KinderBach Piano Lessons Review

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest feedback. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and those of my family and are honest. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

I love music and it has always been a huge part of my life. I grew up playing the piano and singing. I studied vocal performance in college. I taught piano lessons for a few years.  I even used part of my wedding budget to buy a baby grand piano.  And so I was thrilled when my son James told me he wanted to learn how to play the piano.  The only problem was, I didn’t want to be the one to teach him.  I enjoy teaching piano and I am willing to teach other people’s kids, but I think there are certain things that are better when not taught by your mom.  Piano lessons is one of those things!  When I heard about KinderBach and the chance to review The KinderBach Online Piano Lesson Membership with Teacher Corner, I was ecstatic.

 

I expected to like the program, but it’s even better than I anticipated because it breaks the learning down into really small chunks.  My son has a very short attention span.  The KinderBach videos are short, entertaining, and easy to follow.

My original intention with KinderBach was to watch a video and do the required activity on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week.  Unfortunately, the past 5 weeks have been chaotic around here as my father-in-law was very very sick and then he passed away. While we didn’t stick to the Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule I had originally planned, we still were able to get in at least 3 lessons a week because the lessons are short and easy to sneak in.

When you purchase The KinderBach Online Piano Lesson Membership with Teacher Corner, you’ll get access to all the lessons and you can watch them on your computer,  iPad, Kindle Fire, Android Tablet or Nook.  We used the iPad for watching the videos because in our house, everything is considered more exciting when watched on the iPad.  You’ll also get access to pdfs that go along with each lesson.  I printed off lessons one week at a time.  There were times when my son enjoyed lessons so much that we did multiple lessons in one day.  The KinderBach Online Piano Lesson Membership with Teacher Corner is geared for kids ages 3-7, however, if your kids are on the older side of that spectrum, you can probably fly through the first few weeks of lessons or you may want to do multiple days of lessons at a time like we did.  I wanted to make sure that music continues to be viewed as a treat and something fun, so I let James decide how many lessons we did at a time.  He almost always wanted to do at least 2 or 3.  He loves doing the activities, but he is happiest when he gets to sit at the keyboard.

The price for The KinderBach Online Piano Lesson Membership with Teacher Corner is only $95.88 per year which is WAY less than you’d pay for private piano lessons. It’s definitely worth it if you have young children who want beginner piano lessons. It’s fun for kids and it’s fun for parents to watch them blossom into a little musician.

This gets my whole-hearted approval.  It’s easy to use, fun for kids, and totally worth the price!

Click to read Crew Reviews
Crew Disclaimer

Home Run Inn Pizza: A Real Home Run for Our Family

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Home Run Inn pizza.

Over the past year, our family has made huge changes to our diet.  While we had been making some gradual changes here and there, it wasn’t until we took custody of the twins that things really started to change.  The twins have MAJOR food sensitivities that wreaked havoc on their digestive systems and resulted in atrocious behavior.  As we eliminated than re-added foods to their diets (and consequently ours as well), we found that artificial dyes were disastrous for them.  We also found that processed foods and things with nitrates/nitrites also didn’t work well for them.  While we’ve all been thrilled at the changes in health and behavior, I’d be lying if I said no one was missing favorite foods.  Gone are the days of blue box mac and cheese and hot dogs.  Starburst, Skittles, and M&Ms are no longer a treasured treat.  And if all that wasn’t bad enough, frozen pizza, my go-to quick and easy meal after a long day of work or a long evening of basketball games was no longer an option.  Frozen pizza was a special treat for everyone.  My husband loves it, my teenage daughters love it and the twins love it.  And most of all, I love frozen pizza because let’s face it…there are some days when the time and energy to make a homecooked meal have escaped me by the time it’s dinnertime.

Over the last few months, we’ve been able to find substitutes for almost all of our favorite foods.  I discovered that I can make a pretty mean homemade mac and cheese (and I also discovered an organic brand that my kids like).  I’ve ordered organic suckers and gummy bears that don’t contain preservatives or artificial dyes from Amazon. Unfortunately, since I don’t live near a natural foods store, my search for frozen pizza has seemed elusive up to this point.

A few weeks ago, I heard about an all natural frozen pizza that is available at Kroger, Meijer and Marsh.  I was thrilled to find them at my small town Kroger and my kids were elated to see me walk in the door with boxes of frozen pizza.  It’s been a long time since we’ve had it at our house.

Home Run Inn Pizza is an all natural frozen pizza that is made with real cheese and with no preservatives.  The Meat Lovers pizza is made with nitrite/nitrate free bacon and pepperoni.

Home Run Inn Pizza is consistently number one according to Consumer Reports.  And my family wholeheartedly agrees!

Shayna ate 4 piece of cheese pizza!

James opted for Meat Lovers and must have said “This is the best pizza ever!” at least 10 times during dinner!

Even my fussy hubby gave it a thumbs up {although he wasn’t thrilled with having his picture taken}.

I’m a huge fan of Home Run Inn Pizza and will definitely be purchasing more to keep in our freezer for a quick, easy meal!

I’d love to hear from you!

Do you have a quick and easy go-to meal?  Have you ever tried Home Run Inn pizza and if so, what’s your favorite flavor?  Leave me a comment! :)

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Home Run Inn pizza.

Tracking Pixel

Snow Inspired Projects for Kids {Snow Day Ideas}

We had a crazy snow storm this week!  Between two feet of snow and subzero temperatures, my kids have been out of school all week!   Depending on where you live, there’s a good chance that you’re experiencing the same kind of crazy weather.  If you’re a feeling a little stir crazy and your kids are bored, here are some snow inspired projects to do with your kids!

Snow Viewing

When it’s snowing, take your kids outside with a sheet of black paper and a magnifying glass. As the flakes land on the black paper, the kids can look closely at them and examine them under the magnifying glass.  It’s amazing how unique each snowflake is.  Remind your children that each snowflake is unique just like each of them are different and unique!  You may want to have the kid take pictures of their favorite magnified snowflakes as inspiration for future snowy art projects!

Salty Snow

Epsom salt looks glittery and snowy on all sorts of objects. If you have little kids, try this fun craft. You can use epsom salt covered styrofoam balls as Christmas tree ornaments, in bowls, or piled up on windowsills or in bay windows. You’ll need:

* Styrofoam balls, any size you like or a variety of sizes (you can also use inexpensive bulk Christmas tree balls)
* Epsom salts
* Decoupage medium or white glue slightly thinned with water
* Paintbrush (for the glue)

Place a good amount of Epsom salts on a plate. Using the paintbrush, coat balls one at a time with decoupage medium and roll them in Epsom salts. Once dry, repeat the process and you’ll have some very snowy looking balls! If you use varying sizes, you can then make snowmen.

If you have older kids, have them decorate candles, votive holders, and anything else that you think would look beautiful “snow covered”.

Glue Snowflakes

Make snowflakes for your windows with this craft. You’ll need:

* White glue
* Wax paper
* Salt or glitter (optional)
* Snowflake design for inspiration

Lay the sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet or other hard surface that you can leave undisturbed for a few hours. Help your preschooler make snowflake shapes out of glue – squeeze the glue directly onto the wax paper. While the glue is wet, sprinkle on salt or glitter if you like. When the snowflakes dry, peel them off and hang them up in windows or on the tree. Use a little soft wax (such as beeswax) to stick them to windows.

Ice and Salt Sculptures

You’ll need to start this project the night before by making ice blocks.  Simply fill 1 quart yogurt tubs, whipped topping tubs, or other similar plastic or cardboard containers (milk cartons work great for this) with water and freeze.

* 1-quart plastic yogurt tub, whipped topping tub, or similar plastic or cardboard container (milk cartons work, too)
* Liquid food coloring
* Rock salt, such as driveway salt
* Plastic gloves or small scoop (to keep salt off hands)
* Camera (this craft melts!)

In the morning or whenever you’re ready to do the craft, run hot water over the container and slip the ice block out. Place the ice in a pan or tub, large side up (if there is a larger side).

Let your preschooler sprinkle rock salt on the top of the ice block using gloves or a scoop. Then drop liquid food coloring on top where the salt chunks are. Vary the colors. As the salt melts the ice, it will create color streaks through the ice block, as well as create interesting shapes. You’ll be amazed at how cool these turn out as will your kids.  Make sure to take lots of pictures of the process and the finished product!

If you’d like some fun treats for your snow day, consider making this yummy Peppermint Hot Chocolate, this fun Reindeer Hot Chocolate (perfect to make before going outside and perfect to drink when you get back inside) or these Oreo Truffle Snowman Pops with your kiddos!

Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge

Last month, I mentioned our family plans to head to the Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge.  We finally got our big chance this past weekend.  While I had hoped to have all of our kids go, I knew that with basketball and work, it may not be a possibility.  Unfortunately, our schedules didn’t all align, so only the hubs and the twins came along.

I have to be honest, when the older girls realized they wouldn’t be able to go along, I wondered if the twins would have a good time. When I planned this trip, I was hoping for family fun that would appeal to the whole family, but I thought it would be the most fun for the older girls.  I knew that a whole bunch of wax celebrities and photo opps would be right up their alley!  I wasn’t sure if the twins would recognize any of the celebrities (after all, they’re only 7 and they didn’t get out much before they moved in with us).  Fortunately, my fears were unfounded!  The twins eyes lit up the minute they saw the outside of the Hollywood Wax Museum.  I mean, how could you not fall in love with the Great Ape of Pigeon Forge?

Once we got inside, the delight began in earnest.  I loved watching the kids eyes light up as they saw all the different wax figures.  The first person we came across was Antonio Banderas as Zorro.  My husband immediately got down on his knees and pleaded for his life.

The twins were happy to see Johnny Depp and the Pirates of the Caribbean, but were even more thrilled to  play with treasure.

Shayna thoroughly enjoyed spooning her way to better health while on the set of I Love Lucy!

 I’m pretty sure Shayna is going to be an actress.  I have a picture of her posing with almost every single figure in the wax museum.  If they were dancing, she was dancing.  If they were serious, she was serious!  I ended up with over 80 pictures of Shayna posing. She told me that she needed to be a zombie for this picture.

James wasn’t quite as into posing, however , he was excited to join Paul Blart as a mall cop.  He has his sights set on being either a police man or a garbage man, but after seeing Mall Cop, he wondered if maybe he wanted to be that kind of policeman.  After all, who wouldn’t want to ride around on a segway?

 The twins had the opportunity to wait at the bus stop with Forrest Gump.

And Fred was pretty excited that he was able to block one of Michael Jordan’s shots.

Our family thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the Hollywood Wax Museum.  If you’re heading to Piegeon Forge, this is one of the tourist attractions you don’t want to miss.  Not only did we enjoy our trip thoroughly, but we’ve looked at the pictures over and over again since we got home.

For more fun pictures, make sure to check out the Hollywood Wax Museum Facebook Page.

Family Friendly Advice:  If you’re taking small children, you may want to avoid the side room upstairs.  It has figures from various scary movies.  Hollywood Wax Museum did a great job of keeping that room separate so that not everyone had to walk by.  My other family friendly advice is to be aware that there is a Hugh Hefner figure on a red silky bed.  My daughter was completely enamored with the shiny red bed and insisted that she “pose with the old man”.

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

We’re Going to Hollywood Baby {OK…We’re Going to the Hollywood Wax Museum}

I am a huge fan of family vacations!  And we take as many of them as we possibly can.  In the 10 months that we’ve had the twins, we’ve been to New Hampshire twice, Philadelphia, Florida, Jamaica, and we’ve made lots of trips to Tennessee.  My daughter Shayna regularly asks if we’ll be staying in a hotel or flying on an airplane because “those are my 2 favorite things.” {She’s definitely a girl after my own heart}

Tennessee is one of our favorite destinations because it gives the kids a chance to see their grandparents and almost all of their cousins in one trip.  My sister and her husband along with their 4 kids live in Knoxville, my husband’s sister Tara and her husband and their 4 kids also live in Knoxville and my mother-in-law and father-in-law live there as well!  It’s the perfect blend of food (my mother-in-law is an AMAZING cook), family, farm (my sis-in-law has 2 miniature horses, some goats, chickens, rabbits, ducks and a dog) and fun.  Our trips usually consist of cookouts, bike rides, taking care of the animals and other outdoor activities.

As the weather is starting to cool, I’ve been trying to think of some fun indoor activities we can take advantage of during our trips to Tennessee. I wanted something that both the twins and the older girls wound enjoy.  Since Knoxville is just a stones throw from Pigeon Forge, I’ve decided to take the family to the Hollywood Wax Museum on our next visit. The Hollywood Wax Museum was designed for interaction which means that we get to walk into the open sets to take pictures with our favorite celebrities instead of just walking by and looking at them.  All the kids in our family are photo loving goofballs and the opportunity to take pictures with a variety of their waxy celebrity friends in a variety of settings will be right up their alley! {To see the types of photos we hope to take, visit the Hollywood Wax Museum Facebook Page}

If we can have this much fun during first day of school pictures, just imagine the fun we’ll have at the Hollywood Wax Musuem.

We’ll be headed in that direction next month so stay tuned for pictures and my thoughts on our day of family fun!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Bible Studies for Kids eBook Bundle: 5 Books for $7.40

Bundle #41: Bible Studies for Kids

As a mom, I consider teaching my kids about Jesus to be one of my most important jobs.  I want my kids to discover the importance of reading God’s word and hiding it in their hearts.  If you feel the same way that I do, you’ll definitely want to check out this awesome Bible Studies for Kids eBook Bundle.

This week’s bundle includes a ton of Bible study resources for kids! Discover resources for Scripture memorization, Bible study and character development, as well as handwriting practice, letter recognition and more, at more than 80% off.

This week only, get all five of these ebooks for more than 80% off:

God’s Word in My Heart by Jennifer Thorson
Help your children hide God’s Word in their young hearts and learn Scripture alongside them with Jennifer’s God’s Word in My Heart: A Scripture Learning Guide with Memory Verses! This program includes ideas for helping even the littlest of your children memorize Scripture, lists of songs to help with specific verses, printable Scripture memory verses and more. This set includes all 4 versions: ESV, KJV, NASB and variety (ESV, NIV 1984, NASB, NKJV).

Write Through the Bible: Exodus 20:1-21 by Luke and Trisha Gilkerson
Exodus 20 includes the Ten Commandments, which stand at the center of the Law of Moses and offer a foundational understanding of morality and the character of God. Luke & Trisha’s Write Through the Bible program provides 131 days of handwriting, copywork and dictation practice along with Scripture memorization, and this set includes both the cursive and manuscript versions of the workbook.

The ABCs for Godly Children by Lindsey Stomberg
The ABCs for Godly Children is a comprehensive, Bible curriculum centered around teaching children ages 4-10 about the God they serve and how to have a heart like His. Using each letter of the alphabet, a Bible lesson is presented in an understandable and interactive format to teach core truths concerning the Gospel, godly character, and biblical manhood and womanhood through Scripture memorization, detailed lessons, simple crafts, and interactive song.

The Dig: Luke (Volume 1) by Patrick Schwenk
The Dig for Kids: Luke (Volume 1) is a simple and easy way for parents to study the Book of Luke with their children. The Dig takes the guesswork out of teaching with one-page lessons that consist of: The Map, an overview of each lesson; The Dig, the main passage of the Bible you will be reading and three or four questions that will help with discussion and review; The Treasure, the big idea of the passage being studied; and The Display, to help your child live out what he or she has just learned.

Princess Training Plus Armor of God by Richele McFarlin
Princess Training: For the King’s Glory is a unit study designed to encourage young girls {7-13} to glorify God through their lives and understand their role as a daughter of the King. This study can be modified for younger or older girls and works great for a group study, and each lesson contains a short devotional, discussion, and activity. In addition, the Armor of God mini unit study includes copywork, Scripture study, discussion questions,vocabulary, and activities to help children {5-9} study the armor of God.

The Bible Studies for Kids bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 10/14. 

Kids in the Kitchen Ebook Bundle: 5 Books for $7.40

Bundle #40: Kids in the Kitchen

One of my goals this year is to teach all of my kids to cook.  If you’d like to do the same, you’ll want to snag this great collection of cookbooks for kids. With easy-to-follow recipes, guidelines and schedules for teaching kitchen skills, and encouragement that your investment will pay off, this bundle will help you discover the fun of cooking with kids while teaching them important skills that will serve them for a lifetime.

This week only, get all five of these ebooks for more than 85% off:

Cooking 101 for Kids by Lynn at Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures
Teaching your kids to cook will help them save money as adults and provide a foundation of healthy eating habits. In Cooking 101 for Kids, Lynn covers the basics of measurements, tools, common ingredients, and how to follow a recipe before delving into recipes for breakfast, snacks, appetizers, side dishes, desserts and treats. With practical tips and insight into the “why” of it all, this ebook will help you teach your children to be confident and capable in the kitchen.

Real Food Kids: In the Kitchen from GNOWFGLINS
Discover the philosophy that “everyone eats, everyone cooks” so you can teach joyful, willing, and good workers in the kitchen — for today and the future. GNOWFGLINS’ Real Food Kids: In the Kitchen offers fun and simple lessons and helpful, you-can-start-implementing-today strategies. Kitchen time is easy, fun, and rewarding when everyone pitches in, and this content-packed ebook includes all 19 lessons from the Real Food Kids ecourse, printable worksheets, schedules for teaching various skills, ideas for involving even the youngest children and tons of nutritious recipes!

Cupcakes! 12 Months of Happiness by Liz Latham
Cupcakes! 12 Months of Happiness offers 12 cupcake ideas, one for each month of the year. These are perfect for sharing with friends and family, a great way to spend an afternoon with your kids, and a fun and festive way to celebrate the special days throughout the year. Each one is sure to be enjoyed by kids and adults alike!

Adventures with Kids! In the Kitchen by Charra Shopp
In Adventures with Kids! In the Kitchen, Chara encourages and teaches you when, how and why to bring your kids into the kitchen. You’ll learn the benefits of having your kids in the kitchen, real food kitchen skills such as soaking, sprouting, culturing and more, and the step-by-step process for teaching these skills. Whether you are a gourmet cook or just learning yourself, you’ll find practical ideas and suggestions for how to get your kids cooking, culturing, cleaning and celebrating their time in the kitchen!

Teaching Your Kids to Cook by Laura Coppinger
Teaching Your Kids to Cook is written for parents who want to help their children learn their way around the kitchen. Filled with instructions, tips, activities, printables and over 45 simple, kid friendly recipes, this ebook offers many opportunities to make messes together and get chocolate in your hair. All of the recipes Laura’s included are made from wholesome, easy-to-attain ingredients, making this the perfect introduction to cooking for families with young children.

The Blogging bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 10/7.

Dining Out with Kids {And a Giveaway}

Disclosure: The posts is a sponsored post.  Restaurant.com (through Mom Spark Media) provided me with gift cards in order to share this info with you and facilitate this giveaway. As always, I only share info that I think is helpful to you and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Now that school is underway and our schedule is busier than ever, it’s hard to always coordinate family dinners at home.  Thankfully, Restaurant.com has me covered.

Restaurant.com offers great deals on restaurant gift certificates which means I can eat out with my family without totally throwing off my budget.

Restaurant.com recently conducted a survey about eating out with kids and this is what they found:

I love eating out with my family as it often gives them a chance to try foods that they wouldn’t get to try at home. It also gives them a chance to work on their table manners.

Restaurant.com recently put together a list of the 25 most kid friendly restaurants. If you have one of these in your neck of the woods, you ought to take your family and go check it out.

TGI Friday’s- Greenville, SC
Carrie Cerino’s Ristorante & Party Center- North Royalton, OH
BB King’s Restaurant & Blues Club- Orlando, FL
Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue- Elk Grove Village, IL
Vazzy’s Cucina- Shelton, CT
Yogurtini- Overland Park, KS
Harvest Grill- Coon Rapids, MN
Sweet Frog Premium Frozen Yogurt- Rock Hill, SC
Estela’s Mexican Restaurant- New Port Richey, FL
Wolfgang Puck Bistro at Macy’s South Coast Plaza- Costa Mesa, CA
Lakeshore Grill at Macy’s Southdale- Edina, MN
My Big Fat Greek Restaurant at Chandler Mall- Chandler, AZ
Thirsty Marlin Largo Grill and Bar- Largo, FL
Greenbrier Restaurant- Gatlinburg, TN
Anna’s Pizzeria- Apex, NC
Pittsburgh Steak Co.- Pittsburg, PA
Ground Round Grill & Bar- Bangor, ME
Horton’s Seafood- East Providence, RI
Shula’s America’s Steak House- Center Valley, PA
Barn and Company- Chicago, IL
Harmon Brewery and Eatery- Tacoma, WA
Seaside Grill- Pompano Beach, FL
La Parrilla Suiza- Mesa, AZ
Magic Time Machine- Dallas, TX

Restaurant.com is offering a $25 gift certificate to one lucky Simplified Saving reader.  Enter on the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A-MAZE-ing Savings on Fall Fun

Last year I went to my very first Corn Maze (I’m not sure how I missed out on these the first 30+ years of my life) and I had a blast.  This year I plan on taking the kids and enjoying the corn maze, the hay ride and the pumpkin patch.

Now that fall is here and Corn Maze time is back, I thought I’d share a great list of Corn Maze Coupons and Fall Festival savings nationwide. You’ll be able to download valuable coupons for Corn Mazes, Pumpkin Patches and other fall family activities when you click on the name of the corn maze or pumpkin patch.

Arizona
Schnepf Farms – Queen City
Tolmachoff Farms- Glendale, AZ

California
Forneris Farms – Mission Hills

Colorado
Anderson Farms – Erie
Flat Acres Farm – Parker
Fritzler Maze – La Salle
Sunflower Farm – Longmont
Mile High Farms – Bennett
Wishing Star Farm – Calhan
Harvest Farm – Wellington

Georgia
Lane Southern Orchards – Fort Valley
Poppell Farms – Odum

Illinois
All Seasons Orchard – Woodstock
Kuipers Family Farm – Maple Park
Odyssey Fun Farm – Tinley Park
Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm – Lockport

Indiana
Amazing Fall Fun – Waterloo
Harvest Tyme Pumpkin Patch – Lowell
Hobson’s Fun Farm – Rockville
Guffey Acres- Kokomo

Louisiana
CM Farms – Dry Creek

Maryland/DC
Summers Farm – Fredrick County

Massachusetts
Sauchuk Farm – Plympton

Michigan
Farmer Charley’s Corn Maze Adventure – Monroe

Minnesota
Afton Apple Orchard – Hastings

Mississippi
Seward Farms Maze – Lucedale

Missouri/Kansas
KC Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze – Gardner
Shuck’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch – Pleasant Hill

Montana
The Maize at Grandpa’s Farm – Billings

Nebraska
Camp Fontanelle – Nickerson

NewJersey
VonThun Farms – Monmouth Junction
Sahl’s Father Son Farm – Egg Harbor City

New York
Wright Family Farm – Warwick
Harbes Family Farm – Mattituck

North Carolina
Patterson Farm Market and Tours – Mount Ulla

Ohio
The Corn Maze at the Sharp Run Market – Millersburg
Meadow View Growers – New Carlisle

Oregon
The Maize at The Pumpkin Patch- Portland

Pennsylvania

Hurricane Hill Farm - Coatsville
Triple B Farms - Pittsburgh
Reillys Summer Seat Farm
 - Pittsburgh

Rhode Island
Confreda Greenhouses & Farms – Hope (Western Cranston)

Texas
Devine Acres Farm – Devine
Fiesta Farm – San Antonio
Yesterland Farm – Canton
South Texas Maize – Hondo
Dewberry Farm – Brookshire
Brazos Valley Maize- Brenham

Utah
Cornbelly’s Corn Maze & Pumpkin Fest – Spanish Fork

Virginia
Cows-N-Corn – Midland
Wayside Farm Fun – Berryville
Belvedere Plantation – Fredericksburg

Click here for updated coupons and more family fun!

 

FREE Online Chore Chart that Teaches Kids About Money

Two years ago, I shared about MyJobChart.com, an awesome way to teach your kids about money.  I loved almost everything the site and it worked great for us for a while, but eventually the kids got annoyed with having to wait to get on the computer to track their progress.  I asked MyJobChart if they’d ever thought about developing an app and they said that one was already in the works!

I’m thrilled to tell you that the app is here, it’s FREE, and it makes MyJobChart even better than before!

If you’re looking for a way to teach your kids about handling money, about the correlation between work and pay, and to instill in them a heart for giving, I can’t say enough great things about MyJobChart.com. And best of all…it’s FREE!

Click here to get signed up!

 

Free Month of Lego Fun with Pleygo

Disclosure: As a US Family Guide Blogger, I received a 3 month Pleygo subscription in exchange for sharing this awesome offer with you! Talk about a win-win! I get to share something cool with you and we both get something FREE!

Pleygo is Netflix for Legos | Lego Subscription Service

We LOVE Legos at our house.  Our twins could spend hours doing “hard work” as they would say building intricate creations.  Even our 15 year old spends hours creating with legos whenever we visit my in-laws.  And while we love Legos, they can get expensive…especially when your kids want each and every cool LEGO set that comes along.  I’m so thrilled to share a cool new company with you that will change the way our family plays with Legos!

Pleygo is a Net-Flix like service for Legos!  Subscribe, rent, play, and exchange sets of LEGOs unlimited times per month.  Shipping is always free both ways and sets are sanitized when returned.  We offer a convenient, quick, and inexpensive solution that relieves clutter and saves space at home while saving money.  Co-Founded by influential parenting blogger and creator of A-List mom Elina Furman, Plegyo is the perfect way to supply your child with endless developmental tools and allow for that much needed quiet time at home!

Three levels of subscription starting at just $15 allow you to find the plan that best suits you.  They offer credit towards your account for sets and mixed bricks that you donate to us, and they provide the shipping label too!  Pleygo is a perfect gift for a family friend, loved one, or birthday party.  Purchase a gift subscription and send it with a special message from you! The best part is Pleygo is constantly expanding their inventory with more sets!

I’m thrilled to share a cool offer with you if you want to give it a try.  You can receive your First Month of Pleygo FREE  when you click here or go directly to www.Pleygo.com to register!

How to Get Gum Out of Hair…Without Losing Your Mind

This week has been one of those crazy weeks, so when I got the call from one of my older daughters that James had put gum in Shayna’s hair while they were swimming, I wasn’t surprised. It was par for the course in a week like this.  I told Khrystyna I’d be there in a few minutes and before I hung up she said, “Mom, it’s bad.  Just thought you should know.”

Now if you’ll indulge me for a minute, I want to flashback to a few months ago.  For the past year, I’ve been working hard to use less chemicals and other toxic products in our home.  I’d been hearing a lot about essential oils, so when I had the chance to go to a Young Living class, I jumped at the opportunity.  While there, my friend was telling me all the things she used lemon oil for and she mentioned that it takes gum out of hair easily.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I headed out with a bottle of Young Living Lemon Oil.  When I got there, this is what I found.

The gum was smashed into the hair on the very top of her head which meant that the oil had to work because cutting it out wasn’t an option.  After taking a picture of the gum in her hair (I’m a blogger, what did you expect?), I put a few drops of oil and rubbed it around.  I expected the process to take a long time and a lot of oil, but with just a few drops of Lemon Oil and about 30 seconds, I had the gum completely out of her hair.  There was no whining, no tugging, and no crying.  There were a few tiny little balls of gum that came right out once I used a comb on her hair. (I neglected to bring one when I ran out the door.)

If you’re looking for a safe and easy way to get gum out of hair, I highly recommend keeping a bottle of Young Living’s Lemon Essential Oil on hand.  It smells delicious and does an amazing job at getting gum out of hair!  If you’d like to know more about natural health through Young Living, fill out this short form.

Disclosure: I am a Young Living Distributor, however, I’m sharing this because it’s seriously awesome.  If you choose to purchase any oil through my link, I will make a commission off your purchase (thanks in advance). If you’d like to learn how you can make money from home with Young Living, click here.

This post is linked to Natural Living Monday.

5 Things to Do Now to Prepare for When Your Kids Go Back to School

I’ve been focusing a lot this week on getting your kids ready for back to school.  I’ve shared deals on back to school supplies, helped you save money and your sanity when shopping for clothes for your kids, offered some great back to school lunch ideas, and shared tips for making your child’s first week back to school extra special!  Now it’s time to share some tips for helping you be successful when your kids go back to school.

If your household is anything like mine, this time of year is absolutely crazy.  For us, the kids are settling into a new routine with new teachers and new classes.  It’s also soccer season which means that games are often going on during dinner time (and dinner prep  time).  Add in other after school activities and life can seem quite crazy!

With very little extra work and some organization skills, you can start this school year off on the right foot!

1.  Create an evening routine.

Getting your morning off on the right foot starts the night before.  When your kids have their homework done, their backpacks packed, lunches made, and clothes laid out, it takes the guesswork and the craziness out of the morning!  Creating an evening routine allows mornings to run without all the unexpected snafus (i.e. children without clean socks, dirty uniforms, no lunches, etc). Create a checklist for each of your kids and set a timeframe for them to accomplish the tasks. One to two weeks before school starts, introduce your evening routines to the family and have them start implementing them.  By the time school starts, this will be second nature.

2.  Develop a morning routine.

Everyone in your family needs a morning routine! It will look different for each person depending on what they need to do.  The basics include eating breakfast, getting dressed, making beds, brushing teeth, brushing hair, washing their face and putting their lunch in their bookbag.  You may want to add family devotions, a chore or two, or whatever else your child needs to accomplish before heading to school.  If you have a child who wears glasses and constantly forgets to put them on before school like one of my kiddos, add that to their morning routine.  You can print this off, laminate it, and let your child check off each thing with a dry erase marker or you can use 3×5 cards for each task and have a place to put the cards once the task is completed.  Either way, kids will function better each morning knowing exactly what is expected of them and you won’t find yourself saying the same things over and over!  Just like the evening plan above, if you start practicing your morning routine a week or two before school starts, you’ll find that by the time school starts, the routines are second nature!

 3.  Make a meal plan!

Meal planning is one of the best things you can do to keep yourself sane during busy seasons in life, yet, they’re often the first things to go out the window when life gets crazy.  Take some time now to sit down and create a meal plan for the month of August.  Right now you can buy From Your Freezer to Your Family: Slow Cooker Freezer Recipes eCookbook for only $4.99 (reg. $9.99).  These recipes are 95% grain-free, gluten-free and dairy free, but even fussy eaters will think they taste great!  This is an awesome resource for  busy families!

4.  Get organized!

Now is the time to come up with a plan for tackling papers and coordinating schedules.  If you’re looking for some help, BundleoftheWeek.com has a great bundle this week that will help you get organized before your kids head back to school. It includes Planner Perfect by Jenny Penton, Plan a Fabulous Party {Without Losing Your Mind} by Mary Carver, 10 Steps to Organized Paper by Lisa Woodruff, Homestead Simplicity by Lisa Barthuly, and The Life Your Way Printables Complete Download Pack from Mandi Ehman.  Even though I already own some of the resources in this bundle, I purchased the bundle anyway because it was cheaper than buying the resources I didn’t own.  At only $7.40 for the entire bundle, you can’t beat it.  Seriously, between the life planning suggestions in Planner Perfect, the paper organizing instructions in 10 Steps to Organized Paper and the Printables in the download pack, you’ll be more organized than you’ve been in a long time!

5. Create memories!

Make the most of the time you have between now and the start of school to create some memories with your kids.  Do something fun and out of the ordinary (we had a whipped cream fight last week).  Visit a place in your area that you haven’t been to before!  Camp out in your backyard. Stay up late and have a movie marathon!  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create fun memories with your kids, but it’s easier to do a few crazy things when your whole family doesn’t have to be up by 6:30 am the next morning for school.  Ask your kids to each share one thing they’d like to do as a family before school starts.  If they say Disney World, it’s probably not going to happen, but you may be surprised at what they request.  Things like a family game night, smores in the microwave or around a fire pit, and a family movie night are regularly requested by my kids!

I know that all families are different. Some moms are dreading the day that their kids head off to school while other moms are counting down the days!  I’m sure that there are plenty of moms that fall somewhere in between those two extremes.  Whatever the case is for your family, if you start planning now, you’ll be prepared when the time comes!

 

 

10 Ways to Make The First Week Back to School Extra Special

Back to school time can be a stressful time for not only parents but kids as well. It is a busy, somewhat nerve wrecking time for kids as they prepare to meet new friends, a new teacher, and possibly even get to know a new building. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do as a parent to make that famous first week back to school an extra special one. By trying these simple and inexpensive little tips and tricks, you can make the first week back to school extra special for your child and leave them feel loved and motivated to learn. Take a look at how easy it is!

10 Ways to Make The First Week Back to School Extra Special:

1. Make a pocket heart.

Cut two hearts out of a piece of felt and stitch and stuff. Give your child the soft little heart to keep in their pocket should they find themselves feeling a little scared or sad. All they need to do is give it a squeeze!

2. Write loving lunch box notes.
Grab a colorful notepad from the dollar store and jot down loving notes to tuck in your child’s lunch box. Add a sticker or two for extra color and whimsy. It will really give them a mid day pick me up!

3. Make a fun breakfast.
Forget the boring oatmeal the first week of school. Try adding a little food coloring to scrambled eggs for a fun pop of color. Or, make fun faces out of fruit and pancakes. Make breakfast fun and full of giggles and start the morning off right.

4. Set the tone on the car ride to school.
Play some fun children’s tunes on the way to school in the morning. You can get free children’s CDs at your local library even. Have a family sing along as you head to school.

5. Allow your child to help with dinner prep.
This is a great way to spend some special time together and also ask them about how things are going, what reservations they may have, or any questions they may have. Plan a fun menu together and get cooking!

6. Enjoy a family flick together.
After dinner one evening settle in for some popcorn and a movie. It is a great way to spend time together and just unwind. It will leave your child feeling relaxed and special.

7. Create a back to school dessert.
After dinner, make ice cream sundaes or cupcakes together as a special back to school dessert. It is a sweet reminder to your child that they are important.

8. Create a crafty teacher appreciation gift.
Give your child some crayons, scrap paper, embellishments, and other crafty scraps to create a back to school gift for teacher. Not only will the teacher appreciate the token, but it will help your child feel excited about bonding with their teacher.

9. Invite a new friend over.
Surely your child will be meeting all sorts of new friends this week. Invite a new friend over for a few hours so your child can continue to bond with other students and make friends. Just an hour or so playing outdoors is plenty and perfect!

10. Have an end of the week celebration.
Once the first week of school is done, have an end of the week celebration! Play board games, order a pizza, make a cake, and put up some homemade decorations. This is something worth celebrating. You all survived the first week of school!

See how easy these ideas are? Give these a try and see how fun and frugal it can be to make that first week of school feel special. Your child will love it, and it might even make you feel a little less stressed too.

7 Ways to Keep Cool This Summer

I love summer and I’m a huge fan of warm weather, but lately we’ve had some real scorchers!  While hot days can put a damper on some activities, here are a few things you can do to keep cool this summer!  I’ve included ideas to keep you cool whether you’re in the house or out and about!

1.  Have a water balloon fight!

This is a great way to cool down!  Consider filling your water balloons and keeping them in a cold location before heading outside to make your water balloon fight even more refreshing!

2. Have an indoor beach party.

Play some fun summer tunes. Wear your sunglasses inside. Whip up some sand pudding. Make fun drinks and put little umbrellas in them.  Watch beach-themed movies. Depending on your audience, a few good choices would be Aquamarine, Beaches, Soul Surfer or Jaws.

3.  Make sure your blinds or shades keep out the intense heat and light.

With the intense sun and heat this summer, there are days when you’ll have to play indoors! Make sure your indoors stay cool with the right shades or blinds.

4.  Run through the sprinkler!

I loved running through the sprinkler when I was a little girl and my kids love it now! Even my teenagers will run through the sprinkler if the little kids are doing it! :)

5.  Have a fort building extravaganza.

There are some days where it’s just too hot to be outside!  Pull out your extra sheets and blankets, drape them over couches, chairs, and tables and then enjoy some fort time! Consider reading an adventure story in your fort! My kids love The Boxcar Children. We’re on Book 4 right now!

6.  Let your kids do an ice excavation!

Place some small toys in a disposable baking dish , fill it with water then freeze it!  Once your ice block is frozen, give your kids spoons and forks and let them dig in the ice block outside! If you want to make this even more fun, consider adding food coloring to your water. If you do this, just make sure you realize that the dye will stain your clothes!

7. Head to a local splash pad.

Most cities have free splash pads for kids to play on.  Pack a cooler with frozen water bottles, frozen grapes, and some sandwiches to keep you from being hungry while you’re cooling off!

Disclosure: This post was written in hopes of winning a ticket to BlogHer.  All thoughts and opinions are my own!

 

Sand Pudding in a Magic Bucket

We’re in New Hampshire this week on vacation with my entire family.  Last Monday night, I was in charge of making dinner for 14 which included 6 kids under the age of 7.  Since we’re vacationing right by the beach, I thought I’d surprise the kids with Sand Pudding in a Magic Bucket.

I whipped up a batch of this super easy pudding, put it in a sand pail and hid it in the fridge.  Then I took 5 of the kiddos down to the beach with my “magic” sand pail.  They each shoveled sand into the “magic” bucket and we headed back home.  I immediately took the sand pail into the kitchen, switched it with the sand pudding and offered to serve it to the kids.

While they were initially hesitant to eat sand, they were delighted to discover that it tasted like cookies!  They’ve asked for sand pudding every single day since I made that first batch! I’m thinking I’ll make some more today!

Wanna whip up some sand pudding for your kiddos? It’s super easy and oh-so-worth it!

Magic Sand Pudding
5.0 from 8 reviews
Print
Recipe type: Dessert
Author: Lisa @ SimplifiedSaving.com
A truly magical dessert that is sure to delight both kids and adults! Not only does it look just like real sand, it tastes delicious!
Ingredients
  • 1 Box of Vanilla Wafers
  • 3-5 Oreos depending on the color of sand in your area (I used 5)
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 small packages of vanilla pudding
  • 2 3/4 cup milk
  • 12 oz cool whip
Instructions
  1. Combine Vanilla Wafers and Oreos in your food processor until it reaches a sandlike consistency.
  2. Cream butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar together in a separate bowl.
  3. In another bowl, mix pudding and milk.
  4. Add pudding mixture to cream cheese mixture.
  5. Slowly fold in Cool Whip
  6. Layer sand then pudding then sand then pudding then sand in a bucket!
Notes

Chill before serving

 

 

Our Day Out With Thomas

I shared before that my twins absolutely love trains, but my son James is obsessed with them. He has long discussions with my husband about types of trains, train conductors (which he calls train masters), and what he thinks each car might be carrying.  So when I saw that Thomas the Train was coming to the Indianapolis area, I knew that the twins would be delighted!  I told them I had a surprise for them, but I didn’t tell them what it was.  All week they looked forward to their “surprise”.  They asked a zillion questions each day and begged us to tell, but we held our ground til the morning of our adventure.  As we headed off to Connersville, they asked for a hint.  I said “It goes chugga, chugga, chugga, chugga” and my son yelled “Chuck-E-Cheese”.  We all got quite a chuckle, but they quickly figured out we were headed for a ride on a train…and not just any train, but Thomas!

When we pulled up to the station, we saw this train!

I headed to Will-Call to pick up our tickets and was delighted to see Thomas up close and in person!

When we had our tickets in hand, we headed to the line and waited to board. It was a short wait and we quickly hopped on the train. We chose Coach #10 which was built in 1923.

We thoroughly enjoyed our ride on the train. It was about 25 minutes long and the kids enjoyed the whole experience.  The kids were especially impressed with the conductor.  They thought he was so handsome in his uniform.

(Don’t mind Shayna, she wasn’t thrilled with getting her picture taken while there were bounce houses to jump in).  After the twins jumped in the bounce house, James, Shayna, and Khrystyna all got Thomas tattoos.  We finished the day with the kids getting their picture taken on another train.

If you get a chance to spend a Day Out With Thomas, I highly recommend it. It’s great fun for the entire family!!!

Disclosure: I was provided with tickets to Day Out with Thomas in exchange for my thoughts on this experience.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own!

Last Chance: Time Management EBook Bundle

BundleoftheWeek.com, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

Look…I know you’re busy and probably haven’t had a chance to purchase this ebook bundle yet, but that’s exactly why you need it! If you’re like me, it sometimes takes 2 or 3 reminders in the midst of my busyness before I remember to do something, but since this deal ends tomorrow, you need to snag it now!

This time management for families ebook bundle is designed to give you the tools to make the most of the 24 hours you’re given each day. You’ll find tips for creating schedules and routines, strategies to help you be on time and more! And it’s only $7.40.  Hurry and snag it before it’s gone!

4 Ways to Keep Your Home Safe While You’re On Vacation

Summer is almost here and with the arrival of summer comes vacations!  I love to travel and try to squeeze as many trips in to a year as possible.  In 2012, I spent more than 90 nights away from home, so I know all about leaving my home unattended.  For those of you who worry about keeping your home safe while you’re out of town, here are a 5 tips for you!

1.  Have the post office hold your mail for you.

Nothing says “No one is home.” like a pile of mail overflowing from your mailbox.  You can either have the post office deliver the mail on the day you’re scheduled to arrive home or you can have them hold it until you go to the post office and pick it up.  Choose whichever is most convenient for you.

2.  Put some of the lights in your home on a timer.

When a home stays dark for days on end, people tend to notice.  When you have lights going on and off at various times of the day and evening, it’s a lot less noticeable.  Timers aren’t very expensive.  You may even have one or two stored with your Christmas decorations that you can use for this.

3.  Ask a neighbor or friend to keep an eye on your home for you.

You know that nosy neighbor who is always peeking out the front window? Take advantage of this and ask that neighbor to keep an eye on your home for you while you’re gone.

4. Consider a security system.

If you only go on vacation once a year, this may not be a practical idea for you, but if you travel regularly like I do, a home security system could be exactly what you need for peace of mind.  There are a variety of services available out there.  Companies like Vivint offer you the  ability to use your smart phone as a monitoring device.

Whether you choose one or all of the above, these things will help keep your home a little safer while you’re on vacation, so you can relax and enjoy a vacation with no worries!

Change, Making Beds, and Life As We Know It

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of White Cloud Sleep Pants.

We’ve had a lot of changes in our family over the last year.  And while change can be stressful for adults, it can be even more so for kids.  In December, 2012 we added 2 new kids to our family.  They’re absolutely delightful, but they haven’t had an easy life.

When we prepared for them to move in, I made sure I had protective mattress covers on their mattresses as I know that major upheaval in a child’s life can result in bedwetting.  And sure enough, this change brought about bedwetting for one of the twins.  The first time I noticed he was wet, he was super embarrassed and worried that I’d be mad.  I told him I wasn’t mad at all, but that I needed to know so I could get his sheets washed.  I wasn’t sure if it was a one-time thing or not, but sure enough the next night we had another incident.  He immediately came and told me and we got his sheets changed and in the washer.  While I didn’t mind the bedwetting (I’d actually expected it), I didn’t want to wash sheets and remake the bed daily. It’s hard enough to do it once a week, why would I want to do it daily?

That day I headed out to Walmart to find a solution.  I’d read that bedwetting wasn’t uncommon in boys and I knew that it wasn’t uncommon during upheaval so I figured there had to be a solution.  That night I headed home with “Sleep Pants” which I called pull-ups and my little boy immediately called diapers!  He was so excited to have a solution for the bedwetting and was running around the house shouting “Lisa bought me diapers” in a really excited tone.

We’ve done our best as a family to make sure he never feels shame or embarrassment over his bedwetting and as he’s settled into our family, we noticed that he doesn’t seem to wet the bed nearly as often.  We told him that he doesn’t have to sleep in sleep pants, but he likes the security of not having to worry about wetting the bed…and we’re OK with that.  We’re spending less than $16/month on his sleep pants.  Even our non-bedwetter wears them occassionally because “they’re twins” and if one wears them, the other should too! :)

White Cloud recently released Sleep Pants and we’ve taken them for a test drive. For starters, I was thrilled with the price.  You can get a pack of S/M (15 count) or L/XL (12 count) for only $7.75 (they’re $7.48 at my Walmart).  They’re also less bulky than some of the other sleep pants we’ve tried.  They have nice stretchy sides and seem to be really absorbent.  Each pack contains 2 unisex designs.

Personally, I love the design when you open up the package.

 There are so many things I love about White Cloud Sleep Pants, but the thing I love most is this…knowing my little boy is sleeping peacefully and not worried about wetting the bed!  And isn’t he the cutest thing ever?

Did you know that over 5 million kids a year experience bedwetting and it is one of the most common experiences during childhood development?

White Cloud Sleep Pants have been developed to provide exceptional comfort and leakage protection while looking like underwear. White Cloud Sleep Pants offer thin, discrete absorbent protection for your child. They have soft, stretchy sides that fit like real underwear, plus leak guards to help protect against leaks. The soft inner liner is hypoallergenic and treated with vitamin E and aloe for skin protection.

Each bag contains two unisex graphic designs and at $7.75, White Cloud offers exceptional value.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of White Cloud Sleep Pants.