Who’s feeling lucky? Then check out this giveaway!

Guess what? I needed some incentive to get going with giveaways since I have not done one in a while, so I am hosting one with a bunch of fabulous bloggers to give 4 lucky people the chance to win $500 each for a total of $2000!!! What would you do with $500 extra dollars?

If I had $500 extra, I would probably do one or more of the following:

  • Hire someone to potty train Crankles. Is that a thing? If not, it should be, and realistically, if I had money, I would hire someone to do this because it is getting painful people! The kid teases me. She acts like she wants to do it. She is capable of doing it. She is even doing it sometimes while we are out and about, and then…just when she has a great day…BOOM, she poops her pants. It is always the gross kind too!
  • Get my hair done, nails done, face…the whole thing. Yeah, I would. I do the whole diy thing, but man, it is soo nice to have someone pamper you or be able to beautify yourself without someone barging in on you having to poop or ask a million questions.
  • Take a mini-vacation. Okay, so I know it does not sound like a lot of money to do this, but it is totally doable. My family and I usually take fairly cheap vacations. We look for deals, go on Groupon, and since we budget our food and gas, we will factor that into the mix. Look for something not too far away, and you might find something fun for you and the family (or maybe just you and your significant other).
  • Pay a bill. Okay, that does not sound glamorous, but there is a certain satisfaction that comes from paying off a bill and adulting. The last few years has been a roller coaster in our family’s life, and just today, my husband and I sat down and looked at how far we have come since little over two years ago when he was laid off from the job we kinda moved here for. Adulting CAN feel good.
  • Put it in the bank. Again, not glamorous…however, it is something good to do.

So those are some of the things I would look at doing, but enough about me…let’s talk about how to enter this thing!

Here are the rules:

Terms and conditions: 4 (four) people will win $500 via Amazon GC or Paypal cash.To be eligible to win entrants must be 18 years or older. This giveaway is open world wide (so my international followers can enter! YAY!), void where prohibited. Winner must respond within 48 hours to confirm using the email that they signed into Rafflecopter with. Winners will be chosen within 72 hours of the giveaway close date. If winner doesn’t respond within allotted time the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be chosen. So if you win, make sure you respond! Giveaway ends 3/17/18 at 12:00AM EST!

To ENTER, please click on the link below and follow the instructions. Also, feel free to add what you would do with some extra cash in the comments below and good luck!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Misfit Mama Bear Haven

Hallmark is Making Cards Super Groovy!

If you are looking for a last minute gift, these will definitely impress your Valentine! Each card comes with a card that contains an LP single. At Christmas, I got one with an Itty Bitty in it! I did not think anything could top that…UNTIL today. I am hoping they make these for other occasions in the future because they are really unique, and I cannot wait to hand some out tomorrow to some of my favorite people!

*I received this product from Hallmark but all opinions are my own!

Look what came in the mail today! Are these not the grooviest Valentine cards ever?!?!? I think I am in love!

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If you are looking for a last minute gift, these will definitely impress your Valentine! Each card comes with a card that contains an LP single. At Christmas, I got one with an Itty Bitty in it! I did not think anything could top that…UNTIL today. I am hoping they make these for other occasions in the future because they are really unique, and I cannot wait to hand some out tomorrow to some of my favorite people!

What is your most clever Valentine’s Day gift idea? Feel free to share it in the comments below!

 

Seven Tips For Finding a Vehicle for your Family (and Why It’s Important)

I know that buying a vehicle can be costly, and that is why I think it is important to consider your vehicle in family planning. We get really excited and sometimes overwhelmed by everything else when having a child that sometimes we overlook these kinds of things that do end up having an impact on our every day lives. 

*This is a sponsored post

With each child I have had, there has been the planning and buying of things for the baby, for the nursery, for me toting everything I need for the baby. However, one of the big things I have forgotten to check with each child is whether my vehicle has enough space for the things I need to take with me for the baby. I know this may seem silly in a way…as in you are thinking, “Just how much crap does she really need to take with her?” However, depending on your lifestyle and travels, you might be surprised to find yourself in a bind if you overlook this when having kids. So I thought it might be a good time to share with all of you who are thinking of having another baby or have one on the way things you need to consider when deciding on a family vehicle.

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So here is what happened when I had my oldest daughter. My husband and I purchased a hatchback Hyundai Elantra when Bubby was almost two-years old. We wanted something that had good gas mileage, as we traveled a lot to see our parents, and we wanted something that could fit the stroller and possibly our bunny too. For one child, it was perfect. We could even fit our bunny’s cage in the back. She seemed to be a pretty happy traveler (okay, that could be because my husband’s grandma gave her extra treats when we came to visit). I had room to put a velcro toy bin in the middle of the back seat so that Bubby had all his travel toys within arm’s reach. When I got pregnant with Sissy, I did not foresee a problem because I used to babysit and had an extra car seat in the back half the time anyways. It was not until about a month before Sissy was born that I could see we might have some issues when I went to pick up my new double stroller. I got one that would fit her infant seat. I got one that was smaller. I got one because Bubby was almost three, and I knew I would be doing lots of playdates and walking and well… he was still kinda little for me not to have something for him. When we got the box out to the car, it would not fit. The nice guy from the store helped me unbox the stroller and put it together in hopes that all would be well when I put it in the trunk that way. It fit, but there was no room for anything else. The first time that we traveled as a family for a few days was a tight squeeze for us all. I knew then that long-term this was not going to work for my family. It took several months and a lot of research, but I ended up deciding on the Hyundai Tucson as a suitable replacement for our family vehicle.

The factors helping me choose were storage capacity, fuel efficiency, and price. By looking everything up before visiting a dealer, I knew how much the vehicle cost, what features were standard, and whether or not everything would fit. By the time Sissy was six months old, I walked into a dealership and traded my sweet little Elantra for something that would fit our family’s needs, a Hyundai Tucson. I loved my Tucson, still do. It is my husband’s work vehicle now. We used it for getting the kids from everything from playdates to dance class. We piled our family and exchange students and went on vacations in that vehicle. I could fit a chunk of my store in that thing to get to craft fairs and parties. It was perfect for us…until we decided to have another baby.

When I got pregnant with Crankles, my husband and I started to realize that long term, the vehicle was going to be too small for our growing family. My son is eleven years older than my youngest and is taller than me now. When we traveled with one of our exchange students, the kids were past the ages of big strollers and travel systems. While you can get slimmer car seats, the extra gear we would need for going shopping, field trips, and trips to grandparents would make us a bit cramped again. We did not really want to purchase a new vehicle, so we decided to swap vehicles. He was driving a Toyota Rav-4. It has great cargo space, and we knew it would be perfect for carrying the stroller, a pack and play, and whatever else we might need when we traveled. However, we learned after our first trip as a family of five, we probably should have driven around with the infant seat a bit before we put Crankles into one. The kids were cramped, and so were we. The Rav-4 was a newer vehicle, and so we decided to trade it in for something that would work for our expanding family.

The process of figuring that out again was so frustrating, which was why I was so grateful for tools like Cars.com. Being able to sit at my leisure and compare vehicles to find the one with the best storage space, size, mpg, etc… made it easier to decide what to buy. Once we decided on what we wanted, a Toyota Highlander (optional third row, roomy, and great for winter driving), we were even able to search on there where we could find the one we wanted for a good deal. Three years later, and I still love my Highlander. If we have another baby, I know we have room to make everyone fit. Basically, I will be driving the vehicle until it dies (which I am hoping is not for a really long time). I drove on icy roads last night taking Bubby home from dance, so I still have the confidence in knowing I picked right for bad weather. This was not a decision we made lightly, but this was a decision that has definitely been good for our family.

I know that buying a vehicle can be costly, and that is why I think it is important to consider your vehicle in family planning. We get really excited and sometimes overwhelmed by everything else when having a child that sometimes we overlook these kinds of things that do end up having an impact on our every day lives.

While I know that purchasing a vehicle is not feasible for everyone, if you are thinking of buying a vehicle and possibly thinking or will be having another child in the near future, you might want to think about the following:

7 Tips for Painless Vehicle Shopping

  1. Do you have other children, and how squished will everyone be?
  2. Did you measure your car seats and/or booster seats to make sure everything fits properly?
  3. How often do you travel and where? If you travel a lot, you need to make sure your vehicle has enough storage space.
  4. How much can you afford to spend on gas. Having a budget for gas in your monthly budget is important anyways, but it is also important to keep your budget in mind when searching for a vehicle.
  5. How many miles does the vehicle have? If you are buying new, then it does not apply. However, you can get some great deals on used vehicles. If you do though, you need to think about how many miles are on it. You also need to have an idea about how many miles those makes and models typically get. Also, is it certified? Tools like Cars.com can help you find all that out too.
  6. Do you think you might have more children or may be driving other children in your vehicle? I like my Highlander because I can use the third row and bring along extra friends of my kids if I want. If we decide to host more exchange students, I am already prepared in that aspect. Automobile purchases are costly, so choose wisely.
  7. Will this vehicle work for the weather in your area? Before moving, we lived in the mountains in Eastern Pennsylvania. We needed something that could handle the harsh winter weather. While I tend to stay home in bad weather, sometimes it is unavoidable. Make sure that your vehicle can do that for you.

While I know a big expense, like a vehicle is not always in everyone’s plans, it should be something to consider as you grow your family. By finding your family’s needs and using the right tools, you can find something that works with your budget too and can last for years to come!

Ways you can tell you are a good mom…even when you don’t feel like one

If you struggle with chronic illness like me, you might feel like you are failing your family, but know that you are not. While we may not have as much energy, we can still be good parents and help our kids become amazing adults.

Those of you who follow me on social media or have followed this blog for long enough may have noticed I haven’t been posting a lot. While I have been trying to do more lately, I find myself choosing between getting through an activity with the kids or writing. I choose the kids every time. I am getting more done, but my concentration still kinda sucks.

One of the things that I have learned through this whole experience is how I see myself as a mother. Sometimes I feel like an utter failure. I have to take naps most days. I say no a lot more than I used to in regards to activities and events. I don’t have a lot of energy. However, I have realized that this does not make me a bad mother, and sometimes as parents, I think we are a little hard on ourselves.

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Ways we know we are doing okay…

I was watching my girls play. They are usually pretty happy kids…Okay, so as I am writing this, they started fighting about something. Apparently, the three year old wanted to get something else out to play and was reminded about how we have to put away toys when we are done. Rather than ask me, they decided to fight about it. They are back to playing dolls now like nothing ever happened. And that…is just the thing. They play together. They are happy. They get to see friends and love socializing. However, when they are at home, they are content doing whatever here too, and even when they argue, they can problem solve and be back to pals a few minutes later. To see my kids settled lets me know they are well-adjusted.

How they communicate with us…

My kids and I have an open line of communication. They come to me when they are bothered by something. We snuggle. We talk. Even if they are disappointed as to why we cut something from our schedule, we discuss it. I know who my kids’ friends are. I know what they like to do…their interests. It’s important to know these things and to be active in their lives. They also know that I am actively working on a solution and the constant trips to doctors won’t be forever. I want them to know that I am trying to be there for them now and hopefully years from now.

The Ways they show us love…

Having a close relationship with your kids is a sign that we are doing okay. When I say close relationship, I mean that your kids are showing empathy to us and the world around us as well. This past weekend, my son threw me a surprise birthday party. It was one of the sweetest gestures that anyone has ever done for me. He and I do not always agree on things, but the fact that he came up with this idea and planned it out, including bringing in a friend to help bake shows love. He knows I have been having a rough time and wanted to give me something that would bring me joy. A family’s relationship is give and take and being there for each other in good times and bad. Seeing the love that went into the gesture and how beautifully executed his plan was made me feel like I did something good (even if it was just passing down my party planning skills). When we can show our kids ways to love and show love to others, we are preparing them for a life that they can bring that kind of action to others and hopefully make their world a better place as adults.

If you struggle with chronic illness like me, you might feel like you are failing your family, but know that you are not. While we may not have as much energy, we can still be good parents and help our kids become amazing adults. We just have to work with what we have and keep plugging away. I hope this helps, and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Save on Magic School Bus Science Club!

If you have children (ages 5-12) who enjoy the Magic School Bus books or videos–and if you like doing science experiments with them–then you’ll LOVE The Magic School Bus Science Club!

* This post contains affiliate links. They do not charge you anything additional, but Misfit Mama Bear Haven receives a small commission on your purchase. Thank you for your support!
If you homeschool and are like me, you are always on the lookout for creative new ideas to keep your kids learning.
If you have children (ages 5-12) who enjoy the Magic School Bus books or videos–and if you like doing science experiments with them–then you’ll LOVE The Magic School Bus Science Club!

Developed by a team of Harvard graduates, scientists, and educators, the award-winning Magic School Bus Science Kits are delivered monthly right to your doorstep. Children will explore science through experiments that will spark an interest and curiosity in science.

Each kit includes a colorful manual based on The Magic School Bus characters, as well as everything you need to complete at least seven experiments related to that month’s theme.

What is included?

1 year subscription includes 12 Magic School Bus kits + FREE SHIPPING in the Continental USA (Ships to Canada for $2/month).

Each kit includes:

  • Detailed, large 12-page colorful manual that is full of experiments and topic information
  • Each manual is based on the popular Magic School Bus books and TV series
  • Includes an adult section so that adults with no science background will find the kits easy to use
  • Materials and information necessary for a range of interactive experiments
  • Online Clubhouse for further exploration on each kit topic
  • Certificate of Completion
Kit Topics:

 

You can even create and print off your own gift cards to let your children know about the surprise, which is great for holiday gift giving or for birthday gifts! I love the idea of giving this kind of gift to my kids or their friends because it gives them something to look forward to every month. It is like a surprise for them, and they learn something new every month too!

I do hope your kids enjoy their exploration alongside Ms. Frizzle! Happy learning!

 

How to win at Cyber Monday Shopping with Target

*This post has affiliate links

You made it through Black Friday…or maybe you did what I did and stayed home. Actually, I traveled to my parents and visited them instead of dealing with crowds, but I also finished my shopping over a month ago. It’s okay, you can hate me. I used to work retail, and it sorta ruined holiday shopping for me. That, and I really hate crowds. I see pictures on the news and start to sweat. When I had the shop, I used to use it as a time to decorate the shop and welcome people who had come back from a day with shopping with snacks and crafts. I truly miss doing that, but I digress.

 

Okay, so Cyber Monday is all day today. While I have my shopping done, I do look for deals…as in I go through our closets and see if there is anything that needs added if I can get it for a good price. I also look at things I can stock up on for later and sometimes buy presents for future birthdays and other gifts.

That being said, Target offers 15% off your entire order for Cyber Monday, which is awesome! Plus they have free shipping! In addition to all of that, here are some of their other highlights!

•    30% off select clothing for the family
•    All Graco on sale up to 20%
•    Save $100 on the PlayStation GT Sport VR Bundle
•    Save up to $50 on Google Home devices
•    Save up to $100 on GoPro action cameras

Even if you have your holiday shopping done, you still might want to take advantage of the clothing deals, and if you have a little one or one on the way or know someone who is having a baby, the Graco deal is a good one too!

So, what is the best deal you have gotten so far? Mine was an $80 Lego set that I got for $30. Wanna know how? Check back this week, and I will give you my thrifting holiday shopping scoop. Happy Shopping, and don’t forget to check me out on Facebook and Instagram for stories and fun!

target logo
Target logo

 

Savory Green Bean Casserole

One of my favorite holiday dishes is my mother’s green bean casserole. I have made a green bean casserole similar to hers for years now. However, this year, I decide to experiment with it a bit and came up with some delicious results. I hope you and your family will enjoy it too!

 

One of my favorite holiday dishes is my mother’s green bean casserole. I have made a green bean casserole similar to hers for years now. However, this year, I decide to experiment with it a bit and came up with some delicious results. I hope you and your family will enjoy it too!

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Ingredients

  • 2 14.5 oz cans green beans
  • 1 6.5 oz (4 oz drained) can of mushrooms (the stems and pieces kind)
  • 1 can mushroom soup
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2/3 cup French fried onions

Directions

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is getting all toasty, combine your mushroom soup and milk. Drain your cans of green beans and mushrooms and pour them into a baking dish. Mix them up a bit with a spoon. Then you will pour the mushroom soup mixture over top the green beans and mushrooms. Mix with a spoon. Salt and pepper to taste. Finally top with the cheese and then bake at 350 for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, take out your casserole and add the French fried onions. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Serve warm.

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