Great Gifts For Men JORD Wood Watch

I gave my husband a watch for a wedding present when we eloped in Jamaica 15 years ago and to this day, he still loves to receive a wrist watch as a gift. To say my husband has a wrist watch obsession would be an understatement. Some men collect golf clubs, mine collects wrist watches.

My husband's job takes him away from home often to some amazing locations across the globe. While he is away, he tends to come home with a new watch from whatever location he is traveling at that time. He has been able to obtain some watches that he would otherwise not have here in the states.

In today's busy electronic world, some men may have opted to leave the watch behind in place of the smartphone, but not my husband. He loves wrist watches and wears one at all times (I do as well for that matter). There really is something about the perfect timepiece that ties a man together, don't you think.

Lately, I have been looking for cool watches for him because he has so many different styles. This year for Father's Day I really wanted to locate unique men's watches to surprise him. My children want to gift him the best Father's Day gifts every year and I always want to find the best gifts for men so he has some bragging rights at the office.

My husband works hard and is the sole provider for our family. so, we want to reward him and remind him of all the amazing things he does for our family with a unique watch. I found the perfect gift idea for men in JORD wood watches.

Regardless of whether my husband is in a full suit or in khakis and a polo, JORD watches for men complete any outfit, for any occasion, on any day. JORD wood watches are the perfect men's designer watches that look totally different than your standard timepiece.

My kids and I selected the men's JORD wood watch from the DELMAR series in Dark Sandalwood & Blue Carbon. It is gorgeous!

JORD WOOD WATCH DELMAR series Dark Sandalwood & Blue Carbon

Some of the features in include a 44mm width, which is great because my husband is a big dude! The clasp is a double locking fold-over clasp and the mineral glass is scratch resistant for the days he wants to wear it whilst bike riding. The display shows in hours, minutes and seconds and is battery operated. The band is a natural dark sandalwood and simply gorgeous! JORD recommends to not swim in your wood watch and to clean with lemon oil extract.

If you want to get your favorite man a JORD watch, I have an E-gift code to use on the JORD website you can use at checkout to receive a $25 discount! There are only a limited amount of these available and once they’re gone, they’re gone!

Here is the E-gift code you can use: DADtiarastantrums25. I recommend the JORD wood watch from DELMAR series in any shade! They are all gorgeous! Simply click the link and you will be asked for your email address. Your E-gift code will be emailed directly to you.

Disclosure: I received a Jord watch in exchange for this post. All opinions are mine alone. |#jordwatch #uniquewatch #guygift #giftidea #dadgift #woodwatch

10 Tips on Dealing with Sibling Rivalry #Netflix #StreamTeam

As a parent of three children, I deal with personality disputes, skill conflicts, attention getting schemes, and various mini-wars all day long. I have finally concluded that sibling rivalry is one of the inevitable annoyances of having children. Truly, it is exhausting.

Naturally, brothers and sisters fight. Their ages and personalities play a role, but my children sometimes see themselves as rivals. They compete for attention and for resources in our home.

Sibling rivalry is a normal part of growing up, but it literally drives me bonkers.  How to minimize disputes at home? Basically, ignore them! Really, I can't play referee all day long!

Ignore Most Of It: Practice ignoring non-life threatening situations for a week. Trust me, you will be happier.

Referee Squabbles: I know, I just said ignore it all. But, there is a time when you have to step in as a referee. This is always a round-by-round judgment call. And if my children are in danger of hurting the other or damaging property, I stop the fight in its tracks. Also, if they continue to quarrel as children - they will do this as adults and that will make for a very miserable life!

10 Tips on Dealing with Sibling Rivalry #Netflix #StreamTeam

Extend Grace: Trying to teach my children to pick their battles and give, extend and accept grace is an uphill battle sometimes. Not every situation warrants an argument and each child does not need to be "right" in every situation.

Stay Positive: If I have a smile plastered on my face - I can usually get all my kids to smile too! Easiest tool in my mom toolbox!

10 Tips on Dealing with Sibling Rivalry #Netflix #StreamTeam

Promote Team Spirit: We try to work through situations as they come up for the bet resolution for everyone. This may mean scheduling times on games, but if I can get my kids to do this on their own without my referee skills, I breathe a big sigh of relief that day.

Alternatives: They either work it out or I work it out for them. My alternative is not the first choice - ever. My alternative is either the get-along shirt (you know, when two kids have to wear the same shirt together) or completing a task together whilst holding hands.

10 Tips on Dealing with Sibling Rivalry #Netflix #StreamTeam

Children Are Not Equal: Children are like little lawyers arguing for their rights. But what my children quickly realize is that a 10 year old does not get 14 year old privileges! My children get different privileges and more responsibilities as they get older. They need to look forward to growing up instead of growing up too fast.

Everyone is My Favorite: All my kids are my favorites and they will all say they are my favorites. They may tell each other that so and so it the most favorite, but , basically, they all think they are the favorite and that works out well for me!

10 Tips on Dealing with Sibling Rivalry #Netflix #StreamTeam

Listen to Both Sides: investigate to determine who’s at fault. Simple as that. I never know who or what started a simple squabble and ask each to tell me their side.

Siblings Are Forever Friends: This is one I really try to hit home. My husband and his brother are not the least bit close and this makes me so sad for my husband. I am very close to my brothers and I keep telling my own children, you will want this important relationship when you are older. Your siblings are the ones who will always have your back. 

10 Tips on Dealing with Sibling Rivalry #Netflix #StreamTeam

As a parent, it is our role to promote sibling harmony. We act as a facilitator and we set conditions that foster a great relationship between all our children. My job is not to control how my children relate to each other, but rather to shape their relationship with each other.

Netflix has a number of family-friendly shows that have real-life issues. Chances are there is a show that can begin a dialogue with your kids just by watching it together. Quite possibly the best conversations with your children could be sparked by watching shows together.

Disclosure: This post is part of my involvement as a Netflix #StreamTeam Member. All opinions are my own. #NetflixKids #Netflix #NetflixMoms Want to learn more about Netflix Streaming? Subscriptions start at $7.99/month. 

 

Top 10 Summer Camp Packing Tips

Summer camp is a great time for children to focus on fun, foster friendships and enjoy nature.  My girls go away to summer camp every summer and are just as excited to spend some time in the sun and breathe some fresh air this year as they have been in previous summers.

My Top 10 Summer Camp Packing Tips For Summer Sleep-Away Camp

Summer camp gets my daughters outdoors, away from the media. The fresh air nourishes them and they have opportunities to foster lasting friendships. They are physically active for the entire week from the time they wake up until the plop in their bunk at night. They also develop emotionally as I am not there to solve any issues that may occur. There are so many benefits to summer camp for my daughters.

The biggest benefit to me is that I do not have to organize any of this fun they will be having!

But, I do need to organize what they bring to summer camp since they are gone one full week.  They will need to keep track of all their own belongings the entire time they are away as I won't be there picking up after them. I want to make this as easy as possible and Mabel's Labels 2016 Limited Edition Sleepaway Camp Labels Pack ensures just that.

Mabel’s Labels 2016 Limited Edition Sleepaway Camp Labels Pack consists of UV resistant water-proof personalized labels that are perfect for my both of my daughters' camp gear. We are packing swimwear, toothbrushes and toiletries, sleeping bags, towels, clothes, flash lights and everything else in between. There are nine new camp icons to select in the Mabel’s Labels 2016 Limited Edition Sleepaway Camp Labels Pack: sailboat, goggles, raccoon, chipmunk, tree, campfire, canoe, tent, and flip-flops AND so many different color options!

The Mabel’s Labels 2016 Limited Edition Sleepaway Camp Labels Pack are only available from APRIL 5th through July 31st!!

What to Pack for Summer Camp

A SMALL DAYPACK TO CARRY AROUND ALL DAY: So my daughters will not have to repeatedly ask to return to their cabin, they carry a small daypack(think small backpack) with them all day long. Inside they carry a small personal first aid kit, hat, bug spray, sunscreen, water bottle and their flash light. Last year, they carried their umbrellas because it rained on and off every day. But really, anything else that comes to mind your kiddos would need each day.

Top 10 Summer Camp Packing Tips

THE FLASHLIGHT: Nothing fancy here, just simple and one that works. You child will probably lose it anyway. The flashlight is for finding their way to the bathroom in the middle of the night and for annoying camp counselors and their friends.

Top 10 Summer Camp Packing Tips

THE CLOTHES: I think camp attire is pretty basic, shorts, t-shirt, socks, sturdy shoes, flip-flops for the shower. I put each day's outfit in their own ziploc bag and label it Monday, Tuesday etc and I put underwear and socks in their own ziplock bag. I also put pajamas in their own bag as well.  I send two swimming suits in case one is too wet or gets lost. Miraculously, last year, every sock came home with my daughters! Don't select clothing for fashion, select for comfort

Top 10 Summer Camp Packing Tips

TOILETRIES: Put all the toiletries into a small zipped bag or basket for your kids to just grab and head to the bathrooms.  Don't add additional that your child really doesn't need. I know some girls who showered and didn't even use soap for the entire week!

Top 10 Summer Camp Packing Tips

SLEEPING BAGS: I recommend a good nylon sleeping bag, a couple of flat sheets to cover the bunk bed and a pillow. An extra light blanket if there is room in the trunk.

TOWELS: Pack two towels, two wash clothes and one pool towel. Also include XXL ziploc bags for these wet items because they are not coming home dry.

Top 10 Summer Camp Packing Tips

WATER BOTTLE: This is important as your kids will be refilling this all day long at water stations. Get a really good water bottle for your kids. Here is a good tip as well, start your kids early on drinking water . . . before they go to camp. Get them drinking a lot of water so when they arrive at camp, they will drink water and not become dehydrated. Your kids are going to be outdoors all day long.

Top 10 Summer Camp Packing Tips

RAIN GEAR/HAT: It may rain. If your child is lucky, it will not rain. But, it might, send a rain jacket or poncho along just in case. Have a hat as well, because it will be hot most days.

SUNSCREEN / INSECT REPELLENT: Pack enough sun screen protection;  sunglasses, and sun block, lip balm with SPF, as well as insect repellent. An extra pair of prescription glasses may be a good idea if our child wears glasses. Tip: Leave retainers at home unless they are permanent.

LABELS: Label EVERYTHING! Simple as that. If you want it back, label it. Every sock. Each pair of underwear. The water bottle. The flashlight and batteries. Sunscreen, Clothes. EVERYTHING! Label EVERYTHING with Mabel's Labels.

Included in the Limited Edition Sleepaway Camp Labels Pack:

  • 10 Personalized Name Stickers
  • 24 Mini Custom Name Stickers
  • 8 Custom Shoe Stickers
  • 50 Tag Mates™ Stick On Clothing Labels
  • 2 Personalized Bag Tags

What to leave at home

TECH / PHONES / IPODS / NINTENDOS / EXPENSIVE DEVICES: Cell phones and electronic devices are not allowed at summer camp. The camp my girls attend will actually confiscate any of these items. Summer camp is a place where children get away from their normal lives and try something different. It's all camp, all day., all night, every day, for the entire week!

These are just a few tips that helped me survive summer camp packing the last couple of year last years. I'll be using these same tips this year as I send my girls off to summer camp in one short month.

My girls will be prepared. When I pick them up at the end of the week, they will be exhausted and smiling and saying goodbye to new friends.  Their bags will be filthy, everything will be a mess and wet. There might even be some items missing, but those lost items will all be identified with my daughter's names! I will have two girls who will be begging me to sign them up for camp next summer. That 's what they did last year!

What are some of your tips for summer camp?

Disclosure: We are compensated for our reviews. Click here for details. Images courtesy of myself and Mabels Labels.

 

Tweens on the Ledge at the Willis Tower Skydeck

We played hooky from school just like Ferris Bueller and his friends did in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and went to the Willis Tower last week. My tween girls thought I was the coolest mom ever for giving them a free day out on the Ledge. But, unlike Ferris Bueller, who didn't get to stand on the Ledge, we were able to go out on a ledge at the Willis Tower skydeck.

We are fortunate to live so close to an amazing city, Chicago. We hop on the tollway and zip down regularly to take in sights and exhibits. The Willis Tower is the first building we look for each and every time we drive into the city. My daughters are always craning their necks to catch the first glimpse of home. I have to admit that I myself still, after over 30 years of living here, do the exact same thing. It makes my heart beat a little faster just looking out for the Willis Tower.

The Willis Tower Skydeck

Tweens on the Ledge at the Willis Tower Skydeck

The Ledges were added to the Willis Tower’s Skydeck viewing floor in 2005 and have added to the appeal of this Chicago attraction.  The Ledges extend four feet out into the air and make a perfect spot for my tweens. They loved standing out there posing for me.

Tweens on the Ledge at the Willis Tower Skydeck
Tweens on the Ledge at the Willis Tower Skydeck
Tweens on the Ledge at the Willis Tower Skydeck

My daughters have been working hard to finish out the end of the school year. There were loads of tests to complete the end of the semester and even more tests for placement for next school year. They needed some down time. I thought it important to dedicate some time with my tween daughters to simply having fun together.

The Ledge Experience

At 1,353 feet up, the Ledge’s glass boxes extend out from the skyscraper’s Skydeck, on the 103rd floor. We visited on a super clear day and were able to see amazing views of the city. 
The tower is a Chicago icon and stands 1,450 feet and 110 stories tall. The Willis Tower is the 8th tallest building in the world and the tallest in the Western Hemisphere, how's that for living near history and culture!

Tweens on the Ledge at the Willis Tower Skydeck

Your tweens can step out onto the ledge at the Willis Tower Skydeck any day of the week.  Open daily, the Skydeck offers spectacular views of the city and if it is spectacularly clear day you might ever see up to four different states(Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan). The Ledge is simply, a glass box, that let’s you step four feet outside the walls of the The Willis Tower.

Tweens on the Ledge at the Willis Tower Skydeck

When you step out on the ledge for the very first time, your first reaction is to look down and automatically your arms come out as if to balance yourself. I highly recommend you do not do this as it might make you dizzy or light-headed. Simply keep your eyes up and look forward and take in the city views. In your glass box, you are in your own little world.

After you have finished with the ledge, walk all around the entire skydeck and take in the city views from all directions. Even though we were taking a break from schooling that day, I still had my tweens look for historic Chicago attractions.

Tweens on the Ledge at the Willis Tower Skydeck
Tweens on the Ledge at the Willis Tower Skydeck
Tweens on the Ledge at the Willis Tower Skydeck
Tweens on the Ledge at the Willis Tower Skydeck
Tweens on the Ledge at the Willis Tower Skydeck

Be sure to take the elevator down to the lower level. A new theater presentation, Reaching for the Sky, tells the story of how the the building and Chicago’s well-known landmarks set architectural standards after the Great Chicago Fire and beyond. Additionally, there are new museum-quality exhibits that highlight this iconic tower, and celebrate Chicago’s rich history and culture through captivating visuals. When you have out-of-town guests, these exhibits are perfect.

The Willis Tower Skydeck

The Skydeck is open 365 days a year. April through September from 9am-10pm and October through March from 10am-8pm. Admission is $22.00 for Adults(ages 12 and up) and $14.00 for children. Children three and under are free. Also available are express passes for $49.00. This allows you to bypass all the crowds, perfect for busy days when the lines tend to be very long.

The Skydeck also hosts special occasions such a breakfast, lunch OR dinner right on the ledge! Advance reservations are required for this treat and can be booked online.

Disclosure: Some photos are courtesy of Willis Tower and used with permission. I received entrance passes. As always, my opinions are my own. I was not compensated in any manner.

The King & I | Lyric Opera of Chicago #LyricKing

Music is a gift that is meant to be shared. It is unique in that it is an art form where thoughts and goals are brought together. The unity and peacefulness of music demonstrate that joining together in harmony brings forth a positive atmosphere in our community and in the world.

The King & I | Lyric Opera of Chicago #LyricKing

In my home, the arts are central and not forgotten. I passionately believe in introducing children to theatre and music. I adore musical theater and am pretty much enamored with seeing live plays. Thankfully we live in a city that offers a plethora of options for my children and I. I’m happy that my children love theatre and music as well. Frequent visits to theatres (may) bring out the budding thespians in my little people.

The King & I | Lyric Opera of Chicago #LyricKing

Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I at Lyric Opera Chicago Directed by Lee Blakeley runs April 29 – May 22 at the Civic Opera House

Your promotional code for 20% off Monday- Friday performances is MOMBLOG. 

Buy tickets now!

  • Music by Richard Rodgers
  • Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
  • Based on the book Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon
  • Directed by Lee Blakeley
  • Conductor David Chase
  • Choreographer Peggy Hickey
  • At the Lyric Opera of Chicago
The King & I | Lyric Opera of Chicago #LyricKing

The King and I opens April 29 and runs through May 22. Purchase tickets here!

  • Fri, May 6 7:00PM
  • Sat, May 7 1:30PM,  7:30PM
  • Sun, May 8 1:30PM,  6:30PM
  • Tue, May 10 7:00PM
  • Wed, May 11 1:30PM, 7:00PM
  • Thur, May 12 1:30PM,  7:00PM
  • Fri, May 13 7:00PM
  • Sat, May 14 1:30PM,  7:00PM
  • Sun, May 15 1:30PM
  • Tue, May 17 7:00PM
  • Wed, May 18 1:30PM, 7:00PM
  • Thur, May 19 7:00PM
  • Fri, May 20 7:00PM
  • Sat, May 21 1:30PM,  7:00PM
  • Sun, May 22 1:30PM
The King & I | Lyric Opera of Chicago #LyricKing

The King and I Lyric Opera of Chicago

Free pre-opera talks are offered before every performance of every opera in the mainstage season to enhance the opera-going experience. Doors open approximately 15 minutes before the start of the talks, which begin an hour before the performance begins.

Don’t miss the limited engagement of this hit Broadway musical!

The King & I | Lyric Opera of Chicago #LyricKing

The singing-dancing-acting-creative-stage management-musical-backstage forces include:

  • 12 principals
  • 14 royal children
  • 7 royal wives
  • 8 female dancers
  • 5 male dancers
  • 5 guards/priests/men in black
  • 37 orchestra musicians
  • 6 musical staff (conductor & cover, chorus master, rehearsal pianists)
  • 20 production team members (director; scenic, costume, lighting, sound designers, choreographer, fight, lighting, and wig/makeup directors; stage manager; assistants to all)
  • 43 stage crew
  • 20 dressers
  • 15 hair/makeup artists

We are attending a matinee next week and my daughters are so excited! We will be hearing their violin teacher's husband as he will be in the orchestra playing!

Your promotional code for 20% off Monday- Friday performances is MOMBLOG. 

Buy tickets now!

The King & I | Lyric Opera of Chicago #LyricKing

If you didn't know, the power of music is as plain as this: Music improves cognitive skills more than twice as much as sports, theater or dance.  Did you know that kids who take music lessons have better cognitive skills, better grades and are more open and ambitious? Music is pretty much mandatory in my home.

Obviously, creativity is difficult to measure. But I think we can all agree that music enhances creativity. Music also enhances communication between the right and left parts of the brain. And we can't wait for both parts of our brain to be delighted at The King and I!

The King & I | Lyric Opera of Chicago #LyricKing

Disclosure: The Kind and I Production Photos All photos are courtesy of Lyric Opera website and used with permission. I will receive tickets to a performance. As always, my opinions are my own. I was not compensated in any manner.

Your promotional code for 20% off Monday- Friday performances is MOMBLOG. 

Buy tickets now!

One Pot Mexican Chicken with Sofritos

I happen to love Mexican food . . . like, love it. My husband and I could eat it every single day. Our children, on the other hand, are not too fond of anything the least bit spicy, and besides chips and salsa, would rather not eat anything related to Mexican food.

What does a momma do to change this? Well, I came up with a recipe they will eat that will satisfy my craving for Mexican! It took a bit of tinkering around with the recipe before I came up with the best tasting Mexican Chicken that everyone would eat. Down to the last little person in my house.

One Pot Mexican Chicken with Sofritos #PersonalCreations

I love this recipe because I can make it hours or even days ahead of time. In addition to that, this recipe can be used for a plethora of other dishes. The chicken is the base for so many other lunches and dinners. And the best part, this can be made in ONE DISH! No need to dirty an entire sink full of dishes.

One Pot Mexican Chicken with Sofritos #PersonalCreations

With Mother's Day FAST approaching this next weekend . . . this Mexican Chicken with Sofritos recipe is perfect for breakfast, for brunch, for lunch, for late lunch, for early dinner and for dinner! You can make it ahead of time if you are hosting or you can make it ahead of time and bring it along as your dish to share.

I am hosting this year and this dish is made and waiting in the freezer for me to bring out the night before. It will be ready Sunday afternoon when all my guests arrive for a delicious Mother's Day late lunch / early dinner.

One Pot Mexican Chicken with Sofritos #PersonalCreations

I have this amazing 4qt Oval Casserole Dish from Personal Creations that is my go-to dish for my Mexican Chicken recipe. This stoneware dish is perfect in that I can dump all my ingredients inside and go about my day and literally forget that dinner is in the oven, simmering away to perfection.

Don't you love my casserole dish - you can get yours for Mother's Day too! You can even have it personalized like I did with mine! You can get one initial like I did - "T" for me because everyone literally calls me "T". OR you could get a 2 line message, up to 18 characters, for all your favorite mothers!

I have this amazing 4qt Oval Casserole Dish from Personal Creations that is my go-to dish for my Mexican Chicken recipe. This stoneware dish is perfect in that I can dump all my ingredients inside and go about my day and literally forget that dinner is in the oven, simmering away to perfection. Don't you love my casserole dish - you can get yours for Mother's Day too! You can even have it personalized like I did with mine! You can get one initial like I did - "T" for me because everyone literally calls me "T". OR you could get a 2 line message, up to 18 characters, for all your favorite mothers!

Mexican Chicken with Sofritos

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 pounds chicken breasts tenders
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 can RO*TEL Original(completely optional)
  • 3-4 tablespoons brown sugar (if you prefer less spicy - use more)
  • 1 8 oz. jar salsa verde
  • 1 11 oz. can sweet corn
  • 2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3-4 tablespoon ground cumin(use less if you like, we love cumin)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon dry oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • fresh homemade Sofrito (16 oz)*
  • 1-2 cups of chicken stock

INSTRUCTIONS

One Pot Mexican Chicken with Sofritos #PersonalCreations
  1. Place chicken breast tenders in the bottom of your 4 qt Oval Casserole Dish. Add all of the ingredients except 1 can of diced tomatoes, the can of corn, half of the sofrito and half of the chicken stock. Cover and cook in the oven on 275° to 300° for 6-7 hours or until the chicken is tender enough to shred. (depends on your oven)
  2. Remove your casserole dish and lower your oven to 200°. Take the lid off the dish and grab two forks and start shredding your chicken right in the casserole dish. Mix everything together. The mixture may seem a bit dry, but you will add the rest of the chicken stock, the other can of diced chicken and the remaining Sofrito. Also add the can of corn at this time. Put the lid back on the casserole dish and return to the oven and cook for approximately 20-30 minutes to absorb some of the liquid you have added. you do not want this to be dry. If it seems dry, just add more chicken stock.
One Pot Mexican Chicken with Sofritos #PersonalCreations

* I have numerous, fantastic ethnic grocers in my area. If you do not and cannot locate homemade Sofritos, simply use a jar version.

One Pot Mexican Chicken with Sofritos #PersonalCreations

This is a mild version, but super tasty. My kids do not like spicy food and with my acid reflux, I really am not supposed to be eating spicy food any longer. My husband grabs the bottle of hot sauce and adds as much as he likes to his bowl or plate for added heat. He also adds some hot pepper flakes sometimes. This is mild enough that everyone will love it. If you absolutely do not want any heat at all, eliminate the RO*TEL completely as this does add a tiny bit of heat to the mixture.

One Pot Mexican Chicken with Sofritos #PersonalCreations

This recipe can now be the base for all your Mexican dishes! Tacos, soups, burritos, with cheese, without cheese, with beans, without beans. It makes a great topping for chips or burgers too! It is great for loads of different meals. Breakfast tacos, chili for lunch and Burritos for dinner. Quesadillas, enchiladas, baleadas, chili, soup . . . really the ideas are endless. Keep some of this in your freezer at all times.

One Pot Mexican Chicken with Sofritos #PersonalCreations

Enjoy your Mother's Day this year!

Disclosure: I received the dish from Personal Creations for this One Pot Mexican Chicken with Sofritos post. No compensation was received. My opinions are 100% my own.

31 Activities to Keep Your Kids Active This Spring

I have a created a list for the month of May and on it are things that my kiddos and I can do to properly welcome Spring. These activities will keep learning alive when the spring weather is beckoning their attentions. .

31 Activities to Keep Your Kids Active This Spring

Here are a list of 31 Activities to Keep Your Kids Active this Spring

  • Search the variety of trees and look at the buds on them.
  • Hang the bird feeders and fill them up with birdseed
  • Bird watch
  • Draw with chalk all over the driveway
31 Activities to Keep Your Kids Active This Spring
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  • Have a playdate at the park
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Lemonade_Stand_mini_session-2.jpg
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  • Have a media free day
  • Go to the forest preserve and search for milkweeds
  • Plant flowers in the front yard pots
31 Activities to Keep Your Kids Active This Spring
  • Watch baby caterpillars and collect more milkweeds (they eat a lot)
  • Blow bubbles outdoors
  • Go on a nature walk and spot wildflowers
  • Get up really early and watch the sunrise
  • Have a family picnic at the park
31 Activities to Keep Your Kids Active This Spring
  • Plant a garden (after Mother’s Day in the midwest)
  • Watch the sunset
  • Have breakfast on the deck
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  • Have a nature scavenger hunt
  • Have a squirt gun battle
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  • Search for worms
  • Watch chrysalis form in the caterpillar housing
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And lastly,

Write a list with your kids of things they want to do this summer.

What are some of your favorite spring activities?

Planting A Indoor Garden With your Kids

Should you start your garden indoors due to colder climates? The answer is yes! Since we live in the Midwest, this is a bit of a requirement if we want a longer growing season. We like to get a head start on planting our veggies from seeds right in our home.

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.  ~ Margaret Atwood

Since we do live in the Midwest, the weather is always unpredictable. But spring is here and it is the perfect time to begin our garden indoors. Even though it may still be quite chilly outdoors or we may even have the threat of winter storm, all our seeds will be safe indoors.

Seed packets may not even be on shelves yet, so the best solution for my family is the Miracle-Gro® Gro-ables® 8ct Veggie and Herb Seed Pod® Kit. These little pods have the perfect amount of seeds that we will need all in its own little pod.

Growing veggies and herbs indoors can be extremely rewarding and a wonderful learning activity for your children. You might even be surprised at how many uses you will have for your own home grown herbs. My kiddos are super excited to get our garden started before school is even out this year!

Did you know that inside every seed is a tiny living thing? There is a baby plant inside the seed, fast asleep. Seeds are dormant until they gets what they needs to wake up. When the seed wakes up, it becomes a seedling. What do you think a seed needs to wake up? Well, there are only three things a seed needs: warmth, water and air. A seed really only needs these three things to wake up!

Starting Your Garden Indoors #GroAblesProject

For our indoor garden this year we will not need to locate various containers for planting individual seeds or worry about having too many seeds or trying to save them for planting the next year. Everything we need is contained right in the Miracle-Gro® Gro-ables® pod. The Miracle-Gro® Gro-ables® pods are completely biodegradable, so we can place them right in the dirt. 

Starting Your Garden Indoors #GroAblesProject

Preparing soil for an indoor garden is so much easier than preparing an entire garden outdoors. Using a bagged seed-starting or sterile potting mix is the best idea for prepping your indoor pots or containers. We were able to purchase potting mix that is specific to our needs. The potting mix is fully prepared for you and all you need is your container(s) to place the potting mix in and later your Miracle-Gro® Gro-ables® pods.

Starting Your Garden Indoors #GroAblesProject

The girls were easily able to complete our indoor garden with minimal supervision from me. We shopped for a large indoor garden container and potting mix, filled up the container with potting mixand simply pushed the Miracle-Gro® Gro-ables® seed pods from our 8ct Veggie and Herb Seed Pod® Kit into the potting mix until the top of the pod were level with the potting mix's surface. Water and now we wait.

Starting Your Garden Indoors #GroAblesProject

We located the perfect spot in our home for our indoor garden. When the pods are first planted, the only thing we need to worry about is heat. Thus the reason we are planting indoors because it is still chilly here in the Midwest. But once the seedlings break through, they need lots of light. The pods will do best in warmth.

Starting Your Garden Indoors #GroAblesProject

What I love about the Miracle-Gro® Gro-ables® pods is my kids won't be able to over water and wash away the seed. The seed is protected in the pod and has the perfect amount of growing material and plant food right inside the biodegradable pod shell.

Starting Your Garden Indoors #GroAblesProject

Use plants to bring life. ~ Douglas Wilson

Starting Your Garden Indoors #GroAblesProject

Did you know that once water gets inside the seed it wakes up!? This starts a process called germination. Remember, seeds only need warmth, air and water to germinate. All the nutrients the seeds need for the first several days are packed right inside the seed. Guess what that nutrient is? SUGAR! Plants love sugar! Plants cannot live without sugar because it is their food.

After the first few days of soaking up the water, the seed inside the Miracle-Gro® Gro-ables® pod has the plant food right inside the Miracle-Gro® Gro-ables® pod for the new seedling, so it will continue to grow right inside the biodegradable pod!

Starting Your Garden Indoors #GroAblesProject

The girls selected a great indoor container this year and we won't need to transplant any seedlings to larger container or the garden. TIP: When the seedlings are 2-3 inches tall, you have the option of moving them into deeper containers or keeping them where they are.

Starting Your Garden Indoors #GroAblesProject

After a few weeks, we expect our seedlings to be ready for some full sun outdoors. We just have to ensure that our windy Chicago days are well over 50 degrees, especially at night.  We can slowly acclimate our indoor garden to outdoors by bringing our pots outdoors during the day and back indoors on the cold evenings. Once we are in full summer, we can move our indoor garden outdoors.

Starting Your Garden Indoors #GroAblesProject

We used the Miracle-Gro® Gro-ables® 8ct Veggie and Herb Seed Pod® Kit this year and it included: Basil, Sweet Pepper, Zucchini, Globe Tomato, Cilantro, Cucumber, Cherry Tomato and Spinach. We can't wait for fresh veggies . . . well, not really veggies, but fruit.

Starting Your Garden Indoors

Did you know that anything that contains seeds is really considered a fruit?!This means that we are really growing a fruit and herb indoor garden! Many things that we would never think of as fruits, are, indeed, fruits! Just remember that everything that is a container for the seed is a fruit!

Starting Your Garden Indoors #GroAblesProject

I grow plants for many reasons: to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty, or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow. ~ David Hobson

Starting Your Garden Indoors #GroAblesProject

What would you grow in your Indoor Garden? I would love to see your indoor garden. Post an image on Instagram and tag it #GroAblesProject!

How to Make an Indoor Garden

Starting Your Garden Indoors #GroAblesProject

SUPPLIES:

  • Raised Bed Garden Container
  • Organic Raised Bed Soil/Potting Mix
  • Miracle-Gro® Gro-ables® 8ct Veggie and Herb Seed Pod® Kit
Starting Your Garden Indoors #GroAblesProject
Starting Your Garden Indoors #GroAblesProject
Starting Your Garden Indoors #GroAblesProject
Starting Your Garden Indoors #GroAblesProject
Starting Your Garden Indoors #GroAblesProject

This Starting Your Garden Indoors post is sponsored Miracle-Gro Gro-ables All opinions are 100% mine.

Siblings Really Can Get Along

A Tale of Two Distant Ages

So, I have a 9 year old, a 12 year old and a 14 year old. My youngest are girls and my oldest is a boy. The shows that my son now enjoy are not the shows that my daughters enjoy watching. We have a dilemma when they are all in one room watching something . . . or trying to agree to watch something. Most times, my son loses the battle.

Siblings Really Can Get Along #StreamTeam #Netflix

Sugar and Spice

Since I have two girls and one boy, I have a mix of dispositions. Two sweet girls and one sassy teenage boy! He wants a bit more mature content and my girls are still into the shows that focus on fun and silliness.

Siblings Really Can Get Along #StreamTeam #Netflix

Meet in the Middle

Deciding on a genre is the hardest when it comes to watching together for my three children. From comedy to action,  Netflix has a little bit of everything for all of them. It is just a matter of locating the perfect shows for all three to watch together because I don't want my kids isolated off somewhere by themselves in our home. 

Siblings Really Can Get Along #StreamTeam #Netflix

Must Watch TV

I have two younger brothers whom I absolutely adore. Sadly, they both live in another state and we don't get to see each other often. One thing that we all like to do together is watch movies. We are all night owls and will literally plow through series of shows together when we get together.

Siblings Really Can Get Along #StreamTeam #Netflix

One of my younger brothers lives in the country and they don't have cable. Not that they don't want cable, it is that they can't get cable because they are so rural. When he would visit, he loved that he and I could sit up all night long into the wee hours of the morning watching shows he had never even heard of. We bond over TV! I used to get my brother hooked on my favorite Netflix shows all the time.

Last year I gifted him a subscription with Netflix and told him to have someone figure out HOW they could use Netflix in their rural home. They figured it out and couldn't have been more overjoyed! Now my brother is recommending Netflix shows to me!

If you are having issues with your kids deciding on what to watch together, Netflix has come up with the perfect solution. Netflix has created an iconic fortune teller to help your family decide what to watch next.

Siblings Really Can Get Along #StreamTeam #Netflix

How to play:

1. Pick a color on the top four flaps and spell out the letters (e.g. B-L-U-E) while alternating a pinching and pulling motion with the teller to reveal a set of four numbers.
2. Pick a number and move the fortune teller the corresponding number of times, revealing a second set of four numbers.
3. Choose a genre and open the flap to reveal what’s up next on Netflix.

 

 

What shows do your children enjoy streaming together on Netflix?

Disclosure: This post is part of my involvement as a Netflix #StreamTeam Member. All opinions are my own. #NetflixKids Want to learn more about Netflix Streaming? Subscriptions start at $7.99/month. *Photos courtesy of Netflix and used with permission

Woodworking Projects for Kids

Kids love to make things. At least my kids love to make things! We ventured into something new these past couple of weeks to pass the time during these cold spring days here in Chicago. Woodworking!

Build-It-Yourself Woodworking Kit Lakeshore Learning #learningthroughplay

When I was in junior high I had to take a wood working class (do they even offer these types of classes any longer in schools??), but I don't think I was very good. I also had a very handy father who literally could build anything out of anything. I thought messing around with some wood would be a great spring project for my girls.

Build-It-Yourself Woodworking Kit Lakeshore Learning #learningthroughplay
I received a fabulous Build-It-Yourself Woodworking Kit from Lakeshore Learning and we were all set to build some "stuff". Even if you have not ever touched a hammer to wood before, you could complete the projects with your children in this Build-It-Yourself Woodworking Kit.
Build-It-Yourself Woodworking Kit Lakeshore Learning #learningthroughplay

So I say to pass the hammer on to the next generation! The Build-It-Yourself Woodworking Kit is super kid-friendly and includes step by step instructions for seven fun projects! If you are a parent who is unsure how to hold a hammer or build these projects, there are wonderful notes and tips in the included guide.

The guide covers the essentials of hammering and safety for your children. The guide explain the proper way to drive a nail into a piece of wood and how to hold the included tools properly. 

Build-It-Yourself Woodworking Kit Lakeshore Learning #learningthroughplay

Simple Wood Projects for Kids

You’ll be amazed at how fast your little carpenter gains the skills to complete the sevenprojects that include a coin bank, bird feeder, plane, pencil holder, train, name plate and letter holder. My young daughters who love to craft were ready to be new carpenters in no time at all.

Build-It-Yourself Woodworking Kit Lakeshore Learning #learningthroughplay

Every project encouraged my girls to build! The counting, measuring, and problem-solving that that went hand and hand with the woodworking projects also helped my daughters in other areas of their young lives. The Build-It-Yourself Woodworking Kit included all the pre-cut pieces needed to make all seven awesome projects from start to finish! There is no need for a drill or saw as these projects are all completely kid-friendly.

Build-It-Yourself Woodworking Kit Lakeshore Learning #learningthroughplay

Woodworking Benefits

  • Eye-hand Coordination
  • Dexterity/Fine Motor
  • Independence
  • Conceptualization
  • Knowledge of tools and materials
Build-It-Yourself Woodworking Kit Lakeshore Learning #learningthroughplay

This was a great indoor activity for my girls and I to bond and for the girls to bond as sisters this spring. They worked well together and took turns hammering and lining up the wood pieces for their specific projects. The instructions showed each step of the building in clear, up-close diagrams, so I really only needed to supervise and encourage my girls. They only asked me for assistance a couple of times and I think that is because I am a bit stronger than they are.

Build-It-Yourself Woodworking Kit Lakeshore Learning #learningthroughplay

I was so pleased with the Build-It-Yourself Woodworking Kit because it took my daughters away from all their media obsessions. I was happy to get them away from these unproductive activities and get them involved in doing something productive.

Build-It-Yourself Woodworking Kit Lakeshore Learning #learningthroughplay

If you are looking for a great spring project for your children and you want to limit media, I would recommend a small projects like building a birdhouse. It doesn't have to be built in a single day either. You and your children can follow the instructions and complete the project in time for the birds to lay their eggs! Woodworking is a great opportunity to teach needed skills, responsibility and finishing tasks. And, your kids will pick up a new productive hobby!

This Build-It-Yourself Woodworking Kit post has been sponsored by Lakeshore Learning. All opinions are mine alone.

BAGEL TOAST: Six Ways to Building A Breakfast

This BAGEL TOAST: Six Ways to Building A Breakfast Sandwich post has been compensated by Thomas’® English Muffins and Bagels. All opinions are mine alone. #ThomasBreakfastTour

My family loves breakfast, especially my husband and middle daughter. But sometimes life is super busy and we don't have time for a big elaborate breakfast. During these busy mornings, I go for one of our favorite dishes -- bagel toast. What?! You never tried bagel toast? Have you been living under a rock?

BAGEL TOAST: Building A Breakfast Sandwich

It's a thing in my house and has been for quite awhile now. We don't use bread for toast, we use bagels! It's actually something I could eat everyday and usually do! But, we like to jazz up our bagel toast and add a little something something to the top. Butter just does not cut it these days. I'm sharing our favorite ways to spice up our bagel toast.

First things first though, you need some great bagels. You can select any flavor you like, there are so many to select from these days. My husband is an everything type of bagel dude. My youngest loves the mini bagels, you know, since she's the baby of the family. My oldest daughter loves the Maple French Toast, but opts for my favorite when these are not available. My son and I go for Whole Wheat Bagel Thins, because, they just are the perfect size. And since I am the one who does the grocery shopping, the family gets my favorite most days!

Thomas’® English Muffins and Bagels are always our first choice. Thomas' offers full size bagels to get my husband's day started right, Mini bagels that are the perfect size for my daughter's breakfast and for DURING and AFTER school snacks and Bagel Thins® bagels are 110-calories with fiber and whole grains, which are perfect for me!

Bagel Toast: Six Ways to Building A Breakfast

BAGEL TOAST: Building A Breakfast Sandwich

Smashed avocado with grape tomatoes and sea salt

BAGEL TOAST: Six Ways to Building A Breakfast

Sliced avocado with sliced boiled eggs and sea salt

BAGEL TOAST: Building A Breakfast Sandwich

Sliced avocados with crumbled goat cheese and sea salt & pepper

BAGEL TOAST: Building A Breakfast Sandwich

Almond butter and sliced bananas

BAGEL TOAST: Building A Breakfast Sandwich

Light butter with sliced dried apricots, dried cranberries, mini chocolate chips and sunflower seeds.

BAGEL TOAST: Building A Breakfast Sandwich

Cream cheese and sliced strawberries and balsamic vinegar (optional)

BAGEL TOAST: Building A Breakfast Sandwich

Toast your favorite bagel. Layer your favorite ingredients as you like! ENJOY!

BAGEL TOAST: Building A Breakfast Sandwich

There are so many things you can add to your bagel toast! The toppings are endless, although you may have noticed we sure love avocados on ours! The options are really endless on what you can add to the top of your bagel.

What is your favorite topping on your bagel?

This past weekend my family joined Thomas’ English Muffins and Bagels at one of Chicago's best running celebrations, THE SHAMROCK SHUFFLE!!‪ Thomas was in Chicago with their 28-foot interactive toaster trailer on their #ThomasBreakfastTour. Check out how much fun we had!

If you are not sure what to put on top of your bagel, head over to Thomas' Instagram account and see their amazing suggestions! You may find a new topping you had not thought of before.
BAGEL TOAST: Building A Breakfast Sandwich

IF YOU MAKE SOME BAGEL TOAST, BE SURE TO POST IT ON INSTAGRAM AND TAG ME AND USE #ThomasBreakfastTour.  I WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOURS!

Spring Photography Tips and Ideas

As the winter slowly departs from Chicago . . . and we have blustery days followed by sunny days . . . nature begins to bloom. I love to get out and capture it.  I love to take advantage of the natural light and colors that appear in spring for unique photos.

Flowers are one of the first photographs I take in the spring. They seem to let us all know that life is about again. Flowers give me beautiful colors to capture. Here are some of my favorite tips to take great photos of flowers:

  • I use natural light only and never use my flash. I try to get my new flowers i full sunlight as well, which can be challenging here in the midwest.
  • I like to capture a fabulous depth of field. Be sure to use a use a large aperture on your camera to get a beautiful depth of field.
  • Get your lens in as close as you can on your flowers. If you are using a large aperture, our background will be beautifully blurred, leaving the flowers in focus.
  • Look at your flowers everyday and take the flowers that have not yet bloomed as well. Look for flowers that haven't bloomed yet. Capture your flowers in transition to a full bloom.
Spring Photography Tips
Spring Photography Tips

Naturally, I love to get my girls in the spring. We get outdoors in the cool weather for some portrait shots. The spring weather makes for some beautiful portraits because the light is has a wonderful hue. Because the light during early spring is a cooler color, I try to dress my girls is some lighter colors as well.

I am still waiting for some buds to appear on trees and some of the greyish brown to turn a bit of a green, but I simply couldn't wait to get the girls out the other day.  I will get them out each weekend over the next couple of weeks to capture our natural surroundings. I want to see the green buds popping out of the trees. Once the leaves are fully in, the colors will be completely different.

Spring Photography Tips and Ideas

To avoid the harsh light of the day, get out early. I never want my girls to have harsh light shining on their sweet faces. Early in the morning guarantees the soft warm sun will shining. The sun will give such a lovely bokeh. A location with an open field is always a lovely spot to capture photos as well. An open field in the background of your children is always very pretty and in the early morning there will be amazing soft light.

Another great idea I always use with my kiddos is to add some fun for them. I create a list of items for my children to scavenger for. It creates an adventure and challenge for them and photo opportunities for me.

Tiaras & Tantrums Rese is a mom of three. She enjoys home educating her kiddos, taking photos, and traveling the globe. Rese is a family lifestyle photographer and homeschooler. Connect with Rese on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+. Sign up via email for the latest updates from Tiaras & Tantrums.