Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Create a Toy-tastic Easter Basket with VTech Games and Toys {Prize Pack Giveaway!}

VTech logo
Although it seemed to take Mother Nature a little while to catch up, signs of spring have been in the stores for quite a while now. Whereas retailers used to have stock in snow shovels and triple-warm gloves, shelves are now filled with flower and vegetable seeds and pastel plastic eggs by the dozen.

But while selecting which kind of tomato to grow in our yard is a task that fills me with hope, looking at aisle after aisle of Easter candy does not. Do my kids need yet another basket of candy and chocolate that is just going to get tucked away in a cupboard and, most likely, slowly eaten by me?

Not this year, they don't. Because there's no better way to fill an Easter basket with creative, fun, entertainment-providing products than by turning to the always-unique and innovative items from VTech.

VTech Easter

Since 1980, VTech has been developing high-quality, educational products that enrich children's development, from birth to preteen, through fun and smart play. Their award-winning items have long displayed why VTech is a world leader of age-appropriate learning products and this spring is no exception!

So, when it comes to finding the perfect candy-alternatives for Easter baskets, I wasn't surprised when VTech came through with exactly that.

VTech review

Having adored their InnoTab Learning App Tablets since their arrival, Big Sister E and Little Sister B were extremely thrilled to add the InnoTab Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First software cartridges (MSRP $24.99 each) to their collection. These are two characters that they both adore!

VTech InnoTab games

I love the way that VTech makes their cartridges compatible with any version of the InnoTab, so no matter if your child has the original InnoTab or the newest InnoTab 3S, they are able to partake in all of the games and activities.

Simply pop in the Doc McStuffins software (ages 4-7) and your child is ready to learn reading, vocabulary, observation, logic, memory, math, visual skills, creativity, healthy living and more! From giving toys a check-up, reading an e-book about Lambie and Doc, coloring in Doc's Big Book of Boo-Boos, taking pictures with different beloved characters, remembering dance moves, and much more, there's no doubt that the Doc is in!

My girls can't get enough of being a part of the Doc McStuffins gang and have been returning to fix the ouchies time and time again!

Doc McStuffins VTech InnoTab

When they aren't mending boo-boos with Doc, Big Sister E and Little Sister B have also been excited about diving into the world of Enchancia with the InnoTab Sofia the First software cartridge (ages 3-6).

Containing seven different learning games and two creative activities, this software manages to teach counting, colors, shapes, patterns, problem solving and more, all while keeping kids entertained as they help Sofia get to class on Jumble Day at Royal Prep.

As with all of VTech's great InnoTab cartridges, this one includes a wide variety of options for children to choose from each and every time they turn it on. Take Flying Horse Riding Class with Sofia and Minimus, create magic paintings with Sofia in Art Class (and tap the magic wand to watch them come to life), learn how Sofia becomes a princess in Story Mode with the interactive e-book, take pictures with favorite characters and scenes, and more.

What better way to spend some time learning and laughing than by marveling at all that is topsy-turvy with Princess Sofia and her mixed up classrooms?

Sofia the First VTech InnoTab

Both of these cartridges have been entertaining Big Sister E and Little Sister B since their arrival (which was just in time for our recent vacation to Disneyland) and they were perfect for quiet play on the planes and during downtime!

InnoTab to go

As well as innovative new InnoTab software cartridges, VTech has plenty of other creative and fun Easter baskets ideas for kids of all ages.

While we weren't familiar with their adorable Go! Go! Smart Wheels Vehicles (MSRP $7.99), we were immediately impressed with the way that these electronic play vehicles are perfectly sized for little hands (they are designed for ages 1-5).

VTech Go Go Vehicles

Available in 12 different vehicle options — car, van, truck, ambulance, fire truck, police car, tow truck, helicopter, cement mixer, tractor and two race cars — each Go! Go! Smart Wheels easily combines entertainment with education in each bright, colorful piece.

Little ones are able to learn about different letters and vehicle names through pretend play, while having fun with the light-up button that activates music and sounds. The fun never ends!

This adorable Go! Go! Smart Wheels Tractor plays melodies, sounds, teaches the letter T and would even say over forty unique educational phrases if interacted with the SmartPoint locations on the many Go! Go! Smart Wheels playsets (each sold separately). It all adds up to playtime with miles of learning!

Go! Go! Smart Wheels

When it comes to interactive fun for slightly older kids, however, my girls have both loved playing with Zipp the T-Rex from the Switch & Go Dinos Turbo Assortment (MSRP $9.99).

Designed for ages 3-8 years, these transforming dinos switch from being a ferocious beast to a rugged vehicle and back again in seconds! On top of that, kids can rev up the action with the flywheels that let the dinos race and roar across the floor while listening to the realistic vehicle and dinosaur sounds and phrases!

I can't stop laughing at how much fun Big Sister E and Little Sister B have had transforming Zipp back and forth between being a super-sleek race car to a scary dinosaur with razor-sharp teeth... as well as pressing the talk button to learn interesting dinosaur facts and the sound button for great effects!

Switch & Go Dinos

The range of Switch & Go Dinos now features six new characters, including Dart the Triceratops, Zipp the T-Rex, Spur the Stegosaurus, Fray the Ankylosaurus, Cruz the Spinosaurus and Spinner the Stygimoloch, and really do combine the best of both worlds in terms of cars and dinosaurs.

My kids haven't stopped transforming Zipp back and forth and marveling at the way that he can be an electronic, fierce dinosaur or a race 'n ride car so quickly and easily!

Switch & Go Dinos review

This year, instead of loading up on chocolate and candy, head over to the VTech website to see how you can create a toy-tastic basket that will help extend your little one's learning and fun with so many of their best-sellers that your kids will surely love!

VTech consults with a panel of experts on the development of its learning products and supports you as your child continues to grow and reach new developmental milestones by offering a variety of age-appropriate toys. What better gift could they (and you) ask for in their basket?

Be sure to stay connected with VTech on Facebook and Twitter and, thanks to their generosity, one person will soon see the joy and learning that comes with these great products as well, because...

One lucky person will win a VTech Prize Pack* (ARV $68)!

VTech giveaway
*Prize Pack includes (1) InnoTab Doc McStuffins software cartridge, (1) InnoTab Sofia the First software cartridge, (1) Switch & Go Dinos Turbo and (1) Go! Go! Smart Wheels Vehicle.

The VTech product, gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by VTech.

HEALTHY ESSENTIALS Products Have You Covered for Earth Day! {#Moms4JNJConsumer}

Johnson and Johnson logo
With Earth Day right around the corner (April 22nd, 2014), there is no better time of year to reflect on what steps we are each taking to do our part in helping the world be a better place.

We all know to recycle our cans, bottles and paper, but are you striving to take things just a little bit further? And not just with empty containers from the kitchen, but all over the house?

One room that is often overlooked is the bathroom. Just take a look at the number of items in recyclable containers — shampoos, conditioners, lotions, contact solution, cleaners, mouthwash, skincare, makeup and much more — and make the effort to keep them from going in the garbage can when they are empty!

As well as remembering to recycle packaging from the bathroom, another measure that can be taken to help the earth is to start with products from companies who care and do all that they can as well. That's just another reason that I love HEALTHY ESSENTIALS products from Johnson & Johnson!

Healthy Essentials products

As well as producing only the best products for the entire family, J&J embodies sustainability in everything they do, from the sourcing of their suppliers' materials to the formulation of each item to reducing the footprint from every single package.

I don't know about you, but I adore knowing that the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS products that we already use and love are also made in the most efficient, least wasteful possibly way!

J&J sustainability

Right now is the perfect time to stock up on your favorite HEALTHY ESSENTIALS products as well, as you can save over $55 when you visit and sign up for program coupons and offers.

Just look at a selection of the fantastic deals that you'll find there!
  • Save $1.00 on any JOHNSON'S Baby Intense Moisture Cream
  • Save $1.00 on any LUBRIDERM product (6oz or larger)
  • Save $1.00 on any (1) CLEAN & CLEAR product (excludes trial and travel sizes)
  • Save $1.00 on any (1) NEUTROGENA Sun product (exclude trial size)
  • Save $1.00 on any (1) LISTERINE SMART RINSE Anti-cavity Mouthwash, 500 ml
  • Save $1.00 on any (1) REACH Total Care Floss, REACH Gentle Gum Care Floss, REACH Dentotape or REACH Access Flosser
In addition to the great savings you can find on HEALTHY ESSENTIALS products, you can support Earth Day by taking part in the wonderful initiatives sponsored by Donate A Photo.

donate a photo app

The free Donate A Photo (DAP) app allows consumers to make a difference by raising money and awareness for causes that they care about through one simple act – taking a photo. For every photo shared through Donate A Photo, Johnson & Johnson will donate one dollar to one of its non-profit partners, which each consumer can choose from a rotating list.

You can donate one photo a day, every day and make a difference by raising money and awareness for causes you care about. Whether your picture helps fix up a public park, get medicine for an infant, or help kids play sports safely, your quick and easy act will be contributing to a great cause.

donate a photo

Ready to celebrate all things Earth Day? As well as donating your photos and filling your home with your favorite products, you can also join in the upcoming HEALTHY ESSENTIALS Twitter Party all about shareable moments with friends and family — anywhere from online to in the store to your own medicine cabinet!
  • What: #Moms4JNJConsumer
  • When: [Edit: This Twitter Party has been rescheduled, so stay tuned for a new date and time!]
  • Prizes: There will be 15 prizes throughout the party, randomly chosen from all eligible correct responses to trivia questions. Each prize includes an assortment of Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies HEALTHY ESSENTIALS products with an estimated retail value of $50!
Hip, hip hooray for Earth Day!

Help support and protect a clean environment by visiting this month for printable coupons, tools, tips (including great tips for recycling in the bathroom), Earth Month content, and so much more for all the products you and your family love. You can also find recycling solutions near you as well as additional tips and facts on what and where to recycle.

Earth Day

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.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Relieve Allergies with the New Febreze Allergen Reducer!

Febreze logo
Although spring can't fully arrive soon enough for my liking, I know that for many people the excitement is not so great. Where I see warm weather and spring cleaning, they see a higher number of particles in the air and increased allergies, neither of which are a cause of joy.

In fact, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), approximately 50 million Americans suffer from all types of allergies and experts agree that seasonal allergies are starting earlier, and pollen count is on the rise each year.

But aside from suffering through the coughing, sneezing, sniffling, stuffy head and more, what is there to do? Fortunately, Febreze has launched the new Febreze Allergen Reducer just in time to help members of households across the country have a happier and healthier spring.

Febreze Allergen Reducer

Febreze has done it again! This new product is designed to not only eliminate odors but to also reduce up to 95% of inanimate allergens from pollen, pet dander, and dust mite matter that cause discomfort when breathed in from the air.

As these allergens can become trapped in fabrics throughout our homes (even with thorough cleaning), the Trap & Lock technology found in Febreze Allergen Reducer products can keep the allergens on soft fabrics, such as couches, curtains and carpets, from becoming airborne.

At the same time, these high quality products come in a variety of scents to eliminate odors and freshen with a light, clean scent... or, for family members sensitive to fragrances, there are unscented options as well.

How does your home measure up?

North American Allergen Infographic

While I feel quite fortunate to not have to deal with allergies, I know plenty of friends and family members that do, so I was happy to have a chance to see the power of these new Febreze products in person.

After all, I have been cringing thinking about the above infographic and the number of allergens that must be throughout my entire house!

Febreze Allergen Reducer products

The Febreze Allergen Reducer products couldn't be much easier to use! Simply squeeze the easy-to-use trigger on fabrics, carpets and soft surfaces until slightly damp and let Febreze's innovative technology do the rest.

The idea of pollen, dander and dust mites floating in the air isn't one that I want when I'm inviting people into my home this spring, so knowing that Febreze Allergen Reducer products instead can work to contain those allergens on soft fabrics like a net (making them much easier to eliminate through vacuuming) is a welcome relief!

Febreze Allergen Reducer spray

It's really pretty amazing at what a difference these sprays can make!

Febreze Allergen Reducer Fabric Refresher is available in Clean Splash and Unscented, retailing for $6.29 for a 16.9oz bottle and $4.29 for a 9.7oz bottle. Febreze Allergen Reducer Air Effects comes in Clean Splash, Freshly Clean and Soft & Light scents and also has a suggested price of $4.29 for a 9.7oz spray.

Isn't it time you lessened the dread of the upcoming allergy season for you, members of your family or guests who may visit? Find out more about the new Febreze Allergen Reducers and how they can help eliminate odors and reduce indoor allergens by visiting and connecting with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Febreze provided product samples and compensation for my time writing this post, however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Get Kids Excited About Science with Nancy B’s Science Club Microscope and Activity Journal {Review & Giveaway}

Educational Insights logo
While my daughters enjoy playing with games and toys that span a huge variety of topics and activities, I am always on the lookout for ones that incorporate education in with the entertainment. After all, why not slip in a little learning while having fun, right?

Which is why I couldn't have been more excited and impressed to be introduced to the large selection of high quality products that are perfect for home or school for children of all ages available from Educational Insights.

Educational Insights products

Based in Southern California, Educational Insights manufactures playful products with serious educational value, including subject-specific classroom products, teacher resources, educational toys, and games. As their products are designed by seasoned educators and parents who know that, first and foremost, learning must be fun, you know that you're only getting the best of the best!

Which is just what we found when we were able to try out Nancy B's Science Club Microscope and Activity Journal for ourselves.

Nancy B's microscope

Designed for ages 8 and up, Nancy B's Microscope is the perfect product to help encourage and/or maintain a girl's interest in science throughout the year. This 2-in-1 light and dissecting microscope is plenty durable to withstand being handled by children, yet functions and performs like a true piece of scientific equipment.

Both of my girls' eyes lit up as soon as they saw "that cool science thing!" so it wasn't long before we had this great microscope and keepsake journal out of the box.

Educational Insights Nancy B's microscope

Immediately we noticed that the small size and lightweight feel of this microscope makes it even easier to transport (or travel with), and that just about everything we needed to get started was included right in the packaging.

While I installed three AAA batteries (not included), the girls excitedly examined many of the tools that come with this Nancy B product. Tweezers, scalpel, stirring rod, specimen vials, slides... they couldn't wait to get started!

kids microscope tools

I love that Educational Insights made this microscope complex enough that users are truly able to observe, experiment and learn with it, yet the controls are uncomplicated and easy to use.

Once turned on, it only takes a matter of seconds to switch the objective lenses from seeing samples 30x to 100x to 400x larger than they would appear to the naked eye! Then, by peering into the eyepiece and adjusting the focusing knob, you're on your way to exploring and magnifying with ease.

children's microscope

At the same time, the activity journal includes a great introduction to using the microscope as well as 22 pages of fun science experiments and activities for kids!

Big Sister E, like most kids, loves being able to use items or follow directions that seem "grown up," so she has been engrossed with looking at all of the different ideas. What child wouldn't think it was extremely cool to observe the cells of an onion, dissect drops of liquid or discover microorganisms in the water from a nearby pond, stream or lake?

Nancy B's microscope activity book

Unsurprisingly, both of my daughters have been enthralled with all that they can discover and observe with Nancy B’s Science Club Microscope and hardly a day has passed that they haven't been on the hunt for different things to place on their blank slides.

From skin cells to dirt and hair to leaves, grass and feathers, they've been hypothesizing, discussing and learning all on their own!

kids microscope

Whether using this microscope to introduce more science and microbiology into your household or to encourage a child who already has a love for it, Nancy B’s Science Club Microscope is a great tool to have around. I can already picture my kids packing this with them for a future beach vacation or to bring to Grandma's house to begin exploring entirely new worlds!

Plus, while this microscope is smaller in stature and made from mainly plastic, this is the perfect way to find out if one of my kids has a hidden passion for science. If it turns out that Educational Insights has opened up a new adoration and truly wants to pursue it further, then we can always look at larger, heavier duty products for future years.

Nancy B's microscope review

For now, however, Nancy B’s Science Club Microscope and Activity Journal retails for only $39.99 and has already proven why it is an award-winning piece of equipment that is perfect for kids!

Speaking of which, Nancy B's does more than simply encourage the love of science with high quality products, they are also currently hosting a Summer Science Scholarship to make even more science dreams come true!

scholarship form

That's right, from now until May 1st, 2014, children ages 8 to 17 can enter to win $500 plus five science tools — what a fantastic way to appreciate science even more!

Find out much more about all of the amazing brands and engaging products that Educational Insights has to offer by visiting them at and connecting with them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. You'll also want to sign up for Education Insights' newsletter for special offers, promotions and more!

And, thanks to their generosity, one person will soon be able to see the wonder, curiosity and love of science grow on their child's face as well, because...

One lucky person will win a Nancy B’s Science Club Microscope and Activity Journal from Educational Insights!

microscope giveaway

A big thank you to Educational Insights for providing a Nancy B's Microscope for me to review as well as for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.