Get Into the Woods! Discover the Forest

I’ve always loved the outdoors. Growing up in rural Iowa, if you weren’t into outdoor activities there wasn’t much for you to do! I have fond memories of summer vacations playing at town parks, swimming at the town pool, riding bikes all over town, and when I was a little older, riding my brother’s dirtbikes and quads, going camping and boating at the lake, attending 4th of July fireworks and having big family reunions at state parks. Our best family trip ever happened when I was about 7 or 8. My parents took us on a road trip out West for summer vacation. We packed up my dad’s dually truck with a big cooler of food and drinks, hitched up the camper and headed towards Montana to visit my Uncle Bill and …

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Whoopie Pies

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Whoopie Pies

The birth of Holiday Baking day and how Peppermint Hot Chocolate Whoopie Pies came to be. Over the past five years, due to my husband’s job, we have moved four times and lived in four different states. Four years ago my girls had a particularly hard time over winter break. We hadn’t lived in Alabama very long. There were no visits from family, no friends to have over for hot chocolate, no holiday parties to attend, no secret Santa exchanges… all of the fun things that most people participate in during winter break. My husband was out of work and we didn’t have the extra money for the girls to buy gifts for each other, something they looked forward to every year. Food Advertising by After thinking about what we could do that would …

"Go outside and have fun!" Come home when the street lights come on.

Go outside and play!

Do you remember the “good old days” when you were told first thing in the morning to “go outside and play” and you played with your friends until the street lights came on? Go outside, play and have fun with your kids! Before you know it they are going to be grown and living on their own and you won’t have the opportunity any more.

Quick Tips for Maintaining Your Car This Winter

Before heading out on your first road trip this winter, check out these quick car maintenance tips. When you are road tripping it to grandma’s house, you don’t want to be stranded on the side of the highway because of something that could have been easily prevented. Maintaining Your Car This Winter Tip # 1 Check the oil before you take a long trip and change on a regular schedule. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways of keeping your car running smoothly. Most mechanics recommend you change your oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, but check your owner’s manual to see how often it is recommended specifically for your car. You should NEVER neglect the oil light on your car, especially in cold weather! Tip # …

Apple Muffins with Apple Cider Cream Cheese Glaze

Apple Muffins with Apple Cider Cream Cheese Glaze

I know I am the minority on this one, but pumpkin spice everything is not my favorite thing about fall. Although I do like pumpkin bread and chai tea, my fall obsession is apples. My daughters and I love apples so much we go through about 15 pounds of them every week! We try to make it to the local orchard at least once every fall. The kids love it! We have so much fun riding the hay ride, picking apples, drinking hot apple cider, and of course, eating apple cider doughnuts. We always end up bringing a couple of dozen home with us. I’ve tried to replicate those doughnuts many times without success. The recipes have been okay; I just haven’t found that perfect one yet. On my last attempt, the doughnuts were …

Last Minute Classroom Treat – Mummy Drink Pouches

Last Minute Classroom Treat – Mummy Drink Pouches

If you are anything like me, you wait until the VERY last minute to prepare for school events. I always end up volunteering to bring something easy like store bought cookies or pretzels and chips. This year I signed up to send in flavored water pouches. My daughter wasn’t impressed, so I decided to take a few minutes to jazz up the pouches… These Mummy Drink Pouches were successful in wowing my daughter, and the other kids in her class. They are super easy to make–all you need is some drink pouches, white crepe paper, googly eyes, and a hot glue gun (I also used a small black piece of black construction paper to glue on the eyes, but it’s not necessary). PS Be careful with the glue gun! I am a klutz and …

Walk for UNC Children’s at Midtown Park in Raleigh on November 4

I’ve always been a big supporter of charity walks. Starting in elementary school I participated in more March of Dimes walks than I can count. Then after my sister-in-law died of breast cancer I took part in three Komen 3-Day for the Cure walks. When my friend Elaine was diagnosed with, and later died from, leukemia I walked several Light the Night walks for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Food Advertising by It might sound strange to others, but walking for charity is something that makes me feel less helpless against something that I have no control over. So when I was asked to be on the UNC Children’s Digital Advisory Panel, and to participate in the Walk for UNC Children’s, I didn’t hesitate to say “yes!” (It’s nice to …

How About Them Apples [Caramel Apple Sangria recipe]

How About Them Apples [Caramel Apple Sangria recipe]

One of my favorite things in the fall, aside from colorful leaves and cooler weather, is all the fresh, yummy apples! And with October designated as National Apple Month it’s the perfect time to take a bite out of all the yummy varieties available! My all-time favorite apple is the honeycrisp. It’s delicious, sweet and crisp with a firm flesh, making it an ideal apple to eat raw, and perfect for a yummy sangria. Some juicy apple facts… The apple is a “pome”. A fruit that is created from the fusion of outer flower parts and ovaries. Apple trees take from 2 to 10 years to produce their first fruit. It depends on the apple variety, and whether they are dwarf or full-sized trees. Sunny days and cool nights along with the rich soil help …

Next Snack Time Think Outside the Bar! Try Nature Valley Biscuits and Granola Cups

Next Snack Time Think Outside the Bar! Try Nature Valley Biscuits and Granola Cups

Being the mom of five daughters is not easy, but when you add ‘work from home entrepreneur’ on to that list it makes everything more complicated. My schedule is kind of insane. Particularly when my girls have separate activities on the same night in opposite directions–usually a 45-minute drive away. This is complicated by the fact that I’m the sole chauffeur of the family. Food Advertising by My husband is working temporarily out of state, and my two oldest do not have their driver’s licenses yet, even though they are both old enough and able to do so (but don’t have a car to drive). It’s tough enough to get everyone where they are going on time, let alone worry about feeding them in-between activities. Some nights we don’t eat …

Farmer's Market Fresh: North Carolina Pork

Farmer’s Market Fresh: North Carolina Pork

Skip To RecipeBefore having kids, one of my favorite things to do on a Saturday morning was to get up early and run to the farmer’s market to pick up some fresh, local produce. I bought baked goods, flowers, eggs, and of course, fruits and veggies. But I never once thought about purchasing meat from the farmer’s market. To be honest, I don’t even know if it was offered back then (jeez, I feel old now). But when I was given the opportunity to visit the Piedmont Triad Farmer’s Market last week, I learned that the farmers have more to offer than just fresh, local produce! Not only did I find all sorts of North Carolina grown fruits, veggies, herbs, and flowers, but fresh, locally-raised meat, as well. I grew up …