Friday, March 21, 2014

Homemade Gak

This is a simple thing to make and great for fine motor practice and a sensory experience!  My kids like it better than playdough! 

Homemade Gak
-2 (4 oz) bottles of Elmer's glue
-1 teaspoon Borax (found in the laundry detergent aisle)
-Food coloring
You can find the super easy recipe here.

We just made half of a batch (only using one bottle of glue) and it has been a perfect amount for my two oldest to play with while the younger ones are napping.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

How do store brands stack up? (And a Giveaway!)

A few weeks ago a package arrived at my doorstep filled with baby food:

  •         1 container of store brand formula
  •         9 assorted Puree Pouches
  •         5 assorted Puffs
  •         4 assorted Yogurt Bites

  • It was a very exciting event for my children!  Even though these things are more suited for my infant, the 2, 4, and 6 year old all wanted to try them!  (And they loved sampling the puree pouches.  They are like squeezable applesauce or baby food.) 

    The fun thing was that every item was a different store brand.  We had Meijer Baby, Target Up and Up, Kroger Comforts, and Walmart Parent's Choice brands represented.  Did you know that all of these store brands are made by the same company?  Perrigo Nutritionals is the company behind many store brands.

    About Perrigo Nutritionals
    ·         Many moms are not aware that they can save up to 50 percent on infant formula by choosing a store brand over a national brand
    ·         Store Brand Formula is nutritionally comparable to the national brands, yet are typically up to half the price, and can save you about $600 a year
    ·         Perrigo Nutritionals is the largest supplier of Store Brand Infant Formula and nutrition products in the world and one of only four companies recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for meeting the strict FDA requirements for safety, nutrition and quality for infant formula-manufacturing in the United States
    ·         Same standards and expertise used to develop infant formula applied to toddler foods
    ·         Toddler foods are appropriately developed for variety of stages of growth and motor skills with quality, nutritional ingredients to create foundation of good nutrition

    Fascinating, huh?!

    I also received a copy of “Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your  Passion for Life” by Crystal Paine.  I had read about this book on Crystal's blog,, and so I was excited to read it.  It tells her story and gives concrete tips on how to streamline your life.

    To give you a flavor of what you'll find in the book:

    Crystal Paine’s 5 Money Saving Tips for Families
    Create a Budget
    A budget gives you parameters and purpose, it gives you boundaries, and it gives you freedom to live creatively within those boundaries.

    Shop With Cash
    When you shop with a credit card (or even a debit card, for that matter!) you can have your budget in your head and you can do the best to stick with it when you check out, but it’s so much easier to go just a little bit over here and there when you’re swiping!
    Plan a Menu
    When you have a plan in place for what you’re supposed to be eating each meal and you’ve already purchased the ingredients for those recipes, it’s a lot harder to justify chucking the plan for takeout.

    Use Coupons
    Coupons are a great way to save a lot of money on your grocery bill, but they can be hard to keep up with. Clipping, sorting, and organizing coupons takes time — so enter a coupon database! You’ll have access to printable and other coupons currently available and it’s one of the most effective and efficient ways to save money on groceries.
    Buy Store Brands
    One way to save a great deal of money on your grocery budget is to learn to like and use a variety of brands. The sooner you can get over being a brand-snob, the more your pocketbook will thank you.
    For example, while I breast fed my children, moms who choose to formula feed can save up to 50 percent by switching to store brand formula, which meets the same FDA quality standards as expensive name brands. There are also coupons available at a website - (  This one simple change can save moms about $600 a year. 

    I've been reading through the book, and while nothing is earth shattering, I appreciate the real examples and experiences Crystal shares, as well as methods to overcome the challenges that we all face, like too many things on our to do lists!

    I am so excited that one of you will get the chance to try out Perrigo Nutritionals and read Crystals's book!  One luck winner will receive a prize pack just like the package I was shipped.  Good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway
    The Perrigo Nutritionals product, information and two gift packs have been provided by Perrigo Nutritionals.  All opinions are my own.

    Saturday, March 8, 2014

    Power of Moms

    Being a mom is hard work, and often I feel tired and worried if I'm doing a good enough job. I imagine many other moms have similar feelings, at least I hope I'm not alone!  Tonight I started reading my early release copy of "Motherhood Realized" and I love it!  If you have ever felt discouraged, tired, frustrated, or worn out on this journey of motherhood, you are going to love this book.

    You don't have to wait for the book to come out.  You can visit the Power of Moms website and read awesome articles and listen to inspiring pod casts.  I really think you'll love it!  Go visit the website today!

    *I am a volunteer Power of Moms ambassador simply because I believe in the importance of motherhood and I know we can all benefit when we share with and teach one another!

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

    Book Review: A Rainbow of Birds

    We have read a few of Janet Halfmann's books and have enjoyed them all.  Her latest story, A Rainbow of Birds, is another keeper!

    It's a bird folk tale told by a daddy cardinal to his little chicks about how rainbows came to be.  With bright illustrations and a simple story line, this was a great book for my two year old who is learning her colors.  My older children enjoyed it as well.

    I especially liked the additional facts and activities about color and rainbows included at the end of the book.  My children are incredibly excited to try making their own rainbow outdoors.  (We just need warm weather and sunshine so we can break out the hose!)

    A Rainbow of Birds is a fun combination of imagination and science, great for ages 2-8.

    You can find out more about A Rainbow of Birds here:

    *I was provided a free digital copy of the book by the author.  All opinions are my own.*

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    Five in a Row

    Before I ever considered homeschooling I ran across a link for a program called Five in a Row.  For those of you who aren't familiar with this, basically you read a classic children's picture book for five days in a row and do activities (science, social studies, history, art, etc.) each day.  There is a book that gives you ideas for these activities, as well as the plethora of ideas to be found on Pinterest!

    Since that time we have "rowed" a few books and have enjoyed the experience.  Although I haven't found the curriculum thorough enough to use it for homeschooling, I think it is very fun for younger children! 

    Thursday, October 24, 2013

    Kulcar Solar Powered Car Ventilator Review

    Have you ever buckled your child into the car during the summer and heard them cry because it was just too hot?  That certainly happens in our family!  Recently I was contacted by Sonray, a company in Taiwan that makes a neat car cooler.  It's actually a solar car cooler that clips onto your window and helps cool the car with fans, even during the summer!

    Kulcar comes in this little box:

    The Kulcar is pretty simple to install, you just roll the window down part way, slide on the rubber strip then clip on the Kulcar.  Once that's all on you slowly roll up the window and adjust the solar panel so that it's getting the most direct sunlight.  Easy Peasy.  Leave it on until you are ready to go somewhere, then take it off for driving. 

    Here's what it looks like installed on my van's window:

    While it's starting to get cool here in Michigan and an overly hot car isn't a concern right now, I'm sure next summer we'll be using this a lot!  Our townhouse doesn't have a garage, so our car bakes everyday in the sun!

    To show you the Kulcar in action, here's a quick video I made:

    Here's another video that explains a little more about Kulcar (I didn't make this one):

    You can find out more by visiting the Facebook page of Kulcar here, or of Sonray here.

    If you would like to buy Kulcar, you can find them here.