Our Kids 17 Favorite Picture Books of 2017-8

Our Favorite Kindle Apps For Kids

We've got a list of our favorite kindle apps for kids!

Last month we declared the Amazon Kindle Fire for Kids the best electronic device for our children. Since that post, we’ve gotten many requests from people saying that they have the Kindle but struggle to pick the best apps in the bunch. We wanted to share our favorites kindle apps with you and trust me, after suffering through this last week home with a flu-sick child, I have LOADS of experience in what apps are both fun and educational. Continue reading “Our Favorite Kindle Apps For Kids”

Our Kids 17 Favorite Picture Books of 2017-8

Essential Oils for Your Every Day Life

I have been interested in essential oils for a while and wondered if I would be able to use them in my every day life.  I have heard great things about how essential oils can help in so many ways. I was interested in how I could make my house smell better without burning chemicals (AKA candles).  I hoped to make healthier beauty products and cleaning products and hoped I could find natural ways to help growing pains and soothe muscle aches. When we came up with our 2018 Reading Challenge, it was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.  I did a lot of research into which book to buy, which oils to buy and how I wanted to use my oils.

Continue reading “Essential Oils for Your Every Day Life”

Our Kids 17 Favorite Picture Books of 2017-8

Is it Really Possible to Have an Organically Clean Home?

The Organically Clean Home by the clean mama's Becky Rapinchuk

Ugh. Cleaning. The least favorite task I have, but probably one of the most important. I never really cared what I used to clean my house until my first pregnancy when the smell of the faux lemon dishwasher detergent we used made me gag every time I smelled it. My heightened sense of smell caused me to detect the sharply chemical scent and my body had a very negative reaction to it. I puked…. a lot. Until finally I chucked the yucky stuff and switched to various eco-friendly alternatives in my quest to make an organically clean home.

The problem was, I never really found anything that I loved and all the “healthy” versions of cleaning products cost an arm and a leg. That’s why, when we decided that our January goal for the Beyond the Bookends Reading Challenge was a book that would change your daily life, I knew I wanted to tackle a book based on make-at-home organic cleaning. I decided to test out a recipe or two for you and report back on my findings. Is it possible to have an organically clean home without taking out a second mortgage? Let’s find out! Continue reading “Is it Really Possible to Have an Organically Clean Home?”

Our Kids 17 Favorite Picture Books of 2017-8

The One Device Every Kid Needs for “Screen Time”

Guilty over Screen Time? Banish bad feelings with educational learning!



Technology time has been a battle with my kids since day one. I was great about keeping them away from all things tech for their first years of life and I loosened the strings on occasion until they were 2. After their second birthdays,  it became much, much harder to limit “screen time.” They became more aware of the screens around them and shows their peers enjoy (Paw Patrol, anyone?)

We tried very hard to stick to one half-hour of screen time a day, but at this point, we let them have about an hour. Usually, the kids split it before and after school. They watch one TV show snuggled in bed while we sleep-in and either another show or the iPad after school.  The iPad’s educational games are good but often cost $$ that really adds up quickly when the kids begin to outgrow their favorite apps. Also, the initial outlay of a new iPad is a little overwhelming (as we learned when we bought the boys Osmo for Hannukah, only to have the iPad break immediately and need to be replaced – not an expense we were planning on during the already expensive holiday season.)

When a family member recently offered to get each of my kids a Kindle for the holidays, I decided to try it out. If only for the fact that they would each have a device for our upcoming travels and I could limit fighting over the single iPad. I was thrilled with how quickly the Kindles became the go-to device around here. I want to explain why I think every parent should have one in their educational arsenal. Continue reading “The One Device Every Kid Needs for “Screen Time””

Our Kids 17 Favorite Picture Books of 2017-8

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Toys

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up with Toys!

By now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The method is extreme but effective. You basically have to get messy to get clean. Her method calls for collecting every item of a specific category and putting it in the middle of the room. You then touch every item and decided if it makes you happy and/or serves a purpose. You discard what doesn’t make you happy and keep what does. Its intense and time consuming and it really does work. I donated 12 bags of clothing earlier this year using her method.

That being said, however, Kondo does not mention children or there…..well…crap…in her book. For most of the kids’ stuff, you can just apply the adult method (when cleaning their closets, I went category by category – socks, tops, PJs etc.) but there is NO mention of tackling the biggest clutter in my house – TOYS. Which is why I wanted to share my method of madness with all of you. You’ll see HUGE results if you do it correctly! Continue reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Toys”