5 Tips to Jump Start Your Morning with Your Family

Many thanks to General Mills and Usher for sponsoring today’s post and sharing their happiness and positivity with us!

I’ve never been known as a morning person, but I’ve tried my darndest (is that a word?) :) over the past few years, but more specifically since I became a mom over 5 years ago. I have a love obsession with sleep and prefer to stay in bed as long as possible but I also hate when it feels like I’ve wasted the day away getting those beloved zzzz’s.

No matter how late I sleep, I still look forward to my coffee and breakfast. Let’s be honest. I look forward to my morning coffee before I even go to bed the night before. :) I wish I could say that my mornings are always smooth sailing with my family and that coffee and breakfast are a grand experience around the table with my sweet and well-mannered children.

Morning breakfast with Honey Nut Cheerios and Usher

Yeah right.

We’ve had some rough mornings in our past and I feel like I’m just now getting a handle on what our mornings should look like. It doesn’t mean they DO look like they should, it’s just that I’m getting a handle on what my kids are capable of and they structure and routine they crave. Because I’ve been in that morning rut and have now come out on the other side, I wanted to share these 5 tips that have helped our family get a jumpstart on the morning.

1. Get up before your kids. I really had no idea how important this was until I found myself cleaning up cake batter out of the carpet of my boys’ bedrooms and fudge icing off of their walls. I made a promise to myself that I’d make myself wake up before them and be ready to greet them when they woke up. Not only that, but when I use them as my alarm clock, I’m grumpy and not fully awake before they start asking me 500 times for breakfast. Those mornings, I usually end up snapping at them.  Not fun.

2. Since you’re up before them, get a workout in! A few months ago, I started attending a boot camp 3 mornings a week at 5:30. Ridiculously early? Yes! But with a house full of kids to take care of, working out while they sleep seems to be the only option and my energy is GONE by the end of the day when their daddy walks through the door. I’ve found myself more energized, focused, and motivated when I make the effort to get up early and get my heart rate up for that hour.

3. Plan breakfast out. I’m sure your mornings are as hectic and crazy as ours are, right?!? It’s nice when I can go to the kitchen and know exactly what I’m making for these little people. After all, time is precious.  There’s no time to stand at the pantry or with the fridge door open wondering what I can feed them.

Usher and Honey Nut Cheerios

4. Keep it healthy. We’re not the healthiest eating family but I like to think we try. My kids love eating cereal for breakfast and I’m perfectly fine with that, you know, as long as it’s not full of sugar! I grew up eating Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast, literally everyday! I’m sure it’s no surprise that Cheerios were one of the first snacks I fed my little ones when they were babies. Now, they’re happy to have a bowl of it before they head off to school.

Usher and Honey Nut Cheerios

 

5. Make them think of something fun and positive before they leave you for the day!  As a mom, I have really tried to make it a priority not to let my kids leave me thinking I’m mad or upset with them. I really feel like it can carry over to their school day and that’s the last thing I want. Even when we’re in a rush, and the kids and I are going at different speeds, leaving me so annoyed, I try to make sure we have something to smile at before they are off for the day.

Usher and Honey Nut Cheerios

Usher and Honey Nut Cheerios are making that so easy for us! Did you know that you can free download of Usher’s exclusive song, “Clueless,” on the inside of each participating Honey Nut Cheerios box? This song is not available on Usher’s new album release and can’t be purchased anywhere else. Take a look at the cute video and preview of the song here. It’s definitely the best way to get your family moving and smiling in the morning. What better way to jump start your day?!

What tips have you found to work for your family when it comes to jump starting your morning?

 

DIY Pallet Wood Christmas Tree

I’m already getting excited about Christmas decor and I knew I wanted to make some for our front porch. I also had a friend who could get free pallets wood for me and with a little creativity, it was pretty easy to decide on a cute DIY Pallet Wood Christmas Tree for my front porch. 

Pallet Wood Christmas Tree | An easy project to add a little character to your front porch Christmas decor! | Roubinek Reality www.roubinek.netHow to Make a DIY Pallet Wood Christmas Tree

Materials Needed:

1 pallet

1 2×4

2 1/2 in nails

Reciprocating Saw, pry bar, or circular saw (any tool you can use to break apart your pallet without ruining the wood)

Drill

Ruler, Measuring tape, Pencil

Ryobi j saw

Spray paint (I used a Rustoleum Heirloom White and Metallic Gold)

Cutting machine

Vinyl

Directions:

1. Use your tool to take apart your pallet wood. I had no idea how amazing the reciprocating saw was until I used it for this project. I’m amazed at how easily it cut through nails! I had that pallet taken apart in 10 minutes!

2. I lined up my larger pieces of wood and put my 2×4 down the middle, as shown in the picture. 

diy_pallet_wood_christmas_treepallet_wood_diy

3. I drilled 2 screws in to each piece of pallet wood to keep them secure.

4. Using a ruler, pencil, and measuring tape, I freehanded my tree on the wood, but made sure to make sure both sides measured the same. 

DIY Pallet Wood Christmas Tree

5. Then I went to work with my Ryobi jig saw. It’s a really quick process and the little tip for this part is to try and make all of the cuts from the outside of the wood. It will make the process easier and faster.

diy_pallet_wood_christmas_tree_ryobi

 6. I was left with this pretty creation but I kept thinking it needed something else.

DIY Pallet Wood Christmas Tree

7. I gave the tree a good coat of spray paint in Rustoleum’s Heirloom White. This color will be for the letters.

8. I grabbed my cutting machine, cut letters from vinyl and stuck them to the wood. I made sure to stick them to the wood, making sure the edges were not raised from the wood.

9. I gave the tree two coats of spray paint and let it dry. However, before it was completely dry, I pulled the vinyl up. It’s always a little easier to remove the vinyl before the paint is dry.

10. This easy DIY pallet wood Christmas tree will look great on my front porch with the rest of my decor when I put it up after Thanksgiving.

DIY Pallet Wood Christmas Tree

Would you like to see more easy build Christmas projects? Take a look at these projects! 

18 Easy DIY Christmas Projects

Rustic scrap wood Christmas tree- Dukes and Duchesses
Snowflake String Art- DIY on the Cheap
Silhouette Stand Nativity- My Day Lights
Instagram stocking holders- Frenchie Wraps
Wooden sign- Poofy Cheeks
Repurposed Gift Carry All- Let’s Go Junking
Rustic Christmas Tree Decoration-Her Tool Belt
PB Inspired Wall Art- Create and Babble
Woodland Reindeer Ornaments-Whats Ur Home Story
Advent calendar- Carissa Miss
DIY Stackable Slatted Fruit Crates- Pink When
Joy wood slice sign- Dandelion Patina
Gold Reindeer Décor- Simply Designing
Wooden Christmas Tree Display- Lauras Crafty Life
Pallet Wood Christmas Tree- Roubinek Reality
Christmas countdown chalkboard- Dogs Don’t Eat Pizza
Caddy with Herb Infused Oils- 356 Days of Crafts
Wood gift tag- Being Spiffy

Saturday Morning Fun at The Home Depot DIY Workshop

My participation in the DIY Workshop is sponsored by The Home Depot.  All opinions are my own. See below for additional disclosure.

I still remember the first Home Depot DIY Workshop I ever attended. I didn’t really know what I was doing there since I’d never really done any major DIY-ing before but I was interested in how to make changes to our bathroom. I left feeling empowered and ready to take it on. We had our bathroom remodeled within 6 months and it only fueled my fire to take on more projects.

Now I wander the Home Depot aisles, dreaming about all of the fancy tools I’d like to have, the spray paint colors I think would be great for my next project, and the inspiration that pops at me from products I find. It’s one of my favorite stores to spend a little “me” time in. Imagine my excitement when I was asked to co-lead a DIY Workshop at my local Home Depot making this cute holiday decor!! I. was. ECSTATIC!!
Home_Depot_DIY_Workshop

You may have seen an earlier blog post inviting you to attend the DIY Workshop with me or to sign up at your local store. The workshop took place last weekend and we had such a great time getting hands on together.

Imagine my surprise when I saw my face staring back at me as I walked in to the front door at the store. My name and face on a sign in Home Depot?!? Pinch me.

home_depot_DIY_Workshop_advertisement

 

The plan for our class was to create Holiday Tree Yard Decor. I loved watching the guys explain and demonstrate the step by step process. It’s always fun hearing how other people do things. I popped in a few extra tips along the way. 

photo 1IMG_2738

A couple of our workshop guests were even able to try out the tools on their own. They were hesitant at first, but the look of empowerment on their faces when they walked back to their seats was pretty awesome!

Home Depot DIY Workshop Participants

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When it was all said and done, a few of our attendees were able to go home with their very own tree, as well as Home Depot gift cards! How cool is that?! All for attending a free workshop! 

photo 3

 

Some people don’t have a free Saturday morning to check out the Home Depot DIY Workshop. If that’s you, Home Depot has taken care of you! You can check out the project plans and even a ho-to video on the Home Depot website.

Interested in attending a DIY Workshop at your local Home Depot? Take a look here and see what they’re offering at your local store. 

Like creating holiday decor? Make sure you check out the Do It Herself workshop coming up next week. You’ll love the project!

The Home Depot partnered with bloggers such as me for their DIY Workshop program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any product mentioned in these posts. The Home Depot believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. The Home Depot’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

HTC One M8 Harman/Kardon Edition from Sprint

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence Central for Sprint. I received sample devices to facilitate this review.

I always get a little excited about new tech gadgets, so when I was invited by to attend a #SprintMom event in Dallas to check out the new HTC One M8 Harman/Kardon edition phone, I couldn’t wait!

HTC One M8 Harman Kardon

[Read more...]

5 Tips to Make the Most of Your NFL Football Game + GIVEAWAY

Every year, we usually get one home Dallas Cowboys game we get to attend. This year we did things a little different, thanks to the tickets we were given from Verizon. We had such an amazing time that I wanted to share 5 tips to make the most of your NFL football game experience! And, be sure to check out the giveaway at the bottom of this post!
nfl football game [Read more...]

Intel Technology Experience Brings Hands on Fun to Best Buy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

I keep my eyes and ears open for the latest and greatest electronic gadgets. It’s usually because I have gadget envy but with two teenagers and a tech loving husband, I have to stay on top of my game, especially since Christmas is right around the corner. I love reading reviews and hearing how other people like their gadgets, but nothing really compares to actually getting your hands on new technology to play for yourself. 

Best Buy Intel Experience

Obviously I am not alone. According to a new study by Intel and Toluna, most (79%) of Americans are excited about the chance to learn and try out new technologies, but half are frustrated by the lack of opportunity to experience them, beyond what they read or see in the media.

For that reason, Intel and Best Buy have now teamed up to bring new Intel Technology Experience zones to 50 Best Buy stores across the U.S. These Best Buy Intel Experience zones give customers the chance to play, explore, and be inspired by the power of technology with hands-on activities like 3D printing and virtual reality games. For many people, like myself, this is the first opportunity to see, touch, and play with exciting new technologies they’ve only heard about. 

We made a trip to our local Best Buy in Dallas to check out their 240 square feet Intel Experience zone. I was most excited about seeing the 3D printer since I’ve heard so much buzz about it but I loved seeing my kids take on the augmented reality world by showing off their racing skills on Mars. 

Best Buy Intel Experience

 

Best Buy Intel Experience

Here’s a little peek in to what the Intel Technology Experience has to offer. 

Test Drive a Mars Rover

Best Buy Intel Experience

Best Buy Intel Experience

Best Buy Intel Experience

Remix a Ne-Yo Song with the Ultimate DJ Experience

My kids loved dancing around to this music and I loved getting a chance to play with all of the controls. With an Intel-powered 2-in-1, you get a hands-on opportunity to control the show. :)

Best Buy Intel Experience

Best Buy Intel Experience

 

Best Buy Intel Experience

Create in 3D with 3D Printing

This was probably the most interesting to me because of all of the 3D printing buzz I’ve heard over the past year or so. I’ve never seen a 3D printer in person, so it was a fun opportunity to learn about a really amazing gadget. It’s hard to believe you can make that robot on the screen be created to hold in your hand. Amazing how far technology has come.

Best Buy Intel Experience

 

Here are a few examples of things this 3D printer has created.

Best Buy Intel Experience

Best Buy Intel Experience

Would you like to try it out for yourself? Take a look at this link (www.bestbuy.com/intel) to see if a select store is in your area. The Intel Experience area will be staffed by specially trained Best Buy Blue Shirts to answer questions and help customers make the most of each area within the experience. Each season, Intel will refresh the venues with a new array of technology experiences.

For more information about the Intel Technology Experience areas, including a list of stores, visit www.bestbuy.com/intel.

Chili Empanadas

Now that Halloween is behind us and the holiday season is upon us, I’m thinking about food, food, and more food! I love getting the chance to try new recipes and it’s always more fun when I have a little helper by my side. This past weekend, Langston and I tried our hand at some Chili Empanadas to create this sponsored post for Wolf® Brand Chili.
Chili empanadas

 I would like to tell you they were so easy to make, but I have to be honest in telling you they took a little practice for me to get the dough just right. However, once we got that right, I loved setting this little guy up to do the fun part. The “decorating.” :)

chili empanadas

 He really was so proud of his work. It was pretty adorable.

chili empanadas

 These chili empanadas would make a great dish for your next game day party, or as an appetizer for your family or guests. 

chili empanadas

For generations, Wolf® Brand Chili has delivered bold and flavorful one-dish meals with authentic Texas-style seasonings to all chili lovers. It was an easy addition to this Chili Empanadas recipe.

I love that Wolf® Brand Chili is a real, authentic Texas chili expert. You know they’re the real deal because they started in Texas and they ONLY make chili.

chili empanadas

 Get your family together, or just your mini helper for some Chili Empanada fun in the kitchen with Wolf® Brand Chili!

Chili Empanadas
A delicious mix of Wolf® Brand Chili and delicious dough to create these fun and flavorful empanadas.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
13 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
13 min
1127 calories
31 g
425 g
94 g
43 g
53 g
508 g
1938 g
13 g
0 g
32 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
508g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1127
Calories from Fat 824
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 94g
144%
Saturated Fat 53g
267%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 28g
Cholesterol 425mg
142%
Sodium 1938mg
81%
Total Carbohydrates 31g
10%
Dietary Fiber 2g
6%
Sugars 13g
Protein 43g
Vitamin A
171%
Vitamin C
64%
Calcium
114%
Iron
21%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 can Wolf® Brand Chili
  2. 1 cup shredded cheese
  3. 1/4 cup green onion
  4. 1 tube of Pillsbury Recipe Creations Seamless Dough
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 cup sour cream
  7. 1 can rotel
Empanadas
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a saucepan, mix chili, cheese, and green onions on medium heat until heated through and cheese has melted.
  3. Unroll the dough and use a 2" circle cookie cutter to cut out each circle.
  4. Either with a dough roller or with your hand, spread the dough out until it's pretty thin and able to fold over 1 Tbsp of chili.
  5. Add 1 Tbsp of chili to the middle of the circle, being careful to stay away from the edges.
  6. Fold over the dough and seal the edges with your fingers.
  7. Use a fork to create the decorative edges.
  8. Whip your egg in a small bowl and then brush it on to the edges of each empanada.
  9. Place them neatly on a cookie sheet and then in to the oven to bake for 13 minutes.
  10. Serve with dip.
For the Dip
  1. Mix together sour cream and rotel.
  2. Then garnish with green onions.
beta
calories
1127
fat
94g
protein
43g
carbs
31g
more
Roubinek Reality http://www.roubinek.net/
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Wolf® Brand Chili.

What TLC Schools Taught Me About Preschool

When I was pregnant with Langston and knew he would be a June baby, we had a pretty good idea that he would start Kindergarten late. I struggled with the decision but fortunately, the decision was confirmed when his preschool teachers told me he just wasn’t ready. A part of me breathed a sigh of relief but a part of me felt really guilty, asking myself if I did everything I could leading up to this point to get him ready.

Now that we are well into the start of his bonus year of Kindergarten, that guilty feeling is only getting stronger. He’s struggling and not doing as well as he should. There are concepts he doesn’t know yet and should. I keep thinking back to that one semester we decided to keep them home, in an effort to tighten our family budget a little. It was a big mistake. I believe it was just the beginning of him falling behind. 

Through all of this, I feel like there’s one thing I wish I’d known when he was a baby. 

PRESCHOOL IS REALLY IMPORTANT.

Financially plan for it. Do your research in searching for reviews, making phone calls, and taking tours to make sure you find a good one. 

Not that I don’t like the one we attend, but I wish I had done a little more research and taken in to consideration that in spite of my teacher background, I don’t do a lot of teaching at home. Homeschooling is obviously not my thing. ;) 

A few weeks ago, my eyes were opened a little to other types of schools when I was invited to a blogger event at TLC Schools where we toured the facility and learned everything they had to offer their students. We were given gift baskets, which included gift cards, books, and other small items, with the hopes that I would share about our experience :) As always, all opinions are my own. 

TLC Schools

Granted, this is a full day program and is more for the working parent, but I was blown away at what they had to offer their kids. From a swimming pool and splash pad to age-appropriate playgrounds and a computer room at each campus utilized by all students starting at age TWO! I was so very impressed!

TLC Schools

TLC Schools

This car seat parking was so cute! 

TLC Schools

I loved seeing all of the organization and structure at the school. There’s a reason they were voted Best in Child Care by LIVING Magazine in 2014. But, it’s more than a child care center. TLC Schools maximizes children’s potential by finding the right balance between learning, nurturing, and fun. They also provide a curriculum-based early childhood education, encouraging exploration, discovery, and development through fun learning, music, and language.

If I was a parent of an infant, looking for childcare, I think the biggest selling point for me would be the WatchMeGrow system, which offers a live streaming video of your child, so you can check in on them at any point during the day. Really, that is just so awesome for parents to have their minds put at ease when they can’t be with them!

TLC Schools

Feel free to check out their website for more information or give them a call to set up a tour, which is available anytime. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Hillshire Snacking Varieties Give Healthy & Delicious Options

#spon: I’m required to disclose a relationship between my site and Hillshire. This could include Hillshire providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

If there’s one thing I’m thinking about constantly, it’s food. Aren’t we all a little like that? {We all have to have it!} And, the fact that I’ve been doing early morning boot camps three times a week for the past several months only makes me more hungry. Some days I feel like I’m snacking all day long. I’m always thinking about my next meal or snack. 

I hate the feeling of always being hungry but with three little ones to keep up with and social schedules of two teens, I feel like I literally have to plan out my meals, or they won’t happen. My needs fall pretty far down the totem pole around here. ;) 

That’s why I was so excited to give the new Hillshire snacking varieties a try!

These are almost like the chicken nuggets my littles love to devour but they’re so much better for you! I love how perfect the packaging is and how easily they can be thrown in to the microwave for 15 seconds, ready to go. The sauces are delicious and I haven’t found a flavor I don’t enjoy! 

 


Hillshire Snacking Varieties

I’m always looking for healthy snacks and this is perfect for what I need. Whether I’m on the go with the kids, working on the computer to meet a deadline, or trying to come up with a quick snack for a surprise guest, these are the perfect solution. It’s nice to have these on hand AND to know they each have 15 grams of protein! It keeps thoughts of the next meal at bay for just a bit longer. I like that!

Hillshire Snacking Varieties

With bold flavors and premium meats, I can be proud to serve these to visiting friends and family, too! 

Hillshire Snacking Varieties

Serve these up on a plate and our guests will think I cut these up and prepared them myself. Haha! 

I think I’ve found a snacking staple for our house and one I can feel good about eating! 

If you’d like to find out more about Hillshire’s Snacking varieties, check out the Hillshire Tumblr page. While you’re there, learn more about their sweepstakes, going on until November 15th.

Something Fabulous Wednesday

Welcome to Something Fabulous Wednesday! Whether you’re here to browse for inspiration or share your own “something fabulous,” I’m so glad to have you here!

something fabulous Wednesday

In this party, you can link up anything you’ve created, such as recipes, crafts, DIY projects, printables, blog tips, and more. As long as it’s something from YOUR blog, I’d love for you to share it! Please don’t post Etsy shops, giveaways, or links to other linky parties. Fortunately, there are lots of other link parties out there to link those up.

I will be sharing my favorite links at next week’s linky party. In the meantime, though, I will share your projects on my social media channels, giving credit to you, of course! I love to share you links on Pinterest, especially! Make sure you’re following me there

To make the party more fun, visit the links others have left, because it’s always fun to see what others are up to. Leave a comment and maybe even pin the ones you like, like I’ll be doing. This makes it a party and keeps people coming back!  Though it’s not required, I would love you to link back to my post or even post my party button, which you can find the code for on the sidebar. 

So let’s party….

Here are a few of my favorites from the last Something Fabulous Wednesday party!

Something Fabulous Wednesday

1. DIY Glittered Fall Leaves from Typically Simple

2. Caramel Pumpkin Crunch from A Dash of Sanity

3. 21 Ways to Make Christmas Affordable from Retired by 40

4. Spider Web Table Runner from Decor Adventures

5. Gooey Raspberries and Cream Bars from The Love Nerds

I can’t wait to see what you have to share this week!

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