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.

  free-worksheets

Click here to check out the free printable worksheets!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

B. Baby and Our Generation Toys from Battat

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

We love to share with you our favorite high-quality products - but when our favorites have a powerful cause behind them, we're even more proud to share. There are two lines of products from our friends at Battat that we've been recently introduced to, and a portion of every purchase you or your child makes in these product lines goes to an amazing organization called Free The Children.

Free The Children empowers people - especially children - to change the world. Free the Children builds schools, and strengthens villages through healthcare, water programs, and alternate income projects. So far, Free The Children has been able to help build 650 schools in communities all over the world - providing education to 50,000 children every day!

Here are some of our new favorites from Battat...

Our littlest has been enjoying some B. Baby toys!


B. toys - and more specifically B. Baby toys - are beautiful, high-quality, unique toys that you and your little one are sure to love. You'll notice that their designs, colors, and styles aren't typical, but they certainly are both peaceful and playful! Even the packaging of B. toys is different. You won't find packaging that is difficult to open or that makes a mess all over your floor. B. toys uses recycled - and recyclable materials, uses only soy-based inks, and does their best to package toys in containers that you'll want to reuse.



The Wee B. Ready toy set includes 3 squeaky, squishy blocks, a ring of 3 teethers, 2 spinning balls, a chubby, chiming zebra, and a drum shaped tub for storage.

Our little one has already fallen in love with the zebra and as she continues to grow I expect she will begin enjoying the other items just as much! I am in love with the colors, designs, and overall quality of this tub of toys. It is quite a step above many of the other baby toys we have around our house. The set is geared toward children aged newborn to three years.




The Wonders Above playmat is beautiful. The quilted mat is so thick, soft, and cozy and the arc that you attach to it comes with dangling toys that will enthrall your baby. Our favorite is the soft, jingling hot air balloon. I adore the peaceful yet joyful colors of this set.


The playmat and accompanying dangling toys are so simple, fun, and easy to set up. The quilt is machine washable - and with a baby who poops, pees, and spits up on a seemingly non-stop basis, this is a huge plus for our family! The quilt also has a non-slip backing to help it stay put so you and your baby won't be slipping and sliding on hardwood floors. All the pieces fold easily back into the original package for easy storage. This playmat is geared toward children aged newborn to 18 months.


While little sister has been enjoying her B. Baby toys, big sister has been enjoying some special treats from Our Generation!


Our Generation Dolls and Accessories, similar to B. toys, are packaged in recycled, recyclable materials and label with soy-based inks. The toys themselves are geared toward your doll-loving little ones. My five year old daughter is a huge fan!


Vienna is one of many, many doll options from Our Generation. This 18" posable doll comes with removable clothing, and there are tons of accessories available for purchase to go along with her, including extra clothing sets, pets, and more.

Large dolls like Vienna are a big hit with my daughter and her playmates these days and I was pleased to be introduced to the Our Generation brand of dolls. We love the quality, style, and affordability of Vienna, her friends, and all the accessories that go along with them.



This Ride in Style Scooter is just one many accessories that go along with Our Generation dolls. It truly has fun and adventure written all over it. It comes complete with a helmet and seatbelt for your doll's safe travels!



This Cute as Pie Kitchen Playset comes complete with everything your doll friends need to cook and serve dinner and dessert! It includes pots, pans, olive oil, vinegar, napkins, a scale, fruit, and more! It's the perfect set to encourage imaginative play between your child and their doll friends. My daughter loves to have her doll friends visit each other's homes for cooking classes!


We have absolutely fallen in love with the fun, charm, affordability, and quality of the Our Generation products. We even purchased a super cute boxer puppy for part of a friend's birthday gift just yesterday! One of our favorite aspects of this line of toys is that a portion of each purchase of Our Generation items goes toward Free The Children's Power of a Girl Initiative - helping provide girls in developing countries an education - the most powerful tool in the world for escaping poverty.


Both of these toy lines - B. toys and Our Generation - are available at Target. We highly recommend them based on their quality, uniqueness, and affordability!

Battat is a family-run business based in Montreal, Canada, and Plattsburgh, NY, that has been making family-focused products for over 100 years. Through innovative thinking, unique design and a steadfast commitment to safety and reliability, Battat has created some of the world's favorite toys.

Friday, April 29, 2016

#DisneyKids Playdate

We received free product to facilitate the #DisneyKids Playdate. All opinions expressed are my own.
Extra special thanks to the following playdate sponsors: 

Walt Disney World is nothing short of magical. Perhaps one of the most magical parts about it is that even when you can't be there, you can bring the magic to your own home! That's what we did recently when we hosted a #DisneyKids Playdate for our daughter and her princess friends!


For our #DisneyKids Playdate, we pulled together our favorite snacks, our favorite Disney music, some fun crafts, games, and activities, and we decorated with Disney themed party supplies. We handed out Disney themed party favors including bags, posters, hats, and more, from characters like Sofia the First, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and The Lion Guard. All of this added together equaled a super fun playdate!

We were able to capture and share our playdate memories with the help of HP. We took photos using the Pocketbooth app and printed them on HP Photo Booth Strips. Each of our friends got to bring some pictures home with them to help them remember all the fun we had.


A playdate wouldn't be complete without coloring and crafts! At our #DisneyKids Playdate, we crafted with I Love to Create using Tulip's Puffy Paint and Aleene's Tacky Glue. We created some Disney Junior themed hand puppets and colored lots and lots of pictures that we printed right off the Disney Junior website.



We read the most fantastically creative book together - My Very, Very Smelly Breath - Banfield Pet Hospital's second children's book. Written from the perspective of a dog, this scratch-and-sniff story helps children and pet owners understand the importance of helping their pets keep their mouth's clean. My 5 year old has been very concerned about us keeping our dog's mouth clean since reading this book. Let me tell you something - the dog in this book has VERY smelly breath! You can smell it right on the page! Thankfully there are lots of good scents on the following pages to help you forget the nastiness you'll smell in the beginning! The kids loved this book.


We also went on a Kilimanjaro Safari at our playdate - just like at Disney's Animal Kingdom! We searched for hidden safari animals throughout our home. Each child was very excited to take their discovered animals home!


Of course, we had a photo booth! We posed for lots of fun pictures here and after printing on our HP Photo Booth Paper, we packed copies of the photos for everyone in Disney themed GLAD sandwich bags and sent them home as souvenirs.


And since princesses love to dance, we danced, danced, danced, and danced some more, to our favorite Disney Junior music! Princess dancing never gets old at our playdates... but it does get loud... and certainly makes for some very blurry photographs!


We love bringing a little pixie dust into our home by hosting Disney themed playdates. It's the next best thing to visiting Walt Disney World itself! The #DisneyKids Playdate was a very special time for all of our princess friends.

Visit www.disneyworld.com/preschool for great information on planning a Walt Disney World Resort vacation with your littles!

We received free product to facilitate the #DisneyKids Playdate. All opinions expressed are my own.
Extra special thanks to the following playdate sponsors: 

Monday, April 18, 2016

1-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream - Allergen Free!

I've been trying a lot of new recipes since starting the breastfeeding elimination diet. As silly as it may sound, I'm pretty sure this banana ice cream one might be my favorite!


Eliminating ice cream from my diet felt like a big loss to me. I sometimes wonder if the amount of ice cream I ate during pregnancy was my demise! There are dairy-free, soy-free ice creams available  at my local grocery stores - mostly coconut based. I don't mind the taste, but the price is a whole other matter.

I'm hooked on bananas lately because they seem to settle well in my nursing baby's belly - and they just add that extra oomph to the plain Cheerios I eat almost daily for breakfast! And honestly - bananas are cheap, so I don't mind going through them quickly.

This banana ice cream - with literally ONE ingredient - is amazing.

Ingredients:
  • Bananas - that's it! Maybe 1, 2, or 3 depending on how many days you want your ice cream to last.

Directions:
  • Peel and slice a ripe banana
  • Freeze the slices in a freezer bag or freezer-safe covered bowl for a few hours or overnight
  • Pop the frozen banana pieces into a food processor
  • Pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse
  • Scrape down the sides periodically as needed
  • As you pulse the food processor you'll notice the banana break into little pieces, start to look crumbly, start to stick together, and then magically become smooth like soft-serve ice cream. It really is kind of magical and it only takes a few minutes!
  • Once it looks like soft-serve ice cream, scoop it out and either eat it like that or stick it back in the freezer to firm up a bit.

Delicious, healthy, and (unless you or your baby is allergic to bananas) allergen-free!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Embracing the Elimination Diet

It wasn't long after the birth of our second daughter that we realized that she was going to give us a run for our money. Our oldest daughter was a very easy baby. Once I accepted the fact that breastfeeding was not her thing and agreed to pump around the clock, we were good to go. She hardly ever cried and hardly ever got sick. She was just a happy, content, independent, healthy, growing baby.

Our second daughter is the opposite... she loves to nurse, is very fussy, and has already been sick and hospitalized in this short seven weeks she's been here! With our first daughter we felt like we had it all together. Now my husband and I walk into appointments with the pediatrician like deer looking into headlights and beg for recommendations to make life easier for all of us!

About three weeks into life with our new baby, it was clear that something was going on beyond fussiness. She was already on prescription medication for reflux which seemed to be helping but something was just still not right. I called the pediatrician's office in tears and they asked us to bring up a few full diapers that they could use to test for a milk protein allergy. My husband made the drop-off and I quickly got a call from the nurse telling me there was blood in her stools, indicative of the allergy, and that I needed to eliminate all dairy and soy from my diet. Say what?! I asked what formula to purchase. She told me not to do it. My babies tummy was already stressed out and she predicted that introducing a formula in place of breastmilk would only cause more difficulty as it would be even harder for to her digest.

I'm not sure if you've ever looked at the foods you eat and the drinks you drink and really studied the labels, but if you do, you'll see that many of them contain milk and soy! I was told that soy lecithin and soybean oil were still okay but other than that, I needed to be completely dairy and soy free because of this milk protein allergy. She'll likely outgrow it in a year or two, but until then, if she's drinking my milk, it has to be free of her allergens, which means what I eat needs to be free of them too.

To make a long story a little bit shorter, after eliminating dairy and soy from my diet for 2 weeks, we retested her diapers and saw improvement. Great news! The not so great news was that she was still miserable after feeding until she could finally, as painful as it was, get rid of whatever she had consumed. It was heartbreaking. The pediatrician then recommended that I eliminate some other common allergens from my diet such as peanuts, eggs, and tomatoes. On my own, about a week later, with the help of the Joneja Allergen Chart, I also eliminated wheat. Now, seven weeks into life with this baby, we are finally seeming to settle down and she is smiling and enjoying life a lot more often - even between feeds!

I'm not going to lie. I miss my old foods! But, I'm embracing the elimination diet - eliminating the top food allergens from my breastmilk - and finding some delicious recipes that work for my whole family (because who wants to cook several different meals at once?). I'm still new to this but look forward to sharing some of my meal ideas and recipes with you! Stay tuned!

Do you have a dairy-free, soy-free, peanut-free, tomato-free, egg-free, or wheat-free recipe you love? Please share it here!
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