mindful living, effortless style

It’s January and for many parents that means it’s time to start thinking about school registration for next year. Jessica’s back today with a parenting topic that strikes close to home for me– when to officially start your “summer baby” in school. 

Our middle child was born in July so we wrestled with this ourselves and were surprised by the factors that came into play… academic readiness and social readiness, definitely, as well as if kindergarten will be full day or half day.

What it mostly came down to for us, though, was the spacing between all three of our kids. Ultimately, we opted to hold our daughter back in large part because this way there will be two years between her older brother and her and three years between her younger brother and her instead of only 1 year between our two oldest kids and (what feels like) a really large 4 year gap between them and our youngest.

Here’s Jessica’s experience…

Four years ago, we had no clue that our late August baby would mean we’d be dealing with the decision of when he’d actually start school. Our older two kiddos, with their April birthdays, both had a year of preschool and then went to kindergarten the year they were five. Boom, done, no questions asked.

But if we follow the same pattern with our youngest son, he’ll be starting kindergarten as a four year old. And that seems… young. I mean, he’d turn five pretty quickly after the semester begins, but still.

This is a child who still operates on two modes – “unconscious” or “ninety million miles an hour.” I’m a little worried about unleashing him on a kindergarten teacher. I don’t want that on my conscience, you know? Read More

Happy new year! It’s been a little quiet around here with everyone snuggling up to family for the holidays but we’re back and ready to hit 2016 running.

As has become our tradition, we’ll spend January covering lots of ways for you to tackle whatever it is that most needs your attention this year (eating better, organizing, parenting, going green- we’ve got you covered!)

Today we’re kicking it all off with our favorite functional nutritionists from Prescribe Nutrition sharing with us their very favorite quick and healthy weeknight meals AND once again offering 20% off their amazing 20 day on-line nutrition/wellness/get-more-energy-and-feel-great-this-year program:

Use Code: MPMK20 for 20% off Prescribe 20 Online Program!

Along with the online support group, unprecedented access to the nutritionists, and the recipe protocol packet, this time around the ladies are also including lots of new features from when I last participated including an extended time period (20 days instead of 15), an exercise program, and an entire section of slow-cooker recipes!

You can read all about my experience with Prescribe Nutrition here, and get more info. on the course at the end of this post, but first here’s Katie with those convenient and healthy dinner ideas!

Short on time? (Raise your hand). Oh, because we are. Just because we are into nutrition, healthy food and spending some quality time in the kitchen does not (heavy on the not) mean we do that on the regular. We love a meal short cut just like the next guy or gal.

What’s better – the truth of it: convenience doesn’t have to mean a microwave meal. Trust us. Sure, maybe a tad bit more time than 4 minutes in the microwave, but we promise that our top “fast meals” will leaving you feeling fueled up and with time to spare.

Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are the Prescribe Nutrition team’s favorite dinners in a jiffy:

#1 Veggie Scramble Tacos

Call it Brinner (Breakfast + Dinner), call it Mexican, call it whatever you want.

One thing is certain, whisking eggs and throwing whatever veggies you have on hand is not only an easy way to get a protein packed meal, it’s also extremely quick, and cheap to boot! Make it a satisfying meal by serving the scramble in some heated corn tortillas with sliced avocado, salsa or just good old hot sauce. Use what you have on hand!

#2 Rotisserie Chicken Bowl

Get your favorite organic rotisserie chicken from your local store, some pre-cooked rice packets (yup, the ones in the Trader Joe’s freezer section), and any frozen, steamed, or roasted veggie – whatever you’ve got time for – mix and you’re good to go.

#3 Kale Caesar

Use that leftover rotisserie chicken, thinly slice a head of kale, maybe add some diced avocados or get nuts with a hard boiled egg. Here’s the full recipe for how we like to do it:

KALE CAESAR
2 main servings or 4 side servings

  • 1 bunch of dino kale, washed, center ribbed removed and sliced into 1” ribbons
  • 1 bunch of romaine lettuce, washed, de-stemmed and sliced into 1” ribbons
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Dressing (note: this is a “make once, eat for days kind of dressing)

  • ⅔ cup fresh lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • ½ cup raw walnuts, soaked in water for 10 minutes, then drained
  • 2 teaspoons garlic (roughly 2-3 large cloves)

Blend all the dressing ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor. Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.

Toss washed and dried lettuce and kale in a bowl with ½ cup of the dressing (or more to taste). Be sure to toss it until all leaves are coated evenly. If you want some crunch, serve with roasted chickpeas instead of croutons.

Finish with an extra sprinkle of ground flax seeds, freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of sea salt. Optional add ins: chopped avocado, hard boiled egg, sesame seeds.

#4 Sweet Potato Crockpot

Let’s get real for a minute, 75% of those crockpot meals that look so good and get amazing reviews, are filled with crap that tastes good and then makes you want to go to bed 5 minutes later.

Hello cheese induced food coma; goodbye evening productivity.

This is literally as easy as tossing 4-5 scrubbed off sweet potatoes in your crockpot (still wet from scrubbing). Cooking 7 hours on low or 3.5 hours on high. No piercing, poking or cutting.

Enjoy your sweet potatoes stuffed like a taco, filled with chili, or over flowing with your favorite salad – maybe even the Kale Caesar?

#5 Chicken/Tuna Salad

Add extra-virgin olive oil, avocado or olive oil based mayo, lemon juice, or a combination of the three. Throw in some some frozen peas (they will thaw and quickly make it nice and cold).

Add in chopped celery, jalapeno or onion or your favorite addition, some sea salt ‘n pepper and you’ve got yourself a flavorful, protein filled dinner. Serve it over greens, toasted corn tortillas, rice cakes or on some gluten-free bread (we always recommend buying responsibly sourced tuna. We love the brand Wild Planet.)

#6 Kitchen Sink Grain Bowl

We know that there is some quinoa or brown rice just staring at you in the cupboard, so get them out, cook them up in some water or broth, add any veggies you have on hand (steamed, sauted, raw), a dollop of tahini (wheat-free soy sauce) and/or hummus – done and done.

Other favorite toppings of ours include: diced pickle, sesame seeds, hot sauce and lemon juice.

… and there you have it folks. It’s how we do. Quick, simple and fast when we can.

And this, my friends, is why I’ve been hanging out with the Prescribe Nutrition ladies for a full three years now as both a program participant and affiliate. Sure they’re programs are FULL of delicious recipes that will be crowd favorites forever, but they never short us on amazing tips, tricks and shortcuts to help make it all come together.

Join me on my three-year anniversary of meeting the ladies of Prescribe Nutrition by participating in their best program to date, Prescribe 20.

Use Code: MPMK20 for 20% off Prescribe 20 Online Program!

Prescribe Nutrition

Along with the online support group, unprecedented access to the nutritionists, and the recipe protocol packet, this time around the ladies are also including lots of new features from when I last participated including an extended time period (20 days instead of 15), an exercise program, and an entire section of slow-cooker recipes!

I promise you that is some of the best money spent. It’s our health, and I’ve never felt it’s more worth it.

*Post contains affiliate links.

Spending New Year’s Eve at home with the kids is as fun as you make it.

You can mope around about the fact that you’re not hitting the town, or you can pick some activities that the kids will really get into, celebrate it at 8pm and then toast each other when they’re all tucked in bed.

Last year we made our own balloon drop, drank some super yummy mocktails, ate sparkling Jello push pops, and even contemplated the 14 habits of happy families to fill out our FREE year-in-review/year-to-come printables for families (ok, we didn’t actually do all those things but we were super happy to provide you guys with the details on how to do them all).

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This year, we’re making party hats that are so cute and easy to make.  All you need is some card stock, a little festive paper or ribbons and some paint. Read More

*This post is sponsored by The Quaker Oats Company, but all opinions are 100% my own.

I love the start of a new year.

As much as I adore the holidays, there is something so refreshing about taking down all the decorations, getting back into a normal work and school routine, and thinking about what you want to accomplish in the new year.

For my entire childhood, setting goals for the new year was a huge part of our family culture.

My dad printed out little spreadsheets for us to fill in with different goals about money, school, health, hobbies, and relationships. We’d post them up on our bulletin boards and bring them out once a month or so to make sure we were staying on track.

Our little girls (ages 5, 3, and 9 months) are a little young for that kind of really structured goal-setting, but I still wanted our family to have a chance to talk through what we wanted to accomplish in 2016.

Free New Year's Resolutions Printable- Great activity for families to do together each year! #QuakerUp #spon

Instead, I made these simple printables so that my girls (and the grown-ups!) could think about the new year and what will help us make it a great year for everyone.

Get Your FREE New Year’s Printable Here!
Read More

It’s a new year and time for a new routine. Time for a little less chaos and just a little more calm at home!

If simplifying your life by organizing yourself and your family is on the top of your wish list, we’ve got great news, the 2016 POYEL Printables and our Kids’ Responsibility and Money Management Kit are on sale!

For 10 days only, save 25% on each or buy both and save 37% !

Awesome 2014 printable pack for your home management binder, personal planner, or sheets just to stick on the fridge. Includes menu planning, calendars, cleaning checklists and more!

The 2016 Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life Printables Pack

Only $7.99 10 Days Only: $5.99

Get the PDF file:

Add to Cart

Or bundle with the Kids’ Responsibility & Money Management Kit and save 37% !

Only $15.98 10 Days Only: $9.99

Get the PDF files:

Add to Cart

I want this to be the year that we all finally slow down and find some extra time to connect with our families and I truly believe these are the tools to help you do it. So we’re also offering:

MPMK’s Kids’ Responsibilities & Money Management Kit

kidsmoneymanagementcoverbanks

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

Only $7.99 10 Days Only: $5.99

Get your printable pack here:

Add to Cart

Or bundle with the Kids’ Responsibility & Money Management Kit and save 37% !

Only $15.98 10 Days Only: $9.99

Get the PDF files:

Add to Cart

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

They’ll help both you and your kids get your routines down 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!

In case you’re not familiar with these Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life products, here’s a little more on each of them… Read More

Hello friends, I know it’s only a few days from Christmas and we’re all running around frantically trying to finish our to-do lists, but can I ask you for 5 minutes of your time?

I just wanted to make sure you’ve heard about the astounding thing that’s happening here.

Some of my favorite people are behind it and although they have a huge goal, they are asking so little of you.

Here’s the deal.

Their goal is to raise one million dollars to feed, clothe, shelter, and save refugee mothers, fathers, and children.

Make Your $5, $10, $15 or $25 Donation Here

The maximum donation is $25. Donations of $5, $10 or $15 dollars will change the world… and every penny we receive will go directly to refugee aid.

Did you catch that? There is a maximum donation of only $25. Why? Because they’re out to prove that small gifts with great love can do amazing things.

I’ve made my maximum donation (and checked the box to make it a monthly recurrence), will you do this one small thing this Christmas too?

Elizabeth Gilbert had this to say about the project (and it will break your heart):

I want to tell you exactly why I’ve gathered together with my friends Brene Brown, Cheryl Strayed, Rob Bell and Glennon Doyle Melton to try to meet the audacious goal of raising a million dollars for this emergency.

I’m doing it because of this quote, which came to my attention through an organization called HELP REFUGEES, whom we are partnering with, and who are working on the ground in Greece, right at the heart of this crisis.

This quote came from a volunteer doctor they are working with, who ended a recent phone call from the island of Lesvos with this desperate plea:


“There are thousands of children here and their feet are literally rotting, they can’t keep dry, they have high fevers and they’re standing in the pouring rain for days on end. You have one month, guys, and then all these people will be dead

I can’t know about this situation, and not do something about it.


I can’t know about children facing the winter — cold, homeless and hungry and with rotting feet — and not do something about it.


I am doing this because of kids like the beautiful little boy in this photo — because they need our help.


I know you want to help, too…and you can!

Make Your $5, $10, $15 or $25 Donation Here

 


Not a penny of it will be wasted. This is where your money is going:


BLANKETS. BABY CARRIERS. LIFE JACKETS. FOOD. WARM CLOTHING. FLOOD LIGHTS (for pulling people out of the water at night). SHELTERS. LIFE. This money is going to to life — to save human lives.


Like: IMMEDIATELY, in real time. You have no idea how efficient these people are, who we are working on the ground, helping out. They’re amazing.

Let’s save more lives.

Let’s keep going, guys. Let’s use our holiday hearts full of love to show up for some of the most desperate people in the world right now.

Let’s make a difference.

Keep donating, keep giving, keep caring. Most of all, keep SHARING these posts, and inviting the big-hearted people in your lives to stand with love.”

Make Your $5, $10, $15 or $25 Donation Here

 

For the Babies

Lamaze Clip & Go Squeezy Donkey $14.99

Lamaze toys were all the rage in the mommy and baby class I attended with my first son and it didn’t take us long to figure out why. They’re oversized, plush, and have lots of fun stuff for baby to pull and chew on. Plus they’re durable – all of ours lasted through all three kids.

Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes $7.19

You know those lovely early months when many babies scream just about the ENTIRE time they’re in the car? This musical toy that’s easy to hold and has buttons big enough for baby to push on his own was the only thing that ever got my kids to stop – it was worth it’s weight in gold I tell ya. It was also great for getting my babies’ attention in times of non-stress.

Duck & Goose Plush Pair $14.95 with your favorite Duck & Goose Board Book

This is what’s going in our 20-month-old’s stocking this year. He absolutely loves these guys!

 

Bath Toys

Bath toys are one of my go-tos for stockings every year. I absolutely love them because they keep big kids happy in the tub and entice smaller kids to get in- such a great way to pass some time too! We’ve had the Boon frog shaped bath toy holder and the Boon Water Bugs and Net toy for years so when the company offered to send us samples of their newest bath toys, listed below, we jumped at the chance. Read More

Don’t you love those recipes that look way more complicated than they actually are? 

You get all the credit for slaving away in the kitchen, when really you spent 20 minutes throwing it together and watched it turn into something amazing while you help the kids with their homework.

IMG_4005

I love this peppermint bombe cake because it looks so pretty on inside and out. You really can’t mess up the frosting and when you sprinkle the outside with candy canes, it turns incredibly festive.

Once the cake is cut, you see the white creamy center and everyone’s mouth waters.

All you need are these simple ingredients to get you started. Read More

Whether you’re just starting your holiday shopping or have already finished up for the year, you might want to make room on your list for one or two things in today’s glimpse!

This time of year, a few toys the kids can safely use inside to burn off some steam can be an absolute sanity-saver!

For those of you not exactly sure what I’m talking about when I say “glimpse”, this is a day when we highlight one of our favorite sections of the:

2016 MPMK Gift Guides

Why?

Because I realize that our MEGA gift guides are a lot to take in- detailed descriptions and age recommendations of over 400 toys, books, games, and more divided into 15 themed guides takes some concentration to get through.

Update: See the Latest Sales on All our Picks Here!!

I’ve heard from several moms in fact, both via email and in real life, who have already spent a good hour or two immersed in them.

So this year, I’m trying to help you navigate the guides by highlighting some of my favorite parts.

Note: this is not even a full guide, but simply a sub-section of one of the 15 guides. My hope is that it will help you find the perfect gift for under the tree!

As I said above, today we’re talking keeping kids active while stuck inside!

This is just one half of one of our most beloved gift guides:

Best Toys for Staying Active Inside & Out

Second only to our famous Top S.T.E.M. Toys Gift Guide

Ready? Here’s the list…

Burning Off Steam Indoors

This section was born purely out of necessity.  With two rambunctious kiddos bouncing off the walls around here, I’m asking everyone in the family to think about gifting active toys this year!  Below is a carefully curated collection of my favorite picks for expelling energy when stuck indoors.

Educational Insights Magic Moves Talking Electronic Wand $19.99 (18 months – 9 years) 

Normally I’m not big on electronic toys with lots of sounds and lights, but when said toy can help my kids get rid of all their pent up energy inside on a stormy day, it becomes my new best friend. This inexpensive magical wand uses 90 silly commands (sway, creep, stomp like a dinosaur, leap) and 26 songs, along with a light show to get kids moving. This is one of those rare toys that’s great for siblings of different ages to play together (my 7-year-old, 5-year-old, and 18 month old all love it). It will keep the bigger kids interested (who doesn’t like having the mic and being the star of the show?) while developing listening skills in the younger set along with enriching their vocabulary and ability to follow directions.

Kidoozie Foam Pogo Jumper $14.95 (3 – 10 years)

The key to a good indoor toy is it’s ability to wear a child out without requiring a lot of space to do so. This soft pogo jumper is an Amazon #1 Best Seller because it does just that. It will keep the kids happy (and get them good and tired) and you won’t have to worry too much about them knocking over your stuff (or each other). Read More

Time for another “MPMK Gift Guide Glimpse”… For those of you not exactly sure what I’m talking about, this is a day when we highlight one of our favorite sections of the:

2016 MPMK Gift Guides

Why?

Because I realize that our MEGA gift guides are a lot to take in- detailed descriptions and age recommendations of over 400 toys, books, games, and more divided into 15 themed guides takes some concentration to get through.

Update: See the Latest Sales on All our Picks Here!!

I’ve heard from several moms in fact, both via email and in real life, who have already spent a good hour or two immersed in them.

So this year, I’m trying to help you navigate the guides by highlighting some of my favorite parts. My hope is that it will help you find the perfect gift for under the tree!

Today we’re talking kindergartners.

This is such a fun age to shop for because they’re still young enough to be totally thrilled about something great and they’re old enough to play with some really innovative and fun stuff!

Here’s a glimpse at the 20 most exciting gifts your can give a kindergartner:

The Very Best Toys for Kindergartners (5 – 6 years old)

Read More

Yesterday a good friend group texted me and a couple of our other mom friends to ask for our favorite DIY play dough recipe. Of course, I immediately replied with a link to our famous Jell-O play dough.

A few hours later she texted a photo of happy kiddos and my other friends were chiming in what a life-saver this recipe is when kids are home from school and there are lots of hours to fill.

A light bulb went off and I realized all of you might also benefit from a reminder about our best recipes for sensory play with winter school breaks looming.

Without further ado, here are our seven favorite, tried and true, MPMK recipes!

  1. Jell-O Play DoughSoftest and best smelling play dough ever!
  2. DIY Play Snow – So fun for making snowmen inside where it’s warm and toasty.
  3. Peanut Butter Play Dough – A fun, edible play dough your kid can happily nibble while playing.
  4. Dr. Seuss’ Oobleck Recipe – Pair it with the classic book for hours of giggles and fun.
  5. Ice Cream Play Dough – smells like ice cream, scoops like ice cream and even tastes a lot like ice cream but DOESN’T MELT like ice cream.
  6. Calming Lavender Play Dough – the perfect thing for helping the kids settle down after a long day.
  7. Rainbow Scented Glitter Slime – Slime that has glitter AND smells yummy, what more can you ask for?

For even more good ideas for keeping your littles happy, see our 2016 gift guide:

 The Best Learning Toys for Quiet Time

 

*Post contains affiliate links.

In October we wrote the post Kids & Phones: A Guide for the Newbie Mom so we thought we’d follow up today with how to protect that new phone if you decided this was your child’s year.

Here’s our contributor Kristen, mom of two teens and a tween, with her review of the innovative phone cases made from our newest sponsor, tech21 

If you’re giving the gift of technology this year, don’t forget to think about protecting it too.  The holidays seem to be the time when we upgrade our gadgets.  It’s the nudge to invest a little into our phones or tablets.

Or maybe you’re purchasing the first very iPod or cell phone for your child.  It’s so important to start off that big purchase with the right cover.

The case that will protect it from falls, bumps and scrapes.  And we all know those things are inevitable.  As careful as we can be handling our phone, all it takes is one little careless maneuver to end up with a cracked screen or a broken phone.

Recently, we got to try out the tech21 phone cases. For a busy tween and teen, these covers did the trick.  I’ve seen them drop their devices and they came up 100% unharmed.

Best Way to Protect Your Phone: Tech21 Cases

It must be the way that tech21 designs their cases.  I read up on the product and found that the company has been making cases for ten years.  They’ve had all those years to develop their products, along with unique materials that no one else in the industry is using.

Best Way to Protect Your Phone: Tech21 Cases

The wonderful thing about the tech21 case is how light it is.  Some cases will protect your phone, but it feels like using a cell phone from 2003 with the bulkiness.  The Evo Mesh case is up to 30% slimmer and 60% lighter than other cases while still offering impact protection from drops of 6.6ft.

I was also impressed that the case doesn’t interfere with signal quality, Wi-Fi or sensors.  I’ve actually returned a case from a different company because I just couldn’t use the buttons on my phone the way I used to.  I love how this case feels almost like there’s nothing on your phone, while still protecting it with their FlexShock™ technology.

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For all the talk about the world’s most advanced impact protection material and ten years of design experience, you would think that the case would cost an arm and a leg.  But, the tech21 cases are very reasonable.

The Evo Mesh Case for our iPhone 6 was under $40.  It’s the perfect stocking stuffer.  Even if you’re not giving technology this holiday, you can still protect it.  The cases also come in so many colors, so it’s easy to find one that fits everyone’s style.

*This post was sponsored by tech21, all opinions are 100% our own.

If there’s one thing I love about December, aside from the holidays, it’s the Best of 2015 book lists that come out.

As a former librarian and a huge reader, both on my own and with my small children, it’s basically like Christmas all over again when I get a little time to pore over the lists and max out my library card with the ones I haven’t read yet.

Of course, I can never resist putting together my own list too. If you’re looking for something great to give as a gift to a spouse, friend, parent, or co-worker, you can’t go wrong with any of these 20 books. And since they’ve all come out in the last year, you’re less likely to give a duplicate.

And, who know, maybe you’ll even have a little time this holiday season while work and school are out to dive into one or two of them yourself!

Here’s my list… Read More

One of my favorite parts of putting out our massive collection of gift guides every year is figuring out what the best-sellers of the year are going to be. Once Black Friday passes, I always have a pretty good idea.

In case you’re wondering what everyone is buying this year too, here are the top 25 best-sellers from the over 400 toys and games included in the gift guides this year!

Oh and good news – half of them are currently on sale!

In order of most popular…

MPMK Toy Gift Guides

Educational Insights Magic Moves Talking Electronic Wand $21.99 $15.89  (18 months – 8 years) 

Normally I’m not big on electronic toys with lots of sounds and lights, but when said toy can help my kids get rid of all their pent up energy inside on a stormy day, it becomes my new best friend. This inexpensive magical wand uses 90 silly commands (sway, creep, stomp like a dinosaur, leap) and 26 songs, along with a light show to get kids moving. This is one of those rare toys that’s great for siblings of different ages to play together (my 7-year-old, 5-year-old, and 18 month old all love it). It will keep the bigger kids interested (who doesn’t like having the mic and being the star of the show?) while developing listening skills in the younger set along with enriching their vocabulary and ability to follow directions.

MPMK Toy Gift Guides

Snap Circuits Jr. Electronics Discover Kit $34.99 $20.99 (5 – 7 years) Read More

It’s about this time of year that the folks in my neck of the woods start making plans for family vacations come spring. (It’s somewhat of a natural consequence of the start of the rainy season.)

But our family isn’t joining them this year for two reasons:

  1. We did the vacation thing BIG last year and it seems prudent to keep it much more low key this year
  2. Our youngest is at the perfect age (20 months) for making the idea of a plane trip or long lines at an amusement park sound absolutely awful.

So this year we’re taking a different strategy.

Instead of one, big, week-long family vacation sometime in February, we’ve decided to pepper the next several months with several small adventures.

One thing we’d really like to accomplish with this idea is lots of bonding. So, to that effect, we’re doing some Mommy/Son outings, some Daddy/Daughter trips, some adventures with the whole family, etc.

We just started so we’ve only logged two excursions so far… my son and husband took in a college football game about a month ago and just a few weeks ago we left our young toddler with grandma and took the big kids on an overnight Great Wolf Lodge Snowland adventure.

It was actually a very spontaneous thing. The week before, I received an invitation for me and my family to come get a sneak peek of Great Wolf Lodge’s transformation into a Christmas wonderland. Having been to the indoor waterpark/hotel/virtual amusement park before, I knew the big kids would be thrilled to see the place holiday style.

So, despite my son being in his very first play and having to be at school for 7 hours on Saturday to perform two shows, we bundled them into the car that night and headed off to check another adventure off of our list.

It really turned out to be a magical 24 hours and today I’m giving you an insider’s look at the Great Wolf Lodge Snowland experience (find the resort closest to you here) and my tips on how to get the best out of it!

GWLClockTower

The very first thing that happens when you check in, is your children are each given a set of wolf ears– which they will immediately put on and then run around the lobby acting like wolves.

Once you catch up to them, this is what you’ll see- The Great Clock Tower located right in the middle of the Grand Lobby. Read More