Breaking Parenting Rules: Making Memories Instead

I doubt that Cooper and Delaney remember attending their first St. Louis Cardinals games as they were just months old at the time, dressed head-to-toe in the appropriate Cards baby fan gear, but they’ve been going since they could hold their heads up, often strapped to my chest. Jeff and I carted Delaney around to so many places during her first game, surrounding her by so many sights and sounds, we, as new parents, spent an entire irrational afternoon fearing we had damaged her hearing just by having her out among loud cheering crowds.

Delaney 3 months 022

I’m a Cardinals fan by osmosis. My husband is a generational fan, having been given the love from his father and grandfather. He was required to recite the inscription on Stan Musial’s statue before he was allowed to enter Busch Stadium when he was three years old…. we’re just going to go ahead and say his family is serious about the game of baseball in general and St. Louis Cardinal Baseball specifically.

And Jeff and his family have passed that love down to my small people.

So, it isn’t unusual for us to go to games during the regular season.

Cooper Favs (7)

And it isn’t unusual, (though some might call it…..ummm…passionate?) to see our family room mantle turn in to a shrine come October – and stay that way throughout the playoffs.

St Louis Cardinals Shrine 2014

And it isn’t a surprise to see my husband and son assume their positions in front of the TV, sticking with their superstitions to help their team win.

CardsCoopDadSuperstition

And it isn’t unusual for us to make every attempt to make it to a playoff game if we can – we went as a family last year and were there for a clinching game – AMAZING.

Cards Clinch 2013

So….it wasn’t a surprise to me when Jeff bought tickets early to the playoffs this year to make sure we could all go. But you never know when the game time will be.

And based on wins and losses for other series, the time for last night’s game was set to START at 8pm. 30 minutes before my small people typically head to bed. We debated and debated – good idea to take the kids all the way downtown on a school night for a game that clearly wouldn’t end until after 11pm – or much later – meaning we wouldn’t get home until maybe 1am? All I could think was we were either Parents of the Year or absolutely crazy.

Cardinals Playoff Family

Would it be too cold?

Would they be exhausted at school the next day?

What if *gasp* we lost?

As crazy luck would have it, a week after buying our tickets, Jeff bought tickets for his parents and they ended up being DIRECTLY behind us.

Cardinals Playoffs MaMaPaPa

With one extra ticket, we were able to take one of Cooper’s friends. Seven of us, all together – opted to stay out late, opted for the experience – even knowing we would be tired.

CardsPlayoffsKids

We stood most of the game, we laughed, we cheered, we jumped up and down and we WON!

Cards Playoffs Group

Yes, we sat in the parking garage for 45 minutes, but the kids slept through it all. Yes, we didn’t get home until 1am, but…..the memories.

I have three small people who told me it was the ABSOLUTE best night.

Cardinals Playoffs Kids Win

Sometimes breaking all of the parenting rules in the name of making memories is the right decision.

Helping Kids Spin Their Way to Healthy Teeth

Tracking PixelDelaney has had braces on her top teeth for about 8 months now.  Her mouth is of utmost importance in our family – not only do I love her smile, but I want to encourage healthy brushing habits, so when we were given the opportunity to work with Arm & Hammer and their new Spinbrush™ Kids toothbrushes, I was excited to see what a difference it would make in our habits at home.

Delaney Braces

It is amazing to see how much my small girl’s teeth have moved since those braces were first put on. When the orthodontist first did his work, he made us watch a scary video about what could happen to your teeth if you don’t brush well. Does scary sound hyperbolic? Potentially. But the idea of having permanent stains on your teeth in the shape of the braces that have just been removed? Well, I happen to think that is scary. And I’m here to tell you I spend quite a bit of time reminding my small girl that brushing is a priority – lest she wants to be one of those kids with scary (yes, SCARY) stains that never go away.

Apparently, I wasn’t being quite dilligent enough with my nagging.

Because at our most recent appointment, the technician pulled me over to illustrate with a little bit of scraping, ‘You see this right here?” She used her silver tool to showcase Delaney’s lack of perfect brushing, “Delaney needs to be working a bit harder at her brushing.” Additionally, Delaney’s gums had become a bit swollen – a sign that they needed some extra TLC.

Don’t think my child didn’t get some serious side-eye from me. As you can imagine, she was unwilling to make eye contact.

The technician went on to suggest we make things a little easier on Delaney by giving her an alternative – rather than using a traditional toothbrush, opt for a Spinbrush as the agitation around each brace will help to remove everything Delaney isn’t getting on her own. And those swollen gums? Once Delaney’s teeth are getting the cleaning they need, the swelling will recede and they will go back to normal.

This was all perfect timing as three Arm & Hammer Spinbrush™ Kids  arrived in the mail for us to try. And by ‘us’, I mean my small people.  The Spinbrush™ removes plaque and promotes healthy gums – two things Delaney clearly needs. Additionally, it has been found that kids will brush for 38% longer when using the Spinbrush™. The extra-fun thing about these Spinbrush™ toothbrushes is that the kids can choose from their favorite characters like Spinbrush™ Super Mario™ & Spinbrush™ Princess Peach™ or a favorite in our home: they can personalize the Spinbrush™ My Way! Major League Baseball.

Kids Spinbrush Good Brushing

You do know we are in the midst of the Playoffs, right?

Now in this house of Cardinal fans, you’d think it was St. Louis Cardinals all-the-way, but Delaney’s first baseball card when she was teeny-tiny was actually the Baltimore Orioles, so this kid is a HUGE FAN. I have to admit…as she is the one who was desperately in need of the extra special dental hygiene that the Spinbrush™ can provide, I let her have the MLB Spinbrush™ and she opted to split her allegiance decorating her toothbrush with for both the Cardinals AND the Orioles.

Kids Spinbrush Good Brushing

In watching her begin to use it, I could instantly see the difference in the amount of time she spent brushing her teeth. I have always had to monitor the timing closely, often sending her back for a second time having determined it wasn’t quite ‘long enough’. But not with the Spinbrush™. It is amazing what adding a little fun to a daily activity can do for a kid.

Kids Spinbrush Good Brushing

And even better, I could see what a difference it made for Coop. Not only does he mimic his sister’s small habits around the house – how she puts her toothpaste on her toothbrush and how long she brushes….

Kids Spinbrush Good Brushing

But I could see, like her, he also got a kick out of the spinning motion. The kid who typically sings ‘Happy Birthday to you’ as he brushes to make sure he is brushing long enough decided he just might need to sing a little longer – just because he was having fun.

Kids Spinbrush Good Brushing

If you are looking for other characters – there are a slew of Superheros – just in time for Halloween – that your little ones can choose from Iron Man, Captain American, Thor and more….  Enjoy and Happy brushing!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Arm & Hammer™ Spinbrush™, but as always, all thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.

 

For Families on the Go: Puffs Tissues SoftPack

I can still remember lying in bed, pregnant, musing about what kind of children, first Delaney, then Cooper would grow up to be. Having never been athletic – and by never – I mean I don’t have any athletic bones in my body, I didn’t worry about whether they would run fast, throw hard or hit well.

Kids Soccer

My husband on the other hand, had big dreams for both of them. You might think these small people were destined to fulfill dreams that maybe he couldn’t, but rather, I have learned that isn’t the case. This dad has wanted nothing more than to PLAY with his children, to teach them the beauty of all things that team sports have to offer: the spirit of camaraderie, the confidence built in trying hard and winning, the mustering of courage after a loss and taking the field again, the ability to stay out of trouble because you are simply too busy with practices, trainings and games when ‘trouble’ comes knocking.

And so it is that we, as a family run - during the week and on the weekends – from baseball to softball, from soccer to basketball, from football to volleyball. It is why it isn’t unusual to have ten games in a weekend, to eat on the run or to find yourself living in your car. We carry food, extra clothes, blankets, medicine and tissues – all of the necessities.

Cooper Swing Baseball

It may sound like too much. I’ve been told that it is, but they are happy and well-rounded. And until that changes, we press on.

This is why I consider myself a professional fan.

And it is why I have cried with them after losses, or when tournaments are cancelled due to weather and I’m left to console an extremely disappointed 8-year old (and his father, the coach) who have been looking forward to this for weeks. It is also why I’m always looking for products that fit perfectly in to our crazy-never-stopping-on-the-go-keep-everything-in-the-car-life.

When Puffs SoftPack asked if we wanted to try their newest product – their Basic Tissues in a full size, flexible package, I could already imagine the number of places our family would use them – on the sidelines of the games, in the car for spilled Gatorade and snacks, runny noses in our allergy-prone state of Missouri. I mentioned tissues as one of our ‘car staples’ because someone ALWAYS needs to blow their nose or clean up a mess, but in the past, the tissue box we had in the car had inevitibley been crushed by an errant cleat or a dropped baseball bag. Not the case with the Puffs Softpack. Flexible and durable, they can handle my kids (the small ones and my husband) and still come out clean. No ruined, crushed cardboard boxes and the flexible packaging allows us to tuck the tissues in to tight spots anywhere around the car (like the glove box or the back seat pocket) or carry them in to the house as needed.

Puffs SoftPacks Families on the Go

I now keep a package in the backseat and one in our sports bag so that anyone can grab away as they need – and I know they will always be clean and presentable. Depending on your needs – you can sneak one in to a diaper bag, in to a purse or carry them with you when you travel.

Puffs SoftPacks Families on the Go

I took a package with me on my last flight so when I ugly-cried during the movie I watched (12 Years a Slave – seriously – what was I thinking watching that surrounded by strangers? Of COURSE I sobbed!) I was able to try to hide my face in my tissues as I needed many, many of them.

I love that Puffs Basic Tissues are not only soft but have been proven to be 50% stronger when wet – a fact I can personally testify to as my tears from that movie soaked more than my share of tissues. Sadly, I’m certain my airplane neighbors could tell you the very same thing. I think they were worried about me.

Have you tried the Puffs SoftPack? And where would you carry them – in your car? For travel? At this point, we seem to be putting them everywhere.

Disclosure: I’m happy to have worked with Puffs Softpack on this post, however, as always, all thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.

All the Boots You Need for Fall

When it comes to Fall fashion, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For me, it’s always boots. From ankle booties to knee high styles, they’re my favorite part of cool weather fashion. But are you unsure of where to start with your boot collection? I’ve got you covered with the boots you need for Fall!

Buckled Up

Edgier boots and booties are having a major moment this Fall. Add a touch of toughness to your style or fully embrace the leather-clad moto look by trying a pair of buckled up boots!

fall 2014 boot trends

Zappos / Nordstrom / Target / Nordstrom / Target 

Equestrian Style

Do you have more of a classic style? Then timeless riding boots are a must-have. The clean lines will work with everything in your wardrobe. Bonus: this classic will never go out of style!

fall boot trends 2014

Target / Nordstrom / Zappos / Nordstrom / DSW

Suede

Suede leather boots and booties are another always-classic style, but what makes them great for Fall is the added texture. They are a simple, easy way to add interest to any Fall look!

suede boots fall 2014

 

DSW / DSW / Target / Nordstrom / Nordstrom

Stacked Heeled

Even if you’re not a high heel fan, you can still rock a pair of stacked heel boots. The thick, substantial heel offers plenty of comfort and stability along with a little height!fall boot trends 2014

 

Nordstrom / Nordstrom / Nordstrom / Macy’s / Nordstrom 

Tell me: what’s your favorite style of boot for Fall?

5 Minute Makeup Tutorial – Doing the Minimum for a Maximum Effect

I don’t know what your mornings look like, but in my house, the chaos is real. Between getting the small people (and myself) out of bed, breakfast, helping with hair and uniforms and getting out the door for carpool, I often don’t have too much time to dedicate to makeup….however, full disclosure, I feel better when I at least do something.

5 Minute Makeup Routine

So, just for fun, here is a look at what and how I do my basic morning routine. Because it’s me and I love the ‘show-and-tell’ aspect of video (and because I KNOW seeing me without any makeup to start must be at least vaguely entertaining), I put it all together for you here. Why is the video a little more than 5 minutes? Because I talked through the entire process instead of just doing it.

Here are a list of the products I mentioned (and love).

BareMinerals Concealer, Bare Minerals Broad Spectrum Powder, Mac Cream Colour Base Blush, Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil, Bare Minerals EyeShadow, Cover Girl InkIt Eyeliner – Cocoa Ink , Younique Mascara and Buxom LipGloss in Dolly. As for Makeup Brushes…. you could do an entire set like this one from Sephora (many of mine are from there) or you could do the individuals. This slanted brush is what I use for blush and this is the one I use for powder.

What are you favorites and how do you look your best in the least amount of time? I’d love to hear your tips as well.

For more ideas… hop around to visit a few of my friends – all of whom wanted to share their very own 5 Minute Makeup Routines.

Ever curious about how other women are doing it? Check out these other 5 minute makeup routines:

Jodi from Mom’s Favorite Stuff, Nicole from Momtrends, Kate from The Shopping Mama, Whitney from Mommies With Style,  Melissa from Married My Sugar Daddy, Jo-Lynne from Musings of a Housewife, and Laura from Hollywood Housewife.

So…come on, share your tips and tricks!

5 Tips For Creating A Back To School Evening Routine

Hi everyone! Kasey here from All Things Mamma! This week I’m talking about how to stay sane when trying to do homework and after school activities with your kids. This is something I’ve definitely not mastered, but I’m getting close! With now, TWO kids in school – one in 1st grade and one in 3rd, there’s double the homework, double the take home papers, double the after school actives and double the meltdowns! (maybe triple if you throw in an occasional meltdown from me! haha!) Here’s 5 tips for organizing your evenings better so that everything gets done and there’s no surprises in the morning right before you head out the door for school!

5 Tips For Creating A Back To School Evening Routine

1. Have a designated drop zone. The very first thing I have my children do when they walk in the door is to hang up their coats, shoes and backpacks in a designated area! This is important, believe it or not. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had too many mornings of running around trying to find a hat or a mitten than I care to admit. This solves that problem!

2. Unload and repack. As soon as the kids are in the door I have them unload their book bags of anything that doesn’t need to go back to school tomorrow – homework, graded papers, lunch boxes, sweaters, etc… This give me a chance to go through through it all in case I need to have something ready to go back the next day and to also evaluate how they did with the lunch I sent. Did I send enough or too much? Was that jelly and cream cheese bagel sandwich a hit or miss? It’s all out on the table so that we can see what needs to be accomplished that evening before bed.

3. Snack time! The kids have been at school all day and it’s time to refuel before taking on the rest of the evening. I always make a yummy snack that will get my kid through until dinner to avoid any meltdowns or grumpiness!

4. Homework. After snack I give them some time to unwind and run around but then I have them dive right into their homework. There are two reasons for this. 1. They have plenty of time to focus or get help, should there be any issues and 2. They aren’t up at 9pm in a panic trying to complete it. There’s nothing worse than trying to do a bedtime routine while your child is doing their last math problems that they can’t figure out and are on the verge of tears. That’s no fun for anyone. So, we get it out of the way so that we can enjoy the rest of the night.

5. Pack Up. After homework we start to pack up the backpacks for the next day. We put homework, notes and supplies back into the bags, along with anything else that needs to go back. PE shoes, snacks, water bottles, etc.. Then, there’s also no running around searching for that missing library book right before you head out the door in the morning! This is also a good time to check the calendar to see what’s going on. Is it music day or art? Will there be soccer practice after school or will you be home for the evening? It’s always a good idea to know what’s going on so that you are prepared.

There is so much to do these days that it’s imperative to plan out your evenings or it will never get all accomplished and you’ll be up at 10pm at night while YOU try to do everything that your kids could have helped you do earlier in the evening. I think it’s super important, no matter your child’s age, to teach them to be responsible for themselves and their own things. It will save you time, energy and will pay off in the long run!

How do you organize your evenings at home with your children? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments below.

Don’t Hold Back Your Motherhood

Guest writer, Emily Chapelle shares her thoughts on Motherhood:

 Feeling a little unsure, Mama?

Pinterest got you down?

Don't Hold Back Your Motherhood: SoDamnDomestic + ExtraordinaryMommy

Do you play WITH your children more than not, wear them 6 hours a day, sleep in a family bed, and allow your kids to self-wean? Are you afraid your “super involved” parenting will cause neuroses in your children, and they’ll be dependent on you until they’re 45?

Do you kick your kids outside to explore the neighborhood the way you did when you were young, encouraging them to develop problem-solving skills and their own judgement? Are you terrified that if you let your children exercise their independence, others will see it as neglect — or worse — your kids will actually get hurt?

Do you read your kids classic children’s literature because you know it will spark something within them? …and then wonder if your kids will become lonely bookworms with 14 cats?

Or do you read them stories starring yellow sponges, cartoon girls with backpacks and monkeys, and ill-proportioned dolls who have come to life, because that’s what they bring home from the library, and dang it, at least they’re interested in reading? … and then wonder if you’re slowly killing their brain cells with manufactured, rather than authored, stories?

Do your kids each get to pick out a “fun food” or two (corn dogs, sugary breakfast foods, sticky fruit snacks, packaged cookies) every week at the grocery store, because they like it, it tastes good, and you don’t want them to feel deprived? While you witness obesity, diabetes, and heart disease taking over our population, do you cross your fingers that your children will be spared?

Do you only give your kids organic / paleo / vegan / raw food grown by fairies in a meadow shaded from any human contaminants, harvested by centaurs and unicorns? Do you close your eyes and hope your kids don’t feel deprived and end up bingeing on candy corn and chili dogs every chance they get once they’re older?

Feel your feelings, Friend.

Worry your worries, if that’s what you need to do.

But know this.

If you’re concerned for your children, it means you love them.

If you’re trying to act in their best interests today, it means you’re being present.

If you’re watching out for their futures, it means you have foresight.

If you’re anxious about how and where your children will fit into this world, it means you’re aware that the world is complex and changing.

For your children, you are the best mother in the world.

Don’t hold back your motherhood.


Emily Chapelle is an expert homemaker, having set up 7 homes in just as many years. She helps busy and overwhelmed women change their homes from chaotic to calm, 15 minutes at a time, so they can focus on their true priorities. She shares home organizing tips, decluttering your life, time-management for homemakers, and other homemaking topics at So Damn Domestic. Her ebook, Finding the Awesome – 3 Steps to Doing More & Stressing Less, has been downloaded over 2,137 times, and you can get it for free.

Six Important Tips for Making a Big Family Move Easier

For the last 7 – going on 8 years I have moved across the globe at least two times a year. A little background – my husband is a professional basketball player in France and his season is about 10 months out of the year. So each August, we pack up our lives in southern California and head to France. Then each June, we pack it all up again and move back. We are in our 8th year of doing this and this is the very first time that we have returned to the same city, same house, same school etc.

It’s quite a big trip, as you can imagine. The flight is anywhere from 12 – 26 hours depending on the city and the stops. The biggest challenge is preparing and helping my kids move to yet another city and integrate into the culture. I know I’m not the first mother who has had to make a big move – even though this one includes the additional component of an entirely different culture. A move like this can be tough even with out the cultural and language barriers so I wanted to share some of the tips and advice we’ve gathered that have made our moves easier. Hopefully this will be encouraging to you as well!

Tips to make a Big Move easier on you and your family

tips for making big moves easier

1.) Prepare

While I can’t always say that I practice this little piece of advice – I’m often found frantically shipping last minute items the day before we leave – I do suggest you prepare as much in advance as you can. When you put a plan in place, consider not only the ‘packing’ portion, but plan for your travel and your initial arrival. While you can’t foresee everything that might come your way, do your best to research the culture, area, state,or city in order to  ease the transition.

2.) Think Ahead

What will you be doing there? What will you want to have with you from home? Consider family and children’s activities, sports and the seasons so you can plan what you will need, and what you and the kids will have to look forward to. As you sort out your options, you can prepare mentally for both the excitement and challenges that await.

3.) Let them help

If you have kids and they’re going to be moving too, let them be a part of it. It is harder on kids when they feel as though they have no say and they are simply being dragged from one home, one part of the country to another. Ask them to share what they would like to discover in your new city, what are activities appeal to them, even how they’d like to set up their new room. They deserve to be a part of the process. Let them know you are in this together.

4.) Get out there

Once you’ve moved, get out there! I can tell you from very personal experience that it’s very easy to live in a city and not experience it at all. In fact, sometimes it’s easier to just sit at home and watch what you’re friends are doing on Facebook. Shut the computer down, go out and discover your new city. Pick one thing a day or week or month – whatever is doable for your family – and make it a point to do it together. At first, it might feel like a hard thing to do, but it will help you feel home before you know it.

5.) Family bond

We often get comments like “oh your poor kids!” to be living the life we live. Yes, I would say it’s probably hard for them from time to time but I also want you to know I believe kids are resilient. This doesn’t mean we disregard their feelings, but we recognize this is my husband’s job, the way he supports our family. We have to move. So we try to make sure that our family is as solid as it can be and that our kids know no matter what city, state, country we live in, the can always count on mom and daddy. Always. Kids can do amazing things with their parents backing them.

6.) Integrate

This may sound the same as #4 but integrating is different. You want to get out there and discover your new home, but you also want/need to integrate. Make friends, get involved in groups, sports, activities – whatever! I recognize the challenge here, but also the value. When you add a new language to the mix, the level of complication can increase, but the more effort you make, the more likely you are to love your new home.

Well, that’s about it! I hope you enjoyed these tips and that they’re helpful for you or maybe someone you know making a big move in your life right now. If you have any of your own tips to add, please leave them in the comments! I’m sure we’d all benefit from them!

 

Inspiring Creativity in a Concrete Child

Watercolortherapy2

Image by Wendy Speake

 

Yesterday, I was elbow deep in dirty dishes. Feeling a little exasperated at the frequency with which I am constantly cleaning my home, I sighed in annoyance. I glanced up momentarily and caught a glimpse of my six year old tearing through the house dressed in full Ninja garb. Moving in obvious stealth mode toward his brother’s room, I could not suppress a smile.

I absolutely adore it when my children play dress up.

I find few things cuter or more endearing than a child in costume, fully consumed in a make believe world. I was that child, constantly flitting through the stories inside my head as I faced great adventures. I get that child, and my heart swoons just a little whenever I see him lost in imagination.

Not every child is bent this way, though. My daughter is 100% concrete. She is not given to imaginative fancy, and her brand of child’s play will almost always be centered around real life situations. She is so concrete that a reading tutor told us that she would likely be much more drawn to non-fiction books than fiction books.

“She doesn’t see word pictures in her head,” were the tutor’s exact words.

It’s taken me some time to get used to this. I struggle to identify with her brand of play because it is so different from that which I conducted as a child. In fact, her idea of a good time is to go do pull ups in the garage, or back flips off the couch.

So weird…

She’s athletic and energetic, and she generally has better things to do with her time than to engage in child’s play. This is baffling to me, but I also deeply admire her for it. She possesses a discipline that most children her age don’t understand. 

That said, I do believe there is something magical about engaging a child creatively. Even my concrete child can be creative – she just needs someone to draw it out of her.

Art has been key in helping us inspire a little creativity. When she wonders what to draw, I ask her to imagine the craziest world she can think of and create that. At first, the best she could come up with was adding a few squiggly lines on her landscape photo and calling them “twisty flowers.” Eventually, though, I convinced her that it was okay to color the sky purple, the grass blue, and make a “chocolate” river with a brown crayon. It’s not her first inclination to change things up, but she’s more willing to give it a try now.

Another key to inspiring creativity in a concrete child is reading good books. Read books that invite your mind into a new world. One of our favorite books as a family (which was also my favorite book as a child) is The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards. (Yes, Mary Poppins herself). Never has a book quite awoken my imagination, or the imaginations of my children, as this one.

Really, any of the classics will work, but for the concrete child, a book that centers more on real children facing fanciful situations is preferable to tapping into creativity.

Finally, play with your concrete child. Some kids just need to be taught how to use their imaginations. They need to hear someone make up funny voices, create unrealistic and daring scenarios, and to give them the freedom to expand their minds beyond the here and now.

For those of you who, like me, are raising a child with a propensity to live in a concrete world – I encourage you to prod a little creativity into her imagination. Don’t try to change her natural bent, by any means. You simply want to enhance it with a little fun. This will give her the tools she needs as she moves forward in life to really expand and grow as an individual.

What about you? How do you help your concrete child expand and grow creatively?

Image Credit

How to Build a Better Breakfast AND Put YOUR Face on a Cereal Box

Last month I had a party at my house. And not just any party: a breakfast party. Right before school started, the kids and I invited dozens of families we know – from school, from sports, from our neighborhood – in to our home and decided to show them how to build a better breakfast by recharging their traditional bowl of cereal.

Back to School Cereal Recharge Bar

Cereal is such a quick, simple go-to meal. But what about spicing it up and adding extra flavor, extra nutrition with fruit, nuts, even spices? Or how about combining some of your favorite cereals and then adding something sweet?

Back To School Cereal Recharge Sides2

We offered a few menu options but then encouraged our friends to be creative…..even asking them to share their ‘recipes’. We were amazed by all of the combinations everyone tried – from experimenting with lemon zest and yogurt to pistachios, blueberries, mini chocolate chips and definitely marshmallows.

Back to School Cereal Recharge Rethink

To make it more fun, we chose winners from all of the recipes submitted- but didn’t tell them until this week what they had ‘won’.

Our favorite recipes are below (feel free to try these at home!)

Sydney’s Special Charms – Special K Red Berries, Rasberries, Blueberries, Marshmallows and Skim Milk

Christa’s Fruity Delight – Special K Chocolate and Strawberry with almond butter, strawberries, blueberries and skim milk

Megan’s Chocolate Chocolate Marshmallow – Special K Chocolate and Strawberry with bananas, apples, marshmallows, mini chocolate chips and 2% milk

Clearly Special K was a favorite. Now…on to what we decided to give them for coming up with these recipes:

How to Put Your Face on A Cereal Box: ExtraordinaryMommy.com

Their very own Kellogg’s cereal boxes!

I will be honest – It was so much fun preparing this as a surprise and then gifting it.

How to Put Your Face on A Cereal Box: ExtraordinaryMommy.com

And even more? Now telling you how you can do it as well. Did you know that YOU can put your face on a Kellogg’s cereal box? Or even on a Pop Tart box? (the Pop Tart boxes can be personalized too!)

How to Put Your Face on a Cereal Box: ExtraordinaryMommy.com

It is such a fun and unique gift – and SO EASY.  You start on their website, follow the instructions, upload a picture, wait less than two weeks and carefully fold the box together – ta-da! You can choose Frosted Flakes, Corn Flakes Team USA or Honey Smacks.

Seriously. Building a better breakfast with inspired cereal recipes AND putting your face on your cereal box? THIS IS FUN.

Disclosure: I am proud to have a long-time working relationship and partnership with Kellogg’s. As always, all thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.