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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Chirping Mom Review: Outdoor Table & Bench Set

Where to Wednesday: Outdoor Dining For Kids

Now that the warm weather has finally arrived, we want to stay outside all day! 
In addition to playing outside all day, it's fun to eat dinner outside too. The kids love it and clean up is super easy. Then after dinner you can put the kids in the bath, put them to bed and come downstairs to a clean kitchen. 

The key with serving little kids dinner outside, is having some ideas on hand that don't require much cooking. If you're having a blast playing outside, it's a lot harder to make kids come indoors for an hour while you cook something, just to get shoes back on to go outside to eat. I like to switch it up between meals I can make them on the grill while they play and meals that I can prepare much earlier in the day and run in to grab when it's dinner time. 

10 Outdoor Meals Ideas for Kids

1. Cold Kabobs 
Put rolled turkey, american cheese, strawberries, tomatoes, etc on a skewer

2. Chicken Kabobs 
Make ahead: cubed chicken breast, pineapple, green pepper. Cook on the grill.  

3. Lunch for Dinner 
My kids always get a kick out of breakfast for dinner - now we've added lunch for dinner. I even pack it in a lunch box earlier in the day. This is a really easy way to eat dinner outside!

4. Cold Taco Bar 
Use a muffin tin to make a cold taco bar: shredded cheese, black beans, chopped tomato, avocado, etc. Put a taco shell in one of the muffin spots and serve! This is a meal that's super messy and great for outdoor fun.

5. Pizza Bagels On The Grill
Have the kids make a pizza on a sliced bagel: sauce, cheese, etc. Then while they play, cook the pizzas on the grill. It's way more fun to make pizzas outside, so the shredded cheese disaster stays outdoors!

6.  Dinner In A Muffin Tin
This is another great "make ahead" outdoor meal. Use a muffin tin to prepare dinner, fill with: cheese, carrots, cucumbers, edamame, cubed ham, mini peanut butter sandwiches, grapes, etc. This makes an easy meal to grab from the fridge and bring outside. 

7. Sliders on the Grill
For little kids eating outside -  grill little burgers!

8. Kids Pasta Salad
This recipe can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for a few days. It's easy and my kids love it!
Ingredients: Cooked pasta, cubed ham or pepperoni, cubed cheddar cheese, corn, cucumber, and green pepper. Mix everything together and toss with a little bit of Paul Newman Balsamic Vinaigrette. OR if you think your kids will run at the sight of the vinaigrette (Maggie used to), you can also just toss with  olive oil. 

9. Grilled Hot Dogs and Corn
This is a pretty traditional one: just grill some hotdogs and corn on the cob. 

10. Take Out 
Here's a real easy one: while the kids are having fun running around the yard, call the pizza guy! We do this all the time and even tell the delivery man to "deliver to the yard". 

A Place To Eat....
One thing I was on the hunt for this spring was a great outdoor table for the kids. We started eating outside a lot at the end of last summer, and while an occasional picnic is fun, it's not that easy for toddlers to eat dinner on a blanket. After much searching, I found an awesome outdoor table and bench set from KidKraft. I read great reviews online and thought it looked adorable. 
I was even more impressed when it arrived. It's very well made and the cushions are durable and easy to clean. I also love having an umbrella on the table. Sometimes when we are outside playing all day, we like to take snack breaks or coloring/craft breaks in the shade. This table is perfect for that. The benches are low to the ground and safe for someone small, like Alex, but big enough that I know even Maggie will fit at the table for the next few years. The girls love the new KidKraft table and benches, and now they really never want to eat indoors! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Monster Manor Review by Miss Frugal

We recently had the pleasure of reviewing one of KidKraft’s newest dollhouses, the Monster Manor, which has become an instant hit in our home. KidKraft is a company that I already knew and loved, as they are well known for providing quality and long lasting toys/furniture for kids. I absolutely adore wooden kids toys and after being a mom for almost eight years, I have come to realize that these are the ones that last for many years. 

Upon receiving the Monster Manor Dollhouse, I found myself impressed with how generously packaged it was in order to protect it during shipment. Every single piece of the dollhouse was numbered with a little sticker, allowing me to easily follow the step-by step directions. Even the hardware was labeled and separated into their own little compartments. 

While it took me about two hours to set the dollhouse up, the directions were easy to follow and everything went together with ease. One thing that I really liked about the set up of the dollhouse is that each screw head has color on the top of it, that way they match the dollhouse. Now you don’t have a dollhouse with a bunch of exposed, shiny screw heads all over it, instead the screws blend right in, a very great feature in my opinion!

KidKraft Monster Manor Dollhouse Review

The Monster Manor is very large, sturdy and unique dollhouse that includes eight pieces of furniture. The colors are so vibrant and really catches your eye, KidKraft did a fantastic job with the color scheme. I just love how the dollhouse is crooked, this really emphasizes the haunted house look. 

There is so much little detail put into the features throughout the dollhouse that make it unique and fun. My daughter had a handful of dolls that fit right in with the theme of the dollhouse and she spent all afternoon playing. Even my three year old son finds himself intrigued with it and sneaks into his sister’s room to play with it any chance he gets!

 KidKraft Monster Manor Dollhouse Review

My daughter is a few months shy of her eighth birthday and is also tall for her age. So as you can see from this image below, the Monster Manor is quite large and perfect for children her age!

 KidKraft Monster Manor Dollhouse Review

What is the best feature of the Monster Manor you ask? It provides my children with the opportunity to play together peacefully as they use their imaginations! They have spent so much time together playing haunted house and rearranging the rooms. Their age difference makes it difficult for them to find a common interest and I am delighted that they have found one!

Enter for a Chance to WIN an Outdoor Playhouse

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Deluxe Activity Review by Nerdy Navy Wife

When we received the package from KidKraft, I was impressed with the size of the box and the limited amount of excess waste.  As a parent who wants to assemble my son’s toys IMMEDIATELY and not take the time to look for the tools needed to put it together, I love that KidKraft’s products come with all of the hardware and tools needed for immediate assembly.   
Trust me; this is a huge bonus, not to mention the simple, step-by-step directions with pictures rather than words that totally lose me in the first step.  I think total assembly time for the Deluxe Activity Cube was under a minute- 4 screws and I was finished!  

My son has had the activity cube in his play area downstairs for almost 2 weeks now and it’s one toy he navigates to regularly throughout the day!  (I won’t lie, I do too!)  He loves pushing the wooden beads (shapes) across the paths on top as well as spinning the ABC blocks.  As a teacher, the ABC blocks with pictures on the opposite side are an added bonus and definitely allow us to build in that literacy time each day!  Furthermore, the abacus is introducing him to colors, patterns, and counting!  In the short time he has been playing with the discovery center, I have seen improvement in his hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills as he is pushing, pulling, and manipulating different parts of the cube.
The only downfall to the Deluxe Activity Cube for us is the difficulty turning the gears.  He loves watching them go around while we talk about colors and how they work together, but they are a little tricky for him to turn independently which causes some frustration for him, but I am confident the more we reinforce this skill, the sooner he will be able to turn them himself.  

In Stores! Majestic Mansion Dollhouse


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

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