Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Get dressed up, be something new!

Halloween is so much fun! My kids love to get dressed up and pretend to be something new, and I loved to do the same when I was a kid.

I really like trying to find coordinating costumes form my kids since we have so many.  Oriental Trading had some great group costumes!

This year, we picked out the rock, paper, scissors costume set... it's a great simple set that makes any outfit a costume.

The kids really liked these and, of course, had to act out the game of rock, paper, scissors at least once.

I like that these costumes are super easy to put on/get off. These are great for the kids to take to school for their Halloween parties! I don't have to worry about them completely destroying them before trick-or-treating.

We also got a more scary costume for our almost teenager. He wanted to stick with his horror movie theme for Halloween.

 Last year he went as the guy from Chainsaw Massacre... this year he wanted to be Jason from Friday the 13th. I think he pulls it off very well!

 All of these costumes, and many, many more are available from Oriental Trading, as well as other Halloween goodies that you may need!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Fun filled grab bags for Halloween!

I received items from Oriental Trading to facilitate this post.

Each year I love to make grab bags for my kids to take to class for their Halloween treats. It's a fun way to let them celebrate. And, of course, there are lots of other ways to hand out grab bags. Whether you're doing a church or community event, or if you just want to hand out things other than candy to the trick-or-treaters coming to your door, Oriental Trading has you covered for all the Halloween necessities.

For our grab bags we used a fun printed bag, a spider ring, a monster tattoo, and a candy stick... then fastened the bag with an orange & black friendship bracelet.
These are fun for the kids to put together themselves and they love giving them to their friends.

Of course, you could put nearly anything in your bags with the amazing selection that Oriental Trading provides! Make them scary, make them religious, make them full of candy- or not! There's something for everyone... really!

And if you need anything else for Halloween, like great Halloween Costumes, check out the other offerings at Oriental Trading!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Finding style.

This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

So, our son Liam (11 years old) has been really into everything Native American lately. He has some Native American ancestry, and the knowledge of that has really sparked something in him lately. He's been wanting to bow-hunt, fish (he wishes he could spear), and he's been asking for some Native American style apparel.  This kid is SUPER picky about his clothes... all the rest of the kids- they don't care; Liam- it has to fit just right AND be his style. I try to accommodate when I am able, but a lot of local stores don't supply his specific requests.

He wants moccasins, a native styled hoodie, and pretty much anything that resembles or reminds him of Native culture. Well, I hopped on over to Groupon Goods to see if I could find a good deal on any of those things, and I found a really cool sweatshirt that I know he'll love.  I also found this sweet Native American coin set that I think will be a great Christmas gift (you can never start too early... it isn't that far away)!

Sometimes you just have to turn to online shopping to get a decent deal and find what you are looking for!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Eight kids to clothe....

This post is sponsored by Groupon. All opinions are my own.

If I had a dime for every time someone asked how I could afford "all these kids" I might not have to be so frugal. Really, though, I have to be. I am GOOD at saving money (if I do say so myself)!

With school shopping just out of the way, I think it's a good time to explain some of what I do.

I don't want my kids to just wear whatever, either. I want them to be in nice clothes that will last.  It's amazing how much money you can save by just paying attention to sales and looking for a coupon.

For example. I do a lot of my shopping for my kids at JCPenney. To get the best deals I head to the clearance rack first. I have no qualms with this because who's gonna know if you bought it clearance or if you purchased it a month or two earlier at full price- it just plain saves you money. In fact, I found many t-shirts on clearance for under $2. That's a fabulous price anyhow, but add in a coupon and make it 25 to 50% off that price- BONUS!

I also tend to purchase items on clearance for the year ahead. Let's say I know I am going to need snowpants for my kids next fall, in the spring I will buy them when they're 75% off or more, saving me ridiculous amounts of money (and I usually can find a coupon for most stores, too! Check out Groupon Coupons). Yes, this takes a little more planning, and sometimes you can't estimate your child's size perfectly, but at the prices I buy most of this stuff at, I don't mind donating it or reselling it if it won't fit one of the kids.

Shoes are one of the most difficult things for me to get deals on. My kids like name brand shoes, and I'd rather have their shoes last the year than buy several pairs of cheap shoes. We actually purchased a pair of Nike athletic shoes for under $11. Again, I looked at clearance and had a coupon. That was a great score to me. This year I was able to find a couple pairs of great Reebok shoes for under $20. When each kid needs at least two pairs of shoes it adds up quick, so I'm glad to find some deals.

Pairing in-store rewards and coupons can also help you save even more. JCP has rewards, as does Kohls, Children's Place and many others. Many times you can use rewards, coupons, sales and clearance prices all combined making for some incredible savings. 

Do you shop to save? What's your best "score"?

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Mom.... I'm bored! (Oh no you're not... I've got something for you to do!)

I was provided with Oriental Trading merchandise in exchange for this post. Any opinions are my own. 

Ahhhhh... SUMMER!

I love summer, and so do the kids, but sometimes the days can be a little uneventful- especially when the weather doesn't cooperate. 

Sometimes it seems like no matter how many fun activities you have planned for the kids during summer you can just never keep them engaged. Keeping some structure throughout the days can help, and what better than having some craft time and outdoor play? 

Oriental Trading has tons of great summer crafts you can keep on hand for days like that. Most crafts are easy for kids and super cute!
We usually purchase the craft kits from Oriental Trading, but they now have some really great idea pages, too! Check out these cute crafts, click the picture to see what you need to make them!


Or, how about some night-time fun?  What makes summer nights more fun than glow-in-the-dark products??? 

Our kids love glow-in-the-dark tag, or hide and seek.  And glow necklaces help us keep our kids visible at night when we are in large crowds (we use these each time we go to a fireworks display!). 


There's plenty of other games and activities available as well- great for outdoor fun, parties and get together,s and bored kids who don't know what to do. ;)

Friday, May 13, 2016


Disney-Hyperion sent me this title, and is also providing a prize pack for one winner from my site.

by Mac Barnett and Matt Myers
In stores May 3, 2016
Ages 3-5

Ian always follows the rules. His sister, Jenny, breaks them all the time—especially "Don't pinch."  So Ian is thrilled when the house where his family is vacationing posts a tidy list of rules. But when Jenny breaks them all, the house itself decides it's time for payback. The rug, the stove, and the bathtub are hungry for rulebreaker soup, and they've found the perfect ingredient: Jenny!
Now Ian is faced with a thorny question: What if saving your sister means breaking the rules?
From the New York Times best-selling team of Mac Barnett and Matthew Myers comes a hilarious tale of sibling rivalry, moral complexity, and disgruntled monsters, perfect for sharing with your own favorite rulebreakers.
Mac Barnett is the New York Times best-selling author of over twenty books for children, including Count the Monkeys, illustrated by Kevin Cornell; Chloe and the Lion, illustrated by Adam Rex; and Extra Yarn and Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, both illustrated by Jon Klassen, and both winners of a Caldecott Honor and the E.B. White Read Aloud Award. He also writes the Terrible Two series with Jory John. Mac lives in Berkeley, California. Visit him at
Matt Myers studied at the Museum Art School in Portland, Oregon, where he majored in both fine arts and graphic arts. He has illustrated a number of books for children, including the Brixton Brothers series by Mac Barnett, Clink by Kelly DiPucchio, and the New York Times best seller Battle Bunny, by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett. Matt lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Visit him at
Visit the official website
Follow Disney-Hyperion on Twitter and Instagram

One (1) winner receives:
·         copy of Rules of the House
·         branded toothbrush
·         $25 Toys r Us gift card to reward your little rule follower!
Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Disney Hyperion.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 29, 2016

Zootopia... coming June 7th!

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Wildly Witty, Vibrant World of “Zootopia”

Arrives Home on June 7 via Digital HD, Blu-ray™ and Disney Movies Anywhere

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ (WDAS) comedy-adventure, “Zootopia” has broken records worldwide earning more than $900 million at the global box office to date. The best reviewed movie of 2016, critics and audiences around the world have fallen in love with the wonderfully innovative animal metropolis of “Zootopia” and the comedic chemistry of rookie rabbit officer Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) and scam-artist fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman).  It’s been called one of the best buddy cop comedies in years! 

Viewers will not only be able to enjoy the vibrant world of Zootopia and reunite with their favorite characters, but also discover more about the evolution of this extraordinary tale through in-depth bonus offerings.

 The runaway hit arrives home on June 7 via Digital HD, Blu-ray™ and Disney Movies Anywhere.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Organic Candy!

We all have heard how much better organic food is for us, how leaving the chemicals and artificial coloring, along with genetic modification can benefit us all, but did you know that you can actually have organic candy too?

GoOrganic Organic candies offer up an organic alternative. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Organic means food with no artificial fertilizers, genetic modification, irradiation or conventional pesticides. Who wants any of that in their candy anyhow?

My favorite thing about GoOrganic candies is the wide range of offerings. We were sent their line of candy to try out and let you all know how they went over with our family. 

I will say, many of the candies include ginger- and my children were not a fan. I, however, do enjoy ginger. I especially liked the Chocolate Ginger Chews. The kids favorite were the fruit chew candies and fruit snacks ( and I loved these as well...). The hard candies were not anyone's favorite in particular, but they weren't bad. The cherry candy did remind me a lot of cough drops, though.

Ingredients include organic evaporated cane juice and organic brown rice syrup for sweetness. This is CLEAN candy, containing no trans fats, no preservatives, no corn syrup, no FD&C colors and no hydrogenated oils. The line has a 2 year shelf life, is gluten free and Kosher. Adults and kids can feel good about having GoOrganic as a wholesome treat.

I think these candies are a good option for those who are looking for a sweet treat without giving up their commitment to choosing organic goods. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Tutorial: How to draw an owl

As you can imagine, from my blog header, I'm a fan of owls; all birds, really.

Well, my little brother, who is very artistically talented, has been doing a "How to" series on drawing different things. I requested an owl! He was going to do one of my snowy owl photographs, but I asked if he could do a barn owl. I really love the disk shape to their face, so I thought it'd be really neat to learn to draw.

I'd love to see YOUR barn owl drawings- if you'd like to share yours please post it as a photo comment on this Facebook post!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Good Dinosaur- The Good, The Sad, and the Scary.

I received a copy of THE GOOD DINOSAUR for review purposes. No other compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.

If you haven't heard yet, Disney Pixar's  The Good Dinosaur is available now! We just watched the movie, and I have to say- I love it. Here's my review (WARNING- Spoilers).

This story is a fabulous story about friendship and courage. Arlo (the dino) is the "runt" of the family, and scared of everything. He struggles to find his place and his worth in the family. The story takes a turn when a family member dies ( why are these always SO sad?!) and when Arlo feels like he is to blame for the tragedy.

After another accident happens Arlo finds himself a long way from home, but with an unusual companion- a foe turned friend. Together they must find their way home, and Arlo has to find his courage to face the unknown along the way.

Okay, so I want to share with you one thing that I think parents should be aware of... if you really don't want specific spoilers, stop reading now.

There is a point in the movie when some dinosaurs seem like they are friends, but they are really the bad guys.... and it's pretty scary, especially for the younger or more sensitive kids. You see a little "critter" be "saved" and then promptly eaten unexpectedly, and it's harsh. These dinosaurs also attack later in the movie and it's a bit frightening then, too.  Aside from the frightening parts, there is also many sad parts that will make your eyes swell with tears. The movie is a good movie, but I do wish they hadn't disguised the bad guys as helpers at first.

The ending will warm your heart and overall it's a very powerful movie about facing fears and being a good friend.

Here's a clip from the movie, check it out and check out your local retailer or find The Good Dinosaur on Amazon.

You can also find the new short, Sanjay's Super Team.  These shorts have become almost as anticipated as the movies for our family. I enjoyed this one, and I loved how it helped open my kids to another culture, making them curious. 

Included in the bonus materials, you can also find "True Lies about Dinosaurs". I loved this bonus material because it tells kids about how this movie is make believe, it's not factual, and that the dinosaurs likely wouldn't have actually seen one another since they live at different times. The other bonus materials include deleted scenes and Recylosaurus: a fun short about how people made large dinosaurs out of only recycled items.

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