Tuesday, September 30, 2014

5 Great Snack Foods for Kids

*This post is brought to you by Hormel.

Whether you are homeschoolers like us, public schoolers, or even private, all kids are clamoring for a snack while at school. It's important that as parents, we are not only providing our kids with school supplies, but the best fuel in order to get their best learning done.

Sugary snacks can be fun and they are great for a treat now and then, kids tend to burn through the sugar energy very quickly, leaving them tired and cranky - not ideal for learning. The best snack for a child is one filled with protein, fiber and anti-oxidants. Listed below are my five favorite snacks to promote learning.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Baby Wearing with BABYBJÖRN

When my eldest daughter was born, Mostly Together Dad and I were living in Japan. We loved it there and explored as much as was possible with two young children. One thing that we found immensely helpful was our infant carrier, the BABYBJÖRN. With it, we rode trains, explored samurai castles, and even went on a hike or two. Unfortunately, we weren't able to use the orginal BABYBJÖRN much past her 18 month mark.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Schwan's Online Grocery Delivery Review and Giveaway!

When I was contacted recently by a Schwan's Home Delivery Service representative, Jennifer, I wasn't entirely sure what to think. I had never had any experience with grocery shopping other than the typical routine of going to the store and browsing the shelves. What would it be like to not be able to hold a package in my hands and read the ingredients or actually inspect the cut of meat I was buying? Could I really trust that I would receive a quality product?


What I found after ordering, receiving my shipment, and eating the food completely changes the way I will look at food buying in the future. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Taking Care of Mommy

From the moment I wake up in the mornings, to my 20 month old shouting "Mama!" at the top of her lungs, to the time the kids are back in bed, I am constantly on the go. Things like an actual skincare routine tend to fly out the window. I'm lucky if I can get a shower every day! At the end of the long day, half the time I am off to work and the other half I just want to sit and veg out with Mostly Together Dad.

With all of that going on, applying moisturizer, using face scrubs, replenishing masks and the like are not something that I have ever been able to commit myself to doing on a regular basis. Even when I tell myself that this time, I will follow the routine to the letter, I always end up laying down in bed almost asleep when I finally remember that I should get up and do it. But I don't. At this point in my life, sleep is more precious than looking good.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Getting Our Science on with Dr. Cool

*This post is brought to you by Dr. Cool.

My son is really into science. Predictably, he really likes doing experiments, but I find that it can be a lot of work to put one together, especially when you combine that with his regular school work. While they can be fun and educational, I just can't find the time to put them together very often. Instead, I have found that it can be really fun (and easy!) for both of us to work from a kit.

Our latest kit is from Discover with Dr. Cool, specifically, the Ultimate Dino Dig kit. Included in the kit are instructions, a magnifying glass, an excavation tool, brush, and an activity booklet. Kids get to pretend they are a paleontologist for the day and excavate dinosaur treasures!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

GeoPuzzle World Review and Giveaway!

*This post is brought to you by GeoPuzzle.

Mostly Together Dad is Hispanic and while he speaks perfect English, it was not his first language. My in-laws all speak Spanish and it is important to our entire family for our children to also learn Spanish. As a homeschooling mom, I think that I do a pretty decent job of teaching my children, but Spanish is not something that I excel in, by any means!

Because of this, I like to not only use a curriculum, but also to incorporate learning Spanish in other ways, like having a chart of Spanish colors on the wall or adding a word or phrase into our every day language. One thing that I was recently able to use incorporate Spanish with geography.

Please Support the Wounded Warrior Project!

*This post is brought to you by Believe in Heros.

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you've probably heard me mention the military. I am very proud to be a former military member, military spouse, and the daughter and granddaughter of someone who served in the military. However, my role in the military was small. I was never deployed to a war zone, I was never injured in a major way, and any sacrifice that I made in service to my country pales in comparison to the sacrifice that so many others have made.

Because I feel that I've been so blessed, it makes me want to give and support our military through the Believe in Heros Wounded Warrior Project. The great thing is that it's not hard to show support at all. In fact, you don't even need to do something other than grocery shop!

By downloading and using coupons from select retailers, they will donate to the Believe in Heros Wounded Warrior Project. Not only are you saving money, but you are giving to people who have given so much to you! It doesn't cost you anything other than the ink and paper you print on to show a little bit of love.

Of course, if you are so inclined, you can make a larger contribution, which is always appreciated! Your gifts are tax deductible and are used to assist those wounded and their families. A whopping 80 percent of all funds collected by the Believe in Heros organization goes to helping these warriors!

Believe in Heros also has an online store where they sell merchandise that furthers funds the great programs that they have going on.

So what are all these great programs? Take for example the Track program, that helps to educate and prepare warriors for an employment future outside the military. Then there are WWP Packs that are sent to returning injured military members as they return to the U.S. and arrive at trauma units. These backpacks are filled with comfort items that help make a hospital stay bearable. My favorite program is the Combat Stress Recovery Program that helps members mentally adjust to coming home, the nightmares of war, a lost limb, or PTSD.

Thinking about the men and women who have given so much makes me tear up and a lump in my throat grow. It's so easy to help and I hope that each and every one of you reading this post takes it to heart and makes the choice to do something great for these people who have done great things for this country.

Coupons are available until November 30, 2014, or until supplies last.

*I’m participating in the 2014 Believe in Heroes® blogger campaign and received compensation as part of the program. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Doc is IN!

 *This post is brought to you by Click Communications.

When Doc McStuffins came out a couple of years ago, my little Shari was immediately in love. Doc loves everything my daughter does:  Stuffed animals, imaginative play, and singing! She was absolutely thrilled the other day when we received the brand new Doc McStuffins School of Medicine DVD.

With Shari starting 1st grade this year, it was the perfect DVD to get her geared up! The DVD features 5 episodes, including:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

NUK Brings the Cuteness!

It seems I am forever in search of the perfect sippy. One that is cute, doesn't leak but is able to drink from, and one that safe for my child. After trying out the Gerber Graduate Hard Spout cup, I'm still looking, though this one does come very close.

The cup is adorable, I had no complaints in that area, NUK cups are always cute. My daughter had no problem drinking from it, but in recent months, she has become absolutely determined to spill the water out of her cups! It can be so frustrating to me, as her mom to see her intentionally pouring water all over herself.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Effortless Meals

*Thanks to the Coca-Cola company for providing compensation for this post.

Do remember a few weeks ago, how I told you about how horribly I'd been feeding my family and how I was trying to turn that around by starting a new diet? Well, here's the thing - I still need to feed my family. It can be tough cooking a delicious meal for your family, smelling the wonderful aromas and knowing that you aren't going to be able to partake - especially when you are just getting started.

I didn't want to just get them fast food, because we have already eaten way too much of that junk while we were moving this summer. Besides, while I'm okay with some unhealthy treats every once in a while, I like to make sure my kids are choosing healthier options for the most part.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Back-to-School Decorating

*This post is brought to you by WallMonkeys.

With the move that we made last month, we have gained a much larger space for our homeschool classroom. I have been busy painting, decorating, and hopefully hanging new curtains soon. With the new school year underway, I have been a little behind in getting my school decorations and visuals in place, but I think we are all aware that I'm not always completely together!

Even though I'm not completely done yet, I got started last night by hanging the Periodic Table of Elements. With my oldest entering 5th grade this year, it's a little bit above his level, but I like to put a mixture of completely relevant posters and ones that get kids thinking about new concepts. The colorful chart that I got from WallMonkey does just that!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Urbini Avi Jogging Stroller

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Urbini. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and as a thank you for participating.

I discovered jogging strollers for the first time when my son was a baby nine years ago. With every child since, I have chosen jogging strollers for their versatility, smooth ride, and ability to go on terrain that traditional strollers cannot. Even though I'm not much of a jogger, these are great for walking on trails or paths.

Red Urbini Avi Jogger

I am now on my third child and my third stroller. This latest is the brand new Urbini Avi. The Avi is different in some very key ways from the other two. First, the Avi's back wheels are a bit wider, giving it more stability than a more traditional jogger. Looking up just slightly, you see shocks, which are more than just the plastic that many others offer, they are actual springs. This gives your child a really smooth ride and truly makes it comfortable on all-terrain!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies

*This post is brought to you by Hormel.

Peanut butter is something that we use in my house a lot. My kids love it on sandwiches, celery, even on the occasional sweet treat. I was recently introduced to a new kind of peanut butter, from Skippy. It's peanut butter - but with dark chocolate added! Even better is the fact that it's natural!

Instead of using it with our usual foods, I thought it would be fun to try it in a peanut butter cookie. They. Were. Amazing! Just the right amount of peanut butter and chocolate to really make your taste buds sit up and say, "Hello!"

Sofia the First: The Enchanted Feast

*This post is brought to you by Click Communications.

When Sofia the First came out, I knew it would be a family favorite. Our youngest, Sophia, had just been born, and my older kids were so impressed that she had a princess "named after her." Because we all love the sweet Sofia character, we are always interested when a new episode or movie comes out.

My daughter, Shari, was especially excited with the release of the new Sofia the First:  The Enchanted Feast because not only does it include five great episodes, but there is an 'Enchanted Hand Mirror' inside the DVD case!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Teaching your Kids Math on the Sly!

*This post is brought to you by Calliope Games.

Is math homework something that you have to drag your children to do, kicking and screaming? In our house, math is one of the tougher subjects, one that my kids are adamantly opposed to. We try to find ways to teach and practice math skills without the kids noticing (we are math-ninjas!). Games are the most natural way to do this, which is what led us to Roll for It!

The game comes with 4 sets of 6 adorably mini dice (not meant for children under 3), 30 Roll For It! cards and the instructions. Nice and simple! And, in case you were wondering, the rules are simple as well. The first page of the instructions is really all you need. It states: 1: Roll for it!  2:  Match it!  3:  Score it! 

End of Summer Sweepstakes with Branson Tourism Center!

*This post is brought to you by Branson Tourism Center.

I have been heard great things about Branson the last few years. Both my parents and several of my siblings have spent time there, enjoying shows (I've heard great things about Jonah), zip-lining, museums, and more. When my family and I passed through a few years ago, it was more than apparent that it's a busy place where something is always going on.

One of the things I was most impressed with about Branson is that it is so family friendly. Restaurants, hotels, and attractions are plentiful so there is something for everyone.

Now that summer is ending, Branson Tourism Center wants to invite you to enter the End of Summer Sweepstakes, where one lucky winner is going to take home a $325 gift card to enjoy for your family to enjoy on your next Branson vacation! The gift card can be used on any lodging, shows, or any other attraction from Branson Tourism Center.

To enter, simply visit http://www.bransontourismcenter.com/page/contest

*For more information or to plan a visit, go to http://www.bransontourismcenter.com/info/ or http://www.branson.com/news/

*I received compensation for sharing this information.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Diet-to-Go Review and Giveaway!

*This post is brought to you by Diet-to-Go

I have long thought about trying one of the diet programs where your food is all prepared for you. Mostly Together Dad was leaving for two weeks (he got to work onboard the USS Constitution for his 2 weeks of reservist drill time!) which made it the perfect time to try one out. Luckily, I was able to do so with Diet-to-Go.

It's no secret that dieting is hard. Unfortunately, I hadn't been eating very well, because life has been so busy lately and I hadn't been taking the time I should to prepare healthy foods the way I should. In any case, I have some weight to lose. I was really excited to learn that Diet-to-Go offers different meal plans for people wishing to follow different diets.