Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Desert Springtime on My Mind

Happy first day of spring! I always get unreasonably excited about this day, but after an especially brutal winter, I am downright thrilled. Next week is the kids' spring break, and I'm hoping to take a day or two off work to do something fun to celebrate spring. We've also really been looking forward our annual spring vacation to Arizona next month, but I found out a couple of days ago that due to scheduling, it might not happen. I'm staying positive though, and really hoping it works out. I thought I'd do something a little different here today and share some photos we took when we were on our Arizona trip two years ago. Maybe sending out these vibes to the universe will solidify our plans and make them possible. (Also, I can't believe how little E was here!)

Is anyone else excessively happy that spring is finally here?


Monday, March 18, 2019

GIVEAWAY! Win a $200 Gift Card to Gaia Conceptions Clothing

GIVEAWAY! Win a $150 Gift Card to Gaia Conceptions Eco Clothing

Spring is two days away and we're in the mood to celebrate! So we're teaming up once again with our friends and long time Bubby and Bean partners Gaia Conceptions for another incredible giveaway! One lucky Bubby and Bean reader will receive $200 to spend in Gaia's online shop, which features endless styles of truly stunning eco-friendly clothing made by hand in the USA. They have hundreds of styles to choose from, each one of which is custom created to your size, color choice, and fabric selection. They're truly some of my all time favorite pieces of clothing. (Scroll down to enter!)

Use the form below, and/or, because the main methods of entering this giveaway (worth the most points) involve Instagram, you can also enter directly on IG, right here. There are several options for extra entries as well.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will run through this Thursday (March 21, 2019), and is open to Bubby and Bean readers worldwide. All entries from the Rafflecopter form above and Instagram will be combined. A winner will be randomly chosen and announced here shortly after the end of the giveaway.

Thank you to Andrea and friends over at Gaia Conceptions for giving our readers the chance to win another gift card to their amazing shop. Good luck!


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

6 Ways Playing With Dolls Benefits A Child's Development

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How Playing With Dolls Benefits A Child's Development
This sponsored post is in partnership with Baby Born Surprise. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.

Between having two kids in preschool and the developmental therapy that my son Emmett received as a baby and toddler for his epilepsy, I've learned a lot about the different things that affect a child's development. Most of them have little do with academics and more to do with play. One of the things that the development therapist talked a lot about to us was the many ways that playing with dolls can have positive effects on littles ones as they grow. Both my kids love nurturing and playing with their dolls, but my daughter especially enjoys it. This, of course, makes me really happy, because it's a double win to see her having so much fun with toys that I know are good for her. I know many of your little ones enjoy playing with dolls as well, so I'm very excited to be teaming up with Baby Born Surprise, Essley's current favorite dolls, to share some of the ways that playing with dolls can be beneficial.

How Playing With Dolls Benefits A Child's Development
How Playing With Dolls Benefits A Child's Development

1. Playing with dolls helps develop children's imaginations.
Any kind of dramatic play - which is exactly what kids are doing when they play with dolls - helps develop a child's imagination. I watch both of my kids come up with elaborate pretend scenes and situations with their dolls, both alone and together, that are not only endearing (and often hilarious), but also incredibly creative.

2. Playing with dolls together (child and parent) helps set up success for future relationships. 
Like most families, we are always busy. Taking the time to play together, especially with a child's favorite toys (like my daughter's Baby Born Surprise dolls), creates bonding time together that will ultimately help them in their relationships and social skills as they grow. When I first got these adorable dolls for Essley, we sat together as she unboxed them. (Surprise toys are her absolute favorite!) It was exciting for both of us to unwrap the bundles of surprises together and discover the cutest swaddles (a mermaid, a pink poodle, and a white bunny), the dolls' eye colors (two blues and a "green like mommy!") and darling hair colors/styles, and their fun color changing diapers. We then filled out the birth certificates each doll came with and played the games on them, and just spent some quality time together playing. She told me that night before bed that it was the best day of her life, so I'd say our bonding time was a success. We have continued playing with her Baby Born Surprise dolls every day for the last couple of weeks. It's pretty awesome to know that our time together is also establishing a foundation for her future relationships.

How Playing With Dolls Benefits A Child's Development
How Playing With Dolls Benefits A Child's Development
How Playing With Dolls Benefits A Child's Development

3. Playing with dolls helps children learn empathy and compassion.
I distinctly remember my son's developmental therapist pointing out what a wonderful step that was to see him picking up a doll and nurturing it by wrapping it in a blanket and pretending to feed it. She said that this type of caring for a doll was a building block for him feeling empathy toward other humans. My daughter is constantly wrapping her Baby Born Surprise in their swaddles and blankets, feeding them water in their bottles, and changing their diapers. (The three water surprises that come with these adorable dolls might be her favorite part - she can use water to open baby's eyes, feed baby, and after baby "pees," her diaper changes color to reveal a pattern. So fun!)

4. Playing with dolls teaches children about the world around them.
Play in general is how children discover the world around them and learn skills that they'll practically use in the future, and role playing with dolls is one of the best ways to do this. My daughter has three Baby Born Surprise dolls, and loves to act out scenarios where they're sisters going about daily life. She has so much fun doing this, but subconsciously, it is also preparing her for the real world.

How Playing With Dolls Benefits A Child's Development
How Playing With Dolls Benefits A Child's Development

5. Playing with dolls can help children with fine motor skills.
The act of playing with hands on toys like dolls can help develop and improve a child's fine motor skills. I watch my daughter use her hands and fingers to carefully swaddle and unswaddle her Baby Born Surprise dolls, feed them with their little bottles, and change their little diapers, and know that in addition to her having fun, she's working on her fine motor skills without even knowing it!

6. Playing with dolls helps children to learn about emotions and feelings.
I remember my son's developmental therapist talking about how children often express or work through emotions through their dolls, which is an important way for them to learn about their own feelings and the feelings of others. Both of my kids use their dolls to act out emotions from sadness to joy to grumpiness, which is subconsciously helping them learn to express their own emotions in healthy ways.

How Playing With Dolls Benefits A Child's Development
How Playing With Dolls Benefits A Child's Development

I have to say, one of the most interesting and magical parts of being a parent for me is discovering just how much my kids are learning and developing through everyday play. If your little one enjoys playing with dolls like mine do, I highly recommend getting them a Baby Born Surprise. It's been such a pleasure to see how much my daughter adores playing with hers. And if you know of other ways playing with dolls benefits a child's development that I might have missed, I'd love to hear about it!

This sponsored post is in partnership with Baby Born Surprise. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.


Monday, March 11, 2019

Spring Home Decor Refresh (All Under $25!)

A Spring Home Decor Refresh : All Under $25!
1. Round Metal Wire Basket ($17.99)  |  2. Gold Mirror with Fringe ($24.99)  |  3. Metal Bookend ($17.99)  |  4. Cotton Storage Basket ($24.99)  |  5. Canvas Cushion Cover ($5.99)  |  6. Stoneware Plant Pot ($19.99)  |  7. Bergamot Scented Candle ($12.99)  |  8. Leaf Print Tablecloth ($24.99)  |  9. Daisy Linen Blend Table Runner ($17.99)  | 10.  Marble Candlestick ($24.99) 

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about our recent family room redesign. And while it's only been finished for a couple of months and we're still basking in it, it's made me realize how much the majority of the other spaces in our home could use a sprucing up too. Aside from the big (like, very big) remodeling project we know we need to get to but have been avoiding (oh hey, kitchen), along with the upstairs bathrooms, there isn't any thing major (other than some areas like our weird yellow hallways) that needs to be changed. But a few pieces of pretty decor can really change the look of a room, and I've got the pieces above on my mind. They're all really lovely, and affordable too; every piece is under $25.

Anybody else feeling the need for some simple refreshes with springtime around the corner?