Oriental Trading Spooky Halloween

THIS POST WAS SPONSORED BY ORIENTAL TRADING COMPANY. I RECEIVED PRODUCTS FROM THEM FOR MY HONEST OPINION.

 

When you work 12 hour days 7 days a week throwing a party for your kids becomes difficult. My plan was to throw a super spooky haunted house party for my girls but then I was deployed for a month and a half so all my planning kinda went out the window. So while I was gone serving the great state of Texas in #disasterrelief my box of fun came from Oriental Trading – I couldn’t wait to open it upon my return. I was able to throw a small party with the six of us because of time restraints.

 

 

Inside of my box came a spooky surprise. Paper Plates and matching cups, skulls, spooky candlesticks and more. We made Ghoul Juice and Pepperoni Spooky Pizzas and the girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Instead of me taking over the reigns and decorating I let them have fun and do it.

 

 

Oriental Trading is your one-stop shop this Halloween for fun toys, games, candy treats, crafts, party supplies and our Halloween costumes & accessories!

 

 

Oriental Trading has all your Halloween supplies from costumes to candy to decorations and freaky fun Halloween handouts if you prefer to stay away from the sweets. If spooky scary items are the way you go …. they have them too to make an awesome haunted house.

 

 

Trust me Oriental Trading is my go-to online shopping store for holidays and birthday parties they have EVERYTHING I need to make EVERYONE happy.

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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!

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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!

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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
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5 Road Trip Games for Your Kids to Play

Taking your kiddos on a road trip can be a really crazy experience. I mean they are impatient, they get bored, and they begin to bug you with the “How much longer?” And “Are we there yet?” questions! We all know how frustrating that can be to answer those questions over and over. The best solution to make for a fun, calm, and enjoyable road trip is to keep those kids busy and having fun! If they’re having fun, they won’t be so worried about the timing and they will actually have a good ride. So, it can get pretty messy to bring along a bunch of toys to play with and it’s pretty much impossible to play a board game in a moving vehicle, but don’t worry! I have the solution! I’m going to be sharing with you 5 easy and fun games to play with your kids in the car that require absolutely no tools, just your brains and you talking to one another! So let’s jump right into the fun!!

1. I Spy: I Spy is always a fun game for kids because they get to be little detectives and find things that they may not have thought to look for already. So although it can be a bit difficult to play this game with objects on the outside of your vehicle because well, you’re constantly moving, you can play with the things inside your vehicle! This is where it pays off to have a ton of stuff in your car because this game could go on forever!
2. Alphabet Game: Another really fun game that requires looking for things! Here are the rules of the game, you have to find a word somewhere, whether that be inside the vehicle or on the outside, that begins with each letter of the alphabet. Whoever gets all the way through the whole alphabet wins the game, really simple but definitely takes a good amount of time!
3. Name That Tune: This is a good one that only requires the radio! Turn it on and hold a competition to see who can guess the song that is playing the quickest! This is super fun and a great way to hold a little friendly competition!
4. Guess the Celebrity: This one is super fun if your are ones that follow the celebrity world! All you have to do to play is simply take turns describing a celebrity and whoever guesses who you are the quickest, gets a point!
5. Punch Buggy: This one may not be the best idea and the parents probably won’t suggest it, due to the punching part of the game! LOL Typically when this game is played, every time a person sees a buggy car, they have to punch the other person. However, that’s not very nice, to make it a more appropriate game  just have them simply say “punch buggy!” When they see one and track the points!
Next time you are taking a road trip with the kiddos, be sure to keep these in mind! I promise it will definitely make for a more exciting and enjoyable road trip because they will be having a blast and stay occupied during your long drive!
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Babytime Playful Wash

 

Young children have sensitive skin, you wouldn’t use regular soap on their delicate skin, would you?  Babytime! is the only skincare brand to make baby-safe, all-natural skincare products that with PROBIOTICS to support skin immunity and help treat common skin conditions, like eczema, cradle cap, and common dehydration. With clinically effective formulas designed to support the health and development of both the skin and body, Babytime! provides a protective barrier to insulate vulnerable skin, offset environmental contaminants, and help keep children safe.

 

 

I was given the opportunity to try out Babytime Playful WashPeaceful Bubbles and Active Repair with my girls and absolutely love the natural smell of them. Made with ingredients I can pronounce. I also love knowing that the scents are naturally-derived instead of being created with harmful chemicals. Non-irritating and eye safe my kids had a blast in the bath and a little goes a long way with Babytime.

 

Playful Wash 

Enjoy an ultra-gentle all-over cleanse with this fresh, sudsy bath-time favorite. The Episencial 2-in-1 hair shampoo and body gel blends the natural cleansing properties of pure tangerine oil with calming and conditioning calendula and aloe for extra sensitive skin. pH-balanced to be eye-safe and quick-rinsing.

  • Ages: timeless for all ages, 0 – 150 years  Uses: 2-in-1 shampoo + body gel Benefits: moisturizing, extra gentle + quick rinsing
  • Safety: #1 Organic wash chosen by hospitals and NICUs

Peaceful Bubbles

Soak up some comfort for the skin with this extra gentle, non-irritating and ultra soothing bath treatment! Peaceful Bubbles is packed with moisturizing extracts that calm and soften skin, while fruit extracts soothe and balance for ultimate skin health and immunity. Sugar-based foaming agents create bubbly fun while adding natural healing skin oils. pH-balanced to be safe, quick rinsing and eye-safe. Safe and non-irritating for boys and girls.

Ages: Timeless for all ages, 0 – 150 years

Uses: All-in-one Bubble Bath + Shampoo

Benefits: Calming, softening, soothing + pH balancing

Safety: Doctor developed, won’t irritate sensitive places

Smells Like: Calming lavender plum

 

 

Active Repair

Bring comforting relief to dry, irritated, inflamed, cracked or eczema-prone skin without the use of steroid creams. Active Repair uses 95% organic ingredients like healing calendula, zinc and ceramides to soothe, protect and moisturize severely bothered skin. Formulated to create a barrier and promote fast-acting healing, this luxurious cream ointment will help improve the quality of life with the first use. Helps to reduce itching and overall irritation. Moms and dads can be confident that this gentle yet effective formula will safely and effectively protect and repair their children’s skin and can be used on babies and kids of all ages.

Ages: Timeless for all ages, 0 – 150 years
Uses: Nourishing, skin barrier protectant for eczema, severely dry or cracked skin
Benefits:  Helps actively repair cracked, itching and oozing skin associated with rashes, eczema, poison ivy, oak, and insect bites.
Safety: OTC grade ointment made with solar power in a pharmaceutical grade lab
Smells Like: Refreshing and cool, medicinal- like tea tree, familiar
Feels Like: Relief, like sitting under a tree on a blazing summer day
Ingredients: Calendula, ceramides, coconut oil, tea tree & zinc

 

You will feel great knowing your baby’s skin is safe with Babytime and bath time will be that much more fun.

 

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5 Tips for Saving & Getting Free Groceries

 

Groceries are one of the biggest expenses for a household. Wouldn’t it be nice to get free groceries from time to time? Believe it or not, there are ways to get free food. Does it take a bit of work? Yes, but it can be well worth it. In some cases, you may even make money. Let’s take a closer look at five tips for getting free groceries.

 

  1. Sign Up for Rewards Cards

 

Did you know that many grocery stores and even drugstores often have items you can get for free? It’s true. For example, Kroger grocery stores have a free item of the week. Walgreens also often offers items you can purchase and then get a register reward for the cost of the item. Sign up for as many rewards programs as you can.

 

  1. Shop Clearance Racks

 

Stores often have clearance items that are still in stock, but the store has decided to stop selling the item. This usually lowers the price quite a bit. In some cases, you can use coupons to get these items for free. In some stores, you may even get an overage that can be put towards your other items.

 

  1. Utilize Overages

 

Speaking of overages, some stores, such as Walmart, allow you to use coupon overages towards other items. The way an overage works is that you have a coupon that is worth more than the value of the item being purchased. If you’re shopping at a store that allows overages, the money will be used to cover other items being purchased. This is how couponers get items like meat and produce for free.

 

  1. Use Rebate Programs

 

There are so many rebate programs out there.CheckOut51 and Ibotta are two of the most popular. The way these programs work is that you can scan the item and your receipt and are given money back on the item. In many cases, there will be items listed that you can find on sale and can find coupons for. Once you snatch up your rebate, the item may be free or you may even make money.

 

  1. Contact Your Favorite Companies

 

Spend a bit of time emailing your favorite companies to tell them how much you love their products. In many cases, you will receive coupons, including coupons for free items. Sure, it takes a bit of time to email these companies, but it can be well worth it.

 

Do you want to cut the cost of your groceries? Take the time to do a bit of work and you could get some of your groceries for free.

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5 Cheap Hacks for Healthy Summer Treat

 

Summer has arrived and it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to keep the kiddos fed. While meals may not be a problem, what about snacks? Do you have healthy snack ideas in your arsenal? Ice cream and popsicles purchased from the store can be loaded with fat, calories, and questionable ingredients. Thankfully, you can use some cheap hacks for healthy summer treats.

 

  1. Freeze Yogurt Cups

 

Do you have some yogurt that is getting close to expiring? Poke a popsicle stick into the cup through the lid. Freeze for at least 4 to 6 hours. Once frozen, dip the cup into hot water to loosen the yogurt and pull it out. You’ve got a yummy treat that your kids are going to love.

 

  1. Make Fruit Kabobs

 

Do you have trouble getting your kids to eat fruit? Make it fun. Cut fruit into chunks and skewer it on a kabob stick. You can even add a couple fun treats, such as marshmallows or miniature candy bars. You could also drizzle the fruit with chocolate sauce. Chances are you’ll have no trouble at all getting your kids to eat this fruit.

 

  1. Cut Foods Into Fun Shapes

 

If your kids are small, they are going to love this. You can cut so many different foods using cookie cutters. You can make fruit flowers, bear-shaped luncheon meat and cheese, or even dinosaur-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Just have fun with it. You can even get your kids involved.

 

  1. Create Your Own Smoothie Pops

 

In the morning when you’re making your smoothie, make an extra batch and pour the mixture into popsicle molds. This can be a great way to sneak some extra veggies into your kids diet. Plus, you’ll be making smoothie bars that would cost a fortune in a health food store.

 

  1. Play Food Bingo

 

Want to get your kids to eat more healthy foods? Create bingo boards featuring the different foods. You can then offer your kids snacks throughout the week that feature these foods. If your kids eat the right foods, they can win a prize. It’s just a fun way to get your kids to eat healthier.

 

Summer doesn’t have to be a constant fight to get your kids to eat healthy. There are so many fun hacks you can use to get your kids to eat healthier. Whether it’s cutting foods into fun shapes or playing food bingo, you’ll love these cheap hacks for healthy summer snacks.

 

 

Life with 4 Crazy Girls 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.

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