Category: kids

Unleash Your Inner Fashionista with #SNAPSTAR Dolls

I remember as a child spending hours dressing up my dolls, creating new outfits and hair styles. I loved every moment of it!

Dolls have come a long way since then – they have a new style, personality and the technology to show off your own unique designs. The possibilities have become endless. The #SNAPSTAR squad has embraced this technology and created a unique and exciting new line of dolls for young fashionistas.

The #SNAPSTAR squad is a line of six dolls that are fully poseable and come with a full outfit, accessories, removable hairstyle, green screen and stand and a cell phone! They each have a very unique personality that you can match your child’s interests and personality to to give it that personal touch.

The #SNAPSTAR squad consists of:

  • Dawn, The Fashion Diva: high powered, high fashion who knows what she wants and always gets it. She is constantly rubbing elbows with celebrities at the most exclusive events.
  • Echo, The Bedazzle Babe: a dreamy girl who floats through life with an easy attitude and outlook. She has the grace of a mermaid and is a hair and makeup pro!
  • Aspen, The Wanderlust: a wide-eyed wanderer who is always on the go and doesn’t mind living out of a suitcase. She wants to see the world and invites her followers to travel with her.
  • Lola, The 99% Unicorn: a ball of positive energy who sees the positive in everyone and everything. She is bubbly and everyone loves to be around her.
  • Yuki, The Turnup: a feisty chick who marches to her own drum. She loves music and DJs.
  • Izzy, The Master Crafter: is a green girl who loves the environment and recycling. She loves hosting crafting parties.

My wonderful niece, Shay Shay, had the honour of testing two of these dolls out and she was so excited open her special package. Here are her thoughts:

  • easy to open packaging (lots of tape though)
  • when I took my one doll out, her hair came off but it was easy to put back on but it really made me laugh
  • the dolls are really cute and really nice
  • they are great practice if you want to be a fashion designer
  • clothes are so nice and easy to get on the dolls
  • fun to play with
  • the app was easy to find and use

The dolls were a big hit with my niece and she sent me screenshots of her designs. I was so proud of her! Using the app (and her Mom’s phone), she was able to turn her doll in a star. You can change the background, hair, makeup and so much more. You can save them to your phone to share with others and upload to social media.

The #SNAPSTAR dolls can be purchased at Walmart and retail for roughly $19.98 CDN.

Make sure to follow the #SNAPSTAR Squad on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat. Sharing your creations? Make sure to tag it with #SNAPSTAR so that others can find your designs.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned products in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own and those of official tester, my niece.

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Life Lessons Through Humour, Respect and Compassion From #CatholicTeachers

Building Strong Communities Starts at School

Children spend a fair portion of their lives in a classroom. It is where they learn not only important language, math and science skills but also skills for life. They learn how to be friends, citizens in their community and to respect the world they live in. An excellent teacher helps guide them through these lessons by giving them the tools they need to guide them along this journey.

My parents registered my siblings and I in the York Region Catholic District School board and it was one of the best decisions they ever made for us. I spent fifteen years of my life in a community of support and engagement. I still remember all of the art shows, fun days and after school activities we were able to participate in. It was the amazing teachers working behind the scenes that helped to support the engagement, participation and good will spirit in our schools. It is only as an adult that I can truly begin to appreciate the amount of work and devotion they put in to us students!

When I was in high school, I found myself debating whether or not I should continue in the sciences. I wasn’t sure if it was a good field for me and even if I fit in. Sciences were dominated by males, they didn’t make you feel like the odd one out but you still felt strange in class with more boys than girls. It was my Grade 10 (and later on 12) teacher, Mr. Smith who cemented my decision to continue in the Sciences and later on attend McMaster University for Kinesiology. He used humour in such a way to make us feel engaged, want to learn more and to even better understand the course work. There wasn’t a day that went by that he didn’t have us in tears from laughing so hard. He truly loved his students and wanted them to succeed. Under his guidance, a group of us participated in the Aventis Biotech Challenge. This found us working at Sick Kids Hospital for several months in their laboratory, putting together a presentation and poster board to present our findings. We came in fifth place that year and it was all to the amount of hours Mr. Smith helped put in for us. He was there to help us practice our speeches over and over again, with great tips, he gave guidance on what a poster board should look like and how to make our group stand out. He made us proud to be a part of something bigger. He even joined us at Aventis later on in the month for a tour that we were awarded as part of our coming in fifth place. He taught me to always push myself harder and further – to never box myself in by fears. This has been one of the greatest life lessons that I was blessed to be given.

Life Lessons Through Humour, Respect and Compassion From #OECTA Teachers

When I became a Mom, I knew that this was the environment I wanted my children to grow up in. A community of teachers who loved teaching and seeing my children succeed as much as I did. Teachers that would guide, show compassion and understanding and encourage the children to push themselves to do their best every day. I could not wait to register my boys fully knowing they were about to embark on a journey of education, faith and friendship.

Life Lessons Through Humour, Respect and Compassion From #OECTA Teachers

My boys take after me quite a bit – from my shy ways to my perfectionism. It can take a lot to draw them out of their shells and no one did this better than my son’s teacher, Mr. Rocchi. My son truly came alive under his guidance. He loved going to school every day – he excelled in all of his classes, he made new friends in different grades, he was learning about respect and time management. Mr. Rocchi encouraged him to always do his best but to do so with humility and respect. It wasn’t always about winning but the journey along the way. Mr. Rocchi coached my son after school for flag football and although my youngest is seven years younger, he let him play along, gather the flags and “coach”. He made one young child’s year with his kindness! Mr. Rocchi is an incredible teacher, guide and example for the children in our boy’s school – I have kept my fingers crossed that our youngest is in his class!

Ontario Catholic Teachers have an excellent opportunity to teach our children more than just math, language and science. They have the opportunity to teach them important values and goals that will help them become stronger members in their community. I am proud to have not only been one of their students but that my children are students now under their guidance!

Teachers play an important part in your child’s life, what has a teacher done that has gone above and beyond your expectations?

Disclosure:  This post is part of the YummyMummyClub and Ontario’s Catholic Teachers #CatholicTeachers sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.

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Bop to the Music with VTech Rock and Bop Music Player

VTech Rock and Bop Music Player

Music is a great way to help children learn, have fun and get active. We have always used music with our children since they were babies to soothe, to have fun and to learn. As they get older and more independent, they want to be just like us adults too. They want their own iPods or MP3 player to listen to music and they won’t hesitate to take yours. While I want my kids to enjoy music, I also know how easily these products can be damaged.

Dance to the Music with VTech Rock and Bop

And that is where the VTech Rock and Bop Music Player comes in!

The VTech Rock and Bop music player is a toy that uses ten musical games to educate your child with kid friendly music. The music introduces them to letters, numbers, animals, instruments, time and more. Your child can play the music in different styles, have animals sing songs and can choose different instruments to play around with the melody of a song. This adorable music player even comes with its own set of headphones that allows your child to listen to their music independently without hurting their sensitive ears.

Dance to the Music with VTech Rock and Bop Music Player

Size and design wise this music player reminds me of a Walkman and you should have seen the look on my kids face when I said that, ‘a walk what?!’. It has the same larger, sturdy build that you know will last. The music player is slightly bigger then an iPhone but will easily fit into your child’s hand. It is light weight and user friendly. Each button has an easy to recognize picture for both parents and children – numbers, animals and instruments.

The music is a delight to listen to, it was upbeat and fun all while teaching important educational lessons for children like numbers and letters.

The VTech Rock and Bop Music player can be purchased at Toys R Us, Amazon and Walmart. The music player retails for $19.99 CDN, making it an affordable and fun gift for any child on your gift list.

Make sure to follow VTech on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with new toys and more.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Make Bedtime Easier with Charley the Chameleon

Make Bedtime Easier wtih Charley the Chameleon

Both of my boys are awful sleepers. They hate bedtime (you mean we have to stop playing??!) and definitely don’t like falling asleep alone. We have worked hard over the last couple of years to get them transitioning to sleep on their own but we still struggle, especially with our free-spirited youngest.

Our youngest loves the comfort of having someone beside him while he falls asleep. It gives him security and comfort knowing we are there beside him. We also know we have to encourage him to fall asleep on his own. We have tried pillows and a giant teddy bear (literally bigger than three feet tall) to trick him into sleeping on his own. It has not worked!

Make Bed Time Easier with Charley the Chameleon

Charley the Chameleon is a sweet, plush chameleon that helps children transition to bedtime while feeling secure and safe. Unlike the pillows and teddy bear that we had tried, Charley lights up and plays music for your child to help soothe and secure them. This really helps to battle those feelings of being alone and being scared of the dark. Charley the Chameleon, who is blue, has scales that light up in amber, blue and green. He also plays a rain forest tune (we thought it sounded kind of like Hawaiian music) and tropical tunes. He is about the size of a regular stuffed animal that a child would take to bed, about a foot long and half a foot wide. He is soft and cuddly, with no hard parts on his body (nothing worse than getting hit in the head in the middle of the night with a battery pack!).

Make Bed Time Easier with Charley the Chameleon

Our youngest was playing with Charley long before he laid down for bed and when it was time for bed he didn’t fight us as he hopped into bed. We asked him to try out Charley for a bit to see if it would help him and if he got too scared we would come lay down with him. Charley the Chameleon really helped calm his fears of the dark and of being alone. The first couple of nights we still came back in to help him fall asleep but each night he was able to stay alone just a bit longer with Charley. This in itself was an amazing bonus for us! We usually spend either the whole night in bed with him or back and forth through out the night (and both of us are left feeling like zombies come the morning).

Make Bedtime Easier wtih Charley the Chameleon

Charley from Cloud b is more than just a sleeping aid but a fun, cool companion that your child wont be afraid of carrying around during the day. His fun music and soothing lights help to draw your child away from thinking about being alone or the darkness in the room and instead focus on Charley (hey you may even find them talking to him!).

Make Bedtime Easier with Charley the Chameleon

You can find Charley the Chameleon at many retailers across Canada just in time for the holidays and he will cost you roughly $39.99, which is an excellent price to pay for some sleep. Make sure to follow Cloud b on Twitter and Facebook for more awesome products and news.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product free of charge in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Walk and Dream: The Canaccord Genuity Great Camp Adventure Walk #WalkForSickKids

Great Camp Adventure Walk

Medicine has always been an important part of my life. When I was younger, I wanted to be a surgeon more than anything else in the world. My life was centred around helping people and trying to make them better. It was what motivated to become a lifeguard, to volunteer in retirement homes as well as at York Central Hospital and later to participate in a research study at Sick Kids Hospital as part of the Aventis Biotech Challenge. The days that I spent not only in the lab but with patients taught me so much. Medicine is all about healing and creating miracles and why my life has always centred around caring for others.

The Great Camp Adventure Walk

While I may not have become the surgeon I had always wanted to, I did graduate from a Kinesiology program and I am currently working in a teaching Family Medicine unit. Every day I am able to witness little miracles in our patients and share in these moments with them. It is a role that has humbled me and taught me to appreciate every moment in life because nothing in life is ever guaranteed. My work has brought home to me how important it is to give back to others and to support research and providing care for patients. This is a concept that I am continually trying to share with others.

Sick Kids is a world leader in both patient care and research in order to make sure that every child has the chance to be healthy, happy and dream. It is because of courageous individuals, volunteers and generous donors that these children are given the chance to achieve all they deserve.

Great Camp Adventure Walk

The Canaccord Genuity Great Camp Adventure Walk will be held this year on September 26th, 2015 in downtown Toronto. The Great Camp Adventure Walk is a challenge by choice event – you get to choose whether you want to complete a 5km, 10km, 15km or even 20km. Campsites are found along the route every 2.5km, each having its own unique theme and activities. The Main Camp at Fort York will be full of family friendly activities including: entertainment, arts and crafts, Fun Zone, games, Tuck Shop and quiet areas for rest.

The Great Camp Adventure Walk gives families the opportunity to not only support those in their lives that may have been affected by childhood illnesses and cancer but to also teach their children about the importance of fundraising and the miracle of medicine. It gives children a chance to support children.

If you want to be a part of this important day to benefit Sick Kids, head over to the Great Camp Adventure Walk page and sign up to take part in the walk (they are dog friendly too!) or donate to a group or individual participating (if you want to donate to my team, you can do so here). If you are signing up for the Great Camp Adventure Walk, you can use the code: social, to receive a $10 discount off the registration fee.

The 2015 goal is to raise $2 million for Sick Kids and every little bit helps! So head over to the Great Camp Adventure Walk to learn more, donate, volunteer and participate. Every action counts and makes a difference in a child’s life.

Please take a moment to enter to win the following giveaway. Not only do you walk away with $100 but you also win $100 donation to a team of your choosing – a win-win!

The Great Camp Adventure Walk for SickKids Promotion Contest

Disclosure: I am part of the Canaccord Genuity Great Camp Adventure Walk for SickKids campaign with Influence Central and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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