6 Educents Must-Haves Cheaper than Amazon

I’d love to be able to shop around for the best price always, but sometimes there isn’t enough time in the day!  

I received a list of items that are cheaper on Educents, (one of my favorite online stores for educational resources) than on Amazon. I was shocked to find some items were $100 cheaper on Educents than Amazon. So, of course I wanted to share this time-and-money-saving list with you!

Hot tip: Use code GETREADY to get free shipping on every order, no minimum required or WELCOME16: 15% off + Free Shipping with no minimum for new customers

Hooked on Phonics Learn To Read Kit for PreK-2nd – Save $170.00

hooked on phonics review


Hooked on Phonics is one of the most trusted brands in teaching children how to read. This set is for Pre-K-2nd graders who are looking to create a strong foundation in phonics. This set includes workbooks as well as access to the HoP online learning portal. Retail Price – $299.99 / Amazon Price – $265.00 Educents Price – $129.99 

Maestro Classics Musical Stories Set – Save $112.00



This 12 CD collection features perennial classics you’ll remember from childhood like Peter and The Wolf, The Nutcracker, and The Tortoise And The Hare. Each disk also includes activities to complete for students after they have finished the story. Retail Price – $200.00 / Amazon Price – $93.43 Educents Price – $88.00

Times Tales Animated DVD  Save $10.00



Times Tales is one of the best ways to teach kids multiplication – period. One mom said, “Best money spent on math. It really worked. Within a week my 9 and 11-year-old completed 110 problem text with scores of 99% and 100% respectively. Wow.” Audio, visual, logical – what’s more to ask?Retail Price – $29.99 / Amazon Price – $28.99 Educents Price – $19.99

Reusable Human Body Sticker Set – Save $9.00



The Mona MELissa reusable sticker playsets are an amazing way to create a hands-on learning experience in your home, classroom, or anywhere with a wall. Teach kids all about anatomy – and make it stick (literally!) – with this scientifically accurate set. Retail Price – $28.99 Amazon Price – $24.99 Educents Price – $19.99

Tegu Magnetic Building Blocks: 40 Piece Set – Save $27.50



Tegu blocks are the wooden magnetic blocks that are captivating children’s attention worldwide. Aside from being an outside-of-the-box toy, Tegu cares about creating social good, and hires workers in Honduras to create these wonderful toys. Plus they plant a tree with each purchase. 🙂 Retail Price – $110.00 Amazon Price – $110.00 Educents Price – $82.50

Hooked on Phonics Spelling Program  Save $20.00



Spelling Bee here we come! The Hooked On Spelling program is no exception to the quality of Hooked on Phonics programs and teaches spelling in a way that’s unique and fun at the same time.

Retail Price – $79.95 / Amazon Price – $130.22

Educents Price – $59.95

Continue Reading

Exploring: Willow River State Park – Hudson, WI

We are blessed with one of the most amazing parks in St Croix County, WI.  Resting just outside of Hudson sits a stunning State Park with endless options of things to do.  This park has been in my back yard my entire lift (literally, I grew up less than a mile away) and I never took advantage of all the great things it had to offer until the last 5 years.

“With nearly 3,000 acres of prairie, forests and panoramic river scenery, Willow River State Park offers year-round recreation opportunities in western Wisconsin. The park is about five miles northeast of Hudson and has a campground, a boat launch and a 400-foot beach and picnic area centered on 172-acre Little Falls Lake.”  (Side note: the lake is drained right now as they are preparing a major dam project) – WI DNR Website

I started coming here to hike a few years ago and have only grown more and more fond of the park with every visit.  I also met one of my closest friends at the park.  I was on the fence about joining a bootcamp and the instructor was leading hikes at the park and then a fitness class after the hike. I put on my girl pants and came by myself and instantly made a connection with a gal and her daughter.  A new friendship was born and with that came many other awesome adventures!  You never know what (or who) you might find when you come to the park.

There are 12 hiking trails in the park and many connect up to campsites as well as gorgeous scenery and spectacular views.  The trails are both paved and crushed rock.  I usually bring my jogging stroller and can push George with no problems on either trail.  I would recommend a heavier duty stroller or even a backpack if bringing small children and doing a longer hike.

At the beach is a gorgeous brand-new beach house and playground for the kids to play (or for me to dread because I just want to hike and George just wants to play!).   With picnic tables and grills throughout the park, you really cannot go wrong with a day at Willow.   The lake is currently drained because they are working on a major dam project.  The sand is still there to play in, but no swimming at the beach (you can wade by the falls though) for at least 1-2 summers.

Beach House with a Shelter and Picnic Tables
Playground with activities for kids of all ages

The trail(s) I hike most often are the Green (Little Falls Trail) and Blue Trails (Willow Falls Trail).  When you take the Green to the Blue trail, this takes you to the Falls that are nestled in the park.  The Green Trail starts off at the beach parking lot.

Paved Trail (Green Trail)

One of the big draws to Willow River State Park is the camping.  As you navigate through the park, you pass many different camp sites. Some have some serious setups with campers, cooking equipment, coolers, etc.  And others keep it simple.

A little tent I passed while walking – these folks kept it simple

In order to get to Willow Falls, you have to move from the Green Trail to the Blue Trail. The blue trail is a bit more rugged and is crushed rock vs paved.  Its a bit more hilly and more “hiking” vs “walking” trail.  However, I regularly pass families with younger children and several folks (like myself) who are pushing strollers. Again, you will need a heavier stroller to make your life easier on this trail.  Let me just say, it is so absolutely worth it if you hike this trail! At the end of the trail you get to Willow Falls.. (which you can get to multiple ways, but this just happens to be my favorite!)

Willow Falls – Willow River State Park, Hudson, WI

Once you get to the falls, as you can see you can navigate onto the rocks and cool off in the water. I am not one you will ever see out there, but as you can tell there are several people doing this.  I just think when you’re dealing with water, it’s dangerous and you never know when you could get swept away (call me old and dull, but I prefer to play it safe here!).

Another activity you can do while at Willow is Rock Climbing.  You bring all of your own equipment and will need to have some experience climbing because it is not only dangerous but also a challenging wall to climb.  It certainly didn’t stop these guys though! I am always so impressed with the people who are so talented/fit and accomplish this.

Look close and you will see the climber hanging from the rock

I mentioned there are multiple ways you can get to Willow Falls.  You can park at the parking lot on top of the hill (near the entrance) and navigate down the stairs to the falls.  However, you can also navigate up those same stairs which is very challenging, but an excellent workout.  I had my doubts, but George and I climbed the stairs and again, it is so worth the view at the top!

View over the State Park at the top of the Stairs near Willow Falls

I could just sit here and be at peace for hours on end. (Plus I’m usually still dying from climbing the stairs and need that much time to recover).   It is quiet and serene and the view is simply breath taking!  It is all right here in St Croix County and so many people have no idea what they are missing out on.

Apparently after all the stair climbing my sweet George wanted more.. He really did.  He was all about climbing stairs..and not even halfway (I begged repeatedly) he wanted to make it to the top.

My little adventurer

We survived all of the steps, both up and down and navigated our way back over the falls.  This is the view if you look West instead of East (Opposite of the falls).

Usually you might see a fisherman or two out here trying to catch a fish for supper.  Its amazing to watch the raging rapids on one side and see this nice, calm river flowing on the other. Nature is certainly incredible.

Willow isn’t just a summer State Park either!  In the winter they offer several groomed cross country ski trails as well as Snowshoeing trails (although you have to be very careful to be sure you’re on the snowshoe trail as the skiiers will give you dirty looks even just trying to get to your trails).  (It’s a brown trail if that helps!).

We managed to get out one time this winter to do a little snowshoeing!  George got to ride along in his little sled (which thanks Jen for giving us that years ago! It has been so handy!).

At the parking lot of the beach house there is also a Nature Center.  Here, you can get souvenirs, sunscreen and any other small item you might need to make it for the day or weekend (plus there are plenty of gas stations nearby if you leave the park).  The nature center also has great educational activities for children of different ages to get children engaged and learning about the outdoors.

Nature Center
Kids activities – pick up at the Nature Center

Whether the patio is as outdoors as you get or if you’re a rugged outback sleep under the stars kind of camper, Willow truly offers a wide range of options of things to do!  It’s $8 for the day if you’re a WI resident, $11 for out of state vehicles and $28 for a yearly pass if you’re a WI resident.  We are there enough times a year to make up for the cost!

Trail Map – you can get a copy at the gate or online



Wander Mum
Continue Reading

A New Way of Living. #HealthyMama #HealthyFamily #HealthyKid

I gained 31lbs of baby weight that somehow didn’t miraculously fall off when I left the hospital, so last year I started running.  I ran 5Ks, 10Ks, and finished with a half marathon.. and even after that I kept running.   But the weight still didn’t fall off with all that running.  The reason?  Because I wasn’t EATING properly. I have learned that 80% of weight loss comes from the kitchen and 20% in the gym. I do a majority of the cooking in our household which means that I am ultimately responsible for what we eat. (All opinions in this article are my own and I have not been compensated for them)

We started by making small changes in our house. We incorporated more fruits and veggies.  We drank more water and less soda.  And as we started to see our bodies change we also started to see our attitudes and minds change.   I also changed our recipes. We absolutely LOVE eating tacos in our house.  So we switched out chicken for beef, made salads instead of shells, and replaced our sour cream with Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt.  Greek Yogurt contains more protein and less calories than sour cream.  When I first told Adam I was fixing supper with Greek Yogurt he was less than interested.  This is the man who will eat ANYTHING and he refused.  So I did it anyway. And you know what?  He didn’t know the difference.  So to my surprise when I was out of town, I found he had eaten ALL of our Greek yogurt and had to go buy more. I call that a win!

I also have a little yogurt addict in my house too! I thought I was being such a good mama getting up and making George pancakes and waffles in the morning.  Then one morning I was running late, gave G some yogurt and from that morning on he’s eaten it every single day. Not because I’m lazy but because this child DEMANDS it!  And seriously, you can’t be mad if your child demands yogurt, right? But I URGE you to read labels.  One brand has 26 grams of sugar in a 6oz container of yogurt. This is the same amount of sugar in 1/2 of a can of Mountain Dew.  Let’s be honest, you’d NEVER let your kids drink a 1/2 can of soda, so why would you feed it to them?

George eating one of his favorite Chobani Greek Yogurts – Grape

After doing my research I found that Chobani has yogurt just for kids. YAY!   The sugar content is 7 grams lower (compared to a 6oz container) and they come in fun flavors like grape and watermelon.  They are easy to take on the go! And work great for breakfast or as a sweet dessert after supper.

We are an active family so food is not the only way we try to remain healthy.  We take family walks and go on family runs.  We go outside and allow George to explore the grass and get fresh air.  I always keep the sliding door open to allow him to play on our deck and we make trips to the park.   I try to make sure that I keep fresh snacks on hand at all times.  We eat things like freeze dried fruit, frozen fruit (defrosts wonderfully!) and of course our handy yogurt pouches.

After making several changes in our diet as a family I’ve seen the positive benefits.  We are a much happier family without all of the refined sugars and processed foods.  I am not a nutritionist but I am a mom and I feel it is my job to make sure that I’m doing the best for Adam and George to ensure they are both happy and healthy. Adam and I have both lost around 20lbs with our changes. Start small and you never know where it might take you!

My Before and After pictures taken during my healthy body transformation
Continue Reading

A Brief Hiatus!

Friends… I have been laying L-O-W from this blogging thing lately!  I was fully ramped up and ready to go with super blogging and then BAM! Christmas came…and went… and I just stopped. Completely stopped.  So where have I been? What have I been up to?

Back in January I joined this fabulous group – Losing it with Lisa.  It’s hosted by Lisa Rambo, a former Biggest Loser contestant.  She is one of the most amazing and inspiring people I have ever met.  I have always struggled with my weight and after having a baby, I seriously thought the weight would magically come off… but even after a year I was still 15lbs above where I wanted to be.  So each week I go to Lisa’s bootcamp, weigh in, work out, learn about nutrition and leave feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the week.  So far I have lost almost 20lbs. Yes. TWENTY FREAKING POUNDS.  I am seeing numbers I haven’t seen since high school.  So that has been my focus.  I workout, eat well, and spend time with my family.

I think when I fell away from blogging I almost felt a sense of guilt about when I should come back and if I should even come back.   I am grateful to have such supportive friends and family who inquired if I would be blogging again… I plan on it!  I promise 🙂

Here are some things of what you might have missed in the last few months…

George’s 1st birthday (Yes, this pretty much engulfed my entire month of January!) How is it possible my sweet little boy is almost 14 months old?!

Great Grandpa and George

Aunt Bootsie, Brentley, George and I 

Brentley, Cousin Jenny, George, and I 
Stinky Butt 
Godparents – Greg and Jayme

George, me and Sophie

Helgeson Family, Adam, Great Grandpa, Alex, George, me, Grandma Judy and Grandpa Paul

February brought Valentine’s day (completely uneventful), a golf vacation for Adam (which left me a single parent with little help since the grandparents were also gone!), and a chance to get out side and do some running.  

March has also been busy. I spent the first weekend in Illinois doing an intensive review course for a designation I’m working on — and passed!  I have 1 more (of 9) to complete – which means I am eligible for a trip to Hawaii for conferment. YAY!!!  This girl needs a beach vacation!   I also ran my fastest 7k (and first 7K – ha ha) ever.  My first mile was 8:42 which was a PR for me.  I am so excited to see what this summer of running brings for me.  
Tory, Jen and I before the Get Lucky 7k

I am also launching a new business venture this month!  Ahh.. what started as a whim has proved to be a total motivation to try something new!  I cannot wait to write all about it (and share some before/afters and personal testimonies!) for my business.   More to come!!

Continue Reading