Travel Gift Basket Ideas for Mom

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone.#BestSummerMemories #CollectiveBias

Traveling during the summer is something most families do, kids are out for school, the weather is warm and who doesn’t love a family road trip?! My mom and I are taking my kids on a road trip to visit some of our family in Ohio, originally we planned to go next month, but with our big move coming up we had to postpone until Fall. Even so, I decided to go ahead and make my mom a travel basket for Mother’s Day. These are great for short trips, long trips, or even to take down to the lake or the beach! And what better way to fill these baskets, then with the new Coca-Cola™ “Share a Coke and a Song” labeled bottles?!

Travel Basket Ideas for Mom

I found the “Share a Coke and a Song” labeled Coca-Cola products at CVS, you can easily find them in the grocery refrigerated section (which is where I purchased mine), or usually CVS also has a small refrigerated section at the front of the store. I love that at CVS you can find all of your travel needs quickly and easily. Check out the Best Summer Ever Deals at your local CVS. Buy 2 20oz bottles of Coca-Cola products for $3! 

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For this basket, I grabbed two Coca-Cola bottles and two Diet Coke® bottles. For my mom, I filled the remainder of the basket with her favorite chocolates, gum, snacks and some wet wipes for her hands.


For our actual trip, I’ll make a similar basket and add a homemade CD filled with some of our favorite travel music as well! My mom and I both love to listen to music on our road trips. We may not always listen to the same kinds of music, but you better believe that no matter what we are listening to, you’ll find my mom dancing and singing while she’s driving! I can remember driving to and from Ohio on trips as a kid and my mom blaring AC/DC, Shania Twain, and Michael W. Smith…. could those be ANY more different? But that’s what she likes! If you’re a music lover like my mom and myself, be sure to download the Shazaam app (available on most devices, including Apple and Android devices) and download your Coca-Cola Share a Song.

Some other ideas for your travel baskets for mom could be:

  • Gift Cards for restaurants – you have to eat a good meal at some point!
  • Gas Cards – especially with the up and down prices of gas, a little extra gas money can go a long way!
  • GPS – If your mom is anything like my mom, she is NOT good with directions, a GPS would definitely help.
  • Meds – This could include anti-nausea, motion-sickness, pain relievers, etc. Road trips are fun, but sometimes you find yourself with a headache or getting nauseous on curvy roads. This is a MUST in my opinion!
  • Satellite Radio Subscription – this is a great gift for any music lover.

What other items would you include in your travel basket for Mom? And don’t forget to Share a Coke and a Song with your mom!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, be sure to let them know how much you love them! They are doing the HARDEST job!




How to Manage Mountains of Laundry

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TryMembersMark #CollectiveBias


As a growing family of five we always strive to find the most affordable and reliable products to use for our family. Whether it’s paper products, meats, diapers, or laundry detergent. Laundry detergent is a big one, it can get super costly to keep our house stocked with a good quality detergent to clean the many clothing items, linens, and more that we dirty up. I probably do 10 loads of laundry a week, that’s including diapers most of the time. But usually it’s more than that. My kids know how to get dirty, super dirty.

How to ManageMountains of Laundry

We have a sorting area in our master bedroom hallway where our laundry room, master bath and closet are located. I have a laundry sorter that has three hanging baskets, a trash can and two plastic hampers. The hanging baskets are used for whites, delicates (I sort these when we are ready to wash), and towels. The trash can is for diapers, the white hamper is for adult regular clothing and the teal hamper is for the kids regular clothing. I gather linens on linen day and just put those right into the washer and place fresh sheets on everyone’s beds. When I do blankets (I do this maybe every other month), I just dump those in the floor outside the laundry room so I can do those after the linens. Same thing with the bath mats, I just gather those when I’m ready to wash them!


Our laundry room is pretty small, but I have a nice little shelf above the washer and dryer where I can keep my detergents and stain removing products. I also have a trash basket for lint and tags from new clothing.


How do I keep up? I created a schedule to help me keep up with the amount of laundry we have, this doesn’t mean I don’t ever get behind because really… nobody is perfect! But if I stick to this schedule as much as possible I don’t get nearly as behind. I’m including a free printable for you to use as well! Who doesn’t love FREE?!

So basically I wash our cloth diapers 3x/week and then I split up our delicates, whites, the kids’ regular clothing, the adult regular clothing, linens, towels and bath mats up into different days. Typically, this splits it up enough that I’m doing between 2-3 loads a day, usually 2. Whites typically only get done every other week, as we don’t usually have enough for a full load. Delicates I can sometimes combine the kids and the adults as we typically only wear delicates on Sundays for church and when we go out (our delicates include the kids nice shirts, dress pants, dress shirts, dresses, tights, ballet attire, etc.). There are some weeks when we aren’t home every day, so I squish those laundry days into another day or I put it off until the weekend. But having a schedule seems to help keep Mt. Laundry to a minimum!


You can click the image above to download the PDF schedule that includes cloth diapers are click HERE to print the PDF schedule that does NOT include diapers.

Because of the amount of detergent we use, we try to find the most efficient and affordable detergent to purchase, the best way to do this is by shopping at Sam’s Club! You can save a lot of money by purchasing products in bulk. I was shocked at the low prices you can get by not only buying in bulk, but also buying the Sam’s Club branded items. The Member’s Mark® Ultimate Clean Liquid Laundry Cleaner is just as good, if not better, than some of the leading brands you can purchase.


The best part is that you can purchase Member’s Mark laundry detergent at a fraction of the cost of the leading brands! And right now, both the Fresh Scent and Paradise Splash are $2/off with Instant Savings! They are easy to find on the Laundry/Home Care aisle at your local Sam’s Club. I found them on the inside aisle AND on the end caps at both ends of the aisle!


These Member’s Mark detergents are formulated to provide a top of the notch cleaning of your laundry and helps improve the brightness of your colors AND your whites. My favorite aspect is that they created their detergent bottles so that they can easily set on your shelf, you just use the handy little cup attached to the nozzle and dispense as needed! It’s perfect for our tiny little laundry room. If you use a HE machine, no worries, it’s HE safe and can be used in any machine.


Do you have an efficient way to keep up with your mountains of laundry? Head on over to the Sam’s Club website and leave me a comment below  telling me what you think about the Member’s Mark Laundry Detergent!


Family Movie Night with Hotel Transylvania 2

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MakeItAMovieNight #CollectiveBias

Family Movie Nightwith Hotel Transylvania 2

Our family really enjoys having movie nights, we have started making Friday nights our official family movie night. We make fun finger foods or pizza, gather around the living room and watch a great new family movie. This past weekend we watched Hotel Transylvania 2! This is such a cute movie, all of us (young and “old”) had a good laugh watching the antics of Dracula and his friends.

Before our movie night began we ran to Walmart to purchase our movie, we also picked up a 6-pack of Coca-Cola, Orville Redenbacher 6 pack Movie Theater Popcorn, these adorable containers of M&M’S® Chocolate Candies (we made a skillet cookie with these, you’ll find the recipe at the end of this post) and of course, our movie! Walmart has a great display for Hotel Transylvania 2, you can buy it in a few different formats.



Our snacks and drinks were in various other places throughout the store, the M&M’S® Chocolate Candies were the last item we picked up – conveniently located at the cash register!

PicMonkey Collage

I mixed and baked our M&M’S® Chocolate Candies Skillet Cookie and prepared the popcorn and we were ready to watch our new movie! It doesn’t take much to have a fun family movie night. You just need a few simple snacks, some yummy beverages and a great movie – and the best part? Quality time with your significant other and children!




Don’t forget to purchase your M&M’S® Chocolate Candies so you can make this super yummy skillet cookie for your movie night!

M&M'S® Chocolate Candies Skillet Cookie
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened (+1-2 Tbsp for greasing skillet)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 (3.5oz) containers of M&M'S® Chocolate Candies, divided
  • ½ cup peanut butter chips
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet with 1-2 Tbsp butter. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl combine your flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl (I use my stand mixer so I use the bowl attachment for that) combine brown sugar, white sugar, butter and peanut butter. Blend 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla and egg to wet mixture until combined.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients (low speed) until just combined - don't over mix!
  5. Stir in 1 full container (3.5oz) of M&M'S® Chocolate Candies, then ½ of the second container. Set the remaining ½ of the second container aside. Stir in peanut butter chips.
  6. Scrape cookie dough into your greased skillet and top with remaining M&M'S® Chocolate Candies. Bake for 25-30 minutes until it achieves a golden brown color. The edges should be nice and crisp and the center soft and cooked through.
  7. Allow to cool for 15 minutes and serve warm. Enjoy!
Have your own family movie night, we highly recommend Hotel Transylvania 2. You can find some more great ideas for your movie night HERE, and purchase all four participating products you’ve seen in the above photos at Walmart between 12/22/15 and 2/2/16. Submit a photo of your receipt displaying all four products to to receive a $10 Vudo movie code* by email! *While supplies last. Limit 1 per person.

What’s your favorite meal or snack to make on movie nights with your family? Share them by commenting below! I’d love to hear from you!


Bright Starts Birthday Party Play Date


Bright Starts Birthday Party

My sweet Baby Bird turned one last week! Can you believe it? This year has gone by so fast, much faster than it did with Boogie and Bubby. I’ll be posting a one year update for her soon. We had Bird’s birthday party last weekend and we decided to combine it with a playdate with our new Bright Starts toys!


Unfortunately, due to many circumstances, including that we live pretty far out for most of our friends and there has been a nasty bug going around almost all of our little buddies… none of our baby friends were able to make it. I’m glad that Bird didn’t have a clue, but it does make me a little sad! But we still had fun with the grandparents (and Uncle Dylan!), and then our little buddy Able showed up later in the evening to say Happy Birthday!


After we enjoyed Bird’s birthday party I took some time to sit down in the floor with her a few days later to play with her new Bright Starts toys. We received some pretty fun things and she has really enjoyed them!


The first toy we played with was the Learn & Giggle Fish, this toy (as are the other toys) are recommended for ages 6-36 months. This has two play modes, one is a learning mode and the other is a music mode. Bird seems to enjoy the music mode the best. Bubby enjoys this toy out of the three the most, he calls it his “iPad”. I actually am not as attracted to this one… the lights are SO bright. I was actually a little surprised as to how bright they were! But the kids love it, so that’s really what matters!


The next toy that we played with was the Learn & Giggle Activity Station. This one is SO fun! All three of my kiddos enjoy it, and even though it’s recommended for up to 36 months, Boogie (she’ll be 5 at the end of the month) enjoys playing with this one, especially when Bird joins in the fun!


This activity station is so cute, it’s set up like a window, and it’s easy for your little ones to play with this sitting down or standing up. Each pane has a different picture and some buttons that you can push and that light up as well. There’s a flip book, a dog bone, a spinning sunshine, and a funny little fish bowl that lights up when you press the cat’s paw down. (That is Boogie’s favorite!).


Your baby/toddler can learn about the different times of day, colors, shapes, cause and effect… and so much more with this fun toy! I highly recommend this one if you’re still looking for some ideas for Christmas!


This last toy is a Giggable, I think this might be Bird’s favorite! You can get several different animals including the tiger we received, a blue dog, a pink cat, a monkey, a frog and a bumblebee. These are like balls but you can roll them across the floor and the top part of the animal stays in place as it wobbles and rolls. It giggles and talks as it rolls and even makes the animal sounds of the animal you have!

We have had a lot of fun playing with these toys, it is wonderful having a company like Bright Starts that makes such fun and educational toys for our smallest little ones! Bright Starts has always been a favorite in our family!

Disclaimer: I received free products in order to host the Bright Starts sponsored Play Date. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Ripley’s Gatlinburg Attractions – A Discount for My Readers!

Visit  8 Gatlinburg Attractions! Experience eight unique attractions including Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium, the 85,000 sq ft Aquarium of the Smokies, a 5D Moving Theater, the bone-chilling Haunted Adventure, the mind-bending Marvelous Mirror Maze, and  two fully themed mini-golf courses!


Our family loves going to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN for vacations, since we live within a few hours it’s a great short trip to take on a weekend or even for a full week! There are great cabins and hotels all over the county and Ripley’s has one of the BEST aquariums in Gatlinburg!

My Readers Save $3 Off Adult and $2 Off Child Admission to all of Ripley’s Attractions in Tennessee.
Use Online Promo Code: USFAMILYGUIDE

Must purchase online. Guinness World Records Museum, Ripley’s 5D Moving Theater, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium, Ripley’s Davy Crockett Mini-Golf, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, and Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze