• createherstock-2018-boss-lady-neosha-gardner-4-482x271
    Reviews

    Don’t Forget to Care for YOU | Carise’s Joy Review

    createherstock-2018-boss-lady-neosha-gardner-4-482x271
    This post is sponsored by Carise’s Joy. All thoughts expressed are 100% my own.
    I have a terrible habit of not always taking care of myself. The majority of my day is spent nurturing, caring for and educating my children. I am slightly embarrassed to share that I tend to neglect my hair, nails, and skin. My hair is usually dry, my hands can always use lotion and my feet are, to say the least, disastrous. The winter is the worst time for skin and hair to experience dryness, yet I typically don’t jump into action to restore the moisture until it’s a little late. I’m attempting to be proactive this season by giving my hair and skin some joy—Carise’s Joy.
    carises_joy_product_line_mommywifelife
    I know I’m not alone when I say being a mom (and wife) comes with many responsibilities–we are bosses! We are often so caught up in making sure everyone around us is taken care of that we forget about our physical and mental health and beauty. I recently realized that taking care of ME doesn’t require a ton of time or money–just intentionality.

    Carise’s Joy

    carises_joy__butters_mommywifelife

    For the past few weeks I have given my skin a lift by using products offered by Carise’s Joy–whipped butter, hand and body scrub, and body butter. Listen. It’s so good that even my husband keeps dipping into the jars. This line of products are handcrafted and free of silicones, parabens, formaldehyde donors, mineral oils, or petroleum. Creator, Candace Gaiters, proudly uses “sustainable ingredients infused with natural butters and oils blended to perfection with LOVE and JOY”. The entire Carise’s Joy skincare line will be available for purchase online on its new site beginning January 19.

    body_butter_carises_joy_mommywifelife-1

    Options Galore

    The line smells so good! I know, you’d rather know if the products are actually effective (and I’ll get to that), but each of the three jars of joy I have are incredibly, aromatically satisfying. This alone has me eager to apply it to my skin each and every day. Carise’s Joy offers both scented and unscented products. If you are a fragrance kind of girl (or guy) there are several scents for you to choose from:

    Bulgarian Lavender Essential Oil (My choice for the whipped butter, perfect for relaxing.)
    Brown Sugar Fig
    Rose
    Japanese Yuzu Citrus (I chose this scent for the hand and body scrub.)
    Cranberry Pomegranate
    Bartlett Pear
    Jasmine
    Plumeria
    Love’s Joy (My absolute favorite and choice for the body butter.)
    Gardenia
    carises_joy_body_butter_mommywifelife

    Hand and Body Scrub

    My rough hands and feet love the hand and body scrub. I use it three to four days a week while I shower and/or at night solely on my hands. The scrub immediately exfoliates and softens my skin and the Japanese Yuzu Citrus scent is absolutely refreshing. It’s not too coarse and feels like I’m rubbing brown sugar and oils onto my body.

    Whipped Butter

    The whipped butter is perfect for dry and damaged skin. My favorite time to use it is on my hands and a small amount on my face before bed. It comes out of the jar thick but almost instantly melts into your skin when applied. Only a little is needed to moisturize dry areas so the eight ounces of whipped butter can easily last a long time.

    Body Butter

    If I had to pick a favorite product from the entire line it would be the body butter. I wish you I could add a scratch and sniff sticker to this post so you could get a whiff of the amazing fragrance in my jar. You’ll get to choose your own scent, but the Love’s Joy scent is divine! The butter itself is incredibly moisturizing with a consistency similar to a thicker lotion. Like the whipped butter, only a little is needed to satisfy the skin.

    I can honestly say that my skin, especially my hands, are smoother and retain the moisture provided by all of the Carise’s Joy products. I am finally taking care of me without the accompaniment of mom guilt.

    Be sure to follow Carise’s Joy on Instagram for product updates and purchase your own jars on CarisesJoy.com anytime after January 19.
  • give_her_hope_ymca_mommywifelife
    Around Columbus,  Parenting

    Give Her Hope This Holiday Season

    give_her_hope_ymca_mommywifelife
    This post is in partnership with YMCA of Central Ohio, however, all thoughts are my own.

    I became a mom a little over six years ago. That day changed my entire world and was one of the best moments of my life. Motherhood can be magical, but for some moms, magical moments don’t occur as often as they wish. This Holiday season I am helping bring awareness to those moms, particularly women with children who are experiencing homelessness, by partnering with the YMCA of Central Ohio and the Give Her Hope campaign.

    Homelessness in Central Ohio

    Unsurprisingly, during the winter months the number of people experiencing homelessness increases. The YMCA of Central Ohio assists families all year round, but provides services to many more individuals during this season than others. The Van Buren Center in Downtown Columbus sees an average of 250 women, 30 expectant mothers and 227 children each night. Their shelter and placement services, along with 60 partnering agencies, are keeping these families together during their most difficult times and circumstances.

    YMCA of Central Ohio - Give to Her Campaign

    Tonja’s Story

    Here’s a look at what one woman has experienced with homelessness and the YMCA:

    Give Her Hope

    All people, but especially children, are greatly impacted by their stays in shelters. Staying in such space can take a toll both mentally and emotionally. Knowing and seeing children go without is heartbreaking, which is why your donation is needed. One hundred percent of donations are used to help these children’s mothers get the needed assistance to gain stability.

    YMCA Central Ohio - Give Her Hope

    Give & Receive

    Donate a gift of $10 or more and you’ll receive a Bracelet of Hope. Your bracelet will not only help families, but will be a reminder of your support and your interconnection with those in need.

    YMCA Central Ohio - Give Her Hope

    Share the Message

    Click here to share and learn more about the Give Her Hope campaign. You can also follow the YMCA on Facebook for more ways to help.

  • asian_section_meijer_pfchang
    For The Home,  Reviews

    Easy Crockpot Mangolian BBQ Shredded Chicken Sliders

    This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Conagra Brands. All opinions are mine alone. #RecipesThatCrock #SeasonalSolutions #CollectiveBias

    Easy Crockpot Mangolian BBQ Shredded Chicken Sliders | MommyWifeLife.com

    Can I admit something? I don’t always look forward to dinner time. It’s one area of my life where I sometimes lack motivation and inspiration. Pinterest sometimes assists with recipes, but if the recipe requires a lot of time or many ingredients, I typically run as quickly as I can. Busy moms can’t always prepare gourmet meals, so tasty and easy is usually the mealtime goal for families. My crockpot Mangolian BBQ Shredded Chicken Sliders recipe is just one of the easiest meals I’ve created.

    I’m not a food blogger, which is why you’ll find food recipes here and there on this blog. However, when I come up with a recipe that is as delicious and easy as this simple crockpot meal, I must share. Mangolian BBQ Shredded Chicken Sliders are perfect for a midweek meal, tailgating, and even a party entree. It requires only a handful of (inexpensive) main ingredients–chicken breasts, P.F. Chang’s® Mangolian BBQ Home Menu Sauce, brown sugar and pineapple. All these ingredients put into the crockpot for a few hours creates something special–an easy and flavorful entree.

    I found all these ingredients at Meijer. Their multicultural food section made it super easy to find the sauce. When it came to choosing what flavor I wanted to accompany my chicken, I was torn between the La Choy® Teriyaki Sauce and the P.F. Chang’s Mangolian BBQ Sauce. I knew both would give me the tangy taste I was searching for, but I ultimately went with the Mangolian BBQ Sauce.

    asian_section_meijer_pfchang

    The P.F. Chang’s sauces are free of artificial flavors, sticks to the protein or veggies being cooked, and are created with premium and distinct ingredients.

    pfchang_home_menu_sauces_meijer

    Ok, you probably want to know how to make these sliders, so let me tell how to create them!

    Mangolian BBQ Shredded Chicken Sliders

    What You’ll Need

    4 boneless chicken breasts

    1 bottle of P.F. Chang’s Mangolian BBQ Home Menu Sauce

    2 tablespoons of brown sugar

    2 teaspoons salt

    1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

    1 whole pineapple

    Step-by-Step Directions

    For easy clean-up later and superior non-stick, spray the bottom of the crockpot with PAM® Pump Spray (It only has three simple ingredients, no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.).

    Add all ingredients, minus the pineapple, to the crockpot and combine.

    Cook on high for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

    While you wait, cut the pineapple into slices and refrigerate.

    Shred fully cooked chicken with a hand mixer. To avoid sauce splatter, set mixer to the lowest setting and use in a pulsating fashion.

    shredded-mangolian-bbq-chicken

    Serve warm on slider buns and garnish with 1/2 slices of pineapple. Serves 4-6.

    Easy Crockpot Mangolian BBQ Shredded Chicken Sliders | MommyWifeLife.com

    It’s seriously delicious and will be a hit wherever you serve it! Click here for more crockpot meals and food inspiration.

  • Books,  Reviews

    The Doctor With an Eye for Eyes Sparks Girl Power | Review

    I received a complimentary copy of this book in partnership with Innovation Press. All thoughts expressed are my own.

    The Doctor With An Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath | MommyWifeLife #InnovationPress

    I believe it to be extremely essential to show my daughters examples of women trailblazers. This world isn’t just “A Man’s World” as James Brown would sing. This world is full of opportunity for both men and women and children should discover this as early as possible. Doctor Patricia E. Bath’s story as told in The Doctor With an Eye for Eyes by Julia Finley Mosca is a great example of a woman in a “man’s world” who saw both race and gender barriers while pursuing her education and career. She, however, could not be and did not stop.

    The Doctor With An Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath | MommyWifeLife #InnovationPress

    Doctor Patricia E. Bath, however, is no fictional character. The Doctor With an Eye for Eyes gives children a glimpse into the life of a real life (and living) hero. Its rhythmic flow and vibrant illustrations help tell the story of Patricia Bath from birth to present day.  This phenomenal woman was the first African American to complete residency in ophthalmology. She also invented the Laserphaco Probe in 1981, which changed eye surgeries forever. This invention made her the first African-American female doctor to secure a medical patent.

    The Doctor With An Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath | MommyWifeLife #InnovationPress

    The words in this story are fun and rhyme, easily captivating young readers. At the same time, the words are inspiring, affirming and informative. This book gives young girls a look at what’s possible when you are consistent, persistent and #unbothered. Titles like this one are exactly what I want to fill up my children’s bookshelf with, a bit of girl power.

    Young readers ages 5-10 or so will be completely engaged by this heroic story and may have a desire to become a doctor with an eye for eyes.

    The Doctor With An Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath | MommyWifeLife #InnovationPress

    Click here to purchase the book and here to learn more about The Innovation Press.

  • Books,  Home Education,  Reviews

    Free Learning Resources at Brightly

    This post is in partnership with Brightly. Thoughts shared are 100% my own.

    Free Learning Resources at Brightly | MommyWifeLife.com #ReadBrightlyPartner #ad

    Like you, I love free stuff. Free things, especially educational resources, bring me and my bank account joy. I recently discovered resources at Brightly and all the wonderful things they provide to students, teachers and families for fun learning, especially through reading. As partners of Penguin Random House, the site features recommendations of books and authors for all ages.

    Brightly’s resources are inspiring both kids and adults to become lifelong readers. How do you turn children into lifelong readers? By making learning fun, of course. Brightly is doing that by offering a FREE downloadable mega pack of Mad Libs. Mad Libs provide fun with words and kids can get creative and by creating silly stories while learning parts of speech.

    Free Learning Resources at Brightly | MommyWifeLife.com #ReadBrightlyPartner #ad

    If you’d like to grab this pack for your little ones, just click here. Your children can easily spend a lot of time with these Made Libs. You can add them to your homeschool lesson or keep them in the car for road trips or just drives around the city. Happy teaching, reading and learning!

  • Books,  Home Education,  Reviews

    Jaden Toussaint The Greatest | Book Review

    Jaden Toussaint The Greatest | MommyWifeLife Book Review

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

    Finally, there is a book series that is celebrating the brilliance, strength and creativity of boys–black boys. Jaden Toussaint The Greatest book series is inspiring and shows a positive image of a black boy and family and I love it!

    Jaden Toussaint The Greatest | MommyWifeLife Book Review

    With three daughters, I see a lot of pink and read plenty of books about princesses, ballerinas, and hair (I enjoy it all) but discovering the Jaden Toussaint series, authored by Marti Dumas, provided my young readers and I a chance to read something different. Typically my daughters are all about girl power and only wanting to hear songs sang by females (I guess that’s what 5 and 6 year olds do), but they were extremely receptive to learning what these books were all about. In fact, one day during our homeschool lesson I set aside time for reading. Right before it was time to move on from reading to our math lesson, my oldest asked me, “Mommy, can I please keep going and read chapter four?”. There was no way I could deny her request to read; this was a proud mommy moment!

    I used this quick video to introduce the series to my daughters:

    In each book in the series is a new episode where Jaden, a five year old scientist, debater and ninja dancer with an afro, goes on a new adventure using his superpowers for good. We were able to read episodes #1 (The Quest for Screen Time) and #3 (Muffin Wars), where his superpowers were used to convince his parents for more screen time (what every kid wants to do) and to out-smart and out-shine his equally brilliant and impressive cousin, Muffin.

    Jaden Toussaint The Greatest is a great chapter book for young readers! | MommyWifeLife

    These are the perfect chapter books for young readers, with only 50 to 60 pages, a relatable character, adventurous story lines and just the right amount of illustrations to continue captivating readers. I highly recommend this book series for kids ages 5 to 9. You can add the book to your library and check out all the episodes in the collection by visiting here.

  • 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

    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.

  • For The Home,  Reviews & Giveaways

    Save at Stores You Shop at Most with Groupon Coupons

    Save at the Store You Shop at Most with Groupon Coupons

    This is a sponsored post.

    I have a little problem. I find myself shopping and window shopping a bit more than I should. Most items I buy are for my girls or the house, so don’t think you’ll see me in new threads every time you see me. I guess it’s the mom in me, always looking to keep the family happy and in one piece. Are you guilty of this?

    When I shop, however, I almost always have a coupon, discount or found an item on clearance. I want the most for my money at all times. Recently I discovered that Groupon has more than vouchers for a good meal or local attraction. There are Groupon Coupons and discount codes that can be used at stores you probably shop at a few times a week. One is my favorite store, Target.

    Get Coupons for Target at Groupon

    Groupon Coupons at Target and More

    Groupon Coupons has over 65 sales, and printable and digital coupons for Target, so you can save both online and in-store. One deal they are currently featuring is saving $5 off $50 (no code needed) for simply clicking on a link on their site that takes you over to Target.com. We all know how easy it is to make a trip to Target for only one item, so planning ahead with Groupon Coupons will help you save your coins!

    Get Coupons for Your Favorite Stores at Groupon

    With over 9,000 retailers teaming up with Groupon, the list of stores to save at is long, so I’m sure your favorite stores are listed. Be sure to take note of which stores have deals before heading out to do your back-to-school and holiday shopping!

    Are you already using Groupon to save?