Tuesday, February 24, 2015

3.21 T-Shirt Fundraiser and Pavo Wrap Drawing!

In case you haven't heard of it already, 3.21 Carry is an awesome charitable organization (run by a friend!) that provides baby carriers for families with babies or kids with Down syndrome. As mentioned in my blog post on babywearing and Down syndrome, not all carriers work for babies with DS, and sometimes affording carriers that do can be a big strain on the finances of families already struggling to pay medical bills and other expenses. Not all families with kids with DS are in that category, but for the ones who are, the help of 3.21 Carry can be a godsend and I totally support the work they do!

And they are currently doing a great fundraiser  http://www.booster.com/321carry right now, selling these cool t-shirts for $20:



Plus, besides getting a t-shirt, which should arrive in time to wear it for World Down Syndrome Day on March 21st, everyone who purchases a shirt also receives an entry into a drawing to receive a free Pavo wrap!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Happy New Year!

I've been enjoying the holidays and thinking about my plans for Crunchy Con Mom. I'm definitely going to keep blogging, but I'm going to make a few changes. 

I hope to bring in 2015:

More book reviews
More reviews of "crunchy" products
Fewer reviews of anything else
More fun posts
More opinion posts

I hope it will be a great year for all of you and your families!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Spectrum Workbooks from Carson Dellosa Review

I got to check out the new Spectrum workbooks from Carson-Dellosa and can't wait to share what we thought of them!

What they are
A new line of workbooks currently covering math, language arts, and science for grades K-5

Who made them
Carson-Dellosa, one of the leading companies for workbooks and educational supplies (I'm a huge fan of their bulletin board materials!)

Our experience
My son loves new workbooks, and these definitely kept his attention. We got to try 5 of their workbooks, so we chose a variety of kindergarten level books. So far he seems interested in all of them, and like they're all really helping him learn!

The Spectrum Kindergarten Sight Words seems like a great way to introduce and work on sight words. I love that there are workbook pages with a variety of activities but also flash cards and word lines to cut out so we can work on learning sight words in many different ways. 



I really love this phonics book. I think my son is going to really make great progress by working through this book towards being able to read and write anything he wants! I am impressed with the wide variety of activities in it.


I was a little skeptical intitially-how can kids who can't spell yet do a spelling workbook?!? But this book has tons of totally age appropriate activities to encourage learning to spell.


My son is so excited to learn to read and this book has so many great tools in it to help him reach that goal. The focus seems primarily on understanding what you see or read, sequencing, etc, so it pairs really well with the other language arts books. 


I really love this math workbook. My son is very mathematically oriented and loves the variety of exercises in this book. I can tell he's going to learn a lot and enjoy doing it while using this book. It covers counting, addition, and even simple subtraction. I do with they had a bit more explanation on the page with a number grid since that's "new math" since I was in kindergarten and I think many parents are not confident in navigating the new math. It wasn't hard to figure out in the K book, but in higher grade levels I think some explanation for parents might be very appreciated!

Pros:
Variety
Tons of content
Reasonable prices

Cons
No science for K

The bottom line
Definitely worth having for any family who homeschools, supplements school or preschool with workbooks, or uses workbooks over the summer!

Get it
You can buy Carson-Dellosa Spectrum workbooks directly from Carson-Dellosa, on Amazon, or at many other great online and brick & mortar stores!

I received 5 free workbooks for review purposes. I received no other compensation for this post.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bummis Dimple Diaper & Whisper Cover Review!

I recently got to try the new Bummis dimple diaper and I can't wait to tell you all about it!

What it is
An awesome new fitted diaper (with insert) from Bummis plus one of their classic covers combined to make a perfect nighttime diapering solution!

Who makes it
Bummis, a leader in the cloth diaper industry, specializing in high quality, made-in-America diapers using US sourced materials whenever possible.

Our experience
We got to try one of the Bummis dimple diapers and a whisper cover in "big city" print. Overall I would say that we love this diaper, and I've been recommending it to lots of people as a nighttime solution because it works so well for us. Once it had been washed enough times to reach full absorbency, the dimple diaper was absorbent enough to handle nighttimes and long car rides without making my son fussy. The whisper wrap pairs with it pretty well, but if you're new to fitteds & covers, make sure that it's tucked in everywhere around all the edges. We had one leak with this diaper, and it was a time it didn't check to make sure it was well tucked in around his thigh. 
The dimple diaper, booster and whisper cover feel very sturdy yet soft-it's obvious they're made of high quality materials. The snaps on the diaper and the hook & loop on the cover both open and close easily for me but stick well enough to deter my toddler from attempting any diaper changes on his own. We liked that the fitted diaper is made of natural fibers, but did find for overnight that the polyester stay dry side of the insert seemed to be more comfortable for him. We have tried it without the insert, with the insert on the cotton side, and with the insert on the stay dry side and all seem to work well. 

Pros
  • Absorbent
  • Comfortable for baby
  • Natural fibers
  • Flexibility

Cons
Price


The bottom line
A fantastic solution for nighttime, road trips, and general use, especially for heavy wetters!

Get it
You can buy the Bummis dimple diaper and whisper wrap directly from Bummis, from many cloth diaper stores across the country and online, and from Amazon

I received a free Bummis diaper as part of their tester program but received no compensation for this blog post.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Super Easy Italian Breadsticks Kitchen Hack!!!

A long time ago I tried the almost famous breadsticks recipe but wasn't a big fan, because I'm not good at shaping my breadsticks evenly. Luckily my husband liked the way they tasted so much he encouraged me to make them again, and even more luckily, I remembered a technique a fast food place I used to work made their breadsticks and figured out how to modify it to work in my own kitchen! So anyway, this is the easiest way to to make evenly shaped breadsticks ever, and they taste as good as they look!


What you need
Lasagna pan-mine is 11x14 and I recommend getting one that does not have a nonstick coating, like this one:
 

Oil
Pizza cutter and/or butter knife
Cloth napkin or placemat

What you do
Make and knead your bread dough according to the recipe
Oil bottom of lasagna pan
Spread dough evenly along bottom of pan

Put a little oil on your pizza cutter and/or knife
Use pizza cutter and/or bread knife to cut dough into even strips

Cover lasagna pan with cloth napkin or cloth placemat to prevent drying while rising
Allow breadsticks to rise
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes as specified in recipe
Rub a stick of cold butter across the tops of the breadsticks then sprinkle with garlic salt and Italian seasonings, or with cinnamon sugar

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lottie doll review

What it is
Lottie dolls are 7.5" tall dolls designed to look like adventurous 9 year old girls (and her proportions are based on those of real 9 year olds!). Lottie dolls come in a variety of skin and hair tones and fun themes including pirate, equestrian, ballerina, naturalist, and more!


Who makes it
Lottie dolls are made by Arklu, a British toy company established in 2011. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter. 

Our thoughts
I got to check out the Spring Celebration Ballet Lottie and the raspberry ripple outfit and was very impressed by both. Her clothes are well made and she is a perfect size to be carried around by a preschooler or elementary school student. I love that her clothes are stylish and cheerful and fun but not "sexy" like so many popular dolls these days. They were also fairly easy to get on and off. Her tights in particular were much easier to get on and off than I remember Barbie tights being to get on and off (probably the lack of curves helps!) And I think the prices are pretty reasonable--about $20 for the dolls or pony and about $10 for the accessory/outfit sets.The only problem I had with our Lottie doll was that you can't really do her hair. While it is soft and shiny, it can't really be styled. When I braided her hair, her scalp became exposed near her bangs: 

When I tried pigtails, it was even worse, this time on the back of her head:

But a low ponytail did work okay: 




The only other thing I'd change would be to make it possible to buy some of the outfit sets that come with Lottie dolls. For example, I would've wanted the ballerina doll with dark hair and blue eyes like me, but I also would've wanted the pirate outfit. Actually it would be really fun to buy a bunch of Lottie dolls and a bunch of pirate outfits and then have a whole pirate crew!
Here are a few of the other Lottie dolls I love: 
And Snow Queen Lottie, which I predict will be one of the hottest toys for Christmas 2014 due partially to the popularity of another ice princess who recently graced the silver screens...


Pros
Cute
Age-appropriate
Knees bend
Well-made clothes
Reasonably priced
Soft shiny hair

Cons
Can't do hair
Can't order all outfits

The bottom line
A wonderful little doll that parents, grandparents and others can feel good about gifting girls this holiday season. 

Get it
You can buy Lottie dolls for $19.95 and the raspberry ripple outfit for $9.95 at time of posting this review. 

I received a free doll and outfit for review purposes but received no other compensation for this post. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkin Time children's book review

What it is
Pumpkin Time is a book for kids about a girl who ignores distractions all summer and fall to achieve her goal of growing and harvesting pumpkins. 

Who wrote it
Erzsi Deak

Our experience
My sons seemed to really like the story and illustrations, and especially all the silly things all the other animals were doing. I really liked how it encouraged holiday tradition and shared info about the pumpkin life cycle. The only thing that I didn't love was that on each page, rather than saying what she was doing, it asks "What was {name} doing?" but my preschooler wasn't always able to explain without help what she was doing. It might have been nice to have an explanation on the next page, or have an explanatory page at the back that identifies what she was doing on each page and why that task is necessary for a farmer.

Pros
  • Whimsical
  • Lots of info on pumpkin life cycle

Cons
  • Wasn't always clear to preschooler what she was doing

The bottom line
A cute fall book that's definitely worth getting if you're looking for seasonal reads for toddlers and preschoolers!

Get it
 

You can order Pumpkin Time on Amazon for $11.63 at time of posting this review.

I received a free copy of this book for review purposes but received no other compensation for this post.