5 Fun Ways to Make Back to School Special

 

 

 

 

It’s time to put the dog days of summer behind and get your kiddo’s prepared for going to back to school.

Vacations are coming to an end but I’m looking forward to getting things back to normal and having a routine again (Shhhhh….don’t tell the kids!).

The school year approaching can be tough for them; they’re faced with new teachers, new classes and maybe even a new school.  I try to make back to school a little easier for them by making the day a special one and giving them all the attention they can handle!

Here are a few of my favorite ways to make back to school even more special:

Shopping! It doesn’t matter whether you’re a boy or girl investing in a new backpack, shoes or new supplies can boost their confidence and relieve some of the anxiety of the day. If you don’t overdo it spoiling them all the other days of the year I promise it’s not going to ruin them. Splurge a little, they’re worth it.

What better way to close out the summer than with a back to school bash! Book the local pool or keep it cheap by having a meet-up at the lake. Invite old friends and new classmates and give the kids an opportunity to get to know each other before the school year begins. Your child will be the life of the party and you’ll get a chance to know the children and parents they’ll be spending their time with this year; I assure you this will come in handy.

Crawl out of a bed a few minutes early and whip up a special breakfast that includes a few of their homemade favorites. They’ll start their morning off surrounded my love and attention and set the tone for a great day back to school. Don’t get your feelings hurt if they’re not interested in eating much, their stomach is probably doing flip-flops.

No back to school day would be complete without the milestone photo.  The teens dread it but will appreciate it much later in life. The truth is if you didn’t take the photo they’d probably feel slighted in some way; all the other parents are doing it. You’ll want to capture these memories to fall back on. Step up your photo game and make it super fun with these Awesome Photo Ideas for the First Day of School 

Even the brooding teenagers are excited and anxious to share their day with you. The best thing you can do for them is to be there waiting for them. Life still happens on the first day of school so it may not be an option but if at all possible, be home to greet them. Have a snack waiting and be prepared to listen and give them your full attention and a great big hug! Back to school is a wonderful opportunity to let them know how proud you are and share in their excitement of the day.

Let the afternoon chores go and simply take in the moment. Before you know it they’ll be graduating with cap and gown and you’re going to miss every bit of them going back to school. Seize the moment, seize the day and come out on top as Best Mom on the Planet; you’ve got this!

Awesome Photo Ideas for the First Day of School

 

 

Back to school has arrived once again and it’s time to capture that special moment, but if your kids are anything like mine, they’ll act completely annoyed and uncooperative for that first day of school photo while you’re desperately trying to make it happen.

How dare they! They can’t really expect that you’d miss this special day or that you’d be the only parent without a photo to share. You won’t be shamed on social media, no way, no how.

The best advice I can give you is to warn them, prepare them and most importantly make it fun. Skip doing what everyone else is doing and instead capture that first day of school moment in a fun, unique and creative way. You can start by checking out these awesome photo ideas perfect for the first day of school:

Becoming more popular this year, make a sign for them to hold. Chalkboards work great for this. While everyone else is noting their grade or today’s date take it up a notch by letting your kiddo choose a quote they like, even if it’s snarky it’ll be fun. Get your kiddo on board by letting them create their chalkboard masterpiece.

One of my favorite ideas is letting them hold up last year’s first day of school pic. It’s cute, fun and an easy way for everyone to see how much they’ve changed in a year’s time. They, too, will be surprised to see the side by side. It’s amazing how fast these kids grow up. Check out 5 Fun Ways to Make Back to School Special for some fun before the dreaded day ( depends on who you’re talking to ).

Props are always a good call. Nice props for back to school photos include books, globes, apples or even a library scene. If your child is into sports, clubs or other extracurricular activities choose props they can relate to. Include multiple items in the photo that tells a story about who your child is. Your baby is growing up; I promise you’ll want these memories to fall back on.

Have them strike a pose with mom and dad, their siblings or bestie; something that can be recreated year over year will be special, memorable and a whole lot of fun later on. You might have to nudge them, maybe even demand it but it’ll be worth all the trouble. And if all they do is pout you’ll have something to torture them with later on in life.

The school years will fly by and before you know it they’re off to college, having kids of their own and you’re taking trips down memory lane. Take the time to capture those moments, take the dang photo!

Back to School M&M Energy Bites

Back to school is almost as exhausting as summer break is. Clothes shopping, hair cuts, school supplies, all the wants needs and demands of four little girls. I need some quick energy in my life. Here is a great recipe for easy M&M Energy Bites for both mom, dad, and the kids that will give you some quick energy to get your day going.

You probably have all the ingredients in your cupboard now for this delicious snack.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup M&Ms
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.
Once chilled, roll into balls.
Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Makes about 20-25 balls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 ways to save on a Summer Vacation

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Bestway and BraVoMark. All opinions are mine.

 

It’s summertime and everyone is posting pictures of their summer time vacations. It’s hard for me to plan a vacation with my family due to work constraints and kids that get sick more often than not. One way I’ve found is to be able to take mini vacations, a long weekend here or there. Check out how our family does mini vacations that leave us feeling rested and relaxed without spending a fortune.

Do your research– Is a few days away during the week going to cause hardship. Most places are cheaper during the week than they are on the weekends when everyone else is traveling. Sometimes if you work weekends like I do, it’s easier to get off during the week verse the weekend when they know they will get a lot of call in’s.. weigh your options and do your research.

 Bring your own food– Eating on a vacation can eat up a big chunk out of your funds. Find a place that has a continental breakfast or dinner or even better if you can prepare your own meals. You’re in a new place try having a picnic instead of a fast food restaurant, you’re still on vacation and spending quality time with your loved ones make the memories that last forever a picnic at the park.

 

Take a Vacation in your own state– I know it sounds crazy right, I live in West Virginia and I’ve only been out of the eastern panhandle maybe twice. I’ve never been north, south or West in the state. Taking a long weekend in your own state can be attainable, educational and save you loads in your wallet.

 

Travel during off season – Who says you have to travel in the summer? It’s nice but what’s wrong with Spring and Fall? There are a ton of deals in off season and prices are lower. Round trip tickets somewhere warm when it’s cold in your backyard might be right up your alley.

Stay with Friends or Family- Did family or friends rent a beach house? Ask if you can crash in a guest room or even the living room instead of paying full price at a hotel. Bring an air mattress like the  Fortech 17″ Queen Airbed with Built-in Alwayzaire Pump and 3 Preset Comfort Levels available at Walmart.

 

Fortech 17″ Queen Airbed with Built-in Alwayzaire Pump and 3 Preset Comfort Levels

  • This queen size airbed measures 80 in. x 60 in. x 17 in. (2.03m x 1.52m x 43cm).
  • Safety valve makes it easy to inflate. Includes built-in 110-120V~ electric AlwayzAire pump (ETL approved) that monitors and maintains air pressure continuously.
  • Inflates in 150 seconds.
  • Great for indoor use, with a canvas-feel fabric top, outside and bottom.
  • Unique rib and surround frame design offers advanced support and helps to eliminate roll offs.
  • Clear, user-friendly pump panel.
  • Easy one click operation.
  • Three options for airbed firmness.
  • Internal sensors detect air pressure continuously and silent pump engages to maintain constant firmness.
  • Soft back light easily displays the level settings even in a darkened room.
  • Designed with sturdy Y-beam construction, to be rigid and stable.
  • Includes one airbed and one travel bag.

 

 

BestWayUS is hosting a contest on their Facebook page.

• Purchase an ALWAYZAIRE bed from Walmart.com or Walmart (https://www.walmart.com/ip/Fortech-17-Queen-Airbed-with-Built-in-Alwayzaire-Pump-and-3-Preset-Comfort-Levels/104304279)

• Take a photo of yourself using the bed or next to it. (Be fun and Wacky)

• Post your photo under the comment section of @BestwayUs Facebook page contest post to be entered to win a SaluSpa Miami (retailed at $369.99)

• Bestway will be picking 5 Winners September 15th

Two Healthy Back to School Morning Breakfast’s

I’m not sure where you are but I’m counting down the days that all four of my girls are going back to school. This summer has been crazy with all of them home for the summer and me working from home. I’m sad at the same time my last little one is off to school where has the time gone?

School clothes = check

School Supplies = check

Haircuts = weekend before school

Backpacks = check

Healthy School Breakfast …. see my favorites below.

 

Mermaid Toast

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 slice bread
  • 4 drops Chlorophyll
  • 4 oz cream cheese or yogurt
  • ½ tsp spirulina powder
  • Carrington Farms Crispy Puffed Quinoa

 

Recipe:

  1. Toast your favorite, better-for-you bread.
  2. Combine 4 drops of chlorophyll with 4 oz of cream cheese or yogurt
  3. Combine ½ teaspoon spirulina powder with 4 oz of cream cheese or yogurt
  4. Spread cream cheese or thick plain yogurt on toast
  5. Sprinkle with Carrington Farms Crispy Puffed Quinoa
  6. Channel your inner mermaid and ENJOY!

Carrington Farms Berry Chia Smoothie Bowl

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup frozen blueberries
    1/2 cup frozen strawberries
    1 cup kefir or probiotic yogurt drink of choice
    1 Tbsp + 1/4 tsp Carrington Farms Chia Seeds
    1/2 banana, sliced
    1 dried fig, sliced
    1 strawberry, sliced (or fruit of choice)

 

Directions:

  1. Blend frozen berries, 1 Tbsp chia seeds and kefir to a thick consistency, for about 20 seconds.
  2. Pour into a small bowl and layer fruit and remaining chia seeds on top. Bring out your favorite spoon and enjoy this delicious smoothie bowl with probiotic benefits!

 

Both super simple, colorful and have your children ready to take on the day.

Strong Moms Raising Strong Kids

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hefty® Ultra Strong™ trash bags.

 

 

Let’s face it. As moms, we have all experienced those days where nothing seemed to go right. However, we managed to keep things together and be strong for our families. A good mom knows how to stay cool under pressure – just like Hefty® Ultra Strong™ trash bags can withstand whatever you throw at them.

The new Hefty® commercial featuring John Cena and his real-life mom Carol, show that moms know a thing or two about ultra-strength and ultra-savings. Remember, it’s what our kids see that they’ll remember, not what we tell them and this commercial certainly makes that point.

We are getting back to school ready and with that comes getting rid of the old and coming in with the new. My children accumulate so many toys, books and junk over the year and before school starts, I like to make a clean sweep so we are organized and ready to be on our A+++ game (literally) for the upcoming school year.

 

 

 

 

My girls love to hit the yard sales with me in the summer so they have filled up their toy-box with books and toys they don’t play with. Every year we go thru it all and donate what is still salvageable and keep what they still play with. It’s a little bit of a struggle but it’s also a great lesson learned that even preschoolers are old enough to learn about generosity, compassion, and the importance of helping others. Donating their old toys is a great way to begin that lesson.

 

 

 

Hefty® Ultra Strong™ trash bags are a go-to staple for many moms because they not only hold up to whatever you put into them, but they neutralize odors thanks to the ARM & HAMMER™ patented odor neutralizer.  They also come in a variety of wonderful scents including Clean Burst™, Tropical Paradise™, Lavender & Sweet Vanilla™, White Pine Breeze™, Crisp Orchard Apple™, Citrus Twist™, and Pomegranate Mist™. There’s even a scent-free version for those that prefer it. Something that moms will really love is that the bags grip the side of the trash can to prevent the bags from falling inside the can. Best of all, if you have any problems with the bags, Hefty® offers a 100% money-back guarantee.

If you’re looking for a trash bag as strong as you are, the Hefty® Ultra Strong™ trash bags are sure to become your favorite trash bags.

Also, check out the new commercial featuring John Cena and his mom, Carol.


 

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hefty® Ultra Strong™ trash bags.

Nichole Nordeman Every Mile Mattered

 

 

Recently things in my life have been turned upside down and I turned to Christian Contemporary Music along with church to soothe my soul and lift my spirits. I discovered Nichole Nordeman as one of the artists that came on the station I listened to and fell in love with her soul- piercing lyrics and gorgeous melodies. Her new album Every Mile Mattered came at the right time in my life. Every song speaks to me in a way, says the right things at the right time.

 

 

I love this album, I can listen to it over and over. The thoughts, the desires, the trust and the faith in the Lord helps soothes my soul. And to end this album with Slow Down, a song that embarks on the wisdom life had collected, but ultimately wise words from every mom to their child, and maybe even to our younger self-was simply perfect in rounding out this album of life. Slow down and enjoy it. Keep the Faith because Every Mile Mattered to get you where you are today.

Nicole also has a book coming out  “SLOW DOWN” coming out in August, pre-order here: http://slowdown-book.com 

 

Buy the album you won’t be disappointed.

Official website – http://nicholenordeman.com

iTunes http://capcmg.me/emm?IQid=b

                      Spotify http://capcmg.me/emm.sp

                       Amazon http://capcmg.me/emm.am)

 

 

I received a complimentary copy of Every Mile Mattered from Capitol Records through FlyBy Promotions.  All opinions expressed are mine and that of Life with 4 Crazy Girls.

Gluten Free Stuffed Peppers All in One Meal

 

I admit… not all of my kids are lovers of veggies but this simple recipe is sure a hit at our home. One of my oldest twins doesn’t care for any color pepper so I just scoop the inside out and she is happy, plus I get to eat the pepper. I love that they’re getting everything in one too, less clean up for me after a long day of work.

 

Ingredients

2 yellow bell peppers

1/2 lb ground beef 90/10

1/2 cup long or short grain white rice

1 – 28 oz cans tomato sauce

14 oz water

1 lemon; squeezed

1 onion; diced

4 tablespoons paprika

1/3 teaspoon salt

1/3 teaspoon pepper

 

Instructions

Cook rice as directed.

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees F

 

Remove seeds from peppers and ribbing.

 

 

 

Chop onion and mix with rice and ground meat. Add salt and pepper.Stuff the mixture into the peppers.

 

In a casserole dish, place in peppers. In a bowl mix together tomato sauce, water, lemon juice, and paprika. Pour over peppers.

 

 

Bake for 1 hour until meat is cooked and pepper is softened.

 


Talking to Kids about Sex

 

 

The JOY of Parenthood…. It comes with great conversations with your little ones. NOT….. but if someone has to do it I’d rather it be me. My 7 and 9-year-old brought up the word SEX the other day and I pretended like i didn’t hear them. Yea I’m that mom. What the heck… why are kids learning about this stuff so early? Kid come on now be a kid don’t grow up so fast.

 

I didn’t wanna have that talk when I was a pre-teen, I never asked about it. I do remember one of my father’s girlfriends having a talk with me while I sat on a bar stool in a bar in Southern Maryland about the Birds & the Bee’s I was about 12. It was uncomfortable, to say the least, I may have wondered about it I suppose but nowadays kids are starting out so early.

 

So the question is when is the right time to talk to your child about SEX?

 

When your child is ready.

 

Since my daughters have already asked about their private parts around age 4 I’ve opted to give them the correct name from the start instead of backtracking later. When my daughter came home from school and said her kitty-cat …………. It was time to teach her that its called a Vagina and boys have a Penis ( no daddy doesn’t pee out of his hand. )

 

My girls have asked me several times where babies come from? Do you get them from kissing because if you do I’m never kissing a boy. I explained to them that when you are married a mommy and a daddy create a baby together.The basic understanding of intercourse. You can say, “Nature [or God] created male and female bodies to fit together like puzzle pieces. When the penis and the vagina fit together, sperm, like tadpoles, swim through the penis and up to the egg.” Explain what you think about sex and relationships. For instance: “Sex is one of the ways people show love for each other.

 

Many moms believe their children are not ready or mature enough to know anything about Sex at all but I assure you, they are hearing about it at school. Wouldnt you rather they hear the facts from you than hear twisted info from someone else.

If you talk about it from an early age it won’t be taboo as they get older & hopefully, they’ll be more willing to talk to you when the time comes. I honestly didn’t think about talking about rape. I know it’s important to discuss, but it didn’t cross my mind.  There are some scary statistics out there. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18. If you use the proper terms and teach them what to expect and to say no, then hopefully their chances of being victims decreases or if they do (God forbid) become a victim, they will feel better coming to you. We will teach abstinence, but also talk about using protection and living with consequences of actions. I wish I could be naive when it comes to this, but I can’t. This isn’t the world we grew up in.

 

Storybooks can help get across the concept of sex to your child or further explain what you’ve already discussed. Check your local library, set aside time to sit and read together, then offer to answer any questions. Don’t just send your child off to read in a room by herself, though. Being involved from the get-go will show her that she can come to you when she has more complicated or sensitive questions as she gets older.

 

A few books I like that helped me thru the process are It’s Not the Stork and What’s the Big Secret

 

Do you have any tips on talking to your kids about sex? Let’s talk about it.

 

 

Jessica Marinaccio is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

Bringing it Indoors with Heluvu Good! Cheese #HeluvaGoodSummer #IC ad

This post was sponsored by Heluva Good! Cheese as part of an Influence Central campaign and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

 

 

 

We all know how good cheese and crackers are for a quick snack when you’re out and about. But, what about those days when it’s too hot to venture outdoors? For my family, cheese is still a go-to option. My family loves grilled cheese panini sandwiches and I love buying the Heluva Good!® brand because there are so many great options to choose from. This allows us to mix and match flavors for a truly gourmet grilled cheese that takes literally minutes to prepare.

 

 

Speaking of flavors Heluva Good!Block Cheese comes in the following flavors:

  • Colby Jack
  • Pepper Jack
  • Extra Sharp Cheddar
  • Sharp Cheddar
  • White Extra Sharp Cheddar
  • White Sharp Cheddar
  • White Mild Cheddar
  • Muenster
  • Monterey Jack
  • Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar
  • Colby
  • Mild Cheddar

 

 

 

For grilled cheese sandwiches, you want to opt for flavors that melt really well, such as Colby Jack, Pepper Jack, Muenster, Monterey Jack, and Colby. Try mixing and matching the flavors to create a flavor combo that your family loves.

 

I created a Turkey Panini for lunch that my family loves and it only took a few minutes for a delicious melt in your mouth sandwich. Just look at how that cheese melts, it was truly delicious.

 

 

 

Personally, I love shopping at Walmart for the Heluva Good! Cheese because I can find so many flavors and get a great price. If you’re already doing your grocery shopping at Walmart, why not add some cheese to your shopping list? If you’re an Ibotta user like me you can save on Heluva Good! Cheese too with this limited quantity Ibotta offer

Heluva Good! Cheese can be used in so many different recipes. Whether you’re making a classic, like a grilled cheese sandwich, or trying a new recipe you’re going to love all the flavors you can find.

 

Turkey Panini

Easy Turkey Panini 

  • Sara Lee Honey Roasted Turkey
  • Tomato
  • Spring Mix
  • Heluvu Good! Cheese Block
  • Your Choice of Bread
  • Butter
  1. Choose your bread. A panini can be made with Italian bread, ciabatta, focaccia, sourdough, or any kind of bread you like. …

    Spread butter oon the inside of your bread. …

    Add Heluvu Good! Cheese 

    Add your filling. … 2 Oz of Turkey, Tomato, Spring Mix 

    Close your sandwich.. and place sandwich either in pan on onto panini machine and grill. Cook 5 to 7 minutes. (If using a pan, press sandwich down with a pan lid. Cook sandwiches about 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until bread is toasted. 

    Enjoy!!!!

Follow Heluva Good! Cheese on Social Media for great recipes

Heluva Good! Cheese Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/HeluvaGood

Heluva Good! Cheese Twitter: https://twitter.com/heluvagood

Heluva Good! Cheese Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heluvagooddips

Heluva Good! Cheese Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/heluvagood/