LeapFrog Leap TV – Educational, Active Video Gaming for Kids

I’ve been super reluctant to allow a video game system into our home –  but the kids often inquire about the video games and character-stories gleaned from friends.  Over the summer, I met with LeapFrog and had a hands on go with their new Leap TV.  I had fun playing with the transforming controller in hand, and was pleased with the educational fun packed into every game.

LeapFrog Leap TV

The LeapFrog  Leap TV, ($149.99) designed for kiddos ages 3 to 8, is an active video gaming system saturated with the sort of educational content that parents expect from LeapFrog.  And like all LeapFrog learning devices, school grades can be set to remain educationally appropriate for the selected profile while intuitively leveling up or down as needed.

To say my kids love their LeapTV is an understatement.  And there is absolutely no couch-potatoing with mouthes mindlessly hung open – as LeapTV play always looks like this:

educational video game for kids

The three play mode options keep things interesting, especially the motion sensing camera that allows kids to morph onto the big screen.  In this play mode, the children’s bodies become the controller allowing them to become fully immersed in the game as they see themselves jumping and dancing.  The controller is perfect for little hands to navigate and operates in two modes that function like a classic control or pointer, for endless educational and play options.  The kids love swinging the controller like a bat in the sports game while we appreciate the educational content woven through each game.

I’ve seen my four-year-old correctly identify double digits in LeapFrog Kart Racing and work on reading in Sofia The First.  The Spider Man game helps to teach reading and letter identification – while Jake and the Never Land Pirates is packed with Math.  The Dance and Learn game is among my favorites to watch as the kids jam out while working on basic math.  The kids love playing the sports game with familiar LeapFrog characters and nine active games.

The kiddos jump, dance, karate-chop and so much more, in exciting gaming-play rich in LeapFrog’s comprehensive curriculum. We recommend swinging for that second controller, ($30) so kids can play many games like LeapFrog Kart racing together.  If you’re still looking for that big present to wow this Holiday – the Leap TV is it!

Find all of our detailed LeapFrog reviews here.  Thank you LeapFrog for partnering with us again this Holiday season.  Opinions as always are my own.


The American Music Awards with Kohl’s and Disney Frozen Sing Your Heart Out {Giveaway}

In a whirlwind trip, I just returned from L.A. to attend the 2014 American Music Awards, at the Nokia Theatre, with Kohl’s, in collaboration with their Disney Frozen Sing Your Heart Out contest.  A surreal experience for Marino Bambinos!

A few days prior, the excitement arose while getting outfitted at Kohl’s. I had a dress in mind but found what I was looking for in pants, a sparkly top, and booties from the Simply Vera – Vera Wang collection. And I completely lucked out with petite sizing! A great moto jacket by Candies and fun accessories from Simply Vera and Juicy helped to pull it all together.

Find full outfit details from Kohl’s here.

Before I knew it, I was immersed in the AMAs red carpet.  And as music’s biggest talents and actors rolled in, I found myself perched front and center in Kohl’s designated spot.  As the red carpet swarmed with stars, I was beyond excited for the performances – and fully swept up with the fashion and glamor.

Gi Gi Hadid, Heidi Klu,, Zendaya Coleman. Meghan Trainor, Ansel Elgort, Becky G, One Direction, Frankie J Grande, Sam Smithiphone capture: GiGi Hadid // Heidi Klum // Zendaya Coleman // Meghan Trainor // Ansel Elgort // Becky G // Frankie J. Grande //  5 seconds of summer // Sam Smith

The excitement inside and encasing the Nokia Theatre was palpable.

The 2014 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre fans

The spectacular performances were unlike anything I’ve ever experienced – as tunes from our family-car jam sessions performed live before my eyes.  From Taylor Swift’s levitating kick-off in a suspended dining set – and the stunning Lorde in a box and smeared-lipstick ending. To the gaggles of One Direction fans in Olympic-level hysterics. I was simply blown away by Sam Smith’s serenades, Imagine Dragons’ vocals, Fergie’s stage presence, Jennifer Lopez in person and so much more. It was pure brilliance to experience and attend with Kohl’s.  Especially when the collective energy rose for 5 Seconds of Summer, new artist of the year – presented by Kohl’s.

Kohl’s partnership with Disney Frozen – the movie of my kiddos childhood was truly exciting for me.  Beginning with an early Frozen screening with Idina Menzel, to my Elsa Costume tutorial’s unexpected shares, and the kids’ meeting Elsa and Anna at Epcot Center nearly a year ago today.  Kohl’s Frozen tie-in felt serendipitous – and I think I was rooting for every single Sing Your Heart Out finalists vying for the coveted on-air commercial spot during last night’s award show.  The well-deserved sister-duo, Katherine and Kelly, ultimately took the lead with their beautifully harmonized rendition of Let it Go! Congrats girls!

Update: Kohl’s Gift Card giveaway closed. 🙂

Special thanks to our partner Kohl’s for an unforgettable experienceOpinions, as always, are my own.


The Holiday Card {Minted Giveaway}

Soon we’ll be adorning special spots in our homes with the images and Holiday wishes that fill our mailboxes.  It’s a thoughtful tradition that I always look forward to – an actual card in this digital era is such a treat.

We’re excited to partner with Minted holiday cards once again because their current collection oozes with lovelinesses. With stunning foil-pressed options to ethereal watercolors, Minted has hundreds of original holiday designs to choose from.

Minted Holiday Cards

We love that Minted collaborates with a global community of independent designers.  I was lucky enough to meet a few of them this week – along with founder Mariam at a fun Minted crafting event.  See that material peeking through? Minted now has fabric too! My sewing buddies are swooning along with me.

minted holiday card giveaway

The selection process is a breeze with Minted’s Find It Fast tool, which allows you to see your photo in multiple holiday cards and captions.  We love their fun shapes – offering everything from scalloped circles, curved frames, ornament shapes and much more.  They even have an 8-page Booklette card to share your family holiday story. And their luscious card stock and exquisite typography truly offer something for everyone.

minted holiday cards giveaway

We are excited about their new envelopes boasting beautiful designs and recipient addressing (currently free for a limited time!).  We all know that this option can be a major time saver during the Holiday hustle.  Best of all, a Minted purchase is always anchored in goodness – their Minted Tree Planting Program will plant 100,000 trees throughout the next year – roughly 7 times the amount of tree materials used for their products annually.  And if you’re looking for something else – Minted party decor, fabric and art options are amazing too!

Win It:

Minted is giving away a $200 Minted credit to get one lucky winner started on that Holiday Cheer!  To enter visit the rafflecopter below and a winner will be announced on the widget next week. Best of luck and cheers to a beautiful Holiday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you Minted for partnering with MB this Holiday Season and for having me at the New York #MintedMakers event. This post contains affiliate links.  Opinions, as always, are my own.



LeapFrog LeapBand – Activity Band for Kids

Many of our adult friends are hooked on their wearable activity tracking devices – and we’ve been curious about the new technology developed for children.

After meeting with LeapFrog over the summer to learn about the LeapFrog LeapBand ($39.99) – a wrist-device that combines fun, health education and fitness – we were interested in seeing our kid testers’ input.  Created for children ages 4 to 7 – our littles, ages 4 and almost 7, are in the ideal age range.LeapFrog LeapBand

My almost seven-year-old was able to read the instructions and successfully get both LeapFrog LeapBands running on her own. After I connected to LeapFrog Connect, the kids were off to customize their virtual pets (similar to the ones in LeapFrog’s Pet Pad game) and earn reward to unlock fun features.

LeapFrog Kids Activity Tracker

I brought the bands to school pick-up the other day – just as the angst over walking home in the November cold set it.  After their beloved unicorn and monkey (pick from one of eight pets) were sleeping all day – they needed activity with their caretakers!  Before I knew it, the kiddos were running home – swimming like a fish, and jumping like a Kangaroo – determined to earn more points to play games.  The pre-loaded challenges (14 included, with 40 more available for free via LeapFrog Connect) have encouraged the kids to be active in captivating and fun ways.

LeapBand Review

I can’t help but be pleased with hearing the LeapBand echo nutritional facts when the kids collect and prepare healthy meals for the pets in the Pet Chef game.  I often remind them of the importance of protein at every meal, and it’s great to have healthy messages reinforced in fun ways.

According to the CDC, in 2012, more than one-third of our Nation’s children and adolescents were overweight or obese.  The former public health researcher in me would like to see the effects of implementing a LeapBand healthy education program in targeted communities. The immediate and long-term health implications of childhood obesity are serious  – and we’re happy to see LeapFrog develop fun activity-encouraging products, in non-pressured, positive ways.

Stay tuned for a giveaway this week on our Facebook fan page.


Expectant Mama Gift Guide + Diono Radian® RXT Car Seat Giveaway

This season, I’m partnering with a bunch of great brands to share some of our favorite products, holiday gift suggestions and incredible giveaways.  We’re kicking the gift guide season off with an expectant mama focus and an exciting giveaway with Diono!

Diono Radian RXT

  • Give Mama Peace of Mind with Diono: Diono‘s Radian®RXT Convertable + Booster car seat provides outstanding safety and security.  Premium materials and superior safety including a steel alloy frame (yes STEEL!), aluminum reinforced side walls, energy absorbing EPS foam, and a five-point harness.  Parents can rest assured that their little ones are transported safely and soundly with Diono.  Suitable from 5 to 120 pounds (allowing for comfortable rear-facing from 5-45 lbs, forward-facing from 20 – 80 lbs in a 5-point harness, and converts to a booster for children up to 120 lbs) – the Radian®RXT will carry your kiddo from big to little in unmatched safety.  This car seat folds flat for travel and is FAA certified for aircraft travel.  We love that the Radian®RXT is incredibly comfortable for our picky six year old.  The low-sitting profile is easy to climb into and it is a product that we can recommend for families of three or more – as the innovative design accommodates a three across fit in most mid-sized vehicles!  
  • Stylish Engraved Bracelets by Hope Page: Bracelets by Hope Paige designs offer a stylish way for mom to stay safe with a variety of unique accessories. Comprised of gorgeous beading, leather bands and sterling silver charms, each bracelet comes customized for the wearer and is available in a plethora of color combinations. Hope Paige developed their first medical bracelet for a teen disappointed with clunky, old fashioned medical identification bracelets that were the only option offered at that time. Shortly after, an entire line of fashionable, medical emergency bracelets for men, women, boys and girls emerged.   Developed initially to raise awareness of breast cancer, Hope Paige quickly branched out to help other organizations raise awareness.  Today, Hope Paige partners with Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Kids With Food Allergies, The College Diabetes Network and many others.
  • A well-nourished bundle of joy with Be Well Rounded! Prenatal system by Healthy Mama Brand: If you’re trying to conceive, are pregnant or breastfeeding – Be Well Rounded! Prenatal system provides 17 essential prenatal vitamins and minerals in easy to swallow soft gel caps. They contain chelated minerals which are more easily absorbed (Ferrochel® Iron) and reduce the instance of unpleasant things like gastric upset and nausea. The DHA supplement is naturally enteric-coated which creates efficiency delivering the Omega-3 and eliminates the dreaded fish burp. Omega-3 is important in supporting healthy fetal brain and eye development during pregnancy and nursing and will pass through the milk during nursing to continue its mission.
  • Sip healthy nutrients with delicious Bump Water: Healthy babies start with healthy women and  folic acid works hard to give your baby the best start possible. Getting enough folic acid is critical to healthy development and tasty Bump water is packed with it.  We had such a great time taste testing these yummy sparling beverages!   They are perfect for the expecting mom looking for a refreshing beverage with benefits. Stock the expecting mama’s fridge with these drinks and she’ll get the added benefit of folic acid-and a bunch of other baby-nourishing vitamins.

Win It!

Diono is generously giving-away one Diono‘s Radian®RXT car seat to one lucky winner ($339.99 value)!  To enter, please visit the rafflecopter below.  Please note that this giveaway is open to U.S. only, and entries are verified.  Best of luck!

Diono Radian RXT convertible Booster Car Seat

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Marino Bambinos received samples. Please consult your Dr. for all medical advice. 


Disney Frozen at Kohl’s {Giveaway}

I participated in an ambassador campaign on behalf of  influence central  for Kohl’s.  I received promotional items, samples and gift cards as a thank you for participating.

For the past year, the kids’ living room performances have been greatly influenced by Queen Elsa and her pals from Disney’s Frozen movie.  Thankfully, we have lots of video footage of the kids’ soul-belting (and hysterical) renditions of “Let if Go” to enjoy for many years to comeRecently, Frozen fans of all ages officially took Kohl’s by storm with passionate versions of “Let it Go” in last month’s Frozen Sing Your Heart Out Contest.  The winners will soon perform in a Kohl’s Holiday commercial during the 2014 American Music Awards!  Check out the budding superstars belting their frozen hearts out here and remember to cast your vote for your favorites on November 10th.

Disney Frozen

Kohl’s is definitely Holiday ready with a Frozen collection designed to please the Disney Frozen lovers.  From Olaf Snow Cone makers to Elsa leggings for juniors – Kohl’s carriers a variety of Frozen themed toys, apparel and even home goods.  My little ones are eying the Kohl’s exclusive Jumping Bean’s Collection version of Queen Elsa’s dress, matching blue Mary Jane’s and adorable toddler Olaf costume.  Their selection of Frozen themed games, puzzles and art supplies also make for great Holiday gifts.

WIN IT! We’re excited to partner with Kohl’s to giveaway a $100 Kohl’s Gift Card to one lucky winner to kick-off Holiday shopping.  To enter, visit the rafflecopter below.  The contest is open to U.S. only and please note that entries will be verified.  Check back on the rafflecopter widget next week to see if you are the lucky winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I participated in an ambassador campaign on behalf of influence central  for Kohl’s.  Thanks for visiting and supporting the stories that make fun reader giveaways possible.