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

 

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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.**

Bluebee Pals {Review + Giveaway}

Technology is everywhere and sadly unavoidable for the most part. With cell phones, tablets, computers, TV, and game systems at easily available at home and tablets andgroupshot computers now apart of the curriculum at most schools, screens seem to always be in children’s’ faces. But what if a product that can be used with said technology can help help educate  our little ones? I was recently given the opportunity to review an amazing product called Bluebee Pals from Kayle Concepts that combines state of the art technology and traditional plush toys.

Bluebee Pals come in 6 animal styles; Riley the Zebra, Leo the Lion, Hudson the Puppy, Lily the Lamb, Sammy the Bear, and Parker the Monkey so kids can pick their favorite animal to adopt. They are geared for children 3-8 years old but can of course be a lifetime pal to your child! Bluebee Pals use Bluetooth Technology to sync to any iOS and Android device. They can even be used a a hands-free phone with a built in microphone and speaker! riley-the-zebra-pro-510x510Each of the plush stuffed animals has a mesmerizing feature – lip synchronization – that allows the pal’s lips to move as it sings or reads from various apps.

My daughter chose Riley the Zebra and she loves her! She’s incredibly soft, even though she has a rechargeable battery stuffed inside. Hooking Riley up to our iPad was quick and easy. I downloaded several learning and singing apps, but the ones that read stories are my daughter’s favorite. Riley’s mouth moves and “reads” to her, she thinks it’s so cool! Simply prop a phone, laptop, or tablet on the pal’s lap and tuck it into their plush arms. Pal’s work with any app that has sound, including foreign language apps! Check out this video to see one in action!

Bluebee Pals are so fun and innovative, that’s why thousands have been adopted into households, schools, and therapy sessions. Pals  offer so many benefits, including auditory attention and processing, cause and effect, pre-literacy skills, and more. To date, the toy industry has given Bluebee Pals 6 awards, including Mom’s Choice, National Parentingspecial-needs Publications, Parent’s Choice, Creative Child Award, Academic Choice, and Tillywig, they were just listed as #1 on the list of products that impressed STEM Education at International Society for Technology in Education Conference 2016. I also think Bluebee Pals would be beneficial for children on the Autism spectrum, to help with language and communication. Get your little one his or her own award-winning Bluebee Pal here, at Target, or on Amazon for $64.99!

Here are a few links to recommended educational apps from the Bluebee Pals website, but be sure to visit their site to see all of the recommended apps:

Would you like to win a Bluebee pal of your own? You’re in luck! One winner will get to adopt a Bluebee Pal of his or her choice! Just follow these easy steps to enter:

  1. Like @burritobuzz and @bluebeepals on Instagram
  2. Like the giveaway post.
  3. Tag friends (one per comment) that you think would like to win, too!
  4. That’s it!

bluebee_palsThe giveaway will start Saturday, November 12th at 12pm and end Monday, November 14th at 12pm. The winner will be randomly chosen and announced within 24 hours. Goodluck! **This giveaway is no way sponsored or endorsed by Instagram.**

Don’t forget to follow Bluebee Pals on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest for updates, new products, 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 and we never guarantee a positive review.**

 

MiO from Manhattan Toy Co. {Review + Giveaway}

logo-6When I was a little girl, I was always playing with my dollhouse. If you were a kid in the early 90’s, you probably know which one I’m talking about. It was big and bulky and made of plastic with a blue roof. It came with a mom, dad, brother, sister, and of course a baby. It had a swing for the baby that hung from the “dining room” ceiling and a closet under the stairs for who knows what. I loved playing “house” and my daughter is now at the age where her imagination is booming and she’s giving toys silly voices and acts them out and she loves when mommy or daddy joins in. I’ve been wanting to get her a dollhouse so she could have the sweet memories that I have when I loyjx0pumkx4crmw7zfw_f7893450-d09d-4935-8401-a6ca6e84fa86_grandewas little and I was thrilled when we teamed up with Manhattan Toy Co. to review their amazing MiO dollhouse collection.

Manhattan Toy Co.  is an innovative and award-winning toy company started in 1978 and is now located in Minneapolis, MN. They strive to use wood from sustainable forests for all of their (amazing) wood toys. All of their toys are thoroughly tested to the most exacting international standards for safety so you can feel comfortable with your children playing mio3with Manhattan Toys. These toys are unlike any other toys on the market. They’re unique, fun, engaging, and kid and parent approved!

My daughter received several pieces from the MiO collection to test out; MiO Sleeping + 2 People ($30), MiO Eating + 2 People ($30) and MiO School Bus + 2 People ($24). The very first thing that I noticed when opening the boxes was the smell of the wood. I love the smell and I hope that it brings back happy childhood memories for my daughters. The construction is top of the line and very sturdy. I love the brightly colored interior walls of the houses. Included in the sets are little people (or animals) with bean bag bodies and hand painted wooden heads.They’re perfect for little hands, my daughter handles them with ease and the wide bottom allows for them to stand up on their own without help from mom or dad Sleeping and Eating sets include a square base and a triangle second floor that are detached to allow for open ended play. Each set included colorful cubes that can be used as seats, the hold up the kitchen table, end tables, whatever your little one wants to use mio4them for. These sets are absolutely adorable and range in price from $10 for 2 sets of people or animals to $100 for the MiO Playing Eating Sleeping Working + 2 People with many sets in between so there’s something for everyone’s budget.

My daughter loves her MiO play sets. She loves driving the school bus and parking it in the house (it’s the perfect size to be a garage) and she even stacks the base of the houses on top of each other to make a bigger house. I love that she’s using her imagination and thinking outside the box and that she named her little people after her family and friends! MiO has even been awarded the  Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2016, the Creative Child Magazine Award – Toy of The Year Award in the Open Ended Playmio Category 2016, and is a National Parenting Product Award Winner 2016. MiO more than deserves those awards, as it’s a toy that allows little ones’ minds to run wild with it’s simple, yet eye catching appeal. I know I will be purchasing more MiO sets for my daughter this holiday season and you can do the same and start shopping MiO hereBurritoBuzz gives MiO 5 out of 5 stars! We adore Manhattan Toy Co., you can check out all of their fantastic products here, you’ll find something for every little one on your list!

As if Manhattan Toy Co. isn’t awesome enough, we’ve teamed up to give not one, but TWO winners a MiO set of their choosing (excluding the $100 set)! Head over to Instagram and follow these simple steps for a chance to win:

  1. Follow both @burritobuzz and @manhattantoy on Instagram – we’ll be checking!
  2. Like the original giveaway post.
  3. In separate comments, tag friends who you think would also like to win!
  4. That’s it!

lvjgkptyhv1uxkyxbikw_ecbd8002-35da-4290-a941-f9bfa7b29175_grandeGiveaway begins Tuesday November 8, 2016 at 12pm EST and ends Friday November 11, 2016 at 12 EST. Winners will be announced shortly after on the original giveaway post. Goodluck! **This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Instagram.**

Don’t forget to follow Manhattan Toy Co. on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to stay up to date on the newest products 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 and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Draw Your Own Circuits with Circuit Scribe {Review + Giveaway}

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We can all agree that STEM, the education of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, is super important for our children learn this day and age. Technology is our future and where most of the new jobs are being created. With that being said, I love toys and activities that allow young children to learn how technology works and opens their world to new ideascircuit-scribe_copy-of-i-8njccmm-xl_lr and thought processes. I was recently given the opportunity to review an amazing product called Circuit Scribe from Electroninks, Inc. and was completely blown away by how much I learned (at 28 years old) and I am now hooked!

Created by a company based in Austin, TX and Cambridge, MA, Circuit Scribe is a revolutionary pen that uses non-toxic conductive ink that makes it easy for newbies (like myself) and expert makers to have fun with electronics in a new and easy way. Geared towards children 8 years and older, Circuit Scribe is an easy way to introduce STEM to kids and is also great for those who are already experienced. I have to admit, when I was asked to review this product, I knew nothing about it. But I did know that STEM is huge right now, and being integrated in schools across the country and all over the world. I knew I personally wanted to circuit-scribe_img_0048_lrget my hands on a kit (my electronic-loving husband also wanted to give it a whirl) and I definitely wanted to share it with our readers!

First of all, if you’ve never done anything with circuits (or if you have no idea what a circuit is), the workbook/sketchbook is so easy to read through and understand. I couldn’t wait for my husband to help explain everything to me, so I took it upon myself to learn how it all worked and it was surprisingly easy, even for a newbie like me. Here’s the gist of how it works: simply draw traces with their quick dry conductive ink pen, then snap on their magnetic modules to create fully functional electrical circuits instantly! You place the magnetic steel sheet under a sheet of paper, then use the circuit stencil with the conductive ink pen to draw pathways for the current to allow the modules to interact, creating the circuit. Each module is different and does something different. Here is a list of modules included in the Maker Kit that I received:circuit-scribe_ultimate-kit-contents_lr

  • 9V Power Supply and battery (power)
  • SPST Switch (input)
  • Photo Sensor (input)
  • Potentiometer (input)
  • Blinker (connect)
  • 2-Pin adaptor (connect)
  • NPN Transistor (connect)
  • BI-LED x2 (output)
  • RGB LED (output)
  • Buzzer (output)

The Maker Kit consists of 17 pieces, including 11 modules, 1 conductive ink pen, a circuit stencil, jumper stickers, a magnetic steel sheet (that has an awesome symbol guide for quick reference), and an easy to read step by step workbook. There are several different Circuit Scribe kits available, starting at $9.99 for the Mini Kit (available or pre-order), the Basic Kit for $44.99-$59.99, the Maker Kit for $79.99, the Ultimate Kit for $99.99, and the Developer Kit for $194.99. There are also classroom kits available so entire classes can participate and learn about circuits thanks to Circuit Scribe! You can also circuit-scribe_maker-kit-with-contents_lrorder replacement or extra modules right on their website, too. Check out all of Circuit Scribe’s products here! We also have an exclusive code for 15% off your Circuit Scribe purchase, jut use code BURRITO15 at check out!

This is the coolest, most educational product I have had the privilege of reviewing for BurritoBuzz. I have learned so much from playing around with the different modules already, and my husband is a big fan also. Although we’re still learning, we are having a blast going through the workbook together. If you have children or nieces or nephews that are interested in science and technology, I highly recommend Circuit Scribe! It’s a great way for kids (and adults) to learn and have fun at the same time. It would make a fantastic gift this holiday season, I know I will be gifting a kit or two myself this December! Here’s a video of my handsome husband showing how some of the modules work:

And guess what? We’re giving one lucky winner a Maker Kit of their own! Follow these quick and easy steps for a chance to win!

  1. Follow both @burritobuzz and @circuitscribe on Instagram, we will be checking!
  2. Like our original giveaway post.
  3. Tag a friend who would love the chance to win, too!
  4. That’s it!

The giveaway will start at 12pm EST on Thursday November 3, 2016 and end at 12pm EST on Sunday November 6 ,2016. You can tag as many friends as you’d like to get one entry per tag/comment. Good luck! **This giveaway is in no way sponsored by Instagram.**circuit-scribe_electroninks_wallpaper-logo-3_lr

Don’t forget to following Circuit Scribe on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay updated on sales, new products, 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 and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Take it Easel!

81j5anyp4ll-_sl1500_It’s no secret that the BurritoBuzz moms love B. toys. We’ve talked about a few of their awesome toys in the past, and we think so highly of them because of their incredible durability, uniqueness, and quality. Not only that, the toys are also educational and many help with fine-tuning motor skills.

I recently had the opportunity to review B. Toys “Take it Easel” – a portable drawing station for toddlers and young children. The easel folds into a carrying box, so you can store your child’s markers, chalk, and other coloring tools. The board has a chalk side, dry erase side, and a clip to hold paper. It also comes with a set of vibrant dry erase markers and an eraser, as well as a set of chalk. The case is colorful and easy to use, and my 20 month old son has had a blast fine-tuning his new drawing skills.

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It runs between $30-$40, depending on where you buy it. Available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and some Target stores also carry them.

The quality of the easel is good. I did, however, have some issues getting the stand to easily clip and unclip. While not terribly difficult, it did take some force.

The carrying handle makes it simple to tote around and by leaving the case folded up, you can actually give your toddler something to do in the car since the top piece is a drawing board. There is ample storage in the compartment, we have yet to fully fill it up, even with all of the markers, paper, and chalk we’ve stashed. B. toys designs are always fun and vibrant, and this case is no exception. It makes for a great addition to any playroom and has certainly aided my son in working on his drawing skills (though, he hasn’t quite decided which is his dominant hand yet).

Here are some of my son’s fantastic artwork that he created using the Take it Easel and some Color Wonder paper and Color Wonder markers!

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Want to win a Take It Easel of your own? Here’s your chance! With the holidays approaching quickly, this would make a fantastic gift for that special little one in your life. Here’s how to enter:

  1. Head over to our Instagram page here.
  2. Like our original “Take it Easel” giveaway photo.
  3. Follow both @burritobuzz and @mybtoys – we will be triple checking!
  4. Comment on our photo by tagging a friend! One tag per comment please, with no limitation on the number of tags!

One winner will be chosen to win a Take It Easel! Giveaway begins on Tuesday November 1, 2016 at 8AM and ends Monday November 7, 2016 at 8:00PM EST. Good luck! **Instagram has in no way sponsored or endorsed this giveaway.**

– 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.**

 

My New Favorite Subscription Box for Little Ones: Bumby Box {Review}

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I love subscription boxes. It feels like my birthday every time one shows up at my door because you never know what you’re going to get (kind of like a box of chocolates, am I right, Forrest Gump?). I’ve gotten so many subscription boxes over the years for myself, our dog Mesa, my husband, and of course my kids. My favorite boxes to get has to be the latter, because I love all of the neat products they offer. My girls come before myself (I’m sure any mom can agree) and are spoiled as can be, so they have gotten quite a few bumby2boxes from several different companies. They all had different kinds of products and I liked each for different reasons. But I just received a complimentary subscription box from Bumby Box and I was completely blown away with the products we got in it!

Not only was our box amazing, but the company itself is awesome. Bumby Box donates toys to non profit agencies that provide shelter and childcare to families when they need it the most. They also only work with and promote environmentally sustainable companies that treat their employees fairly and pay them fairly, too. Bumby Box focuses on child development and each toy that is sent is supported by child development research. The toys are safe; they’re free of phthalates, PVC, BPA, and other harmful plastics – I love that I don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals, and they are also careful to only select toys that are manufactured with water of soy-based inks and bumby3paints to their safe to play with and for little ones put them in their mouths (which we all know will happen).

We received our box almost two weeks ago and I opened it up as soon as it was dropped off (like I said, it feels like my birthday when I get a subscription box – they should be called surprise boxes instead), my daughter was actually still at school. I kind of felt bad but I was eager to see what she got! We got a super cute and fun Haba game called The Little Orchard that’s actually made in Germany. Here’s how to play: there’s a raven that loves the cherries hanging on the tree (there are 5 of them) and there are 5 spaces to the tree. You roll the dice with pictures of flowers on it and whichever flower appears, you flip over one of the matching tiles – one will have a picture of a cherry on it – which you then pick a cherry and put it in the basket, one will be have a raven on it – you then move the raven one spot closer to the tree, and one will have a sleeping animal on it – you then have to be very quite not to wake the animal up (my four year old prefers to yell at it to wake up). The idea is to pick all the cherries before the raven gets to the tree. I love it because it helps with memory, you have to remember where theimg_2585 raven and sleeping animal tiles are so you know not to pick the raven. It also helps with recognizing and naming the colors of the flowers and it’s a game that everyone fries to find the cherries together, so it helps foster the “we” concept. It’s for children ages 3-8 and can be played with 1 to 4 players. It’s one of our favorite games to play together! 

We also received the cutest little mailbag from Child’s Cup Full, a company that offers educational children’s toys handcrafted by refugee and low income women artisans in the West Bank. At their artisan center, they train and employ talented women to make beautifully handmade educational toys. I love that they’re empowering women who live in such a male dominated part of the world. The little mail pouch is my daughter’s favorite toy that came in thebumby4 box. It’s adorable and comes with little felt envelopes that can actually fit little letters or objects in and close with Velcro. The letter and envelopes even have a “stamp” sewn in the top right hand corner. She loves walking around and giving us our mail! Check it out the mailbag here and see the rest of Child’s Cup Full’s spectacular toys here here!

The final product in our box may be the coolest one in the box, So Awesome’s Emotion Wallet Cards! The wallet cards feature 36 photographs and 36 illustrations of different children showing how we’re feeling today. My daughter loves looking at them and going through and tell me what each picture shows, like the little girl is sad, or the little boy is angry. The deck is durable, non-toxic, educational, and perfect for kids of all ages. They’re intended to show children a wide range of emotions and to help strengthen social-emotional skills. The deck can easily be attached to a diaper bumby5bag, backpack, or a stroller so they can be taken anywhere. We like to use them when we’re waiting a the doctors or in line at the store, they make a good distraction for my 4 year old. Be sure to check out all of their amazing Wallet Cards (they have bundles, too) and products here!

This is the most thought out children’s subscription box I’ve ever seen. I feel like everything was chosen specifically for my daughter and I love that. You can check out past boxes to see what other products have been sent out to get more of an idea for what you can expect in a future box. I highly recommend Bumby Box and they will make great gifts for family and friends! To sign up for your own box and to see what I’m raving about, use code BUZZ10 for 10% off your $49.95 one month subscription or save with a 3 month subscription for only $99.95! Deliveries can be skipped at anytime, so you can choose when you want to get your box! Click here to sign up!1465568479

Follow Bumby Box on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter for special promotions!

– 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.**

Pro Santa or No Santa? {A New Mom’s Thoughts on Ol’ St. Nick}

A few weeks ago as the holiday season loomed ahead, I decided I wanted to do a cute little post on Santa. Just for kicks, I asked a couple of people their opinions on doing Santa for their children. Yeah, to say their stances conflicted is an understatement.

This intrigued me. I decided to post an anonymous survey to get even more parents’ opinions on Santa. I was completely blown away by the response I received. People have very strong opinions on the jolly ol’ man! Over 100 responses later, here are some of the results:

Will you tell your children that there is a Santa?

84% Yes

16% No

Will you give your children gifts that are exclusively from Santa?

78% Yes

22% No

What is your biggest fear regarding Santa?

45% My children will be devastated when they discover he isn’t real

42% It will distract from the true meaning of Christmas

13% It will cause my children to become selfish or greedy

Will you encourage your children to write letters to Santa?

61% Yes

39% No

Did you believe in Santa?

90% Yes

10% No

I added a section for people to comment with their personal thoughts. Many people made points that I had never even considered before. Here are some of the most intriguing comments for both the pros and the cons of promoting Santa in their households:

PROS:

Santa represents the spirit of giving- 

“Each year we go to Walmart and spend $100 on toys to donate…We want our children to realize that there is a little Santa in all of us and that his spirit is what we celebrate….We think the spirit of giving is what Santa is all about.”

“The boys understood that the reason gifts were shared at Christmas is in celebration of Jesus’ birth and a way of honoring our own love of family and friends by giving gifts like the Magi did for the Christ child. As they aged, they would ask if we were Santa, we said yes and they would delight in helping keep the magic of the season alive for their siblings”image

Santa brings magic to the season

“I personally love the spirit and magic of Santa and want my daughter to experience the wonder & excitement…I won’t use Santa as a disciplinary tool (i.e. if you are bad, Santa won’t bring you presents).”

Santa is a story character like Mickey Mouse

“We explain to our children the origin of St. Nick…focusing primarily on the purpose of gift giving and not receiving because the tradition stems from God giving us the greatest gift of all, Jesus. We talk about ideas of what to get for each other and spend time picking out the perfect gift…that way they can feel the joy of giving a gift that they’ve thought long and hard about..We aren’t anti-Santa, but they understand it is a story like Mickey Mouse”

CONS:

Telling my children about Santa would be lying to them

“As a Christian, I can’t in good conscience tell my child to believe in Santa Claus and then try to tell them about Jesus and how He is real even though you can’t see or feel Him. Whenever they find out Santa isn’t real, why would they want to believe Jesus is real?”

“We just have a 100% honesty policy- we can’t justify making exceptions. My husband grew up in a very manipulative home and trust is of utmost importance to us.”

Santa takes away from the true meaning of Christmas-

image“Santa is a mock up of God, sharing many of the same attributes. It devalues the power and majesty of God”

“I want my children to know the true meaning of Christmas, to value the act of giving gifts and the hard work we do for them leading up to Christmas. Some big guy in a suit isn’t taking care of and providing for them, we are. They may be missing out on some fun, but I think they will be better off in the end.”


 

So, after reviewing all of the survey entries and doing a little reflecting and research on my own, here is my stance:

Our faith will always be the center of the season

In our home, we believe that Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus. Giving gifts is a representation of the gifts that the wisemen brought to Jesus as a child, as well as a reflection of our love and appreciation for family and friends.

Everything we do during the holiday season will revolve around our faith. From gift giving, volunteering for charity, baking cookies with grandma, seeing lights, and decorating the tree. I hope to center these fun events around enjoying time with family and being grateful for the opportunity to do so.

Saint Nicholas was, more likely than not, an actual person

Many people stated they felt that telling their children about Santa would be an outright lie. After reading several articles on the history of Santa Claus (clearly I have no life and was dedicated to the legitmacy of this blog), history.com summed it up the best:

“The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years. It is believed that a monk named St. Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. Much admired for his piety and kindness, St. Nicholas became the subject of many legends. It is said that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick, as well as children. Over the course of many years, Nicholas’s popularity spread and he became known as the protector of children and sailors. His feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, December 6. This was traditionally considered a lucky day to make large purchases or to get married.”

There are several more articles explaining the evolution of the story and how it came to be a part of the American Christmas tradition, but bottom line: the concept of Santa Claus is based off of historical evidence of the kindness of a particular monk. 

So will I feel like I am literally lying to my child by telling her a story of a man named St. Nick? No.

Age matters- Santa is what you make him to your children

I am going to tell my child, when she is old enough to understand, a story of a man named Santa who comes on Christmas Eve, plops down the chimney, has 8ish reindeer and a factory filled with elves that make toys. It’s a story. She will love the story just as she loves Curious George. As she grows, if she asks questions, I will tell her that Santa is a story we like to tell at Christmas time to remind us of the importance of giving.

If you promote the idea to your child that a man in a red suit is literally staring down on them day and night, monitoring their behavior and is an endless source of extravigant gifts, I am willing to bet that they will have a hard time coping when they discover Santa is not an actual person.

Santa is what you make of him. If you make him a fun, silly character you read stories and sing songs about during the holidays, I really can’t see the difference between him and any other character they experience on tv.

 

Make the holidays about what is important to your family. For me, I think the world is a hard enough place that if you can’t experience a little fantasy and fun during Christmas time as a child, when will you? Let them dream. Let them get excited and sing silly songs. When they mature, explain to them your beliefs and the deeper meaning of Christmas. It doesn’t have to be traumatic. It can simply be an act of maturity and understanding. I’ve said before, we will always promote our faith and a sense of humility and giving back in our household. As long as that is always at the center of our holiday celebrations, I am going to let my kids fall in love with everything about Christmas. You’re only a kid once.

-Chelsea

 

GIVEAWAY: HoneyBee Baby Boutique 

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Are you ready for a giveaway? We are! 

HoneyBee Baby Boutique was not only gracious enough to send us an amazing product to review, they were also gracious enough to offer to giveaway a set of red ChewBeads Military Tags to one of our readers just in time for the for the holidays! image

Even better news? You can get up to 4 entries per day!

All you have to do it head over to our social media sites (linked below) and follow the instructions on the original post. It’s that easy! One winner will be drawn on Monday, November 30th at 9pm EST. Good Luck!!

Facebook 
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Pinterest

Shoeboxes and Leftover Candy

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I’m willing to bet that you have an abundance of leftover candy and a few shoeboxes lying around your house right now. I have a great way for you to get rid of both and get your children involved in an awesome gesture of giving back this holiday season.

My DH and I always said that we didn’t want our children to be obsessed with things. That they would know the joy and importance of giving. I wanted to share with you one organization that offers a great way to actively get your children involved in giving back.

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Operation Christmas Child is a program run by Samaritan’s Purse, a nonprofit organization that provides aid to victims of war, natural disaster, disease and poverty all across the globe. Around the holidays, they begin Operation Christmas Child. The idea of the program is that you fill a shoebox with toys, arts & crafts, candy, imagehygiene products, stuffed animals, sports items, anything a child with very little would be overjoyed to receive.

  • Wrap the shoe box in wrapping paper,
  • Label it based on the appropriate gender and age for the items you’ve placed inside.
  • Drop it off at a pick up location (you can find this on their website) with a small donation of $7 to ship it across the globe to be given to a child in need.

My home church has participated in this program for longer than I can remember. Each year I got so excited to collect school supplies, toothbrushes, candies and toys to give to a child like me on the other side of the world. The organization encourages you to write a letter or include a photo of your family for the child that receives the shoebox. I’ve even received thank you notes from the children I’ve sent items to! I’ll always remember the experience as an exciting, interactive way for a little kid to give back to someone in need.

This isn’t a blog about the greatness of any one charity or organization. I’m writing simply to share with you an easy, hands-on way to get your child involved with giving in a season often centered around getting. I can’t wait to fill up a couple of boxes with my LO. I hope this is a small way of showing her how blessed we are to have a roof over our heads and items to spare. Let’s start this holiday season off, not with plotting our Black Friday attack plans, but with taking a minute to be thankful and to teach our children through example. Let’s educate them on how important it is to humbly give back.

-Chelsea