Summertime Learning with Silver Dolphin Books

imageMy son loves books.  He loves to read them, and he loves being read to.  Not a night goes by without a bedtime story…several, in fact.  I foster his love of reading with frequent trips to the library, book subscriptions, and visits to the book store.  We recently received some books from Silver Dolphin Books, and I am loving the quality of these books.  Better yet, was the easy-to-read text in both books we received.  Both books were hardcover with thick pages too, making them durable enough to withstand rough toddler hands.

Here’s a quick overview of the Silver Dolphin Books.  We absolutely loved them both – and I can’t wait to get some more!

Totally Monster: Best Friends

Totally Monster

The Totally Monster book series features fun, feel-good flaps and surprises on each page.  Kids can learn about various types of opposites and extremes, and that friendship lasts through thick and thin, as they read along with Totally Monster: Best Friends.  Everyone needs a friend to lean on–including monsters! Whether happy or sad, quiet or loud, little monsters need friends. And it’s especially nice to have a best friend to share all of the little details of life with. Big and small monsters alike will be thrilled from head to toe with Totally Monster: Best Friends!

Pretend & Play: On the Farm

On the FarmChildren are transported to Farmer Jack’s farm for a tour that includes a variety of adorable farm animals. From the smallest field mouse hiding in the barn’s hayloft to the tall brown horse peeking over his stall door, every animal has something to say. Children learn about animals as they select the correct animal to complete the image and also engage in small counting games—such as how many butterflies can they see among the cows—helping to build numeracy skills.  A 3-D barn is revealed at the end of the adventure.  The book comes with four illustrated puzzle pieces featuring the farm animals to fit into each scene.

 

I especially love the apps that accompany the Totally Monster and Pretend & Play series.  My son is probably on the tablet more than anyone in the house, and I love finding new, educational ways for him to play.  These book series are perfect for him because he certainly knows how to scroll through the pages!

Totally Monster App Series

Far from frightening, the adorable monsters of the Totally Monster app series introduce young readers to a variety of everyday situations, utilizing the bold and imaginative illustrations of former Disney animator Sue DiCicco.

In Totally Monster: Best Friends, the two little monsters reinforce the message of what it means to be, and have, a best friend and how best friends stick together through anything. Children will learn how great it is to have a best friend to the end through the monsters’ high jinx and fun adventures.

In Totally Monster: Feelings, children learn that monsters can be blue and have good and bad days, just like us. Young children can learn to identify and express their feelings and emotions along with the monsters in this imaginative book.

And in Totally Monster: Manners, children learn that it’s important for everyone, even monsters, to have good manners. Children will enjoy the antics of the monsters as they learn how to be polite, help out, and make friends, and how much more fun it can be when we all play together.

Pretend & Play App Series

Pretend and Play: Toolbox, where youngsters help to build a new birdhouse for Birdy. By selecting the correct tools—a saw, hammer, screwdriver, or pliers—to complete the on-screen images, app users learn the different jobs that each tool performs as well as how each job is important to completing the project. The end result, a stunning 3-D birdhouse, is reward for a job well done in addition to the personal satisfaction of completing the project!

Pretend and Play: Firefighter, a captivating introduction to the heroic tasks that firefighters perform.  Children assist the app’s firefighter in saving the day by choosing the correct element for putting out a kitchen fire, saving pets from a burning home, and removing a fallen tree. The app imparts elementary fire safety in addition to an understanding of some of the many elements used by real-life firefighters. Upon completion of the challenge, children are rewarded with the creation of their own 3-D fire truck.

Pretend and Play: On the Farm, where children are transported to Farmer Jack’s farm for a tour that includes a variety of adorable farm animals. From the smallest field mouse hiding in the barn’s hayloft to the tall brown horse peeking over his stall door, every animal has something to say. Children learn about animals as they select the correct animal to complete the image and also engage in small counting games—such as how many butterflies can they see among the cows—helping to build numeracy skills.  A 3-D barn is revealed at the end of the adventure.

Fostering a child’s love of reading starts early – and I’m glad my boy has caught on quick.

Silver Dolphin Books_Best Friends

What’s your favorite children’s book?

Enjoying Lunchtime and Toddler Chats

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media® and Lifeway Kefir, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH

It’s always so interesting to see how my 3-year-old views the world.  We like to sit and chat during lunch to talk about…well, whatever.  Lunchtime is basically the only time where it would be just him and I alone.  I take full advantage of the alone time together and make sure all electronics are shut off (he would leave the tablet on 24/7 if he could!) and we can enjoy some quiet time.

Duck Face Selfie

Lots of times he asks for Daddy.  You’d be surprised by how many times it’s as if he’s surprised that Daddy isn’t home.

“Is Daddy going to eat with us?”  “Mommy, don’t forget about Daddy – he likes cheese tacos (quesadillas) too!”

But other times it’s just him and I, and I get to chat with him about all kinds of things.  Everything from what was his favorite part of the day, to which dinosaur is his favorite at the time and – my personal favorite – how much he loves everyone in the family.

“You are all my family and I love you every one!” (Sounding very It’s a Wonderful Life –cheery.)

He even gets all gushy about our dog.

“No Mommy, don’t put Ty in a time out (in the crate).  Cuz I love him.  He’ll be a good boy now.”

Toddler with Dogs

Gosh I love that kid – and my heart swells every time I think of him and his sensitive little heart*.

*Note to the girl that breaks it:  You do not want to meet Mama Bear.  Just sayin’.

As a full-time working mom, I know that every time I get to eat lunch with my boy is a privilege.  And I’m so grateful to learn more about him and the way he sees things during our little chats.  I’m just hoping he’ll continue to want to share with mom in the years to come.

Almost as important as the time spent with our kids, are the foods we put in their bodies.  I used to be more lax about the things I’d feed him for lunch ( a chicken nugget Happy Meal, anyone?), but not anymore.  Feeding him healthy, nutritious foods are so important to me now, and I get super-picky about what he can and can not eat.

Lifeway Kefir with Toddler

One of the items definitely on the approved list: Lifeway Lowfat Kefir Probiotic Cultured Milk Smoothie.  With seven to ten billion CFU’s of 10 strains of bacteria,  Lifeway Lowfat Kefir balances the body’s ecosystem and supports digestive health and immunity – that’s 12 live and active cultures per cup!  Plus, it’s an excellent source of calcium, protein and it’s 99% lactose free.  Lifeway Kefir is a creamy and delicious yogurt-like smoothie my whole family enjoys.  Whether we drink it on it’s own, or add it to a smoothie mix, one thing’s for certain – I don’t have to worry that my son isn’t eating right. Lifeway Lowfat Kefir is so good – and so good for you too!

Lifeway Lowfat Kefir with Probiotics

Connect with Lifeway Kefir:

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New Huggies Diapers with SureFit Design and a $20 Dollar General Giveaway!

This is part of a sponsored campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Huggies, Dollar General has provided me with a $25 gift card for review and will supply a $20 gift card to one reader for this giveaway.  However all opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission Guidelines, 16 C.F.R Part 255.

You may remember that awhile back we decided to put my son’s potty training on hold.  It hasn’t been easy, but we knew that he simply wasn’t ready.  Little did we know at the time that our decision would bring on a whole new set of problems.  He’s now a little over 31 months old and drinking a lot more fluids than he used to.  The weather’s nicer so he’s been spending a lot of time running around outside and is constantly asking for more water.  He drinks, and drinks, and drinks.  Suddenly we found that the store brand diapers we’ve been using just aren’t making the cut anymore.  He has woken up on plenty of occasions with his pajamas completely wet because his diapers can’t hold it all in anymore.  I knew that we likely had to switch diaper brands.

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On a recent trip to Dollar General, I picked up a package of Huggies Snug & Dry Diapers with the new SureFit* design (*exclusive waistband, new softer outer cover and less bulky more flexible absorbent pad).  I’ve been shopping at Dollar General more often lately (even though it’s a bit of a drive from my home) because their fantastic prices make it easy for me to save a bit of money, and that, coupled with coupons, makes for even bigger savings!  In fact, make sure you print this $2 off coupon to score a great deal on Huggies Snug & Dry diapers at your nearest Dollar General.

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Huggies 12 Hour Leak Protection

I love the way these diapers hold up through the night.  The 12 hour leak protection was exactly what we were looking for.  No need for us to wash the sheets everyday…YAY!!!  My son loves them because he likes to pick the characters he gets to wear (his favorites are Mickey & Pluto) but I love the SureFit design.

To learn more about Huggies you can visit their website or like them on Facebook.

Huggies Snug & Dry

WIN IT!

How would you like to win a little Dollar General treat to try these out yourselves?  One lucky winner will receive a $20 Dollar General Gift Card.  Just follow the easy Giveaway Tools form below.  Good luck!

This is part of a sponsored campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Huggies, Dollar General has provided me with a $25 gift card for review and will supply a $20 gift card to one reader for this giveaway. However all opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission Guidelines, 16 C.F.R Part 255.

Potty Training Tips from the Experts #EveryFlush

As many of you all know, I recently started to potty train my 2.5-year-old son.  It has not been easy, and I have struggled with many set-backs and uncertainties.  Luckily, last week I had the opportunity to attend a teleconference with Dr. Alberto Andres Cotton, a well-respected Miami based pediatrician with 17 years of pediatric experience and Jeannette Kaplun, an award-winning journalist and internationally recognized parenting expert with over 17 years of experience on TV, radio, online media and as a published author and conference speaker.  Talk about a superb panel of experts!

Pull-Ups Every Flush SMT (1)

Here are a few of the potty training tips I learned on the conference:

Don’t stress about numbers!  According to Dr. Cotton, there is no age to worry about in particular.  As long as your child is able to control his/her urine by the age of 5, you have nothing to worry about.

Boys might take longer to potty train.  Jeannette Kaplun, a mom of two, suggests that boys may take longer, especially at night.  Each child is different, though, and a parent shouldn’t stress about what one child is doing over another.

Regression is normal.  You shouldn’t get mad at your child when they are showing signs of frustration.  It can happen that your child reverts at a moment of stress. If at that time he cannot control his urine, he will most likely revert so he/she can advance later on.

Make potty training a family affair.  Potty training is a form of stress for a child. The family has to take it as a game so that the child becomes calm.  Getting the entire family involved by sharing potty training tips with other family members (dad, abuela, aunt, tio, los primos) engaging and educating them about training pants, the process and the fun rituals that make sticking with the process easier.

Consider using a timer.  Jeannette Kaplun suggests using a timer with children that crave structure. Every time the timer goes off, lets say every 30 minutes, the child can go. This will help them learn and after a while they wont need the timer to go. It becomes a habit because it is more fun to turn it into a game.

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To learn more about the potty training process, the Huggies Pull-Ups website is a great information source to get you started.  You can also visit Pull-Ups on Facebook for more information.

Disclosure: This is part of a compensated campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Pull Ups. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Parenting Stresses from a Dad’s Point of View

A few weeks ago, I shared a few of my tips for handling parenting’s messes and stresses.  My tips included things like making a to-do list and asking others for help.  Of course, my post covers the “Mom’s Point of View” of handling a toddler boy, but what about the dads?  Ever wonder how they tackle everyday messes and stresses?  For this post, I’m interviewing my husband to hear what he has to say on parenting stresses from a dad’s point of view.  I might be dreading his answers, but we’ll see…

We both know that the boy can get easily frustrated and has occasional melt-downs, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when this happens?

When I see him start melting-down, honestly, my first instinct is to get angry.  It takes me a few seconds to realize that he probably just needs some help and I calmly ask him what he needs.

Calmly?  Really?

[Laughs]  I’ll admit that I can get a little frustrated, but I really do try to not take it out on him.  I know he’s still too young to express exactly what he needs sometimes, but once I realize that I just try to help him.

OK, so we’ve covered tantrums.  How about when he makes a mess?  Toys everywhere.  How do you handle that when I’m not around?

Besides wait for you?

Yes.  (Duh!) How do you handle that by yourself?

I typically don’t clean-up while he’s playing.  I wait till we’re completely done in that room and have him help me.  I don’t want him to be one of those kids that leaves a mess all over the place and waits for his parents to pick it all up.  Not my son, he’s gonna learn to pick up his own mess.  He doesn’t listen all the time so I make a game out of it and he’s more likely to help.

Any words of advice for other dads out there?

The biggest piece of advice I can give is: Be Flexible.  Before my son was born I had all these ideas in my head on how he was going to be raised, things he was going to do, and so on.  I can be a hard pill to swallow when things don’t turn out the way you planned.  Learning to be flexible will help alleviate some inevitable stress down the road.

So there you have it, folks!  Some tips on handling raising a toddler from a dad’s point of view.  (And it totally wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be…LOL!)

And on Thursday, September 20th, from 12:00 pm EST to 1:00 pm EST, you can hear how Mexican TV personality and father of two, Poncho de Anda, handles parenting and even ask him a question of your own.  (*Please note that the chat will be in Spanish.)  You can find the chat on the Huggies Latino Facebook Page – just look for Poncho’s picture of the page to participate in the chat.  He looks like this —>

Poncho De Anda

Disclosure: This is a compensated post sponsored by Huggies and Latina Bloggers Connect.  However, all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own (and, well, my husband’s too!).

A Boy and His Turtles

I seriously don’t know what it is, but my son is infatuated with turtles.  Sure, sure, he also loves his “boy toys” like trains and cars and he can’t go a day without belting out the alphabet and reciting his numbers, but when it comes time for “nigh-nite” my son always asks for his turtles.  It’s amazing to me that we have multiple turtles in this house…not any real turtles, mind you. There’s no way I could deal with cleaning up turtle poop (and I’ve heard that turtles can really stink) and taking on that responsibility.  I’m talking about his beloved stuffed animals.  His turtles.

It’s so sweet to watch him curl up with his turtles before bed.  “Tuh-tul, tuh-tul” he cries, before settling down for the night.  His top three things he needs before heading off to bed are 1.) bobo (pacifier), 2.) blankie, and 3.) turtle.  I wonder what it is about those slow, green animals that fascinates him so much?  At the zoo he’ll see a tortoise that he claims is a turtle, and I don’t even think about correcting him.  “That’s right, baby boy, look at the turtle!”

Of all the turtles my son owns, right now his favorite seems to be the Tickle Toes Turtle by Nuby.  He loves to press the foot and hear it giggle.  He says “Laugh, tuh-tul, laugh”, he says.  He loves it!  We also have the Tickle Toes Monkey, too.  I fell in love with the monkey theme when I was pregnant with him and decorated his entire room with monkeys and bought a bunch of stuffed animal monkeys.  Little did I know, but turtles would turn out to be his favorite animal.

Ahh, the sweetness of my little boy.  Aren’t they doubly-adorable when they’re asleep? LOL

Visit the Nuby website to learn more about the Tickle Toes Turtle by Nuby.

Disclosure: I received products from Nuby to facilitate this review.  However, as always, all stories are clearly my own.

BRITAX B-Agile Double Stroller

In the market for a double stroller?  Well look no further!  BRITAX’s B-Agile Double Stroller is the perfect side-by-side stroller to fit your needs.  And the double stroller isn’t limited to those of you with twins (as I so ignorantly once thought), each side of the BRITAX B-Agile Double Stroller is designed to hold your kids from birth to 50 pounds!  Just had a baby but have a toddler running around at home?  The BRITAX CLICK & GO system allows you to attach your BRITAX baby carrier to the stroller while leaving the other side free for your “big” kid too.  I love how BRITAX puts a lot of thought into the design of their products, building them to be versatile and compatible with their other products, without having to purchase additional accessories to make them fit.

Some of the other features of the BRITAX B-Agile Double Stroller include:

  • Quick-Fold with Automatic Chassis Lock
  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Less than 30.5 inches wide to fit through standard doorways
  • Height adjustable handle
  • Large under seat storage with access through front foot rest
  • Two additional storage pockets behind seats
  • Separate large canopies with ventilation windows
  • Front swivel wheels are lockable
  • No re-thread, adjustable, five-point harness and head pad with reflective binding
  • Infinite seat recline positions
  • Linked parking brake locks both rear wheels
  • All-Wheel Suspension provides for a smooth ride
  • MSRP (USD) $449.99

You all know by now that I am a HUGE supporter of BRITAX and their products.  I honestly believe that their products are superior (and safer!) than their competitors’ and talk about BRITAX whenever I can.  Just ask my best friend who’s currently pregnant with her third child – I “push” BRITAX, their products and promotions, when given the chance and have urged her repeatedly to add BRITAX to her gift registry!

So if you’re looking for a double stroller, I highly encourage you to take a look at the BRITAX B-Agile Double Stroller.  Compare it with other strollers on the market and let me know what you think!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post as a Britax Latina Advisory Board Member and Blogger. As always, all opinions, ideas, and stories stated here are clearly my own.

Mommy Mixer at the Primrose School of Algonquin

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of touring a new Primrose School (just opened in January 2012) in Algonquin, IL.  I met the friendly staff, my son participated in a music class, was given the full tour of the facility, and got to hang out with some of my blogging friends!  :)  It was a great day for both moms and kids.  The school was gorgeous, and I learned a lot about the Primrose School, their philosophy, and their curriculum.

Primrose Schools, a leader in educational child care, have been around for over 30 years and their basic philosophy of “With The Right Foundation, Anything Is Possible” is one that any parent can relate to.  It’s no secret that our kids learn so much from us, and building a proper foundation for learning is imperative for their development.  No one understands this better than Primrose Schools.  They can accommodate all children from infants to 12-years-old.  Their nationally-accredited Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten, and Kindergarten curriculum, Balanced Learning, encourages learning through play and each classroom is equipped with activities designed to stimulate, develop, and support the children.

The Primrose School of Algonquin’s owner, Laura Daniel, facilitated the tour and told us everything we needed to know about Primrose Schools and made sure we understood their mission and philosophy. 

I can not stress enough how beautiful the classrooms were – unlike any that I have ever seen before!  And just to give an example of how stimulating the classrooms and teachers were, my son, who has never been left out of my care (or a relative’s care) was so enamored with his surroundings that he didn’t even blink when I walked out of the room to take the tour.  He immediately engaged with the instructor and I was able to slip out, unnoticed.  I was shocked…and, admittedly, a little sad.  No screams.  No meltdown.  No tears.  Wow.

Here are a few more photos of our day:

Enjoying the music class.

 

Fascinated by the tambourine!

Cribs for the little ones.

And I got to meet Maria Bailey from BSM Media...cool!

Primrose Schools are located in 20 states across the U.S. and have three schools in my home state of Illinois.  To find a Primrose School in your area, visit their School Locator http://www.primroseschools.com/OurSchools/.

Carter’s Watch the Wear {Giveaway}

Welcome to the Carter’s Watch the Wear giveaway brought to you by Blog it Forward Media.

Carter’s Watch the Wear was started by Henry Wood Carter. Under the name H.W. Carter & Sons (1890), Carter’s Overalls were sold and were very popular. The company expanded to market boy’s overalls, as well as railroad overalls, painter pants, coats, jumpers and shirts, eventually putting everything under the simple trademark “Carter’s”. They quickly evolved into a company that you see now. They specialize in clothing for newborns, infants and toddlers. and Guess what? Their collection is entirely affordable for the family.

Well, Carter’s Watch the Wear has paired up with the bloggers of Blog it Forward to offer one lucky winner a $200 gift card to their website! That’s right, you can enter for a chance to win $200 worth of clothes for your little one. Just fill out the form below to enter.

You can sign up for Carter’s Watch the Wear e-mails! Do you want to be an affiliate? You can check out the details and sign up.

Just use the simple form below to enter! This giveaway is open to US and Canada. Must be 18+ to enter. Giveaway closes on July 31 at 11:59pm est. Only one person per household/IP address may enter. You only need to enter the giveaway on one of our blogs. Good luck!

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BRITAX Baby Carrier {Review}

When my son was born I made the mistake of purchasing a cheap, flimsy baby carrier from a discount retailer.  Each time I wore it my back hurt, my neck hurt and it was just way too uncomfortable to wear.  My son was almost nine pounds at birth and he grew rapidly.  Usually I just preferred carrying him instead of going through the hassle of trying to figure out all the straps and hoisting him in.  I’m sure that you won’t be surprised to hear that I only used it a handful of times.

I wish, back then, that I knew about the BRITAX brand.  I’ve learned so much about many of their products and have to say that I now know that their products are superior to their competitors’.  Take the BRITAX Baby Carrier, for example.  Did you know that it was built for long-lasting back and shoulder comfort?  Or that it supports weight up to 32 pounds and is intended for an easy transition from infant to toddler?

The BRITAX Baby Carrier’s other features include:

  • Removable Infant Insert ensures a comfortable, natural sitting position for smaller babies.
  • Multiple Carrying Positions offer parent versatility to face baby inward or outward
  • Padded Leg Openings protect baby’s legs
  • One-Handed Buckles and Snaps allow you to get your child in and out of the carrier easily
  • Adjustable Head Support provides head and neck stability for younger infants
  • Secure Harness and Pouch Design ensures that baby will stay securely within the carrier

I’m happy to report that I now own a BRITAX Baby Carrier and can attest to its ease of use, durability, and comfort.  I’ve used the carrier to run errands and for a day at the zoo.  The difference between the BRITAX Baby Carrier and the other carrier I own are night and day.  The one-handed buckles really come in handy when I venture out alone with my son and have no help nearby.

So if you’re in the market for a new baby carrier, I highly suggest the BRITAX brand.  You won’t be disappointed.

Disclosure: The information provided for this post is because I am a Brtiax Latina Advisory Board Member and Blogger. As always, all opinions, ideas, and stories are my own.

Don’t Call Me Mommy!

Every single day I wish for my son to grow.  I want to see that cool new thing he does.  The next word he learns to say.  For some reason, I feel like this process is taking so long!  Sometimes it feels like weeks since he’s done something new.  Hurry up, kid!  Grow already!!!

That’s what I want, isn’t it?  To constantly admire my son’s growth and development.  To be able to call up my mom friends to brag about how advanced he is.  How smart.  How precocious.  How bright.  How fan-flippin-tastic!

And then…

He does.

And I want to scream at the top of my lungs and make him stop.

For months I secretly took pleasure in the fact that he couldn’t say “mommy”.  He could say cookie and yellow, and doggie and truck, and bye-bye and night-night and even Joey Lawrence’s infamous “Whoa!”.  I tried every day to get a mommy, or mom…hell, I’d even take a ma.  Nothing.  I was always just Baa-Poo to him.

I mean, Baa-Poo?!?!  Like, sheep’s poo or something?  I never totally “got it”.  But – make no mistake – I was, indeed, Baa-Poo.  When he saw me first thing in the morning it was a sleepy, barely audible “Baa-Poo”.  The minute I got home from work, a more high-pitched and excited “BAA-POO!”.  Ask my boy where Mommy was and he’d scan the room, point to me and immediately utter a self-assured “Baa-Poo”.

What I once thought was confusion and a complete misunderstanding of the word, I’ve now come to see that it was my identity for my growing son, and it belonged only to me.  And it was special.  There are billions of “Mommies” in the world and, I’m sure, very few Baa-Poo’s.

And now, since the inevitable “Mommy” has finally escaped his lips, I just want it back. To be his Baa-Poo again.

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