Love Note Envelopes {plus a FREE printable}

Love Note Envelopes {plus a FREE printable}--a fun new Valentine tradition
I was browsing Hobby Lobby’s Valentine items the other day when I saw the cutest oversized felt envelopes.  At $3.99 for 2, I couldn’t pass them up and threw them in my cart, not totally sure what I was going to do with them.  I forgot about them for a few days when I had the idea to use them as love note envelopes for my family during the month of February.  These felt envelopes will be perfect for our family.  I know my kids (mostly my daughter) is going to love getting little notes throughout the month sharing reasons why they are loved. And this isn’t just for kids.  I plan on sending some notes to my husband too. *wink*

Love Note Envelopes {plus a FREE printable}--a fun new Valentine tradition

Love Note Envelopes {plus a FREE printable}--a fun new Valentine tradition

I think it would be fun to let your kids rotate who the “delivery person” is each day.  Maybe put each person’s note on their pillow after dinner and read them before bedtime.  Or you could buy an envelope for each child and place the notes in there each day as they are written.  The whole idea is totally flexible and adaptable to your family.

And to make your life a little easier (and cuter), I’ve created a FREE love note printable for you!  Sure, you could just use regular white paper but what’s the fun in that?  Print these out and set them in a little jar with a pen and let your family show their love for each other!

Love Note Envelopes {plus a FREE printable}--a fun new Valentine tradition
Love Note Envelopes {plus a FREE printable}--a fun new Valentine tradition

What Valentine traditions do you have?

Free Valentine’s Printable Round Up

Free Valentine's Printables
One of the best ways to decorate for Valentine’s Day, or any holiday really, is to print off a few cute printables and put them in a frame.  I’ve rounded up some of my favorites for you.  Just click on the link below the picture to go to the download site.  Enjoy!

Free Valentine's Printables

4 Coordinating Valentine Prints  |  Our Thrifty Ideas

Free Valentine's Printables

Conversation Hearts  |  I Heart Nap Time

Free Valentine's Printables

Love Valentine Printable  |  I Heart Nap Time

Free Valentine's Printables

Free Valentine's Printables

Valentine Subway Art  |  Bonjour!

Free Valentine's Printables

Tunnel of Love Print  |  Flamingo Toes

Free Valentine's Printables

Be Mine Print  |  Sprik Space

Free Valentine's Printables

Free Valentine's Printables

Love You Printable  |  Persnickety Prints

Free Valentine's Printables

Valentine Chalk Printables  |  Nest of Posies

Free Valentine's Printables

Free Valentine's Printables

Hello Love  |  Inspired by Giving

Free Valentine's Printables

Arrows Love  |  The Crafty Cupboard

Free Valentine's Printables

Valentine Subway Art  |  Eighteen25

Free Valentine's Printables

Love Always & Forever  |  Jen Gallacher

Free Valentine's Printables

No Ordinary Love  |  Simple As That

Free Valentine's Printables

Rollercoaster Love  |  Homespun with Love

Free Valentine's Printables

All You Need is Love  |  Love from the Oven

One Thing That Will Change The Way You Discipline Your Kids

I remember when my daughter was almost two years old.  She started getting into more trouble, throwing more tantrums and lots of the word “no!” (from both of us).  My husband and I talked to family and friends and read a lot of books to try and decide what type of “discipline method” we wanted to use.  We wanted to make sure that we were united on our method so it didn’t matter who was disciplining our child, they would get the same treatment.

Here we are two years later and my son is now almost the same age as my daughter was when we first started looking at disciplining methods.  The only difference is that now we’ve had a little practice so it’s not as big of a challenge when we’re faced with the same tantrums. *wink*

So I’m going to let you in on the one thing that has made the biggest difference for us in the way we discipline our kids: follow through.
Before I talk a little more about this, let me take you through the typical process I use when I’m faced with my child acting in a way that isn’t ok.


My daughter is choosing to pick a fight with her brother over a toy that is his and that he was playing with first.

My actions: Watch to see if they are able to resolve it without me getting involved.  If so, no further action is needed.  If not, I give my daughter her first warning.

My daughter continues to fight with her brother.

My actions: Watch for a moment to see if they resolve it.  If not, I give my daughter a second warning.

My daughter is still fighting with her brother about they toy and pushes him.

My actions: Give my daughter her final warning and tell her she needs to go to time out.

She walks over to time out but does not sit in time out.

My actions:  I tell her to sit in time out or I will be adding time to how long she needs to be there.

She doesn’t sit in time out and continues to try and argue why she doesn’t want to go to time out.

My actions:  I add time to her time out and continue to add time until she chooses to get in time out.  Then I start the timer and do not interact with her until the timer goes off.  When the timer goes off, she comes to talk to me about why she was in time out and why time had to be added.  The time for discipline is over and she can continue playing.

If the same thing were to happen when my husband was home, he would follow the same steps.  You could also think about it as being consistent.  Obviously, it would be impossible to be consistent all the time, but I’d like to think we do this at least 80% of the time.

*Note: In case you’re interested in the specifics of the method we’ve chosen to help us discipline our kids, you can check out the book 1-2-3 Magic.  We’ve tweaked it a little for our family, but the basics are all there.

Another aspect of following through is asking yourself this question: If my child misbehaves and I give them the consequence for their actions, am I willing to follow through with it?  

I remember the week before we went to Disneyland, my daughter was acting a little extra naughty.  As much as I wanted to say, “If you don’t act nicely, we’re not going to Disneyland”, was I really going to follow through with that?  No.  So that’s when I had to rethink the consequence for her actions to something more appropriate to her behavior and something that I would actually follow through with.

As parents, we have to be committed to doing what we say we are going to do.  If we don’t, our kids will learn that they can act badly and not expect any consequences.  So if you are on your way to get ice cream and your kids are fighting on the way and you tell them they need to stop or you’ll turn around and go home, you better be sure that’s what you’re willing to do (even though you totally deserve that ice cream!).  If you tell your child they have to finish their chores or they don’t get to play with their friend, you have to follow through no matter what.  If our kids misbehave and we say there is going to be a consequence, they know it’s not an empty threat. (Obviously, I am assuming that none of you are abusing your children and that you are using constructive forms of discipline.)

When we are consistent in our parenting, it teaches our children that they are safe and secure with us.  They know we’ll follow through on the good stuff as well as the not so good.  It builds a strong foundation of trust and our children will know that we are there for them when life gets hard. When we discipline our children, we show them that we love them because we’re teaching them how to keep commitments, to be responsible, be accountable for their actions and learn the difference between right and wrong.  And as parents, isn’t that what we want for our children?

What helps you be consistent in your parenting?

Valentine’s Rag Wreath

When my husband and I moved into our home almost 5 years ago, one of the things I was most excited about (besides an attached garage of course) was having a front door to hang cute wreaths on.  Oh sure, we’d had front doors in our previous apartments, but all of them had been basement apartments and not very big so we didn’t have company over very often.  And in my opinion, part of the fun of having a wreath on your door is so people can see it.  Right?

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I love decorating in the lovely shades of pink, red, purple and white that accompany the holiday.  I didn’t have a Valentine’s wreath for my door so I decided to remedy that problem with a cute new rag wreath!  Rag wreaths are so easy and inexpensive.  They store well and fluff up easily when you pull them out of storage.

Haven’t made a rag wreath before?  Let me show you how!

Valentine’s Rag Wreath


  • scissors or rotary cutter
  • cutting mat 
  • ruler
  • 12″ wire wreath form (I bought mine at the dollar store, but any craft store will have them)
  • 2 yards of fabric, split between 3-4 different patterns/colors (I bought mine at JoAnn’s)

Start by laying your fabric out in front of you.  Using your ruler, make snips in your fabric every 1″ to 1 1/2″.  Any smaller than that and your strips will be too narrow and you won’t be able to see the color/pattern.

After you’ve made all your snips, you have a couple options of how to proceed:

  1. Grab the fabric firmly and rip along the snips you made down the length of the fabric.  Continue ripping until the fabric is in strips.  *Doing it this way will create more frayed/ragged edges on each strip.
  2. Using your scissors/rotary cutter and ruler, cut down the length of the fabric until all the fabric is in strips.  *Doing it this way will create less frayed/ragged edges on each strip.

Either method works great, so it’s a matter of preference in terms of how frayed/ragged you want your strips to be.

Once you have all your fabric in strips, cut each strip down into 5-6 inch pieces.  Any shorter and you won’t be able to tie it and any longer will cause the strips to flop over when you tie them onto the wreath and you’ll lose out on fluffiness.

Then I laid my strips out in a pattern and started on the innermost ring of the wreath.  Just a simple double knot will do.  Go all the way around the inner ring, then start on the next ring.  Continue tying around each ring until you’ve completed all the rings.

When you’re finished, the back of your wreath should look like this:

You can hang it up like this if you want or add some embellishments.  I decided to add a little bunting across the front using some washi tape I had that matched the red/white polka dot fabric I used on the wreath.

I am totally in love with my new wreath (no pun intended)!  I like that it still has that Valentine look to it, but by using the mint green with the red and white, it’s not your typical red/white/pink decor.  It is also totally affordable costing less than $10 to make.  (I spent around $8 using coupons and promotions for my materials.)

Do you like decorating with wreaths?

Homemade Gak

Homemade Gak--only 3 ingredients and provides hours of fun.  Also a great gift or party favor!
This post originally appeared on Muddy Little Toes where I was previously a co-contributor.

A few months ago, my daughter decided that she no longer needed a daily nap.  It was a sad day for me.  Both my kids were taking naps at the same time everyday and I had all sorts of time to myself.  It was amazing!  But at 3.5 years old (at the time of the original post), she napped longer than a lot of kids I know.  While I miss my “me time”, it’s also been fun to have some one on one time with my daughter.  It’s also encouraged me to come up with some additional activities for her to do to keep her occupied for the extra hour or two besides coloring or stickers.  So when I found a recipe for some homemade Gak, I knew I had to try it out.

As a kid, I remember seeing commercials for Gak and wanting it so bad (along with every other kid my age)!  I wish I’d know how easy it was to make so I wouldn’t have spent $3 every time I wanted a new color or the one I had got all yucky.

When I started pulling out the ingredients I needed to make it, my daughter’s interest was immediately peaked and she climbed right up onto the chair next to the counter and wanted to know what we were making.  She wrinkled her nose when I told her, “Gak,” but I smiled and just told her to wait and see.

The prep for this activity is pretty simple and if you made the homemade bouncy balls I posted here a couple months ago, you will (most likely) have everything you need: borax, white glue, food coloring and water.

Homemade Gak--only 3 ingredients and provides hours of fun.  Also a great gift or party favor!

Start by pouring the glue into a bowl.  Then fill the glue container with warm water, shake it around, then pour it in with the glue.  Using a spoon, stir it around until it is mostly mixed together.

Homemade Gak--only 3 ingredients and provides hours of fun.  Also a great gift or party favor!

Add a few drops of food coloring.  The amount you use is totally up to you and depends on how bright you want the gak to be.  I used neon food coloring and liked how bright the color came out.  Mix the food coloring around with the glue/water mixture until mostly combined.  Don’t worry if it looks a little marbled, since the colors will finish combining during the final step.

Homemade Gak--only 3 ingredients and provides hours of fun.  Also a great gift or party favor!

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix 1/4 c. warm water with 1/2 tsp. borax and stir until the borax has dissolved.  Pour it into the glue mixture and stir.

Homemade Gak--only 3 ingredients and provides hours of fun.  Also a great gift or party favor!

As you stir, you’ll notice that the mixture will start to become stringy and thicken up and you won’t be able to stir it anymore.  Use your hands to squish it around.  After a few minutes, it becomes pretty gelatinous.

Homemade Gak--only 3 ingredients and provides hours of fun.  Also a great gift or party favor!

Now you’re ready to play!

I pulled out some plastic cookie cutters and let my daughter play around with cutting shapes and seeing how everything squishes back together.  She liked to just let the gak stretch out until it fell apart and then mashed it back together again.  We also gave some to my son (1.5 years old) and let him play with it too (with supervision so he wouldn’t eat it).  My husband even got in on the fun and pulled out some of his own “tricks” from when he was a kid like stretching it out and blowing bubbles in it and making “stinker” noises.  Such a boy.

Homemade Gak--only 3 ingredients and provides hours of fun.  Also a great gift or party favor!

Homemade Gak--only 3 ingredients and provides hours of fun.  Also a great gift or party favor!

Homemade Gak--only 3 ingredients and provides hours of fun.  Also a great gift or party favor!

Homemade Gak--only 3 ingredients and provides hours of fun.  Also a great gift or party favor!

I would have to say that this activity has been one of my favorites in terms of homemade play recipes that we’ve tried so far.  My kids loved it and so did the adults.  Definitely family friendly and it lets you play like a kid again, with a little bit of nostalgia thrown in!  This would also make a great birthday gift or party favor!

A couple of notes:

  • I think it important to let kids do as much as they can in any given project.  My daughter was able to do every part of this (except the food coloring) and it was fun to see her sense of accomplishment when she made “her” gak.  Obviously adult supervision is important and every kid is at their own level, but let them see how much they can do by themselves and you both might be surprised!
  • Even though we were careful, my kids still got some gak on their clothes.  I was a little worried that it wouldn’t come out, but I found that by scraping as much off with my fingernail as I could and then running it under very warm/hot water, again while using my fingernail to scrape at it, that it came out really well.  I can’t say this would work for all clothing but that is what helped me get it out.
Homemade Gak--only 3 ingredients and provides hours of fun.  Also a great gift or party favor!

Homemade Gak


  • 1/2 c. white glue (or one 4 oz bottle)
  • 1/2 tsp. borax
  • approx. 1/2 c. warm water
  • food coloring


  1. Pour the glue into a bowl.  Fill the glue container with warm water (about 1/2 c.), shake it around, then pour it in with the glue.  Using a spoon, stir it around until it is mostly mixed together.
  2. Add a few drops of food coloring.  (The amount you use is totally up to you and depends on how bright you want the gak to be.)  Mix the food coloring around with the glue/water mixture until mostly combined.  Don’t worry if it looks a little marbled, since the colors will finish combining during the final step.
  3. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix 1/4 c. warm water with 1/2 tsp. borax and stir until the borax has dissolved.  Pour it into the glue mixture and stir.
  4. As you stir, you’ll notice that the mixture will start to become stringy and thicken up and you won’t be able to stir it anymore.  Use your hands to squish it around.  After a few minutes, it becomes pretty gelatinous.
  5. Now you’re ready to play!

4 Reasons Why Your New Years Resolutions Are Going to Fail (and how to make sure that doesn’t happen)

4 Reasons Why Your New Years Resolutions Are Going to Fail (and how to make sure that doens't happen)

At the end of last year, I shared a few of my New Year’s Resolutions with you.  Changes I wanted to make in my life over the next year.  Some are goals with a deadline.  Others are characteristics I want to develop over my lifetime.  I have self improvement goals, relationship goals, academic goals, spiritual goals, physical goals, and so on.

I was doing a little research and found a recent study giving the statistics of the length of time a person maintains any given resolution.  (My nerd is starting to show, isn’t it?)  The study said that only 75% of resolutions are maintained through the first week, 71% past two weeks, 64% past one month and 46% past six months.

So here we are.  Three weeks into 2016.  How many of your resolutions made it past the two week mark?  All?  Some?  None?  Don’t beat yourself up if it’s less than what you’d like it to be.  I think it’s human nature to have the best of intentions when it comes to setting goals.  So why aren’t we able to achieve the goals we set?  I think it comes down to four reasons:

4 Reasons Why Your New Years Resolutions Are Going to Fail (and how to make sure that doens't happen)Failure to make a plan  Winston Churchill said that “he who fails to plan is planning to fail”.  Certain goals require us to build our skills or endurance.  If you have a goal to lose weight, for example, you would need to create a plan that would include a goal weight, an exercise program, diet changes, etc.  When you focus on the specifics and lay it all out for yourself, you are more likely to follow it because you know exactly what you need to do in order to accomplish your goal.

Failure to prioritize  One year, I was feeling really ambitious and set way too many goals for myself.  With so much to try and focus on, I couldn’t focus on anything and I became overwhelmed.  Ultimately, I looked at my list of goals and chose the ones that were the most important to me.  If you’ve run into this problem, review your list and see if you can’t narrow it down a little.

Failure to make yourself accountable  One of the best ways to fail at accomplishing a goal is to keep it to yourself.  On the flip side, one of the best ways to increase your likelihood of success is to tell others about it.  This makes you more accountable because at least one other person knows what you are trying to do and they can offer their support.  So choose someone you know will uplift you and support you in your goals.  The person might depend on the goal your trying to reach.  If you’re training for a marathon, telling someone whose done it before will be able to empathize with you when you’re having a bad day and celebrate with you as you grow and improve.

4 Reasons Why Your New Years Resolutions Are Going to Fail (and how to make sure that doens't happen)

Failure to set a deadline/make goals measurable  When we set deadlines for ourselves, accompanied with a plan for success, our goals suddenly become so much more attainable.  It also helps us see the progress we are making along the way and gives us encouragement to continue.  At first glance, some goals might not seem like they can have a deadline.  But if you think about it as stepping stones, then I think that most goals have a “deadline” of sorts.  Try and think about the goals you’ve set and see if there is a way that you can measure them.

For example, one of the goals I shared in my New Years Resolutions post was to be more charitable.  Part of my plan includes being more willing to give of my time and talents when they are asked of me and offering them when I see a need.  I eliminated the need to prioritize this particular goal from a big list because it is one that I already know is important to me.  I’ve made myself accountable to all of you by sharing my goal with you.  As for making my goal measurable, if I am striving to go out of my way to do a couple of charitable acts a week I can then check myself and see how I’m doing.  Once I’ve created a habit of doing at least two charitable acts, I can increase it to three.  Soon, my goals have become a habit and they are part of me.

I hope that if you made some new goals for the year that you will be able to succeed at them.  I also hope that if you haven’t made any new goals that you can think of a couple that you’d like to strive for.  Feel free to share here!  You’ll find support and encouragement.

What helps you achieve your goals?

How to Make a Chore Chart for Preschoolers

I’ve been thinking for a while now that I wanted to give my daughter some daily chores.  She’s turning 4 next week and it’s the beginning of a new year so it seemed like a great time to get a program going for her.

I started out by making a list of chores.  The easiest way to do this was to search for ‘age appropriate chores’ on Pinterest.  There are tons of charts that break it down by age that I found so it didn’t take long to make a list of my own.

Next I had to consider her development in terms of what she understands.  The best way for her to know what chores need to be done is by using a picture.  So I looked through my list of chores and thought of one picture that represented that chore (make your bed=bed, brush your teeth=toothbrush, etc).

The biggest challenge was deciding how to help her make sure she was getting her chores done each day.  In other words, what type of chore chart did I want to do?  What was going to make the most sense to a 4 year old?  I made a list of ideas and settled on something simple: a magnet board with accompanying sticker chart.

I researched a few options and the least expensive one I found was at Hobby Lobby for $8.99.  Throw a 40% off coupon on top of that and I only paid $5.39 for an 11×14 whiteboard/magnet board.  I already had magnets and clear glass accent gems (see picture in ‘how to make magnets’ section) on hand and knew I could find some simple clip art online for the chores.  I also decided to use stickers and vinyl to organize it into an easy-to-understand chart that I could always change up or take off completely if I decide to go in another direction later on.  Plus, using my trusty Silhouette would make the design a cinch!
I took my daughter with me to pick up the magnet board and let her choose some stickers for the days of the week.  My husband and I had told her a few days earlier that I was going to make her a chore chart so she was aware of what was coming.  Plus, I wanted her to be involved in the process as much as possible so it wasn’t just us saying, “here’s a chart that I made you with all the chores you have to get done every day”.  My daughter is one that likes to know what’s coming ahead of time so she can prepare herself.

Before we get any further, let me give you a list of supplies you’ll need to make your own chore chart:

  • Magnet board or whiteboard/magnet board, size of your choosing
  • Stickers for days of the week and child’s name
  • Magnets
  • Strong glue for gluing magnets to glass accent gems (I used Loctite GO2 Glue)
  • Inkssentials Glossy Accents clear adhesive (or similar)
  • Clear glass accent gems (I found mine at the dollar store)
  • Magnet paper (I used the Silhouette brand)
  • Vinyl
  • Cardstock
  • Printer 
  • Ruler

*Note: While I used my Silhouette for this project, it is not necessary to have one in order to make this chore chart.  I will make small notes in each step where you could tweak it if you don’t have a Silhouette machine.

Making the Chore Chart

When I got the magnet board home, I measured the magnet/whiteboard itself so that I could plug those numbers into my Silhouette design studio.  I found that while the entire board was 11×14, the usable part was only 9.5x 12.25.  Glad I measured!

I opened up my design software and inserted the dimensions of the board into the ‘design page settings’ so I could see the full size I was going to be working with.  Then I opened a new page and chose the ‘letter’ size.  I pulled the clip art I saved onto this page and sized it down to fit the approximate size of the clear glass accent gems (about 1.5″) and drew a circle around it.  (Without a Silhouette: Open a word program and pull clip art from online and size it to fit your accent gems.)

Then I made it into a print and cut file (check out this tutorial for more details) and sent it to my printer.  I loaded the paper into my Silhouette machine and changed the settings to cut out the circles around the images I just printed.  I pulled them off of the cutting board and set them aside.  (Without a Silhouette: Print images, trace a circle around them and cut out using scissors or circle punch.)

Next, I opened up the file with the dimensions of the magnet board to start laying it all out.  I decided to put the days of the week going down the left third of the board and two columns going down the remaining two-thirds for the done/not done chores.  In keeping with using images instead of words, I used an ‘X’ for the ‘not done’ column and a check mark for the ‘done’ column.  You can see my screen shot of the layout below.

Since I knew I was using stickers for the days of the week, I only needed to cut out the ‘X’ and the check mark.  I had recently used the Silhouette magnet sheets for a project and knew it would be perfect (check out this tutorial for more details).  I found an ‘X’ and check mark clip art online and moved the images onto my page and sized them according to my layout.  Then I moved them to a new page and cut them out using the same method as the tutorial I just referenced.  (Without a Silhouette: You can still use the magnet sheets, but you would need to cut the shapes out by hand.)

With all my cutting done, I grabbed the magnet board and my ruler to measure out a little more exactly where I wanted everything.  I used a dry erase marker to draw my lines out to my liking then I got the stickers for the days of the week and put them on the board. (Note: Make sure that you have enough letter stickers for the days of the week, otherwise you may end up having to go back to the store to buy more.)

I used my paper cutter to cut thin strips of vinyl to separate each section which made it look nice and clean.  Then I placed the ‘X’ and check mark at the top of each column.

Lastly, I used some other stickers I had on hand to put her name in the corner of the board.

Making the Magnets

To make the magnets, you will need:

  • Clear glass accent gems
  • Magnets
  • Chore images (printed and cut)
  • Strong glue (I used Loctite GO2 Glue)
  • Glossy Accents (or similar)

Lay out your chore images in front of you.  Look through the accent gems to find the ones that are mostly round and will cover the image.  I had to sort through a few to find the ones I liked.

Open the Glossy Accents and turn it upside down over a piece of scrap paper.  Do not shake it, as this will create bubbles.  Squeeze a little out to get the flow going and then squeeze a decent amount in the center of the paper.  Take your accent gem, flat side down, and place it over the top, pressing down slowly.  As you do this, the Glossy Accents will spread out underneath the accent gem.  If it oozes out the edges, just wipe it off and set it aside.

Repeat with the remaining gems.  Let dry 20-30 minutes.

When the Glossy Accents is dry, get your magnets and strong glue.  Place a small amount in the center of the magnet and then place it on the back of the gems/chore images.  Let dry overnight.

Sticker Chart/Reward System

The sticker chart is how we keep track of how many days she’s done all her chores each day.  If she gets everything done, she gets a sticker.  If not, no sticker for the day.  If there are chores that didn’t need to be done that day, they don’t count against her.  I made a simple chart in my Word program with rewards for every 10 stickers she gets.

10 stickers=treat or candy of her choice
20 stickers=toy from the dollar store
30 stickers=ice cream cone

For my daughter at age 4, these rewards are enough to motivate her, but you could easily change them to suit your own child’s interests.

How It’s Going So Far…

As I was putting my daughter’s chore chart together she kept asking me, “Is my chore chart ready?  Can I use it yet?”  I was happy to see her excitement as I made it for her and even more happy that she likes using it so far.  It’s only been 4 days but it’s encouraging nonetheless.  Each day she moves her ‘Today’ magnet to the current day (which also helps her learn the days of the week) and looks to see what chores she needs to do.  The fact that she knows exactly what’s expected of her and that she has control over moving the magnets to the ‘done’ column is something she really enjoys.  It’s a great visual for her.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and that your new chore chart works well for you!

What chore charts/systems have you liked using for your kids?

Guest Post: The Hungry Mom: Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole

**UPDATE: 12/20/16**  The Hungry Mom blog is no longer an active site.  All links to the site have been removed as per the owner’s request.

Hello! My name is Lindsay and I’m the author of The Hungry Mom blog. I have known Shani since I had the good fortune of being in the same 5th Grade class as her almost 2 decades ago. We quickly became best friends. She moved away before the school year was over, but we kept in touch by being great pen pals (I still have all her letters. She was a great writer even then). Luckily she was still in the same state, so we still were able to get together from time to time. She would spend a few days at my house every now and then and I would have a sleepover at her house.  We would also go on vacations with each other’s families. Shani moved back home when we were in high school and we were able to share an English class together and bond over our shared dislike of our teacher ;).  Here we are almost 20 years after we first met and still friends. Both of us with two adorable kids close in age. Its been a friendship that has endured through the ages!

I started my blog, The Hungry Mom, because I have recently become a self-published author and it was recommended you have one. I decided to utilize this blog to share almost everything in my life! I have lots of yummy recipes, my personal mommyhood advice and lots of other topics on my blog including fitness, depression, and more. It has become a wonderful outlet for me and a great way to share my story with “the world”.
Now to the Hungry Mom Breakfast Casserole Recipe:

I received a fabulous new Crock Pot Casserole Slow Cooker for Christmas! It’s neat because it is in the shape of a casserole dish and it is oven safe! I can’t wait to try lasagna in here. I looked through what seemed like THOUSANDS of recipes and decided which ones sounded the tastiest to this hungry mom :). This recipe I came up with is a hybrid of a recipe I found in my 12 Days of Christmas Six Sister Stuff cookbook and another one I found for Casserole Crock Pot Recipes along with a few twists of my own. It turned out really tasty!


  • 3 cups of croutons 
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 8 oz. of cream cheese cubed
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (I used a mixture of sharp and a colby jack blend)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup of whole milk
  • 1 Tb. olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 of an onion diced
  • 1/4 cup of diced green onions (optional, I threw them in last minute, You could also do some sliced grape tomatoes)
  • 1 Tb. of Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 12 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon

Oven Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325* F. Coat a 9 x 13 dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2.  Heat a skillet to medium high and coat with olive oil. Saute bell peppers and onions until golden.

3.  Spread the croutons evenly on the bottom of the prepared dish and drizzle the melted butter over them evenly. Place cubes of cream cheese throughout the croutons. Top with cheddar cheese.

4.  In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, milk, green peppers, onions, mustard, salt, and pepper until combined. Pour egg mixture over cheese in baking dish and sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Bake 40 minutes. Make sure eggs are set and cheese is all melted through.

Crockpot Directions:

1.  Spray Crockpot or Casserole crock Pot dish with nonstick spray.

2.  Evenly spread the croutons on the bottom, drizzling the melted butter over the top. Next spread cubes of cream cheese throughout and then top with shredded cheese.

3.  In a medium skillet saute peppers and diced onions (not the green onions) over medium high heat until golden.

4.  Whisk together eggs, milk, green pepper and onions, green onions, mustard, salt, and pepper until combined. Pour egg mixture over the cheese and sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

5.  Cook on high for about 2 and 1/2 hours until eggs are set and cheese is melted.The cream cheese may not be melted, but will be soft and warm and delicious :).

I brought this dish to my niece’s homecoming brunch. I was able to cook it at home before we left and then I stopped at my sister’s house to plug it in before going to church to hear her talk. It was nice to plug it in and set it to warm! When all the guests went to my sister’s house after, it was ready to eat and it was eaten extremely quickly! I think that makes it a winner!

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you’ll stop by my blog sometime: You can also follow me on Instagram by searching for thehungrym0m (that’s a zero for the o) or by liking and following my facebook page

If you missed hearing from Shani today, she posted on my blog today with some amazing ways for your kids to play with paint!

Top 10 Posts of 2015

Top 10 Posts of 2015

Sunshine and Munchkins has been up and running for almost three months now and it’s been so much fun for me!  Lots of hard work and time, but I’ve loved being able to share my posts with you and hear from you as well.  As we begin a new year, I thought it would be fun to show you what my top 10 posts were for 2015!

Top 10 Posts of 2015

10. My FAVORITE Roll and Cut Cookies–The title says it all, but these really are my favorite cookies to make when using a cookie cutter.  They keep their shape, taste yummy and are so easy to make!  Be sure to save this recipe and use it for any holiday or event you want to decorate cookies for.  (Which is pretty much all of them, right?)

Top 10 Posts of 2015

9. 25 Easy Neighbor Gifts–Neighbor gifts aren’t just for the holidays.  They are great to drop by any time of year, for any reason.

Top 10 Posts of 2015

8. Traditions I’m Starting This Christmas–My family LOVED the traditions we started last year!  I’m excited to add some new ones this year.

Top 10 Posts of 2015

7. DIY No-Sew Burlap Table Runner with Tassels–Burlap is so versatile and this no-sew table runner has been part of my holiday decor for the last 3 months because it’s so darn cute.  Definitely one of my favorite and easiest projects I’ve ever done.

Top 10 Posts of 2015

6. Traditions I’m Starting This Thanksgiving–If you didn’t get a chance to see our Thankful Tree and Book of Thanks we did for Thanksgiving last year, be sure and check it out.  My family loved doing both of them and we will be continuing the traditions for years to come.

Top 10 Posts of 2015

5. Gift Guide: Men–So many of my friends and family have told me they struggle with coming up with gift ideas for the men in their life, so I compiled a HUGE list!  This is a great list for birthdays, Christmas, anniversary and Father’s Day.

Top 10 Posts of 2015

4. Gift Guide: Parents and Grandparents–Just like men can be hard to buy for, parents and grandparents are too because in many cases, they can just go out and purchase anything they might want or need.  Check out this list for a bunch of great ideas for birthdays, Christmas, anniversary and Mother’s Day/ Father’s Day.

Top 10 Posts of 2015

3. 23 Free Thanksgiving Coloring Pages and Activities–Lots of waiting goes on during Thanksgiving break and Thanksgiving Day.  Why not print off some coloring and activity pages to keep your kids hands busy while the food cooks (and maybe yours too!)?  Pin it now and print it out in November.  (Or October if you’re Canadian.)

Top 10 Posts of 2015

2. 6 Simple Ways to “Halloween-ify” Your Home–Besides including a cute, free printable for you, I also give 5 more easy ways you can decorate your home for Halloween without spending a lot of money.

And the #1 most popular post in 2015…

Top 10 Posts of 2015

1. Awesome Non-Candy Alternatives for Halloween–I was so excited that so many people liked this post!  As much fun as candy is on Halloween, I think that providing non-candy alternatives is a great option.  One person told me that they were specifically thanked by a family for providing something different than candy for their children.  I love hearing stories like that.  But don’t limit yourself to Halloween with this post.  Valentine’s Day is coming up and you could use many of these same suggestions for your children to give out to their friends.

Thank you so much to everyone who has read, commented, shared, liked and pinned my posts!  It means a lot.  I’m excited for 2016 and what it will bring!

What types of posts would you like to see more of this year?

"Mom, will you be my friend?"

“Mom, will you be my friend?”

I looked away from what I was doing and down at my daughter, nearly four years old.  She was holding her Belle tea set in her hands and looking up at me hopefully.

“I am your friend, sweetie.”  I told her.

“But Mom, you aren’t playing with me.  Will you be my friend?

How many times are we in the middle of something and when our children try to get our attention, we wave them off?  Tell them to go play.  Suggest they find a sibling.  Go read a book.  Watch a show.  None of these are bad suggestions in and of themselves.  But how often do we stop and give them our full attention?  For myself, I know I could improve.  Sometimes I get so concerned with multi-tasking and checking things off my list, that I don’t notice what my kids are doing until they are getting into something they aren’t supposed to.  And then what’s my knee-jerk reaction?  To tell them to stop.  Stop arguing, fighting, annoying each other, etc.

“Mom, will you be my friend?”

And what about the times when I do go and play with them?  Is my attention still divided between what needs doing, or checking Facebook, rather than getting involved with my kids?  I hate to admit it, but probably at least 50 percent of the time I’m playing with my kids I have my cell phone in hand or nearby.  Is there any phone call, text or post that is more important than taking a little time out of my day to be their friend?  See life through their eyes?

“Mom, will you be my friend?”

What am I teaching my daughter and my son when I ignore their requests–to play with them, draw a picture, have a tea party, make Play-Doh food, run around in the yard, jump on the trampoline–in favor of something else that doesn’t have to be done right that minute?  I don’t mean that I feel the need to stop what I’m doing every time my kids want me to play because, let’s face it, I really wouldn’t get anything done and there’s value in having them learn to play with each other or entertain themselves for a while.  But when they do ask, I need to ask myself: “How long has it been since I connected with my child?  A couple hours?  Five minutes ago?”

“Mom, will you be my friend?” 

My daughter was asking me for a little bit of my undivided attention in the best way she knew how.  And I could either keep doing whatever I was doing at the moment, or stop and play with her for a little while.  Thinking back, I have no clue what I was doing anyway.  I might have been on the computer or doing dishes or laundry.  It doesn’t really matter.  What mattered in that moment was how I decided to respond to my daughter’s request: I decided to be her friend.