Thursday, July 25, 2013

I think you OTTER KNOW how great Otter Pops are!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Jel Sert for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I guess the heat wave has officially hit nationwide. What are you doing to keep you and your kiddos cooled off for the summer?!? Frozen treats are a staple at our place this time of year. Popsicles are such an easy treat to satisfy my kids sweet tooth. Have you ever had an Otter Pop. These simple yet ingenius popsicles are reasonably priced, low calorie, and they contain real fruit juice. Let me be honest. I love them too! I find popsicles are great in pregnancy to soothe an upset stomach. (Sounds like an I mean it!)
We have so many reward systems around our house, in order to help motivate the kids to be good helpers. I prefer not to always give them money for extra chores, so I came up with a new system around our house (camper). I took a bunch of Otter Pops and labeled them with things like pick up toys, wipe the dinner table, help Dad, etc. Now my boys can pick a popsicle, do the extra little chore, and earn a sweet treat for their help. They have had so much fun helping me come up with ideas to earn popsicles. I just used a sharpie marker to write on the outside of the plastic package before I froze them. It is soooo much harder to write on them otherwise. I also let the kids decorate some of the Otter Pops with sharpies, because they are a little too young to write many words themselves.

We copied some of the characters from the Otter Pop Stars. You can check them out at There are videos, activities, and more! My little ones liked Poncho. Whose your kids favorite star?
Join me in liking Otter Pops on Facebook. I think by now you OTTER KNOW how great Otter Pops are!
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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mommy and Me Date Gift Set

While trying to decide on a gift for my best friend, and my son's best friend, whose birthdays are a few days apart, I elected for a joint gift. I made a basket full of Mommy and Me date nights that I hoped they would both enjoy. The gift basket included 5 date nights for Mom and son.

Mommy and Me Date Nights!

I kind of wished I had made a duplicate gift for my boys and I with date nights when I was done. We could really use some good excuses to get out of our camper we are living in right now! Funny story. After 5 days of rain in Texas, I drove up beside the camper to park on the land as usual. I quickly realized my tires were not moving smoothly any more. I attempted to begin backing up without success. I was stuck in the mud!! Finally, after quite some effort, and a little panic, I managed to avoid hitting the camper and our current water line. It was a close one according to these tire tracks.

I was so afraid to go back, I drove off to stay somewhere else for the night. My boys were so confused as I drove off. "MOM!" After my luck lately, I was not going to chance finding a safe spot to park, where I could actually leave early in the morning for work again. I accepted my defeat calmly. Plan B. Ok, now on to the date nights.

Date Night 1: Bake some brownies with me!
(Brownie mix and a new spatula)

Date Night 2: Take me to the movies
(Movie tickets and some candy treats to bring along)

Date Night 3: Ice cream and coloring
(Gift card to buy ice cream at Dairy Queen, coloring book, and new crayons)

Date Night 4: Buy some flowers and plant them together
(Garden gloves, small hand shovel, and money to buy flowers)

Date Night 5: Fly a kite, blow some bubbles, and use glow sticks in the swimming pool after dark!
(Beach bag, kite, bubbles and glow sticks)

I hope they enjoyed the gift!!
P.S. I didn't have a fancy way to make the tags. I googled images for chevron print. I cut and pasted the image in Microsoft Word and then typed the text over the chevron image. It was super easy and it did not require a fancy program.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dinosaur Book Box: Dinosaur Games, Activities and Reading Fun

I finally completed another book box to trade out. This one was themed Dinosaurs. Roar! I spent a total of $10 making this one. As I've mentioned before, I sort through my books and find a theme I think the kids would like. I obviously had plenty of dinosaur books! Then I looked through the scholastic catalog and ordered six Dinosaur books that were $1 each to share. As luck would have it, I found these awesome dinosaur sandwich cutters on sale for 70% off at Target this weekend. Every child will get one of those too! 


Book Box Contents 

·         Dooley Makes Friends

(Please let your family keep one of these or the Dinosaur Dig for your book collection)

·         Dino stuffed animal reading buddy

·         Dinosaur Dig by Jan and Mike Berenstain

(Please let your family keep one of these or Dooley Makes Friends for your book collection)

·         Dinosaurumpus by Tony Milton

·         Curious George and the Dinosaur by Margret and H.A. Reyes

·         My Little Dinosaur by Ilse-Margret Vogel

·         Dinosaur Bones by Bob Barner

·         Joe and Betsy the Dinosaur by Lillian Hoban

·         Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff

·         Dinosaurs by Teresa O’Brien

·         How to Draw Dinosaurs

·         Ten Little Dinosaurs by Pattie Schnetzler

·         The Flinstones: Dino Gets a Job

·         What Comes Next Dinosaur Activity Sheet for scissor and pattern practice

·         Dinosaur foam puzzle or wooden puzzle depending on the age appropriateness

·         Dinosaur sandwich cutter (Have a fun dinosaur themed lunch and keep one for your family!)

·         Dinosaur Grow Capsules (Perfect for bathtime)

·         Paleontologist Notebook: Let your little one learn a little about dinosaurs and fossils with their personalized notebook 
This notebook is about 12 pages I created of fun activities. I would be happy to share it if you email me!

·         Consider making some binoculars out of toilet paper rolls for your little paleontologist

·         Dinosaur Egg: Handle with care. You can spray them with vinegar for a fun reaction or just let them crack open their individual egg with any tools on hand. (They easily dissolve or clean off with water) 


Dino Egg: Mix baking soda and water + black dye (or icing)
I have seen many different recipes for this...but this one was super easy and fast.

Form mix around dinosaurs.

I think they look so fun! Fragile: Handle with care!

·         Have fun! Make sure everything on this list is returned to the book box for the next child.

·         Let me know when you have worn out your book box and we will trade. I am hoping to trade about every 3 weeks and just meet up with you. Thanks! Michelle


Friday, July 5, 2013

DIY Egg Carton Fire Starters for Camping, Fireplace, and More

We are officially moved into the camper and out of our old house. This is our second week of camping bliss. Yes...I am lying. It has been...edited adventure! We borrowed the camper from a sweet cousin, but it had not been used in a while, and it had a few problems. First there was a hose leak, and we didn't have water inside for about 4 days. Then we found a gas leak, and we did not have hot water for another 3 days. 7 1/2 months pregnant (A 5 year old, 3 year old, and a husband) without water or without hot water is NOT paradise. At least they have started building our new house. I am pretty sure this will lead to some funny stories years from now but I might be lacking a little humor at this point! (I'm laughing thinking about it though)

In the meantime, I made some really cool fire starters.


I have to say I learn so much from my patients. One of the best parts of my job as a nurse is talking to people. I meet the most interesting patients that I have to credit for teaching me a wide variety of things. One day, I had a patient that was a retired firefighter. I am not sure how we got on the topic, but we began discussing fires and ways to make fire starters. He explained to me this simple process for making homemade fire starters out of candle wax, sawdust, and cardboard egg cartons.
My husband was very skeptical the first time I used one of these little homemade fire starters. I placed one under the logs of our fire pit, and lit it on fire. Within minutes, even with quite a strong wind, our fire was ablaze. I made a quick believer out of him! I have to admit...I was quite amazed myself at the power of one little egg carton fire starter.
Old candles
Old pot
Tin can
Egg cartons (cardboard)
Step 1: Fill egg cartons with sawdust 

Step 2: Melt old candle wax. I rigged a pot of boiling water with a clamp and a tin can to melt the wax in.
Step 3: Pour the candle wax in each egg carton compartment.
Step 4: When the wax is cool, tear apart each section, to create an individual fire starter.
Trust me...these things are amazing. It takes only 1 to start your average fire!

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