Google+ Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas: November 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Top Gifts to Inspire and Encourage Budding Readers

With a Kindergartener and a First Grader in our home - encouraging and fostering a love of reading is at the top of my list. I am an avid book reader. I have been since I first started reading. I would love to pass that along to my girls.

I love losing myself in a good book. There's nothing better than becoming so engrossed in the characters or the plot that I can't go to sleep because I MUST find out what happens next. Give me the choice between reading a book or watching a movie/tv show and it's no contest - I would pick the book.

These days, my nights are filled with many more picture books and early chapter books than NY Times Bestsellers but I wouldn't have it any other way. The Oldest Diva and I had a bumpy course last year. She was a "reluctant" reader. I can't tell you how many games we played and how many different types of books we read, in the hopes that something would spark her interest. It worked!

We are now at the point where she picks up a book to read - for FUN! We are currently going through the Magic Tree House series together and she can't get enough of them.

Of course, it's now back to the drawing board with my current kindergartener. Luckily, I have an arsenal at my fingertips and she is more enthusiastic about reading.

With the holidays fast approaching, I thought it was the perfect time to share some of my favorite games, books and resources for budding readers. Hopefully, this list will help you and your budding reader.



Top 10 Gifts to 
Inspire and Encourage 
Budding Readers
(click the photos for more info on anything that interests you!)

1. A Boxed Set of their Favorite Series - I'm sure you have heard the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." If your child has a series they really enjoy reading, go with it. Capitalize on their interest and read all the books you can get your hands on. If they enjoy the characters, the illustrations and/or the author's writing - use it to your advantage to keep them engaged and turning the pages. There will be lots of time to expose them to different types of books and different authors. The most important thing is to nurture their desire to read, to encourage them to continue taking those steps to becoming a "reader" and NOT make it a chore.

A few of the Lil Divas FAVORITE series which would make great holidays gifts -

 
 

2. A Magazine Subscription - Even the most reluctant readers usually enjoy a fun magazine and it's a gift that keeps coming all year long.

  

3. uKloo: Early Reader Treasure Hunt Game - Kids find hidden clue cards as they hunt around the house - while reading! This is such a sneaky way to get kids reading as they play.


4. Sequence: Letters - A fun game that practices beginning letter sounds. This is great for younger readers (PK- early K).


5. Zingo Sight Words - My kindergartener loves to play this game. It combines learning and fun, in a way that makes learning sight words a breeze. 

6. Snap It Up! - Kids love card games and this one is actually a great teaching tool. I used it all the time with my struggling readers and now I use it at home with my girls to practice reading, spelling & phonics skills.



7. Educational DVD's - There are lots of learning resources around but here are a few of our personal pavers.

 

8.  Tag Reader - Both my girls have really enjoyed the Tag reader. They make reading fun and can foster reading comprehension skills with their interactive games.

 

9. A Tent - Provide a fun reading nook/space for your child to read in.

 

10. No space for a tent? How about a bean bag chair or something similar/comfy - that's what we have!

 


Gift Guides  brought to you by:
Fun Gifts Beyond Toys by No Twiddle Twaddle Book + Toy Companion Gifts by What Do We Do All Day? Best Art Supplies for Kids by To Train Up a Child Gifts to Inspire the Imagination by The Pleasantest Thing  Gifts for Your Backyard Explorer/ Gifts for Your Animal Lover by Blog Me Mom Educational Games by True Aim Education Basic/Traditional Toys by Creative Playhouse Therapeutic and Fun Gift Ideas for Child Development by Creative Learning Fun Top Toys for Babies by B-InspiredMama Top Toys for Curious Kids by KC Edventures Educational/ Headache Free Toys for Christmas and Hanukkah by CAUTION: Twins at Play 4 Gift Ideas for Everyone: Want, Wear, Need, and Read by Home Learning Journey Gifts that Inspire Pretend Play by Connecting Family and Seoul My Favorite Books and Toys for Preschoolers by Mama Miss Educational Toys for Preschoolers by The Freckled Homeschooler Montessori Inspired Toys by Smiling Like Sunshine Gift Ideas for Older Kids (9-12) by Kitchen Counter Chronicles Toys for the Classroom by Teach Preschool Gift Ideas for Budding Readers by Mom 2 to Posh Lil Dives Stocking Stuffers: A Teacher's Top 10 by Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers Book Ideas for Everyone on Your List by Pragmatic Mom Toys that Stand the Test of Time by Mamas Like Me Top Board Games for Kids and Families by Coffee Cups and Crayons
Home Made Gifts Children Can Make by How to Run a Home Daycare

We have so many great gift guides to share! Be sure to check out the links above, our Pinterest Board and the linky party below for some other fabulous gift guides and ideas. 

We'd love to have you share your holiday gift guides with us. You may link up as many relevant family gift guides from your blog as you like. Please add The Huge Holiday Family Gift Guide button or a link to your post or blog. Commercial and off-topic links will be deleted.



Bern

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Maytag Ice20 French Door Refrigerator = LOVE! #MaytagMoms

Do you LOVE your refrigerator? I can honestly say that my entire family LOVES our Maytag Ice20 French Door Refrigerator!


This fridge has so much SPACE! Seriously, it is awesome. I don't know how we ever managed without it but I know that I can never go back. ALL my bottles fit - and while they are standing up. That was a huge problem with my old fridge. I used to have to screw caps on tight and lay our juice down. I can not tell you how many spills we endured over the years. Yuck!


Seriously, look at all those shelves and they are adjustable too - swoon! There's even a wine bottle holder, though currently I see I have some salsa in there. Never mind that, the option is pretty cool and we have made use of it.  You know how difficult it can be to store wine in a regular refrigerator. The bottles are usually too tall for the shelves. That problem is solved here because it's an open space - perfect for even those tall wine bottles. 

Take another peek at the photo above. Do you notice that even the shelves on the doors are spacious? We have so many bottles - condiments, syrup, jellies, cream cheese, etc. It all fits and having them there provides super easy access. I don't have to hunt in the fridge.  This also means that the food in the refrigerator is fresh. Yeah, I am loving that. No more forgotten about and expired food. I literally used to lose food in the fridge. Piling things up, moving them to the back - whatever it was, I always ended up with so much food that went to waste. No more! We can see everything so we actually remember to eat it and I don't buy doubles of things I didn't see but end up not needing. 

This year, we hosted Thanksgiving. I used to have to keep food in my mom's refrigerator in years past whenever we had a large gathering. Food and extra drinks simply did not fit. Not the case this year. I was actually showing off how many things I could pack in our fridge. I had soda cans, iced tea bottles, water bottles, sangria, beer and dozens of juice boxes and that was just the liquids. I was able to fit all of our food in the refrigerator over night - turkey, pork, salads & sides and desserts. I'm actually worried now that it went too well. My mom may never want to play host again. 

Are you falling in love too? To think, this is just the top of my swoon worthy refrigerator. I still have 2 more drawers to share with you and some cool features. I am seriously giddy with excitement.


One of my favorite features of the Ice20 French Door Refrigerator is the easy access drawer. All our fruits, veggies, yogurt, cheeses and even some juice boxes get stored there. This means no little hands trying to open the fridge drawers all day long. When the Lil Divas want a snack, they head straight for this drawer. Confession - so do I! This is such a great way to store snacks, fruits and other small items that get used often. It also conserves energy by keeping the main refrigerator compartment closed while still allowing access to those frequently requested food items. Another energy saver - it even has LED interior  lighting. 


Did you see the freezer? Since I'm being brutally honest with you I have to admit that at first, I was worried all my food wouldn't fit. I wasn't used to having drawers like this. It seemed so much smaller to me. Well, I am not ashamed to admit that I was wrong. Check out the side view - those shelves are deep. I can fit A LOT in there. 

Now that I have given you a sneak peek at the inside of our refrigerator and you all know the layout plus what we are eating these days, how about I share some of our favorite features? Besides the easy access drawer, the other feature that the Lil Divas love the most is the ice and water feature. They love being able to fill their water bottles without the mess of spilling our large bottles or jugs using the measured fill option. Yes, a measured fill.  I like that the water and ice comes from a PUR water filter which only has to be changed twice a year. Fabulous!


Ok, go ahead and admit it. You are wishing you had my refrigerator. Well, while you certainly can NOT have mine - I have grown way too attached to it. You can easily purchase your own Maytag Ice20 French Door Refrigerator. What a great holiday gift!

Don't forget to check out Maytag on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest news.

What do you think of your current refrigerator?
Can you use a new one?
What do you think of the Maytag Ice20 with easy access drawer?
Bern

Disclosure - I wrote this post participating in an Maytag Moms Dependable Kitchen Ambassador program by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Maytag. I was provided with a Maytag kitchen appliances set, including a refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, and range to facilitate my post.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ebay's Holiday Gift Guide - Top 10 Toys for Lil Divas

Are you a store or online shopper? I do a bit of both because it's retail therapy for me but sometimes the crowds, bustle and grumpy shoppers get to me. That's when I head to my laptop for some easy online shopping. One of my got to online shopping sites is of course eBay. I LOVE eBay! Not only do my husband and I frequently shop on eBay but I am also an eBay seller. You just can't beat great prices, the thrill of finding all kinds of fabulous deals (you have to admit those auctions are pretty addictive & thrilling!) and being able to shop from the comfort of your own home.


This holiday season eBay has really made the process of holiday shopping even easier by offering their Gift Guide to shoppers. It is broken down into easy to search categories by both recipient and price. They have made it so simple to find gift ideas for everyone on your list. Of course, If you're a mom like me, the majority of your holiday shopping consists of toys, toys and even more toys. I was super excited to find that not only does eBay have a great selection of the hottest toys around, you can even shop the Toys-R-Us store and never leave eBay. How awesome is that? You are getting the best of both worlds with lots of added convenience. Now, that's my idea of stress-free shopping.

To make my holiday shopping easier - I try to plan way ahead of time. I research prices online, searching for the best deals. I look up reviews and compare brands to ensure I am buying the best product for my money. Then I get shopping. Whenever I am shopping online, I head to eBay because it's so convenient. I can even do it right from my iPhone using their mobile app and for even more ideas I follow them on Twitter and Facebook to get all their latest updates and I even check out their fun pins on Pinterest too.

Top 10 Gifts for Lil Divas

My 2 Lil Divas have been making their Christmas lists for some time now. They have been working very hard to get each and every item listed. They drew lots of lovely pictures for Santa and even included messages for Mrs. Claus, the reindeer and the elves as well. I think they are trying to cover all their bases to ensure the maximum gift return.

So what's on their Christmas list this year? I know you are just itching to know so I thought I would share each Lil Divas Top 5 "Wished For" Gifts this year (via eBay):

The Oldest Diva (almost 7yrs) is wishing for:

 Large Modern Dollhouse for all her Barbie & Princess Dolls
I have to say that this doll house is pretty awesome.
I would have loved something like this growing up.


 Purple Plum Fairy Furby
Good ol' Furby is really making a comeback.
I never really saw the appeal but for some reason
he is topping both my Lil Divas list this year.


 Barbie Photo Fashion Doll
The Oldest Diva is a huge Barbie fan and she
is pretty bent on having this photo Barbie doll.
Both girls do enjoy taking photos so I can see it's appeal. 


Password Journal
I find it funny that the Oldest Diva wants a journal
with a voice activated password lock.
I wonder what deep, dark secrets she has that require such protection? 


Mario Kart Game for her DS
I loved Mario growing up? Did you?
This is one game I'd like to play too.


The Littlest Diva (5 1/2 years) is wishing for:

The Littlest Diva is pretty insistent 
on getting a "big girl" bike this year.
This one in pink and featuring Barbie is definitely her dream bike.


This pink and black Hello Kitty Light-Up Scooter
is so fun & girly - I can see why she wants it so badly.


 Creativity for Kids Fashion Headbands
The Littlest Diva loves accessories and bling.
She is our resident Fashionista so this is an ideal gift for her. 


Collector Holiday Barbie 2012
She is gorgeous. I want one too!
Do you think the Lil Divas will share with me?


The Littlest Diva loves playing Moshi Monsters online.
She really wants this game to keep the fun going on the road.

Of course the Lil Divas have lots more items on their lists but these are their TOP 10 Christmas Wish List Items for 2012. What toys are topping your kids list this year? 


Happy Shopping!
Bern

DisclaimerI wrote this review while participating in a blog tour for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of eBay. I received a product sample to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Sunday Showcase - Painting and Art Activities for Kids 11/24/12

The Sunday Showcase  
featuring..... 
Painting & Art Fun for kids!

The Sunday Showcase

The Sunday Showcase is hosted on FIVE blogs!

Each blog showcases their own features (from the previous week's linky) so be sure to check them all out!

If you are here for the first time please read this informational post for the full details. Anything kid friendly and/or child centered is welcome! You are welcome to share more than one post, but we don't accept links for giveaways,  shops, or downloads for purchase, etc. They will be deleted.

If you're linking up we encourage you to visit some of the other links & our Pinterest board!  

*Important* 
Please note that by linking up you are giving us permission to use a photo (with proper link to you!) in our featured section and on our Pinterest board!  If you prefer not to be featured simply comment below or e-mail me to let us know.

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The Showcase Features:

Painting and Art are such wonderful activities to engage children in. 

Even the tiniest tots can paint and have fun  with this Edible Pudding Paint from Zayit and Ziva  and you don't have to fret so much if they put those cute pudgy little fingers in their mouths as babies are bound to do.

If your looking for a fun way to work your toddler or preschoolers fine motor skills you must try this Shaving Cream Bath Paint from Keeping My Toddler Entertained. This messy fun is sure to be a big hit!

Art and music are so much fun to combine. I love how Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk invited her cute little guy to go Finger Dancing to the Blues.  What a fun way to express yourself through both music and art. 

Fall is the perfect time to explore leaf rubbings with kids and I was inspired by the Magic Leaf Rubbings Madtown Macs did with her kids. The finished product was stunning!

Red Ted Art shared another creative way to use fallen leaves to create art with her Goldsworthy Inspired Leaf Land Art. Imagine taking a stroll and coming upon such a treasure, simply lovely!

How about this Mandala Style Art at the Beach by Simple and Joyful. I can't wait to try creating our own art the next time we visit the beach. What a creative activity.

Do you have a favorite painting or art activity
Please share in the comments below.


If you have been featured, grab a button you deserve it!

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From your Hostess:

Did you see our FUN Pine Cone Painting
My preschoolers had a blast with this painting activity.


Thank You for sharing your child centered ideas with us!
Bern