On sisters #GoodNeighbor

My parents and I weren’t close when I was growing up.  We really weren’t close when I was a young adult. It wasn’t until I’d married and got pregnant after my first miscarriage that the broken in our relationship began to heal, hearts warmed… forgiveness and understanding given. I spent a great deal of my high school, college, and first years out of college kind of spinning, wondering who I was supposed to be, and how in the world I was supposed to get there. To say I struggled is an understatement.

I’d had this idea in my head… for so long. I’d get engaged at 24, married at 25, and then have 2 boys, a girl, and maybe another child or two.  Now, I didn’t have a specific husband in mind, I’d just always assumed I’d meet him in college or shortly after and my adult life would start as planned.

Well, it didn’t. Not even close! Although I did meet my husband at 26. So there’s that??! But before I was ready (in every sense of the word, and really, truly ready to meet someone who would love me for me and laugh at my quirks, not insist i change who I was)… I had a lot of time to myself, with few and far between ‘suitors’ who, well, really weren’t worth anyone’s time. I also made a million mistakes, some small, some enormous, and just really floundered with early adulthood. It wasn’t pretty.

sisters

 

And the one person who had such unfailing faith in me, just for being ME….my sister, C…. I am not sure I could ever explain to her just what her presence has been in my life. It’s not that she’s always supported me, because she has.  But she’s also the one person who’s had the courage and strength to tell me how it is and not sugar coat when I’m being a stupid idiot…which I have been on many occasions. She’s been the one constant cheerleader in my life, the one who’s always been there, applauding my successes, weeping at my heartache, encouraging every hope. For good, for bad, she’s been there, and she’s shown me how to live with grace, with humor, and a whole lot of coffee (with a little wine).

She helped me to figure out how to start the process of buying a car when I was approximately forty days out of college with a low paying teaching position and no money. When I needed extra money, she’d find reasons to go out so I could babysit. Her love, her belief in the very core of ME, has given me strength I never knew I had more times than I can count. I can tell you with zero hesitation I’d not be who I am, where I am, without my sister.

Buying that first “real” car, figuring out what health insurance plan is worth it, finding a doctor for checkups…learning to cook real, actual meals for myself, all of those things I could have been 100% on my own for- I wasn’t. I had my sister, and she never did give me direct answers, never gave me a handout, but she helped me to find those answers I needed to find within myself, she’d yell at me when I was screwing up or making a bad choice, and through it all…she was just there.

 

state farm logo

Like a good neighbor State Farm is there.

I hope that one day, my own girls find such strength in each other, and give back to one another. They’ll be so very blessed to have a sister like I have.girls

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by State Farm via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of State Farm.

 

Post Vacation Meal Ideas

It’s summertime and vacation season is here! Whether you’re just getting ready for a vacation, just returning, or planning one a few months out, you know that feeling of returning home and not wanting to plan dinner. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that you need to have an idea for when you get home.

 

With that being said, there are lots of easy post-vacation dinner ideas on this list that will help if you’re stuck in a rut after returning home from vacation. From chicken to pasta to tacos, this list is sure to give you plenty of ideas to whip something up in just a few minutes to satisfy the whole family!

Post Vacation Meal Ideas

post-vacation-meal-ideas-pin

 

Frozen Pizza and veggies.

 

post-vacation-meal-ideas-pizza

We always choose fresh when possible but when you are coming home from a vacation and don’t have much in the fridge- steam some frozen broccoli, green beans, vegetable medley, carrots, peas, etc. and round out your meal that way.  You’ll have the entire meal on the table in about 20 minutes start to finish when doing all frozen foods.  If you have any salad fixings, that’s our go-to for pizza meals.

 

pizza-vegetale

 

To learn more about Ristorante by Dr. Oetker, be sure to visit their website and like them on Facebook! To see if Ristorante pizzas are available near you, check out the Store Locator. Don’t see Ristorante in your supermarket? You can put in a request with the store manager!

 

Burgers, hot dogs, on the grill.

beanburger1

When I buy burger meat, I pre-make my patties and separate them with parchment paper.  That way, I can grab enough for a meal and go, and we always have some on hand for just-in-case.

 

Just because it’s a burger and hot dog night doesn’t mean it has to be boring.  If you are making your own burgers, mix in some seasonings and add a topping tray to your table.  I’ve been all about gorgonzola on my burgers this summer, with iceburg lettuce as my ‘buns’ and I love it.

 

If you buy premade burgers- maybe grab some different varieties to have on hand. I’ve found some great bufffalo blue cheese chicken burgers, and some divine black bean and salsa flavored veggie burgers that are just as easy and fast as “traditional” burgers, but change things up a bit. I’ve actually grown to love black bean burgers since my daughter stopped eating meat and often make that for myself in lieu of a regular burger, just for a change of pace.

 

Tacos

vegan plantbased lentil taco recipe

Tacos are quick and easy. If you are at my house, and you mention the word tacos, you’ll hear “TACO TUESDAY” for the next hour or so, followed with giggles.  Tacos are a great way to please everyone, and you really can just toss the fillings and toppings into bowls on the table and everyone can make their own. One thing *I* like about tacos is that you can thaw the ground meat while you cook it- super easy to do.  We also use black beans frequently in place of the meat.  It’s a pretty safe meal that most of us enjoy- and takes little time to prep.

 

We like to get the blue corn taco shells when we see them- with tomatoes and or salsa plus cheese, we call them our red, white and blue tacos. Ending vacation can seem like the end of the fun, especially to kids, so why not have a little fun with the first few days home?

Breakfast for dinner!

sausage quiche with hash brown crust

Almost always a favorite (around here at least), you can do eggs, pancakes, waffles- quiche, omelets… it’s a quick and easy way to get the family fed.

 

We’ve done sausage stuffed pancakes many times- makes for a fun meal that has enough bulk to it.  Add lots of fruits on the side!

french toast sausage pan

I think my favorite thing to do for breakfast for dinner is plain old eggs and hashbrowns.  I don’t like how LONG it takes to make hashbrowns, so we grab our waffle maker and make the hashbrowns while we cook the eggs.  Sometimes I’m a scrambled girl, others? I’m an over-hard and then cook them for another few minutes girl.

 

Breakfast sandwiches are another idea for a post vacation meal.  Use what you have- bagel, English muffin, bread, even a pancake.

 

What are your post vacation meal ideas?

 

This post is part of a sponsored Ambassadorship with Ristorante.  Opinions are my own.

 

 

Healthy Dog Foods for Happy Pets #GetHealthyHappy #HealthyWeight

When I describe my family to you, I’ll tell you I have a husband, three children, two cats and a dog. Depending how loud they are that day, I might even mention our 7 hens and rooster. We love our pets. They are definitively part of our family. So much so that our pets even take part in exchanging gifts on holidays and birthdays. Laugh if you want, but I blame my mother for it… our dogs growing up ALWAYS had treats on Christmas morning, always put something under the tree for each of us humans, and got us a little surprise for our birthdays. I’ve kept that tradition up (although the chickens haven’t done gifts yet, I think maybe that might be a little bit much, plus, well, they are chickens).  In any case, we love our pets. They live in our house and are living, breathing parts of our family. We feed them and take care of them, and we love them.

HealthierPetsHappierLives

We want our families to be happy and healthy. It’s what anyone wants, for their family, right? So for us, having healthy pets is a way to have happy pets. We want our furriest family members to live long, healthy lives so they can be with us as long as possible. Keeping our pets happy and healthy isn’t really that hard to do.  Our dogs already love us unconditionally, and our cats- well, they do too, but sometimes that love is hidden…. Keeping them healthy doesn’t take a lot.  Exercise, play time, checkups, love and healthy dog food. That’s what our pets need to be healthy…and thus, happy. Did you know that because of the way dogs age, missing one annual checkup is like missing 5 years of checkups?  A lot can happen to a body in 5 years time.

tobey at 13

Feeding your dog or cat the right amount of a good, quality food can help to prevent obesity- one example- Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult Healthy Mobility™ is what we’ve considered of late for our Tobey. He’s 13 1/2 now and while he’s quite active and pretty healthy for his age (Go, Tobey!), he is getting older and his dietary needs have changed, so we want to make sure we’re offering him foods that meet his nutritional needs and also don’t offer too many extra calories. Healthy is happy, remember.

tobey-close

You can see that he’s 13 1/2, but you’d never know it looking at our happy boy!

To help pet parents with this new way of thinking about their pets’ health, Hill’s is introducing a new program, ‘Healthier Pets. Happier Lives.’ which gives pet parents the resources they need to #GetHealthyHappy. Help your pet find their healthy place. Go to ScienceDiet.com/GetHealthyHappy and enter to win a $100 gift card toward your pet’s next vet checkup. Hill’s Science Diet will be giving away one every day for 90 days!

 

 How old are your pets? How do you ensure your pets are healthy?

This post about happy pets are healthy pets is sponsored by Hill’s. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Science Diet® Perfect Weight Food, but This Mama Loves only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s® Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

Strawberry Brownie Mix Waffle Sundae

My oldest is away for the week at her aunt’s house in New Hampshire and the little kids wanted to do something special… so we decided that we’d make a special ice cream sundae recipe that’s just for them while big sis is away on her big adventure! This strawberry brownie mix waffle sundae recipe was inspired in part by the box of sundae supplies that our friends at Hershey sent over, but also by the sweet fruits of summer and our love of waffles. Hershey’s brandis my go-to for sundae supplies- it’s what my mom and both grandmas always bought, and what my siblings and I have always bought.

Strawberry Brownie Mix Waffle Sundaes

strawberry-brownie-waffle-sundae

Ingredients

Hershey‘s Strawberry Syrup

Vanilla ice cream

Fresh strawberries, sliced

Brownie Mix Waffles (see recipe below)

strawberry-brownie-sundae-ingredients

Directions

Prepare your waffles as directed, place at bottom of your sundae dish

Place a layer of berries on top of the waffle

Drizzle with Hershey‘s Strawberry Syrup

Add one scoop of ice cream

Drizzle with Hershey’s Strawberry Syrup

Top with a few more slices of strawberry

Enjoy!

eating-strawberry-brownie-sundae

Brownie Mix Waffles

 Ingredients

Brownie Mix of your choice

2 TBSP Hershey’s Strawberry Syrup

2 eggs

1/4 c oil (applesauce works GREAT here!)

pinnable-strawberry-waffle-sundae

Directions

Warm your waffle iron

Prepare brownie mix as directed

Add 2 TBSP Hershey‘s Strawberry Syrup

Spray your waffle iron with a non-stick spray (the waffles WILL stick otherwise)

Pour normal amount of batter for waffles.

Don’t over pour.

It’ll make a mess. I’m serious. Then you have to clean it up after. I learned the hard way. :)

Cook until done (about 5 minutes, depending how hot your waffle iron gets!)

Enjoy!!

Still wanting some more Hershey yummies? Be sure to visit  for the latest product info and some great recipes to try! Try our Graham Cracker S’mores Brownies recipe!

How do you make YOUR favorite sundaes?

Prize-Hersheys-sundae-prize-pack

Photo Credit: ClassyMommy.com

One reader will win a Hershey’s Sundae Prize Pack (including 4 Hershey’s Syrups, Wooden Sundae Spoons, Ice Cream Scoop and Glass Sundae Dishes)!

* This post was sponsored by Hershey.

 

 

 

 

 

4.9 from 7 reviews
Strawberry Brownie Mix Waffle Sundae
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • Strawberry Hershey's Syrup
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Fresh strawberries, sliced
  • Brownie Mix Waffles
Instructions
  1. Prepare your waffles as directed, place at bottom of your sundae dish
  2. Place a layer of berries on top of the waffle
  3. Drizzle with Strawberry Hershey's Syrup
  4. Add one scoop of ice cream
  5. Drizzle with Strawberry Hershey's Syrup
  6. Top with a few more slices of strawberry
  7. Enjoy!

 
4.9 from 7 reviews
Brownie Mix Waffles
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Waffles take on a whole new level of yum when they are made from brownie mix
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • Brownie Mix of your choice
  • 2 TBSP Strawberry Hershey's Syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ c oil (applesauce works GREAT here!)
Instructions
  1. Warm your waffle iron
  2. Prepare brownie mix as directed
  3. Add 2 TBSP Strawberry Hershey's Syrup
  4. Spray your waffle iron with a non stick spray (the waffles WILL stick otherwise)
  5. Pour normal amount of batter for waffles.
  6. Don't over pour.
  7. It'll make a mess. I'm serious. Then you have to clean it up after. I learn the hard way. :)
  8. Cook until done (about 5 minutes, depending how hot your waffle iron gets!)
  9. Enjoy!!

 

 

 

Drug Free Morning Sickness Relief

I thought hanging over a toiled at 4am was supposed to be a ritual shed in the early twenties. Hadn’t counted it on it rearing its ugly head again. Yet, here I was… morning after morning. Afternoon after afternoon, and night after night. At a time in my life where sleep didn’t come easily and comfort was defined as anything with elastic in it, at that. Morning sickness was kicking my butt! I’d anticipated the inconvenience of it early in the pregnancy and knew the tips of keeping saltines on hand and drinking ginger ale to sooth my stomach.

drug-free-morning-sickness-relief

What I hadn’t, however, counted on lasting almost in the third trimester accompanied by the other many symptoms later stages of pregnancy. It was miserable, and I found myself feeling cooped up in the house more, avoiding any and everything that may trigger an uncomfortable moment. This was a time when I most wanted to get out, run errands and prepare.

My “morning” sickness lasted well into my 22nd and 23rd week with each pregnancy

Flash forward to today, and I come across a product that is completely natural and could of eased my woes WITH the addition of Folic Acid (a helpful nutrient during pregnancy),…and I’m silently cursing envying of the mothers of this new and improved generation of birthing children! Why couldn’t this have been around when I needed it?!?! Drug free morning sickness relief? Yes, please!

sea-band-mama-drug-free-morning-sickness-relief-band

Sea –Band Mama is the greatest thing since sliced bread! It helps by usual natural ingredients to neutralize those pesky stomach acids that cause nausea while soothing tender tummies at the same time. Since it’s natural, you can just carry the pack around with and grab one of the pleasantly tasting lozenges as needed (they don’t recommend you exceed 10 lozenges per day).

The Sea-Band Mama line provides effective ways to ease morning sickness naturally with drug-free acupressure wristbands and ginger lozenges, used separately or together. Sea-Band Mama wrist bands use acupressure to trigger the P6 Nei Kuan pressure point on the inside of the wrist to alleviate nausea from morning sickness. Stimulating this pressure point helps the body to calm nausea and vomiting.

Free from artificial colors and flavors, Sea-Band Mama Ginger Lozenges were formulated with essential ginger oils to help relieve upset stomach. They also include folic acid to contribute to a normal maternal tissue growth during pregnancy.

This product sounds like a dream to new mothers everywhere. If you aren’t into lozenges, there are also bands and essential oils available by Sea Band Mamas too. This would be a great gift for an expecting mother, and I’ll be throwing them in with baby shower gifts from now on.

sea-band-mama-drug-free-morning-sickness-relief

Check out Sea-Band Mama’s Pregnancy Morning Sickness? Drug Free Ways to Reduce Nausea During Pregnancy​ video for more information about the product line. You can find Sea-Band Mama products at Target, CVS and other stores (Store Locator).

Feeling lucky? Enter the Sea-Band Mama New Mommy Sweeps!

Expectant moms can enjoy up to $500 of prizes in the Sea-Band Mama New Mommy Sweeps, which ends August 30, 2014;

Enter here http://bit.ly/1pUBA6S

For more information about Sea-Band® Mama and to learn more about morning sickness visit http://www.sea-band.com/mama 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sea-Band Mama. The opinions and text are all mine.

LeapFrog LeapPad3 Tablet for Kids

A few weeks ago, LeapFrog’s new LeapPad3 tablet for kids arrived at our house for review.   We had the original LeapPad which we all enjoyed, and had actually shared with some friends of ours not long ago.  I was very intrigued by the release of the 3rd ‘generation’ of the LeapPad- toys from LeapFrog were among the first we purchased when our oldest was a baby, and we’ve always thought the brand to be excellent quality and worth the money.The  improvements and updates on the LeapPad3 promimsed to be great. I like that they can be safe on the web, they can have fun with games, edit photos and make videos. Find FREE LeapPad Games!

leappad3-leapfrog-tablet-kids

There were 2 things that I didn’t love about the former LeapPad that have changed, and improved, so so much.  The screen clarity (so much higher resolution now!) and a rechargeable battery.  The screen resolution is MUCH higher now, and much easier for kids and parents to see and use. As for the battery- I hated using batteries and disposing of them so frequently- as I do with just about anything in our house. I love being able to recharge things as we go and not have to add waste to the world.  6 hours of battery time is a LOT. My kids are now 5, 7 and 9 – they all use it easily and it’s nice that the battery will hold on for more than a short time for other kids’ turns.

leappad3-tablet-kids

LeapFrog’s always been about toys that let them learn while they play- the LeapPad 3 is like the intro to the world of tablets, but in a safe, comfortable place that allows fun and learning with a lot of room for creativity without risk of inappropriate content. Each of the kids has their own login for the tablet, so no one can take over someone else’s score on a game, etc.  There’s a spot for a guest to login as well.

Built in wifi is an update that arrived with the LeapPad3. LeapSearch is powered by Zui-created by LeapFrog experts to be age appropriate and safe for kids- offering over 1000 videos, games and more for kids to explore.  They’re online, and learning to navigate the internet, but in a sort of cocoon as it were, so no risk of adult content or them seeing something you really don’t want them to see. Just because THEY think they are ready to handle the big old internet doesn’t mean they are.  I’m 40, and I’m a blogger- and not twice but 3 times my husband and I have gone to search for a local store with a name that could also be interpreted as adult in nature, and been taken quite by surprise at the search results and images that came after we hit enter.  I don’t want my kids having those experiences, but I do want them to be able to successfully use computers, tablets and laptops- for good or bad, technology is here and part of our lives. It’s in our homes and it’s in our classrooms.

leappad3-search

A fab new feature of the LeapPad3  is the built-in Wi-Fi and LeapSearch which is powered by Zui, a kid-friendly selection of more than 1,000 games, videos and more. Anything and everything your child can access has been pre-screened by the LeapFrog experts to be safe and age-appropriate. Want more assurance? Use the parent mode,  and control the wi-fi and manage the content your children have access to.

My only hesitation with the LeapPad3 is that the games available for purchase for the device are on the higher side and could be prohibitive for some families. I have noticed that I’m seeing more and more sales, coupons and deals for games and cartridges (we opt to get ours online, via download, no cartridges to lose and it’s in our account, available to download again later if need be). There are always ways to save, and I would give a full five stars to this device in a review if the games and apps were at a lower price point.

What do you look for in a tablet for kids?

Thanks to LeapFrog for sending the LeapPad3 for review, via our affiliation with MomSelect.

Summer Boredom Busters

Possibly the most frightening creature that rears it’s head in the summer months are bored children.  I write this and we still have many weeks LEFT of summer… we’re at the point where swim team is done, lessons are finished…. and kids are getting bored. They bring with them everything from whining and misbehaving, to chaos and clutter in the house, not to mention eating you out of house and home!  Parents everywhere are in luck! I’ve put together a list of summer boredom busters that will save your sanity and your household!

 Summer Boredom Busters

summer-boredom-busters

Nerf N-Sports Sonic Howler Flying Disc

nerf-howler

This disk takes the game for Frisbee to a whole new level with it’s howling! The soft grip makes it safe and easy to hold! Tons of fun, and even little ones can use it with the open center design.

 

Nerf Super Soaker Tri Strike Crossbow Water Blaster

 nerf-super-soaker

No summer is complete with out a little super soaker action! This isn’t your normal water gun. This Nerf has a deployable crossbow that shoots up to 3 streams of water, up to 38 feet away!

 

Nerf Rebelle Super Soaker Dolphina Bow ·

 super-soaker-dolphina-bow

Another awesome Super Soaker is the Rebelle. This adorable Super Soaker puts a feminine spin on the Crossbow, with cute colors. Don’t let the cuteness fool you though! This Nerf packs a serious punch as well and can actually reach targets up to 75 feet away! It can spray dad with water from the windows in our playhouse, a full 50+ feet away from where he stands and grills… and if the kiddos are quiet, he’s not sure who’s gotten him.  Of course, the giggles always give them away…

 

 

Play-Doh Double Desserts Playset ·

 play-doh-sweet-shoppe

Play-Doh has come a very long way since my childhood days! The Play-Doh Double Desserts Playset allows your child to make pretend cakes and frosting with a special play-doh compound specifically made for modeling. It actually gives the full effect with its oven for baking, and adorable decorating options.

 

Disney Princess Pop Up Magic Tangled Game ·

 disney-pop-up-magic-tangled

This game takes board games to the next level. With the pop up game board, you actually feel as if you are a part of the game, as you navigate through the game  as Rapunzel or Flynn. This game board can actually connect to other pop-up game boards, which you can purchase separately!

 

Mr. Potato Head

mrpotatohead

No list of children’s games can be complete without the classic Mr. Potato Head! Mr. Potato Head let’s your children be creative, while being entertained! There are so many different accessories to go with Mr. Potato Head nowadays, the fun never ends!

 

Mad Libs

 

I’ve rediscovered these with the kids and we’ve had SO much fun with these.  There are all kinds of themed books of Mad Libs, Junior versions, etc. Also- just a bit of trivia.  Mad Libs?  OVER 56 years strong already.

 

Fairy/Gnome Gardens

Send the kids to build fairy/gnome gardens.  They may stare at you like you are crazy at first, but if they are anything like the kids we know, they will ultimately spend hours creating a whimsical village.

Beginning or end of summer, we are always glad to find more boredom busters.

What are your favorite boredom busters??

Some items received for consideration. Opinions are my own.

GoldieBlox Building Toys for Girls #lookatgoldie #giveaway

Last Christmas, we gave our youngest daughter 2 GoldieBlox sets.  It was the beginning of something beautiful.  Building toys- for GIRLS- that aren’t super girlie, and aren’t dumbed down.  My kids LOVE building toys.  All 3 of them.  My younger 2 are more into it than my oldest, but she still enjoys building too. Many of the sets designed for girls don’t get as much play time, and definitely don’t seem to present the same challenges to kids that the “boy” sets do.  Or didn’t, until Debbie Sterling came up with a building toy designed for girls to encourage them in math and engineering concepts- GoldieBlox.

goldieblox-blox-star

Sometimes you just have to rock the sunglasses when building.  You just have to be a Blox Star. 

What is it about these GoldieBlox sets that keeps the kids coming back for more?  There’s a clean simplicity in each set- a story, and a building toy to go along with each.  There’s not a lot of attention paid to making it “pretty” or even “cute” but instead, attention paid to make these sets playable, buildable, to keep them coming back for more. That’s what draws me to the line. Although we do WANT a GoldieBlox figure (which I hear is coming out for holiday time this year), she’s not necessary to feel like you have the whole toy.

goldieblox-reading

Also, each of the sets (ranging in price from $19.99 to $29.99, and an extension kit for $9.99) can work with the other sets.  A visit to GoldieBlox.com offers more plans and ideas to further use these building toys for girls, which means kids can expand their play and build on those engineering and math concepts. There’s a Solid Gold(ie) package, with 3 GoldieBlox sets, the expansion pack and a BloxStar shirt for $99.95….which we ordered this week for ourselves- we have the sets, but the price is great, we wanted the expansion pack, and now we have 3 gifts readily available for friends, plus a super cool shirt for my little BloxStar to wear :) !

goldieblox-dunk-tank-assembly

As I said, we’ve had a few GoldieBlox sets for a while.  The sets we received for this #lookatgoldie campaign, the Parade Float and Dunk Tank, were lots of fun and all of us have had TONS of fun playing with the Dunk Tank. There’s been talk of building a dunk tank in the yard now so the kids can try to dunk their dad.  I’ll keep you posted if that happens.  Perhaps a video…. in the meantime, here’s a video of the GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank set!

 

 

Building Toys for Girls can be awesome and NOT dumbed down!

building-toys-girls

GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank

goldieblox-dunk-tank-stock

In GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank, Goldie has to find a way to get Nacho clean. The only problem is: Nacho hates water and loves being a dirty dog. After many tries to get Nacho clean, Goldie finally comes up with the perfect contraption. As kids read along, they help Goldie build a dunk tank (and learn about hinges and levers) to get Nacho clean so everyone can go to the carnival on time.

  • A book series plus construction set where Goldie and friends devise a plan to get Nacho clean in time for the carnival.
  • Builds spatial skills, engineering principles (hinges and levers) and confidence in problem-solving.
  • Comes equipped with 3 design ideas and unlimited building possibilities.
  • Compatible with all other GoldieBlox toys.
Skill set: Hinge and lever
Includes: Storybook, 1 animal figurine, 1 bouncy ball, 2 wheels, 9 short axles, 18 long axles, 12 blocks, 10 spacers, 2 targets, 3 design templates   

GoldieBlox and the Parade Float

goldieblox-parade-float

In this much-anticipated sequel, Goldie’s friends Ruby and Katinka compete in a princess pageant with the hopes of riding in the town parade. When Katinka loses the crown, Ruby and Goldie build something great together, teaching their friends that creativity and friendship are more important than any pageant.

  • A book series plus construction set introducing Ruby, Goldie’s best friend and princess-turned-engineer.
  • Builds spatial skills, engineering principles, and confidence in problem-solving.
  • Comes equipped with 9 design ideas, a DIY project, and unlimited building possibilities.
  • Compatible with all other GoldieBlox toys.

Skill Set: Wheel and axle

Includes: Storybook, 3 animal figurines, 7 wheels, 6 blocks, 9 short axles, 4 long axles, 4 spacers, 1 band, 1 ribbon, 9 design ideas

goldieblox-parade-float

One reader will win a prize pack including GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank and GoldieBlox and the Parade Float! 

 

 

This #lookatgoldie post is sponsored by GoldieBlox through our affiliation with The Motherhood. Opinions are my own. 

A Day in the Life of Our Tend Toddler

What’s a day like in our home? For our kids? Gee, I never really stopped to think about it, because, aren’t “typical days” kinda boring?

That’s what I thought before I had the wonderful opportunity to be involved in a video project with Huggies. The camera crew arrived and set up in our house, and the director proceeded to ask me lots of questions to prep me.

I reflected that this would be a good idea for ALL moms to do from year to year. Our children change so much, it’s hard to remember what a “typical day” was like two years ago when he was just born. Or, four years ago, when I just had one child. This post is written by my friend Julie from HappyStrongHome.com :)

Day in the Life of a Tend Toddler Pin

Ask yourself the same questions the director asked me to get a feel for your own “typical day?”

  • What does he do when he wakes up?
  • What does he like to eat?
  • What’s your daily routine like?
  • What toys does he like to play with?
  • Where do you go?
  • What about lunch and naptimes?
  • When does he go to sleep at night?

Or do fill in the blank questions like:

  • Not a day goes by that he doesn’t ______.
  • Every night when I put him to sleep, I think _____.

While I felt nervous to be on camera getting interviewed, I think it was such a valuable experience for me to sit for a minute and really think about what my child’s day is like – for him, and with ME!

Turns out, I’m happy with what I discovered: our son wakes up happy to see us, loves to eat his cereal or eggs, plays trucks and dinosaurs or trains all day, or loves to dig in the dirt. Not a day goes by without him squeezing me tight in a bear hug.

And every night when I put him to sleep, I think what a wonderful addition he’s been to our world. I can’t imagine a typical day without him at this point!

Turns out – a typical day is actually very very special to me!

Watch this cute video from Tend and Huggies showing “A Day in the Life of a Tend Toddler!” Enjoy it – because I sure did!

This post is in partnership with Tend and Mode Media, and I received compensation for participating in this program. All opinions are my own.

#BuildABoxtrollSweeps: Enter to Win! #TheBoxtrolls

We are just over a month out from the premiere of The Boxtrolls movie. My family cannot wait to see this movie- if you remember, we’ve been reading the book that the movie is based on, Here Be Monsters (The Ratbridge Chronicles). The Boxtrolls promises fantasy, whimsy, ingenuity and, of course, a whole lot of fun.  Arthur, a young boy, and the  Boxtrolls (shy creatures who live below ground and wear boxes) must fight Snatcher to save Ratbridge.  There’s adventure, danger, and lots more.

 

Filled with whimsical illustrations and very short chapters, this story (and the book itself) lend themselves quite nicely to a read-aloud for all ages and a fun ‘challenge’ book for young chapter book readers.  I thought my oldest and I would be doing the reading for the most part, but my little guy has stepped up and he’s been the most enthusiastic about taking his turn for some chapters!

boxtrolls-art

To get all of us more excited about the arrival of the quirky and adorable Boxtrolls, there’s a REALLY fun sweepstakes going on!  We’ve all been challenged to build our OWN Boxtrolls.  So get your crafty supplies together and think outside of the box (Get it? See what I did there?) and start building your Boxtroll!

I told the kids tonight at dinner that we’ll be making our OWN Boxtrolls (stay tuned for progress and pics on those) and all 3 immediately had very, VERY different ideas on what to make.  So apparently, the Martin family will be making not one but 3 Boxtrolls.  I’m kind of excited about their ideas. I can’t wait to see yours too! This is the kind of thing that helps us to get so excited for movies to come out (this one is due in theaters 9/26/14).

 

 

How To Enter For A Chance to Win the Sweeps:

build-a-boxtroll-sweeps-#buildaboxtrollsweeps
Sweeps Duration: 8/4/14 Midnight EST – 9/5/14 11:59PM EST

Prize: An all-expense paid trip for 4 to the L.A. movie premiere of Boxtrolls

  1. Make a totally awesome Boxtroll

  2. Snap a pic

  3. Upload your photo to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram with the #BuildaBoxtrollSweeps hashtag

No purchase necessary. 18+ years old. 50 US States + District of Columbia only. 8/4/14-9/5/14. Official rules.

boxtrolls-characters-#theboxtrolls

So what kind of Boxtroll are YOU going to make?

 

 

 

This post is part of an ongoing partnership with The Boxtrolls and SocialMoms.  Opinions are my own.