Sunday, November 24, 2013

Top Five Holiday Traveling Tips (from a Family of Five: three kids, 10 and under!)

Traveling for the holidays can be stressful and exhausting. Here's some tips to save you some time.

1. Know the weather. Are you heading North? South? Do you need sandals and flip flops or extra socks and boots? Call your family and friends, research online, and check frequently. Weather can change in an instant. Be prepared for roadside emergencies in any weather condition.

2. Save money on clothing and items that are not typically worn in your region by shopping at thrift stores. For example, this holiday season we'll be heading north to New York. We've been shopping at the Salvation Army (on Wednesday's in our area clothing is 50% off!) and have gotten a ton of name brand sweaters for $3 or less! Most were only $1.50!!

3. Pack Snacks. I love the little snack sized zip lock bags because they're perfect for packing snacks for the car or plane. How annoying is it dragging the ginormous bag of pretzels out of the cloth shopping bag, and passing it over the baby's head to the big kids in the back? Pass back a small baggie with your child's favorite goodies, and save the mess, and hassle!

4. I know it sounds obvious, but bring something OTHER than something with WiFi to keep your children occupied. While the tablet or computer is a great way to keep the kids busy, there may not be a network signal, or a WiFi access on the go. I cannot tell you how many airports don't have free WiFi! Grab the old MP3 player or iPod, an extra set of headphones from the dollar store, a handful of coloring and activity books, and plenty of crayons. Even the big kids enjoy coloring in the car or plane, and it keeps little Johnny's hands away from his sister.

5. Play with your children- yes, even on the go. We love "Down By the Bay", and it helps our middle child with rhyming. Make them read signs, count billboards, look for flags. My children LOVE looking for flags and seeing who can find the most. If you're going to be flying, make silly faces, play tic tac toe, color with them. The memories you're making will last a lifetime!

These are the top five tips that I can offer you tonight. While I'm packing, I will be sure to brainstorm and come up with some new ideas. Feel free to comment and leave your travel tips below! 


Monday, November 18, 2013

Thanksgiving Travel Kit Sweepstakes from Svan

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and to prepare for holiday travel with your little ones be sure to enter the "essential Thanksgiving travel kit sweepstakes!" Travel this holiday season with baby essentials from Svan and Baby Essentials!!

One grand prize winner receives the Totseat and the essential baby bottle, diaper wallet, snack pack and travel bib from! Tell us your holiday travel essential and enter to win:


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Baked Potato Soup in the Crock Pot

Baked potato soup is one of those delicious comfort foods, that can make any kind of a day so much better, with just one spoonful. Even more so, if you don't have to stand, mash, and cook for hours. I have a family of five, and tonight we had an extra house guest. I love making this soup, and in this recipe, I made a half of a crock full of soup. You can obviously cut down the ingredients if you have a smaller family.  Enjoy my take on Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup:

Here's what you need:
1 medium onion, diced
5-6 white potatoes, diced
1 8-12 oz package of turkey bacon
1 boxed carton of chicken broth
garlic powder (or fresh garlic, minced)
salt and pepper (about a tsp taste)
1 cup heavy cream

Dice onions and place into crock pot.

Wash, peel, and dice potatoes and add to the slow cooker.

Add salt, pepper, garlic (or garlic powder).

Add the carton of chicken broth, cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or high for 3.

About 30 minutes before you're going to eat, lower the crock pot to "Keep Warm" if yours has that setting. Add about 1 cup of heavy cream. Use your handheld mixer to beat the soup slowly. Be careful, because it might splatter out if you're making a large quantity. Don't thoroughly blend, because you want to keep some lumps. It's not going to look pretty, but it tastes amazing!

Cook your turkey bacon until it's crispy. (Real bacon crisps quicker, but the picture above is turkey bacon!)

Serve with crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, and scallions.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Let Your Children PLAY!

So, the other day on my personal Facebook page, I wrote this:

 It was by far one of the most liked statuses that didn't involve my kids in quite sometime.

But it was true.

 All of the board games are starting to change.. Hasbro, what is wrong with you?! Ever hear the saying, "If it isn't broke, don't fix it!"?!  Isn't the point of Operation supposed to be that it's annoying, and frustrating, and fun, and AWESOME when you can finally figure out how to get that darn funny bone out without buzzing? Since 1965, right? Why the change now?

Now, as a mom of a child with special needs, I have to say, don't start attacking me about the fact that there's kids out there with poor dexterity, blah, blah, blah. The solution is simple- if it's too difficult for your kid, try something else. Try Perfection, or puzzles to help with fine motor skills, if they're young. I didn't try operation until Alex was much older than the 6 year age on the box. Be smart.

The people who commented agreed, too, stating that we are in an era of every kid being a winner, and others who expresses how sad it is that *this* is our future.

What happened to allowing your kids to play with worms, get skinned knees, and mud in their hair?

I consider myself an old school mom.. because I care about my kids, but I don't coddle my kids. They're going to get scraped, dirty, and germy. They're kids. It's their criteria. If they're exploring the world, and learning how to become well rounded individuals, they're not going to be clean, hand-sanitized, freaks who are a little too obsessive about scootering on the flat part of the sidewalk, and picking up the scooter every time there's a crack. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD PEOPLE?! If your kid does this, you need to shake them... or yourself. When we were kids, the world was different, yes. I'm not saying let your kids play unsupervised and shout from the door when it's time for little Johnny to come in and wash up- but let your kids play. Let them play hard. I start twitching every time little Janey up the road (she's not really named Janey) plays with my daughter.

Abbie loves to climb trees (in her dresses), and she digs in the dirt with her bare hands, and she likes to scooter up the sidewalk and doesn't flinch over the cracks. She's experiencing life.

When she falls and scrapes her leg, we don't run over and carry her in (unless she's really bad, c'mon, I'm not that cruel), we make her hobble in, and help her clean it. Then we snuggle on the couch, or she goes back out to play. The same way my mom did for me.  

In the 70's, I might have been called a "refrigerator mom" because of the way strangers might perceive me in situations similar to that above. I would much rather be considered a Refrigerator Mom than a "Helicopter Mom"... At least then, I'd still be cool.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

7-Eleven’s Xbox One Sweeps

The winter, 7-Eleven is giving guests a chance to win the hottest game console of the season by sipping down Slurpee drinks, the retailer’s signature frosty, frozen treat. From November 6 to January 2, 7-Eleven is giving away 58 Xbox One entertainment systems giving guests a chance to win one every day. The new Xbox One entertainment systems are not available for purchase at retailers until November 22.

Entering is easy: guests can collect and log codes located on any size Slurpee cup and redeem on Each Xbox One sweeps entry requires two Slurpee Rewards points and guests can use their points to enter up to five times a day. Only codes entered after 11/1/13 can be used with the sweeps.

To top it all off, guests have the option of banking points to win hundreds of Xbox “Instant Win” prizes. After guests sign up to become a Slurpee Rewards member they’ll be able to enter points, register for the Xbox One sweeps and redeem points for Xbox “Instant Win” prizes such as Xbox gaming memberships and gift cards.

And there’s no better way to fuel gameplay than with the newest Slurpee drink flavor: Mountain Dew Game Fuel Citrus Cherry Blast. If there were a game that pitted the ultimate combo of citrus and cherry flavors against each other, it would be a battle of delicious proportions.



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