Y’OUR Personalized Skin Care Review

Skincare has become more important to my beauty routine as the years go by. Now that I am wiser, and know there is more to keeping the skin I have been blessed with healthy than moisturizing, I want to develop a routine that works for me. For a while, that was not so easy. With so many products, regimens, promises and advertising aimed at my age group, I honestly had no idea where to begin.

Then I heard about Y’our and I started developing a routine that works for my skin and life magically lost a lot of guesswork. Instead of shelling out big bucks to get lackluster results, I started by taking a quiz about my skin and found a 4 part regime that is perfect for my lifestyle and unique skin.

The Y’our approach factors in environmental, age, lifestyle and stress in your daily life and pairs natural and effective products to give you the best results. Each Y’our skincare set includes a cleanser, a day cream, a night cream and a serum selected with you in mind. 

Offering a unique and fabulous approach to skincare that beats the one product fits most packaging that is all too common in the market for healthy skin. This 4 product set has a value of $195 and provides priceless results. 

Being a busy mom of three boys I rarely have time to spend in the bathroom but I wanted to make time to use Yo

Do you suffer from acne? Check out these tips on how you can be on your way to clearer more radiant skin.

I have been more than impressed with the Y’our skincare line. If you to are not sure what your skin needs other than a moisturizer, I would highly recommend taking the skin quiz and creating your own routine with the experts at Y’our.

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Disclosure: Southern Carolina Family received compensation or a sample for free in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and may differ from yours. If you have questions please email southerncarolinafamily@gmail.com.

How to Introduce STEM Play to Babies and Toddlers + Top 5 STEM Toys for Little Kids

Albert Einstein said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” When it comes to kids learning through play, the old fashioned way of showing kids how to use a toy or kids learning through reading instead of experiencing has faded away in the wake of a new (and more effective) type of learning called STEM play.

STEM is an acronym for “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math” (also known as STEAM if you include art in there as well). 

Far before your child knows how to do math or completes science projects, STEM skills are developed naturally in babies and toddlers by exploring and learning about the world. (Source – Baby Savers)

Bright Hub Education explained each element of STEM very well:

  • “Science is a way of thinking through experiments, observation, making predictions, asking questions, and deciding how things work.

  • Technology is a way of doing. With learning tools, kids become inventive, identify problems, and make things work.

  • Engineering is also a way of doing. A child can solve problems with a variety of materials – they design and create. Little learners build things that work.

  • Math is a way of measuring. Preschoolers explore shapes, size, volume, and learn about patterns and sequencing.” (Source – Bright Hub Education)

What are the benefits of STEM learning?

  • STEM gets kids excited to learn.
  • STEM is all about curiosity which strengthens the brain.
  • STEM teaches kids to fail – and that it’s okay!
  • STEM prepares kids for today’s technology.
  • STEM fosters creativity and the imagination.
  • STEM promotes independent play – let your child lead and see what they discover on their own.
  • STEM helps kids relate to the world around them.
  • STEM helps kids with memory retention.
  • STEM better prepares kids for school.

(Source – Cool Mom Picks)

(Source – The Stempedia)

STEM learning does not mean a complicated DIY science experiment where you need a ton of time and materials.  It can be as simple as going outside in nature with your child.

Ask “What” questions when exploring:

What are those ants doing?
What shape is that rock?
What is on the branch?
What is under the rock?
What do you see in the sky?

For babies, try to not say “no” often and instead let your baby explore more freely. For example, our son used to get into this cupboard in the kitchen that was located on the ground level (all the other cabinets had safety locks), but this particular cupboard was filled with old baby bottles, plastic containers, lids, and things like this so we left it unlocked.

Our son LOVED opening this cupboard and taking out everything inside and then he would even climb in the cupboard and play in there (the door was always open). Yes, it made a huge mess on the kitchen floor, but instead of saying “no,” we allowed him to play and explore. Afterwards, I just cleaned it up – no big deal.

This cupboard would keep him entertained for a good 45 minutes!  With a baby’s short attention span, this was amazing and proves that STEM activities and toys are more engaging for kids.

For toddlers, STEM gets even more fun when we can talk with our kids, listen to what they have to say, and watch them imagine and figure things out.

Stemsational is a fabulous blog about STEM activities for kids.

“STEM projects for toddlers help children explore a variety of thinking skills that boost both their creativity, logic, spacial awareness, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills. Toddlers who engage these systems, versus toddlers who largely learn from screens an immobile activities have a huge advantage once they reach school-age.” (Source – Steamsational)

In addition to DIY STEM learning, STEM toys are really important because these are the best toys that will help your child develop and learn instead of just sitting around collecting dust.

Take a minute to think about your child’s top three favorite toys.  I bet they are interactive in some way, right?  We just donated two trash bags of toys to our son’s pre-school because we noticed he only played with three main toys:

  • His cars / hot wheels (he loves to line them up and one by one he looks at each car carefully, it’s really cute. Especially when he says, “Look, Camero!” or “Mama, Hummer!” Also, he sorts all his cars by color in piles)
  • Building blocks
  • Lincoln logs

Baby Savers published an amazing list of ideas and activities for parents to refer to when choosing STEM toys:

“Seek out toys that encourage one or more of the following ideas or activities:

  • Comparing
  • Sorting
  • Sequencing (putting things in order)
  • Observing
  • Speed and distance
  • Cause and effect
  • Questions
  • Predictions
  • Identifying shapes, numbers and/or letters
  • Measuring
  • Spatial sense
  • Problem solving
  • Building or balancing” (Source – Baby Savers)

Additionally, here are some great tips to follow when introducing your baby / toddler to STEM toys:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Avoid technology.
  • Don’t use battery operated toys which tend to guide the child on how to play instead of the child exploring and learning on their own.
  • Avoid teaching.
  • Make it fun.
  • Talk together.
  • Follow your child’s imagination – there’s no right or wrong way!
  • Switch it up a bit – dad can be cooking and mom can be mowing the lawn.

Here are our top five STEM toys for babies and toddlers:

#1 People Blocks – Magnetic Building Blocks

People Blocks are GENIUS and it’s cool that their toy designer is the brainchild designer of the -world-famous Magna -Tiles. These magnetic blocks get babies and toddlers building earlier and learning while having fun. This is the epitome of STEM play.

“Most toys today are designed to only keep the attention span of a child for a short period.  We are changing that by creating toys that grow with your child, not outgrown by your child like you typically see,” says Rudy Valenta, CEO of People Toy Company (aka People).

Throughout the toy development process, People looked for ways to take the developmental milestones acknowledged by the medical community around the world and find clever ways to incorporate the skill development in play.  They have their own private studies and research with parent groups and child industry experts to ensure their toys are not only fun but have high play value with STEM features.

Their newest People Blocks collection are their Working Cars, a magnetic click and stick car set with 18 new automotive inspired shapes. Your child can build cars and discover how to fit the blocks together to build different shapes. Remember with STEM there is no right or wrong and it’s all about discovery.

$34.99 – BUY HERE

Another new People Blocks set we love are the Zoo Animals Clear Magnetic Blocks – perfect for light tables and a fun way to explore colors and light. This set comes with 17 new creature inspired shapes.

$34.99 – BUY HERE

#2 Puzzle and Geometric Lacing Toys by Manzanita Kids (Merged with Little Sapling Toys)

We love toys from Manzanita Kids because:

  • Natural wooden toys – no icky toxins!
  • Made in the USA – Seattle, WA.
  • For every toy sold, they plant a tree…100,000 trees so far!
  • Wide array of toys for babies, toddlers and big kids.
  • High quality – toys that last and can be passed down.

For younger babies the Natural Shapes Puzzle toy is a great way to introduce STEM play.

  • Handmade four-piece wood puzzle
  • Solid wood – maple, cherry and walnut
  • Finished with our homemade organic, natural jojoba oil/beeswax finish.
  • Simple, modern, natural and waldorf-inspired fun.
  • Solving puzzles helps children develop problem-solving skills, spatial reasoning, and builds their confidence!

BUY NOW – $34

For older kids (3 years old and up), this geometric lace toy really gets kids thinking and focusing!

BUY NOW – $34

#3 Kiddybrain Matching Eggs

They say this is a great Easter gift and we agree, but my son loves playing with this year round. Kids love anything to do with food. These eggs are not just any eggs though. Once opened, tiny shapes are revealed and to put the egg back together the child must match the extending shape with the shape hole from the other egg half.

$11.99 – BUY NOW

#4 Bug Catching Magnetic Puzzle Game by Melissa & Doug

I love watching my son play with this toy. There’s a bug net with a magnet at the end of a string and when it touches on of the bugs, the puzzle piece comes out. Once all are out, he then fits all the pieces back in the right place.  

At first, my son realized the magnet on the string would not easily go to where he grabbed the magnet at the bottom and placed it on the puzzle piece. Instead of me saying, “that’s not how you are supposed to use it” I said, “that was smart of you to realize you had to hold close to the magnet to get it where you want faster. This is an easy way of doing it. Now let’s try the harder way. Try with one hand only holding the fishing pole and I know you can do it with just a little bit of patience.” 

So he then tried again and slowly lowered the magnet on the string as it swung back and forth. As he lowered it more, it finally clicked on to the magnet. He was so excited he did it with only one hand.

$9.00 – BUY NOW

#5 Bettroom Geometric Shape and Color Board

I love this toy because it has many levels of learning. First, there are the shapes, then the colors, and lasting the peg holes that kids must fit the shape on in order to stack on the board.

  • Encourages hand-eye coordination and imaginative play
  • Great for 1 -5 year olds
  • NON-TOXIC and safe to use
  • Stacking blocks contains 20 pieces

$12.96 – BUY NOW

STEM play is not just a hype word; it’s a very important part of how our kids should be learning on a daily basis. Remember that STEM play can be done using anything around you like nature, a bunch of empty dishes that fit into one another or have covers that snap on, to more advanced STEM play using the best developmental toys for babies and toddlers.

By introducing STEM play early on, your child will be ahead of the curve when they go to preschool and school so get out and get your STEM on!

Shark Rocket Complete with DuoClean Technology TOP Vacuum On The Market

I have gone through many vacuums over the years, and one brand I love is Shark! I find their vacuums last and the suction and cleaning quality can’t be beaten! Today I am excited to share the Shark Rocket Complete with DuoClean Technology, one of the top vacuums on the market right now.

Shark Rocket Complete with DuoClean Technology

I received this vacuum awhile back, and I have been putting it to the test. I am so impressed with how well this vacuum works, it really picks up all the dust and debris that has embedded into my carpet. It offers a DuoClean Technology, which means it has 2 powerful brushrolls spinning in unison, to pull in small and large particles from the floor or carpet! It really has a wonderful suction power that does an exceptional job of cleaning the floors!

The LED light works great for seeing any food items you have on the floor that need to be vacuumed up. I was shocked at how well it lit up our floors, so you could really see what you are cleaning!

Shark Rocket Is Self-Propelling Vacuum With Ease 

Shark Rocket Complete with DuoClean Technology

This is a very lightweight vacuum which makes it easy to move room to room and clean, and won’t pull on your back when you vacuum! The one thing I find that really sets this vacuum apart is it can clean floor-to-ceilings! This Shark vacuum can clean your couch, ceiling fans, air vents, hard wood or linoleum flooring, carpet, you name it, this vacuum will clean it! Plus it is self-propelling, so as soon as you turn it on, you feel it gently pulling at the flooring, which makes vacuuming so much easier.

We have a mix of flooring in our home, and I love being able to go from vacuum our carpet to our linoleum floors in the kitchen and hallway. It saves me from having to get a broom and dustpan out, and as a busy mom, I will take any short cut I can get!

Shark Rocket Complete with DuoClean Technology Has Amazing Suction Power 

Shark Rocket Complete with DuoClean Technology

I am able to clean under my kitchen appliances, in the crooks of our couch and chairs, and so much more. We couldn’t be more impressed with this vacuum! I love that the filters are washable, so when you go to clean, you can reuse them for a lifetime!  Shark really put a lot of time and thought into this vacuum. Everything is easy, from dumping the collection bin, cleaning the filters, cleaning the rollers, and the list goes on!

SHOP 

If you are interested in a Shark, check out their site and order one today! I highly recommend Shark, they are a top leading brand, with vacuums you can truly trust!

Disclosure: Life of a Southern Mom received the above-mentioned products for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. This post may also contain affiliate links and I may receive a small compensation fee in you make a purchase after clicking on the link. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Back to School with Slammers Snacks for Kids

With 3 on the go, growing boys, snacks are a frequent part of our lives. Keeping the boys fueled for their action packed days of learning, playing and practicing is a challenge sometimes. We don’t always have time to prepare from scratch treats and convenience is important when time is of the essence.

We recently got to try out something new and super yummy, that is delicious and nutritious. Slammers snacks are more than just an applesauce pouch. They are portable, packable superfoods for growing bodies!

Offering my boys Slammers Snacks in their lunches and afterschool is a great way to give them a serving of fruits, veggies and vitamins in one easy to easy and totally enjoyable package. There are several flavors available and my boys loved them all.

I loved them too because I could give them a treat when we are the busiest without turning to junk food. I had no mom guilt over this option, and the boys had no complaints about the snack option either.

Slammers Snacks are available in flavors like Epic, which is mango, carrot, orange and greek yogurt. Awesome flavor is a berry, banana, beet and acai blend that smells amazing. Chill’n has yumberry, yogurt, butternut squash, blueberries and bananas. As you can tell, Slammers Snacks are packed with good stuff for growing bodies, or anyone looking for healthier on the go options.

These are perfect for a lunch box, a quick pick me up in the car after school, or as an addition to breakfast. These are so nutritious and delicious kids or adults would welcome  a Slammers Snack any time or place.

Slammers Snacks are one of our favorite ways to eat better on the go. Do you think your family would like Slammers Snacks as an addition to their routines?

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Disclosure: Southern Carolina Family received samples in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Back to School with LAMO Footwear

School is almost here and I am ready to update my look for the season! As a very busy mom of three active boys, I am used to being on my toes. So, when I think about updating my wardrobe, I am looking for function, fashion and comfort. Shoes are one of the first things I look for when I shop for a seasonal wardrobe.

This year I found the perfect shoe for back to school. No matter where life takes us, to school, to the beach, the mall, a ball game or on a picnic, the Piper in Peach from Lamo Footwear will carry me there and keep me comfortable. I love that these are completely cute and will pair perfectly with so many of my outfits!

The Piper in Peach is a slip on sneaker. It is easy to get on or off, and these are so comfortable to wear. They offer the ideal amount of support and are great for walking, or even chasing after boys. The shoes are washable as an added bonus to keep them looking great all year long. Knowing my shoes can be washed when needed is important to me because life with  boys can get adventurous!

Retailing at under $33 this is a great shoe to add to your collection for summer.  If peach isn’t your favorite color, you can browse the selection of Piper styles, there are 8 fantastic colors to choose from. I know I will be adding a few more colors before the season gets underway.

If you are looking for an affordable yet stylish pair of sneakers for school or just to wear, I would highly recommend Lamo’s Piper. I have been totally impressed with the fit, the look and the comfort of this pair of shoes and I know you will be too!

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Disclosure: Southern Carolina Family received a sample in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Naipo Neck & Shoulder Massager with Heat

The Naipo Neck & Shoulder Massager with Heat

With the holidays comes some stress. From staying on budget to accomplishing everything on your to-do list, it is easy to get overwhelmed and maybe a little tense. When given the opportunity to review a few Napio massagers, I knew this was perfect timing and just what I needed to relax a little and keep the holidays super jolly! 

The Naipo Shiatsu Kneading Massager Neck & Shoulder Massager with Heat is just what Santa’s helper needs to unwind after a long day of Merry Making. This is a super relaxing way to relieve tension in your neck and shoulder area. Retailing at under $60 this is truly a gift that will keep on giving! The Christmas Shoulder Massager wraps around your shoulders to massage away aches, pains, and stiffness. I love that it gives a deep massage while being remarkably quiet and that it is made with leather. It heats up and mimics an amazing, relaxing hug.

The Naipo Massager is one of my favorite gift ideas for the special guys in my life. It wraps them in a warm hug as it heats between 96 and 104 degrees while offering a deep massage to melt his pains, aches, tensions, and stiff shoulders. Made with PU leather, this is a handsome massager that will be well received by any guy on your shopping list. Retailing at under $60 this is a must have relaxation tool in my opinion.

I was very pleased with both of the Napio shoulder massagers and loved how easy they were to use and how great the results of the shiatsu massage were. I would highly recommend this brand for holiday shopping and beyond.

Have you ever used a shoulder massager? Do you think you could benefit from a gift like this? Tell me about it in a comment!.

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Disclosure: Southern Carolina Family received a sample in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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