Saturday, June 24, 2017

No Prep Preschool Activities for Busy Parents

So you want to help your little ones learn their alphabet, numbers, identify letters and their sounds but don't have the time to research activities or even prepare those homemade activities for them. What do you do?

Preschool Printable Activities provides numerous activities that will be fun for your kiddos to do while there is zero preparation for the parents. Obviously, there are only activities for preschool aged children so the audience is narrowed a bit from all activities and grade levels however if you have a little one that you want to help prepare for preschool but don't have the time to create fancy activities then this site is extremely helpful.

The whole site consists of FREE worksheets that can be quickly printed out. The only expense technically would be the ink from the printer and the paper itself. No other materials are necessary to be able to use the printables. 

There are so many different activities on the site including word families (rhyming), addition & subtraction, categorizing, I-spy, word searches, and sudoku puzzles but for now, I decided to focus on just 4 alphabet activities and 5 math activities. 

Fill in the Missing Letters

The first alphabet activity requires the child to fill in the missing letters of the alphabet. Often children can sing the ABC song but they simply memorize the song without noticing the letters or the order the letters so this activity allows the child to think about the letters beyond them being lyrics in a song. I will tell you this activity will probably be good for a handful of times before the child memorizes the missing letters so I recommend using the provided worksheet as a guide and creating a new fill-in-the-blank with different missing letters. It's a great starting point for teaching the correct order of letters.

Alphabet Maze

The next activity is one of my favorite ones for providing practice for identifying letters. At the top of the page, it shows the child the letter that they will be searching for while trying to guide a particular animal back to its home, food, etc. 

Zebra Maze

For example, the letter "Z" is placed at the top of the page and the goal is to help the zebra get back to the zoo. The child is to find the letter "Z" both uppercase and lowercase in the sea of letters and color all the "Z's" which will provide the path for the zebra to find it's way home to the zoo. It's a fun activity, which excites the child when they find the correct letter. 
Alphabet Practice

The next set of worksheets is split into four sections. The first section provides space for the child to practice writing the letter at the top of the page. The spotlighted letter requires the child to write the letter approximately 4 to 5 times depending on how largely your child prints.

The second section provides a space for the letter to be filled in the blank to complete the word. The third section requires the child to identify and circle the correct letter and then finally circling the correct picture that begins with the particular letter. 

Match the Letter with the Object with the Same Beginning Sound

The other very closely related alphabet activity requires the child to draw a line between the item that begins with the letter and the letter itself. There is a worksheet for every letter except for "X". I don't think that the "X" missing is by accident, it's most likely because there aren't enough objects that being with an "X".

For these particular activities, I would suggest working on one letter at a time. One week focus on the letter "A" then the following week letter "B" then "C" and so on. It helps the child to really practice and learn the letter and its sounds before moving onto the next letter. With several days of exposure to the same letter, it helps the child to retain the information they have learned. Repetition is key to storing it to memory!

How Many?
Count the Animals

Three of the math activities involve counting objects and then writing the correct number in the box that is provided. Each one has animals and objects that children would recognize and relate to when practicing counting. 

How Many?
The "How Many?" activities provide the opportunity for practicing cutting with scissors and pasting with glue while still practicing counting and matching the correct number with the number of objects.

Math Fun
The next set of math printables help children learn to write numbers up to ten. The numbers are written four times so the child can trace them and then have the opportunity to write it approximately three more times (depending on how largely your child prints). 

Then the child circles the correct number of objects in the mid-section and colors the correct number that they have been learning on the worksheets in the bottom section. It's great for little ones to practice their writing and coloring with this set of activities.

Marbles in the Jar Counting Activity

The final math activity that I found to be so much fun and that kids love is the marbles-in-a-jar counting activity. It accumulates several different skills such as counting, adding, cutting and pasting. 

This particular activity is very easy to bring to life by grabbing a jar or a plastic container and use real marbles or even colorful pompoms to practice counting. 

I love the simplicity of all the activities and how it takes absolutely no preparation, no expenses, just print them out and they are ready for the kiddos to start learning. The printables include both black & white pictures as well as bright colorful pictures. Plus all of these activities are FREE. 

Be sure to come back next week to read my review on the "growing" toys you may have seen at the dollar store. Do they really grow? Find out next week!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Organizing Nail Polish Has Never Been So Easy!

Location, location, location. That is usually a term you'll hear when looking for a prime piece of real estate however it does relate to where you're going to store your collection of nail polish. If you have a large collection then you're like me and end up storing them in plastic bins but how can you see all of them? 

I recently found a new way of displaying my polishes that not only makes it easier for me to view my most frequently used polishes but it's stylish and blends quite well into the decor. I found mine on and couldn't be happier with it.

Ideaworks Nail Polish Rack

The rack is deep bronze in color so it would look nice in any colored room. It comes in only one color, but, if you wanted a different color you could easily paint it. I really love the color and it blends well with the rest of my bathroom. I like that the shelf would look great in either a bathroom or bedroom. 

43 Polishes on Rack

The nail polish rack by Ideaworks is supposed to hold 48 polishes according to the packaging. However, it really depends on the size and shapes of the bottles. The rounder and wider the bottles the more likely that they will have to be stored elsewhere or risk not being able to take full advantage of the rack space. I was able to fit a maximum of 43 polishes on the rack. Some of the 43 bottles did not fit properly. There were gaps in between bottles but not large enough space to be able to fit more polishes. I suggest if possible use all the same shaped bottles, ideally rectangle/square. The round ones are space wasters. I am able to strategically place 2 polishes deep when the sizes line up well. Otherwise, it's more of one polish deep and the polishes crowd each other and don't fit very well.

A nice option that comes with the durable iron rack is that it can be mounted to the wall or it can be free standing. If space is a problem, being able to mount it is a huge space saver. With the rack being made out of iron it is sturdy, solid, and strong. I chose to hang the rack and it holds the 43 polishes I placed in it very steadily. There is no bending of the shelves or the frame. 

I absolutely love that the rack INCLUDES hardware. Yes, it includes mounting screws and wall anchors. There is no need to purchase additional hardware in order to hang the rack. The only tools needed are a level to assure the rack is level and a drill for drilling the screws into the wall for secure hanging. If you don't have a drill accessible to you then an option is to use long, thick nails instead of screws. When using nails makes sure that the nails are thick and long or you'll risk the nails bending or falling out of the wall.

Was the rack worth $8? Yes, it is most definitely worth every penny. I was not expecting to get such a sturdy rack and definitely didn't expect to receive the hardware needed in order to hang it. I believe that I got a real bargain for the quality that I received. If you are as impressed as I am I would keep an eye out for it on Hollar. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

What?!?! Educational Games Made From File Folders!

What is better than being able to create fun educational activities with file folders? Yes, you read that right, file folders. File folder activities are super easy to create since all the hard work is done for you. They are as easy as cutting out the pieces and gluing them onto file folders. It can't get much easier than that, right? The extra pieces that don't get glued to the folders are placed in a small zippered plastic bag for safe storing. I attach the bag to the file folder with a binder clip when they're not in use so that nothing gets separated or lost. The games/activities are ready to use within a few minutes. So where can you find FREE file folder games? 

If you have a child who is beginning preschool or even attending preschool through 3rd grade, you can find math, science, language arts, history and even Bible activities at There are so many activities to choose from that will help develop essential skills that your little ones are learning in school. I like the fact that these activities are not only very easy to create but they are a perfect for a quick skill review. If you don't want your child to forget everything they have learned during the summer these activities are a fun way to practice without feeling like you're doing math or language arts drills. These activities are actually very portable too, they are great to take with you while traveling this summer.

Since I know a little one going into preschool soon I found activities that were focused on preschool/kindergarten level skills. I had extra file folders laying around the house so I didn't need to purchase any. The only cost I had was lamination. I chose to laminate them so that the folders and activities can be used repeatedly.

I printed out ten preschool and kindergarten activities. Depending on the skill level of the child these activities can be implemented both at preschool and kindergarten levels. The activities I selected focus on categorizing hot & cold items, counting, patterns, colors, the alphabet, phonics and beginning reading as well as shapes. I wanted to select a variety of subjects since they were easy to create.

Simple Shapes Sorting Game 
I chose two activities that focus on shapes. The first activity, Simple Shapes Sorting Game, has children matching the basic shapes of a circle, triangle, rectangle, and square. What sets this activity apart from other shape activities is that they use pictures of real objects that children have seen or will find around their house, neighborhood or while traveling. Kids will be able to relate to the objects, thus helping them to make the connection between the object and shape. It opens up the opportunity for parents to encourage their children to find tangible objects that match the correct shape.

Tangram Game
The second shape activity, appears to be more advanced but believe it or not this skill is tested in Kindergarten so it's wise to help familiarize children with this type of analytical thinking prior to being exposed to it during testing. The Tangram Game helps children to develop problem-solving skills. The child needs to place the correct sized shape in the picture to accurately create the picture. There is a more advanced skill version with just a border for the object and no outlines of shapes within the object, they call that the shadow cards but I didn't print the shadow cards out. I felt if the child can do the outlined version that is enough and when they get older if they are up to the challenge then I'll print out the shadow cards. Note: The parallelogram drawn inside the illustrations are actually reversed compared to the colored piece you are meant to use to fill in the illustrations. The following illustrations are the ones that are affected by the reversed parallelogram-the flower, turtle, fox and the boat. I simply made an extra parallelogram and colored it a different color so each illustration can be filled in properly.

Count Clip Cards
The four math activities concentrate on counting skills, sequencing, addition and number identification. Even though the Count Clip Cards are on they technically are only flash cards not a file folder game. Each card contains a certain number of sea animals and three numbers to choose from. It helps children to learn how to count by counting the animals and identifying the correct number that correlates with the number of animals counted. I used clothes pins to mark the correct number which also helps to develop fine motor skills. 

File Folder Math Game
Counting Cupcakes
The second math activity involves counting cupcakes! Counting Cupcakes is such a fun way to count cherries and then match with the applicable number. The directions for this activity for some reason is combined with a similar activity on the website so they don't coincide with this activity. I created my own directions. I placed the numbered cupcakes on the folder and then used the cherry covered cupcakes as the pieces to match with the number. This way when I decide to use the cupcakes to teach sequence I am able to have the child put the cherry cupcakes in the correct numerical order. It's a little more challenging to do instead of placing the numbered cupcakes in order. 

File Folder Games
Ice Cream Game
The third math activity uses another child-friendly food which involves matching the number of ice cream scoops with the cherry that contains the matching number. I glued the ice cream cones from the Ice Cream Game to the file folders and then had the kids match the cherries. I had to be a little strategic on placing them to assure I was able to fit them all on one folder. 

File Folder Games
Counting Buttons Activity
The final math activity not only involves counting and matching the correct amount of buttons with their matching number but it also introduces the concept of addition. The Counting Buttons Activity does involve some reading so if your little ones don't know how to read just yet you'll have to read the cards to them otherwise it's a great way to have them practice their reading while playing this activity. I do like that the activity combines two different skills to practice such as reading and math. 

File Folder Game
Dinosaur Color Match Game
The next two activities involve colors and patterns. The Dinosaur Color Match Game is a fun one for those little dinosaur fans in your house. I glued all of the Brontosaurus' onto the file folder and used the Stegasaurus' as the piece to match the Brontosaurus. Each dinosaur is a different primary color, all the main colors are included such as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, gray, and brown. The colors aren't as exact and as bright as I was hoping. It could perhaps be my printer but I wish the colors were a tad bit more accurate. The red isn't a bright fire engine red it's more of a red-orange color. 

File Folder Games
Busy Bees Color Matching Game
The Busy Bees Color Matching Game is a bit more advanced since their bodies and the flower petals are combining the use of two colors. Kids may need a little help since some color combinations use similar colors. As an example, the red and green combinations are quite close to the orange and green colors. The red and orange don't differ in color as much as I'd prefer. You might need to help your little ones distinguish the difference. Again, it might be my printer but I'd just be aware of that issue before using this activity.

File Folder Games
Hot & Cold Game
A really fun and simple way of introducing children to science is helping children to categorize items that are either "hot" items or "cold" items. The Hot & Cold Game opens up the possibility to allow children to recognize what items are hot and which ones are cold by doing a little experiment. As a parent, you can bring the items to life by having your children feel the difference between hot and cold.**Caution** I DON'T recommend hot items I suggest using warm items. As the website suggests, create a sensory station where your child can touch cold items such as an ice pack, frozen vegetables, ice water, etc. Warm items such as a bag of rice, warm water, a heat pack that is warm, etc. As I have cautioned, the website also cautions to NOT allow your children to touch hot items, ONLY allow them to touch warm items. 

File Folder Games
Alphabet Animals Game
The final fun folder game I made was the Alphabet Animals Game. If you have a little one at home that loves animals this game will for sure be a hit with them. The animals are cartoon-like and very kid-friendly. It's a good game to help teach children the names of the animals but it also helps them to learn what letter the animal's name begins with. It begins to introduce your child to spelling. It's a good game to play with your child if they aren't sure what the name of the animal is or what letter it may begin with. You can help guide them to the correct letters.

The games are fun to play and easy to create and implement. This set of games that I chose is easily adaptable to fit the skills of your child. They are great to use at home or while traveling during the summer months. The games are compact and do not require much storage space. I love the ideas that are posted on and the ease of creating them. The only expense for all of the activities, if you already have file folders, is the lamination. If you don't happen to have file folders I have seen them sold as a package at the dollar store. 

If you're looking for fun educational activities for the summer then you need to check out Take advantage of the FREE resource and create those fun file folder games for your little ones.

If you are looking for other fun educational activities for the summer be sure to check out Preparing Your Kids for Preschool & KindergartenFun & Affordable Activities, and Easy Homemade Activities.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Your Beauty Collection Isn't Complete Without ColourPop

All beauty lovers out there, how many of you have heard of or tried ColourPop cosmetics? I'm sure some of you are wondering Colour who? While others have heard of the brand but never tried it and I'm sure there are some of you that have tried it and have your own experience with the brand. 

ColourPop is made in California which makes me happy because I love to support local businesses. What makes this makeup different from others is that not only is it cruelty-free, score one for them but their products are all high quality AND affordable! Another perk to this particular brand is that they also offer great sales throughout the year while offering free shipping without having to commit to spending a large amount of money (if you're within the United States). The numerous times that I have ordered from them, the orders came quite quickly (less than a week after placing the orders) the products arrived securely packed in a soft styrofoam padding protecting all the products from becoming damaged while in transit. I love their boxes too, they're so colorful, warm and welcoming. A nice touch, they have paid attention to even the tiniest of details which impressed me.

Cute Packaging with Protective Foam 

I had heard of the brand a while back after watching some YouTube videos that included ColourPop products but I was under the impression that they would be expensive and only for beauty gurus, that was until I finally decided to give ColourPop a try for myself. In one word, WOW! I have not tried any product quite like the products that ColourPop has developed. 
Wisp (left) Frosted (Right)

The only products that I purchased that weren't from the Super Shock line of products (which I'll discuss later) are the highlighters. I have never found such amazing highlighters until now. I can not say enough incredible things about the highlighters, they are perfect! I can easily and accurately apply the highlighters with my fingers (the most effective way) and it not only does a fantastic job of highlighting certain areas of my face but it's very natural looking. It provides just the right amount of a "natural" glow to my face. It's not only perfect during the summer months but throughout the year. These highlighters have become the ultimate highlighters for me. They may look very similar in the picture but Wisp is a little deeper than Frosted.

From Top Left to Bottom Right: Mixed Tape, Wilshire, Reversible, Blaze, Smash, Wattles, Lala

The Super Shock line of products is absolutely amazing, it contains shadows and lippies. The shadows are incredibly creamy. Simply looking at the shadows you wouldn't think they were creamy at all but as soon as you touch the shadow with your finger to take a swatch you will quickly discover that they are creamy and very pigmented. They aren't like the traditional creamy shadows, they have a formula that is a combination of a cream and a powder shadow. It's nothing like I had seen before. There are matte colors, shimmery and extra glittery options. My favorite tends to be the shimmery colors since they are easily applied and the colors I chose really made my blue eyes pop! Each of the colors that I have played with brings a different dimension to my eyes. They are easily buildable and blend beautifully! A-maz-ing! The best application method is with my fingers. I've tried it with brushes and it's just okay. I highly recommend the finger method since you are able to capture more product and build the depth that you're wanting to achieve. Even though they literally have every color under the rainbow, I decided to go with more neutral and earthy toned colors. Out of the seven pictured, only two are matte; Wilshire and Wattles. The rest have a shimmer or a golden sparkle.

The Super Shock lippies are second to none! I was really astonished by the quality of the lippies. They are smooth during application and I can honestly say that I never had any type of lipstick product stay on my lips the whole entire day. Despite eating, drinking and talking up a storm, the color was still there at the end of the day. No worries about having to reapply the lippies, they will still be visible at the end of the day. It was shocking to me! That speaks volumes of the quality of the products. 

I have become a huge fan of ColourPop products not only for the great selection of colors but the long-lasting quality of the products. 

I will mention that when purchasing the Super Shock products be cautious to close the products up tightly or you'll risk the products drying out and you don't want that. They are meant to be used while they are rich and creamy, once they dry out they won't be the same. ColourPop does note that on each Super Shock product so you can't say you haven't been forewarned about the importance of keeping those products tightly sealed when they aren't in use. 

Don't wait as long as I did to try this phenomenal brand of makeup. I was deeply impressed with the brand, their protection of animals, the quality of their products, the value, their prices and their quick and efficient delivery taking precautions to ensure their products arrive safely and undamaged. ColourPop has made a name for itself and impressed me enough to where I will continue to purchase their high-quality products.

Have you tried ColourPop? Comment below I'd love to hear about your experience with ColourPop cosmetics.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Fast & Easy Activities to Help Prepare Your Children for Preschool & Kindergarten

Mom Inspired Life is a site created for parents with little ones primarily ages 18 months-5 years old. As a former teacher, Danielle the founder of Mom Inspired Life has created activities that are educational, exciting and inspire learning. 

The site includes alphabet activities, hands-on activities in math, science, fine motor, literacy, and sensory, as well as a section for recipes and printables. There are printables available and most of them are free but some are also for purchase. There is an alphabet mat letter sounds activity that is free but the more detailed one is $2.50 for the set of 26 letters. There is also a great spring pack which includes all spring activities and that one is $25.00. I only implemented the free activities as I was looking for only free worksheets for the kiddos. Another thing to be aware of is that some printables require you to enter your email address to join her newsletter before having access to those particular printables. So if you don't want to join the newsletter just skip over that activity.

I found that this website was different from others since it includes both printables and actual activities. All activities are age appropriate and come with instructions on how to facilitate the activities. She has provided clear, easy to follow instructions to replicate the activities. She also provides a list of materials needed for the activity as well as links to where the materials may be purchased so as a busy parent you don't have to take the time to search for where to purchase the items. Most materials are often found around the house or easily accessible through the links she's provided.

I like that none of the activities that I replicated took very long to prep so I was able to spend more time implementing them with the kids as opposed to making them.

I replicated 3 letter activities, 2 name activities and 3 math activities geared toward preschool aged children. What I liked about the particular activities I chose were that they used similar materials which kept the activities affordable and most of them were from printables provided from the Mom Inspired Life website. 

Letter Matching Caterpillars

The first letter activity, Letter Matching Caterpillars, included a printable from the website which saved a lot of prep time. I had extra bottle caps lying around so I was glad I could recycle them for this activity. I laminated the paper so that I could reuse the activities without worry about wear and tear. 

Apple Tree Letter Matching 

The second letter activity, Apple Tree Letter Matching Activity, also included a printable. The printable is very cute and child-friendly. The only material I had to purchase was the stickers for the letters. Since I couldn't find the red stickers at the dollar store I decided to make this into an orange/lime/lemon tree and used the orange/green/yellow dots stickers from the dollar store. 

Easter Egg Letter Matching

The third letter activity, Easter Egg Letter Matching, included a black and white printable. Since it's not a colored printable it allows the child to color the egg when they have completed the matching of the letters. The only expense I had was in purchasing the round stickers. Again, I purchased them at the dollar store because they were affordable and it doesn't really matter if the stickers are high quality. If you're unable to find the stickers, I would suggest using crayons to color the circles. If you choose to use crayons this will also allow the children to develop their fine motor skills.

The name activities even though they're different they are each helpful in teaching children how to spell their name. I like the fact that parents are in control of how they choose to teach their children to spell and identify their names. Even though most children are taught how to spell their name with all capital letters, as someone who has taught at the primary grade level, when children learn to spell their names with all capitals they will have to relearn how to spell it with lowercase letters in Kinder and 1st. I prefer to teach them to spell their names by using capital and lowercase letters appropriately. It's more helpful and beneficial for the kids. Both activities allow personalization of names and preference of capital and lowercase. 

Editable Name Printable

The Editable Name Printables is extra neat because you can enter your child's name into the one page that looks like a sheet of labels (after downloading) and it will automatically personalize the worksheet for you. It's quite unique as I haven't seen any other site that allows this type of personalization for free. Super clever and extremely helpful. She suggests using magnetic letters for the "build it" section of the worksheet but I didn't have the magnetic letters so I used the foam sticker letters which was a great substitute. I chose not to remove the paper exposing the sticky part so I am able to reuse the letters again.

Super Fun Name Search 
The Super Fun Name Search Activity is a very universal printable. It's not only feasible to use for identifying a child's name but it can also be used to identify letters, numbers, sight words and even shapes. Since the printable is universal it makes the activity possible to use again and again just focusing on different skills. I would print out extra copies to accommodate different skill sets you choose to develop. Such as if you're wanting to focus on numbers then print out a sheet and input numbers into the circles and do the same for shapes, letters, etc. If you choose to laminate the sheet of paper then your child can use a dry erase marker to cross out the letters of their name otherwise you can use the bingo stamp markers I found at the dollar store to mark the letters in their name and then you can discard the paper when finished.

I love the 3 math activities that I replicated because they are each different, use different materials but each teaches the same concepts. I like that even if a child gets a little bored with one of them there is enough of a variety that they will continue to learn the concepts but in different ways. Two of the three I chose used manipulatives to help children who are visual and tactile learners to understand the concepts being taught. 

Teddy Bear Button Counting
The Teddy Bear Button Counting Activity is extra cute and uses buttons to help children to count and identify numbers. I used actual buttons as opposed to the buttons that were included with the printable. Since I had actual buttons left over from a different activity I was able to utilize them with this one too! 

Heart Counting Game & Threading 

I chose to substitute the beads in the Heart Counting Game & Threading Activity since I was able to easily find the plain pony beads. Plus I'll be able to use the leftover plain beads for another activity. This activity is useful to teach two different skills, one being visualizing & identifying numbers as well as counting beads and the other is developing a child's fine motor skills by threading the beads onto the pipe cleaner. I love when I can find activities that help teach more than one skill. 

Mitten Math

The Mitten Math Activity even though it fits well with a winter theme, it can be used any time of the year. This one combines physical activity, rolling the dice, with counting. When little ones roll the dice it's more of a throw so it gets them moving a bit when they have to run over and pick up the dice they threw. (Only one die pictured) It combines some movement with fine motor skills in the coloring of the mittens and of course helps to develop their math skills while counting the dots on the dice.

I have to include the Minions Cake Mix Cookies. Anyone that likes the Minions will love these cookies. They are super easy to make and the kids will have fun helping you mix the few ingredients together. If you know of a Minion fan, they will surely enjoy this sweet treat. 

Danielle has created a great site full of a variety of activities that are both fun to replicate and implement. Kids are intrigued by the colors of the printables and there is a good balance of worksheet type activities and hands-on activities that peek the curiosity of kids. I love how clear she is with her description of the materials needed, and the step by step instructions she provides so the activities can easily be replicated and implemented. At the end of each of the activities, she also provides links to other websites that are complementary to the theme of that particular activity. 

As great as the website is and how creative the activities are there are a couple aspects of the website that I found to be problematic and frankly a bit annoying. Her website is covered with automated advertisements, in fact, on average there's 10-13 per page. I understand that ads are important to bring in revenue to a website but I don't feel as though being bombarded by ads is the best way to keep the interest of busy parents. As much as I loved her ideas and activities I won't be revisiting her site because of the overuse of the ads. Several times the abundance of ads slowed down my browser and computer even freezing it. The other annoyance is the ad near the bottom of the screen needed to be closed every time I maneuvered to a different page on her site since it blocks content that I was trying to read. It really detracts from the valuable content, it's unfortunate because her ideas are great but it's just too distracting. Each ad takes too long to load which slows down the browsing experience. Parents don't have the time to waste waiting for their computer to respond or ads to load. 

The activities and games are fun and practical however because of the bothersome ads I won't be accessing the website again in the future. As much as I tried to look past the annoyance I just don't have the time to spare to continuously close ads or wait for my browser to catch up because it's being slowed down due to the overwhelming amount of automated ads. I tend to revisit other sites that are less time consuming and just as educational.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Solution to How to Dry Your Makeup Brushes When Space Is Limited

Please note that the page does contain affiliate links. 

Anyone that uses makeup brushes knows how important it is to clean them periodically. Cleaning them isn't a problem but trying to find enough counter space to lay them out so they are able to dry can be a problem. I do not have an extravagant amount of space to lay out all my brushes so I either have to wash my brushes in batches which can make the process take longer than it needs to or I have to search for a place where I can lay them all out overnight. It's not the most practical way of drying brushes but it worked for me. I had been using this method for years until I recently found the Beakey makeup brush holder on Amazon. 

The stand comes in 3 pieces and is easily assembled within seconds. It's made of durable plastic that really glistens under the light. When I first removed the pieces from the package each piece comes covered with a brown cardboard/adhesive which protects the pieces from damage while in transit. Don't panic, this cardboard is removable, once separated from each side of the top piece as well as the stand's legs, a very pretty black becomes visible. The cardboard is easily removed when placed under warm water, it peels off leaving zero residue behind. I suggest placing all the pieces in warm water and letting them soak for a few minutes, then peel the cardboard off the pieces. It will save you time and it will save your manicure. 

The two legs that form the base of the stand slide together to resemble an "X". Then they slide through the slits in the top of the holder. The parts of the base that slides through the top of the holder, now become a handle to carry the stand. It's very clever and unique. The brush holder would not be practical without the handle because picking up the stand by the legs would get very old. 

The holder contains 28 slots made to fit 3 different sized brushes. There are 6 large slots, 4 medium sized slots, and 18 small slots. The silicone grips in each slot do a solid job of gripping the brushes so they fit securely into each slot. Once inserted, the brushes are not going anywhere until you remove them. When I tested the holder with oddly shaped brush handles as well as different finishes on the handles I was pleasantly surprised that neither hindered the grip of the silicone on the handle.

I will say that if there are too many heavier brushes inserted on one side whether it's in the front, back or on the left side or right side the stand will tip over. The manufacturer does suggest that if not all the slots are full then to place the stand on its side. Even though that's a solution to it tipping over I don't find that placing the stand on its side when the brushes are drying is necessarily a great thing. With the brushes angled in such a way, there is a better chance of water affecting the glue on the brushes. 

I also used the stand as a brush holder after they had completed the drying process. Since the stand does not take up much space on the counter it's a nice way to display your most used brushes. It just needs to be well balanced with weight being evenly distributed or there is a good chance it will tip over. 

I love that this stand helps to dry brushes faster compared to laying them out on a towel overnight. It not only looks nice when it's sitting on the counter but storing the unit when I'm not using it is a cinch. I love the convenience of unassembling it and storing it in bathroom cabinet or drawer because it's flat. I can place the pieces on their sides in a drawer and easily grab them when I want to wash my brushes. 

The stand is useful, really nice looking, practical and easy to store so it must be expensive right? I know I have seen ones that can really get up there in price so this one is just like all the rest, right? Wrong! The stand is less than $11. 

The stand is a great accessory to have even if you have just a few brushes in your collection. I actually find myself washing my brushes more since it's less of a hassle. No more searching for a counter large enough to lay my brushes while drying. It's a nice looking stand and does not appear cheap or delicate. 

I love my stand and would recommend this brush holder especially to those with limited space. 

(Note: Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon, at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Learning Can Be Fun & Affordable With "The Activity Mom"

Looking for some fun activities that will help your kiddos learn new skills without costing you a lot of money? Take a look at The Activity Mom, a site full of free activities that help inspire kids to learn without costing you a penny.

The Activity Mom is a site created by a mom who was looking for fun educational activities for her children. With a background in education, she created activities that not only would help develop her children's skills but also wanted activities to be fun so that they would keep her children interested. 

I love the amount of fun games and activities that are on the site. There are many categories to choose from that will fit the needs of your children. There are activities for babies-children age 6 and above. Whether your child is learning the alphabet, the sounds of letters or beginning to read and write or learning to add and subtract there is an activity for them. The Activity Mom has an activity that will suit your child's needs. There are some really fun activities using pool noodles and paper plates! Does your child enjoy playing with playdough or painting or playing with water? There are quite a few activities that will keep them entertained while educating them. She literally has thought of it all.

I really like how she provides additional activities under the original activity. For example, there is a shape matching activity and under the activity, she provides other games and activities using the pieces from the matching game. It allows parents to expand and use the cards in different ways as their children's skills progress. 

She provides printables if you don't feel like creating certain worksheets or activities, which saves a ton of time. The time that can be better spent implementing the activities with your children. 

I like the Apple Picking Alphabet Play since it's super easy to re-create. It teaches kids letter recognition by having them search for the lettered apples. Who doesn't like to hunt for letters? What's really neat is the lettered circles that I created for the alphabet monster game, ice cream game and car game can also be used for this apple picking game. Instead of searching for apples I call the circles oranges and go out orange picking. 

Paper Towel Tube Letter Matching Game

One of my favorite activities for the pre-school aged child is the paper towel tube letter matching game. It allows the child to identify letters while being able to use stickers. I know how little ones love stickers and usually will apply stickers to anything and everything but with this activity they can have the fun of using stickers but applying them to the matching letter on the toilet paper tube. I used toilet paper tubes because it's smaller and we tend to use more toilet paper than paper towels in our house. The letters will be a bit closer in proximity however it didn't create any problems for us. 

Ice Cream Game (Printable)

The ice cream cone activity initially is for pre-school aged children who are learning colors but can then be adjusted to better suit elementary aged children when learning addition. By adding numbers to the ice cream and cones after laminating them (I used dry erase markers) I was able to transition the ice cream into addition problems. The activities grow with the children's skills. I love that about the activities she has created! 

Alphabet Puppy Game (Printable)

Do you have a child at home that loves dinosaurs or dogs? There is a very fun activity that involves your child searching for dog or dinosaur bones. She suggests using a small stuffed animal dog to "sniff" out the hidden bones that have been placed around the room. The alphabet puppy game is a fun way to identify the letters written on bones. Since I know a little one that loves dinosaurs I switched up the activity a bit and I placed the bones inside an 11x14 plastic box (that has a lid) and covered the bones with foam packing peanuts.This way the kids need to dig through the peanuts until they find a bone. When they find the bone they say the letter (with parents help, if necessary) and place the bone on top of the matching letter on the alphabet chart. So even if they can't say the letters, by matching them the child can still learn to identify the letters. I highly suggest if you choose to use the peanuts that there is vigilant adult supervision provided. 

If you have a toddler at home and are looking for activities for those little ones ranging in age from 12 months-24months, Nicole, the founder of The Activity Mom, recommends her article 50+ Activities for Toddlers. She has all the activities organized by the age of your child. Making it incredibly easy to find age-appropriate activities for your child. She does note that if your child happens to be 14 months old and still enjoys activities under the 12 months category, that is perfectly okay. At the same time if your child at 14 months enjoys activities under the 16-month category then allow your child to participate in those activities. It's more of a guideline she has provided than a plan that's set in stone. After all, children learn at different paces as well as they have different interests. 

The activities do not take very long to replicate and since most of the activities I chose to implement were easily adjustable as the children's skills develop I can use them over and over again. The kids had fun with them plus it kept their interest which is always a plus!

The Activity Mom provides exciting activities to engage children while guiding them as they build their skills in reading, writing, math and science. The activities are perfect for any child who enjoys having fun because they allow children to learn and discover without even realizing they are learning important skills. 

Find all of her great ideas on Pinterest at The Activity Mom.