Friday, September 28, 2012


One of the things that I love about blogging is having the opportunity to give away things to my readers.  I'm actually pretty good at winning things on other blogs, too! 

Well, today... two winners will receive a Hotel Transylvania gift pack. 

And actually, just today my kids asked me if they can go and see the movie Hotel Transylvania.. starring Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez.  The release date is September 28, 2012.. today, so I'm sure we'll be heading out in the near future to see this new family film.  At 8 and 10, I feel my girls are ready for the PG rating.  But just in case you have little ones, there is some rude humor, action, and scary images. Little man will have to sit this one out. 

Visit Hotel Transylvania here ( a place where monsters can rest in peace) to learn more about the film.

Now for the giveaway...

The Hotel Transylvania gift pack- includes the following..

  •  Activity Book
  •  Book Cover
  •  Eraser Set
  •  T-shirt

  • Giveaway ends... Friday, October 5th, 2012 :USA- Eastern Time.
    (This contest is now closed.)

    Good Luck!

    Random numbers generated Oct 6 2012 at 11:6:3

    4 Random numbers generated Oct 6 2012 at 11:16:50

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

    Simple Spider Craft

    I made these simple spiders for little man and his little buddy yesterday.  Very easy to make, but fun to play with!

    Materials: black construction paper, yarn

    1. Cut out a rectangle. Next, cut four legs on each side. 

    2. Fold the legs on the rectangles as shown above.
    3. Cut out a circle.

    4. Put the circle on top of the rectangle and poke a hole in the center.
    5. Pull a peice of yarn or string through the center and tie on the bottom.

     Now the eensy, weensy spider is ready to take a walk!

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    My Well Being

    This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of My Well-Being Powered by Humana for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

    MWB Logo (3)

    My Well-Being, a website powered by Humana, focuses on more than just your health.  As parents, it is important that we take care of not only our families but our own well being- our health, our finances, and our leisure time.

    At times, I must admit, I haven't been very good about this.  I've put my finances on a back-burner and paid bills late or maybe haven't invested as wisely as I should have.  Also, I've made sure that I have plenty of time to take care of my family, husband, and sometimes the house, but have forgotten about myself and nuturing my interests and friendships.  This is where I think this website will be helpful.  How can I take care of my own health and wellness so that I can be a better mother, wife, and friend?

    Once you join this community, you can personalilze your experience by taking a Well Being Assessment.  It focuses on these four areas: Health, Money, People, and Play.  The area that I found that I need to focus on from my assessment was the area of Money.  Articles on organizing my finances and budgeting should be helpful.  Other articles that I enjoyed reading included 10 Ways to Find More Happiness and Organzing the Family.

    To find out more aboutt My Well Being, be sure to view the video below.  It didn't take long to register for the site and one of the perks to registering is a FREE Dummies book.  So check out My Well Being.  Let me know if you sign up and what articles you are interested in reading.

    About MyWell-Being from mywell-being on Vimeo.


    Visit Sponsor's Site

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    NECTRESSE™ Natural No Calorie Sweetner

    This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of NECTRESSE™Sweetener for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

    Recently, I had fun cooking with my kids while trying out a new sweetener at the same time.  Being a mom, I'm apprehensive when it comes to sugar substitutes, so I was very curious to try NECTRESSE™.  This new sweetener is made from a fruit that I didn't really know a lot about until now.  It is called Monk fruit. It is a small green melon that grows in the mountain regions of Asia.   NECTRESSE™ is actually the only 100% natural sweetener made from a fruit extract that is available on the market thus far.  NECTRESSE™  was created by combining the sweet monk fruit with other natural sweeteners thus giving you the sweet taste without all of the calories.

    Nectresse product family.jpg

    We found this easy and yummy recipe (Bite Size Apples Pies-Taste of Home) from the blog.. Cookin Up North.   NECTRESSE™Sweetener  is much sweeter than sugar, so we only needed to use half of the portion needed for the recipe.

    Bite Size Apple Pies -Taste of Home

    1/2 c. sugar (substituted 1/4 cup of NECTRESSE™)
    2 tsp. cinnamon
    1 pkg. (14.1 oz..} refrigerated pie crust
    3 tbsp. melted butter, divided
    2 medium tart apples, each cut into 8 wedges

    In a small bowl, combine the sweetener and cinnamon, set aside 1 Tbsp. On a lightly floured surface, unroll the pastry. Brush with 2 Tbsp. melted butter, sprinkle with remaining mixture.

    Cut each sheet into 8 one inch strips, about 8 in. long. Wrap one strip around each apple wedge, placing sugared side of pastry against apple.

    Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with mixture. Bake at 425 for 13-15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Serve warm. Makes 16.

    The recipe turned out great and the combination of the sweetener and cinnamon was perfect.  We probably could have even used less of the sweetener. And if you are in the mood to splurge a little, add a dollop of vanilla ice-cream!

    After baking with NECTRESSE™  and using it in my coffee, my family recommends this new product and plan on using it again. We truly enjoyed the taste of it.  Actually, it is also recommended by Lisa Ling.  Due to a family history of diabetes she has been cautious of her sugar intake and has relied on no calorie sweeteners to satisfy her sweet tooth.  Learn more about her experiences below and feel free to share her video with others who may be interested.

    Would your family like to try NECTRESSE™?  I'm happy to be able to offer my readers a FREE sample of NECTRESSE™Sweetener.  Just visit to sign up for your sample.


    Visit Sponsor's Site

    Saturday, September 22, 2012

    ABC Elephant

    So excited about my 50 cent find today- this foam ABC elephant puzzle!  It is a little challenging, but little man and I were able to work on it together. Even my 8 year old had fun putting it together.  Great for letter identification and fine motor fun! 

    Oh, I found it on the clearance rack at Rite-aid by the way.  Just in case you have this store where you live, you may want to take a peek.


    Friday, September 21, 2012

    The Elephant Song

    This morning's Pinterest find! Little man couldn't stop giggling.

    Just a fun, silly song that's great for little one's!

    Idea for Preschoolers and up..

    Have your child illustrate an animal in a funny situation or acting like a different animal. Older children can write about their illustration as well. 

    What did you find valuable on Pinterest today? Jen

    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    Not Happy with Momma!

    This is the face of a blogger's child who is so darn tired of having a camera in his face.  Poor kid is not happy with Momma, No way!

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    Have a POTATO Day!

    Why? You ask.  Why not.  Because there is a lot of learning you can do with potatoes.  Here are some activities that I had fun sharing with little man and his one year old buddy!

    1. Play hot potato.  Old but goodie.  I sat the little one on my lap and she helped me pass a ball back and forth to little man.  The giggles and squeels were awesome!

    2.  One Potato, Two.  Sing a hand-rhyme.

    One Potato, Two
    One potato, two potato, three potato, four
    Five potato, six potato, seven, potato, more
    Eight potato, nine potato, ten potato, then
    Let’s start over and do it again.

    (pound your right fist on your left fist and then left over right- repeat to rhythm of poem)

    3.  Color Mr. Potato Head or play with Mr. Potato Head toy.  Name the different parts: eyes, ears, mouth, hands, feet, etc.
    4. Spud observations:  Take out an actual potato. 
    Let your little one observe and feel the different texture of the potato. 
    Talk about it and where it grows. 
    What do they see on the potato? 
    If they are old enough, they can draw their observations.
    5. Potato Painting
    I cut an old potato in half and let little man paint with it.  He enjoyed this activity.  We were focusing on the color red this week, so I gave him red paint.  Then he asked for yellow and being he asked nicely.. yellow he got. 

    More ideas..

    *Roll Mr. Potato Head Game and printable.
    *Magnetic Mr. Potato Head with printable.
    *Potato activities from Make Learning Fun.

    And then we have couple of funny potato posts from this blog...

    Over-baked potato!

    Mr. Potato Head


    Any more fun potato ideas for little ones?
    Thank you to Church House Clipart for the cute potato image!

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    Collage Activity: The Color Red

    LM- age 33 months

    We're exploring red this week, so I did a simple collage activity with the kids. You could add more to this if you wanted. We used tissue paper, ribbon, a crayon, and paint.

    Other ideas: stickers, felt, scraps of red paper, red pom poms

    LM loves to paint just about anything.  His hands, face, legs... I think you get the idea.  So he was more than happy to stamp his little hands on the page. He also likes to glue.  I may have him add more to his red collage this week.

    AJ- age 1

    AJ loves to color, but she wasn't too thrilled about me painting her little hand red.  But who can resist little hand prints.  So sweet. She liked helping me glue the tissue paper on her collage.

    I hope that you are enjoying your week so far.



    Friday, September 14, 2012

    Building with Large Blocks

    Good Morning!  I just wanted to share a couple of pics of little man being creative and building with large cardboard blocks.  These blocks have outlasted 3 kids so far... bought them when my first was born and she's ten!  They are so great for so many reasons.. motor skills, creativity, story telling to name a few. 

    If you are new to my blog, you'll have to check out Big Ben that my girls built many years ago! I think in 2008 to be exact.  I told you these blocks were old.  :)


    Thursday, September 13, 2012

    Purple Color Activities

    At little man's request, we had a PURPLE day-Yeah.  We had fun playing with an all things purple tray. (see above)   We also explored purple flash cards from bright hub education featuring real life photos.

    Color days are so much fun.  Try some of these activities...

    Paint with purple paint
    Using recyclables, dip the bottom of a jug in purple paint.  Stamp circles on the paper.  I did this with my little man age 2.5 and helped his buddy (age 1) with her project. We talked about the circle shape as well. I extended this activity with little man by mixing paint with him.  I squirted red and then blue and told him to watch what happens when they come together.  He thought it was pretty cool how red and blue creates a brand new color!

    Be sure to watch out for any purple monsters while you are painting.  You never know when they might just appear!

    Color with a purple crayon
    The little one that I take care of.. age 1, loves to color.  She does such a great job for being just a little peanut.  Look at her artwork below!

    Read books...

    Create a Purple Yarn Puppy
    I printed the doggy printable online.  You can draw your own dog if you'd like.  I actually got this idea from 365 Days of Creative Play by Sheila Ellison and Judith Gray.

    Play with Purple Play-doh
    I made mine by mixing red and blue that I had on hand, but I'm sure you can get creative with Kool-aid or food coloring if you are making homemade play-doh.

    And don't forget about this guy...
    the big purple dinosaur!

    More purple ideas... be sure to share!

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012


    It is one of those moments that you will never forget.  I was teaching at the time and was preparing lessons before my students arrived.  I had the television on as I worked and couldn't understand what was happening as I looked at the screen.  It was 9/11/2001.  In confusion, I watched as an airplane crashed into the twin towers.  And then the horror continued as I learned of the crash at the Pentagon and then as a plane crashed down in Shanksville, Pa.

    My heart aches each year on this day for those who lost their lives that day and for their families. I'll never forget that day and my hope is that the families continue to heal as each day goes by and that they know they are still thought of and loved from afar.

    During that time, I was pregnant with my first child and I remember thinking- "Oh my goodness, what am I doing bringing a child into this world?" I was afraid for my unborn child.  Afraid of war, afraid of terrorism, afraid that she would someday learn first hand of the evil in this world.  Luckily, our guidance counselor at the school where I worked, met with us (the teachers) to help us cope with what was happening.  It was a scary and sad time for all of us- even those not directly affected by the tragedy. 

    Even with all of the pain, it was inspiring to see our country come together during this time. Also, to see so many people turn to a higher power for guidance and strength.  Our country will never be the same, but we won't be afraid.  We continue to live and thrive and bring children into this world.  Children for which we hope and pray have a better future. 


    Saturday, September 8, 2012

    Bendaroos Activities

    Bendaroos... my girls have packs and packs of these.  Didn't realize that it would be one of little man's new creative toys.  He discovered that he can twist them and form them and then stick them on the chalk board. 
    And if they start to fall off.. "Mommy, I need tape, pwease."  Such a calming activity for him and he will play with these Bendaroos for such a long period of time. 

    Why Bendaroos for your toddler/preschooler?
     -sensory/fine motor play
     -teach colors
     -creative thinking
     -to form letters or numbers

    You also find more learning activities organized by age level on Bendaroos main site.

    Do your children play/creative with Bendaroos?  If so, share ideas... please!!


    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Little Quack Counts and Activities

    Little Quack is an adorable and curious little duckie!  In the book, Little Quack Counts by Lauren Thompson, Little Quack explores things in his world around him. He counts ladybugs, fish, dragonflies, and bees.  The book takes a fun twist when he counts the bees!  Perfect beginner book for babies and toddlers or those just learning to count.


    Little Quack Craft: After drawing Little Quack on paper for the kids, I had markers and crayons available for them to color.  Paint would also be a good option.  I talked about how the duck is yellow with an orange beak.  Next, we pasted a feather on Little Quack.

    Explore Feathers: After creating Little Quack, the kids (ages 13 months and 2.5 enjoyed exploring and playing with feathers).  Little man liked fitting as many feathers as he could into a small bottle.  Great sensory activity for little hands.

    Color Fun:  We had a yellow day... being Little Quack is Yellow!  We talked about the different objects that were yellow.  Also, played with yellow pom poms- transfer activity.  And of course we had to play with yellow Play-doh! 

    Fun day for the little ones with lots of beginning learning!


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