My First Cubby from Little Partners {Review}

d34b7eacde8e85faf23a8b18f840ae53If you’re a new or expecting parent, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. SPOIL ALERT! That tiny squishy baby will soon be an independent almost 5 year old faster than you can ever imagine. Time flies (I’m not at all exaggerating) and soon your little angel will be a wanting to do everything for him or herself with zero help from mom and dad. In my case, that new found independence is so welcomed. I gave birth to my youngest daughter 11 months ago (how is she almost one? *insert crying emoji) so my oldest wanting to do things for herself is a huge help. Whether it’s getting herself dressed, brushing her teeth by herself, going to the bathroom alone, or simply getting herself alp_cubby_lifestyle-800x800 snack, it’s one less thing that I have to do. So I jumped at the opportunity to review My First Cubby ($159.99) from Little Partners!

We have worked with Little Partners in the past and we love their products! You can check out the Tri-Side Learn & Play Art Center review here. I was excited to see how the Little Cubby could make our lives easier and help my daughter grow even more independently. First of all, the construction is solid. It was rather easy tcubo put together, the instructions are very easy to read, and it was put together rather quickly (my husband builds furniture for a living so he may have had an advantage). Once built, I noticed the amazing quality. It’s sturdy and looks very classy in our hallway, it’s a piece of furniture you can be happy to put on display. After a quick screw in the wall for the tether to prevent it from falling, it was ready to go!

There are 2 sides, which is perfect for us so each kid can have their own side. There’s a top cubby that we use for hats. Below that is a section with 4 hooks on each side to hang coats and bags. On the bottom is a little cubby for a 2-3 pairs of shoes. My girls have so many shoes but I put the ones out that they were most often. I seriously love being able to ask my daughter to her jacket, shoes, and school bag and she knows to hang her stuff up when she gets home. It’s so nice! I love that it’s also teaching her to be responsible for her own things and she also knows where she can find her school bag or coat, it’s always in the same spot that she put it. The great thing is multiple cubbies can be pushed together for more children and for day cares or schools!

I’m beyond impressed with Little Partners. The My First Cubby will complete any bedroom, foyer, or playroom! I give My First Cubby a 5 out of 5 stars, it’s been such a help in our house and while the cubby is available in two beautiful wood finishes, I would love to see options available in colors. Soon enough my youngest will be able to hang her coat and bag on her side, but for now, my oldest is happy to lend me a helping hand!

Be sure to check out all of Little Partners fabulous products here and don’t forget to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to stay up-to-date with sales and new products!

– Casey

**BurritoBuzz received these products at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

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VertiPlay™ Wall Toys from Oribel {Toy Review}

It’s been over a month since Christmas and I don’t know about you, but I’m still feeling the overwhelming wrath of my kids’ new toys. Each year, I clean out and donate toys that they no longer play with to make room for the new stuff, but it’s still not enough. Their play room in the basement is littered with toys. I’ve stepped on so many little fullsizerendertoys, at times I was positive I broke my foot. So when I was asked to review toy from Oribel, I was obviously hesitant. But but VertiPlay™ is unlike any game or toy children own, and the best part? They don’t add extra clutter on the floor and won’t be stepping on little pieces!

VertiPlay™ Wall Toys from Oribel are fun, whimsical toys that hang on the wall or door, allowing for free space on the floor but offering tons of fun! It’s a win-win for both mom and children! No more asking over and over for your kids to pick up their toys! Another plus? You won’t mind them on your wall! They’re visually appealing and simply add to your child’s bedroom or playroom decor. VertiPlay™ also gets your little ones up and gets their blood flowing as they stand at the wall to play and run around.

The designs are simple, engaging, and fun my little one loves her Busy Woodpecker ($19.90)! It was really easy to attach to the wall, I just wiped the spot clean, removed the back of the sticker, and attached it to the wall. Easy peasy. My little one loves tapping the the woodpecker’s tail (sometimes a little too much) to light up the the little bird’s house in the tree. The wooden windmills help with dexterity through fun play! There are many different designs and styles for a range of ages, from 9+ months to 3+ years, verti1you can see them all here! The quality is superb, I would expect nothing less from Oribel! I adore their products. And while I haven’t removed our wall toy, it leaves no damage to the wall and is easy to peal off.

VertiPlay™ gets a 5 out of 5 stars from me. The price point of each set is just right and my daughter really loves playing with her woodpecker toy. If you’re ready to shop for your own VertiPlay™ Wall Toy, you can head to your local Babies R Us or shop online at Amazon and diapers.com. I will definitely be adding a few more wall toys to our playroom, as my oldest is a little jealous she didn’t get one! If you have an older child, I think the Goofy Moose is perfect for them! Be sure to follow Oribel on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram for new products and more, you won’t be disappointed with this fabulous company!

– Casey

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Bookroo Monthly Children’s Books

burritobuzzbookrooOn a cold rainy day full of child activities and errands pulling into my drive and seeing this adorable little box propped up against my door was so exciting. I knew even though I was exhausted and wanted to crash coming home wouldn’t be stressful, and we would have a blast opening up our package!

BK#1 absolutely LOVED opening up her package. She got even more excited when she saw that it was wrapped up like presents. Christmas made our little threenager a PRO at opening gifts and very much aware of “presents” and meaningful gift giving! After we opened the box she exclaimed “Oh mommy, you got me a gift!  I love it”, and she didn’t even know what was inside! BurritoBuzzBookRoogift.jpg

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Bookroo is a monthly subscription box for you children. It is unlike any other subscripton box on the market right now. Not only is it a fabulous deal, but it is a company with a purpose. Bookroo helps the world at with their recycled (and recyclable!) packaging and their commitment to giving back through donating children’s books to children in need through Reach Out And Read!

The moms and owners at Bookroo’s mission is to enable and empower parents to build their children’s book collections in an affordable and exciting way through curated monthly book deliveries. They believe in the power and impact of the written word in the life of a child, and believe it’s never too early to start reading to children!30-minutes

According to the US department of Education reading to/with your child 30 minutes a day improves their intelligence greatly. Reading improves (future) academic performance. One of my new year resolutions was to read to my children more, and Bookroo is just another way to make sure that happens in a new and exciting way once a month!

Reading is an investment in your child’s future. Reading makes for smart, emotionally healthy, and confident kids. Bookroo makes reading easy.

There two types of boxes: Picture book boxes and Board book boxes. And there are 4 different packages and pricing rates. If you have children in two age groups you can simple tell Bookroo and they will alternate your boxes so you get something for each child every other month. screenshot-4

YOU CAN’T BUY BOOKS AT THE STORE THIS CHEAP! Even if you only do it one month at a time you are getting at least two hardback picture books for $8.95 a piece. I am seriously thinking about doing the year long subscription getting 24 book for $7.99 a piece. Not only are you getting books delivered to your door, but you are giving your child a reason to be excited about books and reading! I am 26 and I know I love getting packages, my toddlers love it 100 x’s more!

Each box contains either 3 board books or 2 picture books and the combined retail value of the books always exceeds the subscription price!

The books are always a surprise and hidden gems. The books they send out are extensively reviewed by a panel of 12 families attending Stanford University and their combined 22 kids. They rate each book on a 7 point scale and on its re-readability. Books that emerge as clear winners are sent out in the Bookroo boxes.

We received Sleepytime Me by Edith Hope Fine and Penguin Cha-Cha by Kristi Valiant.

Sleepytime MeA sweet little nighttime book with easy- to- learn phrases and gorgeous pictures to relax and get ready for bed!

Penguin Cha-ChaADORABLE and entertaining book for all ages. You follow a little girl around the zoo who is trying to understand the dancing penguins. Beautifully written and illustrated! his 

If I had to rate Bookroo on a scale of 1-5 stars they would 100% receive 5 stars! This subscription and company is amazing!  I cant wait till February’s box!


IF YOU WANT A DEAL USE THE CODE : AMANVELA  to get $10 OFF! 


Be sure to follow Bookroo on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to stay up to date on everything they are up to.

~Amanda

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Akron Children’s Museum. Cabin Fever No More.

1017541_582065261846428_877869030_nHere in Ohio its winter. Well, I think? It’s currently 50 and raining, so not the normal -15 F and a snowstorm, but still pretty gross. My kids are bouncing off the walls lately and I have been searching for something new for them to do! I know not everyone is close to Akron, Ohio, but if you are or ever find yourself near here,  this place is the solution! Akron Children’s Museum is more like a huge discovery playhouse than a “museum”. Don’t let their name fool you.

IT’S AWESOME!! So much thought was put into this and they aren’t even done yet. Some of you might have seen me try and go live Thursday morning, but Facebook/Verizon was NOT cooperating. You can see the general lay-out though ,and get an idea of what it looks like, even though  Facebook kept cutting in and out a lot.

Akron Children’s Museum’s mission is to be a gathering place for children and families, where play inspires exploration, discovery, and problem solving. ACM envisions a community shaped by lifelong learners, who provide innovative leadership inspired by creativity and diverse perspectives.

Beyond the museums exhibits  they have a calendar of events and activities booked full of fun things to get involved in! Things like little kids yoga, theater games, art studio and much more.

Not only are there awesome and educational exhibits, but they really went above and beyond to think about parents and families. There is a whole area to park strollers and hang coats. If you are a nursing mom or have a child that needs some quiet time there is a quiet room that has dim lighting and a few comfy chairs! 

The museum is located at 216 S. Main St. in downtown Akron, Ohio next to Lock 3 Park.
You can park in the State Street Parking Deck located at 52 W. State St. (behind Barley House). Take the elevator to the ground level, take a right to go outside, and doors to the museum are straight ahead. Out of the elevators you will be right inside of Lock 3. There are plenty of signs showing you the way to the entrance.img_2622

Open Tuesdays- Sundays 10am-6pm

$5 for kids and adults (infants 12-months and under free)

Annual memberships start at just $55 and include free parking.

If you have a family of 4 all requiring admission, the annual membership would pay for itself in 2.5 visits! With the ever changing calendar of events and their additions and continuing to build, it would be well worth it!

My kids and I LOVED Akron Children’s Museum! We will be returning! The only suggestion I have is a little more security. I was very thankful to have someone with me, but if I was alone with two children I would have been very concerned. It is a very open layout and a child could run off or be misplaced fairly quickly. I would love to see a few staff people just walking the floor with the sole purpose of keeping an eye out. The staffers that were around were cleaning and then running back into closets and to the desk to fulfill other duties.  The museum is  wesome, and we were very excited to return, but definitely with daddy or a grandparent to help wrangle those quick toddlers!

Be sure to Check out their website here for more information and to follow them on Facebook to stay up to date on all the awesome things they are doing for the community!   ~Amanda

Minivan Mama

I officially gained my “soccer mom” status this summer when we traded in my little blue SUV for a MINIVAN. And let me tell you, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made!! It’s true love. I knew I 17194_600always wanted a minivan someday, because I grew up with my parents always having one, and it always just seemed like the most practical with kiddos. What I didn’t know is how much I would not miss my old car and absolutely love this van!

My husband I had been talking about them for a while and finally buckled down and started researching them after we had our second child. We were tired of not having a lot of room in the car especially if we needed to take any extra people anywhere. Two car seats take up a lot of space. We looked at several minivans on the market, but narrowed it down to the Toyota and Honda. We did have a rental Chrysler that we were happy with as well. After test driving, we were actually surprised at how easy the decision was with the Honda Odyssey. The vans were priced roughly the same, but the Honda just felt like it was made better. We didn’t dislike the Toyota (my hubby drives a Toyota Tundra), but the Honda was just better.

 

 

We waited several weeks for the specific model and color to come in that we wanted, but once it arrived, it was love at first sight. I was so anxious and excited that Saturday morning we were able to go and pick it up with the kids. Our 3 year old was excited for the “new van!” too. It was bittersweet leaving our old SUV, but there are new reasons every day why I am so thankful to be a minivan mama now . . .

Here’s a few of them . . .

1.       The automatic sliding side doors… need I say more?! I don’t have to worry about my kids or I banging any cars parked next to us with our doors. You know how loading and unloading our kiddos goes, these door make it a dream come true!! Because of the sliding doors, the opening is so much bigger than an average car door – WONDERFUL! The doors also open and close by the simple push of a button from either the key fob, by the driver’s seat, or on the inside of the sliding doors themselves.

 

2.       Not only is there more room in the doorways, there’s more room EVERYWHERE in this car. I can honestly say I’ve been a passenger in every seat and never once did I feel like I had no space to move. And if you need more room . . . You can MAKE more room . . .

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3.       . . . You can make that extra space because of the movable seats. I know this is typical with most minivans and vehicles with a third row of seats, but the way the Honda was set up was another big selling point for me. Our Odyssey has the option to have an eighth seat. All of the seats are removable (except the front), but with the Odyssey you can have an eighth seat in the middle of the second row. You can easily remove that middle seat of the second row to have 2 captains chairs and an aisle way to the back row, or you can leave it in place to complete the row and have an extra seat. The seat also folds down as an arm rest if it’s left in place. The third row of seats EASILY folds down into the trunk of the van. When we drove to the beach this summer, we opted to fold the third row down so we had TONS of room for luggage and could still see out the back window.

 

4.       Handles on the high way – We drove the minivan on the West Virginia turnpike on our way to Myrtle Beach this past summer, and it handled so much better than my husband’s truck the year before. We could set the cruise control and not have to waver and hit the brake on those winding highway turns.

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5.       Good on gas – I know the gas tank in the minivan is bigger than my tank was in my SUV, but I swear still that the van gets better gas mileage. According to Honda, the Odyssey gets 19 mpg on city streets and 27 mpg highway. Either way, its way better on gas than a huge SUV would be!

 

6.        Does NOT ride like a bus – I traded in a small SUV for my minivan. I had driven it for 5 years. I will say that I was the most anxious that the minivan was going to feel like I was driving a bus after driving my little SUV. I was so wrong. The van does not feel any bigger to me. I would say it sits up off the road the same height as my old car. Even though the van is significantly longer, I really haven’t noticed other than making sure I pull in the garage far enough. The back-up camera has made this easier as well!

 

7.       Bang for the Buck – I’m telling you, you cannot beat a minivan. Even if you have a small family like we do, it is worth considering. For some reason, they get a bad rap, but I can’t think of one negative thing to say about mine. Maybe I don’t look the “coolest” driving the minivan around, but that is the last thing I’m worried about. Most companies offer all the bells and whistles you can find in luxury cars and SUVs, so don’t think those options aren’t available in a van. It’s convenient, affordable, and I know my kids are safe – that’s what matters to me.

If you’re thinking about getting a new vehicle for your new family, growing family, or just want more seats/space, take a look at a minivan. Check out all the options. Take them for a test drive. I think you’ll love it! And if you take the plunge like we did and buy one, you won’t regret it!

-Megan

 

Grippies: STEM Toys for Toddlers

g8311_6-1200x1200BurritoBuzz has talked about STEM teaching before, so elaborating on STEM, we’re bringing you a review on Guidecraft Grippies. I had not heard of Grippies prior to being introduced to them, but I was fascinated by the concept.

The toddler STEM building toy, Grippies® Builders, combines tactile exploration, magnetic play and an introduction to the basic principles of engineering and geometry. Grippies® use a unique, magnetic rod and ball configuration to provide a secure, frustration-free set of construction option as children first discover the joy of building. Unique in concept and design, Grippies® provide a fun, safe, and exploratory experience for toddlers. The 30 piece set features 4 soft matte textures in exciting bright colors. Suggested age: 18 months+

  • Open-ended magnetic STEM building toy for toddlers
  • Combines tactile exploration with magnetic play
  • Provides introduction to engineering
  • 30 piece set in exciting bright colors for $59.99 or a 20 piece for $39.99
  • Over-sized ABS Plastic rod encapsulates magnets
  • Accompanying metal balls are overmolded with soft plastic, with seamless texture for secure construction
  • Exterior features 4 soft matte textures
  • Winner of the Tillywig Brain Child Award, the National Parenting Center’s Seal of –Approval, Parents’ Choice Awards Silver Honor, and the Oppenheim Gold and Special Needs Adaptable Product (SNAP) Awards

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My son is 22 months old and really fine-tuning his motor skills at this point. Upon opening up Grippies, not only was my son fully engaged, but my husband and I were enthralled with building all kinds of structures with him. He quickly caught on to the concept of magnetism, so much so that he discovered that he could stick them to theg8311_lifestyle3-1200x1200 fridge, dishwasher, and cold air return grates. And while the structures he’s building now are fairly basic, I have no doubt that he’ll be engaged with Grippies for years to come and build much more advanced structures!

I was concerned about the magnets in these products, because magnets can cause serious damage (and death) if swallowed. I’ve been cautious throughout my son’s infancy and toddler years to ensure that small magnets are always out of his reach. Thankfully, the magnets in the Grippies are firmly stuck on the rods. While I tell my son to not chew on toys, he still does at times. Thankfully, the Grippies’ magnets have not budged. He is still always supervised when playing with them, thanks to my momma paranoia.

Grippies have proven to be a fun, educational activity for my tiny human. They keep him busy for decent lengths of time. My only true complaint is the price; they are overpriced for what you get. I’d love to see them have a lower price-point so all families could affordstem-logo-salsify-1200x1200 them. Check out all of Guidecraft’s awesome and educational toys here and Guidecraft’s STEM toys here! They will make great holiday and birthday gifts for any little one in your life!

Don’t forget to follow Guidecraft on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to stay up to date on all thing Guidecraft!

– Katie

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Book Review: Dreaming in Color {The Adventures of Oliver Poons}

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Author, Lauryn Alyssa Wendus, is at it again with a new children’s book featuring her star character, Oliver Poons! You might remember my previous review about Lauryn’s first book, Oliver Poons and the Bright Yellow Hat. If not, you can read it here! My daughter was nearly 3 at the time, but she really enjoyed the first book, so I was not surprised that she was excited to read another Oliver Poons book. Not only that, my younger son (16 months) was excited about the new “kitty book” too!

Lauryn does a fabulous job telling a simple, rhyming bedtime story about Oliver Poons and his pals working together to bring colors back into Oliver’s dreams. It’s a perfect story for little ones, because the rhyming keeps them interested. Kids are introduced to new animals and colors throughout the story, which is great, too. The same characters are brought back from the firsoliver-poons-dreaming-in-color-cover-600px-510x510t book of the series, so in our house, we often can’t read one book without the other. My oldest is into longer stories “with lots of pages, Mom!” nowadays, but she still remained interested in this book and I love that now my youngest can read along with us.

Lauryn’s mother, Lois Wendus, is the book’s illustrator and she does a beautiful job again in this second book. I just love the mother-daughter duo behind this series and their mission, “our products are designed to inspire a happy day and happy dreams for your child.” And it’s not only about their products bringing joy and smiles, but the Oliver Poons Children’s Company also supports children and animal rescue by donating a portion of their proceeds to organizations like Mission for Orphans, Inc. and No Kitten Left Behind. They also have a campaign right now (#YellowHatsforCats) where they donate a portion of their sales to various animal shelteroliver-poons-childrens-co-logos to raise awareness about animal rescue.

You can find both books of the series online in hardcover, paperback, or an ebook version. You can purchase the hardcover book for $19.95 on the books’ site or here on Amazon. There are other items available on the Oliver Poons website, too. Workbook learning activities, an interactive floor game, Oliver Poons artwork, and even the floppy yellow hat itself are available for purchase on the website.

These books would make a wonderful Christmas gift for any little one, especially those who adore cats like mine! You can feel good about giving these books to a loved one because not only are they receiving a fun loving, adorable read, but somewhere else another little kiddo or kitty will also be a little happier too!

Follow Lauryn and learn more about the adventures of Oliver Poons on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

– Megan

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Malia’s House from Build & Imagine {Review}

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Being the mom of a 4 year old and a new baby, my oldest spends way too much time on the iPad or in front of the TV. I know, I know. It’s not good and you’re supposed to limit screen time, but when I’m busy with the baby (it was much worse when she was first born), you have to do what you can to survive. I know she’s not the only one that’s constantly staring at a screen (TVs, tablets, smartphones, and computers are everywhere) and I know it’s hard to pull them away. But when you find a toy that does just that, gets them off of the tablet, away from the TV, and actually using their little brains to learn and play, you have to share it. I was recently given the opportunity to review an an absolutely amazing toy from Build & Imagine called Malia’s House and I can’t stress enough how awesome this product is. My daughter is obsessed and has been for about a week and a half now.

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Build & Imagine StoryWalls are like building blocks meets dollhouse meets dress-up meets dolls for kids 4-8 years old. StoryWalls are magnetic playsets that contain colorfully illustrated scenes that can kids can build and decorate with magnetic accessories (like paperdolls) over and over again. They’re called StoryWalls because it’s like building a 3-D storybook setting, then jumping right into play! Each set include dolls to dress up, illustrated building panels that attach magnetically that create endless play! Dozens of magnetic accessories are also included to make your scene uniquely yours. With everything being magnetic, changing things up to create a new story is quick and easy! See Build & Imagine’s products in action below:

When we received Malia’s House, I honestly thought my daughter would play around with it for half an hour tops, as she seems to move on from activity to activity rather quickly (she takes after her father and can’t sit still for too long). So when I tell you she played at the kitchen table from 11AM until bathtime at 7PM (and did not watch the iPad once the entire time), I was completely and happily surprised. She absolutely loves Maila’s House! She loves building Malia  and her friend Skylar a new house and creating different storylines for them based on the magnetic walls and adding decor. They’ll go to the beach together and forget the sunscreen, or they’ll plant fruits and veggies in the garden while drinking lemonade or put out the fire the cat started in the kitchen (these are actual beach_house_2_web_largestorylines she has come up with). Her imagination literally runs wild and I love it! A four year old that wants to sit and play for hours on end and not want to look at a screen is priceless to me.

I give Malia’s House 5 out of 5 stars and I would recommend any one of the engaging playsets from Build & Imagine to anyone looking for a toy that’s different from the norm for their daughter or son. The panels are durable, even for the roughest of child, and easy for little hands to build with. And there are so many sets to choose from, check them all out here! With sets starting at $24.99 and an expansion packs starting at $8.99, there’s something for everyone’s budget!1-2

Be sure to follow Build & Imagine on Facebook and Twitter!

– Casey

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Playful Dino from Manhattan Toy Co. {Review + Giveaway}

I’m going to be honest. I loathe baby toys. They’re way too loud for my liking and the songs are enough to make any parent go mad. Toys that require a million batteries over their lifetime or they need to be plugged in are the worst. Of course my youngest has a ton of these annoying toys, but I’ve been trying to build her “makes mommy happy” toy collection. So when I got the opportunity to review Manhattan Toy Co.’s Playful Dino, I couldn’t have been happier to add this awesome activity toy to our never-ending stash.

As you can probably tell, we love Manhattan Toy Co. We’ve reviewed a few of their products recently and we’ve been impressed by each and every one of them. You can check those reviews out here and here. The company itself is awesome, they strive to use wood from sustainable forests for all of their wooden toys. The design and quality of their toys are top notch and unlike anything I’ve eg1kw5btruarbdm6k3zs_grandeseen on the market for children. Manhattan Toy Co.’s toys are all so fun, colorful, and engaging. The Playful Dino did not disappoint!

Both my 8 month old and 4 year old love their dino! The suggested age for the dino is 12+ months but my littlest one’s motor skills are advanced so she’s really loving all the activities it has to offer. Her eye-hand coordination is impressive as well, and this toy really helps foster that. There so many eye catching aspects to the dino; there are bead runs, peg mazes, gears, multiple play surfaces, and it’s beautifully painted. It’s sturdy enough to hold my 40 pounder who I caught standing on it, so it can withstand a great deal! It’s been great for both my busy bodies and I love watching my oldest show her little sister how it all works. It was super easy to assemble, too, just attach the tail and let your little ones go to town! See the Playful Dino in action below:

Manhattan Toy Co’s toys will definitely be on my shopping list this holiday season, not just for my girls, but the little ones in my family as well. There are so many awesome toys to choose from, you can check them out here and add them to your shopping list, too! The Playful Dino is a multiple award-winning toy, awards include an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award, Today’s Parent Top Toy Winner, Creative Child Preferred Choice Award – Motor Skills Development category, Parents’ Choice Award Recommended and recognized as San Diego Family Magazine’s Hottest 50 toys! I have to agree, Playful Dino gets a 5 out of 5 stars from me. At $68, it’s money well spent knowing this is a toy that is going to last (and not drive you insane). Purchase your own here!ipbzftl66ouy7xja7k8z_grande

We’ve teamed up with Manhattan Toy Co. again for a giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a $25 e-gift card, good toward anything (even a Playful Dino!) at ManhattanToy.com! Shipping is free, so you don’t have to worry about it coming out of the gift card! It’s easy to enter, just follow these steps:

  1. Follow both @burritobuzz and @manhattantoy on Instagram.
  2. Like the giveaway post.
  3. Tag friends you think would like to win, too!
  4. That’s it

This giveaway ends Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 12pm EST. The winner will be chosen randomly and will be announced on the original giveaway post within 24 hours. Winner will have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Goodluck! **This giveaway is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Instagram.**

Don’t forget to follow Manhattan Toy Co. on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter to stay up to date on sales and new products!

– Casey

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Bluebee Pals {Review + Giveaway}

Technology is everywhere and sadly unavoidable for the most part. With cell phones, tablets, computers, TV, and game systems at easily available at home and tablets andgroupshot computers now apart of the curriculum at most schools, screens seem to always be in children’s’ faces. But what if a product that can be used with said technology can help help educate  our little ones? I was recently given the opportunity to review an amazing product called Bluebee Pals from Kayle Concepts that combines state of the art technology and traditional plush toys.

Bluebee Pals come in 6 animal styles; Riley the Zebra, Leo the Lion, Hudson the Puppy, Lily the Lamb, Sammy the Bear, and Parker the Monkey so kids can pick their favorite animal to adopt. They are geared for children 3-8 years old but can of course be a lifetime pal to your child! Bluebee Pals use Bluetooth Technology to sync to any iOS and Android device. They can even be used a a hands-free phone with a built in microphone and speaker! riley-the-zebra-pro-510x510Each of the plush stuffed animals has a mesmerizing feature – lip synchronization – that allows the pal’s lips to move as it sings or reads from various apps.

My daughter chose Riley the Zebra and she loves her! She’s incredibly soft, even though she has a rechargeable battery stuffed inside. Hooking Riley up to our iPad was quick and easy. I downloaded several learning and singing apps, but the ones that read stories are my daughter’s favorite. Riley’s mouth moves and “reads” to her, she thinks it’s so cool! Simply prop a phone, laptop, or tablet on the pal’s lap and tuck it into their plush arms. Pal’s work with any app that has sound, including foreign language apps! Check out this video to see one in action!

Bluebee Pals are so fun and innovative, that’s why thousands have been adopted into households, schools, and therapy sessions. Pals  offer so many benefits, including auditory attention and processing, cause and effect, pre-literacy skills, and more. To date, the toy industry has given Bluebee Pals 6 awards, including Mom’s Choice, National Parentingspecial-needs Publications, Parent’s Choice, Creative Child Award, Academic Choice, and Tillywig, they were just listed as #1 on the list of products that impressed STEM Education at International Society for Technology in Education Conference 2016. I also think Bluebee Pals would be beneficial for children on the Autism spectrum, to help with language and communication. Get your little one his or her own award-winning Bluebee Pal here, at Target, or on Amazon for $64.99!

Here are a few links to recommended educational apps from the Bluebee Pals website, but be sure to visit their site to see all of the recommended apps:

Would you like to win a Bluebee pal of your own? You’re in luck! One winner will get to adopt a Bluebee Pal of his or her choice! Just follow these easy steps to enter:

  1. Like @burritobuzz and @bluebeepals on Instagram
  2. Like the giveaway post.
  3. Tag friends (one per comment) that you think would like to win, too!
  4. That’s it!

bluebee_palsThe giveaway will start Saturday, November 12th at 12pm and end Monday, November 14th at 12pm. The winner will be randomly chosen and announced within 24 hours. Goodluck! **This giveaway is no way sponsored or endorsed by Instagram.**

Don’t forget to follow Bluebee Pals on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest for updates, new products, and sales!

– Casey

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

 

Magnutto Make a Mood {Review}

2016-NAPPA-Seal1.pngKids don’t know how to deal with their emotions. That’s why they throw tantrums when they don’t get what they want or hit when they don’t get their way. Their little brains aren’t capable of knowing how to respond as an adult would and we all know how frustrating it can be for both the parents and child. My four year old can throw a tantrum with the best of them and she’s perfected her on-the-ground-kicking-and-screaming meltdown. We’ve been trying to work on talking through our feelings rather than just crying and screaming, and it’s been helping. So when I got the chance to reva2216xx_mj_makeamood_pkg2_apr-20-16_hires300dpiiew Neat-Oh! International’s Magnutto Make a Mood magnetic toy, I was so excited to see if it helped my little one learn emotions and moods and how to express them.

Magnutto Make a Mood is designed to help identify, express, and respond to feeling and emotions and so far, it’s doing a great job with my daughter. She uses the thick, foam magnets to create facial expressions. The sturdy box opens to a magnetic easel and closes to store all the magnets. Activity cards (in 3 languages – English, Spanish, and French) are included in the box to role play and a list of example facial expressions. I love that I can ask questions about emotions and really engage my daugher in conversation about how she’s feeling.15774830612f9b

Features

  • Includes 100+ magnets, two activity cards, and easel box.
  • Sturdy easel box opens to a magnetic easel and closes to store all the magnets when play is done
  • Educational role play suggested activities included
  • Low strength, safe, thick foam magnets.
  • Fully Printed
  • Tested to the most stringent quality and safety standard
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5″ x 8″ x 1.75″

My daughter and I have been having lots of fun talking about our emotions and making expressions together. I’ll even make a face and ask her to make a face out of the magnets, 1-1it always comes out pretty silly! Make a Mood isn’t just about emotions, I like to think it’s like a “paper doll” but for the face. There are different eyes and eye color, hair colors, earrings, noses, mouths, glasses, and more, so you can make make lots of faces and expressions. Magnutto also offers Make a Pet and Make a Dino sets, so you can  animals and dinosaurs! The quality is outstanding and the foam pieces will hold up even with the roughest of kids. Shop all Magnutto sets here. Your little ones will love these engaging and fun sets!

The Magnutto sets have also been given Oppenheim Toy Portfolio’s Platinum Seal, which is the highest honor given by the independent consumer organization! They were also honored with a SNAP award (Special NeA2216XX Magnutto MakeAMood PROD Dec-11-2015eds Adaptable Product), given to products that can be used by or easily adapted for children with special needs.

Be sure to follow Neat-Oh! on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter for new products and sales!

– Casey

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Draw Your Own Circuits with Circuit Scribe {Review + Giveaway}

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We can all agree that STEM, the education of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, is super important for our children learn this day and age. Technology is our future and where most of the new jobs are being created. With that being said, I love toys and activities that allow young children to learn how technology works and opens their world to new ideascircuit-scribe_copy-of-i-8njccmm-xl_lr and thought processes. I was recently given the opportunity to review an amazing product called Circuit Scribe from Electroninks, Inc. and was completely blown away by how much I learned (at 28 years old) and I am now hooked!

Created by a company based in Austin, TX and Cambridge, MA, Circuit Scribe is a revolutionary pen that uses non-toxic conductive ink that makes it easy for newbies (like myself) and expert makers to have fun with electronics in a new and easy way. Geared towards children 8 years and older, Circuit Scribe is an easy way to introduce STEM to kids and is also great for those who are already experienced. I have to admit, when I was asked to review this product, I knew nothing about it. But I did know that STEM is huge right now, and being integrated in schools across the country and all over the world. I knew I personally wanted to circuit-scribe_img_0048_lrget my hands on a kit (my electronic-loving husband also wanted to give it a whirl) and I definitely wanted to share it with our readers!

First of all, if you’ve never done anything with circuits (or if you have no idea what a circuit is), the workbook/sketchbook is so easy to read through and understand. I couldn’t wait for my husband to help explain everything to me, so I took it upon myself to learn how it all worked and it was surprisingly easy, even for a newbie like me. Here’s the gist of how it works: simply draw traces with their quick dry conductive ink pen, then snap on their magnetic modules to create fully functional electrical circuits instantly! You place the magnetic steel sheet under a sheet of paper, then use the circuit stencil with the conductive ink pen to draw pathways for the current to allow the modules to interact, creating the circuit. Each module is different and does something different. Here is a list of modules included in the Maker Kit that I received:circuit-scribe_ultimate-kit-contents_lr

  • 9V Power Supply and battery (power)
  • SPST Switch (input)
  • Photo Sensor (input)
  • Potentiometer (input)
  • Blinker (connect)
  • 2-Pin adaptor (connect)
  • NPN Transistor (connect)
  • BI-LED x2 (output)
  • RGB LED (output)
  • Buzzer (output)

The Maker Kit consists of 17 pieces, including 11 modules, 1 conductive ink pen, a circuit stencil, jumper stickers, a magnetic steel sheet (that has an awesome symbol guide for quick reference), and an easy to read step by step workbook. There are several different Circuit Scribe kits available, starting at $9.99 for the Mini Kit (available or pre-order), the Basic Kit for $44.99-$59.99, the Maker Kit for $79.99, the Ultimate Kit for $99.99, and the Developer Kit for $194.99. There are also classroom kits available so entire classes can participate and learn about circuits thanks to Circuit Scribe! You can also circuit-scribe_maker-kit-with-contents_lrorder replacement or extra modules right on their website, too. Check out all of Circuit Scribe’s products here! We also have an exclusive code for 15% off your Circuit Scribe purchase, jut use code BURRITO15 at check out!

This is the coolest, most educational product I have had the privilege of reviewing for BurritoBuzz. I have learned so much from playing around with the different modules already, and my husband is a big fan also. Although we’re still learning, we are having a blast going through the workbook together. If you have children or nieces or nephews that are interested in science and technology, I highly recommend Circuit Scribe! It’s a great way for kids (and adults) to learn and have fun at the same time. It would make a fantastic gift this holiday season, I know I will be gifting a kit or two myself this December! Here’s a video of my handsome husband showing how some of the modules work:

And guess what? We’re giving one lucky winner a Maker Kit of their own! Follow these quick and easy steps for a chance to win!

  1. Follow both @burritobuzz and @circuitscribe on Instagram, we will be checking!
  2. Like our original giveaway post.
  3. Tag a friend who would love the chance to win, too!
  4. That’s it!

The giveaway will start at 12pm EST on Thursday November 3, 2016 and end at 12pm EST on Sunday November 6 ,2016. You can tag as many friends as you’d like to get one entry per tag/comment. Good luck! **This giveaway is in no way sponsored by Instagram.**circuit-scribe_electroninks_wallpaper-logo-3_lr

Don’t forget to following Circuit Scribe on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay updated on sales, new products, and more!

– Casey

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Essential Oils for Allergies {Lavender, Peppermint & Lemon by Young Living}

younglivingallergiesburritobuzzIf you follow my posts, then you know that I am a pretty crunchy mom. When it comes to my life, and my children’s especially, I try to use the best products available. There are so many chemicals surrounding us on a daily basis, so I try to limit chemicals and artificial ingredients that we put into our bodies specifically.

I found essential oils when BK#1 was little. You can read about Tummy Gize and how I use it here. I also use oils for teething, you can read about that here. Last year, I found a blend that works wonders for our family’s allergies. I have some pretty rough seasonal allergies, my husband has seasonal allergies and some specific allergies, and our littles definitely inherited them unfortunately. Thankfully, right now,  it just seems like the babies have seasonal allergies. Their pediatrician prescribed some over the counter allergy medication. They didn’t really help, so she then prescribed prescription strength medicine. After  some time, I didn’t see much of a change in symptoms even though my one year old was taking medication every single day. I consulted with our pediatrician and we decided to start exploring some natural remedies for their allergies before extensive allergy testing and medications.lrj2b.jpg

I started diffusing a blend of peppermint, lavender, and lemon and saw immediate results. Not only were the results immediate, but they were continuous. They are still working. Any time the kids are having any allergy symptoms, I diffuse the blend and their sniffles subside within minutes. As an adult, I not only notice my runny nose and sniffles disappear, but my sinuses are clear! If you have allergies, you know how amazing this feels.

***Before I go into how it works, I need to preface with the fact that I am not a Young Living rep, nor am I being paid to endorse Young Living*** 

I have done the research and tested multiple other brands. Young Living is the best quality and works the best. You can find many different brands at many different price points for your budget. But like most things, you get what you pay for. It is just that simple.

HOW TO USE

Apply:

  • Always dilute with a carrier oil (like coconut) for little ones.
  • Apply to base of neck.
  • Apply to bottom of feet and put on socks.
  • I apply Lavender alone on my cheekbones and bridge of my nose for sinus pressure relief.
  • You can also make a roller ball using equal parts of each oil for travel and to have the oil already mixed on hand.

YOUNGLIVINGBURRITOBUZZALLERGYSEASONDIFFUSER.jpgDiffuse:

  •  I diffuse for the kids 95% of the time.
  • I use this diffuser instead of an expensive one from Young Living and it works great and has never broken. (I have a Young Living diffuser that has died)
  • Fill diffuser to fill line with water then add 5 drops Lavender, 4 drops Lemon, and 3 drops Peppermint. I put the diffuser in whatever room we are in and it runs for around 6 hours before I need to refill.
  • Depending on the severity of their symptoms, I diffuse 24/7 or just in the morning when they wake with sniffles.

Ingest:

  • Add 1 drop of each oil to 1 teaspoon of local honey for children. For adults, use 2-3 drops of each oil.
  • It is an oil, so it will be a little rough on the pallet. Just use a chaser like a glass of water.

Peppermint and Children

Always be safe with your oils. Especially with peppermint. Peppermint is one of the most effective essential oils for respiratory infections and congestion, but it can be dangerous for young children. It can slow breathing, so be sure to always use a safe diluted amount. There are many different opinions and ages that are suggested. Some say don’t use under age 3, some say it’s safe as long as it’s diluted. Our pediatrician said that she felt it was safe if heavily diluted or diffused. I don’t apply blends with peppermint to my little ones, but there is plenty of research saying that if applied safely, it is okay to use. I just worry so much as it is, so I completely avoid applying it since diffusing the blend works so perfectly already. Please read more about oil safety here.

Fall is my favorite season, but our bodies don’t like the weather changes as much as I do. I am so glad to have found a natural solution! I hope this blend helps you as much as it helps my family.

– Amanda

 

 

Nootrobox GoCubes Chewable Coffee {Review}

I’m not a home-brewed coffee drinker, I never have been and seeing as how I am 26, I probably never will be. I will, however, indulge in any type of cold coffee. I love the taste of coffee and I love the smell of it, so I’m not sure what the issue is with drinking it hot. So when I was offered to review Nootrobox’s GoCubes Chewable Coffee, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

GoCubes are chewable coffee cubes that offer the caffeine off a cup of coffee without the jitters. Nootrobox has added L-theanine, B6, and methylated B12 for an extra boost and to help alleviate those all well known coffee jitters.hero-shot-yellow

More about the cubes: they come in a pack of 4 and there is a flavor assortment in each pack: Mocha, Pure Drip, and Latte.

The fact that they are concentrated caffeine, as well as a few other ingredients, makes the reaction completely different than drinking coffee. They worked rather quickly and lasted for quite some time. I didn’t experience the jitters or stomach issues I experience after drinking coffee.

Flavor wise, I don’t know where to start. You have to first explain to yourself these are not chocolates or candy, so do not expect them to be sweet or like anything that would be pleasurable to your pallet. The initial taste was okay, but the longer the cube was ibj289byrsdcj4ts00z4on my mouth, the weirder the taste became. It was a cross between black coffee and how a coffee filter smells after it’s wet (kind of sour). Each pack contains all three flavors, so if you don’t like one certain flavor, you’re pretty much out of luck as they all look and smell the same.

Convenience wise, they are fantastic! The small package is easily transported and can be easily carried and stored in your purse, gym bag, desk drawer, etc. Unfortuantely, the package is not resealable. So if you’re only needing 2 cubes, you have to wrap up and clip the plastic package to keep the other two cubes fresh.

Nutritionally, they’re not too terrible for you. A little bit high in sugar and carbs for people, like my husband, who choose low carbs options to accompany his gym regime. Given how a plain black cup of coffee is sugar and carb free, this could be a problem for some. What I don’t like is the first two ingredients being glucose (corn) syrup and sugar. I drink my coffee with sugar but real sugar, not highly processed syrups.

The price point is pretty high, but our BurritoBuzz readers can get 10% off your order by clicking here! They run about $39 for 20 4-packs. That is roughly 40 cups of coffee. Comparing it to the typical home brew, you can purchase a 33.9oz container of Folgers and brew roughly 270 cups of coffee for about $18. However, you will lose the convenience, (almost) immediate energy kick, and other brain focus ingredients.

I would have to give the GoCubes a 3 out of 5 stars. I think there is a little room for improvement and tweaking that could be done to packaging, price, and definitely taste, but overall, a very innovative product that tackles the quickness and convenience of needing caffeine that we all know too well and that exhausted parents need.

– Kirstyn

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Tri-Side Learn & Play Art Center from Little Partners {Review}

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My oldest daughter, who will turn four later this month, loves anything artsy-fartsy. Whether it’s coloring with crayons, colored pencils, markers or random pens she finds in the junk drawer (my fault), painting (especially on things she’s not supposed to), making things with Play Doh and clay, I really try to foster anything that she can do using her image4 (1)creativity. I also try to mesh learning and creativity together by including letters and numbers when we’re coloring or painting. So, I was thrilled when I got the opportunity to review the Tri-Side Learn & Play Art Center ($179.99) from Little Partners.

Little Partners is a company that makes products that enrich little ones and help nurture the relationship between parents and their children. The Tri-Side Learn & Play Art Center is designed to encourage young artists with special places to paint, color and play. There are three sides: a chalk board, felt board and a magnetic dry erase board. Underneath the dry erase board is a set of four spill-proof paint containers, making cleanup a breeze after a fun paint session. There are ledges under each board to organize image4all of your little one’s art supplies to make it easy for them to find and use. Included: a roll of paper, an eraser (used for both the chalkboard and dry erase board) and four paint containers.

FIrst thing’s first, we adore this easel. It’s super sturdy and I love that it’s made of real wood (layered pine) so it is made to last. My daughter (and my husband and I, too) have been having a blast painting, coloring, and playing on the boards together- we’ve been playing a lot of Hangman which brings back memories of playing in school. I’m trying to find letters, numbers and shapes for the felt board because there is a deep mesh holder under the felt board that can hold a lot and I think they’d be a fantastic learning tool. So if anyone knows where I can find some at a good price, please let me know in the comments! Each board is independently height adjustable, so it’s perfect for little ones to grow with. The paint cups are awesome and truly spill proof making clean up after my daughter paints her Picasso so easy. I love how this easel has really image1 (4)encouraged my daughter to be creative and use her imagination even more, she’s been having so much fun. It will be great to have this winter when we’re cooped up in the playroom.

There is one down fall. If you have ever purchased anything from Ikea, you know how difficult and time consuming it is to put it together. That is the comparison my husband used after putting the art center together. It took him over two hours to finally get it all put together (I offered to do it myself but he insisted and I’m so glad I didn’t have to do it). His biggest complaint was the labeling of the parts. They are labeled by numbers but certain pieces were labeled incorrectly, which took more time to find. Some of the screws didn’t fit the holes in the wood so he had to make the holes bigger by hand, again, taking up more time. He said it was a pain in the butt to get it together but he’s happy with the outcome and loves that our daughter is having so much fun with it. However, he said he will never take it apart.

All in all, I am very impressed with the art center, so I’m giving it a 4 out of 5 stars (only because of the problems my husband ran into while assembling it). The quality is superb and will definitely last, even after being beaten up by children. Check out the Little Partners website to see all of their amazing products like the popular Learning Tower and 3-in-1 Growing Step Stool, along with other great products! And you’re in luck if you’re interested in a Tri-Side Learn & Play Art Center for your little one! It’s on sale now through Labor Day for $149.99 (down from ($179.99). Click here to purchase!

Be sure to follow Little Partners on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to stay updated with sales and new products!

– Casey

**BurritoBuzz received these products at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Learning Phonics with Letterland

With the school year starting, some schools have already started (where the heck did summer go?!), kids are getting back into the swing of things with homework, field trips,  and learning lots of new things. My oldest is starting her second year of preschool next month and I have to admit, we slacked off this summer. With a new baby born in March, we didn’tletterland_logo have a lot of time to work on things she’d learned during the school year. Because of my slacking, we began working on letters and numbers. I heard wonderful things about Letterland, child-friendly phonics, so I reached out and they were kind enough to send two fantastic products.

Letterland has been in business for over 45 year and during those years, they have published hundreds of books to help children read, write and spell to millions of parents around the world. Their products are actually available in over one hundred countries! Letterland uses characters and actions to teach phonics that are scientifically backed.

Letterland sent me their Phonics Touch & Trace Flashcards ($11.99) and Phonics Touch & Trace Book ($14.99) and they’re both phenomenal learning tools! The flashcards and the book have velvet letters that children can trace with their fingers to “write” the letter. There are arrows showing which way to start tracing each letter and dotted lines to help them stay on track. The velvet letters are a huge hit and make it easier for my daughter to trace the letters. She’s almost four, I was pretty surprised how quickly she caught on (she previously refused to do any “writing” with me). Learning to trace the letters and what each letter is (she’s still working on knowing which letter is which but has most down), is really going to help this year when she learns to write her name and the alphabet.

She also loves the stories on each paLetterland-wallpaper5ge that use alliteration. The flashcards help reiterate what she has learned. Several games are included with the flashcards, that make learning how to pronounce letter sounds, finger tracing letters and building simple three letter words to read even more fun!

I am anxious to keep using the workbook and flashcards throughout the year and to see what else my daughter will learn. I give these products a 5 out of 5 stars, because they work! Letterland has so many fun and education products to offer, there are too many to list!  Check out their website here to see everything!

Be sure to follow Letterland on Facebook and Twitter for new products!

– Casey

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

JollyB Tree Building Blocks {Review}

I love finding new and unique educational toys for my three year old preschooler. Toys that keep her engaged and that gets her excited are winners in my book. Anything to keep her away from the TV and iPad, am I right? So when we connected with JollyB Toys on IMG_0573Instagram, I fell in love with their beautiful wooden educational toys. JollyB was kind enough to send one of their toys, Tree Building Blocks, for us to try. When it came, my daughter could not wait to get it open and start building.

It’s a really neat concept that helps with hand-eye coordination and fine motor skill development geared towards toddlers two years old and up. I just love wooden toys. They have an heirloom factor to me (so I can save them and pass it down to my children’s children). The set comes with a brown wooden base and a trunk, which is what you build from. It comes with 18 wooden branches, 40 beautifully colored leaves and 10 red grains that kids can build their tree with. Kids can play around with the branches and leaves to build various tree pattern and learn their colors when sorting the leaves. They also learn IMG_0572how about balance; if you put too many leaves and branches on one side, the tree can tip over. Their imagination can really run wild as there is no right or wrong way to build their trees. The possibilities are endless!

Pros:

  • Engaging and educational
  • Endless play, as there are unlimited ways to build
  • Multiple children can play at one time
  • Learn balance and grows interest of how to build things
  • Leaves can be sorted by color, another learning aspect
  • Fun for parents and children alike
  • Doubles as a cute decoration when not being played with

Cons:

  • Some holes in the branches don’t fit the leaves and grains
  • Leaves are heavy compared to the lightweight branches
  • Several leaves were stuck together (I was able to them pull apart but the paint is now messed up)

I give this toy a 4 out of 5 stars, only because some of the holes don’t fit the leaves and grains. But overall, it’s super cute and fun. My toddler really enjoys it and has been asking to play with it multiple times a day. If you’re looking for a unique, educational and engaging toy for your toddler, consider the Tree Building blocks toy for JollyB. It was also make a great birthday or Christmas present (it’s coming fast!) for the little builder in your jollb.pnglife! J0llyB makes so many fantastic wooden educational toys, be sure to check them all out on their website here!

Follow JollyB on Instagram, too, @JollyBforKids and on Facebook at Jolly B Toddler.

– Casey

What I’ve Learned After 4 Years of Marriage

My four year wedding anniversary is tomorrow. I know it’s not the longest time, but being married to someone for any length of time comes with lessons and should be celebrated these days. Marriage doesn’t seem to mean much of anything lately. It’s ‘just a piece of paper’ is what a lot of people say. But that piece of paper binds two people together, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. It’s easy to bail and get a divorce if it gets hard, but it takes much more to stick it out and make it work. Here are a few things I learned over the past four (wonderful) years of marriage. My husband has the worst memory. When it comes to taking out the trash. The trash goes out the same night every week (unless there is a holiday to throw it off), which is Monday night for Tuesday morning pick up. For the life of him, he cannot remember to take it out without me writing a note or telling him 12 times before I go to bed to take it out. 

You can’t smother your husband because he is snoring or breathing loudly. I am a very picky sleeper. I can’t sleep with any noises other than the fan on the nightstand. But my dear husband sometimes snores or simply ‘breaths’ as he says (which is loud) and it makes me want to smother him with a pillow. But that is illegal. So I just shove him so he rolls over or I put a blanket on his face (making sure he can still breath) so I don’t have to hear him.   Let your husband know you’re OCD about cleaning before you wed. I can’t stress this enough. It will prevent a lot of arguments if he knows exactly how you want things done. Ha, who am I kidding? You could write a list, take a video, show him a million times and it still won’t be up to your standards. And that’s okay. You two will always do things differently. Cut him some slack and tell him thank you for trying.


Say ‘I’m Sorry’
. This one is easy and straight forward. If you messed up, forgot something, made a mistake, say you’re sorry. Also, be easy to forgive (big and small things) and after you forgive, wash your hands of that issue. Don’t rehash past mistakes and throw them back in eachother’s face. Continuing to bring up the past prevents healing and moving forward.


Don’t compare your relationship to someone elses relationship
. This is counter productive. Your relationship is unlike any other relationship, it is unique to just the two of you. So comparing it to what someone else does or doesn’t do has no impact on your relationship. If you’re jealous of what someone else has or does, there’s a problem. Work it out.


What is your husband’s Love Language? What is yours?
If you don’t know what you or your husband’s Love Language is, take this quiz to figure it out! Mine is services: nothing makes me happier than my husband washing the dishes without me asking or sweeping the floor for me. And my husbands is physical touch: he wants to be close to me all the time. It’s crazy accurate and will show you in what way each of you wants and needs love. Then talk about how you both can show each other love. 


Surprise each other
. Who doesn’t love surprises or to be ‘spoiled’ every once in a while? Leave little love notes around the house for your husband to find or pick up his favorite candy or kind of beer on the way home. Cook his favorite meal just because or rub his back after a long day. Never stop doing things to show you’ve been thinking about them all day. The little things are the best things and the ones we remember most Your husband comes first. He is your partner in life. Even before your children, your husband should always be your #1. And he is also an equal. If he is discipling your child(ren), don’t interfere. He may discipline differently but that’s okay. Your child will respect him more if you don’t interrupt and tell him he’s wrong or correct him in anyway. I’m learning to do this myself. P


Intimacy
. Sex is important. Even after having kids, being busy with work and home life and everything else that is thrown at you on a daily basis, you have to make time for intimacy. As humans, we crave feeling and being wanted by the person we love. Don’t put it on the back burner.

Happy Anniversary, Allen! 

– Casey