Category Archives: Reviews


Big Imaginations are Cooking with Step2 Play Kitchen Sets

Step2-logoIf you’re still struggling to find the perfect gift for your little one, look no further than Step2’s play sets. These imagination-filled set are perfect for little girls and little boys! Step2’s play sets stimulate young minds, encourage fun and active play, and also have the durability to last for years. How many people do you know that still have a play kitchen set that’s several years old? They last a lifetime!

This fall, Step2 kicked-off the national “Big Imaginations are Cooking” contest that aimed to showcase how certain toys can spark a child’s creative imagination. Children 10 and younger could enter and 10 finalists have been selected. Each finalist received a Step2 play kitchen of their choice and they now have a chance to win the $5,000 grand prize. This is where you come in!

Vote to Donate!

Each finalist was given a Step2 kitchen and video camera and was asked to create a video with their kids playing with the kitchen in an unstructured and/or creative way. It is now up to you and I to vote for our favorite video! Just visit the contest page to vote for your favorite video between through January 8, 2012. And… to encourage fans to vote, Step2 has partnered with Saving tiny Hearts Society, a non-profit organization that raises research money for congenital heart defects, and will donate $1 for every vote received.

step2kitchen1The Perfect Gift that Lasts a Lifetime

In addition to the contest, Step2 has a number of new toys out this holiday shopping season that offer a variety of play experiences, innovative product designs and new twists on classic play patterns to last for years to come. Available online at and exclusive retailers nationwide, new holiday toys from Step2 include:

Cozy Kitchen: Your little chef will cook in style with this realistic compact kitchen with electronic stove top. The modern colors and styling features “granite counter tops,” oven, refrigerator and sink with movable faucet. This kitchen also includes lots of valuable storage space for playtime accessories, multiple storage cabinets with authentic handle hardware and special frying pan and boiling pot with lid, which activate electronic frying and boiling water sounds in the stove’s front burner. Ages 2+. MSRP $59.99.

Lifestyle Legacy Kitchen: A modern and fresh play kitchen with that fits perfectly in your playroom or kitchen. Sized for two kids, with realistic features like a multi-level counter tops, a fridge with water dispenser, microwave, oven with electronic burners and electronic stove, and working phone. The kitchen comes with full accessory set, reusable shopping tote and lots of built in storage, for easy clean-up. Ages 2+. MSRP $129.99.

step2kitchen2Prepare & Share Kitchen: This kitchen and counter in one has charming girl touches and allows for several kids to prepare and serve. Realistic features include an electronic stove top that sizzles, an oven, fridge and pass through serving window, phone, swivel faucet and full accessory set. In addition to the pink burst of color and subway tile decals, the fridge is shown dispensing pink lemonade and the spice jars are all things sweet. Ages 2+. MSRP $89.99.

Simmer & Serve: A pink twist on a family favorite, this realistic kitchen comes complete with a stove top burner, phone, multiple storage drawers and cabinets, a sink with faucet and 17-piece accessory set. A special pan and pot includes frying and boiling water sounds for hours of entertainment. MSRP $79.99.

Build and Store Activity Table: A block and activity table with clear storage bins for Legos / Mega Blocks, supplies, books, etc. Includes storage trays and cups for crayons, blocks, paint, markers, etc. The size makes it perfect for two kids, or just one. It’s made to last and easy to clean with a fresh design that looks great in your home and includes an adorable stool. Ages 3+. MSRP $99.99.

Home Depot Big Builders Workshop: Deluxe project center for pretend projects and real crafts. Authentic “particle board” work surface with working vice, storage containers, hard building surface, drill, and screw storage pockets. Comes with 2 large storage cabinets and shop refrigerator. Electronics include drill and overhead light, batteries not included. Offers realistic project Durafoam “wood” building set. 50 piece accessory set included. MSRP $119.99.

step2kitchen3Art Easel Desk: Unique desk and easel accommodates multiple artists! This educational toy has workspace for creative projects. The dry erase board includes a clip to hang paper and other projects. Plenty of storage to hold art supplies. Very stable base that ensures stability. Ages 2+. MSRP $54.99.

My Own Laundry Set: This portable playset, perfectly sized for a preschooler, gives the real-life laundry experience with realistic washing sounds, lights and clicking knobs. The washer door opens to store the adorable accessories, including iron, spray bottle, hangers and dryer sheets inside. Batteries are included. Ages 2+. MSRP $27.99.

My Own Grill Set:


Carapelli Olive Oil – The Four S’s Taste Test

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carapelli for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

When it comes to olive oil, quality really does matter. Carapelli Olive Oil, headquartered just outside the beautiful city of Florence in Italy, has been making olive oil since 1893 and was the first producer to promote bottled extra virgin olive oil in Italy. With a quality certification program that meets and exceeds the strict standards in Europe, Carapelli Olive Oil is Italy


Go Full Throttle With NASCAR Unleashed (Product Review)

NASCAR Unleashed, the newest entry in the NASCAR branded racing series, delivers the fastest and most exciting gameplay yet! Available for Xbox 360, PlayStation3, Wii, and 3DS, NASCAR Unleashed allows players to take their race car “to the streets” by driving on and off some of NASCAR’s most famous tracks.

After choosing your race car from 15 of NASCAR’s biggest names, like Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jeff Gordon, and Joey Logano, you’re transported into a fast-paced thrill ride. The NASCAR tracks featured in this game are Daytona International Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, and Talladega Superspeedway. Break free from the oval and race on the streets, beaches and off-roads of the surrounding cities. It is a completely unchained stock car experience where you can see the sights, feel the salty ocean breeze, and blast past the lofty skyscrapers.

The gameplay has no limits or physics rules. The key is to bump and grind opponents out of the way to seize the top spot. Mastering NASCAR techniques like drafting and sling-shotting earn drivers “Boost” power-ups to pull out in front and to get to the checkered flag first. An easy to read, arcade style HUD tells you your race position, current speed, achievements, and unlocks. NASCAR Unleashed is an arcade racer experience like no other.

My oldest son had a blast playing NASCAR Unleashed for PS3 with his best friend, and he’s never even seen a NASCAR race! He enjoys racing games a lot so when given the opportunity to review NASCAR Unleashed, I jumped at the chance. My son and his friend had a ton of fun bumping into each other in order to get to the lead of the pack. They also liked that you weren’t confined to the race track. Being able to get out and race off the track was exciting to them! NASCAR Unleashed is a great game that the whole family can enjoy.

NASCAR-Unleashed-SS NASCAR-Unleashed-SS2

From Activision, NASCAR Unleashed is now available for Xbox 360, PlayStation3, Wii, and 3DS. The game is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB and is the perfect family-friendly game this holiday season. For more information, visit


Disclosure: Sandbox Strategies, on behalf of Activision, provided me with the information for this post and free product(s) in order to facilitate this review. I was not required to write a positive review. Any expressed opinion is completely my own. View my official disclosure policy.



Tom and Jerry Fur Flying Adventures Volume 3

Tom and Jerry: Fur Flying Adventures Volume 3 DVD (Product Review)

Tom and Jerry Fur Flying Adventures Volume 3Take one blue and white domestic cat. Add one small brown house mouse. Mix in a handful of chases, stir in a few falling anvils, and top off with one brutish bulldog named Spike. You’re left with 14 delightful cartoons! This fast and funny collection rises to the occasion with a crazy camping trip (Sasquashed), a chase through a carnival’s haunted house (Spook House Mouse), an Alaskan adventure (Northern Light Fish Fight) and an encounter with an abominable snow rodent (Snow Mouse). But the most outrageous moment of all comes when Tom and Jerry set aside their differences and join forces against beach muscle-heads Spike and Butch in Beach Bully Bingo. Endless fun is the main course served up in this new all-family feast of animated fun.

This DVD features 14 fur flying episodes from your favorite dynamic duo Tom and Jerry, including:

  • Ah, Sweet Mouse-Story of Life (Chuck Jones)
  • Bad Say at Cat Rock (Chuck Jones)
  • Jerry, Jerry, Quite Contrary (Chuck Jones)
  • Beach Bully Bingo (T&J Tales V1 Int’l)
  • A Life Less Guarded (T&J Tales V5 Int’l)
  • Northern Light Fish (T&J Tales V3 Int’l)
  • Doggone Hill Dog (T&J Tales V3 Int’l)
  • Love Me, Love My Mouse (Chuck Jones)
  • Sasquahed (T&J Tales V5 Int’l)
  • Shutter Bugged Cat (Chuck Jones)
  • Snow Mouse (T&J Tales V6 Int’l)
  • The Unshrinkable Mouse (Chuck Jones)
  • Spook House Mouse (T&J Tales V1 Int’l)
  • Don’t Bring Your Pet to School Day (T&J Tales V4 Int’l)

My Thoughts

Neither of my children had seen Tom and Jerry before so they were a little hesitant at first, but once I put the DVD in, I knew they were hooked in the first 30 seconds. Both of them were just glued to the television, giggling the whole time. Older cartoons, like Tom and Jerry, are nothing like today’s cartoons. They needed no words; their actions were funny enough on their own. And now my children have experienced that for themselves. After the DVD concluded (which is pretty lengthy!), my 3 year old said, “Mommy, I love Thomas and Jerry!” lol Definitely a keeper. :)

Buy It!

From Warner Bros., Tom and Jerry: Fur Flying Adventures Volume 3 released to DVD on October 4th. Own it on DVD today; it would make such a fun stocking stuffer for your children (and you!). Imagine the joy you’ll feel when your child loves Tom and Jerry just as much as you did as a child. Tom and Jerry: Fur Flying Adventures Volume 3 is available at and for around $10.


Disclosure: Warner Bros. provided me with the information for this post and free product(s) in order to facilitate this review. I was not required to write a positive review. Any expressed opinion is completely my own. View my official disclosure policy.


Mega Bloks Blok Squad Fire Patrol Station (Product Review)

Mega-Bloks-LogoAll missions are possible with Mega Bloks when you work together with four Rescue vehicles as you control their efforts from the Blok Squad Fire Patrol Station! Have your Blok Squad Firefighters slide down the fire pole as they spring into action. The Fire Patrol Station’s extra large helipad can handle any size helicopter while its dual garage doors and full toolbox keep all Fire Patrol ground vehicles rescue ready.

Build all four Rescue vehicles and lead the way with the Fire Command 4×4 Truck. Climb the ladder to help save trapped people on the top floors with the Ladder Truck TL. Airlift trapped civilians out of trouble with the Rescue Chopper and keep them all protected inside the Fire Rescue Carrier. Combine the Fire Patrol Station with other Blok Squad vehicles to build super rescue trucks that can knock down any door, carry injured civilians to a hospital, or put out any 5-alarm blaze.

Check out the photos below of the Fire Patrol Station that my oldest son put together. And yes… he put all of the little firemen in posed positions so I could photograph them. haha! (Click to zoom!)

Mega-Bloks-Blok-Squad-Fire-Patrol-Station Mega-Bloks-Blok-Squad-Fire-Patrol-Station-1 Mega-Bloks-Blok-Squad-Fire-Patrol-Station-2 Mega-Bloks-Blok-Squad-Fire-Patrol-Station-3 Mega-Bloks-Blok-Squad-Fire-Patrol-Station-4 Mega-Bloks-Blok-Squad-Fire-Patrol-Station-5 Mega-Bloks-Blok-Squad-Fire-Patrol-Station-6 Mega-Bloks-Blok-Squad-Fire-Patrol-Station-7

This amazing 956-piece set is ideal for children ages 6 and up and will keep them occupied for hours. The Mega Bloks Blok Squad Fire Patrol Station features a buildable Fire Patrol Station as well as a Fire Command 4×4 Truck, Fire Rescue Chopper, Fire Rescue Carrier, and Fire Ladder Truck TL as well as 5 Blok Squad Firefighters. From Mega Blocks, this set retails for $39.99 and can be found at Toys R Us, Target, eToys, and Amazon.


Disclosure: Team Mom, on behalf of Mega Bloks, provided me with the information for this post and free product(s) in order to facilitate this review. I was not required to write a positive review. Any expressed opinion is completely my own. View my official disclosure policy.

miyako ceramics products

Miyako Ceramics: Premium Ceramic Cutlery

miyako ceramic knife

Not all knives are created equal. On the outside, they look the same and perform the same basic functions, but after a bit of use, their differences quickly become apparent. Miyako Ceramics knives and gadgets are a cut above the competition. They pay extra attention to even the tiniest detail and it shows. Every Miyako Ceramics knife includes all of these features:

  • Stunning High Gloss Finish
  • Precisely Honed Cutting Edge
  • Super Soft Ultra-Comfort Handle
  • Extensive Quality Assurance
  • Extra Hard Ceramic

miyako ceramics features

Hardness is measured on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. 1 being a soft material and 10 being the hardest material known to man (diamonds). Miyako Ceramics hardness is measured at 8.2 while regular metal knives are only 5.5 so ceramic knives are not nearly as delicate and fragile as they may seem.

miyako ceramics products

click to zoom

Miyako Ceramics graciously sent me three of their premium ceramic cutlery pieces: a 6″ Glossy Ceramic Chef’s Knife, a Ceramic Peeler, and a 3″ Glossy Ceramic Paring Knife. For those of you who have been with me for a while, you know I love to cook. I have several (I’m talking like 10) metal chef’s knives and I’m not happy with any of them; they lose their sharpness in only a few uses!

I have not had a chance to use the Ceramic Peeler yet (even though I’m dieing to!), but I have used both the Chef’s Knife and the Paring Knife, and I love both of them! Both knives cut extremely well and slice with ease. I also like the handles of the knives; they are very soft and comfortable in my hand. But the thing I like the most is that the knives stay sharp for a very long time. How long, I don’t know for sure, but I can tell you that I haven’t noticed any dullness at all in over a month of use. And here’s a fun little fact. Ceramic knives actually prevent oxidation. The ceramic material is non-reactive so if you use a ceramic knife to slice apples, they don’t turn brown as quickly. Nice!

Miyako Ceramics cutlery can be purchased at as well as the Miyako website. You can also like them on Facebook or follow @MiyakoCeramics on Twitter to learn more information.


Disclosure: Miyako Ceramics provided me with the information for this post and free product(s) in order to facilitate this review. I was not required to write a positive review. Any expressed opinion is completely my own. View my official disclosure policy.

Halloween Party Pack DVD

Make Halloween a Thriller Night with Two Spook-Taculars from DreamWorks Animation

Prepare for out-of-this-world fun with two new spooky adventures from DreamWorks Animation! Scared Shrekless and Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space is out on DVD just in time for Halloween in a thrill-filled Double DVD Pack. The perfect centerpiece for family Halloween party fun, the Double DVD Pack includes not only the two delightfully creepy main attractions, but also Thriller, an all-new Shrek-ed out parody of Michael Jackson