Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cosco Convertable Car Seat Giveaway

Sassy Mom, 2 Spoiled Bratz
and Cosco teamed up to bring you a giveaway for one of these awesome car seats!

    As moms, we all want our children to be as safe as possible. One of the best ways to keep our children safe in the car is through a good car seat like this one! Car seat laws can vary from state to state, but it is generally recommended that a child stay in a 5 point harness car seat-such as this-until they have outgrown the weight and height requirements of the car seat (at which point they can move to a booster seat). In my state, the youngest a child can be out of a car seat like this is age 4 (unless other size requirements are met). Please protect your little ones! 
     This giveaway is in no way endorsed, associated or affiliated with Facebook, Twitter
    or any other Social Media Networking sites. This giveaway is valid in the Continental
    United States and entrant must be 18+ years of age to enter. 
    The bloggers promoting and hosting this giveaway is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Cosco will be in charge of that.   

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015

    Our Favorite Anthologies

    I love to read to my daughter, and my daughter loves to be read to. I often find that the best way to satisfy this growing love of books is with the use of anthologies. Anthologies give more story for my dollar and take up less space. I've also found that my daughter often will go to these books first as well (not always, but at least half the time).  This past month I decided to add to our little book collection. While at the book store, I found this anthology on the bargain table with stories like Courdory and Madeline, as well as a handful of others. I was very disappointed to find that most of the stories were poorly abridged. I understand that anthologies that are 100% unabridged are pretty rare, and that's fine, but if you are going to abridge a story, at least make sure you abridge it in such a way that it can stand as its own story. This book failed miserably at it. For example, the general gist of Madeline was that Madeline had to go to the hospital and stay overnight, so the headmistress lady woke up because something wasn't right, asked the children what was wrong: they were worried about she went back to bed and "that's all there is. There isn't anymore."

    Even though my daughter is still quite young, I still require that stories at least make sense in their own. For Madeline to make sense, the headmistress has to offer some sort of words of comfort or wisdom. So I returned the book, and set out on a mission to find a better anthology for our collection. I also developed a deeper appreciation for the anthologies we already have!

    If you are looking for some anthologies to read with you children and would like the stories to make sense, here are some of our favorites.

    3. The World Treasury of Children's Literature

    These two volumes of the World Treasury of Children's Literature contain a great variety of stories, most of which appear to be fairly unabridged. There are not a lot of pictures, but the pictures included are wonderful. These books also have poems and just a great variety of stories in general. In spite of the limited pictures, Pumpkin does indeed enjoy these stories.

    2.  Disney Anthologies

    I grew up on Disney, so I love reading these to my daughter. The pictures are always amazing, and I love the stories, as does Pumpkin. The anthology that has the original stories are abridged, but they still make sense. Our favorite Disney anthology that we got so far is 5-Minute Snuggle Stories.  In 5-Minute Snuggle Stories all our favorite characters go on new adventures. Since the stories are specifically written for the anthology, they all make sense and nothing feels like it is missing. 

    1.  100 Classic Stories

    This is our newest addition to our book collection and I am quite happy with it.  As the title suggests it contains classic stories like The Three Little Pigs and The Princess and the Frog, as well as Cimderella and other princess stories. The stories are not original, unabridged but they make sense on their own. Cinderella, for example follows pretty closely with the Disney movie, but leaves out Cinderella being friends with the mice and other of the more minor details. Often the stories are further watered down or contain some sort of moral or karma twist at the end. The prince in Cinderella makes the ugly step sisters do dishes once a week in the palace kitchen, for example. In the Princess and the Frog, the princess does not have to kiss the frog, only be nice to the frog. If you set aside the expectation for the stories to be the true classics, they are fun stories that I have no problem reading to my daughter. I would have preferred the originals, but these stories work well enough for now. Also I find the pictures to only ok-really they aren't bad, but I prefer a different style of picture.

    Monday, February 23, 2015

    Busy Books and Young Toddlers

    Busy books tend to be something I would normally associate more with an older toddler or preschooler, however I recently took a chance with my daughter and decided to try one with her. We were in the bookstore and Pumpkin saw a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse busybook with all her favorite characters as suction cup characters. The book was an instant hit with her as she carried it with her through the store. Even though the book was for ages 3+, I saw the pieces weren't that small so I asked her if she wanted to take that book home. She stood up, picked up her book, and started carrying it where I directed her. She was so excited!

    Naturally, when we got the book home I pulled out all the pieces to see what she would do with them. I started taking them out and placing them all in the book with the auction cups to show her how to play with the new book. Pumpkin promptly took all the pieces off and scattered them across the floor, but she had a blast doing it.  After we had played for a bit I carefully packed all the pieces back up-I figured I would just save it till she got a little older (I definitely see some educational value in the busy book we got so I didn't want to lose any pieces).

    Pumpkin had other ideas. She quickly learned where I was keeping the book in her room and started to ask for it when we were upstairs. So everytime she asks, I pull out the book and we play with the characters together, with me periodically putting the pieces in the book. Surprisingly, after we played with the pieces 4 or 5 times, something awesome happened-Pumpkin started to play with the pieces by putting them into the scenes of the book. Mind you, she isn't positioning the characters to act out scenes or doing the activities, just properly putting the characters in the book with the suction cups. Then she would turn the page and put the pieces back on. Then the car came out and she started to play pretend with the pieces and make the car "drive" around.

    So my 15 month old definitely isn't doing activities on par with a 3 year old, and this definitely is not a toy I would leave her alone with to keep her "busy," but at her current developmental stage, I have found this kind of busy book to be a great tool for imaginative play and fine motor skill practice. The best part is that this is exactly the type of toy my daughter can grow into.  I'm glad that I took the chance and bought this book for my daughter.

    Friday, February 20, 2015

    4 DVD Giveaway!!

    Welcome to the NCircle DVD's Giveaway
    Sponsored by NCircle Entertainment
    Hosted by Kathy's Savings IMG_4822
    Great opportunity to get 4 great DVD's! I've watched several episodes of most of these DVD's with my daughter and I am impressed with the educational content in some of these movies! Don't miss out!

    This giveaway is for four DVD's from NCircle. These DVD's include Octonauts, Pocoyo, The Wiggles and Wibbly Pig! The giveaway is open to the U.S. only. This will run from 2/20-3/6. Good luck to everyone.

    Disclosure: Kathy's Savings and all other participating bloggers are not responsible for prize shipment. The giveaway is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media. The winner will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is drawn.

    Monday, February 16, 2015

    General Mills Giveaway!

    I don't know about your family, but mine absolutely loves out General Mills cereal-from my husband to my toddler! It's great to have a quick and easy breakfast on hand that everyone will eat. Plus the winner receives a skylander toy! A perfect giveaway!

    Welcome to the General Mills Prize Package Giveaway
    Sponsored by General Mills
    Hosted by Kathy's Savings IMG_4788
    Enter to win General Mills cereals and an exclusive Skylanders game set. This giveaway is open to the U.S. only. The giveaway will go from 2/17-3/3. Good luck to everyone
    Disclosure: Kathy’s Savings and all other participating bloggers are not responsible for prize shipment. The giveaway is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media. The winner will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is drawn.

    Sunday, February 15, 2015

    Gourmet Lollipops Giveaway!

    I remember in my youth when we used buy gourmet lollipops from Bob Evans on Sunday Mornings after breakfast. This giveaway brings back so many amazing childhood memories!! Now you can make new memories over these lovely gourmet lollipops with your children! (Very young children should be supervised with lollipops if you decide to share with them).

    **Skip Run Learn did not receive a sample of this product, but Free For All Fans did. Skip Run Learn holds no responsibility for product delivery or winner selection.

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    This giveaway is hosted by Free For All
    Prize sponsored by
    Full review of Original Gourmet coming soon to Free For ALL!
    Enter Here to win a 100 Count Mini package from Original Gourmet Lollipops!

    Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Original Gourmet Lollipops. for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

    Monday, February 2, 2015

    Starting More Focused Activities With a Young Toddler

    Throughout our toddler homeschool experience thus far, I have advocated taking a very laid back approach to homeschooling my toddler; recently, however, as Pumpkin turned 15 months, I decided to take another look at the Early Learning Content Standards. To my surprise, Pumpkin has achieved all of the goals except for 4-pointing to named body parts (which she does know a few, but not enough for me to call her meeting this standard), pointing to named pictures in a book, matching objects that are the same or similar, and noticing obvious changes in quantity.  All of these would require a bit more from me than merely providing exploratory materials for Pumpkin to freely play with, so I have decided to begin adding a few activities to our routine that are a little more direct, without adding undue pressure.

    To start off, I reviewed my state's suggestions on how to encourage a child on the goals she is still working towards. Then I thought about my daughter and came up with my own ideas for how to encourage Pumpkin towards her goals and came up with a unique plan for Pumpkin and I to dive into.  For example, I know that my daughter really likes socks. Socks tend to have an exact match. So I went upstairs and grabbed 3 of Pumpkin's most colorful, uniquely patterned socks and laid them out on the floor between us. To encourage her on learning to find matches, I would grab a sock and ask her to find the sock's match. Instead of grabbing the match, she would usually grab the sock she wanted to and ask me to put it on her foot. Not quite what I wanted her to do, BUT it was our first attempt. Instead of getting frustrated, however, or making a big deal out of it, I simply put the sock on her foot and asked her to find the match for that sock instead. Usually she would find an entirely different sock. I would then take off the first sock and replace it with the new sock, and carry in with the activity. The message I wanted to get across to her is that socks must match if she wants to wear both of them. Meanwhile, Pumpkin still had fun playing with the socks, and was not frustrated.

    Another direct way we are approaching our goals is by singing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" whenever the fancy strikes me. I know my daughter loves songs and dancing, so it seemed perfect. As I sing I will point to the appropriate body parts and Pumpkin will watch me with her adorable, huge grin on her face. But, I have also noticed that she is pointing to the body parts named in the songs more often throughout the day! Not bad progress for only one week of the new changes.

    We have added several other activities to our week also, but these should give you a few ideas for how to begin targeting specific goals together! Always keep your toddler and her personality in mind, and try to pick activities that will hold her interest, but also don't be afraid of trying something totally new! After all, you don't know that your toddler doesn't like an activity if she has never done anything like it (I learned this week that my daughter really likes the shape shorter, for example, but if I hadn't brought one out to try, I would have never known.) Above all else, make sure you both are continuing to have fun! If one of you is getting frustrated, put up the activities and play a game of chase or peek a boo or do a silly dance!