Friday, October 31, 2014

1-2-3 Just Play With Me Winner!

Congratulations Darlene! You are the winner of this awesome Child Development Tool in Ebook! 

Entry-Form

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sensory Exploration: Homemade Edible Toddler Friendly Play Dough


 My 22 month old twins are always getting into things. They are little balls of energy and really need an outlet for their tiny hands. So lately I have been scouring Pinterest looking for activities that will engage my twin's hands and minds. Today we made something called "Cloud Dough." This simple, toddler friendly recipe is so easy to make; it only has two ingredients. 



Letting kids play with dough is great for sensory exploration! Kids love to squeeze the dough and squish it through their fingers. Playing with dough develops fine motor skills and fosters creativity.


Your children will never get bored playing with dough if you change it up regularly; you can add different items to change the texture, such as beans, buttons, dry pasta, sand, etc. You can add scented oils to make aromatic dough. If you add relaxing scents such as lavender or chamomile you can actually make play dough time a sort of calming aromatherapy time. Flavors can be added to my toddler safe edible dough, such as vanilla, cocoa powder, cinnamon, etc. And don't forget all of the "tools" you can use with play dough, such as a rolling pin, cookie cutters, shapes, etc. Check out The Imagination Tree for an even more extensive list of things to do with dough. (Remember, if you use my recipe it is safe to eat!)

What you will need:

  • 1 medium bowl
  • 1/2 cup of unrefined coconut oil (you can use any oil you like)
  • 1 cup of flour
  • *optional*- Food coloring of your choice

How to:

Melt the oil; add in a drop or two of food coloring (if wanted) and then mix in the flour slowly until the desired texture is achieved. 

Make this dough close to the time when you are actually going to use it. And do not leave the dough sitting in direct sunlight, as the oil will melt and make the dough very stick and tacky. 

Side note: you cannot save this dough, it just becomes a hard lump. So play with it and enjoy it in one day.


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Mommy Made: Naturally Made Elderberry Syrup for Cold & Flu

I know you have all been waiting for a naturally made gem from our friend Sabrina, A.K.A Mommy Made...and here it is! This is a lovely recipe for Elderberry Syrup; known to help cure colds and flu bugs! 


I want to share with you my very FAVORITE cold/flu remedy: Elderberry syrup. This stuff is worth it's weight in gold! I'm serious. It's yummy, and it packs a powerful punch to all of those nasty cold and flu bugs. 

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The recipe:
  • 2/3 c elderberries
  • 2 tbs fresh or powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp fresh or powdered cloves
  • 3 1/2 c of water
  • 1 c honey
Directions:


Place all of the ingredients EXCEPT the honey in a saucepan; bring it to a boil, and then turn it down and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. Add the honey in last, after it's cooled. If you add the honey in when it's super hot, it will destroy the medicinal properties of the honey! It yields about 3 cups.That's it. Super easy!

Another great thing about elderberry syrup is you can take it every day for an immune booster, and when you get sick you double up on it to help give your immune system the extra umph it needs to fight off whatever cold/ virus it's fighting.

 Some herbs are only powerful before you get sick, others just for acute care. Elderberries are great for both! Everyone in my family takes about a shot glass worth a day. And in case I haven't said it enough, it's delicious! If you are giving this to children under a year old I would omit the honey. Other than that it's safe for everyone.

If you want to see more from Mommy Made, check out her Facebook page! 
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P.S. Excuse my messy counters, I cook in here :)
Here's to a happy, healthy fall!!
Mommy Made
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Enter to Win Some Awesome VTECH Toys Just in Time for Christmas


Welcome to the VTECH
Holiday Toy Giveaway
Hosted by: We're Parents!?
Sponsored by: VTech

Add your own words here for SEO purposes

We're here to make your Holiday Shopping a little easier this year by offering ONE lucky reader a chance to win these FOUR fabulous toys from VTECH! Valued at over $130, it's the perfect way to get your shopping started (or finished if your an early bird!).  All four of these toys are recommended for 12 months to 36 months and are perfect learning and educational toys with VTECH's high quality!

Here's what one person will win:
  • Chomp & Count Dino™
  • Sit-to-Stand Smart Cruiser™
  • Grow-Along Music Center™
  • Smart Shots Sports Center™.   
VTech Chomp & Count Dino (Ages 12-36 months, MSRP: $19.99)
  • Your child will learn about colors, numbers, and food with the adorable new Chomp & Count Dino. 
VTech Sit-to-Stand Smart Cruiser (Ages 6-36 months, MSRP: $39.99)
  • This 2-in-1 toy grows with your children and transforms from a floor play toy with detachable steering wheel activity panel to an exciting toy.
VTech Grow-Along Music Center (Ages 12-36 months, MSRP: $29.99)
  • Your children can pretend to be musicians and sing along to the music with the Grow-Along Music Center.
VTech Smart Shots Sports Center (Ages 12-36 months, MSRP: $39.99)
  • You can cheer on your little sports stars with the Smart Shots Sports Center. This electronic sports center features a soccer goal and basketball hoop for a fun 2-in-1 experience.
Larisha from We're Parents!? had the opportunity to review the products herself and you can read her full review here.

Stay connected with VTECH
 Website       Facebook          Twitter

BUY IT!  You can purchase the toys mentioned at many retailers or directly from Amazon.com by clicking on the links below!

Ready for the giveaway? One lucky reader is going to win all of the toys listed above! 
Giveaway is open to US residents ages 18+ and ends on 11/5/14 at 11:59PM EST. One entry per person/household/IP address.
Enter using the simple Giveaway Tools from below. Good luck!



Disclosure: We're Parents!? received the product free of charge in exchange for this review/giveaway. We're Parents!? and the blogs participating are not responsible for prize fulfillment/shipment. We were not compensated in any way for the promotion of this giveaway. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and any other social media are not affiliated with this giveaway. If you have any questions please contact the host of this giveaway at 
wereparentsnj1@gmail.com 

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Rockwell Tools Giveaway


Welcome to the Rockwell Tools
Halloween Tool Giveaway
Hosted by: We're Parents!? 
Sponsored by: Rockwell Tools

Enter to Win This for the Special Someone in Your Life!

This Halloween, make your DIY project easier, with Rockwell Tools newest tools, the Sonicrafter F30 and the BladeRunner X2.  From carving pumpkins, to intricate lawn signs, and artsy inside creations, Rockwell has you covered.

Rockwell Sonicrafter F30 is the newest oscillating tool from Rockwell.  It's up to twice as fast as competing brands!  The 3.5amp F30 and 4 amp F50 oscillating tools work harder than the competitors too!  What's even greater is the true Universale Fit to accept other brand's accessories without compromise.  It can be found at Lowes nationwide for $119.99 and comes in a hard case with separate bulk storage areas for the accessories. 

The Rockwell Bladerunner was one of the most popular benchtop table saws on the market, cutting everything from wood to plastic to ceramic tile and more! Now, Rockwell was launched the BladeRunner X2, accommodating for longer and wider workpieces.  The new blade guard also has a splitter, helping to keep straight cuts on track and weighs 15lbs less than before! What makes this better than other benchtop saws?  The blade.  Instead of a saw blade, it has a standard 4in T-shanked jigsaw blade.  Available at many locations for $119.99 and covered by a 3yr warranty.

Want to see it in action? See what Larisha from We're Parents!? created using the Sonicrafter F30 by reading her full review here.

BUY IT!  You can purchase both tools directly from Amazon for $119.99 by clicking on the links below:
Rockwell Sonicrafter F30            Rockwell BladeRunner X2

Ready for the giveaway? One lucky reader is going to win their choice of Rockwell Tools described here!

Giveaway is open to US residents ages 18+ and ends on 11/3/14 at 11:59PM EST. One entry per person/household/IP address.
Enter using the simple Giveaway Tools from below. Good luck!

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Reusable Food Pouch Toddler Recipe: Coconut Surprise



I recently did a review of some reusable baby food pouches called Pouch2Go, and while doing this review I created a yummy recipe that my twins loved and I am sure your whole family will enjoy! I call this recipe Coconut Surprise, but please note, if your child is under the age of 1 (one) you may want to make this recipe without the coconut flakes to avoid any potential nut allergy reactions (unless your child has already been exposed to coconuts and has not exhibited any reactions.)

This recipe works great in reusable food pouches because of its consistency; however, if you do not have these pouches or you simply do not wish to use them, it also works perfectly well in any container 

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The recipe
  • ½ cup of Quick Oats, soaked in water for 3 minutes
  • 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons of cinnamon
  • ¼ cup of unsweetened coconut flakes***Beware of nut allergies here! See note in opening paragraph***
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce

Directions
  •    Soak your oats in water for 3 minutes
  •     Next, place all ingredients, including oats, into a Baby Bullet or any type of food processor
  •   Puree all ingredients until your desired texture is achieved
  • Lastly, transfer finished product into a reusable food pouches or other sealable containers
·        I found that the above recipe makes about 3 pouches worth. My twins will eat this in one sitting! So feel free to double or even triple the recipe for a larger quantity. (You can also freeze extra for future use; moms of multiples this means you hah!)
·        Enjoy! 

**If you are feeling adventurous, you can do the above steps and then place into a bag. Snip a small hole in one corner of said bag and squeeze medium dots onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 325 for 5-10 minutes, or until golden on top. Toddlers will love these mini “cookies.”


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Reusable Pouch2Go Food Storage Pouches Review


 
Why are baby products so darn expensive? I would think that the smaller portions and sizes would mean smaller prices, but no, it is the exact opposite. Baby snacks are perhaps one of the greatest examples of this price hike. Such as the “puff snacks”, yogurt bites, and especially those convenient squeeze pouches of food.


I particularly love those store bought pouches of food because they are great for travel. You don’t even need utensils; you can squeeze the food right into your child’s mouth. I personally have fed a screaming twin or two like this while my husband drove us on a 4 hour car trip. The problem is that these things are very costly. They generally cost close to $2 per pouch (or more if you want organic or natural)! I know that my toddlers can eat 2 of them on their own. So needless to say, we don’t buy these pouches often. I mean, I have 4 kiddos to feed.

Due to the high cost of these baby food items, I often make our own baby food and put it in these small plastic containers that I found at Target. However, they are a pain to use. It doesn’t matter how little food I put into them, they always somehow leak out of the top…such a mess in my refrigerator and this mama does not have extra time to be cleaning up unnecessary messes!

So I was very excited to use and review some reusable food pouches from Toneband, called Pouch2Go, that were designed by Genevieve Avani. These reusable pouches are dishwasher safe and easy to clean (no sharp corners for food to get trapped in). They are BPA free of course and can even be stored in the freezer! I like that they are clear so my kiddos can see what they are eating and I can see when they are almost done.

                          

To try these out I created a new toddler friendly recipe, Coconut Surprise, using my Baby Bullet. The pouches were easy to use. The only negative I can report is that there were no directions with the package, but I am happy to say that the pouches are so easy to use that you can figure them out without directions. You simply screw the lid on to the pouch and open the seal at the bottom; you then fill the pouch from the bottom and seal it shut. **Just a note on filling them: leave at least 1 ½ inches of space in the pouch before you attempt to seal it shut**. If you fill it more than that the contents will seep out when you seal it. The seal is simple and secure. I haven’t had any problems with leakage. I also found that the easiest way to fill the pouches was to hold the pouch in one hand and set a funnel in the opening and use my other hand to pour in the contents.




My overall Mommy Score is a 10. These pouches are a great toddler/family friendly product and my kids loved them! The company offers a full 90 day money back, no questions asked guarantee. You absolutely cannot be disappointed because they say, “If you have any questions or reasons to come back to us - please don't hesitate - all your feedback is incredibly valuable. We want you to be totally happy and satisfied with this product.” So what do you have to lose? Start saving money by using reusable pouches and order yours today via Amazon! They are available for the great price of $17.99 but for a very limited time Mama On The Bright Side readers can get this awesome product for 75% off from Thursday 10/23/14-10/25/14 ONLY by entering the PROMO code FOBDDVRU at checkout through Amazon.

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Enter to Win a Citrus Lane Gift Box Subscription

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Win a Kiinde Breastfeeding Start Kit!


Welcome to the Kiinde
Breastfeeding Starter Kit Giveaway

Such an innovative feeding product!

Kiinde is committed to developing both innovative and revolutionary products that make the parents' life easier and safer.  They draw their inspiration from the challenges of parenthood and create products where there is truly a need. 

The Kiinde Twist, Breastfeeding Starter Kit, put a new twist on previous feeding systems by allowing you to directly pump from ANY pump into breastmilk storage pouches that are leak-proof and use twist-locking caps. You can then label, store, warm, and feed from the same pouch without ever transferring milk. The Active Latch nipples are designed to teach natural breastfeeding behaviors with help to eliminate gas from baby's tummy.

We're Parents!? and Mending the Piggy Bank were both able to see the Kiinde Breastfeeding Starter Kit in Person at MommyCon Philly and both of them think it's a great system!  

See what Brianna from Mending the Piggy Bank thought about MommyCon Philly by reading her full review here

See what Larisha from We're Parents!? had to say about MommyCon Philly by reading her full review here.

Check out more innovative products from Kiinde at their website.

BUY IT!  You can purchase the Kiinde Twist Breastfeeding Starter Kit
 for just $39.99 when you head over to Amazon.  

Ready for the giveaway? 
Giveaway is open to US residents ages 18+ and ends on 10/30/14 at 11:59PM EST. One entry per person/household/IP address.
Enter using the simple Giveaway Tools from below. Good luck!

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DIY Yogurt Melts

My kids love the yougurt melts that Gerber makes. Unfortunately they cost about $2 for 1oz of product :(  It is a very costly snack and I have 4 kids! One of my toddlers could eat a whole bag, (a whopping 1oz) by themselves! 

So I figured that I could try and make my own since I had such success with my freezer oatmeal applesauce snacks (http://mamabrightside.blogspot.com/2014/03/natural-apple-oatmeal-toddlerbaby-snacks.html?m=1). 

What you will need:

Cookie sheet

Wax paper (optional)

Yogurt of your choice 

Sandwich bag 

Scissors 

Freezer

Directions:

Line cookie sheet with wax paper for ease of removal. This is optional and I forgot to do it myself. 

Pour desired amount of yougurt into sandwich bag and seal.

Snip a TINY whole in the corner of the bag. 

Squeeze of the yougurt into small drops on the cookie sheet. (I made larger drops because I have toddlers, not infants). 

Place into freezer until firm. 

1-2-3- Just Play With Me Child Development Tool Ebook Review & Giveaway from Milestones & Miracles


As a new mom I constantly fretted that my children weren’t getting the appropriate stimulation to learn and develop like they should. I was always wondering, “Am I showing them enough contrast?” “Am I playing the right music?” “Did we do enough tummy time?” and so on… I also made the mistake (and sometimes still do) of comparing my children’s abilities to that of their peers. I would scour the internet to find out exactly what my child should be able to do at what age. But honestly, I was lost. I was a new mom and I had no idea what to expect from these new little humans. 

I just gave birth to my second set of twins, who are now 9 weeks old, and thankfully I know a little bit more about what to expect. However, our newest twins were almost full term, as opposed to our older twins who were 5 weeks premature and thus developed slower. So will these new little ladies be ahead in their development? What should I be looking for? Where can I get answers? 
                1-2-3 Just Play With Me Milestones & Miracles, LLC
Thankfully I recently came across a great tool for parents everywhere that will help us to know just exactly what a child should be able to do and at what age. No more guessing game. It is called JustPlay with Me from a company called Milestones & Miracles. The brilliant thing about this tool is that it not only helps you to understand the milestones that your child should be hitting, but it also gives you fun play ideas that will help you to help your child achieve these milestones! 
                                   http://milestonesandmiracles.com/files/2014/09/horizontal-version.jpg


Daddy teaching us about sorting
 I trust the content of 1-2-3 Just Play with Me because  the company that created it, Milestones & Miracles is a company for moms founded by moms who also happen to be a licensed physical therapist (Nicole Sergent) and a licensed speech-language pathologist (Lacy Morise). These ladies have put a lot of time, research and effort into writing this Ebook. In it you will find amazing suggestions on how to “play with purpose” with your child; helping them to learn and advance while also building bonds with them.


Daddy teaching us about colors & shapes

There currently is nothing like this on the market that pairs development with play and I am thrilled to have it! I currently am using the  0-3 months sections for my newborns and the 19-24 month sections for my toddlers and we all love them! The 1-2-3 Just Play with Me system is so easy; I just click (or touch) the corresponding link with my child’s age in the table of contents and I reference it throughout the day. And I must admit, one of the best selling features about this parenting tool is that it is easy and way less overwhelming than the huge child development books; it is convenient and quick! I don’t have to find countless hours and quiet time to read a long book! I mean, really, what parent of small children has that luxury?! 

Pointing to and labeling body parts
As a mother of 2 sets of twins who were born prematurely, thus having some delayed development issues, I highly recommend this product because it has helped me to understand where my child should ideally be developmentally. The sections are color coded to differentiate between 5 areas of development: cognitive, fine motor, speech and language, social emotional, and gross motor. It also helps me to identify where their development may be lacking and helps me to feel empowered as my child’s advocate when speaking to their pediatrician. So don’t hesitate! You can buy your Ebook versio (which can be read on most devices) today for the reasonable price of $24.99 via Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes and Noble

Be sure to follow Milestones & Miracles on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest for helpful information, ideas and updates. One lucky reader will win their very Ebook of 1-2-3 Just Play with Me! Just in time for Christmas, this will make a great gift to yourself or to anyone you know with children! Enter below to win! Good luck!
 


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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Island Banana Bread

Do you love banana bread but are looking for a new twist on a classic recipe? Then you have to try my latest baking creation, Island banana bread. A fun twist on the classic recipe with coconut! 
(Sorry I had to eat some before I       remembered to take a picture!) 

The recipe

1 loaf pan greased with unrefined coconut oil or any other nonstick oil

1 3/4  cups of crushed walnuts

1 cup of dried coconut flakes

3 very ripe bananas

2 eggs

1/4 cup of melted butter

1 cup of sugar

1 1/2 cups of flour

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of baking soda

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350°

Grease your loaf pan with your unrefined coconut oil or other nonstick oil

Place all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir together

Cut up the three bananas and mash into the dry mixture

Next combine the melted butter and two eggs into the dry mixture (and bananas), and stir together until just moistened

Then fold the walnuts and dried coconut flakes into the mixture

Transfer the mixture into your greased loaf pan and place into the oven

Bake at 350° for approximately one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean


** for a little something special pull out your banana bread after about 40 minutes, while the mixture is still slightly wet, and sprinkle the top with granulated sugar for a nice sugar crust**

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Learning Journey Silly Snail Review

Today we played with a new toy from The Learning Journey called Little Friends Silly Snail. Right away my kids and I loved the bright colors and whimsical design of this cute toy. I like that it seems to be made of high quality plastics, which is good because my toddlers still put everything in their mouth and chew on it. We have had some toys stain their faces and clothes due to low quality paints and such. Ugh.
                                     
The Silly Snail is great for entertainment because it offers music but also doubles as a rattle. I appreciate the fact that it contains a rattle because that means that when the batteries die it will still be entertaining. We go through so many batteries in this house! Thankfully The Learning Journey Company was thoughtful enough to include batteries with each purchase.


The body of the snail also doubles as a handle, which is great for younger babies who are working on their grasp and for older toddlers who like to carry around more than one toy at a time. Silly Snail is moderately priced and I think it would make a great toy for your little one or as a gift. It is intended for babies 3 months and up, so it is quite versatile. You can purchase yours today here at Amazon! 
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers