Lakeshore Learning Toys

If you’ve followed us for a while on Instagram stories, you know I do a lot of activities besides cooking. By popular demand, I’ll be posting more of our activities on my blog.

Finding toys that are both fun and educational are hard to find.I recently discovered the store Lakeshore Learning, and boy will you find great toys there! You all can thank me later. It’s seriously one of my favorite stores ever. Every toy I’ve seen sold there has a purpose and is really enjoyable for the kids as well.

I’m not homeschooling my son, but I do try to teach them the basics before he starts school in the fall. We recently started playing with the scented play dough pack.

It’s a great, fun, and creative type of play dough. Growing up I loved anything that smelled sweet like a treat. Do you remember scratch and sniff stickers? Those were totally my favorite. This play dough set brings me back to those days. I mean who doesn’t love the smell of blueberries? Or strawberries? We first played with the dough making fruit shapes and food.

Since I always try to incorporate some education into our play at least a few times a day, we continued on with phonics and letters.   I’ve found making our lessons fun and play based is much more effective.   We used these cards also from LakeShore Learning.

First I ask him what letter is on the card. I then asked him what sound the letter makes. Lastly, I pointed out the objects on the picture. Fore example, B is for balloon.

We do about 2-3 letters a day. He’s 3 years old and loves change. We bring out this activity a few times a week, eventually finishing the alphabet. You can also have him trace the letter with his fingers. Furthermore, for any of you who have kids with allergies, the non toxic dough does not contain corn, dairy/casein, egg, gelatin, latex or nuts.

Some of you ask what toys we use for my one year old. At this age, we do a lot of reading and sensory toys. These stars are great.  They are colorful and each one has a different texture. Babies love to learn and explore and this is a great safe way for them to do that. We also teach colors by pointing out each different hue of the rainbow. It also builds gross motor skills.

Yes, you guessed it. Lots of this happened.

But, not to worry, these are machine, or surface washable. I hope you enjoyed this post!

Here’s some fun clips of my kids playing with the toys!

*Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the product for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.**If you decide to make a purchase through the  affiliate link, Amazon will pay me a very small commission for it. This does not cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. Thank you!

Educational Toys and Books

Hi everyone! If you are an Instagram follower, you know I do a lot of activities besides cooking with my toddler. Since I get so many messages about the different educational toys and books I use, I thought I’d write-up a blog post about it.  I showcase them on my IG stories almost daily. f you’re not familiar with stories go to my page and press the red ring around my profile name. I also post these items when they go on sale on my deals page. Go here if you want to be added.

Ps: I don’t have a formal background in education, but I do try to make it fun and educational for my kids. We don’t do much television or screen time, so I have to keep my son entertained in other ways. And frankly, I have to entertain myself too!

Just a tip: every kid is different! Some enjoy some activities more than others. Make it fun! Go back to it on another day if he or she is not interested.

Click on the RED links (affl.) for direct purchasing.

TOYS

Tweezer Tongs Color Sorting Kit 

  • Kids strengthen the fine motor skills they’ll need to start writing–while sorting by color!
  • Children use the easy-grip tweezer tongs to sort colored balls into the tubes
  • Builds color recognition, fine motor strength and eye/hand coordination–and develops pre-writing skills
  • Includes a color sorting tray with removable tubes, tweezer tongs and 50 rubber balls
  • For ages 3-6 years

Alpha Pops

  • 2-piece pops strengthen hand muscles and increase coordination while promoting imaginative play
  • Reinforce upper and lowercase letter recognition through matching
  • Set includes: 26 double-sided pops
  • Winner of 2 awards

Snap-and-Learn Alphabet Alligators 

  • Match upper and lowercase letters with these two-piece gators
  • Reinforce letter recognition and color matching
  • Each alligator is color-coded for self-checking
  • Includes 13 heads and tails marked on both sides to include all 26 letters

Magformers

Imaginative Development: Allow your child to build and create, expanding your child’s imaginative horizons and allowing them to develop their mind in new ways. 

Lincoln Logs

LINCOLN LOGS supports key areas of a child’s development growth. As the stack the different part together and discover how the building system works, they’re strengthening hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, problem-solving skills, spatial awareness and exercising their imagination!

Practice Shoe Tying

  • 4 chunky foam shoes to lace and learn how to tie
  • Bright, fun color foam shoes and real decorated shoe laces
  • iParenting Media Award winner
  • Includes 4 lacing shoes, 4 printed laces and a shoe tying lesson card

Talking Microscope 

  • Slip in one of the included slides to study some serious amazing scientific images!
  • Explore 12 fascinating bugs up close, learn cool bug facts, and test your knowledge of each creepy critter in fun quiz games!
  • Includes Talking Microscope with 5x focusing magnifier and light for easy viewing and 12 slides.
  • Fun facts and questions, such as “Ground beetles give off a stinky smell!” and “How far can a jumping spider jump?”
  • Winner of 10+ awards including Family Fun Toy of the Year Finalist, Parents Magazine Toy Test Finalist, Dr. Toy 100 Best Children’s Products, and Parent’s Choice Recommended.
  • Supports STEM learning via hands-on experience with a key scientific tool.
  • The perfect first microscope for preschoolers; makes a great birthday gift!

Butterfly Growing Kit

Self Correcting Puzzles

  • Beautifully detailed pictures encourage interest in all things A-B-C and beyond
  • Practice letter recognition and matching skills
  • Wooden storage box with slide-in lid
  • 52 wooden pieces

Ready Set School

  • Skill building set for pre-school children
  • Learn to cut, tie your shoe, and write the alphabet and so much more
  • Parents’ Choice Recommended Award winner
  • Includes 4 wipe away books with marker, 8 finger crayons, safety scissors, 2 stencils, 15 activity pages, 75 stickers, shoelace, and instructions

Magnetic Board and Chalkboard

Pattern Puzzles

BOOKS AND WRITING

Reusable Sticker Book

 

Wipeable Flash Cards – Upper Case

Wipeable Flash Cards – Lower Case

Wipeable Numbers – 1-30

Water Wow

  • Three fun activity/coloring board books, each with refillable water pen
  • Engaging and entertaining animal, alphabet, and number themes
  • Reusable white pages feature simple line drawings when dry; filled with color when wet
  • Chunky-size water pen for easy filling, easy gripping
  • Compact, spiral-bound format that’s great for travel

Let’s Sticker and Paste 

Let’s Sticker and Paste

Let’s Sticker and Paste

Tracing

Tracing

Cut & Paste

Let’s Cut Paper

Kid’s Scissors

 

Rock Crayons

Dot Markers

  • Thirty-two (32) Non-toxic, all natural soy wax crayons in 32 colors: red, green, blue, egg yolk yellow, black, brown, orange, purple, pink, grass green, sky blue, sunshine yellow, gray, tan, peach, white, strawberry cream, honey wheat, gold, pumpkin spice, coffee, tree bark, cranberry, rose red, magenta, periwinkle, turquoise, aqua, spruce, autumn green, silver in a cotton muslin bag.
  • Designed to strengthen the tripod grip muscles in young children and improve motor coordination.
  • Allows small fingers to color easily in large, wide strokes.
  • Crayon size is 1 1/4 x ¾ inch (Images may appear larger) Long lasting and durable. Although appearing smaller, volume is actually greater than major brand stick crayons. Size was carefully selected for the hands of young children!

Dot Coloring Books (girls)

Dot Coloring Books (boys)

Magnetic Calendar 

Learning Clock 

This one isn’t educational, but I’m trying to limit my messages on social media so I can spend time with my kids. Since you asked here is the link to these cars and tracks.

Cars and Tracks 


**If you decide to make a purchase through the  affiliate link, Amazon will pay me a very small commission for it. This does not cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

UppaBaby GLink

UPPAbaby G-LINK Review

I have always been a fan of the UPPAbaby brand. When our first son was a few months old, we began using the UPPAbaby G-LUXE. I absolutely love it, and so does my husband. 0167_GLINK_JakeNaturally, we were thrilled to hear about the release of the double version, the UPPAbaby G-LINK.

I’m a no frills type of gal when it comes to strollers. I look for practicality and ease of use. Now that I have two kiddos to haul around, it’s even more important to me. Actually, it’s vital to my survival. Having two kids is no joke, and I need to make life “on the go” as easy as possible.

From the minute I opened the box, I knew this stroller would not disappoint.  First, it’s only 24.5 pounds! That’s super light for a double stroller. Don’t let the light weight fool you, it is very well built and sturdy. Similar to its sibling the G-LUXE, it stands on its own when folded. That means I can be hands free when taking it out of my trunk or when I need to store it like at restaurants or commuting on a train. This is a huge plus when I’m unloading my car. Especially now that I need both hands; one for my toddler and one for my newborn. I don’t have to find a wall to lean it on.

0167_GLINK_Folded

A huge reason why this stroller works for me is because I wanted to accommodate both my newborn and toddler without any fancy attachments. My oldest son is 2.5 years old and his little brother is 2 months old.  The G-LINK is suitable from birth up to 50 lbs. It comes with a handy infant insert so I don’t need a car seat or any other attachment for the stroller.0167_GLINK_Flexible

If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know my oldest son eats like a teenage boy. At two, he’s already almost 40 pounds, so I needed to find a stroller with a high weight limit. The maximum weight limit for the stroller is 100 lbs.combined.

Accommodating my kids sleep and nap schedules is very important to me. The side-by-side seats can recline in four positions, independent of each other. It allows for a full recline. You heard me right folks, a full recline! That in itself is amazing! This means when my toddler wants to look at sights and scenes, he can sit upright while my newborn dreams about his next meal. Rest assured, my infant is secure because the stroller comes with an infant head support and mesh foot barrier. So back to napping, there is a peekaboo window in the back of the stroller so I can peek in to see if the kiddos are still sleeping. That may not sound like a big deal to you, since you can just go to the front and see, but convenience is key in my book. I’m usually rushed these days, saving just a few minutes is super helpful for me, especially since my newborn sleeps best when moving. Below the peekaboo window is a handy pocket for your cell phone or any items you might want to store, like keys or a wipes for a quick cleanup.

A big plus to the G-LINK is its large canopy shade.  It especially comes in handy on hot summer days. The canopy offers generous coverage and includes an extended SPF 50+ UV shade. I have yet to see a canopy this big for a stroller! That means no blankets to drape over when the newborn is sleeping. One less thing to carry, right? Speaking of carrying, there is a ton of storage space in this stroller! Check out the video below, I was able to fit a large ball AND more in the bottom two storage compartments. 

Last but not least, every mom’s dream. It’s easy to open and fold back! I despise strollers that are not easy to put away or fold open. If there are too many levers, buttons or strings to pull, I go mad!  With just a few clicks it folds nicely. For you tech folks the dimensions are:

Unfolded: 30”W x 29”L x 42”H

Folded: 18”W x 18”L x 41”H

The only con I see to this stroller is its price. It ain’t cheap. In my humble opinion, you get what you pay for. It’s worth every penny, especially since it has such a high weight limit. So if you’re on the market for a high quality, long-lasting stroller, this stroller is for you. Another plus if you register your stroller within 3 months with proof of purchase there is a FREE extended warranty for 3 years.

Here’s a video I shot for you to see how fun and easy the G-LINK is:

*Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the product for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.**If you decide to make a purchase through the  affiliate link, Amazon will pay me a very small commission for it. This does not cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. Thank you!

JuJuBe B.F.F. and Fuel Cell

I’ve recently had to upgrade my diaper bag since I now have two kids to pack for,  plus all my essentials. I do have to admit that I love bags, but the JuJube B.F.F.  is one of my favorites! No wonder it’s called B.F.F because we’ve become really close friends ever since I’ve had it. I don’t leave home without her. I mean him.  I also have a matching lunch bag the that comes in real handy for my hungry toddler.

Juju Be Blog
Juju Be Stock

 

DURABLE AND PRACTICAL

The folks at JuJube really had moms in mind because the material their bags are made of retain stains. We all know how messy kids can be, especially since the contents of half my bag is usually food.  The bag has an antimicrobial lining to help keep it free of odor causing bacteria, mold and mildew. That just grosses me out just thinking of it, but thank goodness the material itself inhibits it! It’s also machine washable for the inevitable spill or if your toddler tornado decides to sneak in dirty rocks and sticks in your bag to take home. Or in my case, sometimes sand and dirt itself. I don’t allow it of course, but sometimes a stick or two ends up in my bag sometimes. The life with two boys I tell you. In addition,  it also has little metal feet to keep the dirt away when you put it on the floor. As a recovering germophobe, this is pretty cool.

This bag is HUGE!! It comes with all the compartments you could ever think of, even a mommy pocket. This is great for my very unorganized self, at least when it comes to my bags anyway.  Jujube For me, the bigger the bag, the more I bring. So organization pockets are super helpful. There are so many pockets and zippers for every little thing you need.  I mean seriously folks, the bag even has a sunglasses holder and key holder.  No more leaving it at the park or having it fall of your head or shirt pocket.

The lining is also light-colored so you’re not searching for diapers in the abyss. You can see the contents of your bag straight away.

FASHIONABLE AND COMFORTABLE

Not only is it super cute it’s also so practical. I always look for a backpack type bag.  I’ve been accustomed to this style because, let’s face it, it’s a lot easier when chasing kids around. JuJu StrapsSadly, handbags are a thing of the past for me at least when I’m out without my husband. The good news is this bag is convertible to a shoulder bag or crossover messenger bag. It comes with an extra strap for conversion. So back to the backpack style, check out those straps —————–>                                          It’s soft and thick so your tired shoulders don’t have to suffer. Don’t laugh, but some days I don’t want to take it off because it’s so comfy.

Even your baby will feel the comfort. The diaper pad is made of memory foam. I’ve even used it as a pillow to get a little shut-eye at the park. Newly washed of course and with hubby around to watch the kids.

FUEL CELL

This little bag is really useful on our outings. It’s made of the same durable material as it’s cousin the B.F.F. Most importantly, the material provides insulation. Juju Be FuelYou can keep stuff warm or cold. The bag is a perfect size for a nice size lunch and extra goodies.

The lid has a smaller zip pocket for your utensils, napkins or wipes.

It’s basic, does what it’s suppose to do, and the plus?  It’s so trendy and cute.

 

 

 

*Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the product for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.**If you decide to make a purchase through the  affiliate link, Amazon will pay me a very small commission for it. This does not cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. Thank you!

EZPZ Mat Review

Mealtime is fun, but often times it can get messy. EZPZ Mat StockLets face it, toddlers have a good old-time throwing food everywhere. While there is no great invention to prevent food from flying, there’s an ingenious one that stops plates from hitting the floor. The EZPZ Mat is such a game changer!

We bought the mat when my son was 10 months old. We use it at home and we’ve even brought it out to restaurants. EZPZHe’s even tried to bite it off with no success. Look to your right. Simply put, it’s easy peasy. Pun intended. It sticks to a table and doesn’t move. It really does make meal time easier.

You can buy it here: EZPZ Happy Mat or Snack Mat 

Here’s why you should buy it:

  • The placemat suctions to the table to prevent tipping and tossing
  • It’s a plate and a placemat all in one!
  • Easy to clean with warm soapy water or in the dishwasher
  • FDA approved 100% silicone; BPA, PVC, lead and phthalate free

The placemat costs more than your average plate, at $24.99, but it’s well worth it. It will last a long time since it’s made out of silicone. It will also save you money from chiropractor bills, since you’ll be bending over less to pick up those crumbs and plates on the floor. Ok, that might be a stretch, I just want to keep you entertained. Kidding.

*If you decide to make a purchase through the  affiliate link, Amazon will pay me a very small commission for it. This does not cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. Thank you!

 

B.Box Travel Rack Review

I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to review the B.Box Travel Rack. Bbox Travel Rack with ItemsIt’s a portable drying rack where you can dry your bottle or straw cups wherever you are. Before this travel rack I used paper towels and cotton towels as a drying rack. This is so much better!

Best of all it’s light and folds flat. I don’t travel light. I pack all my essentials including some extra “just in case” items. I can improvise in many situations, but I don’t like being away in a cabin with no store in sight.  It might sound unlikely to run out of straw cups, but the struggle is real when your toddler bites off the straws to most of his cups daily. I prefer washing a few extra bottles rather than constantly washing the same bottle.

Adding this very handy product to my diaper bag was a game changer. It’s so light and portable. It’s also BPA,  Phthalates and PVC free.

By the way,  I’ve also used this at home! Did I mention I have a collection of cups? It’s so easy to put away when you don’t need an extra rack anymore. Try it out!

B.Box_Drying_Racks__05848.1425887017.1280.1280

You can purchase it here: BBOX

Retail is $17.95

**I received this product for a review, but all opinions are my own.

Nuby Bath Toys Review

*Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for some of the items below for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*

From when my son was about a year old, we always had a routine for putting away his toys. Whether he always follows routine, well that’s a different story. Nevertheless, we strive to create good habits.

Fast forward, eight months and we’re still teaching.  He understands the concept, but likes to take toys out of the basket instead of leaving them in.  Lets face it, most times I end up cleaning after him. Most days I consider myself an involuntary maid.

I was so excited for the opportunity to review three products from Nuby. It was great to see that one helped with organization. Here’s my $0.02 on these products!

Sea Scooper 

 

Nuby Rocks

You see that big whale above? It’s a giant Sea Scooper  that holds all his bath toys. My son loves baths already. Couple it with some great toys, and we have a party. He was so eager to scoop all his toys after his bath, he did it repeatedly. Alas, he’s cleaning with a smile on. Of course I was so happy I didn’t have to clean up after him. Watch the video below to see it in action (of course with the help of a human lol)

Why we love it:

  • Fun and interactive
  • Great for storage
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • BPA Free
  • Allows toys to dry quick and easily

Bath Letters and Numbers

I’m a firm believer of early learning and I use every opportunity to teach my son.

Bath-Letters-and-Numbers--pTRU1-19802973dtMy 18 month can spell his name! I kid, just seeing if you were paying attention =).

Throughout the day we try to have educational activities. Learning doesn’t stop at bath time. This toy helps me teach him the ABC’s and numbers. They stick to the wall and makes bath time fun. Each letter and number is a vibrant color. I can even teach him about patterns since each letter and number has dots or stripes on them.

Why we love it:

  • Numbers stick to the bath wall or tub
  • Makes bath time educational
  • Phthalate and BPA Free

Octopus Floating Bath Toy

The Octopus Floating Bath Toy  toy is just pure fun. It’s a great little toy that floats in the water. Some days I want to extend his bath time for various reasons. It’s great for those days my son is having a bad day and needs a distraction. Sound familiar? I even use it outside of the tub. After all, who doesn’t like a purple octopus?

The 3 ring tosses included make it interactive. Each ring fits onto the octopus arms. Not only does it promote imagination, it also fosters great hand-eye coordination. It’s colorful and attractive to stimulate my son’s senses.

Why we love it:

  • Fosters imagination
  • Great for hand-eye coordination
  • BPA Free

For more information about Nuby products find them below:

**I received this product for a review, but all opinions are my own.These products can be purchased at buybuybaby, bedbathandbeyond, and amazon. You can also click on the links above and purchase through my link. It won’t cost you more money,  but I will get a small commission from amazon. This help keeps the rest of my content on this site free. Thank you!

 

Nuby Parent Blogger

I’ve recently accepted an offer to become a Nuby Parent Blogger. parentbloggerbadge] (1)It’s such an exciting opportunity! I will be reviewing their products before they hit the stores. If you’re interested,  please check the reviews section of my blog periodically for my $.02 on all things baby products.  Hope it helps some of you make a decision when you’re faced with the so many products available.

Happy Shopping Friends!

Bib Organization

*Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for some of the items below for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*

We have several bibs. It’s difficult to keep them organized and stacked neatly.   Here’s a tip for you! Hook them on your high chair.

We use a hook from 3M. I suggest buying the jumbo command one (on link) so that it will hold several bibs.  You can even use an index card ring to hold more and hook them all on it.

Since we’re on the topic of bibs, here are our favorites! All of them are BPA, Phthalates and PVC free!

  • Bbox Bib for traveling. We love this bib when we’re out and about because it keeps all the crumbs and leftovers in one pocket. BboxIf we’re at a park I don’t have to frantically look for a plastic bag or trash can to throw stuff away. I simply zip it up and clean it when I get home. All the food stays inside the zip up pocket. Just rinse it when you get back home! It also comes with a flexible silicone spoon.
  • Silikids Bib for home. This bib is also one of our favorites.  It’s made of silicone and has a small pocket. You can either use the pocket or fold it flat. Our full review here: Silikids Review

Bib

  • Tommee Tippee Explora Bib for home. This bib also has a pocket to catch food! We love that it’s made out silicone because it’s so easy to clean and super durable. The food lands in the bib, not on his clothes. That’s enough to make any mom happy. It can also be placed in the dishwasher for fast washing.Tommee Tippee Big

*If you decide to make a purchase through my link, Amazon will pay me a very small commission for it. It won’t cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free, so thank you!