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Fun Friday: Playing With Sand (A Beach Alternative WIth Less Mess)

23 May

kinetic sand

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!  We won’t make it to the beach this weekend but we found an easy alternative for Fun in the Sand at home. My Aunt introduced my girls and I to Kinetic Sand not long ago. Kinetic Sand is easy to mold and build with. It’s fantastic because the grains stick together instead of making a mess all over the place.  It’s easy to clean up making it good  activity for indoor or outdoor play.  The texture is soft, smooth and silky.  It doesn’t dry out and it doesn’t stick to your hands. 

Picture 10

kinetic sand 2
I like to put the sand in a small container for an individual set, easy for taking on the go.  Several packages can be put together for more building opportunities. My girls love adding turtles, shells, and using their dolls to pretend they are at the “beach” sunbathing. Perfect for entertaining the little ones during your weekend barbecues. Use your beach toys to play, my girls can’t wait to get their Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Seaside Sidekicks Sand Cupcake Set out to try with their Kinetic Sand.  When you are done playing, put it in an airtight container to keep it fresh.

 

 

On display at the Time To Play Magazine Playdate.  Wacky-tivities is a product of SpinMaster Toys

Loved seeing Kinetic sand on display at the Time To Play Magazine Spring Showcase. Wacky-tivities is a product of Spin Master Toys


Kinetic Sand is available at Michaels!

 

Disclaimer:  I did not receive products or compensation for this post.  All images and opinions expressed are my own!

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“Let’s Get Cooking” Pretend Play Gift Guide from YoYo.com

23 Nov

As the days get colder and we get cramped inside, it’s easy to turn on the TV or electronics to keep little ones entertained (at least it is for me).  It’s extremely important to keep our kids imaginations going and encourage them to use their imagination.  One of our favorite activities is the girls pretend they are chefs at a fancy restaurant and they take my order and make me food in their kitchen.  Their kitchen (featured in the gift guide) could use more pretend food and accessories to keep their imagination going.  Here are some of my favorites from YoYo.com:

yoyo.com gift guide

KIDKRAFT MODERN CORNER KITCHEN W/STOOLS – ESPRESSO, $225: Your child will love waking up to this YoYo.com exclusive KidKraft Espresso Kitchen. Whether baking some cookies or preparing a holiday meal,this kitchen will let your child’s imagination run free.  The two stools and extended countertop make it perfect for a tea party! If you live in a small place, it’s sleek modern look will still look great in a living room or dining area. If you plan on putting this kitchen together the night before, put the kids to bed early because it takes a while to assemble.
KIDKRAFT PASTEL SMOOTHIE SET, $24.57: We love smoothies! Kids can pretend to make smoothies in their kitchen for siblings or friends.  The knob on the blender turns. There are 6 fruit halves that are attached by Velcro and can be pulled apart easily.

HABA BIOFINO PANCAKES, $28.49: Kids can pretend to make pancakes for breakfast.  Included in the set is an aluminum skillet, chocolate sauce and a strawberry garnish to make “breakfast” extra special.

KIDKRAFT ESPRESSO TOASTER SET, $25.99: The interactive set includes a pop-up toaster, a stick of butter that can easily be pulled into smaller pieces and then put back together, 2 slices of pretend bread, a butter plate, and a butter knife.

KIDKRAFT ESPRESSO BAKING SET, $25.99: Get your little chef baking, cookies, cakes, and other pretend creations. Includes a rolling-pin that rolls back and forth, a cooking pan, a measuring spoon, and 2 chocolate chip cookies.

MELISSA & DOUG TRIPLE-LAYER PARTY CAKE, $19.99: Mix up this layer cake in the baking set for a surprise party for a friend or parent.  Each slice has a self-stick tab so the wooden pieces stick together.  A wooden knife is also included to slice the cake into pieces.

SCHYLLING CUPCAKE TIN TEA SET, $19.99: Adorable cupcake tea set.  Have a tea party after baking the layer cake in your kitchen.  Set consists of four teacups and saucers, four serving plates, tea-pot and serving tray.

Find fun toys and more this Holiday without stepping into a store at YoYo.com. All gifts are delivered to your door with free 2-day delivery (or faster) on orders over $49. Other sites include: BeautyBar.com, Casa.com, AfterSchool.com, BookWorm.com, Look.com, Wag.com, soap.com, and Vine.com

Picture 38

Happy Shopping (& Cooking)!

Disclaimer:  I received a sample kitchen to review.  All opinions expressed are my own.  Some information about the products came from YoYo.com  Images for gift guide are from YoYo.com.

Beach Essentials

23 Jul

20130723-102759.jpg

We just got back from a week in the Outer Banks.  Every morning, before heading to the beach, we gathered these essentials to make sure the girls had fun in the sun!

1. Melissa and Doug Seaside Sidekicks Cupcake Set:  Their favorite sand toy.  They love to make cupcakes in the send and pretend they are making custom orders for my husband and I.  The new friends they make on the beach are also drawn to this toy.  It gets them to use their imagination and engage in pretend play.

Image from Melissa and Doug

Image from Melissa and Doug

2. Kids Folding Canopy Chair:  A break from the sun is necessary every so often.  The girls enjoyed sitting in this canopy chair when they needed a snack, drink, or just wanted to rest.  The canopy provides some shade so they can sit back and enjoy watching the waves crash while on the look out for their favorite dolphin friends.

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3. Large Shovel & Bucket: My girls never get tired of digging for sand crabs, building walls, and filling buckets with sand or shells.  We used a plastic paint pail for the girls to fill with their treasures and sand.

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4. Baby Pool: The ocean is scary when large waves crash so it’s nice to have a small baby pool filled with some ocean water to help your little ones cool off.  It may take multiple trips to fill but it’s definitely worth it if you want to spend the day on the beach.

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6. Paddle Ball:  Although it was difficult for her, my oldest daughter had a great time playing paddle ball with her dad and uncles.  She felt like a “big girl”.

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Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  All images were taken by tastefully childish unless otherwise noted.

A Princess Playdate

23 May
Image from Disney

Image from Disney

20130523-155743.jpgI don’t remember being as into Disney Princesses as my girls and their friends are.  Every play date it’s a battle of who gets to wear what princess costume and there are never duplicates of the same princess.  The other week, my daughters friend invited us over for a “Princess Lunch and Playdate”.  All the girls invited brought their own princess dress up costume.  I always like bringing snacks when other people have us over and I love coordinating the snacks if there is a theme.  Because it was a last-minute playdate, I had to come up with something quickly.  I decided on heart cheese wands for each princess.  They turned out really cute.  All you need is a block of cheese, a cookie cutter (if you don’t have a heart, a star would be cute too), lollipop sticks and ribbon.  Tie the ribbon around the lollipop sticks.  Next, slice the cheese to desired thickness, then cut out shapes. Place shape at top of the stick.  If you cut the cheese too thin it will crack.  I used sharp cheddar cheese but will use a mild or american cheese next time because some of the kids didn’t like the taste.  However, Sleeping Beauty didn’t mind it. :)

For the next Princess Playdate, here are a few ideas I found on Pinterest that are simple, yet fun: (click images to go to original sites):

Castle Sandwiches from Creative Kid Snacks:

Image from Creative Kids Snacks

Image from Creative Kids Snacks

Pretty Pink Drink from On To Baby. Not sure what they use in their drink but I would use pink lemonade, raspberries, and a lemon:

Image from On To Baby

Image from On To Baby

Princess parfait found on Catch My Party:

Image from Catch My Party

Images by Moxie Sox found on Catch My Party

Trick-or-Treating Alternatives!

31 Oct

Happy Halloween!  We are very fortunate to have power, water, and recently cable and internet.  I kind of wish I was without cable and internet because the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy is heartbreaking.  So many people without power, many lost their homes and valuable possessions so how can we think about Halloween? My girls don’t understand why trick-or-treating has been cancelled.  To them it’s devastating.  Here are a few ideas to celebrate Halloween with your child, if you don’t have power try to do them while it is still daylight:

1. Halloween Hunt:  My husband had a great idea. He said that the girls should dress up in their costumes and we can hide treats throughout our living room and they can go for a hunt with their baskets.

2. Trick-or-Treat Role Play: Go to some or all the doors in your home.  Put a Bucket and sign outside of one door saying:”Happy Halloween: please take one piece of candy.”  Have each parent go behind a door so when the kids knock you can answer. On other doors you can put a sign saying “no trick or treaters allowed”.

3. Spooky stories:  Sit in the dark with candles, perfect if you don’t have power, and let your child(ren) come up with a “spooky” story.

There is always a later time to celebrate with friends and family!  Looking forward to celebrating next week! Thinking about everyone impacted by Hurricane Sandy!

Make It Personal With Melissa and Doug

22 Oct

Since the start of the school year, my daughter has made many new friends which means more birthday parties.  As we were shopping for a few upcoming parties, my girls noticed all the Christmas decorations were out and holiday toys were already on display.  Every year the Christmas season starts earlier, which is why it’s no surprise my girls have already started making their list for Santa.

We are huge Melissa and Doug fans.  Most of the gifts we give to friends and receive as presents are Melissa and Doug.  Last Christmas my girls favorite gifts were the Doctor and Veterinarian Role Play Costume Sets.  Recently, Melissa and Doug started adding personalization’s to some of their products like on the role-playing costume sets.  My girls love having personalization on their toys, backpacks, lunch boxes, you name it because they know it is theirs.  It adds an extra special touch to gifts for birthdays and holidays.

Some of our favorite Melissa and Doug products that can be personalized are:

Role play costume sets make great gifts for the holidays and for birthdays. My girls love this hair stylist costume set. They play hair dresser often. The next time they play I am going to have them come up with a name for a salon or I will use our last name so they can share.

One of our favorite gifts to give.

The magnetic chalkboard and dry erase board is at the top of my girls Holiday list. They love drawing and working on their letters. It would like to get each of them a personalized board.

I purchased the magnetic responsibility chart a while ago and use it with my older daughter. However, now that the youngest is older we need to get one for her. When there is multiple children it is great to have it personalized so they can recognize which chart is theirs.

My parents have a dog, Harley, that looks like this. My girls always ask for a dog so for the holidays I plan on getting them a “Harley” to have at home and to play Vet with in their Veterinarian costume.

Click here to see all products that can be personalized!

Disclaimer:  This was a sponsored post but did not alter my opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.  All images are from http://www.melissaanddoug.com.

Animal and Monster Hands On The Loose

29 Aug

Every night we lay in bed making shadow puppets on the ceilings.  Some nights we make butterflies and other nights alligators.  The girls love them and sometimes we make a story with our shadows.  I was looking for birthday presents for my daughters friend when I came across Animal and Monster Temporary Hand Tatoos at Uncommon Goods.  Such a cute idea, now our hands can have animal faces for our bed time routine.  Not only would it be great for bed time stories but we can come up with puppet shows to keep entertained at restaurants, car rides, train-rides, where ever.  I will definitely be ordering these soon for my girls and to put in birthday cards for their friends.  So cute!

Image from Uncommon Goods

Image from Uncommon Goods

Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Tea Party and Other Great Games

22 Jun

My older daughter, 3 1/2, has become interested in playing games together.  One evening she had my husband pull out Monopoly and asked him to teach her to play (way over her head).  We don’t have many games that are good for her to play.  I was telling a friend that she has a sparked interest in group games and she told me about a Cupcake Game her daughter, also 3 1/2, had received as a gift and loved.  We happened to be together at Hombom Toys, a new toy store in TriBeca, when we came across the Cupcake Game– a spinner game by Eeboo.  They had a variety of games by Eeboo so we let the girls pick which game they liked best.  My daughter ended up chosing the adorable Tea Party Spinner Game and LOVES it.  A week after getting the Tea Party game and playing at least twice a day, we went back to Hombom Toys for another game, this time she chose the Cupcake Spinner Game.  The Eeboo spinner games have been wonderful for Friday Fun Nights where we either watch a movie and have popcorn or play games.  They are also great for rainy days and super hot summer days. We have also taken the games to the park and laid out a blanket to play on days with beautiful weather.  I checked out Eeboo’s site to see what other products they have and they have a variety of products; puzzles, decorations, travel games, write me a story and more.  I look forward to purchasing more products and games by Eeboo.

About the games we purchased (all information in italics and images below are from Eeboo.com):

Spinner GamesEeboo has perfected the art of spinner games. The arrows on all their spinners are clear, so there is no question about where the arrow stops. Attached with a rivet on a spacer, the arrows spin freely with a flick of the finger. Each game takes a different tack to build the relational skills of game playing while promoting an assortment of literacy and math skills. Pieces are of sturdy card stock. Each contains clear directions with ideas for additional ways to play.

Time for Tea!
Spin for a plate and napkin first,
Then some tea to quench your thirst.
Mind your manners if you please
But lose a turn if you see bees!
Ta-ta for now, I have to run;
I finished first and I have won!

To play, just check the recipe, and spin for what you’ll need
To bake up perfect cupcakes, satisfaction guaranteed.
Even though it’s make believe, it’s splendid what you’ll learn.
Try not to spin the rotten egg, or you will lose a turn!
Be first to gather what you need and you will be a winner,
And an expert cupcake maker, without spoiling your dinner!

Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Picnic Time!

8 May

The girls and I love having picnics in the park on nice days.  Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t been great lately so we haven’t had many picnics in the park.  Yesterday, I was on Zulily and saw this adorable Playtime Party Picnic Set by Dwell Studio, perfect for cold or rainy days when you need an indoor activity.  The Playtime Party Picnic Set comes with a carrying case which includes a coloring book, a sheet of stickers, and a punch out kit that has: pretend food items, plates, cutlery, napkins, and placemats.(information from B&N.com)  It retails for $15.99 but is on Zulily now for $9.99 and BarnesandNoble.com for $13.49 .  We are heading to Florida on Friday and I have looked for activities to keep the girls busy on the flight.  I will definitely be purchasing this to have an “in-flight picnic” to keep the girls busy.

Image from Zulily.com

The Super Cute SuPper Suit!

25 Jan

Maddie’s godmother recently got engaged and asked her to be a flower girl in her wedding.  Maddie was a flower girl once before and the biggest problem was keeping her dress clean, especially when it was time to eat dinner and cake. I tried using a bib but it was easily pulled off, not to mention it had a duck on it and didn’t really go with the formal attire.  I came across the SuPper Suit on twitter and immediately thought it would be perfect for keeping her flower girl dress clean this time around.

ABOUT

(click the link above for the SuPper Suit Story)

The SuPper Suit is not your typical bib.  It is a smock type bib that covers the front upper half.  To put it on, the arms go in first and there is a Velcro closure in the back, making it hard for the child to pull off.  It is light weight, waterproof, and has a pocket for dropped food.   It includes a travel pouch for easy, on the go storage in your purse, pocket, or snack bag, even when dirty. You can order the SuPper Suit in two adorable styles, a “little black dress” for girls and a “tuxedo” for boys.  These styles are perfect for any occasion, keeping the messiest of eaters clean and saving their sleeves from ketchup stains. Their fancy and stylish look makes them especially great for special occasions like weddings, holidays, birthdays, a special meal out or for everyday use.  The super cute SuPper Suit retails for $15.00 and fits children up to 37 pounds.  The “little black dress” and “tuxedo” can be purchased on their website or on Etsy.  While you are shopping or surfing the web, like the SuPper Suit on Facebook!

IN ACTION

I received two “little black dress” SuPper Suits for review and I keep referring to them as the Super Suit. Although it is a little short on Maddie, it has saved many shirts and dresses for both girls.  The SuPper Suit is not only wonderful for food but it is also perfect for art projects as well as dress up and role-playing.  The girls love to play “fancy restaurant” and they have used their “little black dresses” along with a skirt when they play.  It is very easy to clean, all you need is a damp sponge and mild soap.  It took a little extra muscle to get off when Pela smeared the tomato soup and pasta into it.  We LOVE our SuPper Suit and highly recommend it, especially for little ones just beginning to eat.  It is the new favorite out of the many bibs we own.

Imagine what her shirt underneath could have looked like without The Supper Suit...

Out to dinner to celebrate being a flower, look what could have happened to the sleeve of the beautiful dress underneath.

Great for art!

Saving the PJ's from a sweet treat after bath time!

Not just for meal time... perfect for dress-up too!

Some more pretend play and sisterly "love".

Keep checking back for a Giveaway in the next couple of days!

Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this post.  I received two “little black dress” SuPper Suits for review.  All opinions expressed are my own.