S'mores Granola Bars {with Vegan and Dairy Free Options}

S'mores should probably have their own drop down tab on my blog. I kind of like them. A lot. But what's not to like? You've got chocolate and marshmallow and it's all kinds of delicious. Plus there are so many different variations of them. This one has tips on how you can make them vegan and dairy free. I mean, it's practically a health food then right? Come get this yummy s'mores granola bar recipe. You are going to love them!

vegan and dairy free holiday snacks

holiday treats that are vegan and dairy free


10 Epic Places to Visit with your Family in the United States

When my kids were younger it felt like they would always be in our home. But then we blinked and we realized that we had just a few years left before kids started launching. My husband and I think that travel is a really important gift to give to our children, so we started making a family travel bucket list. We had 5 locations and 5 years to complete them before our oldest left for college. Just after our son's graduation from high school, we completed the final destination that we had laid out. We still have two kids at home and haven't stopped traveling, so I thought I would share 10 epic places to visit with your family in the United States. You can take these as suggestions to add to your family travel bucket list or cross them off one at a time. Either way, I don't think you will be disappointed!

Hilton Waikaloa Kona big island Hawaii


Creepy Halloween Witches Brew Party Float Drink Recipe

Halloween is just around the corner. Did you know it's my second favorite holiday? It's right up there with Christmas for me. I'm not sure what it is. Probably it's the free candy at every door. I'm also a big fan of a good float, so why not make this not so creepy Halloween Witches Brew party float drink recipe for your Halloween celebration? It's fun and easy and your guests will love celebrating with this easy drink.

green drink in a ball mason jar for halloween party



Grilled Pesto Ham and Provolone Sandwiches

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Eckrich Deli Meat. All opinoins are 100% my own. Promise I wouldn't tell you about something I didn't love.

My husband {God bless him} is such a creature of habit. He's taken a ham and cheese sandwich, chips and a cookie to work with him nearly every single day of his employed life. Earlier this year, he switched jobs for the first time in nearly two decades and nearly every day since, I've heard about one of the guys in his group. I don't hear about his because he's a great engineer {though I'm sure he is}, or because he's been helpful to my husband in his new transition {though I'd venture a guess that he has}, nope, I hear about him because of his lunch. 

You see, my husband in all his years, has not grown tired of bringing a sandwich to work with him. In fact, he loves sandwiches. But I do think he's gotten tired of how boring his is because this guy at work is some kind of a sandwich genius and I've been hearing all about it! So I thought I'd help my husband come up with some new sandwich ideas to bring with him to work. That way, he doesn't just have to be jealous of the awesome sandwich co-worker guy and maybe, just maybe, when he brings along this grilled pesto ham and provolone sandwich, co-worker guy might just be a little jealous of him.

deli sandwich for lunch


Garlic and Lemon Roasted Cauliflower Rice Side Dish Recipe

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cooked Perfect® Fire Grilled Chicken for IZEA Worldwide. All opinions are 100% mine.

It's always been important for our family to share a meal together, but as the kids get older and older and their activities start filling up the calendar, it gets harder and harder to squeeze in this family time. We've managed to make this a priority though with quick and delicious weeknight meals that take under 30 minutes to make. If I can multi-task and help with homework or housework during the cook time, even better! This garlic and lemon roasted cauliflower rice with Cooked Perfect Fire Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken is the perfect weeknight meal that has become our family's favorite! It takes less than 5 minutes to prep and 25 minutes to cook leaving you time to do the important stuff, like spend time with your family. 


Exploring Bellevue, Washington

Do you ever look at your calendar and try to plan something but then realize that you are weeks or months out before you have any ounce of free time? Our summer was like that. We started out with a few weeks in Kona, Hawaii with family, but then we all kind of scattered. I guess that's what happens as the kids get older.
I realized that we needed to hit the pause button and I booked a night at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue, Washington. If you are local, maybe you have never thought of staying just outside Seattle. Perhaps you are travelling into Seattle before or after a cruise or you are making your way to see the beautiful PNW for a refresh and Bellevue isn't even on your radar. Seriously though, it should be! Bellevue is the gateway to the entire Puget Sound region and it will leave you centrally located for everything you want to explore. 
Hyatt Regency Bellevue hotel Seattle area
Within minutes you can be downtown Seattle exploring {it's only 9 miles away!}, visiting Kirkland and it's waterfront parks or touring Woodinville's wine country. Heck, you aren't far from nearby mountains for hiking, biking and skiing either. Come explore Bellevue, Washington with me! We found that it was the perfect staycation for our family.
boy jumping on bed at Hyatt Regency hotel

Feeling Confident in Your Own Skin: How to Embrace the Changes in Your Body as You Age

From the time I was little, I remember looking in the mirror and picking out my flaws. My hair was too straight, I had too many freckles, my legs were too skinny. It seems like human nature to pick out all of those things that we don't like about ourselves. I look at my teenage daughter now and I see those same freckles spread out across her nose and I gush over them. Her stick straight hair is just like mine and it's beautiful the way it catches the sun and lays over her shoulders. Those legs I thought were too skinny on me before are now one of my favorite body parts because they've held me up for forty years. There is a little bit of an evolution I've been on the past few decades. I still see the flaws sometimes, don't get me wrong, but I also have come to accept those things as part of me. So how can you feel confident in your own skin? I'm sharing a few ways that I've learned how through the years.

woman sitting on the beach in a bathing suit

Things to Do at Walt Disney World That Don't Require an Admission Ticket

I love all things free and cheap, but sometimes that's hard to come by on a vacation, especially a vacation to Walt Disney WorldMuch of the magic of a trip to Walt Disney World starts with admission to one of the parks. But, that doesn't mean it's absolutely necessary to purchase a ticket for the day in order to have the kind of fun you expect on a Disney vacation. How cool is that?

Here are a few fun possibilities of things to do. They're cheap {or even free} and don't require you to buy a park ticket for the day.

WDW free and cheap vacation budget tips


How to Get Through TSA Lines Smoothly

There is nothing more nerve wracking than a long line when you are short on time. It's even worse when you have a plane to catch! You can be the best planner with you pre-printed boarding pass, your carefully packed bags and still you can happen upon a line that's longer than something you'd find on a new Disney ride. If you've ever been faced with the prospect of missing a plane, I've got some tips that will help you effortlessly get through TSA lines more quickly so you can be sitting at your gate with plenty of time to gather your thoughts.

traveling with kids and families, how to get through TSA lines faster


20 Instagram Worthy Walls of Waco, Texas: A Scavenger Hunt for Murals After Visiting Magnolia Market

You all know how much I love Waco, Texas but did you know I also love a good painted mural wall too? I'm kind of obsessed and I've been hunting them down in nearly every town I visit. I love how an otherwise blank wall that could be an eye sore can easily be turned into an artistic backdrop. Last time I was in Waco, I did my best to hunt down every mural wall I could. I know more and more are popping up all the time, {so much so, that I had to send out my son and his girlfriend to find a few!} but this list should keep you busy for a bit and as you check them off, you just might find a new hidden gem you didn't know existed.
20 instagram worthy walls of waco

Top Tips to Help Make Your College Apartment Feel More Like Home

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Better Homes & Gardens® 300 Th
read Count
Wrinkle Free sheet set and Wamsutta® Hygro® Duet towels. All opinions are 1
00% my own. I
wouldn't tell you about something I didn't love. Promis
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Better Homes & Gardens® 300 Thread Count Wrinkle Free sheet set and Wamsutta® Hygro® Duet towels. All opinions are 100% my own. I wouldn't tell you about something I didn't love. Promise.

I sent my oldest son off to school for his junior year this morning. He's 2,500 miles away from home living in a different state far away from the comfortable safety and four walls we have provided for him as a soft place to land these past twenty years. There are a few things that I mom-picked {like hand-picked but by mom...it's my blog, I can make up words!} to send with him to make his new apartment feel a little less like a temporary college crap-hole and more like home. 

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