Learning With Lauri- PlayMonster Party

We got to host a PlayMonster Learning With Lauri party over the weekend with 9 children ages 1-11 and the kids loved it! I was immediately intrigued with Lauri when I saw their Action Language Cards. My youngest has a speech delay and I’m always looking for new products to help her with her speech.


These cards are awesome! Not only are they great for young children learning new words, they are fun for older kids who can play games using the cards. Lauri also has other cards including Opposites, Go-Togethers, Categories, Nouns, Rhymes, and Manner cards.


The older kids loved the PlayMonster Lauri Action-Stackers – Little Builder Set. The connectors allow the pegs to go sideways or up and down so they can get more creative with their designs. The boys loved building cars!

The younger kids loved playing with the pegs. The Lauri Tall-Stackers – Pegs and Pegboard Set has 25 pegs that you can stack, sort, add, subtract, and build. They also loved sorting the PlayMonster Lauri Shape & Color Sorter.

Other favorites were Create-A-Scene Magnetic Farm and Lauri Crepe Rubber Puzzle. The Magnetic Farm reminds me of paper dolls, but farm animals. The kids had fun putting them on the farm and would be a great travel toy to keep them occupied in the car or at restaurants.

Lauri products began with the creation of Fit-A-Space in 1961 by a retired school
teacher. The product line provides Montessori style, educationally sound
learning activities available at affordable prices. Fans of Lauri are fans for life
and often preschool teachers, grandparents and parents of children with all
abilities, share stories of passing Lauri toys onto the next generation.

You can find Lauri products on Amazon.


Carolina Renaissance Festival 2018!

Time travel to the Carolina Renaissance Festival where history comes alive with non-stop day-long entertainments, arts and crafts, games and rides, jousting knights on horseback, feasting and so much more! Each day inside the 25 acre Village of Fairhaven is filled with an abundance of attractions and entertainments for all ages. Enjoy your best day out in history 8 consecutive weekends, September 30th – November 19th. Details online at

My readers get to save with your visit! FREE Child Admission! – Receive one FREE child admission for children age 5 – 12 with purchase of one full price adult ticket at Festival gate. Children under 5 are always free. Coupon is valid at the Festival ticket booth! @usfg


Art Therapy- Creative Self Care

Over the past month I’ve needed to tap back into my creative side to work through the current energy shift. I heard about art journaling, where you create art to represent your current feelings and I thought I would give it a try. I’m all about creative self care! I bought a mixed media journal and have tried to work on it every day since. Working on layered pages has taught me patience (there’s no instant gratification in art!) and has been perfect to fit in throughout the day instead of trying to sit down an focus on painting a canvas.

I’ve always loved art. When I was in high school my passion was charcoals and pastels. Then in college I painted a lot. After I had E, I got into scrapbooking. But then when she got to the age of using my materials without asking, I stopped buying the good stuff an focused on kid art supplies. So this is the first time in 8 years that I’ve worked with great art supplies- and my how they have changed!

I’ve found several acrylic paints that I am loving- especially a few that come in spray form and markers. I’m also loving PanPastels. I’ve been practicing with layers, stencils, incorporating my poetry and even excerpts from books I’m reading into the piece, and trying new art supplies to see how they work. It has been such a fun experience.

Here are some of my first journal entries:

I’m excited to see how they progress now that I am getting used to the supplies. Have you tried art journaling? What are some of your favorite products?


Organic Kale Medley and Fruit Smoothie

Two of my kids have sensory processing disorder, which means they don’t eat lots of veggies and in my son’s case, fruits. Smoothies are an easy way to get them to eat the nutrients they need and they are super refreshing in the heat!

My base is always Stonyfield Yogurt. My favorite is their Greek since it isn’t as sweet and has a tartness that is yummy! I prefer the fruit Greek to the Vanilla only because I do like the added flavor- but vanilla or plain work great too.

Taylors Farm offers a variety of organic salad mixes, vegetable mixes, veggie trays and more. Their Kale Medley  has kale, carrots, chard, and spinach which makes an excellent green mix to add to your smoothies. You can also freeze your greens and add to a smoothie at a later date.


Organic Kale Medley and Fruit Smoothie

  • Stonyfield Greek Yogurt (I love the grassfed blueberry)
  • Taylors Farm Organic Kale Medley
  • Banana
  • Frozen raspberries
  • Frozen strawberries
  • You can also add frozen peaches, blackberries, cherries, blueberries, kiwi


If you don’t have frozen fruit, you can add a little ice. I like to keep a freezer bag full of fruits so I can just dump into the blender. This recipe is also amazing to put in ice pop molds for popsicles.



We’ve Got to Do Better

I feel kind of hollow after hearing the news that that the medical examiner is ruling Chris Cornell’s death as a suicide by hanging. He performed just hours before in Detroit. How did it go unnoticed that he was upset and hurting? Are we all so busy and caught up in our own world’s that we don’t notice the pain of others?

In a group chat the other day a mom was saying she finally opened herself up and shared her struggles with some women she thought were close friends. They didn’t acknowledge her pain and basically ignored her- this obviously hurt and made her question if she should be that vulnerable again.

I know in my deep dark days I reached out to my mom and begged her to come help me. She wasn’t feeling well, so she didn’t want to drive the 45 minutes that it takes to get to my house. I was in a bad place and my husband was working a night shift- I didn’t need to be alone. Situations like that have made me think- the people who have left us, did they reach out and it went unnoticed? Are we not listening to people’s cries? Are we not taking mental illness serious enough because the person is able to function most of the time?

We have got to do better.

Instead of sinking further that night I found and I got a counselor. But some people aren’t able to do this. They don’t feel like they have something to live for. These people are some of our best friends, relatives, beloved teachers, celebrities- who are very loved. They just have an illness that keeps them from seeing and feeling it.

If your loved one or friend is suffering from depression, take a minute to learn how you can help. What signs you should look for. Talk to them about it. Check in on them. Let them know they are not alone.

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If you are suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts please remember YOU ARE NOT ALONE! You may feel it, but please reach out and talk to someone:


Thanks Stonyfield!

YoKids announced last month that they are sponsoring AZA’s SAFE program (Saving Animals From Extinction) that will help support conservation efforts for 10 endangered species! As part of a year-long effort, Stonyfield YoKids will not only be contributing funds to field work but will aim to drive kids and their families to see animals and conservation projects first hand at zoos, aquariums, and on the ground where the research is happening.

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When you purchase two specially marked Stonyfield Organic YoKids multipacks from now until September 2017, you can get a FREE kid’s ticket with purchase of an adult ticket to an accredited AZA zoo or aquarium!! There are over 131 accredited zoos and aquariums- you can click here for a list.  Over the next year you will see the African Penguin and the most endangered AZA SAFE species will be on Stonyfield Organic YoKids packaging- so be on the lookout!


We got to visit a local AZA zoo- Riverbanks and the kids had a blast! They have my son’s favorite AZA SAFE species- the western lowlands gorilla, so he was stoked. We also loved the anaconda, penguins, sea lions, otters, meerkats, lemurs and more! This was our first time seeing the new sea lion exhibit and it didn’t disappoint! The baby loved being to see them swim up close.

I wish the zoo had more information about their involvement with AZA but I wasn’t able to find any and it was a very busy day for the staff. We did learn that Riverbanks is solar powered, they have a recycling program, a water conservation program, and other practices in place to save energy, water, waste reduction, pollution prevention and more.

Be sure to purchase two specially marked Stonyfield Organic YoKids multipacks from so you can get a FREE kid’s ticket with purchase of an adult ticket to an accredited AZA zoo or aquarium!

Stonyfield is the leading organic yogurt maker and is dedicated to conservation and sustainability. Each year they keep over 185,000 pounds of toxic pesticides out of the environment, helping to safeguard species and their eco-systems. So it made sense for them to sponsor a mission that is helping to save endangered species!




Finn + Emma

When my son was an infant I loved Finn + Emma clothing. The details of their clothes were incomparable. Their natural wooden buttons, soft organic cotton, eco friendly dyes, whimsical designs- all produced in fair trade settings- you couldn’t ask for a better clothing company! Luckily I kept a lot of his unisex clothes and baby girl got to wear them.

Then I had the opportunity to review some their Fairytale collection and I fell in love all over again!


_DSC0083Baby girl LOVES the lily the pika Rattle Buddy. It is made with organic cotton yarn and eco friendly dyes, stuffed with sheep’s wool and a rattle, and was hand knit in Peru. When you shake the pika it has a gentle rattle, so if it moves while your kiddo is sleeping it’s not loud enough to wake them up. But when they shake it, they get the cause and effect. The soft gentle colors of the rattle buddy match their pajamas and other clothing from the line!


We also got the wood rattle feather teether that has truly come in handy! Baby girl had 6 teeth coming in at once and loved gnawing on the smooth feather in between shaking. The feather design is adorable and I love the small carved details!! The wood rattle feather teether is made with untreated Indian hardwood with a non-toxic vegetable seed wax finish and filled with Indian cooking beans.


My favorite is the Fairytale Dream Catcher pajamas. The pajama bottoms were so comfy and soft, baby girl has worn them with several outfits. I love the soft colors and they match her personality so well. The pajamas run in sizes 12-18 months-4T. They are G.O.T.S. certified 100% organic cotton with non-toxic eco friendly dyes made in India. The pants have a wide waist band and are tight fitting. The pajamas are very true to size, so if you are like me and like them a little less snug, I would size up.

Finn + Emma have a large selection of gowns, coveralls, footies, kimonos, bodysuits, pants, hats, headbands, toys, rattles, teethers, play gyms and more. Their clothing goes up to 12-18 months with the exception of the pajamas. I sooo wish the shorts, pants and rompers were in larger sizes- they are adorable!! You can purchase online at Finn + Emma, Amazon and other retailers near you.