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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Toys "R" Us connects me with K'NEX

Announcement: The amazing post you are about to read has been sponsored by K'NEX, insofar as I received cool toys in exchange for telling you about them. All opinions are my own.

Do you remember Lincoln Logs?

Of course you do, unless you were born on some planet other than Earth. They're only one of the greatest toys ever, encouraging kids to use their imagination and building skills - and NO BATTERIES.

That's right - a fantastic toy that does not make any noise.

I think I'm in love.
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We have a set from when my husband was a kid, but a lot of the pieces are broken or missing - nevertheless, my kids love building stuff over and over with the pieces we do have. My toddler, particularly, likes to build structures and then try to climb inside them.

Come to think of it, I might know how some of those pieces got broken...

Anyway, K'NEX has this Lincoln Logs Redfield Ranch set exclusive to Toys "R" Us, and they generously popped one in the mail to me so we could check it out.

Again, I'm in love.

It's super cute, easy to build, QUIET, and fun to play with. And look at those characters! No more pretending your hands are people with finger legs, walking around your Lincoln Log cabin - this ranch includes a cowboy and horse that are just the right size. It's great for that age level when babyish blocks aren't quite challenging enough, but other building toys are still a wee bit too advanced. And, as if you needed another reason to love it, too...

It comes in its own storage container.

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Add easy-to-clean-up to the long list of reasons to want this nostalgic, classic toy for your own kids or grandkids, and you just can't miss.

Huge thanks to K'NEX and Toy "R" Us for bringing us these fun toys, and for sending this one to me! Make sure to check out this set - and the other six K'NEX products exclusive to Toys "R" Us - when you're out shopping for the holidays!

Friday, November 29, 2013

how K'NEX taught my kid about musical icons

Now hear this: The amazing post you are about to read has been sponsored by K'NEX, insofar as I received cool toys in exchange for telling you about them. All opinions are my own.

I'm going to say something right now that might surprise you: I recently discovered that my daughter didn't know who The Beatles are.

I KNOW. I blame myself. I think when I became a mom I assumed that certain things - hair color, a hatred of lima beans, awareness of major musical icons - was encoded in the DNA.

As it turns out, a human being has to be told about certain major events, important people, and cultural phenomena, and that includes The Beatles.

I was surprised, too!

Well, K'NEX afforded me with the opportunity to discuss Beatlemania as well as basic engineering skills with my daughter, by graciously inviting me to check out some toys they're offering exclusively at Toys "R" Us, like this Beatles Yellow Submarine building set. Naturally she already knew what K'NEX are. She doesn't lead a completely sheltered life.

Together, she and I discussed the origins of rock 'n' roll as we assembled the Yellow Submarine in K'NEX form, then had a raucous time fighting the Blue Meanies with the Beatles figures. (Well, with most of them - she wouldn't let Ringo play. Poor Ringo.)

They're rocking out on the stage - groovy, man!

I can't say for sure my 8-year-old fully grasped the cultural importance of the Fab Four, but she did have a great time with the set, and I slept easier knowing Pepperland was safe. What more can you ask for in a toy?

Huge thanks to K'NEX and Toy "R" Us for bringing us these fun toys, and for sending this one to me! Make sure to check out this set - and the other six K'NEX products exclusive to Toys "R" Us - when you're out shopping for the holidays!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sitting in the Lap(top) of Luxury

This is a sponsored review of the Acer Chromebook from Staples; as a matter of fact, I'm typing on it right now, partly because I'm excited to tell you about the sleek laptop that has my husband all drooly with jealousy, but also because I'm on a train (I know, I didn't know they still did trains either) with no internet connection and no other entertainment besides the adorable little girl across the aisle who keeps informing her mom that WE'RE NOT ON THE TRACKS! She's also out of Cheetos, in case you were wondering, and I can't help but laugh because the mom keeps getting blamed for eating them all (if she's like me, she probably did).

Chromebook on a train
My apologies to the person behind me,
who seemed puzzled about why I kept getting in odd positions
to take this photo. Although really, you should probably
consider just minding your own business, Train Person.

Anyway, I'm super grateful for the Chromebook's entertainment value, and that Staples' lightning quick shipping got it to me before I left in this trip, and that I'm not trying to type with my thumbs on my phone, and that I get to use this crisp 11.6" screen, and that it's nice and lightweight. However, as pleasant as this is, I can't help but notice that no one is bringing me (or the poor mom across the aisle, who's probably thirsty after eating all those Cheetos) a beer from the concessions car - though that can hardly be blamed on the Chromebook.

I am, as I write this, on my way to BlogHer'13, where I intend to learn a lot about writing and drink my weight in cocktails (NOT REALLY). But I will be taking notes and yukking it up on social media and staying in touch with those suckers - ahem, I mean my family - back home using this nifty new gadget, and I'll tell you all about it on the Chromebook because yes, you can blog on this sucker, too. It's all going to happen in Real Time, though you'll just have to trust me on that since you'll be reading it all at once later.

Thursday, 12:02 PM - Writing interrupted by arrival in Chicago - popping the Chromebook into my bag, and I'm off!

Thursday, 5:45 PM - Stopped by the room to get beautiful (read: brush my teeth) before dinner. Thankfully this laptop wakes up the very split second you open it, giving me time to check email and type this!

Friday, 10:28 AM - Waiting for my first session to start at the conference, still feeling shy. Glad that I brought the Chromebook so I can hide behind it while pretending to be Super Busy and Important.

Friday, 2:00 PM - Second session of the day and just made a new friend (which is news to her, as she watches me type this as a demonstration of how cool the Chromebook keyboard is). Sorry, new BBF, you're stuck with me sitting next to you - no turning back now!

Friday, 5:23 PM - Just being productive again before my book signing (shameless plug). Note: "being productive" is secret code for "goofing off on Facebook."

Saturday, 9:00 AM - Early to an appointment at the expo hall. Thanks to this little gizmo, I can use these few minutes to write instead of hiding in the bathroom (not that I would do that) (yes I would).

Saturday, 3:46 PM - Last session is wrapping up, and I can actually read my notes because they're typed and my hand didn't get all cramped up from scribbling as fast as I could all weekend!

Saturday, 8:23 PM - Got to say hi to the family on the Chromebook with the HD webcam via Google Hangouts! Downside - it's hard to convince husband we're going to crash in the hotel room early when he can clearly see I'm dressed to go out and party.

Sunday, 1:12 PM - It's over already?!? Oh well, I learned a lot, and now I can be productive on my new laptop while my husband drives me home (please note definition of "being productive" above).

So there you have it, proof that the Acer Chromebook from Staples is handy dandy, in real life. Be sure to pick up a case for it like I did, too - not that the Chromebook isn't sturdy, but because OH MY GOSH, SO CUTE! Plus, if you're clumsy like me, you can't be too careful.

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This post was sponsored by Staples - all opinions, social awkwardness, and sudden cravings for Cheetos are my own.