The Movie “Wonder” Will Bring You to Tears #GIVEAWAY

Wonder Movie

I am not sure if you are looking for a tear jerk-er for movie night, however the movie Wonder is a MUST see!

As a mom of two young boys, I always worry about them bullying another child and it’s something I am constantly talking to them about (especially my 7 year old). I have tried explaining to him that it doesn’t matter what someone looks like or how they act, there are no excuses. No child ever deserves that!

The movie Wonder is about a little boy who was born with a rare facial disfigurement. His mother (Julia Roberts) and father (Owen Wilson) decide to stop home schooling him and integrate him into a private school. With kids staring, laughing and whispering about him, the movie follows this little boy, Auggie and his daily struggles to fit in. Having made a friend Jack, he soon feels more content in his environment, but within time he stumbles upon a bunch of kids (including his one friend) making fun of the way he looks, calling him a “freak” (cue the tears) and for the remainder of the school year he is bullied by this group who do and say awful things to Auggie. Not wanting to ruin the rest of the movie for others who have not seen it, I can say that the movie finished and I noticed that I had a big smile on my face (of course with tears still streaming down my face).

There are so many important lessons that come out of this movie which is why it makes a great movie to see with your kids and to discuss with them after:
1. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover
2. Be a leader not a follower
3. Choose kindness  

I know you will enjoy this movie as much as I did and I really recommend watching it with your older children

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
I am giving away 4 copies (yes that’s right 4) to my readers! The contest is open to residents of Canada only (excluding Quebec). You must be 18 years or older to enter. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A New Year Calls for New Netflix Shows #StreamTeam

New Netflix Shows

Bye bye 2017, HELLO 2018!!!!!!

Although I am sad to see another year pass (which means my kids are going to be another year older and I guess that means that I am going to be another year older EEK) I happily welcome 2018 for many reasons and I promise I won’t bore you with my new years resolutions (that’s because I don’t have any), but one that I am excited about are all the new upcoming shows for our minis and of course for us. Now that is a reason to be excited!

I bet you want me to dish it ….

Don’t laugh but honestly this new show I can not wait to watch (of course it’s a show for my kids) Llama Llama. With the new show just launched, I couldn’t be more excited to watch it with my mini since we have the series of books which has been in our book rotation for many many years. I mean who doesn’t love Llama Llama Red Pyjama?!

Llama Llama

Is your little one Troll obsessed (I was when I was a kid and obviously went to see the movie)? Well the new Netflix show Trolls: The Beat goes on carries on right where the movie left off. Of course Poppy looks as cute as she did in the movie!

Trolls

Other new titles include: Altered Carbon (for the parents who like the scary shows – definitely not for me), Queer Eye which is returning back to television after 15 years, On My Block and Seven Seconds.

For those who are patiently waiting for second seasons of their favourites, here are some to expect: Riverdale Season 2, Santa Clarita Diet Season 2 and One Day at a Time Season 2.

Not a bad lineup and if I know Netflix, there are many more to come.

Happy Netflix New Year to all and Happy Streaming

T.
xo

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What’s on your child’s List? It’s the 2017 Babylish Advice Toy Gift Guide

Toy Gift Guide

This is by far my favorite time of year … not so much the weather (snow sucks period the end), but it’s when all the new, hottest toys for 2017/2018 are released and I get to touch, feel, test/play and best of all I get to share my top favorites with everyone and offer some REALLY great giveways … WOOHOO!!!

What I want everyone to know most importantly is that I have NOT been paid to review any of these toys. I am simply receiving the products for my kids to test out and those that we think are great are included in my post. Now we have gotten that out of the way, let’s begin! 

Here is my hand chosen gift guide of great gifts to give your son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, g-d child, friends child etc. for the Holidays.

Oonies – FEATURED PRODUCT

Oonies

This is 100% the toy of the year!!!! I can’t tell you who had more fun with this toy, my kids or me?! The product does not require any kind of battery (added bonus) and has minimal assembly. If I have one piece of advice for this toy, I would highly recommend reading the directions as to how to make the Oonies before showing your kids because once they see it they will attack it (speaking from experience). What I loved about this is that there are so many applications for Oonies. My mini (who is 4) spent over an hour creating little creatures many of which he brought to bed with him and my older son (who is 7) was playing a game throwing them at windows and those that stuck would get a point. The balloons have a film on them that makes them stick to each other and comes with all sorts of accessories to put feet, ears, arms, eyes, noses, mouths etc and use your imagination to create fun creatures. If you wondering what happens when you run out of the little balloon beads, you can buy refill packs.

Oonies

Where to Buy: Amazon.ca + Refill Packs
Price: $48.49 + $39.95 for a refill pack if you want it

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Speak Out – Kids VS. Parents #GIVEAWAY

Speak Out Kids VS Parents

This is probably one of the funniest games I have played to date with my family! My kids were legitimately belly laughing because of how funny both my big guy and I looked and talked when we had the mouth piece in. I couldn’t stop laughing because at the end of his turn his shirt was wet from drooling so much (i’m even laughing writing this). Each game comes with child size and adult sized mouth pieces, child and adult cards which are phrases that you each have to guess and a timer. Guess the phrase right and you get a card! The person with the most cards at the end wins … it’s just that easy!

Speak out

Where to Buy: Amazon.ca
Price: $13.88 ON SALE (they even offer Prime shipping)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Spin Circuits/Spinzipz/Spinblades 

Spinz

Spinners are the biggest craze right now and they certainly have come a long way since the first one came out! Yes I get it, a spinner is a spinner is a spinner, BUT these one’s were actually really cool! Not only can you get them with patterned lights, but you can stack them and create crazy light shows with them and test your true ability to be a spin-master. What’s the difference: Spin Circuits have over 20 different cool light patterns, Spinzipz has only two arms and a single pattern of light and Spinbladez has multi-colour lights but when combined with the Spinzipz using the included double sided spin pin, they make a mesmerizing light show. I have to say the Spin Circuit was mesmerizing and somehow quite calming (weird), maybe every parent should have one of these! 😉

Spinners

Where to Buy: Spinzips – Walmart.ca, Spinbladez – Toys R Us or Party Rock, Spin Circuits – Mastermind Toys
Price: Spinzips – $6.99, Spinbladez – $9.99, Spin Circuits – $15.99

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Hasbro’s Marvel Spider-man Mega City Playset

Marvel Spiderman Super City Playset

Go big or go home! Well I wasn’t wrong about this toy, I had a feeling my mini (who is superhero obsessed) would go mental over this and I was not incorrect. This is the ultimate Spider-man city where Spider-man can hang from a crane, climb up and down ladders, go through secret doorways and swing down around a building. Two major things to note here: the city does NOT come with a Spider-man which was not a big deal for us because I feel like I have a million of them (make sure to buy a mini one if you don’t already have one in the house) and it comes unassembled with A LOT of parts! I did not find this hard to put together as the parts are all numbered and the directions were straight forward, but if you are going to give this as a gift, I would recommend putting it together at night and putting a bow on it for the morning. This was a big win in my house!

Spider-Man Mega City

Where to Buy: Toys R Us
Price: $112.47

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Elevation Pictures Paw Patrol 10 Disc DVD Set #GIVEAWAY

Paw Patrol Gift Set

CALLING ALL PAW PATROL FANS!!!!!

This is the ultimate DVD gift pack that was just released in time for the holidays! 56 Episodes on 10 DVDs – that’s every mini fan’s dream in 1 location. Need a few minutes to yourself (or 13 hours), grab a disc, pop it into the DVD player, grab a coffee and put your feet up. These are episodes my mini hasn’t seen before, so needless to say he was quite excited.

Where to Buy: Amazon.ca (bonus it offers Prime)
Price: $65

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Hasbro’s DropMix Music Gaming System

DropMix

Yes this game is as cool as it looks!!! I have to give it to Hasbro, this is probably one of the most unique games I/we have ever played! If you child loves music than this is definitely something you want to get for him/her. I like to think of this as the modern day turntable where you can mix up songs and add beats by adding and exchanging cards. There are three ways to play this: freestyle, clash and party .. we have only tried freestyle so I can’t comment on the others, but for the younger one’s this is probably the best route to go. Download the FREE DropMix app, take the tour to learn how the game works and start mixing it up. Songs include: Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Imagine Dragons, Sia, The Weeknd and many more. It starts with you laying down the first card which will be your base song. Each card has a colour in the top left and you want to correspond that colour with the colour on the board (don’t worry for the little one’s if they don’t follow that, they just love that they are their own dj and making the mixes on their own). It is recommended for ages 16+, but my son who is 7 had the best time playing with this and brings it out for all his play-dates.

Batteries are NOT included … I repeat NOT included so make sure you have some handy.

DropMix

Where to Buy: Amazon.ca  (bonus it offers Prime) or Toys R Us
Price: $99.97 (it’s on sale right now from $129.99)

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Beados Teeneez #GIVEAWAY

Beados Teenez

A true instance where you don’t judge a book by it’s cover! Although the packaging is geared toward girls, my older son had fun making designs with these (he made one for his girlfriend at school). Now I don’t recommend these for younger kids as the beads are Teeny and would be very hard for their little hands, but the older kids would definitely love this. There are different packages to choose from: Teenez 4 Colour Pen Starter Pack, Teenez Designer Studio and Teenez Refill Pack. Each pack comes with little design sheets to put under the plastic bead casing and an assortment of coloured beads.  No oven necessary, just spray the made design with water, wait 20 minutes and its good to go. You can make jewelry (comes with a bracelet to attach designs to) or for the boys make something to hang off your bag or give to someone else.

Beados Teeneez

Where to Buy: Toys R Us or Amazon.ca
Price: $34.99 (designer studio), $19.99 (4 colour pen), $26.99 (refill pack)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tonka Tinys Rescue Response Playset
Tonka Tinys
Great for little hands, Tonka Tinys Rescue Response Playset brings kids imaginations to life and best of all at their level! Launch the trucks down 1 of 4 ramps (one of which is the ultimate gravity ramp that makes your truck fly) and store the little trucks in the garage storage so there are no lost pieces and tears over not finding them! You will be happy to hear there is very little assembly which is always helpful 🙂

Tonka Tinys
Where to Buy: Toys R Us and Walmart.ca
Price: $39.99

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Zuru Mayka Tape

Mayka Tape

Here’s a neat concept! It’s tape that you can cut and shape into anything you want it to be and is compatible with Lego products. We like to build cars with our Lego in my house, so why not make a really cool ramp or city with your Mayka tape or if your kiddos are true Lego fans, you can make their room into a cool Lego city by adhering the tape to their walls and attaching their Lego designs to it. Cool right?! You can see how my imagination has blown up with this one.

Mayka Tape

Not my child 🙂

Where to Buy: Walmart.ca or Toys R US
Price: ranging $19.99-$24.99 for single packs

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Osmo
Osmo
I can not say enough good things about this product, honestly!! This was a product I was not sent to test, I purchased this a while back as I heard great things and they were certainly not wrong! This is one of those games that are educational through the parents eyes, but just a really fun toy through the child’s eyes – I like to call that a win-win for all. I purchased the genius kit which included the base and mirror for the iPad, a Numbers game, a Word game and a Tangram game. Additionally, I purchased what happens to be my kids favorite game of all, the Monster game where your little one can choose what he/she wants to draw (it offers you categories) on the included creative board (set comes with bright coloured erasable chalk markers and a big pouch which you use as the eraser). Osmo Monster brings it life by “pick it up” and magically puts it on the screen with him and roll plays with it, take a look at the picture below! The kids REALLY got a kick out of this (frankly so did I). I recently bought Coding Awbie which is a coding game. You direct Awbie using the physical coding command blocks and direct him on the strawberry eating adventure. I truly think this is one of the best toys you could buy your child this holiday season!
Osmo
Where to Buy: Amazon.ca
Price: Normally $129.99 (prime) but right now my link shows $99.99 on SALE!

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Operation Escape Game #GIVEAWAY
Operation Escape Game
Have you ever done an escape room? If you have, how much did you have! If you haven’t here’s a chance to play a fun game with your older kids while getting the child version of an escape room?! You are given 3 tasks and you have to complete them (even more fun with 4+ people) in order to get the captured player free before the timer runs out. The other thing I think is great about this game is that there are different levels of difficulty, so if you think it’s too easy … try again buy upping your level allowing you to play multiple times. This is definitely a game for kids 6+ and also something fun for the kids to do when you have a play date over.
Where to Buy: Toys R Us (don’t use Amazon for this one – it’s crazy expensive)
Price: $39.99
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Little Live Pets

Little Live Pets

Do your kids bug you constantly for a pet??? It seems to be a common theme in my house, at least once a week one of my kids are asking me for a pet so this was the perfect toy to give them! Meet Lollipop, he is our new bird (we also have a white one named Hatchy not pictured here, he didn’t like the camera). Want to know what’s so wonderful about these pets, they walk around, don’t poop on the floor and when you are done with them, just flick the switch to “off” – BEST PET EVER! You can buy the birds separate, however each habitat/cage comes with one, hold it in your hand and the egg opens to reveal your new bird friend.

Little Live Pets

Where to Buy: Amazon.ca or Walmart.ca
Price: $34.97

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STOCKING STUFFER: Disney Emoji’s Collectibles #GIVEAWAY

Disney Emoji Collectibles

If you have a Disney fan out there and need a little stocking stuffer, here is a great idea! These cute collectibles offer over 100 characters (from Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, Mickey Mouse and Friends, Lion King, Toy Story, Finding Nemo and more) and the fun part about the chat bubbles is that you don’t know what you are getting so it makes it even more exciting for your little one’s (my mini has an obsession with blind bags lately). We talk in emoticons so why wouldn’t our little one’s! Two f the packs have a hidden surprise character.

Emoji Collectibles

Where to Buy: Chat Bubbles – Toys R Us
Price: Chat Bubble – $3.99, Chat Pack – $9.99, Group Chat – $14.99

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Wishing all a Happy Holidays
Have fun shopping
T.
xo

Family Gaming with Blast Box

Blast Box

So first off, I am going to start by telling you I truly DISLIKE balloons (I was going to use the word “hate” but I have my big guy in my head telling me “hate” is not a nice word which is often what I say to him – how about that for throwing it back in my face!).

Why such a weird dislike?  Simply, they pop and when they pop it scares the living s%*t out of me because it’s always so unexpected. For some reason, I feel like I am not alone with this one … at least I am hoping I am not.

I was offered the opportunity to try out this “blast explosion” game (FYI I was not paid to test out the game and review it) and I had to think about it simply because of this irrational fear of popping balloons and let’s be honest here: the title “blast explosion” kind of worried me, but I took a chance since I love family gaming time.

Well I can now report that for those parents that hate the sound of popping balloons that the title “blast explosion” is slightly dramatic and the popping noise is so minimal and very contained WOOHOO!

 

How to Play: each player inflates 1 balloon each with the included inflator (my kids loved this part)
Side Note: the kit comes with a bunch of balloon clips which I will admit I didn’t really pay attention too thinking they were part of the game some way and I spent A LOT of time trying to tie these teeny tiny balloons with my large mommy fingers and was annoyed with how difficult it was – well I found out the hard way, there was a reason for those clips 🙂

Blast box

Place the balloons under the Blast Box and the first play spins the spinner to see how many pins they have to hammer into the box. Each player needs to make sure they choose the right spot to put the pin in so that they don’t POP a balloon and you keep going until the first balloon pops and then that player is eliminated. The player that successfully does not pop a balloon is the WINNER and is the Blast Box Master … until the next round! My strategy (shhhh): start with the corners 😉

 

Blast Box

This game is very easy to play, minimal set up (when you use the balloon clips that is) and the kids love the thrill of not knowing when the balloon is going to pop.

Where to Buy: Toy Town, Mastermind and Amazon.ca
Price: $25.00

Happy Popping
xo
T.

Streaming Smarter #StreamTeam

Stream with Netflix

Have you ever watched a Netflix show, been curious about a fact in the show and then Googled it to find out more about it? I like to call this Streaming Smarter

I often find myself watching a show and then asking my husband about it and then we both Google it to get more information. This recently happened with Narcos. We started watching it and I was so fascinated by the whole thing that I grabbed my phone and looked up what Pablo Escobar looked like in real life and then it spiraled to finding out all these details that I had no idea about. This also happened when a friend of mine HIGHLY recommended the Netflix show Fauda, the first thing I did was Google it to see if it was a show I wanted to invest hours of my time watching and well this one is next on my list.

It’s not uncommon for those curious little fellows living in your house throw out a question or two about a show they are a watching assuming you will have the answer because you’re mom and obviously you have all the answers! What’s your first stop? Google of course! My kids love Moana and my mini told me that the place where she lives is the most beautiful place on earth and sure enough I picked up my phone and Googled Hawaii images to show him that Hawaii does exist. It’s amazing what this Google machine can do :)!

Netflix

On a side note: who’s excited for the release of Stranger Things Season 2???!!! While you wait, you can play their nostalgic 80’s type game on your phone available at the app store. Fun right!

Stranger Things Game

Happy Googling
T.
xo

The Newest Netflix Hack – You DON’T Want to Miss This! #StreamTeam

Netflix Hack

How cool would it be if your child’s favourite Netflix show could wish them a happy birthday on their special day?

Well I have BIG news that I have been holding onto for weeks now and been so excited to tell everyone. Netflix just launched the best hack that will bring a HUGE smile to your little one’s faces. Now available are 15 on-demand birthday wishes from your kids favourite Netflix characters:

  • All Hail King Julien
  • Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu
  • Lego Friends
  • Luna Petunia
  • My Little Pony
  • Beat Bugs
  • Skylanders Academy
  • Project MC2
  • Word Party
  • Dino Trux
  • Barbie
  • Pokemon
  • Trollhunters

I truly think I am more excited for my kids birthdays than they are! I feel like there is so much planning involved to make sure they have the most special day and that’s A LOT of pressure! It starts off with waking up to balloons, into gift opening and then after school having a family birthday party with streamers, table themes, a custom cake and a lot of clean up!!!! I’m actually exhausted just thinking about it.

Well this new Netflix Birthday launch is a great way to take some of that pressure off and make them feel like they are the most special person! My son is obsessed with Skylanders so naturally I chose to have the Skylanders sing him happy birthday and he couldn’t be more excited (and probably somewhat confused how I made that happen). MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Take a look at my son’s *slightly confused* but cute reaction https://www.instagram.com/p/BZMAX7xh23W/?taken-by=terri_babylishadvice

When it’s your child’s birthday, give it a try! Just search: Birthday and all the different options will come up and all you have to do is press play – it’s that easy.

Happy birthday to all the little one’s out there celebrating and I hope this makes their day (and your day) a little happier
T.
xo

 

Fun Family Games with Yulu #Giveaway

Yulu Games

Is it just me or is the “family gaming” aisle in toy stores extremely overwhelming?! Jam packed with hundreds of different games, I literally pace back and forth looking at all the titles and then most the time I walk away empty handed and frustrated because I just can’t seem make a decision.

At one point I brought my 6 year old to the store to have him pick a game (I thought maybe it would be easier for him to choose) … BIG MISTAKE! He picked out a game he saw on one of the YouTube channels and after I couldn’t get it to work, I instantly regretted my decision (and the money I spent on it). You live and learn!

If you are like me and are overwhelmed in that aisle and just looking for a recommendation for some rainy day games, after-camp games, quiet time games or witching hour games, I have two fun one’s that my kids had a blast playing!

Safe Breaker
Safe Breaker Game
Object of the Game:  to break open the safe by cracking the code and breaking into the safe to collect the coins. Win by being the first to collect 5 coins or 3 diamond coins but make sure you don’t get caught by the police. 

How to Playlay out all the cards with the numbers facing up. Have one person pick the first card, turn the dial to the chosen number, next use the fingerprint scanner to test the number and if the light shows green the safe door will open and if the light shows red listen through the spy listening gear to hear a secret clue as to whether the code is higher or lower than the number chosen (there are sounds which prompt you). When you crack the code, the safe door will open and coins will spit out. Don’t be fooled though, sometimes you could break open the safe and there are no coins inside or you could get the alarm coin and you have to give back all your coins! Keep playing until 5 coins or 3 diamond coins have been collected. Careful though, if you hear a siren that means the police have been alerted and you lose a turn. 

Where to Buy: Toys R Us and Mastermind in Canada, Target and Walmart in the USA
Price: $30.00 CAD

Break Free

Object of the Game: be the first to pick the lock on your hand cuffs and break free of them!

How to Play: there are three maze levels to choose from (easy, intermediate and challenging). Put the chosen maze into the handcuff, attach the handcuff to all players wrist. Using the lock pick, players must try to get through the hidden maze by moving the lock left, right, up and down to release the handcuff and escape as quickly as possible. The winner gets a coloured token to match the colour maze they chose. There are points on the back of each token and the player with the most points at the end of the three rounds wins!

Break Free

Where to Buy: Toys R Us and Mastermind in Canada, Target and Walmart in the USA
Price: $25 CAD

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY
Thanks to our wonderful friends at Yulu, they are giving away both games to 1 lucky reader. The contest is open to both Canadian and US residents. Here’s how to enter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

McDonald’s New Launch for Happy Meals

Happy Meal Books

If you haven’t already heard, McDonald’s has big news that has just launched for their Happy Meals! Through a partnership with Kids Can Press (the world’s largest children’s book publisher),  you now can get a book OR a toy in your little one’s Happy Meal.

When I think of my childhood, one of the first things I think of is the little red box (well now it seems little, but back then when I was a kid it was huge red box) with the golden arch handles and when I think of the little red box, one thing comes to mind … my post-swimming Happy Meals. It didn’t matter if I had something right after my swimming lessons, my mom ALWAYS made a stop at the same McDonald’s for me as that was my incentive to go every week (and not complaining about going to swimming at that). I mean they don’t call it a HAPPY meal for nothing … your favourite food (mine was and still is the chicken McNuggets), a drink (the orange drink of course) and a toy (the pull back cars with McDonald’s characters were the best – remember the hamblurger?!).

I absolutely love this new launch from McDonald’s because books are a very important part of my families nightly routine. Since both my boys were born, I always took the time to read to them before bed time as I always figured that even though they didn’t understand that they would understand eventually the importance of books! I am happy to say the routine continues 6.5 years later where my boys choose the books they want to read before going to sleep. In fact, most days my older guy helps his brother pick out a book and assists in reading it to him before going to bed (when they aren’t fighting of course). Now with this new initiative, our book collection will grow rapidly as our weekend routines always include a McDonald’s Happy Meal.

McDonalds

My Mini had the best time at the McDonald’s Happy Meal Book Launch and even got to meet Franklin!

By offering books in Happy Meals, McDonald’s is helping to improve accessibility to books for children across the country and encourage families to spend more time reading together. All Happy Meal books are written by Canadian authors and include the following titles SPOILER ALERT:

Franklin the Turtle
Scaredy Squirrel
The Busy Beaver
No Dragons for Tea
Franklin’s Halloween
Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend
Making the Moose Out of Life
Once Upon a Dragon
Scaredy Squirrel at Night
Franklin’s Valentines
Big Bear Hug
Franklin Plays the Game

 

Want to know what you can get involved? Post a photo on social media with the hashtag #OwnaBookGiveaBook and McDonald’s will donate a book to a child in need (up to 20,000 books) through First Book Canada … it’s that easy!!!

McDonalds Shelfie

Make sure to take a picture of a your bookshelf and post it on social media tagging #ownabookgiveabook. and McDonalds will donate a book to children in need

Now run to get your child’s next Happy Meal with one of these amazing books!
T.
xo

Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post however stories and opinions are my own

The New Hottest Toy on the Market

Thumb Chucks

Everyone is looking for the new hottest toy for their kids and Thumb Chucks has earned it’s spot on the shelves!

Test your skills and show them off learning how to control the roll. Now, this is not an easy task, but the more you practice the better you will get and well if your mini just can’t get the hang of it no worries … they are just a fun toy for the kids to play around with.

My big guy truly had no idea what to do with them when we opened the package (nor did I to be quite honest) but then we watched the Thumb Chucks video and he was really into trying to figure them out. I mean, I was pretty mesmerized by the video – it’s truly amazing the tricks people can do with these but this is no easy task! I have told my mini he needs to keep practicing and he will get better and better. He still hasnt got the full hang of it. I can tell you that my boys had a blast in their dark room swinging these around! They got such a kick out of them.

Fun Features:
– they glow in the dark using their montion-sensitive LEDs inside the balls
– small enough and lightweight enough the kids can keep them in their pockets
– endless trick combos
– there’s an app that kids can download that includes over 20 tutorials that teaches users amazing tricks
– (for the older kids) the app has an easy to use recording feature with built-in special effects to create cool videos
– post your kids (or your) mad thumb chuck skills on social media and hashtag #thumbchucks for a chance to be rewarded with custom belts
– colours: red, orange, green and blue
– you can switch out the balls so you have different colour combinations

Thumb Chucks2

Price: $10.00 (makes a really great loot bag)
Where to buy: Toys R Us, Walmart, Mastermind Toys and Amazon

Let’s see how you control the roll
T.
xo

 

Looking of an All Inclusive Family Getaway? Review of the Nickelodeon Resort in Punta Cana #Giveaway

Nickelodeon Punta Cana

Your looking for an all inclusive family getaway … now the question is, how to choose a family resort … pictures on the internet? O.k fine, but remember that commercial you saw on television that shows that super delicious perfect looking hamburger and then you go to get it and it looks deflated and NOTHING like it did in the commercial … Right! You get it!

I guess you can call me a skeptic, but come on … I want to hear real people’s reviews and see real pictures, not the picture perfect images you see on websites of every child smiling and every parent smiling while they are all sipping of fruity drinks in the sun while nobody burns.

So that’s what I am here for! 

Let me first say, I was NOT gifted this vacation to the Nickelodeon Resort in Punta Cana, I was NOT given anything for free and nobody paid me to review it. I did however have a really good travel agent who helped us plan this trip and because I mentioned I have a blog she offered to add in a giveaway to my review.

So let’s get down to business (this is going to be a long one, but all details and little secrets/hints/notes are going to be in this post).

The Bus:
– First question people always have is how far is the airport from the hotel? 45 minutes is the answer. There was one stop prior to the stop at the Nickelodeon.
Hint: No need to grab your beers before getting on the bus, they have them on the bus waiting for you (for purchase of course).

Checking In:
– Upon check in, you are offered a glass of champagne (yes please) and kids are offered a green coloured smoothie (my kids wouldn’t go near it because they thought it was vegetables which it wasn’t).
– While the parents check-in, there is a clear glass room in the lobby for your kids that has a television playing Nickelodeon shows and toys to play with. This is to keep them from pulling on your bags yelling at you to hurry up while you are calmly trying not to yell at them to leave you alone for a minute while you make sure everything is correct on your reservation (nice touch Nickelodeon, nice touch!).

The Rooms (we had a 1 bedroom suite):
– We had a golf cart take us to our building where our room resided (the resort is quite large) and I have to say, the rooms surpassed my expectations.
– The bathroom was large and had both a stand alone bathtub that had a hand shower and there was a shower that also had a hand shower. Let me tell you, the hand showers are VERY convenient for when the kids come back from the beach covered in sand and you need to quickly get it off before heading to kids club or dinner.
– There are two big closets with lots of drawers, a master bedroom with sliding doors at both ends and a main living room with a pullout couch and television, a long table behind it and little stools for when you order room service, the kids can sit there and eat.
– The balcony is quite large and has a big lounger (seen below), two chairs and best of all … wait for it … it had an extendable drying rack BRILLIANT!!!!!! (how I didn’t take a picture of it is beyond me). I have to say that some of swim up rooms looked pretty awesome. One pool had a bar in it (who wouldn’t love that), but of course it is a significant jump in price.
Hint: if you want your room cleaned daily, make sure to touch the “clean up” button on the inside of your room which is not always visible right away. If the button is not pushed, your room will not be cleaned

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The Staff:
– The staff at the Nickelodeon were amazing!!!! They were happy, they were dancing and most of all, they were amazing to the kids (Orquid, Lizabeth, Christopher, Santa and many more were truly wonderful).
– The staff on the regular grounds (The Sensitori) were kind and mostly would say hi to everyone who walked by, but a good portion of the staff did not speak English and were mostly confused when you asked them a question. That being said, there were a group of staff members that went out their way to help you with special requests (like getting Rice Krispies at dinner time for your little one who won’t eat anything – thank you Randor) or serving you at your special beach dinner and make it a fun night for the adults (Alexander, you were a blast).
Hint: whether you are sitting at the beach or at the pools, there are always staff walking around offering you beverages at all times, make sure to bring money with you as tips go along way!

Nickelodeon Punta Cana Staff

The Food:
– Now I am a very basic (some like to call it “picky”) eater, but the crew I was with were not nearly as picky (probably the opposite) and we all found something to eat at every meal however the food was … just o.k. There was a buffet for dinner that we went to every night with the kids (Sugarcane) and it had lots of options (every night was themed food), but we didn’t particularly love the food there. Just an FYI not one buffet had chicken fingers … shocking really!
– There are two daytime buffets (the Lighthouse and Zest, the food at Lighthouse was MUCH better in our opinion – food seemed fresher there) and both typically had pizza, pasta’s, cheeses, salad type items, mini burgers and lots of breads.
– There was a bbq on the beach daily (not on the weekend though) which had fresh bbq’d burgers and chicken/beef skewers. The chicken skewers were very good and I basically had that for lunch everyday.
– Us adults went out every night for dinner (we had babysitters with the kids) and not one restaurant exceeded our expectations. That being said, the decor of the restaurants were unreal!
– Room service some nights was absolutely necessary, but it would typically take about an hour for the food to arrive. This is the only place you will find chicken fingers which were kind of worth the wait as they were actually delicious. On the other hand, they did not have plain or buttery noodles of any kind on the menu which yet again really shocked me. That being said, when I spoke to them and explained that my child eats nothing else and I couldn’t understand why this wasn’t on a menu in a kids resort they were able to accommodate me.
– The Character breakfast is a must! There is a surcharge for it, but I HIGHLY recommend it. The characters are all in their pajamas and the kids get to dance and hang out with them while eating breakfast.
Notes: Sugarcane is only open for breakfast and dinner. Zest is not open for lunch until 1:00pm on the weekends – I am telling you this so you don’t schlep your kids all the way to these restaurants like we did only to find out they were closed

The Beach:
– Having very little experience with beaches, I would say their beach was really quite nice. The sand was soft, the kids were able to hunt for shells and the water was pretty warm. That being said there were days when we couldn’t go in because the waves were too rough, but that didn’t seem to bother the them at all
– There are day beds along the back of the beach, these are available to use at no charge, but you have to book them 24 hours in advance and I believe you have to go to the day bed area to reserve it, you can’t book via phone.
– There are tons of seats with umbrellas, however they get snatched up pretty quickly so make sure to go get yours early. Late afternoon there is virtually no shade on the beach so load up with sunscreen
Hint: you don’t have to buy beach toys for $20 at the store (which, might I add, only includes a pail and shovel), just ask the guys at the towel stand for them as they have lots of them hidden back there, but make sure to return whatever you borrow so that others can enjoy. I wish I knew this ahead of time 🙂

Nickelodeon Punta Cana Beach

The Nickelodeon Kids Club (Just Kiddin’):
– I can’t begin to explain how great the kids club is
– It is situated in the Nickelodeon area which you would either get a lift to by their golf carts or take a family walk over there (it can be a little bit of a walk depending on where your room is located on the property).
– The age requirement is 4+ however younger kids are able to go, but they have to be accompanied by an adult so we hired one of their kids club babysitters and she watched my mini while he was there. Legit, my little guy couldn’t get there faster, he absolutely loved it. It is VERY clean, big, has video games for the older kids, televisions playing Nickelodeon shows, tons of Nickelodeon toys, a slide with a huge ball pit at the bottom and a giant tree house. They cook with the kids, do science projects and do all sorts of art projects (like making ninja pillows). My kids really had the best time there
– There are night hours (I think it is 7pm-9pm) where you can drop off your kids, some nights were themed like a pajama party and they would give the kids popcorn and show a movie (check the schedule for those nights)
– They also host a family night on the Saturday where they have a buffet open in the Nickelodeon area (normally they close that area at 5:00pm for the night – keep that in mind) and have a busker type show which was pretty cool. They say it starts at 7:30pm – DONT RUSH because the show doesn’t start until 8:30pm, however they do have characters out for everyone to meet prior (note: leave a little early so you can get on a golf cart and not have to wait in a long line – best tip of the trip right there)

Nickelodeon Punta Cana Kids Club

The Nickelodeon Pool:
– This pool is every kids (and adult if you are a kid at heart) dream … honestly. I just watched all the kids running around having the best time and wished they had something like this when I was a kid. There were slides for little one’s (oh and at the bottom of the slide they had some sort of padded ground so they didn’t hurt themselves – someone was thinking ahead) and they had bigger slides for the older kids.
– The whole water play structure has a million things for kids to do on it, be careful you don’t get caught under the big bucket that fills up and spills over (it just missed me lol).
– The pool is just under knee high on adults so you can figure out on your child how deep, my mini who is very little could walk throughout the pool no problem
– Part way through the afternoon everyone gathers around and they have slime time! The staff dance and sing and then they choose random room numbers to be slimed (yup we were chosen – to see us getting slimed check out my Instagram account terri_babylishadvice). Not to worry though if you don’t want to do it, you can opt out. It’s just green water and my son loved it!
Note: This pool closes at 5:00pm (just so you know and  you don’t make the mistake we did showing up at 4:30pm and having to deal with a meltdown because they couldn’t go in)

Nickelodeon Punta Cana Pool

Babysitters:
– Thanks to our amazing travel agent, she had pre-arranged babysitters for us prior to going on the trip which was a huge help
– Our babysitter was the same person that my mini was with during kids club and my boys absolutely adored her (thanks Orquid) which worked out well because I thought the boys would revolt against me when I told them a babysitter will be coming in. As soon as they heard it was Orquid they both got so excited, in fact they wanted us to leave.
– I can’t recall exactly how much babysitting was, but I would say around $20 an hour
– For those who want to get babysitters but are anxious, the babysitters take your phone number should anything go wrong and you are literally minutes from your room.
– We still keep in contact with our babysitter, she FaceTime’s the kids all the time, they miss her
Note: all the babysitters were certified (for those who are weary about leaving their kids with strangers).

Got a Baby?:
– Not to worry they have you covered! Let them know ahead of time what you need and it will be in your room waiting
– Cribs they have, monitors, strollers, sterilizers, bottle warmers, pack n’ play, baby baths, high chair, sleepers and more

The Grounds:
– For starters the property is really big but they take care of that by having golf carts constantly going through the grounds giving lifts to all who need
– The resort is VERY clean! There are staff members at all areas constantly taking care of the property
– There is music playing throughout the property during the day which I thought was a nice touch
– There are personal concierge desks every hotel block so if you have any questions, they are the one’s to go see
– It seems there were little surprises throughout the property i.e. there was a “sewer” that appeared to be a sewer but when you stepped on it, the Ninja Turtles started talking … MIND BLOWN!

Nickelodeon Punta Cana Grounds

Characters:
– I often saw commercials of places like this where characters are walking around the property greeting the kids and pictured it to be kind of like a mosh pit. NOT TRUE. There are set times of day and locations where you can come meet your favorite Nickelodeon characters. Our kids got to meet Sponge Bob and the Pink guy (sorry i’m not caught up with the names of all the characters), Dora the Explorer and Boots, Marshall and Chase and the three Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
– I was pleasantly shocked how organized the meet and greet’s were. For the morning meet and greet, the characters are in a room where families line up to meet them (or if your my kid, you charge in front of everyone and photobomb someone else’s pictures with their kids – he couldn’t contain his excitement the first day). The afternoon’s the characters were outdoors but in a specific spot and again you need to line up to meet them
– There is a photographer there taking family pictures with the characters, but not to worry they don’t have a “no phone’s or photo’s” rule so we took pictures with our phones

Nickelodeon Punta Cana Characters

Night Life:
– What night life? True story. At 10:00pm the place essentially shuts down, restaurants are long closed, music shuts down and the bar is done (make sure to stock up)!
– At about 8:00pm(ish) the main food area has live music, clowns on stilts and entertainers come out to entertain the kids
– We brought cards to entertain us at night (if you are need of some good card games let me know)

My Travel Agent:
– For these kinds of trips I always look for a travel agent to help out as they know different properties, they have reviews and can get you all the information you need including deals (I get very overwhelmed looking on websites)
– We used a wonderful agent who reached out to us at the right time and she was extremely patient with our many many requests. Now remember, she wasn’t dealing with just 1 person, she was dealing with 3 os us all of which had individual questions, special requests with dates, times, rooms etc and she handled us beautifully 
– For whatever reason, the day before we left I tried checking in and it kept saying that there were no reservations – well, I obviously panicked and wrote her (on the weekend, a long weekend at that) and she immediately wrote back to me assuring me there were no issues and telling me what to do
– She checked in while on the trip, when we had issues with something there she called the hotel and dealt with them right away and immediately after the trip she checked in to see how it went (I mean … come on … that’s service)
– Booking through a Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultant & Nickelodeon specialist (as Mandy is) gets you as a guest special perks when booking at a Karisma property
– For those interested in going on a trip and need assistance I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend calling her, you will not regret it!
Contact Information: Mandy Delve from Twil TRAVEL mdelve@twiltravel.com

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
Yup that’s right, there is a giveaway! Enter to win: four (4) days, three FREE (3) nights Gourmet Inclusive® stay for two (2) people in a Leading Room Category at the Azul Beach Resort Rivera Maya by Karisma (it has the Nickelodeon Experience). Here’s how to enter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Certificate will be issued upon receipt of winner’s name and it will be valid for one (1) year from March 1, 2017. Blackout dates may apply