A Grocery Stockpiling Guide: How and When to Save

Creating a grocery stockpile in your home is a great way to help you save the most on your grocery purchases. Making your own at home stockpile will ensure you’re always paying the rock bottom price and that you have plenty of food on hand in case of an emergency or unexpected event that keeps you from the store. Here is a grocery stockpiling guide to help teach you how and when to save. 

pantry stock pile


6 Ways to Get Teens off Screen Time

With everything from drivers ed to classtime going virtual, screen time isn't anything we can avoid. If studies show that teens were spending an average of seven hours per day on screens {not counting homework}, imagine what it must be like now that everything has gone virtual. I'm actually noticing screen fatigue from my sophomore in high school, who is on a screen daily from 9-2:30 for school and again from 6-8:30 for drivers ed. It's a lot. So how can we encourage our teens to seek other activities that are off of a screen? I've got a few ideas up my sleeve that might help.



Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training

High-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, is a form of interval training that involves short intervals of maximum intensity cardio interspersed with longer intervals of low to moderate-intensity cardio. What makes high-intensity interval training different than regular interval training is that the maximum-intensity intervals are based on maximum effort, not a specific heart rate. Any type of cardio exercise can be used for a HIIT workout including running, swimming, walking, jumping rope or the use of equipment such as a treadmill, elliptical or stair-stepper. Want to know some of the benefits of high-intensity interval training? Read on!

workouts for women

10 Best Beach Locations to Travel to if You Live on the West Coast

**This post was written before COVID-19. I've pushed back the scheduling of it for months. Be aware that different states have different travel requirements in place right now. 

Growing up in the Midwest, I didn't realize how good I had it. It was an easy flight to most Caribbean beaches. Living on the west coast for the past few decades, I've realized how much more difficult it is to get to the Caribbean to enjoy the beautiful pristine white sand beaches and turquoise water. That doesn't mean we have to trade-in our hopes of having a beach vacation. Live on the west coast? Read on for the perfect beach escape!

beach vacations

Does a Bulk Store Really Save you Money?

Buying bulk is usually going to be less expensive if you break the price down per unit. But, if you’re not able to finish everything you buy and end up throwing half of it away, you could spend a lot more than you would have by buying the standard size. There are a ton of things to keep in mind when shopping at a bulk store, so in this post, I’m going to share my thoughts on whether or not a bulk store can save you money.

costco or sams club bulk warehouse store


My Go-To Tips for Supporting Small Business Without Going Broke

During this pandemic, it’s not the big box stores that have seen the biggest hits in their sales; it’s the small business owners. If you know a small business owner or know of a small business that you’d like to support, these tips are so helpful! There are cheap and even free ways you can support small businesses without going broke! And our small business favorites need all the help they can get right now as life is starting to go back to normal. 

small business tips on how to support owners


Teaching Teens the Value of Money

At some point, it became taboo for people to talk about their finances, even with their own children. This has resulted in teens and young adults who don’t know the value of money and really have no idea how to manage their finances. But, there are a few things you can do to help them understand the value of money. Read on to find out more!

Teaching teens the value of money


Making the Most of Grocery Store Trips

Things could change at a moment’s notice, and every trip to the grocery store counts right now. While you still want to be mindful of your budget during these shopping trips, you never know when you might find yourself wishing you had bought another toilet paper package. Fewer trips to the grocery store also mean less of an opportunity to impulse buy. To help you make the most of your grocery trips, here are my best tips to make those trips to the grocery store count!

making the most of grocery store trips


15 Unbelievable Places You Should Add to your Future Travel Bucket List {After COVID}

Paris, Amsterdam, and London are incredible destinations, with their unique culture, picturesque streets, and iconic landmarks. But that’s where everyone’s going once we’re able to travel again, right? So if you want to avoid overcrowded parks and long lines of tourists, then make sure to add these incredible places to your post-corona travel bucket. 

mt. rainier national park with wildflowers


The Very Best Easy Apple Crisp Recipe

Nothing says fall like apples. They are in abundant supply. Heck, maybe you have a yearly tradition to go apple picking {don't miss these Western Washington orchards!}. This is the very best easy apple crisp recipe you can whip up in no time! Everyone will love it and you'll feel like a real hero with this homemade delight!

homemade apple recipes for fall


Secret Must Haves for a Frugal Home

Frugal living sounds so easy in concept, but actually doing it can be a bit tricky. If you’re trying to save money or build better money habits, you may have considered giving frugal living a try. One of the best ways to ensure that you stay frugal while you’re out AND while you’re at home is to have a few secret weapons at your disposal. The five secret must-haves are going to make a massive difference in your ability to save money and your frugal experience.

frugal living at home

Malted Mocha Dalgona Coffee

I never liked coffee until I was well into my 30's, but now I hardly know how I lived without it. I think what I never liked were the plain coffee drinks. I like mine fluffy and fabulous, like this malted mocha Dalgona coffee drink. It's refreshing and delicious and perfect for any time of the day.


Free Resources for College Students

If you’re a college student there are a ton of amazing things that are offered to you completely free, but, you have to know they exist, which sadly many college students don’t. That’s why I put together this list of amazing free resources for college students. Share it with a student because we all know college kids need whatever money-saving tips they can get!

Free Resources for College Students


Money Saving Tips While Being Home More Often

There is never a bad time to start saving money! These days, we are spending a lot more time at home, and I’m looking for ways to help us reduce expenses and help save money while we’re at home. If you’re looking for ways to cut back now that you’re spending more time at home, here are some great money-saving tips while you’re at home more often.

saving money and budgeting during a global pandemic


DIY Face Mask Storage Bag

Our state has mandated face masks in all public spaces. In the beginning, many local businesses would have face masks available if you forgot yours, but in the past few weeks, remembering your face mask is all on you. I often have a stash of them in my car, but as we start to venture out into the world more, I know that having them available, clean and ready, is going to be more of an issue we run into as a family. So I created some fun DIY solutions. Ones you can replicate for your family to help you remember to bring your face mask with you to help protect you and others around you. Read on for some simple DIY face mask storage bag solutions.

spread kindness not germs DIY face mask storage bag


Easing the Transition for Kid from Middle School to High School

The step from junior high to high school is a big one. While your kids are already used to the idea of heading to different classes and using lockers, they are also going through puberty, and their coursework is about to get a lot more challenging. Making the transition from middle school to high school is a big jump, so preparing your children for success in high school is important! Here are some tips to help ease the transition from middle to high school.

parenting teenagers in high school


Tips for Making the Most of Online Classes

There is so much uncertainty in the world right now about what fall will look like for those going to school. Whether you have a child entering college, high school, or even elementary school, there is a genuine possibility that some or all of their classes will be online. Online classes can be a great way to help make sure your child still gets the education they need when they can’t be in the classroom, and it might not be a choice. Here are some tips for making the most of online classes.

survive on line school classes in high school and college


Everything you Need to Know about Packing a COVID Quarantine Bag for your College Student

It feels like yesterday that I was packing and repacking my hospital bag for the birth of my daughter, but right now in our house, all we are doing is thinking about packing her bags for her college dorm room. Sending our child off to a college campus during the time of a global pandemic isn't an easy decision, but it's one we are cautiously moving ahead with in the next few weeks. One of the campuses bullet points for reintegration for their residential students is that there will be designated rooms set aside for self-quarantine and isolation. In these uncertain times, it's not a bad idea to have a plan because if your child, living on a college campus, hundreds {or thousdands} of miles away from home has to quickly leave their dorm room for a quarantine location, having a bag that can be easily grabbed by a roommate or friend sitting on the bottom of their closet will be far easier than someone trying to figure out what to pack for them. Here are a few suggestions for some items your college resident can use to pack in a COVID quarantine bag just in case they test positive.

what to have on hand if you test positive for covid-19


4 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Confidence

Confidence is an important attribute in shaping social skills and emotional intelligence. Without confidence, your child may struggle with becoming independent or standing up for themselves when they feel peer pressure. Self-confidence helps with the transition into elementary, middle, and even high school. It can give them the boost to ask the girl or boy they’ve had a crush on since Kindergarten to the dance or later in life it can help them go after their dream job. Every achievement, both big and small are stepping stones to self-confidence and you can help them get there. So how do you help your child boost their confidence? I'm sharing four ways you can help encourage this trait today.

family and parenting teens and pre teens


National Parks That are Open Right Now!

Although the summer travel season is right on your doorstep, the pandemic is making vacationing a little bit more interesting! There are over 60 parks adopting different types of security measurements and gradually reopening, but everything can change at a moment’s notice. {Does that not seem like the trend of 2020???}

For now, these are the national parks where you can take a social distancing hike or get a whiff of fresh air. Make sure to see the latest updates on official sites and follow CDC recommendations

family travel during covid


10 Reasons to Stay in a VRBO Rental on Your Next Trip

Hotels have gotten expensive over the years, and I’ve found that many times, they are not worth the price! In a hotel, you are usually stuck with a single uncomfortable bed that was easily three digits, if not more, for your stay! If you travel with your family, no one is happy because everyone is on top of each other with no privacy or break from each other. This separation is the key to a happy family vacation with pre-teens and teens if you were wondering. Not only that, in the current state of the world, having space for your family that allows you a change of scenery from your four walls, a home rental from VRBO will also allow you the ability to get away in a safe way. If you are looking for a new way to stay, try giving a VRBO Rental a try on your next trip! It will change the way you travel. Here are ten reasons why you should stay in a VRBO Rental.

air bnb or homeaway rental which to choose for your next vacation


Watermelon Strawberry Lemonade Recipe

Watermelon strawberry lemonade will be your new favorite go-to summer drink. It's classic lemonade meets fresh and sweet watermelon with a hint of strawberry and it creates the perfect summer refreshment. The recipe is easy and delicious. Adding watermelon is an easy way to provide a new twist on an old favorite. You are going to love this watermelon strawberry lemonade recipe. Give it a try!

summer drink recipes


Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles

This strawberry lemonade popsicle is delicious and refreshing, making it the perfect summer dessert recipe to cool off with! My garden is bursting with fresh strawberries and I'm always looking for new recipes to make with them. Why not mix two summer favorite flavors and create this delicious dessert or snack? If strawberries aren't in season where you live, you can always use frozen strawberries partially thawed, but man, a good fresh strawberry is perfectly sweet and perfectly delicious and will make the best tasting popsicle around!

homemade popsicles


5 Ways Parents Can Stay Connected with College-Age Kids

This post is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

When you have a handful of small children all tugging at your leg, you don't think the day will ever happen when they leave the nest, but they do. And it's what you are working toward as a parent. Sending your high school graduate off into the world as they spread their wings can be a difficult transition. Your home and family will no longer look or feel the same, and your relationship with your child will evolve and change. Sending care packages with Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health products that are familiar to them, or taking the time to enter each other's world through video chat are all great ways to stay connected. 

Transitioning from the day-to-day relationship where you all live in the same home to being miles {sometimes states!} away can be difficult. As parents, we often wonder how we can still stay involved in their lives, and let our kids know they are loved and cared for, without feeling like we are stifling their independence is a delicate dance. Here are 5 tips I have for staying connected with your college-age kids as they leave home.

how to pack the perfect college care package


DIY Removable Vinyl Wallpaper made with the Cricut Joy

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cricut for Cricut. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have one space in my home that is solely my own. I don't have to share the space with anyone and other people's personal effects rarely creep into it. It's my master bedroom closet. It's been my favorite part of the house since we moved in and it's seen its fair share of transformation through the years. This latest transformation is one of my favorites. It's an idea I've had brewing and am so glad I was able to make it come to fruition. When I got my Cricut Joy earlier this year, I have been calling it my small but mighty crafting tool. This little workhorse was all I needed to create a HUGE transformation in my favorite space. And I did it in a flash!

before and after master bedroom closet with wallpaper

I made my own DIY removable repeat pattern vinyl "wallpaper" with the Cricut Joy and it's something awesome. I mean, flamingos. Come on. Keep reading and see how easy it is to make a complete transformation of your space and quickly and easily personalize just about anything {including your walls!}, with the Cricut Joy.

flamingo repeating pattern wallpaper

The Best Vodka Cocktail Recipes for Summer

Preparing cocktails for summertime events can be a lot of fun. Be creative and impress friends and family with some new mouth-watering vodka creations. Vodka is one of the most mixable liquor in your bar. It's easy to find a vodka recipe for every drinker or for every occasion. Finding that perfect refreshing drink for your next summer get-together is easy. Here are a few of the best vodka cocktails out there!

vodka drink recipes


How to Make Family Travel Fun for Teens

Traveling with a teenager can feel like nothing but earbuds and eye rolls. Your child’s teenage years can be some of the most difficult, and it can be even more difficult if they want to do anything besides spend time as a family. But I think that if you can get your teens away from some of those things that distract them {friends, phones, and social media}, then you can set yourself up for some really great family memories through shared experiences. If you are looking for ways to make family travel more fun for teenagers, here are some of my best tips.

traveling with teenagers


Keto No Bake Gluten Free Cheesecake

The title alone makes this dessert seem like no fun {I mean, come on...keto, no-bake and gluten-free???}, but you've got to taste this! We all know someone who has dietary restrictions, so why not give this cheesecake a try and see for yourself. It's a refreshing taste we all know and love that you can almost feel not guilty indulging in. Read more to find this delicious keto cheesecake recipe that you'll love adding to your dessert recipe stash.

single serving individual dessert cheesecake recipe


Top Vacation Spots with Teens

If you are looking for a great vacation to take as a family, choosing the destination can sometimes be the hardest part. If you are traveling with a teen, and you want to ensure that they also have a good time, then you may want to consider some of these vacation spots! Here are the top vacation spots to go with teens.

travel family vacation


Why You Need an Emergency Fund

Being prepared financially is just as important as any other prep work that you will do for yourself and your family. If you were running a marathon, you would spend weeks training to ensure that you don’t hurt your muscles when the big day comes. An emergency fund is the training but for your budget and your finances! This little stash of money will be there whenever disaster strikes! If you have unexpected hospital bills, a last-minute flight for a funeral, or even a sudden car repair, you’ll be covered! Here is why you need an emergency fund and why it’s worth having.

money saving and budgeting tips


Best Summertime Cocktail Recipes

Learn which cocktails and beers are the most refreshing when wading through those warm weather days. Warm weather brings rising thirst, and what better way to quench that craving than with a refreshing cocktail or beer. Once you master a few of these popular summertime cocktail recipes, you'll feel more confident to create a signature drink or two of your own. So read more and become a master of the summertime cocktail!
Moscow Mule drink recipe

How to Start Saving Money

Saving money sounds simple enough. All you have to do is not spend money to save money. Well, if it were that simple, everyone would be able to do it. The reality is that getting started is the most challenging part. Once you can build a habit of saving, you may find you don’t need a budget anymore! Here is a quick guide to help you start saving money.

money saving and budgeting tips for the whole family


What's It REALLY Like Traveling in the Time of COVID?

Like many of you, I've had my fair share of plans get canceled because of COVID. At the beginning of the year, our oldest son relocated to Boise, ID after graduating from college in December. He invited his father and me to visit and see his new home, and if you are a parent of a young adult child, you jump on any chance you can to visit your child when they request your presence. Airplane tickets were purchased back in January before COVID was even a thought. Though once COVID swept the nation, we had reservations about continuing our plans. As states started to reopen, {Idaho being one of them}, we decided to continue on with our plans to travel. I know that people will have opinions on every side about how they feel about travel in the time of COVID, but I wanted to share our experience of what it's really like and then you can make the most informed decision for you and your family if you want to consider continuing or canceling your summer travel plans. 

So what is it really like to travel in the time of COVID? I'm sharing our experience.

what is it like to travel during coronavirus

Cheap Father's Day Gifts: Gifts for Dad Under $30

Father's Day is just around the corner and while things might look just a little bit differently this year as we celebrate dad or those father-figures in our lives, we still want to celebrate him. I have rounded up a few gift ideas for father's day that won't break the bank. All of the gifts you will find are under $30 and I'm sure dad would be happy to unwrap them on his big day.
father and son fishing

How to Host a Successful Cocktail Party in Person or Virtually

Hosting a successful cocktail party is not only easy but enjoyable too. Cocktail parties are great social occasions, which can be held at any time of day or night, virtually or in person. Making the different cocktails is not difficult either, can be a lot of fun and even lead to inventing new, or different, versions of these popular, traditional drinks. I've got some tips on how you can host a successful cocktail party in person or virtually!
cocktail party recipes

Pineapple Chicken Stir fry

Have you found yourself eating from home more often? One of the changes we implemented early on was to try new recipes. Before our local library closed, I checked out a few cookbooks and we started earmarking pages of recipes we wanted to try. We've eaten a lot of new meals, and the teenagers have taken on cooking more often {it's part of the mom instructed home ec course I'm teaching here}. An overwhelming favorite is Chinese food. Orange chicken, hibachi {on the griddle!}, and stirfry of all kinds. I'm sharing a new favorite, this pineapple chicken stirfry your family will love!

Tips for making the perfect stir fry


5 Things I Learned From Being on a College Parents Message Board

Two weeks before my oldest son graduated from college, I found the official university parents board for his school. I had no idea the Facebook group even existed and I must confess, I'm kind of glad I was oblivious. I was surprised at what I found the parents asking and how involved the parents were in their young adults life. Kids are being raised with their parents watching their every move, tracking their locations, and monitoring their grades and I can see that even after their children are tucked away safely in their dorms, that they are having a hard time letting go. I think we can all agree that there is a fine line between being an involved parent and over-parenting. The role of a parent can get really tricky as our kids become more independent and start heading out into the world on their own. Here are 5 things I learned from watching other parents navigate launching their children into independence. 

tips for parenting college students

How to Make the Perfect Bloody Mary

Commonly served in a highball glass, the Bloody Mary is one of the most popular vodka drinks today. The Bloody Mary is a frequent cocktail served at special breakfast and lunch occasions. Its zest and jolt are welcomed and desired among all types of people from all walks of life. It is widely known as a hangover cure, but this is due to the high content of vitamin C in the tomato juice. Actually, the tomato juice in the Bloody Mary is the reason why they are known not to cause bad hangovers at all. This is another reason to love this cocktail. Read on to find out how to make the perfect Bloody Mary.

brunch cocktail recipes

$1 Homemade DIY Face Mask Using Dollar Store Supplies

There has been a lot of uncertainty, and I might also say, a lot of conflicting information as of late. As we start to see the weeks pass, and more doors open up as life starts to resume a new normal, more and more businesses and even airlines are requiring customers to wear a face mask. The supplies are in great demand, the shelves are often more empty than the toilet paper aisle and many people are struggling to find face masks they can wear. I decided to see if I could make a face mask {a no-sew face mask as well as a mask that is sewn} using supplies from the Dollar Tree. I was able to make both for you guessed it, under $1 and I'm sharing how you can make a DIY homemade face mask using Dollar Tree supplies.

diy dollar tree face mask


Three Little Things To Make with the Cricut Joy {Using Vinyl}

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cricut. All opinions are 100% mine.

I was always the smallest in school. I had to stand in the front row for pictures and creep up on my tiptoes if I wanted to see anything in a crowd. I heard the phrase "small but mighty" quite often. It's the same phrase I've been using when I think about the new Cricut Joy. I'm no stranger to the cutting machine. I've had one for the past decade or so, but I'll be honest, I just don't have the room to store my machine. I keep my cutting machines in a box in the closet and have to lug them out when I'm ready to use them. While other machines are making bigger, I was excited to see that Cricut made a small machine called the Cricut Joy that can sit out on a counter and be ready for any project. The goal is to create personalized projects that can be created in just a few minutes because not everyone has a craft room to DIY and personalize things. I've got three small but mighty projects you can make with a Cricut Joy using vinyl and I promise you, you'll realize that practical everyday projects have never been easier to make! No craft room required!

Three Little Things To Make with the Cricut Joy {Using Vinyl}


Dalgona Whipped Cinnamon Coffee

I didn't start drinking coffee until a few years ago, and now I appreciate the delicious daily pick me up. A new trend in coffee drinks is Dalgona or whipped coffee. It's trendy and taking over social media by storm, so if you are curious about it, why not give it a shot and see what all the hype is. I did. Made with simple ingredients, this sweet frothy drink can be served hot or iced and it may just be your new favorite way to drink coffee.

whipped coffee recipe

Don't Rebook your Flight, Ask for a Refund: Here's How!

Travel has been hard hit during this global pandemic, and for many of us, myself included, we've had vacations and travel that has had to be canceled. Airlines are hemorrhaging money right now, and their goal is to keep as much money in their operating budget as possible so that they can continue to operate and run as a business once all of this is over and people can get back to travel. But that doesn't mean consumers don't have rights. You know you are entitled to a full refund {even on a non-refundable ticket} if an airline cancels your flight? Here is how you can get the refund that you are entitled to from the airline for your canceled travel plans.

get a refund for a canceled flight


Mother's Day Gifts to Buy Online NOW

Mother's Day is going to look a little bit different this year. It may actually be better for some of you because you won't have to share the day with anyone else. It may feel overlooked because in the middle of a global pandemic, those people around you who would normally be reminded to celebrate you, have their minds on something else. Trust me, I get it. One year I had a horrible Mother's Day and I think I found the KEY to having a successful Mother's Day. I'm not going to lie, this may feel like just another day, but I'm hoping, that even if you have to purchase your own present or give yourself a gift, that you can come into the day with some meaningful time where you feel celebrated and acknowledged as the amazing asset to your family that you are. Shipping seems slow overall, so here are some Mother's Day gifts you can buy online now in time for Mother's Day.

flowers for mothers day


How to Make Stickers Using the Cricut Joy

Just a few days into quarantine, my Cricut Joy got delivered to my front steps and I'm telling ya, that's one of the only things keeping me sane these days. I've had fun crafting and creating with it and learning how to use it. It's actually not hard to use the Joy. In fact, I find the Cricut products to be so much more user-friendly than the Silhouette products.  {read more about which one I think is better, the Cricut or the Silhouette} Because the Joy is the smallest cutting machine out there, it's got its own selection of smart materials that go with it. I'm trying out a new one and making stickers using the Cricut Joy. Come see how I do it!

print and cut stickers diy

How You Can Support the Graduating Class of 2020 in a Meaningful Way

Most of the activities leading up to graduation have been canceled. Students who worked hard were looking forward to being able to celebrate their achievements in the final few months of school and those have been taken from them. As a mom of a senior this year, I know how difficult it's been dealing with the uncertainty of the coming months. Those months that were supposed to be filled with exciting college decisions, final sports seasons or concerts and recognition of a student's achievements as they put a bow on their compulsory education and look towards the future. 
I shared my thoughts on why you sharing your senior picture wasn't really helping show solidarity for the class of 2020, and was met with a lot of questions on how best to support the students that are collectively missing one of the biggest achievements in their life to date. I'm hoping I can share some ways you can support the graduating class of 2020 in a meaningful way.
graduation canceled

Stop Sharing Your Senior Pictures in Solidarity for the Class of 2020: It isn't Helping

There are a lot of fun pandemic trends {like sharing Tiger King memes and contemplating how Carole Baskin killed her husband}, but this mom of a senior is asking you to not post your senior picture in "solidarity" of the class of 2020. It doesn't honor the seniors, all it does is solidify all the things our students are missing out on. It honors your past, and your fun trip down memory lane isn't helping our kids feel any better about their circumstances.

senior class of 2020


How to Live on a Budget

During these uncertain times, the stability of your job or even whether or not you’ll be able to find enough food for your family is a reality we were never ready for. It’s more important now more than ever to get a handle on your spending and start living on a budget! Everyone loves saving money, and these five tips are going to help you start living on a budget right now.

no better time to start a budget than now!

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