This is most definitely how to bathe a baby.

new baby

Oh, how I miss the newborn days.  Except for baths.  Well, I loved bathing my kids. I just hated hearing them scream.  Until each of them was about 3-4 months, they screamed nonstop through every bath. Jenni just shared the link to this video on YouTube with me, and I’m understanding that I was doing it wrong.  I apparently had no idea how to bathe a baby. Maybe I can have one more baby, and then I can do it right?

I’m very curious to hear what your reactions are to this- and how you felt watching.  I think it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen.  Amazing.

 

Pampers Bundles of Joy at Walmart #PampersJoy

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Attention parents of diaper-aged kids and expectant parents (and maybe anyone who may be buying diapers as a gift?) Pampers Bundle of Joy is offering a great deal on Walmart.com for three days only-February 2-5.  Beginning today, February 2nd, shoppers receive one free Gillette® Venus® ProSkinTM razor and one free Gillette Fusion® razor with any purchase of Pampers diapers on Walmart.com, while supplies last.

Now, before you go rushing over to Walmart.com, I’d recommend heading to Ebates.com first- you’ll get 1% cash back on your purchase.  This may not seem like much but I’m guessing if you are buying diapers, you probably will have to buy them again in the future, and every little bit counts.  (I’ve used Ebates for over 10 years. I have a HUGE number for my lifetime cash back!)

 

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Pampers.

Love LEGO bricks? You’ll LOVE LEGO’s YouTube Channel! ($1000 LEGO Giveaway) #LEGOChannel

One of my favorite childhood pastimes was building with LEGO blocks.  I’m so happy to say that all three of my children seem to have inherited my love of LEGO blocks, and each spends time regularly playing with them.  We’ve had Quatros, Duplos, and “regular” LEGOS, we’ve had sets and we’ve had individual pieces. We’ve got accessories, kitchen items, apparel, and whatever else we can find.  

One thing we’ve not had was a way to view the LEGO shows that don’t appear on the TV “on demand” from our cable provider- or to view the LEGO videos that have aired elsewhere or are made for online viewing…until recently.  LEGO has it’s own YouTube channel and we’ve found a new way to watch our favorite toys come to life.  

TheLEGO channel is fabulous.  Just about any LEGO-produced video you can find, from product information, TV ads, shows, and behind the scenes stuff- all in one place.  AND, you can create playlists to match interests or your kids’ ages and have them be able to access a list with content that YOU want them to  be able to watch- no surprise videos popping up.  We have all experienced or heard of someone innocently stumbling upon “adult” content or something not in our taste and having playlists means we eliminate that risk. 

I will say, I do hope that LEGO expands on what they offer for videos and include some fun DUPLO videos- I know my kids would get a big kick out of seeing their LEGO farm friends on screen, and my little girl would be ecstatic if her princess friends came to life.  My oldest is very into the LEGO Friends line and keeps asking me if there are episodes for Friends like there are for Ninjago.  So LEGO, if you see this…we want more!  Please!

 

There is a lot of content on web; creating a playlist on the Official LEGO® Channel is a great way to ensure your kids are entertained and watching videos you can feel good about. 
 

Visit the Official LEGO® Channel to build your own playlist to watch with your kids and then reply below for a chance to win one (1) $1,000 gift card to buy your family’s favorite LEGO® products!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LEGO. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Sweepstakes Rules.

Little Passports Encourage Curiosity and Travel (Giveaway)

One of my 7 year old ‘s favorite gifts this Christmas was the subscription she received to Little Passports USA Edition. I knew she’d like it, but I honestly believe it has been her favorite gift. She’s been talking about it nonstop. All of the components of the introductory kit, called the Discovery Kit, plus the first monthly envelope that followed soon after. Little Passports is helping kids learn and understand about all different cultures in the world and right here in the USA. Helping them in so many ways, too. Kids love to get mail- but mail comes from someplace, so that right there is fun to check out- my daughter always wants to know where the postmark will be from on things that come to the house. The contents of the packages from Little Passports are never the same twice so that makes things super exciting too- mail that has surprises early on in each month of the subscription! Plus, they get to learn and discover new, fun exciting things and also experience some of the adventures that Sam and Sofia have. I can’t say enough good about this program. Little Passports has us hooked.

little passports florida

I also have a map of the world and a map of the US on my wainscotting in my dining room courtesy of Little Passports. I’m not allowed to take them down. MOM, I hear(with a side of exasperation), we can’t take them down. I need to have them up all the time so I can keep finding out more facts and information and cool stuff about where Sam and Sofia are visiting next! She also goes on to explain that they are “way more fun” to look at than boring family photos and add a splash of color to the room. How can I say no to that? So they stay. It’s gotten all five of us talking about places on both of the maps, which is never a bad thing. The kids want to know where my husband and I have travelled, and they share places they’d like to go. They want to know so much and I’m sitting here wondering why it is that we never thought to have a map hanging up before! What a great idea!

little passports starter

My daughter LOVES this kit, and the envelopes that are coming to bring her new places. The first “month” we got was Florida & Nebraska- perfect timing since we have our first big family trip this month- TO Florida. She’s been showing her little brother and sister all of the things she’s learning about thanks to Sam and Sofia quite proudly, both on the map and reading things aloud to them at meals. It’s pretty cool, how excited she is about learning where these places are!

With your USA Edition subscription, Sam and Sofia travel to and experience the wonders of all 50 states. Kick-off your USA adventure with the first month’s Discovery Kit which includes a letter from Sam and Sofia, a USA Field Guide, a USA scratch book, a map, and a camera. Sam and Sofia then travel to two new states every month and send an activity-packed travel journal with stickers, postcards, pop-out models and access to online activities.

When you first start your Little Passports adventure USA Edition, you will receive the Discovery Kit which comes in a custom Sam and Sofia USA (durable) Portfolio and includes:

  • An introductory letter from Sam and Sofia
  • USA Field Guide
  • USA Scratch Book (If your kids haven’t discovered scratch books, they are a ton of fun, and a big mess. Have them do it outside or on a table so you can (carefully) sweep the scratch ‘dust’ as I call it neatly into the trash can.)
  • USA Wall Map
  • Disposable Camera and Photo Scavenger Hunt

Every month thereafter, your child will visit 2 new states and receive:

  • A 32-page activity-packed journal covering 2 states
  • Stickers
  • Pop-out Models
  • Postcards
  • Access to more information and activities online (Boarding Pass)

The recommended age range for our USA Edition is 7 to 12 years old.

After signing up, you will receive your first package with our Discovery Kit in about 4 to 5 weeks. New packages will arrive around the beginning of every month thereafter.

There are 4 options to subscribe- 3, 6 and 12 month memberships, each including a Discovery Kit to begin, and also a monthly membership which will get your child all 26 monthly envelopes and the Discovery Kit. If you want this to be a gift for a child in your life, planning ahead by about 5-6 weeks will mean the Discovery Kit is in your hands (or theirs) on the occasion you want to gift it for and they can have that to open and begin exploring and learning.

This is an amazing gift. It’s going to be at least $11.95 a month, up to $14 a month, but it’s going to give your child all kinds of knowledge, crafts and ideas, and keep them occupied each month for the duration of your subscription. I’m guessing most of us will spend close to that on some kind of entertainment or activities for our kids anyway- this is a way to pull those activities together and put them into a fun package so kids have a thematic curriculum that they don’t even know teaches them things. It’s just a lot of fun. One thing I really like is that it isn’t just a one time thing that comes in the mail and gets tossed aside- my daughter goes back to it over and over again to look something up or to try another part of the journal activities. Math, science, social studies, language arts are all components cleverly disguised as fun facts and information- and a wonderful way to get your child excited to learn about other parts of the country (or world if you do the world edition- which I’ve already been told is next on the list).

One reader will win a 2 month subscription to Little Passports USA Edition!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We received a sample of this product to facilitate our review. Opinions are our own.

 

How to make a Faith Kit

A few weeks ago during the children’s message at church, the kids each received a Faith Kit.  I’d actually never seen these before but I think they are a cute idea- and my kids seem to have really made some connections and have an understanding of the different components, so I thought I’d share with  you all.  These won’t take much time at all to make and are a fun activity- for church, family, Sunday school, etc.

faith kit instructions

What you need for the kit:

Hershey Kiss- To remind us of the sweetness of God’s love

Duct Tape – To remind us that God can fix anything that is wrong or broken

Paper Clip- To remind us that God helps us to “keep it all together”

Band-Aid- God can heal our souls

Crayon- To remind us that God’s creation is colorful and varied

Penny- To remind us of the blessings that God has given

Candle- Jesus is the light of the world and will always light our way

Life Saver- Jesus is our savior

 

You can probably modify parts of this to tailor it to your specific needs or beliefs.  I do recommend when you do use the duct tape to stick it to itself so that it doesn’t stick to everything else in the bag.

Happy Birthday Clifford the Big Red Dog! (Prize Pack Giveaway 5 winners)

Clifford the Big Red Dog Happy Birthday Prize PackScholastic is still celebrating the 50th Birthday of Clifford the Big Red Dog and they are throwing him the BIGGEST birthday EVER!  Join the celebration and enter for your chance to win a CLIFFORD 50th anniversary prize pack that includes a plush toy, DVD, books, games, coupons and a free download card for the new Clifford app!  For more birthday fun, go to www.scholastic.com/clifford to send CLIFFORD a personalized birthday card.

 

Five readers will win birthday prize packs including:

  • A Clifford DVD
  • A set of 3 Clifford books
  • A Clifford plush
  • A Clifford board game
  • A code to download Clifford’s BIG Birthday app for free
  • A coupon for Clifford-branded juice boxes
  • A Clifford coloring & activity book

To Enter:

Visit Scholastic and tell me another book or series you’d love to check out! 

*Follow Me on Pinterest

*Share this giveaway on any social networking site- can be done 1x/day but leave the url of each share in it’s own comment!
RULES AND REGULATIONS:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. All federal, state and local regulations apply. Entries must be received by January 31, 2012. Winners will be randomly selected and notified by email. One prize per person per household. 5 prizes available. ARV of prize is $75.00/each. Employees of all promotional partners, their agencies and those who have received a prize within the last 90 days are not eligible. Mama Loves Her Bargains, Allied-THA and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred in connection with use of a prize. A recipient of prizes assumes any and all risks related to use of prize and accepts any restrictions required by prize provider. Prizes cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, in whole or in part.

Planning for what lies ahead- Long Term Care

There are topics that are anything but pleasant to discuss with your loved ones.  It’s not easy, nor comfortable, nor fun to discuss the “down the road” possibilities.  I’m grateful to my parents for having these conversations about long term care, and communicating their wishes to me and explaining to us WHY these  things are important to plan for.  None of us knew what lay in store for them- we all assumed they’d worked hard, planned well and saved for a fun, Carribbean-beach resort style retirement.  My mom retired in 2008 at 65 and 1 day.  She died in 2009 at 66 and 1 month, having been very ill and bedridden for that entire time due to complications of COPD and Emphysema.  She wasn’t ever able to stop smoking.  I’m sure that was in her thought process somewhere even though like many, she thought herself to be invincible. She wasn’t.  My dad’s memory had begun to slip a bit before mom died, and she’d joked to me once that he was keeping her body alive while she kept his mind fresh.  He declined steadily after she passed and within a year was moving down here to CT to an assisted living facility that he chose because it had a memory care wing in house, and because he knew he’d be able to stay in that same place regardless of what happened for the remainder of his life.  In a flash, all of those winter months spent on a different tropical island were gone- there weren’t going to be family get-togethers in the Bahamas, or postcards with mom trying to open coconuts with the natives of whatever island they were visiting.  The “new” retirement for them was anything but enjoyable, but thankfully, they planned for anything.

me and dad

While my mother’s illness was relatively short in duration, my dad’s living with Alzheimer’s Disease and may be with us for many more years.  Thanks to their careful planning, he’s able to afford to stay where he is for a very, very long time without creating a financial burden on any of the rest of us.  We are not left to make tough decisions about “can we afford this” or “can we do without this” for him, because he and mom did plan so carefully.  They saved and planned and worked so hard for long term care plans that we all, especially me, figured were a safety net, not to be used for another 20 years or so.  Thanks also to my parents’ having shared their plans and wishes, we kids are able to honor their wishes and know what they wanted.  Mom wanted to be home, in her own bed, without doctors and medical intervention prolonging something she’d long ago accepted.  Dad wanted to be someplace that could give him more care as his Alzheimer’s progressed and not have to move again in his life.  I can’t say that the talks I had with my parents about these wishes were pleasant, there were often tears shed as they ended, but in retrospect, I’m so grateful that they realized how important planning for the future was- and also how important sharing those plans was going to be.

 

I found this article that I’ve bookmarked for my own personal use- 10 Conversations to Plan for Aging with Dignity and Independence. We’ve had these conversations in our house, but as we get older and things change, we need to continue having the conversations.

Have you talked with your loved ones about long term care?

Be sure to check out my posts about why we purchased life insurance and about decisions to think about when purchasing your first home!

This is a supported post with information provided by Genworth Financial. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

5 (ok 6) Non Violent and/or Educational Video Games for Kids

I am not a fan of violent video games.  My husband does play some, but he does so when our children are in bed for the night and he just wants to chill for a while.  Me, I’ll take a cute  game any time, or a word game.  But never violence. I’m especially not a fan of games with violence for children, especially for young children. We have violence everywhere in our lives, and there are just SO many great non violent options to find! An added bonus I keep finding?  These games are almost always priced LESS than their more violent counterparts.  Makes no sense to me. Here are some of OUR family favorites for non-violent video games- for Nintendo DS, LeapFrog Explorer/LeapPad, Nintendo Wii, XBOX. Scholastic is a brand known for quality, fun educational content, so I don’t think anyone will be surprised that I will highly recommend anything they put out.  The I Spy Games for DS and Leapfrog are fabulous- my kids adore the I Spy series, and while we do always prefer books, at least mama does, at least when the kids are playing these games, I know that they are engaged and learning and not just pressing buttons. scholastic ds games

  • I SPY® TWO GAME PACK for NINTENDO DSTM  & Nintendo WII includes two of the popular franchise’s award-winning titles – I SPY Fun House and I SPY Universe. Together, the games feature more than 50 riddles and over 200 levels of play for seek-and-find fans of all ages. To escape the topsy-turvy world in I SPY Fun House, players must earn tickets by completing games, riddles, and the ultimate Prize Popper challenge. I SPY Universe takes players on a different kind of puzzle-solving adventure – a trip through the cosmos. Players unlock new planets and explore the universe while searching for over 400 objects in 36 I SPY riddles, and playing six brain-teasing games.
  • For children 5-8, SMART GAMES FOR KIDS TWO GAME PACK for NINTENDO DSTM  – inclusive of two popular Nintendo DSTM titles – My Amusement ParkTM and Digging for Dinosaurs®. In My Amusement ParkTM, kids build and run their own entertainment venue. Players can choose from four different themes to create rides, food venues, and special attractions in their own personal park. Digging for Dinosaurs® challenges players with a variety of distinctive mini-games that range from simulated paleontological digs to dinosaur battles, all while teaching interesting facts about more than 20 prehistoric species.

I have to tell you that this Digging for Dinosaurs is a hot game with the Kindergarten and First Grade crowd.  My son saw it at Kohl’s months ago and still asks me about it weekly. “Mom, did you get that dinosaur game for my DS yet?”  Well, yes I have but it’s a secret, tucked away for Christmas.  Dinosaurs are cool, and kids can learn, play the “big kid” DS system, and still have fun- without violence. LeapFrog is another very well known, high quality brand that devotes a great deal of research and investment in producing games and toys that both educate and engage- in very fun, interactive ways. leapfrog explorer magic school bus game

The Magic School Bus: Oceans is now available for LeapFrog®’s award-winning Leapster Explorer™ and LeapPad™. Designed for children ages 5-8, The Magic School Bus: Oceans teaches young gamers hundreds of interesting facts about ocean life through fun trivia challenges and seven highly replayable games. Players can earn special badges by performing well in games or trivia challenges, and can redeem these badges for additional features – like decorations for the bus or a customized Magic School Bus driver’s license – through the LeapFrog® Connect Application.

We are kind of new to the Magic School Bus scene.  We have this game on DS and LeapPad, and in my house, it’s preferred on the LeapPad. It may simply be this way because all three kids can see the screen of the pad better than the DS- but they all like the game, even my 3 year old, though she obviously needs a lot of help with it. tangled wii

Tangled– There’s a little bit of the frying pan action, so I hesitated to put this in, but really, this is a CUTE game, easier to control so the littler ones can enjoy it, and when you whip Rapunzel’s hair around, flowers grow.  My girls adore this game, we have it for the Wii.

kinect nat geo tv xbox

Nat Geo TV for Kinect is FABULOUS!  National Geographic, but interactive.  Gorgeous photos and superb graphics.  Great for all ages.  It’s fun to even watch the kids play. funky barn 3ds Funky Barn for DS- this game is just hilarious.  Its cute, it’s fun, whether you are in 2D or 3D mode (I can’t stand 3D anything lately, I think I’m getting old).   Kids (and adults) can learn about working on a farm- in an oddball way, but they are still learning!

I hope this list helps you. I know so many little ones really want to have a gaming system and maybe like me, you are not really wanting to get them into violent games to start.  Let me know if you have other suggestions or ideas- I’d love to add them!   Some of these games were received to include in the gift guide- some are simply games my family loves.  Opinions are my own.

Stay up to date with Recalls Plus

recalls plus I am willing to wager a bet that most of you, like me, have bought presents- toys, specifically,  to give to children this holiday season. But what a lot of us don’t stop to think about is safety- or possible recall. I know that I truly didn’t even think about recalls when purchasing gifts until just yesterday- and now I sit here scratching my head wondering why it never occurred to me before.  I get email alerts daily with any recall notifications- but I kind of always thought of those as “stuff you already have” recalls, not things I’m purchasing now, you know? But now it’s in my head and I’m so happy I have a smartphone, because now I have Recalls Plus on it and I can get alerts any time there’s a recall- and not just on toys.  (You can use Recalls Plus with Facebook if you don’t have a smartphone or tablet).

When my oldest was 18 months, we gave her a little doctor set from a very well known brand for Christmas.  She was delighted and played with that set for hours each day.  I had enough checkups between Christmas and New Year’s to keep me healthy until 2076- until the day I realized that a piece of the stethoscope was gone, poof, vanished, and nowhere to be found.  A perfect choking sized piece.  Thankfully, my daughter hadn’t ingested it (or if she did, we never “caught” it), but I called the company immediately once I determined she was ok.  I won’t ever know if it was my call that set the wheels in motion, or if mine was the first (or last) of many, but I do know that same doctor kit was recalled not long afterward.  I was quite impressed with how the company handled things- they sent me a prepaid shipping box so that they could inspect they toy pieces.  They also sent a very generous gift certificate so that we could replace our daughter’s beloved toy.  I was very impressed with how seriously they took my phone call, and how quick they were to do right by us, but also to look into it further.

Recalls Plus helps us get alerted instantly when there are recalls.  It’s been designed by parents of young children FOR parents of young children, and you are able to select an age range appropriate for your family or for those you are purchasing for, so that you are notified of the recalls that will affect you most directly.  You can also track recalls on items you have, or are thinking of purchasing.

recalls plus recall alerts based on age
The other “big” thing that Recalls Plus monitors is 8 FDA-mandated food allergy recalls.  This is HUGE in these times of anaphylactic allergies- now you can know before you hit the store that that salad dressing you’ve been wanting to try has a dairy product in it but it isn’t labelled.  Food allergies are a scary thing for so many families, and it’s my opinion that you can’t be too safe when allergies are life threatening.  Apps like this will be a huge help to parents and caregivers- and even to the kids with allergies as they get older. The app will alert you or you can search through a nationwide list of recalls reported.

recalls plus facebook

Some recent recalls shared on Recalls Plus:

1. Dream on Me Ultra 2 in 1 Infant Tub, Toddler, Niagra, Baby Bath Seats

Hazard: The bath seats can tip over, posing a risk of drowning to babies.

2. Sportspower Sports Authority Parkside Trampolines
Hazard: The trampoline’s metal legs can move out of position and puncture the jumping area, posing a risk of injury.

3. Step2 X-Rider Car Children’s Riding Toys
Hazard: Children who lean too far forward on the seat can go over the handle bar and hit the ground.

4. JoAnn Fabric and Craft Foam Pumpkin Turkey Craft Kit
Hazard: Magnets holding the pumpkin shell pieces together can become loose, posing an ingestion hazard.

5. Boden Children’s Pajamas
Hazard; The pajamas fail to meet federal flammability standards for children’s sleepwear, posing a risk of burn injuries to children.

**All products listed above where listed on Recalls Plus within the past two months. Product recalls were identified by the appropriate government agency. Please go the Recalls Plus App for more information about the above recalls

Download Recalls Plus: Apple Store

Download Recalls Plus: Google play

Get the Recalls Plus App for Facebook

I’ve downloaded this free app, will you?

 

 

 Thanks to Recalls Plus for sponsoring today’s discussion

Want to Stop Smoking? Check out BluePrint to Quit!

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For those who don’t know, we lost my mom to COPD and Emphysema on July 25, 2009. She died 13 days before my youngest was born, my little one, who was named for her grama, and won’t ever know.  She just wasn’t ever able to quit smoking. There aren’t enough words to express the grief that comes – but anyone who’s lived with the loss of a loved one knows that all too well.  What has been so very, very hard for me to deal with has been the knowledge that her death could so easily have been prevented.  My mom had a lot of life left to live, and some retirement to enjoy.  She’s supposed to be spending her years island hopping around the Caribbean Sea with my dad, finding new ways to enjoy cocktails, reading 4000 books in the sun, avoiding having her picture taken, and finally, swimming with dolphins.
blueprint to quit
Instead, I sit here, with my house decorated with countless holiday decorations- most of which were purchased by her for me or her decorations, the ones that adorned the walls and doors of my childhood homes, given to me after she died.  I sit here, surrounded by her memories and her legacy, and wishing that smoking was just non existent.

I’m not even going to tell you I’ve never smoked.  You know what? I have.  I hate it, but I have.  I’ll own it. But I stopped, and never have I thought to have another.  I won’t, either. I’m bound and determined to live long enough to be a crabby old lady sitting on her rocking chair on a front porch shaking my cane at kids running around making noise, pretending to be annoyed but really, loving every blessed minute.
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Smoking isn’t easy to quit.  It’s probably one of the hardest habits to break.  BUT the benefits are limitless, and in the end, you’ll be healthier- and stick around longer.  Maybe long enough to see your littlest grandbaby born.  Or to see your oldest grandson walk down the aisle at his wedding.

 

Blueprint to Quit is a comprehensive program put together by Nicorette and Nicoderm to help you quit smoking for good- if you are a smoker, or someone you love or care about is, this is worth checking out.

  • Nicorette and Nicoderm have put together a Walmart-exclusive program that gives you everything you need to quit smoking for good.
  • Join QuitNet: QuitNet is a behavioral support community that you can join on its own or bundle with 14 different Nicorette or Nicoderm products. On our site, readers can get a $10 mail-in rebate for an online membership to QuitNet (a $39.99 value).
  • Get Educated by Experts: Watch videos of quit smoking experts and addiction specialists share their advice and tips about quitting smoking successfully.

 

I hope that if you or someone you care about is still smoking- that you’ll check out Blueprint to Quit.  It matters.

sponsored