Sponsored: Get a head start on head lice this back-to-school season – Visit ExpertAdviceOnLice.com

The below content is sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur’s Headfirst! Expert Advice on Lice campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

 It’s almost that time again! The back to school season is just around the corner, and with that comes preparing for a new teacher, a new classroom and a new year.

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Preschool Book – Bumper Wipe Clean Activities

Preschool Book Bumper Wipe Clean Activities
I can’t say no to anything that = educational + Bible! So I happily signed up to review this great wipe clean book. All adorable kiddos, squiggly lines, and extra markers are my own.

As I’ve mentioned before my favorite kind of preschool activity books are the write-on, wipe-off kind! Not only is it much easier for kids to be able to master things when they’re able to repeat them, these books, when made well, are perfect for passing along to siblings!

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Kaylee Rutland CD Review – What I’m Listening To These Days

Although my music tastes run the gamete I always find myself drawn back to my “roots” of country music. It is what I listened to 24/7 as a teenager and it still touches a place in my heart that nothing else quite can! I love it’s themes of love, faith, trust, friendship, family, good times and bad–basically life and all it includes!

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Recently a transplanted into small town Texas girl myself when I was given the chance to check out fellow small town Texas girl Kaylee Rutland CD I looked forward to it! I’m always up for discovering new talent!

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Fall Festival Deals Across the USA

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Legalese Nonsense: I love doing fun things with the kids so when I was given the chance to go to a festival in exchange for sharing discounts with you it was a no-brainer!

It’s almost Fall! Here in Texas that’s hard to believe with the temperatures still reaching into the 90s, but as I see the leaves just beginning to change I’m excited to know that cooler weather and everything fun that Fall brings is just around the corner!

One thing that I’ve been wanting to do is bring Amber and Tyler to a fun fall festival this year–so when I was sent this list of great festivals and discounts I knew I had to share them with you! Download valuable coupons for Corn Mazes, Pumpkin Patches and Fall Family Activities all across the USA!

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5 Ways to Make Back-to-School Dinners Easy & a Grands! Mini Pizza Recipe

5 ways to make back-to-school dinners easy

We’re now 3 weeks into our new *extremely busy* school routine! (Remember–I told you what all we have on our plate in my last easy-meal post?) Everything is starting to fall into place now, however, and I thought it would be great to share with you a little more about how I manage to throw menu planning into our crazy life mix since I have a few tricks up my sleeve!

5 Ways to Make Back-to-School Dinners Easy

1. Get Inspired – It’s all too easy to fall into a rut of the same old same reliable meals–or to resort to the pizza guy or drive through for dinner! These days there’s really no excuse for that, however, as a world of new delicious recipes are just a click away! One of my personal favorite tools for getting inspired is using Pinterest–I organize my recipes to try into 4 boards Dinner, Dessert, Bread, and Other but you can set yours up however makes the most sense to you! Another thing to keep your eye out for is a free cookbooks from your favorite brands–like this Pillsbury recipe booklet! They’re great for finding delicious meals using ingredients that you normally cook with! I usually try to cook or bake a new recipe at least once every week or two weeks–this helps me find new favorites all the time and even the ones that aren’t “keepers” help us from falling in a “Pork Chops for dinner…again???” rut.

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2. Get Organized – In order to keep track of the meals that your family loves and save time it’s important to stay organized and keep track of what you’ve eaten, when. Nothing wastes more time than sitting down to meal plan and staring blankly at the paper (trust me–I’ve been there!) I solved this problem by creating a super simple Google Doc Spreadsheet that I keep track of all our favorite recipes in. I broke these into categories and when I menu plan I put the date that we’re going to eat the meal–that way when it’s time to write up the next menu plan I can quickly glace through and see what we haven’t had in awhile! I’ve already talked about How To Organize Cookbooks and in addition to that I use, surprise, Pinterest yet again! On my Elliott Family Favorite Recipes board I keep-you guessed it-our favorite meals that are found online. Although I always print out a copy this makes it easy for me to find one of my favorite recipes whenever I might need or if I’m not home.

3. Get a Routine – I have a certain day and time each week that I come up with a menu plan, and then I go shopping the next day. For me personally if I have a set time to do something it’s much more likely to happen and when I plan out a week at a time I’m never left scratching my head and asking “what on earth do I do for dinner tonight?!”

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4. Get Planning – When I’m planning I try to structure my meals according to what we have going on that night–Monday and Fridays are busy days so I’m more likely to pick a “cheat night” meal that night (what I call my fall back on easy night meals). Ballet days I always make a crock pot meal since her class is right when I usually cook dinner. By planning ahead I’m able to make sure we not only get a good variety of meals, but also that they fit into our schedule!

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5. Get Help – Depending on how old your kids are them helping might slow you down more than it will actually help you, but it never hurts to start! I’ve found that my 5 year old loves to bond by helping with dinner, and even my 3 year old can set forks on the table if I hand them to him and stir easy things. Instead of making dinner a time where I’m shut away from my family doing a chore I try at least a few times a week to turn it into a bonding experience with my kids and my hubby!

Grands! Mini Pizzas Recipe

Since I am always on the lookout for great new, easy recipes I fell in love with this recipe from the Pillsbury website and just had to share it with you! It’s one of those things that I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before! These were simple and easy and I loved that the kids could help make and personalize them!

Grands!® Mini Pizzas Recipe

Grands!® Mini Pizza Recipe
Author: Pillsbury
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 5
Ingredients
  • 1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® refrigerated biscuits
  • 1 cup marinara/pizza sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)
  • 1 package (3.5 oz) sliced pepperoni
  • Additional toppings such as olives, mushrooms, bell pepper, Canadian bacon, pineapple, red onion
Instructions
  1. Chop up toppings into bite size pieces
  2. Press each biscuit into 6-inch round. Place on 2 large or 3 small greased cookie sheets.
  3. Top each round with pizza sauce, cheese and pepperoni.
  4. Bake at 375°F 10 to 15 minutes or until bottoms are deep golden brown and cheese is bubbly.

 Don’t forget to download your free Pillsbury recipe booklet and leave me a comment letting me know which recipe you’re most excited to try out!

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of General Mills. Compensation was provided by General Mills via Clever Girls Collective.

Italian Style Fish & Pasta Recipe for Busy Moms Sam’s Club Style

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Italian Style Fish & Pasta Recipe for Busy Moms! #shop #SamsDemo #cbias

We’ve always been busy but it seems that since Amber started Kindergarten a few weeks ago we entered into the throes of busyness–full speed ahead!

Hubby is taking 17 credits this semester towards his Electrical Engineer degree–the easiest of which involves many squiggly lines and calculus equations that make my eyeballs cross, then Amber is in kindergarten which here is from 7:55 to 2:30 each day & will be starting ballet again soon, I’m working from home 30 hours a week, and Tyler is still home full time and I’m doing pre-k with him 2 mornings a week. Needless to say with all of that I’m going from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day—and still need to manage to fit in exercising, laundry, and cooking, and grocery shopping at Sam’s Club into the equation!

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TOMS Giving in the U.S. #OneforOne

TOMS Giving in the U.S.
I was thrilled when asked to participate in the TOMS brand ambassadorship program to support TOMS U.S. Giving program. I am bringing this post and #OneforOne news to you as a part of that partnership.

Have you ever heard of a “little” company called TOMS? I was introduced to them and their shoes through my brother and sister-in-law. They love them so much, in fact, that they even had their bridesmaids wear Classic Burlap TOMS in their wedding!

I love the adorable shoes the company makes–especially their Ballet Flats and their Crochet Classics! What really made me fall in love with the company, however, was when I found out that their foundation was giving–for each pair of shoes purchased a pair would be given to a child in need. Amazing right? What’s even *more* amazing is the fact that TOMS has now given away over 10 million pairs of shoes to children in need!

Toms Giving in the U.S.

Not only that, but now they’re expanding their giving to the U.S.! They will be partnering with organizations to provide 3 different kinds of shoes in 35 states. These include a unisex canvas classic, a sports shoe, and snow boots–all completely practical and completely needed!

To find out more about this amazing program watch the video below (but I’ll warn you–it’s a bit of a tear jerker–don’t say I didn’t warn you!!!) Go ahead and watch, I’ll wait–it’s just a few minutes long!

Amazing right?!I love it when companies have a heart–and involving their customers in an easy, tangible way to make a huge difference in the world is absolutely brilliant! Giving to charity while being fashionable? A huge win-win!

Be sure to go TOMS Giving in the U.S. Page for more great insights into this campaign, and to help out by spreading the word about #OneforOne giving coming to the U.S.!

Kiddo Tags Huge 10,000 Fan Giveaway – OVER $1,000 Value!!!!!!

Over the summer I got the chance to run a campaign for Kiddo Tags with several of the best bloggers I know! It was so much fun being able to check out their great posts and see how amazing their products are!

So I was so excited to be able to help Kiddo Tags celebrate reaching a HUGE milestone– 10,000 Facebook Fans! To celebrate they’re hosting a GIANT Giveaway bundle — 30 companies with a value OVER $1,000--Wow!!!! Not familiar with Kiddo Tags? Here’s a little from their website!

Kiddo Tags Giveaway #kiddotags10k

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Planning the Dream Wedding…I already had….

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A beautiful princess style ball length gown, a tiara, flowers and lights, soft music and gorgeous makeup, a 3 stone princess cut ring, a dashing groom, gorgeous bridesmaids…..

What is it about weddings that has such an attraction? Even though my own wedding has come and gone 8 years ago I still find myself drawn to Pinterest wedding boards, oohing and ahhing over the details or scratching my head because I still don’t really “get” the whole cupcake wedding dress look (like I said–I got married 8 years ago before that one was in). One of my only “guilty pleasure” reality tv shows is Say Yes to the Dress, I love watching all the different gowns and seeing the girls faces when they discover “the one”! It brings back that amazing feeling all over again!

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I was bemoaning the fact to a friend that while the internet was alive and booming when I got married things like blogs and Pinterest were un-known and un-charted territory so I wasn’t able to benefit from all the glories of the internet to help me plan my own wedding. I love that these days you can find huge deals on just about anything — including things like Wedding Dresses. You can even order them online for a fraction of the price–some as low as $100! I thought I was getting a steal on my dress when I got married and it wasn’t even close to that! I know some people would be a little worried about buying a wedding gown online but my sister-in-law did for her vow renewal and it turned out absolutely gorgeous!

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But what can you do? I have seen some girls who have created “the wedding I already had” boards–everything is much clearer in retro-spect (I might have chosen different colors so that my flowers and bridesmaid dresses would have been easier to coordinate). But I’m not quite that bad…..yet….

Hmmm…maybe, just maybe I’ll have to talk Bob into marrying me….again!

Feel Good Wednesdays

 

Feel Good Wednesdays
Legalese Nonsense: Since everyone likes to celebrate Hump Day I was happy to bring you this fun post sponsored by Ozarka® Brand Sparkling Natural Spring Waters! All beautiful pictures, dance parties, and Hump Day plans are my own!

Happy Wednesday! One thing that I love about holidays is that “Hump Day” comes so quickly–like this week, hurray!!

Before this year we were busy but nothing like we are now as a family! I haven’t been so happy about Hump Day since I was working an office job–way back as a newlywed in DC! Now with both Amber & hubby in school and me working 25 hours a week and doing preschool with Tyler, my weekdays are JAM packed! I keep the weekends free (ok…well Saturday free) but to keep my sanity I usually need a pick me up mid-week as well!

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