The Best All Natural Kids Shampoo According to My Children

I’ve been using non-toxic shampoos for my girls since they were infants. Having kids was the turning point in my life where I finally started looking critically at the types of products my family was using and just what those ingredients might be doing to our bodies. We have had some really great experiences with several different brands of natural kids shampoo over the years.

But here’s the thing: my kids need their shampoo and conditioner to be able to deal with the types of things that we find caked in their hair on the regular (honey is the top contender, followed by dirt and paint). I’ve got some products on hand that really seem more geared toward babies, and frankly, towards not being quite as dirty.

I’ve also sampled some fantastic brands that can hang with the dirt, but can’t really hang with my “real world” budget. I don’t have $30 to spend on shampoo for myself, let alone for my little ones.

And this, my friend, is why I was so happy to learn about Fresh Monster. This made in the USA brand reached out to me with news of their affordable toxin-free haircare for kids and I agreed to take a look at their products.

best all natural kids shampoo We initially tried out the 2-in-1 shampoo & conditioner on the girls’ hair and used the shampoo & body wash on their bodies. I noticed the amount of suds right away, and was surprised by those, as most non-toxic haircare products don’t suds much at all. But a quick glance over the ingredient list and I stopped worrying, as it was completely free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, dyes, or synthetic fragrances.

But the lack of synthetic fragrances didn’t keep the products from smell fantastic! Darah and Layah both commented on the smell (and seemed to agree that the ocean splash scent was the best, though for the record I really loved the coconut, too).

Fresh Monster totally got the girls squeaky clean! And I really love the friendly price point ($7.99…but on sale right now on Amazon for less!). You can find them on Amazon as well as at retailers nationwide (though I’m bummed not to see a store finder on their website so I can’t offer any specifics on your nearest location).

Affiliate links may be included at no cost to you. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always.

Amazon Prime Streaming Music: Currently FREE!

Affiliate links included at no cost to you. I’m a happy Amazon Prime Streaming Music customer!

If you have an Amazon Prime account already, you may not be aware of an AMAZING perk of your membership: Amazon Prime Music.

amazon prime streaming music

I think Amazon Prime Music is a super nice benefit of Prime membership that so many people forget about altogether, which is why I wanted to bring it up today. It can be an absolutely fantastic resource for parents! We have dance parties in the house for our girls on our TV and on our Amazon Echo. The girls know how to ask Alexa for their favorite My Little Pony album! :-) We also have added to our library several dozen great children’s artists whose music is available to listen to, absolutely free.

If you aren’t an Amazon Prime member but would sure love access to a humongous library of music that you can listen to, completely ad-free, then you need to know about the 30 day FREE TRIAL that Amazon just launched for Prime Music.

Free trials are not to be feared; simply make a note in your calendar for 29 days from now so that you know you need to make a decision about if the service is worth it or not to you. If it isn’t, then canceling is simple!

But I think it WILL be worth it, because the number of places where you can access your Prime Music account is

  • Fire tablets (except Kindle Fire 1st Generation)
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Fire TV Stick
  • Amazon Echo
  • Fire phone
  • Amazon Music app for iOS (iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch)
  • Amazon Music app for Android (version 4.0 and above)
  • Amazon Music app for PC & Mac
  • website

And if you are not on wi-fi for part of the day but you’d still love to listen to your favorite music, Prime members can download Prime Music onto your device for offline playback. This is especially nice at places like the gym or on a car ride. Prime Music offers curated playlists that are very enjoyable and the ability to customize your own playlists, as well.

And of course, if you decide to pay for the services ($99/year), you also get free two-day shipping, Prime Video and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

So if you already have Prime but never use Prime Music, take a moment to check it out. And if you have neither, then there’s never been a better time to test the waters (for free!).


Fun Valentine’s Day Cards for Kids from Peaceable Kingdom

Thanks to Peaceable Kingdom for sending along these fun Valentines cards for kids for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always. 

Are you looking for fun Valentines cards for kids that are a little different from what you’ll find at your nearest drugstore? I am loving the 3 different types of Valentines we are using from Peaceable Kingdom this year. They are a little different and so cute!

Sports Themed Valentine Cards
sports themed valentine cards If there are some little athletes in your child’s class, or if your kiddo loves sport, these are perfect! You get 4 different sports themes and fun stickers to go on the envelopes.

Scratch and Sniff Valentines

scratch and sniff valentines These speak to me, for sure! As a kid, I LOVED all things scratch ‘n sniff! :-) This set has 3 different designs, all cupcake-based.

Rainbow Valentines

rainbow valentines

These win the prize for the most unique Valentine’s cards, because they have a special type of material in the middle that produces a rainbow when it comes in contact with light. Awesome!!! The kids who receive these Valentines will play with them for a while rather than simply discarding them.

Peaceable Kingdom has a great selection of out-of-the-ordinary Valentine’s Day cards. Definitely check them out, as you still have time to get them ordered before your child’s party! :-)


Discount Calio Critters: How I Find Them!

Affiliate links may be included at no cost to you. My goal is to save you as much money as possible on these adorable, expensive toys!

So my girls have been bitten by the Calico Critters bug, and I have to admit, so have I. These small animal figurines are so darn cute and fuzzy and fun to play with.

But they are not at all fun to buy. Seriously. A family of 4 little animals typically costs around $25, and the accessory stuff can go from $12-$200+. It adds up FAST, I promise. And that’s why I want to help you find discount calico critters and let you in on the strategy I have used successfully so far. It’s one most people wouldn’t consider because I’m shopping from a site where, at first glance, Calico Critters are way overpriced.

calico critters cheap

Friends, I’m buying cheap Calico Critters at Kohl’s. Let me show you my strategies!

Kohl’s seems to really like to have their Calico Critters on sale for Buy 1 Get 1 Half Off. It is critical that you are willing to purchase 2 items to take advantage of this discount. Why? Because almost all of Kohl’s Calico Critters have an inflated price to start with (for example, right now the Border Collie Family is $34.99 at Kohl’s and $24.99 at Target). But stick with me, because Target won’t have the best price once we are done! 

calico critters discount

So for this scenario, let’s buy the Border Collie Family and the Woodland Beaver Family. They are $34.99 each, minus $17.50 for the B1G1 half off sale. That puts our total to $52.49 for both sets. At Target, both sets would total $49.98, so we haven’t yet gotten the best price.

But here’s the magical thing about Kohl’s: they offer extra percentage off discounts FREQUENTLY! Sign up for emails from them to get notified of their extra sale offerings. It’s HIGHLY unusual for me to not have an extra 15-20% off offer in my inbox that is current.

I also have a Kohl’s charge card, and that’s because they offer some really nice perks to their charge card holders. For example, two different times in the past month, I have been offered an extra 30% off my entire purchase just by using my card. Now can you see where the savings start to happen at Kohl’s?

Additionally, I am a Kohl’s Yes 2 You rewards member (totally free…sort of like a store loyalty card that tracks your spending). Because I shop there regularly, most months I earn a $5 bonus credit to use on whatever the heck I want.

I also wait for opportunities to earn or redeem Kohl’s cash (seems that you earn Kohl’s cash more often than you don’t…it’s a very regular occurance!). They typically offer $10 in store credit for every $50 spent. Kohl’s cash is available to redeem for a specific amount of time, so you need to note it in your calendar because it’s like free money to shop with and it stinks to have it expire on you (been there, done that!).

Kohl’s also lets you stack coupons and offers. So I will go on a Calico Critters sale shopping spree by making use of the B1G1 half off, the $5 rewards, the Kohl’s cash (if I have it) and the extra % off offer (I try to wait for 20 or 30 percent for Calico Critters).

If you are new to Kohl’s and don’t have a $5 reward and don’t have Kohl’s cash, you still come out ahead by simply tacking on a 20% savings that you can get just about all the time. 20% off the $52.49 is $41.99, for example. If you have Kohl’s cash it goes down to $31.99. And if you have a $5 reward, you’ve just bought two Calico Critters families for $26.99. 

I would advise you to purchase at least $75 worth of stuff if you can, because then you get free shipping which is important for cost savings, as well. You can always return a portion of your order back to the store with no hassle (I have done it dozens of times!).

I hope this helps those of you who are new to the game. This is a better strategy for folks who are buying more, and not just looking for an item here and there. I actually have a different strategy for folks who are already deep into Calico Critters and who might ony be buying one thing at a time, so stay tuned for that! :-)



Chocolate Oatmeal Recipe for Busy Mornings: Monkey Business!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CarnationSweepstakes #BetterBreakfast #CollectiveBias 

For me, the early morning is a really important time, as it helps me set the tone for the day. I wake up before everyone else in the house, and I do this intentionally, so that I can have some iced coffee in peace and quiet, look over my tasks for the day and prioritize them, and give some thought to the meals we will be eating that day. If I wake up at least 30 minutes before anyone else, I can prepare breakfast from scratch (muffins, for example) or get the ingredients laid out for a green smoothie.

But some days getting extra sleep wins and I find myself “sleeping in” until 5:30 or 6:00 when one of my little early birds wakes me up. On those days, there’s not as much time to give to meal prep, so I need something fast. But my girls have a full day of growing their brains ahead of them at school, so I still want to make sure that I give them a nutritious breakfast, even if it needs to come together quickly.

Today I want to share with you a chocolate oatmeal that you can make in about 3 minutes and that is enjoyed by the girls so much that they lick their bowls once they’ve eaten everything. We call it “monkey business oatmeal.” I hope you enjoy it!

carnation breakfast essentials chocolate oatmeal 5 The secret ingredient that really brings some great chocolate flavors is Carnation Breakfast Essentials®. If you struggle with pulling together nutritious breakfast offerings due to time, this is SUCH a great strategy to try! You can find Carnation Breakfast Essentials® in the cereal aisle of your nearest Walmart. By adding a packet to a cup of milk, you can make a better breakfast for your crew without having to take up any more of your time. Love it!

carnaton breakfast essentials 1 So let’s make this monkey business oatmeal, shall we?

Monkey Business Oatmeal


carnation breakfast essentials 2

  • 1 Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Powder in chocolate
  • 3/4 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 banana

(yield: 1 serving. Very easy recipe to double or triple, though!)

After you have your ingredients together, first add your Carnation Breakfast Essentials® to the cup of milk and stir to combine.

carnation breakfast essentials 3 Now it’s time to add your drink mix to your oats (make sure they are in a microwave-safe bowl).

carnation breakfast essentials 4 Give it a good stir and then microwave according to the directions on the quick oats (mine said to microwave for 2 minutes).

Once your oatmeal is cooked and cooled off just a bit, slice 1/2 of a banana into small slices and arrange around the bowl. Now your final product tastes great AND looks great!

carnation breafast essentials 6 I want to encourage you to try eating healthier breakfasts for 7 days with your family. This chocolate oatmeal recipe is a great start! If you have folks in your crew who are used to skipping breakfast altogether, and who you don’t think will be ready to sit down to a bowl of oatmeal, try the Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Ready-to-Drink bottles. You can hand one off to that member of your family before s/he heads out the door (and they also make a super yum after school snack, too!).

carnation breakfast essentials Having a healthier breakfast will provide lots of great rewards to your family, but if you need some additional incentives, the Carnation Breakfast Challenge has daily missions, and entrants can complete them to win great prizes! My family is going to be taking the challenge, and I feel confident that we can participate because we have great options for busy mornings, as well as for the mornings when mom has a bit more time to plan.

Ready to get started? Follow these easy steps:

1. Sign up at

2. Complete a simple yet fun breakfast mission for a chance to win. New prizes will be revealed every day!

3. Come back any day in February to complete missions and see new prizes. The prizes range from a Fitbit to a GoPro and other awesome stuff!

4. Head to your favorite store to purchase a Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Nutritional Product and upload your receipt for five extra entries per day.

carnation breakfast essentials 8 Want some more inspiration for a breakfast makeover? Head to the Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Facebook page to get some ideas, and then remember to enter the contest!