Christmas Gift Guide: Free Spirit’s new series of " Our Emotions and Behaviour" books for children ( R+G) 12/15 (US / CAN)




Free Spirit Publishing has some really wonderful books that really talks to a child. We have been privileged to review many of their books and my son has learned quite a lot from their books.

I want to introduce you to a new series of books that I would highly recommend. It is aptly called the "Our emotions and behaviour" series. Though it is a good fit for young readers to develop reading skills, it has benefited my toddler much in terms of recognizing his emotions and how to resolve conflicts caused by negative emotions.

The books depict instances that children often come across in an everyday setting - daycare, park, play dates etc. That makes it extremely easy for the child to understand and relate to what is being said. The illustrations blend very well with the text and it helps attract and keep the attention of the child.

The very first day the books arrived, my son told me to read the books one after another. Each time we read one of the books in this series, it is followed by the other three books! Truly, you will have to experience these books with your child to know and appreciate their worth! My son is very squirmy and he sat quietly with each of these books. 



Some words in the text standout from the rest to emphasize the context, emotions being dealt with etc. The books also emphasize the importance of rules in simple ways. I even used my son's friends' names for the characters and he could directly relate to the situation. It is a great tool for parents and teachers!






These books retails for $12.99 each and you can buy it as a bundle for $44.16.

Gift it:

Books make priceless gifts! These books are sure to be read and loved for a long time. Children will love to see this little bundle with cheerful illustrations! 

Win it:

One lucky reader will have the opportunity to win the above 4 books, right here on my blog!

Christmas Gift Guide: YBike Extreme ( R+G) 12/15 ( CAN only)

Training wheels out, Balance bikes IN!

 Believe me when I say this, training wheels are becoming primitive slowly and the more practical and trendy concept of using balance bikes are taking over. 

Balance bikes not only reduce frustration in learning balance but also make it so full of fun that the child would never feel like he/she is made to learn how to ride a bike. They just go cruising and gliding in it and my son, within a month learnt how to ride a bike sans training wheels. But of course, they need to keep using the balance bike for a while so that they do not loose touch. 

We were pretty excited to try the YBike Extreme and we wanted our son to keep using it at home during winter so that he will remember his balancing act when we take the bikes out in summer.



Tests in Germany and other countries clearly show the benefits of not using balancing aids (training wheels / stabilizers) on small bikes for children. The use of such balancing aids proved to stunt the gross motor skill development of a young child. In short, it is not beneficial to have your child play on bicycles with balancing aids. Children learn balance on Balance Bikes, and can then progress to bicycles without the aid of stabilizers. YBike extreme has to be the most appealing design of a balance bike on the market today.


Assembly was pretty easy and some tools were provided to assemble the bike. It is a sturdy bike that can be used to learn balance. My son is 3.5 yrs old and the height is perfect for him. He has been riding it for a few weeks now and loves it!  It requires very less effort from a parent's side to teach balance. This could be the only bike they need before having a real bike.



Features
  • Lightweight but strong aluminum Frame
  • Rubber over-mould wheels, great comfort and grip with no punctures
  • Larger wheels, Designed for safer play and easier riding on uneven surfaces
  • Higher ground clearance means the frame won’t get caught on uneven ground providing a safer ride
  • Older child fork rake means safer steering
  • Cartridge wheel bearings giving great long-lasting durability and a smooth ride
  • Comfy beam saddle so your child can slide up closer to the handlebar and slide back as they grow taller
  • Indestructible build quality means a lightweight but long lasting bike

The bike is really light for a toddler to handle. My son doesn't need help to pick-it up when he falls.Wheels are hassle free from having to pump air often. The seat is pretty cool and comfortable even though it appears to be very thin. The seat is not adjustable as the child grows. But the idea is that as the child grows he/she will learn to use a normal bike and pedal to and fro and this balance bike will be just for fun and adventure rides in and around the house. 

I found that the handle bar doesn't completely turn when he wants to turn to the left / right. My son was often seen to lift and turn the front wheel or the bike as whole. It did not stop him from enjoying the bike nor does it hinder learning balance. But a good, complete turn will help in easy manoeuvre.


YBike in action !






He has already learnt how to ride  a normal bike, thanks to the use of balance bikes! However he likes to alternate between a normal bike and the balance bike so that he keeps in touch with balance. Come winter, he won't be able to ride his normal bike.Chances are there that he will forget how to balance in summer and the YBike will help him refresh his balancing skills and he will be happy to do so with little to no frustration. He is happy to ride it indoors too! 

The YBike Extreme is a fantastic bike for a toddler and preschooler. It retails for CAD $119 at Active Play Toys & Games and for USD $89.99 at YBike USA.

Gift it:

YBike Extreme will make a great Christmas Gift for children ages 3+. Let them find it under the tree!

Win it:

One lucky Canadian reader will have the chance to win a YBike Extreme right here on my blog!


Christmas Gift Guide : Heelys Adult Shoes ( R+G) 12/15 ( US / CAN)

Seen kids cruising around in some sort of sneakers with wheels? I always secretly wished I had them. It always felt like it was some pure pleasure to be able to do that. Hubby has his skateboard, son has a scooter thingy and I have nothing to cruise around. Folks, times are changing!

Thanks to Heelys, I am a proud owner of the shoes in which you can walk, run or skate! The last part is what I am excited about the most. I chose to review the Fray.



WHAT ARE HEELYS?

Heelys are shoes with a single or double wheel in the heel and they allow the wearer to go from walking to rolling simply by shifting their weight to their heels. When the wheels are removed, the shoe performs just like any other shoe. You can remove the wheels faster than you can tie a shoe!
Simply follow the instructions and you are all set up with the wheels. There is a small tool that comes with the shoes to plug and unplug the heel cap. I need more practise to be able to use these for skating as I was tense while skating. Next spring / summer, I will have a reason to get out on weekend afternoons and do some moving! 

It is a great way to show your kids that you are interested in physical activity to motivate them by spending time with them. My son thinks mommy is so cool with Heelys!

Without the skates, Heelys are also great to walk in. The shoes are well cushioned and so comfortable. I hope I  do not end up enjoying them as my everyday shoes. The idea of having the option to convert it into a normal shoe is to get us used to the shoe so that it doesn't feel totally strange and new with the skates. You can carry the wheels in your bag and just plug them in when you have the urge to skate!

Wheel kits are available at an affordable price, just in case you loved your Heelys way too much!

There are some options available when you shop at Heelys:

Hx2 - Now learning to skate with Heelys is easier than ever! The new HX2 comes with two removable wheels in each shoe to get you up and rolling in no time.  Launched in 2010.http://www.heelys.com/SitePages/MoreInfoHX2.aspx

Heelys - Heelys is the only shoe with a stealth removable wheel in the heel that lets you walk, run or roll whenever you feel like it.  http://www.heelys.com/SitePages/MoreInfoOriginal.aspx

Nano - Nano is a first-of-its-kind Inline Foot Board that works with Heelys to allow you to skate farther, faster and longer than ever before. Launched in 2010. http://www.heelys.com/SitePages/MoreInfoNano.aspx

Black Friday Deal on Heelys!

The Black Friday Deal has officially started! Buy any pair of Heelys, get a second pair for 
$25. OR, buy a Nano and get any pair for $25. AND free ground shipping on every order! http://ow.ly/7yos1

Gift it:

Heelys will make a great gift for all ages ! Kids are sure to be extremely pleased to unwrap a Heelys box!

Win it:

One lucky reader will have the chance to win a pair of Heelys Fray, right here on my blog!

Winners of giveaways ended on 11/25 and a sneak-peek!

Congratulations winners! Please check your spam so that you do not miss out the email from me.

You have made this Christmas Gift Guide a great success and I am still getting positive responses from brands which means....MORE giveaways!

 I appreciate all your enthusiastic participation and want to say a big "THANK YOU" to all my readers.

Thank you sponsors for generously sponsoring the giveaway on "Toddler Tales by Mommy"! 

On to the winning entries..

Life Choices Food - 29 Maegan Morin

WordWorld DVD -  61 Bree

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD - 55 Deanna Boocock

Cat in the Hat DVD - 129 Kerry

CatDog DVD - 85 angela m

To every one else who participated, do not be disheartened - join the Twitter band wagon and tweet to increase your chances of winning! 

Another awesome giveaway coming up ! Take a peek.. It is a balance bike!


Stay tuned!

Christmas Gift Guide: Heys Luggage - Proudly Canadian


Established in 1986, in the suburbs of Toronto, Heys® International Ltd. has since become a global leader in luggage design and is synonymous with luxurious, fashionable lightweight luggage with high standard for excellence in workmanship and quality.

Do you dream of Christmas by the beach? I do! I am not a big fan of winter so I am always looking for ways to get away during the Christmas vacation. I was browsing for good quality luggage and landed on Heys website. Variety is the spice of Heys! I found that I can purchase ALL my luggage needs - big and small, from one place. 

Quality of luggage matters for the user and looks of the luggage are more for onlookers. At Heys you can find luggage that meets both standards. 

If you think this is just an eye-candy, you are mistaken! Quality and style come together and take this beautiful form.

  • The Monarch Spinners are incredibly lightweight, and feel even lighter when you roll them on their ultra-smooth Japanese made spinner wheels. 
  • The case has a zippered opening system, as well as a built-in TSA lock that is fixed to the body of the luggage.
  •  When opened, the Monarch Spinners reveal their inner beauty with a specially lined interior and built-in divider with mesh pocket. 
  • The prints are protected by a matte layer of clear coat which gives it its brilliant shine as well as improved scratch and scuff protection.
  • To provide further protection, a travel bag for EACH piece is included to keep them looking like new for many more travels to com.
  • Made of Polycarbonate composite.
I had the chance to review 2 pieces of luggage from Heys. 




  •  The Eterna® is made from our new GERMAN made PURE PC® Polycarbonate plastic. It is the toughest, most durable plastic we have used to date.
  • The Eterna® was chosen by PORTER Airlines as their Official Crew bag for their Pilots and Flight Attendants as they needed a case that could take the abuse of multiple flights per day for years to come.
  •  The PURE PC® material is made in Germany and has been specially designed for use in luggage so that it is strong enough to withstand severe impacts, but agile enough to 'know' when to bend so as to absorb impacts by 'flexing'. 
  • Pure PC is more rigid then our traditional Polycarbonate composite material that we usually use on most of our luggage, but when under severe pressure it will 'flex' to maintain its structural integrity. 
  • Everything about the Eterna® has been built to last, its tough 5 spoke inline skate wheels, its light but rugged locking internal telescopic handle system, its water-resistant Main and Expansion zippers, its multi-riveted top and side handles all help in creating one of the most durable luggage designs in the world today. 

What do I think about Eterna?

When I first read that the Eterna® is made from GERMAN made PURE PC® Polycarbonate plastic, I knew that this was a durable piece of luggage.


Quality is excellent ! If this is something that an official airlines crew would choose for functionality, I will buy it. The wheels fell very smooth and I find it easy to turn around with it. Handle system is designed very well and it glides smoothly without the slightest indication of difficulty. 


And it is so roomy!

It has water-resistant Main and Expansion zippers. Did I ever think of zippers getting rusted? No. But I do hate to apply oil or wax when they get stuck. I am happy that the luggage makers thought of different weather conditions and created this product with water-resistant zippers. Zippers actually do matter a lot in a luggage!

 It has adjustable straps to keep the items tight and in place. This is just perfect for taking on vacation for one person or just a day trip. 


The option to expand the luggage is very practical. You get some extra packing space. Since the surface of the luggage is tough, there will be no protrusions even when tightly packed. And it comes with a 10 yr warranty! 

I think this an excellent value for money given the materials used to ensure that this piece of luggage will travel many miles with you.

I was also sent the Hannah Montana Luggage -$69.97. I have been thinking of getting a luggage for my son, but I was tired of looking at cheaply made products. Heys has some cute and bright luggage to suit the personality of children while allowing them to pull their own luggage with ease and in style.

  • The Designer Disney Hannah Montana xcase® is the maximum allowable carry-on size for most airlines and has a built-in divider with zippered mesh pocket.
  •  It's curved single tube handle system prevents you from 'back-kicking' the case.

It has lots of space to store everything for a child and very light for little hands to pull along.This is a very well made children's luggage.

If you want to buy some good quality luggage for your child, shop at Heys. You can locate a dealer through their website but you can also get it shipped straight from Heys for a very reasonable shipping price.It comes neatly packed in a cardboard box and there were absolutely no damages to the product because of shipping.

Gift it:

Ever thought of gifting luggage as Christmas Gift? It will be a very practical gift and one of the most useful gifts! I am very sure that it will be much appreciated by the recepient. Heys has a variety of luggage pieces that are of excellent quality and at affordable prices. Here are a few of my favorites:






I hope that you find a luggage that suits your needs at Heys

Disclaimer: Thanks to the sponsor for providing me with the featured product for review. No momentary compensation was provided.Opinions here are my own.

Christmas Gift Guide:Wendell August's Tracery Baguette Bowl Review + A Beautiful Bracelet Giveaway! 12/15 ( US / CAN)

Wendell August Forge is America’s oldest and largest forge, producing hand-wrought ornamental metalware and elegant giftware in aluminum and other metals since 1923. The company was founded in Brockway, Pennsylvania by Wendell McMinn August, who, at age 38, was active in the coal industry.

The heritage art of Wendell August Forge is preserved by the company’s artisans and craftsmen, who use the original eight-step process to produce every heirloom piece in aluminum, bronze, pewter, sterling silver, and other metals.  

Wendell August has a very rich history and I have read it many times and it only gets more inspiring each time I read it. If you want to know more about what I am talking about you should go over to their website and spend a few minutes to know about the brand that produces truly signature pieces.

I adore this brand as their products go through the careful attention and eye of highly skilled craftsmen who deliver simply stunning pieces. You can find a gift for every occasion at Wendell August: Christmas Gifts, Wedding Gifts, Gifts for Baby and Children, Valentines Day, Mothers Day etc.

This time I chose to review the Tracery Baguette Bowl. Loved the aluminum carved details!
Designed to make a statement, this elegant serving bowl will make a cherished gift.

  • Size: 8 x 16 inches

Here's how this tray looks through my lens:

So much more beautiful in person! Who wouldn't love to have guests over when you have pieces like this?! My weekend guests will be served royally with this tray. And a proud hostess I will be! Love Wendell August for their fine quality products - all made in USA.

Wendell August has sponsored a lovely giveaway! It is a beautiful Upcycled Bliss Toggle Bracelet worth $34.
The Toggle Bracelet from Wendell August's UpCycled Bliss Collection is a durable, yet delicate-looking piece with a toggle clasp so it’s easy to put on and to take off. The color comes from amazonite faceted stones and the look is a classic. Wendell August designer Emily Handrie created this piece for easy, comfortable fashion. The Toggle Bracelet is ready when you are.
To see more from the Upcycled Bliss Collection, click here: Upcycled Bliss. Ladies, do check out their jewellery store for some jewellery gifts you wished you had it all!

One lucky reader will have the chance to win the Upcycled Bliss Toggle Bracelet, right here on my blog! 

Christmas Gift Guide: 2 new soft and cuddly Bibles from Zondervan! ( R+G) 12/15 ( US / CAN)


This product is part of the Christmas Gift Guide. Please click here to see all the products: Christmas Cheer 2011


 

Description: 

Little Lion’s Bible and Little Lamb's Bible  is a soft, cuddly Bible that children ages 2 to 5 can call their own. Throughout this plush-covered book, Little Lion learns that he is loved and cared for by God as he hears about God’s faithfulness in stories from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. With sweet, rhyming text and colorful illustrations, this soft and cuddly character storybook Bible is sure to become a classic with preschoolers.

Page Count: 20

Just the cover makes me feel so happy! It is soft and wooly and instills a keen interest to know what's inside of this cute little book. Each Bible has 10 stories which are very short and well formatted for children. The left page has the text and the right page is fully illustrated in beautiful colors. It is a hard cover Bible and pages are like the board-book type. The Bible comes in a awesome transparent cover with buttons so it can be tucked in safely and carried. It makes sense to have the water-proof cover so that the soft and wooly texture of the animals stay protected.

Buy it:

Zonderkidz - $15.99, Amazon.ca -$14.44, Amazon.com - $10.87

Gift it:

Great and sweet gift for babies and children- birthday, Christmas, baby shower, Easter, for friends of your children and just because! You can buy while the good prices last and stock up a few. 

Win it:

2 lucky readers will have the chance to win 1 of each of the Bibles featured above! A big thank you to Zonderkidz for sponsoring this giveaway.




Free Shipping on all Kidorable products from Nov 27- Dec 4!

Here’s a heartwarming holiday deal from Kidorable to you! 

  Free Shipping via UPS Ground on all orders you place November 27 through Sunday, December 4.  So please, hop on over to www.kidorable.com and use coupon code GRATEFUL2 at checkout to get free shipping on any order, big or small.   

PLUS, Kidorable is partnering with the Children’s Cancer Research Fund to help you support a great cause.  Kidorable  will donate 100% of the proceeds from our Butterfly umbrellas on www.kidorable.com from Thanksgiving through Christmas, bringing kids health, hope and happiness by revolutionizing the way childhood cancer is treated worldwide.  (No coupon necessary)

Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation for this post. Information on this post is based solely on  information provided by the brand.

Christmas Gift Guide: B.Toys - Stackadoos

Perfect first Bristle Block set or the ideal add-on to other collections.
  • Chunky, soft pieces are easy to connect
  • Feel good in little hands
  • Modern colors. Inspired designs.
  • Booklet filled with building ideas included
  • Beautiful, reusable bag makes great storage
  • 68 pieces!
I wish I had bought these as the only blocks for my son! These are AMAZING. I have never seen bristle blocks before so even I was fascinated with it and we build everything from the idea book that came with it. It is so smooth to put together and there is no fighting with the block. The shapes are so well made that it makes any idea look great! The round wheels snugly fit the little vehicles we made and my son went zoom around the room!




These bristle blocks do not make any noise when putting them together. So my plan is to even take them to church with us and let my little one stay occupied for a little while. Or even for a play date-why not? My son quickly learned which side of the blocks will fit better. Knowing this will help the structure not fall apart.

We could make almost 3 pieces with the 68 pieces, at one time. Love the reusable bag as we can store them away safely! It has been a big hit with my son.

B.Stackadoos will be an interesting gift for toddlers, preschoolers and even older kids.

It retails for $28.77 on Amazon.com and is available at most retailers.

Disclaimer: Thanks to the sponsor for providing me with the featured product for review. No momentary compensation was provided.Opinions are my own.

Christmas Gift Guide: Design N Doodle Set from Patch Products ( R+G) 12/15 ( US/CAN)

I have been searching for inexpensive games for my son that can be carried easily in the car, stroller or just in his backpack. It was such a delight to review a Design N Doodle Set from Patch Products.

Patch Products carries some very affordable games that are created by their talented staff who continuously explore new ways of adding fun into our lives by their games, puzzles and toys.  Here are some fun but interesting facts about the puzzles from Patch Products:

- Patch has sold over 107 million puzzles. That's over 1.7 billion puzzle pieces
 
-If you tried to assemble all 107 million Patch puzzles and averaged 1 minute per puzzle (which would be really fast), it would take you over 204 years!-If you lay all the Patch puzzles end to end, they would reach over 95% of the way around the world. (That's over
23,600 miles long!)-You could fill 76 large backyard pools with the amount of glue used to make all of the puzzles Patch has sold.-The puzzles laid end to end would cross 416,786 football fields!
 
-Stacking all of the puzzle pieces on top of one another would create a stack almost 8 times higher than the space shuttle orbits.
Design ‘N’ Doodle combines two activities in one─imaginative magnetic play and expressive drawing with dry-erase! Each set includes a colorful 2-sided 14" x 9" play surface that folds up and has a handle for travel. It can also be set up as an easel! Kids can use the dry-erase markers to draw on the scenes, or to color the magnets. It’s a fun, creative activity for kids to play with again and again! 

Ages 3 & Up

Contents:

24 Magnetic Animal Pieces, 70 Magnetic Letters, 4 Washable Dry-Erase Markers, 2-Sided Magnetic Dry-Erase Play Area


 It is a magnetic board that is very light and has a round white velcro which helps it keep closed. Magnetic stickers and letters come along with the kit. There is a little space where the washable markers can be kept after use. 

There is no right or wrong way to use this! We used the animals to make our own story and it was interesting when I let my son develop the story along the way. I should do it more often with him to expand and use his powers of imagination more. When he is using it by himself, he is usually scribbling with the markers and erasing them. It is a simple but powerful tool for a parent to spend time with their child while helping them learn.

I love it as we can just take it with us in the car or bus and talk about it endlessly! It will make a great gift this holiday season. Most toys and games on Patch Products are very reasonably priced.

Buy it:
Design N Doodle retails for $9.99 and you can find more puzzles for the same price!

Win it:
One lucky reader will have the chance to win this Design N Doodle, right here on my blog!