Thursday, March 29, 2018

Funstra Offers a Toy Paradise For Children Of All Ages

Now that Scarlett is 3, her fun personality really shines through.  She enjoys so many things from singing and dancing to drawing and being silly.  Everyday is always an adventure with her! It's exciting to see how she grows and changes all the time and develops new interests.



Funstra is an Australian toy store that offers character toys, games, gifts and collectibles from popular movies, cartoons and TV shows for children and kids at heart.  The online store is truly a toy paradise for children and has a wide variety of products available.  You can choose from Mickey Mouse and Sesame Street to Doc McStuffins and Star Wars and everything in between.  Kids will enjoy stuffed toys, action figures, bedding, stickers, playsets and much more! There's truly something for everyone's interests at Funstra.  Keep the company in mind for birthday presents for a child or even for the child at heart. 

One of Scarlett's big loves since last summer has been The Wiggles.  If you aren't familiar with The Wiggles they are an Australian based children's band that performs around the world singing and dancing.  Their demographic is preschool aged children and I have to say that my tiny tot really enjoys them! We discovered their shows on Hulu last summer and it's been a constant love affair ever since.  Their catchy songs instantly get stuck in your head, and we're lucky enough to see them on tour in June! 

For whatever reason, there's really not any Wiggles merchandise available in the United States.  Funstra sells Wiggles merchandise that is available to be shipped to the US and it surely makes life more exciting for Scarlett.  Plus it's special to not have items that are readily accessible in America!

Scarlett is a big fan of Emma who is the only female member of the group.  She loves her hairbows, dancing, and of course her costumes. I'm happy she's interested in a wholesome figure who is kid-friendly. 

I was shocked how quickly the package arrived! In just 6 days from being sent from the land down under, it arrived at my door.  My tiny tot was sent a large Emma doll, an Emma insulated lunch bag, an Emma ballerina dress up costume, and a Wiggles lunch box.  On my own, I had previously bought a Wigges cutlery set and a mini push Emma doll before asking Funstra if they'd like to work with me.  Scarlett was thrilled with the items she received and I was thankful for the company's generosity.  She knew the package had Wiggles items in it and couldn't open it fast enough!




Immediately, Scarlett wanted to put on the Emma costume.  She's seen Emma in pictures wearing this dress before and knew it was related to her.  Scarlett instantly started taking off her clothes to change into it and I had to laugh! I went to get her a black hair bow to match the outfit, we're still working on getting a black and yellow bow.



The costume was made well and I could tell from quality materials.  Since it's for ages 3-5, it's slightly big on Scarlett but nothing too bad.  She has some room to grow into it which means a lot of time to wear it! The skirt features a lot of tulle making it pouf out and Scarlett enjoyed spinning around the room to see it flow out.  I have to admit that the costume looks just like Emma's and the black and yellow is bright and vivid.  From the detail on the skirt to the Wiggles logo on the arm, no detail is left out.  I could tell Scarlett loved wearing it and has yet to change out of it!



Scarlett really enjoyed the two Emma dolls and hugged the bigger one and told it that she loved it.  Imagine how she'd act if she met Emma in person? She'd probably go nuts! The smaller one is perfect for traveling with and will most likely be coming with us when we fly to see Grandma next week.  The doll truly represents Emma well from her black and yellow bow to her red pigtails and of course her Wiggles costume! Scarlett enjoys touching the doll's hair and talking to it.  It's safe to say that the big Emma doll will find a new home in her bed tonight.  These soft and cuddly dolls are perfect for any Emma fans.

Since Scarlett sometimes stays for extended lunch at preschool once a week, she brings a packed lunch from home.  I know she'd be more than willing to trade her traditional lunchbox for the Emma one along with the Wiggles sandwich container and fork/spoon set!


The lunchbox is insulated and offers a spacious interior for holding a lunch to make any toddler happy.  On the outside, a bright pink background hosts Emma wearing a ballet costume and dancing.  There's nothing Scarlett doesn't love about this, of course.  With a yellow handle to match Emma's signature color, it makes it easy for little hands to hold.  As a parent, the easy to wipe clean material makes for one happy mama.

Will it be peanut butter or turkey and cheese? That's the question Scarlett will be answering when I put her sandwich in the Wiggles sandwich container.  All four members of the group are featured on the outside of the container in the legendary Big Red Car.  The colors are bright, bold, and really pop.  The closures on the outside are easy to open and close and remain securely locked, ensuring the food stays inside.

Lastly, a meal isn't complete without Wiggles cutlery to add extra fun! The fork and spoon set has a small cartoon version of each member's face.  Scarlett enjoyed pointing to each face and saying who it was.  I know we'll be using the fork or the spoon tonight at dinner depending on what I make her.  The set is dishwasher safe and I can guarantee that it will be washed over and over to constantly ensure it's clean for Scarlett!

My Wiggly tot is very happy with all of her new items and it has truly made her day! I love to see her enthusiastic and The Wiggles always bring her joy.  If you're looking to make a child smile in the near future, it's time to visit Funstra to have a package show up at their door soon!

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





Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A Spinach, Apple, and Pecan Salad Will Make Your Belly Happy

There's nothing I love during the warmer months of the year than salad.  The temps are still cool here in New England, but warmer weather is on the horizon.  When it's hot outside nothing is more refreshing than a crisp and cool salad paired with a glass of iced tea.

Check out this fabulous spinach salad that combines apples and pecan for a crunch you won't be able to resist.



Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 golden delicious apple, halved, cored, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red onion, cut in thin strips
3/4 lb fresh spinach, washed, stems removed, leaves torn
1/2 cup toasted pecans


Steps:
In a serving bowl whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper until thick. Add the apple and the onion.  Make sure to toss until apples and onions are covered with dressing.  Place the spinach on top then the pecans.  Just before serving, toss all together. 

Feel free to change or substitute anything in this salad.  It would make a great side dish or even main entree if you're looking for a lighter option.  Serve with a roll to make it the ultimate crowd-pleasing dish.

*Recipe taken from Food.com*

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Importance of True Friends

This year is a big birthday for me.  I turn the big 30 and it's a little intimidating when I stop to think about it.  Honestly, it feels like just yesterday I was still in high school.  Isn't that what everyone says though?

In the last ten years alone, I've had a lot of friends come in and out of my life.  Some people are only meant to be in your life for short periods of time, while others stick around for longer.  On the other hand, there are some people who shouldn't be in your life at all, and it's important to realize that early on.  Some friends show their true colors and surprise you and sometimes those colors aren't too beautiful.



Yesterday I was thinking that at this point in my life my circle of friends consists of all parents  It makes sense because we can all relate to each other as we journey through parenthood.  It's hard for someone who isn't a parent to connect with me on the same level as someone who is.  Plus, people without children are usually not interested to hear about my child or see her latest creation at school.

It's not easy to make friends by any means.  Not everyone is open to meeting new people and some are comfortable with who they already have.  A friend is someone who listens to you, gives advice when asked, and is generally happy to be in your company.  Those are the friends I'm most interested in having.  I'm extremely loyal to my friends and really do everything I can to be there for them.  I'm generally interested in their life and want to be updated on anything important that happens.

Let's face it though, everyone gets busy from time to time.  Families and jobs can take over and social plans sometimes have to be put on the back burner.  Don't let too much time pass before you exchange versions of "let's hang out, or let's make plans" over and over and nothing ever comes to fruition.  It's important to make time for friends as much as you can.  If someone is really interested in being your friend, they will make time for you.  

I have a few friends who all get together once a month for dinner.  It's nice to have something to look forward to each month, and of course just have a break from everything for a few hours.  Dinner and drinks with adult conversation is something I can always go for.  I'm lucky that everyone in the group generally enjoys each other's company and we all get along well. 

Of course there are some friends in my group that I see more than others, but I know that if I needed anything they'd always be there for me.  Don't forget that quality is always better than quantity.  




Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Clogged Pipes Are No Match for Roto-Rooter!

There's 3 people in my house who use the shower and sink on a daily basis.  Both Scarlett and myself have long hair which easily clogs the drain pipes.  My husband shaves in the bathroom sink every morning which adds to the buildup.  Due to all of this, we regularly have to clear out the pipes to keep clogs at bay.  There's nothing more unsanitary than standing water!



Roto-Rooter is the #1 plumbing and water restoration company.  To make things easier and save you a big bill from a plumber's visit, the company offers a Gel Clog Remover that you can use at home.  The three main things that clog a drain pipe are soap, grease, and hair.  Roto-Rooter's Gel Clog Remover attacks the source of the clog with a formula of up to 25% more clog-busting active ingredients than any other national brand.


We have double sinks in my master bathroom and recently my husband's sink needed to unclogged. Luckily, the Gel Clog Remover came to the rescue to kick that pesky clog to the curb.  What I love most about the product is that it's easy to use.  There's no special equipment needed, just simply shake the bottle and pour half of the contents into the clogged drain.  While you wait for the clog to be attacked, you can do another task.  After the allotted time is up, run hot water to flush out the drain pipe to make sure everything is running clear again.

I love how fast the Gel Clog Remover works and the results last a long time.  Clogs can happen when you least expect them, so it's essential to always have a bottle of Roto-Rooter's Gel Clog Remover in your home. 

Wake Up To The Reasons Your Little One Is So Often Tired In The Day

Us parents are never happier than when our kids sleep through don’t wake up early. Isn’t it the best feeling? Any mom who gets the chance to sleep past 7 AM should count her lucky stars. It’s certainly better than the 5 AM wake up calls many parents face.

But, what happens if your little one sleeps well, yet still feels tired through the day? Needing to nap is nothing unusual for youngsters. But, excessive tiredness after a good night’s sleep is a sign all’s not right. If this is something you’ve noticed with your little one, consider whether these reasons are to blame.

Not enough sleep

Often, we assume our little ones are sleeping. After all, most kids are pretty vocal when they can’t sleep. But, it’s possible your child is away, and you just don’t know about it. It may be that they stay up late playing with games of watching movies. Or, it may be that they just can’t get comfortable and that stops them sleeping well. The best thing to do here is to remove distractions. In extreme cases, you might want to take that television out of their room when you put them to bed. If comfort is the issue, head to sites like Advisor Top and read up on memory foam mattress which provide added comfort. Or, attempt to adjust the position of their bed. Small steps like these could make all the difference.

Too much sleep


Confusing, we know, but too much sleep can also wreak havoc. Think about how you feel after a lie in. Sleeping too long can leave us more groggy than we would be otherwise. So, though you consider those lie-ins a blessing, it may be time to get into the habit of waking your kid earlier. Bear in mind that getting the balance right here is essential. Wake them too early, and they won’t get the sleep they need. As such, you don’t want to push their natural wake up by any more than an hour or so. Try it out for a week and see if it makes a difference.

The wrong diet

It’s also worth remembering that the wrong food can cause fatigue. A diet heavy in processed foods could result in issues such as zinc deficiency. And, zinc is essential to energy levels. To make sure your youngsters don’t fall foul to this, feed them plenty of veggies and home cooked food. If you do your research, you can be sure to provide them with all the nutrients they need to keep them going for longer.

Something amiss with health

While tiredness is rarely anything to worry about, there may be a health issue at play here. If none of the above seems to be the issue, it’s worth taking your child to a doctor for some simple tests. Problems such as allergies or undiagnosed asthma can lead to increased fatigue. Addressing these issues, then, could give your little one a new lease of life.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

LilGadgets Headphones Are Perfect For Kids On The Go

Now that Scarlett is three, she really has an interest in certain music and TV shows.  While her and I share some musical favorites, she of course gravitates towards children's tunes.  I know as Scarlett grows, her tastes and interests will change.  Headphones will always be there to keep her tuned into her entertainment needs!



LilGadgets are high-quality high-performance headphones designed just for kids starting at 3 years old.  They are bold, but subtle while still youthful.  They are safe for little ears while out-performing the status quo.  The headphones come in five style and color options giving a choice for every boy or girl.

Parents will enjoy the fact that the headphones are made with kid safe technology offering volume limitations and passive notice reduction.  Due to this, they are perfect to use on a long road trip or flight.  Even on a loud flight, children will be able to hear sound perfectly without maxing the volume.  Some models offer Shareport tech meaning you can connect multiple headphones to a single device, making sharing much easier. 

Spring Break is right around the corner and I'm sure many families have plans to travel. While we're not going away this time around, we will be going to Florida in July.  My parents live in the sunshine state and we usually go for about a month.

Since Scarlett is young and doesn't have an extremely long attention span, we always have to pack items to keep her entertained on the flight.  Snacks, books, crayons, and her tablet are just a few things in her backpack to keep my tiny tot happy.  We recently got her a tablet and we only allow it on plane rides or long car rides.  It's a lifesaver and it keeps her quiet and focused, which makes me one happy mama.


Scarlett was thrilled when a pair of Connect+Style headphones showed up for her in the mail in a beautiful shade of pink.  This pink wasn't just any pink by any means, but it was bold and vibrant.  It certainly reminded me of Scarlett, feminine and fun!

The first thing I noticed about these headphones was that they did not come with the cord attached.  I was very happy about this because most headphone cords always end up knotted and tangled.  Everyone knows how annoying that is.  The cord is separate from the headphones and can be attached to it upon use.  A handy storage bag is also included to keep everything together and reduces the risk of your headphones being misplaced.


Scarlett was instantly interested in trying the headphones on and testing them out.  I gave her my phone to watch some kiddy videos while she used them.  She had no problem understanding what the purpose of the headphones were for, and that she needed to keep them on to hear her video.  What I noticed as soon as I put them on her were that they were extremely padded on the ears for maximum comfort.

The headphones fit her very well, were secure, and did not slip or fall off at all.  We've tried other children's headphones before that did not fit this well.  She said the volume was at a perfect level and was not too loud or too soft.  I put them to my ear to hear how the audio sounded and it came in crystal clear.  I know these headphone will be perfect for bringing on the plane with us to Florida.  


I was happy that Scarlett was so interested in the headphones and really enjoyed using them.  Since her model of headphones has the Shareport feature, her friends will be able to tune into her music and shows at the same time.  

I'm always most interested in Scarlett having items that can be used for years on end, and these headphones certainly fit that bill.  I know she'll be able to enjoy and use the headphones for years to come.  It'll be fun to see what she's watching or listening to in a year from now or even five years!

Keep LilGadgets headphones in mind to put in an Easter basket for your child, or even a birthday gift for a lucky boy or girl.  You know they'll absolutely love them!

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

Monday, March 12, 2018

Bunny Pancakes for Easter Morning Breakfast Is a Great Idea

Easter is just around the corner! If you haven't started planning your menu for the occasion, I'm sure you'll be doing so soon.  Bunnies are everywhere and I've been noticing all the fabulous chocolate eggs and Easter treats that are in the grocery store too!

If you're looking for a fun twist on a traditional pancake breakfast to signify Easter, I have a unique recipe the whole family will love.  It's always fun to get into the holiday spirit no matter which one it is!
I'm up for pancakes any time of day, especially if they include add-in's like chocolate chips or blueberries. Pour some heated syrup over the top of those golden brown circles of heaven and you've got yourself quite a meal.  There's nothing like making Fluffy Bunny Pancakes on Easter morning! 

*Recipe taken from Taste of Home

If you don't have a lot of time, feel free to use a pancake mix instead of a homemade recipe.  

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted 

Toppings:
Banana slices, mini chocolate chips, whipped cream and sweetened shredded coconut.


Steps:

1. Preheat griddle over medium-high heat.  Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Combine egg, milk and melted butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

2.  For each funny, make a pancake 4 inches wide for the body, a pancake 2-1/2 inches wide for the head, two small oval shaped pancakes for the feet, and two small triangular pancakes for the ears.  Spoon batter onto griddle; cook until bubbles form on top of pancakes.  Turn; cook until second side is golden brown.

3. To form bunny, place ears at the top of a plate.  Place head slightly overlapping the bottom of the ears; top with body slightly overlapping head and feet slightly overlapping body.  Place a banana slice on each foot, arrange mini chocolate chips at the end of each foot for toes.  Dollop whipped cream on body just above the feet, sprinkle with coconut for the tail.  Serve immediately.  

These bunnies will make anyone smile no matter their age! Enjoy. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Scarlett is Officially Potty Trained!

There's big news in our house! Scarlett is officially out of pull-ups and in big girl underwear.  Can you believe it?

The transition happened very recently and I couldn't be more thrilled.  Scarlett was in pull-ups for months and would use the bathroom occasionally, but not as much as I would like. She was still having accidents and I was getting tired of it.  I'd been changing her for over 3 years now and enough was enough!



One morning I woke up and I told myself today would be the day.  I spoke to Scarlett and told her she's a big girl now and it was time to get rid of the pull-ups.  She seemed interested and I explained to her that she'd no longer be wearing the pull-ups, but would be in underwear during the day.  I did mention that at night she still needed one for the time being.  My husband took her box of pull-ups out of her room and told her we'd be getting rid of them and she had no issues with it!

I had a few packs of underwear waiting for her so she'd be ready for when this day came. I treated this situation like how I did when I got rid of her pacifier and informed her that she can have a reward for being a big girl.  Scarlett said she'd like a Mickey Mouse toy to document the event, so off we went to Target!

In the days that followed, Scarlett really did very well and it was like a switch flipped in her brain overnight.   Honestly, she barely had any accidents, maybe one a day and that was it.  I stayed on top of Scarlett to ensure that she'd use the bathroom frequently.  You might say I went overboard with reminding her but it was worth it to me to have that drilled into her mind.

I'm happy to report that today is day 3 of being completely accident free.  Scarlett has also woken up two mornings in a row with a dry night-time pull-up.  If this pattern continues for several more days in a row, she can ditch the night-time pull up and be in underwear full-time! 

As a parent, I am extremely proud of this milestone.  It's a really big deal and we'll be saving a lot of money on pull-ups too! 

Scarlett is growing up so fast and I'm happy for each milestone achieved but I wish time would slow down just a little. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Keeping Kids Active Outdoors Is Important

Now that the weather has been warmer here, Scarlett spends a lot of time outside.  She has plenty of energy and needs to get it out for her to not be destructive indoors.


My tiny tot goes to school two days a week and they spend an hour outside each day playing in their fenced in playground.  I'm sure Scarlett really loves that and it helps to her to calm down.

In my opinion, kids should spend as much time outside as they can.  Use the outdoors as a learning opportunity to teach them about nature and animals.  Scarlett is very into flowers, especially dandelion weeds.  I love how excited she gets to see those yellow flowers, she points and yells "yellow" while I help her pick them.  

The spring here in New England has been slightly moody and hasn't been consistently warm.  One day it's in the 50's, the next the high 70's.  Once the weather heats up a bit more over the next few weeks we can get out Scarlett's inflatable pool and set up the sprinkler.  

Scarlett will be going to camp throughout the summer and they will spend plenty of time outdoors. They pack so much into that 4 hour day and Scarlett always comes home tired and happy. 

It's healthy for children to be outside rather than cooped up watching TV indoors, especially in good weather.  Make sure your littles get outside and get that energy out!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Scarlett's Preschool Update

Scarlett started at her current preschool in September 2016 when she was 21 months old. She loved her two's program and developed a sweet bond with her teacher.

This year, Scarlett is in a 3's program which is more challenging for her in a positive way.  A few weeks into the new school year, she started having problems listening and doing what she was supposed to do when she was supposed to.  I think the new 3's teacher, new classroom, and what was expected of her was too much for her.  

2017-2018 school year picture

When it was circle time Scarlett would be trying to use the paints when she was told to sit with the rest of her class, for example.  She was not listening to her teacher at all and being defiant.  It was a stressful time between the teachers, director and I to come up with an effective plan for her.  I dreaded picking her up because I wasn't sure if she had a good or bad day and knew the school would be filling me in.  The strategy we came up with was to have my tiny tot split the three hour day between the 2's and 3's class.  We felt this would be the best solution because in the younger class you are learning to listen and follow directions and she still needed help with that.  Plus, she'd be with her old favorite 2's teacher who she loved.  I knew it would be a win-win for her.

Fast forward a few months and Scarlett's doing wonderful now.  Around her third birthday it was like a switch was flipped in her brain.  She became a lot less frustrated, listened way more at home and school, and was just generally happier.  I think splitting her time between the classes was very helpful and continues to help her.  We signed Scarlett up for a third day of school in January and she's really blossomed since then! 

She was a late talker in life and has truly flourished since going an extra day. Being around children in a social outlet has really helped her vocabulary to progress and she's doing wonderful now.  Everyday she's saying more and more and I am so thrilled.  I wonder what she'd be like if she went five days a week! 

This school year has flown by and I can't believe summer is just around the corner.  It's hard to believe that she just has one year of preschool left!