• Gift Guides

    23 Awesome Artsy Toys That Keep Kids Entertained

    Artsy toys for kids are a lifesaver at my house. Let’s just say I was not born with the “craft” gene. It’s not that I’m not a creative person, but music and writing are my fortes, not making magnificent creations out of coffee filters and clothespins. Personally, aside from lacking raw talent in the crafting arena, I am simply not all that interested in finding a craft project, procuring all the necessary materials, doing the prep work, and demonstrating each step for my kids. I know that this kind of thing fills many a mom’s cup. I’m not one of those moms. I send my kids to school and take…

  • Gift Guides

    31 Extraordinary Catholic Baby Baptism Gifts

    We have now had four babies baptized in the Catholic Church and are blessed to be godparents to our niece. A Catholic baptism is such a special occasion! Even though babies are usually too young to remember the experience, godparents and other family and friends can give them gifts that will commemorate the experience and help them live and learn their Catholic faith in the years to come. This list of baby baptism gift ideas is perfect for Catholic baptisms, but many of the baptism gifts listed are also suitable for any Christian baptism. Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click through and make a purchase, I…

  • Three of the best games for kindergartners stacked together.
    Gift Guides

    27 Perfect Games for Kindergartners to Play (and Learn From)

    Kindergartners are at a perfect age to play games with friends, family, or classmates. Board games, cards, and other fun party games are not only a fun source of social interaction, they also help the kindergartners develop some crucial skills.  Sarah Gorden has been a teacher for ten years, more than half of those teaching either kindergarten or first grade. She says, “Games are a great way for families to practice skills like one-to-one correspondence, counting, turn taking, sharing, number identification, and talking about rules and directions.” In addition, games can help kindergartners work on problem-solving, strategy, communication, and collaboration. This list contains games for kindergartners that I recommend because:…

  • Toddler putting coins into piggy bank STEM toy
    Gift Guides

    25 Engaging STEM Toys for Toddlers Under 3 Years Old

    It’s never too early to start nurturing science, technology, engineering, and math skills in toddlers. Learning Liftoff shares that an early introduction to STEM can encourage the development of language, communication, and problem-solving skills. They add that it will also set them up for future academic success because they will be able to transfer these skills to other areas of study. Similarly, the Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum reports that children are already laying roots for abstract reasoning before they turn one. “These roots,” they say, “must be encouraged through engagement and play in order for inherent tendencies to develop into lifelong STEM thinking skills.”…

  • Printables

    7 Valentine’s Day Printable Activities for Kids

    Are you looking for a set of Valentine’s Day printables? These seven Valentine’s Day free printable coloring pages and activities will keep your kids or students festively busy! When you download this free printable activity packet, you will get a PDF that includes: 4 Valentine’s Day printable coloring pages 1 Valentine’s Day printable word search 1 Valentine’s Day fill-in-the-blank story (like Mad Libs™) 1 Valentine’s Day printable activity sheet Valentine’s Day Printable Coloring Pages This set comes with four Valentine’s Day themed coloring pages: A heart with whimsical decorations inside, including a flower, rainbow, and crown Four “talking hearts” with empowering and encouraging phrases, such as “Be Kind,” “Be Brave,”…

  • Raising Kids

    Smart Ways to Smooth Out Your School Morning Routine

    If you struggle with your kids’ school morning routine, you’re not alone. It’s not easy getting everyone dressed, presentable, fed, and out the door with appropriately-packed bags every morning – especially not without nagging, whining, or a sense of impending doom. But having a smooth morning helps set everyone up for a successful day, so here are a few ideas to help you get on your way to a stress-free morning routine.  At the end of the post, I’ll share the tool that helps my second-grader and kindergartener to get everything done, often with time to spare, in the mornings. Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click…

  • Pizza party decorations
    Raising Kids

    Simple Pizza Party for Kids: Everything You Need to Know

    Ever since she was in preschool, my oldest daughter has said she wants to be a pizza maker when she grows up. Therefore, it seemed fitting to throw her a pizza party this year for her eighth birthday. There are local pizzerias that offer make-your-own-pizza parties for kids, but we decided just to have a few friends over at home and let them top their own personal pizzas. It turned out to be quite a fun evening for our daughter and her friends, even though it was not much work for us! Here is our blueprint for a simple, inexpensive pizza party for kids. Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.…

  • Raising Kids

    Creating New Year’s Eve Traditions Your Kids Will Cherish

    New Year’s Eve offers a chance to look back and plan ahead, to have fun, make noise, stay up late, and celebrate with family and friends. Memories of New Year’s Eve with my family’s traditional chips, dip, and board games stay with me to this day! You can easily create a fun, exciting, memorable traditional New Year’s Eve with your family. Here are some simple ideas of New Year’s Eve traditions your kids will look eagerly forward to each year. Choose a few ideas (small or big!) and make it a point to do the same thing annually to solidify the New Year’s Eve traditions for your kids. Disclosure: This…

  • Raising Kids

    An Elf on the Shelf Twist that Shifts the Focus for Kids

    We have an elf who visits our house each year leading up to Christmas, popping up in a different hiding spot every morning. His name is Jon Snow. (We were in the thick of Game of Thrones the first year he arrived, but it just sounds like a wintry name to our kids!) We tell our kids he is here from the North Pole, reporting back to Santa about their behavior. No, we are not one of the families whose elf causes all kinds of meme-worthy mischief and shenanigans, but my kids have so much fun looking for him first thing in the morning. For us, it adds to our…

  • Gift Guides

    28 Exciting Gifts for an 8-Year-Old Girl

    Are you getting ready to purchase a gift for an 8-year-old girl for a birthday or holiday? What a fun task! The eldest of my four children is an 8-year-old girl, and I think she is at a really enjoyable age. 8-year-olds are getting more independent and savvy about how the world works, but yet they still love to play, create, and have fun. My daughter just loves rainbows, butterflies, sparkles, fairies, and dressing up — such a whimsical spirit about her! If you’re looking for just the right gift for an 8-year-old, consider these 28 recommendations. Many are items we have in our house and can recommend from experience,…

  • Gift Guides

    35 Fun and Unique Gifts for One-Year-Olds

    There is a special occasion approaching and you need a gift for a one-year-old, but you don’t want to opt for the standard toys, books, and clothes. If you are looking for something a little different, try these unique gifts for one-year-olds. This list includes ideas that are personalized, practical, sentimental, or out-of-the-box. You are sure to find something that will stand out and make your one-year-old’s day! This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click a link and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. 1. Personalized piggy bank One-year-olds need a place to store all their…

  • Front door of new mom
    For Mom

    Food for a New Mom: 7 Tips to Get it Right

    After each of my four babies was born, my family was blessed by the generosity of friends who brought us food. The chores of meal planning and preparation loom large above the heads of new moms who are already sleep-deprived, bodies exhausted from giving birth, and minds tired from trying to adjust to the addition of a new family member. After my first baby was born, I had such terrible postpartum anxiety, I could hardly remember to feed myself. My poor mother who was visiting to help me nearly starved!  If you have a friend or family member who’s recently had a new baby, bringing food for the new mom…

  • Thank you bag with heart for teacher gift
    Gift Guides,  Raising Kids

    The Top 5 Teacher Gift Mistakes to Avoid

    When it’s time to pick out a teacher gift, do you ever have trouble deciding what to give? How do you adequately honor the person who spends hours educating and caring for your child each day? Teachers I have talked to don’t seem to expect anything, and they appreciate any gesture a parent makes to recognize them during Teacher Appreciation Week, the holiday season, or the end of the school year. But when I asked them what they really did and did not want to receive as teacher gifts, they were not shy about speaking up, and certain patterns became very clear! Before you solidify your choices for your next…

  • Mom playing with child during the day
    For Mom

    12 Tips for Achieving Work-Life Balance as a Working Mom

    Work-life balance is the concept that a person feels comfortable with the amount and quality of time spent on their job versus their personal life. Sarah Buckley Friedberg recently shed light on the elusiveness of this concept in a Facebook post that went viral. She outlined the contradictory set of demands placed upon working moms and the difficulty of living up to society’s standard of work-life balance. As a working mom, I agree that it can be a challenge to find work-life balance. I love my job and normally enjoy going to work, but it can be really hard to leave my kids in the morning. And when I’m at…

  • Raising Kids

    Your Guide to Coasting through a Long Road Trip with Kids

    Guest Post by Ashlee Gecewich I grew up going to the beach each year and knew I wanted my own children to have the same experiences I had as a child. However, living in Central Ohio, there isn’t exactly a beach close by. Knowing I wanted my kids to get to the beach and create their own memories, I knew we had some long road trips with kids in our future. Road trips get me excited! A dream of mine is to take my family of five on a cross-country drive. I want to see everything, and I want my kids to see everything! I want to drive from coast…