Tuesday, September 24, 2013

**REVIEW** Alphabet Flash Cards by Educational Toys Planet

Recently, I received a pack of Alphabet Flash Cards by Education Toys Planet to try out with my kids and review them for all of you. While I did receive them for free, all opinions are 100% my own and not swayed in either direction by any outside influences.

These Alphabet Flash Cards are recommended for ages 3 and up. My youngest is 2, so I thought I would try them on her. The first thing she did when I opened the shipping package was yank them from me and try to get right into them. As you can see from the back of the pack, she really just wanted them! I also used them on AJ because of his mix up with certain letters.

The cards are bright, and eye catching. They provide excellent visuals to help with letter recognition. What I really loved about them is the rounded edge. The pictures have the rounded edge in the upper right hand corner. When it's in the left, the letters are shown. It makes it a lot easier to sort them and organize them by letters, or by pictures. There are both capitals, and lower case cards. Most cards I have purchased in the past only have one or the other, never both.

The pack also comes with these three index cards for quick reference. I used these with my son by pointing at random letters to see if he could recognize them quickly. I also called out random letters and random words (pear, cake, sun) to test him as well. Goose threw him off, as he thought it was a duck. It's understandable. They really do look similar on these cards. For Gianna, I pointed and she told me what each picture was if she was able to.

There was also a parent card with ideas on activities to try with your child. We did a few of the activities, but Gianna was just too young to really understand. AJ's attention often roamed, so it was hard to do it for long.

While I would love to say that they really did help her, I can't say they did. I think it may be because she is just too young to grasp the concept of letters. She was able to identify quite a few pictures. Just not able to get the letters correct. So, I did work on them with my 6 year old. AJ struggles with a few letters, and often mixes them up (B and D, G and J, etc). These cards helped him to see the letters and associate them with certain words. In just two weeks time (20 minutes each day, 5 days a week), his letter recognition has improved. He still mixes certain letters up, but not nearly as often as he used to. Not only has his recognition improved, his spelling has as well. He will take the index cards, and study the words then ask me to pick a few out for him to spell. So, I consider this an extra perk. Definitely a positive!

In general, I would agree that these cards are more for children older than 3. I will continue to work with Gianna as long as she shows interest. AJ still plays with them and asks me to quiz him, so I will continue to do that with him as long as he would like to. It's a great way for him and I to spend some one-on-one time doing something that he enjoys.

Feel free to check them out using the links above, or jump right into their site by age recommendations:

For 3 year olds

For 4 year olds

For 5 year olds

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.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

**REVIEW** Glow Bug Cloth Diaper

A few months back, I contacted Glow Bug in hopes of being able to review one of their cloth diapers. I am happy to announce that I have been given one of their pocket diapers featuring the new 360° gusset. (Disclosure: While I did receive this product for free, all opinions are 100% my own and were not swayed in any direction)

Glow Bug was founded by two moms, Sarah and Neta, who became friends after attending the same prenatal Yoga classes. They both welcomed daughters in 2007 and used cloth diapers with them. In 2010, they welcomed their second kiddos- another daughter for Sarah, and a son for Neta. While searching for cloth diapers for their new babies, they found each other to have the same concerns over the already available brands. This led them to start up their own company, and sell cloth diapers that were designed and made with their preferences in mind. Quality, affordable, and functional. Not to mention, super cute!!

The first thing I did when I received the package was tear into it and look it over. Not all diapers are created the same! Looking it over, I had some initial concerns. My first concern was that there were two openings in the diaper. I was afraid that the insert would not stay in place. However, I then noticed the snap that was in the diaper and on the insert. That will keep it from moving all out of place. And when you have a toddler who is into EVERYTHING, keeping it in place is a major necessity.

The other concern I had was the 360° gusset in the diaper. I have such problems with the gussets on disposable diapers and making sure they were flared out to keep the mess in. Thankfully, these are nothing like that. I found that out when I put it on Gianna. Let's just say that they got her seal of approval, because within minutes of putting it on her, she dirtied it. Since she still consumes a significant amount of breast milk, she still doesn't have very solid BMs. The gussets held the mess in perfectly, without the slightest bit of leakage.

I absolutely love the fit on her! The 4 size settings mean that I can use it on her, and any baby smaller AND larger than she is, because we're using the first snap down. The square tabs mean no wing droop, and an even fit around her waist. Lots of snaps around the waist means a great fit for even the smallest of babies. Especially since the tabs can overlap. I really like that, even when it's tight on her, it doesn't leave all these red marks on her like other brands do. It also moves with her. Whether she's doing somersaults, climbing, jumping, running, etc, it doesn't bunch up or ride up.

The day we received the diaper, I put it right on her. I didn't prep it, because we were just too excited. It held up for five hours before starting to get slightly damp on the outside, so this diaper is my first choice for long trips. Now that it's been washed a few times, I'm sure it's even more absorbent. I also like that the inside material, which they call it "SlimDry", seems to be stain resistant. The initial "approval" Gianna gave it didn't even leave any signs of use. That particular day, I didn't get to rinse it out immediately after changing her.

You can purchase Glow Bug diapers from their website, here. At this point in time, Glow Bug does not sell individual diapers, although you may find someone local to you who does. You can check that out here.
They have many different prints, and even solids if you aren't into prints. They also offer a lifetime warranty on their snaps, and a 180-day warranty on the craftsmanship of the diapers. To read more about their warranty, be sure to click here. They are super nice to work with, and have always gotten back to any messages I have sent within a day. I hope to have the opportunity to work with them again in the future!

Whatever you do, be sure to enter the giveaway! One lucky person will win a Glow Bug cloth diaper in their choice of Girl Print, Boy Print, or Neutral Print!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 6, 2013

First day of school!

Today was the first day of school for my kiddos. Sofia started 5th grade, and AJ started 1st. I spent all Wednesday night comforting Sofia and reassuring her that she would have a great time. She's a very nervous child, and gets herself worked up about things like this. I reminded her that she did this the night before every single grade, and ended up loving that grade. She started to say something, but I cut her off. We've had this conversation many times, so I knew what she was going to say.

But 5th grade is so much harder than 4th was! And that's exactly the same thing you said about 4th grade. An 3rd grade. And 2nd. And even 1st. And you came back home on the first day saying that you love your teacher, some of your friends are in your class, and you can't wait to go back. So, go to sleep and think about the fun you're going to have and all your friends you're going to see again.

And that she did. With a smile on her face, and NO nightmares. She got right up when her alarm went off, right into the shower, then out and got dressed. She had a smile on her face and was more than thrilled to start the new school year. AJ, on the other hand, was not too thrilled. He woke up saying that he wasn't going to have a good day. He wasn't going to listen, and he didn't want to go. It took a good 10 minutes to get him out of bed. He eventually got out of bed and got dressed, but he wasn't happy about it. Eventually his mood lightened up, and he was excited. Though, still not promising a good day.

8:00 came, and it was time to send them outside. Since their bus is never on time for the first few days, we have to send them out earlier than the time we were told. On their way out, I snapped some cute pictures. Of course, Gianna wanted to be out with them, too.

They both enjoyed their first day of school, and are excited to go back. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

New Car Seat Love ♥

As most of you know, I am a HUGE car seat safety freak. I get really upset when I see people using car seats incorrectly, especially when they're my friends who I have said something to before.  This is me when people post pics of their kiddos in their car seats.

It really does make my heart pound because I fear for what might happen if there were an accident. I post car seat safety tips and links all the time, and just HOPE my friends read it.

At any rate, let me get on to my sheer excitement. I bought Gianna a new car seat today! Did she NEED it? No. Did I WANT it? Absolutely! She was in a Graco MyRide 65, which was amazing and was a nice, roomy seat. As much as I loved it, I wanted something that would cradle her a bit better, so that when she fell asleep, she wasn't craning her neck since there was no added head support. There was a pillow that came with it, but she was able to move it so that it wasn't in the correct position. This new car seat has awesome side support that cradles her. When she falls asleep, I won't have to worry about her head flopping all over. As much as I would love for the extra head pillow and body support to fit her well, it just doesn't.

The kids and I went to Toys R Us, and got the car seat. It was cheaper than I expected, thanks to a 20% off coupon. Unfortunately, because of that coupon, we weren't eligible for the bonus gifts/freebies. It really bummed me out, especially when a friend of mine said that they were able to use the 20% off coupons and get the freebies. I'm planning on calling corporate tomorrow and see what's going on.

After getting the seat, we went home so that AJ could quickly get his soccer gear on, and then head up to his practice. While we were there, Anthony and I got the car seat installed. It fits like a DREAM! The only complaint I have is that there is less leg room in the MySize 70 than in the MyRide 65. She doesn't seem to mind at all. She moved her legs around to keep comfortable, so I'm not worried. She loved the seat as well. I also love that it has a no rethread harness. Just squeeze the level, and pull on the top. Instant, easy fit! So if I have to take any other kids around, I don't have to take the seat out and adjust it and buckle it back. I am IN LOVE with that feature!! I'm just in love with the whole seat. Check out how great she fits in it!

Thumbs up from Gianna!! 

At any rate, the kids start school tomorrow, so I should probably get to bed now. I hope all of you have a wonderful night, and that the school year goes smoothly for your kiddos!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Boogie Wipes Giveaway!!!

This giveaway is going to be a little bit different. I have joined a 10k Giveaway hosted by Kimmyhillbilly's Trailer Park on Facebook. All you have to do is "like" her page here, agree to the rules here, then go throughout that album and "like" all the pictures of the prizes that you want to enter. Be sure to "like" the pages of the sponsors. You can find mine here. Nice and easy!

What is my prize offering, you ask? Well, here it is:
One winner takes all! 
1 8oz bottle of Kandoo Hair Detangler
1 pack of Puffs Fresh Faces, fragrance free, 45 count
1 pack if Puffs Fresh Faces, Fresh Scent, 15 count
2 packs Boogie Wipes, grape and fresh scent, 30 count each
Free shipping in US
Kids not included. 

So, head on over, and check out all of the cool prizes!!