Giveaway! *CLOSED*

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**GIVEAWAY CLOSED**

Happy Leap Day everyone!  I'm so excited to host my first giveaway on Sunshine and Munchkins!  I want to thank all of you for taking time out of your day to check out my blog.  It means so much to me.  I recently hit 100 followers on my Facebook page and as a thank you I am offering a $25 Amazon gift card!

And now...on to the giveaway!

To Enter:
  1. Visit and 'like' my page on Facebook.
  2. Share this post.
  3. Leave a comment below with what you'd buy if you win.
  4. *Bonus Entry* Subscribe to my email list.
  5. Comment on the original Facebook post when you have finished all entries.  For example: "liked", "shared", "commented" and/or "subscribed".  (These do not have to be separate posts.)

Rules:
  1. I'll be leaving the giveaway open for one week, starting today (2/29/16) and ending on Saturday (3/5/16) at midnight.  
  2. You can only enter once and you must do all the entries.
  3. This giveaway is only open to U.S. citizens (must live in the U.S.).
  4. Must have a valid email address.
  5. The winner will be randomly chosen.
  6. I will announce the winner on my blog and on Facebook on Monday, March 7 @ 8am.
  7. This giveaway is available to anyone who completes all the entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

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The DOs and DON'Ts of Planning an Extended Family Vacation

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The DO's and DON'Ts of Planning an Extended Family Vacation
A few months ago, we approached my husband's family about doing an extended family vacation as a way to have some family bonding time and create fun memories.  Out of the six kids in his family, four live in the same state as us and within a 30 minute drive of us and each other.  His parents are also local, so we see them fairly regularly.  However, two of his other siblings and their families live in two different states, so we don't see them very often, maybe once or twice a year and it is a rare thing to have everyone together at the same time and place.  Everyone was excited about it, but then the holidays came and life got busy and it got put on the back burner.
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15 Yummy Single Serve Desserts

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15 single-serve desserts--perfect for those cravings for a sweet treat with a little bit of built in portion control
You know what happens.  It's late at night and the craving hits you.  BAM!  You need something sweet and you need it now!  You've got a few store bought cookies in the pantry or some candy, but what you really want is something fresh baked and hot.  Maybe with some milk or ice cream.  Yeeeaahhh....  You know what I'm talking about.

Well my friend, I've got you covered.  I don't have just one sweet treat.  I've got fifteen to choose from.  You can thank me later. *wink*  Some of these treats are baked in the microwave, others in the oven, but all will make your taste buds happy.  And this isn't just any round up of sweet treats.  Oh no.  I've tried all of these recipes and know they're good.  So go ahead.  Take a look and make something delicious.
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St. Patrick's Day FREE Printable

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Ahhh...  Spring is in the air.  We've been enjoying some beautiful 50 degree weather the last few days, which is a welcome change from 30s and a week and a half long inversion.  Yuck!  Thankfully the weather seems inclined to stay nice, at least for the next week or so.

And can you believe that St. Patrick's Day is already around the corner?  With February being such a short month, it seems to come even faster.  To get you in the green spirit, I've created a fun printable for you!  There are two different colors and they each come in either an 8x10 or a 5x7 size.  Just click on the link below the picture to open the file.  Then print it out and display it.  Who knows?  You just might get a kiss or two!
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12 Fun Ways to Teach Your Child the Alphabet

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12 Fun Ways to Teach Your Child the Alphabet--these activities feel more like playing than learning so they'll want to do them!
This post originally appeared on Muddy Little Toes where I was previously a co-contributor.
One of the first songs I remember singing to my daughter was the alphabet song.  I'd sing it while changing diapers, in the car, during bath time, waiting for dinner...pretty much all the time.  When she was about 20 months, she started singing the song on her own with a little help here and there.  By the time she turned 2 years old, she knew the song and could recognize some letters (mostly the ones in her name).  Currently, she is 3 (turning 4 in January) and she knows all the letters by sight, can write about half of them, and knows 3/4 of them by sound.  I'm not telling you this to toot my horn or say that I'm a great teacher when it comes to letters.  But there are some tools I've used that have proven to be successful for my daughter, and my son is starting to catch on as well (he is 18 months).  Check out the list below and see if anything catches your eye!
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When "I'm Sorry" Is Enough

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When "I'm Sorry" Is Enough
Recently, I've been dealing with some hard things in my life.  Nothing life threatening or relationship damaging.  But hard nonetheless.  Things that don't seem fair and I'm having a hard time seeing the positive and having hope.  I was sharing my feelings with a friend the other day and she just looked at me and said, "I'm sorry.  I'm so sorry.  That really sucks."  And then she gave me a hug.

Life is hard.  Life can give us really difficult things to face.  Some are fleeting.  Others stay with you for a long time.  And it's during these hard times that it's really nice to confide in someone.  To spill your guts and not think about how irrational or negative your thoughts might be.  To not have to think through exactly how you're feeling.  It might change in 30 minutes.  It might not.  But what you don't need to hear from the person you're sharing your thoughts and feelings with is an insincere, "That's too bad."  Or "well at least..." and then name something that is clearly worse than your current circumstances but doesn't make you feel any better and might even make you feel worse.
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Raspberry Pretzel Jello Salad

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Back when I was a junior in college, a friend invited a group of us over to his parents' house for dinner and a movie.  This was awesome for many reasons, but the best being that his parents were providing all the food.  (When you're a poor college student, home cooked meals are like gold.)  When it came time to eat, we formed a line and starting filling up our plates.  I came across a dish that looked like a layered-jello salad but it had pretzels in it.  Um...what?  My friend, whose parents' house it was, saw me looking at it and said with a smile "Just try it.  It's amazing!"  I took his word for it and scooped a medium sized portion onto my plate.  I sat down at the table and took a tentative bite and...oh my heavens!  It was seriously one of the best first bites of anything I've ever had in my life!  The pretzels provided a little texture and saltiness while the jello and fruit added sweetness and the middle layer of cream cheese provided a lighter texture to balance everything out.  Needless to say, I went back for seconds...and thirds.
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Meal Planning: How Do I Stick with It? (Part 2)

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Meal Planning: How Do I Stick with It?--simple tips on how to follow through with meal planning
Last week I posted about how to get started with meal planning.  I got a good response so I decided to do a little follow up post about how to stick with it once you've started.

Like with many good intentions, we start out strong.  But after a while, we can fall into the trap of complacency.  Life happens.  Other things take priority.  I totally get it!  However, I think it's easier to stick with something when we think about our "why" or our reason for doing it in the first place.  Maybe your "why" for meal planning is to put healthier meals on the table.  Or maybe it's that you want/need to stick within a budget.  Whatever it is, if it's important to you, then you can remind yourself of your "why" when it comes time to do your meal planning each week (or however often you do it).
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White Chocolate Dipped Oreos

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White Chocolate Dipped Oreos--a quick and easy treat to make for any occasion!
I've been doing some thinking lately about an easy treat I could make for my daughter's Valentine's Day party at preschool.  Since it's her party, I also wanted to have it be something that she could help me make so she felt a part of it.  This morning, I was looking in the pantry and spotted a package of Oreos and had an idea: white chocolate dipped Oreos!  Yummy and easy.
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It's OK to Want (& Take) A Break from Your Kids

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It's OK to Want (& Take) A Break from Your Kids--a nice reminder that taking a little break from our kids is totally OK
This post originally appeared on Muddy Little Toes where I was previously a co-contributor.
After my daughter was born, I remember thinking, "How could anyone ever get tired of being with their kids?"  I know what you might be thinking: "That chick was seriously sleep deprived if that's what was going through her mind."  Yes.  I was extremely sleep deprived.  But I also remember feeling so amazed by all the little things I saw my daughter learning and how she seemed to grow overnight.

However, I also remember the days when I felt like I couldn't take another moment of being mom to my beautiful, screaming, daughter.  My husband would come home from work and I'd hand him our baby and shut myself in the bathroom for a half hour just to get a little alone time.
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DIY Sharpie Mug

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DIY Sharpie Mug--These mugs make the perfect gift for any occasion (or just because you really want a cute mug)!
When the first DIY Sharpie mugs started popping up on the internet, I couldn't believe that I could make whatever design I wanted to on a mug with just Sharpies!  Oh the ideas!  Oh the gifts!  Oh the...disappointment when I realized it wasn't quite that simple.  But not to worry, it's still simple enough if you follow my instructions.  I've done the research for you so you don't have to!
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Meal Planning: Where Do I Start? (Part 1)

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Meal Planning: Where Do I Start?--tips for starting your own weekly meal plan
When my husband and I first got married, I didn't know much about meal planning.  I was used to cooking meals for myself and sometimes my sister, who was also my roommate.  What I made totally depended on what I happened to have on hand that week and more often than not it was a can of soup, pancakes (or some other breakfast food) or maybe a casserole if I was feeling ambitious and needing leftovers for a couple days.  It's not that I didn't know how to cook, but when you're cooking for one, it's just not super motivating to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

Fast forward to 2016.  I've been cooking for my family of two, then three and now four for the last 7.5 years and it wasn't until about a year and a half ago that I finally decided that I needed to start meal planning.  My reasons were simple: 1) I wanted to make sure my family was eating well, 2) I hated hitting 4:00 or 4:30pm and realizing I had no idea what I was making for dinner that night and then rushing to figure it out, and 3) I wanted to save money.  I decided that I have enough things on my plate as a mom, wife and adult, that if I could make my life a little simpler by planning out our meals for the week then I should do it.
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Kid Science: Dancing Rice

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This post originally appeared on Muddy Little Toes where I was previously a co-contributor.
How are you surviving the winter?  After snowing all day yesterday and racking up another 10 inches of snow, I am so ready for spring to come.  Only 47 days left!  (But who's counting?)

You might remember a fun activity I shared a couple of months ago called Color Explosions involving baking soda and vinegar. (If not, you should totally check it out because it's so much fun!)  I thought I'd throw another baking soda and vinegar experiment out there for you and your kids to try out!  This activity takes basically no prep time at all and uses ingredients you already have at home: water, rice, vinegar, baking soda and food coloring.
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