My husband thinks I’m nuts, which is a given, but even more so because of the emotional attachment I have with every single book I read.  Even the not so great ones. But once I start a book, damn it, I have to finish it. Example A. I read several books at a time but there’s always a front-runner and after that book is finished, the cycle starts over again.

Stage 1: Deciding on a book to read. Sounds easy but it’s torture picking one book out of millions. Damn those first world problems.

Stage 2: I finally decide on one but there might be a few more that are in the running. As much as I love real books, I’ve been reading on my kindle more and more. So, I use the “buy now with 1-click” button. And those few other books that sounded good? The “buy now with 1-click” button makes me get those too.

I had more self-control when I would be asked for my credit card but it would be in my purse downstairs and I would be too lazy to get it. Boom, no impulsive shopping for books or anything else for that matter. Now, with that clicky button, I go clicky crazy and have accumulated so many books, I could open my own library.

Stage 3: I seem to start out reading a book and usually think, meh. Because it’s not the last book I read and my head is still in that story.

Stage 4: I cannot put the book down. I don’t want to tear myself away from the characters. My kid needs to be fed, dinner has to be made, and laundry has to finally be folded after spending the past 3 days in the dryer after being dried over and over again with the intention of taking it out but then forgetting about it. But I can’t stop reading!

Stage 5: It never fails that when I’m at a crucial point of a book, my 6 year-old wants to have every single second of my attention. Even if she has a friend over to play with. I’m convinced that kids have an internal radar that pings when you really, really need a little time by yourself. It’s like she knows and thinks “Wait a second! My mom looks like she’s enjoying herself without my company. So, I will bug the shit out of her to make sure she remembers I will never let that happen.”

For that matter, even my husband is that way. The man isn’t much of a talker but when I’ve been having a toddler like tantrum in my mind because I haven’t been able to move along in the current book I’m reading and my daughter is in bed at last, I open up my kindle and my husband seems to have a rare moment when he wants to talk and talk. They know. Oh, yes. They know.

Stage 6: Oh my god. I’m getting close to the end of the book. No! No! No! This can’t be happening. I want to finish but I can’t let these characters go!

Stage 7: I set the book aside for several days because I need time to accept the fact that it will be over soon. Sniff… sniff.

Stage 8: I finish my beloved book and it’s bittersweet. Yay, I’m done but booo, so is the story and characters I’ve been consumed with.

Stage 9: Spend days with a book hangover.

Stage 10: Finally settle on a new book. And get a few more because of that damn “buy now with 1-click” button.

This post was originally featured on Elle Davis’ blog, This Is Mommyhood. Featured image via.

We recently bought a new minivan (my dream car actually, but I won’t brag) for our family vehicle.

Car shopping changes when you have kids. You need to think about things such as how car seats fit in a vehicle, space for strollers, and what kind of storage a vehicle has. It can get pretty complicated. Luckily, my husband and I had a list of what was important to us so that our new vehicle was able to accommodate our needs. We narrowed down our list to the specific vehicles we wanted beforehand, making things so much easier.

Here are a few tips that really helped us out in choosing our new minivan:

1. Do your car research BEFORE going to dealerships.

We knew we wanted a minivan and did a lot of online comparisons. We knew what kind of features we wanted our new vehicle to have and our price range ahead of time. We even knew what make and model of minivan we wanted before we got to the dealership. Literally, all we had to do was take it for a test drive, fill out our financial application, and drive away in our new vehicle. It was really easy because we were prepared and we had an awesome salesman!

2. Have everything ready to go when signing the paperwork.

After we test drove and came to the conclusion that we wanted to buy that van. We did everything online and by email. It made everything super easy and when we went in to pick up the minivan, all we needed to do was sign paperwork and we were off. We were lucky that we didn’t have the kids with us at the time, but if we did, since everything was done ahead of time, it would have been painless to bring them.

3. Think about whether you plan on expanding your family and how much room you’ll /want need for bags, car seats, strollers, etc.

Will you need to fit more than one stroller in the vehicle? A double stroller? Will you be using the vehicle for any road trips or other travel?

4. Try out car seats and booster seats in the vehicle you wish to purchase.

No joke. Bring them to the dealership with you when you test drive. Some sales people actually have car seats at the dealership for you to try out in vehicles as well. I can’t stress it enough about seeing how the car seats fit in a vehicle you are considering buying, leg room, etc. We’ve met a lot of couples who purchase a vehicle right before having kids, only to find their new car isn’t “kid-friendly” at all.

5. Get a cover for car seats on leather seats.

So, I actually hated leather seats and worried the kids would tear through the leather easily. Of course, our new minivan is fully equipped with all leather seats (and I’ll admit, it’s not as terrible as I once thought). We weren’t prepared for needing seat covers when we picked up the van, so we improvised with using towels. If you don’t have seat covers, I highly recommend using a towels or some kind of cover as car seats/booster seats can dig into the leather and completely destroy the material.

6. Work with a sales person who values your time.

Not only were we crazy busy when we bought our latest vehicle, but we had to work around nap times. Our sales person handled everything by email and had all paperwork ready to sign for us when we arrived. We were out the door driving away in our new minivan in less than 45 minutes.

7. Think about what features you want in your new vehicle.

We had special features we wanted our vehicle to have. DVD players were a huge plus for us, but not completely necessary since we already had a portable DVD player set. We also wanted “stow-and-go” seating. Luckily for us, we got a fully loaded vehicle and all of our wishes came true. Honestly, think about what you can and can’t live without especially if you spend a lot of your time in your car driving to and from work, daycare, school, appointments, road trips, etc. Since we’ll be using this vehicle for our upcoming road trips, we thought a lot about our past road trips and what we found ourselves wishing we had.

8. Figure out the main use for your new vehicle.

Is it driving to and from work? Long road trips? As a second vehicle? As a family ride? We needed a second vehicle to become our new family car and something we could take on our upcoming road trip adventures. Also, we needed a vehicle that will be sitting in our driveway during the days that I work from home. Because of this, we decided to purchase a used minivan that is few years old. This way, I didn’t feel quite as guilty for letting it sit and deemed it as something that will last us for our future family road trips.

Please share any tips or information you have for buying a new vehicle for your family!
This article was originally published on Ashlen’s blog, The Kid Sperts. Featured image via.

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Mother’s Day is less than a week away! 

To avoid last minute breakdowns and stress, we’ve put together this kick ass list of awesome gift ideas for moms. Use this to shop for your own mother or mother-in-law, or forward this baby onto those looking to shop for you. Life’s too short to stress about gifts. Sit back, grab a glass of wine, and click away.

1. Cord Tacos

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Cord Tacos

These awesome cords holders are limited edition “mom themed” and they are super badass. Not only will these keep you organized, but they’re perfect for pop culture lovers everywhere. The moms featured in these “cord tacos” are our fictional heroes: Sophia, Morticia, Joy Luck Club, Carol, Ripley, and Marge.

BUY HERE.

2. Book of the Month Membership

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Mother's Day Gift Guide

BUY HERE.

If you’re a book lover, or you know a mom who is a book lover, this membership sends you a new book to read every month! Umm, anything to save someone a trip to the bookstore with a bunch of loud kids in tow.

3. Fire Tablet

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Fire Tablet

BUY HERE.

Long gone is the luxury of toting around paperback novels in your purse, or having clean and decorated bookshelves. A tablet has everything all in one, and is the ideal convenience for a mom. You can have books, music, television shows and movies in one place. Plus, this doubles as entertainment for your kid so you can shut them up on long drives.

4. Cozy Chic Robe

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Fluffy Robe

BUY HERE.

Every mother deserves a cozy, chic robe. This is definitely one of the best gifts for moms (including yourself). We hear fluffy robes pair well with a glass of Merlot.

5. Slow Cooker

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Slow Cooker

BUY HERE.

Slow cookers=a mom’s saving grace. The last thing a mom wants to stress about is taking an hour out of their evening to cook dinner, and this bad boy makes it easy. Throw ingredients in it in the morning, let it cook all day, and enjoy the meal at night.

6. DeLonghi Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio Coffeemaker

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Coffee Maker

BUY HERE.

Totally the perfect gift for the mother who basically needs coffee to survive. This fancy pants coffee maker can make both hot and cold beverages, so it’s perfect for every caffeine craving a mom might have.

7. Stainless Steel Thermos

Felciity Huffman's What the Flicka-Mother's Day Gift Guide

BUY HERE.

Once you make all of that delicious coffee, you’re going to need something to haul it around that won’t spill all over the car or onto your rambunctious kids. Buy this thermos for a mom who’s on the go, or send the link to your family with a “wink” emoji at the end. Hopefully they’ll get the idea.

8. Mother’s Day Bliss Box

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Mother's Day Gift Guide

BUY HERE.

Who doesn’t love getting a box full of wonderful treats to help you relax and feel rejuvenated? Buy a mom in your life a monthly subscription to Bliss Box, or treat yoself! You deserve it. You’re a damn mom which is basically the equivalent of being Xena: Warrior Princess.

9. Comfy Slippers

Felicity Hufman's What the Flicka-Slippers

BUY HERE.

Slippers are a must in general, but definitely for moms. Mothers are always running around on their feet, so it’s important to take care of them.

10. Chatbooks

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicks-Mother's Day Gift Guide

BUY HERE.

Chatbooks are awesome, because they take your Instagram photos and print them into books full of memories and captured moments. This would be the best surprise gift ever for a mom! Plus, you can easily access their IG feed and print the photos of your choice!

Of course, the ultimate Mother’s Day gift is a night off from the kids. Seriously…no mother will ever complain about that.

Featured image via.

It’s finally arrived – the vacation you’ve been dreaming about for years.

Despite the chaos of everyday life and motherhood, you’ve made this vacation happen. And then a horrifying thought hits you squarely between the eyes: you’re going to have to travel with your kids.

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka-Tyra Surprised
via

Before you stress out and cancel the whole thing, we’re here to help you. Here are 10 products to make your life easier when you’re traveling with kids.

1. Little Kid Luggage

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka-Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid Luggage

Instead of trying to cram all of your kid’s clothes and belongings into your already stuffed suitcase, invest in one of their own. This will keep you organized. If they’re big enough, they can easily tote it around themselves. It’ll probably make them feel cool and older than they are, which saves you a stress-induced panic attack in the airport. It’s a win-win for everyone!

2. Travel Crib

Felicity-Huffman's-What-The-Flicka-Baby-Bjorn-Travel-Crib-Light

This is going to be a lifesaver. Who has time to deal with a cranky kid? NOT US. A travel crib is perfect for those long pit-stops and delayed flights.

3. Crayola Travel Tote

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka-Crayola Kit

A bored child is a nightmare child. Keep your kid busy and out of your hair with a traveling color pack, like this one from Crayola. They’ll be so absorbed in making what they consider “art” that they won’t have time to be annoying!

4. The Brilliant Ride-On Carry-On

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka-Ride On Carry On Luggage

A stroller and a suitcase all in one? WE THINK YES. Whoever invented this clearly understood being a parent. When you’re rushing to make your flight, you don’t want to have to push around a stroller on top of all the luggage. This kills two birds with one stone and makes us mama’s very happy.

5. Pack n’ Go Mini Mobile

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka-Pack and Go Stroller Toy

This mini mobile is perfect for anyone traveling with a baby – it’ll keep them entertained the way the Crayola traveling kit keeps the older kids occupied.

6. Portable Diaper Changing Station

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka-Diaper Changing Station

You know what’s not a great feeling? When you’re traveling and dealing with a poopy diaper, and the bathroom at the airport or pit-stop is going so slow you feel like gouging your eyes out. Having a portable diaper station is critical! You need to be able to take care of your baby wherever you are.

7. Inflatable Bath Tub

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka-Inflatable Duck Tub

As if kids aren’t picky enough when it comes to food, they also decide to throw tantrums in hotel bathrooms. With an adorable, inflatable bathtub you can avoid meltdowns on trips that leave you asking yourself the questions, “Is Disney World worth this???”

8. Travel High Chair

Felicity-Huffman's-What-The-Flicka-Travel-High-Chair

Since it would be absolutely ridiculous to bring a giant high chair with you on a trip, this harness doubles as a portable high chair and safety strap. Now any chair can become a high chair and you can salvage some remnants of your sanity whilst traveling with kids.

9. Motion Sickness For Kids

Felicity-Huffman's-What-The-Flicka-Motion-Sickness-Relief-Tablets

The last thing anyone needs on a trip is a puking child. If your kid is prone to motion sickness on planes or in cars, this is definitely necessary. It even comes in a convenient travel case because the motion sickness medicine gods understand the plight of a parent.

10. Kid Neck Pillow

Felicity-Huffman's-What-The-Flicka-Critter-Pillow

If your kid is uncomfortable when traveling, then everything is going to go to shit. Hand them a neck pillow that looks like a dog and you’ve basically given them a pot of gold. They’ll have no choice but to fall soundly asleep, and then you’re free to argue directions with your spouse (because let’s be honest, they always refuse to use GPS even though THEY DESPERATELY NEED IT).

Featured image via.

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Our lives are stressful enough without feeling overwhelmed when it comes to packing our kid’s lunch. 

We call it a win if our kid can eat anything that doesn’t contain a million grams of sugar, so when it comes to lunch we want no fuss and no stress. That’s why we love bento lunch boxes – they’re practically made for picky eaters. They allow you to cut sandwiches, veggies, and snacks into fun shapes and make it fun for your kid to eat. They’ll be so distracted by the fact that their PB&J is cut into a funky design that they won’t even notice you’ve snuck broccoli into the snack section! HOORAY!

Here are 7 of our favorite bento lunch boxes for your kids.

1. Bentgo Kids Leakproof Children’s Lunch Box 

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Bento Box

This bento lunch box is leakproof, which is a win in our book. There’s nothing worse than our kid’s lunch ruining their carefully completed homework, or soaking through their backpack.

2. Fit & Fresh Bento Lunch Box Kit with Reusable Ice Packs

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Bento Box

This bento box has convenient sections for ice packs to keep lunches fresh and the opposite of soggy. Soggy lunch? No thanks.

3. Star Wars R2-D2 Bento Box

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-R2D2

Okay, this bento lunch box is so badass. If your kid is a Star Wars fan, they’re going to absolutely freak. An entire R2-D2 lunch box? INTO IT.

4. YUMBOX Bento Lunch Box 

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Bento Lunch box

The YUMBOX designs are pretty adorable, easy to clean, and leakproof as well.

5. CoolBites Premium Bento Lunch Box

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Bento Box

Another great option that keeps your lunch well-insulated. There’s nothing worse than opening up a soggy tuna sandwich. The thought haunts us!

6. Iwotu Microwave & Dishwasher Safe Lunch Box

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Bento Box

Simple and lightweight, this bento box has five compartments that includes an area for soup/yogurt.

7. Stackable Bento Box

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Bento Box

The stackable feature is pretty awesome – more room for more food! You can rest easy knowing your kid is going to be well fed.

At the end of the day, all of these bento lunch boxes just make your life easier. Which is great – a mom’s life can always use a little less stress. Now go celebrate your amazing lunch-packing skills with a glass of well deserved wine!

Featured image via.

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Given the fact that the employees at my local grocery store see me more than my own family does, it’s safe to say that I have quite a bit of experience pushing a full cart around.

While I generally enjoy the experience because a) I love finding and checking things off of a list and b) food, there are a few simple things that would make it better for all those involved:

Thou shall not leave your cart in an empty parking spot.
As I’ve said before, there are two kinds of people in this world: 1) those who return carts to the cart corral and 2) a-holes. Leaving a cart to find it’s own way home often results in the cart camping out in a parking spot someone will inevitably pull halfway into before realizing the cart is there and angrily backing out, pissing off people behind them. The carts have a home. Help them find their home.

Thou shall not walk down the center aisle of the parking lot.
You do not have super-human pedestrian powers that override people in their cars trying to get past or around you. Pick a side—any side—and no one gets hurt.

READ MORE: The 5 Most Annoying Things About The Grocery Store

Thou shall travel up and down the aisle like a civilized person.
Up one side, down the other. If you’re barreling down the middle or the wrong side like a linebacker and clip my cart, I am not above throwing a shoulder. Also, try to refrain from doing a 180 halfway down a jam-packed aisle only to amble along as if you’re taking in the sights of the Louvre. It’s soup. Not the Sistine Chapel.

Thou shall obey the express line rules.
The sign says 15 items or less. It does not say, “Everything you can stick in the small-ass cart you chose instead of regular cart.” That does not refer to the number of item types, but the actual item count. For example, those 75 cans of soup that took you 15 minutes to pick out does not count as a single item. You are not a special snowflake. If everybody ignored this rule, it would just be a regular line.

Thou shalt not decide against the frozen pizza you picked up in the frozen foods section and then place it on the shelf next to the shampoo.
Really? Come on now, people.

READ MORE: 8 Reasons Costco Is Heaven

Thou shall respect the invisible checkout line bubble of personal space.
Regardless of how close you creep up or how many items you throw on the belt, you will be next—after me. If you continue to creep up, I will pretend to go through my coupon keeper for an extraordinary amount of time and chit chat with the cashier…unless you would like to pay for my produce. In that case, you have a deal.

Thou shall treat the cashier with respect.
This means not chatting on your phone while she’s ringing up your groceries or getting ticked when she won’t accept the four expired coupons you thought she’d ignore. If you get caught trying to sneak in an expired coupon, just let it go. It’s 35-cents off of dish soap. You’ll survive.

Thou shall not stop at the exit to go over your receipt.
Once given your receipt and all 300 extra pieces of paper that get pumped out of the printer with it, do not stop and read the receipt like it’s a treasure map. There is nothing on that paper that is that important that you need to throw on the brakes and cause a backup. Move it along.

READ MORE: 9 Items Moms Need An Advanced Degree To Purchase

Thou shall reconsider the self-checkout.
Know your limits. Can you find a bar code on a product? Match the picture of bananas on the screen to the bananas in your cart? Flatten paper money to insert into a slot? If you answered “no” to any of those questions, don’t be a hero. Go through the normal checkout.

Thou shall not stalk for a parking spot.
Finally, do not slowly drive behind me at 5 mph impatiently waiting for my parking spot that is often only two down from another available spot. Unless you’re going to get out and help me unload my groceries into the back, your insistence on sitting there, impatiently revving the engine on your minivan, will force me to do a full vehicle check—interior and exterior—before getting back in and leaving 5 minutes later.

Thank you for shopping with us.

Have a nice day.

This post was originally featured on Abby’s blog, Abby Has Issues. Photo via.