mindful living, effortless style

Does being a mom and (and running the day-to-day workings of your family) ever feel a little too hard? Ok, that’s not a real question… I know it does.

There’s no question that you love your family like crazy and you’d do anything for them, but we all know it can be an exhausting job.

Lately I’ve been talking a lot about this with our 25,000+ MPMK newsletter subscribers and so I can confidently say that if you’re anything like us, you’ve often wished that:

  • your home felt more put together and peaceful
  • you kept up with housework better
  • you were more consistent about serving healthy, homemade meals
  • you weren’t running ragged so much of the time
  • you spent more time engaging with your kids

Sometimes this mom gig can feel almost impossible.

But what if you had a complete library of great e-books on homemaking in your arsenal—a valuable knowledge base you’ll use for many years to come.

I’m part of a very special happening right now called The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, which is offering exactly that.

Unlike a library, though, you don’t have to spend years building it up. The Ultimate Bundles team has done the hard work for you, searching the web to find the very best e-books and combining them into one essential collection you can buy in one simple purchase.

This year the bundle includes:

93 hand-picked eBooks, eCourses, and Printables to Simplify Your Home

 

All on topics that matter most to moms, such as:

  • organization, routines & creating a cozy home
  • recipes, grocery shopping and meal planning
  • budgeting and saving money
  • motherhood and raising kind, self-sufficient kids (no matter what age your kids are)
  • cultivating a strong marriage
  • self-care (like exercise, weight loss, life planning and even stress-relieving coloring books!)
  • and much more…

Total value is an astonishing $1000+ (plus over $300 in bonuses), but you get it all for just $29.97

 

This bundle is only offered for 6 days, once a year and then it’s gone. (Always, no exceptions- trust me.)

Why?

Bought separately, these e-books would cost a total of $1,102.49 (which doesn’t include the $300+ in bonuses). Collectively, you can buy them in this bundle for only $29.97.

Which means the authors can only afford to let the sale happen for an extremely limited time. That alone is an amazing reason to buy right now- when do you ever get anything for 97% off?!

But let me tell you…

The 3 biggest reasons you should buy this bundle immediately:

 

Reason #1 – The Cozy Minimalist Mom eCourse (retail value $39)

This is the course I’m most excited about sharing with you guys!

It’s all about teaching you the 10 concepts to creating a “cozy minimalist home, even with kids”– how amazing does that sound?

Getting your home organized (and feeling like it all falls on your shoulders) is the biggest challenge you guys having been writing me about asking for help.

What’s included in this course?

In Cozy Minimalist Mom, you will receive:

  • Instant access to 10 video modules
  • Audio downloads of sessions to take on the go
  • Bonus: conversation with a Cozy Minimalist Mom (includes 10 additional videos)

Did you catch the best part? You can…

Get the ENTIRE 2016 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle for less than the full price of this one course!

That means you get the course at 25% off, plus an additional 70 ebooks, 8 eCourses and 14 printable packs completely free.

 

 

ultimate homemaking bundle recipes

Reason #2 – 44 Weeks of Meal Plans, 33 Healthy School Lunch Plans, and 89 Delicious Smoothie Recipes

Having a meal plan ready to go for the week on Sunday night is like winning the lottery when you’re a busy mom. So just imagine what it would feel like to have a brand new one for the next 10 months straight.

Not only that, but to also have new healthy lunchbox ideas for the kids for a full 6 months with no repeats and more healthy smoothie ideas to get you going each morning than you know what to do with.

You’ll get all that and more with the collection of meal planning resources in this bundle.

Buy now and you’ll never have to worry about what’s for dinner, lunch, or breakfast again.

 

 

 

MPMK's Kids' Responsibility and Money Management Kit

 

Reason #3 – An Exclusive MPMK Bonus

I’m so happy to once again be both an affiliate AND an author for the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

This year, included in the bundle is our uber popular Kids’ Responsibility & Money Management Kit and, just for you, a secret extra bonus.

If you haven’t check out the kit yet, here’s the low down…

What would you say if I told you that my 4 and 5 year old get up, get dressed, and even make breakfast on their own every morning – and have been doing so for over a year? Or that they already have a strong grasp on the concepts of earning, saving, budgeting and even giving money?

So what’s my trick? In two simple words: START EARLY!!

It’s all about empowering our kids from the beginning. We’ve made it a point in our family to help our kids learn autonomy early. We are firm believers that:

It’s not what you do for your children, but what you teach them to do for themselves, that’s most important.

This printables pack will help you give your kids the gifts of autonomy, family contribution, money smarts, and a giving heart.

Includes:

  • Morning Routine Checklist (2 versions – one with graphics for pre-readers and one with blanks to be filled out to fit your routine)
  • Evening Routine Checklist (2 versions – one with graphics for pre-readers and one with blanks to be filled out to fit your routine)
  • Family Jobs Worksheet
  • Money Jobs Worksheet
  • Spend, Save and Share Ledger
  • Savings Visual Goal Sheet
  • Printable “Spend”, “Save” and “Share” labels for DIY Banks

I wanted to make sure this printables pack was extremely flexible and could be used by families practicing all types of chore and responsibility systems in the home.

So we designed it to be used in a variety of ways.

Take each kid to buy a special binder and fill it with some colorful stickers to make their own personalized Responsibility & Money Management Book or laminate the sheets and stick them up around the house, on the fridge, or the mirror of the kids’ bathroom.

Everyone that buys the 2016 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle will be getting this kit – and I’m thrilled about that – but I’ve got something extra special for you, my loyal readers!

 

Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life: The Quick Start Guide

 

MPMK Reader Bonus: Buy the bundle using any of my affiliate links on this page and also get my eBook, “Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life: The Quick Start Guide” for Free!

After purchasing, all you have to do is email me a copy of your receipt at: [email protected].

I’ll happily send you the PDF copy of the ebook. Easy Peasy.

 

 

And by the way, there are a lot of other really great organizational ebooks included in the bundle too

organization-ebooks-for-moms

 

Oh, and speaking of bonuses…

 

 

 

If you buy the first two days of the sale (Wednesday April 27th and Thursday April 28th), you not only get the full set of PDF files, but also a bonus eReader upgrade, perfectly formatted for easy reading on your phone, tablet, or home computer. (After Thursday you can still get the upgrade for an additional $10.)

Plus, the bundles also comes with $300 worth of FREE bonus offers from companies who know what homemakers need and want.

My favorites include:

  • FREE Online Class from Craftsy ($29.99-$69.99 value) – I’m total eyeing the container gardening class to bring some much needed color to my deck!
  • FREE Kids Discovery Box from GreenKidCrafts.com ($24.95 value) – The perfect for thing for Summer Break.
  • FREE Mrs. Meyer’s Dish Soap, Mrs. Meyer’s Multi Surface Spray, Grove Collaborative Spray Bottle, Grove Collaborative Scrubber Sponges and FREE 60-day VIP trial with FREE shipping from Grove Collaborative ($30 value) – This will be so pretty in your kitchen!
  • and lots more…

It’s all available for just 6 days – from now until Monday, May 2nd, 2016 at 11:59pm EST.

Again, that’s why the Ultimate Bundles team can offer so much, because they only have permission to sell it for such a short period of time.

 


 

If you think getting all those homemaking & mothering helps for less than $30 sounds like a steal, then make sure to go HERE to see exactly what it includes and grab yours before this deal ends!

 

Mother’s Day is on May 8th this year.  If you’re like me and don’t have a thing planned, first, no judgement.

We’re all juggling what feels like a million things. Second, we’re here to save the day with some adorable DIYs that your kids can make in just 10 minutes this week.

Maybe your kids will be making them for you or maybe for their grandma or that special ‘grandmotherly’ person in their life.

Either way, the recipient of one of these gifts is going to be awed that someone took the time to make something for them.  Then they’ll think, wow, this is something that I’ll useRead More

Mother’s Day is the perfect time to try a DIY project and I guarantee you’re going to adore this one. I want to make one for every mom I know! Here’s Alli with the details…

I am loving the “make your own mug” trend for two reasons:

1. There’s nothing better than a handmade gift.

2. It’s so amazingly EASY!

I mean, really. The possibilities are endless. I picked up one mug at the dollar store for this project, and I found myself wishing I’d grabbed a dozen.

I decided to go with a line from the Lorde song, “Royals.” You can call me queen bee…

To make, all you need is a mug and a Sharpee (or two). I went with black, and decided to add Read More

Since giving myself the challenge to make our home non-toxic in a year’s time, I’ve been on research overload. Once you really start looking into the myriad of products you and your kids use in daily life, it is shocking.

So much so that I needed a game plan on where to start.

To me, it made sense to start with the products that we come into contact with the most… The bed and bedding we sleep in all night, the lotions and soaps we use directly on our skin, and the toothpaste we use everyday inside our mouths (talk about direct contact).

Around the time I was diving into all of this, I was contacted by the folks at Tom’s of Maine about joining their Goodness Circle– a group of bloggers who are committed to a healthy lifestyle and who love to share their best ideas on the ways we can all take care of our health, community, and our planet.

I knew Tom’s of Maine from when I was a kid. In fact, I think it was probably the only natural product I knew about back then. But looking into the company more deeply, I was so impressed by what I found.

Started in the 1970s, the founders Tom and Kate were thinking about their kids when developing their business:

We want safe products for our kids, and we want to teach them stewardship and conservation. This is exactly how Tom’s began with the same motivation of green parenting.

The company takes pride in their naturally sourced ingredients and they really want you to know about each one of them. So much so that they even go the extra step of putting up a search feature on their website where you can look up each ingredient and see information about it’s purpose as well as it’s source.

Furthermore, Tom’s has a commitment to volunteerism.  5% of employee time is spent volunteering in local communities, and 10% of profits are given to “human and environmental goodness” projects.

After seeing all of this, I was super excited to come on board the #GoodnessCircle! Read More

If you’re new here, or you haven’t heard, my big project lately has been to totally revamp My Newsletter with the goal of making it super, super useful for moms.

My first step in the process is to ask everyone who signs up two questions:

  1. What is your biggest frustration in your average day as a parent?
  2. Where do you go online to learn about this topic?

I’ve received hundreds of replies and it’s astonishing how similar they all sound. Here’s what you guys have been telling me:

Hi Stephanie,

My biggest frustration as a mother is I feel like I never have enough time to get it all done… I never know what’s for dinner and the house is a mess. I feel like I barely spend anytime with my daughter and I feel really bad about it… It’s really frustrating to feel like you’re failing in every area of life. I don’t have any one place I go to learn about this. Would love if you had some answers to help me get it together.

-Krystle

 

Hi Stephanie,
Wow, your email really resonated with me…especially this: “Too often, this leads to your kids’ needs feeling like an interruption.” Sigh…I feel that way too often.

-Christine

 

My biggest frustration as a parent is that I feel like I can’t keep my house the way I want it to be (decorated, clean, etc), be the parent I want to be (attentive, hands on, mindful), and also take care of myself. I feel like I don’t have enough time, enough money, enough hands!

-Jenna

 

Sometimes I feel like asking my kids to leave me alone, and feel terribly guilty for wanting that, but I’m never alone!

-Polly

These emails are piling up each and every day in my inbox and they are killing me guys. Because I hear you!

I completely understand where you’re coming from. (So much so that I’ve felt compelled to try to answer each of you to let you know that you’re not alone… It’s not easy replying to that many emails, though, so if you haven’t heard back from me know that I’m hearing you and I understand.)

I’ve made it my mission to do two things this year:

  1. Help you find tools that will actually help with the overwhelm that is daily life as a mom
  2. Help you to understand that you are not alone and you are not failing.

Today I’ve got something that can help with both of these things.

I’m sure you’ve all seen, and maybe even used, the hashtag #MomFail. I know I have.

You snap a shot of your depressing laundry pile after the kids go to bed and share it on Instagram with a self-deprecating comment and the hashtag #momfail. It’s only meant as a joke, of course, but deep down it feels a little truer than you wish it did.

If this sounds even remotely familiar, you need to know: You’re doing better than you think.

And I can prove it.

I’d really love for you to check out this brand new (and free!) video series created by two moms who have lived their fair share of #momfail days

It’s put together by my friends Read More

Don’t you love it when you finally find the tool you’ve been searching for to make things run more smoothly!?

For me that elusive tool has been the perfect budget-priced computer for my older kids (ages 5 and 7).

Bonus: We’re giving one away! 

All you have to do is follow these two steps:

  1. Sign up for our newsletter
  2. Be sure to click the confirmation email we send you.

You’ll automatically be entered in the giveaway and, as a bonus, I’ll also send you my Free Report: The 3 Apps I Use with My Kids Everyday (you know, to use on your new Acer Aspire R11 once you win). Official rules at the end of this post.

UPDATE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED – Congrats to our winner Stacy!

Click Here to Enter!

 

I wanted something that was durable, compact so it would fit on the small desk in our kitchen, and could be used as a standard computer and as a tablet.

These aren’t just wants, they’re true needs.

Since my oldest started at a STEM elementary school last year, he has homework that involves getting on websites regularly.  I want him to be able to get online while hanging on in the kitchen as I cook dinner so I can talk to him about what he’s doing and help out when needed.

But I DO NOT want him to keep using my expensive work computer to do so. It stresses me out and instead of engaging with him over his homework, I spend most of the time nagging him to be careful.

We also make a 17-hour round trip pilgrimage to go see family every summer.

Granted, it is possible to do the trip without a tablet for the kids- but it’s not something I’d want to attempt. We mix things up with car games, audiobooks, etc. but a movie or two during the journey goes a long way in keeping everyone (including me) happy.

So I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect budget computer that can act as both a laptop and a tablet.

Enter the Acer Aspire R 11.

Looking for a budget-friendly laptop/tablet for your kids? This is our favorite!

It has all kinds of kid-friendly features that I really appreciate as a busy mom.

Looking for a budget-friendly laptop/tablet for your kids? This is our favorite!

 #1 It Converts from a Laptop to a Tablet (and everything in between)

It’s a laptop, it’s a tablet. The patented 360 degree dual-torque hinge means the kids can bend it all the way back and it will stay wobble-free while they tap and scroll.

They can also set it up facing backwards, or “tent” style and use it as a makeshift TV for group viewing. Plus it has up to 8 hours of battery life so we can use it on the go.

Looking for a budget-friendly laptop/tablet for your kids? This is our favorite!

#1 It’s a Touchscreen Even When it’s in Laptop Mode

The iPhone was pretty much born at the same time as my oldest child, which means all of my kids expect to get tactile with their technology. They know how to use a mouse and keyboard (and those are still important skills to teach them), but they prefer to get their fingers on the screen and can get frustrated when the program their using works that way but the computer doesn’t.

#2 You Can Talk to It

The Acer Aspire R 11 comes all set-up with Cortana, the clever personal assistant that your kids can talk to and ask to find and open-things for them.

This is actually super-helpful when I’m up to my elbows in dinner prep and they want to start a new program. Currently, their favorite thing to ask Cortana is to find new Cosmic Kid Yoga Videos.

#3 It’s Budget-Friendly

I know that it’s super important to raise computer-literate kids, but that doesn’t make the idea of ponying up $1,000 or more for a computer for my kids any easier to swallow! I really appreciate the budget-friendly price of the Acer Aspire R 11 at $350 – $399. Because, lets face it, when all three kids are in school I’m probably going to need more than one!

#4 It’s Durable

I also really love that this convertible laptop was made with durability in mind. Components like the slip-proof texture on the back and base and the damage-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass on the screen, give me piece of mind when I had it over to my kiddos.

Looking for a budget-friendly laptop/tablet for your kids? This is our favorite!

#5 It’s Safe

Remember how I said the kids use Cortana to look stuff up while I’m otherwise occupied cooking? Bing Safe Search is the feature that makes that possible- because, even if I’m still only a few feet away, you know there’s no way I’m letting them loose on the internet without a safety net.

Win a Acer Aspire R 11 for your family!

Ready to get one of these bad boys for your family? Entering couldn’t be more simple. All you have to do is follow these two steps:

  1. Sign up for our newsletter
  2. Be sure to click the confirmation email we send you.

You’ll automatically be entered in the giveaway and, as a bonus, I’ll also send you my Free Report: The 3 Apps I Use with My Kids Everyday.

UPDATE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED – Congrats to our winner Stacy!

Click Here to Enter!

The giveaway is open to US residents and open until 9pm PST, April 22, 2016. Good luck!

 Official Rules

This sweepstakes is open to American residents 18 years or older. To be eligible for the sweepstakes you must enter your name and email after clicking on the “click here to enter” buttons in this post. 1 winner will be drawn at random, using Random.org, after the sweepstakes closes on April 22nd, 2016 at 9:00pm PST. The winner will receive an Acer Aspire R 11.  No purchase necessary.The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

*This post in sponsored by Acer, all opinions are 100% my own.

 

I’ve got a fantastic positive parenting guest post today from Annie of Motherhood and More. I discovered Annie through her hilarious and insightful facebook posts and was instantly smitten.

I absolutely love her idea of spring cleaning your parenting each year. It can be so easy to get stuck in our habits and routines without putting much thought into what we’re doing.

By putting a parenting spring clean on the calendar every year, you’re ensuring that you’re not parenting on auto-pilot!

Here’s Annie with the details…

Don’t you just love spring? Warm weather. Flowers. The world bursting into life.

While many of us take this new beginning as an opportunity to clean out closets, wipe down floorboards, and shake out throw rugs, I also like to take some time to spring clean my parenting.

Like my home, I feel like my parenting can get stagnant and cluttered. My relationships with my kids can use some freshening, and my habits can use a little sprucing up.

If you’d like to join me, here are five steps to spring clean your parenting.

Step 1: Declutter Your Time

As the school year winds to a close, it’s time to choose how our summer will be spent.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • While structured activities can be great, overdoing it can cause undue stress on you and your children.
  • Leave some free time in your schedule to just be. Sit and sip lemonade. Picnic at the playground. Go for leisurely strolls. Toss a ball back and forth. Simplifying your family’s time and activity schedule is one of the best ways to make sure you have time for meaningful connection.
  • Decluttering time suckers can help with that, too. (I’m looking at you, Facebook!) Now is a good time to set some new screen time rules for yourself as well as your kids. Moderation in all things.

Step 2: Air Out Your Expectations

Kids go through so many stages and phases, it can be hard to keep up. Now is a good time to reexamine the expectations you have of your children.

Are they ready to Read More

Looking for a quick and easy Earth Day project to do with the kids? Our contributor Janssen teamed up with our newest sponsor, Juicy Juice, for the perfect Earth Day kid craft- upcycled juice box seed starters!

It’s spring break this week around here and I can’t wait to make a whole batch with the kids this week. I also love Janssen’s idea of making them now and using them as gifts for Teacher Appreciation Day later.

spring break activity and teacher appreciation gift- who doesn’t love a two-in-oneHere’s all the details…

One of my favorite parts of spring is starting a garden.

When I was growing up, my family always had garden beds, and we grew everything from peas to strawberries to edelweiss.

Since I’ve been married, I’ve almost always had a garden, whether it’s a tiny windowsill herb garden or a backyard garden box.

And now my little girls have caught the gardening bug too. They love watching their various herbs, flowers, and vegetables pop up, and every morning, as soon as breakfast is over, they beg to go check on their plants and water them (my job is to prevent these poor plants from getting watered seven times a day). Read More

It’s really too bad Earth Day doesn’t get the same fanfare as Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and the like.

The shape our environment’s in these days, we could certainly use a day where every family sits down and really talks to their children about the impact (both positive and negative) that they can have on the world they live in.

Here are 14 of our favorite ideas to help you hold an Earth Day celebration at your house.

Show Above

Clockwise from top right

Make a Plantable Paper Earth – This is the project that keeps giving. It starts as a hands-on art activity and morphs into a planting activity the kids can keep an eye on for the rest of the season.

How to Create an Upcycled Inventor’s Box for Hours of Open-Ended Play – The name just about says it all but it’s also good to note that there are handy free printable idea cards to help get the kids’ creative juices flowing.

Planting with Ice Cream Cones (via Design Mom) – This method of growing from seeds is one that is sure to excite your littles. They’ll be so intrigued by the image of dirt in an ice cream cone, they won’t be able to help but get involved.

Coffee Filter Stained Glass Earth (via I Can Teach My Child) – My favorite part about this art project is that it’s appropriate for a really wide range of ages.

The Kitchen Garden Experiment: Growing Plants from Food Scraps – This one is perfect for teaching littles about where food comes from and big kids can use the free printable observation chart to experiment with the Scientific Method.

Playdough Planet Earth (via Meet the Dubiens) – Your kids will be amazed how easy it is to make a 3D model of the Earth’s crust (and it just looks so darn cool).

DIY Veggie Garden Sensory Box – Whenever I post this, I get two distinct reactions. One camp loves it right away, and the other questions why you would do this with a child instead of planting actual plants.

My answer is that you don’t do it instead of planting, you do it along with planting. Young kids learn a lot through dramatic play and this is a great opportunity to utilize that while they’re waiting for their actual plants to grow. And they’ll love the sensory component too – spending lots and lots of time digging in! Read More

Ok, so the Modern Parents Messy Kids instagram account isn’t technically new but – to be honest – my passion for it is!

I initially set up the account a couple of years ago and then just kind of let it sit there, updating whenever I remembered (which wasn’t often). But not anymore.

I’ve totally gotten into the art of instagram over the last month and I’m having so much fun over there! I love it because it’s a platform that allows me to share a lot of the little things I think will really brighten your day, hit you with a dose of inspiration, or just make you laugh.

Come join us on instagram for funny/inspiring quotes, mom hacks and more!

And it’s working! Since starting to really have fun over there, my readers have more than doubled in the last month.

So if you appreciate a good mom hack or just need to laugh while you’re in the trenches each day:

I encourage you to come join us!

Parenting in the digital world is something that has been on my mind SO much lately. I’ve been wondering about everything from the best apps to keep my kids safe online and what kind of screen time limits to enforce, to how my own phone use affects my kids.

That last one is a doozy and has been especially worrying me lately as my job is online so I’m definitely on my phone more than I’d like… In fact, after I read this list from our in-house children’s librarian, Janssen, I raced to get the audible version of The Big Disconnect.

I’ll try to give you guys an update in the newsletter soon!

(P.S. Listening to parenting books is the only way I find time to actually read them. Right now Amazon is running a special where you can try Audible with two free books of your choice here.) Here’s Janssen with the goods…

A few weeks ago, my five-year-old daughter looked up from her book and asked, “Mom, what’s a dial tone?”

If you’d ever like to feel a thousand years old, this is one quick way.

I got my first email account when I was thirteen, which I shared with my two sisters, and Facebook didn’t exist until I was in college. My first cell phone had exactly one game on it (Snakes, anyone?) and I didn’t get an iPhone until I’d been married for six years.

It’s going to be very different for my children, and one of my jobs as a parent is to figure out how to help them develop a safe and healthy relationship with technology, from deciding when they get their first phone to setting limits on video games and helping them avoid being the target (or perpetrator) of cyberbullying.

Of course, like any good librarian, the first place I look for advice is from a good book. Here are eight to help you navigate the complicated digital road ahead!

The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age 

by Catherine Steiner-Adair and Teresa H. Barker

This book is one of the best I’ve read on parenting in the digital age. Steiner-Adiar draws on her clinical work and research to demonstrate how constant access to the Internet and world at large is splintering families and erasing meaningful parent-child connections, resulting in children who feel alone.

She describes what children and teens really want from their parents and how to create the family bonds that parents and children long for. I like this book because not only does it focus on how technology use affects young people, but also how parent use can affect the family dynamic and alienate children.

It can be unpleasant to see yourself reflected in the parents who are addicted to their devices but it’s also eye-opening to see what an impact you can make by changing your own habits and the influence it will have on your own children’s behavior.

Parenting in the Digital World: A Step-by-Step Guide to Internet Safety

by Clayton Cranford

If you feel completely overwhelmed by all the social media apps and sites available to your children and teens, this book is just the help you need. It carefully goes through Read More

Jessica is back today discussing her parenting style when it comes to extracurricular activities. More specifically, her experience enrolling her son in a martial arts program at age 4.

When and where to start enrolling your kids in activities has to be one of the most personal choices of parenting.

There doesn’t actually seem to be a lot of routinely recited advice on the topic (other than to always, always – Dear God, Always! – be weary of over-scheduling). So I love to see what other families are doing and how it’s working for them.

Here’s Jessica…

Our four year old is kind of a pistol, and between his late August birthday, our decision to delay kindergarten and my work-from-home situation, he’s going to end up starting preschool much later than his two older siblings did. That was our choice, but it started to become a bit of an issue a few months ago.

He was bored, you see, and he needed some kind of structure I wasn’t giving him because I was eyebrow-deep in website content and deadlines.

So while the plan for preschool was next fall, when his brother and sister go back after summer break, we gave him a choice:

Preschool or karate. Read More

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of OurPact.

We’ve got such a cool tool to share with you guys today from our newest sponsor, OurPact.

I really, really think you’re going to find it to be one of the most valuable apps you own– and it’s free!

Kristin is going to go into lots of detail below, but in a nutshell this genius app gives parents the ability to control exactly when, and how long, their kids can use the apps, or the internet on their phones AND to block any apps they deem inappropriate.

I also really love the free Family Contract the company put together to use with the app (make sure you scroll down and download it!). It’s such a useful tool for starting important conversations about safe and responsible use of technology with our kids.

Seriously, why hasn’t this been around longer?! Here’s Kristin with all the details…

Remember that feeling you got running alongside your child on their bike and you let go to see them soar alone for the first time? It was unbeatable.

Before solo bike riding, many kids use a balance bike, then a tricycle and finally training wheels. Each step puts them one step closer to being able to ride a bike on their own.  And when you see their smile at the end of that day, you know you’ve done a good job with the process. 

Just as important- each important step was taken to ensure they are safe and eventually independent.

We were thinking about training wheels the other day while talking to our 12 year old, J.  She is such a great kid.  She always listens to our instruction and is generally cautious.

Nevertheless, as she’s grown my husband and I have realized we don’t want to send her off into this digital world alone.  There’s danger lurking behind every corner and when kids don’t have 40 years of life experience like we do, they can easily get caught up into trouble. 

Along with wanting to protect J from possible danger on the internet, we also want to teach her balance when it comes to technology. 

Like most tweens, she loves being on her phone.  She loves all the fun apps that are pumped out every month and would be happy to spend hours and hours on her phone.  So, we have been discussing some guidelines with her about how to make the internet a safe place to hang out and how to help her enjoy technology without becoming addicted.

Just like riding a bike, we’ve been taking baby steps towards this goal, but we’re still in the process.

One of our biggest issues has been managing the time J spends on technology.  While I’d love to say that we set a timer every time she’s using it, that just isn’t always the case.  I find myself asking her, “How long have you been playing?”  

The answer can be vague.

So I was thrilled to hear about an app called OurPact that helps bridge the gap between parenting and technology. 

Here’s a short video showing the free OurPact app in action:

We discovered that one of the many things the app does is Read More

It’s officially spring and that can only mean two things. First, it’s also officially spring cleaning time. Second (and decidedly more fun), Spring Break is coming!

Whether the idea of cleaning, sprucing and organizing fills you with glee or with dread – I’ve got an awesome offering today to help you get it done quickly AND to enjoy all the extra free time with the kids.

We’re offering an extremely limited time, “Save Your Spring” Bundle on our most popular PDF products.

Get $8 off when you buy them together – that’s getting one of the printable packs for free!

This is such a good deal on all three of our most requested printables, that we can only offer the discount to each reader for 24 hours!

The deal will not be available again for another 12 months!

————————————————————-

Limited Time Offer:

saveyourspringbundle450

Click here for the Spring Cleaning & Spring Break Flash Sale – 1 Day Only! 

Three of our most popular products, each at 30% off:

  • The Project Organize Your ENTIRE life 2016 Printables Pack – 38 PDF pages in all
  • The Camp Mom Activities Pack PDF –  An 84 page PDF perfect for keeping the kids busy over spring and summer breaks!
  • The Kids’ Responsibilities & Money Management Printables Pack routine charts, chore charts, allowance ledgers and more to teach your kids all about the benefits of autonomy, family contribution, money smarts, and a giving heart!

Bought separately, these PDFs would be $25.97 but through this special new kind of sale we’re trying out… for the next 24 hours only you can get them all for only $17.97!

————————————————————-

 

These kits are just what you need to finally get organized and have some fun this spring!

I’ve sold thousands of these printables to overwhelmed parents and I’ve heard from so many of them that they really are making a difference in their day-to-day experiences with their kids.

Loving my printables. Absolutely perfect. Job well done!!!!

– Christia Colquitt

I am simply amazed at this! You did such a great job and your design is genius. Simple. Bright. I’m sure it’s effective…
Awesome job! I’ve already pinned and I’m definitely buying.

-Lindsey Loo

Our 2016 daily/weekly/monthly planners, cleaning schedules, meal planners, kids’ routine charts, budgeting sheets and more are all designed with you in mind.

They’ll help both you and your kids get organized and even introduce the kiddos to important money management concepts including saving, budgeting, and giving back.

We know how busy you are. The goal of all of these printables is not to have to learn a whole new system but simply to help you streamline your everyday tasks. If we can do it with some cheerful colors and pretty fonts – then that’s just icing on the cake.

All that and with the Camp Mom Activities Pack you’ll already have your Spring Break activities with the kids planned too!

In case you’re not familiar with the Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life products, here’s a little more on each of them. (You might want to get comfortable – this bundle contains A TON of great stuff!)

First up is  Read More

It’s Friday- you made it! Before you sign off for the weekend, though, we’ve got a couple of hacks you can use during (what can be) two of the most stressful tasks for parents: preparing dinner and going on a long family road trip.

Are you going anywhere for Spring Break this year?

Make sure you read our 15 Tips for a Great Family Road Trip– it’s filled with so many genius apps for everything from playing Road Trip Bingo to finding the coolest stops along the way, plus a super cool way to keep the kids’ stuff within reach in any vehicle.

So that’s the road trip. For dinner, here’s our contributor Kristin with the new kitchen tool we’re totally smitten with…

Have you heard of the Instant Pot, yet? 

Instant Pot is a smart electric pressure cooker that speeds up cooking by 2-6 times using up to 70% less energy.

This crazy little tool is actually 7 things in 1– a Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Saute/Browning Cooker, Yogurt Maker, and a Steamer/Warmer. 

And did we mention? It’s basically a slow cooker on steroids– in that it cooks everything crazy, super fast! Green peas, sweet corn and baby carrots can be steamed in 2 to 3 minutes, fresh or frozen.

Just like the toaster and the microwave, the Instant Pot has become one of those kitchen essentials I can’t live without. A Godsend tool that truly makes my life easier.

If you haven’t caught on to the Instant Pot craze yet, you can this is a great one to get started with trust me, it’ll be one of the best kitchen investments you’ve ever made.

Just about any recipe can be adapted into an Instant Pot recipe, but to make your life easier, we’ve compiled our top 21 favorite Instant Pot dinner ideas below.

Many of these are as easy as throwing a few ingredients into the pot and waiting 10 minutes for dinner.

Some of the recipes involve a couple of steps but, seriously, plan on cutting your dinner making time in half.  (We’ve even included a couple of recipes for dessert!)

21 Family-Friendly Instant Pot Recipes

1.  Taste of Hawaii Enchilada Casserole

2.  EPressureCooker Pressure Cooker French Fries

3.  EPressureCooker Chicken Soup and Rice

4.  Serious Eats Chicken Chile Verde Read More