The Jenny Evolution

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July 24, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
2 Comments

Summer Sensory Activities: Ice Play for Kids

When you think of ice, you may not immediately think of it as a terrific sensory outlet. But ice is the perfect companion for some summer fun and sensory experience!

Every week you can find amazing projects, crafts and activities to do with your kids with the Kids Co-Op, and The Jenny Evolution will highlight some of them with a common theme. This week’s theme is summer sensory activities – ice play for kids.

Summer Sensory  Ice Play Activities for Kids | The Jenny Evolution

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July 23, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
0 comments

Help Friends in Medical Need with GiveForward

This is a sponsored post by GiveForward; however, all opinions are strictly mine.

What if one day you found out your friend had cancer? Or if your neighbor was in an serious accident? Or if one of your child’s schoolmates needed a life-saving operation? Would you know how you could help?

We often feel unable to make a serious difference when the people in our lives need medical assistance. But what if you could make a difference beyond delivering a couple of meals?

GiveForward is a fundraising site designed to help friends and family come together to support someone in medical need. In under 10 minutes, you can easily set up a fundraiser for a friend. Just tell your loved one’s story, upload a few pictures and hit publish! Then share your page with friends and family using email, Facebook or other social media. You can even add in team member to help you spread the word.

Over the past several years, we’ve had several friends who have faced some a serious medical crisis, and I wish we had known about this service sooner. I often felt stuck and unable to help as much as I wanted to because I just didn’t know what to do.

 

Unlike over crowdfunding sites, GiveForward works with donors (who often cover the low transaction fee) so the money donated goes to the recipient in need unlike other crowdfunding sites. What I particularly like about the service is you are assigned a fundraising coach so you never feel like you’re working on your own. You can connect with a live person via phone, email or even online chat. Don’t believe me? Go check out the bios of their coaches.

At the end of the day, in addition to the money, many recipients feel the love from friends, neighbors and even strangers who donate and leave encouraging messages to help the person during their medical crisis. You just can’t put a price on that.

July 23, 2014
by thejennyevolution
3 Comments

Potty Training Made Easy: Strategies That Really Work

Potty training can be a process of trial and error. It can be both exciting and quite frustrating. Rest assured, eventually your child will be potty trained. It’s not like you see teenagers running around in diapers!

That being said, there are proven potty training strategies that have worked for parents over the years. Let’s take a look at a few of them to make the potty training process as easy and painless as possible.

Potty Training Made Easy: Strategies that Really Work | The Jenny Evolution

1. Wait until your child is ready for potty training before you begin. Many parents, undoubtedly excited to be done with the whole diaper thing, rush potty training. Good intentions aside, if a child isn’t mentally and physically ready to learn how to use a toilet, the potty training process is going to take much longer and be frustrating for the both of you.

If you’re not sure if your kiddo is ready for potty training, read about when it’s time to ditch the diapers.

2. Make sure you have the right gear. There are a lot of potty training aids available. From small portable potty chairs to floating targets (like Cheerios) you can place in the toilet to help your little boy aim and enjoy the training process. Getting the gear before you begin training will help you and your child create a structure and a routine around potty training.

It also helps to have potty training friendly clothing. There’s nothing more frustrating than a child who tells you they have to go potty and then having them wet their pants because it took too long to get their clothing off. Slip-on pants are the easiest and of course skirts and dresses make it easy for girls.

And don’t forget about using incentive charts or treats. You’d be surprised at how excited a child can get over earning a single mini M&M.

Potty Chart

This is the potty chart with used with my son. It really wasn’t about keeping track. It was about celebrating his success. So every time he used the potty, he got to add a sticker to his chart.

3. Have a positive mindset. Mistakes will happen, and children will make huge leaps forward only to then have really bad potty training days or weeks. Reward and celebrate successes and stay focused on having a positive attitude. Recrimination, punishment and yelling only makes a child feel bad about themselves. It doesn’t further the potty training process.

Know that it’s much easier for a child to be aware of their body during the daytime and nighttime accidents can happen well into elementary school. Be prepared. Protect your child’s pride and their belongings with a mattress pad, rules about drinking before bedtime and support and understanding.

The potty training process can take a while and each child’s experiences are different. Be patient, be positive and be prepared!

Some of the potty training products I love, include:

July 22, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
1 Comment

What Are Eco Friendly Toys?

An eco-friendly toy may sound like a difficult thing to find, but in reality it is quite simple. To find out what makes a toy eco friendly, think back 100 or 200 years. If the toy could have been made or already existed at that time, then it is probably eco-friendly. Here are some other ways toys can be kind to the environment.

What Makes a Toy Eco-Friendly? | The Jenny Evolution

Batteries not Included

If a toy requires batteries or electricity, it is far from being eco friendly. Using up electricity just to power a play thing, is not a good use of that resource. Batteries can contaminate water and soil easily, not to mention that they can corrode the toy itself. The parts used in an electric toy and the manufacturing process involved, eliminate them from the ‘good’ list. If you must have a battery-operated toy, at least use rechargeable batteries and/or recycle used batteries in the proper place.

Toy Material

Eco friendly toys use renewable, natural and reusable resources. That means that the toys can be made out of recycled material or materials that are abundantly found like bamboo, cotton and other materials that are found in abundance. As mentioned before, if it could not be made 200 years ago, then it is probably not good for the environment; that means no plastic, no electronic parts and non-toxic paints.

Toy Maker

Another factor that can make a toy eco friendly, starts before you even buy the toy and before the toy is actually made. To be truly environmentally friendly, the toy manufacturer must also be ‘green.’ Factories that follow EPA guidelines, provide money for environmental research or education and those that help combat deforestation are just of a few things that can make them eco friendly.

Teaches Values

Toys that teach children about the world they live in can help instill values, teach environmental awareness and still be a lot of fun. Ant farms, crystal growing kits, mini green houses and even microscopes are a good start to showing children all of the parts that make up our planet Earth and just how fragile it really is. This will go on to serve them well as they grow to become responsible adults.

Buying eco friendly toys not only helps the environment, but it also teaches children how to entertain themselves without the use of electronic devices. Eco friendly toys can easily be found at numerous stores online including Walmart and at Amazon.com. So don’t despair if you’re not sure where to begin looking. Eco-friendly toys can be found all over the place!

July 17, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
6 Comments

Friday Flash Blog No. 77 {Plus Features}

Friday Flash Blog is a flash mob of blogs, highlighting the best of bloggers from the week. Be sure to check them out (and the ones I’ve featured) as well as link up your own.

Weekly Thoughts: I’m on vacation this week. A girl’s gotta take a break at some point! So link up and I’ll see you next week for the features!

 

Friday Flash Blog is a Flash Mob of Blogs

Share ALL Your Favorite Posts of the Week

Now Let’s Get This Party Started

Requests to bloggers:

  • Include a link to this sharing party, post my button on your site or add the linky party to your own posting
  • NO selling please
  • Note I pin all featured items onto my boards, which you can find here
  • By linking up, you understand you will receive an invitation to receive notifications of this linky
  • Take a look at some of the other links and comment on them
  • Leave your host a comment! Tell me which highlight was your favorite one

Please follow your host, The Jenny Evolution, on

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I follow back all of my friends!

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July 17, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
1 Comment

Even More Funny Mom Confessions

CONFESS! We all have those moments where we feel like the worst parents in the world. Moms have been sharing their confessions on The Jenny Evolution, and I’m sharing them with you.

Be sure to tell me which ones are your favorites funny mom confessions and then add your own to the moms confession page. It’s completely anonymous. So go ahead and confess!

Don’t miss our previous funny mom confessions!

July 15, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
8 Comments

Back to School Tech Sweepstakes

Back to School Tech-Style Giveaway Sweepstakes

Welcome to the Back To School Tech Sweepstakes!

At Mom Powered Media, we believe in higher education and want to help our network readers get there. To help you do just that, we are giving one lucky reader a $500 Visa Gift Card and HP 14″ Chromebook PC. There will also be 20 second place winners to take home Back To School Prize Packages. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get BTS ready, tech-style!

Special thank you to our supporting co-host bloggers: Monica’s Rants, Raves & Reviews, The Jenny Evolution, Memoirs of a Clueless Woman, My Dairy-Free Gluten-Free Life, My Daylights, Barbara’s Beat, Saving You Dinero, Shaping Up To Be A Mom, Robyn’s View, Coupons and Freebies Mom, A Hen’s Nest, Budget Savvy Diva, Mutterings Of A Mindless Mommy, Your Sassy Self and Nest Full of New.

Open your sleek, next-generation HP Pavilion 14-Q020NR 14″ Chromebook PC to get online, fast. You can access your favorite websites and Google Chrome apps on the 14-inch diagonal HD display in seconds.

HP 14″ Chromebook PC features:

  • Intel Celeron 2955U Dual-Core processor 1.40GHz
  • 2GB DDR3 SDRAM system memory
  • 16GB solid state drive
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wireless LAN
  • Intel HD GMA Graphics
  • Webcam
  • SD memory card reader
  • 1 x USB 2.0 port, 1 x USB 3.0 port, 1 x HDMI port, 1 x Acer converter port
  • 3-cell lithium polymer battery for up to 8.5 hours run time
  • 2.76 lbs, 0.8″ x 11.3″ x 8″
  • Genuine Google Chrome OS Software

Back to School Tech Prize Package Giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive a $500 Visa Gift Card and HP 14″ Chromebook PC. Twenty additional winners will also receive a Back To School Prize Package.

Giveaway ends August 15th at 11:59pm, open to US and Canadian residents, ages 18+. Excludes Quebec. Only one entrant per household, per address. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Enter using the giveaway form below. Good luck!

Disclaimer: The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household, per address. Void where prohibited by law. Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this sweepstakes. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. Contact teri@mompoweredmedia.com if you have any additional questions or comments.

July 14, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
2 Comments

Wonderful Picture Books about Jazz for Kids

Best Picture Books About Jazz for Kids: Find these books at your local library or purchase through the links provided for your convenience. This post contains affiliate links; however, all recommendations are my own.

Child-focused artists like Laurie Berkner may rule your home, but it doesn’t mean your child won’t be open to learning about other types of music as well. From an early age, I started exposing my kids to all different types of jazz… and books were the perfect way to do that!

Wonderful Jazz Picture Books for Kids

There are some amazing books that come with audio CDs that act as the perfect introduction to jazz, as well as some that talk about the jazz greats. For toddlers (and older), I highly recommend Jazz Fly 2, which introduces children to Latin-influenced jazz as well as some Spanish. For preschoolers (and older), Ben’s Trumpetuses the sound of jazz to tell the story of a boy who just wants to play the trumpet. Jazzis an awesome book for Kindergarteners on up, which walks children through poetry accompanied by the whole spectrum of the genre.

In addition, I recommend three books that don’t have audio CDs. The first is for younger children which visually shows how jazz may look (and is about John Coltrane) called Before John Was a Jazz Giant. For grade school children, there are two terrific books you can read over and over again: Wynton Marsalis Jazz A B Z and Spirit Seeker – John Contrane’s Musical Journey.

Best Picture Books About Jazz for Children

Jazz Fly 2 - Best Picture Books About Jazz for Kids

Jazz Fly 2: This awaited sequel to the multiple-award winning original Jazz Fly combines witty illustrations, rhythmic narration and irresistible music provided by a jazz quintet. The jazz-scatting Fly and his insect band need a ride to the tropical pachanga, or dance party. A sloth, spider monkey and macaw can help but only if the band chants the right Spanish words. Can one part jazz and one part Spanish make a language problem vanish? Find out how the Fly s creativity saves El Termite Nook from destruction. Jumping with bongo drums, conga drums, sax solos and more, this spirited–and funny– adventure welcomes listeners to Spanish and Latin jazz.

Ben's Trumpet

Ben’s Trumpet: The story of Ben is fiction, but it could be the story of more than one jazz musician who grew up in the twenties. Using the art-deco style of the period, Rachel Isadora not only captures the poignancy and yearning of a youthful talent, but in page after page of striking art seems to convey the very sound of music.

Jazz

Jazz: This smash-hit picture book of jazz music poems, from award-winning father-don team Walter Dean Myers and Christopher Myers, is now available in paperback. There’s a crazy syncopation /and it’s tearing through the nation / and it’s bringing sweet elation / to every single tune./ It’s Jazz/ From bebop to New Orleans, from ragtime to boogie, and every style in between, this collection of Walter Dean Myers’s energetic and engaging poems, accompanied by Christopher Myers’s bright and exhilarating paintings, celebrates different styles of the American art form, jazz. “JAZZ” takes readers on a musical journey from jazz’s beginnings to the present day. Includes time line and jazz glossary.

Before John Was a Jazz Giant

Before John Was a Jazz Giant: Young John Coltrane was all ears. And there was a lot to hear growing up in the South in the 1930s: preachers praying, music on the radio, the bustling of the household. These vivid noises shaped John’s own sound as a musician. Carole Boston Weatherford and Sean Qualls have composed an amazingly rich hymn to the childhood of jazz legend John Coltrane. Before John Was a Jazz Giant is a 2009 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book and a 2009 Bank Street – Best Children’s Book of the Year.

Wynton Marsalis Jazz ABZ: An A to Z Collection of Jazz Portraits: The award-winning book by celebrated jazz composer Wynton Marsalis is now available with an exclusive art print by illustrator Paul Rogers

Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane's Musical Journey Book  #kidlit  #jazz

Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey: Growing up, John was a seeker. He wondered about spirit, and the meaning of life. And whether music could be a key to unlocking those mysteries. Like his grandfather’s preaching and his parents’ songs, could John’s music bring people closer to God? Told in moving prose and powerfully illustrated, this is the story of a shy, curious boy from a deeply religious family who grew up to find solace and inspiration in his own unique approach to both spirituality and music. John Coltrane—a legendary jazz musician whose work shattered boundaries and continues to influence countless artists to this day.

July 10, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
20 Comments

Friday Flash Blog No. 76 {Plus Features}

Friday Flash Blog is a flash mob of blogs, highlighting the best of bloggers from the week. Be sure to check them out (and the ones I’ve featured) as well as link up your own.

Weekly Thoughts: We celebrated the 4th of July last week… and it has to be one of my favorite holidays. Second only to Christmas. While the 4th is a celebration of America, it is also a celebration of summer for many of us. How did you celebrate?

20 Lemon Desserts to Celebrate Summer! Compiled by Dizzy Busy & Hungry

20 Lemon Desserts to Celebrate Summer! Compiled by Dizzy Busy & Hungry

Didn't these old buckets turn out adorable! DIY from Little Brags

Didn’t these old buckets turn out adorable! DIY from Little Brags

Easy Jam Tarts to Make With the Kids. What fun! Recipe by Into the Playroom

Easy Jam Tarts to Make With the Kids. What fun! Recipe by Into the Playroom

I want one! Expanding Nautical Tote Bag Pattern from So Sew Easy

I want one! Expanding Nautical Tote Bag Pattern from So Sew Easy

30 Minute Strawberry Rolls with Sweet Glaze Recipe by Annie's Noms

30 Minute Strawberry Rolls with Sweet Glaze Recipe by Annie’s Noms

Nature Scavenger Hunt FREE Printable

Get outside already! Nature Scavenger Hunt FREE Printable from The Jenny Evolution

Friday Flash Blog is a Flash Mob of Blogs

Share ALL Your Favorite Posts of the Week

Now Let’s Get This Party Started

Requests to bloggers:

  • Include a link to this sharing party, post my button on your site or add the linky party to your own posting
  • NO selling please
  • Note I pin all featured items onto my boards, which you can find here
  • By linking up, you understand you will receive an invitation to receive notifications of this linky
  • Take a look at some of the other links and comment on them
  • Leave your host a comment! Tell me which highlight was your favorite one

Please follow your host, The Jenny Evolution, on

Facebook | Twitter | Bloglovin | Google+ | Pinterest | Instagram

I follow back all of my friends!

FlashFlashBlog

Get Notified When Friday Flash Blog Goes Live

CLICK HERE


July 10, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
1 Comment

Activities for Exploring and Learning Colors

As adults, we often take for granted the importance of color exploration for kids. It’s much more than just learning the names of each color. These activities can be a wonderful visual sensory experience for your kids. It’s about learning how those colors shape the world around us!

Every week you can find amazing projects, crafts and activities to do with your kids with the Kids Co-Op, and The Jenny Evolution will highlight some of them with a common theme.  This week’s theme is activities for exploring and learning colors.

Activities for Exploring & Learning Colors | The Jenny Evolution

Color Sorting with Trains | Craftulate

Little Blue and Little Yellow- color mixing | Frogs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Color Explorations: Painting | Crafty Moms Share

Coloring Water | Tutus and Tea Parties

Color Sorting | An Idea on Tuesday

Colored Ice Play | Excite and Explore

C is for Colors | Big Energy – Little Learners

Color Grading Experiment With Food Coloring | Mom, Teach Me to Read

Color Matching Printables for Toddlers | Totschooling

Exploring Color and Light | Suzie’s Home Education Ideas

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