Apr 19, 2014

Trash to Toys: 10 Recycled Educational Toys #earthday

Earth Day is a yearly reminder to consider our role in protecting the
environment.    Parents can make a positive impact by creating fun, educational
toys from everyday items that may initially seem like trash, but can be
repurposed into teaching tools.

"Children are natural learners, and often see educational opportunities that
adults can miss," says Richard Peterson, vice president of education for Kiddie
Academy® Child Care Learning Centers.  "Anyone who’s given a child a new toy and
then found him playing with the box can appreciate a child’s gift for creative
play."

Want to feed your child’s imagination, while helping the environment?  Kiddie
Academy (www.KiddieAcademy.com) offers the following ideas for creating recycled
educational toys:

Computer Keyboard:  An outdated keyboard is a perfect teaching toy, as it
includes the entire alphabet to assist in early literacy exercises.  Challenge
your child to sing the ABC song while locating each letter on the keyboard.

Shoebox to Mailbox:  Children love getting mail.  Reinforce both reading and
writing skills by creating a family mailbox from an old shoebox.  Encourage your
child to write notes to family members, and leave notes for them as well.

Water Bottle Instrument:   Fill a clean, dry plastic water or soda bottle with
rice, bells, beans or coins and shake them to hear a variety of new sounds.
Glue the top on to secure the contents.

Junk Mail:  Instead of immediately sending your unwanted mail to the landfill,
allow your child to play with the envelopes and letters.  She can pretend to be
a postal carrier while getting additional exposure to printed words.

Magazines:  Glossy photos in magazines are perfect for creating collage art that
provides fine motor skill practice with scissors and glue.

TV remote:  Children love pushing buttons.  An unused television remote control
can be used for number and math play.  Simply remove the batteries and ask him
to find the numbers as you call them out.

Clothing:  Dramatic play is an essential teaching tool that allows children to
explore social roles, practice problem solving and language skills.  Add no
longer needed pieces of your own wardrobe to the toy chest to encourage your
child’s imagination.  She can literally “try on” a different role by wearing
your skirt, hat or shoes.

Linens:  Your child can use a worn out sheet or towel as a cape, picnic blanket
or as the roof to a play fort.

Toilet Paper Tube:  Empty TP tubes are a favorite art tool in classrooms.  Save
a box of them, and give them to your child along with a few craft supplies to
see what he can create.  Binoculars, stamps and creatures are popular choices.

Boxes:  While it’s tempting to immediately recycle a box, your child can have
hours of fun using an empty box for creative play.  What seems like trash to you
could become a school bus, secret hideout or magic castle.

Apr 18, 2014

Purex No Sort for Colors (Review & Giveaway)

Laundry is a never-ending task. I think it is impossible to ever see the bottom of my laundry hamper ever again. I take any steps I can to help reduce the time I spend on laundry. Purex has come out with a new formula that features a breakthrough Anti-Color-Transfer Technology™ which traps loose dyes in the wash, and prevents them from settling onto other fabrics—leaving your clothes bright and clean without color bleeding accidents. Introducing new Purex No Sort for Colors detergent.

This was especially appealing to my teenage daughters who apparently don't think sorting is really necessary. Of course if you have a brand new bright red t-shirt, I wouldn't recommend that you just freely throw it in a wash with light colors for the first wash. We gave this new Purex No Sort a try on a load with assorted colors. I took a chance with my husband's light grey dress shirt and some bright orange, blue and green shirts that belong to my son. The end result is that everything came out bright, clean and fresh. What more can you ask for? The even better part is that Purex detergent is about half the price of other brands. With the cost of everything these days, that's a big help! I like the fact that I don't have to waste time, electricity and water on one extra little load anymore because of the major color difference.


Right now you can enter in the sweepstakes The Rules Have Changed with NEW Purex® No Sort™ for Colors Detergent!

Enter for your chance to WIN $1,000 & a year’s supply of this game-changing NEW detergent, so you can avoid extra laundry loads.

I have 2 coupons to give away to 2 Mom Files readers. Enter below for your chance to win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on April 28, 2014. Two winners will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

The Purex brand provided me with a sample of Purex No Sort for Colors detergent in exchange for a product review. However, all the opinions expressed here are my own.

Apr 8, 2014

Cinnamon Swirl Brioche French Toast & "Morning Toast" Beverages at IHOP for a limited time

Now, IHOP restaurants are bringing guests another delicious choice with the introduction of Cinnamon Swirl Brioche French Toast-- Three slices of thick, rich brioche bread dipped in a lightly-sweetened vanilla batter, grilled to golden perfection, layered with cinnamon roll filling, then topped with cream cheese icing.

Cinnamon Swirl French Toast joins these two current favorites:

·         Bananas Foster Brioche French Toast: Three slices of thick, rich brioche bread dipped in a lightly-sweetened vanilla batter, grilled to golden perfection, topped with a classic New Orleans Foster’s sauce made with sliced bananas caramelized in a buttery brown sugar glaze, then crowned with powdered sugar and whipped topping.

·         Berry-Berry Brioche French Toast: Three slices of thick, rich brioche bread dipped in a lightly-sweetened vanilla batter, grilled to golden perfection, topped with blueberries and glazed strawberries, then crowned with powdered sugar and whipped topping.

Guests may enjoy three slices of Brioche French Toast à la carte, as a delicious indulgent treat, or two slices as part of an IHOP Combo that includes two eggs, done the way they like them, a choice of crispy bacon, pork sausage links or a grilled ham slice, along with IHOP restaurants’ signature golden hash browns.

Guests can also lift a glass to spring with the addition of three new refreshing “Morning Toast” beverages:

·         Mango ’Mosa: Premium orange juice, sparkling lemon-lime soda and tropical mango syrup garnished with an orange wheel.
·         Orange Grapefruit Breeze: Premium orange juice, sparkling lemon-lime soda and grapefruit syrup garnished with an orange wheel.

·         Spicy Tom: Spicy tomato juice served with a lemon wedge and a crispy, hickory smoked bacon strip.
Both Cinnamon Swirl Brioche French Toast and the new Morning Toasts will be available for a limited time, through May 25, 2014.

Apr 4, 2014

Life is Good Coffee Review & Giveaway (2 winners)

Every single morning, I start my day with coffee. Even if I only have one cup, it is a must-have. I was so happy to receive 3 of the new coffees from Life is Good. Just the name alone makes me feel lively. Life is Good coffee comes in 5 delicious flavors--Light Hearted, Happy Medium, Dark & Daring, Banana Bread Bliss and S'more to Love. They are UTZ Certified for sustainable farming and 10% of net profits go to helping kids in need. How can you not feel good about that? 
The 3 flavors I received to try are: Happy Medium, S'more to Love and Dark & Daring. I let my hubby pick which flavor we would try first. We went with Happy Medium. We are big fans of a medium roast and this one was really good! It is the perfect well-balanced blend, very smooth yet rich at the same time. We plan to try the S'more to Love flavor this weekend. It sounds amazing!
Check out the website for coffee specials. You can also see if there are any stores in your area that carry it. I am so happy that my local Publix supermarket carries Life is Good coffee. I even saw them on sale last week. Be sure to connect to Life is Good on Facebook and Twitter for product updates and promotions. 
I am so thrilled to offer a giveaway for two lucky Mom Files readers to win 3 bags of Life is Good Coffee each. Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on April 17, 2014. Two winners will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. *Prizes may vary. Good luck!

I received complimentary samples to facilitate my review. All opinions are mine as always. 

Mar 31, 2014

Marco's Pizza Review #MarcosFreshSpinach

This is a sponsored post in partnership with The Niche Parent Network & Conference and Marco’s Pizza. All opinions are my own as always.

Do you and your family love pizza, but get tired of the same old traditional varieties? Marco’s Pizza has come out with two great varieties that are sure to please your taste buds. Introducing the new Grilled Chicken Florentine Pizza. This pizza has tender grilled chicken, Parmesan garlic sauce, four cheeses, fresh spinach and sliced tomatoes, with chopped red onions on dough made daily. I really love the Mediterranean flavors including my favorite cheese, Feta! The crust is really light with the perfect chewiness. I judge all pizza by the crust and Marco’s certainly passes with flying colors! My whole family enjoyed the crust right down to my picky six year-old. I love that all of the vegetable toppings are fresh. The tomatoes are sweet and ripe, the red onions still have a bite to them and the spinach is my favorite! I very seldom find spinach as a topping choice, much less fresh spinach.
Speaking of spinach, the Marco’s Cheese Pizza topped with fresh spinach was the family favorite. It was perfect in every way. It almost reminded me of cheese bread since there was no tomato sauce on it. That is the way we like our pizza on occasion. Even my husband enjoyed it. He is a very traditional pizza eater. He goes for either cheese or pepperoni. This made me so happy that he liked the spinach. At least now I can get what I want and please him as well as the kids at the same time. This pizza should be hashtagged: #youhadmeatfreshspinach 
It’s funny, I have heard of Marco’s Pizza before and we just got two new locations in my area. The newest store is still in the grand opening stage and the other one has an actual dining room for if you want to eat in. The ordering process is simple with the option of making your order online or by phone for delivery or carryout. 

I feel like we have been missing out for too long. I did a little search to see if there is a location in our favorite beach town, Myrtle Beach and I was thrilled to see that they have a new store opening soon. My daughters have already said that they want Marco’s Pizza when we visit the beach next time. To find a location near you, go here. Be sure to connect with Marco’s Pizza on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for product updates and promotions. 

Mar 21, 2014

Smartfood® Delight Popcorn Review

For many years since my daughters were little, I remember them always being a big fan of Smartfood popcorn. They often took their extra money and would buy a bag from the "treat lady" at lunch time. Now Smartfood has come out with a lighter version of their delicious popcorn called Smartfood Delight. It comes in Sea Salt and White Cheddar flavors. 
What makes this version different from the original? This lighter version has only has 35 calories per cup. The best part? They taste is just as good as the original. It's nice to know that you can feel good about snacking with fewer calories. I guess this means it's okay to have a beer or glass of wine with a cup of this snacking goodness! My teenagers are so surprised that the white cheddar popcorn is a lighter version. They love it. My husband is a big fan of the sea salt. It's not too salty and it satisfies that snack craving.

Smartfood Delight contains no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, is gluten-free, 100% whole grain and is air-popped. 

Smartfood Delight Sea Salt popcorn: Sea salt brings out the delicious air-popped popcorn taste, making Smartfood Delight Sea Salt popcorn a great snack any time of day.
Smartfood Delight White Cheddar popcorn: With the right combination of delectable white cheddar cheese and a satisfying crunch, this classic flavor has 50 percent less fat than regular Smartfood White Cheddar popcorn.

Smartfood Delight Sea Salt popcorn is available in 5.5 oz bags for a suggested retail price of $3.99 and Smartfood Delight White Cheddar popcorn is available in 6.5 oz bags for a suggested retail price of $3.99. Be sure to stay connected to Smartfood on Facebook and Twitter for product updates and promotions.

I received complimentary samples in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% my own. 


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