Monday, November 1, 2010

Pop On Pals Amusement Park Playset by Spin Master

Pop On Pals are round, pudgy little figures that are the perfect size for little toddler hands. The pals come with interchangeable rings that act as simple costumes to change the personality of the little pal. The Amusement Park is a colorful and active playground for your kids to explore through the Pals. The Amusement Park Playset comes with one Pal, three theme rings and the Park itself.

My older son did not find it very interesting; however, my toddler LOVED it. He took to the Pop On Pals right away. When my older son did want to play, they fought because this set only comes with ONE figure. That was a bit of a pain.

There are nine spots for the figures to explore including a strong man striker, milk toss game, dragon swing, Ferris wheel, and roller coaster. It’s a lot to do, with only one figure. I really think the Set would make more sense if it came with two Pals. (You can buy them separately, though since Little Dude is not as excited about it, I probably won't buy any more people-JR seems fine with just one.)

What I Loved:

My 2 year old really enjoy this toy. My son likes to make the Ferris wheel spin and switch the Pop-on rings and act out different scenes. Based on JR's reaction, I think Pop On Pals will be a big hit with toddlers.

What I Hated:

The Amusement Park Playset really should come with more than one Pal. Having only one Pal made it a toy that really couldn't be shared, even though multiple things could be going on at the same time, give you had more Pals for it. Also, I hated the fact there was no place to store the extra pieces-keeping up with the different arms and "outfits" was a bit of a chore, since there was not a good spot on the toy to snap them or stack them while not in use. Again, my older son, who is 4, did not play with this for more than a few minutes, then he lost interest in it completely, so I don't think preschoolers would be big fans. I also feel it is a little pricey for only having one toy with it-I do really wish there were 2 or 3.

Where you can get it:

The Amusement Park Playset is $34.99. It and other Pop On Pals, including Airplane and School Bus Vehicles and Mix & Match Pal Sets, can be purchased at stores nationwide like Toys R Us, Target and online at Amazon.

Thank you to Team Mom for supplying the Pop On Pals Amusement Park for review.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Safari Backyard Outfitters

Backyard Safari Outfitters equips young explorers like my sons with all the essential field gear they could possibly need for scoping out wildlife in their backyard or local park! From tools to catch insects, to binoculars for bird-watching, the collection includes more than 30 different products, including the practical Cargo Vest, the cool Bug Vacuum, and Mega View periscope shown in the photos below.

Now that we have this VERY fun set, my sons don't go outside without all their "explorer supplies"! Made of a rugged poly-twill fabric, it’s really good quality, and has held up to both of my sons sharing it on all kinds of outdoor play. There are plenty of cargo pockets, as well as six D-Rings and two shoulder pieces with snap closures that let you clip and hang all kinds of stuff! The large pocket is perfect for storing binoculars, and the clear-view chest pocket for the Pop-Up Field Guide, which comes with each Backyard Safari Outfitters product. It’s full of rich illustrations and ideas to inspire backyard exploration. The vest is a little big on my 2 year old, but on my 4 year old it is a comfortable fit. I’d say it easily fits a 5-9 year old and you can buy it for $19.99.

My favorite item from Safari Backyard Adventures? The Bug vacuum! It allows you to capture bugs without ever touching them! And for a mom of two little boys that LOVE to capture bugs, this is quite the lifesaver for me! Now I don't have to be scared of the bugs my kids want to catch-and they can build the confidence in catching the bugs themselves!

Both of my sons started capturing little, defenseless creatures like roly polies and then quickly moved up to bigger, scarier insects. I’ve also found it to be very handy myself, to get rid of spiders and crickets that I sometimes find in the house. I also love that they can catch a bug, observe it for a bit with the built-in magnifying glass, and release it outside. The Bug Vacuum retails for $19.99 and requires four “AA” batteries for operation.

The Mega View Periscope is very cool! 3 nested sections telescope for a reach of over four feet! This allows for stealth viewing over high bushes, backyard fences, and around corners. The water feature is neat. Flip the periscope upside down and a full 16 inches of it can be submersed into a pond, lake, or pool for under-water viewing. It would probably be fun to take to the beach as well! The wide-view face is easy to look through and the hand grips are comfortable, making it easy to hold. Indoor fun is enjoyed on the boy's bunkbeds too-they pretend it is a submarine and use the periscope for "observing" underwater fish and "bad guys". They both LOVE this toy. You can buy the Mega View Periscope for $24.99.

What I Loved:
Everything. I have no complaints about any of their products. I even loved them so much that I went and bought a second set so the boys don't have to share anymore and can now both be "explorer men". They LOVE this stuff.

What I Hated:
Nothing. I think this is the perfect set for a boy or girl to really get out and enjoy observing nature. Hands down some of the best toys I've reviewed. We have had these toys for months now and the kids are still so into them.

Backyard Safari Outfitters allows kids to not just walk through nature, but experience it with these products that encourage kids to get active, play outside, and explore! Best for kids ages 5 and up, this essential field gear is available now at Toys ‘R’ Us, Walmart, Barnes & Noble,, and Target. For more information about Summit Toys and a complete list of Backyard Safari products, please visit

We were very excited to try out the Backyard Safari Outfitters cargo vest & bug vacuum!Backyard Safari Outfitters periscope thanks to Team Mom.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Splits For A Cause

I LOVE banana splits, but since I don't enjoy running marathons everyday (nor do I have the time) I can't enjoy eating actual banana splits everyday-but you know what I can do (and you too)!?!

We can create virtual banana splits everyday and help Kelly Ripa and Electrolux donate money to Ovarian Cancer Research. Also, there are daily prizes AND a grand price win of Electrolux appliances! By creating "virtual splits", you could win the ultimate kitchen "split" - the new stand-alone refrigerator and freezer from Electrolux:

So, here is my split:

I just raised a dollar for Ovarian Cancer Research along with entering for the chance to win the new stand-alone refrigerator and freezer from Electrolux. Now that is a tasty, guilt-free treat! You can help too by going to and creating your own banana split! For each “split”, Electrolux will donate $1 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund as part of its $750,000 commitment to help fight ovarian cancer.

You also will be entered to win the new stand-alone refrigerator and freezer from Elextrolux AND as one of my readers, you will be picked to win a $25 American Express Gift card. To win, simply leave a comment below telling me what your favorite banana split topping is and for extra entries, share my contest on Facebook or Twitter(I'm @michez) and leave a comment below telling me you did.

I will pick a winner for the gift card on July 31, so please make sure you leave a way for me to contact you in the comments. Good luck; and please help support "Splits For a Cause"!

*The $25 American Express gift card prize I am giving away is sponsored by Mom Select and Electrolux*

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

K'NEX 400 Pieces Tub

With a husband in construction and two boys in the house, we do a lot of building. We have blocks everywhere and it is so fun to see what Bill and the boys will create next.

Except, JR, our "baby Godzilla", often finds more joy in destroying what Little Dude has worked so hard to create, rather than creating himself, much to Little Dude's dismay. On these occasions I do have to referee, because it is the one thing that will get them fighting (Little Dude) and biting (JR).

So when I got the chance to try out the K'NEX 400 Pieces Tub, I honestly wasn't terribly excited. I mean, after all, we already have TONS of building blocks, and it already causes enough of a fight when the "buildings" get knocked down.

You know what though? K'NEX are different-they snap together! They are easy to do! AND they withstand a swat from baby Godzilla!!! I know. I'm in love. Little Dude can snap them together all by himself, and the K'NEX 400 Pieces Tub comes with an instruction book with ideas for 20 different models, AND it works with other brands, like Lego!! How awesome is that? The K'NEX 400 Piece Tub also comes with lots of movement parts-wheels on the cars, propeller on airplanes, Ferris Wheel and merry go round spin in encourage after building play. Awesomee.

Building toys, like K'NEX, stimulate creativity and curiosity, offers open ended building activities to encourage imagination, has easy snap rods and connectors plus bricks to help develop and strengthen fine motor skills and enhance hand eye coordination. Also, the flexible building system lest your child explore and build both 2D and 3D models.

The suggested price is $20.99 and you can by it at Target, Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us.

Would you like to WIN some K'NEX? You can enter the K'NEXion video contestt (see official rules here) from until Dec 7th-simply put the video on your own blog or website and submit the link with a completed entry form to,. Learn more here.

Good luck!

*I was given a 400 Pieces Tub for product testing but was not paid for this review*

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Crazy Love with Michael Buble

I recently got to review the new Michael Buble cd, CRAZY LOVE, and is it cheesy for me to say it's love?

Crazy Love featured two original songs-written by Michael-and fantastic covers of some of my very favorite era themed songs. All I Do Is Dream Of You is a song I have loved forever-it is from my favorite movie ever, Singing In The Rain, with Gene Kelly. It was one of the very first DVDs I bought and it is very well loved. But I digress.

Hearing Michael sing All I Do Is Dream Of You gives the song a really wonderful breath of fresh air, with a great jazzy band playing accompaniment. Crazy Love starts off with cords that remind me of a James Bond theme, which goes well the the lyrics.

Oh and my NEW very favorite song in the world? I Just Haven't Met You Yet. This song was written by Michael Buble AND features a marching band in the video, which I added in below so you can all hear and see why CRAZY LOVE is playing all the time at my house AND in my car now.

Doesn't that just make you want to dance? You can buy CRAZY LOVE now by going here: