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Book review – My Little Leprechaun

 

Can you believe that St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. Seriously… wasn’t it just New Year’s Day? Valentine’s Day seems like it was yesterday. Sigh… time flies way too quickly.

St. Patrick’s Day seems to be more of an adult holiday. It’s not something that most kids (especially little one) look forward to. That is unless you make it something fun to look forward to.

When my kids were little (elementary school age), they used to try and capture a leprechaun on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day. Each year the came up with a new and inventive way to capture the mischievous little fellas.

So that their creative efforts were no in vain, I would sneak into their room at night (or where ever their trap was laid out) and disrupt it. I would knock things over and make it look like the leprechaun was at one point trapped (then escaped) or nearly trapped. In addition I would sprinkle a little bit of green glitter in the area. The glitter eventually ended up all over the place because my kids would make a mess of it.

I also left a little gift behind (from the lucky leprechaun of course) which were usually stickers or some kind of a small St. Patrick’s Day toy (I would find goodies at the local dollar store) or green beads/necklaces.

I think it’s fun for little kids to think that jolly little leprechauns come out to play on St. Patrick’s Day. As an adult I think it would be both fun (and perhaps a little creepy) to see these legendary creatures in person.

What happens if you are are lucky enough to catch a leprechaun? In the book, My Little Leprechaun, a little boy finds out the hard way what can happen.

The book was written by a seven year old boy name Levi Johnson (co-authored by his mom Christa Johnson). The book is based on a short story that Levi write all by himself.

The book is illustrated by Rabia Gelgi.

In the book My Little Leprechaun, a young boy finds a leprechaun in his back yard and was able to capture it using a trap he devised.

Initially the leprechaun was fun to have around, but the young boy soon realizes there is a good reason why people shouldn’t capture leprechauns.

This is a fun bed time book that parents or grandparents can read to their child and get them excited about St. Patrick’s Day. Parents can even use this fun book as a segue into creating a trap together to capture a leprechaun (a fun bonding experience to bring the family together). Although after reading about what mischievous things leprechauns do when you capture one of their own, you might not want to capture one. Ha Ha.

The story is accompanied with darling illustrations too, which really add to the story.

For more information about this book, you can visit the official website, MyLittleLeprechaun.com.

You can purchase the book on Amazon too.

Does your family celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Do you have any fun traditions that you do together? Have you ever tried to capture a leprechaun?

The authors: Levi & Christa Johnson

Kimberly

*I received a free copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Adorable Easter goodies from Koh’s Cares

 

I know that Valentine’s Day just passed, but it’s time to look ahead to upcoming holidays, like St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) and Easter (April 16th). St. Patrick’s Day is not much of a kid’s holiday (I think that one adults celebrate the most), but Easter sure is. Easter is definitely a family holiday.

I wish my kids were young enough to enjoy Easter like they used to. I loved it when they believed in the Easter Bunny. They still enjoy Easter, but more so for Easter dinner and for whatever candy I give them.

Growing up I made sure NOT to stuff our kid’s Easter baskets full of candy. I know that Easter is all about the candy (when you are kid), but I didn’t want my kids to gorge themselves on a lot of candy, most especially because their grandparents always gave them A LOT of candy for Easter.

Instead of candy I would fill their Easter baskets with coloring books, a new box of crayons, reading books, small toys and some candy. One year both our kids got scooters for Easter (and a little bit of candy). My kids never complained about not have a basket overflowing with candy.

If you are in the market for some Easter basket ideas – check out what is new with Kohl’s Cares.

If you are not familiar with Kohl’s Cares it’s a special program that Kohl’s offers to consumers that helps to raise funds for children’s charities.

A few times each year, Kohl’s Cares offers consumers books, plush toys and other goodies for only $5.00 each. The proceeds from the sales of these products goes towards children’s charities. Kohl’s Cares donates 100% of the net profit to Kohl’s Cares charities that support kid’s health and education programs nationwide.

Since 2000 Kohl’s Cares has raised and impressive $257 million dollars. Talk about a “win-win” situation. You get wonderful products and the proceeds goes towards children’s charities.

I am a HUGE fan of the Kohl’s Cares program. I love that they are raising so much money for children’s charities. I also love the products available as part of the Kohl’s Cares program. I especially love their books and matching plush toys ($5.00 each). For only ten dollars you can have a wonderful gift for a child. The products available from Kohl’s Cares would also make great, affordable Easter basket stuffers.

Check out what is new from Kohl’s Cares.

These are just SOME of the products currently available in the Kohl’s Cares program.

The Dr. Seuss books are hardcover books. They sell for over $10+ elsewhere, but with Kohl’s Cares they are only $5.00.

The plush animals are super soft and snugly. Quality plush toys sold elsewhere are easily $10 – $20 each, but with Kohl’s Care they are only $5.00.

I love getting the book and matching plush toys and keep them for gifts. The “set” makes a perfect gift. It costs you only $10, but they look like you spent double, if not more, than that amount. Plus the proceeds goes towards children’s charities, so it’s a “win-win” situation.

Kohl’s Cares has a super adorable bunny with a small book for only $5.00. This would make a PERFECT addition to any Easter basket.

If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw the photo I uploaded of the sweet bunny and adorable book.

I smile each and every time I look at him. The book is darling too.

I have a few of the current Kohl’s Cares products (Thidwick book and plush, Sneeches book and plush, Bunny and book and 100 Cool Simple Science Experiments). I donated the books and plush to a kindergarten program (the plush are used as “reading buddies”), which is why I don’t have a photo of them. They look exactly like they do on the website.

I work as a teacher’s assistant and I brought the science experiments book to work with me so that we can try some of the experiments with the kids. There are some super cool experiments in the book. I am looking forward to trying them out.

The bunny and book I kept for my family. The bunny will make a cute Easter decoration, and the book is a nice addition to my family’s library.

You can purchase Kohl’s Cares products on the Kohl’s website (Kohls.com). In addition they are also sold in stores. Look for them near the check out lines.

To find a Kohl’s location near you, visit their website. You can also look for Kohl’s coupons and promotional codes on places like Coupon Sherpa.

Kohl’s can also be found on social media. All of the links are found on their website.

Have you ever purchased (or received) a Kohl’s Cares product?

Kimberly

*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

 

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How to get kids to do chores without nagging

 

** Guest Post **

With kids from 9 to 14 our house can go from pristine tidiness to a tornado aftermath in a couple of hours unless everybody picks things up after themselves, cleans the messes they make and does chores regularly. While we do and provide a lot for our kids, we also want to teach them accountability, teamwork and humility. These traits are not just nice – our children need to learn responsibility to be competitive in today’s job market. The materialistic attitude of modern culture teaches kids to be entitled, to want instant gratification, to get everything just because they want it. I want to teach them that while their life might come with a lot of privileges (not just allowance, but also mobile phones, fun toys, respect, trust, free time…), living in a family also comes with responsibilities. Too many parents fall into this trap: if all the kids have iPhones, so must their kids. But have they EARNED IT?

This is where Homey comes in. Homey is a mobile app for families that helps us manage chores, allowance and rewards. The easiest way to reinforce responsibility is by being consistent. That’s why a good chores and rewards system in an app is just so much better than a chore chart that just takes too much time for us parents to keep up. Our kids are also crazy about technology, so just having a fun app instead of a chart is a big motivator for them.

We’ve been using Homey for the past 6 months and this is what I love about it:

Managing chores for the whole family

The best part of Homey is that it connects everyone. In this sense it’s like our “command center” we used to have on our kitchen wall, but it’s so much more than that. It sends notifications to everyone when their chores are due, allows me to manage everything if the kids don’t have their devices on hand (which could come handy for younger kids!), I can even set permissions for each family member. This allows our oldest to give me or his dad a “chore”, since he’s responsible enough to not take advantage of it – he uses it to request items from the store and such. Having everything on each of our devices makes everything run smoother for us.

Motivating with rewards

You can either set up regular (weekly) allowance and if you want you can make a requirement that responsibilities should be done and the kid should get a certain amount of points in that week. Or you can set up an extra monetary reward, where you can say they’ll get for instance $5 for every 50 coins, and it doesn’t matter how long they had those coins (they can do a lot of chores in one day, or get 50 coins in 3 months). You can even add activities or products as rewards. And you can also set a due date on rewards (that goes for all rewards, not just monetary), which can come handy when you’re trying to motivate kids to earn extra money to buy something on a trip you’re already planning or something like that. This works really well since kids see their progress and thus stay motivated.

Allowance transactions to real bank accounts

To make managing allowance even easier for parents, Homey will now launch a completely revolutionary feature that will allow parents to transfer allowance money directly to the kids’ real savings accounts. This will not only help us teach kids modern money skills they will definitely need in life, but also how banking works, how they can accumulate interests on their savings and we can be sure that their money will stay safe. We want to promote long term saving so they won’t become impulsive buyers, and Homey is giving us a tool that will help our children learn financial skills that will follow them through life. It also means that I won’t have to manage IOUs or look for change every week when allowance is due!

Building accountability with photos

Homey is a really visual app and we love that about it. You can see what needs to get done at a glance. It has cute illustrations for premade tasks and I can take photos of kids’ messy rooms and assign them to kids and they take photos of their cleaned rooms after. It’s just satisfying to see the results and kids have a lot of fun taking proud selfies in front of a just emptied dishwasher. It adds an element of fun to an otherwise boring task. Somehow, kids also do a better job when they know they will be sending us a photo as a “proof” later. We use this feature for most of the kids’ tasks, but Homey has recently added an option to disable it, which comes handy for tasks like “Read a book for 20 minutes” and my own tasks.

How to get started with Homey:

  1. Download the app for iPhone or Android on your own device.
  2. Set up your household – you can invite your family members who already have their own devices or create profiles for them – so it works for kids without devices, too! If kids don’t have their own devices you can mark their chores as done for them, or if it’s a shared device switching profiles is also really easy.
  3. You, as the household creator, have all the features enabled. Homey will set user roles for other family members based on their age, but you can customize all the permissions for everyone in the Household settings available in the sidebar.
  4. Set chores – you can set recurring chores, which can be repeated daily, weekly, monthly or however you want, or one off chores. You can set a fixed due date or leave them to be completed any time – of kids want to do something above and beyond their responsibilities to earn more. You can set how many points (that go towards the leaderboard and allowance) and coins (that kids can redeem rewards with) each chore is worth. If you use Homey to manage chores for yourself as well, you don’t have to set coins for yourself, but you can still get points – and be up there on the leaderboard! You also don’t have to set up coins for kids’ responsibilities – like brushing teeth, morning routine, etc., but kids will still get reminders to do them and become more independent.
  5. Kids get notifications when their chores are due and complete them without nagging. This step of the whole process is the most amazing one!
  6. Kids get rewarded for doing chores. They claim rewards and you confirm when they’ve been given or pay them directly to their bank account.
  7. Chores are done, allowance is settled, kids are happy, you are happy!

Download the Homey app – it’s FREE. Get the Homey app on Google Play. Get the Homey app in the Apple App Store.

*I have partnered with Homey to bring you this information. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect my own. This is a compensated post. 

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The “Anti-Fairy Tale” – When are your kids old enough to watch more mature programming?

 

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When our kids were little we tried to keep them away from television as much as possible. I was a stay-at-home mom so I was always trying to engage them with toys, games and crafts. They watched very little television.

One night my husband and I were watching Titanic (back then we watched it on DVD).  We were engrossed in the movie, as well as our daughter who was about two years old at that time. She was fascinated by it and she was really into the character of Rose as well as her “heart of the ocean” necklace. She was so into it that she asked to watch the movie. My husband still chuckle about how she said Titanic and “Jack and Woes” (Woes instead of Rose).

We let her watch it (we made sure she didn’t see any bad parts like when they engaged in sex). We even bought her a beautiful Rose doll and the heart of the ocean necklace.

Anther movie she got into for some odd reason was The Mummy (1999). It’s not a scary movie for adults, but she caught us watching it one time and wanted to watch it with us. She enjoyed that movie too.

Our son has never really been into watching television or movies. Even now that he’s 17 years old. He rather listen to CNN or MSNBC (on in the background) than watch television.

When he was just a toddler I had fallen asleep watching the movie The Ring. When I woke up (a short time later) our on had crawled out of his bed (he was napping too, which is why I fell asleep) and sat on the couch in the living room next to me. When I woke up he was watching The Ring. He was not phased by it at all, but I felt like the worse mother ever knowing that my toddler was watching a scary movie. Thankfully I think he was just too young at the time to understand any of it.

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As a parent, when do you know if your child is ready to watch “grown up” movies and television?  When does a child transition from Princesses and Fairy Tales to zombies and violence? When is a child ready for the “Anti-Fairy Tales?” What I mean by that is movies and shows that don’t feature singing princesses, talking animals, sunshine, rainbows and unicorns (make believe, fairy tale stuff).

Our daughter will be 20 this year and I still cringe when I know she’s going to see an “R” rated movie. She’s legally able to, but as a mom I am not always accepting of it.

Her and her best friend went to see the film Sausage Party which probably should have been X-rated if you ask me. It’s a very raunchy film with A LOT of sexual references and foul language. I wish she had seen something else.

It reminds me of the time one of her friends went to see the film Knocked Up when she was only 9 years old. That movie is VERY inappropriate for 9 year olds. Sigh…

I think the child’s maturity level has a lot to do with it. Our daughter was never really into things like Barney or Sesame Street. She seemed to gravitate towards movies and shows for older children (or adults).

I am NOT suggesting that parents let their young children watch programming with sex, violence and foul language. I think when it comes to shows like The Walking Dead, which is very popular with the kids in middle school, and American Horror Story, which many teens watch – it’s up to their parents to decide if they are mature enough to watch them. I am still not keen on our daughter (almost 20) watching American Horror Story. There is a lot of sex and innuendos in that series. But she’s almost 20, so she’s mature enough.

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When it comes to watching television or movies together as a family I always look for things that are more “family friendly.” Take for example Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (premiereing on Netflix on January 13, 2017). The series is a dark comedy that will entertain older kids just as much as their younger siblings. Even parents will enjoy it.

Based on the internationally best-selling series of books by Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) and starring Emmy and Tony Award winner Neil Patrick Harris, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events recounts the tragic tale of the Baudelaire orphans — Violet, Klaus, and Sunny – whose evil guardian Count Olaf will stop at nothing to get his hands on their inheritance. The siblings must outsmart Olaf at every turn, foiling his many devious plans and disguises, in order to discover clues to their parents’ mysterious death.

I had the opportunity to check out the new series. I even asked my 17 year old son to watch with me to get his feedback.

As an adult, I enjoyed the show. It’s a bit corny at times, but in a fun way. I found it to be very entertaining. Neil Patrick Harris is rather scary looking in his role of Olaf.

My son is hard to impress. As I mentioned earlier he’s not a big television watcher. He said it was “pretty good.” Sadly, he’s a man of few words. I did ask him if he would watch it again and he said “yes.”

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is fun and entertaining for both young children, ‘tweens, teens and adults. It’s the ideal “family friendly” series.

The series premieres on Friday, January 13, 2017. I think it’s funny that this dark comedy debuts on the dreaded Friday the 13th. LOL!

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Other Netflix original series that are ideal for families to watch together include Fuller House, DreamWorks TrollHunters, Dawn of the Croods, Some Assembly Required, Dragons: Race to the Edge, Tarzan and Jane and even Stranger Things. I LOVE Stranger Things and I think it’s OK for older children, as well as ‘tweens and teens. I’m an adult and I LOVE that show.

When did your child transition into more grown up shows? What age were they when it happened? Why did you feel it was time?

If your child is still too young, at what point do you think you’ll let them watch more grown up programming?

I would really love to hear reader’s thoughts on this subject matter. I would love it if you could comment and share your thoughts.

For more information about Netflix please visit Netflix.com. The brand can also be found on social media. All of their links are found on their site.

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Kimberly

*I have partnered with Netflix to bring you this information. I have received free service and promotional products in exchange for my participation. There is no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Easter is just around the corner! Get ready to celebrate with HarperCollins Children’s Books

 

Our son gathering Easter Eggs taken approx. 12 years ago.

Our son gathering Easter Eggs taken approx. 12 years ago.

This time of year you expect to see Valentine’s Day cards, candy and decor. After all, stores started to stock their shelves with Valentine’s Day stuff practically the moment the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Day (or so it would seem).

Believe it or not I have seen EASTER candy on store shelves already – and Easter is not until April 16th of this year. We have a very long time to think about it.

Our kids are 17 and almost 20 years old. Needless to say it’ been a while since the Easter Bunny stopped at our home delivering Easter baskets (although my kids still wand candy on Easter).

We never put too much candy in their Easter baskets because we knew their grandparents and great-grandparents would spoil them like crazy with candy. Instead we put in the basket a small plush toy, coloring books, crayons, a movie and a book. We also included some candy too.

If you are like us and you like to include a book in your child or grandchild’s Easter basket, you should check out these titles from HaperCollins.

I work with Kindergartners and I think these titles look (and sound) adorable for young children.

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Egg
Written & illustrated by Kevin Henkes

9780062408723 — $17.99 —Ages 4 to 8 

The multiple-award-winning and national bestselling author Kevin Henkes’ 50th book for children is a graphic novel for preschoolers about four eggs, one big surprise, and an unlikely friendship. Egg is not only a perfect Easter gift but a classic read-alone and read-aloud for all year round.

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The Runaway Bunny: A 75th Anniversary Retrospective 
Written by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd

9780062489944 — $19.99 —Ages 4 to 8 — On Sale 1/24/2017

A 75th anniversary edition of the bestselling classic story, The Runaway Bunny, with a historical essay by Leonard Marcus, featuring archival materials all presented in a beautiful linen case cover with a commemorative foil sticker.

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The Story of the Easter Bunny Board Book

Written by Katherine Tegen, illustrated by Sally Anne Lambert

9780062381552 — $7.99 —Ages 4 to 8 — On Sale 1/24/2017

Everyone knows who the Easter Bunny is, but not everybody knows where he comes from. This fresh, innovative story describes how one little rabbit became a legend. Now in board book!

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Otter Loves Easter
Written & illustrated by Sam Garton

9780062393395 — $9.99 —Ages 4 to 8 — On Sale 1/24/2017

For her next paper-over-board picture book, Otter celebrates Easter with a little too much chocolate and a lot of creativity.

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How to be a Bigger Bunny
Written by Florence Minor, illustrated by Wendell Minor

9780062352552 — $14.99 —Ages 4 to 8 — On Sale 1/24/2017

Perfect for springtime and Easter, Florence and Wendell’s joyous picture book celebrates the powers of persistence and learning from good books. Featuring lots of adorable bunnies as illustrated by the inimitable Wendell Minor!

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Fancy Nancy and the Missing Easter Bunny

Written by Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser

9780062377920 — $4.99 —Ages 4 to 8 — On Sale 2/7/2017

Fancy Nancy can’t wait for Easter… and this year, the family is in for a treat. Join Fancy Nancy in a fabulous storybook adventure about Easter, complete with fancy stickers!

Are you gearing up for Easter?

What do you put in your child’s/grandchild’s Easter basket? Do you often include books?

This is an Easter cake that I make often.

This is an Easter cake that I make often.

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I shared this information for the benefit of site readers. Any opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Tiny Dinosaurs, Big Adventures: Chapter Book Series for Daredevils & Dino Fans

 

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Most children are fascinated when it comes to dinosaurs. I was when I was a young girl. Even as an adult I still find them so interesting. I often think about what life would be like back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

Growing up I had a lot of books pertaining to dinosaurs. I wanted to be an Archaeologist when I grew up. I thought it would be amazing to travel around the globe discovering new dinosaurs.

If you have a child or grandchild in your life, you might be interested in learning about a new chapter book series from video game developer and illustrator Dustin Hansen called Microsaurs. Microsaurs combines fun thing that many kids enjoy – dinosaurs, skateboarding, and fun gadgets – for unforgettable adventures.

Dustin Hansen was raised in rural Utah, where he drew great inspiration from the outdoor and the rich history that surrounded him. To say that Utah was once a dinosaur playground is an understatement. He has been writing and creating art for the video game industry for more than two decades.

In this first Microsaurs adventure, “Follow That Tiny-Dactyl,” Danny and Lin follow a tiny pterodactyl to a secret laboratory, and find themselves shrink-ified and surrounded by dinosaurs. Soon, they’re enlisted by Professor Penrod, the paleontologist who discovered the Microsaurs, to watch them while he goes looking for more. Who knew that tracking one tiny pterodactyl would open up such a giant world of adventure?

The book features amusing illustrations, cool gadgets, and best of all, informative facts about the real-life dinosaurs on which the Microsaurs are based upon.

This new chapter book series is sure to appeal to dinosaur fans, daredevils, and young scientists alike.

The next volume in the series is called “Microsaurs: Tiny-Raptor Pack Attack.” It’s due to be released in July 2017.

I have a copy of the book (and some other fun dinosaur goodies), but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet due to the holidays. Once I’ve had the opportunity to read the book I will update this post with my thoughts.

From what I can tell it’s an easy read. It’s targeted to 2nd – 5th graders (ages 7-10) and has 224 pages.

Look for “Microsaurs: Follow That Tiny-Dactyl,” where ever books are sold. I do find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.

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Kimberly

*I received a free copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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