Thursday, September 20, 2018

Celebrate The Holiday Season With Santa Bruce+ Giveaway #SantaBruceBook

*DISCLOSURE* Disney Book Group is partnering with me for a giveaway.  All thoughts are strictly my own.

This year has really flown by! Fall is practically here and before you know it, it'll be Halloween.  The holiday season is truly around the corner and the days of 2018 are numbered.  Over the next few months, people will begin to get into the holiday spirit and have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for. It's always fun to get kids into the joys of the season and what better way to do so then with a themed book?

Santa Bruce is a children's book written by author and illustrator Ryan T. Higgins.  Bruce is a lot of things including a bear, and a decent cook.  It's safe to say that he is a grump too since he does not enjoy the holidays.  One thing that Bruce is not is Santa Claus.  Thanks to a case of mistaken identity, the whole forest has lined up to give him their Christmas wishes.  This bear just cannot catch a break and children will enjoy the story.

I'm lucky that Scarlett is an avid reader.  Whenever a new book enters through our front door, she's always interested.  She's at an age where she now knows who Santa is and has questions about him.

From the moment I showed Scarlett the book meant for ages 3+, she was very interested.  The front cover is filled with vividly drawn animals and one very angry and frustrated bear! She thought his mad face was funny and I knew she'd be drawn into the story.

The illustrations on each page fill the entire page and are very detailed.  Poor Bruce can't seem to shake the fact that all of the forest animals want him to be excited for Christmas when all he wants to do is be alone and sleep.  He finally gives in and becomes Santa Bruce for one night, doing the job of Santa and delivering presents to all of the forest animals.  All of the animals are thrilled with Bruce's holiday spirit and celebrate with a big dinner.  Bruce just wants it all to be over so he can get back to his regular life.

The book is certainly unlike any I've ever seen or read before.  Children will be captivated throughout the entire book wondering what happens next. Scarlett enjoyed all of Santa Bruce's bad luck and was laughing throughout it.  She also wanted Santa Bruce to deliver presents to her on Christmas, but I said that wouldn't be happening!

If you're looking for a new holiday tradition with to have with your young children, why not have hot cocoa and cookies on Christmas Eve while reading this book? It can surely become a yearly tradition that everyone will look forward to.  Make sure the cookies are chocolate chip and freshly baked to ensure a crowd-pleasing response!

The holiday season is full of magic and joy and it only comes around once per year.  It's never too early or too late to start traditions that will bring smiles and joy with long lasting memories.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Stay-At-Home-Mom Guilt Is Real

I've now been a stay-at-home-mom to Scarlett for over 3.5 years.  When I left my job in 2014 to become a full-time mom, I didn't have an idea of what the future held.  In those precious years since I stopped working, I've seen many firsts.  Some of those firsts I never want to see or hear again!

I have to be honest with you, the mom guilt is real.  When Scarlett was younger, it was my job and responsibility to teach her everything she needed to know.  I had flashcards and tools for learning shapes, animals, numbers, letters, and colors.  As she grew, we realized that she was speech delayed and spent a year working with a speech therapist.  Of course when issues arise with children we blame ourselves and ask ourselves what could we have done differently? Even if the challenge is not our fault, a mom still struggles with it.

Scarlett is in school three days a week for three hours a day.  When I have that free time, I try to take advantage of it and cook, clean, and take care of the house.  Some days I may have errands to run and won't get as much done sans child as I'd like.  

Once I pick Scarlett up and she comes home, I may have to vacuum, throw a load of laundry in, or even just make a phone call.  Scarlett always asks me to play with her and sometimes I can't.  I feel bad that I can't always be her built-in playmate, but I do have legitimate work to do.  I explain to her that I have to finish what I'm doing and then I can play with her.

Sometimes she understands and others she doesn't.  I try to tell her it's important that she play alone independently while I complete my tasks.  She's used to me playing with her, and doesn't always want to be by herself.  When she does agree, it makes life a lot easier.  I know this is also due to being an only child too.  If she had a sibling close in age, she wouldn't be looking for me to be her playmate so much at home.  

Some days I feel like it's hard to balance everything.  I have to make sure my child's needs are met while also ensuring my work at home gets completed too.  At night, I may lie awake and say did I spend too much time cleaning or organizing today when I could have spent more time with Scarlett? Is she on track with learning in comparison to her peers? Should I be teaching her even more than I already am?

These are just some of the questions that roll around in my head.  I try to shut my brain off, but it's really hard.  If you're a stay-at-home-mom, I can guarantee you've felt these same things.  I also have guilt about not working and contributing financially like I'd like to.  Everyone says being at home with a child is the most important thing for them, and I have to keep telling myself that. 

The mom guilt never goes away completely but some days I may feel it more than others.  I hope as Scarlett gets older my feelings of guilt lessen as she becomes more independent.  I know I'm not alone with these thoughts and feelings and it's something I have to grapple with.  For now, I will enjoy her as much as I can until she goes to kindergarten! By that point, I'll be going back to work too.

While being a stay-at-home-mom has its challenges, I feel very lucky and blessed I am able to do it everyday.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Razor Offers Fun Outdoor Items For the Whole Family

Now that summer is winding down, we're saying goodbye to the humidity and hello to cooler temps. Scarlett enjoys playing outside for as much as the year allows and I always like to carry over her favorite outdoor things into Fall.  Sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and riding her bike are just a few things you'll see her doing this Fall.  Since it's imperative to get children up and moving as much as you can, I'm always looking for new things for her to enjoy outdoors.

Razor Scooters provide outdoor entertainment for children and adults of any age.  Your kids will go nuts for hover boards, rip stiks, electric scooters, electric skateboards, and much more.  Adults will equally love Dirt Rocket bikes and Eco Smart Metro electric scooters.  The site is divided into product age ranges like junior (2-4), kids (5-7), older kids (8-12) and teens/adults (13+) to help you select the right product for your child's age or your own.  I had a Razor scooter when I was younger and I loved it.  Too bad Razor didn't offer electric options at that time because I would have really enjoyed that.  Any garage around the world would welcome a new Razor addition.

With the holidays in the not so distant future, it's never too early to do some holiday shopping.  Why not gift your niece a hover board and thrill your son with Turbo Jetts? It would certainly be a Christmas they wouldn't quickly forget!  Keep Razor in mind for gift giving for a lucky boy or girl for any occasion.

Now that Scarlett is 3 months away from turning 4, she's really into using big girl bikes and toys outside.  This summer marked a momentous occasion for her.  She received her first bike with training wheels that she learned how to ride.  Why not keep the momentum going with a Lil' E Electric Scooter? This adorable scooter comes in blue or pink depending on your child's gender.  It's a revolution in fun for the little ones.

This electric scooter is built specifically for youngsters who are mastering their balance and coordination.  You'll notice that the scooter provides the extra stability of three wheels and a simplified push-to-go, soft start throttle that keeps them in control as they explore the thrills of electric-powered fun.

Scarlett was ecstatic when the scooter arrived and couldn't wait to ride it.  She kept showing it to my husband and I and saying "look at my scooter!" As a parent, I find that most toys and products for children require assembly and I'm not always good at it.  If it's minimal enough, I can do it myself but most of the time I ask my husband to help out.  I was elated when the scooter had a few simple steps that could be completed in about 5 minutes. 

The scooter itself features a bright and cheery pink with purple accents.  There's a wide footboard that allows little feet to securely stay on.  Little hands will easily be able to grip the handlebars to turn and move whichever way they want. It seems like a solid piece of equipment that's quality made.

Before your child rides, the scooter does have to charge for 12 hours. I decided to have that step be done overnight so Scarlett wouldn't be constantly asking if it was ready yet.  Once fully charged, the scooter lasts a solid hour before needing to be charged again.  That is enough time in my opinion and will let a child spend a decent amount of time outside using it.  In the morning, when the scooter was ready we decided to take it outside for a spin.  Scarlett had no idea electric scooters exist, so she was like a kid in a candy store!

She seemed to get the idea of keeping her feet on it while moving, but did need some practice with turning and maneuvering the scooter.  Steering is something we're working on with her bike too.  Since we live in a townhouse complex, we have a large parking lot that is ideal for using the scooter in.  I loved seeing her so happy and it was also a great way to get her out of the house to do a fun outdoor activity.  Scarlett is of an average height for her age and was not too tall for the scooter at all.  The age range is 3+.  I'm hoping we have at least another year to use it before she outgrows it.

The scooter goes a max of 2 MPH so parents will be able to keep up with their child as they ride it.  Whether your child rides the scooter on a driveway, in a park, or on the sidewalk you can guarantee smiles will be seen.  I feel that 2 MPH is an ideal speed, not too fast or too slow.  If the scooter went too fast, I think I'd be concerned about Scarlett falling off and getting hurt.  Make sure your child wears a helmet at all times when using it.

Scarlett had no issues with remembering to push the large green button to get some air underneath those wheels.  I think she felt like such a big girl riding by herself and she relished the independence!

You'll notice that since the scooter is of a small and compact nature, you can easily travel with it in the trunk for a road trip or just bring it to another destination to use.

I am certain that Scarlett will spend the next few weeks outside riding her scooter until it gets too cold to do so.  We may have to add a jacket into the mix soon!

If you're looking to add some excitement and entertainment to your child's outdoor play, Razor is waiting to hear from you!

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Razor for providing a product sample in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own.