Meet Blaire Wilson: American Girl’s 2019 Girl of the Year + Giveaway!

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Say hello to Blaire Wilson – American Girl’s 2019 Girl of the Year (!) – described by American Girl’s VP of marketing as “an everyday girl who thrives on using her many talents to make meaningful connections with others.” Blaire carries an important story about building and maintaining supportive relationships with family and friends, by being present (curbing screen-time), and spending meaningful time together – which is indeed a relevant message for girls (and their families) today.

As the mom of a now middle-schooler, I’m a big fan of the accompanying chapter book series written by Jennifer Castle. In her two books, Blaire touches upon issues of food sensitivity and the struggle of retreating to devices in an unhealthy way. With the support of family and friends, Blaire learns to strike a healthy balance – reminding us that being fully present at every occasion in life is what truly matters.

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Blaire is also super talented – she enjoys cooking and decorating at her family’s sustainable farm and bed-and-breakfast in upstate New York. With curly red hair and bright green eyes – Blaire has a line of outfits, accessories, and products for purchase that reflect her life on Pleasant View Farm, including Blaire’s Family Farm Restaurant (hello customizable kitchen, serving cart and healthy food!), fun party decor and party planning accessories, and my personal favorite – an adorable little lamb and piglet.

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Fans can learn more about Blaire at a bunch of AG events and activities lined up for 2019 (find a store near you here).

WIN IT! Thanks to American Girl, we have a Blaire Wilson doll + book to Giveaway! Enter via the below widget and check back to see if your name pops up as the winner. U.S. entries only and best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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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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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Introducing Luciana Vega: American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year + Giveaway!

 

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Introducing Luciana Vega – American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year!  This adorable 11-year-old character is of Chilean descent, and she is set to inspire and encourage – with dreams of being an astronaut and the first person to set foot on Mars.

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Luciana is a champion of STEM, a role-model, and a leader – working passionately towards her dreams, while defying stereotypes and embracing risks  – to teach girls about failure, resilience, and success while charting their own life course.  She also comes with really cool, creative accessories (sold separately) including a Flight Suit, Space Suit, Mars Habitat, Maker Station, Telescope Projector Set and more.

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American Girl collaborated with an advisory board including a NASA chief scientist and astronaut to create Luciana’s story along with details that went into the doll’s creation. Her story, chronicled by Erin Teagan highlights the ways in which Luciana’s hard work and award-winning essay submission on planetary geology earn her a scholarship to attend Space Camp.


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Luciana is also a fun and spunky 11-year-old!  She loves adding her own personal flair to everything – from the sparkly stickers on her flight suit to the rainbow LED lights on her robot.  My ten-year-old is pretty obsessed with the purple streak in Luciana’s hair and her funky little doll boots and fanny-pack that opens to hold little items. She also devoured her book in one day and told me all about Luciana’s best friend and the baby girl that her family adopts. She can’t wait to move on to Luciana’s second book: Braving the Deep.

Win it! We’re so excited that our friends at American Girl are celebrating Luciana’s arrival by giving away a doll to one lucky reader!

Update: Giveaway closed.

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WowWee Fingerlings: Don’t Fall For The Knockoffs

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As the hottest toy of the season, WowWee Fingerlings continue to fly off the (recently restocked) toystore shelves, hundreds of counterfeits have popped up in social media ads, websites and even stores. If you’re still scrambling to pick up one of these adorable interactive monkey toys for your kid, we only want an authentic one to come your way. Look for these telltale signs of counterfeit vs. authentic Fingerlings toys and don’t fall for knockoffs!

  • Packaging names like (Happy Monkey, Glitter Monkey, Baby Monkey, Fun Monkey, Finger Monkey, etc.)
  • Typos on packing and ages that are off. I saw one that said age +46 (even I’m not old enough to play with that one!).
  • Details that are off, including plastic hair.
  • Low-quality packaging.
  • Don’t purchase from non-authorized third-party resellers and online marketplaces.
  • Make sure the brand name is WowWee.
  • Shop at authorized Fingerlings distributors, including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Gamestop and Toys ‘R Us.
  • Some counterfeit sellers are even using WowWee stock photos and then shipping fake products. Again look at the source and shop from authorized retailers.

WowWee filed a federal lawsuit against hundreds of sellers of counterfeit Fingerlings and a temporary restraining order is freezing seller’s assets and storefronts. Make sure to carefully check where you are spending your hard earned money, and sharing your payment information. Stay in touch with the latest on these adorable toys on WowWee’s official Fingerlings website.  We hope you are able to find one in a store near you too!

 

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Your Kids Will Want These Hot Holiday Toys from Best Buy

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This post is sponsored by Best Buy. 

Although so much has changed since I was a kid waiting for Christmastime, my children constantly remind me of the many special things that remain the same.  Baking, decorating, giving to others – and carefully studying the coveted holiday toy catalog the day that it arrives in the mail.

I once thought that Best Buy was geared towards my own dream wish list (hello camera + tech products!) until my kiddos found everything they could possibly set their hearts on – for themselves, their cousins, the foster-families that we shop for and more. Best Buy has become the perfect place to find the hottest holiday toys while purchasing tech products for adults in the family too.

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From classic toys to tech toys, to learning toys and beyond – Best Buy has an amazing selection of toys that will leave every kiddo excited. Want to know what my kids circled first? WowWee Fingerlings Monkeys! I keep hearing about these cuties flying off the shelves everywhere! Best of all their, $14.99 sweet-spot price makes them a toy that we can pick up for all the littles on our lists. They are also dreaming of some sort of gaming system and have their collective hopes set on a Nintendo- Switch.

Check out some of our other favorites:

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Anika Cozmo: This cool robot comes with a personality that evolves via interaction! He’s even able to recognize his owner with facial recognition. Your kiddo will have a blast challenging him to games, and using Code Lab to learn the basics of coding.  Grab this for kids ages 8+.

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Spin Master Hatchimal Surprise: How fun are these cute Hatchimal Surprise toys?  Kids will adore hatching their own little pet and will be in for a surprise when they hatch twins! Get these for kiddos ages 5+

 

 

Hasbro DROPMIX Music Gaming System: Teens will have a blast blending their favorite pop songs! Delight tens with this cool toy for ages 16+.

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FAO Plush Anniversary Bear: You can’t go wrong with classic toys and we adore the nostalgic feel of Best Buy’s selection of toys from FAO Schwarz. This Plush Anniversary Bear is suitable for all ages and super cuddly and cute too.

 

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