Category Archives: Bloggy Fun

LeapFrog’s LeapStart Review – Great for Preschoolers!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review.
LeapStart Review
This is a fun and interactive product – great for 3 and 4 year olds! LeapFrog always has the best age-appropriate learning toys, and this one is no different.

Pros:
The “pen” is the perfect size and weight for little hands to navigate.
The toy is very exploratory – great for this age, and it means the books can “grow” with the child as they try new things.
LeapFrog always excels in toys being educational and age appropriate, and this toy is no different!
Portable!!
The kids are so excited to check out their “own” books – each book is a certain level, and each page has games as well as simply-explanatory touch-and-point activities.

Cons:
Price point is a little high for me with the books – and you will want multiple books!
I don’t think it’s super intuitive for a kid to snap the book into the tray.
The books have to be loaded on to the device via the computer.

So You Think You Can Write Book Review

I’m shocked by how much I learned from this book. I’ve been a blogger for 7 years, and I thought I knew mostly everything about blogging. I’m also not a non-fiction fan, so I wasn’t even sure I could trudge through it. Well, instead of trudging, I flew through page after valuable page.

So You Think You Can Write Book Review

McCoy is easy to read and answers the questions that you want to ask, including the hows and whys. It’s nice to have an inside look into her personally as well as her business success. There are helpful (and funny!) graphics throughout this book, which was great for processing the data.

I learned something new in every chapter about keywords, online writing, and Google. Pick it up – it’s well worth the time!!

Please let me know in the comments or on Facebook if you have questions about this book – I’d be happy to answer them!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Easy Succulent Centerpieces for a Marriage Conference

Easy Succulent Centerpieces

I’m quite deficient in the crafting department. Notice that all of the kids’ crafts that I use to have gospel conversations with my kids are simple and truly kid-friendly! Or should I say mama friendly?

My husband asked for my advice and help with centerpieces for our marriage conference. (But he made sure I got help haha!) He wanted something that “the guys” would like as much as the ladies, and I instantly thought of wood grain and succulents.

I asked a good designer friend of mine to help me pick out containers so that I didn’t pick something that would be hideous. 😉

We found some great wooden boxes and white glass square candle holders at Hobby Lobby that we planned to use for the planters. The white glass containers were my favorite – we bought every one that they had and placed those on wooden planks so that all of the centerpieces coordinated in some way.

If you’re wondering how to make succulent centerpieces, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. Er… 4.

  • I used a Walnut stain for the wood (staining is something that is so easy to me – very quick and painless).
  • I lined the wooden boxes with black plastic from a trash bag so that the water wouldn’t damage the wood too much. You can also seal the wood with a polyurethane coat, but I chose not to.
  • At the nursery, I laid all of the plants out in groups and took pictures on my phone. This is so that I would remember later which ones I thought went well together. This was a lifesaver for me!
  • After planting them, I took pictures again to make sure everything made sense. I used this at the venue to place them on the tables.

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Now it’s time to feast our eyes on some beautiful succulents!

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Save More on Date Night (and everything else)

This post is sponsored by Groupon Coupons. As always, all opinions are my own. 

We have a date night coming up Friday! Woooooooooooooo!

Sorry, I’m a *bit* excited. We’ve had some dates since our baby was born, but this will be the first where we will LEAVE.HER.AT.THE.HOUSE.

Excuse me while I shed a tear for babies growing up!

As the chief spender (and saver) in our house, Groupon, one of my favorite sites to check for local deals, just became a favorite site for all deals with the launch of Groupon Coupons.

datenightGrouponCoupons

Let me help you plan your date night for Friday. I have a small baby at home, so going to the movies is out of the question. I mean, who wants to leave halfway through a movie because baby bombed the date night? Hence, all I want to do is go see a movie. Well Groupon Coupons currently has $3 off Fandango purchases! You’re welcome.

Haven’t finished your taxes yet? How about 40% off at H&R Block (P.s. taxes are due in 2 days.)

And you still haven’t picked up a DVD of I Am Gabriel (a film I have a supporting role in!)?

I Am Gabriel

Since it’s sold in Family Christian stores, you walk right up, open your Groupon app, swipe to Coupons, and search for the store. All available coupons will be presented to you!

There are actually over 60,000 sales and coupons current in the app, so I think you’ll find something you can save money on. Since you probably already have the Groupon app on your phone, you really don’t need to do anything else but check that app for some money-saving deals!

Oh, I guess you could also follow them on Facebook and Twitter so you don’t have to check the app every day.

Date night and money saving all in one post. I feel accomplished now. 😉

My Favorite New LeapFrog Toy

lovinoven

LeapFrog sent me some new toys and games from their Fall collection to review. I have to tell you about my favorite one, the Number Lovin’ Oven.

The toy is smart, guessing at which food items are being placed in the oven. The controls are perfect for my children to touch and move, and everything is intuitive for them. I love that the voice response encourages sharing, and all of the pieces can be split and put together like mini puzzles.

One of my favorite things about this toy, as a mom, is that it’s small and all of the pieces fit inside!!! Even for older kids, they enjoy playing chef and aren’t worried about the fact that the learning factor is at a lower level for them. This one is definitely worth the price.

I highly recommend it! Check it out on amazon by clicking here.

Disclosure: LeapFrog sent me this product to review. All opinions are my own. Affiliate links included.

LeapPad Platinum and Imagicard Review

The LeapPad Platinum is another in a great series of kids’ tablets. This device appears much more sleek and slender, and the software is more stable than the LeapPad Ultra.

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One of my favorite things about LeapPad tablets is the LeapSearch web browser. Only kid-friendly videos are added to the browser, so you know there’s no faulty “filter” not really protecting your kids.

My 5-year old’s favorite game is Imagicard Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Learning Game. He loves this game! He is really into the ninja turtles right now, but this game is also very age-appropriate for him. He can do almost everything in the game on his own, but it’s a step up from the video games he’s played before, particularly on LeapPad.

Some of the math questions are a little much for his age, but I like how LeapPad games respond to your child’s abilities by making questions easier or harder – and he’s asking me more math questions, which is a great thing!
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This game uses ImagiCards, which is a collection of cards that interacts with your LeapPad to bring more characters to your games. For our family, this was not really impressive. As a mom, I knew right away that I’d be finding cards all over the house, although a nice metal tin is available to hold cards. My 5-year old wasn’t interested in the cards at all. He said the games already had pre-loaded cards, so he didn’t care to use them in the games. He did use the cards for other, non-LeapPad, activities, though. 🙂

This review contains only my opinions. LeapPad provided the LeapPad Platinum and games for my review.

Christmas Gift from the Kids – Free!

Need a fun and easy Christmas gift for the grandparents? Here ya go!

This is what we made this year (no peeking Grandma and Naunie!): Kiddo Snowmen!

snowman

I love how easy and cute this craft is. We simply dug out supplies we had: scrapbook paper, ribbon, pom poms, glitter, foam – you can use whatever you want!

I used a 2.5″ circle punch to make the snowmen body pieces and to cut out the kids’ heads. Lots of glue and fun, and voila – Christmas present.

Tips to make this craft great:

  • Use cardstock – All that gluing requires a sturdy surface.
  • Decide on the background – I think gluing Christmas wrapping paper on to the cardstock first would also be a fun way to start this craft!
  • Cut out your circles and overlay or stack them.
  • If your snowman craft will be generally flat, laminate the end result so the grandparents can keep it for years to come!
  • Let the kids do what they’re going to do. Emma really wanted to put a pink handprint on one of them. It wasn’t in the “design plan”, but I said Go for it! After all, the craft is from them.

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Review of LeapTV game system

Disclosure: LeapFrog provided the LeapTV system for me to review.

LeapFrog rarely disappoints me, but I was a little skeptical of this new game system they sent me, the LeapTV…. well, they blew me out of the water again!

leaptv

LeapTV is fun, active, educational, and safe (age appropriate) – all of the things I love about LeapFrog products.

With all that in mind, the FUN is definitely there. The game system is engaging because there are many ways to play. Depending on the game, your kiddo might have a mission where the camera is displaying him (my kid loved this) right there on the screen. And, the control is two-in-one. It has a wand-like/senser use, and then can be rotated to act like a traditional controller.

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My almost-5 year old loves this new game system from LeapFrog. Every game and level is a little different, and his favorite right now is Spiderman.

The setup was a little tricky because we have a recessed wall with an extension mount TV. It took us a few tries to figure out where the TV and camera should be, but now it’s great fun. There’s a mount where the camera can be on top of the TV, but for our setup, that meant a large reach. If I extend the TV and leave the camera on the counter, the camera can’t read the top-most movements. So, our solution was to keep the TV mostly near the wall, and it works great for us that way.

LeapFrog is going to allow me to give one of these away soon, so stay tuned!

Review of LeapFrog LeapBand

LeapFrog LeapBand Review
Disclosure: LeapFrog provided the LeapBand to me to review.

I love LeapFrog! Their toys are always age appropriate and educational!

The LeapBand is a fun toy that gets my kids moving, and I love anything that keeps them active (and I just get to watch!). My 4-year old is kind of particular about wearing things (doesn’t like hats, itchy tags, etc.), so he doesn’t wear the watch. Since he’s not super attached to this toy, I leave it out so he will pick it up and play with it.

He loves that the LeapBand gives him a variety of ways to move around, and he even started making up his own, like doing the “Pac Man”. I personally love the nod to energy with the “joules/jewels” wording, and my son likes to collect them. I do think that the “next step” of the app – using the joules to do certain things with your pet either on the watch or the apps – is a little complicated for my 4-year old, but some kids may really enjoy that strategizing.

I could definitely see other kids wanting to wear this and play with their pet all the time, but my son doesn’t seem to play with it as much as his legos or LeapPad Ultra.

I love that the LeapConnect app lets parents see exactly what their kids are learning and playing, but it seemed like I had to download a new version of the app, which was a hassle to me. I also like that you can turn the pet care off during school and sleep hours.