Teaching Kids To Accept Others

For many of us, the holidays are about spreading joy, giving back, and loving others. We see the bell ringers at the red kettles all over town and see this as an opportunity to show our kids how to share what we have with others.  We see the trees with paper angles asking us to donate a toy to a child who may otherwise have no Christmas to celebrate. We watch holiday specials like Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer and laugh in delight at the silly antics of the beloved reindeer. But, when we, as parents delve deeper into the story of this funny little reindeer, we see bias, bullying, discrimination and a feeling of superiority of those reindeer who taunted poor Rudolph.

Hermey___Rudolph

For my family, we decided to watch Rudolph armed with a set of tools to open the discussion with our kids about acceptance, respect and diversity. Before the show aired on December 9th, we visited the ShineBright page of the Pacer.org website, where we found some get resources which allowed us to open up the discussion about bullying, about seeing what makes each of us special and how to accept others who are different from us. The Pacer Center is known as the champions of children with disabilities as well as the National Bullying Prevention Center. By using a known character like Rudolph, who kids and their parents know and love, the organization was able to make the topic of bulling and accepting others more approachable.

star

One of the activities we found to be helpful as well a fun for the kids, was the Discussion and Activity Guide for Families. Here are the themes and questions in that guide we were able to print out and use to open the lines of communication about acceptance, respect and diversity while we watched the story of Rudolph.

Themes:

  • Diversity: Celebrating our differences
  • Empathy: How it might feel to be teased and bullied
  • Kindness: Making others feel good.
  • Individuality: Recognizing our own uniqueness.
  • Responsibility: Recognizing one’s own mistakes.

Questions:

  • How is Rudolph different from the other reindeer?
  • How do you think Rudolph felt when he was teased by the other reindeer?
  • How do you think Rudolph felt when he was excluded from the Reindeer Games?
  • How did Rudolph feel when he was accepted for his differences?
  • What are some things the other characters might have done to be nice to Rudolph?
  • How does Rudolph shine bright?

There is also a cute activity for the kids to make a star and list what characteristics about themselves make them ShineBright. It comes with the instructions and the printable as well.

rudolph star 2

 

The kids loved this conversation (and craft). It was really interesting to hear how much they HAD picked up on the meanness of the other reindeer- but also how grouchy Santa was to him until his nose was red. That’s something I’ve never really noticed myself and friends have mentioned it to me in talking about this #ShineBright campaign. It was nice to have a discussion that was so easy to relate to and timely with the holiday season upon us. The kids- all of them, from 5-9, were quick to share that the other reindeer weren’t giving Rudolph a chance to show what a kind friend he could be, and that they were spending too much time looking at his nose and not the parts of him that matter.  We did talk about what some of his friends COULD have said to stick up for Rudolph and how they might handle that situation differently.

Don’t forget to check out PACER.org’s discussion and activity guide to talk with your kids about what makes each one of us special. Visit PACER.org/ShineBright to access a variety of tools, including discussion questions and an activity guide to help facilitate conversations.

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This classic story from the television special can now be enjoyed as an eBook – “The Legend ofRudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” – and one dollar from each purchase will be donated to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Additionally, a portion of the sale of each “ShineBright” t-shirt will be donated to the cause. For more information or to purchase the eBook or t-shirt, visit PACER.org/ShineBright. Just a note, the shirts are due to arrive by 12/24- and yes, I ordered one. I love me some Rudolph but I also love supporting what PACER strives to achieve.

How do you approach important topics like teasing and bullying with your kids? 

 

Disclaimer: I am a ‘ShineBright’ Ambassador and have been compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own.

Shop Kmart & Support St Jude

When the unthinkable happens and your child is ill, gravely ill, it’s devastating.  This little being who you love more than yourself is sick and you want to just be with them, taking care of them, advocating for them, spending time with them. For many families, this can’t always happen.  Why?  In a word? Money. Most families don’t have the financial resources available to cover the costs of a long term illness, including lodging, food and other treatment costs. Unless they go to St. Jude. Did you know that no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude? Not only are all of the medical costs associated with treatment covered, the family also receives free food and lodging, so the only thing mom and dad have to focus on is their child. Having had friends who’ve traveled down the road of supporting a family with a child ill, I’ve watched how hard the financial piece makes everything, and it’s just so unfair.  Things are already unfair when you have a sick child. St. Jude takes a huge burden off of families.

Photo Credit: StJude.org

Photo Credit: StJude.org

This holiday season, and every season, it’s a time to be thankful for those who are healthy in our life and give to those who are not. We do what we can here in our family to help others who may not be so fortunate, which we do year round, but try to do extra at the holidays.  Little things like seeking out stores and businesses who support those who are living the unthinkable. Take Kmart, for example.  Kmart toy shoppers have another way to give back to the St. Jude Thanks and Giving® campaign this holiday season. 

St Jude

Between December 7th and December 13th, Kmart will donate $1 to St. Jude for every Fab 15 toy purchased, up to a maximum donation of $25,000. Kmart is already the all-time leading St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® fundraising partner. Pretty cool, huh?

So one Fab 15 toy that’s on so many wish lists gets purchased, and $1 goes to St. Jude.  If you are going to buy those toys anyway, why not head to where you can also do some good at the same time?

Kmart toy shoppers have another way to give back to the St. Jude Thanks and Giving® campaign this holiday season.  Between December 7th and December 13th, Kmart will donate $1 to St. Jude for every Fab 15 toy purchased, up to a maximum donation of $25,000! Kmart’s Fab 15 holiday toy list features the ultimate toys that kids want for the holidays, from big toys that make great, unexpected gifts to nostalgic toys that remind parents of their own childhood. The Kmart Fab 15 holiday toy list is based on industry trends, input from kids and parents, as well as more than 50 years of experience in knowing what toys resonate with different ages, stages and play patterns, so you’re certain to find great toys for all of the kids on your list!

kmart fab 15 2014

Kmart’s Fab 15 holiday toy list features the ultimate toys that kids want for the holidays, from big toys that make great, unexpected gifts to nostalgia toys that remind parents of their own childhood.

Kmart’s Fab 15 for 2014

–        Disney Doc McStuffins Sleepytime Lambie by Just Play (Kmart exclusive)

–        Holiday Auburn Barbie™ 2014 Doll by Mattel® (Kmart exclusive)

–        My Little Pony Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks Mane Event Stage Playset by Hasbro® (Kmart exclusive)

–        Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles® Power Wheels® Lil’ Dune Racer by Fisher-Price® (Kmart exclusive)

–        Transformers Age of Extinction Optimus Prime and Grimlock 12-Inch Electronic Figures by Hasbro® (Kmart exclusives)

–        WWE® Cardinal Red John Cena 31” Figure by Wicked Cool Toys® (Kmart exclusive)

–        Zoomer Dino by Spin Master™

–        Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Doll by TollyTots

–        FurReal Friends Get Up and GoGo My Walkin’ Pup Pet by Hasbro®

–        LEGO® Super Heroes Line from Marvel™ and DC Comics™

–        NERF® Zombie Strike SlingFire Blaster

–        Nickelodeon PAW Patrol Look-Out Playset, Vehicles and Figurines, and Rescue Racers by Spin Master™

–        Play-Doh® DohVinci Style and Store Vanity Complete Design Set by Hasbro®

–        Simon Swipe Game by Hasbro®

–        VTech® Kidizoom® Smartwatch

 

There are two other ways to support St. Jude at Kmart this holiday season:

At the register: Shop Your Way members and Kmart shoppers can donate when they check out in all Kmart stores, or online via a link: Kmart.com/StJude. As a special thank you to Shop Your Way members, Kmart is rewarding their Shop Your Way members with a coupon for five percent back in points on their next qualifying in-store or online merchandise purchase through December 27th. . Points expire 90 days after receipt. Maximum $20 in points (20,000 in points) per transaction. (See coupon for details).

For the tree: Kmart’s exclusive 2014 collectible St. Jude bear ornament is available in-stores and online at Kmart.com. The ornament comes in two versions – a boy and a girl bear, and Kmart will donate $1 to St. Jude for each ornament purchased now through Dec. 24, with a minimum donation of $50,000.

st jude kmart ornaments

I’ll be shopping Kmart to support St Jude this holiday season, will you?

 

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

Rudolph teaches acceptance, diversity, respect

One of my favorite things about the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas as a kid has always been the holiday specials on TV.  Each was on just once per year and NO ONE ever wanted to miss it.  I’m 40 years old and I still settle in to watch all of my holiday favorites from childhood, as well as more recent shows.  The difference now is that I watch them with my own kids and husband- my love for them has only grown through the years. It’s a tradition, and one I embrace fully. One of my favorites, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, airs Tuesday, December 9th at 8pm ET/PT on CBS. Rudolph teaches acceptance, diversity, respect to us every year.  Have you noticed?

Hermey___Rudolph

This year, we’ll be watching together as a family, as we always do, but we’re going to do something a little bit different- we’re going to use Rudolph as an opportunity to spark conversation with the kids about acceptance, respect and diversity. We love Rudolph.  We actually made a Reindeer Trifle earlier this week that was inspired by Rudolph. He’s a hero of Christmas.  He’s a beloved, timeless character.

But…before he was adored and his luminous red nose saved the holidays, he was teased for being different from his peers—an issue that still exists today. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on TV, parents can use this classic story as an opportunity to start a conversation with their children about our differences.  As you gather with your family on December 9, to watch how Rudolph’s unique red nose makes him ShineBright, use this discussion and activity guide to talk with your kids about what makes each one of us special.

We’ll absolutely be using the discussion and activity guide to spark this conversation with our kids.  It’s a really easy way to get them thinking about acceptance and differences and a nice time to open the door to further conversation. I only wish I had thought of this sooner myself.  Everyone loves Rudolph, and he is remarkably different than the other reindeer, so his story truly does lend itself to this discussion about diversity, respect and acceptance.

Visit PACER.org/ShineBright to access a variety of tools, including discussion questions and an activity guide to help facilitate conversations.

Rudolph_ShineBright_Logo_v03

This classic story from the television special can now be enjoyed as an eBook – “The Legend of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” – and one dollar from each purchase will be donated to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Additionally, a portion of the sale of each “ShineBright” t-shirt will be donated to the cause. For more information or to purchase the eBook or t-shirt, visit PACER.org/ShineBright. Just a note, the shirts are due to arrive by 12/24- and yes, I ordered one. I love me some Rudolph but I also love supporting what PACER strives to achieve.

The_Legend_of_Rudolph_the_Red-Nosed_Reindeer-_eBook_Screen_Grab

Will YOU be joining me to both watch Rudolph’s 50th anniversary viewing on December 9th and also taking that opportunity to talk about acceptance, respect and diversity with your family? 

Disclaimer: I am a ‘ShineBright’ Ambassador and have been compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own.

Homeopathic cold and flu remedies

I’m not a big fan of pumping my kids up with medicine. I’m always hearing something on the news about how dangerous medicine X is, or medicine Y causes the following side effects, etc. etc. At the same time, I don’t like to see my children suffer if I can help it. It almost seems like a catch 22 doesn’t it?

homeopathic cold and flu remedies

Luckily, l’ve found a few products along the way that ease my mind tremendously. One of these products is Similasan. Similasan offers an impressive line of children’s medicine, made with all natural active ingredients. Because these medicines have no known side effects, I don’t worry that the medicine might make the situation worse rather then being helpful. Thanks to Similasan for sponsoring today’s post about homeopathic cold and flu remedies.

similasan line

In their children’s line, Similasan offers cough & fever relief, cold and mucus relief,. These medicines are recommended for children age 2 and up. These are all offered in a liquid form, making it easy to dispense to younger children. The included dispensing spoon has dosages on each end so it’s SUPER easy to know the right dose. I love it. Also included in this line up are kids irritated eye relief, kids allergy eye relief, and kids ear relief products, all of which are available as eye drops.

 

Have older children?

 

Similasian has something for them too! If your children are old enough to prefer tablets over the liquid children’s medicine, you should be sure to stock up on Similasan’s junior strength line up as well. These actually come in tablet form, and are recommended for children ages 6-11. The junior strength line up includes; Cough & Fever Relief, Cold & Mucus Relief, and Immune Support.

 

It’s nice to find a brand that you trust and love, and stick with it. With Similasan having so many different options in their line-ups, that fit my children’s unique needs, I do believe it is a keeper! It also doesn’t hurt that the flavors are very appealing to the kiddos as well. With Similasan in the medicine cabinet, I can grab relief for the kid that isn’t feeling well, but I can also grab immune support to help the others fight off that illness at the same time.

 

At the end of the day; Happy Kids = Happy Momma. And you know what they say about if Mama isn’t happy…..

Be sure to grab your  $2 off Similasan coupon!

similasan coupon

What Similasan product will you need to keep on stock for your little ones this cold and flu season?

40 Weeks movie follows 15 moms through pregnancy #40WeeksMovie

Being pregnant is one of the coolest, weirdest, amazing, awe inspiring, scary, blissful, terrifying things that a human being can experience. It’s like nothing else and really, there isn’t much that can prepare you for it.  When you think about it, it SHOULD be that way.  We are growing tiny human beings, after all!  I’ve been pregnant 5 times, officially.  I have 3 children who are now 9, 7 and 5.  I’ve had 2 “on the record” miscarriages, and had about 10 other chemical pregnancies- enough to yield a positive pregnancy test only to have the cycle end a few days late in heartbreak.

pregnant belly

Being pregnant, though, what an experience.  Both for the woman doing the actual baby growing and for those around her. The emotions, the hormones, the effect of the hormones on the emotions, the physical changes, the comfort, the cravings, the discomfort, the tests, the appointments, the anticipation, the movement, the planning, the excitement… it’s a wild ride.

I can honestly say I LOVED being pregnant overall but there were some parts that were just not fun. Once that little baby is conceived, life as you know it is changed forever.  It’s not a small thing. For good (and for bad), you’ve just taken a turn from the road your life was on. Navigating it, well, that can be hard.  There are so many myths and wives tales and superstitions and books and experts and it’s a lot to digest (if you can digest, maybe you get morning sickness around the clock like I did for many months).

I spent HOURS watching a baby story (or whatever it was called) on TV when I was pregnant with Bachelorette #1.  I didn’t have quite as much time to do so when I was pregnant with our little guy, and definitely zero time (I’m not sure it was sitll airing by 2009 when I was pregnant) with Bachelorette #2.  It helped, a little, in my head, to see other couples experiences.  But really, it wasn’t- it was a quick snapshot of the end of a pregnancy. I always wanted to know about the WHOLE experience of others. Which is what brings me to the 40 Weeks Movie.  There are others who feel the same way I do.  Specifically, Christopher Henze and Dominique Debroux, husband and wife team and the creative minds behind Big Belli LLC, which produced the 40 Weeks Movie. 40 Week sis for moms AND dads, and it shares families’ experiences on the journey to parenthood.  It’s awesome. It’s like the folks at Big Belli took notes when I was awake and not sleeping during pregnancies about wanting to know for real what it was like for other people and made it into a film.

Henze, director, and Debroux, producer, created 40 Weeks to be a vehicle to offer emotional and informational support to pregnant women as well as present them with trusted products they will need.
40 Weeks is made for both moms and dads — presenting a beautiful palette of families’ experiences on their journey into parenthood. In the film, universal milestones of pregnancy are presented hand in hand with the personal experiences of the film’s generous and amazing expectant couples. Their diverse backgrounds will resonate with audiences, reassuring any mom-to-be that she is not alone.
To ensure that all health care information in the movie is accurate and current, 40 Weeks’ key partners include the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, the world’s largest nursing authority dedicated to the health of women and babies, HealthyWomen.org, the nation’s leading independent health information source for women, and the March of Dimes, the most respected non-profit organization dedicated to helping moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies.
Henze assembled a group of talented and respected professionals to film, score, edit and craft the movie in an intimate and personal manner. Executive producer Kurt Engfehr (“Bowling for Columbine”, “Fahrenheit 9/11”, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”), casting director Lisa Singer (“The Bachelorette”, “Queer Eye”), and editor April Merl (“2012: A Time for change,” “The Yes Men Fix the World”) join Henze in telling this story.
Kate Rolston, a 15-year veteran of the mom and baby world with her brand, Real Savvy Moms, also serves as executive producer.

40Weeks2

Sounds like a cool film to see, doesn’t it?
40 Weeks invites audiences to sign up to stay in the know about screening details and opportunities to meet the families featured in the film. To learn more and watch the videos, please visit http://www.40weeksthemovie.com.
Join the 40 Weeks Movie community at https://www.facebook.com/40weeksthemovie.
About the Screenings
Big Belli is partnering with Gathr to bring screenings to theaters across the country. Gathr’s Theatrical On Demand® is a new and exciting online crowd-sourcing approach that is rapidly changing film distribution.
With Gathr, it’s easy to become a 40 Weeks Champion and hold a screening in your area. Just go to https://www.40weeksthemovie.com/about-movie/find-screening/ and sign up to hold a screening or be notified if one is coming to your area. Big Belli and Gathr will support you in reaching out to your friends, family and community to create a successful event.
Gathr screenings can only happen if a minimum number of people reserve tickets before a screening request expires. On every screening page you’ll find an update that shows you the number of current reservations, the number of additional reservations needed to tip the screening, as well as how much time remains before that screening request expires. When enough people reserve tickets to a screening before time expires, the screening takes place. If the minimum number of reservations is not met, the screening does not take place and nobody is charged.

Join us for a 40 Weeks Movie Twitter Chat!

What: We are honored to share with you the first-of-its-kind movie on pregnancy! 40 Weeks, a documentary from Big Belli, follows the entire journey of the pregnancy experience, celebrating one of the most powerful things women do. This beautiful, touching and informative film combines personal experiences from expectant mothers with accurate and current information from experts. 40 Weeks helps women educate themselves and feel empowered, supported and connected to each other.

Join this Twitter chat to share your own pregnancy experiences with other moms as we learn more about Big Belli’s movie 40 Weeks, including where to find a screening and how to host your own screenings around the country!

When: Tuesday, November 18 at 2 p.m. ET

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow th e #40WeeksMovie hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Vite: http://vite.io/themotherhood

Hashtag: #40WeeksMovie

Prizes: We will be giving away five prizes to randomly selected participants who answer the trivia questions correctly. Each prize includes a $50 gift card and some special products that moms will love! Prizes are limited to U.S. participants only.

Hosts: @TheMotherhood, @TheMotherhood25, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann

Co-hosts: @somethewiser, @brettbmartin, @LittleUsBlog, @simplybeingmom, @TaterTwins, @JennsRAQ, @bkeepsushonest, @CoconutRobot, @kaylaaimee, @OurOrdinaryLife, @SeriousKrystyn, @intheknowmom

This is a sponsored post with The Motherhood. Opinions are my own.

Getting kids to have healthy habits

You know the saying “You get more flies with sugar than vinegar?”

Of course you do. Well, guess what?

It works with children too!

When it comes to getting my children to do something, I have a few options.

I can scream until I’m blue in the face (done that)…

Threaten punishment and loss of privileges (happens more often than I’d like to admit)…

Dangle incentives and hope they’ll bite (works sometimes)….

OR…..

The most effective method of getting my children to do something, I’ve learned, is to make the task into a healthy competition! Being a family of sports lovers, my children are chomping at the bit at ANY task when there is a winner involved.

This goes for anything from eating all the food off their plate at dinner, to cleaning and personal hygiene tasks. Specifically, their bedtime routine. With 3 kids, bedtime can be crazy around our house. A structured routine and a bit of incentive go a LONG way in keeping them from lolly gagging around. Getting kids to have healthy habits can be a daunting task.

Of course, there are rules in place to keeping them from trying to breeze through the routine for a first place finish. For instance, if they don’t spend an adequate amount of time brushing and flossing, they must start over… causing them to be last (gasp, the horror).

Another thing I do to ensure great results is to keep the bathrooms stocked with LISTERINE® products.

The Avengers™ and Barbie™ themed LISTERINE® SMART RINSE® rinses help prevent cavities even in hard to reach places. The kids love it because they think it’s fun, and it makes me feel good because it has the American Dental Association seal of acceptance. This offers 50% stronger teeth than just brushing alone!*

*Based on laboratory testing

barbie listerine

I personally love LISTERINE® TOTAL CARE Rinse, which provides 6 benefits in 1. It helps prevent cavities, restores enamel, strengthens teeth, kills bacteria and germs, cleans the whole mouth and freshens breath. This offers 50% stronger teeth than just brushing alone!*

*Based on laboratory testing

At the end of the day, we take our hygiene (particularly oral health) very serious. Hurdle one is actually getting the kids to DO it. Once that’s covered, make sure your bathroom is stocked with LISTERINE® products, so you can feel confident their teeth are getting the care they deserve!

How do you get your children to do things when you ask them? Any clever tricks?

 

Healthy habits start with good oral care. That’s why my family and I use LISTERINE® as a part of our routine! Share your healthy habits below, and you could win $1,000! Official Rules

“This post is sponsored by LISTERINE® Brand. Regardless, I only
recommend products or services I use and believe will be good for
my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal
Trade Commissions guidelines concerning the use of endorsements
and testimonials in advertising.”

Date Night at Outback #OutbackBestMates

Outback Steakhouse is on a mission to help couples steak out more time for one another by declaring itself the Official Sponsor of Date Night and offering a special weekend deal they can’t refuse.  Naturally, we couldn’t refuse, because we LOVE Outback Steak (and the Ahi Tuna appetizer) so after 3 nights scheduled and delayed, we finally got to enjoy a date night last night.

datenight outback

Outback’s New American Romance study uncovered the hard truth behind America’s date night problem – people are too busy for the one they love. More than half of those surveyed said they need at least one date night per month to keep the spark alive, but shockingly 56% can’t remember their last date night!

One night a month would be dreamy but isn’t really in the budget for us, but we are trying to make a big effort to put our couple selves in high priority.  It really was just SO nice to be able to head out to a restaurant with great food on a weekend to enjoy their special.  So often the specials don’t include weekends, which is when we CAN do date nights.  That alone made me happy.  The Date Night pricing made me even happier. We enjoyed our amazing meals and were out the door for under $45!  (Price, product participation and restaurant hours may vary by location)

outback bloomin

Right now, date night is steak night at Outback. The classic Date Night Meal includes:
– A Bloomin Onion® to share
– Two 8 oz. Outback Special® Sirloins (I’m a Classic Seasoning kind of girl, Mr. M prefers the Wood-Fired- opposites attract!!)
– Choice of Freshly Made Side & Signature Salad (per person)
– A Classic Cheesecake dessert to share
– Or, have your Date Night Meal with two 6oz. filets or one 8oz. sirloin and one 6 oz.
filet. Ask your server for details.
-You can even save $10 off select bottles of wine with your date night- ask your server for details!!
outback-date-night-steak-plate

We were able to swap our salads for asparagus, which is why you see that on the plate with the mashed potatoes.  Fun, random Brett fact: We went to Outback Steakhouse the last night of my first pregnancy (my C-section was scheduled for the next morning) just so I could have their mashed potatoes. Our last night as just the two of us was actually spent enjoying Outback’s mashed potatoes back in July of 2005.  Outback mashed and I go way back!

**The Date Night offer actually ends November 16 so head on over!

Are you a Classic Seasoning or Wood-Fired Grill person?  Or do you mix it up? 

 

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This post is part of my participation in the #OutbackBestMates program.  Gift cards and compensation are received in this program. Opinions are my own.

Playing at mealtime isn’t just for kids #Fandamonium

When I was a kid, my absolute FAVORITE part of shopping was picking out the cereal.  This was not a task to be taken lightly… but instead, a major decision that had to be made carefully and precisely. While the cereal itself was important, since I’d have to eat it throughout the week… that was NOT the main factor in picking out which box we’d take home.

 

Instead, it was all about that special thing that was tucked away hidden in the box, just waiting to be discovered. That thing that would surely cause my siblings and I to argue over who would get to play with first….

 

The prize!

 

I look back on those memories fondly, and it cracks me up how excited we used to get about the prize in the box. Now that I’m adult, that excitement has worn away for me personally, but it lives on in my children! Although truth be told, playing at mealtime isn’t just something our kids do. We do it too!

 

After over 80 years of surprising families with free prizes in cereal boxes, General Mills is still going strong. They’ve provided everything from secret wristbands to whistles, and mini license plates to free paint sets!

general-mills-megabloks

For the first time EVER, however, General Mills has decided to switch things up a bit with their Big G events promotions. That’s right, the stakes have been raised! They’ve partnered with MegaBloks to provide free customizable premiums for both boys and girls!

 

A Mega Blocks car with a set of Hello Kitty and Power Rangers stickers and instructions to cut out a pattern to construct a cardboard jump from the cereal box will be included in each participating General Mills brand cereal. Not only will these freebies promote fine motor skills and construction play patterns for children, they’ll allow adults to get in on the fun too!

free-megabloks-cars-general-mills

This partnership will help to bring families together for more family time through eating AND through play, right at the breakfast table. They say that the families that play together, stay together- and we believe that in our house.  Playtime is anytime, and why can’t meals be fun? Why can’t food be silly?

Specially marked boxes of cereal include Honey Nut Cheerios, Reese’s Puffs, Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, Golden Grahams and Cinnamon Toast Crunch!

To bring the family fun to life, General Mills partnered with Maker Dad – Mark Frauenfelder – to rev up the breakfast table with a Rube Goldberg style contraption seen in this video made entirely of General Mills Mega Bloks cereal boxes. http://bit.ly/Fandamonium to see on YouTube or view it below. Seriously, I want to go hang out at the Frauenfelder house! 

What’s your favorite General Mills Cereal? Mine is Cinnamon Toast Crunch!

One reader will win a prize pack with General Mills Cereals and a set of the MegaBloks Hello Kitty and Power Rangers cars PLUS at $50 Target Gift Card!

 

This post is brought to you by our friends at General Mills. 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.

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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.

teen-driver

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.

Creative Galaxy #CreativeGalaxy #AmazonKids

An Amazon Prime Instant Video series for preschoolers, Creative Galaxy introduces preschool audiences to arts and crafts for problem solving.  Creative Galaxy stars Artie and his purple, polka dotted pal Epiphany. Artie is an extra-terrestrial little guy, bright green in color.   Like many preschool programs, each episode is 30 minutes long.  Those 30 minutes are split into 2 mini-episodes- each introducing a problem encountered by Artie, a magical spaceship created by Epiphany, and finally, the art or craft solution to the problem.

artie

Artie and Epiphany give the preschool crowd some educational screen time in each episode.  The bonus for parents? Preschool friendly craft ideas.  At the close of each episode, there’s a live action segment that shows how to re-create Artie’s craft projects from the episode.

artie epiphany

Most kids I’ve met in my time come equipped with creativity built right in.  We just have to give them the tools and outlets to express it.  Creative Galaxy helps to show them ways to express that creativity in different means, with different mediums, to solve problems.  We all know that having an expressive outlet is good for us- CG gives kids a chance to be at home helpers to Artie and Epiphany and helps them to develop their problem-solving, fine motor skills and even listening skills.

This series is designed to support a child’s natural inclination to use their imaginations, make, and create.  In every episode, the characters will use “fix it with art” to model the importance of art as a resource for life. The series helps kids at home feel as if they are making art along with Arty, through its interactive story format. As “helper artists”, the kids at home will “create” alongside Arty, empowering them as “makers” in a media format.

artie pals

Artie and Epiphany help introduce kids to the ideas that art is indeed all around us. Just because one doesn’t view something as art doesn’t mean another won’t… and being creative to solve problems is a life long skill that we should all be developing for sure.

 

This is a cute show, and I love that there’s a step by step at the end so that kids and parents can be sure to re-create Artie’s crafts if they choose.  Kids are going to be online and immersed in social media in our world- why not make that first introduction a bright, fun colorful one that also helps to teach problem solving skills?

 

Creative Galaxy, produced by Out of the Blue Enterprises with Angela Santomero (Blue’s Clues, Super Why!) serving as Creator and Executive Producer, is a make-along, create-along, interactive art adventure series for preschoolers. Characters Arty and Epiphany travel around the galaxy to solve problems with art, inspiring creative thinking through crafts, music and dance. To give kids and parents the real-life tools they need to re-create Arty’s experience, a live-action piece at the end of each animated episode will take viewers through the craft project that Arty showcased in the galaxy.

 

 
How do you get your kids to problem solve?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.