My Well Yes Moment

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

This August marked a new season of life for me. My sidekick, my youngest, started preschool which has left me with some free time during the day. As a work from home mom, I was excitedly anticipating the day she’d be off to school, leaving me with a few blissful hours to work quietly, listen to some music instead of the same princess show for the eleventeenth time, and increase my productivity. What I wasn’t prepared for was the emptiness I felt coming home to a totally silent house. Her older brothers have been in school for several years now, so I thought this would be an easy transition, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

My little girl needed me, after all. She’s my spirited one. The one who needs her lunch arranged just so. The one who prefers the pink princess water bottle over the green fairy one. The one who relies on me to help her process through those little girl emotions. Would the teacher know that she sometimes needs help with her juice straw or that when she’s nervous she needs to hold a hand? Mom emotions are real, my friends. Sometimes we just can’t get a grip, am I right?

Inspired by  Well Yes!® Soups, I realized that sometimes yes can be reassuring. My yes moments in life are often of me tackling my goals and chasing my dreams, but in this season of life, my yes moment needed to be different. I reassure myself that yes, this is okay and yes, this is life. Yes, you’re in a new chapter and yes, it’s all going to be okay. My moment of yes is one of comfort, much like a warm mug full of my favorite Well Yes! Soups which inspired my mom moment of yes.

Well Yes! helps women and moms like me say yes to deliciously crafted food, with real ingredients, so that I have what I need to say yes in the other areas of my life, like reassuring myself that preschool doesn’t equal college, ha! Well Yes! soups are crafted with care and feature real and nutritious ingredients to create incredibly flavored soups, without compromise.

#WellYesMoment #Sweepstakes (10/14 to 11/17)

My daughter still needs me and it’s clear that I need her, but part of being a mom is letting go to allow room for independence and growth. Preschool is a small step, but for her it feels big and she is proud to be gaining some independence. But I’m fairly confident I’m going to need to remind myself in these moments of her life to relax, enjoy, and say yes.

Don’t forget to enter the #WellYesMoment Sweepstakes in the widget below for a chance to win up to a $500 Visa gift card! It’s as easy as clicking, logging in, and sharing your Moment of Yes story! If you win, think of all the ways you can use the prizing to achieve your Moment of Yes!

#WellYesMoment #Sweepstakes (10/9 to 11/2)

What is your yes moment as a mom? When did you have to reassure yourself with a calming yes, this is okay? Let’s chat mom emotions in the comments below. Read more yes moments from Well Yes! Soups by visiting the social hub where you’ll find inspiring stories from bloggers like me.

Simple Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

For me, fall months are when I dig out my favorite soup recipes. I’m happiest when I’m in the kitchen with the windows open while the cool air breezes through. I throw on Pandora’s Autumn Jazz station, pull out my best knives, and start prepping all of the veggies for whatever soup or stew I’ve dreamed up in my head that day. I’m a firm believer that when it comes to soup or stew, cooking low and slow all day long makes the best kind. This Simple Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup cooks all day, allowing the flavor to develop and the vegetables to soften while they cook in warm broth all afternoon.

I start by preparing all my veggies. I chop up several stalks of celery, carrots, and a couple of small onions. I throw them into my slow cooker with three large cartons of chicken broth, some dill, a bit of bullion, and three chicken breasts.

If I’m using fresh chicken, everything cooks together in about four hours, but if I’m using frozen it takes almost six. Once the chicken is cooked, I remove it and shred it up using my stand mixer. This is my favorite trick to shredding chicken quickly. A hand mixer will work too.

I gently drop the shredded chicken back into the slow cooker and add two to three cups of noodles and crank it up to the high setting for about fifteen minutes until the noodles are tender.

This Simple Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup is easy to make, but tastes like you’ve been at it all day (all hail the slow cooker!). It’s warm, comforting, and is best enjoyed in my coziest fall sweater with that Pandora Autumn Jazz station playing softly in the background. Trust me friends, you need the station in your life.

Fore additional recipes like this one and my favorites from fellow bloggers, be sure to follow the Our Holly Days page on Facebook where I update frequently throughout the week.

5 Ways My Phone Keeps My Family Organized

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

Staying connected in any family is a challenge, but my blended family has it’s own unique set of challenges and schedules that require some serious organization. Thankfully, organization is my jam and taking what would normally be a mish-mash-mess (term I’ve  somehow just coined and transforming it into a streamlined calendar is an exciting use of my time. One of our my most used tools in staying organized is my Samsung Galaxy Note8, my phone literally does it all, much like me. You could say we’re kindred spirits, Note8 and I. While my paper planner will always be my MVP, not everyone in my family uses it, so I rely on apps, texting, and all the features available on my Note8 to keep it all in one easy place for everyone to reference. Really it’s not me that keeps things together, but my phone that keeps my family organized, doing what I can’t to keep us all productive.

Using the Cozi app

This handy app allows me to share our calendar with everyone in the family. As soon as I update something in the app, it alerts the rest of the family, which means last minute changes are a cinch. I can also create grocery lists or send shopping lists to other family members, which comes in handy when I need my husband to pick something up on the way home from work.

Using a calendar screenshot

This is a handy way for my kids to quickly reference their schedules or what’s going on with the family. Every week, they can screenshot the schedule and set it as their phone’s lock screen. They can even add in their school or class schedule, making it easier for them to see where they need to be at a glance.

Group texting

Every mom’s best friend. This is such a handy way to keep everyone in the loop in real time. It also allows our family to stay connected as an entire family unit.

Using the Marco Polo App

This fun video app works like a walkie talkie, but with video. I can quickly send a video to my kids when they’re visiting their other parents without interrupting any of their plans.

Staying connected

Above all else, staying connected with all of my kids is important. Since I split time with them between other homes, I savor every minute. Thankfully even when they are somewhere else I can easily stay connected with my Galaxy Note8.

My Samsung Galaxy Note8 is loaded with features like the s-pen, water resistance, and even an iris scanner, allowing me to worry less about keeping my phone protected (raise your hand if your kid has spilled apple juice on your phone in a restaurant!). The screen allows me to multitask, because moms are queen multitaskers (kindred spirits), by launching two apps at once. The powerful hardware including a 64GB memory, 50% more RAM, and an advanced processor keeps my phone working. And the camera is pretty rad itself, in fact, it’s the reason I switched to the Note8 with sharper, more precise photos.

Enter for a chance to win one of over $4600 in prizes, including a grand prize Samsung Galaxy Note8 prize pack. Use the widget below to enter.

#samsungtargettech #Sweepstakes (9/25 to 11/16)

Learn more about the Samsung Galaxy Note8 and see how bloggers like me are using theirs with tips, tricks, ideas, and more by visiting the Samsung Galaxy Note8 social hub.

10 Planner Instagrams You Should Follow

I’m a lover of all things paper. I’ve always loved using pen and paper to track my daily to do lists. Using a paper planner helps me to retain my weekly appointments and helps me to keep my brainstorms, editorial calendar, and basically entire life together in one handy place. I use my planner to help me develop habits, stick to a productive work schedule, and organize my goals. It’s proven to be essential to my home and work life. It seems others have found them helpful as well and have taken to social media to share images of their perfect notebooks, planners, bullet, journals, and more ways they use paper to organize their lives. As a paper addict myself, I follow several inspirational planner Instagrams to see how other people maximize the use of the handy tool. Today, I’m sharing ten of my favorite planner Instagrams to inspire you to put pen to paper.











These gals are my planner goals. From their little attention to details to their perfected handwriting. I love drawing inspiration from fellow planner lovers on Instagram. If these beauties didn’t convince you to try your hand at using a paper planner, nothing will.

If you want to try paper planning, my favorite planner is the Erin Condren Life Planner. You can get $10 your first purchase by using my referral link.

Easy Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas

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

I have three littles in school this year. Evelyn, my youngest (my baby!) begins Pre-K in a couple of weeks. I’ve been making supply lists while she’s deciding between a unicorn or puppy backpack during our shopping trips to Walmart. She’s my firecracker child. You know, the kind of child friends call spirited. That’s my Evelyn girl. It’s reflected in her wild hair and mischievous little gap-toothed grin. I can’t help but worry about whether her teachers can handle all that spirit in between backpack choosing. Evelyn has been my sidekick for four and a half years, carpooling big brothers to and from school, running errands, grocery shopping, laundry, and everything else. Both of us are going to have a completely new season of life in several short days and I’m doing all of the classic mama fretting.

One way I’m planning on giving her comfort while she takes on her first year of school is through some of her favorite meals. Easy Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas are one of the foods on her will-eat-most-days-list and not only will they be easy to pack for school lunches, but they make a simple dinnertime solution as well when made together with some veggies or a side salad. These quesadillas are extra awesome because I use a couple shortcuts (I don’t sacrifice flavor or quality!) to keep them easy to throw together on a crazy busy school night.

Three of the key ingredients are: Swanson® Premium Chicken, Pace® Salsa, and V8 Splash®. You can hover over my image to shop for each of these items!


I start by lightly buttering my griddle and placing a flour tortilla over it. Then I add loads of shredded cheddar cheese.

And then add some Swanson® Premium Chicken straight from the can since it’s already cooked and ready to use. This is the secret to the simplicity of my recipe.

Then I add some oregano and garlic salt.

And top it all with another flour tortilla.

I spread a little butter over the top tortilla before flipping my quesadilla to finish cooking.

Once the cheese is melty and chicken is nice and warm, I remove it and let it rest for about a minute or so before cutting it into slices.

Just look at that melty cheese!

I usually serve Easy Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas with a side of Pace® Salsa for dipping. They offer genuine southwest flavor in a variety of textures and heat levels, so whatever mood Little Miss Spirit is in, they have an option for her.

Evelyn prefers hers with a cold (why she emphasizes cold, I don’t know…spirited, remember?) glass of lemon-lade. We keep a bottle of V8 Splash® in Pink Lemonade flavor special for her and I feel good about it because it offers great taste and nutrients since it’s made with real fruits and vegetables. Just don’t tell Evelyn, please, ha!

As a mother, food is often my love language and one of my favorite ways to express my love to my children. I’m thankful that Campbell Soup Company products makes is simple for me to serve up her favorite comfort foods and ease her through a new life chapter in school. Life has many seasons, but mom’s Easy Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas are dependably delicious!

For more back to school recipe inspiration from bloggers like me, be sure to visit the Campbell Soup Company products social hub!

Military Family Care Package, Share a Coke

This shop/post has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #CokeDGSupportMilitary #CollectiveBias

Military roots runs deep in my family. From my uncles and both grandpas to my cousins and siblings. But none have impacted me more than my little sister’s service to her country. Cortney started her life after high school in the Navy as a corpsman, which took her to North Carolina for a number of years. When she completed her term, she moved back to our hometown and became a police officer while completing her time as a reserve. She met her husband in the reserves and after they became pregnant, she left her career as a police officer to become a full time mother and Marine Corps wife. My sister is my best friend and I’ve been blessed to have her close (she’s been in San Diego – only a few hours drive – for some years now), but recently her husband was transferred to North Carolina, which is a much longer drive than three hours from my SoCal home.

Being away from my sister is hard and being apart from my niece and nephew is even harder. I’m thankful for technology; we keep in touch through an app where we can video chat daily to one another, but one of my favorite ways to connect with my sister and her family is through little care packages. Inspired by the Dollar General, USO, and Coca-Cola™ partnership to, “Share an ice cold Coke with military heroes!”, I put together a little box for my personal heroes.

I started with a plain brown box I found at my local Dollar General.

And added some blue construction paper to the flaps.

And then some red before I embellished it with some patriotic stickers and wrote a sweet and simple little note.

I filled it with goodies I know are some of my sister’s favorites and special toys that I know my niece and nephew will love.

When I was done, I pulled out one of the Dollar General exclusive LIMITED EDITION Share a Coke® cans I’d picked up along with the care package goodies. Only when I was pulling it out, I realized that there was more than one can that described my incredible little sister. I just had to hop into our app and send her a little video of me thanking her for her service and telling her how super cool I think she is that she has two cans and not just one that was made just for her.

Please join me along with Dollar General, the USO, and Coca-Cola by helping to reach a goal of sending 25K messages of love, support, and gratitude to our nation’s service members and their families. The message you send will go directly to service members around the world. You can also help by buying the exclusive 5-can limited edition series highlighting: Veteran, Service Member, Military Spouse, Military Mom, and Military Dad.

Write and send your message through the Destination Coke website and to learn about more ways you can help support the USO.

3 Reasons Legoland California Should Be On Your Summer Bucket List

This post is sponsored by Legoland California. All thoughts, opinions, and ideas are my own. Thank you to Legoland California for partnering with me and thank you readers for supporting the brands that support this blog and my family.

My family’s summer bucket list isn’t complete until we’ve had our annual trip to Legoland California. We’ve gone every single year for four years now and we leave with the most memorable experiences every single time. Lines are minimal, staff is friendly, and there are things for everyone to participate in. Delicious food, affordable prices, and tons to explore are just a few of the reasons Legoland California should be on your summer bucket list, but in case that’s not enough, here are three more reasons to entice to you one of my family’s favorite summer places.

Everyone can participate

One of my most favorite parts about our Legoland visits is that there is quite literally something for everyone in the family. During my family’s first visit, my youngest was just two and she even was able to participate on a couple rides, explore the park, and tons more. I’m such a sap because I totally cried when I realized just how inclusive of everyone the park is. There were faster paced rides for my older boys, but I was appreciative of there being things available for all of us to do as a family.

Granny’s apple fries

Granny’s apple fries are so delicious, I’d pay park admission just to enjoy this signature snack. The apples are cut into classic french fry shapes and coated in a cinnamon sugar outside. They’re served with a dollop of cream and they’re amazingly delicious!

Three parks to explore

Legoland, the Sea Life Aquarium, and the Legoland Water Park are all in one central location and could easily stretch into a two or three day visit. Each park has a variety of features, rides, and activities for kiddos and adults alike (don’t lie, you sort of like playing with Legos too).

We will be heading to Legoland later this summer and I can’t wait to share our experience with you all again (2014, 2016). All of our kiddos are a bit older this year and will be able to remember our summer traditions that the park has fostered with us over the years.

Be sure to visit the Legoland California page on Facebook for all the latest updates. To buy park tickets, visit the Legoland California website.

3 Simple Race Tracks to Create Using Tape

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

My oldest boy and youngest daughter are three years apart, which doesn’t seem like a large age gap, but for kids it’s all about that older/younger mentality. Finding ways for my video game loving son to connect with and mentor his stuffed animal loving little sister is sometimes a struggle, but lately they’re both buzzing about the new Disney•Pixar’s Cars 3 movie coming out this summer. My boy grew up with McQueen and his friends, racing around the house in his push along McQueen toy at just two years old. I love that Lightning and his friends have not only been a presence in my son’s life, but now he can connect with his little sister through the new movie and toys that bridge their age gap.

When they received the new Disney•Pixar Cars 3 LEGO Juniors Thunder Hollow Crazy 8 Race Building Kit from Amazon, both of them were practically bursting to put it together…together. The set features an easy to build Miss Fritter road sign with moveable barriers (Collin had fun with this down farther in the post). Lightning McQueen, Cruz Ramirez, Miss Fritter, and Broadside are all included as well and are packaged in their own bags for simple assembly.  Collin, my oldest boy, took charge and delegated tasks to his little sister. He mentored her through the step by step instructions as they worked together on the LEGO Juniors set until they had completed each character. The new movie has a focus on the theme of mentorship, which made this all the more fun to witness.

A drag race track

As they worked together on their project, I watched on happily, and pulled out some tape to start creating a few racetracks for them to play on with their completed sets. The first track was a simple straight line so they could take turns pushing their characters as fast as they could. I timed each race and McQueen (Evelyn) was always victorious.

A square track

The square track spanned across our dining room table and gave them a large area to play in together. I loved watching them get creative with race order and ideas.

A demolition derby track

We used the square track as boundaries for our demolition derby track inspired by the new Cars 3 movie. Collin and Miss Fritter had a blast bursting through the billboard.

Watching my kiddos play and get creative together is one of my favorite parts of being a mom. When they find common ground and interests that they can connect on gives them a bond that will carry them through their lives.

Also available on Amazon are Disney•Pixar Cars 3 Crazy 8 Crashers Smash & Crash Derby Playset, Just Play Cars 3 Mack Mobile Tool, Disney•Pixar’s Cars 3 Apparel, and Disney•Pixar’s Cars 3 Bedding. Hover over the image below to shop the set featured in this post!

The Ultimate Pit Stop for all things Cars 3, including the set played with in this post, is Amazon. Visit the site for all things McQueen and Miss Fritter to foster creativity and mentorship in your kiddos.


Things I Love About Dad Gift Bag

Father’s Day is next week, friends, and I’m all about getting personal when it comes to such a meaningful holiday. My husband works hard at his blue collar job providing for our little big family. More than that, he’s a dedicated father. In our blended family, it gets hard to spend time with everyone, but he does what he can. In fact, next week he will be driving three hours to watch his oldest graduate from 8th grade into high school. He loves his children fiercely, so I wanted to make sure they took some time to think about what they love about their father. The kiddos each created an adorable Things I Love About Dad Gift Bag using a few simple supplies.

I started by giving each child a piece of construction paper and a marker, instructing them to title the paper, “Five Things I Love About Daddy,” or in Collin’s case, Cub Cub (my husband is his stepfather).

I encouraged them to think hard about some of their favorite things about him, how he makes them feel, and what they love most about him. I helped them translate their five favorites onto the paper.

When they were done, I trimmed down each paper to fit over a plain brown gift bag.

Later on, I took the kiddos down to our local dollar store and let them each choose a gift for our bag. I loved seeing how thoughtful each child was as they browsed the aisles and chose their special present.

I wrapped up their gifts with tissue paper and used gift tags to distinguish which gift was from each child before placing them all inside our special bag.

This was such a special craft that made the kids feel involved in their Father’s Day gifts. I love that it encouraged them to think about the little things their daddy does for them and translate them onto paper to express their gratitude and love, something I think is important that they carry into adulthood for their future spouses, children, and adult siblings.

For more crafty ideas and projects be sure to follow Our Holly Days on Facebook where I share my favorites from fellow bloggers.

Dear Daughter

This post was sponsored by Halestorm as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Becoming a mom turned me into a sap. A glass case of emotion, if you will (let’s be friends if you caught that movie reference). My little mama heart just can’t handle all the feels of certain movies, books, or even commercials. And music is a whole ‘nother beast, friends. I can barely make it through this latest song, Dear Daughter, by GRAMMY® Award-winning hard rock band Halestorm.

My daughter, Evelyn is a fierce personality. But even with her spunky attitude, I know that the road ahead in life will be filled with obstacles and triumphs. Dear Daughter is an anthem for all girls, a reminder that anything is possible and that mama’s arms aren’t ever too far. This song is a powerful reminder of the love between mother and daughter that the world can’t touch.

Dear Daughter, never lose yourself. Remember that you’re like nobody else.

Evelyn is a spunky little girl. At just four, she’s been a transforming force in our family. I’ve always called her our rainbow connection since she’s a little piece of everyone in our blended family and connects us all to one another. She knows what she wants in life and isn’t afraid to demand it, ha! Parenting a spirited child with her personality is challenging, but I know it will serve her well later in life when things get difficult. She’s one of a kind and I’m proud to be her mother.

These are words that every girl should have a chance to hear: there will be love, there will be pain, there will be hope, there will be fear. And through it all year after year, stand or fall I will be right here for you.

As Evelyn’s mother, I’ve promised to be there through all the highs and lows of her life. I can’t promise her a pain free life, but I can let her know that no matter what happens, I’ll be right next to her to pick her back up.

For me, sometimes it takes a song to say all the things I’m thinking and feeling, but can’t translate into words myself. This Dear Daughter song by Halestorm does exactly that since Lizzy Hale was inspired by the support she received from her parents when she and younger brother Arejay decided to start a rock band as kids and their parents’ encouragement to pursue their dreams.

Share this song with your own daughter and enter to win a prize package from Halestorm using the form below. Entries close May 16th. I-C will randomly select winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes (10). 
Halestorm Giveaway