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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Pizza Style Zucchini Roll Ups

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

Skip the pizza... these delicious zucchini roll ups are topped with all of your favorite pizza toppings, then bake and serve over your favorite pasta, or skip the pasta and go low-carb! If you like zucchini, you'll love this family-friendly meal with Prego Farmer's Market sauce and fresh produce from Walmart. #PickedAtPeak [ad]

I don’t know who started the whole swap-zucchini-for-pasta trend, but I kind of want to hug them. See, in the fall, I love to add squash to my favorite recipes, and making this yummy zucchini roll up is a perfect way to swap out lasagna noodles for squash in one of my favorite family recipes. There’s just something about a hearty meal that the whole family will love (probably because it tastes just like pizza) that’s still a little bit friendlier at working in fresh produce. Making the most of seasonal produce is a pretty important thing– why not use produce that’s at its peak? That’s why when I saw Prego Farmers’ MarketĀ® on the shelves at my local Walmart store, I knew exactly what recipe I wanted to make using the fresh produce and that sauce.

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Holly Berry Candy (and How To Have the BEST Cookie Decorating Party– easily!)

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

I love sharing Christmas candy with neighbors and friends, and this is one of my all time favorites-- Holly Berry Candy! It's so easy to make, and everyone loves it. Plus, it's just delightfully festive-- it's the perfect Christmas candy recipe to save for yourself and to share with friends, too! #ShareTheHoliday [ad]

I love Christmas candy. I grew up making a few favorites with my mom, and have so many fond memories of sitting on the counter each December making a variety of cookies and candies to share with neighbors, family, and everyone we love. It’s a tradition I love carrying on with my son even now. But the shining example of a perfect Christmas candy that’s so easy to make and delicious to enjoy and share is Holly Berry Candy.

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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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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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How to Get Your Car (And Family!) Road Trip Ready!

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

Are you road trip ready? It's more than just packing a few snacks-- it's total car re-organization! Don't miss these must-have checklist items to be sure your car AND your family have everything they need for a safe and fun road trip, whether you're traveling 3 hours or 18 hours!    | travel | traveling with kids | #FuelTheLove | #Ad

Every year, we take several summer trips– some are close (an hour to the Kansas City), and some are far (18 hours to our favorite island destination). All of these require a little bit of planning to make sure our car, and the kids, will get there without breaking down or totally losing it on each other. After a few summers, I think we’ve got this down to an art, so I wanted to share my best road trip tips with you so you will be totally ready for your summer vacation!

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Why Moms are Basically Superheroes

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #V8EnergyBoost #CollectiveBias

Come on, moms, we do it all-- quick changes after baby spit up, mind control through redirection techniques, and the power of sonic hearing! Moms are essentially superheroes, with a whole list of incredible superpowers! What's your super power? #V8EnergyBoost #Ad

My son has gotten really into superheroes lately. Every time I ask what he wants to watch before bed, it’s always, always superheroes. And the other night when I was watching, I realized with all of the quick changes, invisibility, and super speed, Super Powers really aren’t that far removed from what being a mom is like. Moms, we’re basically superheroes, and I’m pretty sure our families don’t know our secret identity, but if you aren’t convinced, here are a few ways that moms are pretty much superheroes…

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Managing Car Care (When Your Toddler Won’t Cooperate) with Pennzoil

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

You want your car to be safe when you have kids, but when do you have time for the maintenance like oil changes? It's surprisingly easy, you just have to #DropShopandOil. #ad

Having a toddler is not at all what I expected. While I do truly savor every minute of it, I also cannot figure out how to squeeze in things like breakfast, or shaving my legs, or, y’know, oil changes, on a regular basis. At the same time, as a mom, I’m not satisfied with my car maintenance not being taken care of when it should– an unsafe car is NOT an option when you have a child riding along. Short of hiring a sitter so I could get an oil change, I was really clueless about what to do…

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A&W Root Beer Float Cookie Bars

I was walking through Walmart not too long ago and saw a product that made me stop dead in my tracks. As a member of a Root Beer loving family, I knew I had to make something awesome with the mix I saw on the shelf. Betty Crocker actually released a Walmart-Exclusive Root Beer Float cookie mix. The first thing I thought? “This is either going to be absolutely amazing, or really off the mark…” I mean, you can’t make a root beer cookie… can you? Well, Betty Crocker succeeded, and I decided to tweak their cookie to make the perfect party treat. The best part? It’s really simple.

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9 CopyCat Lunchable Recipes to Help You Save, Plus the Good, Better, and Best of Convenient Kid’s Lunch Ideas!

Growing up, Lunchables meant one thing: Field Trips. All of the cool kids got Lunchables, myself included– I had a cool mom. Being a stay at home mom with a stay at home kid now, I have a LOT of lunches to plan, and between blogging full time, spending time playing with the kiddo, and trying to keep it all organized, of course I turned to Lunchables to try to save a few minutes of time. After all, they’re convenient and they come in these handy little packages with little clean-up and are quick to grab from the fridge.

But then I started realizing how much I was spending buying Lunchables, and further, I started realizing that they weren’t that great and balanced, either. So, I started deciding to set aside a little extra time each week to pre-plan my son and I’s meals and snacks, Lunchables style, with all of the convenience and fun, but less of the price tag. And the best part? I could work hard to make them a little more balanced, too.

Today, I’m sharing 9 great Lunchables swaps that will save money, as well as some ideas on how to improve your Lunchable swaps to make them a healthier, more balanced choice for your kiddos! For the original swap, I kept it as close to the original Lunchable as possible and listed the brand I used so you can see how those savings add up!

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