How to Survive Your Kid's Crazy Schedule With Quick and Easy Snacks

Life with kiddos is awesome and rewarding and tender and...crazy!  Ballet lessons, soccer practice, homework, flashcards, mounds of laundry, dishes, Lego towers, dress up clothes, laundry, pillow fights on the couch, tricycle races around the kitchen...

Parenting can be hectic, but after three kids I've learned a few tricks that can help save your sanity!

There are three BIG issues when it comes to cranky kiddos:
  1. They're HUNGRY
  2. They're TIRED
  3. They're OVERWHELMED

Today we're talking about Problem Number 2: Hangry and "Dying of Thirst" kids!

Quick and Easy Snacks for Kids with Moms On the Go!

Hungry and thirsty kids are no fun, and they will act out in ways that make everyone miserable!  Make sure they're fed and watered by keeping around a small supply of simple, easy snacks for on-the-go days.  I keep chewy granola/protein bars, fruit snacks, and Tic Tac gum in my bag at all times!

A few more ideas include:
  • Raisins (mini boxes are great for on-the-go)
  • Animal crackers
  • Mini pretzels or pretzel sticks
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Almonds, peanuts, etc.
  • Protein bars
  • Hard candy *age appropriate (like mini Dum Dum lollipops, Jolly Ranchers, butterscotch rounds, Life Savers, etc.)
  • Mints and non-sticky candies (my younger kids love soft pastel dinner mints, Tic Tacs, Smarties, etc.)
  • Gummi Bears

Quick and Easy Snacks for Kids and Families On the Go!

The first list can all be kept in your purse (I use these containers from Ikea for things that might get smushed or crumbled) or even in the car for "emergency use" (if you've got young children, you know what I'm talking about), but if you've got a bit of extra time or a longer trip planned, then these are some other great options:
  • Sliced apples or pears
  • Mandarin oranges
  • String cheese
  • Grapes (you can cut them in half for the little kiddos)
  • Popped popcorn
  • Edamame
  • Baby carrots
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Cold turkey dogs (we like uncured meats so there's fewer preservatives)
  • Slices of salami or deli meat

The idea is something portable, easily prepared (aka. Grab n' Go), contained (aka. not sticky, drippy, or otherwise liable for an excess of premature gray hairs), and will last a few hours without needing refrigeration.  This second set of snacks are great for trips to the mall, t-ball practice, or any place where your kids will be away from home and might need some bribes sustenance.

Now what about when they're thirsty?

I cannot tell you how many times I've gone through a drive-thru just to get something to put in my kid's bottle or sippy!  So here's my favorite tip:

Sippy Cup + Drink Enhancer + Bottled Water = Happy Kiddos

I always bring the kids' water bottles with us in the summer, and leave a few disposable bottles in my car in the cooler months (we're careful not to use disposable plastic bottles that have gotten hot in the summer heat, or have already been opened - gotta keep those chemicals and bacteria away, right moms?!).  My youngest daughter loves simple water and ice, but for my other two, I can add some liquid or powdered drink mixes to their water and enjoy quiet, happy, fully hydrated kids forever more!

If your kids like lemonade, True Lemon is a favorite brand to try!  These lemonades come in lots of flavors like strawberry, peach, wildberry, and original.  There's also a limeade version (yum!) that comes in multiple flavors!  I love that it's not packed full of sugar or artificial dyes.  It contains lemon oil, is sweetened with cane sugar and Stevia extract, and has a very short list of ingredients, which is always good in my book!

Here's another good choice by the Great Value brand that's liquid and doesn't have artificial dyes or aspartame.

Quick Tip:  When using a liquid mix, keep the drink enhancer in a small plastic baggie for extra insurance.  You don't want that stuff leaking or spilling out all over your purse or car compartment!  FYI, I've never had an issue, but who wants to make THAT a first?!

The BEST Reusable Water Bottles for Kids!

We love these bottles by Reduce Hydro Pro Water Bottles from Costco (also available at Walmart, Amazon, etc., but the consistently best price we've found has been at Costco).  They come in 2-packs, and in different colors, so each of my kids gets a unique design.  They keep drinks cold all day.  No seriously.  Like, the ice still hasn't melted!  As a mom, I also like that they have rubber outer bases, so no slipping, and less chance of them slamming the bottles down on something and scratching it.

If you have younger kiddos that need something they can sip (instead of an open-mouth design), we love these from Contigo (we bought ours at Costco last year, but they are not currently available online - you know how that goes!  Here's the link for Amazon.).  They come in 2 and 3-packs, lots of different colors, and are very sturdy.  The kids love carrying them around because of the easy-to-hold loop handle.  They're PBA free plastic, which doesn't stay cold all day, but they're very sturdy and really great for younger kiddos that may not do well with metal bottles.

Bottom Line:  Keep your kids from having a low blood sugar melt down by storing quick snacks and treats in your purse or diaper bag that are easy to eat (and not sticky!), and keep your kids well hydrated (and occupied) with bottles of water and fun drink mixes.

Happy kids means a happy mom!  And throughout all those busy days and crazy schedules, you deserve to be happy! ;)

* 9/16/17

Mom to Mom Moment | No. 3 Less Stuff, More Living

Today we're mom-talking about simplicity.  As a parent, it is SO EASY to become overwhelmed by the calls for attention, sticky floors, piles of clothes, bins of toys, to-do lists, extracurricular activities...

...and although there's no getting around the, "Hey Mom, look at me!" kid calls, and you are finally at peace (mostly) with the realization that during this phase of life there is no such thing as a house without sticky doorknobs and smudges on around every corner, let me just say that whoever first coined the phrase,
"Less is More"

...was a seriously brilliant human being!

Overwhelmed.  Stressed.  Anxious.  Exhausted.  Guilty.

Lately, the mom guilt has been real.  An accumulation of stuff has overwhelmed our garage, unfinished basement, the master suite, and every corner of our home...and our family is suffering.

Time with our kids is fleeting, and before you know it, they're more interested in playing video games or hanging with their friends then spending time with "mom."  But when there's so much work to be done, to toss, sort, and organize your stuff, well...we're prioritizing things over people.

Clutter comes in many forms.  Maybe it's extracurricular activities...extra weight...emotional baggage...negative relationships...and maybe it's just and old pile of papers on the dining table you're not sure what to do with.  But whatever form your clutter comes in, it's taking up precious physical and emotional space in your world, and ain't nobody got time for that!

"It's never too late to allow yourself a little grace."

I've been challenging myself to be brutal about what I REALLY need to hold onto, purging things I never thought I would, and including my kids in the process of de-hoarding our home and lives.  In the end, the moments I share with my family are the more important than the "someday" projects and boxes of holiday decor or craft supplies...and I believe it's never too late to allow yourself a little grace - your kids certainly do!

What will you let go of today in order to have more time for the things that matter most?

*Hugs & High Fives*

Free Nautical Summer Printables

I've been loving my new Canon printer so much that I can't help but make more printables!  It's so fun to switch things up around the house when the seasons change, and let's be honest, I couldn't be happier that winter is OVER!

Quick Tip Tuesday | How to Keep Your Kids From Destroying the Bathroom

Kids make messes; big, BIG messes!

Honestly, I can't quite seem to keep up with all of the toys, trash, and tangles!  Parenthood, I've found, should be approached with a sense of humor, a spoon full of sugar, and getting ahead whenever you can!


Use bath time to clean up!

Young children aren't exactly pros at cleaning the bathroom daily (if they are, you must tell me your secret!).  But chances are, they bathe fairly often, so why not make good use of the time?

Bath time with my younger kids used to feel like such a long process, and it would bother me to feel like I had to just sit there and get splashed on when I could be doing so many other things!  Of course I like to play with my kiddos, too, but I also really wanted to feel productive!

So I began using bath time as an opportunity for this busy mama to check one more thing off my list!  We all know that it's the little moments throughout the day that add up to a well-maintained house, so what better way to keep the family bathroom from getting grossified (yes, it's a word) than by using those small moments during bath time to spruce things up!

  • Yup, Multi-task - While your kiddos are taking a bath, grab a sponge or wash cloth and do a quick wipe down of your counters, sink, faucet, and cabinet doors (if your kids are anything like mine, toothpaste ends up in...interesting...places).

  • Use the Steam - Grab a rag or paper towel and clean the mirror while everything is steamy!  No cleaning sprays required!