Friday, September 30, 2011

Orbeez: Squishy Fun For Hours On End


Orbeez: Squishy Fun For Hours On End


What are Orbeez:
Orbeez are super absorbent polymers!  Duh, I knew that!  OK, to me they are these tiny little bead type things that when you put them in water they grow to about 100 times their original size and become bouncy squishy balls of fun. 

How to Grow Orbeez:
Each packet of Orbeez contains approximately 150 Orbeez and will yield approximately 3/4 cup of grown Orbeez after the addition of water. Empty one packet of Orbeez into a bowl and add 1.5 cups of clean, drinking water. Leave Orbeez to soak for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Orbeez will grow to about 100-300 times their original volume. The purer the water the larger they grow.

How Long Do They Last
Grown Orbeez will maintain their shape for weeks if kept in a closed container, away from heat and light. If Orbeez lose water, simply add more water to regrow.

What Can You Do With Orbeez:
There is a full line of toys that emphasize the different properties of Orbeez. Some accentuate the growing process, some the beauty of Orbeez and some the bouncy quality. All the products come with a full-color Activity Booklet, which provides growing and storage instructions, as well as tons of game and display ideas.


Over Thirty Mommy's Thoughts
We played with the Orbeez but they did not hold her attention for very long since we only tested the Orbeez Color Pack (just the Orbeez themselves) and did not get a chance to try out any of the fun toys that go along with them.

I recommend growing your Orbeez ahead of time so that when your child wants to play with them, they do not have to wait a minimum of 3 hours.  It was hard explaining to a 3 year old that she had to wait until the next day to play with her new toy, she just did not understand.  It was pretty cute to see her running to check the growth progress every 5 minutes. 

They are slippery and bouncy so they can bounce out of control and all over the room.  My husband accidentally stepped on one and said it felt gross between his toes.  This could easily be avoided if we had one of the Orbeez toys that keeps them contained. 

They could be lots of fun, I might visit one of the many stores that sell Orbeez to check out the toy line.

ENJOY!!


**Disclaimer: I was not paid any form of cash for this posting.   I received an Orbeez Color Pack for the purpose of this review.  This is solely the opinion of Over Thirty Mommy. Other people may have different experiences with the products.**  

Modern Classic Children's Books


Modern Classic Children's Books


Everyone loves a good book, but there’s nothing better than sitting down with your children and spending quality time reading together. Here are my top 15 modern children's classics:

1. Having sold 22 million copies worldwide, ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle was written in 1969. Prior to this, the author had been a graphic designer and wanted to experiment with a new kind of children's book. It tells the story of a caterpillar that eats his way through a mountain of food before eventually turning into a beautiful butterfly.
The Hungry Caterpillar
The Hungry Caterpillar Image Source

2. Written in a language of old, ‘Winnie the Pooh’ is still loved by millions of children and has been turned into cartoons and films. Winnie the Pooh follows Edward Bear (aka Winnie) with his friends Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit and Christopher Robin, who is based on AA Milne's own son, in their adventures in the 100-acre wood.
Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh Image Source
3. Can you image what would happen if a tiger came to tea? This is what happens to Sophie and her mother one day in the book ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’; but the best part comes when Sophie's dad comes home and instead of asking, “Why is there a tiger in their house?” he asks if they would like to go out for dinner?

The Tiger Who Came to Tea
The Tiger Who Came to Tea Image Source

4. Making a book that is educational and fun his hard but this is what Dr Seuss did with ‘The Cat in the Hat.’ It tells the story of a cat that turns up at the children's house on a rainy day with ideas of games to play. As well as being a fun book, it also includes the 225 words that are vital for a new reader to learn.

The Cat in the Hat
The Cat in the Hat Image Source

5. Made famous by a film that included the song “We're Walking in the Air”, ‘The Snowman’ is shown every Christmas and has become somewhat of a tradition to many families. With no words, the story is only shown by illustrations and gets you every time when the boy realises that his new friend won't last forever

The Snowman
The Snowman Image Source

6. ‘Charlotte's Web’ teaches a child about compassion, death and helping others, whilst at the same time, telling us the story of Wilbur the pig who is due to be sent to slaughter. A spider called Charlotte saves Wilbur and eventually they win a prize together at the county fair. Charlotte is not long for this world and Wilbur has to learn to move on while never forgetting her.

Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web Image Credit

7. ‘The Gruffalo’ is a relatively new entry into children's books but despite this, co-author Julia Donaldson says that the rhyming used within the book helps children to get involved and enjoy and remember the story more.
The Gruffalo
The Gruffalo Image Source

8. All of us know that feeling of not being able to sleep and in ‘Peace at Last’ by Jill Murphy, Mr Bear cannot sleep due to Mrs Bear's snoring. So he tries baby bears bed, the lounge and car but everywhere is too noisy. Eventually he finds peace at last back in his own bed.
Peace at Last
Peace at Last Image Source

9. Originally written by Beatrix Potter for an ill 5 year old, ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ was first published in 1902 and followed the little rabbit through adventures as well as meeting other well-dressed animals. Although over 100 years old, ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ is still a firm favourite with children today.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit
The Tale of Peter Rabbit Image Source

10. No modern classic children's book list could be without the phenomena that is ‘Harry Potter’. Over seven books, they tell the story of Harry Potter who finds out at the age of 11 that his parents were wizards and he has been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The series has become a record-breaking series of films staring the previously unknown Daniel Radcliffe.
Harry Potter Books
Harry Potter Books Image Credit

11. “I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet and they sent me a …..” monkey, frog, snake, camel and even a lion; but there’s something not quite right with all of them. You will have to read ‘Dear Zoo’ to see what he finally gets!
Dear Zoo
Dear Zoo Image Source

12. ‘Each Peach Pear Plum’ by Janet and Allan Ahlberg gets kids interactive with books by having to find things within the pages. Based on rhymes from the 1930's and 50's, it was inspired after the authors read “The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren.”
Each Peach Pear Plum
Each Peach Pear Plum Image Source

13. Since the release of ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’, I wonder how many children have climbed into their wardrobe to see if they could get to Narnia? Published by in 1950, its author CS Lewis includes many biblical themes such as betrayal, forgiveness and salvation and is the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia series.
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe Image Source

14. When three children discover a fantasy land at the top of a ladder attached to a tree, they meet characters such as Moonface, the Saucepan Man, Mr Watzisname and Silky the fairy. The lands at the top of ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’ are always changing and include the Land of Dame Slap and the Land of Birthdays. Enid Blyton definitely had imagination.

The Magic Faraway Tree Book Cover
The Magic Faraway Tree Book Cover Image Source

15. Dave takes ‘Dogger’ everywhere but one day, Dave loses Dogger and the story tells us the adventures both characters go through before being reunited. Shirley Hughes has the ability to put into words, everyday things that happen no matter what year it is.

Dogger Book Cover
Dogger Book Cover Image Source

Modern Children’s classiscs was brought to you on behalf of Chessington Holidays; creating chessington adventures for you and your children to share over and over again.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sponsors: 2011 Holiday Gift Guide Submissions Are Now Being Accepted


WOW, Time flies!  Can you believe that it is already almost October?   Before you know it, the Holiday season will be in full swing.

I am currently seeking Sponsors to fill some spots for my annual Holiday Gift Guide. 
I will be holding the Over Thirty Mommy Holiday Gift Guide from November 15th through December 10th! (Dates subject to change).  

This guide include all kinds of events, products, foods or gift baskets, crafts, services, and entertainment for all ages and all members of the family. 

 Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are unsure if the item is a good fit for the Holiday Gift Guide.  It doesn’t hurt to ask and if Over Thirty Mommy is not the right place for your product, I  might be able to point you in the direction of a better fit.

Participating in the Over Thirty Mommy Holiday Gift Guide is free of charge (with the exception of the cost of review/giveaway product). If your company, business or service would like to participate please let me know if you would like a review or a review with giveaway space in the guide.  Doing reviews with giveaways is always a great way to draw more traffic to your site and product and my readers would love the opportunity to try your amazing products.

To participate in my Holiday Gift Guide all you need to do either FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW or email me directly at Over Thirty Mommy and I will be in contact as soon as possible.

I set up the calendar for my SPONSORS and give each feature a specific date and spot in the Gift Guide on a first come, first serve basis.

Spots fill up FAST!

Thank you for your interest and I look forward to working with you!

Top 5 Baby Accessories


Top 5 Baby Accessories

New parents need baby clothes, baby food, baby accessories… and a lot of time and patience. There are a lot of accessories out there that can make a new mom or dad’s life easier by helping out with a task, providing physical relief or making baby safer. Here are our top 5 choices for baby accessories to have around the house.

Baby tub

Baths are too big for newborn babies; there’s always a risk of drowning of you’re not 100% attentive. And then, there’s always the kitchen sink, but who wants to disinfect their kitchen sink several times a day to make sure that baby doesn’t get sick? A baby tub is the perfect choice. Fill it with water at a good temperature, bathe baby and clean the tub after. No food germs. And most models can be made bigger as baby grows up.

Choose a tub made of soft plastic with cushioning. Plastic is easy to clean and disinfect and cushioning will make bath time more comfortable for baby. It’s like a baby spa!

Swing chair

A swing chair or bouncy chair will give you a little break from holding baby all day long. Sometimes you just want to sit down with a good book while your baby is occupied with toys and activities, and a swing chair will keep your baby safe. Choose one with both stimulating and relaxing activities—soft music will put them to sleep and mirrors and lights will attract their attention.

Of course, safety is always the priority so choose a good quality swing chair that has received high security ratings. Reviews abound on the Web, so it won’t be hard to find one.

Diaper bag

This one is a no-brainer. It’s not like you spend your days inside—you’ll have to go out and bring your baby into the world, eventually. So get yourself a nice, fashionable, durable diaper bag. Even celebrity moms carry them around! There are so many models and styles to choose from, you’ll be sure to find one that suits your tastes and your needs.

Nursing bra and top

Nursing moms swear by these… they make life so much easier. You can nurse in public without having to take your whole top off and you minimize the amount of spills and stains. Nursing tops especially come in stain-resistant fabrics that are easy to clean.

More and more public places are “nursing friendly”, so don’t be afraid to show how much you care about baby by nursing him or her naturally.

Camera

Well, most of us have cameras these days, but still, it’s good to remember to always have one on hand to capture those special moments with baby. Memories are great, but there’s nothing more special than sharing them with your kid when he or she is grown up.

So these are our five favourite baby accessories to have around the house. What are your favourite baby gifts? Anything we’ve missed that has saved your life?

Author Bio: Tom Mallet is an Australian freelance writer and journalist. He writes extensively in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the US. He’s published more than 500 articles about various topics, including baby clothes and baby gifts.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Storybook Costume Character Fun


Storybook Costume Character Fun

As our daughter gets older she is rapidly developing a love for all things princess.  This love blossomed last March when her BFF had a Princess themed birthday party.  All guests invited to the royal event had to dress up,  my daughter went as Belle and her desire for everything princess began.

She made such an adorable princess that I took her in to the local photo studio to have pictures of her in her princess dress.  Honestly, who needs pictures of Easter dresses when you can have princesses!

When given the opportunity from buycostumes.com to have our very own storybook princess costume, I knew just which one she would like most. 

You can make costumes even more fun by combining the fun of playing dress up and the love my daughter has for books with BuyCostumes.com and many of their adorable/unique Storybook Costumes


The Storybook collection at buycostumes.com is full of great costumes for all members of the family

One of our favorite storybook princess is Aurora, Sleeping Beauty. We have the book, the movie and now a beautiful storybook costume with accessories.

I did not tell her that the Storybook Aurora Costume was coming so when the box arrived and we opened it, it was like Christmas in September at our house.  That girl could not get her clothes off fast enough so that she could get into the costume.  She wore it around the house all night and exclaimed that she was a princess every chance she got.  She would show you her fancy shoes and waive her magic wand at you.

I would have loved to use this costume as her Halloween costume but it is quite a bit big on her (looks OK in picture because I pinned it) and I am not sure I will be able to sew it to fit, so we will use it for everyday dress up play this year and might be able to use it for Halloween next year. 

She wears a 3T sometime 4T in shirts so I ordered the toddler 3T-4T size but it is much to big in the body, length is good but she is pretty tall for her age. 

Buy Costumes.com has a massive selection of costumes for the whole family. 

Halloween costumesWith over 15,000 costumes, accessories, props and party supplies (including 200+ exclusive items you can't find anywhere else), BuyCostumes.com has a huge range of genres and categories for every taste and occasion.


**Disclaimer: I was not paid any form of cash for this posting.   I received a costume and accessories for the purpose of this review.  This is solely the opinion of Over Thirty Mommy. Other people may have different experiences with the products.**  

Little Tikes Expands Recall of Toy Workshop and Tool Sets Due to Choking Hazard


Little Tikes Expands Recall of Toy Workshop and Tool Sets Due to Choking Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: Little Tikes® Workshop and Tool Sets

Units: More than 1.7 million additional units (about 1.6 million toy workshop sets and trucks with the same toy nails were recalled in August 2009)

Hazard: The recalled workshop and tool sets have oversized, plastic toy nails that can pose a choking hazard to young children.

Description: This recall involves the toy nails sold as part of 11 additional models of Little Tikes® Workshop and tool sets listed below. The toy nails are oversized, plastic, and about 3 1/4 inches long by 1 1/4 inch in diameter. The nails are either red or blue and have a large round head; below the nail head there is a plastic ridge, slightly smaller than the nail head and about 1 inch in diameter. The model number may be found on some of the products.


For more details, pictures and product numbers please visit the CPSC website, HERE


Complementary Therapies That Can Help You Through Your Pregnancy


Complementary Therapies That Can Help You Through Your Pregnancy

Pregnancy can and should be a joyous, exciting time, but that joy is sometimes dimmed by the many concerns and discomforts that are associated with bringing a new life into the world. Many women experience a great deal of stress and anxiety throughout their pregnancy; plagued with fears and worries about the possibility of miscarriage, the health of their child, the painful reality of labour, or their ability to care for the baby once it arrives. As the pregnancy progresses and your body experiences massive changes, there are also the inevitable physical symptoms to cope with. Complementary therapies can help you through your pregnancy, alleviating the emotional and physiological symptoms and helping to protect the health of both you and your baby. There are many types of complementary therapies that have proved beneficial during pregnancy. Here are a few you may want to consider.

Hypnotherapy: Using hypnosis to relax and to release any stress and tension is one of the most effective ways for you to experience a healthier and more comfortable pregnancy. The more relaxed you are, the better it is for your baby. The therapist can teach you how to achieve a state of profound mental and physical relaxation and concentration on your own, which will prove invaluable during labour and delivery. When the uterine muscles are relaxed, they are able to do what they were designed to do with minimal pain. Hypnosis helps facilitate a natural birth without the need for medical intervention.

Acupuncture: Using specifically designed treatments, acupuncture can assist your pregnancy throughout, helping you build up your strength and overall health while addressing the symptoms that arise at every step from conception to postnatal care. Acupuncture can greatly alleviate such symptoms as morning sickness, heartburn, hypertension, water retention, backache, hemorrhoids, sciatica and it helps with weight control. Acupuncture is also used to: treat women who are prone to habitual miscarriage, induce a birth, turn breach babies, or relieve pain during labour.

Aromatherapy: Essential oils, extracted from aromatic plant sources, can be used to alleviate many pregnancy related symptoms. This does not apply to all essential oils, as there are certain oils that should be avoided, particularly those that have blood thinning properties or could stimulate cramping or contractions. Among those that are recommended for use are: Lemon, Lavender, Tangerine, Petitgrain, Neroli, Patchouli, Ylang Ylang, Grapefruit, and Chamomile. They each have unique properties but collectively can relieve morning sickness, reduce fluid retention, sooth aches and pains, prevent stretch marks, ease nervous tension, and be used in the prevention and treatment of pre and post-partum depression.

Homeopathy: Homeopathic remedies are an effective alternative to pharmaceutical medications during pregnancy. Safe and free from side effects, they have been used during pregnancy for the past two centuries. An increasing number of pharmaceuticals have been shown to cause serious birth defects including some antifungal, acne and anti-seizure drugs. Homeopathic remedies can be used to treat minor injuries, acute and chronic illnesses, as well as symptoms related to the pregnancy.

More and more women are discovering the benefits of complementary therapies in managing the emotional ups-and-downs and physical discomforts of pregnancy. Integrating one or more types of complementary therapy into your pre-natal routine is good for both you and your baby. 

Hello my name is Nisha, I love to write about parenting, children and give advice to mums, please feel free to visit our website to see the latest offers on cot bed mattresses  and pushchairs.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Make Healthy Living Fun with Disney's "D-Lightful Living" Program


DISNEY MAKES HEALTHY LIVING FUN WITH NEW ‘D-LIGHTFUL LIVING’ PROGRAM TO HELP FAMILIES MAKE BETTER HEALTH & NUTRITION CHOICES

Weekly Challenges Provide Simple Steps to Animate Daily Routines with the Help of Disney-Branded Products.

See the Press release Below for more information and details: 
Glendale, Calif. –– Getting kids to become animated about healthy lifestyle habits is not always easy.  Today Disney Consumer Products (DCP) announces an exciting new program to help equip parents and busy families with the tools they need to incorporate more of these habits into a busy schedule.
Through a series of weekly challenges over the course of 12 weeks, D-Lightful Living: Animate Your Daily Routine will give parents tips inspired by fun Disney-branded products on how to help motivate their families to make simple and easy changes like eating more fruits and vegetables, improving oral care habits and preparing for cold and flu season.    Hosted on DCP’s official Facebook page known as Disney Living, each week DCP will feature a video challenge from the “Go-To Mom,” Kimberley Clayton Blaine – a mom blogger, child development expert and licensed child therapist. She will showcase simple tips and product suggestions to help other parents guide their kids toward a healthier lifestyle using products that feature their favorite Disney characters. The program will run weekly through the end of November.
“Encouraging children to incorporate health-minded changes, even small ones, into their daily routines is often frustrating for parents,” said Blaine, a mom of two boys. “With help and inspiration from Disney-branded products that feature some of kids’ favorite characters, moms and dads can inspire healthier habits that feel like fun and not a task.”
Beginning today, families can visit the D-Lightful Living page on Disney Living Facebook to find out information on each weekly challenge including tips from Blaine and information about relevant Disney-branded products to help succeed with each challenge. Parents can also download a checklist outlining all 12 weekly challenges and tack this up around the house to help track the family’s progress. They can also join in the online forum to share their own tips toward healthier habits and enter to win a weekly Disney-branded product prize package.
“From our nutritional guidelines to the ‘Magic of Healthy Living’ PSAs and programming, Disney has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to encouraging families to make better choices concerning their health and nutrition,” said Embola Ndi, vice president of Food Health & Beauty, DCP.  “The D-Lightful Living campaign gives moms meaningful ideas and product solutions to help her family make these better choices while also showing kids that Disney makes healthy living fun.”
Through a sharing function, program participants are encouraged to let their Facebook friends in on all the action by inviting them to participate or working together to help each other meet their family’s goals.
About Disney Consumer Products
Disney Consumer Products (DCP) is the business segment of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) and its affiliates that extends the Disney brand to merchandise ranging from apparel, toys, home d├ęcor and books and magazines to foods and beverages, stationery, electronics and fine art. This is accomplished through DCP’s various lines of business which include: Disney Toys, Disney Fashion & Home and Disney Food, Health & Beauty. Other businesses involved in Disney’s consumer products sales are Disney Publishing Worldwide, the world’s largest publisher of children’s books and magazines, and www.DisneyStore.com and www.DisneyStore.co.uk, the company’s official shopping portals. The Disney Stores retail chain, which debuted in 1987, is owned and operated by Disney in North America, Europe, and Japan For more information, please visit Disney Consumer Products or follow us at www.YouTube.com/DisneyLiving, www.Facebook.com/DisneyLiving and www.Twitter.com/DisneyLiving.
About Disney Magic of Healthy Living
Through the Magic of Healthy Living initiative, Disney is partnering with parents in their quest to raise healthy, happy kids. With entertaining content, useful tools, and engaging experiences, the program reinforces the work of parents and inspires kids by making healthy lifestyles simple and fun. Magic of Healthy Living builds on the landmark nutritional guidelines Disney introduced in 2006. For more information, please visit: www.disney.com/TRYit.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Handstand Kids Cookbook Review and Giveaway


Handstand Kids Cookbook 
Review and Giveaway


My daughter loves to "help" me in the kitchen in the mornings while I make our daily smoothies and pack my husbands lunch.  She wants to help me every chance she gets but there are few things that she is able to do since she is so young.

I have seen the Handstand Kids series of kid friendly cookbooks at Bed Bath and Beyond during various trips and could not wait to share them with my daughter.

About Handstand Kids:
The Handstand Kids Cookbook Company creates international cookbook kits that introduce children to the culture, language, and cuisine of a new country. Their cookbooks also offer children an introduction to the country's language.

The Handstand Kids Cookbook Company aims to use international cooking to create a global community of children and empower kids to take a stand in their own community. Cooking is a fantastic way to promote health and nutrition, explore different cultures, encourage family togetherness and give to others in need.

The Handstand Kids motto is "Traveling the world, one recipe at a time."

Our Experience:




 Each cookbook kit is uniquely packaged with a cooking accessory.  We received the Mexican Cookbook kit.  It came packaged in a tortilla bag with a child-sized oven mitt (although ours came with a spatula instead of the mitt).

I wanted to start her with something simple so we made the easiest recipe that I could find in the cook book, Cinnamon Sticks.  She had so much fun and can not wait to get back in the kitchen to try out the next recipe.

I found it very helpful that each recipe is clearly labeled with the level of skill needed.  It was also neat that the ingredients are listed in both English and Spanish so that I can teach my daughter the culture and language of Mexico while we are having fun in the kitchen.





**Disclaimer: I was not paid any form of cash for this posting.   I received a cookbook for the purpose of this review .  This is solely the opinion of Over Thirty Mommy. Other people may have different experiences with the products.**   

Team Sports Can Bring Out the Best in Children



Team Sports Can Bring Out the Best in Children
by Keith Barrett 

With obesity on the rise, sports are becoming increasingly important for children to participate in. Aside from the obvious health benefits, team sports bring along a myriad of other positive effects including teaching social and teamwork skills that will be beneficial for the child's future. Similarly to music and art programs, team sports programs are being threatened due to the fact that schools are unable to stretch their budgets out enough in order to be able to fully fund the programs. That is why it is so important for the benefits of team sports to be widely publicized.

Exercise and team sports

Team sports are a great way for children to keep active on a daily basis. With the introduction of sedentary activities such as television and video games, children have become less involved in team sports.
Currently, in the United States, sixteen to thirty-three percent of all children are obese and this extra weight leads to further health problems later in life with over 300,000 people dying every year due to health complications related to being obese or severely overweight. Many doctors estimate that children should be exercising at least one hour every day. Being involved in team sports is a great way to fulfil this recommendation.

Team sports and social skills

Additionally, team sports are particularly wonderful in helping children with their social skills. This is due to the fact that children are interacting with other children and are therefore being exposed to new relationships. If a child is particularly shy or uncomfortable in social situations, team sports present a safer, less pressurized atmosphere where the child can interact with those who have similar interests.
One of the biggest criticisms of team sports is the competitive atmosphere that it often inspires; however, it should be noted that competition is typically healthy and safe as many countries, including the United States, have thrived due to this spirit of competitiveness.

Team sports and teamwork

Team sports teach children how to work together to accomplish something, otherwise known as teamwork. This is an extremely important and vital concept which will serve the child throughout their entire lives.  Team sports show children that they must combine their efforts and skills in order to succeed or win. Playing video games and watching television may be fun, but it is a solitary activity which trains a person to only look out or depend on themselves.

Variety of team sports

There is virtually a sport for each child and their differing interests. Soccer, basketball, and football are some of the well known team sports and are particularly effective in building teamwork and social skills. There are many other choices in addition to these such as volleyball, gymnastics, cheer-leading, tennis, track and field, hockey, and baseball.
Author Profile
Keith Barrett takes a lead role in a number of sporting organisations. He makes use of football trophies to encourage kids, seeing them as a key motivational aid.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Moon Dough Got a Make Over, Check it out!


Moon Dough Got a Make Over, Check it out!


Gone are the days of Moon Dough making a mess and falling apart all over the place. Check out the new and improved Moon Dough.

The new Mood Dough formula (for ages 3 &up) still never dries out (which is great since my daughter never seems to get it put away), is hypo-allergenic, and wheat free.  It is also less crumbly and holds its shape better than before.

Moon Dough comes in several play sets, including: Push N' Pop Ocean Pals, Push N' Pop Breakfast and the Snack Shop, Pizza Kit, Ice Cream cart and more.

We received the Push N' Pop Ocean Pals set and my daughter loves it.  We set her up in the living room and she was popping out sea turtles, octopus and sea grass in no time.  I was thrilled that even when she dropped it on the carpet, it was easily picked up and did not make a huge mess.  

Moon Dough Push N' Pop Ocean Pals includes 3 Push & Pop tools, twisty animal molds, two colors of Moon Dough and 1 themed mat.



Wiggle Bean is a little under the recommended age of 3 (she will be 3 in January) but she had no problem using the push & pop tools and had a blast with her moon dough set.

Moon Dough is available at Toys "R" Us, Target, Kmart,Walmart Amazon.com, A.C. Moore, Michaels and eToys.

**Disclaimer: I was not paid any form of cash for this posting.   I received a Moon Dough Ocean Pals play set for the purpose of this review.  This is solely the opinion of Over Thirty Mommy. Other people may have different experiences with the products.**    

How to Build Your Child's Self-Esteem and Confidence


How to Build Your Child's Self-Esteem and Confidence

While it is important to teach a child to be cautious of certain things (ie the busy road, the steep stairs etc) parents should be careful not to overprotect their child so much that he loses his natural instinct to explore and the courage to try new things.

We have all watched children in the playground as they line up to climb the steps of the slide; one by one they slide down, squealing with delight as they do so. But in nearly every line-up there is the nervous child who climbs the steps extra carefully and very slowly, repeatedly looking back for a nod of reassurance from an all-too-often anxious parent.

This type of parent often seems to take great pride in announcing their child's fear to the world. 'He's such a sensitive little boy, so careful and cautious.' In reality it is often the parent who is over cautious, worried, anxious and fearful that their child should come to harm. A child who is constantly reminded to be careful when he attempts the everyday challenges all children face, will quickly lose the confidence and the courage to try different things and learn new skills.

Parents who constantly correct everything their child says or does can also damage their child's self-esteem. The desire for their child to achieve success in everything he attempts to do leads some parents to re-arrange the farmyard properly, finish off the edges of the colouring correctly, and more often than not frequently answer or finish a sentence for the child when he is asked a question. Their drive for perfection very quickly cripples his natural ability to try things for himself. He then becomes too anxious to try anything for fear of getting it wrong - frightened of disapproval.

The following guidelines give suggestions to help build your child's self-esteem and confidence.

- The way a parent helps their child approach the many challenges he faces has a great influence on how successful he will be in mastering the challenge. All too often I hear parents express concern that their child is bound to be like them and be frightened of heights, have no sense of balance, dislike dogs etc. A child is not a carbon copy of his parents, therefore it is very important that you do not assume that your child's strengths and weaknesses will be the same as your own.

- Between two and three years of age a child is becoming very aware of being a separate person and is beginning to form views and opinions of his own. It is very important that you allow your child time to think and answer for himself when asked a question.

- During the third year all children are capable of self-feeding, undressing and, apart from buttons and zips, dressing themselves. Continuing to do these things for your child because it is quicker will do little to help his growing independence. Allow extra time at mealtimes and in the morning and evening so you have the patience to guide him and encourage him to do these things for himself.

- When teaching new skills it is important that you choose a time when your child is not overtired or hungry. Then, before doing it together, show him several times how it is done. Once he attempts it by himself it is important to praise him for his efforts even if he doesn't get it quite right.

- Second children appear to learn many skills much quicker, probably because they copy their elder brother or sister. An only child will benefit greatly from being given the opportunity to mix with other children at playgroups or if parents arrange play dates at home.

- It is important not to undermine your child's attempts at something new by comparing him with others. The length of time a child takes to learn a new skill varies for each child and the most important thing is that your child enjoys learning the new skill, not how long he takes to learn it. If you are concerned about your child's development it is better to talk to your health visitor than to worry unnecessarily.

- Learning a new skill requires a lot of concentration from a child, which can sometimes lead to frustration and anger. If, despite being shown several times, your child is still struggling with a new task, a difficult jigsaw or game, try to resist interfering or doing it for him. It is much better to defuse the situation by suggesting a rest period with a drink and a biscuit. Once he has calmed down and is relaxed he will be much more likely to listen to your advice on how to tackle the task.

During the third year most parents work hard to help build their child's self-esteem and to encourage him to become more confident. However, sometimes a child's increasing independence can cause him to become overconfident which can lead to disobedience. I think it is essential that parents strike a happy balance between encouraging their child's new-found confidence and teaching them that there are certain rules to which we must all adhere.


Alan Murray is a writer for a babies names site. He is the father of two boys and lives in Scotland in the UK. The site has more than just baby names however with information on pregnancy, baby health and symptoms of chickenpox.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn Activities for Kids


Autumn Activities for Kids


So summer has drawn to a close, and the nights are drawing in. As the weather turns colder in these darkening months, check out our top ten ways to entertain the kids by celebrating all things autumn.

Comfort cooking
Soup
Soup Image Credit
Getting kids in the kitchen is a great way to teach them culinary skills, and working with seasonal ingredients will help them appreciate where food comes from. Autumn is a fruitful season, with an array of berries and vegetables ripe and ready for eating. Cook up root vegetables in hearty soups and stews to stave off the chill in the air, roast chestnuts and seeds as healthy snacks for nibbling between meals or bake wholesome fruit pies and crumbles to warm the cockles of your heart. Sweet pumpkin pies and toffee apples are perfect sweet treats, and why not add squash or sweet potato to your favourite brownie recipe? If you want something simple and quick, add some marshmallows to hot chocolate for a beverage to brighten up the greyest day.

Blackberry picking
Blackberry Picking
Blackberry Picking Image Credit
Kids will love collecting these plump, purple berries, which are rich in vitamins and full of juicy flavour. Wild fruits are easy to find in the countryside if you keep your eyes peeled, but be careful of the thorns. Make sure you wear some old clothes, as the richly-coloured juices will stain hands as well as whatever you're wearing. The berries ripen in early autumn and should come off the plant easily when pulled, but it's not advisable to eat them after the end of September, as they're past their best by then. Wash well and use to make refreshing cordial or delicious desserts.

Make jam
Jam Making
Jam Making Image Credit
Take advantage of the season’s glut of fruits by making preserves, which can be poured over ice cream or spread on hot buttered toast. Sweet, sticky and economical, kids can't wait to get involved in this messy enterprise, but make sure all hands are washed first! Use fruit that's high in pectin if you want a jelly texture - try blackcurrants, plums, gooseberries, damsons or cranberries - or use jam sugar, which has pectin added. Get the kids to squish the fruit into a smooth mush, then add sugar and lemon juice and simmer for ten minutes for quick and easy syrup that will keep for weeks in sterlised jars.

Leaf crafts
Leaves
Leaves Image Credit
Autumn is a month resplendent with the magnificent colours of falling leaves. They're fun to kick through when they're swept into piles, but they're also perfect for creating some seasonal artwork. Get your young explorers to gather a selection of different shapes and sizes and use wax crayons and plain paper to make leaf rubbings. Or sandwich them between waxed paper and iron over them to create unique preserved leaf decorations. Or why not just make leaf collages using paper, glue and a selection of fallen foliage in reds, oranges and yellows.

Conkers
Conkers
Conkers Image Credit
Relive your childhood by hosting a family conker championship. This traditional game is a great way to indulge in some good, old-fashioned fun. Collect an assortment of the horse-chestnut seeds and drill a hole in the hardest specimens with a nail or screwdriver. Thread them onto a piece of string or shoelace and knot in place. Competitive challengers can harden their conkers by baking them or soaking them in vinegar, although die-hard enthusiasts consider this to be cheating.

Nature journal
Nature Journal Sample
Nature Journal Sample Image Credit
Foster your child's creativity by encouraging them to record the change of season in a notebook. Get them to jot down notes each day on weather, special events, findings, observations and descriptions of plants. They can also include illustrations, sketches, photos, poetry, leaves and pressed flowers. Kids will love discovering the details of nature and the finished book will make a beautiful keepsake full of memories to be cherished.

Create harvest festival decorations
Harvested Vegetables
Harvest Vegetables Image Credit
Celebrate the wealth of food that autumn provides in this rustic rural festivity. Kids can create a woodland basket full of natural treasures, such as pine cones, twigs, dried fruit, nuts, pumpkins and squashes, dried flowers, grasses, acorns, leaves and seed heads. It will make a charming centre-piece to any family dinner table. Make candle-holders out of cored apples, or have a go at making traditional corn-dollies by weaving together dried stalks of wheat or corn.

Decorate a pumpkin
Jack-O-Lanterns
Jack-O-Lanterns Image Credit
Making Jack-O-Lanterns is a traditional Halloween pastime, in which pumpkins are hollowed and carved into gruesome faces to decorate homes and front porches. You can give the kids a hand cutting monstrous grimaces into these spooky fruit, or simply paint them with blackboard paint and chalk pens to avoid the risky use of sharp knives. Add stickers, stencils or pins to embellish your strange and scary characters, then pop a candle inside for the full frightening effect.

Make your own Guy
Guy Fawkes
Guy Fawkes Image Credit
Mark the magic of Bonfire Night by constructing your very own Guy Fawkes. Much like a scarecrow, these effigies are traditionally cobbled together using bundles of rags and straw, and can be as scruffy and silly as you want. Use old clothes and tights to build the body by stuffing them with wads of crumpled paper. Try using a pumpkin or a cabbage as a head, wool or string for hair and top with a comical hat. Pop the finished figure in a wheelbarrow and sit him on your front lawn to frighten the neighbours.

Make a Diwali lamp
Lanterns
Lanterns Image Credit
This Hindu festival falls in October, and celebrates the triumph of light over darkness. Lamps are lit to help Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, find her way into people's homes. It's a time of year for exchanging gifts of sweets or dried fruit, and decorating houses with lanterns. Why not make your very own lamp from brightly-coloured card? Fold an A4 piece lengthways and make a sharp crease, then cut into the folded edge all the way along to create slits. Unfold and roll into a circular shape, gluing along the edges, then use a piece of thread to hang them in your window.

Autumn Activities for Kids was produced on behalf of Legoland Holidays; helping you to entertain your kids with cheap legoland tickets.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Unlocking Possibilities


Unlocking Possibilities
by Melissa Wenzel  

My favorite key is no longer on my key chain. I didn’t even get to hang onto it as a keepsake. Interchangeable, the keys on my key ring accompany me through life; evidence of a life lived – homes occupied, offices worked in and cars come and gone. They speak to who I am and how far I’ve come. New keys replace old keys; old keys get tossed aside, yet remain the keeper of information of a past era. My sentimental side keeps my favorite ones tucked away in a drawer in my dresser. 

 I got my favorite key four years ago on a clear, spring afternoon. My husband and I were handed an envelope containing two identical keys inside – house keys. After years of saving for a down payment and paying off college debt, we were finally homeowners; on our way to achieving the American Dream. Upon entering our lovely, modest abode that day, I did cartwheels in the family room before collapsing on the floor, snow angel-style, soaking in the sweet smells of new carpet and fresh paint. We were home.

Four years of living in a house seems so short, but it was more than enough time to fall in love with it.
Last year, with a sour economy pounding on our door, my husband and I decided to sell our house. It was a decision wrought with heartache. I brought my babies home to that house, started my business in that house and fostered tender memories there. The house was far from perfect, but it was ours. 

I remember the day the For Sale sign arrived. My three year old twins and I were playing in the backyard on a spring morning when we heard a truck pull up out front. Obsessed with anything with wheels, the boys insisted we go check out “the big truck outside.” We skipped through the house and before I reached to unlock the front door, I peeked through the window and gasped.  A strange man was in our front yard nailing the splintery sign into the ground. It was menacing and obtrusive and I didn’t want the boys to see it. We hadn’t even signed the paperwork and yet there it was, staring at me ominous and cold. The sign made me feel like a piece of my identity was slipping away. Experts told us to view this as a “fiscal exercise” and selling it was our decision, but it didn’t make the process any less painful. Soon, strangers would begin traipsing through our house, criticizing and critiquing, visualizing their furnishings in our home.

Our house officially went on the market a few weeks later. Each time a realtor called for an appointment, I loaded up the boys and our dog into the car and took them to the park while strangers came to look at our house. I often imagined what potential buyers would comment on during their tour through our home. Could they smell the banana bread I baked earlier that morning? Would they notice we had two sets of everything– two potties, two racecar beds, two bikes? Would they even care? I questioned how presentable the house was. Did I remember to wipe down the shower doors? Were the closets tidy? What would they think of the spotty baseboards, dented from the boys’ dump truck derbies? Or the backyard we had yet to finish. Would they appreciate my unique kitchen with speckled forest green countertops and maple cabinets? And the boys’ room – my favorite room in the house. Surely they couldn’t possibly appreciate the serenity of that room, complete with a beautiful ocean mural my husband had painted for them before they were born.  

After just a few days on the market, our realtor was flooded with attractive offers and we began planning our move. Packing was tedious, especially with the Arizona summer suppressing our energy. A mere three weeks later, we were done. I scrubbed my kitchen one last time and my husband and I walked through the house together. Its walls were bare, but spoke to me, reminding me of a happy life lived within them.

I recalled our first few months in the house. We hadn’t even unpacked all of the moving boxes before we began filling it with family. We brought our cocker spaniel puppy home just eight months before bringing our fragile preemies home from the hospital. I remembered easing myself down in my new rocking chair on the day of their homecoming, overwhelmed with happiness of being home with our new family.

I continued reminiscing as I walked through each room, recalling marathon feeding sessions, splish-splashy bath times and hours of quiet story time.  The sounds of raucous play dates permeated the walls, along with joyous cookie parties, bridal showers, holiday celebrations and brunches with friends. I closed my eyes, visualizing Saturday night Netflix date nights, baking cookies with the boys and art projects at the kitchen table. Taking a deep breath, I could smell the faint blend of Macintosh apple candles and finger-paints. Our house was our sanctuary, filled with love.

Returning to the kitchen, I took my house key off of my keychain and laid it down for its new owners.
Before leaving, I impulsively scribbled a note for the new owners on a paper towel and left it on the counter.
We hope you love your new home as much as we did. Sincerely, Dan and Melissa

My husband and I walked out the front door together, hand in hand. We didn’t look back, staring forward into a future unknown.

Melissa Wenzel is a freelance writer and public relations consultant currently doing PR work with a client selling kids costumes. Check out more tales from the trenches of twindom on her blog, Musings of a Twin Mama.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Remembering Carpool Etiquette


Remembering Carpool Etiquette


As a parent we have all had the joys, and stresses, of driving the carpool to school. There are times when we want to scream, pull our hair out, or just lay on the horn and let out our frustrations. Those times can be avoided if certain rules of carpool etiquette are set in place from the start and followed. Here are a few things to discuss and consider before you agree to drive for the dreaded carpool.

Know the Schedule:
Nothing stresses a parent like a carpool driver who doesn’t show or is constantly late. Be sure you know the days you are driving, the time they need to arrive to school, and the amount of time it takes to pick up all the little passengers. On days you are driving it is not uncommon to have to wake up a little earlier than normal. Be prepared.

Notify of any Changes:
With other parents trusting their children’s safety in your hands, it is only proper to notify each parent of any changes. Be sure you have all of their contact information so you can call, email, or text if you are not going to be able to drive your turn or if the driver changes. A little consideration can avoid a larger situation.

Set Rules for the Children:
I have seen a lot of carpools that were full of unruly children jumping and dancing around. Be sure to let everyone know in the beginning what rules you have for your car. Let them know whether or not they are allowed to have drinks or snacks, whether there is going to be music or not, and what kind of talking is acceptable. If they begin to talk badly about other classmates or teachers, let them know it is not acceptable.


Drive Safe:
With other parent’s loved ones in your care, you want to be sure to mind the rules of the road more so than usual. Make sure all the children are safely belted and secured, drive below the speed limit, use your turn signals and avoid excessive lane changes. Be sure your vehicle is properly insured with enough liability coverage. Have all the other parents information with you in case an accident or problem does arise.

Be Patient:
When you finally arrive at the school it is common to find a long line of cars waiting. If you are on a short schedule you may want to arrive earlier rather than closer to the schools opening bell. Arriving too late might place you in the back of a long line that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to and hour to get out of.

While waiting in line try to be patient. There are many parents turning to carpooling for one reason or another and they are in the same line as you. Honking the horn, losing your cool, or yelling at other drivers only causes more problems.

Watch the Other Drivers:
You may know how to drive safely, but not all parents do. Watch for other parents pulling out without looking, speeding through the parking lot, or even driving the wrong way through the line. Allow yourself enough time and space to avoid an inept driver.


Be Considerate:
We all want updates on how our children are doing in school, how their day went, or even for their teacher to explain an assignment or project. The carpool line is not the time for those updates and explanations. When you reach the front of the line, kiss your child good-bye, wish them a good day, and keep the line moving.

If you need or want to talk with the teacher or spend more than a couple of minutes there, park your car in a designated parking space and walk up to the school. The carpool line is not a good place to park and you will hold up the rest of the parents trying to pick up or drop off their children.

Carpooling is a great way to save on gas and time and with a little planning and consideration it can be a stress free ride. Take the time to organize with other parents and set the rules in place before starting the drive. Pay attention, be safe, and have a great school year.

Marcie McDonald serves as the authority on car insurance options for those with special circumstances. Need a car for one day in the UK? Make sure you have car insurance for one day, you never know when you will need it. Senior family members with a car? Marcie offers over 50s car insurance quotes.
 

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