lakechamplainchocolates

Easter Candy Alternatives for Kids

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Easter is a wonderful time a year. The weather is finally starting to warm up, birds are starting to chirp. You get to enjoy a nice big meal and see family and friends. It also gives a major opportunity for people to give your kids tons of candy. Between the Easter Egg hunts, Easter baskets, and chocolate bunnies we usually end the day with a bag full of candy (only half of it ends up being stuff we’ll eat) and a handful of cheesy dollar store do dads. A month later the candy bag is barely touched and the dollar store items are slowly dwindling down. Unfortunately, these little plastic items (probably filled with toxins) are always the things my three year old tries hardest to hold onto.. and when one goes missing.. he knows!

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Instead of pilling up your grandkids, great-grandkids, nieces, nephews, etc. with junk, there are a few alternatives that are actually useful AND will be greatly appreciated by parents! These are the candy alternatives that I suggested for my little guy over that chocolate bunny:

- iTunes gift cards: You can easily get $5 or $10 gift cards, giving kids the opportunity to purchase that app they’ve had on their wish list. flashcard Collage
Crayons, coloring books, number or letter workbooks: These are perfect for my three year old or younger school age children.
- Flash cards: There are so many varieties.. letters, words, pictures.
- Sand toys: With summer right around the corner, most of last year’s shovels & pails are broken. This gets you beach ready OR sandbox ready.
- Bubbles: Who doesn’t love bubbles?
- Summer clothes: Most stores offer discounts and will even email you the coupon for easy access from your smart phone! Places like Carters and Children’s Place have pretty significant sales happening too. books Collage
- Money: Take the money you’d spend on candy and give them the cash.. even if its only a couple bucks.
- A toothbrush and toothpaste: Believe it or not my grandmother is known for giving toothbrushes at Easter and the kids love it.
- Books: This is a great way to add to your children’s library and possibly pick up a new favorite (I’m pretty much over The Giving Tree & Green Eggs and Ham).

Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying absolutely NO candy at all. However, if you are planning on candy, don’t go overboard and make sure it’s a candy they will actually eat!

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What are some candy alternatives you give for Easter? 


Jublog

My Response to Mike Francesa on Paternity Leave

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It’s no secret times have changed when it comes to family dynamics. Years ago fathers sat in a room waiting for the arrival of their baby… and found out not only WHEN the baby arrived, but also if it was a boy or girl. Not only are men allowed in the delivery room but they’re now offered (in some industries) a paternity leave.

Now … I get it.. paternity leave is a rather “new” concept to many people (mainly those who either A. do not have children or B. raised a family in the olden days). But as paternity leave becomes more mainstream and adopted, more individuals are weighing in on their thoughts… especially when it comes to professional athletes. I couldn’t help but Laugh Out Loud at the latest rant I heard from Boomer Esiason- and specifically Mike Francesa regarding Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy taking three days paternity leave.

I’ve never been a fan of Mike Francesa from the start. His arrogance and holier-than-thou attitude taints his remarkable knowledge about sports and statistics. I’ve always chalked it up to him being an EXTREMELY insecure person… if you have to hang up on a caller of your radio show because your brain can’t intellectually hold a dispute, you need to re-evaluate yourself. But no stress off my back, I simply tune OUT of anything he’s on .. the greatest thing about sports commentators is there is ALWAYS another option.

Mike’s daddy issues are ever so prevalent when you listen to his actual rant about Daniel Murphy. Mike goes into his own experience and solidifies why he won’t be in the running anytime soon for a father or husband of the year. He not only has complete disregard for moms who had just given birth by asking what the dad is going to do at the hospital, but blatantly states “what is he [Daniel Murphy] gonna do for three days” referring to after being discharged from the hospital.

Jublog

Well Mr. Francesa, let me explain to you in simple terms why you will never be able to hold a candle to my husband’s ass.

Besides the fact that its the beginning of the baseball season (you’re not in game 7 of the world series) I’m sure that Murphy is taking the time to BOND with his newborn and I don’t know just possibly SUPPORT his wife and change a diaper or two. Believe it or not many dads are actually EXCITED (and anxious) about being a dad and bringing a little person into the world. Perhaps its also the fact that his wife may have just endured hours of pain and her body is now healing from not only the beating over the past 9 months, but the lovely journey of having a human being escape from her vagina. A c-section just means instead of her vagina being stretched, she had to undergo a SURGERY, had a catheter, and will worry for the next several weeks about anything rubbing against her incision. Either way I’m sure Murphy was purely thinking about being there for the woman who bore his child.

To answer your question regarding “what he will do” in more detail here are a few things I can think of off the top of my head:

- change diapers
- take a NAP
- hold baby
- rock baby
- stare at baby in amazement that you created that little being

The saddest part about Mike Francesa’s comments is the disregard he has for fatherhood. In a society where Stay At Home Dads and dads getting primary custody of their children are becoming more of the “norm”, Mike is the epitome of the statement that anyone can be a father, NOT everyone can be a daddy. My husband became a daddy from the day I found out I was pregnant. He endured all of the kicks when my sons were in my belly, held my hand and counted out EVERY SINGLE contraction through both labors, and looked at me in amazement and awe after I gave birth. But it didn’t stop there. He was with me a few days after my oldest was born.. changing diapers, doing laundry, and making sure I was okay. I watched his face as he reluctantly left for work leaving his newborn and wife at home in the morning. I watched the same face light up in the evenings as he ran through the door towards the sink so he can wash up and hold his newborn son.

Do professional athletes make a lot of money? YES. Do they have a commitment to a team? YES. Is that a bigger commitment than that to their spouses and children? NO.

Where does Mike Francesa rank on your Dad of the Year O-Meter? 


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Don’t Stress Shipping With Shop Your Way MAX

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This is a sponsored post. I am a Shop Your Way blogger and all opinions are my own.

Online shopping has quickly replaced the tedious act of packing in the car and shuffling through the store for that must needed item. Being able to pop on our computer, go to a website, and surf around is not only easy, but we can do it in our sweats while enjoying our morning coffee.

My biggest challenge with shopping online is procrastination. I tend to wait until its almost too late before purchasing my items. PLUS I’m always faced to battle the shipping game- do I want to spend the extra money (paying through the roof) for faster shipping or chance that my items may not arrive within the standard shipping time frames. My shipping worries and procrastination challenges have FINALLY been resolved with the Shop Your Way Max!

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Shop Your Way MAX is part of the Shop Your Way program, allowing you to tap into big benefits right from your phone! Here is some info on the Shop Your Way Max:

There are millions of reasons to love Max.

Max opens doors and carries your bags. He brings gifts (delivered in two-days or less!). Max is the real deal. And at just $39/year, he’s a steal. The other guy is just past his PRIME.

Shop Your Way MAX, offers free two-day shipping on Sears and Kmart merchandise for just $39/year. Shop Your Way MAX is available to members of Shop Your Way, a free online social shopping program that offers perks and points whenever you shop at Sears or Kmart. Click here to join Shop Your Way now and start saving.

At just $39/year, Shop Your Way MAX is PRIME for the taking. Members get free two-day shipping on tons of items, from tools and clothing to footwear and more. Yes, there are millions of reasons to love Max, but 39 will do.

It’s PRIME TIME to become a member of Shop Your Way MAX – it’s free for 90 days! Sign up and activate free two-day shipping for just $39/year.

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I’ve already signed up for the 90 days and I will definitely be continuing my membership! All of my Kmart and most of my Sears purchases are made online anyway, with this new program I never have to worry about high shipping costs and my items taking what seems like forever to arrive! For less than $3 a month I can stay home and shop. Did you ever place an order and then remember you needed some additional items? Not to worry! With Shop Your Way MAX you can place another order and STILL have free two day shipping. My online shopping experience will never be the same!

 


PicMonkey Collage

Halo Mandarin Oranges- The Perfect Snack

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My three year old’s day pretty much revolves around food and toys. He spends most of the day trying to negotiate a peanut butter and jelly (or fluff) sandwhich for any meal of the day. Now that he is gaining independence, snacks are an even more important part of the day for him. Quick snacks he can easily grab make him feel like such a big boy. As we’re preparing his lunch for school and looking for things to eat at home, its vital he has something healthy too.

While the sugary snacks in the store are convenient, I don’t want my toddler to constantly be reaching for the junk food. Luckily, introducing fruits and veggies into my son’s diet since he was a baby, has really programmed him to naturally go with the healthy option. As an alternative to sugary snacks and cakes, I offered apples or oranges.

vegetables-and-fruits-farmers-market

When packing his lunch for nursery school I always try to give a variety and include him in making the selections. I try to include the following:

  • Protein: left over chicken or rolled up turkey meat
  • Vegetable (usually from dinner the night before) cooked broccoli or carrots
  • Fruit snack: apple, banana, grapes or oranges
  • Fun snack: yogurt, on the go applesauce, goldfish or string cheese
  • Dessert: Graham crackers or chocolate chip cookie

PicMonkey Collage We have many times when he goes on “kicks” of just wanting the same thing everyday… and most of the time it’s a fruit. Recently we received a case of the Halo mandarin oranges, which initiated our latest kick. He absolutely loves how the Halos are small and easy for him to peel by himself. I keep a bowl filled with Halos on the counter that he can easily reach with his stool. Whenever he wants his snack all he has to do is grab a Halo and peel it without having to wait on Mommy or Daddy.

 

Some info specifically about Halos:

Bursting with “Pure Goodness,” Halos California mandarins are sweet, seedless, and super easy to peel. They’re all natural, non-GMO (non-genetically modified organism), and just the right size for kids’ hands. For snacking, kids’ lunch boxes, and families on the go, Halos are nature’s perfect treat.

halos-logoNot sure where to find Halos? Check out what stores near you are stocked with Halos here.

Its amazing (and bittersweet) to watch my “baby” develop into such a big boy… with something as simple as grabbing his own snack. The fact that he’s opting for a nutritious snack is even better!

Follow Halos on Twitter and Visit them on Facebook!

What are the “go to” snacks for your little ones?


Pizz Kitchen

Toddlers Love To Cook, The Chef Is In

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Pizz KitchenToddlers love to help mom or dad cook. If you think about it from their eyes, they see you dropping all kinds of stuff in bowls, mixing it together, and pouring it somewhere else. If you’re using any kind of powder substance like flour or sugar, it probably reminds them of sand. Cracking an egg and seeing the goo drop must be exciting.

To some, cooking is a chore but to a toddler it’s one of the greatest games ever! Plus, what toddler doesn’t want to be like mommy and daddy. They see you doing this ritual everyday and they want a part of it.

Our prince is all boy, he loves cars, trains, animals, dirt, and loves to jump and flip. We decided with his love for cooking, we should look at the play kitchens. It seemed like most of the choices were very girlie and pink. Then we found the Little Tikes Brick Oven Pizza Kitchen. This kitchen was perfect. Not only was it not frilly but we’re Italian and happen to get pizza at least once a week so this boy knows a pizza.

Pizza Oven Kitchen

We gave it to him and he’s been making us pizza, coffee, and all kinds of concoctions. I love hearing the pouring sounds he makes when pouring ingredients into the pans or bowls. This kitchen comes complete with an ice maker in the frig, a microwave, dishwasher, cupboard doors, and more. The pizza oven really glows and the grill makes fun cooking sounds. There’s plenty of storage to keep things neat and tidy, although we bought more play food so we needed to add a basket.

Pizza Oven Kitchen2

This makes the perfect gift for any toddler!

What play pieces do your kids/grandchildren have?