Tuesday, March 3, 2015

YouTube Kids App Review! #YouTubeKids #d2dKids

We've tested out the YouTube Kids app for about a week now, as well as joining in on the fun this past weekend at the #YouTubeKids app launch party here in New York City.  It's everything we as parents all needed but just didn't know.  The app was created from the ground up with our little ones in mind, and it shows.
 
Kids these days end up with our phone or tablet one way or another - and if their anything like my kids, will figure out YouTube right away. But ever have to skip over ads or random strange videos for them? Not to mention having to sit with them making sure everything they've clicked on is safe, and of course there's limiting their screen time too. 

The YouTube Kids app erases worries we as parents might have about letting them explore on YouTube. Here are the basics you will love:
  • Set a timer to set limits on screen time.
  • Sound settings where you can turn off background music and sound effects.
  • Search settings allows you to turn off the 'search' function, and children are only able to access pre-selected videos.
  • And in the case inappropriate videos does pop up, easily notify YouTube right from the app, as well as with any other feedback.
Basics your kids will love:
  • When your little one opens the app - it's fun and inviting, much like opening a game application.
  • Being the tech savvy kids they are- they'll learn to navigate real quick.
  • All their favorite videos are all organized and placed in full color making it easier for curios little minds to explore safely. 
  • Search option for older kids to search within the kid friendly app. and only allowing filtered videos to appear. 

It's simple. It's free. Download it today available in the U.S on Google Play and in the App Store.  It will soon be available on Kurio and nabi kids' tablets.  No reason not to give it a try!  
 
My 2 year old and 6 year old tested it out as we celebrated at the official launch party of the YouTube Kids app this past weekend - they approve!  I think the app is perfect from preschoolers up to when your child is "too old" for the app.  As I found older kids seem to want to use regular YouTube to explore.  What can I say, kids these days - they want to grow up so fast!   
*Thanks YouTube for letting us be apart of the #YouTubeKids app launch party!
 
Remember it's still the Internet, the app will not watch your kids for you, however it will help.  I love YouTube for having all the educational resources available for me to use as a parent, and as a homeschooling parent.  I teach, and play with my kids - then there's videos they could watch to further their learning.  Fun songs that teach my toddler, phonics.. to Lego videos that inspire my sons creativity. Makes learning with my kids as fun as the picture above!

I've already read reviews saying the timer can be reset by closing the app and reopening.  Well, I'm totally okay with that! That's why I am the parent. My son will get the "alarm" of sorts that screen time is over, and will have self control and discipline.  Also heard complaints that the passcode can be unlocked easily by anyone who can read, while that is true - same thing applies.  I will teach my children to not access that part, and if I'm doing anything right - they should listen to me. 

If you've let your child watch YouTube videos before, I think this just makes it allot more organized and fun for them with the added controls for parents. 




 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Big Hero 6 -Baymax Themed Brunch #BigHero6 #FunLunchforKids #d2dKids

Not sure if you've heard but all the excitement for Big Hero 6 has returned again!  They won Best Animated Feature at the Oscars and is now available on Blu-Ray.  This movie has been one of our very favorites this year.  My son - for the first time, counted down the days to see it in theatres when it came out and still a fan of the motion picture.  So in celebration of the excitement, I made our brunch Big Hero 6 themed by having Baymax himself sitting in the bowl.
Rice and seaweed is all you need for your main centerpiece, Baymax. 
At this point you can add anything you want into the bowl and make the meal complete.  Great way to have rice on the side of any dish and make it extra fun for the kids.
We had some veggies and some bacon to complete our meal.  Make a meal look fun like this, and your kids will eat it all up!   



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How to Make an Ice Igloo with Sugar Cubes + How to Video #d2dKids #craftingwithkids #allergyfriendly

Making an ice igloo with sugar cubes is the perfect way to spend some quality time with your kids indoors during these cold winter days.  Forget about the gingerbread house that requires allot more time and ingredients - make an ice igloo instead!  If you have food allergies, it isn't always easy to find ways to have fun building, or playing with food but this only requires 3 ingredients.
Watch the quick video above to see how we made our own.  Please 'Like' and subscribe if you like the video.
Mix water and powdered sugar to form "glue."
You will need:
Powdered sugar
Water
Sugar Cubes
Paper Plate - or any other flat surface
Optional - plastic/wooden tool to spread the "glue" over the sugar cubes
Mix the powdered sugar until it gets into a thick glue like texture.
Outline a circle as the base of your igloo on your white paper plate.
Use the glue you have made to hold the sugar cubes together as you build up from the main base.
After your second base, start placing your sugar cubes in smaller circles until you make it to the top.

We've made marshmallow igloos before, but thought using sugar cubes will be just as fun and as you can see it can't get any easier than this!  So stay warm indoors, and have fun making sugar cube ice igloos with your kids today!  



Monday, February 23, 2015

DIY Surprise Eggs and Opening - Featuring Environmentally Friendly Eco Eggs #d2dKids #MadeinUSA #EasterCraftIdea #Easter #AllergyFriendly #foodallergy #gf

As I walked through the Toy Fair for the first time this year, I was introduced to Eco Eggs.  I initially stopped because I am always looking for a fun alternative to real eggs during Easter time due to our allergy to eggs.  I have bought the common plastic eggs from my local convenient store in the past, but found these to be a great alternative.  These are made 100% with plants, so they are completely compostable.  We can't always be completely environmentally friendly but we could all try, and a something like Eco Eggs makes it easy.  They are made to be re-used, and come in fun colors pink, yellow, green, purple, and blue. 
Most of us buy plastic eggs each year for many different uses like simply putting treats in it for the Easter egg hunt, why not purchase Eco Eggs so we can be better to our earth and environment.  Another added plus is that it is made in USA.   
 
I'm not waiting for Easter time to have fun with Eco Eggs, I have started the fun by creating my own allergy friendly "egg surprise" for my kids to enjoy to test out the eggs.  I have a 24 pack, and I only used 6 which I can wash and re-use for many other uses.  I don't know about you but anything with a surprise package to open has been the latest craze with my kids lately, and since I can't purchase them "Play-Doh surprise" eggs due to wheat allergies, or those "Kinder" eggs surprise packages due to other food allergies, I decided to create my own for my kids to enjoy.

I placed fun little surprise toys and wrapped the plastic with modeling clay to simply give the kids the same thrill of opening any other surprise egg they have been seeing online.  In the video above, they are opening Disney Palace Pets, and some Crashling figures.  Check out the video above and if you like what you see, please subscribe and like so we know!  
Check out Eco Eggs online to learn more, and while you're there learn what Eco Grass is about as well. More information direct from the site:

"Made in the USA from Plants | 100% Renewable Content
Plant vs Petroleum-Based | Non-Toxic Durable Plastic
Less Energy Use and Emission Waste in Production
Meant to be Stored and Reused for Many Easters
Store in a Cool Dry Place | Safe for Kids
Cost-Competitive with China-Produced Easter Eggs
Two Egg Sizes Shown Below | Tight-Snapping Closure"






 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Raggedy Ann Celebrates Her 100th Birthday! #TFNY #TF15 #ToyFair15 #RaggedyAnn

It was hard to avoid walking into Aurora World Inc.'s booth at the Toy Fair as it was full of their high quality plush toys in all it's varieties.  I was lured in from far when I saw an adorable Yoohoo and Friends banner, and I was so glad I checked out their booth.  Greeted by all the colorful plush toys and gifts, right away I saw Raggedy Ann who is celebrating her 100th birthday this year.  In celebration Aurora World has released a special edition Raggedy Ann doll and Raggedy Ann rag dolls with "Stars and Stripes," they all feature an all American red, white and blue theme.

Michael Kessler, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Aurora has been quoted saying "The Stars and Stripes dolls celebrate the goodwill, kindness and compassion that the RAGGEDY ANN doll creator Johnny Gruelle envisioned for the people of our nation."

The designs screams to be collected and cherished.  They all have exclusive 100th year embroidery and commemorative hangtags on every doll.  As a mother I know my kids will love them, and as a mother who once loved dolls, I adore them myself.  Look for them on shelves!
If you are like me, you might not be familiar with the name Aurora World Inc. but once you see their plush toys, dolls and gifts - you'll realize how familiar they actually are.  I have personally have seen some of their plush toys in stores, even more recently since my daughter has started her love for everything plush.  I'm excited to have connected with Aurora at the Toy Fair.  The anniversary special edition dolls are available in stores now.
Happy 100th birthday Raggedy Ann!

More about Aurora from their site:
"Aurora World, Inc. is a leading manufacturer and supplier of high quality, competitively priced plush toys, dolls and gifts. Aurora’s name reflects its extensive product lines and growing influence in the worldwide marketplace, as well as its international manufacturing, R&D and distribution resources. Founded in 1981, the company has headquarters in Korea, United States, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, and has ascended quickly to become a respected leader in the toy and gift industry. Aurora created the international plush toy phenomenon - YooHoo & Friends™ - and its corresponding interactive web site (www.yoohoofriends.com), appealing to young children and tweens alike. The company sells its products via a wide variety of retailers including major zoos, high-end toy stores such as FAO Schwarz, top gift and stationery chains such as Nordstrom, Hallmark and Papyrus, hospital gift shops, fine florists and specialty stores worldwide. Learn more at www.auroragift.com."

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Potty Training Tips #parenting #pottytraining #pottytrainingtips

My daughter is now 2 years old and ready to potty train.  I think the hardest part is being consistent as parents when it comes to potty training our little ones.  My daughter has shown that she is ready for a while now, but honestly with our schedules I have failed on being consistent with her.  Giving it another try this week, and really sticking to a schedule.  I don't remember everything I did with my son years back, but I remember it being so easy but after having multiple children I have learned, just like every pregnancy is different, every child is different.

No matter what kind of parent you are, it will be different every time - if you have more than one child.  Don't be hard on yourself of your child when potty training.  It will take time, and persistence.  Speak to your child and keep offering their potty seat often during the day.  On top of persistence, my next tip of all would be to not start too early in your attempts.  If you see your child knows when she/he is going in her diaper, that is one sign.  If you see your child hiding when they go, they are most likely ready.  If they are verbal and telling you when they go or after they go, they are most likely ready.  I find that if you start too early it can be both discouraging for you and your child.   

If you are home with your child and able to stay on top of it - a child can be fully potty trained in as little time as 2 weeks.  I have read reward systems work for some kids, but with my son I didn't have any.  I don't have a reward system going on with my daughter either, just simple praise and letting her know she is a big girl when she does a good job.  Naturally the excitement shows when she does succeed! :)

As far as potty training diapers go, I don't have experience with them.  As I mentioned, my son was very easy to potty train.  I remember one day, just telling him he is a big boy, letting him know there is no diaper so he has to go potty in his big boy seat and it worked.  I also *think* real big kid underwear motivates them, as well as wets them if they go, so they are more aware of what the whole purpose of going in the potty is all about.

So if you are potty training, keep at it, and good luck.  Remember every child is different, feel free to stop, and try again another time.  Oh..and be ready to clean up after accidents because they will happen. ;)