So this blue dog, sitting on a shelf at Target caught the eye of both me and my 6-year-old son. I think the design of this little fellow should have won an award. I just gave it to the boys, so we haven’t had it long enough to really test the boy-breakage-factor of the Woofer. But the people at B. Toys are proud of the little guy and we picked up the Ribbit-Tat-Tat drums for a full-scale boy band.

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The Ribbit-Tat-Tat has a “follow-me” function to help kids learn musical beats and build memory.

A 6-year-old and his 3-year-old brother are able to make a lot of noise on their own. Buying them a music-making toy – a drum set no-less — seemed like a recipe for tinnitus. But Woofer was so cute. And we don’t buy them many electrical toys. They have a roaring dinosaur, a Dino-alarm clock and occasional use of their sister’s computer for games. For the most part, they build with building blocks, building logs and some neat magnetic geometric things that they make castles out of. So, this is new and it was a real thrill for both of them. Once they were torn from their packaging, the Woofer and Ribbit-Tat-Tat became instant hits with the boys. I haven’t figured out what algorithm is used to decide what is played by different combinations of buttons and string strumming. The Woofer belches out howls, “woofs” and “ruffs” with surprisingly good tone. I’ve got a video below that captures the boys playing on the B. Toys. Audio is captured from two-piece orchestra after the boys left them alone. The boys played with the synthesizer sounds on the Ribbit-Tat-Tat, but have not figured out the Auto-tune-like capabilities of the little microphone on the drum set. Both toys have obvious power buttons on them and volume controls. I wish they would design them with some kind of parental volume control – something a 6-year-old couldn’t figure out, but neither toy is excessively loud. Like any toy, with enough time, it is an irritation to adult ears but if you want a music toy that is both cute and with bearable audio – check out the Ribbit Tat Tat or the Woofer.

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The B. Toys Woofer is a silly guitar that makes acoustic, electric f and dog-based music.

 

Cliff: An accomplished author, in that I drink a lot of coffee, look at obscure websites, own a copy of Microsoft Word and know what an Oxford comma is. Hobbies include mocking Ab Lounger ads on Craigslist and napping. Former Marine, mail carrier and dental chair technician, now I spend my days trying to live up to my wife and dog\'s expectations of me and show my kids how to live life well.

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received samples from kidfresh for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.

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Family movie nights are big in our home!  We have a kid friendly meal and let them pick a movie for us all to enjoy together.  The previous Ice Age movies were big hits with my kids so when I got the opportunity to enjoy some Kidfresh meals along with Ice Age: Collision Course, I knew they would be thrilled!

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Kidfresh offers a variety of delicious and nutritious frozen meals and snacks.  They offer healthy twist on traditional favorites like mac and cheese and chicken nuggets by including hidden vegetables and by not having any artificial anything.  Finally, a frozen meal I can feel good about!  They’re perfect for those busy night when I don’t have time to cook.  Last Friday was one of those nights.  Two of my boys had an extra flag football practice to prepare for the championship the next day (they won!).  By the time we got home, it was 7:00.  It was the perfect time to pull out the Kidfresh meals and Ice Age: Collision Course.

N picked the Rainbow Rice and Chicken, K picked the Muy Cheesy Quesadillas , and A picked the Super Duper Chicken Nuggets and Totally Rockin Tots.  We had everyone’s meals done within 5 minutes!

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As a treat, we let the kids settle down in the living room so we could start the movie.

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The food was so yummy ( I snuck a bite off each plate!).  The kids loved it all and were none the wiser that they had gotten their veggies in!  The Chicken and rice has peas, carrots, and corn. The quesadillas have carrots.  The chicken nuggets have cauliflower and onions. The tots have squash and they are SO good!  Seriously addicting!

All the yummy food was the perfect compliment to a great family movie!

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In Ice Age:Collision Course, Scrat’s epic pursuit of the elusive acorn accidentally triggers cosmic events that threaten the ICE AGE world. Now Buck, Manny, Ellie, Sid, Diego and the rest of the herd must work together on a hilarious journey filled with nonstop action and colorful new characters in order to survive the global Scrat-tastrophe! My eight-year-old said he thought it was even better than the original.  Manny and Sid were their favorites and they loved the crystal wall scene.

I definitely recommend Kidfresh and Ice Age: Collison Course for your next movie night!  You can find Ice Age:Collision Course on Bu-ray and dvd on Amazon, Target, Walmart, and other retailers.  Kidfresh can be found at Walmart, Target, Kroger.  You can find your nearest location here.

One winner will win 10 coupons for free Kidfresh meals and 10 coupons for $1 off Kidfesh meals!

Belinda is a wife, mom, blogger, and Brand Ambassador. She has six children including 5 boys and 1 girl. Belinda enjoys reading, photography, crafts and DIY projects, and watching her boys play soccer. You may contact Belinda at mudpiesand tiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Belinda

Disclosure: The following items were sent to me in order to facilitate this school essentials review/round up.  All opinions are my own.

I know in the blogging world, it is really popular to do back to school round ups.  But often, I wonder how those products really work once the kids are in school and the items are being used in a real classroom/household on a daily basis.  So I thought it would be great fun to do a post on the real school essentials and to wait and do it after the kids have had a full month of school under their belts.  Read on for some of our favorite school essentials of the season.

First up, I would highly recommend subscribing to Filter Snap.  Filter Snap is a great service.  You simply let them know what size air filters you need for your home, subscribe and they remember when you need to change them and automatically send you a new one.  Clean air filters are always important, but even more so as we head into cold and flu season.

Another favorite in our home are these stylish containers from French Bull.

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These are super cute siting out on our counter.  We use them as sort of a breakfast DIY station.  One holds coffee beans, one stone ground oats and the other a bit of brown sugar.  My husband and I can grind our coffee beans and we can all make oatmeal.  The kids have no problem opening these containers and I love the touch of color they add to the kitchen!

One stand out item from this school year was the backpack we got from Sydney Paige.

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This backpack is a definite win on style and functionality, but packs a big bonus too.  For each Sydney Paige backpack you purchase, another backpack FILLED with school supplies is donated to a child in need!

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Grace just loves her backpack and several of her friends have asked her where she got it.  She was proud to point them towards Sydney Paige and talk about the donated backpacks!

Good soap and shampoo is always nice to have on hand.  We have been loving our supple from Fresh Monster.

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Toxin-free, adorable designs and they smell great! I’m sold!

With the changing weather, dry skin and chapped lips like to make their big return.  We have discovered Green Goo and I think you will really like it!

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It says for babies, but they have a whole line of products and we have been using this one for Jack’s diaper rashes and on all of our hands to prevent dry skin! Love it so far!

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Viki’s Granola has become my husband’s go-to breakfast. And since he is the morning driver, I am including it as a school essential.  This line of granola is all homemade and 100% delicious! Pile some on top of organic yogurt and add some fresh fruit (which you can slice the night before) and you have a nice, filling and healthy breakfast.

Our kids favorite school essentials this year have come from Debbie Lynn.

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These are SO fun! The kids loved the emoticon notepads!

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Benjamin’s favorite item is the gorilla eraser!

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Their school supplies totally stand out from the crowd thanks to Debbie Lynn!

Debbie Lynn is offering one reader a fun school essentials prize pack! The winner will receive everything in the image below.

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Enter below for your chance to win!

Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen

This review was made possible by iConnect and Dream Frenz.  I was provided product and compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions stated are 100% mine.

All of our kids have slept with something special at some point.  Grace had her beloved Winky…a silky little blankie.  Benjamin ad Blue Bear.  Kayla had a doll named Lucy.  Jack used to sleep with a horse, appropriately named…Horse.  But he had lost interest in him.  Recently, we found these Dream Frenz

at Walmart  and Jack fell in love with PJ Plush!

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Dream Frenz are available at Wal-Mart and come in 10 adorable and multi cultural characters.

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Jack just happened to really love this pirate.  Dream Frenz can be used as pillows, but they have also have a small, soft body that can be tucked inside it. You can see it in this photo below with Jack and PJ.

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These are super cute and are at a great price point for party gifts, Christmas gifts and more.  Jack loves sleeping with his head on PJ.  But he and PJ are also found reading books together or snuggled up and watching a show on TV together.  PJ is just the right size for Jack and Dream Frenz are designed for kids ages 3 & up.

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They are designed to please both boys and girls.  Our son Benjamin liked the Dream Frenz named Ben.  All of them have very cute names and designs.  You can find them only at Walmart.com. If you think your little one would love a Dream Frenz then make sure you enter the giveaway below.  One lucky ready will win their choice of a Dream Frenz!

 

Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received curtains from Eclipse Curtains for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.

We recently decided to do a mini makeover to Little Miss’s room.  She needed more storage and we wanted to make it more of a big girl room.  We started by painting the walls a white with a hint of gray.  I replaced her old dresser with an armoire we had in the basement.  I painted it a pale blue and replaced the metal door panels with  white fabric.

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My husband made a nightstand out of pallets and we purchased new bedding.  I made some throw pillows and embroidered Little Miss’s monogram and name on them.  I also framed a little A for above her bed and hung the letters to spell “Dream” on the wall.

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I was not a fan of the traditional bi-fold doors on her closet because it didn’t allow full access. So I replaced it with  semi sheer curtain panel.

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Finally, we hung up some great blackout curtains from Eclipse.  It’s hard for Little Miss to sleep when there’s a lot of light coming in through the window.

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To her, light=playtime, not bedtime!  So, daylight savings time can make bedtime rough. Thankfully, Eclipse Curtains block over 99% of intrusive light, reduce unwanted noise, and help keep in the heat in during the colder months as well as keep the room cool during the summer months.

I loved the feminine touch of the ruffles on the Reese curtains and the back of the panels do a great job of blocking out light.

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I really like that these curtains make her roomer darker without feeling like a dungeon.  This is a picture of the room with the curtains open:

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And here is one of the room, at 11:45 am, with the curtains closed:

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They really make a huge difference!  I love that they help block out heat as well since A’s room faces east and can get pretty warm in the summer. They’re beautiful and functional at the same time.  Eclipse curtains are available in both traditional and contemporary designs.  They even have a fun chevron print that I plan on putting in the little boys’ room. You can find Eclipse curtains on Amazon and at Walmart and Target.

A thinks her new room is super pretty and it functions much better now too!  And bedtime has been going better so that’s a huge bonus!

Belinda is a wife, mom, blogger, and Brand Ambassador. She has six children including 5 boys and 1 girl. Belinda enjoys reading, photography, crafts and DIY projects, and watching her boys play soccer. You may contact Belinda at mudpiesand tiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Belinda