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Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears! Beginner's Building Set Review & Giveaway

We our now homeschooling and, for a while, I had a tough time finding educational games, toys and supplements for the boys that are fun and stimulating, keeping them occupied and interested in learning. I'd heard some friends talk about Learning Resources and when I finally checked them out, I was in educational heaven! Learning Resources has a mission to support teachers and parents by providing unique, high-quality educational tools that enhance instruction and provide engaging learning experiences that meet children's individual needs and that is exactly what they do.

I was so excited to receive the Gears! Gears! Gears! Beginner's Set to review and thought this would be something both of my boys would enjoy immensely. The set includes 96 plastic pieces that easily snap together, including spinning gears, pillars, connectors and cranks. For children 3+ years of age, this was perfect for both Liam and Josiah. I have the hardest time keeping Liam occupied while trying to do schoolwork with Josiah and this is the perfect way to engage him and help him build on his fine motor skills.
What they loved the most about this set was setting their creations into motion. Once all the gears are in place, use a crank to set your masterpiece into motion! It's such a fun item for kids and has endless building possibilities.
I've kept this set up and bring it out for Liam to play with during school and Josiah also gets to play with it during quite play time indoors. They have so much fun that I can seriouslyfinally get my own chores and work done while they play with the Gears! Gears! Gears! set.
There are two things I love about the Gears! Gears! Gears! sets. First, they are all compatible, so you can build on to the ones you already have, making more room for your children's imagination to soar. Now that I know how much they enjoying playing with this set, I will definitely purchase other sets to add on. There is a farm set and another that lights up when in action. Both of these would be huge hits with the boys, too. Secondly, the box this set comes in is great! It's made of sturdy cardboard and has a handle on top, so the boys can not only easily put up and store their set, but they can take it around with them when we are visiting grandparents or going out of town.

The Gears!Gears!Gears! Beginner's Set retails on the Learning Resources website for only $27.99! It's a deal for all the hours of fun the kids will surely have.

Ready for your chance to win?
Thanks to Learning Resources, One Lucky Children Teaching Mama Reader Will Win Their Own Gears! Gears! Gears! Beginner's Set!


Surprising, Creative Ways to Make Money on the Side

Whether you are a single mom, a mom who stays home, or a working mom, if you are looking for ways to make ends meet, pay down debt, or save for retirement or college, there are some simple things you can do from home to make extra money.

While these jobs aren't likely to be the highest paying jobs you have ever had, they can bring in a nice side income stream.  Best of all, you can do them from the comfort of your home and around your family's schedule.  That beats going out and working part-time any day.

Here are some ideas for you:
Sell Coupons
If you already use coupons to save on your groceries, why not take the extra step and cut out all of the coupons to sell on eBay?  If you already have people bringing you their coupon inserts, this is a good way to make money.   Another strategy is to check with grocery stores and coffee shops to see what they do with the old papers and coupon inserts.   Some people even look through the recycling for coupons, but you will have to decide if you feel comfortable with that.

Sell Textbooks
If you have free time in the summer, pack up the kids and search garage sales for old books and textbooks.  If you have a smart phone, you can look up the books as you shop garage sales to see how much they are selling for online.  Then, list the books from the comfort of your home when you have time.  Some people make several hundred dollars per month buying old books and selling them online.

Sell Clothes Online
Kids' name brand clothing such as Gymboree, Baby Gap and Janie and Jack can sell for good price on eBay, especially if you know to sell the spring/summer clothes in March and April and the fall winter clothes in August and September.  Seasonal holiday clothes should be sold in late November.  You can find clothing to sell by scouring garage sales as well as second hand shops.  To make the most money, try to buy the clothing at second hand shops when they are on clearance because the season is ending.

Sell Crafts Online
If you are a crafty person, you can always make your own crafts and sell them on a site like Etsy.  However, Etsy is becoming increasingly competitive, so you have to have a way to make your store or your product stand out from others.  Etsy's blog suggests listing something every day and relisting your items frequently.  Often with Etsy, making your first couple of sales is hardest.  Once you have done that, if you have pleased customers, they will likely bring you word-of-mouth traffic.
If money is tight, don't despair.  There are plenty of ways to make money that you can do in your free time around your own schedule as well as your family's.  As you develop different income streams, you will find that you feel more and more financially secure.

What is your favorite way to raise money from home?
Kyle Taylor is a finance blogger that blogs about how to make extra money at The Penny Hoarder.


The Many Uses of Window Blinds

When we moved into our new home, there was one thing I automatically noticed was missing. There were no blinds on the windows! This definitely made the home look empty, like something was missing. Plus, as a parent, blinds are very important, especially when you have a baby. When we brought Liam home as a preemie, he slept a good deal of the day and, unless it was dark in his room, he would fuss and cry. The uses of window blinds are endless and I had a mission to find quality blinds for our entire home.

Recently, my parents decided to purchase wooden blinds for their home and, when I came to visit, I could not believe how beautiful they looked. I learned from my parents that upgrading blinds can do much more than just shade rooms. In fact, they can help you save money and conserve energy. I love Venetian wooden blinds because they are not only pretty and modern, but they offer insulation. This helps shield rooms from sunlight, keeping electricity costs down. It can also keep out cold air during the winter, so you use less heat. If you are eco-conscious like we are, this also helps you conserve energy. 

Another great thing about choosing blinds is that they can completely change the look of a room or home. My parents' bedroom actually looked bigger and more balanced. In addition, they were able to color coordinate the blinds with the rest of the room, so everything matched and looked gorgeous. For our own home, we chose white treated wooden blinds, though we purchased special blackout blinds for Liam's room to create a darker atmosphere so he could sleep more easily. 

Who knew there were so many uses of window blinds? We love our new blinds and couldn't be happier! What kind of blinds do you have in your home?

Cover Up With The Cleava Snap Camisole Review & Giveaway

One thing I've learned over the years is that I definitely feel more comfortable when I dress modestly. That being said, I have a hard time finding shirts and tank tops that help me achieve this look. I was super excited to get my Cleava products in the mail! I always seem to have such a hard time finding tank tops that cover everything up & look cute!

About Cleava Camisole
These little clip in tops are meant to help cover up your cleavage and they also give you a layered look.They are easy to put on and comfortable. Plus, I learned on their website that Cleava is great for nursing moms, too!

Sounds like just what I was looking for! Well here are just a couple of my attempts:

I don't know what caused it but, no matter what I did they always looked just a little bit bunched. I couldn't get them to pull snug like I needed them too. Otherwise, I really liked this product. It did just what it was supposed to by covering cleavage. I love that I can wear shirts and sweaters that are low-cut without having to wear another complete shirt underneath. Even in the wintertime I get super-hot, so this is a great way to cover up without getting overly hot.

I feel like the Cleava definitely covered what I wanted and needed covered. I love how easy they are to clip in after I've already gotten dressed. I love to change out my tank tops a couple times to make sure I have the one that looks best, so these are perfect for me.

Have you tried Cleava before? Well, here is your chance!

One Lucky Children Teaching Mama Reader Will Win Their Own Cleava!


Free Sign-Ups For Bloggers- iPad2 Giveaway


It’s a MPM Birthday Celebration Event

Hosted by Mom Powered Media
Prizes: iPad 2 with Wi-Fi 16GB in Black
Event dates: 2/4 – 3/4
We just signed up! Now it is YOUR turn! We love Mom Powered Media and know this will bring all bloggers a great deal of viewership. Let us know if you sign up, too!

Valentine's Day Celebration: Movie Tickets & Book Giveaway

I love Valentine's Day and am a huge romantic at heart. I just happened to find my soul mate while working at a library, of all places! I'm happy to tell you that my husband and I celebrated our 6th anniversary this December. With two kids, jobs and very hectic lives, that leaves little time for our love life. I'm sure many other parents can relate to that! 

Speaking of the light going out on the love life, have you ever wondered if there is another reason? Well, we are working with Teeple's Testosterone and may have the answer. Even at young ages men can have low testosterone levels and this will definitely effect your love life as well as health, mood and relationships in general. It can cause fatigue, weight gain, poor concentration and moodiness. Yikes!

Think you or your partner may suffer from this? That's okay because it is almost 100% curable. Dr. Teeple has come up with the Teeple's Testosterone Test app, which can help you assess your own or your partner and his risk for having Low "T". The test will also generate an action plan filled with tips for boosting yours or your partner's testosterone. A healthy "T" level can completely change a relationship, health and love life, so take the test right here, right NOW!

It's Giveaway Time!
To celebrate Valentine's Day, love & the release of Dr. Teeple's new book I'm Still Sexy... So What's Up With Him? we have a great giveaway!

One Lucky Reader Will Receive:
  • A Pair of Movie Tickets For a Romantic Night Out On The Town
  • A copy of the new book, I'm Still Sexy So What's Up With Him?


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Weight Watchers by Conair Digital Scale Review & Giveaway

During my pregnancy with Josiah, I gained a ridiculous amount of weight. Pre-pregnancy I weighed about 110 pounds and, by the end, I was about 180 pounds. After giving birth I was still right around 150 and let me just say that getting those pounds off was no joke! It took me two years to shed those pounds and then, of course, I got pregnant with Liam shortly after fitting into my skinny jeans again. When on a diet, it's so important to have a scale to keep up with progress and we have the perfect scale: Weight Watchers by Conair Digital Scale!
This awesome scale not only helps keep track of your weight, but you can customize it with removable message decals to fit your personality. The scale comes with over 15 reusable decals with everything from inspirational messages to butterflies and hearts. We couldn't wait to get this scale out of the box and put it to good use, especially because my husband is currently on a diet! Plus, we can also keep up with Liam's weight since he loses some due to his chemo treatments.
The scale is a pretty frosted white glass and looks nice alone, but I have to admit I love the decals! Josiah helped me decide on butterflies. Then, I put the "Live. Laugh. Love." Decal at the top so I could see it every time I look at my weight. I love that the decals are so easy to remove, so I can change them up often. The boys also enjoy putting different ones on.
I recently got down to 115 pounds and was so excited. However, the holidays definitely took their toll on my weight. I cannot resist all the delicious foods and desserts this time of year. I should have checked out the Weight Watchers Winter Holiday Eating Guide. That's okay because now I have a way to not only inspire me to lose weight, but to also help me keep up with my current weight. There is actually another blank decal included, which allows my husband to write his weight each week. That way he can compare his current weight to his past weight and see how far he has progressed. In only two weeks he has lost 5 pounds, so he is doing very well so far!
Liam loves our new scale, too!
The Weight Watchers by Conair Digital Scale is available nationwide at stores such as Kmart and Kohls, as well as at the Conair Online Store  for an average retail price of only $37.99! 

Ready For A Giveaway?
One Lucky Reader Will Win Their Own Weight Watchers by Conair Digital Scale!
This giveaway is open to US Residents 18+ years of age and ends on Tuesday, February 19th at 11:59pm. Good Luck!

Melissa & Doug Giveaway Event - Free Blogger Sign-Ups

Free Blogger Event!
Hosted by Coupon Gator Mommy 
Prizes: $250 Melissa & Doug Toys Gift Card
2 Runner Up Prizes: $50 Melissa & Doug Gift Cards

Free Link with Announcement Post
Event Dates: 02/01 - 02/26

Free Blogger Event: Little Tikes Cook n Grow Kitchen Sign-Ups


Cook n' Grow Event

Hosted by: Mom to Bed by 8
Prize Package includes: Little Tikes Cook n' Grow Kitchen + Amazon Gift Card
Event dates: 2/1 - 2/15

Free Blogger Event: Sign Up HERE

Jolica Adjustable Leather Briefcase & $50 Gift Card Giveaway

Last year we had the opportunity to work with Jolica, so I was excited to be contacted again during our Holiday Gift Guide Event. They have such beautiful quality jewelry and goods that I always love checking out the website.

About Jolica
Jolica's artisans are based all over the world and have traditions that are passed on through families. All products are handcrafted and Jolica prides itself upon supporting fair trade. This way of business ensures artisans benefit from their work and skill by making a living wage from their beautiful artwork. In addition, the Jolica Foundation has been giving back to communities and countries for many years by partnering with other organizations, including a project called Gift of Sight, providing cataract surgery for adults to prevent blindness and Vitamin A supplements to children.

Our Thoughts
Just reading about Jolica made me excited to work with such a wonderful company and tell my readers about them. I really cannot say enough about them and am grateful for a business that does so much to give back to others.

The last time, we received a beautiful recycled glass necklace to review. This time we opted for a lovely stone colored leather briefcase. The briefcase is handmade in India with an adjustable strap, making it a great gift for both men and women. I originally bought this as a Christmas present for my husband, but once I saw the briefcase, I couldn't bring myself to part with it, so I decided we should share!
True to its color name, "stone", I am reminded of the color of stones at the bottom of a creek bed. The leather is incredibly soft and supple. With the adjustable band, I am able to wear it as a shoulder bag, across my body, which is how I prefer to wear it.
My husband also likes wearing the briefcase and, since he is a lawyer, it has become very helpful when carrying important papers to and from the courthouse!
The inside of the briefcase has enough room for several books, notebooks and/or folders. I also have enough room for my iPad and there is a side pouch for my cell phone. In addition, there are side pockets to store other smaller items like pens and pencils.

As you can see, we love our leather briefcase from Jolica and have been fighting over who gets to use it next! The briefcase retails for $99.50 on the Jolica website and is absolutely worth every penny. Take a look at all the beautiful items they have for sale and remember that the artisans make money from purchases, too, so you are helping provide for other families across the globe. It's a win-win situation!

Ready for a Giveaway?
One Lucky Reader Will Receive A $50 Gift Card For Jolica.com! 


Disney Confirms the New Star Wars: Episode VII Will Be Directed By J.J. Abrams

I don't always make movie announcements, but when this arrived in my inbox today, I was so excited. J.J. Abrams is one of my favorite directors and the fact that he will be directing the new Star Wars: Episode VII just blows my mind. I will definitely be first in line to see this one! 

Here's a bit about Abrams, his work and what George Lucas has to say about him. This an official release/announcement we received from Disney!

J.J. Abrams to Direct Star Wars: Episode VII

J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII, the first of a new series of Star Wars films to come from Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy. Abrams will be directing and Academy Award-winning writer Michael Arndt will write the screenplay.

“It’s very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie,” said Kennedy. “J.J. is the perfect director to helm this. Beyond having such great instincts as a filmmaker, he has an intuitive understanding of this franchise. He understands the essence of the Star Wars experience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture.”

George Lucas went on to say “I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller.  He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.”   

"To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor,” J.J. Abrams said. “I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid." 

J.J., his longtime producing partner Bryan Burk, and Bad Robot are on board to produce along with Kathleen Kennedy under the Disney | Lucasfilm banner. 

Also consulting on the project are Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg.  Kasdan has a long history with Lucasfilm, as screenwriter onThe Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi. Kinberg was writer on Sherlock Holmes and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Abrams and his production company Bad Robot have a proven track record of blockbuster movies that feature complex action, heartfelt drama, iconic heroes and fantastic production values with such credits as Star Trek, Super 8Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, and this year’s Star Trek Into Darkness. Abrams has worked with Lucasfilm’s preeminent postproduction facilities, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, on all of the feature films he has directed, beginning with Mission: Impossible III. He also created or co-created such acclaimed television series as FelicityAliasLost and Fringe.


Escape from Planet Earth $25 Visa GC & Prize Pack Giveaway

We are so excited to announce an awesome movie from The Weinstein Group being released on Friday, February 15th called Escape From Planet Earth! This animate film is great for the entire family and I know my boys will definitely want to go. 

About Escape from Planet Earth

The 3D animated family comedy catapults moviegoers to planet Baab where admired astronaut Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser) is a national hero to the blue alien population.  A master of daring rescues, Scorch pulls off astonishing feats with the quiet aid of his nerdy, by-the-rules brother, Gary (Rob Corddry), head of mission control at BASA.  When BASA’s no-nonsense chief Lena (Jessica Alba) informs the brothers of an SOS from a notoriously dangerous planet, Scorch rejects Gary’s warnings and bounds off for yet another exciting mission.  But when Scorch finds himself caught in a fiendish trap set by the evil Shanker (William Shatner) it’s up to scrawny, risk-averse Gary to do the real rescuing.  As the interplanetary stakes rise to new heights, Gary is left to save his brother, his planet, his beloved wife Kira (Sarah Jessica Parker) and their adventure-hungry son Kip (Jonathan Morgan Heit).

Be sure to check out the Escape from Planet Earth website for some fun features, such as photos, videos, characters, games and more! Plus, you can download the FREE Escape from Planet Earth App for the kids. It is available for iOs and also available for Android

It's Giveaway Time!
To further celebrate the opening of this fun movie, we have a great giveaway for our readers! 
One Lucky Reader Will Win An Escape from Earth Prize Pack, which will include:
  • $25 Visa Gift Card
  • Escape from Planet Earth Tattoo Sheet
  • Escape from Planet Earth Activity Book & Crayons
  • Escape from Planet Earth Backpack Clip

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Valentine's Day Outing For Adults!

Grown Up LEGO Lovers Unite for a Valentine’s Day Party Like No Other!

LEGOLAND Discovery Center is hosting a Valentine’s Day outing especially for all the adult LEGO lovers! On February 14, grown up LEGO fans are invited to the first adult night of the New Year from 7-10 p.m.!  Whether they already have their own hunk-a-LEGO burnin’ love or are looking for that someone special to share their love of the LEGO products, this is the perfect party to celebrate Cupid’s favorite holiday.
The evening will feature a LEGO Tunnel of Love and a LEGO "traffic light" party for all the singles. All adults are invited to a night full of games, music, food, beverages and LEGO loving fun!
WHO:               Adults (18+ only)

WHAT:              Valentine’s Day Adult Night “For the Love of LEGO Party”
Valentine’s Day themed party with food, drinks, mingling and—of course—lots of LEGO loving fun!

WHEN:             Thursday, February 14 (7-10 p.m.)

WHERE:           LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta | Phipps Plaza
                        3500 Peachtree Street | Atlanta, GA | 30326
HOW:              Purchase tickets online at http://www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com
Advance online tickets are $30 each ($40 at the door).  Annual Pass Members may purchase tickets at a discounted rate of $18 online ($25 at the door).  All tickets include food, two beer or wine tickets and admission to the party.

Staying Warm On A Budget

Now that Christmas is out of the way, what come next are the terrible winter months of the New Year. Everyone knows money is tight right now and with the winter temperatures set to drop again we could be facing some expensive heating bills at a time when we could do to save. Despite the freezing temperatures there are some great ways to help stay warm on a budget.  

Using timers and thermostats
One of the major causes of expensive energy waste is not utilizing the timers and thermostats that are built into many heating devices. Both of these features are very useful for effectively regulating your heating and energy usage.  

Timers are a great and effective tool to make sure that your home is only heated when you need it to be. There is no point in having the heating on in the middle of the night when everyone is curled up in a warm bed anyway. Timers are also great as they allow you to warm the house for half an hour before everyone wakes up without having to have it on all night. Timers can also make sure that you don’t forget to turn off the heating and waste further waste money.

Thermostats are another underused tool. One thing many households are guilty of is turning their homes into a tropical paradise of heat. This is not only a waste of money but not needed as a comfortable temperature is usually preferable especially if you plan to out and have to deal with the massive temperature change.

Room usage

Another major energy waste is trying to heat the whole house at the same time when only a couple of rooms are in use. Many heating systems have room options to only heat certain rooms, if your heating doesn’t have this feature you can always go around and manually turn off the ones you aren’t using. This can clearly save you a lot of money and potentially half the amount of heat you are using.

One of the biggest contributors to room usage problems is the family been split up around the house doing their own thing. This is a common trend in the modern family and one which can be extremely costly once it all adds up. Why not use winter as an excuse to have extra family time. Board games or popular family activity video games such as the Wii are great excuses to get the whole family together and allows you to just heat one room, also as a bonus it can bring you all closer together.

Insulate the house
Finally the largest cause of heat waste and therefore money waste for a home can be caused through not properly insulating your home. Properly insulation your home can seem like an extra cost that you don’t need, but it is worth doing as every year the savings will soon add up. Some of the most common types of quick home insulation are as follows:

Making sure thick curtains are closed can help keep your heat in and the cold of the window out. This also helps to stop condensation from reducing the temperature of your room as it creates a cold pocket of air in between the window and curtain.

You also need to make sure that doors don’t have gaps underneath and invest in a draft excluder if they seem to be letting in too much cold air. As a side note to door make sure to quickly close them behind you when moving from room to room to help keep your warm rooms warm.

Finally some more long term solutions for insulating your home include double glazed windows, roof insulation and carpets instead of a wooden floor. These might cost more upfront but can help save you a small fortune over the years as your heating bills fall.

BIO: HSS Hire have a number of tools available for sale and for hire. Why not take a look at their website for a range of heaters, coolers, dehumidifiers and other products.

Dermagist Hydrating Spa System Review & Giveaway

If there is one thing the cold weather brings out that I could do without, it has to be the dry skin. Oh, how I dislike dry skin. As a mom, I feel like my hands are constantly in water, too. Doing dishes, bathing A, cleaning up messes or washing something down. My hands just can't take it.  Plus, on the rare occasion that I shave my legs, usually for church, my legs are always so dry, even with lotion put on afterwards. 
I had been complaining to my husband, about these very things, when I checked the mail and saw that my Dermagist Hydrating Spa System ($89.99 RV) came!
Here's what it included:

  •  Hydropeutic Body Lotion- deep-hydrating body lotion
  •  Foot & Heel Revitalizing Cream- A serious cream for dry, cracked heels
  •  Hydro-Renewal Hand Cream- anti aging inspired cream... that ALSO deeply nourishes dry, rough skin
The next morning, instead of going to my usual lotions, I used this system. Amazing! My skin actually felt & look moisturized immediately. It felt wonderful! After putting the hand cream on, A woke up and needed a bath, so into the water my hands went. Well, you know what? Even after I was done bathing her my hands were still moisturized. That's right, even after I soaked my hands. I rarely find lotion that does that. 

I have to admit that my husband has horrible looking feet. He has never taken care of them and they are even worse from him being at boot camp. I'd post a picture, but I just couldn't do that to you.He has dry feet, cracked heels and everything. The last week or so I've been having him use the Foot & Heel Revitalizing Cream and I actually think his feet look better. They aren't as dry and he says they feel better, too. I'm quite impressed with this Spa System. My dad is usually the one who does the research and finds great products, but this time I got to recommend some great products to my dad! I even recommended it to my dad, who is usually the one recommending stuff to me!

Now that you've heard just how awesome Dermagist products are, how about a giveaway?
One Lucky Reader Will Win A Dermagist Hydrating Spa System worth $89.99! Just use the Giveaway Tools form below to enter. This giveaway is open to US residents 18+ years of age and closes on 2/14 at 11:59pm. Good Luck!


Winners, Winners & MORE Winners!

Hi, everyone! Thanks for being so patient with me during this difficult time. I finally had some time to pick the first part of the winners today and am still waiting for responses for several. I put a star by those who have already confirmed. If the others do not respond within 48 hours, I will draw new winners!

  • I See Me! Books : Mayla*
  • ToiletTree Toiletry Bag: Stephanie T.
  • Candle Warmers Lamp: Colleen R.
  • Voots Prize Pack: Anne P.*
  • Tonya K.: Morphology Jr.
  • Lillian C.: $25 Amazon GC*
  • Melissa & Doug Doorbell House: Darlene Owen
  • What Children Need To Learn To Read: JLen M.
  • 31 Bits Bracelet: Shannon P.
  • Jeep Jogging Stroller: Jessica B.

I'll draw the 2nd part of winners this weekend! Congrats to everyone for their big wins!

Tips for Taking Toddlers and Preschoolers to Disney

Little girls between the ages of 3 to 6 can probably tell you their favorite Disney princess.  Chances are your children have dressed up as a Disney character for Halloween.  Certainly they have watched their fair share of Disney movies.

Disney permeates our lives, and many people take their children to Disney Florida, which can be an exciting trip for young children.  They can ride rides, watch shows and meet their favorite characters in person.  Unfortunately, such an exciting trip can also be an overwhelming trip for many young children.
If you are traveling with toddlers or preschoolers, try these strategies so the entire family can have an enjoyable trip.

Plan Breaks
Young children can get overwhelmed and cranky.  If your children are early risers, try to hit the park early and beat the crowds.  Then, in early afternoon when the park gets busy, head back to the hotel and let the kids have lunch, unwind and play or take a nap.  Take a little time to play in the hotel pool.  Yes, you are on vacation to see the parks, but staying at the park ALL day can lead to tired, cranky, crying kids.

Bring Refreshments
Bring in some drinks and snacks for your little ones.  They get hungry frequently.  Keep them well hydrated and let them have some snacks, and you will have a more pleasant day at the park.

Dress in Layers
Dress the kids in light layers.  Depending on the season when you visit Orlando, the morning may start out chilly, but the afternoon may really heat up.  If the kids are dressed in layers, you can easily adjust their comfort level based on the weather.

Buy Tickets in Advance
There are many places you can buy Orlando ticket deals, which is a good idea because you will save money.  It is also a good idea because you can buy these tickets online, saving you time standing in line to buy tickets at the park.  The faster you can get into the park, the faster you and the kids can have fun.
The best way to have fun at Disney and other parks when traveling with young children is to take breaks frequently and to consider their physical needs.  Keep them warm (or cool, depending on the weather), as well as hydrated and full, and you will all have a good trip full of memories for a lifetime.


Celebrate Potty Training With Pull-Ups First Flush Program & Photo Contest

Before having children, I always told my mom that my kids would be potty trained before their third birthday. Of course, I was destined to give birth to two boys who held on to their diapers as long as possible. I'm actually in the process of potty training Liam and will never forget the first time he used the potty! I think I was just as excited as he was, if not more. It was an important milestone for both of my boys and I have pictures of both to mark the special moment.
My big boy's first time using the potty!!!
Pull-Ups knows just how exciting and important the "first flush" is for parents and children alike. That's why they are celebrating with their new First Flush program. Potty training can be long, frustrating and tough for parents and kids, but Pull-Ups wants to help ease our pain and make potty training less stressful and more fun! How? Well, I'm glad you asked because they have created a variety of ways to encourage the potty training process, including:

The Pull-Ups Big Kid App
The awesome Pull-Ups Big Kid App includes a timer for parents to help remind kids to use the potty! This is so helpful and something I always forget to do. There are also articles, tips and suggestions about training along with videos and more. In addition, there is a reward system to encourage children. They receive a start for each time they attempt using the potty and, once they receive a certain amount of stars, they can play games via tablet or mobile phone. Kids can also get calls from their favorite Disney characters. Imagine how excited your little one would be to receive a phone call from Mickey Mouse? My son, Liam, loves Disney characters and this would definitely help excited him about using the toilet more often.

First Flush Moments Photo Contest
As I mentioned earlier, I have pictures of both my boys during their potty training. I know many other parents who have, too. Pull-Ups is calling for parents to share their toddler's potty training success, or First Flush Moments, for a chance to win some amazing prizes! There is a chance to have their photo featured on a billboard in Times Square during a larger-than-life First Flush celebration on January 29th. Plus, one lucky family will win the Ultimate Prize-- an All-Expenses-Paid Trip To Disney World! 
How To Enter Your Photo
Just visit the Pull-Ups Facebook Page and share your child's photo from now until January 29th for your chance to win the trip to Disney! Be sure to submit the photo today, January 22nd, for the chance to be featured on the billboard in Times Square! 

The first time Josiah used the potty, we celebrated with finger paints. Here's a picture of him covered in paint, standing happily on top of his potty! He had finally conquered the potty and was so proud! 

Do you have a cute picture of your little one? If you don't, snap one and submit this week before time is up! You may just win the ultimate potty training trip to Disney World! My kids would love to go to Disney World... what kid wouldn't? I love it, too, so it really is a celebration prize for the entire family. 

Good Luck with potty training and don't forget to download the Big Kid App from the link above! 

Disclosure: This post was written for Huggies Pull-Ups.  I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.


Sibu Beauty: Men's Shaving Kit Review & Giveaway

My husband is the kind of guy that doesn't bother with nice face wash, or shaving cream. I'm almost positive I haven't seen him use a moisturizer on his face either. He's pretty simple that way, but my dad is the complete opposite! He researches his skin care products and makes sure he has nice skin. So, I was very excited when Sibu Beauty sent my sweet husband their Men's Shaving Kit.

If you haven't heard of Sibu Beauty, they have been around since 2003 and all of their products are made with Sea Buckthorn, known as the "beauty berry" across Asia and Europe. Sibu Beauty products are also now 100% Vegan and Animal Cruelty Free! That's reason enough to love these products, in my opinion.

The Men's Shaving Kit ($45 RV) includes:

  • Sea Buckthorn Exfoliating Scrub
  • Sea Buckthorn Cleanse & Detox Soap Bar
  • Sea Buckthorn Hydrating Serum

So what did the man that typically uses nothing think of these products? Well, they are a keeper in our house. I tried out the Cleanse & Detox bar, I wasn't feeling it, it made my skin feel strange, like a too clean feeling, or maybe a dry feeling, but for his skin it was perfect and he loved it. His favorite part is the Sea Buckthorn Hydrating Serum. It was a close tie with the Sea Buckthorn Exfoliating Scrub, which gently scrubs dead skin off to reveal softer new skin. When I asked him to describe how they felt, I got a typical husband answer, "good", which means they are awesome.

From my point of view, I can definitely tell a difference when he uses the Sibu Beauty products. His skin looks moisturized and feels great after a shave after using them. Without them, his skin is dry and not very smooth. This will definitely be kept around in our home! 

Have you used any of the Sibu Beauty Products? If not, what do you/your husband use while shaving? 

Ready for a giveaway?
One Lucky Reader Will Win Their Own Sibu Beauty Men's Shaving Kit! 

Our Trusty Huggies Diapers Stay Put & Keep Baby Dry

Each year it seems like we travel more and plan for more activities during the holidays! This year was definitely very busy and we were on the road more than ever before. We have experimented with all types of diapers over the years and there is one brand that we've constantly come back to, especially when traveling. We do love our cloth diapers, but Huggies Diapers are our favorite disposables and we use them often during the holiday season because they always stand the test of time. How? They fit in a way that is comfortable for Liam and they are absorbent. I can honestly say we've rarely (in 5 years of diapering) had a leak using Huggies, which is why they are always my first pick.
Before becoming a parent, I'd heard how active toddlers are, but I honestly had no idea what I was in for once my babies started walking. Oh boy! No regular diaper would do for Liam and this is why I love Huggies Little Movers with the SnugFit Waistband because it helps keep diapers in place and can withstand my very active boy.
My little model!
Okay, there is yet another reason I love this diaper and I'm a blushing as I write. Liam has decided he no longer likes wearing clothes. Yes, he has become a nudist over the past few months, enjoying stripping off his clothes and running into a room full of people. Everyone in the room begins shrieking in laughter (giving him further encouragement), though mine is usually in horror and embarrassment.
All smiles with his Huggies Little Movers
Until using Huggies Little Movers, I was this close to super gluing on his diapers to keep them on his body! Thankfully, my prayers were answered because unlike other diapers that he can easily slip off of his waist, Huggies Little Movers are more form-fitting and don't slide off as easily until Mama changes a diaper. His little activity has come to a halt... partially. Now if I can just figure out how to keep the rest of his clothes on!
Liam loves Pooh and Tigger!
Another diaper we've come to love over the years is the Huggies Overnites. We first discovered these when Josiah was about 6 months old. Every single night he peed through his diaper. We tried everything from disposables to wool cloth diapers. Nothing worked until we tried Huggies Overnites.
You cannot imagine how excited I was to wake up to find Josiah's clothes and crib nice and dry! From that point on, we've kept a stock of Huggies Overnites. They are also great for traveling during holidays and other family trips when we are on the road for long periods of time. The unique LeakLock feature offered by these diapers allow up to 12 hours of protection. The wetness is wicked away from the skin, which is great even for babies with sensitive skin like Liam.

You should definitely give these diapers a try. Liam is a huge fan and recommends them for other on-the-go, growing babies! Be sure to keep up with all the latest Huggies info via Facebook and Twitter! They often have some awesome promos, contests and coupons available. You can also share your own Huggies stories on the Huggies Facebook Page!

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central for Huggies. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.