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2016 Hess Toy Truck – A great holiday gift & tradition

 

Watching certain holiday movies and specials are one of many holiday traditions my family has.

Watching certain holiday movies and specials are one of many holiday traditions my family has.

Do you have any special holiday traditions?

We have several holiday traditions. Some are small, some are a bit more important. Some are even a bit silly. Take for exampled Malted Milk Balls. When I was younger and I didn’t have much money for gifts I used to buy my dad a box of Malted Milk Balls for Christmas as a gift. It was his favorite treat. Even as I got older and had money to buy actual gifts, my dad always appreciated a box of Malted Milk Balls. So every Christmas I would buy him a box.

Another holiday tradition we have is going on out Christmas Eve and check out all the holiday decorations. As we drive around the neighborhoods we’d give out “awards” for titles like “Most Beautiful,” “Most Creative,” “Tackiest,” and so forth. They were not real awards. It was just something that my family would come up with as we were driving around.

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Here is something you might want to consider if you have a child or grandchild – get them a new ornament every year for the holiday. My mom started that when I was a little girl. She’d gift me a personalized ornament every year (with the year on it) so that when I moved out and I had my own Christmas tree I had plenty of ornaments to decorate it with.

Mom started doing that for my kids. After she passed away my husband and I continued it (although not all of their are personalized or have the year on them). This year both of my kids got a personalized snowman that lights up and changes colors.

We also have a special key that we put on the outside of our condo door on Christmas Eve before we go to bed. Since we live in a condo and we don’t have a chimney, Santa needs some way of getting inside to deliver gifts. Even though our kids are teenagers (our daughter will be 20!), and haven’t believed in many years, we still hang the key outside the door on Christmas Eve. It’s a family tradition.

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Going back to my dad. He had a tradition he did with the grandchildren. It started with my nephew and eventually all the grandchildren were a part of it.

Each year my father would buy my nephew the Hess Toy Truck that came available around Thanksgiving. My nephew has a wonderful collection of Hess trucks. When my kids were born my dad did the same thing for them as well as my niece. It didn’t matter if they were boys or girls – all the kids enjoyed the Hess Toy Trucks. All the kid knew they would get one on Christmas morning.

When my dad passed away we didn’t want to let that tradition die with him, so my husband and I took over buying our kids a Hess Toy Truck for Christmas.

When our daughter got older she didn’t have a need for them anymore, but our son likes to collect them, so we would buy a new truck for him. It’s a way to honor the memory of my dad every holiday season.

Dad would have loved the 2016 Hess Toy Truck.

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This year the Hess Toy Truck features a Dragster. It’s sold exclusively at www.HessToyTruck.com for $31.99 with free standard shipping and five Energizer® batteries included.

Thank goodness that it come with batteries because as soon as you take it out of the box you’ll want to play with it.

The 2016 Truck features LED lights, a slide-out ramp, and 4 realistic sounds including a race starting countdown.  The dragster’s innovative weight-transfer design and pull-back friction motor enable launch  in either a flat or wheelie position. Together, the duo features green accents, sleek chrome styling, and more than 50 brilliant lights.

Here is a brief video that I took of the one we have. It’s not easy to press buttons and video at the same time. I think I missed a button.

 

The sounds are very realistic and the volume is pretty loud too (as you can tell from the video).

There are plenty of lights on both vehicles. On the truck you can choose from stationary lights or flashing lights.

Once again, Hess Toy Truck did not disappoint. This is an awesome truck that any child – or collector – will enjoy.

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If you would like to purchase the truck for your collection or as a gift, www.HessToyTruck.com. On the site you can also check out Hess Toy Trucks from previous years.

The brand is also found on social media. All of their links are found on the bottom right of their website.

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Kimberly

*I received a free sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Fun gift idea that doesn’t require batteries, television or WIFI

 

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As a parent, I have always looked for quality toys for our children. I also wanted to gift our children toys that would help develop their creativity and imagination.

Sadly, I think many toys available to today’s children don’t encourage a child to use their intellect and creativity. Many toys utilize technology, which is fine, but children need more than the latest application on their tablet or the “must have” robotic toy of the season.

Growing up I could spend hours in the woods behind our home making things with sticks and rocks. Wooden building blocks would facilitate hours of adventures with my Little People toys. And board games were the best thing next to sliced bread (back in the day of course).

When my children were little I tried not to fall victim to all the hype around certain toys. I knew what kind of toys my kids enjoyed and I carefully examined each toy before purchasing it to make sure that it was not only something fun, but also something that would bring hours of enjoyment to my children.

If you are looking for a fun and creative toy for your child or grandchild, you should check out GeoSmart.

GeoSmart offers a variety of “kits” that allow your child/grandchild to build a variety of object and structures.

GeoSmart doesn’t use batteries or need charging. It relies on imagination and magnets.

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I’m sure you have seen similar products on the market. GeoSmart sets it’s self apart from the competition because they take child’s safety seriously. GeoSmart has a double-lock safety system. Each magnet is encased twice to ensure that little fingers can’t get to it. GeoSmart set the bar high for safety in magnetic construction toys.

The magnets use a force that pulls and pushes, which is something that normally interests kids (Does this end fasten to that piece?).

Using GeoSmart pieces/kits help promote creative thinking, pattern recognition, eye-hand coordination, fine motor skills and decision making. They also use element from STEM basics – science, technology, engineering and math principle.

Even as an adult I find them fun and relaxing to play with.

GeoSmart’s ha a new line of magnetic construction sets. They would make great gifts for the holiday.

New kits include;

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You can check out the whole collection on Amazon. There are several kits available including the 100 piece education kit.

I was sent a kit to review. I received the GeoShere Kit.

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I was hoping my son took interest in it, but he didn’t (in all fairness he’s older than the target demographic). That’s OK. It’s designed for children ages 5+. Since I work with Kindergarten children, I plan on donating the GeoShere kit to the kid that I work with. I know they are going to LOVE it. They love to build (wooden block, plastic “bricks”…). They are going to really enjoy playing with the GeoShere kit. I can’t wait to see what the they come up with.

I will try and get photos of the things the kids make with the GeoShere kit. The only thing is that I can’t include the children in the photos (for obvious reasons – they are no my kids).

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I love this toy! I how it really gets kids to think and great creative. I also love that it doesn’t require batteries or having to wait a few hour while it charges.

The magnets are pretty strong (but not too strong where you can’t get them apart). The pieces are also very bright and colorful.

Depending on what kit you have, you can put the pieces in a zip loc bag and take it with you where ever you go. This can keep kids occupied while waiting at a doctor’s appointment, traveling to Grandma’s house or at a restaurant. The pieces “stick” to each other (through the magnets) which keep the pieces together too.

For more information about these great toys visit GeoSmartUSA.com. You can also check out the brand on social media (@GeoSmartUSA).  The website has a lot more information about the kits and you can even get building instructions.

PHOTO SOURCE: GeoSmart's Facebook page

PHOTO SOURCE: GeoSmart’s Facebook page

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Fun Stocking Stuffer Idea – Build Your Own Wind-Up Toy

 

Christmas Stocking With Gifts

I hate to have to say this… but Christmas is several weeks away. It’s time to start thinking about holiday gift ideas and stocking stuffers.

My kid are older now (sigh…). They don’t care about the latest and greatest “must have” toys of the seasons. Just last night our daughter was telling us what stores she wants gift cards too, and that she’d like new hubcaps for her car (she’s missing one). Our son wants gift cards to buy clothes and sneakers. I WISH they still wanted toys.

I do work with little children, and have plenty of younger nieces, nephews and family friends who have young children. Thankfully I still have a chance to pick up some fun toys for gifts.

I understand why kids these days want high-tech toys. That is just how kids are these days. I’m a bit more “old school” – I like toys that develop a child’s imagination and creativity. I would rather give a child a box full of clay, crayons, paper, paint and other arts and crafts supplies than a video game. That is just how I am. I’m sure the kids I gift those things too would rather have the video games, but I would rather a child learn to create their own fun.

When I was little I could play for hours with sticks, rocks and other things I found around our home and in the woods. I didn’t need a television, cellphone or iPad in order to have fun.

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If you are interested in gifting a child a gift that not only promotes creativity, but also sparks their imagination, I have an idea for you – Build Your Own Wind-Up Toys from Precision RBS™. These 3D-Motokits are part puzzle, part toy.

The Build Your Own Wind-Up Toys come in a variety toys including construction vehicles, dinosaurs, animals and military vehicles.

The four series of 3D-Motokits™ available are,

  • Dinosaur Series 1– let your kids build all their favorites like the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops and Brachiosaurus.
  • Animals Series 1– bring the zoo to life with pandas, tigers, elephants and gorillas.
  • Construction Series 1– the basics needed to get any construction job done including: backhoes, dumpers, forklifts and loaders.
  • Military Series 1– featuring classic military vehicles such as tanks, helicopters, jet fighters and fighter planes.

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Each kit comes with pieces that need to be popped out. Then, following the instructions, you need to assemble the pieces together to form the object.

Each kit also comes with the wind-up mechanism so that you can bring the object to life. There are no batteries required. You also don’t need glue – unless you plan making them a bit more sturdy.

I was sent some of the kits to review.

I’m not really good with tiny pieces, so I asked my teenage son if he could put them together for me. Sadly, he’s been too busy to help me out. So I had to ask my husband.

My husband tried two different kits. Even though they are made for children, he found them cumbersome to put together. When he tried to slide in one piece another piece would pop out. He actually got frustrated with the one he was working on (a construction vehicle) and gave up.

I figured I would give them a chance. I opened up the elephant kit. I too had a hard time putting it together. I found the instructions a bit confusing. Oddly enough there are a lot of pieces. When I offered to review them I didn’t expect that there would be so many tiny pieces.

Now, before you ASSUME the kits are too difficult – they were for us BUT they might not be for others. They are labeled for ages 6+, but I do feel like little ones will need parental assistance. This would actually be a great parent/child activity – you know, to bond and make memories with.

I have Carpal Tunnel, so doing things with tiny pieces is not that easy for me.

 

The small white thing at the bottom of the photo is the winding mechanism.

The small white thing at the bottom of the photo is the winding mechanism.

If you are able to follow directions and put together those fancy LEGO kits, then this should be no problem whatsoever.

These kits would be ideal for those snowy and cold winter days when you really can’t go out and play or a rainy day activity.

As a parent I appreciate toys like this. I like that its a bit challenging and teaches children how to follow instructions (there are no words – just photos). Plus I love that it will boost their confidence and self-esteem when they see the finished product, knowing that they made it themselves. Plus they look like a lot of fun too.

These kits are made by Super Impulse. I am a big fan of the brand. They make the World’s Smallest toys, which I love. I own several of them.

Look for these kits where ever toys are sold. You can also visit SuperImpluse.com for more information. You can also find the brand on social media. All of their links are found at the bottom of their website.

What do you think of these toys? Do they look like something your child/grandchild might like to do?

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Kimberly

*I received free samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

 

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What’s new with Kohl’s Cares

 

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If you are a regular reader of She Scribes you know that I absolutely LOVE the Kohl’s Cares program.

If you are unfamiliar with the program, Kohl’s Care is a special program set up by Kohl’s to raise money for children’s charities.

To date, the Kohl’s Cares program has raised nearly $300 million through it’s special merchandise program.

To reinforce the company’s commitment to children’s health, Kohl’s has donated financial support to hospitals across the country. The donations fund hospital outreach programs focused on children’s health initiatives and address the specific issues needed most in each hospital’s community. These tailored programs provide vital resources to families at no cost and include topics such as injury prevention, asthma awareness, dental care, and fitness.

I an honored to support a program that does so much for children in need.

Every few months Kohl’s Cares puts out books, plush animals and other fun merchandise for both children and adults. You can find the products on the Kohl’s website (search for Kohl’s Cares). You can also find the products near the checkout area.

Each Kohl’s Cares product sells for $5.00. What I love is that Kohl’s Cares usually puts out delightful children’s books (many of them classics) and matching plush animals. Each costs $5.00 (they are not sold in sets). For $10 you can have a wonderful hardcover book and a snugly soft plush to give to your child/grandchild or as a gift to another child. At the same time funds from your Kohl’s Care purchases is going to support children’s charities. It’s a win-win situation all around.

I have been an avid fan of the Kohl’s Cares program for years now. Some items I have purchased for me and/or my family. Some I have given as gifts. And often I have donated books, toys and plush to where I work.

Here are some of my personal favorites from over the years.

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I like to display the book/plush combo on one of our bookcases. I switch them up very few weeks.

Growing up I was an avid reader, and I loved plush animals. That love has carried into my adult years. That is why I enjoy displaying books/plush that were mine, or my kid’s, favorites.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is NOT a Kohl's Care product.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is NOT a Kohl’s Care product.

You can see some of the Kohl’s Cares products I have donated to where I worked too. Remember, Kohl’s Cares sells other products (not just books and plush). You’ll see one example, a puzzle, pictured below.

Books

The Disney books in the middle area are Kohl’s Cares books.

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Puzzle

Currently the Kohl’s Cares program is selling Clifford the Big Red Dog books and plush animals. I love Clifford! He was a favorite of mine when I was younger. My kids also enjoyed reading Clifford books and watching him on television.

Did you know that the late actor, John Ritter, was the voice of Clifford for a while? It’s such a shame that he had to die so young.

I LOVE the plush toys! They are not only adorable (and look just like the characters) but they are super soft and snugly. They are also a decent size (they are not little), making them idea for little hands to carry around.

Kohls Cares Clifford

What would be better than having a Clifford the Big Red Dog book read to you (Kohl’s Cares has four to choose from) all while cuddling a snugly friend at bedtime.

As I mentioned earlier, Kohl’s Cares sells other products as well. Currently available is this fun coloring set.

I received the coloring set to review. It contains a variety of books (coloring book, activity book, doodle book), stickers and crayons. I had taken pictures of it but I can’t seem to find them.

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All that for only $5.00 AND it helps children’s charities too.

There is also a super adorable Clifford the Big Red Dog backpack – idea for a child just starting school. I received one to review too and I can’t find those pictures either (all of the picture were together). I have since donated it to a local charity so I no longer have it to take photos of (I filled it with back to school supplies).

If you would like to learn more about the Kohl’s Cares products, or to find a Kohl’s location near you, visit Kohls.com. You can also find the brand on social media.

Now would be a great time to stock up for holiday gifts or upcoming children’s birthdays. You can’t beat a quality stuff animal and hardcover book combination for only $10 ($5 each). The books alone are more than half off what you would pay for them elsewhere (I found one of the book on Amazon for $13+).

Have you ever purchased a Kohl’s Cares product?

What do you think about the program? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

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Kimberly

*I received free product samples to review. Often I buy additional pieces to give as gifts or donate. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Extend summer memories year round with Playmobil’s NEW Water Park with Slides Playset (giveaway ends 8/12/16)

 

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Our son enjoying the wave pool at our local water park.

Summer only lasts for two months (give or take). That is very little time to squeeze in as much fun and memories as you possibly can.

Our kids are teenagers now. Our daughter is in college, works two part time jobs, has a serious boyfriend and spends a lot of time with her friends. We have not been able to do one fun thing with her this summer. She’s always too busy.

Our son is keeping busy these days too. Most afternoons he can be found working with our local handyman.

Gone are the days where we could all go to the beach together, amusement parks, the zoo, county fair and the water park. Thankfully we were able to make memories at these places when our kids were little.

They used to love our local water park. We had such a great time every time we went. It was only an hour away too, which was ideal. Plus my father and stepmother lived only 10 minutes away so it was great to stop by and visit with them too.

Water parks are a fun destination for many families. Sadly, it’s hard to enjoy a water park when you live in an area that gets bitter cold winters, such as the Northeast.

Water Park

Playmobil has a way to extend your water park memories with their new Water Park with Slides Playset.

Take a break from the summer heat with a visit to the Water Park with Slides. With two jumbo slides, one regular and one for tubing, kids can slip and slide their way down to the wave pool at the bottom. The octopus in the middle spins, creating fun ripples throughout the pool. When ready to take a ride down the slide, use the park’s pulley to pull the tube up to the top of the slide. Just be sure to wait until the pink octopus gives you a green smile for heading down the slide. Set includes two adult figure, one child figure, multi-level structure with slides, tube, life ring, and lots of other accessories. Dimensions: 21.7 x 15.7 x 15.7 in (LxWxH).

My husband was REALLY into Playmobil when he was younger. I had a few small sets, but nothing compared to my husband. He had a lot of them and he always talks of them fondly. He has so many great memories of playing with his Playmobil sets.

Even as an adult, whenever we visit Toys R Us you’ll always find him checking out what’s new in the Playmobil section. He’s just a big kid at heart.

Playmobil’s Water Park with Slides Playset has features found at many water parks including a slide, a pool, and a “half pipe” (I’m not sure what other people call it – at our water park it’s called a half pipe).

I received the set to review.

My husband couldn’t wait to put it together. He was like a “kid in a candy shop.” I let him put it together himself because I know he enjoys it (our son just rolled his eyes at me when I asked if he wanted to help).

It took about an hour to put together. It probably could have been done in a half hour but my husband kept getting distracted and one of our cats kept batting at the pieces on the table, dropping them on to the floor (then we’d have to crawl on the floor to find them all).

The set contains everything you need, including a raft, three people (two adults, one child) and a life preserver, just in case someone has a hard time swimming.

You can add water to the pool for extra fun.

This toy can be played with both inside and out. Just be careful not to spill the water when you are pouring it out.

The red octopus spins around which causes ripples in the pool (and more fun for the people).

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I like that they put so much detail into this set – right down to the sign that bans food and arm floaties from the slide and shows the people how they need to sit to use the slide.

This is a fun set that can be enjoyed long after the bathing suits have been packed away. I imagine playing with this set in the dead of winter will give kids (and parents) a little bit of summer fun on a cold winter day.

Look for this set where ever Playmobil toys are sold. The set retails for $59.99.

For more information visit Playmobil.us (notice it’s .US not .com – use .com if you want to pick a site for a different country other than the United States). You an also check the brand out on social media. All of their links are found on the right hand side of their website.

Playmobil would like to give a lucky reader this same set! Thank you Playmobil.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on August 12, 2016. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you would like to win this prize package – or – what is your favorite thing to do at a water park?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t quality.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I received a free product to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Attention all Doctor Who Fans!

 

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Photo Source: Underground Toys Facebook Page

Are you a fan of Doctor Who? I know A LOT of people who are.

I used to watch Doctor Who more when I was younger.

I’m showing my age a bit but I remember when Patrick Troughton played Doctor Who (I watched the series in repeats in the mid-70’s – he was Doctor Who in the late 60’s). I vaguely remember Tom Baker too.

There has been a dozen Doctor Who actors since the show began in the early 60’s.

As any avid Doctor Who fan knows, the Season 9 opener of Doctor Who marked entry into unfamiliar territory: It left the Twelfth Doctor sonic screwdriver-less after he lost the iconic tool to the creator of the Daleks, Davros. Much to fans’ delight, the season finale of that season finally rectified the situation.

Underground Toys is doing the same for Doctor Who fans, unveiling its officially licensed Twelfth Doctor Sonic Screwdriver toy replica.

12 Doctor Sonic Screwdriver Toy

Underground Toys’ newly redesigned sonic screwdriver toy is just like the Twelfth Doctor is now carrying, staying true to its exciting design features, with both blue and green light modes. Plus, it’s brighter and more complex than before. In addition, it features numerous settings, just like the real deal. It can open most locks, detect all manner of deadly rays, read bio-signs and generate sonic waves of great power. OK… I can’t REALLY detect deadly rays, read bio signs and generate sonic waves – that is more for the users imagination (if it could do those things that would be awesome!).

The toy sonic screwdriver does have the blue and green lights (static, pulse and chase modes) as well as four authentic sounds.

I was sent one to review.

It does take a little figuring out. There is only one “switch” that you mean back and forth depending on what you want the sonic screwdriver to do.

Sonic Screwdriver

I haven’t been able to get the lights to pulse or chase as of yet. I follow the directions but it’s not working for me. I can get it to change light color and make some zapping-like sounds. Maybe it’s just me. I tend to be “technologically challenged” at times.

I think this could work as both a toy for young Doctor Who fans or a collectible for die hard adults fans (it looks identical to the real thing).

It’s a nice size and made exceptionally well. It even came with batteries.

Look for Twelfth Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver from Underground Toys at many retail locations (both online and in stores). The suggested retail price is $18.00.

For more information about Underground Toys visit Underground-Toys.com. They carry a lot of other cool toys like Star Wars and Funko Pop.

The brand can also be found on social media. All of the links are found at the bottom of their website.

Are you a Doctor Who fan?

Underground Toys Logo

Kimberly

*I received a free product to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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