Friday, August 22, 2014

Let the Sun Brighten Up Your Night with Little Sun

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I received a sample for this review/feature. Opinions expressed are my own.

As a family, we love to spend time outdoors. Whether it's boating, fishing, hiking, camping or just playing, you'll find us outside almost all of the time during the months where it's warm enough. We play through the day and into the night, so we often need light to well, light our way. I can't tell you how many batteries we've gone through for lanterns and flashlights, especially while camping. There have been plenty of times where we've actually run out too, which of course, is no fun at all!

Well now I don't have to worry about packing those extra batteries or even wasting money on them because we were recently introduced to two amazing products - the SunBell Solar Lamp & Phone Charger and Little Sun Solar Lantern. They both use solar energy from the sun, require no plug, batteries or hassle!

The Little Sun Solar Lantern is perfect for everything we do. It can be carried in your hand or worn around the neck and provides a bright light in the darkness. I actually think it's pretty cute too! But what really gets me is that every purchase impacts other people, people living "off the grid".
"When you buy a Little Sun, you receive a high-quality solar-powered lamp – but that’s not all. A portion of every purchase goes towards bringing light to some of the 1.6 billion people in the world living 'off grid.' By delivering business starter kits and micro-entrepreneurial training to local off-grid entrepreneurs, Little Sun builds up sustainable structures which not only deliver affordable solar lamps to people with no electricity, but also generates local profits, creates local jobs, and reduces the substantial environmental impact and costs associated with using kerosene lamps."

The SunBell Solar Lamp & Phone Charger is really a pretty amazing little thing. Ye, it's a light - but it can also charge your phone! I can't even tell you how amazing that is when you're off in the woods with no power source aside from your car.  It requires only 3-4 hours of sunlight to fully charge too, which is pretty amazing!
"The rechargeable LiFePO battery requires only 3-4 hours of good sunlight to be fully charged. The dimmer switch lets you choose between 3 levels of LED light intensity and operating time. A 9 foot cable is hidden inside the solar disk, so the panel can be placed outside while the lamp or mobile phone can be stored safely inside a house, hut or tent while charging."
You can use the SunBell Solar Lamp & Phone Charger as a reading light, ceiling light, flashlight or a mobile phone charger. As a light, it is bright and has 3 different dimming settings, the lowest lasting for over 100 hours!

These are both such great products and we'll get a lot of use out of them throughout the years. Below is a video tutorial that shows exactly how to use the SunBell Solar Lamp & Phone Charger and he even gives you a few little unexpected tricks!

How would you use these great solar tools to brighten up your night?


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Logan & The Big Blue Engines Limited Book Pack Release - Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway Exclusive!

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~I received a Logan & The Big Blue Engines set for the purpose of review. Opinions and stories are my own.~

A little while ago my son got really into Thomas & Friends. He saw a movie, found some books at the library and that was that. Thomas and all his friends had taken over my house. I can already hear parents out there laughing at me! It's really no surprise. What little boy doesn't love all those Really Useful Engines? So it was really exciting when Tot received the Logan & The Big Blue Engines Book Pack that's on limited release. Logan was completely new to him and quickly became his favorite.

Logan Thomas & Friends

Logan is a shunter steam train that looks like a diesel. He works at the Coaling Plant and helps by attaching trucks to the big engines. In Logan & The Big Blue Engines, Logan accidentally hooks Edward and Gordon up with the wrong trucks because he couldn't tell them apart. It's a wonderful story that teaches children that mistakes happen, but you can always do your best to correct them and still be Really Useful too!

Tot reads this book EVERY night before bed. It's beautifully illustrated and great for young readers.

Logan & The Big Blue Engines book

The Limited Release Book Pack comes with the 8"x10" storybook, Logan the shunter, a cargo car and coal cargo. You can request the Sir Topham Hatt Figure to be included for an additional cost.

There is also an Exclusive Limited Release Logan & The Big Blue Engines Set that includes:
  • Lights and Sounds mini Knapford Station 
  • A signal house 
  • A cargo coal loader 
  • Logan, the strong little shunter 
  • Gordon, the big, blue express engine 
  • A passenger car 
  • Two cargo cars 
  • 30 pieces of track 
  • A switch track 
  • A tunnel 
  • Coal cargo 
  • An exclusive 8"x10" book 
  • An activity sheet
Logan & The Big Blue Engines Train set

These Limited Releases are only available online or through the catalog. Logan is meant to be used with other trains on the Wooden Railway and his little coal cargo actually makes noise when moved. He is a great collectors item for young and old fans who like having the full collection of Thomas & Friends!

You can find out more about Logan & The Big Blue Engines Set and other Exclusive items on Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway. If you would like the chance to win the entire Train Set, make sure to enter the Calling All Engines! Sweepstakes. There will be 10 Winners! You can enter every day until the sweepstakes ends on September 30th, 2014 at 11:59pm EST.

Is your child a fan of Thomas & Friends? Who is their favorite engine?

10 Back to School Ideas

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It's that time of year again when our little ones grow up just a little more.  We choke back those tears sending them one grade higher than the last, wondering where the time has gone. 

Or there's some of us just starting this journey of back to school and also wondering how the time has flown by, when just yesterday it seemed we brought them home from the hospital.

No matter what stage you're in, the preparation of getting them to school that first day and making sure everything is ready is on the minds of most of us.

I have found 10 Back to School Ideas - anywhere from teachers gifts, to charts, to at home desk organization that will help you get creative and prepared for their first day back to school, and will prepare you as well, and days there after.

Crayola Pencil Holder

DIY Apple Jars

Back to School Command Center

Help your Child become a better Reader

Ruler Basket

Morning Routine Chart

Communication Ball

Behavior Chart

Pencil Dispenser and Hand Sanitizer Gift

Terra Cotta Candy Vase

These give you a variety of ideas that you could do throughout the year. My favorite has to be...well, I really love them all!!! That's why I'm sharing them with you today!

So hop on over to these great posts and these lovely ladies blogs and give them some love as well!

Easy Party Games to Unpeel Fun with Peel-a-Pop

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I am a member of the Unpeel Fun program and help spread the word about WONKA™ Peel-a-Pop™ frozen treats. As a team member, I received product and incentives in exchange for participating in brand related activities and spreading the word about  WONKA™ Peel-a-Pop™ frozen treats.

Nothing quite says summer fun like parties and delicious frozen treats, so we combined the two and hosted a fantabulous {yes, I made that up!} summer party just for kids! We partied it up Willy Wonka style to "Unpeel Fun" with Peel-a-Pop. There were games, prizes, Willy Wonka photo props, delicious treats and all sorts of other goodies. Lil Man was even in charge of decorating - how fun!

Our funnest treat was new Peel-a-Pop frozen treats from Willy Wonka. They're a great new treat that you can actually peel!

They're available in two flavors - Vanilla Banana and Vanilla Grape. The kids loved both flavors and thought it was just so cool that you could peel them!

Of course, no party is complete until there are games and prizes, so we made some up and just went with it. You'd be surprised at the games you can play with simple things around your house!

We had many different ages of children at the party, so I my challenge was to come up with games that they could all play and win at.  Since I had an abundance of those little plastic eggs lying around, I thought a scavenger hunt type game would be perfect!

I had 6 prizes, so I numbered little squares of cardstock, 1-6. Then we had the coveted Wonka Golden Ticket which was a special prize. I stuck each prize paper in an egg, mixed them up and scattered them in a small are in the yard.

The littlest two got a few second head start, then they all dashed to open the eggs and find which ones contained prizes. After all the eggs had been checked, starting with number 1, each kid got to pick a prize from the basket!

The kids really enjoyed this game and I think we'll even do it again at our next party. It was fun to watch all of the kids scramble around and I think it would be even funner with hundreds of eggs!

Every party has balloons and the kids usually have to wait until the end to claim and play with theirs, but not at this party! Oh no, we got to play with the balloons right away! We handed out a purple balloon in honor of Willy Wonka to each kid and their job was to keep it in the air without dropping it. The last person with an air born balloon got first pick of the prizes!

The kids really had such a fun time. They each got a turn dressing up with the Willy Wonka photo props and had a chance to play some games and win some prizes.

They indulged on chips, popcorn, juice and Willy Wonka Peel-a-Pop frozen treats.

And each of the kids got a goodie bag full of candy, lip balm, super balls and coupons for a free box of Willy Wonka Peel-a-Pop frozen treats! Score 1 for mom!

To stay up to date with all of the latest and greatest, you can connect with Willy Wonka on Facebook and/or @WONKAnation on Twitter!

What fun games do you serve up at your party?