Category - Tips & Tricks

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.

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.

Showing Kindness with #KleenexCare

Care Package #kleenexcares
I did some acts of kindness with Kleenex® Brand products as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #KleenexCare

 

For our family November is a time to be thankful for all that we have in our lives. That includes special people like our friends, neighbors, and family. Sharing Kleenex® Brand Tissues. is an easy way to show you care especially now that cold and flu season is here. Kleenex® is a small act of care with major impact.

 

Acts of Kindness with Kids #kleenexcares

 

Acts of Kindness:

Consider creating a Care Kit for those less fortunate.

We try to keep a care package or two in our car for people in need that we see in our day-to-day travels.

 

Care Package #kleenexcares

 

The bags include hygiene products like toothbrushes, bandaids, and of course we put some Kleenex Brand Tissues in as well. Sometimes we include some non-perishable foods like granola bars as well. These bags are very easy to make and leave a lasting impact when you hand them out too! Plus the kids love getting involved in making them.

Another act of kindness that the B girls love being a part of is packing Christmas boxes for children overseas.

Christmas Boxes #kleenexcare

These boxes can only contain certain items and Kleenex Brand Tissues are a great addition for the hygiene category, plus the travel packs are the perfect size. Lil’ C’s school is packing them up this month and she was so excited to add them to fill up her box for a little boy.

Packing Christmas Boxes #kleenexcares

 

Now it’s your turn to join the “Share the Kleenex Care” movement.

Here are some ways you can partake in acts of kindness this month and share the care of Kleenex with others:

We all know that it’s no fun when you need a tissue and there’s none to be found.  It’s easy to leave a package of Kleenex Brand tissues where there aren’t any.

or

Create a quick and easy get-well basket for a sick friend or neighbor, filled with soup, Kleenex Brand Tissues (because Kleenex softness is a catalyst for showing kindness and care), and other healthy remedies. This will brighten their day and help them to get the rest and care they need.

Head to KleenexCare.com to find out how your acts of kindness can make a difference and get ideas from others doing good deeds.

What are some ways you show that you care??

 

 

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Socialstars and Kleenex Brand. All opinions expressed in this post are my own, honest opinions. 

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.

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.

MH900446326

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.

Dining at Bonefish Grill with a Shellfish Allergy

For those of you who don’t know I have a shellfish allergy. I didn’t know I was allergic until I had a pretty severe reaction after eating shrimp at a hibachi grill {twice}. I say twice because the first time we thought it was the oil the grill used, but later found out that the culprit was indeed shellfish.

To be fair, I probably should have known this a little sooner, I have only eaten shrimp in my life once before (when I was in high school) but every time I would peel shrimp to cook for my husband my hands would itch and turn a little red.

For a while I was very cautious of dining out, especially when it came to seafood restaurants, because, well hellloooo. I know sometimes when I ask for my dish a little different at restaurants I’ve had to send them back and eating shellfish contaminated food isn’t something I’ve been willing to risk.

Luckily, Bonefish Grill takes shellfish and other allergies VERY seriously. **Please be sure to tell your waiter if you have allergies before you order.

Dining at Bonefish Grill with a Shellfish Allergy MommyB

 

Your table is “flagged” to ensure that your dishes are safe for you to eat. The staff was very respectful of my allergy and helpful to suggest dishes. Our waiter, who was amazingly friendly, also told us that the pesto dipping oil for the table bread is made from pumpkin seeds rather than pine nuts due to the increase in diners with tree nut allergies. In my opinion, that is very thoughtful of a restaurant to make that concession.

Not only was our wait staff excellent regarding my allergies and recommendations, but the food during this visit was delicious.

If I can give you some recommendations:

Start with the Fresh Watermelon Martini because it’s light and sweet and a great drink that won’t make you feel full.

Next, if you’re in the sharing mood, the Wagyu Beef & Ginger Potstickers are delicious. The sauce and crispy onions help finish off a yummy bite. Kristen from The Playful Mom and I may or may not have devoured these.

For my entree I ordered the NEW 13 oz Rib Eye steak, I HIGHLY suggest the white truffle butter. This steak melted in my mouth, it was cooked to perfection and the truffle butter completed the savory flavor. My sides were equally amazing as I could barely put my fork down for the mushroom ravioli.

Of course we had to try out the desserts, I opted for the creme brulee and Kristin tried the NEW S’mores Flatbread which is all the rage. I actually wish I had swiped some from her when she wasn’t looking. Though in all honest the creme brulee was very creamy and the fresh berries topped this dish off nicely.

I did not have any issues with allergic reactions, our food was outstanding, service was polite and prompt, and my dinner date was pretty fun too.

Bonefish Grill Review MommyB
Even though I can’t eat shellfish, I encourage you to check out some of the great NEW Bonefish Grill menu items as well as their standard favorites: bonefishgrill.com/menu

 

Do you have any food allergies??

Have you been to a Bonefish Grill? Tried any NEW menu items? What are your favorite dishes?

 

 

I received a complimentary meal in order to give you opinions about my experience. This is not a paid post and all opinions are my own honest thoughts as usual. Your opinions and experiences may vary.

Shoes that Fit – Giving Back Locally

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Rack Room Shoes, all opinions are my own.

While our kiddos may be worried about buying the trendiest backpacks and having the coolest new outfits for school, there are many children who are headed back to school with shoes that are old and worn or that just don’t fit well, or even worse they have no shoes at all.

This Back to School season, Rack Room Shoes is proud to partner with Shoes That Fit, a national non-profit organization that provides shoes to disadvantaged children. This program helps children in your community start the school year off on the right foot.

The more money that is raised, the more resources available to purchase shoes for needy students in your area.

 

ShoesThatFit_logo

 

How you can participate:

  • Shop at your local Rack Room Shoes store for your family’s Back to School shoe needs.
  • Donate $5 or more in-store to the Shoes That Fit campaign to benefit disadvantaged children in your local community, or donate online.
  • If there’s not a Rack Room Shoes store near you and you would like to help another community click the link above to donate online as well.

In exchange for your donation, you will receive a special colorable Shoes That Fit tote bag. Color your tote bag with your children for a fun family activity and support your local community at the same time. This also provides your family with a great opportunity to talk about serving the community and helping others.

Miss A, Lil’ C, and I worked on their bags, had a chance to talk about children who are in need of good shoes for the school year. The girls decided to donate some of their own money to the Shoes That Fit Campaign to help other kids.

Here are their creations:

Rack Room Shoes - Shoes That Fit MommyB

 

Be sure to share your Shoes That Fit tote bag creations on social media and let others know about this great program that will offer children the opportunity to focus on their studies and not worry about what’s on their feet.

For more information on Rack Room Shoes and the Shoes That Fit program, check out their website, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

 

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Rack Room Shoes. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own, yours may vary.

Why Your Family Should Care Whether Brands offer Guarantees

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

Has anyone ever made a promise to you and not kept it with the end result letting you down? Of course they have, we’re all human and it happens every day. I’ve let people down and been let down and know just how unpleasant it is. No one wants to be left with that yucky feeling.

Whether it’s a friend saying they’ll meet up and changing plans last minute, an experience you sign up for that doesn’t live up to what you thought it would be, or a purchase you make that ends up as money “flushed down the drain”. Even this month, I’ve been there. How about you?

Though this happens in life we want our family to believe in promises and keeping them and we want to put time and money into those we feel have the same characteristics. That’s why we rely on Rayovac’s quality products. Our girls learn that there are brands that they can depend on and affordable prices, and companies that will back their products up.

 

Why Your Family Should Care whether Brands Offer Guarantees MommyB

 

As a brand, Rayovac doesn’t want to be the brand that lets their customers down, they aim to be trustworthy. They keep you in mind when they create their products. They don’t want to break their promise of quality products, they want to value your time and money. Because Rayovac stands behind their products, they are able to offer their Rayovac Guarantee, a guarantee like no other in the battery industry.

Not only is this the best practice {in my opinion}, but it’s also the best protection for your most important tech devices. Check out the True Meaning of the Word Guarantee when it comes to Rayovac’s product promise.

You and your family will benefit from a brand’s quality guarantee and you won’t feel like you’re wasting money or time, because both of those things are important to busy families.

I personally love that Rayovac offers warranties on their products as fewer and fewer brands are these days. For more information on this guarantee and what is covered, visit Rayovac’s website: rayovac.com

 

How do you teach your family to be trustworthy and promise keepers?

What do you think of brand warranties?

 

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.

Reasons to Teach Children to Feed the Hungry

I worked with The Motherhood on this post, sponsored by ConAgra Foods. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

If you read my last post on Steps to Help Feed Hungry Kids this Summer you know how many children who receive free or reduced lunch are missing out on those meals right now. If not it’s roughly 90 percent, meaning almost all children who count on those meals during the school year.

Aside from the obvious reasons to help feed these children, there are a lot of reasons to teach your children and involve your entire family in feeding the hungry. Wanna know what they are???

Reasons to Teach Children to Feed the Hungry #hungerfreesummer

 

1. Serving others teaches your children empathy. This character trait is so important in today’s society and can only be taught by, “putting yourself in other’s shoes” and one BIG way to do this is to serve others. In this case when your children collect food or purchase food and give it directly to a family in need they are seeing the result of their giving face-to-face. How impactful.

2. You will expand their worldview when you help them to think about others. When you are taught to do something for someone other than yourself you realize that the world is a big place with many different kinds of people. It’s good for us to think outside of ourselves.

3. You help them realize life isn’t always fair. When you serve you have the opportunity to open up communication with your child to speak about the fact that some people don’t have money or food and you and others do. This is a chance to let them know how life works and answer any questions they may have. You don’t always get rewarded for good behavior or punished for bad behavior in the real world, and unfortunately sometimes good things go unrewarded or sometimes even punished.

4. Hopefully, this will create in them a desire to continue to volunteer. Kids may not always love helping others out, but for some children this desire will be laid on their heart and they will in turn be excited to tell their peers or even invite their peers to help out. We have had friends whose children {on their own} have asked for charitable donations instead of birthday gifts, our family hosts lemonade stands to profit local causes. When kids get that giving is a good thing be sure not to put their fire out, hop on their train and be their #1 supporter.

Other like-minded parents and bloggers have joined in the effort to serve hungry kids this summer. In an effort to spread the word on social media we have a Pinterest board, “A Childlike Summer,” on the ConAgra Foods Feeding America page and I would love it if you would take a moment to check it out, there are some great ideas for helping and getting your family involved in something that may change your life and the lives of others.

Also I encourage you to watch this video – for every view, like or share of this Kid President video NOW through July 31, the ConAgra Foods Foundation will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal to Feeding America (up to 2 million meals):

 

 

And remember it’s never too young to start teaching your children to feed the hungry.

 

 

Have you volunteered yet? What benefits have you seen from volunteering with your children?

 

This is a sponsored post in partnership with The Motherhood. This message is important to me personally and I am honored to be able to pass on this information and truly encourage you to thoughtfully consider helping Feeding America and ConAgra Foods give kids a hunger-free summer. Thank you for your readership!