Sunday, August 31, 2014

NEW from VTech :: Kidizoom® Smartwatch {Giveaway - Ends 9/9}

The VTech product, gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by VTech for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own.
This summer a hot new VTech product hit the shelves -- the Kidizoom® Smartwatch! I'd venture to say that this is going to be a top item on most Christmas lists this year for the 4 years and up age group. Finally, a smart watch just for kids!

The Kidizoom® Smartwatch comes with a lot of features. It's completely interactive so kids can capture photos, add photo effects, record videos or their voice, use it as a watch, and play built-in learning games too. This smartwatch also has a rechargeable battery, alarm clock timer, stopwatch, and parental game controls which I have yet to explore since we're strict with this device anyway. Everything is relatively easy to use, and Buddy figured out every function before me.

The screen is a 1.4 inch color touch screen, which is just perfect for small fingers. The camera can hold up to 800 photos and there are even special effects for your photos including customized photo frames, color filters and distortion effects. The photo quality is pretty decent too. For video, it can hold up to 15 minutes, although each video length limit is 1 minute per file. There are fun video frames that can be used too.

While Buddy is quite tickled with having his very own camera and video recorder, his favorite is the voice recorder. It has 5 voice changing effects so he thinks he's pretty hilarious with his random recordings. Buddy also enjoys playing with the 4 included games. with more that can be downloaded from the Learning Lodge app store online.

The Kidizoom® Smartwatch functions as a watch too, since it is a watch afterall. It even has more than 50 digital and analog clock displays to choose from! There's also a timer, stopwatch, and alarm clock with fun tones and animation. The rechargeable battery lasts for up to 2 weeks at a time, depending on the usage amount. If you allow heavy usage, it's probably only going to be a day or two.

I really like that this watch is super durable. It is splash proof and sweat proof, so if you're kiddo is allowed to wear it all the time, it's probably going to hold up just fine.

Buddy LOVES this watch. Although I can't say for sure that I think it's terribly educational, it offers some good quality fun within limits. If used and worn as just a watch, I would have no problem with Buddy wearing the Kidizoom® Smartwatch every day. But since we're talking about an electronic device with lots of functions, it's absolutely considered screen time in our house. And with any electronic device, it's important to teach your child healthy limits. Buddy is allowed about 20 minutes of usage at a time, maybe twice a day if he remembers it's an option.

The Kidizoom® Smartwatch comes in four colors, includes a micro USB cable for data transfer and battery recharging, and has an MSRP of $59.99.
 
Win It!
One winner will receive their own Kidizoom® Smartwatch!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Benefits of Hiring Eco-Friendly Contractors

 Disclosure: This is a guest post.

Home and business owners often want their buildings to be as clean as possible. Along with making sure the bathrooms are sanitary, the shelves and tables are dusted, and the windows are scrubbed, they also typically want their floors to be cleaned regularly. However, vacuuming and steaming the flooring can be a time consuming project that these owners cannot fit into their busy schedules. When they want this job done without delay, they can call on companies like Green Choice Carpet Cleaning.

Unlike many carpet cleaning companies, contractors such as these offer the advantage of using environmentally friendly cleaners and cleaning techniques. Typically this innovation can be very costly, making it unlikely that the average home or business owner can afford it. However, this kind of contractor can offer this service for a reasonable price without forcing people to break their budgets. People who care about the environment can have their floors cleaned with the peace of mind that they are not harming the air, water, soil, and other natural elements.

Even more, it can important for people to know exactly who is performing this service for them. Some companies outsource this task to third-party contractors, which in turn could elevate the risk to clients. If they are unsure of who is doing the work, people may have little recourse in case their building is damaged or their possessions go missing. However, with this preferable service, people know that the company they hire will be the contractors actually doing the work in their homes. They do not have to second guess whether or not it was the company’s own contractors or if a third-party was subcontracted for the job.

When people hire these professionals, they can also look forward to a lot of the dirt, grime, and odors that have built up in their floors being eliminated. Getting rid of ground-in dirt, for example, can be difficult if people use regular equipment purchased from their favorite retailer. A regular vacuum, for instance, often cannot pick up stains or deep dirt. However, with this floor cleaning service, people can appreciate that all of the deep down dirt, debris, odors, and stains will be removed thoroughly. This service can be particularly helpful to people who suffer from indoor allergies or asthma. Cleaning the flooring inside a building is typically considered to be vital to the health and comfort of the building’s occupants.

 

Friday, August 22, 2014

California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse :: New Report Exposes Abusive Litigation Spending by School Districts #lawsuitabuse

Disclosure: This post is brought to by California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse.

The school year is about to begin, and California’s students are about to head back into the classroom. While school districts are always stretched tight, one thing that’s really hurting schools is abusive litigation, which is forcing districts to spend money fighting lawsuits instead of educating students.

CALA_StopSignLogo_California - 2010.jpg 
That’s the finding of a recent report from California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. As a life-long California resident, I'm absolutely appalled to learn about this! The report analyzed the litigation costs to 12 districts for fiscal years 2010-2011 through 2012-2013, and found that the districts combined spent more than $125.6 million on litigation, spending $96.1 million on outside counsel, and $29.4 million on verdicts and settlements.

The 12 districts examined in this report account for less than 20 percent of the total enrollment of California’s K-12 public school districts. When the other districts are taken into account, who knows how many millions – or billions – of dollars our districts are spending?

WHY You Should Care

This report makes it clear that California’s schools are just one more victim of the state’s plaintiffs’ attorneys, some of whom view lawsuits as a means to get rich rather than achieve justice. Because California’s laws encourage this behavior, our students are paying the price. Our school districts are wasting money!

Californians need to make sure, especially as the November ballot approaches, that they know whether their candidates support legal reforms that would put an end to abuse like this. Legislators need to help solve the problem by passing legislation that stops abusive lawsuits, instead of encouraging them. 
 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation :: Apply NOW for Financial Assistance with Medical Expenses #UHCCF

Disclosure: This post is brought to by UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation.

Is your family in need of financial assistance for your child's health care treatments, services or equipment? We all know that medical expenses can be truly outrageous, especially when they're out of pocket. Thankfully there are wonderful organizations of there that may be able to help.

The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) is seeking grant applications from families in need of financial assistance to help pay for their child’s health care treatments, services or equipment not covered, or not fully covered, by their commercial health insurance plan.

Qualifying families can receive up to $5,000 per grant with a lifetime maximum of $10,000 per child to help pay for medical services and equipment such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, counseling services, surgeries, prescriptions, wheelchairs, orthotics, eyeglasses and hearing aids

To be eligible for a grant, children must be 16 years of age or younger. Families must meet economic guidelines, reside in the United States and have a commercial health insurance plan. Grants are available for medical expenses families have incurred 60 days prior to the date of application as well as for ongoing and future medical needs. Parents or legal guardians may apply for grants at www.UHCCF.org, and there is no application deadline.

In 2013, UHCCF awarded more than 1,700 medical grants, worth $5.6 million, to children and their families across the United States for treatments associated with medical conditions such as cancer, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, hearing loss, autism, cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, ADHD and cerebral palsy.

New Children’s Book to Raise Funds
To help raise funds for its child medical grant program, UHCCF has published a new children’s book, “Oliver & Hope’s Adventure Under the Stars” – the second book in the Oliver & Hope series.

The new 32-page hand-illustrated book continues the story of Oliver the lovable bear and Hope the spirited butterfly as they join their friends Millie the barn owl and Chewie the English bulldog for their first camping trip. The night is filled with amazing discoveries and silly games that make the shadows a little less scary and the adventure a lot more fun. The book follows last year’s award-winning book, “Oliver & Hope’s Amusing Adventure.”

Both “Oliver & Hope’s Adventure Under the Stars” and “Oliver & Hope’s Amusing Adventure” are available on Amazon.com for $13.95 each. The first 250 people who purchase an “Oliver & Hope’s Adventure Under the Stars” book will receive a Chewie the English bulldog plush toy, to be shipped separately.

Proceeds from UHCCF products, including the Oliver & Hope books, help fund UHCCF grants that help families pay for children’s medical expenses not covered, or not fully covered, by commercial insurance. Also, organizations and private donors can make tax-deductible donations to UHCCF which are used for grants to help children and families in the region in which they are received.

Both books were written and illustrated by Meg Cadts and Samantha Fitch. Meg Cadts is the pen name for the UHCCF team of writers and contributors.

The Oliver and Hope characters also host their own page on the UHCCF website, Oliver & Hope’s Clubhouse, which features free audiobook versions of the books, activities and games.

For more information on UHCCF, to apply for a grant, to donate, or to visit the clubhouse, visit www.UHCCF.org.
 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Kick It Back To School with Umi + Kickboard {NEW Sweepstakes}


Back to school brings lots of new sweepstakes and giveaways to ring in the season. From Umi Children's Shoes we have a new sweepstakes that starts today!

Three Grand Prize winners will receive a $100 Umi gift card and a Kickboard Maxi or Mini Scooter!

To enter, just fill out the simple entry form at Umi. This sweepstakes ends on September 1, 2014, so enter today!



 

Booming Back to School with Florsheim Kids + Appaman {NEW Sweepstakes}


Florsheim Kids has partnered with Appaman to run a fun sweepstakes in honor of Back to School season!

Three Grand Prize winners will receive a $100 Florsheim Kids gift card and a $100 Appaman gift card!

To enter, just fill out the simple entry form on Florsheim's website. This sweepstakes ends on August 24, 2014, so enter today!


 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mom Voyáge :: Motherhood with a Global Perspective

I participated in a Blog Blast on behalf of Mom Central for Urbini. I received information from Urbini to facilitate my post as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation. 

Motherhood is universal, no matter where you're from. Enter Mom Voyáge, a cool new online community from Urbini that's comprised of blogging mom contributors from the US and far off places like Japan, Australia, Netherlands, and Britain. 

Learn how baby showers differ between cultures, how maternity leave is handled, what pregnancy cravings are common in various countries, and so much more about pregnancy, birth, and motherhood around the world.

Since I've traveled abroad and visited nearly a dozen countries throughout Europe, I have a love of culture and doing things out of my own cultural norm. The insight into how other moms raise and parent their children can really add a new dimension to your own parenting, so I think this site will be a valuable resource for moms!

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