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How To Budget For Your Family
Parenting Tips

How to Budget For Your Family (and still make those Target runs)

How to Budget for Your FamilyBudgeting is a bitch. It really is. But it’s a necessary evil, especially if you have a family. Money comes in, money goes out. And you hope more is coming in than going out so you can save for your future financial goals. When it was just me and my husband, the pre-kids honeymoon phase, budgeting wasn’t nearly as hard. The bills were fewer, the expenses fairly limited, and we were perfectly happy living off our ramen budget. 

Enter babies. And all the expensive gear and diapers babies bring along. And all of a sudden money became much more important. We suddenly had bigger financial goals to consider like saving for our kid’s future college expenses or taking a family vacation. Or moving into a bigger house (with a bigger mortgage payment). I had to find a system that worked for me and my family so I could track exactly what income we were bringing in and what we were spending our money on to meet those new goals. 

I looked at all of the available apps out at the time (2011ish) and I wasn’t impressed. I ended up doing everything manually through excel. And though it wasn’t easy going in to each online account and tracking everything, it was effective. Eventually I found an app that I could at least see all of my transactions in one place and that made tracking our money infinitely easier. But when that app was discontinued I went on a hunt in the app store for yet another solution. And I finally found it. Mint.

Now, you are probably shaking your head saying DUH! MINT HAS BEEN AROUND FOR FOREVER! And you would be right. It was one of the apps I considered using years ago, but honestly it sucked back then. Sure it had a slick interface and it was easy to integrate your accounts in to, but the budgeting portion was lacking. There wasn’t enough levels of customization and it made it more work for me in the end. Thus my excel sheet was born.

But before I get in to how I use Mint to help track all of my families finances, let’s first dive in to some tips to get you started with budgeting for your family. First and foremost, if you are reading this then you are already ahead of most people because you are taking action on getting your money in order. The stats on how little most people have in their savings or their retirement plans is staggering to say the least. And getting your budget figured out is a huge first step to ease those issues. 

My first tip to start your budget off right is to track your money. ALL OF THE MONEY. Every single cent coming and going. You would not believe how many people THINK they know how their money is being spent and when they finally sit down and track it they find a very different picture. Most are spending more than they think in the areas of food, coffee and entertainment. Those Starbucks runs really add up! But it’s hard to know because they are such small purchases. I’ll show you later how to track everything through Mint but you will basically be categorizing all of your transactions. Entertainment, utility bills, mortgage, car payment, kids, pets, personal care, etc. This will help make it easy to figure out where your money is heading.

Skip down to the bottom for a video tutorial! 

Once you start tracking your money, it’s time to decipher the data. Bleh, data. I know…not fun. But you will start to see trends in your spending habits. Which will help you establish a realistic budget you can stick to. Let’s say you’ve been tracking your spending for three months and you are ready to set some budgets. You noticed that in the first month you spend $200 on entertainment, the second month you spent $300, and the third month you spent $100. I would suggest you set a budget for entertainment at $200 moving forward. This is a middle-of-the-row number that you can easily hit because you’ve done it before but it’s not so restrictive that you feel horrible about never having any fun ever again.  After a few months at this budget number you can reevaluate to see if you can lower it any more to save more money. Challenge yourself but don’t restrict yourself. Otherwise you will never stick to it and will start to resent the whole exercise.

Being a mom is hard AF

My next tip has to do with communicating all of this to other people in your home. It’s probably not just you who is contributing financially (or spending all that money!) so it’s important to be sure everyone is on the same page. I have regular conversations with my husband on where we are with the budget for the month. If I see we are getting out of hand in a particular category, I bring it up as a reminder. But NEVER as a way to point blame. It’s not about a particular purchase, it’s about the overall category number. I always recommend keeping these discussions category based and not item based because otherwise it can get touchy. People spend money differently and their priorities are different. If you can agree on a budget for a category then your conversation can be on that overall number and not about a particular purchase.

Hopefully this gives you a good start to getting your family’s budget rolling! I want to share with you my love for Mint but it’s easier to show you than to write about it. Check out the video below of a live chat I held in my private Facebook group. I go over the tips I mentioned above as well as do a quick walkthrough of the Mint app. It takes a little bit of setup work to get your categories lined up, but it is so worth it! I can go through my transactions while I’m waiting to pick up kids and I can check on my budgets in real-time. Very convenient!

Skip to 12:54 in the video to get straight to the Mint walkthrough.

I hope the video was helpful to get your budget up and ready to go! I’m always up for helping a mamma out so if you need anything then leave a comment or reach out and leave me a message! 




Parenting Tips

My Top Five Disney World Tips To Save Your Sanity

5 Disney Tips That Will Save Your Sanity While Traveling With KidsWe’ve just returned from taking our kids to Disney World for the very first time. And it was magical. And exhausting. Somehow Disney vacations find a way to bring out the best in people and the worst. And traveling with young kids makes each end of that spectrum more extreme. 

I’ve had some time to reflect on the trip and already the good parts float to the top and everything else takes a back seat. It reminds me of childbirth. Immediately after having my kids I vowed I would never do it again. And, well, I have two kids so obviously I forgot how bad labor is!

But I’m not going to sugar coat it: Disney World vacations are hard work. And it’s expensive hard work. But I wanted to share a few truths and a few tips for those of you who may be heading there soon. Especially those with young kids.

And I know there’s a MILLION Disney blogs from experts who share some amazing guides to help you through, but I’m going keep it to the must haves. These are my five Disney World tips that will save your sanity right as you are one meltdown away from ghosting your own kids at the Happiest Place on Earth (Not that I ever had that thought…). 

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. What the hell does that mean? It means I might get compensated if you click on and purchase something from some of the links below. And by compensated I mean pennies. But hey, beer money is beer money.

  1. Snacks

    As a family we don’t tend to have a ton of snacks on hand but I knew that Disney World trips are 80% standing in line, 10% riding rides and 10% whining about standing in lines. So before we left I packed half a suitcase chock full of snacks. I’m talking the good shit people. Your goldfish crackers, granola bars, applesauce pouches (pack those super carefully so they don’t explode in your luggage), pretzels, etc.

    And I thought I might be going overboard at first when at least a third of our luggage was taken up by food. But I’m so glad I did. Snacks came in handy ALL. THE. TIME. I used them on the plane. I used them while waiting in line. I used them to distract the kids. I used them to avoid a meltdown. I used them on the shuttle bus. I was snack bitch for three days straight and it saved us. 

    And honestly it was imperative to refuel during the day because we were doing so much walking. I made one mistake by trying to stretch our morning and watch a parade before grabbing lunch and I didn’t have enough snacks on me and my daughter was HANGRY. So hangry. It was the only true meltdown she had at the park and it was totally avoidable.

    I learned after day one to double what I thought I would need for the day. And I suggest snacks like pretzels or goldfish crackers because they take longer to eat. Or grab some apples from the hotel on your way out. Those always take plenty of time to get through. And bring some cheap water bottles to fill up for free at the parks!

  2. Dollar Store Hacks

    One of the million ways that Disney gets your money is through all of those amazing gift stores and chotzkies that get pedaled around on the streets and during nighttime shows. It’s unavoidable. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t splurge on a really nice souvenir to remember your trip by. But it can get out of hand fast. 

    We made a dollar store run before the trip and stocked up on some glow sticks and necklaces and a few Disney related kids items like coloring books and pens. We packed them with us for the day and when it came time for the evening show Fantasma we whipped the glows sticks and necklaces out and the kids were beyond thrilled. They raved right along next to the kids whose parents just spent $50 on Disney crap. 

  3. Hideously Bright Colored Shirts/Sweatshirts

    Matching shirts at Disney are nothing new. And I’m totally down with having those cutesy coordinated family shirts. But my twist to this is to make the shirts as bright as you possible can. I’m talking neon colors, tie died, caution tape yellow or parking cone orange. Not cute at all, but incredibly effective.

    We bought bright neon green sweatshirts for all of the kids (we had four total in our large group) and you would not believe how many people stopped us and commented on how easy it was to spot them. And I’m talking Disney employees. So you know it’s a good idea if even they say something. Think of the millions of shirts they see every year! 

    And I may or may not have lost track of my daughter for a hot minute at the airport and I was able to spot her super quickly with that hideous sweatshirt on. It would have taken much longer to find her in the crowd if she had a normal color shirt. 

    Being a mom is hard AF

  4. Pool Time

    We were traveling with a large party so ticking off everyone’s ‘must see’ list meant we were at the park all day. I will admit that if it had just been the four of us traveling I would have preferred to take a break in the middle of the day and head back to the hotel. All of the resort hotels have amazing pools so if you are traveling with little ones don’t hesitate to go back and relax for a few hours. 

    If you can be at the parks bright and early (and of course you can because kids get up at the ass crack of dawn) then go hard till lunch, head back for a rest or a swim, and go back to the park for the evening. We were so exhausted by the end of the night that we only stayed for one evening show out of fear that our kids would be monsters the next morning. 

  5. Strollers

    I debated on having a stroller at the parks for a long time. But I ultimately decided to rent a double stroller through Kingdom Strollers and it was a freaking LIFESAVER. I can not imagine doing a trip to Disney without them with small kids. My oldest is almost six and hasn’t been in a stroller in forever. My youngest is almost three and probably hasn’t been strolled around in a year or so. But for real, I would probably consider a stroller for kids that are much older. 

    Think about how many steps we take in a day at the parks as adults. Most people say they average 5-10 miles a day! Now think about how many steps your little one takes to just keep up with your one step. Even the most active kid isn’t going to be able to hack it. Grab a stroller and let them chill in between rides and attractions.

    Bonus use for the strollers for us came on a rainy/misty day and we could pile the kids in the stroller and use the rain cover that was provided and shuttle them around without getting their shoes soaked like they would have had they been walking. Snacks can be consumed on the go and impromptu naps are also a bonus. 

    I think it could be tricky getting around the parks during high volume times but I felt the parks were very accommodating, even for a double stroller, when it came to space to maneuver through. And the rental process was super easy with pickup and drop off at the hotel.

    Oh, and don’t forget to put a bright colored ribbon on your handle bar so you can pick your stroller out of a crowd! They have workers who adjust stroller parking to fit everybody in so where you parked it may not be where it is when you come back. This makes it easier to spot!

BONUS: This isn’t so much a tip as it is a warning. If you are staying at a hotel on site, know that the shuttle bus experience could be difficult. Especially if you are bringing a stroller with you. If you get out and about with the first couple of shuttles in the morning you will be fine. But take too long at breakfast and you will feel the wrath of an overcrowded bus at 8:30 a.m.

And if you stay till the park closes just be prepared for standing room only. I’ve never had to use my non-existent six pack abs more than I did the night I precariously balanced myself, my kid, and all my bags while enduring a cramped, pitch-black 25 minute shuttle back to our hotel…all while standing.

So there you have it! I wish you the best of luck as you plan your trip. We had a blast and would love to go back again soon. If you’ve recently been to Disney World, share your tips in the comments for all the readers that stop by! We all need all the help we can get when traveling with kids!

And check out my top five baby products (some I STILL use today!)


FreshWave Product Review
Real Mom Review

Real Mom Review: Fresh Start to 2018 With FreshWave!

Real Mom Review: FreshWave Odor Reducing ProductsI’m not ashamed to admit it. My house stinks. Whether it’s the day old milk cup that’s been left out or my washed but not dried laundry that starts to get musty, my house can get smelly! I’m always on the hunt for solutions to help cut down on the stank so I was thrilled to partner with FreshWave to try out some of their products.

This post is sponsored by FreshWave. I’ve partnered with them to try out some of their products and share my thoughts and opinions. And don’t worry, I’m always going to be real with you about my experiences. #ad

FreshWave peaked my interest because they use all natural ingredients to help deodorize. I try not to have too many harsh chemicals around my kids so that was very appealing to me. And they have a wide variety of products from odor removing spray, gels, pet shampoo, candles, vacuum beads-they have the works!

FreshWave sent me a box of goodies to try and the timing couldn’t have been better. We were preparing to leave for a week long vacation so I tried some of the products out before I left and put the rest of them to the test when I returned. Here is a recap of my experience! 

One aspect I want share right off the bat is the smell of the FreshWave products. I tried their original scent (it doesn’t have a name, maybe natural?) and it is certainly potent. I found it to smell very ginger-y which was overall pleasant, but a bit overwhelming. The ingredients include all-natural plant oils like pine needles, aniseed, clove, cedar wood and lime. So if you have a sensitive nose, I would try one product first before purchasing a bundle. They also just introduced a lavender scented line of products so you may want to give that a try.

FreshWave Odor Removing SprayWith that being said, let’s jump in to some of the specific products. The first item I tried was the odor removing spray. The directions indicate the spray can be used for deodorizing clothing, pet bedding, backpacks, sports gear, and trash cans. But I knew how I wanted to put it to the test. On my husband’s smelly shoes!

He has a pair of boat shoes that he loves and since he doesn’t wear socks with them they are always stinky. I knew this would be a great test to see how the spray holds up. I put about five or six sprays in the shoes and let it sit for a while. When I came back, the smell had improved but was still there. I gave it a second round of sprays and that did the trick! The spray bottle doesn’t have a ton of pressure so I think I just needed to spray more solution and it will work! And the ginger-y smell didn’t linger as strong as when you first spray it. 

Mom review: Overall, the spray did the trick! My husband’s shoes are super smelly so if it can tackle that I have confidence it can handle most smells. Spray bottle is a little weak, so spray vigorously.

FreshWave Odor Removing PacksThe next item I tried was one of the odor removing packs. These packs contain beads filled with natural plant extracts. The directions say you can toss them anywhere a smell may lurk. They suggest inside shoes, gym bags, or the diaper pail. I would have LOVED to have had these when we used a Diaper Genie with my kids but I tried it on the next stinkiest place in my home: my kitchen trash can. FreshWave has a small container you can place these packs in and then you can stick them inside your trash can. I’ve had mine in place for almost three weeks and it’s still going strong!

I’m curious to see how long they last and how often I would need to replace it. But for now, it’s working great!

I’m not sure I would use the packs without being inside the container only because I’m afraid my kids will think they are a toy. I can see them ripping the pack open and those beads going everywhere. But after they get a little bit older these might come in handy for their sports bags. I might throw one in my car to help stave off the McDonald’s and dirty socks smell that I can’t seem to ever be rid of. 

Mom review: I like using the packs inside the container by placing them in garbage cans or diaper pails. Seems to help remove the harsh odors and after three weeks the packs are still going strong. Will I remember to change it out? Jury is out…

FreshWave CandleNext up is the FreshWave candle. I put this in a place I think would benefit from its use the most: the master bathroom. We all know what goes on in a bathroom so I’ll spare you the details but rest assured I mentioned to my husband that he should light the candle before, well, you know…

The candle smelled like the same natural ginger-y smell I’ve mentioned before but I don’t really think it made a huge difference in deodorizing the smells. And I have other options that I use that are more effective in my opinion. So unless you just really like the smell, I wouldn’t use the candle again.

Mom review: Smells fresh, but other products can do the job better.

FreshWave Odor Removing GelThe odor removing gel was the next product I tested out. This is a sealed container that contains squishy gel-like cubes full of natural ingredients used to neutralize odors. I placed the container above my garbage disposal on the counter. I left it there for about a week and I’m not sure I saw much of a difference in odor or not. If I got near the sink I could smell the gel’s natural scent but I think this might work better in a more enclosed area. Maybe a teenager’s bedroom or a small closet would be a better choice. 

I’m not a big fan of clutter on my countertops so the real estate this container took up wasn’t worth it for me. But I will try it in a smaller space and report back on whether I think that’s a better fit for this product.

Mom review: Might be good in small spaces, but I didn’t find it made a difference in my kitchen.

FreshWave Laundry BoosterThe last product I tested out was the laundry booster. I put this to the ultimate test by using it on all my dirty laundry I came home with after vacation. Since we went to the beach, all of our clothes and swimsuits had a pretty thick stink to it after being bundled up in a bag for days, some of it still damp. I poured a few capfuls of the booster  in with my detergent and sure enough all the smells were gone after one cycle. 

Honestly, I’ve never had too much trouble getting smells out of my laundry but every now and again I get some tough odors. This will be nice to have on hand to tackle those when they come up. I think one bottle of the booster will last a long time.

The other way I used the booster was to freshen up my laundry machine. I have a front loading washer and sometimes it gets stinky and musty. I used a damp cloth and put some of the booster on it and wiped down the rubber part on the front and all the seals and that really helped to get it back to a funk-free zone. 

Mom review: Not necessary for every day laundry, but great for tough smelling pieces. Bonus points for being able to use in on my front loading washer. One bottle will last quite a while.

Being a mom is hard AF

I really enjoyed testing out the FreshWave bundle of products and I think a few of them will find a permanent place in my home. I would like to try out the lavender scent as well as a few other products like the vacuum beads. The best part of their products is their use of non-toxic, non-geo and non-hazardous ingredients. If you have pets or kids that has to be a sigh of relief knowing you can safely use these products in your home.

If you try FreshWave out, let me know in the comments! Would love to hear about your experiences. 




Parenting Tips, Toddler

Help! My Toddler Has Shark Teeth and It’s Freaking Me Out!

What You Need to Know About Shark Teeth!I was helping my five year old brush his teeth one night when I noticed something strange in his mouth. It almost looked like a growth behind his front teeth on his gum. After closer inspection I realized it was a tooth trying to pop in! My first reaction was probably not my best mom-moment as I yelled “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THING!” 

I thought for sure my son had some weird tooth condition so as one does I turned to the internet for help and a resolution. Turns out, it wasn’t so weird after all, but was a very common tooth development that people call shark teeth. Shark have two rows of teeth, so when a toddler’s adult teeth come in behind their baby teeth instead of directly underneath, they call it shark teeth.

Now, my son totally dug it. Who wouldn’t want to have a bad ass mouth full of teeth just like a shark? I, on the other hand, was less thrilled. I did a quick check of the baby teeth in front and none of them were loose. Was he going to just have two rows of teeth for the rest of his life? If his front teeth DO finally fall out, will his adult teeth stay that far back? Was he going to be known as Shark Boy at his 25 year high school reunion?

After calming the hell down, I chatted with my dentist and did some research on what to expect as the shark teeth begin to come in. Here are some helpful tips I learned!

  1. Shark teeth, or ectopic eruption, is actually pretty common. One out of ten kids will have it!
  2. Typically, the adult tooth comes up under the baby tooth and pushes it out. But sometimes those baby teeth are stubborn and won’t budge. The roots of the baby teeth don’t dissolve or it could also be due to a small mouth size. 
  3. Shark teeth in itself is no reason to panic. First, assess if the baby teeth are loose. If they are, encourage wiggling and try to get them out ASAP to give the adult teeth time to move forward in to the correct slot.
  4. If you try on your own to get the baby teeth out and are having no luck, you may want to have your dentist take a look. Most say give it a couple of weeks of wiggling first. Leaving the adult teeth back there too long could prevent them from moving in to the proper slot and will require future dental work to correct. 
  5. Your dentist may do an evaluation and determine that the baby tooth needs to be pulled to get things moving. I’m not going to lie, this might suck for both you and your child. This was the result of my son’s first shark tooth, and first ever baby tooth lost and to say it went smoothly would be a lie. It went as well as I imagined with his love for the dentist completely dashed. He cried, I cried, it wasn’t fun. When a second shark tooth popped up we wiggled that baby tooth out like our lives depended on it!
  6. The adult teeth may take weeks or months to move in to the correct position. In the interim, just get used to a mouthful of jumbled teeth!

Being a mom is hard AF

We are two-for-two with shark teeth now. One needed to be extracted, the other we were able to wiggle out ourselves. In the baby tooth’s wake we were left with two very crooked and mangled looking teeth that I am hoping get pushed in to the right position. Our dentist warned that my son’s mouth is quite small and the overcrowding will probably be a long-term issue until braces can come in to the equation.

I remember thinking when his baby teeth came in how perfectly spaced they were. Apparently that’s exactly what you DON’T want to see. Space is better so the bigger adult teeth have room. Who knew?

I better start saving my pennies now for all those orthodontist visits!

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. What the hell does that mean? It means I might get compensated if you click on and purchase something from some of the links below. And by compensated I mean pennies. But hey, beer money is beer money.

If your toddler is starting the tooth fairy journey, these books might help them get used to the idea!

 The Night Before the Tooth Fairy


Pete the Cat and the Lost Tooth

And if you need some help making the tooth fairy experience a little more fun, check these out!

Tooth Fairy Pillow With Notepad And Keepsake Pouch

Tooth Fairy Superhero Pillow With Notepad And Keepsake Pouch



Products I Love, Real Mom Review

Real Mom Review: Target Beauty Box January 2018

 review target beauty box January 2018I have never been on the cutting edge of beauty, hair, or fashion but oddly in the last few years it’s become something I pay more attention to and actually enjoy exploring. Does it have anything to do with becoming a mom and suddenly looking 30 years older, haggard, worn out and exhausted? Who knows. (yes)

But my peaked interest in the beauty and style industry has made it glaringly obvious that I knew NOTHING. Nothing about how to apply makeup (why do I need to contour?), nothing about how to style my hair (I have two styles: straight and curled), or how to jazz up mom jeans (bedazzling isn’t cool, right?). But I’m trying and I’m starting to catch on. A little at least. 

And I know I’m not alone. I see comments online all the time from fellow moms who are equally in the dark on how all this works but are eager to learn. So I thought I could share some of my journey of FINALLY starting to figure some of this out at the ripe age of 30-something in hopes someone reading this will say “hey! She’s a complete fool when it comes to this too!” and not feel alone.

Kylie Jenner watch out, it’s time for a Real Mom Review!

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. What the hell does that mean? It means I might get compensated if you click on and purchase something from some of the links below. And by compensated I mean pennies. But hey, beer money is beer money.

Target Beauty Box January 2018
This review will take a look at the Target Beauty Box from January 2018. Every now and again Target compiles a grouping of beauty products together at a really reasonable price (this month is was $7). The sizes of the products vary from travel size to full size and there is usually around five items in each box. 

This month’s box contained six products ranging from eye shadow to a clay mask.

Pillow Plump Lip GlossSexy Mother Pucker Pillow Plump Lip Gloss
Let me start by saying I’m not a huge lip gloss fan. Lip gloss can be sticky and my fast food sticks to it. No one wants to see leftover french fries on your mouth. BUT, I gave this gem a try. And I hated it. Mostly because it felt like someone slathered Icy Hot medicated cream on my lips because they started tingling and heating up. I’m all for a good tingling now and then, but not on my face! I thought I was having an allergic reaction. Then I read the back label where it said “caution: this lipgloss will tingle”.

Goes to show ladies, always read the directions.
Real Mom Review:
Hell no. 


Botanics Clay Mask

Botanics Shine Away Ionic Clay Mask
I jumped on the clay mask bandwagon after becoming increasingly frustrated at my random adult acne breakouts. Who knew that shit didn’t go away? Not only do you have new wrinkles furrowing their way into your once sleek forehead, you also get to enjoy the occasional pimple add insult to injury.

I’ve been making my own clay mask concoction using this Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay and mixing it with apple cider vinegar and I think it does help speed up the process of getting those little effers off your face. It’s fun to paint the mixture on but the clean up is a bit of a pain in the ass. You have to be careful the clumps of clay don’t go down your drain because it could clog it up pretty easily. And it takes a little bit of effort to get it off. 

So when I saw the Botanics Shine Away mask in my bundle I was pretty excited to try it. Application was SUPER easy. It’s a thinner mixture than I’m used to so I could use my fingers to put it on. Wait 10 minutes then wipe it off with a damp towel. The removal was much easier than my DIY version and my skin was left feeling smooth. I had a major pimple going on under my nose and I do think it dried it up faster than had I left it untouched. But then again, who the hell knows. I’m not a dermatologist. 
Real Mom Review: Easy application and removal, leaves skin smooth. Seems to help with ridiculous adult acne. Would buy! Here it is in full size and travel size if you want to try it out. 

Sleek Eye ShadowSleek Eyesahdow Palette
The palette came with quite a few sample shades to try. I was really drawn to the sparkly colors and could tone it down a bit by covering it in a muted shade. I have no idea if that’s how you do it, but I liked how it looked. My one and only concern with eyeshadow is whether it gets clumpy and stuck in my lid creases. These did not! So it’s a win for sure.  
Real Mom Review: Would buy! This link takes you to the exact palette I used called When the Sun Goes Down.



The Righteous Butter Body Moisturizer
This was heaven from the get go. It felt like they have the formula down where it doesn’t feel greasy but it’s not thick as mud either. Smells delightful, though there is a fragrance to it so if you are sensitive to that I would stay away. I applied after taking a shower in the evening and even after sleeping all night I woke up and could still smell the lotion. I’ve never used a lotion that lasted that long so I’m sold. But again, if you hate the smell that could be more of a nightmare than a dream soooooo.

Real Mom Review: Would buy! Long lasting, great texture. Here it is in full size and travel size


Being a mom is hard AF

No7 PrimerNo7 Airbrush Away Primer
This was probably the most surprising product in the box. I was excited to try the primer because I am always on the hunt for a product to even out my skin. And I was surprised to see it come out in a white color because I thought all primers were tinted. (They aren’t. I’m still learning.)

I smeared it all over my face and was immediately taken with it. It felt like silk draped on my face. No joke. It was glorious. And I could tell it was creating a bit of a barrier between my skin and my foundation and made for a nice smooth base. It does seem to help make my makeup last longer throughout the day as well. I never thought primer was a must have, but I think I’m changing my tune. Maybe not everyday use, but for days you have enough energy to put some work in to your look, this is a delightful addition.
Real Mom Review: Would buy! Less than a minute to apply, this silky tube of goodness makes your makeup look better. 

No7 SerumNo7 Restore and Renew Face & Neck Serum
I’m admitting defeat on this one. I don’t understand serums. It seems like voodoo meant to make you think you are reversing time on your wrinkles. I’ve never seen any actual results from them and this one is no different. My skin felt good, but my wrinkles persisted. Plus, this shit is pricey. Good reviews on Amazon though so judge for yourself!
Real Mom Review: Nope. Too pricey and no tangible evidence that my kid-induced wrinkles will be going away any time soon. Much like the kids who caused them to begin with. 



If you are looking for some other products I love, check out my must haves for babies! Some of these saved my sanity. And some I still use today!




How to keep your children safe online
Guest Posts

Guest Post-How To Keep Your Children Safe Online

This is a guest post written and sponsored by AnchorFree.

How to keep your children safe onlineYou Can’t Keep Your Children From The Internet

In today’s internet era, keeping your children off of the internet simply isn’t possible. Your children are going to be exposed to the internet by their friends, at school, and whenever they watch television and see a commercial for the latest smartphone app. Although it isn’t possible to shield your child from the internet, it is possible to make sure that your child gets the lessons in online safety that they deserve. Children aren’t born knowing how to navigate the web, and their are cyber bullies, online predators, identity thieves, and other types of threats that lurk in the shadows. Your job as a parent is to prepare your child to avoid these types of threats so that they can have a safe online experience. 

Do Your Children Know How To Stay Safe Online?

You must make sure that your children understand how to stay safe when they use the internet. The first step is to let your child know what types of sites are safe online and which types of sites are not. Your child should learn what kind of information is off-limits (such as phone numbers, addresses, birthdays, and social security numbers). Your child also should learn not to converse with strangers online, and if they feel uncomfortable, they should know to contact an adult that they trust, like a teacher or a family relative.

Identifying Online Threats

It is important that you learn to identify new online threats. Malicious software installed on websites and email phishing schemes are just a few types of the well-known online threats. But identity thieves, online predators, and cyber bullies are also threats. Make sure that your child knows to stay away from dangerous sites, and keep tabs on their general whereabouts online. Parents must learn about new risks, and teach their children how to stay safe from rising threats.

Helping Children Learn Their Way Around The Web

Parents around the world are using VPNs, or virtual private networks, in order to help their children stay safe. VPNs like Hotspot Shield work by creating a tunnel between a device connecting to the web and a server located somewhere else around the world. All of the data that travels through this tunnel is encrypted, meaning hackers, identity thieves, ISPs, and government actors are locked out. For children, that means they can access the web safely in public spaces without the fear of a hacker getting into their public Wi-Fi connection and stealing personal data.


Kids cold and flu season tips from a pediatrician!
Baby, Parenting Tips, Toddler

Kids Cold and Flu Season Tips-From a Pediatrician!

Kids cold and flu season tips from a pediatrician!Am I the only one who feels like I have to re-Google anything and everything having to do with sick kids once cold and flu season starts? As soon as I sense the first sniffle or cough I’m brushing up on what meds are safe to take for each kid and when to know if a fever is a high fever or not. Even then, I always have a slight hesitation when I make any medical-related decisions with my kids. 

And I know I’m not alone, so earlier this fall I had pediatrician Stephanie Dekom as a guest speaker in my private Facebook group to chat with me and all my mammas about cold and flu season and how to deal with all of the grossness and uncertainty that comes with it. 

Stephanie addresses a lot of the common questions we all have as well as a few questions from the moms in my group so check out the video below for some amazing info!

And follow Dr. Dekom on Instagram because she is offering up great advice on all those tricky questions you have! You can ask her questions anytime and she is such an amazing resource to have in your corner.

And if you are looking for a new thermometer, check out my review of the TempTraq wearable thermometer! 

How To Avoid Flat Spots
Baby, Parenting Tips

What’s Up with My Baby’s Weird Shaped Head and How Do I Fix It?

I’m just going to say it…sometimes babies are born with some funky noggins. Whether it’s because of their positioning in the womb or the way they were birthed, sometimes a baby’s head comes out more alien-like than you would expect. The good news is it’s totally normal and should correct itself over time.

How To Avoid Flat Spots On Baby's HeadHowever, there’s always a concern for something a bit more serious, called positional plagiocephaly, to occur in some babies. This term refers to the flat spots that develop on the heads of some babies due to inactivity. This inactivity could be from the baby not being active enough or that the baby may be restricted in it’s movements more than is recommended.

One reason a baby may not be as active as it should could be due to a lack of muscle development in the womb. This is very common for multiples or those babies who felt a bit squished in a smaller womb. Another reason a flat spot may develop is the child’s preference to prefer a certain head direction, called infant Torticollis. You may notice signs of Torticollis if your child tips their head in one direction, prefers to look at you over the same shoulder instead of turning their head to follow you, prefers one breast over the other, or gets frustrated when unable to turn their head completely.

Another typical reason for flat spots to develop is the overuse of baby holding devices. It’s so easy to fall in to a routine as parents, ESPECIALLY if you find something that your child actually likes sitting/sleeping/existing in for more than five minutes. I mean, moms need a hot shower every now and then. BUT, sometimes we end up relying on these devices more than is recommended which can lead to those flat spots to develop.

For example, car seats should really just be used in the car. I mean, a quick Target run is one thing, but if you know you will be strolling outside at the park or an event, consider baby wearing to take the pressure off of the back of their head and allow that skull to shape properly.

Being a mom is hard AF

Here are some more tips to help avoid flat spots:

  1. Tummy time-You’ve probably heard of this one, as well as the general disdain most babies have for it. But allowing a few minutes of unrestricted movements on their tummy will do wonders to strengthen muscles and counter-act flat spots. A good recommendation I came across is to try and do just a couple of minutes of tummy time after each diaper change. That way you are getting enough time in without the tears and frustrations that longer sessions will have. 
  2. Change up the direction you have baby on the changing table. Those habits are hard to break, especially if you get in to a diaper changing groove, but babies love to look at mom and dad when getting their diaper changed. So adjusting their positioning will force babies to turn that head in both directions on a regular basis. 
  3. Speaking of habits, try to change of the positioning of how you are holding baby. If you find yourself favoring one cradle arm over the other, try changing it up.
  4. Change up the direction you lay your child in when they nap or sleep in their crib. Again, they will likely affix to something interesting on the wall or ceiling and simply changing their sleep direction will encourage head movements. 

Are you wondering if your child might have a flat spot? Here’s a great post that goes over a really simple way to measure flat spots at home. But if you are still unsure, check with your doctor. And the sooner the better because treatment can be as easy as adjusting some lifestyle changes like those tips mentioned above. But if you wait too long, you may end up having to be fitted for a helmet that helps reshape baby’s head. So if you feel something is off, ask your doctor. And be your child’s advocate if your doctor takes the let’s wait and see approach. Keep close watch and if you feel things are not improving even after you’ve made changes at home, ask your doctor again to take another look.

One thing to remember, DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP over this. Flat spots can develop without you noticing because it’s not like you are in the habit of studying your child’s dome from all angles every day. You are doing great mama!

If you’re reading this than I’m sure you already know…but being a mom is hard AF! I’m trying to make it a little easier by creating a kick ass community of moms where I bring in expert speakers to give you the knowledge you need to keep your head above water. Come check it out!

Parenting Tips, Toddler

6 Tips To Survive Meals With a Picky Eater

 6 tips to survive meal times with picky eatersYou probably won’t admit it, but I will. I was one of those pre-kid people who vowed that all my children will eat anything I put in front of them. Picky eaters were not going to be a part of my household. This and my blanket statement of saying my kids will never eat McDonald’s are just the tip of the iceberg of stupid shit I said before actually becoming a parent.

I don’t think I’ve met a single parent who has said to me “Oh my Johnny, he will eat ANYTHING I make for him. Asparagus, green beans, corn, he LOVES his veggies!” Instead, I usually bemoan my child’s eating habits during lunch playdates as my friend asks what foods my kids enjoy (ummm, carbs?).

Kids can really suck at eating all those good-for-them foods that we are told we must introduce to them. And it’s easy to feel like we are failing them as parents when it seems like they aren’t getting a balanced diet. But meal time is already a challenge. I don’t remember the last time I sat down to my dinner while it was still hot. And I’m too exhausted at the end of the day to care that much about the food pyramid.

So I wanted to share a few tips that I use to help keep my sanity with my picky eaters that seem to be working:

  1. Turns out kids have some inherent trust issues with new foods. When introducing something new they are very likely to turn their nose up to it. And it makes sense. Kids love routines and things they are familiar with. If you come at them with something new, and maybe a little scary looking, don’t be surprised if their first reaction is a hell no! 

    Keep introducing that food to them over the course of many meals. It may take as many as 10-15 times (or more!) before a kid gets used to the idea of the new food. Play the long game, and don’t get frustrated in the short-term if they don’t immediately take to the new food. Put something on their plate that you know they will eat so they don’t go hungry, but don’t worry if they aren’t interested in the new item. It’s totally normal!

  2. Don’t force them to eat something they aren’t in to. Remember when you were a kid and your parents told you NOT to do something? What did you do? The exact opposite. If we force our kids to eat something they think they don’t like (or are maybe just not used to yet) then they may react defensively and never give that food a chance because of the way it was introduced.

    I personally have a ‘try it’ rule. Even if that means a quick lick of the butternut squash, that’s all I ask. They don’t even need to swallow it (and often don’t!) but the more they get used to seeing it, smelling it, tasting it, the easier the transition will be. 

    Being a mom is hard AF

  3. When in doubt, dip it! I don’t know about your kids, but mine love to dip their food. The obvious, and less healthy dip, is ketchup of course. But you can also opt for more healthy dip options like hummus, yogurt, low-fat salad dressings. This allows kids to mix something they are familiar with in with something they aren’t.

    You would be surprised at how exciting it is for a kid to have dip. Seems silly, but it’s almost like a challenge because of the dexterity they need to use to accomplish the dipping, so they are less focused on the food and more focused on dipping! I have found that this helps me determine if they REALLY hate the food (which is totally ok! we all have preferences) or if they just aren’t used to it yet.

  4. Cooking together is another way to get picky eaters more interested in new foods. When my kids help me make calzones they love throwing on the green peppers and mushrooms. And since they had a hand in making dinner, they usually don’t think twice about the ingredients while stuffing their face. 

    Try getting them involved in the prep process of meals and you may see them have a more adventurous appetite at the table. If nothing else, they will get an understanding of the hard work you do in preparing them meals so really it’s a win-win!

  5. This might be hard at times but keeping your cool at dinner is key in helping kids continue trying new foods. If dinner is a battle or they fear they will be in trouble by the end of it then they may not be very eager to try anything new. You want them to look forward to meal times and that positive energy you bring will go a long way. And I know there’s nothing worse than working hard to cook a meal that your kid says YUCK to. But stay the course and over time you’ll see some improvements.

    Celebrate the wins, even if they are few and far between. If they try something new and they don’t like it, brush it off nonchalantly with a “That’s ok, I’m really glad you tried it!” and move on. Don’t belabor the fact that they didn’t like it, just take a short break from that food and try again another time.

  6. I noticed that keeping snack foods out of the house helps a ton with picky eating. If my kids are hungry at meal times then they are certainly more likely to try everything on their plate. Kids are super smart and they will realize they can manipulate meal times if they know a snack option is a mere half hour away.

    I’m certainly not anti-snack all the time and think there are times kids REALLY do need any extra pick-me-up, like after an athletic event. But in general, snacking just hasn’t proved to be very effective and made me feel like all I do all day is feed my kids.

Meal times are important for families and picky eaters can make it tough. But don’t stress mammas! All of these picky eating habits are completely normal as your kid starts to show independence and preferences. Show them good eating habits by displaying them yourself and they will begin to see all of the new foods as normal. And it’s ok if you aren’t perfect. I know I’ve totally dropped the ball in some of the green veggie areas because I hate them myself and don’t prepare meals with them often. But focus on the good things you are doing and keep after it!

If you’re reading this than I’m sure you already know…but being a mom is hard AF! I’m trying to make it a little easier by creating a kick ass community of moms where I bring in expert speakers to give you the knowledge you need to keep your head above water. Come check it out!


Toddler is constipated
Parenting Tips, Toddler

Your Toddler’s Not an Asshole, They’re Just Constipated

Toddler is constipatedAny mom will tell you that kids go through seasons. This is especially true for toddlers. They have ups and downs of epic proportions that seem to last weeks, if not months. One minute they are sweet little angels giving you kisses and hugs. And the next they are sassing you with an attitude you thought was reserved for the pre-teen years.

You get used to the roller coaster of emotions and often find yourself on guard, wondering whether it will be Jekyl or Hyde that will be greeting you today. So when my two year old was showing some of the finest displays of sass I have ever seen, I simply chalked it up to the terrible two’s. I bemoaned to my husband that we must have entered another ‘low season’ and wondered how long this one would last.

Her bad behavior became so commonplace that we joked about how it’s just who she is now. She’s just a sassy girl who cries over everything and makes her opinion known. We could easily label her the strong willed child that everyone talks about.

It just so happened that at the same time our angel started showing her dark side that we were potty training. She had shown signs that she was ready to roll and we were obviously eager to be rid of diapers. Training got off to a great start and though we had our fair share of accidents and cleanups, she got the hang of things pretty quickly. 

Well, minus one very important part. Half of the potty training equation actually. Pooping on the potty. This eluded her. Peeing was a cinch, pooping was a nightmare.

I read about how typical it is for toddlers to have some issues with going number two and wasn’t overly concerned. I assumed she would eventually come around so I didn’t push it. By the end of month three we were taking her out in public in just underwear and were generally confident that she would tell us when she needed to go. And we counted on nap time as her time to do her other business which worked fine because we were still putting her in pull-ups when she slept.

But we started to notice that a few days would go by and she had not pooped. And by day three she would stand, legs rigid, with a miserable face that read “why me?” while her body was trying to figure out how to get rid of three days worth of waste. She was uncomfortable, constipated, but eventually she would get the job done.

But that pain and discomfort led her to withhold her poop (yup, poop withholding is a thing) even more and it created this vicious circle of constipation. Apparently constipation in toddlers is more common than I initially thought because as I started sharing what was going on I had many moms reach out with their own stories and remedies. 

Potty Training is The Worst, Which is Why I Stopped

We tried altering her diet, pushing more water, and made all the changes we could. But we didn’t see very good results. So after consulting with my doctor we started mixing some laxatives in with her morning breakfast to get things moving. 

And within a day we started to see a difference. Things were finally moving in the right direction (down the toilet that is) and a flip was switched with my daughter’s demeanor as well. It was like we had a whole different kid on our hands. She was back to her mostly sweet self, and although still opinionated she was less of an asshole about it.

I almost couldn’t believe it but it makes so much sense looking back at the timing of everything. I so easily chalked up her change in behavior as a season when really it was directly related to her health and discomfort. Lesson learned that when your kid is being a turd, well, turds might actually be the problem.

Knowledge and community right at your fingertips!

If you’re reading this than I’m sure you already know…but being a mom is hard AF! I’m trying to make it a little easier by creating a kick ass community of moms where I bring in expert speakers to give you the knowledge you need to keep your head above water. Come check it out!