Saturday, December 13, 2014

Book-Based Activity and Craft Kits for Kids

Finding the right gifts for kids, within a budget, can be hard. We want to give our children things that they want and at the same time we want that to be money well-spent. How we spend our money is important.

My children have bins of toys, and we sort through them twice a year (at Christmas and at their birthdays) to donate some and trash what is broken and unable to be fixed.

My husband and I want to spend our money on things that will last-that will entertain and last longer than five minutes. Of course we like to give our children things that they will enjoy too. Learning activity and craft kits from Ivy Kids are a great unique gift idea for kids.

I told you about Ivy Kids book-based activity kits for kids back when creator and SAHM Taseea Cruz asked me to review a couple of kits prior to her launching Ivy Kids earlier this year. That review is the 2nd most popular post on this blog! Many of you are enjoying the Ivy Kids kits as much as my family does.

The kits last longer than one try of each activity or craft. They teach valuable skills that children ages 3-8 need to learn. It is "preschool in a box"! 

I recently had the chance to try out another kit with my 6 1/2 year old (first grade) and 3 1/2 year old (preschool). The moment they saw the green cardboard box, they were asking me non-stop when they could try out the activities. 

This post contains affiliate links. This post was sponsored by Ivy Kids, LLC. I only review and share products and services that I would use in my home in hopes that it can be helpful for you with your children. Please view my disclosure.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Photo Book Gift and Keepsake Ideas: MyPublisher Review

The twins are almost a year old-already! The thick of the baby stage can be so exhausting no matter how many babies you are caring for at one time. The challenges can wear us down, but if we focus on remembering the special moments of being a mom, we can get through it with a positive outlook. 

The memories will be well worth the effort. I made a paper scrapbook for each of my older kids to remember special moments during their first years. Extra time is not something I have much of, so creating a traditional scrapbook for each of the babies right now will not work. I created a photo book of the twins' first year using MyPublisher

Photo Book Gift and Keepsake Ideas-MyPublsher Review PLUS 6 ideas for photo books and an organizational quick tip from The Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide.

I was never interested in digital scrapbooking, but considering the lack of time to make a paper scrapbook, the digital version I made with the free MyPublisher software was the right way to go.

I have a coupon for you all and am excited to share 6 photo book gift ideas as well as the unique features that I liked about this program. There is a quick organizational tip at the end of the post as well. 

This post was sponsored by MyPublisher as part of the Shopathome Blogger Team. All opinions are my own. I only review and share products that I would use in my home with the hope that it can be helpful to you. Please view my disclosure.

Monday, December 1, 2014

One Item Activity: Tissue Paper

I love sharing activities that are super easy, really frugal, and perfect for different ages. Many of us have children in different ages and stages, so finding activities that they all can do together-for any length of time-is very helpful. It is so fun watching all four of my kids play together even though they are in very different developmental stages-school age, preschool, and infants.

You will have exactly what you need to try this simple and fun activity with your kids. I promise! It requires 1 item. The other "One Item Activity" series posts can be found here. It does not get any easier than one item for a fun activity!

My newest installment in this series is a simple snowball toss game. It has a winter theme, but it is great no matter the season. My kids created the games with a little guidance from me, and their imagination.

Ready to try it?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Indoor Gross Motor Activity: Yoga Mat DIY Hopscotch Game

Getting enough time to play outside is essential to my children maintaining positive behavior...and let's be honest, it helps my behavior too! Moving our whole bodies helps us get exercise, burn off excess energy (which, frankly, as a mom I do not have, but my kids do), and gets us outside to breathe some fresh air.

Not every day allows us to get outside to play, though. The days when we are stuck inside and trying to keep our kids from climbing the walls can be really tough! Here is one of many indoor gross motor activities that I will be sharing with you perfect for rainy, or other bad-weather-indoor days.

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure

All you need are 3 supplies:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Kids' Screen Time: Tips and Resources {Plus Giveaway}

Kids and Screen time-tips and resources for teaching healthy habits and finding balance. A book giveaway is included for a limited time only!

Have your kids entered the age where technology use has become one more thing to think about each day? I recently read a statistic that said the average child in the US engages in 4-7 hours of screen time per day…per day! Think about how often we use technology for learning, then add entertainment, interaction as in phone calls and, bam, you have a lot of screen time!

I could not believe the stats of kids and cell phones that Krissy, of B-Inspired Mama, shared in a recent article she wrote on the subject. An interesting infographic regarding how much and how young children are using technology and getting their own cell phones amazed me!

What age is appropriate for a child to have their own phone? How is this monitored and protected by mom and dad? 

My husband and I have started to talk about what age we think will be appropriate for our kids to have their own phones. It is a security and safety issue in some homes. How did we manage in our childhood with no cell phones?

“Too often children are given screens to pacify and occupy them when it’s not an
emergency or special occasion. Instead of learning how to live in the real world of
communicating with people and occasionally feeling bored, they are given a screen world for
their entertainment pleasure. More and more studies demonstrate the adverse effects of screen
time on the brain and your child’s social and emotional development” 
(Growing Up Social, pg. 28).

How much is too much? Is giving the kids the smart phone in a doctor’s appointment harmful? How about on a trip in the car? How can I protect the safety of my children in a world without boundaries such as the internet and social media? 

There is a new resource to help answer these questions and more, and I have a freebie that you can win!

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure
I was not paid to offer the included giveaway.

The book Growing Up Social: Raising Rational Kids in a Screen-Driven World, by Dr. Gary Chapman, (author of the book The 5 Love Languages), and Arlene Pellicane, discusses this very topic and provides strategies for parents to find balance in this tech world with kids and screen time. 

“Parents are needed more than ever to provide instruction, correction, and positive
modeling to a child regarding screen time, even if this digital world seems like unfamiliar
territory. We live in a brand-new era when children are digital natives and many parents are
digital immigrants. In other words, many children know more technology than their parents, and
that is quite different from how the world worked hundreds of years ago”
(Growing Up Social, pg. 169).

My children have entered the ages where questions about screen time have to be answered.  It is not always easy to decide how much they can use the iPad, phone or TV.

Often I find myself wanting to be a “yes mom. ” My kids want to play with the educational phone apps and it is learning, but saying yes all the time to technology use is not good for my children. Sometimes no is necessary.

Monday, November 17, 2014

When Did Being A Good Mom Become A Bad Thing?

When did being a good mo become a bad thing? The trend to celebrate being a bad mom and why it is ridiculous.

Have you noticed this puzzling trend? In a time of anti-bullying legislation and overall intolerance for criticism of any kind, soft bullying of moms from other moms is taking place. I say soft bullying because it goes unnoticed by the one doing it; it is often masked in humor all at the expense of some moms.

I recently saw a meme on a blog that I really enjoy that called women with clean homes "dull" and women with messy homes "fascinating." I did not care for this meme even though I love the blog overall. I understand we moms need to laugh off the tough days-we want affirmation that if we can't keep our homes and lives in perfect order all the time, we are still valuable and successful. 

Let me tell you, my house is messy more than clean these days. It is not what I prefer, but I do have 4 kids and they can make some big messes faster than they and I can clean them up!

No, this is not about having the perfect, magazine-image home. This is about poking fun at moms who do motherhood well. 

Yep, we are actually teasing moms who appear successful, as if having life "together" is a bad thing. Poking fun at them as we teach our children to treat others as we wish to be treated.


Me too. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

8 Tips to Get Fit After Having A Baby {Guest Post}

I was 8 months pregnant with my first child, and packing my hospital bag, when a good friend told me she was able to wear her pre-pregnancy jeans home from the hospital.  I packed my pre-pregnancy jeans in my hospital bag, but also packed a pair of super comfy yoga pants.  Proudly, I wore my yoga pants out of the hospital, and around the house for many days to come!  Months after both of my girls were born, I continued wearing my maternity pants, and that was ok! 

Eventually, the weight came off and my old clothes began to fit again.  As a former personal trainer-turned-stay-at-home mom, I believe healthy weight loss is more important than quick weight loss. Here are 8 tips to help you get fit in a healthy manner. 

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Skeleton Anatomy Activity for Kids

Exploring the anatomy of the skeleton using your child's own picture and free printable skeleton worksheets. Great for preschool and early elementary kids.

Children are often more eager to explore and learn when the learning is about them. This skeleton activity uses your child's own image and two free printables to help them understand how the skeletal system is constructed. Sounds complicated, but it is not.

Due to how simple this learning activity really is, it is easily adaptable to preschoolers aged 3-5 years and also elementary kids who are in Kindergarten and up.

Young children ask a lot of questions about their bodies-how they are constructed, why they do certain things, and how all the systems work together. It can be difficult to explain the inside of the human body to preschool and elementary-aged children, since they tend to have to see something to believe and understand it. There are ways to make the learning more hands on so that what can't be seen can be explored in fun ways.

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure.