Mommy Review Monday: Stride Rite made2play® Phibian Sneaker Sandal

Are your kids hard on play shoes? Mine are. That was really a stupid question. What kid isn’t hard on shoes???

We go through a lot in our house. Fast.

I had been watching Facebook ads for Stride Rite made2play® Phibian Sneaker Sandal for a while but, being the semi-tightwad that I am, I wasn’t wanting to spend that much on a pair of shoes that looked like a glorified mixture of Keens and Crocs.

Finally, I was in Kid to Kid, my favorite local resale shop, when I spotted a pair of pink ones in Anna’s size that looked barely worn. They were still asking $15 for them, which is more than I really wanted to spend for a pair of gently used shoes…. even if they were Stride Rite. I went ahead and did it so I could try them out though.

stride rite made2play® phibian sneaker sandalAnd I’m so glad I did. Here’s why I love the Stride Rite made2play® Phibian Sneaker Sandals:

  • They held up beautifully! That used pair…I actually packed it away to save for the littles- even after Anna wore them for a year and who knows who wore them before that! I have since bought Will a pair. We bought them in the spring last year and they still look pretty good, which is amazing because he’s the hardest on shoes of all of my kiddos.
  • They clean easily. They’re kind of plasticish (I know that’s not a word but you get what I mean) so they wash off easily with just plane water and soap. I’ve never tried washing them in the washer because I haven’t ever needed to, although they say their machine washable so it must be ok!
  • Parents who hate tying shoes over and over again for kids that should be able to tie their own darned shoes- rejoice.  No laces!  Easy-on-and-off is a wonderful feature.
  • They come in pretty cool colors that aren’t all that crazy… or with cheesy characters on them- which is a little rare for easy-on/off shoes.
  • They can wear them with or without socks comfortably.
  • They seem super comfy because my kids wear them all the time….or they can’t find their other shoes.  One of the two is correct.
  • They dry out quickly.  If your kids like to stomp in water or you’re going somewhere wet (think the beach or an amusement park), these are perfect.  Or…if your kids have sweaty, stinky feet like mine do, they’re pretty good for that too.  They smell less than any other pair of tennis shoes we’ve ever bought the kids even though they are being worn more.
  • The price is right.  $35 may seem high but it really isn’t for a pair that lasts an entire year to constant activity and wear, stays comfy, looks good, and can be worn in wet conditions.  Oh, yeah- and can still be handed down to the next lucky kiddo in line.  If they wear them for only 130 days, that’s just over $.26 a day.

Stride Rite made2play® Phibian Sneaker SandalsYou got it “rite” this time, Stride Rite.  Yes, I know…. cheesy.  Will would be embarrassed of that cheesy mom joke!

But seriously, I the Stride Rite made2play® Phibian Sneaker Sandals will be the next pair of shoes I buy for Clara and Kate- in the new metallic purple and pink since those are “their colors.”

For the record- I bought these shoes and am receiving no payment, etc. for this review.  The rambling review is mine, all mine.


Mommy Review Monday: ezpz Happy Mat – One-piece silicone placemat + plate

DISCLOSURE: Due to the recent iPhone update my i’s are now malfunctioning. I️ am NOT going back through to fix. I’m too frustrated. Sorry folks.

It’s borderline Migraine Monday instead of Mommy Review Monday so this will be a sort one today so I can get off to bed. I should apologize to those who get actual migraines because I️ realize my headache isn’t really a migraine since I️ can manage to look at the screen.

I’ll thank the black beans all over the floor and the screaming toddlers for the tension headache. With that said, I’ll move onto our review of the day, the ezpz Happy Mat, without which there would’ve been many more beans on the floor.


  • Cost. $24.99 may seem like a lot but if you use I️t every meal, I️t pays for itself pretty quickly.
  • Hardiness. It’s made of silicone so you know it’s tough. And unlike your friends’ fake boobs, these don’t have to be hand-washed. You can stick them in the lower rack of your dishwasher time after time.
  • Dividers. Since so many kids are funny about not mixing foods, this is a great feature.
  • Protection. The full placemats give your table the armor it needs against banging silverware and/or sippy cups.
  • Stay-put-ness. I️ realize that’s a made up word but you get the point. No pates thrown across the room. As I️ said earlier, had we served black beans on a regular plate, they would’ve been everywhere. This plate-mat stayed in place throughout Clara’s mid-dinner temper tantrum.


  • Fit on High Chair Trays. They don’t fit on high chair trays. I️ know that’s not really what they’re made for so I️ really have a hard time declaring that a con but I️ do want to make sure no one assumes they’ll work that way. They do make a smaller version, the Mini Mat but it still may or may not work on your high chair tray.
  • Only Stick on Hard, Level Surfaces. Again, this seems common sense but they don’t stick or suction themselves down to fabric tablecloths or very unlevel surface. They’re still nice to use to protect your nice fabric tablecloth but there is the chance they could still move. We used a nylon table cloth at Halloween though and it still worked pretty well.

All together, these Happy Mats are what the brand name explains, ezpz. They’re a great gift idea, especially paired with these bibs. I’d buy another. In fact, I may buy another set for when one set is dirty. I’m not sure if that’s lazy or smart.

Happy Monday!!!

Makita Training and Pheasant Hunting in Utah

I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend a training and pheasant hunt in Utah with Makita this weekend.

It was a great time and I got to learn a ton about the Makita tools we carry. I’m still constantly amazed that they have soooo many battery operated tools available.

A few of the coolest I found were:

These would seriously be some awesome gifts if you’re looking for Christmas or birthday gifts for your husbands (or wives- I’d personally love the jackets).

On top of that I shot my first pheasant. These birds are really so beautiful that I almost felt guilty. However, I do have a cooler full of meat that I’m bringing back with me so I don’t feel too bad. I’m still amazed at the way the dogs worked the birds and could point them out like they did. So amazing to watch.

This morning I woke up to snow outside, which was beautiful and pretty unexpected for September.

The lodge, the food, the guides, the dogs, and everything at Pheasant Run Outfitters was outstanding. I definitely recommend it to anyone!

And just like that…She’s Six!

Every single birthday my kids celebrate seems to come faster and faster. Time truly does fly when you’re having fun. 

My sassy little princess, Anna Beth, turned 6 on Friday. She got a “big girl” bike and took her best friend to see the new Beauty and the Beast at the movies. Do you see a trend here?

You may not. But for me the trend is that she’s growing up! And we’re trying to cherish every moment….

…from trips to six flags…

…to riding our “big girl” bike! Happy Birthday, Anna Banana. We love you!

Mommy Review Monday: CuisinartICE-30R Pure Indulgence Frozen Yogurt Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker

Anna asked for an ice cream maker for Christmas. She saw one in the toy section at Target one day but I knew my patience would not allow for us to make ice cream “Easy Bake” style (although she did get an Easy Bake oven for Christmas).

So, I decided to go with a “real” ice cream maker so we could all enjoy it. My mom had this one: Cuisinart ICE-30R Pure Indulgence Frozen Yogurt Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker. She liked it and it got good reviews so we ordered it from Amazon.

After our first batch, here’s my review:

What I like about it:

  • It looks nice. I like red appliances, so that’s the color we got….not that it’s sitting out a ton.
  • It’s super fast. 20-25 minutes and you’ve got ice cream.
  • 2 quarts is a perfect amount for us.
  • No more cranking…although I do have very fond memories of cranking my Grammy’s ice cream maker when the motor was struggling just before it was ready.
  • No more salt…unless I figured out how to make salted caramel mocha ice cream…
  • It stores nicely.
  • It’s easy to clean and wash.
  • It came with some tasty recipes in the manual…although I probably will refer to family recipes and good ol’ Pintrest going forward.  And maybe a little bit of trial and error with the kids and Garen as guinea pigs.

What I don’t like about it:

  • ….

I can’t really think of anything at the moment.  I guess maybe I wish I had two so I could make two flavors at the same time!

Yes, folks, it really is that good.  They didn’t give it the name “Pure Indulgence” for nothing….

The only thing that beats homemade vanilla ice cream are the smiling faces you see when they taste it… and maybe how easy this machine makes it!

Happy Mommy Review Monday to you!

 For the record:  I am in no way paid for this review.  The opinions above are my own and I purchased this machine for our own use based on our needs and my own research and feedback received.

Adventures with Four: Enjoying a Blended Family Christmas

Will and Anna are fortunate enough to have two immediate families and four sets of extended families to celebrate with each holiday season. That’s a lot of Christmas fun for kids…and for us parents to orchestrate. 

Part of the coordination is out of our hands. Joe Daddy and I share the holiday break. One parent gets the kids from the last day of school until the 26th and then the other has them from the 26th until the end of the break per our agreement. It works fairly well but it also means that every other year, we don’t have Will and Anna with us for actual Christmas Eve and Day. 

We make the most of it and it’s a very merry holiday for everyone. 

Here’s how it works for us:

  • Plan in advance what dates the kids are going to be where. This allows us to plan our extended family gatherings as soon as we can. We did Christmas for the kids with Grandad and the Odoms and then with Garen’s family the second week of December. And we are at Garen’s mom’s with the little girls for Christmas. We will be going to my parents’ on the night of the 28th and celebrate New Years Eve there. That’s a lot to plan for and takes multiples rounds of packing and travel for a family of six!
  • Do as many family traditions as you can before the school holiday starts. We’ve started a family tradition of going to Holiday in the Park and to Santa’s Adventure. We also make a “thing” out of decorating the tree, complete with homemade chicken and dumplings. There are other traditions but that’s not the point of this post. The point here is to make sure you do them.  And to do them, they have to be planned if you share weekends with the kids’ other families. The few weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas fly by before you know it!
  • It’s important to be encouraging and inclusive of the kids’ other family traditions. When you have multiple families celebrating, there are always going to be different ways of doing things and that’s a good thing. Your kids will be well-rounded and open to new ideas as they grow. 
  • Use technology to your advantage. Skype and FaceTime allow you to still see the kids when they are with their other families. It is also special to do this with grandparents to keep them involved. 
  • We coordinate what is being given to the kids with various family members in an attempt to not get multiples of the same thing. Sometimes this works better than others. In the case that the kids get multiples, they can leave one at the other family’s house or maybe a grandparent’s house. It’s really not a big deal. 
  • Santa comes on Christmas morning, no matter where the kids are or who they’re with. This is less confusing for everyone. Again, coordinating this with the other parent is important for a good co-parenting relationship. 
  • We open the kids’ other presents on a day that we can be at home the majority of the day. This gives us plenty of time to play with any new toys and have a big, special Christmas breakfast, which was a big deal in my family growing up. 
  • Help the kids to pick out or make Christmas presents for their other family, especially their siblings. This year the kids picked out a fun toy purse with keys and phone for Madalyn and made yarn ornaments for the rest of the family. 
  • If your kids are away at their other family’s house for the holiday and you’re sad, remember that they are very fortunate to have more than one set of people to love them. More love. What’s better than that? With that said, it’s ok to miss them and be bummed a bit…especially if this is your first round. Stay busy with other family and/or friends or volunteer somewhere to keep yourself occupied. It doesn’t necessarily get easier but you do learn to adjust over the years. 
  • Remember that Christmas is really  a season and not just one day. And it’s not just about the gifts. It’s about celebrating your beliefs, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying traditions- old or new. It should be celebrated whenever you and your family can be together. This could be before or after Christmas and still be just as special if you let it be. 

I hope these tips from our experiences can be helpful. It can be hard to share, even as adults who know it’s best for the kids but this is how we make our holidays special for everyone in our family. It takes planning and coordination but it is well worth it!