The Diary of a Nouveau Soccer Mom

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Grilling Just Like Dad with #SizzleNServeGrill from Little Tikes

When the girl was little, she always wanted to grill just like his daddy and grandpa.  We bought her the Little Tikes grill and she would make us tons of pretend foods.  We passed it on to the boy when he was old enough and we enjoyed a second round of yummy grilled plastic foods.

This week, we're checking out the Sizzle N Serve grill from Little Tikes and sharing it with one of our little friends.  The update version is just as cute as it could be, with an orange dome style grill and plenty of yummy foods for your little chef.

What we love:

  • Like most Little Tikes products, it's really easy to assemble!  I had it from box to play in under 5 minutes.
  • It comes with plenty of food--two hotdogs, two hotdog buns, two hamburgers, two hamburger buns, ketchup, mustard, and two cooking utensils.  There is nothing worse at a pretend BBQ than running out of food.
  • Open-ended play.  I'm referring back to the one we had when F&B were little, but they played for *hours* with that toy.  I love cooking toys for kids.  There is always so much to do with them.  Mine made meals, had BBQs, played restaurant, set up a sushi bar, and more!  And any toy that they could play with together happily?  Total win!
  • Everything fits inside for easy storage.  We preferred to store toys with their own pieces, so I love how you can put everything inside the grill and it still shuts.

Connect with Little Tikes on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for all sorts of great summer toy and play ideas or to check out their latest products and contests.

Disclosure: We received a Little Tikes Explorer Sizzle N Serve from MGA Entertainment for the purposes of this review.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Tales

It's time for another awesome Strawberry Shortcake movie and giveaway!  This time, it's for Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Tales, 3 new fairy tales starring all your favorite Strawberry Shortcake characters.  For those of you who didn't know, I loved Strawberry Shortcake as a kid, so I was thrilled when it was relaunched in time for Faith to enjoy it too.  Now, we share it with our little friends when they come to visit.
The spotlight shines on the importance of being true to yourself in Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Tales. Join Plum in “Snowberry and the Seven Berrykins” as she learns to believe in herself when putting on a small and simple play for a young audience. In “Berryella and Prince Berry Charming,” Huck agrees to be in a production, but then quickly realizes that he’d be happier behind the scenes. Strawberry, Lemon and Raspberry star as three princesses on a quest to rule a kingdom in “The Littlest Berrykin,” and realize that they can never succeed without kindness and generosity. With berry important lessons, it’s curtain up on good times and friendship!
We also have a really cool coloring sheet so you can color the Strawberry Shortcake characters.  Just click on the image below to pop up a big file you can print.

What fairy tale would you love to see Strawberry Shortcake recreate?

Disclosure: This information, along with a copy of Strawberry Shortcake: Tales was provided to me as part of my relationship with Fox Home Entertainment Insiders. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Summer Fun with the Little Tikes Explorer Wagon

Nothing says summer like taking the kids for a walk in their wagon, and we're checking out the Little Tikes Explorer Wagon this week!

Now this wagon?  This was the wagon I should have had when F&B were little and I had to cart them around.  It has all the features I needed back then and couldn't find.

  • It is easy to assemble!  I did it myself in about 20 minutes, just needing a hammer and screwdriver, no fancy tools required.  I love toys that don't require 3 adults and an engineering degree to put them together.
  • The wagon sides pop on and off, so you can use it as a flatbed wagon or stick it in the trunk of your car.  Once the sides are removed, the handle folds flat for the smallest storage space.  This is especially nice if you need it in the trunk of a sedan or to turn it sideways in an SUV or minivan.
  • There's a precut hole if you want to add an umbrella. If not, there's a cap to cover the hole so little fingers don't explore.  My children were firm believers in poking their fingers into everything, so the snap-down cap on the hole is a MUST.
  • It's big enough to hold two young children and strong enough to carry up to 130lbs.  By the time my two combined to that weight, we didn't need to be putting them both in a wagon anymore.  

For size reference, Dante allowed me to plop him in the wagon.  It also fits one border collie very comfortably.  We are looking forward to sharing it with my friend's sweet little girls!  And come Girl Scout cookie season?  You know Faith will be loading it up to visit around the neighborhood.  Even with older kids, a wagon definitely can come in handy and the use carries long past the toddler stages.

Connect with Little Tikes on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all sorts of great summer toy and play ideas or to check out their latest products and contests.

Disclosure: We received a Little Tikes Explorer Wagon from MGA Entertainment for the purposes of this review.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Lucky the TurfMutt, Environmental Stewardship Program

Are you worried your child is getting a little too much screen time and not enough learning and sunshine? A real-life rescue dog named Lucky can help.

Lucky is the TurfMutt, a dog who was rescued from the side of a busy highway. Now living in a happy home, Lucky is “pawing it forward” by inspiring children to care for green spaces while learning science. And your child can join the TurfMutt on his mission to save the planet, one yard at a time.

Designed for children in grades K-5, the TurfMutt environmental stewardship and education program uses a unique cartoon-based story-telling format to make science accessible, entertaining and engaging for children and their families.

Scholastic Education, the world’s largest education provider, has brought Lucky and his team of cartoon superheroes, known as “The Outdoor Powers” to more than 1 million children in 35,000 classrooms and more than half a million teachers. The Outdoor Powers, which include Green Ranger, Professor Botany, Water Warrior, the Oxygenator, and Big Rooty, help TurfMutt fight environmental villains like Carbon Creep, Dust Demon, Dr. Runoff, and Heat Freak. TurfMutt and his friends invite children to join them on their adventures and chip in to become good environmental stewards.

The program website,, offers take-home sheets and learning activities for families, interactive games for children, and a digital storybook. An online writing tool also helps children create their own stories. Parents, teachers and homeschoolers can also download lesson plans. Videos offer tips on going green and a blog shares advice weekly on how improve your yard.

In the backyard science activities, kids can explore how grass keeps water and air clean and the planet cooler, how plants make rivers and lakes healthier, and how grass helps to prevent water pollution. The program’s materials are free and aligned to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) standards for grades K to 5. They’re also tons of fun!
Funded and managed by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) Research and Education Foundation, the TurfMutt program has been applauded by educators, youth and families. Since its inception in 2009, the program has reached 38 million students, teachers and families and is listed as a resource on the websites of the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the Center for Green Schools, and many others.

“Any child can be a backyard superhero, just like Lucky the TurfMutt,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI and Lucky’s rescuer. “We hope that parents and children enjoy the online educational materials featuring TurfMutt and his friends. Our goal is to inspire people to go outside and take care of green spaces, which benefits our families and communities for generations to come. It’s all about pawing it forward.”

Disclosure: This information was provided to me from TurfMutt and Scholastic.  No compensation was received, but we really love rescue dogs!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Make a DIY Playhouse for Lalaloopsy Tinies

Faith and I are having a lot of fun checking out the new Lalaloopsy Tinies dolls!  There's something just too fun about these little mini-figures and the actual curly hair is awesome.

What we love about them?
  • They are adorable!  I can't get past how cute they are.
  • They are teeny tiny.  Faith always loved the miniature toys over anything normal sized.
  • They are portable.  When Faith was a toddler, I always had a few mini things in my purse to keep her entertained while we are out.
  • There are tons of varieties, even animals.  I want a few of those for me.  

We missed the original Lalaloopsy craze since Faith was a little bit older when they came out, but mini figures are still a lot of fun to play with.  Since Faith loves crafting and doodling, we decided to design a little playset for the Tinies, that would be the perfect take-along toy since it folds up to the size of a book.  Even better, you can add on to it or design a new set anytime you feel like it!

We used this basic fold up tutorial from Kids Activity Blog.  I had some white shipping cardboard leftover from a package (about the thickness of a cardboard box).  I cut it in half, then each half in half again.  I penciled in a few roof shapes and cut those angles with large scissors.  We wanted a few doors and windows, so I traced those lightly in pencil, then used a craft knife to cut them out.

Then came the fun part!  We doodled houses and designs onto each building to decorate a street scene--windows, doors, gardens, even a few butterflies and pets.  Once the drawings were finished, we set the houses out in order and I punched two holes in the shared sides.  We tied them with a bit of ribbon and cut off the edges.  You'll want to tie them in a large M or W shape so they fold up easily.

You can find the Lalaloopsy Tinies at Target, Walmart, Toys R Us, and Amazon, don't forget to collect the different sets!  Or check out Lalaloopsy online at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Disclosure: We received a package of Lalaloopsy Tinies with Hair from MGA Entertainment for the purposes of this review.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Perfect Date Night with The Longest Ride: The Update

So, are you dying to know how our perfect date night went?  Or probably more like our date week since the kids were at camp up through this morning?

We've actually had quite the lovely week.  We had lunch with a good friend from Colorado one day, dinner with our best friends from Dallas on another, had a BBQ with our new church life group here in Washington on yet another day, then grilled steaks and baked potatoes while relaxing at home on the fourth day.  We walked Dante-dog through all the cool trails in our neighborhood and caught up on our favorite shows and movies.

We also loved our The Longest Ride date night from Fox Home Insiders and all the fun goodies they sent us.  It's so great to actually have a movie night alone, just the two of us, without interruptions.  We grilled out at our house and had a nice dinner before settling down to watch the movie.  And, we were able to watch from start to finish without any complaints or pressing matters that involved pausing our film to solve.

Our The Longest Ride Date Night Basket included:
  • A copy of The Longest Ride on Blu-ray 
  • Orville Redenbacher Popcorn 
  • Kernel Seasonings (To spice up your popcorn) 
  • Chex Mix
  • Autographed copy of The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
You can also pick up all these items at Target by ordering online and selecting pick-up inshore.  Don't forget to use their Cartwheel app for more coupons too!

What is your perfect date night?  Do you go somewhere or just hang out at home?  I'd love to hear!

Disclosure: This information, along with a copy of The Longest Ride, the date night basket,  and other goodies, was provided to me as part of my relationship with Fox Home Entertainment Insiders. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Home {Giveaway}

Have you been following us with our Home road trip this summer?  It's been awesome and we all love the alien Oh! He's simply too cute and the kids have been having lots of fun with their squishy Oh toys.  This week, we have a copy of the movie to give away to one of our readers.
Celebrate family, friendship and fun in the surprise smash comedy hit of the year from the creators of How To Train Your Dragon and Shrek! In DreamWorks Animation's HOME, Oh, a loveable misfit from another planet meets a girl named Tip. The two unlikely friends embark on the greatest journey of all time...the journey HOME.
Doesn't it seem perfect for a family movie night? Faith & Ben really enjoyed it and we need to watch it again soon.

Before we get to the giveaway, we have lots of cute printables to help you have a whole family movie experience.  Just click on the photos below and they'll pop up into a printable sized version.

Ready to enter?  Just use the Rafflecopter below and tell me where your summer road trip is taking you!  For extra entries, you can tweet about the giveaway too.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: The goodies in this post, including the iPad Air and digital copy of Home, were provided to me as part of my relationship with Fox Home Entertainment Insiders. All opinions expressed are my own.


© Shannon Carino 2006-2013, Design by Custom Blog Designs