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Chicago, IL
USA

One Chicago Momma, photographing little people, home educating in the Classical Christian theory and editing images into the wee hours of the morning . . . powered by Starbucks & Dr Pepper.

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Tiaras & Tantrums focuses on family, travel, photography, education and food. I offer photography sessions product reviews, travel reviews, education reviews and anything else I feel like writing about.

{Editor’s Note: I am VERY interested in doing more travel blogging. If you are putting together a blogger group for a client – I would love to discuss details.}

If you would like more information about Tiaras & Tantrums or are looking to have your product reviewed, please contact me at tiarastantrums@gmail.com.

Best Traveling Toy: Leapfrog LeapPad 3 {Review} #LeapPad3

tiarastantrums

Disclosure:  I received this product to review in exchange for sharing my honest opinion.

Recently I was cleaning out the children's toy room in our basement and I was flooded with happy memories. I was boxing up some toys and items to give to my brother ans sister-in-law, who recently had a new baby, that my girls had aged out of using. I had moved the much loved and used LeapFrog toys to the basement because I simply couldn't part with these toys at that time.

Leapfrog LeapPad 3 {Review} #LeapPad3

I sat on the floor as lovely memories flooded my brain and left me smiling and a bit teary-eyed. Some of my children's most favorite toys were LeapFrog toys. I want my niece to have the same experiences with some of these amazing toys that my own children had.

I have been a huge fan of LeapFrog for well over a decade now and I don't see that changing any time soon. My children have entered the next phase of play and toys and LeapFrog is there for them, still.

Leapfrog LeapPad 3 {Review} #LeapPad3

My youngest daughter recently received the LeapFrog LeapPad 3 and she and I couldn't be more excited to see what the next level of toys LeapFrog has to offer her. LeapPad3 is a high-performance Wi-Fi tablet, in a nutshell. We took the LeapPad 3 with us on our vacation last week and I have to be very candid here and say that my daughter was so very sick. She was absolutely miserable, pukey, achy, feverish and just not having a fun time.

Leapfrog LeapPad 3 {Review} #LeapPad3

Thankfully, we had the LeapPad 3 with us because it literally was the only thing she was interested in. She was miserable, but consistently wanted to check on her pet unicorn to ensure he was happy. When she was not up to playing on the LeapPad 3, her older sister was right there to log on to her account. My oldest was playing with her animal in the Pet Pad Party, take selfies with the Photo Fun Ultra and just basically playing as much as she could whilst her sister was sleeping and not feeling well.

Leapfrog LeapPad 3 {Review} #LeapPad3

They each have their own account on the LeapPad 3 and are able to play with their specific animal in the Pet Pad Party. My daughters are 8 and 11 and they equally love the LeapPad 3. The suggested age for the LeapPad 3 is 3-9, but I would say this high-performance Wi-Fi tablet is loved equally by both of my girls. At one point during our vacation, I heard my little one stating to her sister, "I haven't even had one chance on my LeapPad 3 yet."

Leapfrog LeapPad 3 {Review} #LeapPad3

Here they are describing the LeapPad 3:

LeapPad_3_Review1.jpg

The New LeapPad 3 is affordable at $99.99 and is packed with some great features:

  • Wi-Fi powered by Zui with kid-safe Web
  • Powerful quad-core processor and sleek design for performance fun
  • Kid-tough to withstand accidental dropping
  • 1,000+ games and apps available to purchase and download
  • Rechargeable battery that charges via USB or AC adapter {About 6 hours of battery life}
  • Personalized learning based on your child’s grade level and progress
  • Parental controls
  • 5″ touchscreen that is shatter safe
  • Peer-to-peer play with nearby devices for certain apps
  • Progress reports can be viewed by parent to see what the child has been working on
  • Front and back camera
  • 4 GB memory for apps and games
  • Includes 10 apps ($70 value)
  • Includes stylus
  • Microphone
Leapfrog LeapPad 3 {Review} #LeapPad3

There really are some amazing fun learning games available, as well as eBooks, apps, videos, music and so much more. Parents can search for games by category or age range, eBooks by character or skill set, apps for boys or girls and learning videos based on a child's interests. If a parent were looking for science or math related apps, stories, or games by an age range, it is quite easy to navigate through the LeapFrog website.

If you own an earlier LeapPad model, all the purchased games and apps will transfer to the LeapPad 3. In addition, the game cartridges can be used on all model of the LeapPads.

My children adore LeapFrog and as a parent who has happily purchased LeapFrog products for over a decade, I can tell you, I will continue to do so. I'm so excited to be giving my niece all these great learning toys that my children learned the alphabet and reading skills with. But, I did keep back the first sets of flash cards I purchased through LeapFrog. I just can't seem to get rid of those as I spent so many hours pouring over these cards with all three of my children.

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Favorite Autumn Snack

tiarastantrums

The leaves are changing. It's officially Autumn! I adore Autumn and it is simply my favorite time of the year. My favorite season by far because of the glorious colors! My favorite weather because I am not too hot and I am not too cold! Plus, I love nothing more than to bundle up in a beautiful sweater, a fun scarf and boots!

I love to cook in the Autumn as well! My favorite food. I'm so looking forward to all the delicious Autumn recipes that are going to be enjoyed.

Apple recipes - are favorite recipes in our home. Today, I'm excited to share with you some of my favorite Autumn apple snack. Time to enjoy Autumn in all its glory. With glorious, juicy apples!

Sliced Apples with Nutmeg 

These are another simple snack recipe to hand over to your children that will make them smile. It will also stop their tummy's from rumbling as well.  Select your children's favorite apple for this recipe. I choose Honey Crisp apples for this snack.

Sliced apples with nutmeg

Slice the whole apple horizontally, leaving the skin and the core as you can pick out the seeds from your slices. It leaves tiny little center stars that will make your kids giggle. Sprinkle with fresh nutmeg and add a couple of dollops of organic creamy almond butter. Hopefully that will hit the spot and hold your kiddos over until dinner.

fall apples


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How to Get Kids' Teeth White with LISTERINE

tiarastantrums

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for LISTERINE. I received samples for this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

When my kid's teeth first started errupting from their tiny mouths, the teeth were pearly white. Tiny, beautiful, perfect and bright white. Eventually they lost their baby teeth and adult teeth took up permanent residence in their mouths. These teeth were perfect and bright white as well, but they quickly began to discolor. Thankfully, LISTERINE has the most amazing oral care products that aide my children in keeping Heroic Habits and brighter, whiter teeth.

My two oldest children have already had their first round of braces. They are on a five year orthodontia plan and will have braces again when all their adult teeth are fully in place. My little one is simply waiting for her top teeth to come in and on the braces will go.

Sadly, my children's teeth were not straight. The teeth came in  a lovely bright white, but very crooked. My son had braces for almost two years and when they came off, his teeth were grey. The beautiful white teeth had disappeared under the braces.

My daughter had her first round of braces for about a year, but with the same results. Her teeth were a dull grey and they had lost their shiny, white luster. I was really at a loss as to what we could do in order to stop their teeth from greying any further. Especially since I know both of these kids will have braces again, and soon.

LISTERINE HEROIC HABITS

Since my two oldest kiddos have lost the brightness in their teeth, I have been looking for a product to use on children that is safe and effective. LISTERINE HEALTHY WHITE GENTLE mouthwash is an effective product that my children can safely use twice a day. With two uses of LISTERINE HEALTHY WHITE GENTLE mouthwash per day, my kids get both the cleaning action of a gentle mouthwash that is peroxide free and the fluoride protection of an anti-cavity rinse in one swoosh! IN addition, the mouth rinse will get rid of my son' s terrible bad breathe.

My children are still young and only have mild discoloration on their new adult teeth. LISTERINE HEALTHY WHITE GENTLE is perfect in removing these mild stains and preventing them as well. It will safely whiten their teeth and prevents new  cavities from forming.

A perfect teammate to the mouth rise is the LISTERINE HEALTHY WHITE Dental Floss. This dental floss stretches and slides between their little teeth. LISTERINE HEALTHY WHITE Dental Floss has these tiny micro-grooves in the floss that really removes all the plaques that builds up in my children's teeth. Both of these great products are available at our local retailers where LISTERINE products can be purchased.

LISTERINE HEROIC HABITS

As I mentioned earlier, my son has awful bad breathe. I'm not sure what is going on with him, but his breathe could slay a dragon. He is now carrying around LISTERINE POCKETPAKS where ever he goes to deter those bad-breathe germs. He is not allowed to have any type of candy or mints at school, but he can carry the POCKETPAKS and pop one in his mouth intermittently throughout the day to alleviate his dragon breathe. The POCKETPAKS are sugar free, so I don't have to worry about creating sugar bugs in his teeth and they dissolve instantly so his teachers won't get upset about him having something in his mouth during school.

LLISTERINE HEROIC HABITS

As we head into fall and the new year that will be fast approaching, my family is keeping their Heroic Habits using LISTERINE oral care products. Braces will be going on all three of my children in 2015 and I need to ensure they remain a healthy white throughout the entire process! Thanks LISTERINE for creating some amazing oral care products to aide us in having  a lifetime of good dental health.


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Hello from Turks & Caicos!

tiarastantrums

The weeks leading up to last week were full of planning, packing and getting almost three weeks of school work completed prior to leaving. Do you have any idea how hard it is to have your children cram three weeks worth of curriculum into one week! My son simply couldn't get all his work done and frankly, some of his teachers wouldn't even allow him to have some of the work prior to our departure to TURKS & CAICOS! 

I'm pretty sure no one wants to hear me complaining about all the hard work I had to complete before I left for a tropical vacation. I'm in beautiful Turks & Caicos, {which quite literally has been on my list of places to go for the past decade!} and stayed at the beautiful Beaches resort .  We all came here to the Caribbean as a family, but the main purpose of my trip was to attend the Social Media on the Sand conference!

So, here we are  . . . in paradise!

Social Media on the Sand Conference Turks & Caicos

We left last week at very (VERY) early o'clock in the morning to head to the airport . . . our driver was 30 minutes late and I almost strangled him. When my husband asked him to speed it up, he replied with the speed limit! NO ONE DRIVES THE SPEED LIMIT ON THE TOLLWAY !!! I was fretting, which in turn caused my kids to fret. not good! We made it to the airport and breezed through security (thank you elite status!). We were walking to our gate and my little one paused, doubled over and vomited all over the floor!

Dreadful! What to do? Do we bring her? Does hubbie stay home? What to do? We took a chance and got on the plane. WITH A SICK CHILD! She did not have a fun flight. A couple more episodes of barfing . . . got to love those air sick bags!

In Miami, was able to get her to eat a bit of something and then we had to promptly hop on another plane. She instantly fell asleep in my lap for a bit. She woke up refreshed and told me she felt great . . . and began puking again. I felt like a horrible parent for dragging her on these flights.

She was so miserable once we landed. It was a long process waiting to exit, hop on the shuttle, check in and get to our room. Once we got to our room, she went right to bed and slept . . . and woke up and vomited more.

Beches Moms #BEACHESMOMS

We went for a little dinner after I went to a reception for the conference and she didn't make it through. We decided to visit the nurse at the resort. I was so pleased that we did. I have to say that everyone of the staff notices what is going on with their guests. Everyone who was care of us noticed right off that the little one was not feeling well. They were giving hugs to her, bringing us Gatorade, and even walked us to the nurses station. The nurse was great! So patient and kind with her. She gave us some medicine and sent us on our way.

Naturally, we were completely lost and someone, happily, walked us back to our room. My bearings were adrift that night and I was very concerned about my daughter. I was completely off. We were staying in the Key West Village, which is on the outer edge of the resort property. Our room was gorgeous and just such a lovely surprise.

Beaches Turks & Caicos

My little one passed out and slept until 5 AM and woke up, vomiting and continued for the next three hours. My conference was beginning and I had to leave her with my husband. She was crying as I walked out the door, begging me not to leave her. My husband texted me later that she ate breakfast and was perking back up. He took them to the pool and the beach and she was feeling better! The medicine the nurse gave us was finally working!

Beaches Resort Turks & Caicos

I was off at the conference, worried about my daughter . . . BUT . . .  heard some amazing speakers . . . was inspired . . .  took great notes and am basically revitalized! I have to say, being surrounded by 100 women who are focused, positive, and driven was more than enough to bring me around . . . . my daughter was fine . . . she was with her father . . . and I was fine . . . doing MY own thing . . . which is the biggest take away . . . I need to do what brings me happiness . . . my kids will be fine! I don't need to be around them every second of their lives!

I have loads more to say about the beautiful Beaches resort in TURKS & CAICOS and the MOST amazing Social Media on the Sand conference!  If you have any questions about the Beaches resorts, please let me have them! I'm so happy to answer and and all questions!!

Beaches Resort Turks & Caicos
Tiaras & Tantrums

About Tiaras & Tantrums: Rese is a mom of three. She enjoys home educating her kiddos, taking photos, and traveling the globe. Rese is a family lifestyle photographer and home educator. Connect with Rese on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+. Sign up via email for the latest updates from Tiaras & Tantrums.


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October, Already?

tiarastantrums

I think I am on a roll here . . . Every new month that comes up on me, it is simply a surprise. Like, I swear, I see the days passing me by and I am in awe when another month is here . . . right there in front of me and I can't figure out how it happened. I'm in the present, fully participating in the days that are passing me by . . . but simply can't believe how fast life just seems to be going  . . . it is October . . . already . . . and we are full in the throws of fall here in Chicago. I've had my heat on for weeks now . . .  WEEKS! Last weekend, I was scouring for winter hats, gloves, scarves and winter coats!

School is going well for the girls and my son. He has happily adjusted to being at school everyday and we girls have happily adjusted here at home. We rarely see my husband these days and seem to be passing in the halls or swapping kids at gas stations. He is deep in a work project and leaves before I rise and comes home at the kid's bedtime. Vacation next week and I can't wait! Dinner together for a week straight! We will probably kill each other!

Here is a peek into what my week has been like . . .

baby quails
baby quails
homemade bird feeder
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Music Milestones with Netflix #StreamTeam

tiarastantrums

It is no secret that we are full into music. My girls play the violins, my son plays guitar(both electric and acoustic) and my husband play saxophone and guitars as well. Me, on the other hand, nothing! I have nothing; I am not the least bit musically inclined! My girls violin teacher gets a bit frustrated with me because she has to constantly remind me of something that she has likely told me 12 times already. I just don't get music, I love to listen to it; but can not play any sort of anything.

This year marks the fifth year my girls will be playing their violins! We have hit a milestone for sure. Last year, my oldest daughter played in two youth orchestras and had a love - hate relationship with the work. Because practicing every single day for two hours is a lot of work for a child. This year, we made orchestras mandatory AND we had the little sister audition as well. She made both orchestras! Such a music milestone for her! She is the youngest in her symphony youth orchestra and we are so proud of her.

I think having each other in the orchestras is helping them both. They can practice together and there is a bit of healthy competition there. My girls have so much to celebrate this year in music. They have crossed so many mini milestones musically.

Did you know Netflix also has many movies and TV episodes that highlight a variety of childhood achievements and mini milestones? You can watch with your children and they can have perfect examples of how working hard can lead to achieving goals.  Whatever firsts your family is celebrating this fall, Netflix can relate.

Netflix Titles to Celebrate Mini Milestones

For your kids:

#StreamTeacm #Netflix

New Sibling: The Hive: S01E01, Babee's Room
Losing Your First Tooth: Super WHY: S01E10, The Story of the Tooth Fairy
Getting Glasses: Arthur: S15E09, Through the Looking Glasses
First Sleepover: Bratz Kidz: Sleep-over Adventure

#Netflix #StreamTeam

First Trick-or-Treat: Julius Jr.: S01E06, Dressed for Spook-cess
First Pet: Beethoven
First Move: The Croods
First Big Game: D2: The Mighty Ducks

#Netflix #StreamTeam

First Spelling Bee: Akeelah and the Bee
First Dance: Kickin' It: S01E20, The Wrath of Swan
First Break-Up: Good Luck Charlie: S01E20, Girl Bite Dog
First Road Trip: Diners, Drive-ins and Dives

#Netflix #Streameam

First Kiss: Wizards of Waverly Place: S01E02, First Kiss
First Job: Good Burger
First Time Babysitting: The Baby-Sitters Club
First Concert: Taylor Swift: The Journey to Fearless

Plus a few major milestones for mom and dad:

New Job: The Office
Getting Married: My Fair Wedding with David Tutera
Having a Baby: What to Expect When You're Expecting
Life as a Parent: Parenthood
Running for Office: Parks & Recreation
Buying a Home: House Hunters

What milestones are you and your family working on this fall?

Disclosure: This post is part of my involvement as a Netflix #StreamTeam Member. All opinions are my own. #NetflixKids

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Heroic Habits with LISTERINE

tiarastantrums

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for LISTERINE. I received samples for this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Every once in awhile I get really excited about a product and today is one of those times. In our home I know the importance of teaching good habits. Helping my children learn good dental habits as early as possible will set them up for a life of good dental health! Brushing is an important habit to have. There are some amazing oral care products from LISTERINE that will foster your children's LISTERINE Heroic Habits and set them up for a lifetime of dental health.

Herioc Habits with LISTERINE

When I was a child, I would brush my teeth twice a day. That is it. I never flossed, I never used mouthwash; I basically brushed and rinsed. I was also blessed to have parents who never allowed me to drink soda, consume candy or eat anything that was considered junk food. I grew up in rural IA and fast food and convenience stores did not exist in my area. Thankfully, I have great teeth today. I think my upbringing contributed to my good teeth, but I also think genetics plays a hand in your mouth as well.

My husband, on the other hand, grew up in the city, had access to sweets all the time and ate plenty of them. He has horrible teeth and not just horrible teeth, but incredible issues with his teeth and mouth. This past summer he had an Osseous surgery in his mouth to repair severe periodontitis which had developed into holes in the bones around his teeth.

Because my husband never developed Heroic Habits when brushing, it is doubly important that we model this behavior to our children today. Teaching our children good brushing and flossing habits begins with us. They will want to imitate us and develop the strong Heroic Habits I want them to have.

There are many oral care products, including toothpastes and toothbrushes, that are made to meet the unique dental needs of my children. But, my absolute favorite products for my children and my husband are LISTERINE healthy oral care products.

Herioc Habits with LISTERINE

My children actually really love to use the LISTERINE Smart Rinse Anticavity Mouthwash. The anticavity Smart Rinse mouthwash is alcohol free and aides in cleaning their teeth because sometimes they just are not as vigilant as I would like them to be whilst brushing. LISTERINE Smart Rinse protects their teeth while they are sleeping, is super easy to use and tastes great.

I happen to love the LISTERINE Ultra Clean Access Flosser for my children's small mouths. Getting my kiddos into a routine of flossing has not been easy. With the Clean Access Flosser, flossing is so much easier and loads of fun. The Clean Access Flosser is kid-friendly and fits perfectly into their small mouths and doesn't hurt their gums. My husband actually loves the Clean Access Flosser as well. We were able to pick up another one at our local retailers where LISTERINE products are available for purchase.

Since my husband's Osseous Surgery, he has been quite diligent in the care of his teeth. He is super excited about LISTERINE Ultra Clean Mint Floss and LISTERINE Gentle Gum Care Floss. He had to be very careful flossing after his surgery and the Gentle Gum Care Floss was perfect for his healing gums. The soft, springy floss perfectly cushioned his sensitive gums. Currently he uses the Ultra Clean Mint Floss and is quite pleased with the results. This floss actually has micro-grooves built into the floss that enables the floss to remove more plaque from his teeth. This is an oral care product that really benefits my husband's mouth. He certainly does not want to have another surgery to prevent any further bone loss due to plaque built up!

My children are picking up his great Heroic Habits with the amazing LISTERINE oral care products. Like all our other great Heroic Habits such as healthy eating and exercising regularly, we want our kids to have a lifetime of dental health.

 

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Ode to the Red Door

tiarastantrums

When we were building our dream home . . . this house we currently live in . . . I always imagined my house with a bright red door. However, since we built a home in a development with a set of rules about what color of siding we were allowed to select as well as the color of our roof and sadly, what color our front door could not be. That was red, my dream front  door.  I couldn't have a red front door.

If truth be told, I've been a bit ticked about it ever since. My door is brown. An ugly, nondescript brown. No one ever remembers a brown door!

I found a red door the other day  . . . and took some photos . . . I wonder what would happen if I painted my front door red . . . I bet I would get a lovely letter in the mail . . . you think?

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Hatching Quail Eggs

tiarastantrums

My children are pros at hatching eggs by now. We are in our fifth year of home educating and have hatching chicken eggs every spring. However, this school year, I wanted to do something a bit differently. I wanted to educate my children on the process of hatching game birds, so we decided to hatch quail eggs.

We are using the Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 1 book this year in Science and lessons 2-5 are all about birds. Birds are creatures that were created on day 5 and we are studying most of them through fun activities. One of the amazing activities is hatching quails.

Quails belong to the Phasianidae family of short-tailed game birds. There are about 95 species of quail birds. The Phasianidae family is divided into two sub families: Phasianinae and Perdicinae. These birds build their nests in tall grasses in plains and farmlands. They are heard more often than seen due to their really good camouflage. These birds are often hunted as game birds and today are very commonly raised for eggs and meat.

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Homemade DQ Buster Bar Dessert Cake {Recipe}

tiarastantrums

Summer is over and we are right in the beginning of fall. It is true. I'm yearning for the hot days of summer and fabulous summer desserts. My children asked me for one of their favorites over the weekend and I was delighted to make it.  This dessert cake is similar to the Dairy Queen Buster Bar dessert, but without the peanuts.  I am not a fan of peanuts IN my food. In my humble opinion, mine is sooo much better! It is so super simple to make, great on a hot summer day OR a cool fall day and pleases everyone in the family! 

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