20 Alternatives to Candy for Halloween Treats

Ideas for non candy & alternative Halloween treats!

Let me tell you about the year I handed out pretzels -- It's a HUGE family joke so I'm sure I've mentioned it before.

To my defense, they were pumpkin & bat shaped pretzels in these cute little Halloween-themed bags ....

BUT that did not seem to impress MY kids at all. 

All I heard was "What if my friends stop by?  They'll think you don't like Halloween?" 

Well that's totally not true given some of the fun ways we hand out candy and the cool Halloween decorations we have at our house!

But I wasn't going to waiver -- I was going with pretzels that year! 

Every other house would hand out candy so there would be more than enough of that to go around, right?

Then came Halloween night ...

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How to Get Organized & Enjoy More Time with Your Family

How to Get Organized & Enjoy More Time with Your Family

A few months ago, I shared my secret to the Best Place to Begin Organizing Your Entire Home.

I wrote the post because I wanted to inspire other busy moms like me to find their starting point when it comes to putting some organzational systems in place.

Amazingly, it's been one of our most read posts this year!

Obviously it's not just me who is working toward a more organized home ;)

So with Mother's Day coming, I thought I would share another post that's "just for Mom" -- even though we all know that anything that's done for Mom actually benefits the whole family ;)

Today, we'll look at some AMAZING books that can help us to get control of clutter, make meal planning simplier, inspire us to take time for ourselves and give us more time with our families!

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Teaching Kids about Water Conservation & the Water Cycle

Teaching Kids about Water Conservation & the Water Cycle

Activiites & books about that teach our children about water conservation and the water cycle!

March 22nd is World Water Day.

It's a day for all of us to remember that water is an important resource in our life and clean water is a limited resource for many around the world. 

Everyone can make a difference in preserving this natural resource, even the youngest among us! 

In fact, our kids might even teach us adults a thing or two.

Join us as we explore some great books, learn about the water cycle and share tips for easy ways to conserve water.

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Recycle End of Year School Supplies for Back to School

Have your kids started their countdown for the last day of school yet?

The clock is quickly ticking away at our house!

And I adore that last day of school -- all the excitement about summer, the hugs for the teachers, our special end of school traditions and the kids knowing they are "one year older" in school years ;)

But I do dread all the end of the school year stuff that comes home with them -- stuffed in an "I-just-couldn't-get-it-zipped" backpack and overflowing brown paper bag.

They run into the house carrying that huge lot -- their whole desk or locker just dumped in it (UGH!) -- and it just spills out on the floor, quickly forgotten.  

So before they ditch their school supplies and reach for their bathing suits, have them follow these quick & easy steps that will save you time & money come Fall!! 

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5 Ways Moms Can Find More 'ME' Time

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Best Western. All opinions are 100% mine.


Do you know a hard-working Mom who deserves some ME time?

I hope you just said "yes, ME!"

And I'm sure quite a few other names popped into your head --

your sister who's raising three kids all under the age of 6,

your best friend who's managing a full-time job outside of the home and a hectic daycare schedule for her toddler,

or maybe one of the moms in your church group who is taking care of her own family along with her older parents who also need quite a bit of her time.

Life can get busy for us Moms and sometimes we deserve some time for ourselves.

So how can we make Me time more of a priority?


Finding more time for yourself

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The Best Place to Begin Organizing Your Entire Home

If you have kids, you know that you can accumulate a LOT of stuff!

Probably way more stuff than any of us really needs in our homes.

And the goal is always to “get things organized”, right?

This isn’t the first time I’ve made a concerted effort to organize our home – in fact, it’s pretty much been an ongoing project for the last 12 years.

I would read a great book or see an awesome post on Pinterest and think “Hey! That would work for us.”  And I would be gung-ho to get a closet or the pantry all organized.

And it would be perfect …

… for about 2 days :)

Then I would get discouraged because things would get messy again.

However, this past November I decided to change my approach to organizing our home and guess what – it finally STUCK!

What did I do that was different?


Organizing Ideas for the Home -- where to start

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Cinnamon Scented Jingle Bell Placecards

The tree is up, the halls are decked and we are counting down the days until family 'comes to town'.

Most of our relatives are miles away from us so we really look forward to having them visit, especially during the holidays.

But I will admit, it can be a bit daunting to double the number of people in your house overnight.  So I love to find ways that the kids can help as we get ready for our guests.

One area I always let the kids take over is decorating the holiday table.  In addition to setting and clearing for meals, I also count on them to put together centerpieces, arrange cookie trays and create other festive ways to decorate the table for holidays.

So today's "Get Ready for the Relatives" project are these adorable Cinnamon Scented Jingle Bell Placecards!


Decorating the Holiday Table: DIY Name Cards for Guests

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Creating an Interactive Advent Calendar for the Holidays

 This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.


One of the holiday traditions that we look forward to the most in our family is having an Advent Calendar.  I remember having one as a child -- putting candy canes into the slots each day as we counted down to Christmas Eve.  And now we do one with our kids too.

Our countdown changes each year -- sometimes we have a traditional Advent Calendar where the kids open up the littles doors and peek in to find a riddle, joke or fun fact about the holidays.

And sometimes our countdown consists of hidden slips of paper that the kids have to hunt for in order to find out what we are doing that day -- an outdoor adventure, volunteer activity or easy fun at home with the family!

And then there are those years when I'll pull together an interactive Advent Calendar that not only helps us count down the days but also doubles as a decoration.

This is one of those years -- our oldest in a high school Senior this year so I know I won't have another countdown with him at home for the entire month of December.  It's a little bittersweet -- you love to see the kids grow up into confident young adults but you so miss those days when they would crawl up on your lap for a Christmas story.

So this year's Advent Calendar will include all of our favorite things from the past -- and best of all, I'm upcycling so many items as I create it!

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Do You Know What Your Kids are REALLY Doing Online?


I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for BGCA. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.


For our kids, using technology is like brushing their teeth -- they do it a few times a day; it's just part of their daily routine.

They love to play games, watch videos, stay in touch with friends & family and keep up with all the latest internet fads.

But what are they REALLY doing when they're online?

With a teen and tween at our house, this is a topic that's constantly discussed in our home.

I consider myself a pretty involved parent but I want to balance how much I monitor my kids' tech behavior with being able to teach them good online skills so they can 'police' themselves.  So I was really happy when I was asked to tour and read the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Cyber Safe Futures website!

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5 Ways to Unplug & Connect over a Family Dinner

If you ever come to my house for dinner (and please know you're always invited -- I make a killer lasagna!), I have a few rules that everyone has to follow -- no phone, texts or tv during the meal.

One bite of the lasagna and you really won't care who's texting you!

Now actually, this is a rule my parents had way back when we were kids -- raising three teenagers during the dinner hour almost drove my Dad crazy with the constant phone calls.

So one simple rule was born -- no calls during dinner! 

"If it's important, they'll call back" my parents would always tell us.  Not to mention, the people around the table were JUST as important as the people on the phone.

Dinner was time for our family to sit down and catch up with each other, talk about the day, plan for trips and take time to reconnect.

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350+ Ideas for a Creative & Fun School Year

I am beyond excited for today's Discover & Explore linky!!  And for two very cool reasons --

First, we are starting our fall themes and I just LOVE Autumn :)

And more importantly, I'm thrilled to announce that Discover & Explore is now being hosted on 5 amazing blogs!

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12 Items Too Cool for School

Want to make Back to School a big hit in your house? 

We know it's all about the gear, right!

Here are a few fun & helpful items that will thrill the kids as they head into a new school year!

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Our Summer Adventure List - Fun Activities to do this Summer


I'm so excited about today's post!  For a few reasons -- first, we had a great time creating it and second, it's a post about SUMMER!

For the past few weeks, we've been working on our Summer Adventure List - a.k.a. the summer bucket list. 

We've created a list of fun things to do during summer for the past 12 years.  Once my oldest turned 4, he had a lot of ideas for things he wanted to do and places to visit during summer vacation.  About the same time, my husband and I realized that we wanted to experience a variety of things with our kids while they were still young.  So, we started our annual tradition.

Most years, we just have a list, sometimes colorful or worthy of a place on the fridge, but mostly it's just a list of fun things we'd like to do (along with a few new things to learn too).

But this year, we got creative!

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5 Amazing Ways to Use Kids' Artwork for the Holidays

Not sure what to do with all the Christmas projects and winter crafts in your house?  Try these ideas!

If there's one thing we have a lot of in our house, it's kids' artwork! 

They are always making such cool projects at school and I never want to just throw it away so I have quite a bit around the house.  However, it's not always easy to display, store and save artwork -- those 3D projects are really a challenge ;)

This is one of the reasons that I really enjoy pulling out seasonally themed art projects and displaying them during the holidays.

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5 Easy Ideas for Making Your Home More Kid-Friendly


As kids grow up, it's important for them to have their own spaces.

This will help them to learn some reponsibility with regards to taking care of their things, be able to become independent and feel that they are contributing to the family. 

Because let's face it, after a few years of constantly picking up after them, we're always happy when they learn to chip in and start to do more for themselves.


Here are a few ideas for easy ways to change your home environment so that kids can do more for themselves, enjoy their space and help out around the house.

These ideas can be used with kids as young as 2 years old and are perfect for creating independence in kids ages 5 - 12 years.  I've included affiliate links to some of our favorite kid-sized items for your information and convenience.



Kid friendly ideas for your home

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