We have many games on our Apple devices for the kids to play and learn, however...I've often thought how nice it would be to take it a step further...to really get them involved and having even more fun while they're learning! Well, now there is thanks to AppStart Learning and their iLearn 'N' Play - a combination of iOS devices and toys!
iLearn 'N' Play was created by a team of product development experts with a combined 30 years of experience working with cutting edge brands like VTech Early Learning, Fisher Price, and more! It combines the use of devices like iPads, iPhones and iPods with a fun, App-enhanced learning curriculum to make the most revolutionary development in education since the chalkboard!

I don't know about you, but this exactly what I had been looking for. A way to take fun and learning to a whole new level using the Apple devices we already own. And the really neat part, is that the toys of iLearn 'N' Play were not an afterthought to Apps already created. No, the three toys available play an important role in the function of the App through a variety of external buttons, knobs or stylus. 

I was excited to have the opportunity to learn more about the following three toys and that we were going to be able to review one.

  • iPad App: Letterbox for the Learning Tablet toy 
  • iPad or iPhone/iPod Touch App: Letter Explorer for the Adventure Explorer toy
  • Either iPhone/iPod Touch App: Numberbots for The Robbi toy

It was not easy trying to decide which one of these fun, interactive toys to review. After looking each of them over in depth, I decided on the Adventure Explorer Toy based on my kids' ages and interests. I'm so glad I did!

Features/Benefits:

  • On the go play
  • Protects device
  • Workds with iPhone, iPod Touch, & iPad devices
  • Driving controls
  • Compatible with iLearn 'N' Play Letter Explorer App
  • Designed for ages 3+

When our iLearn 'N' Play Adventure Explorer App Learning Toy arrived, I couldn't wait to check it out (the kids were pretty excited too!
Out of the box I could tell right away that the quality is great. It seems durable and well-made which is important when it comes to things my kids are using on a daily basis. It's great to know that this is something that will last us a long time. 

I really appreciate that it's made to safely enclose and protect my Apple device. My iPhone safely locks into the toy, protecting it from accidental drops. YAY! And, it couldn't be easier to insert into the case. 
I located the child safety lock on the back (using a coin to lock and unlock), and then simply inserted my device into the protective case. After closing the back, I placed it on the steering wheel base and was ready to get everything set up and ready to use. 

This particular toy does take 3 AA batteries (not included), however this was not a problem as we always have batteries on hand. Once I put the batteries in, both Kaden and Kaelyn were begging to give it a try. Thankfully, it didn't take long and we had the bluetooth between my phone and the toy set up so that they could start using the FREE Letter Explorer App and play the fun, educational game.
I'm sure you have guessed by now, but both kids were absolutely thrilled with the app, and the iLearn 'N' Play toy! Kaden especially enjoys using the steering wheel and throttle to control the car that's collecting letters int he Letter Explorer app. I am amazed how much fun he's having and doesn't even realize he's learning at the same time. At 3 years old he is just beginning to recognize letters, and this app is sure helping a lot!

Kaelyn already knows her letters, but she still enjoys the practice...and of course the idea of driving a race car while doing it! 
  

The features on the toy really make it come to life. With a forward/reverse and fast/slow levers...along with a horn and key, the kids stay entertained with the app and learning for long periods of time. They just love it! I will admit, so do I. It's a lot of fun!
I do like that the Adventure Explorer is made with the family on the go in mind. Kids can play the app without using the Adventure Explorer controls as well. Simply remove the case from the support arm and they can continue to play on the go by tilting the case left and right to steer and touching the screen to speed up. It's great for trips in the car especially!

Overall I've been really happy with the Adventure Explorer from iLearn 'N' Play! I will definitely be watching as more apps for each of these toys are rolled out throughout the year, as I know this is something my kids are going to enjoy playing with for a long time! 

Now that we've had the opportunity to test out the Adventure Explorer, we can't wait to see what the Robbi Toy and Learning Tablet Toy are like as well! 

The Robbi Toy is an adorable learning companion, providing children with hours of fun learning. Simply slip an iPhone or iPod into Robbi's faceplate and he comes alive. So cute! Bluetooth connects the iPod/iPhone to the unit. The apps ask children to use the 10 chunky numbers in Robbi's tummy to focus on teaching beginning numbers, counting, addition/subtraction, colors, and more! I could see this being great for any young child. The Robbi toy retails for $39.99 at Target and Target.com.

The Learning Tablet toy also looks like loads of fun! Simply slip your iPad into the durable frame, grab the attached child-friendly stylus and power up for some fun learning! Once safely inserted, the iPad becomes a part of this amazing new, early educational concept. Each Learning Tablet comes with a Letterbox app, which helps young children to develop their writing skills. Using the stylus provided, children learn to write the letters of the alphabet and be rewarded for improving their skills. The Learning Tablet toy retails for $19.99 at Target and Target.com.
Buy It: The iLearn 'N' Play Adventure Explorer toy retails for $39.99.

Win It: One VERY lucky reader is going to win one of the iLearn 'N' Play toys of their choice!! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter giveaway below. If you don't see the form, click here.

This giveaway is open to US Only and will end March 14th. 

**The products for this review/giveaway were provided for free, however all opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.






The Benefits and Uses of Virgin Coconut Oil

Posted by Jenna | Thursday, February 28, 2013



As I've mentioned before, I want to give my kids the very best start in life. I am always looking for more natural alternatives when it comes to our foods, our household cleaners...even our body care products! That's why I was happy to come across Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil this past summer (you can read our review, here).

For those who aren't familiar with Tropical Traditions, they are committed to providing healthy coconut oil. For more than 10 years, they have been producing their coconut oil by hand, using the wet- milling process of extracting the oil from fresh coconuts. 

We've been using our coconut oil for many months now, and it amazes me just how versatile it really is! This is not a sponsored post, but one I wanted to share with you about the different uses and benefits of Coconut Oil that I've learned since we started using it. Please note, that the following examples are my personal experiences. Please see disclaimer at end of post.


Cooking: I have learned many ways coconut oil can be used in cooking. We've enjoyed using it to replace vegetable oils in baked goods, using it for frying food, etc. The taste it gives is great and I feel like it's a much healthier option for our family than shortening, canola oils, etc. 

Eczema: My son struggles with eczema and coconut oil has helped to keep his skin moisturized. We have even added a little bit to his bath water for a moisturizing soak every now and then. 

Sunburn: For any of our sunburns, coconut oil has helped the redness and pain go away, and prevented peeling. 

Canker Sores: I have used coconut oil on canker sores and have been continually impressed with how well it relieves the sting and pain of the sore almost instantly. It also helped speed healing of the sore as well.

Scars:When my son fell and hit his head last year, he required quite a few stitches. We used coconut oil to not only help keep the area clean, but also to help promote healing and reduce the visibility of the scar. It worked very well!

Carrier Oil: Coconut Oil works as a great carrier oil when using essential oils (more on that to come!)

Make-up Remover: I feel like many make-up removers dry out my skin, so when I learned how great coconut oil is...I thought I'd give it a try. I LOVE it as a make-up remover! It works great and makes my skin feel amazing. 

Teething Pain: I had read that coconut oil works well for relieving teething pain. We have used it quite a bit with Caysen, especially when he was getting his 1 year molars. It seemed to work well in helping to relieve the pain when applied to his gums. 

Ear Infections: I've used it in my kids ears to help ear infection healing and it worked very well (especially when used with garlic oil).

Antibacterial Ointment: We've applied to cuts and scratches instead of an antibiotic ointment. It soothes and seems to help wounds heal faster in our experiences. I just put a little bit on the area, then cover with a bandaid.

Chapstick: I have used it many times to help protect my lips from chapping by rubbing a little coconut oil into them several times a day. It works great - keeping them moisturized this dry time of year.

Bruises: We have used our coconut oil on bruises and it has done a great job in helping the bruises heal more quickly, and reduces swelling and redness.

Coconut oil has become one of my must-have products. I always have it on hand at home, and try to take some with me whenever we're traveling as well.

There are MANY, MANY more uses and benefits of coconut oil, but so far these are the main things we use it for. Our 32 oz jar from Tropical Traditions has gone a long way, because so very little of it is needed for most things. I look forward to trying coconut oil for other things as well - homemade deodorant, bug repellent, etc. I will update you with another list of uses once we have tried them.




Do you use Coconut Oil? What are some of the ways you've used it? We'd love to hear!

**I was not asked or compensated in any way to write this post. I simply wanted to share my love for coconut oil and the ways in which we have found it useful for those looking to learn more. Please note, these uses noted in my post are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or disorder. The opinions here are solely my own and are our personal experiences with coconut oil. The results and opinions of others may vary from my own.



5 Great Tips for Keeping your Outdoors Organized

Posted by Jenna | Wednesday, February 27, 2013



With spring just around the corner I’m sure the words “spring cleaning” jumped into your mind. I’m also sure that just as soon as they, pardon the pun, sprang to mind, you tried to remove them from your thought processes. After all, we all look forward to spring cleaning about as much as an impacted wisdom tooth. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you are fortunate enough to have outdoor space to enjoy than you realize how much flexibility and fun they provide for you and your family. However, for every upside there is a downside. Having outdoor areas means that they must be maintained and every extra meter of space is an extra meter that must stay organized otherwise it only becomes an eyesore, source of aggravation, and, in a worst case scenario, a dangerous area for those we love the most.

Keeping your outdoors organized though need not be a chore, especially if you do it on a regular basis in which case all it will require is maintenance. Keeping your outdoors organized has many parallels with keeping your indoors organized. Following are five great tips for Keeping your outdoors organized: 

    •    Maintain the Garden – whether you employ a gardener or you do it yourself, your garden must be constantly maintained. A well maintained garden is equivalent to vacuuming or brushing your floor. Trees, flowers, and shrubs are living things which give us much pleasure but also require much care. If you have too much grass then consider replacing part of it with pavers that are easier to maintain. Remember, it’s much easier to maintain a garden than to wait till it becomes a jungle before doing so.
    •    Outdoor Storage – imagine the inside of your home without shelving and storage areas. Why should your outdoors be any different? Deck boxes for smaller items and plastic sheds for larger items are excellent storage solutions. Plastic sheds and deck boxes come in different sizes and colors, and are easy to assemble. They are durable and the perfect place for toys, gardening equipment, and other items that are usually left lying around your outdoors that are both unsightly and dangerous.
    •    Stackable Outdoor Furniture –to really enjoy our outdoors we need outdoor furniture but in the colder months when it is not in use it takes up space. Stackable furniture is a great solution especially for smaller areas. When not in use, simply stack the furniture in a corner and suddenly your yard looks so much bigger.
    •    Maintain Outdoor Furniture – there is nothing worse than seeing outdoor furniture that is falling apart due to wear and tear and exposure to the elements. Would you allow people to enter your house if your sofa was in a state of disrepair? Plastic furniture is easier to maintain than wooden furniture so if you don’t want to spend much time maintaining your outdoor furniture plastic is the better solution.
    •    Hose Reel – a hose snaking around your yard is both dangerous and annoying. I advise you to purchase a hose reel that will enable you to quickly and easily roll up your hose into one small area after use.


Spring cleaning, or year-round cleaning of your outdoor areas need not be a chore. With a little planning and a steady maintenance regime you will be left with plenty of time to really enjoy your outdoors with the family.

Written by Sharon B Robinson on behalf of keter.



Kolcraft MLB Chicago Cubs Umbrella Stroller ~ Review

Posted by Jenna | Wednesday, February 27, 2013



Although it's still a bit cold to go for many stroller rides outside, we do find ourselves on the go a lot shopping, etc this time of year. Kaelyn and Kaden are getting to an age where they enjoy walking many of the places we go. Caysen however, is still too young to keep up and needs to ride in a stroller most places. With all of the other things we have to lug around with us, a stroller is not something we want taking up a lot of room. We need something easy to use and compact. That's why I was thrilled to learn that one of my favorite companies has partnered with MLB and added a great line of baby gear items!

For those who read here often, you know I'm a huge fan of Kolcraft and their high quality baby gear.
With everything from strollers to cribs, mattresses and more...it's a great place for parents to shop! Kolcraft began in 1946 when Leo Koltun made playpen pads out of cotton batting and oilcloth covers for post World War II babies. Over the years the company has grown and expanded to include a variety of products that help make the lives of parents with little ones easier! Known for their innovative and high quality baby products, as well as service that can't be beat....it's no wonder parents continue to turn to them time and time again.

We have owned several products from Kolcraft over the years, and are always impressed with the quality and user-friendly design of the products they offer. That's why I was excited to learn more about the launch of their new MLB line of products: strollers, step stools and potty rings.
With family appeal and a large base of avid fans, Major League Baseball juvenile products allow parents to share the allegiance to their favorite team with their children. Kolcraft now offers these baby gear items bearing the logos of the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers. Additional teams will be added each season too!

I was thrilled to learn we were going to have the opportunity to review one of the new MLB Umbrella Strollers. We were sent the Chicago Cubs Umbrella Stroller.

Features/Benefits:
  • Lightweight at just 7 lbs
  • Folded size: 42" X 7.3" X 8"
  • Open size: 13.8” x 16.5” x 32”
  • 35 lbs. maximum child weight
  • Chicago Cubs logo on the seat
  • Official MLB licensed product
  • Canopy adjusts to block the sun
  • Easy to open and fold
  • Front swivel wheels
  • 3-point safety harness
  • Footrest for easy child access 
As I said, we had been looking for a simple, good quality stroller for our quick trips to the mall and soon, our walks outside. This Official MLB stroller is perfect for those quick trips and outings, which is why I was super excited when it arrived.

Out of the box I was thrilled that there was hardly any assembly at all! It came ready to go other than the canopy which took less than a minute to hook onto the stroller. As a busy mom I appreciate when there isn't much assembly required...as I don't have a lot of time trying to figure things like that out. In just a matter of minutes I had the stroller ready to go!
All set up, this stroller definitely turns heads. I love the uniqueness of the MLB logo and the fact that fans can choose their team and stroll around with team pride! The fabric is a lot of fun, not to mention good quality. I can see it holding up well to any spills that may (or will!) happen! YAY!

Safety is also a concern whenever it comes to baby items, so I appreciate the 3 point harness which adjusts to fit all three of my kids so they are safely positioned in the stroller when it's moving. It has a max weight of 35lbs, so Kaelyn will not be able to ride in much longer - but Kaden and Caysen still have many years to enjoy it!
I love that it includes an adjustable canopy as well! When we're out this summer, I know this will be nice to shade the kids from the sun. It folds down easily to, when not needed.
In the times we've used it so far, we've found this stroller to be extremely convenient. At just 7 lbs and a folded size of 42" X 7.3" X 8", this is the easiest and perfect stroller to grab and put in the back of the car when we're running errands. It's also extremely easy to fold and unfold!
With an open size of 13.8” x 16.5” x 32” it's easy to take with us, even in places like the mall where we run into some tight spaces. The size and front swivel wheels make it easy to maneuver everywhere we go.

Oh, and Caysen sure enjoys it too!
There isn't any storage basket, but still a great stroller for simple outings and trips. It's one I know we'll use a lot in the coming months and years! I would definitely recommend checking them out at Kolcraft.com and supporting your favorite team!
 
Buy It: You can purchase the MLB Chicago Cubs Umbrella Stroller for $39.99. 

You can connect with Kolcraft on Twitter and Facebook

**The product for this review was provided to help facilitate this review. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.



Breakfast In A Jar

Posted by Erin K. | Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Pictured: Peach Cobbler recipe

I am not a morning person.

I know, I know, you're not either...but I am really, really not a morning person.  When my kids are older and I have to rush them off to school in the mornings I honestly don't know what I'll do.  I have a deep appreciation for walking around in my pajamas for a while and waking up slow.

So breakfast in a jar has been revolutionizing my family's mornings.

Lately, I've been preparing breakfast for my whole family the night before in only 5 minutes!  It's cute, quick, healthy and another excuse to use adorable mason jars.  You make them, stick them in the fridge and overnight the ingredients get a chance to meld together into a lovely mix of textures.

I even use a mini-jar to make one for my one year old son, Cameron, who loves to eat whatever mom and dad are eating.

My favorite recipe so far is made with peaches!

Peach Cobbler
Layer the following twice in a mason jar:


  • frozen peaches cut into chunks
  • plain whole milk yogurt
  • old fashioned oats (uncooked)
  • chia seeds
  • pinch of brown sugar
  • dash of cinnamon 
k

Berry Cobbler

  • frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.)
  • plain whole milk yogurt
  • old fashioned oats (uncooked)
  • chia seeds
  • pinch of brown sugar
k

Cocoa Banana Jam

  • sliced bananas (fresh or frozen)
  • plain whole milk yogurt
  • old fashioned oats (uncooked)
  • cocoa powder
  • chia seeds
  • a sprinkle of sugar or agave syrup
  • crunchy peanut butter -OPTIONAL

Enjoy taking an extra five minutes to sip your coffee because breakfast is already made!




Coppins Hallmark Gifts ~ Review & Giveaway

Posted by Jenna | Tuesday, February 26, 2013



I enjoy shopping, especially when it's for my home. I have a more simple style, but still enjoy accents and meaningful decor items. That's why I was drawn to Coppin's Hallmark right away.

Coppin's Hallmark began in 1993, later establishing its first online website in 1996. They have become on of the largest volume independent gift retailers in Utah and across the west...offering many top gift brands including Precious Moments, Boyd's Bears, Will Tree, Ty and more! Dedicated to offering 100% satisfaction to their customers, gives shoppers like me peace of mind that I will be happy with my purchase and that the service will be top notch.

I loved browsing the Coppin's Hallmark page when I first came across it. I'm a collector of many of the items they sell, including Willow Tree figurines. That's why I couldn't have been more excited to learn we were going to have the opportunity review one.

I was sent the Willow Tree Beautiful Wishes.
When the Willow Tree figurine arrived, I loved it right away! Like my other willow angels, the design is sleek and one of a kind. The design is simple, and of course...the quality is excellent!

Aside from the appearance of Willow Tree figurines, I also love the meaning behind them. As a former teacher I have a teaching one, a mother/child one, etc. I enjoy for the decor in my home to be meaningful and represent who we are as a family - so the fact that each one has their own meaning is something I really love!

This one in particular is beautiful with the calla lillies. It represents a gathering of beautiful wishes for love, health and happiness. Such a great message and it really symbolizes the beauty of the pure and simple wishes and desires we have in life.

I have it sitting in my living room, so as people come into my home they notice it right away. It's been something that I get a lot of compliments on and an addition to my collection that I absolutely love!

Of course, the Willow Tree Beautiful Wishes Angel is just one of so many amazing gifts found at Coppin's Gifts! With everything from figurines and jewelry to toys and games...there's something for everyone!

You can also connect with Coppin's Hallmark Gifts on Facebook, Pinterest, a Blog and Twitter.

Buy It: You can purchase the Willow Tree Beautiful Wishes for $16.99 at www.coppinsgifts.com!

Win It: One lucky reader is going to win a Willow Tree Beautiful Wishes figurine of their own. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. If you don't see the form, click here.
This giveaway is open to US Only and will end March 5th

**The products for this review/giveaway were provided by Coppin's Hallmark Gifts. All opinions are my own.



Kernel Season's Popcorn Seasoning ~ Review

Posted by Jenna | Tuesday, February 26, 2013



One of my favorite snacks is popcorn. Whether it's salted, buttered, or mixed with M&Ms, it's something you'll almost always be able to find in our house. I enjoy changing it up a bit from time to time, which is why I was happy to learn more about Kernel Season's Popcorn Seasoning.

Brian Taylor, student from University Michigan, loved making popcorn and creating personal spice blends to toss into it. Friends and fellow students loved it and came asking for more, which is when he contacted a team of flavor experts to help perfect the seasonings.  In February 1999, Brian found a note on his doorstep to meet Kernel Season's himself! Kernel Season's made it clear that he wanted him as a partner to help rid the world of naked popcorn, and the rest is history!

 Kernel Season's seasonings offers 20 unique flavors that are great for popcorn and more! I was excited when given the opportunity to review a few of them and share about our thoughts. We were sent the following seasonings: Bacon Cheddar, Milk Chocolate Caramel, and Parmesan & Garlic.

I was looking forward to trying the seasonings on popcorn of course, but also other things as well. The first chance I got, I popped some popcorn and tried the bacon cheddar seasoning. I was pleasantly surprised just how tasty it is...and love the fact that it is made with real cheese! It's also 100% natural (like the other seasonings) and added great flavor to the popcorn too. My hubby was equally as impressed. It would also be fantastic on veggies, potatoes, pasta, etc!

The Parmesan Garlic is another seasoning that I really like! It is also made with real cheese and has excellent flavor. It's amazing what a difference these different seasonings can make when it comes to my night time snack! I love trying the different flavors.
I also like this on pasta and think it would taste delicious on salad, soup, and pizza too!

When the kids spotted my Kernel Season's Popcorn Seasoning, they were drawn to the Milk Chocolate Caramel! Who could blame them?! They love popcorn as much as I do and really liked this on their snack. They've also tried it on their ice cream, cereal, and toast as well! I wouldn't mind trying it in my coffee too...yum!

We have been really happy with our popcorn seasonings and would love to try some of the other flavors as well! I appreciate how yummy they are, as well as the fact that they are all natural, gluten free and low in calories! The Kernel Season's website offers recipes on their site for each of the flavors, so I know we will be trying these on many other things as well!

Kernel Season's seasonings are great on popcorn, but can be used on so many other things as well. So, whether you're a popcorn lover like me or not, you'll definitely want to head over to the Kernel Season's website and look through their awesome line-up of delicious flavors! There's something for every taste!

Kernel Season's can be found at Kernel Season's online, mass retailers, and many theaters...retailing for $3.99 each.

You can connect with Kernel Season's on Facebook

**Kernel Season's sent me three seasonings to help facilitate my review. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.



JENGA Boom ~ Review & Giveaway

Posted by Jenna | Monday, February 25, 2013



I don't know about you, but our family loves to play games over the holidays and New Years. The problem is, life slowly starts settling back into a routine and we don't play nearly as much as we'd like to the other months of the year. Afterall, just because the holiday season is over doesn't mean we don't have plenty of reasons to celebrate, right?! From 3-day weekends to major sporting events, there are plenty of opportunities to pull out some of our favorite games and have fun with family and friends.

Party of having a great game night is having a fun game that everyone will love. That's why I love Hasbro Games and couldn't have been more excited to learn about their newest JENGA Boom game! The all new twist on the classic stacking game takes the edge-of-your-seat action to a new level with a ticking-time-bomb-exploding platform underneath the tower of blocks.
When the JENGA Boom game arrived, we were really excited to test it out. We have played the original JENGA game many times and were looking forward to this all-new version. Players now have to rush to push, pull and stack the blocks without knocking over the tower. And the fun part is, you just have to make sure you move before the platform blows!
We have found it to be very exciting and suspenseful as the the timer ticks down! It brings this fun game to a whole new level making us ask ourselves if we can stack the block before the tower booms.
Simply pull the fuse cord out and go, go, go. That's what players have to do with JENGA Boom! Once the timer starts ticking, you have to spot the perfect block to pull, then stack it on top of the tower....fast! If you wait too long, or pick the wrong spot (as I often have done), the blocks tumble everywhere. I enjoy trying to beat the boom, and with time am getting better. It's probably one of my new favorite family games.

We have played with family so far, and even Kaelyn at 5 1/2 years old enjoys trying to play along with us. My younger two even enjoy just stacking with the blocks and simply watching and waiting for it to "boom". So fun!


 
It's been a fun game to play and one I'm so glad we now have to enjoy for many years to come! I'd highly recommend it to anyone who loves to play games.

Buy It: You can purchase the JENGA Boom game for $17.99.

Win It: One lucky reader is going to win a JENGA Boom game of their own! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. If you don't see the form, click here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


This giveaway is open to US Only and will end February 28.

**The products for this review/giveaway were provided by Hasbro. However all opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.



Super Duper Publications ~ Review & $50 GC Giveaway

Posted by Jenna | Monday, February 25, 2013






I love doing activities and playing games with my kids! I cherish each and every day, and do my best to put down the work and spend quality time with each of them. Kaelyn and Kaden especially have shown a love for learning, which is why I want to encourage it in any fun way I can.



I was happy when introduced to a super duper option online, Super Duper Publications! This is a place full of wonderful learning tools, designed and written by a number of certified learning experts. As a parent who wants to play an active role in my childrens' learning, and support them outside of school as well...I was very impressed with all that SuperDuperinc.com offers!

From software, to games, to even iPhone Apps, Super Duper's eCatalog (previous only available to educators and child therapists, but now open to the public!) is full of fun resources that parents can use to support social skills, reading, math, spelling, etc. And the great thing about learning via a fun game is that kids learn without even realizing it!

As you can probably imagine, I was very happy to learn we were going to have the opportunity to review a couple of products from Super Duper Publications!

We were sent the First 100 Sight Words and the Dice Dude Combo Pack.

The Dice Dudes caught my attention as well as the kids' right away! Not only is their appearance fun and intriguing, but I absolutely love the idea that we will never have to search for lost dice again! I can't tell you how many times we've opened a game only to find that we are missing the dice. This has solved our problem and makes family game night (or any game time) much less stressful.

Dice Dudes stand 5 1/2" tall and have big, green eyes that move side to side when you shake the dice. The kids absolutely LOVE this! I have enjoyed using them on their own...as a way to do different math activities with Kaelyn. For instance, I have her shake the Dice Dude and then add up the numbers on the two dice.

We of course, have also used Dice Dudes with games which is a lot of fun too. What I love is that you don't just have to use the dice that come in them. The original Twist Off Dice Dude has a removeable cap which allows kids to exchange the enclosed dice and insert the die from any family game. How great is that?! It makes this product very versatile and even more of a reason why I consider it a must-have item. The TwistOff Dice Dude comes with one die with numbers 1-3, two dice with dots 1-6 and one color coded die with number 1-6.
There's also a new "Pop" Dice Dude which allows kids to push his head ot pop a new combination on the dice.
 
Both kids have had a lot of fun with the Dice Dudes, but I have to say a favorite of my 5 year old daughter's is the First 100 Site Words! Since July, Kaelyn has really had an interest in reading. We started to notice that she was not only able to sound out letters, but began sounding out words around that time as well. She now sounds out words while she reads and writes which has been very fun and exciting. Beginning Kindergarten next year, and to support her interest with reading, I like to find different activities and games we can do together to encourage her. The First 100 Site Words does just that!
This 233-card Super Fun Deck was put together to help children learn basic sight words, practice parts of speech, learning proper punctuation and even make sentences! I knew it would be helpful for sight words, but have been very pleased with all of the other skills it helps with as well!

The 100 sight words cards are from the Dolch, McREL, and Fry word lists. There is also a match-up set of the same words which makes it easy to use for games. They are color-coded to eight parts of speech. As I mentioned, included in this fabulous card set are also 20 sentence starter words plus punctuation marks!

We have used many different games and activities that help kids learn sight words, but this is one of the largest sets - and most involved that I have come across. Kaelyn loves to just go through the words, sounding them out and identifying each word. We've also used the match-up set to do a memory type of game as well. The sky really is the limit as to how these cards can be used. We've been enjoying them a lot and I know will have many more years of use with them.


I appreciate that they come in a handy tin to keep them all stored safely when not in use. It's a great size, and one Kaelyn can easily grab anytime she's wanting to use it. We love it!
Overall we've been extremely happy with the products we received from Super Duper Publications! I would highly recommend checking out their site and the 100's of products offered to support your child's learning.

Buy It: You can purchase the First 100 Sight Words for $29.95 and the Dice Dudes for $24.95.

Win It: One very lucky reader is going to win a $50 Gift Certificate to shop on the site!
This giveaway is open to US only and will end March 11th.

**The products for this review were provided by Super Dudes Publications. However, all opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.



Colorful Pesto Pasta

Posted by Erin K. | Monday, February 25, 2013




Last night I literally made dinner in 10 minutes and that almost never happens – unless I’m ‘cooking’ toast. It turned out colorful, healthy and delicious!

Here’s what I used:

-brown rice rotini pasta
-pesto sauce
-cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
(dress tomatoes with olive oil, salt & pepper before adding)
-pine nuts sprinkled on top
-pre-shelled edamame on the side

Every year my mom spends a day making homemade pesto sauce in her Cuisinart so she can freeze tons of it to use in pasta dishes and soups year round. I, however, am not quite to that point yet so this is some delicious basil pesto sauce I found at Costco. Someday I will attempt the real thing.

Golly, this dish makes February feel a bit more like Spring!



Mega Bloks® Ride-on Whirl 'n Twirl™ Race Car ~ Review & Giveaway

Posted by Jenna | Wednesday, February 20, 2013



This is the time of year my kids get really restless. They love to play outside and let out some of their energy, but winter weather here in the midwest is unpredictable and typically downright cold! Needless to say, we spend a lot of time indoors and I'm always look for things we can do to stay active. That's why I was excited to learn about a new product from Mega Bloks®!

Mega Bloks® has a new ride-on toy that released for toddlers. The Whirl ‘n Twirl™ Race Car is an innovative ride-on truck that takes playtime to a whole new level. It has sturdy caster wheels for quick turning action, and a seat that has enough room under it for string those favorite toys and more!

Perfect for ages 1-3, I was thrilled to learn we were going to have the opportunity to review it. With a 1 year old boy and 3 year old boy, I knew this cute little race car ride-on toy would be perfect for them!

When the Whirl ‘n Twirl™Race Car arrived, I loved that it was assembled and ready to use! Not only that but the adorable friendly face and fun checkered flag made it that much more exciting for the boys to want to play with. Once they saw that face, it brought a smile to both of their faces!
Since receiving the Whirl ‘n Twirl™Race Car from Mega Bloks®, there is not a day that goes by that one of the kids isn't riding around the house on it! It's absolutely perfect for indoor use, but I could see how it would be fun outside too! I love the responsive caster wheels. They make it easy to turn the race car and move right along.
The built-in storage is also nice. My 3 year old always has a stuffed animal or car with him that he enjoys keeping in there.
We've been really happy with the Mega Bloks® Whirl ‘n Twirl™Race Car and would definitely recommend it to other families with little ones.

Buy It: Learn more about the Whirl n' Twirl™ at MegaBloks.com.

Win It: One very lucky reader is going to win a Mega Bloks® Ride-on Whirl 'n Twirl™ Race Car.

 

This giveaway is open to US Only and will end March 6

Thank you to Mega Bloks for providing the products for this review and giveaway. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.




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