Meatless Monday #MM

Happy Meatless Monday, I hope you find a great recipe to try this week in honor of Meatless Monday.

Today I am sharing more from Kalyn’s Kitchen. She creates and shares seasonal, low glycemic index meals for healthy eating, weight loss, and blood sugar control.

Another Meatless Monday from Kayln's Kitchen

Starting at the left we have a Spicy Avocado in Pita which is totally something I would happily eat with refried pinto or black beans layered underneath the avocado.

The next recipe is Quinoa with mushrooms, green onions, and parmesan. This one, like many meatless Monday meals can easily be your new favorite side dish. I know I am going to test it out-it looks so good!

The top right is a great seasonal Veggie Stir-Fry. Kalyn gives a great intro into Chinese cooking before this recipe which is really helpful. I also love the amount of garlic this has too! I would love this over rice or noodles.

The last one I CAN’T WAIT TO TRY! It’s Stuffed Zucchini with brown rice, black beans, chiles, cheddar, and cotija cheese.

I hope you found something to you like!


Truthful Thursdays #TT

Truthful Thursdays


Where I will share my truths as a Mother & Stepmother.

My truths for today and a few questions.

  1. I feel like I have been so worried about Sadie starting Kindergarten, but it is not really because she is not ready after covering all the basics with her I am really confident that she is fully prepared, but I think it is I who is NOT ready to let her go…she is growing up so fast. I can’t help but remember the day of the Newtown shootings and thinking to myself that Sadie would be as old as those children within a year. Prayer for those families who tragically lost their babies. I feel like I am thinking the worse of letting my child go into this world without me by her side, is this a normal fear? 
  2. My biggest fear as a Mother is failing my child. Failing to prepare them for success, failing to prepare them to make good decisions, failing to prepare them to choose good friends, the list could go on and on but after thinking on the matter a while I have come to the conclusion that we all make mistakes in life and they have to make their own and learn from them. Looking back on my mistakes, what mattered the most in those times of failure was who was there to help me get back on my feet and figure things out. So no matter what I will always be there for them. What would you say your biggest fear is?
  3. The bright side of Sadie starting Kindergarten is: She is not entirely alone she will be in a school with her older brother and sister. She gets to ride the bus-which she has begged to do for YEARS! She will be able to make friends-she made some in Santa Fe, Oregon, and now she will have the opportunity to make some here. She will have the opportunity to grow and be more independent. Caydence and Ezra will now get a little more Mommy time.
  4. We are on vacation this week and again I would really like to thank all our wonderful readers! When you stop by the blog, enter a giveaway, like any of my social media pages you are helping my family and I, and I deeply appreciate that.

I hope you all share your experiences with me.

Wishing you all a happy Thursday! :)


The Learning Journey International Review

Getting Ready for Kindergarten The Learning Journey International

I had the wonderful opportunity to try a few products from The Learning Journey International. The Learning Journey has been making children’s toys since, 1995, and makes toys that foster developmental growth. They take pride in knowing their toys are not just for fun, but also helping reinforce great skills children need to be successful in school.

The Learning Journey International Early Learning On the Go Keys

The first toy my little man, Ezra had the joy of playing with was the Early Learning On The Go Keys. I can’t tell you how many times he has stolen my purse only to get my keys and press the buttons consequently turning on the alarm.  Which is why this toy grabs his attention so much. It has two buttons, one which sounds like an alarm, and the other which play melodies of nursery rhymes. This toy fosters the development of hand-eye coordination, can be used to reinforce colors, and also cause and effect.

The Learning Journey International Fun with ShapesThis toy is so much fun! It comes with 4 different shape boards and 24 different shapes.  My girls really enjoyed this and Ezra showed interest in it as well. Sadie and Caydence were able to use it on their own and successfully place all the pieces in the boards. I reinforced the names of the shapes for Sadie, allowed her to sort the 24 shapes into different groups, like colors, like shapes, but also counted how many were in each group. When working with Caydence we talked about the scenes of the puzzles, talked about the shapes colors and names. When working with Ezra I focused on the names of the shapes and helping him successfully hold and place the pieces where they belonged. This toy is a great example of the many different developmental stages that can benefit from this toy and how the parent/teacher can create a successful learning environment by focusing on what the child’s next step of skills are.

The Learning Journey International Glow in the Dark Puzzle

The Puzzle Doubles! Glow in the Dark Wildlife Puzzle is so fascinating. It features bright bold colors in a captivating scene that has a toucan, a lion, an elephant, a spotted hyena, a lemur, a cheetah, a giraffe, a gorilla, a zebra, an vulture, a hyena and a gazelle. My girls really enjoy puzzles and they absolutely love this one and have put it together at least once a day since we received it then have to leave it until night time so they can see it glow. This puzzle when they put it together individually helps them practice problem solving skills, fine motor skills, and helps them practice patients. Furthermore, when they work together to put the puzzle together they also practice important communication skills, and cooperation skills.

The Learning Journey International Magnetic Count & Learn

The Magnetic Count and Learn board is so versatile in the many different developmental areas you can cover. This board is great!

The Learning Journey International Magnetic Count & Learn Review

It comes with many number magnets, two equation signs, two addition, two subtraction, two division, and two multiplication.

The Learning Journey's Magnetic Number Board Caydence The Learning Journey's Magnetic Number Board

Sadie was able to practice counting by selecting the numbers from a mixed up pile. While Caydence was able to practice counting after I lined the number up in the correct order because she is still developing that when she says one, there is a symbol for that number. Later Sadie will be able to practice her addition and subtraction facts. Julie will be able to practice her Multiplication and Division facts.

Head over The Learning Journey International’s Facebook Page to keep up to date on all the latest in sales and giveaways! Also check out their website for great educational tools!


Rachel Roundabout Diaper Bag *Giveaway* 7/15-7/25

RR Bag

Hosted By: Life of a Southern Mom

Sponsored By: The Bumble Collection

Thank you to our host and sponsor for allowing MOM 2 54321′s reader to get in on this great giveaway!

The Bumble Collection is a brand that specializes in children’s products from diaper bags to other family must-haves like lunch bags and coolers. Since 1999, they have had their diaper bags featured in magazines and hanging off of celebrity shoulders. In 2009, their company first introduced lunch bags and tons of their customers requested them. They have now expanded to food/beverage coolers, picnic bags and lunch/snack bags. They have everything that you need for a family outing in styles that you will love.

Jennifer at Life of a Southern Mom had the pleasure of working with The Bumble Collection and reviewing one of their products. Visit her website here and read her full review.

**Giveaway Details**

Date: July 15th, 2014 – July 29th at 11:59PM EST

Open to US residents only. Must be 18 years of age or older to participate.

Prize: One winner will receive a Rachel Roundabout Diaper Bag (ARV $99.99)

**How to Enter**

By entering you agree to abide by the Terms and Conditions listed on the Entry Form. All winning entries will be verified. Winner will receive an email from Jennifer at lifeofasouthernmom@gmail.com and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Good Luck and thanks for entering!


Click Here to ENTER TO WIN!


Getting Ready for Kindergarten

Getting Ready for Kindergarten


If you have a preschool aged child at home like me, it’s most likely because the HIGH cost of preschool or childcare, or maybe another reason, but regardless we are responsible for preparing them to enter school. What can we do at home to make sure our children are ready to go to school?

I have done some research to help make sure I am up to date on the standards and expectations. Here is what I have learned and would love to share with you.

In early childhood the areas of development that are measured are:

  • Language-Receptive Language Understanding, Expressive Language and Communication Skills, Vocabulary, Early Writing, Writing Processes, and Writing Applications, Concepts of Print, Book Handling Skills, Phonological Awareness, Alphabet Knowledge, Comprehension
  • Physical-Fine Motor Skills (hand muscle development), Gross Motor Skills (all other muscle development), Personal Health and Hygiene Practices, Safety and Injury Prevention
  • Social-Attachment, Social Interactions, Respect
  • Emotional-Self-Awareness, Recognizes and Expresses Feelings, Self-Regulation
  • Cognitive-To be able to know and to think. This would encompass the areas of learning and knowing about Mathematics, History, Science, Art, and Music. 

As I searched through many different sites (Herehere, and here) some group areas together, and some divide them up in further detail, but what I learned in my years of studying Early Childhood Education were these. The National Association for the Education of Young Children or NAEYC’s Positions Statement on Early Learning Standards also state these five must be covered within an accredited program.

When a teacher builds her lesson plans, they are based on State Standards, which focus on the developmental areas stated above. The manner she teaches these standards is described as Developmental Appropriate Practice or DAP. DAP is a research based philosophy that says when a teacher meets a child where they are developmentally and assist them on reaching the next level of development is the best practice. In order to really preform DAP, you must know where your child stands within each developmental area. In order to do that you must look at your state’s standards, but you can also reach out to an Early Childhood Specialist in your area to assist you in learning where your child is at and what the next step is. I did find this really helpful checklist you can use also.

Now, after I combed through the Arizona State Standards, this is what I found most helpful for me, when thinking about what I may not have considered my child needed to know:

Language: Can demonstrate and communicate a direction or position (in, out, on, off, under, behind). Recognizes their own written name and the names of family or friends. Can hold a book correctly and understands a book has a title, author, and/or illustrator. With modeling and support, identifies rhyming words. Recognizes as many as 10 letters, especially those in own name, family and friends. Uses a variety of writing tools, materials, and surfaces to create drawings or symbols.

Physical: Walks along the curb without falling off. Walks backward. Kicks, throws and catches a ball. Jumps for height and distance. Tears paper into pieces to make a collage. Hits peg with a wooden hammer. Cuts paper with scissors. Buttons, unbuttons, snaps, buckles, laces or ties shoe.

Social: Seeks security and support from familiar adults. Separates from familiar adult with minimal distress. Demonstrates positive ways to resolve conflict. Example: Asks for a turn when they want a toy another child is playing with. Defends own rights and the rights of others. Example: Tells his friend not to knock down his block structure. Shows respect for learning materials in the learning environment.

Emotional: Demonstrates self-confidence. Example: Acknowledges her own accomplishments and says, “I can hit the ball.” Demonstrates knowledge of self-identity. Example: Declares, “I’m the big brother,” while looking at a family picture.  Identifies, describes and expresses their own feelings. Expresses empathy for others. Manages transitions, daily routines and unexpected events. Example: Moves to the next activity independently. 

Cognitive: The child demonstrates self-direction while participating in a range of activities and routines. The child demonstrates eagerness to learn about and discuss a range of topics, ideas, and activities. The child demonstrates the ability to maintain and sustain a challenging task. Example: Child continuously stacks blocks to duplicate a picture until they no longer tumble down. Recognizes relationships between cause and effect. Uses imagination to generate new ideas. The child demonstrates the ability to seek solutions to problems. Example: When setting the table, child realizes there are not enough cups and says, “We have a problem. There are not enough cups.”

I know this seems like so much! Which is why I gave a few examples, but in the coming days I hope to help you better understand how much you can teach your child within one activity.





NAEYC is the world’s largest organization working on behalf of young children.




Arizona Department of Education


Arizona Department of Education Early Learning Standards



Meatless Monday #MM


Petite Patties and Delicous Sides

Hello and Happy Meatless Monday! 

Today I rounded up fun menu on Pinterest!

These Quinoa Patties are not only packed with great protein, but when I glanced over the ingredients, I knew these will be a winner! Thank you to Emily from FrugalLivingNW for sharing this recipe.

The second option are these Zucchini and Ricotta Fritters but the truth is, I think I will make both, I won’t be able to choose which one I want more! This recipe comes from Josie over at Pink Parsley which is the cutest blog.

Next are the sides, I love my sides and I think they really help complete a meal.

Petite Patties and Delicous Sides 1

Have you tried carrot fries? My grandma actually introduced me to them-you have to try them, they are SO GOOD! This recipe here comes from KitchMe (a pretty cool site) and is pretty similar to my grandma’s recipe.

Fresh tomatoes this time of year cannot be beat! This Baby Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad is bursting with summer freshness! Thanks to the Happy Good Time Blog for this recipe.

Our whole family really loves potatoes, and these Parmesan Smashed Potatoes from Use Real Butter are a perfect compliment to any meal. She has an amazing collection of recipes by the way with perfect photography stop on by and say hello.

Hoping you and your family a Happy Monday!


Truthful Thursdays


Truthful Thursdays

Where I will share my truths as a Mother & Stepmother.

My truths for today.

  1. We are prepping for our first family Vacation!! We are very excited!!
  2. Next week is the Getting Ready for Kindergarten Series! Finally! I have been working so hard and doing plenty of research to make sure my baby is ready and I can’t wait to share it with you all.
  3. The kids are back!! We were able to see them this past weekend and the girls were so happy. Ezra did not have the reaction I thought he would, but when they get home I know he will be happy. Right now they are visiting with Grandma but they will home Monday. I am thinking this slow transition home will be great for them last time it was a bit before we were back to normal again.
  4. Did I mention my back is killing me-I spent ALL DAY doing laundry, cleaning out closets, and organizing toys, games, books, and puzzles. I have two bags to donate, yay for down sizing and organizing! Boo for Sadie’s fit when she saw me “kicking out” her toys…she was NOT happy.

These are my truths of the week, I hope you share yours!

Happy LATE Thursday, Pretty much Friday!


The Bean Bag Chair Outlet *Giveaway* 7/11-7/24

The Bean Bag Chair Outlet

Hosted By: Sweet Southern Lovin

Co Hosted By: Life of a Southern Mom

Sponsored By: The Bean Bag Chair Outlet

The Bean Bag Chair Outlet provides you with unique bean bag chairs at a fraction of the cost. The bean bags come with a removable cover, which is super easy to get on and off. It also comes with an inner liner to hold all the beads/fillings together. Their bean bag store is truly a one-of-a-kind store that takes pride if providing well made, high quality and durable bean bags to their customers. Michelle at Sweet Southern Lovin had the opportunity to review the Large Chocolate Bean Bag Chair stuffed with Royal Filling. This bean bag chair is super comfy and is perfect for TV watching. Head on over here and check out her full review.


I would love to win this! The kids would really enjoy it during our Friday Movie Nights! Would you or your kiddos love to have this?   

**Giveaway Details**

July 11th 1AM EST – July 24th 11:59PM EST
Open to Continental US residents only. Must be 18 years of age or older to participate.
Prize: One lucky reader will win a Large Bean Bag Chair stuffed with Royal Filling in their choice of color. RV $217.99

**How to Enter**
Enter using the Entry Form below. By entering you agree to abide by the Terms and Conditions listed on the Entry Form. All winning entries will be verified. Winner will receive an email from Michelle@sweetsouthernlovin.com and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

*Participating Blogs did not receive any compensation for posting this giveaway. Sponsor is responsible for prize shipment. Any questions please email Michelle@sweetsouthernlovin.com*

3 piece Fresh Fruit Bowl Giveaway 7/7-7/23 #Goodcook #BBB

Welcome to our 3 piece Fresh Fruit Bowl Giveaway


I am pleased to offer you all another opportunity to win this great bowl set you all know I love so much! This giveaway is hosted by Tammie’s Reviews, Giveaways and More and sponsored by Good Cook. The 3 piece Fresh Fruit Bowl is only available from Bed Bath & Beyond.

Summer is here and for me that means cookouts, vacations and fresh fruit. I love all things fresh fruit. I do not thing there is a kind of fresh fruit that I would not eat. I love to visit my Mother-In-Law as she always has a bowl of fruit salad in her fridge. I have noticed that the fresh cut fruit started to taste funny- soggy and old. I do not know if you know what I am talking about but I was just introduced to a 3-piece fresh fruit bowl that I can only describe it as amazing. It keeps watermelon and cut fruit fresher longer. The 3 -piece fresh fruit bowl comes with a large bowl that sits in another bowl that collects the liquid from the first bowl and a lid. This product is only available at Bed Bath & Beyond.

On To The Giveaway

1 reader will win a Good Cook 3 piece Fresh Fruit Bowl.

This is open to the U.S. only.

The giveaway will end on 7/23.

Only 1 winner per product- This means if you have won the same product on another blog, You are ineligible to win.

You must be at least 18 years of age or older.

All entries will be verified.

Void where prohibited by law.

Please enter using the easy Giveaway Tools Widget below and Good Luck but here is another chance to win this same prize on Natasha’s blog by clicking HERE

Disclosure- Mom254321 was not compensated either by free product or payment. I have not been compensated for this post. All opinions and experiences are my own. Open to the US, must be 18+. Confirmed Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 24 hours to respond before a new winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Entrants must only enter with either one email address, IP address and/or Facebook account, anyone found violating these rules will be disqualified. It is at the sole discretion of the admin of the giveaway if the winner has met the rules or not. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of the giveaway. Sponsor will be responsible for prize fulfillment. This event is in no way associated with, sponsored, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or any other social media network. The disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. For questions about this giveaway or to have me promote your product, Please email Tammie at PubRel@live.com.