5 Charities Kids Can Help With

If you’re a parent who wants to teach your kids the concept of giving and how vitally important this is as a part of society, then you should continue reading this article. There are many ways kids can learn to give back to others in their community. Today, I am sharing 5 charities that your kids can help with; some ideas are perfect for the whole family to be a part of.

5 Charities Your Kids Can Help With

St. Jude

Kids can raise money by hosting a bake sale or having their own lemonade stand. A community yard sale is another great way kids can help to raise funds for this charity. Monies raised can be donated to this charity that’s mission is to find the cure for childhood cancer.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand

Speaking of a lemonade stand, this charity helps kids set up their own stand and in turn, all proceeds are donated to help find a cure for childhood cancer. Register for a lemonade stand and they can receive an event kit which helps to ensure they are able to host a successful charitable lemonade stand.

Habitat for Humanity

This charity encourages kids to be involved in creating art for homeowners that’s then incorporated into the homes they build for families. In addition, kids can collect non-perishable foods for those being helped by this charity.


This is a charity that builds playgrounds and similar structures all over to ensure that playtime is brought back into the lives of kids. Your kids can help this charity by researching any local areas that Kaboom may be able to help near you and in turn, your kids can assist in the building of the playgrounds.

Homeless Shelters

Lastly, there are many homeless shelters around the world these days. These shelters provide food and drink to those who have no home.  You and your kids can take time out of your day once a month to volunteer at these shelters to give back to your local community.

Learning to give back at a young age will instill the habit and tradition of helping with charities and always giving back to others in need. While some charities won’t involve kids at a higher level, even the smallest contribution your kids can make to a charitable organization is well worth it. This life skill is a necessary part of ensuring we’re raising well-rounded kids who grow up to be a positive member of society.

Cotton Candy Slime Recipe

This Cotton Candy Slime Recipe is an easy peasy slime that uses liquid starch and not a bit of borax. These lovely pastel colors will have you dreaming of cotton candy, unicorns, fairies, and all things princess.  Find out how to make cotton candy slime by scrolling down.  This post contains affiliate links.

Cotton Candy Slime DIY

To make this cotton candy slime you’ll need:

  • White school glue – I buy glue by the gallon on Amazon.  Tiny bottles make small batches and slime is so addicting.  Go ahead and get the gallon size.  Trust me, you’ll thank me later.  You can find gallons of glue in stores but with the popularity slime has seen recently it’s getting harder and harder to find.
  • Liquid starch – This is another thing that has been increasingly hard to find so I order it with the glue online.
  • Paint – I uses Deco Art Americana Acrylic Paint in Lavender and Flamingo.
  • – 2 separate bowls (or red solo cups but I prefer bowls)
  • – 2 spoons (or wooden craft sticks but I prefer regular kitchen spoons)


Cotton Candy Slime

A FEW QUICK SLIME REMINDERS BEFORE WE GET STARTED MAKING SLIME: Slime is a science project.  It can be absolutely fun to do with kids and teach them about the bonding process that’s happening.  …but because it’s a science it is a little messy and requires patience.  Take your time, experiment with different amounts and you’ll have wonderful cotton candy slime.  Also, don’t let the name fool you, this slime is NOT edible.  Do not eat it.  Please make sure children are supervised and don’t allow children to play with it that may put it in their mouths.

You’ll want to mix each color in it’s separate bowl.

Pour approx 2 cups of white glue into each bowl.  You don’t have to measure it, just guesstimate.  Use as much glue as you want to have slime.

Purple Slime

Add your paint.  Mix.

Making Purple Slime

I know you don’t need a visual of mixing the paint but I just love how pretty this step is!  Once mixed if the color isn’t what you desire, add more.

Slime Process

Once you have your colors just like you want them to be you can move onto the starch.  Please note that spray starch is not the same thing as the liquid version.  Use liquid starch.  Pour in approximately 2-3 Tablespoons and stir.

Personal Tip: I find that big jug of starch hard to control so to avoid pouring too much I pour a small amount into a small bowl and spoon out tablespoons full as needed.  It makes life easier for this clumsy person so I’m sharing in case any of you can relate. 🙂

Stir your mixture for a few minutes to get it all mixed up then take it out and begin kneading it with your hands.

Pink Slime

If it’s still incredibly sticky and is sticking to your fingers add a little more starch.  This is another reason I like to pour the starch into a bowl!  The bowl makes it easy to dip my slime into, knead a little, dip, knead, dip, knead, etc.  Once you get the consistency you like you are golden!

Purple Slime Play

Slime is such a great sensory activity for kids!

Mixing Slime Colors

Mixing Slime Tip: Don’t mix all of your pink and purple up at once.  Mix the slime in smaller batches to enjoy the activity longer.  I’ve found that it’s fun for kids to get to experience the colors mixing and melding over and over…or maybe you just want to have a set of colors to mix for yourself along with your kids!

Mixing Pink and Purple Slime

Look how fun!

Cotton Candy Slime Recipe

I hope you and yours enjoy making slime together as much as my family does.

Cotton Candy Slime

Cotton Candy DIY

Pink and Purple Slime DIY

Do you love this homemade slime recipe and want to see more?

Ocean Waves Slime

Try this Ocean Slime Recipe!


Safe Driving Tips for Teens

Safe Driving Tips for Teens

It’s is a known fact that teenage drivers account for more cat accidents than folks in any other age group.  Here are 5 tips that can help keep your teen safe while on the road.  This post is brought to you by Kingbgmc.com.

1.) Choose a Safe Car

When looking for a new (to us) car I cared about the safety of the of the car first and foremost.  Check the crash safety record before you look into the latest features.  As a side note, this is a great thing to do with car seats too.  You want a car with the latest anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and air bags.  The new back up cameras are a nice feature too but it wouldn’t be on my must have list.

2.) Put Down Your Cell Phone Off

There are studies that relate driving with a cell phone (even hands-free) to driving drunk.  That’s awful.  Distracted driving is  dangerous for anyone and increasingly so for new drivers who need to concentrate.

3.) Don’t Text (Even voice to text)

An average text takes 5 seconds to type and send.  That seems quick enough, right?  Wrong. Even if only traveling at 55 mph, that would take your care the the length of an entire football field without looking at the road.  A lot can go wrong in those few seconds.

Studies have found that voice to text can be just as dangerous.  AAA released a study that confirmed this. They said, “as mental workload and distractions increase, reaction time slows, brain function is compromised, drivers scan the road less and miss visual cues, potentially resulting in drivers not seeing items right in front of them including stop signs and pedestrians.”

4.) Obey the Speed Limit

This seems like a given, right?  Speeding is a major contributor to teen accidents.  This is especially true in unfamiliar areas or when there is a lot of traffic.  Even if everyone is speeding by, keep a safe speed.  It can not only keep you safer but will help you avoid costly tickets and sky rocketing auto insurance premiums.

5.) Minimize Distractions

Being a distracted driver is possible even if you leave your phone in your bag.  Drinking (anything), eating, playing with the radio, can all cause your mind or vision to wander.  Try and arrive somewhere a few minutes early if you need to reapply your make up, eat your lunch, or whatever else you’re tempted to do in the car.  Chances are, whatever it is you’re doing, isn’t worth risking your life for.

There you have it, 5 tips to help you stay focused and safe on the road.

How to Encourage Good Hygiene Habits in Children

Encouraging good hygiene habits in children can prove to be somewhat difficult. As you may have experienced, some children are wonderful about brushing their teeth, flossing, and using a mouth rinse while other children can give you a hard time about this whole process. If you are one of the many parents with a child who simply cannot stand brushing their teeth, then these tips should help create fewer headaches and better hygiene habits for your child.

How to Encourage Good Hygiene Habits in Children

Start with Basics

Good hygiene habits for children cover more than just brushing their teeth. Items like hand washing, taking showers or baths on a regular basis and being good about flossing are among some of the good hygiene habits a parent must teach a child to do on a regular basis. If your child is struggling with this area in life, start with the basics. Consider hand washing and brushing teeth as your top two basics to start with. Have your child sing happy birthday as they wash their hands. Get a sand timer for teeth brushing time, have our child place it upside down and brush until the sand runs out.

Be the Example

I am sure some parents may be tired of hearing that one option to get any child to do anything is to lead by example. As much as you hear it over and over again during the journey in parenthood, it’s so true. Your children will learn best and have good hygiene habits if you’re setting the example. Take the lead in teeth brushing and hand washing by doing these important hygiene habits with your kids. This helps them see the length of time and how often one should truly be completely proper hygiene tasks.

Explain the Importance

Children usually want to understand the why behind various tasks and habits they must develop in life. While you may be sick of answering the why question all of the time, it’s actually pretty important to explain things to your child. If your child hesitates to practice good hygiene then it’s time to have a sit down to chat about why they must take good care of their body and health. Discuss how sickness and itchy skin or yellow teeth would ultimately lead to extra doctor visits instead of play time, etc. You’ll know the right way to explain the importance of good hygiene to your children in a way that encourages them to be better about taking good care of themselves.

There you have it a few ways you can encourage good hygiene habits in children. Each of these three tips when combined should help make the teeth brushing, shower time, and hand washing time be stress-free and more fun as time goes on.

Merry Christmas! 2018

Merry Christmas

From my family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!!

(I’m sorry for all the watermarks, I just don’t like a lot of unmarked pictures of my kids online)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

How to Pack a Winter Car Emergency Kit

Free National Park Pass for Fourth Graders

This National Park Pass post is brought to you by Thompson Chrysler Dodge Jeep and may contain affiliate links.

Free National Park

I just learned about this National Park Pass freebie and I can’t wait to share it with you!!  If you have a fourth grader or a child who will soon be one you’ll want to pull out your maps (or iphone app), pack the car, and gas it up to hit the road.  America’s National Parks system wants kids to get outdoors and to explore the beauty that our great country has to offer. Through the Every Kid In a Park initiative all American fourth graders are invited to sign up for a free National Parks pass.

Sign Up!

Parents can sign up their fourth graders for a free pass on the Every Kid In a Park website by clicking here. The pass is good for entry into every one of the hundreds of National Parks, as well as monuments, across the country for one year, expiring Aug. 31, 2019. The pass will not only cover the fourth graders but also any kids in their family that are under the age of 16 and up to three adult family members.  Isn’t that incredible?  I want to plan a road trip across the country!  It’s a good thing my daughter has a few years before she’s in the fourth grade. 🙂  All you have to do is sign up, print out your pass, and bring it along to show to a park ranger.  Easy peasy!

Loving Nature

Embracing Nature

I’ve been entrenched in the book, The Last Child in the Woods this year.  I’ve read and reread it, shared quotes from it with friends, and made my husband read parts.  It’s so very good!  I’ve always been a big lover of nature but this book made me appreciate it even more.  I want to instill in my children a love of the outdoors and visiting National Parks is a great way to do so!

The Perfect Age

I was curious why it was fourth graders and not second grade or first grade.  According to research, kids from ages nine to eleven really begin to observe the world around them.  They’re the ones most likely to be open to new experiences and to connect with nature.  Who knew?  This program is repeated every year so everyone will eventually be able to take advantage of this generous offer.

If you have a fourth grader and want to travel (who doesn’t like to travel?) you should definitely check out the  Every Kid In a Park website to get your own National Park Pass…and then tell your friends so everyone can take advantage!

If you need a new vehicle that is up to the challenge of a big road trip visit Thompson Chrysler Dodge Jeep for help finding a new ride.

Why Legos are Great for Kids

This is NOT a sponsored post but it contains affiliate links.  I just love LEGOs and wanted to talk about them. 🙂

Why Legos are Great for Kids

Legos were created in Demark in 1932.  These stackable interlocking colorful pieces of plastic quickly won over parent’s hearts across the globe. Fun fact: the name Lego is derived from the Danish phrase “leg godt”, which means “play well.”  These simple little plastic pieces have since expanded to become the brand most parents know, love, and hate to step on!  Lego bricks have grown from a random package of colorful interlocking bricks (which were great on their own) to fabulous model kits where you can create extensive models for collecting. No matter what type of Lego bricks your child loves most, there’s one thing for sure: Legos are fantastic for child development. Here are the top five reasons why I feel Lego’s are great for kids.

Wash Legos

– Legos Grow With Your Child

I hate buying a toy that I know my child will discard by next year or will find babyish in a few years.  Legos aren’t like that.  They will be something kids will play with for years and years and years.  Legos have dominated the toy industry for creative kids and parents everywhere. Allowing your kids to own their own Legos from toddler years and beyond will inspire loads of family fun time.  Plus, it’s a toy that won’t get broken or too dirty!  All you have to do is grab a laundry bag and toss them in the dishwasher.  (You can buy the laundry bag set shown above here)

Lego Figures

– Teaches Color, Shapes, & Letters

Legos are a great tool for parents of younger kids as a means to teach color recognition. These fun stackable bricks that can be interconnected in so many ways arrive in a wide range of colors which can easily help any parent teach their kids about colors.  The simple sets of Legos even come with kits (plan books? I’m not sure the right term) for building objects of different colors!  (The set above can be purchased here)  With the bright colored blocks, kids’ attention will be easily attracted to learn colors and shapes using Legos as the tool.  My kids know their colors, shapes, and alphabet now but they still enjoy writing messages out in Legos.

Lego Star Wars Set

– Improve Fine Motor Skills

Whether you’re raising a toddler or a child with special needs, there comes a time when you need to figure out a fun way to improve the fine motor skills of your kids. Legos are the perfect option for a child on the spectrum, a toddler, or anyone who has a learning disability that keeps them from developing fine motor skills naturally. Legos help improve those skills in a fun and low stress way.  Also, a quick search on Pinterest for “Lego fine motor skills” will pull up approximately a bazillion ideas for using Legos in other ways for strengthening fine motor skills (writing letters in Play Doh using Legos, etc).  For older kids who want to practice fine motor skills or just want a really cool Lego set I highly recommend the Star Wars set pictured above.  You can buy it on Amazon here.  My friend’s son had it and I was amazed at all the compartments that opened up and the detail included.  It was impressive!  The sets are a great way to get older kids to sit down and focus on something for more than a few minutes.

– Encourages Creativity

Kids are known to have a creative mind from day one. With each new experience, that creativity can be expanded to grow or diluted. Legos are a great way to encourage that creativity within kids without much effort. You can use Legos to help encourage your kids’ creative side as they work to build Lego models or a creative masterpieces from scratch.  My kids aren’t into the super fancy structures (yet) but they love to create an imaginary world for their other playthings to venture into.  They don’t have any little Lego people yet and I’m quite happy with that because this way they feel free to incorporate many of their other toys into their imaginative play.

Twister Game

There you have it!  There is my short list of reasons why Legos are great for kids.  Regardless of your age, Legos are a great way to encourage sharing, connecting, and bonding, which is truly the biggest reasons why I love having Legos in our home.  Family time can’t be beat.  I remember when my son was too young to play with Legos he loved sorting the pieces in the kit for his daddy to put together.  We happened to get a Twister game for Christmas that year so that’s what he used to sort them on.  Each circle had a different color of blocks.  It wasn’t meant to be a permanent idea but it worked so well that we get the Twister mat out each time we sort through a Lego kit.  It helps keep the Legos contained too so I’m all for it.  Happy Lego building!!


You may also be interested in:

5 Tips for Storing Legos

How to Save Money Buying Legos

Gift Guide for Book Lovers

This post contains affiliate links.

Book Lovers

I adore books!  I love the feel of one in my hands, how they can transport me to a new place or a new way of thinking, enjoying different writing styles, and I last but not least I love how they pique my interest and make me desire to learn new things.  I’ve always enjoyed reading but since having my daughter learn to read I’ve found a new love for it.  Together my daughter and I have enjoyed scouring old book sales to look for the classics (e.g. Heidi, The Secret Garden), old children’s encyclopedias (e.g. Childcraft and Little Golden Encyclopedia), and old series’ that we can delve into together (Betsy Tracy, The Bobbsey Twins).  We’re building our home library of living books one book at a time and I couldn’t enjoy it more.

Because books are always on my mind lately, I thought a gift guide for book lovers would be fitting.  Do you love books as much as I do or know someone who is?  If so, I hope this gift guide will help you in your search for the perfect gift!

Library Embosser

1. Want to leave your mark on your books in a classy way?  Look no further than this personalized library embosser on Amazon ($32.99).


Book Darts

Book Darts Bookmark

2. Book Darts are where it’s at!  If you want to mark your place or several passages you liked in a book without worrying about creasing the pages or hurting the binding you’ll want to grab a tin or two of these.  They’re metal, fit snuggly, and make retrieving past material a breeze.  I’ve tried a few and the Book Darts brand is worth the few extra pennies.  For under $11 on Amazon you get 125 darts.


Book Thong

3. Book Thongs.  Oh, how I dislike the name but it is descriptive and I love these too much not to include them.  The thin string fits well in between the pages without much bulk and the pretty beads on the end make me feel fancy. 🙂  You can make this gift yourself or buy the handmade one pictured above from a crafter on Amazon for under $9 shipped.

Page Anchors

4. Page Anchors are a great way to read hands free.  They’re great for cook books too!  You can buy the one above on Amazon for $150.


Weighted Bookmark

5. A less snazzy but more economical way to hold a page open is with these leather weighted book marks.  They retail on Amazon for $25 shipped.


Page Holder

6.  This is one that is on my personal wish list.  I would love to have this Page Holder to help me hold the pages open so I can read one handed.  This is $26.95 on Amazon.



7. Oooh, I also love this one!  It’s called the PagePal and has a cute little saying engraved on it.  “A book is a dream that you hold in your hands.”  Maybe I need both, one for upstairs reading and one for downstairs. 🙂  This one retails on Amazon for $14 shipped.


Book Seat

8.  The Book Seat is a flexible book holder and travel pillow in one!  Note: not intended to be used for both purposes at the same time. 🙂  The Book Seat is filled with Polystyrene beads enabling it to sit into any position.  This should help make reading even more relaxing.  There is a clear perspex page holder that enables you to read Hands-Free!  The Book Seat retails on Amazon for under $40 shipped.  I just love that it also doubles as a travel pillow.

Personal Library Set

9.  This Personal Library Kit is great for those who lend books out to friends a lot.  I’m thinking it would be great for my kids who love to make believe and would love to use this to pretend to be a librarian.  For only $16 shipped (through Amazon) I think it’s a great deal!

Card Catalog

Card Catalog Cards

10. Card catalogs may be a thing of the past but with this Card Catalog Reproduction Set you can relive the good old days…or at least feel a little nostalgic while explaining card catalogs to your kids.  “Enclosed in a keepsake replica card catalog box with tabbed dividers, each card features a different beloved work of literature straight from the storied collection of the Library of Congress.”  This set is currently $15.72 on Amazon.


Book Sleeve

11. A Book Sleeve is a must have to those who like to go about their day and bring their books along.  No more accidental pen marks or crushed pages as your book bounces along inside the bottom of your purse or bookbag.  I would have loved to have had this for my Bible in college and my daughter will love this for her books now.  They come in different sizes and a wide variety of different patterns on Amazon.  The one pictured above is 8×10 inches and is $11 shipped.


Book Journal for Kids

12.  A Book Reading Log for Kids is a great way to keep track of the books they read.  I would love to get one of these for my daughter now that she’s devouring chapter books.  When both of my kids were reading picture books this would have been too much of a hassle to keep up with because we read so many books a day but now this will be a nice way to look back and remember what we’ve read.  It’s $11 shipped from Amazon.


The Book Lover's Journal

Book Lover's Journal

13.  A Book Lover’s Journal is a reading log and journal for adults.  I love the thought provoking questions it asks and the room for notes.  I often forget things from past books (and TV shows for that matter) so it would be nice to have a record of my thoughts on a book that I can refer back to before I recommend a certain book to a person.  This hardcover spiral book retails for less than $13 shipped from Amazon.


Book Scented Candle

14.  It could be argued that any candle would make a great companion for a reader but this one that is scented to remind you of a library has to be a great gift! “The main theme is an older leather bound book accord mixed with a woody desk character of cedar and sandalwood. Hints of balsamic and vanilla finish the complex scent.”  This Book candle will burn from 60-80 hours and will only set you back $30 shipped from Amazon.


Amazon Gift Card

15.  Last but certainly not least….gift cards to buy more books!  I love old books so Amazon, ebay, and ThriftBooks are my favorite gift cards to receive.

I hope this list was helpful!  If you’re a book lover and know of anything I left off the list please let me know in the comments below.

Tips on Financing a Car

This sponsored post on financing a car is written by me and brought to you by Mr.Ed Auto Approved Loans.

Financing a Car

The aroma of a new car smell, the soft seats, the clean nooks and crannies are only a few of the benefits of a new car.  What? Clean crevices aren’t what excite you about a new car?  lol  Be it the engine, or the fresh start on keeping crumbs at bay it’s important to be well armed with knowledge before buying a car.  Here are some tips to keep in mind when financing a car…

Car Shopping

Research Your Auto Loan Financing Options


While I can guarantee that you’ve probably spent hours online researching potential car options and polling friends on Facebook about which van to buy (What? Just me again?), did you do the same thing on getting your loan?  Dealers are allowed to make money on a loan so it’s important to do your homework.  Everyone should do this but especially if you’re young or you have bad credit you need to check online lenders to get the best rate possible.  Dealers, credit unions, and even your auto insurer may offer a competitive rate.

Check all around and choose the best option for you.  Once you’re prequalified elsewhere it’s a different scenario at the dealership.  You can go in and tell them the rate you’re prequalified at and see if they can meet or beat your rate.

Car Financing

Know the Worth of The Car


I’m not good at negotiations, I’m not. If I want it and can afford it, I’ll pay what they’re asking. If I don’t, I won’t.  I can’t be this way when it comes to cars so I always take someone else with me who can handle the negotiation process.

I’ve heard it said though that the worst time to negotiate the price of a car is after you’ve test-driven the vehicle and given it a good inspection.  Rumor has it that the salesperson will leave and pretend to haggle for a better price for you and come back saying that the manager couldn’t budge on the price.  The salesmen hope you’ll agree to paying more than it’s worth.  When it comes to buying a car, they have the home field advantage.  They sell cars for a living while you may have only bought a handful of cars in your whole life.  They know what “fees” are baloney.  They’ve mastered the best sales techniques.  They can read you.

It may appear that you’re hopeless but here’s what you can do…know the worth of the car you’re looking at.  Get an honest, direct, no hassle, no strings attached price online at websites such as TrueCar.comOverstock.com,CarsDirect.com, and USAA.

Once you have that price quote in hand make a promise to yourself to not pay a higher price at a dealership.  Tell the dealer your price and see if they can offer a competitive price.  Make them play in your field and not in theirs.

Car Downpayment

Don’t Finance More Than 42 Months


Money guru’s say that you shouldn’t take out a car loan longer than 42 months.  If you can’t afford the payment on a 42 month car loan then you should probably buy a cheaper car.  That’s what the financial genius’ say so who am I to argue.

I prefer to pay cash for a used car by saving but sometimes cars may break down suddenly and paying for a brand new car in cash would probably be challenging for most people (I think I remember reading somewhere that only 1% of Americans are able to do so).  However, even if you’re buying a new car, saving for a down payment can shorten your loan length and will save you on interest in the long haul.

There you have it, my three tops on financing a car.  I hope it will help save you money as you spend your hard earned money on a new ride.