ActiveWear for being Outdoors/Winter Elements #ActiveWear #GetActive

If you are an active family who likes to get outdoors no matter what the weather, we have some great options for you to check out this season.

Brooks Running, a favorite of ours, has recently put out the “Dash Hoodie”, which I am completely in love with. It has become a go to for me, one of those tops you reach for every time it is out of the washing machine. So soft (much softer then I’m used to in running gear and feather light) it is also warm and wicks moisture quickly. The material is breathable, and machine washable and dryer safe. It has a loose but flattering fit. I personally prefer to hand it to dry, I think it will last longer that way, but personal preference. It has thumb holes on the cuffs, and there is a storage pocket over the left hand that can hold your key, cash, or whatever your prefer. The hood is perfect for cooler weather, so you can use it until you get too warm on your run, then toss it off. Prices vary depending on what color you order (some of them are on sale), get yours at https://www.brooksrunning.com

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Trek specializes in biking, bikes, and bike gear, and also has apparel for all sorts of active lifestyles. I’m currently loving the “Bontrager Vella Women’s Long Sleeve Thermal Cycling Jersey”, which is quite a mouthful. It’s a half zip, long sleeve collared top that is soft, lightweight, (are you seeing a theme here? Yes, really love soft workout gear) wicking, ventilated and offers the warmth you need with the comfort you want. It is very form fitting, really hugging your body. If you like streamlined gear, this is the top you will wear again and again. It also has reflective elements so that you can wear it day or night with added safety. Washing machine safe, and again, I’d hang to dry, but it dries very quickly.  $89.99
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Holiday GIft Guide- Hot Toys For kids

With only about a week to go, you will be on the lookout for the hottest toys for the little ones in your life. These are a few we think will make those kiddos shriek with delight as they tear off the wrapping paper.

Last year’s hit toy, Hatchimals, are back with an ever bigger surprise inside. The all new Hatchimals Surprise have let you hatch two sweet and cuddly Hatchimals out of the same egg- that’s right, you get twins. As you play with and hold your colorful egg, the Hatchimals inside make all sorts of sounds to let you know they are trying to hatch. When they are about ready, you will see their rainbow eyes and they will begin to “push” their way out of the egg. Even though they are twins, they are unique in personalities. As you interact with them, they learn new tricks and habits, like how to talk, dance, sing, tell jokes, play games, repeat what you say, and more. They also interact with each other, both being sweet and occasionally arguing, like any siblings will. Get yours for around $60 in stores and online.

Did you ever want your own droid? I know I have. Now you can, which is very cool and interactive- Droid BB-8 . It is pretty lifelike in scale, at 16 inches tall (19 inches with antenna) so it will feel like you are a true Jedi or padawan. BB-8 glides about just like his movie counterpart and can have pretty realistic interactions, as well as lights and sounds. Put on the “Follow Me” mode and have him roll next to you. You can use voice recognition (which is pretty sticky sometimes) and it has remote control capabilities as well. Hero Droid BB-8 is a great gift for any Star Wars fan, young or old, new to the films or long time aficionado.  Grab yours quickly (these run out at times) for about $150 in stores or online.
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Head Back To School in Style

With back to school season upon us, we are seeking out the best and most fun back to school items. Here are a few of our current favorites.

Do you have a child entering Pre-K or Kindergarten this year? Check out Bixbee.  These cute bags have animal faces, butterfly wings, rockets, and other great patterns and styles.  The size of the backpacks are also smaller for little kids.  For bigger kids, tamer color palettes and more typical styles of backpack are available.  Bixbee is that they comes in three sizes, so you can pick what best suits your child’s stature.  This will keep your child pain free in the back and shoulder area, since the size and fit will be right. It’s recommended that the backpack rest in the lower back, and no more then four inches below the waist to avoid causing chronic pain, which is important to Bixbee.  These backpacks are also sturdy, PVC, BPA, phthalate, and lead free, and have many pockets for your child’s ever growing menagerie of belongings.  Bixbee cares about kids- when you buy a backpack, they donate one to a child in need somewhere in the world.  You can get yours at http://www.bixbee.com

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For tween girls, Toys R Us (exclusively) offers two different styles of Power Puff backpacks this year- Power Puff Girls Rock and Power Puff Girls All Over print.  With a new animated series on Cartoon Network, all the kids are loving the doe-eyed sisters more then ever.  Adjustable straps, and silky, sturdy materials make this backpack one that is both kid friendly, fun, and eye catching, as well as one mom will approve of. Matching lunchboxes are also available. Backpacks retail for about $16.99 each.

Don’t forget the lunchbox!

We recently discovered Bentology, a lunchbox that comes with it’s own compartmentalized tupperware-type container inside.  These insulated lunch bags come in a variety of colors and have thier own fork and spoon as well. If your child prefers lunches that don’t always consist of a sandwich, this is for you. These bento box sets let you use the portioned containers to pack your child’s favorite foods for lunch without a million little containers to wash later. Check out the website for cute lunch ideas and creative tips, as well.
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New Summer Toys

Looking for some fun new toys this summer?  Here are a few new items we think your kids will love.

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Hamsters In A House by ZURU might bring to mind another toy craze from a few years ago, and we admit there are likenesses.  These little hamsters are small (though not so small your kids can swallow them) and and soft and furry. They buzz and scoot around any smooth, flat surface, as well as in their own little “ecosystems”.  There are several houses, like the luxurious “Ultimate Hamster House”, that has a bed, slide, and even a toilet that makes flushing sounds.  Every kid loves that best, potty humor goes a long way. Put the hamsters on any hotspot, and the phrases are activated. ($30) There are also Hamster and Accessory Packs that range from styling studios, to cars, and more parts for their runs (think train tracks for the hamsters). The cars are cute, and come in blue and pink. 9$ and up.
Available exclusively at Toys”R”Us. HamstersInAHouse.com /

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Micro Boats are so much fun for summer (and will be great year round as well).  They are water-
activated (put them in water and they go) and once dry they stop. These self-steering, fully motorized speed boats are lots of fun in tiny size. There are six individual boats available. $10

There is also the Micro Boats Shark Attack Challenge Playset that lets you put the boats into a set with a water filled track, and race to stay away from each other and a shark.  There is also a real working crane. One boat comes with the set.  $25 ZURUMicroBoats.com /
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Hot Summer Toys For Travel and Fun

Disclosure- We received the below in order to facility reviews. All opinions are our own and honest. For more information, see “I Disclose”.

 

With many of us already into a long summer break from school with the kids at home, we think about what to do with all this time off.  Travel, outside play, day trips, and of course- what to do when you are stuck inside on blistering hot or rainy days.

Here are some of our current favorites.

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The Nerf Action Camera  is perfect for documenting all your child’s favorite summer activities (while keeping their little hands off your own camera and phone).  With a colorful Nerf-inspired design, it is easy to spot and can take a tumble. While it is made for kids, it’s high quality (and nicer then my first few “grown up” cameras were).  Your kids can see what they shot or line it up with a 1.8 TFT preview screen, comes with 5.1 mega pixels for great photos, and 720p HD video capabilities so they can take recordings as well. That always keeps them occupied (and laughing). My favorite thing is that it is waterproof, so it is not only safe in mishaps, but also for pool, waterpark, and beach fun.  And the price is right as well- available at http://www.toysrus.com for $50.

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Taking a long trip? Be it a plane, train, or automobile, your kids will love the new Kurio Xtreme 2.  The newest in the Kurio line, it is also the safest, most full-featured Android tablet built especially for kids (*according to website). Of course, it is great for use at home as well, and can keep kids off your tablet and occupied with their own. It comes with 60 apps  like Fruit Ninja and Subway Surfers, as well as more active body-controlled Kurio Motion games. Kids can also read e-books, take photos or shoot video, and watch movies.  It also connects to the Google Play Store, but requires parent permission. There are a TON of free parent controls, and the tablet comes with a free lifetime subscription to “Kurio’s best-in-class parental controls and their comprehensive Kurio Genius internet filtering system” (as per Kurio).  It can take a minute to set up- best to charge it and do while the kids are in bed so they don’t drive you insane.  This sturdy tablet is made tough, and has bumper and screen protector included, as well as a kickstand.  If you need help with setup, Kurio techs are available 24 hours a day, and can even take over the tablet for you to fix what ails it.   Grab yours for $100 at http://www.kurioworld.com
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Filling Easter Baskets with Fun

Are you ready for the Easter Bunny to hop into your house?  Check out these fun spring toys to fill your little one’s baskets with.

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For your smallest bunnies, take a look at these fun “Easter” eggs.  The HABA Shakin’ Eggs are perfect for baskets and they don’t ever go bad.  Little ones will love them- not only for their bright colors, but also for the fun sounds they make. Each box contains a set of five colored beech wood eggs- and yes the paint is safe and non-toxic (since we all know little ones are going to put them into their mouths).  Each egg makes a different sound- one jingles, another rattles, etc, so that your child can make some fun “music”.  It is recommended by the manufacturer for ages 2 and up, but in my opinion, smaller kids can play with these as well- they can’t fit into mouths and there are no small parts.   You can get them at http://www.habausa.com/musical-eggs.html or a store near you for around $20.

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Great for nearly any age is the Aurora plush toy line.  You can choose from many adorable stuffed friends, some of our favorites being the Cheekeez Bunny and the oh-so-soft Lamb (this one seems to be in a “downward dog” yoga pose, which my son will just love, being that we do yoga together).  To me, no basket is complete without a sweet fluffy toy, and these Aurora makes some high quality toys without a ridiculous price tag.  They are soft, cuddly, and any child would love to cuddle up with one of these cuties. Cheekeez Bunny is $9, and the lamb is $15.50- you can pick them up (and more to choose from) at http://www.auroragift.com/ and gift stores like Hallmark.

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For your gamer, Skylanders has released two limited edition, exclusive Easter themed toys for the Skylanders SuperChargers game.  Spring Ahead Dive Bomber ($14.99) is a new vehicle that the Skylanders have disguised as an Easter egg to protect their bounty! This is a fun new addition to the “vehicles” line of toys, which my son absolutely adores. The Skylanders figures can interact and ride inside them in the game, adding a new layer of fun. Also out for the holiday is Eggcited Thrillipede ($12.99) who, with an extra set of arms, is the reigning Dragon Egg Toss Champion.  Maybe they will substitute some Easter Eggs this year, who knows.  You can pick these up at Game Stop, Toys R Us, and other stores that carry video games.
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New Healthy Foods and Fitness Products

If you are looking for new, healthy foods to incorporate into family meals, we have a few new items you might want to try out.

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First- how much tofu do you eat? If you are like most Americans, the answer is “not much”. If you are like my husband, you think tofu is for “hippies”, or at best, vegetarians. You know- hippies? (Like his wife, by the way- calm down, hippies.) You can do a lot with tofu, it’s very versatile and takes on the flavor of nearly anything.  House Foods makes a large variety of tofu items, including several kinds of noodles. There are a ton of recipes as well on their website, for those less then familiar with cooking this traditional Asian food.   You can choose all sorts of world cuisines from (of course) Asian to Italian to American and more, as well as fun, kid friendly choices.  Another way you might entice your kids to try this new food is by showing them that the packages have Kung Fu Panda on them- they can eat like Po!  You and your children can prepare the food together, which will make them more likely to give tofu a try.  Inexpensive, kosher, gluten free, non GMO- there are a ton of reasons to try House Foods Tofu the next time you head to the grocery store.  Prices vary per item.

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Another plant-based option is Vega Protein and Greens, a protein powder you can use as a breakfast shake or any snack throughout the day. The whole food ingredient proteins include hemp, peas, and sprouted whole grain brown rice. It also contains papaya enzymes which help you break down the foods you eat.  In every scoop (thus every shake) you will get two servings of  greens from kale, spinach, broccoli, and alfalfa.  It comes in a variety of flavors, from the basic chocolate and vanilla, to berry, coconut almond, mocha, and more.  The Protein & Greens is available in Vanilla, Chocolate, Berry, Tropical and Natural.The flavor and texture isn’t what you think it might be- it’s not like other “green” drinks I’ve tried, the flavor is not “biting” like many of them can be- but it’s not a milkshake, either. There are also snack bars available.   Head to https://myvega.com/ to find out more and to place an order- prices vary.
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Fun Toys For Cabin Fever

With much of the USA spending lots of time indoors right about now, what are the kids doing to entertain themselves? Here are a few of our current favorite toys to wile away the winter.

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Some of my son’s favorite toys of all time are the Hero Mashers line from Hasbro. These toys have included Marvel heros like Spiderman, Jurrasic World dinosaurs, Transformers, and now include the Star Wars line of characters- well, the males, anyway. There have yet to be any females introduced to the Hero Mashers line, which leaves my little collector (and his mother) wondering where the women are.

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These toys are amazingly fun and give children hours of play- they can act out favorite episodes, comics, and make up their own adventures. Not only are these heroes articulated, but fully interchangeable. You can swap heads, arms, weapons- you name it- to create your ultimate hero (or villain). Hero Mashers are easily in my son’s top 5 toys. The only thing that would make them better? Bring on Rey, Black Widow, and the other leading ladies of heroism. Women matter (without Rey, how does the Force awaken, anyway?)- and our kids want these toys! Prices vary, find out more at http://www.hasbro.com/en-us/brands/heromashers

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While we are strong with the Force, have you and your children played the new Disney Infinity 3.0 yet? If you don’t own it, grab one for your console of choice- it’s a fun and interactive game. There have been new releases of characters for the game, most recently including Rey, Finn, and Kylo Ren among others. You and your kids can awaken the force, become a Rebel, or play levels with your favorite Disney characters. Where else can Boba Fett and Princess Jasmine hang out, after all?

Not sure what characters your kids have already or want most? It can be hard to keep track of. You can use the website to let the kids create lists, which make collecting easier- and will let Grandma know what character your kiddos want most for upcoming occasions. I don’t usually advocate “get me this stuff” list sites, but for things like this (when they are collecting) it really makes keeping track easier for everyone. Find out more at https://infinity.disney.com
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