RSS Email

Keeping The Kids Occupied During Travels: Everything Moms Need To Take In The Car

When traveling in the car, it can be a challenge for parents to keep their kids entertained. After all, if you are making a long journey, it can feel like the time can drag for little ones. And if you are busy concentrating on driving, you can not always keep them occupied. Therefore, to ensure journeys aren’t terrible with the kids, here is everything moms need to take in the car to keep the kids occupied during travels.In the Car with Kids

A good book

As you may know, reading is a great way to kill some time. Therefore, to keep your kids occupied on long car journeys, you should bring along some books in the car. They can read the books, and it might keep them occupied for a little while. You could even get them to read the books out loud for a while. For one thing, it can enhance their speaking and reading skills. But also it will be a challenge to them, so it will ensure they don’t get bored quickly. And if visual books are not your kid’s thing, you could consider bringing along some audio books. You can play these in the car, and it will keep your children busy during the travels.

A child’s tablet

You should also consider getting your child a tablet which they can use for long journeys. In fact, for a lot of families, they don’t get anywhere without a handy tablet which can keep their kid’s busy! You should make sure there are plenty of games on there which they can play during the journey. And ensure there is a case on the tablet so that it can’t get broken during the car travels. After all, one sharp corner could end up causing the tablet to smash on the floor! You can find out about the best kids tablet by looking online on review sites. Or you could even consider a handheld gaming device which would be a fun item to use in the car!

A CD of songs for kids

Singing is always a fun way to make time go quickly during a long car travel! After all, you are bound to have done it once when you were younger. Therefore, to ensure your kids don’t get bored during the journey, you could bring a fun CD full of songs that your kids can sing along to. You might want to opt for a CD full of Disney classics, or you could even choose a CD of nursery rhymes if your kid is younger. It will be fun for all the family to sing along to during the long journey!

A list of games to play

You could also research some games your kids could play in the car. For example, you might want to take some snap cards that the kids could play in the back. Or you might want to play a game of I Spy as a family to kill some time. There are plenty of fun games you can hunt down for the car journey if you look online.

And remember to bring a teddy and blanket for your kids. After all, sleeping is the best way to kill some of that time from that long journey. Therefore, getting them cozy will ensure they slip into a slumber before long.


Apps for Creative Kids #VZWBuzz

When you give a child a smartphone the opportunities for fun are endless.  Gaming may be your first thought but my kids take it step beyond that. With my kid’s wild imaginations it was just a matter of time before they figured out a way to create new fun.

Shae has developed a beginning passion for film making, acting and looking into stop motion.  We’ve been downloading apps to create comic strips, short films and photo shoots. The choices are endless in the App Store. While I prefer to shop for free apps especially before knowing what I’m getting into I’m open to spending a couple bucks to ensure the kids are having a great time.

I know that they are using a device but I consider this playtime unplugged.  They are not sitting in front of screen mesmerized, or holding a controller killing fake bad guys or sleeping.  These kinds of apps get them moving, knocking on their friends doors and thinking of storylines and scenarios that make them laugh and smile.

MomentCam– creates cartoons and GIFs from photos. Includes backgrounds, stickers and words.   Not young kid-friendly as there are some inappropriate words on stickers/speech bubbles.  Free

MomentApp, Shae sitting on the moon cartoon #VZWBuzz Apps for Creative Kids

CamStar-your very own mobile photo booth.The Initial download is free with the option to pay $2.99 for FULL version that includes effects and filters.Apps for Creative Kids #VZWBuzz

FriendStrip Kids Pro-an  easy to use comic strip maker loaded with ideas and scenery already. Kids just pose and click to be put right in the story.  Initial download is free with the option to download ALL the collections for $1.99.  Each collection (9) are $.99 when downloaded separately.Apps for Creative Kids #VZWBuzz Apps for Creative Kids #VZWBuzz

Mirror Effect-gives photos a mirror reflection.  Crop a tree, house, pet or flowers and the app creates the effect of it sitting on water, ripples included.  It’s riddled with ads but the full version is just $.99.Apps for Creative Kids #VZWBuzz

PicPlayPost-remember the Brady Bunch squares, this app lets the user create a frame with a combonation of stills and videos that can be played sequentially or simultaneously.  Free initially and $2.99 to upgrade

(still working on the video portion)

The bad thing we are dealing with right now is Shae lost her iPod touch.  It’s time to save up for a new one so her summer isn’t wasted with all her great ideas brewing in her brain.

#VZWBuzz Lifestyle Blogger

Camp Invention more than just Summer Camp #Giveaway

As a working parent the looming summer is bearing a heavy burden on my shoulders.  We’re set up with the pool membership, my mother has retired and plans on doing activities with the kids, my oldest is changing her work schedule so she can have more fun this summer instead of working all day.

But what about the dreaded “brain drain”. In my opinion summer should be fun.  Not full of assignments and reports but there also has to be some stimulation of the mind that DOESN’T come from video games. This is where Summer Camp comes in.  Camps give kids a bit of structure in the middle of summer chaos.  The schedule and organization is reminiscent of school but definitely with MORE fun and creativity involved.Camp Invention Summer Day Camp STEM learning

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Camp Invention, the nation’s premier summer enrichment day camp with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) with hands on activities.  These young minds are exposed to innovative giants such as  National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) Inductees, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) representatives and high-profile educators. Each year embarks on a new adventure and program. Camp Invention Summer Day Camp STEM learning

For 2015 Camp Invention brings to its campers “Illuminate”.  This year’s program will encourage students to explore their inventiveness through an innovation laboratory, investigation of circuits and taking on a nature-inspired design challenge. As they build and make discoveries, they will have a chance to invent a prototype from scratch and explore math from a new angle when they create origami flight models during team-building exercises.Camp Invention Summer Day Camp STEM learning #Giveaway

This year Shae will be a camper and Shaun will be a counselor in training with Camp Invention/Invention Project. This will be their first experience with summer camp and its gonna be amazing.

I want your child to have an amazing summer too!  We’re giving away a camp registration for a local chapter of Camp Invention in your community.

This year The Illuminate curriculum features five energetic and fun-filled modules that include:

  • Inducted – this module will introduce your child to innovation role models and give them a first-hand account of what it takes to make their mark on the world and get into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
  • Design Studio – Children will be empowered to explore their creativity in our innovation laboratory, where they can design their own invention, investigate circuits or take on a nature-inspired design challenge.
  • I Can Invent: Next Level Gamers – No matter if your child is an avid video gamer or plays occasionally, they will love the opportunity to help the Camp Invention Gaming Labs come up with the next must-have video game called MazeWorld.
  • KartWheel – Future engineers will love the opportunity to create a freestyle race kart that can withstand water and navigate the ultimate wet terrain obstacle course – all while designing in the outdoors and getting some exercise.
  • M.O.V.E.: Motion, obstacles, variety, excitement – Our campers are movers and shakers and we want to encourage them to use that momentum in our kinesthetic learning module! Participants will use their imagination as they reach for the stars and get in motion, overcome obstacles, make variations to classic games and build excitement during this activity!

Are you excited?  Enter today by telling me WHY this type of camp would benefit your child.

To receive these extra opportunities for entries, you must fulfill the first REQUIRED entry above. Please note the changes to the entries and frequency, entries that don’t follow rules may be disregarded/ignored/deleted

  • SUBSCRIBE to LookWhatMomFound…and Dad too! via NEW Email Subscription.
  • COMMENT on a recent Review/Our Life/Our Travels/Our Thoughts post, let us know where to find it
  • FOLLOW @Melinda &  Camp Invention on Twitter and TWEET this giveaway (1 time per day), please leave your twitter link each time: There’s time to register for @CampInvention, Better yet! Enter to WIN a week of enrollment @melindababiak
  • SHARE this giveaway on Google + or Instagram, leave your links in comments below
  • REPIN great content from Camp Invention’s Pinterest Account, leave your link in comments below
  • SHARE your thoughts about enrolling your child in Camp Invention on their Facebook page, leave your link in the comments below

Your entries must follow the rules or they won’t be eligible for prizes. This contest ends 11:59 pm, Friday, May 29, 2015. The winners will be emailed and will have 48 hours to claim their prize. This contest is open to Contiguous US residents, age 18 or over. For complete rules please read our blog contest rules page.

Bean Bag Chair from One Step Ahead

What’s on your child’s wishlist this holiday season? There are so many choices this year ranging from technology and gaming to creative play and fashion. Having three children with a wide ranges of age makes shopping enjoyable. Shae is still at the stage where she asks for fun items that are just for her.

Last Christmas we gave her a gaming chair to go along with her new video games but it just was never right. She recently said she wanted something more comfy. One Step Ahead came through with a tear drop bean bag in pink and white chevron. This is exactly what she wanted.

As you can see the pink color is perfect. It matches her doll bed, pajamas, comforter and so much more in her room. A beanbag is every kids just right spot. It’s a place of their very own. A custom seat for whatever their doing. A beanbag transforms any place into a reading nook, study spot, gaming chair, lounge or just a place to watch tv. Shae pulls her into her bunk bed fort along with books and the dogs for super comfy quiet time.
One Step Ahead Bean Bag Chair
The One Step Ahead Tear Drop Bean Bag Chair is available in pink chevron or blue twill. They are light enough to be moved room to room to accommodate specific activities. The clever tear drop design offers some back support with squishy foam beans in its own enclosure. The zip-off cover is washable making is a must for kids.
Bean Bag Chairs
This holiday season One Step Ahead is sharing oodles of fun crafty ideas and activities to get you and your kids in the holiday spirit. Check out their Pinterest page for printable, kid friendly crafts and even fun food inspiration.
Follow One Step Ahead’s board Holiday Crafts & Activities for Kids on Pinterest.

Stop by their Facebook page to see if they have any fun giveaways going on.

Disney Poster a Page Books

2014 disclosureShopping for other people’s kids in hard. No two kids are alike so I can never assume I know just the right thing.  But on the flip side knowing a child inside and out is the best way to know what to get them for gifts. My best friend’s son is a comic book, wrestling and superhero fanatic. It never fails that every birthday or holiday is filled with themed gifts from everyone he knows. This Christmas I was able to score him a MARVEL Avengers Poster a Page book.Disney Poster a Page Books for Kids

Disney Poster a Page Books for Kids

Disney Poster a Page Books for Kids

The Disney brand brings to life the most powerful superhero team in the world! Including Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, and the Black Widow, this book has all of the favorite Marvel characters showing off their skills and battling the most fearsome bad guys.

Each book features a poster on every page plus 9 supersize posters to cover doors, windows and ceilings. That’s where I always put my most prized posters. Time Home Entertainment Inc. offers so many fun options in the Poster-A-Page series. *affiliate links below

Disney Junior: Let’s Play!

Disney Junior: Let’s Play!

Disney Frozen: Magical Moments

Disney Princess: Fairy Tale Moments

Star Wars Episodes I-VI: The Skywalker Saga

Sofia the First: Practice Makes Perfect

Disney Frozen: Magical Moments is going to my niece who’s about to turn 5. Like many other children this year she’s obsessed with Elsa and Anna and of course adorable Olaf.  Shae’s still a Sofia the First fan but don’t tell anyone. We placed some posters around her room and now she said it’s just right.Disney Poster a Page Books for Kids

Disney Poster a Page Books for Kids

Gift a special child in your life with a fun and functional gift that all kids will love.



Big Step into Middle School #fightforyourwrite [plus giveaway]

Middle School is a big step. No more walking the halls with the kindergarteners or hearing his little sister yell his name across the cafeteria. Shaun is no longer a little boy. He’s growing into a young man. In fact he’s already taller than me at age 11. Yep, he’s 11.
This school year is gonna be so different. He gets to stay after for sports and extra-curriculars. Hopefully he gets into guitar. Hopefully he realizes the huge changes that are about to happen to his life. These are very formative years. These are the years that set you up for high school. These are the years that unfortunately box you into a clique. I hope he sees the greatness in everyone not just one group of kids.

School shopping this year was easy. No more crayons. No more scissors. No more glue sticks. This year he needed a scientific calculator and graph paper. Big steps for a big grade.Back to School, Fight For Your Write BIC

Back to School, Fight For Your Write BIC
This year BIC helped with the school shopping by providing a wide arrays of writing tools for Shaun and Shae as part of a new initiative to save handwriting in school. The Fight for your Write campaign is about empowering kids with their creativity and imagination. Handwriting is shown to be beneficial in all aspects of school and life outside the classroom.

improve cognitive development
builds self confidence
better school performance
helps reading skills
sparks creativity
sharpens critical thinking skills

My children’s handwriting is terrible. There is no such thing as penmanship class and cursive is being removed from the classroom all together in many schools. With just 15 minutes of handwriting a day your child engages 14 different abilities.14 Abilities Used When Handwriting

Sign the petition to encourage writing in school. BIC has already committed to donating 50,000 writing instruments to but they are extending their partnership till 12/31/14 in hopes of reaching a donation amount of 100,000 writing instruments. Each signature equals one more pen or pencil.

Enter to win a BIC Back to School gift set here at LookWhatMomFound…and Dad too! Let me know how you or your child is working to keep handwriting skills in their life.

Examples can be found here

Back to School Fight for Your Write Giveaway

To receive these extra opportunities for entries, you must fulfill the first REQUIRED entry above. Please note the changes to the entries and frequency, entries that don’t follow rules may be disregarded/ignored/deleted

Your entries must follow the rules or they won’t be eligible for prizes. This contest ends 11:59 pm, Tuesday, September 9, 2014. The winners will be emailed and will have 48 hours to claim their prize. This contest is open to Contiguous US residents, age 18 or over. For complete rules please read our blog contest rules page.

Goop A Lesson in Quicksand #StreamTeam

While showing Shae The Princess Bride for the first time this week, the three of us (kids) got into a discussion about what quicksand is and how it works after watching the scene when Buttercup sinks into the lightning sand. With the Netflix theme for this month being all about staying engaged during the summer, Shae and I decided to do a little experiment.
Goop, a Lesson in QuicksandThe next morning we set out to discover the science behind quicksand. I gathered the necessary supplies; cornstarch, water, a large bowl, some food coloring for extra fun and an array of victims.goop supplies
 We decided to move outside because this is a notoriously messy experiment. Shae helped me pour the two main ingredients into the larger bowl but we quickly realized that there wasn’t nearly enough quicksand for a good experiment. What started out as a carefully measured experiment soon became me dumping a ton of cornstarch into a bowl and adding water in a splash at a time until we decided it was perfect. Adding the food coloring was a lot more difficult than I thought because the goo was so thick. I suggest that you add it to the water before you pour it in to guarantee even mixing.
 Goop Mixing
Then we began subjecting our victims to the quicksand. First we killed the dinosaurs, then we sent a diver in to save them. We galloped some horses across the surface and then watched them slowly sink like that scene in A Neverending Story. I had Shae punch the surface and feel how oddly solid it was. We rolled the goo into balls and then watched them melt on the table.goop sinking
I’m not entirely sure if Shae learned anything but it sure was a lot of fun. Cleaning up was a pain because Shae was covered up to her elbows in caked cornstarch.
goop hands
Netflix Stream Team

Mango Strawberry Smoothie #kidsinthekitchen

Breakfast during the summer comes later and later each day. The kids are sleeping in later or not eager to come out of their caves into the sunlight until they feel their bellies growl in protest. This week was full of lazy mornings so smoothies were a quick and easy breakfast that pleased everyone, even me.

This Strawberry Mango Smoothie was amazing. Combining 2 of the best fruits (in my opinion) was a match made in heaven.

We also used this as an opportunity for Shae to work on her knife skills.  We worked on slicing versus chopping with strawberries.

Mango Strawberry Smoothie #kidsinthekitchenHere is the Smoothie Recipe

Mango Strawberry Smoothie

  • 2 cups frozen mango chunks (no ice needed)
  • 2 cups strawberries, stems cut off
  • 2 6-8 oz containers of vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup orange juice

Place everything in your blender and blend till smooth, 30-60 seconds.
Mango Strawberry Smoothie #kidsinthekitchen
This made 3 big glasses for the kids.  EASY and filling and healthy.

Come join me and my co-hosts, Sarah of Play to Learn with Sarah, Paula at Frosted Fingers and Sara at Sensibly Sara, each week linking up a post, new or old, that feature the theme Kids in the Kitchen. It doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are doing it together, enjoying it and learning something along the way.

You’ll find so many more ideas on the #KidsintheKitchen Pinterest Board.
Follow Melinda Babiak’s board #KidsintheKitchen on Pinterest.
Linky Rules, #kidsinthekitchen

#KidsintheKitchen Weekly Linky

Restaurant Choices for Kids #kidsinthekitchen

I’m a pretty good cook but there are sometimes when I like to leave the cooking up to someone else. That then leaves us to decide where to eat out with kids. At home I have complete control over portion size and veggie options, but recently we discovered some well known eateries that have approached this topic with healthful and much more flavorful ideas in mind. Doing this gives parents a little ease of the mind. Giving kids and parents some healthier options than chicken fingers and fries makes going out a fun experience instead of the chore it was turning into.Restaurant Choices for Kids

Red Lobster-not my idea of a fancy seafood dinner but you can’t debate that the food is pretty tasty. Their kids menu offers broccoli or oranges as a side and has main entrees that include broiled fish, grilled chicken and garlic grilled shrimp.

T.G.I.Friday’s has always been a favorite. Today they have not only gluten free options for kids but they cater to a more enhanced palate with their Kid’s Chicken Skewers, meat marinated in soy-garlic and served with papers and onions on pita bread.

Panera-soup and sandwiches can be a great meal. All the nutrition information for your sandwiches, salads and soups are available as you order. Kids meals come with choice of yogurt or apple and there are juices and milk options to drink as well as seasonal fruit cups to choose from. Kids can choose All Natural Low Fat Chicken Noodle Soup for just 80 calories or a heartier Baked Potato soup for 230 calories.Panera Baked Potato Soup

Chipotle-my new fave Mexican style restaurant. While I like to offer chicken as a safe meal for my kids the chicken at Chipotle is a tad on the spicy side. The Carnitas on the other hand is moist, flavorful and just right for my kids. Loading a burrito with rice, beans, corn salsa and cheese makes this a meal in a hand and a great way to get the kid’s bellies full.Try the kid’s taco kit where they can build their own.chipotle kids menu

P.F. Changs-Asian style food with a touch of sophistication, no paper boxes here. Their food is always light, delicious and filling instead of that icky overstuffed feeling that typical take out Chinese food leaves you with. P.F. Changs kids menu boasts items that kids are bound to enjoy like Lo Mein noodles with chicken, the veggie filled Buddha’s Feast and Honey Chicken. Since all meals are cooked to order allergy restraints are no issue as long as you inform your server so the meal can be adjusted accordingly.

Cheesecake Factory is the ultimate indulgence dinner with so many options to choose from. Kids can pretty much have things their way when ordering pizza and quesadillas. Other favorites are the Roadside Sliders and Southern Fried Chicken Sliders. Check out their Small Plates & snacks menu for an even wider variety of food in smaller portions. Kid sized desserts on on the menu but no cheesecake can be found. They should fix that.

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill is one the top of our list for a great night out. As parents we love love love it and love love love that our kids love it too. My kids order the fish or smoked wings and the lobster & spinach fondue as an appetizer. There are great side dish choices to like carrots with ranch, fruit salad and green beans. It’s a bit spendy as a family but the food is so worth it.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill offers kids a wide variety of sauces to go with classic spaghetti or the kids can switch it up with cheese ravioli. Classic Italian is always a hit but they offer plenty of selections for the pickier eaters too.

Eating out can be fun again by visiting the restaurants that cater to growing taste buds.  Where are your favorite places to eat?
Come join me and my co-hosts, Sarah of Play to Learn with Sarah, Paula at Frosted Fingers and Sara at Sensibly Sara, each week linking up a post, new or old, that feature the theme Kids in the Kitchen. It doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are doing it together, enjoying it and learning something along the way.

You’ll find so many more ideas on the #KidsintheKitchen Pinterest Board.

Follow Melinda Babiak’s board #KidsintheKitchen on Pinterest.

Linky Rules, #kidsinthekitchen

#KidsintheKitchen Weekly Linky

Littlest Pet Shop Season 3 Premiere Hub Network May 31 9:30AM EST

Do  your kids follow the story of Blythe Baxter and her furry friends at the Littlest Pet Shop? The Hub Network is starting season 3 of this kids favorite on May 31, 9:30AM ET/6:30AM PT.Littlest Toy Shop Season 3 Premier

The premier episode, Sleeper introduces a new character, Mr. VonFuzzlebutt, an energetic but rather narcoleptic raccoon. Vinnie the Gecko and Sunil the Monkey are given the task to entertain the new guest of the animal day camp.

Of course chaos ensues and the pets are put under pressure to keep the secret of a sleeping Mr. Von Fuzzlebutt from the other animals and of course their caretaker.Littlest Pet Shop Season 3 Premier Hub Network

Littlest Pet Shop follows Blythe Baxter and her father who live in a Downtown City apartment above the Littlest Pet Shop — an amazing day camp for pets of all kinds, including a doggie diva, dancing gecko and sweet, adorable panda. The series begins when Blythe discovers that she can miraculously understand and talk to the pets, which leads to fantastical adventures featuring uproarious song-and-dance parodies and sequences to original music. In its third season, Blythe and the few friends who know her secret utilize her unique ability to have fun with her furry friends, solve problems and lend a helping hand— or paw — to other humans and pets.

Hub Network, champions of family fun and the only network dedicated to providing kids and their families with entertainment they can watch together. The Littlest Pet Shop is JUST that type of show. It has a sweet story with just enough humor to get a few chuckles from mom and dad.Hub Club Member