Category - Reviews

Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Field Trip

We received admission for the children in attendance to be able to experience and write our thought about Sea Life. The experiences and opinions in this post are that of MommyBKnowsBest.com and attendees.

 

 

Miss C’s first grade class has been studying the ocean, focusing on different ocean zones, and sea animals. Their most recent project asked them to choose something that lives in the ocean and become an expert on that animal. Children chose sand dollars, blue whales, giant squid, sea otters, and more. They were also challenged to find ways that these animals were being harmed and figure out a way to help them.

Sea Life Aquariums not only help to educate people about sea animals but they too are helping the ocean to thrive. Their motto: Breed, Rescue, Protect is exactly what they do. We felt with the current unit, going to Sea Life for a first grade field trip was the perfect fit.

 

Sea Life has a lot of great offerings for field trips for schools, pre-schools, homeschoolers and many other groups. We were able to learn that Sea Life is part of the largest seahorse breeding network in the world. At the Charlotte-Concord, North Carolina location, Catherine, our guide was incredibly helpful in tips on finding the octopus, and shared with us all about the new turtle shelter.

 

 

Throughout our visit we were able to enjoy talks where we learned in-depth about sea animals living at Sea Life. We even got to see the manta ray and other fish and sharks being fed by a trained Aquarist while Kathy talked to us about methods of feeding and what breeds were in the tank.

 

 

Sea Life offers great group rates, educational workshops, and behind-the-scenes tours whether you’re learning about the ocean and sea life or just looking for a great field trip where kids will learn AND have fun at the same time. Check out their website to find more information on group tickets, field trips, and more: www.SeaLife.com

 

 

Tips for Keeping Your Kitchen Clean in Summer

“I’m sharing affresh® in my life as part of a sponsored series for Socialstars™ #affresh

 

Summertime means a lot of things in our home, it means the kids are home from school every day, it means hosting friends and family for celebrations and gatherings, and it means our kitchen is in FULL use. More kitchen use means more kitchen mess means more kitchen cleanup.

There are so many reasons to make sure you are keeping on top of kitchen cleaning other than to make it looks nice.

Here are a few reasons to keep a clean kitchen in the Summer:

  • Keep away ants and other bugs that LOVE dirty kitchens
  • Make it easier for entertaining {one less room to clean}
  • Not feel like you have chores hanging over you when fun activities pop up
  • Smelly kitchen can effect the way your entire house smells
  • Dishes are clean and easy to grab for a quick meal in between pool time
  • Enough counter space to pack a park lunch
  • Lessens the amount of germs for a healthier summer

 

Is the kitchen a hard place to keep clean?!? YES!! Especially when you aren’t the only one living in your home, but you can see it’s an important room to tidy up. Luckily there are some ways you can make cleaning the kitchen easier.

Enlist Help

With Miss A and Miss C tall enough to reach the counters and old enough to put things away on their own I can give them a good bit of kitchen cleaning chores. Even if you have a small child you can find these fun kitchen helper stools at almost any online retailer and they can easily help with wiping the counter or putting away unbreakable, non-sharp dishes.

 

Remember, help doesn’t just have to be your littles it can also be a spouse/significant other, or a friend {just be sure to return the favor}.

When you’re enlisting help be sure to make it fun, put on some music or make it a game to pass the time and encourage cheerful workers.

Keep it Simple

Use products that will clean without a lot of work. This is what I call “Return on Rub”. If you spend hours using a product that makes you scrub and sweat, and you’re not left with something sparkling clean, it’s so not worth it, am I right???

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Clean Smart. I clean smart using products I know that work, and products that are super easy to use.

Remember the smelly kitchen I mentioned above? One reason kitchens get so smelly is because the ever-so-helpful garbage disposal won’t clean itself. I know, maybe in the year 2030 that will be a thing, but in the meantime giving our garbage disposal a deep clean with minimal effort is humanly possible.

affresh® Disposal Cleaner is designed specifically to clean and remove odor causing residue using powerful foaming action.

 

Not only does it work, {trust me I tried it}, but it’s easy to use. Follow the instructions listed on the back of the box once a month or as needed.

 

 

 

1. Get ready for awesome affresh® cleaning to take place

2. Turn on hot water to a low flow

3. Place 1 fresh, citrus scented tablet in your disposal

4. Turn on the disposal for 15-30 seconds and watch the foaming action

After turning off your disposal and rinsing any foam residue, enjoy a fresh smelling disposal in practically less than a minute.

Wherever there is a specific cleaning job to do, you can count on affresh® cleaners to provide the right tool for the job. Purchase your affresh® cleaners HERE

 

Break it Up

When you’re thinking of steps you need to clean your kitchen think broad and make a list, when you break the work into chunks and spread it out it becomes easier to tackle. If you’re a visual person writing down your task might be a great help. We have a white board in our kitchen that has many uses including writing down and checking off chores.

Here is a list of some tasks that may be helpful to send you on your kitchen cleaning journey:

  • Counters
  • Appliances {you could even break these down more}
  • Sink & Disposal {see tip above}
  • Floors
  • Cabinets

Your tasks may vary depending on the size of your kitchen, your appliances and your personal preference, but hopefully this is a great start to a clean kitchen this Summer.

 

What tips do you have to keep your kitchen clean, and you’re not allowed to say, “don’t use it”, I’ve tried that but eating out every meal is too expensive. 

 

Tips for Teaching your Family Safe Online Behavior

This is a sponsored post in partnership with KidGuard. Any opinions or thoughts are that of MommyBKnowsBest.

Navigating the web as an adult can be tricky, whether you’re faced with security problems, or just overwhelmed by the harsh comments on social media, it always seems like there’s something you have to look out for.

 

 

In an age like today it’s almost impossible to not be online especially for younger generations. For parents, if your child is on a social media platform or website that you’ve never seen that’s a big problem.

Remember when your child was little, you wanted to know a couple of things right?
It was important to:
  • Know where your children were
  • Know what they were doing

The same rules follow suit online.

Yes, your children are older, more responsible, however it’s still important to:

  • Know what sites and platforms they are on
  • Know how they are using social media and the internet

And how do you do this if you’re not online with them?

We have to educate ourselves every step of the way with parenting. Right? Here are some things you’ve probably done as a parent that you can apply to parenting children who are online.

We ask our parents and friends for advice

You may not ask your parents unless they’re super tech savvy but talk to friends, specifically friends who you know have navigated parenting children who are online and done it well.

We read books and articles

There are so many great resources out there. I highly recommend KidGuard, they have recently published a how-to guide to educate parents on the importance of developing their children’s digital citizenship and safe online behavior filled with amazing tips for motoring cell phone use, GPS tracking, facts about Cyber Bullying that you may not have heard, and it’s a free resource. Check it out here: KidGuard Parents’ Survival Guide to Online Safety.

We buy products that help us parent

Whether you look into downloading software or add apps, choose tools that will give you the end result you are looking for, whether it’s security, limited screen time, privacy, or all of the above. Some are available for free, or trial periods, but I have found that the programs that are paid are often well worth the money spent. Consider it an investment into the well being of your family.
So what’s your first step? There’s no “right” way or formula for teaching your family online safety, rather the important step is to start. Pick one of the three ways above and get started, once you realize how helpful resources like KidGuard {kidguard.com} can be a whole new world will open up to you and you’ll be a step closer to parenting at your best in a tech-savvy world.

caseable Phone Cases { Guest Review }

I constantly find myself changing my phone due to the nature of the case. I switch between the case with the best phone protection to the case that looks great.

Are you a cell phone case flip-flopper too?

Those who know me know I am not one for bulky cases. I often opt for slimmer cases because even though bulky cases are great for protection, they are thick and heavy which I find to be an inconvenience. {Not to mention they hurt my hands.}

Despite the reasons I don’t like thick cases, I still find myself not fully content with slimmer cases. While the look of the case is important, there is one common problem with slim cases: protection. If you drop your phone, you want it to be safe from shattering. I’ve dropped my phone because often times slim cases are very slick, to the point where a “death grip” is needed in order to prevent yourself from dropping it. It has been difficult finding a case that meets all the criteria, since one set of pros and cons are often sacrificed for another.

caseable cases have proven me wrong in thinking a case with all these characteristics does not exist.

 

The look of their cases are unique and will appeal to anyone who is looking to buy one. Because of the vast selection, it took me quite a while to narrow my picks down to just two. I found many that I liked and want to buy. Unfortunately, the website did not have a search bar which made it hard to find a specific kind of case. {Hopefully they will add a search option to make shopping on their site easier.}

Protection in slim cases normally fails to protect the entire phone. caseable cases have a unique texture, unlike any cases I have used. They are soft, but provide just enough traction to have a good grip on your phone without being worried it will slip out of your hand.

Usually the case will cover the left and right sides of the phone, but fall short on the top and bottom of the phone. This case covers more of the bottom and top by curving around it, providing additional protection if dropped. The case doesn’t cover the entire top and bottom of the phone, which some people might not like. I personally think it is better that it doesn’t because it’s easier to remove the case.

Another thing, {that my friend brought to my attention} is that the difference in weight of the phone with and without the case is not noticeable. When I pick up my phone I don’t notice right away, but feel comforted when I realize the case is on my phone.

 

 

By buying a caseable case not only are you protecting your phone, but the environment as well. These cases are made out of recycled water bottles, which is a plus in the purchase of one of these cases. While the price is a bit on the higher end, I think the price suits what the case provides. A five-dollar case on Amazon would not come close to the needs I have in a case for my phone as a college student and soon-to-be-teacher.

I would recommend a caseable case if you are looking for a case that will both look great, and give you the protection you are looking for.

caseable is giving MommyB Knows Best readers a discount good for $7 off any purchase when you enter the code  Summer7 at checkout. Head to their website www.caseable.com see their full line of phone cases for iPhones, Samsung, and more .

We received product samples from caseable in order to experience the product and provide you with honest thoughts.

 

Hayley is finishing up her sophomore year in college studying to be an elementary school teacher. In her free time Hayley enjoys photography, singing, watching Netflix, spending time with friends, and writing on her personal blog. Find more of Hayley’s work at halestakescollege.blogspot.com

What’s In My Diaper Bag? – Diaper Bag Essentials

This is a sponsored post with Beech-Nut brand, however all opinions are my own, honest thoughts.

 

Let’s face it moms are always on-the-go, whether it’s doctor’s appointments, playdates, or running errands. It’s so hard to try to remember the list of things to bring with you as you scramble to make it out the door. Organization and pre-planning go a long way in the mommy world, and while it’s not possible to plan everything {ie, diaper blowouts, or traffic jams; both equally horrible}, there are some things that you can plan that are easy and will simplify your life.

Today’s What’s in My Diaper Bag? – Diaper Bag Essentials post isn’t an absolute list, it’s a list to get you started in the right direction and allows you to make changes that will fit your family and personal on-the-go needs.

Playtime

The type of toy will vary depending on your child’s age, but generally speaking choose toys that are easily washable. You already know those toys are going straight to the ground. Sophie la Girafe Teether** {pictured above} is a must-have diaper bag toy. She’s easy to find in stores and can be wiped down quickly {don’t use her as a bath toy}.

Some fabric toys that wrap around the carseat or shopping cart are great too. {Always look for machine-washable to save yourself some time and stress.}

Mealtime

Easy travel dining ware, like pop-up bowls and disposable flatware are great for meals on the go.

I also highly recommend easy snacks. We’re pretty mindful of what our kids are eating and compare brands to see which are the healthiest and Beech-Nut** really stands out. Not only are their baby and toddler snacks and cereals real ingredients, but they are super portable and a great addition to your diaper bag essentials.

 

Check out their Naturals™ and Organics™ lines:

 

Don’t forget the two-in-one highchair/shopping cart cover like this multi-colored Eddie Bauer Reversible Cart & High Chair Cover**. We loved ours and highly recommend keeping one in your diaper bag. {Opt for darker colors to hide stains.}

While we are at it, I love these Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Milk Feeding Bib the unique dribble catcher absorbs moisture and is ideal for drips or teething and they’re reversible as well.

Changing time

Of course diapers and wipes are important, we heart Pampers brand. Be sure to put a few diapers in your bag, get a travel wipes case, and remember to check every so often to refill.

Changing Pads often come with diaper bags but personally I’ve always been hesitant to use them because I feel like they may not be super clean, I typically go with disposable options and you can find earth-friendly versions as well.

Don’t feel like carrying a dirty diaper around in your diaper bag? Yuck! I highly recommend having the handy Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Bag Dispenser & Bags** attached to your diaper bag at all times. It clips on to the strap AND smells great.

 

 

Remember the extra change of clothes for when messes occur, trust me you’ll thank me later.

Mommy time

It’s always nice to have a few things for mom stashed away in your diaper bag. Remember some bottled water, a quick snack, extra clothes, and maybe even some shower wipes to freshen up a bit. If you can sneak a good book or magazine in, GO YOU!!

Healthy time

Disinfect the world. Okay I know some germs are good, but for public places and unexpected stops I love a good disinfecting wipe. Yep, I’m that mom.

You can buy a set of nail clippers, a thermometer, all your baby’s health needs separately, but why when you can get everything in a complete set that comes with a great little bag to keep everything in one place in your diaper bag. Love this set by Safety 1st. Check out their Deluxe Healthcare & Grooming Kit**.

Okay on this last one, I have not personally tried this but feel like I have seen parents in a standing ovation over this health product. Ladies, and gents, I give you the Fridababy NoseFrida® Nasal Aspirator**. Again, people swear by it and reviews on shopping sites are pretty impressive.

 

And don’t forget the cute Oh Joy!® Backpack Diaper Bag** that’s super stylish and just the right size to hold all your essentials and not be overwhelmingly large.

 

So tell me, What’s In Your Diaper Bag? No, seriously, I really want to know! Leave a comment below, can’t wait to see what your must-haves are.

The Children’s Place Online Order Cancellations

After needing to update our girls’ wardrobes we did some shopping at The Children’s Place earlier this month. During a special promotion we received Place Cash to spend on purchases at a later date.

Yesterday I took advantage of a quiet moment to order a few things we were still lacking, excited at the great prices and the fact that The Children’s Place carries size 16 in girl’s clothing. After using my rewards coupon and Place Cash I checked out.

This afternoon, however I received an email that my orders had been canceled, which seemed very weird to me. After about an hour on the phone (34 minutes on hold and the other on and off hold with a very polite customer representative), I was told someone had hacked Place Cash numbers and used them from purchases and as a preemptive strike The Children’s Place was cancelling all online orders using Place Cash.

I received an email with new coupon and rewards codes, I’m a little surprised they didn’t offer anything for the inconvenience of having to reorder and being on the phone for so long. Also, I’m a little apprehensive filling up the cart again and also hoping we don’t miss out on any styles/sizes that we were able to “purchase” yesterday. I understand these things happen and the rep at The Children’s Place has been very understanding.

If you are stuck in this same situation, and would still like to use your cash, hopefully you won’t be on hold for the same amount of time, but be sure to call 1-877-752-2387.

 

Please comment here to let us know what your experience was.

Go!Go! Sports Girls – Toy Review

Be inspired, be a dreamer, think BIG!

We have some lofty goals for our girls, but feel that instilling future thinking qualities in them now will help them to aspire to greatness. We want our girls to love God, love others, and work hard to accomplish their goals in life.

I remember as a kid I wanted to be a ballerina, pediatrician, architect, mommy, teacher, and in different ways I’ve achieved some of those dreams through being a mom. Ever since they were little our girls have had dreams too. Since she was a toddler Miss C has wanted to be a fashion designer for people and pets, and Miss A has wanted to be a Little Gym instructor and has loved science and art/music since I can remember.

I’m thankful that my girls life in today’s world. While I’m not naive to the fact that in most cases women are still not being treated as equals to their male counterparts, I do know that there has been some progress and I’m excited to see what the future holds for them and their children.

Aligning with the ideals of empowering girls, Jodi Bondi Norgaard and Kara Douglass Thom have combined their talents to create Go!Go! Sports Girls. This unique line of dolls and books inspires girls to be strong, fit, smart, and adventurous to name a few qualities.

What we love about Go!Go! Sports Girls

In a world of dolls that often times are encouraging girls to grow up quickly, these dolls are refreshingly age-appropriate. Instead of focusing on hair and makeup these dolls and their stories emphasize what their bodies can do.

We were able to check out Go!Go! Sports Girls Read and Play Sets where dolls came with their very own stories. Soccer Girl Cassie and Cheerleader Girl Roxie were a big hit in our house as Miss C has been involved in both sports.

 

Go!Go! Sports Dolls are soft bodied, easy to clean and are also great to sleep with since they’re not hard like other dolls and toys. {Having the soft body does make them a little hard to sit up on a shelf though.} I also love that their hair isn’t easy to tangle.

Miss C really loves the books that come with the dolls. Cassie comes with a book about teamwork and Roxy’s book talks about being a leader, both great life skills for growing girls to learn.

The kit description mentions that they come with doll accessories, but our two dolls didn’t come with anything other than the doll, book, and the sports uniform the dolls were wearing. **Other dolls may include these items.

In having a chance to speak with creator Jodi Bondi Norgaard, I told her how, as a multiracial family always love when brands have girls of different ethnic backgrounds. While at this time the dolls are pretty light-skinned, Jodi mentioned they were hoping to add more dolls to their collection.

Current dolls include, Cassie – Soccer, Maya – Gymnastics, M.C. – Dance, Suzi – Swimming, Ella – Running, and Roxy – Cheerleading. Which doll do you think your child(ren) would like?

What qualities do you think are important for little girls to have??

Go check out their website for coloring pages, more information about creator, author, and illustrators, and their fun app! gogosportsgirls.com

 

Click on the link below to buy or check out dolls, books, and sets, or head to a local retailer.

This is not a sponsored post, we received product samples in order to test out the product. All opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are honest.

By Ceci

In searching for skin care items for Miss C, who has been diagnosed with eczema and small plaque parapsoriasis, I try to be very mindful of products that are naturally based. Because she has such sensitive skin I don’t want to put harmful chemicals or something that may irritate her even further.

I was approached by the founder of the company By Ceci, Cecelia Huddy to try out a few things from her natural body care product line. In asking for soothing and food scented items she provided some great test products.

Let me first say, I love how her focus is on making her products natural and not only selling to her customers but teaching them as well.

By Ceci products are all-natural:

  • scented using natural essential oils
  • colored with only natural herbs and botanicals such as turmeric, charcoal, indigo, and kelp
  • uses sustainable palm oil and is upfront with any products she uses.

When you go to the ByCeci website  you can tell Cecelia not only stands behind her products, but she wants customers to learn why she uses specific products and is completely upfront about what is in her product line.

 

 

Here are some of our thoughts:

I loved the smell of her lip balm {especially the Choco Mint} but admittedly had a problem trying to push up the tube for application.

The Hint of Vanilla Body Oil is amazing. It not only goes on smoothly but it dries clean and not sticky, and if you like the smell of vanilla you will love this! I’m loving this for keeping my arms moisturized this winter.

There are so many soaps to choose from and they smell great but look even cooler. We tried the Castile Soap for Miss C’s sensitive skin as it’s one of the more gentle cleansers. It’s made with olive oil (great for the skin) and is unscented. This soap has been AMAZING for C’s skin, it goes on super smooth and leaves her skin moisturized without making her itchy or rashy, it’s truly one of the very few soaps we can use on her highly sensitive skin. So glad we were able to try it out!

If you like to take comfort knowing what products are being used on your family’s skin and that those products are being made in an environment where the maker is focused on using quality product and ensuring the happiness of her clients, I’d highly recommend by Ceci products. Head to their website to check out their philosophies and products: byCeci.com

We received product and have chosen to review based on our positive experience. This is not a paid or sponsored post. Your opinions may vary.

D. Liles Collection Online Flower Girl Boutique – Review

If you know anything about Miss C, it’s that she loves fashion and all things fancy. Aside from the fact that she wants to be a fashion designer for people {and pets}, she also loves wearing fancy clothes even if she’s just relaxing around the house.

When approached by the D. Liles Collection brand, we were excited to see beautiful dresses that are perfect for weddings or that little fancy girl in your life. Not only are the dresses meticulously made, but they are comfortable for the young girls wearing them.

 

 

The D. Liles Collection began from owner and designer Daria’s love of vintage, French inspired clothing and all things girly. Her brand features beautiful, soft fabrics, one-of-a-kind designs and she really knows how to pull pieces together for a complete, feminine look while maintaining the wearer’s innocence.

Miss C had a hard time picking out a dress because there are so many beautiful ones to choose from in the collection. Not surprisingly so, she chose the adorable Evangeline Flower Girl Dress in Soft White.

 

Seeing the dress in person, the first thing I noticed was how soft and feminine the materials were. Unlike some flower girl dresses, this dress from D. Liles Collection was easy to put on and was very comfortable for Miss C to wear. The full skirt has four layers of beautifully gathered tulle, while the bodice features a lovely Venetian lace with stretchy fabric as the base, the perfect combination of fancy and wearable.

This dress is so versatile that we tied the back of the dress in a couple of different styles.

{Anyone looking for a flower girl???}

 

Check out that beautiful lace detailing, perfect for any style wedding or special event.

 

 

The Evangeline Dress is definitely one of the more wearable fancy dresses that Miss C has in her closet and it’s affordably priced too, {both things I can appreciate}.

Whether you are looking for a great flower girl dress that your child will be comfortable in for hours and want to wear long after the big day, or a beautiful dress for a young fashion lover, I would highly recommend the D. Liles Collection.

For more information and to see their collections head to their website: DLilesCollection.com

 

This is not a sponsored post, I received a review sample from the brand and all opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are my own.

Why I Conture

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Conture Skin Care. All opinions are my own.

 

When I was a little girl I rarely wore sunscreen and when I was in college I visited the tanning salon on a regular basis. I’ll admit I wasn’t very health conscious when it came to my skin, but it’s never to late to start caring for your skin.

Now that it’s been a few months since I first started using the Conture Kinetic Skin Toning System ,  I wanted to give you an update!

 

 

I love Conture’s wrinkle fighting properties and know they will come in handy for helping me take good care of my skin. As I mentioned in my previous post, for me it’s not just about beauty, but also to be aware of changes in my skin and really focus on skin health.

I’m still enjoying using the skin toning system, however being busy means I don’t have time to use my Conture every morning and night. I do however always use the Conture Kinetic Serums on a daily basis.

I really love the serums because they give my skin the moisture it needs during winter months, not to mention it goes on smoothly. I love that my skin feels soft and not greasy after I use the product.

While the Conture System is a bit of an investment, if you are someone who is spending several hundred dollars on spa treatments and facials this product will definitely save you money in between services. If you’re someone who likes to focus on self care in the comfort of your home and want to try a few products before making a larger commitment I strongly recommend the Kinetic AM & PM kit.

I personally would love to try the Kinetic Remedy Eye Treatment and it’s price point is in the range I normally pay for similar products.

If you are interested in learning more about the Conture Kinetic Skin Toning System, visit their website at Conture.com and for an amazing 25% discount off their entire product line be sure to use the code: MommyB25