My Plans for 2017

Every year I come up with “plans” for myself. I don’t say goals or resolutions because resolutions are rarely kept and if goals aren’t met, there can be a feeling of failure attached. I like to use plans, because plans can change and adapt.

Kraus House Mom

This is what I came up with for 2017…

  • Get back to my high school weight, somewhere around 115 pounds.
  • Exercise for at least 90 minutes every day.
  • Have my kids in activities everyday, they need to be enriched.
  • Make all of my meals/food from scratch.
  • Not leave the house without my hair done and full make up done.
  • Buy a whole new wardrobe for each season.
  • Keep the house spotless…like a museum.
  • Reach at least 500,000 followers, subscribers, views on all of my social media platforms.
  • Join every committee I come across.
  • Get my doctorate.

I’m just kidding!

That list would end up a complete failure first thing in the morning when I bring my kids to school. Here’s my real plan.

  • Lose the weight I put back on and get back to where I need to be. This is a health priority. The more weight I carry, the worse my heart disease can get.
  • Exercise again. Once again, this is a health issue. I need to do more cardio (walking) and definitely need more muscle mass.
  • I do need to get my kids into some activities. We recently moved and they need something new. We’re planning on swim for all three, gymnastics and art for Stella, Teddy wants to do lacrosse again and we need to find something for Maizie.
  • Plan my weekly meals in advance. I did this before we moved and it was great, I just need to get back into doing it again. It makes grocery shopping much easier and I won’t be racking my brain trying to figure out what to cook for dinner.
  • I need to get my hair cut and highlighted, the grays are multiplying rapidly. I also need to get a foundation that can cover up the spots on my face that haven’t been burnt off yet.
  • Get myself some new duds. Last summer I did buy a bunch of new shorts, but I currently have 3 pairs of jeans that I wear. I seriously don’t remember the last time I bought a pair of jeans. Some new shoes would be nice, but I HATE shoe shopping.
  • I need to get and keep the house organized. We recently moved and there are still things that don’t have a permanent home. I need to find them one and make sure they find their way back home (huge issue in our house).
  • I really, really want to grow my blogs and You Tube channels. I don’t have any numbers in mind, but if 500,000 happens WOO HOO!
  • Work on my writing projects. I have three projects that I am working on right now. One just needs to be edited, one needs to be sorted through and revamped and the other needs to get off of the tiny pieces of paper and onto a real page.
  • I want to learn something new. I have no idea what.

So there it is, my plan for 2017.

Do you have any plans?



Christmas Scouting Mission

Every year I take the kids on what we call a “scouting mission”.

Kraus House Mom

This is when we go to the toy store and look at all the toys and take pictures of or point out anything that they may possibly want for Christmas.

It doesn’t matter what it is, they can take a picture of it.

As it gets closer to Christmas, they need to narrow their choices down to the top three items they want to put on their list for Santa, within reason.

Right now, Stella has about twenty two things on her list.

There’s a reason they only pick their top three items. In their top three items, they know that Santa doesn’t bring them electronics or elaborate gifts.

One, Teddy and Maizie both have birthdays fairly close to Christmas (November and December).

Two, because of what I do, they get a lot of toys sent to them anyway.

And three, they know that Santa needs to make sure that he gets gifts to the less fortunate kids before them.

Because of reason number three, my kids know that Santa won’t bring them electronics or anything expensive. If they get something like that (tablet, game system) it will be from us.

We have done this for several years and they love it.

When we go see Santa and he asks what they want for Christmas, they can tell him without hesitation.

This way everyone can have a Merry Christmas.

How do you handle super long Christmas lists?

Stella Built a House with Arckit

If you have a young builder on your list or a budding architect, then I have a toy for you.

I was sent Arckit GO Colors to review. It was nominated for Best Construction Toy of the Year by the Toy Industry Association.

Arckit Go

What is it? It’s a creative, free form model making system that opens the world of architecture to everyone.It’s a fun way to learn design skills using large floor plates and easy “click and connect” components make this perfect for budding architects.

Well, it was really for Stella, she loves to build. She couldn’t wait, she loves to have houses for her small toys.

When she opened it the first thing she was thrilled about was that all the pieces came in a big ziptop bag, she didn’t have to worry about them getting lost. (Great thinking in the packaging department.)

Kraus House Mom

The instructions are all illustrated, step by step.

I’m not going to lie, she got stuck on some parts. That was because she wasn’t paying close enough attention to which pieces she was using.

Once she realized she was using the wrong piece (a four block instead of a three block) she was good to go. She had the house together in less than an hour.

There are interactive directions on the website (which I suggested she look at) but she wanted nothing to do with it. She was going to figure it out on her own.

It is kind of a challenge to get the ceiling for the first floor on, it takes patience, but she got it done.

Kraus House Mom

She was thrilled to have a new house for her room.

Kraus House Mom

The age suggestion is 10+ and Stella is 8, if it can be built, she’ll get it done.

Stella says she wants a to build an entire neighborhood.

Now, do you have a builder on your list?

There is a sale going on now. You could save up to 30% off the various kits.
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I was given an Arckit Go Colors to facilitate this review, but all opinions are completely my own.

The Sisters Go to New York City

Over the summer my sister and I went to New York City. We go every year.

As usual we had a list of things we wanted to do.

Kraus House Mom


Some were achieved, and one was not!

The list was short this year.

We wanted to…

  • Go to Dylan’s Candy Bar (of course)
  • Go to the top of a building
  • Get a cupcake from the Sprinkle’s ATM
  • Go to Minus 5 Bar
  • Go to Central Park

We went to Dylan’s because I have three kids and all hell would break loose if I came home and didn’t have candy for them. Not to mention that I love that store.

Kraus House Mom

We were trying to decide between the Freedom Tower and Top of the Rock. We ended up going to Top of the Rock because it’s closer to Dylan’s and Central Park and deep down, we’re kind of lazy. The only problem was that it was SO humid that we couldn’t see as far as we would have liked.

Kraus House Mom

We went to the Minus 5 Bar, in sandals and dresses. We had been at an event and there were quite a bit of drinks already consumed before we even got here, I won’t mention what number beverages those two were of the day. One of us spilled her drink as she was picking it up, the bartender was a great guy, good thing it wasn’t crowded. That place is so cool, I wish I could have brought in my camera.

Kraus House Mom

We went INTO Central Park, after we were accosted by several vendors trying to get us to ride in their bike thingy. Every single one we walked past jumped in front of us to ask if we wanted a ride, not if it’s $200. Since is was so hot, we did a quick loop and were done. We saw a childhood friend while we were there, we didn’t say Hi.

Kraus House Mom

Kraus House Mom

Now we get to the Sprinkle’s Cupcake ATM saga. I’ve been trying to get one out of that machine for over 3 years. How do you think it went this time?

Kraus House Mom

We also got to do a some other things.

We saw the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island while on a boat tour.

Kraus House Mom

Kraus House Mom

We went on The Ride. It’s very entertaining, the best part is watching the people around the performers. They look around trying to figure out what’s going on, it’s great.

Kraus House Mom

We made a homeless lady cry hysterically when we gave her our dinner.

I finally found the LOVE sculpture.

Kraus House Mom

We got to see pigeons flying around Penn Station, I didn’t even know they stayed up that late, but it is New York City.

Kraus House Mom

We had a great few days, despite the ridiculous heat.

Until next time…

Designing with Gemmies

Kraus House Mom

We were sent the Gemmies Design Studio and some Gemmies Activity Packs to review and if there’s anything that Stella loves, it’s a crafty kit.

She was so excited when this arrived. She immediately opened one of the smaller activity packs and went to work.

We opened the Design Studio Create Your Own Kit and it was magnificent. There is storage for all the beads and elastics. Then to top it off, there’s a light up display area where you can place your finished designs.

Kraus House Mom

The kits come with template cards for specific designs. We started to make the ice cream cone. I’m not going to lie, this is where frustration set in…for both of us.

The elastics and beads are easy to maneuver at first, but connecting them takes some finesse.

At times the directions are tricky to follow, but manipulating the beads to match the card helps.

The hardest part was at the end, trying to connect the ends together. She couldn’t get them to connect without other beads falling off, sending her into a mini fit.

We tried another design and she ran into the same problem.

Since the name is “Design Your Own” she decided to start making her own designs.

Kraus House Mom

Within fifteen minutes she made not one, but two bracelets for her and her sister and another for her doll.

Kraus House MomKraus House Mom

She is determined to make the designs that are on the templates and I am sure she will succeed.

Did we like Gemmies? Absolutely!

This is fantastic for anyone that wants to create and sparkle.

You can check Stella out here…


Disclosure: I received these products in order to facilitate this review, all opinions are strictly my own.

I Was Tricked Into a Yoga Class

Anyone who knows me, knows why yoga is not a possibility for me.

Maizie and Stella like yoga, me...not so much
Maizie and Stella like yoga, me…not so much

I went to the gym this morning, after studying the schedule very carefully (I’m known for reading it wrong). At 10:30am a Pilates Mat class was scheduled, Pilates being one of my favorites coupled with the fact I haven’t been to the gym in 5 days catapulted me out of the house in a hurry.

I made it by the skin of my teeth, no time to stop at the locker room…nothing.

I walk in, the lights are already out (why they turn the lights out is a mystery to me, you can’t see what the instructor is doing) but I walked in right behind another lady and it was technically 10:29am, I wasn’t late.

I get an extra mat, lay my mat on top, remove my footwear and get into position. The lady who walked in right as I did asked the instructor “Is this Pilates or yoga? Because I know you teach yoga.” The instructor replied that it was going to be, “Pilates with some yoga poses.”


The class starts out a little slower than a Pilates class, so I’m thinking (hoping) it will pick up soon.

Every move we do she wants us to hold for 3 deep breaths. I don’t know what kind of free diving breathing techniques they use in yoga, but I don’t use them in my everyday life, so her 3 deep breaths were equivalent to about 6 or 7 of mine.

I didn’t have a problem getting into and holding the poses, which surprised me, but having the attention span of a 2 year old my mind kept wandering and I would lean and/or fall over.

When I go to the gym I like to break a sweat, I don’t go there to relax. If I wanted to relax, I’d go to the beach or go get my nails done.

For the entire hour, I did not sweat once, I did not feel the “burn” and I felt like I wasted my time, I was tricked.

Needless to say, today’s class felt like an epic fail to me. And top it off; I left class with a banging headache.

If you enjoy yoga, God bless you, it’s is definitely not for me.

Stella’s Soccer Day

Well after weeks of asking, Saturday was the first day of soccer for Stella.

She had been saying how she needed money (especially after the Tooth Fairy visited Maizie) and she NEEDED some dollars because her piggy bank was feeling light.

You see, my dad gives her a dollar for every goal she scores or if she makes a good move, this is her motivation.

She’s not just in it for the money, she laughs the entire time she’s out there; unless this one particular kid is in her way (she just doesn’t like him).

Frankly I think she likes the attention, there are six people cheering her on.

Saturday morning, she got up and couldn’t wait to get dressed.

I pull her together and then it’s the dilemma of what hairstyle am I going to wear?

Should I wear one ponytail, two ponytails or braids, every week it’s a challenge (she has even had me redo her hair because she didn’t like a style). She went with braids.

As I was getting ready I could hear her talking to Maizie and Teddy. She was telling them what they had to yell while she was playing. She wanted them to yell, “Go, go Stelly! Kick that ball!” I then heard Teddy inform her that he was not going to be yelling that (He did).

She takes this seriously.

We get there, sort through the chaos, and then she finally picks a field (she was dying to start kicking her ball) and she starts practicing.

She kept kicking the ball into the empty goal, I think she thought they were going to count toward her grand haul (they didn’t).

I put her shirt on her and it’s like she’s playing in a dress, she doesn’t care; she got a game to play.


She ended her day with a total of two dollars, a pink frosted doughnut and a Gatorade; she was quite satisfied.

Are You Ready to #ShareYourCare?

We all know who the Care Bears are. Well, On September 9th they want you to #ShareYourCare.

share your care

How can I share my care?

It’s so easy, You are probably doing every day without even knowing it. We want you to spread some loving, caring, sharing, friendship, acceptance, happiness and fun.

See, I know I try my best to do it all the time, but I will make an extra effort on September 9th.

If you have kid’s, I came up with 5 simple things they can do in school.

  1. Be a friend to everyone
  2. Don’t let anyone play alone
  3. Immediately go up and introduce yourself to a new student
  4. Help someone if they are having trouble with something
  5. Stand up for anyone and everyone if you see or hear something you think is wrong…DO SOMETHING!!

You don’t have to be everyone’s best friend, but be a friend to everyone. You never know, you may be the only person that is nice to that person.

Never let anyone play alone, if you see someone by themselves, invite them to play with you. If they don’t want to, that’s okay, they know you offered and may accept next time.

A new student knows NO ONE, go up to them and say, “Hi my name is …” Even if you don’t end up being good friends with that person, you made an effort to make them feel better.

If you see someone having trouble with something, their computer won’t work, they dropped their stuff, they can’t figure something out, ask if they need some help. It may only take you a few minutes, but they might remember it for a long time.

Never let anyone feel bad, about anything, EVER! If you hear someone saying something mean, tell them to stop. If you see someone being mean, do the same thing, if you need to, get an adult.

If you want to know more about #ShareYourCare Day click HERE

I hope every one has a beary great day!

Flipping for Triple Flip

I received some clothes from Triple Flip for my girls to review and let me tell you, they are in love.

Have you noticed girls clothes lately?

Especially for tweens, the choices are less than appealing. They are either geared toward little girls or for budding floozies. My girls are neither.

This is when, unfortunately, many girls start to feel self-conscious about what they wear.

One of my daughters is very tall and very slim. Oh yea, and she refuses to wear jeans. So many times when she gets leggings, the are too short. Not anymore.

My youngest is always moving, CONSTANTLY! Not to mention, she a bit of a fashionista. She’s covered.

How do you feel about a company that’s mission is to encourage body confidence and a healthy self-image?

If you want this for your daughter, then you need to check out Triple Flip. They are Canada’s best-selling brand of tween activewear and accessories. Best of all, they’re available in the US.

The fit of Triple Flip clothes isn’t like ordinary styles. They’re shaped differently, to flatter all girls.

Let me tell you both of my girls are in love with Triple Flip.

Maizie received a pair of Accelerate Leggings and a Valley Tee.

Triple Flip
She even wants to sleep in them

It finally cooled down enough here to wear leggings and I don’t thing I will ever get them off of her. They are so soft it is insane. She has told me no less than seven times how great and comfortable her leggings are. She has also worn her Valley Tee constantly as well.
Stella received a pair of Full Force Legging and a Kira Tee. She loves how easy it is for her to do cartwheels in her super soft leggings. She has worn her Kira Tee a few times, she likes how it “goes out on the sides” (the fit is more a-line than a regular t-shirt).

Triple Flip
They move with her

We spend A LOT of time a sporting events, sitting around watching and waiting for games and these are the perfect combination of comfort and style.

I see several more Triple Flip purchases in my future.

Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

It’s the First Day of School

This is it, the day I’ve been waiting for since the end of July…

The first day of school!

Kraus House Mom
Our yearly ambitions

Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, but too much time together and they are at each other’s throats.

But today I am free from the arguing for at least six hours a day.

Stella is thrilled to be going back. She helped me sort out the mountain of school supplies and put them in the appropriate backpack.

Teddy can’t wait to see his friends and see which of his lady friends are in his class.

Maizie doesn’t want anything to do with going. She’s never been a fan.

Stella planned her outfit, then changed her mind. Decided on something else, then went back to her original plan. This year has a lot of animals involved.

Teddy didn’t get a say. I chose his outfit. He wanted to wear his new sneakers (size men’s 10 ½) but Stella convinced him that even if he had gym it didn’t matter because it was the first day.

Maizie had trouble deciding. Was she going to wear the dress she got? Not if she couldn’t wear a specific pair of sneakers. She opted for a pair of shorts and a new shirt.

This morning I ironed everyone’s clothes so they didn’t look like skeevortizes. Teddy was a bit shocked that he ended up looking so dapper (like I would steer him wrong).

They put their pre-packed lunches into their backpacks (I was kind enough to myself to do it last night) and once teeth were brushed, we were ready to walk the two blocks to school.

Teddy and Stella were happy as clams.

Maizie, for someone that wasn’t thrilled about going, she walked awfully fast to get there.

Soon I will find out if they had a great day and hopefully a great year.