This post on Why This Former Teacher Loves ABC Mouse was sponsored by ABCmouse as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. If you’re new here, you may not know that I used to be a First Grade teacher. Yep! Before I had Addie, I was a teacher and absolutely loved it. God had other plans for my life, but I have kept so many of my favorite activities and modalities of learning in my back pocket for the kids. One of my favorites? ABCmouse. When I taught First Grade, I loved when my students had time to learn in various stations. It gave them time to enjoy activities with peers, learn in fun and creative ways, and just do something other than sitting at a desk. Not surprisingly, the iPad station was always the hottest commodity. ABCmouse was the favorite website for my students to play on, because it helped spark a love of learning and truly instilled confidence in reading, math, science, art, and their colors. ABCmouse has a large selection of puzzles and games, and I loved that I could monitor my students’ success. Although I’m no longer a teacher, my role has shifted to being a work-from-home mom to my disabled daughter, Addie, and my near-3-year-old, Lawson. Trying to get my work done while also simultaneously taking care of Addie and keeping Lawson entertained isn’t easy. I found myself struggling to get everything on my list for the day checked off unless I turned on the tv. I’m absolutely not opposed to having a tv on for Lawson, but it was becoming to the point where it was on more than it wasn’t. We needed something different. I wondered if Lawson was old enough for ABCmouse and sure enough- he was! ABCmouse is for 2-8 year olds, and with Lawson being nearly 3, it was perfect. We got a subscription and it made me happy that as he progressed with his ABCmouse skills, it levels up automatically to continue to meet his learning needs and interests. Can I get an amen?! Right now Lawson is following a step-by-step Learning Path that guides him through activities and motivates him with fun Tickets and Rewards. Studies have shown that when kids participate in ABCmouse for just 45 minutes a week they show significant learning gains. I’m already seeing Lawson progress so much in his learning in the short amount of time he’s been using it! I’m absolutely happy to pay that so Lawson can learn, I can get work done quickly or tend to Addie’s needs, and he can enjoy himself without a tv. He’s able to play on ABCmouse independently and I’m so glad he is enjoying himself. It’s a win-win situation for us all! Want to subscribe to ABCmouse for your child? ABCmouse is the app you have to get! As a former teacher and now work-from-home mom, I highly recommend ABCmouse. You won’t regret grabbing a subscription for your child and I think you’ll be surprised at the learning gains that are possible when ABCmouse is used at least 45 minutes a week. Looking for more fun things to do with your kids? Don’t miss the kids archive!
This post on Making Memories in the Kitchen with Kids is sponsored by BabbleBoxx on behalf of Oroweat Organic Bread. When I was in elementary and middle school my grandparents always picked me up. Both of my parents worked til 5 and since school was out at 3, my Pepaw would pick me up and take me to the flower shop they owned. I would help however I could around their shop until my Memaw was ready to leave. Their house was only a few blocks away and I couldn’t wait to get there. Once at home, Memaw and I would immediately start on making an afternoon snack together. Oh how I loved cooking with her! I definitely never left her house hungry! Making memories in the kitchen with Memaw was so near and dear to my heart. Those memories are something I remember so fondly and wish that she was still around for us to do together. Because a love of cooking was instilled in me at such a young age, it’s something I’m incredibly passionate about now. I love to cook but I also love excuses for making memories in the kitchen together. Addie has learned how to bake, and I have started to teach Lawson how to cook meals. He’s only 2 1/2 but he knows that it’s a love of mine, so he enjoys doing it with me. Lawson is also obsessed with Disney’s Mickey Mouse, so I decided to make a special breakfast with his help using Oroweat Organic White Made with Whole Wheat Bread, some Disney’s Mickey Mouse cookie cutters, and a little pixie dust. Lawson and I have made a few meals together before and we always have a talk about safety before cooking. It’s always important to share with your kids where their hands need to be, if something is hot, and where you’ll put the ingredients as you’ve cooked them. I also like to put an apron on Lawson because kids are messy. I love this apron and chef’s hat our friends at Oroweat Organic sent him! Top Tips for Making Memories in the Kitchen with Kids: 1| Use quality ingredients- Using quality ingredients is key when making memories in the kitchen with kids because they add to the flavor. Not only that, but when you use quality ingredients, you know that whatever you’re giving your child is good for them. For our breakfast sandwich, we usedOroweat Organic White Made with Whole Wheat Bread, organic ground sausage, fresh organic eggs from our coop, and organic fruit. Oroweat Organic Bread for kids is plant-based, USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, and provides a good source of vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E. I am so happy that it’s not a bread with tons of fillers!2| Incorporate something they love- Last year we went to Walt Disney World for Addie’s Make-A-Wish trip and Lawson has been hooked on Disney’s Mickey Mouse ever since. I love that Oroweat Organic White Made with Whole Wheat Bread has Disney’s Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse on the bag, and thought it was perfect to add to the Disney’s Mickey Mouse love. We also added Disney’s Mickey Mouse cookie cutters to shape our breakfast sandwich and it made it all the more fun for Lawson.3| Let them actually help- For this breakfast sandwich recipe I let Lawson cut the Oroweat Organic White Made with Whole Wheat Bread out into Disney’s Mickey Mouse shapes, wash the fruit, and flip the sausage. He absolutely loved it! When you allow kids to help make their own meals, you’ll be surprised at how much more they eat. If you’ve got a picky eater, this may actually make them proud enough of their accomplishment to eat something new!4| Make it fun- While making our breakfast sandwiches we wore matching pajamas, played fun music on our Echo Dot, and danced around as we waited for each ingredient to cook. It was so much fun! I hope one day Lawson remembers all the fun times we danced in the kitchen while cooking. I sincerely hope that Lawson will forever want to make memories in the kitchen with me. Not only that, but I hope this encourages you to get out there and make memories in the kitchen with your children! With love, Oroweat Organic White Made with Whole Wheat Bread, and some pixie dust from Disney’s Mickey Mouse, himself, I think it’s absolutely possible. Soak in every single moment of making memories together, mama. They grow up way too fast. Don’t miss more Disney fun by visiting the Disney archives!
This post is sponsored by Faith, Love, and Doodles. All thoughts and opinions are my own. When Mathew and I first got married we were so excited to have a puppy of our very own. 2 months after our wedding, we brought our Maltipoo puppy, Pearl, home on Valentine’s weekend. Pearl has been a fun addition to our family, but always seemed like more of a cat than a dog. She likes to be left alone, only wants love when she wants it, and sits on top of the couch. Years ago, I actually wrote a fun piece on potty training your puppy and it’s got some great tips and pictures of Pearl! A few years later, Mathew and I had Addie, and were about to celebrate her third birthday. A sweet friend of mine was fostering a dog and was looking for a home for her. Immediately I knew she needed to live with us. So we adopted Winky the Shihtzu-Poodle mix, who has been our “one-eyed wonder” ever since. She’s been a fierce protector of Addie, has been known to be protective of the house when the mail carrier has brought packages, and she’s just a cuddly chonk. Two weeks after adopting Winky, we found out we were going to be having a baby and that next Spring, Lawson was born. Lawson is almost 3 now, and we had discussed getting a big dog for nearly a year. Timing was never right but we decided to look into what made a good family dog, and ultimately decided on a Sheepadoodle. After almost an entire year of research and planning, we picked up our puppy, Ahsoka from Faith, Love, and Doodles in Godley, Texas. Every family is different, but when you’re thinking about getting a good family dog, these questions will be so helpful. What Is a Good Size for a Family Dog? One of the best ways to narrow down your path to choosing a family dog is to determine what size dog will best suit your home. Do you want a small lap dog? Do you want a large dog to lay at your feet? Do you have a large backyard or do you live in an apartment? Are you in good shape to carry a large dog if needed? Or is a smaller dog better?Mathew and I lived in an apartment when we were first married, so our small Maltipoo was perfect. Now, we have a decent sized home with a sizeable yard and a nice neighborhood with lots of places to walk. It was just one question that narrowed us down to getting a Sheepadoodle. What Qualities Would You Like Your New Dog to Have? Narrowing down the qualities of your new family dog is very important. Our family had certain qualifications- we wanted a fluffy dog, good temperament, easy-going or laid-back, friendly with kids, and because of Addie’s medical needs, the dog couldn’t shed. When researching Sheepadoodles, we found that all of these things checked our boxes. What was even more reassuring was that Faith, Love, and Doodles insisted that once it was time to choose our puppy, we needed to meet all of them to really make sure we chose one with the temperament that matched our familys’ needs. Can You Afford It? Another great question to ask yourself is if you can afford your upcoming family dog. Dogs range from free to thousands of dollars, but beyond the cost of the dog itself, food, vitamins, vet appointments, and grooming are all important things to be considered. Puppies are a big responsibility, and being a good dog parent means you are considering everything before making the leap. Where Will You Get Your Family Dog? As a family that has gone both adoption route and breeder route, I can honestly tell you it all depends on what you’re looking for. At this time in our lives, we went the breeder route and have been so happy. Faith, Love, and Doodles kept us well informed, contacted us regularly with updates, was VERY specific with their criteria and the whole puppy process, made sure to feed the dogs quality food and supplements, and I really appreciated how thorough they were. I’ll be sharing more of the process in another blog post, but it is SO important to know just who you’re buying your dog from. In the end, Ahsoka was chosen for our family because she was exactly what we were looking for. She’s been home with us for a week and we couldn’t be happier. She is such a fast learner, a little shy still, but is warming up to us all during this transition. I can’t wait to share more about her and our life as a Sheepadoodle family! I love that we have 3 different kinds of doodle mixes now! If you are considering a Sheepadoodle, I highly recommend chatting with Faith, Love, and Doodles. Our experience has been amazing and I am so impressed at the care they gave our girl before we picked her up. Check out these super useful dog products! 1 + 3 are must haves!