May 26, 2015

Operation Summer Fun!

I am going to be totally honest here... I feel like I have been a lazy parent lately. Our family was pretty busy in March & April, so the past few weekends we have been just hanging around the house & relaxing. Not that there's anything wrong with that... but with summer upon us I am making a conscious effort to do one different & memorable activity with the kids every weekend.

I want summer to FEEL like summer for my kids, even though my husband and I work full time. Because of that, June & July isn't really THAT different for them. My daughter still goes to daycare and my son will go to camp... which is basically like going to after-care, but all day long. So I have decided to be proactive and focus a bit more on making those summer memories each weekend. Crafts, fun recipes, day trips... anything and everything to make this summer ROCK! I have been talking to my stay-at-home mommy friends, and most of them have a detailed plan of summer activities they will be doing with their kids... which inspired me to try and do the same! I am calling it Operation Summer Fun and this blog is going to help keep me accountable.

I told my husband about my plan and he was all for it. He agreed we have been a bit lax in the weekend planning department. So we kicked it off this weekend! On Saturday, instead of hanging out at our pool, we stepped it up a notch and went to a local splash pad with the kids. It was so much fun since the place was basically empty. The splash pad and pool wasn't too cold and the kids LOVED it. Mila & Hudson spent the entire time running up the stairs and sliding down the water slide. I didn't take any pictures, except one... since I wanted to document my moment to myself, which was very nice! Mila passed out on the floor at 5:30pm while I was making dinner, which is proof of a fun day.
Splash pad fun with a little ME time!
It's been awhile since we took the kids to the beach, so when Donnie's brother brought up the idea we were all for it. Sunday morning, we packed the car with what looked like a week's worth of items. Food, towels, clothes, hats, umbrellas, coolers, and an entire watermelon. We quickly remembered why our beach trips are few and far between! While it is a lot of work, there is something really special about spending the day at the beach, especially with family and friends. Nothing beats watching my kids and nephews digging in the sand, jumping over waves and boogie boarding in the surf. Mila screamed and laughed with excitement as I carried her out into the water where her brother was swimming. It was perfect.
All of my loves!
Beach babes!
Jumping the waves
Loving the sun & sand!
Don't get me wrong, I think it if FINE for kids to hang out at home, and I don't feel like they should be entertained every moment. This isn't about that. I just want to challenge myself to step it up this summer when it comes to planning out fun things with the kids... and I figured maybe some of you are feeling the same.

Now that Operation Summer Fun is off and running, I want to hear about all the summer fun YOU are having with your families as well! I am going to be using the hashtag #OperationSummerFun on social media and I would love for you to join in! Use the same hashtag so I can find what you are doing, & I will be featuring my favorites on the blog. (& linking back if you have a blog/business!) So let's have some fun!

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May 19, 2015

How to Get eBooks for Free

So I am obsessed with my Kindle. I think it is the greatest invention ever. I have always enjoyed reading, but for some reason this makes it so much easier. I have an older version... which I still love, I do want to upgrade but right now, I don't use it enough to justify buying a new one. I plan to step up my reading over the summer, so I wanted to freshen up a post I wrote about getting free ebooks a long time ago.

A big reason why I love my Kindle so much, is because I can get almost any book out there for FREE through the library! It always surprises me how few people actually know about this. (in fact, you don't even need a Kindle)

You don't have to go to the library either, you just need a computer, tablet or smart phone.
To start, go to the Overdrive Media Console website or Overdrive app and find the library closest to you. The easiest way is to just search your library based on county. (For example: search 'broward library overdrive'... if you live in Broward county) You will need a digital library card number, which is actually the number on your regular library card. That's how you log in.

Then you can search through books, by clicking the menu button on the upper-right hand side of the screen, there are all different ways to search, new arrivals, browse by subject, etc. They have a number of different options, you can read the book through your Kindle, OverDrive read means you will read it through your browser, and ePub books work with the OverDrive app and iBooks.
Here's what the page looks like when you check out a book. 
After I click download as a Kindle format, it brings me to my Amazon home page. I click  'Get Library Book' and then it will be on my Kindle once I turn on the wif-fi or on my Kindle app.
If you are getting the book for your kindle, it automatically brings up your amazon account. Some books you have to plug-in your kindle to a USB to get the book, but most of the time all you have to do is put your wi-fi on. Also, you don't even need a Kindle anymore, since there is a Kindle app. You get the books the same way, select 'kindle' as your format, and it will just show up on your app.

One downfalls of this is that most good books have wait lists, so I try to keep a good 8-10 books on my wait list. Once you get the rotation started, you will almost always have a book waiting or right about to become available.
Right now, the most popular book is The Girl on the Train. It shows 330 people are on hold, but the library has 281 digital copies, so this hold list should move pretty quickly. After you put yourself on the wait list, you will get an email when the book is ready and you have 5 days to check it out.

You only get 21 days to keep the book, which makes reading longer books tough. (for me at least) If the book is really good, and I am almost done, I will just 'forget' to turn my wi-fi on until I'm finished. Or if there's not a long wait, or other copies of the book are already available I will just return it and check it right back out again. (once the book is back on your Kindle, it will automatically go to the same spot you left off)

You can also borrow audio books, I like to download those to my Overdrive app and plug my phone into my car and listen that way. So set up your summer reading plan, start your wait list and you are good to go! All the e-books you would ever want for FREE! Now that I am setting some reading goals, what good books have you read lately? Any must-haves I should have on my summer reading list?

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May 17, 2015

Why I Love Rocksbox


I was never a big accessory person. As far as jewelry, I spent most of my adult life only wearing the basics... diamond studs & my wedding rings. That's it. (boring!!) But in the past few years, I have been trying more fun pieces, like statement necklaces and bright earrings.

When Rocksbox contacted me to be a Shine Insider, I was excited since it looked like they had super cute stuff. After having this service for about 3 months, I am totally obsessed!

Here's how Rocksbox works:
1. Take a survey: You take a quick online survey so they can narrow down your basic style. You can also look through the jewelry and place it onto your 'wishlist.' They have an Instagram page, so if you see an item you like on there all you have to do is comment "wishlist" and they will add it to your list. (so cool)
2. Get 3 pieces to wear on loan: Your stylist will send you 3 pieces to wear based on your style survey and wishlist items. All the items in your set are designer pieces and the average retail cost of your box is $200. This part is so much fun, since I love getting a box full of fun baubles... along with a personalized note from my stylist explaining why she selected the items for me.
3. Return and get new pieces: You can keep the items for as long as you want or just send them back after a few days and they will send you another box with an awesome selection of new jewelry.  I get 2 or 3 boxes each month, depending on how quickly I send back the other box. If you decide to buy a piece just keep it and send back the rest and they will charge you for it.
It cost $19 dollars a month which it totally worth it & here's why. Every box has a return label and the bag reseals, so when you want to send it back you have everything you need. Just pop it in your mailbox and the mailman takes it. You automatically get $10 of shine spend put into your account each month which goes towards any jewelry you decide to buy. Each item is also sold for a special 'insiders' price, which is anywhere from $5 to $15 dollars less than what it would cost you in a store. So really, with the shine spend, the discount and the shipping included... you are basically getting a box full of jewelry to wear and try for free.

Last month, I fell in LOVE with the Kendra Scott earrings I got in my box. They retail for $52. The insiders price was $41. I decided to buy them, so my $10 shine spend was automatically put toward it so they cost me just $31. AWESOME deal.

I love having fun, new items of jewelry to wear and people are always noticing. (especially my coworkers since I never used to accessorize!) If you want to try Rocksbox for FREE for one month, (totally, completely free!!) you can by using my special code: Workingmommagicxoxo  Let me know how you like it!

*I was given 3 months of Rocksbox for free, but I was not required to write a blog post. (they just requested a few social media mentions, if I liked the service) I wrote one anyway because I think Rocksbox is awesome and I wanted everyone to know about it.*

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May 14, 2015

Books my Kids Are Loving in May

It has been a very exciting week for my son at school. He has been begging me to take him in early every single day. Why? Two words... BOOK. FAIR. The book fair was always my favorite and I love that my son finds it just as exciting. The kids get some book fair time with their class, and they can also go in the morning before the bell rings. There is also one night that they stay late for families to come. It is a major event for Hudson and he counts down the days.

I love going with him since I still love the book fair. Hudson was allowed to get two books, and he already knew exactly which ones he wanted... and we both selected two we thought Mila would like. They were all a huge hit and made our list this month.

Pokemon Kalos Region Handbook
My son is obsessed with all things Pokemon, so he loves this book. He likes looking up the characters he has, since he learns more about their powers and skill sets. He brings it to school almost every day, since he says him and his friends study it now before they make trades. Too funny!

Ranger in Time
So last month I talked about how I really wanted to start a chapter book with him and I found some great suggestions. But then Hudson started telling me how he needed this book since they talked about it on the morning announcements in school. It's about a dog that somehow goes back in time and ends up on the Oregon Trail. Let's just say I was less than excited to jump into this one with him... but we are already on chapter 6 and it doesn't totally suck. He really loves it and looks forward to reading what comes next, so I guess that is what matters. Right? ;)

Doc McStuffins Blame it on the Rain
Mila is STILL all about her Doc McStuffins checkup kit, so I knew she would love this book. If this is based on an episode we haven't seen it, but I hope it is since that would be fun for her to compare. The only downside to this book is that every time she asks my husband or I to read it we bust out singing the Milli Vanilli song. I mean, how can we not? (You know you did it too... admit it.)
Our poor dog is getting 'checkups' ALL the time. She takes it like a champ though. 
Frozen Fever
Hudson spotted this in the book fair and it is a big hit. Not only did it come with a bunch of stickers, it is a totally new story for her to hear about Anna & Elsa. This is the book version of the short that was shown at the beginning of Cinderella movie, but she's too young for that, so the story is all new to her. She LOVES the mini snowmen.

So those are the books my kids are currently loving! Are your kids into any good books right now?

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May 12, 2015

Why I Take All My Pictures with my Cell Phone

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

When I had my first child, my mom gave me a super fancy DSLR camera. I was so excited to have it, since I wanted to capture every single precious moment with my sweet, little man. Fast-forward 6 years later... and we rarely take it out of its camera bag. I would rather use my cell phone over that fancy camera ANY day.

Here are 6 reasons why I prefer my Samsung Galaxy Avant over my DSLR:

1. My phone is always with me: You never know when a picture perfect moment will strike, and there is no way I am bringing that heavy DSLR with me everywhere just in case. But I ALWAYS have my phone with me! Not only does my Galaxy Avant have a 5MP camera, it also has a bunch of different modes (auto-focus, panorama, night mode and more) that help me get the perfect shot. (and it takes videos!) I never miss a chance to get a cute pic of the kids, since I never leave the house without my phone.
How cute are they??
2. I can edit the pictures instantly: There are so many awesome photo editing apps in the Google Play store... and a lot of them are free! A few of my favorite are VSCO Cam, Pixlr and Snapseed.

3. It is easier to share pictures with friends and family: I love that my Samsung makes it so easy to share pictures. The share features are built right into the phone. I can upload my pictures directly to my dropbox account or send an email. I also like uploading my pictures with photo sharing apps, like Snapfish. With my digital camera I would have to upload them to my computer, then edit on using a desktop editor, create folders and rename .jpg's... ugh.
You KNOW Grandma had me email her this one!
4. Social Media: Helloooooo! If you know anything about me, you know I am social media obsessed... especially when it comes to Instagram! I can instantly upload to Instagram with my Galaxy Avant, either using the direct share option or through he app. Can't do that with my DSLR.
She is saying, "NOOOO... not ANOTHER Instagram selfie!"
5. I can instantly create a slideshow: Since I also have a Samsung TV, I can instantly stream my photos though my television... and it's completely wireless. For Mother's Day we had some family over for brunch and I took lots of awesome pictures. Near the end of the day, when everyone was relaxing, we popped the pics up on our TV, so they could see how they all turned out. (and tell me their favorites to send to them!)

6. It's cheaper: My digital camera was not only super expensive, but every single additional lens and accessory was also pricey. I recently switched over to the Walmart Family Mobile plan, and it is the best deal out there. For only $29.88 a month (for the first line) I get the Unlimited Talk, Text & Data service plan which includes up to 1G of 4G LTE data. And get this... NO contracts! It was so easy, I ordered my phone on and it was shipped to the store the very next day! I picked it up and walked back to the cell phone area, (where all the TV's & electronics are) and I was in and out in less than 20 minutes! It was INSANE how quick the process was. I just bought a SIM card for $25, they hooked up my phone, and I was out the door without paying a single service charge or activation fee. With the 4G LTE service, I know I won't miss a moment of summer fun, since the coverage is awesome!

Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to or your local Walmart for current pricing.

Another picture perfect moment captured with my phone
People are always shocked when I tell them I use my cell phone for all the pictures you see on this blog, but can you really blame me? What are some of your favorite photo editing apps? (I am always looking for new ones!)

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May 10, 2015

Funny Things I said Before I Had Kids

The other day I was walking out of my house to take my son to school and I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. And it hit me. I had become 'that' mom. The mom I had judged before I had kids. Back then, I was the woman who knew EVERYTHING about kids... even though I didn't actually have any of my own. But, you know, I babysat my whole life, so obviously I was a parenting expert. I am a little bit embarrassed to even write this post, since I was waaaaay off on many of my views and judgements. Here we go..

"I will never drop my kids off at school wearing my pajamas, I mean who doesn't have 5 seconds to throw on something decent?" I will just start with the one that gave me the idea for this whole post. Before I had kids, I would go for walks before work, and occasionally I would catch school drop off. I was horrified (and quite frankly, terrified) by how some of the moms looked. I mean I would never go out in public like that. Ripped, old pajama pants, hair not even brushed... no bra!? I mean, COME ON. Well, these days I still manage to throw on a bra (or at least a sports bra) but that's about it. I don't get ready for work until I get back from taking my son to school, so after wrangling with a 6 year old to get him awake, fed, dressed, homework packed, teeth brushed, socks on, lunches and snacks packed... sometimes I just don't have time to change. And I don't really care. It does make me laugh every time I walk out of the door looking like a hot mess though. 
I woke up like this. Then, I went out in public like this.
"Yikes, your kids sleep in your bed? I will NEVER let that happen, I am too light a sleeper... also my bedroom is for my husband and I only!" HAHAHAHAHAHA! This is one of my favorites. I was actually pretty good about this personal rule with Hudson... but Mila is way more demanding at night than he was. Both my kids sucked at sleeping, and Mila still does. We all sleep all over the place... couches, our bed, the kids bed... it's a regular game of musical beds.

"I will never let my kids dress like that." When I used to see kids dressed all sorts of crazy, with mismatched outfits covered in obnoxious characters I thought, "No way, not my kids... I just won't even BUY the stuff so they won't have the option." Ummmm.. have you seen the way my kids dress?? Don't get me wrong, I think they look GREAT and I love that they enjoy selecting their own outfits. It's just not the polished, matching, neutral kids style I had imagined. (who knew kids actually have their OWN opinion?)

I think they look even CUTER than all those fashionable toddlers on Instagram!
"Did you see her house? It's like primary colors puked all over her living room." I always planned on having a small area for kids toys, but insisted that my home would not look like a daycare. Well, if you have ever been to my house you know I have toys EVERYWHERE including a 'guest' room that is filled with kids stuff. And I like it that way.

"My kids will only eat organic, and I will make all their baby food." I did make most of Hudson's baby food, but by the time Mila came along... I was over it. They have so many organic options now (way more than when I had Hudson) so it was easier to find healthy choices. I am not even CLOSE to being as strict with food as I once was, but I still have certain products that I always buy organic.
Ummm.. that's organic pizza... and ice cream...
"Why won't that woman just pick up her screaming child?" When I used to see a mom pushing a screaming child in a shopping cart I would think, "Why won't she just stop and calm down that baby?" Now I am often the mother getting all those stares. Mila is the queen of spontaneous freak-outs. And there is NO talking her out of it. The other day as she was screaming her way through Michael's for no reason at all, I spotted a woman STARING at me. And I know she was thinking the same thing I did before I had kids. But there was no calming her down... if I had picked her up she would have screamed more. I ran into the same woman while checking out, and she said, "Why is she screaming?? What is wrong?" I looked at the woman, shrugged my shoulders and replied, "Uhhh... I don't know.. because she is two?" And I went on my way. When we got in the car, Mila was happy as a clam. Go figure.

"Oh my gosh, did you hear that woman? I am never going to yell at my kids like that." I swore to myself that I would always be a calm 'let's talk this through' mom.  I would NOT be a yeller. Well.. here I am... that crazy, yelling mom. It's only with my son though. I truly believe he doesn't register what is being said to him below a certain decibel. I have tried every method, but right now, yelling is all that works. I will even say, "Hudson, I've asked you 8 times to put your backpack away... are you really going to make me yell at you so you will listen?" I am still trying to yell less...but I am a yeller nonetheless.

So there you have it. All the super judgy things I thought about other moms before I had my own kids. I find them hilarious now. So now it's your turn... SPILL IT!! If you have kids... tell me something you thought before you had them that you are almost embarrassed to admit now that you are a mom!

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May 8, 2015

Find the Perfect Subscription Box with Cratejoy

Disclosure: Cratejoy compensated me to review their website, but all options are my own.

If you know me, or have read my blog AT ALL.. you know that I love subscription boxes! I think there is something so much fun about getting a box in the mail full of all sorts of surprise goodies. Apparently, I am not the only person out there who finds this exciting since now there are TONS of subscription boxes out there... and it can get a bit confusing!

Well, now there is a website that sorts it all out for you, Cratejoy. has information on almost every subscription box out there. You can see which ones are trending, or just click the icon next to the search tab, where it is broken down by different groups.

I found a bunch of subscription boxes I really want to try and a few that I know I already love!

Glossybox: I have reviewed a number of subscription boxes on my blog, but NONE of them have been a beauty/makeup box. I really want to try Glossybox. Consumer Reports recently said it was the best beauty box out there when you compare the prices and quality of products. You fill out a survey and for $21 a month they send you 5-6 products to try.

Boxycharm: This is another beauty box that looks like fun. It comes with 4 full-sized products and 1 sample sized product, so that seems like a good range. I love finding new beauty products and I think this box would encourage me to try different colors and brands I haven't tried/seen before.

PopSugar Must Have: I love PopSugar's website so I figure this would be a good one to try. The box is a little pricey, starting at about $40... but the retail value is supposed to be around $100, which makes it worth it. I like that this is a box full of totally different items... snacks, beauty, fitness... anything goes!

Plated: I have wanted to try Plated ever since I saw them on the ABC show Shark Tank. You tell them what you like and they send you everything you need (spices and all) to make a complete meal. I suck at cooking and I always end up forgetting something at the store when I try to cook my hubby a nice dinner, so this could actually help me make a meal that tastes good!

Darby Smart: This is a craft box and I always see their sponsored posts on Facebook and the projects look so cool! With prices that start at $19 a month, it would be fun to try out. Maybe I DO need a terrarium necklace. I just didn't realize it.

Whisky Box: With Father's Day just around the corner, this looks like such a great gift! My hubby loves whisky and I think he would enjoy this box that comes with 4-5 samples each month. The box also explains where each whisky is from. It starts at $60 a month, but the box is said to be worth at least $500. (that a pricey cocktail, folks!)

SumoJerky: This would also be a fun one... both my husband and my father-in-low LOVE jerky. (that just sounds wrong, but you know what I mean) For $20 you get a box full of different jerkys. It also comes with behind-the-scenes stories on how and where the jerky is created.
We made this awesome light up 'campfire' with our Kiwi Crate
Kiwi Crate: This is a monthly box full of kid crafts. I reviewed this box awhile ago and LOVED it. My sister-in-law has a subscription and my nephews create the cutest crafts with it. It comes with every single thing you need to do the craft, so you don't need to have ANY craft supplies at home. (which is good for me since I never have even the basics)
We loved BookRoo
BookRoo: I also need to give a shout out to BookRoo, since I recently reviewed it and I think it is a awesome subscription box for kids. My daughter really enjoyed the whole process of opening all the wrapped books and she still loves the books we got.

If you are looking for a fun gift idea or just something new to treat yourself, subscription boxes are a fun way to go, and now you see all your options in one place (and save a ton of time!) with Cratejoy.

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May 7, 2015

DIY Toddler Flower Headband

I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Influence Central for SoCozy. I received Target gift cards to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation. All opinions are my own. #SoCozyAtTarget #TargetStyle

My sweet girl and mini fashionista recently fell in love with some flower headbands at Claire's. She really wanted one, but they were all too big, so I decided I would make her one... and it was super cheap & easy.

I wanted to make her a Frozen themed headband since she is STILL obsessed with that movie. I went to Michael's and found TONS of options. I decided in the end to go with paper flowers I found in the spring bins near the front of the store. I liked that the back of the flowers were flat (the silk flowers had a tough plastic stem that I thought may be hard to work with) and I thought the smaller size would look good on her adorable toddler-sized noggin.
So pretty! See how the backs of the flowers are flat? Made it SUPER easy to glue down!
I found a 3-pack of elastic headbands which included a silver glittery one that I thought would work perfectly. I also fell in love with some coral colored flowers and a package of coral ribbon so I bought that too. The packs of flowers and ribbon were on sale for $1 each (they are normally $1.50) and the elastic bands were $3 but I had a 40% off coupon. I ended up getting all the supplies to make 2 headbands for just over $5 and after all my projects I still had extra flowers and ribbon.

I grabbed a hot glue gun and got to work. I decided to place the headband around a book to help keep it flat so I could glue them down easier. I just put a bit of hot glue on the back of each flower, stuck it on and that's IT!
I loved how Ariel seemed to know that I was hot glue-ing near her head.
For the coral one, since I used fabric ribbon that didn't stretch I cut it a bit shorter than the size of Mila's head, then used a piece of thin elastic to glue it all together. I also spaced the flowers apart more, to give it a different look. She has been refusing to wear it since as soon as she sees the flowers she asks for the 'Frozen' one. So I decided to style Hello Kitty for the sake of this blog post... and all of a sudden... she was begging me to let her model the coral headband. No one is stealing this girl's shine, especially a stuffed cat.

I love how they turned out and Mila feels like a little princess wearing them! I am so glad I can finally experiment with fun hair accessories and hair styles with her! Remember when I told you about SoCozy hair products a few weeks ago? Well, I have to say I have noticed a HUGE change for the better in Mila's hair. It is softer, less tangled and noticeably longer. (she can tuck her hair behind her ears now... which was so exciting to me that I posted about it on Instagram! ha!)
Yay! Her hair is behind her ears!!
I would have never even bothered trying to make her a headband before, since the sides and back of her hair were crazy knotted. I had tried a number of detanglers on her hair, and even a few of my own hair oils, but nothing really worked. Now I get to try all sorts of fun looks on her since her hair is so healthy.
Love her smooth, shiny hair!
I recently went back to Target to get more of the 3-in-1 shampoo and the detangler spray since we all use it. If you wonder where my hair smells gets that yummy tutti-fruity scent, now you know! I also picked up the hair gel for Hudson, since he always wants to do his hair like his Dad, but he says my husbands gel is too sticky. He looks super cute with his hair done and I know he feels like a 'big boy' having his own hair products!
We LOVE SoCozy!
I always thought the most important factor about kids hair products was that they were tear-free. But after seeing what a difference REAL salon-quality hair products make on my kids hair, I will not be going back. (and SoCozy products are tear-free too... bonus!!) Check out all the SoCozy products at Target, or on their website. They have tons of fun styling videos.. I loved this hippie chick headband style! Be sure to check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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