Organize Kids In The Car With #ThirtyOneGifts

Disclaimer: I received products to facilitate this project. All opinions are my own.

Keeping a car that kids spend time in organized can be a full-time job, at least for me. Add to it the extras needed for a road trip and life gets really complicated. Over the years, I have found what works for us, so I want to share some tips with all of my fabulous readers. Whether you need your car organized for everyday use, or for a trip, there should be something here to help you.

1. Backpacks: The kids have adjusted to using their Lil' Go Backpacks from Thirty-One Gifts. They work perfectly. Along the way, we found that putting a carabiner on the handle will allow you to hang it from the seat in front of them. If it is not hanging, the floor board works just fine. The Fold-Up Family Organizer keeps games, art supplies, books and more organized and handy. It has a strap that will allow you to hang from the back of a seat as well!

2. If you are going on a road trip, I have found the perfect place to pack kids' bed stuff is in the floorboard beside their backpacks. I pack their pillow, quilt, blanket, lovie, flashlight, and their Bible in totes they got for their birthdays. They are light weight and have Spiderman and Minnie mouse, but any light weight tote will do. I pack everything but their throw and pillow in the bottom of the bag. They can easily pull out a blanket or pillow if they get sleepy or want to get cozy and watch a movie. The Essential Storage Tote will work great for this as well.

Related image3. DVD Players/ Tablets: I have packed up our tablet hanging cases in favor of something more awesome! I use the Hanging Traveler Case from Thirty-One Gifts. When it is opened, it makes the perfect case for all electronics. There is a hanger that is perfect for hanging on the seat in front. The top pocket is perfect for the tablet/ DVD player while watching movies. The bottom pocket is perfect for storing accessories. If you are not in the car, the top can be folded back and the case will stand, making the bottom pocket great for watching movies. There is plenty of room for everything to be kept together! What can be better?

See all that space? Isn't it perfect? Accessories can be put in smaller zipper pouches for easy organization and access! Yes, my kids are that organized. (Not!!! I have to keep on top of it all!)

4. Drinks/ Snacks: The Fresh Market Thermal is perfect for road trips. It is easy to open and keeps goodies cold! Just put it somewhere that is easy access (I put it on the floor board between the kids' stuff). I can just turn around and unzip it and grab what I need. It is also easy to carry and store.

The Double Duty Caddy is perfect for meals on the go. It is the right size for a cup, french fries, and a snack on each side, as well as napkins. No more juggling burger, drinks, and fries. Use this instead!

Products like The Littles Carry-All Caddy, Summer Fun Caddy, Oh Snap Bin, and Oh Snap Pocket can hold drinks, snacks, and even napkins for those in the back seat. Sometimes car cup holders are hard for little ones to reach, but this solves the problem.

5. I like to Keep the Large Utility Tote in the back of the car for the whole trip. This allows me to keep swim gear, sun screen, a change of clothes and handier no matter where we venture to. It is great for the ride too, you never know when you may need a change of clothes! I use the second one to carry grocery bags with snacks and lunches to the hotel room at one time. The LUT is a miracle worker!

6. Extra Activities/ Needs: The Double Duty Caddy is perfect for essentials that are just easier to keep in the car, like extra diapers, sunscreen, bug spray, wipes, and more. It sits up straight, has a handle, and is easily organized.

Use a Fold-and-File or Catch-All Bin between the two front seats for maps, magazines, itinerary, purses, and more. Have everything at your fingertips and looking pretty.

The Hang-It Pocket Organizer works great hanging on the back seat of an SUV or Minivan. Store everything you need and have it handy!

The Your Way Rectangle and Lid are great for road trips. Put extra books, games, toys, snacks, movies, and more while you are on the road. The Lid is great for eating and playing games. Sometimes you need a solid surface. I even fit the kids' folding lap desk in it! It is perfect!

What are your car organizing needs. What storage solution have you found for your car? I would love to hear it!

Mom Approved: The Learning Journey

Disclaimer: I received products to review. All opinions are my own.

We are getting ready to start another school year at Owl Creek Academy, but our learning never stops in the summer. What I like to do during the summer is find games and toys that are educational and new to them to keep them engaged in the summer. That also gives me a chance to see how well that product will work for them as a supplement during the school year. It has worked well for us the past few years. The two items that The Learning Journey sent us are perfect and will work perfectly for this school year, where we will have a preschooler and first grader.

Telly The Teaching Time Clock

Telly The Teaching Time Clock (PRIMARY COLOR DESIGN)This little guy is awesome. Telling time is something we are still working with our oldest on. He is slowly getting it, but with so many digital clocks around, it is near impossible to force him looking at an analog clock. We haven't even started with our youngest. Telly The Teaching Time Clock has amazing features to make learning time easy and fun!

Let Telly The Teaching Time Clock help your child learn to tell both analog and digital time using two quiz modes. In the learning mode, Telly teaches time in five-minute increments when his hands are moved, updating his LCD screen. In the quiz mode, Telly asks your child to move the hands on his face to match the time displayed on his screen. Telly is also a real working clock. Learning to tell time has never been so much fun. Requires three AA batteries (included). Ages 3+ years.

We keep Telly by the kids' door, where their shoes, sunglasses, backpacks and such are. I've been telling them what time we are leaving or starting a new activity to get them looking at it. Each morning I even draw a random time on a dry erase clock that we have. The kids can either tell me when it is that time or tell me what time the clock says for a surprise. Telly is really helping them with this!

Match It! ABCs

Match It! - ABCsThis has been an awesome game for Snapper. She loves learning her alphabet but does struggle with it a little more than Tbomb did. Match It! ABCs is something she can do by herself and still learn. When she gets the right match, it excites her so much and we talk about it together after she brings me a pair.

This colorful set of 26 ABC puzzle cards provides children with an excellent introduction to the alphabet. Each card features a picture, the beginning letter (upper and lower case) and the name of the picture. The puzzles are self-correcting as no two puzzle cuts are the same. A fun way to learn the alphabet. Recommended for ages 3+ years.

Though  I wish I'd had this game with Tbomb was first learning letters, he picked them up very easily, so it was not a big deal. With Snapper, I like as many different tools as possible for her to learn with because she is much more hands on and needs the repetitiveness, where as Tbomb, he learns things almost as quickly as you can tell him. Snapper plays this game almost every day and it will be included in her daily letter box this coming year. I highly recommend this game to anyone with small children. There are so many things it teaches at once- letter recognition, upper/ lowercase matching/ sounds, and even hand/ eye coordination. It is definitely a winner.

As we wind down the summer and I am putting finishing touches on the coming school year's plans, I find myself wandering to The Learning Journey more and more and I cannot complain!

10 Ways to Turn Off The Screen And Get Outside

Disclaimer: I received items in exchange for this project. All opinions are my own.

I hope I am not the only one that feels this way, but sometimes it is near impossible to get the kids to turn off the electronics and get outside in the summer. Sometimes I have to find something that seems exciting to them to get them outside without war.

Here are some of the things we have been doing this year:

1. Finding Bugs: With a bug jar and magnifying glass from Oriental Trading, there is nothing like exploring the bugs in your yard for an evening of fun!

2. Nature Journal: A spiral journal, pen, colored pencils, and tape make for an amazing nature journal.

3. Blowing bubbles: Get jugs of bubbles, paper cups, and a variety of bubble wands for hours of fun.

4. Painting Nature: It is easy to paint a nature scene with a piece of posterboard and giant watercolors.

5. Birdwatching: Grab some fun binoculars and check out the bird life in the neighborhood.

6. Sky Watching: Lay on your back and watch the clouds or stars, imagining photos, picture life elsewhere, or dreaming. Add in some construction paper and crayons for a great activity for day or night. Add to the fun and do it in the pool. Flamingo drink floats make for additional fun here!

7. Night Time Scavenger Hunts: Grab a flashlight, glow wands, and a scavenger hunt paper for a fun night time scavenger hunt. Putting the flashlight on a lanyard helps little ones not lose it!

8. Nature Crafts: Make a birdhouse, birdfeeder, birds nest supply home, fairy garden, and more. Oriental Trading has everything you need to make your backyard a wonderland.

9. Campfires: The kids and I love sitting by the campfire, making smores, and telling stories. I enjoy doing crafts at the same time. the kids have joined me making crafts this year by the fire. They added glow in the dark beads to their headphones for a pop of fun!

10. Feeding Wildlife: Keep a stash of seeds, bread, and more and send the kids out for feeding time in the backyard. You can also put out apples, strawberries, berries, carrots, lettuce, and more. We feed the cats, bunnies, birds, foxes, deer, and anything else that may wander into our yard and it is something fun for the kids to do.

Oriental Trading makes summer fun easier with other products as well. Did you know that Oriental Trading offers pre-packaged snacks for grab and go goodness? My kids love the easter pretzels and the peas and carrots gummies- I'm wure yours will as well.

Book Review: I Am Devotional: 100 Devotions About The Names Of God

Disclaimer: I received a book to review. All opinions are my own.

The God Who Saves. The God Who Provides. The Holy One. The names of God tell us who He is and how He loves us—explore the glory and the goodness of God in I Am Devotional.
Children will learn to trust God in everything as they learn about the names and character of God in the I Am Devotional. Through 100 devotions, children will see how God’s names reflect His love, strength, trustworthiness, etc., and what that means as they develop a strong faith.
Name of God: I AM
Meaning: God is to be worshipped
Application: Worship God by how you live!
Diane Stortz has a proven history of connecting well with both children and parents in her writing. With sales of 500,000 inspirational books for children, Diane is a trusted name for Christian families. The art of Diane Le Feyer has captivated readers of I Am and will continue to delight in this accompanying devotional with vibrant illustrations throughout and a vivid cover embellished with foil and lots of striking glitter.
The I Am Devotional is the perfect companion to I Am, the Bible storybook that first introduced children to the names and character of God.
I have spent much of the summer searching for a devotional book to use for the majority of our school year. We do a few specific studies throughout the year, but I usually stick with one memory verse and a devotional for our daily bible study, especially while the kids are young. I finally found this one and could not be happier. 
Since there are 100 devotions, it will last most of the year. I love that it teaches just how amazing God is so the kids can get a sense of this while they are still young. I have always loved learning about the names of God so it will be wonderful for me as well. 

Book Review: This Life I Live

Disclaimer: I received a book to review. All opinions are my own.

The story she said he was born to write.
Her story. His story. The love story of Joey and Rory.
By inviting so many into the final months of Joey’s life as she battled cancer, Joey and Rory Feek captured hearts around the world with how they handled the diagnosis; the inspiring, simple way they chose to live; and how they loved each other every step of the way. But there is far more to the story.
“My life is very ordinary,” says Rory. “On the surface, it is not very special. If you looked at it, day to day, it wouldn’t seem like much. But when you look at it in a bigger context—as part of a larger story—you start to see the magic that is on the pages of the book that is my life. And the more you look, the more you see. Or, at least, I do.”
In this vulnerable book, he takes us for the first time into his own challenging life story and what it was like growing up in rural America with little money and even less family stability.
This is the story of a man searching for meaning and security in a world that offered neither. And it’s the story of a man who finally gives it all to a power higher than himself and soon meets a young woman who will change his heart forever.
In This Life I Live, Rory Feek helps us not only to connect more fully to his and Joey’s story but also to our own journeys. He shows what can happen when we are fully open in life’s key moments, whether when meeting our life companion or tackling an unexpected tragedy. He also gives never-before-revealed details on their life together and what he calls “the long goodbye,” the blessing of being able to know that life is going to end and taking advantage of it. Rory shows how we are all actually there already and how we can learn to live that way every day.
A gifted man from nowhere and everywhere in search of something to believe in. A young woman from the Midwest with an angelic voice and deep roots that just needed a place to be planted. This is their story. Two hearts that found each other and touched millions of other hearts along the way.
We followed Joey and Rory's story for so long. My daughter laughed with Indy, we cried with them all, and we cried when she died. We wipe tears as we watch Rory try to raise his daughter, run the farm, and keep a smile on his face. It is a heartbreaking, yet inspirational story from the beginning. 
When I heard the book was coming out, I knew I had to have it and it would be passed around the family. We did pass it around and laughed, cried, and had our hearts filled. I have not been disappointed. This is a book for all Christians to read. It is beyond inspirational. 

Mom Approved: Honest Kids

Disclaimer: I was sent samples to review. All opinions are my own.

A post shared by Cari | Chief This Handlerđź’ˇ (@cari_on) on

My kids and I have fallen in love with Honest Tea Kids Juice! Yes, I sneak one on occasion- I guess it could be worse though. While you can buy them in a variety of packages, I buy the pouches because it is better than the other pouch options and is great for outside or on the go.  You can't get much better than a healthy juice pouch.

There are a wide variety of flavors available, including Super Fruit Punch, Appley Ever After, Berry Berry Good Lemonade, Goodness Grapeness, Cherry Go Round, and Twisted Tropical Tango.

Honest Kids Juice is flavored with natural fruit juice, which is always a winner in my mind!

Honest Kids is also USDA Organic, Gluten Free, Non-GMO, recycled & recyclable, and no artificial flavors or colors.

See why I love it so much!?