Kmart Layaway now Online

I’ve been cracking up all day at the social media messages from my friends around Christmas. Seems to be about a 50/50 split with half of them being excited and eager to get a rush on their holiday decorating, and the other half cursing the people already posting pictures of their trees.

 

As for me?

 

I suppose I fall somewhere in between. While I haven’t gone full out and started pulling out my Christmas tree just yet, Christmas has taken up a nice chunk of space in my head. I’ve had my eye on a few presents my children have asking for awhile now.

 

Seems like Kmart is on the same page as me!

They’ve launched some awesome incentives to snag using their layaway plan, and it’s more convenient than ever! You don’t even have the leave the comfort of your home!!kmart-online-layaway

 

Kmart’s online layaway offers a convenient 8 week contract that only requires you to pay a $5 service fee. This program ensures that your family gets all of the gifts they want!

 

What kind of gifts can you put on Kmart layaway online?

 

Clothes – My top layaway gift. I love getting a head start on clothes…

 

Electronics- With everything from TVs to tablets I may have to throw in a gift or two for myself in this category!

 

Great things for the home – from frozen bedding for my kids to a new Keurig for my coffee loving mother-in-law, I can get it all at Kmart on layaway.

and… of course…

Toys – I’m nabbing the hottest gifts of the year before they get sold out, and hard to find. My son wants approximately ALL of the LEGO sets ever made, but he has been asking a lot for the LEGO City Arctic Base Camp and it’s a pretty popular set… that’s a big thing on my list I want checked off ASAP! I can grab it now and finish paying over time if I need to. That’s worth $5- plus I can do it from home. No late night trips to the stores for me this year!

kmart layaway lego

 

 

Once I click to select layaway, I can just click to see what my payments will be and when they are due.  If I want this shipped to my house before Christmas I need to finish payments before the timeframe (which is OK with me)…

kmart layaway calculator

Once I start my process and enter the ship and billing addresses, my layaway order summary comes up.

kmart layaway order

 

To make this deal even sweater, I can save even more with my Shop Your Way membership! Kmart will be running weekly specials just for Shop Your Members with things like $10 off $50 in Apparel, Footwear and Jewelry along with 5% off Toys, Sporting Goods and Home!  Now I have some points to use towards my next purchase!

 

While Kmart layaway is offered year-round, these seasonal deals are only for a limited time!

 

What’s the top item on your holiday gift list this year?

 

kmartkclubThis is a partnered post with Kmart as part of the Kmart k-club blogger program.  Opinions are my own.

 

Raw Veggie Challenge #V8VegOut!

V8 is on a mission to get the world to step up their game when it comes to veggies, and This Mama Loves has graciously accepted the challenge! V8’s commitment to providing vegetables that match their consumers lifestyle needs has been an ever-evolving effort of over 75 years! Remember the original V8 Juice, that tasted like tomatoes? My husband loved it, but I preferred a sweeter taste for my juice, and steered away from it.

Through research, Campbell found that I wasn’t the only one. In fact, many consumers wanted a quick and easy way to get veggies in their diets, but preferred a sweeter taste. Campbell’s product innovation team heard their request, and went right to work. In 2006, they introduced V8 V-Fusion juice. If you haven’t tried this juice yet, you’re seriously missing out! Along with an awesome fruity taste, it also contain a full serving of fruit AND a full serving of vegetables in EVERY 8-ounce glass. My kids have no clue how many nutritious components are in this juice… they just know it’s good!

 

What’s the challenge? This month we’re putting our nutrition where our mouth is! The V8 VegOut! Challenge is inviting you to share your passion for fruit and veggies in a fun and exciting way! During this time you’ll be invited to partake in challenges, dares, and to share your best recipes, videos and photos. You’ll also have the opportunity to win tons of great surprises and collect awesome fun facts and recipes to use of your own!

going-raw-veggie

How do you participate? Head on over the V8’s Facebook Page to join the fun! Here you can accept challenges and dares. Your Mission, if you choose to accept… Ready for a challenge? The first challenge I’ll be doing is the Raw Veggies challenge. During this challenge, I’ll be going an entire day without eating ANY cooked veggies. That’s right, I’ll ONLY eat raw veggies for the entire day!

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Think you can make it? Give it a try! Be sure to share your pictures with the hash tag #V8VegOut so I can see! I’m excited about this mission, and look forward to seeing how you all fair! What’s your favorite raw veggie?

 

 
This is a sponsored post.  Opinions are my own.

Parenting Teen Drivers #STSafeDriver

No matter how mature they are; or how well you’ve raised them… parenting a teen comes with a whole plethora of worries. One of the main worries comes hand in hand with the age-old rite of passage… the driver’s license.

 

Once your child has their license, it’s like they are unleashed into a great big world allowing them to explore new places. Places away from your watchful eye…

 

Let’s face it, this is scary.

parenting-teen-driver

What would make you feel most safe with your child being on the road?

 

For me, it would be the opportunity to be a “fly on the wall”. While I know my child will be on their best behavior with me in the vehicle, I’d love to see how safe they are when I’m not.

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Have you ever felt this way?

 

If so, you’re in luck. In honor of National Teen Driver Safety Week, which takes place October 19-25, Straight Talk Wireless is teaming up with Driver’s Edge to bring to life the importance of eliminating distractions while driving.

 

With Straight Talk’s Safe Driver Car Connection device, you can now experience the next best thing to being an actual fly on the wall!

 safe-driver-car-connection

What is Safe Driver Car Connection?

 

It’s an easy to use device that plugs directly into your car’s computer system (OBD-II port). It literally provides you with all the tools you need to monitor your child (and your car) from afar using your computer or smart phone.

 

Worried about your child texting and driving?

 

Safe Driver Car Connection has a feature that disables calls and text functionality while the car is in motion.
That’s right.  It disables calls AND texts while the car is moving.

 

Want to know when your teen leaves the neighborhood?

 

Safe Drive Car Connection will alert you when the vehicle enters and leaves predetermined “safe-areas”.

 

Wondering how many “close calls” your teen has in the car when you are not around?

 

 

 

Your child can receive a driving score. This is determined using measures such as hard braking, acceleration, and sharp turning, alongside other driving habits and factors, to develop an overall score.

 

In addition to knowing your child is safe, you’ll also receive alerts about the health of your vehicle, including maintenance alerts.

 

Be sure to pop into your local Walmart, or head to Walmart.com or straighttalk.com to find out about the Safe Driver Car Connection and other awesome deals happening with Straight Talk right now! There’s the Alcatel OneTouch Pop Icon smart phone that’s available this month, along with the new Bring Your Own Tablet program!

 

October is a month to be excited!

 

What do you worry about most when it comes to your teen driver?

 

This is a sponsored post as part of the #StraightTalkTesters program. Opinions are my own.

Visiting Mount Vernon- Changes and Chocolate

So here’s a fun fact you didn’t know about me- George Washington is my favorite President.  Always has been.  When I was younger, my family took a trip to Washington DC for a vacation.  My souvenir of choice was a framed George Washington print. It hung on my wall through high school.  (Sadly, I’m not sure what happened to it, my parents moved when I was away at college and I haven’t seen it since). GW is awesome.  Well, I suppose he was awesome.  He was a pretty amazing man, with a very strong character and actions to stand behind that character. I’m not saying he was perfect, but in comparison to anyone that’s remotely in the world of politics today, he sticks out like a bright shining star. Plus, he really liked chocolate.  So there’s that.  It’s like GW and I were destined to be besties.  Or something.

So, naturally, when American Heritage Chocolate invited me to be part of their #ChocolateHistory tour this fall, to visit 3 historical sites steeped in American History- including chocolate, I had no choice but to say yes.  The first stop on the tour was Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home.  Racquel headed down for that trip, as I was previously engaged, and you can read about her weekend (and yummy chocolate).  Stop two? Visiting Mount Vernon.  George Washington’s home. Next up is Old Salem Museums and Gardens.

And you guys, I went.

To George Washington’s very own Mount Vernon.

I know. I KNOW! I kept it together (or tried to, but it was really really hard to contain my excitement) until we turned the corner of the path and found ourselves facing Mount Vernon. I was all “OMG!” and stuff, but then it was like wait, WHAT?

mount-vernon-not-white

Mount Vernon isn’t white anymore. Nope.

Turns out, while history doesn’t change, things we find today can change what we know about history. And Mount Vernon wasn’t white in GW’s day, you guys.  It was not at all.

There’s a lot that’s changed around Mount Vernon.  I bet that’s a little surprising to some of you. It was to me.

This room has been thought of as a dining room for, well, a really long time.  Turns out, it was a parlor, where guests would gather and conversate.

110 West 80 St-4R, NY, NY 10024 212 874 3879

 

I just have to point out here that the house I grew up in was the same color as the walls of this room.  Coincidence? I think not. (Also photos from inside the mansion are shared with me by Mt. Vernon, as cameras are NOT allowed inside).

Fun fact: Look at the floors, how “plain” they are.  Even with the grandeur of the rooms in Mount Vernon, and the linens, decor, etc., the floors were plain and simple.  It’s an interesting contrast.

So once you leave the Front Room, out you go onto the veranda and find yourself looking at this beautiful view of the Potomac River.

mount-vernon-potomac-view

 

The truly amazing thing about this view is that it’s quite the same as it was when the Washingtons lived at Mount Vernon. Thousands of acres on the opposite shore of the river were purchased and preserved- eventually turned into a state park, to preserve this view. It’s truly an experience to stand where one of our Founding Fathers stood, to see what he would have seen in the same spot.  There aren’t many places in the world that can be said of.

Another change that you may or may not notice- on the veranda, there are 24 wooden chairs for visitors to enjoy this view.  For many, many years, those chairs have been painted green.  Recent discoveries (again, history hasn’t changed, but what we know of history has!) have proved that Mrs. Washington ordered 24 brown chairs, not green, and the folks at Mount Vernon painted them brown because of this. (You can see them in the photo below- and do you see the cupola? I climbed up TO that. The view is purported to be amazing. I saw a half second of the view and got quite anxious, so down I went).

front-view-mount-vernon-brown-chairs

The changes might be surprising to you- they honestly were to me. I was surprised- and intrigued-when I saw this archaeological site behind the kitchen

It’s surprising, but also really cool that no matter how long we’ve known about things, we’re still looking, discovering and learning more about our past. It never really occurred to me before last weekend that there would be changes at these historical properties, but starting with my first view of the very-much-not-white-Mount-Vernon, my eyes are wide open now. It’s actually renewed and refreshed my interest in our American History, and quite frankly, I think more of us SHOULD be visiting these places, and immersing ourselves in re-enactments.  it helps to make the words from the pages of our history books come alive, and really connect us with those who came before us.  Especially with our American History- we NEED to keep telling the stories, and re-watching them, because we need to keep them alive, and relevant, so that our generation, and the ones to follow, so that THEY will continue to be excited about it and remember all that many gave up so that we can live as we do today.

mount-vernon-kitchen

Kitchen at Mount Vernon

We actually came upon another archaeological site on the Mount Vernon property- my new friend Kelly and I had gone to see Washington’s Tomb, and then to see the memorial to the slaves who’d lived on Mount Vernon as well.  Past that monument, and back a bit, we could see clearly where 4 “shroud graves” lay in the soil, and one of the volunteers working on the area explained to us that the goal is to not discover who lays under the graves, but to know where they are, so careful excavation is being done. I was quite amazed at how clear the graves were- simply by the color of the soil- neat, clean lines around where the bodies lay. We did not take photographs of this- I didn’t feel right asking. I do wonder if those areas will be marked off somehow in order to preserve that area in time. The volunteer we spoke with comes down from NY state to help with the excavation-many of the volunteers drive a considerable distance in order to help preserve our history.

Stables at Mount Vernon

Stables at Mount Vernon

Changes have been made to the gardens at Mount Vernon (there’s that archaeology popping up again), and there’s an entire Education Center and Museum on the property that are worth the stop- and a few hours of your time.

gardens-mount-vernon

Gardens at Mount Vernon

The museum houses many beautiful (and not so beautiful, but historic and important) artifacts.  The Education Center offers an interactive, immersive experience for kids of all ages- even an area for littler kids to dress up and role play. Kids can take the oath of office right along with President Washington.  They can watch a 4D movie and hear the sounds George Washington would have heard. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you’ll happen to be at Mount Vernon when there are folks doing a re-enactment like this one below and you can literally feel yourself step back in time.

No changes to Washington’s bedroom- but it’s here our first President slept, in a very private part of the mansion- not many were (or are) allowed to this part of the house, but we were privileged to be able to see it in person. I was quite surprised to see two closets in a bedroom from this time. The bedding and linens are changed seasonally in this room, but it’s quite as it was when the Washingtons lived here.  Actually, once the President had passed, his wife boarded the room up and never went into it again.  Washington Bedchamber

You can see the tray next to the chair, and while you might first think that’s a setup for tea, it’s really not.  Remember, this was the time of the Revolutionary War, and tea was hard to come by. Most folks drank a chocolate drink- not chocolate as we think of it, but a hot chocolate drink that was thick, and strong, and would wake you right up. You can taste the chocolate as it was when the Washingtons enjoyed it, at Mount Vernon and other historical locations across the country, just look for American Heritage Historic Chocolate. One common food you will see across the globe and throughout history is chocolate- how cool is that? I feel like maybe we should have whole history classes on chocolate now. In all schools. That would be delicious!

American Heritage Chocolate

Frequently at Mount Vernon, at fairs, festivals and seasonally, you can enjoy some hot chocolate drink just as our ancestors did in the 1700s.  During the holiday season, the mansion is decorated with greenery and chocolate is served throughout the month. At fairs and festivals, American Heritage Chocolate often has a tent/booth set up where there are demonstrations of how the chocolate is readied for consumption and how it is prepared for drinking (or eating).  If you are lucky, you’ll be able to have a little hands-on time with the ingredients. I did, and it was really quite fun!

american-heritage-historic-chocolate-demo

Here’s me, working the mano on the metate (lava stone) to ready the chocolate for the molds. (You get mad bonus points if you know what those words mean…and I will tell you…in a yet-to-come recipe post).  See that grin on my face? That was plastered all over my face the whole entire weekend. Oh yes. I’m totally serious.

american-heritage-historic-chocolate-me

 

Once you’ve enjoyed exploring Mount Vernon, and gone to the Education Center and Museum, be sure to stop at the Mount Vernon Inn.  You can enjoy a brownie ice cream sundae made with American Heritage Historic Chocolate- and you can also enjoy some Mornay Chips. Just trust me.  Those are 2 MUST ORDER items on that menu. Plus, you’ll want to enjoy Colonial Hoecakes. (George himself liked his hoecakes with butter and honey, along with a Chocolate Cream to drink, but I’m quite sure you’ll love the modern take on these hoecakes!)

 

My only regret about my Mount Vernon visit is that I didn’t get a chance to take a photo with George Washington.  Or Martha. I guess I have to go back! I can’t wait to bring my family! In the meantime, we have some fun recipes we’ll be sharing in the next few months using American Heritage Chocolate!!

 

 

This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and American Heritage blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

 

#TheBoxtrolls: Behind the Scenes + #TwitterParty


Today’s the big day, my friends!! After months of waiting, reading, playing and crafting, The Boxtrolls has arrived to theaters across the country.  We can finally meet Eggs, Oilcan, Fish and the other Boxtrolls! So excited to see this one! boxtrolls-characters-cardboard-challenge

Check out this behind the scenes look at the movie, and let me know what you think. I think that there will be a lot of DIY Boxtrolls costumes coming to a house near you for Trick or Treating come Halloween!

 

Please join us at #TheBoxtrolls Twitter party on 9/26, from 11am-12pm PST (2-3pm EST) with the hashtag #TheBoxtrolls for a chance to win $500!


This post is part of a sponsored partnership between myself and The Boxtrolls. Opinions are my own.

Give yourself a break and let someone else worry


Doesn’t fall just seem like a time to breathe again? I love the carefreeness and fun of the summer, but the return of structure that comes with back to school is not unappreciated. If you aren’t feeling the structure in your life yet, there are a couple of things to get in the groove of things….without being overwhelmed. The way our schedule is right now, I’m spinning constantly…. going from point A to B to C to F and Q and three places in between. Some things I can control and some I can’t… here are a few ways to give yourself a break!

give-yourself-break

Photo Credit: ForestFoliage.com

Reduce Stress/Baggage: The holidays are fast approaching and you’ll be getting lots more coupons and sales flyers in the mail. Create pre-defined piles for mail to keep things separate now (one of which should be the trash pile), and sort your mail as soon as you get it out the mailbox. Reducing the pileup of clutter during the cool “cozy” months will go a lot way to allowing you to relax and focus on the things you need to do.  LifeLock protection reduces the amount of pre-approved credit card offers you receive. It may seem simple but NOT having all of those extra offers and envelopes to open will reduce your stress!

 

Get Your Finances In Order: Now’s a great time to begin preparing your budget and finances for the beginning of the year. Getting these ready now avoids the panic of the first of the year, when you’re trying to gather a years worth of data in an already hectic time.

 

Another important aspect of getting your finances in order is checking your credit for inconsistences. Holidays are a time when identity theft is even more common than usual, and it’s NOT something you want to fall victim to. If you have LifeLock, you don’t have to worry about this. LifeLock  has a product called LifeLock Ultimate Plus that offers credit/identity monitoring with activity alerts and features to put you at ease.  That means LifeLock is monitoring FOR you, for information and activity on your identity. Less for you to worry about.

 

Relax! Fall’s a cozy time. The summer is soo much geared to entertaining the children, it’s time to get some focus back to you. Grab your laptop/tablet or a good book and your boots with a cozy sweater and curl up in a corner of your local coffee shop or bistro. The next time you hear on the news about your favorite store having a security breech, or a major email program being hacked- you can relax. LifeLock will notify you of things like security breeches so you can relax- and not worry so much.

lifelock offers 5 points of protection
Visit the LifeLock Site to learn more about LifeLock’s services and how they can help lead a less stressful life! Enter code LifeLockSafety to save 10% today! Prices range from $9.99 a month to $29.99 a month. With today’s hectic schedules, that’s an investment in your well-being- giving someone else the worries to bear!

What’s your number one way to decrease stress in your life? What’s your number one fear about having your identity stolen?

 

 

This post is brought to you as part of my Ambassador relationship with LifeLock. Opinions are my own. Advertisement

#TheBoxtrolls: What Makes a Family + Twitter Party 9/26

The Boxtrolls is coming to theaters TOMORROW, September 26! I don’t know who’s more excited to go, but we Martins can’t wait to get to the theater to see this movie.  It’s been a fun summer reading the book and doing fun crafts and activities building up to this and it’s finally almost here! Check out the fun What Makes a Family featurette below:

 
Grab your tickets to see The Boxtrolls now!

ALSO!!
Please join us at #TheBoxtrolls Twitter party on 9/26, from 11am-12pm PST (2-3pm EST) with the hashtag #TheBoxtrolls for a chance to win $500!


This post is part of a sponsored partnership between myself and The Boxtrolls. Opinions are my own.

Share a video, support Make a Wish #WishPower #StraightTalkTesters #Giveaway

If you had one wish, what would it be? What is one thing that you would love to see or do in your lifetime that would bring you fulfillment? Would you travel to Paris? Meet someone you admire? I can think of lots of things I’d like to do, if given the opportunity. The thing is, we often take these things for granted.  That’s why I love the Make-A-Wish foundation. They give children with life-threatening medical conditions the chance to make their wishes come true! I have friends and family who’ve been granted wishes, and I know just what these granted wishes give to families.  It’s not about things, it’s about memories.  I love that my favorite cell provider, Straight Talk, has teamed up for such an important cause. I will be heading out of my way tomorrow simply to be sure to give a minute and help make a wish. I hope you’ll join me. It’s one of the easiest ways I’ve seen to support Make a Wish!

give-minute-makeawish

I’m VERY excited to share that this month, Straight Talk Wireless is rallying  fans and friends to help raise up to $1 million to grant the wishes of deserving kids as part of their “Give a Minute, Help Make-A-Wish” program.

 

And guess what?

 

You can help!

wishpower-shelby-makeawish

Here’s how:

 

  1. When you’re doing your shopping at Walmart this month, take a moment to stop by the wireless department. By taking one minute of your time to view a Straight Talk product demo, you will trigger a $1 donation to the Make-A-Wish foundation. You can stop by participating Walmart stores any Saturday in September.
  2. Can’t make it to a Walmart? That’s okay! Visit www.straighttalkwish.com and share a wish story. You can also share any of the wish stories posted to Straight Talk’s Facebook or Twitter

 

For every share you make from the above sites, and for every one-minute demo you attend, you will trigger a $1 donation from Straight Talk to Make-A-Wish! I absolutely love that there is the option to trigger a donation without even leaving the comforts of your home!

 

Want to find out if your local Walmart is participating? Visit the www.straighttalkwish.com website, and enter in your zip code. You will then be given a list of participating Walmart stores in your area!

 

While you’re on the site, don’t forget to check out and share some of the heart-touching stories of children whose wishes have been fulfilled thanks the Make-A Wish foundation!

One reader will win a Straight Talk prize pack for families on the go, valued at about $90!

 

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This is a sponsored post as part of the #StraightTalkTesters program. Opinions are my own.

Pull-Ups and Potty Training

I recently returned from a quick trip to beautiful Wisconsin and the first ever on-site event at the Kimberly Clark headquarters.  Kimberly Clark is located in Neenah, Wisconsin and the great people at KC make Pull-Ups training pants as well as many other products we all know and love.  I was so fortunate to travel to Kimberly Clark and meet with the Pull-Ups team as well as other mom bloggers and the extremely knowledgeable Dr. Heather Wittenburg, developer of BabyShrink and mom of four.  I participated in this event on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Pull-Ups Big Kid Academy.  In return for my participation, I received free samples and a promotional item. #PullUpsAcademy

pull ups meeting

The other mom bloggers, the Pull-Ups team, and Dr. Heather were a wealth of information and we all spent a lot of time talking about kids, potty training, and being moms in general.  We learned and talked about signs of potty training readiness, different potty training personalities, tips for successful potty training, and products for making potty training easier.  Here is a photo of our group after getting a behind the scenes look at Pull-Ups.

pull ups moms and team

I have 5 little ones, 2 of which are big kids and mastered the potty training thing years ago.  Two of the three little boys are now at the age where we are ready to tackle the potty training process again.  We’ve determined that they are physically ready and emotionally ready (or independent) and we’ve stocked up on the right gear to get started.

I learned some really great tips and ideas during my visit to Pull-Ups and I’m not only excited to share them with you all now, I’m excited to have some of my potty training mom friends over for a play date soon and share these thoughts with them as well!

Potty Training Is As Unique As Your Child

Potty training is a unique experience with every child, one that is as different as their personality.  While there are some basics that work or apply to every child, it is never exactly the same from one to the next.  Potty training might happen quick for one child and take months for another.

Give Your Child The Right Tools Feel Confident

Potty training is a huge milestone in your child’s life, one of the biggest but it isn’t the only big change happening to your toddler.  They learn and experience so many new things every day and sometimes this can be really scary.  Stock up on all the things you and your toddler need to make this a fun and exciting experience that will help them feel secure.

A potty seat that’s just the right size or designed with one of their favorite characters is a great thing to invest in.  If your toddler has to go potty on a grown up size toilet it may be a scary and intimidating experience.  A potty chair that made just for them will make them feel safe and their favorite characters will give them something familiar to associate with.

While a potty chair that’s designed for them is important, it isn’t the only important item for helping the feel secure during this new adventure.  Accidents will happen and while some children won’t seem to be at all upset by and accident, others will feel frustration and fear from the experience of having wet or messy pants.  Pull-Ups has a great line of training pants that help your child feel like a big kid but protect them from embarrassing accidents.  The Pull-Ups training pants are designed specifically for boys and girls with extra protection in just the right spots for your little man or little miss.  They off glow in the dark pants for night time training and a cool alert product that helps your child be more aware and uncomfortable when an accident has happened.  Again, the Pull-Ups products are designed with many familiar characters your children know and love.  They’ll be excited to put on their new big boy/girl pants!

pull ups for boys

 

Pull Ups for Girls

Tips For Potty Training Success

Don’t start potty training unless your toddler is showing signs of readiness and you are ready.  Remember that potty training isn’t convenient and it isn’t easy.  It takes a lot of effort and time on your part.  When you decide you’re ready to start training be prepared for frustration and accidents.  That means having someone to turn to with questions or websites to turn to for ideas.  It also means being prepared for accidents when you’re away from home.  Put together a “potty pouch” and fill it with a change of clothes, an extra Pull-Up, wipes, and other things you may need in the event of an accident.  You and your toddler will both be happy that an accident can be handled without a lot of extra stress.

Rewarding your child for success and for trying can be an effective way to help your child get the hang of potty training.  Whether rewards are in the form of a little treat, a special prize, or great big hugs and high fives.  Research shows rewards are a big part of successful training.

Build body awareness with your child.  Help them learn to connect how their body feels inside when they have to go potty.  Teach them to place a hand on their belly and think about what they might be feeling inside when it’s time to go.  Getting them to listen to their body helps them become better planners and makes getting to the potty without an accident more likely.

Make it fun!  My husband always tells me that no matter how old a boy is, farts are always funny.  I’m not sure how I feel about this but the fact is that potty training needs to be fun and funny.  It will make the experience better for everyone.  Tell some jokes and have fun activities for your child to do when they potty.  Speaking of activities for your child to do….

The “Time To Potty” App & Big Kid Academy 

There  is now an app for just about everything and potty training is no exception.  The Pull-Ups Time To Potty app is a great tool for moms and dads and a fun tool for your toddler.  The app allows you to customize information about your child (or children) and lets you set a timer that will remind you to have your child use the potty at regular intervals.  When your child is successful, whether that means having dry pants when it’s “time to potty” or successful at using the potty, they unlock a fun activity on your phone or tablet as a reward.  The activities feature familiar characters your child will be excited to see.

Time to Potty App

The Big Kid Academy is a great tool filled with information on products, tips and advice, activities for parents and toddlers, and special offers.  Speaking of the Big Kid Academy, have you seen the advertising for this?  Big boys and big girls are excited to show toddlers and newly potty training kids the ropes of becoming a big kid.  I LOVE this.  My 8 and 10 year old get so excited when it’s time to help their little brothers go potty.  They are so encouraging and this makes the experience fun, exciting, and will help our little guys be successful.

Big Kid Acadamey

 

Remember when potty training that doing it right vs. doing it fast is what’s most important!

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Enter the Boxtrolls Cardboard Challenge! #TheBoxtrollsCC #TheBoxtrolls

Focus Features, the creative minds behind The Boxtrolls movie, set to open in just a week (eek!), has partnered with the Imagination Foundation. The mission of the Imagination Foundation is to find, foster and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in children around the world.

boxtrolls-card-board-challenge

Focus is working with the Imagination Foundation to sponsor a Boxtrolls Cardboard Challenge, where kids can create and build crafts inspired by the movie, using cardboard boxes as the main resource – just like the Boxtrolls themselves do. The partnership is twofold – there is a contest encouraging kids to create their own crafts out of cardboard boxes for a chance to win prizing (must submit via social with a custom hashtag, details below). Secondly, there will be events hosted across the country, where participants can attend and win “What’s in the Box?”-themed packages at hosted events (a list of cities, dates and times for the hosted events in the Boxtrolls Cardboard Challenge can be found at http://www.focusfeatures.com/the_boxtrolls/events)

 boxtrolls-kids-cardboard-challenge

Imagination Foundation Event Dates:

  • Boston, MA: Saturday 9/20 from 11am-3pm at the Framingham Food Truck Festival

  • Cleveland, OH: Saturday 9/20 from 11am-2pm at SouthPark Mall

  • Salt Lake City, UT: Saturday 9/20 from 12pm-3pm at Station Park Mall in Farmington

  • Kansas City, MO:  Sunday 9/21 2pm – 4pm at the Science City at Union Station

  • Minneapolis, MN: Sunday 9/21 from 1pm-3pm at Mall of America in the Sears Court

  • Austin, TX: Sunday 9/21 from 1pm-3pm at Givens Recreation Center from 1pm-3pm

  • Baltimore, MD: Sunday 9/21 from 2pm-4pm at the Port Discovery Atrium

  • Philadelphia, PA: Sunday 9/21 from 12pm-3pm at Franklin Mills Mall

  • Raleigh, NC: Sunday 9/21 from 1pm-4pm at the CenterFest Arts Festival (in the Kids Zone) in Durham

  • Pittsburgh, PA(9/21) : Sunday 9/21 from 12pm-3pm at Carnegie Science Center

  • San Diego, CA: Sunday 9/21 from 10:30am-3pm at the San Diego Padres game against the San Francisco Giants at Petco Park

boxtrolls-kids-in-boxes

 

Doesn’t this look like SO  much fun? Can’t wait to attend a local event. I want to meet a Boxtroll in person! My kids will be very excited to create more Boxtrolls and enter the Cardboard Challenge- I hope you enter too! 

Contest

The Boxtrolls Cardboard Challenge takes place from  8/25-9/29- so we all have a little while longer to get our boxes on!

How to enter the contest:

Participants can share their creations via Twitter or Instagram by tagging their photos with the hashtag #TheBoxtrollsCC to enter

Prizing

Grand Prize: one (1) Grand Prize winner will be picked on September 29th and receive an “Imagination Box” for creative play, including an Apple iMac, an iPad Air, Microsoft Office, The Print Shop and Kid Pix softwares, a $500 DiscoveryStore.com gift card, and a $1000 Michaels Arts & Crafts gift card.

Contest Rules and Regulations

boxtrolls-characters-cardboard-challenge

Remember, The Boxtrolls movie opens September 26 in theaters everywhere. We can’t even wait to see it- and the crafts and challenges we’ve been doing for this movie all summer have been such a great experience for the kids and I.

Which Boxtroll would you want to meet in person? 

 
This post is brought to you by Focus Features.  Opinions are my own.