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Early Education Success With Primrose Schools

 

“This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Primrose Schools; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.”

 

As our children grow and their brains continue to develop, it is so important to work on fundamental executive function skills, such as teamwork, working memory and problem solving. The younger that children can start utilizing these skills, the easier it will be for them once they start school and continue to be introduced to new situations in life. I do everything I can as a parent I can to ensure my children are prepared for their future, but it’s also great to know that places like Primrose Schools are around to support us through these important times.

Primrose School is dedicated to helping children of all ages grow in a healthy and productive environment. Their schedule, curriculum and menu are thoughtfully designed based on executive function skills. Primrose is more than just a school, it teaches life lessons and valuable skills for all levels of learning. My son at 1 and a half years old was taught manners and social interaction skills while he attended a Primrose School here in California, which is not something you see often in other schools. We love that Primrose values learning through play and that they do not over emphasize academic success, which is what I knew we did not want for our son.

  

While attending Primrose, my son learned through arts, crafts and outdoor exercises, which is what I want for my children. I am not a huge fan of sitting in a classroom all day., I love the thought of learning through interaction and games, which is exactly what Primrose Schools provides. Every teacher my son had was attentive of his needs, as if he was their own. We expressed that we were ion the process of teaching my son sign language, not because he needed this, but because it was important for us to teach him ways to express himself when he did not have a huge vocabulary. I was so surprised when I was told that they would continue to work on sign language with him, I mean shocked! I focused lots of my time working on baby signing with him and to find a school that valued this and supported my goals for him was something I never thought I could find.

The curriculum at Primrose is very diverse and my son is always coming home with artwork that he is very proud of. The environment of the school is very welcoming and friendly and most importantly, you can tell they really truly care about my son. 

My children are currently 16 months, 4 and 8 years old. My two older children’s favorite teamwork activity are building tiles called, shapemags. These thin building blocks that have magnets inside and are perfect for building walled structures while using critical thinking and their imaginations. It also has been great for teamwork as both of my children have had to learn to work together while building and to share the tiles. It has helped both of them learn patience, team effort and even problem solving. These are all invaluable qualities that will help my children as they grow.

We all know parenting can be very challenging at times. Whether you are a stay-at-home parent or a working outside the home parent, raising children is something we work on every day, all day. I started introducing my children to different playtime activities to work on their executive functioning skills at the age of 6 months. It’s never too soon to start working on these important techniques that will assist our children with their brain development daily. Even starting my youngest son at 6 months, we were using blocks to pick up and learn to stack. When he was 9 months, we started using cheerios to place in cups. It’s seem so small, but these fine motor and problem solving skills have really helped my son’s improve in many areas.

Just the other morning when we went to breakfast, I noticed my baby doing something so different, as we watched we were all in awe. He took the cheerios that we laid out on the table in front of him and used his straw to pick up each one. After he finished picking each one up, he clapped for himself. This was so exciting to watch as a parent because it really demonstrated his ability to focus and problem solve. It was especially exciting to see him do this all on his own.

 

Learning doesn’t have to be stressful, it can be fun and Primrose can show you how.

We love that Primrose Schools focuses on executive function skills in the classroom as well as provide support to parents outside the class to continue to work with their children. With Primrose’s monthly newsletter, parents are provided many different ideas and creative resources to work with their children when at home.

 

One of the major benefits of working on these executive function skills at home is that the kids are having fun at the same time. They are developing these skills while engaging in activities that are enjoyable for their school age.

 

Primrose is hosting an amazing giveaway and everyone is invited! The Primrose Prize Pack includes $250 Barnes & Noble gift card and 5 Children’s books! You can easily enter this giveaway by subscribing to their newsletter online. The emailed newsletter includes Pointers for Parents and showcases time-tested research and, – tips for everyday parenting challenges and tons of constructive games, crafts and recipes that continue the learning fun at home. It’s great and something every parent can use and enjoy. 

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE! 

If you are looking in the area for kids from infant up thru private pre-K, make sure to tour a Primrose School!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2017 Mazda CX-5: First Drive & Review

 

Note: I received a 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD to test drive around town for one week in order to facilitate my honest review. No monetary compensation was received for this article and all opinions are 100% my own.

Mazda CX-5 arrival. Photo cred: my 4 year old.

This past week our California weather was absolutely perfect for testing out the 2017 Mazda CX-5. Now that our family of four has grown to be a family of five, there are definitely specific features that we look for in a family friendly vehicle. I’m excited to share with you the things we loved about the CX-5!

If you are not familiar with the Mazda CX-5, it is a stylish crossover, with a classy interior and gorgeous features. I mean, let’s be honest, when looking for a vehicle the first thing we notice is it’s looks, right? My husband and I always go back and forth on this.  His favorite quote is, “It’s not about what it looks like, but what it can do.” He’s serious, one hundred percent serious, but thankfully we both easily came to the agreement that, at first look, the CX-5, is all around pretty stunning.

After my first few minutes behind the wheel of the 2017 CX-5, I can totally understand how this compact crossover has been such an all-around winner for Mazda. It feels like a lavish and high-end SUV but for a price that is shockingly much less.

Just a handful of my favorite features on the CX-5 include the popular heated and cooled seats, not only in the front of the vehicle, but there is even the option for heated seats on the back seats as well, which is the first I have personally tried. The Windshield-projected Active Driving Display with Traffic Sign Recognition (yes, this totally was a pleasant surprise for me too), rear seats that recline and amazing comfort. This is just a few of what we loved, but don’t worry, I have detailed pictures of everything!

At first drive, you really notice the 2.5 liter, four-cylinder engine. When merging onto the freeway, its more like gliding with how comfy the seats are and the exceptional steering is really noticeable. Again, this is typically something you would see in higher-end vehicles, so it is definitely a surprise to see such upscale features at the price point of the CX-5.

The white leather interior of the CX-5 is a huge step up in my opinion from last year’s model.  The two position memory driver’s seat and the six way power adjustable front passenger seat are also qualities we love in the CX-5. The heated steering wheel and rear seats are not something I thought we would find at this price point that was a pretty big surprise.

I personally really appreciated the infotainment controls that allow full access to the radio and touch screen without having to adjust the seat or lean forward while driving. I really hope that this carries over to all newer vehicles across the board as it is such a convenient advancement. The small nob controls the entire menu, including the navigation and radio. We found the navigation and Bluetooth capability very easy to use which is always a plus.

The heads up display also has a few tricks up its sleeve. Mazda calls it the “windshield-projected Active Driving Display,” which is the same thing, just a little fancier name. It shows your speed and navigations directions, but what I was impressed by was the traffic sign recognition. I didn’t actually notice this at first, but the heads-up display with actually show a photo of a stop sign as you are going to approach it, so you can focus on the road. Sometimes it’s the little things that really can be the most impressive, and this was one of them that I wasn’t expecting but safety wise, this was really nice to see.

One thing we noticed before installing the car seats is that the 2017 CX-5 has two additional USB outlets in the back seat, bringing it to a total of four. These are located in the arm rest when you lower it. Both of my children have their tablets to read and play learning games on when we go on lengthy rides, so I’m sure that most parents I know can really appreciate this. For a smaller family I think this is very useful, but unfortunately we weren’t able to take advantage of it being that we needed all of the 3 seats in the back for our children, so we did not have access to these. You also will notice the cup holders and the heated seat buttons, also a pretty awesome upgrade.

The rear seats now have a slight recline for a more comfortable seating position and each of our children’s car seats and boosters were very easy to install, big high fiver for Mazda on that one! Only downfall I would say to this would be that if the infant car seat is installed on one of the passenger sides, you cannot have a very tall person in the seat that sits in front. My husband was not able to set his seat back far enough to be comfortable, because it was touching the car seat. We were able to switch the car seat around as I am much smaller, so this was our work around, but if you have two tall drivers and an infant car seat, this could cause an issue for you.

The air-conditioning vents are also a newer feature. Unfortunately though for us the air vents are located on the back of the center floor console. I would of preferred to see an air vent above so that it could reach the entire back row evenly. For example, our 15 month old is still rear facing in his car seat and he will be until he is at least 2 years old, if not older. Having his rear facing meant that he did not have access to the air vents, as they certainly didn’t reach him. This posed a problem during our drive to Santa Cruz, being that it is about a 2 hour drive and on this specific day it was 103 degrees out. Our older children were just fine, but halfway through our drive we had to turn his car seat around so the vent could reach him because he was soaked in sweat. Even though we only turned him forward facing for a short while as we were close to our destination, it is not something I would recommend doing and honestly I was a little hesitant about. I would like to see an alternative option in the future to accommodate all passengers.

This however would be in most vehicles, so I am not knocking Mazda for this, as we typically only see ceiling air vents in larger SUV’s. It would just be nice to have that option. One of our favorite car seats is the Diono, and if you do need to have 3 children in car seats, I would highly recommend their seats as they are built well and you can easily fit 3 in a back seat,no problem without compromising safety.

We also noticed a substantial size difference in the legroom when my children were in the second-row passenger seats. I couldn’t believe how much room I had to install all 3 car seats, it really was great. When I read that Mazda extended their rear seat cushion, I thought that this was a great idea. While my children are all small at the moment, as parents we do prepare for the future and growing children is definitely something to consider when purchasing a family vehicle. Even if you do not have any children or possibly a smaller family, I’m sure that even the adults that ride in the back seats will appreciate the extra space they will have with the two-position rear bench. The rear doors also open much wider, which was also very noticeable. Another feature we noticed was the quiet interior. As promised Mazda provided a 10% noise reduction and it is definitely noticeable.

I’m pretty sure the sunroof will always be my children’s favorite feature, along with the USB ports in the back of course. The sunroof really just adds to any vehicle and when traveling in the evening, they love to count the stars and it’s great to keep open on evening drives in the summertime.

The Cargo space in the CX-5 is not bad at all. We found it to be more than what we needed on any typical day. On an average day we have our stroller, one or two bags, typically the baby bag and my camera. When we visited Santa Cruz for the day we had much more with us, and still no problem fitting everything in the trunk. The retractable Cargo Cover attaches to the lift gate which is such a great idea. I personally find this very useful as I bring my camera equipment with me often and it really helps to keep these items viewable, so I do not always have to bring them with me.

Fuel economy is 23/30 MPG City/ Highway, which is about average for this class and didn’t seem bad at all for the week we tested it. We drove to Santa Cruz for the day (about a 2 hour drive) and took it back and forth on the freeway throughout the week.

Overall, we love the 2017 Mazda CX-5. We think it is an amazing crossover for families of four, possibly even 5 depending on your needs. With all of the additions to the 2017 model, there honestly isn’t too much more I think Mazda can do to top this one. We are impressed by the superior interior and the overall style, as well as the added safety features. It’s fun to drive and pretty much has everything I can think of that families would be looking for in a new reliable vehicle.

The MSRP for the 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring starts at $29,395. Make sure to check out all the options as they do start out as low as $24,045.00, being a very affordable option for many families.

If you are looking for a vehicle that caters to smaller families then definitely check out our Mazda3 Review! 

 

 

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Mama Style – Modern Tee’s You Need

I’m always looking for small shops when I want to purchase unique items. Being a mother myself, I like knowing that I am supporting other small families and their businesses. I recently came across this “MARRIED AF” tee, while doing some online shopping and I was instantly in love!!!

Now, my husband and I have three children together. My youngest is currently 15 months old and my oldest is almost 9. We planned on getting married but definitely took our time with many obstacles in our way. We finally were able to have the wedding we wanted a little over 6 months ago and I could not be more happy to finally rock this awesome tee from, missFITTE!!!

When you look online you will see tons of tee’s similar to this one, but I’m telling you, the quality is amazing! It’s like the softest material evaaaa! Think of LuLaRoe, but softer. Yes, softer!!!! It’s like butta on my skin and honestly, that’s the only way to describe it, it’s amazingly, out of this world, comfy. It was really important for me to have something I could wear that made me feel great but fit great as well. After just having a pretty extensive surgery, a few months after my son was born and thinking I was NEVER going to fit back into a size small or get married at this point, it was the perfect treat.

Lisa, over at missFITTE, is super duper nice and sent me over one of her tees to try. I love it you guys, I rock it all the time, it’s one of my most favorite’s to wear and I am constantly getting compliments on it. I wanted to share this with you because even if you are engaged, you need this tee for your honeymoon. If you are already married, then your best friend needs this at her wedding shower. Everyone you know needs this! Lisa has TONS of more tees that are just as soft with modern styles over on her page. Her customer service is amazing and so is her shop, so definitely check it out when you can!

*photo cred goes to my 4 year old that is pretty snazzy with the camera. He already knows how to work those angles, even on a windy day.

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Freeloader Child Carrier

The Freeloader is the First Child Carrier Built Specifically for Toddlers! It is a new, better child carrier. Compact, lightweight and portable, the Freeloader child carrier uses advanced materials and design to create a better experience for parents who love spending time with their kids. Whether you are traveling by air, going to the zoo, or hiking with your little ones, the Freeloader is ready to help carry the load.

When not in use, the Freeloader’s integrated aluminum seat folds up neatly to the size of a daypack. The Freeloader is a perfect fit for parents that want a lighter, more versatile carrier. The Freeloader features an easy-to-use, 5-point safety harness. The safety harness is specially designed to fasten securely and safely out-of-reach of your child.

The Freeloader provides wide, ergonomic shoulder and waist straps to evenly distribute your child’s weight to your hips and core. The contoured shoulder straps are adjustable and provide extra padding for comfort and support. Padding in the back panel and seat offers extended comfort for your child.

The Freeloader is small enough to carry-on and stows away neatly, making it perfect for air travel, road trips and more! See more at Freeloaders  website and on their Facebook page.

Recieve 10% off your Freeloader Child Carrier when you enter the code “freeloaderfun” Take your children on the adventures of their dreams and don’t forget your camera!

Click here for the coupon!

Kiddy Cruiser 3

The Kiddy Cruiser 3 car seat is a grow with me booster seat for children weighing 33-120 lbs. It adjusts with a child’s height and weight, making it a booster seat worth investing in.  At first look the Cruiser 3 is very modern and plush. I couldn’t wait to get it out of the bag completely to take a better look.  Kiddy is a German car seat manufacture that is very popular in the UK for introducing the harness-free car seats with impact shields to keep children secure and safe. The design and safety features are outstanding!

We received the Onyx Black Kiddy Cruiser 3 for review and we are ready to test it out! As you can see on Kiddy USA’s website, they have so many different colors available.  All very modern and sleek designs. When looking for the perfect car seat, the appearance is always what catches the eye first, but the most important part of any car seat and what will separate it from others, is of course, safety.

First, lifting the Cruiser 3, is it is very lightweight. I mean, not light as a feather, it has some built to it, but it is not insanely heavy, compared to the Diono, which feels like pure metal when you pick up. The Honey Comb V2 material is used in the head and shoulder of the seats. It’s soft yet durable to protect your kiddos in case of an accident.

The shock absorber on the booster seat blocks all sides of the seat that make contact with the seatbelt and are designed to absorb any impact, which is unlike any car seat we have reviewed before. You can tell when touching the sides that they are well built and can definitely hold up during heavy impact.

The instruction manual is located in the back of the booster seat. It even has a plastic built in compact case to keep it in. So smart, because I know from experience, we always misplace our manuals. This is a simple, yet clever idea.

 

A few features that we just love! 

Since the Kiddy Cruiser 3 is a booster seat, it works with an adult seatbelt. The height/weight adjuster is works so well with this booster seat. The entire back seat is adjustable with markings where the eyes should meet, so that you can make sure you have the seat adjusted at the appropriate height for your child. On the back of the seat there is a lever that you can easily pull to adjust the entire back seat. As you pull this up, it will slowly expand in height and adjust with width as well. Almost like a bird slowly spreading its wings, (quote from my 4 year old), it’s true though, that is what it looks like.

There is a red latch on each side of the booster seat near the head support that opens up when pressed, to help you guide the seat belt right through, so that it sits properly across the child’s chest and neck. There are even photos on the side of the car seat as an example in case you are unsure if it is sitting correctly.

Another awesome added bonus of the Kiddy Cruiser 3 is the leg extension. You can easily pull out the bottom section of the car seat to allow your child more space. We tested out the Kiddy Cruiser 3 for a little over 2 weeks and it passed the sleep test! My 8 year old daughter fell asleep no problem, thanks to the comfortable headrest and the leg extension, she was more than comfy.

Now let’s talk about instillation, the fun part, right? I definitely have some horror stories, trying to install some car seats. The sweat, tears and curse words that got me through the pain staking process, and I never understood why it had to be so difficult. Well, the Cruiser 3 has an amazing system, first of it’s kind. With k-fix + connectors the seat anchors into the vehicle so easily. They fold in for convenience and fold out in order to connect. It’s absolutely brilliant! No more, getting lost into the seat looking for the metal hooks trying to connect. They are spaced out equally apart, allowing the car seat to be installed in literally seconds. And just like that, I’m in love.

As far as size is concerned, the booster seat is a somewhat larger seat. It probably would not be too convenient to fit 3 in a row in the backseat of a vehicle, but for our Tahoe, which has separate seating, it works perfectly! Not everyone will keep their child in a booster seat at 8 years old, but I can tell you that as long as I have the option, I will. I am so happy that a company like Kiddy USA has a sizable booster seat that goes up to 120 lbs, so I know that my children are always safe. While you can control your driving,  you cannot control others on the road.

I also have to note that we tested out the Kiddy Cruiser 3 on extremely hot days. We had a huge heat wave in California and i’m happy to say the car seat did not get over heated or hot at all. The material really helped the booster seat stay neutral.

We are happy to say that Kiddy did an outstanding job with the Cruiser 3. We are more than happy with the modern look while keeping safety a top concern. The Kiddy Cruiser 3 retails for $259 and can be purchased at Kiddy USA or Buy Buy Baby. You can read more about the Cruiser 3 here on their website.

Kiddy stands for safety, design, comfort and lifestyle….and we couldn’t agree more.

 

  • Kiddy USA provided us the Cruiser 3 booster seat for review. All opinions stated are 100% my own.