Thursday, January 19, 2017

Learning With Reading Eggs & Mathseeds


            Hey folks! I don't know if you know or not, but I am an affiliate with Educents. You may have seen some of my gift guide posts around Christmas, most recently. They are always offering sweet deals on stuff, holding giveaways, giving away free trials through their affiliates, etc. I was recently able to take advantage of a 28 day free trial to Reading Eggs through Educents. Myka and I have only been trying it out for a few days, but we both love it so much that I felt the need to share about it with you all!
             Reading Eggs is an online program geared towards 3-7 year olds. (It also includes Reading Eggspress for advanced readers 7-13 years old.) As you can imagine, the end goal of it is to help your youngsters learn to read and, perhaps more importantly, develop a love of reading. However, this program is a bit different from such programs as Hooked on Phonics (at least the little bit of it that I have explored) in that it first teaches letter recognition, which is something Myka, my 4 year old, REALLY needs to work on! For this reason, I knew we had to give this a try and was excited to!
             When you first start the program, you are given two options. You can choose to start at the very beginning, like we did, or have your child complete an assessment test to see where they should start, if they have some previous knowledge of letters and such. From what I can tell so far from the option we chose, the letter recognition portion starts out with “common letters”. For example, Myka just started lesson 3 this evening, which focuses on letter “I” and her first two lessons were on “M” and “S”. 

 
            Now that you know a little about Reading Eggs, here are some other aspects I/we like about it:

*It's engaging for young kids. Myka feels like she is playing games, which she is, but I think she realizes she's learning too, so it's a win/win!

*You can have progress reports on your child's progress sent to your email.

*For kids who can't read at all yet there is an audio option on some of the games that require it. For example, there is a game where you must choose which picture starts with the letter you are currently working on. So, even if you're not sure what the picture is supposed to be or you are unable to sit with your child and help them when needed, they are able to complete it on their own.

*I like that most of the games say the sound the letter makes instead of the letter name itself. I feel like this will really help with phonemic awareness.

*You can stop in the middle of a lesson and pick back up where you left off. You can also repeat lessons if they need to work on that particular area more.

*I kind of like that Reading Eggs is an online program so your child isn't just able to play it on your home computer. However, with our crummy internet situation, I kind of wish it was a download.

*Depending on what subscription you choose, you can also have access to their math program, MathSeeds...

video

             To be totally honest here, Myka has been much more interested in the MathSeeds portion. Don't get me wrong: I'm happy that she takes after her dad and naturally gravitates towards math and science, but the main reason I wanted to try this program out was so she could work on letter recognition! I'm not sure I would venture as far as saying she's behind in this area, but I'm afraid she will be before long if we don't really buckle down. I know she'll learn letters and how to read eventually, but like any parent, I just don't want to see her fall behind. Not to mention I'll feel like I'm failing her since I'M the teacher!

Shapes and patterns are included in the math portion too!

             Whether you let your children “play” on the computer much or not, I highly recommend checking out Reading Eggs and MathSeeds. My 4 year old definitely still needs some help with the reading/letter recognition portion, but I can see the gears turning in her head. :) Plus, it's only been a few days! I don't expect miracles overnight. (Though wouldn't that be nice!) She is doing excellent on the math portion. It has really helped solidify the numbers she already knows.
             You can check out both programs for yourself on their website (don't forget to sign up for your own free trial!) and stay up-to-date with them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.

Mixed Bag Mama was not compensated for this review. All opinions are my own and may differ from your own.
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party
ethannevelyn

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Birthday Weekend


             So...Last weekend was certainly interesting. I turned the big 3-0 on Saturday and Ripley turned 1 on Sunday. Things definitely didn't go as planned, but they were still a lot better than my birthday last year when I was holding a pity party for myself. I was over 40 weeks pregnant and VERY over it, hubby was at work, so I sat around feeling sorry for myself, crying, and eating birthday cake. Ha ha
             Originally, the kids and I were supposed to stay with my parents for the weekend. My parents and I were supposed to go to an ice hockey game Saturday night while the kids stayed with one of my aunts. Well, as usual, there is always some kind of crappy weather every year on my birthday and they were calling for ice. Yuck. So mom kind of decided for us that she didn't want to risk us coming up, so we visited on Thursday and stayed all night. 


             Since my husband was already planning on re-flooring and re-painting our bathroom, I decided to get the kids out. But, I'm getting a little ahead of myself. That morning when I went out to feed Mr.Bruce (our American Guinea Hog, if you're not familiar with our zoo) I noticed there was a problem with him. I'd rather not go into details as I already feel horrible enough because it was basically my fault for not noticing it sooner, but let's just say I had planned on getting him some antibiotic powder from Rural King...Until we realized they changed some laws at the beginning of the year basically stating that you need a veterinary prescription. * sigh * We have been taking care of it with what we have at home and are keeping an eye on it. He seems to already be feeling better today.
             We made the mistake of saying something about getting chickens in front of Myka, so we pretty much still had to go to the farm store after that. Oh well. An excuse to get out of the house, right? And after all, they were only a DOLLAR for pullets! $1! We hadn't wanted to get more chickens this early, but come on!
             Naturally, Myka about drove me crazy at the store. I love her enthusiasm, but...damn. It's a little too much sometimes. And yes, there is such a thing as being too enthusiastic! It goes without saying that she gets REALLY excited about baby chicks! She had to talk to everyone, which was entertaining, but at the same time I felt I had to talk to them, which is normally fine, I don't mind socializing with strangers while we're out and about, but I was trying to make sure Ripley didn't fall out of the cart because, wouldn't you know it, I picked the friggin' cart that had a broken belt and was trying to grab my own chicks all at the same time! 



             Anyways, we get done after what feels like forever, get in the car, check my phone, and...hubby needs some random plumbing part. * sigh * So I drag the kids back in and they are completely out of the thing I needed. * double sigh * Get back in the car, head to Menards and hooray! they have what we need. Myka's still acting a fool, playing with small plumbing parts and talking to anyone who will listen to her as I'm trying to talk to my husband on the phone and make sure I got the right thing. Oh. He needs two. Well, shit. I had the employee grab the first one for me.
             We eventually make it home and I drop the kids off and offer to go get pizza. (We live too far in the sticks for delivery. :( ) I pick up the pizzas as well as some treats for myself (a new purse finally and a bottle of wine!) and get home to find that NEITHER of the pizzas were made correctly. -_- I know, I know. That's what I get for not checking. I never remember to check. So my father in-law had to run back to town to get them fixed.


             So here I am, writing this on Sunday. Today's been relatively uneventful, thank God! I stayed up way too late and am a little hungover, to be honest...enough to be annoyingly scatter-brained. I haven't gotten nearly as much done on the computer as I would have liked. Myka and I started on a new homeschool theme while Ripley took a nap. Other than that I've been to keep Myka from killing the chickens with love and keep both of them out of the way and out of the hot mess in the bathroom! Whew!
             How was your weekend? Did you have any crazy misadventures? 


This Is How We Roll Thursday Party
ethannevelyn

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Himalayan Crystal Salt Lamp Giveaway


(This post contains an affiliate link)

Sponsored By: Levoit

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

Winner Will Receive: 

A Levoit Hand Carved Natural Himalayan Crystal Salt Lamp! ($120 RV)

The Elora Salt Lamp is amazing! The Levoit website states that “Each lamp emits ions that counter-balance electromagnetic radiation caused by your household appliances, reducing physical fatigue, stress and sluggishness. This natural ionization pulls harmful contaminants and allergens out of the air so you can breathe easier and enjoy more restful sleep.” How can that be anything, but good?!

Open To US and must be 18+ to enter
Giveaway Dates ~ 1/15 9:00 AM EST through 1/31 11:59PM EST
Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. Love, Mrs. Mommy received a Levoit Salt Lamp at no cost to facilitate the above-mentioned review. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winner will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. Winner has 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Better Night's Sleep For You & Baby Giveaway

A Better Night's Sleep - For You and Baby Giveaway! (2 Winners!) $160 TRV

 
Deliciously Savvy Is Hosting a Giveaway in Which 2 Winners Will Receive Products To Assist In a Better Nights Sleep For Both You and Baby. TRV $160! Enter Today & Good Luck!

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Claessens' & Lassig's

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The Details:

2 Lucky Winners Will Win Products Perfect For A Better Night's Sleep For Both You and Baby! Both Winners receive the Claessens' Kids Kid'Sleep Moon Sleeptrainer Nightlight PLUS Lassig's Muslin Swaddle & Burp Blanket (2 Pack) ~ TRV $160!

PLUS

And Now The Giveaway!

Giveaway Dates: 01/10/2017 9PM EST until 02/02/2017 11:59PM EST
Entrants must be 18 years old to enter and giveaway is open to US residents only.
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Deliciously Savvy did not receive any form of compensation for this giveaway other than receiving this above items in order to facilitate my review. Once winner is selected via the Giveaway Tools process, the product will be shipped. Winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. No other blog associated with this giveaway is responsible for the product shipment. The Various Sponsors Above will be providing the prizes above to the winners. Thank You for stopping by! Any Questions or Concerns email me at mcushing7 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Make Valentine's Day a Hit With Peaceable Kingdom! (Valentines Review)

peaceable kingdom valentines cards review

             Hey folks! I know what you're probably thinking after reading the title of this post: “Valentine's Day? Already?! We just got done with Christmas and New Year's!” Valid points, but the fact remains that Valentine's Day is only a little over a month away. With that being said...
             I'm not really a fan of Valentine's Day, to be totally honest. However, I think most of us enjoyed giving and receiving those little cards as kids (myself included), decorating special mail boxes to put them in, etc. Plus, with so many options to choose from nowadays, half the fun is picking just the right Valentine's cards out to share with friends!
             That's where Peaceable Kingdom comes in. You may remember we had the opportunity to review their fun preschooler game Count Your Chickens! a few months ago (which was a big hit). Other than board games, they also off such fun things as stickers/tattoos, stationary, and even Valentine's Day cards! They have plenty to choose from, including several new designs this year, which we were able to check out and you can read about below. But first, here are some general things to know about Peaceable Kingdom's Valentine's.

*All Valentine's come in boxes with 28 cards.
*Most include 4 related designs in each box.
*Includes envelopes
*Each set varies, but cards are geared for 3-5 year olds and up
*Many gender neutral sets to choose from
*Word games, scratch n' sniff, and bookmark cards are just a few categories to choose from!
*Most retail for $12.99/box

cookies & cream scratch & sniff v-day cards

             We were able to check out two of the new Valentine's Day cards, the Tic Tac Toe Valentines and Cookies & Cream Scratch & Sniff Valentines. You might be wondering why we would review Valentines at all since we're homeschooling, but the homeschool group here has a party, which I was excited to learn about! Since the children's ages in the group vary quite a bit, I thought these particular cards would serve well. Plus, they are gender neutral, which is also a bonus! (Though they did have some really fun “girly” cards. Ssshh. Don't tell Myka!) 

tic tac toes v-day cards

             I also liked that there is a generous number of cards included in each box. From what I hear, class sizes seem to keep going up, but 28 should be plenty for everyone in your child's class. At $12.99 for most boxes, I feel like they are reasonably priced. Given, I have no clue how much store bought ones cost nowadays, but it seems like back in the day they only came in boxes of 12 or 24 for $4-$6, roughly, and as we all know, most things have gone up in price since we were kids!
             Peaceable Kingdom has all kinds of fun cards to choose from too, as I mentioned above. Aside from the yummy chocolate-smelling scratch & sniff and colorful tic tac toe game cards we reviewed, there is a paper airplane one, tattoo cards, pencil toppers, and cootie catcher game, to name a few. Your kids will be sure to find ones they and their classmates will enjoy!

scratch & sniff card back

             The Cookies & Cream Scratch & Sniff Valentines are suggested for ages 4+, but I think they would be acceptable for any age, which makes them a perfect option for preschoolers and kindergarteners. The chocolate scent actually smells pretty good too! They, along with all of the other options, are the perfect size for small hands. 

myka scratch & sniff card

             The Tic Tac Toe Valentines are recommended for ages 5+, according to the box, which I think is probably just about right age-wise. Myka just turned 4 in October and while she can play, she doesn't quite get the strategy behind the game. ;) I love the idea of having games on the cards for the added element of fun and being multi-functional. It's a pretty cute idea too, if you think about it, with the X's and O's. ;)

tic tac toes cards back

             Don't wait until the last minute! Order some Valentines today that are sure to please your kids and their friends! And, if you didn't already know, you will be supporting a business that strives to be green, which you can read more about here. Stay up-to-date with Peaceable Kingdom on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube

Mixed Bag Mama received products in order to facilitate this review. Regardless, all opinions are my own and may differ from your own.

Thinking Outside The Pot

ethannevelyn

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Make Learning Shapes Fun with This Simple Activity

            Today's post is a special guest post from Education.com. Education.com has all kinds of resources, free and paid, for teachers and parents alike. The activity below is great for teaching shapes in a more engaged way...and might just be the perfect activity for your little ones who might be getting restless indoors this time of year!

            If your child is just learning about shapes, this matching activity is a great way to practice shape identification and introduce basic geometry skills. Each craft stick will have only half of a shape. She'll have to match up the stick pair and place them side by side to complete each shape.


What You Need:
  • At least 20 craft sticks (make sure you have an even number and maybe even some extras in case of mistakes)
  • Markers in assorted colors
What You Do:
  1. Place two craft sticks directly next to each other.
  2. Help your child draw a shape on the two sticks. Try to split the shape equally between the sticks.
  3. Repeat step 2 until your kid has created as many shape stick pairs as she wants.
  4. Have her mix up the sticks.
  5. Encourage your child to match the sticks to create shapes.
Craft stick shapes activity

            The shapes you use don't need to be complicated. Have your child try drawing a circle, square, triangle, and whatever else is easy. Also, take the opportunity to talk about the concept of symmetry and help your child understand which shapes she created for her puzzle game are symmetrical and which aren't. Before you know it your child will be a master matcher.

            If you want, you can extend this activity into a shape observation game. How many different circles can she find in your house? What about squares? As she plays games like this, it will become easier and easier for her to recognize different shapes and their special characteristics.

This is a guest post from Education.com. Opinions are those of the original author.
 
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party
Thinking Outside The Pot
ethannevelyn

Monday, January 2, 2017

Beat the Winter Blues with I'm S.A.D. (Update)

I'm S.A.D. Tincture

             Hey folks! I'm hoping some of you have been hanging around long enough to remember my original post on the I'm S.A.D. tincture early last year. If not, that's ok too. :) You can read my original review here. In a nutshell, if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, you should really look into this stuff as a means to deal with it, and here is why...

             Once upon a time, not so very long ago, I used to get depressed right before Christmas. For years, this went on, and I thought it was just because I wasn't into the commercialism of the season. That's understandable, right? Especially considering my husband and I, even though we're relatively financially sound now, thought we don't have a lot of “cushion” money still, have never really been in the position of buying “extra” gifts. It's been hard enough for us to afford gifts for Myka, let alone anyone else. And let's be honest: Most of our parents already have everything they want and if they don't, they can buy it themselves, amiright?
             It makes sense, to me, at least, why I would go on thinking that it was just the “jolly season” getting me down every year...But then my gloominess started lasting longer, into my birthday month of January. I should be happy, right? It's my birthday! It's not as if I've had any major ones. Hell, I'm just now getting ready to turn 30! So what gives?
             I finally realized there was a pattern to all of this wintery bah humbug-ness after learning about Seasonal Affective Disorder. I thought back to all of the gloomy winters of past and noticed there was a relatively distinct set of time my mood would shift; between early to mid-December to roughly April. Then I would “magically” seem to get out of my “funk” and feel more like myself again. Hmm...
             So, what would this “funk” entail, you might be wondering? First of all, and most obviously, not really wanting anything to do with Christmas. Sure, after having Myka it was fun to look for gifts. Other than that, though, it was a struggle to even get a tree up.
             Ok, so Christmas isn't my thing. So what? I got to the point where I couldn't even make myself do everyday, regular things, like fold laundry and do dishes. I'm pretty sure we went through a period a couple of years ago, right before I tried out the I'm S.A.D. tincture, where we all pretty much just scrounged through the pile of clean clothes on the floor in front of the washer/dryer, to find something to wear. Not to mention that I still did dishes about, mmm, once a week. Not even exaggerating.
             Then I started taking the I'm S.A.D. tincture from Boline Apothecary and everything changed for the better. I felt like a normally functioning human being again and still do. Now I know to start taking this whenever I first start getting grumpy and feel like my emotions are getting the best of me, because that certainly isn't a good feeling.
             I can't believe how much of a difference it makes. I can actually get into the holidays now, which is good since I have kids. We still don't deck the house out like the Griswolds or anything, but I don't loathe decorating like I used to and everything else that goes along with the Christmas season.
             I can also get everyday things done like a normal person and actually enjoy getting out of the house again. (Well, most days. ;) ) Not only do I have TWO kids to take care of now since I first started using the I'm S.A.D. tincture during winters, we also have 6 kitties, 12 chickens, and a pig that depend on me to feed them, water them, etc. every day. It's not as if they understand or care if I'm in a bad mood.
             In case I haven't made it obvious, I have never been officially/clinically diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, for the record. But, with the symptoms and the fact that this product from Boline Apothecary makes me feel SO much better mentally and emotionally, I think it's safe to say that's my “problem”. 
             Before I forget, I would like to mention that I have had no ill side effects from the I'm S.A.D. tincture. (That's the beauty of herbal remedies, right?!) However, I noticed that they have changed their formula a bit from the last time I ordered a bottle and they have added mushrooms. I hardly EVER remember my dreams any more since having Ripley, but ever since I started taking it this winter I have noticed a dramatic increase in this. I don't consider this a bad thing, but thought it was something that should be noted. (P.s. They also offer 4 ounce bottles now! I'm set for winter!)
             If you get the winter blues, I definitely recommend talking to your doctor and giving I'm S.A.D. a try. I knew something was wrong, but I didn't realize how much I was taking for granted feeling “normal” until after I started using this. It's easy to take for granted once you slip into your “dark place” and feelings of apathy take over.
Have a Happy Winter!

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, therefore any medical advice suggested above or on this blog as a whole should not be taken as such. These are merely my opinions/suggestions based on my own personal experiences. I am not liable for any harm, including death, that should occur from suggestions given in this post. Always consult with a medical practitioner before starting any new course of therapy.

 
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party
Thinking Outside The Pot
ethannevelyn

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Homeschool Update: Ocean Life & Musical Instruments


             Hey folks! It's been awhile since our last homeschool preschool update and it's the same old story: I'm terrible at sticking to a schedule, we stay on one subject longer than I mean to because I can literally go a week before thinking “Hey, we haven't done any school stuff in awhile”, I pick out too many projects to do, Myka isn't interested in doing some of the things I find, and the list goes on. To recap, most of our issues stem from me being a poor planner, in a way, and a poor “sticker to schedule”. As I've also mentioned in a previous update, thank God in the state of Indiana you don't have to have your child enrolled in kindergarten (public or home) until they are 6 years old. This relieves the hell out of me because I'm clearly not ready and Myka's not quite there yet either.
             Anyways, enough of that. I want to share some of the fun projects we have been doing! I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I participated in a webinar type thing several months ago about planning and following your child's interests in what you plan for “school”. I feel like this has made things more fun and interesting for Myka. (It's been fun for me, too, planning stuff because it's been subjects I'm interested too!) We started off with dinosaurs, then did some fall activities, of course, then moved on to ocean life and have recently started musical instruments after an “enthralling” episode of Sesame Street sparked her interest. ;)
             Ocean life seems to be a major preschool theme, so we found plenty of crafts and experiments/activities to do. Admittedly, most of the science experiments and activities we tried didn't work out like they were supposed to, but that's ok.

Note: Before I start in on the pictures, I would just like to apologize ahead of time for their quality, or lack thereof. I take most of the pictures used in my posts with my cell phone because let's be honest: It's usually a lot more readily available than a camera. With that being said, I recently got a much needed new cell phone (Seriously. It would randomly freeze up, turn itself off, fun stuff like that.). Unfortunately, the camera on it isn't great, so I'm still trying to get used to it. Moral of my longer-than-intended spiel: Sorry the pictures suck!


Here's an overall view of our crafty projects on our “school wall”. (Guess I should get our winter alphabet with the cute snowmen up now, eh?)


Paper plate crabs, animals that DO and DO NOT live in the ocean activity, and hand print octopuses. (The last one was a major hit. It's the first time we've made anything from her hand prints and she thought putting paint on her hand was super awesome.)


Paper plate pufferfish and “make an ocean” activity.


Paper plate seashell. (Seeing a theme here yet? Haha) I'm not gonna lie: I had Myka paint this while I was in and out of the kitchen to keep her entertained. When I saw that she had painted it all one color, I was kind of disappointed. How boring! But once it dried...Wow! It looks a lot neater in real life.

             We also made sand foam one day, which actually turned out pretty cool. Other than that, our salt water density experiment didn't work, the different zones of the ocean in a jar kind of worked (they came out darker than they should have, therefore hard to differentiate), and the ocean/foamy sensory bin didn't quite turn out how we wanted...But I have a habit of making due with what we have on some of these things and just maybe didn't read or skimmed over the directions on a lot of them, thinking “Oh, ok. How hard can it be?” :/

             Now we are on to musical instruments! This also seems to be a popular “kid theme” as I've found tons of websites on how to make your own kid-friendly musical instruments! I'm pretty excited about this theme too because I used to be a band nerd. I was secretly really pleased when Myka showed an interest in instruments after that episode of Sesame Street. Those are the few things she and her sister play well with together too. It's entertaining listening to her and Ripley bang on their little Barbie piano together in Myka's room. :) Plus I know they aren't getting into trouble. Mwa ha ha!
             So far we have made some simple homemade instruments and they watched some YouTube videos on different instruments one morning. (We don't let her do too much on the computer because she becomes obsessed, but hey. I figured I may as well let her watch something educational while I fed the animals. ;) )



Our happy little sun “shaky shaky” maker. Myka insisted I draw a grumpy face on the other side, which somehow turned out looking like an emo girl after she was finished coloring on it. Lol!


I also made a paper towel roll kazoo which, admittedly, does not work as well as toilet paper ones AND we didn't have plain wax paper, but it works. She's also holding up her straw pan flute, or whatever you want to call it. I'm hoping to FINALLY make a rain stick tomorrow. I've only been meaning to make one for forever.

             What have you been up to school-wise? Are you taking a break for the holidays right now?
ethannevelyn

Friday, December 23, 2016

6 Fun Things to Do After You Find Out You're Pregnant!

positive pregnancy test

             Finding out you're expecting a baby is an exciting time for most...But waiting to see that positive result can be agonizing, whether your pregnancy was planned or not. Two weeks (or more, for some!) can feel like an eternity! Luckily, there has been a lot of progress in creating early detection pregnancy tests. If you're currently planning for a baby, be sure to check out these best early detection pregnancy tests.

This post is a partnership with Nakturnal.

             So, what happens after you see that plus sign? (Or two lines, or digital “pregnant” readout, etc.) Obviously, you're going to schedule an appointment with your obgyn, start eating better, and overall prepare for a new little person living with you, but let's talk about some fun things you can do after you find out you're expecting a baby!

*Fun pregnancy announcements-With the advent of social media, pregnancy announcements have become all the rage for sharing your big news with family and friends far and wide. Check out some of these fun ideas on Pinterest.

*Take a home gender predictor test-Of course, until you get a definitive ultrasound, tests such as IntelliGender should be “taken with a grain of salt”, but it still seems like a fun idea if you really want to know. Plus, you can always compare the results once you have a gender ultrasound and see if the test was actually right!

Another interesting way of predicting the gender of your unborn baby if you're into old wives tales kind of things is the Chinese gender predictor chart. I have seen several places online claim that this is 90% accurate. However, it gets kind of tricky because I have seen at least two versions of these charts that are different. With that being said, both were correct for both of my daughters.

*Gender reveal party-As if baby showers aren't fun enough, gender reveal parties are now the “in thing”. Personally, and I love a party as much as the next person, but I haven't figured out the appeal of these yet. Couldn't you just wait until the regular baby shower and kill two birds with one stone? To be fair, I can see how this might be a better option than a baby shower if it is your second, third, plus kid and don't really need anything, but still want to celebrate the baby. Regardless of my opinions on them, you can find lots of neat ideas for gender reveal parties on Pinterest as well.

belly painting1

*Belly painting-If your artistic husband/boyfriend/fiancee, friends, etc. are up for it, belly painting is always amusing. We did this with both of my pregnancies and it was entertaining for both of us. You can see some pics of my hubby's “artwork” above for Myka and below for Ripley. It's a nice way to spend some quality time as a couple before baby arrives and a cute picture to show your kids when they get older.

belly painting2
That's supposed to be a starfish on the left, btw, because her nickname was Baby Starfish in-utero and a Christmas ornament on the right.

*Take a babymoon-Speaking of spending quality time together with your significant other, lots of couples are jumping on board with the idea of “babymoons”. I'm sure you can figure it out yourselves, but these are special trips people take before baby arrives, whether it be as one last “hurrah” or just to spend some quiet time together one last time. I don't know about you, but I love any excuse to take a trip!

*Prenatal yoga-I don't know about “fun”, but it certainly is relaxing. I didn't start doing yoga until I was pregnant with my second daughter. It made me wish I had started sooner! I was (and am still) amazed by how much better it makes me feel physically and mentally. This one was (Ok, still is!) my favorite dvd.

             What fun things did you do after you found out you were pregnant? Do you wish you would have done some of the things above in hindsight?

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Regardless, all opinions and ideas are my own. 
 
ethannevelyn
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

Monday, December 19, 2016

Natural Cold Remedies' Effectiveness



             Hey folks! It's that time of year and if you or your kids haven't been sick yet, chances are you will be soon, unfortunately! It can get tricky trying to treat cold symptoms with very young kids since there isn't exactly a whole lot of medicine out there for them. We prefer to try and treat ailments with natural remedies anyways, especially with our kids, and in this case, it's about the only thing you can do since even most children's medicine isn't appropriate for babies/toddlers.
             Today I'm sharing the various natural cold symptom remedies we have tried with our kids and how effective (or not) they have been. Hopefully this list will help you out with your own sick kids this winter! Before we begin...

-These are all store bought natural remedies. There are tons of other ones you can make/do yourself at home, such as elderberry syrup. (I need to try making this next year since we actually have elderberries! I totally dropped the ball this summer.) Unfortunately, I haven't really tried any of these.

-These are all based on my past and recent experience with both my 4 year old and almost 1 year old.

http://mixedbagmama2013.blogspot.com/2015/11/lulu-kids-creature-comforts-essential.html

http://mixedbagmama2013.blogspot.com/2015/02/greenair-spa-vapor-touch-oil-diffuser.html
Click on the pictures above for reviews of each!
*Essential oils in diffuser-This one actually does seem to help clear up nasal congestion a moderate to good amount. I usually put about 4 drops of lavender and 6 drops of cedarwood or fir needle essential oil for this purpose. It smells good and helps clear up stuffy noses! (A word of warning: Most places I've come across on the interwebs warns against using menthol-y type essential oils, such as eucalyptus and anything from the mint family, really, with young kids, generally under 2 years of age. I'm not an essential oil specialist, so as with anything, please be sure to research first if you're concerned!)

*Essential oil roll-on-We reviewed this one from Plant Therapy last year. Having to worry about one kid getting the other kid sick was a whole new ballgame for me this year. As soon as Ripley got sick recently, I started making Myka and I use this roll-on at least once a day. It may be coincidence, BUT, Myka did not get sick for a few days until Ripley started feeling better...By which point I had already started forgetting to have her use the Germ Destroyer. Just food for thought. ;)

*Hyland's Cold & Cough and Tiny Cold Tablets-I used to love Hyland's, I really did. Hell, I was a blog ambassador for them for a couple of years. I still swear by their Teething Tablets, but...Both of these cold medicines mentioned above haven't done CRAP for either of our girls. No noticeable difference in symptoms whatsoever. I know of at least a couple of other companies now that make cold medicine for kids as young as 1, if I remember right, such as Zarbee's, so perhaps they work better.

*Maty's Baby Chest Rub-I'm not a fan of Vick's whatsoever, but everyone swears up and down it helps. I couldn't bring myself to buy it, even their baby version, after reading the ingredients, so I decided to give Maty's a try. (Not that I was happy about my baby being sick, but I was excited to try something out from Maty's as I had just recently learned about their natural products!) This stuff smells pretty good, but it didn't help quite as much as I had hoped. It did seem to help a little with nasal congestion, but I feel like the diffuser helped more.


             So there you have it. I wish I had more remedies to share with you (with better results, too!). Maybe we'll start trying some teas and things like elderberry syrups when we're sick and see how those go. :) What are your favorite natural remedies for colds?

Thinking Outside The Pot
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party
ethannevelyn