Imaginative Play with LEGO® DUPLO ®

I am really loving the age that Emma Kate is at right now. Just in the past month, her language has exploded, her motor skills have gotten a lot better, and she has gotten way more imaginative with playtime, which is also really fun for me! One of her new favorite things to do is to play with LEGO® DUPLO® bricks.

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These preschool building toys are specially designed for little hands (ages 1½ – 5 years old). They are much larger than regular LEGO® bricks (twice the size!) Making them safer for toddlers and preschoolers and easier for them to handle.

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I have to admit, playing with these toys brought back so many childhood memories for me, I love how LEGO® bricks have stood the test of time, and more than 25 years after I played with them in my living room, now my daughter is playing with them in our living room!

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As soon as Emma Kate opened the box, I was down on the floor next to her, helping her set up the “choo choo train” and building tall towers that are “so high” (her favorite). I think it’s so important to not only let a child’s imagination grow, but as parents, we should be partnering with our kids in playtime, showing them the ropes and encouraging them to learn new things. Kids learn by playing, touching, and experiencing new things. It is my job to guide Emma Kate on this learning journey, and LEGO® DUPLO® just makes it a lot of FUN!

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LEGO® DUPLO® offers so much flexibility and open-ended play for each stage of your young one’s development. You can do things from build towers, to trains, to buildings and more. There are even figurines like cute dogs and little people to put in the structures.

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Ready to be inspired for playtime with your little ones? Head over to LEGO.com/Family and see what you can do to help nurture your child’s imagination.     

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QOTD: What is your family way to play with your kids and help their imaginations grow?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Swim Readiness: Then and Now

This post was sponsored by Speedo. Thanks for the products you sent to me and Emma Kate!

Before I had a baby, getting dressed and ready to swim was a fairly simple task. I only had to think about what I needed to do for myself, and myself alone. Oh how I took for granted those simpler times, because getting a child ready to swim is a whole different ball game! I wanted to take you through my step by step process of what it’s like now to get ready to go to the pool/water with a toddler.

The dance of the swimsuit:

First I have to actually convince my toddler to get into her swimsuit. This may or may not involve chasing, begging, wrestling, and crying (me, not her). Ok, so maybe I’m kidding a little, but once Emma Kate saw her adorable new sun shirt from Speedo, she asked me to immediately help her get it on. This sun shirt is quick drying. It also is UV50+ and provides protection from harmful sun rays. To learn more about this product, go to this page. Emma Kate was obsessed with the butterflies on it!

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The “slather”:

Putting sunscreen on a child is very, very important, but also extremely difficult. As a teenager, I worked at a local summer camp, and distinctly remember how hard it was to get squirmy four year olds to stay still long enough to coat them in the protective stuff. Inevitably, one would turn their head and sunscreen would get in their eyes, hair, etc. Thankfully, Emma Kate understands the importance of sun protection, and knows she will not get to go near the water without it, so she generally complies without too much fuss when I slather it on her.

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Swim Shoe shuffle:

We have a water table and kiddie splash pad we like to set up in the backyard. However, we quickly realized that when the concrete gets wet, it’s quite slippery. I immediately got Emma Kate some swim shoes from Speedo, and now she is much safer. They are also great for the pool or pool deck so their little feet don’t get blisters! We love the awesome colors too, and how easy it is to get them on and off with their four way stretch.

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Rules were made to be broken—er… followed:

I know Emma Kate is only two, but she had a pretty firm grasp on what is expected of her when we are near water. No running, no getting in the water without me, and always wear your swim vest/life jacket. We obey other adults and life guards and stay in the shallow water. Even at her age I feel it’s important to be consistently repetitive so she knows what is expected of her ahead of time.

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The rinse:

I always think it is wise to rinse off in the shower (most pools have an outdoor one nearby) before getting in the water. I mean, we are dealing with toddlers here, and at any given time there are five different kinds of food stuck to her face and in her hair, and we don’t want to get that in the pool.

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So on top of getting mommy in her cute Speedo swimsuit and cover up, (My new swimsuit has great adjustable straps on the top, and is stretchy and flexible. My cover up is super comfy and has a lightweight, cute racerback design) and getting sunscreen applied, there are a lot of other things to consider these days. I have to plan ahead, and make sure I have allowed enough time to get together everything we need for a fun and successful day in the water.

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Affiliate links are not associated with Speedo.

A Quick and Delicious Start

I have partnered with belVita and Dannon to help promote the belVita and Dannon partnership. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program, which includes writing about the promotion and product. However, my opinions are entirely my own, and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

I will admit, I am not a big breakfast eater. This goes back to my elementary school days, and I am just typically never that hungry in the mornings. This has come back to haunt me in my pregnancy, so I am having to be careful to make sure I get a full and nutritious breakfast in the mornings not only for my health but for the health of my baby. I don’t like to spend a lot of time preparing something most days, and prefer to get straight to work at my laptop. When I heard about the partnership with Dannon and belVita, and their quick and convenient breakfast partnership, I was excited to try this #MorningWin for myself. no cooking involved, just grabbing a quick but filling breakfast is right up my alley.

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The yogurt contains 12 grams of protein (twice as much as regular non fat yogurt), and the belVita crunchy biscuits give me continuous energy to power me through until lunch time. (Everything tastes great, too!) I will try any flavor of Greek yogurt, but I went with my standby of strawberry this time. As far as the belVita goes, I bought golden oat and cinnamon brown sugar, and the honey oat is my favorite! Other belVita flavors are apple cinnamon, chocolate, and blueberry. Each package of biscuits is individually wrapped with 4 biscuits, so they are easy to throw in your purse along with your yogurt to eat on the go if necessary.

For someone busy in the mornings, it can help to have a plan for how to get the most out of your time when you wake up. Check out these tips:

Tips to get the most out of your morning:

-Prepare as much as you can the night before, you will thank yourself in the morning!

-Plan your to do list a day early. Again, less to do the next day!

-Start your morning with a yummy, balanced breakfast. This will help ensure that you have the stamina to get your to do list done, and have a productive day!

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Be sure to visit the Dannon and belVita websites for more product information, and use hashtag #MorningWin when talking about this great breakfast combo!

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QOTD: What is your favorite easy/go to breakfast?