Monday, April 30, 2012

Star Wars Fighter Pods by Hasbro {Review & Giveaway}

Of all of the holidays that I am familiar with, I've learned of yet another one recently: May 4th is International Star Wars Day.

Did you know that? More importantly, do you know why that particular date was chosen? For the appropriate reason that May the 4th is short for "May the 4th be with you," a pun on the popular "May the force be with you" phrase. Who doesn't love a little Star Wars humor?

This year it is even easier to get in on the Star Wars fun by not only donning your gold bikini and putting your hair in buns, but by pulling out one of Hasbro's newest additions, Star Wars Fighter Pods.

Star Wars Fighter Pods

New from Star Wars, Fighter Pods are miniature collectible versions of the characters from all six Star Wars films and The Clone Wars animated series. Including battle pods so that they're ready for action, the tiny characters are used to knock down as many of your opponent's figures as possible by spinning, launching or rolling the pods into battle. Can anyone say intergalactic bowling?

Although my kids aren't all that familiar with Star Wars, I had no doubt that they would be excited about setting these little characters up and knocking them down in some head-to-head battling play.

Star Wars Fighter Pods review

The Star Wars Fighter Pods Millennium Falcon Pack included eight figurines (one of them was concealed in the vehicle, so it was a surprise!), four pods and the Millennium Falcon itself. Pulling them out, we were amazed at just how small and cute they were!

Star Wars action figures

Of the figures, two are exclusive to this set and we were excited to see that those were Chewbacca and our favorite robotic C-3PO. Together with R2-D2, these are two of the classic characters that have been a huge hit every since my childhood and seeing the in miniature form with such detail has been a big hit!

C-3PO R2-D2

With no set rules for how to play with the Fighter Pods, we've loved the open-ended fun and entertainment that has happened with them. Spin! Launch! Roll! By placing the characters right into the clear pods, we've moved them in all sorts of ways to try to knock down each other's figures while in "battle," leading to laughing and giggling each time.

Star Wars Fighter Pods

No matter how you play with these micro heroes, there are plenty of mega battles that result! Any Star Wars fan will love seeing the iconic characters get a collectible new gaming twist, and the Fighter Pods are an easy, portable option to provide hours of fun and play anytime and anywhere. You can even attach the small pods together to form a bigger battle with more power!

With more than 100 Star Wars Fighter Pods figures available in a unique new style from all six Star Wars films and The Clone Warms animated series, kids will surely want to collect them all. Due to the small size, these sets are recommended for children ages 4+ who want to set them up and knock them down for endless battling play.

The Millennium Falcon Set retails for only $9.99 and would be a great starter set. Purchasing options range from Mystery Bags (containing two surprise figures and one pod) for $2.99 up to a Snowspeeder vs. AT-AT 16-figure pack for $19.99, so it's easy and affordable to get started collecting these cute little guys soon! Find out more information or make a purchase right from Hasbro or on Amazon.

Or, thanks to Hasbro's generosity, one person will find out that imagination is all you need to be entertained by these miniature classic characters, because...

One lucky person will receive a 16-pack of figures and Fighter Pods and 2 Fighter Pods Mystery Bags from Hasbro!

Star Wars Fighter Pods giveaway

(Enter with the Rafflecopter form below - if you don't see the form, click here! If you have any problems entering, there is a video tutorial found here that can help.)

Little Tikes TikeStix Clubhouse Building Set {Review & Giveaway}

I'm pretty sure that it is a childhood right of passage to turn common household objects and furniture into innovative and entertaining creations. Who didn't grow up using couch cushions, chairs and a sheet to create a fort? Or climbed into a cardboard box and turned it instantly into a boat or a castle?

These days, however, things have been made just a little easier for kids thanks to the companies that create playful, engaging, iconic products that are fun, durable and loved by children and parents alike. Which is why building and constructing will never be the same thanks to Little Tikes and their TikeStix Clubhouse building set.

Little Tikes Tikestix

Featuring 50 sturdy, interlocking pieces, the Little Tikes TikeStix Clubhouse is a creative, inspiring, innovative construction set that provides a way for kids of all ages to think critically, enhance their motor skills, and build the creation of their dreams. What could be better?

When the large, colorful box arrived, my kids were clamoring to get close to it for a glimpse of the entertainment that was awaiting them inside.

Little Tikes Tikestix Clubhouse

Pulling out the pieces, we found a variety of different sizes and shapes (made out of extremely durable plastic), eight yellow clips, and a piece of green fabric. All that was left to do was start building!

Little Tikes Tikestix pieces

With a handful of ideas included with the TikeStix (and even more found on the Little Tikes website), we had to start with the classic clubhouse/fort. As we began connecting and constructing, it was easily apparent that the large pieces fit well in little hands...

kids building toy

...although at age 3, Little Sister B needed help giving them a strong push to make them click securely into place (TikeStix are recommended for ages 4+). However, once each piece was fully connected to the next, they held together strongly to build vertically and horizontally into the walls and roof that we needed.

Using the clips to attach the green fabric across the top...

construction toy

...the girls were thrilled to stand back and see the completed results. It didn't take more than a minute before they were in and out, pretending and imagining and coming up with all sorts of adventures, tales and stories of what they could do inside.

building a fort

Over the course of the TikeStix being in our home, they have come together to become all sorts of creations. At first we tried out more of the provided ideas, such as the tent, airplane, spider, truck garage, and canoe...

construction toy boat
Paddle! Paddle!
...but I have especially loved watching my kids come up with their own clever possibilities. It seemed as though each time they took the TikeStix apart, they put them back together in a new, original way! Little Sister B had a friend that was nearly life size...

Little Tikes Tikestix review

...and the girls have had a great time turning these pieces into any number of animals. The most popular seemed to be the "bug with many legs..."

Little Tikes Tikestix

...and some sort of creature that looked to be part bug, part rhinoceros and maybe part turtle?

Little Tikes tikestix

For use indoors or outdoors, the Little Tikes TikeStix Clubhouse is a unique set that takes the simplicity of building blocks and transforms them into large, easy to hold parts for kids to build a world that they can literally fit into. Whether used alone or with multiple children, this is one box that will be pulled out time and time again (I love that the box can actually be used for storage)!

More information about this innovative toy can be found on the Little Tikes website, along with a variety of other large and small TikeStix sets that can be purchased separately but are all interchangeable with each other. The TikeStix Clubhouse retails for $49.99 and truly does lead to endless construction possibilities!

And, thanks to the generosity of Little Tikes, one person will be able to create just about anything that they can dream of as well, because...

One lucky person will win a Tikestix Clubhouse building set
from Little Tikes!

Little Tikes giveaway

(Enter with the Rafflecopter form below - if you don't see the form, click here! If you have any problems entering, there is a video tutorial found here that can help.)

Saturday, April 28, 2012


The lucky winner of a Rubbermaid Hidden Recycler is...

Congratulations, Unknown!

The lucky winner of three great MEGA Bloks Chuggington Sets is...

Congratulations, Janet W!

The lucky winner of Bop It! XT from Hasbro is...

Congratulations, Hotsnotty2!

The three lucky winners of a coupon for free Annie's Organic Rising Crust Pizza are...

Congratulations, Christine Jessamine, Kristen and Sunnymay!

The lucky winner of a delicious Brownie Sampler from is...

Congratulations, lorialcorn2006!

The lucky winner of a $50 gift certificate to is...

Congratulations, Lynda Del!

Thanks to everyone who entered these fun giveaways! Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Vacationing and Celebrating the Christmas Spirit Year-Round with Elf Magic

In what has become our annual spring tradition, recently Big Sister E and I packed our bags and flew down to Arizona to spend a week in the warmth and sunshine with my mom.

This was our third year of just the two of us and although I entertained the thought of bringing Little Sister B along this time, it just wasn't in the cards for her quite yet. While Big Sister E is an expert traveler — one who is completely predictable and very dependable — Little Sister B is still a little too much of a wild card for me to try to handle on my own. Hopefully next year!

For now, the trip was just as relaxing and laid-back as we had hoped. No need to rush off and do too much sightseeing, as we've seen it. The mountains, the cacti, the sunsets; we already know they're beautiful. Instead, we took in the local wildlife, giggling at the cute ground squirrels popping up wherever we went...

ground squirrel

...and managed to get up close and personal with the friendly giraffes.

feeding a giraffe

We also visited a handful of parks in the area so that Big Sister E could burn off some energy, and found that Arizona has some much more modern and interesting playgrounds than we see here at home.

playground climbing equipment

My favorite aspect of the trip? Doing what I like to do best, of course.

relaxing by the pool

Ahhhh. Now this is the life.

But... then a strange thing happened.

I shouldn't have been surprised, I suppose, as Big Sister E had been recently talking about our Caribbean vacation and how much fun it had been to have our Elf Magic Elf and Reindeer, Tripp and Sam, show up there unannounced. We had then gone on to discuss how typically Santa only sends his Elves out to visit around the holidays and, when Big Sister E had questioned me asking what they do in the off-season, it made me pause.

That's a good question. Maybe Santa lets the elves leave the North Pole for short visits if there are kids that hope hard enough for it?

Which is why when we showed up at the pool the next day and I went to sit in my favorite chair, I should have been prepared for Big Sister E to point excitedly to what we found there. Or rather, who we found there already enjoying the sunshine.

swimming pool relaxation

That's right, our favorite duo had returned just in time to come along on yet another trip. This time it seemed as though they were a little more prepared for the heat, as instead of mostly hanging around inside, they popped up during the day when we would least expect it.

Heading out for a stroll? There they were, checking out the cacti.


Going to play at another playground? Apparently elves and reindeer like to kick back and play as well.

playground swings

Leaving for a drive and enjoying the beautiful scenery? Don't look now, but I think these two are really starting to become big fans of the desert.

Arizona sightseeing

Although Tripp and Sam did spend quite a bit of the daytime hours sleeping (they were especially exhausted this trip with all of their adventures out in the heat), it was a good thing that I had coincidentally packed our magic snowflakes in our suitcase so that the nighttime magic and humorous antics could occur. We always love waking up and seeing just what sort of mischief our little friends have gotten into!

After Big Sister E and I arrived home, we found that our pals were even more worn out than usual, so it made sense that they needed extra rest to build their energy back up. Fortunately, Tripp had planned ahead and brought his Snowflake Sleeping Bag and Nightshirt & Slippers, which made for the perfect little resting spot for both he and Sam.

Elf Magic sleeping
FYI: puffy Elf slippers are the cutest things ever.
When it was time for Tripp and Sam to return home to the North Pole, Big Sister E was quick to point out that they must have really enjoyed the warm Arizona weather, as instead of his usual holiday outfit, Tripp was donning his Fun & Play shorts and t-shirt sets. What a cute way to be comfortable and stylish in everyday wear - something every Elf needs, right?

Elf Magic Elfits

The morning that we awoke and found that Tripp and Sam had indeed left for the North Pole, Big Sister E and Little Sister B were a bit disappointed. After all, our holiday friends had brought a little surprise cheer to our lives and thinking about how far away December is made us all a little sad that we probably wouldn't see them until then.

But... another surprise!

After finding Tripp and Sam's sleeping spot empty, we found a curious little friend waiting for us instead. Look! A MINI Elf! The girls cried.

Elf Magic Pocket Elves

Although not magical like his 10" counterpart, this 6" Pocket Elf was just the thing to ease the transition of saying good-bye to our friends by serving as an identical reminder. The girls have loved seeing that this little guy came in his own Pocket-Sized Santa Sack, that he has a snowflake embroidered over his heart (proving his is one of Santa's authentic Pocket Elves), and that his clothes are removable just like Tripp's.

What's his name, Mama?

He doesn't have one yet. You get to decide. What should his name be?

And that's how James has come to be a tag-along buddy that plays, sleeps and cuddles with the girls as they wait for Tripp and Sam to return next winter.

Elf Magic review

Have you started an Elf Magic tradition in your house yet? If not, be prepared for this holiday season by visiting and learning about the wacky elfcapades that could surprise and delight your family.

If you are fortunate to already have an Elf friend, you need to check out all of the adorable Elfits outfits and accessories that are currently available... not to mention returning back in August to see even more new Elfits and the accessories that are coming out for the Magic Reindeer friends as well!

Whether your family enjoys an Elf at Christmas (or for a surprise visit throughout the year — maybe at Grandma's house or while camping?) or a Pocket Elf to spend time all year-round, the Elf Magic tradition is one that you'll want to take part in. As well as at, Elf Magic can be found on Facebook and Twitter as well.

(Other than Tripp, Sam, James and their Elfits, accessories and accompaniments arriving by sleigh at our door, we were not provided anything or enticed to do this review in any way. This post is solely a recount of the joy and fun that Elf Magic can bring each holiday season as well as throughout the year.)

Prepare for Battle: Classic Battleship Movie Edition & KRE-O Battleship Combat Chopper Set {Review & Giveaway}

Hasbro logo
As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. So, although that rain is great for those growing seeds, it also means that families everywhere need to be prepared to spend a few rainy days indoors this month. After all, parents know that too much time spent sitting around bored inside can lead to the rainy day blues, so this spring it is time to be prepared by picking up a great game!

And it doesn't take long to figure out that from traditional board games for large groups to innovative, handheld games for one, no one knows how to better bring the fun and entertainment of gaming to our lives more than Hasbro.

family board games

This May, the epic action of the classic naval combat game will unfold in theaters nationwide with the release of Universal Pictures' Battleship, starring Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson and recording superstar, Rihanna.

However, the live action doesn't have to end with the film, as young naval commanders can go head-to-head with the alien fleet in Hasbro's Classic Battleship Movie Edition game while recreating their favorite actions scenes from the big screen with the KRE-O Battleship Combat Chopper set.

Classic Battleship Movie Edition KRE-O Combat Chopper

Having grown up with the original Battleship, I have lots of great memories of this game and was excited to see the changes that have been made with this new version. As I pulled it out of the box, I felt as though I was already having flashbacks of the laughter and good times spent calling out, "Argh! You sunk my battleship!"

Classic Battleship Movie Edition

By taking the original search-and-destroy tactics and moving them out of this world, Classic Battleship Movie Edition allows players to choose to command either the Navy or Alien fleet for their attacks. In this game, not only can you hunt down your opponent, you have the opportunity to unleash brand new super weapon cards to destroy them with attacks reminiscent of those from the big screen!

Including the two game units, five Navy ships, five Alien ships, two Decks of Special Ops cards, red & white pegs, and a rules and reference card, play begins with each contender at the helm in the fight for the future of the planet.

Classic Battleship Movie Edition review

After deciding which player is commanding the Alien Fleet and which is defending the Human Navy, the game begins with the familiar job of scanning the battlefield for locations to conceal your highly-detailed, movie-based ships. Then play continues as you brace yourself for the intensity of battle as you compete with the enemy to sink their ships while protecting and keeping yours afloat.

Battleship game

As a new twist to the Movie Edition, this Battleship game allows players to choose from three game variations for edge-of-your seat excitement. As well as playing the traditional game where the participants take turns calling out locations (A-5! F-7!), this version also includes the Salvo game and the Special Ops cards.

In Salvo, players are allowed as many shots in one turn as they have ships still afloat in the game - so if they still have three ships protected, they are given three guesses. Or, when using the movie-based Special Ops cards, players are given special powers depending on which strategy cards they receive.

While we haven't tried this method of play yet (my kids are still a little young to grasp just the regular method of play), I can see how older players would enjoy being able to use powers such as Blitz, Scan, and Reveal to help plot to how to conquer their enemy.


Providing just as much entertainment, skill and strategy (and a bit of luck) as the original, this innovative game is a great addition to any game library. Designed for two players ages 7 and up, the two Battleship boards even attach together to form its own convenient carrying case, making it easy to wage your own battles at home or on the go. We did feel as though the plastic is a little thinner than in the past and there were times that the boat pegs needed a little extra force to be removed from the holes, but in all, it has been a lot of fun!

Retailing for $19.99, Classic Battleship Movie Edition is available for purchase at mass merchandise retailers nationwide, directly from Hasbro or on Amazon.

Commanding your own fleet in Battleship isn't the only way that Hasbro has allowed kids of all ages to recreate their favorite action scenes from the big screen. With the 174-piece KRE-O Battleship Combat Chopper set, kids can pretend to take their missions to the skies, complete with a KREON fighter pilot and KREON alien figure.

KRE-O Battleship Combat Chopper

As my kids were a little too young (and impatient) to follow the instruction booklet to put this chopper together, I found myself doing much of the work. Fortunately, the illustrated directions were easy to follow...

Lego instructions

...and it wasn't long before our pilot, alien and chopper were constructed. Then it was up to my girls and their imaginations to come up with plenty of adventures and missions! Plus, we found that it didn't take much more than a push on the lever to spin the rotor blades and launch two firing missiles at incoming alien attacks – suddenly we were action heroes right from the movie!

Battleship Legos

While my kids were on the young side for this set as well (it is recommended for ages 7-14), they have still had a great time constructing (and deconstructing) this Combat Chopper and coming up with a variety of action-packed adventures for this aircraft, its pilot and the alien.

LEGO helicopter

Whether the child in your life wants to imagine an aerial battle, complete with firepower, missiles and an enemy or they would rather take their Chopper on a leisurely flight to visit Grandma's house, this set is all about open-ended fun. For any child that is a fan of building with these familiar small blocks, they'll be thrilled that this set fits with other leading brands as well – so there's no limit on where their creativity can take them.

Retailing for $19.99, the KRE-O Battleship Combat Chopper set can also be purchased at mass merchandise retailers nationwide, from Hasbro or found on Amazon.

Do you have a Battleship fan in your life? Thanks to the generosity of Hasbro, one person will be able to bring home and action and adventure of these great new additions, because...

One lucky person will win Classic Battleship Movie Edition game and a KRE-O Battleship Combat Chopper set from Hasbro! 

(Enter with the Rafflecopter form below - if you don't see the form, click here! If you have any problems entering, there is a video tutorial found here that can help.)