5 Things To Do BEFORE Using Silhouette Sketch Pens

Recently, I’ve grown a newfound love again for my Silhouette Cameo. With all the amazing upgraded options they offer now and the ease of use in the software and newer machines, I couldn’t not divulge in the awesomeness while planning Kenedy’s fourth birthday which is, uhhh right around the corner!

One of my favorite things to use with my Silhouette Cameo is the Silhouette Sketch Pen Kit. Address envelopes, create coloring pages, wall art, and more with the touch of a button!

If I’m honestly speaking, the idea of using sketch pens in my machine really intimidated me for the longest time but, I couldn’t have been more wrong! It took forever for me to finally make the leap and just do it but, here I am *almost* a sketch pen pro sharing with you the 5 things I wish I had known before popping the pens into my machine!


1. Check your new ink

Like any brand new pen, you need to give each of your pens a good roll before locking it into the cartridge of your machine. I made the mistake of not doing this and after several attempts finally realized that because the pens are just that: pens…not markers, they need to be tested first! Roll each pen along a piece of paper and then voila! Your pen is ready to go!


2. Double, Triple check your cartridge placement

If you’re using a new Silhouette Cameo with dual cartridges, make sure to check the cartridge each of your pens are in before sending your project to the machine! There’s a blue and red circle on your machine atop each cartridge and in the send tab of your software. Make sure to double and triple check your marker colors and software before sending!


3. Change your settings

Before officially sending your project to the machine, make sure to change your settings from “cut” to “sketch!” You can easily do this in the drop down coordinating with the “Action” and “Tool” selections.

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4. Reverse if need be

Reverse your project in Design before sending your project through when using vellum or a clear paper. Also, be careful of smearing with this paper, maybe stick to sharpies in a pen holder for this one!

5. Use the cut and sketch option together

Have a machine with dual cartridges? Make sure to put that to use! Save time and send your blade to cut immediately following your sketch!

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Well, there you go you crafty little thing you! Happy sketching + cutting!

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Give Your Kids The Greatest Summer Of All Time In Clearwater!

I know what you’re thinking, “SUMMER of all time in Clearwater?! We’re only right smack in the middle of Spring Break!” but, Summer will be here in no time and you’ll be looking for anything to get the littles out of the house while wearing down all of their batteries!

So, to help you cross one more thing off your long, daunting, never-ending parental to-do list, I’m giving you 3 totally awesome bucket list ideas to help give your kids the Summer of all time in Clearwater!

For all my Florida parents who follow along and even those just coming to our beautiful Sunshine State to visit for the summer, Clearwater is a must as your Summer vacay spot this year! Clearwater is home to one of our most beautiful beaches but, too much fun in the sun can get exhausting quick and a break from the rays does us all good. So, these bucket list ideas are sure to keep the fun rolling without burning you and the littles to a crisp while continuing to strengthen their brains!

Before adding these awesome spots to your summer bucket list, check out what Barbara over at Edutopia has to say about Summer Learning Loss! I like to encourage our boys to always do something fun but, stimulating for their brain…Something that will continue on the knowledge after the school year has ended!

1. Snapology

First on the list is Snapology! They just opened a brand new franchise in Clearwater and it will get your kids’ minds working as they play! Let them free to tinker, build, and experiment!  Snapology’s mobile service makes the fun super easy and they offer AMAZING summer camp opportunities! Need a break to get grocery shopping done or just want to lay on the beach solo?! Maybe a camp class is more up your alley! Enroll them in one of the totally rockin’ Summer programs offered at the Clearwater location!

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Your littles are guaranteed to leave wanting more so, once you’ve arrived home from your visit, check out more about Snapology online to stay up to date on classes, programs, and more! Better yet, live the Snapology way and open a franchise of your own! Check out more info on Snapology in my previous post HERE!

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2. Heritage Village

Once you’ve gotten their brain gears turning over at Snapology, go back in time at Heritage Village Museum. Wander around the grounds to get a feel of life back in the early 1900’s. Take in the school house, sugar mill, water tower, and over 15 other historic buildings! While you’re there, think of some fun questions to ask them as you explore! (i.e. “What do you think that does?”, “What would you say this cost back in the old days?”, “How do you think life has changed since this was used?”, etc.)

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3. Whimzeyhouse

Ready to zoom forward in time after your visit at the Heritage Village Museum? Slap on a yin-yang necklace with some bell bottoms and take the littles to see the coolest bowling ball collection you’ll ever lay eyes on! Todd and Kiaralinda Ramquist are owners of the super rad bowling balls and have an abundant collection of other quirky, unique gifts, art, and items on display! You’re guaranteed to leave here inspired!

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Well, there it is! Can you tell we like to carry on the whole “learning vibe” even after the school year has ended and we’re enjoying the summer off!? Take it from Morgan and David over at Brookings: Summer learning loss can significantly change the way a child starts their following school year! We don’t want that now do we? So, add these spots onto your list and keep that craving for knowledge strong!

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What’s one of your favorite spots to continue education while having summer fun?


Comment below to let us know!

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 Marvel LIVE! Age of Heroes | Save on tickets!

I am super lucky to be a Feld Entertainment Blogger Ambassador! In exchange for sharing my love and thoughts about their super fun awesomeness, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and other exclusive opportunities! Without their generosity, I would not be able to provide my readers with such fun giveaways and/or discount codes like this one!

The time has come…We’re all in full fledged holiday shopping mode and Christmas is right around the corner! Save yourself from the hustle and bustle of downtown traffic to find stocking stuffers for your favorite little heroes by purchasing tickets to see Marvel LIVE! Age of Heroes! Add a few capes and accessories to their stocking with these SUPER awesome tickets, and you’ve got yourself a gift even Santa would love!

This action-packed show for kids of all ages plays Amway Center in Orlando for SEVEN totally rad performances January 12-15, 2018 and features The Avengers, Spider Man, and our personal favorite: The Guardians of the Galaxy! With tickets starting at just $15, it’s an affordable and fun event for us mamas to gift our littles this holiday season!

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Save on tickets by using code: MOM20 at checkout when purchasing online and save 20%! What a SUPER awesome gift idea, #amiright? *Not valid on VIP seating. Hurry for the best available seats! Code expires January 11, 2018!

Want more info about Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes?!

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Check out this quick excerpt from Feld Entertainment about our FAVORITE live show!

“Marvel fans, assemble for this live, legendary battle to defend the universe from evil. The Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man join forces with Doctor Strange, master of the mystic arts, in a race against time to recover the Wand of Watoomb before it falls into Loki’s hands in this all-new, spectacular arena stunt show. Produced by Feld Entertainment, Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes is performing at Amway Center from January 12-15, 2018 for seven performances. Tickets are on sale now. Witness cutting-edge special effects, aerial maneuvers, pyrotechnics, martial arts, motorcycle stunts and vast 3D video projection mapping in this completely new thrilling adventure. Fans of all ages will be immersed in the Marvel Universe and experience it all with their family…LIVE!”

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Marvel Live! Age of Heroes

Get the deets:

WHERE: Amway Center | 400 W Church St #200 | Orlando, FL 32801



Tickets available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com | Via Phone at 800-854-2196 | Box Office at Amway Center, Orlando.

Make sure to share your experience using: #MarvelUniverseLIVE @MarvelOnTour @AmwayCenter #AmwayCenter!


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Non-Candy Halloween Treat Bags! + FREE Printable!

Col’s school is hosting a Halloween Carnival this year so, we thought it would be super fun to send him in on carnival day with some special treats for his friends!

For our treat bags, I grabbed a pack of 24 Assorted Play Doh Cans, these adorable cookie cutters, and mini raisin boxes!

To finish off your treat bags, grab your FREE Halloween Tag printable HERE: Halloween Treat Tags 2017!

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How to Have a Natural Labor + Delivery in the Hospital!

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We’re almost 8 weeks home with our new bubba and I haven’t quite had the will to put him down long enough to make time to share his birth story but, in the short time I have while he’s peacefully resting, I would like to give you all the tools to have a wonderful natural birthing experience in the hospital like I did!

Being that this was my third pregnancy, my decision was already made when we were ready to start trying to get pregnant-I would go au natural again during labor and delivery and strive for the most natural and undisturbed experience as possible. To make it easy, I’ve made a list of things that I truly feel were the best tools to have when planning for a natural birth in a hospital!



Natural Birth Must Haves!

Is a natural birth your birth plan? You can TOTALLY do it mama! With this list of MUST HAVES for a natural birth from a mama who’s done it not once but, twice, I am confident that you can achieve a beautiful birthing process without meds like I did!

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  1. Essential Oils: Consult your midwife prior to using.*
    • Clary Sage Oil-Help induce labor naturally and enhance contractions once labor has started. Use topically with a carrier or in a diffuser. Not to be used prior to labor*
    • Peppermint-Help reduce nausea + headaches. Not to be used after birth, can reduce milk supply* 
    • Helichrysum-Supports elasticity of the perineal area. Mix it with a little carrier oil and apply to perineal or use in a compress.
    • Myrrh-Use with a carrier oil and rub it on the lower abdomen with clary sage oil to bring on contractions.
    • Lavender-Promotes relaxation and eases muscle tension.
  2. Cold Wash Cloths: These will be a God send when a contraction comes along and you’re beginning to sweat out of every pore on your body. Make sure your partner knows to keep them cold and ready for each contraction!
  3. Personal Fan: This is one that I didn’t have with my first or second birthing experiences but, it sure did make a difference with my third! Not only does it keep me cool where I want to be cool but, I placed mine in front of our essential oil diffuser to blow the steam right into my face. A big whiff of Clary Sage Oil diffusing and blowing from the fan would send me into a long, deep, really beneficial contraction! THIS ONE is my favorite!
  4. Birth Support: Make sure to have a really solid team behind you. If a nurse comes in offering medication, or something that doesn’t sound like part of your birth plan, you’ll need a backbone to do the talking for you, one who supports your plan. Make sure they know your practices and preferences before entering the hospital. Keep everyone updated on the research you’ve done and signals for your “breaking point” should you have one.
  5. Evening Primrose Oil: Consult your midwife prior to using. Recommended at 38 weeks or after through vaginal insertion or oral consumption.* This stuff is wondrous! Evening primrose oil helps the cervix to soften and thin out (efface). Studies suggest that due to linolenic acid found in EPO, it may trigger a prostaglandin response in the body to help shorten labor.
  6. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: Not to be mistaken for raspberry tea.* Raspberry leaf tones the muscles of your uterus so they work more efficiently. Drink 2 or more cups a day starting at 36 weeks or after. Can also be used during labor for hydration.
  7. Yoga + Meditation: Whether you’re having a natural or medicated birth, yoga and meditation are great tools to have all the way through your pregnancy! Help your mind and body prepare for your baby by practicing meditation every evening in a luke warm bath and try 10-15 minutes of pregnancy yoga every morning to help ease aches and pains!
  8. These Apps:
  9. Dates: A study conducted in 2011 and published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that the consumption of date fruit in the last 4 weeks before labour significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour, and produced a more favorable, but non-significant, delivery outcome. My favorite are the fresh dates from The Fresh Market! Start consuming 6 per day, every day starting at 36 weeks for best results.
  10. Affirmations: Birth affirmations are great when paired with meditation for removing stress and fear when another contraction comes along or to keep your body relaxed while pushing during the third stage. Along with affirmations, I like to envision my body acting as a rose or flower opening up for my baby to make his way out. This Pin Board rocks and has a ton of affirmations to choose from!
  11. Several Coping Options: Whether it’s a warm tub, birthing ball, Rebozo Shawl, pacifier for biting down, you name it-have it! Try practicing Belly Dancing for Labor, Hypnobirthing, and Breathing Techniques.


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10 Things To Do Before Your Disney On Ice Experience! + A GIVEAWAY!

This post contains affiliate links which help me fund the free + fun posts on thehappeninghousewife.com! Find a full disclosure on the sidebar of my blog.


Get your littles ready for a guaranteed spectacular-fun time at Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream with these 10 tips!

Tip #1. Purchase + pick up your tickets in advance. (Make sure to use a discount code on tickets! )

Go the week of and hit up the box office at your show’s arena to save time and skip lines by picking up your tickets in advance! Save 20% off select seats with code SAVE20. Not valid on premium VIP seating. Get yours now for the best available seats! Code expires September 7, 2017.

Tip #2. Scout parking areas.

While you’re picking up your tickets in advance, ask the box office attendant or scout out the best parking areas for the night of your show! Make sure to arrive early to find the best parking!

Tip #3. Eat beforehand.

No-one likes to spend outrageous prices on snacks from concession so, take the family out for a nice meal before you head to the arena to keep from rumbling bellies and empty wallet syndrome!

Tip #4. Be prepared with your children’s necessities.

Does your little have sensitive hearing? Pack headphones.

The show falls 30 minutes after bedtime? Put a lovie or small blanket in your bag.

Pack for your family’s needs and anticipate worst case scenarios! (Diaper blow outs, thirsty babes, etc.)

Tip #5. Dress for the event.

TONS of kids dress up for the big show! To make sure your little fits right in, make sure to dress them in their favorite Disney tee or costume!

Need some ideas?

Girls Costumes







Boys Costumes


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Tip #6. Locate bathrooms on your seat level.

Make sure to locate the nearest bathroom to your seat and make a stop there before finding your spot for the show!

Tip #7. Set behavior expectations.

Let your kids know prior to walking into the arena what is expected of them. (i.e. no kicking chairs, keep hands to yourself, staying in their seat unless they’re on mom or dad’s lap, try use the bathroom before + after the show and during intermission, spending limit on souvenirs, etc.)

Tip #8. Make a plan for souvenirs.

If you plan on letting your littles choose a souvenir before or after the show, prepare them with a spending limit or budget. The prices can get out of hand at times and you don’t want to be walking back to the car after your show with $150 in light up wands and cotton candy.

Tip #9. Pack binoculars.

No matter how near or far your seat is, binoculars always add an extra touch of fun to your experience! Grab a pair of these super cute kid-friendly ones for each little to save yourself a mid-show battle!

Tip #10. Pack light + prepare for a security check.

Your show is only a couple hours long so, make sure to only pack the necessities and be prepared for a security check when you arrive!

Want to win tickets to the Orlando show?!

Head HERE to enter!




WIN a Family 4 Pack to DISNEY ON ICE Orlando!

I am super lucky to be a Feld Entertainment Blogger Ambassador! In exchange for sharing my love and thoughts about their super fun awesomeness, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and other exclusive opportunities! Without their generosity, I would not be able to provide my readers with such fun giveaways like this one!

We’re SO excited that Disney on Ice presented by Feld Entertainment will be back in Orlando this September at the Amway Center! The boys can’t wait to get out and do something fun after this long summer spent stuck at home with a very pregnant mama!

To celebrate our excitement and share in all the things we love about Disney on Ice, we’re giving one lucky fam a pack of 4 tickets to enjoy the show!

Want even more exciting news?! Moana, Maui, and their gnarly friends will be ditching the waves to hit the ice for the first time at this year’s performances! K already has his Maui ponytail holder picked out with a side of “you’re welcomes” and temporary tats!

Along with the crew from Moana, you’ll see Beauty, Beast, Anna, Elsa, Cinderella, Flynn Ryder, and my personal favorite-Rapunzel, as they hit the icy stage for a spectacular show!

Enter to win + get more info below!

Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream.

Get the deets:

WHERE: Amway Center | 400 W Church St #200 | Orlando, FL 32801

Sep 8, 2017 Fri 7:30 PM
Sep 9, 2017 Sat 11:00 AM
Sep 9, 2017 Sat 3:00 PM
Sep 9, 2017 Sat 7:00 PM
Sep 10, 2017 Sun 1:00 PM
Sep 10, 2017 Sun 5:00 PM
(*GIVEAWAY TICKETS ONLY AVAILABLE FOR: Friday, Sept. 8 at 7:30pm OR Saturday, Sept. 9 at 11:00am)

Tickets available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com | Via Phone at 800-854-2196 | Box Office at Amway Center, Orlando.

Make sure to share your experience using: #DisneyOnIce #DareToDream @DisneyOnIce @AmwayCenter #AmwayCenter

Save 20% off select seats with code SAVE20. Not valid on premium VIP seating. Get yours now for the best available seats! Code expires September 7, 2017.


Enter to Win!

Giveaway begins 12:00am August 15, 2017 + ends 12am August 24, 2017. Winner will be selected at random. The winner will be notified on August 24, 2017 of their winnings and must promptly reply with 24 hours to confirm, claim, and select their showtime. Tickets must be picked up at the Amway Center Box Office starting Thursday, September 7 during regular Box Office hours (Monday through Friday | 9am to 6pm and three (3) hours prior to any event). Please arrive to pick up your tickets the day of, no later than 30 minutes before show time. Paid parking is available in the nearby GEICO garage.




Back to School Photos + FREE Yearly Printable!

This post contains affiliate links which help me fund the free + fun posts on the blog and sometimes, Friday night pizza nights!

Hey mamas!

Get ready to give your friends and fam the cutest Back to School themed photos from your little!

All you’ll need is:

Once you print your free printable sheet (I like to have mine done on minimum 65lb. card stock with a laser printer from a local print spot), stick it in your frame!

With a dry erase marker, write in your child’s grade on the glass of your frame above the line on the printable sheet!

Put your little out on the sidewalk in their favorite Back to School gear and snap away!


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This post contains affiliate links which help me fund the free + fun posts on thehappeninghousewife.com! Find a full disclosure on the sidebar of my blog.

10 Things No-one Tells You About That Are Essential in Your Hospital Bag, For a Better Post-Partum Stay!

This post contains affiliate links which help me fund the free + fun posts on the blog and sometimes, Friday night pizza nights!

We’ve all been there: stalking Pinterest for the best, most secretive must-haves for your hospital bag, only to find the same results each time you scroll down. You then turn to rely on friends, family,  or New-Mom Facebook groups for answers. Well, I’m here to save you from middle of the night Pinterest scrolling and sanctimommies of the Facebook world, with this single post! As a mom of 2 with a third arriving any day now, I’ve had my fair share of experience with hospital bag packing!

Congratulations mama + get ready for the best ride of your life!

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1. Pads but, not just any pads, THESE pads:

During the first 12-24 hours you’ll bleed ALOT, like more than I’m sure you’re actually picturing in your mind right now so, the adult diaper style pads the hospital supplies you with are great during that time but, afterwards when you’re not bleeding from what feels like your vagina to your butt, you might want something a little more comfortable. After two babies and a third just days away, I’ve had my fair share of pad trial and error and THESE are by far the best for medium to heavy bleeding!

2. Boy Short Underwear like these: MAMIA Women’s Seamless Stretch Boy Shorts Panties (Pack of 6)

If this is your first pregnancy, then you haven’t yet experienced the joy of mesh undies after birth. They’re great, really, if you don’t plan on moving from where you’re sitting at any time to feel a gush leak out one side. Boy shorts are AWESOME, they keep your pad in place, tightly confined to its appropriate and carefully adjusted area, and you won’t feel awkward when a nurse comes in while sitting in nothing but boy shorts and a nursing bra versus mesh undies and a pad sticking out on the side!

3. An actually COMFORTABLE nursing bra (or several). This one is my FAVE: A Pea in the Pod Full Coverage Nursing Sleep Bra

With my first, I didn’t know the absolute need for a nursing bra. Things changed when round two came. I promise you won’t regret investing in just a couple of comfortable, easy to manage nursing bras. The Pea in the Pod Nursing Sleep Bras are my personal favorite. They’re ultra soft, light weight, pull down easily, and don’t have weird clips or straps. They’re soft enough and without lining that you’ll have no worries cuddling your new babe while wearing it or sleeping in between feeding sessions.

4. A legit heating pad
You won’t regret this one. Your hospital probably has heating pads available, SOMETIMES, as long as there’s one not in use by other new moms. Even so, the heating pads they offer are okay but, ESPECIALLY if you’re on baby number 2 or after, you’ll likely want a heating pad that gets hot and stays hot. Of course not to be used when cuddling baby or feeding but, when they’re sleeping or away at the nursery, you’ll want some warm relief. The Sunbeam Heating Pad is top rated and for good reason. It’s already packed in my hospital bag and is off limits to anyone in our home until after baby is here and mama fully recovers.

5. House shoes. Not slippers, Not socks

Okay, I’m talking: easy to slide on, rubber bottoms, that your grandmother used to wear when she cleaned house or got ready in the morning. Socks, ewe unless they’re keeping your feet warm in the hospital bed. Slippers, just the same. Someone will likely come in and mop and clean your room once or twice during your stay but, if you decide to walk around the baby floor or down to get fresh air in the hospital courtyard. You’ll want the rubber bottoms.

6. Something to keep you occupied after baby arrives

There are only so many channels on the hospital’s cable network and only so many Law and Order SVU episodes you can watch before wanting to pull your hair out. Bring a book, magazines, cards, a board game for you and hubby, or something else you enjoy doing in a tiny, quiet space. *Also, snacks that can be eaten in between meals.

7. Something to help you fall asleep…
Fast! Practice meditating, bring Lavender Essential Oil and your Diffuser, your favorite pillow, anything. You’ll need it. Once things become quiet and everyone leaves you alone with your new baby for the first time since he/she has made their arrival, the exhaustion and tiredness will quickly set in and so will baby’s next feeding time or diaper change. The adrenalin will settle and your body will soon start to remind itself that it needs rest after all the work you put in for however many hours. Your team of nurses will visit periodically to make sure you’re awake and feeding your baby when it’s time, they’ll help with diaper changes and charting urine and bowel movements if they’re due, and anything else you or baby may need. So, take the time to rest when baby allows.

8. A short, light-weight robe

Don’t get something that will drag on the floor. A nice, light weight, knee-length robe will do the trick! One like THIS ONE (which I own and love) will make feedings easier without making baby hot and visits from friends and family more comfortable. Not to mention, your hospital bed is only so big, there’s no room for all the extra fabric of a long, heavy, terry cloth or fleece robe!

9. Your own towel

Have you ever stayed in a hotel with exceptional service but, hop out of the shower to a towel that only wraps halfway around your body? Well, that’s what you’ll get if you don’t bring your own. You’ll thank me for this one after your first shower post baby.

10. DISPOSABLE Breast Pads

If you produce a pretty fair amount of milk or more, you’re sure to leak…A LOT. You’ll be feeding your baby often but, some mamas are extra gifted when it comes to producing milk and have quite a bit of leakage in between feedings. Try the reusable ones at home if you desire but, during your hospital stay, the disposables will be so much easier and more convenient!

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This post contains affiliate links which help me fund the free + fun posts on thehappeninghousewife.com! Find a full disclosure on the sidebar of my blog.