Kid Valentine’s Flower Art

Looking for a way to kill time with your littles this weekend? Try making some flower art for loved ones. These are so simple directions aren’t even needed.

Rose Hand & Finger Stamps
Crepe Rose with Straw Stem
Bow Stamp Rose
Recycled X-mas Bow Rose

We added glitter to some and they look great, but if you like your sanity…don’t🥴 haha. Hope ya’ll have a Happy Valentine’s Day❤Take Care!

Merry Almost Christmas🎄

Hey there😀

It’s been awhile. We have been some busy bees🐝 Well sick bees too…nothing serious…just the flu, sinus infections, and upper respiratory virus. That’s right… (Oprah voice) you get a virus and you get a virus and you get a virus. 🎉

Needless to say, we have been home alot and needed to bring some extra holiday cheer.

Now for the fun stuff! Being the weather here is usually yucky at this time and we only have a 4 foot tree, the inflatables stay indoors for our littles to enjoy. First, we started with Unicorn Ring Toss!

Next, our 6 year old played ring toss on Chase’s ear while our 3 year old tried tossing rice sacks in his wreath. Festive, fun, and great games for hand eye coordination.

If you are tired of all the paper towel roll crafts, try this. We made snowmen ornaments using old glasses lenses. Maybe you have an old pair laying around somewhere. Sunglass lenses may even work. We found our lenses at a recycling center downtown for .25 cents a piece.

These are just a couple of activities we are using to pass the time until we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Of course we have been drinking hot cocoa and watching a few Christmas movies. Besides the holiday episodes on common children’s stations we have a couple of new favorites. The Star🌟 is an adorable movie about the Journey of Jesus’ birth told by Bo a donkey that belongs to Mary and Joseph. It has adorable characters and we are absolutely in love with the soundtrack! We also discovered a series called Bible Adventures from the kid devotionals on the YouVersion Bible App. You can also find them on Youtube.

To boost morale around here we have also been going through a season of digital detox and it is amazing. Yes we watch a movie here and there and I’m on here now, but other than that no more face in a screen(even if it is timed & educational).

Another change of season is we aren’t buying toys. We have found toys just get dumped and thrown around. The things our kids want and the things they actually enjoy are not toys. They love things to do so we are focusing on that. No more battery operated toys because:

1. Cost

2. Overstimulating

3. No Safe Disposal

If your kids are like mine. Focus on things for building-legos, foam blocks, magnatiles/formers. Family board games, wooden puzzles, look & find books, or art supplies are great options as well. Even better if you can find a gift that also gives! For example, Cuddle & Kind provides artisans in Peru jobs making heirloom quality stuffed animals that help feed children. Now that is the spirit of Christmas!

Well if you made it this far, haha, bless you! Happy holidays, whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or Christmas. Rejoice🙌a savior is born👑

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Still haven’t figured out what to give your main man to show your appreciation yet?  I got you!  Below is a list that may include the perfect gift idea.

Do-Dads

Who doesn’t love a good do-dad that makes life a bit easier?  Personally, I went for the magnetic wristbands this year and can’t wait to hand them out.

Sports Apparel

Golfballs.com is running a BOGO sale on select golf balls with a personalization promo

Academy and Dick’s are running Father’s Day Ads as well with a wider range of sports.

Subscription

Here is a recent article by Adam Bryan of 34 Best Subscription Boxes for Men if that is something in your budget.  It would be like the gift that keeps on giving.

Services

Maybe your husband works a lot or dad/grandpa is having trouble keeping up with the lawn. Finding a local lawn service and paying for a round or two of yard maintenance may be a great idea. Another service that the fellas are sure to appreciate is being treated to a haircut so head over to nice guy salon, such as Sports Clips, for a gift certificate.

Grooming Products

Let’s be honest, we have all caught our man using at least one of our beauty products.  So let’s stock them up with their own.  I recommend Duke Cannon.  Not only does my husband love them, but the proceeds go to our Veterans.  An added bonus is that the labels include some humorous descriptions that your guys are sure to appreciate.  Great news! Target is offering buy one get one 25% off now until 6/15.

You may want to consider getting a Redcard for an extra 5% off everyday purchases,
free 2-day shipping (no minimum), and extended return policy.  They offer both debit and credit cards.  Combined with cartwheel deals, you can save so much!

Until next time…

Take care and Happy Father’s Day to all of the amazing misters out there!

Places to consider visiting in Texas this summer

Soooo, I made a promise to my daughter that if she really focused on her schoolwork and passed Kindergarten that we would take her to the nearest Legoland.  The website made it look like a blast for all kids, but when our school year ended and I read the reviews…I regretted that promise.  Many of the reviews said it was overpriced.  We thought well there is a splash pad that our kids will love if anything.  So we purchased the tickets early online to get the small discount.

I know right now this sounds like a where not to go, but stick with me.  Luckily, Groupon was running deals for the Great Wolf Lodge.  Which is an amazing hotel with tons of things to do.  I see that promotion has run out so keep checking back. 

Just minutes away is Grapevine Mills where Legoland is located.  There is also a Peppa Pig World that the kids would have loved, but it had so many negative reviews.  It is a shame more places don’t keep their facilities clean and charge so much for entering.  Legoland was a bit lackluster, especially for little ones.  The lighting is pretty dark in most areas and I wish there were booklets to show how to build different things at each station.  Oh, and the splash pad was not even available because it does not open until May 24th.  Whomp Whomp👎

So honestly, we would have been better off saving the admission fees and just buying a large lego set.  There is so much to do at the GWL anyway so just save your money for that.  We were able to book a 2-night standard room for just $99/night.  It is a bummer that the outdoor pool is closed during the week, but for the price including a huge indoor waterpark is amazing!  Plus, with an arcade, shops, and restaurants there is really no need to leave the lodge.

Things to know about your stay at GWL…

1. Check-In may be hectic depending on the day.  Make sure to have your Groupon(or Priceline, etc.) deal printed out and call the lodge beforehand just to make sure they have your reservation.

2.  All you need is your wristband to pay for anything and everything in the entire lodge. So convenient…just remember your budget!

4. You can arrive as early as 1 p.m. on the day of check-in and leave as late as 8 p.m. on the day of check-out. *Your wristband will not work past 11 a.m. though so make sure to bring your own towels and buy food before then or have your wallet on you.

5.  That’s right they provide towels so you can have new dry ones each time you are getting wet!  Just bring cover-ups to walk back to the room from the waterpark.

6.  There is a microwave and mini fridge in the newly renovated room. Since the food places are pricey we brought Devour brand alfredo, EZ mac, Kodiak muffin cups, etc. Because we arrived on Mother’s Day we splurged at the Lodge Grill.  The service and food were superb.  We ordered the spinach and artichoke appetizer (yum😋) and the family meal which was way more bbq meat than most places give, but the sides could have been a bit larger.  With plenty of leftovers, they gave us to go boxes that are conveniently microwavable with steam tops so we were able to heat it up in our room for dinner the next night.

*Highly recommend Blue Goose Cantina near Grapevine Mills if you like Mexican dishes👍👍 Quick Trip is a great place to fuel up and pick up fast-food.  They offer a wide variety of coffee, including frozen cappuccino.  They also have a wide variety of inexpensive fast-food options from Lunchables, fruits, yogurt, hot dogs, pizza, taquitos, etc.

7. If you are too tired, as were, to bring your kids back down for storytime…it plays on the t.v. in the room.  I forgot which channel…like 3 or one of the lower numbers.

Well, that is about all the advice on a great family trip to North Texas.  There is more to do in Grapevine though such as Altitude H2O and the other lake parks.  The vintage train ride would be neat to take as well so we want to return to the area again sometime.  Actually this weekend there is a Main Street Festival that I wish we could have stayed and experienced.

Now let’s travel East and South! 

1. Claiborne West Park in Vidor is a huge park with lots of room to stretch your legs and a couple of nice playground areas.

2.  Our kids enjoyed the Beaumont Children’s Museum very much.  This was on the way home so we didn’t get to take a local’s suggestion of taking the ferry

3. Topgolf in Webster was a very cool place.  It was too soon to bring our toddler being that you golf off of the second story, but a fun experience for big kids and adults.

4. Kemah Boardwalk is cool to walk around.  If we go back I would skip the overpriced unattended carnival rides and just visit the Aquarium Restaurant.  Feeding the stingrays can be very interesting haha!

5. Seaside Inn in Galveston had great reviews and a buy 2 nights get a 3rd free special so we stayed there.  The people were nice, but the breakfast was stale and the carpet in our room was disgusting. There is a restaurant with a nice pool in front that we got to use while staying there which was great, but the restaurant’s food wasn’t worth the cost unless you eat off of the happy hour menu…then maybe.  If you know of a better place to stay please share!

6. Down the road at Texas Pit Stop the bbq was delicious so I definitely recommend there.  Papa’s Pizza is a buffet style pizza place with delicious food as well.  Try the spaghetti!  It may look basic, but my goodness Papa has a secret in his sauce-yum!

*F.Y.I. there is a Walmart near these restaurants

7. Other places you may want to visit in Galveston area are Pleasure Pier & Moody Gardens.  We didn’t get the chance so maybe next time we go. 

For more suggestions read 40 Places to See in Texas Before Your Kids Grow Up by The Crazy Tourist.  Let me know if you have questions or comment if you have any helpful suggestions to add.  Thanks for dropping by!  Until next time…take care❤

What I should have put on my baby registry…

-Nanny

-Housekeeper

-Massage Therapist

Ummm what else?

-A shoulder to cry on

😂 Kidding!  You will be fine.  I’m sure a box of kleenex will be good. Haha.

-DUSTBUSTER!!!! (Also, a good handsfree foot pedal trashcan to empty it in because germs and doing ambidextrous things with one hand while holding baby will be hard enough.)

Sorry for all caps, but it is that important.  I have been through two dustbusters so far.  Kids constantly produce crumbs and crumbs are like jackrabbits…they multiply.

For real though, I made a registry using “babylist” to give some examples of my favorite baby products and gear.  I tried to put similar items at different price points.  Leaving out diapers because you may want to go disposable or cloth.  Pumps, formula, and bottles were left out as well because that is another decision based on preference.  Besides, both my babies were exclusively breastfed so I would not be much help with those items.  Although I did try a couple of lower-end pumps.  Even with good reviews, I felt they did not work the best thus the exclusive breastfeeding.  So I would suggest springing for the mac daddy Medela pump from the start.

Before I share the registry link these are a few things that I learned along the way, but wish I would have known beforehand.

Baby Wearing

Babywearing was a foreign concept to me.  Everyone, I know just lugged around the infant carrier car seat. A little tidbit about carriers they aren’t meant to ride on top of shopping carts. We see it all the time right? I did it once or twice not realizing the cart seat actually cautions against that. And hey, these are our precious babies so why chance a bump to a display that will send your little one sliding off.

Buying a stroller may just be a waste of money. Most times my kids screamed to get in it. They felt safer closer to me.  I was happy to sell our stroller and use a baby carrier instead. Needless to say, it freed up space in the cargo and I no longer had to take the heavy contraption in and out while toting a baby.  Talk about a backbreaker.  They aren’t always store aisle friendly either.

If you decide to carry I advise to skip the baby sling.  There are plenty of articles of the dangers of suffocation due to the c-shape baby sleeps in.  Also, pay attention to the babies leg positioning.  Legs together can run the risk of hip dysplasia.

Nurseries

I wouldn’t feel too much pressure over having the perfect nursery set up in the beginning.  You and your newborn will probably spend a great deal of time feeding and rocking anyway.  Another hot topic you may want to be informed about is SIDS.  I still see cutesy crib bumpers on the market and those are not considered 100% safe.  There are plenty of new mesh products out there now worth looking into.  We used a Safe Beginnings Crib Mattress and a mesh crib bumper, but now there is also a baby hammock that may be worth looking into.  Of course, in my opinion, will be short-lived because the baby would grow out of it fast.  Also, the baby’s position would be similar to that of a baby sling so I would caution that product.

Carseats

Very important things to consider…

1. Car seats have expiration dates on them.

2. Careful when receiving used car seats, if one was in a small fender binder it should no longer be used.

3. Follow car seat safety pages on social media.

4. Installation seems simple but can be tricky. (You will need to follow car seat installation instructions in your VEHICLE MANUAL.)

5. Our state troopers hold FREE car seat installations once or twice a week so check with yours. You can try asking for a certified car seat safety specialist’s phone number to schedule a visit to your home. We had ours come out to the house twice so far and are so thankful to know that the kid’s seats are 100% safely in place.

6. Convertible car seats may seem pricey, but are a really good investment because they last through the rear and forward facing phases. Some even go as far as a booster seat.

Click the link to see my example registry.

https://www.babylist.com/mom-1st4most

(I do not get paid for the app or merchandise suggestions)

Please like to let me know if you found this post helpful.  Use the contact menu if you have any questions and let me know what topics you are interested in learning more about.

Take care mamas!

Sometimes It Is More About Spending Less Than Making More

Does it seem like no matter how much you work, there is never enough money? We live in a world that tends to value others by what they own. The stores and internet sell endless amounts of things. Seriously, put two random words into google and I bet someone is selling it. My words were “bell rabbit” and guess what they are adorable little dust catchers. The amounts of products available today can be overwhelming. The list below includes ways my family cuts down on spending.

Nix Subscriptions

That $10 a month subscription for candles, magazines, beef jerky, etc. seems innocent enough. However, $120 a year for one subscription.  Plus those are probably things you really don’t even need monthly.

I was tired of calling for new promotions on overpriced cable.  Plus, the packages offered only gave us a few channels that we actually watched.  So we cut the chord and bought a Fire T.V. Stick.  This is a decision without regret.  We can stream our favorite shows, rent, and purchase movies using this device.  It is affordable and easy to set up.

Get ready to gasp…not only did we cut the cord on cable, but we canceled subscriptions like Netflix and Hulu.  It was a hard decision because the two offer such incredible viewing content.  However, it was causing us to watch way too much television.  That is another $130+ we can put into savings each year.

Tip: List all of your monthly subscriptions and contemplate which ones are actually necessary.

Minimalism

Let that whole want/need trickle into the rest of your life. Back when we had Netflix, I watched a documentary on Minimalism that raised some great points. Many Americans live in excess.

I’m no Marie Kondo, but go through your home often deciphering what is not useful. If you haven’t used that thing in 10 years, my guess is that you never will. Sell it or donate it to someone who may need it today. Maybe you don’t believe in God and that is your right. I’m not here to force my beliefs on others. So please, understand like events that made you a nonbeliever, certain events have made me a believer. Anyway, I believe if for some reason you need that thing again, God will provide.

By practicing intentional buying and decluttering, you will benefit greatly. Finances will free up, your home will be easier to clean, and that will reduce stress.

Money Saving Apps

Ibotta is the one I use the most. It can be a little tedious to keep up with so I don’t always when life gets busy. I love when I have enough to get a gift card. Usually, I select $25 to Target. It is my mommy guilt free card to spend on whatever I want. Not that I have any reason to feel guilty normally, but you know how it goes.

Whether I buy a shirt, new undies, makeup, or a variety of face masks, it is a nice reward for pinching pennies. The free cards can be used for birthday or Christmas gifts if you wish. Below is a link to get you started with cash waiting for you.

https://ibotta.com/r/tsoufas

Product Discount Codes

Most companies pay for referrals. Usually in the form of discounts on their products. So share your favorite products with your friends and let them know if they want to try them you have a discount code. It’s an I scratch your back, you scratch mine type of thing. Except really, it is just the company scratching both backs👍

The only product referral code I have right now is for Thinx period undies. My take on them…

-seem pricey, just buy 1 or 2 at a time

-saving on tampons and pads, still using a small amount on heavy days

-on the border of a size? because of period bloating go a size up.

-go with all black, my gray pair stained a tiny bit on the sides

-love having the safety net of wearing if I am not sure I will start in the middle of an event

If you have been curious about them using the link below for a discount👌

http://ref.thinxify.me/k-F-k

Cut Down On Waste

This goes a bit with 1 & 2. Growing up, um financially challenged, I have always felt the need to take good care of my things so that they last. I try so hard to instill this in my kids who can sometimes be destructive.

I tell them to take care of their toys because we may not be able to buy more. Besides, broken toys go in the trash creating more waste in already full landfills. If we take care of them, when we are done we can share them with other children that may not have many toys.

My husband also didn’t get why I was a stickler for things that cause damage to our yard, cars, and house. I call it protecting our investments. People won’t pay as much for used things that are damaged on a resell. Plus, don’t we want to show gratitude for what we have?

Also, find ways to cut down waste in the kitchen🍴(see what I did there). Seriously, though a good bit of my recipes have come from trying to reinvent leftovers. That spinach salad that goes out of date today that you don’t plan on eating, freeze it! It is delicious smothered or in a homemade soup. Just enough chicken for one person? Cut it up and mix it with some pasta and veggies. Either buy a sauce or make a simple garlic butter sauce. This stretches meals and your money.

Hopefully, you find these tips helpful. If so make sure to like this post. Follow/subscribe so you don’t miss a thing. Thanks for dropping by!

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Take care❤

23+ Learning Videos for Littles

I was a little tired of searching for educational videos from our favorite YouTube channels individually, so I decided to put them together in a playlist. By doing this it also stopped random not so approved videos from popping up. Like Johnny Johnny…catchy song, but it goes against our teaching of lying is wrong.

These videos teach the alphabet, phonics, counting, other languages, and more. Parents may even pick up a few new things. I know I did.

(I do not get paid for any of the advertising YouTube has placed in my playlist)

Valentine’s Rose Painting

In 4 easy steps, your littles can paint roses for loved ones this Valentine’s Day. Here’s what you’ll need:

-paper

-2 plates

-red & green paint

Step 1-Pour red paint in one plate and green paint in the other.

Step 2-Paint the side of your hand red as pictured above and stamp the paper. Make sure you paint the thumb side for best results. My five year old painted the pinky side red and her roses look more like tulips or closed buds. They are still pretty though as you can see below.

Step 3-Paint the side of your pinky green to stamp the stems.

Step 4-Paint your thumb green for leaf stamping.

And there you have it! Wishing you and yours a Happy Valentine’s Day! Until next time…

Take Care❤

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