5 Productivity Apps To Help You Get Things Done

We’ve all been there. You thought your husband was picking up from soccer camp. He thought it was your turn.  No one remembered grocery pick up and you aren’t sure when you’re up for snacks.

There is so. much. going. on. And lets get real–it only gets crazier when school starts back! Here are some great apps you can add to your phone to help keep yourself (and your family) on track.

Trello

Trello is awesome because its entirely what you make it–it can be a way to plan your family vacation with out of town guests, a place to store photos or make grocery lists. Think of it as the modern day kitchen cork board–snap a picture of the book sale flyer, generate your packing list, store your favorite sitter’s info. Then, take it with you!

Cozi

Cozi is more geared towards families with multiple users on the app. You can assign tasks and calendars so specific members of your family. That way, your teenage son doesn’t get the notification that you have an OB appointment but your husband knows so he can handle picking up the younger kids.

Grocery IQ

This genius apps lets you share grocery lists and has a barcode function that lets you scan in what you need before you toss the empty. Save yourself a trip for forgotten items and better yet–avoid ending up with two dozen strawberries because you and your husband both grabbed them.

Two Happy Homes

Working with two homes due to custody schedules? This app helps streamline the coordination of playdate, teacher conferences and sports schedule. You can share child-centric information here and not worry about giving access to your personal calendar to co-parents.

OurHome

Delegate! This app allows you to assign various chores and tasks to members of your family. You can follow up to see what has been completed or prove to your kids that you REALLY did ask them to move the laundry.

 

 

Water Safety: Having Fun While Staying Alert

The recent devastating news that Granger Smith lost his son in a tragic drowning incident has brought renewed attention to the importance of water safety.  The implications of having small children around water can be dangerous and even deadly but there are practical solutions to help safeguard your family.

More Than Just Pools

Know that kids don’t need a ton of water to be in harm’s way. They can drown in as little as two inches of water–and it happens fast. Many of us are vacationing in new environments–hotels, AirBnBs, beach rentals. Take a minute to make note of potential hazards upon arrival.

Supervision

This can seem like a no brainer but when you have groups of people gathered for a party of event, the adults often relax because there is a false sense of security with so many eyes on the pool. But there is a big difference between active supervision and passive socializing. Someone should be designated to carefully monitor at all times.

Safety Reminders

This article outlines fantastic safety tips but in particular, I loved the idea of briefing your kids before they swim. Outlining when, where and how far they can go helps set expectations and keep them safe.

Prevention

One of the best ways to help your child be safe around water is to get them into swimming lessons at a young age. Knowledge is key and when children complete water safety courses they are more likely to be able to navigate an emergency.

Be Prepared

As much as none of us want to envision the worst case scenario, it is important to be prepared should you find yourself in the presence of a drowning victim. Knowing CPR and First Aid can often greatly improve the outcome of a child’s situation.

Free Stuff For Kids in July

Tomorrow is one of my favorite national holidays: Free Chickfila Day! I am only sort of kidding but I have been dressing myself and my kids up for a free chicken sandwich for a few years now and it serves the dual purpose of feeding them and entertaining them. The deal with the freebie is that you have to show up dressed as a cow. They are fairly lenient on this though so a few cut out black spots taped on a white shirt will get it done. If you want to get really fancy you could follow this tutorial from Make It Love It.

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Cows not your thing? There are a few other ways to get free stuff in July.

You can get free slurpees on July 11 at 7-11. They do this promotion yearly and it’s a fun one because you can guarantee you’ll need to beat the heat with something cool.

Half drank green slush

Not a total free one but in honor of IHOP’s anniversary Tuesday, July 16, participating restaurants will sell short stacks, or three buttermilk pancakes, for 58 cents from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Stack of pancake with honey and butter on top

Visit McAlister’s Deli Thursday, July 18 for the chain’s annual Free Tea Day and get a free 32-ounce McAlister’s Deli tea sweetened or unsweetened black tea.

Fresh drink

July 21 is National Ice Cream Day. You can get freebies from Dairy Queen, Baskin Robbins, McDonalds and more.

Blue Ice Cream and Sprinkles in a Waffle Cone

To round out the month of goodies, you can hit Cheesecake Factory for half priced cheesecake on July 30 to celebrate National Cheesecake Day. Pro tip: order ahead and pick up to avoid long lines.

How To Roadtrip with Children: 25 Easy Steps

  1. Make extensive list of things to pack for every member of the family.
  2. Attempt to assemble said items while kids “help”.
  3. Time trip so that child will sleep for bulk of the travel time.
  4. Resign yourself to signing nursery rhymes while child #2 screams.
  5. Forty five minutes into your drive, realize you forgot several essentials.
  6. Blame respective spouse on the issue while Amazon Priming items to your destination.
  7. Decide everyone is just really hangry and its time to stop.
  8. Realize after you’ve told kids you’re stopping to eat that you have passed the last viable exit for food for the next 50 miles.
  9. Panic when child #1 says they have less than 5% battery left on their device.
  10. Realize you now have to choose between giving up your phone for the remainder of the trip and giving up silence
  11. Now that you no longer have your phone, attempt to read the novel you purchased for all of your “downtime” this trip.
  12. Dig through your purse for Dramamine because you’re now car sick.
  13. Stop at gas station for gas, Dramamine and potty breaks.
  14. Tell children not to touch anything in the gas station restroom.
  15. Child 2 peeps through bathroom stall while you’re rushing to pee. Make mental note to google “symptoms of conjunctivitis”.  Husband is using restroom alone.
  16. Spend $52 on gas station snacks and drinks.
  17. Spend 14 minutes scrolling through podcasts looking for something you and your spouse can agree on that is also child appropriate.
  18. Push play. Child #2 suddenly has pressing story to tell. Press pause.
  19. All children fall asleep. Briefly enjoy podcast in silence while sitting next to spouse. This is essentially a date.
  20. Arrive at destination 20 minutes after children sleep.
  21. It was bedtime but now children are refreshed.
  22. Keep children from destroying destination. If it’s a hotel, worry about noise complaints. If it’s an Air BNB, worry they’ll break things.
  23. Continue worrying and not sleeping for 7 days.
  24. Pack up to leave. Forget your phone charger.
  25. Repeat steps 1-19.

Kid’s Birthday Parties: Which kind of mom are you?

I feel like there are two camps of Birthday Party Moms out there. In fact, at some point, I have been both of them. We are in the throes of planning my oldest daughter’s birthday celebration (no party this year!) and so it got me thinking about how much effort I have put in some years versus how little effort I have put in other years–and how  regardless, she has always enjoyed her birthday parties.

All children smiling while kind mother bringing birthday cake
In my mind, I was this blissfully happy during these parties and not frantically running around looking for the lighter I forgot to buy.

So, the first type of mom is the Pinterest mom. This mom loves a theme. My daughter had heavily themed birthday parties for her first four years–giraffes, then Minnie Mouse (I painstakingly halved Oreos to create “ears” for those cupcakes), followed by Disney princesses and then when everyone was doing Elsa, we were also doing Elsa. We went all. out. From the shirt, to the cake, to the banner and of course the invitations, there was a dedication to the the theme.

Don’t even get me started on the goodie bags. My greatest birthday accomplishments to date have been a solid goodie bag–forget candy and annoying trinkets. I would find the good stuff heavily clearance, stockpile throughout the year and whip up something truly spectacular at party time.

Those years I felt a similar excitement and intensity as I did when planning my wedding–the thrill of finding a bargain decor items that matches said theme, the rush of finding out the date you need at the venue is open, the feeling of seeing the party photos after–totally Instagram worthy. But let’s be honest–those parties are for the parents. My kiddo never really cared about much of these efforts—except when I put the Barbie in the cake–that was a win!

Birthday Cake
I know its hard to believe but this is literally all your three year old girl wants for her birthday.

Then there is the “laid back” mom approach. In more recent years, we have fallen into the “lets have a cookout and a grocery store cake” camp. Its not because we care less–if anything, her parties are more about her than ever. But the focus is entirely on her friends and the playing that goes along with it and less about the photo ops. I am entirely okay with this– it is cheaper, easier and less stressful.

Although, I do miss the themes and will be returning to this strategy as my youngest approaches her first birthday.  She is 8 months old and I have the outfit and a few decor items and I AM NOT SORRY. After all, I survived the first year too, and we are going to celebrate in style.

I think birthday party planning is a lot like motherhood. You have to learn to adapt your approach as the years go by. You have to know when to bring out the big guns and when it’s okay to dial it back. This will the first year my oldest daughter does not have a birthday party. It feels like the end of an era but if I am honest, I know she will have more fun this way. She is a one-on-one type of gal and so having a a couple of friends over to go do all of her favorite things is way more her speed–and after all, it’s her birthday!

How does your family handle birthdays?

Free Activities to Beat The Summer Heat

Summer is here! It’s official–and its freakin’ hot already! If you’re like us, school is wrapping up and I am looking at the next two months wondering how we will keep cool, keep our sanity, and keep busy. I did some research on some free (or super cheap!) things you can do this summer with your kids that go beyond just throwing popsicles at them.

Free Bowling

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Sign up to receive up to two free games per child–every week! You will have to rent shoes but otherwise, this a great indoor activity that you can count on each week.

The Library

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The local library offers so much to do! Every summer we do their summer reading program, which can earn you free perks like amusement park tickets! We also attend story time and other programming. The first week school is out, our local library has three different programs for kids!

Toy Stores

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Charlotte still has old school toy stores like Toys and Company that have lots of toys on display. Lakeshore Learning Toys also has a location in Matthews which offer fun, interactive activities for kids. Local LEGO stores often offer building classes, too.

Splash-pads

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Our go to “free day” is a trip to the park–and we always pick one with a splash pad! We bring a change of clothes, bathing suits, and a picnic lunch and it lasts for hours. Many of them have shaded coverings which really helps on scorching hot days. Bonus point if you bring cups and buckets to add to the water fun.

Scavenger Hunts

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We often go online and print out free resources like this to guide outdoor play. Finding shaded wooded areas helps keep kids cool and the guided play keeps them entertained longer.

What other things do you do to save money and keep cool and entertained in the summer? I’d love to hear!

5 Easy Memorial Day Cookout Ideas for Kids

Summer is upon us! This weekend there will bet the collective sound of grills being fired, kiddie pools being filled and cold drinks being cracked open. We thought it would fun to share a few ways to spice up your weekend BBQ with kid-friendly options that go beyond just hamburgers and hot dogs!

Skewers

Who doesn’t love food on a stick? And these taste much better than corndogs.

A plate of grilled chicken kabobs made with marinated chicken and colorful vegetables.
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Flatbreads

It’s like pizza but better! Let your kiddos choose their toppings and everyone wins.

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S’more Pizza, Please!

Speaking of pizza, how amazing is this fun take on a classic summer dessert?

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Grilled Corn

Bright, crisp corn gets taken up a notch when you grill it. No kid can resist!

grilled corn with herb butter
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Grilled Quesadillas

A kid’s favorite–cheese and tortillas warmed on the grill where you are already cooking for a crowd? Perfection.

Grilled Quesadillas
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The 10 Phases of Dieting After Children

A few girlfriends and I were talking about what we are doing to lose the baby weight and what we have done in the past that has or hasn’t worked and it made me laugh thinking about what a predictable cycle it can be…

Resolve

Enough is enough! I am doing this. We have a wedding/trip/anniversary/birthday. There will be photographs. Must. Lose. Double. Chin.

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Research

Okay, what is everyone on the Internet doing? Scrolls hashtags: #newmombod #postpartumweightloss #losingbabyweightafter3years

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Shopping

In order to lose the weight, I need all of the things. Weights. Shakes. Supplements. Give me one of each. Shop the parameter. Trader Joes or Whole Foods only–regular grocery stores are a death trap of preservatives.

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Meal Prep

A crockpot full of shredded chicken. Diced veggies. Washed lettuce. Black beans on black beans. All. The. Rice.

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The First Morning

Here we go! We are locked and loaded. Bulletproof coffee. No breakfast–my eating window starts at 10. Headed out for a walk…feeling good.

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9 am.

Been up with the baby since 6. I. am. starving. Why does my husband have to have breakfast? Is he trying to sabotage me?

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10 am!

Time to eat! Don’t want to ruin all of this hard work with junk. Reaching for eggs, avocado and fruit!

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Lunchtime For The Kids

Jaxson left half a nugget. What harm could half a nugget do? ITS HALF A NUGGET. Dipped in ranch. Washed down the remnants of a juice box…

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Bedtime

We are a sinking ship. I am tired. If hearing “mama” burned calories, I would be strapping on some Victoria Secret angel wings. I want cookies. Wine with my husband: yes please!

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Acceptance

You know, I tried but honestly, I love my body. It’s fine. They make really cute clothes in this size. I will just go shopping. I need to model body positivity, anyway. I am so done with this.

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Wash, Rinse, Repeat–Am I right?!

Easter Themed Ideas to Slay the Preschool Party

Here’s your cheaters guide to looking good at drop-off when you’re expected to roll up with something allergy-friendly, cute and creative.

Build-a-Bunny Craft

I am a fan of anything self-contained so throw the pre-cut ears, nose and whiskers in the cup alongside the googly eyes. This is a cute craft that isn’t terribly messy and will keep kids occupied indoors or out!

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Bunny Tails

This couldn’t be easier. And it’s perfect if you forgot to buy Easter eggs. Stuff , staple, repeat.

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Yarn Eggs

Cut some yarn. Cut some ovals. Call it a day.

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Bunny Juice

Normally, I think this stuff is a bit extra– but the printable you can find here makes this a snap and the cotton tail is super cute.

I mean, thats cute.

Let Target Do It

When all else fails, buy online and pick up on your way. What kids don’t love this stuff anyway? Everyone wins!

No candy here!

The Daily Details: An Afternoon of Self-Care

a beautiful day for some beauty treatments

Hey friends!

I wanted to share my afternoon adventure with you all! I went uptown to The Daily Details for a little self-care after working all morning. It has been a busy week and it was so nice to have this to look forward to on Friday afternoon!

I booked an appointment for an eyebrow wax and tint on the Daily Details website. I love that it’s easy to see what services they offer, pricing and availability right online.

The staff at the salon was really helpful–I was even able to call and adjust my appointment when I realized I was a little ahead of schedule. The girl who answered the phone was friendly and even helped me navigate parking (because let’s be honest–parking uptown is the opposite of relaxing!).

Once I arrived, I was greeted and offered something to drink–they have Prosecco and wine, in addition to wine and soft drinks. They brought me to the back where they do waxing and tinting.

Danielle introduced herself and immediately told me what to expect from the appointment, as I told her I was nervous since my brows had gone quite awhile without any attention! She was thorough and knowledgable–even asking about what skincare I use to avoid any potential interactions. I appreciated how–no pun intended–detailed she was.

Additionally, Danielle is a mom, too. We talked about our kids and how hard it is to balance work/home balance. She was super cheerful and fun and I felt like I spent half an hour with a friend!

I do not typically tack something for myself onto the end of my baby-free time but I knew Mae was in good hands and it felt great to do a little something for myself! The best part was The Daily Details made scheduling an appointment super easy and Danielle was so fun to work with.

Interested in trying The Daily Details for yourself? For the month of April, the Daily Details is also offering $5 off brow services! Stay tuned–we will have an exciting announcement on our Instagram Monday morning!