**I wrote this review while participating in a campaign forMom Central Consulting on behalf of Playskool. I received product samples to facilitate my party and review, and a promotional item to thank me for participating.
With the temps beginning to get colder, I am already preparing myself for winter and being cooped up in the house. As a mom of young, active kids, I am always looking for fun options to fill our day...especially this time of year! It's important to me to find things to keep my kids stimulated and learning, while being able to interact with other children as well. That's why I was excited when given the fun opportunity to host a playdate with some friends.
Our playdate's primary purpose was to introduce the new Let's Imagine Elmo toy, as well as give the kids at the party a chance to enjoy complimentary toys from Playskool like the Transformers Mixable, Mashable Heroes Optimus Prime and Grimlock and Stack 'N Spin Monkey Gears toy.
We were sent these toys, along hats, "when I grow up I imagine I'll be..." stickers, etc. I was so excited to get the playdate planned out, so I went to store to pick up some goodies. Since Elmo was our focus, I wanted to get some red items (the red bag of chip/cracker mix), grapes, and of course....red cups with Elmo faces!!
When the kids arrived, they were super excited to see all of this displayed on the table...and couldn't wait to get their hands on Elmo! Right away they decided to each take turns with the fun hats too!
I thought I'd keep them on their toes, by eating a little snack/lunch first and then introducing Elmo and the other toys in more detail. Needless to say, I think the Elmo cups were their favorite part of the meal!!
Once everyone was done eating, we were all super excited to check out the Playskool toys. Displayed on the middle of the table, Elmo was especially intriguing and the kids (as well as their parents) absolutely loved him!
Let's Imagine Elmo comes with three different hats that unlock different imaginary themes and play modes: Prince, Cowboy and Sea Captain. My kids really loved the Sea Captain, but many of our guests liked the Cowboy because if you bounce Elmo, it sounds like he's on a horse. So CUTE!!! Place the crown on Elmo to play a game of Prince Elmo Says, the Cowboy hat to learn numbers in the Countin' Cowboy game, and more!
As we put a different hat on Elmo, the kids enjoyed coming up with their own imaginative stories to tell. And even for those who can't talk yet...Elmo was a HUGE hit!! This little guy was all smiles when Elmo talked to him. I would definitely encourage you to learn more about him on the Playskool website!
Once we had spent a long time checking out Elmo and all of his fun features, the kids were tickled to learn that they were going to get the opportunity to check out the other interactive toys and take them home!!
The boys were especially drawn to the Transformers Mixable, Mashable Heroes Optimus Prime and Grimlock toys. They enjoyed taking them apart and putting them back together again. I think the mini Mr. Potato Head was their favorite part. They all commented on how 'cool' he is! They can even Squeeze the Grimlock figure's eyes and watch as his jaw chomps and launches a projectile!
The girls, and the younger ones LOVED the Stack 'N Spin Monkey Gears toy! This is seriously such a cute, simple toy for little ones. I love that it encourages fine motor skills, colors and of course, cause and effect. Once the gears are in place, a button can be pushed to get them to rotate together and light up. It's a very fun toy, and one I plan to get for both of my nieces who turn one soon. Seeing how much our friends loved this toy, I know my nieces will love it just as much!
Buy It: The three toys we had the opportunity to review during our playdate can be purchased at HasbroToyShop.com.
**The product for this review was provided by Little Tikes. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
My two and a half year old son, Cameron, has taken it all slightly less gracefully than I anticipated. His normal tantrums and whiny-ness have been amplified at the arrival of his first sibling so my husband and I have been doing our best to shower him with attention and love to help him feel as secure as possible. Therefore, this past week was also the perfect time to try out a fun new toy for Cameron.
When the box containing the Little Tikes Tunnel 'N Dome Climber arrived prior to Cora's birth, we made Cameron wait until she was here to open his special toy. So he had a good week or so of anticipation leading up to opening it up.
Little Tikes has been manufacturing and marketing durable, safe and imaginative children's products since 1970. Some of the classic, iconic children's toys, such as the Turtle Sandbox or Cozy Coupe, have come from this familiar brand. Another plus, many of their toys are made right here in the USA.
The box arrived in good condition and contained nine durable plastic pieces, the tunnel and an instructional booklet. After examining the contents for about ten seconds I was pleased to discover that assembling the Tunnel 'N Dome Climber was going to be very quick and easy. Without even consulting the instructional booklet my husband and I were able to understand how the pieces fit together just from looking at the picture printed on the box - and we are no experts at toy assembly.
It took us about five minutes to assemble the Tunnel 'N Dome climber in our backyard and instantly my son was all over it. After climbing up and down each side he proceeded to go in and out of the house, bringing all his favorite toys into his new "fort." The nylon tunnel is a separate, detachable piece and can be used with the climber or separately if desired.
After playing with it outside for a while, my husband moved the Tunnel 'N Dome Climber into Cameron's room. The plastic is sturdy, but lightweight enough that my husband could pick the whole thing up and carry it across the house. It also fit through all the doorways.
This climber has turned out to be very versatile and a great way for my toddler to burn some of his boundless energy. As a fort, it's a great way for Cameron to use his imagination to pretend he is sailing on a pirate ship, hiding in a cave or climbing to the top of a mountain.
• Crawl – through tunnel
• Large climbing surface
• Varied sized holes for climbing play that all kids love
• Plenty of room inside the dome for kids to explore their imaginations
• Maximum number of kids: 3
• Weight limit up to 60lbs. per child
• Assembly Required
Overall, we have been pleased with the quality of this play structure. It's a great addition to our backyard.
Buy It: You can purchase the Tunnel 'N Dome Climber from a handful of major retailers by viewing this product on the Little Tikes website and clicking on "Where to Buy."
**I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Jif To Go Dippers. I received a sample to facilitate my review and a thank you item for participating.
With winter just around the corner, our family tries to get out as much as we can! We know that soon we will be cooped up keeping warm for several months... so getting out and seeing and doing new things is something we enjoy! As part of our active lifestyle, we love to #GetGoing and go on adventures together. Whether it's a simple walk, a trip to the zoo or a fun family vacation...we keep moving a lot! That's why I was excited to learn about the current contest from Jif To Go.
You can find all the details for the contest here. There are several ways to enter...Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Whichever you choose, be sure to do so soon as it ends in just a couple of days!
I know I plan on entering. Winning a $1000 dollars would be a great way to afford a fun trip with my family. If I won, I'd take my family to St. Louis. We drove through there this summer and the kids were in awe of the arch and all there was to do there. I'd love to take them for a vacation and enjoy it more, making memories together! What a fun time that would be.
What adventure would you spend $1000 on?! There are so many options. Don't miss this opportunity to enter the Jif #GetGoing photo competition!
**The product for this review and giveaway was provided by Smile Brilliant. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
Growing up with a mother who works in the dental field, I've been taught from a very young age the importance of taking care of my teeth. After all, your smile is one of the first things people see! Not only is it important to me to have healthy teeth and gums, but I also want for my smile to be bright and white! I have had whitening trays for several years, fabricated by my dentist...and my hubby has always wanted to get some as well! The only thing stopping us has from having some made for him has been the price! That's why I was thrilled to learn more about Smile Brilliant and learn my husband was going to have the opportunity to try them out!
Smile Brilliant is a national dental lab designed to help customers receive professional strength teeth whitening without ever visiting a dentist! Their lab is specifically created to curb the high cost of cosmetic teeth whitening that is charged at dental offices. I liked the idea of my husband not having to go to the dentist simply for whitening trays, and being able to save money as well!
The Smile Brilliant lab creates custom fitted bleaching trays and professional strength bleaching gel. It's dental labs like this that do the work fro many dentists who resell the work to their clients. Smile Brilliant wants to help cut out the middle man and allow clients to have their teeth professionally whitened lab-direct with no dental visit!
I was very eager for my husband to try the Smile Brilliant process, but was a little hesitant not knowing difficult it might be. Thankfully though, the kit included helpful instructions and everything we would need to take dental impressions and whiten his teeth.
Once we received the kit, the first step was to take the impressions of my husband's teeth. My mom happened to be visiting when we did this and she was amazed at how easy it is to do from home! We first mixed the catalyst and base paste (there are 3 sets of impression material included just in case there is a mistake made). We had to mix the pastes together for about 45-60 seconds, put it in the trays provided make one impression at a time. Knowing the quality of the teeth whitening trays depended on the accuracy of these impressions we made sure to take care in placing them on my husband's teeth evenly and following the directions exactly.
After 2 minutes we had one impression done and followed the same steps for the bottom teeth.
After the impressions had been made, we placed both of them in the pre-paid envelope that was included in the kit. We returned it to Smile Brilliant and received his whitening trays in no time at all! My husbands whitening trays were created ands hipped within 5 days of receiving his impressions. WOW!
When his whitening trays arrived he put them on his teeth to make sure they fit well. I was so amazed how great they fit his teeth. They are an exact replica of his teeth...the same as the whitening trays I get from my dentist...maybe even better!! Because the trays are fitted specifically to his teeth, it ensures it holds to the surface area for prolonged periods of time helping to whiten them better and more effectively than any other system on the market!
I love that this kit includes enough desensitizing gel and whitening gel for many applications. There are also helpful instructions to get started. First he used the professional desensitizing gel which temporarily seals micro-fractures and pores in the tooth's enamel. This eliminates the opportunity for teeth whitening gel to penetrate into the more sensitive dentin beneath the enamel and helps reduce or prevent any tooth sensitivity or pain.
We simply applied a 'string' of gel along the trays and he placed them in his mouth for about 20 minutes prior to whitening his teeth. After this, he brushed his teeth and was ready to proceed by applying the teeth whitening gel. This was just as easy as the first step! We simply applied the whitening gel in the trays just like we did the desensitizing gel and he placed them in his mouth...wiping away any overflow of gel that excreted at the tops of the trays near the gum line. The instructions say duration is 20 minutes -3 hours depending on sensitivity. My husband left them on for about 1 hour each time.
I presumed he would need to use them several times before I was able to see a big difference and take before/after pictures...but was amazed with the results I was seeing after just a few!! WOW, this stuff really does work!! After just three applications, this was my husband's results so far (and they've only gotten even more white since!). I thought it was amazing how quickly these worked and thought it was definitely worth sharing!
Amazing, right?! Even people in our family and those he worked with were noticing and asking him if he had been whitening his teeth...it was that noticeable. I am simply blown away at how easy this process is and how well it works. He continues to use the trays every week and loves them!
After trying different at home whitening kits, my husband agrees that this is the BEST at home teeth whitening system available on the market!
We have been extremely happy with Smile Brilliant and have told many people about them already! Being able to get professional results at a minimal price (dentists can charge $500+, while Smile Brilliant retails for $119.95!) is truly priceless when you're left with smile you're proud of and confident to show! We would highly recommend Smile Brilliant to others.
Win It: One lucky reader is going to win teeth whitening kit like the one we received, from Smile Brilliant! (open to US, UK, AU, & CA)
**This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.
After the fun summer we had as a family, I didn't think I'd be ready for back-to-school time. However, the day came when two of my kiddos headed off to their first day of school for the year and it felt good...for all of us! It meant we were able to get back into our routine of early bedtimes, preparing lunches, working on homework in the evenings and talking about our day around the dinner table.
With a new school year upon us, I've been busy re-organizing my kids' cubbies at home, filling our calendar with school events (to hopefully stay more organized), and of course making sure the kids have all of the supplies and school clothes they need to start the year. Preparing for back to school also means stocking up on the essentials for our whole family! Thankfully, HealthyEssentials.com makes that easy with great savings (more than $40) on toiletries and other necessities for the season.
Once the busyness of summer dies down, I have a little more time to focus on refreshing my own routine too! That means taking better care of my skin! I am super excited to continue using the AVEENO POSITIVELY RADIANT Skin Brightening Daily Scrub and RoC Deep Wrinkle Night Cream! I love that the Aveeno scrub helps with skin tone, texture and clarity and that the RoC cream helps with wrinkles. These are both products I can definitely use to refresh my routine...making me look and feel better.
I've also found that washing my face with the Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit helps to wake me up in the morning too which has been great as we were not used to waking up so early over the summer months!
Of course this is also a great time of year to stock up on essentials our family uses on a daily basis like the Listerine Healthy White Gentle Rinse and of course, with winter around the corner, Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion!
As I mentioned, Healthy Essentials is offering amazing printable coupons, tips and tools and so much more for all the products you and your family love! While you're there, check out some of these great savings too:
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