5-Word Book Reviews & the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

This post was sponsored by Scholastic to encourage children to read during the summer months, all opinions are my own.  The end of summer is already here for many. It seems that most of the country is already hitting the books. Luckily in Minnesota we don't start school until after Labor Day. That being said, I am in the midst of back-to-school shopping.  My boys need so many supplies! Black felt tip pens with a fine point. Loose leaf paper, wide ruled. Thin washable markers, classic colors. The lists are detailed and exhausting.  And while I have their backpacks … [Read more...]

Summertime Reading with Scholastic & a Giveaway

I created this post as a part of my partnership with Scholastic, all opinions are my own. The parting of July can feel like the end of summer in many regards. School supplies are prominent at stores and back-to-school commercials are abundant on TV. For some areas the school year will officially begin the first week of August. Luckily for my crew, summer isn’t really over. We have the full month of August to relish in all those last sunny moments. We spent the sweltering days of July busy with a multitude of activities.   Swimming, camping, bike riding—these are the … [Read more...]

A World Full of Play at the MN Children’s Museum & a Giveaway

This post was created as a part of my ambassadorship with the Minnesota Children's Museum.  My children live to play. One of my five-year-old son’s favorite pastimes is to fight imaginary bad guys. They could be robots. They could be monsters. I have a hard time determining exactly “who” these guys are all the time. But what I do know is that he considers it an awful day if he doesn’t have the opportunity to play this imaginary game. At the heart of the MN Children’s Museum is a commitment to encouraging play. It seems so simple, right? Children love to play. But in today’s … [Read more...]

Power Up & Read this Summer with Scholastic!

This post was sponsored by Scholastic to encourage children to read during the summer months, all opinions are my own.  School is officially out for the summer. My boys were super happy to end another successful year of school. No more homework. No more worksheets. No more early mornings. But this relaxed time of year can onset the "summer slide". No, it's not an amusement park ride. The "summer slide" is learning loss that kids experience when they don't stay in school continually. Essentially some of that valuable information they learn gets tossed out of their brains during this … [Read more...]

Create Your Own Meal of Choice at Chipotle

I have been compensated for this post, all opinions expressed are my own.  I remember the first time I ate at a Chipotle. It was before kids, meaning it was a whole other world. Picky eating didn't really play a part in that experience. Fast-forward around ten years later and now I have three little boys. Eating out with children is an entirely different experience. As my boys get older their preferences are developing. For instance my 10 year old he becoming more distinct in his choices. He used to like fish. He used to like taco seasoning. Now he refuses to eat either. Such is … [Read more...]

Calling All Bloggers! SoFabUOTR Minneapolis 2015

Calling all bloggers in the Minnesota and Wisconsin area! SoFabU on the Road is coming to Minneapolis in August!  What is SoFabU on the Road? It's a one day blogging conference designed to inspire, educate and bring a sense of community to the somewhat isolated world of blogging.  What is SoFabU? This term refers to Social Fabric University, the social media influencer education component of Social Fabric. This online education community is full of amazing classes on a wide variety of topics- storytelling, SEO, photography and Instagram- the list just keeps growing. … [Read more...]

Three Reasons to Replace Your Print Book with Kobo Glo HD

Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Kobo and I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own. Some habits are hard to break. I did not grow up in the digital age. I learned to type on a typewriter. This "thing" called the internet emerged when I was in college.  That being said, I now own tablets, computers and a handy smartphone. I even own a blog...as you might have noticed. But there are certain areas in my life that I have resisted technology. I still prefer to write my grocery lists on … [Read more...]

Tips to Keep Your Kids Reading During the Summer Months with Scholastic

This post was sponsored by Scholastic to encourage children to read during the summer months, all opinions are my own.  The lazy days of summer are just around the corner. It's actually been warm enough in Minnesota to make me think it's summer already. My boys are getting anxious for the end of school and they have already asked several times if we can bring out the sprinkler. Frolicking in the spraying water is a sure sign of the season, but we haven't indulged in this pastime yet.  Since my boys are getting older their summer reading experience has evolved. While my … [Read more...]

SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium in the Mall of America® Giveaway

One of our favorite places to visit in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area is SEA LIFE Minnesota.  This aquarium on the bottom floor of the Mall of America is full of a variety of sea animals. My boys get so excited to see sharks, lots of varieties of fish, sea turtles, jellyfish, sea horses, and giant crabs.  The winter months can be long in Minnesota and it isn't entirely feasible to spend a great amount of time outside. Visiting SEA LIFE is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon. Since we have a membership we visit this nearby destination quite frequently. I highly … [Read more...]

Family Fun Awaits with Chuck E. Cheese’s New Decoder!

I have been compensated for the following content, all opinions express are my own. The mere mention of the words- Chuck E. Cheese- erupt a squeal of excitement from my youngest son. In fact all three of my boys are super fans of this popular entertainment spot. Recently we heard about the new decoder glasses and how they can unlock a secret code. The chance to be a secret agent?! My boys were definitely on board for this sort of fun!  With the purchase of a value meal {includes pizza, drinks, & tokens} kids receive a pair of decoder glasses, a printed game piece and … [Read more...]

Take the Yeti River Run on Chuck E. Cheese’s Skate Universe App

I have received compensation for this content, all opinions expressed are my own. Recently I downloaded the app Skate Universe by Chuck E. Cheese on our iPad and purchased the latest update "Yeti River Run" for a mere $.99.  Very quickly it has become my boys' new favorite app.  Yours truly gave the river run a test first. I'll just confess I must be game challenged. I crashed into the logs in mere seconds. Meanwhile my five year old took the reins and easily maneuvered his way through the race. Clearly I am not the target audience or the generation that excels at this … [Read more...]

Best 5 Things to See & Do in Duluth with Kids

Duluth has been an endless source of fun for my family. With lots of options for outdoors adventures we have traveled to Duluth and the North Shore many times over the years.   The beautiful, sometimes serene Lake Superior is at it's finest in the summer sun.  And while this lake isn't ideal for swimming there are lots of ways to embrace nature. Whether you are staying at one of the many popular resorts on the North Shore, a hotel along Canal Park, or camping a Jay Cooke State Park here are my top recommendations for fun, kid-friendly sites in the Duluth and North Shore … [Read more...]

Chuck E. Cheese Partners with Big Brothers Big Sisters

I received compensation for the following content, all opinions expressed are my own.  This photo melts my heart. It was taken a few years ago and features my middle son in the midst of delight at a visit to Chuck E. Cheese. The amount of joy this establishment provides my children is amazing. As a parent it makes me pleased to see them so happy.   But what adds extra satisfaction to our visits to Chuck E. Cheese is that the company is dedicated to helping children's organizations.  For instance each year I would set up a fundraiser for our local nonprofit preschool. … [Read more...]

Hiking with Kids in Minnesota: Lebanon Hills

 Minneapolis and the surrounding suburbs are full of great places to explore with children.  Our family just moved into the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in June of 2014 {from the Rochester, MN area}  and we've had lots of fun exploring all the local parks. Lebanon Hills Regional Park is a great place for families. We've visited this beautiful area a few times and every visit I'm stunned by it's size.  Surrounded by Eagan and Apple Valley this park is right in the middle of the south metro. You gotta love Minnesota for creating such an expansive park in the midst of the city … [Read more...]

Hiking with Kids in Minnesota: Whitetail Woods Park

Dakota County has a new park. A new huge park.  How does this happen? I can't say that I have any idea, but I'm sure it's a complicated process. My understanding is that is has taken years to make Whitetail Woods Regional Park a reality.  I didn't even realize that new parks were still being created. Most parks have been around for a minimum of twenty years, it seems. Most have been around for much, much longer. I have to cheer a little bit for good ol' Minnesota once again.  A new park within 45 minutes to downtown Minneapolis. For sure, it's a good … [Read more...]