Bananas: Check Out These Fun Mini Collectible Toys


Thank you to Cepia LLC for sponsoring this post. 

Do your kiddos love small collectible toys like mine do? If so, you have to check out Bananas – a fun blind-reveal collectible toy by Cepia LLC that comes packed with mini surprises in their very own colorful toy banana.

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Just peel open to discover individually wrapped mini, adorable “Crushie” characters and accessories. Each Banana includes a cute character, two mini squeezable friends, a hanging vine for your Crushie toy to hang on, gemstones to personalize and decorate with, and a collector sheet with a sticker.

 

 

 

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With six Banana colors and twenty-four characters in total, my kiddos are having a blast collecting and trading Bananas and sticking them back inside their Banana case to take on the go. There is definitely something fun about the process of peeling the banana to discover all the tiny trinkets inside – and they even smell yummy too! I like the fact that the case can be re-sealed – and the little goodies can be tucked away in their Banana homes for safe keeping.

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Pick up Bananas as a single toy (suggested retail $3.99) or in a “Banana’s bunches” three-pack (recommended retail $9.99). And be on the lookout for the four rare Crushies named Princess Pi, Lucy Leopard, Andrew Monkey, and Pipo Panda – along with one ultra-rare Crushie named Gail Giraffe! Grab ’em online (with those holiday gift cards!) at Amazon, and at all Target, select Walmart and Barnes & Noble stores, as well as specialty stores nationwide. Have fun joining in the Bananas-craze on social with the hashtags #GoBananas #BananaToys and #BananasCollectibles – and look out for Bananas wave 2 coming soon!

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Space Adventuring with Starlink: Battle for Atlas on Nintendo Switch

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This post is sponsored by Best Buy. 

Last year, the kids received a Nintendo Switch for Christmas from their grandparents – and since then, weekend gaming privileges are hard-earned over here! The kids were stoked to have the chance to put the action-adventure video game, Starlink: Battle for Atlas, on the Nintendo Switch Console to the test – complete with Starter pack, Weapons kit, Pilot kit, and Starship pack.

Starlink: Battle for Atlas is an open-world space saga that features pretty cool modular toy technology – so players can assemble and customize real-world physical starships, link the starships to their game controller, and launch into epic adventures across the Atlas star system. The game can be played in single-player mode or with a friend in two-player split-screen local co-op mode.
Each modular component and pilot attached to the starship appears instantly in-game, allowing players to directly affect the course of their battle in ways that feel meaningful.

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The kids really enjoy customizing their starships before mounting them to the controller. They also love the toys-to-life aspect of space adventuring and the feeling of playing pilot (with distinct personalities!), flying their ships and exploring planets, creatively swapping out their wings and weapons – and so much more. The kids concur that there are so many visual aspects to see and explore in this game. All the battles, crafting, ships, pilots and weapons allow for endless fun. This game received a big thumbs up from my kid testers!

Starlink: Battle for Atlas is available for the Nintendo Switch, the PlayStation®4 and Xbox One. Save $25 on the Starter Packs and save 30% on Starlink toys at Best Buy – this week, 12/16-12/22!

 

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Build, Play, Code: Check out This Cool Robotic Learning Toy for Kids

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Thank you UBTECH for sponsoring this post. JIMU Robots are a fun way to bring robotics into kid’s day to day and make the perfect gift you can feel good about gifting to the children in your lives this holiday season!

On weekend mornings, immediately after school, and every time in-between – my kids, ages 8, and almost 11(I can’t believe it!) gravitate towards their play-table to build something, zoom it across the hardwood floors, or figure out how it works.

I’m certain that every age (and stage of play) continues to be my favorite.

We first spotted JIMU Robots in an iconic NYC store. My kids fell for the Cosmos Kit hard – and I found JIMU’s three-step system of building, coding, and playing (in alignment with STEM learning) really intriguing.

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We decided to unbox the kids’ new Astrobot during a special family night-in, deciding on first creating Astron – an alien friend with cool LED eyes and speaker capabilities.

The free JIMU App provides easy-to-follow, piece-by-piece instructions – in a super cool 3D, 360°, animated format. So you can actually zoom in and rotate if needed to ensure that you’re following the directions exactly. Designed for ages 8+, my kids had no problem building their interactive robot on their own – but their parents clearly wanted in on the fun!

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As soon as Astron came to life, my kids lit up. Their feeling of accomplishment was palpable as they played with their hand-built robotic friend – packed with totally cool moves and endless amounts of coding and play alongside the free app.

Astron’s hip-hop moves continue to be a big hit – as well as coding unique movement patterns. The kids plan on building their own robotic creation this weekend as well as Rover and AstroBot. They’re currently plotting ways to code a robot to transport their clothes to the hamper!

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JIMU is hands down the coolest learning toy we’ve had in our home, enhancing and reinforcing both of my kids’ interest in coding. If you’re looking for an incredible learning toy this holiday, JIMU Robots is the perfect gift for all kids in the 8+ age range. Check ‘em out at Target!

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Everyday Adventures with the Maxi-Cosi Magellan™ Max

Thank you Maxi-Cosi for sponsoring this post. Keep your little adventurers comfy, safe & stylish with the Maxi-Cosi Magellan™ Max 5-in-1 Convertible Car Seat!

I can close my eyes and remember the distinct hum of my mother’s ’80s station wagon; making up songs about the moon with my big brother in the back seat, and the massive cooler of food that my parents would pack for even the shortest of trips. I’d like to think that my kiddos will someday smile when they look back on the outings that colored their childhood, with all the quirkiness and nostalgia that these sorts of familial memories carry.

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At ages eight and ten, we are deep in adventuring. The kids crave the outdoors and water, and luckily, for us, our ocean is just a short car ride away. And while we’re deep into fall, we were able to enjoy NYC’s surf well into autumn – when the water was still warm and welcoming.

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It’s a joy to see my third-grader’s growing confidence. Although he may feel big enough to crush waves at just 50-ish pounds, he’ll be traveling in a booster seat for several years ahead, and it’s my job to ensure that he’s as safe as can be during our everyday adventuring.

When I upgraded my vehicle, I knew I wanted to go with Maxi-Cosi, the top-selling baby car seat brand worldwide. The NEW Maxi-Cosi Magellan™ Max 5-in-1 Convertible Car Seat has proven to be a perfect fit for my kiddo’s back seat adventures.

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My little guy currently meets the Belt-Positioning Booster mode requirements – but this seat is the only one you’ll ever need because it seamlessly transitions between five modes of use: Baby Rear-Facing, Toddler Rear-Facing, Toddler Forward-Facing, Child Forward-Facing and Belt-Positioning Booster (accommodates children from birth to age 10 (5 lbs. To 120 lbs.).

My son is as comfy as can be and I love the security of knowing that the Magellan™ Max is the only convertible car seat equipped with Maxi-Cosi’s patented Adjustable Side Impact Protection, which creates a customized fit for all growth stages ensuring maximum protection in the proper position. I also love stealing as many hugs as I can get when we’ve reached our destination!

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We’ve since moved on to several fall sports and I can’t wait to see where the next adventure will take us!

Find the Maxi-Cosi Magellan™ Max 5-in-1 Convertible Car Seat (ARV $399.99ea) at Albee Baby, Nordstrom, Buy Buy Baby and other specialty retailers.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Remembering the Songs of My Childhood

This post is in partnership with Nick Jr.

Some of my earliest memories are of my darling mother singing to me while wrapped in the security of her arms. The sweet nursery rhyme “Los Pollitos” always reminds me of the feeling of being cocooned in her love. Now that she’s gone back to her country in South America (perhaps as a snowbird, or perhaps long-term) – it’s crucial for me to look for avenues to celebrate and keep her culture and influence present in the lives of my own kiddos – especially when our communication is via a phone or a screen.

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It’s been such a joy to explore Canticos’ bilingual nursery rhymes through Nick Jr. on YouTube and on the (free!) Nick Jr. App. When I spotted an image of three delightful little chicks on the Canticos’ app, I just knew that it had to be “Los Pollitos”! I love how Canticos first presents nursery rhymes in Spanish (with the lyrics displayed at the bottom of the screen) and then in English too. Would you believe this was the first time that I heard the English version of this special song from my childhood? It is so beyond beautiful (and fun!) to get to share it all with my children. A few of our other Canticos’ current favorites are “Estrellita”, “Elefantitos” and “Sol Solecito”.

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I can’t tell you how excited it makes me to see Nickelodeon’s commitment to providing, culturally relevant, engaging and educational content in a bilingual format – especially during Hispanic Heritage month. Canticos delightfully pairs classic nursery rhymes from all over the Spanish-speaking world with adorable animal characters to create educational music videos. The team behind Canticos is dedicated to telling authentic stories pulled directly from their own personal experiences growing up with these songs and characters. As a mom, Canticos lets me access tangible ties to my past through memories treasured in songs to share with my children. And I love how their mission is to ignite and advance creative thinking in kids everywhere through storytelling and the power of play. Canticos is also a fantastic way for all kids to learn and practice simple vocabulary words, numbers, days of the week, and more – both in English and Spanish.

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Sing With Us! Vamos A Cantar! And put a little song in your heart by watching Canticos’ bilingual classic nursery rhymes with your little ones! View my favorite episode below:

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On Gun Violence in America

Thank you Amnesty International for sponsoring this post.

Between the four walls of a classroom, the sanctuary of a church, a concert, a movie theater, an airport, a post office, a gaming event, a home, a military base, a neighborhood, a grandmother’s porch.

And,

and,

and,

and.

Phones go unanswered. Children don’t return home from school. Families unimaginably, irreparably scattered and broken.

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Gun violence is a public health crisis and its disease is distinctly American.

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Every day, over 100 people in America die due to gun violence. In 2016, 38,658 people were killed as a result of gun violence, and over 116,000 people were injured.

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According to Amnesty International’s recently released comprehensive report, American gun violence is a human rights crisis – and the U.S. government must be held accountable. The report details how high rates of gun ownership, and ease of access to firearms by individuals likely to misuse them compromises all aspects of life in America – and the U.S. governments refusal to pass sensible gun control laws is a violation of human rights.  No one’s human right to life can be considered secure in a nation where our government’s response to gun violence is inaction.

It isn’t OK that as parents, so many of us instinctively search for the closest emergency exit when taking our kids to the movie theaters. I dream of a future that is free of lock down drills, bulletproof backpacks, clear backpacks, specialized attack-resistant doors and stoppers, and words of “thoughts and prayers” wrapped in inaction.

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Like Amnesty International, I believe that gun violence is a human rights issue. We need sensible gun laws and policies. It isn’t normal for kids to fear being killed in their homes, schools, streets, and playgrounds in their neighborhoods. Yet all of this has become part of our daily lives in America.

Collective outrage fuels conviction and resolve. Communities across this country are coming together to solve gun violence. We have the knowledge and conviction to get this done. And the gun-violence-prevention movement is winning like never before.

How Can I Help?

  • Get to the polls this November and encourage your friends and family to elect candidates committed to ending gun violence.
  • Learn more about gun violence as a human rights crisis and stay informed by reading Amnesty International’s latest report on gun violence. Amnesty is campaigning on bills in states across the country. One bill is to end illegal gun trafficking in Illinois. This bill would require common sense measures to help stop the sale of dangerous, illegal guns in the state. It would make communities safer by requiring video surveillance outside dealerships, and it would make our kids safer by prohibiting new gun dealerships from opening within 500 meters of a school.
  • Help to stop the spread of illegal guns and take action to support the work of Amnesty by signing the petition here.

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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