Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Splash

Homemade Crayons: How To

Our crayon bin is nothing less than a disaster. I honestly have no idea where all the random crayons have come from, or even how we've ended up with so many over the last few years. With tons of broken crayons in the bottom of the bin, we decided to make some new ones.

We filled the molds a few weeks back (using our Sillycone ones). We removed any wrappers from the crayons and broke them into small pieces. Little Man's job was to fill the molds and decide which colors to combine in each.I read some where that you could sit them outside in the sunlight to melt the pieces. Unfortunately, it didn't work well for us. The crayons never got hot enough to melt completely, so we finally decided to pop them in the oven instead.

How To:
1. Remove crayon wrappers and break crayons into small pieces.
2. Fill molds.
3. Bake in oven at 200 degrees for about 10 minutes. But keep an eye on them as some brands may melt quicker.
4. Allow to cool completely and pop out of mold.

Use crayons from one brand. We tried mixing brands together and some of our letters turned out very bumpy.

Little Man is loving his custom crayons (even though some of them broke as I removed them from the mold), and has been having fun creating words out of them as well.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Pool & Play Set Safety Tips

It seems that as summer hits and the heat increases, so does my little one's energy. I'm constantly getting him out to play just to burn off a little of the extra energy. We went swimming for the first time last week, and I think he is now absolutely in love with our local pool.

With outdoor play and swimming, there comes a risk of accidents. It's been reported that over 200,000 kids children go to the emergency room for play set related injuries each year. Another 4,200 people are taken to the ER for pool or spa related injuries.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a leading product safety testing organization, wants to see people taking the proper precautions this summer. They've offered the following tips on staying safe while playing and swimming.
Before Installing a Play Set:
  • Make sure your yard is big enough for the equipment. It should offer good visibility, security, and be free of any obstacles.
  • Read and follow the manufacturer's directions. Check weight limits as well.
  • Install a protective surface under equipment. Rubber tiles or mulch should extend 6 feet in all directions under the equipment.

Before Going Out to Play:
  • Inspect equipment carefully. It should be securely anchored and in good working order. S-hooks should be closed and there should be no protruding bolts.
  • Check for gaps a child could get stuck in. Spaces should be less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
  • Always supervise children on equipment.
  • Watch for obstacles that a child could trip on, such as rocks, tree stumps, or toys.

Home Pool Safety:
  • Install a fence. It should be at least 4 feet high with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
  • Cut overhanging tree limbs.
  • Keep grates and drain covers secured and in good condition.
  • Make sure you know infant and child CPR.

Safety While Swimming:
  • Supervise children at ALL times. Use the 10/20 rule. You should scan the pool every 10 seconds and be close enough to reach the water within 20 seconds.
  • Always have rescue devices nearby, like UL-listed life preservers.
  • Remember floaties and toys are not safety devices.
  • Always drain kiddie pools after using.
  • Have a phone nearby and keep emergency numbers posted.
  • Remove toys from pool when not in use. They could attract children to the unattended pool.

UL and Disney have also produced a safety video featuring Timon and Pumbaa. Watch it with your kids to learn more about staying safe this summer!

Have fun and stay safe this summer!

I wrote this while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Underwriters Laboratories. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Tyson Grilled & Ready Whole Breast Fillets: Review & Giveaway

***Closed: Congrats to barbara.montyj & Jessilyn82***

With summer here, it seems like I should I have so much more time to get dinner ready in the evenings. I mean, there's no school, no soccer. It seems like I have all the time in the world to get dinner together. And yet, 5 o'clock rolls around and I often find myself staring at the pantry thinking about what I can get on the table in under 20 minutes.

This is where Tyson Grilled & Ready Whole Breast Fillets come in. Pre-cooked, I can pop them in a skillet or the microwave and have them ready in minutes. I can easily add them to pasta, stir-fry, or salad. I can also just serve them as is or add a little spice to them.
Tyson Grilled & Ready Whole Breast Fillets are 98% fat free and do not contain preservatives. The Tyson Grilled & Ready line is available in the freezer section of most grocery stores, although my small town store has yet to pick them up. Other varieties included in the line are:
  • Chicken Breast Strips
  • Fajita Chicken Breast Strips
  • Oven Roasted Diced Chicken Breast
  • Southwestern Chicken Breast Strips
  • Seasoned Beef Strips
We added our chicken breasts to pasta and veggies one night, for a simple and quick dinner. It was both filling and satisfying. Another night, we tossed the pre-cooked chicken onto a baking sheet to serve with bread sticks and oven fries.

I really like how quickly the chicken can be ready to serve and how versatile the plain breasts can be. Plus, I am incredibly picky about meat, and had no complaints about the taste or texture.

Buy It: You can buy Tyson Grilled & Ready Whole Breast Fillets in the freezer section

Win It: One lucky reader will get to try the Grilled & Ready Fillets for free!

To enter: Tell me your favorite way to serve chicken. A pasta dish? Grilled? A casserole?

Want extra entries? (Leave separate comments for each)
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Be sure to leave a way to contact you.
Giveaway ends 7/1 at 11:59 pm EST. Winner will be notified via email. Open to US only.

Tyson provided samples for review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Camping...The Good, Bad & Cute

The Good:
Yummy food...Cinnamon Apple Pie Mountain Pies cooked over a fire
S'mores (of which I ate 10 or so...)
The Bad:
Water snakes...Lots of them.
Oh, and they failed to mention. It's mating season.
(Cue me screaming and darting to the far side of the bridge, trying to ward off the impeding heart attack.)
The Cute:
Crazy kid singing and dancing. To Hannah Montana.
And a creepy crawlie I could handle.
Hubby's ready to load up and go again. Apparently, he's quick to forget that we came home early from the last trip after Little Man flipped and refused to sleep in the tent another night. The daddy long leggers lurking on the mesh overhead finally got to him.

Momma, is not so quick to forget. My next vacation will definitely not be including a tent, or snakes, or bugs.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sons of Sylvia: Revelation Review & Giveaway

***Closed: Congrats to Shooting Stars Mag***

In our house, music is constantly on. Whether we're in the car, working on crafts, or cooking, there's a CD popped in the player or music videos playing on the TV. Depending on who picked the music, it could be just about any genre. But, country, by far, is my favorite.

Sons of Sylvia is comprised of Ashley, Austin and Adam, three brothers who first came together as The Clark Brothers to win The Next Great American Band on Fox in 2007. In 2009, they changed their name, and put out their first CD earlier this year.Sons of Sylvia recently caused a a huge buzz after their American Idol performance last month, as a pop/country crossover sensation. I love the mellow twang many songs on their album, Revelation, hold. But I was also surprised at the difference in sound from one track to another.

Revelation, so named for the band's "tale of finding destiny through music and the unbreakable bond of brotherly love," contains ten tracks, each offering hints of country, rock, and pop.
The track list:
1. John Wayne
2. Love Left to Lose
3. Revelation
4. 50 Ways
5. Song of Solomon
6. Give Me Love
7. Ghost Town
8. Long Beach
9. I'll Know You
10. The War Within

From all the songs, I found 50 Ways to be my favorite. Something in the beat or the lyrics, had me listening to it over and over. Plus, I appreciate that it's music I can play with my 5 year old in the room.

Sons of Sylvia is currently on tour with Carrie Underwood, with dates running through the end of the year.

Buy It: You can purchase Revelation on iTunes.

Win It: One lucky reader will win a copy of Revelation.

To enter: Tell me which song you think you'll love. You can listen to them on the Sons of Sylvia site.

Want extra entries? (Leave separate comments for each)
  • Follow me on Blogger
  • Grab my button
  • Add me to your blog roll
  • Follow me on Twitter (Leave your username)
  • Tweet this giveaway (Leave link/Once a day only)
  • Blog about the giveaway with a link to this post. (Leave your link)
Be sure to leave a way to contact you.
Giveaway ends 6/23 at 11:59 pm EST. Winner will be notified via email. Open to US only.

A copy of the CD was provided for review. All opinions are my own.

Wordless Wednesday: Fishing Together

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Summer Day 2

Crayons in the making:
Powder painting:

Soccer Books for Kids: A Review

With our soccer season coming to an end, Little Man is sad that it will be a few months until he gets to play on a team again. He has loved the social aspects of playing soccer, loved learning new skills, and loved the excitement of the games.

We recently received a few books all about soccer. Reading them together has been a fun way to keep the idea of team sports and playing ball fresh in Little Man's head. Though the spring season is almost over, reading the books has him looking forward to the upcoming fall season.

Big Kicks
Big Kicks, by Bob Kolar, tells the story of a town soccer team in need of help. One day they find themselves short a player and go looking for help in the form of Biggie Bear. Because of his size, the teams thinks he will be a superstar, but Biggie has never played soccer before.
The book teaches kids that there's more to sports than size and that being part of a team can be rewarding. Joining a team can lead to friendships and a sense of belonging.

Goal! by Mina Javaherbin is a touching story of a group of boys in Africa. As a reward for being the best reader in school, the young boy narrating the story receives a regulation sized soccer ball. However, the streets in their town aren't safe. The boy and his friends must appoint a lookout before starting a game, and even then, they come face to face with bullies who almost steal their new ball.
Quick thinking, and a little trickery, allows them to keep the new ball. And once the streets are clear again, the boys are able to continue with their game. The trials of these boys made us realize just how lucky we are. We are able to walk outside and play any time we want. We have the freedom to feel safe in our neighborhood.

The Silly Book
We also received a copy of The Silly Book by Stoo Hample. Though not soccer related, my son adored this book. Filled with poems, cartoon drawings, and songs, every page brought about a giggle. I've caught him reading the book on his own quite a few times, laughing to himself.All three of these books are wonderful additions to our bookshelf, and I'm sure will be read over and over throughout the summer.

Copies of the books were provided for my review. All opinions are my own.

Day 1

Summer seems to have arrived in a flash.

We spent the first "official" day of summer vacation playing in the yard. There were water battles. There were races. And there were ball games.

We spent our first day learning more about animals. We learned more about where animals live, and we worked on sorting skills.
We also got crafty and learned a little more about squids.
There were trips to the library, card games, and puzzles. By 7 o'clock, Little Man was out like a light. And I wasn't far behind.

I have a feeling it's going to be an exhausting summer.

Friday, June 4, 2010

SMART Love of Learning Blog Tour

Throughout the school year, my son constantly mentioned using the SMART board in class. It was one of the most exciting parts of the day to him.

For those of you who don't know, SMART boards have taken the place of overhead projectors and blackboards in many classrooms. SMART boards are interactive whiteboards that allow kids to be actively involved in their learning. It's like a computer and blackboard rolled into one.
SMART Technologies recently announced the launch it's of "SMART Love of Learning" campaign. The campaign is designed to acknowledge and celebrate all of the teachers who have influenced students around the world.

Right now, SMART Technologies wants to hear from you. Tell them about your most influential teacher and you have the chance to win a SMART Interactive White Board for your child's school or the school of your choice!

You can learn more about the SMART Love of Learning campaign on their Facebook page or on their YouTube page.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of SMART Technologies. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate in spreading the word about the SMART Love of Learning campaign.

Teacher Gifts

As excited as we are for summer, the last day of kindergarten also brings a twinge of heartache. My baby's no longer a kindergartner after today. I'm not sure I'm ready for that realization.

He has had a fabulous kindergarten teacher and is sad to say goodbye this afternoon. Momma is a little sad too. But we created several gifts for her.

Homemade flowers (from colored coffee filters):

Fingerprint cards:

And a box of supplies & treats:
We will definitely miss kindergarten!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Bubbles

FedEx Office Blog Tour

A few months ago, I mentioned how much I loved the craft ideas over at FedEx's Out of the Office blog.

With summer beginning (in four days), I've been scouring websites for ideas to keep Little Man busy this summer. I know that it doesn't take long before I'll hear Momma, there's nothing to do. So, I'm creating a craft list, which includes the kite project and the homemade placemats featured on Out of the Office.

Out of the Office also offers ideas for grown up crafts. (You know, the kind we had time for, before kids.) They feature tips for around the house, as well as helpful ideas for the holidays. The blog offers a little of everything.

We recently received a pack of goodies from Out of the Office and MomCentral to create bookmarks for our summer reading. Since Little Man loves craft time, he was so excited to create his own bookmarks. I thought he would fly through the activity, but he really concentrated on getting it "just right."He could barely wait to take his bookmark upstairs to it's new home between the pages of a Magic Tree House book. And since we had several templates, he decided to make one for his teacher as well.After creating bookmarks, you can take them to your local FedEx store and get them laminated. Because if it's anything like our house, they will see lots of use! (We covered ours with contact paper. Just because we had it handy, and I knew if they weren't covered right away, they wouldn't last long around here.)
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of FedEx Office and received the items necessary to facilitate my review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.