Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Still Paying Full Price? Groupon has You Covered!

One thing I can say I do really well is bargain hunt.  I do not pay full price for ANYTHING.  I mean, why pay full price when you can get a discount, you just have to know where to look.  I actually prefer to shop online for that reason.  I save time and money and that makes me a happy girl.

Groupon is a site known for awesome deals, and now they are offering Groupon Coupons!  If you are a new or expecting mom, or you know someone who is, you do not want to miss these great offers from Babies R Us:



Click HERE for Groupon Coupons for 15% off Nursery Furniture, $25 off Graco car seats and travel systems, Free shipping offers and more.



If you are looking for great deals to start your Holiday shopping, Groupon has some online offers as well as in-store printable coupons for Toys R Us.  Just click HERE to check them out.


There are also some great deals from Build-A-Bear, like $10 off a purchase of $40 or more, $5 off of a purchase of $25 and more, just click HERE.


There are so many great deals on Groupon in the coupon section, just go click around on your favorite stores and take advantage of all the savings!  Its never too early to start shopping for the Holiday season either!

*This post was sponsored by Groupon, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Get ready for Halloween with Great Pretenders {and Giveaway!}

Children learn by imagining and doing. The process of pretending builds skills in many essential developmental areas. Dress-up play is vital to a child’s development. According to licensed child psychologist Dr. Laurie Zelinger, “It fosters the imaginative processes, and allows for play without rules or script. Dress up allows for experimentation, role play and fantasy.“

Major benefits include:

1. Social and Emotional Skills

Dress up allows for experimenting with the social and emotional roles of life. Through cooperative play, children learn societal rules such as how to take turns, share responsibility, and creatively problem-solve. Character play means that the child is "walking in someone else's shoes” and it encourages teamwork along with an interest in peers. The child also learns to negotiate which helps teach the important moral development skill of empathy. Since children see the world from their own point of view, cooperative play helps them understand the feelings of others.

2. Language Skills

When children engage in pretend play, you will hear words and phrases you never thought they knew. Pretend play requires children to invent and tell stories and since almost all children narrate their pretend play experiences, they train their minds to transform ideas into words. Children usually mimic words and ideas from parents, teachers, daycare or what they hear on TV. This repetition builds vocabulary and helps kids visualize what they say, especially when adults offer feedback to help kids better understand the words they use. This also helps with grammar – they may not know the rules but they are training themselves to speak like adults. This also helps make the connection between spoken and written language — a skill that will later help them to read.


3. Self-Control

Young kids typically have little self-control. During pretend play, children have to take a role and play within those boundaries, especially when other kids are involved. Studies show that children control their impulses significantly better during pretend play than at other times. Did you ever wonder why parents often make up a game to get their children to eat their vegetables or finish chores? Transforming an unappealing task into a make-believe game is a popular trick among clever parents and educators.

4. Problem Solving Skills

Pretend play also provides your child with a variety of problems to solve. Whether it’s the logistics of sharing toys or a pretend problem the children are escaping from, the child calls upon important cognitive thinking skills that he or she will use in every aspect of his or her life, now and forever. Role playing games lead children to face situations that far exceed kids' real-life experiences. Children work out confusing, scary, or new life issues. Through these role plays, children become more comfortable and prepared for life events in a safe way. Children often use pretend play to work out more personal challenging life events too, whether it is coping with an illness in the family, the absence of a parent or divorce, or a house fire. Although kids may not always act logically during tough pretend dilemmas, the very process of problem solving becomes habitual. By practicing problem solving in an artificial environment, kids are better prepared to think of creative solutions to their own real-life problems


5. Self-esteem

By giving your child complete control in their pretend world and accepting them as a silly character, you are enhancing their self-esteem. While they use their own initiative to develop story lines, their creative imagination to expand stories and their own personality to choose a character they enjoy, you are enhancing their self-esteem by allowing them complete power in the world and enjoying it with them. Take for example superheroes. Considering the thrill children get out of pretending to be a grown-up, it's no wonder that they're also crazy about mimicking the most powerful version of adults: superheroes. Pretending to be Batman or Wonder Woman allows a toddler to feel brave and invincible, which helps them develop self-confidence. Similarly, all that running and leaping keeps them active and builds strength, balance, and coordination.

At Great Pretenders  they constantly on the hunt for great fabrics, trims and findings which can be transformed into inspiring pretend-play toys for children. Not only do they aim to provide the best value for your dollar, they strive to be as innovative as possible in what they make. For example, all of their products are easy-care and with maximum sizing flexibility. They also also make great strides on the creative end – their popular reversible costumes & capes are fan-favorites and have won several acclaimed toy awards. Celebrating over 25 years and 25 awards, the Great Pretenders team continues to excel in designing creative products that are size flexible, reversible, comfortable, and provide great value to customers. All of their products are fully tested to ensure compliance with all North American standards. They continue to manufacture many products in North America and they have grown this local focus in their 2014 selection. As one of the oldest dress up companies in North America, and the only domestic costume manufacturer, they know what it takes to create and produce toys that ignite and inspire imagination.


One of my lucky readers will win a beautiful Crystal Queen costume from Great Pretenders.  All you have to do is follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 15, 2014

Make Your Walls Bright and Colorful With Vinyl Wall Quotes

Disclosure:  This post was compensated

Personalizing the home in a way which will match your personality and taste is very important as people who will be visiting your home will judge you on the basis of your home. You house gives an impression of the family residing in it. Hence keeping your house well maintained and decorating it in a way you like will give a good impression of you to your guests and they will know what type of of person you are seeing the décor of your home.



Keeping the walls vacant and blank suggests boring and dull personality as there is no signs of creativity in it, therefore if you do not want to be portrayed as an un-interesting and monotonous person you must do something funky with the walls of your rooms. How about using vinyl wall lettering and adding some colors on your rooms?

Exciting categories of vinyl wall quotes to do up your house just the way you want it

There are various genres of vinyl wall quotes from which you can choose the ones that appeals to you. If you like a particular genre as in inspirational, romantic, humorous or motivational then you can find a whole collection of wall quotes under each of these categories.



If you want your living room to be brightly done yet you do not want anything too serious projected on the walls of the room then you can go with the humorous wall quotes which will offer the guests something to laugh about and also keep the atmosphere light hearted and easy going. Plus it will also reflect your sense of humor and good taste of interior designing.

Most people do up their kid’s nursery with cartoons and fairy tale creatures. Though the idea to decorate the nursery with things which the kids love but if you stick some of the inspirational and motivational famous words with tree wall sticker then it will help your kids to learn important values of life right from a very young age.



You can mix and match inspirational wall quotes which are easy to understand and in simple language with his favorite cartoon characters and stickers of his favorite animals too. Quotes such as “Honesty is the best policy” or “waste not, want not,” “God help those who help themselves” will help your child know the value of hard work, honesty, courage and trust.

Vinyl wall quotes are easily replaceable and fits the tightest of budgets

One of the most popular advantages of opting for vinyl wall quotes is that after sticking up a wall quote you can change it without any trouble and place a new one in its place. Unlike other ways of home decoration you can change the décor whenever you wish to depending on your mood and taste.
 
The fact that vinyl wall quotes cost less makes it easily accessible to all the people in the world, irrespective of them being rich or poor. Hence if your budget for decorating your home is limited you can always choose the wall quotes and sayings and make your home pleasant and vibrant in no time.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Get Rewarded for Healthy Choices

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

As I get older, making healthy choices for myself and my family is more important than ever.  I work out regularly and I eat very healthy foods, I also try to get enough sleep, although we all know that one is not so easy!  So why should we not get rewarded for all that hard work?  Walgreens sure thinks we should and they reward their shoppers with Balance Reward points just for being healthy!


I got pretty lucky with one of my jobs (office manager at my taekwondo school) that I actually get to work out at work!  We also just purchased a treadmill and brought our weight bench out of the basement.  Hopefully it will be easier staying on a healthy exercise routine this winter now that I started it way before the cold.  

I took my workout to the next level just by connecting my MyFitnessPal app to my Balance Rewards account and now every time I work out, I earn points toward my Walgreens purchases.  It really is that easy.  If you have one of the compatible devices or apps, you could be on your way to saving money at the checkout.  And why shouldn't you be rewarded for all that hard work!

Compatible Devices Include: 

Fitbit Flex
Fitbit Zip
iHealth Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker
iHealth Wireless Blood Pressure Wrist Monitor
Jawbone Up24

Compatible Apps Include:

MapMyFitness
MyFitnessPal
RunKeeper


I just connected MyFitnessPal app on my phone to my Balance Rewards account, so now I'm ready to take advantage of earning more savings.  You can earn points for things like walking and reaching a weight loss goal,

For as much walking as I do up and down the hallways at the school I work at, I should really wear a fitness tracker, but at least I can still log my steps and earn my points with the Balance Rewards.


If you have not made a commitment to living a healthier lifestyle, now is a great time to start because you only live once!

#BalanceRewards #CollectiveBias #shop

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Sims™ 4 are Here and Smarter than Ever!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

The Sims™   is pretty much the only game I can spend hours playing.  My favorite part of the game is designing the characters and the homes.  I remember when my husband bought me The Sims™ 2 and I stayed up for hours playing!  Well The Sims™ 4 is out and it is more awesome than ever.


The new game comes with some pretty great new features,  The new Sims come with big personalities, they are smarter, more relatable, and emotionally aware beings whose every action is affected by what they’re thinking and how they’re feeling.  These Smarter Sims have traits, skills, and aspirations that affect their behavior like never before. You can see right away weather your Sims are sad, happy, or angry.


There are also new creative tools to let you design your little heart out! The Sims™ 4 has completely rebuilt its creative tools to be intuitive, powerful, and lots of fun. You can literally sculpt your Sims by hand and build  homes some amazing homes, room by room, with ease.


This game makes it really easy to share your creations with your friends or bring the world’s creations into your game with a few simple clicks. With the new Gallery function, uploading and downloading creations is easier than ever before.
I went to Walmart to purchase this game just two days after it came out (came out on Sept. 2nd) and I got the last copy, the cashier even said "everyone is buying this!"


I like to set up neighborhoods with families like our family and then add famous families such as the Addams Family and so on.  I'm not a big gamer but I really enjoy the Sims.  #CollectiveBias #shop #TheSims4

Be sure to enter the SIMify yourself Facebook Contest HERE. There are $8000 in prizes to be won including the grand prize where you could win a trip to Maxis studio in California! No Purchase Necessary See the official rules HERE

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Get Minds and Bodies Moving with LeapFrog; LeapTV Pre-Sale Period is Here!

This post is part of a sponsored campaign with LeapFrog and MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are my own

The pre-sale is officially here!
Designed from the ground up for children ages three to eight years old, the LeapTV video game system changes the way children learn by combining activity and movement with best-in-class educational curriculum. With a simple and intuitive user interface, a motion-sensing camera that puts a child directly in the game, a transforming controller that is made for classic gameplay and pointer control gameplay, plus audio prompts throughout the experience to help children navigate games and provide curricular tutorials, LeapTV is the best first video game experience for children.



 Three ways to play:
* Body Motion: Children become the star of their own game. The motion-sensing camera captures a child’s moves and instantly puts them into the game as they explore activities like dance and martial arts. Children can run, hop and tip-toe or wave their arms to defend goals, karate-chop fast-moving blocks, scuba dive and more.
 * Pointer Play: Pointer play takes pretend play to new levels of engagement. The controller transforms into a pointer with a simple twist and lets kids snap jungle vines, slice through coconuts, swing from building to building and more.
 * Classic Control: Classic control puts fun at a child’s fingertips. They can press the A and B buttons for fast-paced gaming, or tilt and shake the controller to sled through an enchanted garden or race in a classic kart-racing game.

You can check it out and pre-order yours HERE

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Zoo Run Run at Brookfield Zoo

Registration is now open for Brookfield Zoo’s Zoo Run Run for the Animal Care and Conservation Fund, a 5K race that promises to be a wildly fun time on Sunday, September 21. Runners, walkers, adults, and children alike are invited to sprint, scamper, and stride past the animals at Brookfield Zoo during the annual fundraiser, which is dedicated to making a difference for animals across the globe.

Zoo Run Run features a choice between a 5K chip-timed run and a 5K fun run/walk. Proceeds from the event benefit the Chicago Zoological Society’s Animal Welfare and Conservation Fund, which supports research and education efforts around the world and at Brookfield Zoo, including the Society’s Center for the Science of Animal Welfare and the Center for Conservation Leadership.


“The fund is an important part of the Society’s conservation efforts and we certainly appreciate the efforts of the run’s participants who help raise significant donations,” said Stuart Strahl, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo.

The chip-timed run begins at 8:00 a.m. in the zoo’s Discovery Center parking lot, with the fun run/walk starting at 8:20 a.m. The course takes participants under a forest canopy of 100-year-old oak trees and continues past the American white pelicans at the Formal Pool,; the bison at Great Bear Wilderness; the giraffes, zebras, and camels along 31st Street; the kangaroos at Australia House; and the endangered black rhinos outside Pachyderm House. The final stretch of the run routes participants past the lions, sloth bears, tigers, and snow leopards.


Runners can register as individuals or maximize their fun by forming a race team. The more funds that participants raise for the Animal Welfare and Conservation Fund, the more prizes they win:

Anyone who raises $100 receives a special long-sleeve commemorative Zoo Run Run shirt.

Anyone who raises $250 receives a $25 Brookfield Zoo gift certificate plus the commemorative shirt

Anyone who raises $500 receives an additional $25 Brookfield Zoo gift certificate, a complimentary upgrade on his/her next purchased membership, plus the previous levels’ premiums

Anyone who raises $750 receives a voucher toward a Backstage Adventure experience at Brookfield Zoo, plus the previous levels’ premiums

Anyone who raises $1,000 receives two tickets to the Chicago Zoological Society’s Wines in the Wild, held on Saturday, October 18, 2014, plus the previous levels’ premiums

The top fundraiser for Zoo Run Run will receive a VIP Red Carpet Day of experiences at Brookfield Zoo, plus the previous levels’ premiums

In addition to individual fundraising prizes, teams are eligible to win prizes. Each team that raises $2,500 or more will receive a private reception for 20 that includes a unique animal experience at Brookfield Zoo. All members of teams are eligible to win the individual prizes listed above as well.

Registration for the chip-timed race is $35, and the fee for the fun run/walk is $30. (Members can enter a promo code to receive $5 off their pricing.) For participants who register on the event day, the fee is $40 for the chip-timed race and $35 for the fun run/walk (there is no member discount on race day). In addition, registered participants may bring family and friends to cheer them on and enjoy the zoo afterwards at no additional charge.

Zoo Run Run is presented by Walgreens, Aquafina, and Gatorade. Details of race packet pickup will be announced closer to the race date. For further information and to register as an individual or a team, go to CZS.org/ZooRunRun.

The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, inspires conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located off First Avenue between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA, and PACE bus service. For further information, visit www.CZS.org.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

LeapTV is Coming! The Perfect Educational Video Gaming System

LeapTV is available for pre-sale on September 2nd! We all know and love the LeapFrog brand and this is the biggest thing to come from the company...I am so excited!



This post is part of a sponsored campaign with LeapFrog and MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, August 22, 2014

If You are a LeapFrog Fan, You Do Not Want to Miss This

We love LeapFrog products and you may have read my reviews of the LeapPad, so I am so excited to let you know that LeapTV is coming!  A brand that has been trusted by parents for so many years is still bringing you new products, ideas and ways for our children to learn while having fun.  LeapTV is available for pre-sale on September 2nd!




This post is part of a sponsored campaign with LeapFrog and MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, August 18, 2014

LeapPad3 Review: Smart, Safe and Tough

Disclaimer: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with LeapFrog and MomSelect all opinions are my own.

LeapFrog  is a brand we all have heard of and many of us own at least one of their products.  They are a trusted name when it comes to fun, educational and innovative play for kids.  I remember having their product when I was young and now my children enjoy LeapFrog on a whole new level.

I was asked to review the LeapPad3 by LeapFrog and I had a feeling I would not be disappointed!  We had the original LeapPad when it came out and my kids played on it for hours, but when this one came in the mail we were thrilled to see some upgrades!


You might think, well what is the difference between this and any old tablet?  Well there are many differences, first, all the games and apps are educational, fun AND appropriate.  Plus this thing can be dropped and played with and you won't have to worry about it shattering into a million pieces.  Its just the right size (and thickness) for small hands and it has 2 cameras and video recording. I also love that this LeapPad3 (compared to the original we had) is rechargeable!  No more looking for batteries all the time.

The stylus on the LeapPad3 (again comparing to the first one) is much nicer and more durable and I like that it is attached to the LeapPad because my kids lose everything and it has its own little slot to put it into when not in use.  Games are easy to download, just plug it into your computer and follow the instructions.



Learning with the LeapPad3 is also personalized, based on their age and grade so that it appropriately challenges your child.  Their award-winning curriculum goes beyond core skills, drawing from 2,600 skills across subjects that reflect the Common Core State Standards tailored in fun ways.  Not only that but the cameras encourage kids to create and use their imaginations.  My son loves making mini movies with his LeapPad.  Kids can also explore 1000+ games, videos and prescreened web content approved by learning experts and you control App Center access and purchases.

This learning tablet is really a wonderful tool for any child, it is recommended for ages 3-9 and my son who is 7 really enjoys it.  It would make a wonderful gift for a boy or girl and is available for only $99.99 on Amazon.com (with free shipping for Prime members).