How to Prepare Your Teen for 21st-Century Challenges: 6 Character-Building Techniques

Parents today contend not only with yesterday’s worries — drug abuse, bullying, teenage sex and delinquency – but new challenges. The digital age has introduced adult predators and other online hazards, and body-altering decorating such as tattoos and piercing’s are … Continue reading

Photo Gift Ideas For Moms & Grandmas

Mother’s Day is coming up and photo gifts are a great gift idea for any mom or grandma. I love anything with Jake and Luke’s faces on it and I know that my mom, their grandma, does as well! I wanted to share a few of my favorite products from Shutterfly:

iPhone Cover


Canvas Print


Desktop Plaque


Tote Bag


Photo Bracelet

If you are a mom, which of these would you want to receive?

Enter to win a $30 gift certificate to Shutterfly HERE {Ends 4/22/12}

Find Shutterfly online: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

(Disclosure: All thoughts are my own. I am receiving a gift certificate for posting about Shutterfly but I am giving it away to a reader.)

Top Ten Tuesday: Snow Day!

After the blizzard here in Chicago we went out to play in the snow. Here are ten of my favorite pictures. See more Top 10 posts on Amanda’s blog.


Jacob shoveling snow



Daddy had to help Lucas walk in some of the snow because it was so deep.



Jacob making a snow angel



Lucas is loving his first time playing in the snow



Jacob and daddy



Uh oh! Lost a glove!



Jacob fell in the snow



I have no idea what Lucas was trying to do but he was looking at the world from a new angle :)



Jacob kept wanting to take his mittens off so we had to keep putting them on.



A sign that it's time to go inside? Your child gets a runny nose.

Pear Tree Greetings December Giveaway

Holiday cards have been on my mind lately but really it’s time to start thinking about New Years cards.

Pear Tree Greetings offers New Years cards and I love the What’s Your Resolution? ones.


One reader will win 16 “What’s Your Resolution?” photo cards.

How to enter (leave a comment for each one):

1. Subscribe to Making Time For Mommy

2. Tell me what your favorite card is from their selection.

3. Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

4. Follow @PearTreeGrtngs on Twitter

5. Like Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

6. Like Pear Tree Greetings on Facebook

7. Tweet: “Enter to win a photo cards from @PearTreeGrtngs from @aliciamarie112 at”

Giveaway ends on December 15, 2010 at 11:59pm.

(Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post but as a Pearista do receive free products and discounts from the company.)

World Kindness Day

Today, November 13th, is World Kindness Day. I am joining with Bloggers Unite to encourage others to do random acts of kindness throughout the day.

Here are 20 random acts of kindness I shared in April in this post:

1. Hold the door open for people coming behind you.

2. In the drive thru? Pay for the car behind you.

3. Leave a dollar in a library book where a child may find it.

4. Keep gift cards to a local grocery store in your car to hand out to homeless on the side of the street.

5. Send flowers to a friend with an anonymous encouraging note.

6. Leave some cookies in your mailbox for your mail carrier.

7. Drop off some food at a local food pantry.

8. Make a dinner for a new mom or a family going through a hard time.

9. If you are sitting somewhere and there are a lack of seats offer your seat to someone else who may need to sit.

10. Standing in line at the store and have a large order? Let the person behind you with only a couple of items go first.

11. Think of someone who you come into contact with on a regular basis that doesn’t get thanked for their hard work and write them a letter of appreciation and thanks.

12. Give a genuine compliment to someone- whether it’s their smile, their shoes, or the way they treat others.

13. Welcome new neighbors by visiting them and introducing yourself.

14. Be kind to those working in retail, wait staff, and anyone else that works in a customer service job.

15. Write a note to someone you love (spouse, parent, child) and leave it somewhere they will find it.

16. If someone drops something pick it up for them.

17. Shovel a neighbor’s driveway and sidewalk after it snows.

18. Volunteer to help with a cause you feel passionate about.

19. Give away clothes that don’t fit and items you don’t use to others who could use them.

20. Give someone your umbrella if it’s raining and they do not have one.

Here are 10 more:

21. Rake leaves for a neighbor.

22. Have your children make cards for someone going through a hard time.

23. Give a larger than normal tip to your waitress.

24. Complete a chore that your spouse normally is in charge of.

25. Visit someone in the hospital who doesn’t have many visitors.

26. Make a special breakfast for your family.

27. Send a text message to a friend or family member to let them know you are thinking of them.

28. See someone carrying a large load? Offer to help them.

29. Treat your best friend to a mani/pedi.

30. Get a group together to go caroling and visit some homes of elderly people who can’t drive.

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ideas

Last week over on I talked about how people could put together shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child without spending much money. You can read my post here.

A few of the items we bought for our shoebox

Since National Collection Week for shoebox gifts is coming soon I’d like to brainstorm ideas on what can be put in the box. Here is a list of items I can think of:


*Flip flops *Hard candy *bouncy ball *comb *crayons *paper/coloring book *playing cards *travel sized game *book *toiletries *small stuffed animal *socks *unopened happy meal toy *play dough *small puzzle *chalk and a mini chalkboard *animal figurines *small musical instruments *finger puppets *pencil case *stickers *stamps and stamp pad


*cars *dinosaurs *trains *paper plane kits *legos *trucks *baseball cap


*lip gloss *small purse *doll *princess tiara *dress up shoes *Barbie *comb/brush set *stick on earrings *inexpensive jewelry *jacks *hair accessories


What other items can you think of?

Help Prevent The Spread Of MRSA

(Disclosure: By posting this I am entered to win a gift card but I really feel that this is an important cause.)

Boys Are Always Moving!

My boys are ALWAYS moving. Even when they are sitting they are moving their arms or their legs or their heads. When I saw that Erin from Home With The Boys was doing a link-up for moms of boys to share their favorite action shots I just knew I had to join in. Here are a couple of my favorite shots:


Jacob running



Lucas crawling


Want to link-up or view more action shots? Here’s the link to the post- Enjoy! :)

My Ultimate Family Vacation

Sponsored by: Cheerios® is giving you the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, your ultimate family vacation. As part of a paid promotion for their “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, Cheerios® is sponsoring my post today about what my ultimate family vacation would be. Read mine, Enter the Sweepstakes for a chance to actually win your own fantasy family trip or one of a bunch of other great prizes.

My ultimate family vacation would be a family trip to a beach resort. Since I have two toddlers I would want to bring a sitter along with us. We would  stay at the Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort & Spa because there are plenty of things for families to do there.

Day 1: We’d spend the morning at the beach playing in the water and the sand. We would then eat lunch in our room and take an afternoon nap. We would spend the afternoon letting the kids play in the kiddie pool while relaxing on a lounge chair. After eating a delicious dinner together we would head back to the hotel room where the children would sleep and Sinisa and I would sit outside together on our balcony overlooking the ocean.

Day 2: In the morning Sinisa and I would go snorkeling. We would then enjoy lunch and naptime as a family. We would spend the afternoon at Pirate’s Cove water park. In the evening we would enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants and end the day with ice cream.

Day 3: Sinisa and I would enjoy some couple time at the spa. We would then spend the afternoon together as a family enjoying the Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street. We’d go to storytime with Elmo and watch a Sesame Street stage show. At night Sinisa and I would go to dinner and sit on the beach in front of a nice fire.

Day 4: We would spend another day at the beach. The boys would nap in a “kiddie tent” while I read a book and Sinisa napped. Sinisa and I would have a romantic dinner together and walk along the beach holding hands while the boys slept.

Day 5: We would start the day going on a short cruise while having breakfast with Elmo and Zoe from Sesame Street. We would then spend the afternoon at the pool. Sinisa and I would end the evening at a beach party.

Going to an island resort would be perfect. We would enjoy time as a family but Sinisa and I would also have some much needed couple time. That to me would be the ultimate vacation!

Don’t forget to enter the “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, for a chance to win your own ultimate family vacation. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Check Out These Family Deals!

Below are this week’s Savvy Savings and Scholarhip offers:

$13 for: Family 4 pack of tickets to the Wenham Museum
($26 value)

Discover the treasures of childhood, from the 17th century to today
$19 for: Day pass for 4 to Ray’s Splash Planet
($38 value)

117,000 gallons of splashing, sliding fun
$50 for: Pack of 10 passes to the Chicago Children’s Museum
($100 value)

Playing while they learn, learning while they play
$24 for: Half off a family 4 pack of tickets
($48 value)

Corn mazes, pumpkin patches, a visit to the barnyard – all the makings for the perfect autumn outing
$120 for: 6 pack of classes at Art Mix Creative Learning Center
($240 value)

A perfect introduction to the beautiful world of art
$22 for: 4 Daytime general admission tickets to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park
($44 value)

Discover what it was like to live and play in Indiana’s past
$25 for: Family fun time at Abrakadoodle
($50 value)

Spark their imaginations with an afternoon of art
New York:
$150 for: Family membership to The Art Farm
($295 value)

Art and animals: a perfect combination for our littlest learners
$50 for: Super Six Month Membership to Sahara Sam’s
($100 value)

A tidal wave of fun for the whole family
$6.75 for: All-day park pass to Enchanted Island
($13.65 value)

Experience the thrill and delight of this one-of-a-kind park
$40 for: 10 pack of open play tickets
($80 value)

A creative, nurturing environment for fitness and fun
San Francisco Bay Area:
$42 for: Family membership to Lawrence Hall of Science
($85 value)

Making science exciting and discovery fun for all ages
$75 for: Annual Standard Family Membership to the Orange Blossom Society
($150 value)

Arts, inspiration and laughter for the whole family

Family Day

Tomorrow is “Family Day”, a national movement launched by CASA in 2001 to remind parents that frequent family Dinners Make A Difference! Substance abuse can strike any family regardless of ethnicity, affluence, age or gender – the parental engagement fostered at the dinner table can be a simple, effective tool to help prevent substance abuse in kids.

CASA provides a list of 7 secrets to effective family dinners:


I hope that you will consider joining in tomorrow to celebrate Family Day by eating dinner with your family. If so, please sign the pledge on their website. As a special thank you for supporting CASA and Family Day I have a great giveaway for two of you!


Two of you will win SIGNED COPIES of Let’s Fix Dinner by author Todd Parr.

How to enter (leave a comment for each):

1. Sign the pledge on CASA’s website and let me know that you’ve done so.

2. Subscribe to Making Time For Mommy by email or RSS.

3. “Like” Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

4. Follow me on Twitter (@aliciamarie112)

5. Tweet the following: “Enter to win an autographed copy of the children’s book- Let’s Fix Dinner from @aliciamarie112 at

Giveaway ends October 26, 2010 at 11:59pm.

A big thanks to Stouffer’s and Todd Parr for providing me with signed copies of the book, Let’s Fix Dinner. If you would like to purchase this book you may do so here. 100% of the net proceeds from sales of LET’S FIX DINNER will support Habitat for Humanity®.

(Disclosure: I received my own copy of the book and decided to share about Family Day because I support CASA and their mission. I was also given two extra books to giveaway.)

Prayer Request

Jacob and Grandma Milica

Lucas and Jacob’s grandmother found out this week that she has brain cancer. Can you please lift her up in prayer?

My Purple Toes Children’s Book Review and Giveaway

My Purple Toes is a creative children’s board book written for children under eight-years-old that tells a story about a father’s experience navigating life with purple painted toenails. From mom to the kids to their dog, everyone reacts differently to dad’s purple toes showing their surprise, embarrassment, and even laughter.

Throughout the book, children can look for dad’s toes in various environments and also find a friendly frog with purple toes that hides on each page. In addition to entertaining, “My Purple Toes” teaches a simple, yet relevant lesson about the importance of acceptance, enjoying life and being different.

“My Purple Toes” features cheerful, imaginative illustrations by artist Tate Nation on its board-style book, offering durability ideal for young children. “My Purple Toes” can be purchased online for $10.99. (above text taken from website)


I read this book to my two year old, Jacob. Though I’m pretty sure he did not “get” the lesson of the story he still enjoyed listening to mommy read it. We pointed out the toes on each page and then I’d ask “where are Jacob’s toes?” and “where are mommy’s toes?” He is at the age where he loves identifying body parts so he really enjoyed doing that.

As a mom I loved the lessons that the book taught which are being accepting of everyone, enjoying life to it’s fullest, and letting children know that it’s ok to be different and unique. I think those are really important lessons to teach children at a young age.

I was also happy to see that a portion of the proceeds from each book supports a charity called Soles4Souls, which collects and distributes shoes at no cost to people in need.


One person will win this review copy of My Purple Toes

How to enter:

Leave a comment below telling me one “life lesson” that you think should be taught at a young age.

Giveaway ends on September 27, 2010 at 11:59pm Central time.

(Disclosure: This post was written for Family Review Network & My Purple Toes who provided the complimentary product in exchange for my honest review.”

Executive Gift Shoppe Review

I recently received a product to review from the Executive Gift Shoppe website. I had a choice of products I could order but chose to review their Cherrywood Desktop Organizer because I am constantly trying to organize myself.

I loved the color of the item and the quality of the wood. The organizer has four compartments for letters and note pads and also two small drawers for paperclips, stamps, or any other little items. This item can also be engraved (for free!) which is perfect if this item is being given as a gift.

Some other items I like from the website are the travel duffel bag with side pockets (perfect for the golfer in your life), the personalized pewter train bank, and this personalized Rawling’s mini baseball bat.

Disclosure: This post was written for Family Review Network & Executive Gift Shoppe who provided the complimentary product in exchange for my honest review.

Herman T’s BBQ Sauce Mix Review And Giveaway

Grilling season is not over yet! My family recently tried Herman T’s BBQ Sauce in Mild on ribs. I’m not good at following recipes but it was pretty easy to make the sauce on the stovetop.

Bake the ribs in the oven

Combine ingredients to make the bbq sauce

Mix the ingredients and cook them on the stovetop until hot

Slather the sauce on the ribs while they are on the grill


I thought the sauce was delicious on the ribs and had kind of a tangy flavor. My dad tried them and thought that the sauce was good but said it didn’t taste like barbecue sauce to him.

Try it for yourself:

One person will win a 2 pack of Herman T’s BBQ sauce (one mild, one hot)

How to enter:

Leave a comment below telling me what you enjoy barbecuing.

HURRY! Giveaway ends MONDAY the 16th at midnight!

(Disclosure: This post was written for Family Review Network & Herman T’s BBQ Sauce who provided the complimentary product in exchange for my honest review.)