It’s Mom Time: 21 Habits of Happy Moms

I just read this great article about the 21 Habits of Happy Moms. We all want more happiness in our life, right? While I have to say that I don’t do all of them, I was surprised to see that I do quite a few on the list.

My number one tip for Moms out there is to plan your “Mom Moments.” I sound anal when I say this (and trust me, I am not the poster child for the organized Mom) but I write my Mom time activities down in my daily planner so that I don’t schedule anything over them and they’re treated as an important engagement. I write down when I am going to work out and I even write in my lunch time where I get to read a juicy novel while eating. That way I have no excuses for why I didn’t take some time for myself to create happy moments.

To me, happiness comes in moments, which is why I called this site Chocolate Cake Moments. Happiness just can’t be a permanent state. Life throws us too many curve balls. So planning these Mom time activities and even your family fun activities will help to create more happy Chocolate Cake Moments – where we are smiling, relaxed, and enjoying life – giving us an overall sense of happiness.

What do you think? Does happiness come in moments or can you be happy all of the time? What do you do to feel happy?

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Tags: Cool Finds · Help Mom Stay Organized · Parenting Tips

6 Last Minute Father’s Day Ideas

dad and kids

It happens. We love our husbands and Dads to death and want to show them appreciation and give them a fun day to remember on Father’s Day. But some years you wake up on a Saturday morning in a cold sweat and say, “What? It’s tomorrow!?! How did that happen?”

It’s not that we don’t love you, sweeties. We want only the best for these men of ours. But life interferes. Kids need attention. (Yes, I am going to cop out and blame it on the kids.)

So, ladies, here are some last minute Father’s Day ideas that will make it look like you have been planning a special day for months.

1. Breakfast in Bed. The classic. Why not make his favorite dish and have the kids help you present it to him in bed? Or relaxing out on the patio? Breakfast Burritos are a huge hit in our house and easy to make. Scramble eggs, saute some onions and red peppers. Warm some tortillas and your favorite salsa. Add a side of grated cheddar and sour cream. Viola!

2. Bake his favorite cookies. My hubby loves Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies so the kids and I make them for him on special occasions – his birthday, Christmas, and now Father’s Day. (Make sure the kids don’t eat too many kisses so you run out of them by the time the last batch is ready.)

3. An afternoon of golf. If your whole family plays golf, set up a tee time and spend the day outside. If not, call one of his best buddies and set up a play date for Dad.

4. Act like a tourist. Some of our best Father’s Days have been where we just headed into downtown Chicago and hit some of the big tourist attractions. It’s something we rarely do as a family and it makes us feel like we “traveled” somewhere for the day.

5. Pampering. Every Dad likes quiet and relaxation, right? Well, why not give him a massage. He’ll get an hour of peace and quiet and come home relaxed and jelly like. (Ready to start work again on Monday. Right!)

6. Cook together. Do you both like to cook? Why not take the day to make one of those all day recipes that you have been dying to try. Make homemade pasta. Make paella. Slow cook ribs or a BBQ brisket. You’ll have a relaxing day spending time together in the kitchen and then eating a fabulous, rarely cooked meal.

Read our post on Father’s Day Activities from last year.

Give that important man in your life some Chocolate Cake Moments. He deserves them. Happy Fathers Day, everyone!

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Tags: Family Celebrations · Help Mom Stay Organized · Holiday Fun

Day #2 30 Day Summer Fun Challenge: Summer Hit List

Chocolate Cake Club Family Fun Calendar

Chocolate Cake Club Family Fun Calendar

Welcome to Day #2 of our 30 Day Summer Fun Challenge, where we’re giving you 30 days of simple, creative & most importantly memorable ideas to make this the most fun summer ever for your family.

Have you ever wondered where the summer has gone? Been disappointed that you didn’t get to the Zoo, or get tickets to a popular kids concert, or get the bikes out enough to justify the space they take up in the garage? Well, last summer we started a Family Summer Hit List and it made planning and scheduling our family fun a whole lot easier. We were tired of “missing” some of the fun things we wanted to do every summer because we didn’t act fast enough, so we decided to take charge and make it a family project.

Pick a night and when you sit down for dinner, go around the table and ask everyone in the family what they would like to do for fun that summer. Have someone write down all of the ideas. Then vote on the Top 10 ideas that your family is going to do together. (If this gets too heated or causes hurt feelings amongst younger siblings, put all of the ideas into a hat and pull the first 10. While someone might still be miffed that their idea didn’t make it, at least it’s fair!)

Now, grab the family calendar and plan which days you’ll schedule each activity. If any work needs to be done ahead of time like buying tickets, making reservations, or inviting friends over, assign the responsibilities to family members so everyone is working together to have fun. You’ll get more buy-in from the kids, Mom won’t be the only one planning everything, and you won’t miss any important activities.

Your kids and grandkids grow up so fast. Don’t miss these precious summer days and nights to have fun together. (That was my mushy Moment.)

Here’s our family’s Summer Hit List around the Chicagoland area:

  • Train ride downtown, eat at French Market
  • Six Flags Day with fellow Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Families
  • Concert at Ravinia, our outdoor concert venue
  • Long bike ride along Lake Michigan – RJ Grunts for dinner
  • Cubs Game
  • Splash time at North Ave. Beach
  • BBQ party with friends
  • Hang out with neighbors at local pool
  • Backyard camp-out
  • Drive-in tailgate party with friends
  • Trips to Austin, TX and Iowa to visit the Grandparents and cousins

TREAT: To make your planning a little easier, for every order placed today at the Chocolate Cake Club between 8 a.m. CST and midnight, we’ll throw in a FREE Mom’s Plan-it or momAgenda Family Planning Calendar. While supplies last, so get your order in now!

What’s on your Hit List for the Summer?

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Tags: Family Dinner Time Fun · Family Fun Ideas · Help Mom Stay Organized · Ideas for family projects · Summer Family Activities

How to Keep Your Kids Occupied This Summer While You Work From Home

Well, the kids are out of school for one full day and they are already bored. It’s hard to get work done during the summer when the kids feel the need to be entertained. However, it is possible with some scheduling and communication. I wrote a post last year on How to Keep Your Kids Active During the Summer While You Work from Home and since I just pulled it out and brushed it off as a reference for myself, I thought I would share with you as well.

I hope these ideas help you keep your projects moving forward, your sanity in check, and the kids happily entertained. Good Luck!

Have any other tips on how to manage work and kids during the summer? Please share and win a momAgenda All-in-One Organizer!
momAgenda All-in-One Folio
The best comment (voted by little old me) will win an All-in-One Folio from momAgenda to make your life a little easier this summer. I have some extras and I would rather you have them than me. I’ll pick a winner on Monday, June 14th. Sorry, US Residents only.

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Tags: Help Mom Stay Organized

10 Perfect Teacher’s Gift Ideas

For most families we know, school ends either this week or next so the question on every Mom’s mind is “What do we get for the kids’ teachers?” Every year I try to be creative and come up with something unique but most years I end up giving them what they say they really need. I am fortunate enough to have 6 teachers living in my neighborhood so I asked them what they like to get at the end of the year from their students. Here were the top answers, hands down.

1. Book Gift Cards – many teachers have to buy their own books for the classroom so gift cards help to cover that expense for them.

2. Coffee Gift Cards – We’re in a room with 28 loud children every day, need we say more?

3. Target Gift Cards – Hey, many teachers are Moms, too. (This applies for movie ticket certificates, restaurant certificates, and anything that you would appreciate as a gift.)

4. Anything Homemade by the student, especially if they had a nice bond throughout the school year. Notes, photos collages, or a written story were appreciated.

Want some more ideas? Here are some additional gift ideas I’ve come up with and found on various Mom sites.

5. The Mother Huddle blog had some ideas that were nice and most importantly easy to do. I really liked the Joyful Hands soap idea.

6. The Skip to My Lou blog had some great simple ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week that would also work as nice year end gifts. I like the Gift Certificate for a Massage idea.

7. If you have an artist at home, frame one of their masterpieces. My daughter’s teacher is retiring at the end of year so she is going to draw a picture of the teacher’s classroom so she’ll remember it.

8. How about a plant? They last longer than flowers and can be used to lighten up the classroom next year.

9. A box of pretty Thank You Notes. The teachers may want to send a thank you to all of the students for their year end gifts so why not make it easier for them to do so.

10. A movie night package. Grab a recently released DVD, popcorn and some candy so your teacher can have a fun night at home with their family.

Care to add to the list? We’d love to hear more ideas.

For More Teacher’s Gift Ideas:

Unique End-of-Year Teachers Gift Ideas

Easy and Inexpensive DIY Teacher’s Gift Ideas

Thoughtful Gifts Teachers, Neighbors, and Helpers Will Love

Homemade End-of-Year Teachers Gift Ideas

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Tags: Back to School Tips · Help Mom Stay Organized · Parenting Tips

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