Growing Up Social - Book Review

I remember I wasn't the type to read a non-fiction book to often. Let alone a self help book! But, my boyfriend (now husband) gave me The Five Love Languages in 2009 and I remember as I did my cardio in Alaska I would ready the very easy-to-read book. I liked it. It was simple. Digestable. It made sense.

Now, the same author, Gary Chapman, has a book equally as important and just as easy to digest: Growing Up Social. It's a timely read in this modern era. Especially for a technology boob like myself. I don't have devices. I live in a desolate area without signal to juice up the data packages that I do not want to pay for. I have a flip phone. BUT somehow (thanks bro) my three-year-old son still knows how to swipe a screen.



In this excellent book you'll see the other side of the technological revolution -- the side that is plaguing family life and disrupting our kiddo's development. Now I know my stance is an unpopular one -- I guess I don't care. I don't want my kids to be mute around their peers in person but be chatty as heck via texts at eight years old!

Just some of the statistics in the book are staggering. The average number of texts a teenage girl sends (3400) is insane. I send about 200 in a month and I feel like that's a high use estimate! I'm not saying fight technology--it's here to stay. It's great in many cases. I just like this book because it helps to initiate intentional balance of REAL life and screen time for kids especially.

Adults should be better examples as well! Stop using your phone to quiet your child. It's part of growing up to be fussy! When you have date night do you both spend 1/2 the time on your phone? I find this creepy when I look around restaurants and see the number of people paired up and nose down to the phone! Lastly, it's horrifying to see a small child swimming and playing while mom (or grandma or dad...) is lost in an iPad vacation. Lifeguards are great, and breaks are super but ENJOY your kid NOW. Go play! Don't squander away the precious years on your device. Set an example. LIVE.

With the book you will:
•Equip your child to be relationally rich in a digital world
•Replace mindless screen time with meaningful family time
•Establish simple boundaries that make a huge difference
•Discover what’s working for families that have become screen savvy
•Learn healthy ways to occupy your child while you get things done

Alright, after my little tirade I bet you really want to read this book, right? Well it's great information -- just read it with an open mind. You don't have to agree, but being stocked well with knowledge is always a good thing!

Now get out there and enjoy your kids!

Holiday Gift Guide 2014 - Spotlight on Baby Banz


I'm happy to say that today we are adding another great option to our Gift Guide -- Baby Banz! For those of you with littles in your lives, which, if you're reading this site, it's likely you have little ones that are close to you, this is a company offering several great options for kiddos!



What better stocking stuffer or addition for under the tree than something they can USE?! We love being outside -- I have since I was a kid myself! I do remember the stinging, white pain that accompanied windy wintry days. Now that I'm an adult, I have ski goggles AND I wear specs, so that helps too -- but it's hard to find a good size that fits kiddo noggins!



Baby Banz has the kids covered -- literally with sunscreen, shades, and yes, even ski goggles! Consider Baby Banz ski goggles this year when you're trying to think of things to get the kids outside and playing! This is a great option for boys and girls!


*Disclosure* Baby Banz is a partner of US Family Guide and Adventures of Mommyhood. We will receive complimentary product for posting.

Ciao! Baby Portable High Chair

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Wouldn't it be handy to have a portable, lightweight high chair for restaurants, picnics, vacation, camping and visiting friends and family? That's just what the ciao! baby portable high chair is designed for, and you can find it in 11 different colors at PishPoshBaby.

Here are the basic specifications:
  • Weighs about 8 pounds
  • Dimensions are 23x23x32
  • Opens and folds just like a camp chair
  • Includes a drawstring carrying bag with shoulder strap
  • Wipe-clean eating surface
  • Adjustable lap belt and leg guards to keep your child from sliding down or forward
  • Includes a hanging mesh cup holder
  • Legs lock into place
  • Rated for ages 3 months to 3 years and up to 50 pounds
  • Retail price: $65.75
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You can read the complete portable high chair review from Zephyr Hill blog, and see more pictures, by clicking here.

PishPoshBaby is giving away a ciao! baby portable high chair to one lucky reader in the United States! The promotion runs from Oct. 28th to Nov. 5th. Winner gets to choose from in-stock colors. Enter the giveaway below, and good luck!


#Joovy Caboose Too Ultralight Stand-on Tandem Stroller [review]

I'm gushing over the Joovy Caboose Too Ultralight tandem stroller that we were able to try out this autumn. I've finally been able to compile my thoughts and sit down (instead of boppin' around town, strolling) and share some of the awesome features with all of you! 

I know there are a TON of pregnant mamas in my area which means many will be looking for a stroller to accommodate two little ones soon! There are so many reasons why I'd recommend the Joovy Caboose Too Ultralight, but since I know many of you read at nap time, I'll condense it down so that you can fall in love too, before baby #1 awakens! 

I am NOT our assembly line guru in the house. Most things that say "some assembly required" simply translates to: "hubby has a task for the evening." I wanted to try to challenge myself this summer and I've been at least attempting assembly of all that requires any effort. This stroller was reasonably easy to assemble. I did need his help with the wheels to make sure we weren't rolling down the sidewalk and mom's faulty assembly caused an accident! Caveat: I would have been able to do it ALL myself had I realized there were written instructions with the ordered pictures. I didn't see the second booklet was different than the one I had and had to wrestle through assembly Pictionary for some of the more intricate work BUT it was pretty fun!


The great news for many car seat owners is that the Caboose Too Ultralight fits over TWO DOZEN car seats with the (nearly) universal adapter -- sadly, our Baby Trend Columbia was not one of these. So, we're in the market for a new car seat to go with our new Joovy Caboose Too Ultralight, but it still rocks to know that we have a plethora of choices! Check out the handy chart that the folks at Joovy have for you to reference and make sure yours will fit -- it's on the right-hand side and is labeled "Car Seat Compatibility."


Size-wise, the Joovy Caboose Too Ultralight rocks because it's much more compact than a typical double stroller. My single jogger doesn't even provide the streamline, suitcase-style fold-up that the Caboose Too does! The fact that it is so compact makes it sensible for using with just one child as well, which also offers up space elsewhere from storing other gear! It's a very good multi-purpose option. Another consideration is that some tandem models from other brands require some parts removal to fold-down the stroller. This would be a nightmare for air travel -- being in one piece means this is the stroller to take to Disney!



I didn't realize the shade would cover both kiddos. I LOVE this feature and hadn't even considered it when thinking about what I wanted in a tandem stroller. Genius! It's really a high quality set-up -- the shade for one of our car seat carriers got mangled in about four months from constant use and I don't see that happening to this one.

The only thing we didn't love was that this is a town and city only stroller. If you have paved streets and sidewalks, you're set! We are often compelled to take the path less-traveled vs. the path of least resistance, so this was one of the only things that we noticed was a bit prohibitive with the Caboose Too Ultralight. Dirt roads, grassy yards, and trails unknown must be left for another day and another stroller (or backpack carrier!)

YOU can get your own Joovy Caboose Too Ultralight at many different websites and retailers, including the Joovy site -- or use their handy Store Locator to find someplace convenient for you! Amazon, Babies R US, and Diapers.com are great places to look too! Most sites prices are from $249.99 for the Caboose Too Ultralight. Please, ask if you have questions for me!

Disclosure: My family is part of the Joovy Brand Ambassador program and received a complimentary product for the purposes of the review here and elsewhere. All opinions are our own and we were not compensated in any other way.

Crafts for Preschoolers - Part One: Halloween [Easy for Moms!]

The Holidays always spark my creative side -- and yes, by "the holidays" we start with Halloween in this house! So, for the next few months, our walls, refrigerator, and doorways are haunted, kissed by holly, sparkling, even fragrant with the best the season has to offer.

Inspiration


In my planning and assessing my "craft supply room" for the necessities, I often feel compelled to research crafts that you do not need to be Martha Stewart to accomplish with kids. I adore Pinterest, but I often times feel like it consumes my day and lately I also feel like Martha Stewart is curating all the kids craft boards! I don't want to decorate a seven layer cake for my child's Pre-K Halloween party, I just want to make a few goodie bags. You get my point.

So, I have scoured REAL books! Yes! Books! Remember those? And magazines! And a little bit of Googling and even some Pinterest and what I've found I'm sharing with you here. The multi-part posting will include some of the seasonal holidays that come each autumn. Stay tuned for a Thanksgiving installment after this!

Supplies

I try to go for "regular" supplies that I already have en masse, or that are easily acquired around the home: Kleenex, glue, egg cartons, tempura paint, pipecleaners, etc. (These, at least, are normal around MY house!)

My son is three-and-a-half-years-old. So that is the age that is targeted, but I'd say depending on the child, these can be generalized as toddler - pre-K or even Kindergarten-aged children. Bonus points if you play applicable seasonal music while you craft with the kiddos! We LOVE Pandora for finding our crafting mood music!

The Projects

Egg Carton Ghosties 

Supplies: glue, Kleenes, white tempura paint, scissors, egg carton, marker, pipe cleaner or ribbon



Egg Carton Bats

Supplies: black tempura paint, scissors, egg carton, googly eyes, glue, ribbon or pipe cleaner



Print Owls

Supplies: Glue sticks, construction paper, cardstock [for better canvas], paint, little hands!



Haunted Trees

Supplies: Glue sticks, construction paper, cardstock [for better canvas], paint, little hands AND feet!

Picture is coming...

Skeleton Hands

Supplies: Glue, cardstock, white tempura paint, little hands, and Q-tips or similar white ear swabs



Glitter is optional for all of these!!

Travelin' with Baby - Spotlight on Star Kids [review]

We've all been there -- messy back seat, cleaning the car seat every other day, and wishing that you had the willpower to outlaw eating in the backseat (but not able to put down the muffin in the front!) Well, Star Kids have made the ingenious Snack & Play Travel Tray and with the exception of a few quirks, we're loving it!

I have a dark confession but it totally makes me appreciate the tray, so I have to share... We were at the drive-thru for McDonalds -- yes, I said it! I'm weak! That darn Monopoly gets me every year! Plus it is the only restaurant on the side of town where we were that my child will even consider that has a drive thru. So, there we were. 


He also demands ketsup with his fries. I don't blame him I guess! If I didn't have such a ketsup/vinegar aversion with this pregnancy, I'd probably want some too! Well, McDs' doesn't make any kind of dipping vessel -- at least not in our area -- so how is the kid supposed to get the condiment? The driver is no help. I offered to let him suck the ketsup out of the packet, but that wasn't his idea of gourmet dining. 



So, I unfolded a wrapper and put the ketsup on it. I placed the waxpaper wrapper on the tray and amazingly, it worked! Mind you it was fully dark. I was immediately thankful for the handy invention! It also bought me some time during carbound errands like going to the bank and the library book drop while he played more easily with his toys. 

There is a buckle that secures the tray to your child's seat. Handy pockets on the sides hang over the car seat and are accessible by the child, so they are quite nice compared to the incessant "Mom! Will you get my toy...I dropped it!" 

The single downfall to the tray we've found is that because it is packable, the tray folds down the middle. This is great for storing, but a flat, sturdy surface is desirable at times. Otherwise, it rocks. I consider this a road trip essential now!

One lucky reader will win a Snack & Play Travel Tray of their choice in my Travelin' with Baby prize package! Good Luck!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary product for this event and article. All opinions are my own.

Travelin' with Baby - Spotlight on My Little Seat [review]

We tried our laps. We tried the large, bulky plastic high chair that was like having an ungulate in the kitchen with you for months on end. We were lucky that we breastfed exclusively for an extended time -- that way this was a limited time problem! Now that we'll have another little mouth to feed we knew we had to change our infrastructure for the task.

When my son became a toddler we had the good fortune of having my grandfather, a fantastic woodworker, gift to him a handmade restaurant-style high chair. This has been amazing -- but not so great for smaller kids and there's the issue of sharing. [Probably not going to go well.]

So we looked and searched and Googled and asked around. What we came up with was an extremely versatile, packable, easy-to-clean option: My Little Seat.

  

Almost any seat that isn't a real high-backed chair can accommodate this handy high-chair. Fit it to many different sizes of kiddos. It's really one of the best we've found for our lifestyle - on the go and messy! Stuff it into the little sack and you have a feeding station that is about the size of a cloth diaper! Perfect!

One lucky reader will win a My Little Seat of their choice in my Travelin' with Baby prize package! Good Luck!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary product for this event and article. All opinions are my own.

 

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