Cabo, Here I Come-o!

If you live in the north region of the U.S, you know all about our brutal winters! I usually love winter (true story!) up through New Years Day, then I’m completely over it. January-March I’m usually on looking for houses in Texas. Ha! 

Well, for my Chicago and surrounding area friends…. I have great news! Southwest Airlines recently announced the launch of their new service operations from Chicago Midway International Airport to Los Cabos. The new non-stop flight (MUST HAVE when traveling with kids!) will kick off on November 4, 2018 with operations on Saturday and Sunday mornings from Chicago, and returns on weekend afternoons from Los Cabos. 

The new service to the Southern Baja Peninsula will serve the high-demand for Latin American locations out of Chicago, and complements Southwest’s existing portfolio of international service from Midway to other regions of Mexico and the Caribbean. I’ve always been a lover of Southwest Airlines. They are so kid friendly and I like the open seating. 

Those looking to take advantage of the new pickup and escape this winter will get a thrill of the endless sun, sand and surf found down in Baja. With over 76 hotels and resorts, and 22 new properties set to open through the year 2021, Los Cabos offers a little extra for every type of traveler and is the go-to destination for Chicago residents this winter.  

Need any more reasons to book your flight ASAP?! Check out more highlights of what’s to come in the destination and top activities to experience in Los Cabos below: 

Upcoming Events:

  • Art Gallery District (Nov. 1, 2018 – June 1, 2019) – San Jose del Cabo Art Walk is a popular weekly event held every Thursday evening from 5-9pm between the months of November and June.

  • Los Cabos Jazz Experience (Nov. 1-4)  – Life Luxe Jazz offers the ultimate experience for the discerning jazz aficionado seeking the best the world has to offer.

  • Los Cabos Ironman  70.3 (Nov. 4)

  • Cabo Cocktail Festival (Nov. 5-7) is the premier cocktail festival in Los Cabos aimed at showcasing hospitality, mixology and raising industry leaders.

  • Los Cabos International Film Festival (Nov. 7-11) – Filmmakers, moviegoers, business insiders and Hollywood stars flock to Los Cabos every November for the Los Cabos International Film Festival. The event stands among the rankings with film festivals such as Sundance and Cannes, promoting film as an art form through the screening of independent films from Mexico, Canada and the United States.

  • Los Cabos VIP Summit (Nov. 12-15) – This annual event reunites the tourism industry’s top professionals including travel partners, hotelier and professional speakers.

  • Extreme Sailing Series (Nov. 29 – Dec. 2) – Established in 2007, the Extreme Sailing Series is the original ‘stadium-style’ racing circuit designed for spectators, delivering high-performance action close to shore, attracting some of the world’s best sailors racing hydro-foiling GC32 catamarans on short courses around the globe.

  • Baja Ha-Ha 2018 (Nov. 30) – The Baja Ha-Ha — this is the 25th! — is the cruiser rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas.


That’s not all…. I know –– I’m getting excited, too! Top Experiences in Los Cabos During Winter:

  • Swimming with whale sharks. There are few experiences in the world that match swimming alongside the largest fish in the ocean — especially when that fish is a shark! But don’t worry, these Whale Sharks are known as the “gentle giants of the sea!”

  • Art Walks. In Baja Mexico, behind San Jose del Cabo’s historic main square and church, lies the ever-growing Gallery District. In recent years it has become the cultural center of Los Cabos with many high-end fine art galleries displaying original paintings, sculpture, photography, prints and jewelry made by local, throughout Mexico and international contemporary artists.

  • Surfing. Surfing is what keeps local blood pumping in Los Cabos. Though the biggest waves arrive in the summer, the area is blessed with waves all year round, making it the ideal place for learning, long rides and the simple joy of standing on water, letting the sea carry you.

  • Fishing. Los Cabos, known as the Marlin Capital of the world, is the perfect embodiment of a fisherman’s Eden. What used to be a remote coastal village, an aquatic gem at the end of a long desert highway, is now an easily accessible fishing destination open to anyone wishing to get a taste of world-class angling.

  • Organic Farms. The destination is also home to a number of certified organic farms, some dating back to the 19th century. Farms such as Huerta Los Tamarindos offer private tours of their grounds to teach the public about organic farming and its benefits, as well as cooking lessons. On site restaurants at Huerta Los Tamarindos and at other farms such as Flora Farms, hand select all their ingredients from their own fields and serve up healthy meals enjoyed by the whole family. Locations like Acre, mix urban tastes with local Baja ingredients and serve up a blend of creative foods and cocktails proven to make your taste buds flourish.

  • Whale watching. Los Cabos is packed with activities, but nothing compares to the most anticipated time of the year: whale watching season. The majestic humpback whales migrate each year to the warm waters of the Sea of Cortes to conceive and nurse their newly born calves. Watching this phenomenon is one of the most popular activities in Baja for both adults and children alike, and an extraordinary spectacle not to be missed.

                                                    Solaz, A Luxury Collection Resort

Already got your dates picked out? Great, because there’s been a hotel and resort boom!

With more than $1 billion in hotel investments alone, Los Cabos is creating a new class of luxury, with investors firm and confident that Los Cabos is a high-growth luxury destination. Throughout 2018 the destination saw the opening of 20 new hotels and resorts adding 3,370 rooms and welcoming elite brands such as:  

  • Le Blanc Spa Resort (March 2018): Le Blanc Spa Resort, Los Cabos is a beachfront dream come true. This new adults-only, all-inclusive resort in Los Cabos wows guests with boundless pampering offerings, including a comfort menu, the state-of-the-art Blanc Spa, seven world-class restaurants and entertainment sure to impress even the most discerning luxury traveler.

  • The Viceroy (May 2018): Water surrounds the entire 104-room masterpiece designed by Mexican Architect Miguel Angel Aragones, wrapping around a collection of pure white buildings connected by elevated walkways.

  • Montage (June 2018): Located within the 1,400-acre, master-planned Twin Dolphin community on the sweeping shores of Santa Maria Bay Montage offers spectacular views and immediate, walk-in access to the finest swimming, diving and snorkeling in the region.

  • Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort (Sep. 2018): Seamlessly blending the destination’s unique landscape where the desert meets the sea, the striking design of Solaz showcases endemic landscaping and rooftop gardens, a sustainable choice of endangered flora, and quiet tree-lined pathways that meander to the sea. Five tennis courts are currently under construction, as the facility is set to be the new home of the annual ATP Tennis Tournament.

  • Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos (Nov. 2018): Located in the hotel corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, Garza Blanca provides a range of world-class luxury amenities and services that ensure the ultimate getaway in paradise. The property will feature three restaurants, four bars, eight pools, a gym and tennis court, plus family fun zone and spa.

  • Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas (Dec. 2018): Located on the Sea of Cortez, the Costa Palmas community features a private marina that accommodates yachts up to 250 feet, a village area, Robert Trent Jones II golf course and a two-mile stretch of beach. The 145-room property will include multiple pools, indoor and outdoor event and wedding facilities, five dining outlets, and a spa. Hotels slated to open in 2019 and beyond include:

  • Nobu Hotel Los Cabos (early 2019)

  • Zadun, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve (March 2019)

  • Park Hyatt (2020)

  • Aman (2020)

  • St. Regis Los Cabos Hotel (2021)

As a former hotelier, I could not be more excited to see all these new resorts in hotel families that are respected around the world. The Baja sun will feel great on my face this winter! See you there?!

DESTIN To Return

Finally winding down from summer travel and already getting excited to plan for next summer!

I always say we are a family who likes experiences. Rather than spending $$$$ on a 1.5 hour birthday party or buying all the “things”, I’d much rather explore and make memories with my littles. Experiences are also much more memorable when you can share them, too. So, with that said (or, written… you get my point!) – I’m going to share with you all the reasons why you should pack up your family and head down to Destin, Florida!

My family loves road trips, or mostly just me and they try to make me happy by obliging to my insane ideas. But, I somehow convinced my husband to drive from Chicago to Destin with our two boys in late July. When you have a toddler…. or a toddler like my toddler – you drive, not fly, to destinations. His meltdowns are much easier in the car verses on an airplane with hundreds of other people.

With this in mind, we agreed the road was the best way to go. We made a pit stop in Nashville over night and made it to Destin the following afternoon. It really wasn’t that bad of a drive, so if you’re coming from afar…you got this!

Luckily, we were vacationing with some good friends so we went in together and rented a house across from the beach. I definitely recommend going this route because having a kitchen and separate bedrooms for everyone was the key to our sanity. We stayed in Miramar Beach and went through Southern Vacation Rentals to find this little gem of a home.

This was a great area to stay in as you were right in between the other amazing beach areas like Seaside and Santa Rosa, and then Destin to the other side. Destin has so many great kid activities, shopping centers, the board walk and family fun centers with miniature golf, go carts – you name it, they have it.  Since it rained several of the days we were there, we headed over to Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl and Grill to bowl and play some arcade games. Word to the wise: get there 30-45 minutes before they open if you want a shot at getting a bowling lane. They don’t take reservations and it fills up FAST. The kids loved it and thankfully we got there early and got the last lane available.

The Destin Harbor Boardwalk provided hours of entertainment as well for the kiddos. You can book dolphin cruises or just walk and check out all the sites.  There were options to zip line or even get into a giant blow up ball and roll around on water. Looking at that ride made me want to vomit, but the kids loved it!

When it’s nice outside, it’s time for the beach! A lot of the rentals have private beaches where you have access to chairs and such, but we brought our own with a beach canopy. I highly recommend a canopy because it allowed us to stay out for hours without getting too hurt or burned. This is the one I bought and it was extremely easy and fast to put up and down. The sun shade for the side was key! We packed a lunch and snacks, maybe a few adult drinks too, and spent several days out there. The water is beautiful, the beaches are clean, and overall just a great experience.

Because we went with another family, we traded off on babysitting nights. Brilliant! We did a girl’s night, a guy’s night, and each couple had a date night. This way the adults had some of our own fun too. My husband and I chose Vue on 30A for our date night and the food was amazing! If you call ahead you can ask for a window view, totally worth it. We got to see the sun set as we ate our dinner. There’s an outside patio too, but it was raining when we went.

Santa Rosa and Seaside are also beautiful! The beaches didn’t have easy access like Miramar, but if you’re going for the food and night time entertainment, head to this area. Plenty of fun bars with live entertainment and food outside of your greasy bar food.

I didn’t realize how much I would like Destin. It’s a great place for family fun and we definitely plan on going back in the near future.

Chicago Baby Show Recap & Giveaway

New mommas! I know it’s hard, girl. The sleepless nights. The endless laundry. The human attached to your boob twenty-four-seven. The bottles that pile up to be cleaned. The adjusting to your new life with baby. The trying to do it all AT ONCE. It’s HARD. Like, REAL HARD.

But, I have good news for you. The dust WILL settle. The sleep will come – and in a short time you won’t be able to even remember your life before your little one. It’s like they were already in your heart forever and you just had to wait for them to get here. I’m not crying – you’re crying! Geez. Boy, do I love my babies and all the blessings they have brought me in life! Okay, so back to the recap as I wipe away my tears.

I have even more good news for you! This weekend I was lucky enough to attend The 2nd Annual Chicago Baby Show at Navy Pier on a media pass. This allowed me to get lots of one-on-one time with all the vendors and hear all about the latest and greatest in baby gear, gadgets, wraps, snacks and more.

I even left with some cool swag that I’ll be giving away to a few lucky readers! Check out all these goodies below!


One of the first booths I visited was a brand staple for my family when my babies were babies (not that long ago). Boppy Support for all Momkind. Boppy’s are a must for new moms. I had both the nursing pillow and newborn lounger, which I used every day for at least a year for both my babies. They have other great products, accessories, cozy carriers, and the cutest slip covers you’ve ever seen. Not going to lie, I had several covers because babies vomit and spit up a lot and I didn’t want to do laundry every day. Lazy, I know, but when you’re a zombie you do what you have to do. Boppy has a new product out, a teething scarf, which was an instant hit and already won a Mom’s Choice Award. It’s an infinity scarf that serves as an accessory, cover up for nursing, and easy grip teether made from food-grade silicon. The nice lady at the booth modeled it for my readers! Very cute, and cozy for baby!


Next up, I chatted with the ladies at the Motherlove® Nurturing Life booth. Motherlove products are recommended by healthcare professionals and trusted by mothers everywhere. The products are self-care for moms and contain herbs that are traditionally and effectively used worldwide to support breast milk supply. Their line carries Sitz Bath Spray, pregnant belly salve to help with stretch marks, and their most popular product: Motherlove Nipple Cream. Breastfeeding moms – can I get an amen! Side note: nipple cream is becoming a popular lip balm on dry lips during winter. I’ve tried it – it works. Just sayin’. You can check out their whole line at Motherlove.

After I divulged that I sometimes use nipple cream (no judging) on my lips, I went over to the Inspired Start booth and was really impressed with what they’ve created. They are the only baby food designed to introduce eight common allergens. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology says allergenic foods can be introduced just like other solid foods, around 4-6 months of age. Early allergen introduction, or just early introduction, is a new term — one that has emerged over the last couple of years as a response to new research. Early introduction is the process of feeding a potentially allergenic food to infants early on in their immune system development and on a consistent basis as they continue to grow and develop.

They come in cute easy to carry pouches (BPA free) and are available on Amazon Prime. So smart!


One of my last stops was at the SNOO Sleeper booth. All I can say is, “WOW”! This sleeper is all the rage with celebs and baby sleep gurus alike. It was created by the author of Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Harvey Karp (a.k.a. The Baby Whisperer). If you’re a mom you’ve read or at least heard of his book. It was my baby bible when I had my first son and his advice was solid. SNOO Smart Sleeper is a bassinet that applies Dr. Karp’s popular 5 S’s soothing techniques, giving your baby a perfect 4th Trimester for safe and happy sleep.

SNOO is the only bed that boosts sleep 1-2+ hours by soothing babies with the constant rumbly sound and gentle rocking they loved in the womb. SNOO also “hears” your baby’s cries and automatically responds with 5 levels of gradually stronger white noise and motion to find the best level to soothe fussing. It comes with a special swaddle for safe sleeping, different attachments for incline, and even has an app to control the controls (of course it does!). It does come with a hefty price tag, but you have to ask yourself – is you and your baby’s sleep worth it? I’d say so.


Some other notable (I mean, they all were awesome) vendors were one of my other favorites, Mable’s Labels

If you don’t use these yet, trust me you will. If your baby goes to daycare or when they are older and start schooling – everything must be labeled. What better way to personalize or showcase your little one’s personality then with Mabel’s labels. AND, you can get 20% off site wide using the code:US182DOQ561C from now until December 31, 2018.


My new friends at Líllé Baby, on the Goldbug, Pura, Inspired Start (who I talked about above), and Itzy Ritzy were kind enough to donate some of their favorite products among moms for a giveaway! The Líllé Baby tie the knot wrap includes unique, innovative features that simplifies placing carrier on and improves comfort. The on the Goldbug 4 in 1 privacy scarf is a multi-use scarf, nursing cover, shopping cart cover & car seat canopy. The Pura stainless steel bottle is unbreakable, dishwasher safe, non toxic, no plastics! They have a line for the whole family, but I have a bottle for you! Inspired start gave a cute little snack bag and a pouch of their uniquily formulated organic baby food. Finally the Itzy Ritzy snack bag is perfect for moms on the go!

How to ENTER:

  1. Follow on IG at hollydays_chicago.
  2. Share this post on Facebook.
  3. Tag your new mom friends or soon-to-be moms.

Each action is an entry!

First come first serve on the raffle items, there are 5 to give away! I have a few other samples I can throw in each as a surprise gift too!

Winner will be chosen Tuesday, September 4th.


Quick & Easy Egg Muffin Recipe

You guys – I love making these little egg muffins! There are so quick and easy and my whole family eats them up! Even my extremely picky toddler devours these, so you know they are good! I’ve posted about them a few times on social and had several requests for the recipe – so here you go!

What you’ll need to make a dozen egg muffins:

  • 7 Eggs
  • Your favorite fillings – (I always use a protein and a vegetable)
  • Olive oil
  • Muffin tin

Okay, let’s get started…..

Get a large bowl and crack 7 large eggs and whisk to blend. On a separate plate, combine your favorite fillings to add to the eggs. Today I used turkey, bacon, green onions, spinach (I used frozen) and cheese. Pro tip: To save time of preparing chicken, turkey or bacon – I head to Whole Foods before the weekend and grab a to-go box full of these meats off the salad bar! I use them for the week on my salads, too! Such a time saver!

Take your muffin fillings and pour them into the mixture of eggs and whisk all together until completely blended. I leave the cheese out to top half of muffins for my boys. They are cheese addicts. I am a recovering one – so I leave the cheese out of mine.

Once your mixture is nicely blended, take a 1/2 cup measuring cup and scoop out the mixture to pour into the tins individually. Before you pour be sure to oil up the tins with olive oil. I like to use regular oil instead of the spray. I spread it evenly with my fingers on each tin so the muffins won’t stick or fall apart. Fill each tin up 3/4 to the top.

Once the tin is filled – place in oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

I always use a butter knife to poke the center at the end of 25 minutes to make sure they are done. If you pull the knife out and still see some liquid, leave them in the oven another 2-3 minutes.

Let them cool before enjoying. I also like to add a little avocado slice to the top once finished. Bon Appétit!


You can find more great recipes and product reviews from our friends at the Village Bakery, too!

10 Sanity Saving Tips for Moving with Young Children

Moving can bring out the worst part of yourself. There is so much to do, and you never
feel like there is enough time to do it all. Add your kids into the mix, and there are
guaranteed to be meltdowns.

We just recently went through this and let me tell you – it was NOT easy. The kids want to “help” with packing and unpacking and you have to entertain them all simultaneously. Give yourself time to get things done so you don’t create extra stress. Moving can be exciting and you want to find joy in this new chapter in your life.

Thanks to our friends at Allied Van lines for their pro tips on moving with small children.

1. Talk about your expectations for the move with your kids. If possible, take them to the
new house that you moving into before the big day. Kids want to know that they're
safe and secure. Having rules set out ahead of time can ease some of the stress. Let
them pick their rooms and get excited about moving.

2. Plan ahead when it comes to packing. Start early and let your kids help you. This will
make them feel more included in the process and less likely to throw a tantrum. Don’t
save it for the last minute. This will only increase your stress load.

3. Make sure to label the boxes with your kids things very clearly. You want to be able
to find the toy that they want quickly. This way you can avoid the inevitable meltdown
that always seems to occur at the worst possible moment.

4. Have a moving bag packed ahead of time. For younger kids, it is a good idea to
include pull ups and a change of clothes. Pack snacks and other essentials. Let your
kids put their favorite toys in the bag. You want something that will keep them
entertained so that you can focus on the job of moving.

5. Throw a going away party before the big moving day. You want your kids to have
some closure about leaving their home. It doesn’t have to be a big event. It may even be
a party just for your family. Visit the places that your kids spent a lot of time. Talk to
them about how there will be new places that they will love at your new home.

6. Ask for help on the day of the move. Maybe a friend or babysitter can watch your kids
while everything is being packed into the moving truck. You want to be able to focus on the task at hand. Providing a source of distraction for your kids will allow you to do this safely.

7. When you get to your new home, make your kids rooms a priority. You want to make
them feel secure in their new environment. Having familiar items around will make the
adjustment period smoother.

8. Your second priority should be the kitchens and bathrooms. Consider having
groceries delivered to your new home. You want to make your home livable for your first

9. Don’t rush to get everything unpacked. Decide what you absolutely need to have
available to you. This is where clearly labeling your boxes will pay off. You want to get
your family settled into their new surroundings. This will make the transition easier on
your kids.

10. Take some time for yourself through this process. Being stressed out will only stress
out your kids more.

Moving is emotionally draining for the whole family. Taking the time to deal with these
emotions can make your move more successful. Plan ahead, and don’t rush yourself.
Moving is a big adjustment and stressful for everyone, but once you’re in your new home – it’s all worth it! Start creating memories!

Best Parenting Practices for the Development of Kids

Raising kids is one of the biggest and toughest tasks for the parents. It is one of the best joyful
activities for both parents as well child. All the parents have valuable resources on their hands
that they can apply to their kids to become more reliable and can able to learn plenty of things
from them.
When you ask the entire parent what they need for their children, then most of the replies you
get that they want their children to be happy always. The well being of your children is totally
dedicated to their parents than anything else. We all know that play is one of the most favorite
tasks for all the children and one of the best time for them to learn various things too.

Let’s see how play can help your children to learn effectively:

● Playing is one of the most valuable ways that leads to enhancing your kid’ cognitive
skills and personalities. It is the universal truth that through the plenty of games activity
your children can develop their personality. It helps them to understand the uncertain
and certainly thinks rationally; develop vocabulary, physical activity, cognitive skills,
social skills, negotiation skills and many more.

● It is healthy for your kids- When your kids indulge in physical activity it helps them to
build strong muscles and get active throughout the entire day.

● Playing is not simple- Many time it happens them playing activity also leads to mishap
incident, so in order to avoid that it is parent’s duty to keep watching your children while
playing is vital to keep them safe all the time.

● Playing release children from stress- it is also considered as one f the most joyful activity
for the children because it releases stress from the kids. While playing any game or with
a parent, all the children have ultimate fun.

All these activities will help them to grow faster and also can easily able to enhance their
cognitive and personality development. We all know that human is a unique species on the
earth as we can easily have the capability to learn by imitation. We are programmed in such a
way to copy other action by seeing them. In the same way, children also watch all the activities
that are performed by their parents carefully.

Parenting also involves a certain amount of discretion also. Actually speaking there are no
certain rules for developing your children as it just matters of care and love. Another fact is that
the different children may need different levels of attention, care, support, and love, being
parents that you must need to pay attention while raising them.

Having a child is an ultimate joy for the parents and family. It is a privilege that you have kids. It
short you are rich you have the bundle of joy, upbringing a child is always a joyful activity for all
of us. Many parents think that their children are not their own property they do not belong to
you. So for the parent, it is just to see how they can nurture them effectively, supports them and
gives loves.

It is very important as parents to allow your kid to be whatever they wanted to be, there are
parents who forced their kid to indulge in certain activities or decision-making process which
they do not like at all. Let them becomes what they want to be and allows them to take decision
for themselves. The parent’s duty is to check and guide them in their own direction to avoid the
unwanted mishap and make them strong on how to tackle the unexpected situation effectively.
Serving you kids with true love includes being with them as a friend and caring taker. Many
people think that loving their kids unconditional makes them rude but the fact is them how you
love them and support them is really matters. Try to differentiate between good and bad things
for them efficiently.

When your child remain as the child will surely help them to grow effectively in every stage of
their life. To understand one thing that there is no hurry to grow your kids, when your child
behaves like the child is a wonderful feeling and give them time to grow as per their stages of
life and according to their certain age.

We are into the 21st century and parenting becomes the very sensitive issue in these days as
children are more reliable to think. In that case being a friend with your children is more
beneficial for the parents instead of guardian. Giving them space and privacy is a big matter, ina simple term to understand that what you know about life to teach your children. Use some survival tricks to help them to listen to your words carefully and act likes a close friend with them it helps you to get connected with your kids. When you compare yourself with them and check who is more joy, you will find that your child. When a child arrives, the parents must understand that it is time to learn not taught. Serving your children with the supportive and loving atmosphere is always beneficial for you and your

There are many reputed and professional consulting center are also offering plenty of services
related to parenting skills. Their ultimate job is to understand the needs and requirements of the
customers or parents and also make them get connected with their children. They are expert in
their respective task and some psychologist also can guide you on how to make your children
understand you and your expectations.

Some of the online tutor sites are offering the best online parenting class for the seekers who
wanted to get some valuable tips for their children upbringings. Many parents think that going
out for counseling on how to develop your children is not a significant matter but actually
speaking it is one of the best ways to enhance your parenting skills well enough to serve your
kids effectively.

So, in short, understand the sweet relations between parents and children and build your bones
on the supportive pillars like love, care, and understandings.


New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Family

Happy 2018! A new year is a time when everyone is making their own resolutions, but it’s important to make goals for you and your family to work on this year as well. Life gets busy, and it’s easy to forget to make time to spend as a family, so making resolutions as a family will allow you to spend more quality time together. If you need some ideas for resolutions to work towards this year, try some of these:

Get active
A very common New Year’s resolution revolves around getting healthier, so why not extend that fit behavior to the whole family? Make it a point to do something active together once a day. You can go for a walk after dinner, play kickball in the backyard, or do jumping jacks in the living room! Check out these ideas for how to get active as a family for some ideas. You’ll all feel good after some exercise. After you get your blood pumping, make a healthy family dinner together to continue your family’s healthy lifestyle!

Have a weekly family night
Pick a night of the week that works for everyone, and set it aside for your weekly family night. Make it a priority, and use this night to spend time together! You can watch family-friendly movies for a movie marathon. Put on your comfy clothes, sit on the couch, and munch on your favorite snacks. Maybe alternate every other week with a game night! Choose one of these family-friendly games, and have a blast and make some memories! In no time, family night will be everyone’s favorite night of the week.

Focus on education
Learning doesn’t have to be limited to the classroom. Your children will retain the information they’re learning in school better if they continue to learn at home, so try out these fun learning activities for kids. Another great way to let your kids learn is to have them watch an educational movie. Pure Flix offers content to supplement homeschool curriculum, so try to put on one of their documentaries or educational shows to keep learning as a family!

Teach a lesson on saving money
It’s never too early to let your children know how important it is to budget and set goals. Is there something your children have been wanting? Teach your family the value of a dollar by having them set up a lemonade stand, doing chores or helping out a neighbor. Have them save the money they earn and once they have saved enough let them buy something they want! Get them a piggy bank to keep their money safe and all in one place.

These family-focused resolutions can be a great way to keep your family on track for a great year and future! It’s never too late to work on goals together, so get started now! Then at the end of the year, you can look back together and see how much you’ve accomplished as a family and set new goals for next year. Have a great 2018 everybody!

This Holiday Season – All You Need Is…..Play!

In today’s world we’ve been taken over by our smartphones. I’m the first to admit – I have an addition. Plus, when you use your smartphone to run your business, it’s easy to get caught up in endless hours of social media scrolling,  Youtube videos and random articles.
But, this holiday season – I challenge you to….PLAY. Put down the phone and pick up a fun family game. Some of my favorite childhood memories involved game nights playing UNO, Skipbo, or my all time favorite – Sorry! As a mother now, I want to bring back those family nights and give my kids the gift of play and my undivided attention.
There’s one Chicagoan who I’d like to introduce you to who’s keeping the importance of PLAY and innovation alive – and her name is Mary Couzin. I met Mary a year ago and was instantly inspired by her. Not only has she been inventing games for the last 25 years, but she has made it her mission to promote Chicago as the leading toy and game inventing capitol of the world. She took her philosophy of play teaches us how to socially interact with each other and her passion for toy and game invention and founded ChiTag. Chitag is America’s largest toy and game fair and it’s celebrating its 15 year anniversary this November.

Chitag brings experienced and new toy and game inventors from around the world to share their inventions with YOU. Chitag also has an awards gala which celebrates inventors and awards TAGIEs to young and experienced inventors for their creations. The categories range from: Top Inventor of the Year to Young Inventor to even Top Marketing Teams. You can see who is up for these prestigious awards and even cast your vote for your favorite finalist here.
I met several of the local finalist this week, and my favorite in the Young Inventor of the Year category was Olivia Wasilewski and Brynna Siewers for their game, Ship of Treasures. Ship of Treasures was voted the best game from among 125 finalists in a special international challenge for young inventors. These young ladies also mentioned that 10% of the proceeds from the sales of their game were being donated to Lurie’s Children’s Hospital in honor of their friend who passed away from cancer.
Here are some other local Chicagoland toy inventors on the finalist list for a coveted TAGIE award:
Brady Peterson, for Rising Star of the Year for Groovy Blocks (Mindware)
Joyce Sprau, for Rising Star of the Year for Flower Fairies Secret Garden (Ultimate Source)
Ruth Green-Synowic, for Toy Inventor of the Year for Paint-Sation (Goliath Games)
I encourage you to check out all the inventors and we’d love for you to join us at ChiTag this year at Navy Pier, November 18 & 19th. Get your tickets here.
Bring the family and let’s celebrate play and innovation together!

Planning A Camping Trip Just Became So Much Easier…

Perfect timing to hear about this awesome new booking site! My family and I have been talking about camping forever – but my how things have changed since I was a kid. We were researching and researching and it became exhausting! But, now there’s Rover Pass. If you’re a family who loves to camp or wants to do so in the future – you need to check this out!

RoverPass is a free online booking site with thousands of listings for RV parks and campgrounds. Campers who use RoverPass can quickly and easily find and reserve campsites across the country without having to place a call. Each campground listing is complete with reviews, campsite activities/amenities, pictures, and more.

They also offer free tools and services to campground owners that help them to reach more RVers. Campgrounds without an online presence can get a free website built for them, up and running within days. The most important feature, however, is the booking system owners will now have access too. It builds upon whatever the company’s current setup is to provide customer support, simple “click-to-book” reservations, and easy payment option. Most competitors charge hundreds of dollars for similar reservation systems.

Lastly, the company offers a Frequent Traveler Club. This membership allows you to book through RoverPass for free as much you’d like over the course of a period of a month, six months, or a full year. It’s perfect for those planning to travel across the states, from San Diego to Myrtle Beach, and stay at dozens of parks along the way!

Why We Should Care About What Our Children Wear – Guest Post

We would do anything to make our children look their best. While an extreme example, you only have to look at the celebrities that splurge a thousand dollars on a single outfit for their children. And, the reality is that we are generally quite happy to spend a lot of money on clothing for our children as long as they look great.

In 2013, we discovered the terrible news about just how the clothes that we buy were really made. Reuters reported how at least 1,100 people were killed when an eight-storey garment factory in Rana Plaza in Dhaka collapsed, and it was something that people had seen coming. Even after concerns about building safety were raised, factory owners reportedly forced employees to go to work with the threat of termination. Fingers were pointed. When much of the blame fell to the government, points were made (albeit condescendingly) about setting more realistic expectations about what the people in these governments can do. The Economist spoke about how a lot of the responsibility then fell on the shoulders of multinational companies, whose orders had led to the boom in the garment industry in Bangladesh. It appears that their success—and the cheap clothes that we enjoy—were built on the exploitation of workers who have to live on so little while risking so much.

We’ve long been aware of the impact that the clothing industry has on the planet. After all, the industry has been found to be the second largest industrial cause of pollution in the world, second only to the oil industry. But we can also see now the impact that it has on communities, on people very much like you and me. We’re beginning to understand the intricacies of how the industry affects societies both near and far. It can get really complicated, and we find ourselves searching for questions as much as we are searching for answers. Following the tragedy, companies began to come under much more pressure from consumers to adapt ethical practices and be transparent.

GoodOnYou states our shopping choices have a profound impact on how businesses treat people, the planet, and animals. Thus, it’s important we stay informed. When looking for particular items of clothing, even a quick Google search about ethical brands offering certain items can go a long way. If you want to dig deeper, there are even resources such as SEDEX Global and the Ethical Fashion Forum that share information about the brands you should buy from.

Also, be on the lookout for practical options. For example, the ethically-minded children’s clothing brand Tootsa had this simple idea of making clothes with removable sleeves making jumpers and coats ideal for all seasons. They are also made in a way so that the clothes will have a longer lifespan than your average item from high street fashion houses. Creators on websites like Etsy also come up with brilliant and clever items designed with solutions for tiny problems you don’t even know you have.

Children’s clothing is big business. The Guardian discussed the recent boom in the childrenswear industry, stating that it only serves to tell us about how much demand there is for childrenswear labels nowadays. Children will only be children for so long, and we want them to spend their childhood looking their best. Today, in a market that’s so abundant with choices, the only thing left to do is to make a good one.

Exclusively submitted to Mothersguidetosanity