Using Technology to Make the Most of Summer

May 12th, 2015

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

Boy using laptop outdoor

I’m not sure if you’ll see this as good news or bad news, but friends, summer break is almost here. Yes, it’s true. Those little people who eat so much food and make even bigger messes? They are going to be home for a solid 10 to 12 weeks, and they are going to need something to keep them occupied.

My almost-second-grader is a girl after my own heart these days and totally into books. That means our schedule is filling up with library events, reading programs and make-your-own bookmark craft projects. But eventually she’ll need a break from books (gasp! why?! I KNOW.), and then it’s time to figure out other ways to spend our summer days.

Now, obviously our summer and yours will involve lots of outdoor play, pool time, baseball games and the like. Even if – like me – you’re a little indoorsy, sunshine and swing sets and sandboxes and sweat seem to be required summer ingredients. Even if the siren call of our friends Netflix and Kindle is loud. Right?

So the question becomes: How can we balance our use of technology during summer break?

Young girl is sitting in the park with laptop

I’ve found that we use technology in four ways during family time (or Mama-is-working-so-find-something-quiet-to-do time).

Watching. Obviously this is the most passive of uses for the wonderful world of technology. From episodes of Kitchen Crashers saved on the DVR (my daughter’s latest obsession) to silly, G-rated clips on YouTube, it’s nearly impossible to run out of things to watch online. That’s why I work hard to keep track of her screen time (and mine) so we don’t overdo it and turn into Screen Zombies!

TIP: PBS, Disney, Nickelodeon and Sprout have free apps that show full episodes of your kids’ favorite shows.

Playing. Are your kids into Minecraft? If so, you can probably skip this one, because you are covered. My daughter hasn’t discovered Minecraft yet, though, so we have to look hard for appropriate games. Games that don’t require spending money to get to level three. Most the games we’ve found require just about as much brainpower as watching an episode of The Odd Squad on our PBS app, so I count games with her other screen time.

TIP: Don’t forget to adjust your settings so purchases require a password.

Learning. Now, learning games? THOSE I can get behind. (Even for myself, not that it’s a real hardship to “force” myself to play Trivia Crack instead of Candy Swipe…) My daughter knows the way to convince me to allow a little more time with the Kindle is to play an educational game, but she doesn’t mind the compromise anymore than I do. Tons of games that really do teach kids are out there – and many of them are free. One I plan to encourage her to play this summer is from PBS Kids, and it has several ways to teach her how to count money (something she hasn’t mastered just yet).

TIP: Your kids’ school is a great resource for educational websites, especially ones that they’re already familiar with. My daughter begs to play ABC Ya or read with Raz Kids, and we log on through her school’s website or with her teacher’s username and password. So find out about your options before school’s out!

Researching. When I was a kid and had a question about something my parents didn’t know (or wanted me to learn on my own), they always said the same thing: “Look it up.” Back then, that meant going to our shelf of World Book Encyclopedias. Not so much these days! Today if I tell my daughter we need to look up some information (she’s still a little young to do it herself, although she’ll be on her own soon), she knows we’re heading to Google, Wikipedia, Pinterest or another website.

TIP: In addition to looking up facts about whales, recipes for popsicles and the history of LEGOs, you and your kids can also look up community events or reserve books at the library.

Child playing video game with father

A Few More Tips & Ideas:

For older kids, technology is certainly going to be used for keeping in touch with friends. But even the youngest kids can Skype with grandparents or help you send a thank-you email after a play date.

One way to make sure your whole family is getting enough activity is with a device that measures your steps. Set a daily goal for each family member or even launch a friendly competition throughout the summer! Whether you use an app, a Fitbit, or a pedometer from the discount store, the point is to be more mindful of how much you – and your kids – move, and to encourage each other to do a little more.

And, of course, family night doesn’t always have to revolve around a movie or board game (those are the go-to activities at our house). Break out that Wii Fit, LeapTV or XBox Kinect – and break a sweat together!

Last but not least, summer is a great time to start discussions about safety. Remind your kids that not everything on the internet is healthy for them, and help them learn a few family rules about what you share online and what you do not. And as you tug the Gameboy (or whatever is cool these days…I CAN’T KEEP UP!) out of their hands and point them toward the backyard or the baseball field, use that opportunity to make talk about balance (and not turning into that Screen Zombie!) part of your regular conversations.

How do you plan to use technology during summer break?

 

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Apron Full of Giveaways 05.12.15

May 12th, 2015

Blue Check Half Apron via Etsy

Source: Ten Fifteen Bucks,  $10.00

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Free Printable Chore & Tech Time Tickets

May 11th, 2015

Tech-Chore Tickets Free Printable Note: Originally published in 2012, these tickets have continued to be a wonderful way to monitor both screen time and chores with our kids in a sort of “hands-off” way (meaning, it’s not up to me to keep reminding!). With our focus on technology m challenge, it seemed perfect to share again for those of you who are looking for a better way to manage screen time and make sure chores actually get done.

My husband created this great printable for summertime chores and monitoring computer time with the kids that I’m excited to share with you- free printable chore and tech time tickets. The tech hours punch-tickets in particular have helped both us and the kids know how much time they’re spending on technology. They can be printed and used with a simple hole punch to signify if the child has used their tech time or has completed their chores.

I really wanted to spend quality time with my kids this summer and I find that screen-time really distracts them from our time together. These tech tickets have made us all more aware of how much screen time we are using and have been a great way for us to monitor the amount they are getting. And they work hand-in-hand since the tech time can’t be redeemed until the chores are completed, so it’s a win-win.

How We Use The Tickets

– Each child gets one chore ticket and two tech tickets for the week in our house.

– The chore ticket must be punched before they can start with their first hour of screen time.

– Punch the ticket itself at the end of the day, BUT morning chores have to be completed to redeem the first hour of time, then evening chores are completed and the second hour can be used.

As an example, this is what our list of chore activities to be completed looked like when my children were 10 and 6(alter as needed for your kids and needs):

6 Year Old Chore List- Get dressed, tidy room, make bed, sweep (with a quick vac) under the table after each meal, meal helper every other night, (help prepare and set the table for dinner), 15 minute tidy at the end of the day, and assist mom with laundry sorting.

10 Year Old Chore List- Get dressed, tidy room, make bed, wipe down both bathrooms, meal helper every other night (help prepare and set the table for dinner), 15 minute tidy at the end of the day, and assist mom with loading and unloading of laundry.

Reward- $5 weekly

Tech tickets grant the child one hour of computer or video game time. We do not count television time as tech time in our house. Kids can watch 2 shows daily on Netflix. We no longer have cable television so that has really helped us do a better job of not zoning out on the television.

A timer is set and once it dings, the card is punched for that hour.  It is as simple as that!

We made an agreement that if the child wants to save computer/video game time that they can save and transfer the hours to another day. They can not, however, cash in on an advance on their ticket.

I will not lie, the first day was ROUGH. Two hours does go by quickly for everyone. That said, after the initial two days, we have really been enjoying our time together. We keep busy with fun outings and tackling our summer bucket list together. I find that breaking the day up with an outing seems to make the day go by faster and takes the focus off of the lack of screen time.

Today my son said, “Wow, that hour was really long!”  It was funny how he was whining about the hour being too short the first day. I think we were all losing track of how much time we were spending on our respective screens.

Everyone parents differently. This parenting strategy works for us and I hope it will help someone else out there too!

I didn’t want to waste anytime getting these printables out to you though because they are quickly becoming a valuable part of our summer time together and I think they could be valuable to you too!

Grab your Printable Chore Tickets.

Grab your Printable Tech Tickets.

 

Notes on the printable- There are three tickets per sheet. These are color tickets, but you can switch your printer settings to black-and-white or draft mode to save on ink.

 

How do you monitor screen time in your house? What does a typical chore list look like for you? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Sundays With Writers: When It Happens to You by Molly Ringwald

May 10th, 2015

Sundays With Writers

Happy Mother’s Day to all my favorite mama readers out there. I hope you are having a fantastic day today! I have such a special interview for you today as I got the chance to spend some time with Molly Ringwald last weekend. Yup, THE Molly Ringwald!  Molly served as the keynote speaker at Mom 2.0 this year on behalf of Dove and they asked if I would like to spend some time interviewing her for my site. I am, of course, a huge fan of her movies, but did you know that she is also a very accomplished writer? Well, she is, and I got the chance to interview her about Dove and they asked if I would like to spend some time interviewing her for my site. I am, of course, a huge fan of her movies, but did you know that she is also a very accomplished writer? Well, she is, and I got the chance to interview her about When It Happens to You and what she has in store for us next.

When It Happens to You by Molly Ringwald

Tales of love, loss, and betrayal are at the heart of When It Happens to You. A Hollywood icon, Ringwald brings the compelling candour she displayed in her film roles to the unforgettable characters she has created in this series of intertwined and linked stories about the particular challenges, joys and disappointments of adult relationships. Her characters grapple with infertility and infidelity, fame and familial discord in this fantastic debut novel.

when-it-happens-to-you

I started this beautiful book this week and am absolutely enjoying it and plan to spend this rainy day with it today. Short story books are not something I typically gravitate towards, but if you are looking for one to try, I really recommend this one as a great launching pad into short story format. Although each chapter is a story, the stories are intertwined in some way that the reader can discover as she reads from chapter to chapter, building upon the initial themes in the previous chapters.

One thing I hear a lot from moms is their struggles to dive into books because their time is so limited that they struggle with finishing books. Short stories are a magnificent way to get in your reading time and feel accomplished. As Molly states in this interview, it is also a great way to trick your brain into writing a novel. By approaching it in a short story format, she was able to break up the writing in a way that felt more manageable as a busy mom.

For those that have asked, Molly was as warm and personable as a girl could hope. She was complimentary and went way over my allotted interview time talking about great authors. I wish I could have chatted with her all day about writing and great books.  She also wasn’t just chatting about herself, her genuine enthusiasm for other writers and her own writing was contagious.

Grab your coffee and let’s chat with Molly Ringwald about When It Happens to You

When It Happens to You by Molly Ringwald

You decided to segue from acting into writing. Is this something you have always wanted to do?

I have always been interested in writing, it’s always been something I have done in my spare time and then it was just something I decided to put out there professionally once I turned forty. I think when you are younger, or at least when I was younger, I always felt like I had to focus on one thing and I think that multi-hyphenates were not really honored in the same way and celebrated as much. I felt like, in a way, that no one would take me seriously as a writer when I was younger, but then you get older and you don’t care as much about what other people think.

Were you surprised by how well your books were received?

Yes, I wrote two books,  (Getting the Pretty Back and When It Happens to You) and they were both on the national bestsellers list. I am particularly proud of my fiction collection though!

When tackling When It Happens to You, why did you decide to write in short story format? Is it because you like the smaller story explorations?

I have always just loved short stories and I was a really a big fan of Raymond Carver’s short story collections, although he is certainly more minimalist and starker than I am..and maybe a little more depressing. I think, really, it was just a format that I understood since most of the fiction that I had done was short. I think that may have been because I was busy doing a lot of other stuff too. Also for me, it was tricking my brain into writing a novel because, as it says, it’s really a novel in stories. And it really is. They all resonate off of each other and it is all structured in that way. I just think writing a novel was a little too daunting for me so this was a way to kind of do that through short stories. That said, they are pretty long stories and the only really truly short story in there is the title story.

Are you thinking about adapting this one into film?

Yes, I have been thinking about it. I’m still thinking about it, but I’d also really like to write another book too.

If you could tell anyone to read one book right now (other than your own) what would that book be?

Oh, that’s a hard one! Um…what do you think that would be? (she asks her husband, Panio Gianopoulos, author of A Familiar Beast).

Panio: Light Years?

Molly: Yes, that probably would be true. Light Years by James Salter. Yeah..I think that might be it.

Panio: I mean, when you finished it, you immediately started to reread it.

Molly: It’s true.

Okay, if you are rereading it then it has to be a favorite. If you reread,  you know that it is special!

It’s just one of those books that I keep picking up again and again. There is not a lot of fiction that I read while writing because I don’t want to be overly influenced. His writing is somebody, of course I write differently, but I just feel like he is a master. I also love, and we were recently talking about Desperate Characters by Paula Fox is a really wonderful book and Jonathan Franzen wrote the forward on it!

A huge thank you to Dove for the incredible opportunity to interview Molly about her stories as well as their sponsorship for me to attend Mom 2.0 this year. It was an experience that I will never forget.  Dove is encouraging everyone to share their #BeautyStory and shared this beautiful story of 4 generations of women in one family that all share the same beauty secret in this beautifully shot campaign. Do you have a beauty story to share? Head to the

Dove is encouraging everyone to share their #BeautyStory and shared this beautiful story of 4 generations of women in one family that all share the same beauty secret in this beautifully shot campaign. Do you have a beauty story to share? Head to the Dove Beauty Bar and share your secrets! Thank you, Dove!!

You can connect with Molly Ringwald on GoodReads or through her website! I’m always thankful for these moments with writers and I hope you will pick up this amazing book! You can always connect with me on GoodReads,through our books section of our site, and you can read our entire Sundays With Writers series for more author profiles. Happy reading, friends!

*This post contains affiliate links!
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It’s the 3 Little Things (With Felicia): Beach Waves, Summer Lips, & Attention-Getting Watches

May 8th, 2015

It's the 3 Little Things

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty happy to be closing in on the finish line of this week. Holy moly! Do you feel like this too? I mean, SO TIRED. All just good and amazing things, just so many things in one week, you know?

Since my brain is tired today, I’m thrilled to have Felicia from Go Grow Go! joining us to share her happy list with us. She’s been a longtime blog pal of mine and I am so thrilled to introduce you all to her. Please give her a warm welcome! If you are interested in being a guest poster on the 3 little things, send over a list of your 3 favorites and why to amy@momadvice.com and I will share them in the upcoming weeks! 

Let’s peek at Felicia’s list! 

Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Hair Cream

Beachy Waves For Days!

Who else is thankful that sunnier days are upon us?  I, for one, am so excited to pull out the spring clothes and dust off my sandals.  I am also loving a brand new hair product that does not break the bank, holds texture for beachy waves and smells like vanilla!  It’s the Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray.  Every day I receive compliments on how my hair smells and the wave is holding all day (sometimes even to day 2).  You can pick it up for under $10 on Amazon or you may even find it for less at Target!
Looking for quick and easy waves?  Check out this video tutorial for How to Create Natural Waves in Under 10 Minutes!
Looking for hair that radiates?  Check out my favorite hair conditioner for shine!
Girl About Town Mac Lipstick

The Perfect Spring/Summer Shade of Lipstick

Have you been introduced to Girl About Town from MAC Cosmetics yet?  Of course you have because every other girl in Western North Carolina buys this stuff out!  I actually have to order it online (which is great because shipping is free and the cost is the same).  I love this color because it is bright and fun, but can easily be toned down.  Besides, who doesn’t love the name?  It makes you want to get out and explore!

JORD Wood Watch

A Watch that Gets Attention

There is one thing I will not leave home without these days.  It is my JORD Wood Watch.  It is so simple, yet stylish and it receives compliments every single day!  I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have given out the website address for this watch to both guys and girls.  I love it because it is elegant and matches everything.  I can easily dress this one up or down as well.  Make sure to check out the website because there are so many colors and styles to choose from.  Simple just seems to suit me.

How fun was that list this week? I am so excited to share more great ideas from you all in the weeks to come! Thank you, Felicia, for generously sharing the happy today!

In my world…

Flourish Boutique

Flourish Boutique

Thank you to Flourish Boutique for making me feel like a princess while I was at Mom 2.0 this past week and thank you to Kelly, from Redefined Mom, for being the best roomie ever and incredible fashion photographer. So incredible, in fact, that my husband and parents asked for this picture on the patio in a printed photo and lemme tell you, nothing feels more narcissistic than blowing up photos of yourself and picking them up at the photo center.  AWKWARD.

dance-mom

ballerina-3

ballerina-2

ballerina-1

Speaking of the GLAM, it’s ballet performance week. I am so excited to see her take the stage in the Conservatory of Dance performance at Bethel on Saturday. If you have a budding ballerina on your hands, get some tickets and support these incredible dancers.

We love it so much we are going to the first performance to watch and then staying to perform in the second performance.  It’s a great way to show your kids all of the different kinds of dance classes out there and see which one grabs their attention. I hope it is ALL THE DANCES. Being a dance mom? This is totally my thing.

xoxoxo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

Making the Most of Your Outdoor Table (GIVEAWAY!!)

May 8th, 2015

Making the Most of Your Outdoor Table from MomAdvice.com

This post is sponsored on behalf of BHG at Walmart.

The winter has been a long one in Indiana so as soon as the warmer temperatures start creeping in, you will find us spending our evenings outdoors on our patio every night. The outdoor space that we started with has evolved over the years and has become one of my favorite places in our home. As part of the BHG Live Better Network, I am partnering with them this month to showcase how we do our entertaining outdoors and today I am sharing how we make the most of our outdoor table.

Making the Most of Your Outdoor Table

Our original patio, using street paver bricks, is still one of our most-pinned items on the site, but thanks to a weedy and unlevel backyard, we wanted to replace it with a stamped concrete patio and firepit that we could use for our outdoor entertaining needs without the maintenance.  Since our kitchen has hardwood floors and we knocked a wall out to create a huge patio door outside, overlooking the backyard, we wanted to create an extension of that space. Thus, the idea to stamp these as wood was born! These stamped wood planks even have little nail holes and grooves in them.

Making the Most of Your Outdoor Table

The shed bonus room is where we set up when the weather is dreary and when it is beautiful, we enjoy a dinner on our beautifully handmade picnic table (see my tutorial on how to stain it to keep it looking fresh!)  with our family and friends.

Making the Most of Your Outdoor Table

Making the Most of Your Outdoor Table

Making the Most of Your Outdoor Table

Making the Most of Your Outdoor Table

Last summer, I invested in 20 BHG melamine dinner plates (a mere $2.48 per plate!!)  that we could use when entertaining outdoors and it has been, by far, one of the best entertainment investments I have ever made.   Thanks to the built-in storage behind the door  in our little shed, we have the perfect spot to house these when we are entertaining outside.

I picked three different patterns since the store offers these for individual purchase to create a more eclectic tablescape. These plates are beautiful and look like pretty china patterns while being sturdier than a paper plate, but more lightweight for carrying to and from your outdoor table. You can mix and match to your heart’s delight and create your own unique dinner table.

Making the Most of Your Outdoor Table

Shopping List:  Franklin Sports Indoor Table Tennis Conversion Top 9′ x 5′ ($100)- (sold out- similar HERE)/ Stiga Three-Star White Table Tennis Ball, 6 Pk.($6.32)/ STIGA Classic 4-Player Table Tennis Set ($13.33)/ BHG Medium Wire Basket With Chalkboard (available in stores)

Of course, after dinner is when we are really looking to entertain our kids and guests so I wanted to find a way that we could make the most of our table.  After a fun night out with friends and seeing my husband giddy from playing ping pong for an evening, I knew I had to find a way to make a ping pong table part of our lives. With a small home though, we had nowhere to put one so I started researching ones that could be placed on the tabletop and found a table tennis conversion top with the same dimensions as our beloved ping pong table dreams.

Making the Most of Your Outdoor Table

This table is two hinged pieces that fold up for storage.  These are heavy pieces (each piece weighs about 50 pounds) so it is definitely a two person set-up. If you are worried about scratching your outdoor table, consider using a sheet or blanket to protect before placing the tabletop on top.  A BHG wire basket acts as the perfect storage for ping pong balls and paddles for easy grabbing when we want to set up for the evening.

Our whole family has so enjoyed these effortless outdoor dinners and the hours of fun afterward playing ping pong. Windy days certainly force you to up your game and help increase that skill level! Consider making the most of that outdoor table enjoying family meals and then game time together all in one spot!

Making the Most of Your Outdoor Table

As a mom, it makes me happy to see my kids outside and playing together. As we move into the teen mode (hard to believe) and tween mode (hard to believe), it becomes increasingly challenging to find things we love to do together that don’t involve screens.  A view like this out my kitchen window is a real treat.

It’s not just for the kids though. My husband and I had wine last night on the patio and then played ping pong until midnight together.  It is just as much for us as it is for them.

Want to make the most of your outdoor table too?  Enter below to win one $100 Walmart Gift Card from BHG at Walmart to make the most of your outdoor living space. One lucky winner will receive this lovely gift card!  This giveaway ends on May 15th and you must be a US resident and at least 18-years-old! Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BHG Live Better Network

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from BHG at Walmart for my time and participation in the BHG Live Better Network. Although we have material connection to BHG, any publicly stated opinions of BHG and their products remain my own.

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Freebie Friday May 8, 2015

May 8th, 2015

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! As always, we would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice I am sharing a couple of graduation-themed posts – one for DIY Grad Party Ideas and the other showing how to create Money Book Page Posies to gift a grad (or anyone!). I’ve also got a great giveaway going to win a gift card to Shoe Carnival, so make sure you enter to get a chance to win some fun shoes. Finally, I introduced our m challenge theme for the month of May: Focus on Technology. We’ll be talking about how to manage it and some tips to get the most out of something that has become so important in our lives. I’m really looking forward to it!

You’ll also want to check out this week’s edition of It’s the 3 Little Things to get your weekly dose of happy, and you can find lots of inspiring DIY, food, decorating and craft ideas in our popular Notebook, as well as enter a ton of contests in our weekly round-up of great giveaways.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Food & Drink
 
 
Health & Beauty
 
 
Entertainment
 
8×10 Photo Print at Walgreens (with coupon code FREE2PRINT)
 
This Week’s Freebie Events: May 9 – May 15
 
9th – Barnes & Noble: Join story time featuring Mom School and How to Babysit a Grandma, 11 am
 
9th – Lakeshore Learning: Create a Garden Blooms Photo Frame, 11 am – 3 pm
 
9th – Lowe’s: Build a Mother’s Day Planter, 10 am
 
9th & 10th – Pottery Barn: Make a Tissue-Paper Flower Craft for Mom

 

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Treat Yourself: Happy Mother’s Day from Shoe Carnival (GIVEAWAY!!)

May 7th, 2015

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Mother's Day Shoe Shopping With Shoe Carnival

*This post is sponsored by Shoe Carnival.  Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

Ladies, it is almost OUR DAY and in honor of all the hard working mamas out there, I am so excited to be partnering up with Shoe Carnival for this Mother’s Day to show off some delightfully fashionable & comfortable shoes you can find for yourself at their fantastic store. Not only am I sharing about my own finds, but I am also giving FOUR lucky moms a $50 gift card to treat themselves this Mother’s Day to some new shoes too!

Mother's Day Shoe Shopping With Shoe Carnival

It is (WITH PLEASURE) that I get to act as your tour guide into some of my favorite options I found at my store!

To say that I am obsessed with shoes would be an understatement. Although I have learned to whittle my wardrobe down to a manageable amount, my shoe collection continues to grow and, I humbly admit, that will never change. To put it simply, a good pair of shoes make the outfit. With a small wardrobe, a good pair of shoes adds a plethora of new possibilities with my wardrobe.

What has changed for me though is that my feet are no longer happy in shoes that don’t offer loads of comfort and support. As a busy mom, I’m on my feet all day and I embrace that I need more supportive shoes than I did in my twenties  Thankfully, shoes with loads of support can still be highly fashionable and here are a few of the beautiful pairs I found while browsing their store.

Mother's Day Shoe Shopping With Shoe Carnival

The New Balance Classic 574’s have been on my wish list this year especially after seeing the world’s most fashionable city girls sporting them around town on Pinterest.  These shoes are definitely both stylish and comfortable. The best part about styling these New Balance Classics is that they can be dressed up with leggings and a great shirt or you can dress them down in rolled skinnies and a t-shirt.  For ladies with a wider foot, I highly recommend these for the ultimate girl-about-town sneaker.

Mother's Day Shoe Shopping With Shoe Carnival

If you are looking for a modern take on the New Balance, I fell in love with these New Balance WX711 fitness-trainers and I have a feeling they are going to be my new favorite workout shoe thanks to their ultra soft and responsive cushioning that is made for all day comfort. The shoes are so lightweight that I can’t wait to give these a test run at my local gym especially when doing kicks and lunges in my total body conditioning class.

Mother's Day Shoe Shopping With Shoe Carnival

Birkenstocks have always felt unfeminine to me so they have never been a go-to shoe even when they have been trendy.  I do love the trend for comfort though so I was very excited to find these affordable Unr8ed Lydia Sandals, both for their floral femininity and their trendy footbed style.  How cute are those?

Mother's Day Shoe Shopping With Shoe Carnival

As we prepare to head to Italy for our anniversary in just a couple of short weeks, I have been on the hunt for the perfect shoes that would look great with jeans or with dresses. I stumbled upon these Clarks Wendy Estate shoes and fell in love.  I wore them on a trip last week and it felt as though I was wearing the world’s comfiest slipper even when I had been running through the airport and navigating those long hallways to my hotel room. Not only is the shoe cushioned, but it also has supportive cushioning around the heel and Velcro adjustable straps that help ensure you have the perfect fit and no sore feet at the end of the day.  A tiny heel helps these feel more dressy while still embracing the comfort that our family has always loved from the Clarks brand.

Mother's Day Shoe Shopping With Shoe Carnival

Who wants to go shopping now? Mother’s Day is all about treating yourself and I am so excited to be sharing a giveaway with you to treat yourself to a comfy AND stylish pair of shoes.

Not only did I love the good deals I found at the store, but I am a big fan of great rewards programs and Shoe Carnival offers both. When visiting your store, don’t forget to sign up for the Shoe Perks Rewards Program. You earn a point for every dollar you spend, receive a $10 Shoe Perks reward certificate for every 200 points earned, and get 50 points just for joining! Since I brought four pairs of shoes home to help be your tour guide (oh, the AGONY!), I am well on my way with points on my card for my next visit! Not only did I take advantage of some great sales, but I also look forward to the future coupon rewards I will receive by joining the club.

Today I am giving away a $50 gift card to FOUR lucky mamas to treat yourself this Mother’s Day to a shopping day at Shoe CarnivalFollow the instructions below in our Rafflecopter widget to enter.  Good luck and Happy Mother’s Day!

a Rafflecoptergiveaway

Let me know which shoes you loved out of my picks or what pair of shoe you have been coveting for Mother’s Days! I can’t wait to hear about your picks!  xo

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Shoe Carnival.

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DIY Graduation Party Ideas

May 6th, 2015

DIY Graduation Party Ideas from MomAdvice.com

 

It’s hard to believe that graduation season is upon us! Congratulations to the proud parents of those amazing grads this year! To help you celebrate (and keep that bash affordable), here are a few fun DIY graduation party ideas to try this year with items you can find at your local Goodwill store!

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog for some budget-friendly DIY graduation party ideas today!

m challenge: Focus on Technology

May 6th, 2015

the m challenge from MomAdvice.com

Welcome to our fifth month  in the m challenge series! I hope you are enjoying the series and please feel free to head to the m challenge category to get the scoop on all of the past features! This has been a labor of love for me and has been a fun exploration this year. It’s been awfully quiet out there so I hope you are enjoying it too!

the m challenge from MomAdvice.com

For this month, our site focus is on Technology- both the management of it for our families as well as some helpful tips for bloggers on managing a website, shooting photography, and growing your audience! This will be a shortened version of our typical month because my husband and I will be heading to Italy and I will be putting the blog on hiatus until I return (the site will be quiet from May 20-June 1st) so I can truly enjoy some time with my husband.   We can call it a “technology break,” in honor of our challenge this month!

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Each month I will be sharing a book selection that you can read that goes along with our theme for the month. Since this month is all about improving habits with technology, our book selection this month is The Power of Habit. I have heard great things bout this one and look forward to sharing it with you as we try to improve our habits and transform our lives through the m challenge series! Have you read this one? I can’t wait to hear what you think!

I look forward to reading along with you and exploring these topics with you and with our guest authors this month!