Friday, October 25, 2013

Disney Vacation Discounts from Pixie Vacations!

Disclosure: This post may be sponsored.

How does a Disney vacation sound?

It sounds wonderful to me.  It has been so crazy with school/work and now having a school age child.  A vacation is just what we need.  I'd love to go right now!  We don't live too far from Disney, but my kids have never been.  It's just so expensive.  My kids love everything Disney, so we are hoping and saving up to take them sometime in the near future. 

Pixie Vacations has some great deals that might help!

Check out these great sales and deals!

Play, Stay & Dine at Disney World & Save Up To $600

Booking Dates:
October 8 – December 31, 2013

Travel Dates:
For Stays most nights January 5 – March 5, 2014

Walt Disney World vacation packages are here for 2014 travel.  You can save $600* on your family vacation by booking this offer.  Here are the details:

Purchase this Walt Disney World Vacation now through Dec. 31, 2013 for stays most nights Jan. 5 – March 5, 2014 at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels. Save $600* (based on a family of four) on a 5-night, 6-day Plus Dining Disney Vacation Package at select Disney Moderate, Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts. Or, save $400* (based on a family of four) on a 5-night, 6-day Disney World Vacation Package Plus Quick Service Dining at select Disney Value Resorts.

Booking Window:
Oct. 8 – Dec. 31, 2013

Travel Window:
For stays most nights Jan. 5 – March 5, 2014

Don’t delay! With savings this huge, rooms will fill up fast! If you are interested in this offer contact Pixie Vacations today.

Save Up To 35% – Select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

You can save up to 35%* at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels with this offer.

Booking Window:
Book Oct. 8 – Dec. 31, 2013

Travel Window:
For stays most nights Jan. 5 – March 5, 2014 and March 14April, 12, 2014:

Save up to 35% at
Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts,
Disney’s Beach Club Resort Villas,
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn & Villas,
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (standard/pool view rooms),
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa,
Disney’s Polynesian Resort,
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa,
Disney’s Old Key West Resort,
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (standard/woods view)

Save up to 25% at
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort,
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort,
Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Cabins

Save up to 20% at
Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort,
Disney’s All-Star Music
Disney’s Pop Century Resort

How to Book:
Contact Pixie Vacations
Call 678-815-1584
Get a Quick Disney World Quote

Disney World Christmas 2013 vacation packages from $118 per person

Spend the Holidays at Walt Disney World with this special vacation package offer from our friends at Pixie Vacations.

Booking Window:   10/10 – 11/18/2013
Travel Window: 12/18 – 12/25/2013
You must stay the night of the 18th, you can extend past the 25th based on availability.

Package for 5 nights / 6 days at select Disney Value, Moderate, or Deluxe Resorts
and get a FREE Disney Water Park or DisneyQuest Ticket for each person in your party.

This Exclusive Holiday Season Disney World Vacation Package Includes:

  • Accommodations
  • Magic Your Way Base Ticket
  • Disney’s Plus Dining**
  • A Free DisneyQuest or Disney Water Park Ticket

Spend Christmas at Walt Disney World.
Available Disney Resorts for this Disney Holiday Special Vacation Package are:


To Book:

Click this link to get an online quote: Christmas at Disney World Vacation Quote
Ask about packages available in other resort categories and for other lengths of stay.

Phone: 678-815-1584

Get a Disney Vacation Quote Now For Your Travel Dates.

This Exclusive offer is ONLY available to guests that book with Pixie Vacations

There are so many deals and places included.  I'm thinking the 35%off during Spring Break Week would be perfect for my teacher friends.  How about the Disney Holiday package?  That would be the best Christmas gift ever.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Reading Eggs - Reading Eggspress

Disclosure - We were provided a free trial offer to review Reading Eggs

We did a review on reading eggs before here, but this time we focused on the Reading Eggspress for older children.  My daughter is a great reader in KG, so she could read and do the Reading Eggspress game/program that is mostly for 2nd grade and up. 

She did pretty well, but did need me close by to help for somethings.  Considering she is in Kindergarten, she was doing amazing.  I really liked how much was included in Reading Eggspress.  The kids earn golden eggs for every question answered correctly.  With the golden eggs you can purchase items and pets for your apartment.  I also love how the child is assessed before starting that way they know what level to start on.

I'll give you a quick overview of some of the games and lessons that are in reading express.

The Gym

 The gym is where they take reading quizzes.  Some things are simpler like this puzzle/quiz.   I love how it teaches her how to look up words in the dictionary.  It teaches alphabetical order, definitions, and parts of speech.
It also gives parts of a book or story and asks questions about each paragraph.  It really does look for reading comprehension.  This is perfect for elementary grade students!

The Library
There is also a library you can go to and read whatever books they have available.  At the end of the book there is an option to take a quiz.  Right questions on the quiz earn more golden eggs.

The Mall
My daughter's favorite place when she has eggs to spend.  She loves looking through all of the items available trying to decided what to buy for her apartment.

The Stadium

 The stadium is a place where you can play games.  This particular one is a spelling sprint.  You have to answer the questions correctly to beat the computer or a another person.  There's even a level that you find the word spelled wrong and you get extra time for spelling it correctly.  This game is a bit difficult for my daughter, but she can change the level to an easier level if needed.

The Apartment
My daughter's next favorite place.  As you can see, she likes buying pets.  She even bought her brother a bed to put in her apartment.  She loves checking on her animals!
My daughter loves this game and I love that she's learning when she is playing.  I know that she started Kindergarten ahead of most students.  I love that she can use this game to get reading enrichment and build on her knowledge.  I highly recommend for kids that love reading, kids that struggle with reading, and kids that love games (who doesn't?).

Readers can still enjoy a 2 week free tiral!  No Credit card required!  

Learn to read online. Free TWO Weeks to @ReadingEggs! No Credit Card Required! @usfg

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Make a Plate with Makeit!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored.  I received 3 plates to review.

We were so excited to have the opportunity to review Make a Plate Art project from MakeIt!  We received an envelope with 20 or so templates and markers.  I gave them to my kids and they had a blast drawing on them.

I loved having all the extra templates in case they messed up.  I asked my art teacher friend if she could make our 3rd one a family one for us.  She got a little excited and did several of them.  My biggest problem was only picking 3!

I still may have to go back and order some more because I seriously debated for a LONG time which 3 to get.

The kids loved having their artwork on a plate.  Now I don't want to eat off of them because they are so nice!  They are dishwasher safe which impressed me.  I think for these we will display and I may go back and order some more that we can eat off of.

My readers save 30% on their Prepaid Art Plate Kit (that’s a savings of over $5!) - USE PROMO CODE: USFAMILY at

 Check it out!  It is so fun and so worth it.  


Friday, September 13, 2013

LeapReader™ "Ready, Set, Read & Write" Party

I received free LeapFrog products to host a LeapReader Party.  All opinions are my own.

I absolutely love LeapFrog products.  My daughter, Sissy, is in KG and is reading somewhere around a 2nd grade level.  I feel that we owe some of that success to LeapFrog.  She learned her letter sounds with the help from Letter Factory.  She loves that movie and now Bubby loves it too.  She has had several LeapFrog items that help and encourage reading and learning.  It is so fun for her!

We were so excited to have the opportunity to try out the new LeapReader and host a Ready, Set Read & Write Classroom party.  I'll be honest when I first heard there was a new reader pen, I was a little disappointed because it wasn't long ago that we bought Bubby his Tag reader.  With most electronics, they are coming out so fast that we can't keep up and can't afford to buy the newest updated version.  Those feelings of quickly disappeared as I started to try out the new LeapReader. There are so many awesome changes. The first 2 that caught my eye - lots more space (we desperately needed this and it is rechargeable through USB!   YES! No more batteries!  Music to my ears...ironic considering I'm a music teacher.  ;)   I LOVE the LeapReader so do the kids.

I hosted a classroom party at my school to show off the LeapReaders.  I targeted my Kindergarten and 1st grade students.  All the kids that tried it out loved it.

The parents loved it too.  One Mom was telling me about some great discounted Tag deals she recently found.  She was so excited to see the newest version.

I decided to show different ways the new LeapReader can be used in a classroom.  I know I'm not a "classroom" teacher, but I do use lots of books in my class and I know how important reading is.

 I am lucky enough to have a lightspeed sound system system, laptop, projector, and document camera in my room.  With this set up, I was able to use the LeapReader with an entire group of students.  The document camera projected the book image for the everyone to see.  The LeapReader was plugged into the sounds system so it was nice and loud throughout the room.


 You would have thought they were watching a movie!

There is a new writing component.  The books have special writing paper between each page.  When the child uses the pen on the special paper it will leave marks on it so they can see what the wrote.  The pen directs the student to write the letters on the paper and can actually tell what they are writing.  It is pretty picky about not lifting the pen on some letters.  I know some schools use different handwriting programs and may not like the LeapFrog way, but our school doesn't have a specific program.  The only down side is the paper is really meant to be used only once.  They do come with extra paper and there is still tons to do in the book that isn't on the special paper.

 Students can use them in a listening station with headphones to work on individual skills.

Flash Cards take on a whole new meaning with LeapReader.  These are interactive.  You can make your own words and practice blending.  You can play several different games.  There is a list of words to reference like a portable "word wall."  

My favorite part!  It has learning songs on the pen.  I we listened to and sang some of the LeapReader learning songs and my students were so excited because many of them have heard them before in their favorite LeapFrog movie.  There are several learning songs to pick from like ABC's, AEIOU, Punctuation, blending, etc.  Teachers can use the pen plugged into any speakers they have whether a classroom sound system, computer speakers, or portable speakers to have the students sing and learn.

It also has a Trivia fun.  It tells cool animal facts.  The kids love cool facts that they can share and they are learning science.  There are maps bundles that can be purchased as well, so they can learn geography, world culture, science, etc.  There's even a math writing book.

Audio books are another section.  There are books that the children can listen to without a book.  This can help them increase their imagination as they picture in their heads what is happening in the story.  This is actually a big part of reading.  Many kids that struggle with reading have a hard time imagining what settings and characters look like without pictures. 

So, needless to say, I am very impressed.  I imagine this will be a hot Christmas item this year.  If you aren't sure if it is worth upgrading to the new LeapReader from the Tag, it is!  I'm a cheapskate so if it wasn't worth it I would just say stick with the older LeapTag, but there is just so much more this thing can do.  You can still use your LeapFrog Tag books (thank goodnes!!)   It's worth it in just the batteries you'll save by reacharging! 

Here's a video showing how we used the LeapReader in the classroom!

I received free LeapFrog products to host a LeapReader Party.  All opinions are my own.

Reading Eggs - Free 5 Week Trial - No Credit Card Required

This post is sponsored:

My daughter is officially a Kindergartener.  She just completed her first week and she LOVES it.  She's already a reader, so I'm very interested to see her testing results when they start testing.  I'm very curious to find out what her reading level is.  We've tried out reading eggs a bit and have some idea based on the lessons she's completed there.  She played a bit and was really getting into it just before school started.  She loved it.  She was learning how to alphabetize words, use a dictionary, and was doing great on reading comprehension.

Update: They now have a Five week free trial with no credit card requiredI highly recommend that you try it.  It's free!  Offer ends 9/30 so hurry!

It was developed by teachers, educational writers, animators, web developers.  My 3 year old hasn't tried it, but he watched Sissy play and seemed very interested.  It's suitable for ages 3-12 and teaches core reading curriculum of skills and strategies.  Our schools are going to common core standards, so this is perfect.  There are over 500,000 subscribers which shows that it is a good program.  I read online forum reviews and many parents recommend reading eggs over similar programs.  They also have developed new apps and also have a math program called Mathseeds.

I was not compensated for this post.  I will receive a 3 month subscription to review the program.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Alphabet Flash cards by Educational Toys Planet Review

Alphabet cards were provided for this review 

We received Alphabet Flash Cards by Educational Toys Planet to review. I'm a teacher so of course I was happy to receive these cards. Sissy, 5, is old enough to play card games with us, but Bubby, 3, isn't quite old enough. These are perfect for him. He is learning his letters and he gets to play card games like his big Sissy.

We put all the cards letter side up and they had to match uppercase and lowercase letters.  They enjoyed doing this and it was easy enough for Bubby.  He is starting to recognize and name some of his letters too!

For a little more challenge for Sissy, we put the cards down picture facing up and had them try to find pictures that start with the same letter.

There are so many things we can do with them to make it easier or harder. Typically when you think of flash cards, you imagine sitting and drilling the child on the letter on the card. I'm not a huge fan of just straight drilling with flash cards because it gets boring after awhile. I do enjoy using them for a games to make learning fun. My kids love the pictures too.  Don't underestimate simple flash cards for fun learning and games with your children.  Even just seeing the letters while naming the pictures will help with reading skills later on.

You can find them here for $2.97.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, September 2, 2013

$25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway/auction


Our sweet friends Dwayne and Sammantha are beginning the adoption process to start their family.  Adoptions are very expensive and they need our help with fundraising.  I'm offering a $25 Amazon gift card giveaway/auction to help raise funds for them.  One entry will be free for anyone and everyone.  Any extra entries will be $1 each.  All proceeds go to Dwayne and Sammantha's Adoption process.

Meet Dwayne and Sammantha

From the sweet couple:  
We are raising money for our Domestic Adoption. We are going through Bethany Christian Services, and cannot tell you how blessed we feel to have found this agency!

We feel our hearts have been opened to adoption not just due to fertility issues, but because to us it really doesn't matter how we are able to have a family of our own. 

Send lots of prayers our way, we can use as many as you are willing to give! - 

We've known Dwayne and Sammantha for 13+ years.  They will be awesome parents and I can't wait to see their family grow.

Enter below for a $25 Amazon Gift Card.  One free Entry to wish Dwayne and Sammantha the best of luck in their adoption process.  $1 for each additional entry.  Every $1 helps!  :)

Update: I tried to give many options for any amount donated.  If you donate more than $10 -15 and would like me to manually add your entries please let me know in an email

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Save $5 on Make a Plate Kit Plates From Makit!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored.  I will receive a free item to review. 
I’ve just been given the opportunity to review the Make A Plate Art Project and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you.  My daughter is starting Kindergarten and is becoming quite artistic.  I can't wait to see what she is going to do with her plate.
 Aren't these so cute?

If you want to follow along, my readers save 30% on their Prepaid Art Plate Kit (that’s a savings of over $5!) - USE PROMO CODE: USFAMILY at 
Makit has been in business for over 40 years. Make A Plate kits allow children to let their creativity soar in crafting a lasting gift for Mom, Dad, Grandparent or teacher. All Make A Plates are nontoxic, BPA-Free, dishwasher safe and proudly made in the USA.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Gaylord Palms Orlando

We spent last weekend at Gaylord Palms in Orlando.  My husband is no longer a teacher, so he doesn't get summers off anymore.  He still works for the school board though and in the summer they work 10 hour days for 4 days a week.  He decided to take Thursday off and we headed to Gaylord Palms.  We haven't been there in almost 5 years. I almost forgot how gorgeous it is inside.  They also added their water park.  We had a wonderful time!

I forgot my good camera so all I had was our water camera which doesn't take the best pictures, but it at least it can get wet. 

All throughout the hotel Bubby wanted to stop and see the "fishies."

It is definitely a family friendly hotel now.  The water park is awesome.  They put a lot of thought into it.

There is a large pool that only goes to 3.5 ft and had basket ball hoops in it.  We could never get to a ball though.  Bubby really wanted to play, but the older kids were really into their game and not very accepting of little ones.  There is also a huge screen at the end of the pool.  Every night they play a Dreamworks kids movie. 

Enjoying some time in the "big" pool.  There is another pool for Adults 18+ only that is somewhat secluded from the kids area.

The splash/water park, aka Cypress Springs, had everything a kid could ask for.  There were four large slides.  Two for kids 36" and up and two taller ones for 40" and up.  There was also a tiny slide for the younger kids.   There is a huge bucket that drops 318 gallons of water every few minutes. 
Sissy spinning water around her.

Bubby had a blast.

318 gallons of water.  Sissy LOVED it.  Every time she heard the bell she came running down to get dunked.

You WILL get soaked. There are lots of kids shooting water and dumping buckets to make sure you do.

I thought this area with the swings was awesome.  There are 4 bounce seat/swings.  They are meant for 30lbs and under (Bubby is about 26lbs).  The water in this area is 6in deep so perfect for little bitty ones.   The little ones can swing in the swing with their feet in the water or bounce.  The seats are even different heights for different size children.

They had contest for the children almost every hour including hula hoping, limbo, and canon ball contest.
Sissy waiting for her turn in the canon ball contest.

 Every night they had a Madagascar Pool party.  30 minutes of dancing and singing with characters.
Sissy was up there dancing the whole time.  She was a little sad that she didn't get any of the things they were throwing out to the office.
Saturday night was very busy and it got a little dangerous with kids diving for the free necklaces, Frisbees, and balls that were being thrown to the crowd.  The host tried to throw one to a lady with a cute little one and when it landed next to her feet the kids dove to get it and she fell.  Thankfully, her and the baby were okay.  He kindly handed a Frisbee to me because he could see Bubby crying.  We ended up with a necklace, 2 Frisbees (Jason got one in the pool), and a ball.  Sissy so kindly gave her frisbee to two sweet girls that didn't get anything. 
So happy to get that necklace!

After the awesome show and dancing with the characters, they played the movie.  We didn't stay out to watch it because it was getting too late.  It would have been awesome if they were able to play the movie through a hotel channel, so the kid could watch it in bed.  I know there are more licensing fees to do that though.

They also had character meet and greets throughout the hotel at night.  We met Shrek, Po (Kung Fu Panda), and King Julian (Madagascar).
Sissy was scared of Shrek and refused to get her picture with him.  :P

Honestly, I wasn't as excited to go to Gaylord as my husband was.  I wanted to go to the beach, but I'm glad we came.  They have a $20 a night resort fee and $18 a day parking and I thought it was too expensive but the Cypress Springs Water park made it worth it.  I know that we'll be going back.

I did have some issues with the bill though.  They charged me almost two times.  The 2nd charge was a random amount and no one could figure out where it came from.  Thankfully, they fixed it.  I have a good feeling we will be staying here again...when we get some more money.

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