Take It From Me

November 20, 2014

Gift Guide: Just Dance 2015 {Review}


What better way to ring in the holidays with one of the hottest new games?!  Just Dance 2015 will get you and your family movin and groovin to some of the most popular tracks!
Admit it, we all secretly wish we were pop stars, belt out songs in the shower, or get caught jamming out to our favorite songs once in a while.  Dancing and singing is so enjoyable for people of all ages that it's hard not to get in on the action.  I happen to LOVE music and dancing.  Our family breaks out in random dance session all of the time so naturally, we were drawn to this game.  We own a bunch of the other Just Dance games and have always really liked them.  Just Dance 2015 continues to amaze us with the cool features, fun tracklist, and cool graphics.  It really makes for an all-around great game play experience!
I love that Just Dance 2015 can be played by everyone!  My husband and I can play it with our little kids, my oldest daughter can play it with her friends (we are already planning on using it for her slumber party tomorrow), I can play it with my girl friends for one of our fun nights together, or we can invite our hubbys to get in on the fun and get some real competition going. Haha.  The fact is, this game really has something for everyone!  It's not some dumb or boring game that your guests or friends won't be impressed with--it's entertaining, it's interactive, and so so so much fun to play!!  Plus, you can do karaoke with the game too by simply plugging in a microphone and singing along to the words on the screen (I like that perk!).  Of course the girls in our family shined playing this game, but I was really surprised and happy to see this little guy getting in on the action...
Just Dance 2015 allows you to dance along to 40 of the hottest hits and throwback tunes--songs like “Problem” by Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea and “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, or classic favorites like “Walk This Way” by Run DMC & Aerosmith.  Oh and did I mention playing this game is a great way to get in some exercise??  That's right all the dancing you do actually burns calories so you can have fun while getting fit!  So why not grab some of your friends and get to playing!
In fact, to bring awareness to National Bullying Prevention Month, Just Dance 2015 and Stomp Out Bullying have partnered to show people everywhere that “it’s okay to dance to your own beat!” New songs and wacky choreography in Just Dance 2015 encourage kids and teens to let loose and be themselves.  What a great idea!  You can actually check out the Stomp Out Bullying website HERE to find out more about this awesome cause!
Obviously, our family has THOROUGHLY enjoyed having the new Just Dance 2015 game and we are confident YOU WILL TOO!  So what are you waiting for...
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Holiday Gift Guide: "The Ultimate Laurie Berkner Band Collection" {Review & Giveaway}

If there is one name that is super well known in the children's music genre it's LAURIE BERKNER!  The Laurie Berkner Band is so successful and beloved by so many that it is hard not to have seen or heard about them!  Whether you are watching a children's television station, listening to a children's radio station, or maybe even at a play date--their songs are everywhere!  And now you can get your hands on an AMAZING holiday gift with The Ultimate Laurie Berkner Band Collection CD!!
The Ultimate Laurie Berkner Band Collection is a compilation of some of the band's greatest hits and a follow-up to The Best Of The Laurie Berkner Band CD.  The album is FULL of top-charting songs such as Walk Along The River, Family, and more!
Says Laurie, "As soon as I released The Best Of The Laurie Berkner Band, I couldn't wait for my next compilation to come out -- because there were so many songs that I felt should have also been included on that album! Now that The Ultimate Laurie Berkner Band Collection is finally here, I am thrilled that it will not only include those hits, but also songs I've written since then that have become classics. With a total of 22 favorite songs, this really is the 'Ultimate' collection!"
ABOUT LAURIE AND HER BAND:
A former preschool music teacher by day and indie rocker by night, Laurie Berkner started selling her music over fifteen years ago out of her living room on her own label, Two Tomatoes Records. She is now widely recognized as a pioneer in the "kindie" music genre and was dubbed "The undisputed queen of kindie rock" by USA Today. The Wall Street Journal noted, "Her music is distinctive because it speaks to kids without talking down to them, charming youngsters without boring grown-ups." Laurie was the first artist to ever appear in music videos on Nick Jr. and was featured in nearly all of the episodes of the channel's Jack's Big Music Show. She currently stars in the animated musical short-form series Sing It, Laurie! on the Sprout preschool channel and makes regular appearances on Sprout's Sunny Side Up Show. The Laurie Berkner Band features Laurie Berkner, vocals/guitar; Susie Lampert, keyboards; Brady Rymer, bass; and Bobby Golden, drums/percussion.
My kids ABSOLUTELY loved The Ultimate Laurie Berkner Band Collection CD, but I wasn't really expecting much different.  With so many wonderful songs and various CDs of Laurie's being represented on the album, it was a sure hit!  The moment we put on the CD, we are up dancing and singing and enjoying ourselves.  Laurie Berkner has the perfect voice that really "speaks" to children.  Her songs are not cheesy, over complicated, or annoying.  Instead they offer a real connection to her young audience and deliver powerful messages in fun and creative ways.

The Laurie Berkner Band 2014 - 2015 Concert Dates:
December 6 -- Riviera Theatre -- Solo! -- North Tonawanda, NY Laurie Berkner in a Holiday Show 
December 14 -- Tarrytown Music Hall -- Tarrytown, NY
January 10 -- Capitol Center for the Arts -- Concord, NH
January 24 -- McCarter Theatre Center -- Princeton, NJ
February 1 — Park West — Chicago, IL Duo, with Special Guest Susie Lampert
February 22 — Mayo Performing Arts Center – Morristown, NJ
February 28 — Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts — Raleigh, NC
March 29 -- Paramount Theatre of Charlottesville -- Charlottesville, VA
April 18 -- Palace of Fine Arts -- San Francisco, CA

The Laurie Berkner Band is offering one of our lucky readers A COPY OF THE ULTIMATE LAURIE BERKNER BAND COLLECTION CD!!
A big THANK YOU to The Laurie Berkner Band for providing me with a free CD to review.  I was not compensated for this review. I receive product(s) for free so that I can provide my insight and experience. These are my honest opinions. Your experience may vary.

November 18, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: VTech InnoTab Learning Cartridges {Review}


If there is one toy that you should get your kids this year, it's the VTech InnoTab. My kids have used their InnoTab Learning Tablets at home, in the car, at the doctor's office, waiting to pick up daddy from school and many other places. What is so awesome about the VTech InnoTab is the wide range of educational learning cartridges available to purchase, allowing the InnoTab to grow with your child. There is everything from interactive e-books, age-appropriate games, music and even their very own camera, and the best part is that your child is learning key subjects such as math, science and reading while having a blast!


My kids love the fact that they can keep adding to their collection of cartridges, making their learning experience that much more fun!


InnoTab My First Nursery Rhymes Learning Cartridge by VTech (Ages 12-36 months)

My kids have grown up listening to Nursery Rhymes in the car and reading bedtime nursery rhymes cuddled up in bed, so they were thrilled to have their nursery rhymes come to life with the Innotab Learning Cartidge! 

We received a sample product from VTech and my 2 year-old son loves it. There are so many great features that come with this learning cartridge. There are 25 nursery rhyme songs and my son enjoys singing along to each one and answering the simple questions. Along with nursery rhymes your child can learn 5 baby sign language signs. There are cute little characters that show each one with the word below. Also, with this cartridge comes 5 mini learning games. Lastly, when your child is tired, you can play lullaby songs to help them go to bed. The screen turns off so the light doesn't bother them. Purchase this new cartridge HERE!


InnoTab Disney Winnie the Pooh Learning Cartridge by VTech (Ages 12-36 months)

Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh, tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff. He's Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh, willy nilly silly old bear.

I remember singing along to the Winnie the Pooh theme song when I was young and always feeling happy when it came on t.v. Now that I am older, it's fun watching my kids play this old time favorite on their InnoTabs. My son has been practicing his colors and shapes and has been ecstatic that he can now put his knowledge to the test while he helps Pooh find fun things for his party. My son's precious little face lights up every single time, it's great! There is also a section all about opposites that is absolutely adorable, there is also reading, sing along, baby signs and a photo time where your kids can take their photos and create collages with Pooh and his friends--so fun! Purchase this new cartridge HERE!


InnoTab Classic Stories Learning Cartridge by VTech (Ages 3-6)

The first two cartridges have been great for my younger son, but this one has been a hit with the older kids. Everyone knows the classic stories, especially my girls, so they think it is neat that they can practice their handwriting skills with Pinocchio, and practice rhyming with the Three Little Pigs. My favorite feature to this cartridge is that there is a progressive reading option, so both my girls can work on different levels, and can challenge themselves when they need to. There is also a phonics section with Princess and the Frog and a recording feature that lets your kids record themselves reading out loud which has been a blast. Purchase this new cartridge HERE!

Disclosure: I received sample product from VTech for this review. These opinions are 100%.

Winners!

Congrats to the winners!

November 17, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Book Lover-- The Infusion Series {Review & Giveaway}

Got a book lover in your family?  Or maybe YOU are the book lover?  When I was younger I loved to read books, then during college I was too busy to read with work and all of the homework.  Now as a mom, I am finally re-discovering how enjoyable reading can be!  I love getting lost in a good book--the stories, the characters, the twists and turns.  Awhile back I had the pleasure of reviewing a great book called Origins.  It was one of those books that I started reading and could not put down!!  The end of the book left me wanting to know more.  Lucky for me, Origins is actually the first book in what author Steven Tandberg has dubbed "The Infusion Series" so I knew there would be more to come.  Well the time has finally arrived and the second book, Reverse has just been released.
The Infusion Series follows the life of a young man named Coyle.  Coyle is battling leukemia and undergoes some experimental treatment.  He ends up receiving much more than he bargained for and while he appears to be cured of his disease, something deep and dark has transpired.  The Infusion Series is definitely one of mystery, intrigue, friendship, and adventure.  Each book I read keeps me on my toes and thoroughly entertained.
I was so excited to get a copy of Reverse to read.  It is a perfect sequel to Origins and contained so much excitement that I found myself reading deep in to the night not wanting to put it down.  It's goes a lot more in depth in to the life of Coyle and his inner struggles.  I felt a deeper connection with him through this book almost as if I knew him in real life.
HERE'S THE TEASER FOR REVERSE:
"Death in his past. Salvation in his future. Mortality alludes him. Friendship supports him. Identity may save him. Coyle’s adventure continues with new and old enemies as he struggles to find out who he truly is. His friends and family, convinced of his identity, will suffer due to past dealings with the company who claimed to cure Coyle’s cancer. Coyle will stop at nothing to expose the company before they destroy everything he holds dear."
Oh you guys, I'm telling you--you will love this book and this series!  And with the holidays right around the corner, now is the perfect time to grab your copies of them both!!
Author Steven Tandberg is offering ALL OF OUR READERS his first book ORIGINS for FREE on Kindle--Just click this Amazon Link and get it today!

You can grab Reverse on Amazon HERE!!

He is also giving away AN INFUSION SERIES PRIZE PACK to one of our lucky readers which includes:
- A Paperback Copy of Origins
- A Paperback Copy of Reverse
- A Reverse T-Shirt
- And a $15 Amazon Gift Card!!!
A big THANK YOU to Steven Tandberg for providing me with a free copy of Reverse to review.  I was not compensated for this review. I receive product(s) for free so that I can provide my insight and experience. These are my honest opinions. Your experience may vary.

Congrats to the following giveaway winners....

a Rafflecopter giveaway
(Don't forget there is still a great coupon code available to use on Rock N' Learn's products--just check out the original post!!)

November 16, 2014

RSV Prevention and World Prematurity Day

Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for MedImmune. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Have you heard of RSV?

If not, you are not alone. Almost one-third of all mothers have not heard about RSV even though it is such a common virus.

I try my best to keep my kids healthy. We eat healthy food and stay active, yet it is nearly impossible to not get a cold now and then. It is nearly impossible to keep my kids from getting sick, especially with my oldest in school, so it's extremely important to know the signs of RSV to keep my family safe because I really never know what will come our way.


It seems like everyone I talk to these days is sick, or has a child who is sick. It's that time of year when the weather gets cold and our bodies are more prone to getting illnesses and because of this, it is so important to know the impact that RSV can have on your family and friends. 

RSV is a Respiratory Syncytial Virus that can affect nearly all babies by the age of 2 and is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies under one. 

I know many moms who have had premature babies, and not only is it mentally and emotionally exhausting to have a preemie, there is always a fear that their precious little one could get RSV. Premature babies have such a low immune system and their underdeveloped lungs make them high risk for the RSV virus.


Last year we knew many kids who had RSV, along with our 4-year-old daughter who woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't breathe. She was crying out of fear because she was grasping for air. It was incredibly scary and had never happened to my kids before. To tell you the truth I never thought it ever would happen to my kids because they have always been extremely healthy.

That moment made me realize that my family is not invincible and that I need to be more educated about illnesses going around, such as RSV.


Although RSV is very common, there are ways to help prevent this disease from getting out of hand.

When my kids get home from school and church, I make sure they wash their hands right away. I also make them change their clothes so they don't spread any germs to their siblings, especially their 8 month-old baby sister. Lastly, making sure their bedding is changed out often can help germs from spreading as well, and who doesn't like nice and cozy clean sheets!



November 17th is World Prematurity Day, so let's share this important information and help prevent RSV.




November 13, 2014

National Geographic Foods For Health {Book Review & Giveaway}



I am very passionate about healthy living. Being active and healthy has always been a part of me, but it wasn't until I got married and had kids that my passion grew stronger. I wanted my husband and kids to not only have a healthy mom and wife, but it also hurt me to see my kids and husband suffer from an illness.

We as a family are continually learning what we can do better to increase our health and have learned that it takes baby steps when it comes to lifestyle changes because it can be really overwhelming. If you are wondering what I mean by "baby steps," it could be going to the grocery store and purchasing a fruit or vegetable that you have never had before, or maybe swapping the potato chips for some hummus and crackers. Making simple changes can make a big difference.

One thing I have really enjoyed and has helped me along this health path has been reading and researching food. I have learned SO much about how food can benefit our bodies in a good way and how eating poorly can destroy it.

National Geographic has been focusing on food this year, and has come out with two very fun books, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC FOODS FOR HEALTH: Choose and Use the Very Best Foods for Your Family and Our Planet and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS COOKBOOK: A Year-Round Fun Food Adventure.


Eating foods that are unprocessed are very beneficial to your body. National Geographic's Foods for Health highlight 148 ingredients that give your body the most health benefits with the least amount of impact on the environment. The authors of this book give great ideas of incorporating these foods into your family meals while sneaking in fun food facts and cultural history of each ingredient.


"Too Often in the past, nutrition has been perceived incorrectly as a science of invention. People have looked to nutrition to alleviate their ills that have resulted from mismanagement of everyday health habits. Instead of changing our habits, we prefer to believe that doctors will invent a miracle cure or a magic pill that allows us to continue in our poor dietary habits that have hurt our health." - Foods for Health


My little four year-old has big dreams of becoming a chef. I teach her every day about the importance of eating healthy and keeping her body in good shape. She has held onto my every word and was so excited when she received her very own National Geographics Kids Cook Book.



This year-round fun cookbook is filled with fifty deliciously fun recipes that involve both kids and their parents. My kids love to cook and it is such an important skill to teach them because if they can learn at a young age to have healthy habits it will be a lot easier for them to keep them when they are older.


You'll also find school lunch ideas, festive holiday meals, snow day snacks, creative crafts, fun food trivia and your kids will be introduce to cultures around the world. This is seriously such a fun book, and a great gift for the holiday season!






National Geographic has dedicated this year to "The Future of Food," exploring issues surrounding how we eat today and how we can provide food for all as the world's population grows. Check out NatGeoFood.com for more info!

Also, enter to win a copy of both books!!


Disclosure: I received products in exchange for this review. These opinions are 100% my my own.

Bring Some Holiday Cheer to Your Child's Lunchbox with Funkins {Review & Giveaway}

Today I had the pleasure of joining my oldest daughter at school for her Thanksgiving celebration lunch.  We had a ton of fun.  And although it was a little chaotic and the lunchroom was completely packed with kids, parents, and teachers, I couldn't help notice the giant trashcans over to the side of our table and were constantly being emptied.  It reminded me of just how wasteful and trash-filled our kids lunches can be.  Wouldn't it be great if we could reduce that waste with some eco-friendly lunch products for our kids?  I, myself, have implemented such things as reusable snack bags, utensils, beverage containers, and more in to my kids' lunches.  And now Funkins is helping me add to our waste-saving lunches with their washable cloth napkins for kids!!
Funkins has a ton of really cute kid-friendly cloth napkins.  Adorable patterns and environmentally-friendly features make Funkins really enjoyable for families every where!
And this holiday season, Funkins wants to bring some extra cheer to your children's lunches with their special edition holiday cloth napkins.
We had the pleasure of receiving a pack of Funkins holiday cloth napkins and loved all of the wonderful cute prints we got!  My kids were all super excited to take them to school and use.
The Funkins are perfectly sized at 13”x15” (not too small and not too big) so that kids can use them and they are able to handle kid-sized messes.  They also very compact so that they can fit inside lunch boxes easily.  But don't worry, you can also use these adorable cloth napkins at home too!
Funkins is very eco-conscious and safe.  They hand-sew their napkins and use fabrics which are lead and phthalate free, and CPSIA compliant.
So as the holiday season is starting up, why not add some eco-friendly holiday cheer to your childrens' lunchboxes with Funkins napkins!
Funkins is giving away A SET OF HOLIDAY CLOTH NAPKINS to one of our lucky readers!!
A big THANK YOU to Funkins for providing me with free cloth napkins to review.  I was not compensated for this review. I receive product(s) for free so that I can provide my insight and experience. These are my honest opinions. Your experience may vary.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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