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Potty Training Check-In #CelebrateFirstFlush

Note: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Pull-Ups. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

E_Spring2014

E is definitely at the phase where she wants to do everything herself. So independent! We’re glad, though, because it’s really amazing seeing her learn to do new things all by herself, and it’s even more amazing to see a huge grin on her face when she’s successful with what she’s trying!

We’re still moving slowly with potty training, but she is giving us more and more signs that she is ready. She’s started telling us if she is dirty (which, incidentally, the boys didn’t do until they were 3 – this girl doesn’t like to be dirty)!

My biggest tip as we’re on this potty training journey is to start introducing the idea of potty training as early as possible. This doesn’t mean sticking your baby on the potty as soon as they can sit up, but let your child come to the restroom with you and talk to them using basic words so that “potty” becomes a part of their vocabulary and isn’t a foreign concept to them.

As they get older, even before they’re ready to actually start potty training, let your child sit on a little potty seat just their size. It gets them familiar with it and will make potty training seem less intimidating. We like to use a potty seat that can adapt to sit on the real toilet, too (it’s SO nice to just be able to flush everything away).

Let your child practice pulling on their Pull-Ups and taking them off, too. Praise them for being a “big boy!” or “big girl!” whenever they put their pull-up on or sit on the potty. We tried all sorts of bribes with the boys, but I think praise goes a long way. Every child likes to hear that their parents are proud!

We’re so thankful to have the Big Kids Academy tips to refer to for other great potty training ideas. Potty training can be a frustrating experience for everyone involved, but the more you know – and the more prepared you are – the smoother things will go. Before you know it, your little one will be diaper free! Don’t forget you can also get tips from the Pull-Ups Facebook page and Twitter page, too.

Pull-Ups  has recently announced that they’re partnering with The First Years, who makes potty training systems and seats (we used their potty seats with both of the boys!). Their seats have great colors and even some fun Disney themes to help get your kiddos excited to sit on the potty. Right now if you purchase a specialty potty system from The First Years, you’ll get a FREE sample pack of Pull-Ups Training Pants, too!

So, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed about potty training your child (we’ve totally been there), take a deep breath and go check out the Pull-Ups resources I mentioned above. You can do this, and it can be easier than you think!

Pull-Ups First Flush Ambassador Check-In

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Pull-Ups. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”

PullUps_Image

As I mentioned recently, I’m pretty stoked to be a Pull-Ups First Flush Ambassador. It’s awesome working with brands we truly love, and since Pull-Ups were so great with our two boys, we  know they’ll be a vital tool in potty training E, too. She is a full-on toddler now and Pull-Ups are a great way to introduce the idea of underwear to her with still having the safety net of absorbency for any accidents that happen in the early stages.

The designs on the Pull-Ups are great – pink with polka dots and Minnie Mouse’s face, which E definitely noticed and pointed at when I first showed her the Pull-Up. Fun designs definitely make an impact on how accepting kids will be of trying something new, so we appreciate that Huggies makes both the boy & girl Pull-Ups with fun, familiar characters on them.

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Pull-Ups have amazing features to them, three of which really stand out to me:

CustomizedProtection

When there are inevitably accidents in the beginning part of potty training, it’s comforting to know that there are extra-absorbent spots in the most important areas.

StretchyWaistband

These are SO easy to pull up and down, and the elasticity also provides a nice snug fit.

EasyOpenSides

SO, SO, SO important to still be able to open the Pull-Up on the sides – I love that this feature is included!

One tip that is important to remember when potty training is to make sure your child isn’t wearing clothes that make going more difficult. Pants with buttons should be avoided. When you’re around the house, you can just let your child run around with a shirt and their Pull-Up on to make it even easier!

PullUps_Back_FarAway

Huggies doesn’t just provide products to help parents with potty training, though. Be sure and check out all the different tools and resources they offer, too, available on the Big Kid Academy via the Pull-Ups websiteFacebook page, and Twitter page. These make it even easier to start potty training and celebrate milestones!

There’s also a Big Kid App available on Apple and Android smart phones. The app offer videos and songs and a Big Kid checklist to help your little one in his or her nighttime routine. I have an iPhone and love the app – it’s nice that I’ve got something right at my fingertips no matter if we’re home or visiting grandparents out of town!

Chug Away to Safari Fun With Chuggington {Giveaway}

It’s getting close to the holidays, and if you’re anything like us you’re on the hunt already for gift ideas, especially for your little ones. Chuggington has released two new track sets from TOMY just in time for gift-buying – Koko’s Safari Set, and Brewster’s Icy Escapade set.

As Chuggington Conductors, we got to try out the Koko’s Safari set. It’s a 38-piece wooden set that has elevated tracks, a 2-in-1 safari tree tunnel, and a door and a gate for trains to go through. It even makes jungle sounds, which adds a level of fun to it. It retails for $99.99 and is available exclusively at Toys R Us.

The boys were really excited when we arrived and couldn’t wait to open it. Trains in general are going to be exciting to them, but I think seeing the tree and the two levels of tracks on the box gave them an immediate idea of how fun this set would be.

Here it is all assembled:

One winner will get their own Chuggington Koko’s Safari Set! This contest is open to all U.S. residents aged 18+.Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Wednesday, November 7. By entering this giveaway you agree to the Official Rules.

Note: As Chuggington Conductors, we received a Koko’s Safari set to facilitate our review. I was not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are my own.

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Chuggington “Traintastic Adventures” DVD {Giveaway}

Our boys love to watch Chuggington episodes and they were thrilled when we received the newest title to review – Traintastic Adventures! Another cool thing about this DVD is that it comes with free collectible cards, a first for Chuggington fans!

There are six fun adventures included on this DVD, AND a bonus “badge quest” episode. Watch as Brewster tests a speedy new invention, Koko’s stunt-training saves the day, Wilson gets stuck on the track lift and everybody competes in a big chug-of-war! These episodes showcase social skills that include accepting responsibility, tackling new challenges, being patient, helping others and the importance of teamwork.

We love how Chuggington makes learning fun and teaches kids things without them even realizing it! Would you like to have this traintastic DVD for your Chuggington fan? You’re in luck, because you might just…

One winner will get a copy of the Chuggington: Traintastic Adventures DVD! This contest is open to all U.S. residents aged 18+. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Friday, September 14. By entering this giveaway you agree to the Official Rules.

Note: As Chuggington Conductors, we received a Chuggington DVD to facilitate our review. I was not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are my own.

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Start Your Baby off Right – Sealy Posture Perfect Crib Mattress {Giveaway}

When you bring your newborn home from the hospital, you’ll likely have everything all set and ready to go. Where they sleep will be one of your biggest decisions, and having a safe space is vital. When we picked our crib mattresses for each of the boys, we did research on the features and safety information of various options. We knew we wanted something we could really feel good about them sleeping on.

Do you need a few tips for picking out a crib mattress? Be sure and check out this video for some really helpful suggestions:

Sealy is a brand name in mattresses that we’re familiar with and have confidence in – they’ve been around for years! We felt really good about using the Sealy Posture Perfect mattress for baby #3, especially after reading up on it. Here are its features:

  • 180 durability tested innerspring coils provide long-lasting posture support
  • Secure-edge heavy gauge steel border rods give maximum support around the perimeter where toddlers will sit
  • Two firm hypoallergenic layers cushion and comfort baby while providing a supportive sleeping surface
  • GREENGUARD® Children & Schools Certified: This entire mattress is GREENGUARD® Children & Schools certified for indoor air quality and low chemical emissions to help create a healthier sleeping environment for your baby
  • Waterproof cover and lock-stitched waterproof binding resists stains, moisture and mildew
  • Entire mattress wipes clean with a damp cloth for a sanitary sleeping surface
  • Mattress also fits toddler bed frames
  • 35-year warranty on workmanship and materials
  • Meets or exceeds all flammability, lead, phthalate and CPSIA testing and does not contain toxic fire retardants
  • Proudly Made in the USA

The mattress is great – it fits wonderfully in our crib with no gapping around the sides. It’s a thick, firm mattress that will provide a supportive, safe sleeping surface that we can feel good about.

One winner will receive a Sealy Posture Perfect crib mattress (ARV $109.99)! This contest is open to all U.S. residents aged 18+. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Monday, September 17. By entering this giveaway you agree to the Official Rules.

Note: As a Kolcraft Mom, I received a mattress to facilitate my review, and one is being provided for the giveaway. I was not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are my own.

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Ton of Fun: The Latest Chuggington Stack Track, Wilson’s Wide Ride! {Giveaway}

We love trains in our house, and the boys are always excited to have new trains and tracks to play with. When our latest review item arrived, the boys were thrilled. This is one impressive track, at 2 feet tall! There are four different layouts you can build, and this set attaches with other stack tracks, allowing you to build a really impressive and wide-spread setup to play with.

Here’s J with the track so you can see how it compares size-wise to him:

There are a lot of fun features to this track, including a lever at the top that both sends your train down the track and makes fun noises, construction cones that fly off and a sign that spins as the train goes by, and the winding track that is fully navigated from top to bottom in one swoop. It’s a lot of fun, and really sturdy, too.

Oh, and you know I mentioned the sets can be put all together to make one massive set? Check out what you could end up with when you combine them:

One winner will get a Chuggington Stack Track set! This contest is open to all U.S. residents aged 18+. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Thursday, August 30. By entering this giveaway you agree to the Official Rules.

Note: As Chuggington Conductors, we received a Chuggington Stack Track set to facilitate our review. I was not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are my own.

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Nuby Makes Mealtime Fun!

If you’re the parent to preschool-aged kids, you know that meals can be a real battle. Our boys are 3 & 5, and while our 3-year-old eats pretty much anything, our 5-year-old is PICKY with a capital “P” (he totally gets it from me, I fully admit)! Anyway, it helps a lot to make meals more fun, and Nuby has done just that with their fun iMonster dishes. They can be used for kids as young as 18 months, but I’ll tell you – the boys debated over who’d get to use which dishes – they thought they were SO cool.

Can you tell C (our 3-year-old) loves this plate?

All of the iMonster dishes we reviewed are available at BuyBabyDirect.com and at Burlington Coat Factory, in case you want to get some for your own little monster!

We also got to try out some feeding bowls (we use these great colorful plastic bowls for cereal – they can be found at Diapers.com, Amazon, BuyBabyDirect.com, and Walmart) and sippy cups. Both of the boys are old enough to drink out of “big kid” cups and do at the dinner table. But when they’re wanting drinks throughout the day we still use sippy cups to keep spills at bay. The cups we received are both fun, easy to clean, and work well at not dripping.

The Sports Sipper on the left is available at Amazon & Walmart, and the insulated cup on the right can be found at BuyBabyDirect.com, Kmart, Target, & Walmart.

What doyou do to make mealtime fun for your little one(s)?

Note: I am a Nuby Mom Blogger and received these products to facilitate our review. I was not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are my own.

 

SwimWays Spring Float {Giveaway!}

Is it as hot where you live as it is here? With temperatures hitting triple digits on a regular basis, everyone I know is looking for ways to cool off – and of course, hitting the pool is one of the best options!

SwimWays has all sorts of fun accessories that make swimming & relaxing in the pool an even better experience – and their popular Spring Float is one that is versatile and easy to use.

  • With it’s patented spring technology, the Spring Float opens and closes instantly, allowing for quick set-up and easy folding for storage and transport in the included mesh carry bag.

 

  • A Jet Valve allows for easy inflation/deflation.
  • Soothing mesh cradles body contours in total comfort.
  • 66″ x 40″ lounge is the perfect size for everyone.
  • Available in a variety of styles and colors.

The Spring Float is available in a variety of styles and colors, including blue/aqua, white/aqua, pink/blue and aqua/blue so that you can choose which combination fits you best! The float retails for $29.95.

To see more about the Spring Float, check out this video:

One lucky winner will get their own SwimWays Spring Float!  This contest is open to all U.S. residents aged 18+. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Monday, August 13. By entering this giveaway you agree to the Official Rules.

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Kick off Your Summer with Kraft! {Giveaway}

Summer just seems like it’s the best time of year for entertaining, even here in Texas where it gets SO hot SO fast. It just feels like a slower time of year, and having friends over for a laid-back evening of good food and games is one of our favorite things to do.

As a Kraft Delicious Bytes blogger, I got sent a fun summer kit recently to help us start our summer off right:

We decided it would be fun to try a lot of these out by having my brother and his girlfriend over for dinner, and it was really easy to put together a great meal!

  

It’s not summer entertaining without nice cold drinks, right? We made the strawberry kiwi Kool-Aid and used our Rubbermaid Carafe for some Country Time Half & Half. Both were great! The Half & Half is truly just that – we were trying to decide if it tasted more like lemonade with tea in it, or tea with lemons… but it’s really a perfect blend of both, and an ideal summer drink.

I had seen these Sizzling Salad kits before but I had no clue that they were more than just a one-time-use kind of thing. You only use 1-2 tablespoons of the sauce and dressing, so they’re great for several meals! Everyone LOVED the chicken and it was so easy to make! I cut it up into bite-sized pieces so it’d be easy to scatter over salad, and easy for the kids to eat.

Then I made a salad with baby greens, cucumbers and carrots and put it in the awesome Chill Salad Bowl we received in our kit. I’ve gotta say, this salad bowl is genius. It has a removable ice pack in the base of the bowl so it’s easy to take salads or other cold dishes and keep them cold while you’re out somewhere. Anyway, we all tried out the salad dressing and agreed it was paired really well with the sauce for the chicken. The BBQ ranch was slightly sweet, which balanced really well with the flavors of the zesty fajita sauce.

For dessert I used the HONEY MAID Lil’ Squares Honey Grahams to make mini-s’mores. SUCH a fun idea for a summer dessert, by the way. My brother brought some mini-marshmallows and chocolate bars – I just broke each chocolate bar into tiny pieces and topped each cracker with chocolate and one marshmallow, microwave for 10 seconds or so, and voila! Bite-sized s’mores that are delicious, but also easy to eat without making a giant mess.

The crackers on their own are really good too, though. I snacked on some while I was prepping the s’mores and told Brian we were definitely going to have to get more of these SOON (and I’m pregnant, so I can use the baby as an excuse for needing them, ha).

Tonight we decided to grill out burgers for another fun summer meal, and I decided to try the Velveeta Queso Blanco slices on my burger.

The cheese melts really easily and gave a great flavor to the burger (I’d also like to try this in queso… guess that’ll be next!). We served our food on the fun Colorwheel Serving Tray and it really goes to show that good serving pieces can really add to the ambiance of a meal!

By the way, if you’re looking for a recipe to spice up the standard burger, Kraft was nice enough to provide a recipe for me to share that you might just want to try for yourself:

Prep Time: 30 min. | Makes: 4 servings.

What You Need:

  • 2 Tbsp. KRAFT SANDWICH SHOP Chipotle Flavored Reduced Fat Mayonnaise
  • 1 plum tomato, seeded, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped red onions
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 4 VELVEETA Slices
  • 4 hamburger buns

Make It:

  1. HEAT grill to medium heat.
  2. COMBINE first 4 ingredients.
  3. SHAPE meat into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) patties. Grill 7 to 9 min. on each side or until done
  4. (160ºF). Top with VELVEETA; grill 1 min. or until melted.
  5. FILL buns with cheeseburgers and mayonnaise mixture.

Serving Suggestion:
For added color and texture, serve with a mixed green salad.
How to Turn Hamburgers:
When cooking ground beef patties, turn them over with a spatula. Do not flatten the patties during the cooking process since that will cause the juices to escape, resulting in dry cooked burgers.

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Are you feeling all summery and ready to entertain? I hope so! And if you still need an extra boost, you might just want to enter the Kraft Summer Prize Pack giveaway to get your own kit like the one pictured above. You’ll get all the food & drink products and great serving items I just wrote about! This contest is open to all U.S. residents aged 18+. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Thursday, June 14. By entering this giveaway you agree to the Official Rules.

Mandatory Entry: Comment on this post telling me your favorite thing to serve when entertaining during the summer – main course, drink, dessert… whatever you like best!

(Only valid after the required entry has been completed)

Please leave a comment for each extra entry – if you blog about this giveaway and get 2 entries, for example, comment 2 times.

Note: As a Kraft Delicious Byte blogger I received package photographed above. All opinions are honest and are mine and my family’s. I was not compensated monetarily for this post. This program is not administered or sponsored by Kraft Foods or its affiliates. The prize package will be fulfilled by Kraft Foods or its agency.

 

 

Chuggington Gets the Party Started

I am sure almost everyone could agree that it’s fun planning birthday parties for their kids – especially once they’re old enough to have opinions, get involved and get excited about it all! I know the boys start picking themes months in advance and they love going to the party store with us to shop for supplies.

If your kiddos are fans of trains like ours are, you’ll be interested to know that you can now find Chuggington party supplies! They have a whole line of products that help you out from start to finish – everything from invitations, to stickers for party favor bags, to thank you cards.

I know when I’m planning out decor for the boys’ parties, I like to pull out a few solid colors to use for items like table cloths, streamers and balloons, and then I pick a few items like plates, cups, napkins, etc. to bring in the character or theme.

Hallmark gets the party on track with dinner plates, dessert plates, lunch napkins, beverage napkins and more – $4.19/package or less, so they’re affordable, too.

 

Chuggington party supplies can be found at PartyCity.com and other retailers; you can also keep up with all the Chuggington fun on Facebook and Twitter, too! Lay the tracks for a traintastic party including your kids’ favorite Chuggers!

Note: I’m a Chuggington Conductor! I received the toys to facilitate my review, but was not compensated monetarily for my post. All opinions are honest and are those of myself and my family. 

Chuggington Takes the Fun Outdoors! {Giveaway}

If your kids are like mine and love Chuggington, you can now find great toys for them that are perfect for summer! We received another traintastic package that included bubble blowers and balls – two things that little boys absolutely adore – so it was a hit!

The bubble blowers are great because they work well for even little kids. We got the light-up Bubble Chugger that easily blows out a stream of bubbles (it is battery-operated). It retails for $8.99 and comes with a small bottle of bubbles and a bubble tray.

The Bubble Train Whistle is one that the kids blow through to both make a noise and produce bubbles. C has a hard time with typical bubble wands because he blows too hard for bubbles to even form, but this one worked great for him. It doesn’t hurt that you get to sound like a train while you’re at it – what little kid wouldn’t love that?  This whistle is $3.99 and also comes with bubbles and a bubble tray.

Along with the bubble blowers, we also got two small balls that are lightweight and covered with Chuggington artwork. They’re great for playing catch without worrying about anyone getting hurt if they get bonked in the head. :) The balls both retail for around $2.00-$2.50. As you can see, the boys couldn’t even hardly stand still for a photo with the balls – they were ready to bounce them!

One lucky reader will win their own package of fun outdoor Chuggington toys, including the two bubble blowers and two balls! This giveaway is open to all U.S. & Canadian residents ages 18+. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Thursday, May 31. By entering this giveaway you agree to the Official Rules.

Mandatory Entry: Comment on this post telling me what your favorite outdoor activity is to do with your kids!

(Only valid after the required entry has been completed)

Please leave a comment for each extra entry – if you blog about this giveaway and get 2 entries, for example, comment 2 times.

Note: I’m a Chuggington Conductor! I received the toys to facilitate my review, but was not compensated monetarily for my post. All opinions are honest and are those of myself and my family. The prize for the giveaway is also being provided.

National “Learn to Swim” Day With SwimWays

National Learn to Swim Day is Saturday, May 19. It’s really important to us that the boys learn basic swimming skills, and learn to be safe around water. Timed to National Water Safety Month (May) and the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend, National Learn to Swim Day is an effort to raise awareness about the importance of teaching children to swim, and provide resources to parents for teaching their kids the important skill. It’s an issue all parents should be aware of because water can truly present a danger for children.

I can still remember an incident as a child where I was out just a little too deep (it was a 5′ area, but it seemed deep at the time) in our local pool while there with friends.  I started panicking, and thankfully a lifeguard came over and helped me get to the side. It just goes to show that even in “safer” areas of pools kids can still struggle – it’s so important to teach them early on how to do basics like treading water! My parents enrolled me in swim lessons and that helped a lot with my confidence around water. It’s definitely something we plan to do with our boys, too!

Here are some facts about water and danger to consider:

  • According to the Red Cross, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years old.
  • Statistics show that children ages 1 to 4 drown most often in home swimming pools.
  • Children were often out of sight less than 5 minutes and under the care of one or both parents at the time of many home pool drownings

If you want more information on water safety, be sure and check out these tools from the Red Cross:

There are many ways to get involved with your community on National Learn to Swim Day. Ideas for participating locally include introducing children to the water with at home swim instruction, hosting a group swimming lesson, visiting a community pool as a family, or enrolling children in swim lessons at a local YMCA or Boys & Girls Club.

For more information on National Learn to Swim Day and SwimWays, visit TeachMetoSwim.com.

Note: I wrote this post as a SwimWays ambassador, but I did not receive any product or compensation for this post. All opinions are honest and my own.