How To Host A Successful Playdate #DisneyKids

I received free products in order to host the #DisneyKids Preschool Playdate.
The opinions expressed here are my own.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-playdate-blocks-image23559451As the mom of two kidlets under the age of 8, playdates are a big part of my life.

Playdates are great opportunities for children to interact with other children in small settings. Aside from being fun, playdates help a child the chance to develop their social skills, build their self-esteem and broaden their views on how people are different and alike.

I also find that playdates are a great opportunity for parents, especially working moms like myself who aren’t as visible at local activities or school events, to build relationships with other parents of similar aged children. It’s always helpful and reassuring to have friends who can share and commiserate in both the challenges and joys of raising children.

There are no hard and fast rules to hosting a playdate. All you have to do is remember that a kid playdate is not a star-studded gala. You don’t have to go all out to impress, all that work and detail would just be lost on the kiddie crowd anyway.  All you really have to do is make sure your playdate is packed with lots of fun!

Here are my tips and trips to hosting a successful playdate:

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Special Guest for The Chirping Moms 12 Days of Toys: Day 11 CHARM IT! Charm Bracelet & Disney Frozen Olaf’s In Trouble Game {GIVEAWAY}

In the spirit of the holiday season – which to me means sharing and giving – today The Harried Mom is teaming up with The Chirping Mom’s 12 Days of Toys Giveaway! Along with my “Show and Tell with Deb & Lisa” cohort Lisa Pisano, from Mom a la Mode, we’re thrilled to be Day 11 of this giveaway extravaganza. I want to thank to those new folks who found their way over here today and to my regular readers, there’s some holiday cheer in store for you all!

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Grab Bag List of Gift Ideas

Did you know that the National Retail Federation estimates that the average holiday shopper will spend $800 on holiday gifts and goodies this year.  I hope you have enough wrapping paper and tape on hand for all those gifts!!

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-many-christmas-presents-image27647684If you’re like me, you’re in the midst of holiday shopping getting presents for family, friends and co-workers.  I always seem to be on the hunt for that “perfect” gift to give someone.  I like to take the person and their interests into consideration and try to find something unique to them.

With that in mind, here is my sort of grab bag list of some last-minute gift ideas – from holiday-inspired and budget finds to stocking stuffers.  Want to know the best part? You don’t have to trudge to the store or mall and wait on a line to get any of these items. They are all available online and delivered right to your or your gift recipient’s door (and in some cases, already wrapped)

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Kid Lit: Season’s Readings!

Are you ready to start celebrating the ho-ho-holidays?  This month’s Kid Lit post features books about December festivities including Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa for children aged 3-10.

A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas
By Philip Yates, illustrated by Sebastia Serra (Sterling)

Young mateys will find plenty of holiday joy in this humorous, colorful and thoroughly piratical version of the “The Night Before Christmas.” On this ship, the mischievous brigands have visions of treasure chests, not sugar plums dancing in their heads.

This ship of pirates don’t expect a visit from old St. Nick, but rather from Sir Peggedy, with his peg leg and hook arm!  Sir Peggedy cracks a whip and drives a team of eight giant seahorses — Salty, Scurvy, Sinbad, Mollie, Cutthroat, Cross-Eyes, Roger and Jolly!

This book by far is my kidlets favorite out of the bunch.  It is filled with rollicking rhymes and sprightly, fun-filled pictures—featuring whimsically multicolored seahorses, stockings hung on the ship’s bowsprit with tar, child-friendly pirates, and, of course, comes complete with a treasure map!Continue reading ⇒

Holiday Gift Picks for Kids – Introducing “Show and Tell With Deb & Lisa” Video Series

I’m so excited to share today’s post with you!

Over the past year I’ve had some wonderful opportunities to check out great toys, books, electronics, gifts, clothes, events and activities at various blogging events which I’ve shared with you here at The Harried Mom. At these events I would always run into my friend Lisa Pisano from Mom A La Mode.

I love hanging out with Lisa. Why?  Because we’re two like-minded blogging moms who love to talk about products and our experiences. We figured if we liked talking about these things together, you might too and we’ve created a new series that we hope you’ll find both informative and entertaining.

So I’m proud to introduce you to “Show and Tell With Deb & Lisa” our new monthly vlog series that gives you the scoop on the latest in toys, trends and fun from two bloggers with an all access-pass to what’s hot and happening!

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For our inaugural episode we’re getting into the holiday spirit with a holiday gift guide for kids. Our picks are focused on items for both boys and girls and ranging in age from pre-K thru elementary school.

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – #NorthpoleFun {#shop}

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser.
All opinions are mine alone. #NorthpoleFun

‘Twas the month before Christmas and all through my house, both my kidlets were stirring wondering “when the heck will Santa be here?!”

I think the kidlets were ready for the holiday season to start the moment they took off their costumes and ate their last piece of candy! I’ll admit, I couldn’t wait for it either! Christmastime my favorite time of year and I am totally into the celebration!

I mail out my holiday cards early enough that it’s the first card most of my friends get for the season. I put up our tree and decorations the day after Thanksgiving and keep them out all the way thru New Year’s.  I buy crazy amounts of holiday wrapping paper and spend hours debating what bows, ribbons and tags I’ll use for each gift.   I even take the kidlets on weekly trips around our neighborhood to check out all the pretty lights and Christmas displays.

THM-Northpole-Hallmark-Communicator-Book-SnowflakeSo of course I wanted to get a jump-start on this holiday season, so I picked up some Northpole items for the kidlets. Northpole is a new line of keepsake toys, gifts and party items from Hallmark that are inspired by Santa’s magical home and are available now at Walmart.Continue reading ⇒

VTech InnoTab Max Review – A Tablet for the Kids!

Disclosure: I was provided with a VTech® InnoTab® MAX in order to facilitate this review.
All opinions are my very own.

My kidlets totally take after me and The Hubs when it comes to trying out new tech products. You should see how excited they get when a new tech toy arrives for them to actually try out! One of their recent favs has been the Kidzoom® Smartwatch from Vtech (which I wrote about here), the two of them have fought over since we got it this summer.

THM-InnoTab-Max-Vtech-Review-TabletSo when the InnoTab MAX showed up on our doorstep earlier this month, they were psyched to finally have their very own tablet device instead of having to borrow mom and dad’s to play on.  It might just be the perfect gift for the tech/gadget loving kid on your holiday list!

The InnoTab MAX by VTech is a multi-media learning tablet for children aged 3-9 that combines educational games and creative activities.

I like that it’s built to grow along with my child.  It combines VTech’s expert-supported library of cartridges, software and apps with carefully selected educational Android apps for fun and educational learning.

This tablet features a large (7 inch) high-resolution touch screen that allows kids to either use their fingers or the included stylus to navigate around.  It has a useful handle for kids to tote the tablet around and comes with a detachable cover/stand which helps makes it durable to tough wear and tear by kids.

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How to Get the Most Out of a Parent-Teacher Conference

It’s that time of year again, time for parent-teacher conferences. Over the next few days at my son’s elementary school parents and teachers will sit across from each other in tiny, uncomfortable chairs to discuss their child’s progress.

THM-Parent-Teacher-Conference-TipsTo many of my mommy friends the parent-teacher conference is one of the most dreaded meetings to have at school– the other being called to the Principals office!.

I don’t dread these meetings, but I usually don’t find them very informative.  Teachers are slammed, seeing families back-to-back in 15 minute intervals. It’s more like a speed dating session than having a meaningful conversation about my son’s progress.

However, I do think that parent-teacher conferences are important because it’s one of only a handful of times throughout the year that I get some actual “face time” with my son’s teacher. It’s a chance for me to show his teacher that I’m an involved parent and who genuinely cares and wants to know what is going on in the classroom.

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Kid Lit: Scaring Up Stories for Halloween

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-happy-halloween-image26517292Halloween is just around the spooky corner, are you ready?

Our house is decorated with pumpkins, scarecrows and skeletons.  This past weekend I picked up an industrial size bag of candy from our local warehouse club for all the trick-o-treaters that’ll be stopping by.

My kidlets are ready too, they’ve been planning their costumes since summer!

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Snacking On The Go with Jif To Go® Dippers & Giveaway #MC

I participated in an Influencer Program on behalf of Influence Central for Jif To Go Dippers.
I received a sample to facilitate my review and a thank you item for participating. #MC #GetGoing

 

Is your family lTHM-Jif-To-Go-Dippers-Review-Peanut-Butter-Chocolate-Stackike mine? It seems like we’re always on the go.

Weekdays are focused on work, school, meetings and getting the kidlets to and from all their extra-circular activities on time! Weekends are all about getting our errands done quickly so we can have some fun family time together, such as going pumpkin picking, seeing a movie or visiting the zoo.

Whenever we’re out and about I like to make sure that I have snacks on hand for the kidlets for when they get a case of the munchies. I like to give them something that will actually satisfy their hunger and not just give them a temporary sugar high.

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