Wildlife Wednesday: Catching Blue Crabs in Myrtle Beach

Sometimes you catch crabs on vacation. Sometimes the crabs catch you.

Last month we went on vacation to Myrtle Beach and stayed at a resort right by the ocean. I grew up in a town not far from MB, but regrettably did not take advantage of my proximity to the beach as often as I should have. The resort is located near a marsh inlet which proved to be an excellent source of wildlife! I will write more about the diverse ecosystem in another post, but for now, I want to talk about Crabs!

When we first got to the inlet, I noticed several large Blue Crabs in the shallow water so in I went. I was not really prepared for this endeavor so I was forced to use my hands. Finally with the aid of some well placed sand, I was able to grab the crab by the back of it’s shell and bring it out of the water.

He was not too happy. My sister was filming and had stopped recording when I spotted another crab with only one pincer. I figured it would be an easy catch, and while holding the first crab, nabbed the second by it’s lone claw. Here was my mistake. I took my eyes off of the first crab, and he knew it. Another family had come over  to see what was going on and witnessed what happened next.

My sister began recording again briefly as I tried to figure out how to get the crab to release me. It was not as simple as I had hoped and every time someone moved (like when the woman came closer to take a picture), he would clamp down harder. One thing I learned on vacation…crabs are ornery!!

He held onto my finger for probably 10 or 15 minutes, periodically applying added pressure while I laid in the shallow water contemplating my life decisions. I eventually decided that I wasn’t going to go out like that, took a deep breath and jerked my hand out of the water. The crab gave one last parting pinch and then let go, falling back into the water and scuttled away, I’m sure cursing the silly human who dared challenge his domain.

Once I was finally freed, we called it a day and headed back to our room so that I could lick my wounds (figuratively of course). The next day my mom and sisters brought a net so that we could safely continue exploring. As I said, we found many creatures, but for this post, we will focus on the crabs. Almost immediately upon returning to the inlet, we hauled in a nice sized crustacean and the twins were amazed!

After catching several larger crabs, we began noticing many juvenile crabs scurrying about. There were crabs of all sizes, but even the smaller ones were mean and would grab anything that entered the pinch zone.

Eventually we found some that were small enough to pose no threat so the kids got to be more involved. It was very interesting to see how unique each crab was. They all seemed to be great at posing for pictures.

Once the kids got up the courage to hold the crabs, they were hooked!

Literally every crab we saw they wanted to catch and hold. I had to warn them that some of the smaller ones could still pinch. I am so proud of my brave explorers!

We soon discovered that we needed to be extra cautious when wading through the shallow waters of the inlet. As soon as Evan released one of the baby crabs, it buried itself under the sand and was nearly invisible. Next time I’m thinking water shoes are a must!

These animals are beautiful and amazing, but as I explained to the kids, they are wild animals and are not meant to be kept as pets. As with most of our adventures, we observe and release the critters we catch; that way they will be around for other kids to enjoy for years to come.

Be sure to check out our next post to see what other incredible creatures we discovered, and subscribe to the lilburghers Youtube channel for all of our latest adventures.

Until next time, happy herping, ya’ll!

Posted in Wildlife Wednesday | 1 Comment

Essential Eyebrow Solution: The Before

*articles may contain affiliate links* At Blogger Bash NYC, I got to meet the team from Essential Eyebrow Solution® and decided to embark on a journey to see what the solution could do for my eyebrows. This is the first post in a two-part series about this journey.

I can count the number of times I’ve had to wax my eyebrows on one hand, so maybe I’m lucky, or maybe I’m missing out on something awesome – nice, full eyebrows. Being a blond, it is tough for me to look at my face and see my eyebrows, so I can’t imagine that others are really noticing either. But the thing is, maybe I should give my eyebrows a thought!

I mean…just look at that eyebrow on the right – it’s almost bare in the middle! (And I noticed my brows might even have a tint of red to them, too?!?!)

That’s why I’m interested to see what 90 days of using Essential Eyebrow Solution (EES) is going to do for my brows. After testing out the product at BBNYC, I started using it two months ago in August, hoping for fuller, healthier brows. A few weeks ago, I got to ask EES Founder Renata Marie Vestevich the questions that made me wonder what this solution was going to do for my eyebrows – and (spoiler!) I found out it was going to do a lot for my face, too!

Here are the questions we discussed:

Why are eyebrows important? 

So much of our facial attractiveness is due to our eyebrows. Take a look at the photos online that show celebrities without their brows. It’s really startling to see how much a lack of brows changes one’s face. It’s also true that unremarkable, sparse brows can make our face look less striking.

Eyebrows are one of the most important features on our face. In addition to protecting our eyes, they create a frame for our face, make us better looking and play a vital role in nonverbal communication. I think most people take their eyebrows for granted and don’t really think about protecting or supporting them. That is, until they find their brows beginning to thin because of aging, or they are faced with a medical challenge such as chemotherapy treatment and are told they may lose their eyebrows completely. Since eyebrows are so essential to expression and contribute greatly to our facial appearance, losing them can be very distressing.

What makes our eyebrows different from other scalp hair? How does that make a difference in caring for my eyebrows? 

Eyebrow hair differs from scalp hair in several respects, for example:

For eyebrow hair, the growth cycle is very short, typically about 4 months, whereas the scalp hair growth cycle requires 3-4 years to complete. The difference in growth cycle duration is the reason eyebrow hairs are much shorter than scalp hairs.

Another distinction is that eyebrow hair emerges from the follicle at a very acute angle which produces growth that is essentially parallel to the skin surface. By contrast, the angle between scalp hair and the skin can be 45 degrees or more.

Eyebrow hairs also grow on single strands, whereas several hair strands typically arise from a single follicle on the scalp.

This does make a difference in how we should care for our eyebrows. Our research team discovered that eyebrow follicles responded positively to the properties of black cohosh. So, using other safe, cosmetic-grade ingredients along with the black cohosh, we formulated EES to strengthen, revitalize and support the brow hairs.

Can EES be used on my eyelashes or scalp?

That’s a great question and one that is often asked. EES – Essential Eyebrow Solution® has been specifically formulated and clinically-tested for use only on eyebrow hair. Although black cohosh has been used as an ingredient in other scalp hair loss remedies, our patented formula is only for use on eyebrow hair.

Why should EES be part of every daily beauty routine? 

Keep in mind, just as we moisturize our skin daily to help prevent dryness and use lip balm to protect our lips from either the sun’s damaging rays or the dry winter air, we should be nourishing and conditioning our eyebrows daily for lasting fullness.

Full, natural looking eyebrows are the trend and help in achieving a youthful, attractive appearance. While it’s relatively easy to add hair extensions or eyelash extensions, it is much more difficult to fake eyebrows. Most often, tattoos and heavy makeup will draw unwanted attention to your eyebrows—and steer you away from that full, natural look.

EES – Essential Eyebrow Solution® is the only clinically-tested cosmetic eyebrow product on the market to address eyebrow thinning or potential eyebrow loss. With a patented, paraben-free formula comprised of the natural botanical black cohosh, EES has been shown to support eyebrow fullness and suppleness. EES was originally formulated to help retain eyebrow hair in connection with chemotherapy treatment, but it is also ideal for beauty consumers looking to enhance their eyebrows.

What drove you to create EES? 

In addition to establishing RMV Trademarks/Essential Eyebrow Solution®, I’ve been involved in the cosmetology and hair replacement industry for nearly 30 years, owning a conventional full-service salon for 10 years, and spending the last 20 years as the owner/director of Advanced Hair Solutions, LLC, in Auburn Hills, Michigan, where my mission has been focused on helping individuals who struggle with the emotional challenges of hair loss due to various causes, including chemotherapy treatment.

Working closely with both cancer and non-cancer patients, I recognize both the beauty of lush eyebrows and the emotional distress of eyebrow loss. It was because of the significant impact of eyebrow loss due to chemotherapy on my clients’ self-esteem and the impossibility of disguising this sign of illness that I collaborated with a prominent research laboratory and embarked on a 6-year-long process to successfully develop and patent EES. A clinical trial of the EES product showed that it also promoted fuller, stronger brows, which indicated its suitability for general use.

What else should I know about EES that my readers might not find on a Google Search that you wish they’d shout from the mountaintops? 

I’d like them to shout: THIS IS A PRODUCT FOR EVERYONE!

For instance, EES – Essential Eyebrow Solution® is not just for women. Many men have reported how loss of scalp hair is something they can accept, but loss of their eyebrow hair is not.  Younger people of both sexes who want to protect their brows and keep them looking natural and full, middle-aged people who are noticing eyebrow thinning, and those who are losing hair in connection to chemotherapy treatment—all of these individuals can benefit from EES.

EES is a great addition to your everyday routine to protect your eyebrows and make them look their best.

Renata also shared with me that EES clinical trial data, was published in PRIME International Journal of Aesthetic & Anti-Ageing Medicine, a peer-reviewed science journal.  It is a “wonderful, new, highly effective, and unique product that is made in the US, paraben-free, easy to apply and, most importantly, is the only clinically-tested cosmetic eyebrow product on the market that has been shown to be safe and effective in supporting natural eyebrows”.

To learn more, visit the EES website at: https://essentialeyebrowsolution.com/.

Posted in Product Reviews | 1 Comment

Gonna Eat My Cookies

Repeat after me, moms. “You’re a good mom.” Repeat it again. And again. And once more for good measure. And if my own mom is reading this, I apologize (again) for every time I made you whisper, cry, yell, or speak this mantra.

Yinz guys, it’s been a tough three hours since I got home from work. I’m finally feeling inspired to write again, inspired to maybe actually pick up that guitar I kept yearning for, and like my running and weight-loss have hit a stride. I’m feeling GOOD at this working on me thing, but see, I think that’s exactly the problem.

I’ll be writing more as the days come, but Greg and I just embarked in a study at our church of “12 Traits of the Greats” (which you can get here and start digging in, too). Long story for another blog short, we focused on responsibility and mindset last night. Our group didn’t get through all of our questions, so we decided to ask each other some of them before bed. This started my wrestling with myself.

The thing is, responsibility comes pretty darn easy to me. I was the oldest kid, a preacher’s kid, who always was striving to be good. I wanted to work hard to get good grades and get into a good school and get a good job. I happened to say to Greg in our conversation that I didn’t struggle with responsibility and that I was anxious to dig into some of the other traits that I do struggle with. But the reality was is, our conversation made me wrestle with something I haven’t taken full responsibility for.

A little over ten years ago, I got a fairly good job and had a fairly good life, but was in fact very irresponsible. I had been living with a boyfriend for just about two years and wasn’t leading a very good, responsible life. The story unfolds throughout these pages, but basically I became a victim of nasty things and didn’t have the strength to get out. I ended up pregnant and took on the responsibility of having my first child. Or did I?

I wasn’t responsible with myself during the month I got pregnant. I wasn’t honest with anyone, not even with myself. I was letting Satan take something beautiful and turn it into something very broken. And the thing was, I didn’t care. Not one bit. I didn’t care so much that I never found out some very important facts that one day my kid might want to know.

So last night, I struggled with this. I wrestled with my spirit and asked God over and over to help me release my anger and tension and anxiety over this, things I’ve carried for almost ten years. I asked him some pretty private, personal, and important things.

So then, of course, tonight was going to go a bit haywire when I was trying to get the now nine-year-old innocent child to do some simple tasks – sit with her sisters while I took a phone call, warm up her dinner while I plated the other kids’, find boots that actually fit her feet. And then this mama lost it.

I didn’t get mean. I just let the Devil take the joy from the room, let him suck the good things that were happening in front of me away. I missed the fact that she’s nine and that she’s probably even more tired of being responsible than I am. I let my guard down and let what I am wrestling with as my personal pain and chains impact precious time with my precious children.

But after some coffee and {keto} cookies and a quick mama time out to get my thoughts out, life feels eons better. I’m going to go back tonight and re-read some of the 12 Traits book and make my knees hit the floor again asking for God’s triumph to unfold. And don’t worry – I won’t eat the other ten cookies that I made. A keto cookie is nothing like the red velvet brownie cookies I’d much rather have right now – but my mindset tells me I made the far better choice.

 Stay tuned for more on this story and more details about the study our church is embarking on. For now, I’m gonna eat my cookies.

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Tray Haven

*articles may contain affiliate links* When you have babies and dogs, who eats more of lunch – your kids or your dogs? In our house, it’s totally the dogs. That’s why I was excited to test out Tray Haven, a mesh barrier between your child’s highchair tray and your dining room floor.

tray haven

Here’s what I was told about Tray Haven before we gave it a try:

Meal time with children can often result in Cheerios or strands of pasta all over the floor. Prevent these meal time “uh oh’s” with Tray Haven, the wing-like barrier that keep food off the floor and onto the tray of a highchair.

Tray Haven is easy to set up, take down, and store thanks to its clever collapsibility and go-anywhere portability. Its breathable mesh and sturdy wire construction make Tray Haven easy to clean in any sink. Tray Haven’s design also makes a great fit for most chairs with an attached tray including booster seats.

Tray Haven is also great while running errands, preventing children from grabbing unwanted items off shelves or racks.

If this sounds like something you’ve got to have, check out more details here

We didn’t take it to the store (frankly, having twins like ours we already get enough stares), but did test it on the highchair. It was really interesting for me to test this out with one twin at a time, seeing the differences on the floor after the meal.

Did it do what it claimed? Yes – it was easy to set up and kept the o’s off the floor. I tried to pull it off the highchair and had no issue. It was easy to get the girls in and out when installed. The only thing I didn’t like was when giving the girls things like spaghetti and pasta all I could think was it was going to get sauce all over it. I wasn’t ready to give this a try, so full disclosure I’m not 100% certain on the ease of cleaning bit.

Take a look at this video of the girls testing out Tray Haven then come back here and tell me what you think of this new product!

Tray Haven comes in two different colors and is available for purchase for $24.99 at www.trayhaven.com

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Darien Lake: Our Visit

*articles may contain affiliate links* I worked with Darien Lake through a blogger partnership with US Family Guide. They sent us tickets for a visit in exchange for this post.

Summer is all about family fun and memories, right? Well, our fall has started and I’m really confused by the weather – it’s still been a bit steamy in Pittsburgh! We took advantage of this nice weather one weekend in September and took the kids and my bestie for a getaway to New York. One part of our visit was to Darien Lake amusement park, a highly suggested quick road trip from the Pittsburgh area!

(Note – if you’d like to visit Darien Lake, you’ll need to wait until 2018. Their Harvest Festival ran September 16 – October 1, extending the summer fun just a ‘lil bit!)

With plenty to do for kids and adults, I really felt this was the best park for our kids’ age range (2 to almost 9). Just like any good park, you enter through a midway of games, shops, and food, but once you get past that the entire park is walkable and not too spread out. The smaller kiddo area (Beaver Brothers Bay) is sort of in the middle of all the excitement, so if parents need to split up the older kids, it is nice and easy.

There really wasn’t anything ride-wise that we didn’t get to do in about 5 hours on a relatively quiet Sunday “fall” afternoon at the amusement park. Like I noted, we visited during the Harvest Festival; however, we never did get a chance to head over to the area with the food trucks and beer. (The kids were having too good of a time!)

Greg and Tom got to experience The Viper which celebrated its 35th “birthday” this summer. Greg says, “It was fun, it was pretty intense and I didn’t stop yelling until we came to a stop!” With several loops and a tunnel, it definitely belongs in Darien Lake’s “Thrill Ride” category!

Missy and I kept things pretty low key, enjoying watching the kids but also laughing lots on Grizzly Run, a wet ride on “rapids”. (I’d really been wanting to ride a rapid ride with Greg, this was our first chance to do this because our local park closes our rapids down for the fall!)

We ended the day with a classic fish pond game, too! Our trip to Darien Lake was definitely full of fun and memories that will last a lifetime.

If you’d like to visit Darien Lake, check out their website for details on the 2018 season!

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Lottie Dolls: Birthday Girl Sophia

Disclosure: This post is a collaboration between this blog and Lottie Dolls. We were provided a Birthday Girl Sophia in exchange for our honest review. All opinions are 100% our own.

Tomorrow is a big day – our oldest ‘lil girl will turn nine! We celebrated a ‘lil bit tonight and shared with her a doll this mama is swooning over – the Lottie Dolls Birthday Girl Sophia! She was the perfect addition to Arianna’s doll collection – she already has a Lottie Doll and LOVES her – so both of us spent some time checking out all her cool features.

Birthday Girl Sophia is part of the Lottie brand, one created to empower kids to be themselves and engage in imaginative play. They are built proportionate to a nine-year-old child, can stand, and have realistic hair. The best part? They encourage both girls and boys not to grow up too quickly. (If you have to have her, head over to the Lottie Dolls site to find Sophia, Lottie, Finn and more friends!)

Our set came with a fun friend, Biscuit the Beagle, and adorable accessories like a tiny bone and dog bed. Arianna was quick to start imagining how Sophia and Beagle could be best of buds! (Head over here for information on how to purchase Biscuit.)

Our Experience: Birthday Girl Sophia and Biscuit the Beagle

I admit I hung onto Sophia a little longer than I wanted to because she was going to be perfect for Arianna’s birthday. I think it was worth the wait. Arianna loves realistic dolls (Lottie Dolls have flexible limbs – that’s one of the things she looks for in dolls), especially ones that have a theme or story. Sophia fits the bill perfectly. And the accessories that come in the Lottie Dolls Pets make for tons of imaginative play, too!

Check out this video to watch Arianna unbox Sophia and Biscuit. Listen for what I love most – Arianna just might agree with me! =)

Isn’t she just adorable? I’m thinking that Sophia (+ friends like Biscuit and other Lottie Dolls) are going to be a hit this holiday season…and top the birthday girl gift lists!

(PRO MOM TIP: Get Sophia now and keep her on hand for those surprise birthday party invites that sneak into your kids’ backpacks!)

If you’re in love like we are, join Club Lottie and follow Lottie on Facebook and Twitter! You can purchase any doll from the Lottie Dolls collection online at lottie.com.

Win Your Own Birthday Girl Sophia and Biscuit!

We love to spoil our fans and are sure you’ll love having a Sophia and Biscuit of your own! Enter our giveaway which is open to US Residents 18+ and ends at 11:59 PM on Sunday, October 15. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Arianna, Toys | 10 Comments

Experience the Power of Scrub Dots Sponges

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ScrubWithDots #CollectiveBias

Come into my kitchen on any weeknight and you’re sure to find a pile of dishes and see happy bellies around a table. The pans and pots have likely cooked three or four different meals – all for our various palettes.

Confession: I’m not big on doing the dishes because I just hate the time it takes from the family and all the other things that I’ve signed myself up for. All too often, I’m leaving the dishes and messes for Greg to handle when he’s home during the day.

So you’re probably wondering why me, the dish maker not the dishwasher, is excited to share a Dollar General coupon deal with you for Scotch-Brite™ Brand  Scrub Dots sponges, right? I’m excited because they help to quickly tackle the mess that my kitchen is so I can get back to the things (and people!) I love…or ease the stress I put my husband through!

Haven’t heard of the Scrub Dots sponges? Here are some details:

Experience the Power of Dots! Scotch-Brite’s new Scrub Dots sponges feature Scrubbing Dots technology that will help you clean away kitchen messes as they scrub fast and rinse clean. The new Scrub Dots sponges will tackle kitchen messes without trapping food.

Heavy-Duty Scrub Dots sponges (green) will help eliminate those baked on messes and the Non-Scratch Scrub Dots sponges (blue) will safely clean all cookware without scratching. Use the right tools for each surface and cleaning your home will be easier and faster!

Visit your local Dollar General and save $1 off any 2 on Scotch-Brite Scrub Dots Sponges!

With that coupon to save on these innovative sponges, I’ll be trying both versions – the blue on my glass stove-top and the green on the eggs that I baked (or burnt, depending on who you ask) into the casserole dishes.

What is your current kitchen hack? Which of these Scrub Dots Sponges do you need most in your life? 

Posted in Couponing | Tagged , | 1 Comment

What We’re Reading: October 2

*articles may contain affiliate links* Recently, the kids’ school had a book fair. We didn’t send in money for them to buy books, so I had to deal with the tears of the Bigs when they said they weren’t included in the shopping fun. But not to despair – the school had a pile of free books (well-loved) that they could pick from.

You guys. MOM GUILT. My kids likely are pegged the kids whose parents don’t care about them. Or the kids who don’t have money. Or the uncool kids. GAH. The guilt trip is heavy.

But the thing is, those things are far from true. They are so loved. We have money, it’s just tied up in our plan to get out of debt and to feed six mouths. And as for the cool factor? Our kids get to preview books before they even hit the shelves. C’mon, Mom Guilt. Go away!

In this edition of What We’re Reading, I’m sharing four books that are perfect for those early elementary years. I’m hoping by the end of the year they’re all easy readers for Evan (our first grader).





What We’re Reading: October 2

Ally-Saurus & the Very Bossy Monster by Richard Torrey

Source: Amazon

You might remember our friend Ally-saurus, who helped our kids get over fears of new experiences. Well, she’s back and there’s a new girl in school. This new girl wants to be the boss. As much as the ‘lil Burghers house loves the Boss Babe culture (women in business ROCK!), we know being bossy isn’t a good trait to have. This book is a nice lesson in playing nicely and accepting each other.

Ally-Saurus & the Very Bossy Monster is available on Amazon and at other book retailers with a MSRP of $16.95.

The Adventures of Camellia N. Under the Sea by Debra L. Wideroe

This book is more on Arianna’s reading level, but the message throughout the first book in a series about Camellia N. (like chameleon) was fun for Evan, too. In this second book of the nine book series, Camellia N. goes under the sea to learn about sealife around the globe. There are moments of bravery, science, and friendship throughout her journey through the seven continents.

You can also pick up Under the Sea on Amazon and at other book retailers with a MSRP of $16.95.

Source: Amazon

Rufus Blasts Off! by Kim T. Griswell

The third book in the Rufus the Pig series picks up where “Rufus at Sea” left off. Rufus is done sailing the seven seas and ready to explore space! Will pigs fly? Will Rufus complete his mission to read a book on Mars? You’ll have to grab your own copy to find out! (Available on Amazon and at other book retailers with a MSRP of $16.95.)

Maurice the Unbeastly by Amy Dixon

If your kids are struggling with staying true to themselves, this would be a great read. Maurice is a beast who is not like the other beasts – he likes kale among other differences. Does he need to be like the others or can he make it by being true to his you? What a great message about individuality!

This adorable book can also be found on Amazon and at other book retailers with a MSRP of $16.95.

What are you reading this week?



Posted in Children's Books, Product Reviews | 1 Comment

What We’re Reading: September 25

*articles may contain affiliate links* With back to school, it’s sometimes hard to find the time to do all the things that you want to, isn’t it? But keeping up with what we’re reading as both kids and adults is super important. Here’s a look at some books that have crossed our paths recently.





What We’re Reading: September 25

Coding for Parents by Frazer Wilson

Confession. I work in IT. I run my own blog. I was a teacher. But when I was testing something on a website the other day, an “Array” message came up. I had no idea what it meant, even though I’ve been working with my third grader on multiplication. Times are changing, and thankfully I have this book as a reference guide when things come up in the “tech world”  that I just don’t know. This book will help parents help their kids (or decode their speak!) and teach the parents something new, too!

Coding for Parents is available on Amazon and at other book retailers with a MSRP of $14.95.


Almost Everybody Farts by Marty Kelley

Oh, the giggles that came out of The Bigs as they read this one to the twins. The humor in this book is sly as it tells how everybody BUT MOM get gas and let it fly. Is mom really fart-free? If you could see the look on my kids’ faces when the mom in this story claimed that, you’d know the answer to that question. =)

You can also pick up Almost Everybody Farts on Amazon and at other book retailers with a MSRP of $12.95.

Don’t Go to School! by Maire Zepf and Tarsila Kruse

This book was a good read before our first day of school. After a long summer, the kids didn’t want to go back. Unlike the plot of this story, Mama and Daddy were quite anxious for when September 5 rolled around! Benno’s mom doesn’t want him to go to school – can he convince her everything will be okay?

This fun twist on the back to school theme is available on Amazon and at other book retailers with a MSRP of $14.95.


Cap’n Rex and His Clever Crew by Henry L Herz

We’re a few days late for “Talk Like a Pirate Day”, but pirates are a favorite in our house. This book is no exception – and it even adds in our beloved dinosaurs! Captain Rex (a T-Rex, of course) leads his crew across the seven seas to find treasure (as pirates do). This is a good one to motivate your kids to do something they swear they cannot do – obstacle breakers!

The adventure of Cap’n Rex can also be found on Amazon and at other book retailers with a MSRP of $16.95.

Amazing Animal Friendships by Pavla Hanackova

This book is for our Wildlife Wednesday fans – it tells stories of some of nature’s most unlikely friendships. It is a great way to teach kids how nature is connected and also to be friends with people who aren’t just like them. A win-win message. (Note – this book is a non-fiction read with facts – we recommend it for an after school read!)

This book is available on Amazon and at other book retailers with a MSRP of $14.95.


What are you reading this week?



Posted in Book Reviews | Leave a comment

Kudo Banz: Helping Our Kids SOAR

Kudo Banz provided me with product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

This fall, The Bigs went back to school and learned about their new rewards program – SOAR. Instead of moving from green to yellow to red [on a behavior chart], they now have to earn four levels of getting caught being good.

I was surprised when the kids came home complaining about this. “It’s going to be too hard” and “It’s not fair” rang from their throats. I shook my head. Did our time giving Kudo Banz a try this summer not teach them anything? I reminded them of earning their Kudos and they quickly quieted down. And in the three weeks since school’s started? I haven’t heard another word. I think it has worked – Kudo Banz set my kids up for success with this new program!


What Are Kudo Banz

Since we haven’t talked much about the Kudo Banz, you might be wondering what I mean by this. A “parenting game changer”, these are wrist bands that kids wear then earn charms (Kudos) throughout the day for doing good things. Think of it as a sticker chart but constantly there as a reminder.

When the child earns three Kudos, they scan the QR code into an app (on a parent’s device) that then allows them to spin a reward wheel. These aren’t necessarily toys or treats, they are extra things that you and your child plan to add to the wheel together. (Our kids asked us to customize the wheel with things like “family dance party”, “make a YouTube video”, and “one on one time with the twins”. Your child can add whatever they want and even include a photo!)

Kudo Banz Starter Kit

There is a starter kit that has two Banz and a few star Kudos, but then you can also order additional Kudo collections to add to their fun and motivation. My kids opted for the Pirate and Princess sets (but of course) to motivate them.

Background: Kudo Banz

Amanda and Hamza, whom I got to meet in person at Blogger Bash, know that parenting is a challenging but important job. They created this reward system to combat all of the negative messages children receive (like time outs and being yelled out). The Kudo Banz became a tool they could use on the go and for reinforcing positive behaviors. It worked with their three children, and they’re hopeful other parents will find them helpful!

How Did Kudo Banz Work for The Bigs?

Our experience was pretty positive. The first few days were a bit of a growing pain, but the starter kit we got came with a book that we read a few times as a reminder. This book chronicles the story of two boys who get a visit from their grandma and learn that they need to be good and helpful to earn Kudos…then good things happen. We’d pull it out and read when Evan would get upset that Arianna earned her reward wheel first. But you do not remove a Kudo! No matter how upset he’d get, he got to keep his kudos. We’d just remind him to BE GOOD.

Admittedly, Evan broke his Banz. It was a bit tight to get around his hand, which stumped me because Kudo Banz are made for kids ages 3 and up. The sizing definitely looked like it would have been better suited for the twins, but they aren’t 3 yet. (I agree with this age range for not only size but understanding!)

Because Evan’s broke, Arianna sort of lost interest, but when things start getting tough, I mention them and they both remember the basic concepts. We’ll definitely want to start these early with the twins!

If you are interested in learning more, check out kudobanz.com or get started by adding them to your Amazon cart here.  

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