Tuesday, June 30, 2015

LivingSocial - Experiences + a Giveaway!

Summer is the perfect time to introduce new experiences to your children... or have a fun one yourself! LivingSocial is THE place for affordable deals this summer, whether you're looking for a couples retreat or a trip to a waterpark for the family.

The great thing about LivingSocial is that even if you don't quite know what you want to do, but know that you're ready for some fun, all you have to do is enter your location and they will find the action for you! At the tips of your fingers, you'll find exciting trips to take, beautiful hotel stays, amazing restaurants, and even fabulous entertainment all at discounts that will make your wallet happy.


The offerings will vary by location, of course, but some of the exciting offerings are:

As you can see, no matter where you are in the country, you will be able to find something unique and fun to do. The best part? New deals are always being added in your area and they are always a deal compared to what you'd find at the event.


To get you started having fun this summer, LivingSocial is reaching out to offer a giveaway for one lucky winner. They will get $50 in Deal Bucks, to spend on anything on LivingSocial, whether it be tickets to a concert, a day at the spa, or attending dance classes. If you're in the mood to learn something new or take a much needed break, enter the giveaway on the form below.


Entry-Form
*I received compensation for this post. Regardless, I only promote products/services that I myself use and/or would use.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Little Leader Method to Getting Children to Eat Vegetables



*Today's Guest Post comes from Jennifer at MomTricks.com

My name is Jennifer and I have a new blog at MomTricks.com.

And I have a confession to make: I love vegetables. I even loved them when I was a kid.

While I know it's pretty common for kids to be fussy about them, I was never like that at all.

Unfortunately, my son didn't follow in my footsteps. He was a very picky eater, and I was convinced it was probably something I did wrong. We did go to McDonalds, and he loved his McNuggets, but getting him to eat veggies was an entirely different story.

He would just refuse to do it. Completely.

All hope wasn't lost, though. We did eventually get him to open up to eating new fruits and veggies, and while he isn't exactly the veggie-devouring machine his mama is, I'm always impressed with how brave he is about eating new things. Especially compared to how he used to be.

So, how did I do it?

I used what I now like to call the Little Leader Method.

Basically, I got him to help me make the meal, from start to finish. He was in charge, meaning he made the decisions. And it really helped!

First things first, I let him pick out the veggies.

Since he was young, he couldn't have just walked through the grocery store and picked something out. So, instead I picked out a few different things, like carrots, cauliflower, zucchini and potatoes. Then I let him pick which one he preferred from the bunch.

It turned out that the zucchini was the most appealing, so that's what we got!

If you start off like this, I believe even young children can make the connection between buying the veggies in the store and them winding up on their plate later.

It removes a lot of the fear and mystery behind the new and strange foods!

Next, I let him pick the recipe. What I think works best is to look online, especially on Pinterest. I find Pinterest to be the absolute best place to find new recipes!

Best of all, they always include high-quality, awesome and tasty pictures of the final dish. What I did was pick out which ones I liked, and then let my son pick from them.

That's all you really have to do. It's an important step, because they feel like they're important and making the decisions along the way.

All you have to do is head over to Pinterest and do a search for the veggie you have. For example, if you have a cauliflower, just look for “cauliflower recipes” and you'll instantly get a whole bunch of great recipes.

Then, just let your child pick one of them!

Finally, I let him prepare the meal. I think this is the most important part, because even a young child can make the direct connection between the preparation and what they eat at the end.

Since my son was young, I had him help wash the veggies and tear up lettuce leaves for a salad. That's something any young child can do.

But if your child is older, they can be more involved, and even do things like help cut up veggies or meats.

All that's important is that they do something to help, so they feel important and like they're in charge. It is called the Little Leader Method, remember!

I really believe that if you let them help as much as possible, it makes a big difference in how willing they are to eat the meal at the end. There's no more mystery: they know where the veggies came from, they know how they were used, and they helped with washing and preparing the meal.

Remember to have patience and understanding, and things will be much easier. I know you can help your son or daugther overcome their picky eating habits!

*Jennifer is a stay-at-home-mom, blogger, and full-time kid wrangler. She blogs at MomTricks.com on a variety of topics, all aiming to making your life as a mom easier. Stop by and say hello!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

BGCA’s Third Annual Cyber Safe Futures Event

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Boys & Girls Club of America. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Internet safety is becoming a thing in my home. With children who've been exposed to the internet since they were wee ones, they are well aware that it holds many interesting games, jokes, videos, and things to learn.  What they aren't fully aware of yet, is that it also holds many dangers.


My oldest child is only ten, so I was shocked when, several months ago, I caught him getting up in the night to go on my computer without supervision - something he admitted to doing several times previously. It really shook me, but I realized that I just didn't have all the information to give him that he needed to know about how to be safe online.

That's where the Boys & Girls Club of America Cyber Safe has been a real help. It helps to bridge the gap between parents and kids and answers a lot of questions that we all have regarding cyber safety. Teens these days are more internet savvy than most parents and as such are the best resource when it comes to learning how to detect internet risks.

My favorite part of the site has to be where parents can ask expert teens questions about how to talk to their own kids, their thoughts on internet safety, and even what they should be on the lookout for with their kids. They give tips that most parents like me don't know. For example, did you know that a kid has to be 13 to use Facebook or Snapchat? I didn't and I know I've seen children younger than that on Facebook!

Not only is there a ton of information for both parents and teens (or pre-teens!) to learn, but BGCA is offering 3 iPad mini's and $500 to the BGCA of choice to lucky winner's who submit questions to their panel of teenage experts.

If you have questions about how to make your teens more safe online and want to imbue them with knowledge of how to protect themselves, take the quiz, ask some questions and get a conversation going! Be sure to follow BGCA on Facebook and Twitter for more tips and advice!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Ready, Set, Drone!

It's summer and with summer comes beautiful days to spend outside. Picnics, bike rides and sidewalk chalk abounds. Kites, though, have never been our thing. A far cooler option is the 3D Robotics Solo Drone. Best Buy is the destination for drones, including the new Solo™ by 3DR. Mostly Together Dad is in agreement and is currently begging for one for his birthday.



Solo, the Smart Drone, arrived in over 400 Best Buy stores on June 8, just in time for Father’s Day. It’s the first-ever drone powered by two integrated Linux computers, making capturing the perfect shot easy for anyone. The Solo retails for $999.

The really cool thing is that  Solo can define its own flight, freeing users to focus on getting the shot. This intelligent drone is also the first to support full control of GoPro® cameras and deliver live HD video either wirelessly to your mobile device or through the controller’s HDMI port for live broadcasts. Who wouldn't love that?


Can you imagine getting great shots of kids playing in the soccer game, or time spent fishing on the lake? Using the Solo makes it easier than ever, especially for those of us unwilling to climb to uncomfortable heights or get too close to prickly wildlife.

There is a great offer from Best Buy right now for the Solo. You can Get a FREE Solo Smart Battery (Reg. Price: $149.99) when you purchase the 3DR Solo Drone (Sku: 5354101). Valid 6/7-7/11 at Best Buy. (Disclaimer: Offer valid with purchase of the 3DR Solo Drone SKU: 5351035)

What would you use the Solo for?

*The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Summer Reading Program with Family Christian


With summer well underway and school naught but a distant memory, now's about the time that kids are coming inside, sweaty and hot from playing outside and announcing for one and all, "I'm bored!" Instead of feeling frustrated and wishing away the summer months, it's a perfect time to get involved with a summer reading program.


Family Christian has a great program going where kids under age 12 can read any 6 Christian books and complete a book report for each one. Don't worry - it's only 3 questions, so even the young children can participate with a parents help. Once the book reports are completed, simply take them in to your local Family Christian store and turn them in for your child's $10 Savings Pass - Good for any purchase of $10 or more! They can sped their certificate in store or online, it's up to them!

The great thing is that if, like me, you don't live near a Family Christian store, you can simply email them to CUSTOMERSERVICE@FAMILYCHRISTIAN.COM. My kiddo's are really excited about this, because it allows them to win something more than a cheap dollar store toy and they get to actually choose their prize. I love it because it reinforces the love of reading that I work to instill in them. It's also a great way to help bridge the gap between the school year, so kids won't lose reading skills during the summer months.

Need some ideas for your child's summer reading? My 7 year old daughter is into an really eclectic book selection, from the Imagination Station series (based on the Adventures in Odyssey radio program), to A Horse for Kate, and she's long loved the Gigi:  God's Little Princess series that she is now enjoying reading to her 2 year old sister!


My 10 year old son is over the moon for the Jack Staples series and is so excited for the latest book to come out, Jack Staples and the Poet's Storm. Jack Staples is a fantasy series for boys and girls about good triumphing over evil.

*This post is brought to you by Family Christian.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

LILLEbaby COMPLETE 6-in1 Baby Carrier Review

Taking a two year old anywhere is an experience. They are either feeling tired and want someone to carry them everywhere or have so much energy that it's impossible to keep up with them. Often, they like to switch from one to the other with no warning and woe to the parent who isn't ready for it! This is where a good baby carrier can come in handy.


I was sent the LILLEbaby COMPLETE 6-in-1 Baby Carrier to review and I was so excited to try it out, mainly because of all the different positions you can use to carry a little one. True to the title, you can wear your baby in six different positions, whichever feels most comfortable for you and your little one (or which is best recommended for their age and weight). You can wear your baby in front in the fetal position, infant, outward, and toddler. You can also wear them in the hip carry and on your back.

I really, really wanted to like this carrier. And there certainly are a lot of things to like about it. Unfortunately, I've come to the conclusion that this one just isn't for me, due to a variety of factors, one of which being my size.

As a tall (I'm 5'8), plus-size mom, finding the right fit can be quite a challenge. Learning that the waist circumference can go out to 52" made me think that it would be fine, but the fit just didn't feel right for me. Luckily, Mostly Together Dad was willing to try it out for me, as he is the one who usually wears our little lady while we are out and about.

Pros:
  • Multiple Positions
  • Neutral Colors
  • Sturdy - It is definitely well made and I don't see the seams coming apart any time soon
  • Handy Pocket
  • Hood - While this isn't something I needed as my daughter is older, I could see this coming in handy as a breastfeeding cover, or as a sun shade if baby is asleep
  • Longevity of Use - Usable from newborn to 45 pounds
Cons:
  • Gets Hot Quickly (Other LILLEbaby carriers do have a mesh backing which can help with this problem)
  • Not Easy to Use - Lots of straps and buckles can be confusing
  • Requires 2 people - One of the buckles fastens in the back, so unless you are double jointed, you'll need two people to get situated
So, even though this isn't the carrier for me, it's got great reviews on other websites, so there are a lot of women who find this is the best carrier for them. With more practice, the straps probably wouldn't be as confusing and the buckles might become easier also. If you are a smaller woman (or man!) I would certainly recommend giving this one a shot.

*I was sent a LILLEbaby 6-in-1 Baby Carrier in exchange for my honest review.



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Swim, Sun and Fun GIVEAWAY!

Welcome to the 3rd Annual Swim, Sun, and Fun Giveaway!!  Summer is one of those exciting times of year no matter where you live or how old you are!  This giveaway  is about celebrating the season in every way.  Prizes include outdoor games, pool/beach gear, vacation essentials, outdoor sporting goods, entertaining and more.......
I have to thank each and every wonderful sponsor who helped truly make this giveaway event possible!

Hosted by:
Make Our Own Network
A Lucky Ladybug, Tyrneathem, Java John Z's, 
and A Ladybug on the Go

Please be patient with our bloggers websites and load times since this is such a large event.  The forms may take a little extra time AND it may seem like this one has a little extra work to enter.  Even though each of the packages have their own giveaway form, you will find that most of the entries are identical.  This way if you like/follow a page in one you will already have it done for the next!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Imikas Electric Pencil Sharpener Review


*This post is brought to you by Imikas.

I've had the iPoint Curve that I picked up from Walmart (should have been my first warning) for less than a year. About 2 weeks ago, the thing just wouldn't start. I changed the batteries to no avail. I even took the whole thing apart, hoping that I'd find some obvious defect that I could fix. Again, nothing worked.

As a homeschooling parent, I am in constant need of sharp pencils, and a manual sharpener just won't do. In desperation, I turned to the Imikas Electric Pencil Sharpener, hoping against hope that it would get the job done. (I was sent one for review) It took about a week to get here (it was grouped with some other items, so I don't know how fast it would ship otherwise).

The first thing I noticed when I took it out of the box was that it had a plug in for a wall outlet. Not wanting to be tied to an outlet, I was disappointed, until I realized that it was just one option. There is the option for batteries as well as using the plug-in. The next thing I noticed was how compact it is versus my old sharpener. With the batteries installed, it has a nice weight, so it's not going to get knocked off of my desk constantly either.

Putting my first pencil in the sharper, I was shocked at how fast and powerful the motor is for such a small machine. You literally only need to keep it in for a few seconds to get the job done. The lead came out with a very sharp tip, not the blunt tip my old one gave (and I hated). If that's what you prefer, though, there are two other settings so that you can get the tip that you like.

The one thing that I don't love is the shavings container. It can be a bit tricky taking off the housing at first (I spilled half of the shavings all over myself the first time). Because of how it is situated, you will want to empty it before it gets full, otherwise, you might have an even worse time emptying it.

One other thing to mention, that's really important - I have yet to have a pencil lead break off in this machine. It was a constant problem with my other one, and it would take time (always in short supply), patience and some skill to get the thing out and continue sharpening my pencil. This one has not given me a lick of trouble - even with some cheap pencils that are prone to breaking.

PROS:

-Small Design
-Fast, Powerful Motor
-Three Pencil lead tip settings (VERY Sharp, blunt, or very blunt)
-Runs off batteries OR an included plug
-Pencil Lead does not break off in machine

CONS:

-Shavings Dispenser
-Loud

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

GoPro HERO+LCD for Father's Day

*This post is brought to you by Best Buy.

With Father's Day right around the corner, many of us are scrambling to find just the right gift. We want something that lets them know we love them, while also providing something they can use with the kids. What better than a new GoPro HERO+LCD camera from Best Buy?


With a GoPro, not only can you catch special photos from a great soccer game, but you can capture sweet family moments, long summer breaks and every journey that lies ahead. Dads can use the camera mounts and capture incredible videos and relive them on the spot with the LCD display. Or they can use the built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® to connect to the GoPro App for shot preview, total camera control and easy content sharing to Instagram, Facebook, and more.


If you want to make the day extra special for the great Dad in your life, make sure you go to Best Buy. They are the destination for the latest cameras and camcorders, including the new GoPro HERO+LCD. The new camera arrives in stores just in time for Father’s Day. To make the deal extra sweet, take advantage of one of these great deals:

  •    HERO+LCD (Sku 6954009) with free 32GB Extreme Plus memory card (Sku 9387066). Valid 6/14-6/20
  • ·         Free $50 Best Buy Gift Card with purchase of the GoPro HERO4 Silver (Sku 8374096) or GoPro HERO4 Black (Sku 8374078). Valid 6/7-6/20


Father's Day should be a time to relax and celebrate the amazing men in our lives. For everything that they do and everything that they are, we love them and want the best for them - because they are so special and important to both our children and to us! Make it one that he will remember!

*The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Clean Summer Breeze Giveaway!

Prize:
Venta Airwasher - LW 15
ARV $220

Hosted by:
Java John Z's
and 
Make Our Own Network
The most compact, small humidifier and best room air purifier on the market, the LW15 Airwasher contains our most advanced technology to remove dust, particles and allergens from the air you breathe. This filter less humidifier and dual-function device cleans indoor air making it the best humidifier for baby rooms, living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms. Our filter less technology reduces mold and waste, along with other additional life changing air purifier benefits. The Venta Airwasher brings new meaning to, and appreciation for, personal space. Our Airwashers were designed with advanced technology and German engineering, making them the best room humidifiers and purifiers on the market.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Introducing the Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat!

Choosing a car seat for your child is no easy task. There are so many things to consider, including safety, longevity of use, comfort, even style. While everyone is different, my number one concern is always safety. When I was sent the Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat (in exchange for an honest review), safety was the first thing I looked in to.
Sleeping Baby, Road Trip, Toddler Nap,

I was pleased to discover that Graco was also thinking of safety first. It was made  using Smart Engineering, meaning that it was made and crash tested to meet or exceed US safety standards FMVSS 213:

  • Side Impact Tested for Occupant Retention by the harness system
  • New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) - Peak Crash Force approximately 2X Car Seat Standard
  • Extreme Car Interior Temperatures
That definitely helps me breathe easier when it comes to trusting my child to the safety of this car seat, especially with all you hear in the news about children being left inside hot cars accidentally.

When it comes to features, some car seats just have so much that it's overwhelming and some have almost nothing, so you can get frustrated trying to make it work. The Graco Contender 65 Convertible falls right in the middle, giving just what you need and not a lot of stuff that you don't. The Features include:

  • Rear facing from 5 - 40 lbs. and forward facing from 20-65
  • Simply Safe Adjust™ Harness System, making it easy to adjust, using just one hand
  • EPS, energy absorbing foam
  • One-hand, 8-position adjustable headrest
  • SafeSeat Engineering
  • Removable head and body support
  • LATCH equipped with an easy-to-read level indicator for installation
  • 5-point, front-adjust harness
  • 2-position recline
  • Cup holder
Having a busy two year old, these features are so helpful! I love that I can adjust most things with one hand (what mom of a busy toddler ever has more than one hand available?!). My toddler loves that she can clip the chest harness together - and I love that she can't unclip it yet!


Is it strange to love a cup holder? Well, I do! Most cup holders for car seats that I've seen are easily detached and easily broken or lost. The cup holder in this car seat is built in and it's sturdy! It doesn't dangle down on the side where a child can't reach and it doesn't have holes in it, which means you can use it for snacks, sippy cups, or anything else you can think of.

As much as I love this car seat, I think my daughter loves it more. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the one above tells it all. If my picky two year old can fall asleep in it, then you know it's great!

*I was compensated for this review in the form of a car seat. This is no way influences this review.