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Thursday
Aug172017

How to Arrange a Bedroom for Children

I bet that parents all over the world share the same battle cry with me: “Kids, clean your bedroom!”

As a mom myself, my children’s bedroom is where I usually find exhausting and challenging to arrange and keep tidy.

While festive events such as holidays or birthdays give me the motivation to clean and organize things, I still couldn’t calm the clutter. But that was before! I am still no expert in this, but my continuous effort (and battle) somewhat taught me important things when arranging the kids’ bedroom.

Get Down to Their Level

I think we should take this tip literally. Getting down to my child’s eye level allows me to view their room the way they see it. I realize that for me to arrange their room, my solutions must fit their skills and needs.

  • What most adults like us forget is that our ways and means of organization does not translate to younger children’s ways. Their dressers or drawers might be too large or too heavy for them to manage.
  • Closet hangers could be out of reach or won’t fit their tiny clothes.
  • Toy containers might be too high for them to segregate toys accordingly.

What could be “organized” to them might not pass your standards (not even half of it) so look at it from their vantage point, so you’ll be on the same page with them.

Let the Kids Decide

It is important to hear what your children say. Engage them in making decisions on what stuffs to stay and what goes. You will be surprised how this could help your organization goals easier to achieve. Let us look at this cleaning and organizing thing as a learning activity rather than a task or errand.

Most importantly, expect for it to be a trial and error activity. Soon, you and your child will determine what works for the both of you and what could be the root of the problem.

Try to develop a checklist that your child can follow. I will try to devise my own soon and allow my kids to take part according to their skills and needs. Hence, involving them makes it possible for them to understand why to keep their room clean and organized.

Do it one at a time

Consider organizing the sections mentioned above one at a time. Tailor your efforts of de-cluttering their room until it makes sense to them. Focus on a single zone and find out what falls into the category of donating it, keep it or store it.

Again, doing this whole thing could be overwhelming to your children thus, give the kids and yourself an ample time to sort out stuff.

Typically, a child’s room is composed of the following zones: toys, clothing, school stuff such as books and papers and other random things like memorabilia, souvenirs from parties or uncategorized gifts.

Instead of giving them “threats” or having that deadly stare, we should exert all our efforts to teach them organization skills and methods. I also learned that my supposed-to-be sad face wouldn't help.

Practice and Patience Please!

Times can get rough, and a messy room could be one of the least issues you want to deal with thus, the more important it is to teach your children the process of organizing and tidying their rooms.

Regardless how fancy your containers and storage boxes are, kids won’t use them accordingly if they don’t understand why and how to use them. Start the soonest possible. Have you tried any of these techniques? Bet they’d helped you a lot!

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Sunday
Jun042017

Epson Unveils Workforce Expression ET-3600 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer

I recently had the opportunity to review the new Epson Expression ET-3600 EcoTank printer. I am always impressed when I receive a new Epson printer and they always provide top-notch printing and ease of use for my home office. I'm not an overly technical person, so I like that they are easy to set up and operate.

Plus the speed and print quality are amazing. However, I think, the best part about this printer is that you rarely have to worry about running out of ink! The printer comes with enough ink for two years right in the box and there aren't cartridges that you have to constantly change.That's enough ink to print up to 8,500 pages! I know many of you probably print more than I do, but it's going to take me a long time to go through that much ink! That's equivalent to 50 ink cartridges; so think of how much time and money we'll be saving without buying and changing cartridges constantly.

The printer is fast and I never have any issues with it keeping up with my demand. It prints double-sided, which I love and it's conntected to my wireless network; allowing me to print from my laptop, smartphone and tablet. It's very convenient and provides exactly what I need for my home office.

From Epson::

Expression ET-3600 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer – designed for the small office/home office market, this printer offers an in-box ink yield of up to 11,000 black and 8,500 color pages and fast print speeds of up to 13.7 ISO ppm (black) and 7.3 ISO ppm (color). The ET-3600 is packed with an unbeatable combination of convenience and value, boasting auto 2-sided printing, a 150-sheet paper capacity and offering wireless printing from tablets and smartphones.

Pricing and Availability

The WorkForce Expression ET-3600 EcoTank ($399 MSRP) will be available mid-September 2016 through major computer, office and electronic superstores and www.epsonstore.com. For more information and availability, please visit www.epson.com/ecotank.

About Epson

Epson is a global technology leader dedicated to connecting people, things and information with its original efficient, compact and precision technologies. With a lineup that ranges from inkjet printers and digital printing systems to 3LCD projectors, smart glasses, sensing systems and industrial robots, the company is focused on driving innovations and exceeding customer expectations in inkjet, visual communications, wearables and robotics.

Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the Epson Group comprises more than 67,000 employees in 90 companies around the world, and is proud of its contributions to the communities in which it operates and its ongoing efforts to reduce environmental impacts.

Epson America, Inc., based in Long Beach, Calif., is Epson’s regional headquarters for the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. To learn more about Epson, please visit: epson.com. You may also connect with Epson America on Facebook (facebook.com/Epson), Twitter (twitter.com/EpsonAmerica), YouTube (youtube.com/EpsonAmerica), and Instagram (instagram.com/EpsonAmerica).

*I received a complimentary product in order to write this review; however, all opinions are my own.

 

Sunday
Jun042017

Product Review:: Krazy Words & More!

It's that time of year again when I'm asked to review some new toys and games from BRIO, Ravensburger and Wonder Forge! Admittedly, because of so many things happening in my professional and personal life, I'm a bit behind this time :( Before Easter, I was sent these great products to review. And, although we've played with them several times since, I'm just now getting around to posting my review.

As always, they didn't disappoint. My 11 and 10 year-olds have been having so much fun with the Krazy Words game. They love the Apples to Apples style where they have to guess their opponents responses. This game is great for language skills because it requires them to create words that they think mean a certain thing, and then guess others' creations. We've had a lot of fun creating and guessing.

More from their site: GARBUNA? What is that!? An "Australian marsupial"? A "brand of chocolate bar"? Or perhaps "somebody remarkably smart"? This crazy word fits only one of the task cards on the table. It may sound or look like it fits multiple cards, but it's up to you to guess the correct one! In this outrageous game of weird words, you'll want to put your creativity and quick-wittedness into high gear to win!

We were also sent My First Take Along Set from BRIO. This, we requested to share with our small nephews that LOVE trains! This set was perfect for them (ages 1 &2). It's easy to manuever and compact for clean up purposes. The boys have enjoyed playing with it and interchanging it with their other train sets. I am always impressed by BRIO's high quality products and this one was no different. It is very sturdy and well made; great for toddlers!

More from their site: A play bag with bright colours, just for you! Take it along when travelling or visiting and play wherever you want. Just open the bag and drive the bell wagon down the track. Fun to use and easy to store.

You can read our past posts and reviews about several more games and toys by BRIO, Wonder Forge and Ravensburger, here.

*I recieved complimentary products in order to write this review; however all opinions are my own.


Thursday
Apr132017

5 Snacks to Stop Buying and Start Making at Home

You're a busy mom. From the moment the alarm goes off until you hop into bed, you're always doing something – dropping off the kids at school, picking them up from soccer practice and getting some work done somewhere in between the madness.

Who has the time to make snacks? You're too busy wondering what you're going to make for dinner. I know this sentiment all too well. It's much easier to pick up a few staple snacks at the store and call it a day.

But I've found that it really doesn't take that much time to make some of your kids' favorite snacks at home. As a bonus, your homemade versions are usually healthier and less expensive.

Here are five easy snacks to stop buying and start making at home:

1. Yogurt Pouches

My kids love yogurt pouches, better known as "Go Gurt." And I always assumed they were a healthy snack choice – until I read the ingredients.

Aside from the strange ingredients I couldn't pronounce, the yogurt in these pouches had a surprising amount of sugar.

Yogurt pouches are so easy to make at home, and you can buy ZipZicles online that can be filled with your own little concoctions.

When I say these snacks are easy to make, I'm not exaggerating. If you have a blender (food processor will also work), yogurt and fruit, you're good to go.

Experiment with different fruits and ratios of fruit to yogurt to get the flavors and textures you want.

When you're done blending, use a funnel to fill the ZipZicles pouches and enjoy. If you don’t want to use pouches, you can just fill a baby mason jar with your yogurt. But kids really do love eating out of these pouches.

2. Apple Chips

We love fruit chips in our house, but apple chips are the best, according to the kids. Store-bought apple chips can be expensive (like $1.50 for a very small bag), but you can make your own for a fraction of the cost. Plus, you can use your own ingredients and ditch the preservatives and added sugars.

To make your own apple chips, you'll need two things:

  • Apples
  • Cinnamon

Sure, you can make these chips in a dehydrator, but that would take forever. We bake ours in the oven at 250 degrees for about an hour and a half.

  • Bake for 30-45 minutes.
  • Flip the apple slices.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Bake for another 30-45 minutes. 
  •    

The chips come out crispy, and they're naturally sweet. Cinnamon makes this treat taste delectable.

3. Cereal Bars

Cereal bars are a great way for the kids (and adults) to get their servings of whole grain and fruit. But these bars can be expensive when you buy them in the store. They're also loaded with sugar and other questionable ingredients.

Making your own is easier than you think.

The trickiest part (and it's really not that tricky) is making the crust.

Here's what you'll need to make the crust:

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 2 cups oats
  • I tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups pastry flour
  •  2 tsp. baking powder

You could even turn this into a yeast-based crust and make the dough in your breadmaker to save time.

The filling is so easy to make. Just blend your favorite fruit with a little bit of water.

To make your bars, roll out the dough, cut into bar-sized rectangles, place a dollop of filling in the center, fold the dough  over, and seal the edges to keep the filling inside.

We bake ours at 350F for about 15-18 minutes.

4. Trail Mix

Have you seen the cost of a bag of trail mix? Furthermore, have you looked at the ingredients in these mixes?

It's incredibly easy to make your own trail mix blend, and you can add whatever ingredients you want.

  • Cashews, almonds and pecans.    
  • Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and dried fruit
  • Dark chocolate chunks, peanuts and pistachios.     

You're only limited by your imagination and your taste buds when making your own trail mix blend. We've even added spices to our mix for a unique flavor twist.

5. Fruit Leather

I can remember eating Fruit Roll-ups as a kid, and now, my kids love them, too. But I can't bring myself to buy a snack that's loaded in sugar and preservatives. The amount of actual fruit in these snacks is questionable.

Like apple chips, fruit leather is so easy to make at home. You don't need a dehydrator either – just some parchment paper and a little time.

To make your fruit snack, puree your fruit in a blender or food processor. You can blend just one fruit, or a mixture of different fruits.

Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the puree onto it. Make sure the puree is evenly distributed across the pan to allow for even cooking.

All that’s left to do is bake your snack at 175F for three to four hours. After two hours, check the fruit leather every 30 minutes, and remove it when it's ready. It will be done when it's dry to the touch.

Which snacks do you make at home? Share in the comments!

Bio: Joe Hughes, known by most as the Village Baker, is an expert in homestyle cooking techniques, with a primary interest in baking. He runs the very popular website, http://www.village-bakery.com, which provides the latest homestyle cooking news, techniques, tricks, and recipes. He can be reached at Joe@Village-Bakery.com.

Thursday
Mar162017

Baby Mantra's Bundle: The Perfect Baby Shower Gift

Baby showers provide some of the fondest memories surrounding the birth of a child. Friends and family come together to celebrate a new life and offer gifts so that parents can have a head start on this exciting journey. Aside from the games and delicious snacks, guests are tasked with finding the perfect gift for the parents to-be. Baby shower gift ideas include something off of the registry, something homemade and sentimental, or something special that guests want to share with the family.

While gifts can only help prepare new parents for so much, they are a great way for guests to join in on the celebration and introduce parents to new products for baby. Luckily, with the help of Baby Mantra’s Baby Shower Gift Pack, you can get everything a mom or dad needs to prepare for their newborn’s bath and body care.

Baby Shower Gift Pack

The Baby Mantra Baby Shower Gift Pack helps moms and dads prepare for the arrival of their new bundle of joy. With natural baby wash and newborn shampoo, all products are EWG Verified, tested for allergies, free of parabens, fragrances and dyes. The pack is a great way to purchase a variety of essential products at one time. Safe and healthy, new parents can be confident that their little one’s skin will be protected and cared for day and night.

The Pack Includes:

●     Newborn Wash and Shampoo with Coconut Oil and Lavender

●     Calming Lotion with Shea Butter and Lavender

●     Calming Massage Oil with Apricot

●     Bubble Bath with Lavender

●     Diaper Rash Ointment with Sunflower Seed Oil

The next time you are in need of the perfect baby shower gift, head to Baby Mantra to check out The Baby Mantra Baby Shower Gift Pack, and other all natural baby products.