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PBS Kids and Whole Foods Market partner to roll out assortment of sustainable toys in time for holiday season

 

PBS KIDS WHOLE FOODS MARKET TOYS

 

The holiday season is a crazy time of year. We’re always on the look out for the “perfect” gift for those on our holiday shopping list. This is also the time of year that people like to support charities.

Imagine if you could find wonderful gifts for the special people in your life – like your child or grandchild – and help out a wonderful charity at the same time? Now, through a partnership between PBS KIDS and Whole Foods Market you can.

PBS KIDS and Whole Foods Market have teamed up this holiday season to offer Whole Foods Market shoppers wonderful toys from PBS KIDS including soft plush animals and classic wooden toys. They will be available at all Whole Foods Markets nationwide in the Whole Body department.

PBS KIDS’ new line of products is designed to inspire creative curiosity, while supporting the development of healthy, happy kids. One-hundred percent of PBS KIDS’ net proceeds will benefit the media brand’s mission of empowering children through knowledge, critical thinking and imagination, while Whole Foods Market will donate one percent of total sales, up to $25,000, to Whole Kids Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving children’s nutrition and wellness.

“We are excited to work with Whole Foods Market on a program that fosters our shared commitment to education and child development, while giving holiday shoppers an opportunity to give a more meaningful type of gift this holiday season,” said Lesli Rotenberg, general manager, children’s programming, PBS. “Open-ended play is an integral part of a young child’s development, and the new PBS KIDS toy line provides children with the opportunity to explore and learn in a safe and fun way.”

Panda Plush

The great things about the toys being offered is that they are made with safe, non-toxic inks and materials. Even the packaging is made from recycled materials. The plush animals are made with phthalate-free and PVC-free materials. The race cars are made from recycled milk bottles and all of the toys are made in the USA from sustainable materials, responsibly harvested from local communities.

“PBS KIDS is known for creating fun, educational content that encourages kids to learn by exploring the world around them,” said Jeanne Tamayo, Whole Foods Market’s global lifestyle buyer. “And that’s the exact goal behind this new line of toys — to help our shoppers find new, exciting ways to teach their children through play. Whole Foods Market is proud to offer these toys to families exclusively this holiday season.”

We don’t have a Whole Foods Market near where I live. For many years I have been hoping and wishing for a store to appear. Sigh… Hopefully one day we’ll FINALLY see a store in our area.

Whole Foods Market sent me one of the plush animals from the collection. They sent me a Panda. Oh my goodness! She is incredibly soft and plush. She’s also very realistic looking. She even comes with a baby Panda. I love it! The mama and baby Panda plush is sitting next to my desk on top of our love seat. Every now and then I’ll pick them up and give them a squeeze. They are so soft and snugly and exceptionally well made.

My plush Panda is pictured above.

Another one of the toys that they offer (I did NOT receive to review – I just love it) is a wooden truck/shape sorter toy. Not only does it look like a fun toy it also helps children identify shapes. It’s fun and educational.

Shape Sorter

In addition to finding the new line of PBS KIDS toys at Whole Foods Markets nationwide, consumers can purchase products online at shop.pbskids.com.

If you would like to learn more about PBS KIDS visit their website, PBSKIDS.org. You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook.

To find a Whole Foods Market near you please visit WholeFoodsMarket.com. You can also find them on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.

What do you think about the line of toys? Do you think you’ll stop by and pick up some gifts for those on your holiday shopping list?

PBS Kids

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Kimberly

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

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Super Race Set by Mega Bloks Hot Wheels Giveaway (ends 11/30/14)

 

Mega Bloks Hot Wheels

With the holiday season fast approaching there is no doubt that many little boys and girls are quickly filling up their holiday wish lists in hopes that Santa (or on Hanukkah) they receive some of the toys and games they really want.

I’m going to show my age here but when I was little I looked forward to the day the Sears Wish Book showed up in our home. That was the highlight of my year! I used to go through all the pages and “dog ear” the pages of stuff that I wanted, then write up a list (usually a very long list) of gift ideas that I wanted not only for myself but also “dream gifts” I’d like to get my family members. I was a little kid so I didn’t have money, but if I did I would purchase gifts for my whole family.

I went so far as to write down the page and item number so Santa knew specifically what I wanted. :-)

Sadly I rarely received anything off my lists. Maybe one item at best. It’s OK though. I always received nice gifts for the holidays.

I know many young boys – and girls – enjoy building toys. Cars are also a popular wish list item. Thanks to Mega Bloks and Hot Wheels your child (or grandchild) can have the best of both worlds in one set.

Introducing the Super Race Set by Mega Bloks and Hot Wheels.

This awesome set allows you to build up to eight mini cars with a variety of assorted pieces. You can mix and match to create your own customize car then take them apart and rebuild them a totally different way. There are infinite possibilities.

Check out this brief video that shows you some of the ways you can build these mini cars.

 

How cool!

The set comes with instructions to build eight race cars but you are free to get as creative as you want with them.

The set also combines with all Mega Bloks Hot Wheels sets for endless stunts and races.

Hot Wheels Rebuild

This set is ideal for children ages 5 and up – or “big” kids (aka – adults).

I tried to put together one of the cars (the one pictured above) but its still a work in progress. My fingers are not as nimble as I’d like them to be and I have a hard time (compliments of my Carpal Tunnel) working with little pieces. I’ve asked my husband and son to help me but they have yet to get around to it… so… I’ve taken it upon myself to get it done. Once I finally build it I’ll post he photo here.

If you would like to learn more please visit the Mega Bloks Hot Wheels™ Official Site or go directly to the Super Race Set 8-in-1 Product Page. In addition you can also follow Mega Bloks on Twitter and Facebook.

Mega Bloks Super Race Set

One lucky winner will win the Mega Bloks Hot Wheels™ Super Race Set 8-in-1. This would make a great gift for the upcoming holiday season.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on November 30, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail 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’d like to win this prize?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries wont’ qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I received a free set in exchange for my participation. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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The Blobbits are here!

 

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The Blobbits are here! The Blobbits are here!

What in the world are Blobbits?

That is a great question. Blobbits look like they are not “of” this world. In fact, they look like blob-like aliens.

According to the makers of Blobbits…

Blobbits are intergalactic stretchable, glow-in-the-dark, moldable, silicone-based compound that is ideal for kids who thrive on being hands-on with their creativity and imagination.

Blobbits are non-toxic, heat-resistant, and non-allergic. Each Blobbits comes with its very own stackable reusable Blobbits container so it won’t dry out and never leave a mess. It is ideal for kids of all ages.

Blobbits remind me of Silly Putty in a way. You can stretch them out, roll them up and create whatever shape you’d like with them. You can then add eyes, arms and other pieces to create your one of a kind alien monster. You best appreciate your creation quickly because Blobbits don’t keep their shape for long. After a few minutes your Blobbit creation will “melt” and all you have left is a puddle of “goo” and the eyes and accessories.

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I received some Blobbits to review with my family. My kids are older then the demographics, however as an adult I actually had fun creating with Blobbits. I find molding the clay-like material to be very relaxing. It’s like a “stress ball” in a way.

These also glow in the dark which is a really cool feature. It adds to their alien/monster like appearance.

It’s fun to give the Blobbit creation it’s own personality. If you purchase more than one set you can mix and match and create a different alien being each time.

Blobbits are great for traveling too. Each comes in it’s own plastic case. They are small in size and very portable. The material stays together so you don’t have to worry about little pieces getting all over the place like what happens when your child plays with another popular brand of “doh”.

These would make for great stocking stuffers and “Secret Santa” gifts. You can also give a set to an adult to keep on their desk at work (great for those “down times”).

Blobbits

Blobbits are not available in stores and can be purchased at http://www.Blobbits.com or by calling 1-800-372-6040.

Each complete Blobbits Creation Kit comes with enough Blobbits to make two monsters and cost $9.99 plus $6.99 processing and handling.

You can also check out Blobbits on Social Media.

What do you think about Blobbits? Do they look like something your child, grandchild (or even yourself) would enjoy? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Check out the Blobbits commercial (below).

 

Kimberly

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

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SchoolZone’s Little Scholar Tablet Review & Giveaway (ends 11/16/14)

 

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As a parent my children’s education is a priority to me. I want them to do well in school in hopes that they do well in college or wherever they go after they graduate. Education is important when it comes to having a successful life.

When my kids were little I always tried to sneak in a bit of education as often as possible. I always looked for educational toys and books that taught them things but without coming off as being strictly educational.

Let’s face it – educational things can often be boring for kids. However if it’s something fun to do kids don’t even realize that they are learning.

I like that there are a lot of fun educational toys on the market these days. It’s no wonder that so many little ones are so bright. I work with little kids and I’m often very impressed with how much they know.

Sadly many of the games the kids play on their tablets are not exactly educational. Some are even very violent and senseless. I understand that the kids think they are fun, but they are not exactly the types of thing we want the kids to play with.

I was sent to review a SchoolZone Little Scholar Tablet. I didn’t want to review it for my kids, since they are teens, but rather for the little ones I work with. Since it’s made by SchoolZone I knew it had to have an educational aspect to it.

Little-Scholar

If you are not familiar with the Little Scholar tablet here is some more information.

Little Scholar tablet from SchoolZone (leading educational kids publisher) is jam packed with 150 educational apps(including videos, songs and e-books), valued at nearly $400 worth of FREE content.  Little Scholar provides its users with lessons based on all of the “core curriculum” subjects for preschoolers, kindergartners, and first graders, including math, reading, spelling, logic, creativity, and geography.  Parents can even use an App management tool to choose the apps, music, and e-books that are active on Little Scholar, so they can tailor the content to fit the learning needs of their children. Little Scholar was made for kids 3-7 and features an 8-inch screen and runs a Google Android™ 4.2.2 operating system.

The Little Scholar tablet was made especially for children. It has a touch screen display and is covered with a soft, rubber-like coating that protects it against bumps and falls.

Little Scholar is safe for our child (or grandchild) to use. You don’ have to worry about a child downloading anything or making additional app purchases. I’ve heard horror stories about kids racking up hundreds of dollars on smartphone apps because the make in app purchases (unbeknown to their parents). That can’t happen with Little Scholar. It’s perfectly safe to use.

You also don’t have to worry about annoying popup ads. There are no ads on Little Scholar.

The tablet is divided into different sections – Pre-K, K and 1st grade. Within each section are fun, educational games and other interactive things your child can choose from.

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One of the many games – Memory Match

Memory Match Game

Some of the games are a bit challenging – even for me! LOL!

 

I’m an adult and many times I find myself playing with the tablet at work during “down time”. One of my favorite things to play is puzzles. Little Scholar has a puzzle section where you move the puzzle pieces with your finger and place them on the correct location. There is a timer and I always try to out beat my previous time.

I also like the coloring app. I find coloring to be very relaxing. We do have coloring books and crayons at work, but sometimes playing around with the app is all I need.

Some games are a little harder then they seem, such as the matching games. I play those as well and sometimes it takes me several times to get the missing piece. :-)

One of the pre-loaded things on this tablet are videos from Charlie & Company. It reminds me of the beloved children’s series Blues Clues in a way. There are plenty of fun songs, learning, animated critters and a dog name Charlie. Charlie is an adorable yellow Labrador retriever. The video series is colorful and the tunes are catchy.

By far one of my favorite features about the Little Scholar Tablet are the pre-loaded e-books. They are available at different reading levels on the tablet so your child can advance to higher level readers as their reading skills improve.

Each e-book is just like reading an actual book in print. Each one has adorable and colorful drawings to accompany each page of the story. Even beginning readers will have plenty of fun e-books to read. Off hand I don’t recall how many there are all together but it’s at least a few dozen.

There is even a camera on the Little Scholar.

If my kids were little I would get one of these for them in a heartbeat. I know they would have a good time just like the kids I work with. It’s the perfect tablet for children.

If you would like to learn more please visit www.SchoolZone.com/Little-Scholar-Tablet. You can also find the brand, School Zone, on social media. All links are found on their website.

You can purchase the table at Toys R Us.

Tablet

School Zone has generously offered to give a lucky reader their own Little Scholar Tablet. Thank you School Zone!

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on November 16, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail 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’d like to win this prize?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries wont’ qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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Create a new family tradition with The Good Deed Manger (giveaway ends 11/22/14)

 

Ornament

The holiday season is upon us. Many people have already begun to make plans to visit family and friends, decided on who is hosting family gatherings and asking their children what they want Santa to bring them Christmas morning.

Sadly I think the holiday season has got way too “commercial”. I think a lot of people will agree with me. I mean seriously, our local grocery store had Christmas candy and decorations on the SAME shelves as the Halloween candy. How awful is that? Not only that, what happened to Thanksgiving? Sigh…

I think the real reason behind the holiday has become “lost” behind power shopping at the mall and waiting online for hours for the “must have” toy of the season. Sadly, your child won’t really remember that toy that you searched all over town for and waited on a long line to purchase. What they will remember is the quality time and great memories you made together as a family.

I honestly can’t remember any of the toys I received for Christmas except one. It was a Ballerina Barbie I received when I was about 9 or 10 years old. The only reason why I remember it was because my mom was in the hospital that Christmas. I was not allowed to visit her in the hospital (she was in intensive care) but she did call me on the phone on Christmas Eve to wish me a Merry Christmas. She let me unwrap one toy while I was on the phone with her. It was that Barbie doll. That is why I can remember that specific toy.

When I think about Christmases from my past I can only remember the things my family did together that was special, like how my great-grandparents would come over Christmas morning for a big breakfast and how excited I was when my father would retrieve our giant light up Santa and Frosty from the attic, which means it was time to decorate. I also remember how we did the “Elf on a Shelf” thing long before it became popular like it is today.

Our now almost 18 year old daughter with Frosty at her great-grandparent's house.

Our now almost 18 year old daughter with Frosty at her great-grandparent’s house.

I place a lot of sentimental value on certain items in my possession. My family now owns the giant light up Santa and Frosty, which we display every year (even though Frosty has seen better days). I also have my Elf from when I was a young girl and many ornaments and holiday décor that belonged to my parents. I cherish these items.

I have the manager that belonged to my mom and dad too. It’s very old. The bottom of some of the figures have prices on them such as .30 cents and .50 cents. They are VERY old pieces that were imported from Italy. They are all in great shape, even for being about 60+ years old.

We also have my mother in law’s manager that we also display. It’s not as old as mine but it has sentimental value to my husband.

Jesus is the reason for the season so it’s very important for us to celebrate his birth with a nativity, along wit more traditional holiday décor. It’s a reminder of what the holiday season is all about. It’s not so much about getting gifts as it is giving to others and good will towards others. It’s a reminder that we need to think of others and be kind and giving whenever possible

There is a wonderful new product available that will help families teach their children about the real reason for the season and how it’s not all about getting gifts. It’s called The Good Deed Manger.

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The Good Deed Manger is a book and plush toy set. It comes with a book, a plush donkey, a manger, “hay” and a cute baby Jesus.

The beautifully illustrated book is about a donkey named Jordan. Jordan lives in Bethlehem. He comes across the pregnant Mary and Joseph and invites them to stay in the stable with him and his animal friends.

Jordan doesn’t want the baby to come into the world with no place cozy and comfy to sleep so Jordan and his friends gather up all the hay they can find to make a comfortable bed for the newborn baby. When Jesus is born the manger is full of hay. Jordan’s selfless act of  kindness does not go unnoticed. Baby Jesus is so happy that Jordan and friends were kind to him and repay their kindness with a smile.

The purpose of the book is to teach children about doing for others during the holiday season and not focus on the toys and tech items they want Santa to bring them from their wish list.

To teach and encourage children to do good for others, The Good Deed Manger set comes with an empty manger with felt “hay” strands. Baby Jesus can not arrive into this world on Christmas day to an empty manger. In order to add hay to the manger to make it comfortable a child needs to do a good deed. For each good deed a child does they are given a piece of “hay” to place in the manger. The idea behind this is to encourage children to do many good deeds before Christmas day so that the manger is filled with “hay”. Then on Christmas morning before your child awakes place the plush baby Jesus into the manger so your child can see they created a comfortable place for baby Jesus.

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Although this is geared towards younger children I personally feel that the entire family can take part in this. It’s a beautiful activity for the whole family. Not only does it remind us to do good for others, but it also means that others are benefiting from the good deeds your family does.

Good deeds don’t have to be huge. They can be simple things like shoveling the walkway for an elderly neighbor, or donating a toy to a children’s charity. Even doing a siblings chores for them without being asked could be considered a good deed. All deeds would qualify for a piece of “hay” – big or small.

I LOVE this idea. It’s a wonderful idea that can become a family tradition. It’s also a great way for families to work together and create wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.

The book is beautifully illustrated. I LOVE the donkey and baby Jesus. They are very well made. I can see the donkey quickly becoming a family favorite (baby Jesus shouldn’t make his appearance until Christmas morning). They is made out of thick felt so the set can be reused over and over again for many years to come.

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The Good Deed Manger can be purchased as a complete set for $39.99. You can also purchase  book, mange and donkey separately.

For more information or to make a purchase visit www.TheGoodDeedManger.com. You can also connect with The Good Deed Manger on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

One lucky reader will win the complete The Good Deed Manger set (book, donkey and manger) compliments of the wonderful people from The Good Deeds Manager.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on November 22, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen a random using a random number generator. 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 want to win The Good Deed Manger?

For extra entries you can the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the extra entries won’t qualify. I do check.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

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

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Baby’s First Christmas Events at Babies “R” Us

 

Our daughter's first Christmas

Our daughter’s first Christmas

Can you believe that Christmas is just a couple of months away? Wasn’t is just summer yesterday? It sure seems like it.

My kids are teenagers now and oddly enough they are not really asking for much for Christmas. I’m rather surprised by that.

I would love to take the family to New York City prior to Christmas to see the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, have dinner and check out the tree at Rockefeller Center one night in lieu of spending a small fortune on gifts. Too bad the Christmas Spectacular is more than we can afford. It would have been a fun idea to spend the holiday together as a family doing fun things. Our daughter will be in college this time next year and our son not too far after that. Our time with the kids is dwindling away.

It makes me laugh when I think about their “wish lists” from a couple of years ago. They were a mile long! Back then I wished they were still babies when they didn’t have wish lists and we could get them whatever fun toys we wanted to get them.

A baby’s first Christmas is a special time. It’s just one of many “firsts” you’ll get to experience with your baby or grandchild.

It’s not always easy to figure out what gifts to get for a baby’s first Christmas. You want to get the baby something fun and entertaining but at the same time you don’t want to get too many toys because at that age they don’t need a lot.

Our son's first Christmas along with our daughter.

Our son’s first Christmas along with our daughter.

If you are going to be shopping for a baby’s first Christmas this year please join Babies “R” Us at one of their Baby’s First Christmas events happening at stores nationwide throughout November.

On select Saturdays in November from 10-11am, new parents are encouraged to visit their local Babies“R”Us to celebrate their baby’s first Christmas, where they can meet and greet with other moms and dads whose little ones are the same age as well as take part of memorable activities, including storytime, adorable photo opps and a make-and-take craft to name a few. During the one-hour events, Parents can also enter in a raffle to win exciting prizes and receive exclusive holiday deals. The celebrations are geared toward babies of all stages in their first year, and below is a birthday outline to help parents plan:

(11/8 – 10am): Dec 2013/Jan/Feb/Mar 2014 Babies

(11/15- 10am ): Apr/May/Jun/Jul 2014 Babies

(11/22- 10am): Aug/Sep/Oct/Nov 2014 Babies

I wish they had events like this when our daughter was a baby. It would have been fun to meet other parents with a baby her same age. Plus who doesn’t want to win prizes?

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In addition to the in-store events Babies “R” Us is also hosting two Twitter chats where they will be sharing great tips about buying presents for Baby’s First Christmas as well as ways to celebrate this important milestone. The hashtag is #BRUChristmas and Babies “R” Us on Twitter is @BabiesRUs.

The Twitter Party will be on November 11, 2014 at 9:00 PM (EST). The Event hashtag is #FirstHoliday

For more information about the in store events please visit www.Babiesrus.com/FirstChristmas.

Tell me about your baby or grand baby’s first Christmas? Is there a special memory you have from that day? What was your favorite gift the baby received? Feel free to share your thoughts.

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Kimberly

*I have partnered with Babies R Us to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

 

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