Top Holiday Gift: Laura Ingalls Doll and Play Sets

My toy tester absolutely loves the Little House on the Prairie Laura Ingalls Doll and the realistic play accessories. The award-winning doll and play sets from The Queen’s Treasures are available at the website and at Target.com. Enter right now for a giveaway of a complete playset, ends 11/24/16 at 11:59 PST. We assembled the covered wagon and added the pieces, and the doll is beautiful. The pieces are well-made and are certain to provide hours of open-ended, creative play!

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If you remember the popular TV series, this will bring back great memories of Laura, Ma and Pa and their experiences on the prairie. This doll and accessories let your child experience what life was like in the big woods and on the prairie for Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Ingalls family. Start the days adventure by riding across the prairie in the covered wagon. Find the perfect camp spot to rest and help Ma prepare lunch over the fire pit or churn some butter for the night’s dinner rolls.

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Win your own doll, play accessories, DVD and more in a giveaway valued at over $700. The giveaway ends on Thursday, November 24th at 11:59 PST so enter here right now!

The Laura Ingalls 18” Doll is available online at TheQueensTreasures.com and Target.com for $99.99.  A full-line of accessories is available at http://www.thequeenstreasures.com/new-products/little-house-on-the-prairie-18-doll-line.html.

Find educational resources at the Little House on the Prairie website including a historical timeline and history articles.

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We received a doll and play set for review, all opinions are authentic.

5 Hot Tech Gifts that are Cool and Affordable

 

It’s the holiday season again. Time to search for the perfect present and demonstrate your creativity in gift giving. We all have that person in our lives who is difficult to buy for, from the guy who has everything to the teenager who wants nothing, or at least nothing they will tell you. This list of the hottest new, affordable tech gifts will surprise put the happy in everyone’s holiday!

5 Hot Tech Gifts for 2016

 1. HP Sprocket:  This new pocket-sized portable printer from HP is guaranteed to be this year’s must-have gift just as the Soda Stream and Snuggie were a few holidays ago. Selfie-obsessed teenagers will really love the 2 x 3 photo booth-like pictures that are produced by the Sprocket. Sprocket’s sticky-backed photo paper makes it easy to display customized images on walls, lockers or in scrapbooks. The Sprocket case comes in two cool colors and requires no ink. This is the perfect gift for travelers, teens or party-goers at only $129.99. Available on Amazon.com.

 2. The HP 15 Series Notebook:  Whether he’s a gamer or she’s a student who loves music videos, you will be a hero for gifting this powerful laptop. The HP Notebook comes with Windows 10 Home, high-definition display, AMD Radeon R5 graphics, 2TB of hard drive storage, HP TrueVision HD Camera, DTS Studio sound and much more. Best of all, HP has partnered with QVC to offer two exclusive colors; minty green and soft lilac and will feature this laptop at the lowest price of the season on Saturday, November 26th.  Save money and time by visiting QVC.com to get this colorful gift with a lot of power. 

3. Amazon Echo Voice Control Assistant and Speaker:   Who doesn’t want a personal assistant?  Whether it’s used for getting the latest sports scores or turning on an alarm for baking times, Alexa, a cloud based voice system, is perfect for anyone on your list. It has 360-omnidirectional speakers and can sit anywhere conveniently. Find it on QVC.com!

 4. HP Instant Ink:  Give the gift of time and money all year long with HP Instant Ink, the ink subscription program that delivers ink right to the front door. That special person on your list will never have to worry about running out of ink again. For as low as $36 or $2.99 a month, you can give a year’s worth of HP Instant Ink. Ink cartridge reorders are based on number of prints, so now there’s no worry about how many holiday pictures you print or when. HP offers affordable Instant Ink-friendly printers starting at $69 at most major retailers. Perfect for college students, busy moms, scrapbookers and small business owners, to name a few.

5. Code-a-Pillar™ by Fisher-Price:  For the youngest tech enthusiast on your list, the Code-a-Pillar inspires little learners to be big thinkers by encouraging preschoolers to arrange (and rearrange) the easy-to-connect segments in endless combinations, sending the techno-insect on its way.  There are countless ways to arrange the segments which includes one sound segment, three straights, two right turns and two left turns to send the learning fun in endless directions.  At less than $50 on www.fisherprice.com , this is a great gift for kids, but don’t be surprise if parents don’t sneak a try as well.

Disclosure: Maria has a partnership with both HP and QVC and created this article as part of a marketing program. All opinions are her own. QVC is a service mark of ER Marks, Inc. The QVC.com domain name is registered to QVC, Inc.

 

Five Tips for A Great Back-To-School Season #ad

It’s back-to-school season for younger students, and it’s also back to campus for millions of students heading to colleges and universities across the U.S. An estimated 20 million students will be moving in to college dorms and apartments over the next few weeks, when parents and students will be hauling everything from TVs and tablets to towels and bedding.

As a mom of four children, I moved two of my children in to college apartments over the last two weeks and got one high schooler ready for her senior year. I can relate to the multiple to-do lists, making sure students in my house have everything they need for a successful school year. Here are a few tips and favorites for back to school and back to campus:

  • Embrace the back-to-school shopping haul. I love shopping for back-to-school items. Many parents dread the school supply lists, but I’ve always enjoyed taking the children to pick out a new backpack, crisp new pencils and nice pens. One of my favorite brands of pens is Pilot, an iconic brand for many reasons. The coolest pens we’ve found this year are the Pilot Frixion pens. They’re smooth writing, erasable and refillable, and come in fantastic colors. The erasable part is good for my daughter who has to use erasable pens in school.  One of our product testers loves the erasable markers!

 

  • Shopping for College Move-In. From firsthand experience, shopping for and setting up a college dorm or apartment is a huge task. Most parents and students are looking for a one-stop store with items at reasonable prices. I found a home décor superstore called At Home that offers everything from bedding and string lights (what college students rate top on their shopping lists) to underbed storage boxes and mattress covers (what moms rate highest on the list). At Home has a handy college checklist that is a must-have for new and returning students, and definitely for parents!

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  • Pack healthy lunches. One of my best tips involves lunchbox snacks. When my children were in grade school, I started a routine of placing bins of snacks in easy reach, making it easy for them to pack their own lunches. I grouped items like fruits and cheeses in easy-to-reach bins and refrigerator drawers to make it easy for them to assemble their own lunches. Items like Sargento’s Cheese Sticks and Snack Bites are still favorites in our house. Sargento Slices are also favorites for my high schooler’s favorite turkey and provolone sandwiches. Sargento Slices are always 100% real, natural cheese.

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  • It’s all about the lunch accessories. One of the biggest purchases for back to school is the new lunchbox and food containers. I discovered a BPA-free container called Goodbyn Bynto boxes that are perfect for packing a variety of foods. The bins have three roomy compartments and even include cool stickers that kids will love to use to personalize their Bynto boxes. bento_collage
  • Get some sleep. As most parents know, sleep can be elusive for the whole family when schedules change. The routine of a new school year may take time to adjust to, and natural sleep remedies like melatonin can come in handy for parents. Natrol Melatonin contains 5 mg of melatonin, a naturally-occurring hormone that promotes healthy sleep.

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I hope you and your children embrace and enjoy the school year. It will be the holiday season all too soon! Follow more of the Back-to-School conversation on Twitter @momtalkradio.

Where Am I? On the Great College Move-In Road Trip! #AtHomeStores

It’s the halfway point in the Great College Move-In Road Trip for At Home stores to mark National College Move-In Week! Starting in Chicago last Sunday through Charlotte and on through Orange Park and Orlando this weekend, I’ve been in a different city every day, meeting with moms and college-bound students, showcasing the 50,000 items in At Home stores that make college shopping so easy on your time and budget! National College Move-In Week marks the peak of back to campus season, when over 130 colleges and universities welcome students back to campus. Follow my road trip journey (on Facebook and Twitter) as I log many miles in a Kia Sorento, an awesome vehicle that’s full of stuff right now!

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Between this week and Labor Day, an estimated 20 million students will be moving in to college dorms and apartments across the U.S. College Move-In season is a unique, exciting and often-bittersweet milestone for families as students venture out of the nest to live on their own for the first time. Mixed with the excitement of moving to college are the costs and time to furnish a new living space. In a recent survey of moms by BSM Media for At Home, we discovered shopping priorities of moms and students, dorm room must-haves and the high costs of the college move-in season.

  • Tablets, TVs, string lights and wall hangings top the packing lists for college-bound students. When students are packing their tech items and new décor, they don’t forget a childhood memento or two like a stuffed bear or blanket.
  • Moms are purchasing mattress covers, under bed storage bins and other essentials, making sure their sons and daughters have everything they need for college living.
  • 46% of moms say the college checklist will cost between $400 and $600.
  • Another 37% of moms estimate moving costs (fuel, time off of work, packing supplies) at more than $500.
  • For décor ideas and inspiration, 66% of moms are checking online retail sites, followed closely by Pinterest as a preferred source of inspiration for 62% of moms.
  • Over 45% of moms say they will furnish and decorate the dorm room with fresh, new items, 43% will combine a mix a fairly even mix of new purchases and items from home, and only 9% are furnishing the spaces only with items brought from home.

Moms in the survey feel the most stress making sure their sons and daughters have everything they will need (61%), followed by their college student leaving home for the first time (43%) and getting them moved in (37%).

From firsthand experience after moving two of my children to collegiate housing over the last few weeks, I know how exciting and exhausting the college move-in process can be for parents. At Home makes it easy to make a one-stop trip to get the décor items the students want, the basics that moms know are necessary for a new living space, and all at very reasonable pricing. Find an At Home store near you at http://athome.com.

Disney Sneak Peek #AwakenSummer

Not much can beat a Disney experience, unless it’s a preview of #AwakenSummer, what’s new and what’s in store this summer! I had the amazing opportunity to visit Disney for a press event recently to get a sneak peek at the amazing events in store for families visiting Walt Disney World.

What’s Happening Now: Frozen fans, this is for you. Anna and Elsa can be seen every day in the Festival of Fantasy Parade in the Magic Kingdom. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, enjoy a Frozen Sing-Along Celebration of “For the First Time in Forever”, plus special appearances by Anna, Elsa and Kristoff. At Epcot, guests can meet Anna and Elsa in Norway, located in the World Showcase.

At Epcot, the family-fun attraction, Turtle Talk with Crush, gets an update with Finding Dory characters in May. Character Meet and Greets include Joy and Sadness, two of the emotions from the Disney/Pixar film “Inside Out”.

Animal Kingdom is the location for the Rivers of Light nighttime show celebrating animals and nature. The Tree of Life “Awakenings” appear throughout the evening as animal spirits are brought to life. A nighttime dance party lights up Discovery Island with stilt walkers, musicians and more.

#AwakenSummer: This summer, Blizzard Beach will hose an impromptu sporting event known as The Frozen  Games. Kristoff and Olaf host a friendly competition of fun and games where everyone can participate. At Epcot, Soarin’ Around the World will take guests on a journey to far-flung lands.

These are just a few of the many fabulous experiences in store this summer. Visit Disney.com for more information.

 

Little Sister Babblebaby by Madame Alexander #promocode

My little toy tester is going to love this cutie from Madame Alexander. The Little Sister doll features advanced “response” technology lets this lifelike Babblebaby™ actually baby-talk back when you stop talking to it!. An adorable 14″ baby doll featuring 80 different real baby sounds, this Babble Baby will be a hit that moms will love, too. Madame Alexander means quality toys with attention to detail and of course, hours of play. Perfect for birthdays, and just in time for a nice Easter basket surprise!

Bonus: you will receive 15% off plus free shipping on a doll of their choice. Use Promo code: MOM16
(Promo code rules: 1-use per customer, 15% off entire cart + free shipping​, not applicable to items in the sale category.)

Order at MadameAlexander.com.

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I received a Babble Baby doll as part of the Madame Alexander Advisory Board, opinions are my own.

Toy Fair Finds: Soapsox and Yookidoo

With my MomTV mic in hand and a videographer in tow, I walked the aisles of Toy Fair ’16 looking for the hottest new toys and products for families. I found an amazing group of items, from Yookidoo and Soapsox for younger children to Shrinky Dinks and Lionel train sets for the older crowd. Take a look:

 

 

More Toy Fair finds coming soon.