Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Shop til You Drop at the JBF Lee's Summit Sale!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by JBF Lee's Summit but all opinions are 100% honest and my own. 

One of my favorite weeks of the year has arrived, the Just Between Friends Lee's Summit sale starts Thursday! It's no secret that I love children's consignment sales and JBF is by far my favorite. I get amazing quality clothes and toys for a fraction of what I would pay retail. I get the majority of my kids' wardrobes and presents for Christmas and birthdays at the sale and save so much money. This sale is absolutely huge. The entire John Knox Pavilion is filled with toys, baby gear, clothes and anything else you could want for your kids.

Check out one of my previous posts on tips for shopping this massive sale here.

At this sale I'm going to be shopping for Halloween costumes, new ballet gear for Grace and of course Christmas presents for my kids, nieces, and nephews.

Visit the JBF Lee's Summit website for more info about the sale. Also make sure to join the email newsletter to learn more about how to participate in the sale (shop, sell, and volunteer). You can also choose your volunteers shifts, access JBF's free on-line tagging site, check your sales, and join the mailing list.

Here are all the details you need to know for the sale this week!
John Knox Pavilion in Lee's Summit
520 NW Murray Rd, Lees Summit, MO 64081 

Thursday 10am: Primetime $10 Admission- these fees go to help JBF's charity partners. 
Friday 10-7: $2 admission 
Saturday 10-5: free admission 
Sunday 10-5: free admission (50% off sale!!) 

Make sure to take your kiddos with you on Sunday to visit the FREE fall themed photo booth. The photographer will take photos of your kids dressed in their Halloween costumes or just regular clothes and the pictures will be available for free download from her website: http://www.baileypaigephoto.com/. I love any opportunity to get pictures of my kids!

Follow along on Periscope to see behind the scenes of the sale with @JBFAmber all weekend long and join me Thursday morning around 9 AM when I'll be sharing my favorite deals on Facebook, Twitter, and Periscope @MomentsThatTake!

If you're planning on shopping the sale, don't miss the Facebook party happening tonight, Tuesday 8/25 at 9 PM central time. We will be sharing tips for finding the best deals and giving away great prizes like JBF bucks, front of the line passes, prime time passes and more! I hope you join us! https://www.facebook.com/events/898566496904615/

Monday, August 24, 2015

Dinotrux on Netflix: 5 Dinotrux Activities for Kids

Disclosure: As part of the Netflix Stream Team, I received a welcome gift and a free monthly subscription. However, all opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Dinotrux is a new original Netflix series from DreamWorks that combines two of my kids' ultimate favorite things, dinosaurs and construction equipment. I knew from the second I heard about it that Connor would love it but I've been surprised by how much Grace and I enjoy it. We have already watched the entire first season and can't wait for more!

The show focuses on Ty Rux, his little helper Revvit and their friends as they learn to work together and protect their home from evil D-Structs. It does feature some fighting, but the message of each episode is great and I love the focus on cooperation and friendship. My kids would watch it all day long if I let them so I decided to find some activities that would feature their new favorite characters. Here are our 5 favorite Dinotrux activities!

1. Trading Cards- Netflix has created character trading cards for kids to trade and play! Click on the picture or here to download a PDF of the trading card file.

2. Books- The Dinotrux show is inspired on a series of books by Chris Gall. We found several at our local library and these books are so much fun. For your kiddos that just went back to school, check out "Dinotrux Go to School"!

Connor loves the bright illustrations and the stories are the perfect length for short toddler attention span. He asks to read these books over and over again so I'm pretty sure we'll be adding several to our home library.

3. Dinotrux App- Available on Google Play or in the App Store, the Dinotrux app is Grace's new go to app. My only issue is that it takes forever to load but it is an easy to use interactive app that allows kids to control the trux and watch exerts of the show. Connor loves making Ty Rux roar over and over!

4. Coloring Pages- Dinotrux character coloring pages are available from DreamWorks and my kids love them!

5. Color App brings characters to life- The DreamWorks Color App is pretty awesome. I printed off several of the Dinotrux characters and Grace and I colored our favorites. Then I downloaded the app on our iPad and by simply holding the camera over the colored pictures, our characters came to life on the screen.

You can take selfies with your character:

or play with them:

You can build settings for them. Grace and I had fun with a bounce house making Revvit fly high in the air. The screenshots aren't the most amazing quality and the movement is fairly limited but the concept is amazing and kids love to see their creations come to life.

Check out Dinotrux today on Netflix and keep your little ones busy with all of these fun Dinotrux activities!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Dark Rising: Book Two of the Archangel Prophecies by Monica McGurk Review

Disclosure: I received this book from the author to facilitate a review. It is a sponsored post but all opinions are 100% honest and my own. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Almost a year ago I got the chance to delve back into my love of teen fiction books with a review of Monica McGurk's first Archangels Prophecy book, Dark Hope. The interesting page turner left me wanting to read more and I was excited when McGurk sent me a copy of the second book in the trilogy called Dark Rising. In case you missed it, check out my review of Dark Hope here.

Can one person upend a prophecy as old as time?
Hope Carmichael is on the run. The only question is, from whom? The mark on her neck has branded her as part of an ancient prophecy, the Bearer of the Key. But the Fallen Angels have misunderstood and think Hope is their long-awaited way to regain Heaven by force. Now Hope is chasing down the artifact that could open Heaven’s Gates, while seeking to destroy it before the Fallen catch up with her. Will the Triad crime ring track Hope and exact their punishment before she gets the chance? Is the ragtag band of angels surrounding her now there to protect her, or imprison her? And will Michael, the Archangel sworn to defend Heaven at all costs, be forced to deny his love for Hope and take her life, instead, so that the artifact won’t fall into enemy hands? 

The epic narrative introduced in Dark Hope continues in Dark Rising as Hope crisscrosses some of the most ancient sites in Europe and plumbs the depths of history in search of the truth about the Key, herself, and love. Exploring themes of identity, fate, jealousy, trust, and forgiveness, Dark Rising’s mythological scope and moral urgency deepen as we come to understand the choices and consequences faced by a young woman determined to follow her heart and chart her own destiny.

While Dark Hope focuses mainly on the issues of human trafficking, Dark Rising moves on to Hope and Michael's journey to find the key that will prevent the Fallen Angels from forcing their way into Heaven. Readers join Hope and Michael on their quest in Istanbul and learn more and more about the prophecy as they travel through Europe getting ever closer to the key. Although I found Dark Hope to be a quick page turner, Dark Rising was a bit harder for me to get into. McGurk's focus on architectural details especially in the first half of the book were a bit distracting for me. They were interesting but the pace of the first half was slower than the second and I found myself putting it down several times. Thankfully I kept reading because I was drawn in with several moments towards the middle of the book. Hope's experience in the public baths was fascinating and despite a noticeable absence of the human trafficking story that was the focus of the first book, there was a haunting scene where it is touched on with Hope facing danger that no person should ever have to deal with.

Hope and Michael's relationship is under strain throughout the entire first half of the book and Hope's teenage angst and risk taking may bother some adult readers. While her actions were not always the smartest choice, I think McGurk writes her teenage character well. Hope tries, not always successfully, to deal with her emotions, confidence levels, and relationships to the best of her young ability. As she figures out more and more about the prophecy throughout the second half of the book, I was drawn in. Hope is pushed to her limit and as a reader, I cried as I read the ending. McGurk writes the emotions of this book beautifully and I felt Hope's struggles as if they were my own. While I had a little trouble piecing together every piece of the puzzle that is the prophecy, I appreciated all of the Scriptural and historical details. The ending left us with a huge cliffhanger that I must admit I was not happy with. Not because it was a bad ending by any means, I just didn't want the book to stop! Luckily, the first chapter of the 3rd book, Dark Before Dawn, is included and gave me some hope for the characters.

I highly recommend reading Dark Hope before diving into Dark Rising. While some explanation is given regarding the characters' histories, I think a reader would be lost without knowing the stories from the first book. I gave a warning in my first review that a parent should read this book before giving it to their teen and I give the same advice with Dark Rising. These books address deep themes that might be a bit mature for young teens. The discussion questions in the back would be perfect for an older teen book club.

I will definitely be reading Dark Before Dawn when it is released in 2016. To learn more about Dark Rising, check out Monica McGurk's website and social media pages:

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Because Kids Outgrow Diapers, Not Messes*: Huggies Wipes at Walmart

Let's face it, kids are messy. From meal times to play time, I constantly feel like I am wiping up some sort of mess while they move on to their next messy activity. While we are on the journey of potty training Connor and I am looking forward to the day that we are a diaper free house, I know that I will be keeping baby wipes in our house for many years to come. Why you ask? Because I use wipes to clean up an array of messes. From a quick wipe down of the bathroom before a guest arrives to the inevitable sauce covered hands and faces after eating pasta for dinner, I know I can count on Huggies Simply Clean wipes with Triple Clean Layers to clean up any mess.

We picked up another package of wipes during our last Walmart trip as our supply was getting dangerously low. Luckily, Walmart has plenty of Huggies options to choose from:

We headed home with a 3 pack of the Huggies Simply Clean 72 count wipes because I love how convenient the containers are. I can stick one in my purse, in the kitchen, or in the car for quick cleanups.

I always keep a package on our kitchen table for cleanup after craft time. Grace adores painting right now and let's just say, it's one of the messiest play activities I can think of. A plate full of paint quickly turns into this:

Just looking at this picture gives me anxiety but with Huggies Triple Clean wipes, cleanup is a breeze.  They are soft and gentle on her delicate skin. Her hands go from green to clean in just seconds:

Keeping the wipes package on the table makes for quick cleanup, preventing the dreaded green hand print on the wall. But if the finger paint hand print does occur (I will admit it has happened here before!) a quick wipe removes the washable paint. Huggies wipes can be used to wipe toys to keep them germ free or to clean off a table after a messy craft time. Wipes aren't just for diaper changes in our house!

Check out other uses of Huggies wipes for your child's playtime now and be sure to discover the 101 uses of Huggies Wipes from Walmart. Playtime can and should be messy sometimes; keep the play, not the dirt, with Huggies Wipes from Walmart.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Share the love of reading with your children: Reading Rainbow DVD and SKYBRARY App Review

Disclosure: I received a copy of the DVD and a 6 month subscription to the SKYBRARY app so that we could share our review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% honest and my own. 

"Take a look, it's in a book, a Reading Rainbow!"

I spent hours and hours watching Reading Rainbow as a kid. It was one of my favorite shows and I still remember getting excited to go to the library to check out the books I discovered with LeVar Burton on the show. The show ran for 26 years and made a huge impact on my generation. Recently, Burton created a Kickstarter to create a new Reading Rainbow app and raised over five million dollars in one month! PBS recently sent us a copy of a Reading Rainbow DVD called Animal Cafe and gave us a subscription to try out the new app and I couldn't wait to share this amazing series with my kids.

Reading Rainbow: Animal Cafe features 4 episodes that take kids on a fun filled learning adventure through books. Grace wasn't sure why I made her sit down to watch the DVD as soon as it arrived but she was quickly drawn in to the Animal Cafe episode. I will say that the peek back into 80s and 90s culture and fashion is pretty amusing now. The environment certainly feels dated but what I love about this show is that the books featured are timeless. Grace enjoyed the book sections more than the people profiles and lessons but she is still a bit young. Honestly, I enjoyed the glimpse back into my childhood and am excited to watch as many episodes as I can find! She asked to find Animal Cafe at the library and I happily obliged later that day. This DVD retails for only $6.99 and is available at Target and other retailers now.

The SKYBRARY app provides access to children's books and videos to promote children's curiosity and sense of adventure. It gives kids access to over 500 books and 150 video field trips including behind the scenes looks at places such as the White House, the Los Angeles Ballet, the Grand Canyon and Cirque du Soleil. Kids can "Go Anywhere, Be Anything" with just the touch of a button!

Kids are encouraged to explore with an easy to use navigation screen. SKYBRARY features 7 different islands to choose from. Made for kids ages 2-9, I appreciate that kids don't have to be able to read to use the app. SKYBRARY has quickly become Grace's favorite app. She likes to come in to our room early in the morning before I wake up and take the iPad to her room. Most mornings I walk into her room to find her listening to books on the app or watching one of the many great field trip videos.

It took her a bit to figure out the process of downloading books in her backpack in the app but after a few times of me demonstrating it, she is now totally independent with it. She loves discovering the interactive parts in each book while the app reads the story to her. As the kids get older, they can choose to read the books themselves  I appreciate that the app allows you to create up to 5 different profiles so each child can have their own backpack full of books to read.

SKYBRARY is available now at www.readingrainbow.com and offers a 14-day free trial with unlimited access to the complete digital library of books and videos. After the trial period ends, subscription plans are available. A one month subscription costs $9.99 but you can buy a full year subscription for $49.99. This would be the perfect gift for the elementary school aged child in your life. Share the love of reading with your child now with Reading Rainbow! 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Back to School Shopping with Hanna Andersson + a 15% Off Hanna Andersson Coupon!

Disclosure: I received a gift card to shop and share my back to school finds with you. All opinions are 100% honest and my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase from any of the links I make a small amount.

The end of summer is here. The new school year means new school supplies and of course, fun new clothes! Grace and I recently had the chance to go shop at Hanna Andersson to check out their new back to school collection and I am so excited to share our finds with you. With Swedish roots, Hanna Andersson prides themselves on simple, colorful designs made with the best, softest fabrics. I have never seen higher quality fabrics in kids clothes and Hanna Andersson stands behind every item they sell. They have an unconditional guarantee: "If you’re unhappy with a product at any time for any reason, just bring or send it back to us, and we’ll refund the purchase price or replace the item. It’s as simple as that." How amazing is that??

I discovered Hanna Andersson last year and both of my kids' closets are now filled with fun, timeless pieces that they love. The clothes are comfy and easy to mix and match. I absolutely love their leggings and tights, they do not rip easily like other brands. Grace wears them everywhere and they still look as good as new.

I was excited to get the opportunity to shop. The Leawood, KS Hanna Andersson store is bright and fun with a great selection. Grace is about as girly as they come so she headed straight to the dresses. Luckily they offer a wide variety and I let her pick a couple of her favorites. This pink One = Two Reversible Dress was and still is her favorite (she tries to wear it every day!) She twirls around in it all day long and loves how soft it is. I love that it is two dresses in one and we added a pair of macaron Very Güd Livable Leggings to complete the outfit. The leggings also go with some of her other Hanna dresses so they will be great for fall. 

She spent about twenty minutes deciding her next pick and we finally chose this gorgeous powder purple/navy Stripes Love Flowers Dress. It's perfect for twirling. I love the ruffles and I'm excited to use it for family pictures in the fall. I told her to pose next to the tree and I think she looks way older than 4. She needs to stop growing so fast!!

I was going to look at boy's clothes for Connor when Grace spotted the backpacks across the store. She reminded me that she needed a new backpack and I couldn't resist when I saw that they were 30% off the day we were shopping. When she saw the rosa There & Backpack Junior, or as she calls it her UNICORN!!! she was super excited. She has been carrying all of her toys around in it and can't wait to show it to all of her friends at school. It is the perfect size for her and will still be big enough to carry everything she needs. I asked at the store about the unconditional guarantee with the backpacks, because honestly, kids are super hard on backpacks and they rarely last long. The employees assured me that the backpacks are covered too. If it starts to fray, rip, or we aren't happy with it in any way, we can simply return it. I was amazed and I plan to buy backpacks there for years to come.

Grace was happy with her choices and is now ready to go back to school in style with Hanna Andersson! You can find more great styles on their website or at a store near you. To help get your kids ready to go back to school, Hanna Andersson is offering my readers a 15% off in store coupon. Print it or show it on your phone to save 15% off your entire purchase through October 18th!
Hanna Andersson Printable Coupon

Thanks Hanna Andersson for letting us shop and share our favorite back to school finds! 


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