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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Show and Tell with Deb & Lisa – Grown Up Gifts {VIDEO}

(To the tune of “Jingle Bells…)  Dashing through the mall.  On a late December day, through the stores we go — charging all the way.  Ching! Ching! Ching!

How far have you gotten on your holiday shopping?  I’m still in the midst of it, but had some great ideas for gifts for kids which you can check out here.  Now that my kidlets are all taken care of, I’m onto completing the rest of my list – which is all adults.

With that in mind, the new episode of “Show and Tell with Deb & Lisa” is all about gifts for grown ups – from the fashionista to the foodie and tech-lover, there is something on this list for everyone! Check it out below…..

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The Harried Mom’s “Perfect” #SundaySauce

One of the moms from my book club recently had twins.  Between recovering from giving birth, taking care of two newborns, tending to her older daughter and oh yeah, don’t forget her husband and the house, I know it’s been an exhausting and overwhelming few weeks…and it’s just starting!

To help our mommy pal out our book club organized a meal train.  I had never heard of a meal train before, but I love its purpose.

A meal train is organized meal giving.  For example if someone is ill, elderly or has a new baby (or two!), caring friends, family, co-workers, neighbors or pretty much anyone who wants to show their excitement or compassion prepares and brings a meal to the family in need on an assigned day.   These are “drop off” ready meals – ones that the family can either pop in the oven to reheat or just stick in a fork in and start eating.

Taking into consideration my friend’s family dietary restrictions/preferences, I settled on making a spinach lasagna since I know it can freeze well if they decide they don’t want to eat it that day.  It’s also easy to prepare so I could double up on ingredients and stash a lasagna in my own freezer for a tasty homemade meal to reheat in less than an hour on a crazy weeknight.

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I think the secret to making a great pasta meal — whether its spaghetti, lasagna or ravioli — is that is has to have a great sauce.  Being Italian I’ll admit that I’m pretty good at making #SundaySauce.  It’s so good that it’s been known to be called “perfect” by my close friends and family.

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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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Keeping Kids Healthy – Tips To Prevent Getting & Spreading Cold, Flu and Enterovirus This Season

Did you know that the average school-age child contracts four or more colds per year, with each cold potentially lasting from 5 to 14 days?

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-sick-kid-resting-vector-illustration-boy-bed-image38728161In our household – if one person gets sick the chances are pretty likely that it will eventually make the rounds hitting all of us. It’s like a domino effect – one kidlet gets sick, gets better and then the other one gets it, gets better and it moves on to us parents. Once one of us gets sick it’s literally weeks before the “sickies” are out of our home. That means lots of missed school, activities, work and fun for the whole lot of us.

With the respiratory virus Enterovirus D68 wreaking havoc and the start of cold and flu season just around the corner it is important now more than ever to reinforce good hygiene and germ prevention to our kids.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about the impact of Enterovirus D68 is having across the country. Babies and young children up to about 13 are at the greatest risk of contracting the illness, and it is especially dangerous for those who have a history of asthma.

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In the Cross Hairs – SoCozy Children’s Haircare Product Review

Thank you to SoCozy for sending us these children’s haircare products for review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own, based on personal experiences with the product. #SoCozyBTS

It’s no secret that I can’t do hair. I’ve had the same bob-style haircut for over a decade because it is simple to do and I can’t mess it up. When it comes to my daughter’s “do” – it really is a hair-raising experience.

It’s taken a lot of time and a lot of pTHM-SoCozy-Daughters-Hairractice, but I have gotten better with my daughter’s hair. At least I can tame her locks enough that she doesn’t look like she’s got a rat’s nest on top of her head!

I’m also working on stepping up my very limited styling game, especially now that school has started again. All the rage in my daughter’s preschool class is to have braids like Anna and Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen” and she constantly begs me to do her hair that way. I always try my best, but my braids usually turn out lopsided with lots of wisps of hair that just don’t seem to make it into the braid while I’m plaiting.

But I’m not giving up!

I’ve quickly learned that a key element to styling my daughter’s hair – and for that matter my son’s – is that it all starts in the bath, with their haircare products.

We just started using SoCozy products and I have to say, I’m impressed. SoCozy is a salon level quality of hair care products that don’t contain any “nasties,”– you know harmful chemicals, toxins and parabens. Their products are made using extracts and natural ingredients such as hops, rosemary, arnica flower and aloe. They’re also gluten, wheat and nut free – which is super important to many families with sensitive skin or food allergies.Continue reading ⇒

Go Grocery Shopping & Earn Points To Get FREE Stuff For Your School With #Labels4Edu {#cbias}

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser.
All opinions are mine alone. #Labels4Edu

Did you know that just by doing your weekly grocery shopping, you can be helping out your local schools?  Though I’ve seen them for years, but I never paid much attention to those education labels on the packages of products I bought. That was until my own kidlets started school and I learned about Labels for Education and realized that I was literally throwing away valuable points that could benefit my local school and community!

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Labels for Education is a great program where you can help your school earn FREE educational merchandise such as computers, software, sports equipment, musical instruments, library books and many other supplies. You can find out if your school participates by going here.  America’s schools and organizations have earned more than $114 million in merchandise over the Labels for Education program’s 40 year history. Who knew?!

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It’s A Chore!

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

It’s one of the most dreaded words in our home.  It’s worse than “homework,” “bedtime,” “dentist,” or even “broccoli!” What word is it? It’s C-H-O-R-E-S.

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It wasn’t always this way. When my kidlets were toddlers they were always very eager and happy to help mom or dad out.  Upon completion they would beam proudly and openly brag that they were “helpful.”  As they’ve gotten older though, that enthusiasm has morphed into sulky and whiny replies whenever they are asked to do something.

But teaching kids to do chores is important. Just like their father and I, each of my kidlets need to contribute in order to help run and keep up this household.  Yeah, sure, it’s great for mom and dad to have some extra hands helping out around the house, but it’s also a valuable learning lesson for kids.  Kids doing chores teaches them about responsibility, teamwork and helps to build their self-esteem.

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Bringing a Child’s Artwork to Life With Their Own Custom Made Stuffed Animal – Budsies Review

Did you have a favorite stuffed animal growing up that you carried everywhere with you? What about your kids? Do they have a favorite that they can’t seem to put down?

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Check out these stuffed animals, they’re my kidlet’s newest favs. Not only are these dolls cute, cuddly and colorful, but my kidlets actually designed them.  Yes, these two dolls were created from artwork that my kidlets made and turned into a reality through a wonderfully whimsical company called Budsies.

Budsies brings artwork to life created by children (or adults!), by creating one-of-a-kind stuffed dolls.

The Budsies process to make your own doll is super simple. Your child creates a color drawing using crayons, markers or even paint. It can be of anything your child desires…an animal, a person or even an object. Then you take a picture of it and upload from your computer or smartphone to Budsies website to order. In five weeks or less a custom-made stuffed animal inspired by your child’s drawing arrives at your home.

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Liberty Science Center – #ScienceSummerFun Giveaway

What do you do with your kids on summer days when you’re tired of going to the park, beach, library or movies? What about on rainy days? While the Hubs and I might want to go to a museum, the kidlets prefer places where they can have lots of fun and get “hands on.”

PrintThe Liberty Science Center is just the place to meld our parental & kidlet preferences. It’s a 300,000 square foot fun learning center located on the banks of the Hudson River in Jersey City’s Liberty State Park.  You should make the trip over there just to see the spectacular and unobstructed views of the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan, including the Freedom Tower.

Dedicated to bringing the excitement of science to people of all ages, Liberty Science Center (LSC for short!) features 12 museum halls featuring ongoing exhibitions such as Skyscraper!, Infection Connection, Energy Quest and Communication. They also host a live animal collection with 110 species and giant aquariums where you can actually touch sea creatures. The Center also houses a 3D theater, the nation’s largest IMAX Dome theater and tornado/hurricane-force wind simulators.

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