Kid App: We love Sushi Monster

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We recently went on a family vacation for Spring Break and although we limit screen time at home, I knew the iPad would be the entertainment choice for my daughter during our flight.  So I emailed our daughter’s first grade teacher for a list of appropriate educational apps to download.  She sent me back a list of both math and reading/spelling options.  And guess what?  Not only did my daughter have so much fun playing these games on the plane, she got me out of bed at 730am the morning after our vacation(and after going to bed late) to finish playing the math game!

Let’s start with Sushi Monster.  It’s a math game by Scholastic with a monster in the middle of the “sushi bar” holding up a number.  Depending on what game you choose, addition or multiplication, you choose two numbered pieces of sushi that equal that number when added or multiplied together.  There are 7 levels of addition and 5 levels of multiplication and your child can earn trophies for their success!  I would recommend this for multiplication once you know the basic multiplication tables for great practice but for those who already have the basics for addition, go for it!

IMG_0003[1] IMG_0005[1]My Daughter’s thoughts – it’s super fun, it helps teach math, it has fun music and it’s free(Mom’s two cents!)- download it today!  On a scale of 1 – 10, she gave it a 10 for awesome!

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Trader Joe’s – Dinner in 30 Minutes or Less

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I have been shopping at Trader Joe’s for years but mostly in other cities.  During any business trip to St Louis, Chicago or Detroit, I would stop by a TJ’s to pick up numerous pound plus chocolate bars to bring home to the family.  Plus I would grab a few chocolate covered treats and transfer them to ziploc bags to fit in my suitcase(YES, my bag always came home almost 8 pounds heavier!)

Now that they are all over Dallas, I asked some friends what they buy since I have my favorites list(kind of short).  Below are some of the best recommendations I got from mom friends of mine for getting dinner on the table for the family or just the kids in 30 minutes or less!

  • Start your meal with soup- the organic boxed soups are great!  Tomato soup, red pepper/tomato or even butternut squash.
    TJ-butternutsquashsoup
  • Making a great big salad? Add some jarred hearts of palm
  • A salad needs dressing. Try the Reduced fat Cilantro Dressing –  in the refrigerated section(Thanks JR!)
    TJ-cilantro
  • Want Italian?  The Ricotta and Spinach Raviolini(Giant Raviolis) or the Organic 3 cheese frozen pizza (tastes like Italy!) is great with a salad for a quick kid meal!
    ravioliniOrganic-Three-Cheese-Pizza1-526x700
  • Maybe Asian?  Frozen Mandarin Orange Chicken & frozen Jasmine Rice – It’s fun to make Chinese at home and you can do this with or without the sauce!
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  • Enjoying the warmer weather?  Hawaiian Style Boneless Beef Short Ribs– They cook in under 10 minutes on the grill and you can serve them with black beans and rice and fresh pineapple. Perfect weeknight meal in a flash!
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  • BBQ anyone?  Fully cooked Baby Back ribs in Smokey BBQ Sauce. 10 minutes in the oven and they fall off the bone. Or try their grass fed hamburger patties in the freezer section if you want to fire up the grill.
    tj-ribstj-burgers
  • Want to start from scratch?  Try the organic grass fed ground beef or organic free-range chicken breasts
  • Need a veg?  Try the organic baby spinach, bagged and chopped organic broccoli, organic baby carrots or shaved brussel sprouts (just roast them with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder).  (Thanks AG!)
  • A super fun side for kids?  Mac and Cheese balls (freezer section)
    95140-mac-cheese-bites-front

Of course we cannot forget about dessert or appetizers and finger foods for parties but that will be another post!  Anything else you recommend?

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Your Doll Needs Pajamas Too?

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We gave in and bought our daughter an American Girl doll a couple of years ago.  She has asked for a sister for “Leila” but I keep saying no.  Not only are the dolls(and all the accessories) expensive, but she doesn’t play with the doll all that much.  Lately, Leila has been around more and during a recent shopping trip for pajamas, my daughter said Leila needed new pajamas too.

matchingpjsI buy my pajamas at Kohl’s and lucky for me, they had three pairs of girls pajamas on sale that came with…….Ready?   Matching Doll Pajamas!  No trip needed to the American Girl Store.  And no need for me to find a matching nightshirt.  I could use my Kohl’s coupon codes and get Kohl’s cash from the 4 new nightgowns both she and Leila now have.  Considering one of them will grow out of the nightgown by summer, this was a great deal!

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Surprise Mommy-Daughter Dates

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I love Pinterest.  And when I find something really special, I don’t feel bad about all the time I spend searching for new and fun ideas.  I found a pin on Mommy-Daughter dates and thought what a great idea.  Yes, I spend a lot of time with my daughter but during the week it feels like I am running a marathon with her between 6pm pickup and 8pm bedime.  And on the weekends it is doing errands, rushing to activities and eventually ending up at the food store.  I wanted QUALITY TIME and this pin got me thinking.

Create an envelope for every month with a special “date” planned inside.  You open the envelope at the beginning of the month and decide which day that month will be your “date”.  I headed to Michael’s, picked out labels and pretty paper and envelopes and got started.  First I told my daughter my plan and asked her to help me come up with the dates.  Her ideas:  mani/pedi, art class, paint pottery and Dave & Buster’s.  My ideas:  see a show/play/musical, afternoon tea, ice cream party and lunch at the American Girl Store(really her idea but she didn’t mention it during this conversation). We came up with a few more and then I wrote down each “date” on a colored card and sealed it in an envelope.  Last, I shuffled the envelopes and then I attached a label and filled in the month.

image imageOctober is a few short weeks away and I have no idea what is in the envelope but I know it will be a special day for me and my daughter!

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