MagicFlix: Safe Edutainment App For Kids

December 19, 2014   
This post is sponsored and in collaboration with MagicFlix and Latina Bloggers Connect. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own. 

Growing up, there weren't many options for educational entertainment like there are today. Essentially, I had two choices: rush to the television to watch Sesame Street at 3pm every day and hope that Abuela hadn't seized the tube for her mid-afternoon novelas or, learn from one of the lessons my mom taught my little brother shortly after one of his many mischievous "adventures".  Today with the amount of technology accessible to children, things are very different. Kids have a lot more options to choose from, most in the palm of their hand. 

Being an elementary school teacher, I spend a considerable amount of time around younger children. I'm also a mom of a 4 yr old who like many of my students is more open to learning through electronic devices and apps.  The problem however is that for a parent, and even for teachers, it can be a full time job trying to keep your kids from stumbling upon the latest inappropriate ad or video online. You can't really just hand your phone over to your kid and say "Here's YouTube, learn stuff". And really, I can only take so much of the Disney Junior app at a time. This is why I love MagicFlix!

MagicFlix is a new video app developed specifically for kids 12 and under but with concerned parents in mind. Created by moms for moms, this app curates videos from around the world. These videos are not just educational but most importantly, age-appropriate and safe for kids to watch. I recently downloaded the app and had a look through it as I do with any other before I give it to my little one. I've got to say, I really enjoyed it. It's simple to understand and navigate with a great blend of positive edu-tainment. Thankfully, MagicFlix is not the average mindless entertainment, the app covers videos across different fields like Science, Math, the Animal Kingdom and more. Kids can learn how spaceships fly or watch a momma giraffe feed her baby calf. And get this, it's even got an excellent selection of videos in Spanish! Which is great because as a Latina I've always wanted to make sure my baby doesn't lose her Spanish in a mostly English speaking country.

All in all, my daughter really loves it and I don't have to worry about some pop-up or in app commercial trying to sell "stamina" pills to my baby. Learning is obviously very important to me as a teacher but its equally important for me as a mom. I've looked at and tested many educational apps in the past but none have really impressed me overall the way MagicFlix has. MagicFlix comes preloaded on most kids' tablets and is available on the iPad, iPhone (just released!) and android. If you're looking for an engaging, worry free educational app for your kids, that wont rot their brain, then you must download this one! Learn more about downloading MagicFlix HERE

Watching some MagicFlix videos while mami cooks dinner.

'Tis The Season

December 17, 2014   

The Christmas season is in full swing and that of course brings with it things like holiday classics playing on every radio station, nativity scenes on every front yard and of course, kids' Christmas/Holiday shows and recitals. This weekend I had the pleasure of seeing my little girl perform in her very own show. It was an outdoor event where they got to showcase all of their hard work. I was so proud of her and most importantly she had such a great time!  Now when it comes to the outfit...tell me it's not the most adorable thing ever. I think we have our next "steal her look" ;)

A special thanks to the teachers at Re-Evolution Dance Studio who work so hard with the little ones each week.

Evenflo World Explorer ExerSaucer- Update

This post is sponsored and in collaboration with Evenflo® and Latina Bloggers Connect. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own. 

In the midst of this crazy holiday shopping season, where most hot ticket items are flying off shelves and becoming scarce, the words "your package has been delivered" always sound so sweet  Those five words have a special way of lifting a burden like none other, since another item can be checked off my list. Especially, when the item was intended to be gifted before Christmas.  With my friend's due date right around the corner, I was eager to receive the Evenflo World Explorer ExerSaucer. I was so excited to see it arrive.  The temptation to open it and give it a try was greater than I expected.  I read so much about it when doing my research and wanted to see if this 3-in1 activity center was all it was cracked up to be. The truth is, I didn't really have a "good" excuse to open it other than sheer curiosity. So, I was forced to exercise some self control, at least temporarily.    

Luckily, this past weekend I had the opportunity to spend some time with the little man that owns my heart, my nephew.  Like most boys, he's very energetic and full of curiosity, an adventurer at heart.  So when he came over, it was hard for him to miss the giant box sitting in my living room.  He was so eager to open and play with what was inside that I couldn't resist.  After all, it's wrong to be inhospitable to a guest in my home. Oh who am I kidding?! I was dying to open it and jumped at the first chance he gave me. So without any hesitation, I opened the box. I figured I'd tell my friend I did her a favor and built it so she wouldn't have to worry about it later. "I was just trying to be helpful", at least that's what I would tell her.

Once we opened it, I got straight to putting the Activity table together. Based on his age, I knew that would be the one he'd enjoy the most.  I was surprised to see how easy it was to build since I wouldn't necessarily consider myself the "Handy Manny" or "Bob the Builder" type. The instructions were easy to follow however, and with my little assistant bringing me all the pieces, I was done in no time.  I barely had a chance to put the screw driver down before my nephew got to playing with all its features.  Even though you might think this toy is intended strictly for younger children, my 22 month old nephew couldn't get enough.  From the Language Pod in four languages, to the Elephant, Penguin, and Panda sounds; he was so engaged that I could not pull him away.  He really enjoyed it! Eventually, I would have to pry him off since it was time for him to go home. Wouldn't you know it? He cried his little heart out in disappointment.

Though it breaks my heart to see my little man get so upset, I'm glad to report, the World Explorer ExerSaucer is amazing!  With my nephew, I was able to confirm that this toy truly grows with the child and is worth every penny.  Can't wait to give it to my friend and see her precious baby get some good use out of it. The best part is that I know it will grow with him and last for at least a couple of years.  Really, how many other toys out there can say that? So if you're still on the search for a gift that's fun for the kids and practical for the parents, the Evenflo World Explorer ExerSaucer is it!  The best part is that Babies R' US is offering 20% off between December 5-24.  Take advantage of this great deal by using this LINK

Evenflo World Explorer Triple Fun Plus ExerSaucer- "Create and Play" Stage 3

Having a blast listening to the Language Pod

Posing for selfies with the camera

Reminiscing Holiday Traditions

December 15, 2014   
This post is sponsored and in collaboration with Sears and Latina Bloggers Connect. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own. 

Christmas is my favorite time of year. It brings back so many fond memories of my childhood and all the wonderful traditions my family has partaken in for generations. As a little girl, I did not really grasp the concept of traditions or appreciate their significance. But now that I'm a mom, I can understand my parent's joy in handing down these special moments to my brother and I. I finally "get it".  And now, I'm tasked with passing these cherished traditions on to my little one, including some new ones we've incorporated on our own.

One of those fond traditions includes decorating the tree. Every year, on Thanksgiving weekend, we made the obligatory trip to the local hardware store to purchase a tree.  Since my mom loved what I dubbed as the "car scented" pine tree smell, we always opted for a natural tree. I can still recall the scent of pine permeating the air as soon as we got the tree home.  So much so, that even now, whenever I smell pine trees I am reminded of the house I grew up in and insist on getting a natural tree of my own. After purchasing the tree, my parents always played the typical Christmas music heard in many Latin homes. The sounds of the classic Christmas hits "Feliz Navidad" by Jose Feliciano and "Mi Burrito Sabanero" were a staple in my home.  Meanwhile, my brother and I wasted no time cluttering the tree with pieces we made at school, despite my mother's plan to fill it with the beautiful array of ornaments she had purchased for the occasion .  When we were done, our tree looked like an eclectic combination of pretty much whatever we could get our hands on.  Now, thinking back, not sure how mami was always so kind and gracious with our final "masterpiece".  Eventually, as the days grew closer to Christmas Eve, those handmade "ornaments" seemed to slowly disappear.  I always wondered where they went but now I know ;)  

Another tradition I hold dearly is la cena de Noche Buena.  For the few of you who don't know what that is, it is the Hispanic version of the Night Before Christmas.  For us, the big celebration is held on Christmas Eve (Dec.24th), rather than the 25th. On that magical night, a large assortment of delicious food always filled the table, as we gathered together to enjoy each others' company.  After we were done devouring the late night dinner, we'd go for a walk around the block and come back to find what we had so eagerly been waiting to see all month... the presents under the Christmas tree. Yet the anticipation didn't end there because we had to wait until the clock struck 12 to open the presents. Unlike many Americans, our gifts were not brought by a jolly old man, but by El NiƱo Dios, better known as baby Jesus himself!  This made the classic nativity scene a must have but, baby Jesus wasn't placed in the manger until after midnight of Christmas Eve because that's -OBVIOUSLY- when he was born of course. I didn’t realize it at the time but everything was strategically organized by my parents and each tradition that led up to opening up our gifts was being planted one seed at a time. Now I find myself plotting out my own delivery methods for my little girl. 

I love seeing her opening presents each year and I’m so glad that one of the traditions that I didn’t even know about back then is still possible. A tradition my mother eventually shared with me that made my holiday shopping experience so much easier.  Going to Sears® was something she did every Christmas season for all of her gift needs and it’s now something I do as a mom for mine. I can see why she did it for all those years, they make it so easy with their assortment of brands and great deals. Sears really is the place to go for getting your entire holiday shopping list taken care of.

This holiday season, Sears has partnered with the Huffington Post to highlight Latino Holiday traditions and how Sears can bring some of those traditions to life! Here's a LINK you need to check out about how one Latina mom attempts to share her traditions with her biracial children.     

Noche Buena 2011

Noche Buena 1987 (me)

Must Have Holiday Gift: Evenflo World Explorer ExerSaucer

December 10, 2014   
This post is sponsored and in collaboration with Evenflo® and Latina Bloggers Connect. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own.  

Con Noche Buena a couple of weeks away, the search for the must-have Christmas gifts has begun.  In the past, I've been guilty of waiting till the last minute to get everything I needed.  So much so, that I've been one of those shoppers desperately seeking a parking space in a crowded mall on December 24th in order to scavenge through the remaining items on store shelves.  However, this time around, I refuse to be caught doing what I've always done. No more waiting in endless lines the day before Christmas or fighting with total strangers.  This year, that last Elsa doll is mine! To make sure I don't fall into my old habits, I've prepared well in advanced and even taken preventive measures. One of those measures being organization.  I decided to get organized by creating an inventory with possible gift ideas and budgets for everyone on my list.  I'm happy to report, I've already purchased many of the items I need.  

The one gift I had trouble deciding on was for a friend who is expecting a Christmas baby. With so many toys out there for newborns and infants, narrowing down the choices was difficult. I started with the usual Google search and read through countless suggestions by other mom bloggers like myself. I finally came across something that really caught my eye: the Evenflo® World Explorer Triple Fun Plus+ ExerSaucer®.  Sure, the name is a mouthful, but so is the amazing list of perks this baby has to offer children 0 to 24 months.
Considering the rapid rate at which children normally outgrow most toys due to interest and age appropriateness, what I love most about the Envenflo ExerSaucer is that it grows with the child. It's an advanced 3-in-1 activity center where children can learn while they play for over 2 full years.When my daughter was born, she received an older Evenflo model, and enjoyed each and every stage the ExerSaucer had to offer. The 3 product stages include a play mat, stationary activity center, and activity table for extended use as the child grows:

1. Play Mat- "See and Touch" Stage (0-4 months) 

2. Stationary Activity Center- "Move and Bounce" Stage (4-12 months)
3. Activity Table- "Create and Play" Stage (12-24 months)
The World Explorer ExcerSaucer® is the latest Evenflo design which gives children a virtual trip around the world and includes a range of features that expose them to visuals from around the globe. It is the perfect solution for parents looking to help their children achieve important physical and mental milestones. Equipped with rock, spin and bounce movements, the activity center also encourages hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and imagination. What sets this saucer apart from the rest is that it includes a Language Pod with 12 scenes in four languages- English, French, Spanish, and Mandarin. How cool is that?! Talk about making your child quadrilingual. 

Now, you may be wondering, how much something like this might cost? Well, to be honest, it is a steal! Normally priced at $129, Babies R' Us is having a 20% off promotion for parents from December 5-24. So make sure to select the following Coupon Link to take advantage of this amazing deal! I know I already have!