Awesome After-School Moments made better with Goldfish Crackers! EveryMomDay.com

Awesome After-School Moments #GoldfishMoments

Weekday evenings are the busiest time of day for my family. We have to do school/babysitter pickup, dinner, homework, and our bedtime routine – times 4 – all in just over 2 hours. It can be difficult to make evenings enjoyable and not just a rush to get everything done. I am always looking for creative ways to make ordinary moments extraordinary, and this week Goldfish crackers helped make that happen!

These baby-approved recipes are quick and easy with Gerber Lil'Bits! EveryMomDay.com

Baby Food Recipes Made Easy with Gerber Lil’Bits

There are many ways in which parenting a 4th child is different than being a first-time parent. One thing that has not changed, is the way we feed our kids, and Gerber 3rd Foods with Lil’ Bits are the perfect transition from purees to table foods!

Make this School Year Greater than Last Year

The Mathnasium of Gilbert helps students build their fundamental skills in Math, provide school homework help and test preparation – all with no additional homework! All practice is done at the center with specially trained Mathnasium certified instructors.

Celebrate August

June had Father’s Day and Flag Day… July had Independence Day… September has Labor Day… WAIT! What about August? August somehow got skipped over in the holiday distribution, but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing fun to celebrate about the 8th month of the year!

Here is a list of daily fun holidays to celebrate this August:

This Mother's Day, Remember that It's ALL Worth It! EveryMomDay.com

Remember: It’s All Worth It

Mother’s Day is this coming weekend, and I am thrilled and honored to be partnering with Linqia and Gerber Brand to share an “It’s all worth it” moment with you! Gerber is the brand I trust most as I raise four little Gerber babies of my own – and I love that I am now able to partner with such an amazing company to share this heartfelt message on a weekend that means so much to me – as a mom.

Personalized Wine. Delivered. This mommy's dream come true! EveryMomDay.com

Wine: Delivered!

Personalized Wine. Delivered. This mommy's dream come true! EveryMomDay.com

This post contains affiliate links – see full disclosures here.

Subscription boxes are popping up like daisies.  Wherever your passions and interests lie, chances are there is a subscription service to fuel your fun.  It’s no secret that I am a wine lover.  Not a connoisseur by any means – just a mom who enjoys a sip of a semi-dry after a long day of mommy duties.  Discovering Club W and their personalized wine delivery service was a dream come true.  I waited no time at all to get started exploring their wine options.

I'm just a mom who enjoys a sip of a semi-dry after a long day of Mommy duties! @ClubW #wine #EveryMomDay Click To Tweet

Club W offers a little quiz asking questions about how you like your coffee, salt, citrus and more to build some initial recommendations for you – or you can opt to explore on your own.  I enjoyed taking the quiz and also had a pretty good idea of what I was looking for (semi-dry, no oak).  I selected 2 chardonnays, a rose, and a white blend.

Personalized Wine. Delivered. This mommy's dream come true! EveryMomDay.com

My wine arrived quickly (within a week) and the box is well made with a sturdy and convenient handle on one side.   Because it’s alcohol, someone 21+ must sign for the package when it’s delivered, so it’s recommended that you ship to work if someone is not typically home during the day.  I love that so much thought went into the box it’s shipped in.  It’d be easy and convenient to receive it at work and transport it home.  Without that handle, I know I’d be clumsily trying to carry the box through the parking lot and something bad would likely happen (lol).

CLUB W- $20 OFF

All my wine arrived safe and sound, and I uncorked bottle #1 last week, and bottle #2 this weekend!  I was able to go back into my account on Club W and rate the wines (I definitely preferred one over the other) and Club W will take my ratings into consideration as they continue to make recommendations for me!  I also love that each wine comes with an information card which includes a recipe it pairs well with, which will help me when I am entertaining.

Personalized #wine delivered is a #DreamComeTrue #EveryMomDay @clubW Click To Tweet

Getting wine delivered to your door is quite possibly the best thing ever – and I am so glad I gave Club W a try!  I am looking forward to trying new wines and finding a couple favorites to order by the case and always keep on hand, too!  They have a great promotion going on now – you can save $20 off your first order!  Plus, if you order 4 or more bottles you receive free shipping!  And, they have great referral perks too – so after you try it, you can share your referral link with your friends and you both will benefit from discounts!

CLUB W- $20 OFF

After you try your first wines, come back and let me know what you think!

It's important to involve kids in the election process - why do candidates make it so difficult?

Kids & the Presidential Election

Kids and the 2016 Presidential Elections - EveryMomDay.com

My state Primaries are coming up this week and I will exercise my right to vote, but only when my 4 children are accompanying me.

Voting has always been a topic I feel strongly on.  It is the way in which our nation allows every eligible citizen the ability to influence government decision making.  From the time my first child was born, I always tote them along with me because I believe it is important for them to see me participate in the voting process and learn about it first hand.  We talk about it throughout the experience:  why we vote…  why it’s important.  It is my job to shape these children into model citizens, and I personally place a high value on the importance of exercising your right to vote.  I don’t value the local elections less than the Presidency, however my children are very familiar with the President and so this year should be a very educational year.

Bring your kids with you to #vote - teach them how important it is! #Election2016 Click To Tweet

I want my children to learn about the voting process beginning with the importance of educating themselves about the candidates objectively.  Even at a young age, I enjoy listening to who they would choose to vote for, and the explanation as to why they made the choice that they did.  I want them to watch some of the debates and campaigns – but I want that to happen without having to worry about the participants acting like toddlers fighting over a green sippy cup, and I don’t want to worry that “The Hunger Games” may erupt at anytime.

There has always been mudslinging – and I have always wished that the candidates and the media would place more focus on what makes them the best candidate without putting other candidates down.  When you interview for a job you arrive prepared to discuss your accomplishments, not to trash talk the other prospective candidates.  I understand the need for debates – however there should be a higher focus placed on positive self-promotion than discussing your opponent negatively.

This year though – things are different.  There is violence, fear, and ugliness unlike campaigns I remember in my lifetime.  Issues aside & candidates aside… I am finding it difficult to expose my children to to the Presidential Campaign this year.  Considering how interested my 8 year old is in current events, this truly is a shame.

Make the Presidential elections more family-friendly! #Election2016 Click To Tweet

I asked my 8 year old about the qualities she would find favorable and unfavorable in a presidential candidate and these were her answers:

The things an 8 year old seeks out for her ideal Presidential candidate... unfortunately we have no one that meets her expectations.

I can not say with certainty that she would be able to apply her current standard to ANY of the current candidates, and I believe many Americans feel the same way about the candidates this year.  We should not be voting for the lesser of the evils (something I have heard frequently).  We should be nominating the best of the best.

It all makes me wonder: How can we raise our children to be the kindness in the world when our nations (potential) leaders are so cruel?  How many children, at one point or another, aspire to be the President of the United States when they grow up?  I can remember walking through the hallways of my middle school, thinking how neat it would be to be the first woman President.  (Back then, I thought it would have happened by the time I was old enough, lol)  My kids think the President is “so cool.”  And as the leader of our nation, the President should be a strong and capable leader, which should not include instigating violence,  name-calling, assigning blame, and putting others down.

We are quick to demand zero-tolerance policies towards bullies in school – yet our election processes reward bullies with Presidential nominations.  I have not heard any of the candidates asking citizens to calm down or act rationally. The politicians just keep adding fuel to the fires.  It’s a contradiction that my child will not understand, and to be honest, I don’t know how to explain it to her.

Bullying: Why the double standard?! #Election2016 Click To Tweet

Bullying has no place in our schools - or in the Presidential Elections! EveryMomDay.com

My husband reviewed a portion of this post and mentioned that it was reading very “Anti-Trump” and believe me, it is NOT meant to be.  While most of the media coverage does seem to focus on concerns within the Trump campaign, this is by no means an issue unique to Trump, Trump-protesters, or any specific political party.  I am not trying to start a political debate – because my concerns and questions are on a much deeper level.

The stereotypes we accept as “normal” for politicians are shameful – especially considering the extent to which our children idolize those in elected office, especially the President.  The leader of our nation should reflect the core values of a model citizen, while fulfilling the numerous responsibilities expected of that role.  Obviously, the President is human, so perfection is not to be expected – but we should be able to expect professionalism.

I wish that there was a way to improve the election process to optimize the candidates’ positive strengths, while placing less of an emphasis on making competitors look bad.  We should not expect less from the Presidential candidates than we would expect from a job interview, and we should have no reason to classify the election process as anything but “Family-Friendly.”

I am not sure what the answer is… but this years Presidential Election leaves me uneasy about the path which we are on (as a nation).  I will be voting on Tuesday – with my kids – and spending some time thinking about how to approach this topic with my children to get us through the next 8 months.

What do YOU think?  How do you handle involving your children with the election?

I do not have a cell phone. I do not want a cell phone. How to get rid of your cell phone.

I Don’t Have a Cell Phone

Why I don't have a cell phone - and I don't want one!

I don’t consider myself “old” yet.  Maybe that is silly – maybe no one realizes how old they really are?!  I remember back when pagers were the thing.  I had a big ol’ white pager that was handed down from my mom.  My friends and I would page phone numbers as well as “codes” (143 = I love you).  At that time my mom also had a car phone that was stored in (what can only be described as) a suitcase in the trunk of her car.  Over the next 20 ish years cell phones got smaller – then bigger – styles changing to suit the changing demand.  One trend that was clear is that everyone was making the move to mobile phones.  Now a days, most people I talk to don’t have a landline anymore, relying on their cell for everything from phone calls and texting to social media and web-surfing.

A friend recently posted this on his Facebook page:

Have you ever monitored how often you are on your phone? I noticed that on average I am using some sort of social media app upwards of 3+ hours a day, 7 days a week. In one year that’s 45.5 days straight of being on my phone. 45.5 days a year that I don’t notice my kids, I forget about responsibilities and use excuses when I can’t “find the time” to get something done. Social media isn’t free if it costs you the only thing we can never get more of… Time. I’m restricting myself to less than 1 hour a day going forward. (Dave S. – Rochester, NY)

The calculations are shocking, and I am willing to bet that they are not unusual for most people these days.

Interesting - EveryMomDay.com explains how she saves $150+/month and gets more time with her kids.

Here is the part that seems to shock everyone – my household does not have a cell phone (or a landline, actually).  It has been 2 years since we closed our contracts.  At first, I felt naked and lost.  Like a baby forced to give up the pacifier that comforts her when she’s sad, and occupies her when she’s bored.  Many people tell me the reasons why they could never give up their cells – and honestly, if you don’t want to unplug then don’t – but many of the reasons I hear make me smile, because those things all apply to me too – and I thought them all before we unplugged.  I have 4 children, children with special needs, in school, multiple service providers, job contacts, babysitters, family, friends… we survived without cell phones when I was a kid and we survive just fine without them today.

Without my cell phone, I am forced to be more present and “in the moment” with my children, friends, family, and people in general.  I feel like I am able to be more of the mom that I want to be when I don’t get wrapped up in social media while I am out and about.  I don’t check my phone at the playground, the waiting room at dance class, or in the line at the grocery store.  Instead I watch my kids play if I am not pushing them on the swings.  I chat with other moms/people in the waiting room, playgrounds, or lines.  I flip through an occasional magazine.   I have plenty of time to be social on the phone/online when I am home – during nap times and bed times and when I designate “work” time (still a balance for sure)!

So what do we do?

I have an app (Talkatone) installed on our iPad and the deactivated iPhone that provides me with voice and texting capabilities using wifi at little to no cost.  With the deactivated iPhone, it will still work to call 911 so I typically keep it charged and with me in case of an emergency, and I will occasionally use it for the camera while I am out and about.  I simply tell people that my phone is not a traditional cell phone and that it can only be used with wifi, so it’s more like a landline but I can make calls at locations with free wifi as well if needed – and so many places have free wifi these days from the grocery store to doctors offices and restaurants.  Even though I have access to the apps anywhere there is wifi, eliminating the phone/data plans 2 years ago changed the way I rely on the phone and I find I rarely reach for it.

We save a bunch of money this way.  Our internet bill is about $40/month and if I need to purchase minutes to make outbound calls (the Talkatone app provides 60 mins free a month) it’s only .99/60 mins.  We also use the FaceTime on the iPad to further reduce the need for using the phone app.  When we had cell phones through one of the leading national companies, we were paying upwards of $140/month on our cell phones alone – plus we had separate wifi charges as well – and the rates are only rising.

Getting rid of cell phones has saved us money, and gave us time to be present with the people in our lives and really enjoy the little moments.  As strange as it sounds these days, my household does not have a cell phone – nor, do we want one.

How do you feel about your cell usage?