Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Blog!!

I'm sorry to say that while I was living my busy life, we have outgrown this blog. I have more time now, and Ari and I are working on a new blog,. My Nerdy Birdy. will be launching on February 1, 2014.

The new blog will have some toy reviews, but that won't be our focus. Instead, the new blog will emphasize science for preteen girls. But, it won't be like any other blog out there. We'll learn science while doing fun projects and crafts and talk about how science is part of every day life. And, everything will have Ari's seal of approval.

Come visit.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hey There.... Not Missing, Just Regrouping

Hello! Thanks for hanging in there! I started working full time last summer(sometimes more than full time), and it was getting hard to keep up with the blog. I was exhausted and needed a break.

Since starting school, the way the girls spend their time has changed. Arielle and Linnea have strong interests now and I it's my job to encourage those interests, even if sometimes I end up buying products that are plastic or made in China. So, the the blog is going to adapt, but I hope to bring you plenty of product reviews, projects, and play ideas.

I'm going to try for weekly posts. In addition, I will be putting together some PDF's with additional projects. I'm not quite sure how I'll be making these available yet, but stay tuned.

Here are some preview pictures:

See you soon!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A barn for your animals and 25% off at Rosie Hippo

First of all, if you have Christmas money to spend, Rosie Hippo still has 25% off all toys through January 1.  Even better, Rosie Hippo is supporting  by donating one toy to a child born into poverty for each order over $100; however, this ends at midnight December 31. A great opportunity to stock up for birthdays.

Now to the toy review......

Creche or Little Barn ($40.00)

I have been admiring this wooden toy barn for a long time and was so happy to be able to review this toy.  Earlier this month, my children had seen the play "Charlotte's Web" at our local high school and they were having fun playing "pig on the farm" with their Holztiger animals.  The barn reminded me of the set of the play.

This was supposed to be a pre-Holiday review.  Unfortunately, poor barn went to my old address (oops!) and arrived a few days after Christmas.  I apologize profusely if anyone is saying "Darn! That would have been the perfect gift!"  But, birthdays, Valentine's Day, Easter, feeling down, and snow are all good gift giving occasions.

Santa loves to bring us Holztiger, so the new animals were happy to have a new home.  In fact, here are the animal families all lined to ask Santa to bring them a new barn....

I have to laugh because we spent a lot of time at the mall in a very similar line. 

So the happy animals got their new barn and the girls did play "Charlotte's Web".  I dug up a plastic Halloween spider to be Charlotte.

So, Wilbur and Charlotte spent some quiet time together while Arielle dug out the rest of the farm animals.

They all agreed, it is a nice barn.  The wood is smooth.  It's easy for children to get their hands in.

Look, Fern is a princess!

And, everyone played nicely together.

The barn arrives packed flat and does require some easy assembly - but, a child can do it. There are no screws or nails, so if you are short on storage space, it quickly comes apart for storage.  But, it would also look really cute set up on a dresser or shelf.

There is an optional star, so it can be used for nativity scenes (or to hold a rooster).  It would be adorable with dollhouse dolls.

I know this barn will be used a lot.   Thank you, Rosie Hippo. And, everyone else, check out the sale and help a good cause.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wonderworld Shape Sorter

This month we reviewed the Wonderworld Waggy Garden Shape Sorter.  This is not my first shape sorter, my son had several when he was a toddler. Some we still have minus a few pieces. However, I honestly absolutely love this Wonderworld shape sorter. I think it is really cute, super easy to use, and a toy that is so well made it will be able to grow with my toddler.

This shape sorter is rated 18 months and up. Princess P is 16 months old, and our special needs sweetheart. She sustained a birth injury and had a rough first year, so we are always looking for great developmental toys that will grow with her. Even at 16 months old she truly enjoyed this toy, and from a therapeutic perspective it addresses many areas of development. 

The cuteness factor is also an important one, I mean tiny little bugs? So very cute. I think this is definitely the best looking shape sorter out there. You have a bee triangle, a ladybug square, a snail half circle and a caterpillar circle. 

My favorite feature is the elastic bands on the bottom of the sorter, a perfect way to remove the shapes, even accessible to little hands. 

P hasn't quite gotten the idea yet, and kept trying to get the shapes out through the sides. :) 

Big brother Q just had to get in on the fun, taking pride in showing P something he had mastered. 

even the taste test passed muster

Another great feature is the little bugs on the side of the sorter that live on a zig zag track. P loved playing with them, and they are great for refining fine motor skills!

The Wonderworld Waggy Garden Nature Themed Shape Discovery and Play set is available at Toys and Games Online for $23.00. (a 23% savings over SRP) I would recommend this toy for any toddler, from 12-36 months. 

Toys and Games Online has generously agreed to a $25 give away! Go to their site and pick your favorite toddler toy, and mention it in the comments. We will draw a winner in a week. Good luck!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Last Day - Jingle Bells for Jennic Auction

Just a reminder: Bidding ends sometime in the wee hours of tomorrow morning and we've got lots of great holiday gifts.  Check out Violet, a Bamboletta Doll.

There are many other fun toys.  Our sponsors include:
  • A Toy Garden
  • Auntie Jill
  • Baby's Toy Emporium
  • Bagnall Woodworks
  • Bamboletta Dolls
  • Bella Luna Toys
  • Blue Orange Games
  • BoomBoom Cards
  • Chalais Associates
  • Challenge & Fun
  • Charlie Hope
  • Down To Earth Toys
  • Ecoleeko
  • Ectrophy Science
  • Franklin Goose
  • Green Toys Inc
  • Haba USA
  • Hazelnut Kids
  • Hip Mountain Mama
  • KangarooBoo
  • Kiddo Tags
  • Lady Madonna Pottery
  • Magic Cabin
  • Marci Davis
  • Mary's Soft Dough
  • New Chapter
  • Nielsen's Trading
  • Pax Baby
  • Plan Toys USA
  • Polkadot Patch Boutique
  • Rosie Hippo
  • S-Renee Designs
  • Sarah's Silks
  • Stubby Pencil Studio
  • The Backyard Armory
  • Willow Baus
  • Wood Toy Shop LLC
  • Yubo Lunchboxes

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Captain Jack's Venture Ship

My baby boy turned 4 last week and we had a swashbuckling Pirate Party to celebrate. What 4 year old boys doesn't love pirates? Furthermore, what group of preschoolers doesn't love a costume party? We had a grand old time celebrating, with dozens of little pirates running amok. Q's big gift for his birthday, and the hands down favorite toy of the party, was Captain Jack's Venture ship.

This is a large and well made toy by any standard. It took my husband about an hour to assemble, with minimal outbursts. What I did not realize when I ordered this gift, is what an lifelike replica of a ship it would be. The Venture Ship has working sails, a plank that can be put out if one of the pirates steps out of line, cannons that move around actually fire little cannonball sticks! The base of the ship comes out and you can store items in the hold. It is truly incredible. There is even a working captain's wheel and a crows nest to post your lookout. 

This toy provides hours of imaginative entertainment in our house. Frankly, I am not sure who enjoys it more, Q or his Daddy. The ship was listed as ages 4 and up. I would say that is a little generous. I think 5 and up would have been better. My 4 year old loves it, to be sure, but really needs an adult to play with him. The sails are a bit tricky, and when they come apart they definitely take an adult to re-rig. We had this out on the play table during our pirate party, and it took my husband another hour to fix all the nets and sails after the kids went home. The kids didn't care, and had to be dragged away just to have cake. 

One of my favorite features of the ship is that the whole thing is on wheels. We take it down and pretend the living room is the ocean and steer the ship through the crashing waves. Even my one year old gets in on the action crawling after the ship and pushing it around. She is fascinated by the nets on the side and likes to chase after the boat and snap the nets. 

The Captain Jack's Venture ship comes with the ship with working sails and masts, crow's nest, captain's wheel, 3 pirates, cannons and cannon balls. We bought it at Sensational Beginnings for $139.95. You can also purchase the Pelican Landing Dock separately for $69.95. The landing dock comes with ramps and docks, a working crane and hoist, a pirate, 3 pelicans and a treasure chest. The crane was the first thing to go at the party. Too many 4 year old boys vying for the power position. It was mended easily enough when they left. 

The Captain Jack's Venture ship truly is fun for the whole family! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Season of Light - Making Candles

Recently, A Toy Garden sent us a candle-making kit to review. The girls were so excited when they heard we were going to make candles to decorate the Thanksgiving table.

Multicolored Beeswax Candle Making Kit ($19.95)

After my little "we can only have fun if we listen" speech, I handed each girl a sheet of beeswax.

"This is going to turn into a candle?!?"

Linnea smelled hers....mmmmm....beeswax. There's just a touch of honey scent.

I showed them how to roll the wax.  Our house is chilly, so we warmed the sheet with a hair dryer first.

Look how careful Arielle is.

Linnea is all done.

"Look, Mom!" She was so proud.  This is a great project for preschoolers like Linnea who like quick results.

Arielle was still working.


A Toy Garden also sent Stockmar Wax Sheets ($31.95)

We used small cookie cutters to cut out leaves and other shapes.


 We just wrapped them around the candles and pressed them on.



The girls got lots of compliments on their hard work.

This is a great holiday craft.  You could make it a family tradition.  I think we will. The candle making kit is also available in Christmas or Hannukah colors (make your own Hannukah candles - cool!) and in natural beeswax.

And, check out A Toy Garden for stuffing stuffers and unique holiday decor. Arielle loves the child-sizes cardinal wreath ($14.95) that decorates her door.

Thank you, A Toy Garden! This was a super fun review.  We'll definitely do this again.