Choosing The Right Car For Your Family

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Shopping for a new car can be a stressful time. Choosing the right car for your family can be even more overwhelming. With so many makes, models and colors to choose from you may not know where to start or what to consider.

At cars.com you can start your search for a new car with ease. There are resources and reviews there to help you narrow down your search. These easy tips as well as cars.com will help walk you through the process of finding the right car to meet your family’s needs.

Body Style

Choosing the right body style is the first step in finding the right car for your family. Depending on how big your family is you will need to consider how many seats are needed as well as any extra seats. If your family is relatively small a descent size sedan or hatchback may be an option for you. For a larger family of 4 or more you should consider a mini van or SUV.

New or Used

The next thing to consider when looking for a new family car is whether it should be new or used. New cars are beautiful and smell great, but come at a higher price tag. The nice thing about new cars is that you can get a lot more years out of it. A used car is a great option if you don’t have the budget for a brand new car. At cars.com you can filter through the used cars to select the year and the maximum mileage you would consider buying.

Budget

Your budget is very important when choosing a new car for your family. Going over your budget can have a negative effect on your family. Think about what your budget is and set the maximum amount you can spend. If you are financing the car the your monthly payment should be one that you can afford. If you are paying for the car upfront you will need to purchase a car with some savings.

Safety

When it comes to your family safety is the most important thing. Consider a car that is top rated in safety. This means finding a car with a clean title and all of its safety features in tact. Check which cars are best suited for certain types of car seats with the Car Seat Check.

Features

Lastly consider all of the features that are important to your family. If you have kids you will want an interior that is easy to clean such as leather or dark colored seats. Another requirement for your family may be backseat entertainment or navigation. Heated seats or third row seating are some other features to consider when choosing a family car.

Good luck on choosing the right car for your family!

10 Fall Family Traditions To Start Now

Fall is a beautiful and exciting time of year. In fact, fall is my favorite time of year! I love the cooler weather, the fall harvests, and all of the festivities that come in fall. There is so much to do in these few months that can make for amazing fall traditions each year.

Do you remember your parents taking you to the pumpkin patch or trick or treating? I do and it has been some of my greatest childhood memories. Creating your own traditions with your kids is an important part your family dynamics. Take some time to do things as a family and create long lasting memories together.

Pumpkin Patch

Of course the first tradition on this list is to visit a pumpkin patch! What would fall be without pumpkins? If you can find a really good pumpkin patch in your area than there should be plenty to do for the whole family. Choose a pumpkin, go on a hay ride, play games, or even walk through a corn maze. The pumpkin patch is the perfect family tradition to to each and every year.

Apple Picking

Fall is the prime season to go apple picking. Find your closest apple orchard and see if they offer apple picking. It can be so much fun to pick your own apples. After you take them home you can enjoy them as a snack or even bake with them. Apple picking is fun for the whole family and a great out door activity to do in the fall.

Decorate pumpkins

My girls absolutely love decorating pumpkins. After everyone has found their perfect pumpkin get out the paint, glitter and stickers to decorate them. The kids will have so much fun! If crafting is not your style, carve your pumpkin to show off on Halloween night.

Go on a hike

Nature is so beautiful during the fall. It is a great time to go out and explore the outdoors. The leaves are changing and are starting to fall that it makes for a perfect family tradition. Collect pine cones or colorful leaves to use in a craft project later. You may even see more animals in the cooler weather.

Visit A Halloween store

I don’t know what it is about Halloween stores, but my girls beg us to take them every year. I guess the spooky decorations and exciting new costumes makes for a fun family outing. In fact, we visit the Halloween store several times before Halloween arrives. My girls are always so bummed when the store closes after the holiday.

Decorate for Fall

Decorating for fall can be so much fun and will really set the mood for the season. The best part is that the whole family can do this together. My girls are actually the ones who initiate this every year. Put out pumpkins and gourds on your porch with a fall wreath and welcome mat for an inviting entry. You may even want to make a scare crow together as a family using some of dads old clothes. I remember doing all of that as a kid and it was so much fun.

Bake with pumpkins

Fall is the time of year when it’s all about pumpkin. Pumpkin desserts are so delicious and really fun to make. Get the kids involved in the kitchen to bake a delicious pie or pumpkin cookies. Bake the same thing every year or find new recipes to try. Your whole family will love to be part of this family tradition. After all a big part of fall is the food!

Pumpkin Delights Recipe

Donate to a food bank

Teach your kids the importance of giving back to your community with this family tradition. Each year hundreds of people are hungry during the holidays. Do your part to donate nonperishable food items to your local food bank for the holiday season. Your kids will love to get involved and they will learn an important lesson.

Go Trick or treating

Trick or treating is a big event that happens every year in fall. I don’t think there is any kid on earth that doesn’t like getting candy. Trick or treating as a family can be a fun tradition to do together. Come up with coordinating themed costumes to dress as and go trick or treating together. It’s a great tradition that your kids will look forward to each year.

Give Thanks

Make an opportunity to teach your kids the importance of giving thanks and being grateful for what you have. Use the time to make a craft or activity to show what each member of the family is thankful for. It can be an important reminder to ourselves and a teaching tool for our kids.

fall family traditions

 

Do you have any fall family traditions that you do each year? Or maybe your favorite thing to do in the fall? Tell me about them in the comments!

25 Fun & Free Outings To Do With Kids

Are you looking for free outings to do with your kids? Keeping kids busy and constantly entertained can be a challenge at times. If your kids are anything like my kids than you know that getting out of the house is a must. If my girls are at home too long than they can become really annoying! They start to get restless and fight constantly. Sometimes my only solution is to get them out of the house.

As a family, we love to go on little adventures and explore new things. Continuously going places can start to add up and become expensive. We are always looking for fun things that we can do with our kids that won’t break the bank. Having fun shouldn’t have to cost so much money. There are many free outings to do with kids, you just need to know where to find them.

1. Picnic in the park

Pack up a picnic lunch and spend the day relaxing and playing in the park. Parks are always great for free outings. Bring a big blanket to sit on, a ball to throw around and bubbles for the little ones. You and the kids will enjoy the sunshine and the fresh air.

2. WESTFIELD mall

The mall is another great place for free outings. Find a Westfield mall or a mall with an indoor play area for the kids. The kids will love it and can get some energy out. It’s a perfect outing for a rainy day or to beat the heat.

3. Playground

Every kid loves going to the playground and it’s great for free outings. Find a new and cool playground to check out. That way the kids don’t get bored with the same old playground you always go to.

4. children’s museum (free Day)

Find a children’s museum in your area and see if they offer a free day. Many children’s museums offer a free day once a month. Usually the day is in the first or second week of each month.

5. Science Center (free Day)

Look for a science center near you. Some science centers are always free to the public and others may offer a free day each month.

6. observatory

Take the family to the observatory. Most observatories are free admission. There is usually a fee for the shows that they offer.

7. Public LIBRARY

Check out your public library. Many public libraries have a children’s play area or even a free story time. Spend time reading or check out some books to take home.

8. ikea

Go with the family to Ikea and get some retail therapy. The kids love looking around at the room displays. If you want a little break drop the kids off in the kids play area. They will have a blast and you can have some quiet shopping time.

9. lego store

Take the kids to the Lego Store. The kids will have so much fun playing with the Lego tables and building things.

10. swap meet

Go as a family to your local swap meet or flea market. It is always exciting to find new things. Check out people’s crafts or animals for sale. Some swap meets may charge a small fee for admission, usually no more than $1.

11. The beach

Plan a day at the beach. Bring your beach chairs, an umbrella and some sand toys. The kids will have a blast playing in the sand and splashing in the waves.

12. bike ride

Find a paved bike trail to take the family on. Pack plenty of snacks and and water. Take breaks when needed to relax and explore the surroundings.

13. hiking trail

Take the kids on a nature hike. Find a path that is easy enough for the kids to walk. Pack a lot of snacks and have fun exploring the great outdoors.

14. Arboretum (free day)

Check out your local arboretum and see if they offer a free day. Usually the free day is in the beginning of each month. Have fun exploring all of the flowers and plants.

15. tennis

Take your kids to a park or school with tennis courts that are open to the public. Have fun hitting the balls around with your rackets.

16. basketball

Find a park with an outdoor basketball court. Bring your basket ball and practice shooting hoops with the kids.

17. baseball

Go to a park with a baseball field or even an open field where you can play baseball. Practice hitting and catching the ball.

18. McDonald’s Play Place

Go to McDonald’s for an ice cream cone or coffee and let the kids play in the Play Place for a while. They will absolutely love it and you can sit and relax while they play.

19. kids workshop

Take the kids to a free workshop at The Home Depot or Lowe’s where they make a project. The Home Depots workshops are on the first Saturday of every month between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m  Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinics are on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. Visit their sites for more details and to register online.

20. Costco/ Sam’s club

Take the kids to Costco or Sam’s Club. Your kids will love trying all of the free samples they give out.

21. toy store

Take the kids to the toy store. Let them check out all of the toys and press all of the buttons. They will never want to leave. Just make sure you let them know before hand that you are only looking and you are not buying any toys.

22. bookstore

Go to the bookstore with the kids. Your kids will love looking at all of the children’s books. Some bookstores may have a kids play area or a toy area.

23. pet store

Visit a pet store with your kids. Your kids will have so much fun looking at the animals that they will not want to leave.

24. Disney store

Check out your Disney Store. The kids can be there forever checking out all of the toys and costumes. Many Disney stores play movies and have a kids coloring area. The Disney Store also offers many free events throughout the year.

25. splash pad

Look for a splash pad in your area to take the kids to. Some parks or outdoor shopping malls have them. The kids will absolutely love it and its a great place to have free outings.

Now it’s time to start planning your next free outings with your kids. Sometimes free outings end up being the most fun. Explore new places, learn new things, and most importantly enjoy the time with your kids. What are some free outings you like to do with your kids?

fun and free outings to do with kids
fun and free activities to do with kids

 

 

 

Create Picture Perfect Outfits For Your Family Portraits

create amazing outfits for family pictures

We finally made the leap and took some family portraits! This is something that I have been putting off for a long time now. My girls are already 5 and 2 1/2. I guess I was mostly worried about how the kids would behave during the photo session. Which was a legitimate concern since our previous photo session didn’t go that smoothly. Apparently one year olds hate taking pictures! Not to mention that I hate taking pictures! I always look a little awkward in photos as if I am playing the mannequin challenge.

Another reason I put the family portraits off was because I was stressed about what we were all going to wear. I wanted to put together perfectly coordinating outfits without them looking “matchy matchy”. Sorry to those of you that like the matching outfits, but sadly they are not for me. I wanted our personalities to come though in our outfits. It is much harder to do that with matching outfits. Coordinating outfits are the best way to created visually appealing family portraits. I put my fashion design background to use and put together the perfect outfits in 4 easy steps.

If you want to create picture perfect outfits for your next family portraits follow these steps. If your lucky you may already have coordinating clothing pieces and you won’t need to buy anything. In the event that you do need to purchase a few pieces, Old Navy or H&M are a great place to shop for the whole family at an affordable price. By sticking to the same store you have a better chance at finding outfits that go together.

Step 1:

Choose Your Color Pallet

Below are a few of the basic color palettes to choose from and examples of each. Although there are endless color combinations, this will help you get an idea of what color scheme you want for your family photos. Choose colors that look nice together. No one color should be too bold or stand out more than the others. Decide if you want to go with a cool or warm color pallet or a combination of both. For a soft and subtle color pallet stick with neutral colors.

Monochromatic– One color in many shades.

Complimentary– Colors directly across from each other on the color wheel.

Analogous–  Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.

Triad– Colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel and form a triangle.

Neutral– Colors of very low saturation such as blacks, whites, grays and browns.

Step 2:

Find Your Prints

Choose prints that work well together and fit in your color pallet. Sometimes it is easier if you find a print first that is in a color pallet you like and then build your outfits around that print. Add in one or two more prints to compliment that print. The prints should all be tied together by color.

Pick 1 or 2 of these types of prints:
Plaid

     

Gingham

Stripe

      

Chevron

Pick 1 or 2 of these types of prints:
Floral

      

Polka Dot

      

Geometric

Lattice

Ethnic

      

Conversational

Step 3:

Find Your Solids

Your solids should be colors that you pull out of the prints. You want to choose solid colors that are the most prominent colors in the prints. The subtle colors can be used as accent pieces. Not all of your solid pieces have to be a color from the print. It is best to add in some neutral colors for pants and layering pieces. Textured solids such as sweater knits and lace will add some dimension to your outfits.

Pick atleast 2 solid colors that match the prints
Solid Texture

      

Solid Colors

      

All other clothing pieces should be neutral
Black, Brown, Grey, Ivory, White

      

Example of what your prints and solids should look like.

Step 4:

Accessorize

Add some finishing touches to complete your looks. For mommy necklaces, bracelets, earrings, a belt or a scarf are all great accessories. Dad can wear a bow tie or tie, a belt and a watch. The best accessories for little girls are hair accessories like flowers or glitter headbands. Little boys can accessorize with a bow tie or tie and suspenders.

Triple-strand Necklace

Charm Bracelet

Scarf

Men’s Bow Tie & Handkerchief 

Men’s Belt

Girls Headbands

Boys Suspenders 

Say Cheese!

Good luck on your next family portraits. I hope you can create your own picture perfect outfits. If you found this post helpful leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Things No Family Road Trip Should Be Without

Spring is approaching and the kids will be out of school for spring break. It’s time to start planning a family road trip! Having two young kids myself, I find that road trips are the easiest way to travel. What I love about road trips it that you throw everything in your car and just go. You can stop as many times as you need to, which will probably be a lot! No checked bags to worry about or people for your kids to annoy. Well… except for you! Not to mention the amazing new scenery you get to enjoy and the new places to see.

I’m not going to lie to you though. A road trip with kids is in no way rainbows and sunshine. Just like every adventure with kids, it comes with challenges. Kids are not particularly good at sitting still for an extended period of time. They will get bored and ask if we are there yet close to a hundred times. There will be the endless bathroom stops and food breaks. What began as a 6 hour road trip will soon turn into an all day trip.

Having done quite a few road trips with my girls, I have found things that make for an easier road trip with kids. I put together a product guide that no family road trip should be with out. These are things you may have never thought about, but will definitely make a more pleasant road trip experience. The Products I am showing contain affiliate links for amazon.com. See my Disclosure Policy for more details. All of the opinions expressed are my own!

Back Seat Car Organizer

 

I love this back seat organizer for my car. Before having an organizer everything that the kids needed was kind of all over the place. If the kids wanted a snack I had to strain myself trying to reach for them in the back. The water bottles were always rolling around on the floor or spilling on the seats. With this back seat organizer everything is organized in one place. This organizer holds their snacks, waters, toys, wipes, and chargers. The best part is that it has a built in tablet holder with a height adjuster. In addition, it protects my seats from my kids constant kicking!

Kids Amazon Fire Tablet

My Kids and I cannot live with out their tablets. Anywhere we go the tablets have to come with us. With the Amazon Fire tablet you can upload games, movies and books that your kids will enjoy. This tablet will offer hours of entertainment during your long road trip. Trust me, it will be a life saver! This particular tablet includes a kid-proof case which is an added bonus and a must have with kids.

Car Power Charger

Any time you travel with kids, the tablet is a must have to keep you sane. Lets not forget about mom and dad’s cell phones. All of which will eventually need to be charged. With this Foval Car Power Inverter all of the electronics can be charged with one device, thus keeping everyone happy.

Kids Lap Desk

I love this portable lap desk because it is the perfect size to take in the car. It is another great way to keep the kids busy during a long road trip. The desk folds open and holds the paper or coloring pages in place. It has zipper pockets to hold markers and crayons. The desk folds up easily and can be put away when your kids are not using it. My oldest daughter loves drawing so we never leave home without out it.

Car Sun Shades

Car sun shades are a necessity for every road trip. Nothing can be more irritating than the glaring sun in your face. Especially for your baby that is trying to sleep. These car sun shades will solve all of those problems. They will block out the damaging UV rays and help keep you cool. Everyone can be a bit more comfortable during the drive. When you don’t need the shades, they easily fold up and can be stored in their travel pouch.

Seat Belt Pillow

This seat belt pillow is perfect for an older child. My oldest uses this pillow and she really loves it. It provides a comfortable and less bulky way to sleep in the car. The pillow attaches to the seat belt to help keep their head in place and prevent sore necks. It has Velcro on the back so it is easy to put on and remove from the seat belt. The small and compact design makes it easy to store away when they are awake.

Portable Travel Potty

If you are planning a long road trip with young kids a travel potty is a necessity. Kids often need to go to the bathroom and if you are on the road somewhere there might not always be a bathroom nearby. Not to mention kids are unable to hold their pee while you wait for a bathroom to come along. With this travel potty you don’t need to worry about any possible potty accidents in the car. You can simply stop somewhere and let your kids use the portable potty.  This potty is easy to clean and can be folded up and put away.

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is a definite must have for any road trip. You should actually keep one of these kits in your car at all times in case of an emergency. In case you don’t already have one I would recommend this AAA first aid kit. It comes with 85 items so it has everything you could possibly need. It is compact and comes in a travel case.

Good luck on your next road trip! Check out amazon.com for these products and other great travel accessories. Leave me a comment and tell me about your next family road trip. I would love to know what products you use.

family road trip necessities

 

 

 

 

 

5 Favorite Christmas Traditions For The Whole Family

Christmas traditions are a huge part of what makes this holiday so much fun and really special. Every year we look forward to the same traditions that we do year after year. There are so many different traditions that people do for Christmas it is hard to only pick a few. I narrowed down all of my favorite Christmas traditions to my top 5 favorite Christmas traditions that the whole family can enjoy.

Christmas is my favorite time of year. Now that we have two little girls we try to do things that will be fun for all of us. Christmas is supposed to be a really happy time when families come together and make memories. I love seeing the joy on my kids faces on Christmas morning. It reminds me of how happy I was as a kid on Christmas morning. Many of the Christmas traditions I have in my family are traditions that I have carried on from my own childhood.

Christmas Cookies:

Who doesn’t love cookies! Every year my girls and I love to bake Christmas cookies. We like to make sugar cookies that we cut out with cookie cutters and we decorate with icing and sprinkles. Sometimes we will choose one or two other types of cookies and make those too. It is really nice to make a bunch of cookies and give them as gifts to friends and family.

Christmas Lights:

Going to see Christmas light displays is one my family’s favorite things to do every year. We absolutely love looking at all the beautiful colors and creativity that goes into each and every display. We have made it a tradition to put on our cozy pajamas and get a hot cocoa. We ride through some of the neighborhoods that put up really nice light displays. Sometimes we will get out and walk around and take some pictures. It is fun for the whole family.

Elf On The Shelf:

The Elf on the Shelf is a Christmas tradition we started a couple of years ago and my kids absolutely love it! Every morning they are so anxious to get out of bed to see what the elf has been up to while they were asleep. It has become a fun game for the whole family. My husband and I love to get creative and put the elf in some silly situations.

Santa Claus:

Santa Claus is a huge part of Christmas how could we leave him out! Every year we make sure to visit Santa before Christmas so my kids can tell him what they want him to bring them. Of course we also want to get a cute little picture that we can put up on our mantle. On Christmas Eve we do little things like leave milk and cookies for Santa and leave a carrot for Rudolf. My husband and I make sure that Santa leaves presents under the Christmas tree for the kids to open on Christmas morning.

Advent Calendar:

Every year we have done an advent calendar with our kids. They seem to really enjoy counting down the days until Christmas or maybe they just enjoy getting a chocolate treat every day! Instead of buying another throw away calendar I decided to make our own advent calendar that we can reuse every year. It turned out so adorable! Check out my tutorial if you would like to make your own advent calendar. http://www.lilposies.com/d iy-santas-sleigh-advent-calendar/

I hope this list of my favorite Christmas traditions will help you to start your own family traditions. What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions to do with your family? I would love to hear about them. Please leave me a comment in the comments section!