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Monday, June 12, 2017

Forget The Fidget Spinners, Give Me Safe Toys!

I received a sample of this item from the company to facilitate a review. I was not paid for this article and all opinions are 100% my own.

If you have children of, well almost any age, you know what a fidget spinner is, right?
When my kindergartner came home a few weeks before school let out for summer, and said, "MOM, I really want a fidget spinner" I began to do some light research.

Often, I entertain these whims, as long as it doesn't cost a fortune.  However, in this case, I really didn't see any benefit for my daughter in using this toy, so I held out. 

I'm so glad we did, because now I'm reading more about how some of the cheaper versions of fidget spinners are being made with toxic materials and unsafe paint for children

It makes me thankful for companies like Pebble, that make ethically and environmentally safe toys, like this Rainbow Bunny Rattle (pictured below).  Their toys are made from 100% cotton (+polyester fill) so you don't have to worry about your child's safety if they happen to munch on it. They are totally safe, and can be thrown in the washing machine afterward!






Here's my little peanut at naptime, cozying up to her new Pebble Rainbow Bunny Rattle, which I kind of want to steal borrow from her. The texture of the crochet feels so nice for kids who need some sensory exploration.  

One touch, and you can tell it was made from very talented artisan craftworkers

Pebble toys are guaranteed fair trade and made in Bangladesh, and their production centers provide 100 jobs per community, not to mention offer preschool and daycare for the moms who work there. 

So, instead of paying for silly toys like fidget spinners that are potentially made with toxic paints that could harm your child, grandchild, niece or nephew - check out Pebble and help provide a family in rural Bangladesh a future. 

You can find Pebble products at over 800 retailers, including:

 
 






Friday, March 17, 2017

The Gruffalo DVD #Giveaway + OMG Giveaway Hop

I was given a complimentary copy of this product for purposes of review. All opinions are 100% my own, and I do not give positive reviews to products I would not use in my own household. 



What would you do if you were the smallest animal in the deep dark forest, and all the other animals are bigger, stronger and faster than you?

To survive, the small must use quick thinking, wit and a whole lot of courage to stand up to the "giants" in the forest.

When I saw The Gruffalo for the first time, I assumed it would be a scary, silly story.  Not so, surprisingly, it was quite inspirational!

Keep Reading To Enter A Giveaway Below.........

This story is actually a wonderful metaphor for children at school, facing a bully on the playground - or an adult in the workplace who has to use quick thinking to maneuver around a mean boss or coworker.   

This magical tale, captivated all three of my girls (ages 6, 4 and 2) as they watched a brave little mouse, create a story that keeps him from being eaten by a hungry fox, owl, and snake who think he'd be a delicious snack!




After watching The Gruffalo, based on the award winning picture book by Julia Donaldson, countless times, both my girls and I were thrilled when we heard there was a sequel to The Gruffalo.....The Gruffalo's Child.

It's just as fun and the animation is beautiful and captivating, when the Gruffalo's child goes out on an adventure to find this invincible mouse that her father has told her stories about.

With narration by amazing voices like Helena Bonham Carter (Harry Potter) and Robbie Coltrane, you're sure to stay engaged in the storyline. 


If you haven't had the chance to watch these amazing movies, I'm going to give you the chance to WIN a bundle of BOTH, The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child (a $20 value) as part of the #OMGhop!



After entering my giveaway below, be sure to "hop" around to all the other #rvm #OMGhop giveaways on the linky to try your hand at winning some other amazing prizes.  


Enter to Win
Prize: Combo DVD Pack - The Gruffalo & The Gruffalo's Child
  • Giveaway begins 3/17/17 and ends 3/31/17
  • Only US entrants 18+ are eligible to enter
  • Easy one mandatory entry on Rafflecopter form below
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

How to Be More Optimistic This Spring - 7 Tips & Tricks!


Inline image 1

Ugh!

I had the hardest time waking up my 6, 4 and 2 year old for school this morning, after we set our clocks forward for daylight savings. 

I'm hoping that tomorrow morning will be a little easier, because I honestly felt like I was torturing the poor girls by waking them up when all they wanted to do was sleep - which normally is not the case.

Typically I'm woken by my 2 year old, walking into my room at 6am, but this morning she brought me her alarm clock owl saying, "It's green mom, but I want to go back to bed, please" - poor baby!

I felt quite resentful all day about the time change, and I think my babies did too. 

It's important while trying to work with a new time schedule to attempt to see the good, and remain optimistic about the season coming up.

Here are some great tips from Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services on focusing on the positive as spring is around the corner.

1. Focus on the good.
“A daily exercise I often have my patients do is keep an appreciation or gratitude journal. When you focus on all the things to be happy for in your life then more great things come. Think generally and use your senses. What do you appreciate seeing, smelling, touching, tasting, listening to? Write it down. Within a few weeks you'll train the mind to pivot to an appreciate thought when a negative thought comes,” explains Dr. Hafeez.

2. Make plans.
Making plans to see relatives, to see a new exhibit a movie or to travel gets our mind moving forward towards something positive that we can be hopeful and optimistic about. Dr. Hafeez suggests making plans to do 3 things per month for the next 3 months. “Choose things that you know will bring you joy and then go do them! Feeling excited about what is coming and talking about how fun it will be keeps us optimistic and forward moving,” says Dr. Hafeez. 

3. Control what you can, delegate the rest! 
We get pessimistic and worry about the worst possible outcomes when we realize that we cannot control every detail. This leads to anxiety and an even stronger feeling of having to control conditions, and even others. According to Dr. Hafeez, this is a trap. “Figure out what needs to get done. What actions you can take. Then let go of anything else that is beyond your control with faith that everything will turn out fine. Envision the desired outcome,” advises Dr. Hafeez.

4. Limit your news watching and avoid it before bed. 
“There is a very common pattern I see people falling into,” says Hafeez. “People awaken and immediately reach for their smartphone for news headlines. They then turn on the TV news as background noise. They listen to news in their cars, have news alerts going off on their phones all day, catch the evening news and then the 11pm news before bed. No wonder they're less optimistic! What you choose to look at will impact your mood. Remember, good news doesn’t get ratings,” she adds.  

5. Don’t snooze. Instead just breathe.
When the alarm goes off give yourself a few minutes to just lie there, eyes closed focused on your breathing. Breathe in counting to 4 and then breathe out. Do a mental scan of your entire body from head to toe thanking your cells for restoring you as you slept. “Deep breathing is a form of meditation and in the morning, you have a small window of opportunity to decide what kind of day you want it to be,” says Dr. Hafeez.  

6. Distract yourself with something that requires focus.
The key here is to pick something you truly enjoy doing and do it daily. It can be painting, coloring, yoga, a 20-minute walk or jog, listening to music and dancing around your living room. “When you are fully engaged in something, you can’t ruminate which leads to pessimism,” explains Dr. Hafeez.

7. Make feeling good top priority.
When you commit to feeling good you instantly start to think more optimistically. According to Dr. Hafeez, when you’re mindful of your own negativity and shift to a better feeling positive thought you feel powerful. You’ll feel like you can conquer anything when you can master your own mindset.

Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens. 
Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz.
Connect with her via twitter @comprehendMind or www .comprehendthemind.com

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bring Your Memories To Life! Canvas Factory Prints + #Giveaway

I received a complimentary product to facilitate this review. As always all opinions are 100% my own and not influenced by the company described.

What good does it do you to have thousands of digital photos sitting around on your hard drive?

Nada. Nothing. Zip!

So why don't you choose a few of your favorites from this year and get them printed onto canvas and hanging on your wall for all your friends and family to see?

Bring Your Memories To Life 


That's what I finally did.

It's difficult to find a photo of the whole family where we're smiling and all looking at the camera, but after a bit of searching I finally found something I thought was "wall-worthy."

The ordering process at Canvas Factory was a breeze - and a 16x20 is on SALE right now for only $35.70!



The canvas print is stretched across a 1.2" frame, which looks great placed directly on the wall.

That's my favorite thing about canvas prints!  There's no fuss with centering, choosing a mat, glass, frame color, etc. 

What's better:

It's ready to hang on the wall the moment it arrives! 

Now, if you want to get creative, there are many more options than a typical single canvas print. 

There's this cool Split Photo Canvas Print (pictured above) where you split one photo into multiple canvases for a striking artistic effect on your wall.  

I think this will be my next project for over the mantle. 


The final product on the wall makes me so happy when I walk by it on the way to my room each night.

I've gotten so many compliments from people who say, "These look great! This reminds me that I need to get my photos printed and on the wall too."

So, what are you waiting for? Set those family photos free from your computer, and display them proudly on the wall!

You can shop for your favorite canvas design at: www.canvasfactory.com

  
 Enter To Win

(1)  16x20'' custom made canvas

$129.00 Value!


  • Complete easy Rafflecopter Form below for your chance to win!
  • Giveaway ends, November 19th, 2016
  • Winner must be a US Resident 18+  


  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 8, 2016

How To Make A DIY Halloween Wreath



I'll be the first to say I'm not very crafty. 

My mom is.  My sister is.  I'm am not.

However, I decided to throw caution to the wind this year and attempt a DIY Halloween Wreath.  

Turned out to be super easy, and found all the supplies I needed at Oriental Trading!
 



Here's what I used:

- Large White Foam Wreath - $6.99
- Black Tulle Roll - $9.99 (but there was TONS left over for future projects)
- Black Chevron Burlap - $8.99
- Spider Pumpkin PushIns - $8.99

Note: In the photos you'll see a few other items I also received from Oriental Trading that I planned to use in my wreath, but in the end I decided that simple was better.




The hot glue gun was my best friend in this project.

I started with just a little line of hot glue to attach the burlap ribbon, and began wrapping. Every inch or so, I'd add another line of glue to secure the ribbon on the back side of the wreath. 

Totally simple!


The next part I was slightly nervous about, since I'm not a bow making kind of girl.

However, a simple search online popped up quite a few results for "How To Make a Burlap Bow" and I followed the simple instructions.

Yahoo! A bow was made! Now all I had to do was hot glue the bow to the bottom of the wreath. 

 

Not too shabby.

By this time, I was getting pretty excited about hanging this wreath on my front door, as I had never made a DIY wreath before! 

 
The final product was classy, and not too scary, put placing the spider push pins, added an element of spook that was just right for my three little girls. 

The spiders were a great touch for a Halloween wreath, for a home with young children were you don't want things to get TOO scary.................YET!'

I'm convinced that Oriental Trading has just about anything you need for decorating all year round, and also the supplies you need for making your own seasonal decorations!

It worked for me!   

Friday, September 30, 2016

Disney On Ice "Passport To Adventure" Bay Area Discount Code!

I may be eligible to receive complimentary tickets to the event described below, for posting about this event.  However, all opinions stated are 100% my own and not influenced by the company described. 

I don't get to take my kids to many PAID attractions, with the graduate school repayments, student loans, preschool tuition, healthy organic food and music classes piling up.

However, I'm pretty sure that a Disney on Ice event would be absoultely magical for them to attend.

So, with an upcoming event being only an hour and 15 minutes away, I think I'm going to try and take them for their very first LIVE Ice Skating Show!

http://www.ticketmaster.com/Disney-On-Ice-presents-Passport-To-tickets/artist/1704479



BAY AREA LOCATIONS
 
Two Locations in the Bay Area will be hosting Disney On Ice "Passport To Adventure":

  • SAP Center  Oct. 19th - 23rd, 2016
  • Oracle Arena Oct. 26-30th, 2016

Come celebrate some of the most memorable Disney tales with all your favorite characters in Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure. 

Join Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald, Daisy and Goofy through timeless worlds of Disney's The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, and Disney's Frozen. 

You'll be able to explore African Pride Lands with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa, voyage under the sea to Ariel's mystical underwater kingdom and tour through London with Peter Pan and Wendy before flying to Neverland to meet up with Tinker Bell. 

Last but not least, you can travel to Arendelle for an extraordinary adventure with Anna and Elsa,  Kristoff and everyone's favorite snowman Olaf, as they journey to discover that true love is the most magical power of all. 

Want a Discount Code for 25% OFF Tickets today?

Use Promo Code: MOM2



Sunday, September 11, 2016

Mom Outfit Elevated With prAna Sustainable Clothing #Giveaway

I received this product for free from #MomsMeet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own #MMLovesprAna.

I'm a mom.

But, before I was a mom, I was my own person.  A woman with some pretty unique style when it came to clothing. 

I don't like to wear "mom clothes" but when I'm stretching across the second row of my minivan to buckle the carseat in the third row, I like to wear at least movable, aka. comfortable clothes.

KEEP READING for your chance to WIN the sustainable clothing prAna outfit I'm wearing.....
photo credit: my 5 year old daughter :-)

Have I found my happy medium brand? The cross between stylish and comfortable, plus sustainable?

I'm definitely NOT a fashionista, but still refuse to wear sweatpants to the grocery store.

I want something that's easy to throw on and move around in, but that doesn't say "I've given up." 



Wearing this prAna Devan Henley seriously feels like drawing yourself a warm silk bath and being surrounded in silky smooth warmth.

It's one of those clothing items that just separate themselves from the rest, when you put it on, you can feel the quality of the design and craftsmen(women?)ship that just makes it sing.

It's not bulky, but it's warm. The organic cotton/jersey blend is perfect for the crisp fall weather we're about to experience!


Don't even get me started on these Mantra pants, made with soft hemp. 

So, I rarely am able to find clothing that fit by just by ordering them online. I have some weird hip to waist ratio or something.  All that to say, these Mantra pants fit me perfectly.

For reference: I'm 5'3, 125lbs...and typically wear a medium in pants (I have a thick-ish waist), however, I followed the sizing guide on the prAna website and ordered a XS which fit me perfectly (I'm often a Petite Medium in other brands).

It's still fairly hot up here in Northern CA, but I find myself checking the weather station each morning hoping it's pants weather because all I want to wear is Mantra!



Both the prAna Devan Henley and Mantra Pant are totally transferrable from a yoga class to the grocery store or library.

In fact, the Mantra pant could be paired with a nice blouse for a night out on the town with your partner, which I'm planning to do next week! 

As you can see in the above photo, my reality is kids jumping all over me when I'm trying to relax or meditate, so at least my clothing can pamper me with the comfort of their design. 

I'm sold on the classic and moveable style of prAna!


Oh yes. It's the small things that count these days, when I'm pressed for time in the morning to drop off the kiddos at Kindergarten.

prAna makes me happy to not have to stress about what to wear. I'll just throw on this Devan Henley and Mantra Pant and get going with ease and style.

Now who wants to buy me one in every color?!



a Rafflecopter giveaway