The Pig Farmer Wins the Ham and We Throw a Party

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Well hey there, remember last week when we had a $50 HoneyBaked gift card giveaway? That you ALL wanted to win?

Well, the winner has been chosen, completely 100% randomly but also completely 100% ironically – it’s Holly Michael! Congrats Holly! Holly’s win is ironic because her husband is…wait for it…a PIG FARMER. And her blog is called “Bringing Home the Bacon“. I’m cracking up! Well, Holly, you, like me, may have lost the funny writing contest (*cough*robbed*cough) but you WON the HoneyBaked gift card. CONGRATS!

Now, if you are bitter that YOU didn’t win (I’m looking at you, MOM) – never fear! It’s National Spiral Ham Day (I’m serious. As a heart attack. So just focus on this new meaning to April 15th and forget about your tax deadline!) so Emily and I are joining together with HoneyBaked and some other great bloggers for a fun Twitter party tonight to talk about ALL things HoneyBaked and Easter traditions. Of course, we will have PRIZES – lots of $50 HoneyBaked gift cards to give away!

Still jonesing for a HoneyBaked WIN? Join us tonight on Twitter from 8-9 PM EST. Follow @jennyitup, @momminitup, and the hashtag #HoneyBakedHost to win! If you’re coming, please let us know by RSVPing at this link.

Can’t wait to tweet with you all tonight! Happy Ham Day!

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Frozen, Planes, and Marvel – oh my!

The Wonder Forge provided me with these games to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.

If you’ve been hanging around this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I LOVE reviewing board games, especially when they are made by my favorite board game-makers, the Wonder Forge. I used games a lot when I was helping Sophie with her developmental delays, and thanks to this review, I’ve now started using them with Jonah to work on speech. Yeah! I was excited to see that two of the Wonder Forge’s newest games are matching games, which are perfect for his age, and that they are two of his faaavorite themes, Frozen and Marvel. Jonah looooooves Frozen (we don’t let him watch TV in general, but we went on a bit of a Frozen bender after we got it on DVD and whoops…he now pretty much has it memorized. Whoops! Mom Fail.) and he also loves the Marvel Superheroes – Spiderman, Ironman, Wolverine, and the Hulk especially.

Disney Frozen Matching Game

Marvel Matching Game

Jonah and I have been having great fun with these games (and Sophie is ga-ga over the Frozen Matching Game as well.) These are your classic, uncomplicated matching games, but the graphics are wonderful and there are 72 cards each so there are tons of different pictures. Here is how I play these with Jonah to work on speech. I take out about 20 or 24 of the cards so we’ll have 10-12 matches – that way the game will be a reasonable length of time for a lively 3-year-old. These games teach some great concepts in speech: turn taking, same, and different. So before each turn, I have Jonah say “my turn” or “mommy’s turn” and then no matter who’s turn it is, when the two cards are turned over I say, “Are they the same?” And he will answer either “yes” or “they are different”.

I need to note here that before we started playing these, Jonah already had the concept of “same” down pat. But we did use this for him to learn to articulate “not the same” or “different” and he caught on REALLY fast! I’m so pleased!

Frozen Matching Game Collage

Other ways to use matching games for therapy: have your child name the object on the cards he or she turns over. You can say: “Who is that?” or “What is that?” and encourage your child to answer. If you’re using cards that aren’t people, you can also use them to teach function. For instance, if the matching game is of common objects, and your child turns over a picture of a swing, you can say “What do we do with a swing?” and encourage/teach him to answer “We play on it.” or “We swing on it.” For the matching games like the Frozen game, you could teach gender by asking “Is Queen Elsa a boy or a girl?”, etc.! Just some suggestions! 

Jonah Frozen Matching Game

Jonah likes these games so much he will even “play” by himself sometimes! His favorite cards are “Olaf Snowman” and “Monster Snowman”. :)

The next game I reviewed from the Wonder Forge is for the slightly older set, ages 4-10, but I imagine I will be able to start playing it with Jonah within 6 months or so. In the meantime, the big kids and I really enjoyed it! It’s the Disney Planes Sky Race game.

Disney Planes Sky Race game

Like many of the Wonder Forge’s games, this is extra fun because it requires the players to be active and move about the room. I LOVE that! You set numbered markers around the room, and lay out an instruction card for each – it will tell you how you need to throw your plane – laying on your belly, between your legs, with your eyes closed, etc. It makes for some funny and silly plane racing!

sophie planes game

planes game card

Another feature I love about this game is that the game is won through part-skill and part-luck – if your plane lands closest to the marker, you get to keep that instruction card, but the cards all have differing point values, so even if you have the most cards, you might not end up with the most points – that gives the game a level of excitement because you really don’t know who the winner is until you all tally up your points at the end.

When Jonah is ready for it, this game is going to be awesome for working on following multi-step directions. In the meantime the big kids and I will keep enjoying it!

Do your kids need some new games for spring or Easter, or just because? I highly recommend all three of these! Thanks as always to my friends at the Wonder Forge for allowing me to share them with you!

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Can I have Spring without Spring Cleaning?

CVS provided my with Total Home products to facilitate my review. And I was like, SO EXCITED about it, because, you guys – it’s CVS! But all opinions and dumb jokes are totally my own.

Disney princess e card

 

After suffering through this terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad freaking eternal winter, I am happy to report that I have emerged alive and kickin’. The kids and I are finally enjoying getting outside and not wincing in pain from sub-zero winds every time we exit the house. WHEE! So we are pretty darn happy about SPRING!!! See?

sophie in spring

Unfortunately, along with spring comes the dreaded spring cleaning. For someone like me, aka the Worst Housekeeper Ever, any kind of cleaning is a pain, but a large undertaking like spring cleaning can be a nightmare. Because you see when you’re not all that, um….consistent at cleaning in general, things tend to build up! With three kids, one of them being a very busy three-year-old tornado mess-maker, cleaning can often be very defeating. As soon as I clean, it’s messy again. I’m like the “Time to Make the Donuts” guy. I clean in the morning while Jonah’s at school, and by the time my husband gets home from work, you can’t even tell I did a thing.  And it’s time to start all over again. Grr.

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Exhibit A: The floor under Jonah’s chair after lunch. Every. Day.

With this constant dirt-y-fying, I often need real motivation to get started cleaning. Last week I got a really good one – a big box of Total Home cleaning products from CVS! Yay! Since as you all know, I L-O-V-E CVS, I actually did get a little excited!

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I’m so excited! And I just can’t hide it!

Earlier this week when Jonah was at school, I put Pharrell Williams’”Happy” on repeat and got to cleaning. I started with Total Home Disinfecting Wipes on my dining room table, (they did a fabulous job of getting rid of all the sticky residue that Jonah manages to leave behind) and then I swept and  mopped my hardwood floors.

The cleaning challenge I have with my hardwood floors is two-fold: 1) they are 97 years old and so there’s a lot of dirt in there, despite the fact that they are in good shape and 2) We have three giant pine trees in our yard (probably also 97 years old!) and there are constantly pine needles EVERYWHERE in the house. They come in on our shoes and there’s not much we can do about it except sweep them up.

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Exhibit B. To add insult to injury, my house doesn’t even smell like pine!

Something that really helps with this plethora of pine needles is my Swiffer Sweeper. It’s the vacuum cleaner-kind, and when I am done sweeping and mopping it helps me get the rest of the dirt and hidden pine needles. This cleaning session, I tried out the CVS Total Home Dry Sweeping Cloths to go on my sweeper and they worked GREAT! Every bit as well as the name brand, if not better. I was super, super impressed with the quality and performance!

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Exhibit C. See all those pine needles? And um, DIRT!?!?

Ok, this is after I swept and mopped. AFTER. So this photo makes three things official: We are the dirtiest family on the planet, pine needles are the herpes of plant life, and CVS Total Home Dry Sweeping Cloths RULE!

Next on my cleaning journey (doesn’t that sound Oprah-like? I am sure if Oprah ever had to clean, she would say she was on a cleaning journey. So.) I moved to the kitchen. One thing I am not good about is wiping down my beautiful kitchen cabinets, which often fall victim to independent children who can get their own snacks and drinks. While this is a good thing, it sometimes results in chocolate syrup on my cabinets.

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Exhibit D. Chocolate.

To tackle this particular mess, I used Total Home Extra Strength Cleaning Eraser. I got it wet and went to work on those sticky stains on my cabinets which had been there for who-knows-how-long! Check out their performance:

Total Home Cleaning Eraser = winner!

I tested out a few more products and loved them – including a long-time favorite of mine, Total Home Kitchen Trash Bags, I have loved those for years. One of my favorite CVS brand products! Don’t worry, I am not going to show you a video of me changing my trash can. But I DO want to share these CVS Spring Cleaning tips with you!

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In all honesty, these products did make a couple hours of cleaning much easier for me. I wish they made a Total Home product that would purge the kids’ closets! I’d buy ‘em out!

I really recommend these products, and of course you guys know I am a huge fan and user of the CVS ExtraCare program, so when you head in to get supplies for spring cleaning (or the allergies that come with it, heh.) make sure use your ExtraCare card to get great savings! (AND check your ad or myWeeklyAd online to see what ExtraCare Bucks deals you can pick up. You guys know I love my ECBs!) Pick one up for free if you -gasp!- don’t have one (really if that’s the case I am shaking my head at you) and always stop at the coupon scanner, i.e. the Magic Coupon Machine before you shop to get sweet coupons. In short, make me proud (I’m looking at you, Emily)!

Well, I am totes worn out from that cleaning spree so I am going to pop a Mountain Dew open and reward myself, natch. While I’m vegging, I’d like to know – what’s your least favorite part of spring cleaning? (If you love it, I do NOT want to hear about it, ha!)

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