Fostering from the Eye of the Parent

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Fostering.  What  does fostering mean to me?

Can I start out by being 100% brutally honest and say that I can throw everything I thought about fostering/adopting out the window! Why do I say that?  I don’t say it to scare anyone,  but if we don’t have a healthy fear of the things in life then are we really living? How did I know I wanted to foster/adopt? When did I finally begin fostering, and when did fostering become an adoption? I hope to answer some questions that anyone thinking of fostering a child might have.

I had always known since I was a young girl that I wanted a large family. I wanted to make a difference, I wanted a huge challenge, but did I realize then  what that challenge was.  I can truly say that  I had zero clue. Let’s be real,  who truly understands much at that age? We all know we believe in something, but don’t really have purpose for it yet. So, you start doing little things to try figure life out.

Around the age of  11 I remember babysitting neighborhood kids for extra money. During high school I began working in daycares, working at amusement parks, and tutoring special education children. I spent the majority of my summers as a camp counselor for 4H camps and bible camps. I wanted to ensure that all children (especially those with special needs) could enjoy as much normalcy as possible.

Straight out of high school I got pregnant with my daughter. My pregnancy was hectic and problem ridden, and nothing less than stressful. I got married shortly after and surprisingly found out I was pregnant again. Sadly, at the same appointment I found out I was pregnant, I found out that we had lost our baby we never even knew I was carrying. Given the already troubling times this devastated us. After much discussion, time and healing, we together carefully planned to try again and I got pregnant with my son.1125321382-foster-care-adoption-quote

Following the birth of our son and some unforeseen troublesome times, military lifestyle, unrecognizable  differences  and overall stress of life, my husband and I decided to divorce.

A few years later I met my second husband, we had talked from the beginning of wanting to have a family together, he was a wonderful role model to my two biologic
al children. We discussed adopting, fostering, and even the potential of having our own; he was always supportive. About 2-3 years into our marriage, we decided that with the help of doctors we were ready to try for our own. We were heartbroken to hear that instead of trying to conceive, that I should get a hysterectomy due to unforeseen medical issues. So here I am… here we are… newly married, extremely excited to have a large family and have our own child together and in in a single moment you get news that you have to have a hysterectomy…at the age of 26. I would never be able to experience the ups and downs of pregnancy, the feeling of a child kick, or the rewarding feelings of birthing a child ever again. This changed me completely. My husband who had no children of his own, although  great to my biological children, wanted the joy and experience of parenthood with his own children. Something I couldn’t give him any longer. Needless to say, my marriage suffered greatly and we divorced.

Fast forward.

I met a guy who had 7 children. 3 of his own, 2 placed with him through the state, 1 through marriage and 1 he called his son although it was his friends son, he spent more than 50% of his time in his care. I fell in love with not only him but the children I had, at this point, only heard about. To see a man single handily take care of and call 7 children his.What woman wouldn’t fall knowing he could so unselfishly commit to that kind of lifestyle? Then we added in my two and we had 9 kids total. WOW! 9 kids and my heart was as full as ever! I was ecstatic to even have the opportunity to be a part of something so special. It tested me in every way possible but I felt love for 7 beautiful children that weren’t mine and loved them as equally as my own. This chapter of my life ended just as the others did. Surprise. However, I got to spend 2-3 year assisting with and raising such amazing children and have been blessed to get to continue being their lives as much as possible.

In 2013 I ventured back into single mom life and decided to spend time focused on MY life. I poured myself into my children, my sanity and began to find myself. I became stronger and focused on building a solid future. I spent roughly two years soul searching, finding my callings, my drive, narrowing my goals and figuring out who and what I was supposed to be.

What I  was destined to do really sunk when one night we were unloading the car from a trip and I noticed someone pull up to the house. A child got out, crying, ran up to the house and asked for my daughter. I immediately recognized this sweet girl as a close friend to my daughter. She frantically began explaining that she was in state custody and was needing a placement. I immediately lost control of my emotions, looked up at the sky and remembering mouthing “Nice joke Sir!”. I spent so much time bouncing back and forth with my thoughts of whether or not I could foster, should I foster, what would this mean for me and my family? 4328b5418297920ef569e2647f883d8d

I spent 3 long months in classes, gaining certifications, getting background checks, my life was dissected but it was worth it when I became a TN State Licenses Resource Parent/Foster Parent.

I began receiving the first of many, many, babies and children who would rest their heads in our home. They would find peace, safety, warmth, and nothing but love. My home was a home where they would and could make mistakes and not be judged or punished. They were met with patience and understanding. The now lived in a home where someone truly wanted to be a part of their lives, where their journey and experience meant something, where they would be set up for success an pushed to follow their dreams.

Never in a million years could I even begin to scratch the surface of the emotions that followed through. I never even knew these emotions existed. The abundance of love and the type of love I developed was unlike anything else I have experience before. I have been called every name under the sun, some bring pain with their calling, but the thanks and appreciation received would melt hearts in 150 different ways. The heart melting is sometimes met with heartache, sadness, and fear. These are the emotions that you would never know existed unless you’ve been there. I’ve had many babies come and an equal number go. I’ve spent many nights questioning myself as to if I am a failure, I’ve felt like these kids who I have grown to love were just ripped out of my loving safe home. I’ve stayed up for countless hours wondering if they are safe, loved and warm as they were here. I’ve cried countless tears for the same reasons.

Fostering is NOTHING like I imagined. I knew I would have to give up my free-time, the partying days were over, my time was no longer my time and it sure as heck wasn’t close to being manageable. I’ve spent more nights in hospitals, talking to the police, dealing with a DCS case workers, therapy, education classes and family visits that I ever thought was possible.

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Why do I do it? I’ve heard words come out of 9 & 10 year old mouths that they should never even have to hear, I’ve seen the anger expressed from them that they can’t even begin to understand what that feeling is they are expressing, I’ve seen kids so upset because they just want to be understood and feel wanted by someone. My calling was to be that “someone”.

Is it worth it? Absolutely! I get asked constantly why I do what I do and the effects it has on not only my life but the lives of my children.

What have I learned? I’ve learned to be a better parent. I’ve learned to be a different parent. I’ve learned to see things through the eyes of the children. I’ve learned that relationships will come and go but the love of the children remains.

So, do you think you have what it takes? 

Bring your “A” game because there are plenty of people ready to challenge you and you will quickly find out that you need them more then they need you. You’ll feel a different type of completion that compares to nothing else in life we can accomplish and fills our hearts in a sense we can’t even explain…

Learning to love children of many lives we learn to be better parents, better partners, mothers, friends, sisters, daughters…we learn to be overall better people. The reward and benefits of learning to love someone else’s child as your own cannot compare to anything else experience in life. Period.

~Amber

 

 

 

 

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Finn + Emma {Review}

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Pajamas are a huge deal in our house. My girls love their pajamas. It’s not easy to get them changed into regular clothes in the morning to start their day. They’d live in them if they could, but honestly, who wouldn’t? I know I would if I could. Jammies are so warm, cozy, and comfortable, pretty much everything I look for in everyday clothes! I recently had the opportunity to review an amazing modern organic children’s clothing brand, Finn + Emma. These are some of the coziest jams ever and they just keep getting softer with every wash!

 

While Finn + Emma offers a lot more than just pajamas, I had to try them first! All of their products are made of the finest organic cotton, with eco friendly dyes, and natural wood. As if Finn + Emma isn’t awesome enough, already, all of their garments and accessories are produced in fair trade settings that focus on social and economic pajamas-fairytale_grandeindependence for local people. I love companies that offer people fair wages and helps them provide a life for themselves and their families. Finn + Emma is a balance of stylish and sustainability and I love it!

The jams I picked out for my girls not only matched, but the print and colors went together perfectly! I’m not usually one for matching my 9 month old and my 4 year old, but when the clothes are this cute, I couldn’t deny my twin-mom fantasy any longer and had to get them to match! The Fairytale print is adorable and not only available in footies for littles and 2 piece sets for older kids, but a ton of matching clothing pieces, accessories, play gyms, and toys are available to complete this beautiful collection

I have to give Finn + Emma jams 5 out of 5 stars! They’re so incredibly soft and luxurious, I’m kind of jealous! I really hope adult jammies will be available in the future, I will definitely buy a few pairs for myself! Check out all of the awesome products, like fairytale-coverall-closeup-495x495clothing and toys, Finn + Emma have to offer here. There’s something for everyone, on any budget. I can’t wait to buy more of their adorable clothes for my girls and gift some of their wooden toys to my expecting friends!

Be sure to follow Finn + Emma on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest for new releases, sales, and more!

– Casey

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Chore Wars

Let’s talk chores…

I’ve polled this. I’ve asked other parents. I’ve googled the heck out of it…and it boils down to 50/50. I’ll start by saying my kids do chores. My (almost) 4 yr old dusted my cold-air intake the other day. It looked like garbage when he was done, and I re-did it, but he was so damn excited about it. img_4303

Parents who are for it said things like:

“It teaches them to work in a family”
“Chores raise kids to be better adults”
“Chores help kids understand important life skills”
“Children gain a sense of accomplishment”
“Don’t you have kids for free labor?”
“You have to teach them responsibility”

Now flip the tables:

“Chores annoy me as an adult, so I’m sure my kids would be annoyed and that’s emotionally damaging”
“They already have enough to do between sleepovers, playing outside with friends and homework”
“Kids aren’t adults. Housework is for adults”
“Kids need fun and fresh air. Not housework”
“Chores should be considered child cruelty”
“If kids do chores in their free time, all they will do it grow up to be housekeepers”

You ready for these two? These are by far the best most ridiculous answers…. brace yourselves:

“Parents who have their children do chores are just lazy and shouldn’t have to rely on their kids to do their jobs”
“Forcing someone to do work is considered slavery. Individuals should be allowed to choose what they do in life for their own gain. Kids are kids. Not slaves”

I can’t. I just can’t even entertain those.

915497.jpgAlright. So like I said, it’s clearly an equally debatable topic between us lazy slave drivers and the others. Just kidding. We’re not lazy slave drivers and I’m still baffled that someone even used that as a comparison.

Studies has shown and proven that children need chores. A professor from University of Minnesota, Dr. Rossmann, did a pretty extensive study on this whole topic. “Giving children household chores at an early age helps to build a lasting sense of mastery, responsibility and self-reliance…

She “analyzed data from a longitudinal study that followed 84 children across four periods in their lives—in preschool, around ages 10 and 15, and in their mid-20s. She found that young adults who began chores at ages 3 and 4 were more likely to have good relationships with family and friends, to achieve academic and early career success and to be self-sufficient, as compared with those who didn’t have chores or who started them as teens”.
So it seems that her study was pretty conclusive to the fact that us who enforce chores are in fact not slave drivers, we’re just raising a generation more likely to be responsible and successful. Now, I’m not saying that kids that don’t do chores aren’t responsible and won’t be successful…what I am saying… well not even what I am saying…what the studies are saying is there is a correlation between success and chores. 17787369286_0c5db0b3a5

Now, no one is saying to make your toddler scrub toilets and go outside and clean up dog poop… the key here is age-appropriate chores. This list is all
of the things that your child within that age range should be perfectly capable of doing… will it be perfect? no. will you probably have to re-do it the first few times? yes. Is it for their own good? Absolutely.

So trust me. You’re not a slave driver and your kids won’t be emotionally scarred from having to put their laundry in the hamper by themselves. Handling spoons and forks won’t kill them and dumping dog food into a bowl isn’t the end of the world.

Teach your kids to contribute. Studies have shown, it’s worth it in the end.

-Kirstyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DockATot Grand {Product Review}

img_0042.jpgSleep. Please give me all the sleep. It’s the thing that all parents are seriously lacking in. How toddlers run on so little sleep has to be some sort of miracle. Sleeping when they sleep doesn’t constitute to enough sleep most of the time. It’s a cruel joke, really. I know I know….”Cherish these days while you have them, they don’t last. You will wish you were up at 3 am snuggling in 6 years”. Blah blah blah. No I wont. I will never wish that I was up at 3 am watching Curious George praying that MAYBE it will make her settle long enough for me to snag a few more snoozes.

Until the day that my kids are teenagers and sleeping like I wanted them to when they were two, I will just funnel coffee directly down my throat, and work out at 5 am in hopes that I can make it till bedtime.

DockATot sent us their Grand dock and I gladly accepted. Promises of happier babies and more sleep. Yes please. Take all my money.

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What is a DockATot?

Quite literally it is a safe pillow to nest your child in for a cozier sleep environment. It comes in two sizes the Deluxe and the Grand. Deluxe is made for 0-8months and Grand  is made for 9-36 months.

The Grand is perfect for cuddling, playing, lounging, resting and everything in between. It’s ideal for travel—either from room to room, grandma’s house or on vacation. It’s also ideal for bed transitioning, thanks to built-in, air permeable bumpers that act as bed rails, allowing young children to settle more easily in a bigger bed.  It  gives little ones a snug sense of security in their newer, bigger beds.

The dock is BREATHABLE, MACHINE WASHABLE, OEKO-TEX CERTIFIED,HYPO ALLERGENIC, FREE OF CHEMICALS, AND NATURALLY COOLING. safety-chart-dat.jpg

The dock comes in many different patterns and they also have many cover options that you can purchase separately.

The pad and bumpers are very breathable. I shoved my face in and could definitely take a deep breath and breath comfortably. That made me feel good about my one year old using it.  I wish I would have had this months ago when my little man was still co-sleeping because of nursing. I am sure this would have given him more hours of sleep in the pack n play next to my bed.

I have to admit that I was skeptical. It’s HUGE. And basically a big body pillow for toddlers. Both BK#1 and BK#2 are HUGE fans of it. BK#1 ended up with it permanently in her bed though. BK#2 is my sleeper and will sleep 12 hours at night and a good 2 hour nap during the day.  BK#1 on the other hand is almost 3 and fights sleep with everything in her being. We recently moved her into a twin bed, and I think the large surface area might be messing with her sleep pattern. After I saw how much that she loved playing in it, and then dozing off in it, I decided to put it in her bed to see what would happen. DockATtotBurritoBuzz .jpg

The past 3 days she has gone to bed without a fuss and stays up until her clock tells her that she can get out of bed. Which hasn’t happened in a few weeks! I am actually going to push the time up a little bit for her because I think it is actually waking her! She is definitely more comfortable and not tossing and turning as much. She hasn’t came in my room asking to be covered back up or arriving at my bedside at 4am saying she is up for the day. WIN!

BK#1 LOVED it in his crib. He is 1.5 and can have things in his crib, but the FAQs say that’s not what it is made for without observation. I put it in there for a nap time and a photo, because dang it …its adorable!1483753072005.jpg

What I don’t love:

The price?!?! I get that its made of some awesome breathable fabric, its gone through some pretty strict testing, and the design is awesome…but really almost $300 is a little steep. That is NOT in the average person’s budget. The company is limiting their market by quite a bit with the price. If I knew that some pillow bumpers would have made my toddler happy then I would have put two body pillows in her bed!

Its HUGE. Yes it would be great to have at a grandparents house, or on a vacation for unfamiliar beds, but getting it there is the problem. You can purchase a carrying bag but its still the size of a large suitcase. Lord knows that parents have to take way too much as it is when we travel with children, add on carrying a huge pillow? Yeah that would be a big NO in my book. The car seat for the airplane is enough to lug around.

I give the DockATot a 3 out of 5 stars. Its awesome and definitely gets the job done, but the price is way too high and its definitely not something you have to have as a parent. Adorable and super popular right now? yes. Practical 100% of the time? No.

~Amanda

 

 

Shēdo Lane UV Apparel // SwimZip’s Sister Company {Product Review}

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I know summer clothing might not be on our minds, but the warm weather is certainly on mine! I am currently staring outside at a few inches of snow and a temperature that is well below my age. I do much better with the warmer months. If some sunset-beach-chairs-stock-footage.jpgof you are thinking about taking a weekend to the beach, I want to introduce you to some butter soft kids’ clothes! 

We aren’t planning a trip to the beach any time soon, but these polos are making some adorable layering pieces for my little man this winter.

Shēdo Lane is a brand new sister company of SwimZip (as seen on ABC’s Shark Tank), and I am so excited to be introducing and sharing them with our readers! logo.png

Shēdo Lane is a luxury sun protection apparel brand. Utilizing the highest rated, UPF 50+, UV sun protective fabric in complimenting styles, they bring sun protection clothing to its highest form.  Whether it is a morning walk on the beach, a playdate at a favorite playground, an afternoon cup of tea on the patio, or drinks with friends around the pool, Shēdo Lane keeps you covered from the sun’s rays – and looking your best. Shēdo Lane sun protective apparel brings together the function and fashion – so you can indulge in the sun and get on with living your dreams!image2_grande.jpg

We received a toddler 2T polo and found that it runs a little larger than a Carter’s 2T. It fits my little linebacker just fine because he’s so stalky, but on a slender taller toddler, it would be a little baggy.

The material is made from bamboo and it is soft as butter! I seriously wish all kids’ clothes were made this soft and supple. Perfect for snuggling, but stylish enough to wear on a night out! IPhoto087_300dpi.jpg have washed them multiple times and they don’t shrink or lose their shape in any way!

Not only do they offer toddler clothes, but they have clothes for adults!  Who doesn’t want to match their little one? I know I think it’s adorable! I have been eying the cardigan for woman and I will probably be putting it on some sort of wish list for my hubby! I have a feeling I will never want to buy any other brand of shirts!

My only complaint is that the clothes are priced a little high for babies and little ones. One polo is $25. For an adult, I would definitely pay that, but not for a simple toddler shirt. The adult clothes are priced well though. The cardigan I was talkingphoto41_300dpi about is only $40 which is pretty average for a woman’s shirt.

Overall, I have to give Shēdo Lane a 4 out of 5 stars! I can’t stop scrolling through their website, looking at all their comfy clothes! Baby clothes are seriously my weakness.

Have fun shopping!

Be sure to check out this awesome, family-owned company on Facebook and Instagram!

– Amanda

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

10 New Year Resolutions Every Parent Should Have

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Do you make a New Year’s Resolution every year and then falter when February 15th hits, and all the Valentine’s Day chocolate is 75% off? I know I do. I like to have goals that are measureable. Goals that I can make a list for and then a month or so down the road, I can see the progress that I have made. This year, I am making a new resolution.

I want to be a more mentally present and attentive parent.

There are many, many ways that I can do this, but I wanted to share my top 10 that I will be focusing on this year.oneI am way worse about this than I really like to admit.snapchatburritobuzz.jpg But if you sit back and think about it, how often do you actually turn your phone off? How often are you sitting on the floor with your kids and scrolling through Facebook? Or while they’re watching a movie and you’re reading through emails? Better yet, instead of playing, we are snap chatting with them? Gosh, I do this way too much. So much time is wasted playing with stupid filters. Technology is important this day and age, but we have to learn to limit ourselves as much as we limit our children. How often do you say “okay, that’s enough cartoons for the day” and five minutes later, you’re checking Facebook. Guilty!twoI plan on doing this outside of bedtime with my little ones. Not a book here and there, but sit down on the couch after dinner and deliberately focus on extended reading time. Reading is brain food. I hope that by enforcing consistent reading habits for my children that they will learn to love reading and their brains will flourish. You can read more about how important reading daily is here.three5c4135bdfa4c16b5878d7b7d04084dd1.jpgMy littles love being outside, as most children do. No matter how cold, wet, snowy, hot, muggy, or windy, I plan to get them outside to enjoy and experience the outdoors and encourage their love for nature, before they’re teenagers and I am begging them to go outside and do something!fourIhappiness-gratitude-jar.jpg want my children to have favorite memories and activities that we did during their childhood to carry on to their adult life. I am not sure what that will be for sure yet, but I know that we are going to start a “Happy Moments Jar,” planting flowers in the spring, and seeing fireworks in the summer.fiveSometimes we just get in our funks with life and forget that our tiny humans are watching us. Do more of what makes you happy and include your littles when doing it. Let them help you with your hobbies, involve them with things that you normally wouldn’t. As crazy as my OCD might be, I plan on letting my littles bang on the piano a little more when I am at it, having helpers when I bake more often, and maybe even letting them play with my yarn, that’s a big maybe. I wrote a post about choosing to be happy last year. Check it out here.sixNo matter what your religion or what you believe, it is important for children to have strong core values. Here at BurritoBuzz, we respect everyone and don’t really talk about our religions, but I encourage you to focus on what you believe in and what you want to instill into your children as they grow up.
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I have to admit, we have a pretty large family and our “village” for our children is pretty big, but my goal is to embrace it a little more and to lean on those who love us. Even more so to clean up oFind-Your-Tribe-Project-Bond-Laporte.pngur village. Focus on those who focus on us and try not to worry about things that I can’t control. I have learned that I can’t make family behave the way they should. Adulthood and parenthood made it easy for me to realize that friends come and go sometimes, and that’s okay.

eight.pngThis is a big thing for me. Marriage is not always easy and it is so important for our children to have a constant strong foundation to lean on. The only way that our relationship is going to grow, is to make each other a priority daily. It is fairly easy now. We are really happy and life is awesome, but life isn’t always awesome. I want to start having more regular dates and doing more things just daddy and I.nine.pngThe constant worry about the dishes, the laundry, cleaning the bathrooms, sweeping up the dog hair… it just never ends. The sooner that I give up and admit that fact, the happier I will be! I don’t want my kids to look back and say “yeah, mom always cleaned in her free time.” Uh, how about a reading a book or working on a craft? Or going for a walk? The chores aren’t going anywhere. Period.

il_fullxfull-229582580ten.jpgI mean really, just hop off of Facebook and Instagram for a hot minute and relax. Who cares when Johnny started walking or that your kid drinks mama’s milk and Sally’s kid drinks formula and cloth vs. disposable diapers. Fit and healthy vs. surviving on 2 hours of sleep. Top of the line baby gear vs.being a single parent with barely one income. Organic backyard farm raised vs. pop tarts and McDonalds. Working parent vs. Stay at home parent.facafd0804849d464c46d2c11eb8f2ea.jpg

Give it up. Being a parent is hard enough just from reading the pamphlets they send home with you from the hospital, much less if you are making a list in the back of your head about whatever everyone else is doing, what you think you should be doing. I do it, I’ll admit it. We all do it and we don’t even think about it. I’m taking a step back and focusing on how perfect our parenting style is and how my kids are thriving, smart, and healthy. That is all that matters in the end.

Happy New Year! I hope your goal is to focus on what you have and not what you need to do in the New Year!

– Amanda

 

 

Edible Won’t-Give-You-Salmonella Cookie Dough

I’m turning the BurritoBuzz table real quick and focusing on us adults for a second and not the children. Not that the kids couldn’t indulge too, but this was so good, I didn’t even want to share. There is no shame in that right?

I got this hankering tonight to make cookies. Although we LOVE cookies, we love cookie dough even more. Danny tried to convince me to whip up a batch of regular cookie dough, eggs and all, and he would be satisfied eating that. The only thing running through my mind was “salmonella” and that isn’t something that we need to contract ever, let alone right before Christmas, so I opted to figure out an egg-less cookie dough that we could legitimately eat right out of the bowl. Which we did.

What’s even better about this recipe is it took like 6 minutes  of my life to make and it requires ZERO baking

Ingredients:

1/2 c. of softened butter (thats 1 regular sized stick)
1 c. of sugar
1 c. of flour
2 tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Sprinkles…as many as your glutenous little heart desires.Directions:

Combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, almond extract and milk; mix well. Add flour and baking soda and mix until combined. Fold in sprinkle. Hide in closet away from children and enjoy!

img_4380Do it. Seriously. Like get up right after you’re done reading this (and sharing it with all your friends who will love you for it) and make some. My husband and I seriously ate the WHOLE bowl, watching a movie on the couch (C was asleep), in our PJ’s.

Let me know how you like it or any add-ins you choose!

-Kirstyn

Milestone™ Mini Cards {Review}

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If you ask my husband what my most prized possessions are (besides my children), the only two things I would make sure to grab in case of a fire – he would even go as far to say I would try to run back into the burning house for them, would be my daughters’ baby books. I write down everything; measurements, doctor visits, trips, every single milestone and first you can think of, I add lots of pictures and little notes, it’s all written down. Everyone said my 2nd daughter’s baby book would be blank, but I’ve made sure that wasn’t the case just because she’s the youngest. I make sure to write card5everything down for my girls so they know everything from when they were little in case anything happens to me. My mom passed away when I was 23, before I ever got pregnant, and I don’t have her here to ask when I got my first tooth or what day I started walking (my dad doesn’t have any idea). So when I find a company and products that make it easier for me to keep track of things for my kids (I love organization) and make it more convenient for me to write down the memories, I have to share it!

I recently had the opportunity to try out the cutest cards from the awesome company Milestone. Milestone makes sets of photo cards to capture and remember those special moments that made you smile. The first sets of Baby Cards by Milestone were printed in May 2012. Today, they’re sold in 22 languages in over 40 countries with new parents enjoying them every day, all over the card2world. Milestone offers several different cards, Baby’s First Year – Original and Limited Edition, Twins First  Year, Pregnancy and First Weeks, Fun Activities, The Early Years (0-4), Mini Cards – First Words and Quotes and even a Wedding Set to capture your big day! All of the cards are of great quality and are beautifully illustrated with adorable little animals and patterns. They’re designed in Holland and printed in Belgium.

Milestone is kind enough to offer free printable cards from their website! There are holiday cards for baby’s first Christmas or Hanukkah, Back to School cards, and even a card for My First Trip to the Grocery Store! Check them all out here and to print your own. Another amazing printable set Milestone offers is their free Premature Cards, available in 8 languages. With milestones like “I weigh 2.2lbs” and “I stopped using the ventilator,” these are huge milestones for8_5-milestone_product_mtc_packshotsmall little babies and need documented and celebrated! Download and print yours here.

I chose to try the Milestone Mini Cards ($19), which can be used to write down just about anything. First words and quotes, 100 small cards that I can use to write down all of the silly things my 4 year old daughter says. I had been writing down things (that I can remember) in her baby book, but this is much more convenient! On the inside of the box, you can right your child’s name and each child can have his or her own box of cards. I will be getting my youngest her own box once she’s older! You can put the cards in the box, in scrapbooks or take pictures of your little one holding the card, too. I jutwinsmainpicst keep her box on her top shelf in her closet and anytime she says something funny or something I want to remember, I just grab a card, jot it down, and I’m done. These cards are a game changer for me. I just wish I found them sooner! Check out all of the Milestone products to document your little one growing up here and visit Milestone’s global shop here!

Follow Milestone on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter to stay updated on new products and sales! Make sure you tag your photos using Milestone cards with #milestonebaby and #milestonewedding on social media.

– Casey
milestone-cards-logo
**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Lorena Canals Washable Rugs {Review}

img_3897When I was pregnant, one of my favorite things to do to prepare for baby was designing the nursery! I love interior design and putting together ideas for a room (I wish my bank account gave me more freedom) and had so much fun getting my oldest daughter’s nursery together. My poor youngest, she’s still bunking in mom and dad’s room. There’s just enough room for her crib, a big dresser and our queen sized bed. But now that the baby is getting older, we’re really looking forward to our girls sharing a room (and getting ours back). When our oldest moved from her crib to a big girl bed, I gave her room a little makeover, new bedding of course, new pictures on the walls, a banner that says her name above her bed, curtains, and other little decorative pieces. But I’ve always wanted a nice sized rug in her room and wanted one even more with her sister always in there and because they’ll soon be sharing a room. I came across the coolest washable rugs from Lorena img_5863Canals for nurseries and for kids’ rooms (for any room, really) and I couldn’t wait to share them with you!

Lorena Canals is an amazing company that started specializing in children’s rugs 12 years ago to offer their customers all of the essentials to enjoy elegant and cozy spaces with all the requirements that moms need for little ones. The rugs undergo an extensive elaboration handmade process based on the selection of the best raw materials, the use of natural dyes, the control of non-child labor (so awesome!) in the production process, and the compliance of quality and safety regulations for children. Literally every tiny detail is purposely thought out. Watch the video below to see how Lorena Canals rugs are made, starting from the very beginning:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/143355327

As I mentioned above, these rugs are washable! Not only are the styles awesome and the quality is top notch, but you can  wash them! I hesitated spending money on a rug for my daughter’s room when I first gave it a mini makeover, because let’s face it, kids are gross and often make crazy messes and a regular rug would be ruined fast. But a rug that I could just throw in the washing machine when my oldest drops pudding on it (even though she’s not allowed to have food in her room, I still find the evidence) and bluemy youngest happens to find a tube of diaper rash cream and empties the entire thing on it. Is there any better way to wash something? Just roll it up and toss it in the washer! Easy peasy.

I picked the Stars Navy – White ($200) design for my daughter’s room and it is absolutely perfect! The 4’x5’x3’ is the perfect size for the room and it’s honestly like a cloud! It’s so soft, I can only imagine that it gets softer with every wash. My youngest loves to rest her little head on the rug when she needs a break from crawling all over the house. It’s handmade and made for natural dyes and 100% natural cotton. I am in love with this rug and give Lorena Canals a 5 out o5 5 stars. These rugs are incredible and would be in every room in my house if I could afford it! There are so many different designs, shapes and sizes, and prices, the options are endless! You canimg_3898 check out all of the gorgeous Lorena Canals rugs and purchase here!

Make sure you like Lorena Canals on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter for product updates and sales!

– Casey

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Last Minute Christmas Shopping. Ideas For All Ages.

last-minutI am usually the procrastinator. I like to try and get little things throughout the year for close family members, if I see things I think that they would like, but most years I wait till around the 20th to do the bulk of my shopping. So stupid. So so so STUPID, but I do it almost every single year. This year was different. I am not sure how or when I got it all tackled, but I have been done shopping for about a week now! It is seriously a fabulous feeling. I go to Target to get diapers and I am surrounded by frantic chaos and I am not phased, because I am not eagerly figuring out what else I need to get. Since I have a little bit of extra time I thought that I would compile a list of  ideas if you are struggling with deciding what to get a friend, their kids, your family, or whomever you weren’t handed a list a mile – long for!

I tried to make sure that these ideas where below $50 for budget’s sake. That doesn’t mean there aren’t A LOT of awesome gear on the market right now that is above that, but I know that most people have many people to shop for. Also, most links are for Amazon or a store that they are currently in stock at, for easy shipping and ease of shopping. Be sure to check out your local boutiques for some items also. This time of year shopping local really is helping your community’s friends and family.


KIDS

INFANT: 

Janod shape sorter. – Any shape sorter is a classic and awesome for little ones. janodshapesorter .jpg

pipSquigz sensory toys.pipsquigz1

Melissa & Doug K’s Kids Match and Build Soft Blocks Set61oghm4MqmL._SL1200_.jpg

AGES 1-3 BOY:

Xylo Roller by Janod.

Janod_Xylo_Roller.jpg

Fisher Price Mega Box.These are awesome for any age or gender but it’s always my go- to gift for younger kids. If you don’t get the one with a carrying bag, then I strongly suggest that you wrap it in a inexpensive plastic bin to save the parent’s sanity. 81rlkhendvl-_sl1500_

Oombee Cube for tactile exploration. Screenshot_2016-06-24_12.08.27.png

 

–  ANY gender…or age really…-   Magnatab doodle pad by kid O – My kiddos ADORE these! Magnatab-front---non-glowing-710-0x0x4800x3200_grande.jpg

AGES 1-3 GIRL:

VTech Touch and Swipe Baby Phone – What toddler doesn’t love a phone? I haven’t met one yet!71dzfwfsmxl-_sl1500_Melissa & Doug Jenna 12″ Doll Bundle81h0gs1wxil-_sl1500_

 VTech Go! Go! Smart Friends Twinkle the Magical UnicornThis thing is even more  ADORABLE in person and so much fun! 7143hFPBFnL._SL1500_.jpg

AGES 3-5 BOY:

Think & Learn Code-a-pillar by Fisher Price. This is an awesome way to keep little kids boys thinking and busy! 71eysXEDxuL._SL1132_.jpg

Little Tikes 3′ Trampoline81jiamxqfjl-_sl1500_

 Little Tikes Attach ‘n Play Basketball Set- This is the first over the door hoop that I have seen that can adjust for shorter children as well as taller. 81ak2fk5hml-_sl1500_

AGES 3-5 GIRL:

Play-Doh My Little Pony Rainbow Dash Style Salon Playset71wqmjtilql-_sl1500_

Enchanted Princess Palace  by VTech Go! Go! Smart Friends 71QdIXA7bzL._SL1500_.jpgSlice and Bake Wooden Cookie Play Food Set by Melissa & Doug 61nwpeyzrll-_sl1200_

AGES 5-7 BOY:

Osmo Coding Game- Teaches logic and problem solving skills

71x3yoe4tpl-_sy500_Telescope with Tripod by Balance and Living. 411+gL1snjL._SY450_.jpgSpy Gear – Video WalkieTalkies91d6tlgi85l-_sl1500_

AGES 5-7 GIRL:

Cleverkeet by Little Live Pets 81ociowenrl-_sl1500_ Furby Connect 91buZjiS9nL._SL1500_.jpg

My First Sewing Kit by ALEX Toys Craft 91py07rordl-_sl1500_

AGES 8-13 BOY:

LEGO STAR WARS AT-ST WalkerA1LrwPLhi0L._SL1500_.jpg

4M Crystal Growing Experiment 91ZWRgwjg-L._SL1500_.jpgNerf N-Strike Elite HyperFire Blaster 50697293.jpg

AGES 8-13 GIRL:

Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven Baking Star Edition Bonus Pack 48637847_alt06Pottery Cool Studio by Spin Master50517502_alt02Beginners Acoustic Guitar With Guitar Case, Strap, Tuner and Pick. c1dc3d4a-b4ae-428d-b2a2-f71f792256d5_1.a01353ec77e006cd32539beec103cb92.jpg

AGES 14 + BOY:

Helicopter Drone 71q4lj5gh2l-_sl1500_Mouthguard Challenge Game 51si5dlyl-_sx300_Follow Me Robot Kit by Elenco41skdbwxk-l-_sy445_

AGES 14+ GIRL:

All-Natural Soaps Science Kit by SmartLab Toy. 91sjmvddkxl-_sl1500_Karaoke Player by Singing Machine. 61ccbj04zhl-_sl1000_

 My Super Knot-A-Quilt by Alex toys. 10909094

*** With all age groups I encourage you to get books too! It’s always a great option and children can’t learn to love reading unless we teach them how ***


ADULTS

MALE YOUNG ADULT:

Philips Norelco BeardTrimmer Series 7200 with Vacuum. 15073719_alt02Madden NFL 16 (Xbox One)17397821Cordless Drill 14818202

FEMALE YOUNG ADULT :

Blanket Scarf by Steve Madden.blanket-scarves

Bluetooth Beanie with Wireless Microphone Dark Grey – Tenergy 51328146Daisy by Marc Jacobs Eau de Toilette Spray 14604411

MALE PARENT:

Car track  massage shirt. img_2237

 Customizable Engraved Wood Handle Steel Hammer716zxnvxdpl-_sl1500_.

 18PCS BBQ Grill Accessories Tool Set 81is7k3zil-_sl1500_

FEMALE PARENT :

Black Picture Frame Set (set of 7) 81ar2xx-xgl-_sx425_

Conair Waterfall Footbath 50943588_alt03Netflix gift card. – So momma can binge on whatever show she pleases without having to pay a dime.  content-mainimg.png

MALE GRANDPARENT :

Keep Calm and Papa Will Fix It T-Shirt 51wdk6-hdtl-_ux342_Willow Tree Grandfather71B8nuIRXEL._SL1500_.jpg

The Grandparent Gift Life Story Frame– Grandpa9151g3xt7l-_sx522_

FEMALE GRANDPARENT:

Family Tree Picture Frame 51mcpvr3fhl-_sx425_

 

 Grandchildren Date Print 51d7xyKM1cL.jpg

What I Love About Grandma Fill in the Love Journal by Knock Knock. 819mttjg4jl-_sl1500_

You should have more than enough ideas for you last minute shopping now!
Merry Christmas!
~Amanda

Getting My Toddler To Sleep. {OK to Wake! Clock Review}

sleep6My almost- 3 year old has never been a great sleeper. As an infant she had colic, cluster fed all night long, and refused to nap unless held. To this day I am really not sure how she survived on so little sleep, or how we did for that matter. From around 1- 2 years old she had mild bouts of waking in the middle of the night, but for the most part she slept through the night. When 2 years hit a switch flipped. She FOUGHT FIGHTS going to bed, she wakes all the time, we started using a sound machine/projector just to distract her from not wanting to sleep long enough to pass out, and worst of all she started waking at FIVE AM or earlier. Every single day. We tried every tactic in the book, but absolutely nothing worked. Finally 6 months later we have her sleeping till at least 5:30-5:45am and staying in her room if she wakes before her clock is green. I will come back to that in a bit.51cbf905d67908ae96a60368d3914de5

WHAT DID We DO?….not all at one time

  • Extremely strict bedtime routine. –  Warm bath, lavender oil lotion, 2 books, turn on twinkle twinkle(After her 18 mo sleep regressions we got rid of the projector feature of her sound machine and just let the music play), snuggle up with baby doll, kisses, and good night.
  • New bedtime- only books.
  • Warm milk and a small snack if she wanted before bedtime routine.
  • Quiet time and winding down 30 min prior to bathtime.
  • Returning to her room only once for bedtime fussing and requests. (Hugs, cup, different stuffed animal etc. )
  • Cutting any type of sugar out, especially in the afternoon. – No juice, fruit, cereals etc
  • Allowing her to have a few fun books and quiet toys to play with when she wakes, instead of waking the entire house at the crack of dawn. – At this point we just gave in to the fact that some kids just aren’t sleepers. Our pediatrician said she was getting ENOUGH sleep, just not our desired amount.sleepchart
  • Pushing bed time a little, thinking maybe she would sleep in a little later. – We made bedtime at 8:30pm consistently for a little over a week and 4:30- 5 am was her wake up time. Every day. So, that obviously didn’t work.
  • Fresh air every day,  and focusing on a good amount of physical activity after dinner time. – Just to make sure she got all of her wiggles out and she was good and tired.  
  • Lavender Essential oils. – I will link here for some information about how this works for ALOT of children for sleep problems!images4vh1sx1d
  • Parenting to sleep/stay asleep. – I wasn’t fond of this, but some Dr’s do recommend it, other do not. I personally am a very gentle parent and I believe that bedtime as any other situation with a child  should be a teaching and learning experience rather than discipline. I didn’t want any type of punishments related to nighttime, mostly out of fear that it would make it worse, but laying down the law a little bit did help some. Things like this helped a little :”We don’t scream and yell, and if that’s what you choose to do then you will go down and sit in time out until you can use your words”, “If you go wake your brother instead of coming to mommy then you’re going straight to time out”, “If we don’t get our sleep at bedtime/naptime then we don’t get to go ….” I don’t think it helped the amount of sleep that either of us were getting, but the attitude definitely shifted.
  • Last but NOT LEAST. We tried the OK! To Wake alarm clock and I am beyond happy with the daily results.mnv-002_2z

If you are struggling with all of the above solutions not working, then hopefully this will help you and your little ones like it has helped us!

I found it while googling in the middle of the night. It was definitely a last resort, but WELL WORTH THE MONEY. I have seen it retailed at $22-$29. The link above is for Amazon with the cheapest  price that I have found at $22. IMG_3478-001.jpg

It is a  clock with a night light that  glows green when it’s OK for your child to get out of bed.  It has a constant night light if you choose to use it, but turns off with a  button.

For toddlers who can’t tell time it is there is a cute little robotic face option instead of the time. When your toddler is older and needs a clock it is a regular alarm clock with a snooze, and a nap timer.

The main feature of this clock is obviously the light up at wake time feature. The back of the clock has a great little concealed program pad in the back. untitled2 It was extremely easy to set up, and the directions were very clear and descriptive. You set a time like you would for an alarm, but instead of a noise going off the back light lights up green.  The light is pretty dim, so if your child is still sleeping then it wont wake them.   It is easy for parents to program; grows with families by helping them get more sleep, and then teaching children growing  independence with the alarm clock!

When BK#1 wakes up at the crack of dawn she knows to wait in her room till her clock  turns green, and sometimes she even falls back asleep while waiting. It took her a week or so to really understand what was going on and after a few weeks we have slowly changed the time that it turns green to a desired time for us!  {We started with a time close to when she had been waking and pushed it up by 5 minutes every few days.}  She gets the feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing a job well done. And, Ok to Wake! is something that can be completed successfully every day!x2_50f52d3b3d2bd00c5799353ee4429a5e

It comes with a USB cord and has battery backup, and a second interchangeable face plate.

The only thing that I don’t  like is that the wall adapter is not included. You can use any  USB wall adapter you already own for phones, tablets, etc. though. It wasn’t a huge deal, but just something I wish I would have  paid more attention to. I recommend having it plugged in because if not then it is free standing and your toddler might just build a book tower to

I 100% give this awesome clock a 5 out of 5 stars and it is most definitely something that every family needs!

I would love for my daughter to be a sleeper, but I don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon. Ok to Wake!  has definitely given me some more sleep!  I hope everything we tried can help you too!

~Amanda

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Grippies: STEM Toys for Toddlers

g8311_6-1200x1200BurritoBuzz has talked about STEM teaching before, so elaborating on STEM, we’re bringing you a review on Guidecraft Grippies. I had not heard of Grippies prior to being introduced to them, but I was fascinated by the concept.

The toddler STEM building toy, Grippies® Builders, combines tactile exploration, magnetic play and an introduction to the basic principles of engineering and geometry. Grippies® use a unique, magnetic rod and ball configuration to provide a secure, frustration-free set of construction option as children first discover the joy of building. Unique in concept and design, Grippies® provide a fun, safe, and exploratory experience for toddlers. The 30 piece set features 4 soft matte textures in exciting bright colors. Suggested age: 18 months+

  • Open-ended magnetic STEM building toy for toddlers
  • Combines tactile exploration with magnetic play
  • Provides introduction to engineering
  • 30 piece set in exciting bright colors for $59.99 or a 20 piece for $39.99
  • Over-sized ABS Plastic rod encapsulates magnets
  • Accompanying metal balls are overmolded with soft plastic, with seamless texture for secure construction
  • Exterior features 4 soft matte textures
  • Winner of the Tillywig Brain Child Award, the National Parenting Center’s Seal of –Approval, Parents’ Choice Awards Silver Honor, and the Oppenheim Gold and Special Needs Adaptable Product (SNAP) Awards

grippies-sub-category-banner2-tm

My son is 22 months old and really fine-tuning his motor skills at this point. Upon opening up Grippies, not only was my son fully engaged, but my husband and I were enthralled with building all kinds of structures with him. He quickly caught on to the concept of magnetism, so much so that he discovered that he could stick them to theg8311_lifestyle3-1200x1200 fridge, dishwasher, and cold air return grates. And while the structures he’s building now are fairly basic, I have no doubt that he’ll be engaged with Grippies for years to come and build much more advanced structures!

I was concerned about the magnets in these products, because magnets can cause serious damage (and death) if swallowed. I’ve been cautious throughout my son’s infancy and toddler years to ensure that small magnets are always out of his reach. Thankfully, the magnets in the Grippies are firmly stuck on the rods. While I tell my son to not chew on toys, he still does at times. Thankfully, the Grippies’ magnets have not budged. He is still always supervised when playing with them, thanks to my momma paranoia.

Grippies have proven to be a fun, educational activity for my tiny human. They keep him busy for decent lengths of time. My only true complaint is the price; they are overpriced for what you get. I’d love to see them have a lower price-point so all families could affordstem-logo-salsify-1200x1200 them. Check out all of Guidecraft’s awesome and educational toys here and Guidecraft’s STEM toys here! They will make great holiday and birthday gifts for any little one in your life!

Don’t forget to follow Guidecraft on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to stay up to date on all thing Guidecraft!

– Katie

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Tray Haven {Review}


trayhavenNow that my youngest is almost 9 months old, she’s hell bent on feeding herself. If a spoon or fork goes anywhere near her face, she swipes at whatever’s on it so she can shovel it in her mouth with her own two hands. Because of her new found independence, we just cut food into small bits and put it on her high chair tray so she can go to town on her own. Most of the food ends up on the floor rather than in her mouth though. She thinks it’s funny to throw it all on the floor (I think she wants to give our dog a snack) along with her sippy cup of water. After going through this with my oldest, I pink5-500x500decided to find something so don’t have to keep picking her cup and pieces of food up and constantly cleaning the floor. I stumbled upon Tray Haven and I’m so glad I did! I reached out and the company was kind enough to send me one to try out.

I received our Tray Haven just in time for Thanksgiving and it was a life saver! It’s made to work with most high chairs, booster seats, and wheelchairs with removable trays and seat backs. It’s designed to keep food and objects on the tray, and not on the floor. It’s made from durable mesh and strong straps so it can withstand a lot. It also collapses really easy and can be taken anywhere. We’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and I am so happy with how well it keeps everything where it should be! It’s super simple to attach it to a high chair (or even a stroller). Here’s a video that perfectly shows and explains how to use the Tray Haven:

Tray Haven has made mealtime with my baby so much easier, not to mention there is less to clean up! No more bending over to pick things up over and over and over (because it always turns into a game) and no more constant cleaning of the floor. I wish I would have had one when my oldest was a baby, she was always throwing her food and cups! I give Tray Haven a 5 out of 5 stars. It’s made of quality materials, it’s easy to use, and it works! At $34.99 and available in pink and blue, they make great gifts for birthdays, holidays, and baby showers. Parents and caregivers will be so grateful! Purchase yours here!

If you want to win Tray Haven of your own, you’re in luck! We’re giving away a blue Tray Haven to one lucky winner! All you have to do is follow these easy steps to enter:

  1. Like both @burritobuzz and @trayhaven on Instagram.
  2. Like the original giveaway post.tray2
  3. Tag friends you think are in need of a Tray Haven, too!
  4. That’s it!

The giveaway will begin Friday December, 9th at 12pm and will end Monday December, 12th at 12pm. A winner will be randomly chosen and announced on the original giveaway post within 24 hours of the giveaway ending. Goodluck! **This giveaway is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Instagram.**

Don’t forget to like Tray Haven on Facebook and Twitter, too, for product updates!

– Casey

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

HELP! My Kids Are Sick!

helpmykidsaresickburritobuzz

When you are a parent the conversation that you have with other adults tends to change drastically. That conversation changes even more when your friends start having babies too. The questions you googled in the wee hours of the night start to be the things your friends ask you about. Instead of talking about having an evening out with your husband, you are talking about how to stop the annoying virus that is causing a consistent runny nose or stomach ache.flueeverywhere

Fall and winter are just gross when it comes to kids. They are cooped up in the house or at school, and the germs just fester and circulate from kid to kid. This leaves parents to trying just about anything to keep our kids healthy.

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I AM NOT A DOCTOR, THIS ADIVCE IS STRICTLY FROM MY EXPERIENCE AND ADIVCE I HAVE RECIEVED FROM OUR MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. IF YOU OR YOUR CHILD ARE SICK PLEASE CONSULT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.

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Always call your child’s pediatrician  when they are sick. Even if it’s just to chat with a nurse and get on file that they have the runs. The more your doctor knows the better they can care for your child. I just want to share what I have learned to help prevent sickness and some ways to help you and your kiddos when you are sick. A lot of this might be common sense, but are good reminders when you have sick babies and haven’t slept in a week!

PREVENTION.jpg

  • Wash wash wash wash wash your hands and their hands!b6d473031f7ff115604fa7023216bcad.jpg
  • Wash surfaces. I try to stay away from heavy chemicals. I generally stick to The Honest Company multipurpose cleaner  for every day cleaning and Method All Natural disinfectant 28oz_antibac_wildflower.pngfor disinfecting everything else. Every day AT LEAST once I wipe down all the door knobs, light switches that have been touched,  and anything that might have been touched by potty/snotty hands. I usually do this after bed time to give it time to disinfect before someone else touches.
  • Healthy diet and drinking lots of water. BK#1 is super picky, so I am aware of how hard it is to get kids to eat a balanced meal, but keeping their bodies full of vitamins will really keep their immune systems up and running.
  • Stay active! The more oxygen your body has the better it can fight bacteria.
  • SLEEP. Adults and kids alike. If you don’t get enough sleep, and you are run down then you are more likely to get sick. Everyone is busy, busy this time of year with the holidays, but that doesn’t mean we can run on less sleep. Make sure your kiddos are still staying schedule with their naps and bedtime (and you too!).
  • Get the flu vaccine-The CDC says it’s the single best way to prevent the flu and it is covered in full by most insurances. It’s available at doctor’s offices and most pharmacies too.
  • Teach your child germ “etiquette“. Sneezing and coughing into your arm, washing your hands after blowing your nose, walking away from people if you are coughing or sneezing, etc. YES, even if they are a toddler they can learn things like this!
  • girl-sneezing-into-elbow_dtxpur.jpg
  • Teach not to share at school, and about areas where there are more germ!  For ex: Drink from a water bottle and not the water fountain, don’t eat food that dropped on the food tray or floor, and send them with hand sanitizer if allowed.51-I+dEhW5L.jpg

 

We can do all of these things, and our kids will still get sick; it’s just a part of life! The following list of sicknesses are just common illnesses, and again: I am not a medical professional this is based on my own experiences and research.

rashes

 

  • They can be caused by just about anything and everything in younger children. My kids get heat rash SUPER easy, they also have pretty sensitive skin. A rash doesn’t always mean sick. Keep that in mind.
  • Rashes are NOT easy to diagnose, don’t try and WedMD your way through a bad rash. If it’s a mild rash that doesn’t go away after a day or so then call your pediatrican. If it came out of nowhere, is BAD and doesn’t go away. CALL THEIR PEDITRICIAN.
  • Call your pediatrician first if the rash is accompanied by a fever, pussing, scabbing, difficulty breathing, wheezing, or vomiting as any or all of these symptoms can mean a serious illness or allergic reaction.72fd1fdb071f343e6adb57e1042da5b0.jpg
  • A rash from simple skin irritation can usually be soothed and goes away. – Try an oatmeal bath, lavender essential oils, unscented lotion for dry skin (sometimes looks like rash), and thinking about possible things that could have caused the rash. ie: new detergent, new un-washed clothes,  husband’s beard rubbed their face, you wore a new perfume/lotion/bodywash, they were sweating, outside rolling around in the grass.
  • Diaper rash– Keep your baby dry and clean. Remember less is more when it comes to creams. Also, think about what your child ate and if they are teething or not. Certain foods make my LO’s bum instantly turn red. When BK#2 is teething the instant he pees he gets a rash if not changed promptly. As with all things…if your efforts aren’t making it go away call your doctor. A yeast infection can easily be mistaken for diaper rash and it generally needs an antifungal prescribed from your pediatrician.
  • Read more here for detailed description of common rashes. Don’t do a google image search. It’s GROSS. I’m warning you now.

 

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  • Fluid builds up behind the ear drum and causes an infection.
  • Symptoms can range for ear infections. Most kids tug at their ears, run a fever, have trouble sleeping, and are really fussy. If they are older hopefully they tell you that their ears actually hurt. Some kids don’t have any real symptoms other than a fever, so it is always important for them to be seen when a persistent fever arises.
  • Pediatricians easily can diagnose an ear infection and prescribe an antibiotic.
  • Sometimes ear infections can be persistent and/or your child can be susceptible to them. So keep in mind that if it keeps occurring your doctor might start talking about other measures, like tubes, to relieve the problem. I am not trying to scare new parents, but just making you aware.
  • Want to read more? Here is a great article with the answer to just about any ear infection question you can have.

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  • Rest! As adults we get run down and sick when we don’t rest or are over stressed. We generally feel better after some good sleep, right? If my child is sick the first thing I always do is push naps and early bedtimes!
  • Remember, that a fever is the body’s way of fighting off an infection. When your child has a low grade fever (99F-100F), that does not always need to be controlled with medication, but keep an eye on it.
  • Push fluids! Even if they don’t have an appetite be sure to keep offering water, pedialyte  juice, broth etc. If the child is old enough try warm liquids.
  •  To break up a stuffy nose or chest congestion use a cool mist humidifier, saline spray and a bulb syringe with little ones to keep their nasal passages clear.
  • Serve easy to eat foods. You don’t want to make their throat hurt even more.

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  • This is a Virus that  can infection of the lungs and breathing passages.
  • Very contagious. If you have more than one child chances are the others will get it. Try and separate them if you can.
  • It generally has normal cold symptoms but the cough is a wheeze and bluish color of the skin due to lack of oxygen.
  • Even though it sounds really scary it is actually really common. Our little guy had it when he was 6 months old and I guarantee that I was way more stressed out than I needed to be. The doctor prescribed a breathing treatment and within a week he was better.
  • Beyond the breathing treatments push fluids so they don’t become dehydrated and frequently use a bulb syringe to keep their nose clear.
  • Keep in mind that children that contract RSV are at higher risk for other respiratory  infections. With all things just stay vigilant and follow doctor’s orders.

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  • Usually affects children younger than 5, but can affect older children and adults.
  • It usually starts with a fever,  low appetite, and sore throat.  One or two days after the fever starts, painful sores can develop in the mouth.  They are small red spots with a blister.  A skin rash may also develop over one or two days on the palms of their hands and soles of their feet.
  • These sores are pretty painful. It is important to make sure you keep your child hydrated, because of the sores in their mouth they might not want to swallow.
  • Your doctor will prescribe medication. For older children use mouth washes to numb pain. For little ones do your best to keep them comfortable. Try orajel if allowed for their age.
  • The CDC has a TON of information about HFM here.
  • Again…don’t google…it’s gross.

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  • Symptoms of strep throat, which is very common among kids and teens, include fever,  stomach pain, red- swollen tonsils, and (depending on how it has progressed) sometimes white patches on tongue and throat.
  • Requires treatment with antibiotics.
  • I know I have said is already, but hand washing is so important. If strep throat isn’t treated it is most likely to spread the infection when the symptoms are most severe, but can still infect others for up to 3 weeks. Granted, it just looks like a normal cold at first, but you can help prevent the spread with proper germ etiquette.
  • Sometimes strep throat starts with a rash and then the severe cold symptoms start.
  • As more and more bugs become resistant to drugs, occasionally strep throat in children does not respond to the usual milder antibiotics. If your child has not improved within two to three days, contact your pediatrician.” Strep throat can get a little scary, so stay vigilant and communicate with your doctor. I guarantee they would rather see them and just say it’s a cold than have to put them on a heavy dose of antibiotics and steroids. Read more about Strep here.

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  • Inflammation of the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids.
  • It is definitely shocking when your child wakes up with a bright red and pussy eye, but it generally won’t cause them to lose any vision.
  • Pink eye spreads incredibly fast. It is important to call your pediatrician as soon as you can, do not touch the eye, don’t let them touch their eye, and if they do immediately wash hands without touching anything else.
  • Sometimes it passes on its own, but you want your child to be seen so your doctor can tell you if it is allergies, viral, or bacterial.
  • Your pediatrician will most likely prescribe an antibiotic. You can relieve discomfort with a warm wash cloth.
  • Again with the google…don’t….just know its red, puffy and pussy sometimes.

croup

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  • Croup  causes swelling and irritation of the upper airways
  • It’s caused by the same viruses that cause the common cold.
  • Kids with croup have a “barky” cough especially when crying.
  • Most common from 6 months – 3 years old
  • In most cases it will pass in time, but in some instances your doctor might want your child to be seen or to give prescribed medication. As I have said above, just call and let them know what is going on so your child can be seen to rule anything else out.
  • Breathing in moist air should help kids feel better (humidifier). Make sure they are drinking enough and getting plenty of rest.

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  • This is the most frustrating, because its extremely hard to differentiate between a mild cold and allergies. “Long-lasting sneezing, with a stuffy or runny nose, may signal the presence of allergic rhinitis—the collection of symptoms that affect the nose when you have an allergic reaction to something you breathe in and that lands on the lining inside the nose.”
  • If you think your child has a long lasting cold, you might want to bring up allergies to their pediatrician, especially if the parents have allergies.
  • Your pediatrician can prescribe medication, try to avoid triggers like playing in fresh cut lawn, stay hydrated, and there are also multiple natural ways to help with the symptoms. In our family we use essential oils.

 

I know there are plenty other illnesses that could be wrong, but these tend to be the most common culprit for sick kiddos.

Remember: If your child has to be treated with antibiotics then they were contagious, and are contagious for 24 hours after they have started antibiotics. Same with a fever. A child should be fever free for 24 hours before they return to day care/school, and normal activity with friends and siblings. I understand it’s really hard to take off work and move schedules around but the 24 hour rule really will benefit everyone. a514b9a9b291a9f93ef1fb3fcb97afb5.jpg

Try not to Google or WebMD your child’s symptoms. I know it is extremely hard not to, because we just want to fix them and make them better, but stressing yourself out and making yourself an anxious wreck  is not good for them. They need a parent with a clear and calm head to take care of them.

~Amanda

 

 

 

 

A Grinch Toy to Join your Collection!

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December 1st kicked of 25 days of Grinch-mas. What is Grinch-mas? “Grinch-mas is an annual holiday tradition inspired by Dr. Seuss’s classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas! that encourages readers to “grow your heart three sizes” through the celebration of family reading, giving from the heart and community spirit. National Grinch Day, December 1, kick starts the 25 Days of Grinch-mas. During this time, bookstores and local retailers all over the country will be hosting Grinch-mas events that will incorporate holiday story times for families and opportunities for kids to win special prizes for doing good deeds throughout the month of December.”

Manhattan Toy offers a great lineup of Dr. Seuss plush animals, and today we’re reviewing their Light Up Grinch. The Grinch is a super soft, interactive plush for your little ones. By pressing the Grinch’s hand, the plastic read heart on his chest lights up (following the Grinch story line where the Grinch grows a heart, of course!)

My son loved playing with his Grinch. Because he’s not yet two, he’s enthralled with the small things in life still, and he was fascinated by the Grinch’s stringy hair because it was unlike any other stuffed animal he’s ever owned. He quickly figured out how to press the Grinch’s hand to make the heart light up, though I’ll admit that the button within the hand could be larger to help smaller children find/press it more easily. The button is tiny and I even struggled to find it inside of the Grinch’s hand.

This is a great Christmas toy to have on hand as you read through the story of the Grinch. The price point is a little high, sitting at $30. That being said, Manhattan Toy only produces the best quality items, and the Grinch is no exception.

Want to win your own Grinch? We’re giving one away on our Instagram page starting TODAY! Our giveaway will end December 6th at 8:00PM EST and ONE winner will be announced shortly after.

How to enter:

  1. Head to our Instagram page: http://www.instagram.com/burritobuzz
  2. Follow BOTH @burritobuzz and @manhattantoy
  3. Like the Grinch giveaway photo.
  4. Tag your friends! One friend per tag please, with no limitation on the number of friends you can tag.

This contest is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Instagram.

Manhattan ToyNeed another contest to enter? Manhattan Toy has a contest going through December 7th to win $50 to use on their website. You can enter into that by heading to their Facebook page and finding the Grinch post pinned to the top.

-Katie

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

 

Make it a December to Remember

4708a49f89c43e9cd040e038d5ade059.jpgDoes anyone feel like they are on the brink of losing it? Like, all the time? This is what I have always wanted to do. Stay home with my babies, and take care of my husband, my kids, and my puppies. I wanted them to be my everything and for me to be theirs. And yet, now that it has actually happened, I still feel like I’m on this theoretical ledge all the time.

Amazing day or bad day, that ledge is right there. Just staring at me and threatening my sanity. Not everyone is as aware of that ledge as I am. Some people are, some parents have anxiety, too. I guess my question is, exactly how many? How many of us walk around trying our best and are still scared s***less 90% of the time? I d2836c2ad1fbea99ced26288a278f0f8pray, do yoga, have everything just right, and I am still wondering what else I could be doing.

Are they sleeping enough? Because I know I am not.

Do they watch too much TV?

When should they start preschool?

Is all the work I do while being a “stay at home mom” defeating the purpose of being here?

Did they hear me swear when I stubbed my foot on the table leg?

Will this be the horrible day that they remember when they are 40?

Did I encourage them enough?

How are we influencing them when we don’t know it?

Is my house clean enough?

Are they sick this time because I didn’t wash the bathroom enough?

What about the potential mold? Yeah, I should rip out the wall to check.

Are we making sure they see enough of their family members?

Am I spending enough time for myself so I’m the best I can be for them?

Did they hear the attitude in my voice when I was talking to my husband?

It. Never. Stops. Ever.c1d425c0e31df0a0bb531377ac6a98ca

Why did noone tell us about this? This never ending parent dialogue that is in our heads. Big things, little things, intelligent things, stupid things?

I have days when I feel like we are the best parents ever. We are doing everything right and giving them a better life than we could have ever dreamed of. There are also days when I wonder, “How can it possibly get worse than this?” Both toddlers screaming, both parents sleep deprived and snippy, both staring at each other like “How did this even happen?”…. and the puppy pees on the floor and runs through it.

My point? You are not alone.

No one. Parent or not. You have someone. And if you don’t feel like you do, then you certainly have someone you can talk to in me, and in this amazing little BurritoBuzz Community we have created.

During this Christmas season, I am challenging myself, and you, to treat yourself better. Take a step back and really look at what you have. I mean really look!

15203400_1343580815706208_7773401147009153584_nMy kids might  never sleep, but I have amazing kids to wake up to every single morning.

My husband might have a crazy schedule that I hate, but he is more than I could have ever dreamed of for myself and works so unbelievably hard for our little family.

My dogs might make my house messy, but they bring an extra level of love into my home that I just couldn’t ever replace.

My house might be older and need fixed from time to time, but we have a home, and a pretty perfect one at that.

I might have to go shopping before we have dinner, but we have money to go shopping with.

Bedtime is always a fight, but my kids enjoy life and don’t want to miss a single minute.  3bcfba4a5643ccb16f8443c63e1801ce.jpg

Turn your life around by flipping your attitude. Your life is no one else’s responsibility other than your own!

Parent or not, your attitude, your stress, your anxiety, and your outlook on life can only be changed by you.

It is Christmas time! Cinch that belt, because we all ate too much last week,  love yourself as much as you can, and love everyone around you. Stop beating yourself up, tell your subconscious to cool it, because it’s time to snuggle up on the couch and watch Christmas movies with your kids on repeat for the next month!

– Amanda

 

Book Review: Dreaming in Color {The Adventures of Oliver Poons}

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Author, Lauryn Alyssa Wendus, is at it again with a new children’s book featuring her star character, Oliver Poons! You might remember my previous review about Lauryn’s first book, Oliver Poons and the Bright Yellow Hat. If not, you can read it here! My daughter was nearly 3 at the time, but she really enjoyed the first book, so I was not surprised that she was excited to read another Oliver Poons book. Not only that, my younger son (16 months) was excited about the new “kitty book” too!

Lauryn does a fabulous job telling a simple, rhyming bedtime story about Oliver Poons and his pals working together to bring colors back into Oliver’s dreams. It’s a perfect story for little ones, because the rhyming keeps them interested. Kids are introduced to new animals and colors throughout the story, which is great, too. The same characters are brought back from the firsoliver-poons-dreaming-in-color-cover-600px-510x510t book of the series, so in our house, we often can’t read one book without the other. My oldest is into longer stories “with lots of pages, Mom!” nowadays, but she still remained interested in this book and I love that now my youngest can read along with us.

Lauryn’s mother, Lois Wendus, is the book’s illustrator and she does a beautiful job again in this second book. I just love the mother-daughter duo behind this series and their mission, “our products are designed to inspire a happy day and happy dreams for your child.” And it’s not only about their products bringing joy and smiles, but the Oliver Poons Children’s Company also supports children and animal rescue by donating a portion of their proceeds to organizations like Mission for Orphans, Inc. and No Kitten Left Behind. They also have a campaign right now (#YellowHatsforCats) where they donate a portion of their sales to various animal shelteroliver-poons-childrens-co-logos to raise awareness about animal rescue.

You can find both books of the series online in hardcover, paperback, or an ebook version. You can purchase the hardcover book for $19.95 on the books’ site or here on Amazon. There are other items available on the Oliver Poons website, too. Workbook learning activities, an interactive floor game, Oliver Poons artwork, and even the floppy yellow hat itself are available for purchase on the website.

These books would make a wonderful Christmas gift for any little one, especially those who adore cats like mine! You can feel good about giving these books to a loved one because not only are they receiving a fun loving, adorable read, but somewhere else another little kiddo or kitty will also be a little happier too!

Follow Lauryn and learn more about the adventures of Oliver Poons on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

– Megan

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Hi Little One {Review}

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BurritoBuzz moms love personalized apparel, but even more so, we love supporting small businesses.

Hi Little One is a company that we were introduced to recently and all too-excited to work with. Their products are made in the USA, their orders ship within 5 business days, and 10% of their profits go to fight pediatric cancer (you can read why here.)

Hand printed products with a modern feel? I was definitely in. I ordered two products, a t-shirt for my little man and a tote for myself.

Truthfully, I expected custom items like most of the ones I already had, with that filmy-plastic decal slapped on some scratchy cotton. I was pleasantly surprised and thankful that wasn’t the case with Hi Little One. Their tee’s are so stinking soft and the print was not a plastic decal, but instead printed on the material. Each of their orders is designed by a professional.

Custom design at a great price? Yes please!

T-shirts range in price, generally from $23-$29. Really, a very good price for a custom item. However, I have a hard time spending more than $10 on a child’s t-shirt when they grow so quickly. My son is just about 2 years old and wearing a lot of 3T and 4T things already.which means we’ve gone through an insane amount of clothing in under two years. Thousands of dollars worth, most likely. As a parent on a budget, I understand that $29 for a t-shirt might not be ideal, but I will tell you that these are adorable, high quality, and would make a great custom gift for a special occasion.

Totes are $19-$25, which is what I’d expect to pay on a tote anyway. I love mine. I throw all kinds of things in it, and just grab it and go. It’s super sturdy and will certainly last for years to come.

With Christmas quickly approaching, items from Hi Little One would make great custom gifts for the little ones in your life! They even have some great gift sets to make life easy.

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Be sure to check them out this holiday season and follow them on social media!

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*Small Business Saturday is this week! They have some great deals going on, you don’t want to miss out!*

– Katie

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

 

Mouthguard Challenge: Game Night Just Got More Fun

Who doesn’t love playing games at family get togethers during the holidays? It’s so fun and a great way to connect with family you may not see very much, if at all, throughout the 51Si5d+l+yL._SX300_.jpgyear. Last year, Pie Face was a huge hit at our get togethers but it was extremely hard to get your hands on one. This year, Mouthguard Challenge needs to be on everyone’s wish list and is a must for your holiday parties!

It was created by Alex Mandel, funnyman Howie Mandel’s son, and the apple definitely did not fall far from the tree! Alex did not disappoint with this hilarious game! It not only contains speaking challenges but “extreme” challenges that are actually challenging, like drinking water without dripping on the table and who can eat a banana the fastest – way harder than it sounds! There are 51 specifically developed tasks, revenge cards and mouthguards included, along with rules of how to play. It’s super easy to play and can be played with 2-5 people and is meant for those 16 and older (not because it’s a dirty game, it’s family friendly, I think maybe because of the size of the mouthguards). Check out this video of my husband and I playing for the first time:

If you’re looking for something to spice up your holiday parties and get togethers this year or if you just want to add something fun and unique to your collection of games, this is the game! Find yours at Hallmark, select specialty stores, or here on Amazon for only $14.99 + free shipping with Prime. `At that price, you can buy a few more to give as gifts! Watch Alex and his friendmouthguard Roman do the Mouthguard Challenge here and see Howie Mandel’s Mouthguard Challenge video here! Your stomach will be hurting from laughing so hard! 

And don’t forget to follow Mouthguard Challenge on Instagram and Alex Mandel’s Vlog on YouTube for more hilarious videos!

– Casey

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

GeoSphere from GeoSmart {Review + Giveaway}

My daughter loves to build (and demolish) things. She loves Legos, blocks, anything that she can stack on top of each other until it’s taller than her, she loves. My brother, cousins, and I would play Legos for hours, so I share her love of building, too. But there are so many new construction toys on the market today that I would have killed to have when I was younger. One of those toys is GeoSmart, a magnetic construction toy, that is out of this world! I recently got the chance to review one of the GeoSmart sets and the whole family is in love with this amazing toy!

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GeoSmart is a magnetic construction toy for children ages 5 and older (my daughter is 4 and she had no problem building with them). Each piece contains magnets that are protected by a double safety system, so the magnets can’t fall off. A stainless steel covers the strong magnets and locked onto an ABS core, which is then covered by durable polycarbonate housing. This new patented system makes GeoSmart a safer and stronger toy that offers a long lifetime and are super easy to clean. GeoSmart offers several different shapes in 9 bright and colorful colors. You can use squares, triangles, diamonds, rectangles, isosceles triangles, and trapezoids to create endless combinations and let yourgeo_geosphere3_construction imagination run wild. Some sets come with unique pieces like wheels, lights, or remote controls so playtime is limitless! Some of the special elements Geosmart offers are:

  • Spinner: add motion to a simple construction. The spinner easily clicks onto every square piece.
  • Wheels: use your imagination and build cars with 4 wheels or 6 wheels
  • Tracks: build trucks with tracks!
  • Train connectors: build trailers you can easily connect to your vehicle and drive it around.
  • LED-Lights: light up your construction with one of the 6 LED colors. The panels easily click onto the squares.
  • Remote Control: drive around with your vehicle or make your construction spin automatically.

We received the GeoSphere set that comes with 31 pieces, including one spinner, 12 triangles, and 18 squares. Each set also comes with a book with structures you can build or you can build something original. They’re incredibly easy to build with and fun for everyone. My husband and I like to help our little one build more complex structures to get her little brain thinking. GeoSmart helps with spatial insight, hand-eye coordination, concentration, logical thinking, and allows kids to be creative. There are a lot of awesome sets to chose from, make sure you check them all out here and  they can be purchased here on Amazon! I give GeoSmart 5 out of 5 stars.10491878_4 The sets are so fun and keeps my little one engaged. I will definitely be buying more sets this coming holiday season. GeoSmart sets make a great gifts for all the kids in your life!

We love GeoSmart so much, we’ve teamed up for a giveaway! One lucky winner will win a Solar Spinner set from GeoSmart! Follow these quick and easy steps to enter:

  1. Follow both @BurritoBuzz and @GeoSmartUSA on Instagram.
  2. Like the Solar Spinner giveaway post.
  3. Tag friends you think would like to win, too!
  4. That’s it!

The giveaway begins Monday, November 21st at 12pm EST and ends Wednesday, November 23rd at 12pm EST. The winner will be announced on the original giveaway post within 24 hours. Goodluck! **This giveaway is not sponsored or endorsed by Instagram.**

Don’t forget to follow GeoSmart on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to stay up to date on new products and sales! _ppxu2zz

– Casey

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Malia’s House from Build & Imagine {Review}

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Being the mom of a 4 year old and a new baby, my oldest spends way too much time on the iPad or in front of the TV. I know, I know. It’s not good and you’re supposed to limit screen time, but when I’m busy with the baby (it was much worse when she was first born), you have to do what you can to survive. I know she’s not the only one that’s constantly staring at a screen (TVs, tablets, smartphones, and computers are everywhere) and I know it’s hard to pull them away. But when you find a toy that does just that, gets them off of the tablet, away from the TV, and actually using their little brains to learn and play, you have to share it. I was recently given the opportunity to review an an absolutely amazing toy from Build & Imagine called Malia’s House and I can’t stress enough how awesome this product is. My daughter is obsessed and has been for about a week and a half now.

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Build & Imagine StoryWalls are like building blocks meets dollhouse meets dress-up meets dolls for kids 4-8 years old. StoryWalls are magnetic playsets that contain colorfully illustrated scenes that can kids can build and decorate with magnetic accessories (like paperdolls) over and over again. They’re called StoryWalls because it’s like building a 3-D storybook setting, then jumping right into play! Each set include dolls to dress up, illustrated building panels that attach magnetically that create endless play! Dozens of magnetic accessories are also included to make your scene uniquely yours. With everything being magnetic, changing things up to create a new story is quick and easy! See Build & Imagine’s products in action below:

When we received Malia’s House, I honestly thought my daughter would play around with it for half an hour tops, as she seems to move on from activity to activity rather quickly (she takes after her father and can’t sit still for too long). So when I tell you she played at the kitchen table from 11AM until bathtime at 7PM (and did not watch the iPad once the entire time), I was completely and happily surprised. She absolutely loves Maila’s House! She loves building Malia  and her friend Skylar a new house and creating different storylines for them based on the magnetic walls and adding decor. They’ll go to the beach together and forget the sunscreen, or they’ll plant fruits and veggies in the garden while drinking lemonade or put out the fire the cat started in the kitchen (these are actual beach_house_2_web_largestorylines she has come up with). Her imagination literally runs wild and I love it! A four year old that wants to sit and play for hours on end and not want to look at a screen is priceless to me.

I give Malia’s House 5 out of 5 stars and I would recommend any one of the engaging playsets from Build & Imagine to anyone looking for a toy that’s different from the norm for their daughter or son. The panels are durable, even for the roughest of child, and easy for little hands to build with. And there are so many sets to choose from, check them all out here! With sets starting at $24.99 and an expansion packs starting at $8.99, there’s something for everyone’s budget!1-2

Be sure to follow Build & Imagine on Facebook and Twitter!

– Casey

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Ivory Clasp {Review + Unboxing}

If you know me, then you know I love saving money and subscription boxes. Being a stay at home mom, and on a very tight budget because of having only one income, it’s not often that I am able to splurge on something for myself. Not only that, I generally have a hard time forking over money to buy something for myself when I could use that money to buy something for the yfix_fxtkids, my husband, or something we need at home. I’m certain I’m not alone in this, so I reached out to an amazing subscription box company called Ivory Clasp to review their service and products. I am so excited to share them with our readers!

Ivory Clasp is a monthly or bi-monthly subscription service, where for just $45 a month, you get a beautiful handbag valued at $100 or more, which is hand picked by their stylists based on an in depth style quiz you take when signing up. A $100+ handbag for only $45? Sign me up! The style quiz asks a lot of questions, such as favorite colors and your style preferences, but it’s super quick and easy. There is even a comment section to tell the stylists what they need to stay away from. For me, it was light colors because my children are little animals. The stylists were pretty spot on with the bag they chose for me, too. They picked a beautiful red leather Deux Lux boho bag with rose gold accents that can be a crossbody or shoulder bag, it is gorgeous! If you have someone that is hard to buy for this holiday season, an Ivory Clasp subscription would be a great gift! Like I always say, who doesn’t love the surprise of a subscription box? See the video of me unboxing my first Ivory Clasp box here:

Start your subscription by taking your style quiz here!

Be su1ee2c7bf1b524e828af29416489ee061re to follow Ivory Clasp on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, too!

– Casey

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Winter Gear for Littles! {Review}

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Ohio. I have never loved living here.

Why? I hate the cold and it gets pretty cold here, 50% of the year at minimum. Love trudging through 2 feet of snow, scraping ice off of your car, and having frozen eyelashes? Then this is the state for you! I dread the cold months even more knowing that my toddler is going to be as stir-crazy as me.

We’ll still play outside, most certainly. This is my toddler’s first year as a tiny walking, playing outside human. Last year he was still super little in the winter and stayed inside. But now, he’s going to want to play in the snow. I spent some time researching outerwear for him and here are the options I ended up selecting (and loving):

614azyrukpl-_uy695_Boots: Kamik – I love Kamik. They are a great, sturdy, high-quality brand. While they aren’t the cheapest brand on the market, they are so worth the money. The Kamik boots that we bought are true to size, easy to put on/take off, insulated well, and they also have extra material to prevent snow/moisture from getting inside. They come in all kinds of colors, but we selected the basic black boot, which ran around $30.

Snow Suit: London Fog (Heavyweight Two Piece) – London Fog is a top-rated brand, as well. I did some digging before finally settling on this brand, but I’m glad that I did. The snowsuit is t81ddxtnixgl-_uy500_op notch. I chose the two piece because it’s likely there will be days we just want to use the heavy weight coat. The suit is thick and well-insulated, and ensures that your child will stay warm and dry. They put significant thought into the design of this jacket, making sure that arm bands cinch closed around the wrists and ankles. Price: Around $40, which is really a very good price for the set. Most jackets alone will run you $50+. Better yet? The whole suite is machine washable.

Have fun playing, and keep those little ones warm!

-Katie

Playful Dino from Manhattan Toy Co. {Review + Giveaway}

I’m going to be honest. I loathe baby toys. They’re way too loud for my liking and the songs are enough to make any parent go mad. Toys that require a million batteries over their lifetime or they need to be plugged in are the worst. Of course my youngest has a ton of these annoying toys, but I’ve been trying to build her “makes mommy happy” toy collection. So when I got the opportunity to review Manhattan Toy Co.’s Playful Dino, I couldn’t have been happier to add this awesome activity toy to our never-ending stash.

As you can probably tell, we love Manhattan Toy Co. We’ve reviewed a few of their products recently and we’ve been impressed by each and every one of them. You can check those reviews out here and here. The company itself is awesome, they strive to use wood from sustainable forests for all of their wooden toys. The design and quality of their toys are top notch and unlike anything I’ve eg1kw5btruarbdm6k3zs_grandeseen on the market for children. Manhattan Toy Co.’s toys are all so fun, colorful, and engaging. The Playful Dino did not disappoint!

Both my 8 month old and 4 year old love their dino! The suggested age for the dino is 12+ months but my littlest one’s motor skills are advanced so she’s really loving all the activities it has to offer. Her eye-hand coordination is impressive as well, and this toy really helps foster that. There so many eye catching aspects to the dino; there are bead runs, peg mazes, gears, multiple play surfaces, and it’s beautifully painted. It’s sturdy enough to hold my 40 pounder who I caught standing on it, so it can withstand a great deal! It’s been great for both my busy bodies and I love watching my oldest show her little sister how it all works. It was super easy to assemble, too, just attach the tail and let your little ones go to town! See the Playful Dino in action below:

Manhattan Toy Co’s toys will definitely be on my shopping list this holiday season, not just for my girls, but the little ones in my family as well. There are so many awesome toys to choose from, you can check them out here and add them to your shopping list, too! The Playful Dino is a multiple award-winning toy, awards include an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award, Today’s Parent Top Toy Winner, Creative Child Preferred Choice Award – Motor Skills Development category, Parents’ Choice Award Recommended and recognized as San Diego Family Magazine’s Hottest 50 toys! I have to agree, Playful Dino gets a 5 out of 5 stars from me. At $68, it’s money well spent knowing this is a toy that is going to last (and not drive you insane). Purchase your own here!ipbzftl66ouy7xja7k8z_grande

We’ve teamed up with Manhattan Toy Co. again for a giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a $25 e-gift card, good toward anything (even a Playful Dino!) at ManhattanToy.com! Shipping is free, so you don’t have to worry about it coming out of the gift card! It’s easy to enter, just follow these steps:

  1. Follow both @burritobuzz and @manhattantoy on Instagram.
  2. Like the giveaway post.
  3. Tag friends you think would like to win, too!
  4. That’s it

This giveaway ends Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 12pm EST. The winner will be chosen randomly and will be announced on the original giveaway post within 24 hours. Winner will have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Goodluck! **This giveaway is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Instagram.**

Don’t forget to follow Manhattan Toy Co. on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter to stay up to date on sales and new products!

– Casey

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**