Sweet Shoppe Mom

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What I Wore Wednesday

Participating in Pleated Poppy's What I Wore - holding myself accountable for getting out of PJs or yoga pants. We're in the middle of the hot summer here in Arizona and I find skirts and dresses to be the coolest option. After writing this post, I noticed I wore blue every day - interesting because I feel like I'm always drawn to black or pink clothes.

Dress {last year, a local store called Fashion Q}, necklace {Charming Charlie}

high low tank dress {Gap, similar}, scarf, bracelet {Charming Charlie}

tank {StitchFix}, white tank {Anthropologie}, jeans {Old Navy}, sandals {Ross}, necklace and bracelet {Charming Charlie}

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tips for Making Back to School Breakfast Simple and Fun

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

Summer vacation seemed to go so fast this year and its already time to go back to school. Which also means time start thinking about breakfast and lunch for the kids.

On a recent trip to Walmart I stocked up on Quaker products including Quaker Instant Oatmeal, Quaker Chewy Bars and Cap'n Crunch. The granola bars make great easy to grab snacks. We're planning a Back to School Ice Cream party at our house and Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berrries  and Peanut Butter Crunch make fun ice cream sundae toppers.

School mornings can be crazy trying to get my son up and ready for school, breakfast eaten, out the door with his lunch and backpack and make it to school on time. My goal is to make mornings SIMPLE and FUN.

Tip - Make the first day back to school extra special with family traditions: Schulute

For the last few years I've been making a German Schultute for my son on the first day of school. A Schulute a cone that is decorated and filled with surprises for the first day back to school. The cones are filled with back to school supplies, sweets and toys. My son loves baseball so this year I made the schulute baseball themed and filled it with school supplies, baseball Mad Libs, baseball shaped eraser and some Ballpark Mystery books.

Step #1: Gather supplies - poster board, tissue paper, decorative stickers, ribbon, glue, scissors, stapler, marker. 

Step #2: Make the cone:

Cut a triangle shaped section for the poster board so it will roll into a nice cone shape. I like to pre-roll it to figure out how much I want to cut. Then I fold my cut line, unfold and cut. 

Roll cone and secure with staples and glue. Trim corner of poster board so that you have a nice cone shape.

Fold the bottom third of the tissue paper so you have a nice edge to work with.

Add glue to outside edge of cone and attach tissue paper.

Step #3: Add items to the cone - school supplies, treats, toys, books

Step #4: Tie ribbon around tissue paper to close top of cone

Step #5: Decorate with stickers and write your child's name on the cone

Tip - Prepare the night before. We make sure backpacks are packed so we're not running around looking for homework in the morning. Lunches are also packed and breakfast ingredients set out the night before.

Tip - Come up with several easy breakfast ideas to serve for school mornings. Save the pancakes, bacon and freshly bake muffins for a weekend morning. Quaker Instant Oatmeal only takes a few minutes to prepare. I like to add a bit of fresh fruit to the top.

Tip - Make breakfast fun -  I like to use colorful dishes, fun cloth napkins and write a sweet note for my son. I found this small chalkboard at the craft store and its great for writing a short message each morning.

Tip - Make mornings electronics-free. If my son turns on the television he just zones out and doesn't focus getting ready for school. Breakfast is always eat at the table - its a great time to chat with your kids and talk about the day ahead.

How do you make school day mornings simple and fun?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

San Diego road trip! My favorite Smartphone Apps for Road Trips

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #Tips4Trips #CollectiveBias

Dreaming of the cool ocean breezes of the San Diego coast. 

Its supposed to hit 110 degrees this week here in Arizona. 

Road trip!!

Even though the summers here are HOT there are lots of easy weekend get-aways where the temperatures are cooler - its about a 5 hour drive to San Diego. Or staying within Arizona, Prescott is about 1 and 1/2 hour drive or Flagstaff is about 2 hours away.

We try to get to San Diego a few weekends every summer. We spend most of the day at the beach - my son loves to boogie board and is just starting to surfing.  I like to just relax on the beach with a book or magazine. We also like to explore the tide pools and visit Sea World or the San Diego Zoo.

I recently purchased a new phone that uses Walmart Family Mobile. The plan is only $29.88/month which includes Unlimited Talk, Text and Data (up to 1G of 4G LTE data). The plan is post paid with no contracts which is awesome. Saving money, means more play money for vacations!!

I purchased the Alcatel One Touch Pop Astro plus Walmart Family Mobile Starter kit. Once at home I signed up for Walmart Family Mobile online - so easy, and no contracts (I love that part).

I've gone paperless as much as possible which is why I love having a smart phone. Its so great to have all your information in one place - no worries about leaving important reservation information at home. With all these apps is is great to have the Walmart Family Mobile plan the includes up to 1G of data.

A few of my favorite smartphone apps for road trips
  • Contacts - standard on most phones but so useful for storing family and friends addresses and phone numbers. I add hotel contact information for vacations so I can easily call the hotel or map directions.
  • Weather - I always check the weather forecast before packing for my trip. Rain, cool nights - its always best to be prepared.
  • Maps - The best way to get there and check on traffic. Also gives the answer to the questions "are we there yet?"
  • TripIt - coordinate all your reservations in one place. Hotel reservation. This app is even more useful for bigger  trips to track plane and car rentals too.
  • TripAdvisor - This app is great for planning out your entire trip itinerary. Lots of resources including reviews.
  • Messaging - Another pretty standard app but so useful for keeping in touch with family and friends when planning your trip.
  • Yelp - This is my favorite app when deciding where to eat - so easy to search what's nearby and what's good.
  • Swarm and Foursquare - Don't forget to check in at your destinations - great to see what your friends are up to and if any are nearby.
  • Notes - another standard app and so useful. I like to create my packing list so I don't forget anything. 
  • To do - I also have a million things to do before leaving on a tip and its great to have them all in one place. Buy snacks for the car, arrange to have someone feed the pets, get an oil change - I love to get everything in a single list so I don't have to worry about forgetting something critical.
  • Instagram, Facebook and Twitter - My favorite social media apps important, of course, so I can share photos of my trip to all my friends and family.
  • A selection of games, music and books for entertainment for the entire family! Games for the kids to lay in the car. A good novel for mom to read on the beach.

And don't forget to pack your cell phone!

Off to the beach,,,

What's your favorite weekend road trip destination?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Stock Up and Be Prepared - Create a Greeting Card Caddy {DIY}

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

In the past, I've found myself unprepared without a greeting card and have had to make a mad dash to the store on the way to a party. My son is going into 4th grade, so many of our weekends are filled with kids birthday parties.

Hallmark has a great line of greeting cards starting at 47 cents. The cards are really nice - I was pleasantly surprised because I feel like cards have gotten so expensive lately. And a nice thing about them is they don't have the price printed on the back so no one will know you only paid 47 cents. Seriously these cards are really nice, you would never guess how affordable they are. These cards are only available at Walmart so on a recent trip, I stocked up. I selected mostly birthday cards but also a few for other occasions including wedding, anniversary, and baby.

Once I got home with all these great cards, I decided to create a greeting card organizer. I looked around my craft room and found a utensil caddy that wasn't being used - I love these caddys and their many uses. I've picked up a few during end of summer clearance sales so I have them for other uses around the house (crafting supplies, homework kit, etc).

Step 1 - I gathered all my supplies

  • supply of Hallmark greeting cards starting at 47 cents
  • utensil caddy
  • brightly colored card stock
  • several rolls of washi tape
  • label maker and clear tape
  • laminator and laminating pouches
  • paper cutter
  • mini clip board
  • ribbon scraps
  • scissors

Step 2 - I started by making a list of categories so I would know how many dividers I needed: birthday, wedding & anniversary, baby, thank you, get well, and everything else.

Step 3 - I determined the size needed for my dividers (will depend on your container) and cut card stock to size (7.5 inches x 9.5 inches).

Step 4 - I placed a strip of washi tape across top of each piece of card stock. I printed clear labels with my label maker and attached to each divider.

Step 5 - Each divider was placed in a laminating pouch, laminated and trimmed. This step is optional but your dividers will hold up much longer.

Step 6 - The final fun step was to assemble. I placed dividers, pens, colorful markers and stamps in my caddy. I decided to made a list of family's birthdays and anniversarys by month, printed this list and attached to mini clip board decorated with some ribbon.


Don't forget to stock up on Hallmark cards starting at only 47 cents on your next trip to Walmart.

Follow Hallmark online

Twitter Handle: @Hallmark

Instagram: @Hallmark