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Grab This Week’s Free Kindle eBooks on Amazon

Looking for kitchen inspiration or a new book to read this weekend? Check out my weekly round-up of free Amazon Kindle ebooks! Check back at the end of each week for a new list. This handy list includes free fiction, nonfiction, kids books, and cookbooks!

free Amazon Kindle ebook round up

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn me a small commission on your purchase.*

If you don’t have a kindle, but have a computer, iPad, or smart phone, head on over to download a Free Kindle App. Or you could go here and buy a Kindle ! Make sure you check the prices as they change quickly on Amazon. While everything was free when I posted, it’s highly likely that they will change!

Grab This Week’s Free Amazon Kindle eBooks

free Amazon Kindle ebook round up

Free Fiction eBooks on Amazon

Home is Where the Heart Is

A Chronicle of Chaos

On the Run

Mysterious Hostage In Circle C

The Darkness Deepens

free Amazon Kindle ebook round up

Educational Free Non-Fiction eBooks

Clean House: 30 Minutes Guide

Minimalist Budget

12 Easy DIY Projects

All Natural Living

The Clutter Trap

free Amazon Kindle ebook round up

Free Delicious Cookbooks on Amazon

30 Minute Meals

120 Hot Chocolate Recipes

Real Food Recipes

Stir Fry Cookbook

Meal Prep

free Amazon Kindle ebook round up

Kids Books for your littles

Will of the Hill

Tovi the Penguin goes trick-or-treating

A Step and a Half to Success

My Wish: Darling Devotions for My Daughter

Little Ruby

I’d love to hear from you about this weekly free ebook post. What types of free ebooks do you most like? Is their a category I don’t cover but should? Please let me know how I can improve this post for you!

Many thanks to Shelly from Frugal Family Home for her help compiling this list of free amazon Kindle eBooks. 

This post contains affiliate links which means I may make a small percentage of the sale at NO additional cost to you. Please read my disclosure statement for more information.

Free Pumpkin Carving Patterns + Hotel Transylvania 3 Fun!

 Do you have Hotel Transylvania fans at your house? If so, you’ll want these free pumpkin carving patterns and more Hotel Transylvania 3 Halloween fun ideas! From a cute Mavis Hotel Transylvania Costume,  monster singalongs and even snack ideas, we’ve got you covered! Hotel Transylvania 3 releases on Oct 9, you’ll want to grab these fun resources to celebrate!Hotel Transylvania 3 Free Pumpkin Carving Patterns

I received free product to facilitate this post. All opinions are mine.

Free Pumpkin Carving Patterns + Hotel Transylvania 3 Fun!

Hotel Transylvania 3 is available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital October 9 and my youngest girl couldn’t be more excited. We don’t honestly watch movies in theaters that often, but we made a special trip to the fancy theater this summer to check out Hotel Transylvania 3. We even sat in the comfy seats and got snacks. Huge deal. For real. 😉

#hotelT3 Hotel Transylvania 3 coffin box from @jazwares

Since then, Sara has been begging for copy of the DVD to add it to our road trip and (this post contains affiliate linksfamily movie night DVD collection. So she was super pumped when a special package arrived at our house recently just full of Hotel Transylvania toys and her favorite, the Mavis Hotel Transylvania costume. If you have a Hotel Transylvania fan in your life, you have to grab this cute freebie and maybe a toy or two too. They’re super fun! Here’s everything you need for an awesome Halloween family night- Hotel Transylvania 3 style.

Free Pumpkin Carving Patterns Hotel Transylvania 3

Hotel Transylvania 3 Free Pumpkin Carving Patterns

Want to carve an Hotel Transylvania 3 inspired pumpkin? Then you need these free pumpkin carving patterns! Download them here and then carve all the fun characters including Mavis, Drac, Frank, Murray and more! Grab this Colossal Carving Kit and you’ll have super fun carved pumpkins in no time. If you don’t want to carve pumpkins, check out this post full of lots of fun ways to decorate pumpkins – no knives required.

Mavis Hotel Transylvania Costume

Cute Mavis Hotel Transylvania Costume for Girls

My daughter is so excited for this fun Mavis Hotel Transylvania costume. She put it on right away and won’t rest until get her flat black shoes to complete the ensemble. We are going to skip the Mavis wig, but I think that’s ok. I only hope that it’s not as brutally cold this year on Halloween as it sometimes is in Eastern Iowa.

Here’s quick makeup tutorial to help you complete the authentic Mavis look:

How about a Monster Singalong?

Head over to Youtube to find fun singalongs you Hotel Transylvania Fans will adore. Here’s one I think adequately sums up busy mom life.

Snack Ideas for your Hotel Transylvania 3 Family Movie Night

What movie night would be complete without popcorn and smoothies? If  told you that we sometimes have popcorn and smoothies for dinner on nights when I just can’t be bothered to cook, what would you think? Well, it’s true. Let’s keep it real folks, sometimes you have to do whatever it takes to feed the family, right?

If you need inspiration, just download the instructions for Drac’s Spooky Smoothie and then grab the kids together to make these fun straws! Pop some popcorn, throw in a few sour gummies, and dinner is served!

Hopefully these free resources will make your next family fun night extra special! Make sure to grab your copy of Hotel Transylvania 3 today, and if you carve one of the pumpkins, send me a picture or tag me on social media! I’d love to see it. 🙂

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How to Grow a Pumpkin Patch for Halloween Pumpkins

10 Amazing Pumpkin Patches to Visit in Iowa

Wilson’s Apple Orchard + 9 More Amazing Apple Orchards in Iowa

 With dozens of apple orchards in Iowa, thousands of Iowans will head to their favorite orchard for a day trip of apple picking, hayrides, games and treats. Here’s information about Wilson’s Apple Orchard in Iowa City and 9 more amazingly perfect apple orchards to visit. Which is your favorite?

Top 10 Apple Orchards in Iowa

Wilson’s Apple Orchard + 9 More Amazing Apple Orchards in Iowa

Wilson’s Apple Orchard – Iowa City

Iowa  enjoy using a line from the movie “Field of Dreams.” A baseball player’s ghost asks, “Is this heaven?” “No, it’s Iowa.” That line could easily describe the view at Iowa City’s Wilson’s Orchard. Set in a valley surrounded by forest, with the Rapid Creek running through, the scenery is breathtaking. So, the apples have to be the best tasting in Iowa, right? With 120 varieties of apples grown there, Wilson’s is confident you’ll find your perfect apple. Stop by the store and sample the apples ready for picking during your visit to help target your harvest. Then, grab a bag and head out for a day in nature, as you’ll hear birds chirping and maybe see an animal friend or two roaming about.

wilson's apple orchard + more apple orchards in iowa

Open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m. through the end of October, Wilson’s offers a unique hayride, starting with its specially-designed wagon, and including stories of alligators and more. While there is a charge for the wagon ride, you’ll get the fee back when you buy apples. Each ride is $5 per person, so you’ll receive a $5 credit when you buy apples, etc.

Appleberry Farm – Marshalltown

After more than three decades of running the farmstead, Bob and Donna Atha decided it was time to pass the harvest on to new owners. Dave and Kelly Mason are in their second year as the owners of Appleberry Farm in Marshalltown. With more than two dozen varieties of apples raised on the nearly 20-acre farm, Appleberry encourages visitors to pick their own or buy prepicked bags at the gift shop, in addition to fresh vegetables, jams and jellies. Families can enjoy a hayride around farm, and kids are encouraged to play in the sandbox, as well as farm games. Caramel apples, popcorn and other refreshments. The farm is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, except for Sunday, when the hours are noon-6 p.m.

Deal’s Orchard – Jefferson

Frank Deal planted his first apple tree in Greene County more than 100 years ago. Today, the historic Deal’s Orchard raises more than 25 varieties of apples on about 45 acres in central Iowa. From Sharon to Arkansas Black, visitors are encouraged to pick their own apples or buy pre-picked ones at the store through mid-October. Open daily (8 a.m.- 6p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends), the farm has a lot of activities for visitors at its Apple Acres. From a themed 5-acre corn maze to a giant jumping pillow, slides, duck races and apple slinger, your admission fee gets you access to a day’s worth of fun. Families can also enjoy a tractor-driven hayride around the farm.

Small’s Fruit Farm – Mondamin

With 33 acres overlooking the Missouri River, Small’s Fruit Farm in Mondamin welcomes visitors to pick their own apples or buy prepicked varieties in its store. What started with an apple purchase in 1894 led to the family’s first generation of apple farm owners. Now in its fifth generation, Small’s raises about 25 varieties of apples, in addition to strawberries, raspberries, pumpkins and other fruits and vegetables. Visitors are encouraged to try the apple cider. The orchard is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. daily through late October.

Gravert’s Apple Basket Orchard – Sabula

Located on a farm overlooking the Mississippi River along the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, Gravert’s Apple Basket Orchard in Sabula offers more than 20 varieties of apples through late October. From Snow to Braeburn, visitors have an opportunity to pick fresh, tasty apples through late October. The orchard’s store sells pre-picked apples, too. When you stop by, check out the pygmy goat, Jenny the donkey, peacocks and chickens. The general store with a 1930s kitchen, sells a variety of homemade jams and jellies, as well as handmade baskets. The orchard and store are open daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

pumpkin chucker at Appleberry Orchard in Donnellson Iowa

Appleberry Orchard – Donnellson

The first apple tree in Iowa was planted in 1852 at the Appleberry Orchard in Donnellson, making the farm the oldest working orchard in Iowa. Today, the farm in southeast Iowa attracts thousands of visitors each fall with its wagon ride to the orchard for u-pick apple weekends beginning in September and running through late October. Offering a dozen varieties, visitors can have fun finding the apples of their choice. In addition to apple (and even pumpkin) picking, visitors can spend a full day at the farm, visiting the petting zoo at the barn, built in 1882 and a nationally-recognized historic site. Kids of all ages can have fun feeding and petting goats, pheasants, chickens and rabbits, as well as a miniature donkey and pony.

Visitors can challenge themselves to find their way through the 10th anniversary Great Pumpkin corn maze. Or, maybe take in the pumpkin chucker, pig races, barrel train rides or an actual wagon ride. The farm has special rates during the week, as well as weekend prices, which can be found on the website. While you make a full day on the farm, grab lunch or dinner, as well as dessert at the concession area. The farm is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday through Oct. 21.

Ditmars Orchard – Council Bluffs

A trip to Ditmars Orchard in Council Bluffs is more than apple picking. The orchard hosts outdoor concerts during harvest season, featuring local musicians. Balloon launches are hosted on the grounds. But, when it comes to apple harvest, Ditmars rates as high as any orchard in Iowa. With six varieties that can be picked from the orchard to another half dozen available to be bought in the store, Ditmars has just about any apple to satisfy cravings. Its café is second to none with a menu featuring chicken wraps and nacho taters, as well as kids meals. Don’t forget to grab a dozen apple cider donuts or a pie. For adults, wine is also available for purchase. The orchard is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday (closed Monday) through late October.

While visiting Ditmars, you’re encouraged to take part in activities (additional fees/bundle package available), such as tractor-driven wagon rides and taking a walk through the corn maze. Kids can play in a corn box or on a tire mountain, in addition to other games.

LaDoga LaBranche Orchards – Bedford

History awaits visitors to LaDoga LaBranche Orchards in Bedford in southwest Iowa, about 2 hours south of Des Moines and 90 minutes southeast of Council Bluffs. In addition to picking apples from more than 100 trees, you can visit the Little Red Schoolhouse, a homage to the teachers who once educated children in one-room schools across the Midwest. The farm’s apple history dates back to the late 1800s, when the family’s patriarch homesteaded the land. The farm’s harvest would find its way aboard trains to Omaha and Chicago through the 1940s. The apple orchard eventually went away. Resurrected with new apple trees in the 1980s, today LaDoga LaBranche opens its gates to visitors Monday-Saturday (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) through mid-October. The farm has a variety of apples that can be picked, including MacIntosh and Jonathan.

Wills Family Orchard – Adel

Weekends were made for apple picking, or so it goes at Wills Family Orchard. About a 20-minute drive west of Des Moines in Adel, the family farm opens its farm to visitors during the Apple-Pumpkin Festival, every Saturday (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) and Sunday (noon-5 p.m.) through Oct. 21. Visitors can pick their own apples on weekends, based on weather. Currently planned for the first or second weekend in October, tell the cashier you want to pick your own delicious apples, prepay $25 for a 10-lbs. bag (you’ll be given a bag) and head out to the orchard to pick apples. Four acres of land are used to raise about a dozen varieties of organic apples, from Pristine to Gold Rush. In addition, the 27-year-old farm has five acres of pumpkins, as well as additional crops.

In addition to the u-pick ‘em, the Apple-Pumpkin Festival includes a 15-minute tractor-driven wagon ride around the farm, a ride that will make you question the farm’s proximity to the city. Wills Family Orchard offers visitors a chance to see goats and chickens at the Barnyard, take a hike through the one-acre corn maze, “swim” in a corn pool, paint gourds and play games, among other activities. Admission to the farm is free, but there are fees for some of the activities. Tickets are $7 per person for 3 and older. Children 2 and younger and free.

girl eating an apple at wilson's apple orchard iowa city

Apples on the Avenue – Nashua

Offering more than 20 varieties of apples that visitors can pick themselves from the orchard or buy prepicked bags of goodies, a visit to Apples on the Avenue in Nashua is more than just buying an apple. Families can hop aboard a horse-drawn wagon for a ride around the grounds. Pony rides are available for children. The orchard also offers a petting zoo, yard games and mini golf. Don’t forget to buy a caramel apple or two for the drive home. The North Iowa apple orchard, which has free admission, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday and 1-6 p.m. Sunday through Oct. 31.

With a great selection of apple orchards to visit, Iowa is THE place for apple-picking season. From beautiful views to fun attractions, you’re guaranteed to have a fun day trip to the farm this fall.

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Fall Planting Guide for Beautiful Spring Flowering Bulbs

Here is an easy guide on spring flowering bulbs to plant in fall, including how to plant tulips, crocus, daffodils, iris and more (even if you live in warm climates), a planting depth chart, and where to find and store flower bulbs. If you love spring flowers, you need this guide
Fall Planting Guide for Spring Flowering Bulbs

Fall Planting Guide for Beautiful Spring Flowering Bulbs

Love flowers? Make sure add spring flowering bulbs to plant in fall! It’s is an easy task – but timing is pretty important. For beautiful spring flowers, you must plant flower bulbs in the fall before it gets too cold and the ground freezes. If you miss the window of opportunity, you’ll have to wait until next year. So read on for your fall planting guide for beautiful spring flowers like tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinth, iris and more!

Where to find spring flowering bulbs to plant in the fall

I found lovely high quality spring flower bulbs at Costco that I’m super excited to plant! Find bulbs for spring flowers at your local hardware store, Walmart and even ALDI. Or, order beautiful heirloom flower bulbs to plant in the fall from many of the catalogs listed on this list of 11 Free Catalogs for the Organic Gardener. Flower bulbs are for sale everywhere at this time of year!  Just make sure to buy from a reputable seller as poor quality bulbs can make poor quality flowers.

When to plant flower bulbs 

October is normally the ideal time to plant spring flowering bulbs in my area of Eastern Iowa as cooler soil temperatures will discourage the bulbs from growing too soon.  I normally wait until mid October or even the beginning of November to plant bulbs, but as long as they’re in the ground before a hard frost, you can plant them anytime after your weather cools off. If you live in a warmer location, read this post from Longfield Gardens about growing bulbs in your area. You might need to chill them in the fridge for several months before planting.

Storing flowering bulbs before planting

It’s good to plant bulbs quickly after your purchase them (within a week), or store them in the fridge. Since I’m planting in the next couple of weeks, I’m keeping the bulbs safe in my fridge. I don’t want them to start growing too early or they won’t flower in the spring

spring flowering bulbs to plant in fall tulips, daffodils, crocus etc

How to plant flowering bulbs for spring flowers

The key to growing the prettiest flowers is to plant in a rich, well-draining soil. It’s always a good idea to amend soil with compost or other natural fertilizer to give your bulbs a good growing environment. While most flowering bulbs like full sun, partial sun might work as well.

Simply dig holes to the required depth – usually three times their diameter. If you’re terrible at eyeballing depth like I am, double check with a ruler to make sure you plant them deep enough. Be sure to loosen soil if it’s tightly packed, plant the bulbs pointy side up,  cover with dirt and mulch, and water.  When in doubt, read the package directions, as they usually (but not always) include instructions.

After planting, make sure to cover the soil with mulch to keep spring weeds down! Don’t skip this important step.

Planting Depth Guide for Spring Flowering Bulbs

Bulb

Planting Depth

Planting Distance

Allium 4 inches 6 inches
Crocus 3 inches 2 inches
Daffodil 6 inches 4 inches
Hyacinth 6 inches 4 inches
Iris 4 inches 3 inches
Narcissus 6 inches 4 inches
Tulip 6 inches 4 inches

 If you like fall guide on spring flowering bulbs to plant in fall, you might like these too:

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Wear Stretchy Pants to These 7 Delicious Pittsburgh Restaurants

Looking for a delicious place to eat next time you go to Pittsburgh? Check out the seven Pittsburgh restaurants on this list and make sure to visit each and every one. But wear your stretchy pants! You’ll need them. From the South Side, to the Strip District, to Downtown, these seven delicious {and family friendly} restaurants are not to be missed!Pittsburgh skyline at night

Many thanks to Visit Pittsburgh for sponsoring this post. All opinions are mine. #LovePGH

Wear Your Stretchy Pants to These Delicious Pittsburgh Restaurants

If you think smelly industrial town when you think about Pittsburgh, think again. I was very pleasantly surprised by this fun cosmopolitan city during a recent press trip. From fun, family friendly activities and museums, to lovely downtown scenery, and 446 different bridges (for real!), Pittsburgh is a really lovely city.

Not only will you have a lot of fun there on your next visit, but you also need to make sure to pack your stretchy pants because the Pittsburgh restaurants are really delicious. Here are a few you will certainly want to try next time you go to the City of Bridges!

Pittsburgh Strip District Restaurants

The Pittsburgh Strip District, otherwise known as Pittsburgh’s Historic Market District, is filled with fun stores to browse, delicious restaurants, and art and cultural organizations. It’s a pedestrian friendly area you must visit when you’re in Pittsburgh. Here are a couple of Pittsburgh Strip District restaurants you shouldn’t skip.

Primanti Bros Pittsburgh Strip District Restaurants wear stretchy pants

Primanti’s Bros.

Primanti’s Bros. first restaurant opened in the the Pittsburgh Strip District in 1933. Famous for enormous sandwiches topped with fries, coleslaw, and tomatoes, you definitely need to bring your appetite to finish one of these sandwiches! I had the double roast and cheddar sandwich and it was wonderful. You haven’t really been to Pittsburgh unless you’ve tried one of these sandwiches, so make sure to add Primanti Bros. to your food list while you’re in Pittsburgh.

double roast and cheddar sandwich at primanti bros in pittsburgh

Find Primanti Bros at:

46 18th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

412.263.2424

Open:

24 hours, 7 days a week!

Kelly O's Diner Pittsburgh PA

Kelly O’s Diner

Another one of the iconic Pittsburgh Strip District restaurants is Kelly O’s Diner, known for their famous Pittsburgh style breakfasts. From Eggs Benedict to their Famous Grilled Cinnamon Roll and Homemade Raisin French Toast, you can’t really go wrong at Kelly O’s. For an indulgent breakfast, I highly recommend the Famous Grilled Cinnamon Roll served with vanilla ice cream. Why not? You only live once, right? The Eggs Benedict Pittsburgh Style served with kielbasa and pierogies is also worth trying!

What to eat at Kelly O's Diner in Pittsburgh

Find Kelly O’s at 

100 24th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
412-232-EGGS (3447)

Open:
Monday thru Saturday 5:00 am – 3:00 pm
Sundays 7:00 am – 3:00 pm

South Side Pittsburgh Restaurants

South Side Pittsburgh is across from Downtown Pittsburgh located along the  Monongahela River. Home to many bars, restaurants, shops, and more, it’s another area of Pittsburgh you must visit. Here are a couple of delicious restaurants to choose from when you’re in South Side Pittsburgh.

hofbrauhaus pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Hofbrauhaus

Maybe not iconic Pittsburgh, but a fun stop nonetheless, you’ll want to hit a couple of South Side Pittsburgh restaurants like the Pittsburgh Hofbrauhaus. With huge portions, plenty of beer, and a gorgeous setting, you’ll love the Hofbrauhaus – especially if the weather is nice and you can sit outside. I grew up in Germany so all things German will always have a soft spot in my heart. I have to say, the food is on the heavy side, but the pretzels are delicious and I’m always up for a Radler Beer (half beer / half lemonade)!

food at the hofbrauhaus pittsburgh

Find the Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh at

2705 South Water St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
(412) 224-2328

Open:

Daily from 11 am – 11 pm, 12 am or 2 am

Happy Hour daily from 4 – 6 pm

chicken and waffle from Waffles, INCaffeinated

Waffles, INCaffeinated

For a great breakfast, head over to Waffles, INCaffeinated. If you guessed that they serve waffles, you’re right! But they also have beautiful coffee and delicious eggs too. We loved the chicken and waffle, Funky Monkey, and Bananas Foster!

Find Waffles, INCaffeinated at:

2517 E. Carson St.

Pittsburgh, PA 15203
412-301-1763

Hours:
Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Milkshake Factory

What list of restaurants is complete without one focused on delicious desserts? Pittsburgh’s Milkshake Factory is the perfect place to take the kids after a long day of touring. They’ll love the fresh milkshakes as well as chocolate dipped berries and homemade candies as well.

Find Milkshake Factory at:

1705 E Carson Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
United States
Phone: (412) 488-1808

Hours:

Sunday – Thursday: 11am – 10pm
Friday – Saturday: 11am – 11pm

Downtown Pittsburgh Restaurants

charcuterie plate at Mezzo in Sienna Mercato

Mezzo in Sienna Mercato

This unique space in downtown Pittsburgh is actually three different restaurants under one roof. The first floor is a meatball joint. The second floor offers house made charcuterie, wine, and wood fired pizzas, and the third floor is a roof top beer garden. All of the food is made from scratch Italian style. We ate at the Mezzo (second floor charcuterie and wine) and it was absolutely delicious. I highly recommend the large Butcher’s Board and the Broccoli and Tomato Salad. Scrumptious and a very fun atmosphere. We also tried the Duck Speck pizza, which while good, was not my favorite.

Find Sienna Mercato at:

942 Penn Avenue

Pittsburgh, Pa 15222

412.281.2810

Call ahead for reservations for Mezzo

The Porch at Schenley in Pittsburgh

The Porch at Schenley

Located near the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, The Porch was one of my favorite stops in Pittsburgh. With a seasonal menu sourced from local as often as possible, as well as their own rooftop garden (with bees!), this cute restaurant is fresh and delicious. They serve homemade soda, delicious cocktails, wonderful salads, and amazing pizzas too. I highly recommend the rare seared tuna nicoise salad and you must try the biscuits and cinnamon rolls too! So good!!

food at the porch at Schenley

Find The Porch at:

221 Schenley Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

412-687-6724

Hours:

Monday – Friday, 11 am – 11 pm

Breakfast Window, 7 am – 11 am

Saturday, 10 am – 11 pm

Sunday, 10 am – 9 pm

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10 Amazing Pumpkin Patches In Iowa

Fall means all things pumpkin, apples, pie, and spices. To help you make the most of your fall, we’ve put together a list of 10 amazing Pumpkin Patches in Iowa! You won’t want to miss any of them, so start planning your fall trips now.

Pumpkin Patches to visit in Iowa

10 Amazing Pumpkin Patches In Iowa

Finding the perfect pumpkin is a family affair. The days of  running to the store and picking up a pumpkin to carve for the Halloween season have passed. Instead, take a trip to the local pumpkin patch for a fun way to spend quality time with family and friends!

Pumpkin patches know they need to go above and beyond to make visits memorable. Instead of just finding pumpkins, we can look forward to attractions beyond taking the hayrack ride to the field as we search for that perfect jack-0-lantern canvas. Pumpkin patches offer sand boxes of corn for kids to play in, corn mazes that challenge our navigational skills without the help of GPS, as well as slides, swings and even haunted houses.

happy pumpkin season sign

Iowa has dozens of fantastic pumpkin patches, each providing a wonderful experience for families. Here are 10 family-friendly pumpkin patches around Iowa where you’ll not only find a great pumpkin, but the family will have a grand ol’ time too!

1. Buffalo Pumpkin Patch in Buffalo

Buffalo Pumpkin Patch has called the Kurtz farm in Buffalo home for 20 fall seasons. Open daily Sept. 8 through Oct. 31, admission is free. However, you’ll need to purchase tickets for each activity in which you want to participate, including a hayrack ride to the pumpkin field, playing in a straw castle, as well as finding your way through a sorghum maze. Additionally, you can play laser tag or maintain your farm roots by milking a goat.

2. Colony Pumpkin Patch in North Liberty

Colony Pumpkin Patch in North Liberty offers a variety of fall fun for the family. Opening Sept. 16 and running through Oct. 29, your family can enjoy the season with a hayrack ride to a pumpkin field to choose the perfect gourd. Admission includes the hayrack ride (weekends only), access to a 10-acre corn maze, as well as additional play attractions, such as a corn box and low zipline. In addition to the pumpkin patch, you can take on a zombie invasion (Friday and Saturday beginning Sept. 28). Purchase an add-on and ride a transport that takes you through the zombie field where you fire mounted paintball guns at zombie characters.

3. Pinter’s in Decorah

More than “just” a pumpkin patch, Pinter’s Gardens & Pumpkins in Decorah is “agri-tainment.” Open weekends between Sept. 22 and Oct. 28, visitors can enjoy a tractor ride to the field and choose a pumpkin. Pinter’s also invites visitors to take a trip through its giant corn maze. Play areas include an inflatable jumping pillow, pedal go-karts, a big slide and an old-fashioned game of tetherball. Enjoy concessions offering Pinter’s famous baked goods and drinks.

Harvestville Farm Pumpkin patches Iowa

4. Harvestville Farm in Donnellson

Open from spring to the holiday season, Harvestville offers more than 40 acres of pumpkins and other gourds on weekends mid-September through the last weekend of October. Along with the pumpkins, you can take a stroll through a 10-acre corn maze or enjoy fun and games, such as a giant corn pool, tire pyramid and bean bag toss. Enjoy fresh apple cider treats, including “dipkins” donut balls.

5. The Pumpkin Ranch in Winterset

Winterset is home to more than covered bridges. The Pumpkin Ranch opens its doors to visitors Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays Sept. 23-Oct. 28. Your admission fee includes a hayrack ride to the fields to choose your pumpkin or gourd (there is an additional charge), 10-acre corn maze offering checkpoints and a mystery game, jump pillow for big kids and a jump kids for the tykes. Zip lines and two tunnel slides await your arrival, as well as an obstacle course and toddler town. The pumpkin patch also offers horseback rides and a petting zoo on special dates, so you’ll want to check The Pumpkin Patch’s Facebook page.

6. McCurdy’s Pumpkins in Atlantic

Open weekends Sept. 22 through Oct. 28, McCurdy’s Pumpkins in Atlantic invites you to take a tractor ride to the field to pick out your favorite pumpkin among the dozen or so types available. While not large, a two-acre corn maze offers family fun. Your group will enjoy the play area, which includes a corn pool.

7. Pioneer Trail Orchard and Pumpkin Patch in Council Bluffs

Council Bluffs Pioneer Trail Orchard and Pumpkin Patch has been greeting visitors for nearly a quarter century. Open weeknights and both weekend days Sept. 22 through Oct. 31, Pioneer encourages you to take a hayrack ride to find your favorite pumpkin or gourd. Your family and friends can also participate in a variety of attractions, including searching for riches in the Gold Barn, finding your way through the maze in the Dark Barn and jumping around the hay pit. With Halloween around the corner, you can also visit the haunted farm house (for older children and adults) or the child-friendly haunted barn.

8. Scarecrow Farm in Lawton

Scarecrow Farm in Lawton is about a 15-minute drive from Sioux City and provides a fun visit for the whole family. Enjoying a hayrack ride around the farm, you have several options for selecting your pumpkin, gourd or squash. Open weekends in September beginning Sept. 15 before opening daily all of October, your visit also includes playing in a five-acre corn maze, corn-filled play box, or on large tire swings. You can also play on a 70-foot pirate ship with cannons and nets. You may also want to check out the singing chicken show.

9. Geisler Farms in Bondurant

While it doesn’t provide a wagon ride around the pumpkin field, Geisler Fars does the field harvesting for you, and offers the pumpkins near the entrance. This saves you time and allows you to take advantage of the fun and games between Sept. 1 and Oct. 28. The corn maze is a major attraction, offering a professionally-designed route that can take up to an hour to complete. You’ll received a map at the beginning of the 10-acre maze, which includes 20 fence posts. Each post contains a number and has a paper punch design. You can get a coupon for a slice of pizza with a completed map. You can also enjoy the fun zone, which includes 20 family-friendly attractions, such as a giant slide, jump pad, a tractor tire swing and a corn hole toss game.

10. Enchanted Acres near Sheffield

This fun Pumpkin Patch in Iowa offers fun pumpkin adventures Friday-Sunday Sept. 14 through Oct. 28. You can enjoy a hayrack ride to the pumpkin patch or you can choose from dozens of pre-picked gourds. The pumpkin patch also provides entertainment options, including a corn pool dig, a pumpkin cannon and a kids playground. You can also meet and pet goats, rabbits and more animals in the petting zoo.

Have you been to any of these pumpkin patches? Which was your favorite?

For more Fall Fun in Iowa, check out these posts:

American Gothic House & Things to do in Eldon, Iowa

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum at I-80 Truck Stop

Historic Hills Scenic Byway in the Fall

Fall Harvest Tour in Franklin County, Iowa

Free Pumpkin Carving Patterns

Easy Ways to Decorate Pumpkins without Carving

Healthy & Fun Snacks for the Perfect Halloween Party

10 Amazing Pumpkin Patches to Visit in Iowa

My Favorite Homemade Salsa for Canning – Made Easy!

If you’re looking for a delicious way to preserve the garden bounty in your garden, try my favorite homemade salsa for canning! I’ve been making this homemade salsa for years. It’s a safe, tried and true recipe, a perfect fresh or canned! Today I’m sharing the easy way to make huge batch of salsa for your garden pantry!

zesty salsa & ingredients for an easy canning tutorial

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission on your purchase.*

My Favorite Homemade Salsa for Canning – Made Easy!

Welcome to the last Tuesdays in the Garden for the 2018 garden season. I hope you’ve enjoyed this gardening season and the posts! Today, the TITG gang has some yummy recipes – perfect for helping you put up the last of the garden hauls. Make sure you hop on over to everyone’s blog. I know I’m looking forward to all of the recipes!

My contribution this week is my favorite homemade salsa for canning. I’ve been making this salsa for years and used to really dread it because it can be so time consuming. Chopping, chopping, chopping for hours! A couple years ago, I finally figured out a way to make this salsa recipe so much easier! I’m excited to share that in today’s canning tutorial. Enjoy this wonderful homemade salsa – safe for water bath canning and delicious for all uses from cooking to tailgating to parties.

zesty homemade salsa and ingredients

The secret to this easy salsa recipe for canning?

Two things: first, use a food processor! Second, paste tomatoes. I’m a fan of a minimalist kitchen, but when it comes to making homemade salsa for my pantry, I’m all about the time saving devices. My trusty food processor is a life saver for this recipe.

The second secret is to use paste tomatoes – a high quality firm paste tomato that’s not watery or full of seeds means I can skip many of the tomato prep steps and just chop the whole tomato. No blanching, no seeding. I use the whole tomato, skin, seeds, and all. Some people might not like the idea of using the skin, but I don’t mind. If I see big skin chunks in the salsa, I pick them out, but for the most part, I just use the entire tomato. And that’s that!

Here’s how to make this yummy homemade salsa

Prepare veggies for salsa in food processor1. Prep the tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and hot peppers by washing and removing any bad spots. Then use a food processor to quickly and easy cut them up! Use the bottom blade to cut them to a more consistent size. I got this recipe from my Ball Canning Blue Book of Preserving which means it’s been tested for the proper acidity.

**NOTE: While I’m always tempted to change up ingredients, it’s really important in canning recipes to use the exact ratio of fresh ingredients and vinegar. Otherwise, it’s possible to change acidity ratio which can make the recipe unsafe to store. So make sure to follow this recipe exactly.

bring salsa to a boil

2. Put all chopped ingredients in a large pot, add cilantro, garlic, and apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes.

While the salsa is boiling prepare you jars. You can either heat them in hot water, or run them through a dish cycle and keep them warm. Also bring water to boil in a water bath canner.

fill hot jars with hot salsa

3. Ladle salsa into hot jars keeping 1/4″ headspace. Wipe the jars, add lids and tighten.

place jars on towel and leave them alone for 24 hours

4. Process in a water bath canner – 15 minutes for pints or 20 minutes for quarts. Make sure the water covers the jars completely. When the time is up, turn off the heat. Leave the jars in the hot water for five minutes, then remove them from the canner, placing the jars on a towel. Leave enough room between jars so they aren’t touching. Resist temptation to check the seal – leave them alone for 24 hours.

5. After 24 hours, check the seal on the jars, remove rings, wipe the jar, label and store!

Yields 6 pints

Serves 2 Tablespoons

My Favorite Homemade Salsa for Canning – Made Easy!

30 minPrep Time

25 minCook Time

55 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

5 based on 3 review(s)

Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 10 cups chopped tomatoes (about 6 pounds)
  • 5 cups chopped and seeded bell peppers (about 2 pounds)
  • 5 cups chopped onions (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped and seeded hot peppers (about 1 pound)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs cilantro, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Chop all ingredients in a food processor for quicker chopping. If you're using juicy tomatoes you may want to seed, peel, and core them. I skip this step because I use Roma or other paste tomatoes.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes.
  3. Ladle hot salsa into hot jars making sure to leave a 1/4 inch head space.
  4. Place lids and rings on jars and tighten.
  5. Process pints for 15 minutes in a water bath canner, or quarts for 20 minutes.

Notes

Make sure to wear gloves when cutting and seeding the hot peppers!

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https://simplifylivelove.com/homemade-salsa-for-canning/

This salsa is great with chips and in any recipe that calls for salsa! It’s a hit in our house.

Looking for more ways to preserve your garden bounty? Check out these posts:

Crushed Tomatoes the Quick & Easy Way

Grandma’s Secret Dill Pickle Canning Tutorial

Homemade Herbed Gourmet Vinegars to Keep or Give

Strawberry Syrup Canning Tutorial

tuesdays in the garden

And here are more fall preserving posts from the Tuesdays in the Garden Gang!

Enjoy this deliciousness as we close Tuesdays in the Garden for 2018. I always love these posts and I hope you have enjoyed them too. I’m always sad to see the gardening season close.

homemade apple sauce

Homemade Applesauce from Hearth and Stone

freezer jam

Pear Jam for the Freezer from Frugal Family Home

bruschetta topping

Bruschetta Topping from An Oregon Cottage

homemade food junkie

Marina Sauce for Freezing or Canning from Homemade Food Junkie

 

Budget & Eco Friendly Cleaning Products + Free Fall Mrs. Meyers

Happy September! Can you believe it’s almost fall? My kids are back to school which means I need to reclaim my house! Free fall Mrs. Meyers and eco friendly cleaning products at Grove Collaborative make a dreaded job better. Check out the many eco friendly products that are cheaper at Grove than they are on Amazon and savor fall this year!

fall mrs meyer's scents

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission on your purchase.*

Budget & Eco Friendly Cleaning Products + Free Fall Mrs. Meyers

Today I’m talking about Grove Collaborative and showing you how you can get eco friendly cleaning products for less. If you haven’t heard of Grove Collaborative, it’s an online store – kind of like a monthly subscription box. I know, I know. I was skeptical too when I first heard about. But then I did some research.

Saving money and time is a big deal in my life. My research showed me both are possible with Grove Collaborative by comparing  Amazon prices to Grove prices. On some items,  Amazon did indeed have a better deal, but usually it meant buying a larger quantity or ordering through Prime Pantry, which I don’t have.

I found that many of the everyday cleaning supplies I depend on (dishwater & laundry detergent) are actually cheaper at Grove Collaborative. Having them show up at my door each month (or however often I choose) makes my life much easier. No more running to the store when I’m out of dish soap or waiting to do laundry!

Here are some of the eco friendly cleaning products I use on a daily basis that are actually cheaper at Grove Collaborative than Amazon:

I also really love the Full Circle cleaning supplies.

Have you seen this brand? Full Circle is a Certified B-Corp just like Grove Collaborative which means they have rigorous standards for prioritizing social, environmental, and community well being. I have several of the amazing Full Circle cleaning brushes and many of them are cheaper on Grove Collaborative than on Amazon. Check these out:

If you have babies in the house, you’ll want to check out Grove’s baby selection too. I saw a great deal on Seventh Generation overnight diapers, sunscreen, and a lot more!

eco friendly cleaning products

Free Fall Scents with a $20 purchase!

It’s easy to make a $20 purchase at Grove, get cleaning supplies you actually need, and save money over Amazon in the process! Plus, when you place your first order of $20 from Grove, you’ll get this free fall set in your choice of scents:

  • Free Mrs. Meyer’s Fall hand soap
  • Free Mrs. Meyer’s Fall dish soap
  • Free Mrs. Meyer’s Fall multi-surface spray
  • Free Grove Collaborative replaceable head dish brush
  • Free Shipping & 60 Day VIP Trial

If you spend $39, you’ll also receive a free Grove cleaning caddy to organize all your favorite supplies. I love my little caddy. It’s under my kitchen sink with all my favorite cleaning supplies.  Andif  you’re already a Grove customer, you’ll get a free set of Grove walnut scrubbers — perfect for cleaning up after pumpkin carving! 

mrs meyer's fall scents

How Grove Collaborative works

If you’ve been thinking about trying Grove Collaborative, this is your chance! When you sign up using my referral link, you’ll get the free fall set PLUS free shipping and a free 60 day VIP trial. For 60 days, you’ll get free shipping, free gifts, price matching, exclusive sales, and personal service. 

After your first order, Grove will recommend a personalized monthly shipment so you never run out of the products you love. You can customize your basket or shipment schedule with a few clicks. Once a month, or however often you need, Grove you send you all the eco friendly cleaning supplies you need to keep your home clean without toxins!

In addition to this free set, Grove has you covered for all your cleaning and organization needs as you head into fall. You’ll find an amazing selection of natural household products from brands like Mrs. Meyer’s, Method, and Seventh Generation. Plus, their house brand is filled with amazing products — I especially love their chef’s towels and soy candles!

Mrs. Meyer’s seasonal scents always go fast, so don’t wait — grab your free fall set now:

  1. Sign up for Grove Collaborative here. You will receive the fall scents for free when you sign up!
  2. To receive this offer, your order needs to be a minimum of $20. I’d choose the laundry detergent, dish washer detergent, and an awesome Full Circle brush for $21. Choose the combination of products and scents you love and receive your first box within a few days.
  3. You made it! Click Finish & Pay and place your order.

What fall scent will you choose? Apple Cider, Pumpkin, or Mum?? Happy shopping and let me know if you have any questions about Grove! I’d love to answer them.

You might like these posts too:

5 Tips for Decorating for Fall

Easy Pumpkin Scones

Grove Cleaning Concentrates

Canning Crushed Tomatoes made Quick & Easy

If you’d like to learn how to can crushed tomatoes quickly and easily, this step by step tutorial is for you! Canning doesn’t have to take forever. Learn how to can crushed tomatoes in record time. No blanching or de-seeding required!

water bath canning crushed tomatoes

**This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission on your purchase.**

In past years, I have had tomatoes coming out of my ears and have to find an easy way to can the bounty from my garden. I love canning crushed tomatoes primarily for Taco Soup, but these tomatoes are also a great base for all kinds of sauces. Taco Soup is one of my go-to recipes for busy fall nights.  Canning crushed tomatoes can be such a pain in the butt, though.

How to Can Crushed Tomatoes Quickly!

When I first started canning tomatoes, it was a long and drawn out process. First, I washed all the tomatoes and cut off the blossom end and stem end. Then I blanched the tomatoes in boiling water and removed the skin. Then I removed the seeds (and half the tomato). Then I boiled what was left. And finally, I canned the crushed tomatoes in my water-bath canner. I thought I was supposed to do all of this because I was directed to in the Blue Book Guide to Conserving. Does the process sound familiar to you?

Since I’m short on time,  I developed a new procedure for canning crushed tomatoes: a process that takes about half the time and is a heck of a lot easier.  Here’s how you can cut your tomato processing time in half too!

how to can crushed tomatoes quickly

Prepare Your Crushed Tomatoes

First, wash the tomatoes and cut off the bad spots.

Give your tomatoes a bath! Make sure to wash and rinse the tomatoes thoroughly before cooking.

Then, skip two of the most time consuming steps – blanching and removing seeds. Instead, just put the tomatoes in the food processor and puree them – skin, seeds, and all! It yields a lot more this way because half the tomato is not thrown out.

Next step in canning crushed tomatoes is puree! Dump your diced tomatoes into a food processor and puree away.

I have to tell you, I LOVE my mother’s Braun Food Processor! It’s awesome because there’s no hole in that pitcher. I also really like pureeing crushed tomatoes in my vitamix.

Next, bring the tomatoes to boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or up to 2-3 hours depending on the time you have available. If you use the shorter time, keep the temperature higher and stir more often.
Boil your pureed tomatoes in a large pot for 2-3 hours, or until they thicken to a sauce.

Prepare the Water Bath Canner

When your crushed tomatoes are about ready, prepare the water bath canner. You’ll also need to sterilize your clean jars by either boiling them in the canner for 10 minutes, or running them through a hot cycle in the dishwasher. I generally run my through the dishwasher so they’ll come out nice and hot about the time I need to fill them.prepare canning lidsPrepare your canning lids by submersing them in steaming, but not boiling, water for a few minutes. I use both BPA free Tattler Reusable Canning Lids and the normal Ball Canning Lids which are now also supposed to be BPA Free now!! YAY!! You used to have to boil them, but you don’t anymore. Simply heat them in the hot water and you’re good to go.

Fill up your jars- you want at least 1/4 in headroom left AFTER you add 2 TBS lemon juice concentrate (VERY IMPORTANT STEP!!) per jar, wipe the lid to remove any food — you want your jars to seal, after all. As you finish each jar, place it in the water bath canner to keep it hot. It is recommended that you completely finish one jar at a time for optimal results – not the batch method I display here… Do as I say, not as I do. 🙂

NOTE: Four tablespoons of a 5 percent acidity vinegar per quart may be used instead of lemon juice or citric acid. It’s possible the vinegar may cause undesirable flavor changes, but I’ve never personally noticed anything. I prefer to use vinegar instead of lemon juice.
roasted tomato saucePut your lids on and tighten rings securely.how to can roasted tomato sauceOnce your canner is full, make sure the water covers the tops of the jars, adding more water if necessary. Was the water has reached a rolling boil, start the timer for 45 minutes. Add 5 minutes per 1,000 feet to compensate for the altitude. I live at just under 1,000 feet. So if you live at 2,000 feet, process for 50 minutes instead. And so on. If you don’t know your altitude, just google it.

canned roasted tomato sauceCarefully remove the jars and put them on a clean towel. Let them cool for a full 24 hours before you move them. Sit back and listen to the wonderful pings of the sealing jars! After 24 hours, make sure all of your jars have sealed. Wipe them down, remove the rings, and put them on a shelf to admire. If any jars didn’t seal, you can heat the sauce back up and try again.

In my experience, Romas, San Marzanos, and Amish paste tomatoes produce the best stewed tomatoes because they are less watery than other varieties.

Nutrition

Calories

3675 cal

Fat

41 g

Carbs

794 g

Protein

179 g
Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info

Yields 7 quarts or 14 pints

The Lazy Person’s Guide to Canning Crushed Tomatoes

Quick and easy canning tutorial for crushed tomatoes.

30 minPrep Time

1 hr, 45 Cook Time

2 hr, 15 Total Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe
Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 45 lbs of tomatoes
  • 2 TBS Bottled lemon juice
  • OR 4 TBS 5% acidity vinegar

Instructions

  1. Wash tomatoes and remove core and blossom ends, plus any bad spots.
  2. Fill a food processor or blender with tomatoes and puree tomatoes, skin, seeds, and all.
  3. Pour tomatoes in a large pot and bring to biol over medium-high heat.
  4. Decrease heat to low, and simmer sauce 20 minutes, or as long as 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  5. Sterilize 7 quart jars or 14 pint jars and bring water to boil in the water-bath canner.
  6. Heat rings and lids in warm water.
  7. Ladle tomatoes into jars leaving 1/2" head space and add lemon juice or vinegar.
  8. Slide a nonmetallic spatula around the inside of the jar to release air bubbles.
  9. Wipe rim and threads of jar, then remove the lid and ring from the hot water and screw lid on jar.
  10. As you fill each jar, place it in the canner. The water should be simmering in the canner.
  11. After all the jars are filled, lower them into the canner. The water must cover the jars by 1-2" so add water if needed.
  12. Put the lid on the canner and bring the water back to biol. Once it's boiling, start the timer.
  13. Process pints for 40 minutes and quarts for 45 minutes.
  14. When the time is up, turn off the burner and remove lid. Let the canner cool for five minutes before removing jars.
  15. Remove the jars from the canner and set them upright, 1-2" a part on a dry towel. Let them cool for 12 to 24 hours.
  16. After the jars have cooled, check the lids for seals by pressing down on the center of the lid. The lid should be pressed down and should not flex. If that's the case, take the ring off, and gently try to take off the lid. If it doesn't come off, you have a good seal!
  17. Wipe the lid and jar, label, and store jars in a cool, dry, dark place.
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Do you grow tomatoes? What do you do with the bounty?

How to quickly and easily water bath can crushed tomatoes

If you liked this guide to canning crushed tomatoes quickly, you might like these posts too:

Grandma’s Secret Dill Pickle Recipe

Preserve your own flavored vinegars with herbs from your garden!

Strawberry Syrup Canning Guide

Natural Toothpaste & Deodorant for Kids + Bathroom Cleaning Checklist

  This year, not only do we have to buy pencils and notebooks for back to school, but we also need to stock up on all natural personal care products including toothpaste and deodorant for kids. A plan to keep our spaces clean once the frantic pace of back to school sets in would be nice too! To help, I’m sharing a kid-friendly bathroom cleaning checklist as well as our favorite natural personal care products for kids of all ages. Back to School with Natural Toothpaste & Deodorant for Kids Tom's of Maine

This post is sponsored by Tom’s of Maine® and all opinions are my own.

Natural Toothpaste & Deodorant for Kids + Bathroom Cleaning Checklist

I can’t believe THREE of my FOUR kids need deodorant now! How times flies!! I certainly encourage my kids to play outside and get dirty all summer. But they need to go to school clean and smelling great! Keep your kids and bathroom stink free! Grab this easy DIY to get kids to clean their own bathroom fuss free, and get our top pick for an effective and natural deodorant for kids. #ad #diychorefreeprintable #deodarantforkids #greenliving

Tom’s of Maine® Wicked Cool Deodorant for Kids

I’m happy that Tom’s of Maine is always coming up with kid-friendly items my kids adore. This back-to-school season, my kids are using Tom’s of Maine®  Wicked Cool toothpaste and deodorant for kids. We love that the products are made without any artificial colors, flavors, fragrances or preservatives, and they are not tested on animals.  Tom’s of Maine® has been a trusted name in natural personal care for over 48 years and as well as a trusted name in my home for over 13 years.tom's of maine deodorant for kids

As my kids get older, keeping them clean has changed. Not only do we have to keep the dirt off the body, now we have to keep the BO away too. Wicked Cool Deodorant for kids is one of our new favorites! It provides 24 hour odor protection and includes no aluminum, no parabens, and no artificial fragrances.

I personally prefer the freestyle scent for boys – I’ve used it and it works on me too. My kids, even the boy, prefers the summer fun scent for girls. Neither scent is too masculine or girly which is why I think they both work for both genders.

Tom’s of Maine® Wicked Cool Toothpaste for Kids

tom's of maine natural tooth care products for kids

Keeping BO away is half the battle. The other half the battle is keeping teeth clean and the mouth odor-free. The first Tom’s of Maine® product we ever used was fluoride-free toothpaste like Silly Strawberry™. My older kids have outgrown this variety, but the younger kids still like it.

Now that my kids are older, they like the Wicked Cool mild mint toothpaste.  With fluoride and non-fluoride toothpaste options, you’ll find a type of natural toothpaste from Tom’s of Maine® that you won’t worry about giving your kids. Tom’s of Maine® also has a BPA-free child-size toothbrush made with mineral-based pigments and from renewable castor oil plants.

This year, Tom’s of Maine® has partnered with the Kids in Need Foundation to donate 10,000 “Backpacks Full of Good”  to students in need. By choosing Tom’s of Maine, you are helping kids in need get needed school supplies.  You can also add an encouraging note to one student’s backpack. Learn more here and don’t forget to pick up a coupon for your own Tom’s of Maine goodies. Sprouts Farmers Market is a great place to pick up all the Tom’s of Maine® for your back-to-school needs.bathroom chore chart in jar for kids

Innovative Kid Friendly Bathroom Cleaning Checklist {in a jar}

Now that the kids are smelling great naturally thanks to Tom’s of Maine®, let’s get your bathroom in order too! Wouldn’t it be nice if your kids helped out? Here’s an easy way to encourage kids to keep their own space clean. How about an innovative, kid-friendly bathroom cleaning checklist in a jar!

bathroom cleaning checklist

All you need to do is print this checklist, cut it up, fold it, and put it in a jar to keep in your bathroom. Each item on this list is a quick task your kids can finish in five minutes or fewer. Before bed, simply have them choose one piece of folded paper from the jar and complete the task!

Download your own Bathroom chore chart in a jar here! These four quick chores will make sure your kids’ bathroom sparkles even during the busiest of times. Just click the link to open a PDF file which you can then print, cut apart, and start using immediately! You can even use the top of the list as a label. Just cut if off and glue it on a jar. I used spray adhesive and it worked pretty well. 🙂

How are you getting your family ready for back to school? Please share your best tip!

If you liked this Back to School Post, you might like these posts too:

Before & After School Checklists for a Smooth Transition

Back to School Pictures & a Printable Kids’ Interview

Frozen Lunchbox Printables

9 Genius Ways to Save Money on School Lunches

Get organized for back to school success! Stock up on natural personal care products for kids, help @Tom’sofMaine partnership with the Kids in Need Foundation and grab my bathroom cleaning hacks for engaging your kids to keep their own space clean with no fuss! #ad #diychorefreeprintable #deodarantforkids #greenliving