Top 10 Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Preschoolers

I’m  excited to be joining in with a great group of bloggers for a special Top Ten Holiday Gift Ideas series. Please join us as we share our favorite books, games, building toys, pretend play toys, and stocking stuffers! Each participating blog will create their own unique list each week for each of the categories so be sure to stop by each of the links at the bottom of this post.

Here are 10 of my favorite stocking stuffer ideas that are not edible:

Art Supplies: crayons, markers, collage materials, little pads of paper, stamps and ink pads, stickers, playdough, art smock

Toiletries: mini bubble bath bottles, fun character toothbrushes, mini tubes of toothpaste

Vehicles: trains, cars, small planes, construction vehicles

Wearable Items: socks, hats, underwear, jewelry, gloves, dress up clothes

Figures: tiny dolls, Super Hero Squad super heroes, small princesses, dinosaurs, farm animals, characters from movies or TV shows

Games: Go Fish card game, character dominoes, Fruitominoes, game for electronic system

Musical Instruments: harmonica, recorder, triangle

Building Toys: lego bricks, wooden blocks, magnetic block sets

Books: any soft cover books that interest your kids, coloring books

Bath Fun: bath toys, bath crayons, bath squirters

Find more great gift ideas in these posts:

Stocking Stuffers for All Ages {Top Ten Holiday Lists} from Something 2 Offer

Top 10 Stocking Stuffers for Boys Ages 3+ from Stir the Wonder

Stocking & Stuffer Ideas for Kids from Powerful Mothering

Top 10 Stocking Stuffers for Preschoolers from Makeovers & Motherhood

Top 10 Stocking Stuffers for Preschoolers from P is for Preschooler

Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers for Preschoolers from Little Bins for Little Hands

DIY Stocking Stuffers Ideas from Creative World of Varya





Top Ten Pretend Play Toys For Preschoolers

I’m  excited to be joining in with a great group of bloggers for a special Top Ten Holiday Gift Ideas series. Please join us as we share our favorite books, games, building toys, pretend play toys, crafting supplies or kits, and stocking stuffers! Each participating blog will create their own unique list each week for each of the categories so be sure to stop by each of the links at the bottom of this post.

This week I’m sharing about my favorite toys to help preschoolers imaginations grow during pretend play. Props can take children from their homes and magically turn them into everything from Doctors to cashiers at the store to veterinarians.

One of my fondest memories of school when I was younger was when my teacher made a make-shift grocery store with old food boxes we had all brought in from our homes. We then used pretend money, pushed around shopping carts, and “shopped”. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s what created my love for shopping :)

While many items can be found around the house, some specially purchased items can enhance pretend play for preschoolers. Here are my ten favorite pretend play toys for preschoolers:

Fisher-Price Medical Kit


 Learning Resources Pretend & Play Sliceable Fruits &Veggies


Playhut Lil Explorers Big Red Fire Engine


Learning Resources Teaching Cash Register


Melissa & Doug Shopping Cart


Community Helpers Gear (and any costumes you can find)


Baby Doll (Any doll will work. Don’t forget the accessories and gear)


Kitchen Set (My favorites are made by Step2)


Black & Decker Junior 25 Piece Tool Set (and a toolbench if you have room)


Melissa & Doug Birthday Party Set


Looking for more pretend play favorites? Check out these posts:

Pretend Play Toys for Boys and Girls {Top Ten Holiday Lists} from Something 2 Offer

Top 10 Pretend Play Toys for Toddler Boys from Stir the Wonder

Top 10 Lists: Pretend Play Toys for under 3 year olds from Powerful Mothering

Top 10 Gifts to Encourage Pretend Play for Preschoolers from Makeovers & Motherhood

Top 10 Pretend Play Toys for Preschoolers from P is for Preschooler

Top 10 Pretend Play Toys in Our House from Creative World of Varya

Top 10 Preschool Pretend Play Toys from Little Bins for Little Hands


Top Ten Building Toys For Preschoolers

I’m  excited to be joining in with a great group of bloggers for a special Top Ten Holiday Gift Ideas series. Please join us as we share our favorite books, games, building toys, pretend play toys, crafting supplies or kits, and stocking stuffers! Each participating blog will create their own unique list each week for each of the categories so be sure to stop by each of the links at the bottom of this post.

Blocks are the first toy that probably comes to mind when you read the title of this post but I want to share some other fun building toys that are on my list of top toys for preschoolers.





Bristle Blocks


Trio Building Set


Magna Tiles


LEGO Bricks (these ones for 4+ and larger bricks for 3s and Under)


Lincoln Logs


Waffle Blocks


Gears Building Set


Wooden Blocks

Here are some other posts from bloggers sharing their favorites:

 Building Toys for Boys and Girls {Top Ten Holiday Lists} from Something 2 Offer

Top 10 Building Toys for Toddlers from Stir the Wonder

Top 10 Lists: Building Toys for under 3 year olds from Powerful Mothering

Top 10 Building Toys for Preschoolers from Makeovers & Motherhood

Top 10 Building Toys for Preschoolers from P is for Preschoolers

Top 10 Preschool Building Toys from Little Bins for Little Hands

Top 10 Building Toys From Our Childhood from Creative World of Varya

Gifts for Future Female Engineers from Afterschool for Smarty Pants

 What is your favorite building toy?

Top 10 Books For Preschoolers

I’m  excited to be joining in with a great group of bloggers for a special Top Ten Holiday Gift Ideas series over the next 6 weeks. Please join us as we share our favorite books, games, building toys, pretend play toys, crafting supplies or kits, and stocking stuffers! Each participating blog will create their own unique list each week for each of the categories so be sure to stop by each of the links at the bottom of this post.

This week we are talking books. Having taught preschool I have hundreds of preschool books and I’m sharing my favorites with you all! These are good for the older 4s.










Here are favorite book lists from other bloggers:

Thaleia Maher from Something 2 Offer: Books for all Ages

 Nicolette Roux from Powerful Mothering: Books for under 3 year olds

Sarah McClelland from Little Bins for Little Hands: Picture Books

Emma Craig from P is for Preschooler: Books for Preschoolers

Samantha Soper-Caetano from Stir the Wonder: Books for Toddler Boys

 Natalie Figge from Afterschool for Smarty Pants: Books for Advanced Bookworms

Alisha Carlson from Makeovers & Motherhood: Holiday Books

Varya Sanina-Garmroud from Creative World of Varya: Books for Non-English Speakers

What are your favorite books for children? I’d love to check them out!

Lucky Gifts For St. Patrick’s Day

I have never given gifts for St. Patrick’s Day but I’ve been inspired by Pinterest so I wanted to share the top 10 “Lucky” gifts I have found online. {Click pictures to be taken to the posts they come from.}

“Lucky In Love” Card


Teacher Gift Idea


Lucky Necklace


Card With Lucky $2 Bill


Lucky DIY Pillow


DIY Bracelet


Crochet some clovers




Love this non-edible gift idea for school friends


Gold at the end of the rainbow

St. Patrick’s Day Desserts

Enjoy these St. Patrick’s Day themed desserts I found around the web!

Click on the pictures to be taken to the posts they come from.

Mint Chocolate Brownies


Rainbow Cake In A Jar


Shamrock Pretzels


Layered Cake


Shamrock Mint Oreos


Caramel & Chocolate Covered Marshmallows


Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes


Grasshopper Tart


Rainbow Jello


Shamrock Trifle


Find more top 10 lists at OhAmanda

Ten Things I LOVE


Since it’s Valentine’s Day I wanted to share ten things that I love:

1) My children’s kisses and the way they can make any day better

2) Working from home and making my own work schedule

3) Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiatos with extra caramel drizzle

4) Sunny days

5) Not having to cook

6) A clean house {even though it usually only stays clean for a couple hours}

7) Wandering the aisles at Target

8) My DVR so I can record shows and fast forward through commercials

9) Having people in my life who I can confide in and share the trials and joys of motherhood with

10) To-do lists and organization


What things do you love?

10 Valentine’s Day Themed Lunches

{Click on the pictures to be taken to the posts they come from}










10 Valentine’s Day Themed Breakfasts

{Click the pictures to be taken to the posts they come from}










10 Valentine’s Day Treats

{Click on the pictures to be taken to the posts they come from}

{Update 2/2015: See the bottom of this post for 10 more Valentine’s Day dessert ideas!}











Click on the below image for 10 more desserts!

10 Delicious Veggie Recipes

Nobody will ever complain about having to eat their veggies with these recipes…

{Click pictures to be taken to the posts they come from.}


Cheesy Cauliflower Pancakes


Cheesy Corn Casserole


Zucchini Cakes


Avocado Fries


Crispy Parmesan Asparagus Sticks


Cheesy Zucchini Bake


Cucumber Feta Rolls


Green Bean Casserole


Roasted Stuffed Peppers


Butternut Squash Soup


Find more Top 10 posts at Oh Amanda

2012 Resolutions {$25 Visa Gift Card Giveaway}

In 2012 I plan to:

1) Take one day off of blogging and working per week so I can spend more time with my children.

2) Have “mommy” time at least once a week because I deserve it.

3) Purge unused items in my home because I am tired of piles of clutter.

4) Save money by cutting our spending by 5% because we need a larger emergency fund than the one we have.

5) Learn more about Autism so I can be a better advocate for my children

6) Take more pictures using a decent camera because the pictures taken with my cell phone camera print out horrible.

7) Have date night at least twice a month to rekindle our romance.

8) Make healthier snack choices because I want to love my body.

9) Spend more time with family and friends because I don’t spend enough time with them.

10) Work towards my bigger goals at least once a week because if I don’t I will never reach my life goals.


Want to share your true resolutions?

Trop50 True Resolutions celebrates the real reasons behind New Year’s resolutions. Share your secret motivation behind your resolutions and you’ll earn a coupon for $1 off Trop50 for yourself and 50¢ off coupons for up to 50 of your friends. You can even submit incognito with a fierce disguise. Bonus: Whether you submit a resolution or not, you can also enter a sweepstakes to win a $1000 gift card.


One reader will win a $25 Visa gift card and coupons for free Trop50.


Share one of your resolutions in the comments below.


(Do any or all of the following, leave a comment for each you do)

1)  Share this giveaway on a social network

2) Follow @TropicanaOJ on Twitter

3) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

4) Like Trop50 on Facebook

5) Like Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

6) Subscribe by RSS or email (look in upper right corner)

7) Enter another one of my giveaways (they can be found here)

Giveaway ends February 4, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. US Only.

(Disclosure: I was compensated for this post but all thoughts are my own. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook in any way.)

This post is linked to Oh Amanda’s Top 10 Tuesday.

Throw A “Noon” Year’s Eve Party {10 Ideas}

When children are really young and can’t stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve you can still help them ring in the New Year by throwing a “Noon” Year’s Eve party with morning festivities and a celebration at noon.

Here are 10 great ideas to make this event extra special:

1) Open a bag each hour with a new activity inside. I love this idea from Keepers Ministry!

2) Make New Year’s Eve poppers filled with leftover Christmas candy. Great tutorial at Make and Takes.

3) Make a list of all the fun things you’d like to do as a family in the New Year.

4) Treat everyone to some cookies designed to look like clocks.

5) Have a balloon drop at noon.

6) Put bubble wrap on the ground and have the kids jump on it to pop it at midnight.

7) Make some party hats to wear! Check out these cute New Year crowns.

8) Party punch in a large bowl will make the occasion extra special.

9) Play a game of Charades and act out events that happened over the past year.

10) Make time capsules to open next New Year’s Eve.


I’d love to hear any ideas you have on how to make New Year’s Eve special for kids :)

Ten Things I Am Thankful For

Thanksgiving is only a couple days away so I thought it would be great to share what we are thankful for. Here are my ten:

1) I am thankful for my family and that they are healthy.

2) I am thankful that my favorite holiday, Christmas, is almost here.

3) I am thankful for a group of wonderful, supportive mommy friends.

4) I am thankful for Starbucks{and chocolate, too!}

5) I am thankful that I have a warm house to live in.

6) I am thankful for the opportunity to work from home so I can be with my kids everyday

but still contribute to our family financially.

7) I am thankful that my boys are getting the services they need for their special needs.

8) I am thankful for modern inventions like my DVR, smartphone, and laptop.

9) I am thankful for blogging and the opportunities it’s brought my family and I

and for all the wonderful blogging friends I’ve made.

{Special thanks to my Collective Bias community and my fellow Chicago Social Media Moms!}

10) I am thankful for Christ being born

and that I can share the real reason for the season with my children.


What are YOU thankful for?

Fire Prevention Week Resources

This week is Fire Prevention Week which was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Every year in America, over 4000 people die and more than 20,000 are injured in fires. I wanted to share ten resources for families to learn more about fire safety:

1) National Fire Protection Association’s Tips For Kids (they have a printable home fire escape plan on their site, too)

2)– Games, an online storybook, and more. Includes a Fire Inspection Checklist for kids

3) Fire safety resources from Scholastic

4) Fire safety tips from and Arthur

5) Sprout’s website has fire safety resources for children and a Junior Firefighter badge they can make

6) Fire Safety Coloring Sheets to print

7) Fire Safety Crafts for children to make

8) Fireman Sam fire safety resources and coloring pages (this is Luke’s favorite show)

9) Sesame Street Fire Safety Station

10) More information about Fire Safety Week

Ten Bloggers Who Inspire Me

To Teach My Children:

Carisa from 1 Plus 1 Plus 1 Equals 1

To Be The Best Mom I Can Be:

Kat from Inspired To Action

To Be A Successful Work From Home Mom:

Abbey from Living Your Moment

To Become A Better Writer:

Lisa-Jo from The Gypsy Mama

To Be Grateful:

Ann from A Holy Experience

To Be An Advocate For My Children:

Hartley From Hartley’s Life With 3 Boys

To Learn More About Technology:

Kris from Little Tech Girl

To Be Creative:

Tonya from Create-Celebrate-Explore

To Menu Plan:

Laura from I’m An Organizing Junkie

To Find Creative Ways To Share God’s Love With My Children:

Amanda From Impress Your Kids

Day Out With Thomas

Jacob’s favorite thing to play with is his collection of Thomas trains so it came as no surprise that he LOVED the trip to Union, IL for Day Out With Thomas. Our family had a great time and the weather was beautiful. Want to see if the tour is headed towards you? Go here to view the 2011 Thomas Leader of The Track Tour schedule.

Activities during the Day Out With Thomas event:

  • 20-minute ride with Thomas the Tank Engine™
  • Meet Sir Topham Hatt™
  • Clowns
  • Puppet Shows
  • Magic Shows
  • Live Music
  • Thomas & Friends™ Storytelling and Video Viewing
  • Thomas & Friends Playtable
  • Balloon Animals
  • Thomas & Friends Coloring
  • Temporary Tattoos of Island of Sodor Friends
  • Thomas and Friends Store

Here are ten of my favorite pictures from the day:











And I love the shirts we got them:



You can find out more information and order tickets here.

Have you ever been to Day Out With Thomas? What did you think of it?

Interested in going? Have questions about the tour? I’ll try to answer them :)

(Disclosure: I received tickets as a blog reporter for Day Out With Thomas 2011 but all opinions are my own.)

Top Ten Favorites From Type A Parent Conference

This past weekend I was in Asheville for the Type A Parent Conference which, for those of you who don’t know, is a blogging conference put on by Kelby. It was my second blogging conference. Last summer I went to BlogHer in New York where there were thousands of people. This conference had about 400 so it was a smaller, more intimate conference. Here are my favorite top 10 things from the conference:

Picture courtesy of Kris Cain (aka LittleTechGirl)

1) Being Understood (And Meeting Other Bloggers). I get the weirdest looks from people in my “real life” when I talk about bloggers and people on Twitter as my “friends”. At a blogging conference we all have online friends so I don’t get any strange looks because they all get me. They understand why I love blogging, why I share so much with everyone, and that Twitter is used for other purposes than talking about one’s lunch.

2) The Sessions. I can’t even begin to share everything I learned in the sessions because there was so much good information. I took a lot of notes and added a lot to my to-do list to implement. My favorite session was the closing keynote with Liz from Cool Mom Picks whose talk was entitled “The Myth Of Doing It All”. It really made me realize that I can’t do everything on my own so the first thing I did when I got home was hire someone to help me watch the kids occasionally.

3) Down Time. At BlogHer I went from one event to another and didn’t have much time for personal interactions or time to reflect on what I was learning. Type A was totally different. We had plenty of time between sessions and meals and before the night time parties to connect with others, have conversations, and really get to know these other people.

4) Asheville. Love, love, love that town! I had never been there before but now would put it on my top 10 list of places I’d like to vacation to. It’s an artsy town nestled in the mountains and seems to be very family friendly.

5) The Food. I am so thankful that there were many healthy food options available at breakfast and lunchtime. The restaurants I went to all had delicious food, too. I ate outside of my “comfort zone” when we went to Zambra’s, a tapas restaurant, where I tried portions of foods that included ingredients I’d never heard of before.

Picture taken by Mel of A Broken Compass

6) The Parties. Each night there were parties at the hotel for us to attend. I was so tired by the end of the day that I didn’t stay out too late but I did attend them all, even if just for a short amount of time. My favorite party was put on by Clever Girls Collective and sponsored by UbiSoft. There was a Smurfs Dance Party which I had said I was not going to participate in because I had never played the game nor am I that great of a dancer. Kim asked me to join the group she was putting together for Collective Bias so I agreed I would join in and embarrass myself. It was fun but we didn’t win. I did however, win one of the door prizes which was a Wii and some video games which made me the happiest woman ever. I have already informed my children that it’s “mommy’s” but I will share with them :)

7) The Conference Sponsors. There were some wonderful companies at the conference including some I had never heard of. I enjoyed talking to the sponsors and came home with some great products for my family.

8) My Roommates. I stayed in a hotel room with Jill of Musings from Me and Kris of Little Tech Girl. I enjoyed getting to know both of them and actually ended up spending most of my time with Kris which was great because it seems like she knew everyone! She also seems to know everything about technology and is going to redesign my blog for me in the coming months :)

9) Roadtripping. Dodge gave Kris and I a Dodge Caravan to drive to the conference. It was a long ride from Chicago to North Carolina and back but it made the conference affordable since we didn’t have to pay for transportation. This van has so many awesome features that it needs it’s own post.

10) My Conference Sponsor. My ticket sponsor was New Blog Hosting and Peter, the owner, was also at the conference as a conference sponsor. I enjoyed representing such a great company who really wants to work with bloggers and provide them with affordable hosting options. I  loved that I was working with a company that donates part of the hosting fee to charity and also loved providing my blogger friends with some chocolate and a chance to win a couple great prizes.

(Disclosure: My travel was provided by Dodge and my ticket provided by New Blog Hosting but all thoughts are my own.)

Top Ten Tuesday: Mother’s Day 2011

Camden and Jacob preparing to send their balloon to Heaven


The boys being "boys"




Uh Oh! Stay off the roads!


Let me give you a push


My mom helping Jacob sign the balloon


Lucas just wanted the marker...


They are all getting so big!


Camden smiling for the camera


My brother and I with our mom and our children


This post is linked up to Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday.

Top Ten Tuesday: Easter Morning

I’m about a week late with my Easter update since Snapfish wouldn’t let me access my account for days but I wanted to share the pictures anyways. The boys were really excited about their “baskets” this year. Most items in them were found on clearance and not much candy was in them (my boys are sweet enough).

The "baskets" (which we will be planting flowers in this week)


Jacob on the steps looking at the baskets but he was told he couldn't come downstairs until Lucas and Daddy came.


Lucas being silly


Jacob was really excited about this Toy Story art kit


These books with a play mat and character pieces were a hit


Jacob got a Cars book and Lucas got a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse book


Lucas trying to get the linking bunnies out of the egg.


I love how Jacob organized all his "goodies" on the table. lol. He's totally like his mom! :)


This one is a hard little boy to capture sitting still! Most shots of him are blurry cause he is constantly on the go!


You could see in his face how excited he was.

This post is linked up to Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday.

Top 10 Tuesday: Frugal Easter Baskets

With Easter coming up in less than a week I wanted to share ways to make Easter baskets on a budget.

1) Buy reusable “baskets”. Whether it’s a basket they use every year, a pail that they can then build a sand castle with, or a tote that can be used to organize their toys; buy something that won’t just get put on a shelf to gather dust. Last year I used large fabric bins that I could later use to organize toys. This year I bought planters on clearance for less than $4 each and we will use them to plant flowers in next month.

2) Buy cheap candy if you have young children. My toddler doesn’t know the difference between a piece of chocolate that costs a dime and one that costs a dollar. All he knows is he can have 10 pieces of candy or 1. I’m sure you can guess which he would pick…

3) On the flip side, buy the good chocolate if you have older kids. Just buy them less. When I was a teenager I much preferred a package of Reese’s cups over a whole bag full of those tiny little chocolate eggs.

4) Buy items your children need. Whether it be pajamas, sandals for the summer, or goggles for the swim lessons they will be taking, if you are going to buy it anyways you might as well stick it in their basket.

5) Homemade gift certificates. What things does your child LOVE that they don’t get to do often? How about 1 night out with mommy to see a movie, 1 cone at their favorite ice cream shop, or 1 bike ride with daddy?

6) If they are a little older how about giving them “get out of chores” certificates. Give them a week off from their least favorite chore!

7) Look under your couch cushions…and any where else that coins may be hiding. A dollar in coins will make any young child feel rich.

8) Check the dollar spot at Target and dollar stores for cheap “filler” items. Books, games, socks, toys, and pretty much anything else you can think of can be found for only a dollar.

9) Make a basket to give to a family who might not be able to afford one. This may not necessarily be “frugal” but teaching your children to give to others is one of the best things you can give to them.

10) Think ahead! After Easter everything goes on clearance so why not buy now for next year? You get it at a discount and your children probably won’t be able to guess that the Easter book you give them next year is a year old. {Obviously I’d avoid buying candy for next year’s baskets…}

There you go. Ten different ideas to play Easter Bunny on a budget. What other ideas do you have?

(This post is linked up to OhAmanda’s Top Ten Tuesday)

Rainy Day Fun {Top Ten Tuesday}

As I write this we are having another dreary, rainy day in Chicago. Today’s Top 10 Tuesday is a list of fun things to do with your family on a rainy day:

1. Head to an indoor playground. Many McDonald’s, community centers, and malls have children’s play areas where children can play for free. There are also other indoor playgrounds that cost money including: Monkey Joes, Lil Monkey Bizness, and Pump It Up.

2. Have a movie day (and don’t forget the popcorn)!

3. Bake. Kids love to help in the kitchen. Even young kids can help! My toddler likes to do the pouring and stirring.

4. Create a rainy day box that only comes out on rainy days. Fill the box w/ craft supplies or special toys and take rainy days from boring to *fun*!

5. Head to a local museum or aquarium.

6. Bring the outdoor fun inside. If you have items outside that can be played safely inside bring them in. We have a slide that can easily be brought inside for the day.

7. Have an indoor picnic. Spread out a blanket and have lunch on the floor of your living room. Make sure to choose easy finger foods for the meal.

8. Build a fort. Using pillows and blankets help your children make a fort. Make it simple or go all out adding a flag, decor, and anything else they can think of to personalize it.

9. Play a game. Board games, card games, duck-duck-goose, and make believe games all make the day seem to go by faster.

10. Cuddle on the couch with some good books.

{And as a bonus…}

11. Run “drive thru” errands. This may not be too fun at the time but doing these things on a rainy day means that you can be outside having fun on the sunny days! Consider the following errands that can be done without leaving your car: dropping off mail at the post office, picking up prescriptions, returning books and  movies, making a deposit at the bank, etc. (As a bonus, how about picking up lunch on your way home?)

What does your family do on rainy days? I’d love to hear your ideas! :)

Ten Spring Recipes I Can’t Wait To Try

(Click on a picture to be taken to the recipe page. This post is linked to Top 10 Tuesday at OhAmanda.)

Spring Omelet


Spring Veggie Pizza



Grilled Pork Tenderloin & Asparagus with Peanut Dipping Sauce


Strawberry Mint Spring Rolls


Tomato Feta Salad


Moroccan Chicken Kebobs



Sun-Dried Tomato & Feta Stuffed Artichokes



Carrot Cake with Maple-Cream Cheese Icing



Roast Side of Salmon with Mustard, Tarragon, and Chive Sauce


And as a special treat…


My mom's lemon bars


ENJOY! If you make one of these recipes I’d love to hear what you thought about it!

Top Ten Tuesday- Looking Forward To Spring

Today I walked outside and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t too cold out… it  made me think about Spring and all the things I had to look forward to. I can’t wait for:

1) Warmer weather- Having to bundle up the kids to go outside is no fun. I can’t wait until a light jacket is all they need.

2) A lower gas bill!

3) Family walks- We moved to a new neighborhood this winter so I can’t wait to walk around and explore with the boys.

4) Opening the windows and letting the fresh air in

5) Starting a garden- Now that we have some outdoor space of our own I can’t wait to start a mini-garden with the boys. (Anyone have any suggestions on easy to care for plants?)


Can't wait for the boys to use their new gardening tools


6) Planning the boys’ birthday party- Jake turns 3 and Luke turns 2 in June so I need to start planning their birthday party in the next couple months.

7) Easter- I checked my calendar and it seems Easter will be later than usual this year. I can’t wait to dress the boys in matching outfits, tell them the Easter story, and go hunting for eggs.

8) Short sleeve shirts- Jacob chews on his sleeves when he wears long sleeve shirts and I have to constantly put new ones on him because he chews them so much and then says they are “icky”. It will be nice to be able to put him in short sleeves because then he can’t chew on the ends of them!

9) Getting outside to play- We have only played outside twice since we moved so it will be fun to play in the backyard.

10) No more snow! (ok, a girl can wish right?)


I have linked up this post to Oh Amanda’s Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Valentine’s Day Celebration

Here are ten of my favorite pictures from our day long family celebration of Valentine’s Day :) See more Top Ten posts at OhAmanda.



Jacob built a block tower with mommy and daddy. Here he is being goofy :)



Daddy reading Valentine Day books to Jacob while Jake snacks on candy hearts



Jacob and Lucas opening their Valentine's Day surprises



Luke tries on his froggie sunglasses



Jake tries putting on his sunglasses himself.


Lucas loved the chocolates. He only had one and couldn't figure out how to get the other ones out of the box.



Jacob helped make sugar cookies



Lucas fingerpaints for the first time. We didn't have much red so he used yellow.



Jacob fingerpainted foam hearts (and then the paper)



Lucas then decided to paint his face letting us know he was done painting.


What about you? Did you do anything fun with your family yesterday?

Top Ten Tuesday: Snow Day!

After the blizzard here in Chicago we went out to play in the snow. Here are ten of my favorite pictures. See more Top 10 posts on Amanda’s blog.


Jacob shoveling snow



Daddy had to help Lucas walk in some of the snow because it was so deep.



Jacob making a snow angel



Lucas is loving his first time playing in the snow



Jacob and daddy



Uh oh! Lost a glove!



Jacob fell in the snow



I have no idea what Lucas was trying to do but he was looking at the world from a new angle :)



Jacob kept wanting to take his mittens off so we had to keep putting them on.



A sign that it's time to go inside? Your child gets a runny nose.

Top Ten Tuesday: Christmas Morning

Sinisa and I



Jacob and Lucas in their Toy Story chairs






Jacob and Lucas looking at their presents



Lucas relaxing



Lucas and Daddy



Jacob peeking at the gift



My mom and I



Jacob reading his new book



Who needs new toys?

Top Ten Favorite Christmas Songs

1. Amy Grant- Breath of Heaven

2. Mary Did You Know

3. Michael W. Smith- Welcome To Our World

4. Mariah Carey-All I Want For Christmas Is You

5.  O Holy Night

6. Silent Night

7. Strange Way To Save The World

8. Away In A Manger

9. O Come O Come Emmanuel

10. Joy To The World

Top Ten Tuesday: Blog Statistics

Sometimes looking at the site statistics for Making Time For Mommy make me laugh. Sometimes they make me cry. And sometimes they make me scratch my head in amazement. Here are ten random facts about my site according to WordPress:

1. Twitter has brought me more blog readers than any other site.

2. My biggest blog referrer to date is: (meaning that site has sent me the most traffic since 2008).

3. When it comes to search engine terms the most common one that leads people to my blog is: “Croatian sayings”. This is funny to me since the only place I mention Croatia at all on my blog is on my “life goals” page where I state that one of my goals is to be able to speak Croatian fluently.

4. My post about my nephew’s Toy Story birthday party and my niece’s ladybug birthday party posts each get more views than both my children’s first and second birthday party posts combined!

5. Though I only have a few posts that talk about crochet items on my blog, I get someone coming to my blog everyday who has used a search term with the word “crochet” in it. Hope they are not looking for directions on how to crochet because they would be very disappointed!

6. My first month of blogging I only got 30 page views. That’s about one per day.

7. Maybe it’s because my post titles my first month of blogging were the dates the post was written and not what the actual post was about….

8. Other than directing people to my facebook, my twitter, and the link to subscribe to my blog’s feed, the most commonly clicked link on my blog is to a fabulous Etsy shop called Mimi’s Babies.

9. My most popular non-giveaway post to date is: Ultimate Blog Party

10. Even more awesome than all these statistics?? YOU, MY READERS!! Thank you! :)

Ten Homeschool Room Setups I Love

Lately I’ve been spending hours looking at other people’s setups for their homeschool rooms. Here are ten spaces that I LOVE (click on pictures to go to the corresponding posts):











To find out more about Tot School you can visit 1plus1plus1equals1 and to find a linky of homeschool room setups you can visit Heart of the Matter {Online}.

Top Ten Halloween Pictures


My little lion

Camden the skunk, Madelyn the bunny, Lucas the lion, and Jacob the monkey

Lucas loved Trick or Treating and would not let go of his bucket

Camden and Jacob with their Nana

Camden being silly

Madelyn and Lucas with their Nana

Lucas and Madelyn rode in the stroller most of the time because their little legs were tired

Camden and his Grandma

Madelyn enjoying her lollipop

Camden with his mom and dad

Top 10 Owl Etsy Finds

Hoot Owl Shirt


Owl Hat


Owl Wall Image


Rag Quilt


Owl Necklace


Owl Friends Peg Rack


Owl Snack Bag Set


Owl Door Sign


Owl Coffee Cozy


Owl Outfit

This post is linked to Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday meme at

Top 10 Tuesday: The Pumpkin Patch

Lucas liked the little pumpkins and tried to eat them because he thought they were apples.

Camden and Madelyn taking a ride in the wagon

Jacob pulling Lucas

Camden enjoyed his doughnut.

Lucas and Madelyn sitting in the pumpkins.

Jacob looking for the perfect pumpkin.

Some of the pumpkins were almost as big as Lucas!

Jacob and Lucas with mommy.

Lucas trying to get all of the pumpkins.

Madelyn playing in the pumpkins.


Find more Top Ten Tuesday posts at Oh Amanda.

Top Ten Tuesday: Pumpkin Picking

This weekend we went to the pumpkin patch. Here are my ten favorite pictures:


In search of the perfect pumpkin...



Jake finds one but it's a little too big...



Jacob finds a bad pumpkin.



Sitting on a pumpkin



Lucas tries to lift up a pumpkin



Jacob finds another pumpkin but it's still too big.



The pumpkins were bigger than Lucas!



Perfect sized pumpkins for little boys :)



Jacob was very excited to find a pumpkin.



Jacob buys his pumpkin to take home.


Top Ten Tuesday- Shoes!

I love shoes! Here are ten fabulous shoes for Fall and Winter:











10 Apple Recipes To Try

I searched the web for apple recipes and here are my top ten favorite ones that I found:

Apple Stuffed Pork Loin Roast

Butternut Squash and Apple Casserole

Apple and Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches

Apple Cheddar Pizza with Toasted Pecans

Apple-Toffee Tartlets

Easy Chicken Waldorf Salad

Grilled Apple, Bacon and Cheddar Sandwich with Roasted Red Onion Mayo

Praline Apple Cheesecake

Apple Onion Soup Gratin

Apple Salsa

Best of Summer

Now that Summer is almost over I wanted to reflect on my favorites of the season.

  1. BlogHer– {Yes, I am STILL talking about it!} BlogHer was so much fun and it was great meeting other bloggers.
  2. Splash Pad- For $4 our family was able to have a couple of hours of fun in the sun and some great summer memories.
  3. Ice Cream with the Kids- Watching ice cream melt down their chins and their smiles as they ate the ice cream brought happiness to me {even if it was short-lived as I realized I was the one who would be cleaning up the chocolaty mess}.
  4. Family walks- Pulling the boys in the wagon was a great workout and gave Sinisa and I a chance to talk while the boys were busy looking in wonderment at the world around them {which mainly consisted of the ducks in the stream, the airplanes in the sky, and the dogs in the windows of houses we’d pass by}.
  5. Eating food from the grill- Burgers, chicken, corn… all foods made even better when cooked on the grill.
  6. Kids playing outside- The boys loved playing in the kiddie pool and exploring nature while playing with rocks, sticks, dirt, and grass.
  7. Iced mochas- Starbucks and McDonalds both made my favorite summer treat. You know those commercials about having “me” time with the McCafe drinks? I totally get it… They made even my most hectic days better :)
  8. Air conditioning- I love the warm weather but once it hit the 90’s I was ready for some relief.
  9. Trips to the Farmer’s Market- Our Farmer’s Market was small but I enjoyed walking around with the boys. We would buy fresh fruits and veggies and sit at the library’s outdoor storytime. It was a great way to spend our Friday mornings.
  10. Celebrating birthdays- Jacob and Lucas both celebrated birthdays at the beginning of Summer. I now have two toddlers!


What were your favorites of Summer?

Top Ten Tuesday: New York City

While I was in New York City last month I went on a bus tour sponsored by Kodak. I had a great time and really enjoyed getting to know the city better. A huge thanks to Kodak for inviting me and for giving me a KODAK EasyShare M580 Digital to capture the city! Here are my 10 favorite pictures that I took on the tour:

I love the design of this building

The ball in Times Square... wish I was in NYC when it dropped!

This is the largest Post Office I have ever seen!


I loved all of the old buildings

A beautiful 9/11 tribute on a fence

"Art" on the side of a building

I love the sky in the background of this photo :)

This is part of an art piece. Thought it made an interesting photo.

The Brooklyn bridge

You can view other blogger’s photos from the tour on Kodak’s website here.

(Disclosure: I was provided a free camera from Kodak and taken on a bus ride of New York City at no cost to me.)

Top Ten Tuesday: Etsy Finds of the Week

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is 10 Etsy items I found this week. To make it even more fun I chose items in 10 different colors. If you click on the pictures you will be taken to the Etsy shop the item came from. Enjoy :)











Disclosure: I found these items searching Etsy. I have not placed orders at any of these shops so if you decide to purchase anything please do your own research first :)

What I Did Without Home Internet

Top Ten {Tuesday}

I know a lot of people don’t have internet. Some do it by choice and some do it because they can’t afford to have it. I am so blessed to have access to the internet from home which is considered a luxury in a lot of places. For the past week and a half we have not had internet. As a person who spends 5+ hours on the internet each day blogging and networking it has been extremely hard without internet access at home (I did have email on my phone and went to Borders or Panera to use their wi-fi when I had the chance). At first I didn’t know what to do with myself every night after my children went to bed but here are 10 things that I have been able to do during the time I would normally be at my computer.

  1. Picked up a book and immersed myself in the life of another through the printed pages.
  2. Purged. I have a garbage bag ready to go to goodwill when I have the chance.
  3. Checked my voicemail. I rarely use my phone to actually talk to people because most of my communication is done through Facebook, Twitter, email, or text message. My voicemail inbox was completely full and was actually not letting people leave messages (though people who know me don’t even try to because they know that I won’t get them).
  4. Enjoyed quality time. Most “date” nights at home involve watching a movie while I’m online checking and responding to emails. Last night I actually watched the movie.
  5. I slowed down. I’m always rushing because I have so much to do each day. Without access to the internet my daily work load was cut in half so it was nice to take my time doing things and enjoy what I was doing because I had no reason to rush.
  6. Wrote with a pen and a paper. I make lists daily but other than that I don’t write by hand much anymore. I sat on my couch with a pen and notepad and wrote five posts (this being one of them).
  7. Cleaned. Things got cleaned that normally get looked over.
  8. Had game night with my little sister. If we had internet we probably wouldn’t have had this bonding time over Backgammon and m&m’s.
  9. Enjoyed extra primping time. Normally a quick shower, hair in a ponytail, and sweats will do when I have loads of work online but this week I spent the extra time on myself and it was fabulous!
  10. Had conversations. Real life ones.

While I don’t think that I want to endure another week and a half offline I have decided to take one day a week away from this online world and focus solely on my family.

What have you spent your time doing when you stepped away from the computer?

Top Ten Tuesday: Things To Do Before NYC

Top Ten {Tuesday}

I am headed to NYC in about one week to attend a blogging conference known as BlogHer. In the blogging world this is THE conference to go to with over 1,500 in attendance. This is the first of probably many posts related to the conference (apologies ahead of time if you aren’t attending) and in order to organize myself I am creating a list of things I need to do before I leave.

  1. Go shopping. My daytime looks will mostly consist of items that I already own. I do want to pick up a couple of fat sucking in tank tops though :) I also need to purchase some evening outfits for all the party hopping I am going to be doing. After trying on all the dresses I own from my pre-baby days I have discovered that I have absolutely nothing that fits me. I need to find some cute, comfy shoes to wear, too.
  2. Get a haircut. Not sure if I am going to just get the split ends trimmed off or a drastic change in look but I do know that this is a necessity. The last haircut I got was when I was pregnant with my son… he is now 13 months old…
  3. Figure out arrangements for my children. Not sure yet where they will be sleeping each night but I know they will be with family so I’m not too concerned about this one. Just gotta work out the logistics…
  4. Figure out travel related things. I am road tripping to New York thanks to the generosity of Chevrolet so we are leaving on Wednesday (two days before the actual conference starts) and we need to decide on a time to pick up the car and start our journey. I also need to choose what I am going to bring along for the very long car ride (over 13 hours-one way). I know that my computer will be with me and I am bringing the Wild Things book I won from The M.O.B. Society but other than that I’m not sure..
  5. Make a packing list and pack bags. A list is a necessity for me to ensure that I don’t forget anything. I have the worst case of mommy brain and would probably forget something important (like my wallet or my super comfy shoes) if I didn’t make myself a list. I also have to pack the boys for their “vacation”.
  6. Write and schedule some posts. Before I leave I have to make sure that I have posts written and scheduled to post on this blog and on the other sites that I contribute to. Maybe we will have some great giveaways go up including a giveaway of something fabulous I’m road-tripping with (sorry it’s not a car…)
  7. Put together my itinerary. I have never tried packing so much into so little time before. Between sessions, helping host a breakfast, being a friendly face in the Serenity Suite, meeting some wonderful bloggers in real life, connecting with brands, attending parties, maneuvering through the city, and meeting Martha Stewart (ok so maybe I won’t meet her but I AM going to her party where she MIGHT be) I am wondering when I will eat and sleep. Most likely I will end up changing things as the days go by but I can make myself a schedule and stick to it if I decide to. I can also party all night or decide to do nothing but catch up on my sleep if I want to (I am without children after all).
  8. Decide on a budget and figure out how to stick to it. I have heard that everything in NYC is expensive. I will be on my own for some meals and need to decide how much I can spend and research some food options that don’t cost $50 a plate.
  9. Clean up my house. I’d like to come back home to a clean house. Sinisa and the boys will be gone most of the time so if I clean the house it should still look decent when I get home. This is a good thing because when I come home from this five day trip at about 3am Monday morning I will probably be wanting to sleep all day on Monday.
  10. Stop stressing about the trip!!!!! and Stop spending all day long on Twitter to see what others are saying about #BlogHer10!!!!! Enough said.

What about you? If you are headed to BlogHer next week what is on your to-do list to prepare? Oh and if you have any vlogs or posts about what you are wearing feel free to leave a link below… I’m still working on to-do #10 :)

Top Ten Tuesday: Birthday Party Pictures

Our family

Lucas and his GeGe

Maddie (Luke's cousin)

Jacob and Claire eating cake

Lucas and Nana

The boys with Daddy, Auntie, and Grandma

Lucas walking

Lucas with his Great Aunt

Lucas and my friend, Audrey

Luke's Aunt Morgan and Uncle Brock

This post is linked up to Oh Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday Meme

Top 10 Favorite Places Online

Below are the 10 places that I frequent most online. I will go into detail about all of these sites in future posts but I just wanted to share them with you in case you have never heard of some of them.

1. Meetup– This site is great to find local groups of people that have things in common with you. I am a member of some moms groups and we have a message board where we can connect online but then we can also “meetup” in real life. I absolutely love the groups that I’m in and am thankful for all the wonderful friendships I’ve made.

2. Facebook– I love facebook because it keeps me “in the know”. I can stay in touch with family and friends that I don’t see very often.

3. Twitter– Most of my Twitter “friends” I don’t know in real life but the connections I’ve made and the opportunities that have come up in tweets is the reason why Twitter has quickly replaced Facebook as my “go to” networking site. (I should also add here that I never really use the twitter site but view my twitter account through tweetdeck.)

4. Hotmail– I know a lot of people are partial to gmail but I prefer hotmail.

5. Blogs- I love blogs because if there is a topic you want to read about you can probably find someone blogging about it and if you can’t then you can start your own blog. I frequent parenting blogs and Christian blogs but there are some great photography blogs I love looking at, too.

6. WordPress– If you do decide to start a blog I recommend using wordpress.

7. Craigslist– Craigslist has gotten a bad rap lately because of their “adult” ads but I use the site to find garage sales and used clothing and toys for my children.

8. Etsy– This site has the cutest handmade items for children, adults, and the home.

9. Marketing Groups- I’m a part of about 15 marketing groups and I use them to find great products for reviews and giveaways. (Be sure to come back in June for our “birthday bash” where we will feature a new product every day and will celebrate with lots of giveaways.)

10. Foursquare– This last one I’m just starting to use. Due to safety reasons I do not use it in the town I live in nor do I use it when my children are with me but it’s fun to “check in” when I’m out and about.

What are your favorite places online? Do you have a favorite website that you think I should check out? Just leave a comment below!

(This post is linked up to Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday. Visit her blog to check out more “top 10” lists.)

Top 10 Etsy Finds

I decided for my top 10 this week I would explore Etsy and see what kind of cute items I could find. Please note: this is a completely random list and I do not know any of these Etsy sellers but if you like an item you can click on the picture and it will bring you to the Etsy shop that sells the item :)

1) Organic Summer Dress for Baby

2) Multi-floral Lili clutch

3) Hand Stamped Sterling Silver Mommy Pendant

4) Vinyl wall art decals - Cherry Blossom Tree

5) Leggies Leg Warmers

6) Twin Owls

7) Citrus Fruits - Felt Play Food

8) Hand-painted Wedding Cake Platter

9) Felt camera case

10) Designer Chocolate Covered Oreos


In the next couple weeks I will be featuring Etsy finds from my in-real-life, twitter, and blogging friends. If you would like to have your Etsy (or other homemade) shop considered for inclusion please email me (aliciamarie112 {at} hotmail {dot} com). If you would also like me to do a giveaway and/or review  in addition to your site being featured let me know and I will get more details to you :)


This post is linked to OhAmanda’s Top 10 Tuesday. Visit her site to check out more top 10 lists!

Top 10 Things I’d Love For Mothers Day

I decided to make a list of the top 10 things I would LOVE for Mother’s Day just in case a special someone is reading this! :)

1. Sleep- I would love to sleep in. I’m not asking to sleep the day away but sleeping until at least 7am would be fantastic.

2. Hugs and Kisses- If you remember… one of my favorite things about being a mom is all the hugs and kisses I get from my children.

3. Starbucks Iced Mocha- Wouldn’t it be lovely if my boys woke me up with one of those? yum. I’m not asking for a homemade breakfast, just a quick trip to Starbucks would be plenty to fill my tummy (though I would not be upset if you decided to go the eggs, bacon, and french toast route, too).

4. Flowers- I don’t need a big bouquet of roses but I would love some flowers. My favorite would be ones picked with love from our yard (I’d even take some dandelions).

5. Homemade card- Yeah, Hallmark cards are nice but my son’s coloring is even prettier. (You could even earn some brownie points by helping Jacob write some words on it like “I have the best mom ever” or “my mom is the prettiest woman I have ever seen”)

6. Clean house- After I finally roll myself out of bed I would love to leave my bedroom and discover a clean house. Not lick-the-floors-clean but you-won’t-step-on-anything-clean would be wonderful!

7. Family time- After we go to Church I would love to go on a family walk or take the boys to the playground. We could even go somewhere else just as long as we can do it together.

8. “Me” time- I would love to get a pedicure while the boys are napping and then enjoy some time on the computer.

9. Date night- After the boys go to bed it would be great to enjoy dinner and a movie at home.

10. Ice cream and devotions- My “perfect” Mother’s Day would end with devotions as a couple while we eat ice cream (chocolate, peanut butter for me and pistacchio for Sinisa).

So that’s my ideal Mother’s Day….

How do you imagine yours?

Top 10 Parenting Books On My Reading List

These are the parenting books on my bookshelf that I can’t wait to read:

1) “The Power of A Praying Parent” by Stormie Omartian

2) “Raising a Reader” by Jennie Nash

3) “What Every Mom Needs” by Elisa Morgan and Carol Kuykendall

4) “Relationship-Empowerment Parenting” by Judy & Jack Balswick and Boni & Don Piper

5) “What Kids Need Most In A Mom” by Patricia H. Rushford

6) “The Modern Girl’s Guide to Motherhood” by Jane Buckingham

7) “Parenting in the Pew” by Robbie Castleman

8) “How To Talk So Kids Can Learn” by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

9) “Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours” by Dr. Kevin Leman

10) “Raising Sons and Loving It!” by Gary and Carrie Oliver

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Are there any you would recommend that I add to my reading list?

Top 10 Songs I’m Loving Right Now

I love listening to KLove Radio online while I am at work during the day. I wanted to share some of the songs I’m loving right now.

1) “Let the Waters Rise” by mikeschair

2) “The Words I Would Say” by Sidewalk Prophets

3) “City On Our Knees” by tobyMac

4) “Forgiven” by Sanctus Real

5) “Beautiful, Beautiful” by Francesca Battistelli

6) “Can Anybody Hear Me” by Meredith Andrews

7) “Something Beautiful” by NEEDTOBREATHE

8) “Save A Place For Me” by Matthew West

9) “On and On” by Chasen

and not a current song but one that I love to hear come on:

10) “Praise You in The Storm” by Casting Crowns

What are your favorite songs at the moment?


This post is linked up to:

Favorite 2010 Easter Pictures

Lucas gives this Easter a "thumbs up"


This post is linked up to:


10 Things I’m Loving Right Now

1) Resale season (cute, cheap clothes. enough said.)

2) Dark Cherry Iced Mochas from Starbucks (have you tried this new flavor?)

3) Singing (I’m in the Passion Play at my Church this weekend)

4) Warmer weather (such a nice change from the cold)

5) A clean car (thank you, Sinisa!)

6) Date nights (lately it’s been movie nights for us)

7) When my boys visit Grandma (I love the chunk of time I get to be productive)

8) Lucas starting to crawl (ask me if I still love this one in a couple of months!)

9) Organized spaces (I don’t do well with messy rooms)

10) Craft time with Jacob (he loves “art” time)


This post is linked up to:

Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries

Top Ten Toddler Toys


For Top Ten Tuesday today I decided to write about my toddler’s favorite toys at the moment. He is 21 months old.

#1 Thomas and friends

#2 Crayons and other art supplies

#3 Puzzles

#4 Playdough

#5 LEGOs

#6 Shopping Cart

#7 Police Rocker

#8 Jack-in-the-box

#9 Laugh and Learn Pony

#10 Blocks