PURELL 30-Day Challenge

*This is a sponsored post.  I was compensated for sharing this information from PURELL (in conjunction with the Mom It Forward Blogger Network).  


IMG 9230 300x450 PURELL 30 Day Challenge


Germs are a major concern with a new baby in the house.  We have always encouraged hand-washing with our children, but as of late I have come to rely heavily on hand sanitizer.  Our boys have a tendency to consider “washing their hands” as rinsing with a spray of water for 2 seconds (or less).  Because I can’t be there every time they wash their hands as I am tending to the needs of a new baby, PURELL has literally become one of my best friends.

We have a large bottle of PURELL in the kitchen, entryway, and beside Baby Girl’s changing table.  I also have a small bottle in my purse and in the diaper bag.  RSV and Influenza were both pretty bad in our area this past winter/spring when Baby Girl was brand new.  I felt so much safer armed with PURELL.


Why Not Just Wash Your Hands?

Obviously, this is still the best way to stop the spread of germs.  However, sometimes soap and water isn’t readily available.  And as I mentioned above, sometimes kids can be lazy hand-washers and we can’t always be by their side to ensure they are effectively washing.  This is when a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (like PURELL) is most effective.  I have also been known to use a baby wipe and a squirt of hand sanitizer to clean off tabletops when we are out to eat!


More Reasons to Trust PURELL

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other leading health organizations, proper hand hygiene is one of the most important preventative measures you can take to reduce your risk of illness and infection.
  • Scientific outcome studies provide evidence that hand hygiene, including the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer like PURELL, reduces our risk of getting sick.
  • A recent study conducted by the makers of PURELL demonstrated that the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can significantly reduce the transfer of a virus to the hands, and prevent germ transfer via commonly touched surfaces in the household.



PURELL 30-Day Challenge

To gear up for heading back to school, PURELL has created a 30-Day Challenge with 30 days of prizes!  Beginning Monday, July 14, a challenge for each day will be shared.  Some of these will be fun (decorating a PURELL bottle and sharing a picture) and some will be silly (sharing a video using PURELL at a summer barbecue).  You can download the list and reference it throughout the month.

The prizes for the challenge will include:  PURELL Products throughout the month, 8 $100 Visa Gift Card Weekly Winners, and 30 Grand Prize Healthy Family Prize Packs.


Here’s how to enter:  

Visit PURELL’s Facebook page on Monday, July 14th (or visit Purell.com/30daychallenge).  Download the list of challenges and check in with your progress!

You will receive:

  • 1 entry for signing up for the challenge
  • 1 entry for friends who enter the challenge (limit 10 entries)
  • 1 entry for each day that you visit the Purell Facebook page or 30 Day Challenge page
  • 5 entries for videos, 2 entries for photos, and 1 entry per story read.



Be sure to visit the Purell Advanced 30 Day Challenge website, FacebookTwitter and Pinterest to get started!



*Once again, this is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of PURELL (in conjunction with the Mom It Forward Blogger Network).  I was compensated for sharing this post.

Ivy Kids: Monthly Literature-Based Activity Kits

*This is a sponsored post.  I was compensated for sharing my honest opinions on this product.  All opinions are 100% mine.


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pinit fg en rect gray 28 Ivy Kids:  Monthly Literature Based Activity Kits


Ivy Kids is a brand new monthly educational subscription box service for children ages three to eight.  I have had the pleasure of reviewing the first two kits (July and August) and I am truly amazed at all of the detail and attention that went into making these amazing literature-based activity kits!

IMG 7824 500x333 Ivy Kids:  Monthly Literature Based Activity Kits



If you are on the internet for any time at all, you most likely know that there are various options for monthly subscription kits available these days.  I have tried a few out in the past, but Ivy Kids is now my favorite (especially for preschoolers).  Here is why I think Ivy Kids is absolutely fantastic:


  • All kits come with a book!   Each monthly kit includes a high-quality children’s book in the kit itself!  We reviewed the first two months, so the books that were included were Jump, Frog, Jump! and Mouse Paint.  You can build your library while having a whole gaggle of activities to do as well!
    IMG 7825 300x450 Ivy Kids:  Monthly Literature Based Activity Kits

    What you see when you flip open your box!


  • The activities included in the kit are literature-based and centered around the included book.  Each of the activities included are based on the theme of the included book.  There is a wide variety of activities, hitting almost all of domains of early childhood development.
    IMG 7827 500x333 Ivy Kids:  Monthly Literature Based Activity Kits

    A guide to all of the activities included in July’s kit on the lid of the box


  • The kits are created by a Teacher Mom.  Taseea, the founder of Ivy Kids, is a Master-degree holding certified early childhood teacher who decided to stay at home after the birth of her second child.  She has both the education and experience to create a kit that appeals to little learners while also cognitively stimulating those growing brains!IMG 2876 500x375 Ivy Kids:  Monthly Literature Based Activity Kits
  • The activities are perfect for preschoolers.  Big Brother, who is six and will be in first grade in the fall, thoroughly enjoyed all of the activities, but they were most challenging and appealing to Little Brother, age four.
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    Little Brother enjoying the Lily Pad Line Jump


  • There are enough activities to last you all. month. long.   I could not believe how many activities fit into such a small little box.  Taseea has outdone herself creating about a dozen meaningful activities centered around one book and jam-packed into one month’s box!  We have had our boxes for about a month now and haven’t even had a chance to do all of the amazing activities!

    IMG 2879 300x450 Ivy Kids:  Monthly Literature Based Activity Kits

    These color paddles were a huge hit in our house. And, of course, they were included in the kit!

  • Everything (and I do mean everything) is included in the kit!  Unless the activity calls for water, you can expect to find everything you need for each activity in the box!  And the materials are very high-quality!  It sounds like a little thing, but I couldn’t believe the quality of paper…the mouse painting page below was printed on thick card stockIMG 2875 500x375 Ivy Kids:  Monthly Literature Based Activity Kits


Ivy Kids Literature-Based Activity Kits are perfect for busy moms who want to encourage meaningful learning using literature but simply don’t have the time to prepare the activities themselves.  They would also be perfect for preschool teachers to use in their classrooms as well (you would just have to make copies of the pages and grab some more materials).

Overall, I was extremely impressed with Ivy Kids!  I would highly recommend these activity kits to parents of preschoolers and kindergartners!


 Want to try out Ivy Kids?  You can preorder July’s kit now and save $5 off a month’s subscription or $10 off a 6-month subscription using the code “IVYLAUNCH” at checkout (coupon expires June 22)!  

The Cord Blood Collection Process with ViaCord

Disclosure:  This post is written by me.  All opinions are 100% mine.  In reviewing ViaCord’s cord blood banking service, I received a promotional discount.

What to expect when collecting cord blood from ViaCord 300x448 The Cord Blood Collection Process with ViaCord


(If you haven’t read the first two posts in this cord blood banking series, you can find those here and here.)


Once we made the decision to bank our daughter’s cord blood and then chose to use ViaCord to do it, we quickly received our cord blood collection kit in the mail.


IMG 2045 500x375 The Cord Blood Collection Process with ViaCord



As we were instructed, we packed the collection kit into my hospital bag so that it was ready to go when I went into labor.  Besides a small amount of paperwork we sent off ahead of time, there was absolutely nothing we needed to do up until the day our baby made her big arrival.


Thankfully, it was all packed and ready to go…because I might have forgotten it when we went to the hospital at 3:30 in the morning!


Once we arrived at the hospital, I informed my labor and delivery nurse that we would be collecting our baby’s cord blood and that they would need to get a small blood sample from me as well.  My husband gave her the kit and she (and the doctor) did the rest.


Baby Girl came fast.  To be completely honest, I didn’t pay any attention when the doctor collected the cord blood.  How in the world could I divert my eyes away from this precious face?!?!


IMG 5832 Version 2 500x333 The Cord Blood Collection Process with ViaCord


Once the doctor was finished, the hospital staff packaged everything up and sealed the box.


About half an hour after our baby was born (once things settled down a bit), my husband called ViaCord and they sent a courier who arrived within the next hour.  The courier then took the collection kit to the airport and sent it off to ViaCord.


We received notification that the collection kit arrived at ViaCord’s facilities the following day.  A few weeks later, we received a certificate from ViaCord verifying that the cord blood was being safely stored!


The process was seamless and not scary at all!  Honestly, I’m not sure how they could have made it any easier.  :)



5 Breakfast Conversation Starters with Monthly Mini™ Missions

5 Breakfast Conversation Starters 300x447 5 Breakfast Conversation Starters with Monthly Mini™ Missions

Do you eat breakfast together as a family?  Do you converse while eating or is it rushed and hurried?


Scholastic and Kellogg’s®  Frosted Mini Wheats® believe that every day is a BIG day!  They have teamed up to encourage families to spend time together while also earning free Scholastic books (and the chance to win other awesome prizes) through Monthly Mini™ Missions.  Log in and complete the Mini™ Missions for each month and your family will receive 2 free Scholastic books.  In addition, you are automatically registered to receive some really awesome prizes for your school and community as well in the sweepstakes.  Be sure to register your family here.


November’s Mini™ Mission is called “Conversation Bites”.  The Mini™ Mission requires that families engage in meaningful breakfast conversations before school at least 5 times during the month.  If you know me and my disdain of mornings in general, you know this was a major challenge for me.  We rarely eat breakfast together as a family.  The boys typically eat breakfast with Daddy (while I am upstairs trying to drag myself out of bed).  Whenever Daddy is out of town or has to leave for work early, I hurriedly throw something on a plate for them while I am getting ready for the day.  This is definitely not an ideal way to start the day.


We decided to try this month’s Mini™ Missions and ate breakfast for 5 days.  To make it more fun and engaging, I decided I would come up with 5 Breakfast Conversation Starters to get the family talking (and laughing) together.

Here are 5 questions to spur on a meaningful breakfast conversation:


  • If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?  Why?
  • Name one of your favorite things about each person in our family.
  • If you could be any character in a book, who would it be?  Why?
  • If you could meet anyone in the whole world who would you want to meet?
  • If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would it be?


Our boys’ responses were entertaining and surprising at times.  Most of all, it allowed us to talk and communicate in the morning before we all went our own separate ways (or at least some of us, anyway).   We were able to connect before the busyness of the day began…which was a wonderful blessing that I have been missing out on for far too long!


Birthday Breakfast 5 Breakfast Conversation Starters with Monthly Mini™ Missions

One of our morning breakfasts just happened to be Little Brother’s birthday! He deserved some candles on his breakfast!

There are exactly 5 days left in the month of November, so it’s not too late to jump in on this month’s Mini™ Mission (and earn your Scholastic books).  If not, be sure to try December’s Mini™ Mission, which is called “Give and Get Back”  For this Mini™ Mission, work together as a family to think of ways to help others and put your ideas into action.  Complete 3 projects that give back to your community or others in need.  No action can be too small!


Monthly Rewards for Families Include:

  • 2 Scholastic books when your family completes each Mini™ Mission. 5,000 book sets awarded each month. *While supplies last.

Monthly Sweepstakes for School and Communities Include:

  • $25 Scholastic Teacher Store Online gift cards. 100 gift cards awarded each month.
  • Scholastic book sets for classrooms. 20 book sets awarded each month.
  • $200 grants for PTO/PTAs. 10 grants awarded each month.
  • Book Nook Library Makeover for a local community center or organization. The Book Nook includes more than 1,200 Scholastic books, shelves, beanbag chairs, reading-themed rugs, an audio listening center and more! One Book Nook awarded each month.

What are you waiting for?  Work together as a family to complete this month’s Mini™ Mission!  

Kellogg’s® Frosted Mini-Wheats® and Scholastic have partnered to bring you the Every Day is a Big Day program, created to benefit families, schools and communities across the country.

Your family is invited to complete monthly Mini™ Missions to get free books for your family. Also, each month you’ll be entered into a sweepstakes for the chance to win one of 131 valuable prizes for your school and community. As you earn books and enter the sweepstakes, your family is sure to have a blast and learn something new along the way!

Start here and register for your first monthly mission!

This is a sponsored conversation by me on behalf of Kellogg’s(R) Frosted Mini-Wheats(R). The opinions and text are all mine.

The Magic of Think: Social and Emotional Learning Activity and Audio Book (Product Review)

*This is a sponsored post.  I was compensated for sharing my honest opinions on this product.  All opinions are 100% mine.


photo 300x401 The Magic of Think:  Social and Emotional Learning Activity and Audio Book (Product Review)


As a parent and teacher, I tend to focus a lot on the tangible, measurable aspects of learning.  Letters, numbers, reading, and writing are all at the top of my priorities.  I admit that I do not usually place as much emphasis on the other domains of early childhood development, especially not on the social/emotional learning.  Outside of correcting improper social behavior, I spend almost no time focusing on this important aspect of a child’s overall development.


I was recently asked to review The Magic of Think:  Social and Emotional Learning Activity and Audio Book by Janyse Jaud.  This is the first of a seven book series aimed at teaching children about courage, friendship, happiness, and forgiveness.  Each book includes songs, stories, games, lessons, activities, and discussions based on social and emotional learning.


magic of think 500x209 The Magic of Think:  Social and Emotional Learning Activity and Audio Book (Product Review)


The book starts off with a story about a wise and courageous king who ruled in the Kingdom of Think.  During a celebration, the King presents everyone in his kingdom with their very own shield with room for seven powerful stones.  The first empty space is for the stone of courage.  Three special characters need the help of the child to earn their stone as they work through the book.


Each of the special characters have a story that is told on the audio CD.  Children listen to the CD and then answer questions about how each character handled each specific situation and how he/she showed courage.  Some stories include just a narrative while others engage the children with a unique song.



Overall, I think this is a very helpful resource for teaching children about important social and emotional concepts in a unique and creative manner.  The stories are engaging, humorous and entertaining for the children (you can listen to samples here).  The activity book is interactive, allowing the child to record responses within the book itself.  It would be beneficial in both a home or a school setting for helping to teach children about their emotions and character attributes in a more tangible way!


 Go here to learn more about The Magic of Think.



*This is a sponsored post.  Please read my full disclosure policy