Falling in love with your family

One of the best things you can do is spend alone time with the person you love. A great example is a fun camping date night – even if it’s on the floor by the TV. Add a two person sleeping bag and a great tin foil dinner over a campfire or oven and you will always remember it! Whether it’s the fall cool weather or spring flowers – a great date night will really bring you closer together!

two person sleeping bagAmerican Trails Ozzie and Harriet Double 2 Person Giant Sleeping Bag, 80-Inch x 66-Inch

Normally around $70 – Right now this two person sleeping bag is on sale at 32% OFF – As low as $47.41 and free shipping

  • Giant Double Sleeping bag 7lbs of Super Soft Filling
  • Great from 35-45 temp comfort zone
  • Durable poly outer
  • Soft liner with micro peached poly head section
  • Machine washable

2 person airbed air mattressIntex Classic Downy Queen Airbed with 2 Pillows and Double Quick Hand Pump

Normally around $50 – Right now it’s 49% off – As low as $24.99 and free shipping

  • Location, temperature, and humidity will affect the airbed?s firmness. Airbeds will need to be occasionally re-inflated (topped off) to maintain desired firmness when used for more than a few days as vinyl tends to relax over time.
  • Measurements will vary based on customer?s inflation. Airbeds are measured from the widest point including the beams (bulges) on the side and off the tallest point from the floor including built-in pillows if applicable.
  • Inflatable Queen airbed, includes two inflatable pillows and hand pump
  • Cozy flocked top cleans easily and is waterproofed for camping use
  • Wave beam construction for a uniform sleeping surface
  • 600-pound weight capacity; 2-in-1 valve with extra-wide opening
  • Measures 60 by 8.75 by 80 inches (WxHxD); 600-pound weight capacity



LED camping lantern12 LED Portable Camping Camp Lantern Light Lamp with Compass

As low as $5.68 and free shipping

  • LED – battery saving technology
  • 12 LED’s super bright light to light up anywhere
  • Great for camping, survival, and power outages and more


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Looking for More Online Deals?  Click here for more  THRIFTY DEALS. Please note that Amazon priced tend to change often so prices may be higher or lower without notice. And also check out our Christmas gift ideas and Stocking Stuffers

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This is a great post Alison wrote a few years back, since we just had our 5th baby I thought it was great advice and worth sharing again. 5 ways to help younger siblings deal with a new baby
My sister just had her second child.  Like most parents, they’re trying to figure out how to help their daughter adjust to this new little critter.  Whether there are one or seven siblings who greet the newcomer, here are 6 ways to help older children have a great experience sharing the throne.
1. Prepare
One way to start preparing your child is to begin reading new baby literature.  One classic is Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats.  Amazon has (only!?!) about 1,600 more.  Your local librarian could also help you find a whole stack of books on the new baby theme.  Keep reading these books through the transition stage.  They’ll help your child know what to expect, and give a voice to complicated emotions they may be feeling. 
Another helpful preparation tip is to start shifting some of your parenting duties to others.  If you are always the one to read bedtime stories or give baths, encourage your spouse take over a few of those duties before the baby comes.  If your child will be sleeping overnight at Grandma’s while you are at the hospital, let them have a sleepover a few weeks before.  The fewer new things that occur with the baby’s arrival, the better.
Let your child help you prepare by picking out the outfit you bring the baby home in, helping decorate the nursery, or buying baby supplies.  Get them involved and excited from the beginning.    
2. Baby Talk
      One of the most important things a baby needs in the first months is lots of face-to face conversation.  This helps them recognize your face, read expressions, and learn the patterns of speech.  But, no one said what you have to talk about!  Babies at this age respond to expressions and voice tone; the words don’t mean anything yet.  Instead of putting your older child through hours of listening to how beautiful, precious, and sweet the new baby is, occasionally tell the new baby how wonderful their sibling is and all the exciting things the baby will learn from them.  You’ll give your older child a great boost of self-esteem, and give your baby the verbal communication they need.   
3. Take Time for One-on-One
     Even though your days and nights will be filled to the brim, take at least a few moments a day to snuggle your other child, play, read a story, or sing a song.  Don’t assume they know how much you still love them.  Tell them often.  In the early days, when your time becomes more divided, they need to know without a doubt how much they are still loved.
4. Expect Regression
     After giving my second a child sponge bath in the sink, I found my two-year-old sitting in there, fully clothed and cooing like a baby.  Can you say regression?!?  Other kids wanted to suck a pacifier again, drink from a bottle, or wear diapers.  One crawled back into the old crib, and another started talking baby talk.  Don’t be surprised if potty training takes a step backwards, they suddenly don’t like their big boy bed, or if they snitch the baby food.  Kids are pretty creative in their coping methods, but with each strange behavior, they’re just processing things their own way.  Relax about the regression and just take pictures (the one of my son in the sink is a classic!).  It will soon pass.
5. Keep up the Discipline
     Just because your little one has been dethroned, doesn’t mean he doesn’t still need some royal discipline.  Even when you are tired, stick to your rules and consequences.  It will help your other child feel secure and know that life is still predictable. 
     If you have resorted to harsh discipline in the past, consider learning some more tools.  Speaking in anger and hitting your older child at this stage is particularly damaging.  Think of how they see it…Mom snuggles and kisses this new kid, but when I make too much noise she yells at me. This is a tender stage, and your anger will only encourage resentful feelings.  Control your temper, teach clearly, and give consequences when necessary in a firm, neutral voice.  Give your child a chance to practice the appropriate skill, and end the interaction with love.
6. Make a Nursing Basket
     One of the most helpful things is to have a small basket of new little toys or activities to take with you whenever you need to nurse or do something for the baby.  Only pull it out when you are busy, so the novelty will last through a feeding or task.  It will help entertain your older child for a moment when your arms are full.
Bringing home a new baby can be an incredibly sweet time for a family.  It can also be a stressful survival experience.  Hopefully these tips will help the transition and set the stage for great sibling relationships!

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summer boredom buster idea, #summer, #boredom, #kids, #easy, #summeridea, #keepingkidshappy, #summervacation

Summer Boredom Buster Idea

We are only a couple of weeks into summer break and if I hear “I am bored!” one more time I am going to go crazy!  I have one child that is the biggest user of the word, but all of my kids have claimed to be bored more than once.  For the sake of my sanity, and my children not being sent away to boarding school I came up with this idea.  I had seen it a few years back via pinterest, but couldn’t find it again to save my life!  Oh well, I just made my own version.

The idea is that the child must have done everything on the list before he/she can claim to be bored.  I made it easy to read and will hang it on my fridge so no one can claim to forget.  This week will be the test to see if it actually helps.  I know that not all of the items on my list are pertinent to everyone, but it is a good starting point to help you brainstorm some ideas of your own.  Good luck!  If you try it, let us know how it works out for your family!

More activities, projects and fun things to do with your kids.

Dirt and Worms ~ Fun summer recipe for kids
 Make your own Crayons ~ Activities to do with kids
Be a Back Yard Detective ~ Activities to do with kids
Wiggle Worm Game ~ Games to do with kids
Make your own Bean Bag Toss ~ Games to do with Kids
Watch a Local Race ~ Frugal Family Activities to do
Corn Starch Gak Science Project to do with kids
Color Collage with ads from the paper
DIY Chime Set ~ Music Fun For Kids
Recipe for Homemade Slime
 Under the Sea Art Project for kids
Balloon Barrettes DIY Kids Fashion
Lady Bugs made out of an egg carton
Exploding Soap ~ Microwave Science For Kids
Horse made out of a pop bottle
Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids ~ Paper Turkeys
Easy Kid Games ~ Turn Easter Eggs Into Reading Games for Kids
 Math Games For Kids
Learn to tell time ~ Time Games for kids
 Frozen Popcorn
Frozen Snowball Pops  
FROZEN Rice Krispy Treats
 Blue Jello Cake Recipe
Magical Moving Milk Science Experiment 
How to make Flubber
Lava Lamp Bottle
Cloud Clay, the softest clay EVER made with only 2 ingredients
Play Time With Dad Shirt

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Mom and Me Journal

Mom and Me Journal~ Staying Connected With Our Kids

A couple of years ago, my then eight year old daughter left a “love note” on my pillow.  I still have it.  I loved that she would think to do something so sweet.  It dawned on me that I could start a journal with her.  Just her.  No one else would ever get to see it, or hear its contents.  For me, I have always kept a journal, and I find it much easier to share things that I wouldn’t feel comfortable saying out loud.  The very next day I bought a notebook just for us.

Let me tell you, it has worked wonders!  I have gotten to hear some of her fears, crushes, embarrassing moments and just some sappy love notes. Some of the entries are deep and emotional, while others are funny and make me laugh.  I love that I can encourage her, express my feelings for her, share thoughts on life with her.  We don’t write in it daily, but it makes it all the more special when one of us finds this treasure under our pillow at night time.

My daughter is a talker, so I was surprised how much she actually wasn’t sharing because she was too embarrassed to express some things out loud.  Which got me thinking… Her brother is a very introverted child.  Doesn’t like to share much at all.  He talks to us, but when anything “deep” comes up he gets uncomfortable and tends to clam up. How much was I missing from him that he was too afraid to express?  At the time I started journaling with my daughter, he was too young to write or read., but as soon as he was in 2nd grade, I started one with him as well.  Same stipulations; for our eyes only.  The difference in their journals is pretty funny.  Pages are written between the girls, while we have barely passed 2 pages in my son’s.  It hasn’t worked yet for him, but I keep it going hoping that the simple “I love you Mom” notes he leaves me will soon give way to longer entries.  Maybe even get some real depth in them.  However, whether they do or not, he knows that the book is there, that he can open it at any time a send me a note.  He knows that it is a non judgmental way to express his feelings.

The point of the journal is to connect with our kids.  Sometimes I don’t get it back for a month or longer, but I can still sneak into their room and borrow it to write them another note.  That way they get a note.  I plan on keeping them all in a safe place as we fill them up.  I look forward to seeing the penmanship change, the spelling improve and the entries grow in length.  But more than that, I look forward to them reading them as an adult and feeling how much I love them.

This experience has taught me so much about being a Mommy.  I really feel it has strengthened my bond with my kids.  Just a simple way to take a minute from our super busy lives and share a memory or a thought with my kids.

You should find an inexpensive notebook and give it a try.  It doesn’t have to be a fancy journal, my son and I share a composition book (I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t too girly) and it works well.   Even if you aren’t a fan of keeping a journal, this will change your mind!  It is such a  simple way to share our love with someone we care about.

Mom and Me Journal 2

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Living in Gratitude

11/25/2013 6:00 pm · 0 comments

by Alison


Falling in Love with your Family by Alison

In a Nutshell: Get in the Thanksgiving spirit by expressing gratitude to your family…every day!

Next week, many dinner tables around the country will feature expressions of thanks and gratitude.  Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday to appreciate what we have and take time to remember blessings we may have overlooked.  Most of the good feelings around the holiday don’t come from the Thanksgiving feast (though a nice big slice of pecan pie smothered in real cream doesn’t hurt), but from the good feelings that come when we approach life with a grateful attitude.

Do you express gratitude to your family?  Do they feel appreciated for what they do right?  In most families, children can do a hundred good and appropriate things–and be completely unrecognized. Their mistakes, shortcomings, and character problems get all the attention.  It’s the same for spouses!  My husband can do the dishes, put the kids in bed, and be a sweetie all day, and I don’t mention any of that.  Instead, I may get on his case for picking up the boys late from basketball or forgetting to pay a bill.  It is all backwards, and our families suffer because of it.

In order to create an effective family environment, experts suggest having a 5 to 1 positive to negative ratio.  That means for every “You forgot to take out the trash,” there are five positive interactions to balance it off.  (*See more about this “magic” ratio here.)  For some parents, the idea of praising their child so often or expressing affection so commonly doesn’t come naturally and can seemed canned or fake.  A great way to keep up the positive interactions is to focus on simply living in gratitude.  Train yourself to not take your family for granted and to take every opportunity to express your thanks.  Even if your spouse always goes to work, take a minute to thank them for getting up so early to provide a living.  If your son carries over his dish from dinner, tell him that you are glad he’s such a responsible kid.  When your daughter gets her P.J’s on the first time you ask, thank her for being so obedient. Thank them for playing nice, for giving you a hug, for forgiving each other.  Thank them for sitting quietly, for telling the truth, and for making you so happy when they smile.

Take it on as an experiment.  For one day, try to only express gratitude. Ignore any misbehavior short of burning down the house and pack up your preachy parent lessons.  Put on your rose-colored glasses and notice anything good anyone does.  Express your gratitude in a quick, simple way.  Then, sit back and watch the magic.   You might see less misbehavior or more good deeds, or maybe your children will express gratitude for all that you do (now, wouldn’t that be nice!).  You may also start to feel a bit of the Thanksgiving glow at your house…even without the turkey.  And for that, your family will truly give thanks.



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Time for Recess!

11/17/2013 8:01 am · 4 comments

by Alison

Open Mic

Falling in Love with your Family by Alison

In most parts of the country, the nights are getting colder, and the days are getting shorter.  Way, way, shorter.  It seems like the sun sets before dinner is cleaned up!  I’m a bit of a summer time girl myself and tend to get blue when days are grey.  So this winter, I am bringing an old friend back to visit…recess!  A poem I recently heard by a fabulous slam poetry champion, Kealoha, has inspired me to combat the cold-weather blues with a daily dose of happiness and family fun in 15 minute packages.  Here’s an excerpt from his poem Recess:

Remember the days when we used to play

On the playground everyday?

 What was that thing we took?


Yeah that’s right, recess…

15 minutes of sheer madness

15 minutes of running around

Getting down with all of your friends until the bell sounded

That inevitable bell

That wrought the well of time dry

And I

Remember those days so vividly

Licking Jell-O instant pudding

Off of our hands

Making forts out of sand

And doing everything you can to just play

 When’s the last time you took 15 minutes out of your day

To just run around and play?

. . . .

And now I see

The masses of our generations falling

Into the trap of daily routine

That unceasing monotony plaguing our society

And I be


You see I don’t deal well with monotony

When did watching T.V. ever become an activity?

Letting time pass performing passive viewing

Watching someone else do something we’re not actually doing

Recessing through the eyes of someone else’s 15 minutes of fame

When we could be out living our own 15 minutes of game…

Remember the days when we used to play

On the playground everyday?

What was that thing we took?



Bring back recess!  This winter and beyond, I’m committing myself to spending 15 minutes at the end of every day having “recess” with my kids.  I’ll start a quick game of indoor volleyball instead of coveting someone else’s project on Pinterest.  I’ll call out a handstand contest instead of checking my email.  And instead of sweeping the floor, maybe I’ll make some pudding and lick it off my hands with my kids.

So, let’s do a group brainstorm!  What are some good indoor activities?  What are fun, thrifty, and easy family activities you can do in just 15 minutes? It’s time for recess!


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