Great gifts he’s certain to want

Great gifts he’s certain to want

Buying gifts for the men in your life can be exceptionally tough. They’ve got everything they need and buy themselves what they want. Without resorting to the good old-fashioned aftershave set, what does that leave? Many men are left opening gifts they don’t really want or have no use for at Christmas and birthdays. Many of which stay in the box until getting thrown away or re-gifted. So, instead, why not try one of these gifts he’ll actually want.

An Experience Day

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             Image Credit: Pixabay

Experience days come in a huge range of different types. If he likes things fast, why not buy him a driving day and let him have a go in a fast car around a faster track? If he’s into food and drink, you could get him cooking lessons or a tasting experience. Does he like extreme sports? There are plenty out there he could have a go at. Or, does he enjoy the quieter life? In which case a couple’s spa day or some art lessons could be a great option. Think about what he enjoys doing or things he’s said he’d love to try in the past. Then have a look to see what’s available.

If a structured day doesn’t appeal, why not plan your own. Look at ways to keep the kids occupied and try to fit something around this. It could be something as simple as a picnic together on the beach.

Clothes

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             Image Credit: Pixabay

Many men rarely buy themselves clothes. They buy things for work or an outfit for a particular event. But never just day to day clothes. If you’re not sure what he likes, take him shopping or look online together and offer to buy him something. If you are really stuck, it’s probably safe to assume he needs new pants, socks or shoes.

Jewelry

More men are wearing jewelry than ever before. But, many are reluctant to buy it for themselves. Think about his style and tastes. Would he prefer beachy beads, or classic silver or gold? Can you see him in a bracelet? Or would he prefer a necklace? Not all men are into jewelry, but if he is, this is a thoughtful gift.

A Watch

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             Image Credit: Pixabay

In the days of smartphones it’s perhaps surprising how many people still like to wear a watch. This is a classic gift he’s sure to appreciate.

A Subscription Box

Nowadays subscription boxes are available for everything, including food, clothes, and memorabilia. In many ways, they are the gift that keeps on giving as he’ll get a treat every month. Read some subscription box reviews and think about what kind of things he likes to get some ideas. Some great options include food hampers, whiskey or wine tasting sets and gaming goods.

Tickets to an Event

Tickets to an event is a great gift. This could be a sporting event, show or music concert. You are buying the chance to spend the day or night doing something they love. Just make sure he’s free for whatever you book and that you arrange childcare or time off work if it’s needed, so he doesn’t have to stress out making arrangements and can just enjoy himself.

Buying gifts for men doesn’t have to be tough. Just spend some time thinking about his hobbies and interests, then try and find something that’s relevant to these. You can always keep the receipts. Just in case.

What’s on your husband’s wish list this year?

 

Inexpensive entertainment: Keeping kids occupied on a budget!

Inexpensive entertainment: Keeping kids occupied on a budget!

Keeping kids entertained is huge deal when it comes to parenting. Kids don’t keep their attention on one thing for long and can get easily bored- and aren’t afraid to let you know about it either! As parents, we have to find the balance between letting kids get on with their own activities such as playing on the computer or watching tv so we can get things done around the house, and ensure that they’re spending enough time being active and learning. On top of this, getting out and about can often be quite expensive, so if you’re not working with a huge budget, it can leave you a little stuck for ideas. But no need to fret, here are some ideas you can do with little ones when you don’t have a lot to spend.

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                                 Photo sourced from this site

Go on Hikes and Bike Rides

Family hikes and bike rides are a great way to get some family bonding time in. You get to do some light exercise and you teach kids to appreciate the outdoors. Do you live near countryside, woods, meadows or a river? Take a stroll together or pull your bikes out of the shed. Enjoy the last of the mild weather before fall brings rain and chilly air. You could look online for different nature trails and follow one, you could even take a picnic and sit and enjoy an alfresco meal together. Make daisy chains, roll down hills and just generally enjoy each other’s company. It’s these simple, silly little moments that make it all worth it. What you will all look back on in years to come with fond memories.

Walk Around Nature Parks and Garden

Another type of place that’s fun to walk around and visit are parks and gardens. These are nicely maintained and often have things like play areas for kids, nicely landscaped flowers and foliage and plenty of space to run around with a ball or frisbee. You could go bird watching together, take some photos and feed the ducks. Usually, these kinds of places are free to enter, you might just need to pay a small fee for parking if you arrive by car.

Go to a Farm

While zoos are a lot of fun, they can be surprisingly expensive. Have a look at ticket prices for your closest zoo or safari park, and if you’ve not been for a while, you might be shocked at the price. Farms, on the other hand, are usually very cheap, sometimes even free. You, of course, won’t get the same mixture of exotic animals, but you and the kids will still get to see and interact with all kinds of critters. Some offer things like feeding and holding baby animals, bird shows, tours and more. It’s a chance to see and appreciate animals in person and makes for a fun activity to spend a morning or afternoon.

Enjoy The Beach

While the weather is still fairly warm, you could go to the beach and enjoy all it has to offer. Splash in the sea, go swimming or snorkeling. If this is a hobby the kids like to do every year, you could look into gifts for snorkeling for their next birthday or Christmas and kit them out. A mask and a wetsuit would both be needed to enjoy the hobby. Even once the weather has cooled down a bit you could still walk on the beach, maybe bring your dog along too. Play beach volleyball, frisbee and collect seashells together. If we get another sunny weekend before the fall weather kicks in, bring along a disposable barbeque. They’re only cheap, a few inexpensive staples like sausages and burgers and you have a fun meal to enjoy outdoors.

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                Photo sourced from this site

Visit a Museum or Gallery

Museums and art galleries are interesting and give kids an appreciation of history and culture. It’s another way to learn that isn’t based in the classroom and can really help them to develop an interest in this area. In many museums there are exhibits just for children, offering fun interactive areas which will grab and keep their interest. Best of all, museums and galleries are completely free to enter- and they’re indoors too. So perfect for an inexpensive rainy day activity, all you’d need is petrol to get there or bus fare if it’s not walking distance. There are museums about history, space, dinosaurs, animals and so much more- they’re always a fascinating experience.

Rent a Bouncy Castle

This is another good one for making the most of the last bit of good weather in the year. One weekend, why not hire a bouncy castle for your back garden? It’s great exercise and will tire kids out and be a whole lot of fun, an easy way to get them out of your hair leaving you to get on with whatever you need to do about the house. It doesn’t have to be a birthday or special occasion, kids bouncy castles are usually fairly cheap. If you have siblings or friends with kids around the same age, you could all even chip in and pay a small amount each. They will have a fantastic time, and it’s far cheaper than other activities that won’t keep them half as interested.

Go Camping

Going on family vacations are what memories are made of, however, they don’t come cheap. Whether you want an extra getaway in the year or this will be your main family holiday, camping is the ideal choice. You could rent a caravan or RV or take it back to basics and take a tent. You get to teach kids about the great outdoors- collecting firewood and building a fire, foraging for berries, setting up a tent and so much more. You could enjoy a tasty barbeque dinner each night, roast marshmallows and sing songs around the campfire. Sleeping out under the stars and having these kinds of outdoor experiences are great for kids, keeps them entertained, active and don’t cost much.

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                Photo sourced from this site

Do Some Baking

A fun indoor activity that most kids love is baking. These are tonnes of simple recipes online for cakes or cookies you could follow, or you could even buy a box mix and mainly focus on the decorating side of things. Chances are you already have the staples you need in your kitchen, but eggs, flour, butter, icing sugar and some sprinkles won’t cost much and will do you for lots of different occasions baking. Teach them how to carefully weigh out ingredients and how to mix thoroughly. How to set the temperature on the oven along with the timer. These skills are all useful and help to teach them precision. Once you’re done you can have fun with the creative side, decoration. Icing pens, sprinkles and other edible decorations all work well- and as a bonus, you get to eat what you’ve made afterward.

Discover a New Hobby

Hobbies are so useful for adults and children alike. It gives you passion and purpose, helps you to improve skills and connect with like-minded people. A hobby could be anything from collecting things (something most children love to do), gardening, writing, photography- anything to keep their mind occupied. You probably already have the things you need at home to get them started. Plus, hobbies teach the sorts of things that are not taught in the classroom. It keeps young minds curious and is a fantastic, productive way for kids to spend their time. Try and discover hobbies that you can do together, as well as things they can do independently. That way if you’re busy and have other things you need to do, they can get on with it independently.

Throw a Slumber Party

Slumber parties might be hard work, but they’re fun for kids and allow fantastic bonding time between friends. For girls, you could give them some nail polish, makeup, face masks and magazines along with plenty of movies to watch. For boys, you could set up a games console or encourage them to play some board games. You could get some inexpensive crafts from hobby stores for them to do, and cook up a big pizza for everyone to share. It costs hardly anything but fun for kids and something they will always appreciate.

Keeping kids entertained is hard work, but having a couple of ideas for budget things to do both in and out of the house is useful. That way if you start going stir crazy or the kids have been in front of their screens for too long you have a few tricks up your sleeve for keeping them entertained. You don’t have to keep hearing them wail ‘I’m bored, ’ and you get peace of mind that they’re learning, staying active or both.

What are your favorite budget activities to keep kids entertained? Is there anything that’s not on this list which you would recommend to parents looking to entertain kids without having to spend a lot of money?

 

Must read ways to increase your family fun money fund!

Must read ways to increase your family fun money fund!

Apart from putting food in their mouths and clothes on their back, what is truly the most important thing when you have a family? Is it having all the latest mod cons and gadgets, or is it getting to spend quality time with each other as much as possible? Most folks would say the latter, but unfortunately, a lack of funds can prevent them from doing this. If this is something that applies to you, then read on as you can see how to can increase your family’s fun money fund each month.

Consolidate debts

One reason for a lack of funds for fun with the family is that monthly outgoings use up all available cash, leaving nothing left. This can be especially problematic if you are paying off debts on things you have already purchased on credit. As it can feel like all your money is gone and you aren’t even buying anything new.

One way to deal with this is to consider consolidating your debts. Which means taking more than one debt to a company that will take on the responsibility for these, and charge you a lower monthly payment. Find out some more information about this process at consolidatingdebt.co so you can decide whether it is the right solution for you. As it can free up more money in the monthly budget, making it easier to pay for fun activities with the family will still keep on top of your debt.

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Only buy what’s on the list

You’ve heard the phrase: “If your name’s not on the list you’re not coming in?” Right? Well, it’s time to apply that to your spending. As its spending money that isn’t accounted for, where a lot of families go wrong each month.

Of course, it’s easy to pick up a quick drink or a snack when you are out on the move, but all of those little things can add up to one big overspend. Something that can easily eat into your family fun budget and prevent you from making the memoirs with your loved one that you would like to.

That is why you should consider making a list of everything you need to buy at the beginning of the month. This works because writing it down gets you to think more about it, and helps you to evaluate whether you really need the item or not. You can also predict the things you will need such as drinks and snack for the car and buy the ingredients such as the ones listed at http://www.activebeat.co in bulk. Then divide them into smaller portions in zipper bags to take with you on the go.

Also, using a list method it also stops you spending money on impulse, as if the item isn’t on the list then you do get to buy it. This can be a real help because so many stores now are setup to exploit this, with tempting displays at the counter. In this way, you can keep to your set budget ensuring you have a protected amount reserved for family fun time.

What’s your family saving for?

 

 

Letting go and moving on…from neglected toys.

Letting go and moving on…from neglected toys.

Do you have a hard time getting your kids to let go of stuff? Even though they haven’t worn or played with something for ages, and have mostly even forgotten it exists, they’re resistant to get rid of it. No amount of reasoned and logical arguments will get them to let go, and it’s frustrating for both you and them. If you’re struggling to get them to give up something they no longer use, there are some things you can do about it. Here are a few methods you can try to get them to change their mindset.

 

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                Max Pixel

Do Regular Clear-outs

One of the first things you can do is regularly clear out your home. Don’t just do the kids stuff, but do your things too. You can turn it into something that’s routine, and not a huge ordeal that you have to go through once a year or so. You could even make it into a game, or make it a chore that your child gets a reward for completing. The more you do it, the more it will just be something that you sometimes do. You can let your child have some control over the process, just as long as they get rid of a couple of things each time.

Sell Stuff for Money

If you don’t mind encouraging a love for money and maybe a little bit of materialism, mentioning that you can sell things for money could be a good idea. You might already give your child an allowance, or maybe they’re saving up for something. You can encourage them to let go of things by mentioning that the profits could buy them something new. You can use websites where you can get cash for old electronics, toys, and other items. Or you could choose an old-fashioned yard sale. Your kid could learn some skills from helping with the sale of their things too.

Encourage Giving to Charity

Not all children are immediately receptive to the idea of charity. Empathy takes time to develop, so don’t be surprised if the suggestion that a toy goes to another deserving child is met with resistance. But plenty of children are open to making kind gestures for others and clearing out your home is a great time to encourage charity. It gives you an opportunity to talk about those less fortunate than you and give your child a wider perspective of the world.

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                Pixabay

Discourage Materialism

If you’re unhappy with how materialistic your child seems to be, you might want to take some steps to change that. There are ways you can try to get them to look at the world differently and care less about material things. Some parents try to avoid showing adverts on TV and other places to their kids. This can help because they’re not being told about the next best thing that they need to have – at least, not by the TV. You can also try to encourage different types of play, like imaginative play outdoors, where toys aren’t necessarily needed.

There are a few different ways to approach the situation if you have a child who’s very attached to their things. Don’t let them rule the roost if you’re determined to free up some space.

How do you encourage good “toy habits” in your kids?

 

Use Groupon’s coupons for great deals this Mother’s Day

Use Groupon’s coupons for great deals this Mother’s Day

We’re all familiar with all of the great deals you can find on Groupon. Looking for a discount on group pole dancing lessons? Groupon is your place. (I’ve done this BTW, so fun.) Need a hookup on an Escape Room in your city? Groupon will never let you down. It’s to the point when I get bored I will just scour Groupon for fun, inexpensive entertainment near me.

On top of awesome, local fun you can also shop your little heart out in Groupon’s own marketplace – where you will find everything from makeup to Playstations at deep discounts – and even awesome deals on travel! But Groupon doesn’t stop there because now they are the source for coupons and discount codes at some of your favorite sites to shop on the internet.

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Mother’s Day is coming!

In case you’ve been under a rock, Mother’s Day is just around the corner and Groupon has you covered. Whether it’s a gift for mom, or one for yourself because, let’s be honest here, only we know what we really want, amirite?, you will find something at any one of the stores Groupon had coupons for. In fact, I spy with my little eye a 25% off any sale item at Kate Spade – boom, done.

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Use Groupon Coupons to brighten up someone’s Mother’s Day with a bouquet from 1800Flowers.com. Buy your aunt, who’s always been like a mother to you, a bottle of perfume from Nordstrom or NeimanMarcus. Or just get yourself those running shoes you’ve been eyeballing at FinishLine – all with coupons from Groupon.

Let’s not forget Father’s Day is just around the corner and Groupon has a coupon for that. From HomeDepot to Guitar Center, Groupon has a way to show your love and appreciation of all that moms and dads do every day.

Happy shopping! And Happy Mother’s Day to all the awesome moms out there. We are tired, we’re probably hungry, and there’s a good chance we’ve been yelled at today by someone we need to remind to pee but we are awesome. And there’s not much a long shower, a glass of good cheap wine and an early bedtime for the littles can’t fix. 

Stylish holiday greetings with Minted

Stylish holiday greetings with Minted

Minted

I’ve always had a thing for Christmas cards. I start sometime in November and, as per Martha Stewart, they are in the mail no later than December 1st. Once I had kids, my obsession went into over time. Outfits, location, lighting, dog or no dog… It’s gotten insane. One of my favorite things about the holiday is also receiving everyone else’s cards. Every year I swoon over what my friends and family come up with– foil accents, double sided, thick card stock, collages, accordion fold!

This year I was invited to kick up my own holiday card game up a notch with Minted and I seriously cannot explain to you how excited I was. And as a person who has a very well known problem with making decisions, I knew I had to start my process as early as possible…and it STILL took me about 3 weeks to nail it down. Minted has such gorgeous and creative designs that can be customized in anyway possible so you’re guaranteed to make your card stand out in this years sea of joyous greetings.

 

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Once I got my photos narrowed down to two options, a feat in itself, I was on to the Minted website. By far the handiest feature on Minted was the ability to upload my photo and instantly see it in all the different varieties of cards. That saved me so much time that I no longer had from all the previous time I had wasted. From there I chose my card, fiddled with the fonts, colors and even the die-cut shape of my card. This year I also opted for Minted to do the labeling and addressing for me since every year I dread this process. Bonus, matching envelops and addressing is FREE. Yes, free.  So go ahead and give that hand a break this year.

Minted card come in hundreds of styles, 9 unique die-cut shapes, are made with the most luxurious high quality card stock and some styles even have gorgeous hand-pressed gold, silver or rose gold foil- all for starting at $0.60 per card.

It’s not too late! You still have time to get your own beautiful Minted holiday cards so head on over to Minted and get started now!

 

Sitting pretty with Delta Children

Sitting pretty with Delta Children

I just love finding adorable out-of-the-box gifts for kids, especially if they enhance the environment rather than just add clutter, then I’m all in. Seriously, the last damn thing my playroom needs is another toy–especially with Christmas coming up. So when I received this adorable little chair I was immediately in love.

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I was really impressed with the bright colors, adorable Paw Patrol print and sturdy construction, I was even able to sit my butt in it. But I was really taken with how much Abbey loves it. At 9 months (OMG time quit flying) she loves to do things that her big sister does, including sitting in a big girl seat and watching TV in the playroom, and this little chair is so perfect for her.

With a price point of $60 for this particular chair, and only $30 for several of their other styles of chairs, Delta Children hits the mark as the one gift your kids might not have asked Santa for but will use and love for years to come. This super cute Paw Patrol chair can be found (in store only) at Target, but you can find their whole line of Delta Children at Target.com, with characters like Frozen, Mickey, Minnie, Ninja Turtles and Cars.

I just gave you another great reason to run to Target today, you’re welcome. (Like you needed me to give you a reason at all.)

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Audrey loves the chair too, she just expresses it in weird way.

 

*I received this chair as part of the Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts program. 

 

Back to school with Mabel’s Labels

Back to school with Mabel’s Labels

It’s that time again. You went out, spent a whole weekend (at least) and your hard earned money on a bunch of new crap for your little darlings. Wouldn’t it be nice if they got to actually keep that beautiful new crap? If all that expensive new crap made it from point A to point B then back again?

Or scenario B: Your awesome hard working teacher sent you a list of school supplies that’s as long as you wish your patience was…and it all needs to be labeled with your darling child’s name.

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Well I’m about to save you a ton of time, energy and money: meet Mabel’s Labels.  These adorable labels are dishwasher and microwave safe, washable, and come in a large variety of sizes, colors, and packages to fit any picky child’s tastes and your budget. (PS, free shipping on all orders!)

We’ve been using these labels since Audrey was a baby and as soon as I knew what we would be naming Abbey I was online ordering hers. Shoes, back packs, diaper bags, sippy cups, bottles, toys, jackets…you name it, I have a label on it telling you who it belongs to. Mabel’s Labels also makes allergy safety bracelets and household labels so if you’re like me and you like to keep your stuff then get your self some super cute Mabel’s Labels.

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Disclaimer: I received an Ultimate back-to-school combo pack from Mabel’s Labels as part of my BTS Savvy Sassy Scout box but I’ve been a loyal Mabel’s Labels user for years. :)

Hello happy teeth!

Hello happy teeth!

Back to school means back to morning hallway rush-hour where screaming will be heard, arguments will be had and shoes will be lost. All in hopes of making it out the door on time and presenting ourselves to the outside world as clean, well groomed, matching, productive members of elementary school society. (Hopefully.)

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For us, one of the things that seems to be the most difficult (either before bed of before school) was the daunting chore of brushing the teeth. Is it the toothpaste? The back and forth action? Or is it the spitting? I’m not sure but whatever it is, my five-year-old is not a fan.

So when I opened this months Savvy Sassy Scout box for back to school season, I was so so happy to see three tubes of Hello Products toothpaste for kids. With all the fanfare in their debut it was hard to miss when this awesome line came to stores but I hadn’t had a chance yet to try them out. I can see now what everyone was raving about since they taste good (which kids love) coming in delicious flavors like bubblegum, blueberry, green apple and mango mint and yet are free from artificial sweeteners, flavors or dyes.  On top of all that they have now been awarded the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance, which means it’s clinically proven to fight cavities and strengthen enamel.

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All of this means happy kids and happy moms.

I am happy to report that it now only takes me yelling “Go brush your teeth!” once to get the job done. Progress! We’ve even made a game out of it, Audrey will go brush her teeth and when she comes back I have to smell her breath and guess which toothpaste she used. It’s win-win all over the place.

What fun tricks do you use to get your kids to do what you want?

 

 

 

 

Easy and healthy back to school lunch box favorites

Easy and healthy back to school lunch box favorites

It’s BACK TO SCHOOL TIME!!! ::insert happy dance:: But along with new clothes, new shoes and new teachers are some of the same old pains in the butt. Namely making a lunch every day that’s worthy of being traded for Oreo’s.

Sount box snacks

I don’t know why making Audrey’s snack to take to school is such a thorn in my parenting side. Like seriously, it’s my job to keep her alive and feeding her is an intergril part of that, so what gives? Maybe it’s because when I go all out chopping and slicing her lunch box comes home looking untouched, but when I throw in a Fruit Roll-Up and cookies it’s been licked clean like I hadn’t fed her in a week. And now she says that she hates peanut butter! I don’t even know if that’s legal!

Thankfully this month’s Savvy Sassy Scout box is all about Back To School and it came full of great stuff to make lunch boxing easy and healthy, all in single-serving pouches that don’t make me look like that ONE mom in the pick-up line. (Don’t act like you don’t know who I’m talking about. There’s always one.)

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First up is Jammy Sammy’s by Plum Organic. These tasty little treats are 100% whole grain, organic, have zero HFCS, and come in apple, blueberry, strawberry and grape. Did I also mention they are tasty? Even the worlds pickiest five-year-old had nothing but rave reviews and that’s saying something. She voted these a thumbs up and must buy again.

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Next up are Mash Ups also by Plum Organic. Now these were a bit harder to put by my taste tester because somehow she got it in her little head that purees in pouches are for babies and she’s FIVE and therefore too big for such childish antics. I made her try it anyway and she loved it and now they are a lunch box staple. Not to say I told you so, but I SO told you so. Mash Ups are a great source of fiber, have zero added sugar, are full of vitamin C and come in too many flavors to list (some even sneak in vegetables, but I won’t tell if you won’t).

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Rounding out our list are an old favorite here in the house: Annie’s Homegrown Organic Cheddar Bunnies. Oh the cuteness and the yummy. Non-GMO, certified organic, and free of anything else gross and unpronounceable, we are rarely out of bunnies in our house. If cheddar is not your bag try out the graham cracker or the sour cream & onion. ::drool::

Would you want to win a Savvy Sassy Scout Box filled with all this and more of your very own? Of course you do! Well hurry up and head on over to Savvy Sassy Moms and enter to win! And while you’re there check out all the other stuff going on, like my post on the best baby gear to beat the heat or meet my new favorite appliance!

 

Side note: Audrey has started kindergarten this year and since it’s half day she only goes from 12-4, meaning she’s had actual lunch before she’s even left the house. What I pack in her lunch box is a snack they give the kids later in the day.