Posts Tagged ‘kids’

Zazoo Photo Clock: Review & Giveaway

November 28th, 2012 by Behaven Kids

One of the best benefits of working for Behaven Kids is the fact that I learned about The Sleep Fairy early in Myles life. So thankfully I haven’t really had a battle with getting him to stay in bed at night.  Rather my issue has been him getting up too early in the morning (i.e. the middle of the night).   So when the opportunity to review a Zazoo clock, I jumped at the opportunity  as the photo clock is made to grow with your child (nothing like getting to test something with both a 2 year old and 7 year old).

The main reason most parents would purchase the clock is the “don’t get out of bed – mommy is still sleeping” (my own wording of course) function, although it has several other functions – it’s an alarm clock, digital photo frame, and MP3 player too.

Looking WAY to happy at 5am!

In our household – we were going to use the clock first to keep Myles in bed! I wasn’t sure how well it would work – as the concept seemed so simple (letting kids know if it was time to get out of bed using a photo) but as I’m getting tired of 5:30 mornings – I was willing to give it a shot.

I am one of the least technical people out there (I hate setting things up!) but thankfully it was very straightforward.  Honestly, you can just take it out of the box and plug it in and pretty much go (other than setting the day and night times).

It comes with options for night time & nap sleep settings  but since Myles attends child care while I’m at work – I just set it up for night time.   How it works is pretty simple – a screen that shows a picture (either a pre-programmed one or one that I upload from my computer) that clues Myles that he is supposed to stay in bed and another photo that shows when it’s time to get up.  We chose the dinosaur pre-programmed options and plugged in the times – and away we went.  At 7 am, the photo on the clock switches from a sleeping dinosaur to an awake one – a simple sign to Myles that it’s okay to get out of bed.  And wouldn’t you know – it works like a charm!  Myles is obviously too young to read a clock, so it’s an innovative solution to figuring out how to let him know if it’s too early to get out of bed or not.  Yeah!!

Other than the “it’s too early to get up” function – the Zazoo clock has a few other features, including the fact that it is a digital photo frame. It comes equipped with a memory card, so all you have to do is hook the frame up to your computer and viola – family pictures for your child to look at! Eventually we added photos to the clock and both of the boys love to stand in front of Myle’s dresser and point out different family members.  And most importantly to Reece– it plays music (what good is an alarm clock that doesn’t?!)  It comes with 11 songs built into the memory, along with the ability to download more music to memory card.  You can play the music through the speakers or headphones (a feature I love – if I hear a Justin Beieber song one more time I might scream!)  The clock also comes with a cute little remote to control the music and photos, that while too advanced for Myles – is perfect for Reece.

I was also impressed with the durability of the frame, it’s definitely a kid-friendly design that will hold up to a few drops by a little one.

The only thing that I would love to see is more plain color options – I think that the clock would “grow up” more easily with a child (into pre-teens, etc) if you could get a plain black, blue, purple, etc one. Plus for moms like me who like things to match in the bedroom – plain colors are easier to incorporate than themes.  They do have some really cute options though, including the blue peace sign one that we reviewed and a yellow fish one!

I would highly suggest trying this clock out for your little ones who are causing you to rock dark circles under your eyes daily, you can purchase it here.   And for one lucky person – you can have one of these free because Zazoo is hosting this week’s Win it Wednesday!  For your chance to win this awesome photo clock (ARV $89.99) just do the following…..

For an entry into this week’s drawing – let us know what time your little one pops out of bed in the morning!

For EXTRA entries – leave a comment below for each one you do:

-”Like” us on Facebook

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-Like Zazoo on Facebook

– Follow Zazoo on Twitter

Giveaway ends 11/30/12 at 11:59 p.m. CST!




Constantly Entertaining Kids?

October 16th, 2012 by Behaven Kids

In college, and even for a while after, I waited tables at an upscale restaurant. I waited on every type of person under the sun. From “socialites” (or as close to socialites as our smallish town has), to real estate moguls; from local celebrities, to famous winemakers. (Ever heard of Riedel wine glasses? Yeah, that was a fun day!)

On the average Saturday night, I would see a variety of people. What we didn’t see too many of, was kids.  If we saw the hostess walking toward our section with a family that had young kids or toddler in hand, we crossed our fingers and hoped she wasn’t heading for our section. Waiting on kids takes a whole different attitude and mental preparation. Our restaurant offered the standard crayons and coloring sheet, but the majority of the time, the poor kiddos were bored out of their minds. There were no TV’s for them to zone out on, and only elevator music playing over the speakers.

I used to grumble and roll my eyes when parents would set their kid up with a DVD player and headphones to keep them occupied while the grown-ups ate dinner and socialized. (This was before the days of iPads and Kindles.) For some reason, in my naïve way of thinking, I thought these kids should be able to participate in the evening.  Order for themselves, sit still, and stay quiet for an hour while mom and dad had a nice, very expensive meal, like I had to when I was their age. That should be that difficult, right?

WRONG! Now that I have 2 young, rowdy boys of my own (ages 5 and 4), I can feel the pain of every parent that has tried to have a night out with kids in tow. All I can say is thank God that I am raising my kids in the era of iPhones, YouTube, and mobile internet on basically every electronic device we have. I couldn’t even begin to count the times where one or both of my boys has interrupted a conversation and begun to pester me for something. I fire up my iPhone, hand it to them saying “Here! Go do something!” (If you are not guilty of this… are a better parent that I will ever claim to be)  Heck, even the Duggars have computers and cell phones! Don’t pretend you don’t know who I am talking about!  =)

My question is: Are we raising our kids to believe that they deserve to be entertained 100% of the time? I very clearly remember each of my parents saying to me “I was not put on this earth to entertain you!” Do kids nowadays even know how to create their own fun? When I was a kid growing up in the suburbs or a major city, we would ride our bikes with no destination, make up songs, dance, play outside with our dogs, and run and run.

How do we make sure that our kids don’t grow up to be TV/Tablet/Computer zombies? Do we as parents need to implement a strict “no technology” hour or 2 every day?  Do we need to focus on more ways for your kids to have true imaginative play?

What do you do in regards to technology with your young kiddos?


Slow the “beep” down!

October 8th, 2012 by Behaven Kids

Just over a week ago a young man was struck by a vehicle as he crossed a busy intersection on his way to school, in what was clearly a tragic accident. It is devastatingly sad and my heart goes out to his family, classmates and community for their loss. This is not directed in any way at those involved in that accident. It was not a case of distracted driving, nor was the driver in any violation of the law or traffic safety. I have no affiliation with anyone remotely involved. This is my reaction to daily occurrences that I noticed long before and surprisingly (or not so) continue to witness even after such a devastating loss.

On my way to work in the morning I pass through no less than five school zones, three of which are elementary school areas, only one of those has a decent crosswalk at a major intersection, one is a middle school and one is a high school, each with a sketchy crosswalk on an extremely busy street.

I cannot believe the way drivers race through school zones to beat the traffic lights, or chat/text away on their phones, and pull into the middle of crosswalks before stopping. Once, I watched cautiously as a man shaved his beard, full on, while driving down Harrison St. in morning traffic. He was behind me and I was terrified the whole time that he’d hit me if we had to stop for a light.

I’m thinking the whole time, “Do you not realize that you’re driving? Do you not see the other vehicles driving alongside you? Do you not see the children?” Dozens of children walking each morning, some lucky enough to have staff or guardians to help them navigate the intersections safely; they are happy and chatting with friends, many excited to get to school for a day of fun and learning. Many children are even more eager to go home to their families at the end of the day and share stories of what they learned and friends that they made.

I think, “Your job is not that important. It’s certainly not more important than a child’s life. If you’re in that big of a hurry to get to work, then wake up 15 minutes earlier!!” or “If your conversation is so important, pull the blank over and have it when you’re not endangering lives.” Okay, so sometimes I yell this in my vehicle. I know they can’t hear me, but it’s better than following them to work and then yelling at them.

I’m definitely glad that I don’t walk my own child to school; I think the kids around me would get a lesson in language that they wouldn’t soon forget. I would be too angry at the drivers-by. I picture me with a bullhorn and a basket of eggs… you get the idea.

Senseless accidents could be avoided. When will people understand that steel beats flesh every time? A 75 pound child is no match for a 2,000 pound vehicle. When we choose to operate a motor vehicle, we’re taking responsibility for the lives of the people who share the road and sidewalks in our path. Distracted driving, speeding, trying to beat the traffic signal… why? What cost is too great, how many children and families have to suffer?

I have to wonder how such heartbreaking accidents, like the one in Millard, don’t open more eyes. How do people not react to something like that and pay more attention to their daily driving, put their phones down, and try harder to protect the world around them? I have been so frustrated to see drivers, especially in school zones, continue to drive distracted, and seemingly uncaring of the children around them.

As parents, educators, and care providers, we can teach the children traffic safety. We can practice crossing the street appropriately. We can practice defensive driving. But we can’t practice completely avoiding distracted drivers, speeders, drunk drivers (yes, even at 7 a.m.). So it comes down to educating our children and doing the best that we can, whenever we can, to protect them.

Do you talk to your children about traffic safety? Do you practice crossing the street? What age do you think is appropriate to start practicing with your kids?

Comment if you’ve ever challenged another driver because you felt their actions put you, or someone close to you, in danger.

Super Snacks

July 31st, 2012 by Behaven Kids

With school fast approaching…it’s time to get your portfolio of after-school snacks ready!  Here are a few of our favorites (ones the require few ingredients and little time)!

Homemade Fruit Snacks from 100% Juice

Recipe from Mommy Savers!


Grape Banana Ice-cream

Recipe from Emily’s Healthy Home


Mini Corn Dog Muffins

Recipe from Iowa Girl Eats


Frozen Peanut Butter & Strawberry Banana Bites

Recipe from Peanut Butter and Peppers


Apple Sandwiches

Recipe from Whole Foods Market


For more great super snack ideas – check out our Pinterest board!

While Mommy’s Away…

July 17th, 2012 by Behaven Kids

Menus are planned & groceries are bought. Laundry is done & each day’s outfit(s) is laid out one on top of the other for the coming week. List of activities and their times have been added to the dry-erase calendar. I’ve gone over addresses, emergency information, bedtime routines, and any other rule or plan that has come to mind. I do all of this for my husband, as if he’s never managed the household on his own before, before I have to travel for work.

The fact is, my husband is quite adept at managing the house and our 3 ½ and her daily routines. He is wonderful and does a fantastic job of holding down the fort while I’m away. But I always feel like there is something else I can do or a note I can leave; I try to think of everything to make his time in charge a little easier.

Thank goodness for the technology of today! I can email a copy of our zoo pass and he can send me picture messages of our sweet faced little girl at bedtime. We can instant message about the day’s events or a mini meltdown in behavior. It remains a team effort when one of us is away, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

My heart becomes sad in the days before I have to leave. Bedtime stories & snuggles stretch out a little longer. There are even more hugs and kisses and “I love you so much’s” than usual (and that’s quite a bit!!). I know she is well taken care of. Some of Mommy’s rules will be replaced by Daddy’s, and that’s ok for a little while. I think it strengthens the bond between them.

I also think my husband gets a refreshed view of what I do on a daily basis in the care of our kiddo, dinner, errands, and such. I think he has a renewed sense of appreciation each time I leave and come back. I know I do for him when he travels.

Sometimes, it’s a welcome retreat but I always look for the time to quickly pass so that I can be home again. I miss my family while I’m away. I miss the day to day crazy and I miss their sweet love and playfulness.

It looks like I’ll be traveling more often in the near future. I’m curious how other families handle traveling partners? Are there special things you do with the children before and after? Do the household rules change; does it really bother you or no? How do you help your significant other prepare for life at home without you; or life on the road while they’re away?


I Need a Little Me Time

June 27th, 2012 by Behaven Kids

Sometimes as mothers we get so overwhelmed with all the things we have to do and all the things that we are responsible for that we forget to take time for ourselves.  I know that I am most certainly guilty of this.

I started my twenties with a new baby, so it was never just me – I always had someone that I needed to take care – there was a child that was completely dependent on me.  I gave up the time that I would have normally spent learning what I liked, what things I enjoyed doing, and the things that I enjoyed doing to make sure that I could provide for him.  I have always described myself as a mother first and foremost.  My stance is that your kids are only little once and that you should enjoy all the time that you can get with them and while I still firmly believe that I have also realized that I am going to get burnt out really fast if I don’t start incorporating some “me” time into my life.

Although I cherish all the time that I spend with my boys – I have begun to realize the importance of having some time to myself.  I think most divorced or single moms can relate – we spend all day trying to please our co-workers or bosses and then we come home and it’s time to take care of the kids – there is no one else there to wash dishes while we cook, or do laundry while we give baths.  I’m not complaining – I love my life but I have just realized that I am going to get burnt out fast if I don’t make sure I’m taking care of myself.  Eventually my kids will grow up and have their own lives and I know that they won’t need me around 24/7 anymore.

So I want your suggestions on some new activities to try or things to do for myself .  Right now I spend most of my “me” time at the gym as I’m trying to get off the rest of this divorce/baby weight – but that’s not really that fun, I want to do stuff like the following that are currently on my list:

-Learn to speak Spanish

-Learn to play guitar

-Try out a new restaurant at least once a month

-Spend at least 2 evenings a month out with friends


So for your chance to win this week – give me a suggestion of a fun hobby that you have – something outside of the home please – I’m there enough as it is! =)

If you win….I will give you a giftcertificate to have a little pampering of your own – a pedicure!  Pedicures always perk me up and remind me that it’s important to take time for myself.

**Nail salon will be chosen after it is determined which city the winner lives in**

For EXTRA entries:

-“Like” us on Facebook

-Share our “Win it Wednesday” post via Facebook (leave a comment below that you shared)

-Refer a friend to “like” us on Facebook (have them tag you on Facebook via a wall post)

-Follow us on Twitter (leave a comment below with your username)

Tweet about the contest (leave a comment below with a link to your tweet)

-Follow us on Pinterest (leave comment below with your username)

Pin this post (leave a comment below with a link to your pin)

-Leave a comment on another blog post (leave a comment with which post you commented on)


Contest ends 6/28/12 at 11:59 p.m. CST!

Time Well Spent…

May 3rd, 2012 by Behaven Kids

There are many things that I like to do with my time.  Spending it with my kids and husband, riding my bike, going for a run, reading a good book, dancing, dancing, and more dancing, my job (yes, you read that right, I like my job), and spending time with my wonderful family and friends.

And then there are the things that I have to spend my time on, those not quite so fun things.  Cleaning, cooking, making sure the kids do their homework, yard work, cleaning up after the dogs (yuck),   and all those other “adult” things that we have to do.


Recently, I added another thing to the mix that I have to do.  Homework.  That’s right, on top of everything else I have going on, I went back to school.  All of my classes are online so that helps but the amount of homework and “busy work” that you have to do every week, week after week, for 10 weeks, can be a bit of a challenge.  Then you get a nice week off and the next round starts back up again.


This is my fourth attempt to get a degree.  I have previously taken classes towards a degree in early childhood education, psychology, and business management.  Now I am taking classes towards my degree in health information management.  I think this time it is going to stick and I will actually finish it. :) I have about 9 months left or so until I get my associate’s degree, then it is off to my bachelor’s.  I would love to stay with the company that I am now and work my way up.  (Hint, hint!  Janie, I know you are reading this!!!!!) Maybe you have heard of them?  Behaven Kids?  They are pretty fantastic and I have an amazing group of co-workers that keep me busy and laughing.  But anyway, back to the point of my little story here…

The time that I spend on my classes could be spent in other ways, such as with my children.  Or on my bike. Or curled  up in a chair with a good book.  But I know that the time I spend on my classes will pay off for me in the end. So, a few late nights doing homework so I can play with my kids before they go to bed is okay with me. I just have to keep my eye on the prize and I know they will be just as proud of me as I am of myself when I finish.


So, what about you?  What are some of your goals?  What do you teach your children by example? Whatever your goal is, I know you can do it.  And I’m proud of you.  See you next week!

What’s Your Passion?

April 27th, 2012 by Behaven Kids

During church last week, a talented blind man played a tuba duet with a flute player.  It was beautiful.  It made me think about how passionate that man had to be about music to overcome his disability to learn to play, and without music no less.

I began to think about so many people that I know that clearly have a passion.  Roger and Janie, owners of
Behaven Kids, clearly have a passion for children and their families.  It is evident anytime you walk into a Behaven Kids Center or just sit down and have a chat with them.  Other people in my life have strong passions also.  My friend, Lisa, is passionate about breastfeeding.  My mother-in-law is passionate about Mary Kay cosmetics.  My father eats, sleeps, and well-drives, Harley Davidson motorcycles.

The news and newspapers are filled with individuals and their passions.  It might be a volunteer project, a political statement, a religious movement, a television show, or a celebrity following.  A myriad of topics can become someone’s passion.  Brittany Gibbons, “Barefoot Foodie” blogger, recently raised some controversy with her decision to not allow her son to join the boy scouts because of their anti-gay policy.  I drive by a Planned Parenthood facility multiple times a day and every day there is someone protesting outside the facility.

It made me think about myself and what is my passion.  I’m not sure I necessarily have one.  I’m passionate about my kids and my husband of course, but I can’t say one other thing for certain I am passionate about.  I have a strong interest in a wide variety of activities and topics, but I’m not sure that there is one that I can pinpoint.

I enjoy being a behavior analyst.  I like taking pictures.  I like the Indianapolis Colts (well last year not so much- but I still confess to being a fan).  I love Harley Davidson motorcycles.  I love volleyball.  I like movies.  I like playing the saxophone and the piano.  I love reading.  I love pinterest (lol).  I could go on and on.  Perhaps that is my passion.  The fact that I try to do so many different things.

I wonder sometimes if that is what’s wrong with society?  Are there not enough of us that are passionate about something to fight for it? If more of us became passionate about being green or the homeless or malaria, or what have you, would there be more of an impact?  How do you even get passionate about a topic?  How does that What is your passion?  How did the passion become ignited in you?  What do you do to show your passion to others?

Pinterest Love

April 6th, 2012 by Behaven Kids

I have got to admit that I am loving pinterest.  I am addicted.  Any spare minute I have, I hop on my phone and scroll through all the pins of those I follow.  It’s genius really.  Everything under the sun organized in specific categories with no need to go to each individual website—unless you want to.
Pinterest not only allows easy searching in an organized fashion, but it also gives you super human powers to take on projects that never in a million years would you have normally attempted.  All of a sudden, it’s as if repurposing pallets, making meals to freeze for a year, hand crafting home décor, or using exercise programs designed for Bob Harper, are totally within your grasp.  Beautiful pictures with boastful statements of success and wonder, entice you even more to continue towards another pinterest project.
My latest project was probably my most successful to date.  The kids and I made birdfeeders.  Basically it was  mixing gelatin and some birdseed and putting it in a cookie cutter.  I successfully deviated from the recipe recommended and quadrupled it, making six large feeders.  However, some of the feeders had small pieces, for example an umbrella.  In removing the umbrella from the cutter, the handle fell off.  As did the spout and the petals of the flowers to the watering can.  Pinterest should really have an advisory statement posted with every pin. Unless you are Martha Stewart herself, no project that you complete will even look remotely like the picture pinned. You also need to have a certain aptitude for crafting to complete a DIY project. I have none and can vouch for this. None of my projects have been a complete success. When they say a project costs $3.00 to complete—bologna! It costs $3 if you are the star employee at Hobby Lobby and receive crafts as a bonus for exceptional performance. I mean who really has glue guns, glue sticks, fabric, foam shaped accessories, mod podge, fancy paper, and whatever else handy at home. That left me with two complete shapes out of the six I attempted. Have I mentioned that my dog ate one?
Although my projects never turn out right, cost more than I expect, and take me forever to complete, I will keep going back to my pinboard taking on yet another project.  It’s possible for me to believe that somewhere in the end of this, I may actually gain a skill that I can claim as my own. So thank you pinterest in advance for teaching me to cook, do my hair, giving me fashion sense, to play with my kids, construct furniture, make my own laundry detergent……
Have you hopped on the pinterest bandwagon?  What are your favorite things to pin?  Did you know that Behaven Kids has an account with all things kids and fun?


Behaven Kids Friday Blogger - Amber







Spring Training

April 5th, 2012 by Behaven Kids

I like to run.  No, I take that back.  I love to run.  Not only does it get me my much needed exercise but it also allows me to clear my head and “get away from it all” for a little bit.  (Or a long bit, depending on how my day was!)  One of the things about running is that in order to get faster, you have to run faster.  You have to train to run faster.  Why do I bring this up?  Because it applies to everyday life too.

My daughter is not a morning person.  (Neither am I, for that matter.)  It takes her approximately 2 hours to get ready for school in the morning.  Her alarm clock goes off at 6:00 AM and she usually leaves between 7 :45 AM and 8:00 AM.  After many stressful mornings of us yelling, pleading, begging, and bribing her to go faster, we just started setting her alarm clock earlier and earlier.  6:00 AM seems to be the magic time.  That is just so early!  I worry about her not getting enough sleep and would like for her to be able to sleep later in the mornings.  I work until 6:00 PM Monday-Friday and then she has dance two nights a week so I feel like I hardly get to see her.  If she could sleep in in the mornings and stay up a little later at night, we would get to spend more time together during the week.  So, how do I go about getting my daughter to get up and ready faster in the mornings.  Enter the training plan.  In order for her to go faster, she has to train for it right????  I have broken up the tasks she needs to do in the mornings to get ready for school into small chunks.  I time how long it takes her to do each chunk and then we try to beat that time.  We run the drills in the evenings, weekends, and no-school days.  Her times are improving little by little.  I am hoping to soon be able to add a couple of additional tasks: make your bed and dirty clothes in the hamper.  But getting out the door is the priority right now!!!!

It is fun to surprise her with a drill when she isn’t expecting it and see how fast she can do it.  Not only is it helping her to get ready faster in the mornings without all the drama, it usually leaves us laying in the middle of the living room floor, trying to catch our breath, and laughing so hard we are crying.

What else can I use this technique with?  Anything I want her to get faster at: getting ready for dance class, getting ready to go or a bike ride, doing the dishes, folding laundry, cleaning up after the dogs in the backyard.  The possibilities are endless.

What do you think about my method?  Would you try it with your own kids? What are some things you wish your kids would do faster and not drag their feet so much doing?