Pushed into the Spotlight – Honest Review of Goodbye Christopher Robin

I received complimentary viewing passes to watch the movie Goodbye Christopher Robin. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This is the movie description from the website Rotten Tomatoes:

GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN gives a rare glimpse into the relationship between beloved children’s author A. A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin, whose toys inspired the magical world of Winnie the Pooh. Along with his mother Daphne, and his nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald), Christopher Robin and his family are swept up in the international success of the books; the enchanting tales bringing hope and comfort to England after the First World War. But with the eyes of the world on Christopher Robin, what will the cost be to the family?

Review of Goodbye Christopher Robin

Goodbye Christopher Robin is not the movie you’d expect. While the movie poster shows father and son walking through the illustrated world of Winnie-the-Pooh the movie is less about the actual books than it is about the author and his family. The movie does not sugar coat the cracked relationship this child has with his parents. Christopher Robin’s mother Daphne and father A.A. Milne are wealthy socialites. Much of the boy’s time is spent in the loving care of his nanny, Olive (whom he calls Neu).

While his parents work at building social connections via travel and parties, their child is home with Nanny. As to be expected, the relationship that he has with his nanny is often a tighter bond than what has developed with his own mother and father.

This is not to diminish the love that Christopher’s parents have for him, however each bring their struggles to the relationships of those around them. A.A. Milne (known as Blue in the movie) suffers from post-WWI trauma, which paints a sadness over his days.

Milne’s wife, Daphne comes across first as superficial, belittling and selfish. She dresses her son in baby girl clothing because, heart-set on a daughter, had purchased the dresses before he was born. She interacts with her son by purchasing the menagerie of stuffed animals, including what would be Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, and Kanga and Roo. She does love her family but is challenged in expressing it at times. I see this more as a sign of the times, when women were coming into their own independence. She is also an affect of her class, a wealthy wife of a famous writer who wants to grab each shiny opportunity that passes her way.

Grabbing these opportunities includes pushing her son into the unwanted spotlight. Once the joyous Winnie the Pooh stories gain popularity in the post-war era, fans flock to Christopher. His sweet childhood days are suddenly filled with responsibilities and obligations towards promoting the books. What was once a sweet way for father and son to bond, is now turned into fiction shared around the world. Well-loved and eventually classic stories, nonetheless, the childhood experiences are lessened in the process.

How Are We Pushing Our Kids Unwillingly Into the Spotlight?

As a lifestyle blogger and mom, I most definitely use my children as inspiration for my posts. I often use their photographs to help illustrate my stories. In the movie, Christopher Robin accuses his father of participating in his childhood games only as a means for having a story to tell. Could I be accused of the same? I think so, in many cases.

In my niche, there are often certain criteria for receiving invitation to particular events and press trips. I do get invited to participate because my children fall into certain age brackets. Would I be invited to these same events if I didn’t have children? Nope. Would I be able to write about these events without the benefit of having my children participating? Nope. Am I participating in activities purely so I’ll have a post to promote? Yep, sometimes. Am I exploiting my children or making them do anything they don’t want to? No, never.

The differences to me lie in when the story is shared and what happens afterwards. If Milne had simply written the stories, I don’t think that Christopher Robin would have struggled so much with the story’s popularity. Perhaps changing the character name in the books so that the story didn’t share his son’s given name would have been of good mind. The fault was in the exploitation of the boy’s childhood. It was in the showiness, the use of Christopher Robin as a marketing tool to promote and connect fans with him to the books. He became a living and breathing story tale come to life, despite his insistence that he was not the same persona as he was being portrayed in the stories.

Sharing, Without Oversharing?

I think that most bloggers balance this aspect in a healthy way. While many of us do write about our children and share stories from their lives, I’d venture to say that most are used as a way of illustrating a specific point. I don’t use the names of my children in business social media accounts or in my blog. My children know what I do as a blog writer. My kids know that if we’re attending a special event or if I’m taking their photograph, that it’s likely to end up on social media. I would never share a story about my kids that is intended to embarrass or otherwise exploit them.

My older kids have on occasion requested that I not share particular photos and I absolutely comply. And if my children ever expressed to me that they no longer want to be included in blog posts or photographed for social media events, I’d understand and comply with this as well. It’s not my intention (and I don’t think it’s the intention of most bloggers) to push our kids into an unwanted spotlight in exchange for our own publicity.

The movie definitely brings up the valid point (especially when seemingly EVERYTHING is shared 24/7). What things are appropriate for sharing and what is sacred to keep private?

Should Your Kids See Goodbye Christopher Robin?

The movie is PG-rated, which would imply that it might be appropriate for younger children. This is not the cuddly story you’d expect from such a topic, since the story focuses more on the relationships between the author, his wife and child. I brought my two 13-year olds, who enjoyed the historical story and understood the underlying darkness of the recovery from war.

There is very little here for younger children, as the movie doesn’t include much of the Winnie-the-Pooh story line except for the fact that the boy brings his teddy where ever he goes. I wouldn’t bring a child under 12 to see this movie, the topics are going to be too adult in nature.

Should You See Goodbye Christopher Robin?

Despite the dark elements of the script, the movie is beautiful to watch. Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred-Acre Woods come to life vividly during the times when Milne is developing his characters. It seemingly never rains in East Sussex! Somehow I don’t think that’s to be believed, though.

The little actor playing Christopher Robin was natural and sweet. I spent a good part of the movie trying to figure out how old the child was (he has his permanent teeth, yet is dressed like a preschooler and has dimples and the innocent imagination of a toddler). My favorite parts of the movie were when he was interacting with his toys, just being a child.

There are some truly beautiful moments in the film (I highly recommend bringing tissues!) And the topic at hand, whether his parents were in the wrong for pushing him to perform as the story book character, makes for some intriguing discussion points.


Tips for Moms to Create a Relaxing Spa Experience at Home

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

Getting the Spa Experience at Home

I went to the spa over spring break vacation earlier this year. It was just me, by myself. My husband had the four kids with him so I went into the spa for a few hours alone. I’d like to say it was totally relaxing. I’d like to say that I never wanted to leave. However, I have to admit that while I was sitting in the sauna (alone) and drinking basil cucumber water (alone) and resting inside the salt chamber (alone), I was really actually bored and lonely! I had a hard time relaxing at the spa, is that weird?

Now that’s not to say I don’t like “me time”. All moms need and deserve their own time, spa or not. I think a stroll through the store by myself is bliss. And to have the bathroom alone? Now we’re talking. But the best is having rejuvenating time to recharge – my own spa experience at home with AVEENO® products from Walmart!

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

Grabbing Mom-Time When You Can

Let’s be honest: How often do you skip steps in your daily care routine to save time? Raise your hand if you’re not shaving your legs, not washing your face or you skip conditioning your hair? I get it, you’re in and out of the bathroom as quick as you can.

But what if those little things that you’re skipping are really the most important things? Here are a few tips for creating your own spa experience at home, reason enough to slow down and enjoy the mom-time whenever you can grab it.

Occupying Little People

To avoid that dreaded knock at the door (or worse, someone barging in!) make sure kids are taken care of. I take my showers after dinner, when everything at home is winding down and I have time to really relax. I also give my husband an approximate length of time I’m going to be busy so he’s not hunting me down!

Realizing That Self Care is a Must

Self care is important for moms. Beyond the full day at the spa, little steps in the daily routine can be relaxing and enjoyable. I find that I actually look forward to them because they just make me feel and look so good! Take the time to shave your legs. Indulge in a facial. Floss your teeth. Clip and file your toenails. Paint them to go the extra step! Those little daily self care steps are so important to your personal health and hygiene and also to your well-being.

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

Putting Together Your Spa Kit

I have all of my skin care essentials in a small make-up bag. Each morning and again before bedtime, I put my bag on the bathroom counter. It contains a facial cleanser, serum, eye cream and a morning and evening moisturizer. I also have a headband and hair elastic in the bag so I can secure my hair away from my face while cleansing.

It’s great having all the products in one, easily accessible place and not scattered in the medicine cabinet. I take a few minutes to cleanse and treat my skin twice a day. This small task is so relaxing and enjoyable. Plus my skin is looking better than ever from all the extra care and attention!

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

Ways to Make Your Spa Experience Better

  • Play music (to drown out the noise outside of the bathroom!)
  • Have a special robe or slippers to wear when you’re doing your spa routine
  • Light a candle, use a diffuser or have scented oils in the room to engage your senses
  • Infuse your water with fruits and herbs
  • Indulge in luxurious towels

Turning a Shower into a Spa Experience

I don’t always have the time for an all-day spa event. More often than not I grab my moments when I can, like when I take my shower. I love to transform a quick shower into a relaxing “me time” experience.

For my everyday routines, I frequently use AVEENO® products. I have moisturizers, facial cleansers and shave gel, all by AVEENO®. I was excited to find AVEENO PURE RENEWAL® Shampoo and Conditioner sulfate-free formulas at my local Walmart.

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

I LOVE how well the AVEENO PURE RENEWAL® Shampoo lathers. A fantastic lather really adds to your “mom-time spa experience”! The dye-free, paraben-free and sulfate-free formulas remove impurities but bring hair back to a naturally healthy, more balanced state. These products are also safe for color treated hair.

And the conditioner doesn’t require that you leave it on for any lengthy amount of time. Of course, follow the directions for use on the packaging.

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

I was truly delighted with how shiny and healthy-looking my hair is after using the AVEENO PURE RENEWAL® Hair products. I’d recently cut my hair (about six inches) because I was increasingly upset with how drab and dry my hair had been looking. After several weeks of using these formulas, my hair has literally bounced back to life! The shampoo has been so gentle on my hair and scalp while the lightweight conditioner has softened my hair without weighing it down. Those are my natural curls, air dried after using the AVEENO® hair products!

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

Multi-Task to Maximize Time

When you’re ready to up your in-home spa experience, it’s time to incorporate a facial. Maybe you don’t always have time for a twenty minute process but I bet you’ve got a minute! AVEENO® POSITIVELY RADIANT® 60 SECOND IN-SHOWER FACIAL helps moms get the spa experience and multi-task during their normal shower routine!

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

This oil-free, non-comedogenic formula contains soy and lemon peel extract that reveal radiant skin in just one minute. The facial works with the steam of your shower to deeply but gently exfoliate dirt, oil and dead skin. My skin has been wonderfully soft and noticeably brighter after using the AVEENO® POSITIVELY RADIANT® 60 SECOND IN-SHOWER FACIAL.

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Taking Mom-Time in your own at-home spa experience is a little thing that makes a big difference. Share how you’re going to create your own spa experience at home!

SunRype & Disney●Pixar’s Coco Sweepstakes

Are you looking forward to the release of Disney●Pixar’s Coco? I know my son and I are excited to see it (it opens in theaters November 22, 2017, just a few days before his sixth birthday!) Of course there’s nothing like watching it on opening night but what if you were able to be there for the premiere screening?! Here’s your chance!

I received complimentary SunRype products in exchange for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post includes affiliate links. Clicking and purchasing through the links helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

SunRype Snacks

We honestly do not have a lot of prepackaged snacks in the cupboard but we always have SunRype! These are 100% fruit strip snacks, which is important to me. No added processed sugar, just natural ingredients and no preservatives. SunRype Fruit to Go are also vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and peanut-free making them perfect for the school lunch box.
SunRype and Disney-Pixar Coco Sweepstakes

I always keep a few SunRype Fruit to Go in my purse for the kids to snack on when we’re out and about. It’s also what my son takes with him to school every day for his “recess snack”. And at only 50 calories, it’s a treat I indulge in as well! Apple Wildberry is our new favorite. You’ll find SunRype snacks in the produce section or purchase by the case on Amazon.

Disney●Pixar’s Coco

SunRype snacks is sending one lucky winner (and three guests) to Hollywood for the Los Angeles Premiere Screening of the Disney●Pixar’s Coco film in early November! Entries for this amazing prize are being collected from October 2nd-20th. Weekly SunRype & Disney●Pixar’s Coco prize packages will be up for grabs from October 23rd to November 24th, 2017.

ENTER the SunRype & Disney●Pixar’s Coco Sweepstakes

Movie Premiere Trip for 4: October 2-20, 2017 – ENTER TO WIN

Weekly Prize Packages: October 23- November 24, 2017 – ENTER TO WIN

SunRype and Disney-Pixar Coco Sweepstakes

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  The sweepstakes begins on October 2nd, 2017 at 8:00am PT and ends on October 20, 2017, at midnight PT for the Premiere Trip Sweepstakes & October 23rd through to November 24th, 2017 for the weekly prize packages.  Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. or D.C. who are 18 years of age or older. The sweeps can be entered ONCE PER DAY. Find a full list of the prizes available to be won, how to enter, odds of winning and drawing dates along with the full rules and regulations at www.facebook.com/SunRypeUSA. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: Sun-Rype Products Ltd.



Traveling with an Ergobaby Baby Carrier – Must Have Travel Item

Since my daughter was about two weeks old I’ve used a baby carrier. Neither of my boys liked their baby carrier experiences but I’ll be honest- I didn’t consistently use the carriers with them, but I did with my daughter. Since my daughter was 5 months old (she’s now 17 months), I’ve traveled cross-country with her twice and the baby carrier has proven to be the must have travel item. Here are a few reasons when traveling with a baby carrier can truly make your vacation experience better and why the new Ergobaby Omni 360 is ideal for babies of all ages.

I received a complimentary Ergobaby Omni 360 for review in compensation for this post. No further monetary exchange was made and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Traveling with an Ergobaby Baby Carrier on Vacation

While it might not necessarily fit inside your diaper bag, a baby carrier should absolutely be something you take with you when traveling with a baby. I traveled alone to Walt Disney World, across the country by myself and my 5 month old. I would not have been able to do it without my baby carrier.

Even if you think that there will be plenty of people to hold the baby on the trip, bring the carrier. Babies can get easily overstimulated and appreciate the close quarters that a baby carrier provides.

The Ergobaby Baby Carrier is my MUST HAVE baby travel item, read why! #Ergobaby #LoveCarriesOn #ad

I use my Ergobaby baby carrier every day at home. See why I take it when I travel too.

Even if the baby is old enough to walk, bring the carrier. Little ones get tired and want to be carried and you won’t want to tire yourself out from carrying her.

Places like airplanes can have a lot of strange germs. Placing baby in a carrier can keep him from touching everything. And keeping him in the carrier also dissuade germy people from reaching out and touching the baby!

Click through and use the special code at the end of this post for a discount!

1. Baby Carrier at the Airport

If anything, you want to be hands free at the airport. From having to take out paperwork like tickets, passport and ID, dragging your carry-on bag, and removing and putting back on your shoes, putting items on the conveyor for scanning, you’re going to need your hands. If you’re taking a stroller, that’s just one more thing to push around.

I preferred having my baby snuggled in close in her carrier while going through the airport. I was even able to pass through airline security with my baby safely sleeping at my chest. TSA swabbed my hands and allowed me to skip the full body scanners.

2. Baby Carrier on the Airplane

Since I was traveling alone with my baby, I didn’t have anyone to hold her on the plane. Having the baby carrier was so convenient during the flight. I did have to take my daughter out of the carrier during take off, as requested by the stewardess. But as soon as we were in flight, I was able to slip her back inside the carrier. This made everything from eating a snack, holding a book and yes, even using the bathroom that much easier!

The Ergobaby Baby Carrier is my MUST HAVE baby travel item, read why! #Ergobaby #LoveCarriesOn #ad

While you can’t baby wear during take off or landing, you can wear Ergobaby Baby Carrier in flight.

3.Baby Carrier While Touring on Foot

There are some places where pushing a baby in a stroller just isn’t conducive to the environment. For instance, what about when the terrain is rocky or steep (like on a hiking trail). How about when the streets are cobbled or overly crowded. Or perhaps it’s raining and you need to keep baby under an umbrella. In these cases having baby in a carrier makes so much sense. You’ll be able to climb stairs without looking for an elevator and easily navigate through crowds.

4. Baby Carrier in a Hotel

At the end of a long day, I found that it was sometimes tricky to get my baby to calm down and sleep. The strange location and having the entire family inside one room was disturbing her rest. Holding her in the baby carrier while I walked around the hotel room, prepping for the following day, allowed her to relax and actually fall asleep. Then I was easily able to transfer her into her crib.

5. Baby Carrier at an Amusement Park

In many cases, when visiting an amusement park, you’ll have a stroller with you. I suggest that in addition to the stroller, bring along the baby carrier as well. I tuck my carrier in the basket under the stroller and use it throughout the day. While standing in queue, you’ll be able to hold baby without sore arms. While my baby napped inside her carrier, we were able to go on family-friendly rides without disturbing her. I was even able to nurse her inside the carrier while I walked around the parks. Most convenient was being able to hold my daughter in the carrier while folding her stroller and boarding a Disney bus to and from the parks.

The Ergobaby Baby Carrier is my MUST HAVE baby travel item, read why! #Ergobaby #LoveCarriesOn #ad

Some amusement parks will allow you to ride with baby in the Ergobaby Baby Carrier without any nap disturbance!

Tips for Your Baby Carrier

I recently received the Ergobaby Omni 360 baby carrier for review. Offering all carry positions, the Ergobaby Omni 360 can switch baby to face out or face you and easily adjusts from newborn to toddler (7-33lbs), no infant insert needed.

Get Used to the Parts

The various straps, buckles and buttons on your baby carrier can be overwhelming at first. Definitely sit down with the manual and your carrier to get familiar with the different styles of carry and techniques for the most comfortable fit for your baby. It helps to have another adult there to help you with interpreting the instructions and diagrams.

The Ergobaby Baby Carrier is my MUST HAVE baby travel item, read why! #Ergobaby #LoveCarriesOn #ad

Watch a Video

If you’re struggling to understand the instruction manual with pictures, try watching a video on Ergobaby’s Facebook page for more clarity!

Practice at Home

Your vacation shouldn’t be the first time that your baby has been in the carrier. Make sure both you and and the baby are comfortable with the carrier. Practice putting him in and out of the carrier and let him ride around the house to get used to it.

The Ergobaby Baby Carrier is my MUST HAVE baby travel item, read why! #Ergobaby #LoveCarriesOn #ad

Get work done while baby naps in the Ergobaby carrier

Follow Size Rules

It is very important to follow the size rules for your baby carrier. Take into consideration the size of your baby and take note of what methods to use for each age.

My daughter is now a toddler, a petite 21 lbs and 17 months old. She still enjoys riding in her baby carrier, especially when traveling. She likes being close to me. However my arms and shoulders get so tired when holding her for extended periods of time so I’m happy to have the Ergobaby Omni 360.

Try a Variety of Positions

I can place my daughter facing in, which is perfect when she’s napping. In the Ergobaby Omni 360 my daughter can also face outward, ride on my back or sit on my hip. Velcro tabs and button closures help me quickly adjust the carrier for my baby’s size. Double-lock buckles are easy to snap in and release with one hand.

Comfort for Parent and Child

The fabric and design of the Ergobaby Omni 360 is soft and flexible, but still offers sturdy support. The padded straps and ability to crisscross in the back helps relieve any discomfort to my back when carrying my daughter.

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Valid until 12/31/2017

As always, shipping is free!

Find Ergobaby on Social Media Here!

Instagram: @ergobaby

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Pinterest: pinterest.com/ergobaby

See what is my MUST HAVE baby travel item! #Ergobaby #LoveCarriesOn #ad

Encouraging Kids to Make the Most Nutritious Food Choices

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyMilkMyWay #CollectiveBias. I am working with The National Milk Life Campaign.

“Do you want to grow up big and strong? Finish your milk!” I can say with honesty that I didn’t have the best nutrition growing up. Too much of the not-so-great stuff and definitely not enough of what was nutritious. I knew right away when I became a mom that I wanted things to be different for my kids. I wanted them to crave the good stuff. To choose the good stuff even when the not-so-great stuff was an option too. I didn’t want them to have the same bad eating habits I had – choosing poorly, picky eating and refusing to try new foods. My kids are choosing well, and drinking milk daily is one of the best choices they make.

How can we encourage kids to make the most nutritious food choices? These tips help incorporate complete proteins, vitamins and essential nutrients. #ad

As a family of six, we purchase a lot of food. Over the past few years my husband and I been focused on purchasing more of what’s nutritious. More of what’s wholesome and satisfying. More good sources of protein. Naturally milk plays a big part in our family’s diet. With four kids (ages 17 months to 13 years old) we go through a gallon of milk every two days. Drinking milk and using it in my daily cooking is a great way to fill our bodies with natural, high-quality protein plus other nutrients we need.

How can we encourage kids to make the most nutritious food choices? These tips help incorporate complete proteins, vitamins and essential nutrients. #ad

Why Do Kids Need Milk?

I’m fortunate in that all my kids are huge milk drinkers. We purchase whole milk for the baby, who needs it for proper brain development. The rest of the family drinks low-fat milk.

One 8-ounce glass of milk provides eight grams of natural, high-quality protein. Protein helps to build lean muscle and keep bones strong. So when we’re telling our kids to finish their glass of milk because it will make them stronger, it’s speaking truth!

Unfortunately many kids overall are drinking less milk. That means some kids aren’t getting enough of milk’s 9 essential nutrients, like high-quality protein calcium, potassium and vitamin D. Kids desperately need these to grow. Dairy milk is the top food source for these three nutrients, calcium, potassium and vitamin D.

How can we encourage kids to make the most nutritious food choices? These tips help incorporate complete proteins, vitamins and essential nutrients. #ad

Ways to Encourage Kids to Drink More Milk

My kids start off each day with a well-rounded breakfast. I’m always shocked to hear how many of their peers don’t eat breakfast at all before school. Even if breakfast is grab-and-go, a glass of milk is a simple and wholesome way to help kids get natural protein and balanced nutrition. I serve my kids an 8 ounce glass of milk at breakfast and again at dinner. Each cup of milk has 8 grams natural, high-quality protein.

Low Pressure and Balance

As a formerly picky eater I can attest to pressure from my parents as a big reason why I would not try new foods. I was stubborn and it was definitely a control thing for me, being able to say “No, I’m NOT going to eat that!”. I’ve found that encouraging the “just one bite” or “just one sip” method brings fewer struggles with my kids.

We actually just went through it this morning, when my son didn’t want to try his blueberry smoothie. I told him he didn’t have to like it, he just needed to try it.

Offer a good balance and don’t flat-out banning treats (especially if your child has become accustomed to eating them). Yes, we still eat dessert. Just not after every meal and not even every day.

What If Your Child Says They Don’t Like Milk?

What if kids aren’t crazy about the taste of white milk? No worries because flavored milk also counts as a serving of dairy and provides the same nine essential nutrients. Or choose to create recipes that incorporate the recommended daily serving of milk in another way.

How can we encourage kids to make the most nutritious food choices? These tips help incorporate complete proteins, vitamins and essential nutrients. #ad

Do Adults Need Milk?

Many adults simply do not get the necessary amount of protein each day. I used to be one of them. And naturally, without the natural, high-quality protein in my system, I’d be hungry again within an hour after eating. I personally find myself craving milk so I know my body needs the extra protein and calcium.

How can we encourage kids to make the most nutritious food choices? These tips help incorporate complete proteins, vitamins and essential nutrients. #ad

Did you know dairy milk protein is a complete protein? Most plant proteins are incomplete. This means they’re missing some of the amino acids your body needs. Milk is also a top source of calcium in the diet — with one cup offering about a third of the recommended amount for one day. An 8-ounce glass of milk gives you about 30 percent of your daily recommended amount of vitamin D. The vitamin D and calcium work together to build and maintain strong bones, helping to protect older adults from osteoporosis.

And as someone trying to shed the last 15 lbs of “baby weight” I’m incorporating milk consumption in my diet as a way to increase muscle mass. A study in women found that including fat free milk in a recovery routine during a 12 week training program resulted in greater muscle mass, strength gains, and fat loss (compared to a carb-only sports drink with the same calories).

How can we encourage kids to make the most nutritious food choices? These tips help incorporate complete proteins, vitamins and essential nutrients. #ad

Other Ways to Get the Benefits of Milk

There are some easy ways to incorporate milk naturally into the day. Of course, drinking a glass of milk is the easiest way to take advantage of the nutritious benefits! Here are some ways that I add milk into our recipes:

  • Serve milk with cereal or grains at breakfast.
  • Use milk when making scrambled eggs, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles or French toast.
  • Make a low-fat or skim milk smoothie. I freeze fruit and greens (like kale or spinach) just before they’re overripe. Then toss them into the blender with 8-oz of milk and a few ice cubes.
  • Make milk-rich recipes for dinner like quiche, macaroni and cheese, creamy broccoli soup, Alfredo sauce or frittata.
  • For dessert, make pudding, frozen smoothie pops or custard.
  • Add chocolate to milk to make cocoa.

How can we encourage kids to make the most nutritious food choices? These tips help incorporate complete proteins, vitamins and essential nutrients. #ad

Confession Time

I’ll be totally honest. I don’t like the taste of plain white milk! I never have, even as a child. But I do still drink my milk by including it daily inside a smoothie at breakfast. Toss in lots of frozen berries and even a handful of greens and I’m good for the day.

There are lots of other ways to include milk into your daily diet – Looking for more ideas on how to incorporate more milk into your everyday? Visit MilkLife.com for more information and recipes.

What if you could give your kids a nutrient-rich, delicious, farm fresh beverage with natural protein and no sugar added – all for about a quarter per serving? Surprise – it’s something that’s likely already in your fridge – white milk!

How can we encourage kids to make the most nutritious food choices? These tips help incorporate complete proteins, vitamins and essential nutrients. #MyMilkMyWay #ad

Tips and Products for Keeping Kids Safe on Vacation

Over our spring break vacation to Monterey we lost my 5 year old son. One moment he was playing on the lonely beach in the sand with my husband. The next moment he was gone. It was the scariest ten minutes of our lives, not knowing where he was. Looking back there are a few things we should have done to ensure that he’d never been lost in the first place. And there are also steps and precautions we can take in the future to keep him safe. Here are my tips and products that help keep kids safe on vacation.

Travel safety with kids is priority #1. Check out these practical and inexpensive ways to keep kids safe on vacation.

Getting Lost (Scary for Kids & Parents!)

On our Monterey vacation I was on the hotel balcony watching my sons and husband on the beach below. My husband and teenager were poking in the sand with a stick, looking for crabs while my preschooler ran up and down the wet sand behind them. When the baby needed a diaper change I took her inside and returned to the balcony a few minutes later. What I saw next made my heart stop.

My eldest son was yelling up to me, “Mom, is Dillon up there with you?”

Then I saw my husband. He was running up and down the beach, calling Dillon’s name. He was stopping strangers to ask if they’d seen a little boy in a blue bathing suit.

He didn’t go into the water, I knew that (he was scared of the ocean’s big waves). My eyes squinted at a crowd of people sunbathing in the distance. Had he wandered that far?

My husband was now in full panic mode. He ran around to the front of the hotel, concerned that my son might have gone with someone to the parking lot. My teenager was racing down to the crowd further down the beach. I raced down to the hotel lobby.

I met my husband in the lobby as he’d looped around the front of the hotel. He was cradling our 5-year old in his arms. My son had wandered into the lobby, wanting to return to the hotel room and asked for his mommy. The reception desk had wrapped him in a towel and had him stay put. Thank goodness, found.

Travel safety with kids is priority #1. Check out these practical and inexpensive ways to keep kids safe on vacation.

One moment he was there, the next moment he was gone.

Tips to Keeping Kids Safe on Vacation

It was a scary 10 minutes and honestly, it’s taken its toll on us all. For the first month after our vacation, my son was extremely clingy and afraid of getting lost. He has cried during drop offs at school and Sunday school at church, something very unusual for my independent boy. I started trying to think of ways that we could have kept him safe.

Here are tips and products that help keep kids safe on vacation.

I received complimentary product for testing and review. All opinions are my own. Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through helps me in a small financial way, thank you!


If my son had been wearing a SafetyTat when he was lost, it would have saved us 10 minutes of worry. The hotel lobby would have been able to call me immediately! SafetyTat is a water-resistant temporary tattoo. The original SafetyTat can be pre-printed with your contact info and applies with a damp paper towel.

Travel safety with kids is priority #1. Check out these practical and inexpensive ways to keep kids safe on vacation.

The SafetyTat temporary tattoo is water resistant.

Write-on SafetyTat peels and sticks with a bit of pressure and can be personalized with the included water resistant pen. I love the idea of using the SafetyTat when traveling to busy locations like at the zoo, children’s museum or amusement park when kids can easily become lost.

Travel safety with kids is priority #1. Check out these practical and inexpensive ways to keep kids safe on vacation.

Write your number to personalize the SafetyTat and keep kids safe on vacation

In addition to returning lost kids, several of the SafetyTats have specific child-safety needs printed on the tattoo. Alerts like, “I have Autism”, “Allergies – Ask First!”, “Non-Verbal” and “Alert – Diabetic” help other adults know immediately about your child’s special needs. These special SafetyTats would be great for children to wear when in large groups where they might be separated from their parents, like at day camp, church or at a party.

Fairy Tales Bug Bandit

I received a complimentary bottle of Fairy Tales Bug Bandit Repellent just in time for my trip to Orlando Florida. On my last visit, I’d gotten a nasty bug bite on the final day and it took ten full days to clear! I was hoping to avoid such a fate this time, especially for my kids!

The contents of Fairy Tales Bug Bandit are Deet-free and include lemon Eucalyptus oil, soybean oil, cedar bark, citronella, peppermint and rosemary blend. These non-toxic and pesticide free ingredients help to repel mosquitoes, flies, fleas, gnats and other biting insects. It’s proven effective in children 3+, though I did use it sparingly on my 1-year old’s legs and arms with good success.

Travel safety with kids is priority #1. Check out these practical and inexpensive ways to keep kids safe on vacation., including the Fairy Tales Bug Bandit

Spray Fairy Tales Bug Bandit before going outside to protect skin from insect bites

Simply spray the Fairy Tales Bug Bandit onto your body after dressed and ready to head outside. It worked like a charm! The smell is pleasant and works for several hours.

And then there was the day I forgot to apply the spray. I was headed to a conference and stepped outside briefly to access another building and within 2 minutes a bug got me. Within moments my ankle was swollen and itchy, ugh! I immediately texted my sister-in-law to remind her to spray the kids before they went outside! Happy to report that my kids returned from our week-long vacation without one bug bite.

Travel Baby-Proofing Safety Kit

Before settling in at the hotel, make sure you check out the room for any potentially hazardous items. Looped window cords? Furniture that your toddler or child could climb and topple over? Loose cables? Exposed electrical outlets? Bring a safety kit along with you on your travels to “baby-proof” the room (even if your child is no longer a baby, they might become curious).

If your baby will be using the hotel crib, be sure to inspect it for any loose screws, chipping paint or pinchable parts. If you’re taking medications with you, be sure that they stay inside their child-proof bottles and keep out of the reach of your children (consider a box with a lock).

Preventing Stomach Bug

Ugh, nothing ruins a vacation like coming down with the stomach bug.

Help keep the bug from spreading through the family with frequent hand-washing and the use of hand sanitizer. Disinfect items in the hotel room that are frequently touched, like the door knobs and remote control.

Travel safety with kids is priority #1. Check out these practical and inexpensive ways to keep kids safe on vacation.

Of course if spending your vacation in another country make sure that the water is drinkable before allowing your child to sip.

Avoiding Sunburn

If your kids are extremely prone to sunburn, consider indoor activities during the day and then swim at night. I’ve found that one of the best ways to avoid sunburn is to cover up as much as possible. My kids have Lands’ End rash guards with UPF 50 rating. A hat for toddlers that can be worn while their splashing will protect scalps and faces.

Travel safety with kids is priority #1. Check out these practical and inexpensive ways to keep kids safe on vacation.

And of course, you can’t forget the sunscreen! Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before getting into the water otherwise it’s just going to rinse off in the pool!

Pack a Get-Well Bag

Despite all preparations sometime your child may get sick. Rather than have to make a run to the 24 hour market at 3 am, have a get-well bag ready to go with what you might need.

    • Stomach pain relief like antacids or kaopectate
    • Fever reducer
    • Benedryl (in case of allergy)
    • Aloe vera or sunburn relief cream
    • Anti-itch spray or lotion in case of rash or bug bite
    • Travel First Aid Kit with antiseptic and bandages

Car Seat and Stroller Safety

Don’t assume that you’ll have the car seat you need when you arrive. For instance Uber may provide car seats for some children. However they don’t have rear-facing car seats that children under two must use. For infants and toddlers, it’s best to bring your own.

For pre-K and up, bring along a mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster Seat. Weighing only about one and a half pounds, the mifold is a booster seat designed for ages 4 to 12. So clever and convenient when using Uber, Lyft or a taxi.

If renting a stroller at your vacation location, be sure to inspect for any spots that might pinch little fingers. Always use the buckles to secure your child in tightly. Get in the habit of putting the stroller brake on each and every time you let go of the handle. You never know when the stroller might roll away from you. Never leave your child in a stroller unsupervised.

Travel safety with kids is priority #1. Check out these practical and inexpensive ways to keep kids safe on vacation.

Safety After Dark

If you’re worried about losing your kids, it can be even more challenging once night falls. Remind kids to stay close to you. Carry a flashlight. I keep a supply of glow necklaces and bracelets for my kids to wear when we’re walking about after dark. If walking in a dark area where there are vehicles, dress your children in light colored clothing. Consider adding a reflective strip of tape to their back and down each pant leg for better visability.

Other Things You Can Do to Keep Safety First

  • Before hitting the road for an extended vacation, be sure to schedule a pre-trip check up with your child’s pediatrician. The doctor will be able to check for any developing illnesses.
  • Bring your child’s immunization records.
  • Dress your child in very bright clothing. It’s so much easier to see them if you can spot a bright yellow, orange or hot pink shirt.
  • Remind kids not to touch wild animals (this includes squirrels and pigeons)
  • Take a photo of your child each morning so you have a record of what they are wearing.
  • Before going into an establishment (like a theme park or museum) discuss what to do if lost.
  • Wash hands frequently and especially before eating.
  • Remind children to stay put in case they are lost.

Travel safety with kids is priority #1. Check out these practical and inexpensive ways to keep kids safe on vacation.

For more on this really awesome topic,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

No Painful Feet! How to Find Foot Comfort in Your New Shoes

If painful feet stop you from exploring check out these tips and products that will minimize blisters, swelling and foot pain!

I hate shoe shopping. Okay, so I know I’m in the minority and lots of ladies love to buy new shoes. But I don’t. I HATE getting new shoes because it means I have to try them on, break them in and suffer through the pain and discomfort of new shoes. The thought of painful feet is enough for me to avoid buying new shoes. So I stick with the worn out and broken in shoes I already own. I’m on the hunt for foot comfort, especially when I know I’ll be traveling and walking a lot!

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through these links helps me in a small financial way, thank you! I’ve received complimentary product for some of the items reviewed in this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Painful Feet? Try These Tips

  1. Compression Socks
  2. Open-toed shoes
  3. Shoes that don’t require “breaking in”
  4. Stick with what works for you
  5. Inserts

Compression Socks

Several years ago my husband and I flew overnight to Europe. It was my first long-haul flight and I made the mistake of taking off my shoes and putting on cozy socks while I slept. When it was time to get off the plane, I had to cram my swollen feet back into my shoes. By the time we reached the taxi I had blisters on every toe, across my heel and several of my toe nails were broken! Not the best start to a 10-day trip.

The next time I flew long distance you can believe I was wearing compression socks! I’ll be honest: I always thought that compression socks were for “old people” or if you were in the hospital and couldn’t exercise. But these adorable patterned socks from Vim & Vigr changed my mind (they are so cute!)

These nylon compression socks from Vim & Vigr have a multi-dimensional weave and 400-needle count that allow for comfort, flexibility, and breathability. They even offer socks for wide calves.

I hear that compression socks are great if you’re running (not that I’d know about that!) I’ve worn the Vim & Vigr socks on each flight since and no blisters or broken toe nails after flying again!

Vim & Vigr 15-20 mmHg Graduated Compression Socks – Nylon Collection – M – Cream & Black

Why I Gravitate Towards Sandals

After the birth of my last baby I realized that my feet had grown along with my belly! In fact I now have one foot that is over a half-size larger than the other foot – how annoying is that?! And it makes it nearly impossible to purchase certain shoe styles. I suffer with having one shoe too tight or the other flopping off.

If painful feet stop you from exploring check out these tips and products that will minimize blisters, swelling and foot pain!

My 7 1/2 months pregnant feet walked the Disney parks in Crocs!

That’s why I tend to choose sandals over any other shoe type. Fortunately I live in Southern California, where I can wear sandals 75% of the year! Here are a few of my favorite sandal choices that are comfortable for long distance walking. I discuss more sandal options in my post, Best Shoes for Disney Parks – Why I Love Sandals! 

Comfortable Shoes for Kids (No Breaking In Period!)

I’ve been purchasing pediped shoes for nearly 6 years. They were my son’s very first pair of shoes. When I saw how comfortable they were for him and how much he enjoyed walking in pediped, they quickly became the only pair of shoes I would buy for him. It’s a happy day for him when he sees a box from pediped in the mail!

When I first found out I was having a baby girl, a pair of pedipeds Originals was one of my first purchases! They are the shoes she took her first steps in and I’ll be putting them into her keepsake box. Any other shoes she outgrows will be gifted forward to another child. We’ve handed down my son’s outgrown pedipeds to his cousins.

If painful feet stop kids from exploring check out these tips and products that will minimize blisters, swelling and foot pain!

My kids wearing their pedipeds at Walt Disney World.

I’ll be honest about the price because it might be more than you’re used to paying. Many people will not pay a high price for kids shoes, preferring to buy cheaper shoes. I’d much rather purchase something of high quality that is comfortable for my child, supports her feet and won’t fall apart or look worn after just a few wearings. My kids only have 2 or 3 pairs of pediped shoes and rotate between them (instead of a dozen pairs of “cheap” shoes).

If painful feet stop you from exploring check out these tips and products that will minimize blisters, swelling and foot pain!

My son in his Flex Sahara Red sandals at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.

Because many pedipeds are washable they uphold their look. And the high crafted quality means they last and last. My son is currently wearing pediped sandals he had last summer and they still look in perfect condition!

My only complaint? That my eldest daughter is now 13 and has outgrown them! I’ve only bought her pediped shoes for the last five years. She has one foot that rolls inward, causing shoes to get a hole in them after just a few wearings. Pediped is the only brand that we’ve found that will hold her foot solidly upright and not to roll. pediped footwear has been awarded the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance for the promotion of healthy foot development.

Stick with What Works

I legit own 8 pairs of shoes total. Four of these shoes are exact duplicates of each other, just in different color schemes. I know what works for my feet so I tend to purchase two at a time.

I gave up a long time ago trying to wear regular high heels. Now if I’m dressing up I wear my favorite crocs Women’s Leigh Ankle Strap Wedge Sandal. I have them in oatmeal and black and they’re versatile enough to wear with either a dress or jeans. And the best part is that I can actually dance and walk comfortably all night in them (and not revert to the barefoot walk back to the car at the end of the night!)

If you have a favorite shoe, next time buy two so you can switch out between them!

Comfort Aids for Inside Shoes

Adding extra support where your foot needs it is a great way to get comfy. A little lift here, a little cushion there and your foot pain can be greatly relieved. I recently tried Silipos Active gel products. These conform to your body reducing friction, abrasion and burning sensations during high impact activities.

I tried Silipos Active Ball of Foot Gel Cushions. Slip the loop around one of your toes and the cushion rests underneath, covered by a sock. These cushions are so thin I wondered if they’d make a difference. I tested them on a 5 mile hike we took across concrete and gravel. I could really tell the difference after walking as I didn’t have the usual ache in my foot bones that I usually do after walking on that type of terrain.

Ever worn a pair of flip-flops when the center post cut into your toes? That is just the worst! Silipos Active Sandal Toe Protectors slips over that post to cushion between the toes.

How do you counteract painful feet? Share in the comments!

Gifts for Father’s Day that Dads Really Want!

What are the gifts for Father's Day that Dads really want to receive?

Stop right there with the tie. Put down the funny patterned boxer shorts. And a money clip? No, thank you. Most Dads don’t really want any of those gifts for Father’s Day. So what does Dad want? Besides sleeping in and full control of the television remote, these are the gifts for Father’s Day that will make Dad happy!

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Purchasing through these links helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Gifts for Father’s Day

I’ll be honest, we don’t usually buy my husband anything for Father’s Day. He’s really hard to please and always says he doesn’t “need anything”. I thought hard about the things that would make him happy and this is the bomb list that would totally make his day. (I also asked him specifically what he’d like to receive!) Check out these gifts for Father’s Day that will truly make him smile.

Shower Products That Aren’t Girly

My husband not-so-secretly loves a good soap. He wants to get the grime, sweat and stink off but he doesn’t want an overpowering scent after he gets out of the shower. He’s partial to the hard-milled natural and organic soap bars from the market. I think he’d really enjoy these vegan soaps that are more “manly” scented – Beer Soap Gift Set of 4 Bars and Three-Pack of Activated Charcoal Bar Soap, Handmade & Natural Vegan Soap


Key Chain That Helps Dad Locate His Keys (and Wallet) (and Phone)

My husband is forever misplacing things. They’re not LOST he says, he just can’t remember where he last set them down. I’m totally buying him these! The slim design means you can slip them inside your wallet or hook them to a key ring. Use the app on your phone to send a message to the Tile tracker and a loud noise will sound so Dad can find his stuff. Can’t find his phone? Press one of the Tile trackers and his phone will ring (even if it’s on silent mode). – Tile Mate & Slim Combo 4-Pack

Comfy Lounging Clothes

As soon as my husband comes home he takes off his heavy work pants, showers and slips into comfy clothes. It’s flannel in chilly weather and knit when it’s warmer. He likes the ComfortSoft brand because they have a comfortable drawstring. Plain Tagless Hanes tees are a favorite as well –Hanes Men’s Cotton ComfortSoft Printed Knit Pants and Hanes Men’s ComfortSoft Tagless Tees.

Cell Phone Charger (Because He Almost Always Forgets to Plug in His Phone)

I plug my husband’s cell phone into the charger every night before I go to bed. He’s an early riser and usually heads to bed without remembering to plug in the phone. If I’m not home, he doesn’t always remember to charge before going to bed. He needs this charger to keep in his glove box so he’ll be able to recharge on his work lunch break!-  Anker PowerCore 10000

Something That Lets Him Jump into Summer

My husband loves the water (while I’m more of a land-lubber). I do enjoy sitting pool side though, watching him swim and play with the kids! I buy Lands’ End swimwear for all of us, Dad included. And a swim tee means I don’t have to use half a bottle of sunscreen lotioning his back! – Lands’ End Men’s Swim Trunks and Swim Tee

Books with Subjects that Your Guy Likes

My husband isn’t a reader. However there are a few subjects he enjoys that I think he’d crack open a book for. Think about your husband’s favorite interests (mine loves exercise, being outdoors and cleaning…yes, really!).

The Men’s Fitness Exercise Bible: 101 Best Workouts to Build Muscle, Burn Fat, and Sculpt Your Best Body Ever!, Best of The Total Outdoorsman: 508 Skills: Featuring Field & Stream’s All-Time Greatest Hints and Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home.


Polarized Sunglasses

This is the most expensive item on the list but if well cared for, a good pair of sunglasses can last a long time. The Maui Jim brand are my husband’s favorite. He says they are very comfortable and stay on his face, even when he leans forward. He liked the polarized lenses (as a fisherman, he can see clearly past the water glare at the fish in the water) –Maui Jim – Five Caves – Polarized Lenses

Something Yummy That Dad Doesn’t Have to Share (Unless He Wants To!)

My husband has a chocolate sweet tooth! Chocolate is one of his few indulgences and See’s Candies is his favorite. He prefers the dark chocolate so I graciously take care of the milk chocolate candies so he can just eat the dark 🙂 – See’s Candies Father’s Day Gifts

For more Father’s Day gift ideas,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Budget-Friendly Guide for Mother’s Day Gifts Under $20

Looking for Mother's Day gifts under $20? Check out this budget-friendly guide with items to make mom (and your wallet!) happy!

I love to give gifts! And naturally, I love to receive them too. But it seems like there is always another “holiday” coming up with yet another gift to buy! And all the gift giving can really take a hit to the budget. I want to show my mom and mother-in-law my love and appreciation for them with a gift but I can’t really get too extravagant with it. Are you looking for Mother’s Day gifts under $20? Check out this budget-friendly guide with items to make mom (and your wallet!) happy!

Budget-Friendly Mother’s Day Gifts

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Black Loop. Today we are sharing gift ideas for Mother’s Day.

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and making a purchase will help me in a small financial way, thank you!

Something with Memories

I know what my mom likes to receive for Mother’s Day: new photos of the grandkids! From prints that she can put in a frame, mugs, a photo book or magnets for the fridge, she loves to show off the photos. I love Shutterfly for printing all my photo memories. Sign up to receive notifications of sales from Shutterfly and you can often receive 50% off or even free products!

Looking for Mother's Day gifts under $20? Check out this budget-friendly guide with items to make mom (and your wallet!) happy!  

Something to Eat

Give Mom a treat with no expectation of sharing! This Godiva Truffles Flight are decadent and all for her to indulge. Or maybe Mom’s a gourmet in the kitchen and would love this White Truffle Oil? Ever drizzled this stuff on popcorn, amazing!

Something to Drink

This beautiful poppy print Tervis Mug is a bright spot on a dreary day and perfect for re-hydrating Mom. Maybe Mom’s more of a coffee drinker? In that case, a Starbucks gift card is always appropriate so she can pick up her own latte!


Something for Pampering

A day at the spa is special but for pampering on a budget, there’s nothing like DIY at home. I love these little ways of treating Mom to a manicure at home with Jamberry nail wraps and hand care products.

Something for Travel

A cross-body bag (like this messenger bag that’s under $8!) is a great size for travel. Small enough to stay out of the way but roomy enough for essentials. A Travel Life Journal will give Mom a special place to jot down her travel memories and keep them all in one place.

Something for a Song

Mom loves to sing and dance to her favorite songs? For under $10 a month, you can give Mom the gift of song with an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription. There’s even an Amazon Music Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial to check it out first.

Rose gold is such a hot look and these in-ear headphones are stylish and practical.

Something for Summer

Think ahead to summer and gift Mom a new pair of sandals. The lightweight and stylish Crocs Kadee II Flip are summer-ready for beaches, boardwalks and beyond.

COUPON SAVINGS! Use code TOWEL30 and pin 4082 at Lands’ End to save 30% on a beach towel for Mom.

Something for Fun

One of my mom’s favorite things to do is to play a game with her grandkids. From board games to cards, a fun family game night will be something Mom will cherish.

Something Scented

Instead of splurging on the largest bottle of Mom’s favorite perfume, choose a travel size instead. She’ll love to receive her signature scent and appreciate the purse-sized bottle that she can tote with her.

COUPON SAVINGS! Spend a few dollars more at Sephora ($25+) and you can choose from one of 7 deluxe samples using the code SKINSAVER.

I hoard those trial-sized bottles of Disney resort Sea Salt Shower Gel! I just love the scent and this big bottle of it would have me in shower heaven.


Something to Warm Her Up

The Yankee Candle in Lilac Blossoms large candle with a spring time scent will burn up to 150 hours. Mom will think of you each time she lights it! This stylish scarf will keep her cozy and also has a clever zipper pouch to store cash or keys while she’s out exploring – Women’s Scarf with Zipper Pocket

Something with Art

If Mom is crafty, consider a box of Crayola art supplies and a grown-up coloring book. Nothing like a fresh new box of Crayola crayons! Or maybe she’d like to have something crafty that she can display in the house. This chic Craft Crush Felt Succulents Kit will give Mom something very pretty to show off when she’s done creating.

For more Mother’s Day Gift Guides,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Black | Mother’s Day Gift Guides Loop:

5 Things I Do When Budgeting Money Makes Me Cranky

Okay I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but constantly budgeting my money makes me cranky! With 4 kids and a limited budget, there’s not always a lot of wiggle-room when it comes to “fun money”. Yes, I’m always putting money in the savings account for our retirement and there’s a little bit going into the Disney bank. But when it comes to right here and now, not being able to just buy whatever-I-want whenever-I-want-it makes me irritable!

So I can’t go on a spending spree and that’s okay. These are 5 things I do when I need a little escape from reality. They are just the right pick-me-up when the budget is tight.

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

What are the little things you can do when budgeting makes you cranky? 5 Things I Do When Budgeting Money Makes Me Cranky

1. Plan a Fake Vacation

Can’t hop a plane or jump ship? Just like reading a book transports you into another world, planning a fake vacation can transport you around the world with a click of a button. This is one of my most favorite ways to daydream. Pick a spot on the map and delve into this area as if you were really going to visit!

  • Borrow travel books from the library. Which part of the world are you most drawn to?
  • If you could only drive 500 miles or less, which direction would you go and what would you do?
  • If you had to travel in central Europe which country would you go to? (I actually made this decision when I won a travel contest!)
  • Read up on cruising. Check out the Disney cruise restaurants and menus – They’re all online!
  • Which attractions would you visit in Orlando other than Walt Disney World?
  • If money were no object (and it never is when planning a fake trip) which extravagant add-ons would you make?
  • Perhaps someday when you win the lottery (that’s totally going to happen, right?), you’ll already have your travel itinerary ready to go!

Planning a Disney trip? Pick up one of these recommended Walt Disney World or Disneyland books for everyone in your group!

2. Fill my Online Shopping Cart with Clothes I’ll Never Buy

I’m not literally going to go to Target, load up a cart and then abandon it at the door. But it’s TOTALLY okay to do that online! In an online shopping cart you can virtually mix and match, quickly move from dresses to shoes to jewelry. And when you’ve gotten the shopping bug fix, simply close the browser window and you’re wallet is still intact!

3. Get Rid of Stuff

If I’m on a budget I can’t buy more stuff but it does give me some joy to pass along some of the stuff we already have. Purging and giving makes me thankful for things I was able to purchase and reminds me that I already have enough “stuff”.

  • Weed through kid’s closets. What doesn’t fit and who can you pass the clothing down to?
  • Is there something in your closet you haven’t worn in a very long time? Request a bag from ThredUp and you may be able to resell some of your items.
  • Have a garage sale. Put the money you make towards something special.
  • Be ruthless in the kid’s toy bin. Keep only what they really play with and donate the rest.
  • Next time you pull out the holiday or seasonal bin, see how you can pare down the decorations so that you only keep your most favorite items.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

4. Buy Something Little and Fun

A cheap but meaningful splurge can really boost spirits when the wallet is tight. Obviously you can’t do this one every day (or even every week!) but once in a while buying something small is just what you need. What little thing makes you happiest? For me it’s something that pampers me, like new Jamberry nail wraps or a lipstick! For family fun, choose a new board game or get a gallon of vanilla ice cream and a few toppings for mid-week sundaes.

What are the little things you can do when budgeting makes you cranky? 5 Things I Do When Budgeting Money Makes Me Cranky

A manicure at home (on a budget) makes me feel better!

Look Ahead to Something Real

What fun thing do you have coming ahead in the calendar that you can look forward to? Whatever it is, start your planning now! I love planning and think that research is half the fun. So if you have a vacation ahead, cultivate your own official itinerary. Research restaurants, peruse online menus and decide which mouth-watering dessert you’re going to order when you get there. I find that looking ahead (and not dwelling in the I-can’t-right-now) really fills up my thankfulness cup and reminds me why I’m budgeting and saving in the first place!

What do you do when budgeting gets you down? Share in the comments!