Messy Baby = Happy Baby #hfbrightside

Cora was what the doctor’s liked to call a lazy feeder. Because she was a preemie she burned more calories trying to eat than she could consume and would often fall asleep halfway through a feeding.

Since she was so little, making sure she drank so many ounces a day was vital to her development. Feedings at our house became a production. Me, a seasoned mom of seven, became obsessed with feeding time.

We would try every trick in the book to keep Cora awake through her feeding. From turning on all the lights in the room at 3am, to taking off all her clothes, I felt like feeding time was a major production. And the best part, we did this every hour and forty-five minutes, twenty four hours a day.

Of course it was all worth it to see our little preemie gain weight every week, but I couldn’t wait until she was big enough to sit in a high chair and eat!

Wouldn’t you know that Cora expended so much energy as a baby that she would often fall asleep in her high chair too!

Feedings would start out great as she gobbled the food off the spoon. But after a few minutes she would settle back into the high chair and with each bite slowly drift off into dreamland. It became a race to see how much food we could shovel in her mouth before she totally fell asleep and dinner would be over.

No matter how loud our dinners were or how many people were over, Cora could fall asleep in her high chair.

I’m convinced that Cora got most of her early nutrition from Puffs, because she could eat them on the go. In fact she loved those little snacks so much I took them everywhere with us because I knew an offering of Puffs could convince her to sit still a little longer, stay happy in the car seat for a few more miles, or make it through a family movie night.

Those Puffs were so popular I would have to hide them from my other young children, so I wouldn’t run out. I would often buy five and six containers at the store prompting “the look” from the cashier. I wanted to say I had twins or even triplets, but really I just had a child who loved to eat on the go!

Even to this day if Cora sees a baby with Puffs she wants them.

Now our baby feeding days our over. I’m sad that those awesome Happy Baby baby food pouches weren’t invented when my kids were young. I remember traveling with glass baby food jars and having one shatter in the bottom of the diaper bag!

If I hadn’t been traveling overseas I might have just thrown the diaper bag away! It was nearly impossible to clean up pears mixed with shards of glass in the bottom of the bag! But those days are behind me and now I have a sweet little niece that I get to feed every once in awhile.

happy baby Messy Baby = Happy Baby #hfbrightside

She’s still in the more food on the face than in the mouth phase of eating but she sure looks cute doing it!

To learn more about their complete line of products for your little one, visit their website or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: I participated in this post on behalf of Burst Media. I was compensated for my time and commitment, but all opinions are my own.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Family Movie Night Fun

My family loves movies. I mean really loves them. They quote lines, act them out, reference them, and talk about them. My older kids have even started to stay up until midnight so they can see the movie as soon as it comes out, so we are really looking forward to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatball 2 (in theaters on September 27).

They get this from their father of course, because everyone knows when a mom sits down she immediately falls asleep from exhaustion and could never make it through a two hour movie. I’m kidding, sort of.

Since taking all nine of us to the theater is not something we can afford on a regular basis we’ve started having family movie nights at home.

IMG 6087 1024x645 Family Movie Night Fun

Movie nights at home a great way to spend time together as a family without spending a lot of money. You can have an awesome family movie night for less than $20 which is cheaper than a fast food meal.

There are several must haves for our family movie night.

A good movie that everyone will like.

Fortunately, we’ve been able to find movies that keep everyone from the four year old to the forty-four year old entertained.

Popcorn (and lots of it)

We prefer the air popped stuff, and my eleven year old has become the master at adding the right amount of salt and butter to make you think are you sitting inside a theater. We even have special popcorn containers that look like movie theater popcorn boxes which the kids love!

Root Beer or Lemonade

We don’t usually have soda in our house, but I’ll pick up some root beer at the store for our movie nights. The kids love drinking it straight from the can. If we’re feeling really crazy we’ll make root beer floats.

Pillows and Blankets

We have a big basket of blankets and throws next to the television in our basement. Since we don’t have room for everyone on the couches and chairs the kids make their own comfy spots on the floor with their pillows and lots of blankets.

Those are our movie night basics, but there are lots of other fun things you can do to make movie night extra special.

Make a theme night

To make movie night even more fun plan your food and activities around the movie you are watching. If it is a movie set in England only speak with British accents during the evening. If you are watching a movie about superheroes, have everyone dress up as their favorite hero or villain.

If your movie has a food theme, make one of the foods for dinner or to snack on during the movie.

Premier the movie at home.

Roll out the red carpet (aka blanket) and have your kids dress up and walk down it on their way to the theater (aka couch). You can take pictures and conduct mock interviews.

Make movie posters.

Have the kids make their own movie posters. All you need is some poster board and markers. They can hang/tape the posters to the wall on the big day.

Borrow a projector and watch the movie outside.

When the weather starts to cool off create your own drive-in and set up chairs in your lawn. Use a projector to show the movie on the side of your house (or a large screen if you have one).

We’ve done this a few times and even had a bonfire and roasted marshmallows. My kids loved it!

However your family does movie night, your kids will sure to love spending time with you watching their favorite characters on screen.

I’ve included more fun movie night ideas and printables below.

*I was thrilled to work on this post for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which was sponsored by Sony. All opinions and ideas are my own.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Lemonade & Iced Coffee Stand

My kids have been asking to host a lemonade stand forever! I think it comes from the fact that their enterprising cousin set up a coffee and donut stand a few years back and made a small fortune selling to people on their way to work one morning.

Unfortunately we live at the end of a dead end street with no traffic, zero. We only have three neighbors and some of them don’t even leave their house everyday. So, I kept telling the girls that a lemonade stand just wouldn’t work where we lived.

When International Delight asked if I wanted to host a lemonade stand I realized it would be the ultimate yes mom moment to let the kids set up a lemonade stand even if I was their only customer.

My girls were so excited to make signs, find change, and debated for a long time about how much to charge for a cup or lemonade or iced coffee. We set up the stand in a shady spot and they got to work selling.

PicMonkey Collage Lemonade & Iced Coffee Stand

They were excited to sell to their brothers as well as their mom and then celebrated with a dip in the pool afterwards.

During this whole process I realized that letting your children host a lemonade stand is a great way to get some learning in this summer. They had to make the lemonade (measuring & counting), create signs (art), figure out how to sell it (marketing), and make change (math).

My nephew, who set up the coffee and donut stand a few years back made a lot of money and it was a great lesson in small business, especially since his dad made him pay for supplies out of his profits!

Summer is a great time to let your kids set up their little lemonade business. I love the addition of the iced coffee because now parents have more of an incentive to buy a little caffeinated delight when they stop. It is a great way to get to know your neighbors and your children could even use the stand to help raise money for a cause your family supports.

International Delight (a company I’ve been working with for a few years and LOVE) has these fun printables to help you get started.

Screen Shot 2013 06 26 at 10.09.06 AM Lemonade & Iced Coffee Stand

You can download them here.

You can also join in the fun on Twitter by telling @InDelight what you love most about ID Iced Coffee using #IcedCoffeeLove. One grand prize winner will receive a Summer Cool Down pack with a cooler for ID, tumblers, and a $200 Visa gift card to visit the water park of their choice. Three runners up will receive free Iced Coffee.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight.  The opinions and text are all mine.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Pool Fun! #RaiseaCone

When I was house hunting in Maryland I had a few “must haves” on my list. One thing that wasn’t on my list was a pool. I mean really, who needs a pool in Maryland when you can only swim four months of the year?

Well wouldn’t you know, the house we ended up buying had a pool!

Since we moved into our house in December, our kids have been anxiously awaiting summer. In fact I’ve never seen my kids so excited for a season until this year.

The pool is now ready for summer and rain or shine the kids want to be in it! Some of my best childhood memories are when my brother, sister, and I would swim all day and into the evening. We would eat dinner outside and then get back to our swimming. (After the required 30 minutes of rest, as dictated by one of my grandmothers and then passed down to my mother, of course.)  On special nights we’d get a cold treat after dinner which made the day even better!

Now that we have a pool and about one hundred nights of summer to enjoy, I’m looking forward to creating the same awesome memories with my kids.

Since I’m trying to be a yes mom and make the most of our summer, I’m letting the kids swim as much as possible. It’s better than television and they always sleep in a little later the next day. Can you blame me?

I also keep a secret (or not so secret from my big kids) stash of treats to surprise them on extra special nights.

This week we surprised them with Nestle Drumsticks.

2013 06 05 18 06 44 958 1024x576 Pool Fun! #RaiseaCone

I remember these nutty cones from when I was a kid and thought it would be fun to surprise my kids with a Nestle Drumstick during their evening swim.

2013 06 05 18 08 18 580 1024x576 Pool Fun! #RaiseaCone

Combining two of their favorite things- swimming and ice cream guarantees some happy kids.

Would you like to win a lifetime supply of Nestle Drumstick cones (for real folks!)? Submit a photo raising your cone for summer to the Raise a Cone for Summer website and you could win! You have until June 21st to submit your photo, so don’t delay!

Oh and before I get back to my poolside spot, have you ever wondered why they named an ice cream cone after a chicken? I always did! Well, when the Drumstick was invented in 1928 one of the wives thought it looked just like a friend chicken leg, and the rest is ice cream history!

Don’t forget to submit your Raise a Cone for Summer photo for a chance to win a lifetime supply of Nestle Drumstick cones!

I’ve partnered with Nestle to promote their Raise a Cone for Summer campaign. All opinions and ice cream eating children are my own. 


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.