moisturizes for hours – in fact, it’s clinically shown to moisturize for 24 hours.

4) Check with your doctor; your wounds should be treated immediately. 

Product Recommendations:

NEOSPORIN® Original Ointment, For over 55 years, NEOSPORIN® products have been the gold standard for all your minor cuts, scrapes and burns. NEOSPORIN® Original Ointment provides 24 hour infection protection and may help minimize the appearance of scars.

BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages, America’s #1 bandage brand covers all your wound-protection needs. BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages have covered and protected minor cuts and scrapes for millions of people over 90 years.

5) Currently one in three American adults have pre-diabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. One of the most important steps you can take to lower this risk is eating well to maintain a healthy weight.

Product Recommendation:

Splenda for Diabetes Awareness Month #ad

When used to replace sugar, SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener Products can help people with diabetes reduce their intake of carbohydrate and calories. SPLENDA® Sweetener Products can contribute to a healthier lifestyle by helping to reduce calories from added sugar, and can be used almost anywhere sugar is used, including cooking and baking.

 

Whether you’re pre-diabetic, diabetic, or just wanting to make some healthy changes in your life all of the products above will get you on the right track. Don’t forget for extra savings head to healthyessentials.com to save on things that will help make this month the healthiest month for you and your family!

 

This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.

Third Party trademarks used herein are trademarks of their respective owners.

How to Keep Your Kids Safe this Halloween

As an ambassador for Rayovac I have been compensated for this blog post. All thoughts and opinions on the products are my own.

Whether your kiddos are trick-or-treating this Halloween, handing out candy, or attending a party you want them to be as safe as they can be right?!?

Here are some tips to help keep your kids safe this Halloween:

1. Have a plan

  • Decide if you’re going as a group (depending on age of your family members) or if the child will be picked up or dropped off.
  • Charge your mobile phones and if you have one, bring your mobile battery power pack.
  • If you’re trick-or-treating plan a route ahead of time and adjust accordingly.

2. Discuss

  • Speak to your children about what to do in a variety of situations. This will help them not only to be aware of what they might experience but also give them ideas on how to handle the situation.

Some ideas include; when they see someone in a scary costume, when a stranger invites them into their home, when other children cut in line, if someone’s porch light is not on.

  • If you have an older child make sure you discuss rules while they are with friends and curfew ahead of time so that they can ask questions and understand the rules before their night out.

3.  Take Safety Precautions

  • Bring a source of light with you. Glow sticks are fun, but flashlights are often better especially in dimly lit areas where children might easily trip.

Rayovac has a great flashlight perfect for Halloween night that combines the power of a flashlight with the fun of a glow stick.

How to Keep your Kids Safe this Halloween

 

The Glow in the Dark Flashlight, features include:

Super bright 14 LED light
Beam Distance: 59 feet (18.5 meters)
Battery Run Time: 9 hours on Rayovac Heavy Duty batteries (included)*
Glow in the dark rubber grip
Lifetime warranty

And is available for $4.99, however for the month of October, Rayovac has a promotion for $1 off. To get your discount head here: Rayovac.com and enter the Promo Code: GLOWINTHEDARK {you can also get FREE SHIPPING on orders $25+}.

  • Another great way to keep your children safe is to teach them how to be a good pedestrian. Practice during the day and if possible at night as well.
  • Have your child wear a costume that is easily visible by vehicles, if necessary add reflective strips to their costume/clothing to help drivers spot them.

While these are only a few things that you can do to help keep your children safe I’d love to hear some ideas of yours. Please leave a comment here telling me what tips you use to keep your kiddos safe on Halloween or any night.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of my partnership with Rayovac. All opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are my own, yours may vary.

Protect Your Smile and Enamel Health as You Age

This is a sponsored post on behalf of CVS/pharmacy and Colgate Enamel Health all opinions are my own.

It’s a fact that adult oral care and protecting our enamel is vital for a healthy smile.

There are so many abrasive foods and drinks that wear down our tooth enamel on a daily basis that it’s really important to be mindful of how to maintain our clean, strong smiles.

How to Protect Your Smile and Enamel Health MommyB #healthyteeth #colgatehealthyenamel

 

As a coffee and soda drinker I love the NEW Colgate Enamel Health toothpaste and toothbrush because together, they help to replenish natural calcium and polish tooth enamel. Healthy enamel doesn’t just look good, it also helps create a smoother surface so germs are less likely to stick as well.

Being an adult undergoing teeth straightening treatment my teeth have also been subject to a lot of wear, so anything I can do to whiten and protect my teeth during and after treatment you can count me in.

Colgate Enamel Health at CVSpharmacy MommyB #healthyteeth #colgateenamelhealth

 

It’s easy to shopping for essentials like toothbrushes and toothpaste at my local CVS/pharmacy. I love that it’s not only a convenient one-stop shop for everything my family needs, but CVS also makes it easy to save money just by using your ExtraCare Card. With ExtraCare, you’ll earn 2% back on your purchases, {paid out quarterly in the form of ExtraBucks}.

If you’ve been a long-time reader you’ll know I’m someone who loves to write about oral health and saving money, both important things to keep our homes and families healthy and happy.

I’d love for one lucky MommyBKnowsBest.com reader to win their own Colgate Enamel Health prize pack featuring the 360 Enamel Health Toothbrush and Colgate Enamel Health Toothpaste.

 

Enter here to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

 

 

Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with CVS/pharmacy and Colgate Enamel Health for this oral health campaign. All opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified at CVS.com or with the appropriate manufacturer.

How to Take the Spooky Out of October

Let’s face it, some families just do not like the spooky aspect of October. My girls aren’t into the skeletons or creepy zombies {one more than the other} and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting older, but as the years go by the more I’m turned off by scary things too. {I used to enjoy horror films growing up, now not so much.}

We have tons of friends, neighbors, and family who don’t mind a little spooky and some who totally love it, but for those of you who are like us, not fans, here are some ways to “Take the spooky out of October“.

How to Take the Spooky out of October MommyB

Celebrate Fall – Below are some ways your family can focus on Autumn and the Harvest.

  • Pick pumpkins at a local farm, it’s a fun activity and provide great decorations.
  • Leaf Art. Whether you’re making a banner from paper leaves or you’re using leaves for a leaf rubbing collage, there are a lot of things that you can make using one of Fall’s most beautiful gifts. {I pinned a bunch on my Holiday Themes pinterest board.}
  • Talk to your children about harvest, what it means for farmers, and the importance of it.
  • Host a Fall celebration with bobbing for apples, warm cinnamon donuts, and pumpkin painting.
  • Decorate your home with leaves, pumpkins, hay bales, maize corn, and other fall favorites.
  • Buy deliciously scented Fall candles. October is a great start to an awesome smelling home, in my opinion.
  • Enjoy warm drinks including hot cocoa, apple cider, and pumpkin spice anything.
  • Host a pie night with friends and create awesome Fall flavors, half the fun is baking and the other is eating.
  • Have a Fall family photo shoot. Make sure you choose a location that will highlight the weather and Fall changes.

Non Spooky Fall MommyB

What are some of the ways your family celebrates October in a non spooky way?

In honor of an un-scary October, I’m giving away a great book by Tommy Nelson, “Good Night, Little Pumpkin”. This adorable, not terrifying board book is great for children ages 1 to 4 years. It’s a sweet story that talks about the sounds, and smells of Fall that your kiddos will love to sit with you and read.

Good Night Little Pumpkin Giveaway

I’m giving away a copy to one lucky reader! Enter here to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is not a sponsored post. I received a copy of Good Night, Little Pumpkin to review and all prize fulfillment is the responsibility of the brand hosting the giveaway. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, honest thoughts, your experiences may vary.

PodKeeper’s New and Improved Website and Twitter Party

As a proactive mom I’ve always felt that being scheduled and organized, while allowing for some flexibility has really helped me manage the busy-ness of parenting. As my girls get older, they have more responsibilities and activities that I need to handle and without a way to track it all, I’m often found missing out on an event or forgetting items.

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Of course I have several Facebook groups, email threads, group text messages, newsletters, {and the list goes on} for each activity and event, but to be honest, that in itself can be a little overwhelming. I find myself wondering, did I post the thread? did I write that down in my calendar? and racking my brain just as much as if I had no system in place.

When I heard about PodKeeper I was super excited about a website that could handle my groups, events, forums, calendar all in one central location. My excitement drove me to offering social media services to PodKeeper and I currently work with a great brand, that helps me as a parent, and one that’s product I use and love.

Because I heart PodKeeper, I want you to try this free, online website, not for me, but so you can see how the site can revolutionize your definition of organizing your family.

To learn more about PodKeeper, and some great NEW features, I encourage you to join me for our upcoming Twitter Party. Susan from 5minutesformom.com will be joining us as well!

 

PodKeeper Twitter Invitation

 

Have any questions or comments? Feel free to comment here.

Hope to see you at the party!

 

PodKeeper is a client that I love and hope that you will too. All opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are my own.

Make Dinner Easy for You, Yummy for Them, and Healthy for Your Family

This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

 

Now that school and extracurricular activities have begun, I often find myself at a loss for dinners. I either forget to put ingredients into my slow cooker, don’t have the right ingredients for my dishes, or end up only having a few minutes to fix something quick.

While my girls are pretty good about being thankful for the food they have they’re still kids, there are times when they don’t love what I’ve put on their plate.

I don’t know about you but some nights I really wish I had it together, so I’m always on the lookout for tips and recipes to make my weeknight dinners easy for me, tasty for them, and healthy for our family.

 

Tips to get your kids to LOVE Dinner MommyB

 

Green Giant Frozen Steamers to the rescue! Green Giant is kicking off the, “Fresh Take on What to Make” campaign in partnership with celebrity chef and TV host Gina Neely, Celebrity Chef and TV Host from “Down Home with the Neelys”.

This program offers expert tips and recipes to make back-to-school, weeknight dinners easier on parents. Gina developed 5 tips for conquering hectic weeknight dinners while making meals that are nutritious and delicious, including “one-pot wonders,” grocery list must-haves and her favorite ways to get kids involved in the kitchen.

In a Green Giant Frozen Survey, they found that more than a third of parents surveyed admitted to forgetting about, or even purposely cutting out, vegetables when crunched for time at the end of the day, leaving them out of meals an average of twice a week. This is despite four-out-of-five (83%) parents agreeing no dinner is complete without a vegetable.

Whether you’re like us and usually get a few veggies in but could always use more or end up missing out on the veggies, you won’t want to miss Gina’s ideas like Quick ‘n Easy Chicken Pot Pies and more. You can get more recipes and chat live with Gina and other parents just like us by joining tomorrow’s Google Hangout.

If you can use some ideas and inspiration come join me – Green Giant and Gina Neely are hosting a Google+ hangout tomorrow, Tuesday, September 23 at 8pm ET. Head here: http://bit.ly/1pkEbnY to RSVP and join me, can’t wait to hear your questions, and suggestions.

 

Green Giant Google Hangout

 

Comment here letting me know if you RSVPed and I can expect to see you! Also visit greengiant.com/easymeals for more meal ideas if you miss us.

 

 

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Green Giant, a brand that our family already loves and trusts and uses. We know the importance of healthy eating and want our friends to get their daily dose of vegetables as well. All opinions and thoughts in this post are my own, yours may vary.

Tips for Parenting a Fearful Child

There are many reasons that children are fearful. Some reasons are based on their age, some reasons are a reaction to an event, some reasons are learned, and some are just a part of that child’s personality.

God gives us the exact child(ren) that we are supposed to parent. He knows us and He knows that child and He doesn’t make mistakes.

I remember when my children were full of worry and had fears about bugs, animals, the day ahead of them, I asked their pediatrician if their fears were normal. Each time I asked he assured that it was okay and normal for them to feel the way they did.

Some part of me however felt like I needed to fix them, to take away their fears, and I found myself praying that I could find a solution to calm their anxiety.

God had a solution for me, it wasn’t what I expected though.

God reminded me that He made my children JUST THE WAY THEY ARE for a purpose. I don’t need to “fix” my kids, I don’t need to do anything other than pray for them, thank God for their strengths and realize what I might consider weakness God will bring blessings to His name through every part of them if they allow Him to.

My biggest piece of advice to parents of fearful children would be to remember God is in control and your child His child is exactly as they are meant to be.

There are ways to not change, but helping your kiddos through tough situations. Tools that can be helpful for them and you to use to calm down or remind them also to trust in God include:

Prayer – Help them create a prayer or elements of a prayer that they can say when they are worried or scared.

Communicate – Often times your fearful child may not want to talk when they are afraid, but remind them that you are available to listen and help if they feel comfortable in that moment.

Read – Grab your Bible and find verses on fear and print them out on an index card and post them where your child (and you) will see them.

Online websites, and books have a wealth of knowledge to help you parent and help your child. I especially like God is Always Good, this book is perfect for children ages 4-8 and helps to comfort children through showing different situations where they may be scared as well. I love that each situation also has a corresponding Bible verse that you can remind your child of.

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This is a really sweet book, and I really enjoyed reading it to my girls, but also the communication and questions that came up as we were reading were invaluable. Kids can even read to each other!

 

Tips for Parenting Fearful Children

{Read a few pages HERE and Buy your copy HERE}

 

Also enter here to win your copy:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
TommyMommy-new1

 

As a Tommy Mommy I received a copy of this book. I am not compensated and all opinions expressed in this post are, as usual, my own.