Saturday, December 20, 2014

Winners!

The lucky winner of a Colavita Simply Italian Gift Basket is...


The lucky winner of a Cooking Up Something Special gift basket from The Lakeside Collection is...


The lucky winner of a Disney Frozen Surprise Slides Game from Wonder Forge is...


The lucky winner of a $50 AMEX Gift Card and Mr. Clean Magic Erasers is...


The lucky winner of a Roominate Studio wired building toy is...


The lucky winner of a $25 Target gift card is...


Thank you to everyone who entered these fun giveaways! Have a wonderful rest of your holiday season!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Joy Sprouts - Kids Preschool Education (Play, Learn, Develop, Report, Analyse, Guide) App

Joy Sprouts logo
There is no question that the popularity of smartphones and tablets has increased tremendously over the years and that kids younger and younger are becoming pros at tapping and swiping their way through apps, games, books and more.

However, simply because children have access to a screen doesn't mean that parents are going to put any sort of content or activities on it. Why have them spend time only being entertained when they could also be practicing important skills, challenging their minds, boosting their imagination, stimulating their creativity and more?

Instead, it makes sense that parents of preschoolers would give their children a head start on successful learning with Joy Sprouts — Kids Preschool Education (Play, Learn, Develop, Report, Analyse, Guide)!

Joy Sprouts app

Created by educational professionals, Joy Sprouts was designed for ages 2-6 to aid in developing a range of important skills in a child's total development. In fact, this free app was based on the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services' Head Start Framework, so there is no doubt that learning was an important factor in its creation.

Utilizing colorful, cheerful illustrations, a helpful, calming narrative, and an intuitive user interface, it only takes a few minutes to set up a small profile for each child using this app (I love that multiple children can have their own profiles!) and rest assured that they will be happily entertained while still learning important skills.

Joy Sprouts app multiple children

Once your child opens up Joy Sprouts, they are easily able to move through the award-winning games and activities. I appreciate that right off the bat the app is clearly divided into different modules — called Sprouts — made to help your child reach their full potential in five key areas:
  • Cognition and General Knowledge (Math, Science, and Social studies)
  • Language and Literacy
  • Learning Approaches
  • Social and Emotional Development
  • Physical Development and Health
JoySproutsApp1

From there, let the fun (and learning) begin!

As each of the Sprouts features friendly characters (my nostalgic side loves seeing Garfield and Odie in most of them!) and is narrated with simple to understand instructions, kids have no problem creating patterns, identifying colors or shapes, putting together puzzles, using logic and more.

Joy Sprouts Garfield puzzle

Even though both Big Sister E and Little Sister B are a bit too old for Joy Sprouts, they have really enjoyed testing it out, pointing out all of the fun ways to play, and collecting awards for completing various games and activities!

Joy Sprouts app review

All in all, I really like the way that instead of focusing on a specific subject such as numbers, letters, colors or shapes, Joy Sprouts uses a total development strategy that strives to help children grow in all areas of education.

Plus, this app provides personalized summary reports that allow parents to follow their child's progress across the key areas of development. And not only do these reports detail progress, but they focus on the child's strengths and weaknesses as well — and offer recommendations from experts on which areas need more work to help the child reach their full potential.

free kids educational app

By combining expert educational content with entertaining, age-appropriate animations and characters, Joy Sprouts - Kids Preschool Education (Play, Learn, Develop, Report, Analyse, Guide) is an app that parents of preschoolers everywhere can appreciate. Why not encourage your child's total development while they simply think that they are playing and having fun?

Find out more and download this FREE app (compatible with iPads running iOS 7.0 or later) by visiting iTunes today.

I was compensated for my time in writing this review, however, all thoughts and opinions shared are honest and my own.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tips to Stay Warm, Stay Comfortable and Stay Safe in Your Home All Winter Long

Although we've had a few days here and there with surprisingly mild temperatures, there is no denying that winter is here and it's time to bundle up and stay indoors (unless you're one of those crazy outdoor types that actually wants to go out when it's this cold).

When snow stretches as far as I can see, the windchill is below 0°, and the outdoors basically looks like this...

winter home

...then all I want to do is burrow down under a quilt or get cozy with a book in front of the fireplace.

So, to help ensure a wonderful and cozy winter season, licensed contractor and TV home-improvement expert David Leon from Home Made Simple on the Oprah Winfrey Network has provided the following tips to help make your home as comfy as possible this season:
    David Leon
  • Heating system and air filters – Have your heating system serviced every year and check the filters system every month. Also, inspect your system's exhaust vent for rust, damage, or any corrosion.
  • Seal the leaks – Check to make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed so heat doesn't escape. Inspect caulking and weather stripping around openings for wear and tear, and replace if necessary.
  • Plumbing – Busted water pipes can cause expensive damage. Take time now to wrap outside pipes that might be exposed to extreme temperatures. Review the locations for the main water and fuel shut-off valves with all members of your household.
  • Have a plan – When you own a home, you know that things are going to break down – but when it happens, do you know who you’ll call or what you’ll do? A home warranty is a great way to protect your budget against costly repairs, and save yourself the time and hassle of finding a qualified professional to get major systems and appliances up and running again.
broken pipes

This winter, homeowners should also be aware of important warning signs and potential heating system hazards to protect their homes from any accidents. In 2011, faulty and improperly used heating equipment accounted for nearly 400 deaths nationwide, more than 53,000 fires and $893 million in direct property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

To help prevent heating system hazards, be aware of the following critical signs when you're indoors this winter:
  • Always be aware of gas odors. If you smell gas around your heating unit, leave the area and call your gas company immediately.
  •  Be sure your pilot light is burning a steady blue flame. If it is not, call your heating professional or a gas company.
  • Take a close look at your exhaust fan for any rust, damage or deterioration. If you notice any, call a qualified professional and describe what you see to determine whether a repair is needed.
Along with these warning signs, American Home Shield, the nation’s leading provider of home protection plans, reminds homeowners to use extra care when operating space heaters. For instance, they should be plugged directly into a wall outlet, never into an extension cord, and turned off at night. When in use, always be sure space heaters are a safe distance from curtains and other flammable items.

This winter, don't take any chances! Take the time to watch the helpful videos covering a variety of home maintenance tips and home heating warning signs that are hosted by David Leon and published on American Home Shield's YouTube channel. Plus, visit their informational Home Matters blog, which serves as a great resource to help homeowners balance their busy lives with tips and news on everything home.

What do you do to stay warm while staying safe during winter?

This post is part of a compensated partnership opportunity with American Home Shield, but all thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Importance of Kidde's Holiday Recipe for Fire Safety {Kitchen Fire Extinguisher Giveaway}

With the holiday season here, the most important thing is that we show our gratitude, love and devotion to our families while simultaneously doing good deeds, helping others and displaying goodwill towards our fellow man.

Right?

It's okay to admit it. You're also excited that this is the season of FOOD!
 
Whether it's the turkey, potatoes, casseroles, cookies, rolls, vegetables, ham, stuffing, eggnog or pies, pies, pies, I don't know too many people that are unhappy about all of the cooking, baking and eating that comes along with the holidays.

But... did you know that cooking is the number one cause of home fires and injuries, and that the winter months are the deadliest season for home fires? Don't put your house or family in danger, it's time to focus on the importance of fire safety with Kidde!

Kidde logo

As the world's largest manufacturer of fire safety products, Kidde is on a mission to provide solutions that protect people and property from the effects of fire and its related hazards each and every day.

This season, Kidde is working tirelessly to stress the importance of fire and carbon monoxide safety for the holidays – in the kitchen as well as throughout home. The sad truth is that most fatal home fires happen in homes with no smoke alarm or no working alarm.

Even worse? A recent Kidde survey revealed some pretty startling statistics, including that nearly five times as many Americans know the shelf life of a Twinkie than know the recommended operating life of a smoke alarm.

People, this is NOT ok.

Kidde Twinkie survey

It's time to change things! With so much cooking going on this month, there is no excuse to skimp on safety.

First, be sure that your home is fully equipped. Kidde designs and develops smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers, escape ladders and more in order to best protect people and property from the effects of fire and its related hazards. There is just no reason to be without any of the products that were specifically designed to increase your family's chances of staying safe!

I love Kidde's line of Worry-Free Smoke Alarms, which offer a variety of benefits to the millions of Americans who rely on continuous battery-powered smoke and fire detection in their homes. The new alarms are powered by sealed-in, long-life lithium batteries for 10 years (the life of the alarm).

Even better, they also offer a Worry-Free Carbon Monoxide Alarm, the first and only UL-listed CO alarm proven to provide up to 10 years of protection – up to twice the lifespan of other available alarms. This CO alarm also contains a sealed-in lithium battery that powers the alarm for a decade, so it is a snap to eliminate any annoying low-battery chirps while helping to keep your loved ones safe.

kidde safety products

Second, don't let another day go by without printing out the following Kidde Recipe for Safety so that you can have it handy in the event that you need it for reference. These are definitely tips that all of us need to know!

Kidde #RecipeforSafety Card

But while you're hopefully already turning pot handles to the back, not putting metal in the microwave, and are keeping flammable items away from the stove, do you have a kitchen fire extinguisher handy in case of a grease fire? Or if a small, self-contained fire occurs?

The simple act of having one handy just might make the difference between a small situation that can be efficiently handled and a large, drastic, life-changing event.

kitchen cabinet fire extinguisher

This holiday season (and beyond) give yourself the gift of peace of mind knowing that you have protected your family and your home as best as possible. For 90 years, industry leaders, the military, airlines, and firefighters have relied on Kidde to deliver superior fire protection and the same advanced technology can be found in all of their consumer products. Make your home and family safe today!

Find out much more about all of the ways that Kidde can help you follow a "Recipe for Safety" every day of the year by visiting them at Kidde.com and by connecting with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Plus, thanks to their generosity, one person will start off the new year safely as well, because...

One lucky person will win a kitchen fire extinguisher from Kidde!

kitchen fire extinguisher


A big thank you to Kidde for providing compensation and a kitchen fire extinguisher for me as well as a kitchen fire extinguisher for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.