Monday, August 31, 2015

Back to School with Bakery Style Cookie Mixes from Krusteaz {Review & Giveaway}

 Krusteaz logo
With Back to School season in full swing, parents everywhere are simultaneously sighing with relief at the return to the set schedule while also wistfully wanting to savor just one more day of sleeping in and having spontaneous fun. The final moments of summer always seem to get lost in the shuffle of gearing up for the school year, don't they?

But aside from making more weekend plans, going on one last vacation or instituting a mandatory family dinner plan, how else can you grab hold of those last minutes of summer while also amping up the excitement for the academic year ahead?

In the kitchen, of course! Spending time baking with kids can be one of the most fun and rewarding experiences (not to mention that the end result is usually pretty tasty, too!) and I don't think that I've ever met a child that doesn't love rolling up their sleeves and helping out as assistant chef.

Need a little more inspiration for some yummy lunchtime or after school snacks? Then check out the nearly limitless number of delicious options available from Krusteaz!

Krusteaz foods

Delighting families for generations, Krusteaz began back in 1932 with an easy-to-make pie crust and has since expanded to include pancakes, biscuits, muffins, brownies, breads, desserts and much more.

Whether you reach for one of their classic favorites or one of the new additions to their product line, you can be confident that they have included only the finest and freshest ingredients and that the result will be a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Recently Krusteaz has increased their collection of convenient, high quality boxed baking mixes yet again with the introduction of their new Bakery Style Cookie Mixes. Who wouldn't head straight into the kitchen with mixes that produce bakery-quality results and awesome accessories and tools like these?

Krusteaz Bakery Style Cookie Mixes

As always, I adore the way that Krusteaz baking mixes can be used as-is or can be incorporated into any number of great recipes for even more easy and delicious options and these new Bakery Style Cookie Mixes are no exception.

Case in point, the delectable Krusteaz Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookie Mix. It took us less than five minutes to add butter and an egg and have things mixed up and into the oven.

Krusteaz baking

Around 10 minutes later the result was hot, fresh and distinctively savory. Did I mention that they took basically zero work or effort?

brown sugar oatmeal cookies

However, had the girls and I wanted to put in a little more time to produce something a bit more creative and divine, we could have done so with this Krusteaz Bakery Style Cookie Mix to produce Cookie Topped Baked Apples.

Cookie Topped Baked Apples


1 package Krusteaz Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookie Mix
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup raisins, optional
6-8 apples


Preheat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, blend cookie mix and butter until crumbled dough forms.

Slice unpeeled apples in half lengthwise; remove seeds and core. Place apples skin-side down in lightly greased 13x9x2-inch pan.

Top apples with crumbled dough.

Bake 23-27 minutes or until toothpick easily pierces apple.

Serve warm with ice cream, if desired. Makes 12-16 servings.

Cookie Topped Baked Apples

Now we're talking, right? YUM! I can only imagine the looks on my kids' faces if they arrived home from school to find this creative and unique snack waiting for them!

With everything from classic pancakes to Pumpkin Spice Muffin Mix, there's a Krusteaz mix for everything. Whether you're like me and follow the recipe or you're more of a creative baker — it's very easy to take any Krusteaz mix and whip up your own creation — the end result is something that will always wow family and friends, whether for a holiday or simply for a sweet treat after school!

Be sure to keep an eye out for all of the new Krusteaz Bakery Style Cookie Mixes including Triple Chocolate Chunk, Meyer Lemon, Double Peanut Butter, Brown Sugar Oatmeal, Oatmeal Scotchie, and Butter Vanilla Sugar the next time you head to the store. Your family (and your taste buds) will thank you!

Also be sure to head over to to find out more about all of their incredible products, while also connecting with them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. And, thanks to their generosity, one person will be even more prepared for some delicious baking for the Back to School season as well, because...

One lucky person will win a Krusteaz Back to School Prize Pack*!

Krusteaz giveaway

*Prize Pack includes (1) each of the new Krusteaz Bakery Style Cookie Mixes: Triple Chocolate Chunk, Meyer Lemon, Double Peanut Butter, Brown Sugar Oatmeal, Oatmeal Scotchie, and Butter Vanilla Sugar, as well as a Krusteaz apron, oven mitt and lunchbox.

A big thank you to Krusteaz for providing items for me to review as well as a prize pack 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.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


The lucky winner of a $25 Visa gift card and a coupon for Nature's Harvest® bread is...


The lucky winner of a Shaun the Sheep Movie Prize Pack is...

The lucky winner of an Innovation Book Packet from Scholastic is...

The lucky winner of a $60 Umi gift card is...

The two lucky winners of a Packable Pails gift set are...

A big thank you to everyone who entered these fun giveaways! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Never Run Out of Coffee with the Cross Country Cafe Subscribe and Save Program and Coffee of the Month Club!

Cross Country Cafe logo
While perusing the Cross Country Cafe blog recently (did you know that they have a blog? You'll find all sorts of recipes, reviews, information, coupons and more!) I came across a 'coffee quote' that got right to the point:

Forget love quote

For anyone else who is a coffee addict, you know the feeling! It's not to say that we don't love our families and friends and more, but the idea of starting the day without coffee, well, that's just nonsense.

Which is why just thinking about running out of coffee sends a shiver down my spine. Reaching into my cupboard and not finding a K-cup ready to pop into my Keurig? No. Just... no.

Therefore, to ensure that situation never, ever occurs, just make life easier (and more affordable) with the Cross Country Cafe Subscribe and Save Auto Ship Program!

Cross Country Cafe Subscibe and Save

This really couldn't be much more simple!

Visit Cross Country Cafe and select your favorite K-cup coffee (which is actually a little difficult considering that they have so many amazing and delicious options). Then, when placing your order, choose the auto ship option for your desired number of boxes.

coffee savings

Did you catch that extra savings? Not only will your favorite Keurig K-cup coffee be delivered right to your door every month, when you 'Subscribe and Save' you save 5%! No hassle of reordering, no wondering how many K-cups are left in the box, your credit card will automatically be charged when your first shipment is sent 30 days after your initial order.

We're talking easy, convenient, hassle-free, money-saving coffee awesomeness! There is no fee and users can change the number of boxes that they have ordered, suspend their deliveries if they choose or even cancel at any time.

If you don't think that you could only have one brand of K-cup in the future, Cross Country Cafe makes it a snap to still take advantage of this discount by joining the Coffee of the Month Club. Just choose from Traditional or Flavored coffee and you'll be set to receive two boxes (48-count total) of hand selected, top-selling K-cups!

Keurig coffee of the month

Whether you are looking for a way to remove an item from your to-do list (and ensure that you never run out of your favorite K-cups) or simply want to provide a good friend or family member with an amazing gift, head over to Cross Country Cafe to find out more about their Subscribe and Save program and Coffee of the Month Club!

As a Cross Country Cafe Ambassador, I have been provided with products in exchange for my continued work with their company and affiliate links are included in the above post. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

There is Still Time to Join Us in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge! {#SummerReading}

Summer Reading Challenge logo
This post is part of a sponsored collaboration with Scholastic. All thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own.

When August arrived, I was able to deny the upcoming end of summer by focusing on all of the activities and plans that were still in our future.

But then the month began to fly past and more and more first day of school photos began popping up on Facebook and suddenly my kids will be back in the world of academics in only one short week. Where did the time go? Did we get in enough swimming and bike rides and picnics? Will the girls remember having popsicles out on the deck, spending the day with friends out on their boat, and watching fireworks after the sun went down?

Fortunately, even if this summer only ends up as a blip in their memories, I can still rest assured knowing that we accomplished a great deal of quality reading thanks to Scholastic's Summer Reading Challenge!

Scholastic Summer Reading Program

Have you been following along with the girls and I as we have been participating in the 9th year of the Summer Reading Challenge program? This free, online/mobile reading program helps prepare kids for back-to-school by encouraging them to read every day all summer long.

This year Scholastic added a unique twist to the Summer Reading Challenge by partnering with Energizer and giving it a theme of "Power Up & Read" Powered by Energizer®, encouraging families everywhere to find innovative ways to discover the power and joy of reading.

And we did! Our past posts highlighted many of the fun places and ways that we read around our house as well as on the go and the kids especially had fun including the Energizer Bunny himself when they found a good spot to curl up with a great book!

kids summer reading

In fact, my girls ended up reading so many books this summer that when I asked them to share their five favorites in "5 Word Book Review" form, they had a hard time narrowing down all of the choices. Not to mention that how do you narrow down your thoughts about a great book into only five words?

In the end, however, their top recommendations and picks include:

Big Sister E, 8
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul - Funny, weird characters, great pictures
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days - Funny trips, good people, money
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw - Family, trouble, middle school, parties
Make Way for Ducklings - Detailed illustrations, ducks, life, normal
Wipe Out - Surfing, beach, big waves, people

Little Sister B, 6
Junie B., First Grader: Dumb Bunny - Chapter book, silly, weird, cool
Junie B., First Grader (at Last!) - First grade, room 9, inappropriate
Make Way for Ducklings - Pictures, baby ducklings, cute story
Planting a Rainbow - Rainbow, many colors, flowers, seeds
Butterfly Meadow #1: Dazzle's First Day - Cute, weird, lovely butterfly, friends

I'm thinking that they're both on their way to being well-renowned book reviewers, don't you?

As for your household, are you worried that summer is coming to an end and "brain drain" season (when endless summer activities and distractions take the place of reading time) has set in? Just check out these five tips that Scholastic's Maggie McGuire has for making reading a priority for your child — it’s not too late to get your own kids reading!

Not convinced? Scholastic also has a whole slew of great resources to help encourage your family to find innovative ways to discover the power and joy of reading... not to mention that the 2015 Summer Reading Challenge runs through September 4th, so you can still sign up!

Then, while you are over at, make sure to take the time to check out the fun resources that they offer, such as:
  • Find Parenting Resources including Summer Reading printables, activity sheets, booklists and more! 
  • Visit Videos in the Stacks to receive reading tips for parents from Scholastic’s Maggie McGuire!
Scholastic The Innovation Game

Need just one more reason to be excited about reading and the Summer Reading Challenge? Then don't miss out on your chance to take part in the Energizer Instant Win Game!

Energizer and Scholastic have extended their partnership to create their "Power the Possibilities" campaign, which gives parents the tools they need to unlock their child's talents, fuel their ambitions and set them up for future success. Right now when you buy any specially marked pack of Energizer brand batteries, you'll find an instant win scratch-off game for a chance to win one of thousands of prizes that will power discovery and learning.

Prizes include a family trip to New York City, a Scholastic Study Corner Makeover, a tablet with Scholastic apps, a library of Scholastic books and more! Everyone who plays can also download free digital stories for their family, so it's pretty much a win-win for all as you end up with high quality batteries (perfect for Back to School tech), great stories and the chance to win much more!

Energizer batteries and bunny

Remember, even though summer seems as though it is rapidly coming to an end, there is still time to head over and sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge. You can also amp up the excitement even more by following Scholastic on Twitter, Liking the Energizer Bunny on Facebook and Scholastic on Facebook, and following the #SummerReading hashtag throughout social media.

And don't miss out on the great Scholastic Resources available to help keep your kids excited about reading well into the fall and beyond!

Monday, August 24, 2015

We LOVE Reebok Kids Twistform Athletic Shoes! {#Twistform}

Reebok logo
I participated in a Blog Blast Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Reebok. I received a gift card to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

While I have always been a big fan of the satisfaction that comes with sharpening a new pencil or cracking open the spine of a crisp, clean notebook for the first time, my biggest Back to School excitement was always the shoes.

Sliding my feet into the shiny clean fabrics or leathers, pulling the laces into a perfect bow, and admiring them in the mirror as I walked back and forth provided a satisfaction that couldn't be beat. I wasn't the only one who tried on my Back to School shoes for a few minutes every day during the week leading up to the first day of school, was I?

Now that I'm a parent, I see my children doing the same thing when they really love a pair of shoes. Who can wait to wear their favorite kicks around?

Clearly not my 8-year-old, as Big Sister E has barely taken off her stylish new Reebok Kids Twistform shoes since the day they arrived!

Reebok Twistform shoes

Designed for style and durability, the Reebok Twistform can keep up with kids no matter if they are heading out for a run or are getting active during gym class and recess. I love the way that these have the exact look that Big Sister E wanted, yet are so well made and durable that I know they will last while taking care of her growing feet.

The Twistform textile uppers provide a superior fit, the built-in rubber outsole ensure dependable traction on all kinds of surfaces, advanced technology enhances breathability, Reebok included increased cushioning for maximum comfort and quick acceleration... the list goes on and on!

Reebok Kids Twistform

Reebok Kids Twistform are available now at Finish Line stores across the country and at in a wide variety of sizes and colors for boys as well as girls.

Big Sister E and I had no problem finding them for preschoolers and big kids at our local Finish Line...

Reebok at Finish Line

...however, due to her favorite color combination of blue and neon yellow only being available to us online, we placed our order through their user-friendly website instead.

Fortunately, shipping only took a few days and, as I mentioned, Big Sister E has barely taken these sleek, stylish athletic shoes off ever since — she loves showing them off to just about everyone that she knows!

Reebok Twistform review

Looking for an affordable, high quality pair of shoes that will last your child long through the school year as well as during sports, exercise, play and more? Then head over to today and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter. You can also find out more about the Reebok Twistform by visiting and connecting with Reebok on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Table-Time Look & Learn Mostly Math Tablecloth {Review & Giveaway}

 Table-Time Look and Learn logo
Did you know that experts say that 90% of all brain development occurs by the age of five?

As both of my children are past that age, I'd like to say that I did all that I could to ensure that those first five years were as educational and beneficial as possible in terms of preparing them for future academic endeavors...

But let's be honest. Parenting is difficult. Add in the fact that there are only so many hours in the day and it's even harder to always be focusing and encouraging things like shapes, colors, telling time, basic mathematics, and more. Sometimes you just want to sit down and have a meal or conversation with your child without constantly working to turn it into a learning opportunity, right?

On the other hand, what if the those opportunities presented themselves without even a tiny bit of hassle or struggle or convincing? What if that simple act of eating or talking was all that a parent needed to do to help their child develop critical skills that they would need for when school begins?

That's exactly what is possible with the Table-Time Look & Learn Mostly Math tablecloth.

educational tablecloth

Created by a former teacher, Table-Time tablecloths are designed as a low-tech/high impact teaching tool to help busy parents accelerate their child's learning simply by gathering around the dinner table. As opposed to having to set designated teaching times (which may or may not be met with a positive response), Table-Time Look & Learn has made it possible to make education a seamless part of mealtime conversation.

Could this be any easier or more adorable? While both of my children are familiar with all of the concepts that are shown on the Mostly Math tablecloth (it covers state standards for preschool and kindergarten), we were still excited to see these colorful illustrations and concepts in person.

Table-Time Look and Learn tablecloth

Right out of the package we were impressed with the lightweight soft feel to the PEVA material (which has the feel of vinyl but is kid-safe and eco-friendly as it doesn't contain PVCs) and I appreciated that the flannel backing would keep my tabletop well protected.

But really, it was (of course) the amazing designs, bright colors, and eye-catching images that adorn this tablecloth that make it so much fun!

Table-Time Look and Learn review

Addition, subtraction, counting, comparisons, time, days, months, seasons, shapes, greater and less than, sequencing, patterns, counting on dice or with coins... everywhere you look there is another great set of skills portrayed in an whimsical, fun way (illustrated by an Emmy nominated artist)!

math tablecloth

We have been just as amazed with the Mostly Math tablecloth since the day that it arrived and I don't know if we will ever feel as though we have seen all of the cute images shown!

Table-Time Look and Learn Mostly Math
interactive tablecloth

Table-Time Look & Learn even took things one step further with this tablecloth by making it interactive, as many of the concepts are presented in a fill-in-the-blank method. This allows kids to actually use washable markers to truly show what they are learning!

Besides, when else do you get to color on your tablecloth (which then wipes off with a damp cloth)?

Table-Time Look and Learn Mostly Math tablecloth

Ready for a way to make learning extremely fun and especially easy? The Table-Time Look & Learn Mostly Math tablecloth combines education and entertainment as children explore, enjoy and absorb lessons they will take with them into all of their future schooling!

Table-Time Look and Learn Mostly Math tablecloth review

The Table-Time Look & Learn Mostly Math tablecloth measures 72" x 52" and retails for $19.99. This innovative product is currently available online directly from their website, from Amazon and Etsy, and in various retail locations. I'm looking forward to future products in hopes that one for older elementary age children will debut and will be perfect for my growing kids!

Find out much more about this family-owned company and why this tablecloth is turning heads left and right by visiting and by connecting with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Plus, thanks to their generosity, one person will soon see just how much fun it can be to talk math around the table as well, because...

One lucky person will win a Table-Time Look & Learn Mostly Math tablecloth!

Table-Time Look and Learn tablecloth giveaway

A big thank you to Table-Time Look and Learn for providing a Mostly Math tablecloth 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.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Back to School with pediped footwear and the pediped ♥ schools Program {Review & Giveaway}

pediped logo
Although fall might just be my favorite season, having to pack away my sandals and prepare for the cooler weather (and looming threat of winter) is never an enjoyable task.

On the plus side, at least I know that whenever I pull out my shoes and boots from previous years that they will always fit. After all, my size 8 feet will still be the same size 8 feet year after year.

As for my kids... not exactly. As any parent knows, it can often feel like you're continually having to check to see if your children's toes are scrunched or if their heel has enough room, as their feet just seem to grow and grow. Neither of my girls' feet seem like they are ever going to stop!

Fortunately, we always know that whenever there is a change in season and new footwear is therefore needed, my kids can count on the comfort, style, and versatility that we know, love and have come to depend on from pediped footwear.

pediped fall 2015

The unparalleled quality, durability and distinctive, fashionable styles — with new ones being added all the time — from pediped are perfect for everything from casual to dressy occasions. No matter what age or stage of development your child is in, from newborn up to size 38 (US youth 6), pediped has a pair of shoes that will keep their feet safe, healthy and looking good at the same time.

This year pediped debuted its Fall 2015 Collection (additional winter styles including boots will be introduced later this year) of their award-winning footwear across its three signature lines: Originals, Grip ‘n’ Go and Flex. Featured in the collections are Mary Janes, sneakers and everyday styles to cover all fall footwear needs from the classroom to special occasions and beyond.

The Originals line of soft-soled flexible infant shoes is recommended by pediatricians and podiatrists because the shoe's design closely mimics barefoot walking. Priced from $37 to $45 in sizes for children 0-24 months, there have been 14 new styles added to the Originals collection this season with each style lined in leather with slip-resistant leather soles.

Highlights for fall include favorites Aryanna, Connie and Grayson, while the Brittany and Jazzie come in soft suede, and new styles Gordon and Clive are stylish neutrals crafted from genuine leather and suede.

pediped originals
L-R: Aryanna, Clive, Jazzie

Grip 'n' Go footwear is made with all the benefits of Originals, but with special G2 Technology for active toddlers that are transitioning to walking with a more confident stride. Retailing between $40 and $53, this line is available in sizes 19-23.

New for the upcoming fall season, machine washable options have been added with the Gehrig and Franklin, along with genuine leather options Lorraine and Starlite.

pediped grip n go
L-R: Gehrig, Lorraine, Starlite

Finally, pediped Flex is the ultimate shoe for confident walkers who have developed a solid, natural stride. With more than 50 styles with maximum flexibility and comfort, the Flex line retails for $40-$89 and is available in sizes 22-38.

With so many great Back to School options, pediped Flex are perfect for big kids to head to the classroom in style. Ann, Sarah, Jake and Alex highlight the collection while the Frank and Becky are machine washable that can handle both the playground and the classroom.

pediped flex
L-R: Ann, Jake, Alex

We have recently been checking out pediped's stylish Flex Adrian shoes and Big Sister E has been loving everything from the Velcro closure to the breathable leather and mesh upper. These kicks are just so comfortable and easy for her to pull on in the morning and know that she will be ready to go all day long!

At the same time, I love that they are machine washable for times that they get stinky or dirty and that they come with pediped's awesome Flex Fit System that provides additional insoles. Simply insert them for a snug fit then remove them later for extra room as your child's foot grows — these insoles can reduce shoe size by almost half a size, extending the life of the shoe quite a bit! What more could I ask for?

pediped flex review

As well as the introduction of all of these great new back to school styles, pediped is also currently accepting enrollment into its annual schools program, pediped ♥ schools.

This one-of-a-kind giving campaign allows education partners to receive 10% of their total combined purchases and school officials, leaders of the PTO or PTA, and parents and teachers are encouraged to enroll their community's school. Once enrolled, each school receives a unique code and those who purchase pediped footwear simply enter the code at checkout when shopping online or in any pediped owned boutique and dollars are earned, easy as that.

pediped school program

With so many new design offerings across pediped's existing three lines to complement their already-beloved collections, there is no doubt that now is the perfect time to shop pediped. Each and every pair features their signature fit along with their exceptional quality, unsurpassed comfort, and distinctive styling.

Available online, at the pediped company store in Henderson, Nevada and at select retail stores (in over 2,500 stores in the United States and 40 countries worldwide), the inclusion of the new 2015 collection means pediped now offers more than 150 designs for boys and girls!

If you have a child in your life with feet in newborn to size 38, be sure to visit to bring these amazing shoes to your household and connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!

And, thanks to their generosity, one person will soon see just why this brand is so well-known for being incredible, because...

One lucky person will win a pair of pediped shoes from the Originals, Grip 'n' Go or Flex collection*!

pediped giveaway
*Winner will select gender and size and pediped will select style based on availability.

A big thank you to pediped footwear for providing a pair of shoes 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.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Build & Imagine Construction Sets are Engineered by Girl Power! {Review}

Build & Imagine logo
Although times have changed from when little girls were only encouraged to play with dolls, wear dainty dresses and white gloves, and host tea parties, there is still a clear gender gap when it comes to toys. A simple stroll through the toy section in any box store reveals the items that are pink, pretty and passive that are in contrast to those that are blue, active and action-packed (no matter if there are gender labels or not).

Why are we not encouraging the next generation of girls to continue on in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as much as we do for boys? Sure, we let them play with blocks and construction toys, but those have long been classified as for boys, so is it really any wonder that girls tend to lose interest in these subjects by the age of 8? In the US, less than 15% of women enter college intending to major in a STEM field, isn't it time to change that?

Fortunately, companies are beginning to realize the importance of encouraging and inspiring the future of female innovators and engineers. Instead of simply sitting back and hoping that girls will decide to play with traditionally "boy" toys on their own, it's time to revolutionize the way that we motivate girls to look at the world with Build & Imagine.

Founded by a female award-winning toy designer, Build & Imagine was formed when Laurie Peterson wanted to close the gap in the girls' section of most toy stores and include more experiences involving building, creativity and experimentation.

The result is an amazing line of magnetic construction sets (which include leading female characters, of course) filled with rich colors and endless details that ensure users are always discovering something new. While each set contains a variety of shapes of the illustrated panels, the fact that there is no wrong way to join them together is an instant inspiration for the creativity of young builders.

Instead, girls create scenes both big and small and are then able to bring them to life with the enclosed dress-up dolls, costume pieces, animals, objects, foods, and more. In essence, Build & Imagine puts girls into the role of architect, engineer, builder, designer, storyteller and more!

Build & Imagine sets

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to try out all three of the current Build & Imagine sets — Malia's Beach House, Marine Rescue Center, and Day At The Beach — and from the moment we started removing the pieces from the box, it was already easy to see how this one toy could help encourage my girls' STEM skills.

These parts are just asking to be assembled, disassembled, built and rebuilt time and again! Starting with the Marine Rescue Center...

Build & Imagine Marine Rescue Center

...our eyes grew wide at the dolphins, sea lions, turtles, otters, laboratory gear, and more that came along with Thea and her rescue center.

Combine all 30 of the magnetic accessories with Thea and the 15 dual-sided building panels and I have to admit that I was itching to start building my own creation!

Build & Imagine Marine Rescue

Instead, Big Sister E and Little Sister B went right to work collaborating on their own rescue center, discussing various building ideas and trying out one option after another. I love when a toy is not only educational and entertaining but one that encourages my kids to happily work together!

Build & Imagine Marine set

While the proposed idea behind this set is serious and important (for kids to help Thea on her mission to save endangered sea animals by caring for wounded wildlife at the rescue center), I do love that kids can take it in any direction that they choose.

For instance, this single set was enough to launch plenty of imaginative play and discussions about what we can do to help keep animals safe, but at the same time my girls had a blast with the jet ski, feeding supplies, otter rehab tank, and more — including creating pretend rooms such as the whale painting room and the fish game room. Why not?

At the same time, our curiosity ensured that we couldn't leave Malia's Beach House and the Day At The Beach sets sitting for too long. There was too much Build & Imagine adventure awaiting us!

Build & Imagine play sets

As suspected, both of these sets were just as colorful, detailed and incredible as the Marine Rescue Center... possibly even more so as they both come with two characters to seamlessly work into story after story.

Considering that my two young architect storytellers had already been having a blast constructing, they had no problem going further into the world of Build & Imagine with even more dual-sided building panels and magnetic accessories.

From marveling at all of the possibilities to build Malia's Beach House with a swimming pool, multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, kitchen, living room, clothing, pets, and much more for Malia and Skyler...

Build & Imagine Malia's Beach House finding out all sorts of ways to put together a beachside cafe and surf shop for Emily and Lucas with lifeguard stand, walk-up cafe window, beach gear, clothing, tools, rescue items (safety first!) and more.

Build & Imagine Day At The Beach

There really is no going wrong with these sets and I have loved seeing my girls return to them over and over to try something new, build in a different way, test out various constructions for walls and roofs, and work together (or alone) to come up with their own miniature magnetic world. Build & Imagine has managed to create something completely enchanting (yet so full of STEM learning) that it is hard to put down!

Each of these three sets are recommended for ages 4+, which I feel is right due to the number of very small pieces and the coordination that it sometimes takes to get the walls or pieces balanced and built just right. But really all you need is a little innovation and creativity, as Build & Imagination gives simple tips and steps to follow as you delve deeper into their world...

Build & Imagine instructions

...and begin to build until your heart is content.

For us, my kids immediately realized that all of the pieces from each of the individual sets can easily be combined and used for just about any sort of other creation. Girls simply have to use their imagination and the sky is the limit in building and constructing!

Build & Imagine review

Although it can be argued that just about any toy has benefits and encourages kids to practice a variety of skills (e.g. small motor, creativity, reading, etc), there is a smaller number that truly manage to inspire... and Build & Imagine is one of them! Each of their sets are just right to inspire the next generation of innovators and help girls think beyond only the toys that are princess and pink.

In short, Build & Imagine is the perfect way to encourage all kids to see their world in a different way as they collect, build, interchange, design, cooperate, and come up with endless storytelling possibilities to go along with them!

Build & Imagine sets review

The three Build & Imagine play sets (Marine Rescue Center, Malia’s Beach House, and Day At The Beach) can be purchased in stores, directly from, on Amazon or from other e-tailers, where they retail between $49.99 and $59.99. Even better, there are two new activity sets coming this fall, Fairytale Theatre and Pet Portrait Studio!

To find out much more about these innovative, educational toys, connect with Build & Imagine online as well as on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube — and sign up for their monthly newsletter for insider news and deals!

Other than the three sets that I was provided by Build & Imagine in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion about this product.