5 Things Every Mom On The Go Desperately Needs

Because sometimes when you're on the go, life doesn't go according to plan, and sometimes that means mom becomes a little bit of a momster, here are my 5 absolute must-haves for being an on-the-go mom, so you can stay a little more sane. #HelloSummer #ChobaniCG #ad

I swear, every day, it seems like I only have one speed– go, go, go. Between soccer practice and school stuff and my own work, it seems like many days, I don’t even get two seconds to breathe. While everyone who knows me would argue that I love a hectic pace, which is true (I can’t seem to sit still for long when it comes to getting things done), it doesn’t leave a lot of room for “me time.” That’s why most of my life requires an on-the-go attitude… and all of the “stuff” that goes with it. Because sometimes when you’re on the go, life doesn’t go according to plan, and sometimes that means mom becomes a little bit of a momster, here are my 5 absolute must-haves for being an on-the-go mom, so you can stay a little more sane.

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Barbecue Chicken Skewers with Creamy Ranch Dip

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BackYourSnack #CollectiveBias

This snack hack is perfect for party entertaining or for upgrading your afterschool snack for your teen. These easy barbecue chicken skewers with a creamy ranch dip take only minutes to make and have so much flavor-- your teens will love it! It's the perfect back-to-school snack. Plus, the creamy ranch is so versatile that you can use it for tons of different treats! #BackYourSnack #Ad

I cannot believe Jeffrey is starting high school this year. While he’s still homeschooled, many of his friends, and our exchange student, are in public school, which means when school lets out around 3:00, our house becomes the social hub as all of his friends come over. It means we need snacks, LOTS of snacks, to satisfy the insatiable study group we have around our house these days. Luckily, I’ve come up with a foolproof snack that everyone loves. And, if you’ve got a Snack Hack using FarmRich and Walmart Fresh items, you could actually win $10,000, so keep reading and share YOUR back-to-school Snack Hack. Mine snack hack? Delicious barbecue chicken skewers with creamy ranch dip. With only 4 ingredients plus some herbs and spices you probably have on hand, it’s the perfect recipe for snack time.

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Dairy-Free Blueberry Yogurt Bars (Yes, Really!)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SwapMilk4Silk #CollectiveBias

Going dairy-free? You can still enjoy these blueberry yogurt bars-- yes, really! Using Silk Yogurt Alternative, these bars have all of your favorite flavors-- oatmeal, fresh blueberries, and the creaminess of yogurt-- but without any dairy at all. They taste JUST like a blueberry muffin and make a great breakfast, dessert, or mid-day snack. #SwapMilk4Silk #Ad

Since starting this blog, I’ve been asked a lot about modifications for various nutritional needs– it’s not uncommon for me to get messages or emails asking if a certain recipe can be made dairy-free, or gluten-free, or vegan, or… but what I didn’t realize was that a dairy free recipe could be SO flavorful, or still include the creaminess of yogurt. Yeah, sure, most of you wouldn’t think that my blog’s very first entirely dairy-free recipe would be a yogurt bar… but that’s exactly what makes this one so delicious. So grab a bowl, and some Silk, and a few other ingredients, and let’s make these delicious bars, shall we?

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“The Chicken or the Egg” Hashbrown Casserole

This casserole is for breakfast. Wait! No. It's for dinner. Wait! No. Brunch. Actually, it's for anytime!  This casserole won't answer the age-old question of which came first, but it does put chicken and egg and hashbrown in one delicious casserole.

This casserole is for breakfast. Wait! No. It’s for dinner. Wait! No. Brunch. Actually, it’s for anytime!  This casserole won’t answer the age-old question of which came first, but it does put chicken and egg and hashbrown in one delicious casserole… which is pretty special, actually.

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5 Back-to-School Must-Haves Your Exchange Student NEEDS!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #JustACallAway #CollectiveBias

Exchange students have unique back-to-school needs that you might not think of. Here are 5 things exchange students must have before they go to school. #JustACallAway #Ad

I didn’t realize how prevalent hosting exchange students was until my family started hosting about a decade ago. Through the years, I’ve met a lot of host families, and I’ve gathered some tips of the must-haves that exchange students need to go back to school. In some ways, it’s just like back-to-school shopping for your own kids, but in some ways, it’s just a little bit different, and I’m so excited to share the 5 things your exchange student really needs before they go to school in America.

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Why Target’s New Gender-Neutral Aisles Will Make Shopping Easier

Usually I stay away from posting pieces that are heavily political on my blog because it seems to be a major way for drama to seek people out. But this is one of those arguments that has left me scratching my head, and because of it, I need to address it. So… here goes. Please remember that you may encounter opinions different than those you hold near and dear, both in this post and in the comments. Let’s keep it civil, okay? Thanks!

Target made a huge announcement. They’re moving towards a gender neutral aisle scheme in three major sections of the store, thanks to a mom’s tweet last year asking why there were different sections for “building toys” and “girls’ building toys.” That’s right– no section for “boys’ building toys,” but the assumption that girls need their own section of building toys. The ensuing backlash on social media led to this big decision by Target: no more gender roles pushed in the Toy, Kids’ Bedding, or Kids’ Books sections of the store. 

That means that soon, there will be no sign splashed across bedding for “boys’ bedding” or “girls’ bedding,” no sign saying “boys’ books” or “girls’ books.” It will be “children’s books” featuring Dork Diaries and Diary of a Wimpy Kid in the same section, for any boy or girl to pick up either– or possibly both– books.

Now, as a mom who shops both sides of the aisle with my son, tossing both LEGO City and LEGO Friends sets into our cart, and as a mom who bought her son an Our Generation doll today because he insisted he’d make a great Doll Dad (while simultaneously reminding him that his limit was spent on the doll and no, he could not have the cool new blue Nerf gun he saw), I’m happy to see Target ridding itself of the blue and pink color schemes and the signage saying “this is for boys.”

But a lot of people disagree. Many are boycotting Target because they feel this leads down the path of little boys growing up to become Caitlyn Jenner. While I disagree at the notion of that slippery slope– playing with dolls is more likely to make my son a good father than a woman in the future– I don’t understand the outrage.

To illustrate the frustration, I’ll quote someone, who I’ll leave anonymous, that left a comment on Buzzfeed’s report on the “controversy.”

Stupidest thing I ever saw! Boys are boys and girls are girls, I’m not saying boys can’t wear pink but girls are born to be future mamas so They play with dolls and boys are meant to be the provider so they play with action/building toys. [sic]

Here’s the deal. If girls are future moms, and many of them will be, what does that make boys? Future dads. Dads who need to learn to nurture now, and perhaps that’s by brushing a doll’s hair or changing a pretend diaper.

What about the girl who doesn’t get married straight out of school? Who rents an apartment with gal pals while waiting to meet “the One” if that’s what’s going to happen to her? If she’s never been allowed to use dramatic play to explore construction, will she feel confident enough to assemble her new furniture by herself? And if she’s never been allowed in a “provider” role, how will she explore the future career she wants to have– even if she does later choose to leave that career to be a mom, what’s to help her as a high school job? A post-college path? Not every woman will get married right out of school, and even if she does, what’s wrong with her having options?

Women can be providers. Men can be nurturing parents. The roles are not gender exclusive. I think many of us can agree there.

But what still floors me are the number of people boycotting Target, not because Barbies may soon be sold right next to GI Joe, but because it might make shopping more confusing and disorganized.

I’m here to calm those fears. It’s actually likely going to make shopping easier.

Gone are the days of walking to the girl aisle to find the super-awesome Nerf Rebelle toys (a line of Nerf guns and bows that come in stunning pink and purple color schemes) and then hunting down blue and orange Nerf products in the “boy aisles.” Instead, you’ll go to the Nerf aisle and take your pick between blue and pink, or, if you’re anything like my family, a little bit of both.

You’ll no longer walk down an aisle of LEGO City, LEGO Minecraft, LEGO Ninjago, and all of the other LEGO products “for boys” and then search a few aisles over for the “girl-acceptable” LEGO Friends sets. Now, it will be LEGOs. LEGO shopping malls and veterinary hospitals and jungle rescue sets, side-by-side with police helicopters and Creepers and double-decker couches.

When searching for bedding, your Jurassic World loving daughter won’t be wondering why she has to go to the “boy aisle” to find bedding decked with dinosaurs and your Frozen-obsessed son won’t have to wonder why an Elsa blanket is in a “girl aisle.” There will be bedding. Children’s bedding in plenty of bright colors and brands and ideas, likely sorted just like adult bedding is– by type and brand.

We don’t designate “Men’s Bedding” and “Women’s Bedding.” It’s just… bedding. And I’ve never walked into Target’s book section to find Dean Koontz and Chuck Palahniuk restricted to “Books for Men” while Jodi Picoult and Diane Chamberlain are on a shelf of “Books for Women.” Nope. They’re “Bestsellers.” And soon, there will be “Children’s Bestsellers.”

Shopping is about to become a lot easier, because now shopping for interest instead of gender will mean that you can easily pick out a toy and not ask a Target team member, “Hey, where can I find Nerf stuff?” and them ask “For boys or for girls?” Now, they’ll direct you to the Nerf aisle, and you can have your pick.

And that is a very, very good thing.

Tips for Avoiding Heat Stroke (With Water Infusion Recipes)!

 Worried about heat exhaustion or heat stroke? Here's how to avoid it and stay healthy for the rest of summer.

I was at the drive in with my son, having a really great time. And then, suddenly… I just felt weird. As soon as the movie was over, we opted not to stay for the second one, and the more I drove, the worse I felt. I felt dizzy. I had a horrible headache. I was a little confused, struggling to find my turns. I was nauseated. And it was getting worse. As I struggled to continue driving, I pulled into a nearby restaurant, and made a call to my mom. 3 IV bags later, I found out I was suffering from heat exhaustion, which, if left to get any worse, would progress to heat stroke, had I remained for the second movie. Don’t make the same mistake… here are some ways to protect yourself against heat stroke.

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Pecan Chicken

Creamy. Juicy. Nutty. This pecan chicken is going to be a dinnertime staple-- it's a little sweet, a lot of savory, and so delicious your whole family will love it! Perfect chicken recipe for dinner.

I’ve said it a few times before– I love digging through the stacks of old recipes I inherited from my grandfather. Not only does it have some of his favorites, but also favorites from my grandmother and from my great grandparents. Sometimes, these old, frail recipes are just spot on, and sometimes, they take a little bit of modification to get just right. After giving this recipe a go, I figured out the best way to make it work perfectly, and I cannot wait to share it with you today. If you love pecans, you’re going to love this Pecan Chicken recipe. It’s going to be a dinnertime staple– it’s a little sweet, a lot of savory, and so delicious your whole family will love it! Perfect chicken recipe for dinner.

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The Power and Insanity of a Multi-Tasking Mom (Plus, Orange Dream Cooler Recipe)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WaterOnlyBetter #CollectiveBias

What is it with moms and multitasking? It seems like we can never get a spare minute to ourselves anymore! Do you find yourself doing your face mask while you clean the bathroom? You might be suffering from not enough mom time... so read this, and relate. #WaterOnlyBetter #ad

It started after Zach was born. I had never really noticed it before, but when he was born, it really did start. Late nights spent breastfeeding meant late nights where I’d just be… awake. So, I did something I swore I would never do. I got hooked on reality TV. See, my mind wasn’t awake enough for reading, and it really couldn’t handle TV with actual plot, either, so there I’d be, lying there awake after Zach had drifted off to sleep, realizing I needed to be doing…. well, something. Anything. if I wasn’t sleeping.

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Slow-Cooker Tex Mex Chicken Tortilla Soup

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CampbellSavings #CollectiveBias

This chicken tortilla soup is perfect for back-to-school because it's a great slow cooker recipe, meaning you set it, forget it, and get on with your day, so dinner is perfectly ready when you're ready to eat! That means after the homework is done, you're done. This chicken tortilla soup is the perfect chicken slow cooker recipe. #CampbellSavings #ad

Can you believe that back-to-school is just around the corner? I’m a little bit shocked, but stores already have backpacks and pencils galore, which means it’s time to start figuring out what to fix for dinner now that school is just about back in session. Being a homeschool family, it’s hard sometimes because even though we’re home all day, coming up with a dinner that won’t interrupt teaching, field trips, and more can be really tough. But this slow cooker chicken tortilla soup is perfection! It fits in perfectly with the weeknight rotation of spaghetti or tacos, and takes minutes to throw together.

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