Category - Entertainment

Fun Summer Activity for Indoors and Outdoors

Our Summer break has begun and we are in full-force entertainment mode. If you have kids, you know what I’m talking about. The, “Mommy, I’m bored” can start as early as half a second after the last moment of school and I like to be prepared.

We have lots of lists for the Summer, I keep them put away until Summer break comes and then voila! they magically appear in our family command center (aka the place we keep our monthly calendar, chore charts, etc).

You may have already seen my post on Summer Schedule – Summer Rules but if not click the link HERE to get some ideas to a semi-relaxed semi-scheduled Summer that will help your household run more smoothly.

Another way we combat Summer boredom is by playing creatively. We always try to mix some old games/toys/activities with some new ones and this Summer we had the opportunity to check out the All-New Laser X – Laser Tag set

My girls usually opt out of playing laser tag at amusement venues because they aren’t sure what to expect and being highly sensitive, it can be intimidating with the loud noises and dark unfamiliar place. So when it comes to being able to play laser tag in the comfort of our own home and/or backyard, they were super excited.

Laser X features sophisticated electronics and optics that give players pinpoint blasting accuracy up to 200 feet. You can purchase sets of 1 or 2 and play with friends. Players can
choose to be on teams or select “rogue” mode where it’s every player for his or herself.

All Laser X sets work together, so games can have as few as two players – or the whole neighborhood can play. Advanced sensors in the Laser X blaster know when players are blasting, being hit, running or hiding. An interactive “coach” uses this information to give players tips and tricks throughout the game. Players can even plug headphones (not included) into their chest receiver and play music.

We tried out the Micro Blasters, but you can also purchase Original Blasters, Gaming Tower, and Long Range Blaster depending on the kind of play experience you are looking for. We highly recommend these as a fun summer or year-round toy for hours of fun (and a definite way to get rid of summer boredom!)

Sets range from around $29.99 to $49.99 and are sold online and at retailers nationwide. Get yours at GetLaserX.com before they are sold out for the summer!!

Thanks to Element Associates for sending a sample for review.

A Visit to the North Carolina Zoo – Travel Tips

This is NOT a paid post. Thank you NC Zoo for hosting our family for this trip. All opinions are honest thoughts from MommyB Knows Best.

 

Imagine walking around on a beautiful day enjoying time with your family surrounded by some of the most incredible animals nature has to see.

Our family had the opportunity to visit the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro recently and we wanted to share our experience with you. In this blog series you’ll find out helpful travel tips, learn more about the zoo and it’s different areas, and hear about upcoming events.

 

For this first post we will focus on some travel tips we have for visiting the zoo.

Getting Around the Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo is an expansive zoo that houses many different animals. It should take around 4-6 hours to visit the entire park. Touted as the worlds largest zoo there’s no surprise that when you visit there will be a fair amount of walking involved.

Major animal habitats provide a good amount of space to roam around and not feel as confined. Habitats are roughly 8 minutes walking distance from one to the other. It’s a good idea to wear comfortable walking shoes and take plenty of breaks. There are some areas to sit, take advantage of those with a short break, enjoy the scenery and check out where you’re headed next on the map.

Strollers and wheelchairs are permitted and strollers are highly recommended for little ones to offer a break from walking. These items are also available for rental on a first-come, first-served basis at the Earth Explorer Gift Shop and Safari Gift Shop.

The park offers tram cars and buses inside the park and I would encourage your family to make use of them when possible, especially when weather conditions are hot or if you have very young or elderly guests.

Parking

Parking is free and there is also a free shuttle that operates from 11:am to 5:30pm during peak tourist season. We got to the park pretty early and had a very easy time parking and were able to have a short walk to the park.

Tickets & Fun Tickets

Single ticket costs are $15 per adult, $13 per senior, and $11 ages, 2-12, ages 2 and under free. (*ticket price subject to change). For us this was a very reasonable cost for entry because of how large the park is and what we were able to see. You can check out ticket pricing and get yours HERE.

AAA, SEANC and military members receive general admission discount with member identification.

If you think you will want to visit several times a year, park memberships may be purchased through the North Carolina Zoological Society.

During peak visiting season you can save by purchasing fun tickets in bulk. Whether your kiddos would like to ride the Carousel, hang out on the Giraffe Deck, or your family would like to make use of the Paddleboats or sit in and watch the latest move at the 4D Theater, there’s something for everyone. *Some attractions are weather dependent.

We used our Fun tickets for Rio 4D and it was a great experience, got us out of the heat and was something fun for the whole family.

Food

There are picnic areas open outside the park and several restaurants and snack shops and food/drink carts located throughout the park.

Our family dined at Billy D’s Fried Chicken restaurant. We loved the idea of a sustainable meal. While sustainable and farm-to-table are buzz words these days it really is neat to know where your food is coming from and knowing that it’s benefiting local vendors. When we visited they had recently opened and we were excited to try their yummy offerings. The waffle fries were a family favorite and I loved the dill in the ranch dressing. If you’re looking for food that everyone will enjoy but have a fun twist, definitely check out Billy D’s.

Shows & Attractions

The NC Zoo features regular feedings, check the feeding times for each animal as they vary. While we didn’t experience this first hand I can only imagine how neat it would be to check out.

If you’re looking for some adventure the park also offers the Air Hike Ropes Course for a nominal fee. Height restrictions apply and activity is weather dependent.

Another new attraction that we were able to check out during our visit was the Birds in Flight Bird Show. This show is around 25 minutes of feathered-fun! We saw funny birds, beautiful birds, talented birds and loved the audience interaction. This is a show that’s great for the entire family! Tickets are $3 per person over age 2 and well worth the cost. A great chance to relax, laugh, and see some beautiful birds.

 

Head HERE for more park tips and purchase your tickets!

 

In our next posts we will highlight favorite parts of our trip in both of the zoo sections, North American and Africa.You won’t want to miss it so make sure you subscribe!

 

Have you ever visited? If so, what are your tips for visiting?

Have any questions about the zoo? Head to my Facebook page!

Spring Reading List – With Reading Reward Chart Printable

As the weather warms up and we have more daylight that means we have more time to read and enjoy new books as a family. When the Bradford pear trees aren’t stinking up our yard {can I get an Amen?!?} we love to sit outside with our books before it gets too hot out.

The B girls really enjoy reading a variety of books and we wanted to share some of our favorites that you might want to add to your child’s spring reading line-up.

Bible Belles

We recently heard about the Bible Belles series. These books take a strong woman from the Bible and show how her story encourages the main character Rooney to grow in Prayer, Patience, Bravery, Loyalty, and Leadership.

There are currently 5 books in the series and C is absolutely loving these books written by Erin Weidemann. We have two books from the series, Hannah the Belle of Prayer (Book 1) and Deborah The Belle of Leadership (Book 5) we found that the books seem to go better when you have the backstory of the previous book.

Also being a super hero-loving family these books definitely draw in kids who love action with a little bit of “time travel” to books of the Bible and empowering stories. We love strong women role-models and who better than those God has called to inspire our kiddos?!?!

Purchase a 3 book set kiddos are sure to love: BibleBelles.com

 

The Greatest Brick Builds: Amazing Creations in LEGO

If you have LEGO or block builders in your family The Greatest Book Builds by Nathan Sawaya is a MUST HAVE. This book features so many unique amazing creations that are sure to inspire your children. These jaw-dropping creations are presented in full color, with close-up photos, scale representations, historical commentary on the structures, and details on how each model was constructed using LEGO bricks. Included in this collection are the Golden Gate, the USS Missouri, and the Great Sphinx of Giza, as well as other iconic structures created by LEGO crafters from around the world.

My girls enjoy trying to replicate some of the builds in the book while others they try to imagine how they are created. I love how LEGO creations are presented as art and giving this generation some “outside-the-lines” ideas to encourage creativity.

Get your copy here:

Cul-de-Sac Kids Series

Both of my children LOVE a kids mystery. I guess they’re a lot like their mom because I really like mystery as well. The Cul-de-Sac Kids series features great, non-scary story lines. The characters are funny and easy to relate to and you don’t have to worry about rude language or inappropriate/bratty behavior like some books that are similar in this genre and age-range.

{Someone please tell me why kids have to be disrespectful in books, television, and movies!?!?}

We’ve purchased several box sets that our 7-going on 8 year old, has whizzed through. We almost can’t keep up with her. It looks like there are 24 books in total so we have at least 2 more box sets.

Check them out for yourself, makes a great gift too!

 

Samantha Sanderson Series

Speaking of mysteries, here is one for the older crowd, the Samantha Sanders series by Robin Caroll. Again, appropriate behavior and language so you don’t have to worry about what your kiddos are reading {though it’s never a bad idea to pre-read or read books with your child.} We love FaithGirlz brand books and these are among some other great books we are excited to check out.

Miss A has all 4 of the books in this series and I’m sure once C gets a little older she will be excited to read them as well. When A gets really passionate about something I can tell in the way she talks about it and she loves sharing stories from these books, always a great sign.

Add these to your cart today: 

 

Some other books that your kiddos might like:

Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes, we haven’t read this yet but it looks like something C will adore, it has dress-up, creativity, and a fun spirit. I can’t wait to see what she thinks!

Case for Christ for Kids by Lee Strobel, we love this series, perfect for your inquisitive kids who love black and white answers. It’s great for them to hear another perspective on faith and these books focus on several topics like Christ, Grace, the Creator and more.

 

Before you go, here’s a fun printable to encourage reading! You may want to offer a reward for reaching a certain number of books read, something fun that will motivate your child, if they need a little extra encouragement. And don’t forget, even as your children grow and get older it’s to read to them now and again, that can provide some incredibly sweet moments.

Click here to print – Kids Reading Tracker

 

 

Now it’s your turn to share: What books do your kiddos love?

 

 

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links, if you purchase through the links I thank you in advance for contributing to my coffee funds and helping me keep MommyBKnowsBest.com up and running!

Code Ninjas – Kids Coding Program

With STEM fields continuing to grow, both parents and children alike are looking for effective and fun ways to join the movement.

As a technology savvy family we love that our girls want to learn more about coding. For Christmas Miss A got a coding robot that she loved figuring out how to make move, spin, and turn. We can see both our girls love for figuring out how things work and that not only includes things they can touch but also things in the computer world. It’s pretty inspiring to see their curiosity.

Entrepreneur David Graham created Code Ninjas for Children ages 7-14 to learn how to code in a fun, non-intimidating way — by playing and building their own video games with peers in a social environment.

In addition to coding, children gain skills in robotics, math, logic, and problem solving. The game-based curriculum and welcoming atmosphere enables kids to have fun, while parents see tangible results.

If coding wasn’t fun enough Code Ninjas is taking it one step further. The program is set up in martial arts style with different belt levels for children to work on, a fun belt color bracelet allows them to check-in for their twice-weekly hour-long sessions.

The Greater Charlotte area is now home to two Code Ninjas locations – Fort Mill, SC and Concord, NC. We had the privilege of visiting the NEW Concord location and meeting with owner Anjali Dighe who is one of the most passionate business owners I have met.

Whether it was finding the perfect school for their son, being part of organizations that encouraged growth and development, or how they are adding personal touches to their Code Ninja programs to bring learning to life, it is very clear that the Dighe family values learning no matter what form it takes.

As they open their doors at the Concord location and prepare to open in Ballantyne, Meyers Park, and Chapel Hill, {for starters} there is one thing that shines through, Anjali’s commitment to excellence.

In speaking with her she was excited about the Code Ninjas program that features Scratch programming, Java Script, Roblox, Python and so much more. Seeing the world with a different set of eyes is very important at this Code Ninjas location and their senseis (the name appropriately given to Code Ninjas instructors) who work with students.

One thing I thought was very fascinating and a great touch to the Code Ninjas program is that in the upper levels students learn how to create, develop, and even market their own apps. Kids are not only learning how to code but so many great life skills; perseverance, consistency, business ethics, creativity, and the list goes on.

We are so excited at the opportunities and love that Code Ninjas is giving the community something different and very valuable in this technologically focused world.

If you haven’t checked out Code Ninjas and live in the North Carolina area request more information or come visit codeninjas.com. If you’re not in North Carolina never fear Code Ninjas are quickly popping up across America as we speak – Locations Near YOU!

 

 

Thanks Code Ninjas Concord for letting us visit and play, we can’t wait to come back again soon.

Jason’s Deli Catering For Entertaining

This is a sponsored post with Jason’s Deli, all opinions are my own.

 

 

I love holiday entertaining, the sound of people laughing and getting together to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company really warms my heart.

What I don’t love as much is figuring out the food aspect of hosting parties. I never know what to make or how much food I’ll need. To be honest, it stresses me out a little just thinking about it. This time of year it’s so much nicer when get togethers are stress and hassle-free. Don’t you agree??

I’ve teamed up with one of our family favorites, Jason’s Deli on their “Catering for Entertaining” Campaign to share with you how easy it is to host special events and treat your guests.

We love Jason’s Deli’s and their healthy food philosophy and now they’ve turned decades of hospitality, catering and delivery into a new service – Catering for Entertaining. Jason’s Deli brings wholesome, affordable foods directly to your party, so you have one less thing on your to-do list. Their goal is to be your catering service for holidays, retirement parties, birthday parties or any upcoming social events you may have.

 

Placing your order simple. Order with ease on their mobile app, online or call a location near you. When you order on the mobile app or online you have 24/7 access to your account, can create new orders or edit recent orders. You also earn Deli Dollar rewards! Another great option is pick up or delivery, I prefer delivery when I’m hosting so it’s one less thing for me to worry about.

Set up is a breeze, use Jason’s Deli downloadable table tent cards to tell your guests what goodies they will be enjoying and keep food in the catering containers or easily transfer Jason’s Deli to your own serving dishes for a little extra Christmas pizzazz.

My favorite part, besides knowing that we are eating yummy food without all the junk {dyes, artificial trans fats and flavors, processed MSG, and high-fructose corn syrup} is that the clean-up is almost non-existent, leaving me with plenty of time and energy to enjoy my company.

At a recent get-together with friends we were able to enjoy several great catering options.

The Kids Party Pack where children can grab fruit, veggies, and a healthy sandwich {super simple and a crowd-pleaser} for a well-balanced party lunch.

I highly recommend the Italian Pasta Salad was fresh, delicious and brought color to our meals. Plus I feel like this is a dish that everyone will love.

The Modern Meat and Cheese Package is one of my favorite offerings because it’s even better than an antipasto platter, my favorites are the olives, roasted red peppers and the basil pesto aioli is a huge hit with the masses. The crunchy garlic toasties and flatbread complete this platter. It also comes with an amazing Brownie Duo that includes fudge-walnut and peanut butter brownies.

I personally can’t have a gathering without a Fresh Fruit Tray and Fresh Veggie Tray and Jason’s Deli offers an amazing selection for each. These, in my opinion, are fresher and more plentiful with a wider selection of fruits and vegetables than a store-bought version. The trays were overflowing with plump strawberries and the ranch dressing was delicious over crunchy veggies including the zucchini.

Treat your guests with delicious Jason’s Deli’s Cake Bites. Our guests loved the display of chocolate, vanilla, and red velvet treats. You could also easily package these up and give them as party favors or deliver a whole tray to your favorite teacher or neighbor.

These are only a few of the many packages that Jason’s Deli has on their Catering For Entertaining menu. If you’re hosting a get together, I strongly encourage you to check out the many different packages and offerings they have. Not only will it save you the stress of figuring out the food details, but it will free you up to enjoy special occasions and gatherings.

Head to jasonsdeli.com/entertaining for more details.Check out their Facebook Page Facebook.com/JasonsDeli for current specials and updates.

 

Check out this Special Introductory Offer {while it lasts}:

Free delivery on weekdays 4-6pm and all day on weekends with your package order*. Please use this online code at checkout: FDSC 

For a Jason’s Deli location near you: Pineville, Woodlawn/Park Rd, Uptown at EpiCentre, University Area, Huntersville/Birkdale and Concord Mills or head to Jason’s Deli’s website HERE

And since it’s the holidays I’m giving you a chance to win a $25 Jason’s Deli Gift Card, feel free to treat yourself or spread the holiday cheer!!

Here’s how to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Family Friendly Holidays in Charlotte

Having lived in Charlotte for 10 years, our family has been able to create memorable holiday traditions. We also love that new activities and creative events that are popping up each year. Here are some of our favorites that we wanted to share with you!

 

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Holidays at the Garden

This destination is one of our favorite must-visit locations during the holidays {and other times of the year too}. If you are looking for a family tradition, Holidays at the Garden is an event where you’ll be able to make memories for years to come.

Children will look forward to filling out their passport when they complete fun holiday-themed games located around the garden and parents will love the beauty of the lights and spending time around a fire with their family.

With light features changing each year everyone in your family is bound to find a favorite, or two. While the stunning lights may be what brings you to Daniel Stowe this time of year, the live music, fairy village, and ambiance of roasting s’mores over the fire will keep you coming back year after year.

There are several food and snack options there are including food trucks, beverage bars, and of course it wouldn’t be the holidays without some amazingly sweet goodies. This year Sproutycakes Bakery greeted us again with a huge array of Christmas yumminess.

{Check them out: Sproutycakes Facebook and tell them we sent you, you can thank us later.}

While you will definitely want to bundle up, DSBG has done a great job of creating warm spaces for your family whether it’s the roaring fire pits, or the warmth and beauty of the Orchid Conservatory.

Additional activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, visit with Mrs. Claus, and Capture the Magic with Santa. *Some pre-registrations and payments required, please check the website for details.

To check out more details or purchase tickets online at a discounted rate for Holidays at the Garden at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens head HERE.

 

Carowinds

WinterFest

WinterFest is an all-new immersive holiday entertainment tradition, opening select evenings through December 30th.

WinterFest transforms the park into a winter wonderland adorned with more that five million holiday lights, a beautiful 70-foot Christmas tree and festive décor displayed throughout the park.

These words and picture alone do not do the park justice, they really went all out and several park goers outside of our party were in awe.

We loved how the park was divided into different themed areas from Charlie Brown’s™ Christmas Town to Jingle Bell Boardwalk, the ever-so-sweet Candy Cane Lane, and who can forget Celebration Plaza where it all kicks off.

WinterFest activities include a nightly tree lighting, live holiday shows and strolling performers, up to 16 family rides, a special holiday menu, a live nativity and 38-animal petting zoo, falling snow, and so much more!

Additional activities include taking a picture with Santa at St. Nick’s Pics*, decorating cookies with Mrs. Claus*, creating take-home keepsakes at Sally Brown’s Christmas Crafts, , skating on Snowflake Lake* and horse-drawn carriage rides*. *The activities listed may require advance ticket purchase or ticket purchase on-site.

The PEANUTS™ gang, and wonderful winter characters are all decked out in Holiday Spirit {except for Scrooge} and the joy is pretty contagious. With the help of some cheerful elves, Miss C and other excited children, wrote a letter to Santa at the North Pole Post Office.

 

Our family loved the singing and dancing featured in Charlie Brown’s™ Christmas Spectacular, and it was a great way to warm up the entire group, not to mention a fun way to get into the holiday spirit. All through the park is festive, live entertainment both indoors and outdoors.

If you’re anything like our coaster-loving family, you’ll want to take advantage of some extra ride time this season. With up to 16 rides, including Afterburn there’s sure to be a ride for family members of every age and thrill level.

Carowinds’ hasn’t forgotten the holiday treats. There are 20 new menu items just for WinterFest, including Turducken burgers, gourmet mac and cheese, gingerbread-eggnog and chocolate-peppermint funnel cakes, and homemade hot chocolate. {Buy your souvenir mug and get free refills on your day of purchase and $1 refills for return visits.}

Who would have thought, shoppers can browse for gifts at WinterFest too. My favorite section are the booths by local vendors at Artisan Alley. If you’re looking for stocking stuffers, or ugly sweaters, the park has those too!

**Don’t forget, guests can visit WinterFest once for free when they purchase a 2018 gold or platinum season pass.

Otherwise, grab your advance-purchase tickets, and check out all the details at carowinds.com.

Billy Graham Library

Christmas at the Library

If you’re looking for a faith-based Christmas tradition Billy Graham Library is rich with history. Parking and admission are FREE. The library is known for it’s year-round Journey of Faith that creatively tells the journey of Billy Graham {this may be a feature you want to save if you have pre-school aged children}. During the holidays the library comes alive –literally– with a delightful live nativity.

Enjoy the sleigh bells jingling while you take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the library grounds {for an additional fee}, or make your reservations for Christmas Dinner and enjoy time with your loved ones.

We loved hearing the different carolers and musical groups that were featured while drinking a hot cup of cocoa. We haven’t been this year, but in previous years the only thing that was a little let down was the food selection and taste. You may want to consider dining out before or after your visit.

Find out more details about your upcoming visit to Christmas at the Library.

Founders Hall – Uptown Charlotte

Leonard Bearstein Orchestra


The Leonard Bearstein Orchestra is located in uptown Charlotte at Founders Hall in the Bank of America Building. This is a fun event to attend, especially if you have little ones. This full animatronic orchestra perform from on the hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. With the exception of Christmas Day.

Founders Hall also has some restaurants, places to grab a quick bite or coffee, and shops if you are planning on making the visit a longer trip.

**Occasionally, a regularly scheduled performance may not take place due to a special event in the hall. As a parent it’s always good to have a back up plan just in case. I always recommend 7th Street Market, ImaginOn, and the Light Rail.

Head here to view the schedule: Bearstein Orchestra

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Speedway Christmas

Speedway Christmas is definitely one of the must-visits if you haven’t been or if you are new to the area. Surprising to me, I’ve found that people either love the experience or don’t. My family personally really enjoys this Charlotte Holiday event, but if you have anyone who doesn’t like being in the car for an extended period of time they may not enjoy this selection as much. {We haven’t used it but have heard that the fast pass to skip the line is worth the additional fee.} There are several days and times that the speedway is less busy and lines are shorter.

We like to go on a day we feel will be less busy, but also one that still has the Christmas Village experience. In the past the village has had an opportunity to visit Santa, purchase Holiday gifts from local vendors, and enjoy yummy food and treats.

In a previous year we’ve enjoyed the nativity/Bethlehem experience and our girls always love the petting zoo filled with a variety of adorable animals. Often times there will be additional activities for an extra charge like carnival and horse rides.

Get your tickets and more information here: Speedway Christmas

 

While this is a pretty long list of some of our family favorites, we have others and know that you do too. Please comment and let us know your favorite local areas to spend the holidays with your family. Also tell us if you agree or disagree, we want to hear from you!!

Thank you to Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens and Carowinds for hosting us this holiday season!!

Awesome Non-Fiction Books for Kids

For those of you with kids who love non-fiction you know sometimes it’s a challenge to find books that fit the criteria of being age appropriate, visually appealing and factually fun.

Here are a list of books that check all of those boxes and more!

 

Weird But True! Christmas: 300 Festive Facts to Light Up the Holidays is great for ages 8-12 and perfect for the holidays.

Ready for some totally festive facts? Even Christmas can be weird — it’s true! Did you know that Santa’s reindeer are probably all female? Or that artificial snow can be made from seaweed? Or that “Jingle Bells” was the first Christmas carol sung in space? Every kid will ho ho ho when they unwrap this book that is chocked full of the most random and fascinating facts about their most favorite holiday.

Get your copy here:

 

Ultimate Dinopedia will capture the attention of even the biggest dinosaur fan.

Although these amazing creatures roamed the Earth ages ago, new dinosaur discoveries are still being made today. The new edition includes favorites, like the fierce T-rex and the gentle Brontosaurus, plus audacious new finds, like the Anzu, Kosmoceratops, and Yi. Every dino profile is colorfully illustrated and features descriptions of when they roamed the Earth, how they lived, what they ate, and more. There are more than 600 dinos featured in all, including 10 profiles of recently discovered dinosaurs and new entries in the Dino Dictionary. Reports from paleontologists present the latest news and insights from the field.

Get your copy here:

 

Bet You Didn’t Know: Fascinating, Far-Out, Fun-tastic Facts
This BIG book is packed with gorgeous photos and illustrations and guaranteed to keep kids occupied for hours and hours. It makes a great classroom addition for teachers and homeschooling parents too.

Did you know that the first stop signs were black and white? Or that a litter of kittens is called a kindle? Or that butterflies can see more colors than humans can? Based on a favorite department in Nat Geo Kids magazine, this book is overflowing with fascinating facts, silly stats, and catchy little knowledge nuggets in all kinds of cool categories, from astronomy and sea creatures to revolutions and breakfast. Special features include Extreme Weirdness, Strange Places, Wacky World, and more.

Get your copy here:

 

Great for children ages 7-10, Just Joking Jumbo is the perfect book for your budding comedian. With 1,000 giant jokes and 1,000 funny photos it’s bound to be a hit with any kids who have a funny bone.

Knock-knocks, puns, riddles, tongue-twisters, photos of silly situations and even the craziest info about the history of funny business – it’s all here!

Get your copy here:

 

Hey, Baby! A Collection of Pictures, Poems and Stories from Nature’s Nursery is a book you will want to scoop up and cuddle in your arms if you have a nature loving kiddo.

From National Geography Kids, this collection of stunning photography of wee ones of the wild world will inspire, awe and awww. With dynamic profiles, clever poems, time-tested folktales, amazing rescue stories, and unlikely animal friendships, this book will be a favorite with sleepy little ones, new parents and moms-to-be. Featuring everything from wobbly baby bison to teeny turtles, mini-monkeys to fluffy foxes, this is the perfect keepsake book for the baby animal lover in us all.

Get your copy here:

 

Leave a comment – What are your kids favorite non-fiction books???

Dora’s Christmas CD

Dora The Explorer is ringing in the Holidays with her fun CD, Dora’s Christmas. This holly, jolly CD features Christmas Classics like “Deck the Halls”, “Jingle Bells”, and “Feliz Navidad”. Also included on this snowy sensation are Bonus Tracks from Dora’s Holiday Movie Dora’s Christmas Carol Adventure. You’ll want to make sure Swiper doesn’t swipe this CD!
Along with fun tunes on this Sony Label album, kids will enjoy the great bonus content also on this disk. Bring fun wall papers, lyrics, and a Dora’s Christmas Carol mini video to life using a computer CD drive.
This CD’s insert features the usual song information, but also includes a festive Feliz Navidad/Christmas game board and pieces. For those of you not wanting to cut your insert please note there is a great printable version in the Bonus Content.
For those of you looking for the more traditional versions of well-known Christmas songs, you’ll have to look elsewhere. When I first listened to the CD with my daughter, I was expecting the songs to be the original version but of course sung by Dora.
Dora incorporates fun friends from her show into her songs relating to the kids who follow her show. Dora’s version of “Deck the Halls” mentions some of her best friends, “See Boots the Monkey jump before us. Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la Big Red Chicken joins the chorus. Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.”
As expected Dora also includes great learning opportunities by including Spanish into many of the songs on this album including “Here Comes Santa Claus.”
“Here comes Santa Claus, Aquí viene Santa Claus, To visit me and my friends, Everyone’s waitin’, anticipatin’, As his sleigh comes round the bend. Bells are ringin’, Boots is singin’, All is merry and bright. So hang your stockings on Nochebuena, ‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight.” I’d expect nothing less from this Hispanic sweetheart.
If your child is a Nickelodeon fan they will adore this exciting CD not only because it features voices from Dora the Explorer, but also friends from The Backyardigans, and Go, Diego, Go!
Kids will recognize the “Dora The Explorer Christmas Theme” which is a jingle bell filled version of the original Dora Theme song. Parents will love that it features the Young People’s Chorus of New York City.
After I got over my initial shock of the “Dora-fied” words, my daughter and I were dancing around the living room enjoying the upbeat song, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”. So if you’re like me you may want to listen to the album once through, sample it online, and once you buy it just have fun with your kids. Dora’s Christmas is a really fun CD for kids who love Dora the Explorer to be able to enjoy Christmas with singing, and silliness.

Just in time for the holidays, get your copy here:

Guy Stuff: The Body Book For Boys

If you’ve been a reader long enough you’ll know I’m a girl mom. So what am I doing reviewing a body book for boys? I’m actually not. I have a lot of great “boy mom” friends and luckily one of them who has two younger boys was willing to check this book out and give me feedback from her perspective.

Before we get started I will say we completely LOVE the American Girl body book, The Care and Keeping of You and highly recommend that you go through it with your daughter together. I personally wouldn’t just hand the book over because I want to be intentional with what she’s reading and give her opportunities to talk when she has my full attention to answer questions or just ease nervousness about growing up.

That said, American Girl has recently published Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys.

Guy Stuff tackles everything boys need to know about their developing bodies and minds-from healthy eating, bad breath and shaving to pubic changes, moodiness and expressing emotions. Written by Dr. Cara Natterson, board-certified pediatrician, NY Times bestselling author of AG’s Care & Keeping of You series, and mom of a 12-year-old son and 14-year-old girl, tackles every subject in a down-to-earth and approachable manner that will help spark conversations between parents and their sons, including those most reluctant to talk about what they’re going through!

Here’s what Chelsea, mom of two boys 6 and under thought:

“There was a lot of great information broken into each body part or hygiene issue. This allows moms of younger boys to be able to focus on topics that are more on their level. The book is great to keep around long term because it does discuss puberty and what exactly happens “down there” with boys.

My son isn’t quite ready to know everything, so we stuck to the beginning of the book. I do like the fact that they combine the regular body part descriptions with the more private area descriptions. It helps kids understand that every part of their body is normal and able to be discussed openly, but it also lends itself to help kids understand the different between areas of their body that can be exposed and areas that God made to be private. It can also help guide safety talks such as who in their life is able to see which parts etc.

Overall, I like the book. Ultimately, how much or how little of the book you read to or with your child will depend on their age and maturity.”

Though it’s not always easy to talk about this topic, it’s so important. It’s never too early to start talking to your child about their body and most importantly it’s great when that information can come directly from their primary care giver.

You can purchase your copy for $12.99 at American Girl’s Website: Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys

Leave a comment!!! At what ages have you talked to your son about their body and/or puberty? Have you used any other great resources?

 

Birthday Celebrations to Remember

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Basic Invite. I only work with brands that I myself would use or think worthy of promoting to others. All opinions are from a personal point of view.

 

Throughout the year, we tend stay away from celebrating our selves during other holidays, choosing to focus on what those days mean for our family or what we can do to serve and love others, but birthdays are another story. Birthdays are a big deal in the B house.

Daddy B and I want to be very intentional when it comes to creating traditions for our family. Some years we vary up the way we celebrate different holidays, but there are always certain details that remain the same.

Another reason we celebrate is because my mom always made sure that birthdays were special, even in the times we had very little money {which was more often than not}. Those parties are something good from my childhood that I can nostalgically look back on. If I try hard enough I can probably remember most of my birthday parties and even those I don’t remember I have pictures to relive those years with.

It’s important for all of us in life to have memories to look back on.

Here are some practical ways that you can help you celebrate birthdays and also ways to keep those memories alive.

 

Take lots of pictures and video – Obviously one way we can reminisce about a birthday celebration is to have photos and video either on hand or these days online, that can remind us about funny moments, {like the time we couldn’t get the pinata to break open}.

Create a unique theme – We allow our girls to choose their own birthday party theme, however from experience I understand it’s hard to buy specific supplies for uniquely themed parties without breaking the bank {think peacock birthday party theme}. You can however use the unique theme and get away with it by choosing 1-3 coordinating colors for the party. Items like table settings, balloons, etc won’t be as expensive and all of your decorations and party supplies will seem like they were meant to go together.

 

You can also use kids birthday invitations to enhance your party theme. Now more than ever companies like Basic Invite are making it simple to help you craft invitations that are customized to fit your child’s theme whether it’s from a party store or a unique creation.

 

 

They offer:

Almost Unlimited Colors – Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail. This is what we feel sets us apart from almost any other online stationery company and is what we feel is our biggest draw.

Custom Samples – Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before they ever have to place their final order.

Over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes – Basic Invite is just as colorful with our envelopes as we are with our invitations. Customers can choose from over 40 different colors when it comes to their envelopes so that they can make their invitation stand out even before it is opened. All of our envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed.

Free Address Collection Service – Use our free address collection service to request your addresses with just three simple steps. Share a link, collect addresses, and get free envelope printing.

Making it easy and painless to enhance your child’s party theme with the help of an amazing selection of birthday invitations.

 

Have one stand out detail – You don’t have to be the parent that has everything at one party, performers, face painters, costume characters, and the list goes on. If you have so many big amazing things at one party it’ll not only set that as the standard for your child, but will make things seem less special. I recommend choosing one stand out detail, here are some examples:

Child’s Animal party: hiring a petting zoo

Child’s Science Party: creating wacky experiments

Child’s Milestone Teen Party: renting a limo for short rides or a ride to the party venue

Child’s Super Hero Party: hire a superhero to make a party appearance

Other non-specific stand out details could be that you get an amazing cake made, or a special person shows up (this could even be the child’s favorite friend or a surprise family member), or even that the party attendees have a special costume, oftentimes you can buy these in bulk online for a discounted rate.

Create Birthday Traditions – It doesn’t have to be expensive, time intensive or even something wacky and bold, but creating family traditions for birthdays is almost a sure way for your child to remember their special day as they grow up. Some favorite traditions may include:

Getting one dollar for every year you’ve lived {10 years old $10}

Singing the Happy Birthday song to family members on the phone

Special birthday meals {breakfast is usually a big one}

Wearing a fun hat or using a special plate

Depending on your family and your child there could be so many ways to make their special day amazing. Some children would prefer smaller parties with just a handful of friends, while others want huge parties, while some have gift ideas others may want guests to bring donations to a local charity.

When it comes to making your child’s birthday {or really any birthday special} it all comes down to the thoughtfulness that goes behind making that person feel loved. There are so many different ways people like to be shown love, but really taking the time to celebrate them, especially on their birthday, will be something they will remember and hold close for years to come.

 

Now let’s hear from you, comment below: What are your favorite traditions, or ways to make a memorable birthday celebration for your child???