Learn about Feelings with The Moodsters & The Moodster Meter

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  No other compensation was provided.  All opinions a 100% my own.
Toddlers can get pretty dramatic sometimes, in fact mine walks around saying she's "16 years old," and that could be quite an accurate age definition for her big feelings at times.  Meet the Moodsters book and Moodster Meter is a fun tool to help kids express how they are feeling.  The story gives examples and allows parent and child to interactively talk about emotions.  It can work for older kids as well, to simply discuss how it is okay to have different emotions.
Preschoolers will get familiar with their feelings and others' by learning about being happy, angry, afraid, loving, and sad.  The Moodster meter makes it fun, and allowing children to express how they are feeling with words can make a world of a difference for them and parents alike.  This super simple set gives kids the vocabulary they need, helps build emotional intelligence, and offers simples everyday strategies for challenges of growing up.  The best part about the set for me is that my children didn't treat it like an educational set.  It is simply a fun story, and fun meter.  I'm constantly telling my now 3 year old to speak and express her emotions, this was the perfect little set to help me teach her even more.     



Reindeer Dust by Kate Dwyer #childrensbook

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  All opinions are a 100% my own.  No other compensation was provided.
Reindeer Dust written by Kate Dwyer and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff is a cute book that's the perfect read and possible tradition starter during Christmas time.  About reindeer dust, believing, and the magic that surrounds Christmas.  It was Christmas day and Santa had presents overflowing in his sled for all the children, but the reindeers were too hungry to find the houses of children through thick fog.  A young boy comes up with a plan to make reindeer dust to help the reindeer.  He mixes up a special mix, and recites "I will always believe" and sprinkles it all around to help the reindeer see.  The reindeer are able to spot the glittering trail of reindeer dust and Christmas is saved. 
In the back of the book, there is also a recipe for children to make their own "reindeer dust" to help Santa's reindeer. 
It's beautifully written, and illustrated.  My children loved the added recipe bonus in the back, and asked if we can sprinkle reindeer dust for Santa's reindeers as well.  It's a simple recipe anyone could probably create from what's in their kitchen.  We omitted and swapped what we needed to for allergy reasons, the kids loved it.  They can't wait to sprinkle some reindeer dust Christmas eve.  Quickly pick up a copy to share the story with your children today!

www.reindeerdust.com

The Quinny Yezz Stroller #mom #dad #parenting #pregnancy #giftidea

*I received the item for the purpose of a review.  No other compensation was provided.  All opinions are a 100% my own.
 
You've either been shopping all year round, for the pasts few months, or starting to shuffle around now hoping to find the perfect gifts for everyone.  Do you have an expectant or new parent that could use a cool new stroller?  Could you use a new stroller?  I'm thinking the Quinny Yezz stroller would be a great fit.  My first thought when I think of the Quinny Yezz stroller right now..is how perfect it would under the tree.  I'd take it right out of the box and wrap it up after assembly.  It's folds small and is not your everyday stroller appearance when folded, no one would know what it is until opening time! 
When it comes to strollers, it is all about stylish and chic, along with all the features that should be a given these days.  Lightweight and compact is a must.  The Quinny Yezz stroller is all those things, plus has incredible maneuverability.  It moves so easily and smooth.  Travelling with 3 kids so much easier when pushing a stroller is effortless.  My 7 year old enjoys giving me a hand in pushing the stroller when needed without effort, I mean it is smooth!  It also takes very little space once open unlike other strollers with the similar look, I have no problem taking it into narrow rowed stores here in New York City.
 
Although it takes getting used to, the stroller unfolds and folds quickly.  It also has a unique wheel locking/unlocking system then that also took getting used to as well; one lock goes up and the other up.  I absolutely love the way it stands up on it's own once folded and also locks in place on it's own once folded as well.  I like the way it folds up and can be carried over the shoulder with the strap.
It is made with strong IXEF high performance plastic, weighs only 5kg.  It is a perfect stroller to take along for quick errands, and a great stroller to have if you already have your hands full - which I always the case with us parents, no?!  It has a comfortable hammock seat that props your child up upright and comfortably.  Only con would be that it doesn't recline, so it isn't ideal for nap time, but not impossible.  Besides naptime, it works great for my 7 month old and 3 year old.   
 
These days being a great functioning stroller isn't enough, we want style and personality when it comes to strollers.  Which is the reason why I love that the canopy seat is available in multiple (6) colors, if you want to change it around later on you have the option of buying a different color canopy - and in a snap you could have a whole "new" stroller.  I remember years ago transitioning between my first born and second born wasn't as smooth because of the gender specific colored gear I had.  With the Quinny Yezz you wouldn't have to get a whole new stroller, only would invest in a different color canopy seat.  I could see this stroller lasting a family for years and years.
A stroller that is chic and stylish, compact, with incredible maneuverability, water repellent fabric, and a storage pocket at the back of the Quinny Yezz that holds up to 5 lbs is the perfect gift to have under the tree for a parent.  Always on the go?  Traveling?  Just running errands? All those times would be the perfect time to grab the Quinny Yezz stroller. 
 





Remote-Control Machines - Animals from Thames & Kosmos #toys

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  All opinions are a 100% my own.  No other compensation was provided.
What would your child say if you told them they can build bionic machines?  They'd be thrilled.  Then you could also add these machines could mimic real animal movements, they'd be ecstatic, no?  Well, that was the case for my 7 year old.  He is a huge fan of building toys, and on the top of his wish list this year and recommendations for children his age are engineering kits like the Remote-Control Machines Animals by Thames & Kosmos. Not only will children be able to build up to 8 different animals, they'll also learn quick facts about them in the booklet/instruction manual.
In this generation of everything high-tech we have to look further then usual to impress children, and that's when I turn to sets like these.  They don't get to just build a creation, they get to see it move - teaching them about animals and starting them on engineering.  Thames & Kosmos Remote-Control Machines will please both the parent and child.  Complete with 94 pieces to work with, 8 models to build, and 36 manual pages to learn from. 
Colorful plastic "skins" allows children to build the animals, and also makes for a lightweight end result, which moves in the same way the animals would move in real life.  You will need 6 triple 'A' batteries to get started.  The two-button remote control unit moves the small motor forward and in reverse, allowing the models to move forward or backward.  My son who is 7, but used to building with other various building sets, didn't find it difficult.  My daughter enjoyed playing with the animals once they were build, as a parent I appreciate a toy that also teaches. 
It was a great way to plug in learning about different animals in our homeschool lessons, and then being able to build the various animals.  Children can build an elephant that walks, a cute little penguin that waddles, the rabbit that hops forward, the scorpion that crawls, that orangutan that climbs hand over hand along a string, a crab that scurries sideways, and two different dinosaurs.  The set allows children to create their own made up animal with the pieces and plastic "skin" as well.  Just like other Thames & Kosmos sets we've tried out, this one we highly recommend. 


 

Make a Yoda & a Stormtrooper and more with the Star Wars Crochet Set!

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  All opinions are a 100% my own.  No other compensation was provided.
Want to learn how to crochet?  The Star Wars Crochet set is a perfect place to start.  I'm sure you know a Star Wars fan you're looking to gift a unique gift to, this is it.  Start a new hobby or give someone a start to a fun hobby.  Create with 12 projects from a galaxy far, far away...  They're adorable and obviously fun to make.   How incredible would it be to create your own little collectibles?!
The 80 full color page book with easy to follow directions will show you how to create Chewbacca, Luke, Leia, Yoda, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, a stormtrooper, and many more, all in the popular Japanese style of amigurumi.   This set includes everything you need to make a Yoda and a Stormtrooper; five colors of yarn, a crochet hook, stuffing, eye beads, and a yarn needle. 
Perfect unique gift for a crafty Star Wars fan this would make, maybe even for yourself.  For more information check out www.ThunderBayBooks.com

Confidence & Loving Yourself with the BuppaLaPaloo Bear #kids

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  All opinions are a 100% my own.  No other compensation was provided.
 
We don't need an expert to tell us that it's important for our children to hear positive messages, we know that it'll help them grow confident, the BuppaLaPaloo bear brings children a cuddly soft friend with positive messages for your child to hear and repeat.  The BuppaLaPaloo bear is cuddly and cute just as is, but with 3 'AA' batteries it allows for children to press on its paw and hear positive messages said to them.  It made my kids smile and laugh.  Most favorite feature was that the parent can record a personal message on the opposite paw for their children.
My daughter loved the bear right away as many children probably would.  Although I'm not too sure I would have picked up the bear in a store after having heard the statements it says, like "I love my body," I do see how hearing the positive messages overall is a good thing for a child.  Some of the messages are "I love me," "I love my body," "I love to laugh," and "I am so loved."  Naturally young kids will hear and repeat it, and therefore the bear is supposed to be placing positive words and thoughts helping them grow up to be confident and loving themselves.  Definitely a cute idea, and a unique gift idea for little kids, for more information visit www.buppalapaloo.com



Peanuts by Schulz Crochet Set

*I received the item/s for the purpose of this post.  All opinions are a 100% my own.  No other compensation was provided.
The Peanuts by Schulz Crochet set comes with everything you need to make three projects.  Beloved characters Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Lucy, and the whole Peanuts gang are ready to come to life with some crochet hooks and yarn.  The instruction booklet has over 80 colorful pages with easy to follow patterns.  I have never even attempted to crochet, so with the booklet alone I was not able to successfully crochet.  But since set is geared for beginners and experienced alike, I hope to pick it up and create the awesome gang. 
With this Peanuts Crochet set you can make lovable Charlie Brown, his loyal beagle Snoopy, and the mischievous Woodstock.  All you need is included; five colors of yarn, two crochet hooks, stuffing, embroidery floss, and a tapestry needle.  There's also an instruction template included to make a papercraft doghouse for Snoopy.  Have a Peanuts fan you know, this would be such a fun and unique gift this holiday season.

More information at www.thunderbaybooks.com



 

The Night Before Chritmas - A Brick Story by Clement C.Moore - Illustrated by Amanda Brack #bookreview #childrensbook

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  All opinions are a 100% my own.  No other compensation was provided. 
Lego and other building set fans will love The Night Before Christmas - A Brick Story by Clement C.Moore Illustrated by Amanda Brack.  Every page is full of illustrations with brick creations, illustrating the scene.  My kids loved looking through the pages while we read together, and my son who is a huge Lego fan absolutely loved it.  It inspired him create the scenes mimicking the pages with his own Legos.  In this digital world, it is nice to find greatly illustrated books to get children interested in reading.   
Quickly go get this book so you can read it together the night before Christmas with your family, perfect under the Christmas tree lights, or as a bedtime story.  Although it is a great read for anytime, obviously it is the best time now to enjoy it.  Kids will surely enjoy the read, and delight in the perfect scenes that are in full detail on every page.

For more information visit www.skyponypress.com  

BRIO Railway World Deluxe Set 33766 Review

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  No other compensation was provided.  All opinions are a 100% my own.
If you want a toy set that will absolutely become a family treasure that you're children will enjoy for years and years, this is it.  The BRIO Railway World Deluxe Set 33766 is a complete working city, and is absolutely amazing.  My children have been playing with it nonstop.  It trumps all train railway sets we've owned before.  It just seems so classic, something you'd pass down and keep in the family for years.  This BRIO set comes in a 106 pieces of beech wooden tracks and accessories making up an airport, harbor, farm, bridge, bus and metro stations and more!  Although quite obviously promoting hours of creative play, it comes with added fun features of light and sound as well. 
I'm never too sure of how much my kids will love a new toy, and was quite skeptical, wondering how much they'd really like it.  Right away my 3 year old started grabbing the pieces and playing with it, and it went on for hours as my 7 year old and I build the railway set.  It would be the perfect gift under the tree to please all children in the room.  It is an absolutely amazing collection of BRIO's favorites! 
  
No matter if your children are into cars, trains, planes, farm animals, boats.. - this set will work for them.  It is well worth the expense because it is of much higher quality and the classic set is made to withstand many years of use.  This set will make you want to join your children and make long lasting memories. 
 
The perfect addition to your holidays, maybe I'm being nostalgic but something about this beautiful wooden railway set just makes sitting under the bright lit tree that much more magical.  Sliding glass doors at the airport, a mechanical crane, lights & sound on the boat, magnetic features, the fact that the five characters, and 2 farm animals are able to fit into the vehicles and structures add so much fun to play time.  Thirteen moving vehicles in varieties including the boat, airplane, tractor, animal carrier, bus, and more are all part of the set. 

Comes in 2 great sturdy green storage boxes.  Love that I have a place to store the pieces, we have yet to use it since the set just stays out, being played nonstop!  Honestly I cannot express how much we really love this set. 
Highly worth the expense, the BRIO World Deluxe Set is something you and your kids will love.  Also high in quality it will withstand years of play.  The perfect classic, ageless toy set for any child.  I'm just sorry I didn't have it sooner. 

For more information on the BRIO World Deluxe Set 33766, and other BRIO sets visit www.brio.net

Kids First Aircraft Engineer from Thames & Kosmos Building Set

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  No other compensation was provided.  All opinions are a 100% my own. 
Are your kids into building?  Perhaps,interested in building?  Building toys are a great way for children to learn, it inspires creativity, and this specific set introduces children to engineering.  My daughter who recently turned three has been watching her older brother building with various toys for a while now and was excited to get a building set geared for her now.  The Kids First Aircraft Engineer from Thames & Kosmos has 73 pieces that allows you to build up to 10 models.  It comes with a 32-page storybook so little engineers can get building with the kit.   
The storybook introduces a family who likes to travel and with different adventures the child gets to build a different aircraft to help. Great sturdy large colorful pieces that is easy for little hands to handle.  The story book makes it fun and engaging for young children who are just getting started in building.  It encourages them to build, and the 10 different modes they're able to build awakens creativity and teaches them while they play.  All while allowing us to not only read but truly engage with the content. 
My kids and I love the set, but as a mom I also really appreciate the sturdy storage case it comes in.  A great building toy is always great but to have a place to store the many little pieces is just fantastic.  This is a great toy to gift this holiday season for any young builder.  My daughter who just turned three needed a bit of assistance with the set,  but it was enjoyed by my seven year old, so I'd say it can be enjoyed by a wide age range. 


  For more information visit www.thamesandkosmos.com

Tough Cookie by Kate Louise #ChildrensBook #BookReview

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  All opinions are a 100% my own.  No other compensation was provided.
"Love yourself no matter what you're made of, or in a human's case what you look like?" my son asked.  Sounds just about the message the Tough Cookie written by Kate Louise and illustrated by Grace Sandford seems to be portraying.  A children's book geared for ages 3-6 years old, is about a gingerbread man who was baked with missing ingredient so therefore was unhappy filling unwanted.  He was unhappy knowing that fact, that is until he learned otherwise...
He was an unhappy, a mischievous gingerbread man, always getting into trouble all because he was missing a key ingredient that he thought made him who he was.  But then..he learned that happiness comes from him being good and happy to everyone else, not what he was made from.  The message can be taken further depending on the age of the child, but the simple message is to be kind and everyone will be happy, including you.  Holiday baking, the gingerbread man, reading holiday books goes hand in hand, the Tough Cookie will serve as a great addition this holiday season. 

For more information visit www.skyponypress.com for more information.

The Runaway Santa - A Christmas Adventure Story by Anne Margaret Lewis #bookreview #Childrensbook

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  No other compensation was provided.  All opinions are a 100% my own
The Runaway Santa written by Anne Margaret and illustrated by Aaron Zenz is a great little read for children this holiday season.  An older child learning about geography will find it extra interesting.  You'll see as your child's eyes light up when Santa speaks of travelling to familiar places he/she might have previously learned about.  Younger children will simply like the illustrations and see Mrs. Claus helping Santa Claus stay safe on his adventure.  The artwork inside is adorable, and fun appealing to all ages. 
Santa is well loved by Mrs. Claus as she supports her "jolly Santa" in all his wishes to explore fun places.  He plans with help and support from Mrs. Claus to visit Mount Rushmore, The Great Wall of China, Venuce, a safari in South Africa and more!  It's an adorable story touching base on relationships, adventure, and a great tie in of the man himself, Mr. Santa Claus.  Find out where Santa's adventures takes him in this adorable holiday read.
 
Visit http://skyponypress.com for more information.

The Central Park Tales by Marcus Meesters #bookreview #childrensbook #musthave

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  No other compensation was provided.  All opinions are a 100% my own.
The Central Park Tales by Marcus Meesters has become one of our most recent favorite reads.  My son was actually sad to flip to the last page, it was the perfect read for a child starting to read longer stories with chapters.  Our bookshelf is full, not only because I want my children to have a love of reading but because we homeschool, but we don't always love every single book.  It was great to see my son genuinely light up and be interested in reading.  Marcus Meesters expertly narrates the adventurous tales of the animals who live in Central Park.  It contains ten short stories with characters Squirrel, Duck, Frog, Mousekin, and dog brothers; Doctor Beggar and Mister Pup, along with many adorably intriguing characters sure to catch your child's attention.  It all takes place in our beloved Central Park, my backyard growing up. 
I've had a hard time finding a chapter book, with minimal to no pictures that would still capture my sons attention and this is it.  Perfect read for anytime, and the perfect read right before bedtime.  The stories come alive in the setting of Central Park, great no matter if you know Central Park or not but of course all the more fun if you could just picture where each story takes place as you read.  Beautifully written and illustrated, absolutely a must have on a bookshelf. This is Marcus Meesters second book, his first book - which we will be adding to our bookshelf soon is The Vondelpark Tales, and his third book is expected to release in 2016, The Hyde Park Tales.  If these are half as good as The Central Park Tales, I expect it to be perfect.

Learn more about Meesters and his books at www.thecentralparktales.com
 


 

Ovia 2-Camera Baby Monitor By Levana

*I received the item for the purpose of review.  All opinions are 100% my own.  No other compensation was provided. 
As a busy full time homeschool mom of three, I have no time to myself.  If I'm not busy with one child, I'm busy with the another, and if not with the children I'm doing some sort of chore around my home.  Always busy!  So it easily goes without saying that I could more than use something that helps me do more during my days and nights.  The Ovia 2-Camera Digital Baby Monitor by Levana helps me do more knowing that my children are safe playing or asleep in the other room at times that I can't be in the room with them.  Easy to use, impressive quality, and truly a must have for busy parents.
Right away I will tell you what I love about the Ovia.  It comes with 2 cameras that tilt, pan, and zoom - which allows me to see the whole room in full clarity on the 4.3" LCD screen.  Expandable to 4 cameras, which means more security and doing more with your time.  With the invisible night vision LEDs that will let you see up to 15ft away, you could see baby in full clarity but baby doesn't need to see the monitor with lights in the dark.  If you don't semi-permanently find a spot for the cameras in baby's room, you could also use both monitors in two rooms.  Cook in peace while keeping an eye on baby sleeping in one room, and another doing school work.  No more running back in forth to your sleeping baby, possibly waking him up, when you really hear the neighbors baby cry..wait that's just me, but you get the point!? 
perfect size, big enough screen yet compact enough to carry around
An added fun feature I love; save photos and video to the included micro SD card and upload them to your computer or view them directly on the monitor screen.  That feature will come in handy when you see your baby doing something cute in their crib, or your older two playing so quit in the other room...  OH..I can't forget one of my favorite features.  It has "Talk to Baby two-way communication."  It allowed me to talk to my toddler who was sick in bed and keep her feeling safe and not being bed bound with her.  It comes in handy, and kids love that you are watching them steps away. 
A fully charged Ovia monitor will be good for 8 hours without having to stop and recharge batteries.  Ovia's screen will light up when baby makes a noise, it has Smart LED Indicator Ring with 6 different color codes.  3 Remote-Controlled Lullabies you could play for child, you control from the parent unit.  Also wireless interferences and signal loss are the things of the past, I was so impressed and very glad to be up to date now!     
It's allot of features packed into an easy to use system that I love.  It's so simple, my children 7 and 3 learned how to use it right away - not that it's for them to play with. It let's me see my babies, hear my babies, talk to my babies, record and capture my babies, see them in the dark, look around in the room..what isn't there to love?  Cooking, teaching and playing with my older two while baby is asleep in my sight without having to run in and wake baby up attempting to check on baby is awesome.  Being able to work at night being able to keep a watchful eye on baby is wonderful.  Perfect system of security and a bit of freedom you could gift a parent, if you're a parent, you could get yourself one. ;)
What comes in the package:
-2 Pan/Tilt/Zoom Cameras with night vision
-Baby Video Monitor
-Micro SC Card with Adapter
-Rechargeable Battery
-3 Power Adapters
-Quick Start Guide
-1 Year Warranty
-Lifetime Customer Support 
Can be purchased directly from http://MyLevana.com

Minecraft Story Mode Giveaway!

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  No other compensation was provided.  All opinions are a 100% my own.
 
I think whether your child is old enough to actually play Minecraft or not, almost every household has a Minecraft fan in their home.  I know all of my nephews and nieces are fans along with my two kids.  They become a fan with all the Minecraft gear, toys and videos online.  My oldest is finally old enough to enjoy the actual game.  Come to find out, Minecraft can be used to be quite educational.  Minecraft: Story Mode is different from the Minecraft game you might be familiar with, it allows the player to create their own story as they go.
Since we haven't actually played the original version of the game, our perspective is from a beginner.  We liked the game, and thought it was so much fun.  I like to incorporate learning into everything, so I was really happy for the opportunity for my son to do lots of reading.  In the Minecraft Story Mode game, players get to craft their own story, the game allows you to choose paths and make decisions along the adventure like game keeping players totally engaged.
I think  it's a game that will absolutely excite all Minecraft fans.  Telltale Games Minecraft - Story Mode would be a great gift under the tree as a family friendly game, or maybe even a fun stocking stuffer.  The game has five episodic series that set in the world of Minecraft, but introduces fun new characters in familiar themes, all while allowing players to build an entirely original Minecraft experience inspired by the game.  My son liked making decisions and being a part of the outcome of the game in a unique way.           
 
Available for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, iOS, and Wii U.
 
ENTER TO WIN PC STEAM CODE BELOW! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disney Frozen Magical Winter Journery Wild Walls from Uncle Milton

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  All opinions are a 100% my own.  No other compensation was provided.
Who doesn't like Disney's Frozen?!  If you have a little girl in your home, you probably have a huge Frozen fan like we do.  My daughter just turned three and she has been singing Frozen's hit song "Let It Go" from since before she could speak a full proper sentence, so the Disney Frozen Wild Walls - Magical Winter Journey from Uncle Milton was a hit!  This is a great gift for that princess in your life.  Children will love the light and song addition to their personal space after creating their own scene with these easy to apply decals.  The electronic activator casts a light up to 20 square feet up your wall with the song "Let It Go."
Included in the set comes a sheet with decals to create your own scene, the FX Activator, and 1 set of wall mounting hardware.  It uses 3 x 1.5V AA/LR6 batteries, and it's included.  The FX Activator has two settings full light & sound, and light only.  My daughter plays it over and over until she falls asleep, the light has automatic shut off - perfect for bedtime.
Before being able to create a scene with the fun decals, you lie the decal sheet flat so it flattens out from being in the box. 
In the meantime my daughter loved using the light and sound box as a carry around toy she sang along to.  She even slept with it on it's own before we hung it on the wall, the sound box really doubles as a take along toy.

My kids had so much fun placing the decals, it has many snowflakes, one large piece with Anna and Elsa, a smaller piece with Anna's leg, our beloved Olaf came in pieces where we go to place his arms and hair on separately, the ice castle, and finally Sven with his reindeer.  Over 36 pieces to create your scene.  The decals are totally repositionable that you can peel and stick.  It's just as much of a fun dΓ©cor for kids to have during the day and so much sweeter with the lights and sound addition at night.  This really is a perfect gift to give to a Frozen fan this holiday season, it's not something they will just play with once but something they will enjoy many times over as they pass by daily, and activate every night before bedtime.

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