A note to parents and college students about spending (and what might help)

Today I’m going to share, at the request of Visa Prepaid,  my experience at college freshman year- my experience about money and spending.  Or rather, overspending.  And just how quickly I was caught up in “free” credit cards and getting myself into debt. And no I’m not proud of it. But I’m real and I make mistakes and maybe  if I share my story someone else won’t.

I grew up in family that did not do “handouts.”  If we wanted something, we earned it or purchased it ourselves. The ultimate catch-22 I had growing up was wanting to drive a car- but in order to drive a car, I had to pay for insurance.  In order to pay for insurance, I had to get a job.  Living in a remote area of New Hampshire, this wasn’t really an easy thing to do without a car.  I may not have appreciated that my parents were so strict and set in their ways about money, but looking back now, 20 years later, I can tell you it was a wise move on their part, especially with “me” as a kid.  I was um…challenging.  Once in a while, you know, like in a blue moon?


Anyway, when I went off to college, I had money in my “pocket” for the semester to buy books and anything else I might need.  Money that I earned working the entire summer for, saving away.  Of course, like many kids, I got to school and had FREEDOM and new friends and realized very quickly that I liked to party. A lot.  Sadly for my wallet, I did not like to party with the kegs of beer at frat parties, I liked girlie, fruity stuff.  Which costs more.  Within a month my money was gone, and I had books to show for it, but little else except the freshman 30 15.

I had supplies I needed to purchase for projects.  Plus, more parties….and then it was time to start Christmas shopping.  And it seemed like every time we turned around, there were young, hip looking 20-somethings with tables and displays offering FREE credit cards!  Plus, when you applied, you could have a FREE tshirt!  A frisbee!  A travel mug! And like many of my classmates, I applied for almost all of the cards.  Unfortunately for me, I was approved for all that I applied for.  Within a few months I had 11 credit cards.  ELEVEN.  It never occurred to me to stop and think about what was going on, what I was getting into, what lay ahead.  I just saw a way to finish paying for things I needed and “needed” without having to pay for all of it at once.

Would I do this all again? Absolutely not.  But I’m 20 years older than my 18 year old self and I know so much more about money and life and what actual needs are.  But parenting a kid like me, I think I’d probably take their summer savings and keep control of most of it here at home, depositing amounts on something like a Visa Prepaid Card so that yes, they could access their own money, but I could also help to keep them on track and to learn to be responsible for their money before it was too late.

My debt wasn’t frivilous for long.  Soon after graduating, even with a Bachelor’s Degree, I wasn’t making more than $7/hour and it wasn’t anywhere near enough to live on so I did odd jobs and babysat whenever possible.  I still didn’t make enough to cover expenses and was more often than not charging gas and groceries (and yes, cute new boots- I’m a slow learner I suppose). At the peak, I had over $25000 in credit card debt.  All by myself. Do you know what I have to show for it?  That stupid “Freshman 15″ which really was 30 and has gone away and come back repeatedly over the years.  No fun trips, nothing substantial.

As parents, we have to teach our children about finances.  Not just about what the money is, and that we have to earn it ourselves, but also how to manage it, and how to plan.  Today, we have 1 credit card that we use whenever possible, because the rewards for using it are great.  We have a backup card, and 2 store cards.  That’s it.  I’ll never have more again.  Too dangerous.  Too risky.

I can tell you that when my kids are older and start being away from us for periods of time and travelling or going away to school, we’ll be seriously considering the options available like Visa PrePaid cards so that we can keep a bit of a tab on things and hopefully keep educating the kids so they learn before they get into a mess like I did.  I’d rather they get mad and yell and scream at me for “only” depositing a few hundred at a time into their prepaid account than have them end up like me.  It’s kind of like a best of both worlds option  in my mind- the kids can have use of their money but need to check in with parents before adding more money- so if they are spending like crazy, parents can know right away and try to help solve issues.

I am blogging on behalf of Visa Prepaid and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Discover more at http://www.VisaPrepaid.com or view more Visa Prepaid videos at http://www.youtube.com/visaprepaid.

I would like to thank One Direction for getting my child to brush her teeth properly. (Want to win One Direction tickets?)

So my 7 year old is just.like.me. For good and for bad, we’re very alike.  So to say we butt heads on things at times is well, a slight understatement.  Mostly it’s just both of us having a strong personality and a desire to do what we want when we want to.  And for the past several months, my 7 year old has been resistant and downright crabby about brushing her teeth for long enough, properly, and even at all.  It makes for some very animated early morning conversations before most people are even contemplating hitting snooze again on their alarms, and for a high tension bedtime.  Little miss had her first (tiny) cavity a few weeks ago and when the dentist said the same things to her that MOM said, I think it scared her a little bit.  That, and the discomfort in the chair. There are certain things that are non negotiable in our family and proper dental care is one of them.  Brushing happens. 


One thing my girl does like is music. Dancing.  Singing.  So when I heard about ARM & HAMMER Tooth Tunes featuring One Direction, I figured it was worth a shot to see if it motivates her.  She’s rocking out for the entire 2 required brushing minutes and NOT COMPLAINING.  Shaking her little tush and brushing away without a word. It’s marvelous.  A way to get something fun out of something she can’t stand to do? Happy mama over here!

All because of a toothbrush.  To be honest, I love that little toothbrush.  Tooth Tunes, you have converted me. I did not what I was missing out on with you. Well, Tooth Tunes and One Direction.  ARM & HAMMER Tooth Tunes featuring One Direction is the only brand of toothbrushes that plays One Direction in North America. 

one direction toothtunes


These Tooth Tunes featuring One Direction come in 2 song styles- “What Makes Her Beautiful” and “One Thing”- each song lasts 2 minutes so kids are encouraged to keep brushing that recommended time. Tooth Tunes plays the music with vibrations through the bristles right into their mouths  so you can hear it while you brush.  Super fun, and if it’ll keep the kids brushing long enough?  Worth every penny of the $9.99 price tag. (I see a coupon on the site…so print that before you go buy!). One Direction is a HOT band right now and most kids want to have cool music to listen to. I think this is a great marriage of a need and entertainment!

Now I just have to hope that either my 5 1/2 year old decides he likes the One Direction Tooth Tunes as much as his sister – or check out one of their other options. I see several on there I know he’ll love. Some of the other brushes available:

All Day” performed by Cody Simpson

Dynamite” performed by Taio Cruz

I Gotta Feeling” performed by Black Eyed Peas

If I Ruled the World” performed by Big Time Rush

All of which he knows and adores. I’m going to have a very noisy bathroom at brushing time but I’m ok with that. If it gets the kids motivated to brush and brush properly, it can be the loudest bathroom ever!

If you have kids like mine who maybe aren’t so thrilled about brushing properly, you might want to give Tooth Tunes a try.  You may have a happy result like we have had!

We have some exciting news to share with you! Church & Dwight Co., Inc., the maker of ARM & HAMMER™, is excited to announce the Brush with Tooth Tunes™, Rock with One Direction Sweepstakes! People can enter for a chance to win the Grand Prize – four tickets to a One Direction concert in August 2013.  100 First Prize Winners will receive One Direction prize packs, with One Direction merchandise.

Disclaimer: I am part of the Mom It Forward blogger network. Mom It Forward and ARM & HAMMER™ Tooth Tunes™ partnered in support of this campaign. ARM & HAMMER™ Tooth Tunes™ compensated me for participation in this campaign. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Happy (Almost) Pi Day! Let’s Celebrate with…Pie! (Giveaway) #MarieCallenders

My son and I had a pie lunch date this week.  This is kind of a BIG DEAL.  Big sister was at school and little sister went down for an early nap because she wasn’t feeling well.  I’d planned on making myself one of Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pies for lunch because it was a cold, rainy, sleety and dreary day and I wanted some comfort food.  My son’s never been interested in pot pie before, but this day, he couldn’t stop asking me questions about it.  I asked if he wanted to try a bit, and after looking at me surprised (that I thought to ask or that I finally did ask, I’m not so sure) he took a bite. Another bite.  After he’d gobbled up half the pie I told him I was going to make a second one and WE were going to have a Pie Date!   Pi Day is the mathematical holiday but remember, in January comes Pie Day (and yes, we did celebrate that too. We like our pie).

pie date for pi day

Our lunch was delightful.  My little guy has a pretty good sense of humor but he’s always surrounded by two sisters who don’t like to let anyone get a word in edgewise (some say they get that from me, to which I plead the 5th…), so when it’s just him and me, I have a lot of fun.  We talked all about his day at school and I started explaining to him about Pi Day coming soon and how I think we should have another pie date to celebrate.  After accepting that Pi Day does not actually include presents, he asked lots of questions about Pi.  His favorite subject was math so hearing about a holiday to celebrate math made him pretty intrigued.

pies for pi day

So we had our pre-Pi Day date, and this week we’ll celebrate the actual Pi Day, and then in a few weeks, we’ll celebrate Easter with my in laws…and guess what we’ll be having for dessert?  Well, aside from the normal Easter-ish type of candies…we’ll be having pie!  My daughter saw the containers from our pie date in the recycle bin after she got home from school and wanted some Key Lime Pie.  She LOVES key lime pie.  We decided that would be a really fun way to end our Easter dinner!  It’s a busy day and not everyone has time to bake from scratch- Marie Callender’s pies can save a lot of time and energy so you can sit back and enjoy the moments with your loved ones.

Marie Callender’s has a pie for every occasion.  Or just about.  I think with pie you can kind of have some leeway on occasions to eat it.  Like if the day happens to end in Y, you can probably assume it’s ok to just have a little.  Or a lot.  I mean, you could really have pie for lunch and dinner and pie for dessert.  I would probably recommend you mix that up a bit and not eat exclusively pie for a day, though.

Be sure to get your  Marie Callender’s printable coupon good for  $1.50 coupon off any pie!  Don’t forget to enter the codes for Child Hunger Ends Here on specially marked packages either in my sidebar or below:

One reader will win FIVE coupons for FREE Marie Callender’s Pies!  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a sponsored post with The Motherhood.  Opinions are my own.

Come talk about health tips for our families at the #CDCFlu Twitter Party March 5th

#cdcfluI don’t know about you but having kids also means having germs, in excess.  Three kids in school just means more chances for more germs!  Typically, February is the month my family is sickest- somehow we escaped that this year, although all three kids had pneumonia over Christmas.  I’m always up for finding new ways to keep my family healthy in cold and flu season, aren’t you? Come join us March 5th as we chat about this!What: How long is flu season? When is the best time to receive the flu vaccine? What are healthy flu-fighting habits to teach children? We’ll be answering these questions and more during this informative Twitter party! The Motherhood is joining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their mission to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health. Join us to share and listen to helpful health tips for your family!When: Tuesday, March 5, 1 p.m. ET (the party will last one hour)

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #CDCFlu hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Twtvite: http://bit.ly/XYyMp9

Hashtag: #CDCFlu


Hosts: @theMotherhood, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann, @CDCFlu

TweetGrid for the party: http://bit.ly/13fnEfp

For more information: Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/
This is a sponsored post with The Motherhood. Opinions are my own.

Blick Art Materials Helps to Support Art with Art Room Aid

I’m guessing that you’ve probably heard of Blick Art Materials.  Some of you may even have had the pleasure of visiting on of their stores!  We have one about 45 minutes from my house- I need to get over there. I haven’t been since we moved to this house going on 8 years now. Blick Art Materials focuses on offering quality products, huge selection, and a skilled, knowledgeable staff who not only know to help you with what you are looking for but also are able to give suggestions and options for other things for educational and professional needs.

art room aid blick art materials

Not only does Blick Art Materials but they have also started a wonderful project called Art Room Aid which they started in 2009. Clearly Blick Art Materials has always supported arts in education, including art scholarships and helping to create lesson plans to meet core curriculum standards to help educators- Art Room Aid kind of took things a step further.  Art Room Aid provides the tools to easily share your dreams and funding needs without complicated applications or fees that take away from contributions. If you’re an arts advocate you can quickly locate a project that resonates with you and make a high-quality contribution that will go directly to a project in need.

Art is all around us, in everyday life and on special occasions.  It’s in our work, our play, our love, and so much more.  We need to find ways to support arts in education the way Blick Art Materials is with Art Room Aid- or similar!  I understand that the economy is rough but it makes me so sad that the arts are one of the first things to “go” in so many school districts.  I try to support however I can- sending glue in when I find sales, or markers, crayons, supplies- in the hopes that that can free up some money to do other things.

I was very happy to be able to offer my son’s Kindergarten teacher the chance to work together on this so that she could create a project based on her ideas and not just on what was available due to budget constraints.  I won’t lie, she was very excited to have this chance.  I was excited to share it with her.  She’s really excited to do a Paper Flowers Project with the children in her class, which goes along with a writing activity she’s got planned for April of this year.  Please visit and check out the Paper Flowers Project List for Mrs. R and we’d love if you could support the classroom, or share this with someone who may decide they’d like to support.  Every little bit helps!  (Clicking the image below also will take you to the project list page)

art room aid supply list

How do you feel about arts in education?  Do you feel as I do? I want to know! I also want to know what your favorite projects were in the classroom growing up. 

Check out this infographic called Brushstroke of Genius

brushstroke of genius infographic

This is a sponsored post with The Motherhood. 

Stay up to date with Recalls Plus

recalls plus I am willing to wager a bet that most of you, like me, have bought presents- toys, specifically,  to give to children this holiday season. But what a lot of us don’t stop to think about is safety- or possible recall. I know that I truly didn’t even think about recalls when purchasing gifts until just yesterday- and now I sit here scratching my head wondering why it never occurred to me before.  I get email alerts daily with any recall notifications- but I kind of always thought of those as “stuff you already have” recalls, not things I’m purchasing now, you know? But now it’s in my head and I’m so happy I have a smartphone, because now I have Recalls Plus on it and I can get alerts any time there’s a recall- and not just on toys.  (You can use Recalls Plus with Facebook if you don’t have a smartphone or tablet).

When my oldest was 18 months, we gave her a little doctor set from a very well known brand for Christmas.  She was delighted and played with that set for hours each day.  I had enough checkups between Christmas and New Year’s to keep me healthy until 2076- until the day I realized that a piece of the stethoscope was gone, poof, vanished, and nowhere to be found.  A perfect choking sized piece.  Thankfully, my daughter hadn’t ingested it (or if she did, we never “caught” it), but I called the company immediately once I determined she was ok.  I won’t ever know if it was my call that set the wheels in motion, or if mine was the first (or last) of many, but I do know that same doctor kit was recalled not long afterward.  I was quite impressed with how the company handled things- they sent me a prepaid shipping box so that they could inspect they toy pieces.  They also sent a very generous gift certificate so that we could replace our daughter’s beloved toy.  I was very impressed with how seriously they took my phone call, and how quick they were to do right by us, but also to look into it further.

Recalls Plus helps us get alerted instantly when there are recalls.  It’s been designed by parents of young children FOR parents of young children, and you are able to select an age range appropriate for your family or for those you are purchasing for, so that you are notified of the recalls that will affect you most directly.  You can also track recalls on items you have, or are thinking of purchasing.

recalls plus recall alerts based on age
The other “big” thing that Recalls Plus monitors is 8 FDA-mandated food allergy recalls.  This is HUGE in these times of anaphylactic allergies- now you can know before you hit the store that that salad dressing you’ve been wanting to try has a dairy product in it but it isn’t labelled.  Food allergies are a scary thing for so many families, and it’s my opinion that you can’t be too safe when allergies are life threatening.  Apps like this will be a huge help to parents and caregivers- and even to the kids with allergies as they get older. The app will alert you or you can search through a nationwide list of recalls reported.

recalls plus facebook

Some recent recalls shared on Recalls Plus:

1. Dream on Me Ultra 2 in 1 Infant Tub, Toddler, Niagra, Baby Bath Seats

Hazard: The bath seats can tip over, posing a risk of drowning to babies.

2. Sportspower Sports Authority Parkside Trampolines
Hazard: The trampoline’s metal legs can move out of position and puncture the jumping area, posing a risk of injury.

3. Step2 X-Rider Car Children’s Riding Toys
Hazard: Children who lean too far forward on the seat can go over the handle bar and hit the ground.

4. JoAnn Fabric and Craft Foam Pumpkin Turkey Craft Kit
Hazard: Magnets holding the pumpkin shell pieces together can become loose, posing an ingestion hazard.

5. Boden Children’s Pajamas
Hazard; The pajamas fail to meet federal flammability standards for children’s sleepwear, posing a risk of burn injuries to children.

**All products listed above where listed on Recalls Plus within the past two months. Product recalls were identified by the appropriate government agency. Please go the Recalls Plus App for more information about the above recalls

Download Recalls Plus: Apple Store

Download Recalls Plus: Google play

Get the Recalls Plus App for Facebook

I’ve downloaded this free app, will you?



 Thanks to Recalls Plus for sponsoring today’s discussion

Giving the Gift of Caring #KleenexCares

One of my most favorite songs of all time is Twila Paris‘ “It’s the Thought That Counts” and I can tell you that I’ve never once heard it without feeling inspired to do for others.  So how do we actually GIVE the gift of caring to our children, our friends, our families?

twila paris its the thought

In my world, growing up, I learned how to give by watching my family give to others- my parents opened their home to anyone who needed a place to go, on every single holiday.  Last minute? No problem.  My parents always found a way to have some kind of special surprise under the tree for anyone spending time at our home over Christmas.  But it was more than that- more than just Christmas, or holidays I mean.  They taught us how to care by example- when someone had a loss in the family, or was sick… we helped.  We cooked, we babysat, we ran errands.  We were there, to support and care. I remember when my cousin came home from a tour in Iraq and my parents offered her the use of our lake house for a week.  Just because they knew she might need a place to chill and kind of recharge, reconnect with her family.  It was in these acts that we kids learned how to give the gift of caring.

One of the ways we, meaning my husband and I, try to show our children how to give the gift of caring is also what my parents did.  When our old neighbor calls and needs her gutters cleaned, off my husband goes.  She’s elderly and hasn’t got anyone else to do it.  When a coworker needs to move a heavy piece of furniture- my husband goes.  When a friend needs an hour of quiet, we watch her kids.  When we see someone struggling, we offer help.  Sometimes, we just offer a smile or a kind word.

kleenex care kit

A simple way we can teach our children the gift of caring- giving them what I think is one of the best gifts we CAN give them, is by doing.  Even fun little things like sending one of the Share the Softness packages from Kleenex is a way to help teach our children the gift of caring.  Kleenex is still running the promotion:   visit your local retailer, purchase a Kleenex brand bundle pack and redeem the code on the box. Then simply visit Kleenex.com and follow the directions to send a Care Pack to someone who needs a little care, while supplies last.

Other things we do with our kids: baking goodies for elderly neighbors, visiting with neighbors, holding doors, smiling, sending a card or note in the mail when we think of someone who’s not so close by.  There are so many ways we can give our children the gift of caring, don’t you think?

How do you think we can give the gift of caring? 


“I wrote this review while participating in an ambassador program by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of the Kleenex brand and received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Preparing Her For That First Period #KotexMom

u by kotex tween productsI’ve been sharing with you my journey relating to first periods, and talking about them, with my 7 year old for several months now (see previous #KotexMom posts).  This is my “final” official post, although I’m sure as the time for her period gets closer down the road, I’ll be sharing more once again.

It’s been a mixed bag of experiences with this series of posts. I’ve had a lot of support, and an overwhelming number of you agree with me that yes, we should talk to our girls ahead of time, so that they can be prepared for what’s coming.  I’ve had a few of you who have emailed me with concerns that preparing my daughter is asking for trouble and that I should just wait until she starts having her period.  I’ve even had a select few folks who had some very unfriendly things to say to me about this.  I’m a firm believer in arming my children with the knowledge they need for things.  To those who don’t agree with my viewpoint, please feel free to stop reading- I won’t be offended but I do hope you’ll try to see my point of view.
I was alone and unprepared when I got my first period, and those feelings didn’t go away for many, many years- thinking something was wrong with me, or that I did something wrong.  I don’t want my girls to experience that. I want them to know that it’s normal and not have to feel embarassed or unprepared.  It’s very easy to keep a U by Kotex pad or two in a tiny pocket of your backpack, just in case, and knowing when and how to use that. I know it’s just as easy to not talk about it, because it isn’t exactly a fun conversation and it’s not a comfortable subject for many. It isn’t comfortable for me, either. I just believe that having the knowledge ahead of time will give my kids tools they need to cope with changes. In all areas of life.

The Kotex site has great tools such as a calendar with facts about puberty, questions your daughter may ask, ways to start the conversation and more.  My daughter isn’t quite ready for this but I’m glad to know it’s there as a resource for both of us when the time comes!

Don’t forget to visit the U by Kotex website for period questions that could be helpful for tweens and teens. I told my friend about this- her daughter started her period a few months ago, and both have said that it’s a great site for her to go with questions. She really loves the U by Kotex products-she said she likes that its a fun color package but mostly it’s smaller than her mom’s period stuff and fits her a lot better.

It’s been an interesting road, with these conversations, but I feel like I’ve opened up new lines of communication with my daughter, even if we don’t revisit them for a few years- and I know it’ll be that much easier when it’s time for the same with my younger daughter.

I wrote this review while participating in a Brand Ambassador Campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of U by Kotex Tween and received products to facilitate my post and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Gratitude and Thankfulness with Kids During the Holidays #KleenexCares

christmas treeThe holidays are here.  Wish lists, Santa visits, holiday cards, packaging, presents, elves…anticipation- there’s a lot about the holiday season that doesn’t always make you think of gratitude or thankfulness.  Especially when there are children involved.  It’s not always easy to keep overtired, overstimulated little ones the importance of being grateful and thankful and showing gratitude, but it’s worth every bit of effort.

With all of the excitement and anticipation of the holidays, many folks often get run down and over tired this time of year.  That can lead to runny noses, colds…and more.  Why not show a little bit of gratitude by sending someone you care about a Kleenex Cares Care Package this year?  It’s a very simple way to show your little ones a way to make a gesture for someone else.   Showing someone you care doesn’t have to be a big gesture. It doesn’t have to be a costly gesture, either.

Some other gestures that may help children to learn more and understand more about gratitude and thankfulness that I have:

Drawing a picture for someone.  Think of the smile on someone’s face when they open a paper and see your child’s drawing with “I’m glad you are my friend/teacher/neighbor” on it.

Baking.  Most of us do some baking at the holidays- why not put together a few of those baked goods on a plate with a festive bow on top and let your child bring them to a neighbor, just because?

Music.  This one may not be a great fit for all kids, but if you have a child who loves music, I’m sure there are family members or friends and family who’d love to have some holiday songs sung to them or played for them.  You can do this on Skype if loved ones are far away.

Playing.  Spending time together.  Simply being with someone and spending time with them is a wonderful way to say “Hey, I’m glad there’s you!”

Gifting. I have a friend and she has started to let her children gift “something” to their friends for the holidays.  It might be a slip of paper or a print of a photograph- it can’t cost them money but it can give smiles, she says.  What a cool thing to have our kids do- to take a photograph of a happy memory and share it with a friend or loved one to remind them how special that memory is to them.

kleenex care kit
•Kleenex brand is giving consumers the opportunity to make the care complete with a Kleenex Brand Care Pack. To participate, consumers can visit their local retailer, purchase a Kleenex brand bundle pack and redeem the code on the box. Then simply visit Kleenex.com and follow the directions to send a Care Pack to someone who needs a little care, while supplies last.


Visit Kleenex on Facebook page to learn more!
“I wrote this review while participating in an ambassador program by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of the Kleenex brand and received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Cooking with Kids is so much fun I wrote a book about it! #LittleChefs

little chefs projectWell, I wrote part of a book.  Contributed to a chapter.  But I did!  I'm proud to say I'm one of 40 amazing bloggers who came together for the very first crowd-sourced ebook designed to help get you cooking with kids, the Little Chefs Project!  is all about cooking with kids and includes tips, tricks, recipes, experiences, resources, and more. Sections include the following:

  • Feel Like a Kid Again
  • Teachable Moments
  • Everyday Fun
  • Family Time
  • Fun with Flavors
  • Family Traditions
  • Additional Resources
  • Chef Boyardee Timeline
  • Contributing Bloggers

The chapter I'm included in is  “Everyday Fun” and I couldn't be happier.  I'm not gourmet. I'm not fancy. I don't create edible works of art (unless things are meant to look “meh” frequently).  But I do love having my kids in the kitchen with me and having them involved in cooking and baking.

My family may not be gourmet, but we do LOVE to spend time cooking and baking together. Almost every Saturday morning is spent making pancakes “from scrap” together- my husband lines the kids up at the end of the island in the kitchen and gives each a task- we do the griddle part, but the kids are all there helping to measure, mix, etc.  It's a mess and it takes forever to both make the “cancakes” and clean up, but no one minds.  We're all together in pajamas, cooking together and making memories.  We even clean up together (which is never as much fun but also necessary).

I have a lot of people in my life who don't cook with their children- maybe it hasn't occurred to them, maybe they don't feel they have the time, I'm sure there are many reasons. I feel it is important, and teaches kids so much- and it really is a great bonding experience.  Once you let go of expectations and just let yourself enjoy it, you can just have fun!  The entire Little Chefs project was designed to share how real-life moms (yours truly included!) have their kids help in the kitchen- and we're not models, we're not perfect- we're just everyday moms like you doing the best we can.  Real photos of real kids, in real kitchens (not even perfect kitchens!) cooking real things.  (In my case, a REAL simple recipe!).  There are so many great tips and suggestions- I definitely think you should check it out!  Plus, I want to know what you think of MY tips in the book!

What are your suggestions for having kids help in the kitchen? 

 I am participating in the Chef Boyardee Little Chefs program in conjunction with The Motherhood and I’ve been compensated for my time.  Thoughts and opinions here are 100% my own.