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Take the Leapfrog 20/20 Challenge! #LeapfrogChallenge

March is National Reading Month, and our friends at LeapFrog have a challenge for every family! In the continuing pursuit of making reading an activity that every child and family can enjoy, LeapFrog is hosting a “Reading Month Challenge” in honor of National Reading Month this March. They will be promoting a campaign to encourage families to take a pledge to read for at least 20 minutes per day with their kids. As I’m sure you are aware, an early introduction to reading is an important part of kids’ development.


In fact, kids who are read to at home have a substantial academic advantage. These advantages last throughout a child’s academic career. Studies have shown that:

  • Twenty-six percent of children who were read to three or four times in the last week by a family member recognized all letters of the alphabet. This is compared to 14 percent of children who were read to less frequently.
  • According to NCES, only 53 percent of children ages three to five were read to daily by a family member. Children in families with incomes below the poverty line are less likely to be read to aloud everyday than are children in families with incomes at or above poverty.
  • The NCESalso reported that children who were read to frequently are also more likely to:
  • Count to 20 or higher than those who were not (60% vs. 44%)
  • Write their own names (54% vs. 40%)
  • Read or pretend to read (77% vs. 57%)

As a part of the March “Reading Month Challenge,” they will be partnering with a great non-profit, Kristi Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation, to donate 20 books to the foundation’s under-served classrooms for every pledge received. Through this program, they plan to donate over 350,000 books to children in need. We are very excited to be joining in the cause – and we need your help!

LeapFrog will be sharing fun reading-themed images, printables, and activities throughout the month. I encourage you to take a look at the website, take the challenge and read!

Share this information on your blog and social media sites to help a very worthy cause. I appreciate your support.

#LeapTV Gets Minds and Bodies Moving

It’s back-to-school week for much of the US, which is perfect timing to announce the launch of LeapTV™! This new educational, active video gaming system lets kids dance, hop, jump and wiggle (single- or multi-player) while learning with favorite characters. Age-appropriate and educator-approved games also grow with your child. Check it out:


I wish my children were the right age for LeapTV; this is a must-have for parents! For information, go to http://www.leapfrog.com/en-us/products/leaptv.



Samsung’s New Home Appliances Help You #MasterYourHome

While busy moms are always looking for ways to save time, Samsung is busy creating new appliances that do just that – save time on everyday, household tasks.  I encourage you to stop by Samsung’s Home Appliance booth at the BlogHer Expo Hall, Booth 609, where the latest products will be showcase the “MOMumental” advances in kitchen, laundry and cleaning. There will also be a video booth to create HD quality videos with answers to some great questions!

A few of Samsung’s new appliances look fabulous, like the new Chef Collection kitchen suite, king-size laundry products which give busy moms back the gift of time, and vacuum innovations that get the most cleaning done with the least amount of effort.

  • One of my favorites in the Samsung Baby Care Washer. From Samsung’s fact sheet: “This is a 1.0 cu. ft. unit that carefully and effectively washes and sanitizes all of a baby’s delicate laundry. It saves time, electricity and water by handling small loads of up to 3kg. The washer features 9 cycles which depending on the type of laundry and degree of contamination has a selection that is guaranteed to clean clothes thoroughly. This includes a Super Sanitize cycle, which heats to 190°F to remove stubborn stains and bacteria. PureCycleTechnology cleans the machine without harsh chemicals to ensure a completely hygienic environment for a baby’s clothes.”


  • If you love to cook, and even if you don’t, you’ll want to start when you see the Chef Collection. A new range with a slide-in design offers a customized, high-end kitchen look without having to remodel. The Flex Duo Oven means you can cook two dishes at two different temperatures at the same time. This 5.8 cu. ft. extra-large oven splits into two ovens (2.4 cu. ft. and 3.3 cu. ft.) with the Smart Divider. Two temperature controls cook dishes at different temperatures with no noticeable transfer of aroma.
  • The new Samsung dishwasher features the new WaterWall™ cleaning system that gets dishes sparkling every time. This powerful wall of water cleans every item in the dishwasher – even the hard to reach places. It uses maximum cleaning pressure that is 35% stronger than normal rotary systems.


  • Since moms handle about 500 loads of laundry each year, the washer and dryer are constant companions. Check out the Top-Load Laundry Pair or Front-Load Laundry Pair. The top load versions are the largest capacity washers and dryers out there, with many amazing features including EZ Reach, a wide yet shallow tub for easy unloading.
  • The Chef Collection refrigerator is simply amazing. This appliance can hold up to 34 bags of groceries! A versatile bottom drawer can function as either a freezer or a fridge, depending on your individual needs.


For information, visit www.samsung.com or www.facebook.com/samsunghomeappliancesusa. Stop by the Samsung booth at BlogHer and share your experiences with #MasterYourHome. Booth hours are

Share your experience with us by using #MasterYourHome. Booth hours are Thursday, July 24, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday, July 25th,     9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday, July 26th, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.



Today is National Sunglasses Day

Purse, check. Phone, check. Sunglasses, check. If you’re like me, you NEVER leave home without your shades. Since I live in a sunny climate, sunglasses are a given any time I’m heading outside – driving or spending time outdoors with my family. My favorite glasses du jour are a pair of retro wayfarers that look like ones I wore all the time in college. I have another lightweight pair that I wear on my runs.  While I see sunglasses as an accessory, they are also a necessity in the Sunshine State. I recently learned from The Vision Council that a good pair of sunglasses with UV protection should be worn by children and adults whenever possible for good, long-term eye health.


With the same idea of using sunscreen and UV protective clothing in the sun, parents should be purchasing and using sunglasses for themselves and their children for any outdoor activity. As families head off on summer vacations and hit the beach, lake, or even the backyard playing in the sprinklers, sunglasses are important to protect eyes. Nearly half of U.S. adults do not wear sunglasses while outdoors and more than half of parents do not protect their children’s eyes with sunglasses, according to a recent report by The Vision Council.

At a Vision Council webinar last week, I had the opportunity to hear more details about the report from optometrist and medical advisor Dr. Dora Adamopoulos. For the full report, go to The Vision Council website, or click here. The council and Dr. Adamopoulos offered valuable information, and I found that this chart offers a good summary:



The Vision Council is a nonprofit organization, however I will receive a gift of sunglasses for this post. All opinions are my own.


Monster Coats: Cool #Holiday #Gift To Keep Kids Warm

Leave it to a mom to come up with this one. What started as a search for a child’s ski jacket turned in to Monster Coats, an adorable line of fun, furry outerwear that kids love for the style and parents love for the machine washable, lightweight materials. Proudly made in the US, Monster Coats (and hats) are available in limited quantities this year and make a unique, fun gift. These coats are so cute that adults want them, too! (Here’s more of the story.)


Production is limited this year to children’s sizes, however the start-up company out of St. Louis is looking at expanding the line to include adult sizes. This holiday season, get them while you can so your kids will look cool and stay warm!



How To Treat Baby’s Dry Skin (CapriClear®)

Sometimes, no matter what you do, your baby (and older children) will develop dry skin and scaly patches that can cause discomfort. The winter season is also prime time for dry, irritated skin for everyone in the family.  I discovered a new, all natural product called CapriClear® Spray. Made with fractionated coconut oil, CapriClear is a patented, colorless, odorless, non-staining, and hypoallergenic moisturizer that works!


Developed by a dermatologist, CapriClear® is ideal for people of all ages, but especially those with sensitive skin. One of my team members talks about her son’s eczema and how many products she’s tried to control the condition. She tried CapriClear on her son’s arms and it has made a huge difference! We’re raving about this product, not only for the personal results, but also for the ingredients – a simple list of a single natural ingredient- Fractionated Coconut Oil (Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride), the purest form of coconut oil available. CapriClear does not contain emulsifiers, fragrances, dyes, preservatives, additives, parabens or any other toxins that can lead to more skin irritation. It’s amazing how many skin care products have ingredients that actually cause skin irritation, drying and more (so check those labels, mom!).


CapriClear is safe for babies, children and adults of all ages. Three of my older children are in college in very cold climates (which they are not used to), so this product will be added to their care packages this month! For information, go to http://capriclear.com.

I received a sample of CapriClear Spray to try at no charge. Opinions are my own.

So Many Toys…And Snoopy, Too!

I love working with toy brands (who wouldn’t want to see and play with all of the latest toys and gadgets?), so I was thrilled to attend The Big Toy Book’s Sweet Suite, hosted by Laurie (@TheToyInsiderMom), Charlene (@CharChronicles), Joey (@RealMomMedia) and the Big Toy Book Team (@TheBigToyBook). Some of the best brands in the toy business were showing new products at this amazing event; toys that are going to be this holiday’s must-haves.

Walking through the suite, I had a great time checking out fun, interactive toys – both new and classics – and spending time with Snoopy. (Thanks for having popcorn on hand so I could browse while feasting on my favorite snack!) Here are a few highlights:


Kids love Hexbugs®! The new Nano V2 and really cool habitat sets will keep them entertained for hours! There’s even a waterborn Hexbug® called the Aquabot. Available in two body styles, and ten translucent colors, the HEXBUG Aquabot Shark & Clown Fish are equipped with an automatic on and off sensor that activates when submerged in water, a design element meant to get kids thinking about the science behind the robot. In water, the colorful HEXBUG Aquabot comes to life swimming around, diving and changing directions to explore its environment.

HEXBUG_Image_Aquabot Clown Fish Group

Megabrands showed a few of their hottest toys for boys and girls. In the “classics” category, I loved the Magic Fun Dough (except around carpets). The classic music toy meets technology in the Billy Beats Magic Piano for little ones. For older children, the Barbie® Build ‘n Style Super Star Stage for girls looks fabulous and for boys, Hot Wheels™ of course! The Mega Bloks® Hot Wheels™ collection for Fall 2013 was on display, and a very popular table!

hotwheelsbillybeatsThe popular Skylanders brand showed their newest version: “Swap Force”. The game introduces a compelling play pattern – dynamic swapability — that lets gamers transform 16  SWAP Force inter-action figures into more than 250 unique characters by swapping the top and bottom halves of the toys.

Skylanders SWAP Force Logo
Thank you The Big Toy Book team, Charlene, Joey and Laurie for a fabulous Sweet Suite! I enjoyed browsing through so many fabulous toys and games, making an appearance during your live broadcast at the event and chatting with you all . You have your finger on the pulse of moms and it shows through events like this one. I know how hard you worked; thank you for including me and for sending along the post-event toy box.