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Learning How To Pitch Harder: My Softball Experience

I started playing softball at 5 years of age and loved every minute of it. After t-ball for one year I was ready for something more challenging. I was a tomboy at heart and wanted to play sports non-stop. Thankfully, I lived in a neighborhood of all boys and they wanted to play ball, too. Those were the days of staying outdoors until the sun went down and we could not see the ball anymore. When I hit 11 years old, I went p to a new age group for softball. Little did I know, this group would be much  more competitive and I had to prepare myself to compete for positions on the field. At this point I had tried out a variety of positions, but none really captured my attention. Then, we were walking by a field where some older girls were playing fast-pitch softball and I was captivated. That was exactly what I wanted to do and I was determined to do so.

I went to the coach and told him I wanted a chance to pitch. He was reluctant since I was such a little skinny, tiny girl, so I spent some time sitting on the bench, unfortunately. In the meantime, this gave me lots of time to practice and that is what I did. One night our pitcher got injured and coach needed someone else to play. All of a sudden I was off the bench and walking towards the mound. This was my big moment and it just happened to be the very first game we won that season! Talk about exhilarating. My coach even apologized for not putting me in sooner and recommended pitching lessons so I could learn to pitch harder. I was all for lessons and dedicated myself to learning speed and control.

The lessons were very intensive, but I learned how to control my pitch and got my speed up quite a bit. To this day, I can still pitch straight and hard. Luckily, my relatives love playing ball, so I get to show off every once and a while. It's quite surprising for a thirtysomething mom of two to get out on the field and outpitch the men, but that's what I do!
Would you like to learn how to pitch harder? 

This is a sponsored post for Pitch Harder, however, all the points and views are my own.

Plants Vs. Zombies Review & Free App Giveaway (2 Winners)

Now that we have a Kindle and iPad, I've discovered the wonderful world of Apps. Josiah loves playing games, but I never know which ones to get. How do I know which ones will be fun and which ones are boring? We've just picked through trial and error over time and luckily we've found several favorites on Big Fish Games, including our most favorite of all...
About the Game
Zombies are invading your home and are after your brains! Thankfully, you have your arsenal of plants to defend you in Plants vs. Zombies! Armed with a garden full of peashooters, melon-paults, and cherry bombs, you`ll need to think fast, and plant faster, to stop the different types of zombies dead in their tracks. Obstacles like a setting sun, creeping fog, and a swimming pool add to the challenge and make sure the fun never dies in this addicting Action/Arcade game!
  • Hilarious characters
  • Unlockable challenge modes
  • Protect your brains!
My Thoughts
I originally saw this game months ago when searching for a fun app with my son. He enjoys Arcade & Action Games as well as mystery games where you have to solve puzzles. We've purchased several of those from Big Fish Games over the past year and I think I've enjoyed them as much as he has! He also loves anything with zombies and begged me to download it onto our iPad. Okay, okay! After two days of begging, I finally gave in and after a day of playing, I was totally obsessed. We played it non-stop for weeks, beat the game twice and my son still wanted to play. It's not overly gory and made so that, if anything, the zombies are cute. I particularly love the Disco Zombies that boogie across the screen. Liam likes the old man zombie that gets mad when his newspaper gets ripped.
For this review, I received a code and put the game on my Kindle Fire. To my surprise, there were many new features and updates to Plants vs. Zombies, so once again we went back to playing! The game now has mini-games and puzzles in addition to the quick play, which can be accessed after beating the game the first time. Plus, you can purchase even more fun weapons and helpful items from Crazy Dave's Twiddydinkies.
Disco Zombies
This is such a great way to waste some time and I find myself coming back to this app more than any others. I look forward to sitting back, relaxing and playing a few games of it while the kids are taking a nap or after they've gone to sleep at night. That way I can have the game all to myself! Have you played Plants vs. Zombies yet?

Do you love playing apps, too? 

Miss Lucy's Monograms Personalized Overnight Travel Bag Review & Giveaway

During the summer and winter months we seem to do much more traveling than any other time of the year. We go on vacations, usually for the weekend, and visit relatives for special occasions and holidays. For over a year I've just been using a reusable shopping bag for packing our things. I've needed an overnight bag for quite a while and was so excited to work with Miss Lucy's Monograms for a review of the cutest overnight travel bag ever!

About Miss Lucy's Monograms
As a teacher of 33 years, the owner of Miss Lucy's made the decision to retire from the occupation she loved dearly and turned her focus to starting a business selling items she has always loved... monogrammed accessories!   She has always loved the monogram, and when she started miss lucy's monograms her desire was to offer an opportunity for the monogram customer to take part in the creating  and of course, the purchasing,  of fun-loving, classic, personalized  accessories!  From polka dots to damask... to solids... to houndstooth... to zebra...to much more,  our monogrammed accessories have a creative twist and will certainly be a bright, practical addition to any wardrobe!    

My Thoughts
I love everything monogrammed! Little children's outfits, bags, purses... you name it, I love it. That is why I was so excited to work with miss lucy's monograms. The Overnight Travel Bag I received comes in several designs and colors. I love polka dots, so I went for the black and white polka dots bag with my initials in a beautiful pink font. I couldn't wait to receive my bag and when it got here, it was even better than I imagined.
The bag has just enough room to hold items for an overnight or weekend trip. It looks small, but it is actually just very compact and you can put more than you think inside. This way you aren't lugging around a huge suitcase when all you need are a few things on an overnight trip. During the summer, we often take weekend trips as a family because my husband has more vacation time. This is the perfect bag for these trips because I'm able to fit everything I need into the bag and then pack up the kid's items in their own bag.
I actually had to go on a business trip a few weeks ago and decided to use the bag as a computer bag. It was the perfect size for my computer, camera and iPad. This made carrying around all of my necessary electronics much easier. Since that time, the bag has become my computer bag and, when I need it for an overnight trip, I can easily take out the contents and add clothes! Needless to say, I love this bag and want another.
So, who else loves monogrammed items? 
Thanks to miss lucy's monograms, One Lucky Children Teaching Mama Reader Will Also Receive a Monogrammed Overnight Travel Bag In Their Choice of Designs and Colors!


VTech MobiGo 2 Review - Portable Educational Fun

I love finding fun and educational toys for our children,but as my children get older, finding items that will hold attention are much harder to find. This is why I was excited to review the new VTech MobiGo 2! My niece has the MobiGo and loves it, so when I heard about the new one, we couldn't wait to try it for ourselves.
The MobiGo 2 has games and features that are great for ages 3 to 8 years of age, which is great because all the kids can get something educational from it. This great handheld learning system offers a variety of ways for children to learn and have fun while doing so! There are three games already on the MobiGo 2 and you can download many more via the Learning Lodge, which can be easily downloaded onto your computer.
The games and apps teach great skills, including math, vocabulary, spelling, reading, logic, drawing and more! These are perfect for both of my boys who are learning basic skills. Liam is about to turn three and Josiah is five, so they have really enjoyed the games we have. I think their favorite is the Hamster Highway so far, which teaches coordination and numbers.
About to play Hamster Highway!
The Shooting Gallery is one that Josiah also enjoys and it's been great since it goes along what we are learning in his studies. It teaches letters and, since the MobiGo 2 has a QWERTY keyboard, he learns the keyboard layout, too. The game starts out easy so kids can grasp the concepts and gets harder as they progress.

We have only downloaded one game so far, but there are many more games and e-books from which to choose on the Learning Lodge, all for very low prices. Plus, you can find games at stores, too. Josiah has expressed interest in the Scooby Doo and Jake and the Neverland Pirates games for Christmas. I am very excited that he is showing interest in the MobiGo 2 and think this will be a great activity for him in between studying and school. Since we are homeschooling this year, I think this will definitely add to his experience in an educational and fun way, especially when he starts reading in a month or two. I can't wait!

In addition to the games and e-books, the MobiGo 2 also has a photo album, photo viewer art studio and coloring book. Liam has particularly enjoyed the art studio and coloring book since they are easier. Using a touchscreen is also easy for him and I can tell he has enjoyed playing games just like a big boy.
Not only do the kids getting something fun and educational from the MobiGo 2. Parents can keep up with their children's progress via the Learning Lodge. When we first started, I made accounts for the children so they can play under their own names and I can see how far they have gotten on the games. This will give ma a good idea of how they are progressing with their studies, too.

So, needless to say, the MobiGo2 has been a huge hit in our house and we've already gone through several batteries. I think I am just as excited as the kids when we get new games to try out and it will be hard to wait until Christmas to buy Josiah the games he wants. I may just have to spoil him further and buy one ahead of time.

Have you tried the MobiGo 2 yet? 
This would make a great present for the upcoming holidays and/or for a birthday! 

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for VTech. I received product samples to facilitate my review.

Keep Up With the Latest Apps & Programs For Our Phones & Tablets

When I was growing up, technology was booming with the first Gameboy system and Nintendo. Every few years something new would come out and everyone had to buy it. Now, it seems like something new comes out every few months and we must constantly stay on top of technology to keep up with everything. Plus, everything is smaller and more compact. My husband has to have all of the newest and up-to-date electronics and programs out there, so I hear about this all the time!

With an office phone that's a few years old, my husband recently had to get an android update because the older systems definitely limit the things you can do with your phone. We've come a long way from pagers and huge portable phones that weigh 10 pounds. My son just can't get enough of the apps we download on our phones and tablets. He would play all day if I let him and I'm pretty sure I could easily do so, too.

One of the newest additions to our phones is the officesuite pro, which allows us to view, edit and share important work documents even when we are away from the office. Most of the files I deal with are Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, so I used to lug around my laptop everywhere, but now I don't have to worry about that! My husband also has to be on the road often for work, so being able to view documents on the go really has been a lifesaver for him and also allows him to do more work from home, which the kids absolutely love.

It really is amazing how much is available just from our tablets and phones these days. I rely on mine more than ever before and never leave home without it. I'm sure you can relate! What program or app do you use the most on your phone or tablet?


A Special Mother/Daughter Moment: The Big Talk #KotexMom

We've been referring to it as "the big talk" or "the big P  talk" in our home, which is code for Rylee wanting to ask questions about her period. Yes, she started asking questions quite early and now she has even more. I have to admit, my nerves got the best of me for a while and I kept putting of our talk, not knowing exactly how to approach it. Would I start crying? Would I start giggling like a teenage girl? One thing I knew for certain was that I wanted Rylee's period talk experience to be completely different from my own and pretty much nonexistent.

My parents never wanted to talk to me about getting a period, so what I learned was in my 6th grade sex education class. Needless to say,  what I knew was pretty minimal and, when I got my period, I was mortified not only because I was unprepared, but because my mom was out of town and my dad laughed. Yes, he actually laughed at me... until I made him go buy me some feminine products. I was what you would call a late bloomer, but girls are getting their periods much earlier these days, so I want Rylee to be prepared and I want to do what I can to educate her. Thanks to the U By Kotex Tween site, I was prepared for the talk and ready to answer all questions!
I wasn't sure how to break the ice for the talk or when the right time would occur, but it just happened to present itself while we were at the beach. We'd had lots of mom and daughter time on the beach, going to the pool, looking for shells on the beach and, her favorite, going to play putt-putt. It was an amazing trip and gives us extra time to bond.

How did "the talk" happen? I'm not sure this would be considered an ice breaker, but one night we came back to the room to get ready for dinner. She heard me talking about my period during the trip and was already asking questions about that, so we just started talking about my own experiences with my period. Plus, I was sent a variety of Kotex Tween products to share with Rylee and this was so helpful for her to see them in person. She loves all the colors and actually bragged to the boys later that she gets to wear the pads and he can't. Girls talk at school and most of the things they told her were completely wrong and untrue, so we went through just about everything. She wanted to know if it hurt, how often she would get her period and, my favorite question of all, "Do I get to miss school every month, too?" Ha! Good try, girl!
We went to the beach with my parents, so the great thing is that my mom was there to share her own experiences, too. After speaking with Ry she looked so proud and was actually telling Granny about her period. She told her she is ready for it now and I honestly feel like she is prepared, though I do want her to be my little girl just a little longer, thank you! For any further questions she may have, I directed her to the Hello Period site, which also answers more questions and shares experiences of other teen and tweens. So, if there were any questions that many she just didn't feel comfortable asking or forgot to ask something at the time, at least I know she has a great resource at hand just in case.

As a Mama, I think you will know when the time is right to have a talk, though make time just between mom and daughter. She will appreciate that you took time out just to be with her and, honestly, without brothers around, she is much more likely to open up and feel comfortable. I know we will probably have many other talks in the future about Ry's period, especially after she gets her period for the first time. I think when we first started talking about periods, she seemed scared about getting it, but now she seems excited and sees it more as something to celebrate and that's exactly how I want to keep it. I want her to be proud of becoming a woman!

I wrote this review while participating in a Brand Ambassador Campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of U by Kotex Tween and received products to facilitate my post and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.


Boys and Girls Clubs of America Help With Back To School Needs

"Back To School" is obviously the theme for this month. Every time I talk to friends and family, that's the first thing they mention. Even before school began, we started planning. It takes a while to shift the focus and summer mindset, so we try to do so ahead of time.

There are many ways you can prepare children for back to school and I feel like we do them all!
Here are 5 ways we prepared for getting the kids back to school:

1. Get a good amount of sleep. Sleep is a must for health and to be ready for a new day. I can always tell when my kids haven't slept well because it greatly effects their overall attitude and ability to concentrate.
2. Take our daily vitamins. The kids take their gummy vitamins that also have an echinacea supplement to help fight off colds and other germs that are sure to be lurking around at school.
3. Eat well-balanced meals. It's important to get a good variety of meats, fruits and vegetables.
Josiah back at school!
4. Prepare throughout the summer. I know we should enjoy the summer, but do you know how much kids can forget over the summer if not prepped for the coming school year? I don't want my children forgetting important info, so we finds ways to incorporate education into summer fun!
5. Have all your back to school materials ready before school begins! Many schools have lists at participating stores, so you can pick up what you need. If not, talk to your child's teach to see what you should purchase. This way your child will start out ready to go!
Be sure to check out the BGCA website for more great back to school tips, including time management, setting goals and even tips for parents!

How do you prepare your kids for back to school?

Speaking of school supplies, some children just cannot afford the growing list of items needed to start the school year. That's why the Boys & Girls Clubs of America is partnering with Disney to launch the Tools For Back To School Initiative. This amazing program can be found online from August 1st until September 30th. You just go to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America website to participate in the pop-quiz game for a great cause. For ever 5 correct answers, a donation of supplies will be made to a Boys & Girls Club member. It's such an easy way to do something great for kids across America, so click on the link and do it. We did and it took all of a minute for us to answer some questions and help a child get the school supplies they need. Up to 30,500 supplies (15,500 minimum) will be donated, so let's help them get the maximum amount of supplies possible!When I took the quick, they were at 20,830, so there are still quite a lot of school supplies to be donated!

Purchasing for a great cause!

In addition, Boys & Girls Clubs of America have partnered with jcpenney. In August, you can join jcp cares and round up your purchase at the register to help benefit BGCA! We actually went shopping there a few weeks ago and were asked to 'round up' the remaining $.30 left on the dollar of our purchase. It's such a small amount to donate, so it's not like we miss it, though it adds up when so many people also participate. You will not believe how much has been donate so far this month: $1,196,801!! So, go shop at jcpenney this month and be sure to round up.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Boys and Girls Club. I received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate."

Back To School With Tiny Prints & $50 Gift Code Giveaway

School is back in session for us and, for the first time, I am really feeling it. Josiah is officially a kindergarten student, 5 years old and turning into a big boy so quickly! We've already gotten all of his back-to-school items, from pencils and crayons to scissors and notebooks. I love buying all the new items and now I can buy even more awesome items at Tiny Prints. That's right- it's Back To School with Tiny Prints, one of my favorite online stores with all types of cards and stationary.

Even though my little boy is growing up, I, of course, still worry about it. That's a Mama's job, right? Tiny Prints actually has the cutest allergy alert cards I can hand out to his teachers so they don't forget he is allergic to penicillin!

Also, I've always heard about mom contact cards, but didn't really see a need for them. Now that Josiah is in school, I think these will be so helpful. I can hand them out not only to his teachers, but also to other parents. He loves interacting with other kids and this gives me a creative way to exchange phone numbers so we can schedule play dates and spend the night parties!
When I was in school, my mom always packed me a nice lunch and sometimes she would sneak in a nice little note telling me she loved me or to have a great day. It was always such a sweet surprise and made me so happy. That's why I was so excited to see lunch box notes on Tiny Prints. They have a huge variety of notes to stick into lunch boxes for both boys and girls. I found one that is perfect for Josiah:
He loves monsters and would really get a kick out of this one! 
I think we are pretty much set for school and I'm really excited to see how his first day goes. He seems a little nervous, which reminds me of my first day of school each year. Anything seems possible! Are your kids ready to go back to school?
It's Giveaway Time! 
Thanks to Tiny Prints, One Lucky CTM Reader Will Receive a $50 Tiny Prints Gift Code! 


SmileBrilliant Brilliantly Simple Teeth Whitening Kit Review & Giveaway

 When I was in college, my dad decided to treat me to a teeth whitening package from our dentist. $400 later, I had a beautiful smile and was so proud! Now that I am a mom and on a budget, I cannot afford these types of luxuries. I'm sure you can relate to that! I was so excited to give SmileBrilliant a try this month and had heard great things about their products.

About SmileBrilliant
SmileBrilliant! is a national dental lab designed to help our customers receive professional strength teeth whitening without ever visiting a dentist! Our lab was specifically created to curb the high cost of cosmetic teeth whitening that is charged at dental offices around the world.

My Thoughts
I received the Brilliantly Simple Kit from SmileBrilliant, which includes:
  • High intensity Ultra-Blue LED activating light (batteries included)
  • Protective trays(top & bottom)
  • 4ml Professional whitening gel pen (35% concentration)
  • 30 Day money back guarantee
  • Life-time tray replacement warranty

I have never used an LED light or a whitening gel pen for whitening and was very curious to see how it would turn out. Using the pen was so easy! I just painted it onto my teeth, put on the protective trays, popped in the light and waited. It looks like you have a lot of things in your mouth, but it is honestly very light-weight and I sometimes forget it is even in. I just put it all in and, before I know it, my time is up and it's time to take it out.

Does It Work? 
I could tell each time I whitened, my teeth were a bit whiter. It's a slow process, but the steps are so easy, I could do this every day without an issue. I think the SmileBrilliant Brilliantly Simple Kit is great for those who are trying to go a few shades whiter and/or have recently whitened teeth and want to maintain their beautiful white smile.
Yes, the kids thought I looked super silly, but this is how it works!
For me, I think I need something a bit stronger for my coffee-stained teeth. What I loved about this kit is that it never hurt my teeth or gums. Others irritate my mouth and have even caused bleeding. This is not the case with the Brilliantly Simple Kit! I'm going to give another SmileBrilliant kit a try and have nothing but high expectations.

Buy It
Take a look at the wonderful whitening selection on the SmileBrilliant website and don't forget to use coupon code: SMILE20 for 20% off your purchase!

So, are you ready for a giveaway? 
One Lucky Children Teaching Mama Reader Will Receive The Brilliantly Simple Kit to Whiten Their Teeth & Make Them Beautiful Thanks To SmileBrilliant!


Keep Kids Germ-Free & Healthy This School Year With Wet Ones

Just recently we made that yearly trip to buy school supplies. The schools around here always send out a list of items to buy before school starts, including pencils, crayons, scissors, papers, etc. Of course, we end up leaving the store with all of those things and much, much more. There are always some new items each year that the kids just have to get, but there are also some things that I make them get, too, including Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes.
Liam using Wet Ones after playing w/ our pets!
Once school starts back it doesn't take long for the germs to start spreading once again. Just thinking about those sneezing kids and snotty noses gives me the chills. Eck! Last year, Josiah got sick last year within 2 weeks of starting school. It really is amazing how quickly children can spread sickness around. That's why I do my part to keep my kids healthy and germ-free. We take our daily vitamins, we get a good amount of sleep, we wash our hands often and use Wet Ones to wipe our hands. I even use them to wipe off toys while on the go. 
My mom used Wet Ones when I was a child and, when I was recently watching an old show from the 80s, I noticed a container of Wet Ones on the counter. It's a trusted product and one that I've also purchased for years. Plus, the Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes Kill 99.9% of germs and are hypoallergenic, which is great for my son who has allergies.

The box says they even clean better than a hand sanitizer, which just makes me feel safe and like I've made the right decision for my children's health. This time last year I actually bought the Wet Ones in a container that fits in a car cup holder and it was awesome because we could keep it right where we needed it and it didn't get lost under the seat. It also fit on the cup holder of our stroller, so we could take it to the park and out walking just in case. With the Wet Ones Singles we received recently for this review, they are so small that I can easily take them along in my purse or diaper bag. To encourage the kids to keep clean, especially before eating, I put Wet Ones in their lunchbox. I've also started packing them in a reusable snack bag and stuffing them in the side-pockets on their book bags just in case the need arises. Then I check every week or so to see if they need more. 

How do you keep your kids healthy and germ-free during the school year? Do you use Wet Ones?

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Wet Ones. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.


Come Join the Halloween Blooog Hop! We did!

Summer is coming to a close and I'm very excited because that means my favorite holiday is nearing... Halloween! I love looking at all of the fun Halloween items in stores and so do my kids. We decorate our house, carve pumpkins and love getting all dressed up to go trick-or-treating! This year we are taking the celebration a step further and bringing the celebration to Children Teaching Mama.

Thanks to Andersons Angels and Joy of Momma Joyner we are joining the Halloween Blooog Hop! It runs from 12:01am EST Monday, Oct. 8th until Oct. 14th at 11:59pm! All of the participating blogs will have fun Halloween-themed packages worth at least $25 and many will be worth much more, I am sure. 

It's so easy to join in on the fun, so click here to read all of the info about the Halloween Blooog Hop! If your blog wants to participate, sign up before it's too late and let us know if you do. We are so excited about this event and can't wait for October and all the great things that come along with the fall season!!!

An Open Letter To Father & Husband

Dearest Husband,

I see the look in your eye when you come home after a long day at work to find the house looking like a bunch of wild monkeys completely trashed it. I've heard you ask, more than once, what I do all day. Of course, I sit on my butt and eat bonbons, right? First of all, I don't even think I've ever eaten a bonbon and the only time I sat down today, it was right on to of a chocolate pop-tart that stuck to my butt and stayed there half the day until Josiah asked me if I pooped my pants.

When the kids were eating lunch and watching Caillou, I tip-toed ever-so-quietly to the bathroom, thinking maybe I could, for once, pee in private. Nope. I know Dada has a completely different bathroom experience. You know, one that is silent and allows for reading a book, watching your iPad or whatever else you do in there for 30 minutes at a time. I, on the other hand, have one child trying to wipe Mama's heiny and the other laughing while proclaiming, "Mama pooped!". Meanwhile, whatever once wanted so badly to exit my body has long since decided otherwise.

Once my bathroom trip has ended and I eventually herd the crew back to lunch and sit down to eat my own plate of food. We are all eating lasagna leftovers and it's tastes great, especially since it's the first meal I've had today. Then come the questions.. "What are you eating, Mama?" "I am eating the same thing as you, lasagna." And the question of doom: "Can I taste it?" There goes my lunch. What is it about anything on my plate always being more delicious than their own? If I'm lucky, I get to eat the little cold lasagna bits off of their plate if they are too full to finish after gobbling down all of mine. Yum! Quite different from nice restaurant lunches each day with friends when you get to eat your own plate of hot, delicious, freshly made food.

A great deal of the remaining afternoon is spent overusing the word "NO!" and repeatedly telling the boys not to hit, not to kick, not to push, not to touch and, eventually, not to even look at each other. All of the things I promised my children would never do, they did. Around 3pm I realized I hadn't even brushed my teeth, so I run up to the bathroom to do so and, a few seconds into brushing I don't hear anything. Your interpretation of this phenomena is that the kids are, for once, getting along. How great is that? Maybe you will stay upstairs a little longer to savor the moment. Little do you know, they are downstairs cutting the cat's hair (or their own), "cooking" with real foods and liquids or, my favorite, making art... on the windows with markers and crayons. My supersonic hearing knows something is going on down there, so mid-brush I run to the rail and watch as something inevitably is being destroyed. (Just this year I have said good-bye to 2 remotes, 1 cell phone and charger, a rug, a purse that became "art" with markers and 3 glasses.)

By the time you get home, yes, you find me on the couch and in a bad mood. I don't want you touching me with a 10-foot pole and this annoys you even more. After all, I got to stay home all afternoon while you worked so hard. I know there really is no way for you to comprehend my feelings and emotions that have overwhelmed me by 6pm at night. This is why I've devised a way for you to gain some clarity, to experience what I go through. After all, experience is really the best way to learn, right? Therefore, this weekend I am going away with my friends to enjoy fresh, hot meals, conversations that do not involve baby talk or using the word no over and over again, going to the bathroom alone, taking a bath alone! You, on the other hand, can live the wonderful, bonbon-popping lifestyle I live every day. Enjoy the weekend, rest up and relax because come Monday you'll be back at work again. God forbid.

Your Loving Wife


Back To School Relaxation with EdenFantasys

Express your love with Vroom! Sex toys from EdenFantasys. Shop now! 
School is back in session for many of us already and other schools begin in the very near future. It can be a stressful time, especially for college students, Moms and especially for Moms who are college students. That's why it is nice to sit back, relax and occasionally do something for yourself. Maybe you drive the kids around all day, from school to all the extracurricular activities or maybe you sit in class half of the day and study the other part. Either way, it can be very frustrating and EdenFantasys really has the key to making life a bit more pleasurable and satisfying.

EdenFantasys has such a wide variety of fun products that I easily spend an hour looking around the site every time. During the holidays I was searching for some fun gifts and found my now favorite bubble bath, Not Soap Radio. There are 6 delicious scents, all glistening in beautiful almost metallic-looking colors and they each have unique names, such as Liquid Freud (when you need to turn up the volume on your inner voice of reason). These are perfect for a night of relaxation and will leave you feeling and smelling great. I made little gift baskets for my sister-in-laws with the bubble bath and they were an absolute hit. I kept The Stuff That Cupid Dips His Arrows In for myself and cannot wait to buy more now that I am all out.

After your nice, hot bubble bath, continue your evening of relaxation with a massage. I love getting massages and, honestly, would be happy if my husband would oblige every night! The Lelo flickering massage oil is my favorite and with scents like Spicy Clove & Amber, you can delight all senses. Plus, it leaves your skin sparkling, which I just think is really cool and a plus to the whole experience.
Back to school time definitely doesn't have to be as stressful anymore. Just take a look at EdenFantasys and see what they have to offer. Also, use the code PLAY20 to save 20% off of your entire order! I know it is easy to forget about yourself and your own needs when things get busy, so just remind yourself to take time out, relax and just enjoy life!

Win Some Green in the Extreme Cash Giveaway

Welcome to the August Extreme Cash Giveaway! We love the Extreme Cash Giveaways and have participated many times in the past. Children Teaching Mama has teamed up with Oh My Gosh Beck!, Life With Levi, Broward Saves, My Vegan Gluten Free Life, ShopaholicMommy, Coupon For Five and many other awesome bloggers to give YOU a chance to win a huge cash prize!!
This giveaway runs for the entire month! That means you have plenty of time to get as many entries as possible! Be sure to come back every day to get your daily entries, too. 
This giveaway is open worldwide and ends September 17th at 11:59pm EST. Good Luck!!


Educational Insights Hot Dots Review & Giveaway

We most enjoy reviewing items that are not only fun, but educational. We recently decide to give homeschooling a try (I'll touch more on this very soon!) and now I find myself looking even more for toys with educational value. This is why I love Educational Insights so much. They have some amazing toys and products for kids that keep them entertained and learning at the same time. We had a chance to review the Hot Dots Jr. "Ace" the Talking, Teaching Dog and it was a huge hit with the boys.

About Hot Dots Jr.
All the fun of Hot Dots®, now available for younger children! Part learning companion, part magic wand, the Hot Dots Jr. Pen talks, laughs, lights up and even buzzes with excitement as children explore. Designed for little hands, this electronic pen cheers for correct answers and gently redirects children when they answer incorrectly, allowing for independent discovery.
  • Engages your youngest learners with easy–to–use technology—simply press the pen down on the cards to answer and receive feedback
  • Allows independent, self–paced reinforcement and review of key early learning topics
  • Provides opportunity for students to prepare for school, or catch up where they need support
  • Activity Card Sets (available separately) include 36 colorfully illustrated double–sided cards providing 72 early learning activities plus an answer key all stored in a handled carrying case
  • Ace unit requires 2 AAA batteries (not included) and measures 6"L
My Thoughts
As soon as the kids saw what was in the Educational Insights box, they had to play with it immediately. I love that the card sets come in a carrying case, which means we can store them (aka- keep up with them!!!), which is a major plus since everything gets lost with kids around. This way we can play with this over and over again without cards going missing.
We luckily had the AAA batteries and got Ace working right away. I choose Beginning Numbers & Counting and Beginning Science for the boys and thought this was something they would enjoy and would be age-appropriate. Josiah and Liam sat on the floor and I explained what to do with the first set of cards, which was Beginning Science. These cards ended up being a huge hit. The Hot Dots Jr. kits are for ages 3-5 and since Liam is about to be 3 next month, both boys fall under this age-range and love it! Both were able to easily complete the tasks and clapped for each other every time they got an answer correct. The Beginning Numbers & Counting was a little over Liam's head for now, but something Josiah was learning in school at pre-K, so he liked showing off his math skills. I think Liam will be able to do these in only a few months or so.
The kids still enjoy playing with Ace, so this is definitely given high marks as a great educational and entertaining item for kids. Plus, when Josiah outgrows this one, I can move him up to the next level of cards with the Hot Dots sets. This will be very helpful with homeschooling and a fun activity for him to do between working and studying.

Do you have a child who would love their own Hot Dots set? 
Thanks to Educational Insights, One Lucky CTM Reader Will Receive Their Choice of Hot Dots Pens (Hot Dots Jr. Ace the Talking, Teaching Dog Pen, Kat the Talking Kitty Pen (both for ages 3-5) or the Hot Dots Pen (Ages 6-10)! PLUS, the Winner Can Also Choose A Card Set to Go Along with the Pen!!

What college is right for your child?

One of the most challenging activities faced by American parents is helping a child to select a college. Many parents focus on making sure that a child can get into a good college without giving much thought to the end game: successful completion of a bachelor's degree.  It's therefore crucial to think just as much about being able to get through college as about getting there in the first place.

College logistics

The best college for a given individual must meet a variety of needs, not all of them strictly academic.  One of the most important considerations is location.  Some students need distance from their parents in order to fully adapt to adult life, while others do much better attending a local institution that allows for frequent visits home.  

Since colleges also vary widely in facilities, students should choose a college that can help support their individual interests.  Living facilities are another key issue.  Many freshmen entering higher education thrive in a dorm-and-cafeteria environment because they don't have to concern themselves with shopping and cooking; this allows them to focus on their courses much more effectively.  Freshmen who live off-campus, in contrast, are more likely to struggle to adjust to college life.

Course types and fees must also be taken into account.  At some colleges, students pay per class; others organize fees on a "full-time" or "part-time" basis, which means that five or six courses will cost no more than four.  New freshmen, however, should be careful not to overload themselves, particularly during their first semester.

Career paths

The most critical consideration, of course, is a good match between the student's projected career path and the strength of a college's programs.  It makes little sense for a student fascinated by chemistry to attend a fine arts college.  Likewise, a student interested in pursuing a bachelor of business administration should consider an institution such as CBT College, which emphasizes a hands-on, practical approach to the discipline.

Applications and scholarships

One mistake many families make is to apply only to those colleges that appear affordable at first glance.  The truth is that the advertised cost of attendance is often much higher than the true cost; private colleges in particular often offer generous scholarships that greatly reduce the fees students pay.  

Colleges are not the only source of scholarships.  In many American communities, local organizations and businesses are eager to help students afford college.  Students should also leverage the power of the internet to look for aid, basing search terms on their own unique circumstances.  "Scholarships for rural students," for example, may produce a surprising number of useful results.  To cover all bases, however, students should be sure to apply to at least one institution that would be affordable without taking scholarships into account.

College can be an exciting and rewarding time, but like most good things in life, succeeding there will require effort and dedication.  The first and most important step is choosing the right college to begin with.  


Summer's Not Over Yet! Make The Most Our Of Summer With Embassy Suites

It's now August and many kids are back in school or starting within the next 2 weeks. I want to let you know that summer is NOT over! It's still officially summer and you need to enjoy every minute of the beautiful warm weather because, before you know it, the air will be chilly and snow will fall. I get cold just thinking about it. We definitely made the most out of the summer vacation time as a family and had such a wonderful time!
Playing Putt-Putt at the beach!
This summer we took several trips to many places near and far. We went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for our beach vacation with Granny and Pop. Liam loves the beach and could play in the sand all day with Ry! We stayed for an entire week, which was so great for Papa to be off of work the whole time and ready to play with the kids. We also took a weekend trip to Buckhead, a part of Atlanta, Georgia, with the kiddos for a visit to LegoLand Discovery Center at Phipps Plaza. Josiah is a huge Lego fan, so imagine his face when we walked into a place filled with Legos! As a bonus part of our weekend trip, we were able to stay at Embassy Suites, which just made this trip awesome because the room was huge and had more than enough room for 2 kids and 2 adults! The boys didn't know what to think when they walked into our room.
Our gorgeous bedroom at Embassy Suites (only half of the suite)!
How are you making the most out of your summer vacation? Speaking of Embassy Suites, they teamed up with Dr. Biali, who encourages vacationing and suggests some great ways to get the most out of your summer vacation time! She has some amazing tips that I completely agree with, including to actually relax during your vacation. I remember when I was younger my mom had to plan out every little detail. Instead, it's best to have some down time, relax and actually enjoy your vacation time. Don't overdo it or you will go home even more exhausted than before and that just totally defeats the purpose, right?
Josiah relaxing by the pool at Embassy Suites in Buckhead
Summer may be winding down, but there is still time to plan a vacation! You could even plan a special end-of-summer mini-vacation or back-to-school vacation to get the kids excited about returning to school. Dr. Biali also suggests turning a family obligation into a mini-vacation, which is something we often do. With this tip in mind, I decided to plan a mini-vacation with my oldest son, Josiah, next weekend! A high school friend is having a baby shower in Athens, Georgia and I am taking Josiah along for an overnight trip! Instead of just going to the baby shower, I am going to take him to the University of Georgia campus (my Alma Mater) and show him where I went to school, go eat at my favorite restaurants, and go to the Botanical Gardens for a hike. We are also going to stay with my friends and visit his Great Grandmother! He is so excited about this trip and now so am I. This will be the perfect trip before school begins and I think he'll be ready.
On the Road! Summer is definitely not over for us!
Are you going to plan a trip before the end of summer? I suggest checking to see if there is an Embassy Suites in the area because this hotel is an amazing family-friendly hotel that really helps you get more out of your vacation time. The Embassy Suites we stayed at in Atlanta had 2 pools, a hot tub, and a beautiful lobby. Plus, they have Manager's Receptions every night with free drinks/appetizers and we were able to get room service from Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. We took advantage of that and the kids loved it!

Want to Win a Vacation?
There is still a great deal of time to enter the "366 Days of More" Sweepstakes on the Embassy Suites Facebook Page to win 2 free nights, one for yourself and one for a friend! Enter from now until February 28th, 2013! Also, be sure to follow Embassy Suites on Twitter to keep up with all the latest news!

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in an Ambassador Program by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Embassy Suites Hotels and received a one-night complimentary stay at an Embassy Suites Hotel to facilitate my reviews and a promotional item to thank me the taking the time to participate.


Zuo Turbo Bar Stool Set Giveaway Event ($1600 Retail Value)

Welcome to the Zuo Turbo Bar Stool Giveaway sponsored by AtoZStores.com and hosted by Children Teaching Mama. The giveaway winner will receive 4 beautiful Zuo Turbo Bar Stools that retail at $1600! 

The Turbo stool has a cozy seat molded from ABS plastic, and sits on a sturdy chrome steel tube frame. These are perfect for commercial or residential use! 

 Just use the Rafflecopter form below to enter & let them know *Children Teaching Mama* referred you to enter! There are several daily entry options, so be sure to come back each day to get those entries! The giveaway will end at 11:59pm on Wednesday, August 15th and is open to United States residents 18+! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Purina® Pro Plan® Invites You to Show Your Dog's Greatness to Win Some Amazing Prizes

I just love our pets and think our dogs are just adorable! A few weeks ago I shared some pictures of them. Lucy and Jack have been a part of our family since adopting the brother and sister pups three years ago. They are so sweet and loving. Plus, the kids are crazy about them! I think they are two extraordinary dogs, but, of course, I am a little biased.
All dogs are amazing in their own little ways and Purina® Pro Plan® has a video contest going on called "How is Your Dog Great", which is running from now until August 27th, 2012. You only have a few weeks left to get those videos in, so get those cameras out and start taping your dogs in all their glory. All you have to do is upload a short film (less than 2 minutes), to the Pro Plan YouTube Channel. The video you submit should show those particular moments your dog shows greatness that would inspire others to find greatness in their own dogs!
Puppies Jack & Lucy getting to know our visitors!
As if that isn't reason enough to put your pup in the spotlight, check out the awesome prizes. The ten finalists will all receive a one-year supply of Purina Pro Plan dog food. Then, the selected grand prize winner will have their winning video featured in an upcoming Pro Plan TV commercial. This commercial will be unveiled and shown at the 2013 Westminster Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show. The winner will receive a trip for 2 plus their dog to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, which includes round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations. To top off the grand prize, the winner will also receive a year's supply of Pro Plan brand dog food. Aren't those some amazing prizes?

Now that I've told you all about the Purina® Pro Plan® "How is Your Dog Great" video contest, it is only fair that I tell you about something great about Lucy and Jack. These tiny dogs are still full of energy and mite. They are great protectors and are leery of any new visitors in our home. It's really like having our own security system because they know, before anyone else, if someone is coming to our door, whether or not they are driving a car. It's quite uncanny and we can't figure it out, but they always know! They, of course, like to check out all new people before giving them their approval, too, so they are quite protective of our little family.

How are your own dogs great? We love to hear pet stories, so share yours in the comments below! 
Don't forget to share your videos for the contest, too!

Disclosure: I was compensated for this sponsored post made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.