Tag - summer tips

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!!

 

 

 

 

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. 

 

10 Things I Heart about Summer

Have you been soaking in the summer? The girls, DaddyB, and I have been enjoying our summer moments although Miss A returns to school in less than a month. Crazy right!??! Here are 10 Things I Heart about Summer:

10 Things I Heart about Summer MommyB

 

1. Ooey Gooey yummy S’mores – though we have yet to enjoy one of these summer staples we’ve had fun checking out recipes online, and talking about how each member of our family likes their marshmallows cooked. (I’m a golden brown gal.)

2. on the flipside we also like Healthy Snacks like CVS/pharmacy’s new Gold Emblem Abound line. They have yummy raw almonds that our whole family enjoys, Fruit & Nut Fiber Trail Mix and more and best of all they’re free of artificial preservatives and flavors. I’m also loving Bear Naked bars that I recently found in Target, so yummy and all-natural ingredients.

Things I love about Summer MommyB

 

3. We love visiting Local Museums and Attractions year-round, but especially in the summer because there are some pretty cool new exhibits. Discovery Place has Alien Worlds & Androids and, Sea Life Charlotte-Concord has their new Serpents of the Seas exhibit, both are included in the price of admission.

 

10 Things I Hear about Summer Science & Museums MommyB

 

4. Speaking of museums, we’re also loving science projects! My little science lovers and I have been busy making perfume, edible science experiments, playing with dry ice, and checking out STEMpowerkids subscription kits.

 

STEMpowerkids kit Summer MommyB

 

5. With the move we’ve been making a few purchases for our home office, living room and girls schoolroom {aka kids’ office}. One place we’ve almost literally been living at is Ikea (some for item returns and some for purchases). The girls also tried Small Land the last time we went (being overprotective parents we were a little apprehensive, but they had a blast and we were able to zip around the store and get what we needed, super convenient.) During our Ikea trips we also spotted Hobby Lobby which I had seen at other locations but assumed it was a craft store so never wandered in. Let me tell you I love the home decor and the girls found these GINORMOUS flowers that are way cool, we’re considering putting some in their playroom, but don’t tell the girls!!

 

10 Things I heart about Summer Ikea & Hobby Lobby

 

6. Though it hasn’t been as hot as last summer (even though there’s still time here in the Carolinas), it’s been a little muggy here and there so keeping cool is definitely on our things we love about summer and there are lots of ways to keep cool this summer. If you need to replenish electrolytes check out PowerIce (sort of like frozen Gatorade), for the healthy families you will want to grab Ruby Rockets ice pops that are made with veggies and fruits (your kids may need to get used to the different taste, but just like anything that’s healthy they’re a great alternative to the sugars, and dyes in other ice pops. Aside from frozen treats, we also love letting the kids run through the sprinklers, going to the pool, and bringing our Arctic Cove personal cooling misters. We took our manual mister to the 4th of July festivities and I was super impressed with how easy it was to use and how cool it kept our entire family, plus the price on these are awesome!

Cold Treats for Summer MommyB

7. Iced coffee is my favorite in summer, although who are we kidding, I like iced coffee in the winter too. I’m not a huge hot drink drinker are you?? I have heard there are two local places that rock the caffeine flavor (and I have yet to try myself): Cabbarus Creamery has great coffee ice cream and King of Pops has some cool coffee ice pops too.

Iced Coffee Frappe Summer MommyB

8. This one isn’t quite for the entire family but I’m loving the new beauty products that are out this summer, specifically the natural lines. My favorites are  Greenplicity, california naturel, and Soapbox.

Greenplicity has awesome products made from food-grade materials. We love, love, love the citrus cocoa lotion bar (Miss A loves the smell), it’s safe for kids and easy to apply, and the body butter is awesome as well and has lavender scent, great for bedtime.

california naturel is a line inspired by…you guessed it, California; sun, sand, and sea. They have great skin care products, but my favorite is the sunscreen. My only wish is that they would have something without Zinc Oxide since Lil’ C is allergic, but I’ve found it difficult to find especially in natural products.

I love Soapbox products for many reasons, but number one being that they are a brand that gives back. Soapbox is what I would call a one-for-one company like Toms, but they partner with homeless shelters, food pantries, and orphanages and give back soap, water development, vitamins to save lives. Not to mention their products are made in America, 100% recyclable packaging, Paraben free, Sulfate free, Gluten free and the list goes on. I really, truly heart this brand! (I hope you will too.)

9. Friends! People are very important to us and though we’ve moved and don’t get to see certain people as often as we’d like, we still love hanging out and keeping in touch with “old” friends. We also love making new friends, which we are doing quite a bit of with the move and new schools coming up in August. So blessed to have some amazing people in our lives and watch the girls form friendships independently as well.

 

Summer with Friends MommyB

 

10. Going on roadtrips!!! We love to travel, although this year, with the move to our new house we knew we wouldn’t be traveling as much as last Summer with Myrtle Beach, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, going to the beach with my mom and sister, visiting Historic Williamsburg, and the list goes on! We’ve actually been pretty quiet and exploring our own little area, we visited downtown Concord (North Carolina) last weekend and love the little shops and eclectic variety of people there. We also hope to make another trip to Tweetsie Railroad before school starts, but if not before the season ends.

 

There you have it, some of the things I heart about summer! What do you like best about summer? Any favorite memories or traditions? Products that you love? Trips that you’re headed on?? Can’t wait to hear!!!

 

 

This is not a sponsored post, I was not paid by any of the companies or brands listed above however I have received some of the above products to review at my discretion and any opinions given on the products are my own honest thoughts.

Tips for Having an Intentional Summer

This is a sponsored post on behalf of The Motherhood.

Like many families do, our family packed up our belongings and moved into a new home. Though we’re on the other side of “town” and only 30 minutes from our old house, it’s almost like we’re in a new state. We’re not familiar with the parks, don’t know the best farmer’s markets to go to, haven’t got a clue what the best summer camps are. One thing we do know though is that even though we have a lot of unpacking and settling to do, we want our girls to have an intentional summer.

What does intentional summer mean for our family? It looks a little something like this:

 

Tips for an Intentional Summer MommyB

 

 

My nature is to unpack and make sure everything has a home and designated spot, but the longer I’m a mom the more I realize that I want these beautiful girls to have a fun and memorable childhood. That includes spending time with friends, and creating family traditions.

Here are some of the tips I’ve used this busy summer to make sure we’re being intentional:

1. Create a Summer Bucket List with a variety of activities to complete throughout the summer.

2. Vary your play, choose one water play day, one outdoor play, one indoor play day and theme them as well.

3. Be spontaneous (I know a Type-A personality saying this, but I’ve really had to step out of my personality to make sure my kids enjoy themselves), go for ice cream before dinner, pop into a kids play place with no notice. You’ll be surprised at how impactful of a memory this will be with your children later on in life as well.

4. Let them choose an activity or destination. Giving your children the power of choice will not only be really exciting, but it will also give them confidence in making decisions.

5. Play safe and be proactive. I am “one of those moms”, you know the ones who carry a big bag (not a diaper bag anymore but still a considerable size) with everything imaginable in them? I am certain I would win if I were on the game show “Let’s Make a Deal!” by pulling out something random that almost no human carries on their person. That’s what’s great though, when the girls scrape a knee while playing hopscotch at a friends house or are playing in the water I’m armed with the right mom gear to make sure we can keep the fun going.

 

Intentional Summer MommyB #healthyessentials

 

Save on the things you need the most by heading to HealthyEssentials.com. By signing up now for HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® you’ll receive coupons, great tips and tricks for enjoying your summer.

 

What is your favorite tip for making summer intentional and savoring those moments?

 

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.

Red, White, and Blue(berry) Salad – Guest Recipe

July 4th – a day of fireworks, BBQs, more fireworks, hopefully no trips to the ER because of said fire works, and possibly more BBQs. There will be sides of baked beans, cole slaw, pasta salads, and potato salad. You name it and it will probably be at the BBQ.

For me, though, I always enjoy when someone brings a new dish. Maybe I’m more of the adventurous type, but I get bored with the standbys. That food boredom is what caused me to create this yummy concoction!

Red, White, and Blue(berry) Salad {doesn’t it look delish?!}:

Red White Blueberry Salad 4th of July Recipe MommyB

Here’s how you make it:

Ingredients:

1pt fresh strawberries, chopped
1pt fresh blueberries
2 cups jicama, diced
1/4 cup honey
2 limes, juiced

Directions:

Combine the strawberries, blueberries, and jicama.
Mix the lime juice and honey well, then pour over the mixed salad.
Allow to chill before serving.

**Do not make this several hours in advance. Otherwise, the jicama will be tinted with the juices of the strawberries. You will then have a red, pink, and blue salad!

Now, don’t get too scared when you see jicama (HIK-uh-muh). Yes, I am throwing a root vegetable into a fruit salad. Yes, I do know that is weird. Yes, I questioned whether it would work, as well. But don’t let that scare you off! Jicama is actually used with other fruits and in salads all the time – just not commonly in the States. It is a very crunchy, juicy vegetable (similar to a turnip), but tastes like a combination of apple and pear. So, with the taste and texture combination, it really is a versatile root and works perfectly in this salad.

**If you can not find jicama, or just aren’t feeling super adventurous, you can easily substitute peeled, diced apple. The flavors will be similar, though jicama is more mild.

When added to the blueberries and strawberries, the crunchy jicama gives this dish a fun twist on the typical fruit salad. Toss with a refreshing lime and honey dressing, throw in some delicious cinnamon crisps for scooping, and you have a delicious salad to take to any 4th of July celebration – or you can just grab a spoon and eat it all by yourself. {I won’t tell!}

Cinnamon-Sugar Crisps Recipe:

Ingredients:

6 flour tortillas
1/2 stick melted butter
2 Tbs cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

1) Combine cinnamon and sugar.
2) Place tortillas on cookie sheet, then brush with butter and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon-sugar.
3) Flip tortillas over and repeat step 2.
4) Bake for 10-12 minutes.
5) Let crisps cool, then break into smaller chip-sized portions.

You might even want to save some of those berries and whip up a batch of strawberry swirl cupcakes to take along with the salad. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Give it a try if you’re feeling adventurous, but make sure you watch this video on how to slice jicama. Trust me. My slicing was far more sketchy. I wish I had googled how to slice it first!

 

What are your favorite dishes to make for 4th of July? Are you adventurous or predictable when it comes to making a “dish-to-pass”?

 

Mary BioMary Renee currently lives in Missouri with her husband and 2 year old “little diva”. Southern by birth and gluten-intolerant by a twist of fate, she is determined to work her way through all the comfort foods her momma made and then some, giving each dish a gluten-free twist that’s good enough for a Southern palate.

You can find her creating new dishes at Gluten Free with Southern Charm and dishing on her family at Joy in These Moments.

PBS Kids Martha Speaketh Weeketh

Summer is here and what better time to keep your kids learning in fun and creative ways?!? I’m a HUGE proponent of taking your children outside to learn, visiting museums, making fun crafts, but there also is something to be said about educational television programming too.

My favorite educational channel for kids is PBS KIDS. I know the shows will be wholesome and focused on learning from age appropriate characters and themes.

Beginning June 16 (check local listings), everyone’s favorite talking dog will kick off Martha Speaketh Weeketh with three all-new episodes of MARTHA SPEAKS and a new meaty online game, Martha’s Steaks. During the week, fans can watch their favorite canine linguist speaking in questions, in Polish, and even Elizabethan English!

What a great way to improve your child’s vocabulary and open up the doors to questions they may have about where certain words come from or what words mean. I love when experiences spur my girls on to learn new things.

 

Martha Speaketh Weeketh Teach Vocabulary

 

Some episodes that will be featured are:

Monday, June 16th
Thou Callest Me a Dog & Martha’s Paper Chase

Tuesday, June 17th
Alice Tells a Story & Pirates and Princesses

Wednesday, June 18th
Tomato, You Say & Martha Questions

and some great repeats the rest of the week that you won’t want to miss!

Martha Speaketh Weeketh PBS Kids

 

 

Have you ever asked your child what their favorite word is? I challenge you to ask them, share yours and discover their meaning or where they came from. Happy learning and happy {almost} Summer!

 

Martha Speaks Logo

 

 

This is not a sponsored post, however we did receive Martha Speaks products to help with this review. All opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are honest and my own words. Your opinions may vary.

Summer Hydration Tips

Hydrating Tips Summer is almost here and our schedule at the B house is already filling up! With that being said, of course it’s easy to put my own health on the back burner which means remembering to get my water. Let alone the fact that I feel like I’m literally having to chase my kids down to get them to drink anything. Can you relate???

But just because we’re busy, it doesn’t mean that we don’t need to be mindful of staying hydrated, especially since the weather is only getting hotter. Here are some tips that I use to keep myself and my family hydrated in the summer. I thought I’d share my ideas, hopefully they’re helpful to you and I’d love to hear yours too!!!

1. If you take it, they will drink it.
– Fill up several reusable water bottles or sippy cups at night so you can grab them on your way to the park, the pool, or a play date. That way there’s no excuses that you don’t have anything to drink and it removes one extra step from your morning routine helping you get out the door even faster {great for those mornings we’re running late.}

2. It’s all in the numbers.
– In our house, we use numbers for almost everything, 2 more bites before dessert, you need to pick up 5 toys before we go outside, etc. So why not implement that into our hydration tips? Tell your children they need to take 3 small sips before they continue to play or more depending on the temperature and how hard they are playing.

3. Game time!
– Using clear cups or sippy cups and colored tape {that’s easy to remove}, tape off the cup into 3rds or 4ths and challenge your child to drink past the line every 30 minutes or so throughout the day. {Children should be drinking around 5-8 cups of water daily.}

4. Make it tasty.
– There are so many ways to stay hydrated AND get a flavor boost too. I love when spas add berries or cucumbers to water, and it’s simple to do at home. I also love turning juices and Lipton’s new Lipton Tea and Honey into freezer pops. It’s a great way to stay hydrated, cool you and the kiddos down, and let’s admit it, frozen treats are pretty fun in the summertime, plus the kids love helping make them too!!

One thing I love about Lipton Tea and Honey, aside from the fact that they make delicious popsicles is that they are sweetened with real honey, made from real tea leaves and infused with real fruit flavors….REAL. Isn’t that refreshing?!?! And for those of you who are watching calories this summer too this tea is only 5 calories per 8 oz serving.

I encourage you to try some of the tips listed above and also note that Lipton is giving away limited samples of their new Lipton Tea & Honey flavors. To receive free samples you can visit www.liptonteaandhoney.com

Tell me how you add flavor to your life and the first three people to comment on my blog will win a sample of Lipton Tea & Honey to try for themselves!

For an extra entry to win the Lipton Tea & Honey kit share this sweepstakes with your friends on Twitter and Facebook by clicking the buttons below. Learn more about the amazing Lipton Tea & Honey Flavors on their Facebook page

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Lipton Tea. The opinions and text are all mine. Official sweepstakes rules.