7 Days of Apple-licious Recipes

7 Days of Apple-licious Recipes

If a trip to the orchard is in your near future I have found 7 of the yummiest ways to use the bounty of fruit you will bring home. If the old saying "An Apple a Day" is true you will be in good shape after trying out these recipes for a week of yummy treats.

While this may look like an ordinary bundt cake, your tastebuds will quickly inform you otherwise after they meet the hidden cheese cake layer of this Caramel Glazed Apple Bundt Cake.

Apple Pie Stuffed Cinnamon Sugar Waffles... I am sorry, what were we talking about?!

For a sweet alternative to your average chips and dip turn to Apple Pie Dip for addictive snacking.

Apple Fries? Oh my goodness. This I must try!

Fried Apples with honey sound like a yummy way to eat an apple a day.

Apple Crisp No Bake Cookies sound divine. I am a sucker for apple crisp and anything that requires no baking.

What is your favorite Apple Dessert Recipe?

Who says Apples are only for desserts or eating as is? I found 7 ways you can incorporate an apple a day into your dinner plans for tasty meals that are sure to please the entire family.

 A fall dinner has never been more flavorful than it is when you serve Caramel Apple Pork Chops.

Apple Bacon Coleslaw makes a drool worthy side to compliment a variety of entrees. 

Slow Cooker Apple Pork Loin offers many delicious samples of fall flavors with minimal efforts on your part.

Butternut Squash + Apple Soup makes a great meal on a blustery fall day.

Ideal for a quick on the go nosh, or just a yummy way to eat a cool dinner. These Chicken Salad Apple Sandwiches are perfectly portable, yummy and healthy.

This Chicken Pesto Pizza looks yummy! I love the topping of sliced apples for a completely unique flavor.

Apple Cheese Soup sounds fantastic. I love apples, cheese and soup so I know there is no going wrong with this recipe.

What dishes do you prepare for dinner that contain apples?

Chinese Chicken 10 Yummy Ways

I can't resist Chinese take-out! I mean, who can? It is so easy to place an order and swing by to pick it up after a long day when you don't really feel like cooking. The thing is, Chinese take out can add up pretty quickly! Luckily for my family, I found 10 scrumptious recipes for Chinese Chicken at home, so we can have that take-out taste at a fraction of the cost and with minimal efforts!

Orange Chicken Tofu Bowl
Lighter General Tao's Chicken
Peanut Butter Chicken
Teriyaki Chicken
Sweet and Spicy Asian BBQ Wings
Shoyu Chicken
Spicy Chicken Teriyaki Bowls
Chicken Fried Rice
Sesame Ginger Chicken
Copycat PF Changs Lettuce Wraps

Which of these recipes do you want to try first? Peanut Butter Chicken is a go to dinner at my house on long days when something amazing is needed for dinner. I can't wait to try the Shoyu Chicken recipe, maybe this week!

Tree Silhouette Place-Mat Craft

Once school starts, I am ready for fall. Bring on the warm days and cool nights, the changing of leaves and all things pumpkin!  If my family isn't home together enjoying summer break, let's move on to the next best thing- FALL!

Mr. Sweet Silly Sara had to return to work to get the school library set up and ready for the students on Monday. Rolf has another week before he is officially in school. We are trying to make the most of these lazy end of summer days together.

Yesterday morning, the kids and I were restless. It was cool outside and the grass was very wet with dew, so we decided to savor the time and let the sunshine do its thing to warm the day up and dry the grass before we headed out to play.

To make the waiting more enjoyable we decided to get crafty and make this great tree silhouette placemat. This was so easy to make and my son did a great job on his! I knew I had to share this with you guys!

To make a placemat with your kids, you will need to gather a few basic supplies and then let your creativity flow.

Supplies needed:

2 pieces of transparent contact paper, cut to 5" wide and 8" long sections.
Assorted construction paper in the colors of your choice. We used black, pink, purple and blue.

Begin by having the kids tear up the construction paper into small squares and strips.

Keep the colors separated for easy application of colors.
Next, you will want to carefully peel the back off of one section of contact paper.
Lay it sticky side up.
With a few strips of black paper, make the outline of the tree.

Next, begin applying more strips of paper around the tree. We made our tree placemat to look like the sun was setting, with the colors we often see in the evening sky.

Continue to stick your strips of construction paper to the sticky side of the contact paper.

After you have filled in all of the blank space on the contact paper, peel the backing off of the other section of contact paper. Only expose a small strip! This will make it so much easier to line up.

After you have lined up the beginning of contact paper section #2 to the first section, begin peeling the backing away while smoothing the first second section onto the first. {Does that make sense?!}

Then you have an easy to wipe off and very handy placemat for your little ones!

My son loved that he MADE this place mat. It was so much more important to him than the ones we have that came from a store! I loved how it turned out! It is such a lovely work of art!

This project is great because it is affordable to make. You could make 6 or 7 of these at least for a mere $2 if you buy your supplies at Dollar Tree.

It is also a great way to get your kids using fine motor skills. They will develop the small muscles of the hand with the action of tearing paper. This later plays into handwriting skills among other things.

Asides from that huge benefit, making place mats with your kids offers them the chance to express their creativity and make something they can use and admire and feel proud of!

You might also enjoy this Lemonade Craft idea!

Amazon Prime Student Offers Back To School Savings on Textbooks and More

College is an exciting time in anyone's life! From a fresh out of high school young adult that is ready to learn, grow and develop the skills and knowledge to build a career; to a 37 year old Mom of two, looking to better herself. While it is an exciting time for learning and growing, it is also an expensive time! Have you ever priced textbooks in a college bookstore? If not, have a friend come along with you when you do. You are going to want someone to catch you when you faint!

Luckily, there is one great way college students can save money while getting some awesome perks! Amazon Prime Student offers huge savings on textbooks and saves students like me time! I no longer have to wait in a long line to spend several hundred dollars on one book!

When you sign up for Amazon Prime Student, there is no cost for the first six months, courtesy of Sprint!
After that it’s just $49 a year—half the price of a regular Amazon Prime membership—and includes over a million songs with Prime Music and one free pre-released book a month with Kindle First. You can get the scoop on this deal with Amazon Prime Student site.

There are so many more perks to saving with an Amazon Prime Student membership, you get:

Unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video

Watch thousands of movies, TV shows and award-winning Amazon Originals on your compatible TV, laptop, Fire TV, smartphone or choice of more than 600 devices.

There are so many benefits of using Amazon  Prime Student! From free videos, tv shows and movies to stream, huge savings on textbooks and free 2 day shipping! Also, every time you refer a friend, you get some credit! If you are a student, or the parent of a student, now is the time to sign up and get 6 months free, then a half price membership!

Amazon Student Prime is a great way for Moms to save while stocking up on dorm essentials, and it is the perfect way to help your student save money, no matter how far away he or she might be!

Have you ever used Amazon Prime Student? I would love to hear how you saved money with your membership! We have used Amazon Prime Student for several years now. It has helped my family save a ton of money! 2 years ago I saved over $200 on an Algebra textbook!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

End of Summer Savings at Giant Eagle #gendosummrgift

It is back to school time, and if your budget is anything like mine, it is exhausted about right now! If there is an opportunity to save cash, I am going to take it! Lucky for me, Giant Eagle is going to make my budget feel a little relief because smart shoppers can rack up some pretty amazing savings now through September 7th. Let me tell you guys a little more about this sweet chance to save on something almost everyone needs!

Now through 9/7, savvy shoppers can double dip on savings when they purchase gift cards at Giant Eagle. Here’s How:

First, you can earn free gas! Earn 20₵ fuelperks! for every $50 spent on gift cards!

Then you can double dip into savings with your credit card by earning Credit Card Rewards!

By using your favorite rewards credit card to purchase, you can earn points, miles or a percentage back on your purchase. Some credit cards even offer increased rewards for purchases made at the grocery store.

Let me give you a few scenarios:

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers 3% cash back on groceries, and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card offers a whopping 6% cash back!

AMEX EveryDay®, AMEX Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card, BankAmericard Cash Rewards, Citi® Hilton HHonors credit card and Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard also offer increased rewards for grocery purchases.

If you have a Giant Eagle credit card, gift card purchases will help you earn points faster too! Let me tell you this is a huge benefit of purchasing gift cards at grocery stores rather than at drug stores!

Now let's watch the savings add up!

$3 off fuel (if you have a 15 gallon tank - .20₵ x 15 gallons) +
$3 back if you earn 6% cash back on credit card grocery purchases =
$6 in savings on a $50 in gift card!

Saving $6 off of gift card purchases is a pretty smart move don't you think? It makes cents and sense to head into Giant Eagle and buy a gift card to take advantage of this offer. If you are going to dinner or need to shop, stop in, buy the gift card and start racking up some savings! Remember, a deal this sweet isn't going to last forever. You have from now until 9/7 to take advantage of this deal! Don't delay!

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Fighting Childhood Hunger With Welch's Fruit Snacks

This conversation has been sponsored, either with payment or product, but the opinions are my own.

Guys, I want to talk about a serious issue that families across the nation face. The statistics on hunger are no laughing matter and considering that the United States is a wealthy nation, it is time that we all take a step to stop hunger, in children, adults, animals... you name it, there is a need for food, and we waste so much of it!

In the U.S. 1 in 5 kids face hunger, which means there are children in classrooms across the country who may not have the energy to focus engage, learn and grow which can lead to long-term effects such as grade repetition and developmental impairments.

To help fight child hunger, Welch's® Fruit Snacks has partnered with Feeding America® the nation's largest hunger-relief and food rescue organization.  From now through October 2016, Welch's® Fruit Snacks has committed to providing 1 million meals to children in needWelch's® Fruit Snacks is calling on consumers across the country to help fill the lunchboxes. When consumers buy Welch's® Fruit Snacks and submit a proof of purchase, Welch's® Fruit Snacks will donate an additional $1.00(11 meals) to Feeding America® with the goal of reaching 1.6 million meals donated!

Here's how you can do your part and join Welch's® Fruit Snacks to fight childhood hunger:
  1. Buy any Welch's® Fruit Snacks
  2. Snap a photo of the packaging
  3. Submit your photo by either:
·         Texting "lunch" to 811-811
·         Uploading it at fillthelunchbox.com
*For each photo received, Welch's® Fruit Snacks will donate $1.00 to Feeding America®.

My friends at Welch's need your help to share this message and to help fill the lunchboxes of children across the nation.  Buy any package of Welch's Fruit Snacks {I love the concord grape ones!!} and snap a shot of the package. Send it to 811-811 with the text of "lunch" and Welch's will donate $1 to Feeding America. 

Pretty simple right? While $1 is not much money, imagine the impact that dollar will have in the life of a hungry child or family!

Welch's is making lunchtime sweeter for the school kids for sure, but they want to offer you a little something too. They asked me to offer one of my readers a snack pack of Welch's Fruit Snacks and I could resist because this is a cause that means so much to me. Every week my children are asked to select 5 items from either the grocery store or our pantry on the weeks we don't need to shop and place it in a reusable shopping bag. We drop these items off at our local community action so that we can share our wealth with our community.

I hope that my kids realize how fortunate we are to be in a position to help others. My family is not rich in finances, but when we compare our situation to others around the world, it is obvious how wealthy we really are. We have a safe home, the luxury of clean running water, electricity, appliances for cleaning clothes and dishes. We always have 3 meals on our table and we have our health. Dropping off groceries at Community Action is one way we can help those in need in our community. I applaud the sweethearts at Welch's for recognizing the need and stepping to the plate to bring something to the plates of those that might not have anything to put on their own plate.

So, my dear sweet readers, please, buy a box of Welch's, let your kids enjoy a snack, then snap a shot of the box and text it over to 811-811 so that other families can stop stressing over food. In the meantime, enter to win a selection of fruit snacks courtesy of my friends at Welch's. This giveaway will end on 9-7-16 and is open to US residents 18 and older.

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Gerber Soothe Keeps Baby Happy #Formulaforhappiness

 I received a free sample of Gerber® Good Start® Soothe infant formula and Gerber® Soothe probiotic colic drops from Gerber®. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Having a baby in the house is one of the happiest things I can think of. The sweet sounds a baby makes, the sweet way babies smell and those smiles that are can melt your heart, even when you are sleep deprived! Speaking of those smiles, I want to do everything I can to keep them coming and to help make my baby as happy as can be and to keep the crying at a minimum.

When my son was an infant, he was the definition of a happy baby! The only time he would get upset was when he was not in my arms. He was content to be with Mama. So, I held him a lot, carried him on a hip and slept nearby him, so that I could be there to comfort him within a moments notice if need be. 

My daughter has been a different story. She has not been the definition of a happy baby, so I work even harder to bring those heart melting smiles to her face. Guys, that might seem like a chore, to please a baby that is hard to please, but it isn't as bad as you might think.

To keep my girl happy, Gerber Soothe has been the way to go. Excessive crying can really take a toll on everyone. Luckily, the good people at Gerber know a thing or two about how to handle that. Let me tell you about their line of products to help baby cry less and smile more.

Gerber® Soothe Probiotics Colic Drops is formulated with comforting probiotics L. reuteri which is a probiotic that is safe for infants. It has been clinically shown to significantly reduce crying time in colicky babies.

 Gerber® Good Start® Soothe Infant formula is specially designed to ease excessive crying, colic, fussiness, and gas while providing complete nutrition.

Gerber makes a powerful statement to parents, less crying means more smiling for all. With Gerber Soothe you can give baby a good start and make this special time a happier one for the whole family! 

For the fine print:

Gerber® Good Start® Soothe is a routine infant formula. This formula is not intended to treat or cure any disease.  Gerber® Soothe probiotics is a supplement probiotic. This product is not intended to treat or cure any disease.

9 Crock Pot Chicken Dinners to Crave

Do you know what I cook more often than not? Chicken! From shredded chicken to baked chicken burgers, it is my meat of choice. But, my recipes run their course and who doesn't like a little variety? I found some awesome ways to make chicken in the crock pot that I can't wait to try! I think you are going to like these too!

Crock Pot Lemon Sage Chicken
Easy Cheesy Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
Crock Pot Angel Chicken
Slow Cooker Gluten Free Cashew Chicken
Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Melt
Crock Pot Tex Mex Chicken
Slow Cooker Roasted Chicken
Slow Cooker Rosemary Garlic Chicken
Shredded Chicken Sandwiches

My go to easy cheesy slow cooker chicken tacos are included in this list. Those are my family's favorite dinner! I can't wait to try the Gluten Free Cashew Chicken Recipe! Which one do you think you will try first?

Cheesy Chicken Taquito Recipe

My favorite things to prepare for my family are easy, economical, wholesome and yummy! This easy chicken taquito recipe meets all of those criteria and is on the way to becoming a family favorite here! I have been serving them with Spanish Rice or a simple green salad. They come together in under 25 minutes for a great snack, appetizer, party food or addition to dinner.

This recipe can be created for $4.08 to break down the price:

1 package of soft flour tortillas was $1.59
1/2 pack of cream cheese was .49
4 ounces of shredded cheese was .50
4 ounces of salsa was .50
1 can of cooked chicken breast chunks was $1

If you take an easy side route of Spanish Style Rice and a can of diced tomatoes and chilis you can have a great dinner for your family for under $7!

This recipe made 8 taquitos. That was adequate for dinner for 4 and leftovers for lunch the next day.
We loved the creamy, cheesy inside with the crispy exterior!

print recipe

Chicken Taquitos
A cheesy, creamy, crispy taquito recipe to add a lot of yum to Taco Tuesday!
  • flour tortillas
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces salsa
  • 6 ounces cooked, shredded chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons Cooking Oil of Choice
combine cooked chicken breast, cream cheese, shredded cheese, salsa. Mix well.Spread the mixture on one end of a tortilla.Roll the tortilla around the mixture.Repeat until all chicken filling and tortillas are gone.Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Add taquitos to the skillet and brown on each side then serve.You can serve with salsa and sour cream if you like.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 servings

8 Truths About Line Drying Clothing

Earlier this summer, my dryer stopped working, it was unfixable. The timing was terrible, as finances made replacing it right away impossible. A well meaning relative reminded us that when she was a kid, they simply didn't have such luxury, and she turned out okay. While I might have thought... that was over 50 years ago lady, get a grip... I grinned and bared it. I knew she was right. Dryers are a luxury item. A clothesline went up and I got a taste of what it really feels like to give greener living a shot.  Let's explore the truth about line drying your clothes that no one seems to talk about.

The first day, I was pretty pleased. I could do laundry and I didn't need to go to a laundromat. Within 5 hours or so I had a load of sun dried clothes.

The second day, life took a brutal turn and we had rain... rain that lasted for about 3 days time. My laundry pile grew to monumental proportions. This is the first truth of line drying. Perfect weather is needed. 

By the third week without a dryer, I was growing bitter. Berries from our mulberry trees were falling and with perfect precision, they were falling at angles unexplainable to my mind, to stain many shirts and skirts.
The second truth of line drying is nature will throw plenty of curve balls your way, via berries, leaves and other fun which we will get into later.

I learned over the first four weeks that timing is everything. My life took on a new pace, and that pace was timing the laundry. If you catch it just as it is dry, things will be soft and smell almost nice. If you wait 10 minutes too ling, everything will be stiff, hard to fold and unpleasant to wear. The third truth is that when you line dry, your life belongs to your laundry.

One afternoon as I dashed like a sprinter to get the laundry off the line before it got as stiff as a board, I noticed some 13 or 14 year old boys standing at the foot of my driveway staring. As I followed their gaze, I realized they were checking out my unmentionables. The fourth truth of line drying is that your neighbors will get intimately acquainted with your panty collection.

By week five, every article of clothing we owned was covered with lint. Like, lint on top of lint, mixed in with some random hairs. There is a good reason we use dryers. That reason is called a lint trap. The fifth truth of line drying is that your clothes will look like garbage, or worse. They will collect lint and hair and look worse coming out of the wash than they looked going in.

By week 6 I was crunching numbers, trying to determine if I could afford a skin transplant after my epidermis was painfully removed by one of my over dried towels. The sixth truth of line drying is that your towels become weapons of mass destruction. Entire towns can be eliminated with the wrath of one towel dried in the sun for too long.

Halfway through week six, I found myself in a heap of lint covered clothes that were so stiff and scratchy that I debated becoming a nudist. For the greater good of humanity, I decided against it, but I did go out and buy 2 new outfits, just so I could feel soft clothes against my skin for a day.

Week seven was a hot one. The clothes dried faster than I could rotate them on and off the clothesline. Everything smelled like dust, dirt, and crud. The seventh truth of line drying laundry is a vulgar one, and I am sorry, but guys, I tell it like it is. Line drying your laundry stinks. Seriously, your clothes are going to smell like dusty shit.

Week 7 also brought back an earlier line drying truth and added a spin to it. Actually, two truths were revisited. Recall those mulberry trees I mentioned earlier? Birds love to eat mulberries. Birds also happen to be laundry pooping ninjas. The eight truth of line drying is that nature is beautiful and nature will poop on your sheets, drying in the sun. Thanks, birds....

Week 7 was the last week for me. I could line dry no more. I crunched the numbers and decided, it is time. I do not care if a dryer is a luxury, I work hard and I like to look like I am not a homeless person. I am buying the dryer, and then I am telling the world the truth about line drying your clothes.

Tonight I folded a load of laundry from my dryer and I sighed with happiness to touch clothes that were clean, soft and lint free.

Have you ever line dried your clothes? Can you relate to any of these truths?

Best Way To Cut Watermelon

You guys, I have the best way to cut a watermelon and I can't wait to share it with you. The days of making slices to form a wedge are long gone. This method reduces waste and really makes your melon easier to eat and share!

First, select your melon and place it on a large tray.

Cut it in half. Set half aside and flip the half you are going to work with red side down, rind up.

Slice the watermelon as you might if you were serving slices... long cuts that cover the watermelon, about an inch wide.

Then make cuts the length of the melon, crossing over the wide cuts you made a moment ago.

As you can see, instead of a big, hard to eat wedge of watermelon, you now have this neat little stick!

My best tip is to serve as is on the tray! It holds together nicely and makes it easy peasy for sharing!

This is a kid friendly way to serve melon too! Everyone that had a stick of watermelon was impressed with the serving method. It wasn't as messy to eat, there is so much less waste this way and it is fun to put knife skills to work sometimes!!

How do you serve watermelon? Wedges, cubes, sticks, balls?

Crab Cakes Recipe Made With John Wm Macy's Cheesesticks

Crab Cakes are the things that my seafood dreams are made of.  I cannot resist  them! I have 2 recipes that I like to use when I make them at home! But, this time, I switched things up and added my favorite snack of all times {John Wm Macy's Cheesesticks!} to the mix. What I created was nothing short of incredible. This recipe comes together in a flash, is packed with delicious flavors and it always leaves me wishing for leftovers for breakfast the next morning!

We live in Ohio. Our access to fresh seafood is seriously limited. Luckily, both Kroger and Meijer carry good brands of canned claw meat. I prefer to use blue crab in this recipe as I like the flavor it offers. You can use whatever variety of crab meat you have access to.  In a pinch I have used imitation crab meat {if that is what you can get, by all means go for it!}

Crab Cakes with John Wm. Macy Cheesesticks.

8 ounces of blue crab claw meat
1 egg
3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of honey mustard
2/3 cup of John Wm. Macy Cheddar Cheesesticks; crushed finely
1/4 cup sweet onion chopped finely

Cooking Directions

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of butter at a time to the skillet. {Add more as needed.}
Mix crab meat, egg, mayonnaise, mustard and onion together. Stir well.
Add 1/2 cup of John Wm. Macy Cheesestick crumbs and mix well.
Shape your patties by hand.
Coat the crab cakes in the remaining cheesestick crumbs
Place in hot skillet, frying until golden brown

The honey mustard in this recipe offers a touch of sweetness to the crab cakes which totally makes them crave-worthy! If there is left over butter left that wasn't used for frying I might add a tiny touch of it to the top of the hot crab cakes to enhance the flavor even more!

I used original cheddar in this recipe, but John Wm. Macy's has so many amazing flavors. Any of them would be amazing in this recipe. The Asiago and Cheddar variety will definitely be going in this recipe soon!

If you haven't tried John Wm. Macy's Cheesesticks yet. You seriously have to. My son hates cheese... but he told me, "These are the kind of cheese I like!" With a dreamy sigh and a cheesestick in hand I said "Me too Roo... me too."

John Wm. Macy offers delectable flavors such as Jalapeno Cheddar, Dijon Swiss, Melting Parmesan and Madagascar Vanilla to name a few. Check out their store locator or shop to order some. You will be so glad you did!!

Do you love crab cakes? Do you go out to get your fix of these little bits of yum or do you make them at home? I would love to hear either about your recipe or your favorite place to indulge in crab cakes!

You might also enjoy this Easy Cheesy Chicken Tacos recipe

Chocolate Milk for Mom

This recipe for chocolate milk is the best way to indulge your sweet tooth and get your coffee fix. It is a favorite lazy Sunday morning way to wake up in my world. Made with simple ingredients this is a total treat that will impress any guest with its amazing flavor. Much better than a coffee house drink in terms of both flavor and cost, you are going to love this Chocolate Milk for Mom recipe.

1 heaping teaspoon of instant coffee {I like foldgers classic}
4 ounces of ice
5 ounces of cold milk
2 teaspoons of dark chocolate syrup {I used Hershey's Special Dark}
Optional: whipped cream

This is so simple, add ice, chocolate syrup, cold milk and coffee in a Magic Bullet or in a Blender.
Top with whipped cream if desired and a drizzle of chocolate syrup on the top!
Pour it into a glass and enjoy!

Chocolate Milk for Mom is an amazingly simple and delicious drink. It is perfect for a summer day. I imagine this would be perfect for Christmas too with crushed peppermint on the top! What is your favorite cold coffee drink? i would love to hear about it in a comment!

Got Kids at Home? Here's Why You Need a Landline

This post has been sponsored but the opinions and chit chat are my own and the facts ring true!

Picture this:  It's the end of July—smack in the middle of summer.  Your kids are at home with a caretaker while you toil away at your 9 to 5.  Then, disaster strikes.  There's an emergency at home, and your kids have to call 911 for help. 

Are your children calling from a cell phone or a landline?  And does it make any difference?  Surprisingly, the answer is yes.  According to the latest data, if you don't have a landline in your home, it could be putting your children in grave danger. 

Here's a shocking fact:  According to an investigation by the USA Today  the chances of 911 dispatchers being able to find you based on your cell phone's GPS can be as low as 10% in some parts of the country.  With a significant share of cell phone-to-911 calls being placed from within residences—and 45% of Americans opting out of landline coverage at home—countless people are left vulnerable in emergencies.  The question then becomes not why you should have a landline in the home, but why haven't you gotten one yet?

In the spirit of keeping you and your family safe, I recently partnered with Ooma 's leading Internet home phone service with reliable E911 technology—to deliver three tips for keeping your home safe this summer in addition to owning a landline. 


Whether it's for a small scrape or something far worse, it's always a good idea to have a first aid kit handy.  People who call 911 from their cell phone are often surprised at how long emergency workers take to arrive on scene.  According to the recent Ooma.com 911 Emergency Response Study, more than one in five cell phone callers feel it takes too long—that's seven times higher than for people who call from a landline.  If you're often in situations when only a cell phone is available, consider keeping a first aid kit nearby.  


Make sure that no matter where you are, it's easy for the people around you to call your emergency contacts. Consider posting your own number, as well as first response numbers, on your fridge so your kids know how to reach you and your family, family members who live close by, or the authorities.  Post the name and number of a trusted friend or neighbor, too.  With Ooma's home phone system, up to three of these contacts can be notified by text message automatically when a 911 call is placed.  In situations when every second counts, this reliable Internet-based technology could save tens of thousands of lives. 


Educate your kids about the sights, smells, and sounds of danger.  If they hear a smoke alarm or see an appliance overheating, advise your children to get outside as quickly as possible.  Planning an exit strategy is key to getting a safe distance away from the house so you can alert a neighbor and have them call the fire department.  Consider making a detailed fire plan with multiple escape routes and keeping a printed copy of your fire plan on visible walls around your house.

For many people, money is understandably a legitimate concern—but when it comes down to it, we really can't put a price on ensuring that the people we love are safe.  Luckily, first aid kits are both lightweight and budget-friendly, while the price of a secure Ooma landline pays for itself in just three months and costs less than a Netflix subscription on a monthly basis.  

Got any 911 emergency stories of your own?  I wouldn't be surprised.  In the past five years alone, over a quarter of Americans have called 911 with a cell phone, and in that group, there were many dissatisfied callers.  If you've got a story you'd feel comfortable sharing, I'd love to hear about them!  Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below. 

Nature Cat Meets and Greets Young Fans in Columbus

My family was hosted at this event so that we could share the fun with you.

Let me tell you a brutal truth. I am over summer. I had made a pledge to avoid the midday sun until the temperatures are in the 70-degree range, but we were presented with an invitation that I couldn't refuse.
Last week my kids had a wonderful treat! We were special guests at the Ohio State Fair to meet and greet PBS's Nature Cat with WOSU and PBS Kids.

When my son was born, I made a choice to limit his television content to PBS Kids and PBS Nature. I had watched many hours of the popular choices with my sister's children and knew that kids television could be a very slippery slope. When Harper was born, the PBS rule was still in effect. My kids have grown up on great educational programs like Super Why, Curious George, and Dinosaur Train.

My kids were so excited to see Nature Cat in person, and to hug him! They were thrilled with the presenter from ODNR and her frogs. As the special event ended, my kids were feeling pretty pleased. Hanging out with a favorite character is quite an accomplishment for the kindergarten and preschool crowd. Little did they know, Daniel Tiger and Peg+Cat were just around the corner, ready for hugging!

WOSU Public Media, the PBS affiliate for central Ohio, offers content and resources to children and families that aren’t available through any other local media. I love their commitment to quality family programming and their efforts at bringing the fun to life for kids!

Blackberry Cheesecake Float

You guys! I have an awesome summer drink recipe to share with you that is so easy and literally only requires 2 ingredients!

I have been craving all things blackberry lately. Normally I am not the biggest ice cream eater, but this little pint of blackberry cheesecake ice cream practically fell into my cart and begged to come home with me.

Immediately I knew how I was going to enjoy this treat! In an ice cream float!

Ice cream floats completely change the ice cream game in my book. I cannot resist them and love to try different flavors! They can be as simple as root-beer and vanilla or as complex as you care to make them.
This one is not too wild in terms of the combination, but it is wildly delicious!

To make a Blackberry Cheesecake Float you will need:

2 scoops of blackberry cheesecake ice cream
1 can of Cream Soda {I used Diet A&W}

graham cracker crumbs
whipped cream


Add ice cream to a tall glass
Top with cream soda

Top with whipped cream and 1 teaspoon of graham cracker crumbs

This was a fantastic flavor for a float for a summer indulgence that took only a moment to prepare and share!

You might also like this Strawberry Shortcake Float recipe.