Help Kids be a Champion at Their New School

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company, Kellogg Company, J.M. Smucker Company, and The HERSHEY’S Company. All opinions are mine alone. #StartSchoolLikeAChampion #CollectiveBias

Back to School time has arrived already! Like always, we are anxiously awaiting the first day of school. But this year, there may be a few more first day jitters than usual as the boys are starting a new school.

I’ve thought about ways we can calm their nerves (and mine too!) in this new situation. I don’t want it to be stressful for them and I’d love to share a few tips for anyone starting a new school this year.

Ask About Their Fears:

Of course, they may be harboring some fears as the first day gets closer. It’s only natural when a big change is involved! We started talking about this change early on and recommend inviting them to ask questions before the first day. It’s nice to be able to address any concerns before school starts rather than after.

With the 2016 Olympic Games on right now, it has been a great way to talk about being brave in new situations. Because you know these athletes are nervous too! Team USA sponsors have teamed up with Scholastic to create the Walmart exclusive “Start School Like a Champion” program. This year, they want to make sure your champs start the year like one by providing a free Scholastic book for every purchase of select products at Walmart.

Have a Dress Rehearsal:

That’s right! Pretend it’s the first day and talk about your new routine. My kids are bus riders so we talk about where their new bus stop is and remind them they will be arriving at a new school this year. Have them pick out their first day of school outfits. Something that makes them feel confident!

Ask them what they want to eat for breakfast on the first day of school. Be prepared with their favorite foods. Make sure there is plenty of time for them to sit and enjoy breakfast. Talk excitedly about all the things they will get to experience at their new school. Including meeting lots of new friends!


My kids love Kellogg’s Eggo waffles with JIF peanut butter and fruit on top!


Add in some yummy Minute Maid Apple Juice and they’re set with a delicious, nutritious breakfast.

Send Them to School With a Surprise in Their Lunch:

It never hurts to send them a goodie in their lunch box. I love sending them special little notes to remind them they are doing great and that I love and miss them. This year I’m sending them an extra kiss in the middle of the day with HERSHEY’S KISSES chocolates. Just a small gesture to show them I care. I know it’s not easy being the “new kid.”


I want my kids to start school like a champion. You can earn a free Scholastic book by purchasing any of the over 100 participating Coca-Cola, HERSHEY’S, Kellogg’s, or J.M. Smucker’s product at Walmart between 6/29/16 – 9/30/16. Here’s how to claim your books!

  • Buy any participating Coca-Cola, HERSHEY’S, Kellogg’s, or J.M. Smucker product at Walmart between 6/29/16 and 9/30/16. For a full list of participating products, refer to
  • Join or log in to Kellogg’s Family Rewards.
  • Upload your receipt within 30 days of purchase.
  • Choose or donate your free book.

How do you get your kids ready for school?

Making Our House a Home

Moving from a brand new house to an older house has been interesting, to say the least. We knew there were problems before we moved in. We made the owners buy us a home warranty and we knew we would probably be using it! Which we have – two times already!

First, the master shower leaked to the media room below. And the drain backed up and flooded our basement leaving the carpet useless. We’re guessing the main drain had never been cleaned out . . . ever. That was when we decided to upgrade the warranty. Because it sounds like they’ll probably be back!

It’s clear this house and the yard were sadly neglected. But when we were looking at it we saw huge potential. And we knew with a little work, we’d build a good amount of equity right off the bat.

When they did the appraisal we found out the house was already worth more than we were paying for it. Now we’re seriously thinking we landed on a goldmine.

The house is already so much better than it was when we bought it. I remember coming into it for our final walk-through. The owners had already moved everything out and they weren’t living there anymore. It was completely empty.

Sure, the hideous paint colors were still there but it was much easier to imagine us living there. Our kids playing in their playroom. Our new sofa fitting into the media room. The huge fireplace mantle decorated to my taste.

Potential to be a wonderful home for us for years to come. With plenty of projects and hope for a new chapter of our lives.

I was sad about leaving our last house. I cried a lot of tears wondering if we were making the right decision. But I’m not sad anymore. I’m happy about our new start.

As of today we’ve been in our new house for two months. The sun is shining down on the new flowers we’ve planted. And I think our family is happy here.

Happy is a word I wasn’t sure I would be using ever again.

But here I am. Believing that I deserve happiness too.

My Biggest Regret and How I’m Fixing it Now

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of American Heart Association / American Stroke Association. All opinions are 100% mine.

Regrets – we all have them. I know I have my share.

There are many little regrets. The chances we did or didn’t take. The choices we made or didn’t make.

As time passes, we appreciate what we learn from our regrets and challenges . But the big ones are a reminder of our opportunity and power to change.

One of my biggest regrets that sticks out to me is ignoring my own needs for so long. You see, I knew I needed to take better care of myself. Eat healthier meals, exercise regularly, get enough sleep. But as a mom, I thought the right thing to do was to put everyone else’s needs above my own. That’s what moms do, right?

Well, now I know I was wrong. Last year, I found out there were consequences. I learned my lesson the hard way – through a health crisis. But now that I’ve come through it I can finally make better decisions.


I recently trained to run a 5k and try to be active in some way every other day. It really makes me feel so good to know I’m doing something amazing for my body and my brain. An active body (through physical activity) and mind can improve brain health, and help you avoid brain problems like stroke, dementia, confusion, or memory loss.

Gosh, what I wouldn’t do to have my twenties back, not because I was a size 2, but so I could make better decisions that would affect my Brain Health now!

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association defines a healthy brain as a brain that is functioning at its best, free from disease and is receiving normal blood flow and oxygen levels.

I don’t ever want to take my body or my brain for granted again. I want to keep things sharp. This isn’t a phase or a fad with me. It’s a healthy living lifestyle change that needs to stick! Eating and sleeping well and being physically and socially active can reduce my risk of stroke and heat disease.


I’m also trying to eat healthier so I can function at my best. With three young kids and being on the go a lot, it’s definitely not easy. But simple changes like choosing fruit instead of a cupcake can help. Eating almonds or blueberries is my favorite healthy snack and I love having grilled fish for dinner.


I don’t know about you but taking my health for granted is definitely one of my biggest regrets. I’m thankful that by making changes those regrets can fade away. No matter what your regrets are in life there are ways to overcome them. Thank goodness for the passing of time and a willingness to change! I’m ready to move forward and do better.


You can learn more about the Life’s Simple 7 at the American Heart Association’s website.

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All-American Sweetie

Fourth of July is my favorite holiday! I love fireworks, BBQ’s and being with family in the summer heat. It’s going to be a great weekend, as always! Here are a few photos of our little All-American Sweetie in her new red, white & blue dress. She still loves Minnie Mouse so I knew she would love it! The boys had shirts to wear too but did not cooperate with my photo session :)

Happy Fourth, everyone!





Linking up for Star Spangled Kids.

Planning When You’re Not a Planner

day designer planner

I have to admit it – I am not a planner. I never have been. In my 37 years I have never used a paper planner to keep track of anything. I’m not really sure how I’ve survived this long. But my memory was always good enough for me to remember things. Until it wasn’t.

I’ve tried to use a calendar app on my phone and until recently it had been working pretty well. I would set up reminders to pop up a day before an appointment or assignment was due. And my husband was able to put in his work schedule so I would always know where he was for that day. But for some reason the app started randomly logging me out and I was missing things right and left!

I realized I was going to have to change my system because it wasn’t working anymore.

Instead of ordering a really fancy, expensive planner I went to my trusty Target and found a cute little planner called a Day Designer. I also bought myself some nice pens thinking it might help me get into this whole planning thing. I realize some people take their paper planners very seriously. Like, they spend a ton of time adding stickers and washi tape and um, yeah. I don’t think I could keep up with all of that.

But so far my minimalist approach is working pretty well. Each day I take a look at what is going on for the week/month ahead. At the top of the weekly pages it has “This Week’s Top Three” and I love being able to pick the three most important things I must focus on each week. It doesn’t overwhelm me.

I chose a small planner because I wanted it to fit into my purse and take it with me. That way I can pull it out and write in anything new while on the go. If my planner sat at home I wouldn’t remember to write anything in it. So a small planner works best for me.

I am really hoping this will help me stay more organized instead of looking like a fool when I miss an appointment or have no clue what is going on.

Tell me, are you a paper planner? Phone planner? Or both? I would love some tips on how to make planning work for me!