Holiday Gift Guide Series: Family Favorites

It’s November and that means Christmas is right around the corner! I’ve already started shopping for my 7-year-old and 3-year-old for the holidays, how about you?

I received some toys to review and picked up a few from the store already. These are some of our family’s favorites.

Crayola Color Alive

Age 4+; $5.99

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Download the free app to make your kids’ creations come alive. This was a hit for both my 3-year-old and my 7-year-old.

Eye Found It: Hidden Picture Game

Age 4+; $20

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Eye Found It is a great game for the whole family. Kids love to find their favorite characters in the Disney and Pixar themed editions.

Sky Rover Helicopter

Age 8+; $45

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The Sky Rover comes with remote control AND headset for voice command! My son thinks it’s so cool to wear the headset and pretend to be ground control. He could play for hours if we let him!

Glow Show

Age 5+; $20

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The Glow Show sticker launcher is pure fun. Kids can launch glow-in-the-dark stickers on the ceiling and walls.

Lite Brite

Age 4+; $25

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This was a purchase driven by nostalgia. I loved Lite Brite as a kid and now I’m playing it with my kids. Now the templates are reusable; remember when they were paper?

Hex Bug Inchworm

Age 8+;  $19.99 (with remote control)

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We love Hex Bug toys and we always have fun with remote control toys, so the Inchworm is a win-win!

Quixels

Age 4+; $9.99 and up

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Basically Beados for boys, Qixels are little plastic pieces that stick to each other when wet. My son loves that they come in designs that resemble popular icons from Minecraft and Ninjago. This little Qixel package is a great stocking stuffer!

Check out more in the School Psych Mom Series:

Holiday Gift Guide: STEM and Learning Toys

Holiday Gift Guide: Preschool Learning Toys

WaterWipes: Chemical-Free Baby Wipes

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

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My kids all have sensitive skin from head-to-toe. As newborns, I tried hard to use wet cloths or soft paper towels with every diaper change. You can imagine how impractical that was, but it didn’t irritate their bottoms. I had to use conventional “sensitive” wipes for convenience sometimes, and they all quickly developed diaper rash. Even as they grew and developed tougher skin, they still couldn’t handle regular use of conventional wipes.

My 5-month-old is eating solid food now, so we have big messes to clean up during mealtime, too. Her face is just as sensitive as her bottom, and frequent use of conventional wipes is way too harsh. Her skin becomes red immediately, and with repeated use, it becomes dry and irritated.

I still use wipes for my big kids when they have messy faces. They become less sensitive as they grow up, but I still find that the fewer the ingredients, the kinder they are to their skin.

I always bought “sensitive” wipes for my kids, but still noticed the super-long ingredient list, even from natural brand wipes. I remember wondering, “Why can’t they just make wipes that are wet, without all that other stuff.”  That’s why I’m so excited that someone finally did it with WaterWipes.

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We’ve been using WaterWipes for a few weeks and they are super-gentle, but strong and durable. I’m so glad to have the convenience of wet wipes that I can use over and over on my baby without irritating her skin. Plus, I have peace of mind knowing that I’m not exposing my family to harmful chemicals every day.

Now, I keep packages of WaterWipes on the changing table, in the kitchen, and in my diaper bag. Each package has a resealable opening making them good for travel as well as for use around the house.

WaterWipes is a chemical free baby wipe that contains only two ingredients, 99.9% purified water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract. Due to the lack of chemical preservatives in Waterwipes,  the package will keep for up to 15 months before it is opened. Once you open your WaterWipes package, it’s recommended that you use the pack within 1 month.

IMG_9527Unlike some other wipe brands, WaterWipes are not interfolded. This allows for the sterile environment within the package to be maintained. For the same reason, it’s recommended that you don’t relocate the wipes in an alternate container.

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I found my WaterWipes at Stop and Shop near the other baby wipes in the baby aisle. I’m so glad I can grab them at Stop and Shop because it’s the place I go for all my everyday groceries and baby needs.  Find out where to buy Waterwipes near you.

Baby Mantra: Natural Baby Skincare Review and Giveaway

I received this product for the purpose of this review, however, I am not compensated for writing or obligated to write anything specific. These are my own opinions and they have not been influenced in any way by Baby Mantra.

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Enter to win all these Baby Mantra products below!

When it comes to anything that comes in contact with my kids’ bodies, I always look for natural products made by companies with environmentally responsible practices. Not only do I want to minimize my kids’ exposure to chemicals and other harmful ingredients, but my family all have sensitive skin and need allergy-tested products. That’s why I’ve been loving my new collection of Baby Mantra products.

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Happy baby after bath!

My kids share my dry, fair, and sensitive skin. Even many products marketed for babies and sensitive skin either dry out our skin or make us break out in a painful or itchy rash. The Baby Mantra products were friendly to our skin and left it soft and smelling heavenly.

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We both have super-sensitive skin.

About Baby Mantra

Baby Mantra’s earth-friendly range of extremely gentle personal care products for children (newborn to 8 years old) are made with all-natural skincare ingredients. Baby Mantra products have been certified by the Natural Products Association (NPA), are gluten-free, allergy-tested and cruelty-free.

You can find Baby Mantra products across the country at stores like Albertsons, Jewel Osco, Walgreens, Duane Reade, Babies ‘R Us, and Meijer. We recommend using the store locator on the company’s website to find a store nearest you. In addition, Baby Mantra can be found online on websites such as Amazon.com, Babiesrus.com,, Drugstore.com, Walgreens.com, and Diapers.com.

Be sure to follow and like Baby Mantra on Facebook for coupons and other offers.

Visit Baby Mantra for a $2.50 coupon!

ENTER TO WIN!

1.  3-in-1 Bubble Bath, Shampoo & Wash

2. Calming Lotion

3. Newborn Shampoo & Wash

4. Diaper Rash Ointment

5. Calming Massage Oil

6. Detangling Conditioner

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Learning Apps Review: Tiggly Words and Tiggly Math

We received the following products for the purpose of review. All opinions are our own.

Our family is pretty excited about the Tiggly toys and apps. My 3-year-old daughter tried out Tiggly Words and my 7-year-old son tried Tiggly Math; see them both in action below.

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Ever since I introduced the kids to these toys, they both often ask for a chance to play. Instead of denying them the screen time they desperately desire, I’m glad to let them enjoy these games.

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The toys are interactive, engaging, and relevant to their curriculum at school. The toys are great for kids with different strengths and weaknesses and are great for building reading and math skills.

Tiggly Words (Ages 4-8)

Tiggly Math (Ages 3-7)

There’s also a Tiggly Shapes toy for ages 2-5.

The Tiggly Learning Systems include interactive toys, 3 free apps, and a carrying pouch. The systems are compatible with all generations of iPad and iPad mini (except iPad 1), and leading android devices (Samsung, Kurio). Each system retails for $29.95.

Educators! There are Tiggly systems for the whole classroom, too. Check it out!

10% OFF Brainy Toys from Smart Games: IQ Fit and IQ Twist

I received a Smart Games IQ Fit in my swag box when I attended Sweet Suite at Blogger Bash NYC 15 and an IQ Twist when I attended Sweet Suite 14. We’ve been enjoying these little brain teasing toys ever since.  They’re both compact and portable, so they’re great for the car or for restaurants. I’m glad to hand one to my 7-year-old to keep him busy instead of the ipad or iphone!

IQ Fit

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IQ Twist In Action

See our video review of the IQ Twist!

Get 10% off using the code SweetSte when you purchase Smart Games and Toys from the Amazon Store! The promo code is good until October 30th, so act fast!

 

 

YSL Pur Couture VoxBox Unboxing

I received two Yves Saint Laurent Pur Couture lip colors for free from Influenster for testing purposes.

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YSL Pur Couture Lip Color

My Yves Saint Laurent VoxBox included two Rouge Pur Couture lipsticks (#9 Rose Stiletto and #19 Fuchsia). #19 Fuchsia is way to bright for me and my complexion. #9 Rose Stiletto is a little darker than I’m used to, because I’m so fair and I prefer not to wear any lipstick at all. But I love it! It’s soft and smooth and the color is beautiful. It even has a lovely rose smell. It’s a luxurious lipstick.

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Yves Saint Laurent VoxBox Unboxing

Sign up to get your VoxBox at Influenster.com.

The Peanuts Movie Opens November 6th!

I attended an event sponsored by The Peanuts Movie and received a swag bag of products from All Detergent, Horizon Organics, and Hallmark. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

We’re counting down until The Peanuts Movie comes out on November 6th, 2015.

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If it seems like you’re seeing images of The Peanuts Movie everywhere, it’s because everyone’s buzzing about it. And because big brands like All Detergent, Horizon Organics, and Hallmark have teamed up with the Peanuts Gang and are featuring their characters in their campaigns and products. We’re counting down until The Peanuts Movie comes out on November 6th, 2015.

When I attended Blogger Bash 2015 in July, I saw a full trailer of The Peanuts Movie and met the cast. During the presentation, I was glad to hear that the production team was committed to maintaining the integrity of the Peanuts comic and shows that we all recognize.

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My son has been a super fan of Snoopy FOREVER. I know it was because, every year, we made sure to watch every Peanuts holiday special from Halloween to Valentine’s Day. Therefore, our whole family is eagerly awaiting The Peanuts Movie.

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Are you going to see The Peanuts Movie with your family?

Long Island Apple and Pumpkin Picking at Harbes Farm

Today, we  truly had the best Fall visit to the pumpkin patch and orchard at Harbes Farm in Riverhead, Long Island. Despite the fact that it’s a beautiful Saturday during Columbus weekend, we had a fun and stress-less trip at Harbes.

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Harbes is Huge

We only visited the Riverhead location (there also are Harbes locations in  Mattituck and Jamesport). Here, we were able to do every single Fall activity on our list.

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We were disappointed with ourselves for arriving a half hour after it opened (at 10:30), but, with so many attractions,we had no problem with crowds. By what felt like a miracle, there still was plenty of parking when we arrived, and the lines didn’t appear until about 1 p.m.

At Harbes, there are enough activities to fill the day, all without a bouncy castle in sight!

Apple Picking

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Pay by the person ($8); each person gets a bag to fill. There are 24 varieties of apples in 15 acres, so there are plenty to pick. This was such a memorable experience for the kids.

Pumpkin Picking

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Pick your pumpkins off the vine and find all shapes sizes colors and varieties in the 4-acre patch.

Wine Tasting

What? Taste and purchase wine produced at the Harbes farm by the glass or bottle. This is an unusual but delightful little perk that makes a trip to the farm a fun adult activity.

Candle Making

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Dozens of different scented wax powders are lined up to guests to use to customize their own candles. My kids made their own and they’re so proud of their creations.

Apple Cider Donuts

Holy mole, these are the most amazing donuts I’ve ever tasted. Don’t bother with sticky messy candied apples. Have a donut and a roasted corn cob, and you’ll be good until dinner. It hit the spot for us!

Hayride

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Must do. Nice and quick so the line wasnever too long.

Robin Hood Corn Maze

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Adventure through the corn maze and even grab equipment in the maze to help Robin Hood defeat the Sheriff’s Companion.  At night there’s a Spooky Maze that sounds like a blast.

I’m so glad to have found a one-stop farm for Fall activities. Where do you go to pick your pumpkins?

Holiday Gift Guide: Preschool Learning Toys

It’s time to start testing and reviewing toys for the 2015 holiday season and passing my favorites on to my readers. The two important things I look for in toys for the kids are: (1) How engaging are they and (2) Do they have some educational value, especially for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) learning. So, here goes the first in a series of Holiday Gift Guides for kiddos.

We received these toys from  Educational Insights to review. All opinions are our own.

Magic Moves RainbowJam

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My 3-year-old daughter is a little diva, so I knew she’d love a microphone, but this toy is way more than that. When she presses the microphone on a color (anywhere!), a sensor on the bottom reads the color. Then the microphone plays a different note for each color. It’s fascinating even for adults to try the microphone on colors around the house.

The RainbowJam comes with a 16-page activity book that includes a color-coded keyboard for composing, and several original songs about the colors.

This is a fantastic toy to help preschoolers learn colors and encourage creativity. Plus, it provides hours of entertainment.

Design & Drill Flower Power Studio

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I LOVE this toy because it’s basically a power tool that inspires STEM learning with little girls. It’s not just a pink pretend drill, it’s a battery powered drill with two drill bits and a case that unfolds to become a flower board for creating designs with the included bolts. The Design & Drill comes with a guide for creating 12 patterns.
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IMG_8625My favorite things about the Design & Drill are that it encourages STEM learning, hand-eye coordination, spatial relations, and problem-solving skills. Plus, this is another toy that was a hit with my daughter and kept her busy FOREVER!

GeoSafari Jr. Jungle Crew Lab Set

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This 6-piece, animal-themed chemistry set comes with 10 hands-on activity cards with directions for how to conduct mini science demonstrations. We tried out the slime-making activity and had a great time. We still have many more activities to try.

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This is another great STEM learning toy that introduces key scientific principles and processes, supports early math skills and measurement, and provides hands-on experience with physical science and the senses.

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What do you think of these preschool toys? Do you have any good recommendations for learning toys, especially in STEM areas?

Fun Indoor/Outdoor Toys for Boys and Girls: New Reviews

I received sample toys to test and review. All opinions are my own.

I first saw these toys at Sweet Suite during Blogger Bash NYC 2015 and knew they would be on my holiday must-buy list. The Firetek Zeon Bow from Zing and the Unicorn Popper from Hog Wild are great toys for kids like mine (7 and 3 years old, respectively).

Firetek Zeon Bow

The Firetek Zeon Bow is a mini version of the Zeon Bow, but it’s not so mini. It launches light-up mini Zartz arrows up to 35 feet, and will stick to most flat surface targets with soft-foam suction cup tips.

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An arrow is launched by hooking it up to two elastic cords on the bow. This mechanism ensures that the user can’t replace the safe soft-tipped arrows with something more dangerous.

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The Zeon Bow is available in two colors, green and orange and the arrows light up for fun nighttime play. It’s meant for kids age 5+ and it will retail for $14.99.

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Unicorn Popper

The Unicorn Popper is an adorable little ball-launching toy for kids ages 4 and up. It comes with 6 cute rainbow balls that shoot up to 20 feet just by squeezing the unicorn’s belly.

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It was difficult for my 3 1/2 year old daughter to squeeze the unicorn hard enough to shoot the ball, but she was able to to it a few times. With just a little more strength, I think it will be easy; and I like that she’s strengthening her hand grip just by trying.

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The Unicorn Popper is in stores now and retails for $9.99.

 

parenting and lifestyle topics from a psychologist and mom of two