It’s in the Bag!

Here are some things that are going along with us on our travels this summer.  Things to keep us happy, safe, and sane!

You guys, I get so many compliments on these shoes.  I love them.  They are not only fun and funky, they are really comfortable and practical.  I have walked all over the city in them, and the support and comfort cannot be beaten.  They are also light, making it a no-brainer to throw them in the suitcase.  I was sent this orange pair, but now I am tempted to buy them in every colour of the rainbow.  Check them out for yourself at Uneek by Keen.

keens

 

I find it tricky to pack for kids when we are travelling: how to combine comfort, fun and respectability?!  I found an answer at The Children’s Place, where I stocked up on some new threads for summer.  Your money goes a long way at The Children’s Place, and with clothes so reasonably priced, it’s easy to find the kids something new and special for a trip.  I bought Youngest this Skylanders shirt, which he wore non-stop in the last weeks of school.  The shirts I bought have held up well through many washes, and he got so many compliments, I even picked up extras as gifts for his friends.

 

skylander

Keeping kids occupied on flights and drives is one of the hardest parts of travel, and this deck of cards has been doing the trick.  Personalogy is a situation card game that encourages discussion and imaginative thinking.  It comes in two editions: one for adults and one for the whole family.  I got a sample pack of the family edition, and I used it on a subway ride with seven ten-year-old boys heading to a movie.  They loved it, and it kept them busy while we got from A-B.  If anything, they were so eager that they rushed to get through the questions, eager to get to the next question rather than answer the “why” part of the question fully.  Next time, we’ll have to reinforce the why component.

 

Staying sun safe has never been so important, but what do you do if you are super-sensitive to sunscreens?  I have had the hardest time finding a sun screen for Middlest, who reacts with a rash to every single one.  I think I have finally found an answer for my kid’s unhappy reactions to sunscreen with Aveeno’s Sensitive Skin line.  We’ve tried it several times, and so far, so good!  Peace of mind, finally, under the hot sun.

aveeno

 

And speaking of hot, I am seriously in love with Consonant’s brand new dealkalizing deodorant.  I was given a free trial with the purchase of their skincare products.  As a lifetime user of anti-perspirant, I was really, really skeptical about switching to deodorant, but I tell you, this stuff works.  I’m amazed at its odor-busting abilities, and I really haven’t felt like I’ve given up on anything with the switch.  Seriously–magic in a stick.

consonant

 

Throw it all into a bag from Tom’s, and you will be doing good while looking good.  Tom’s has an extensive charitable aspect to the business, and you can give the gift of maternal health and safe births with every bag purchased.

toms

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Are Coming to Toronto!

TMNT_brandsplash_712The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are coming to Toronto, and we are going to meet them!  And you can too!!

Youngest is very excited, and since Eldest is doing a unit on graffiti in his art class, he’s also going to come along to witness the Street Art Battle.  Four graffiti artists will be put to the challenge in a live competition to channel their “inner Ninja Turtle” and pay a fitting homage to each of the Turtles – Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello and Michelangelo – named after renaissance artists.

Fans of the series that airs on Nickelodeon and YTV can watch their favourite Turtles come to life on 7X7 ft. canvases, and then vote online to determine the winning design that will be made available for purchase as an exclusive t-shirt at Walmart Canada this fall.  (Check out the link for more details.)

Here’s what you can do if you come along:

• Meet and take photos with the Turtles: Michelangelo and Raphael

• Share + Show + Get Promotion: Show your #innerninjaturtle on Instagram

for a chance at hundreds of instant prizes including toys, dvds, and be

entered to win an ultimate turtles prize pack ($300 value)

• Face painting

DATE: Saturday, April 5, 2014

TIME: 10AM – 3PM

LOCATION: Yonge-Dundas Square

1 Dundas Street East

And if you leave us a comment about your kids’ love of the Turtles, we can enter you for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle giveaway. 

Guest Post: Christine from Just Bella on Stylish Toy Storage

4Mothers is delighted to welcome Christine from just bella to share her tips on maximizing toy storage, while keeping it stylish. Christine, a soon-to-be mother of two, blogs about all things beautiful and is sure to put her own stylish twist on just about everything. Just check out these gold polka dot walls and you’ll be hooked on just bella too!

~~~~~

I admit it, before kids I was one of those people that said, “I’ll never let toys take over my house”. Ha! I’m surprised that every mom I talked to didn’t laugh directly in my face because, you know what, it happens. The toys slowly creep in and before you know it they are everywhere!

To keep the sanity I do my best to limit the amount we have and to use smart and stylish storage solutions. Just because you have all these bright, shiny, plastic things everywhere doesn’t mean you always have to look at them. You can find adorable and functional bins, baskets and buckets that make cleaning up easy and reduce the visual clutter. Here is a roundup of some stylish toy storage that will blend in with your existing (and grown up) decor, though I can’t promise the kiddos won’t dump them! You’re on your own in that department 😉

just bella pic 1

Click to find: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven.

Christine Shankowsky, just bella

Toy of the Year Award

christmas-present-596300_640The American Toy Industry Association (TIA), the not-for-profit association representing all businesses involved in creating and bringing toys to kids of all ages, invites you to vote for the Toy of the Year!

Voting is open until January 13.  For every category you vote in you are automatically entered to win all of the toys in that category! Simply visit toyawards.org to vote!   Winners will be announced in February.

Below please find the list of toys.

4Mothers voted in the categories that applied to them, and here is what we thought about the best and about what is missing from the list.

Nathalie:

Activity, Boy Toy, Educational: Lego.  Of course.  My youngest two had Lego and only Lego on their Christmas lists, and they played with it all vacation long.  I regret not a penny spent on Lego.

Board Game: My vote goes to one not on the list: Katamino.  It’s a spatial reasoning game, in which you have to fit shapes together to fill a grid.  You can play alone, compete with another player or work co-operatively.  There are dozens of solutions to the problem and dozens of ways to play it.  I loved it.

2014 Toy of the Year Nominees

ACTIVITY TOY OF THE YEAR

Arts and crafts, construction and other indoor toys that inspire creative play
  •  Hot      Wheels® Car Maker by Mattel, Inc.
  •  Rainbow      Loom® by Choon’s Design LLC
  •  Crayola      Melt ‘n Mold Factory by Crayola
  •  LEGO®      Minecraft by The LEGO Group
  •  PLAY-DOH      PERFECT TWIST ICE CREAM Playset by Hasbro, Inc.
  •  GLITZI      GLOBES™ GLITZI SHOWCASE by Moose Toys
  •  Spirograph™      Deluxe Kit by Kahootz Toys


BOY TOY OF THE YEAR

Toys developed for boys of any age

  •  Battroborg      3-in-1 Battle Arena by TOMY
  •  Despicable      Me 2™ Special Feature Minion Dave Talking Action Figure by Thinkway Toys©
  •  DISNEY      INFINITY by DISNEY
  •  LEGO      Legends of Chima™ by The LEGO Group
  •  Skylanders      SWAP Force™ by Activision Publishing, Inc..
  •  TRANSFORMERS™      CONSTRUCT-BOTS by Hasbro, Inc.
  •  Disney©      Planes U-Command® Supercharged Dusty by Thinkway Toys©

E-CONNECTED TOY OF THE YEAR

A physical toy or game that is app-enabled or otherwise interacts with a smartphone, tablet or gaming device

  •  LEGO®      MINDSTORMS® EV3 by The LEGO Group
  •  Skylanders      SWAP Force™ by Activision Publishing, Inc.
  •  DISNEY      INFINITY by DISNEY
  •  Barbie®      Digital Makeover by Mattel, Inc.
  •  LeapPad      Ultra™ by LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc.
  • Kurio      Touch 4s Handheld by Techno Source
  • Photo      Mix & Mash by Crayola


EDUCATIONAL TOY OF THE YEAR

Toys that help children to develop special skills and knowledge through play

  • GoldieBlox™      and the Spinning Machine by GoldieBlox™ Inc.
  • LeapPad      Ultra™ by LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc.
  • LeapReader™      by LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc.
  • LEGO®      MINDSTORMS® EV3 by The LEGO Group
  • Demolition      Lab: Triple Blast Warehouse by SmartLab Toys
  • Magformers®      62 Piece Set by Magformers, LLC
  • Nancy      B’s Science Club MoonScope™ and Sky Gazer’s Activity Journal by Educational Insights®

GAME OF THE YEAR

Children’s board, card, electronic or other physical game formats and puzzles

(does not include video games or apps).

  • BOOM      BOOM BALLOON™ by SPIN MASTER LTD
  • Chain      Letters® by Patch Products
  • DRAW      SOMETHING™ PARTY Game by Hasbro Inc.
  • HEDBANZ      ACT UP by SPIN MASTER LTD
  • Settlers      of Catan® by Mayfair Games
  • Skylanders      SWAP Force™ by Activision Publishing, Inc.
  • WordARound™      by ThinkFun

GIRL TOY OF THE YEAR

Toys developed for girls of any age

  • Disney      Princess Palace Pets: Furry Tail Friends by Blip Toys
  • FLUTTERBYE      FAIRY by SPIN MASTER LTD
  • FURREAL      FRIENDS CUDDLES, MY GIGGLY MONKEY by Hasbro, Inc.
  • LEGO®      Friends Heartlake High by The LEGO Group
  • Monster      High® 13 Wishes Doll Assortment by Mattel
  • NERF      REBELLE HEARTBREAKER Bow by Hasbro Inc.
  • Rainbow      Loom® by Choon’s Design LLC

INFANT/TODDLER TOY OF THE YEAR

Toys developed for infant children and toddlers (ages up to 36 months) 

  • BIG      HUGS ELMO by Playskool
  • Fisher-Price®      Laugh & Learn™ Crawl Around™ Car by Mattel
  • Go!      Go! Smart Wheels™ Train Station Playset by VTech®
  • Lamaze®      Franky the Hanky Whale by TOMY
  • Farm      Mash-Up by LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc.
  • Mirari®      Pop! Pop! Piano® by Patch Products
  • Skwish®      Stix by      Manhattan Toy

INNOVATIVE TOY OF THE YEAR

Toys that utilize innovative design, technology, or manufacturing processes to enhance play value

  • Barbie®      Digital Makeover by Mattel
  • Battroborg      3-in-1 Battle Arena by TOMY
  • FLUTTERBYE      FAIRY by SPIN MASTER LTD
  • GoldieBlox™      and the Spinning Machine by GoldieBlox™ Inc.
  • Laser      Maze™ by ThinkFun
  • Skylanders      SWAP Force™ by Activision Publishing, Inc.
  • Zoomer      by SPIN MASTER LTD

OUTDOOR TOY OF THE YEAR

Toys designed for outdoor play

  • Crayola      Washable Sidewalk Chalk by Crayola
  • Razor®      Crazy Cart™ by Razor USA LLC
  • SKY      RIPPERZ™ by Zing
  • Sky      Viper Stunt Quadcopter by Skyrocket Toys
  • SkyTrix®      by Daydream Toy
  •  Y      Glider 3 in 1 by Yvolution
  • Ziggle™      by Radio Flyer®

PRESCHOOL TOY OF THE YEAR

Toys developed for preschool-aged children (aged 3-5)

  • BIG      HUGS ELMO by Playskool
  • Dino      Construction Company™ by Educational Insights®
  • Doc      McStuffins Get Better Check-Up Center by Just Play
  • FURREAL      FRIENDS CUDDLES, MY GIGGLY MONKEY by Hasbro Inc.
  • Go!      Go! Smart Wheels™ Airport Playset by VTech®
  • Shelby’s      Snack Shack Game™ by Educational Insights®
  • Sofia      the First Talking Sofia and Animal Friends by Mattel

PROPERTY OF THE YEAR

Property that had the greatest success spreading its brand throughout the industry

  • Despicable      Me 2™  (Universal Partnerships & Licensing)
  • Disney      Junior’s Doc McStuffins (Disney Consumer Products)
  • Disney      Junior’s Sofia the First (Disney Consumer Products)
  • Minecraft™      (Mojang AB)
  • Monster      High® (Mattel)
  • Skylanders      SWAP Force™ (Activision Publishing, Inc.)
  • Teenage      Mutant Ninja Turtles (Nickelodeon)

SPECIALTY TOY OF THE YEAR

Toys primarily distributed through specialty retailers

  • Animal      Parade A to Z Puzzle by BeginAgain
  • Bunny      Peek A Boo™ by Smart Toys and Games, Inc.
  • Laser      Maze™ by ThinkFun
  • Nanoblocks      Deluxe Space Shuttle by Ohio Art
  • Rainbow      Loom® by Choon’s Design LLC
  • Spirograph™      Deluxe Kit by Kahootz Toys
  • Magnetic Wooden Blocks 42-Piece Set by Tegu®