The Traveling Sisterhood: October 2016

Saturday, October 29

Meaningful Gifts Matter!

I can’t believe it, but the holiday shopping season is upon us: I’m seeing holiday deals in my inbox already and it’s not even November! A lot of you might agree that holiday gift giving has lost some of what made it special in the past, and the expectation of material goods has gotten out of hand. Just google Walmart + Black Friday + injury for some of the worst.

But despite negative news, there is something really special about getting together and giving loved ones gifts that have meaning. So before you get anything to just check someone off your to-do list, take a moment to model thoughtful giving for your children, family and community. Give them a gift that will last.

Experiences create the memories that bond us. Consider taking loved ones on a local adventure, a music show, committing to an exercise routine or honing cooking skills together. Or even just setting up time for a special day with just the two of you. This can be inexpensive for your pocketbook, and rich in meaning.

Education is also a gift that lasts a lifetime. For youngsters in your life, how about a set of blocks that get their creative juices flowing, science experiments they can do with friends, or Peter and the Wolf, the Nutcracker and other classical pieces you loved as a child?

Whatever their passion as a young learner, stoke those coals. Your gift to them will last a lifetime!

Thursday, October 27

Butterfly Garden Review: The Perfect Educational Gift to Spark Curiosity and Wonder

About 5 years ago, my children and I hatched Painted Lady butterflies.  It was simply magical!  They were very young then and don't remember the experience except through pictures, so I've ordered another kit for them. It includes everything you need to hatch and learn about 10 butterflies.  When we did this last time, we ended up with 9 gorgeous Painted Ladies!
Once you're ready, you send in a form that comes with the Butterfly Garden for your 10 free caterpillars and their food.  We'll be ordering ours early this upcoming Spring. Last time, they arrived safely via USPS. They quickly ate and grew, forming cocoons on the lid of their container.  We simply unscrewed the lid and attached it to the side of the Butterfly Garden so they could have a nice space to emerge about a week later.
The day they began to emerge was amazing! My youngest daughter woke me up exclaiming that we had a butterfly. Throughout the day, nine butterflies emerged, simply gorgeous. We let them go out into the world a few days later. Every child should experience this at least once! Such an incredible way to learn about God's amazing creation!
The Butterfly Garden is the perfect gift because it's something they'll never forget. Since you don't need to order the caterpillars until you're ready, it can be done this spring which will be here before we know it! It will give the kids something to look forward to. Even though mine have already done it once, they've asked me a few times, "Mom, when can we order our new caterpillars?" This is one gift that will be a hit for much more than a day or two, unlike most of the toys they get and end up playing with once!
Save 10% and receive free shipping with the code WOW10 or get $10 off your $25 purchase with this coupon!

Bring History Alive this Christmas with History Unboxed! #Discount

I was so excited when I opened our first History Unboxed... box!  You see, I minored in Anthropology and the civilization that fascinated me the most was the Indus Valley Civilization and this was the theme of the box we received, centered around toys and games! The Indus Valley Civilization sprang up about 5000 years ago and archaeologists have uncovered so much in the area!  Everything from toys to board and dice games.  I'm especially impressed with History Unboxed because the creator of it has done everything I would do had I the time.  She makes it easy for me, right down to the pen pal-like letter from Ava, who travels through time and the world to bring us exciting history.

The box was filled with a terracotta bird whistle, Henna dye, wooden dice set, unicorn sticker/seal, instructions, pen pal letter, and detailed info on the culture. Comprehensive and perfect!
The object of the game: roll better than your opponent! We also played and learned about other ancient games and toys people enjoyed as long ago as 3000 BC. I love sharing and learning along with my kids, actually living history with them!

Our favorite thing in the box truly amazed us.  We filled the terracotta bird with water, blew into it, and the song was as lovely as any songbird's!  We experimented with different water levels and breaths to get just the right sound. Check out our video clip below to see our progress as we learned to use it beautifully. These clay bird whistles are known to have been around as early as 1000 AD. How incredible is that?!

Let's be real, my friends. Growing up, you probably hated history. But history is amazing! I never realized just how incredible it was until I accidentally signed up for an archaeology class in college and dove right into it, immersing myself in incredible cultures and discovering amazing people who lived thousands of years ago. This is the most perfect way to bring History alive for the special kid in your life, a gift that will bless them in a lasting way. Since this box, we've done two more and each was incredible so I recommend a History Unboxed Gift Subscription with all my heart.
You can choose your History Unboxed in a theme: Pharaohs or Alexander the Great, or a Welcome Box (which includes a time capsule and all kinds of cool stuff to go along with it) and a 1 or 3 month Subscription. Save 25% on your entire and receive free shipping plus 5% back in store credit with the code BLISS through Tuesday November 29th!

Hello Fresh: A Whoppin' $40 off your First Box Coupon Code!

If you missed the giveaway or didn't win, you can still save a whoppin' $40 off your first box! Just use the code B5YRBP at checkout!

HelloFresh is one of my favorite meal delivery companies! They were one of the first, and they are definitely one of the best! I love their recipes--very family-friendly. Each week, you get to choose which 2 or 3 meals (depending on your plan) that you'd like to cook out of the 5 they have available.
The box comes filled with everything! Fresh produce, pre-measured spices, condiments for cooking, and meats--it's all there along with brightly colored, easy-to-follow recipe cards.
The meals are so delicious and will give you chef status in your home! I've definitely become a better cook because of them--I'm learning how to pair ingredients even when not cooking with them. These are their Italian-Style Pork Chops with Lemony Potatoes and Minty Zucchini Salad.
There is also usually a fish dish if you'd like one. My hubby loves their salmon! This one is the Spiced Salmon with Arugula Salad, Couscous, and Lemon Shallot Dressing. I've recently discovered that I love shallots. They bring such a delicious taste to your veggies!

Wednesday, October 26

The Most Gorgeous, Personalized Gifts at Charmed Collections #GiftsForHer

Charmed Collections sent me what has got to be the most beautiful, creative review package I've ever received in 5 years of blogging. Read on to discover just how gorgeous and amazing they are!
Charmed Collections is a collaboration of three moms who create jewelry keepsakes for all of the special moments in your life--or no occasion at all. Let them create the perfect gift for you and your loved one!

Charmed Collections are handmade sterling silver & gold jewelry with custom designs. I chose the Foundations Mom Necklace. It includes my childen's names as well as two pretty beads. Everytime I wear it, I get so many compliments! It's absolutely gorgeous, beautifully simple, and so special.

Jewelry from Charmed Collections is so wonderful because it's so personal. It will touch the heart of any woman who receives it and it is customizeable from the type of jewelry (ring, necklace, bracelet) to the names upon the piece, and even the beads can be hand selected by you. The customer service and thoughtfulness I received stood out more than any other company's has in the past!
Use the code TSISTERHOOD for free shipping in the US through November 2nd.
Compass/Hope/Stackable Rings/I Can Do Hard Things/Family Tree/Forever in My Heart

The Most Groovy Christmas Gift for Kids!

Our first Groovy Lab in a Box was definitely nothing short of groovy!!  Inside this snazzy box, we found enough cool stuff to make at least 4 different kinds of rockets. In many ways, STEAM has been our theme this year. Our 3 favorite rockets are shown in this post.  Today was a beautiful autumn day for rocket launching and since it's that time of year again, this is the first item of this year's Holiday Gift Guide series! Ladies and gents, put your hands together for... Groovy Lab in a Box!

We started with the foam rocket because it sounded exceptionally awesome! And it was.  My son followed the directions and built this awesome rocket out of some of the supplies in the box.
Off it goes, and mom was too slow to catch the rocket in  motion! As you can see by his expression, it went an impressive distance... and as I could see from his expression, this let's-take-school-outside-for-Science-class idea is a hit! I love products that can help me break up the monotony of the daily drivel... especially when there's zero preparation involved! Groovy Lab did it all for me!
Off the rocket goes from another angle! This time it hit the side of the house. Groovy dude!
Next up, Alka-Seltzer rockets!

This guy was hot glued and ready to blast off! There was enough Alka-Seltzer in our kit to get the parachute pretty high.  Once, the lid hit the roof of the porch and made everyone go, "Whoa! That was cool!" We want to try again with a bigger bottle and more Alka-Seltzer!

Next up, Balloon RocketWe let it go and it flew super fast across the backyard--the perfect culmination for a day of STEAMy fun!

Groovy Lab in a Box is the perfect gift for kids 8+ because it's not just a toy they're going to get tired of after 1 day. It's an opportunity to focus their imaginations, determination, and inquisitive nature using the "Engineering Design Process" that's a part of every box. My kids loved it, and so will yours! I've got to admit, by writing this review I've convinced myself that I need to purchase them some more of these boxes!
You can get a Groovy Lab in a Box for as low as $18/box with this $10 off coupon! You can choose your box in a theme: Shake It Up, the earthquake box; Fly with Me, the aaeronautics box; or Stitch a Circuit, the technology box. You can also purchase a discounted gift subscription for 1, 6, or 12 months.

Sunday, October 23

Foxes, Owls, Bunnies, and Deer: A Woodland Friends Toy #Giveaway!

I am always thrilled to review items from Manhattan Toy! The best quality, the most adorableness, their toys are at the top of my list and will be widely featured in this year's Holiday Gift Guide!
Wandering through the wilderness you are bound to find a few woodland creatures. These super soft Woodlanders have plush fabrics that make them perfect for snuggling. My daughters love their Felix Fox and Oakley Owl. I wish you could feel just how incredibly soft they are!

From playtime to nap time, Felix Fox is by my darling one's side. While she's already 10 years old, these adorable woodland themed plush toys are also the perfect first stuffed animals for baby.

  There is also this adorable Woodland Babies stroller set, as well as a Foot Finders & Rattle set, and musical pull toy which feature the same darling group of woodland friends.
One of my readers will win an item of choice (U.S. only).  Enter below by Oct. 28 at 11 pm anyone's time.  I'll choose a winner the next morning.
You Can Find Manhattan Toy On:

Which toys will you choose if you win?

Thanks to the wonderful people at KidStuffPR and Manhattan Toy for this giveaway and review opportunity!

Saturday, October 22

Kittens, Puppies, Dinos, and Rockets! A Kids Alarm Clock #Giveaway, Winner's Choice!

The picture that's on my daughter's ceiling thanks to her adorable new Kitten Alarm Clock! You can choose from 5 different pics and this is her favorite. You can also choose to display the time over the picture.

You can choose to have the time lit like this, or not. As you can see, this is one super adorable alarm clock and it is easy enough for a 7 year old to use! It's also made very well, durable, and adjustable in a variety of ways.

The cat alarm clock is one in a new line of animal clocks by Red Rooster. They started out with a Rocket Ship Alarm clock which my son has. My daughter was so thrilled when they came out with animals and was ecstatic when I showed her the cat and the cute pictures it makes on the ceiling or wall--your choice! The pictures are moveable. You can also choose the time to be shown on the ceiling (as here) or now (as in our picture).

The full line of alarm clocks by Red Rooster. The winner will be allowed to choose any of the four! Add your favorite to your Amazon wishlist in case you don't win!

One of you will win your choice of alarm clock from Red Rooster!  Enter below by 10/28 at 11 pm anyone's time.

Which clock is your favorite? What would you like to see next from Red Rooster?

Special thanks to the wonderful people at Big Red Rooster and KidStuff PR for providing us with this alarm clock to review and give away!

Win Boardgames for the Whole Family, A Winner's Choice #Giveaway!

I always love receiving e-mails from Winning Moves with all their new games!  They have a ton of great ones--some oldies but goodies, along with a brand new Play-doh based game.  And one of my readers will win all of these games--the classics along with the newbie.  My kiddos have been having a blast with all of their new games, and I've been having fun, too!  Here are the games we reviewed this time around.

Our favorite game, roadtrip-style! The innovative design of Scrabble To Go allows you to pack up in the middle of the game without disturbing the words you have already placed on the board. The tiles snap in place!

Upwords has been sending word builders soaring to new heights ever since the game debuted in 1983. Now, the Classic 80's version is back! The 8x8 gameboard grid and 64 letter tiles challenge players to think "upside" the box!

The Velveteen Rabbit game captures the spirit of the cherished story as players' rabbits venture around the board, collecting cards along the way, in a quest to become real. No reading is necessary so this is perfect for all ages!

One winner will be receive your choice of games from Winning Moves Games up to $50 in value! (US only)  Enter below by October 28 at 11 pm anyone's time.  I'll choose a winner the next morning.  

You Can Find Winning Moves On

 What were your favorite games to play when you were a kiddo? Mine were Guess Who and Pay Day!

Special thanks to the wonderful people at Winning Moves for providing us with this review and giveaway opportunity!