Nov 15, 2017

Tips and Tricks to Score Big With Amazon on Black Friday!

***Post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission off of purchases made through the links***

Whether you are a Black Friday vet or a newbie it can be overwhelming when looking at Amazon's week long Black Friday extravaganza! Lucky for you I have some tips and tricks to help you make the most of your Black Friday shopping experience.


There are a few reason you want to make sure you have Prime before Black Friday begins. The first is to take advantage of free shipping- you have limited time to check out on many deals and don't have time to search for stuff to meet the free shipping threshold.

The next reason is that many of the deals are Prime Early Access Deals meaning you get first dibs if you have Prime! Many of these sell out before they even open up to non-prime members!

If you don't have Prime you can sign up for a free 30 Day Trial here. You can always cancel if you don't like it BUT I bet you will looooooove it as much as I do!


My group Daily Deal Detectives takes the guess work out of Amazon Lightning Deals! I sort through the hundreds of deals and only post the ones I feel are truly good deals and will actually interest our members! Turn on notifications and get alerted when new deals come up!


Don't hesitate when a Lightning Deal comes up! Cart it IMMEDIATELY if you think you might want it! After you cart it you have 15 minutes to check out and you can debate or discuss during that time. Carting the deal makes sure Amazon saves you one- you can always delete it from your cart if you change your mind.


If a deal sells out make sure to join the waitlist. Lots of people cart deals and decide not to buy (see tip 3!). As they release them they go to the waitlisters so take advantage!


Make sure to strategize! Make a list of your "Most Wanted" items and research regular prices along with what other retailers are offering them for on Black Friday. This will help you know if the Amazon price is the best deal!
Check out Black Friday Ads Here:

Deals begin November 17! While the most highly anticipated deals are usually saved for Black Friday and Cyber Monday there will be TONS of deals leading up to the main events- don't miss out!
Oct 5, 2017

When Your Pinterest Project Doesn't Go As Planned- Lessons in Grace and Finding Joy

Yesterday I had an idea for a fun hand print craft for Halloween. In my mind the cute little hand print ghosts would form the "o's" in BOO and my boys would happily cooperate to bring my vision to life.

That's NOT what happened.

My older son's hands are inexplicably larger than I anticipated and took up more room than planned. The baby does not share his brother's enthusiasm for art projects and freaked out when I coated his hand in paint. He refused to hold still and smeared his hand print on the canvas several inches below where I wanted it.

My vision of happy memory making was crushed. I had one kid crying and the other telling me just how bad the little one messed up the picture.

After cleaning the boys' hands I stared at our awkward, smeared project. I thought about just painting over it and trying again.

Then a thought hit me. LIFE is NOT Pinterest perfect. Life with my two small boys is often messy. There's a lot of smeared hand prints to clean up. Toys are dumped. Laundry piles up in a seemingly endless attempt to surpass Everest. Toilets cry out to be bleached.

And yet...

There is so much BEAUTY in this life we live:
  • The giggles of the baby as big brother chases him
  • The joy on my 3 year old's face as he paints a picture for a friend
  • The sweet snuggles of an *almost* asleep baby tucked perfectly under my chin
  • The heavenly smell of freshly bathed baby head
I am surrounded by beauty in this life that is so perfectly imperfect. Our craft will not go viral on Pinterest for it's incredible execution. But when I pull it out each fall I will be brought back to a time when little hands made big messes and left even bigger prints on my heart.
Sep 28, 2017

Free Printable! Pumpkin Dot Practice

***Post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission off of purchases made through the links***

D has really enjoyed Do-A-Dot markers lately. If you are not familiar with Do-A-Dot markers they are awesome for developing fine motor skills and concentration! Since we need to work on fine motor skills with D, I wanted to incorporate them into our activities as part of our seasons unit .

The result is this Pumpkin Dot Activity! It was my first time making one so it took a few tries but I'm really happy with the final product.

I wanted D to focus on making the pumpkin orange but he insisted on making it green, too.

I like how focused he was while completing the activity. He loves art and paint and this is a more "mommy friendly" way of letting him paint since there is much less cleanup! 

You can download the free printable PDF here:

Make sure to checkout my Facebook Group "Daily Deal Detectives" where I post deals on Do A Dot markers and more!

Sep 25, 2017

Car Garage Number Matching Montessori Activity

***Post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission off of purchases made through the links***

I'm so excited about this activity! I got the idea from a Montessori group I'm in on Facebook and adapted it for D. He LOVES his Hape Car Garage and recently has shown an interest in counting objects. This was a fun way to show him that numbers also have written representations.

  • Hape Car Garage (or any other garage/ cardboard with parking spaces drawn on). We LOVE this garage and find it to be very sturdy.
  • Painter's tape- make sure to use this kind of tape so you don't damage the garage or cars
  • Hotwheels or Matchbox cars
  • Sharpie
  • Scissors

Making the activity was super quick and easy! I cut pieces of tape for each car and parking spot and numbered them.

D helped me and we talked about each number as I wrote it.

 I then showed him how to match the cars to their spots. He loved it! He liked driving the cars up the ramp and parking them in their spots. He also enjoyed me "correcting" him and talking about which cars were matched correctly. He would purposelessly park some wrong so I would "fix" it.

I could easily see this activity being expanded to letters and sight words! I love how this activity turned out and am so excited to hear how it works out for everyone else!

 Don't forget to check out my Facebook Deals group where I post awesome deals on toys like the Hape Garage featured in this post!
Sep 18, 2017

Fall Leaf Painting Activity for Preschoolers and Toddlers

***Post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission off of purchases made through the links***

We have started a new unit in our homeschool Montessori preschool. We are learning about seasons! I introduced the concept of seasons today with this fun leaf painting activity. Step by step instructions are below!

Step 1: Collect an assortment of fall leaves. Bonus points if you let your little one collect them on a nature walk!

Step 2: Use scotch tape to attach leaves to a piece of paper. I folded the tape over so it wouldn't be part of the final painting.

Step 3: Place the paper and leaves on some newspaper or craft paper to protect your table- your child will paint to the edge of the page. We have this roll of brown craft paper and use it for EVERYTHING!

Step 4: Let the painting begin! I think sponge paint brushes work best for this activity since they are more forgiving. I showed D how to paint along the edges of the leaves.

Step 5: Remove the leaves when your child is done painting. We did this when the picture was still wet so the leaves wouldn't dry into the paint and get stuck.

I LOVE how this turned out! D really enjoyed it! His favorite part was that I let him add red glitter paint to the project.

Let me know if you try this activity out in the comments! I love seeing pictures!
Sep 15, 2017

Free Printable! Nature Color Walk

***Post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission off of purchases made through the links***

D still loves to spend time in nature so I'm always trying to come up with new ways to make it educational and fun!

This scavenger hunt I made asks that the child find an object that matches each color. You can decide whether or not to have them collect the objects or just point them out.

Download the PDF for free here:

Let me know what you think in the comments! I also LOVE seeing pictures of little ones doing my activities!

Want to learn more about why it's so important for children to spend time in nature? Read my favorite book on the topic "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder" by Richard Louv. 

Sep 5, 2017

Hurricane Reminders You Might Not Have Thought Of

***Post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission off of purchases made through the links***

Here in Florida we are all bracing for Hurricane Irma. Water is flying off the shelves, gas lines are long, and we all have our batteries hoarded but there are some things I'm doing that haven't been mentioned that are important, too!
  •  Stock up on disposable diapers and baby wipes, even if if you use cloth diapers like we do. If water and/or power goes out you won't be able to wash cloth diapers!
  • Make sure you have non-perishible food your kids will actually eat. Canned soup, beans, and tuna are fine for adults but my toddler will have no part in that. Peanut butter crackers and baby food pouches it is!
  • Dog/cat food if you have a pet. 'nuff said.
  • MORE baby wipes, even if you don't have kids!!! You will thank me when there's no water and you can clean your hands, wipe your under arms etc.
  • Paper plates, cups, and disposable cutlery-- you don't want to use precious water to wash dishes if there isn't any! 
  • Propane or charcoal for your grill so you can heat up food. If you don't have a grill a small hibachi or camping grill is a great thing to have.
  • Dry shampoo if you are so inclined.
  • A portable charging bank for your cellphone. You don't want to waste precious gas or car battery power charging your phone. We have this one (affiliate link)  
  • Activities for kids that require no electricity- crayons and coloring books, playdoh, books etc
  • Fill up your bathtub so you can flush your toilet if the water gets cut off. A water bladder like this one  is also a great way to store water. You can also fill garbage cans. Your hot water heater also holds about 30 gallons or so and can be drained.
  • CLEAN EVERYTHING! Wash all soiled bedding, laundry, dirty dishes etc. Anything that will smell if you lose power and don't have AC
  • Get cash. ATMs won't work if there isn't power and the ones that do work will run out fast.
  • Walk through your house and video your possessions for insurance purposes.
I hope you find these tips helpful! Let me know your tips!
Aug 23, 2017

Top Tips for Mold Free Bath Time and Water Table Play

***Post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission off of purchases made through the links***

My kids LOVE to play in water! Pool, beach, water table, bath tub- you name it! They are water babies through and through.

Unfortunately I have learned that all water toys are NOT created equal. Especially when it comes to MOLD! It's been a process but I have finally refined our water toy recommendation list. Mold not included ;)

Tip 1: Avoid squirters at ALL COSTS!
These things are cute but are mold factories! Some moms recommend putting hot glue over the holes or periodically filling them with bleach but I think it's best to just avoid them all together.

Tip 2: Get organized!
 We have a bath toy organizer similar to this one. The key is selecting one that drains. I also run ours through the washing machine periodically. A mesh laundry bag hung in the shower or near the water table would work, too.

Tip 3: Choose your toys carefully!
Like I said, not all bath toys are created equal. Look for toys that drain on their own or do not hold water. Avoid nooks and crannies that can harbor mold. These are some of our favorites:

These Munchkin boats are BY FAR my kids' favorite. They use them in the bath every single day. They also love to bring them to the pool and out to the water table. They are deceivingly simple. They float, connect, act as pourers, have holes to act as strainers, can act as color recognition practice, and are numbered based on home making drain holes are in them.

These Munchkin Float and Play Bubbles have brought lots of giggles to bath time at our house! There aren't any openings to let water in so they don't mold. 

A rubber duck is a classic bath toy. We have a Munchkin White Hot Safety Bath Ducky and I like him because he is solid- you can't squeeze him to add water! All the fun of a rubber duck without all the mold.

This Munchkin Baby Bath Ball was a gift for my 3 year old's first Christmas. I was weary that it might be a mold trap but it drains well and we haven't had any trouble with it. Years later the boys still find it entertaining.

The First Years Stacking Cups set was not originally purchased as a water toy but my boys frequently bring them in the bath a water table! They are inexpensive and the different number holes on the bottom means lots of fun in the water!
Or even just go with old school cups! We like to use the plastic restaurant kids cups and laundry detergent caps.

Tip 4: Make sure everything can dry well when you're done
This is especially important here in Florida where the humidity is oppressive! I remove all toys from the water table so it can dry completely. Same with the tub. Wet toys sitting = mold. I also recommend keeping your water table more simple; too many bells and whistles just provides more places for mold to hide. This is the one we have:

Those are our family's top tips for mold free water fun! Let me know some of yours in the comments!