Sep 21, 2014

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

veryinspiringaward[1]
So honored to announce that As Cute as a Bug's Ear has been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! This blogger award is given by bloggers to other fellow bloggers who keep the blogishere a beautiful place.

Once you get nominated, there are a few rules to follow, which include:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you. (Thank you Megan & JoAnn at A Whimsicle Life for nominating me!)
2.  List the rules and display the award.
3.  Share 7 facts about yourself.
4. Nominate other amazing blogs and comment on their blog to let them know you nominated them.


Seven facts about As Cute as a Bug's Ear:

1.  The blog's name is derived from a saying that my grandmother used when we were growing up. And no, bug's do not have ears. :)
2.  I am a former teacher and high school coach. I miss teaching-but nothing is as fulfilling as teaching my own children.
3.  The blog started as an online baby book, documenting my pregnancy and the first year of my children's lives. Now it has grown into a creative outlet that I am proud of and hopefully will continue to grow with our family.
4.  I've painted every room of our house, the exterior of our two story house, and I've fixed and installed four major appliances. DIY in training. Plus I could never pay thousands for someone to do what I can do. I'm cheap like that.
5.  I've had over 100 stitches, ribs popped out of place, and one measly broken toe. 
6.  I blog when my children are sleeping- so on no nap days- that means from 9PM-Midnight- and I wouldn't have it any other way.
7.  I am going to my first major Blog Conference in a few weeks and I am equal parts nervous and excited.  I know I will learn so much from other fabulous bloggers-but socially it is frightening putting myself out there.


I am so excited to nominate my fellow bloggers! All of these lovely ladies are fabulous and very deserving of the award.


Nominees:





Mandy @Mommy Musings 

Courtney & Julie @The Chirping Moms



Congratulations to all of the nominees and thank you again to JoAnn & Megan at The Whimsicle Life for nominating me!



Any tips for attending my first conference?

Packing list?  I can use all the help I can get!



Thank you so much for reading!  I feel beyond blessed to have you all as readers- thank you so much for supporting my little family!



Sep 16, 2014

Top 5 Potty Training Tips for your Toddler


Honestly, before we ever started potty training I had heard from more people(than I wanted to) that boys were MUCH harder to potty train than girls.  I think it truly is determined by the personality and temperament of your child.  I know a lot of very successful potty-trained 18 month olds.  

So with the naysayers watching we began our journey in potty training when our little man was around 17 months old.  We knew that he was "ready" to start and that he knew what were we talking about and what we expected of him.  Here are the top five steps that have helped us in our potty training journey!



Pull-Ups- I talked up the "Big Boy Underwear" for weeks leading up to starting.  Whenever we were in Costco or Target I would show him the boxes of Pull-Ups and he would smile, clap, and "talk" about how excited he was to be a Big Boy!  When it came down to choosing which box of Pull-Ups we made sure that he had the choice each time about which characters he chose and even between the Pink and Blue options. I loved that these Pull-Ups mimic real underwear and were easy for him to Pull-Up after using the restroom.  With Sweet Em's arrival, The Toddler was suddenly surrounded by all things baby and it was great to have some Big Boy Pull-Ups that set him apart- linking "Babies" with diapers.





Step Stool-  I tried using one of those portable small potties- BUT the cleaning? NO, THANK YOU! Plus, with little boy parts-many of the potties available on the market don't work as well as you would expect to prevent splatter. Once again- the cleaning?!? NO, THANK YOU!  We have a small plastic no-slip step stool downstairs and this wood stool in the kid's bathroom upstairs.  He immediately took to using the bathroom ten times easier when it was exactly what mom and dad do.  He felt so grown up!  We also tried one of those toilet attachments to make the hole smaller so that they don't fall in.  Once again there were way too many mistakes and he felt like he was doing it wrong.  No negativity in my potty training method!  The lid got the boot.  From 18 months on he has successfully used the restroom when it was offered.  


POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT- There are so many studies out there shouting from the rooftops how big of an impact positive reinforcement has in a child's life.  I am a BIG proponent on verbal positive reinforcement.  After every successful flush we do a potty dance- clad with a makeshift song- a jig- and high fives.  The Toddler loves the extra attention and it is really easy to take "the show on the road" when we are out on our daily adventures.  It is easy to do the potty dance at the zoo or even the store.  Don't mind me- I'm the parent doing a little break dance with my two year old-Nothing to see here folks.





Routine- My little ones THRIVE on a routine.  Bed time routine? Check.  Nap time routine? Check.  Potty routine? You better believe it!  Right when we get up, it is potty time.  Then we wash our hands-brush our teeth-and wash our face.  Before we go anywhere there is a potty break.  Upon arriving at said destination? There is a potty break.  Before leaving said destination?  You guessed it- Potty break.  It has to be said that schlepping Em into the bathroom each and every time got old, REAL FAST.  But it must be done. 





Sticker Chart- I am all for intrinsic motivation, but when we started out with potty training the sticker chart is what tipped the scales with our successful flushes.  I simply taped a chart to the wall and we had 2-3 options of stickers each successful flush.  The 18 Month Old Toddler? Ate that right up.  When he turned two he didn't need the extra reward... so we just DANCE.  Boogie it up folks!  Whatever works!

With these tips there have been no Code Browns for over six months. That's right. Not one mistake.  We are currently working on staying dry during naps and overnight and I am BEYOND grateful of the role that Pull-Ups have had in our success.  When The Toddler was 17 Months old(before Huggies ever approached me) we used The Big Kid's Academy.  Seriously, check it out.  The App is spot-on(I loved it before I was sponsored).




You can say that again.

Big Kid Beginnings

Think your child is ready to start potty training? Here’s where to begin. First, be sure you’ve taken the Signs of Readiness Quiz. Next, find the right supplies and tools on the Big Kid Prep List, discover fun activities for your routine, and then customize a Potty Progress Chart. Let’s go!




Celebrate the First and Every Flush!

Pull-Ups® training pants are proven to deliver more potty training success. Pair them with a consistent routine and you'll be on your way to victory. It's easy with our customizable celebration tools that engage your Big Kid and give positive reinforcement. How will you celebrate?

Do the Potty Dance & Start Potty Training Today

This dance sensation is the perfect way to get your Big Kid excited about potty training. With music from classical to rock, there’s a Potty Dance for every Big Kid and every potty success celebration. Choose a favorite character, learn the steps, then download your top track and get your groove on.

Charge ’Em Up, Hit the Light & Be a Big Kid at Night!

A simple way to potty train consistently day and night is not just a dream thanks to Pull-Ups® Night Time training pants. They’re just one part of a fun bedtime routine that includes these great ways to make bedtime easier. See how you can add some sparkle to your potty training program.

Time to Potty

Potty training is all about encouraging your child to learn and grow. Time to Potty is our new smart potty timer that lets you know when it's time to go and gets your child excited to take potty breaks with over 40 unlockable celebration games. It's the perfect way to start your potty training journey with Pull-Ups®.







Every Kid is Unique. That’s why when you enroll at the Big Kid Academy, you’ll get a personalized “My Pull-Ups®” page with potty training activities and advice customized to your point in the potty training journey.

The Big Kid Academy has a world-class library of potty training tips and advice from parenting experts, medical professionals and our brightest alumni: parents who have been there. 

Subjects include:

• How to talk to day care providers about potty training

• Solutions for nighttime
• Potty training on the go
• The best clothing for potty training




Do you have a tip that helped in your potty training journey? 

What works for your family?


Let me know if you have any questions! Good luck- remember it is a journey AND a destination!




This post is sponsored by Pull-Ups.  All opinions as always are 100% my own.

Vertuccio Farms



It's fall again at Vertuccio Farms and we will be hosting our 10th annual Harvest Festival and Corn Maze. Come and navigate through our 10 acre maze cut into the design of the Statue of Liberty. Along with the pumpkin patch, farm animals, hay maze,barrel train and bounce house, we have added the valley's one and only Pizza Farm. 

Come out and see how pizza is grown!

Vertuccio Farms 2013

Vertuccio Farm is located at 4011 S. Power Rd. in Mesa, Arizona. 
Please visit our web site for dates and times. 

I am so excited to visit again this year with our family of four! There were so many activities last year and I can't wait to pick out some pumpkins with both of the toddlers!

Check out these FABULOUS coupons!


$2 off Fall Festival Admission - $2 off admission to Vertuccio Farms Fall Festival

COUPON HERE!





Sep 11, 2014

9/11 #Never Forget

Today there will be no new post.  

The link below is a teacher and a mother's perspective that I wrote two years ago about the unthinkable moments.  

Teaching our youth about the atrocities, the heroes, and working on communicating openly about such events in our history.  It is imperative. Thoughts.

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

Sep 8, 2014

#FitMadeFun MommyParty


September 6, 2014 was Fit Made Fun Day!

The day was a celebration across the nation to inspire kids everywhere to get up and be active!  LeapFrog recognizes the importance of active play and celebrated the launch of LeapBand which is making fitness fun.  In Santa Monica, California there were hundreds of children and their parents joined together to break THREE GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS. THREE.  

The records included: The most people hopping on one foot simultaneously (321); the most people creating sand angels (292); and the most people performing the swim dance (318).

Mia Hamm was a big proponent and supporter of #FitMadeFun Day.  She was present for the Santa Monica festivities and I for one was extremely jealous of all of the Californians that were able to be present.  I played soccer through college and Mia Hamm is one of the greats of soccer.  All of soccer.  I was lucky enough to attend the 1999 World Cup when the U.S. Women Won the first ever gold! I LOVED that she is involved in making sure kids get active and fit!

CLIF Kid ZBar Protein Bars

Each bar contains 5g of complete protein and contains with 70% organic ingredients, offers an excellent source of calcium, and is a good source of Vitamin D, iron and zinc.  ZBar Protein leaves out partially-hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, synthetic preservatives and artificial flavors and contains zero grams of trans fat.




For our party we served fabulous, healthy recipes- broke out all of our sports balls/jump-ropes/frisbees- and played our little hearts out!  All of the adults kept talking about how user-friendly the LeapBands are. Which is completely true.  You set-up your LeapBand online and your child earns the ability to get new animals and earns food and rewards.  

I wanted to show you just how excited he was when he got a band, "Just like mom and dad!" He literally talked our ears off for thirty minutes about how happy he was... we didn't even take it out of the box and he was talking about his special band and how excited he was to help the animals.








PURE JOY. 









The Toddler used the LeapBand for three days before the party and RELISHED in being able to care for his pets. 

LeapBand 

1. Customize & Play: Pick a pet and choose its name and color; then get active with your pal.
2. Learn Healthy Habits: Feed your pal healthy snacks and learn about nutrition with fun facts.
3.  Keep Your Pet Happy: Bath, feed and groom your pet to earn more points and unlock pet accessories.
4.  Track Activity
5.  Audio Challenges
6.  Earn Points

Fun EXTRAS: 

-Audio Instructions: This helps The Toddler with taking instructions and being able to use the LeapBand all by himself.
-Rechargable Battery
-Water Resistant
-Parent Controls: This should be mandated in all electronics geared toward children. Love it.



#FitMadeFun Recipes

Strawberry Lime Water Recipe
Ingredients:

-30 cups of water
-Fresh Strawberries
-3-4 Limes
-Fresh Mint Leaves

CLIF Kid ZBar DIY Parfait Station(Set-Up in Kitchen)
Ingredients:
Individual yogurt cups for each guest
-CLIF Kid ZBars: Crumbled
-Blueberries
-Strawberries
-Granola

CLIF Kid Fruit Rope Snack Mix
Ingredients:
-CLIF Kid Fruit Ropes
-Caramel Popcorn
-Pecan Halves

Zucchini Tots
Ingredients:
-3 cups shredded potatoes
-3 small zucchinis, shredded
-3/4 cup cornmeal
-3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-1 teaspoon kosher salt
-freshly ground black pepper
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-Coconut Oil(Supposed to be 3 Eggs- Food Allergy)













Healthy Habits Hunt

Scavenger Hunt
1. Print out healthy snack options with letters A-Z
2.  Hide them around the house.
3.  Say "GO" and all of the children should be on the lookout to collect the most healthy snacks.
4. The child with the most healthy snacks at the end of the hunt WINS!
5.  Prize: Trays of CLIF Kid ZBars to pass out to everyone. Win-Win.





Frogs on the Lily Pad Game

The Toddler is showing you a couple of prompts that occur when you press the challenge button on the LeapBand.  We played a game in the backyard with multiple all-weather pillows. 

Game:
1. Choose three children to be frogs. Have them stand in a line with wide spaces between them, facing the rest of the children, who should be at a distance.
2.  The other children should be in a line with the first two in line wearing LeapBands.
3.  Have each frog squat into a frog position on their "lily pad".
4. The adult in charge then yells, "Frogs on the Lily Pads!" and the frogs should begin leaping in place on their lily pads.
5.  Meanwhile, the children wearing the LeapBands will then press the challenge button on their LeapBand to hear one of the prompts.  They must then perform that action as they try to move/zig-zag between the frogs without being tagged by a leaping frog. (For example: If the prompt says "wiggle like a worm" the child must "wiggle like a worm" through the "lily pads" to the end.)
6.  Any child that does get tagged by a leaping frog is now a frog and must take off the LeapBand to give another child a chance, and then they must squat on their own lily pad.
7.  Those who make it through can get back in line and get another chance to move through the lily pads, but anyone who ends up tagged by a leaping frog must join the frogs.
8.  Continue the game until everyone has been caught.




I am so beyond thankful of the opportunity from MommyParty to host! The Toddler has given his seal of approval and I am overjoyed that this product does everything that I hoped it would and more.  Honestly, this is an electronics purchase that is a must.  As a former teacher and an active mother- I am hoping that his helps promote a healthier lifestyle for kids and families across the nation.  This is a holiday must-have for 2014.  Check them out at your local store- we have them at our Super Target! Target for the win!

You can connect with  LeapFrog on TWITTERPINTEREST, and FACEBOOK for all of the latest news and announcements.

You can connect with CLIF Bar on TWITTER, PINTEREST, and FACEBOOK for all of the latest news and announcements.




I received free products in order to host the LeapFrog and CLIF Kid sponsored MommyParty.  All opinions as always are 100% my own.

Sep 5, 2014

Daily Diaper Bag{Two Toddlers}



The summer is still going on strong here in the desert.  The temperatures are still in the 100s but staying inside with two active toddlers is just NOT a good idea if you care about your sanity.  Our daily adventures during the week include going to Toddler Time at our local community center, riding bikes to the park, trips to the zoo, going to the splash pad, and even out exploring the mall.  I mean sometimes, just sometimes, it is nice to go somewhere with air conditioning.  This is my daily packing list for our outings that help me stay sane. 


  


Wet Bags for swim suits, stinky diapers, or destroyed clothes(yes, that happens).  Med Kit. Wipes. Epi-Pens. Camelbacks, Homemade Chex Mix:Blueberries, Chex, Raisins. Little Green Pouches with Blueberry-Greek Yogurt Mix. Rice Crackers.


  

  

Adorable Accessories. Books. Favorite Aden-Anais Swaddle Blanket. Necessities. Plus add 5 disposable diapers for Sweet Em- or Two Cloth Diapers- depending on where we are going.

I LOVE seeing what people have in their diaper bags! 

Do you have any fun finds? 

Any must-haves I am missing out on? Please share!

Don't forget to enter the Little Green Pouch Giveaway- HERE.
And you still have time to win a copy of Monica McGurk's Book: Dark Hope. HERE.


Sep 4, 2014

Munchkin Meals: Two Toddlers{& Little Green Pouch Giveaway}



Time for another Munchkin Meals thanks to Brittany over at A Healthy Slice of Life! On the first Thursday of every month she hosts a Munchkin Meals Link-Up Party- which enables me to look through tons of great meal ideas to change things up with my two toddlers.  We do have to be mindful with what foods we give our two little ones because Big Brother has a tremendous amount of food allergies. He goes into anaphylatic shock with gluten, arrowroot, peanuts/nuts, baker's yeast, oats and immediately throws up if he consumes any amount of egg or apple.  Other allergies that we avoid in our house entirely: peas, tomatoes, beef, carrots, soy, codfish, crab, shrimp, and oranges.  We are thankful that there are a lot of people in our lives that take the time to find special treats or recipes that work for our family.  

munchkin-meals-logo

Previous Munchkin Meals: 




Toddler & Baby{ 9 Months}


Breakfast Options: 
Bananas, Blueberries, Gluten-free/Egg-free/Nut-free Pancakes and waffles, Greek yogurt, Chex Cereal, Brown Rice Crispies Cereal, Pears.





Lunch & Dinner: 
Tacos, Burrito Bowls, BBQ Chicken, Pasta, Mac and Cheese, "Scooby" Sandwiches-Turkey rolled up around cheese, White Chicken Chili, Green Peppers, Red Peppers, Cucumber, Cheese Cubes, Grapes, Cauliflower, Black Beans, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Pinto Beans, Corn on the Cob, Homemade Purees. 


LOVE our Little Green Pouches in our house!



Puree Favorites:
Sweet Potato
Blueberry & Apple for Em
Pears
Blueberry & Greek Yogurt




Quinoa and Brown Rice with Grilled Chicken and Veggies






A couple times a week we treat our little ones with a little frozen yogurt. Priceless. 



Our family has used the original set of Little Green Pouches daily for over a year.  They are DURABLE & TODDLER APPROVED.  They are easy to use, fill, and wash in the dishwasher.  As many parents know, the pouches available at the store cost a pretty penny with how much your little one eats.  Simple answer is making a large batch of pureed food and just fill the pouches up.  The pouches fit in our side-drawer of the fridge. Both of my little ones started being able to hold their own successfully around nine months old.  Until then the pouches were so much easier to use when we were out and about- no mess and no spoons.

When Little Green Pouch contacted me about their new FAA Compliant Pouch Set I was over-the-moon excited! I love that we will be able to use these when we travel!  Plus, another six of these bad boys have already come in hand with two hungry toddlers.



Reusable Food Pouch Features:

FILL-ABLE
Strong, Leak-proof zip seal at the top, so the pouch can be opened & filled with up to 3.4 ounces(the perfect size to bring on the airplane!) of your favorite pureed foods.  Blow into spout to expand it to its full supple shape!

REUSE-ABLE
Our eco-friendly food pouches are made from durable BPA, PVC, Lead and Phalatefree Plastic. They are built to withstand those beatings that only young children can give & (after cleaning) take some more.

DISHWASHER-ABLE
The pouches are top-shelf dishwasher safe! For best results, rise all the homemade spinach surprise out of the pouch and spout before running the cycle.

FREEZER-ABLE
Fill up a bunch of pouches with your homemade or store bought purees and pop them in the freezer.  You can defrost them in warm water when you are ready to enjoy.  Or, pack them in your lunch in the morning-they'll be ready for squeezing by the afternoon.

SQUEEZE-ABLE
The size and suppleness of our reusable baby food pouches makes it great for use by those darling little hands.





Toddler Approved





GIVEAWAY

Now YOU can win a set of your own!  Little Green Pouch is giving away one set of their new FAA Compliant Size Set to one of my readers!

There are FOUR total possible entries for this giveaway.

1.  Leave a comment on the bottom of this post on why you would love to win a set.

2.  Like As Cute as a Bug's Ear on Facebook and comment on the bottom of this post saying you did.

3.  Follow @Littlefamblog on Twitter and comment on the bottom of this post saying you did.

4. Follow @Littlefamblog on Instagram and comment on the bottom of this post saying you did.

Please leave your email in one of the comments so that you may be contacted if you win. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and emailed.  Winner will have 24 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway ends 09/11 at 5PM Mountain Standard Time.


You can connect with  Little Green Pouch on TWITTERPINTEREST, and FACEBOOK for all of the latest news and announcements.



I received the product for the review.  All opinions expressed are always 100% my own.