The Boxcar Children DVD {giveaway, closed}

 This post has been brought to you by Propeller Consulting, LLC.  Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.


The boys love to have movie night and let's be honest, so do I!  The problem for me, however, is finding good, wholesome movies that are entertaining and hold the boys' attention.  I had always heard about "The Boxcar Children" book series but sadly, had never read the books.  But, I had an idea that "The Boxcar Children" animated movie would be  good one.  And I love the fact that it is rated G and endorsed by the Dove Foundation!

We had movie night and just as I had hoped….both D, who is 3 and the Captain, who is 5, ADORED this movie.  They watch it any chance they get.  It's fun, entertaining, and gives you the warm fuzzies.  It's just an honesty terrific family movie. 

Boxcar Children


The storyline is this:  four orphaned siblings feel like they aren't wanted or loved.  They are on the run from a grandfather that they are scared of, but have never met.  They find an abandoned boxcar and make it their home.  I won't spoil the end for you, but it has a sweet, happy ending and it truly is heartwarming.  

Featuring an all-star cast of voice actors, including Academy Award Nominee Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now), J.K. Simmons (Spiderman), Zach Gordon (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Joey King (Fargo), Mackenzie Foy (Twilight series), and Jadon Sand (LEGO: The Movie), this is the very first full-length, animated feature adaptation of Gertrude Chandler Warner's best-selling classic!

"The Boxcar Children" is now available at Walmart!  Check out the classic books at The Boxcar Chidren website!

Follow on Facebook and Twitter, too!

Enter to win a copy of "The Boxcar Children" DVD!  Enter by leaving a comment telling me if you ever read these books as a child and/or why you want to win!  

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Celebrate Milestones in a BIG Way with Hallmark Cards for Kids

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. #kidscards #CollectiveBias

Celebrate Milestones in a Big Way! #kidscards #shop #cbias

Back to school is an exciting time of year for everyone. New clothes, shoes, school supplies, classrooms, teachers….it's just all so fun!  I always loved the excitement of back to school when I was a kid and as a kindergarten teacher.  It was a very special time. We have decided to homeschool the Captain this year and I wanted to make him feel extra special and excited about the new year.  I picked up a few things at Walmart including new pencils, supplies and a cute card from the selection of Hallmark poster cards for kids that I knew he would love.  It was unlike a traditional card because it unfolds out into a huge poster!  The cashier was confused with it, and thought for sure it wasn't just ONE card because it was so big!


I showed him the card and his new stuff for the new school year and he was thrilled. I know that the card made him feel special and he loved to know I had picked it up just for him!  He went crazy for the "Planes" theme!

celebrating milestones in a big waycelebrating milestones in a big way

The card folded out to a huge poster for the Captain's room!

#cbias #shop #kidscards

Hallmark cards for kids are a wonderful way to show a child you love that they are special. They are great for any occasion – birthdays, good luck, or just that you are thinking of them!

birthday card #shop #kidscards #cbias

You can also earn rewards for the Hallmark cards that you buy at Walmart. For every five cards you buy, you will earn a reward.  Check out the Hallmark Card Rewards Program!  

Make sure you check out Connections from Hallmark and check out great content from other bloggers. Join in the #kidscards conversation on Twitter!  


Packing Checklist for Traveling with a Baby

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Huggies® Brand. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.  I am happy to be participating in the Huggies Costco Ambassador program.

traveling with babyPacking for yourself is hard enough, but add in a baby, and that's when things get tricky. I am always forgetting something when I'm packing for the boys. I forgot my own toothbrush and some things for Baby Brother a few weeks ago when I went on a trip.  I have compiled a helpful packing checklist for the next time you travel with a baby so you will not forget the important things that will make your trip easier and help everyone to sleep better!

  • Huggies Diapers 
  • Huggies Natural Care Wipes
  • Lotion
  • Baby soap
  • Clothes – at least two outfits per day
  • Pajamas
  • Socks and shoes
  • Bibs
  • Sound machine to help baby (and you!) sleep well in the hotel room
  • Blankets
  • Crib sheets for the hotel crib
  • Pack n Play
  • Toys
  • Diaper changing pad
  • Foam bumpers for co-sleeping - (always be prepared or Baby to not like his new surroundings.  I suggest having a plan B (and C!) for sleeping arrangements.)
  • Comfort items like loveys, dolls, or stuffed animals
  • Food, formula, bottles, breast pump, spoons, bowls, etc
  • Pacifiers
  • Travel baby seat for feeding or just sitting in the room 
  • Two diaper bags
  • Nighlight
  • Baby carrier
  • Stroller
  • Medicines, diaper rash cream, thermometer, etc –  just in case 
  • Hat and sunglasses (and a natural sunscreen if baby is over 6 months old)
  • Tissues, plastic bags, and disinfectant wipes

If you are planning one last hurrah this summer, remember to stock up for your trip at Costco. Pick up Huggies Plus diapers and Natural Care plus wipes exclusively at Costco.  Then, you will have all the diapers and wipes that you need and you know you can trust them not to leak, day or night.  For a limited time, save  $6 on diapers and $5 on wipes!

traveling with baby

Costco's exclusive Huggies® Snug & Dry Plus diapers are extra absorbent for day or night, have the Leak Lock® guaranteed protection, Snug Fit waistband, and Grip Tabs for a secure fit.  We love them for Baby Brother, who is on the go – crawling, cruising, and never still .  Huggies are very dependable for naps and travel.  Leaky diapers can ruin a night or an outfit, so we definitely rely on Huggies for no leaks.

At Costco, you'll also find Huggies Natural Care® Plus Wipes.  These wipes are thick and durable and are the simplest wipes formula Huggies has to offer, which is nice for Baby Brother's delicate skin.  The special pack at Costco comes with two kinds of refillable dispensers plus 1160 refill wipes to keep Baby clean at home or when you're out and about.  One of the dispensers is the NEW Huggies® Clutch ‘n’ Clean pouch, which comes in every pack of Huggies Natural Care® Plus Wipes.  You will find the perfect dispenser for your needs at Costco in these handy, time saving, money saving big packs.

Costco Members – Click HERE to register for a FREE sample of the Huggies® Snug & Dry Plus and Huggies Natural Care® Plus Wipes. Hurry and register now, there will be a limited number of samples each day while supplies lasts, so try back tomorrow if you aren't able get a sample today! You must be a Costco member to get a sample and limit one sample per household. 

Do you have anything to add to this checklist that is essential for traveling with a baby?

Win Two Tickets to the 2014 Bacon Bowl in Bentonville, Arkansas {giveaway closed}


The second annual Bacon Bowl is coming to Bentonville, Arkansas on Saturday, September 13, from 9:00am until 12:00pm.  Teams consisting of chefs and amateur cooks will compete in Entrée and Dessert Divisions and test their culinary skills by creating innovative bacon creations featuring Arkansas’s own Petit Jean Meats bacon. Teams can choose to enter Entrée or Dessert divisions, or both, with Petit Jean Meats generously donating their mouthwatering bacon to all who compete.

Bacon Bowl attendees of all ages will vote for their favorite dishes in both divisions as well as the overall People’s Champion. And Local and nationally-known bacon enthusiasts, food writers and bloggers will determine who will represent the Bacon Bowl in the Bacon Division at the 2014 World Food Championships in Las Vegas where they’ll have the opportunity to win up to $60,000.

“Teams are traveling from throughout Arkansas and the region to compete in the Bacon Bowl with the goal of winning the grand prize trip to compete in the 2014 World Food Championships in Las Vegas. And we couldn’t be more excited to be part of the thriving culinary scene in Bentonville,” said event coordinator John McClure. “In addition to the Bacon Bowl, the nationally recognized Bentonville Farmers Market and world famous World Championship Squirrel Cook-off will be going on in downtown Bentonville too. We’re all working together to create a Saturday morning that people won’t soon forget.” 

Teams or individuals interested in competing should visit Team registration is open until Friday, September 5. Space is limited.  There will be live music, Petit Jean Meats sampling, other foods and beverages, and much more. Tickets are $10 at the gate and advance tickets are $8 and can be purchased at the Bentonville Convention & Visitors Bureau. Please visit and the Bacon Bowl Facebook page for more details. 

Petit Jesa

Petit Jean Meats is giving one lucky reader two free tickets to the Bacon Bowl!  Just leave a comment and let me know that you'd like to enter to win!  Winner will be chosen using on August 29.  Giveaway closes at 11:59 on August 28.

>>>Bonus entry:  retweet this tweet!  Then leave a comment with your Twitter name, saying you retweeted!

Five Ways to Keep Baby Happy in Quiet Places (Church, Weddings, etc!)

Five Ways to Keep Baby Happy in Quiet Places

All three of our boys have never been known to be quiet as babies.  Thankfully we go to a church where the people love our children and don't mind the baby babbles during service.  It has always been important to keep them busy and happy, though, so they are making happy sounds and not fussing.  I like to keep them in church for as long as possible but we do have to get up and head to the nursery if they're too loud….which is embarassing, but I want to catch as much of the service as possible.  

I wanted to share with you some things that keep Baby Brother happy during church, plus a few more great things you can make or gather for your church/restaurant/special occasion bag!

1.  Quiet toys like these adorable DIY Soft Blocks from Mama Say What?!

quiet soft blocks for baby

2.  Board books are great for babies to look at during church or other quiet times.  (Until Baby Brother decides he needs to yell at the characters.  :)  Check out this great list of the best board books for baby from Carrie Elle:

Board Books for Baby

3. Tag blankets like this one from COOPCRAFTS are great for babies to play with.  They love exploring all of the little pieces and different textures.

Tag Blanket

4.  Wooden toys are great and usually pretty quiet.  We always pack this wooden fish toy from BeginAgain toys:

wooden fish toy

(The adorable chevron blanket is from Mamas and Papas, and is handy when Baby Brother can play on the floor.)

5.  Teething toys like Sophie the Giraffe or necklaces that can be chewed/teethed on.  (Sophie can be squeaked but Baby Brother hasn't figured it out yet!)

Chew Jewels Necklace

Do you have any quiet toys or ideas that could be added to this list?



Dont Wait For The Ice Cream Truck – Make An #IceCreamRun!

This ice cream post was brought to you by Global Influence.  All opinions are mine.

We live in a relatively small town, but there is a local ice cream truck that makes it rounds on random days.  I say random because last summer, it seems that the only time it came to town was when it was pouring rain, which wasn't often.  The boys did learn that even if the ice cream truck drove by, we couldn't always get a treat.  I, personally, am not a fan of the ice cream truck because of many reasons.  We can't check the ingredients, we don't always have cash, and it's not always a good time to have ice cream.  Not to mention the fact that the prices are insane!  It's hard to get a good ice cream treat for less than $3.  

Walgreens #IceCreamRun

But, well….it is summer and the occasional treat is special.  Did you know that Walgreens has a great assortment of ice cream and ice cream treats?  You don't need to wait for the ice cream truck or make a big grocery store trip to get some ice cream treats your family loves.  I took the boys to Walgreens and let them each choose a treat…there are so many to choose from!

Walgreens #IceCreamRunWe came home with Fruttare strawberry and milk pops, Magnum Double Caramel ice cream bars, and good ol' Klondike bars.  They are perfect to keep in the freezer for days that we need a special treat.Walgreens #IceCreamRun

 We had an ice cream party and all enjoyed our favorite ice cream treat!  D loved the strawberry Fruttare bars.  They're a great way to cool off on a sweltering Texas summer day!

Walgreens #IceCreamRun

Hubby was a fan of the Double Caramel bars from Magnum.  (and they were my favorite, too!)  So delicious!

Walgreens #IceCreamRunWalgreens #IceCreamRun

Have you ever made an Ice Cream run to Walgreens?  What would you buy if you were to choose?

Costco $50 Cash Card Giveaway + Get Huggies PLUS Diapers and Wipes Exclusively at Costco

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Huggies® Brand. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for participating.  I am happy to be participating in the Huggies Costco Ambassador program.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned how Costco is now offering an exclusive – Huggies Plus diapers and Natural Care Plus wipes.  So, while you're shopping at your local Costco, you can stock up on diapers and wipes that are high quality and in bulk, so you will be set for awhile!

Costco Huggies sample

Costco Members – Click HERE to register for a FREE sample of the Huggies® Snug & Dry Plus and Huggies Natural Care® Plus Wipes. Hurry and register now, there will be a limited number of samples each day while supplies lasts, so try back tomorrow if you aren't able get a sample today! You must be Costco member to get a sample.  Limit 1 sample per household. 


We are giving away a $50 Costco cash card!  Leave a comment for each entry.  Nothing is mandatory, just pick and choose what you would like to do.

  1. Leave a comment telling me what you love to purchase at Costco.
  2. Leave a meaningful comment on my Huggies post, then come back and say "I'm commented on the Huggies post!" in the comments below!
  3. Follow me on Facebook.
  4. Retweet this tweet and leave me your Twitter name in the comments below.
  5. Follow @Huggies on Twitter.

Costco Giveaway

Contest entrants are only eligible to win once per sweepstake, per household as part of a campaign sponsored by Mom Central Consulting.  This contest is in no way affiliated with Facebook.  Winner will be chosen after 11:59 PM EST on 8/18/14 with

35 Seafood Recipes For All Ages

seafood recipes


Check out Seafood Recipes For All Ages

by Gena at

Seafood is a healthy way to get lots of vitamins and nutrients and still eat light.  Daddy loves shrimp, the boys live tuna, and I prefer salmon.  It is important to space out your seafood consumption and pay attention to mercury levels.  (I have read that kids shouldn't eat tuna more than once a month because of the mercury.) 

Another important thing to remember is that in any high demand industry, there is going to be fraud.  We should be asking questions like "where was this caught?" "How was it caught?" and "has this seafood been frozen?" Read labels or better yet, but the whole fish and have it cut at meat counter.  Fish is oftentimes switched and sold as a more expensive type of fish and that can be very dangerous. Try to but fish from larger supermarkets, rather than smaller grocery stores. Buying fresh, never frozen, minimally processed seafood helps ensure that what you're getting is what you want.  Expect to pay more because if you want high quality seafood.  Look for responsibly caught fish, like Ocean Naturals, which has a code so you can tell exactly where your tuna was caught.  I think we should be striving to get this kind of honesty about all of the food we buy!
What is your favorite seafood recipe?

Team Up With A Sponsor to Get the Soccer Uniforms Your Child’s Team Needs at

This post was brought to you by Global Influence and  All opinions are my very own.

The Captain has played three seasons of soccer, and it has become a big part of our family.  I never played soccer, (except for those awesome soccer days in P.E.!) but Daddy and his family are big soccer people, so we felt like the Captain would enjoy it, too.  At first it was "awww…how cute, little three year olds kicking a ball down the field," but now, it's a big deal!  The Captain loves to learn about soccer, practice soccer in the backyard, watch soccer on TV (for a short period of time – remember, he's five,) and oh how he adores being on a soccer team and playing in games.  Playing soccer has taught him a lot about the need to practice to better himself, listening to a coach and following the rules of a game.  It's taught him about winning and losing, supporting his teammates when he's not on the field, and heading to practice and giving it his all, even when he doesn't really feel like it.  Soccer is a great thing for him.  He's even found that he loves being goalie.


In order for players to be a team, they do have to have matching uniforms, and sometimes that is difficult to achieve.  Sports uniforms are expensive, after all.  But I've learned about a company called Pear Up that helps teams get a sponsor and work together to get the uniforms that they need. uses social network actions to help teams raise funds and it's free.  Sponsors have the money to donate and it needs to go to someone…why  not your child's team?  Each group can earn up to $1,000 in a ten day period.  

You can check out the Pear for the Viking Youth Soccer team, who is working towards their goal with Ritz Bits.

You can also start your own Pear for your child's soccer team right now.  It can be for a uniform or team/league fundraiser.   It is easy to earn points doing things you do on a daily basis anyway, and points equal money for your team!  Check it out and check out the "Snack For Your Champion" program by Ritz Bits!  Ritz Bits is offering more than $100,000 to sponsor youth soccer teams across the country by providing team uniforms or a donation for team/league fees.  There is no catch!  Ritz Bits wants to generate goodwill and excitement in the soccer community. 

Ritz Bits

Fine print:

  • Teams cannot be school affiliated.
  • The final award for the group is paid out by Pear to leagues and organizations directly.
  • Award redemption instructions are provided with each Pear Sponsorship certificate (which you'll receive via the site upon completion of your sponsorship) — 10 days or sooner if you choose to wrap up early.
  • Typical turnaround time for issuance of sponsorship awards for this program is one week.
  • Sponsorship award value may be paid via check directly to team or league organizations only, with proper (W-9 or EIN) validation — checks will not be issued to individuals.
  • There is a limit of one sponsorship per group; the program is only valid for groups who have not already completed a Ritz Bits sponsorship on Pear.


Five Ways to Make Learning FUN for Your Preschooler (including Disney Junior Games!)

This Disney Junior games shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias #Ready4Preschool

Make Learning Fun for your Preschooler

The reality has set in.  The Captain is 5 1/2 and getting ready for kindergarten and D is 3 1/2 and getting ready for preschool.  It's still up in the air where he will go to preschool, but he is ready for more formal learning.  Well, as formal as preschool is, you know!  He loves to craft, pretend, play dress up, and practice his letters.  I love to find crafts and activities that are fun and educational for the boys.  

We recently visited Walmart and found a great resource for fun, all-in-one educational activities for getting ready for preschool.  Disney Junior games feature your child's favorite characters and age appropriate manipulatives to encourage learning and fun.  These include a learning easel activity, counting, first words, rhyming, alphabet, numbers, and colors & shapes activities and can be found in the back to school section:

#ReadyForPreschool #shop #cbias

D was so excited to be able to pick out a few activities for his very own!  (Not having stuff handed down to him from older brother is pretty cool, you know.)  I wanted to buy everything they had, but decided on three activities that I knew D would love:  the Rhyming Activity featuring Jake and the Neverland Pirates, First Words Learning Activity featuring Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, the Counting Learning Activity and Alphabet Learning Activity, both featuring Doc McStuffins.

Disney Junior #Ready4Preschool

D's favorite game was the Rhyming card with pictures.  He was pretty good at it, too!  I had to read the first word to him and he quickly found the pictures that rhymed.  I love that these games are all able to meet your child wherever he or she is at.  If they are ready to write the words, there are crayons and wipe off cards included.  If not, matching the cards is great, stress-free practice:


D also loved the Doc McStuffins counting activity, where he wrote the number and put the same number of counters on the card:


Here are four more awesome activities to help your child practice their numbers and letters without even knowing they are learning!

Preschool Learning Activities

Preschool Learning Activities

  1. Alphabet Balls – Play countless fun games with these DIY ABC balls!
  2. Homemade Number Puzzles – Super easy, fun way to practice number recognition.
  3. Alphabet Worksheet Printables – There are so many ways you can use these free printables!  Practice letter and word writing, draw or cut out pictures that begin with the letter, and more!
  4. Potato Stamp Craft – A new, inexpensive, and different way to create words!

And don't forget to check out the Back to School section at Walmart for fun learning activities, all packaged and ready to go!