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.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Personalized Memories from Ornaments with Love

Everyone has their own holiday tradition and that is one thing I love about the holidays, sharing our traditions and hearing the traditions of others. One of our family traditions has always been picking a special ornament to the end of each year. If we had a big event, we try and find an ornament centered around that, if not we simply let everyone choose an ornament of their liking each year. This makes trimming the tree even more special each year reminiscing about why we choose a specific ornament or the event it stands for. And over the years we learned that only one thing could make these ornaments even more special. Personalization.

For the past 4 years we’ve chosen to go with personalized ornaments, not only for ourselves, but as gifts for other family members as a way to record memories of life's events and a thoughtful way to show how much we care. And at Ornaments with Love you’ll find more than 2000 personalized keepsakes, for any occasion with fast shipping and quality craftsmanship.

For us, this year’s big life event was of course the birth of my son, so this year’s ornament was an important one. A Baby’s First Christmas ornament that will hopefully be with us for a lifetime. There were so many cute choices at Ornaments with Love, from foot prints to snowmen and angels and dinosaurs, but as soon as I saw the 2014 Baby’s 1st Christmas Ornament (available in blue, pink and red) I knew it was perfect - I am a stickler for having the year on my ornaments as well.

Made of resin and measuring 3.5" x 4", personalization is painted by hand on the rim of baby’s Santa hat. We can’t wait to add it to our collection this Christmas!

 If you’re looking to remember that special family vacation you took this year, the purchasing of a new home an addition to the family or even just a favorite activity Ornaments with Love has you covered. They even have a great selection of gift ornaments for teachers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, nieces, nephews etc.

Visit to find that perfect ornament, at a reasonable price with fast shipping!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Benefiting Your Childs School Has Never Been Easier; Donate and Purchase at Schoola Today!

Raise money for your school, clean out your closets and score amazing deals on the labels your kids love. You can do all this at Schoola! 

Product(s) or a gift card were provided for review purpose. Any opinions expressed are my own and yours may differ. 
Launched in San Francisco in 2012, Schoola was founded by Stacey Boyd, who is a parent, former teacher and a principal, to create new opportunities for raising money for school programs that foster children’s creativity. She recognized that art, music, physical education, and foreign language are essential for kids; yet schools across the country are consistently experiencing funding cuts for these indispensable programs. Schoola provides a much needed solution— enabling parents to donate their children’s pre-loved clothes to the online store at and then 40% of each sale is donated to the school of their choice. Over 300 schools all across the U.S. have received the proceeds from these clothes and Schoola continues to develop innovative ways to raise funds for a continuously expanding network of schools.*

Schoola donate to your school today

By signing up at you can raise money for your school in a very simple matter. Donating clothes is as easy as requesting a bag. This bag is sent directly to you with a prepaid return label, which you can sit on your porch for the mailman to collect. These gentley used (or new with tags in some cases) pieces are then placed up for sale on and when purchased a portion of the proceeds go directly to YOUR school. 

Top and Skirt via Schoola
Schoola also offers affordable shopping with the reward of helping a school. I recently picked up a few pieces for my daughter and was thrilled with not just the pricing, but the quality. Everything was a good as new and items that have some wear etc. are clearly mark with any potential defects on the site. After our purchases were made we got confirmation of how much of our total cost was going to selected schools and we got to see the names and location of the schools we were able to help out, all while adding some fresh items to my daughters wardrobe.

We too will be giving back and collecting for our school, by in return sending in gentle worn items of my daughters in the pre-paid Schoola donation bag. Imagine if we all spread the word and got our communities involved with Schoola, what we could each do for our children’s schools! I know our school has made some major cuts over the years and lack a lot of necessities that are coming straight out of the teachers pocket now. Schoola provides a simple, stress free and fun way to help out. Cleaning out the closets, affordable shopping and benefiting education. How can you go wrong with Schoola?

Shop now and get additional details at Schoola!

*denotes information received from press release 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Innovative Feeding with the Nûby™ Nibbler and Infafeeder (Review)

I can’t believe we’ve reached the stage were my little guy has begun his journey with food. The time is really flying by now. First foods can be an adventure and a messy one at that! NUBY has some great feeding products to guide your little one in his or her new milestone and even keep things a little neater.

The Nûby™ Infafeeder™ is one of my favorite products. My son still struggles a bit with spoon feedings. He tries to push my hand to force the entire spoon into his mouth, bites on it, and get so excited he tends to smack the spoon sending food everywhere. With the NUBY SoftFlex™ Infafeeder™ I get a fully interchangeable solution with my bottles that can be used to introduce babies to their first foods.

Simply place puree baby food into the SoftFlex™ bottle, place soft silicone spoon top on and gently squeeze the right amount of food onto the spoon. The small opening allows purees to pass through easy without the possibility of it pouring out. This makes feeding time so much easier and my son not only prefers the SoftFlex™ feeder on his sensitive gums, but much less of a mess is made and cleanup is a breeze. I really appreciate the fact that the bottle breaks down into 3 parts for a though cleaning. You just want to check before a feeding that the bottle has been correctly put back together.

The Nûby™ Infafeeder™ is available for the SRP of $9.99 at the following retailers:

For the more advance feeder NUBY also has the Nûby™ Nibbler™, which is a great way to introduce soft solids when your child is ready. We haven’t reached this point, but I have used the Nûby™ Nibbler™, before and it’s a wonderful invention, allowing your child to enjoy whole foods and build chewing skills without the choking risk. 

Featuring a net type top, only small pieces of food and lots of flavor is let through. And with the "Squeeze and Twist" Locking System, your child can safely use without risk of opening, while still being as easy as 1-2-3 for parents to place food inside! Complete with cap for traveling, the nibbler is sure to be a favorite of both yours and your child’s.

Nûby™ recommends the follow foods (as age appropriate) for use with the Nûby™ Nibbler: frozen fruits, fresh fruits, ice chips, veggies, and other similar foods.

The Nûby™ Nibbler™ is available for the SRP of $4.99 at the following retailers: 

  • Bealls
  • Dollar General
  • Baby Depot at Burlington
  •  Ross Dress for Less

"I am a Nuby Mommy Blogger. Product(s) received for review purpose. All opinions are my own and were in no way influenced; yours may differ."