Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Cell Phone Rule for Teens That Most Parents Forget

Establishing cell phone rules for your teenagers is something all parents should do—but make sure you don't forget this important rule! 


When you are making all the rules for cell phone usage when your teenager gets their first phone, do not forget this very important rule.


School's been out for a couple weeks now and my teenagers are enjoying the summer days.

Even though I'm a big proponent of limiting their screen time use, I am a little more lax during the summer. They don't have as much responsibility as they do during the school year, and a large part of their social life requires using their cell phones.

I'm totally okay with the fact that they use their phones a little more during the summer. I'm totally okay with the fact that their phones are how they talk to their friends all day and how they set up all of their hang outs for long summer days.

But the number one reason my kids even have cell phones is for ME.

Each one of my three daughters got their phone when they became busy enough that I had a hard time tracking them down. I got them a phone when I was tired of having to text all of their friends to get a hold of them—even if I knew where they were.

My kids have phones so I can communicate with them. All other "perks" of having a phone—social media, camera, google, oh, and did I mention social media?—are just nice for them to have.

For this reason, a big cell phone rule in our house is that they must always answer my phone calls and texts, and they have to share their location with me so I can see where they are should I choose to look at the Find My Friends app.

But that is not the rule I forgot to make.

And I'm pretty sure it's not the rule you forgot to make, either.

When you are making all the rules for cell phone usage when your teenager gets their first phone, do not forget this very important rule.


I finally realized that I had forgotten to make this rule just the other day when I was driving my 13-year-old daughter to the beach to meet some friends.

"How long do you plan on staying?" I asked.

"I'm not really sure yet—I'll text you when I know."

I knew that she had been on her phone a lot that morning, and I also knew that she hadn't remembered to plug it in the night before, so I asked her what her phone's battery percentage was.

"Uh...11 percent."

ELEVEN PERCENT!

Well, that wasn't likely to last her more than another half an hour, so I told her to be sure to call me from a friend's phone so I knew what the plans were.

She did call me, but I don't like not being able to get a hold of her if I need to.

The next day, she was headed out to do something else with her friends and I asked her again what the battery percentage was.

27%. Definitely an improvement...but not much of one!

After the third day of her going out with friends and having her phone die on her I finally made the new cell phone rule that I should have made a long time ago.

Here's the latest cell phone rule at our house:

Keep your phone charged!


I even went so far as to tell my 13-year-old that I would not be taking her to any activities if her phone was less than 80% charged. It is that important to me that I am able to get a hold of her if necessary, and that she is able to get a hold of me.

All three of my daughters have this issue of not charging up their phones until it's too late. Consequently, they don't think ahead when they are about to go somewhere and inevitably end up with a dead phone—and a frustrated mother.

I went ahead and ordered an external battery pack for each of them in the hopes that this will help. Of course, they will need to make sure that those are also charged if that is going to work.

Maybe this is just a me and my kids problem—but somehow I don't think so. 

So, while you are drawing up your cell phone contracts and making social media rules for phone usage, don't forget to put at the top of the list: Keep your phone charged.


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This post may contain affiliate links, for more information, please see my disclosure.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Bucket Full of Sunshine—Free Printable & Gift Idea

A Bucket Full of Sunshine—an adorable gift idea! Just fill up a yellow bucket with yellow goodies from Dollar Tree and use this free printable to make someone's day brighter!


A Bucket Full of Sunshine—an adorable gift idea! Just fill up a yellow bucket with yellow goodies from Dollar Tree and use this free printable to make someone's day brighter!

A couple days ago my daughter found out her friend was having a really bad day. She'd gotten some pretty upsetting news and Sophia wanted to do something nice for her to brighten her day.

You can download the Bucket Full of Sunshine printable at the bottom of this post.




She came up with the idea to give her a box full of sunshine, so we headed out to Dollar Tree to buy anything yellow that we thought her friend would like.

We found all sorts of fun yellow things:

(affiliate links)

Fill a bucket with yellow items from the Dollar Store and brighten someone's day with a bucket full of sunshine!





Finally, you'll need a yellow beach bucket, also available at Dollar Tree.

Download this FREE PRINTABLE and brighten someone's day with a bucket full of yellow goodies from the Dollar Store! Makes a great teacher appreciation gift or a just because gift for anyone!

Total cost for everything at Dollar Tree was $13.00. We could have easily put some of it back and still had a really adorable and fun gift for even less, but this was perfect for us.

When we got home, I made a cute printable to go with the bucket and printed it out.

Sophia cut it out, punched a hole in it, and I found some yellow chevron ribbon in my stash to tie it onto the bucket.

Download this FREE PRINTABLE and brighten someone's day with a bucket full of yellow goodies from the Dollar Store! Makes a great teacher appreciation gift or a just because gift for anyone!

The best part was driving it over to her friend's house and seeing her light up when Sophia handed her the bucket.

I love watching my girls do thoughtful things for their friends—it makes my heart happy. I'd have to say my day was made just as bright and sunshiny as Sophia's friend's day was!

To download:

Enter your email address into the form below and the printable will be sent straight to your inbox.



Enjoy!


A Bucket Full of Sunshine—an adorable gift idea! Just fill up a yellow bucket with yellow goodies from Dollar Tree and use this free printable to make someone's day brighter!


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This post may contain affiliate links, for more information, please see my disclosure.

Budget Friendly Things to Do on Mackinac Island

Are you planning a vacation to Mackinac Island on a budget? Here are some great things to do on Mackinac Island that are FREE or cheap to help you save money and still enjoy all the island has to offer!


Biking around Mackinac Island is an inexpensive way to enjoy the island and see several sites. It only takes a couple of hours to bike the 8.2 miles around and is a favorite tourist activity.


I love Mackinac Island so much. If I were wealthy, I'd seriously buy a summer home there and spend as much time there as I possibly could!

I'm not wealthy, but I do at least live in Michigan, so going to Mackinac Island once or twice a year isn't difficult. It only takes a few hours to drive there for me, so I don't have to worry about travel expenses too much.

However, once on the island, the money can add up quickly. There are lots of things to do, and while some of them are pretty spendy, there are plenty of things to do on the island that are really cheap or even totally free.

I have done all of the things I recommend in this post—all photos included were taken by me on the 6 trips I have taken to Mackinac Island. Did I mention it's one of my favorite places on earth?

How to do Mackinac Island on a budget. There are many free and cheap things to do on Mackinac Island, so if you're planning a vacation there, don't let your budget stop you. You can definitely save money while doing Mackinac Island!


Free or Cheap Things to Do on Mackinac Island


Stay in St. Ignace


One of the most expensive parts about your Mackinac Island trip will be the accommodations. There are a lot of really great hotels to stay in, but unless you're able to find a really great deal, they will be pricy.

One way we have gotten around that is to stay in St. Ignace. We are always able to find rooms there that are significantly cheaper than any that are on the island. Sometimes we just stay the first night in St. Ignace to save a little money, and sometimes we spend the entire trip in St. Ignace and take the ferry over to the island every day.

You will want to make sure you look at the cost of ferrying daily vs. the price of the hotel. It might still be worth it to stay on the island when you factor in the cost of the daily ferry. It just depends what room rates you're able to find.

Check mackinacisland.org to find all deals on island lodging.

Travel during the off-season


Just like anywhere else, if you go to Mackinac Island during their Peak Season, everything is more expensive. There are always some really great deals to be had on lodging if you go on the off-season, which for Mackinac Island is May, September, and October.

I have done a couple trips in May and while it is more likely to be cold and rainy, the island is still its beautiful self and I still had a great time.

Another bonus of traveling during the off-peak times is that it will be much less crowded, which is always nice.

Walk/hike the trails


Mackinac Island has over 140 miles of trails throughout the island. Most of them are in the Mackinac State Park, but many of them are close to the downtown areas and are easily accessible.

A couple years ago, my friend MaryFran (my Disney expert!) called me and said she was going to hike all 140+ miles on Mackinac Island and I could come and do it with her if I wanted.

Mackinac Island has over 140 miles of trails in the state park and on roads. There are so many beautiful things to see and learn on these trails and they are completely free to hike!


She started right away, and has a map of the island that she has highlighted and marked up to keep track of which trails she's done (see above photo).

I've gone on two trips with her and we knocked out maybe 20 miles between those two trips so there is a LOT more to see—which means a lot more reasons to go to one of my favorite places on earth!

If you love hiking and nature walks, there is no more beautiful place to do it than Mackinac Island—and it's completely free!

Make sure to pick up your own map from the tourism bureau downtown. You can also buy a trail guide for about $1.00 which is definitely worth purchasing.

***The next few items on the list are all great things to find while hiking/walking/biking the trails and roads of the island.***

Sugar Loaf


Sugar Loaf is a 75-foot-tall landlocked rock in the middle of Mackinac Island. It's a pretty cool formation and definitely worth seeing!

It is not a long walk from downtown at all.

Sugar loaf on Mackinac Island is a cool site to see while hiking the trails on the island.


When we hiked to Sugar Loaf we hiked down from Fort Holmes so we were able to see it from above.

Then we hiked down to the rock and ate our picnic lunches there (packing food is another great way to save money on the island!). My girls and MaryFran's girls took some funny perspective photos at the rock, too.

Sugar loaf on Mackinac Island


They clearly were having a great time hiking around the island, which made me really happy!

Anne's Tablet


Anne's Tablet is an art nouveau sculpture that was installed on Mackinac Island in 1916. It is a memorial to local author Constance Fenimore Woolson and her first novel, Anne.

Anne's tablet on Mackinac Island is a sculpture to hike up to with a gorgeous view.


The tablet itself is pretty cool, but the view from the tablet is phenomenal. There are stone benches all around so you can enjoy the vista overlooking the marina and just sit in nature.

There is also a journal hidden in a tree and under some rocks near the tablet for people to write in. It's fun to look through the entries and we always enjoy writing in it ourselves.

Sign the journal when you visit Anne's Tablet on Mackinac Island

The last time we went, the journal was brand new because the older one had become full and I'm not sure where the older journals can be viewed, or if they can. But it's been a while and I'm sure even the newer one has lots of entries now!

Arch Rock


Arch rock is one of the island's most famous landmarks. It is a natural limestone arch that is 146 feet above the shore of Lake Huron.

You can get to Arch Rock several different ways—you can hike up to it from behind Mission Point Resort, you can bike or walk to it on M-185 (the highway that goes around the exterior of the island) and climb the stairs, or you could take a carriage tour which always stops at Arch Rock.

Arch rock is one of Mackinac Island's jewels—be sure to go up to the top to get the full Arch Rock experience.

I've done it each way, and they are all a great way to see this site. The only truly free way to do it is to hike from behind Mission Point or to walk along the highway and climb up.

The view from the top is another magnificent view that isn't to be missed.

Once, we saw a marriage proposal written in rocks just below the Arch—it would have been pretty cool to see it right when it happened!

Skull Cave


Skull cave is a small cave that has interesting stories behind it. If you go on the carriage ride, your tour guide will tell you all about those stories, but you can just as easily look them up yourself.

It is a short walk from downtown.

Somewhere in Time Gazebo


If you are familiar with the movie Somewhere in Time starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, you know it was filmed on Mackinac Island. While the Grand Hotel is the biggest landmark from the film, there are a few others hidden around the island.

One of the favorites is the gazebo which is located on Anne's Tablet trail in the middle of the state park. It's kind of tucked away but if you know where to look, you will easily find it.

The gazebo from Somewhere in Time is fun to visit on Mackinac Island


When we went with our daughters and their friends, they all had some fun doing romantic photoshoots in it. You can also book a wedding in it—pretty cool for Somewhere in Time fans!

British Landing


British Landing is a beach area about 2 miles from downtown on M-185. We have always biked to it, but you can also walk.

Historically, British Landing plays an important role in the War of 1812 and the surrender of Fort Mackinac. You can view some of the historical information there, plus a cannon!

British Landing on Mackinac Island is a historical beach spot where you can swim, learn about history, find cool rocks, and enjoy the view of the Mackinac Bridge.


When we are at British Landing, we love to stop at the beach for a while and enjoy the view, and sometimes even swim if it is a nice day. There are public restrooms nearby where you can change into swimsuits if you decide you want to get in the water.

It's a rocky beach full of beautiful, smooth, white rocks so don't expect sand! The rocks have their own allure, though, and my children love throwing them into the lake.

British Landing on Mackinac Island is a historical beach spot where you can swim, learn about history, find cool rocks, and enjoy the view of the Mackinac Bridge.


There is a lovely view of Mackinac Bridge from British Landing, too, and there are always lots of boats and ships to watch.

Fort Holmes


Fort Holmes (also known as Fort George) is a small fort made of earth and wood at the highest point of the island. It was built during the War of 1812 as a way to help defend Fort Mackinac.

Fort Holmes is located on the highest point of Mackinac Island


Fort Holmes was just recently restored by Mackinac Island State Park in 2015, and I hiked to it for the first time in 2017.

They have done a really nice job with the fort. There is no admission fee, and while there are also no live demonstrations, there are plenty of interpretive panels inside where you can learn all about the Fort and its role in the War of 1812.

Again, my girls and their friends always have a great time doing funny photos at historic sites.

Fort Homes is a free historical site to visit on Mackinac Island.


And since it is located at the highest point of the island, the view of the Straits of Mackinac is absolutely gorgeous! This is another point we have stopped to have a picnic lunch—there are picnic tables nearby—because the view is worth sitting and enjoying.

Fort Holmes is located on the highest point of Mackinac Island


Surrey Hills Square Carriage Museum


This museum shows various types of carriages that were used on Mackinac Island through the years.

If you pay for the carriage tour of the island, you will stop here, but is free to the public if you prefer to walk up to it.

Surrey Hills Square Carriage museum on Mackinac Island


It isn't a very big museum, but I always find looking at the different carriages really interesting. There are also gift shops and a couple food venues (think hot dogs and candy mostly) available.

Letterboxing


Letterboxing is something our family really loves doing and there are quite a few letterboxes hidden on Mackinac Island. The below photo is of my oldest daughter finding a letterbox on our very first trip to Mackinac Island in 2010.

Letterboxing on Mackinac Island


We have found all of the letterboxes on the island, except one. We've looked for it a few times but I think it must have been moved or taken. Looking for them has allowed us to hike or walk many of the trails on the island with purpose—my girls went through a period of really loving letterboxing so it was a great way to get us outdoors and seeing lots of new places!

Letterboxing is always free, you just need a few supplies initially. You can read all about how to get started with this fun family activity here: How to go letterboxing.

***The rest of the items on this list are not free, but can be done for cheap and are things I highly recommend doing while on Mackinac Island.***

Bike around the island


If I had to pick a favorite activity to do on Mackinac Island, I wouldn't even have to think about it. It's definitely biking around the island.

Biking around Mackinac Island is a great way to see all the island has to offer and is a fun family activity


Sometimes you can get a free bike rental along with your hotel stay, which I have done a couple of times when staying at Mission Point Resort. But even if you can't find a deal like that, bike rentals on the island are reasonable.

We just rent our bikes for the time it takes us to ride the 8.2 miles around the island with a few stops at British Landing, Arch Rock, and a couple nature trails. It usually takes us about 2.5 hours to do and is approximately $100 for our family of 5.

Biking around Mackinac Island is a great way to see all the island has to offer and is a fun family activity


All of the shops have things like tagalong riders and bike trailers available for rent if you have young children who can't ride their own bicycle yet. I've even seen people put their dogs in the trailers! I also love how all the bike rentals have baskets so you have somewhere to put all your things while you're riding.

If you would like to bring your own bike across on the ferry, that will cost $8-$12 per bike, depending on the ferry company you use. This might work great if you already have a bike rack on your car—plus you would have your bike available to you the entire time you are on the island.

Biking around Mackinac Island is a great way to see all the island has to offer and is a fun family activity

I admit I don't always wear a helmet while biking the island, but I sometimes remember to pack them with us. If you are a stickler about the bike helmets, make sure to bring your own so you don't have to rent.

You can sign up to receive special offers for bike rentals here: Mackinac Island bike rentals.

Butterfly House


There are two different butterfly houses on the island, but I have only gone to the original Butterfly House.

The original butterfly house of Mackinac Island is a popular and inexpensive tourist destination


My girls love going—it's so fascinating to watch the butterflies and learn about the different varieties. They also have an area where you can see the cocoons and watch some new butterflies emerge.

The rates are $12 for 12 & up,  $8 for 5-11, and free for 4 & under. That said, we always purchase a package with our ferry tickets that includes a visit to the Butterfly House at a discounted rate.

The original butterfly house of Mackinac Island is a popular and inexpensive tourist destination


Read more about what I think of the Butterfly House here: Mackinac Island Original Butterfly House

I actually have brought my dSLR to the island a few times and gotten good photos of the butterflies, but usually I don't bother.

The Grand Hotel


The Grand Hotel is definitely one of the gems of Mackinac Island. It's the first thing you notice when you come in on the ferry and it is truly beautiful.

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island


However, to stay in the Grand Hotel is a pretty penny! But you can still see it a number of different ways.

You can pay a $10 admission fee to see the hotel and enter the grounds. I have never actually felt the need to do this yet, but I am sure I will eventually.

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island


The hotel and part of the grounds is easily visible from the street, and that has been enough for us thus far.

Non hotel guests can enter the gift shops to buy a souvenir.

Non hotel guests can eat at the hotel. Be aware you must dress for dinner and the meals are spendy—per person rates are $30 for breakfast, $50 for lunch, and $85 for dinner. Again, I have not chosen to spend my money on this, but the option is there.

Sadies Ice cream parlor at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island is a cheap way to visit the hotel without having to pay the entrance fee.


The way we usually choose to visit the Grand Hotel is via Sadie's Ice Cream parlor. It is open to the public, part of the hotel, and it's really good ice cream to boot! The ice cream is much cheaper than dinner at the Grand,  but slightly higher than a run-of-the-mill ice cream shop.

Fort Mackinac


If you are a history buff you really won't want to miss Fort Mackinac.

Fort Mackinac


They have wonderful educational displays and reenactments, including the firing of the cannon. I learned a ton about fur trading and the War of 1812 from visiting it and the other historical sites downtown that are included in the entrance fee.

The rates are $13.50 for 12 & up, $7.50 for 5-11, and free for 4 & under.

Just like the Butterfly House, you can usually find a package with your ferry ticket that includes Fort Mackinac tickets. Many hotel packages also offer tickets to the fort at a discount.

View from Fort Mackinac


*******

If you are hoping to visit Mackinac Island, don't let money stop you. There is so much to do on the island that fits into a low budget vacation. If you do everything that I have listed here, you will be kept busy for several days and will spend very little money!

Food is an entirely different issue, so I will be addressing that in a separate post soon.

Happy travels!



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This post may contain affiliate links, for more information, please see my disclosure.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Summer Theme Days—Free Printable

It's nice to have a flexible schedule that keeps your summer organized but still fun. Choosing things to do based on daily themes is a great way to plan some fun activities each week. Download this free summer theme days printable, laminate it, and use it to plan your summer activities.


Download this free summer themed days printable to make a summer schedule that is organized and fun for your kids this summer


As much as I look forward to summer—sunny days, family fun, sleeping in—after about the first week I'm almost ready to send my kids back to school.

Do you relate?

It's because of the chaos summer can bring to my home. If I am not on top of things as a mom, things go downhill super quickly. It's frustrating, but with a few simple tweaks, it's easy to keep the chaos at bay and have an organized summer that is still tons of fun.

How to keep summer from becoming a chaotic mess


Designate "theme" days for the summer

I've made a fun printable that assigns each week day an easy-to-remember theme. You can download it after the explanation of how to use it and ideas for the theme days.

Scroll to the bottom to download it immediately.

This post contains affiliate links

The idea is that you do specific activities based on the theme for that day. The possibilities are endless, but here are a few simple ideas.

Summer Theme Day Activity Ideas


The themed days are broad enough that you can fit several different types of activities into each day. 

For instance, an activity like making cookies could fit on Make-it Monday, Foodie Friday, or even Thoughtful Thursday if you bring a plate to someone else!

Make-it Monday


Take a Trip Tuesday


Water Wednesday


Thoughtful/Thinking Thursday


Foodie Friday


Laminate this summer theme days printable and plan fun activities for each day of summer vacation. Your kids will look forward to a fun activity each day and you will stay more organized. Make it the best summer ever with simple designated theme days!

How to use the Summer Theme Days printable


The idea is to write specific activities for each day directly onto the printable.

Meet with your kids each Sunday night and come up with the activities you will do for the following week. You can have your kids decide, or you can tell them the activity you have in mind if you'd like to go somewhere specific or do a certain craft.

I printed mine out and laminated it so that I can use a dry erase marker to change the activities each week.

You can laminate it at any printing shop, but I have my own inexpensive laminator that is easy to use.

Laminate this summer theme days printable and plan fun activities for each day of summer vacation. Your kids will look forward to a fun activity each day and you will stay more organized. Make it the best summer ever with simple designated theme days!


I love to use the ultra fine-point dry erase markers for both my family calendar and projects like this summer theme days chart, just because they are so much easier to write with.

Kids like to know what to expect, and even though most of the activities will not take long, it's nice to have something to look forward to each day.

It makes summer that much more organized while still keeping it fun for the kids!

To download:

Enter your email address into the form below and it will be sent directly to your inbox.


Enjoy!

Summer theme days free printable download



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This post may contain affiliate links, for more information, please see my disclosure.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Gluten-free Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

These gluten-free salted caramel cookie bars feature gooey caramel sandwiched between a buttery shortbread cookie bar. They are so good, everyone will want the recipe!


These gluten-free salted caramel cookie bars are to die for!

This recipe can be made gluten-free...or not.


To know me is to know that I love caramel. Whenever I'm asked the question "chocolate or vanilla?" my answer will be caramel every time. I'll take chocolate or vanilla—as long as there is also caramel sauce or caramel filling.

My husband does know this about me, so for Mother's Day last month he made me these amazing gluten-free caramel cookie bars. Seriously, they were so good that I ate three for breakfast the next morning!

I can't wait to make them again!

These gluten free caramel cookie bars feature a salted caramel filling sandwiched between a shortbread cookie crust is a perfect dessert for caramel lovers. They are so good that everyone will be asking for the recipe!


Gluten-free Salted Caramel Cookie Bars


Ingredients
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Crust:

2 Cups salted butter
1 Cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons gluten-free vanilla
4 Cups Bob's Red Mill gluten-free all purpose baking flour

(If you do not need to be gluten-free, regular flour works great!)

Filling:

50 individually wrapped Kraft caramel candies (unwrapped!)
1/3 Cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla
1 Tablespoon coarse sea salt

These gluten free caramel cookie bars feature a salted caramel filling sandwiched between a shortbread cookie crust is a perfect dessert for caramel lovers. They are so good that everyone will be asking for the recipe!


Directions


Crust:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

3. Mix butter, sugar, and powdered sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes.

4. Add vanilla, mix until combined.

5. Slowly add flour and mix on low until a soft dough has formed.

6. Press 1/3 of the dough mixture into the bottom of the greased pan, making sure it is even.

7. Bake for 20 minutes at 325° until the edges are golden brown.

8. Chill the remainder of the dough.

9. Remove crust from oven and let cool for 15-20 minutes.

These gluten-free salted caramel cookie bars are so delicious, everyone will want the recipe.



Filling:

1. Place unwrapped caramels in a microwaveable bowl and add the heavy cream. Microwave on high for 1 minute.

2. Remove caramel mixture from microwave and stir until smooth.

3. If caramels are not completely melted, continue microwaving on high for 30 seconds at a time. Stir until smooth.

4. Add vanilla to completely melted caramel mixture and stir.

5. Pour the caramel mixture over the cooled crust.

6. Sprinkle sea salt over the caramel filling.

7. Crumble the remaining chilled dough over the salted caramel filling.

8. Bake for about 25-30 minutes—until the caramel filling is bubbly and the cookie topping is lightly golden brown.

9. Let cool completely.

10. Cut into squares and enjoy!

These gluten free caramel cookie bars feature a salted caramel filling sandwiched between a shortbread cookie crust is a perfect dessert for caramel lovers. They are so good that everyone will be asking for the recipe!


Recipe adapted from this recipe: Salted Caramel Butter Bars


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This post may contain affiliate links, for more information, please see my disclosure.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

April 2019 General Conference Quote Jar

This General Conference quote jar is a perfect activity to do with your young women or to make for your ministering sisters! Free printables and simple instructions included.


How to make a general conference quote jar featuring quotes from April 2019 General Conference—free printable!


I've had the idea of pulling one quote from each talk in General Conference and making a quote jar with them for a couple years. I have just never actually done it until now!

And I'm super pleased with the result.

I plan to give these to my ministering sisters, but I think it would be a great project to do with the young women or maybe even the activity days girls.

It will be a fun way to study General Conference, I think.

Everything you need to make these is below—don't forget to download your printables at the end of this post!

How to make a General Conference quote jar


Make a general conference quote jar for your ministering sisters. Fill a jar with quotes from the April 2019 General Conference, use the free printable to decorate the jar, and have a fun new General Conference study help!



Materials needed:
(affiliate links)

Small Mason jars with standard size lids
White cardstock
Ribbon (I used red gingham ribbon)
Small craft/scrapbooking flowers (totally optional, but cute!)
glue

Directions:

1. Print out the quote pages (download them at the very end of this post).

2. Using a paper cutter or scissors, cut the quotes into strips.

Download these free printable quotes from April 2019 LDS General Conference


3. Cut out the jar lid printable (download it at the end of this post).

4. Glue the jar lid ring to the lid (this makes it easier than having to deal with the two parts).

5. Glue the printable to the lid.

6. Tie ribbon around the lid—I like to glue it in place with small dots of hot glue.

7. Add a flower to the bow. I used hot glue to secure mine.

8. Fold up the quote strips and fill your General Conference quote jar!

Make a general conference quote jar for your ministering sisters. Fill a jar with quotes from the April 2019 General Conference, use the free printable to decorate the jar, and have a fun new General Conference study help!

Download your printables by entering your name and email address into the form below.

You will receive an email containing both the jar lid printables and the quotes from April 2019 General Conference.



Enjoy!



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This post may contain affiliate links, for more information, please see my disclosure.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Mississippi Mud Pie—Gluten-Free Chocolate Pudding Dessert

This fake Mississippi Mud Pie recipe is made with Jello Pudding and whipped cream and is every bit as good as the real thing!




This recipe can be made gluten-free...or not!

The first time I ate this version of Mississippi Mud Pie was when my mother-in-law made it for my husband's birthday while we were still dating over 20 years ago. It was so good that I probably ate more than is proper in such a social situation.

Since then, it has figured prominently at nearly every birthday dinner in our house. My kids request it instead of a birthday cake regularly, and we are happy to comply! It also makes appearances on hot summer nights and other holidays.

We love it—and I'm pretty sure you will, too!


Your family will be requesting to eat this fake Mississippi Mud Pie recipe all the time. It  is made with Jello Pudding and whipped cream and is every bit as good as the real thing!

Mississippi Mud Pie—Chocolate Pudding Dessert


Ingredients

1 Cup Bob's Red Mill All Purpose gluten-free flour
(this is important—we have tried other gluten-free blends and the crust did not set up, so we had to do it all over again with the Bob's Red Mill, which worked beautifully!) (Also, if you do not need to be gluten-free, regular all purpose flour works great!)

1/2 Cup melted butter
1 Cup chopped pecans
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 Cup powdered sugar
2-3 Cups whipped cream or Cool Whip
1 small package of chocolate instant pudding
1 small package of vanilla instant pudding
1 regular sized Hershey's chocolate bar, shaved




Directions

Layer 1: Mix Bob's Red Mill flour, butter, and 1 cup of pecans. Press into an ungreased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for 2-4 hours.


Layer 2: Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar together. Fold in one cup of whipped cream and spread cream cheese mixture over the crust—be sure the crust has cooled completely.

Layer 3: Prepare both the chocolate and vanilla pudding packages according to direction, but with slightly less milk. Once the puddings are set, mix them together thoroughly and spread over the second layer.

*You may have pudding left over—you can put it into some cups to eat separately.

Layer 4: Spread remaining whipped cream over the third layer.

Layer 5: Shave chocolate bar onto the whipped cream.

Chill for 3-4 hours

Enjoy!

You might also like:

Pumpkin Pudding Dessert (It's very similar—but pumpkin!)

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Sunday, May 05, 2019

75+ Summer Reading Books for Kids Entering First Grade

An extensive summer reading list for kids going into first grade—print out this list and be ready for your summer library trips!


Keep your new first grader's reading skills fresh with this list of 75+ summer reading books!


This post is part of an ongoing Summer Reading for Kids series. Click HERE to find ideas for reading activities, reading lists, and reading incentives...and keep checking back for more!


Summer reading is one of my very favorite things—and while I love a good read while sitting on the beach, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm passionate about making sure my kids read enough books in the summer to keep their reading skills fresh for the next school year.

New readers—like the kids that have just graduated from Kindergarten—are more at risk for the summer slide than older kids. It's super important that your rising first grader practices reading during the summer so that they don't fall behind before school even starts.

I've compiled a book list for first grade readers that contains books of all types—classics, newer books, funny books, historical books, serious books, etc. I am certain you'll be able to find plenty of books on this list that your first grader will love!

I also have a first grade reading list pdf available for download. Click here to print out the list and put it into your library bag so you and your first grader are ready for some wonderful summer reading!

Consider purchasing a few favorites every year. Having lots of reading material available in the home is so important to raise kids who love reading!


Summer Reading Book List for First Graders

(affiliate links)

New readers—like the kids that have just graduated from Kindergarten—are more at risk for the summer slide than older kids. It's super important that your rising first grader practices reading during the summer so that they don't fall behind before school even starts. Use this SUMMER READING LIST of 75+ books to choose some books your first grader is sure to love this summer!


1. A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams

2. A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert

3. Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

4. All in a Day by Cynthia Rylant

5. Annie Rose is My Little Sister by Shirley Hughes

6. Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair by Patricia Polacco

7. Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson

8. Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban

9. Big Bug Surprise by Julia Gran

10. Big Shark, Little Shark by Anna Membrino



11. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See by Eric Carle

12. Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys, and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina

13. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

14. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

15. Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French

16. Diary of a Worm by Doreen Kronin

17. Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

18. Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert

19. Edward and the Pirates by David McPhail

20. Emily’s First 100 Days of School by Rosemary Wells

21. First Grade, Here I Come! by Nancy Carlson

22. Fix-it Duck by Jez Albrough

23. Flotsam by David Wiesner

24. Franklin Rides a Bike by Paulette Bourgeois

25. Frog and Toad (series) by Arnold Lobel



26. Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School by Laurie Halse Anderson

27. Henry and Mudge (series) by Cynthia Rylant

28. High Five by Adam Rubin

29. Hot Hot Hot by Neal Layton

30. How to Clean a Hippopotamus by Robin Page

31. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff

32. Is a Worry Worrying You by Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz

33. Jazz by Walter Dean Myers

34. Louella Mae, She’s Run Away! by Karen Beaumont Alarcon

35. M is for Music by Kathleen Krull

36. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

37. Margaret and Margarita: Margarita y Margaret by Lynn Reiser

38. Max’s Words by Kate Banks

39. Molly Goes Shopping by Eva Eriksson

40. Mouse’s First Summer by Lauren Thompson



41. Oops by Alan Katz

42. Pete the Cat (series) by James Dean

43. Pigsty by Mark Teague

44. Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade by Stephanie Green

45. Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood

46. Sally and the Some-Thing by George O’Connor

47. Sam and the Firefly by PD Eastman

48. Secret Pizza Party by Adam Rubin

49. Splash by Ann Jonas

50. Summertime in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

51. Superworm by Julia Donaldson

52. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig

53. Ten Apples Up on Top! by Theodore LeSieg (Dr. Seuss)

54. The Apple Pie that Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson

55. The Book With a Hole by Herve Tullet



56. The Boy Who Loved Words by Ronnie Schotter

57. The Empty Pot by Demi

58. The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum by Kate Bernheimer

59. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

60. The Icky Bug Counting Book by Jerry Pallotta

61. The Listening Walk by Paul Showers

62. The New Girl…and Me by Jaqui Robbins

63. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

64. The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant

65. The Retired Kid by John Agee

66. The Snow Leopard by Jackie Morris

67. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka

68. There is a Bird on Your Head by Mo Willems

69. There's an Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer

70. Three Cheers for Catherine the Great by Cari Best



71. Two Crazy Pigs by Karen Berman Nagel

72. What I Saw in the Teacher’s Lounge by Jerry Pallotta

73. While We Were Out by Ho Baek Lee

74. Widget by Lyn Rossiter McFarland

75. Z Was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg


Is your soon-to-be first grader a more advanced reader that is ready to try chapter books? Try some of these easier chapter books this summer:


1. Andy Shane and the Barn Sale Mystery by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

2. Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon

3. Freckle Juice by Judy Blume

4. Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows

5. Owl Diaries by Rebecca Elliott

6. The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey

7. The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale

For even more easy chapter books for early readers, be sure to check out this list: Easy Chapter Book Series for First Graders

And don't forget to print out this summer reading list for first graders by entering your name and email into the form below:




The benefits of summer reading are huge—especially for early readers. Use this list to find the best summer reading books for your first grader!


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This post may contain affiliate links, for more information, please see my disclosure.