Playing Dirty – It’s Not A Bad Thing #MyFilthiestPlay

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

Spa treatments at the beach

Maybe you know what you’re looking at, and maybe you don’t. What do I see? I see my son having a fantastic time playing at the beach. That muddy sand was being slathered on my legs by a cute little 6 year old who wanted to give mommy a pedicure. How could I say no to that? Messy fun is the best, and when you can be messy outside and rinse it all off in the ocean, even better!

Playing in the dirt

I’m not sure if dirt follows us or if we follow the dirt. Either way, anytime my son is involved, we always seem to end up in a mess. He’s never passed up a chance to jump on the backhoe with his great-grandpa and dig in the dirt, and you’ll never hear him complain about playing ball with our slobbery four-legged tennis ball fiend. My daughter squeals about how the drool is “disgusting!” and my son just says “it’s only slobber, Addison!” and wipes his hand on his shirt, or pants, or both. He knows that good, clean fun can be rather dirty. Maytag knows all about that too!

You Can Play Dirty Too!


As the official washer and dryer of MLB, Maytag will be highlighting families filthiest moments with the Filthiest Plays of the Week contest. For the next six weeks ball players of all ages will be able to upload photos or videos of their sliding, diving or just “filthy plays” using #MyFilthiestPlay on Twitter or Instagram for weekly prizes, and the opportunity of a lifetime – a grand prize trip to the World Series, plus a Maytag Top Load Washer and Dryer!

#MyFilthiestPlay engages players and fans of all ages. Sliding, diving and other “filthy” plays are some of the most fun and exciting parts of baseball, and nothing is better equipped to handle the filthiest of baseball stains than Maytag laundry.


Maytag’s newest Top Load Washer and Dryer pair is better built because they are designed, engineered and assembled in America and have the power to clean big league stains – whether they’re from sliding into home or from missing your mouth with the chocolate syrup off your sundae.

ice cream in summer

Do you embrace the dirt or do you run from it? What filthy activities have highlighted your summer?

Visit Sponsors Site

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Back To School Breakfast Waffle Tacos

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.  All opinions are mine alone.  #FueledForSchool #CollectiveBias

Breakfast Waffle Tacos Eggo

Getting into the Back-To-School groove is always a challenge.  There’s adjusting to earlier bedtimes, earlier wake times and the homework.  Oy, the homework.  The last thing I want to start my day with is breakfast drama.  No drama for this mama.  I need something quick, easy, full of protein (filling them up before you send them out is SUPER important) and that they will be happy about eating.  Portability is a plus!  We have a 5-10 minute walk to the bus stop, so being able to eat while we walk gives the kids a few extra minutes in the bed.

Eggo Breakfast Favorites

I wanted to give the kids all of their favorite things for breakfast, but sitting down for a full breakfast doesn’t happen often.  I was blessed with an 8 year old who’s going to make a great teenager one day (she already pulls the covers back over her head and tries to ignore my requests that she get up and dressed in the mornings) and a 6 year old who has the focus of a squirrel.  They are the reason breakfast tacos were born!  I take all of their breakfast favorites and roll (fold?) them into a portable, delicious, quick breakfast solution!  The star of our breakfast tacos?  Kellogg’s Eggo waffles!  They make the perfect “shell” for holding all of that protein-packed breakfast goodness!

Make Breakfast Tacos

Making Breakfast Waffle Tacos is super easy.  You can even make them the night before and just heat them up before you head out the door!  Start with a thawed Eggo waffle, add shredded cheese, precooked bacon (or sausage crumbles) and top with a cooked egg.

*Did you know you can “fry” an egg in the microwave?  It’s super easy and only takes about 1-1/2 minutes.  Just use a microwave safe bowl, spray it with cooking spray, pour in one beaten egg and cook until done (about 1-1/2 minutes, depending on your microwave.)

Cook Eggs In Microwave

Once you’ve got your components on your waffle, just fold it in half and microwave it for 30 seconds.  If you’ve made your waffle taco ahead and are reheated straight from the microwave, heat it for a full 60 seconds.  Eat it at the table or grab it on your way out the door.  These are totally kid approved!

Breakfast Taco Waffles

What is your go-to breakfast for school mornings?  Be sure to check out Kellogg’s Back to School packaging (cute, right?) and great on-pack offers in store at Target!

Eggo at Target

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Mustache Straw Buddies (Plus More Free Printables!)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.  All opinions are my own.  #FuelTheirAdventures #CollectiveBias

Straw Buddies Free PrintablesSchools back in session and the fun is just beginning!  Every day holds a new adventure, some that we don’t even know we’re going to have.  Being prepared to meet the challenges is a challenge in and of itself.  Some days it’s practice, some days it’s extra (or just plain hard) homework and some days we just need a break with friends.  We’re always looking for on-the-go options that help fuel our adventures (and to make my life less stressful.)

Lily BunzThis sassy little cheerleader will agree that Dannon® Danimals® fit the bill perfectly!  Dannon® Danimals® contain “Only the Good Stuff” with no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors or colors, and they make sure these growing kiddos get a good dose of calcium and vitamin D.  But, when the team gets together and we need to fuel a big adventure, it can get a little cumbersome trying to get 7 year olds to keep with who’s Dannon® Danimals® Smoothies belongs to who.  I have a solution… Straw Buddies.

Straw Buddies PrintablesAll you need is standard 8-1/2 x 11 paper in some cute patterns (Walmart has a decent selection), the printables I’ve included below, a pair of scissors, hole punch, straws and a marker or pen.  Choose your printable and your favorite paper to get started.

Mustache PrintableCut out your printables, I prefer to leave the printed edges instead of cutting the black print away, and use your hole punch to make a hole for your straw.  For the mustache printables, one hole right in the center is perfect for bendy straws.  For the other shapes, you can be more creative with how you punch your holes.  Just remember that non-bendable straws need straw buddies with 2 holes, otherwise your straw buddy will be facing up or down, and not to the front.

Straw Buddies Mustache PrintablesTip – Using a variety of patterns makes your mustaches easily identifiable and *should* help the kiddos keep up with their own drink.  The other option is using the shape printables and labeling them with the kiddos names – almost like place cards!

Straw Buddies Mustache PrintablesThese would be super fun for a party or playgroup, and even the adults can get in on the action… I mustache you a question.

Mustache Printable Dannon DanimalsWhen you grab your Dannon® Danimals® at Walmart, be on the lookout for the specially marked Play 60 contest packages.  If you find the “Golden Bongo” bottle, you could win a Play60 Field Day for your school with NFL Pros!  You can get more details on the Fuel Up To Play site.

Walmart has a huge selection of Dannon® Danimals®, so you will be able to find a flavor to suit everybody!

Dannon at WalmartFree Printables – You can grab the free mustache printable here and the free shapes printable here.

I’ve shared my ideas for a fun way to keep it all straight when the kids get together to #FuelTheirAdventure and now I want to hear how you keep it all straight when you have a house full of kiddos and everyone is fueling up?


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Surviving Their First Plane Ride


This post is sponsored by Netflix.  As a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I receive complimentary Netflix streaming.  We were Netflix customers for years before becoming members of the #StreamTeam.  All opinions are mine and mine alone.


I didn’t really travel as a child. In fact, by most standards, I haven’t traveled much as an adult either. The occasional 4 hour car ride is the extent of my normal travel routine. When my kids asked to go to Florida for summer vacation, my initial reaction was “no”.  How could I handle two kids alone 12 hours away from home?  After a little time, some planning and a really deep breath, I decided to go for it.

We spent A LOT of time in the airport. We had a layover in Atlanta both coming and going. Netflix was invaluable to me and my sanity!  Thanks to the free wifi at the airports and the Netflix app on the kids’ Kindle Fires, everyone was able to tolerate the layovers with no tears and minimal drama.

The kids were so jazzed about taking their first plane ride!  We made sure to pack gum, snacks and their favorite stuffed animals. The one thing we didn’t pack was a jacket or blanket. Lucky for me, we had beach towels!  These two were amazed by the feeling of the plane lifting off the ground and the clouds…they loved the clouds!

After 4 planes and 2 delays, we made it to Florida and back with no drama!  We survived!  The kids are ready to be frequent flyers and I’m ready for a vacation of my own.  Did you run away for a cool summer vacation?  Where did you go and what did you see?  I’ll share more of our Florida adventure next week!

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30 Science Experiments You Can Do At Home

Do you have a budding scientist at home?  A kiddo whose curiosity just can’t be satisfied?  This round up of 30 Science Experiments You Can Do At Home is just for you!  We’ve personally tried out the bouncy egg experiment, the Mentos & Diet Coke experiment, and the overnight crystal garden.  All were great fun and a huge success.  Happy Experimenting!

30 Science Experiments You Can Do at Home30 Science Experiments You Can Do At Home

  1. Bouncy Egg Science Experiment for Kids [Parenting Chaos]
  2. To the Laboratory: Volcano Eruption Science Experiment [ABC Creative Learning]
  3. Preschool Science Tornado in a Jar Experiment [Artsy Momma]
  4. Mentos Diet Coke Experiment [Slap Dash Mom]
  5. Does it Sink or Float? Easy Preschool Homeschool Toddler Science Experiment with Free Printable [Director Jewels]
  6. River Small World Habitat Exploration [Life Over C’s]
  7. DIY Kinetic Sand [Parenting Chaos]
  8. “Frozen” Slime Recipe: A Science Experiment [Beauty in the Mess]
  9. Summer Cloud Science [The Happy Housewife]
  10. Simple Science Experiment for Kids: What Melts in the Sun? [Frugal Fun for Boys]
  11. Fun Science for Kids: Elephant Toothpaste! [Fun at Home with Kids]
  12. Magic Milk Science Experiment [Laughing Kids Learn]
  13. Crystal Names [Crystal Names]
  14. Apple Science Experiment [Pre-K Pages]
  15. Flower Experiment for Kids [Growing a Jeweled Rose]
  16. Ocean in a Bottle [Happy Hooligans]
  17. How do Arctic Animals Stay Warm in Icy Water? [I Can Teach My Child]
  18. Science with Preschoolers…Building Thought Process Early [The Homegrown Preschooler]
  19. Science for Kids: Overnight Crystal Garden [Babble Dabble Do]
  20. Candy Science for Kids: M&M Experiment [Coffee Cups and Crayons]
  21. Electric Eels [Bitz n Giggles]
  22. How to Make Flubber [A Thrifty Mom]
  23. Superhero Science Activities [What Do We Do All Day]
  24. Air Pressure Experiment for Kids [Kids Activity Blog]
  25. Melting Ice Science Experiment with Salt and Color [Artful Parent]
  26. The “Why do we need sunscreen?” Experiment [I Can Teach My Child]
  27. Underwater Sound Experiment for Kids [Still Playing School]
  28. Water and Oil Fireworks [Juggling with Kids]
  29. Magic Tea Bag Rocket [Paging Fun Mums]
  30. Science Experiment for Kids – Magnetic Force [Laughing Kids Learn]
Posted in Crafts, Parenting | 8 Comments

Tuesday Morning Chit Chat

It’s Tuesday morning.  Back-to-school day 2 wasn’t quite as successful as day 1.  There was substantially more whining about being tired and not wanting to leave the house.  I get it kids, I really do.  I didn’t much want to get up and be out of the house before 7 AM either, but I don’t control the bell schedule at your new school.  Earlier bedtimes are a must tonight.  Late summer nights paired with our new morning schedule (the kids have to be at the bus stop over an hour earlier than last year) and we’re already chanting “I’m tired” before the day even begins.

We moved to a new house over the weekend.  I’ve known it was coming for a while and have been preparing.  The one thing I didn’t do?  Call ahead to set up cable and internet.  I have failed as a technology addicted human.  At least my kids think I have.  I’ve been getting by ok, watching a lot of DVDs and killing my eyesight by staring at my tiny phone screen instead of a laptop screen.  I made the call yesterday and all should be right with the world by the time we get home this evening.  I have pictures and things to share with you, but uploading them from my phone is a pain, so they will have to wait.

We went on a whirlwind vacation a few weeks ago.  It was a “fly by the seat of our pants” kind of adventure, which included the kids’ first times on a plane.  We also got to see a very special movie star you and your kids will surely know, but I’ll save that for another post.  Coming back to reality – work, moving, school, everyday normal – was a bit of a drag, but we’re all adjusting.  I’ve often wished I had the chance to travel more, but every time I travel I come home realizing just how exhausting traveling is…especially with kids.

What’s new with all of you?  I haven’t had time to share as much here as I’d like, so I’m not hearing as much from you guys either.  Are your kids back in school?  Are you excited about it?  What does Fall have in store for you?  (I can’t wait for Fall!)

Posted in Life in General | 9 Comments

Prosecco Pops – Summer’s Not Over Yet!

Prosecco and Fruit PopsIt’s only August and Summer isn’t nearly over yet, at least not here in the South.  The kids head back to school in just over a week (wow – I am SO ready!) but there’s plenty of heat left before we’re graced with the cooler Fall weather.  In the meantime, I’m rediscovering my love for Prosecco.  It’s light, it’s bubbly and it’s just fun.

Prosecco Popsicle MoldsI snagged some cool popsicle molds through a blogger promotion a few weeks ago and decided to put them to use with some of my bottle of Prosecco.  It was hot and I was feeling inspired to find a more adult way to cool off.  A trip to the grocery store or some fresh fruit and a mixer (in this case, a few varieties of Snapple) and I was good to go.

Prosecco Fruit PopsMango, Strawberry Kiwi and Peach Tea were the flavors of my choosing.  What fruit we didn’t use in the pops made a great fruit salad for the kids.  They loved it!  I chopped my fruit into bite size pieces, actually a little smaller, and set up my popsicle molds for filling.

Prosecco Fruit PopsiclesI decided on two pops of each flavor and dropped a little fruit in the bottom of the molds accordingly.  I like that the mold handles are three different colors.  It makes it easy to keep up with which pops were which flavor.  Also, we made 2 non-alcoholic pops for the kids, so those were assigned a specific color handle.

Prosecco PopsiclesI filled each mold about 1/3 with Prosecco, then filled them the remainder of the way with the appropriate Snapple flavor.  In the freezer for about 4 hours and these pops came out a perfectly cool, slightly more grown up way to enjoy a Summer popsicle.

You could go crazy with the possibilities!  Substitute another alcohol of your choice for the Prosecco, use different fruits, another mixer.  Go crazy!  There’s plenty of Summer left.  What’s your favorite way to cool off on hot summer days?

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I’m That Mom. It’s OK If You Hate Me.

I’m “that” mom.  It’s ok if you hate me.  Yes, my 8 year old has a cell phone.  Yes, I let my kids have soda and Starbucks and a myriad of other “no-no”s.  No, I don’t do much to limit screen time.  If they ask to play Minecraft on XBox (or Kindle, or iPad, or PC – yes, we have 4 versions of Minecraft), I’m probably going to say yes.

Little Girl Purple HairYes, I let my son spike his hair, or wear a mohawk or pretty much whatever else he wants to do with it.  Yes, I not only agreed to let my eight year old dye her hair purple, I did it for her.  And yes, it is permanent.  We actually bleached her hair first so the color would pop more.  Now my son wants some color in his hair too.  We’ll probably do it.

I’m the parent who’s child goes to school and talks about all the cool things their mom lets them do, and then your kids come home and beg to do those things too.

I’m sorry for that, and it’s ok if you hate me, but know this – my kids hear “no” plenty too.  It’s just that my “no”s and your “no”s aren’t the same.  There are just as many things that my kids come home begging for, things that just aren’t going to happen.

They will only be kids once, and if I can say yes, I probably will.  And don’t worry, I’m having the purple cut out of my daughter’s hair before she heads back to school.  I wouldn’t want an entire school of little girls begging for purple hair.

Posted in Beauty & Fashion, Life in General, Parenting | 17 Comments

What Is My Child Doing With That App?

Kids and Internet Usage

Our job as parents isn’t easy. We have spent countless hours rocking our children to sleep, late nights helping with homework, and days upon days teaching them life skills so they will be able to thrive in the world as adults. Unfortunately, the ever changing social media and digital landscape is a new problem developing in the parenthood arena.

Signs A Child Might Be Hiding Online Activity

Our kids are spending a lot of time connected to their devices, cell phones, social media, and consoles. It is estimated that a typical teen sends and receives 100 text messages a day. While our children are turning to technology to express themselves and communicate authentically with their peers, they are also engaging in risky behaviors that have serious implications.

The CDC (Centers For Disease Control and Prevention) have released a study that found 1 in 6 teens contemplate suicide and 1 in 12 actually attempt this act. Those are frightening numbers for parents to digest, but even more terrifying is that the surveyors contribute this spike to online bullying and risky digital behaviors that include sexting, online dating, and oversharing personal information.

Cyberbullying is so rampant among our youth, that over half of the teen population has been targeted online. These online behaviors are difficult for families to talk about and often children take efforts to keep parents in the dark about their activity. Our clever children have developed techniques to hide their app activity and online behaviors.

Listed below are six prevalent methods used to cover their tracks:

● deleting browser histories

● lowering screen brightness to make it difficult for us to read over their shoulder

● erasing messages

● using “fake” social media accounts: one is for family and the other is for friends

● using their handheld devices so parents can’t have access to their Internet records

Dangerous Apps Parents Need To Know

In our efforts to keep our children safe many parents are turning to the social media giant Facebook to friend or follow our children online. In response to our growing digital presence, our teens are looking for other apps in favor of more obscure or unknown sites and apps away from parents.

The following list is a compilation of common dangerous apps teens regularly use:

● Whisper- This anonymous app allows users to post secrets and sorts them based on location. Sexual predators and cyberbullies have been known to frequent this site.

● Yik Yak- Another anonymous messaging board that allows the closest 500 users in location to view posts. This site is known for sexually explicit and aggressive messages.

● Kik Messenger- This app allows teens to send text messages without using their cell service. It has fun features to dress up the messages and can save money for families on the cell bill. The problem with this site is that it is difficult to identify people you know on Kik and can be a problem when teens share their usernames on other sites.

● Hot or Not- This is a site that allows users to rate a person’s appearance. It can be devastating for a teen’s self esteem.

● Hidden Apps- These apps use false disguises like calculators or other harmless apps to hide other apps parents might not approve.

● Omegle- This anonymous app is meant to connect people with strangers that they may share common interests with. This can be a dangerous place for our children, because sexual predators often seek victims in this environment.

● Snapchat- This is a disappearing app that allows users to set a time limit on messages before they are erased. This is a favored medium for sexting and cyberbullying.

Monitoring Kids and Social Media

Monitoring To Protect Our Children

Parenting was difficult already, but now our children are exposed to hidden threats lurking behind a keyboard. Apps can be wonderful tools, but they can expose our children to many detrimental situations. Similar to how we taught them to look both ways before crossing the street, we need to take a few moments and make sure our children are safely navigating the Internet and social media.

We need to teach our sons and daughters social media etiquette, help them identify cyberbullying, and stay current on their online activity. Parents need to monitor a child’s activity by knowing what sites or apps they frequent, checking their contacts, helping them set their privacy settings, and being involved in their lives. After all, taking the time to offer guidance is the loving thing to do.

– Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics. 

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REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup Truffles and How We Shared Our Summer

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it’s advertiser.  All opinions are mine alone.  #ShareYourSummer #CollectiveBias #Ad

Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Truffles Recipe

Like I mentioned before, my kids are kind of over the whole summer thing.  The bulk of the last week has been spent talking about how we’ve spent our summer, the things they’ve done with summer camp, and how they wished I could be off work all summer like they are off school.  My daughter suggested I become a teacher.  Bless her.  Teaching is not my calling.

I reminded my daughter that not all teachers get the summer off.  For example, the teachers at summer camp – the teachers I’ve shared my children with all summer.  I’ve shared my children with them and they’ve shared their summer with my kids.  A lot of people don’t realize how big of a deal that is.  The teachers who are there taking care of my kiddos everyday, making sure they have a great summer doing all the things I can’t take them to do, they make it worth every penny.

Peanut Butter Drizzle

We want them to know that they are special and that we appreciate that they’ve given their summer to us, so we made them these delicious treats – REESE’s Peanut Butter Cup Truffles – using the new personalized REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups available only at Walmart.  You can’t have peanut butter treats without a little something to wash it down, so of course we grabbed some of the super cute personalized 20oz Coco-Cola bottles too.  Walmart has the widest selection of personalized bottles available – 1,000 different names!

Reese Peanut Butter Cup TrufflesThese truffles are super easy to make, especially if you have a mixer (stand or hand-held).  You can get the full recipe below (printable version too!)  The recipe makes about two dozen truffles, and they are pretty rich, so two dozen goes a long way!  Pair them with a Coca-Cola and you’ve got the perfect treat to #ShareYourSummer

Reeses Truffle Dough

Reeses Truffles

Chocolate Dipped Truffles

5.0 from 4 reviews
REESE'S Peanut Butter Cup Truffles and How We Shared Our Summer
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Delicious. Delectable. Peanutty goodness.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 24
  • 2 packages REESE'S Peanut Butter Cups
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 cup + ¼ cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • Melting Chocolate for Dipping
  1. In a mixer, combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and 1 cup of the peanut butter.
  2. Mix on low until combined.
  3. Break up the REESE'S Peanut Butter Cups and gently stir them in.
  4. Refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes.
  5. Using a small scoop, portion the dough into bit sized balls.
  6. Using a double boiler or microwave, melt the dipping chocolate.
  7. Dip each dough ball into the chocolate and sit on wax paper.
  8. Once all of the truffles are dipped and ready to go, sit them in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens.
  9. Again using a double boiler or microwave, melt the ¼ cup creamy peanut butter.
  10. Spoon or pour the melted peanut butter into the corner of a freezer bag.
  11. Snip off the tip of the bag corner and use the bag to drizzle peanut butter over the top of the truffles.
  12. Cool in the refrigerator for an additional 20 minutes.

You can pick up your own personalized bottled of Coca-Cola and personalized packages of REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups at your local Walmart.  Look for this display:

Walmart Reeses and Coke DisplayDon’t those truffles look amazing?  They are SO tasty!  How are you sharing your summer and making special memories with those who are important to you?  Any fun or super exciting end of year parties or gatherings on your agenda?  Share with us!

Posted in Life in General, Recipes | 14 Comments