Tag - reviews

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.

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.

Tech Review: i Covers and Cases

Sometimes when you acquire new technology you forget all the additional accessories that go along with the new devices.  Coming from personal experience {aka a cracked phone}, it’s important to make sure your devices are protected and have the right accessories. I had the opportunity to review a couple of new i-accessories and wanted to give you my thoughts so you can make the best purchasing choice whether you go with the brands listed, or the reviews give you some helpful tips on buying your next device accessory.

From ZooGue – iPad 3rd/4th generation Genius case $49.99

iPad_Case_Main_Picture__49964.1344116079.220.220

[I like:]

  • Fit my iPad perfectly
  • Has the appropriate spots for cameras etc.
  • Comes in PINK and BLACK
  • Has a hard cover for protection
  • Can attach with velcro straps for portability
  • Decent price

[/checklist]

[Not so much:]

  • This version has a velcro stand that sticks to everything (including my clothes when carrying it)
  • No screen protector
  • Only comes in two colors currently

[/badlist]

ZooGue iPad Case Review MommyB

Overall thoughts:

I think I would have chosen the Zoogue Prodigy iPad case over this one because the velcro is very annoying, but I do love that the case allows for several angles (which is great for glare and different user heights).

For more details and to purchase check out ZooGue’s website: zoogue.com

From NueVue – Leather iPhone Case $56.99

neuvue_iphone_1

[I like:]

  • That it rids my phone of germs {phones are so germy!}
  • It’s available in leather, canvas, and cotton twill and several colors
  • The sleek and clean look of the case

[/checklist]

[Not so much:]

  • These types of case covers don’t offer protection for phones and other devices
  • Cannot use the phone while it’s in the case
  • If using for only cleaning purposes you still need to remove your hardcase before cleaning

[/badlist]

NewVu iPhone Case review MommyB

Overall thoughts:

I LOVE the concept of a clean phone {bacteria-free especially} however I need my phone to be protected especially being a busy mom. If they can somehow combine cleaning with hardcase phones I’m all in. In the meantime I will continue to use my NueVue case to clean my phone on occasion.

More details and purchasing NueVue on their website: nuevue.com

Are you looking for a case or accessory for any of your devices? Do you have any technology device accessories favorites? 

Tech Review i Covers and Cases MommyB

 

Thanks for checking out my i accessories post, feel free to share this post and come back to read more reviews, thoughts, and giveaways on MommyBKnowsBest.com

I received review products from both companies in order to give a detailed review and chose to share my experiences with you. All opinions express in this post are my honest thoughts.

 

 

 

Turbo a Family Friendly Movie {Movie Review}

I received complimentary tickets to view this movie.

When it comes to entertainment for my family I’m a picky parent, so when I tell you I highly recommend the PG movie, “Turbo” you should know that this recommendation for me, is a big deal.

Turbo _voiced by Ryan Reynolds_ basks in the televised image of his idol race car driver Guy Gagne

Out in theaters today, this animated film will delight your entire family. Turbo features an all star line-up, including Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Luis Guzmán, Bill Hader, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, Snoop Dogg, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Turbo is a snail who dreams of being the greatest racer in the world. His obsession with speed has made him an oddity and outsider in the slow and cautious snail community. Turbo desperately wishes he could escape the slow-paced life he’s living, and he gets that chance after a freak accident leaves him with the power of incredible speed. The newly turbo-charged Turbo embarks on an extraordinary journey to achieve the impossible: racing against the best that the Indianapolis 500 has to offer. Joining Turbo is his dedicated pit crew of racing snails – a ragtag group of trash-talking adrenaline junkies tricked out with shells that look like mini-street racing cars. Turbo is the ultimate underdog who achieves the impossible by refusing to let his limitations get in the way of his dreams.

Turbo -center, played by Ryan Reynolds- and the Racing Snails race to glory.

Miss A {age 6} and I took our friends, a mom and daughter (around the same age as Avery). We all really enjoyed the movie, and here’s why Miss A and I liked it:

MommyB:

[checklist]

  • GREAT background story. The underdogs, {Turbo and Tito} fighting for something they truly want, even when things don’t work out their way, but never giving up.
  • No “real” scary parts. There were a few really adventurous parts, and a couple of “bad guys”, but none of them really bothered Miss A nor were they inappropriately scary {no skulls, vicious anger, etc}
  • Awesome, fun animation. Some of the scenes were incredibly realistic.
  • My kind of music. The movie had a lot of music from “my time” some fun hip-hop songs, but really kept with the fast pace of the movie.
  • Camaraderie. I love the way the snail crew worked together, each playing their own role, and stepping in when they are needed.

[/checklist]

Miss A:

[checklist]

  • The movie Turbo is super funny! I really liked White Shadow.
  • The 3D glasses were really cool, there were a few minutes I thought I could grab things in the air, but they were on the screen.
  • I want to see it again, and bring my little sister next time {age 3}

[/checklist]

The only thing that Miss A didn’t like were the previews before the show, especially in 3D, so this may be a section of the show where you want to grab a snack or have your child engaged in an activity where they aren’t looking at the screen. 

When considering if your child would like it, of course take into consideration their age, how many other movies in the theaters they’ve watched, and also their maturity.

To put an age range on this movie I would say it depends on if you are viewing in 3D or not. For the 3D version, because it is more interactive and can scare or intimidate smaller children I would say ages 5/6 years old and up, and for the standard version I would bring our 3 year old for sure, but that’s also because I know she would sit and watch and not be bored, and I feel very comfortable with the content of the movie as well.

I encourage you to check out Turbo and if you do, please come back and let me know what your and your children’s thoughts were on the movie!! Happy viewing.

 

 

I received complimentary admission to view this movie, but was not paid for this review. All opinions expressed in this post are my honest thoughts of me and Miss A’s. Your opinions may vary. 

Atlantic City Food – From the Boardwalk to the Casinos

This post is a product of my #jerseylove trip to Atlantic City. I would not have been able to write this post without the great hospitality of Caesar’s Atlantic City, Harrah’s Atlantic City, James’ Candy, and Steel Pier Atlantic City.

While the awesome bloggers from Social Media Moms and New Jersey Digital Moms were enjoying the #jerseylove social media for good trip, we were also able to partake in some of the yummier things that Atlantic City has to offer.

If you’re looking to start off your day with a little brunch, might I suggest a delicious hand-made crepe? The crepe station and omelet stations at Caesar’s Brunch at Nero’s were pretty popular. They also offered a wide variety of seafood, breakfast foods, desserts, pretty much a “you name it, we have it” brunch buffet. Everything I ate was delicious and fresh.

Caesars Brunch at Neros Crepe MommyB

While we were in town we got a, “Taste of AC” at the beautiful Harrah’s Resort and were able to try out some delicious dishes, view some amazing chocolate sculptures, and even try out some new drinks, like this “woo-hoo”:

Woo Hoo Taste of AC Drink MommyBKnowsBest

Here are some photos from our #jerseylove sneak peek, Taste of AC:

Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival Taste of AC Collage

If you like food and are interested in meeting the chefs behind the food, including renowned culinary experts and TV personalities like Rocco DiSpirito, The Neelys, and Robert Irvine. The 2013 Food and Wine Festival will be held July 25th through July 28th and tickets are being sold right now. Head over to www.caesars.com/acfoodandwine for more details and to purchase your tickets.

Let’s get a breath of fresh air and explore the boardwalk. When you step out onto those wooden planks a variety of food smells are wafting in the air. From the standard soft pretzels, funnel cake, ice cream, big-as-your-head pizza, cotton candy, french fries, cheesesteaks, and even the extreme new tastes and flavors like fried {insert name of anything you can deep fry here}, red velvet funnel cake, to anything your heart desires, the boardwalk in Atlantic City has it all.

A few of my samplings include a soft pretzel, but I honestly have no clue where it came from other than some lovely #jerseylove girls sharing it with me, and Steel Pier AC also treated us, literally to some of their sweet treats. I strongly encourage that you at least try one bit of these not-so-diet-friendly must-have boardwalk treats, all in moderation right?!?

Atlantic City Boardwalk Treats MommyB

And of course some delicious Fralingers Salt Water Taffy from James’ Candy shop.

Fralingers Salt Water Taffy Atlantic City MommyB

Let’s face it, after eating yummy, but food that’s not a full meal, you probably want to dig into a great meal right?? Atlantic City has that too. On our trip we were able to dine at some amazing restaurants.

As soon as you walk into Caesar’s Atlantic City you spot Mia restaurant. Not only is it the most visible in the hotel, but it is beautifully decorated, {I swear the white columns lead straight up to heaven}. The food was also very delicious, I loved the antipasto platter, and had to sit on my hands to stop myself from spoiling the rest of my dinner. I also found the creme brûlée to be THE best I have ever eaten, no joke, and it’s not even my favorite dessert, but was truly divine.

Mia Restaurant Atlantic City Collage MommyB

Another delectable fine dining restaurant we were able to visit was the Atlantic Grill, also located right inside Caesar’s Atlantic City resort. Only go to this restaurant if you want to taste some of the best food you’ll ever eat in your life, also note you pay for what you get, meaning, yes this restaurant is a little on the pricier side of things, but if you’re going to have one extravagant meal while you are in Atlantic City, or if you win in the casinos, definitely head here.

I was lucky enough to dine with Megan from Sweet Sadie Marie and Sherry from SuperExhausted. Each of us had “the best ever” of at least one of our dishes of food that we were served at Atlantic Grill. I had a “double yum moment” when I chose my burrata mozzarella that came with grilled garlic ciabatta, roasted tomatoes, aged balsamic, basil. Let me tell you, this is no ordinary mozzarella, it’s deliciously creamy on the inside because it’s made with not one, but two kinds of mozzarella. I truly could have eaten this just as my meal, but am glad I didn’t stop there. I also had the best filet mignon I have ever eaten, and I have been blessed to have been able to dine in a few other amazing high-end steak houses in the country, but this was the absolute best.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have room for dessert, but with the amazing appetizers and entrees we were able to partake of, it really didn’t matter. One last note, Atlantic Grill was probably the least likely place I would have eaten, being that it is primarily known for it’s seafood selections and I have a shellfish allergy and don’t really like seafood in general, but I am glad that we ended up there.

Speaking of my allergy, Atlantic Grill was extremely caring and very cautious when it came to my allergy even being that they were a seafood restaurant. The maitre d’ expressly said that they take allergies very seriously and when I noticed the “Allergy” sticker on my plates I felt valued and appreciative that they took the extra care to make sure I could dine with them.

Here are some pictures of my delicious meal from Atlantic Grill, please do not lick your computer screen, I repeat, do not lick your computer screen.

Atlantic Grill Restaurant Caesars Atlantic City Collage MommyB

If you’re not up to socializing or want to enjoy a great meal in your room, the room service at Caesars Atlantic City is not only delicious and convenient, but their staff members are delightful as well. {And yes I did have another steak, guess I was low on iron this trip}.

Caesars Atlantic City Room Service Collage MommyB

Desserts go last right??

If you stay at Caesars resort in Atlantic City, {which I HIGHLY recommend that you do, but that’s another post}, you will pass by Caffe Tazza, which is located right next door to Mia restaurant. My mouth was watering each time I passed by the glistening display cases. Unfortunately, I was too busy to order one of their delicious-looking pastries, and I only got a sample of one of their fresh made gelato flavors, but next time I visit, this is on my list. Wouldn’t it be on yours too??

Caffe Tazza Caesars Atlantic City Collage MommyB

All-in-all my taste buds were very happy with my trip to Atlantic City. If you need any recommendations feel free to leave a comment here and I’d love to tell you more in-depth about the delicious foods I was able to try out on my #jerseylove trip.

Thanks again to Caesar’s Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort, Steel Pier AC, and James’ Candy for providing these meals. My opinions of the services and food in this post are my own, honest opinions. I am not being compensated for my thoughts, and what you are reading is straight from me, 100%. If you enjoy my reviews I encourage you to share this post, follow me using the social follow bar in my right side bar, and tell your friends about MommyBKnowsBest.com

MommyB’s Niche??

MommyBA few months after creating MommyB Knows Best I wondered, “What makes me stand out from other mom bloggers?” I hadn’t the slightest clue, I thought about writing for the bi-racial crowd, doing articles on hair, controversy, etc since my daughters are biracial but then I thought I didn’t want to limit myself to speaking about just that topic, and I’m sure I could have still written pieces outside that genre, but I decided not to go with that knowing that I can always write posts in the future on that topic on my current blog. After not really coming to a conclusion about what I really wanted MommyB Knows Best to be like I decided I would just keep writing how I was and hopefully through writing find my niche at some point in time.

As I am preparing for the Type-A Mom Conference I’ve been reading a bunch of different blogs, and checking out some websites on ettiquite, dress, what to bring, all the stuff a newbie like me needs to know. One site I stumbled upon, Blog Conference Guide for the (Un)Experienced was amazing for doling out such information.

(I can’t quite remember from my very late night of research last night if I actually found this tid-bit of information here or another site, so I apologize.) As I was reading the post it continued to speak on introducing yourself to fellow bloggers and how you should tell them your name, your website/blog’s name and describe your blog and niche in a couple of sentences…again with the niche stuff!!!

Well I thought about it and as of right now I think I may have an idea of my “niche” if I were to have one. What is it?? Okay don’t laugh…. I think I’m pretty good at taking products and services to review (not including spotlights) and giving my readers an honest review and going above and beyond to test them out, even in weird ways.

Examples? I once tested a product’s stickiness using my daughter’s Step 2 table, and it held, I constantly push the weight limits on toys making Miss A (who’s about 38.5lbs) really pushing them to their limit. I try to really delve in to be sure I’m giving readers what they’re looking for and even sometimes have to do a post like, “Where are they now?” because sometimes my opinions of things have changed and I want clue you all in on that.

So maybe it’s really just quality control and honesty, but for now I’ll at least call it my niche.

Do you think it’s okay to call it my niche? What’s your niche/something you’re good at?

Pumpkin Spice Hershey’s Kisses Review

Being pregnant this time around I’ve had the weirdest cravings, maybe because I spend a good amount of my day-to-day in the grocery store, or maybe because this little one wants different things.

Little “Miss A” and I perused the Halloween Candy aisle to stock up our own pantry and fill our own bellies, sorry Trick-or-Treaters, your time will come. We stumbled upon several different kinds of holiday Hershey Kisses including, but not limited to, the Candy Corn and Carmel Apple but what intrigued me most for my recent preggo cravings was the Pumpkin Spice. Mmm sounded delish.

Once we got home and the car was unloaded, I was very excited to break into this bag and much on these creative holiday candies. In an attempt to show you the insides of the Pumpkin Spice Kiss check out this fun photo.

I assumed as most Hershey Kisses it would be chocolatey, my favorite! But instead it is more of a pumpkin white chocolate mixture. Now I love love love sweets and chocolate and again perhaps it’s my maternity taste buds, but I found this treat by itself to be a little too sweet. I would suggest these to go best on top of sugar cookies or maybe in some hot cocoa or coffee to take the sugary “edge” off the sweet treat.

Overall, a tasty once and a while treat that can (Pumpkin) Spice up your desserts but not something I would snack on regularly, perhaps that’s why it’s a limited edition item.

If you’re a fan of Hershey Kisses, grab some here: