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Wild Republic Switch-A-Rooz Giveaway

Current Switch-A-Rooz and Book giveaway here!
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Switch-A-Rooz™ characters look just like your favorite wild animals, with realistic coloring and life-like features. Fantasy Switch-A-Rooz characters have colorful coats of fur and large glittery eyes to bring their magical qualities to life. Each realistic Switch-A-Rooz has two characters in one! They are incredibly soft and huggable in addition to being cute and my daughters love that they can choose which animal to play with.

You can learn more about Switch-A-Rooz at the Wild Republic website or purchase through Switch-A-Rooz Tiger/Elephant Plush through Amazon. They make a great little present or stocking stuffer for this holiday season.

Visit Wild Republic on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

This giveaway is over. Since Switch-A-Rooz thinks everything is better in two’s, they are sponsoring a giveaway with 2 winners! Two lucky people will win a Switch-A-Rooz of their choice. Enter through the link below by October 20, 2015, 11:59pm. Good luck!
Click here to enter!
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*I received a free product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. Post contains affiliate links.*

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Letters Make Words

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My 4 year old doesn’t turn until 5 until January so we have one more school year before Kindergarten. At daycare, she has been moved to a Pre-K class but even before this move, her teachers have been doing a great job of getting her interested in writing and reading more and more.

It still impresses me when she points to a word and can tell me what it is. Wasn’t she just learned how to walk yesterday?! I have been trying to work in ways to encourage her to practice identifying words at home.

When we were practicing recognizing letters I came up with this fishing game. I revisited the idea with words she knows. When she catches one, she has to say what it says, maybe find a matching fish, etc. I plan to make more of these using sight words to reinforce those as well.

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Words used: hat, bee, mop, pop, map, dog, top, fun, bat, log, tap, sun (Dr. Seuss’ Hop on Pop provided some inspiration on word choices.)

I was fortunate to get to review these Bath Toy Organizer with 36 Alphabet Letters and Numbers from Brilliant Babyz. Almost immediately, my 4 year old started trying to make words with the letters she was wading through and it has continued to be a popular activity.

In the video below, you can see what we talk through swapping letters out and sounding words out to get to a new word. My almost 2 year old participates in playing with the letters by putting them on and off the wall and I name the letters and numbers as she picks them up.

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The foam letters, once wet, stick right on to the shower wall and side of the tub without any damage to the wall grout, etc. The best part is the organizer it came with sticks right on to the wall so all the letters can dry out between uses. My girls can also put them away by themselves.

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You can see I am all about the bath toy storage. My Pinterest-y solution was putting a shower curtain rod across the back of the shower and attaching a couple of dollar store bins to it. They slide across, I can add more if I need it, and it only cost a couple bucks.

With summer, incorporating word practice into water activities has been an easy way to make it interesting. I’m going to have to work on some other ways as we head into the cooler months.

How do you encourage kids to practice letter recognition, letter sounds, and sight words?

*I received a product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Encouraging STEM with My Daughters

2015_04_04_9419I was never very good in math growing up. When it came to the sciences, I did well in biology and anatomy but horrible in chemistry or anything that required working with numbers. I know part of it is innate ability, but I am hoping that my daughters won’t be quite so math-phobic especially as the world is more and more geared to the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) related areas.

Regardless of whether or not they pursue careers in STEM, I want my girls to be able to keep up with the new demands of school as they get older and know that any career path could be for them. I am hoping that the everyday things I have been doing with my now 4 year old and almost 2 year old since they were born are laying the groundwork for math skills once she begins school.

  • Counting everything – Whether it’s the number of horses, the red fish at the aquarium, or the number of apples at the store. I try to remember to incorporate counting, adding and subtracting into everyday life so it becomes second nature. I am happy that my 4 year old can already do simple addition and subtraction.1415100_10100655504401116_470902690_o
  • Helping around the house – Whether it’s matching socks or setting a plate and fork at each place at the table, they are working on basic concepts for math.
  • Helping in the kitchen – Counting out how many scoops of flour, adding up fractions, and learning the differences in sizes are all incorporated in assisting with making cookies. Cutting up an apple is a great chance to review fractions so we’ll talk about cutting in half makes two, cut those in half marks 4, etc.
  • Children’s programs – whether it’s science museums or the monthly kids builds at home improvement stores, I use children’s programs to gain access to other toys and ways to encourage design.
  • Puzzles and building sets – In addition to matching and sorting, I encourage them to play with a variety of building sets to explore creating something from pieces that can then serve a function.

As my daughter starts the transition from preschooler to kindergartener, I’m exploring fun new ways to keep her interest. I was happy to get the chance to review ThinkFun’s Maker Studio Gears Set. It comes with a variety of pieces and gears to build a racecar, a cable car, a 3-wheeler and a motorcycle.

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Each kit includes:
• 1 Spool
• 2 Long Connectors, 3 Medium Connectors
• 1 Large Gear, 1 Medium Gear
• 2 Large Wheels, 2 Medium Wheels, 2 Small Wheels
• 3 5.5″ Rods, 3 1.5″ Rods
• 13 Hub Caps
• 1 Hole Punch
• 3 Rubber Bands
• 10 Engineering Challenges

For each build you’re given Engineering Challenges – experiment with friction, torque and propulsion as you engineer your solutions. My 4 year old is also working on following picture directions so I like that she could work with her father on identifying the parts and putting them together. The challenges do a good job of walking you through so that even if you aren’t an engineering expert, you, as the parent, can follow along and understand the concepts, too. Once you’ve mastered all four builds, you can get creative and design something that’s all your own! My husband enjoyed following along right with daughter.

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While we are still working up to being able to complete the projects (at 4, she’s not quite ready for utilizing the entire kit just yet) it will be a product we’ll be able to keep coming back to and trying new things. I also can’t wait to explore some of ThinkFun’s other offerings – Robot Turtles Game just went on the Christmas Wish List! To pick up a kit of your own, visit ThinkFun’s website or order through Amazon. You can also check them out on YouTube, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Websites I like to follow:

Home Depot and Lowe’s have free kid’s workshops every month. If you are military, be sure to check the Blue Star Museums program for free admission to museums and centers nationwide.

*I received a product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. Post contains affiliate links.*

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#SpreadtheLovey Campaign with Baby Jack and Co

It’s almost Memorial Day. Yes, it is a chance to have a little family fun, but more importantly, it’s a chance to reflect and remember the sacrifice of many that chose to serve their country and paid the ultimate price.  While Memorial Day recognizes those that have passed in the line of duty, it’s not that far of a leap for us to also think about all the men and women that serve in the armed forces currently. As the spouse of an active duty member, I hope that Memorial Day always remains a sunny, family-filled, long weekend without any personal connections.

Our military members don’t serve alone. When they are called away, whether it’s the other side if the country or the other side of the world, their families are left behind. In these situations, some children find a lovely item very comforting and reassuring. This Memorial Day weekend, you have a chance to help families that may be in the middle of a long separation. Join the #SpreadTheLovey campaign with Baby Jack and Company and donate $18 to gift a Baby Jack and Company Flag Lovey to a military child. They will ship donations for free to Kindness Reps around the country, including four that work with military families. This weekend, make sure to use code SPREADTHELOVEYTCOP for free shipping and to make your purchase count towards donations to The Carrying On Project.

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Baby Jack and Company makes loveys with closed tabs, so that they don’t get stuck or twisted around tiny fingers, and that can clip on to carriers, car seats, and strollers. Based out of Milwaukee, WI, Baby Jack and Company employs a team of moms to make their unique and modern product that grows with your child. Visit Baby Jack and Company to donate a Flag Lovey today. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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This weekend, Baby Jack and Company is going above and beyond by donating a percentage of ALL sales to The Carrying On Project #Military Families. The Carrying On Project provides baby carriers of all styles to military families and I have personally been touched, having received a Catbirdbaby soft structured carrier. It was a huge sanity saver being with an active preschooler and a clingy infant all day. We still use it regularly.

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I also recently got to represent The Carrying On Project at a local Operation Homefront Star Spangled Baby Shower in our area where I got to help give away about 45 carriers to military moms! If you are going to a MommyCon event this year (use code DOMESTIC15 for $5 off), be sure to 1) “like” The Carrying On Project on Facebook or Instagram so you can get the secret code she sometimes has for special prizes and 2) be sure to stop by their table and let them know how awesome they are.

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The #SpreadtheLovey campaign is being featured by The Baby Guy this weekend. They have teamed up to give FIVE of you a chance to win a lovey of your choice and FIVE to #SpreadtheLovey to a friend or child in need.

Buy a lovey, donate a lovey, or just check everyone out on social media!

We have a chance for you to win one right here, too! Follow the link below to enter to win. This giveaway is open from May 22, 2015 to June 2, 2015, 11:59pm. The winner will be notified by email and have 24 hours to claim their prize. Baby Jack and Company is responsible for prize fulfillment. Good luck!

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*Giveaway prize is being supplied by Baby Jack and Company but I was not compensated for this post. This implies no relationship to TheBabyGuyNYC. This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.*

Mooshka Goodnight Starlight Doll Review and Giveaway

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I had the chance to receive and review a Mooshka Goodnight Starlight Doll. There are two varieties, Mooshka Goodnight Starlight Doll Dasha and Mooshka Goodnight Starlight Doll Jessa, but both are huggable soft dolls that glow softly and play “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to soothe little ones off to sleep. Recommended for ages 2 and up.

My 3 year old daughter has really begun to enjoy toys that light up so she can play with them as she winds down to go to sleep. She loves that it sings her favorite song, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” It was very easy for her, and even my 1 year old, to learn to put the dolls hands together, which are magnetic, to play the song. She likes that it is soft and comfortable to sleep with.

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As a parent, the first thing I did was take a peak in the back panel of the doll. It does have a turn off position and two volume levels. Unfortunately, the “lower” level is still a little louder than I would like. However, I barely hear it when I am standing outside my daughters’ room and she still gets to sleep just fine.

It’s a very cute doll and would make a great, and reasonably priced, gift for any girl on your holiday gift lift this winter. It’s available on Amazon, making it an easy gift idea, too. To learn about the whole line of Mooshka dolls, follow Mooshka on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram.

GIVEAWAY!  This giveaway has ended and prize has been claimed.

To enter this giveaway, visit Mooshka.com and check out the different dolls. Tell me which doll you like in a comment below then enter on the Rafflecopter giveaway link below. This giveaway is for a Mooshka Goodnight Starlight Doll, $29.99 value, open to US only. This giveaway ends at November 17, 2015, 11:59pm. Winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to claim their prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t forget to check out my Aby’s Kids Christmas dress and pajama giveaway!

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Welcome to the [2nd Annual] Thankful for our Followers Giveaway Hop hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network!

 

YOU are the reason that bloggers like us host giveaways so we’ve decided it’s time for all of us bloggers to show even more of our appreciation to you… our readers and blog followers. Normally we offer giveaways with entries to help boost our blog and following numbers, but this Hop is all about making it easier on YOU.

Each blogger in this Hop is offering a wonderful prize, worth at least $25 and ALL giveaways have only ONE way to enter!

Hop around to them all as we show you how we’re Thankful for YOU!

Click here for the other blogs.

 

So Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Thankful for Our Followers participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

*I was provided with a product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.