• Parenting,  Reviews

    The Struggle: Choosing an SUV Versus a Minivan

    The Struggle: Choosing a SUV Versus a Minivan | MommyWifeLife

    This is a sponsored post, however, all thoughts are my own.

    When we found out our third child was on the way, we knew we needed to shop for a larger vehicle. We desperately needed the third row option, and my Dodge Nitro did not have that. Many families we know have minivans and raved about them when we asked them why a minivan. Some of their answers tempted me to lean towards wanting a minivan, like the sliding doors that allowed the kids to jump right in with ease. Deep down inside, my pride said “Nah, get the SUV you’ve always wanted”. So, after months of looking, we finally found our new family car, a GMC Yukon.

    Compare cars before your next purchase on Cars.com.

    Why do so many families struggle to make a decision between a SUV versus a minivan? Recently, I have seen several people make a public poll on Facebook, asking whether they should spend a little more for an SUV or (in most cases) make a more economic decision by going for the minivan. It really is a big deal in a parent’s life, or so we think.

    What is the best way to decide which car will best work for your family?

    Personally, I wanted something that could fit all three children comfortably, but still allow me to not feel like I was driving a “mom mobile”. I get that a minivan is sometimes more functional than a large SUV, but I JUST. DID. NOT. WANT. ONE. So I didn’t, and a year later, we are still enjoying our massive ride.

    SUV VS. Minivan: Which one should you choose?

    Cars.com has a cool feature where you can research and compare multiple cars. Since the site has a massive database of new and used cars for sale nationwide, shoppers can use this to get information on any make, model and year of a car, including consumer reviews. If you really want to know which SUV or minivan will best fit your family’s needs, cars.com is a great place to begin your search.

    So whether you want a car that makes you forget you have kids or you want a 15-passenger van to chauffeur the kids around, you can save valuable time by first researching, and possibly purchasing your next car by consulting cars.com.  Whichever car you choose, be sure to use it to make some great family memories!

  • Home Education,  Reviews & Giveaways

    Jack Hanna’s Awesome Animal Almanac + 10 Animal Crafts

    Jack Hanna's Awesome Animal Almanac | MommyWifeLife

    I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. All thoughts are my own.

    I love a book that can be read over and over and add value to our personal library for many years. As homeschoolers, these types of books often come in handy, finding their way into our lessons. Jack Hanna recently released Jack Hanna’s Awesome Animal Almanac that perfectly fits that bill. Jack Hanna is no stranger to our city, Columbus, Ohio, or the world. As Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and the Wilds, he has proven that he knows a ton about the animal kingdom. Children who love animals will simply be captivated by this latest work. 

    Awesome Animal Almanac

    Jack Hanna’s Awesome Animal Almanac is a fantastic alphabetized reference book with over 192 pages of animal photography and facts. It’s not the typical reference book where animals can be found by their name. Jack Hanna has centered the book around the attributes of animals, for example, “F” is for Flight, as in animals that fly. Readers can learn about both common animals, such as an elephant, and rare animals, like the axolotl, with each turn of a page. There are three animals per letter, which makes the content easy for children to consume. You can add it to your library by grabbing a copy on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

    Jack Hanna's Awesome Animal Almanac | MommyWifeLife

    Learning and Crafting

    My daughters often ask me if they can learn about a specific topic. The topics are usually random, but with resources such as this one in my library, I can stay ready to answer questions regarding animals. Over 200 animals can be explored in the almanac, which means many zoology and biology lessons can be created with it, which can easily include craft time.

    Jack Hanna's Awesome Animal Almanac | MommyWifeLife

    When I thought about the future lessons I’ll create with the Awesome Animal Almanac I immediately thought of how I could tie in a craft time. I have made a list of 10 animal crafts that are super cute and easy that will help learning about animals become an even more exciting time. You can check them out yourself below.

    10 Animal Crafts to Do with the Awesome Animal Almanac

    Paperplate Walrus Craft by My Mommy Style

    Pipe Cleaner Snake by Kids Activities Blog

    Watercolor Resist Spider Web by Let’s Lasso the Moon

    Paper Roll Owl by The Centsible Life

    Butterfly Life Cycle Craft by Buddy and Buggy

    Balloon Elephant by Glued to My Crafts Blog

    Ladybug Craft by Easy Peasy and Fun

    Foam Cup Frog by Crafts by Amanda

    K-Cup Whale Craft by Craft Create Cook

    Paper Bag Hippo by I Heart Crafty Things

    Are there any animal lovers in your house?

  • How-to-Prepare-for-a-Successful-Family-Trip
    Parenting,  Travel

    How to Prepare for a Successful Family Trip

    This post contains affiliate links which help support this blog.

    If you are thinking about or preparing to go on a family trip, you most likely have a lot to consider. Packing up our family of five, alone, is a chore, which is why any trip we take is carefully planned. I’m not talking about planning a detailed itinerary for your trip. Whether a three hour road trip or a plane ride to Disney, I have found preparing before the trip guarantees a successful family trip.

    One thing that can ruin a trip is stress. Traveling, especially with children, will inevitably bring unpredictable moments, but there are some easy ways to minimize stressful situations. Avoid stress by:

    Planning ahead of the trip

    Packing early and lightly

    Looking for savings for every aspect of the trip

    Getting work-related projects or house cleaning completed far in advance

    How to Prepare for a Successful Family Trip

    Where should you go?

    Maybe you’re visiting grandma’s house or maybe you’re traveling across the country. Either way, you’ll want to choose a destination that will provide something for the whole family. (Sorry, that really romantic resort will have to wait until another trip.) Obviously a desired traveling time to your destination and trip budget will also help determine where you’ll go.

    Where are you staying?

    How to Prepare for a Successful Family Trip | MommyWifeLife

    Should you stay at a hotel, resort, vacation home, or use a service like Airbnb? I typically go the most affordable route, but it also depends on our destination. Having a vacation rental is great, especially for large families, because you can cook as much as you’d like and the kids can make plenty of noise without disturbing other guests, like they would in a hotel. However, hotels are nice when cleaning up after yourself or the family isn’t making your to-do list.

    What will you eat?

    Once I figure out where we are headed and what type of accommodations we’ll have I start research on the best local eateries. For me, it’s not a great trip unless I have eaten well, maybe gaining a pound or two. Thankfully, social media is perfect for finding the non-franchised restaurants that fits your family’s eating needs.

    Where will you play?

    How to Prepare for a Successful Family Trip | MommyWifeLife

    Whether you like to stay on-the-go during your vacations or just relax, you’ll have to find something fun for the kids to do. The last phrase we parents like to hear is, “I’m bored.”. Look for local major attractions, free museums and parks, and kid-friendly restaurants to help the kids enjoy the family trip. Don’t forget to look for discounted admission!

    Trips are for creating memories so if you forget everything I’ve mentioned above, at least remember to have fun! Things can be planned “to the T” but it won’t be a great trip without fun and love.