Keeping cool on hot days: baby doll washing

washing baby dolls

Yesterday proved to be quite a wild weather day here in Indiana.  In the afternoon the temperatures soared into the 90s (though it felt even hotter) and by late evening we were listening to the wind howl and the rain pound our roof as storms rolled in.

Before the scorching temps and thunderstorms, however, the kids and I spent a happy morning outside, beating the heat with some cool water play (before the eventual humidity and roasting temps sent us indoors in the afternoon).

This summer I’ve noticed that my littlest girls still love one of their favorite Unplugged Play ideas from last year:  giving their baby dolls a bath.

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Avoiding the Summer Slide and Join Us for the June Summer Learning Twitter Event


As part of the Target Inner Circle, I was excited to get to team up with Amy Mascott of Teach Mama and We Teach for an article for Target’s A Bullseye View blog.  We’re sharing 10 Fun Ways to Help Kids Avoid the Summer Slide.

From the article:

It’s the summertime, and our kids are ending the year with their heads and hearts full of knowledge.

We want our children to enjoy summer days of swimming, sports and relaxation and summer nights of fireflies, campfires and fireworks. We don’t, however, want them to lose all of the progress they have made over the school year to the dreaded “Summer Slide.” Studies have concluded that when they don’t engage in educational activities during vacation, kids can be set back by up to three months in their math and reading skills.

Here are ten creative and exciting ways to keep kids of all ages learning all summer long!

[Read the rest at A Bullseye View …]

I’ve got another neat thing regarding summer learning to share with you today.  On Tuesday evening, there will be a Twitter chat with some special guests – and some pretty cool prizes, too!

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How We Stopped Living (less than) Paycheck to Paycheck ::: Guest Post on


Today I’m sharing this month’s column about our family’s journey to a debt-free life.  I’m answering the most asked question from my first column:  how did we stop living less than paycheck to paycheck?  Every situation is unique, but you can visit Simple Mom to read what worked for us.

From the post:

In my last post, I introduced myself as a person in debt. I hoped to be a source of encouragement for anyone who might be struggling with money.  I was touched by the comments that followed. Thank you.

One question seemed to come up:  how did we get back on our feet when living less than paycheck to paycheck?

Some of you are in a tough spot through circumstance;  maybe you’ve lost a job, you’ve faced illness, or worse.

Our money problem wasn’t an income problem, it was a spending problem. We made enough money, but we were far from careful with it.

[Read the rest at … ]

Ways to ensure an enjoyable bike ride with your kids

bike ride with daughter

The following is a guest post from Victoria Huizinga  of Snail Pace Transformations.

I have loved bike riding since I got my first red banana seat bike back in kindergarten. In fact I did not even get my driver’s license until I was very pregnant at the age of 21 and the doctor told me I could not drive a newborn around on a bike.

 Naturally this meant that I could not wait until my children were old enough to join me on bike rides. One thing I noticed right away however was that biking with children is a whole lot harder than biking on your own.

 I can’t go at my own pace and it often feels like I have been divided into 3 extra pieces that I am trying to keep from getting hurt.

 However over the years as a mom with kids on bikes I have discovered a few tips that allow me to bike with my children with a safe level of sanity.

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The thing about being eleven and a half …


We’re in the middle of the tween years with my oldest daughter.  Just like those tender newborn years, I’m finding that each milestone with my first born brings its own new set of joys and, of course, new challenges.

In some ways, these years are more perplexing to me as her mother because, unlike those baby days, I cannot fix everything.  My presence isn’t enough to offer comfort for the things that upset her.

The thing about eleven and a half is that it is hard.  The term “tween” gets thrown around with such cutesy abandon, but this in-between age the name is derived from comes with some “big feelings” (as my kids say) and that isn’t light and cute.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve said the wrong thing to her, given her the wrong advice, messed up in my approach, crushed her feelings when I meant to lift her up.  There’s a learning curve to these years, and this rookie tween mother hasn’t mastered it.

It is a new road, for both of us.

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