Wednesday, December 24, 2014

You're Never Too Old for Play-Doh: DIGGIN’ RIGS BUZZ SAW Playset

Disclosure: I received a sample product to help facilitate the review. All opinions stated are genuine and my own.

We literally played with this set for over an hour-and-a-half today.
We has us some good old-fashioned fun!

Play-Doh has been sparking imaginations for years. I played with it when I was a kid, and all four of my children have played with it too. It is one of those toys that never gets old. Tonight, my son and I sat down at his little table and took out his brand new Play-Doh Diggin' Rigs Buzzsaw Playset. We literally played for over an hour-and-a-half, and you want to talk about a running son's definitely got one, and I love it!

He laughs at my jokes. Have I mentioned how much I love this kid? ;)

This set comes with a detachable arm, two cutting blades (not to worry, they're plastic), an extruder rail, the truck with a cute little face, and four tubs of Play-Doh (that also double as construction signs). We truly had a good old time rolling and cutting logs to load up on the back end of the truck for delivery. My son and I had a great time making up elaborate scenarios for what we were doing and where the truck was going...and he even laughed at my jokes. That's really the reason I like to play with him, but don't tell anyone (kidding!).

Cutting the logs to load on the truck for delivery was not all fun and games.
Getting the cuts 'just right' was serious business too, as you can see. ;)

The busy work of cutting the logs was taken very seriously, and if a 'log' was not up to specifications, it was smooshed and redistributed through the saw blade. Uniformity was key, and 'the boss' was settling for nothing less than perfection.

We had such a good time playing, and it reminded me that the simpler things in life, really, really are the most grand. It also reminded me that you're never too old to have a good time with Play-Doh. ;)

You can learn more about this set and other Play-Doh items by visiting the Hasbro Toy Shop.

I bet most of us have good Play-Doh memories. Do you?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Nerf for Under $10 and a Transformer My 7 Yr Old Can Do!

Disclosure: I received product samples to help facilitate the review. All opinions stated are genuine and my own.

Last minute shopping this weekend? I know I'll be hitting the stores and waiting in the crazy long lines, getting my shopping groove on. If I'm not alone, and you'll be shopping for a child/ren this weekend too, think of these two toys when you're out, won't you? The Nerf Precision Target Set is just under $10 and the Rescue Bots Transformer is just cool. Keep reading to learn more!

The Nerf Precision Target Set comes with a purple outside or an orange one.
It is just under $10!!
The Transformers Rescue Bots Optimus Primal turns from robot to dino in a matter of seconds.
I'll put a video up of my 7-yr. old doing it, so you can see how easy it is to do.

If you're looking for a toy that will be a huge hit, that costs just UNDER TEN BUCKS!!! then the Nerf Precision Dart Game could be for you!

Everyone loves the quality of Nerf

Everyone loves the quality of Nerf. These dart guns are light-weight, easy-to-load and they travel a pretty far distance too! This set allows you to aim with a light beam, and the darts have a suction cup on the end, so they stick to the board. That way you can gauge your accuracy and work to improve it (or you could have a healthy competition).

My kids hang a paper target on the end of the hallway wall sometimes (and maybe dad does too ;) ) to shoot their Nerf guns. This stand-alone Target Shoot is so much nicer (and looks a lot better on the interior design too!). A big plus for me is that the target gives them a real place to aim and shoot, so they don't get bored and start misfiring on purpose (I've got pictures hanging in that hallway!). If you prefer the target to hang on the wall, it does that too.

This is recommended for ages 8+ and it requires 2 AAA batteries.

For under ten dollars THIS is a great buy!!

Easily turns from Robot to T-Rex
Has lights and sound as well!

The second item is a bit more pricey...just under $40, although I saw it on sale recently for $31.99. There is an exact duplicate model, that is smaller, for just under $12! The Playskool Heroes Transformers Rescue Bots Optimus Primal figure is an easy Robot to T-Rex transformer toy, that your child can switch out in just a few seconds.

This is my son twisting his Optimus Primal from a Bot, into  T-Rex
He is 7-yrs.-old and did it on his first try!
This is what it looks like in T-Rex Mode

The Primal Optimus Transformer is from Hasbro's Rescue Bots line, and it comes with batteries installed, so kids can use it right out of the box. In Bot mode, it talks (in a robot voice), and lights up. In T-Rex mode, it lights up, makes dino sounds, and if you move those smokestacks on either side of its head, you can make it chomp. There is a handy drill (plastic, of course) that can be used in either mode, that will aid your Rescue Bot in performing a rescue. ;) The recommended age on this is 3-7.

Above is a short video of my son transforming the toy from one mode to another. Never mind the end of the video when I thought the camera was off and I continued talking to my son, and it showed I took the lamp shade off for more video light, LOL!! (no video editing software on my computer...yet!). Some reviews definitely call for a video though, so you can see how very cool/awesome/great an item really is, and I think this is one of them. I can't imagine a little one not being excited over this toy on Christmas morning, or any time really!

Both the Nerf N-Strike Elite Precision Target Set and the Playskool Heroes Transformers Rescue Bots Optimus Primal Figure are available in stores everywhere!

Do you have a favorite of the two?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Flutterbye Fairy Really Flies!

Disclosure: I received a sample product to help facilitate the review. All opinions stated are genuine and my own.

Spin Master has been blazing the trail of fun for quite awhile now. They really do have a great line of games and toys for the kids. Recently we received a toy from them to review. When I opened it, and my son saw a doll, he said no waaaaaaaay, nuh uh, he wasn't reviewing a doll!  

Mmm hmm... I knew once that doll started to fly, he'd be in the room, and I was ohhh so right. :)

Flutterbye Fairy from Spin Master

Flutterbye Fairy sits on a base that also serves as a launching pad and a charger. There is a light on the front of it that will indicate by color, when she has a full charge. A direction booklet is included that will tell you what the different light colors mean.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

#Sponsored #MC What's Your #RedKettleReason?

Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Influence Central for The Salvation Army. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

As a little girl, every holiday season, my mother would carefully take a couple of dollars out of her purse, a purse that had a little two-ball closure on top that snapped. I knew when she pulled me to the side, and undid that purse snap, that we were going to donate to the Salvation Army Red Kettle, or the 'bell ringers' (those manning the kettle) as I called them when I was a child.

The bell ringing made me feel happy, and Christmas-y. After all, Santa's reindeer had those bells, right?  She would fold those bills carefully and put them in my little hand. I can still remember the feel of her transferring those bills into my gloved hand (and in Ohio, in December, outside...hands were always gloved). Even though I only had a few steps to go from her to the kettle, I remember how I kept looking down at my hand to ensure I didn't drop those bills. To me, it was a big deal. Then I would drop the money in, it would all be over, and we'd be on our merry way in seconds...the 'bell ringer' instantly all but forgotten.

What I didn't know as a child, is that those donations were being given to help others who really needed it during the holiday season. As I grew older, and developed a heart for giving, those donations took on a deeper meaning. I realized there were people behind the scenes that we would never meet or talk to, but who needed the helping hand of a stranger.

Today, I've passed the tradition of giving on to my own children. While I don't have a double ball-snap purse, and the kettle at the store pictured above was inside (hurrah for staying out of the elements!), it's still a big deal to my youngest to drop money in the kettle. I wonder if the clanging bell makes him feel holiday-y and festive like it did for me? I bet it does. And since the Salvation Army has been around since 1865, there's a very good chance, he will someday be taking his child/ren up to the kettle as well. That's fine by me. I think it's a tradition well worth keeping around. Don't you?

The Salvation Army Doing the Most Good

The Salvation Army began in London, and twenty years later made its way to the United States. So for 150 years internationally, and 130 years local-to-me, the Salvation Army has been giving people a hand-up. Whether that hand-up takes place in the form of gifts, paid utilities, a hot meal or countless other ways, the altruistic nature of their assistance certainly deserves to be lauded.

Just a Few of Many Ways the Salvation Army is Helping

• In 2013, The Salvation Army’s 3,600 officers, 59,000 employees and 3.4 million volunteers served nearly 30 million Americans in need. That’s almost one person, every second, every day.
• The Salvation Army’s faith-based mission calls it to meet human needs in His name without discrimination, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, physical disability, age, creed or religion. 
• The Army has nearly 7,600 centers of operation covering nearly every zip code in the country.
• We also have a worldwide presence, providing assistance to people in more than 120 countries and territories around the world. The Salvation Army serves millions of people through dozens of services directly targeting the needs of local communities – from homelessness to disaster relief to substance abuse rehabilitation.
• Through the public’s generosity in 2013, in the United States alone:
o The Salvation Army served more than 58 million meals to the needy.
o 204,000 people received rehabilitation services through donations to Family Stores.
o Over 203,000 underprivileged children attended day care and summer day camps.
o The Army provided nearly 10 million nights of shelter.
o 324,000 people received help during times of disaster.
o More than 4 million families and children were served during the holidays.
o More than 1.8 million people received help through senior, medical and institutional services.

That's just a small list of the ways the Salvation Army has helped, does help, & will continue to help those in need. It gives you even more reason to want to drop a few dollars in the red kettle when you're passing by, doesn't it?

Note: One-third of online donations occur during the last two days of the year. Donors can benefit when it comes to their taxes if they donate to a charity and receive the proper documentation before January 1.

#RedKettleReason Campaign

The Salvation Army’s 124th National Red Kettle campaign is encouraging Americans to share their reasons for giving using the #RedKettleReason hashtag. Donors who post using #RedKettleReason can view their posts and others on and learn why the rest of America is giving. Visit RED KETTLE REASON to learn more!

I'm headed over to post my reason now. I'll see ya' there. :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

ANNIE is Coming to The Wharton Center!!

Disclosure: I did not receive compensation for the post. All opinions stated are genuine and my own.

Have you heard? Annie, the Tony Award-Winning Production is coming to Lansing, MI next week! This is a show I always wanted to see on TV as a child and never did (though I do know one of the popular songs from it, and have belted it out many a'time. The sun will come out your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun. Count your blessings you can't hear me singing because while I like to do it, those around me never seem to feel the same. ;)

Have you seen Annie? Would you love to see it live? If you're in the Lansing area, I urge you to pick up your tickets now. It could be a great way to relax with the family, which is always nice, but is especially so during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

Part of the MSU Federal Credit Union Broadway at Wharton Center Series
Date/Time: Tuesday, December 16 – Sunday, December 21, 2014
Tuesday – Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Friday at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sunday at 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Location: Cobb Great Hall
Tickets: $34.00 - $69.00 plus applicable fees
Ticket Office:
 517.432.2000 or 1.800.WHARTON

EAST LANSING, Mich. ― Wharton Center is proud to announce that the new U.S. National Tour of ANNIE will play December 16 – 21, 2014, in the Cobb Great Hall. Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin for the 19th time, this production of ANNIE will be a brand new physical incarnation of the iconic Tony Award®-winning original. Tickets to see ANNIE, part of the MSU Federal Credit Union Broadway at Wharton Center Series, are available at the official source to purchase Wharton Center tickets online,, at the AutoOwners Insurance Ticket Office, or by calling 1-800-WHARTON.

ANNIE has a book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin. All three authors received 1977 Tony Awards® for their work. Choreography is by Liza Gennaro, who will incorporate selections from her father Peter Gennaro’s 1977 Tony Award®-winning choreography.

The original production of ANNIE opened April 21, 1977, at the Alvin Theatre and went on to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, seven Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the Grammy Award for Best Cast Show Album and seven Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, Best Book (Thomas Meehan) and Best Score (Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin). The show remains one of the biggest Broadway musical hits ever.

It ran for 2,377 performances after it first opened, has been performed in 28 languages and has been running somewhere around the world for 37 years.

The beloved score for ANNIE includes “Maybe,” “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You” and the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow.”

The celebrated design team includes scenic design by Tony Award® winner Beowulf Boritt (Act One, The Scottsboro Boys, Rock of Ages), costume design by Costume Designers Guild Award winner Suzy Benzinger (Blue Jasmine, Movin’ Out, Miss Saigon), lighting design by Tony Award® winner Ken Billington (Chicago, Annie, White Christmas) and sound design by Tony Award® nominee Peter Hylenksi (Rocky, Bullets Over Broadway, Motown). The lovable mutt “Sandy” will once again be trained by Tony Award® honoree William Berloni (Annie, A Christmas Story, Legally Blonde). Musical supervision and additional orchestrations are by Keith Levenson (Annie, She Loves Me, Dreamgirls). Casting is by Joy Dewing CSA and Holly Buczek CSA, Joy Dewing Casting (Soul Doctor, Wonderland, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat). The tour is produced by Troika Entertainment, LLC.

This brand-new production features a 25-member company: in the title role of Annie is Issie Swickle, a 9-year-old actress from Davie, FL, making her tour debut. Gilgamesh Taggett will star as Oliver Warbucks. In the role of Miss Hannigan is Lynn Andrews. Also starring in the tour are Ashley Edler as Grace, Garrett Deagon as Rooster, Lucy Werner as Lily and Allan Ray Baker as FDR. Sunny, a 4-year-old rescue terrier mix, stars as Sandy. The Orphans are Angelina Carballo, Adia Dant, LillyBea Ireland, Sydney Shuck, Lilly Mae Stewart and Isabel Wallach.

ANNIE is generously sponsored by Capital Region Community Foundation, The Centennial Group, Farm Bureau Insurance, Jackson National Life Insurance Company and Physicians Health Plan.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bringing in December with FabKids

Disclosure: I received a product to help facilitate the review. All opinions stated are genuine and my own.

Are you still looking for the perfect holiday gift to give someone? How about a subscription to FabKids? This is a great monthly subscription service for children's clothing.

How does it work?  It's really quite simple. Each month you are charged the same amount on your credit card, for an outfit credit .That credit goes into your FabKids account, and you can use it for an entire outfit, any time you feel like picking one out.

What month you decide you don't want to be charged for an outfit credit? Simply log into your account and say (by the due date to say it!!) that you don't want to be charged. It's as simple as that... really. If you want to buy above and beyond the one outfit, you are able to do that at will. FabKids runs some really great sales, quite getting high quality clothing, that looks great too, really can be done for a reasonable price through their website.

Real Kids Shades (with Giveaway)

Disclosure: I received a product to help facilitate the review. All opinions stated are genuine and my own.

Real Kids Shades knows that your eyes need protection year-round. While winter, cloudy, and overcast days can deceive us into thinking our eyes are safe from the damaging effects of UV Radiation, Real Kids Shades knows that simply is not so.

The harmful effects of UV Radiation can reach your eyes any time you are outside, and we all know kids like to be outside. Make sure your little one has the proper eye protection with Real Kids Shades. All of their products are designed to continuously block 100% of the sun's harmful rays.

You can see here that my son loves his sunglasses....and Olaf.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

It's #HintingSeason and @BestBuy is a Super Savvy Shopping Destination!

Disclaimer: The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Best Buy is a super savvy, one-stop shopping destination for everyone in the family!

It's definitely #HintingSeason, and everyone in the family has something to add to Mama's shopping list.  In looking around Best Buy (in person and online), I've quickly discovered a place where the majority of their wished-for items can be purchased and checked off of the list.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Snowman Theme #Giveaway from Oriental Trading

Disclosure: I received products free to help facilitate the review. All opinions stated are genuine and my own.

Confession time: I have a 'thing' for snowmen. I just think they're cute, and they definitely rank high on the scale of my favorite holiday things. I like real ones, animated ones, those for display, those for play, etc. So when I got to go shopping at Oriental Trading recently, it was a beeline to the snowman-themed items I went.

This cute 'lil guy can be found in the Christmas Decorations at Oriental Trading.

I got to choose anything I wanted, within a pre-designated credit amount. I chose the snowman holder above...isn't he cute?!? Shipping for him would be high, I think, and I wouldn't want him to get broken, so that's for me, and I love him! He is made of resin and measures 14 1/2"H x 10 1/2" W x 8" D. The snowflake on top unscrews so he can hold your paper towels. This item usually sells for $20 but I see today he's on sale for $17.98.