Here, Fishy, Fishy!

Disclosure: I received a sample from Thanks Mama  in exchange for a review. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own.

Remember last week when I told you that Evan’s nighttime potty training was helped by a gift? Well, time to introduce you to the newest, most loved toy in our house. The “Here, Fishy, Fishy!” game from HABA (which you can pick up at Thanks Mama) was used to help motivate him to have a dry morning bed. It worked!

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The HABA My Very First Games series helps teach kids basic rules and strategies while having fun. In the “Here, Fishy, Fishy!” game, players (anywhere from 1-4) roll a dice then have to fish for the color of fish that is on the rolled dice. They recommend it for ages 2 and up.

Let’s revisit the number of players. One player can play on their own. Evan has opted to let us all know that this is HIS game and that he’ll be enjoying it as a one player. So much so that before I left on my business trip, he wouldn’t even tell me where he hid it for his own playing so I could take a photo. (And with the time change, I’ve forgotten to ask Greg to help a Mama out, perhaps I’ll update later with a photo!) So, you have to take my word for it and use the Thanks Mama stock photo to see what’s got him so captivated.

Source: Thanks Mama

(That’s probably what Evan looks like playing it, I’d like to hope. He’s definitely not that organized with it, I’ll tell you that much!)

The good thing, even if disorganized, he plays by the rules. Blue die roll = blue fish. We’ll get there, and hopefully he’ll be ready to play a good round of Here, Fishy, Fishy! with me on Saturday.

Product Info: 

This fish-catching game from HABA has wood figures made from beech wood.  Not only is this game fun, but it also makes a great introduction to rule-based games.  To play, each child takes turns rolling a die.  Then the player fishes for the sea creature that is the same color showing on the die.  If the child successfully catches the fish, the child gets a toy related to the sea creature caught.  The first player to collect all five toys is the winner.

Want your own goodies from Thanks Mama? Use Coupon Code “5off” for $5 off $50!

About Thanks Mama: 

Thanksmama.com is family owned and operated natural baby store. They offer a great selection of cloth diapering products, potty training pants, swim diapers, natural baby care products, baby carriers, bibs, toys, nursery furniture and bedding, strollers and much more. They look for innovative products that are good for the baby and the environment and they never forget that most families are on a budget. That’s why Thanks Mama offers the Lowest Prices, Free Shipping on orders over $60 within USA, 90 days easy returns; Buy Safe Guarantee and Price Guarantee. Thanks Mama does ship worldwide!

Thanksmama.com is dedicated to bringing the best cloth diapers, training pants and swim diapers on the market at the best value.  They have many cloth diaper packages that have volume discounts built in, many come with complementary products and make shopping for cloth diapers in bulk easy. Cloth diapers for parents that are new to cloth are also available; they are great for trying different types and brands of cloth diapers. Thanks Mama has knowledgeable customer service that would be happy to help with any questions or concerns.

Follow Thanks Mama on FacebookTwitterBlogPinterest or Google +. They host weekly Giveaways, Contests, Sweepstakes, Twitter Parties, talk about modern family fun and challenges, natural parenting, and green living.

KISS® Rock Stage Big Rig Building Set

Disclosure: At no cost to me, K’NEX sent me its KISS® Rock Stage Big Rig Building Set through its Toys “R” Us® Mom Blogger Promotion, and they are hoping that I might like it and write about it. All opinions are 100% my own.

I’ve already told you about one fun toy fron K’NEX, and if you’re a music fan, there’s another set to tell you about. The KISS® Rock Stage Big Rig Building Set from K’NEX can only be found at Toys “R” Us® and comes complete with the band and trailer that converts to a stage. Personally, I love the added bonus of the roadies to help clean it all up.

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Source: K’NEX

I’m not a huge KISS fan by any means, but if you know a fan, this should be a great fit.

The set has over 300 pieces and is recommended for ages 7 and up. My kids won’t be playing with this one, only because I think the parts are a bit too complicated for them to figure out (though I am pretty certain Evan would love to play with the drummer!). Remember, you can only buy this set at Toys “R” Us, so go ahead and pick one up to get a jump start on your holiday shopping.  (Retail price is $34.99.)

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Want to connect with K’NEX? Find them here: Facebook: www.facebook.com/buildknex, Twitter: @KNEX, Instagram: KNEXBrands, Pinterest:www.pinterest.com/knexbrands, YouTube: www.youtube.com/knexteam

Beatles Yellow Submarine™ Building Set

Disclosure: At no cost to me, K’NEX sent me its Beatles Yellow Submarine™ Building Set through its Toys “R” Us® Mom Blogger Promotion, and they are hoping that I might like it and write about it. All opinions are 100% my own.

This holiday season, K’NEX brings us the Beatles Yellow Submarine™ Building Set (which you can purchase at Toys “R” Us®). This set is great for the ‘lil builders in your life who appreciate music, too.

Beatles Yellow Submarine K'NEX
Source: K’NEX

Your kid will likely be whistling “We All Live in a Yellow Submarine” as they put together the 200+ piece set. They can imagine they are saving Pepperland from The Blue Meanies or having a Beatles concert right in your toy room. It includes two Blue Meanie figures, instruments, John, Paul, George and Ringo, and enough K’NEX pieces to make the yellow submarine.

I LOVE the bright colors of this set. The faces on John, Paul, George and Ringo aren’t as close to real life as I’d hoped, but they are realistic. My marching band played this song for one of our halftime shows, so I’d be recreating some of our fun moves with the instruments, making the Beatles march to the beat of the music (I love that they can move their feet).

And I’m sorry to do this to you all, but it’s really hard not to get an ear worm just looking at it, am I right? (And fyi, Beatles music isn’t the worst thing you be whistling all day!)

The set can be found exclusively at Toys “R” Us for $34.99. It is recommended for ages 7 and up, and I’d agree (although the pieces are just fine for my 5-year-old, I think it’s better fit for the older ‘lil ones). The Beatles Yellow Submarine™ Building Set is iconic and fun, and just might be the thing to get the Beatles fan in your life this holiday season.

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Want to connect with K’NEX? Find them here: Facebook: www.facebook.com/buildknex, Twitter: @KNEX, Instagram: KNEXBrands, Pinterest:www.pinterest.com/knexbrands, YouTube: www.youtube.com/knexteam

Skwooshi

Disclaimer: I was sent samples of Skwooshi in exchange for a blog review. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own.

About two weeks ago, the kids got a new playtime favorite – Skwooshi. I’ll be forward and tell you that I am in love. You might as well know that going into it.

Source: Skwooshi’s Facebook Page

You see, Skwooshi is a “cool new compound that stretches, molds, and shapes into amazing detail with no mess and will never dry out” (according to their website, and confirmed by me). Literally, I don’t have to supervise the kids’ play. Unlike other products, I don’t care if they play with Skwooshi on my white couch or the coffee table. I don’t have to be sure lids are on the containers holding it. It’s not going anywhere.

I’m still amazed at the fun we’ve had with Skwooshi:

  • Stretching (Arianna and I are amazed at watching the particles that make up Skwooshi stay together)
  • Making fishy shapes
  • Cutting out shapes and they staying the way we made them for hours
  • Wondering what Skwooshi is made of (you can’t find that anywhere!)
  • Skwooshing it! 🙂

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It’s really hard to explain the consistency, but I’ll tell you that it doesn’t stick to your fingers or jewelry and feels grainy yet held together. For kids with idle hands, it’s a great match for amazement. Just take a look at their YouTube Video to see what I mean (because my kids and I aren’t that creative, but try!).

Skwooshi comes in 10 colors (yes, if you mix them the colors change – our blue and pink is now one big blob of purple). There are individual packs like this:

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or larger activity packs like this:

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Although Skwooshi is recommended for kids ages 4 and up, Evan (almost three) was amazed by it and kept it out of his mouth (probably the main reason for the age requirement). I honestly feel safe leaving the kids in one room with the Skwooshi while I am in another working on a household project. There’s no mess, and it keeps my constantly moving and wanting to change plans kids entertained. My only worry? The kids will notice it is missing when I sneak it away for my own stress relief!

Skwooshi retails from $2.99 to $29.99 and is available in stores now.

Disney Princess Palace Pets

Disclaimer: I was asked to write a review of the app Disney Princess Palace Pets. All opinions are 100% my own.

We have a few new pets in our house today thanks to “Disney Princess Palace Pets”, a free app available in the iTunes App Store.

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At present, Arianna is cutting the hair Ariel’s pet “Treasure” because “it’s getting too big”. Earlier, she and Evan just could not get enough of the sweet stories of how they met the Princesses.

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These kids really love taking care of pets, and the bonus is that these ones belong to their favorite Disney Princesses. Unrelated? I swear Arianna has other clothes. She just loves to be in her jammies all.the.time. 

Here are the details I was sent from Disney:

As any animal lover knows, pets need TLC.  With the special styling section of the app, kids can pamper, groom and style the Palace Pets with brushes, bows, tiaras, and more. Kids can also save and share photos of the Palace Pets with the app’s photo-saving tool.

App features include:

  • Intricate artwork and fun animation
  • Interactive salon includes washing, brushing, treat, and accessories stations
  • Professional narration, character voices and charming music
  • Royal Gallery featuring all styled pets

Now available in toy stores is a new toy line including figures, plush, play sets and more. Children can collect, nurture and pamper the Palace Pets in real life, too. Disney Princess Palace Pets is available in the App Store for free.

I’ve been granted back a solid hour of silence simply from this app. Thanks for the heads up, Disney (and a pay it forward “you’re welcome” to you).

Planet Sock Monkey

DisclosureI was sent products from Planet Sock Monkey in exchange for an honest review. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own. 

Do you remember the beloved sock monkey doll? A new line of the doll has hit the market for sock monkey fans looking for a unique spin on the classic. Patch Products presents Planet Sock Monkey, a line of 10-inch knit sock monkey dolls with signature styles. 

Source: www.patchproducts.com

There are currently six characters in the line, each with a unique look and accessories. Just like us humans, Planet Sock Monkey is full of diverse characters (as listed on their Facebook page):

  • Long Sock Silver is a scoundrel of a pirate, with a flair for the dramatic and a taste for grog. He’s decked out in popular pirate fashion, wearing a hook hand (duh) and an eye patch (duh again), and is carrying his beloved sword.
  • Star Harmonkey is a sweet and stylish singer with a big heart and sparkling personality. She wears a super cute sparkly dress and awesome pink cowboy boots, and her shiny blond hair is GORGEOUS. She also carries her favorite purple glitter guitar so that she may burst into song on a whim.
  • M.O.N.K. (what does that stand for? He won’t say!) is a rough-edged, loud-mouthed rapper keeping it real for his fans. He’s definitely dressed to impress in his fedora hat and low-riding jeans, and he’s definitely got lotsa bling. He jams with his boombox, cuz that’s how he rolls.
  • Magenta Beetsch (yes, it’s pronounced like “beach”) is a rough-as-nails punk band drummer, passionate about her tattoo art. She’s rockin’ her punk style with brightly-colored hair and some scary awesome boots. Her piercings and tattoo help the look, no doubt, and her skull purse is one of her fave accessories.
  • Ima Bananerd is a cutely chronic nerd who’s full of self-confidence in spite of clumsiness. Her very smart (of course!) outfit consists of comfy plaid pants, suspenders and a bow tie (she works the look, guys). Her black frame glasses help her see her way in the world. And she carries her homework around in a pink backpack.
  • Eaton Dedd is a very hungry, very undead zombie, forever in search of something to munch on…so watch out! He’s kinda ragged with his well-worn outfit, and he only has one shoe (he lost one, as zombies sometimes do) and has a Smiley Meal lunch sack. Do we wanna know what’s in his lunch sack? Um, no.

The dolls are recommended for kids ages 8 and up, but my kids are both big fans. Arianna helped me pick out a sock monkey for herself (she chose Magenta Beetsch, although I would have gone with Ima Bananerd, I think she was drawn to Magenta’s purple hair, tattoo, and skull purse) and one for our holiday toy donations (she went with Eaton Dedd, perhaps because her daddy has a thing for zombies?). Shh, I opted to keep Magenta for her to get at Christmas (thanks to recent birthday toy overload), but I did take her out for some play time before hiding her away. And Eaton Dedd? ADORABLE ‘lil zombie, omgersh! His “Smiley Meal” lunch, complete with blood, is going to be a hit for some ‘lil boy’s Christmas day, for sure.

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Aren’t they just incredibly fun? While I’ll probably hide the tiny parts away from Evan (perhaps why the age recommendation is above my kids), I have a feeling they’ll both enjoy adding Magenta to the growing collection of sock monkeys they have (and soon beg of me to get all six). And, I’ll have to watch their Twitter feed to see when more are released!

Want a chance to get your own Planet Sock Monkey friend? How about all six? I’m teaming up with other bloggers for a giveaway of the entire set of six Planet Sock Monkeys from today through 10/21. One winner will receive all 6 for a total prize value of over $120! (Each doll retails for $21.99 and can be purchased on Patch’s website.) If you’re interested, enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. The wonderful folks at Patch will reach out to the winner next week. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sweet Suite 2013 #sponsored #SweetSuite13

Disclaimer: I was invited to attend “Sweet Suite” to meet up with toy brands. There was not a requirement to write a post or tweet about the event, I chose to do so on my own accord. As always, all opinions are my own. #SweetSuite13

Sweet Suite 2013 Badge
Imagine being able to take about two hours to interact with toys all on your own and not have your kids in the way, giving you their opinions. I got that gift when I attended Sweet Suite (with The Big Toy Book) in Chicago last month. Let me tell you, Santa had herself a hay day.

As I entered the room, it almost looked like I was headed into a club–the neon colors made me realize this was just the start of the fun.

Sweet Suite 2013
Source: The Big Toy Book

For two hours, I was able to engage in “The Biggest Night of Play”, mingling with brands and playing with toys. My kids, being 2 and 4, have plenty of toys, but just being at Sweet Suite made me want to go buy them even more toys such as:

  • Boogie Board – essentially, you write on this board made of LCD technology and it can save your writing. My teacher friends are going to love the wireless sync version coming this Christmas–jealous! My mind was blown. 

Boogie Board

  • Cloud B‘s Tranquil Turtle (and other toys) – I was already deeply missing Evan, and then the rep showed me cuddly sleep aids that include lights, sounds, and even sync up to iPad apps. Santa, do you hear me?
  • My Girl’s Dollhouse – Arianna would lose her mind if I brought this one home. She really needs more space, but this customizable “real to life” house for 18″ dolls would be just up her alley. See next bullet, too.

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  • Furby Boom from Hasbro – Which although is marketed to older kids, just might calm my ‘lil girl down. She loves apps that she can take care of a pet, and the Furby Boom would bring her that. It even “leaves a big one” in the potty. (Shh, I spent most of my time with this one.)
  • Postable – Not a toy for the kids, but for Mama to use to send out thank you’s for the birthday toys. Mamas, I hope to bring you a lot more on this brand soon.
  • Skwooshi – Another mind blown moment, here. This compound “dough” is super fun. It doesn’t dry out when left out in the air. The texture amazed me, I have no idea what science was used to make it, but I am wowed.

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Probably a good time to confess that this was one of my first events like this and the photos (not credited) were quick shots I thought to grab on my phone in between bouts of fun, bites of Shari’s Berries, and sips of the beeachhouse (definitely more to come on this after my trip in September). I was simply having way too much fun meeting people and playing with the toys.

While not all toys were just right for my kids, I got some ideas for gifts and charity donations (I was even able to take some of my swag as donations). There wasn’t one toy that I didn’t connect with, which as Santa, is a major win. My time wasn’t wasted, and I can truthfully say I had a great time.

Following the event, The Big Toy Book also sent me a box of toys as swag–this was great, and I look forward to bringing you some of the connections I made at this event. Thanks to the hosts (Charlene, Laurie, and Joey) for a beautiful night.