Amazon Prime Day Deals

Today is Amazon Prime Day and after getting off to a shaky start yesterday, it looks like Amazon is working fine today.

If you are not an Amazon Prime member, it’s definitely something to consider. I shared why I love Amazon Prime a few years ago.

Here are a few Amazon Prime Day deals worth checking out today. Or check out all the Amazon Prime day deals (including the time sensitive deals) here.

Diffuser Jewelry   up to 30% off

If you use essential oils, check out these great prices on diffuser jewelry. Now you can diffuser wherever you go!

Vitamix $189.95

If you’ve been waiting to purchase a Vitamix, now is a great time. It’s only $189.95 which is $100 off it’s list price.

Melissa & Doug Toys up to 50% off

My kids loved Melissa & Doug toys when they were younger. This is a great time to stock up for the holidays.

Wooden Measuring Spoons $15.99

I own a set and love them! I use them almost every day in the kitchen.

Instapot$58.99

At this price I might be convinced to purchase one. All my friends think they are the greatest, but I haven’t taken the plunge yet.

Calphalon Cookware up to 30% off

 

I own this set and I love it! Works on an induction stove too.

Echo dot $29.99

We have several echo dots and love them. This is probably the best price all year.

Amazon Fire Stick $19.99

We cut cable last year and have been using our Amazon Fire Stick. We just purchased another one for our other television.

WaterPik  $39.99

I paid about $15 more for this Waterpik when my kids first got braces. Definitely a must buy if your kid is headed to the orthodontist.

Check out all the Amazon Prime day deals (including the time sensitive deals) here.

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Chocolate Donuts Recipe

We love donuts in our house. You don’t need a donut maker to make delicious homemade chocolate donuts. All you need is this basic baked donut recipe and a donut pan.

I’ve been making homemade donuts for many years and baked donuts are so much easier than fried! (Although you can find my tried and true fried donut recipe here) I use these donut pans by Wilton for my chocolate donuts. This recipe is so easy your kids can do it.

Chocolate Donuts

Celebrate on a special morning with these homemade chocolate donuts. They are delicious and you can change the glaze color to celebrate all year round. 

Ingredients

Chocolate donut ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Donut glaze ingredients

Instructions

Baked Donut Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and baking soda.
  • In a small bowl, beat together the vanilla, egg, sour cream, milk, and oil.
  • Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined.
  • Spoon in a greased donut pan.
  • Bake for 8 minutes or until the tops spring back when you touch them.
  • Let the donuts cool in the pan before glazing.

Glaze Instructions

  • Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and a few drops of orange gel food coloring until smooth.
  • Dunk the donuts in the glaze to fully coat and place on a wire rack to set, about 5 minutes to completely dry.
  • Using a microwave safe bowl, melt half of the Ghirardelli melting chocolate until smooth
  • Pour the chocolate into a piping bag and cut off the tip
  • Drizzle the chocolate over the doughnuts to give it stripes

Let set completely before eating.

Notes

Change the color of your glaze to make these donuts all year long. 

Here are some fun color combinations. 

Red & White: Valentine’s Day, 4th of July, Christmas

Green & White: Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day

Blue & White: 4th of July, Hanukkah

Pastel & White: Easter

 

easy homemade baked chocolate donuts

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50 Photos to Take of Your Kids this Summer

50 ideas of simple but memorable pictures to take of your kids this summer. Use it as a springboard to come up with your own photos as well.

I love taking photos of my kids. In fact, if you asked me what my hobby was, I would probably say kid’s photos.

50 photos to take of your kids this summer

Most of the walls in my home are decorated with photos of my children over the years. Summer is my favorite time of year to take photos of my kids because there are so many opportunities for great pictures.

Need photo tips? Here are my five favorite tips for taking great photos of your kids

While my children typically provide an endless supply of photo ideas, sometimes I need a little inspiration. Especially if I’m working on a gallery wall or other photo project for my home.

Most of these pictures are things that can and should happen during the natural course of the day in summer, and I intend some to be used as a sort of summer photo “bucket list” of things to do this summer.

I hope these kid’s photo ideas spur you on to enjoy summer experiences with your kids and to preserve them with photographs.        

Here are 50 ideas of simple but memorable pictures to take of your kids this summer. Use it as a springboard to come up with your own photos as well.

50 Kid’s Photos to Take this Summer

    1. Dirty feet – Little, bare, dirty, sweet feet. 
    2. Eating watermelon, the drippier the better.
    3. Footprints in the beach sand.
    4. Picking wildflowers in a field – classic.
    5. Lounging in a hammock reading.
    6. Riding bikes in the neighborhood.
    7. Asleep after a day of hard playing.
    8. Jumping in puddles after a summer rainstorm.
    9. Little flip flop feet in the grass.
    10. Having a backyard finger food picnic.
    11. Hands holding a water balloon.
    12. Mid cannonball, belly flop, or Nestea plunge. 
    13. Playing tag in the backyard.
    14. Eating a melting ice cream cone.
    15. Inspecting or holding a bug.
    16. Twirling sparklers in the night.
    17. Eating messy gooey s’mores.
    18. Fishing – feet dangling, dirty hands, tiny fish.
    19. Cannonballing into the pool.
    20. Feeding ducks at a local pond.
    21. Blowing bubbles with a sibling.
    22. Faces glowing in the light of a bonfire.
    23. Running through a sprinkler.
    24. Flying down a slide with wild abandon. 
    25. Giggling with a friend.
    26. Asleep in the backseat on a road trip.
    27. Picking berries at a local farm.
    28. Lounging in the pool on a raft. 
    29. Pulling weeds in the garden.
    30. On the beach with the sunset as their backdrop.
    31. Holding a mini American flag at a parade.
    32. Lying in the grass.
    33. Wishing and blowing on dandelion fluff. 
    34. New summer clothes.
    35. Freckles brought on by summer sunshine.
    36. Nibbling popcorn on movie night.
    37. Faces peeking out of the camping tent.
    38. Playing with the family pet.
    39. Riding a ride at a carnival or fair.
    40. Don’t forget to let them take a summer selfie!
    41. Catching tadpoles or lightning bugs. 50 photos to take of your kids
    42. Holding a butterfly on their little finger.
    43. Washing the family car.
    44. Searching the shelves in the library.
    45. Climbing a tree.
    46. Holding the first giant hamburger of bbq season.
    47. Siblings holding hands.
    48. Sleeping in bed head.
    49. Sipping pink lemonade.
    50. Your littles with YOU.

Make it a goal this summer to shoot these pics and more. Remember, you only get so many summers, mom. Make this a great one and record it for the memories!

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Money Management Activities for Kids

Money management is a skill we should all learn when we are young and a skill that should be refreshed often. Unfortunately, it isn’t taught often in schools anymore to the detriment of current and future generations. Once your children know how to count and understand how much each piece of currency is worth, it’s time to start teaching them about money management.

PSECU, a credit union in Pennsylvania, created this chart, which includes age-appropriate money management activities, books, and smartphone apps for each age group.
teach-kids-money-PSECU

Take Your Children Shopping with You

This is one activity that you can use for children of nearly any age – simply take them grocery shopping with you. It’s a great way to teach them everything from comparison shopping to sales and even basics like mathematics and how to calculate sales tax.

Take the opportunity to explain things like coupons and store brand vs. Name brand to teach them that you can save money even as you’re spending money and buying food for the house.

Pay With Cash Whenever Possible

We haven’t become a cashless society quite yet, even if most of us would prefer to use our debit or credit cards. Paying with cash, especially around your children, is a good way to give a physical significance to the act of spending money. It also enables them to interact with the transaction – simply hand them your wallet and have them count out the correct amount of money to cover the transaction.

It’s easy to spend more money than you have when it’s all digital. Instead of letting your kids get the idea that they have money because they have a card, teach them how significant money actually is.

Open a Savings Account for Them

Opening a checking and savings account is an important first step in your child’s financial life. You can open a custodial account for your child as soon as they have a social security number. However, once they reach the age where they start to understand the importance of money, you can walk them through how to use their checking and saving’s account.

For younger children, this could be as simple as saving for a new toy or a game console. Once your child gets older, it becomes useful for saving for larger purchases like a car or saving for college after they graduate.

Create a Budget Together

Sit down and take the time to write a budget together. It could be a budget that you can use in your daily life – write out the bones of a budget, including your monthly income and your bills and let them figure out the best way to budget your income to pay those bills. Include other expenditures like groceries, medical, insurance, and others that can pop up unexpectedly.

Teaching our children – and the next generation as a whole – how to manage their money is a skill that they will use throughout their lives and could keep them from falling into the trap of debt. Don’t assume that children don’t need to learn how to manage money just because they don’t have an income – the longer you teach them, the more likely the skills will stick.

This post is sponsored by PSECU, a Pennsylvania-based credit union.

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How to Save on Sherwin Williams Paint

I love Sherwin-Williams paint but it is expensive! I do believe it is worth it to pay more for good paint because you end up using less paint, the paint lasts longer, and it has better coverage than cheaper brands.

I use to wait until Sherwin-Williams paint went on sale to purchase it, however I’ve learned a few tips to save money on my favorite paint and not always wait for a sale.

Typically when Sherwin-Williams paint goes on sale it is 30-40% off the regular price. I prefer shopping at the Sherwin Williams paint store because I like their customer service. Also if you shop at the same paint store, they have all the colors you’ve purchased in their system, which is convenient.

But if you can’t wait to paint, here are some ways to save on my favorite, Sherwin-Williams paint.

Sign up for their mailing list on the website. 

Their loyalty program is called Paint Perks and when you sign up you will receive a coupon for $10 off your $50 purchase. You also get special every day pricing and you will be notified of their sales.

Take advantage of the military discount.

Did you know Sherwin Williams offers a 15% discount for active duty military as well as their spouses, reservists, and retirees? Show your military ID to receive the discount. Unfortunately you cannot combine the military discount with the sales.

Buy during the sale, paint later. 

My awesome sister shared this money saving tip with me. You can buy SW paint during the sale and then have it mixed at a later date when you are ready to paint.

If you know you will be doing some painting in the near future but aren’t sure what colors you are going to use, buy the paint when it goes on sale, then take it back to have it mixed when you are ready to paint.

Make sure you store the paint in a cool place (like a basement or interior closet). Paint does not store well in the heat. 

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Buy Sherwin-Williams paint at Lowe’s. 

I cannot tell you how happy I was when I found out that Lowe’s sold Sherwin-Williams paint! Lowe’s offers Showcase, Ovation, Infinity, and Weather Shield Sherwin-Williams paint.

You have to shop at the Sherwin-Williams store to purchase Duration, Emerald, Cashmere, Harmony, or Super Paint.

Personally, I’ve used Ovation from Lowe’s and Duration from the Sherwin-Williams store and I think they are comparable. Ovation is paint with primer, so it goes on a bit thicker, (which is not my preference). However I feel the coverage of those two paints are comparable.

The Sherwin-Williams paint is less expensive at Lowe’s, and you can use a military discount if you have one, but you are limited in the choice of finishes.

I LOVE Sherwin-Williams paint. For each of the three houses I’ve owned, every room has been painted with Sherwin-Williams paint. I typically wait for the sales, but when I want to redo a room over a weekend, I purchase my SW paint at Lowe’s.

Here are some of my favorite colors.

Sherwin-Williams Misty

Sherwin-Williams Misty

Sherwin-Williams sea salt

Sherwin-Williams Sea Salt (painting in process, can you believe I painted this room by myself!)

sherwin williams sea salt paint on the walls seal skin on the banister

Sherwin Williams Sea Salt on the walls, Sealskin on the railing, Pure White on the trim and spindles. 

sherwin-williams accessible beige

Sherwin-Williams Accessible Beige

sherwin-williams indulgent

Sherwin-Williams Indulgent (this is a gorgeous purple color for a little girl’s room!) 

Sherwin Williams Hubbard Squash

Sherwin Williams Hubbard Squash

Sherwin Williams front porch

My current home is primarily gray, Sherwin-Williams Front Porch. 

More painting tips you need to read before you get started! 

how to save money on sherwin williams paint

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Vanilla Body Butter

If you haven’t tried using body butter yet, I highly recommend it.  Body butter is a skin moisturizer that typically contains cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil or another vegetable-based oil. Body butter is thicker than lotions or creams and typically do not contain water.

DIY Vanilla Body Butter with essential oils

I like to use body butter in the evening before I go to bed, since it stays on longer. Remember to apply the body butter when your skin is damp, since it contains no water. Do not use body body on your face, since it can clog pores.

This easy to make vanilla body butter smells amazing and makes a great gift. Remember to store in the fridge if your home is warmer than 75 degrees.

Body Butter Ingredients

DIY Vanilla Body Butter using 4 ingredients

Directions

Measure and combine your cocoa butter and your coconut oil in a large glass measuring bowl.

Heat mixture in the microwave until melted. This should take about 90 seconds depending on the power level of your microwave.

vanilla body butter DIY 4 ingredients

If you do not have a microwave, you can melt in a small saucepan slowly over low heat.

Stir in your vitamin e oil and essential oil.

DIY vanilla body body with essential oils

Place liquid body butter mixture in the fridge until it forms into a solid.

DIY body butter with essential oils

Use a hand mixer to whip your body butter for several minutes and place in an airtight container.

DIY Vanilla Body butter with essential oils

Remember to store the mixture in the fridge in the summer or if your house is warmer than 75 degrees.
DIY vanilla body butter with essential oils

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