Check this Freebie out!- Scholastic Books and Kellogg's Partner up!

30 January 2012

Are you a mom of a Pre-school to school aged child?  If so, you've probably heard of scholastic books, right?  Being a mom, I'm sure that you also buy food... and I'm sure that at least one thing that you buy is a Kellogg brand.  So, I've got a nice deal for you!  With the codes from your Kellogg's products, and the Scholastic website, you can get a free book, valued up to $5.00.  It takes two codes to get a free book, but get this... there isn't a limit!  You can keep redeeming codes and keep getting free books!  

Now, let me just say this, yes, it takes two codes per book and you have to save all your codes and do all this work... blah blah blah.  Don't make excuses on this one!  If you're already buying the Kellogg's products, it just makes sense to then take those codes and turn them into free books.  Do it, please, for me?

Offer is good through July 1, 2012!  Start Saving today!

At least one reason why Dolly Parton is more awesome than you think...

29 January 2012
Yes, you read that right.  Perhaps you, like myself, have laid Dolly Parton to the side of the road somewhere in your past... but here is one reason that you should know that she is way more awesome than you think. 

It's simply because of her Imagination Library.

All residents of Tennessee, who are of ages birth to 5, can sign up to take part in her Imagination Library.  The library, in turn, mails each registered child a book, tailored to their age, every month.  It's still an expanding enterprise, but they have currently over 686,000 children registered for the program. 

You all know how I love books.  I think they're the doorway to the imagination, keep us young inside and especially in younger children, books can help them understand, cope and imagine their way through all of life's most complicated questions.  When my daughter had trouble sleeping in her own bed, we read books about being afraid of the dark and growing up, when she potty trained we had about a half dozen books about the potty alone, and more recently we've added books about friendship, manners, and being mad.  Even when we aren't reading with our children, I often find them curled up in beanbags "reading" by themselves.

Dolly Parton, you are awesome.  I tip my hat to you and I am so very jealous of your program in Tennessee.  If I were rich, I would do the same thing here in Iowa. :)

Freebie! Chuck E. Cheese Coupons!

28 January 2012

 Expires 2.1.12- We love going to Chuck E Cheese... even if I am the one who has the most fun.... Skeeball wooo!

Great Deals Online: Coupon Codes!

27 January 2012

To all you Moms of kids who wear diapers!

If you’ve never used, now would be the time!  If you use coupon code WOWDEALBB at checkout and it’s your first order, you get $15 off!!  (if you go with the cheapest kind they have, that’s half price on already low prices!!)
Or, alternatively, use code BESTDIAPERDEAL and get $10 off of a $49 order AND $5 off every case of diapers every time you shop. 
ALSO, if you buy the Earth’s Best brand value pack diapers, use code EBWIPES and you can get a free travel pack of wipes!
I don’t know if you can use these codes together or not, but if you can, GREAT!  (and please let me know!)

Freebie! Scotch Brite Sponge!

Who couldn't use a free sponge?  Go to the Scotch Brite website for your coupon that grants you $1.00 off of a Scotch Brite Sponge.  Wait you say? I thought it was free?  Well, Wal-Mart carries these sponges for $0.97... so yep, it's free! There's also a few other coupons that you could make use of, if you're interested. :)

Goodread's 2012 Reading Challenge

24 January 2012

I'm taking part in Goodread's 2012 Reading Challenge and have pledged 100 books.  This is a great opportunity to get your children excited about reading, ask them to pledge a certain number of books, even if it's just 5, 10 or even 100!  Encouraging your children to read constantly expands their horizons.  (And don't forget, you can count the books you read to them!)

Giveaway! Win a Free Book? Please!

23 January 2012
Do you love books as much as I do?  If you do, why don't you hop on over to goodreads?  It's a great website kind of like pinterest, but for books.  It's where I find a lot of my ideas for what I'm going to be reading and reviewing next, and I love it!  Well, I just discovered that they had a Giveaway section!  It's worth a look and it's certainly worth a try if you're a booklover like me!

Goodreads Book Giveaway!

Free Coloring Book!

20 January 2012

Wally Bear and Friends Coloring Book: Building Blocks for a Healthy Future is a coloring book that is being given away for free by SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  If you order the book, it comes in the mail (with even free shipping as long as you choose standard!) or alternatively, you can download the pages and print them yourself!  

Wally Bear and Friends Coloring Book: Building Blocks for a Healthy Future

Must Do for all Parents! Sesame Street Free Learning Tools!

19 January 2012
Sesame Workshop, the creators of Sesame Street, have partnered up with PNC Grow Up Great to create the Sesame Street® “For Me, for You, for Later” kit. This free bilingual, multimedia kit includes a guide for parents, a Children’s Activity Book, some Jar Labels, and an original Sesame Street DVD that features Elmo, Cookie Monster, and their Sesame Street friends as Elmo learns the basics of spending, saving, and sharing.
The Sesame Street “For Me, for You, for Later” kits, including the Elmo DVD, are available for free at any PNC branch, or you can simply request one over the phone by calling 1-877-PNC-GROW (more details are on their website). Several parts of this free Sesame Street kit are also available to download for free directly from their website. You can even watch the original “For Me, for You, for Later” DVD for free right from their website!
If you’re a teacher, they also offer a free, downloadable Educator’s Guide to help you easily incorporate fun activities that build financial skills into your lessons.

Visit the site and download the tools today!  I am going to start doing this with my children (more with my older one because she's about the right age) but I think it's a great idea, and I have always had lots of luck teaching through sesame street!  They just understand children!

P.S.- You can watch the movie on their website, or they include a DVD if you call to get the whole kit!

Sesame Street "For Me, For You, For Later" Kit 

Book Review: Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events"

18 January 2012
For this review, I'm not writing about just a single book, but a series of books instead.  I read all 13 books in Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events."  This series is geared toward children ages 10+ and grades 5 and up.

First off, let me start by talking genre.  This book falls into several different genres, including Absurdist Fiction, Children's Fiction, Children's Fantasy, Gothic Literature and Black Comedy.  These are the wildly fantastic tales of the Baudelaire children, whom you are warned on the very first page do not have a happy tale.  What ensues is a wildly funny, yet dark tale of three children and their bad luck in life, how they keep themselves in good spirits and a close knit feeling of family.  The villain in the story, Count Olaf, is as ridiculous as he is scary, and you will find yourself constantly cheering for the Baudelaires as they repeatedly escape his clutches through means of sheer ingenuity.

It has many good life lessons for children, such as teamwork, family bonds, and the importance of constantly expanding one's mind.  Throughout the book, they continually have to work together to solve riddles, escape sticky situations and escape Count Olaf's deadly but ridiculous traps.  Their family values always remain strong, even through trying and stressful situations, and even when they get frustrated with one another, they are able to recognize their bond and apologize.

Each of the Baudelaire children has a favorite pastime or study that they engage in, for Violet, it is her love of inventing and all things mechanical, for Klaus it is his love of researching and reading, and as Sunny comes of age(so to speak), she displays remarkable culinary talent.  Through these studies, they are always able to find a solution to even the hardest problem, and even as an adult, I am often left wondering what they're next move will be.  It encourages children to explore their interests and how to use them in a variety of situations in their lives.

The story, as I said is ridiculous, funny, dark and scary and yet leaves you hungering to read more!  The best part of the books, however, is coming from my viewpoint as a Mom.  Throughout the book, the author continually uses very large words or tricky idioms that most children at this age are either just getting a grasp on or are getting close to. Instead of leaving your child to have to either look it up in a dictionary or try to figure out what it means themselves (which you have to admit with many idioms it is rather difficult to discern their meaning if you weren't familiar with them),  the author is kind enough to include in text definitions.  These definitions not only include what the word/phrase means in this particular context, but also what it might mean if you used it in a different situation.   Here are a couple of examples:

I find this to be excellent for several reasons,
1- it expands your child's vocabulary by not only making it accessible but also providing extra contextual situations for your child to further understand the definition.
2- it does a great job building suspense throughout the story
3-It's just a fun read.

My negative point about the book was that at certain points it seems to be rambling and I found myself wanting to skip over these sections entirely... which might not be good for a budding attention span.
All in all, a great series.  One that I look forward to introducing my children to... when they get to be the right age, of course.

Beware though, there isn't really a certain happy ending...

Scouting Sunday! {Play A Game, Oobleck, Megaland, Hunger Games, Corn Cakes}

15 January 2012
Part of this blog is going to be hooking you, my beloved reader, up with great deals and ideas for your entire family.

Each week, I will post one link, along with a small blurb about what I liked about the site or its idea, or the product or book and hopefully provide you with new and fun ideas to follow!

So without further Adieu, I hope you enjoy our first Scouting Sunday!


To Do:

I've been recently looking for things to keep my 4.5 year old busy, and I ran across this site and was instantly engaged.  There are activities for all ages and grade levels, different holidays and situations, and I guarantee you'll be able to find hundreds of new activities to do with your children!

To Make:

We made Oobleck yesterday (you can see our post on making Oobleck here)  I chose this particular site from Mossy Mossy because not only did it give the directions on how to make the oobleck, but also it gave interesting information on how it worked.  (I didn't go into near as much detail on my post, simply giving the recipe and showing you how much fun it was!)  For older children, utilize the information that they provide and make it into a science lesson as well!

To Buy:

To Read:

To Eat:

 I make these delicious corn cakes all the time, and they're a big hit in my household.  The best part is that they're so tasty and they have a hidden vegetable inside!  This recipe is wonderful because it is simple and it is tried and true through the years.  I enjoy this particular website because it like a blast from the past and most of the recipes that you find are "from scratch" recipes, requiring very few processed ingredients.

Saturday Play Day! {Oobleck, Crazy Cotton Balls, Catch with a Catch, Mess Free Painting}

14 January 2012
Now that I'm no longer working on Saturdays, I've deemed that these days be "Play Days," In which I do nothing else than play with my children, provide them with activities and play dates and just have fun.  This Saturday was our first play day and we had our good friends Audra and Charlotte over to play with us!

First, we made Oobleck.  (See my post on making Oobleck)  The kids had great fun playing with this stuff, and they actually came back and asked to play with it again!  All said, they played with it for a grand total of 75 MINUTES over two sessions and the adults even had some play time with the Oobleck too before we cleaned it up and got ready for the next project.

We even pulled prints from our oobleck.  We were left with stained hands (which I'm happy to report have been cleaned up after a nice long bath) and a sense of great satisfaction that we were able to entertain them for that long with one simple item that is made from just two household ingredients.  Five out of Five hearts for sure!

 Next, we took a break to play some games.  First we played "Crazy Cotton Balls", and the kids had a lot of fun chasing cotton balls from one room to the next.

They giggled uproariously during this whole activity.  It didn't last very long, but then again, how enjoyable can be crawling around on your hands and knees for a very long time.  Perhaps I should have kept this to carpeted floors. :)

Next up was "Catch with a Catch" which I didn't take a single picture of because the game was downright dangerous!  The way you play is each player has a ball.  They throw the ball up into the air and have to accomplish a task before the ball hits the ground.  We gave them commands like, touch your nose, jump in the air, sit down, touch your toes, and spin in a circle.  (not all at once, mind you!)  It was fun, but it was short lived before the balls were flying too close to heads, tvs and other important pretties in the house, so we had to stop the fun.  This game only earned two hearts from me.
 Next up, was mess free painting.  I found several suggestions of applying blobs of paint to a piece of paper, and then either A) inserting it in a plastic sleeve (which is what we did) of or B) using a ziploc baggie.  Then, you let the kids mush the paint around with their fingers and make some fantastic art.

Overall, this was a fun activity, but seemed to take more time to put the paint onto the paper and into the sleeve than it did for them to actually paint with it.  After some experimenting, it seems that it takes more paint to make a pretty swirly effect, but be warned, we used acrylic paints, and we weren't able to take them out of the sleeve afterward.  The paint soaked into the paper and actually would peel, sticking to the plastic part.  I didn't particularly care about the plastic sleeves, so I just decided to leave our works of art in them and we'll find some place to display them.

I even got into the art, and made my own.  I thought the black and white contrast would be interesting, and yes, it was amazing!  I think I'm going to have to explore this one more with my camera later.  
Fun, mess free, but not as long as I would have liked it to be.  I'm going to give it Four out of Five hearts.
Lastly, we popped up the Playhut Megaland toy that the girls got for Christmas, and us adults sat down for a bit!  The girls had fun crawling through the tunnels and keeping all their toys inside.   

They even found alternative uses for the little holes in the side.  
See my review of the Playhut Megaland and why it deserves Five out of Five hearts.

Overall, Saturday Play Day was a success!  I'm already dreaming up ideas for the next week!
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