Essential Ways to Use Your Smartphone This Summer

This post about smartphone ideas for summer has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerIsForSavings #CollectiveBias #WFM1

During the summer, it pays to stay connected. Here are some of my favorite ways to make it the BEST SUMMER EVER by using my smartphone. #WalmartFamilyMobile #WFM1 #SummerIsForSavings [ad]

No matter how much you might wish summer was for slowing down, in my experience, summer is just one insanely busy season for families. From soccer tryouts to summer vacations, it can be hard to unwind and to stay connected. But the thing is, I’ve learned a few ways to avoid summer stress by staying connected with my smartphone. Syncing schedules, sharing summer memories, and treating your ears to your favorite summer tunes are all great ways to use your smartphone for the best summer ever, and with Walmart Family Mobile, the data you need doesn’t have to break the bank, either.

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Gulf Coast-Inspired Easy Shrimp Tacos

This easy shrimp taco recipe has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SoftsoapTouch #OurCaringHands #CollectiveBias

Be ready for summer with these easy Gulf Coast style Shrimp Tacos! They're so easy to make and absolutely delicious. Feel the Gulf Island flavor-- shrimp, taco shells, and plenty of flavor. #OurCaringHands [ad]

The clock is ticking, y’all. I am just weeks away from the event that I look forward to all year long. I’d say I’m practically packed, but we all know I’ll end up doing that the night before I leave. I’m talking about summer vacation, and for me, oh, it’s so much more than just a little break. See, for almost two decades now, summer vacation has meant something a little bit different for my family. It hasn’t just meant beach, and sand, and the sun, but it’s meant a whole lot of family time.

Every summer, we make the trek down to the Gulf Coast, to a tiny island called Dauphin Island, Alabama. If you’re a long-time reader, you’ve probably even seen me talk about it every summer for the past several years. This year we will be driving about 16 hours like we do every summer. Why? To enjoy the beach with our family, who live in another state.

To save money, we split condo costs. We also make sure to cook and eat meals family-style in the condo, rather than going out to eat a lot. That doesn’t mean we never visit local restaurants…. We totally do! There are so many great options for Gulf Coast flavor. Restaurants there serve up fried fish platters, po’boys, and of course, delicious shrimp tacos.

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5 Tips for having the BEST Family Movie Night

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. We hope you enjoy this content about how to have a great family movie night. #YourTaxCash #CollectiveBias

Family movie nights are a great way to bring the whole family together, but you can make them way more fun than just popping in a DVD, without a ton of extra money or time spent on your movie night. This is how we make family movie night AWESOME! (Our favorite tip? Letting everyone pick their own personal snack mix before the movie starts!) Plus, we share how YOU can get a free VUDU credit every month with your Walmart Family Mobile account. #YourTaxCash [ad]

Y’all know that I absolutely love Walmart Family Mobile. Just a couple of weeks ago, I shared all about how I invested in a smartphone for my business with Walmart Family Mobile, so I could keep rocking my business on the go, but that phone plan came with some extra perks that we are loving, like a VUDU credit every month! We decided that the movie credit makes for the perfect work break, which is why we’ve been staying intentional about family movie nights! I’ve figured out 5 foolproof tips for having the best movie night ever.

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Why Kids with Autism Need Companion Dogs (Plus a Super Easy Dog Toy Tutorial for YOUR Favorite Furry Friend!)

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

Dogs may be man's best friend, but for many kids with autism, dogs can provide so much more than friendship. Should your child with autism have an autism companion dog? Here are a few things that they can help with. #FeedDogsPurina [ad]

It takes a village to raise a child, clearly. In many ways, it seems it takes even more of a village to raise a child with autism. For children with autism, you aren’t just talking about family and friends in your village. Your village includes therapists, speech therapists, and other doctors, too. But sometimes the best possible village has 4 legs instead of 2, and that’s where autism companion dogs come in.

Not to be confused with trained service dogs, companion dogs are those special pets that fill a need in the life of a child with autism without training. It’s why I am a big advocate for children with autism having a companion dog in their lives. Autism companion dogs are amazing creatures; they’re loving, calming, and passionate about helping their human companion in their struggles. Here are my 5 reasons that kids with autism need an autism companion dog. (Keep reading, too, because I have a fun DIY dog toy for the beloved pet in your life!)

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7 Things My Son Has Learned from Playing Minecraft Every Day

If Steve and Alex are household names, if your child hears a hiss and thinks "creeper," or if you see everything in block form... you might have a Minecraft player in your house! Don't Panic-- Minecraft teaches some really amazing skills to kids (and adults) of all ages! Here are some things my child has learned from playing Minecraft-- it's incredibly educational, but it also promotes good social skills, too! Here's how.

Minecraft. It’s one of those ubiquitous games that it seems most kids are playing at one point or another. I’m not too worried about the Minecraft fascination, though. The thing is, there’s a lot of educational value in Minecraft. Many schools are even adding it to their curriculum! At first, I really didn’t get the appeal… so it’s a game. With blocks. And… everything is super boxy. And there’s no real end goal* (I’m from the Mario generation… you play the game, you save the princess, game over) which just blew my mind. When we got it, I didn’t think much of the game, obviously. But there are 7 important things my son has learned from playing Minecraft every day.

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Why I Write Sponsored Content on my Site

You'll sometimes see bloggers write something like "This is sponsored content." But what does that mean, and why do bloggers write sponsored content? Here's what it means for me, and why I choose to write sponsored content on my site.

Every few weeks, I get a message from one of my readers. “Why do you share sponsored content on your blog?” “What does it mean when you say something has been sponsored by a company?” “I’m a new blogger– how do I get a sponsor to sponsor content on my blog?” “Why do you keep showing us these ads?! Can’t I just get the recipe without you trying to sell me something?” Here’s the deal… I have some really specific reasons that I write sponsored content, and I’m going to share those reasons with you right now.

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No, I won’t make my son wear pants.

My son shouldn't have to wear pants to make anyone else feel comfortable. Here's why I leave that decision up to him... | oped | controversial mom opinions | parenting SPD | parenting ASD | autism | clothing sensitivity |

“Well, I thought  he was fully dressed until I saw his legs.”

“Isn’t he cold like that?”

“Does he ever wear pants?”

I’ve seen all of the comments. I’ve listened to everything that’s been said. And you know what? No, I’m not making my son, who has clothing sensitivity as a result of autism and sensory processing disorder, wear pants when he’s at home. I’ve got a few reasons.

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Things to Consider When Shopping for your Teen’s First Car

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®  & Armor All but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #ArmorAllGiftPack          http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

When it comes to your teen's first car, there are a lot of things to consider, from mileage to the reliability of the person you're buying from... do you know how to guide your teen into picking the right first car, and then how to encourage them to take care of it for a long life? Here's some advice. @walmart #ArmorAllGiftPack #Pmedia #ad

Tis the season for a new car… whether you’re one of the families who presents your teen with a new car on Christmas with a big shiny bow, or your teen is painstakingly saving up Christmas money to buy it themselves, there are a few things to consider to make sure you’re choosing just the right car for your teen, and some ways to help them keep that car tidy and running for as long as possible.

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5 Life Hacks to Keep Losing Weight (Even During the Holidays)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and the makers of alli® weight loss aid. All opinions are mine alone. #alliInMyLife #Final #CollectiveBias

Having trouble losing weight (or keeping the weight off) during the holidays? I can relate! Here are some life hacks that will help you keep the weight off during the holiday season. #AlliInMyLife [ad]

The past couple of months, I’ve been sharing my weight loss journey with you here. I have to admit, as excited as I’ve been about the results I’ve been seeing, I had my fears with the holidays approaching that I’d struggle to maintain my weight loss. But I remembered some foolproof ways that I’ve tried in the past– and succeeded– to keep the weight off, or even lose more weight, during the holiday season. With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s coming up, there are plenty of ways you’ll be tested, but there’s also plenty of ways that you can fight back towards continuing your journey!

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Bullet Journal Layouts for Your Weight Loss Journey

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and the makers of alli® weight loss aid. All opinions are mine alone. #alliInMyLife #After #CollectiveBias

If you love bullet journaling and want to lose weight, here are some layout ideas to get you started on the right path! With a plan, a good bullet journal layout, proper diet and exercise, and a little boost from alli, you'll start seeing results! Planning and tracking is a great way to get yourself in gear. #alliInMyLife #after [ad]

A few months ago, I hadn’t even heard of the term “Bullet journal.” To be fair, I also hadn’t tried alli® weight loss aid and I also didn’t own a blender cup or resistance bands… but a lot can change in just a few months, and for me, I can’t imagine my weight loss journey without those things, especially my alli® weight loss aid and my bullet journal.

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