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Sponsored Reviews

Picasso Tiles Review: 136 Piece S.T.E.A.M. Building Block Set

Science  Technology  Engineering  Art  Mathamatics = Steam.  Picasso Tiles does it again, with this double award winning magnetized set.  This is a  HOT must have item, in all parents homes!

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This set is not only fun, but also full of learning, imagination, creativity, and endless hours of playtime.  You will find that it comes with two car truck bases that you can create on.  There are 66 different clip in cards that have images on both sides!  From the alphabet, to numbers (including roman numerals), symbols, cool crafty art pieces filled with different designs, along with two light up L.E.D. pieces, is everything you’ll find included with this livley and entertaining set.

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Your child will find the pieces visually asthetic.  From visual learning, to color recognition, motor skill, gemoeterical shapes, mathamatics, number counts, 3D design, structual engineering, and even periodic time table elements! There are so many things to love about this toy.  This learn by play set enables limitless playing opportunity.

The clip in frames are easily interchangable with little effort.  Simply pop them in or out, to change up what you are building.  Want to take this off the floor?  No problem! They can be played with on the fridge or any magnet board surface, as well.

My boys have had so much fun building and tinkering around with this toy.  I appreciate that there are so many different learning variables, so I can teach them while we play.  For more information on this set check out Picasso Tiles website

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Learn, Laugh, Play! Get on the floor with your little ones today!

{Disclaimer: I was given this item in return for an honest review.  All thoughts and oponions are my own.}

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Sponsored Reviews

Lakeshore Learning Product Review

Summer has gotten off to a rocky start here in the Midwest.  For some reason the weather pattern cannot get it quite together. It has made for some, what seems like, never-ending indoor days!

Let’s just say it has put us all in quite the antsy mode, so to speak.  I have had to cleverly wrack my brain for ideas and things to do, to keep these four kiddos of mine busy!  We all know what happens when you don’t…

Lakeshore Learning helped save the day for this mama, when a big brown package showed up on my doorstep.  The kids were rather quite excited, and ripped into it, in no time.  I mean, can you really blame them?  Inside the box they were surprised with three different products to test out.

Below I will share those three prodcuts with you, and what we loved about each of them.  Be sure to visit Lakeshore Learning’s Website to shop these neat items, and more!

1.) MAGNETIC PATTERN BLOCK BUILDERS

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  • What We Loved:  These magnectic tiles were a HUGE hit with my kids! With 46 pieces of colorful patterns, there was enough for each kid to build and create their own design, or work together as one.  The blocks have neat magnets built into the edges, so you can stick them together from any side or angle, making so many fun and endless options. You will find that the magnets are very strong, and hold together nicely.  No tantrum fits were thrown with these, because they wouldn’t hold together, or just fell apart. Kids of all ages can enjoy playing! Recommended Age: 3-8 years.  However, even my 10 year old daughter loves to build and create with these.

2.) MOLD & PLAY SENSORY SAND SET

  • What We Loved: When the weather won’t cooperate outside, mold & play sand will come to save the day!  We have tried many mold sand sets, and I have to say, this by far has been the best!  It comes with a generous amount of molding sand, which I love, because my kids are downright messy!  It also has a large and sturdy tray that helps with keeping the sand in rather than out. You will find many options for molds, to build and create your own magical castle!  Feeling a little more creative?  They also include sculpting tools to provide more fine details.  Recommended Age: 3-8 years.  Again, this can expand beyond that age range.  My 10 year old also enjoyed plaything with this set as well.

3.) FIND THE LETTER ACTIVITY CENTER

  • What We Loved: Ready, Set, Learn!  This find the letter activity set, is a fantastic way to introduce the alphabet to your little ones!  With the twins soon approaching five, we have been practicing hard to prepare them for kindergarten.  My boys loved the hands on exploring this set offered.  They enjoyed hunting and finding the matching letter, to complete each of their activity cards.  I was surprised how easily and quickly they caught onto the promts.  The fun sensory “treasure box” makes it feel more like a game, than actual learning.  Recomended Age: 3-6 years.  This set does have very small plastic pellets, so I definitely wouldn’t introduce this any sooner, due to possible choking hazards.

So there you have it! I love Lakeshore Learning for many reasons.  Their products are top of the line, and help with creative thinking and processing.  Toys that are fun, yet teach at the same time, are huge win in my mama book!   What kind of toys do you look for, when shopping for your kid(s)?

Until Next Time…

{Disclaimer: I was given these items in return for an honest review on each product.  All thoughts and oponions are my own.}

Sponsored Reviews

We Craft Box Review

Rainy days… love them or hate them?  We have seemed to have had quite a few of them in a row lately.  Unfortunately, it’s made for some really antsy kids, who constantly need something to do, in order to keep them entertained and out of trouble. We Craft Box helps with just that. They offer a monthly kid craft box subscription, that is perfectly curated with a theme. Inside of the box you will find pre-selected craft material, and items to help create a fun, one of kind masterpiece.

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My kids absolutely love arts & crafts!  On most days, you’ll likely find one of them digging through our art closet.  I like having it filled with different options for them to choose from.  This box is especially nice, because it takes all the work out for myself and my kiddos.  They can simply open it up, and get right to crafting!  Everything is all ready for them to start using & creating.

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We Craft Box covers all the basics for kids to enjoy each and every project they create!  You will find that they offer different options to fit your prefrence.  Whether it be a single craft box, or a monthly and beyond subscription, you’ll be sure to find something your kid will love to get their hands on!  What will you create today?

We Craft Box Infographic 2018

 

{Disclaimer: I was given one subscription box, in return for an honest review.  All thoughts and oponions are my own.}

Sponsored Reviews

Picasso Tiles Toy Review: Bristle Shape 3D STEM Building Block Tiles ‘Farm’ Theme Set.

We recently recieved this fun building set from Picasso Tiles toys.  My boys have thorougly enjoyed playing with it.  They have pulled it out many of times, while laying on the floor, creating different things with them.  It has surprisingly held their short attention spans, as they often hop from one thing to the next.

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The set is full of bright & bold colors, that trigure your eye.  They have  cute little farm animals and characters, that bring this set to life.  Kids can go wild with their imaginations, while playing and building.  It’s easy to see why it has won the best creative fun award!

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I really love how easy the bristle blocks interlock into each other, making this a wide age-range toy.  My twins who are 4, can easily build and create on their own, with no help needed.  This is huge for me, as it allows them something to do, while I have to tend to my mom chore duties.

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I highly reccomend this set.  It’s a great educational toy, that explores imagination and recreational play.  Kids will find it entertaning, as they build endless creations!  Find yours at Picasso Tiles or Amazon today!

{Disclaimer: I was provided this set for an honest review.  All thoughts and oponions are my own.}

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Summer 2018

Summer, Summer, Summer Time!

Can you feel it?  The days are getting longer, greenery is everywhere, and it’s beginning to look and feel a lot like summer! Summer is my favorite time of the year.  Living in the Midwest, winters can be long and brutal.  Days start to feel endless, and old man winter always seems to have the last laugh.  When I can finally say goodbye to the cold days, I feel my mood and energy instantly shift to happiness and peace.

With summer fast approaching {T-Minus 2 days for us here}, comes another part that many mom’s don’t look so forward to… B R E A K.  Yep, school is out for the summer!  Which leaves many mom’s in a frantic state, wondering what and how they can keep their kids busy, and their own minds sane for the next several weeks.  I have talked with many mom’s, who have shared that they just can’t handle the chaos.  Some send their kids off to summer camp, others fill up on every and any summer community activitiy they can find.  Maybe even still using daycare for an emergency outlet.

However, I am here to let you in on a little secret… summer break can be F U N!  It doesn’t have to be filled with crazy, unruly children, hanging from the dining room chandiler. Or, kitchen counters splattered with milk, and piles of cereal that missed the bowls for breakfast. I have learned some great things on how to stay sane & have fun, while the kiddos are off for the summer.

Below I will share with you exactly how I plan out our summer’s.  Tips that have helped me, and hopefully will help you, too!

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T I P # 1: Find a daily themed schedule that works for you.  Every year I like to change things up, and select different theme days.  This helps take the monotony out of expecting the same thing year after year.  Some days do remain the same, such as the Friday Family Fun Day.  This is because these days are one’s where I plan a fun activity, that is always something different. Click below for our summer daily schedule.

Summer Schedule

T I P #2: Utilize FREE/CHEAP community events, hosted throughout the summer.  This is so helpful in keeping the kids entertained.  Depending on where you live, and how big of a community; you’d be surprised to find the amount of things offered during summer break.

 

Some of our favorites are:

  1. Our local library who hosts an amazing summer reading program, along with a variety of activities.  The kids always look forward to it every summer.
  2. Movie Theatre – Summer movie series.  I have seen more and more theatre’s partcipate in these fun, and cheap kid movie days.  They typically are held weekly, mid-morning, and tickets are around $1-$2.  A bag of popcorn, and some drinks, and this makes for a great in-expensive outing!
  3. Town water parks often have cheap or discounted rates, for those who live in the community.  I found over a handful of days throughout the summer, where admission was as little as $2.50/pp.
  4. Park & Rec activties.  I absolutley love our park & rec!  They are constantly putting out free and fun opportunities, to bring the community together.  A new one for our summer this year, is something called Rec on the go!  They will travel to local parks, and bring arts & crafts, sports, and games for everyone to get involved in.  How cool is that?
  5. Visiting all the different parks we can find!  Who doesn’t love a good playground day?  It lets the kids burn off all their energy, while mom can connect with other mom’s, or have a bit of peace to herself.  Maybe, if feeling adventerous, you’ll find your inner fun and join your kids, too!

T I P # 3: Print off a monthly & weekly calendar, to write out your plans and activities to help stay organized and in routine.  Pinterest is my go-to for free printable goodies!  Below I have linked the two calenders I enjoy using to plan our summer out.

‘This Week’ Printable

Monthly Summer Calendar      

Using these few tips, definitley will help fill up those long summer days!  Make sure to stay tuned throughout the summer, as I share our days with you.  Also be sure to follow me over on Pinterest! for inspiring ideas, and activities for summer fun.

 

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Until Next Time…
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Sponsored Reviews

Owl Crate Jr. Review

Does your child love to read?  Do they find fascination in magic and wonder? If so, then they will love Owl Crate Jr.!  This by far, has to be one of my top favorite monthly subscription boxes out there.  Plans start at 27.99 USD + shipping, and go up from there, depending on what you select.  They offer monthly, 3 month prepay, or 6 month prepay options.

My daughter developed a strong love for reading, early on in her life.  I have always felt that instilling the importance of reading, was something high on my mom priority list. Nowadays, you’ll often find her curled up somewhere cozy with a book in hand.  That’s why I knew she would just LOVE this box subscription!

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Inside of the box you will find one hard cover young adult novel, along with 3-5 other book type keepsakes.  The items are truly one of a kind and fun! The themes they create for each box, will leave you excitedly anticipating the next!

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They dedicate their time searching high and low, for unique pieces, including special goodies from the author!

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Owl Crate Jr. makes for a fantastic gift idea, for any 8-12 year old child in your life.  Head on over to their website, and have a look around.  Make sure to use code: LIFEWITHTWINS to receive 10% off your first order.  Subscribe Today!

{Disclaimer: I was provided these items, for a honest review of their services. All thoughts and opinions are my own.}

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Sponsored Reviews

Play Shifu! Review of the Orboot Globe.

Have you played shifu?  If you haven’t, you are definitely missing out! Play Shifu has some amazing toy products, that your kids will absolutely adore.  We recently tested out their 10″ augmented reality smart globe.  This is most certainly not your typical, ordinary globe!  This globe comes to life with the use of a smart device, such as; an IOS, Kindle, or Android tablet/phone. The globe comes with a fun kids play passport, stamp, stickers, and guide, that make this toy feel all the more real.

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I found the globe very easy to put together.  It screws into the base, and is ready to go within seconds!  To bring the globe to life (where the real magic happens!) you simply download the ‘Orboot: AR globe by playshifu’ app, in the app store. The app is very user friendly, even for younger children.  My children’s ages range from 4-10.  They all were able to follow and understand the directions given.

To start the learning fun, you simply scan the globes tag points, and it will pop up different live images for you to tap and select more information on.  Whether it be animals, monuments, cuisines, inventions, arts, culture, maps, climates, or more… there is something for everyone to learn about!

 

My kids thoroughly enjoy playing with Play Shifu’s Orboot Globe.  They love learning new things, and seeing it actually come to life!  As a mom, you really can’t help but fall in love yourself! With so much information and learning packed into it, it’s a win-win for all. If you’re interested in getting the Play Shifu’s Orboot Globe, you can purchase your very own, on Amazon

{Disclaimer: I was given the product to try out, in return for a review of my honest opinion.  All words are my own, in addition to my thoughts on it.}

Until next time…

~ Life With Twins Plus 2

Sponsored Reviews

IncrediBundles Review

Have you heard of IncrediBundles?  A service that offers trendy baby gifts, with award winning toys, books, and products, hand selected by child development experts.  You can choose from pre-made bundles, or switch it up, and custom create your very own!  They have many different price level options to fit your personal budget.  My favorite thing about their service, is with every bundle purchase, they make a donation to charities that support children & families in need.

I was given the opportunity to test out their service and products.  I started by creating my bundle with their re-usable storage container.  The container is made of a thick cardboard.  I was really shocked at how sturdy it was.  Next, I hand selected myself, an animal theme of items.  I was able to get two board books: “Dear Zoo” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, a ‘Crocodile Creek Wild Animals’ 5″ ball, and ‘Melissa and Doug’ farm animal hand puppets, all for $50!

My kids loved the puppets the most.  What kid doesn’t enjoy pretend role-play?  Melissa & Doug toys have always been a staple on our kids’ gift lists, year after year.  They have some of the best items, and never disappoint with quality.  The crocodile creek ball was one of the cutest items I have seen.  The ball was printed with different animals, and made it very lively and fun to play with.  Last but not least, you can’t go wrong with books!  They offer some great and popular titles to choose from!

Overall, I was very pleased with their set-up.  I found their website and service extremely easy to navigate, and appreciated their selection of items.  I didn’t feel overwhelmed by too much product, and enjoyed the fact that they didn’t have an abundance of items to scroll through, making it a harder choice to select.

The new mom to be will love this fun, trendy, new baby service.  With so many different set up options, there is surly something to fit everyone!

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Until Next Time…

~ Life With Twins Plus 2

{Disclaimer:  I was given these items to review.  All opinions are my own.}

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Goodbye 2017 – The final chapter.

All of my major health concerns were one by one, being checked off the threat list.  Although I was still feeling apprehensive with what was still going on inside of me, I felt a little more content knowing these tests were all coming back ok. Just when I was about to come to acceptance with the fact that I most likely was experiencing anxiety for the first time, my biggest dark day would hit me harder than all the rest.

It was March, and we were in the midst of winter and sick season.  Suddenly Coben, one of the twins, became ill.  I took him into the ER to find out that he had strep throat. They prescribed him amoxicillin, and we were on our way home.  I gave him the full two weeks of medicine, and he started to improve.  It was about the second day after we had finished the medicine, that he suddenly woke up in the middle of the night, in a fit of loud cries.

I ran to his room trying to console him, and figure out what was wrong.  I didn’t see anything firsthand.  Then, I noticed him starting to itch aggressively at his pj’s.  I turned the lights on, and opened them up, to find his body covered in hives. I rushed him back into the ER, and by the time the doctor seen him, the hives had subsided substantially.  He advised us to go home, keep an eye on it, and treat with Benadryl.

The next morning upon waking, he looked horrendous! He was starting to re-develop the rash and now it was spreading all over his body.  I took him back in, as I had given him Benadryl and it should have kicked in.  They couldn’t believe how terrible he looked.  His face was now swollen and red.  They then administered a steroid shot, hoping it would be more powerful than the Benadryl.  They talked to me, and felt he could very well be having an allergic reaction to the amoxicillin. They said we’d treat it aggressively with continued steroids at home.  They wrote me a prescription, and off we were sent.

The following morning, he was at his all time worse.  The hives were literally everywhere, and he was so swollen and lethargic. Next, he started vomiting.  I knew right then and there, something was very wrong!  I tried calling the ER and no one would help me over the phone.  I called my doctor, and she said very sternly, to get our butts back into the ER.  The hours from here on out would become some of the longest ones of my life.

Once he got settled in, the doctor immediately ran many tests.  They pounded him with heavy doses of steroids and other allergic reaction medicines. We sat there for several hours, uncertain of what was going on, and if he was ok. The doctor came in after many of the test had ran through, and told us this was a serious case, and they did not have the facility to accommodate such.  We would be transported to a large children’s hospital, instead. My heart sunk.

We got to the children’s hospital late at night, it was nearly 9 pm, and I was drowning from adrenaline hype and fatigue from the previous days before. We were immediately greeted by two doctors who sat down with us to discuss his case.  They decided to continue hitting him with benadryl and steroids, vigirously.  They prepared us, and told us it would get worse before it got better. Then showed us a few different rash type cases they thought it could be.

It was the first full day in, now my birthday, and he wasn’t getting any better.  I watched him as his crawled in his own skin from the severe itch and burning it created.  I started noticing and picking up on things that didn’t seem right.  Such as, every time he was administered benadryl, he’d react the worse.  Crying in pain, becoming more inflamed and hiving out of control.  He was barely coherent, and I asked to see a doctor.  The nurse sat and fought with me, telling me the previous doctors warned us of this situation.  I was pissed. This was MY child! HIS life was on the line. I was damned if I was going to take “NO” for an answer. I demanded he get a doctor to see him ASAP.  As my husband and I waited in uncertainty, the worse was about to come.

For those who don’t know, my husband is a registered nurse, and takes care of critically ill patients for a living.  The whole time he watched his heart monitor closely, as it sat close on the line of being too high.  The heart monitor went off, his heart rate was spiking out of control.  My husband fled for help and I knew things were not good. I sat there grasping my baby in my arms. He was like a limp noodle, and starting to turn blue.  I squeezed him, as the tears just rolled down my face. I whispered in his ear and said: “Don’t you leave me! You hear me! You fight and you hang on, ok?”  He had just enough energy left to squeeze his little hands around my neck, and nod his head.  I sat there and thought this could be it.  I may just loose my baby right here.

By the time the doctor came to our room, his heart rate settled back down – it was nearly 15 minutes later. My mom instincts were loud, and I demanded that they listen to me, as they hadn’t listened to me all along. I said no more meds.  Don’t give him another Benadryl or anything else for that matter.  His body is not getting better, and clearly cannot continue fighting.  They had no choice but to listen.  I went to bed hugging him tightly to my side, and praying so hard that he would be ok through the night.

By the next morning, a miracle would come to us.  His skin was starting to clear!  The hives and swelling were coming down considerably. I thanked God, yet again. He continued to improve, and by day four, we were released back home.  He was labeled highly allergic to all cillian meds, as well as Benadryl.   I was never so happy to see my boy live and well.

That experience was the tip of the iceberg for myself, though.  That put me through the max amount of stress that year.  I got home, and immediately succumbed to my own problems. I went on a very low dose of anxiety medicine, and after a few weeks in, I felt all the relief I was seeking.  I stayed on it for a few months, and slowly weaned myself back off it.

I am happy to say I am back to myself, and that we are all well and doing very good.  Life is unpredictable.  Take every day for what it is worth.  Listen to your gut, and speak and fight when you feel it’s right.  You only have one life to live.

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XoXo,

Life With Twins Plus 2

Uncategorized

Goodbye 2017… Pt. 2

Winter had arrived, Christmas was around the corner, and here I was in a whole slew of a health mess.  I remember driving to my biopsy appointment for my thyroid nodule.  It was just myself, and the twins.  The older two had been dropped off at school, and I was to meet my husband at the hospital, as he worked there the night before. The drive seemed long, tense, and full of emotions.

As I entered the room, which was an ultrasound room, I began to almost loose it.  Between what was going on, and past memories of me sitting there in that very same room three years previous, viewing my bouncing twin boys on the screen, I just couldn’t hold in another ounce more.  How could I be here?  I carried two, 8 lbs babies to term, not that long ago… I was blessed to have done that.  I was blessed to have healthy twins, with no complications for them or myself.  How now, did I become so unblessed?  As I tried to hold back the tears from falling, the US tech asked me some questions, and tried to converse in light mood (but I knew she could tell I was nervous…)

Before I knew it, the room filled with more people.  The doctor who would be performing the FNT biopsy, along with some scientific doctors that were to view the fluid the doctor retrieved from the nodule, making sure it was what they needed to send in for further testing. They tried to talk about the upcoming holidays, they tried to make me feel comfortable, but I was so numb.  I lyed there as still as could be, listening to them… wondering if I was even going to have a good Christmas? The fate of my results was out of my hands.  All of this mess was out of my hands.  I didn’t like it.  I have always been in control of my life, and own self.

At last I was done. They retrieved five different samples, all of which were to be good. The wait game started… This period I don’t remember much. I think I just kind of blacked out. I got the results and breathed another sigh of relief.  It was benign. I was thankful.  However, I still found myself in a deep dark hole in the weeks to follow.  Each day a harder struggle than the last. Just trying to stay together enough to take care of my children, which was suddenly becoming an immense task. The last thing I wanted them to see was a mom who was falling a part. I think that’s when I hit rock bottom.  Starting to come to grips with what was really happening.  I wasn’t quite there yet, though.

Back to those heart palpitations I talked about in the beginning.  They were becoming more frequent, lasting longer, harder… scaring every ounce of me.  My doctor ordered me to do a 48 hour heart monitor. I wore it feeling comforted.  I turned it back in, and more bad news.  An irregular heart rhythm was detected. She wanted to seek further into it with a cardiologist.  I met with him, and he advised that I do a full month.  Every day, all day, I was hooked up to electrodes monitoring every beat of my heart.  I felt at comfort again, as if it was my security blanket.  The palpitations became fewer and fewer, lasting just a few seconds, as opposed to minutes. The month came to an end, and I turned it back in waiting eagerly to hear the results of it.

I showed up to my cardiologist appointment rather calm.  I had been through so much over the last few months, that this was becoming routine to me.  I sat in the chair, listening to him flip through the pages of my heart rhythms.  He came in, sat down, looked me in the eye, and said: “The good news, I didn’t see anything alarming.”  What?  All of this, and I was ok? Again?  He told me he couldn’t be certain as to why I was having the palpitations so frequently, but that they were a lot more normal than most people think.  He went on to say that a lot of people never feel them… I was just one of the few who did. The biggest thing he told me, is that they were NOT going to kill me. So, I left with one foot in front of the other… I am ok, I am ok, I think I am ok… {Pt. 3 final chapter to conclude next.}