Best Skin Care Products Under $30

best-skin-care-products

Gorgeous skin can be achieved without a celebrity-sized budget or a team of doctors standing by to zap every last wrinkle and blemish. Sleep, water, healthy food and lots of laughter is truly the best skin care regime in the world…and it is completely free. 

But unfortunately, we cannot wash off our makeup with laughter, or moisturize an organic veggie plate directly into parched cheeks. Even the most well-rested eyes need the pat-pat-pat of a little something on those happily-earned laugh lines next to our lids.

Here are our favorite effective skin care products in the under $30 range. These moisturizers, cleansers and treatments are not only affordable, you can find them at your drugstore or supermarket. Go ahead and toss them into your cart along with the diapers, crayons and olive oil. Hey, saving time and money is sure to boost that inner glow!

Gentle Cleanser: Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser $9
Whether you have the breakouts of a teenager or the dry skin of a sexy senior, this new Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser was developed by dermatologists to be the most sensitive formula on the market. It is free of allergens, irritating oils, parabens and dyes, and does not damage our skin’s natural healthy barrier. In short, it gently takes out all the bad stuff without stripping skin of the good.

Blackhead Buster: Joey New York Bye Bye Blackheads $28
Move beyond the white nose strip and try this gel masque to evict blackheads from your T-zone. You only need to leave it on for one minute! Not only does this weekly masque combat those little dark dots, it tightens pore size and brightens your overall complexion.

Gel Moisturizer: Garnier Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream $6
Gel moisturizers are a perfect combination of a rich, ultra-hydrating formula that will not clog pores. Previously we have only been able to score these at fancy makeup counters or pricey salons. This offering by Garnier is so affordable and blemish-prone-skin-friendly that you can slather it on without any pocketbook or pimple worries.

Eye Opener: Bliss Baggage Handler $28
If you wake up looking like you did a few rounds in the ring, this eye gel will come to your rescue. It reduces under-eye puffiness and soothes tired eyes with cucumber extract. A little goes a long way, so even though the price point comes close to our limit, it will see you through many mornings.

Line Filler: Revlon Age Defying Wrinkle Remedy Line Filler $12
This non-injectable wrinkle filler is packed with hyaluronic acid, which you may recognize from its fancy med-spa brand names Restylane and Juvéderm. Placing this wonder compound on top of your wrinkles can fill in gaps caused by aging. Revlon says that 90 percent of women who tried this found their skin to look fuller and more plumped. At just $12 a tube, it is an affordable experiment to see if you agree.

Super Serum: Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum $25 
This Allure magazine reader favorite wins accolades for softening skin texture and reducing the appearance of fine lines. The consistency of this serum is so light (and hypoallergenic) that you can safely wear it beneath your favorite moisturizer during the day or richer night cream while you dream.

Perfect Primer: L’Oreal Miracle Blur (Oil Free) $20
Danielle raved about this ingenious skin perfector/pre-makeup primer. I agree that it truly fills in lines and evens out skin tone, blurring age spots and sun damage. It also provides a velvety smooth surface to smooth on foundation, and subtly mattes skin to reduce shine. I recommend the oil free version if you are prone to clogged pores.

What are YOUR go-to drugstore skin care products? Share your secrets in the comments!

Jessica McFadden is a mom of three and the writer of the parenting lifestyle blog A Parent in America. Thanks to great drugstore skin care offerings, she is saving on facialist bills to splurge on spring shoes. 

EXM Jessica McFadden BIo

Social Good: Hipster Spoof About Far More Than Taxes

This week something more than the weather of this year’s Polar Vortex-enriched midwestern winter made my face hurt. I laughed, out loud, at a new digital campaign.

The storyline goes something like this: Kenny Mayne, who’s best known for being on ESPN but also appeared as a contestant in “Dancing With the Stars,” was apparently a hipster. You know, skinny jeans, scarf, non-prescriptive glasses, loses their passport at Cochella, and the list goes on.

HipsterTaxFact_426

And apparently, unbeknownst to we mortals, hipsters are in trouble – deep trouble – because they don’t know how to do their taxes correctly. Some 81 percent of American Hipsters believe paying taxes has become “too mainstream” and more than half of Hipsters think scarves should be counted as deductible expenses. This is serious business people.

“Hipsters are in trouble – there’s a tax crisis and they need our help,” said Mayne, who told me his music taste that is so obscure that a term has not yet been developed to describe it. “Clearly, growing organic arugula on a fire escape does not enable you to take a farm tax credit. But Hipsters also need recognition for the contributions we’ve made to the fabric of this great nation.”

HipsterTaxFact_524

So Mayne, with the support of tax giant H&R Block, has launched an initiative to educate Hipsters about taxes at HipsterTaxCrisis.com, with more than a dozen videos of Kenny educating hipsters (in actuality actors from the Upright Citizens Brigade), the 54-year-old Kenny talking to 12-year-old Kenny, and aHipster Tax Rap from “The Flavor Savers,” some hilarious “Tax Facts,” and a “Hipsterize Me” photo upload app.

A look at one of my favorite videos from the campaign:

Finally, on April 1 in Seattle the campaign will hold The Irony Games – with awards for “Best In Scarf” and “Best in Skinny Jeans” – where the first ever “Hipster Of The Year” will be named in an effort to elevate Hipsters to what Mayne believes is their proper place in American society.

And while this fun little ruse has a lot to laugh at, what really made me smile was its heart – each time an element at HipsterTaxCrisis.com is shared through social media with the hashtag #HipsterTax, H&R Block to make a charitable contribution to Covenant House, which serves homeless youth nationally. You know how I love the giving.

So while I can’t help but applaud this hipster tax spoof from H&R Block featuring Kenny Mayne, what I really love about it is it’s heart – a big company using a humorous, high visibility campaign to ensure there’s some social benefit to people in need.

Take a look. Laugh. And share. It is GOOD.

(and tell me what you think!)

A St. Patrick’s Day Cupcake – Chocolate and Mint!

Making cupcakes is one of my favorite things to do!  I love when there’s a special occasion that gives me a good excuse to whip up some yummy goodness. Birthdays, baby showers, baptisms AND St. Patricks’s Day are all great days to make cupcakes in my book!

A St. Patrick's Day Cupcake - Chocolate and Mint!

These chocolate and mint cupcakes are really some of the most delicious cupcakes you’ll ever have.  Well, only if you like chocolate and mint together. And really, who doesn’t love a chocolate and mint combo??!!  One of the great things about these cupcakes is that they are super easy to make!  One bowl for your batter and a simple buttercream frosting that is lightly flavored with pure peppermint piped on and topped with a chocolate/mint candy – they are sure to be a hit!

A St. Patrick's Day Cupcake - Chocolate and Mint!

This recipe makes 18 cupcakes and that means there’s plenty to share!  Pick up a pretty cupcake box, tie with some colorful twine and add a cute clover tag and you’re good to go!  I picked up all three of these things at Target and had them on hand.  You can never go wrong with the $1 aisle at Target!

A St. Patrick's Day Cupcake - Chocolate and Mint!

You’re definitely going to be someone’s favorite person if you show up with this pretty gift in tow!

A St. Patrick's Day Cupcake - Chocolate and Mint!

Chocolate Cupcakes Ingredients: 3/4 cup  Dutch processed cocoa powder 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour – I like White Lilly best 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 3/4 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs 3/4 cup buttermilk 3/4 cup strong coffee – cooled 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Directions: 1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2.  Line cupcake pans with liners 3.  Add cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer. 4.  Whisk on low speed until combined. 5.  Next add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla and beat until smooth. 6.  Place batter into pans – filling cupcake liner half full. 7.  Bake for 18 minutes or until set and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. 8.  Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan before placing on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.  Peppermint Buttercream Frosting Ingredients: 2 sticks of room temperature unsalted butter 4 cups confectioners sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt 2-3 tablespoons milk 10 drops of high quality peppermint essential oil OR 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract green gel food coloring Directions:  1.  Place butter into the bowl of a mixer and beat until smooth. 2.  With the mixer on low, add confectioners sugar one cup at a time – beating well after each cup. 3.  Add salt and mix well. 4.  Next, add milk and peppermint flavoring – mixing well after adding both. 5. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. 6.  Add food coloring until desired color is achieved. 7.  Pipe on frosting using a Wilton 1m tip and a pastry bag. 8.  Top with sprinkling sugar and a chocolate/mint candy. Enjoy! Kasey Schwartz Bio EXM

Celebrating National Breakfast Week with Kellogg’s and Our Own Great Start

I woke up this morning and it ‘feels like’ 17 degrees outside. No, I’m not living in the Yukon territory, just making my home in the Midwest, like so many other people.

And like so many other people, I’ve grown almost as tired of the phrases ‘polar vortex’, ‘snowpocalypse’ and ‘snowmageddon’ as I have of experiencing the bitterness on my face, my fingers, my whole being.

I actually live somewhere the air hurts my face. Who does that? I suppose you, me and about half the country are doing it this Winter. Dragging the small people out of bed in the morning to face yet another day in the teens isn’t easy. (Let’s be honest, I would prefer to stay tucked in bed!)

Our mornings have been slow. They have been quiet. And yet, we have remained connected.

My small people talk to me in the kitchen. They share with me during breakfast. They chatter as they pour their own cereal – proud that they can be involved while I make school lunches. If it means we must get up a little earlier to have this time, I make it happen. I know how they are doing in school, which friends have the kindest hearts, what they want to be when they grow up (today) and most of all, what makes them happy.

Kelloggs National Breakfast Week

In honor of National Breakfast Week – something we are celebrating with our good friends at Kellogg’s, I wanted to share a few things about this time of the morning you may not know:

  • Research shows that sharing three or more family meals per week helps children have healthier eating habits. Cereal makes it easy to start the day together. (My note: it is also a super-easy, happy, evening snack and my small dude’s ‘go-to’ before he heads to bed)
  • A serving of Kellogg cereals and 1 cup of skim milk can provide protein and four nutrients most people don’t get enough of: fiber, calcium, Vitamin D and potassium.
  • Cereal makes financial sense. At about 50 cents a serving, a cereal and milk breakfast is delicious and nutritious way to help ensure a great start to the day

Kelloggs Natl Breakfast Week

I know I have talked about this before, but these moments with my small people remind me that I am lucky… I know not every family has the same opportunity to share breakfast like this. Nearly one in five children goes without breakfast every day. Statistically speaking, that would be six kids from each of my children’s school classes. Sometimes I think we need to apply the ‘numbers’ to us for them to sink in.

Imagine walking in to your child’s classroom in the morning – only to watch six sit alone at their desks, hungry, while the others ate. I’m proud that Kellogg’s has been working to combat this very thing with their #GreatStarts program. As I talked about during the Olympics, for every tweet, share or pin of an Olympian’s  or Paralympian’s #GreatStarts story, a meal will be donated to a child in need this school year- with the goal being 2 million. Where are we now? Almost 741- thousand.

Kelloggs #GreatStarts

Not quite half way. We can do more, right? It is easy, yes?

How does a #GreatStart ‘start’? With you and me. With these small people. With sharing breakfast and telling stories.

Watch a #GreatStarts Story.

Share a #GreatStarts Story (Paralympian Amy Purdy makes me cry every time).

Tweet. Pin. Share again (Charlie and Meryl!).

We can do it together.

To inspire you to help, the Team Kellogg’s Olympians created this video to inspire you to give kids a #GreatStart. It will take 60 seconds of your day to watch and another 20 seconds (MAYBE!) to share it. Will you?

How do you Share Breakfast with your family? Are the meals big? Small? Or doesn’t it matter because there is simply too much talking happening all at once?

Disclosure: I have a long standing relationship with Kellogg’s. This post is dedicated to National Breakfast Week and my hope is that it will inspire you to help offer a #GreatStart to a child in need. As always, all thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.

 

Campbell’s® Slow Cooker Sauce Review: Hawaiian Luau (+ Giveaway!)

I know I’m not alone in my wish for dinner time to be easier, to avoid the dreaded “Hey Mom, what’s for dinner” and more than any winter I can remember, to have something that is warm and comforting.

The boys in my family keep me running – both my husband and my seven and four year old sons. From the moment I’m up on the morning, through school, activities and definitely the meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Enter Campbell’s and their newest Crock-Pot® Slow Cooker Sauce meals.

To make it possible for me to have the full experience (and make the best choice for my family) Campbell’s sent a full gift pack my way – complete with a variety of Crock-Pot® meals and a new crock pot (Spoiler! We’re giving the very same gift pack away below, so read on!)

Campbells Slow Cooker Sauces Easy Meals

Crock-Pot® meals are designed to be the saving grace for busy moms….making it possible to create a dinner for your entire family with only a 5 minute prep time. You simply put everything in the slow cooker, cover, cook, shred and that is it!

There are six flavors of Campbell’s® Slow Cooker Sauces.  The flavor I decided to prepare from the Campbell’s® Slow Cooker Sauce line was Hawaiian Luau.  Since these last few months have been so cold, this sauce really spoke to me. I would much rather be on a beach in Hawaii and if I could go there, even if only mentally, while I ate this, so be it.

Campbells Slow Cooker Sauces Easy Meals2

It was so easy to prepare – It only requires the sauce and pork.  My grocery store didn’t have the boneless pork shoulder roast that the recipe calls for, so instead I picked up boneless pork spare ribs. I added those to the crock pot and and then poured the Campbell’s® sauce packet over them.

Cover, set the timer for 8 hours on the low setting and head to work.  It was so simple. There was no need to add any extra seasonings, broth or water.   I came home to a sweet aroma filling my kitchen. I took the pork out of the Crock-Pot® and placed it in a bowl for shredding.  I have these amazing Pampered Chef® Salad Choppers that I use to shred and they make it so easy.

Once I was done shredding the pork, I returned it to the slow cooker so it could reabsorb some of the juices. I made long grain rice with cilantro and lime as a side, steamed some green beans and added our favorite King’s Hawaiian® original sweet rolls. Done.

Campbells Slow Cooker Sauces Easy Meal3

I really enjoyed the meal – I personally mixed the rice in with the shredded pork to marry the flavors together.  The pork had a nice, smoky flavor to it.  There are so many options to use the leftover meat but consider: quesadillas, sandwiches or tacos.  We ate the same meal for lunch the next day …  my husband loved it even more as leftovers.   Also, we took some of those King’s Hawaiian® sweet rolls, cut them in half and made mini pork sandwiches which were amazing.

The Simple Process: Hawaiian Luau

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 8 hours

Total Time 8 hours, 5 minutes

Yield 6 servings

Amazingly tender, flavorful Hawaiian pork made right in the slow cooker with just 2 ingredients and 5 min prep – it doesn’t get easier than that! Ingredients

  • 2-3 pound boneless chuck roast
  • 1 (13-ounce) package Campbell’s® Slow Cooker Hawaiian Luau Sauce

Instructions

  • Place boneless pork roast into a slow cooker. Add Campbell’s® Slow Cooker Hawaiian Luau Sauce. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 4-5 hours.
  • Remove boneless pork roast from the slow cooker and shred the beef before returning to the pot to absorb the juices. Cover and keep warm while you prepare your dinner table or additional sides.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy.

Now it is your turn:

GIVEAWAY!

Campbell's Slow Cooker Sauces

We’re giving away a Gift Pack with a 6-QT Programmable Crock Pot® slow cooker PLUS SIX Campbell’s® Slow Cooker Sauce Packets (Tavern Style Pot Roast with Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic, Sweet Korean BBQ with Roasted Ginger and Sesame, Apple Bourbon BBQ with Bell Peppers and Brown Sugar, Hawaiian Luau with Pineapple, Mango and Bell Peppers, Mexican Red Chile Taco with Garlic and Sweet Peppers, and Moroccan Spiced Stew with Green Olives and Lemon). The Giveaway will run until 11:59pm on March 20th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!Simply tell us which meal you’d love to try first in the comments below. And then explore the other ways to enter.

Thank you for entering!

EXM Ally Stewart Bio

No purchase necessary to enter. ExtraordinaryMommy.com is not responsible for prizes that are shipped from outside vendors or sponsors. All entries will be pooled together and one (1) winner will be drawn. The winner will have two calendar days to reply via email. Unclaimed prizes will be placed for availability to newly chosen winners after that time. Giveaway is open to all U.S./Canadian residents only, must be at least 18 years old to enter. One entry per person, entries accepted through Thursday, March 20th, 2014 ending at exactly 11:59pm CST. 

Disclosure: Campbell’s provided both the Slow Cooker Sauces and the crock pot used in this post, however, as always, all thoughts and opinions shared are mine and mine alone.

The Best Kind of Announcement: We’ve Grown and It is Extraordinary

Shortly after we relaunched back in January, a moment that felt akin to giving birth to a business-baby ( I was proud, overwhelmed, losing sleep and staring at it constantly), I announced that we were ready to take a huge step: we were going to hire Contributing Writers.

If I’m honest, I was hoping, fingers and toes crossed, for 75-80 applications. What I received instead floored me – more than 480 amazing, extraordinary people shared their voices with me. I visited every single site. I read what everyone loved and shared and was beyond grateful for the gift that so many of you offered.

The more I read, the more people I wanted to add to the site, but it would be impossible to for to hire as many as I loved.

Please know how much this process has meant to me and how much I hope to work with so many more of you in the future.

And, please let me share with you the truly extraordinary women I am PROUD to have contributing here on ExtraordinaryMommy.

EXMContributors2

I could go on and on and on about the amazing they are bringing with them – their expertise in the categories of style, food, travel, family and home…..not to mention how I love their hearts and their writing gifts, but I will instead leave you to explore their sites and visit them here as they sparkle. You will begin to see their writing this month, March.

Alexis Croft

Alexis Croft – Joyful Momma’s Kitchen

Lauren Dix

Lauren Dix – Fizz and Frosting

Jessica.McFadden

Jessica McFadden – A Parent in America

KaseySchwartz

Kasey Schwartz – All Things Mamma

NataliaSimmons

Natalia Simmons – Ma Nouvelle Mode

KelliStuart

Kelli Stuart – Kelli Stuart

Join me, will you, in welcoming them to the site? And watch for the amazing they will be creating. I’m so very excited they are here.

Opting for Lighter Fare: Eating Out at Houlihan’s Restaurant (+ $50 Giveaway)

Update – Giveaway closed: WINNER ANNOUNCED: ANN FANTOM – CONGRATULATIONS, ANN!

Thank you to Houlihan’s Restaurant for sponsoring today’s post.

Yes. January rolled around and I was one of the many who added ‘make healthier food choices’ to the top of my must-do list for 2014. This wasn’t the first time I’d made such a commitment to myself, but this time I was feeling a touch more invested.

You see, my Winter clothes from last year didn’t fit. Not ‘a little too snug’. Not, ‘well, I’d like to undo the top button’.

But, quite simply: Did. Not. Fit.

And that is a terrible feeling. Your closest is suddenly the last place you want to be, meal time and hunger feel like the enemy and those two pairs of black leggings you own? Well, they become your uniform.

I’ve never been a horrible eater. I knew I wasn’t incredibly overweight, but I did know I snacked too often and I was prone to over-indulging when I ate out. I was never one to even take a side glance at the ‘lighter-fare’ options.

But that has since changed. Since January, I’ve opted for a mainly Paleo diet – forgoing dairy, wheat and sugar.

I know my limitations, so have allowed myself some flexibility (yes, I do ‘cheat’ on occasion), but was astonished by a few things:

How good I felt physically, and within a week
How little I craved the *missing* foods (with the exception of brie – I could eat that every day)
How quickly I lost weight and how flat my stomach feels

Now, of course, I’m not a doctor, a nutritionist or a dietician, but I know how I feel. And I know I’m encouraged to continue making healthy choices. So, when I was invited to visit Houliahan’s Restaurant to sample their new ‘Lighter Fare’ menu I was excited. In the past, my eyes (and ordering) would have aimed for the heaviest fare – the filet mignon or fried shrimp and the like, but now, I find myself giddy at the thought of trying something both healthy and flavorful.

And my family, while often eating a modified version of my the new meals at home, is also opting for healthier fare when we are out.

We began with a Spinach and Artichoke Dip. (Not on the ‘Lighter Fare Menu’, but enjoyed by all)

Houlihans Spinach Artichoke Dip

My small girl was quick to ask for Mac and Cheese (a standard favorite), but with a side of mandarin oranges.

Houlihans Kids Mac and Cheese

It was So Cal Fish Tacos for my husband…. with a combination of chipotle mayo, tilapia, cabbage and a honey cumin dressing. There wasn’t a crumb left on his plate when he was done.

Houlihans So Cal Fish Tacos

Before I made my choice, I looked at both the traditional menu and the lighter fare. The salmon on both caught my attention, but I wanted an ‘expert’ opinion before definitely placing my order. The Grilled Atlantic Salmon is from the traditional menu and the Miso Grilled Salmon is the ‘lighter fare’.

Grilled Atlantic Salmon Houlihan's Traditional Menu

Miso Grilled Salmon Houlihan's Lighter Fare

My server didn’t hesitate in suggesting the Miso. I couldn’t have been happier.

Houlihans Lighter Fare Miso Salmon

It wasn’t just that I adore edamame. Or that I knew I had made a choice that would leave my body feeling happy later. The salmon was perfectly cooked, the Miso sauce the ideal compliment and the quinoa and vegetables were fresh and delightful. I couldn’t even finish the whole thing.

Even better: Now it is your turn to head to Houlihan’s to sample the very same new menu (and more). Enter to win a $50 Houlihan’s gift card. Comment below with the menu item you think you’d love to try…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for entering. Good luck!

No purchase necessary to enter. ExtraordinaryMommy.com is not responsible for prizes that are shipped from outside vendors or sponsors. All entries will be pooled together and one (1) winner will be drawn. The winner will have two calendar days to reply via email. Unclaimed prizes will be placed for availability to newly chosen winners after that time. Giveaway is open to all U.S. residents only, must be at least 18 years old to enter and ideally live near a Houlihan’s location. One entry per person, entries accepted through Thursday, March 6th , 2014 ending at exactly 11:59 CDT.

Disclosure:  Compensation was provided by Houlihan’s via MomTrends.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Houlihan’s or Momtrends. As is always the case, all opinions I share are mine and mine alone.

 

5 Lessons My Kids Learned From Athletes at the Winter Olympic Games

5 Lessons Learned From Winter Olympic AthletesIt is before 6am and I’m nudged awake, “Mommy, can we turn the Olympics on?”. Hockey’s Team Canada is playing for the gold and the small dude doesn’t want to miss a second. His head lays in my lap as the Canadians go up, first one goal, then two and then THREE!

Watching Team Canada Hockey

When it hasn’t been the hockey, it’s been the Alpine skiing. (nice work Ted Ligety!)

When it hasn’t been the Alpine skiing, it has been the ice dancing (we saw you Meryl and Charlie!)

When it hasn’t been the ice dancing, it has been many versions of snowboarding.

When it hasn’t been snowboarding, it has been the skeleton. (Noelle? You made us cry!)

I think you know we’ve had a special affinity for many of the Kellogg’s athletes through my relationship with the brand and because I had the amazing opportunity to meet many of them in New York at the 100 Days out to Sochi Celebration. Admittedly, the small people and I feel we have come to know them through their #GreatStart stories. Delaney will only refer to Noelle Pikus-Pace as ‘the fastest mom on ice’ and Coop calls Torin Yater-Wallce ‘the kid who did whatever he wants’ - both hat-tips to their #GreatStart videos, and a testament to how their stories resonate.

It is safe to say the Winter Olympic Games have been on in our house around the clock. We have been awake early and up late. We have yelled and screamed. We have cheered and gasped. We have cried  - tears of joy and solidarity.

And we have learned. Through the past two weeks, the small people and I have talked about the wins and losses, the falls and missteps, the moments that could-have-been and ways that character is shaped. These athletes weren’t chosen to be on a cereal box for their athletic ability alone, but instead for their character and the lessons they teach to those of us sitting at home pumping our fists at their victories and holding our breaths as they miss out by one-hundredths of a second.

TedLigetyKelloggsCereal

Now that the small people are at an age where we can actually talk about this, I’ve asked, and as a family, we’ve discussed the lessons my children have learned from the athletes over the course of 24-7 Olympic binging over the course of the past two weeks.

Never forget who helped to get you here: As we watched Noelle Pikus Pace secure her spot on the podium, she did something unusual: she literally jumped in to the stands, moving as fast as she could to reach her family…. her husband and her children. The chorus of ‘we did it’, ‘we did it’ was the echo you heard over and over again from her lips. Though Noelle had won the Silver medal, she clearly considered this a team effort and wasn’t for a second going to allow the spotlight to sit anywhere but on the shoulders of the team of people who had supported her.

There is honor in breaking barriersSarah Hendrickson was the very first female ski jumper in Olympic history. She didn’t win gold. She didn’t place and while that may be disappointing, her sport wasn’t even an Olympic one even 4 short years ago. And the fact that she drew the card, making her the first of the Olympians to jump at all secures her an even more amazing slot in the history books.  And, I bet she’ll be back again.

Try and try again - Alpine skier, Ted Ligety was incredibly disappointed after the Winter Olympics in Vancouver when he failed to medal, but he came back this year and more than made up for it becoming the first U.S. man to win gold in giant slalom and the first alpine skier to win two gold medals in his career. Trying again? So worth it.

Charlie and Meryl Sochi 2014

Be a good sport – Admittedly, when I first met with Charlie and Meryl, I was surprised that they shared the same coach as Canadian rivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, but not only did they assure me that their coach was fair, had both teams’ best interests at heart, but their goal wasn’t to beat Tessa and Scott, but to compete against THEIR personal best scores (and yes, win gold). Keep in mind, Charlie and Meryl took silver to Tessa and Scott’s gold in Vancouver and were incredibly gracious at the time. Though the tables were turned this time, with Charlie and Meryl achieving their goal and taking gold – the lesson in sportsmanship for my children was clear…. trying your best is very important, but being gracious when your don’t achieve the pinnacle is just as crucial.

Be adaptable – This lesson felt loud and clear throughout the Sochi Games. From the moment the Pre-Game festivities began, there was talk of lack of preparation on the part of the host country, but from everything we saw from our perch on our couch, the athletes kept their heads down and competed. They put their hearts in to their individual sports – on the ice, in the snow, on the pipe, on the slope and they tried. And they medaled. And if they didn’t, they are coming back in 2018 in PyeongChang.

In so many ways, I’m going to miss being awakened before the sun rises to watch the Games with my small people. There is so much joy, so much heart and clearly so many life lessons to be learned.

What moments did you share with your family? Do tell.

Disclosure: I am proud to have a long term relationship with Kellogg’s. As always, all thoughts and opinions shared here are mine and mine alone.

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick’s Day Crafts You Can Do With Your Kids

10 Super Easy Last Minute St Patricks Day Crafts To Do With KidsWe all have our strengths and weaknesses, right? I consider myself to be a pretty good, in-the-moment, involved mom. But, my D-I-Y abilities are a little bit suspect. I’ve never been the craftiest mom on the block and yet I love to celebrate each and every holiday (no matter how big or small) with my small people. The good news is – my kids DO have a high tolerance for my lack-of-crafty and truly just enjoy the attention and the time we spend together. Fortunately, there are some AMAZING, talented people out there who DO know how to create and craft and each one of the 10 Super Easy, Last Minute, St. Patrick’s Day Crafts you see below was created by one of those women – each of whom was generous enough to allow me to share their gifts with you.

I have been culling some favorite crafts on my St. Patrick’s Day Pinterest Board but wanted to highlight some I definitely think you need to see.

Enjoy! (and be sure to tell me which one you think you will try first!)

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts

Amanda’s Cookin clearly had me in mind when she created these edible Play-doh cookies. They are easy to make, small people can be involved from beginning to end (my favorite way to cook with my little ones – theirs too!) and they are perfect for the St. Patrick’s Day holiday – rainbows, shamrocks and gold coins. I’m. In. Love.

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts1

I so love the idea of getting the small people involved – and this is one they can definitely do! This Paper Four Leaf Clover is one they can really tackle on their own if you can offer some basic direction. A big thanks to Meaningful Mama on this one.

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts

I know you think these Lucky Four-Leaf Clover Shirts are going to be hard to do…. but NO! The lovely Tonya of TonyaStaab and Multiples and More makes it easy for us. So sweet. So perfectly St. Patrick’s Day.

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts

I was trying to come up just how many ways I love this St. Patrick’s Day craft for PreSchoolers from Thrifty and Chic Mom…. the counting, the colors, the sweet treat! It is simply too cute (and so easy). My small people do already know their colors, and they know how to count, but are ALWAYS up for this kind of goodness. 10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts

If there is one thing I DO wish I had more of – it would be keepsakes that included tiny fingers and toes. My small people feel as though they are growing so fast, yet I never want to forget the moments when they were this little-bitty. So I adore this collection of Pre-School St. Patrick’s Day crafts from Fun-A-Day.

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts

I LOVED this DIY Rainbow Rice idea for (let me count the ways!) a small St. Patrick’s Day play group, a snow day, sensory play or well, ANY OLD DAY. In fact, I’m not sure I don’t want a bucket of it in my office. Huge thanks to Mamas Little Muse for sharing with us.

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts

Ally over at No Time for Flash Cards is one of my favorite people on the planet – and not only because she helps moms and dads like you and me to be the hero with sweet and simple crafts like this Marshmallow Rainbow, but because she is truly good people.

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts

Few things frighten me more than, ‘please prepare a holiday treat/treasure/gift for your child’s class’ and yet Nadia and With Glittering Eyes calmed my panic with this adorable St. Patrick’s Day Lollipop Flower Garden. Simple. Cute. And something the kids will love. Success.

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts

One of my very favorite things about St. Patrick’s Day is wearing all-things-green (naturally to avoid being pinched! – you teach your children this too, yes?) This D-I-Y printable Leprechaun Hat from Andrea at Lil Kid Things makes the ‘green’ a snap. Plus? Leprechaun for the day = awesome!

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts

Now think: Party Time! I so love the idea of decorating with these Swinging Shamrocks. This could make your house feel more festive OR if you are the room mom? Bring the kids in on the decorating fun. Big thanks to Simply Real Moms for sharing this with us.

Do tell….which is your favorite?

For more St. Patrick’s Day fun follow my Pinterest Board!

Follow Danielle Smith ExtraordinaryMommy.com’s board St. Patrick’s Day on Pinterest.