November 24, 2014

Non-Toy Gift Ideas for Toddlers or Preschoolers

non-toy gift ideas toddler preschooler #ivysvariety

I've most certainly written about how much stuff we have in our home and wondered if I could live in a tiny house.  I know the answer is no, but for the desire for simplicity and the ease of cleaning, I'm still daydreaming.  My child's playroom is growing more like the playroom I'd hoped for her, but I had never realized how much stress it would cause me in how much time I have to spend cleaning and the need for more organizational items (and the skills to implement a better organizational system).

All this got me thinking...

It's about time to start worrying about Christmas and all the toys we're bound to receive.  The thought made me cringe.  I can hardly bear it.  I've had some difficulty getting rid of the toys my daughter doesn't use and I'm going to have to find room for more?  I need to put a plea out there for fewer toys.  So, here's a list of the non-toy gift ideas I came up with for toddlers and preschoolers.  (hey family: there's a few hints for you if you're reading this)

November 17, 2014

Online Home Preschool Resources - Free and Paid

It's no secret I was working on a home preschool program last year with my daughter.  It was informal and was a way to help me teach her things I felt like she might have been missing out on by not being in daycare.  This year, we've started another round and I wanted to share the resources I'm using.
online preschool education resources

Bear in mind, these are just a selection of resources I use and certainly doesn't begin to account for the many resources out there.  Additionally, I find it useful to use many sources to tailor our program to our needs or moods.  Of course, because this is somewhat an informal way for us to educate ourselves, I find it most beneficial to use as many free online resources as I can find.  This year, I have a very large binder I put together of print outs and the only thing it has cost me was printer paper and ink (not counting the preschool art and craft supplies).  I do use several other paid-for educational resources to boost our program and change up our learning options.  I have provided the paid-for resources at the bottom of the list in the form of affiliate links.  If you click those links and make purchases, I will be paid a small commission, but it will not cost you any more than if you went to the site directly.  I wouldn't recommend those resources if I didn't find them useful.

November 11, 2014

Little Passports Announces Early Explorers Subscription for Preschoolers

**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.
Little Passports Early Explorers Subscription Preschoolers
Little Passports has a wonderful new program for preschoolers, called Early Explorers. Children ages 3 to 5 can experience the joy of learning about new cultures.  I'm especially excited about this addition and hope to get to try this out for my own daughter.  I'm even thinking it would make an excellent Christmas gift.

November 10, 2014

What are Boogie Wipes Good For?

#boogiewipes Boogie Wipes ambassador

If you've stuck around long enough, you know I'm a huge fan of Boogie Wipes.  As a brand ambassador, I spread my love of Boogie Wipes in various ways.  One of my favorite ways is to tell you about them!  Aside from the obvious, Boogie Wipes are more useful than any facial tissue has ever been with a kid.

November 07, 2014

Pros and Cons of Flu Vaccination

Image Pulled From: My Fox Tampa Bay

I've been seeing this story in the news a lot lately.  Have you?  This little 9 year old girl's parents are claiming their daughter became paralyzed 3 days after her flu shot.  After the hospital has run numerous tests, they have found that there is no underlying condition that would explain this, yet they do not accept or deny that the flu vaccination is the cause.

I, personally, never get the flu vaccine as I've known too many people get sick after their shots.  If I'm going to get sick, I'd like it to be from natural causes, not because I let a doctor stick me with something.  But that's me.  After having my daughter, one year I allowed her doctor to convince me her flu vaccine was vital, despite my belief in not taking them.  Shortly after, she became sick with a cold and I was reminded why I don't take them.  Of course, the guilt I experienced for knowing that my decision  to vaccinate her is what made her sick would have been similar to the guilt I would have felt if I hadn't vaccinated her and she'd gotten sick.  Silly mom guilt.

Exclusive Free Educational Pack Download

Occasionally, I alert you to special educational deals and freebies from Educents.  When I was approached by Educents to offer my readers an exclusive Freebie, I couldn't resist.  I have loved their offers and enjoyed the products I've either purchased or received for free when appropriate for my daughter.  Now, I love being able to offer you this exclusive FREE educational download to share as well.

Exclusive Educational Freebie Pack for Ivy's Variety

November 03, 2014

Walt Disney World Really WAS the Most Magical Place on Earth for Our Family

#ivysvariety family disney world vacation it's a small world

It took several months of deciding and then we finally planned a family vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL.  Several months before the vacation, my husband told our daughter that we wouldn't go if she didn't go poop in the potty.  You see, we've been potty training for so long that we thought maybe that was good incentive, since nothing else worked. Well, the first day, she was gung-ho on trying, and then she decided she really didn't need to see Mickey that badly and quit trying again.

Finally, we just had to make the arrangements and hope that she'd do it.  The moment never came and we had to go on our family vacation without any further improvement on doing her business in the toilet.  Bummer.  I was against taking the vacation to see Mickey since he'd said she couldn't if she didn't poop in the potty.  After all, what were we teaching her by going back on our word?  I lost the argument and then we were at Disney anyway.

October 27, 2014

Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation

How to Plan for a Walt Disney World Vacation: 
Tips from the family who did it wrong
(and a Few Things We Did Right)

planning Disney World vacation #ivysvariety

I was relatively excited when my husband decided that this was the year to take our daughter to Disney World.  She was capable of staying awake later without full-on meltdowns (and often fighting bedtime just because).  Given the circumstances, it seemed like a good opportunity to test our luck and plan a vacation at Walt Disney World.

Unfortunately, the magic of planning the vacation quickly dissipated in the actual planning phase.  I couldn't believe how much planning one had to do, just to wait on the actual vacation.  We ran into a few problems too, and I thought I'd share some advice if you're beginning to think about taking a family vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando.

October 21, 2014

Tips for Blogging: Beginners

tips for beginning bloggers #ivysvariety

When I began blogging a couple years ago, I thought I'd just write a few things and give myself a little something to do that didn't completely revolve around my daughter.  I began sharing deals and such that I found, basically to keep it off my personal Facebook news feed because hubby said I was spamming everyone.  Apparently he didn't appreciate sales as much as I did.

Down the line I realized no one was looking at, reading, or commenting on my posts.  Even more so, I started noticing that other bloggers were doing these great reviews and some were even making money from a blog!  Wow ... new territory!  So, I wouldn't say that my blog is successful in a way that I'm earning a paycheck, but I have come a long way since the beginning.  That said, here's a list of things I wish I knew when I started blogging!

October 17, 2014

Purex Crystals Aromatherapy Review and Coupon Giveaway

purexcrystalsaromatherapy.jpg #review

I received Purex Crystals Aromatherapy recently for review as a Purex Insider.  Although I've begun using laundry items with fewer chemicals and those that are unscented, I missed smelling fragrances from laundry straight out of the washer and dryer.  So, I was happy to review the new crystals as a laundry enhancer, for a change in pace on laundry days.  I was even more happy to find that the scents were made using essential oils, which I've found to be quite useful in so many applications in health and around the home.

Purex Aromatherapy Crystals Review and Giveaway kit

Purex Crystals Aromatherapy Review: Well Being Scent

Purex sent me the "Well Being" scented Aromatherapy Crystals.  Quite fitting considering all the health issues surrounding me.  I love the scent of the crystals, but oddly, I can't even begin to explain the fragrance to you.  Here are the names and descriptions of the new Crystals, straight from Purex:
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