I have several winners to announce!
My Baby Clothes $25 GC ~ Commenter 216, Carrie Phelps
Hazelaid $25 GC ~ Commenter 124, Karen Lonesome
Moover Toy of choice ~ Commenter 28, Courtney Bella
Rinse Hopper ~ Commenter 72, Michele Caldwell Lawerence
Little Tikes TikeStix Clubhouse Building Set ~ Commenter 123, Lynanne Mack
Attracted to Magnificent Magnets Kit ~ Commenter 114, Stephanie Petty-Grant
Thank you to everyone who entered these giveaways. Be sure to check out all current giveaways along the sidebar!
online reading and math program for kids K-5. With the mission to help kids build reading, math and study skills through independent study, K5 Learning is designed for use at home, after-school, on weekends and during the summer by children in this age range. It could also be a fantastic used in conjunction with homeschooling!
Kaelyn is not yet in preschool, however I do still try to incorporate fun educational experiences into our daily routine in the form of activities, games, etc. With today's technology, she can easily do this with a computer, especially when there's great, age-appropriate programs like K5 Learning.
Kids complete an online assessment of 8 key reading and math skills, and then work independently and at their own pace through over 3,000 lessons and activities. Wow, that's a lot of learning going on!! The lessons are animated, interactive and simple enough that even a 4 year old can use them independently. The system helps to choose lessons for students (based on assessment and past lessons), tracks progress and provides reports to parents.
Just hearing how much fun this program was, I knew we needed to try it out with Kaelyn. Thanks to K5 Learning, we received a 6 week free trial period to do just that on this great educational website!!
Setting up our account and getting everything ready to go was super easy and took no time at all. Once we were all set, we logged and in and found that there were 4 modules: K5 Reading and K5 Math, K5 Math Facts and K5 Spelling with Kaelyn's name in the upper right corner (This made her day, by the way! She loved that it was tailored just to her!)
This menu screen was very simple for her to use. She knew that she simply needed to click on one to get started. And, even though she can read many words yet, the images gave her a good idea of what was what.
I will admit, since this is a K5 program, I was a little worried that it would be way above Kaelyn's head. She is 4 1/2, and although she is really smart for her age, I didn't know how much of this program would be geared towards her. To my surprise though, there was a lot she could do! It made me realize just how valuable K5 Learning can be, even for preschoolers!
Once she was more familiar with the system, we completed some of the free online placement assessments in reading and math. The point in doing this is to gauge skill levels in different areas (phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, site words, numbers/operations, etc) and cue the lessons at an appropriate starting point. Once this was done...she had a lot of fun checking out the program and lessons.
She loves to try and sound out words, so we played around with the Spelling Tutor some. This was geared toward children who are a little bit older, however...working together she and I had a lot of fun and I believe she learned a lot too!
Her favorite activities would definitely have to be those focusing on basic sight words. I've been working a lot with her on this exact topic before she heads off to school, so she really thought this was a lot of fun...and she was great at it as well!
In the times we were able to use the K5 Online Reading & Math Program, I can tell that Kaelyn learned a lot! I love that this program focuses on curricula based education and not games and entertainment. It is also great for kids of all ages because the online assessment part of it actually places kids at appropriate skill levels. It is also nice that it gives kids the ability to work independently at their own pace, as this really seems to make learning very meaningful. Kaelyn sure enjoyed it and I know it's something that could easily grow with her.
Overall I've been really impressed with K5 Learning and would definitely recommend other parents check it out. I especially feel it would be a wonderful asset to any homeschool setting or classroom. If you'd like to learn more, be sure to head over to K5Learning.com! They have lots of info, including sample lessons you and your children can check, a 14 day free trial offer and the option to subscribe and start using their great program.
K5 is available on a subscription basis for $25/month or $199/year with deep discounts for siblings. Each subscription includes a free math and reading assessment and unlimited use of each of K5's four programs.
When I was expecting our first child, I remember being overwhelmed as I walked down the baby isles in the store. There was SO much baby gear to choose from offering different features, colors, sizes, brands, etc. I had no idea which would work best for us, and like most...have learned as we go...replacing the things we weren't happy with and keeping the things we now can't imagine living without! One of the hardest things to find...even to this day is an infant bathtub. Yes, there are many too choose from...but something I've learned is that a lot of the baths we've tried are hard, cold and slippery for little ones. In fact, there are some that just make me down right nervous to use! That's why I was thankful to learn about a new bath from Summer Infant!
As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of Summer Infant and their high quality products. We have owned several of them and are continually impressed with the quality, safety and thought that goes into each one. I'm always excited to learn of new products from Summer Infant, and when I read more about the Cushy Cradler Newborn Baby Bath...it was no different!
- First ALL foam bath tub and softest tub for newborns
- Built-in cradling design to provide the ultimate support for newborns
- Convenient drain plug
- Designed for babies birth to sitting up unassisted
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*The products for this review and giveaway were provided for free. All opinions are my own**
Energy costs in many parts of the country are skyrocketing today. Add in the overall economic woes, and many people find it hard to keep their heating oil coming in, or enough power to run that air conditioner. Yet, utilities are one of the must-have items in life, part of that whole “shelter” need.
So, you do what you can to get by. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to save even more on your home energy bill. Some of these you may have already tried, but others will hopefully give you an opportunity to see at least a few dollars a month in energy savings:
- Start with the windows. It’s estimated that as much as 15% of the heating and cooling loss in most homes takes place in the windows. There are several ways you can make your windows more energy efficient. You can install new windows with a higher grade of insulation. You can make sure that the window is framed in correctly, and patch any leaks surrounding it. In some cases, simply adding the right window dressings – light enough in color so as to not soak up the heat and thick enough to keep the cool air in – can result in significant savings.
- Seal other cracks, too. A little bit of caulking insulation around your doors can help realize significant energy savings. Weather stripping is another option. Some of the materials you buy may be eligible for a tax credit, so make sure that you save those receipts and ask your tax preparer about those credits come tax time, as well.
- Tune your heating and cooling equipment. It’s usually a relatively inexpensive proposition to have a certified HVAC technician come out to your home and perform an annual check and maintenance on your heating and air conditioning units. Generally, you’re talking about less than $100. That annual inspection can provide savings of as much as 20% on your energy bill, which will most likely pay for those inspections at least a couple of times over. Keeping your units clean by regularly changing the filters can help out, as well.
- Get a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat lets you lower the amount of work that your heating and cooling system are doing during the work day when no one’s there. In addition, you can let things get a little bit more relaxed during the wee hours of the night, and not have to wake up freezing. According to Energy Star, using a programmable thermostat to allow higher daytime temperatures can realize as much as $180 per year in savings.
- Go for energy efficient appliances. Running out to replace all of your appliances with ones that are more energy efficient isn’t practical, of course. However, when the time does come to replace an appliance, consider getting one that’s more energy efficient. Keep in mind, as well, that there are often tax incentives for investing in more energy efficient equipment. In many cases, it can add up to around 30% of the cost of the new appliances.
- Change your light bulbs. Controversy surrounding the outright banning of incandescent light bulbs notwithstanding, CFLs can save you money. To be sure, a single bulb is expected to realize about $3 per year in electrical savings. If you replace 20 bulbs in your home, you’re looking at $60 per year. Add in the fact that CFL bulbs don’t generate as much heat as incandescent bulbs, and you’re looking at additional savings. While these aren’t significant amounts, they do add up.
- Unplug those appliances. Microwaves, entertainment centers, radios, computers, and even cell phone chargers all use a minimal amount of electricity when they’re plugged in, even if they’re not in use. As long as they’re attached to a power source, they’re sucking energy and creating heat. This “standby” power add up to about a full 10% of the electricity used in your home. Consider unplugging appliances that you’re not using, or invest in “smart” power strips that cut the power to those outlets when they’re not actually being used.
As a busy mom of three, I need energy to keep up with my kids and the other daily tasks I face each day. To do this, I make sure my body is getting enough fuel and from what I've learned thanks to the Midwest Dairy Council, dairy is a great way to do that!
For those with an active lifestyle, milk's nine essential nutrients play an important role in fueling the body. Drinking milk can be a great way to help the body not only refuel, but also rehydrate and recover after a workout. A couple of months ago I began doing an intense cardio workout 5 times a week. I was feeling extremely exhausted and tired every evening because of it. On top of that, I'm still nursing my 6 month old son...so I really needed something that would help give me some energy. I began drinking a glass of milk after each workout and found it to be a fantastic way to help me recover so I wasn't feeling so exhausted.
I will admit, I don't love milk and really have to talk myself into drinking it. But, when it's chocolate milk...I have no problem! So that's what usually what I end up drinking after a workout. That's why I was excited to learn that chocolate milk is actually nature's sports drink! Research published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism on young adults showed that chocolate milk is twice as effective as commercial sports drinks to refuel exhausted muscles! Wow, I was surprised and excited to read that. It makes me feel great about drinking my chocolate milk everyday!
Whey Protein is also a great way to boost energy. It is a high quality protein found naturally in dairy foods and it provides the protein your body can best use to help promote better health. It helps you get the most out of your workout by speeding up muscle recover after exercise and helping build and maintain lean muscle as well.
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**The products for this review and giveaway were provided for free. All opinions are my own.**
As a busy mom of three little ones, I have little time to think about my daily attire. I usually grab comfortable clothing and the outfit I start the day in is usually the same outfit I end the day with. The problem is...my comfortable clothing isn't always stylish. I've been looking for a happy medium, as it would be nice to be comfortable, but still feel confident in what I'm wearing as well. That's why I love Russell Athletic!
sports apparel for professional and amateur athletes for more than 100 years. They have recently launched a new line of women's apparel with active and fast-paced lifestyles in mind. I appreciate this, especially as someone needing clothing options appropriate for both running errands and keeping up with the kids, as well as my daily exercise routine.
I was sent a variety of Russell Athletic wear to review:
- Full Coverage Performance Tank
- DriPower 360 Round Neck T
- Cotton Stretch Capris
- Semi-Fit Ferformance Capris
With special attention to the details women say matter most...each of these items offer a comfortable and flattering outfit. Not only do I absolutely love the bright, fun colors...but they also are very comfortable to wear and make me feel good while wearing them!
The styles in this line help create a flattering silhouette with elongated lines. I especially love the casual-focused outfit (the DriPower 360 Round Neck and Cotton Stretch Capris) as they are super comfy and look great too! The DriPower 360 Round Neck shirt has the Dri-Power moisture wicking technology which I've noticed really does help to keep me dry even after a long day. I also appreciate the long length on the shirt, as I always am bending down to pick up kids, toys, etc...and I like to keep my back and mid-section covered. The pants are great as well..they are just my style! They're not too tight either, which I LOVE!
Overall I've been really impressed with the quality and overall style of the clothing I was sent from Russell Athletic! They are extremely comfortable, cute, and best of all...make it easy for me to be comfy and stylish while still going on with my busy day. They really are perfect for even the toughest of on-the-go schedules! I would definitely recommend them to other women, especially busy moms!
Elasticated waists are a must during the last few months of pregnancy but they don’t always look super attractive. Using a tunic top in this situation makes for a great fashion statement whilst also coving that elastic.
I have picture of my kids, family and the special times we've shared together all over our home. It's what really makes our house feel like a home. I am always on the lookout for unique frames and ways to display my pictures and decor, which is why I was thrilled when introduced to Poppy Tree Frames!
Upon visiting the Poppy Tree Frames website for the first time, I was impressed with their unique selection of picture frames! They are one-of-a-kind and different than anything I had seen before. I love the colors and designs used, and couldn't have been happier to learn we were going to have the opportunity to review one.
I asked for something that was more neutral...as I wanted it to be usable in any room of our home. So, Poppy Tree Frames sent me the Strata frame to review in a tan and cream color and nebula shape.
unique frames are made very well and of great materials. Not only are they heavy duty and durable, but the attention to detail is top-notch! I love the nebula shape...isn't it beautiful?! It's so unique, modern and fun! It really draws attention to the picture inside which I love!!
I also appreciate the neutral colors, however...I love all many of the colors Poppy Tree Frames offers. It goes to show that they really do offer the variety necessary to suit anyone's home and style. Not just that, but they are even willing to customize sizes for customers if needed!
The frame itself was actually larger than I expected which was a fun surprise. I love how it stands out on a wall even by itself. It could also be paired with other Poppy Tree Frames though, and look great as well. The hanging hardware is already on the back, so hanging was a piece of cake!
I would love to get their 3 8x10's Collage Frame at some point. I love the look, and think it would be the perfect place to display a picture of each of my kids. You can check out other collage frames on their website as well.
Overall I really adore the frame I was sent from Poppy Tree Frames. It's incredibly well made, and very unique and beautiful! I would definitely recommend them to others! Simply visit PoppyTreeFrames.com and check out their large variety of frames!
**The product for this review was provided for free. All opinions are my own.**
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love jewelry! I own several special pieces that I hope to one day pass down to Kaelyn. I enjoy wearing all kinds of jewelry, but necklaces are my favorite. They are a great way to compliment any outfit...whether causal or dressy. Pearls are probably my favorite because they are a classic and timeless piece. And, thanks to Pearl Paradise, if you love pearls as much as I do...you will find a huge selection of beautiful pearl jewelry designed to suit a variety of styles and budgets.
I had the opportunity to review a beautiful white freshwater pearl necklace a few years ago from Pearl Paradise and still enjoy wearing it to this day. It's absolutely stunning! Having been so happy with the quality, I was excited when asked if I'd like to review the Mini Collection Black Freshwater Pearl Pendant from Pearl Paradise!
- Glitzy Forzatina Cable Chain
- Stylish, delicate look
- Color-treated black freshwater pearl
- Round, AAA quality and high luster
- Available in both white and yellow 14-karate gold
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**The product for this review and giveaway was provided for free. All opinions are my own**
There are many baby gear items I have used with all three of my children, however, a carrier is not one of them! When I first became a mom I didn't think much about using a carrier. Kaelyn was very independent and as an only child, she was easy to carry or push in a stroller. That all changed once Kaden was born though. As I chased around a busy toddler all day, I knew I needed a way to keep my new baby safe and happy. That's when I began babywearing and am so happy I did. Having had such a great experience with it, I knew I would do the same with Caysen. It's much easier to have him in a carrier when we're outdoors, on walks, out shopping or even at home. It's been wonderful! I am always on the lookout for good quality carriers that are comfortable, convenient and stylish...and I know I can count on Boba for all that and more!
A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to review the Boba Baby Carrier and absolutely love it! That's why I was thrilled to learn that they have announced a brand new Boba Carrier 3G! The carrier incorporates the Boba Baby Carrier design that I already know and love, but now includes several new and updated features making it truly one of a kind.
I was sent the Boba Carrier 3G in the Soho print/color.
- Designed to grow with baby (7-45lbs)
- Available in 4 patterns and 3 solid colors
- 100% cotton
- Front and back carry options
- Removeable sleeping hood
- Adjustable Sleeping hood to grow with baby
- Zipper pouch to store hood
- Comfortably fits 5'0" - 6'3"
- Additional adjustments for easier fit &breastfeeding
- Removeable foot straps
- Shoulder strap holders keep purses and diaper bags in place
- Easily adjustable chest strap
- Unique designs hugs child
- Converts to an infant carrier without insert
- Head support adjustments for infants
- Body of carrier rises 2-3" higher than other brands
- High quality military grade buckles
Of course, after checking it over, I was excited to try it out. As with the Boba Baby Carrier, it was very easy to use! I have tried carriers in the past that were difficult to get strapped in, especially by myself. This however, was a piece of cake. As a busy mom, I appreciate the convenience and ease of use!
My husband and I both have found it to be very comfortable to wear! All straps are fully adjustable to fit parents anywhere from 5'0 to 6'3". My husband is on the tall end of that spectrum and still comfortably wears Caysen for long periods of time. It's so nice to have something that he and I can both wear! And the best part...there is no need to even buy an extension belt or accessory!
The Boba has a few extra inches of height as well which keeps your center of gravity closer to your body and supports your little one's back. It's ideal for both parent and baby!
When we use the Boba Carrier with Caysen, we use the Newborn Carry as he is right at 15 lbs now. We have also used it with Kaden and Kaelyn and used the back carry. Both ways are comfortable and as I said, very easy to put on. We had no problem at all! It's so versatile and works great for our growing family.
I love that the Boba Carrier comes with foot straps as well. The foot straps attach to the waist belt for a child's feet to sit in when they're a little bigger. It enables a healthy sitting position and proper leg support for the child. I appreciate that they can be removed when not in use. Kaden doesn't like them much yet, as he has shorter legs...but Kaelyn loves them!
If you're looking for a great baby carrier, I would recommend checking out Boba. You can purchase the Boba Carrier for $125.00 at BobaFamily.com.
**The product for this review was provided for free. All opinions are my own.
There's something about a gumball machine that grabs the attention of children, and if you're like me...even adults! When we're out and about, my kids always ask for a quarter when they see a gumball machine. They get especially excited when visiting their cousins who have a gum ball machine of their very own! That's why I knew they'd be excited to learn we were going to have the opportunity to review the Junior Carousel Gumball Machine from Gumball.com!
Founded in 1993, Gumball.com is the #1 ranked bulk vending depot. They are the original online distributer of all things related to vending machines, including gum balls! Visiting their site for the first time, I was amazed with their large selection of vending machine products including not just gumball machines, but also snack machines, bill changers, etc. They have something for everyone!
We were sent the Junior Carousel Gumball Machine with Gumball Refill Box to review.
Of course, the kids absolutely love it...especially the fact that it takes real money! They each have their piggy banks and at least once a day, they ask me if they can take a coin out and put it in the gumball machine. I like that it accepts all types of coins so they can use any of them that they want. For those who prefer not to use coins, it can also be set to "free spin" as well. We use it as a fun reward after the kids pick up their playroom, eat all of their dinner, etc. What's fun is that they can easily use it themselves. I love that there's a carousel door with an easy lift-top...it helps to keep gumballs off the floor!
Buy It: You can purchase the Junior Carousel Gumball Machine for $46.98 at Gumball.com.
Win It: One very lucky reader is going to win a Junior Carousel Gumball Machine with Gumball Refill like the one we received. (US Only) Just enter my Rafflecopter giveaway below... (if you don't see the Rafflecopter form, click here).
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**The products for this review and giveaway were provided for free. All opinions are my own.**