Kindergarten Summer Activities Guide

Kindergarten Summer Activities Guide

These kindergarten summer activities are a good way to connect and have fun while they – hopefully – learn something.

Why Kindergarten Summer Activities?

Now that camps are over, vacations are done and school is right around the corner, I am slowly starting to get Big Nugget into specific academic kindergarten summer activities. Nothing outrageous and still very play/game orientated but I’m wanting to get her brain dusted off after a fun summer. She’s not reading enough on her own just yet to do most of these independently so it’s a fun way to spend some time together and “do challenges” as she likes to call them.

One thing I did learn with these kindergarten summer activities is that sometimes she has a hard time listening and learning from me. When she starts to get frustrated and shuts down, we move on. I don’t push it because I’m not a homeschool teacher and this is just meant to be fun. She’s going to learn all the things at school – I’m not stressing myself or my daughter out making sure she’s acing these games. There are plenty of other things for me to be stressed about like what we’re going to pack for lunches and how are we going to deal with both kids transitioning into full-time school at the same time.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! I was also gifted a few of these products to provide my honest review to you.

Highlights Summer Big Fun Workbook

Highlights can seriously do no wrong in my book. We are huge fans of their Hidden Pictures books, it’s a favorite activity the girls do with their Grandma, and we are subscribers. This Big Fun Workbook though gives your child a variety of activities to do from reading to math in a fun, challenging way. The illustrations are colorful and fun, just like you expect from your regular Highlights magazines. There is a progress chart that includes stickers for each chapter that your child completes and a fun hidden pictures bonus game.

Big Nugget wanted to skip over pages that she wasn’t interested in, mostly the tracing of letters, but the chapter completion stickers really motivated her. Such a great learning experience FOR ME as her Mom to see what she is motivated by and now I’m researching sticker charts for other activities (like chores)!

Kindergarten summer activities that make learning fun for kids and parents. Ideas and products that help teach children sight words, science experiments, math, and art projects. #kindgergarten #learning #sightwords

They are available for each lower grade level so it can become a summer tradition for you to work through one of these workbooks each year.

The pages in this book – bridging preschool and kindergarten – include what Highlights calls Fun With A Purpose activities. Hidden Pictures puzzles, mazes, jokes and all are teacher-approved. They are designed to help with language arts, like sight words, and rhyming, math activities like counting, sorting, and simple addition and subtraction.

There are other sections that encourage you to go outside and others that give you step by step instructions to make a craft, usually at the end of the chapter. I would highly recommend this workbook for your rising kindergartener as a fun summer activity.

hand2mind Learn to Read Set

This set from hand2mind combines some great Bob Books with Versatiles. I had never seen them before but my 5 year old LOVES them. She has asked to play this “game” every night before bed. It’s quickly become one of her favorite kindergarten summer activities and made earning some phonics fun for her. The tiles were a little confusing at first but once I read the directions a few times, we figured it out.

Pro tips with the tiles: open the tile case and lie it flat on the workbook page. Make sure the tiles are arranged in order in the top two rows. Lift one tile and follow the page instructions on how to match it to the bottom.

We have loved Bob Books in our house for quite some time. They are simple but so effective in teaching the early layers of learning to read. The illustrations and the sentence structures are simple so that it’s easier to comprehend (and teach).

Kindergarten summer activities that make learning fun for kids and parents. Ideas and products that help teach children sight words, science experiments, math, and art projects. #kindgergarten #learning #sightwords

Melissa & Doug Smarty Pants – Kindergarten

We’ve had this Smarty Pants trivia game since the spring and has been great for travel! Big Nugget also loves to do a handful of these each night before bed. They are a mixture of trivia, questions, math, matching, and logic. My only critique is that the type on the cards can be hard to see in the low light of a bedroom. #oldeyes

Other Kindergarten Summer Activities

  • FREE TIME! They are going to be so scheduled once school starts, give them the freedom that is what makes summer amazing.
  • Games like Guess Who
  • Have your child help you make a bucket list for the last few weeks of summer.
  • Other workbooks like this one and question cards like this one
  • Learning apps – we love the Endless Apps for reading and counting
  • Include them in your back to school shopping
Kindergarten summer activities that make learning fun for kids and parents. Ideas and products that help teach children sight words, science experiments, math, and art projects. #kindgergarten #learning #sightwords

How to Install Roman Shades in 5 Easy Steps

How to Install Roman Shades in 5 Easy Steps

A byproduct of our kitchen renovation was a little bit of a facelift to our adjoining living room. We painted the walls white and I decided to switch out the window treatments to match the roman shade we put in the kitchen window. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to measure, purchase and install roman shades.

Here is the before picture, we have these standard white blinds on every window of the house. Slowly, I’ll start replacing them all with cordless window treatments. This was a perfect spot to start.

How to install roman shades in 5 easy steps. These affordable window coverings are cordless and an easy DIY update to any space. We added our roman shades to our living room and kitchen for a completely updated look. #romanshades #DIY #howto

I bought these roman shades at Lowes, they are custom cut at the store and very affordable, at least for a window covering. This entire installation took me under 10 minutes to complete and I did it by myself with a drill, pen and measuring tape. Super simple!

Install Roman Shades – Step 1

Remove your old window covering and made sure to give the window a good wipe down.

Remove your old blinds and make sure to wipe the space down before you start drilling.

Step 2

Measure and mark where you are going to drill the holes to install the brackets.

Measure out and mark where to drill your holes.

Step 3

Drill your holes and install the top brackets. Yes this looks a little crooked but the design of the roman shades are very forgiving.

The bracket to hold the shades before installing the roman shades.

Step 4

Lift the roman shade into place to make sure the screws align.

How to install roman shades in 5 easy steps. These affordable window coverings are cordless and an easy DIY update to any space. We added our roman shades to our living room and kitchen for a completely updated look. #romanshades #DIY #howto

Step 5

Tighten the butterfly nut on the post and you’re done!

How to install roman shades in 5 easy steps. These affordable window coverings are cordless and an easy DIY update to any space. We added our roman shades to our living room and kitchen for a completely updated look. #romanshades #DIY #howto

This installation was so easy and made such a difference in the space. I love bringing in the natural fibers in the window against the white walls of the living room. These shades are easy to adjust as well so when we want to watch a movie and darken the room a bit, they pull right down.

We love how they turned out, such a quick and affordable DIY update to the space.

How to install roman shades in 5 easy steps. These affordable window coverings are cordless and an easy DIY update to any space. We added our roman shades to our living room and kitchen for a completely updated look. #romanshades #DIY #howto

Install Roman Shades in Ceramic Tile

We followed these exact steps to install roman shades in our kitchen. The inside of the window sill was tiled to match the walls so we needed a special drill bit to drill through the ceramic tile. We also kept the bit and the tile wet with a spray bottle while we drilled slowly to prevent cracking.

How to install roman shades in 5 easy steps. These affordable window coverings are cordless and an easy DIY update to any space. We added our roman shades to our living room and kitchen for a completely updated look. #romanshades #DIY #howto

End of Year Teacher Gift Ideas

End of Year Teacher Gift Ideas

I always struggle to come up with a great end of year teacher gift for our wonderful teachers. There is only so much room in one’s life for custom frames and coffee mugs. I want to give them gifts that are useful and meaningful and that show how deeply they are appreciated for what they do all year, not just during teacher appreciation week.

This end of the school year is a particularly special one since my oldest is graduating from this special preschool we’ve called home for the last three years. I wanted to do something a little different than our teacher appreciation week gift last year so I sourced some ideas from readers and ya’ll don’t disappoint.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

End of Year Teacher Gift Ideas

  1. Handwritten notes about why you loved them – such a great idea and so deeply personal. Get a stationary set about something the teacher loves and have your child write a note on one and give the rest to them to use. How cute is this camping set or one for the Disney fan? My oldest loves to write her own thank you notes. I just write the text on a piece of paper for her and she copies it on her own.
  2. Book Store Gift Card – Teachers can never get enough books right? I also love giving them a gift subscription to Audible. That way, they will be motivated to use it for themselves and not the classroom.
  3. Wine – No brainer. These wines from Verse + Wine pair poetry with great wines.
  4. Survival Kit – a great end of year teacher gif idea from one of my readers! She used a 4×6 photo storage box and made this adorable DIY gift loaded with goodies from Target and the Dollar Store.
  5. Cookie Jar – The theme for our graduation party, yes we are doing a preschool graduation party, is One Smart Cookie. This cookie jar paired with a cookie mix, an oven mitt, and a spatchula will be perfect!
  6. Trinket Box – Something that is teacher related but not so literal – this Kate Spade Apple Box.

Do you have any ideas to add to this list? Share in the comments!

End of year teacher gifts from students. Show your teacher appreciation from preschool to high school, these DIY and inexpensive gifts are meaningful and unique. #teacher #giftidea #school

Black Toaster Oven Transformation For Under $20

Black Toaster Oven Transformation For Under $20

As we are finishing up our kitchen renovation, I found myself torn up about my toaster oven. I’ve had this Hamilton Beach toaster oven for over 10 years and I love it. It’s functional and ok, maybe I have a little bit of a sentimental attachment to it. So when I realized that the red wasn’t going to look good in our new kitchen design, I needed to come up with a plan.

A few people suggested that I give it a good cleaning and then paint it with some high heat spray paint to give it a little facelift. A matte black toaster oven for under $20? What did I have to lose right?

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

Black Toaster Oven Transformation

Black Toaster Oven Transformation For Under $20. Step by step guide to this simple DIY project that is budget friendly and quick. Turn any appliance into a dated piece with some high heat spray paint and elbow grease. #diy #kitchenideas #appliances

First step in making this a black toaster oven was making this a clean one. I used a degreaser and following the directions, made sure I was in a well ventilated area and used gloves. This degreaser worked so quickly and very easily got this little toaster oven looking like new, at least on the outside.

Black Toaster Oven Transformation For Under $20. Step by step guide to this simple DIY project that is budget friendly and quick. Turn any appliance into a dated piece with some high heat spray paint and elbow grease. #diy #kitchenideas #appliances

I’ve linked everything I used for this DIY project in my Amazon Store.

Black Toaster Oven Transformation For Under $20. Step by step guide to this simple DIY project that is budget friendly and quick. Turn any appliance into a dated piece with some high heat spray paint and elbow grease. #diy #kitchenideas #appliances

Once it was clean and completely dry, I tapped off everything with blue painters tape. I was very generous with the tape to make sure none of the chrome or stainless steel parts were accidentally painted matte black. The I used this high heat matte black spray paint and got to work. It coated very easily and dried quickly. I started with the back of the toaster oven so that I could get used to the spray paint. Once that was dry, I did the front. I used a small piece of cardboard to over the opening when the glass door was open and the red lip on the inside needed to be painted.

Black Toaster Oven Transformation For Under $20. Step by step guide to this simple DIY project that is budget friendly and quick. Turn any appliance into a dated piece with some high heat spray paint and elbow grease. #diy #kitchenideas #appliances

I am THRILLED with how it turned out. It looks just perfect in the new kitchen. This little black toaster oven is now just the perfect combination of new and completely used.

Black Toaster Oven Transformation For Under $20. Step by step guide to this simple DIY project that is budget friendly and quick. Turn any appliance into a dated piece with some high heat spray paint and elbow grease. #diy #kitchenideas #appliances

Want to see the rest of our kitchen renovation? Make sure to subscribe for email updates and be the first to see the reveal.

Black Toaster Oven Transformation For Under $20. Step by step guide to this simple DIY project that is budget friendly and quick. Turn any appliance into a dated piece with some high heat spray paint and elbow grease. #diy #kitchenideas #appliances
Black Toaster Oven Transformation For Under $20. Step by step guide to this simple DIY project that is budget friendly and quick. Turn any appliance into a dated piece with some high heat spray paint and elbow grease. #diy #kitchenideas #appliances

Potty Training the Second Time Around

Potty Training the Second Time Around

Here is what I learned about potty training the second time around.

There are a lot of things that you think you know when you have your second child. You have some idea of what labor, delivery, and recovery will be like. You know about all the things that no one talks about – I’m looking at you hemorrhoids. You’ve been through teething and introducing foods. All those big milestones the first few years happen so quickly and if you’re anything like me you’re thinking this whole raising kids thing is not so bad.

Then it begins. Your toddler starts showing signs. Probably with a fascination with the toilet. Or the annoyance with the diaper and an overwhelming need for your toddler to be naked. Watching their older, independent, sibling use the toilet freely certainly is fuel to this burning desire to want to use the toilet themselves.

Potty Training, no problem right? I’ve done this before, how hard can it be to get this other tiny person to use the potty…correctly? Piece of cake.

That’s when my motherhood reality check hit me smack dab in the face. Here are my potty training takeaways this second time around.

There Is No Potty Training Blueprint

Just because it’s your second time doing this does, by no means, mean that you know what you are doing. There is no one size fits all way to potty train a child. My two daughters couldn’t be more different both in physical stature and in their personalities. What worked for my oldest does not work for my youngest so why then would I think potty training would be any different?

I went into potty training having SOME idea of what worked but that easy peasy 3 days of nakedness at home and they come out of it potty trained did NOT happen here. Sure we cleared our schedule one weekend and stayed home and did the thing but at the end of the three days, she was still wearing a diaper at night and during naps and ya know what…I’m totally ok with that and so is she.

Don’t Rush It

This was something I learned the first time around – listen to your child, they will show you when they are ready to make this leap. My oldest had urinary reflux when she was a toddler and we had a few visits with an amazing Pediatric Urologist. Her biggest advice to us was to not rush potty training. Too many parents are in such a rush to get their kid out of diapers for one reason or the next when really they are better off staying in them until THEY are ready, not you. Don’t worry, they aren’t going to go to Kindergarten in diapers, it will happen and it will happen much easier if you go on their schedule.

We waited until Big Nugget was almost 3 until we potty trained her so I thought we had PLENTY of time until we had to do this with Little Nugget. She, like always, had other plans. Around the time she turned two she started to really dislike her diaper and would take it off whenever she had a chance. So we went with it and by the time she was 26 months, she was daytime potty trained.

Make It a Family Affair

Little Nugget things the earth revolves around her big sister. Anything she does, Little wants to do twice as badly. I used that to our advantage when we were potty training. Getting big sister involved not only helped the little one, but I could see Big Nugget’s confidence and pride grow each time she helped out.

That also means that if you are going to reward your toddler for going pee in the potty, that you have extra. When I was handing out marshmallows for a successful pee in the potty, there were four hands waiting for their handout, not just two. And that is totally ok. Fostering the sense of accomplishment not just for your own achievements but for others as well is a great lesson to learn as an older sibling.

We also utilized our reward jar a lot during this time. The girls loved earning rocks by just going to the bathroom.

Potty Training Stinks

Both literally and figuratively. One thing that hasn’t changed is that you have to bring your A game with your patience. There is no relaxing on the couch when you have a minute or two. No focusing on other tasks at hand when the naked one is on the loose. You’re always on. Always waiting for the next “I gotta pee” scream and sprint to the toilet.

When the accidents happen, cause they will, then you have to put your own frustrations aside and be as supportive and reassuring as possible. This is a big undertaking for that little person and it’s just as easy for them to get frustrated and discouraged. Patience and persistence will eventually pay off, I promise.

Want to see all of my must-have products for potty training? Check out my Amazon Store list called….potty training.

Potty Training lessons learned from a mom who's been there, done that...twice.

11 Step Guide: How to Leave Your Abuser

11 Step Guide: How to Leave Your Abuser

Last year, I shared my personal story of domestic abuse and how I survived. I shared it because I knew I wasn’t alone in how I felt at the time and I wanted my story to maybe help someone else. I promised myself I would continue to share, continue to be open in what I lived through and continue to try to help other women in similar situations.

As a writer with a platform, I get a LOT of emails with pitches about various products, services, and people. I’ll be honest, I don’t read them all but this one email got my attention and I feel compelled to share it in the hopes that this could help another woman.

The email talked about how women who are being abused by their partner are under a tremendous amount of stress, which may have a significant impact on their ability to think and make decisions clearly and calmly. It shared this list of how to prepare to leave your abuser from financial advisor and candid abuse survivor Rosemary Lombardy 

I remember when I decided to leave that I did as much prepping as I could without it being noticed. I started to put my toiletries in boxes under the guise of an organization project and I started to stash money away. So this list hit home for me.

This list provides a clear roadmap for women to follow so that they can prepare to leave their abuser, minimize the damage he will try to inflict, and do what is necessary to protect their children, themselves, and their assets. Rosemary has a new book out, Breaking Bonds: How to Divorce an Abuser and Heal—A Survival Guide.

You are not alone. There are people who will help you and you can always reach out to me and I can help you get in touch with resources.

11 Step Guide: How to Leave Your Abuser

1.  Safety First. Your family’s personal safety is the only thing that really matters. If you or your children are being subjected to physical violence, take them and leave the home right now. If you suspect that physical abuse may be imminent, take the children and leave right now. Use the resources listed in the Emergencies Tab on the Breaking Bonds website to find a secure place to stay if you don’t have somewhere else to go. You can access the rest of the information on this website from a safe distance.

2.  Have Money. Before alerting your abuser that you plan to leave him, set aside hard cash for emergencies and transfer up to half of the balances in the bank accounts to an account in your name alone. Have the bank mail the statements to a post office box instead of to your home. You will need to be able to pay bills until you are able to petition the court for financial assistance. Abusers will frequently drain the accounts once they discover they are going to lose control over their victims in order to retaliate, or to force them to drop the divorce petition or settle for unfavorable terms. Do not drain the joint accounts yourself and leave your husband without any funds, as that would be unethical.

Disclose what you have done with the money in your first meeting with your lawyer.  He or she may have different advice as to whether you should move funds to a separate account before filing for divorce. Inform him or her that an abuser will do whatever it takes to be punitive and maintain control, and it is highly likely that he will drain the household accounts as soon as he is aware that his wife plans to divorce him. Although your attorney can ask the judge in your case to issue a temporary order to freeze your jointly held bank accounts, such measures will take time. You must have funds for your day-to-day living expenses and to pay your attorney and court expenses in the meantime.

3.  Go-to Bag. Prepare a go-to bag that contains contain cash, your driver’s license,  credit cards, checkbooks, a list of your assets and debts, a set of clothes for you and the children, toys, court papers, your passport, birth certificates, medical records, marriage certificate, social security cards, , medicines, insurance information, immunization records, welfare documents, immigration papers, and other legal documents. Keep copies of court papers in your possession to prove to the police that your spouse is violating a court restraining order if you have to summon them.

4.  Make Copies. Make copies of bank and other financial statements, deeds, paystubs, recent tax returns, estate documents, and emails or posts that incriminate your abuser or prove his infidelity without alerting him that you plan to file for divorce. Store this evidence somewhere safe outside the home. Abusers frequently remove or destroy records once they become aware of the divorce.

5. Protect Children. When you leave your husband, take your children with you to avoid losing custody of them. The courts may consider your leaving them behind to be abandonment, a sign that you are an unfit mother willing to leave them in danger. Or that you are lying about the domestic abuse. Even if your husband tries to intimidate you to leave without the children, you must not let him force you to leave the house without them under any circumstances. Call the police if you must.

6. Document Abuse. Take pictures of any physical abuse and date them. Start documenting verbal abuse in a journal that you keep outside the home. If your abuser becomes violent, call the police immediately and have them take pictures to document the abuse. Make sure that you have written down the names of the officers who are present. Have your abuser arrested. If you give him a free pass, the abuse is likely to escalate. Protect yourself.

7. Get Help. Use the Resources Tab on the Breaking Bonds website to find safety resources, therapists, and financial and legal assistance in your area.

8. Protect Credit. Before you file for divorce, obtain a credit card in your name alone. You may not be able to get credit based on your income alone, so make an application to get the card before you file for divorce so that you can qualify for credit based on your joint income with your spouse. As soon as you file, close any joint credit cards that have a zero balance and put a freeze the jointly held credit cards. You won’t be able to close them out completely if they still have a balance, but you can prevent any additional charges from being added to joint debt by freezing the account.

You are responsible for payment of any joint debt that you or your husband incurs during your marriage, even debt that your husband will ultimately be assigned in the settlement. Credit card companies are only concerned with whether you signed for the card, not the terms of a court order. Document all phone calls you make to the credit card companies and send them follow-up letters requesting that the lender report to the credit agencies that each of these credit card accounts was closed at your request.

Late payments and skipped payments will adversely affect your credit score for years to come, so do your best to make sure that payments are made by the due date for any debts you or your husband have incurred while the divorce is still going on. Your credit score will affect whether you can buy a home in your name alone or if you can refinance your existing home to remove your husband’s name afterward. It also affects the rate of interest that you will be charged on any loans you apply for in the future. Do what you can to protect your credit score.

9. Confide Well. Be careful whom you confide in. Some of your friends, colleagues, and family members may be judgmental or repeat to others what you have said to them in confidence. Even worse, word may get back to your abuser. Do not confide in your children unless it is absolutely necessary, as they are dealing with enough emotional turmoil and deserve to have their childhood protected. When discussing the situation with your children, say that you don’t feel safe living with their father or leaving them alone with him. Tell them that he does bad and scary things, not that he is a bad person. It is not necessary or helpful to elaborate. The best plan is to confide mostly in your therapist and your dog. Then give it to God.

10. Self-Care. Take care of yourself so that you can handle the stress of the divorce effectively. You will need physical energy and brainpower to deal with a very manipulative and unscrupulous opponent over a period of many months. Begin making changes now in your daily routine so that you get enough nutrients, exercise, and rest to feel empowered and think clearly. This will also boost your self-esteem and confidence.

11. Choose You.  Choose not to be a victim any longer. Stop blaming yourself! He has been brainwashing you into thinking that everything is your fault. He is the one who is mistreating you and making your family life miserable. Take back your power and take appropriate action. Do not argue or engage with your abuser. Use your legitimate fear of him to protect yourself and your children. Use your anger, which is telling you that something is very wrong with your life, to overcome your fear and make the changes that you need in your life.

I will not lie to you – this is all really scary but it’s possible. I’m proof that it is. That there is a better life out there that YOU deserve. If you are feeling alone, I’m here for you. Promise.

You can also call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1?800?799?7233 or visit their discrete website for more information on how to get help.

You are worth it.

11 Step Guide: How to Leave Your Abuser

Skin Care Tips for Every Budget and Skin Type

Skin Care Tips for Every Budget and Skin Type

I shared a post on my Instagram the other day about my love-hate journey with my hair. I posted a selfie and got a lot of messages asking what I use on my skin. Skin care tips have never been my thing, mostly cause I am just way too lazy to be a beauty or fashion person and partially cause I think that my skin is mostly good genes but I am ALWAY happy to share what products I love.

I also find it so ironic that people would complement my skin. There was a time in middle school and even some of high school that I was ridiculed for my acne. Funny how those moments can stay with you even after so many years. I tried every skin care tip under the sun to make my zits go away and eventually they did but that mentality never left me.

Between beach living, having babies and being over 40, my skin has transitioned from an oily nightmare to so very dry. My skin is also sensitive to certain products and starting a very slow gradual loss of it’s elasticity. I’m constantly on the hunt for the best hydrating products and have taken the advice of esthetitians that I’ve seen to heart to keep my skin healthy – hydrate and exfoliate.

Number 1 Skin Care Tip

Now, if I were a good blogger, I’d put this at the bottom of all my skin care tips so you have to read all the way down but I’m so passionate about this I want to put this right here at the top. YES, products are fun and they play a huge role in having healthy skin. So do genes. But what I’ve found to be most important in achieving that radiant glow – nutrition. Just like your muscles or your heart or your brain, your skin is an organ that needs to be nourished. I’m a HUGE fan of Whole30 but just eliminating processed foods from our diets and eating more organic items when we can afford it has made a HUGE difference. I try to drink a lot of water and I also am a fan of a scoop of Vital Proteins in my coffee in the morning. So, feed your face!

My favorite skin care tips and products are (no surprise) mostly all on Amazon. I also buy some of the organic products at my local Sprouts. Some of these links are affiliate links which means that if you buy them, I’ll get a small commission for giving them traffic. None of this post is sponsored, these are all products that I found on my own and use almost every day.

Morning Skin Care Tips

My morning routine usually consists of an early morning class at my gym and then a quick shower before work. With two small girls, I have limited time to get it all pulled together, people fed and myself out the door.

E-Raorganics Facial Exfoliant – I like to use this a few times a week in the shower.

Image Daily Moisturizer – This is a product that I never really stray from. I’ve been using it for 4 years and it just feels so good on my face plus the SPF is a great bonus!

Acure Brightening Oil – This facial oil is somewhat new to my routine. So far, I’m really happy with it. It smells great and makes my skin feel really soft and moisturized, plus it’s super affordable. I like to switch up my syrums that I use though cause you skin needs will change seasonally.

IT Cosmetics CC Cream – Are you on the cc cream bandwagon? This product is a dream for my skin. It’s light but provides full enough coverage that my skin appears even toned. Goes on super easy and doesn’t feel cakey on your skin. Not everyone is a fan though so I highly suggest heading into an Ulta store and trying a sample of it first.

Nighttime Skin Care Tips

I wish I could say that I was really diligent about removing my makeup each night but that would be a total and complete lie. BUT, when I do, these are my go to’s!

Burt’s Bees Wipes – My skin can be really sensitive, especially to make up removing wipes. One day, out of desperation, I grabbed some of Little Nugget’s butt wipes and took my make up off. No stinging in the eyes for me and it got *most* of it off. Another plus side to using these…they are cheap and readily available in this house. #allthediapers

Witch Hazel – This is a great and affordable toner for your skin. I was using an apple cider vinegar toner for awhile but it was throwing off the ph balance of my skin and making it extra dry. Once I replaced that with witch hazel, it’s been smooth sailing ever since. It also is a great second swipe at getting off all of your makeup.

Derma e Syrum Vitamin C – I love the Derma E products and this vitamin C serum is a new addition to my routine. I also love this one for a super hydrating feel you can use both in the morning and at night.

It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream – I have no words for this cream, it’s just magic in a bottle.

Favorite Skin Care Splurges

If money (and time) wasn’t an issue, I think I’d be a day spa junkie. I LOVE to go get facials and even do my own masks at home. It’s indulgent but my skin feels so amazing afterward. When I do make the time, here are some of my favorites.

Alexis K – Now, this is definately a splurge but if you are in San Diego and looking for an amazing experience, get yourself to Alexis K in Solana Beach. Their facility is gorgeous and their service is above and beyond. I’ve been twice, once to get my eyebrows done and another to have a facial with dermaplaning done. I loved how my skin looked after my dermaplaning here – soft and smooth and so hydrated. Their brow powder is my go to and their products are all great. I really loved the Zabana facial scrub.

The rest of these are fun masks that I use when I find some free time or the girls are taking an extra long tub and I can squeeze one in.

I put an entire list in my Amazon Store – just it out for a one stop shop for all my favorite skin care products.

Have any favorite products you like? Share them with me! I love finding new stuff to try.

Skin Care tips for Mom’s regardless of  time or budget. Affordable and natural products for anti aging and over 40 skin. Skincare favorites for your face and neck and perfect for dry skin.

9 Rainy Day Activities to Maintain Your Sanity

9 Rainy Day Activities to Maintain Your Sanity

We have had rainy day after rainy day this year in San Diego. It feels great at first, we know that we’ve been suffering a drought for years, but it’s starting to feel like Seattle. It has been the wettest winter I’ve ever had in my nearly 12 years living in Southern California.

San Diego is made for an outdoor lifestyle. We have gorgeous zoos and incredible beaches. Our endless summers soil us. When the clouds roll in the sky’s open up – we don’t know what to do with ourselves on a rainy day – much less consectutive rainy days.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

My girls have been loving the change in weather. We aren’t used to this. Rain boots are novelty items that get pulled out a few days a year. Umbrellas are used more to keep the sun away than raindrops. The rainy day novelty has worn off though and we’ve found ourselves desperate for ways to keep occupied in a city that isn’t built for rainy weather.

Things to do on a rainy day. Fun activities for kids of all ages from crafts to art to outings that can turn their gloomy day to awesome.

Here are 9 great rainy day activities

  1. Activity Books – these books are great for all ages. They have a variety of activities that occupy the kids from coloring to stickers to alphabet worksheets. Big Nugget loves all things unicorn so she loves this one and while Little Nugget is happy with a blank notebook, she also loves these coloring books.
  2. Cloud Dough – my girls love a good sensory bin and this cloud dough recipe is simple and will keep the girls occupied for a while. It’s a great way to use up any leftover food coloring and not nearly as messy as slime.
  3. Invitation to Play – I’ve really never heard of these until I started to follow other bloggers. The concept is amazing, you set out an assortment of things to play with or craft with around a theme or interest that your child has and let them have at it. This is a great example of it and uses the cloud dough from above.
  4. Movies – Yes, this is a rather obvious rainy day activity but you can switch it up and go see something in 3D or even better, something in 4D. You can read (and watch) our review of a 4DX movie here.
  5. Process Art – much like invitations to play, process art was also a new term to me. My friend Ashley just launched an Instagram page, Little Makers and Bakers, with so many adorable and fun ideas for kiddos. And as a busy mom of three girls, this former teacher has you covered with ideas. Give her a follow for some great rainy day activities.
  6. Nail Salon – my girls love when we do our nails together and it will chew up a little part of the day. I love Piggy Paint for the girls, it’s non-toxic and doesn’t smell. If I want to get real fancy, I’ll do my own nails with Color Street and then use the scraps for Big Nugget’s nails. They don’t need time to dry so I don’t have to worry about it smearing. They don’t seem to last as long on her as they do on me but then again, no paint stays on their nails.
  7. Make Jewelry – These bead and button pipe cleaner bracelets are so cute and so easy, you probably already have the supplies on hand. Glitter on a Dime has so many great ideas for crafty activities, her site is a treasure trove of creative fun.
  8. Rainy Day Roundupthis is a great list of ideas that you can do with kids of all ages. Even some ideas if your rain is of the frozen snow variety…
  9. Post-It Note Matching – Our wonderful nanny put this activity together for the girls one day – all you need is some paper, a marker and post it notes. She put their names and either some shapes or some numbers on the paper, matched each with a Post-It and then let them match it all up. So creative and so easy.
Things to do on a rainy day. Fun activities for kids of all ages from crafts to art to outings that can turn their gloomy day to awesome. #activities #crafts #rainyday

9 Tips to Survive a Water Leak in Your Home

9 Tips to Survive a Water Leak in Your Home

Finding a water leak in your home can set off an instant wave of panic. Knowing these steps will help you minimize the damage and the stress of putting it all back together.

There is a Smell in Our Kitchen…

Around Christmas, I started to smell something a little musty around our kitchen sink. We checked under the sink itself and the faucet. Nothing was leaking. Fast forward a week and the smell was getting worse. We emptied everything out from under the sink and found that the back of our cabinets had mold. There was a leak in the wall and it was causing all sorts of destruction to our kitchen.

You would think that since this is the second time we have gone through a water leak, the first with our dining room, that I would be a seasoned veteran. But this was a lot like having a second child, the baby is born (or the leak happens) and you vaguely remember what to do but it’s still a little hazy. There aren’t any clear answers on Google – for the baby or the water leak – so here is my handy list of what to do when the leak happens. I’m still working on the concise parenting list…

9 Tips for a Water Leak

  1. Locate and stop the water leak if possible. We had to shut our water off for a few days until the plumber could get out here. BUT, the plumber won’t come if there is mold so you need the mold remediation company to come out first.
  2. Call a mold remediation company. Get a few quotes also. Even though your homeowners’ insurance will most likely cover this, you want someone that you feel will get the job done right and understands how the process works.
  3. Call your insurance. Ours didn’t send an adjuster out until after the mold remediation process was complete. The adjuster will come out and write up an estimate of what it will cost to fix the damage.
  4. Save receipts! Our insurance will reimburse us for a portion of our cost of eating out since we don’t have a kitchen.
  5. Ask your friends for help. We borrowed a microwave and hot plate from a friend. We also had a few great recommendations on contractors from friends.
  6. Set up your back up space. If the leak was in your kitchen, this is going to be more complicated than if the leak was in your dining room or some other non-essential place. Since our’s was in our kitchen, we set up shop in our garage with a folding table filled with a microwave, hot plate, toaster oven, electric skillet, and Instant Pot. I created a must-have list here of all the essentials we are using for our back up kitchen.
  7. Rethink your space. Once you can assess the damage, start to think how you are going to rebuild. Walk the big box stores and take a look at what’s out there. I was shocked at how fancy kitchen drawers are now compared to the 1979 builder grade cabinets we had.
  8. Start to contact contractors. This process is not fast so get some companies out to give you some preliminary quotes. Get at least 3 quotes for the work that needs to be done.
  9. Have patience. Easier said than done, I realize.

Stay tuned for before and after photos. Perhaps a few posts on how to renovate a kitchen. Leave any kitchen renovation tips or things you’d like to know in the comments!

Scared you have a water leak in your plumbing, maybe behind a wall in your home or in a basement? Here are some tips on how to make the damage and cost as minimal as possible, especially if you are dealing with mold. Great hacks on how to set up a temporary kitchen too. Don’t worry, no real DIY skills are required - just a sense of humor, someone who knows pipes or toilets and patience with insurance and contractors and everyone else who is affected by the water leakage. #DIY #waterleakage #renovation #mold

How I use my Erin Condren Life Planner to stay organized

How I use my Erin Condren Life Planner to stay organized

Keeping a busy family organized and on task is no small feat. There are a million apps and shared calendars and fancy techy ways to do this, but for me, I’m old school. I need to write things down to remember them. I like seeing our week and month come together. So for the last four years, I’ve used the Erin Condren Life Planner. It’s been crucial in keeping my sanity and our family to events on time – especially now that I’m back to work full time.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

Choosing the right planner

When I was shopping around for a planner to use to keep our family organized, I knew I wanted something that was paper and that I could customize in some way. The Erin Condren Life Planner allows me to structure my weeks either horizontally or vertically. The first two years, I used the horizontal layout and then switched to the vertical layout and it works so well for us.

Maximize your family’s organization with the Erin Condren Life Planner. Get ideas on how to setup your life planner with easy layouts and best practices. I’ve used this binder to organize our calendar and track my goals for the last four years, and it works! #goals #planner #organization

I loved the variety of colors and choices and that I could customize it with our family name or the year or both. The spiral bound pages make it easy and durable to flip back and forth between weeks and months. The Life Planner comes with a few pages of fun and functional stickers but Erin Condren also offers additional accessories to make the planner even more effective.

Maximize your family’s organization with the Erin Condren Life Planner. Get ideas on how to setup your life planner with easy layouts and best practices. I’ve used this binder to organize our calendar and track my goals for the last four years, and it works! #goals #planner #organization

This year I ordered the large sticky pocket and the additional sticker book. It’s so fun and festive.

Organizing your Life Planner

  • The first thing I do each year I get my new Life Planner is to transfer all of our birthday’s and anniversaries – and any other date that don’t change each year.
  • Then I’ll add stickers to each of my own payday’s as well as the day’s that we pay our nanny. This gives me a quick visual of some big ins and outs of our checking account.
Maximize your family’s organization with the Erin Condren Life Planner. Get ideas on how to setup your life planner with easy layouts and best practices. I’ve used this binder to organize our calendar and track my goals for the last four years, and it works! #goals #planner #organization
  • Next, I grab the school calendar and put in all the important dates and closures for the rest of the school year. Then I had a minor panic attack that my baby girl is starting Kindergarten this year and our worlds are going to change! Ah!
Maximize your family’s organization with the Erin Condren Life Planner. Get ideas on how to setup your life planner with easy layouts and best practices. I’ve used this binder to organize our calendar and track my goals for the last four years, and it works! #goals #planner #organization
  • Finally, I put in all of our goals for the year in the boxes at the front of the planner. This helps me keep them top of mind and also allows me to track my progress during the year. I make all of our goals SMART goals. You can read more about them in my goal setting post from last year.

Life Planner Weekly

Now that the months are set up with big dates, I start in on January and transfer those dates into the week view pages. Since I use the vertical layout, I use the first two boxes to keep track of day and evening events. In year’s past, I’ve used the last box to plan out our meals. This year, I’m using that space for our nanny to leave notes on activities and milestones each day.

Maximize your family’s organization with the Erin Condren Life Planner. Get ideas on how to setup your life planner with easy layouts and best practices. I’ve used this binder to organize our calendar and track my goals for the last four years, and it works! #goals #planner #organization

For meal planning, I’ve started using the meal planner from Simple Purposeful Living. I’ve been using it for a month now and I love the organization and functionality of it.

I also go back and write down things that we did or milestones that happened in the week layout. It helps me remember things and it’s also fun to have a book to look back on and see all the fun things we did as a family.

Maximize your family’s organization with the Erin Condren Life Planner. Get ideas on how to setup your life planner with easy layouts and best practices. I’ve used this binder to organize our calendar and track my goals for the last four years, and it works! #goals #planner #organization