Saturday, April 30, 2016

Weekends with the Wigglesworths- Lightening the Load

During Spring Break last week, I had every intention of cleaning and organizing a few rooms. Namely, the kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, and living room. The playroom was the only one to get both started and finished, but we did make some good progress in the living room (a lot of toys made their way back to the playroom), so this weekend I'd like to get that settled.

Our living room is tied with our dining room for being the area that collects the most "stuff", but because it's the room everyone sees first (our front door leads into the living room) and we spend a bit of our time in it, I really want it to be less cluttered and more comforting. 

I'm going to start with the living room closet because so much is "hiding" in there and I will feel better knowing that we are only keeping the things we will actually use or need. There's something so soothing about getting rid of things that just take up space and lightening our load. It'll also be nice to open it up once in a while and actually find whatever I am looking for without having to dig for it. 

I'm a little thankful that rain is in the forecast for today, it makes it easier to commit to doing these kinds of boring projects. I hope your plans are more exciting than ours! If you are also cleaning today, make it exciting by cranking up the tunes and.....well, I think that's about all you can do to make cleaning exciting! 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Make a Change with a Kalencom Sidekick Diaper Bag

Thank you to Kalencom for providing me with product, free of charge, in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.

One of the things that I remember struggling over when my firstborn was a baby, was what kind of diaper bag to use. With so many different diaper bags out there, it can be hard to know which one to select to best suit your needs. After trying out lots of different styles through the years, I have found that it's not a bad idea to have more than one bag in various styles. I like different types of bags- from totes to messenger style bags. I like having a lightweight option for outings that will have us out of the house for extended periods of time. For me, the diaper bag has to be stylish, practical, functional, and it also has to be something that my husband can/will carry without complaint.

The Kalencom Corporation

Kalencom designs beautiful diaper bags that have all of the features I look for in a good bag. Kalencom was founded in 1971. Both their corporate headquarters and main plant are located in New Orleans in their own four-story, 60,000 sq. ft. facility, and our 2 secondary self owned 62,000 and 30,000 sq. ft. distribution and manufacturing plants in Mississippi. They have five extensive manufacturing plant resources located in Asia, and additional subcontracting facilities located both in the U.S. and overseas. Their marketing distribution concentrates in the U.S., Canada, Caribbean, South and Central America and Europe. Our customer base concentration varies with each division, where we range from manufacturing under contract for manufacturers and wholesalers to manufacturing directly to distributors and retailers.

I was lucky enough to receive the opportunity to try out one of Kalencom's newer diaper bag designs- the Sidekick. I was drawn to this bag because of its slim design, and lightweight feel. I also knew that my hubby would proudly carry this bag while on daddy duty.

The Sidekick is a multi-functioning diaper bag with all of the amenities you'd expect, without a bunch of obnoxious bells and whistles.

The Fantasia Geo pattern is a great style for a bag that is shared my mom and dad. The Sidekick is a large diaper bag, and is larger than Kalencom's original Sidekick bag. It has plenty of outer pockets for storage of essential items.

Along with large, open pockets, there are also zippered pockets inside and outside of the Sidekick.

Having lots of pockets is a must for a good diaper bag- otherwise, you won't be able to organize your items and ind what you need. The pockets of the Sidekick allow for plenty of room for diapers and wipes, and extra sets of clothes for your little one. Items we never leave home without.

Inside of the Sidekick, you'll find features like this thermal/insulated bag for a bottle.

The fact that this diaper bag comes with an insulated bag for a bottle is a dream come true. Right now, I am exclusively BFing Baby S, so she hasn't had a bottle yet. Once we've been nursing for around one month, I'll be able to start pumping regularly, and will be able to tote along breast milk- which can stay at room temperature up to four hours. Being able to carry it along- either in bags or in a bottle will make traveling with S much easier. I'm all for nursing on the go, but sometimes it's just not possible.

The insulated bag has a zip top and a handle for easy lifting and carrying. You can keep it strapped inside of the bag or you can loop it through the carry strap on the outside.

Stroller straps make it easy to attach this bag directly to the stroller when out and about.

One of my favorite features of this bag has got to be the stroller straps. We have yet to take Baby S out somewhere using the stroller, other than a walk around the neighborhood, because she is barely four weeks old. I can't wait to be able to just hang the diaper bag onto the stroller when we're out shopping or running errands. We have a trip coming up in a few weeks, and plan to take the stroller along. Being able to hang the diaper bag and have easy access to the things we need for S will be a time saver! If you don't want to use the stroller straps, they just clip right off, and can easily be put back on when you're ready to use them.

Adjustable, removable shoulder strap.

The shoulder strap is also adjustable, and can be removed, if you wish. I like to tighten the strap to make it shorter, so the bag isn't swinging around. Since it's so lightweight, I don't like it feeling like it's flopping around while I am carrying it. I like that it's so easy to carry/manage while I am also carrying S in my arms.

Extra exterior pockets on the back side.

The back of the Sidekick diaper bag also has two additional exterior pockets. This is the perfect place to stash extra diapers. No one wants to be caught off guard without enough diapers.

Another fantastic feature- a changing mat that snaps onto the outside of the diaper bag!

This full size changing mat attaches to the diaper bag with two snaps. It's lightweight and flexible, making it easy to carry and use. Just unsnap it from the diaper bag, and lay it down to change baby. It easily wipes clean, and goes right back onto the diaper bag.

The back of the changing mat acts as a fold over flap on the diaper bag- you can choose to leave it attached or remove it and carry it on the inside of the bag.

Sometimes, I remove the changing mat from the outside out the diaper bag. It has a magnet so it sticks to the front of the diaper bag when the flap is folded over, but it does sometimes come apart on me. I prefer to carry it on the inside of the bag.

Here's the bag with the changing pad attached and in place.

This bag is perfect for quick trips out, day trips, or long trips. I love that I have space to bring along everything I need for a day out with Baby S. My hubby likes the design, and doesn't mind carrying the diaper bag himself. Even my five-year-old son can carry the Sidekick bag, if I need him to. This is definitely a bag to consider, if you're in the market for a new diaper bag.

Kalencom® Extra Large Sidekick Diaper Bag in Fanstasia
Features of the Large Sidekick by Kalencom

The Large Sidekick: Larger than the original Sidekick
Detachable, roll out changing pad wraps around bag when not in use 
Matching ThinsulateTM  insulated bottle holder included 
Multiple exterior and interior slip pockets
Bottle strap to keep bottle from spilling
Adjustable shoulder strap
External and internal zippered pockets
Removable stroller straps
Eco-friendly -- Kalencom diaper bags are AZO-free and utilize no Phthalates
Dimensions: 13.25"L x 3.25”W x 10"H

Want it? Get it!

Head on over to Kalencom to check out all of their fabulous bags! Connect with Kalencom on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Special thanks to our friends at Kalencom for allowing me to share about their wonderful Sidekick Diaper Bag!

Shoplet has your business covered!! #review

I have worked with Shoplet a couple of times on reviews of some great products that I have been able to use at school and my husband has used at work.  They have a huge selection of office supplies, cleaning supplies, medical supplies and office furniture. I received some Pentel products to try out and you guys know I'm a pen hog!!  I love a good pen, or pencil for that matter.  At any time, you can find at least 5-8 laying around on my desk.  I was very excited to check out these new pens and pencils.  My husband got in on this action because he has to use pencils at work and these were perfect to tuck in his notebook and have with him.  Take a look at their online selection and get everything you need for your business taken care in one online stop!

I got an Energel Alloy Pen and a pack of Sharp Drafting Pencils. 

I love the pencil colors. 

The pen was very comfy in my hand.

And it writes so smooth.  I love this pen. 

Set of 3 lead pencils. 

The top pops off to revel your eraser. 

Shoplet is the #1 e-tailer of business and office supplies. We carry an assortment of office supplies, cleaning supplies, medical supplies, office furniture, and everything in between. Feel free to use these keywords in any combination to communicate to your audience who we are and what we are all about.

Want it?  Buy it!
Head on over to Shoplet for all your office supply needs.  You can also check out their selection of Pentel products.  Or connect with them on Facebook,  Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram and their own blog

Special thanks to our friends at Shoplet for allowing me to try out these great Pentel products.  It's always a pleasure to work with you!!

A love story and flowers...Just in time for Mother's Day! #review, #giveaway

The Choice is a love story that will make viewers laugh, cry, and wonder how far they would go to keep the hope of love alive. Travis (Benjamin Walker) is a fun-loving, smooth-talking bachelor who’s never considered a serious relationship—until he falls hard for his beautiful new neighbor, Gabby (Teresa Palmer). But when fate threatens Travis and Gabby’s love, Travis must make a choice that will alter their lives forever in this unforgettably moving romance.

Want it?  Win it!
One lucky MBP reader will win their very own copy of The Choice and a $50.00 Gift Card to 1-800Flowers. This giveaway is open to US residents, 18 and older. Please use the RC giveaway entry form below to enter for your chance to win! MBP is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Please see our policies page for complete details.

Special thanks to my friends at Lionsgate for the opportunity to offer this great giveaway!

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rainy Day Dance Party #Fitness

Toddlers have the best dance moves!

Baby A is day dreaming about sunny days

It's been a rainy couple of days here in Maryland. That leaves N (and me!) feeling  restless. So, I put on some upbeat music, and cleared a large dance floor in our living room.

Very graceful, N

If she's happy, I'm happy : )

Dancing is a great way to stay fit! Also, we were all feeling a little down, but as soon as we started moving around, our moods quickly changed. The best part is that anyone can do it! All you need is some music and a little space.

Do you have a favorite way to spend rainy days? I would love to hear them : )

Thursday, April 28, 2016

It's Thursday: Steph's Top Ten #toptenlist

Top Ten Things I LOVED About Hawaii
1. Punalu'u Beach (Black Sand)
2. Green Sea Turtles
3. Papakolea Beach (Green Sand)
4. Fresh Fruit (The South Kona Fruit Stand)
5. Hiking Volcano National Park
6. Kilauea Crater at Night
7. The Food (Café 100-Loco Moco)
8. The Waterfalls (Akaka Falls)
9. Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees
10. Whale Watching
Have you been to Hawaii? What was your favorite adventure?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Explore the World of S.T.E.M. with the Robot Mouse Coding Activity Set #LearningResources

Thank you to Learning Resources for providing me with product, free of charge, in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.

With school winding down for the year, and summer upon us, I am busy looking for ways to keep my soon-to-be kindergartener engaged in learning through the summer months. Before B started preschool, we did our own preschool lessons at our own pace at home. I follow the same sort of model during the summertime. B will go to summer play group at his school for five weeks this summer, and the rest of the summer, we'll either be traveling or he'll be home with me and his baby sister. Having educational lessons and activities planned is important to me. I want B to continue the learning at home through the summer months, so he'll be ready to hit the ground running when kindergarten begins this fall.

Learning Resources

Learning Resources has tons of wonderful educational toys and games for kids of all ages. We were given the opportunity to explore one of their fabulous S.T.E.M. activities for kids ages 5+. B really loves math and problem solving, so this was going to be a great activity for him to try out, and enjoy through the summer months.

Learning Resources® is a leading global manufacturer of innovative, hands-on educational products trusted by teachers and parents and loved by children. The Company's 1100+ high-quality products are sold in more than 80 countries, serving children and their families, preschool, kindergarten, primary, and middle-school markets. Among the Company's brands are Pretend & Play®, Smart Snacks®, New Sprouts™, Gears! Gears! Gears!®, Primary Science, now!Board™, simple technology, Hands-On Standards® publications, Rainbow Fractions® and Reading Rods®. Learning Resources is headquartered in Vernon Hills, IL, with a European office based in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England.

B was excited to see this colorful box, and couldn't wait to open it up and check it out!

We received the S.T.E.M. Robot Mouse Coding Activity Set. This product is new for 2016, and is perfect to play with at home, or to use in the classroom. If your kids love mazes like my son does, this activity will be a fun challenge for them to explore and enjoy.

The packaging contains clear, bright images of the activity set in use. Seeing all of the components laid out like this really excited B.

The activity set was well packaged, and included instructions for the grown ups.

The S.T.E.M. Robot Mouse Coding Activity Set came with lots of pieces, which included green boards (click together), maze walls, tunnels, the programmable robotic mouse, and coding cards. B was interested in using the boards right away. He loves to build mazes and tracks, and once we figured out that the board just slide into one another (they connect), B was building every which way! The neat thing is that you can connect all of the boards together to make one giant board, or you can use them piece by piece to build an intricate maze.

B is figuring out how the activity boards fit together, and designing his own patterned maze.

The Robotic Mouse is anxiously waiting to be programmed by B so it can follow the maze to find the cheese!

The little blue mouse is battery operated. It takes 3 AAA batteries, which are not included in this set. It was a good thing we had batteries on hand at home, or B would have been very disappointed! To program the mouse, use the coding cards, and the directional buttons on the mouse. Press the little buttons in the correct order to have the mouse follow the maze to get to the cheese.

B took his time figuring out just the right way for his maze to look for the first run through the maze.

PS- there is no right or wrong way for kids to build the maze- using their imaginations, they can build it any way they choose! Take it apart and put it back together again, over and over again for endless coding fun!

B began using the purple maze walls and orange tunnels to add even more fun to this activity!

He hit a few roadblocks along the way, and eventually figured out how to sort the maze walls and then program the mouse using the coding cards.

Pieces scattered all about the dining room, ready to start over again.

We have been having so much fun with the Robot Mouse Coding Activity Set. It's not something that I would have thought to look into purchasing for my son, but I am so glad that we've had the opportunity to play with it. B is learning a lot about creating patterns, and coding! It's way more fun than I imagined it would be, and he's exercising his mind while he plays.

What is S.T.E.M.?

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education.

Learning Essentials™ STEM Robot Mouse Coding Activity Set

Features of the Robot Mouse Coding Activity Set

The race is on to build hands-on coding skills! Build your maze, and then use the coding cards to create a step-by-step path for Colby, the Programmable Robot Mouse. Program the sequence of steps, and then watch Colby race to find the cheese! This deluxe set includes 30 double-sided coding cards, 10 double-sided activity cards, cheese wedge, and Activity Guide to provide the perfect hands-on introduction to coding concepts. Create your path with 16 maze grids to create a 20" x 20" maze board, 22 maze walls, and 3 tunnels for endless possibilities. Colby lights-up, makes sounds, and features 2 speeds along with colorful buttons to match coding cards for easy programming and sequencing. Add multiple players with Jack, the Programmable Robot Mouse (LER 2841), sold separately. Colby measures 4"L and requires 3 AAA batteries (not included).

Want it? Get it!

Head on over to Learning Resources to check out the Robot Mouse Coding Activity Set. Connect with Learning Resources on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram.

Special thanks to Learning Resources for allowing us to share about their wonderful educational products.