How to Keep Travel Sports Siblings Entertained

As a travel sports parent, you already know how much your young athlete loves their sport, or else you probably wouldn’t spend the crazy amount of time and money it requires. Chances are that you love the sport, as well, or at least the bonds you have made with other travel families.

There is one group of people that may or may not be as thrilled about the whole travel sports thing - the siblings. Brothers and sisters are usually just along for the ride. Often, they make friends with the other siblings and keep each other occupied during long travel weekends and practices. But, what do you do when there are no other kids their age or when the whole group of siblings is bored?

Don’t panic! Just plan! You know it’s going to happen, so just be ready. Here are some ideas to keep your travel sports siblings happy.

girls soccer team sitting on a bench


Instant Pot Beef and Bean Chili made with Dry Beans

One of my all-time favorite comfort foods is chili. I love all kinds of soup, but chili in particular because you can load it up with all kinds of great stuff and try so many different variations of it. One of my favorites is adding spaghetti to it. I think they call that Cincinnati chili. Chili is also a great dish to take to a tailgate or a potluck. Since this beef and bean chili can be made in the Instant Pot, it makes it easy to make in a hurry {with dry beans even!} and take with you on the go.

chili with jalapenos and chips

comfort foods


Clean Your Gas Range and Oven Without Chemicals

I don't know of many people that decide to just clean their oven on a regular basis. Heck, to be honest, I haven't cleaned mine since we moved in 8 years ago. I actually bought a huge bottle of this toxic oven cleaner, sprayed it inside and let it sit overnight before I could get in there to do any cleaning. {to be honest, the oven cleaner is better suited as a furniture stripper!} That's probably why I haven't cleaned the range since then. No one has time for a multiple day cleaning project. No one.

But alas, I was pulling my Costco sized lasagna out of the oven and that thing went rogue on me and I spilled the whole thing all over the oven door and inside the racks. I wasn't done cooking the lasagna yet so that stuff got baked on. Awesome. Nothing like a huge spill to encourage you to clean your oven, so the next day I went to work. To be honest, I wasn't sure I could clean my gas range with just steam but dang it if I wasn't impressed. Not a single chemical was used and in under an hour, top to bottom, every nook and cranny was clean. Don't take my word on it, come find out how you can clean your gas range and oven without any chemicals.

steam cleaning kitchen appliances

Life in the Slums of Bangladesh

In February, I had the opportunity to travel with World Vision to the slums of Dhaka and the rural community of Mymensingh. My heart has always been broken for Africa and the people of that continent, and like a mother expecting her second child, I almost wondered how I'd have room to love people from another country just as much as I loved those I met in Uganda and Zambia. Last week I was able to share with a group of passionate volunteers about the work that World Vision is doing in Bangladesh. I have posted a little about that trip, but I wanted to share with you about what was on my heart that day that I shared. Like all stories, it's a woven tapestry of threads that are interconnected but it ends with the same common theme. 

Bangladesh tapestry

If you were to ask me about my trip to Bangladesh, this is what I would share.

cracks in dock


Easy Meal Planning While at the Grocery Store!

Thanks to Foster Farms for sponsoring this post.

Do you ever get in a meal planning rut? I do. I start making the same 3-4 things every single week. Probably because it's easy to just do what I know, but we all get bored with it. It just never occurs to me to break away from the same old same old until I start wandering the aisles of the grocery store. Then at that point, I am overwhelmed with options! There are so many recipes on-line that if I were to stop in my tracks in the middle of the grocery store, I would be scrolling for hours. Heck, I might as well hunker down and move in. I just don't have time for that. Friends, I found a new solution. I literally just tried it in the grocery store aisles this afternoon and then came home and made a delicious new dinner everyone loved. We got out of our rut and you can too! Here's how:

foster farms chicken stir fry recipe


Mermaid Clam Cookies for a Mermaid Birthday Party

I've been at this blogging thing for a really long time. So long, that sometimes even I forget about projects that I've done! About six years ago, I helped with the decorations for my niece's 5th birthday party. It was quite the event! I expected no less though since my sister-in-law is a corporate event planner. She knows how to throw a party! 

blue and white under the sea cake

I spent so much time that summer looking for every decor item I could find that would fit the mermaid theme. It's been years and I still see things that would have made a great addition to that party. In fact these mermaid clam cookies are one of them. I think my niece was ahead of her time because now mermaid parties are hitting their peak. So, since it's been awhile I thought I'd share some of the details from the mermaid party I helped with and share these adorable mermaid clam sugar cookies in case you have a mermaid lover that's getting ready to celebrate!

clam with a pearl edible cookies


Clean Your Fridge Fast!

I've got a few chores I despise. Cleaning my fridge is probably at the top of that list. I think besides our washing machine, our fridge is the hardest working appliance at our house. Unlike the washing machine though, the fridge is something every family member uses pretty frequently {I need to work on the kids and the laundry situation!}, so it takes a beating. 
I think the reason I don't clean our refrigerator very often is because it just takes so long. Or so I thought! I had 15 minutes one day and my HomeRight SteamMachine plugged in and ready, so I thought I'd tackle the fridge to see how clean I really could get it in just a few minutes. It was kind of shocking! The SteamMachine did the hard work and I came behind to wipe up the messes. I'm pretty sure I won't be waiting as long between cleanings anymore because now I know how I can clean my fridge fast. Come see 6 tips on how you can clean your fridge fast!

Mummy Rice Krispies Treats

It's a little known fact that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. There is something about the fun childlike decorations and treats with googles eyes that get me. Plus, what's not to love about going door to door and people handing you out FREE candy?! I think you will love this Halloween twist on the old rice krispy treat favorite. Why not whip up some mummy rice krispy treats for an after school snack this afternoon? I bet your kids will love them. 

Halloween class party

halloween class party recipes food


Easy Halloween Microwave Candy Corn Taffy Recipe

One of those random childhood memories I have is of pulling taffy in the basement kitchen of our church. I have no idea how old I was, but I know I was under 10. It was such a fun thing to do because, well, candy. What kid doesn't love candy! 

fall candy recipe

Halloween is one of those special times when candy is in over abundance, but why not share some time with your kids and teach them how to make their own candy. This easy microwave candy corn taffy is the perfect recipe to get started with. It's a fun seasonal fall flavor everyone {not just the kids!} will love!

easy taffy recipe


5 Reasons Why Online Shopping is Better

This post was brought to you by Fred Meyer Direct. All opinions are 100% my own. I wouldn't tell you about something I didn't love. Promise.

I like shopping. I really do, but sometimes it's a major time suck. And as a working mom with three kids, time isn't something I have a lot of to spare. It's one of the reasons why I love online shopping. In the past decade online shopping has changed the way we buy things and I actually prefer to purchase items online rather than to go into a store. I've got 5 reasons why online shopping is better. I'd love to know if they are the same reasons you love it too!


Goodwill Upcycles Lives: Taking Another Chance on the Thrift Store

Several years ago, I wrote a post titled "Is Goodwill too Expensive?" I got a lot of response from it on my blog and I was just reminded of it when I saw a sponsored Facebook post this past weekend. The sponsored post that was intended to get people to shop at their local Goodwill had people sharing some of their own thoughts {as one does on the internet}. It saw a handful of comments, some of which expressed the same sentiments I've thought. Things like "you get the stuff for free, why are you marking it up so much?" and "your merchandise is too expensive" and "I can get brand new stuff at my local Walmart or Target in the clearance section!" 

After the blog post that I wrote about Goodwill being too expensive, I pretty much stopped shopping at the regular Goodwill store altogether. {Side note: I did continue shopping at my local Goodwill Outlet because I do love a good treasure hunt and their pay by the pound prices were far more affordable I thought}. I was recently invited to an upcycle event with my local Goodwill and it was like this event was created just for me because I do love a good upcycle. That day, I learned that Goodwill upcycles more than just donated items.
Goodwill thrift store
I'm a firm believer in second chances, not only for donated items, but for people and places too. And after my recent visit, I'm ready to take another chance on Goodwill and here's why.
education programs at goodwill

Polish and Preserve Your Decorative Pumpkins

I call it a healthy sign of adulthood when you have a favorite designer brand of pumpkin. My teenagers would call it "basic". We don't agree on a lot of things. I'm lucky enough to live close to a local farm that sells some amazing decorative pumpkins at a great price. Over the years I've learned a trick or two on how to polish and preserve them so I can get the most out of my pumpkins for the whole season. And by whole season, I mean from September until late November. I love how I'm able to take the muted colors of the various gourds and make them shine all season long. And now I'm sharing my secrets on how to polish and preserve your decorative pumpkins all season long.

blue, white and cinderella pumpkins

teal or blue pumpkins

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