13 Items You Will Want to Pack for Your Next Road Trip

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I am used to going on short 2-4-hour road trips that don’t require a lot of planning since we typically have the same destination.  However, this summer I am planning a much longer road trip to Colorado to visit some family.  It is about a 16 hour drive not including stops along the way.  We plan on taking our time and making it a 2-3-day trip there and a 2-day trip back home.  In-planning what I need to consider packing I am running through a lot of scenarios.  What if someone gets sick or what snacks should we bring on a longer road trip?  What music and movies do we need to bring?  Do we rent a car or put all of those miles on our vehicle?  All types of scenarios are running through my mind as I begin to plan this new adventurous trip ahead.

 

Some of the things I know I need to ensure we have are the following:

1.       Music

You want to ensure there is music for everyone.  You don’t want to only bring a playlist that you like but your other riders don’t. You will be stuck in a car for long hours at a time.  You want to make sure everyone is as happy as possible. 

2.       Movies and DVD player

Ensure you have a portable DVD player with you so that the kiddos or other adults can enjoy a movie when they get tired or cranky.  This usually indicates someone needs a much-needed nap.  This is a good way to help relax your kiddos and allow them some downtime.  Road trips can be exhausting even just sitting there in one place.

3.       Snacks and Water

You want to be sure to bring snacks and other food like fruit or protein like hard boiled eggs or meat stix.  Good options for a road trip are string cheese, go-gurts, chips, nuts, crackers like little fish (mess free for the most part), bananas, apples, and grapes. Be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water!

4.       First Aid Kit

Be sure to bring a first aid kit.  As you are out and about at rest stops, exploring on a hike, or at the hotel overnight you never know when someone will fall and scrape their knee or get a splinter or a bug bite.  You want to be prepared since you are not in your normal surroundings at home. 

5.       Baby Wipes

What would I do without my baby wipes.  Since having my son, I don’t go anywhere without baby wipes.  These are especially handy while on a road trip.  You can wipe hands clean when they want a snack in the car.  Clean up a little after a hike or when you get sticky hands from handling that sticky piece of candy. 

6.       Electronics Chargers

Be sure to bring all of the chargers for your electronic devices.  There is nothing worse than forgetting your DVD player charger and the little ones want to watch a movie and the device dies in the middle of the movie.  Can you say major melt down ahead?!?  Do NOT forget the chargers.  You also don’t want to have a dead cell phone.  These are our lifelines and without them we cannot function.  They store our road trip maps and itinerary, our list of contacts, it is our GPS system, it is our fun time with Facebook, Instagram, and Candy Crush. 

7.       Games and Toys

Be sure to pack some new games and toys for the road trip.  These will be a surprise and something new for the kiddos to enjoy.  This will help in a bind when you hit some heavy traffic or have to take an unforeseen detour extending the travel time in the car.  As kids get cranky or bored with sitting in the car come up with some new car games together.  If that doesn’t work pull out a new activity book or toy they can enjoy.

8.       Garbage Bags

Pack some garbage bags and then add a couple more just in case.  As you eat your snacks or use your baby wipes you will need somewhere to put the garbage.  I always bring grocery bags with us since they are the right size.  Then I ensure to put a few all around the vehicle so they are handy from any seat in the car. 

9.       Carsick Kit

Be sure to bring some extra garbage bags for anyone who may get sick on your trip.  You wouldn’t want anyone getting sick and having to worry about the interior of your car.   I would recommend buying some Dramamine as well to prevent motion sickness in anyone who tends to have it in your family.  Also, pack some hand sanitizer and of course you will have your baby wipes handy too.

10.   Toilet Paper

Pack a couple rolls of toilet paper.  You may need to make an unexpected pit stop along the highway and you don’t want to be unprepared for those times.  You can also use the toilet paper for runny noses, etc. if needed.

11.   Ice Chest

Pack a small ice chest with some water, fruit, and lunchmeat.  You can have a roadside picnic or some protein as a snack.  Or you can make some quick sandwiches while staying on the road.  In my opinion fruit is best cold so I like to keep it in the ice chest. 

12.   Road Trip Apps

Load up your phone with some fun road trip apps that will make your trip that much easier.  Two that I use are Roadtrippers and Gas Buddy.  Some other apps that I have heard about and plan on checking out before my summer road trip are TV Food Maps and INRIX.

13.   Medications and Eye Glasses

Be sure to pack your medications.  You don’t want to go on a week-long trip and not have your medications with you.  I use a make-up travel bag to store all of our medications.  I suggest also bringing cough medicine and Motrin or Tylenol for the kiddos too.  You never know when a fever will occur and you don’t want to have to try to find a drug store in the middle of the night in a strange city. 

 

I hope you find my list of recommend road trip items helpful.  Please share your must pack items for your road trips in the comments.  We can all learn new tips, tricks, and hacks before we set out on our adventures this summer. 

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Camping Life Hacks – What Works and What Doesn’t

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There are a ton of awesome Life Hacks for just about anything. Here are my top 5 Camping and RVing hacks I have given a try (at least once), and if they actually worked or not. Some of these may seem simple enough, and we have adopted a few of them into everyday life – such as the frozen water bottle hack. Read on for my results of the tried and tested ideas, so you don’t have to waste your time or effort. This is just a small handful of solutions, if you have a favorite please share in the comments!!

Frozen Water Bottles as Ice-packs

Hack: Freeze potable water in their original containers, any size for your cooler

Result: WIN! This is a fantastic idea! This keeps you from having to purchase and store freeze packs. Water bottles come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes from a round gallon or a square gallon. This is awesome, allowing options depending on the shape and size of your cooler. This keeps your items nice and cold. Then when you arrive, you have your drinking water handy too. Saves on space to store and transport your drinking water also. At my house, we have a dedicated handful of smaller 16 or so ounce bottles that we keep in the freezer at all times. This way they are small enough to go into any cooler and enough of them fill the space as needed. I have lucked out in that none of my bottles busted the caps while in the freezer, but just make sure there is enough room to keep it from doing so.

Pre-mix Pancake Batter in a Squeeze Bottle

Hack: Pre-mix all the ingredients for Pancake batter and transfer and store in a squeeze bottle with a lid for use at a later time.

Result: FAIL! Such a total and complete FAIL! If you have done this successfully, please share HOW! The pancake batter expands and though I only filled the squeeze bottle half way, it soon was like a science project and erupted all over the place. I’m not a quitter, so after I cleaned up the mess from transferring from the mixing bowl to the bottle, then the explosion mess – I went on to try this theory out. It continued to fail after I got all the batter in the silly bottle. The opening wasn’t large enough, and it looked like I was trying to make Pancake Picasso Art, and not the intended blobs of golden goodness. I eventually cut the opening more, and it still wasn’t a large enough for the volume of batter to flow. I ended up just taking the top off and dumping it out of the bottle neck opening. What a mess.

Pool Noodles for Everything including the Pool

Hack: Cut Pool Noodles to size to cover sharp edges and anything that someone could run into, trip over, or bonk their noggin on

Result: Brilliant! For just a buck or two, these are a must have for any outdoor trip. For RVers, these are perfect to cut to size, and make a slit in. Then snap onto the edges of a slide/pop out and even awning arms. For tent campers, these make for fantastic markers on tent strings to keep folks from tripping on them. For all outdoor activities, it’s nice to have these on hand for when you are near water for their intended uses, but also to protect any sharp edges you did or didn’t foresee having to deal with. And who can resist a pool noodle sword fight?!

Johnson & Johnson Lotion as Mosquito Repellent

Hack: Lotions from companies such as Johnson & Johnson or Avon’s’ Skin So Soft act as a Mosquito Repellent

Result: Meh – Fail. I didn’t notice a difference. Of anything the mosquitoes moved to an area that didn’t have any lotion on, such as my legs that were covered with pants. If you have a sensitivity, or age restriction and want to use this option…. You are better off just staying in side. I have found other non spray or non lotion solutions such as the bracelets and candles.

Foam Floor Tiles

Hack: Connect Foam Floor Tiles to line the tent or areas that you need a soft landing for

Result: Win – This is a great idea, even in an RV or developed camp site. In the tent, it made areas around the sleeping bag easier to get in and out of.  I put them under the bag too, just for the added comfort. Especially in a tent when walking around in socks or barefoot, it helps to avoid the annoyance of stepping on twigs or little rocks, or if you have a little one crawling and rolling around. In the RV, we have a set that I use for areas that don’t have carpet and when I need to get on the ground. That could be for any reason, a repair, loading and unloading, and the occasion when I might want to do some yoga indoors. They come in a variety of colors, and they all lock together to make a footprint for the space you need.

 

Hope this article helped save you some money, effort and time trying out various hacks, purchasing or better yet, not purchasing items to test out these hacks. I hope to try out a few more this summer and look forward to reporting the findings back to you. If there is a Camping Life Hack you want Erika or I to try please let us know. If you have a Camping Life Hack you know works or doesn’t work, feel free to share in the comments below!

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Erika’s Pre and Post Vacation Routines

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My family likes to take short weekend trips or longer road trips if we have the vacation time and budget to do so.  Before each trip, I like to make sure things are organized, cleaned, and in order before leaving the house especially since I have a dog/house sitter come over to stay at the house to take care of our fur baby Gracie.

Some of my Pre-Vacation routines to be organized are:

Clear off all flat spaces in the Kitchen

I always like to leave the kitchen clean.  Before leaving the house, I ensure the island, counters, and table are free of any debris or items that should not be on them.  I completely clear off the island and the table so that it is cleared off for the house sitter.  She can keep it up as she stays and any messes she makes are easy to clear before we return home. 

The only items I keep on the counters are the Keurig, coffee pods, and my utensil crock and knife crock where I store all of my large cooking spoons and my knives.  I also have my dish rack on the counter so any dishes that need hand washing can be air dried. 

 

Clean and Put Away all Dishes

I always make sure all dishes are either put away in their respective cupboards, and I always make sure all the dirty dishes are put in the dishwasher.  By doing this I can ensure the house stays free of smells from dirty dishes, and makes it so nice to come back home to a clean kitchen.

 

Clean the Bathrooms

I really like to clean the bathrooms before leaving on a trip.  It is a nice feeling to come back home and have a clean counter, sink and toilet.  I always clean everything off the counter, wipe down the mirrors and clean the toilet.  I also ensure the shower is cleaned really good too.  I tend to use these times for a good deep clean of the bathroom.

 

  Make the Beds and Tidy the Bedroom

Before leaving the house for a few days I ensure I tidy up the bedroom and make the beds.  It makes for such a nice home coming when everything is orderly and clean in your personal space.  I don’t always make my bed in my haste to get out of the house for work each day, but I sure do enjoy the clean feeling I have when my bed is made. This is why I ensure it is made before going on vacation. 

 

Some of my Post-Vacation routines to stay organized are:

  Put away all contents in Luggage

We all know that after a vacation you need a vacation from your vacation.  To help keep things in an organized fashion throughout the house I ensure to put away everything in my luggage and put away any other items that need to be put back in their space.  I have to do this before I sit down and get lazy and recover from the past days while away from my comfort zone of my house.

Put away items in bags and ice chest

When we get home, we put away all of the items in the kitchen that we have in any bags we had for snacks or items that don’t go in the ice chest.  Things like bread, chips, and fruit.  I empty the contents of the ice chest and put everything away, dump any water and ice and let it dry outside.

 

Laundry, Laundry, and more Laundry

As I put away our items from our luggage I gather all of the laundry that needs to be washed and begin doing laundry before we do much of anything else.  We tend to have more laundry while on vacation so I get started on it as soon as possible.  I like to have it all washed and put away by the following day if not by the end of the night we return from our trip if we get back home early enough.  Luckily there is only 3 of us so we can usually get it done the same day.

 

If you like to have an organized home and continue to have the relaxed vibe from vacation, be sure to have your home cleaned and organized before leaving for vacation.  Share your tips and tricks to keeping that vacation vibe going once you return home.

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The Cs Top 5 RV and Camping Must Haves!

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Please see here for our Affiliate Sharing disclosure. YAY Amazon!

Last month E and I shared a few things that we love. This month we will focus on the products and hacks that make spring travel more enjoyable and simple. I will kick it off with my top 5 RV and Camping Must Haves. Many of these you can pick up at most retailers. In this post are links to the products I purchased on Amazon, or something similar for you to take a peek at. We hope this will help make your travels just a little bit more fun.

Telescoping Broom or Stick Vacuum

Depending on the storage space and electricity available to you, a Telescoping Broom or Stick Vacuum is a must have. This will help to keep your tent or RV free from sharp rocks and keep your fuzzy socks from getting yucky. I have  this broom and love love love it. It folds down small making it easy to store, and based on what I need to sweep, I can use it as a full-size broom, or a smaller duster, by how much you expand the collapsing handle. A Stick Vacuum is also a nice space saving option if you have the space, electricity with a generator or sure power. One of the best vacuums out there is  this Dyson .

Ice Maker

The place we frequently park our RV can charge quite a bit for bagged ice, and on busy holiday weekends they often run out. We get a TON of use out of  this funky looking little machine. Many of these ice makers churn out a trey in as few as 7 minutes. This means you can make several pounds in a few hours while running a generator or on sure power. In our case, this has easily paid for itself. When not camping it’s also a nice to have during house parties!

Insulated Cups

The Yeti type tumblers are incredibly popular now, with several sizes and accessories to choose from. There are a few camping selling points for these. They have water tight sealing lids with straws to keep the bugs and dust out, keep beverages ice cold or piping hot for several hours, easy to keep clean, fit in cup holders, have handles as add on accessories and are available in all price ranges. The competition to the Yeti brands are popping up all over the place. We have both Yeti and Ozark Trail brands and they both work just as good! You can even get them personalized with your name or company logo or favorite pop-culture characters on laces like Amazon and Etsy. Or to keep track of yours with the solid colors that are perfect for spring such as these .

Wipes for kids even the furry ones

Camping or Glamping it’s easy to get just as messy. Having wipes on hand make life so much easier. All kinds of wipes should be in your travel kit. Disinfecting wipes are perfect for picnic tables and surfaces you need to keep clean. Disposable baby wipes are brilliant for keeping hands clean and even wiping dust off your face. If the pup is along for the ride, make sure to stock up on wipes for them too. This will keep dust off their coat and paws, ensuring they don’t track all that dirt into your sleeping and living space. If they do, good thing you have that broom!

Cloth Storage Bins

The key to a successful trip is being able to find everything you packed, and have it be stored in an easy to access way. When you have limited space, collapsible storage bins like  these can be a fantastic system to use. They can be easily stored when not in use, or be used around the house too. In our RV we have a multitude of sizes for the pantry to keep things from rolling around. We also use them out on the counters once we are parked for things such as TV remotes, when we hit the road, the bin goes in the cabinet and we don’t lose any remotes. Glamping can be hard work! HA

I could go on and on about the products I have found to make camping and RVing a fun adventure. It’s the simple things that can make a weekend or weeklong trip go from messy, to simple and organized. This allows you to focus on the important thing – Having Fun!

What are your favorite tricks and tools? Please share in the comments below. Be sure to check back next week when E shares her next post!

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5 Things That E Loves

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Last week C shared a little more insight into the simple things in life that bring us joy. This week I bring you the things that I love.  There are the staple obvious sources of joy, family, friends…food. In the past 6 months between the two of us sharing social media posts, pins, and blog posts you may already know some of this about us. These are the fun kind of blog posts where we get to explore a little bit more about ourselves and get to share ourselves with you! Here are my top 5 things that bring a smile to my face, and I can never have enough.

 

Cubed Shelving

I don’t know how I survived the first three years of life with a child without these cubed shelves.  I don’t have a very big house so my sons toy room is essentially the living room.  I originally started out with just your standard size toy box.  This worked for about the first year since we didn’t have many toys while he was so small.

Once he hit a year old and got toys for his first birthday the number of toys grew exponentially!  The volume and size of the toys was not expected for a one year old as this is my first child.  I started to buy organization bins from Dollar Tree to put his toys in.  I found myself having to buy 2 or 3 more every few months just for his cars.  (My mom has a bit of a problem buying him cars every week and sometimes every day.) At one point, all he could talk or think about was his cars from the Cars movies.  Now we are all about Monster Jam monster trucks.

This past Christmas I bought 2 sets of cubed shelving and the cloth bins that fit inside each cube.  I have all of his monster trucks in one, Cars cars in another, hot wheels in a third bin, and miscellaneous vehicles and small toys in the remaining bins.  Any vehicles or toys that don’t go in a bin either sit on top of the shelves or in his toy box.  The cubed shelves look so much nicer than all of those plastic primary colored bins all over the floor.  I love them, and wish I had bought them a long time ago.

 

Sriracha Sauce

I don’t know about you, but I love spicy food.  And I love my Sriracha sauce in or on almost anything.  I especially love to put it in soups or on any dish that has meat and veggies mixed together to “spice” it up a little more in the flavor department.  I don’t know if you recall, but few years ago, there was a shortage on the peppers that are used for making Sriracha sauce.  The sauce had a shortage nationwide.  I was so worried I wouldn’t have my Sriracha sauce anymore I think I bought 5 bottles of it…just in case…and to get me through the shortage.  I think the absolute best item to put it on is egg rolls.  Egg rolls to me are pretty bland and don’t have enough flavor for my liking.  I put a good squirt of the sauce on each time I take a bite.  OMG! My mouth is watering just writing this…so sorry for digressing!

If a cold or allergies have you all stuffy and you can’t breathe out of your nose.  Just grab yourself a bottle of Sriracha sauce and squirt a good amount into a bowl of chicken noodle soup and you will be cleared up in no time.  Please beware that this sauce is really spicy if you are not a big fan of spicy food.

 

Blankets

I too am a native Arizonan like C is, and for whatever reason I love to have a blanket on the couch at all times too.  I like the soft, coziness they provide while sitting on the couch drinking my coffee on a Saturday morning, or while watching a TV show.  Even during the HOT Arizona summers, I still have an afghan on the couch.  These aren’t as warm as a blanket but I just need something on my legs or to snuggle up with.  I really like The Big One from Kohl’s, but I also like these too.

Target Dollar Spot

Can you say OMG so Cute!  This is how I feel every time they restock the Target Dollar Spot.  If you do not know what this area is, it is right when you walk into the store near the shopping cart area.  They have items as low as $1 up to $5.  I love shopping this area because you can find some great teacher gifts, or small gifts for co-workers or friends and family.  I find a lot of good finds for reward items for my son.  It helps to motivate him with trying new foods, or when he was potty training.

Last week they restocked with Easter and St. Patrick’s Day items. The items I really loved this time ere the ceramic lanterns, glass cake stand, and glass carafe.  I also picked up some mini pots with seeds to plant for my sons Easter basket.  It is a good way to get him outside and in the dirt planting some food we can grow and eat.

When they had the valentine’s items out in January/February I picked up some coffee cups with silicone lids for teacher gifts.  They were $3 each!

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes

I am very sensitive to the smell of different perfumes, chemicals, and cleaners.  They flare up my asthma so I am not able to just grab a bottle of cleanser and clean the kitchen or bathroom.  I have to be pretty selective in my choices.  But I did find a solution with Clorox Disinfecting Wipes.  I am able to use the original and lemon scented wipes.  I use them to clean the bathroom mostly or my desk at work.  If I need to spot clean my bathroom counter or the entire bathroom I know I can use 2-5 wipes and be done.  When cleaning my desk at work I usually only need to use 1-2 wipes and I know my desk is free of germs and anything contagious like cold and flu germies.

 

What items or places do you absolutely love?  Share your loves in the comments.

Let us know in the comments what type of posts you would like to see here on our blog site.  We want to share content that you enjoy too!

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Top 5 Things That The C in All Things E and C Loves

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This post contains Affiliate Marketing Links – YAY Amazon!

 

This week and next C and E will share a little more insight into the simple things in life that bring us joy. There are the staple obvious sources of joy, family, friends….food. In the past 6 months between social media posts, pins and blog posts I may have mentioned mine. These are the fun kind of blog posts where we get to explore a little bit more about ourselves and get to share ourselves with you! Without further adieu here are my top 5 simple little things that bring a smile to my face, and I can never have enough.

Fuzzy Blankets

Never mind that I live in the desert, and it’s typically over 100 degrees from May to October. My house, RV and even RZR have blankets floating around. I love the soft simple comfort that a silky Velvet or shaggy Sherpa can provide. Anytime I’m sitting blogging or watching a movie I will get a little chill and this little fluff of heaven brings me warmth. I love that there are so many types of materials to choose from. This is one of my favorites from Amazon. For an even more decadent blanket, I love a good fuzzy heated throw like this one.

Tea

A nice warm mug of fragrant tea is always good to have with a fuzzy blanket! I am a sucker for tea shops like Teavana. It’s always a fun adventure to smell and taste flavors from around the world. If time allows, a lose leaf is a great way to experience a great variety of tea types. Red, Herbal, Green, Black, Oolong even Flowering tea can be fun. When in a rush, the Keurig is a great time saver. Many of the traditional bag companies also offer K-Cup flavors. My favorite K-Cup flavor is this Chai Latte from Amazon. I didn’t forget about the traditional bag tea. This is a great all around option from lounging, to rushing, to having a sip of something at the office. There are a ton of health benefits from the various styles of tea, and blended teas that promote better digestion and even better skin.

Starbucks Cups

Next to all the fun flavors of tea in my pantry, are the even more fun and cute cups to enjoy them. I am addicted to Starbucks cups, everything from travel tumblers, to mugs, to cold cups. This is a little guilty pleasure I like to splurge on and are always on my Christmas list from Santa. You may have noticed my slight obsession with the cups and teas from our social media posts and even the pins I upload to Pinterst. The best part, if you are on the Starbucks rewards program, you earn stars on cup purchases online and in store.

Manicures and Pedicures

Earlier this month I shared thoughts on the different types of manicures. These same techniques can equally be applied to a pedicure. If you want to check it out, here is the post. Mani/pedis are my vice. This is time I can take for myself to relax and enjoy a fun way to express my style or celebrate a holiday. The best part of this guilty pleasure, you can go to a swanky salon or spa, or set up that same fun vibe at home!

Harry Potter
Ok, I’m sure you are all suuuuuuper excited to see me posting even more pictures and blog posts about Harry Potter!!! I love all things from this fandom and pop culture. The books, plays, merchandise, movies, tattoo inspiration and theories about the characters. I love all of it. As a dedicated fan, it is so awesome to know the wizarding world will be kept alive with continuing stories such as Fantastic beasts and where to find them, and one off collections such as the Tales of Beedle the Bard. The ability to be totally immersed in the living world is just icing on the cake. I was fortunate to visit one of the many parks around the world. It is my goal in life to visit as many as possible, maybe even catch the play… maybe.

Share with us what your favorite things are in the comments.  Thanks for visiting

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When You Need to Label All Things…Everything!

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When we have kids, we try multiple products throughout the different stages they go through. One of the best products I bought during the bottle and sippy cup stage were these Avery Self-Laminating Labels for Kids’ Gear. 

When my son was diagnosed with Dysphagia, I had to send bottles of formula and cereal premeasured to add into his bottles and sippy cups.  I used the labels throughout his one-and-a-half-year treatment cycle.  They worked beyond my expectations.  I was expecting to have to buy a new set of labels every couple of months.  Almost 2 years later the labels are still on most of his cups.  The labels that didn’t make it are because my son took them off. 

I simply wrote his name on the long labels and wrote milk or water on the round labels.  I was a skeptic about these labels because I knew I would be putting them through the dishwasher multiple times a week.  I used a ballpoint pen to ensure there wouldn’t be any bleeding of the ink if any liquid got into the label. 

The best thing about these labels is they have unlimited uses.  You can use them on lunch kits for yourself or your kids, bins for toys, travel bottles, thermos or travel cup, and sports bottles. Really the options are limitless as long as you have a surface the labels can adhere to.

I know when my son is old enough to start playing sports I will be buying these labels again.  They are well worth the money spent.  And for about $7 for 48 labels I definitely got my money’s worth out of them.  I would only recommend products that I use and will only recommend products I believe in.  These are the best labels I have tried, and I had to try a few different types before I finally found these.

I hope you are as happy with these as I have been.  Happy labeling…All Things…Everything!

 

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What Manicure Type is Right for You?

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This month Erika and I will be blogging about the little things that make us happy. What better month than February to chat about the silly little things that we love. This week I’m sharing my love of nails! This is small simple pampering that brings me joy and a fun way to express myself. These days there are so many styles, types and materials to choose from. Here are a few styles that I have tried and my personal thoughts on the process and results.

UV Cured Gel

The colors are as endless as traditional polish. Many salons have the traditional polish in the same color as the gel, if like me, you prefer the gel on the manicure and the traditional on the pedicure. The gel manicure it a bonding prep solutions, base coat two coats of color and a top coat. Between each application, you place your nails under a UV lamp to cure the gel polish. Typically, the gel is a high shine that lasts two weeks. There are solutions that can mattify the polish for another set of color and style options. The gel can be applied directly to the natural nail or on a set of acrylic nails. This is my go to style. I love the variety and the longevity this option provides.

Dip Gel

Similar to the UV Cured gel, the dip gel can stand up to about two weeks of use. Usually the nail growth is what prompts a return visit. I have not personally seen a wide range of colors and styles with the dip option, but the classics in a solid color are easy enough to come by. The process sounds just like the style. After the bonding solution and base coat are applied, the nail is dipped into a pot of color. After two dips, the powder is buffed and a top coat is applied. The polish has a nice sheen and dries after 3-4 minutes.

Acrylic

This is a standard option when looking to add length to the natural nail. Tips are traditionally glued to the end of the natural nail. A combination of a powder and solution make a putty that is molded to the nail and shaped with a dermal. Gel or traditional polish is usually applied to add style. Every two to three weeks a backfill is required to keep the length.

Silk

Similar to the acrylic this can be coupled with a plastic tip to add length. Where the acrylic is a powder, the silk is fibers and resin to build the shape and length. Along the same lines, gel or traditional polish can be applied for added style. I personally have not tried this option, but I do see friends who do. It’s simply a personal preference.

At Home Gel Kits

There are kits that make having salon quality an at home option. There are tons of options from several companies including salon brands such a OPI that will work with the at home UV lamps. Expect to need the same amount of time to fuss with removing any existing gel and will be required to complete the salon steps as well. There are some products that make life a little easier such as clamps that clip onto each finger to hold cotton and polish remover in place.

These are only a few suggestions and types available to you. Each of these options can range in price based on the location and the policies of the salon. It’s standard that a salon will tack on a charge for a French Manicure or some extra sparkle or design. If you have the talent and patience to apply polish or have folks in the house who can apply polish for you the at home kit may prove to be worth the investment. If you prefer having time outside of the house to relax and get away a salon experience might just be the ticket. Either direction you go, this is a fun way to celebrate events and holidays with all kinds of designs and styles. Social media makes it easy to find inspiration for any event or day to day occasion you need ideas for.

 

Be sure to visit our Pinterst and Facebook pages to see some ideas Erika and I have uploaded from at home applications and salon application.

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Eating Healthy with My 5 Favorite Whole 30 Recipes

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A few years ago when my company started requiring all employees to get their cholesterol checked as part of our annual wellness activities I was surprised that I had high cholesterol. I did not want to go on medications for high cholesterol because everything I have heard about statins is negative.  I wanted to find a solution with a healthier lifestyle and through my diet.

As I mentioned in a previous post I completed a couple Whole30 rounds last year. My mom and I have our go to favorite recipes when we are doing the Whole30 program, and I wanted to share these with you in this week’s post.  Check out our previous post for more information on the Whole30 program.

The following recipes are our favorites and go to foods/meals while eating compliant on the program.

Go to Breakfast meals

Eggs and Sweet Potatoes

2-3 eggs scrambled, fried, poached

1 sweet potato chopped

½ white onion

Combine sweet potatoes and onion in medium pan and cook until desired softness. Cook eggs to your liking.  Serve eggs and potatoes with a side of guacamole and hot sauce.  My favorite hot sauce is Cholula.

Breakfast Casserole

To make a 9×12 pan sized casserole I use the following recipe:

9 whole eggs

1 can Whole Fat Coconut Milk

1 package of shredded potatoes

3-4 hot Italian sausages sliced and cut in 1/2 or 1/4

1 Roma tomato diced

Garlic powder to taste

Pepper to taste

Onion powder to taste

½ – 1 Bell Pepper (color of choice)

Button Mushrooms

½ white onion

Combine eggs, a dash of pepper to taste, and the coconut milk in a medium bowl. Put shredded potatoes in large bowl and season with Garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper to taste. Add chopped veggies and sausage, and mix well.  Pour potato mixture into 9×12 pan, and pour egg mixture. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

TIP:  Use a silicone baking mat to line the pan before adding your ingredients to make cleanup a cinch!

Go to Lunch/Dinner Meals

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Bell Peppers

4 Chicken breasts – boiled, baked, or crock pot

4 Bell peppers – color of choice

Franks Red Hot Wing Sauce

1 onion – white or yellow

Ghee, Coconut oil, or Avocado oil

Pour oil or ghee into medium pan and add onion. Cook until translucent.  After chicken is cooked let cool enough to shred.  Add onion, chicken, and wing sauce to medium bowl.  Cut tops off bell peppers and clean out seeds.  Fill with chicken mixture and place in pan to bake.  Bake for 40-45 minutes until bell pepper is soft enough to your liking.

 

Taco Salad

1 pound ground beef

1 head of lettuce Chopped

½ onion chopped

½ bell pepper chopped

Cilantro chopped

Salsa

Taco Seasoning

Cook ground beef and add taco seasoning according to directions. Create your taco salad and enjoy.

 

Go to Condiment

Mayo

1 egg

½ tsp mustard powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

½ lemon juice

1 ¼ cup avocado oil or light olive oil

Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature. Put egg, mustard powder, salt, pepper, and ¼ cup of oil in food processor.  Blend for 30 seconds then slowly add the remaining oil.  The slower you add the oil the creamier the mayo will be.  The expiration on this mayo will be 10 days past the sell by/use by date on your egg carton.

These are our top recipes for easy meals and snacks. You can use the mayo to add to canned chicken or tuna for an easy protein meal or snack.  Use the chicken or tuna to create a protein salad for a filling meal.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post and try some of the recipes. Leave your feedback and comments below.

 

Please see here for our Affiliate Sharing disclosure.

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Side Hustle Via Rewards

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‘Tis the season to get your credit card statement with all your holiday shopping, dining, entertaining and travel on it! Are you getting cash or rewards back along with your statement? Credit cards are not the only way to cash in rewards, even if it is one of the most popular. Here are just five simple ways I am cashing in while not changing my spending habits. Except for getting stuff for free, that always helps. Maybe few of these work for you, or try something similar. I am not a financial adviser, just someone trying to get the most out of every dollar to make it go further.

Cash Back on Credit

There is an endless list of companies that offer points or cash back if you make a purchase with their card. Take a look at what you buy the most, or where you shop the most and find a way to get rewarded for shopping there. Everything from 5% back from big box stores like Target and Amazon, to dynamic variables of cash back on a single card based on purchase types, even gas stations offer cards that can save you at the pump. It might make sense to have a fuel card if you drive a lot and cash up while you gas up. Also, have a card from a company like Discover or Bank of America that offers diversity and also up to 5% on anything from groceries to online shopping stores. You don’t need to risk racking up debt trying to get something for free. Treat this like a debit card, or even opt for a debit card is that company (like Target) offers that option.

Sip for Sip

I have said it before, but I don’t like coffee, and somehow I visit a Starbucks almost daily! They offer a fantastic rewards program, and a variety of ways to earn points. Not only on beverage purchases, but on every dollar you spend, be it on food, gifts, online orders and even surveys. They are always sending me fun ways to earn a few more points or stars to try a new food, and often send me coupon codes for a few bucks off an item too. Getting free food is one of my favorite ways I like to get rewarded. Ask even mom and pop locations if they offer punch cards or rewards programs. Franchise locations of companies like Dutch Brothers do the old-school punch cards. One time the guy just kept adding stamps and said next time it’s on us, just because they can! Chipotle, Fired Pie and like companies offer rewards programs too!

Nailed It

I get maybe a little too excited when I can double dip on my rewards. Similar to good eats, I found a nail salon that offers a punch card. While they are adding the punches, they offer a $5 gift card her and there. While I’m working my way to a free visit, I’m earning cash back on my entire purchase including gratuity! Makes the glitter on my mani shine that much more!

Gifts Cards can reduce Fuel Cost?

Yup… purchases of gift cards can get you money off at the pump. Many large chain grocers such a Fry’s/Kroger and Safeway/Vons will do up to 4xs points on the purchase of gift cards. On your way out to dinner and a movie, or before you hit up Starbucks, purchase a gift card to the location you plan to visit and earn points. When doing normal shopping, you are earning a minimum of 1x points. These all add up quickly. Keep an eye out for the weekly add to see what weeks to maximize your gift card purchases.

There is an App For That

Find ways to double or triple dip on your points. I might need to make an infographic but I found one flow that works for me with the help of the Ibotta app. Here is one way I leverage phone apps to my advantage. On the Ibotta app, select items at Walmart where I do my primary grocery shopping. Use the Walmart Saving Cather app to catch and items I missed with add match. Earn 2% back on my groceries by using a cash back credit card. Use the Ibotta earnings and cash them in on Amazon gift cards to buy items from fun websites like Snag Shout or Vipon!

These are just a few fun ways I like to keep my finances working for me in real time. These are the phone apps and rewards programs that work for me. I’m all for trying new ways to save! I would love to know what works for you. Please share how you reward yourself in the comments.

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