Sunday, March 13, 2016

Tot School Nursery Rhymes & Fingerplays for March & April

For the last 4-5 months Gianna (2) and I have been working on little songs each month to learn. Sometimes they are picked due to the season, sometimes she'll hear a song that she wants to learn and sometimes like this month I choose what song we are going to work on. So far we have learned the following songs (links to lyrics are in the brackets):
Spring Mini Bulletin Board Set
November/December: Frosty the Snowman
January: the "Joy Joy" song (I've got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart!) (click here)
February: ABCDEFG Jesus Died for You and Me! (click here)
March & April: Various Fingerplays and Rhymes.

One of the things I like to do especially with songs that aren't as familiar to me or maybe I don't remember the words 100% from my own childhood is post little posters on the wall so I can see the words at a glance. Carson Dellosa sent me one of the Mini Bulletin Set and I made up a cute display that I can look at it during our lunches & snacks which is when Gianna and I sit and visit while we eat. 

In the "display" above I posted our Spring Bucket List using Blank Header so we could refer to a list of activities for Gianna (and Connor/Madison) when they are bored (or driving me nuts) and need to find something fun to do. I also used 4 of the Small Signs to write out 4 finger plays we are learning and several of the little accent pictures with nursery rhymes. It makes it MUCH easier if we can just refer to a card as we are learning these rhymes & songs and Gianna uses the pictures on each card to find a song or rhyme she wants to work on.

I also needed a calendar display near the front door to refer to for playdates, craft shows for my Therapy Pack business as well as a place to put artwork and pictures of the kids. All of the pieces (the watering can, raindrops, umbrellas, flower pot accent piece and flower accent come from the same set and I still have more pieces although not a lot of them to use for other things. I'm thinking about making up a weather display and may use an umbrella and a raindrop for the rainy weather picture and we'll talk about rainy days as well as Sunny Days and appropriate clothes and gear we might need on those days.

I really liked the Spring Mini Bulletin Board Set - it's very versatile and while I am using it for tot school I think you could use it to create a game using the Blank Header for Counting and Alphabet review, use the raindrops and umbrellas for calendar time or perhaps to make up a folder game to review math or phonics problems and so much more. It's only $6.99 too!

The Fingerplays and Nursery Rhymes used in the top display are:

1) 5 Little Green & Speckled Frogs
2) This is my Garden
     I'll plant it with care.
     Here are the seeds
     I'll plant in there.
     The Sun Will Shine,
     The Rain will fall
     The Seeds will sprout
     and grow up tall! 
3) Mary Mary Quite Contrary
4) Jack N Jill (she LOVES this one)
5) Here are the Bees Hives (and this one)
    Where are the Bees?
    Hidden away where no one sees (make a fist)
    Soon they'll come creeping 
    Out of the hives
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Bzzzz
    (hold fingers up as you count and then go Bzzzz!)
6) Here is a bunny (hold up 2 fingers)
    With ears so funny
    And here's a hole in the ground. (make a hole with your other hand)
    At the first sound she hears
    She pricks up her ears  (stand fingers up tall)
    And pops right into the ground. (pop fingers into the hole)

Disclaimer: I received a package of the Spring Mini Bulletin Board Set to review. I was not required to have a positive review only to share my honest opinion. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Calphalon Classic 12" Non-Stick Everyday Pan ~ Incredible Baked Meatballs

My girls check out the new Calphalon Classic Skillet.... 

How many of you slog through each day dealing with a "non" stick skillet that sticks? I have had my current skillet for over 10 years and absolutely LOVED it until it decided to start sticking. It's a Circulon 12" skillet that I picked up at the outlets in Colorado right after I got laid off. I had gotten a sizeable package from a company I had worked at for several years and treated myself to a vacation and came across this wonderful skillet that was clearanced for $25. I have been a Circulon fan ever since!

Then I started having issues and I'll be honest I've been to lazy to take it to the post office and mail it back to Circulon to see if they can do anything with it. It has a lifetime warranty so really I should just bite the bullet and take the time to do something about it.

So, when I was offered the opportunity to try a Calphalon Classic Nonstick 12" Everyday Pan I said "Heck YES!" I definitely would love to give you my honest opinion on your pan!

I can honestly say that I did (and am) thoroughly enjoying my new skillet. It's big enough to cook 3-4 smallish hamburgers, a 1/2 recipe of delicious Italian meatballs (recipe below), 6 scrambled eggs and I'm sure quite a bit more. We don't cook a lot of fancy foods and my fibro doesn't give me the energy (or want to) to make fancy french dishes anymore (Chicken with 30 cloves of garlic being one of my faves!)....

1) I love the roominess of this pan. It's deep enough to make a nice "stir fry" or pasta dish without worrying about going over the edge (unless my 8 year old gets too into his cooking).
2) I LOVE how easy it is to wipe clean. So far I haven't had any issues with sticking or burning. Granted I've only made a few items with it so far - I do have several recipes in my "too make" file though. This one will likely be coming soon.)
3) It can be used in the oven up to 450 - I like the handles. You do need to use hotpads with the handles obviously but I really like how the weight seems more evenly distributed somehow and not as awkward as my old Circulon pan is. It just seems much easier to carry when it's full of food and needs to be pushed into the oven.

1) The lid doesn't have a steam release so if you need to release steam you will need to cock the lid a bit. The lid also doesn't fit down into a groove & can be nudged or knocked off the rim of the pan easily especially when moving it to the oven.
2) The handles do get hot but I use hot pads regularly so it really doesn't bother me all that much. It's just common sense to use pads anyway.

One of our families favorite meals is Meatballs. It seems like whatever I make whether it's actually meatballs or chopped hamburger in a casserole everyone calls them meatballs especially 2 year old Gianna. Sorry, I don't seem to have any pictures on FB or my phone. Meatballs are meatballs though.

Incredible Italian Meatballs
1# hamburger (could also use hamburger/pork mixture)
2 eggs, beaten with 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup breadcrumbs (I use the Italian seasoned one - hence the Italian in the name)
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced

I use the following ingredients to change it up some & directions:
1) breadcrumbs - I use the Italian seasoned bread crumbs
2) onion - I use the frozen chopped ones or the 'Mirepoix' blend from Baker's. I like this way to add extra veggies. =D
3) I mix it all together and fry them up in the skillet. I don't really cook them all the way through just brown them nicely.
4) Pour a can of Contadina Pizza Sauce in a 8x8 baking pan or if cooking all the meatballs use a 9x13 baking pan and use a large (about 16oz?) can of Pizza sauce or use a whole jar of Spaghetti Sauce (I use the HyVee Chunky Garden Spaghetti Sauce for even MORE veggies in my kids).
5) Make golf-ball sized meatballs (or larger if you want)
6) Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve with extra sauce and breadsticks or garlic bread. YUM!

You can find the Calphalon Classic Everyday Pan in stores like JcPenny, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Williams-Sonoma. Online you can find it for $39.99 here.

I'd love to hear which pan is your favorite - just share it in the comment section below.

Disclaimer: I received this pan for free in exchange for my honest opinion. I really enjoyed using this pan and though perhaps my readers would as well.

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Teacher Aids by Carson Dellosa: Interactive Notebooks Science

Interactive Notebooks: Science Resource Book
When you were a child did you learn better with rote memory work - or hands on interactive learning? I've always been a visual learn myself and would of loved working on Interactive Notebooks in Science & Natural History classes especially. I've always enjoyed books that incorporate flaps, wheels, charts, and other hands on methods for learning. The opportunity to "make it myself" would of been a huge plus too!

Today I wanted to share another book from the Interactive Notebooks series from Carson Dellosa. I've used their books for years both as a nanny and a daycare provider & I like how complete their books are and yet I can still tweak many of the activities to meet a variety of ages.

by Carson Dellosa Publishing
ISBN: 9781483831206
$9.99 (paperback) (ebook)

Details (from the website):
1) Kids learn about 5 senses, plants, animals, physical properties, motion, day & night & more!
2) Notebooks are personalized to fit kids' learning needs by creating fun, colorful pages for each top. Kids learn organization, color coding, summarizing & other skills.
3) Kids will refer back to and "read" their books over and over again which encourages review and constant learning.
4) Each book focuses on grade-specific math, language arts or science. Books are for grades K-8.
5) Each book is aligned to Common Core & meet current state standards. 
6) Each book contains 96 pages of lesson plans, printables and more.

My thoughts:
I recently received the Interactive Notebooks Science book for Kindergartners and have had fun looking through it. I don't know about you but I am SOOOO ready for Spring to be here and to be honest I'm ready to jump the gun a bit and drag out my plants, seeds, pots and soil and have some fun with the little kids. How about you?

The Interactive Notebooks Science book is a 96 page teacher's guide that includes printables, how to's, covers Life Science, Physical Science & Earth and Space Science and I think with 2 year old Gianna instead of doing a whole notebook we would take it in small chunks and use the printables & ideas for learning about the 5 Senses, Plants, Animal Habitats and maybe Space. I'd take an activity for the Stars & Animals and make it tie into some of her favorite songs like Old MacDonald & Twinkle Twinke Little Star as well as He Has the Whole World In His Hands. She could easily do one page activities during her Tot School Time.

You can purchase this book on Carson Dellosa's website here or you can also find it on Amazon here for the same price. If you purchase it on Amazon I receive a small commission which helps me provide fun Tot School Activities & toys for Gianna & it's greatly appreciated!

I have reviewed other Carson Dellosa items. Click the image below to read those reviews as well:

Interactive Notebooks: Language Arts Resource BookCommon Core Assessment Record Book

Disclaimer: I received this book from Carson Dellosa in exchange for my honest review. No money exchanged hands and I was not required to have a positive review. Thanks for reading GivingNSharing!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pet Grooming Tools ~ e-cloth Review & Giveaway

e-cloth Product Review:
My Lily has a medium length coat and I think one of the things I hate the most about having an indoor pet is the hair. Its all over! I try to keep it cleaned up but it seems like its on everything. Recently I was at Hancock Fabrics and they have a display of products from a company called e-cloth which creates cleaning products for your home, car & electronics. Anyway they have a couple items that can be used for a dog or cat - long or short haired. I wasn't to sure how Lily would like it but when e-cloth offered a set to try on Lily I said "Sure!"

I received two items that you wear on your hand like a mitt - each is double sided with a different texture on each side. Lily always starts out by acting like she doesnt want to be brushed but by the time Ive brushed her all over and then flipped the mitt over to the softest side she is practically purring!

The Grooming Mitt is a grey set and has a very stiff fabric on one side to remove dirt, dust and all that loose fur that our Furbabies leave all over the house. Flip it over and you finish the grooming session with a soothing massage. The brown set is the Cleaning Mitt and it has a slightly different purpose. Its great for removing mud & dried dirt from your pets coat. If your dog loves to roll in the mud he will love this set and so will you! Each of the mitts has a lighter & darker side - you start with the lighter side to clean and end with the darker side for a soothing massage.Your pet will love it - my Lily did!

Pros: Easy to use. With the dual sided mitts I felt like I got more than one tool to use on Lily for one low price. Lily's interest was positive she didn't fight me when I used the rough sides on her even when I used it on her tail or belly and by the end of the session she is usually very relaxed and quite content. Both mitts can be used on wet or dry fur & are guaranteed for 300 washes. That's a LOT of washes!

Cons: I have smaller hands and I personally would of liked a softer more fitted mitt to put my hand into. The interior is a bit rough and feels like a burlap to me. With my fibro my hands are very sensitive to textures and it just seemed rough to me. Its an easy fix for me tho Ill just wear a glove when I use it.The mitt is a bit large and squared off at the top so it doesnt have the greatest fit for smaller hands. For its purpose and the short amount of time its worn to complete this task these are small issues to me.

Learn More: You can learn more about ecloth on their website, facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram and/or YouTube. They have many other wonderful cleaning products that you can use in your home, office, car or with pets.

e-cloth has kindly offered to host a giveaway for my readers - 1 lucky person & their pet will receive one of the Grooming Mitt's and also a Cleaning Mitt. They can be used on both cats and dogs so this giveaway will fit most households (unless you have a hairless cat maybe).

This giveaway will run January 24 - 31, ending at 10 pm. All entrants MUST provide their complete mailing address, phone # & email in the giveaway tools gadget or a new winner will be drawn. This is mandatory. Your information will only be used for the purpose of delivering your prize if you win and not for any other reason.

Disclaimer: I received product in exchange for my honest review of ecloth's pet care line. I like to share products that are family friendly and that I feel will be helpful to my readers. Thanks for reading GivingNSharing.

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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Special VIP giveaway by Schwartz Bioresearch

Find your supplements and health nutrtion needs from Schwartz Bioresearch online and receive a 25% discount when you sign up for their newsletter. Im definitely going to check out their Turmeric Curcumin which I've heard is beneficial for chronic pain conditions.

Enter to WIN a $50 GC to Schwartz Bioresearch's Amazon page by clicking the image below. Contest ends 1/20/16.

$50 Gift Card for Schwartz Bioresearch entired catalog in

Disclaimer: I will receive samples for sharing this giveaway with you. Regardless I only share goods & products that I feel may be helpful for my readers. thank you.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Handmade Giveaway Loop - come join us!

This event is closed & pending on winner's responses....

Hi everyone - I am trying something new and participating with my new Etsy Shop Natural Therapy Packs. I'd love to have you join us and enter. The important thing to remember is that this giveaway takes place on Instagram and starts with my page...

I have partnered up with some awesome shops to give you the opportunity to win some wonderful prizes!  There are 17 shops, and there will be 17 chances to win!  Follow the loop to find the prizes!  To enter you must:

1.Follow me on Instagram -  @natural_therapy_packs
My prize is a Coupon for 15% off a $25 purchase from @natural_therapy_packs

2. Like this post. This is your entry and this is the ONLY post you have to like

3. Finish reading the instructions for who you need to follow next in the comments in the IG post... *** Pls note: this giveaway takes place on IG!!!

    This giveaway will be open until 8:00 pm central on Saturday the 5th!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

WIN 7 Fall Titles from Arbordale Publishing, 12/15, US

Welcome to the
'Tis The Season Giveaway Hop

From December 1-15, 2015, you can hop to each of the bloggers listed on the linky below and enter to win fabulous prizes on each blog. Prizes are worth a minimum of $25 each and if you're lucky enough, you could win them all!

I don't do many giveaways anymore and I'm very excited to be able to offer this AWESOME Prize during the Tis The Season Giveaway Hop! One very lucky winner will receive a FULL set of Arbordale's FALL Titles! That is 7 beautiful paperbacks with a delightful story as well as 4 pages of learning ideas in the back of each book and a full set of Teaching Aids online! You will receive:

Prize: 7 Fall Titles in Paperback from Arbordale Publishing, 
Value $69.65, Ends 12/15, US

Giveaway Rules: Please note - in order to be eligible to receive this prize if your name is drawn you must leave your full shipping address, phone number & email within the gadget on entry number 1. I and Arbordale are the only ones that will see this information and neither of us sell or use this information for anything except the delivery of your prize. If this information is not left in full on entry #1 then a new winner will be chosen. Thank you for understanding.


Be sure to enter as many of these giveaways as you want. There are some good ones & like you I will be playing Musical Blogs for the next couple weeks! Good Luck!!!

Disclaimer: This giveaway has been sponsored by Arbordale Publishing for the Tis The Season Giveaway Hop and they are responsible for the delivery of the prize to the winner. Facebook and Twitter are not responsible and have nothing to do with this event. Thank you for reading and visiting GivingNSharing!

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Monday, November 30, 2015

Purina Beyond White Meat Chicken & Egg Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food #GotItFree

Purina Beyond

Grain-Free White Meat Chicken & Egg Recipe Dry Cat Food

When I choose a dry cat food for daily use I specifically look for hairball control and if it's natural that is a HUGE bonus in my book. When I got Lily about 4 years ago she seemed to have a high sensitivity to her belly being touched and she just seemed uncomfortable and to be honest I really wanted nothing to do with hairballs. 

I've been using Purina Naturals with her and it took care of her belly problem and she doesn't really have any problems with hairballs anymore (& her fur has been so incredibly soft) so I've been fairly happy with it except that Lily seems like she is eating more and yet not eating all of her food. 

So, I began looking for something else for her. A couple weeks ago I received 2 sample packets of Purina Beyond White Meat Chicken & Egg Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food for Lily to try and since I've been wanting to try it with her I snapped it up. Lily LOVES it! She comes running as soon as I open the package, stands on her hind legs and practically pushes me aside (and half the food in the serving cup I use to fill her bowl with) to get at her food. AND she has been emptying her bowl - She LOVES the White Meat Chicken & Egg Recipe! 
Purina Beyond

There are several things I like about the Purina Beyond brand:
1) There are 6 different dry flavors & 12 different wet foods available. Lily seems to like Chicken the best and occasionally beef so I was thrilled that there was a Chicken variety that she LOVES.
2) Check out the ingredients:
3) Best of all - I've NEVER seen her so excited she's on her hind legs begging me for the food! I did not have to mix this new food into her old food nor am I having to throw half of a bag of cat food because she doesn't like it! 

Look for Purina® Beyond in the pet aisle at the Kroger Co. Family of Stores. Three-pound bags are available for a suggested price of $10.99, and five-pound bags start around $18.99. 

Dry Cat Food: Natural ingredients, essential nutrients, and nothing more. Each ingredient is purposely selected and works together to deliver natural nutrition to help your cat live a full, healthy life. Formulas include a white meat chicken & egg and a salmon & whole brown rice recipe.

Wet Cat Food: Purina knows it’s all about understanding exactly what your cat is eating — real, recognizable ingredients, plus essential nutrients. Recipes include chicken, wild rice & spinach and grain-free ocean whitefish & spinach.

Learn more about the Purina Beyond Grain Free Cat Foods, find out about the ingredients in each variety & where your cat's food was made and while you are there you can register to receive a $5 Coupon toward a bag for your cat. 

Disclaimer: I received 2 sample bags of Purina Beyond White Meat Chicken & Egg Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food as well as several coupons for my friends to try it as well. I was not required to have a positive review and only share products I would use in my own household. Thanks for reading GivingNSharing!