It’s Joovy Tuesday!

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Joovy is a wonderful children’s company that I have come to love, really, really love!

I (or my children, rather) previously had the opportunity to test out the Joovy Bicycoo BMX balance bike and it has been a hit with them as well as all of their friends.

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More recently, however, Joovy has given me the chance to test out one of their most amazing products and we are having  ball with it! We’ve gone nearly everywhere with it and I am SUPER excited to be able to tell you all about it…. soon.

For today, how does a giveaway sound?

Yessiree! A Joovy Tuesday giveaway, in fact! Joovy is giving THREE winners (yes, three!) the chance to win Joovy shopping sprees! So here is your shot at gold (or greenie and orangie!). With three prizes ranging from $100 to $300, your chances of winning are stellar! What are you waiting for?!

Click here —> a Rafflecopter giveaway

And be sure to keep an eye out for the newest Joovy post coming very, very soon – here, and on the Eighty MPH Mom website as well!

Happy Joovy Tuesday, everyone! And good luck!

Car Seat Safety Tips and Britax Giveaway

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As many of you already know, I recently had the opportunity to review the Britax Frontier 85 SICT Harness-2-Booster seat for the Eighty MPH Mom website. It is, by far, my favorite seat on the market for our little one’s age and size. Check out the full review here for all of the details and a chance to win your very own!

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Now, as promised, this is the long-awaited “Part 2” follow-up to the original post. Child passenger safety is at the forefront of my mind the second we set foot out of our door and into any vehicle. I could, very likely, go on for days rambling off all of the car seat world’s faux-pas as well as positive points. However, had I touched on these in the original post, it would have made for quite the lengthy read. Alas, “Part 2” has finally arrived.

Below is a quick compilation of some of the most necessary car seat tips as well as current recommendations and/or laws that will help keep your child safer while traveling.

1. Choose the right seat!

                 Right Seat - NHTSA

*Photo credit: National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration

2. Never buy a used car seat!
Unless you’re doing so from a very close family member or friend, there is no way to tell if a seat has been involved in a car accident, thus making it unsafe for use. Also, car seats DO have expiration dates that need to be taken into account. Expired seats need to be disposed of properly and are not adequate for use after its expiry date.

3. Read the manual!
The most common problem with car seats is the simple misuse by parents. Be sure to read your seat’s (and vehicle’s) manual to insure proper installation before ever getting your little one into the car.

4. No jackets!
Winter coats are a big no-no because they do not allow for the correct tension of the straps on your child. Instead of risking your child’s safety, take the few extra minutes to warm up the vehicle before getting in.

5. Fit your child correctly!
If the harness and straps are not positioned correctly on your child, the seat is not able to fully do its job in protecting your precious passenger.

6. Extended rear-facing!
Do NOT turn your child forward-facing prior to their second birthday. The old recommendation was one-year-old AND a minimum of twenty pounds but studies have shown that extended rear-faced riding greatly benefits the child where safety is concerned. The current recommendation is to keep your child in the rear-faced position until they outgrow the seat’s limits or are, at least, two-years-old and twenty pounds.

7. Boostering is still a necessary step!
Many parents are forgoing the boostering step because they believe that their child is old and/or big enough to ride with just the vehicle’s seat belt. Most children, however, do not meet the requirements for this until closer to the early teenage years. For a reference point – I, as well as many women I know, could still (technically) ride boostered.

8. Wear your own seat belt!
Not only will you be setting a good example for your child but you will also be protecting them further in the event of a crash. Unbelted passengers, when involved in an accident, can become projectiles themselves and cause injury to accompanying passengers, including children in car seats.

9. Keep your vehicle clean!
To touch again on projectiles in the car, if your vehicle is clean, there are less (if any) objects that could cause injury to you and/or your passengers during a crash. Everything from your cell phone to your child’s sippy cup is a possible danger.

10. No after-market products!
There are a slew of after-market products designed to, both, entertain and create extra comfort for your child. Just about all of these products are unsafe! Please, do your research before purchasing anything that did not come with your child’s seat.

BECOME KNOWLEDGEABLE!
Knowing what is best for your child comes with the territory of parenthood but, as much as we’d hate to admit it, we don’t always know it all. Fix that. Make yourself knowledgeable about passenger safety for, both, your child as well as yourself. Then, share that knowledge with others in an effort to keep children everywhere safe.

Bounce Your Way into the New Year with a Giveaway!

Alright, who is up for an amazingly awesome giveaway? Raise your hands! Boy, do I have something in store for you!

Last month, I was given the opportunity to review a product for a pretty great shop. Not only did doing so turn me onto their company but it also provided my children with an extra holiday gift. Unbeknownst to me, this gift turned into a life saver throughout the frigid weather and then some. As the mother of two boys, time spent cooped up indoors is an experience that can, at times, nearly make me want to pull my hair out or scream at the top of my lungs. Both actions, of course, being big “no-no’s” in our home. Boys, or at least my boys, very rarely sit still. Playing with cars becomes a destruction derby event, blocks get repeatedly knocked down, and the kids are still trying to comprehend the fact that, despite their best efforts, they cannot actually fly. Getting them to play nicely, peacefully, and quietly together is a task that is much easier said than done. Thankfully, that is where Magic Cabin comes in.

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We were given the opportunity to review the Magic Cabin Spiro Bouncer. As a new-age seesaw that combines bouncing and spinning into the mix of the classic up-and-down motion toy. The thing that hooked me is its ease of use and its ability to be used anywhere that it will adequately fit. In the midst of winter and with the cool temperatures upon us, we set ours up indoors. The kids absolutely LOVE it! It’s great that it allows them to play safely and warmly inside while burning their pent up, winter-blues energy.

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Check out my full review over on the Eighty MPH Mom website to read in depth and don’t forget to enter for your chance to win a Spiro Bouncer of your very own! A $99 value, yours for free! The contest runs through the weekend and one lucky winner will be chosen to start their New Year off magically with Magic Cabin!

GelaSkins Has You Covered

Re-blog!

So, who remembers my previous post featuring GelaSkins? Well… they’re baaack! And just in time for the holidays!

GelaSkins has recently launched the addition of skins for the iPad mini along with skins and HardCases for the iPhone5 to their already stellar line of products. I got so many compliments after reviewing and using their HardCase for the iPhone4 that they’ve graciously granted me the opportunity to share their newest deals with you!

My favorite would have to be their Buy Three, Get One Free deal. It is good for, both, skins and HardCases and allows you to get something for everyone without spending a fortune. Needless to say, we’ve filled our Christmas stockings with GelaSkins this year and even managed to snag a gift for ourselves. Look familiar?

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My site’s photo came out wonderfully and is a stunning design for our iPad. The skin fit perfectly around every feature and, even after being used by two children, is very durable. I have never been a fan of skins due to the fact that most brands’ adhesive ends up getting left behind. However, GelaSkins is different. One of the gift pieces that I picked up was for Daddy’s phone. He is one of those guys that do not feel the need to read directions and, of course, this resulted in him placing, removing, and re-placing his new skin a number of times. And, get this – it still worked! No matter how times he repeated this process the skin still came out perfectly with no bubbles, creases, scratches, rips, or tears! See for yourself…

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Now, as I am sure you all know well, GelaSkins has everything and everyone covered, literally. From phones and iPads to iPods, laptops, gaming, and everything else you can certainly find something that is right for you.

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And if, by some chance, you cannot – no worries! You can create your own! Using photos of your children, loved ones, and pets or even your very own artwork, you can create your own masterpiece to cover whatever item your little heart desires. It’s a win-win! Speaking of – wait for it! – we, here at Son-kissed, are offering you a chance to do exactly that!

GelaSkins - Protection with Style. Not Bulk.

One lucky reader will win a gift certificate just in time to pick out or create a brand new GelaSkins to start off your New Year right!

Enter here! –> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Give Your Children the World with Little Passports

Let’s face it; we all want to give our children the world. While that may mean gumdrops, lollipops and an infinite amount of toys for some, I on the other hand cannot and will not hand my children the glitz and glam on a silver platter. Life is difficult and there is a corresponding down for every up. Now, while I cannot explain the laws of physics or the basics of psychology to a preschooler I can teach him the basic principles of life.

Since finding out about their impending arrivals we began a collection of items for them. It does not include matchbox cars or stuffed animals, though they have accumulated quite a collection of those as well. I wanted to compile a gathering of items that had much more value that was, both, meaningful and educational. This is where our “traveling” began. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to jet set around the world but we did and do have many friends and family members across the country and abroad. Enlisting their help in gathering native items has sent our collection through the roof and thus began our journey around the world – from the comfort of our own home.

Our children have become enamored with our globe from each and every state to every single continent. Making geography interesting for children is much easier said than done but, thankfully, that is where Little Passports comes in. Little Passports is a global adventure subscription package that brings the world to your child’s fingertips.

          

“Inspire a love and understanding of the world as your child learns about geography, history, culture, and language in a fun and memorable way.”

Our Little Passports suitcase has already been packed full of our favorite goodies from abroad to go along with the passport, world map, and letter from Sam and Sofia. In the letter, they explain that they are about to embark on a grand adventure. Throughout their adventure they send back monthly – yes, monthly – souvenirs, activity sheets, and letters about each country. Little Passports really is that proverbial gift that keeps on giving and, more importantly, it is educational.

Offering, both, World Edition and USA Edition subscription plans ($10.95 and up), your little one will surely develop a love for the world around them. Not only does it open up the door for learning but it will take you on a whirlwind adventure that is full of excitement and countless opportunities to celebrate. The world is so much more than what is just outside of our windows and allowing our children to gain an understanding of that at a young age is one of the greatest gifts that you could ever give.

               

Speaking of…

How would you like to win one for yourself? Little Passports is giving one Son-kissed reader a World Edition 3-Month Explorer plan, a $41.85 ARV! As always, make sure that you keep up with them through social media – Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest – for more chances to win.

Click here –> a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Randi received the above product(s), free of charge, to facilitate this review. All opinions are those of reviewer only.

Scars Can Be Joovy, Too

As a Jersey girl, it was very hard to see Hurricane Sandy rip through and nearly wipe out the entirety that is the Jersey shore. While it has certainly been a heartbreaking experience, I think it may have been hardest on the kids. Toddlers do not understand nor comprehend the severity of natural disasters but simply recognize their inability to play. Rain means you cannot go outside. No electricity means that we get to use flashlights but our pet fish die. Their innocence leaves them unaware of the world aside from what is outside of our windows. Sometimes that may be a good thing.

Building blocks, playing toys, riding bikes; these are all a child’s way of having fun. Unfortunately, you cannot build blocks in the dark, most toys these days require batteries (which we needed to borrow for flashlights), and bicycle rides are darn near impossible when your street has become the ocean.

Luckily, just before the storm hit I, in partnership with Eighty MPH Mom, was granted the opportunity to review the Joovy Bicycoo BMX Balance Bike. And here is a little secret, it works just as perfectly indoors as it does outside! The idea of balance bikes has taken off recently and I am proud to say that I am completely on board as a fan and, now, a Joovy Mom (though I have always thought of myself as quite “joovy”)!

The Bicycoo BMX is, by far, the best balance bike on the market. Traditionally, children learn to ride tricycles before moving onto a bicycle featuring training wheels. It is not until they master four wheels that we even begin teaching them about balance. We all learned how to stand before walking and began to walk before running. Perhaps we have been so set in our ways that we never stopped to realize that we were teaching and learning about bicycling the wrong way all along. Balance should come first, not last. Joovy allows us to start over and fresh, free from any preconceived notions.

Our little one was getting quite frustrated with his decision to have Daddy remove his training wheels. After one too many bumps and bruises he nearly gave up all hope. After only a week or so of riding his new Joovy BMX Balance Bike (indoors and in the dark) he has nearly gotten the hang of his big kid bicycle! I, truly, cannot say enough about this bike and am absolutely thrilled that we finally found the answer to our bicycle troubles. You definitely need to check out my full review on Eighty MPH Mom. There is even a nice, Joovy surprise in store for you just in time for Black Friday (*wink wink*)!

Thankfully, the skies have rejoiced, the sun has come out, and the water has receded just in time. Although many of our towns are still in ruins, we can now better enjoy our family bike rides. And family, after all, is the most important thing. A bike ride may seem trivial to some but, in times like this, having one’s family and friends make it through a natural disaster physically unscathed is a blessing that I will forever be grateful for. A simple bicycle ride and time spent together is something that no one can ever take for granted, especially now.

“Scars are not injuries. Scars are healing. After injury, a scar is what makes you whole.”
-China Miéville

Whether that “scar” is from falling off of a bicycle as a child or from a town being severely impacted by a natural disaster – we do and we will heal, together. Some people see scars and remember a wounding but, instead, we should find proof of the healing. With help from Joovy and their Bicycoo BMX, we have done that. We took the road less traveled that had once become the ocean only to find that, both, our son and our town have begun to heal. He is no longer afraid to ride a bicycle and the town has stood strong. We are Jersey strong. We are Joovy.

Click HERE to win your very own Joovy Bicycoo BMX Balance Bike! (:

Also, keep up with them via social media on Facebook and Twitter for more chances to win!

LandCentral Giveaway

Say you won the lottery… it’s likely that you’re very first purchase would be a new house, right? Searching for your very own new home is a blast but having to work out all of the fine print and finances is a drag. Not to mention that carrying around a hefty mortgage debt for a countless amount of years. Then there’s having to shell out the down payment which is, of course, easier said than done. Now, what if I told you that you could get your hands on some free land? A free piece of land to build your dream house on. A free piece of land for your kids to play on. Would you be interested? Do I have you hooked? Does it sound too good to be true?

It IS true!

LandCentral is giving away FREE land and the winner will get to choose from one of five states!

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Pennsylvania

It could be the start of your American dream!  Click HERE to enter! Contest ends tonight! (:

Slimy Bookworm

Bookworm (noun): a person unusually devoted to reading and study.

It used to be considered a “bad” thing, something that would classify you as a “nerd.” But who is to say that even being nerdy is something to look down upon?

Natalie Portman, Kate Beckinsale, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Jennifer Garner, Zac Efron, Vin Diesel, Nicolas Cage, Kevin Smith, Steve Jobs and Stan Lee were all your classic “nerds” but they’ve all certainly made one heck of a name for themselves. Nolan Gould gained fame through his role on Modern Family but the 13-year-old is already a high school graduate. Mayim Bialik hit the scene in the 90s as the star and title character of Blossom and has since gone on to get her PhD in neuroscience.

Being smart is NOT a bad thing. It is a wonderful gift that we must embrace and it all begins with reading. We have been blessed to have children that enjoy story time and often “read” on their own for fun. Our little ones are still a bit young to actually read the words but they do make up their own stories to go along with the illustrations. Isn’t that what reading is all about? It allows us to take our minds on an adventurous journey through imaginative learning.

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”
– Emilie Buchwald

Reading has become routine in our household and, thankfully, there is a slew of children’s books for our boys to choose from. Most have been accumulated through hand-me-downs but many have come from our very own childhood collections. Unfortunately, books are fragile and cannot live forever. Then, of course, there are new ones hitting the market on a regular basis. This is where Slimy Bookworm comes in. Whether you’re looking to replace an old, tattered favorite, purchasing a gift for a loved one, or you’re just in search of the next good read, Slimy Bookworm has you covered.

Slimy Bookworm has an amazing selection of reading material that will certainly elevate your home collection. The website’s layout and search options that break down into areas of interest including adventure, education and learning, and nature and science among others make shopping a breeze. They have even included a feature to search books by age group. After browsing for a while and playing with their Suggestion Service, I found a book to perfectly fit each of our children. I was very pleased with the site, service, selection and quality.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom ($7.99) and Adventure Stories for Boys ($12.95) are not only the perfect matches for our children individually but also work wonderfully as books that our entire family can enjoy together. From ABCs to going on a whirlwind adventure every book, like every child, is unique in their own way. Reading allows us to set off on these adventures by giving us the tools to do so, whether that is teaching straight facts or fueling an unstoppable imagination.

“So it is with children who learn to read fluently and well: They begin to take flight into whole new worlds as effortlessly as young birds take to the sky.”
– William James

I hope that our children will continue to find the joy in reading and now, thanks to Slimy Bookworm, I will always be able to keep their collection growing. Son-kissed and Slimy Bookworm would also like to give the gift of reading to one of you and the special little one in your life. Good luck and happy reading!

CLICK HERE –>
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*If you shop Slimy Bookworm from November 1st to Decemeber 1st, as a Son-kissed reader, you can enjoy 20% off of your purchase when you use the code: FRIENDS

Bertolli Frozen Meals

Hello again!

Please forgive my absence, but it has been quite the hectic week here at Son-kissed. If you have not yet checked out my Bertolli Frozen Meals review over at Eighty MPH Mom, you definitely should. Since running the post, my freezer has officially been stocked full of them. They really are that amazing! The original giveaway ends tomorrow but, SURPISE, we’re “extending” the giveaway just for you! One lucky Son-kissed reader will receive two free product coupons from my very own stash! Good luck!

CLICK HERE –> a Rafflecopter giveaway

ParaNorman is a Paranormal Hit

ParaNorman is a genius, family friendly take on the world’s current obsession with the impending zombie apocalypse. While the news stations remain cluttered with stories of crazies chowing down on the homeless and house pets I’d rather enjoy the Hollywood version of things – the Resident Evil series, Zombieland, and now ParaNorman.

The new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA, reteaming the company with Focus Features after the groundbreaking Academy Award-nominated Coraline. ParaNorman is, following Coraline, the company’s second stop-motion animated feature to be made in 3D.

In ParaNorman, a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst, of all, grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.

 

I love that we finally have a “scary” movie that is fun for, both, parents and kids and I know that ParaNorman is going to be a huge hit! Head on over to Eighty MPH Mom to read up on my full review and take your chance at winning an awesome paranormal ParaNorman prize pack for the zombie-loving kid in your life!