Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The World of Eric Carle™ Interactive Table & Chair and Voice Pen by Creative Baby - Review

I consider myself pretty savvy. I like to think that I know quite a bit about a lot of things, which is why I am always taken aback when I discover things that I should have already known about. That is exactly what happened to me recently, when I found out about Creative Baby and their wonderful line of learning products.

While the name suggest that their products are only for babies, they offer so much more than that. Their interactive i-Mats and even simply activity cards take learning to the next level with the assistance of the incredible Voice Pen.

The Voice Pen is an easy to use handheld "pen" that plays adorable children's songs. You can even download you own music. The Voice Pen is really at its best, though, when paired with other Creative Baby learning products like Activity Cards, i-Mats and The World of Eric Carle™ Interactive Table + Chair.

When paired with such items, the Voice Pen can play games, like trivia challenges where they will as a question that the child can answer by touching the pen to the correct choice. It can make the objects on the mat talk and such, and you(the parent) can even record custom messages for any of the items on the mat, controlling what the voice pen will say when they are touched.

It can all be done in three different languages as well: English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Not only is that wonderful for those whose native tongue is not English, it is a fun and easy way for children to begin to learn other languages once they have mastered the concepts in English.

As wonderful as the Voice Pen is, The World of Eric Carle™ Interactive Table & Chair is what really drew me in. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is my all time favorite children's book. It was one of the first books I began reading to my son (and later on my daughter) and the very first book(besides baby board books) that my son learned to read on his own. And it is still his favorite book today.

I even have a video of my son (who has autism and did not even speak until after he turned 3) reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar when he was 4 1/2. He is now nearly 8.

My daughter is currently 3 and is not yet reading, but we are working very hard on it. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is the book we read together at least once a day. I knew that the The World of Eric Carle™ Interactive Table & Chair along with the Voice Pen would be so perfect for her.

I was a bit nervous since the table and chair are made of foam and my little girl is not so little anymore, but once I assembled the table and chair, I knew I had nothing to worry about. They are very sturdy.

I actually love the fact that they are foam now, as I don't have to worry about her crunching her toes or banging a corner or other such harmful things that I know she would find a way to do on something heavier and harder.

What is reallygreat about the The World of Eric Carle™ Interactive Table & Chair is that there are two different mat that can be used for the table top, meaning twice the fun and learning activities.

I wish I could get one of these big enough for my son too, because I know he would love it so much, but he is way to big(and knows all the things this teaches anyway). Since the mats come off though, I will try to let him play with those from time to time. That will not be easy though, because my daughter knows this is hers and she does not like to share.

Besides that, she loves it so much that I don't think she will ever stop playing with it. I had to take a video, because I could never actually describe how she plays with this. She is a bit scattered, but she is having so much fun, and that is what matters.

If you have a little one who is learning about letters, numbers, shapes and animals, the The World of Eric Carle™ Interactive Table & Chair and the Voice Pen would be the perfect way to help educate them while giving them their independence and letting them discover through play. Actually, any of Creative Baby's products will serve this purpose; their stuff rocks!

Follow Creative Baby on Facebook and Twitter as well to stay up to date on all the latest product information.
*While I received these items at no cost to facilitate a review, all opinions are 100% my own.*

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Kids Academy Education Apps

This post was created in partnership with Mom Buzz Media Blogger Network. All views & opinions expressed below are my own and are not influenced in anyway.

Kids Academy | Educational Apps for Children

As much as I did not want to give in to the technology craze, I know that there are many benefits of being "plugged-in", even for my kids. They both got iPad minis last year, and they are practically attached to them every single day. It is important to me that they are at least learning something from them.

My son is older, so he has no problem finding his own apps. For the most part, they are trivia games and such that do help him with memory, recognition, spelling(which he does not need help with anyway) and such. My daughter, being only three, is more difficult. I have to find educational apps for her.

The struggle is that I want apps that will help her learn a lot, but that I don't have to pay for. There are so many free apps that are just for fun, why is it so hard to find good, free learning apps? Thankfully, that is where Kids Academy comes in.

screen520x924 (2)Preschool & Kindergarten Learning Kids Game Educational Books & Free Songs

I really love this app. My little girl can already count and recognize each number, but she still needs to learn how numbers work(simple addition and such). With the fun games, she is able to not only see the problems, but work them out herself, being told to try again is she does not get it the first time. Seeing and hearing, along with fun characters and bright colors is a great way for her to stay engaged and learn faster.

Download Preschool & Kindergarten Learning Kids Game

  screen520x924screen520x924 (1)

screen520x924 (4)Bugs, Shapes and Robots Face Paint for Toddlers

FREE for a limited time! (usually $2.99)

My daughter loves this. She is obsessed with shapes(thanks to Team Umizoomi), and this app is perfect for allowing her to learn to draw shapes by tracing them. She thinks the fireflies are hilarious and loves to catch them as she traces the shapes. There is also Robot face painting, which is really cute. She loves to help her robots get their "makeup". This keeps her busy while I cook dinner, and she gets to learn at the same time.

Download Bugs, Shapes, and Robots

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

#KrystalBETsweeps Win a VIP Trip to the BET Experience!

I'm sure you all know how much I love food. One of my favorite fast food restaurants, Krystal, is giving me a reason to love it even more. From now through May 27th, if you visit Krystal and take a selfie with your Krystal cup and post t to Facebook and/or Instagram with the hastag #KrystalBETsweeps, you will be entered to win a VIP trip to the BET Experience!

If you eat at Krystal, you are already a winner in regards to getting a fantastic meal, but who doesn't love winning prizes? And a VIP trip to the BET Experience is the creme of the crop of prizes. Anything VIP is awesome. I know I will be visiting Krystal to enter the sweepstakes. Okay, so the sweepstakes is just my excuse, I would go to Krystal anyway.

As if the BET sweepstakes was not generous enough, Krystal has also be so kind as to allow me to give away 4 Krystal Meal Cards to one very lucky winner. Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win this delicious prize. Good luck!

*While I will receive Krystal Meal Cards for this post, all opinions are 100% my own.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 10, 2015

E:60 WWE Behind The Curtain on ESPN

If you are a regular on my blog, you must already know that I am a huge fan of WWE. In fact, I have been a fan of WWE for as long as I can remember. Because I have an older brother, who has also been a fan since he was young, WWE has just always been a part of my life.

I am friends with many fellow fans, and have heard many stories of WWE changing their lives. To non fans that might seem like an exaggeration, but I can say truthfully, that is is true. I will admit, WWE has not changed my life per se, because I have never really had a life that WWE was not a part of. So while my life was not changed by WWE, it was shaped by WWE. I adamantly believe I would be a different person today if it not for WWE.

As much as we as fans are impacted my WWE, I can only imagine how much more amazing it is to be a WWE superstar. Obviously, being a WWE Diva would be the biggest dream come true for me, but I know I do not have the looks, athleticism or skill for that to ever happen. For those men and women that are so blessed, it is still not an easy journey. In fact, being one of the select few out of the hundreds of thousands of eager(and skilled) hopefuls to actually make it to WWE is practically a miracle.

As much as I love the wrestling aspect and the stories that the characters tell each week, I love the real, behind the scenes stories that much more. The stories of regular people with extraordinary talent and unmatched heart and determination overcoming impossible odds to make their dreams come true. It is so inspiring, and just so human. It allows me to feel connected with these idols, people I have looked up to forever. It shows me the person behind the legend, and it is just incredible.

That is the connection I got when I watched E:60 WWE Behind The Curtain on ESPN this past Tuesday. This 60 minute special takes an exclusive inside look at up and coming WWE superstars. Following them through WWE's developmental brand, NTX.

I could not take my eyes off the screen. It is so incredible to see the inside look at how WWE creates characters, how they evaluate performance and the real men behind the characters I have come to love. Watching someone actually living their lifelong dream is something that brings me so much happiness. It is like I can feel the things that they feel, and that is so powerful.

If you missed the amazing Behind The Curtain special this past week, you really missed out on a spectacular hour of television. Lucky for you, E60: WWE Behind The Curtain will air again, this Tuesday, May 12th, at 8:00pm EST on ESPN. This is a must watch special. Set your DVR if you have to, or clear that hour out of your schedule. I promise it is so worth it. I will be watching it again, it is that good.

If you did see the special, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. What aspect did you like the most? Who's story did you connect with? If you have any stories about how WWE has impacted you or why you love it, I would love to hear them. If you don't have one yet, I bet you will after watching E60: WWE Behind The Curtain.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

HP Envy TouchSmart Laptop Now at Best Buy

*The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.*

Being a blogger, obviously access to a computer is a necessity. For the past few years, I have worked solely on a laptop as the only area for a computer desk is used for my son's desktop. Using a laptop is very convenient since I can take it wherever I need to, but there are some drawbacks as well.

I have found that I have sacrificed performance to get a laptop in the same price point as my desktop. Meaning I could get more memory and speed for the same money on a desktop as compared to most laptops. I don't mind spending money, but I do mind wasting it. I want to be sure I get the most out of my laptop.

Also, since I am no longer using a mouse, a great touchpad is a must. It took me so long to get used to the one on my current laptop because it is not the smoothest or easiest to use. Another huge disadvantage of my current laptop is the webcam is very poor. I don't even use it because not only is it hard to use, the quality is not sufficient. A good webcam would be great for video reviews, though, which is why I would love a good one on my next laptop.

Basically, I am shopping around for a new, improved laptop. There are clearly hundreds of choices out there, and countless places to look when shopping. It can be very overwhelming if you don't know where to look. Thankfully, I knew exactly where to start. Best Buy always has the best tech brands and products, and the information I need to make an informed decision and even get personal advice if I need it.

After a great deal of comparing, I think I have found my new laptop, and it will be a HP Envy Touchsmart Laptop. This laptop has it all, including the extreme performance of AMD's most powerful mobile processor - the AMD FX Special Edition APU. The AMD FX Special Edition APU will provide you with unbelievable performance, gaming and productivity.

The HP Envy Touchsmart Laptop boasts award winning graphics, 10 compute cores (4 CPU + 6 GPU), unbelievable PC performance, exceptional gaming and entertainment experiences and mega multitasking. I multitask essentially all day, every day. Also the super-fast processor makes it easier to stream video at a higher quality. Since my 3 year old dominates the TV in the living room all day long, I do all my viewing on Netflix and such, making quality streaming imperative.

Also, the HP Envy Touchsmart Laptop is 15.6", making it the perfectly sized for easy travel while allowing a great working/playing experience. Additionally, it is thin and lightweight for maximum comfort while in use.

Speaking of features that make it easy to use, the touchscreen is a huge asset. My current laptop does not have a touchscreen, and I constantly find myself wishing it did and thinking how much easy this or that task would be if it had one. I have been looking for a touchscreen laptop that was really a laptop(in terms of performance) and not a fancy tablet. The HP Envy Touchsmart Laptop 15.6" is exactly what I have been looking for.

Of course, I will be purchasing my new HP Envy Touchsmart Laptop from Best Buy. Not only does Best Buy have the best price, but they also offer free shipping on orders over $35 and free store pickup in as little as 45 minutes.

While I love to shop at Best Buy in store, I just have to take advantage o the free shipping option. Since I don't drive, the only way I can shop is if I have my husband take me when he is off work, which is his relaxing time. Now I get my laptop and he can take a nap, everyone wins.

If you are in the market for a new laptop, the only place you need to look is Best Buy. I would suggest starting with the HP Envy Touchsmart Laptop for superior performance, features and value. It has everything you could need or want at a price that even I think is good. Happy shopping.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card from MyIntel!!

Are you prepared for anything? What about a flood? Tornado? or even a home invasion? Do you have the necessary supplies to keep your family safe? MBIntel has designed an online tool called MyIntel that you can use to determine how secure you and your family are and give you suggestions on how to increase your security. You can take the FREE MyIntel Home Risk Assesment and see where you stand! You can read my full review here

If you choose to upgrade, you can save $10 with the coupon code MomBuzz!
Special thanks to MBIntel who has sponsored this giveaway and to Mom Buzz Media Bloggers for hosting!
One lucky winner will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card! Open to US and Canada, giveaway ends 11:59pm on 4/21. Good Luck!

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Save Even More With Groupon Coupons!

If you love to save money like I do(who doesn't?), than hopefully you are already aware on Groupon. Groupon is a deal site that allows you to buy vouchers for food, entertainment, products, etc. at an incredible discount(usually at least 30% off retail, but even up to 60% off and more.)

If that is not a great asset, I don't know what is. If I am looking to go somewhere or buy something, I always check Groupon first, to see if they have a deal for me. This is especially beneficial for vacations. We don't vacation often, but when we do, I expect it to be perfect.

Being able to get resorts and hotels at a steal of a price on Groupon is wonderful, finding new local(to the destination) restaurants AND saving money on them is fantastic, and getting fun outings like mini golf and bowling at about half price is unbelievable cool. We can get the same vacation for half the cost, or even better, double the vacation for the same price we would otherwise pay.

Groupon is just incredible. I can't even explain how much I love their deals. I was just talking about an upcoming Marilyn Manson/Smashing Pumpkins concert last week. I just found out today that Groupon has a deal for 50% off tickets. A concert I would already pay full price for, half off. It's almost too good to be true.

As if all the phenomenal voucher deals were not reason enough to love Groupon, I have something even better. Groupon just introduced a new feature - Groupon Coupons! That's right, coupons. So now, Groupon will save you money on all the things you already buy, just like it has done before, only now you can get coupons without spending ANYTHING. Totally free coupons!

Better still, these coupons are not just a few cents off or for brands/products you would never use, they are for the biggest brands around and 15% off 20% off and more. How about $20 off a Seaworld Orlando ticket? What about 67% off Omaha Steaks plus free gifts? You can get 50% off ANY Weight Watchers plan.

There are way too many incredible coupons to list(over 55,000!), but I can tell that there is something for everyone. I saw at least a dozen that I am personally going to use, and with new ones being added all the time, you'd be crazy(or foolish) not to check them out. If you want to save money, I can think of no easier way that to get free coupons for things you already plan to buy, and Groupon Coupons has the best free coupons around.

I would love to hear about your experience with Groupon. What is the best deal you've ever gotten. How often do you use Groupon and have you tried Groupon Coupons yet? If not, what are you waiting for?

*Although this is a compensated post, all opinions are 100% my own.*