Festive Fourth of July Recipes

The Fourth of July is the perfect reason to bring together friends and family for a good old-fashioned backyard barbecue.  Celebrating our independence is a pretty good reason to gather 'round the picnic table, too!  Today I'm going to give you eleven recipes {or how-to's} that are as delicious as they are beautiful.Let's start with a few beautiful appetizers./1/ Patriotic Dip - Turn your ordinary dip dish into a festive masterpiece with just a few simple steps./2/ Summer Fruit Wands - While your guests wait on their juicy cheeseburger to come off of the grill serve them these super fun Fruit Wands!/3/ Cheesy Star Chips - These are easy and cute! Add a dish of salsa for dipping to complete this appetizer. Moving on to the main course, shall we?/4/ Aloha Burgers - … [Read more...]

Easy Fourth of July Crafts for the Entire Family

In most areas around the country school is out for summer. For me, when school is out I need lots of activities to keep the idle hands of my little ones busy. What better way to do that than to decorate your home with red, white and blue!? After all, the Fourth of July is right around the corner!Today you'll find a craft for all ages. And ALL in preparation for our nation's Independence Day!/1/ Pop Rocks Marshmallow Pops - Pop Rocks were such a fun candy when I was a kid! Who am I kidding? I still love them! Combining Pop Rocks and marshmallows just seems genius. See for yourself!/2/ Hidden Flag Cake - Don't be intimidated by it's complicated appearance. This Flag Cake is really simple. What's more? Ice this cake with plain white icing, light some sparklers on top {like … [Read more...]

The SMART Back to Basics Summer Project. Bring it ON!

I’ve spoken to hundreds of moms and everyone seems to have the same complaint. How do we get our kids off electronics and back to basics? How do we teach them to connect with people on a deeper level? How do we teach them to search for a solution using their minds and not just with a push of a button?Sometimes I just want to shout, “Stop looking down and take the time to look up, connect and enjoy the moment.” I am determined to teach them the amazing benefits of life unplugged!And voila, that inspired me to set up my summer of getting back to basics plan begins! It’s time to look up, connect and experience real feelings, real emotions, real people, real nature – everything REAL and NOTHING electronic.I’m calling it 'My SMART Back to Basics Summer Project'. The goal is to … [Read more...]

Rise and Shine with Wholesome Choices!

This post was Sponsored by ShopRite but the opinions are all my own. Looking for healthy food choices?I always tell my kids that breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. With our busy lives, it’s tempting to skip breakfast. STOP! Don’t do it. Instead, find ways to fill your pantry and refrigerator with wholesome choices that make breakfast easy and nutritious!ShopRite is the perfect store to help you fill that pantry with oh so yummy healthy choices. First off, did you know that ShopRite has launched a private label called Wholesome Pantry? It’s fantastic! It has a mix of organic and non-organic frozen, private, dairy and snack products. Everything has no artificial additives flavors or preservatives. The organic foods are USDA certified organic … [Read more...]

5 Reasons to Color and Create with Your Kids!

Ah, the power of the great box of crayons and the ordinary act of coloring! Is there anything better than watching your children doodle and create. Coloring is not just a way to occupy the kiddos but also a great way to teach valuable lessons and so much more. Here’s what I have come up with as my top benefits to coloring:Unleash CreativityWhether it is a blank piece of paper or a coloring page, it’s a chance to get the creative juices flowing! An opportunity to see what you can make with your kids or to challenge them to create on their own. There're no rules. No limits. Only a piece of paper as a starting point and then you choose your direction. Your kids will eventually even learn that they can map out a plan as they decide colors and the order.Teach Valuable … [Read more...]

5 DIY Chore Charts for Kids

Every year I feel the need to re-assess the current chore assignments, or the chore charts, in our home. With five kids, if done correctly, our family could have a tidy home on a daily basis.  Of course, I keep all of our chores age appropriate. My twelve-year-old does things like cleaning the bathrooms and starting laundry, where as my seven-year-old works on his bedroom or sweeping off the back porch. I also don't want to overwhelm them. Each child has 1-2 chores per day.In the last couple of weeks, I've been on the lookout for a chore chart that would be both easy to follow AND fun for the kids. I've come across a few that I think are both practical and fun. I think you'll agree./1/ Family Photo Magnetic Chore Chart - Create magnet tags with chores and place them on or near the … [Read more...]