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Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts have been hand selected by our editors to bring you the latest and greatest products that make your life a little easer and a lot more stylish! Our product scouts have a variety of children from newborn to age 10 and are on the ground (literally) using and testing these products. Our reviews are honest and the opinions of the scouts are always their own.

It’s finally starting to feel like spring (even here in Maine), so open your windows, dust your shelves and purge your closets. With birthday parties, sports in full swing and school winding down, it’s a busy time of year for families. So the more efficient the better when it comes to spring cleaning.

As my boys get older, more capable and more impressionable, I’ve been trying to take an “all hands on deck” approach to these major cleanings, both for the extra help and to teach them life skills and work ethic. Of course nothing is ever as perfect as it sounds. My boys get distracted and take plenty of snack breaks, but here’s some ways that have worked for us in terms of getting the kids involved and engaged.

Write it down

Whether we’re grocery hopping, doing errands or cleaning, my kids love being able to check things off a list. Make a big colorful checklist of all your chores, hang it on the wall and let them make the kids make a big X when the job is done.

Start with a job they like

My kids like washing the windows. Truthfully, they love the spray bottle, but I know they have fun doing that job. They collaborate well when they’re doing it, too, so I usually put that at the top of the list to get them started.

spring cleaning with kids
Get kid-sized tools

When kids are equipped with their own tools, I find they’re more likely to jump in and be a part of the process. My 16-month-old can’t get enough of his little broom and dust pan. I love the Kids Indoor and Outdoor Cleanup Play Bundle, because they can really help, using tools that fit their hands and their bodies.

Friendly competition

If your kids are anything like mine, creating a little competition pushes them along. Use a timer and see how fast they can do a job, or make a game of it. Let them know the first one to put away their laundry gets a treat.

Turn up the tunes

A little music and a dance party makes everything more fun. If your kids love the Moana or Trolls soundtrack, put it on and have a little fun on the job. You’ll soon be singing along to the tunes, even if you swore you’d never listen to Kidz Bop.

Tips for spring cleaning with kids
Small rewards

In our house, we don’t pay for regular chores. Our kids know they’re just part of being a member of the household, but some spring cleaning jobs go above and beyond the scope of regular chores. I feel comfortable offering a little incentive for their hard work. I create a flyer style sheet where they can choose a job and tear off the tab for payment once complete. It seems to be a win-win for everyone, helping them learn the value of working and managing their money.

Spring cleaning with kids
Plan a yard sale

I’ll be the first one to admit that getting kids to part with their things isn’t always easy.  My boys tend to come up with creative reasons why they need to keep items they haven’t played with in years.  With that said, most kids love yard sales, mine included. Once they wrap their heads around the idea of having one, they usually jump in full throttle. My boys think methodically and do a great job organizing items. They also use a yard sale as an opportunity to hold a lemonade stand.

Donate to a cause

Spring cleaning offers a variety of ways for families to give back to their communities. Consider donating items in the house to a shelter or giving your yard sale proceeds to a local non-profit. Take the opportunity to show and teach your kiddos generosity. Motivating them to help others encourages and maximizes the cleaning out process.

What are your best tips for getting the kids involved with cleaning?

Rebecca Spear contributed this post as part of Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts. You can find more from Rebecca on her blog, Mainely Mama.

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Who captures your kiddo’s heart? Mom of course! Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and we have the perfect DIY card to make mom’s day extra special!

DIY Mother's Day Card - Mother's Day crafts

My Heart Belongs to Mom DIY Card

This craft uses a technique called tissue paper bleeding which is just as fun as it is beautiful! With just a bit of water, you can transfer the dye from bleeding tissue paper onto your project, and the results are simply stunning!

Our guide has everything you need to know to create a truly one-of-a-kind gift for mom.

What you need to get started

Supplies:

  • White card/Envelope
  • Bleeding tissue paper (we used red, pink, blue and purple)
  • Water
  • Paint brush
  • Scissors
  • Marker

Instructions:

1. Begin by tearing the tissue paper into small pieces. One inch squares seem to work well.

2. Paint a thin layer of water on the front of the card and place the blue/purple tissue across the entire page. Layering the tissue will add more vibrancy and create a neat marbled effect.

Easy Mother's Day DIY Card

3. Once the tissue is in place, coat the top with another layer of water.

4. Repeat the process on the inside, right page of the card with the pink/red tissue paper.

5. Allow the card to dry completely and then peel off the tissue paper. You will be left with a gorgeous dyed masterpiece!

Mother's Day DIY Card with Tissue Paper Bleeding

6. Use a pair of scissors to cut a heart through the middle of the front of the card. Depending on the age of your child, have them write or trace the saying onto the card with a black marker.

“My (heart) belongs to…” on the front.
“Mom” or “Grandma” on the inside.
Feel free to add a special note at the bottom!

My Heart Belongs to Mom Mother's Day Card
A gift she’ll treasure

Just slip your finished card into its envelope, and you’ll be ready to make this Mother’s Day one she’ll never forget!

Have you ever tried tissue paper bleeding before? Once you start, it’s hard to stop!

This post was contributed by Joanna Murnan. You can find more from Joanna on her blog, Makingmine.

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Keeping up with current fashion trends can be very expensive. As moms, we love our leggings and yoga pants for around the house. Still, we want to look good when we have the opportunity to get out and interact with other adults. Working parents have the added challenge of creating a fashionable wardrobe for the office without breaking the bank. Finding online deals takes stress out of shopping for fashionable clothes.

Best online deals for clothes

Consider buying used items

People without children can probably find time to search through items at consignment stores. However, parents often find the only time they can shop online is after the kids go to bed. The good news is just because we’re shopping with our devices instead of our feet, we can still find great deals on gently used items.

There are many options for finding used clothing online. One of the most well-known sites to use for buying all sorts of things is eBay, and they have listings for pretty much anything. Their site provides a variety of ways to limit your search, so you can find the size, brand, or even color that you want. The downside to eBay is that the listings will include many outdated items.

Online shoppers can find more recent clothing items for sale on sites like thredUP. If you’re looking for something like a special occasion dress, you can also save money by renting designer dresses through sites like Rent the Runway.

best online deals

 

Search for coupon codes

You will be amazed at how many coupon codes are available for pretty much every website out there. Before you finalize your transactions, check to make sure that you do not forget to apply discount codes. A simple search for “discount codes” and the name of the site should yield a couple of different options for you to try.

Try to apply several codes to your transaction, because you may be able to combine a couple of different offers. If you’re having trouble finding a coupon code that works, always check out the homepage for the site. Deals are often highlighted there to entice shoppers to venture further into the site.

Search for trendy, off-brand clothing

We all have our favorite brands, but branching out and trying alternatives can give you the look without the high price. Be honest; no one really looks at the tags on your clothing. I’ve been pretty impressed with the affordable clothing offered on Amazon. They have trendy-looking items for really low prices.

Plenty of other sites offer cheaper versions of your favorite styles. They might not be heirloom quality, but if you’re someone who is continually updating their closet, it may be a good option.

best online deals
Take advantage of rewards programs and sales

If you are hopelessly devoted to any specific stores or brands, make sure to earn some rewards for your loyalty. Sign up for email newsletters, and you can receive coupons and learn about upcoming sales. Don’t forget about planning ahead to make purchases during yearly sales or special holiday promotions. Some brands and sites that reward repeat customers with discounts you can apply towards future purchases.

Some sites and brands that only offer special pricing on special occasions. You can still save some of the cost by using a credit card with a cash-back or another type of reward program. Any easy way to find these reward programs is by going to Google and typing the name of your favorite online store followed by rewards or loyalty program. Just make sure to pay off your balances in full, or else the interest charges will cancel out your rewards.

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Look for free shipping — and shop strategically

Finally, shipping charges are a sneaky way to end up paying even more for your online purchases. Most sites offer free shipping once your purchase adds up to a certain amount. Make sure you’re not paying $15 for shipping, when you could add on a small item and get everything sent to you without any extra charges.

Staying up to date with current trends is going to be expensive if you are an impulse shopper. By being more strategic with your spending, it is possible to save quite a bit of money. The keys are planning ahead and thinking a little outside the box. A little extra effort can help you be both fashionable and frugal.

What are your favorite sources for the best online deals?

Jenny Silverstone is just another mom trying to do her best. She loves making lists and helping others find what they are looking for. When she’s not trying to find the best bargains online, you can find her blogging about all things related to feeding your baby at MomLovesBest.com and join her on Pinterest.

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Let’s face it, whether it’s your first rodeo or baby #5, the early days with a new baby are magical — but also exhausting. Every new mom and birth circumstance is different, so be sure to use judgment, especially with gift delivery, but we’ve pulled together some ideas that are sure to brighten her day.

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Make a meal

One of the easiest ways to make a new mom’s day: bring a complete meal that can easily be warmed up. Bring your meal in a disposable serving dish, so the new mom doesn’t need to worry about dishes. With the family’s permission, you may also want to set up a Meal Train to schedule deliveries with other friends. We loved it when someone set up this lifesaver for us with our third son.

Gift of groceries

Stop by your local health food store and pick up some basic groceries and easy no-prep snacks. Things like trail-mix, cut veggies & hummus or fruit salad are great choices.  Also if you know the mom is nursing perhaps consider snacks that have oatmeal like these energy balls.

gifts for new moms

A house cleaning service

Deep cleaning the house always seems to fall by the wayside with a new baby in the house. What a treat to have someone come in and help get it done. A home cleaning is a great gift whether you are near or far. Look for a highly rated, reliable company and get the family a certificate to set up the cleaning when it works for them.

Pampering products for mom

With a new baby in the house, even thinking about self-care seems hard. Consider making the new mom a care package of items to help make her feel good or encourage her to take a small break. Aromatherapy hot packs like these Grampa’s Garden warmers are great to have on hand. A great natural hand lotion or salve combats the extra hand washing you do with a new baby. I love this Kiehls Ultimate Strength Hand Salve or this Hand Cream from Five Island Body Co. It may seem silly, but these portable massage tools can also be a good addition, I remember many nights falling asleep in the rocking chair with a crooked neck. Top the goodie basket off with some fun magazines and dark chocolate for the complete package.

 gifts for new moms
Trip to nearby spa with babysitting included

Every new mom deserves some pampering. Find a spa that’s close to home so she feels comfortable sneaking out, even for a short window. Give her a little encouragement and let her know you’ll gladly be the babysitter when she’s ready.

Coffee

Most new moms are fueled by coffee, so you can’t go wrong with this one. Pick up a really cute travel mug and give her a little gift card to Starbucks or her favorite neighborhood coffee shop. Look for one with a drive-thru!

Something sentimental

While the birth of a child introduces you to a whole new level of tired, above all else it such a blessing and shows you a whole new kind of love. A gift that helps mom celebrate this amazing experience and new little being may bring a few tears but will also likely be one of her favorites.  We love a necklace like this from Tiny Tags or a newborn or family photography session with a local photographer.

gifts for new moms

Hulu+ Membership

If she doesn’t already have a streaming service, she’ll love having access to entertainment on any device and at any odd hour she finds herself awake. The beauty of Hulu+ is that she can watch most of her current favorites without having to worry about setting a DVR and can go to bed when baby does.

Gift of Prime

If she doesn’t already have Amazon Prime, I’d highly recommend gifting it to her. You can gift 3 or 12 month subscriptions, and I promise you it will be a huge hit. What’s better than having access just about everything you need for baby and quick shipping? Not having to drag baby out of the house is huge!  If they already have a membership, perhaps consider an Amazon or Diapers.com gift card.

What was the best thing you received as a new mom? Or what is your go-to gift?

This post was contributed by Rebecca Spear as part of Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts. You can find more from Rebecca on her blog, Mainely Mama.

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citygems-logo

I may be a little biased, but if you’re planning a family trip this summer (or fall), add Portland to your list. Often called “the other Portland”, I assure you our quaint little city in Maine will not disappoint. You’ll find a foodie paradise, with top notch restaurants serving up fresh seafood. With gorgeous beaches, lighthouses, and sightseeing for days, your biggest problem will be fitting it all in.  While this list doesn’t scratch the surface, I’ve rounded up a list of 10 family friendly activities you’ll want to check out when you’re in town:

jack-lobstering
Experience Lobstering

You can’t leave Maine without eating a lobster. If you come in the summer or early fall, I also highly recommend checking out how that lobster was caught. Jump aboard Lucky Catch and Captain Tom and his crew will show you the ropes. I guarantee this is an experience your kiddos won’t forget.

Take a Train Ride Back in Time

Hop aboard The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad and take a ride along Portland’s waterfront with beautiful views of Casco Bay.  The train will stop halfway through, so kids can explore the engine car and learn about the antique cars. Before and after the 45 minute ride you can let the kiddos play inside the small museum with train tables and wood trains, retired cars to walk through and other fun for little ones.  Maine Narrow Gauge is typically open May through October and then again at Christmas for the Polar Express – check out their Facebook page for details.

Visit the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine

If you find yourself with a cold, rainy or sweltering hot day (yes those all happen in Maine), definitely put the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine at the top of your list. It’s really a fantastic space with something for a wide variety of ages including a baby/toddler play area and some really cool locally inspired exhibits/activities like a lobster boat, farm, discovery woods and so much more fun.

hadlock
Head to the ballpark

If you’re visiting the area during baseball season (April – September) be sure to head to Hadlock field and experience a Portland Sea Dogs ballgame.  A mini Fenway, this park offers fun for all ages with mid inning entertainment, fireworks, ad yummy park food including their famous Sea Dogs Biscuits.

Shop at L.L. Bean

Visiting the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport is a right of passage when visiting the area.  Head just 20 minutes north to Freeport, take a picture at the giant Bean boot, check out the fish, buy yourself a pair of signature Bean boots and if you’re visiting on a summer weekend, take in a free concert on the lawn.  Leave plenty of time to shop all the deals at the Freeport outlet and then head to head to the town dock for a yummy lunch at Haraseeket Lunch and Lobster.

Enjoy science and a slice

Nestled in the heart of the waterfront district on Maine Wharf, the Portland Science Center is a relatively new but well loved spot for learning and exploration.  The rotating exhibits keep it innovating and fresh and will keep you coming back – on your next trip.  After you get your science fix for the day, grab a slice (or two or three) of pizza at Flatbread. It’s right next door, the wood fired pizza is delicious and it couldn’t be anymore family friendly.

lobsterroll
Lobster roll at the lighthouse

Just 10 minutes from Portland, visit Maine’s oldest and most photographed lighthouse, Portland Headlight, in Cape Elizabeth. Take time to visit the actual lighthouse, walk the seaside trails, and explore Fort Williams. Then be sure to grab a lobster roll from Bite into Maine, and enjoy lunch with a view at the picnic tables.

Take a drive up the coast to Boothbay

If you’ve rented a car and have the time, take a drive up the scenic coast. Boothbay is just over an hour drive with lots to offer along the way. Your drive with take you through picturesque communities like Bath & Damariscotta, and kids will beg you to stop at Monkey See Monkey Do. Once in the Boothbay area, you’ll want to check out Boothbay Railway Village, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, and explore the harbor area. Don’t forget to stop for a craft beer and delicious food in a relaxed atmosphere at the Watershed Tavern & Brewery.

Hop a ferry and explore Peaks Island

Casco Bay lines offers frequent ferry service to Peaks Island. Just a 15 minute scenic cruise from downtown Portland, and you’ll find a relaxed island vibe. The island has a lot of fun to offer families, but you can do as much or as little as you want. Spend the day at the beach, walk with a stroller around the island, rent bikes or a golf cart and adventure, rent kayaks or head over for dinner. If you don’t want to leave, spend the night at the charming Inn on Peaks.

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Pick the fruit of the season

One of the great things about Portland is that we have so much so close. Beaches, mountains, countryside and farms are all within a short drive from the city. Picking our own fruit is also an opportunity right at our fingertips and always such a highlight. While it might be hard to travel home with your fruit, I still recommend giving it a try. You can still experience the atmosphere, the fun and — of course — the samples. If you visit in early summer you’ll hit strawberry season, later in the summer you’ll get to pick blueberries. If you come leaf-peeping in the fall you’ll get to pick apples.

Do we have you looking up travel arrangements yet?  If you’ve been to Portland, Maine, what are some of your favorites stops?

 

This post was contributed by Rebecca Spear as part of Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts. You can find more from Rebecca on her blog, Mainely Mama.

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It’s that time of year again. We can glimpse school spring break on the horizon, in between sports seasons for the kiddos. With cold weather still kicking around here in Maine, we’re dying for some warm weather fun. Sound familiar? Whether you’re looking to put together a last minute spring getaway for the family, or already planning next year’s escape, we’ve got your covered. Here’s 10 warm weather vacation spots we love for families — and think you will, too.

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1. The Florida Keys

For a Caribbean vibe without the passports and longer flights, the Keys is a great option.  Fly right into Key West or rent a car enjoy a picturesque drive from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. Hawks Cay in Ducks Key is one of our family’s personal favorites. You can’t go wrong with family friendly villas, Camp Hawk, a pirate ship pool, mini golf, bike rentals, a saltwater lagoon and so much more. If you’re traveling with a bigger crowd or simply want more space or privacy, you can find fantastic home rentals through sites live HomeAway and VRBO. Look at Sombrero Beach in Marathon for renting, because of the very quiet and residential feel with a wonderful beach and park/playground.

Family Vacations - Hilton Head
2. Hilton Head, SC

A great spot for a convenient Spring getaway, Hilton Head Island truly has something for everyone.  It’s not surprising to see it continuously picked as a top travel destination for families, because of its quiet streets, great beaches, an appreciation for nature and infinite opportunities to explore. For a classic family retreat rich with history and charm, check out Sea Pines Resort. The newly renovated resort offers top notch accommodations and endless activities, including horseback riding, kayaking, a playground, eco-adventures, golf, bike riding and (of course) the beach. Families love Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, which offers all the kid-focused amenities and services you expect from Disney.

Warm Weather Family Vacations
3. Providenciales Turks & Caicos

Known for being one of the safest spots in the Caribbean, Turks & Caicos is also one of the most pristine. Grace Bay is 12 miles of white-sand beach, clear and calm turquoise water and home to Beaches, one the the most popular all-inclusive family resorts. Amenities abound at Beaches, with something for everyone in the family including onsite babysitting, kids camps, waterparks, water sports, golf and entertainment. Not to mention, they truly are all-inclusive, which takes all the guess work out of your vacation.

 Warm Weather Family Vacations - Ana Maria Island
4. Ana Maria Island, Florida

Conveniently located for families looking for easy travel and access to the mainland resources, Ana Maria Island  is an ideal place to relax and get away from it all. With its sugar-white coastline, emerald Gulf waters and quaint downtown, you won’t want to leave this 7-mile stretch. We love the condos and town homes at the Mainsail Beach Inn. If you’re looking for looking for more space or privacy, renting a home is a great option. Start with Ana Maria Vacations for a wide variety of options.

Family Vacations - San Diego

5. San Diego, California

With a city motto of “Happiness is calling,” you know you’re bound for a great spot. While the weather isn’t always tropical, it’s reliably nice in San Diego, especially in the Spring. Spend a day exploring Balboa Park, hit up the San Diego Zoo and Gardens, discover gorgeous beaches, head out a whale watch or visit Sea World, just to begin. With so many interesting neighborhoods, you’ll be sure to find great accommodations to fit your family’s interests and budget. The Loews Coronado Bay Resort is a consistent favorite, and for many families with younger kiddos, Legoland California Resort is a great pick just 30 minutes north of the city.
Family Vacations - South Seas

6. Sanibel/Captiva, Florida

Located west of Ft. Myers, these barrier islands offer so much for families looking for relaxing time away. You’ll find an old school vibe with modern amenities. Enjoy amazing beaches, great shell seeking, bike riding, fishing and top notch restaurants. On Captiva, we personally love South Seas Island Resort. We find it perfect for families, with its beachside playground, zero entry pools, waterslides, fun ice cream/pizza shop and water sports. The Sundial Resort on Sanibel is a also a great family friendly option with apartment style accommodations and a private beach . You can read more about The Sundial here.

Family Vacations - Disney Cruise
7. A Disney Cruise

When traveling with young kiddos you inevitably bring a lot of stuff. One of the beauties of a cruise is exploring different destinations while leaving your stuff in the same room.  A Disney Cruise takes so much guess work out of the equation with everything from an airport shuttle to delicious meals and amazing excursions. What sets the Disney Cruise Line experience apart is its ability to bring Disney Magic to the sea. In true Disney fashion, the cruise thought of everything, keeping families in mind with every step from the design of the rooms to the onboard activities, entertainment and kids clubs. If a Disney Cruise is in your future, check out these great tips before booking your trip, and these tips and tricks before embarking!

Family Vacations - Atlantis Resort
8. The Bahamas

With its close proximity to Florida, The Bahamas can be easier to get to than many tropical destinations. You can find direct flights to Nassau from most major cities. While there are a number of beautiful island destinations to chose from based on your family’s budget and interests, Atlantis on Paradise Island consistently impresses. With some of the clearest ocean water on the planet and countless amenities all in one property, it’s hard not to have a good time. Find out more about visiting Atlantis with families here.

Family Vacations - Wilderness Lodge
9. Orlando, Florida

For families looking for activities, excitement and a bit of magic, Orlando is where it’s at. While it may not be your most relaxing vacation of all time, it will be full of fun and memories. With theme parks including all the Disney Parks, Sea World, Discovery Cove, Universal Studios, and Legoland just an hour away, fitting it all in may be impossible. If you want to skip the theme parks, there’s plenty to keep you busy. Enjoy a mystery dinner, go for an airboat ride or take a day trip to Coco Beach or the Kennedy Space Center.

Truthfully, I think my boys’ favorite part about visiting the Orlando area is the selection of awesome, kid-centric hotels. You can’t go wrong, but one of our Disney family favorites is Wilderness Lodge. We like the theme/setting, bunk bed rooms, awesome splash pad and boat ride to Magic Kingdom.  In the Universal area, many families that rave about Universal’s Cabana Beach Resort, in the Downtown Disney area the Wyndham Grand Orlando at Bonnet Creek is a favorite (especially the fantastic pool options), and in the Sea World area we like the Marriott’s Harbour Lake with it’s laid back vibe and Key West theme, deluxe villas, pirate ship pool and lots of other kid-friendly amenities.

Family Vacations - Aulani
10. Hawaii

For many of us, this isn’t the most accessible or affordable on the list, but your family won’t soon forget a trip to paradise. For young families visiting the island of a Oahu, Disney’s Aulani Resort is a perfect pick. You’ll have a dream vacation with the magic of Disney and family focused accommodations, amenities and activities.

Do we have you dreaming of warmer weather? What are your favorite spots for a warm weather family vacation?

This post was contributed by Rebecca Spear as part of Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts. You can find more from Rebecca on her blog, Mainely Mama.

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Looking for something new to keep your little leprechauns busy this St. Patrick’s Day? With a little luck, you can put together a fun activity in just a few minutes. Play-Doh gets a bad rap at times, because we’ve all had moments where we find it crusted onto something it shouldn’t be. However, it’s fantastic for little hands and motor skill development. These easy-to-use Play-Doh mats are great for kids of all ages. You can even squeeze in a few teaching moments while they’re playing.

Free Printable St. Patrick's Day Play-Doh Mats

What you need to get started

Simply download our Rainbow and Shamrock Play-Doh mat PDFs, print them off, slip each into a gallon size plastic bag, and get rolling.

Free printables for St. Patrick's Day crafts

Using your Play-Doh mats

Remember ROY-G-BIV? For “My Lucky Leprechaun Rainbow,” roll out ropes of Play-Doh for each corresponding color of the rainbow. Use the mat as a guide to create your very own rainbow arch! This mat helps you work with little ones on colors, and rolling the pieces can be done by even very young children.

My Lucky Leprechaun Rainbow Play-Doh MatDon’t leave it to luck! For “What Shapes Make a Shamrock,” use the circle and rectangle patterns at the top of the mat to help shape the pieces you need to assemble your very own four-leaf clover. Kids can learn about shapes while making their shamrocks and maybe even craft a few gold coins for the pot o’ gold.

What Shapes Make a Shamrock Play-Doh Mat - free printable

Reuse these mats time and again for extra fun

You can use these handy, little Play-Doh mats over and over again. During clean up time, just wipe down the outside of the bag with a damp cloth, so you’ll be all set for your next creation. Toss these in your diaper or tote bag the next time you need to keep kids busy at a restaurant, or pull them out while waiting for an appointment. The Play-Doh should stay home, but if you stash a few dry erase markers in your bag they’ll work just fine on the plastic bag.

Grab your free downloads

My Lucky Leprechaun Rainbow
What Shapes Make a Shamrock

What’s the rule on mixing Play-Doh in your house? (Ours always turns brown over here.)

Joanna Murnan contributed this post. You can find more from Joanna on her blog, Makingmine.

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In this season when many of us are resolving to eat cleaner and prioritize our health and how we fuel our bodies, it’s important to have go-to recipes handy. For those moments when you feel your day has been sabotaged by snacking and poor choices, when your kids are giving you a run for your money or when you’re feeling rundown and need a pick me up, I’ve got you covered. This is my go-to green smoothie when I’m looking for something to help me recharge and recover. And trust me, it works!

Pineapple and Mint Green Smoothie Recipe

It’s a simple recipe, but honestly, the combination is so refreshing and cleansing that it tastes much more complicated than it actually is. The mint leaves are fantastic for promoting digestion and cleaning your palette. And while you might not think of a smoothie as a winter option, if you can deal with the cold, it’s actually a great choice for many reasons including being a particularly good cold/cough chaser as its rich is antioxidants and vitamin C. In addition, the mint has the ability to soothe a cough and help relieve congestion.Pineapple Mint Green Smoothie

Pineapple mint green smoothie

Ingredients:
1 cup coconut water
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 generous cup chopped pineapple
1 heaping cup of spinach
Juice from half a lime
1/2 -1 cup of ice, depending on how you like it

Optional:
Add a banana
Swap out coconut milk in place of coconut water for a creamier smoothie
Use frozen pineapple and omit the ice

The BEST green smoothies to kick winter colds

I am constantly making this smoothie and it’s been approved by all members of our family. If you’re working on positive changes in 2017, don’t get discouraged by bad days or sick days because winter can be full of them, take a few minutes, sip a smoothie, refuel and recharge with something that makes you feel good.

Green Smoothies Kids Will LOVE

What’s your go-to smoothie recipe or what’s something you do to help reset yourself?

This post was contributed by Rebecca Spear as part of Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts. You can find more from Rebecca on her blog, Mainely Mama.

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There’s no better way to say “I love you” than with a handmade gift and this DIY silhouette project is even sweeter with the memories you’ll make creating it with your little one.

With this step-by-step guide, creating a unique, personalized Valentine’s Day gift couldn’t be easier!
DIY Silhouette for Valentine's Day

What you need to get started

Supplies:
White background
Camera phone
Printer
Watercolors and paper
Glue
Frame

Creating the silhouette

Set up a white background — a wall, sheet or poster board work great — and take a photo of your child’s profile.

Load the photo onto your computer and use PicMonkey to edit your photo into a silhouette using these easy steps:

1. Under “Basic Edits,” crop your photo to the appropriate size
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2. Use the neutral picker to fix any discoloration and whiten the background

silhouetteneutralpicker

3. Set the saturation to 0

silhouettesaturation

4. Set the contrast to 100

silhouettecontrast

5. Under “Effects,” convert the photo to Super B&W

silhouettesuperblackandwhite

6. Using the “Draw” feature, fill in any white space remaining on your child’s portrait

silhouettedraw

Save your creation and print at home or at a local printer, such as FedEx. I recommend using a light card stock to prevent wrinkling. The final step for the silhouette piece is to simply cut around your little one’s sweet profile!

valentinessilhouettes

Creating the background

Now it’s your kiddos’ turn to get in on the action by creating a one-of-a-kind background to make their silhouettes really pop!

Simply grab a piece of watercolor paper and paints, and let their creativity flow! There’s no right or wrong way to do this part — have fun!

DIY Valentine's Day Gifts for Grandparents

The finishing touch

Once your watercolor art is dry, cut it to the size of frame you plan to use (8×10 shown here) and glue the silhouette in the middle. Place it in your frame and enjoy!

DIY Silhouette for Valentine's Day Gifts

This heartfelt craft makes a great Valentine’s Day gift for grandparents, but as a sentimental mama myself, I suggest making one to keep as well. 

Who would you make this watercolor silhouette craft for?

This post was contributed by Joanna Murnan. You can find more from Joanna on her blog, Makingmine.

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Our new baby isn’t the only thing that has made life worthwhile over the last several weeks. In fact, I am grateful for a lot of things related to postpartum life. I’ve learned that it’s the simple things that can help a mom keep her sanity after delivery.

Postpartum Life: What I'm Thankful For

Some things never change

After the births of my children, I go home from the hospital, walk straight to my bedroom and stay there for two weeks. Some may think I am crazy, but I do it because a) it is what every woman in my family has been told to do by our mothers and grandmothers, and b) to allow my body to get the proper rest and healing. For goodness sake, I just pushed out a seven pound ball of baby! During the following weeks, I stay cooped up in the house a lot. I mostly do it for the sake of the baby’s health, but I must admit, postpartum life isn’t always easy.

We welcomed our third daughter into the world just weeks ago. As we prepared for her arrival, my husband and I realized a lot has changed in the world of babies since the birth of our second child. There are tons of new gadgets, countless moms running their own baby product shops and many strides made connecting baby gear with technology. Some things about life with a baby, especially during the early weeks of postpartum, will never change, such as: not being able to wear those favorite jeans right away, staying away from the spiciest thing on the menu (a big no-no for breastfeeding moms) and the lack of sleep, amongst other things. 

All that being said, there are so many things I’m thankful for about postpartum life. These are some from the top of my list.

Postpartum life: 9 things I’m thankful for

Friends who come over with food
Need I say more?

Social media
Night feedings can be long. Facebook and Instagram keep me entertained and awake until Baby is done. What would life be without funny memes and viral videos?

Stores with online ordering and same-day pick-up
Sending my husband to the store for items doesn’t always result in getting exactly what I requested. Ordering online and sending him to pick up the order an hour or so later is perfection.

Hot showers
Two minute showers are an escape (and some days a luxury), except for when I turn the water on and off a thousand times thinking I hear the baby crying. Darn phantom cries!

My water bottle
Hormones go absolutely nuts post-baby. Having a stainless steel water bottle keeps my water ice cold and saves me from night sweats. Is this what it feels like in the Sahara desert?

Leggings
I shouldn’t have to explain why these things are heavenly. However, if you don’t know, leggings are always comfy. They never failed me, neither during pregnancy or postpartum.

Decaf coffee
Breastfeeding means less to no caffeine, so I pretend I am gulping a cup of energy. The smell of coffee alone allows me to decompress.

Hair cap and bonnets
I have gone days without doing my hair. What better way to cover the mess on my head so I can look halfway decent for visitors?

LEGOs
Where are my kids? Oh, they are playing with LEGOs for the second consecutive hour in a row. Winning!

Postpartum life: things I’m thankful for

What has made your postpartum life manageable?

This post was contributed by Teri Watters as part of Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts. You can find more from Teri on her blog, MommyWifeLife.

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