Thursday, December 1, 2011

Spin Your FyrFlyz!

I received some light-up toys called FyrFlyz from the company and MomSelect to try out. Thanksgiving night was perfect weather here in Minnesota (for a change) so that all the kids were able to be outside most of the day. When darkness fell, we pulled out the FyrFlyz, got them out of the packages, turned them on and turned the kids loose.

Within a few short minutes it was clear my son was a natural.

His cousin managed some cool circles though, which was better than I could do!

My oldest daughter seemed to have inherited my abilities, though the x's were kind of cool too!
The other kids tried to make designs with varying success, but they all had fun trying the FyrFlyz out. At less than $10 each, these are an affordable toy that will allow kids to be creative and keep them constructively busy after dark. I can see these being really fun in the summer time when we're at the lake and the kids are up late outside anyway! I think we'll be bringing them on vacation this summer.

Another plus? They don't take up much room. That in itself is sometimes the best thing about a new toy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Zhu Zhu Babies Party and Review

I was lucky enough to be one of the moms selected by Momselect to host a Zhu Zhu Babies in-home party and received a nursery play set, 2 sets of 2 outfits, 8 deluxe baby play sets (that included a Zhu baby, a stroller, blanket, hat and toys).

We invited 5 friends to come and play along with my three kids. Only 2 of the kids showed up to the party, but the kids still played, ate all of my snacks and made a mess of the living room!
The girls liked dressing the babies in the little hats and outfits the best. I was a little disappointed that we didn't have enough of the outfits for each of the kids to dress their baby at the same time. There was some fighting over the outfits we did have.

One of the girls was confused why the strollers didn't fit in the Zhu Zhu tunnels. (I'd set up a few of our other Zhu play sets so there was a little more to play with than just the nursery.) So, it would have been nice if the strollers worked with other sets. Though her confusion was probably my fault since I didn't test it before the party.

The nursery was cute and my 8-year-old set it up just before the party, by herself. She knew exactly how to operate the mechanisms that rocked the baby beds and the swing.
My oldest (the 8-year-old) wanted to take the nursery and her brother and sister's babies into her room that night so she could babysit.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dragon Universe by Mega Bloks

We planned our Dragon Universe party about 2 weeks in advance and as luck would have it, Mother Nature would decide that the unseasonably warm weather in Minnesota should grind to a halt the day we planned the party. As a result we had a much smaller turnout for the party than we expected, but it also turned out the kids got twice the men and dragons they would have if the party had been full. The 5 kids present loved the development of getting twice the bounty!

I was a slacker and didn't look at the hostess gift until the night before. 200+ pieces and I realized that the hostess gift wouldn't be built for the party. I displayed it in the box, along with the door prize gift. (The next day after the party the winner of the door prize and my kids had both built the dragon air ships. It took a while but it was really fun for my kids and I!)
We colored space universes on cardboard and opened our dragons or Alliance members. The kids helped one another build the toys if they couldn't do it on their own...or they asked my husband or I to help.

They gathered around the computer to see the games on CD, grazed on veggies and dip and spent a whole lot of time imagining and playing with the men, the speeders and the flying dinosaurs. I'm not sure who they decided was bad or good, but I know they all had a good time.

My own two big kids spent at least the next three days playing Dragon Universe. For kids who have 462,468 toys, this is a long time of engagement.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Webkinz Jr. Catering to the Younger Fans

I was given the opportunity to host a Webkinz Jr. party for my kids and 7 of their friends. To help with my party Webkinz and MomSelect sent me a party package complete with Webkinz Jr. friends, coloring books, music CDs, trial codes and supplies for a couple of crafts the kids could do at the party.

Tonight was the night for the party. My kids have been excited for this for weeks since we received the box of goodies! Webkinz Jr. is aimed at 3-6 year-olds, but I can't host a party like this without including all of my kids so my 8-year-old and my 2-year-old each received a party bag as well as my 6-year-old. We invited 7 friends and had 5 friends able to attend. We ended up with (including my kids) 2 8-year-olds, 2 6-year-olds, 1 5-year-old, 1 3-year-old and 1 2-year-old.
We started out making puppets and bracelets courtesy of the supplies sent in the party pack. The crafts took up about an hour of our 1 1/2 hour-long party.
After we finished the crafts, the kids had some snacks (they also ate during the creative process) then I brought out their new Webkinz friends. One of the boys couldn't believe that I was giving him a present like that and it wasn't even his birthday!
All the Webkinz Jr. friends we received are very cute, very soft, and the kids all thought they were great too. We had kitties, puppies, giraffes, elephants and mice. The online world offers several learning experiences for the kids that are fun too!
The kids were excited to head home and check out their new friends online as well. One of the things I've always liked about Webkinz is that there is a physical toy that the kids get attached to along with the virtual world.
I deem the party a success. Eight happy and excited kids!

I have a few free 15-day trial codes available if you'd like one for your 3-6 year old to try it out. Send me an e-mail if you're interested cool_zebras at hotmail dot com.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fisher Price TRIO Building Set Review and Giveaway

Disclosure: I received this product for free in exchange for this review.

When the Fisher Price TRIO Building Set arrived, I unpacked it and set it on our kitchen counter to wait for my big kids to get home from school. K-Man (my 5-year-old) noticed it immediately.

Did you get this for me Mom? Thank you!

Unfortunately we didn't have time to open it for a few days--torture for the poor boy. Can we open it NOW Mommy? (In hindsight, I shouldn't have shown it to him until he was able to play with it--my bad.)

The day he was finally able to open it and play with it he was almost shaking with excitement. K-Man loves to tinker and build and create; he gets that from his Boppa. He took the toy up to his bedroom to play out of the baby's reach and safe from her destruction.

I admit when the package arrived and I saw that the age recommendation was 3-5 years I was a little worried the toy would be too simple for K since he's on the oldest end of the range, but he was playing happily and quietly in his room for a good 20 minutes before I ventured upstairs to see how he was doing.

The video is dark and my son's room is a mess, but I think it's clear that he likes the new toy.

What I like about it is that it came with a storage tub with a lid that he could use to build his creations on. The pieces seem sturdy enough that even K will probably not be able to break them.

Would you like to win a set for your little builder? Leave a comment on this post and tell me who you would want to win this set for. You can earn another entry (leave another comment with the link) if you tweet about this giveaway! I'll choose a winner on Monday September 28th.

Can't wait to try the TRIO Building Set? Get a $5 off coupon here, but hurry! This coupon expires Oct 1.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lance Sandwich Crackers

This is a compensated review from BlogHer and Lance Snacks

I discovered this year that Miss M (my 7-year-old) is supposed to bring a healthy snack with her to school each day. This is new this year, because previously she ate lunch one hour earlier in the day. I have to admit that I panicked a little at the thought. These snacks that I’m sending…the teacher will see and be able to judge whether I adhered to the healthy rule or not. I admit to seeing the healthy line a little blurry. I could see in my mind’s eye the Cheetos Snack Crackers I’d bought, sitting in the pantry waiting for the lunch that they will eventually become a part of. Are those healthy snacks? I mean it’s crackers and some (granted, Cheetos) cheese spread, but probably not the healthiest choice nonetheless.

When the sandwich crackers I’d forgotten I’d said I would review arrived I was hopeful. Here may be another solution to my healthy snack dilemma. You see, I was sent sandwich crackers from Lance, Inc. (and BlogHer). But these are no ordinary sandwich crackers. The crackers are whole grain! As someone who shops for and tries to buy only whole grain bread, buns and pasta this was exciting news. (I know, I need to get out more.) They come in three varieties, all of which my family was able to try: Real Peanut Butter on Whole Grain, Real Cheddar Cheese on Whole Grain and Real Sharp Cheddar on Whole Grain.

The sandwich crackers arrived on a Friday, so I wasn’t able to send them to school with Miss M for her snack that day, but I did bring them in the car with me when I went to pick her and the K-Man (my 5-year-old) up from school. I figured they’d make a great after school snack too.

Miss M didn’t take long to voice her opinion of the Real Sharp Cheddar variety. “Mmmmm! These are yummy Mommy!” I didn’t even have to ask what she thought of them, and she declared them yummy upon the very first bite. I’d given K-Man the Real Peanut Butter variety and while I did have to ask him what he thought of them his answer was equally positive.

That Saturday when the kids asked for their snack I handed them each the Real Cheddar Cheese variety and heard “Yay!” in response. “I love these!” Miss M exclaimed. Lest you think I am padding this review, I can assure you I am not. This all happened exactly as I describe. So I thought I should test out at least one of these crackers myself to see what the fuss was about. You know what? They are pretty tasty.

You can bet they'll be going to school with the kids for their snack times!

What sorts of snacks to you send to school with your kids?

Check out the rest of the BlogHer Reviews.

Learn more at Lance's official site.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sun Laundry Detergent Review and Giveaway!

It worked out conveniently for me that prior to vacation I was sent not one, but two laundry products to try. If you've been on a vacation at least one week long, especially if you have kids, you'll know that you return home to laundry, laundry, laundry. We're closing in on being home 1 week and I've probably done 8 loads of laundry. My husband (yes, he does laundry and I even try to discourage the habit. I know! I'm crazy!) probably has done 3 loads.

So this time I tried out Sun detergent. In the interest of full disclosure, I've tried it before. I bought a bottle at the Dollar Tree last year before vacation in case we needed to do some laundry. To be honest, I didn't take much note of the product at the time, which in my eyes means it worked A-OK.

I was sent the scent (ha ha! Man I am so juvenile) I requested, "clean and fresh" and it does, indeed, smell clean and fresh. I guess. I tend to buy the detergents that are dye and perfume free, but this scent didn't offend me at all. I do admit I was a little surprised at the scent when I opened the bottle and later opened the washing machine. I'm not used to smelling anything!

As far as the cleaning went? Well, I didn't notice any real difference than our usual detergent so that seems like a plus to me. I'm one of those people that will look at you and faintly register that you look different, then the next person will come along and exclaim "Oh your new haircut/ plastic surgery/shirt is so awesome!" and then I'll look at you again and say "Yeah! Totally what she said!" It doesn't mean you don't look awesome, because you do. And by the way, is that a new shirt? Because you look so hot in it. And your hair is kicking it today.

Tangent. Sorry about that. This seems to be the new wave of reviews from here. I have limited brain power and limited time.

That's not to say that you don't look fabulous, because you do.

Because you look so great I'd like to give you something.

I have 3 coupon packs.

They will be comprised of most, if not all, of these coupons.

1 free bottle of Sun Burst liquid laundry detergent
$3 off Windex Outdoor All-in-One Glass Cleaning tool starter kit
$1 off Pledge Fabric Sweeper for Pet Hair or $1 off any Pledge furniture care product
$2 off Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby sunscreen product

To get a pack, leave me a comment. Okay so not just a comment. Tell me about your favorite book. If you can, tell me what to do with my hair because it is not at all pretty.

To gain another entry, tweet about this giveaway. Come back here and leave another comment with the link to your tweet for it to qualify.