• Plate of spaghetti and meatballs, one example of an family dinner idea.
    Raising Kids

    15 Easy Family Dinner Ideas Your Kids Might Actually Eat

    Easy family dinner ideas that please all three of my non-infant kids and are not pizza, hot dogs, or peanut butter and jelly are hard to come by. But every once in a while, we’ll find a winner that gets integrated into our meal rotation. The best family dinner ideas in my book are ones that are easy to make, use ingredients I am relatively likely to have on hand and are met with little to no resistance by at least one of my kids (because you can’t win them all!). Bonus if it dirties only one pot or pan! Here I share 15 of my favorite easy family dinner…

  • Person cleaning up mess with a cordless vacuum
    For Mom,  Gift Guides

    10 Perfect Gifts to Make Life Easier for Mom

    As a mom, I am always looking for ways to make life easier. There is no room for inefficiency when you have to care for four kids, cook meals, keep a house reasonably tidy, work a job or two, and sleep sometimes. I embrace any gifts to make life easier or item I come across that somehow frees up some of my resources to allow me to more easily accomplish all I need to. If you are a mom looking for ideas to put on your own wish list, or you are hoping to pick out gifts to make life easier for a mom, I have put together a list…

  • Mess on the floor that child should clean up
    Raising Kids

    10 Ways to Get Kids to Clean Up After Themselves

    I wish that I could say I had trained my kids from the get-go to clean up after themselves. I wish I could say they were born neat, or that I have successfully implemented a chore system (which I really should try to do soon). On the contrary, I have raised super messy kids. It feels like I can have a room all picked up, and then in a matter of minutes, everything will be everywhere once again. Like shoveling in a snowstorm, people say. It’s not just the toddler — the preschooler and first-grader are just as guilty. However, every once in a while, I will decide that I…

  • Child learning how to keep busy at home with sidewalk chalk.
    Raising Kids

    A Day Well Spent Printable Checklist for Kids

    Have you ever wondered how to keep kids busy at home when you’ve got a whole day stretching ahead of you? If I’m not careful, days with my kids can quickly turn into marathons of their favorite streaming shows and incessant begging for snacks. When I’m on my game, I help my kids come up with ideas to craft their own day well spent. Although it’s important for kids to come up with their own activities, sometimes they need a little guidance about where to start. That’s why I have created a checklist for kids called “A Day Well Spent.” It includes a balanced mix of creativity, social skills, physical…

  • Crayons are one of the essential art toys for kids.
    Gift Guides

    20+ Awesome Art Toys That Keep Kids Entertained

    Art 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…

  • Coffee and iPad displaying online shopping tips
    Money Matters

    Online Shopping Tips to Save Money on your Holiday List

    Before you start your holiday shopping, do you know all the online shopping tips you need to save money? I do not get into the whole in-person holiday shopping scene. It’s busy and overwhelming and cold. There’s pressure to make decisions, and the items I want may or may not be in stock. I’d rather shop from the comfort of home and wait for my packages to arrive conveniently on my doorstep. It seems I’m not alone in this approach. Adobe reported that last year’s Cyber Monday was the biggest spending day in U.S. history, and a survey by Deloitte revealed that people were expecting to purchase more gifts online than…

  • Money Matters

    7 Lessons Learned in My First Month Blogging

    When I decided a month ago that I wanted to learn how to start a blog and make money, I had no idea how much I would have to learn! At the beginning of October, I found myself on a quest to figure out a way to make a little extra money each month. As I sifted through my search results and clicked link after link, a realization started to materialize: I can make money by blogging. Real money. Like, might not even have to work my day job after a while kind of money. And so I began a journey to figure out how to start a blog and make…

  • Mess of toys on the living room floor
    For Mom

    Small Kids Making Your House a Total Mess? Here’s Why That’s OK

    I have four kids, and I have to tell you… my life is a total mess. Although I do manage to get a daily shower, I hardly ever dry my hair or put on makeup anymore. My wardrobe mostly consists of leggings, sweats, and t-shirts (oftentimes oversized ones belonging to my husband). Usually, I eat my “meals” standing up. I have to remind myself to drink water (instead of coffee or wine) and eat fruits and vegetables, which I often steal off the kids’ plates before I do the dishes. Our house is covered in dust, jelly, and discarded socks. It looks as though the playroom heaved its contents haphazardly all…

  • Wrapped gifts for two-year-old
    Gift Guides

    30+ Practical Gifts for Two-Year-Olds that Parents will Appreciate

    When my kids’ birthdays and Christmas roll around, I try to take charge and create good solid wish lists that I make available to friends and family. These lists include practical items that I know the kid will need throughout the course of the year. Gift-givers often want to pick out the gift that’s going to be the most fun or exciting for the child, and I understand that. But two-year-olds can get just as excited over practical gifts as they do over toys. And if you give a practical gift to a two-year-old, you are likely to make the parents extra happy as well! Here is a list of practical gifts…

  • Mom with three kids and a fourth baby
    Raising Kids

    Having a Fourth Baby: 9 Things to Consider First

    Our adorable fourth baby is now three months old. She joined a brother and two sisters, all under the age of seven. The next oldest child was just shy of two years old when she was born. People are often curious to know what it’s like to have four kids. Well, in short, it’s tiring and busy and loud and really messy. There is always someone who needs me, which is both exhausting and life-affirming. I would never trade a single one of my children for the world, but having a fourth baby is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Here are some issues to consider before you…

  • Kids experiencing a little moment of joy
    For Mom

    Capturing Little Moments of Joy in a Tiring Season of Life

    Tonight, at the end of a particularly trying day parenting four kids under the age of 7, I find myself reflecting on a paradox of motherhood. These are the moments that older parents look back on fondly, that strangers warn that young parents will miss one day. And yet, I am too exhausted or overwhelmed to notice much of anything but the messes my toddler keeps making behind me, the bickering between my oldest two, and the baby’s hungry cries while I reach over dirty dishes to heat her bottle. Everywhere I turn, there is something to be done and someone who needs me. It is so tiring, it hurts.…

  • Mom sitting with two children
    Raising Kids

    5 Communication Techniques to Connect with Your Child

    My two-year-old has a new phrase: “Mommy, where are you?” She often says this while I am standing right in front of her. I think, sometimes, it’s innocent enough. She just needs me for something and is trying to get my attention. But it has me thinking about how often I am physically present, but not actually there.  If you, like me, want to have more meaningful interactions with your kids, here are some simple communication strategies you can try out. Make eye contact Moms are great multitaskers. While your child is chattering away, you might be looking at the dishes, the baby, or your phone. Try turning away and looking…

  • New mom holding baby
    For Mom

    8 Truths Every New Mom Needs to Hear

    I have four kids, and I honestly think the hardest transition was going from zero kids to one. If you are a brand-new mom, stumbling through those first hazy months, here are some messages for you from the other side. You don’t have to know how to do everything. I went through a phase after my first baby was born when I was just running through the list of all the things she was going to need to learn to do or that she was going to experience in her life, and I felt like I needed to be prepared for every single one right then! In reality, you learn…

  • Woman on her cell phone
    For Mom

    How to Cure Phone Addiction: One Mom’s Quest

    I have a confession to make: I have a slight addiction to my phone. I am home on maternity leave and have been realizing how much time my phone steals away from my kids each day. Granted, I have four children under the age of seven, and I’m sure you can’t blame me for wanting to escape down a digital rabbit hole from time to time. But I think I may be escaping a little too frequently. Effects of phone addiction I’ve started reflecting on how my preoccupation with my phone is affecting my life. I’ve found that it can make me irritable (particularly if I’m interrupted), and also likely to…

  • Mom holding new baby
    For Mom

    It’s Fine to Feed Your Baby Formula

    I’m writing this post for my past self. Almost seven years ago, I had just given birth to my first baby, and I was a hot mess. I am a planner, a problem-solver. I had spent nine months devouring parenting books and websites, buying cloth diapers, and studying natural childbirth. I was going to crush this parenting thing. And of course, I was going to breastfeed my baby instead of feeding her formula. Why wouldn’t I? Breastfeeding was free, all-natural, and best for my baby. And then my child was born. I was completely exhausted from hours and hours of labor and childbirth (which, by the way, ended up involving…