Monday, October 10, 2016

October is RSV Awareness Month: Learn About RSV Symptoms and Prevention

This post was sponsored by AstraZeneca as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. 
All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

My oldest daughter was born in the summer and it was more than a year before she got sick for the first time. I didn't quite know what to expect this past year when I had a baby born in the winter. My youngest was born in February and despite my best efforts to keep her healthy, unwanted germs entered our home and before I knew it, I had a very sick baby. Just 7 weeks after she was born, we were in the pediatrician's office with nasal and chest congestion and a fussy baby that could hardly eat because she couldn't breathe through her nose. She was wheezing, and our pediatrician, along with a nurse and nurse practitioner spent two hours trying to stabilize her oxygen levels. Normal is 100%, acceptable is in the 90%'s. We were sitting steady at 80%.

Infant airways and lungs are so tiny and so fragile and I learned through our experience that it doesn't take much for a baby's illness to escalate to the point of not getting enough oxygen. Thankfully babies - and their lungs - are incredibly resilient. Still, it's scary. As parents, we need understand what's happening, when to seek help, and what we can do to attempt to avoid it.

October is RSV Awareness Month, a great time to learn about what RSV is and how to prevent it. RSV - Respiratory Syncytial Disease - is more common than you might think. In fact, most babies will contract RSV before the age of two. Thankfully, it's not nearly as common for symptoms to become severe enough to require hospitalization. RSV is a seasonal virus that typically shows it's ugly head between November and March. It's the leading cause of hospitalization for babies in their first year of life.

We did everything we could think of to try to avoid illness in our baby, but with an older child who was unknowingly bringing germs home from school, it wasn't too surprising that despite our best efforts, we ended up with a sick baby. Thankfully we had a team of people that helped her to get well really fast and our hospital stay was short and sweet. We're hopeful that we'll make it through this RSV season without another hospitalization and we'll be sure to do what we can to prevent it - frequent hand washing, keeping baby away from crowds and young children (especially those with colds) as much as possible, washing toys and bedding often to get rid of any stowaway germs, and of course, avoiding any exposure to cigarette smoke.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Halloween Headquarters at Oriental Trading: Costumes and Candy and Crafts, Oh My!

We received free product to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. 
All opinions expressed are our own.

One of my favorite parts of this time of year is that there is a holiday to look forward to every month for the next several months! We're always counting down the days to something at this time of year. Right now, it's Halloween!

It's so exciting to enjoy fun holidays alongside my children. My six year old starts planning her Halloween costumes on November 1 each year for the following year. She usually changes her mind about 24 times before October 31... usually for the last time about 4 days before the big day, but every idea is super exciting and magical to her, so we just go with it!

This year, as soon as we hit the official first day of fall, we were ready to celebrate! Decorations, costumes, candy, and fun. We were ready for Halloween early this year - thanks to Oriental Trading!

Halloween Headquarters at Oriental Trading has absolutely everything you need to celebrate this year. Whether you're in the mood for festive or spooky, looking for a costume, some decorations, toys, crafts, or even candy, Oriental Trading has you covered. With a huge selection and affordable prices, you won't be disappointed. 

These Jack O'Lantern Dry Erase Stickers are great for decorating your home for the fun occasion! The set comes with one blank pumpkin and two more partially decorated ones just waiting for your finishing touches before hanging.

Our new Peanuts® Halloween Bowl is filled with Black Cat Character Suckers and Mini Swirl Pops. They are cute and something different for us this year. Usually our bowl is full of traditional chocolate favorites. Oriental Trading has those as well, but we went with lollipops this year and loved the look of these. Of course, we've taste-tasted them, and they were winners in that regard too!

Since we've spent much of this year dealing with some food allergies in our youngest, we were glad to see that Oriental Trading has stocked their shop with lots of non-food Halloween treat options. We ordered a Teal Pumpkin this year in honor of food allergy awareness - to signify that we'll have some non-food treats to offer to kiddos who may not be able to eat all the candy. 

We've filled a second treat bowl with these adorable Halloween Bears and Jack-O-Lantern Rubber Duckies. The vinyl bears really are the cutest and they come in sets of 48. My daughter has already gifted one to each of her classmates and we still have plenty to give away on Halloween night! These treats will be a fun option for any visiting kids who may not be able to eat our candy offerings. Most likely, we'll let everyone take one, because who could look at these cute faces and not want one?!

No holiday is complete without stickers, right? Actually in our home, no day is complete without stickers. These Peanuts® Halloween Stickers are great for the season and my daughter has been loving creating crafty cards for her friends with these. The roll comes with 100 assorted stickers.

We've also been doing some seasonal crafting with this Halloween Witch Clothespin Craft Kit. I adore these foam craft kids from Oriental Trading. They are so easy, mess-free, yet totally adorable and very fun for little crafters.

Perhaps most excitingly for this time of year, Oriental Trading has tons and tons and tons of costume options for both kids and adults! If there's something you have in mind, Oriental Trading is sure to have it. And if you just can't think of what to dress up as, Oriental Trading will give you some great ideas!

My daughter has decided to be an angel this year and Oriental Trading had the perfect costume for her. This Angel Costume with Wings & Candle is simple, sweet, beautiful, and perhaps most importantly, practical. I wasn't sure that I would love these feather wings but I do! They look fantastic and really fancy this costume up. You never know what the weather will be like around here on Halloween, but often it's a night to break out the winter jackets. This white angel dress will fit over whatever jacket we use. The only downside to this costume is the lack of halo, but we'll be able to make one of those without too much difficulty. Here's a costume sneak peek... I'm hoping she doesn't change her mind!

I know some of you might be surprised that we're not dressing at Shopkins this Halloween! For all you Shopkins fans, rest assured Oriental Trading does even have a costume for you! Strawberry Kiss and Cupcake Queen are full of glittery goodness, so if Shopkins are your thing this year, Oriental Trading has you covered.

We were so excited for Halloween this year as always, and even more so now that Oriental Trading hooked us up with everything we need for a great night. Check out Halloween Headquarters at Oriental Trading for anything and everything you need this year!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Dolls, Accessories, and Loyal Pals from Our Generation

We received free product to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are my own.

We've already shared with you our love of Our Generation Dolls from Battat. We love the quality and style these affordable 18" posable dolls with accessories, clothing, and options galore! We have several of these dolls and they - no surprise - love to play together! 

Our newest friend is Celeste. Her long blonde hair is beautiful and she comes with a shirt, vest, pair of pants, underwear, sandals (jelly shoes!), and a hairclip. We love that each of these girls comes with clothing and accessories that are interchangeable. Our six-year-old loves to mix-and-match the dolls and their clothes.

Besides dolls, Our Generation has a large assortment of Loyal Pals - animal friends for your doll (and your child!) to love and care for. There are dogs, cats, and horses of all different colors, shapes, and sizes. 

Celeste came to us with the Lusitano Horse. This horse is all about the hair! Sometimes I (like all moms, I'm sure) cringe when I see dolls and animal toys with long hair. The horror of those unruly tangles haunts me in my sleep. We haven't had the tangle horrors with these dolls or this horse! 

Besides coming with a saddle, top strap and bridle, this beautiful horse comes with a comb, a colorful hair extension, 2 ribbon extensions, a hair bow, hair gems, and hair elastics. Also included is a book of instructions for creating amazing hairstyles! 

The Lusitano Horse is the perfect size for Celeste and her friends. She's made of high quality hard plastic that makes her really easy to groom and bathe with a wet cloth. My six-year-old daughter, our horse lover, has spent hours on this task - washing her body and then styling her hair with all the included accessories.

You'll see that Celeste changed her clothes before her ride. Here she's wearing the Well Groomed Deluxe Outfit Set and is ready to go! This outfit set is sold separately. Our Generation has a huge variety of outfits for all sorts of occasions, so whatever your child's favorite activity is, there's sure to be a way to customize their doll to match! These clothes are easy to change and really make doll-play fun.

We knew we loved Our Generation before we met Celeste and her Loyal Pal, the Lusitano Horse, and our feelings are even stronger now! We love the quality, affordability, accessibility, quality, and style of these products. And, of course, we love that for every Our Generation doll, outfit, or accessory sold, a portion of sales goes to Free The Children's Power of a Girl Initiate to help provide girls in developing countries and education.

Read more about the Our Generation Story and find these great toys at a Target near you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Shopkins Birthday Party with Oriental Trading

We received free product to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. 
All opinions expressed are our own.

Summer time means birthday time in our house! Our oldest daughter turned six years old this summer! Last year we had the most amazing summer birthday pool party with the help of Oriental Trading. It seriously was AMAZING. No exaggeration. It was so perfect - weather, snacks, party favors, friends, everything. Maybe it was a little risky for us to try to duplicate that party this year...

Not surprisingly - because it's hard to get perfection twice - the weather forecast for this year's pool party took a turn for the worse about a week before the big day. Cold, cloudy, rainy. Needless to say, we had to change our plans and move the party indoors. Thankfully our daughter had chosen a theme that could work for both an indoor or outdoor party! I had encouraged her to choose a "pool-ish" theme again this year, but when she studied the Oriental Trading website it was no surprise that she chose Shopkins.

I'll be honest, I was shocked with the amazingly fun variety of Shopkins themed items that Oriental Trading has to offer! We were able to pull of a fantastic Shopkins birthday party for our six year-old that she and her friends are sure to remember for a long time!

We stocked up on Shopkins dinner plates, dessert plates, and napkins. Shopkins Photo Booth Props doubled for decorations, along with some colorful streamers and Shopkins theme printables colored by the birthday girl herself.

This party was planned in full by the birthday girl. Knowing the things she and her friends love, we started our party with a Shopkins egg hunt! Each friend found one egg with a Shopkins friend inside for them to keep!

We set up crayons, markers, and colored pencils in these perfectly sized and colorful Neon Storage Bins with Lids and had a great time coloring Shopkins themed printables. These bins were perfect for this occasion but we actually use them on an ongoing basis too, to keep the crafting area of our playroom organized and ready for creativity. They are good quality plastic, include covers, stack perfectly, and are obviously perfectly colorful! You'll notice the Shopkins Tablecloth - it was the perfect decoration for our crafting and eating area. The Shopkins themed printables we used for coloring are available for free right on the brand's website. 

This Shopkins cupcake topper came from Oriental Trading's Shopkins Cake Decoration with Candles Set. My daughter insisted on having it to add a little something special to her birthday cupcake. It comes along with 8 colorful candles and truly was a nice touch to our birthday treats.

We never have a party around here without fancying up the drinks so water bottle labels were a must! Creating your own water bottle labels is so easy and fun. Feel free to check out my DIY Water Bottle Label Tutorial! We used our favorite free printable template and added Shopkins Stickers from Oriental Trading. Didn't these turn out super cute?

The Shopkins Photo Booth Props were a huge hit at this party! It's funny - I was nervous about how these would hold up at our outdoor pool party and almost didn't get them for that reason. I'm so glad we added them to our birthday list because they were so much fun at our indoor party and would have been if it had been outdoors too! We set up a photo booth with a basket of these props and took tons of pictures with our friends. Everyone's favorite Shopkins were included in the set. The photo booth made for such a fun party activity and a souvenir to remember the day. We took pictures of the birthday girl with each friend and then printed and used them for our thank you notes. What a fun memory!

Party favors were a mix of Shopkins themed and pool party themed since we were originally intending an outdoor party. From Shopkins Stickers, to Shopkins Tattoos, to Shopkins Pencils, and even Shopkins Bracelets, Oriental Trading has Shopkins goodies galore! I love that Oriental Trading party favors are so affordable and there are endless options for whatever party theme you choose! My daughter and her friends were thrilled with this years' treats.

We had lots of leftover goodie bags from last year's party. Oriental Trading sells these perfectly sized, quality, and super colorful Assorted Plastic Bags in a 50-pack for a steal. If you haven't picked these up for your parties, I highly recommend it! They will last you a long time!

We had such a fun time celebrating our birthday girl this summer! There's no better way to celebrate than to surround yourself with your favorite things - family, friends, and Shopkins! Oriental Trading was the perfect place to find everything we needed to pull off a great kid's birthday party!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Summer Fun with Oriental Trading

We received free product to thank us for this post. No other compensation was received. 
All opinions expressed are our own.

I go back and forth about my favorite season. I love fall for trees changing colors, apple picking, and yummy baked treats. I love winter for beautiful snowy days, fires in the fireplace and watching my daughter sled. I love spring for warming breezes, pretty flowers, and baby animals. I love summer for sunny days, fun outside, and celebrating my daughter's birthday! I think maybe each season is my favorite once it comes around, so right now, I'm voting for summer and enjoying every second of it!

We have a birthday party coming up in less than two weeks and I think it's safe to say that we're kind of counting down the hours! Turning SIX is a big deal - and an even bigger deal when you get to celebrate it with your friends! We received a box of goodies from Oriental Trading today with everything we need to pull off the most phenomenal summertime pool party birthday! Of course, we'll feature that party on the blog in just a couple of weeks. We can't give away all our secret plans just yet, but feel free to take a peek at last year's party while you're waiting!

Did you know that Oriental Trading truly has everything you need to pull off the most amazing summer party? When we're looking for fun, Oriental Trading is our go-to shop! Whether you're celebrating a birthday, cooking out for the 4th of July, hosting a playdate, or simply enjoying the sunshine with your family and friends, Oriental Trading has you covered! With tons of super fun outdoor games and activities, you, your kiddos, your family, and your friends can toss boredom right out the window!

I've been studying the Oriental Trading website today and found some fun looking things we just may snag up for some extra fun this summer! Here are a few of my favorite finds...

These Happy Face Playground Balls bring me back to my elementary school kickball days! We never had balls this cute! I could see our family have a lot of fun with these in the yard this summer!

My daughter is a huge hopscotch fan. Actually, she's a fan of most anything that involves her jumping around. I love this new twist on traditional hopscotch! With the Hopscotch Ring Game, you can configure these plastic rings any which way you want for endless creative hopping fun!

Who doesn't love a good old bean bag toss? This Lemonade Party Bean Bag Toss Game is one of many different themed bean bag toss games from Oriental Trading. This wooden game board comes with adorable lemon shaped bean bags! Super cute and super fun for all ages!

This is just a small sampling of the games and activities that Oriental Trading offers to boost your summer fun! Take a peek and let me know what you like! You'll find endless possibilities that are affordable, good quality, and certainly lots of fun! 

With the help of Oriental Trading, add something special to your next get-together - or just surprise your kiddos with something new this summer! 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

New Chick-fil-A One App!

This post is created in partnership with MomSelect and Chick-fil-A. All opinions expressed are my own.

Oh how I love when my favorite brands create wonderful things! You may have seen some teasers  from Chick-fil-A recently that something exciting was in the works. Luckily for us all, the wait is over!

Tap into the ultimate Chick-fil-A experience by downloading the Chick-fil-A One app. You'll receive a free chicken sandwich when you log in for the first time, and you'll keep earning free rewards as you go!

You can preorder food, view a menu, find ingredient and allergen info, keep track of your favorites, earn tasty treats, find the closest restaurant to you, and pay for your meal all within this one app!

Hooray for Chick-fil-A! I can't wait to make my way to our local restaurant soon!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Kids Academy Releases #1 Math Games: Singapore Maths App for Android and Updates iOS Version of Math Games App for Kids in Preschool & Kindergarten

kids free app 

Kids Academy is a well-known mobile app developer working in the sphere of children’s early education. The team combines all the expertise, creativity and truly remarkable skills to develop a wide range of best educational games and fun worksheets for kids.

The great news is that the team just released the long-awaited update - #1 Math Games: Singapore Maths App for Kids in Preschool & Kindergarten - iOS version of the app!

itunes kidsThis best math app for kids in preschool and kindergarten offers a great variety of fun educational games for kids. Children will get a fantastic chance to:
• train their brains 
• enhance their attention and concentration 
• improve their cognitive skills 
• learn to follow instructions

While playing the fun math games, little mathematicians will grasp their numbers, addition and subtraction facts in a fun and enjoyable way. Kids will trace numbers, master their geometric shapes, practice skip counting and acquire other useful skills too. The cool math games by Kids Academy are based on the famous Singapore Math method. They help children visualize math problems and solve them in a simple way.

You can find a number of best educational apps for children by Kids Academy featured in the Family section of the Android store in the USA, Australia and Canada. This featuring is a reliable indicator of high quality and value of the fun educational games created by this team.

We've given this app a try and truly, it is a ton of fun - and FULL of learning - for kids. It  is on point academically and the perfect educational level for my 5 year old who is just finishing up kindergarten. There are lots of different games and activities geared toward kindergarteners and first graders. When you combine all the creative ways that Kids Academy encourages math learning with their bright, adorable graphics, fun music, and positive reinforcement, you have a superb app. We highly recommend this app - and with a month-long free trial, there's nothing to lose!

Enjoy hundreds of new cool math games, videos and interactive surprises. Your kid is sure to love the new innovative system of motivation and rewards, lively music, colorful graphics and amusing animation. Parents will be happy too – while kids play the new fun math games, they will not need any assistance from grown-ups.

  android google play
Available mid-May 2016 is the long-awaited Android version of their cool #1 Math Games: Singapore Maths App

 itunes app store 
Apple users can download the new Version 3.0.0 of the best educational app from Kids Academy now! 

You can also try out the impressive collection of free printable worksheets and educational games on Kids Academy website. View a great variety of pre-school and kindergarten worksheets by topic and choose the perfect printables for your little learners. Download and print out the fun worksheets and give your kid a wonderful head start on math, writing, reading and other useful skills.


Click here to check out the free printable worksheets!

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