The Chirping Moms

May 4, 2016

May Meal Plan for Families (& Free Printable)

With the warmer weather, our house has definitely been busier.  Between swim practices & baseball games, we are on the go a lot in the afternoon.  I have found meal planning to be so beneficial this year as I plan our weeks out so I am excited to share yet another meal plan with you all for the month of April.  We are definitely using our grill more, so I tried to include several grilling ideas.  You will also find some of our favorite go-to meals as well as some new finds that I found on Pinterest that I am excited to try.  You can modify this monthly meal plan based on what is in your pantry, what is on sale at the store, & what you have planned for the week.  This monthly meal plan is supposed to inspire and help make meal planning just a little easier!

Click here to download the April meal plan to print or right click on each individual image to open it in a new window.  You can save it or print from there.  Make sure to scale it to size when printing!  (You can also pin the calendar here to save for later)

You can find all the recipes here on our MEAL PLAN: April board:

Make sure to follow us on Pinterest as we will be pinning some of our favorite dinner recipes & I would love to hear some feedback & favorite meal ideas for me to include in future menus.  Here's to less-stress, but delicious, cooking!  Also, please make sure to visit our other monthly planners for more dinner ideas:

Who doesn't love a little whipped cream in your face? #ad

Disclosure:  This is part of a paid Hasbro series for Socialstars

Who doesn't love a little whipped cream in your face?  

Or creating your very own empire?

Or eating like a hippo?

Today, we are sharing three of our favorite game picks for family game night.  We love having game night in our house, especially on the weekend when everyone is home free from work & all the different activities that the kids are involved in.  It's a great way to end the day together, having fun and enjoying one another. With three different kids at three different ages, sometimes it's hard to find one game that everyone enjoys. To solve that problem, we let each kid pick the game of their choice and we end up playing three games instead of just one. Today, we are going to share some of our favorite family games that are fun for all during family game night!

All my children love to play the Hungry Hungry Hippos game. It's easy to play and perfect for kids 4+. The game doesn't last long, but the kids will play this over and over again. We decided that the loser gets to pick which color hippo that they want to be next, which means the kids had lots of fun trading hippos and playing again and again and again.

Aiden, my oldest child, loves to play slightly more sophisticated games.  He likes games that require strategy & thinking, but are still fun. When we play games that are geared for older children, we usually create teams. Daddy & Abby, Mommy & Andrew, and Aiden plays on his own. This allows the younger kids to still play, even if they don't understand the full directions. One of Aiden's favorites is the Monopoly Empire game. He loves this fun and fast twist on the classic Monopoly game because he gets to own some of his favorite brands in his empire such as:  Nerf, Transformers, and Candy Crush. This game doesn't take as long as the traditional Monopoly game and is a great addition to our game closet.

Now my five year old, Andrew, loves silly games.  So of course, his favorite game is the Pie Face game. All you need in this game is whipped cream (which is not included)  & lots of good luck. The kids love when it is their turn, secretly hoping that whipped cream will end up in their face just so they can have a taste of it.  Even more exciting is when Mommy or Daddy end up getting smashed in their face too. They giggle and giggle and giggle. The Pie Face game is a great way to end our family game night with lots of laughs & lots of fun.

If you are looking for some fun games to add to your game closet this year, make sure to check out the Hungry Hungry Hippos game, Monopoly Empire game, & Pie Face game this year. All three of these Hasbro games are sure to bring smiles and giggles from children! To discover more of the latest products and updates from Hasbro, make sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter.


May 3, 2016

A Very Special Gift for Moms

Over the past 6 years, I have received so many wonderful baby gifts. When Miles was born my mom, Maggie and Alex brought me the best gift yet: an Amazing Mom book. The girls, Maggie in particular, were very nervous about me going to the hospital. My mom thought that spending time to create this book would take their mind off of it and give them something to look forward to bringing me in the hospital. She said they spent hours on it. They worked together to create a book all about why I was an amazing mom. I was pretty nervous about the new role of "mom of four" and a postpartum emotional mess, so the book quickly brought me to tears. I looked through it many more times over the few days I spent in the hospital and it's something I'll cherish forever. 
Amazing Mom is a Story Lines book. Story Lines are illustrate-your-own books made by Compendium. My mom found it in a local toy store, but you can also order it on the Compendium site or on Amazon (hey dads you can still get it before Mother's Day if you get it on Amazon!!). There are so many cool Story Lines books to try. If you have someone at home that enjoys drawing, these are perfect. They also make cool gifts. 

After receiving an Amazing Mom books from my kids, I wanted to share the special gift with other moms. The moms in my town have been so kind, helpful and truly amazing over the past few months. People constantly ask me "how is it with 4?" and honestly, it's manageable because the the wonderful moms in "our village". So last week I had a bunch of Maggie's friends over for lunch and crafts and I helped all of the kids make an Amazing Mom book for their moms. It was so neat to hear them all talking about their moms and what they were going to draw on each page. All of the kids involved have some really Amazing Moms and they certainly know and appreciate it! 
There are amazing moms all around us and these books are a really special way to remind them just how special they are. What's really cool about the book is that anyone can make one - Alex is just 4 and did an awesome job but someone a lot older could create one too and even fill it with notes or memories. 

Illustrations help bring books to life. The Amazing Mom book has great words on each page but it's the drawings that make it so special. I highly recommend this book for any mom. Let her know how amazing she really is! 

May 2, 2016

Mother's Day Gift Guide: Top Gifts for Moms (& Giveaway)

There's a very special holiday in May that happens less than a week away, Mother's Day.  This post is for all the moms out there!  Today, we are sharing some of our favorite things that we would love to get for Mother's Day & some favorite things to give to create our 2016 Mother's Day Gift Guide.  The most exciting part is that one lucky mom will win all 9 prizes listed below!  Read below for all our top picks for mom and details on how to enter this fun giveaway.  Our winner will be announced on Mother's Day so stay tuned!

1.   Diaper Bags & More Accessories from 7 AM Enfant
Winner will receive a Voyage Bag.

7AM Enfant, the award-winning and premier outerwear and baby accessory company, combines functionality and design to offer parents and their precious cargo the best! 

2.   Bed Pillows from bedgear
Winner will receive a Balance All Position Pillow.

Founded in 2009, bedgear pioneered the category of performance bedding, disrupting the traditional white goods industry and revitalizing specialty retail. Creating differentiated products built on our patent-pending sales process to fit your sleep position and body frame, bedgear is redefining the way people look at sleep.  Our mission is to help you achieve more each day by providing you with maximum recovery at night.  Our collection of personalized performance pillows, mattress protectors, sheets, blankets, lounge and travel accessories utilize heat- and moisture-wicking fabric technologies, including Dri-Tec®, Ver-Tex® and Air-X® ventilation system. With these innovations, bedgear enhances your ability to temperature regulate at night, and to sleep more comfortably, to fuel all your daily activities.  Sleep Fuels Everything.

3.  Patterned Rolling Pins & Home Goods from Humble Elephant
Winner will receive a Love What You Do vase.

Humble Elephant offers laser engraved patterned rolling pins and home goods. Whether for display or use, our rolling pins, coasters, and glass bottles will make a stand out in your home. 

4.  Photo Gifts, Home Decor, & More from Shutterfly
Winner will receive a $100 Shutterfly Gift Card.

Create photo books, personalized photo cards & stationary, and imaginative photo gifts at Shutterfly.

5.  Baskets, Tote Bags & More from Steele Canvas
Winner will receive a Canvas Small Truck - 2 1/2 BU.

Staunch. Dependable. Durable.  That’s how Steele Canvas Basket advertised itself and its products back in the 1920’s, and the same holds true today. Over the past 95 years, entire industries have come and gone, though the products and services offered by this American manufacturing icon have remained relatively unchanged. In this global economy, it’s good to know there is still an American manufacturer out there that has your back, along with your laundry and your tools and whatever else you need it to carry. If it’s built by Steele, it’s built to last.

6.  Wooden Signs & Rustic Decor from WonderfullyMadeByEC
Winner will receive a Wooden Picture Holder with Burlap Bow.

Wonderfully made by EC features handmade home decor, most made using reclaimed wood- giving that distressed/rustic style. The shop owner, Erin Chiappetta, loves personalizing signs for families to add that special touch. She also loves to create custom design ideas.

7.  Custom Jewelry from Rachelleisms
Winner will receive a pea pod bracelet or necklace.  

Rachelle-isms begins and ends with my mother heart. I am passionate about making jewelry for mothers (and specifically mothers of loss). I think every mom should have a piece of jewelry that represent their family the way THEY see them. For that reason, I spend 90% of my time creating custom pieces for women trying to conceive, moms-to-be, mothers and grandmothers.

8.  Decorative Pillow Covers & More Modern Home Decor  from My Modern Abode

Winner will receive a velveteen pillow cover.

Decorate your home with My Modern Abode. Modern home decor for a modernlifestyle! Visit our Etsy shop featuring decorative pillows, duvet covers, shower curtains, wall tapestries, tote bags

9.  A Good Book to Read
Winner will receive a book of our choice from our list, 12 Books to Read in 2016.  

To see our favorite must-read books this year, head to 12 Books to Read in 2016.

To enter the giveaway, please enter the Rafflecopter below.  Also, please check our Facebook page for more additional ways on how to enter.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

April 29, 2016

A Fun DIY Bird Feeder and Birdbath

Spring is in full swing and we couldn't be happier to be back outdoors. The kids have been spending hours a day in the yard and loving every minute. This is our first spring in our new house and it's fun to watch flowers and trees bloom that we didn't even know we had. It's also been a lot of fun discovering something special about our yard: the birds. 
My kids are huge animal lovers and seeing blue birds, robins and cardinals in our yard has been such a treat. It's made the girls really interested in learning about different birds and they hope to see more throughout the spring and summer.

We've gotten books out of the library to try and figure out what some of the other birds we've seen are. All of a sudden I have quite the little bird watchers on my hands. Can you spot the Blue Jay in the photo above? 

The girls realized we have lots of birds flying by and no bird houses or food. We decided to make our own birdhouses this spring. When we went to our local Ace Hardware to get supplies and bird seed, we saw birdbaths too. We decided to try and make one on our own and grabbed some supplies to do that too. 
Last, we decided to get some fun chairs for the kids to relax in to watch for birds. It was fun collecting our DIY supplies and looking at all of the birding supplies at our neighborhood Ace Hardware store. There were many types of seed to choose from and the friendly Ace associate helped us decide which was best for our yard. Last we found hardware and chains to hang our bird feeders once they were done. Ace had everything we needed. 
We went home and got to work. Here's how we made our DIY bird feeders and birdbath.

DIY Bird Feeder 
Empty milk carton
Decorations (sticks, rocks, etc)
Chain to hang it 
Stick for perch
Bird seed 
Clean out an empty milk carton. Cut out an opening. Paint the house. Use sticks, rocks or anything else you'd like to decorate it. Cut a small hole under the opening to put in the perch. Fill the bottom with bird seed and use the chain to hang it. Now watch for birds! 

DIY Birdbath
Clay flower pots: one large and one medium
Clay flower pot saucer: one large and one small
Super Glue 
Directions: Paint the clay pots and saucers. Let dry. Stack them in place, adding super glue to hold. Once everything is dry, add water!

Now for the giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a $150 Ace Hardware gift card. Please enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Ace Hardware provided products used in the post in addition to compensation. As always,  all opinions are my own. Opinions and positions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Ace Hardware.

April 28, 2016

Counting Down to Summer... (with Free Printable)

The countdown is on until the first day of summer...

We may have had a sneak peek on our trip last week & it makes me super excited for the summer to get here soon.  We traveled to Anna Maria Island last week and it was a true beach vacation.  Our days were filled with making sandcastles, collecting shells, & jumping in the waves.  

When we weren't playing at the beach, we were swimming at the pool.  This is the first time that we have rented a house with a pool in the backyard & it was such a great experience.  After a full morning at the beach, the kids (and parents) are exhausted.  When we arrived home, we often put our little one to sleep while the two big boys could spend the afternoon playing in the pool.  

And don't worry, as soon as little sister woke up, she was quick to join in.  We spent all afternoon swimming & swimming some more.

Now that we have returned home, I am getting more excited for the carefree days of summer!  I love the unstructured days, planned vacations, & just hanging out with the kids all day long.  Although summer still seems so far away, I decided it was time to create a countdown towards summer break.  All you have to do is print this page & frame the paper in an 8 x 10 frame.  Every day, use a dry erase marker on the glass frame to countdown your way towards summer!

And here is the free printable.  Click here to download & print or Right click on the image to open it in a new window.  You can save it or print from there.  Make sure to scale it to size when printing!
My kids aren't the only ones eager for summer.  With the beautiful weather we had earlier this week, Courtney's kids have been playing in the sun on their own back porch!

All of the swimwear featured in this post is from one of our favorite places to shop for kids' clothes: Tea Collection.  Tea Collection swimwear features all the signature Tea prints in their fun swim styles that are made for long wet days at the beach or poolside.  You will find a great pick of swim tops & bottoms that make it easy to mix and match.  Rash guards are available for girls and boys with SPF 40.  And now, for the first time ever, Tea Collection offers their adorable swim styles in baby sizes (3 months-4T).  When I shop for swimwear, I look for swimsuits that are going to last.  The swimsuits from Tea Collection are high quality & comfortable for the kids to wear over and over again.  Make sure to check out the awesome swim line at Tea Collection this year.

Tea Collection Swim Shops
Girls  :  Boys  :  Baby Girls  :  Baby Boys 

Countdown to Summer (Free Printable) | The Chirping Moms

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