Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Party Kit

pinata kit

My sons recently celebrated their 4th and 6th birthdays!  I can hardly believe it-but it happened!

We had a joint party with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle theme and the boys LOVED it!  The party was at Home Depot and the decorations, cake, and of course the pinata, all went along with the turtle party concept!

pinata

I made the two different cakes based off ideas I found on Pinterest, and we got the decorations at various stores.  The cakes were actually a lot easier to make than they may look and everyone thought they were great!

birthday cakes

For decorations, I went with the color green instead of buying themed plates, as this saved on cost.  Since the party was timed later in the day, I didn’t have to have a whole lot of food; we simply served pizza, cake, and some grapes.  I did arrange the green grapes in a circle design and added red grapes for “ninja eyes”. They were gone within minutes of the party starting!

Since the party was held at Home Depot and the children got to put together boats and planes from Home Depot craft kits, we did not  need to have any games for parties.  However, we did include a Ninja Turtle pinata.  Everyone knows that a pinata is a definite hit with the kids.  This one was a pull string one and it went perfectly (meaning no one got hurt and everyone got some candy/treats)!

Unfortunately, I did  not get many pictures since I was making sure the party went smoothly and all 20 kids were happy!  I have included a couple of pictures that were snapped by friends of the cakes and the pinata!

Disclosure:  I received a pinata kit in order to complete this review

BJ’s Wholesale: Hostess Gifts Galore!

wine stop

I don’t know about you, but I have a quite a few holiday parties in just the next week, so having a hostess gift on hand would make my life much better!

Here’s a message from BJ’s Wholesale Club:

A bottle of wine or flowers are quick and easy, but instead show your appreciation with unique yet affordable gifts any host would love to receive. BJ’s Wholesale Club has a wide selection of effortless and affordable items that won’t show up at this year’s gift swap.

BJ’s also shares these hostess gift-giving tips and a selection of stylish gift ideas that will guarantee an invite back for next year’s holiday celebration.

  • The gift shouldn’t require immediate attention from the host, like flowers without a vase.
  • Do not bring food for the meal, unless asked.
  • Give the hostess something they wouldn’t buy for themselves.
  • Homemade is always nice.

I was given a gift card and the chance to visit BJ’s Wholesale and grab a couple of these hostess gifts!  Here are the 2 I grabbed:

SUGAR GROVE WINTER WISHES
TOWER, 35.68 OZ. BJ’s Exclusive
Stylish, reusable boxes filled with assorted
snacks and confections.
$19.99

ARTISAN GLASS WINE STOPPERS, 3 PK. BJ’s Exclusive
Unique and hand-blown bottle stoppers fit a
variety of bottles. Use on wine, olive oil, vinegar
and more. $9.99 In-Club Only

I know that my hostess’s will adore both gifts and I can’t wait to see their faces!  There are tons of other great items to choose from including cookie decorating sets, cruets sets, even dog cookies for the pet lover!

Holiday Gift Guide: KidzCanDesign

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Have you ever gotten a piece of artwork from your child and thought, I  want to save this forever?  Then you look at your growing pile of artwork and think, “Where is this going?!”.  Well, KidzCanDesign can help!

KidzCanDesign will take your child’s artwork and turn it into a treasure you will have forever!  Whether you would like a keychain, necklace or bracelet, you can get it engraved with artwork or photographs from your child!

I recently ordered a bracelet from KidzCanDesign and should be receiving it anyday!  I am super excited and will share it with you as soon as it comes in.  If you are interested in gift like this (what grandparent wouldn’t love this?!), then check out the site-but order soon, there is a short processing time to create your custom piece!

Disclosure: I will be receiving a bracelet from KidzCanDesign to review in exchange for advertising.

Holiday Gift Guide: Air Storm Firetek Bow & Squeeze Popper Huggables!

 

bow review

My boys are getting older now and are moving away from cars and dinosaurs, and getting more interested in “big boy toys”. The HOT Christmas toy Air Storm Firetek Bow screams to their new desires!

fireteck bow

Here’s a little about the Firetek Bow for those of you who haven’t seen it or heard of it:

Light up the day or night with the new Zing Air Storm Fire Tek Bow from Zing!  The latest addition to the Air Storm line of “parent-approved” launchers is the ultimate foam bow and arrow archery toy – now with blazing LED light-up power for an illuminating effect for any type of target practice! Watch as the Firetek Bow lights up the sky and sends arrows screaming through the air up to 145 feet – a thrill factor for kids ages 8-and-up and parents alike.  Comes with three Zonic Blaze glowing whistle-screaming arrows, included in packaging.

It even has been named to Walmart’s Chosen by Kids Toy Toy Lists!  That definitely tells you that kids are loving this toy!  When I took ours out of the box my boys were beaming and immediately arguing who could use it first-it’s a good thing we got two!  Before allowing the kids to touch them, we reviewed the rules and explained where they could use it and at what they could aim at while playing with the bow.  I was concerned that in their excitement they didn’t hear our directions…but they did just great!  I was surprised at how easily they handled the toy and was shocked by their hand and eye coordination while using it!  All in all, I would say that I agree with the kids on the Walmart list-this is definitely a top toy for Christmas 2014!

bunny

Another toy that I have included in my Holiday gift guide is the Hog Wild Squeeze Popper Huggables Bunny Plush.  This bunny is ADORABLE! I can’t believe that such a cute product actually can shoot a ball up to 20 feet!  I know many, many kids who would love to have this active toy!

Here’s a little bit more info for those of you thinking of grabbing one of these Huggables!

What’s more lovable than a stuffed animal? How about one that’s soft, plush and huggable… but also blasts a soft foam ball up to 20 feet!? With Squeeze Popper Huggables, now you can cuddle and love that stuffed animal look-alike and then turn on the attitude and launch a ball right from its mouth… POP! The harder you squeeze, the further it shoots! (Includes 6 foam balls)

So basically your child will have a blast AND increase their hand strength with this toy!  Plus have a snuggle buddy later on in the day.

If you’re looking for toys to get your child moving and have fun at the same time, I highly suggest picking up either the Firetek Bow or the Squeeze Popper Huggable-or BOTH!  I know I sure have some happy kids because of these toys!

 

Disclosure: I received each of these toys in order to complete my review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

 

Holiday Gift Guide: Minted Holiday Cards ROCK!

minted cards

We have family pictures scheduled this week with our favorite family photographer and that will of course lead to our Christmas cards being sent out next month.  So…I’ve been on the search for a high quality place that has a big variety of designs and I found both when I visited the Minted Christmas cards!  Just check out some of the cool cards I found!

If traditional is your choice, I loved this one:

merry Christmas

If you like funny, I’m pretty sure this one was MADE for my boys!

wreck the halls

 

And for the more modern of you, I like the “flare” of this one:

Christmas tree card

As you can see, Minted has something for every taste and they also have more than just holiday cards!  Keep an eye out in the next couple of weeks when I will share our family Christmas cards. Which design do you think I’ll choose?  Which is your favorite??

And if you check out the first image in this post, you’ll see there is a special discount happening until Monday-use code CHEER25FS to save $25 off your order!

BJ’s Wholesale Club: What’s For Dinner?

bj

So how many times during the week do you hear, “What’s for dinner?”  It can get old and if you have a busy schedule like most families, you may not have the answer!

Well, BJ’s Wholesale Club is here to help make dinners easier.  They have started to offer the brand Wellsley Farms which carries hand-made fresh starters, entrees and sides that bake right in the packaging for convenient meal solution. Delicious items start at $5.99 and feed 4-6 family members.  Here are some of the choices:

Margarita Lasagna                                             $9.99

Meatballs                                                             $9.99

Mac N Cheese                                                     $7.99

Chicken Noodle Soup                                         $5.99

Turkey and Spinach Wraps                                $9.99

Caprese Salad                                                       $9.99

Roasted Butternut Squash and Grain Salad    $9.99

Meatloaf                                                                $10.99

Additions will be made to the Wellsley Farms Fresh Prepared menu all year with traditional holiday sides in November and unique items to keep warm during the winter.

I was given $25 to go check out these items and was pleased with what I found!  The choices all looked delicious and I had a very hard time deciding between the turkey wraps or the lasagna as our main meals.  I finally decided on the wraps as I knew they would also serve as an easy item to send in my husband’s lunch.  The tray of wraps ended up feeding us dinner and both my husband and I  lunch the next day-all for $9.99!

I also chose the caprese salad because that is a FAVORITE of my husbands.  I love salad and tomatoes so I was happy as well!

Overall, I was very happy with what I got for my money and the convenience of running in BJ”s to grab meals that lasted us 2-3 days just can’t be beat!

Cottonelle Coupon, #Let’s Talk Bums!

toilet

This past week I have experienced a rite of passage for most parents-a stomach bug with my toddler.  This was a first for me and I knew I had to try something to ease the constant wiping on his poor little bum!  Enter Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths!

My 3 year old son was IN TEARS after his first 3 trips to the potty and the Cottonelle Cloths saved the day!  He begged for me not use “the paper” and only “the wipe”.  Since things in the bathroom were a mess, I happily granted his request.  The wipes not only helped clean his bum, but also the toilet, the floor, well….you get the idea!  These handy little cloths will certainly be incorporated in our bathroom routine from this day forward!  I have to also tell you, these cloths are not just for my kids-they work pretty well for adults too (just saying)!

If you want to try these cleansing cloths yourself, you can use this $1.50 money saving coupon now!

cottonelle image

Here’s the down and dirty on these Cottonelle Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths:

The Cottonelle® Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths feature SafeFlush Technology, so they not only offer you a confident clean but also start to break down immediately after flushing.

Product Details:
– Flushable
– Break up after flushing
– Sewer- and septic-safe
– Alcohol-free
– OneTouch dispensing tub
– Great for the entire family

Cottonelle Clean Care Toilet Paper
– Strong and effective for a confident clean
– Tuggable, huggable softness that goes a long way
– Two-ply
– Pairs well with Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths for the ultimate in clean

So what are you waiting for? Make sure to grab your Cottonelle coupon now and try the Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths!

Thank you to Cottonelle for sponsoring this post and saving my son from a sore bum with his stomach bug!

Holiday Gift Guide: Ornaments With Love Review

grandkids

Do you have a favorite Christmas tradition that involves your Christmas tree?  We do.  Each year we buy an ornament that represents our family.  We also enjoy giving ornaments to other family members.    Enter Ornaments With Love.

Ornaments With Love are personalized ornaments that come in a huge array of designs and themes. When I searched for “Family”, I was thrilled to find the grandchildren themed ornament (above)  that could be personalized with  family names!  Isn’t it adorable?

The Ornaments With Love website is extremely user friendly and the delivery was very fast.  I loved that each ornament is delivered with a note and even included a gift bag for you to give your ornament as a present!  The only issue you may have is deciding which ornament to personalize!

I also was able to order this super cute ornament for our inlaws-complete with all of their grandchildren names-isn’t it adorable?!

ornament

 

Disclosure:  I received an ornament in exchange for this review and all opinions/thoughts are 100% my own.

Disney Planes

disney planes and rescue

My kids are HUGE fans of the movie Disney Planes, so when we had  a chance to review Disney Planes & Rescue, I jumped at the chance!

Disney Planes and Rescue is the sequel to Disney Planes and still includes the main character “Dusty Crophopper”.  However, our favorite plane racer has now learned he can not race anymore due to some damaged equipment.  At the same time, he also finds out his local airport will be shutting down if they don’t get another fire fighter-thus leading Dusty to make a trip to Piston Peak to complete fire fighter training.  There he meets new friends, learns A LOT of lessons, and comes home victorious over his disappointment at having to stop racing.

The family and I really enjoyed this movie.  Since I have boys, they love pretty much anything having to do with planes and vehicles, and this movie had plenty of each.  I will say that if you take your child, keep in mind that there are a few fire scenes that get pretty intense.  My boys were holding our hands pretty tight at the climax of the movie but recovered quickly.  The movie definitely leads to opportunity to discuss following directions and following fire safety rules.  I really liked how the movie held the underlying theme of having respect to first responders.  From opening credits dedicating the movie to these important individuals, to little phrases scattered throughout the movie, it was obvious to viewers that these people have earned and deserve our respect.

So do I recommend this movie?  Yes.  However, please keep in mind that your little one may get a little scared about the fire scenes. Also, Disney Planes Fire and Rescue has included some scenes that have the planes and vehicles at a “bar” but this was way over my children’s heads so that wasn’t something I worried about.

If you’re looking to purchase some Disney Planes toys, check out my post here!

Yoshi’s New Island-Review

yoshis island

Easter may be over, but there are plenty of eggs hatching all over!  In fact, we have new baby ducklings in our back yard!

Nintendo just released Yoshi’s New Island which is also all about eggs!

Here’s a little about the game:

It all started with an egg. When Yoshi was first introduced to the world, it was in an egg, and now those same iconic green-dotted eggs have grown to gargantuan size in Yoshi’s New Island – Nintendo 3DS which recently launched for Nintendo 3DS In this new platforming adventure, Yoshi once again moves from sidekick to hero and traverses a wide variety of worlds on a new island to help Baby Mario reunite with his kidnapped brother. Yoshi’s New Island is the third game in the beloved Yoshi’s Island series and features inventive new transformations, giant new eggs, colorful new art styles, inventive new transformations and a fun new multiplayer mode.

In this newest game, two giant eggs enter the mix: the massive Mega Eggdozer plows through the environment and opens up new areas, and the Metal Eggdozer can strategically be used to roll over enemies or explore underwater areas. 

And even more egg-cellent is a green Yoshi Edition Nintendo 3DS XL system that features an image of Yoshi on the front, as well as a series of cute Yoshi eggs on the back is also available.

I recently had a chance to review this game and both my son and husband loved it!  Since my husband was a fan of the original Yoshi, it gave an opportunity for him to share some of his past with my son.  It was easy for both of them to use and even though my son is relatively new to playing the Nintendo DS, he had no issues!  The music and graphics brought a lot of laughs!

And if you’re a mom looking for a new workout routine, you may want to check out Wii Fit U . Whether you like yoga, dancing, or climbing, even the busiest mom can work out at home and use the Fit Meter to track  progress!

 

FlipBelt-Review & Giveaway!

flipbelt

As a runner I am constantly trying to figure out the best way to carry my stuff.  I have tried both armbands and the SPIbelt  but have always been left with chaf marks on my back or arms from the products bouncing up and down from the weight of my phone.  At the Shamrock Marathon fitness expo I spied a solution to my seemingly never ending problem-the FlipBelt!

Basically the FlipBelt is the best way to go hands free while running and working out ( or really going anywhere and not having to worry about carrying your phone, keys, etc).  The belt is made of machine-washable high tech Spandex-Lycra blend material that is SOFT!  I mean really soft and comfortable.  It has an internal pocket system accessible from four openings around the outside of the belt and these openings do an amazing job of holding your stuff while you exercise!  After you slide the belt on (like a pair of pants), the directions say to  flip the belt inside out and everything gets locked in place.  However, the belt’s openings are so secure, I don’t even need to flip mine when running!

At first glance, I was skeptical….how would this belt be any different than everything else?  I seriously doubted the “no bounce” advertisement.    Well, let me tell you, it’s life changing!  The FlipBelt is so amazingly comfortable and it stays in place!  It fits my phone, my gels, my gum, and even my inhaler…all of which are necessities for me!  I have loved running outside with it and it also has solved my gym issue of those “dreadmill” runs!  No more sticking my phone in the treadmill and hoping it doesn’t pop out of the holder.  No more having wires all over in a tangled mess!  Now I can stick my phone right in the FlipBelt and not worry about my phone touching the treadmill germs (yes, I’m  a germaphobe)!  It also solves my issue of sometimes forgetting my stuff on the treadmill(whoops)!

I ordered the FlipBelt in black because nearly all of my exercise bottoms are black and I wanted it to blend in. If you’re more of a color person-have no fear, there are tons of bright and beautiful colors to choose from.  If you’re wondering how this non-adjustable belt fits everyone,  it comes in many different sizes. Their sizes range from extra small to extra large so you’re sure to find one just right for you!

Now for the best part!  FlipBelt has given me TWO (2) FlipBelts to give away! That means 2 lucky readers will be able to work out hands free!

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below to enter to WIN a FlipBelt for yourself.

Contest ends April 21, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cat In The Hat Costume-Review

will cat

 

As many of you know, last month was a birthday celebration for Dr. Seuss.  As a fan of children books, how could I not love Dr. Seuss books?  So imagine how happy I was to get the chance to review a Cat in the Hat costume from Costume Discounters!

I could not be more pleased with Costume Discounters.  Not only was our costume and accessories affordable, they shipped and arrived in record time!  The costume looks and fits great, but also feel awesome too!  No scratchy, cheap costumes here!  My very picky son (pictured above) had no problem slipping in and out of it and said it was very comfortable!

three kids cat in hat

I loved the costume so much I just had to contact my photographer friend, Angela Douglas Photography, because I know how much she enjoys anything having to do with Cat in the Hat.  She had a great idea to do a photo shoot featuring the costume and base it off the cats big screen premiere movie!  As you can see, the pictures turned out amazing ( they always do when Angela is involved)! Another friend of mine creates clothes for her daughter and crafted an amazing look-a-like of the dress from the movie.  I mean, seriously, how cute are these kids?  Isn’t the Cat in the Hat Costume perfect?

If you’re looking to add to your dress up closet, or are way a head of the game for Halloween, look no further than Costume Discounters!  You can’t beat the price and the quality is worth every penny.

You can see more pictures from the Dr. Suess photo shoot here!

Disclosure:  I was given the Cat in the Hat costume in order to complete this review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Review: Easy Canvas Prints

canvas

If you’ve ever come to my home, you have seen tons of canvas prints.  Everyone who visits always comments on how much they love the prints and they want to know where I have gotten them.

One place I purchase my prints is Easy Canvas Prints.  They do an amazing job!  Just look above and see for yourself!  I absolutely am in love with the latest canvas I received from them!  I am pretty sure I will have to hide it when my mom comes to visit because she will try to steal it!

Easy Canvas Prints is just that-EASY canvas prints.  It took me all of 5 minutes to order this latest canvas!  The website is super easy to use and checkout was ridiculously easy!

What more could you ask for?  Oh, a discount?  Well, lucky for you, Easy Canvas Print gave me one to share with you

So what are you waiting for?  Go order one now!  Mine came in just days (another nice surprise)!

 

Lil’ Kickers Soccer For Kids-My Thoughts

lil kickers program

When the boys were both younger (around 18 months) they both took Sports Skills classes at the Virginia Beach Field House.  They both really enjoyed it and I loved how they were introduced to important sports skills.  Last week I was able to check out their new program for kids- Lil Kickers Soccer For Kids-and I was very impressed!

When Zack and I first walked up I noticed a big change-the jerseys!  Each child who registers for classes get jerseys to wear to class-real jerseys that look great!  You can see how nice they are in the handsome model below.

zack field house

Zack was not ready to participate in the beginning of class but the instructor really tried to engage him, eventually pulling him into the fun with my help.  His age group (the Cottontails) allows for parents to be in the class to help with the child’s confidence.  The Lil’ Kickers program not only focuses on activities that build athletic ability, they also focus on important social skills like listening and following directions.  I really loved how organized each developmental “game” was and the kids didn’t even realize what important skills they were learning because they were having so much fun!  The last game was everyone’s favorite-the whole class sat in a soccer net that was their “space ship”.  The instructor threw out a bunch of cones (space rocks) and the kids had to run around and tip the cones so they were sitting upright-with one foot.  Then they were able to knock over the cones-both of the games were perfect foundations for passing and shooting a soccer ball!  And really every game and activity during the class easily led to soccer skills that can be used in higher age and ability levels!

We attended a Wednesday morning class but there are a wide variety of days and times that you can choose from if you want to check out Lil’ Kickers.  In fact, your first class is always free!  I think that is an awesome feature to this program since you never really know if your child will enjoy a new extracurricular activity.  Each class is 50 minutes long and include water breaks.   Depending on your child’s age, the coach/child ratio is around 12;1 but the class I attended was only 5:1.  Obviously the weekend classes would be a bit more full.

Easy After School Snack: Frigo Cheese Heads String Cheese!

cheese ranch

Most parents I have talked to say their child is STARVING when they get home from school and mine are no different.  By the way they act, you would think they haven’t been fed in weeks!

There’s always the tricky decision about what to give for an after school snack that won’t ruin dinner (or in my case lunch) but that will also satisfy them.. Enter Frigo® Cheese Heads® String Cheese products.  They make the perfect snack for little ones because they aren’t messy, they are high in calcium and a good source of protein.  I love that they are already individually wrapped and ready to go at anytime!

Something you may not know (and certainly not anything I had ever thought of, was that you can use Frigo Cheese Heads String Cheese products in meal recipes!  Frigo’s website has a huge variety of meal ideas such as stuffed crust pizza, nachos in no time, and my favorite Rockin’ Ranch Skewers.  The boys love anything on a skewer so this was a big hit at my house!  I am throwing a big 40th birthday party next month and one thing on the menu I am planning on using the string cheese products for is fruity cheese kabobs.  Who doesn’t love some fruit and cheese?!  My husband is actually a giant fan of string cheese and eats at least 2 a day!

We had pasta for dinner this week and this is another way I was able to use Frigo® Cheese Heads® String Cheese products:

pasta cheese

 

This is as soon as we added the cheese but it melted beautifully and was delicious!

Disclosure:  I was sent samples of Frigo® Cheese Heads® String Cheese products in order to complete this review and my recipe above.  All opinions are 100% my own.