Reading Over the Summer is Important but Let's Not Forget About Handwriting! - Mead Writing Fundamentals for Pre-K to 2nd Grade Review and Giveaway

1:22 AM Posted by Kimberly@PrettyPinkMomma




These last few weeks I have been focusing a lot on the importance of reading to your children. The truth is all though reading is important it is only 50% of literacy. The 50% being writing. Children start learning about writing and its importance in preschool.

I know from first hand experience with my oldest that writing can be a huge struggle for some children. My seven year old, Oscar, will be going into the second grade in the fall and handwriting has been a huge issue for him since he was in kindergarten. He never felt that the could keep up with the pace of the rest of his class and it became increasingly difficult for him as what was expected of him in the classroom became more demanding. They simply didn't have enough time in class to focus on improving handwriting skills.

It was heartbreaking for me to see him so upset and frustrated each night as he did his homework. At every teacher's conference the advice was always the same - focus on handwriting. This summer I was even looking into a pediatric occupational therapy handwriting class for him because I don't wish to see him struggle again in the second grade. The class unfortunately didn't work with our schedule but luckily for me that very same day I was asked to review Writing Fundamentals by Mead, I was so excited!!



Mead Writing Fundamentals products are designed using proven techniques that develop and strengthen fine motor and writing skills. They are designed for learners from Pre-K to 2nd Grade and developed in conjunction with advice from a pediatric occupational therapist whose specialty is handwriting. The products are divided into four stages so that parents can easily determine which products suit the stage that fits their child's needs best. Each stage progressively builds upon one another as the child masters the skills for writing success. Mead worked on this

We received several products to start writing with. I chose a smattering of all the stages because not only do I want to help Oscar but my five year old, Benji, is Pre-K and I want to get an early start with him so that he can hopefully avoid going through the same frustrations as Oscar. The boys both loved sitting together and working on the books. Not only are they challenging but fun too. There was a variety of tablets as well as a couple dry erase products too.




What We Reviewed


Stage One
  • Path Quest - Perceptual Motor Adventures
  • Shape Builders - Learn to Draw
  • Dry Erase Activity Board - Stages 1, 2 and 3
Stage Two
  • 4-in-1 Learn to Letter with Guidelines
  • Write -On Wipe-off Lowercase Letters
Stage Three
  • Idea Builders - First Steps to Creative Writing




My favorite of all the products that we reviewed for Oscar was the Idea Builders. Creative writing is something that we worked on each week for homework and the creativity never seemed to flow to him. I love that each page has a new theme and requires him to reflect on the question asked and then write his answers on the lines. Plus, he is working on his reading and comprehension skills as well because he really has to think about what he read and what the instructions are asking him to do.



My favorite for Benji so far was Shape Builders. Benji loved working on this one! I loved that it required him to pay attention to the sequence of steps to complete the drawing. It took some understanding on his part to realize what exactly the arrows wanted him to do but eventually it clicked. He still has some trouble with following the directions in order but its something that we can work on together.



One item that I thought was brilliant was the 4-in-1 Learn to Letter. It is broken down into four sections that build on each other as skills progress. What I thought was so cool is that the pages have debossed capital and lowercase letters with numbered steps. Kids can see and feel where the grooves are for correct alignment when printing. I thought that this was a great one for Benji to try out for learning capital letters and also for Oscar to learn how to print lowercase more clearly. Benji tried to attempt the uppercase letters page but got really frustrated quickly. He still has trouble understanding where the arrows want him to go. He did think that the debossed paper was really neat because he could feel the letters. We definitely need a bit more practice with this one before he starts Kindergarten in the fall. II am glad that the Mead Writing Fundamentals help me as a parent to gauge where Benji is at in regards to his writing skills. I feel so much more ahead of the game with Benji at this age than I did with Oscar.


Buy It!

Mead Writing Fundamentals is available online at Mead.com, as well as nationwide at Target, Walmart and Staples. Prices for each product range in price from $3.99-$6.99.


Win It!

One lucky Pretty Pink Momma reader will win a Mead Writing Fundamentals prize package - ARV $28-$49

Winners will receive 5-7 products of their choice from the following list:
  • Path Quest
  • Snip It
  • Shape Builders Learn to Draw
  • Dry Erase Activity Board
  • Capital Letter Stories
  • Write-On, Wipe-Off Lowercase Letters
  • 4-in-1 Learn to Letter
  • Idea Builders
  • Primary Journal
  • Write-on, Wipe-off Cursive Letters

How to Enter: Giveaway is now closed. Visit the product page at www.meadonline.com and the product detail sheet at http://bit.ly/writingfundamentals and leave a comment on this post explaining what product/products you like best and why. Giveaway open to US only.

Congratulations to Emily B.!



Winner must not have won a Writing Fundamentals prize pack within the last 60 days

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#Win $28-$49 of @MeadEarlyLearn #WritingFundamentals products from @PrettyPinkMomma! #giveaway ends 8/6 #schoolsupplies http://is.gd/dSLLB

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Good Luck to all that enter! This giveaway is open until Friday August 6th. One winner will be chosen using the Truly Random Number Generator widget located in the footer. The winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize or a new winner will be chosen.








Kimberly
*I share my 100% honest thoughts and opinions in all posts. For product reviews I am only compensated in product for the sole purpose of writing an honest review. Please refer to my disclosure policy or email me if you have any questions.*
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Aloha Friday - Disgusting Foods

12:45 AM Posted by Kimberly@PrettyPinkMomma


[alohafriday.jpg]


Aloha Fridays are brought to you by Kailani from An Island Life. Over there in Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that they take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So Kailani thought that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting, too. So, for Aloha Friday, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Answer my question and put one of your own up on your blog. Link up and check out other blogs that participate at An Island Life.


Have you ever eaten something that you deemed as disgusting because someone else made you or even out of politeness?


Last weekend I went to a birthday celebration at my neighbors Indian restaurant. I was psyched because I have never eaten Indian food before and I thought that it would be a great way to try it for the first time. Oscar would never even consider going to eat at an Indian restaurant so I thought that this was my golden opportunity.



When I got there I saw my neighbor Tammy from Tammy's Two Cent's and her husband Scott there and grabbed a seat at their table. The buffet was open so I went and grabbed a plate and just started scooping items onto it. There weren't any labels as to what I was dishing out and since I hadn't eaten that type food before I really had no idea what it was. Shortly after sitting down at the table Tammy's hubby informed me that one of the items I chose was lamb. I of course thanked him for telling me because I don't eat lamb. It totally grosses me out and I just can't get over it. It didn't help that he and Tammy told me that it tasted like roast either because I hate roast too. I can't eat stringy meat, I just do not like the texture.

Then it got ugly. Scott was insistent that I stop being a baby and try the lamb. He kept saying "Eat it! Just eat it! Put it in your mouth!", he was relentless. He didn't even cringe when I told him my story about when I saw a poor baby lamb's remains in a field as a kid that was burned alive by its owners. I don't do lamb. Finally after about twenty minutes I gave in to peer pressure. He said he wouldn't stop harassing me about it until I took a bite, and I believed him! I did give Scott fair warning that he better watch out cause if I thought it was so nasty that I had to spit it out that it was going in his direction. That would wipe that smirky smile right off his face right?



So, just to shut Scott up I took a bite. I have to admit, it wasn't horrible. It wasn't good either. It was stringy and chewy and it was gross to swallow but I did it. I won't ever do it again, it was definitely only a one time thing, thanks to peer pressure. And he promised that if I blogged about it he would comment on my blog - so we shall see won't we!





Kimberly
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VTech's Ultimate Tips for Encouraging Kids to Read is here! Did your tip get chosen? Find Out!!

11:48 PM Posted by Kimberly@PrettyPinkMomma





Over the last few weeks I have been going on and on about the new VTech V.Reader. My oldest boys have been having a lot of fun with it and today my two year old just had to have a turn while his brothers were outside playing. Believe it or not, the V.Reader had him focused for over ten minutes! Which for my crazy little dude seems like forever! Here is a picture of Emilio totally engrossed in the animated story on the V.Reader.




Last week as part of the giveaway I asked you to provide your best tips for encouraging kids to read. Out of those tips I selected five tips that I thought were fun, unique or informative. What is really exciting about the tips I selected is that one those tips was put on VTech's Ultimate Tips for Encouraging Kids to Read list!

Here are the five tips from that post that I selected to share with VTech:


#9 Jackie - Check for reading incentive programs in your area. We have a bank that will deposit $10 into a child's account when they read ten books.

#27 greenlancer - Another way I encourage my children to read is by having books throughout the house. Instead of simply having the children’s books on shelves in their bedrooms, we have books in their rooms, in the playroom, in our living room, and even our bedroom. I’m constantly surprised to see who has grabbed which book and is flipping through it. Now that my oldest son can read on his own, I will see him sitting from time to time reading favorite books from his younger days that we have left out for his little brother.

#39 Heather - For older kids, read the same book as them and make it a "book club". Discuss it, make a night of it with snacks etc.

#135 hubb2424 - we write stories with the kids, one word at a time. I write one word, then they write one word, and back and forth until we have an entire story that we wrote together. The kids love this one -- it combines reading and writing with 1-on-1 time with mama!

#115 Alazrielle - When my son reads an educational book (i.e one about dinosaurs, science, history, etc.), we take a field trip when he finishes it. We go to the science museum, police department, or wherever is relevant to what he's just read. That way, he gets to apply what he's learned and he has a great time. It also gives us great mommy son time.


The tip winner that VTech chose to include in their VTech Ultimate Tips for Encouraging Kids to Read list is:

#135 hubb2424


Whooooo hooooooooo!!!!!! Congratulations! That is an awesome tip that I think I will definitely start to implement with my boys.


The top ten tips were compiled into a list by VTech and ONE of those lucky tipsters will win a VTech V.Reader and three animated story cartridges! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you hubb2424!


Wanna see the list? I knew that you would! Check it out!

VTech’s Ultimate Tips for Encouraging Kids to Read

Showing kids that reading can be fun is one of the many challenges of parenting – especially during the summer, when school is out and kids want to play. VTech, creator of the V.Reader e-book for kids, asked TheMotherhood.com, an online community of moms, to provide their ultimate tip list for encouraging kids to read. Moms came through with hundreds of suggestions, and here are the top ten:

Integrate Reading into Real Life: Show children that reading can be both practical and fun. Try reading recipes and creating goodies together, or read a story and then re-enact a favorite scene for other family members, complete with props and basic sets.

Ask Your Pet to Lend an Ear: Encourage your children to read aloud to the family dog or a favorite stuffed animal. Your youngsters will get to practice their reading, and pets make great listeners.

Create an Intimate Space: Make reading exciting with indoor “campouts.” Use sheets and chairs to help your kids make tents, pile blankets and pillows inside, and bring snacks and a stack of books. Reading with a flashlight will add novelty to the activity.

Reward Reading Comprehension: Set aside one night each week for a “quiz night,” when you can read to your kids and give them rewards, such as money to set aside for more books, for answering comprehension questions correctly.

Throw a Book Party: Make reading a social activity. Invite a few of your child’s friends to your house and ask them to bring a favorite book. Provide snacks and games that incorporate reading.

Get Involved Locally: Check area libraries, bookstores and even bank branches. They will often host story hours or summer reading programs for kids, offering incentives for reading a certain number of books.

Think Outside the Box – or Book: You don’t need to use books alone to encourage kids to read. Ask your child to read things like street signs and menus when you are out and about, or put closed captioning on the TV so he can see as well as hear the words of his favorite shows.

Give Them a Choice: Set aside an hour or two of quiet time during the day, and tell your kids they can either read or take a nap during that period. Letting them choose to read will remind them that they can choose reading at other times, too.

Write Stories Together: Reading and writing go hand in hand. Write stories with your kids one word at a time – you write one word, they read it and write one word of their own – until you have a story you created together.

Play to Their Interests: Let your kids read about subjects they already enjoy. From Pokemon to ponies, if they are fascinated by a topic, they will love reading about it.


VTech’s electronic learning toys are innovative and offer educational benefits for baby, infant, toddler, preschool and grade school ages. VTech is delighted to introduce the V.Reader, the first kids animated e-book for 3-7 year olds.


Kimberly
*I share my 100% honest thoughts and opinions in all posts. I am a member of the VTech Voices Community and wrote this post as part of a blog campaign hosted by The Motherhood and sponsored by VTech. For my time and participation in I was provided a stipend as well as a VTech V.Reader and related products. Please refer to my disclosure policy or email me if you have any questions.*
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Wordless/Wordful Wednesday - Summer Fun in the Sun!

1:35 AM Posted by Kimberly@PrettyPinkMomma


A couple of weeks ago my three sons' and Tammy's Two Cent's son had fun playing games in the small pool that we bought Emilio for his second birthday. They put Emilio's small slide half in the pool so that they could slide down into the water. They were having a ton of fun! Emilio had the shock of his life though when he went down the slide and got soaked at the bottom. He wasn't fully prepared for the splash that went all over his face. After a few tears he got over it and went back to playing with the other boys. It was so funny to watch all them try to maneuver in this tiny pool!









For more Wordful Wednesday check out Seven Clown Circus.




For more Wordless Wednesday check out Five Minutes for Mom.




Kimberly
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For Kissably Soft Lips This Summer Try New Softlips 100% Natural Lip Care Products - Review and Giveaway

12:09 AM Posted by Kimberly@PrettyPinkMomma



In my last Softlips review and giveaway I shared with you how I was huge fan as a girl and now that I have been reintroduced to Softlips as a grown woman I can't believe I ever went without it. I always keep Softlips close at hand, my purse, my car, my bathroom - everywhere. I just love the stuff.

In general, I am a huge lip gloss and lip tint fan. I haven't worn lipstick in about 8 years. I love how natural lip gloss and lip tints make my smile look. My first step before applying any gloss or tint is to always apply some form of chapstick, in all cases recently I only use Softlips. Which is why I was so thrilled to learn that Softlips has now come out with 100% PURE Natural lip glosses and tints of their own! They also have come out with a lip butter that includes sunscreen and a coconut sugar lip polish too. I have tried all of these and products and LOVE them! They are perfect for lip gloss junkie like myself.


Meet the New Line!


The first step to naturally beautiful lips is lip polish. The Softlips Lip Polish naturally exfoliates your lips with organic coconut flakes and sugar. Those ingredients combined with bees wax and natural seed oils not only exfoliate but moisturize as your lips as well. I loved the hint of coconut and the bees wax really moisturized my lips. After this step I feel ready to apply any lip gloss or tint. Suggested retail price is $5.99.

For simply beautiful natural lips I love using the Softlips Lip Butter. It has a light Vanilla Berry flavor and provides SPF 15 protection. This product is great for dry lips because it combines zinc oxide, shea butter, jojoba seed oil and bees wax for maximum moisturizing. It comes in an easy to use tube applicator. If you do wear lipstick this product would also be great to apply underneath your lipstick for a smooth, flawless look. Suggested retail price is $4.99.


The Softlips Natural Lip Tints are a balm/stick applicator that produces a sheer, tinted look while hydrating the lips with zinc oxide and includes SPF 15 protection. There are three shades - Natural Honesty, Coral Charm and my personal favorite Shell Pink. The tints are very similar to the Softlips lip protectants that you are used to using but add a hint of color. Suggested retail price is $3.99.


The Softlips Lip Glosses are my favorite! There come in the same three flavors as the lip tints, Natural Honesty, Coral Charm and Shell Pink. The tube applicator makes for easy application that slides on perfectly over your lips. Just like all of the other 100% natural products in the line the glosses also include SPF 15 protection and hydrates your lips with bees wax, natural seed oils and zinc oxide. Of the glosses my very favorite one is Coral Charm, but the other two look awesome too! Suggested retail price is $5.99.


Buy It!

You can find Softlips PURE 100% Natural lip care products at Target in the Naturals/Organic section.


Win It!

One lucky Pretty Pink Momma reader will win one of everything that you see shown above! That comes out to $42 in Softlips PURE 100% Natural products!


How to Enter: Giveaway is now closed. Comment on this post telling me which Softlips PURE 100% Natural product you are looking forward to trying the most! Giveaway open to US and Canada.



Congratulations Angie!



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Good Luck to all that enter! This giveaway is open until Tuesday August 17th. One winner will be chosen using the Truly Random Number Generator widget located in the footer. The winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize or a new winner will be chosen.






Kimberly
*I share my 100% honest thoughts and opinions in all posts. For product reviews I am only compensated in product for the sole purpose of writing an honest review. Please refer to my disclosure policy or email me if you have any questions.*
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Are You Addicted to Soda? Do You Want to Cut the Calories? Then You've Gotta Try Soda Stream!

6:36 PM Posted by Kimberly@PrettyPinkMomma


Photobucket

I am the first to admit that I have a huge addiction to soda. I don't drink coffee so for me this is my one major addiction. I like to drink soda at least once a day, which obviously isn't that great for my figure, nor am I setting a great example for my kids. When I came across SodaStream I was really excited because I not only did I find a machine that makes soda but its healthier, cheaper, greener and easier to store than regular soda I buy at the store.

Watch This!





SodaStream Review - The Penguin



The Penguin Starter Kit is $249.95

I was thrilled to be able to review the Penguin by SodaStream. This model is the first one by SodaStream that offers glass carafes instead of plastic ones. For me, this was huge because I love things that are dishwasher safe. The glass bottles are also easily hand-washed as well. I just know that if I had gotten the the plastic bottles my husband would automatically have thrown them in the dishwasher because he refuses to hand wash anything. In addition to the glass carafes the Penguin is my favorite model because of its sleek and modern design. It fits in seamlessly with today's kitchens.

The Penguin Features:
  • customized carbonation level
  • easy to clean
  • automatic access gas release mechanism
  • minimal space usage on counter tops

For review I received the Penguin as well as several different soda flavors plus a few sparkling water flavor samples to try out. The Penguin comes fully assembled, but I had to learn how to open the back and install the jet carbonator, which was a very simple process. I also had to learn how the remove and replace the glass carafe and properly slide and then screw on the tops for the carafes.

Once the machine was all put together I was excited to make some soda! I will say that there was a learning curve to preparing the soda the way that you like it. For me, it took me about four or five tries before I figured out how I like to make it. On the back of the Penguin there is a lever, pulling this lever determines how much carbonation is added to the water. According to the directions you want to push down on the horn until you hear two whistles for a lightly carbonated drink or three or four whistles, which produces a stronger carbonation. I like the stronger carbonation myself for the sodas.

Once the water is carbonated the pressure release button needs to be pressed to release the excess gas. I love the hissing sound it makes when the carbon dioxide is escaping! Once you remove the carafe from the stainless steel flask you are then ready to add the flavoring.

One thing that was a little frustrating for me was there wasn't any instruction as to how much syrup needed to go into the carafe. My first try I didn't put enough and the root beer I made tasted funny. I eventually figured out that I was supposed to add a full cap full of the syrup to the carbonated water. Once I figured it all out I started trying out several of the flavors.

Like many parents I don't like to give my kids soda but occasionally I do as a treat. Its mostly because I don't want my boys getting as addicted to soda as I am. The soda flavors from SodaStream are made with Splenda, not sugar, so they have less sugar, carbs and calories than regular store bought soda. I love knowing that my kids can have soda as a treat and they don't realize the difference between what's in the can versus what came out of the SodaStream. My son's favorite flavors are orange and lemon-lime. He drinks them all the time. I like to fill small bottles and send them in his school lunch too, he loves that he gets to drink soda at school.

I grew up on soda, my favorite being Coke. I tried the cola flavor with an open mind because being that I am a soda connoisseur I wanted to know if I would like the flavor. In all honesty, it doesn't taste like Coke, but it wouldn't because its made with Splenda. It is palatable and I could definitely drink it as a substitute. I really want to try the cherry cola flavor but I haven't found available in the stores near me. Overall I would say that its a great, healthier and cheaper option if you are looking to cutback or set an example for your children.

I really like that when I run out of the syrup flavors I can go to Macy's (my favorite place to shop!) and get some more. It is also available at the Kohl's across town from me. The bottles of syrup average around $5 per bottle. It was cheaper at Kohl's by about 50 cents but for me its not worth the drive so save the 50 cents because Macy's is pretty much right down the street from my house.

There is only one thing about the machine that really bugs me. When the Alco2Jet Carbonator is empty there are very little options for refilling it. I can't purchase a new one at Kohl's or Macy's but there are a few locations where I can exchange my empty for a full one. Unfortunately for me the closest one to my house is about 25 - 30 minutes away. You can also order exchange carbonators from the SodaStream online store. It is recommended that you have three carbonators on hand so that if one runs out you have a replacement while you are waiting to get the next one. The cost for exchanging two empty 60L carbonators for two full ones is $29.99. In my case however I will need to order 1 spare and 1 exchange because my husband threw away one of the empty carbonators because he didn't realize that I could exchange them for refills. The cost for 1 spare and 1 exchange is $39.99.


The Penguin - Pros vs. Cons

The Pros
  • A healthier way to enjoy soda - no aspartame
  • I don't feel guilty when my kids drink it
  • Several flavors to choose from
  • Easy to use, easy to store
  • Dishwasher safe carafes
  • Cheaper than store bought soda
  • Flavors can be found at local retailers as well as online
  • Less packaging than store bought soda - reduces your carbon footprint
The Cons
  • It doesn't taste exactly like store bought soda
  • Extra glass carafes are not readily available in stores (plastic ones are) - but can be purchased online
  • The carbonators need refilling and that is expensive
  • When the carbonators need refilling you are out of luck if you don't have an extra one handy because it is not something that you can readily purchase at a moment's notice
  • If you prefer to purchase flavors at your local store the selection is limited

Overall I have to say that it is a very cool machine. I love being able to offer soda to my family and friends that is healthier. It would be a great addition for a weight loss plan for someone like me that loves soda but hates the extra calories. My son loves the soda and I don't have to cringe anymore when I let him indulge. I definitely recommend trying any of the SodaStream soda makers if you are looking for a great new way to enjoy soda. A soda maker would make an excellent gift as well. The SodaStream line of soda makers are available starting at $99.95.



Kimberly


*I share my 100% honest thoughts and opinions in all posts. I received the Penguin from SodaStream in exchange for writing an honest review. Please refer to my disclosure policy or email me if you have any questions.*
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My First Week With Nutrisystem has Come to a Close - My Thoughts on the Program So Far....

2:37 PM Posted by Kimberly@PrettyPinkMomma




My first week trying the Nutrisystem Program has come to a close. I have had lots of challenges this week but I have also made some great progress too. I have to admit I thought that the food wasn't going to taste very good but I have been pleasantly surprised by breakfasts and lunches. I love the meal plan itself and I think that its a great method for planning your diet whether you use the Nutrisystem food or not.

The biggest thing that I have learned this week is that when it comes to meals I need to think smaller. I was so used to serving large portions and this has been a really good adjustment to make. Now this doesn't mean that I have to go hungry either. The small portions are perfect for the main entree of the meal, what is different is learning to supplement the entree with lots of fruits and veggies. Its the fruits and veggies that fill you up the most.

I am the first to admit, all though I think that the plan itself is great it has been hard to stick to. I would be lying if I said that I stuck to it completely without cheating. This will be a process and I know that I won't be successful if I try to change my habits cold turkey. I started this week by following the plan for breakfast to a tee everyday. I followed the lunch plan a few times and the dinner plan only once. This week was a little more hectic for me than usual with lots of travel taken and irregular scheduling. I was eating out a lot and trying to eat smaller, healthier portions and drink more water. Water is a huge part of the plan as well. I went from drinking no water to trying to get in at least three bottles a day. I cut down severely on my Cherry Coke addiction. The last piece of the program is exercise. I only found time to exercise once, but I was more active simply by running around and doing more things with my kids this week. I hardly ever sat down to do anything.



The Food: My First Impression

When I first opened the box all the food seemed a bit daunting. I was excited to see what was included as this was my very first shipment. I immediately noticed that the food packages were color coded so that I would easily be able to discern a breakfast item from a lunch item or a snack item from a dessert item. Within the box also contained my meal planner, which had some great info in it. I loved that it came with a grocery guide within the planner. It clearly spelled out what options I have for grocery items and how much one serving is. For example, one morning I ate cherries with my breakfast. Instead of guessing how many cherries I should eat the planner told me 12 cherries was one serving. I need this type of thing spelled out for me to help control my portions which is why I think that the grocery guide is one of the most useful components to sticking with the plan.

Okay, I will admit that I was scared to try some of meal options. It was hard to wrap my head around the fact that these menu items that included chicken, turkey and beef, would taste good without any refrigeration sitting in a box for a month. Which is probably why I started with the breakfast menu items because so many of them actually sounded pretty good to eat.

This week I tried a Chocolate Chip Scone, Peanut Butter Granola Bar, Double Chocolate Muffin, Cinnamon Roll, Apple Granola Bar and the Frosted O's Cereal. All of them were pretty good and I combined each one with a serving of fruit and a dairy or protein item of my choosing. I loved the variety of foods and after eating breakfast I was full until lunch time. I really love the breakfast part of the Nutrisystem plan.

So far I have only tried one of the lunch menu options, The Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar, but I had it two times. I really, really like it. I used to eat BioProtein bars that tasted similar to them, so in my opinion I thought that they were really yummy. Lunch is also paired with a dairy or a protein and two vegetables.

Because of my time constraints this week I only ate one of the dinners, one of the snacks and one of the desserts. I started my days very late so I was typically eating breakfast at noon and then trying to play catch up all day with the meals. This week was so busy for me that I didn't have the time to eat as much as I was supposed to eat. I ended up skipping more meals than I would have liked and substituted too many meals with restaurant food. I ate out this week way more than I ever do due to circumstances beyond my control.


My Progress So Far






From Monday, my start date, up through today I have lost two pounds. I think that is awesome considering I didn't follow the plan all the way and I am easing myself into this life change. Especially considering that I only had the time to exercise once. This is exciting! I can't wait to see what I can lose by sticking to the plan and increasing my exercise time.

My Challenges This Week
  • Being away from home and dining out - since it was my first week I haven't had time to fully grasp the dining out instructions yet.
  • Finding the time to exercise daily.
  • Drinking as much water as I should be drinking. For me ideally I would like to drink 6 bottles of water a day to help jump start the weight loss.
  • Waking up late most days and eating breakfast at noon.
  • Getting over the fear of the packaged food
  • My husband - I skipped making food for him on a couple of occasions. I am still working out how I can do this plan and cook for him as well, without wanting to eat what I am serving him.

What I Accomplished This Week
  • I lost two pounds! Yay!
  • I stuck to the breakfast plan
  • When eating out I considered my portion sizes
  • I started drinking water again
  • I took the time to make sure that I was fully stocked on fruits and veggies

So that's it for last week! Wish me luck this next week as I try overcome some of the challenges that held me back this week. If you have any tips or advice I would love to hear them too! I need to learn how to make exercise a daily habit and not a chore, any suggestions?





*Nutrisystem has provided me with the program free of charge in exchange for my time and commitment to blog about my experience with the Nutrisystem Program.*

Kimberly
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Ramona Quimby, I Still Love You! - Ramona and Beezus Review

10:54 PM Posted by Kimberly@PrettyPinkMomma





Ramona and Beezus

Last week I the pleasure of going to see the press screening of Ramona and Beezus starring Selena Gomez as Beezus and introducing Joey King as Ramona. What made this movie twice as awesome is that I got to attend it with my two oldest boys, Oscar and Benji, plus we made it fun little road trip including Tammy's Two Cents and her two kids. We all jumped in the car and made the hour long trek to Pacific Place in Downtown Seattle to the AMC Theater. The kids were so excited because they knew that this was something special and it wasn't everyday that you could go see a movie before it was released in the theaters.

The boys and I are HUGE Wizards of Waverly Place fans so we were all eager to see Selena pull off a totally different role. Ramona and Beezus is Selena Gomez's first theatrical debut. I thought that she was so perfect for the role of Beezus because she does such a great job of being a tortuous sibling in Wizards of Waverly Place.

One other major reason that I was so excited is because I loved the Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Cleary when I was little girl. Girls have been reading Ramona for over forty years and reading about Ramona is one of those rites of passage that we all go through. Beverly Cleary tells a timeless tale that has lead to mother's passing her books on to their daughters for decades. One more reason that I wish for the umpteenth time that I had a little girl! I am fairly certain that my sons won't be that interested in reading these books simply because they geared more towards young girls than young boys. That being said though, I am really happy that I was able to share the movie experience with them because it really is a great story for boys or for girls. We all feel like Ramona does every once in awhile.



Just in case you are not familiar with Ramona Quimby, or your a guy, Ramona is a precocious nine year old girl with a vividly wonderful imagination. As many children do she feels under appreciated and misunderstood by most. She wants to do her part to help and has great intentions but often finds herself making more trouble for others than being helpful to them. Ramona feels constant comparison between herself and her older sister Beezus. Beezus is an honor student and always seems to be thought of as perfect in the eyes of others - or so Ramona thinks.

I remember relating to Ramona so much as a child, we were very much alike. I was the type of kid that always got into trouble and never realized the impact of my actions - until it was too late. Like Ramona I always had good intentions but not a good understanding of how my actions affected others. I also grew up with an older brother that my entire family thought hung the moon. I felt like I was Ramona.



Even though its been years since I have read the Ramona books I was really surprised that while watching the movie how much I remembered about the scenes and the characters. The movie does a fantastic job of showing the audience the way Ramona looks at life in her world. Joey King does a phenomenal job playing Ramona, she is such a talented actress. She had amazing on screen chemistry with not only Selena but all of the actors.

Ramona and Beezus has a star studded supporting cast including Sandra Oh, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Ginnifer Goodwin and of course that super hottie Josh Duhamel! He alone is one good reason for us moms to watch this movie, *swooning*, Fergie is one lucky lady.

Anyways, back to the movie!



I thought that John Corbett did an excellent job of playing Ramona's father. At first I thought that I wasn't going to get over him as the dude in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (which I loved!), but his personality and loving fatherly ways won me over big time. It really seemed that Joey and John bonded in the film, and their father daughter relationship was played out beautifully.

Overall, its my opinion that this is a wonderful movie that the whole family can enjoy. My boys and I really enjoyed watching it. The story has so many parts to it that anyone and everyone can relate to it. You don't have to be a ten year old girl to enjoy this movie, there are many mature moments that adults can relate to as well, even if these moments are seen through the eyes of Ramona. It was a breath of fresh air to see that in this movie there are no cell phones, no laptops, no iPods. It simply focused on the family dynamics and the challenges that face all families no matter what era we are living in, past or present, the issues remain the same. Beverly Cleary captured that in her novels and I thought Ramona and Beezus perfectly portrayed the essence of the Ramona Quimby stories.

Check out the trailer and you will see what I mean...





Interview with Selena Gomez and Joey King

I was thrilled when I learned that I was going to be given the opportunity to participate in a conference call with Selena Gomez and Joey King! I couldn't believe that I was going to get to actually talk to one of favorite teen stars! I think I was more excited than a ten year old girl, well maybe not that excited, but pretty darn close. Thankfully I was able to control myself and not shout any embarrassing "I love you Selena!" remarks while the call was going on. The call ran for about twenty minutes and everyone on the line got to ask the girls one question.

Even though I really wanted to talk to Selena about being her new BFF I somehow managed to come up with a question that related to Ramona and Beezus, one for both of the girls. My question was:

What was your favorite scene in Ramona and Beezus?


  • Selena answered first, and said that her favorite scene was the one where Beezus and Ramona are sharing a very sisterly moment talking about their fears in the middle of the night in Beezus's bed. She said that it was a good "sister" moment and during the scene not only did Ramona and Beezus bond but Selena and Joey did too.
  • Joey agreed with Selena that it was one of her favorite scenes as well. She also really like the lemonade scene and the water fight too. They were a lot of fun.


Other Interesting Things I Learned On the Call...


One blogger had asked the question if the girls had read the Ramona books prior to being cast in the film. This was also one question that I had planned on asking myself.

  • Selena said that she had read the books in third grade and then reread them after she had read the script for Ramona and Beezus.
  • Joey said that she had read one book before she was cast as Ramona and the rest after she had landed the part.

Another asked how the girls developed their close bond that shines through in the movie. Did they spend any time together outside of filming?

  • Selena said that they spent a lot of time together just hanging out. They went to Starbucks and went shopping together too. They also had lots of sleepovers.
  • Joey said that it was easy to spend time together and that they got along really well. She felt like Selena was another big sister.

I had a great time talking with both of the girls and listening to them talk as themselves, not the characters that I loved to see them play. It was great to hear Selena also talking about how concerned she is about her image and what she portrays to the children that look up to her. I learned that she carefully chooses her roles and hopes that she encourages kids is to have strong bonds with family and siblings. I think that is a message that definitely hits home with Ramona and Beezus.



Kimberly

*I share my 100% honest thoughts and opinions in all posts. In exchange for my timely review I was offered the opportunity to attend a press screening of Ramona and Beezus as well as join in on a conference call relating to the film.*
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Aloha Friday - Sickies

3:40 AM Posted by Kimberly@PrettyPinkMomma


[alohafriday.jpg]


Aloha Fridays are brought to you by Kailani from An Island Life. Over there in Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that they take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So Kailani thought that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting, too. So, for Aloha Friday, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Answer my question and put one of your own up on your blog. Link up and check out other blogs that participate at An Island Life.


Have any of your children ever had croup?


If you don't know what croup is your lucky. It is a viral infection that enflames the throat and causes a dry, barking seal type cough. The bark occurs because the swelling in the throat is causing the airway to constrict. Croup mostly happens to children under age five, the younger the child the worse it usually is. My two older boys never had it. My niece had it all the time but I never really "got" what my brother and SIL were talking about until my littlest guy, Emilio, caught the croup when he was just four months old. It is one scary sickness when you picture your babies having a hard time breathing, gasping for air. Ever since that time he has routinely had problems with it. Now that he is two the bark came back again last night. I spent a few hours hanging out in the ER with him so that he could get some steroid medication to reduce the swelling in his throat. Ugh, I'm glad he's doing better but I loathe going to the ER. Thankfully this time it wasn't a four hour wait just to be seen, instead our total visit was only about four hours.



Kimberly
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Another VTech V.Reader Giveaway! Ends FRIDAY!!

11:40 PM Posted by Kimberly@PrettyPinkMomma





My boys have really been enjoying their VTech V.Reader, Benji especially. (If you missed my first post about the V.Reader you can check it out here) He is five and just really getting into this whole reading thing. Being that my boys are so competitive its not a secret that Benji really wants to know how to read because he is feeling left out of something that his big brother can do. One reason that the V.Reader is seeing so much use is that it lets Benji feel like he has cracked the reading code. Obviously he knows that he's not reading like his brother does but it really helps boost his confidence and I love to see him so excited to be a part of it.

One thing that really excites me about the V.Reader is the story mode. Benji has a speech delay and it is a huge worry for me that he will have trouble learning to read because he sounds out words differently than he should. When you sound words out incorrectly it can lead to trouble not only with reading but spelling as well. In story mode he can look at the words and hear them being read to him at the same time. I also love that in game mode he can learn to spell some of the key words used in the story too.

I went upstairs to check on the boys after I sent them to bed and snapped this cute photo of Benji, sneaking in some extra time with his V.Reader.




How Do You Encourage You Kids To Read?


VTech is asking parents to encourage their children to read as much as they can this summer by taking the VTech Summer Reading Pledge. VTech will be giving away a Vtech V.Reader to the first 100 moms or dads to sign up for the pledge!


What We Do To Encourage Reading at Our House


  • We have a calendar that we mark off each day that the kids spend time reading. If they have read every day for the entire month they are rewarded with a family trip to Chuck E. Cheese.
  • Oscar is really motivated by chapter books, because it sounds cooler, so we like to make fun paper bookmarks for him to mark the pages where he leaves off.
  • Oscar reads to his little brothers to be a good role model for them. The younger ones want to do whatever the older one is doing so that in itself is a great motivator.
  • When driving around I like to point out signs for Oscar to read or ask Benji to recognize letters that are in his name.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_bkWjQMcGa4A/TDwsmn_kT0I/AAAAAAAACNk/CNQ9WZkbH3M/s1600/VTech+Voices.png


If you missed out on last weeks VTech V.Reader giveaway you are in luck! One lucky Pretty Pink Momma reader will have a shot at winning one this week too! This is a very short giveaway so you gotta be in it to win it!


One lucky Pretty Pink Momma reader will win their choice of a pink or blue VTech V.Reader and one surprise animated story cartridge! ARV $80



How To Enter: Comment on this post and tell me one of your tips that you use to encourage your children to read. Giveaway open to US Only



Congratulations to Mom Caboodle!

As an added bonus I will be selecting what I think are the five best tips and pass them along to the folks at VTech, who are compiling the The Ultimate Tip List For Encouraging Our Kids to Read. One of the contributors to the tip list will be awarded a VTech V.Reader and 3 animated stories! I know that your excited now!



Get Extra Entries! Remember to leave a comment for each extra entry

  • Get TWO Extra Entries for each new reading tip
  • Get TEN Extra Entries for blogging about your tips to encourage your kids to read and link back to this post, The Motherhood VTech circle and V.Reader. Leave a link to your post in the first of ten comments.
  • Get FIVE Extra Entries for adding the VTech V.Reader circle to your favorites on The Motherhood
  • Get FIVE Extra Entries for joining the VTech Club, leave five comments
  • Get THREE Extra entries for becoming a Facebook Fan of Pretty Pink Momma and the VTech Toys, leave five comments.
  • Get THREE Extra entries for posting on VTech Toys Facebook wall "I entered to win a VTech V.Reader from Pretty Pink Momma - You can too! Enter here http://is.gd/dBP66"
  • Get SIX Extra entries if you Subscribe Via Email to Pretty Pink Momma posts, leave six comments - you must activate your email subscription for these entries to count.
  • Get THREE Extra entries if you Follow PrettyPinkMomma and VTechToys on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway. Leave the tweet url in one of your three comments. Please copy and paste this into your tweet:
#SummerReading tips wanted! #Win a @VTechToys #V.Reader from @PrettyPinkMomma #Giveaway ends 7/23 http://is.gd/dBP66
  • Get ONE extra entry per tweet, *no more than one tweet per hour* - leave the tweet url in your comment for each extra tweet
  • Get TWO extra entries for retweeting my tweets about this giveaway - leave the tweet url in your comment for each extra retweet
  • Get FIVE Extra entries if you Stumble this post, leave five comments


Good Luck to all that enter! This giveaway is open until Friday July 23rd, 11:59 PM PST. One winner will be chosen using the Truly Random Number Generator widget located in the footer. The winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize or a new winner will be chosen.




Kimberly
*I share my 100% honest thoughts and opinions in all posts. I am a member of the VTech Voices Community and wrote this post as part of a blog campaign hosted by The Motherhood and sponsored by VTech. For my time and participation in I was provided a stipend as well as a VTech V.Reader and related products. Please refer to my disclosure policy or email me if you have any questions.*
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