Mastermind South London Grand Opening Blogger Event

I had such a fun and unique opportunity this morning to check out the new Mastermind Toys store in South London, Ontario. We are very familiar with Mastermind; Owen actually calls it the train store since that is where we go for new Thomas and Chuggington trains, but this event was just for mama.

We sat down with Lisa from Marketing and Store Operations {sidenote: she has the super cool job of going to toy shows on the buying team...FUN!} to learn all about the hot new toys that are coming onto the market for Fall...and then do some shopping!

Lisa from Mastermind Toys

My absolute favourites from this morning were the Hex Bug Aqua Bots and the and the B.You Turns. These two toys are perfect for my little dude, and teach him a thing or two!

Maija from Maija's Mommy Moments playing with You Turns
The You Turns is such a neat toy - it teaches direction, and is a nice, quiet toy; perfect for travel and entertainment in the car or on a plane! Definitely on our list for Christmas.

Mastermind started back in 1984 by two brothers in a 300 sq ft. building. It began as an educational games company, but the brothers quickly learned that they loved toys and bringing a fun learning environment to kids with products that would last their lifetime.

We love Mastermind because it is bright, colorful and the staff are always super pleasant. They offer free gift wrapping, and you literally can run in saying you need a gift for a birthday party, tell them the age of the child, and you will leave with something that will dazzle that child. It may not be what was on their list, but it will be the gift that they play with for hours on end. Unique, fun, and things that you won't find in any other toy store.

And now that I brought home a Hex Bug Aqua Bot, we have officially set up a tank for Swim...Owen's new shark.

see that smile??
A huge thank you to Mastermind Toys South London for the opportunity to come and learn a whole new reason to love your store!

Talk-To-Me Tuesday...with Casey Roberts

Good morning everyone! I have a very special treat for you mamas, WAHMs, SAHMs...just about all of you out there!

Her name is Casey Roberts, and she is amazing. Casey contacted me a couple of months ago about doing a guest post about continuing education. I find that so many of my mama friends are either in school doing their Masters at a physical institution, or are taking continuing education courses online.

Without further adieu, here's Casey and her 10 Essential Tips for Moms Going Back to School

With the start of another new semester, it can be normal for everyone to ask themselves if they should go back to school. With many mothers (and fathers) experiencing higher bills, it can also be a great way to increase your earning power while setting a good example for the kids. For those of you who are hesitant to do so or have already begun, check out these ten essential tips for moms going back to school.

1 You are not alone – As educational options become more available, a wider variety of students are enrolling. This includes everyone from the traditional college age kids to foreign students to working parents. If you think you will be the only mom in the class, chances are there will be at least one more.

2 Financial aid – It isn't just for kids who can't get their parents to pay for school. It is also for working families. How much financial aid you qualify for depends on many things like number of dependents and income, which are huge factors in determining how much aid you qualify for.

3 FAFSA – The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a must for any student in college. It is a lengthy form but is essential to the financial aid process of just about every school.

4 What if I need help? - If you need help with the FAFSA or any other aspect of financial aid, speak to the counselors at your current or prospective school to get all of your options. They are paid professionals whose job often entails making school as affordable as possible.

5 Grants – These are forms of financial aid that can be earned by filling out the FAFSA. They are tax payer funded and intended to help needy students of all ages get a college degree.

6 Working parents options – In addition to the usual grants, there are also those for working parents who are trying to get a degree. There are even some especially for single mothers going to college.

7 Loans – We've all heard about the burden student loans can become. The student loan is quite the temptation. It offers a huge sum up front, no payments until graduation, and low interest rates. However, it is recommended to exhaust other methods of paying for school before considering a student loan.

8 Fine print – So what is the catch with all this financial aid? Those who are granted any form of financial aid can often be asked to keep a minimum GPA of 2.0 (C average) or higher. They must also graduate on time.

9 Daycare – But what will I do with the kids while I'm in class? This is a common question that many schools are answering by providing free or low cost daycare at their facilities, which is a good thing to look for when applying for schools.

10 Degree or no degree – If you know what career you are looking for, make sure you know what kind of degree, certification, licensure, etc. you need before beginning studies. You should also make sure that graduation from your degree program qualifies you to take any exams or tests you need to work in your desired career.

Casey Roberts is a student and also writes for Radiology Assistant which helps students find the right radiology degree.