Friday, October 31, 2014

VTech Learning Cartridges: A Range of Educational Content #Giveaway

The VTech® InnoTab® has been one of the most well received gifts into our home, probably due to its multiple functions and the large variety of learning software available, giving my kids fresh concepts, games and information to focus on. With the VTech® InnoTab® they’re never bored, because I always extend the play value of their InnoTab Learning Tablet by purchasing new Learning Cartridges.

Product, gift card and information provided by VTech. Any opinions expressed are my own and were in no way influenced. Your opinion may differ.

A Range of Educational Content

Available for the VTech® InnoTab® are a range of educational cartridges, offering age-appropriate games, e-Books and more that allow children to progressively learn key subjects such as math, reading and science in steady stages. Interactive e-Books teach reading and vocabulary, while creative activities and camera fun inspire children’s imaginations. And I am here to share with you two of the many amazing cartridges available to you and your child this holiday season and beyond.

InnoTab® Learn to Write with Cody & Cora learning cartridge
(Ages 3-6 years; MSRP: $24.99)

  • Go on learning adventures with Cody the Smart Cub™ and Cora the Smart Cub™ in Learn to Write with Cody & Cora for InnoTab. Read the e-Book about an adventure Cody and Cora take while writing and spelling words.
  • Learn and develop handwriting skills in a progressive manner with 11 activities and games.
  • Includes a fun e-Book about an adventure with Cody and Cora

Learn to Write with Cody & Cora includes 11 games and activities that help to develop writing and spelling skills in a fun way. This software also allows children to follow along with Cody and Cora on a fun adventure through an interactive e-book. My daughter absolutely loves “follow alongs” such as Cody & Cora, as a way to help reinforce the way she is learning to read and recognize words in school. I feel they also give her a sense of independent reading as well.

The fun and learning doesn’t end there, however. With the InnoTabs built-in camera, kids can take photos and decorate Cora & Cody photos!

InnoTab® Go! Go! Smart Wheels® Busy Day in Alphabet Town learning cartridge
(Ages 2-5 years; MSRP: $24.99)

  • Explore Alphabet Town with Casey, Paul, Frank and Cyrus in the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Busy Day in Alphabet Town game for InnoTab. Read about their adventure in the e-Book or join the residents of Alphabet Town as they build roads, rescue kittens and more in fun learning games.
  • This InnoTab software title features nine creative activities and learning games that teach letters, numbers and more.

Go! Go! Smart Wheels Busy Day in Alphabet Town teaches little ones about letters, numbers, handwriting, vocabulary and more while exploring Alphabet Town and the people who live within the city. Children can match letters, learn there sounds and much more. It’s nice that there is so much variety on each cartridge. My kids are able to bounce around Alphabet Town from game to game or follow along in the e-book and see what activities appealed to them most, all while helping out the many residents of Alphabet Town!

These cartridges are compatible with all current InnoTab models and will also work with new models that will be released later this year, including the InnoTab MAX (, its fastest Wi-Fi tablet yet and its first to feature Android™ learning content!! Check out all the current software and the InnoTab Series at

Win It:
One lucky reader will win each of the Vtech Learning Cartridges listed above!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Make the Holidays Magical with the Amazing Zhus #TheAmazingZhus

This holiday season dive deep into the world of magic. Children and magic go hand in hand, and while everyone knows a magician never reveals their secrets, there is one toy sure to be hot this holiday season that believes in audience participation. 

Introducing the Amazing Zhus! 

"This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Cepia LLC and MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are my own"
The newest collection from Cepia, LLC, the master Toymakers behind ZhuZhu Pets.The Amazing Zhus™ Magician Pets are motorized pets that will amaze your friends as they perform magic tricks and gravity-defying stunts. The Amazing Zhus™ Magician Pets can correctly guess the answers to the Magician's Cards - without even looking, follow the Magic Wand wherever you lead them, or predict the pea's location in the Shell Game trick – every time. These talented pets can also perform stunts – including the High Dive and High Wire acts as well as the disappearing box! 

Every kid can be a master magician with the help of the Amazing Zhus and my daughter was super excited to get her hands on one of these magicians and unlock their secrets! The Amazing Zhus Magician Pets are available in two styles; Amazing Zhus Magician Pet “ The Great Zhu” and Amazing Zhus Magician pet “Madame Zhu”. 

“Madame Zhu” and “The Great Zhu” both come included with a magic wand and magician cards. Utilizing RFID and IR Technology these amazing pets are able to replicate the appearance of magic, fascinating and amazing children every step of the way. These incredible magicians join Amazing Zhus Stunt Pets, Dynamo, Abra, The Great Kardini and Piccadilly. Alone or together these Zhus can be paired with accessories like the Magician Shell Game, High Dive, Circus Ball, High Wire and the Amazing Disappearing Box, leaving your child engaged and fascinated for hours!

You’ll be left in awe as Amazing Zhu continuously finds the pea beneath the shell. No matter how many time we shuffled them around that amazing Madame Zhu kept finding it - We may have to take her act to the streets! When she was done amazing us with her magic we found ourselves holding our breath and she free fell a spine-tingling 30 inches into a tiny bucket of “water” below! 

Simple to assemble and with batteries included this awesome magicians are sure to find their way into the hearts of children and to the top of their holiday wish list!

Buy It: Find the Amazing Zhus and accessories available exclusively in Walmart stores nationwide with prices ranging from $7.99 to $24.99

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Our Healthy Habits with Listerine #MC #Sponsored

"“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.”"

For the past few weeks we’ve been on a mission to better our oral health care with the help of some great LISTERINE products sent to us to try as part of the Heroic Habits campaign. As a fan of the Listerine brand there were some products I was very familiar with and a few that were new to me.

In our household our goal this past month was to improve our flossing habits and to teach the kids not only the importance of flossing, but how to floss properly. Armed with an arsenal of floss products from LISTERINE we let each of our children test the flosses until they found one they liked. And, yes, with multiple floss “flavors” and varieties from LISTERINE you can actually find your floss.

While each floss performed well, for my children, it was all about how the floss tasted, which was OK with me as long as it motivated them to floss. The LISTERINE Cool Mint floss was a clear favorite with them, helping remove more plaque and getting those hard to reach areas (especially for kids), while as the coffee drinker of the house was thrilled with the LISTERINE® HEALTHYWHITE™ Floss.

With an added baking soda ingredient LISTERINE Healthy White Floss helps remove stains between the teeth from coffee, tea, and wine, while MICRO-GROOVES® Technology removes more plaque. Combined with brushing and the use of LISTERINE HEALTHY WHITE™ Sodium Fluoride anti-cavity mouth rinse (the only teeth whitening product without peroxide) I’ve noted a better overall look and feel to my smile.

For those of us who are on-the-go and need a quick fix at work, after lunch or that cup of coffee. LISTERINE PocketPaks give you fast powerful breath freshness fast anytime, anyplace. You’ll always find the breath freshening power of LISTERINE PocketPaks in my purse. There is something about how they simply dissolve on your tongue leaving you with fresh breathe and 99% less germs that I love.

LISTERINE has products for all ages that with help you improve the healthy habits within your family without the need for a lot of persuasion. The Barbie mouth rinse for example has my daughter running to the bathroom to brush. And now that she is old enough to grasp the concept of flossing, when she is excited to rinse it is much easier getting her to do a good job with brushing and remembering to floss…thanks Barbie!

Find your healthy habits and purchase Listerine products at these retailers nationwide.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Earth To Echo: Tips for Spending Time Outside with your Friends and Giveaway! #EchoInsiders

Earthly Adventures with Echo

Earth to Echo is beaming down to Blu-ray and DVD October 21st! 

Earth to Echo is a tale told through the eyes of Tuck, Munch and Alex, a trio of pals who make an out-of-this-world discovery. The best friends venture out of their neighborhood to find the true meaning of friendship. After receiving signals on their phones, they meet Echo, a small, but amazingly energetic, alien trying to make his way back to his home planet. As they race to help their new friend, the boys will discover that little Echo has touched their hearts in unexpected ways and changed their lives forever. To prepare you for this adventurous, exciting and heart warming film, we have compiled a list of the best ways to spend time with your friends- outside and away from your cell phones!

1. Pick Up Games

There is nothing like starting a sports pickup game with all your neighborhood friends. Between sitting in class all day and coming home to do homework, a quick game, whether it is hockey, baseball, basketball or soccer, will let you use up some of that energy you’ve been storing! Not only this, but this is an awesome way to make new friends.

2. Bike Rides

With your parents permission of course, take a cruise around the neighborhood with your friends! Also, make sure you wear a helmet. You can use your imagination and make fun adventures out of your journey!

 3. Hide N’ Seek

A neighborhood game of Hide N’ Seek is the ultimate outside activity. With permission from your parents, and of course, using the buddy system when it comes to hiding, Hide N’ Seek is sure to be an awesome time.

4. Backyard Campout

Ask your mom and dad to set up a backyard camp out for you and your friends! Start by setting up a tent and marking your territory with your sleeping bag! You can spend the night telling scary stories and eating S’mores!

5. Chalk

The most underrated outside activity has to be chalk! It is so much fun to create fun pictures and even games with all your friends. You can play hopscotch or tic-tac-toe or use your imagination to draw wonderful pictures!

Buy It: Find Earth To Echo in stores where videos are sold now!

Win It: After your worn out from a long day of outdoor play, come in and enjoy Earth to Echo! One lucky reader will win a blu-ray/dvd copy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Brilliant Sky Toys & Books Top 10 Brilliance Award Winning Toys ( + Giveaway)

This holiday season, I wanted to stray a bit out of my comfort zone of typical toys and big box toys stores, to find small locally-owned stores and products that go above and beyond and deserve a mention. And then I was introduced to Brilliant Sky Toys & Books®.
Product(s) and information provided for review purpose. Any opinions expressed are my own and yours may differ.
“The first Brilliant Sky Toys & Books® was founded in 2002 in Lansing, Michigan with the singular goal of being the finest upscale specialty toy store in America. Based on the belief that the right playthings give children a gateway to physical, emotional and cognitive development Brilliant Sky Toys & Books provides the highest quality products in an atmosphere that is both active and interactive. Its unique aesthetic approach is vibrant yet warm, exciting yet comforting and exploratory yet safe. From rich colors and woods to low sight lines and custom fixtures the Brilliant Sky sensory experience is unlike any other. Now based in Brentwood, Tennessee and featuring more than 10,000 high-quality specialty products, Brilliant Sky Toys & Books is truly the place where everyone can find their way to play.”

While I don’t deny being a fan of technology and your typical “hot holiday toys” this year I am on a mission to find toys, crafts etc. with a little more substance, because these products are typically the ones that make the best gifts. They stimulate your child’s imagination and creativity on multiple levels and aren’t left to sit in the closet a few days after being opened. And that is Brilliant Sky toys’ mission. Bringing playtime back to kids without the fuss, loads of batteries and 24 page instruction booklets. Toys that get back to the basics, that don’t leave you guessing, just imagining and playing.

Brilliant Sky Toys & Books

And The Winners For This Year's Brilliance Awards Are..

With the holidays fast approaching, I want to thank the person who had the brilliant idea five years ago to cull through 10,000 high quality kids’ products that overflowed the shelves of the 17 Brilliant Sky Toys & Books Stores and pick a few favorites, dubbing them the Brilliance Awards. This year when the stress of the holiday season starts to overwhelm me and I just can’t think of what to get for whom, I can take a peek at this year’s 2014 Brilliance Award list and you can too!

  • Squigz Starter Set (24 pieces) :(Fat Brain Toys) As seen on NBC-TV's The Today Show, Squigz are fun little suckers. Apply pressure to two Squigz and watch as air rushes out and the fun rushes in! Connecting to each other and to any solid, non-porous surface - Squigz are a species altheir own.They are flexible fellows and committed joiners.
  • Plus-Plus Mini-Basic (480 pieces):(Geared for Imagination) Picture two plus (+) signs joined together and you "get" this simple shape with endless possibilities. Plus-Plus building bricks allow kids as young as 3 to create mosaics or 3-D designs.This new Plus-Plus Mini-Basic set contains 480 bricks as well as instructions to make 3 specific models. A great way to get kids started with the Plus-Plus product line
  • Lottie Dolls: (Schylling) Designed in Britain and winner of 10 toy awards, Lottie is a new, innovative fashion doll who stands for positive contemporary values. Her bright, vibrant clothes, silky hair, and creative accessories are tailored to reflect a young girl who is happy, brave, imaginative, and bright - the most positive role model possible. And she stands on her own two feet -- figuratively and literally. At 7", she's the easiest size for girls ages 3 - 9 to clasp, and thanks to bendable joints, she can stand and assume different poses.
  • Doodle Quest: (Blue Orange) Dive below the deep blue sea where there’s fish to gobble, treasure to discover and divers to save! You will complete each quest with the power of your pen, drawing your way through underwater scenes on the quest cards. But it’s not that easy! Players draw on separate transparent sheets and must trust their eyes in order to meet targets and avoid obstacles. This unique drawing game includes 36 illustrations and two levels to master. The bait of the challenge hooks kids for hours of fun! Ideal for 1 to 4 players. Expect to play each game for about 20 minutes
  • Create Your Own Storybook - (Creatively Ever After) This kit includes everything -- it only lacks a child's fantastic creativity. Blank sheets, with a border frame to draw in and lines to write on, are waiting to be filled. (The finished book will hold 12 pages, but 18 template sheets are given in case an elbow gets bumped or the storyline changes.) Create a separate sheet for every page; draw a picture on the cover sheet. Fill in the info sheet with the child's name, book title, and dedication. Place all the completed pages into the postage paid envelope and drop in the mail! Creatively Ever After will ship back the final product in 4 to 6 weeks.
  • Super Stadium Baseball Game: (International Playthings) Create a realistic ball park where you get to strike out your opponent with fast balls and curve balls. Throw a variety of breaking balls at different speeds. Your opponent won’t be able to predict the pitch you will throw! A unique magnetized infield creates ball movement when the pitches are thrown. There is a spring-loaded bat, counter for balls, strikes and outs. Hit singles, doubles, triples, foul balls and home runs! Choose to bat right or left-handed. Strategically position fielders
  • LoopDeLoom: (Ann Williams) Weaving just got faster and even more fun! Loopdeloom is the new sister of the popular Loopdedoo. Simply stated, it's an ingenious new loom design with spinning pegs to make weaving effortless. Say goodbye to traditional looms as LoopDeLoom puts a new spin on weaving. Make purses, cuff bracelets, headbands, cell phone and tablet cases, potholders and more. Move up to making clothing and decorator items like scarves, wraps, pillow covers and throws. Weave items any length, and up to 7”wide using one loom. It's a great gift for tweens and teens
  • Sew Cute Sets: (University Games) Get sewing with the My Studio Girl Sew-Your-Own Sew Cute Kits. Girls will love stitching up tiny, adorable animals and dolls with these easy to do kits. The 8-piece set includes easy-to-follow instructions, pre-cut felt pieces, stuffing, child-safe needle, and thread. The finished project will be approximately 6'' - 9'' tall
  • Illustrated Adventure Stories and Illustrated Fairy Tales: (Usborne)Take your pick -- end the day with a bedtime story that's as fascinating to look at as it is to read!
  • Paint Your Own Porcelain Bowls: (Mindware) This is one-of-a-kind art that's both fun and functional! Kids can paint and oven-bake their creations for a glossy, permanent finished product (non food-safe). The Porcelain Bowl Set includes 3 bowls (each 4 ½ inches in diameter), 12 colors of porcelain paint, a paint brush and illustrated instructions.
In all there are 10 toys,  all representing different brands, that were chosen for the Brilliance Award, and with price tags from $9.99 to $39.99 they are completely affordable. But one look at this list and it's easy to see that through the years childhood play hasn’t really changed as much as we might have thought. Kids still appreciate the low tech, the kinds of toys that filled our own childhood memories with fun and imagination; from finger puppets and dolls to engaging arts and crafts.

We welcomed a few of these award winners into our home recently and it was clear the direction we would go this holiday season. The first product my daughter got her hands on was a simple Sew Cute Girls sewing set that taught the basics of sewing, while you created a cute stuffed animal. 

Kids gifts

The sewing needle was safe and child friendly while preforming like a “real” needle and thread. The amazing part came from not only watching the joy my daughter got from being able to craft her own stuffed animal, but when she asked to revise her Christmas list, taking away some of the techy stuff to replace it with, in her words, “more kits to make more cute animals!" She proceeded to tell me, "That was so fun and I made it by myself". I love creative gifts and I love how much creativity shines in the 2014 Brilliance Awards top 10!

Buy It: This holiday season and beyond remember to utilize the Brilliance Awards top 10 list when looking for that special gift and visit for additional information and store locations!

Brilliant Toys #Giveaway

Win It: One lucky reader will win their choice of a Brilliance Award winning toy from Brilliant Sky Toys and Book listed above.