Celebrating Moments #FridgeworthyMoments #Giveaway

Celebrating life’s moments- big and small- is part of what being in a family or group of friends so awesome. Capturing those moments and declaring them Fridgeworthy- hanging those photos on the fridge so you can remember all the time- it’s a wonderful way to keep those memories and feelings alive. From that first day of school photo (all 3 kids going on the bus this year!)….

fridgeworthy-first-day-school-2014

 

to the very first visit to an American Girl store…

fridgeworthy-american-girl

 

Playing catcher for the first time…

fridgeworthy catcher

 

The first dance recital with a best friend…fridgeworthy-recital-moment

 

to first swimming medals…

fridgeworthy swim awards

 

 

the first time a handstand was captured on film…

fridgeworthy handstand

 

to the first time they drove a duck boat… driving duck boat fridgeworthy

it’s all of those big and little moments that earn the term Fridgeworthy.  PediaSure, a brand who knows all about fueling kids’ bodies so they can have the energy to make those moments, understands just how special Fridgeworthy moments are, and why we want to celebrate and remember them on our refrigerators.

PediaSure is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and DHA. That means kids who need some extra vitamins and minerals can get them- in a tasty form- giving them the power to go after those Fridgeworthy Moments.
pediasure-strawberry-shake
-Clinically proven to promote growth and development
-Enriched with DHA (omega 3 fatty acids), an essential part of a growing child’s diet, which can usually only be found in fatty fish and nuts
-25 essential vitamins and minerals in a patented, easily digestible formula for optimal digestion and metabolization
Multiple formulations for parents who just want to be sure their kids get all the nutrition than need to parents of children with nutrition and weight gain issues

PediaSure minifridge

One reader will win  a branded mini-fridge and a year’s supply of Pediasure!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

fridgeworthy-pediasure
After you enter here, head over to the CafeMom site for another chance to win a HUGE PediaSure prize: a new full-size fridge and year supply of PediaSure awarded as a $2,000 gift card! The photo contest ends 11/2, so head over and enter today!
PediaSure partnered with bloggers such as me for its PediaSure Fridgeworthy blogger program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. PediaSure believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. PediaSure’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

Ways to Stretch Your Budget for Children’s Clothing

It seems like no matter what you do, your kids will outgrow their clothes at twice the speed you buy them. Always. The younger they are, the faster they outgrow their things! The most important aspect for a child’s clothes, however, is comfort. If your child is in clothes that are outgrown, and no longer comfortable, this directly affects their happiness.

Here are a few ways to stretch your budget for children’s clothing, so you can keep your child up to date (and size) without breaking the bank:

stretch-childrens-clothing-budget

Buy Off Season:

Don’t be afraid to buy clothes for the next season, while they’re still on sell. Be sure to buy a size or so up to account for growth spurts! This is a great way to find clothes at the most affordable prices.

Be The First To Know:

Many of your favorite stores have email list that will alert you to upcoming deals that are going on! Be sure to get on this list so you can be the first to know about these events as they arise.

Shop Smart:

When you purchase clothes, be mindful of versatility. Buy tops and pants that are interchangeable, and you will find yourself with a much greater variety of outfits. Garanimals, at Walmart, offers great pieces of clothing that are carefully designed to provide babies and kids with affordable fashion and comfort!

Pass Them Down:

Most kids outgrow clothes way before they wear them out. Pass them down. We bought a lot of basics in neutral colors when the kids were little and added things depending which kid wore them. Onesies, for example, were always white, in both short sleeved and long. You can layer with fun tops and bottoms and shoes (and accessories)!

garanimals animal

Garanimals clothing range from size newborn to 5T, and are outgrown far before they are worn out. In our house this means, they are passed along to a younger sibling. If the seasons and/or gender of your clothing don’t match, consider consignment.

Consignment/Garage Sales:

Both of these are great ways to gain money on clothing you no longer need, while earning money for new clothing in the process! Win Win situation!!!!

garanimals dino

Also, keep in mind that all outgrown clothing isn’t a lost cause! Sometimes shirts that are a bit two small in the arms make for great undershirts in the winter. Pants that have become to short can easily be hemmed up to make a cute pair of capris in the summer time! Dresses that are too short can be worn as a top with leggings… sleeveless dresses can be worn with a long sleeved shirt underneath in colder months. Use your imagination and get creative… your budget will thank you!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Garanimals. The opinions and text are all mine.

Chocolate Cough Medicine #DrCocoaReliefwithaSmile

We’re coming into that time of year where I’m giving a serious side eye to each and every cough, sneeze, and sniffle I hear. With flu season just around the corner I’m not taking any chances. I know that I can’t protect my kids every single moment of every single day (aside from putting them in bubbles, which I’ve strongly considered but never quite found a sound solution for), but I am certainly going to do my best to handle the things that are in my control.

What’s that look like?

For one, I make sure the filters in our home are changed out on a regular. I know it’s important to avoid airborne particles that could trigger colds and allergies. I then make sure that surfaces, door knobs, and toys are all properly sanitized and disinfected. I don’t even WANT to know what kinds of creepy germs are hiding in THOSE spots!

After that, I remind my children to wash their hands a minimum of 50 million times per day, in the hopes that they’ll actually do it at least half of those times… right??

Despite all of this, it’s pretty likely that they’ll be faced with a cold at least some point during this fall/winter season. Likely more than once. That’s because school-age kids get around eight – twelve colds per year; with each lasting from six days to two weeks each. In fact, my kindergartener has already had cold #1, and is fighting #2 as I write this.

Luckily, I know exactly what to grab to fight their colds right away. Dr. Cocoa. The first ever chocolate flavored, over the counter liquid cough and cold medicine for children! It even has a double spoon design for the dispenser instead of those messy cups…

No more forcing gross medicine down their throats hoping they’ll swallow the entire dose.

Nope.

Dr. Cocoa delivers “Relief With A Smile”. This is important since 40% of parents with school-age students report having a difficult time administrating over the counter liquid cold/cough medicines, with 1/3 of these parents believing the difficulty is due to taste.

So, a little advice from a mother of three; do all that you can to avoid colds…. And when you can’t avoid them, keep Dr. Cocoa on hand to get you AND your children through! Grab a $2.00 Dr. Cocoa coupon!

Enter to win a fun giveaway from Dr. Cocoa! PUPPET GIVEAWAY (50 total): Ten (10) entries will be randomly selected to receive one (1) Dr. Cocoa™ owl puppet each Friday between September 19, 2014 and October 17, 2014.

Do you find it hard to administer cold/cough medicine to your children?

Visit www.drcocoa.com for a $2-off coupon offer.

This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. However, all opinions, text and experiences are my own.

National School Lunch Week #NSLW

Happy National School Lunch Week!  Did you know that we’ve been celebrating NSLW since 1962? Those who work to organize, plan and prepare school lunches have a tough job to do, especially with funding being so tight across the country.  Take the time this week (PLEASE!) to say THANK YOU to those who do work with School Lunch programs. They’ll appreciate you taking that time. Our friends at the School Nutrition Association asked me to spread the word about NSLW. Opinions are my own.

get-in-game-school-lunch

Each year there’s a theme for School Lunch Week…. which just happens to be THIS week.  The NSLW 2014 theme is “Get in the Game with School Lunch.” It’s about encouraging kids to find a balance between healthy eating and physical activity. This year’s theme recognizes the importance of eating well and getting active! (Are you sensing a theme everywhere you turn, about fueling your body so you can be active at all ages?? I am!)

school lunch tray salad

To celebrate NSLW, the School Nutrition Association has some fun sweeps and giveaways going all week – to participate, visit their Facebook page and comment on the #NSLW posts!  The campaign sweeps is designed to share information about lunch topics that educate parents on meal pattern requirements and school meal facts. Questions will be posted that are easy for parents (and school nutrition staff) to relate to. There are prizes to be won and lots of great info to be shared!

Print

 

 

Download some FREE nutrition coloring and activity sheets for the kids and a helpful one page resource about school lunches for parents!

Remember to check out 5 things you don’t know about school nutrition programs  and 5 things your school nutrition director wants you to know!

So take the time this week to say Thanks to your school lunch staff. It matters.  Good luck with the sweeps!

Delta Temp2O Shower Head #DeltaFaucet #HappiMess #giveaway

Life gets messy.  In my house, kids get messy.  Really messy. Truthfully, we all do, especially when we play together, which is something we put a lot of emphasis on. Weather permitting, we play outside together before and/or after dinner each day. Even if it’s raining or snowing. We figure it’s more important to be together and enjoy another’s company than worrying about getting messy.

Besides, we have ways to clean up after getting messy. So what’s the big deal? Puddles are made for jumping.  On hot summer days, why shouldn’t we run around outside and get soaked playing in the rain? Cake plates are made for licking.

licking plate

 

We do a lot of soccer outside- all 3 kids love the game and that works for us! It’s fun, and it gets us moving.  Given that the kids are 50% mine genetically, they have my lack of grace, and fall often.  Muddy and grass stained knees are part of our daily routine as a result. But- it doesn’t matter. Grass and mud are a quick thing to get off in the shower.  The together time is more important than the worry about cleanup.

messy

Each of the kids also plays soccer for the town. Which means dirty, messy kids after a hard practice and/or game. The littles have practice that ends in a game, and our oldest is on a team that plays other towns so she’s played up to 4 games in a day.

Chickens are pets in our house. They are held and we pet them. That’s a guaranteed shower right there!

baby chicken

Messy. Happy messes, but messes nonetheless.  I find the tradeoff from a happy mess (aka HappiMess) more than worth it, and don’t mind for a second doing that extra laundry. (We won’t talk about folding it).

crafting

Showers are an almost daily thing here for our kids.  We recently installed a Delta Temp2O™ Shower Head and have been really pleased with the results.  It took a few minutes to install- and the water itself powers the temp screen to let you know just how hot (or not) the shower water is. This is REALLY a great thing for us because we are at the point where the kids want to shower themselves, and not have mommy help… but I worry that they may have the water too hot- or too cold. Now I can peek in above their heads and be sure that water is in the safe zone. (It also told me that our water temp doesn’t seem to be set at 120 anymore, so we had to take care of that).

I really love the 6 settings for the Delta Temp20 shower head. We haven’t had one that adjusts in a while and I forgot how much I like the options! 3 of the options have massage in their name, and that’s what I like. I like feeling like I’m having a little indulgent spa time even on a regular day. It’s also water-efficient so I’m not using excess water just to have a little indulgence, and I don’t need to feel guilty about it. It’s a really great blend of form, function and design- and packaged at a great price.  Parents having a little ‘spa’ experience AND the knowledge that the temps are where they should be is a pretty great package if you ask me!

Delta-Temp2O-Shower-Head

You can see in the photo above that the shower head shows different temps in different colors.  That’s the cool technology working.

delta shower temp

Shower is off.

When you turn the shower on, within a second or two, the color lights up and a temp readout pops up.

delta shower cold

Blue = cool temps.

As the water gets warmer, the display changes color

delta shower purple 104

Purple = happy zone

And if you get that water too hot, it’ll turn red to warn you

Too hot!

Too hot!

 

 

“Why do people treat mess like it’s a bad thing? It’s actually the evidence of a life well lived. When you’re out there making, creating, doing and playing, embrace your #HappiMess and let Delta kitchen and bath innovations help clean up so you can do it all again tomorrow.”

delta logo

 

Temp2O™ (pronounced Temp-Two-Oh) Technology is a digital temperature display featuring LED color indicators to signal different water temperature ranges. Giving consumers convenience and peace of mind knowing the temperature of the water flowing from their shower or bathtub spout before getting in, this new offering is available on a variety of handshowers, showerheads and tub showers.

  • Handshowers and showerheads featuring Temp2O™ Technology are hydro-powered, offering consumers a versatile, transitional design that comes in: Chrome, Brilliance® Stainless and Venetian® Bronze finishes.

 

 

One of my readers will win a Delta Temp2O™ handshower or showerhead

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Delta via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Delta.

Energy Bites Recipe

Quaker has asked me to talk to you about their For the Love of Play campaign, in partnership with the NFL and Fuel Up to Play 60, designed to help fuel healthy families so they an get out and be active for 60 minutes of play a day. 
Physical activity, in combination with good nutrition, is essential to a healthy lifestyle. This isn’t rocket science.  We’ve most of us heard and seen this for years. It’s not even a suggestion.  Our bodies need fuel and they need to move. Today I’m sharing some of the ways WE play in our family- and also a quick and easy family favorite Energy Bites recipe so we have the fuel we need to play for 60 minutes each day.

For the Love of Play wants to inspire us- all of us- families and communities- to get up and get active – at school, at home and everywhere in between.
Play is fun and easy! Whether its flag football with friends, active brain breaks at school, a game of tag in the backyard with your family or organized sports – the ways to play are endless.Playing outside has seemingly endless options to stay active. There are probably 100 different games of “tag” alone.

Getting up and getting active isn’t always super simple when you are indoors. It’s easy- too easy- to get into that comfort zone of sitting on the couch/chair and vegging out, especially in colder months or in less than ideal weather. We try to still be active and keep moving in our house- and one way we do that is with the kids’ toys.  Our house is set up so that the downstairs is a circle. At least, for kids running around, it’s a circle. The floor needs to be refinished anyway, but the ‘turns’ in the doorways?  The finish was worn far before any of the rest of the floors.  Our kids have run laps on that floor since they could move their little bodies independently. We’ve played thousands of hours of chase with them.

captain-america-dad

Now, they are bigger. So we have different ways of play.  My son got a Captain America shield that shoots little foam discs… all of us, including my extended family, have taken turns for the past few years to don the mask and strap on the shield to hunt stinky feet.

captain-america-mom

 

Playing together doesn’t have to be planned. Or serious. We tend to have the most fun playing silly, made up games in our house.  We’ve spent hours playing chase with Beanie Boos and other stuffed animals. It’s about moving and being active.

Outside? Soccer. Taking walks. Bike rides.  Chase. Tag. The kids do cartwheels and somersaults all over the place. Basketball games, hopscotch. Baseball.  There are endless ways to get moving outdoors. The point of the whole For the Love of Play campaign is to encourage us- ALL of us- to geet out there are DO things. Or get in there and DO things. Move. Wiggle. Jump. Shake. Put on the kids’ dress up clothes and pretend right along with them. You might be surprised at how much fun you’ll have!

Energy Bites 

 

kid-friendly-energy-bites

Ingredients

1 C. Quaker Oats, either Quick or Old Fashioned are fine

½ C. peanut butter

½ C. flax seed

½ C. mini baking M&M’s (optional – you could also use mini chocolate chips)

1/3 C. honey

Directions 

EnergyBites1

#1. Add all ingredients to a medium size bowl and mix well. Place the bowl in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes so the ingredients set.

#2. Remove from the fridge and use a small round cookie scoop to scoop the mixture out. Use your hands to roll evenly into balls and place on a baking sheet.

#3. Once all the dough is rolled into balls, place the baking sheet in the fridge for another 15-20 minutes.

#4. Store the energy bites in the fridge in an airtight container.

*Makes approximately 2 dozen small energy bites.

EnergyBites3

New game teaches responsibility and respect

Besides protecting our children from harm and keeping them safe, perhaps the most important job as a parent is to teach our children to fare well in the world alone, once they’ve outgrown our care. This doesn’t just mean teaching them to survive; but to contribute- To be decent human beings, and give back to the world in a way that is beneficial to both themselves and mankind as a whole. A Better World for Kids game has sponsored this post so that they can get the word out about this great new game!

better world kids logo

One way we tackle this job, as parents, is to teach children responsibility and respect. While this can be done through games and fun, it’s sometimes hard to weed through the violent and time-wasting games. “A Better World for Kids” is a game that provides a brilliant, yet simple, resolution for this dilemma. A Better World has just launched this new virtual game- this game teaches responsibility and respect!

 A Better World for Kids was developed to instill a passion in children for doing good and thinking positively while still having fun. The real-world aspect of A Better World for Kids teaches children that they can make a difference in the world and that their actions can have an impact. It also encourages children to step away from technology and screens for a little bit each day and truly experience life.

better world for kids

This is a family friendly, non-violent, game for children that encourages positive action; while drawing on children’s imaginations. Children love to pretend they’re like Mom and Dad. This game has jobs that allow them to practice adult task like having a job, driving safely, and even recycling!

better world for kids info

This mentality doesn’t just stop after the game! Children can actually register chores and good deeds that they’ve done AT HOME into the game, and receive points! The more good deeds they do, in the game and at home, the more points they receive. Points, called do good gold, allow children to dress up their virtual characters and decorate their virtual homes.

better world kids rewards

I love the entire concept of this game, and am SO happy to find something so encouraging for children, while still providing enough fun aspects to capture their children. There are also versions of this game for teens and adults as well! The positive post in the game allows children to share notes with each other, and share their hopes and dreams right within the game.

After the success of our A Better World game on Facebook, we wanted to expand on the momentum of our “Do Good” revolution. The BetterWorldians Vision makes the world a better place by focusing on and encouraging the best in everyone, especially our children. We believe that the solutions to today’s problems are found by bringing out our better natures. 

We think you do, too. We believe that people want a positive vision for a better world, and Kickstarter is the perfect place to let people “put their money where their heart is” and fund projects that can truly make a difference. Projects like this are rarely supported by big companies or venture capitalists. They are only made possible with the support of everyday folks who want to create things that make the world a better place.

This game provides the perfect balance between the responsibilities of the real world, and the joys and fun that come along with childhood! So far, 2.5 million people have done good deeds in this Facebook game.

 

Will you and your family increase this number?

Getting kids to read under the covers

We are really lucky that our kids have all inherited my love of reading. I know this. I embrace it and encourage it. I also know that for many kids, reading under the covers (or anywhere, for that matter, isn’t appealing at all. For those kids, and those who like to read under the covers, here are some FUN ways to encourage them to crack open the books….or magazines. Reading is reading, after all.

1. Ambiance

Create a fun place to be under the covers. Build a fort. Trust me, it’ll start to jolt your memory of building forts when you were a kid as you teach the kids to make their own!

Of course, sometimes you build the most epic fort ever and the cat jumps on top of it and mayhem ensues. But you can still have the couch!

2. Interest

Just because YOU think a book was great doesn’t mean your kids will agree. (I’ve had that happen here, sadly). Think about what interests your kids and find them things to read that they can relate to and show interest in.

My son loves facts, trivia, math and science. He can spend a full 2 hours reading an encyclopedia. Would I ever do that? Probably not… but he loves it. He’s been really into money lately and we found some fun books about money facts, and the history of money. He was ecstatic.

3. Do it. Like Nike says- Just Do It! If your kids see you reading- chances are, they’ll be more likely to pick up a book themselves. Lead by example. If they see you enjoying it, they’ll want to try…

Tomorrow night, turn off the TV and tablets. Turn on the flashlights, snuggle up, and read some books under the covers. Or above them. Make it fun!

EVEREADY® and Scholastic want to help shine a light on reading in the dark! Keep kids excited about reading year round with fun promotions and lots of great resources available on Reading in the Dark… printable activities, book lists, tips for raising a reader and a free Scholastic book offer with purchase.

Are you in or near NYC? If you are, you are invited to visit the Scholastic Store in NYC on October 18th for the Pajama Jam event! Not in the Big Apple? You can download the free Pajama Jam Reading Party Toolkit and party at home like we did.

Scholastic and EVEREADY® are teaming up to help parents shine a light on reading, even in the dark! EVEREADY®’s high quality batteries and flashlights are reliable and affordable and can be purchased at Dollar General or Target. 
 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of EVEREADY®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Help the medicine go down with Dr. Cocoa

It’s hard watching your child be sick. As a mother, it tugs at the core of my heart. I hate feeling helpless, not being able to wave my magic mommy wand and fix things right away. Like most moms I’ll do anything in my power to get the feeling just like new as soon as humanly possible.

What’s even more difficult is when the thing holding me back from helping them…. is them! It seems that very early in age most children determine that suffering from the symptoms of their illness are far better than swallowing medicine they find unsavory.

sick baby

 

Are you children like that too? It’s funny- just an hour ago a friend on Facebook was expressing frustration at how we’ve had so many progressions in this world but medicines kids NEED to get better still taste horrible!

 

It seems that when it comes time to take medicine, my poor child who was previously weak and ill suddenly conjures up the strength of a superhero in an effort from keeping any and all drops of the “icky” medicine from entering their mouths.

 

Until Dr. Cocoa, that is.

dr cocoa chocolate flavor cough medicine

My sponsor, Dr. Cocoa, has been a lifesaver in these situations! Their new cough and cold medicine is the first ever line of medicine in the U.S. that’s made with REAL COCOA! It taste delicious, and my children don’t even believe it’s really medicine… which is just fine with me.

dr cocoa chocolate cough medicines

Not only does it taste good, it actually works. Dr. Cocoa is for children age 4-13, but the Nighttime Cough and Cold medication (for children ages 6-13) has helped us through the night when my older children were ill. This has now become a staple in our household, and the medicine battle of the fittest is no longer something I must endure.

 

Download your $2 off Dr. Cocoa coupon and grab a bottle for your medicine cabinet today! It’s better to have it on hand BEFORE a sick day, than to wait until it comes.

 

Speaking of sick days; be sure to check out Scholastic.com/HappyHealthy to download your free copy of the Sick Day Survival kit, filled with everything you need to keep your little one comfy from morning to night! This article about helping kids take medicine may be helpful as well!

 

 

 

 

Healthy Fast Food Options #HappyBalance

I’ve gotten over the initial disappointment of summer ending and back-to-school coming into the picture. The constant busy week hustle has actually begun to even fill normal. It’s funny because we tend to think of the summer time being the time to spend with family, but it’s starting to seem like it’s actually the opposite. I’ve had it wrong all this time! While summer did allow us to fit more in, we were also each scattered doing our own thing a lot of the time. Since the school week activities and practices are usually scheduled at times that are convenient for working parents, we attend more events together.

I love it!

Whether we’re running errands together as a family, or huddled on the sidelines cheering on an early morning soccer game, it always feels good to be with my fam. One thing that we quickly learned, however, was that trying to find an affordable quick meal for a family of five isn’t always easy.

fastfoodoptions

One place we know we can always rely on is McDonald’s. It’s nice to be able to actually go in and sit and eat together, like we used to when I was a kid. Now we live in the age of constant drive through and eating on the run- taking extra minutes to head inside means we’re eating together. Standing together staring at the menu brings back flashbacks of how exciting it was to visit the Golden Arches. I’m almost waiting for Hamburglar and Grimace to pop back on scene… It almost feels as if I’m back in that time, as cheap as the prices are.

happy-meal-gogurt

Only $2.99 for a Happy Meal. A lot has changed with Happy Meals though.  There are healthy fast food options now, and hopefully more to follow! The fries are a bit smaller, with the additional portion replaced by nutritious apple slices. Later this fall kids will also be able to choose between apple slices or Cuties clementines from Sun Pacific. Heck, you can even replace the fries all together and add a Go-GURT Low-Fat Strawberry yogurt​ instead. The excitement of creative toy series that change often, and a bright, cheerful atmosphere remain the same though.

McDonald’s puts a whole new meaning to comfort food.

 

I received compensation from McDonald’s in exchange for writing this review. Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.