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Thursday, September 27, 2018

7 Beautifully Decorated Halloween Mantels

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With the first day of October right around the corner, you can officially pull the halloween decorations out of the attic without friends and family looking at you like you're crazy. Truth be told, I would've already decorated my house...halloween is one of my most favorite holidays. But, kids. And school. And responsibilities.

When thinking of what I'd like to do with this year's mantel decorations, of course I turned to Pinterest. I figured if I was looking maybe some of you are, too. Here are seven of my most favorite on the web.

7 Beautifully Decorated Halloween Mantels
Stripes and polkadots, oh my! This super cute mantel from landeeseelandeedo is perfection.

7 Beautifully Decorated Halloween Mantels
This mantel from Apartment Therapy is simple, yet spooky cute!

7 Beautifully Decorated Halloween Mantels
I love the unexpected pops of non-traditional colors to Halloween in this mantel from Make & Do Studio

7 Beautifully Decorated Halloween Mantels
Are you a fan of Hocus Pocus? This glam halloween mantel from Hey Let's Make Stuff is just magical!

7 Beautifully Decorated Halloween Mantels
WOW! This mantel from thedecoratedhouse would be beautiful naked, but all dressed up for halloween, it's even more stunning.

7 Beautifully Decorated Halloween Mantels
Looking for something more cute than creepy? Lay Baby Lay came up with the cutest ideas!

7 Beautifully Decorated Halloween Mantels
Give me all the rainbows! This mantel, on Domino, might be my favorite mantel thus far. SO. Much. Color.

Which of these is your favorite? Have you already started decorating for halloween?? Show me your mantel!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Never Miss Another Magical Memory with #ANKERLOVE

Disclaimer: I was compensated by ANKER for this post. However, all opinions are my own. 

Never Miss Another Magical Memory

I'm a picture taker. One might say, having 7,893 photos on your camera roll is too many. I say, NO WAY! One can never have too many photos. A mom, especially, can never have too many photos. Add to that being a Disney-loving mom, fugetaboutit!

With my crazy lady, mamarazzi, picture taking self, I tend to often have a low battery. Or, worse yet, a DEAD iPhone.

When I took my kids to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party this month, I knew I didn't want to be parked in front of an electric outlet when my phone was low on battery. I mean, Magic Kingdom does have that fabulous area in front of Rapunzel's Tower, that has multiple USB charging ports; but who wants to be tied down while your family is enjoying the park?

Anker Moments

Enter ANKER. My new ANKER PowerCore+ 13400 allows me to recharge my iPhone when the battery begins to get low. One of my favorite features is, there are TWO charging ports. So, myself AND another member of my family can charge our devices at the same time! That's HUGELY important in a family of seven.

Elena of Avalor

Without my new ANKER portable charger, I would've missed this shot of McKinley and Elena of Avalor.

Frozen Anna and Mae

Without my new ANKER portable charger, I would've missed this shot of Mae and her most favorite princess of all time, Anna.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

These memories, of course, will always be in my memory. But, thanks to ANKER, I have photos. Photos never fade. 

ANKER products are available at Walmart and/or You can find a full line-up of portable chargers, car chargers, home chargers, and more. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

DIY Disney Autograph Book

We're leaving for Walt Disney World in three days. THREE DAYS!! Some days I think I'm more excited than the kids. I can.not.wait!

DIY Disney Autograph Book

One souvenir that was always a favorite when I was a kid was an autograph book. I can remember getting one each time my mom and I would go to Disney World. Standing in line with my book and pen in hand waiting to meet the characters was THE BEST! {of course, the rides were great, too!} I figured I would pass that tradition along to my kids. But, being the crafty gal that I am, I needed a DIY version of the autograph book. And, it needed to be personalized. Because, well, you know, everything is cuter when it's adorned with your name!

DIY Disney Autograph Book

The first page has our family name and the date.

DIY Disney Autograph Book

There's a section for each theme park we'll be visiting on this trip. {I also included a couple of pages with the resort name, just in case there's a character sighting there.}

DIY Disney Autograph Book

The back cover has Mickey's famous saying, "See ya real soon!"

DIY Disney Autograph Book

Since McKinley is a girly-girl, I added bunches of ribbon to hers. Just as I suspected, she LOVES it!

DIY Disney Autograph Book

DIY Disney Autograph Book

These were really simple to make. An added bonus, there's enough extra pages inside that the kids can later add pictures of themselves with the characters that signed their books!

With a little knowledge in Microsoft Word and having a printing shop nearby, you can make these, too!

Here's how:

1. Create your pages in Microsoft Word or similar program. I downloaded Waltograph and Brady Bunch fonts for my words. {The Mickey heads were added later with a black Sharpie pen. The Mickey and Minnie stickers were purchased at Michael's Crafts.}

2. Email your pages to your local print shop to be printed. Be sure to send them as a PDF file. I made the mistake of not doing that the first time and the font was way off.

3. Cut your pages to size. I learned after asking the gal to trim my pages to 5x7 inches that EACH cut is $1.10. Cutting each sheet was going to cost $4.40. For real. So, I made sure to bring my own cutter to the shop and used the great big table they had available and cut my own pages to size.

4. Laminate your front and back cover sheets. {This is something that the print shop will also do. It's like a one-stop-shop!} I think laminating the covers are going to make this keepsake something they can actually keep. :o)

5. Have your book spiral bound. OfficeMax also does binding. Ask if your shop does this.

Total cost of each of my books was under $10. Maybe the same cost as the one you can purchase at the park gift shops...but, way cuter!

This idea was adapted from Dixie Delights.

Monday, September 10, 2018

10 Games Kids Can Play On A Road Trip

This post contains affiliate links. What does this mean? When you click through the links and make a purchase, I get a small commission. 

games for kids on a road trip

With the Summer season upon us, and the start of traditional traveling months to begin, I thought I would bring you some hope. After all, road trips are fun. Well, they can be. As soon as "Are we there yet?" and "Can we stop? I have to go to the bathroom." is asked for the one millionth time, you're F I N I S H E D. I've learned over the years the best way to cure the whiney children is to play a game, or three.

Good news! I have TEN great games your kids can play while you're cruisin' down the highway.

1. Telephone - You remember this one! It doesn't matter what generation you were born in, you played Telephone at one point in your life. Your child whispers a story or a sequence of words to someone else in the car. The person he whispered it to then whispers the same story, as close to what he heard as possible. Then, on to the next person. By the time the story gets to the last person it's rarely the original thought and it brings laughter.

2. Twenty Questions - One person secretly thinks of either an object, place or animal. The other people in the car take turns asking yes-or-no questions, like "Is it red?" or "Have we ever been there before?" After the players have asked twenty questions, each player gets a chance to guess at what it could be.

3. The Alphabet Game - One person chooses the righthand side of the road, and someone else choose the lefthand side. The players take turns finding letters in the alphabet, either on street signs or license plates. The idea is to point out all the letters of the alphabet in order, from A to Z. The first person to Z wins.

4. The Theme Song Game - One person hums the tune to a favorite TV show, and everyone tries to name the show as fast as possible. The first person to guess correctly hums the next song.
Mom and Dad, you could play this game with songs from years past. What about the first song you ever danced to? Or, "your song" from when you were dating? This game could be fun for ALL!

5. Restaurant Race - Each player chooses a restaurant, such as Burger King, McDonalds, Panera Bread, etc. Players earn points by spotting their restaurant off the road, on a billboard, on exit markers, on Food/Fuel signs, or by hearing it mentioned on the radio. Impose a time limit -- say, 20 minutes -- and then add up the points.

6. Memory Test - The first person says "A is for ___" filling in the blank with any word beginning with the letter A, such as "apple." The second person comes up with a word for the letter B, such as "baseball," but must also repeat the A word: "A is for apple, B is for baseball." Continue through the alphabet, each person taking several turns and reciting more and more letters and words. By the time you reach the letter Z, that player will recite the entire alphabet and its corresponding words. However, if you're playing with younger kids you may want to choose an earlier letter than Z to be the final one.

7. "I'm Going on a Picnic" Game - Super similar to the Memory Test, but you say, "I'm going on a picnic and I'm going to bring apples." The next person would say something like, "I'm going on a picnic and I'm going to bring apples and bananas." Next person would say, "I'm going on a picnic and I'm going to bring apples, bananas, and cupcakes." You get the idea. You'd go back and forth until you are bringing something to the picnic from every letter of the alphabet.

8. Secret Place Race - You'll need an old school map for this one. But, that could be lots of fun. (You can often find a map at rest stops or visitor stations.) One person looks at a road map and finds a small town, river, or trail. That person tells everyone in the car the place he has chosen. A second player has 60 seconds to look at the map and try to find the secret place.

9. The Animal Game - One person names an animal, then each person in order has to name another animal (no repeating!) that starts with the last letter of the previous animal named. There are no winners or losers in this game. With older children, try the game with TV shows, or geographical categories, such as cities or countries.

10. The State License Plate Game - This game we play on every road trip! Until recently, I thought I made this game up. :) At the start of your journey, grab a pencil and a piece of paper. As you're traveling down the road, pay close attention the license plates of passers by. Every plate has a different state. Write down each one, until you've found all 50 states. Can you find them all? There's a wonderful game board made by Melissa & Doug for this game. (Find it by clicking HERE) Apparently I wasn't as creative in making this game up as I thought.

Here are a few more games that I found for you on Amazon.
50 Road Trip Games
Travel Scavenger Hunt for Kids
Spot It! On The Road
Mad Libs on the Road
Backseat Bingo Playing Cards

Now, as you prepare for your next road trip, you don't have to dread the hours of "Are we there yet?"

What are your favorite games to play, when you travel? Tell me in the comments!

Safe travels!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

5 Frightfully Cute Ideas To BOO Your Neighbors


In 2009, we were told by the US Army to report to Fort Campbell, KY. We arrived to Gandy Court in July of that year, and quickly made friends with our new neighbors. What we weren't prepared for was the fun, annual traditions that would come from living there for three years. The first of many was getting BOO'ed by our neighbors. Have you ever been BOO'ed?? 

We were sitting at the table enjoying dinner, and we had a knock at the door. When we opened the door, no one was there. But, on our front porch was a basket full of FUN Halloween goodies! Every year that we were there, we were BOO'ed by our neighbors. And, we joined in and began BOO'ing our neighbors, too. 

What keeps one house from being BOO'ed more than once? When you get a spooky, but FUN package on your doorstep, you put a sign on your door. This way the fun can spread throughout the neighborhood, and no one gets BOO'ed twice. Fun, right?!?

I've gathered a few FRIGHTFULLY cute ideas for you. These will give you some helpful tips on what to put in your BOO basket.  But, you can put whatever you'd like in it. Make it fun. Gear it towards the family you're BOO'ing. 

This idea from Eighteen25 is genius! I never thought to add a balloon to your basket, so the unsuspecting recipients see it when they look out the peephole. BOO!

This BOO basket is geared towards the kids in the neighboring family. Grab some stickers, a juice cup, and some silly straws, and you're all set!

The idea of a cone-shaped "basket" is unique. You could hang this on the door for the neighbor to come home to after work. Sometimes people need a nice surprise after a hard days work.

If you don't have a basket, you can use a colored paper bag. Add some scrap paper, buttons for eyes and draw on a few details. The cutest, spookiest BOO gift of all!

Are you crafty? Grab some scrapbooking paper, ruffled ribbon, make a small sign for the front, and you've got yourself the cutest BOO basket on the block!

Have you ever been BOO'ed? Do you BOO your neighbors? Tell me in the comments what you like to put in the baskets you give. What's been the most favorite item(s) you've been given in your BOO basket?

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Cyber Bullying and Our Teenagers - Growing Up Digital

This is a simple, yet profoundly needed message in today's society. I'm talking about cyber bullying. I'm dealing with this myself, as we speak. Kids can be mean. Cruel, even. They claw their way to the center of their social circle, at the expense of someone else's feelings. It's hard, as parents, to know ALL of our kids friends (or enemies) and ALL that's going on in their little lives. But, friends, it's SO important to be all up in their business!!! ALL. UP. IN. IT!

I've gone to bat for my kids, when I feared for their safety, a few times. I don't bother to get involved in their silly arguments, I do want them to learn how to deal with some stuff on their own. But, you better believe, as soon as some mouthy kid starts telling my kid what they're going to "do" to them, I intervene. I've seen it more times than I ever should have in the last few years.

Growing up, I didn't have social media. I didn't have a computer. I didn't even get a cell phone until I turned 18 and bought it myself. There weren't mean kids hiding behind their devices calling me ugly names. If someone wanted to bully me, they would either talk about me behind my back, prank call my house, or follow me home from the bus stop. All of which happened to me. Because kids are mean. But, those opportunities weren't as prevalent as the opportunities that our children are facing in today's very digital social society.

Something else that comes to mind when speaking about bullying, or cyber bullying, is our kids fear of "snitching." Another reason to be all up in their business is they will likely NOT TELL YOU what's going on, in fear of being a snitch. I've heard it come out of my boys mouths numerous times over the years, something I didn't hear as a kid, "snitches get stitches." What? I get it. The mouthy kid doesn't want to get in trouble for his ugly, mean-hearted attitude. But, kids being fearful to speak up? No, ma'am.

I'm not telling you to be your kids best friend. We all know better than that. But, be their advocate. Have a presence and relationship with their school and its administrators. Stand up for them. Fight for their right to feel safe in school (and out of school). Love them unconditionally. Do NOT tolerate bullying!

Have you dealt with bullying or cyber bullying with your children? What school grade(s) were they in? How did you handle it? I'm genuinely curious. After all, I still have many years of parenting school-aged kids ahead of me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

16 Father's Day Gifts to Keep Dad Healthy

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We’ve curated a list of Father’s Day gift ideas that will give the gift of fitness and health, long after the holiday has gone. Whether you have a father, grandfather, godfather, father-in-law, brother, beloved uncle, or someone else who takes a father’s place in your heart—it’s time to celebrate the special men in your life.


Also called a “door gym,” this strengthening apparatus attaches to any doorway without the need for screws or any other hardware. Perfect for getting in a quick “pump” before your man takes on the day. You can also take it down and use it on the floor for crunches and pushups!


The Fitbit Alta HR is a wearable fitness tracker to help keep track of heart rate, steps, calories, distance and more. It can even be programmed to give him reminders to exercise—so you don’t have to! If your man is like mine, you won't really need to remind him. We recommend the black and stainless steel model, but it’s also available in colors like blue-gray, stainless steel, black, and gunmetal.


These cooling towels help keep you cool up to two hours, thanks to hydro active technology. He can bring it to the gym, on hikes, bicycling, or wherever he’s likely to break a sweat. I mean, you could even take these to Walt Disney World Resort. It's HOT in Florida, y'all!


Your man will work out in style when he walks into the gym with his new monogrammed gym bag. It’s handsome, southern, and stylish, enough to make him want to use it as often as he can!


Help him eat healthy at home by getting him a food box subscription like Blue Apron. This particular company allows you to modify the meals to accommodate your taste buds and personal nutrition needs. Plus, he’ll be able to experience the joy of cooking at home with the included step-by-step instructions. Best part, he'll be cooking for YOU!!


This is a fun and easy way to exercise at home. With this system, he can keep track of calories burned, learn to balance better, and learn more about training. This is a great gift for a guy who enjoys the TV, and is in the early stages of getting fit.


A stand up paddle board is just the thing for heading out to the lake, river, or beach this summer. Paddle boards help develop core and arm strength. For this gift, be sure you have an accurate height—appropriate board and pole lengths are dependent on this information.


Massages are beneficial for everyone and do wonders for mental relaxation. Treat your man to a massage—any style he likes! Some gyms even offer this extra service for a small fee.


A GoPro camera may be all the incentive the man in your life needs to get out there and be active. Don’t forget to include an activity accessory so he can really take advantage of all that the GoPro is capable of.


Flipping through the pages of this leading men’s magazine will encourage your Father’s Day gift recipient to get in shape and stay in shape. It even includes a substantial men’s fitness section with diet and exercise tips. Then, we ladies can steal and drool. 


On the weekends, this decidedly masculine water bottle is perfect to bring to the gym, take on hikes, or even sit in the cup holder in his golf cart. And, because it’s made of insulated stainless steel—on weekdays he can use it to hold his Pink Drink on-the-go. That's HOT, ladies!


Give your Father’s Day gift recipient the gift of freedom with this hydrating backpack “system.” These roomy backpacks are stylish, comfortable, and above all, functional. H20 hands free? Yes, please!


This hand gripper helps to strengthen hands, wrists, and arms. Any man on your gift list would love to receive this convenient way to exercise at the office, at home, on the commuter train, or anywhere else.


These resistance bands are an excellent Father’s Day gift for your grandfather or a favorite uncle! He can use them while sitting down to increase his upper body strength, at a level that he feels comfortable with.


What better way to entice your guy to get more active than by arranging the whole experience for him? These exciting experience options range from balloon trips, to flying lessons to NASCAR driving! This kind of gift is also a great way to spend more time with the man you love, since many of the experiences are for two.


This is definitely an out of the box kind of Father’s Day Gift, but hear us out. With the information your brother, dad, husband, or whatever man you’re looking to buy for gets from the 23 and Me test, he will have greater insight into his health, including what kinds of diseases he should look out for, and where his physical strengths and weaknesses are. The whole process is done through the mail, and results arrive by email in about a week.
This list of 16 Father’s Day Gifts for 2018 ensures you’re not at a loss for gift ideas. Whether it’s for your dad, grandpa, hubby or son, no matter which gift you choose, you’re sure to get a big ‘ole thanks!