Our Celebratory Snackation! {Easy, Delicious Crunchy Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars Recipe, too!}

This crunchy peanut butter chocolate bars and snackation post was brought to you by Smucker's.  All opinions are mine.

Smucker's JIF Snackation

School started this week for the older two boys and man, it has been a long week!  The Captain started off apprehensive, but finished the week confident and looking forward to the next week.  D, however, back tracked and was very, very sad by Friday.  We all needed a break, whether we wanted to admit it or not.

I had planned a special "Snackation" to celebrate our first week of school and we just had a nice, relaxing time as a family in our backyard.  We are lucky enough to have the shade of a tree, a great swingset, and a relatively quiet neighborhood.  We laid a blanket out and just sat, snacked, talked, and had fun.  It was great quality family time.  And of course, there was yummy food!  I used the Smucker's and JIF products that I bought at Walmart for our Snackation and made a few special treats for us to enjoy as a family.

Baby Brother cannot have peanut butter, but he enjoyed a grape jelly sandwich and apple slices, as well as some strawberries.

snackation3D really loved dipping his apple slices in Jif to go peanut butter cups.  I think I will send some to school in his lunch box next week. 

We also tried the new Jif Cookies 'n Cream Hazelnut spread with strawberries.  This spread has so many possibilities.


[Read more…]

Things You Need To Keep A Toddler Content


pampers22Baby Brother will turn 2 in November and he is getting very opinionated!  He is learning new words every day and learning new ways to make us laugh.  He loves getting a reaction out of everyone and loves telling strangers that I am his mommy.  He is just so, so much fun.  But, like I said, he's also getting very opinionated!  I love this age because he is finally able to (usually) tell us what he needs, but not always.  Most of the time, he is a happy go lucky toddler, but sometimes he is just in a foul mood!  That's true of all of us though, right?

So what are the things you need to keep a toddler content?

1.  Food.  Some days it seems that Baby Brother is constantly eating!  His favorite foods are strawberries, grapes, bananas, beef, chicken, ketchup, roasted broccoli, and prunes….all cut into appropriate sizes, of course.  He is allowed one prune a day because of obvious reasons, but man, does he love his prune!  It's like a special treat!  If he sees a bag of prunes in the store, watch out, he's got to have them.  I don't know what it is about prunes, but he loves them!!  And if we're eating a meal and he doesn't like it, if it's acceptable to eat it with ketchup, he will, and it usually makes it more edible for him.  

2.  Sleep.  Baby Brother is like the Captain in that he will fight sleep for as long as possible, but when he is sleepy, you will know it.  The worst is right before naptime.  He knows his routine and makes sure you know about it if you're past schedule.  Bedtime is a bit different in that he's a night owl!

3.  Fun.  Not toys, just fun.  Anything can be fun for a toddler.  Mommy's cup of water on the table, the remote control, brother's favorite blanket, a marker, or you know, the toilet is always a blast!  

4.  Love and Attention.  Not that you COULD ignore our michievous toddler, but if you try, Baby Brother doesn't really like it.  He's a little tiny human and needs love, attention, and lots of hugs and kisses, too!  

5.  A dry diaper.  Admittedly, it's easy to forget to change Baby Brother's diaper unless he complains.  He is the third child, after all and he's not a heavy wetter like his older brothers were.  It also helps to have a dependable diaper that holds up and lasts.  His skin is also really sensitive, so he has to have a diaper that doesn't sag, either.

#PampersCruisersatTarget #ad #CleverGirls

[Read more…]

How My Four-Year-Old Taught Me About Optimism With a Game of Chutes and Ladders

It always amazes me how different each of the boys are.  They really do have different personalities, likes, dislikes, and of course, funny sayings.  Lately, D (4.5 years) has been obsessed with the game – Chutes and Ladders.  He has played it with different people, but God bless Grammy for playing with him over and over and over again when she came to visit a few weeks ago.  Oh, to have a grandmother's patience!

Chutes and Ladders

D started half day pre-k yesterday.  He has stayed home with me all of his life, except the two times he went to Parents' Day Out (it was his idea to go so after he didn't want to go anymore, and since the rest of us minus Daddy were staying home, I let him quit.  Some may say that was bad, but I wasn’t going to force a three-year-old to go if he doesn't want to.)  He also went with his older brother three hours a week to "school" with a teacher friend from church, which was a very beneficial supplement to homeschool.  He learned so much and had fun, but he was also the only other student besides the Captain.

So, I NEVER thought he would actually enjoy pre-k.  Monday was the first day and he didn't shed a tear.  In fact, I was kind of hanging around his chair as he began coloring his paper and he turned to me and said "ok, you can go now."  I was SO proud of him, but yikes, rip my heart out, kid!  Yesterday there were near tears, but he ended up having a great day and even earned a certificate for good behavior!  He can't remember what he did to earn it, but hey, he's four.  

[Read more…]

Have One Last “Snackation” This Summer!

This snackation post was brought to you by the J.M. Smucker Corporation.  All opinions are mine.

Smucker'sSchool may have started, but Summer isn't over yet!  I am planning a fun "Staycation" for my boys this weekend.  We will have fun games, water fun, and lots of yummy snacks, too! 

Both the Captain and D started public school for the first time today, and as a way to unwind, I am planning something to help us all relax and enjoy each other's company.  It was quite a stressful time starting back to school, so this time is much needed for all of us.  

I went to Walmart to pick up some supplies for our Staycation and what better aisle to shop in than the peanut butter and jelly aisle?  But I was really shocked with how many OPTIONS there are!  I was totally unaware of the Jif Whips until I saw them on the store shelf.  I chose the chocolate peanut butter option and we are going to dip fresh strawberries and apples in it.  

[Read more…]

Pregnancy and Oral Health: Facts You Need To Know

This pregnancy and oral health post has been brought to you by Jefferson Dental.  All opinions are mine.

Pregnancy and Oral Health: Facts You Need To Know

There is so much to learn about being pregnant.  What to eat, what not to eat, what vitamins to take, what random things to avoid, what things are safe, etc, etc, etc.  It's a lot to take in and remember, especially with "pregnant brain!" Something that is just is important as prenatal doctors appointments is prenatal dental appointments and this infographic shows you exactly why.  It's imperative that pregnant women take care of their teeth and mouth because gum disease is a real problem in pregnancy.  Just let your dentist know that you are pregnant and he or she will know exactly what to do.  They won't do x-rays unless absolutely necessary, and the best part for me was always the awesome rest I was able to take while I had my teeth cleaned.  You really can't beat that!

Find a dentist near you!

Did you visit a dentist during pregnancy?

It’s Back To (Public) School For Us! {25% off coupon at OshKosh B’gosh, too!}

I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for OshKosh B’gosh. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.  #backtobgosh #BgoshJeanius

Osh Kosh B'GoshLast year, I homeschooled the boys.  It's what was right for our family at the time and given the opportunity, I'd do it all over again.  I'm so happy that I had extra time with my boys!  The Captain was in kindergarten and D followed right behind him, trying to do all that he did.  About mid-year, the Captain, who had major school anxiety in pre-k for months, started talking about maybe trying public school for first grade.  We talked about it a lot since then, and now he is fully on board and registered for first grade public school.  This mama is nervous, he's a bit apprehensive, (big word that his Grampy taught him!) and he convinced D (and us) that he needed to try pre-k, too.  They love being together and I think they will both do better knowing that Brother is there, too.

Well, now D is very apprehensive, so we are doing all that we can to encourage him and let him know that he will: A) have fun and B) be okay!  I hope to update you in a few weeks that things are going great.  Pray for us!!

The first step in back-to-school preparation is shopping, of course!  We went to OshKosh B'Gosh to get some great deals on clothing that we all can agree on.  The Captain loves his sporty clothes and D loves jeans and lucky for me, OshKosh is the perfect place for both!  They have great sales, coupons (check below for a great one,) clearance, and their clothes are great quality that will last.  

#backtobgosh #BgoshJeanius

D is my child that would rather run around in mismatched jammies and save all of his money that he earns.  The Captain is always talking him into spending his money on different things, most of the time, it's gum.  D would spend $20 on just gum if we let him.  I wanted him to be excited about going to school and wearing new clothes, but he was not so thrilled to go shopping for clothes.  When he laid eyes on this awesome shirt, though, he was sold.  Throw in some jeans and some sporty clothes, and he was done.  He quickly tried them on and then it was back to being silly 4 year-old.  

The Captain grabbed four times as many clothes as D and enjoyed every second of the whole clothes shopping process.  They are two totally different personalities!  Neither of them are crazy about trying clothes on, but when it involves a large dressing room with your family, then it's not so bad.

[Read more…]

Should You Be Financially Prepared Before Starting Your Family?

#mysunnydayI had been working as a kindergarten teacher for 2 1/2 years before we got pregnant with the Captain.  Hubby had been working for a little bit longer than that, and we had saved up a little bit of money, but not as much as we should have saved, considering we had two incomes and one car payment.  Some people are big planners and wait until all of their ducks are in a row before starting a family.  That is very smart, and we tried to do it, but I think it is also true that if you wait until you have enough money and everything is "ready," then you will be waiting forever.  Kids are very, very expensive!  You do need to be aware of your financial situation and make a plan.

Three kids later, and I'm beyond thrilled to say that we are debt free.  We have been blessed, and it is something that we are proud of, but we should be saving more money for the future, as well.  The moment we became debt free, it was like a huge weight was lifted off of our shoulders.  And saving money creates a new confidence that we will have the funds needed when the Captain wants to play an expensive sport, D wants to start music lessons, or Baby Brother needs to start preschool.  Having extra money on hand is always a good idea, because there are many, many instances that come up when having a little bit of cash proves very useful.

[Read more…]

Find the PERFECT Birthday Gift at Best Buy…or Create Your Own Wish List!

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.  

Best Buy #GiftIdeasIf there is one thing I'm not a huge fan of, it's shopping for gifts.  I mean, I enjoy it, but finding *the* perfect gift that the recipient will LOVE is hard.  I often times wish that I just had access to everyone's wish list!  The Best Buy Online Gift Ideas Experience is the next best thing.  Quickly and easily find the perfect gift for the person who is having a birthday with a little help and guidance.  

Best Buy Gift Ideas Page

Best Buy has made it easy with different categories – "him," "her," "teens," and "kids."  There are other helpful categories for anniversary gifts, housewarming gifts, and gifts for new parents.  Check out the "Top Tech Gifts" category for the latest and greatest in technology.

When shopping online, sometimes I find the perfect gift, but then see that it is out of my price range.  Best Buy removes this disappointment by allowing customers to search for a gift in a particular price range.  Gifts under $25, gifts from $25-$49.99, gifts from $50-$99.99, $100-$249.99, and gifts over $250.  This narrows your search down to help find just what you're looking for and spend just what your budget allows.  My favorite part of the search options is the "sale" and "free shipping eligible" selections.  It helps greatly when you can get a better than average deal on a birthday gift.

If you simply cannot find what you think your recepient would love, Best Buy makes buying gift cards super easy.  Buy a gift card that Best Buy will ship directly to the birthday girl or boy, or an e-gift card that can be delivered instantly via email.

Best Buy Wist List

To make things beyond simple and easy, tell your friends and family members to create a birthday wish list and share it with you so you can give the gifts that they really and truly want.  It completely takes the guesswork out of gift shopping.  You can also use the Best Buy Wish List to keep track of all the great birthday gift ideas!  

It is very simple to search for a wish list, create one, or manage your already created wish list.  Not only is it easy, it's really, really fun!  I created a wish list just for the fun of it and found a lot of great new products while I was at it.  It took me less than five minutes to set it all up and add these items!  Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Best Buy Wish List #GiftIdeas #WishList @BestBuy ad

Who will you be shopping for soon?  What items would be on YOUR Best Buy wish list?


Mixify Tour: An Awesome Event For Teens – Dallas, TX

This post was brought to you by My Mixify.  All opinions are mine.

My Mixify Tour

Friday, August 7th, the Mixify Tour came to Dallas, Texas!  The event, which was held at the Klyde Warren Park, had over 150 teens participating in the fun that is part of a series of events held around the country.  There were fun activities, demonstrations, tips and tools, music, and giveaways.  The main purpose of this event was to help educate teens about the importance of balancing what they eat and drink and what they do.

Mixify at Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, Texas, August, 7, 2015.

“Dallas parents and their teens are busier than ever before, and finding balance—especially when it comes to diet and exercise—can be a challenge.  That’s why we’re proud to step up and do our part to help support them in a new and unique way with this groundbreaking joint effort from America’s leading beverage companies,” said Susan Neely, American Beverage Association (ABA) president and CEO. “Mixify encourages teens to be thoughtful about the calories they’re consuming—including from beverages—and to be active. We know moms work to achieve this for their families every day and we’re taking this message on the road as one way to provide support for their efforts.”

[Read more…]

Chocolatey Chip Ice Cream {low-fat, lactose free ice cream recipe}

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #livethefairlife #CollectiveBias  Chocolately Chip lactose free ice cream

Chocolately Chip lactose free ice cream

We are right smack dab in the middle of the dog days of summer.  Yesterday we got a "cold front" in Texas and it was the first day in many that didn't reach 100 degrees.  What?  It's so, so hot.  That's August for you, I guess.  The boys seem to think that every time we go outside and sweat, (which is every day!) we need a popsicle or ice cream afterwards.

[Read more…]