Fun with Back to School

*Sponsored Post*

I know it’s a different back to school than we’re all used to. So, this year I’ve been focusing on how I can make it fun for the kids and inspire their interests! I’ve got a few essentials on my list, but mostly, it’s important for them to engage and find something that they’re excited about or interested in doing every day.

First up, let’s talk about these cute masks from SwaddleDesigns. Typically, SwaddleDesigns makes swaddlers, blankets, and bedding for babies. These things are super cute and look so soft, but my littlest isn’t a baby any more. I was super excited to try out their masks! They sent 3 masks. 1 Adult and 2 Child masks.

The matching rose masks are both cotton masks. They are 100% cotton, 180 thread count, 3 layer cloth masks. There’s a pocket for a filter, the ear elastic is nice and soft, and even though this mask is 3 layers it’s still quite lightweight. My favorite part is the chin gusset. It’s a little tab shaped to go around your chin, this keeps the mask from riding up into my eyes and it keeps the bottom part of the mask from being super tight under my chin (like the straight rectangle masks seem to do). This is pretty much the only cotton mask that I’m comfortable in.

The child cotton mask is designed for kids 2 to preteen. It fits my 12 yr old daughter really well. So, if you’re concerned about sizing, it does actually fit a preteen. Depending on the actual cut, sometimes she needs the adult size and sometimes she needs the kid sizes, with these swaddle design masks, the kid size is perfect.

The polkadot mask is a 2 layer cotton mask of premium flannel. Because flannel is a little thicker the 2 layers work great. There’s no pocket in this one. The ear elastic is the same as the cotton masks so super soft and comfortable. Flannel is just a little bit warmer than the 180 count cotton so it’s super cute and fits great, and I can see her using it a lot more in about a month when the weather gets a little cooler. Right now, it’s just really hot on her face. They do have some super cute designs available in the flannel.

Between the 2, the 3 layer cotton is my favorite, but they’re both soft and comfortable, and cute.

Since I started with practical items, I’ll save the fun stuff for later. With all this everyone at home I’ve been teaching the girls how to do their laundry. And some new detergent doesn’t hurt! I do prefer the Biz Stain & Odor Eliminator Liquid to the powder. Mainly because with a HE washing machine, the liquid is just easier to use. My kids are a bit sensitive to detergents but they don’t have any trouble with Biz. Plus, with it’s odor eliminator it really helps reduce that odd smell that front load washers can tend to get.

I’m loving the OxiClean on the Go sticks. I keep one in my purse and they’re super handy with the reduced access to restrooms and such these days. Instead of having to wash something out of the kids clothes, I can just use my stain stick to go and take care of it.

And, I don’t know about you, but I very much dislike going to the drycleaner. So, unless it’s stained and I really have to have a professional, these Dryel at Home Dry Cleaner are awesome! It makes keeping up with my dry clean only clothing so much easier!

My last practical item here. This InnoGear Diffuser. With 4 timer settings and a color changing LED, my girls have been using it as a nightlight/room refresher at night. They also sent a set of 6 OnePure essential oils to go with the diffuser. I appreciate that these oils aren’t’ super strong. The girls are enjoying their nightlight and picking their evening scent.

I will say, Peppermint is my favorite scent for their room. It just smells so refreshing and almost clean. And my girls need all the help they can get with a clean room!

This diffuser is super easy to use, shuts off automatically if the water runs out, and with 3 diffusing settings you can pretty easily control how strong or mild your scent is just by turning it up or down. Plus, I’ve always loved the color changing night lights! I find the right scents super soothing, and this collection of scents is awesome!

My kids were so excited about this “A Family Guide to Terrariums for Kids“. I have the brownest thumb ever but my daughter wants to grow everything and I don’t know where to begin. This book has easy to follow instructions and suggestions for where to find the items to build your selected terrarium.

There are lots of awesome looking terrarium ideas to pick from, and lots of helpful hints including things like how to pick the right container, the best plants, and how to care for your terrarium. There’s a section on the different types of growing mixes and care instructions for individual plants.

This is a terrific project for homeschooling or just encouraging your kids to explore some different plants.

We’ve been using this “Kitchen Explorers” cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen for the baking segment of our homeschool this year. With all this extra time at home, and my kids already love cooking, we’ve been branching out and trying new recipes. The recipes in this book are tasty and easy enough for the kids to make.

I love how we can get some science, math, and tasty treats all at the same time! If you get this book, you definitely need to make the cake in a cup. It’s amazing!

My kids were super excited when their CrunchCup arrived! With no group snacks at events this year, we’re getting plenty of use out of these cups! You put the milk in the outside, the cereal in the inside, and then when you tip the cup they both come out at the same time, so you can have your cereal and milk (or snack and beverage) at the same time without needing a spoon!

The first thing I was worried about was leaking, but there’s a little seal between the color and the clear plastics that seals well. So far, we haven’t had any leaking. It did take everyone a few tries to get the hang of how far to tip the cup. None of us had any experience trying to drink a beverage and a snack at the same time so it does take a little practice to get milk and cereal without getting too much at once. Once they got the hang of it though, they now want cereal on the go all the time!

With the different color lids we always know who’s cup is who’s. Check out their youtub video for a demonstration!

And last but not least. Hasty Baker card game. We love baking so much, we’re even playing a card game about it! Actually, this game is pretty simple to play and it has some bonus/powerup cards that keep the game interesting and different every time we play. I can see why it won the 2020 Tillywig Best Family Fun Award. It’s simple enough for my 7yr old to play and fun enough that I even enjoy playing with the kids. A fun game that the entire family can enjoy.

Charlie the Tramp – giveaway

Charlie the Tramp by Russell Hoban and pictures by Lillian Hoban. This book is a hardcover, 50th edition, reprint. After reading it I can see why it was the Winner of the Boys Club of America Junior Book Award, 1968. This is a fun book that my kids love to read and re-read.


Charlie the Beaver wants to be a tramp when he grows up. “Tramps don’t have to learn how to chop down trees and how to roll logs and how to build dams. Tramps just tramp around and have a good time. Tramps carry sticks with little bundles tied to them. They sleep in a field when the weather is nice, and when it rains they sleep in a barn.” Charlie sets off with his bundle. But when he hears water trickling, he can’t get to sleep. Will he be able to resist the urge to make it stop? As Grandfather Beaver says, “You never know when a tramp will turn out to be a beaver.”

An American classic is back in a special 50th anniversary hardcover edition.

This book is super cute. My younger kids enjoyed having this book read to them while my 3rd grader enjoyed reading this book on her own. It’s a beautiful, hard cover book that is a great addition to any kid’s library.


Russell Hoban (1925-2011) first became famous for his children’s picture books about a badger named Frances and other animal characters that have a lot in common with children we know – bedtime for Frances, A Baby Sister for Frances, Bread and Jam for Frances, and Emmit Otter’s Jug-band Christmas.

After reading Charlie the Tramp my 8yr old has requested a copy of Bread and Jam for Frances. Maybe I’ll surprise her for Christmas 🙂


Lillian Hoban (1925-1998), one of America’s favorite children’s book illustrators, is best known for a young chimpanzee named Arthur and his little sister, Violet. She also illustrated six of Russell Hoban’s books about Frances the badger, which have taken their place among the great classics of children’s literature. Lillian Hoban was born in Philadelphia and attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Art. She studied dance for ten years and became a professional dancer. She began to write and illustrate her own stories only after having children, basing her tales on their experiences.

The pictures in this book are just beautiful and they really add color to the story and make it come alive.

Find out more about Charlie the Tramp at the Plough website or on Amazon.

Enter below for a chance to win your very own copy of Charlie the Tramp!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Giveaways winners for this promotion can only be for residents of the continental U.S.

Liebster Award

Since there’s no school today, I decided to post about something other than Homeschooling this week 🙂

Thanks to Karyl’s Kulinary Krusade for the Liebster Award!

Wow, thanks so much! I’m truly honored to be recognized. “Liebster” means “dearest” or “favorite” in German. It’s also known as the “Love Blog Award.”

The award is to show newer bloggers that they’re appreciated and to help spread the word about new blogs.


Here are the rules for the Liebster Award:
1. Acknowledge the blogger(s) who nominated you.
2. Post 11 random facts about yourself.
3. Answer the 11 questions the blogger who nominated you provided.
4. Choose 11 blogs you love and nominate them.
5. Create a list of 11 questions for your nominees.
6. Let your nominated bloggers know!

11 Random Facts about Me:
1. I love summer, I’d much much rather be hot than cold!
2. I used to hate chocolate ice cream. Until I was pregnant with my 3rd child. Now I love it.
3. While we’re talking about food, I haven’t liked chicken since becoming pregnant with my 1st child. It’s so strange how pregnancy changes so much.
4. I hate having my hands dirty.
5. I can sightread anything in a hymnal.
6. I do lots of random things left-handed, even though I’m not left-handed.
7. I love algebra.
8. I like all things elephant – jewelry, pictures, decorations, etc.
9. My hair gets so frizzy on humid days!
10. I have 3 children.
11. My favorite author is James Fenmore Cooper.

My 11 questions:

1. If you had a super power, what would it be? – I would love to fly. Because that has just got to be the best way to travel. Not sure how well flying would work for me while toting all 3 kid’s backpacks, and waterbottles, and lunches, and shoes, and… but I would have fun trying!

2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? – Honestly, I love Tennessee (that’s where I live). It’s so beautiful and we get all 4 seasons, but winters aren’t too awfully cold!

3. You have an entire day completely to yourself. No spouse/kids/work. How do you spend it? – Ummmm, hmmm, I really don’t know. I don’t think this has ever happened to me. I would probably clean the house and do lots of reading.

4. What have you found to be the most frustrating part about blogging? – Just coming up with something to say every week can be a challenge. I’ve finally found some things that I like to blog about and I feel like I’m actually making some progress towards creating interesting content.

5. What is the best advice you have for new bloggers? – Be patient. And keep trying. It takes a long time to build up readers. And it takes lots of practice to create interesting content.

6. If you could have dinner with any 3 people, living or dead, who would they be? – My parents and my sister. I only get to eat dinner with them about 3 times a year because we don’t live close to each other. I would love to see them more often!

7. If you could change your first name, what would you change it to? – I really like my name, I have a few things I would NOT change it to, but I can’t really thing of a name I’d rather have.

8. If you were trapped on a deserted island what are your top 3 things you would want to have with you? – A really good book (because I might be reading it for a while), food (you’ve got to eat), my family (it would be so boring to be trapped alone!)

9. What is your favorite sport to watch? Your favorite team (college or pro)? Football, I’m a Dallas Cowboy’s fan (because my husband is). I grew up with baseball and didn’t really start paying attention to football until after I married.

10. What do you do at the end of a long day to relax and unwind? – I work on my blog. Honestly, I do. It’s the only part of the day that’s quiet and I can work in peace.

11. What inspired you to begin blogging? – I want to become a better write, and writing a blog is a great way to practice.

11 Blogs I Nominate:
1. So-So Mom
2. Takisha Nesbitt
3. Hey Little Sweet Thing
4. All Things Lovely
5. Mrs. Bishop
6. Blissful Gal
7. Amidst the Chaos
8. Her Heartland Soul
9. Birth With a French Fry
10. Because I’m Cheap
11. Boho Berry

My 11 Questions for You:
1. If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
4. If you could choose any occupation, what would you do?
5. What have you found to be the most frustrating part about blogging?
6. What inspired you to start blogging?
7. What do you like most about blogging?
8. What’s your favorite way to relax?
9. What’s a goal that you want to accomplish in the next couple of years?
10. If you could go on any vacation, where would you go and what would you do?
11. What’s your favorite instrument to listen to or play?

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award


Ever heard of the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award? It’s given to bloggers by other bloggers to recognize each other and shed a little light on other sites. I’m so honored to have been nominated for this award by the Diapers to Potty blog. I always love browsing other Mommy Blogs and I’ve been enjoying the content and engagement of Diapers to Potty. I’m so excited to participate in this blogger award!

The rules are pretty simple

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their site.
  2. Answer the 10 questions sent to you.
  3. Make up 10 new questions for your nominees to answer.
  4. Nominate 8 other bloggers, link them in your post and notify them of their nomination

Questions to answer

  1. How long have you been blogging? I’ve been blogging on here for several years. Mainly just tossing around ideas and trying out different things to see what works for me. I really didn’t start getting serious about it until this year.
  2. What are your long term goals for your blog? Long term, I’d like to actually make some money doing this. Also, I want to have fun and I want to share things I’ve learned with other moms.
  3. What do you love about blogging? I love how easy it is to express myself. It’s a great creative outlet for me and motivates me to do things like try new recipes for my Food Friday series that I’m doing (check back Friday for more recipes). Also, I’ve come across many awesome blogs and it’s so much fun to network and see what others are doing as well.
  4. And what do you hate, or at least just dislike? I hate writers block. That’s been my biggest challenge to starting a blog, what do I write? I also hate writing – well, I used to. I’m honestly beginning to enjoy it. It’s been a big obstacle to overcome.
  5. Do you have children and do they influence your blog? Yes, I have 3. And they do influence my blog quite a lot. Since I’m home with them pretty much everything I write about in influenced by their opinions and what I’m doing with them.
  6. What is one thing you have learned about blogging that you never would have thought of before hand? It’s remarkably hard to get people to read your blog. You can’t just put it out there and expect good things to happen. I spend a ton of time networking and just exploring new ways to network with other bloggers.
  7. What are your hobbies outside of your blog? Cooking, sewing (I promise, there will be crafts on here eventually, having 3 regular posts a week was a big step this year), reading, music (I play), graphic design (I do small business websites and other smaller graphic projects), and finding fun things to do with the kids. I also love yoga, but I don’t have a lot of time for it, I’m not sure you can call my once a month visit to the gym a hobby.
  8. Are there any bloggers that you aspire to be like? I haven’t really picked a favorite.
  9. How do you juggle being a mom along with all of your other roles? I do a lot of work during naptime and focus on spending time with the kids when everyone is awake.
  10. Tell me one thing about yourself that most of your readers do not know? I’m really pretty introverted. I love being alone and if you call my phone I probably won’t answer. I’d rather text or email.

My Nominees

  1. An Uncomplicated Life Blog
  2. B is 4
  3. Feeding Big
  4. Coming Up Roses
  5. Happily Ever After
  6. Happily Hughes
  7. Here I Scribble
  8. Kiddie Matters

Questions for my Nominees

  1. How long have you been blogging?
  2. What are your long-term goals for your blog?
  3. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
  4. What do you dislike the most about blogging?
  5. How does your family influence your blog?
  6. What is something your learned about blogging that you didn’t know a year ago?
  7. What are your hobbies outside of blogging?
  8. What’s one thing you do to pamper yourself?
  9. How do you juggle it all?
  10. What is one thing about yourself that most of your readers do not know?