Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pads

Hey folks. I've got another product review to share with you! We recently discovered the Melissa and Doug Reusable Stickers Pads and instantly fell in love with them. In fact, we bought one for Charlotte for Christmas and after seeing how much she enjoyed it, we immediately purchased several more.

Each fun pad contain five different scenes and 150+ reusable, vinyl stickers. You simply peel off the reusable stickers and place them on each scene. When you are done playing, they peel right back off and are ready to use the next time your little one is ready to play. This is genius! Charlotte has spent hours creating little scenes and using it to tell stories. She has been playing with these constantly since the end of December!!!!

We have the following and these are the scenes that each include -

Habitats Reusable Sticker Pad :
A farm, a prehistoric landscape, an African oasis, a jungle and an ocean.

Play House! Reusable Sticker Pad:
A living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and a yard.

Vehicles Reusable Sticker Pad:
A harbor,  construction site, train depot, city street, and an airport.

Reusable Fairies Sticker Pad
A twilight scene,  garden village, pond, inside of a tree house and a forrest.

They also have a Dress-Up Reusable Sticker Pad and Princess Castle Reusable Sticker Pad . Both are on our wish list! 

If your child is a fan of stickers, I can't stress how wonderful these are. We recently went on a road trip and it was easy to pack for quick  entertainment in the car and hotel room! My favorite part is finding the various scenes that she comes up with. The majority of the time they make me giggle because they are completely chaotic!! I also love overhearing her create little stories as she places each piece.

When purchasing, make sure the pad states Reusable in the title because the company does make additional pads that look similar, but contain regular stickers. They run $4.99-$6.80. That's a great deal for the amount of time my three year old has already used it plus everything that is included in each pad!!! At the end of the day, my husband and I check out her creations and then remove and replace the vinyl stickers on their original page so she is ready to make a new scene the next time she picks it up.

If you do end up buying one or all of these sticker pads, please send us a photo of a fun scene your little one creates!!! (you can find us on Instagram). We would love to see them. 

 (the above post includes affiliate links and my own personal opinions. I was not contacted or compensated by the company. We just truly love this products!!!)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Happy Mommy Box review


 Have you heard about Happy Mommy Box yet? I get asked about it often over on Instagram so I thought I would share a little review here. Happy Mommy Box is a wonderful monthly subscription box full of goodies and treats! It comes at the beginning of each month and can contain jewelry, beautiful prints, beauty products, a treat for the kiddos, coupons or just cool products to try out. My favorite part is each box features a small business which is the perfect way to find great and unique gifts! It also includes a mini magazine full of inspiring moms. The cost is $29/month, including shipping and once you see what's packed into that wonderful box you'll realize that it definitely exceeds that amount each month. So far, I've received four fabulous boxes. Listed below are the items that were included in each box so you can get a feel for what they send!

November Box #1:
Decal from Walls Need Love

$30.00 credit to Canvas Pop

A pack of fingerpuppets from Ikea

Some super cute pins from Livy Love Designs. This is one of those instances where Happy Mommy Box introduced me to a really amazing woman! I started by checking out Diana's super fun Etsy shop, then her blog and finally her Instagram feed. I was hooked immediately to her infectious attitude and incredibly inspired by her weightloss journey. She recently lost 100 pounds this past year. Trust me, she's a gem to follow!!!

Stone Bubble Necklace from Caroline G.  I fell in love with this necklace the moment I opened the box. I loved the color. It goes with so many different outfits. When Christmas rolled around, I snatched a few more to give as gifts. Carrie is another blogger that I immediately started following on all of her social media outlets. She has the kindest, most generous heart that will leave you full of a desire to spread more love to those around you.

A lovely print from Naptime Diaries - this has quickly become my favorite part of each Happy Mommy Box. They always include a really cute print. Perfect for framing and placing around the house for some quick decor.

Each box includes a mini magazine that contains a featured questionnaire with a mom/blogger, ideas and printables for themed playdates, and several new Etsy shops to check out. The November magazine included this really cute turkey lunch idea. Charlotte saw it and immediately begged to do it the following day.

December Box #2:
Pedi Pumps from Kate Aspen - a cute 4 piece little pedicure set in an adorable high heel pouch.

Sweet Lulu paper straws - these were perfect to set out during the holidays for our guests to use. Talk about a wonderful site to shop for party supplies too!

Happy Family tot fruit pouch!

Calendar stickers and a 25% off coupon from Pikcal.

Coupon and free 27 page downloadable guide from Mom and Pop Photo School.

An absolutely sweet Bless Your Heart print from the fabulous Crystal Faye.

Handmade beauty products from Green Bubble Gorgeous. Soaps, bath salts and the most amazing lip butter. I received the Burnt Sugar flavor. It moisturizes so well - especially during this harsh winter. I ordered more and used them as stocking stuffers. My husband even loves and uses it daily!!

A pair of super cute earrings from Kiki La'Rue. Beware, that link contains some ridiculously fantastic clothes!!

This was another activity idea included in the mini magazine. Charlotte loved decorating and devouring this little ice cream cone Christmas tree!

January Box #3:
Popit containers!!! There were 4 of these plastic, airtight containers in the box. They are super sturdy storage containers.

A cute mug from Crystal Faye - being an avid tea drinker, this was put to use immediately.

Coupons and a handy conversion chart from Chobani.

A yummy snack from Pirate's Booty. Have you tried their products yet? Not only is it a fun name to say, but it's a great snack the whole family will love!!! 

A gorgeous print from Small Moments. I love the colors in this one and the sweet saying. It's still sitting on my mantel!!

A necklace from Jilly Bean Jewelry. It's says "Inspire" which was the perfect necklace to start the New Year with.

Lovely hammered brass earrings from The Poppy Chain. I have been wearing these nonstop!!!!

February Box #4:
A box of Giovanni's chocolates - delicious, little treat!!!

A container of Play-Doh - guess who was crazy excited when she saw that?

A  children's vitamin sample from Natural Dynamix.

A free photo book coupon from Groovebook. This is such a neat idea!!! It's a photobook that you make using photos straight from you phone. Seriously excited to check this out.

An really, really, cute heart measuring spoon from Kate Aspen. A great site to shop for party favors.

An incredibly sweet love bracelet from Shop Pretty Pants.

A happy yellow bangle from Caroling G. I want this bangle in every single color now!!

A beautiful print from How Joyful. This one made me gasp when I first saw it. Hand lettering and chalk = two of my favorite things. I immediately checked out Joy's shop and started following her Instagram feed. Lovely, lovely work!!!

 Are you sold yet?? Happy Mommy Box is run and organized by two of my very favorite bloggers: Natalie from The Busy Budgeting Mama and  Mandy from House of Rose.  Both are hilarious, real moms that I have followed for some time now (thanks to Pinterest)!! I love that they created this subscription box. I look forward to my little treat each and every month. It has introduced me to several inspirational bloggers and many wonderful small businesses. I can't say enough good things about it. If you are on Instagram, check out #celebratemotherhood and #happymommyboxfaves for additional pictures all from happy subscribers!!

Opinions are all my own. I was not contacted by Happy Mommy Box for this review. I just love their service and wanted to share my experience with them since I get questioned about it often!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Learning Resources

We get asked for toy recommendations all of the time. Especially on Instagram, since the majority of photos I snap of Charlotte show her playing with something. I thought I would start reviewing and sharing a few of our favorites here. These reviews will all be items that we personally own and use repeatedly. For our first review, I thought I would start with one of my very favorite companies - Learning Resources. We love recommending their products because they are educational and many are perfect for pretend play.

Super Sorting Pie
We bought this for Charlotte's third birthday. It has quickly become one of our very favorite games. It includes a sturdy and really cute pie. The pie comes with 5 different colors (red, orange, yellow, purple, and green) of fruit. There are 60 pieces of fruit! Three double sided cards are included: 2 sides show the certain fruits and their colors, 2 sides includes numbers from 1-10, 1 side shows the shape of colorless fruit and the last side shows a color wheel.

 The crust and dividers remove so that you can place sorting cards in the bottom of the pie to encourage a sorting activity. It also comes with 2 large tweezers that are perfect for little hands to practice working on fine motor skills. Charlotte has always been a sorter and organizer so we knew this would be right up her alley. It was instantly a huge hit and it has quickly become our favorite gift to bring to birthday parties.

 I have to credit Stephanie from Imagine Our Life for introducing us to this wonderful game. She has even created and shared free pattern cards on her wonderful blog. I printed them out, colored them in and laminated them. They fit perfectly in the bottom of the box and we use them quite often. Charlotte also pulls out this pie for pretend play and makes us all kinds of different pies in her play kitchen. I really can't recommend this product enough. Put it on your wish list already!!!

Pretend and Play Doctor Set
This is another gift that we bought Charlotte for her third birthday.  After researching several sets, I finally settled on this one. It included such a variety of authentic looking medical tools. The set includes: a stethoscope, pager, cell phone, forceps, 2 bandages, thermometer, pager, tweezers, scissors, glasses, name badge, blood pressure, syringe, a plessor to check reflexes, mouth mirror, otoscope, medicine dish, and scalpel. The cell phone, pager and stethoscope are all battery operated and make noises.

I can not tell you how many times we have had check ups. Sometimes multiple times a day!!!  This really helped Charlotte get over some fears she had when going to the doctor herself. Now when we go in for routine checkups, she points out all of the instruments and explains them to her nurses and doctor. It's quite cute. My mom made this super cute apron and I made four felt bandages that we have added to our kit. I have a few more ideas I still want to make for our resident little doctor to use and play with. 

Teaching Cash Register
It's no secret that we have a huge supply of handmade felt foods for Charlotte's play kitchen. My parents ended up buying Charlotte a grocery cart and this really amazing register last year so that we could have a pretend grocery store. I don't even know where to begin to describe this interactive register. It comes with play bills (I laminated them), coins, a credit card and a coupon.  The register itself has a built in scanner, coin slot, scale and screen that shows each transaction as you punch them in. It opens up and best of all, it talks to you!! I think Charlotte's favorite part is the coin slot. You can put play or real coins in it and the register will tell you what the coin is. Right now we use it for pretend play and for teaching Charlotte about the names of currency and how much each represent. This smart little register also includes 4 games as well. Coin quiz is the one that we currently use. It asks you to insert a certain coin so it works on recognition. The other games are addition, subtraction and money match. Each have 3 different levels.  I love that it automatically shuts off after not being in use for a few minutes too. This is one of those toys that we will get use out of for many, many years to come!!

Sorting Suitcase
Our sweet neighbors just gifted this to Charlotte at Christmas. They have witnessed her little sorting skills and knew it would be the perfect activity for her the moment they saw it.  It comes in a really cute little suitcase making storage easy. It includes 15 double sided activity cards: some ask you to find a certain color or pattern, some show a pattern to complete, and some are blank so you can make up your own activities. The suitcase comes with clothes of course! There are 40 double sided clothing cards that include shirts, shorts, socks, and shoes. We have already taken this with us on trips and played with it numerous times.

I also printed out and laminate these free Play Dough Mats from Picklebums. We've used them with playdoh of course, but Charlotte loves using the Sorting Suitcase to dress up the little people as well.

Do you and your little one have a favorite Learning Resources toy or game? We would love to hear about them. We have several more on our wish list! Hope you enjoyed our reviews. If you have any questions about any of the above products, please feel free to ask!!

(the above post includes affiliate links and my own personal opinions. I was not contacted or compensated by the company. We just truly love their products!!!)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Valentine Books

(affiliate links are included)

Where did January go? These holidays keep sneaking up on me. Maybe that's just what life is like when you have a busy three year old running around. I love finding holiday themed books to read to Charlotte. This age is a bit tricky because books are either too simple or just too long. A few of these we read last year, but we also added some really wonderful books to our list this year. Grab some chocolate and see what has been on our reading list this month!

The Night Before Valentine's Day by Natasha Wing
We are huge fans of all the books in this series by Natasha Wing. She does such a great job of changing the famous poem, 'Twas the night before Christmas, and adapting it to fit each holiday. In this book, the reader follows a group of kids as they prepare to celebrate Valentine's Day at school. The night before they make special cards at home to share with their classmates. The next day, they participate in all of the fun school activities associated with the holiday. They decorate the room, giggle about a secret admirer, play games, do art, swap cards, enjoy treats and finally get a special surprise from Cupid. The story is incredibly cute, told in a wonderful rhyme and includes some playful illustrations.

Love, Ruby Valentine by Laurie B. Friedman
This book has definitely become our favorite book to read in preparations for Valentine's Day this year. My daughter has fallen in love with Ruby and requests us to read it repeatedly all day long! Ruby Valentine and her cute pet, Lovebird, live in Heartland. They can't wait for Valentine's Day to arrive. They start counting down the days until the vey special holiday and stay extremely busy preparing for it. However, when February 14th finally rolls around, they are both so exhausted and end up sleeping the entire day. Ruby is incredibly sad when she wakes up and realizes what happens. Lovebird suggest going into town and celebrating anyways. Ruby learns an important lesson that day. You don't have to wait until Valentine's Day to tell or show someone how much you love and care for them. The rhymes are so good throughout the entire book and the fun illustrations give the reader a lot to look at. My daughter enjoys pointing out every single heart on every single page. We would recommend this book in a heartbeat!!!  

Ruby Valentine Saves the Day by Laurie B. Friedman
After reading and enjoying Love, Ruby Valentine, we couldn't wait to check out this sequel. Another Valentine's Day is drawing near as Ruby and Lovebird settle into a new house. They immediately start planning the absolute perfect party to help celebrate their favorite holiday. Ruby is so busy decorating, cleaning and cooking that she easily overlooks the fact that the temps are dropping rather quickly outside. Just when Ruby thinks she has everything planned just right, a snowstorm hits Heartland on Valentine's Day. No one is able to make it up the snow covered mountain where Ruby lives. She is so disheartened that her perfect party is ruined. Lovebird gently suggests packing up the party and taking it into town. Once they arrive, they realize that things still don't go as planned, but Ruby learns another very important lesson. Planning the perfect party is not what makes the holiday great. All that's matters is spending it surrounded by the ones you love. Another book with a great message, fun rhymes and really cute illustrations!

Won't You Be My Hugaroo? by Joanne Ryder
"Won't you be my hugaroo? I've lots of hugs to share with you." I've been reading this delightful book to my daughter for two years now! It describes thirteen different types of hugs. Some are silly: a twirly hug, a tickle hug, or a roller-coaster-riding hug. While others are more normal: a cheer up hug, a cuddly hug or a goodbye hug. Which ever ends up being your favorite, a hug is sometimes just what you need. Each hug is described in a fun, one sentenced rhyme. It includes some whimsical illustrations of animals spending the day at an amusement park. As my daughter has gotten older, we like to act out each hug as we read them. Another great hug themed book we enjoy is How Do You Hug a Porcupine?  

The Ballad of Valentine by Alison Jackson
This is such a cute book to read around Valentine's Day. It follows a beau as he desperately tries to deliver a sweet letter to his sweetheart professing his love. In fact, he has written forty different letters and unfortunately not a single one of them has ever reached her. My daughter gets a kick out of watching how his message is always interrupted. The story is told in a short, fun rhyme that can be sung to the tune, "Oh My Darling, Clementine". It also includes some really cute illustrations. 

If You'll Be My Valentine by Cynthia Rylant
This book is a great way to introduce Valentine's Day to toddlers and preschoolers. It follows a little boy as he makes special cards for all of the people, pets and things that he cherishes most. The pets, siblings, grandma, stuffed bear, and parents all get a card. Each page contains a large, cheerful illustration and a cute little poem explaining what the boy will do for each of his special valentine recipients. It's a great way to talk about doing something extra special for your loved ones to help celebrate the holiday.

 My Heart Is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall
Simple rhymes and vivid colors makes this a sweet read that will captivate any young toddler. All of the animals are made using several sized hearts and various shapes. They are incredibly cute and very creative. The text is very simple, but does rhyme. Great way to introduce your little one to more animals as well. It includes a beaver, yak, heron, seal, moose, hippos, crab, bear, bull, hornet, penguin, fox, caterpillar, rabbit, frog, coyote, lion, owl, walrus, clam, and bluejay. Would make a fun art project to do with older children as well! Punch out a bunch of hearts and try to copy the images.

Does your toddler or preschooler have any favorite Valentine's Day books that they love to read over and over again? As always, you can check out our other book reviews here. Now, we are off to work on some heart themed art projects! Happy reading bookworms.