The Perplexus Review – Holiday Gift Guide


Have you seen the new Perplexus maze game from PlaSmart?  I have a feeling that this going to be BIG this holiday season.  This fun toy requires critical thinking, fine motor skills and NO batteries!  Great for kids ages 6 and up.  I was SO excited with the folks at Plasmart agreed to send me the original Perplexus.  My kids were immediately intruiged when they saw this colorful orb.  In fact, I had to set up a timer and organize a line so that all 3 of my kids got equal time playing.  They had a blast with this thing!  There is a small metal ball that must be maneuvered through the maze in the ball.  You are guided by small numbers on the track.  The concept is easy, the game is challenging!  I love that you can play this game as a single player or make it into a multi player game.

Here are the details:

PERPLEXUS is a maze game where players maneuver a small marble around challenging barriers inside a transparent sphere. Unlike traditional flat-surface mazes that are composed of one path, PERPLEXUS houses various challenging tracks with 100 barriers providing a frustrating three-dimensional experience. Players select the track they would like to attempt and must work with gravity to carefully shift, flip, and twist the sphere to guide the marble. Players can race each other or the clock.

There are many fun ways to play PERPLEXUS. It works as both a single player game and as a multi-player competitive game.

HOW TO PLAY… the basics

  • Roll the ball to one of the starting points, numbered 1 2 or 3 (we suggest starting with #1) If you can´t find them…. put PERPLEXUS down and slowly back away!
  • Flip, twist and spin PERPLEXUS to move the ball along the numbered path. When you fall off the track…. cuz it´s gonna happen…. just start over!!!
  • If you make it to the end, pat yourself on the back… then go get the next PERPLEXUS challenge!

The Perplexus is at the top of my list for holiday gift ideas.  No assembly is required, the game is nice and QUIET, reasonably priced and provides endless entertainment for anyone over the age of 6.  In fact, I am thinking of getting one for my elderly grandparents!  Perplexus offers the maze in the following styles:  Original, Rookie, Epic and Twist.  Get one this holiday season and your entire family will be hooked!

Follow Perplexus on Facebook for the latest information and updates.  Perplexus Original retails for $18.89.  You can find a local vendor here.

“A sample of this product was provided to facilitate my review.  All opinions expressed are my own.”

Plasma Bike Review – Holiday Gift ideas!

Many of you may remember our review of the fabulous PlasmaCar from Plasmart last year. We have had so much fun with this toy that we immediately thought of them for this years Holiday Gift Guide. They have some GREAT new products that we were so excited to try out. The Plasma Bike is a great new balance bike that is perfect for the younger crowd (18 months to 4 years). There are many balance bikes on the market but the Plasma Bike has some unique features that sets it apart from others. The Plasma Bike is low to the ground and has extra thick wheels which makes it easy for young ones to balance. It works great as a training bike/balance bike.  Both my 18 month old and my 3 1/2 year old love this bike!  In fact, my 3 year old has become so good on this balance bike that he is almost ready for a big boy bike WITHOUT training wheels.

“No batteries, gears or pedals – just a fun, encouraging and progressive start to bicycle riding.

Its unique design encourages balance, coordination and motor skill development while offering a fun ride.

Children as young as 18 months can enjoy the freedom of riding without the added complication of training wheels or anxiety of having to hold their balance too long, too early. Unlike most balance bikes, wide wheels assist children in keeping PlasmaBike upright in a stopped or stationary position, giving children added confidence and promoting self-esteem. The wide wheels and limited steering range enhance balancing capabilities and provide a smoother transition to a conventional 2 wheel ride.

Weighing less than 8lbs, it’s lightweight and transports easily to playgrounds or when the kid power tuckers out!

Sleek, unique look designed and made in Europe.

Supports up to 25KG (55lbs).”

This bike has been a lot of fun.  If you are looking for a nice holiday gift for that little one in your life this is a GREAT idea.

The Plasma Bike retails for $78 and can be purchased on Amazon.

“A sample of this product was provided to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed are my own.”

Holiday Gift Guide 2012 – Playmobil Advent Calendar Giveaway and Review

Christmas is quickly approaching and it's time to start thinking about holiday traditions and gifts for the kids!  I just love celebrating the holidays with my kids.  It's just so special to see the excitement and delight in their eyes.  This is why I try to incorporate a lot of family traditions into our holiday season.  One of my favorite traditions is the Advent Calendar.   I always buy one of those cheapo numbers at the store that has a piece of chocolate in it for every day.  This is fun, but I was looking for something a little more substantial and interactive.  Luckily, I ran across  the Playmobil F orest Winter Wonderland Advent Calendar.  This cute little calendar comes complete with a cardboard background and a box numbered with each day.  Upon opening the numbered day your child will discover a cute playmobil character to add to their woodland themed set.  So adorable.

I know that my kids will be so excited to reveal their daily surprise.  It's so fun to build your scene as you go.  The characters in this set are winter woodland themed, so they will be played with long after the holidays are over.  This advent calendar is cute, reasonably priced and a great additional to your family traditions.  You could easily recylce this set year after year by saving the pieces in numbered bags.

The Playmobil Advent Calendars are available in the following themes:

Pirate Treasure Cove, Princess Wedding, Forest Winter Wonderland, Christmas Post Office and Dinosaur Expedition.

I love that I can use this set to teach my children about the season, as well as incorporate counting/learning and tradition into our day!   This set is so cute and whimsical.  Did I mention that there is even a day that has a hedgehog and her baby hedgehog!  Adorable.  I kind of have a thing about hedgehogs.  I love them!

I highly recommend checking out this advent calendar if you have a little one in your house.  It's great for boys and girls.  It retails for $19..99 and can be found wherever Playmobil is sold.

I was also lucky enough to try out the VERY cool Pirate Adventure Island:

Pirate Adventure Island

with fire-code-puzzle to open the treasure cave. The fire-code indicates the place  to look for the magic coins with the RFID-Chips. An adjustable bamboo-maze, dangerous barriers and many secret hiding-places make the hunt more difficult. When placing the  coins in the right order  on the relief with the RFID-detection in front of the treasure cave, the cave will open and you can grab the treasure   Size: 70 x 55 x 28 cm (LxWxH)  Retails $129.99″
I got this set for my almost 4 year old son who is very in to pirates.  I wanted to get him a pirate set that wasn't too scary and this one is perfect.  I always love the look of the playmobil characters.  So cute and kind of nostalgic.  I also like how poseable they are.  This Pirate Adventure Island set is ENORMOUS!  Truly a great value for $129.99.  The box is huge and once opened there are a LOT of components.  This means a lot of fun for your little one, but also a lot of assembly.  I would warn those of you with babies that there are a lot of little pieces in this set, so beware.  That being said, we were able to set this up in a baby free area of our home.  My little guy went to town!  Hours upon hours of entertaintment.  He enjoyed not only the setup, but the play afterwards is immensely entertaining.  Because there are so many components, your little guys imagination can run wild. There are pirates, boats, secret coins, light up components, secret caves and codes to solve.  I personally love the palm trees and parrots.  I will definitely be keeping this set to pass along to my other kids.  Right now, both my 6 and 3 year play together with this toy quite nicely.  A GREAT investment for any child that likes pirates and definitely a holiday recommendation from me!
One of our readers will win their own Playmobil Advent Calendar!!! ($19.99 value)
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“A sample of these items were provided to facilitate my  review.  All opinions expressed are my own.”

My Photo Creations – Anza Flush Mount Album Review and Giveaway!! Holiday Gift Guide 2012

Department stores are putting up their holiday decorations which means that it is time start thinking about your holiday gift list! Long ago before kids, I used to have all my Christmas shopping done by Halloween. I always loved hand picking a personal item that would be significant to the recipient. I no longer have the luxury of perusing the shopping aisles for that one perfect gift (impossible with 3 little ones to tote along), but I do have the ability to shop online! I really wanted to get something nice for my mother in law this year. She recently mentioned that she never ordered an album from my wedding 11 years ago. Back in those days digital photography was not all that popular and purchasing a photo photo album through a photographer could be really expensive. I knew that I wanted to get my mother in law a nice flush mount album, and through my search online I discovered My Photo Creations. They offer a variety of items: professional quality prints, photo calendars, photo books, cards and canvas prints as well as flush mount albums. The Anza album is professional quality, with a leather cover, embossing and thick, lay-flat durable pages. The price starts at $269, which is a fraction of the price you would pay if purchased through a photographer.

Anza Flush Mount Photo Album

Think you can only get a top quality album from a professional photographer? Not anymore. With the Anza, you will have a professional-looking flush mount album you create, for any occasion.

  • Anza 20 Choose between two sizes: 8×8 or 10×10 and the Anza 30 comes in 10×10 only
  • The Anza has 20 sides (10 pages) or Anza 30 sides (15 pages)
  • Sleek black leather cover with one-piece construction and square-cut corners
  • The most popular, advanced and easy to use, photo design software is free when you print through MyPhotoCreations.
  • Anybody can create a flush mount photographic album in minutes using our free software
  • Create a photo book in just a few clicks using your album design. Make an album for you and a photo book for friends and family. Makes a great gift!
  • Share your album online w
    The Hypothyroidism Solution

    ith friends and family with a click of a button

  • 3-5 business day turn-around for your album (not including shipping)

My Experience with My Photo Creations The first step in creating my flush mount album was to download the site’s free software. This was a simple and quick process. After taking a few minutes to orient myself to the software I found that it was very easy to use. Simply choose your album (I chose the 30 page Anza album), load your pictures and let the software do the work by using one of their many templates, or be original and come up with your own design. The design possibilities are really endless. I actually designed all of my own pages and it took very little time. I had recently had all of my wedding photos scanned and simply loaded them onto the computer, chose the images I wanted and placed them on the pages. Easy! In a matter of an hour I had a personally designed album. I went with a simple and clean look, with a pure black background and white frames around my images, but you can choose endless colors and designs to adorn your book. Once I was finished designing my album, I uploaded to the My Photo Creations site to make my purchase. Once uploaded you can choose to emboss the cover of your album with gold or silver. This is a really nice finishing touch. My album arrived less than a week later securely packed and in a professional black box and inside a fabric sleeve. I love the extra touches that My Photo Creations included to ensure that my album is protected. Upon opening the album I was so impressed with the thick luxurious cover and professional binding. I think that I was most impressed with the sturdy pages that the images are printed on. This special paper will not rip or tear, and represented my images beautifully with great color and photographic quality. I know that my mother in law will be thrilled with her new album. I can’t wait to give it to her this Christmas! These albums would make a fabulous holiday gift for a loved one. You could design an album with your families most cherished images for a grandparent or spouse. These make great coffee table books and are great conversation starters! One of our VERY lucky readers will win their own 30 page Anza Flush Mount Photo Album!!!

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“A sample of this product was provided to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed are my own.”

HexBug Warriors Battling Robots Review

hexbugs warriors battle set holiday gift guide     The newest members of the HexBug family arrived at our door and put a huge smile on my son’s face.  We have other HexBugs but the HexBug Warriors Battling Robots come with a battle arena, interchangeable  mechanical weapons and armor to outmaneuver the rivals.  The set, which is for ages 6 and up, has everything needed to begin battling. The battle arena is easy to assemble and disassemble.  The HexBugs, arena, weapons and armor all easily fit in a gallon sized plastic bag when not in use.  This is a huge selling feature for my household.  I like toys that don’t take up much space and can be kept all together. Much like the MicroChargers I earlier reviewed.

My son and husband have both been enjoying the HexBug Warriors.   HEXBUG Warriors Battling Robots are marching into retail stores nationwide including Walmart, Target, Toys“R”Us and RadioShack, among others.






hexbug warriors battling robots set holiday gift guidehexbug warriors battling robots set holiday gift guide

  New HEXBUG Warriors Battling Robots now available include:

  • HEXBUG Warriors Battling Robots – Kids can operate their HEXBUG Warriors in Training Mode, with unlimited health, for scrimmages and testing purposes. Once the Warriors are equipped and ready for battle, they can be powered into Match Modeand are set to enter into competition, where they crash, jab and jostle with their opponents until they win or lose by running out of health at which point they deactivate. Once put in Match Mode, each robot’s Shock Sensor activates its Damage Indicator Light which changes colors from green to red and blinks more rapidly as its health decreases. There are 12 assorted HEXBUG Warrior Battling Robots Single packs available for fans to collect. Each Single pack includes 1 fully-armored Warrior. MSRP is $7.99 and the product is CPSIA approved for kids ages 6 and up.
  • HEXBUG Warriors Battle Arena – The battle arena is the perfect stage for HEXBUG Warriors students to hone their skills.  It comes with two HEXBUG Warriors with weapons and armor, two expandable battle arena pieces (compatible with Battle Stadium), three standoffs and extra bonus armor. There are four assorted HEXBUG Warrior Battle Arenas available for fans to collect.  Each features a different opposing pair of Warriors. MSRP is $19.99 and the product is CPSIA approved for kids ages 6 and up.
  • HEXBUG Warriors Battle Stadium – The ultimate large scale battleground for all HEXBUG Warriors students comes with two fully-armored collectible HEXBUG Warriors, eight Battle Stadium Pieces (compatible with Battle Arena) and 12 standoffs. There are two assorted HEXBUG Warrior Battle Stadiums available for fans to collect. Each features a different opposing pair of Warriors. MSRP is $29.99 and the product is CPSIA approved for kids ages 6 and up.

This set will certainly be on the wishlist of someone you know.  Have you already started your holiday shopping?  Who have you shopped for already?


This product was supplied to facilitate my review.  All opinions are my own.


Snomee has changed the way we give gift cards #giveaway

snomee sports holidayGift cards are a part of gifting these days.  Like them or hate them, I don’t imagine they are going to go away.  Especially with technology- having a gift card to choose your own music/movie/show/book to download onto your device is an easy gift- one that kind of fits all.  But why do gift cards have to be impersonal?  Why not make them fun, and a little bit more special?  Snomee has found a way to marry the gift card industry with a more personal touch- and I love it.  Adorable snow globes that have a compartment underneath to hold a gift card in place.  I have to say, I thought the idea of the Snomee was really cool and I liked the product before I saw it.  Then it arrived at my house, and I LOVED it.

snomee in boxsnomeesnomee without gift card







The Snomee isn’t “just” a gift card holder.  It’s a gift in and of itself.  It’s packaged in a very elegant, simple black box, with a ribbon closure- perfect for absolutely ANY occasion.  The Snomee itself is a really, really nice snowglobe – very well crafted, heavy duty, and absolutely something you can have on your bookshelf or windowsill for a very long time to enjoy.  There are all kinds of themes to choose from with the Snomee so you can find one that “fits” with your gift card theme, or to match the personality of the recipient.  There are 11 holiday Snomees to choose from including a Mystery Gift one!  I can’t wait to see what else they add for Snomee options. There’s just something so magical about snowglobes. I always loved them as a child.

snomee snowing


Snomees are available to order on and Amazon.  They retail for $14.95 and you can get FREE Shipping on right now.

One reader will win a Snomee of their choice!  

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Dorfman Pacific Classic Parisian Berets – A great Fall Accessory!

  Fall is in the air here in New England. To me, this not only means fall leaves and warm drinks, but ACCESSORIES! I love dressing up my wardrobe with a funky scarf or fun boots, but how about an awesome Parisian Beret! This fashion trend is all the rage this fall and I love it. Not only is this accent unexpected but it is flattering on almost everyone. I tried out the Dorfman Pacific Classic Parisian Beret in Forest Green. We love this brand of hat. You may remember our review of the Scala sunhat earlier this year. One of my alltime favorite sunhats! This Beret is one size fits all and is a really great color. It coordinates nicely with my cranberry colored wool coat and looks fantastic with a long sleeve top and a scarf. I was a little leary to wear a beret at first, but I love it! I always get complimented on it every time I wear it. Who know, maybe I will start my own little fashion trend in my little town! This is a great gift idea for that hard to buy for person on your holiday list. Because the sizing is one size fits most there is no guesswork involved. These Berets come in a variety of colors: balck, maroon, white, chocolate, charcoal, camel, olive, cobalt, forest green, light blue, pink and red. The Berets are reasonably priced at $25 and can be purchased here.   “A sample of this product was provided to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed are my own.”

Micro Chargers Loop Stunt Track

micro charger loop track toy for boys holiday gift guideMicro Chargers Loop Stunt Track is a really great new toy for children ages 5 and up.  When ours arrived my son’s response was, “WOW, Micro Chargers, I have been wanting this!” We got right to opening the package and in about 5 minutes we had the track assembled and he was playing.  My first observation is that, when not assembled, all the parts and the instructions will fit neatly in a gallon size freezer bag.  I love that the entire set does not take up much room and can be easily stored all together.

Micro Chargers take eight seconds to charge and race at scale speeds of up to 600 miles per hour for a race unlike any other. Using the included handheld, battery-operated charger, kids simply supercharge their micro cars then launch them to race. Featuring over 30 vehicles and two different car models (stunt cars and race cars) to collect and trade, the Micro Chargers line lets kids select the perfect racer to take down their opponent. The Micro Chargers line is available at Toys“R”Us®and other select toy retailers nationwide.

There are several Micro Chargers tracks and there are race cars or stunt cars.  We received the Loop Stunt Track which includes
1  Loop Stunt Track, 1  Quick Charge Stunt Car, 1  Hand Held Charger and Stats Card.

Ready, set, race with the Micro Chargers™ Loop Track! Micro Chargers perform gravity-defying stunts on this track set! Challenge your friends to see whose Stunt Car is the fastest as your Micro Chargers race the stretch, tackle the loop and then slingshot back to take on the loop again. You can check out all of the Micro Charger products on their website.

micro charger car loop track toy holiday gift guide

The other Micro Charger sets will be on my son’s holiday gift list and I will be thrilled to buy them for him.


This product was provided to facilitate my review, all opinions are my own



Whole Foods Market The Season of Giving

I love to shop at Whole Foods so when an opportunity came up to attend a holiday blogger event at my local Whole Foods Market, I jumped on it.  There is something about shopping at WFM that makes me forget it is a chore.  I love the prepared foods, the samples and the friendly staff.   Anyways, back to the event.   I did not know what to expect but I was greeted by some familiar faces and tables of food to sample.  They had desserts, cheeses, meats, stuffed mushrooms and a couple of vegan choices.  I also was able to meet some local bloggers and other friends of Whole Foods.


So, as I sampled delicious foods and checked out so many great gift ideas I asked what was expected of the bloggers after the event.  I was told that they expected nothing, not a post or shout out.  The event was set up to get local blogger to meet.  That is a pretty cool idea.

I spent most of my evening talking to a couple that runs a local homeless shelter.  They had so many wonderful things to say about the generosity of Whole Foods Market.  They provide the shelter with all sorts of foods including fresh fruit and items that some of their clients have never been exposed to such as star fruit.  It is so good to know that a store that I am loyal to is aware of the community needs and steps up to make people’s lives better.

Another great thing about Whole Foods Market is you can order your entire holiday meal from them.  Just click HERE and find the store nearest you and start shopping.  This will be handy for me this year because hosting Christmas has been sprung on me very  last minute.  Whole Foods  will have you covered with everything from mix and match appetizers and soups to complete ham dinner packages.  Order your mashed potatoes or black forest cake and pick them up in store.  Anything I have ever sampled from Whole Foods has been delicious.


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Hot Wheels Wall Tracks

If you have a kid who loves vehicles and racing them on tracks, but are short on space, I have a great solution for you.  Hot Wheels Wall Tracks are an awesome solution that saves tons of space!  I was quite intrigued when I first heard of these Wall Tracks and knew for sure I’d love them when I saw that they use Command Hooks to adhere to the wall.  I have those hooks all over my house, on plaster and sheetrocked walls, on wainscotting, on cabinets, etc.  I have much love for those, and my family has loved Hot Wheels “orange” tracks for…at least 22 years since my oldest nephew was old enough to have them!!

The attach-to-the-wall-feature of this product is really unique.  We are working with limited space in our house, and it isn’t always conducive to setting up huge tracks of, well, anything.  Our “playroom” is just one end of our living room that has foam squares to define it.  When the kids make creations with building blocks or huge train tracks, they always overlap into the ‘adult’ section- and sometimes around corners. I had to limit creativity but man, am I ever glad that someone finally decided to think out of the box and looked to the walls!!  Damage free hanging is the way to go, and THANK YOU to the smarty pants person at Hot Wheels who came up with this idea.  Brilliant.  The Bargains family thanks you.  [click to continue…]