Holidays, Salty Mama Lists, Tips & Hacks

Best Gifts for Families

This post contains affiliate links. Additionally, this post is part of a sponsored opportunity through MomSelect and HP. You can read more at our Legal Disclosures page. Thank you! 

You know how it goes- you have a friend that you exchange gifts with regularly. Sometimes you start out when you’re single, then move on to couples’ gifts.  Pretty soon a baby comes, and then another…and another…and another…and another…and soon you are buying for a small tribe.

Before you start tearing your hair out buying little toys for all those little people, might we suggest a few gifts that the whole family will love. Continue reading “Best Gifts for Families”

Effing Four Year Olds, Holidays, Kids' Activities, momlife, parenting, The Salties, Tips & Hacks

The Elf on the Friggin Shelf

It’s easy enough to pretend the Elf on the Shelf is not a thing when your kids are little. Maybe you pass by them in the store, tell your kids those are dolls, and move on with your life. Maybe you have vowed never to take up with that foul creature. Maybe you’re just bitter you aren’t the marketing genius that came up with that thing. Whatever the case may be, you’re probably okay skipping the elf without anyone knowing the difference.

Until someone starts school. And then get ready to hop up on that bandwagon sleigh.

I knew “all the kids” in Lila’s class had elves, and had even successfully fielded some questions about why we didn’t get one at our house.  Santa knew Lila was nice enough already without sending an elf to spy on her, and all the elves were visiting other kids this year. She accepted it cheerfully enough and I thought we were out of the woods.

And then we had a friend from school over for a playdate, and they asked to see her elf, and Lila was like, “oh she’s on the roof today.” I was a Hill, “silly Lila, we don’t have an elf,” and she burst into tears, and I found out my daughter sits on a throne of lies (see what I did there?). She felt super left out when the other kids were talking about elves, and so she had told them she had one, too. She’d even told them stories about her elf’s exploits. So when she got busted? Yeah, she had all the feelings.

So we wrote a letter to Santa asking what the hold-up was in the elf department. Lila requested he “find a solution and send an elf to this house by Friday.” (She told me to write that part in a stern voice.) So it looks like I’m heading to Target and trying to find an elaborate backstory as to why her elf took so long to get here.

*******

So for others who might find themselves in a similar situation…we’ve compiled this list of resources to help you.  Or not. Because, despite what our kids would have us believe, you are still in charge and you can do what you want to.

And if you decide to take on the Elf on the Shelf

…Check out the Paper Heart Family’s Elf on the Shelf for Busy Mom’s Guide for the easiest way to accomplish the whole elf thing without driving yourself bananas

…And follow our Easy Elf Ideas pinterest board so you’ll be prepared

…Or read why it’s okay to love the Elf on the Shelf at A Modern Mom’s Life

… But don’t forget to have some handy excuses prepared for when the Elf Forgets to Move.

And if you are never doing the Elf, never not ever…

…Prepare yourself with this List of Reasons Why You Don’t Have an Elf 

…Or simply Indulge Your Hatred with TheEverydayMomLife.com.

And if you started Elf on the Shelf and regret it every day…

Do what this mom or this mom did, pat yourself on the back, and pour yourself a margarita. It’s the Salty Mama way.

 

The #ElfontheShelf- Love it or Leave It? Read the pros and cons- and tips for either approach!- at thesaltymamas.com.

 

Cheapskating, microhustle, MicroLuxuries, Tips & Hacks

MicroHustle Monday Presents: Shop for Free(Ish) at Kmart

I’ve been sitting on this MicroHustle for a while, because my husband always says it is so good that I’m going to put this poor company out of business.  And if I’m going to put it under by myself, imagine what will happen if I send ALL the Salty Mamas out there to get in on the action? They may not make it through the week! But I can’t keep holding out on you, so make good use of this MicroHustle while you still can. Continue reading “MicroHustle Monday Presents: Shop for Free(Ish) at Kmart”

Chick-Fil-A, Holidays, Salty Mama Lists, Tips & Hacks

Saturday Six

This post contains affiliate links. As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are our own. You can read more about it at our Legal & Disclosures.  Thank you!

Here are six things we are LOVING on this week.

1. The Holiday Movie Bracket from With Love and a Little Self Deprecation

Not being big on March Madness and the like, we never thought we would take a bracket so seriously. But pitting A Christmas Story versus It’s a Wonderful Life? Oh, it’s ON! Continue reading “Saturday Six”

Effing Four Year Olds, Holidays, Kids' Activities, momlife, parenting, The Salties, Tips & Hacks, Traditions

Teaching Kids the Spirit of Giving This Holiday Season

Last year at Christmastime, I had everything. I had a beautiful Christmas tree, home baked goods, the love of my family and friends…

And an entitled three year old who thought SHE should have everything, too. Everything from the Target toy aisle, anyways.

No matter how I tried, I could NOT convince her to pare down her list. Every catalog that came in the mail, every trip to Target for diapers, even phone calls to the grandparents seemed to unleash her inner Gimme Monster. On one particularly bad, trying-to-make-a-list-for Santa Claus day, this Mama had had enough. Continue reading “Teaching Kids the Spirit of Giving This Holiday Season”

koefoe party of 5, momlife, parenting, Tips & Hacks

Four Family-Focused Things to Consider When Buying a Car

Sponsored Post

This holiday season, The Salty Mamas are going to be logging a LOT of car hours. We’re only one holiday in and we’ve already driven hundreds and hundreds of miles. (Okay, Christine’s family is maybe at nearly 100, but Jaymi has totally made up for it). Between Christmas tree and present shopping, schlepping to holiday parties, and visiting out of town friends and family, we spend a lot of time in the close quarters that are our cars. All the more reason to make sure we LOVE our cars!

Last year at this time, we were trying to decide on what car we needed for our new family of 5. Here are some of the unique things to consider when picking out your perfect family car: Continue reading “Four Family-Focused Things to Consider When Buying a Car”

Cheapskating, Holidays, microhustle, side hustle, Tips & Hacks

Microhustle Monday Presents: How to Earn Some Passive Cash with Ebates

This post contains affiliate links. We may make a commission if you sign up for this program after clicking the link, but as always, the thoughts and opinions described here are our own. You can read more at our Legal and Disclosures page. Thank you for supporting The Salty Mamas!

It’s that time of year again, folks- that’s right, it’s the happiest time of the year!

Welcome to ONLINE SHOPPING SEASON!

Remember the days when you had to schlep from store to store, children in tow, as you hiked and searched and ran price comparisons and did the returns and exchanges and oh-crap-I-forgot-Aunt-May?

Nope. Us Either.

We’ve been doing our holiday shopping online for YEARS. Not only can it be done while you are trapped under a sleeping baby, but you don’t have to buckle and unbuckle 1 million carseat straps in the process.

And best of all- it can earn you money.

If you haven’t heard of Ebates yet, you need to sign up, like, yesterday.  You typically earn a nice little bonus for signing up, which is perfect to get you started (As of the writing of this post, you will receive a $10 bonus after making your first $25 in purchases). After that, you just begin all your shopping trips at ebates.com or on the Ebates app. It’ll take you to the store’s website, and then you just shop like normal. After your purchase is complete, Ebates will add a percentage of your purchase back to your account (varies greatly from store to store) and you can watch the earnings pile up.

You can help your earnings add up faster by shopping on Double Cashback days, and by doing some percentage-and-price comparisons. For example, Amazon and Kohl’s may have the same KitchenAid mixer you’ve been eyeing for the same price (this is the one I just got. Isn’t it a DREAM?), but Kohl’s typically gives higher percentages back through Ebates, so it ends up being a little cheaper in the long run.

So click here to hop on this bandwagon quick so that you can maximize your earnings before the holiday season. And make sure you’re following us on Facebook! We’re expecting some good deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and you don’t want to miss out on our reminders!

The EASIEST way to earn money by shopping online. Read more about one of our favorite microhustles at thesaltymamas.com #ebates #onlineshopping #earnmoneyfromhome

 

Crafty Mamas, Kids' Activities, momlife, parenting, The Salties, Tips & Hacks

Achieving Super-Mom Status with a Busy Bag

This post contains affiliate links, but as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are our own. You can read more at our Legal & Disclosures page. Thank you!

You know those times when your kids have to just sit quietly for a really long time, and you are out of data and/or don’t have enough phones to go around and/or they’ve already watched 75 hours of TV today? Like when the doctor is running behind, or if you’re flying to Hawaii, or when your husband sends you and your two children to stand in line for a few hours at a Best Buy for a video game system at 6 am on fifteen minutes notice?

No? Is that one just me?

Well at any rate, I don’t always feel like a super mom, but the thing that is sure to make me give myself some major kudos is my fully-stocked, always-so-ready-it-lives-in-the-trunk Busy Bag. My bag of choice is the Zip-Top Organizing Utility Tote from Thirty One  (which I love because ALL THE POCKETS), but it can be done with any similar bag.

(Side Note: A fully loaded Busy Bag makes an INCREDIBLE family gift for Christmas, or when a new baby is on the way.  If you are giving this as a gift, I would definitely go with the Thirty-One Tote. It definitely gives it an extra polish, and can be embroidered. Yes, Christine sells Thirty-One. But I’m being completely objective here- it’s got Wow Factor.)

IMG_20171117_091601597.jpg

The most crucial aspect of the Busy Bag, besides the bag, is the little tray that lives inside of it. It’s just a cheap cookie sheet from the Dollar Tree, but it operates as a desk, magnet board, flannel board, and snack tray when we are out and about. And as a bonus, it fits PERFECTLY across the armrests of my kids’ carseats during road trips.

So once you’ve got your bag and your tray ready, it is time to fill it with all sorts of cheap, won’t -break-my-heart-to-lose-it, engaging little activities for your youngsters. What’s in mine changes constantly, which is probably part of the allure of the bag for my kids. I am always on the hunt for little Dollar Bin finds to fill it with, and dollar stores are a surprisingly rich treasure trove of everything-included projects.

Here are a few of the items that make regular appearances or are permanent fixtures in our bag:

• Coloring Books and Crayons
Color Wonder Markers and Paper
• A PlayPack or Two
Playdough
• Magnet Letters and Numbers
• A few magnet puzzles, or small puzzles with magnets attached to the back.
• Beads and pipe cleaners for lacing
Sticker Mosaics
• Stickers and Blank Paper
• A Magna Doodle
Activity books
Water Wow Books
MagicInk Books 
• Non-Perishable Snacks
Laminated Eye Spy Pages, Connect-the-Dots, Finish-the-Picture Prompts, Tracing Pages, etc. with a dry erase marker
• Color By Number Pages
• A few pre-prepped craft activities and a glue stick
• Some of these Melissa and Doug “On the Go” sets
• Memory games
Magnetic tic-tac-toe
Paint-With-Water Books/Pages
• Duplo blocks for younger kids, or small bags of Legos for older kids

I’m telling you, this bag makes me look like I have my stuff together. And after the initial setup, it just takes a little refill here and there to keep it fresh and exciting. Beyond that, I am ready to look like one of THOSE moms at any time, in any place. Like while watching the sunrise in a Best Buy parking lot.

*****

Want to see the Busy Bag in action? Head over to Facebook to watch a video that shows the bag’s features and what I keep inside!

 

 

Looking for a gift for an entire family? This thoughtful gift will have you one and done. Read more at thesaltymamas.com. #familygift #christmasgift #giftideas
Road trips, appointments, flying with kids? We've got the perfect solution to entertain your kids anytime, anywhere at thesaltymamas.com #busybag #roadtrip #flyingwithkids

 

Bujo, Crafty Mamas, Mama Mojo, MicroLuxuries, Tips & Hacks

Making Time to Be Creative (If You’re Into That Sort of Thing)

Let’s preface this one by saying- you don’t HAVE to be creative just because you’re a mama. Your parties don’t have to have carefully paper-crafted banners. Your kids’ sandwiches can be sandwich-shaped, your kids water cups don’t have to be personalized with vinyl, you don’t have to make your own home décor, and you CERTAINLY don’t have to sew your daughter thematic skirts for every holiday.

Repeat-you don’t HAVE to.

But some of us? Some of us WANT to. Continue reading “Making Time to Be Creative (If You’re Into That Sort of Thing)”

Bujo, Mama Mojo, MicroLuxuries, The Salty Mamas Bookclub, Tips & Hacks

The Miracle Morning (Mom Style)

This post contains affiliate links. As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are our own. You can read more of our disclosures here. Thank you for supporting The Salty Mamas!

Like a lot of new moms out there, I found myself in a bit of a slump after settling in to life as a mom of two. Not in a clinical sense for me, but in an existential crisis kind of way. Who was I, beyond my life as a mother? What were my goals, what were my individual interests, what did I want for my life? With a baby and a preschooler who decided to give up napping, my life as a stay at home mom had changed drastically.  There were no double naps anymore, no break for me during the day, and certainly no time for myself. I was a little bit adrift, and a little bit lost, and I just needed SOMETHING to get me back on track.

Enter: The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. Continue reading “The Miracle Morning (Mom Style)”