#Sponsored: Check Out the @EvenfloBaby #ExerSaucerExplorer {Our #Review}

sampleDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by Evenflo. I received a sample ExerSaucer as well as compensation for this post. However, thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

exersaucer

As a mom of 8, I am always drawn to toys that are designed to meet the needs of children of different ages. I want them to be educational, good for different levels of learning, and FUN. So, when Evenflo approached me about trying out their new Exersaucer – World Explorer Triple Fun Plus+, (available at Babies R Us), I jumped at the chance to check it out. It sounded like it was right up my alley.

The ExerSaucer arrived quickly, and I couldn’t wait to set it up. My husband had promised me that he would put it together, but I was having none of that. This is my review, so *I* was going to do it. Alone.

And then I opened the box.

I wish I had taken a picture of all the “parts” all over my living room. I kept pulling pieces out of the box, and thinking to myself, “What have I gotten myself into?” It was definitely not a “snap-it-together and let’s go” project. It was a “read EVERY WORD of the instruction booklet and follow it to a t” project.

Stage 1 setup was easy. In just a few minutes, I had a very happy baby on my hands.

sawyer stage1

Sawyer loves the lights and sounds that come from the bar overhead. He can’t do them by himself yet, but there is always someone nearby that can help him out. The mat that he lays on is soft, so even tummy time is more fun. I love the bright colors and unique toys that are attached to the bar. We can trade them out, and the possibilities are endless. He definitely doesn’t get bored.

stage 1

Sawyer plays on his mat all the time. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t use it. I think we’re both huge fans of Stage 1 of the ExerSaucer.

Then, I went to work at putting together Stage 2.

This was far more complicated. It took me over an hour to have all the different parts assembled and ready for play time. It was a lot of work.

carly stage2

But, it was so worth it.

carly stage2

Carly absolutely loves it! And while she should technically be in Stage 3, she meets all the weight and height restrictions for Stage 2. And, I have to say, she absolutely LOVES bouncing in the ExerSaucer. I can’t get her out of it.

When I attempted to take the ExerSaucer apart and change it to Stage 3, I got extremely confused by the directions and had to wait for my husband to come home and help me figure it out. It took us another 20 minutes to get it to Stage 3, so I decided we would just put it back in Stage 2 and leave it there. Sawyer will be ready for Stage 2 very soon, and Carly actually preferred Stage 2, so it’s better for us to leave it there for awhile.

sawyer_stage1While putting the ExerSaucer is time consuming to put together, it really is a great product, and my kids love it.

Here are some of my favorite things about the ExerSaucer:

  • Great for different levels of learning and play.
  • Can be used for several years instead of needing to buy a new toy at every stage.
  • Lots of lights, sounds, and music to keep the kids entertained and happy.
  • The included electronic book is great for early learning! It includes 36 different sounds, 12 turning pages, and tells the story in English, French, Spanish, and Mandarin.
  • The mat for Stage 1 is soft and easy to clean by wiping it off.
  • The attached toys are fun, brightly colored, and easily removed to change to another stage or for a quick cleaning.
  • Incredibly durable. This toy will really last from stage to stage and can be passed down to any other children that come along.
  • Can be used with multiple children. It’s great for both my 3 month old AND my 22 month old.
  • On Stage 2, the height levels are easy to change, so I can quickly make it the right height for Sawyer (when he’s ready) or for Carly.
  • Made by Evenflo – a brand I trust and respect, and have used with all my kids.

Here are a few of the things that I would change, or didn’t really care for:

  • Assembly was time consuming and difficult. Do not plan to put this together quickly and easily. (Note: Don’t start this project at 9pm Christmas Eve to set it in front of the Christmas tree. Either leave it in the box, or put it together several days in advance.) I think it would be great if the ExerSaucer could come a little more assembled in the box. That, or I would definitely pay someone from the store to put it together – if that’s an option.
  • It uses a LOT of batteries. (3 AA and 7 AAA batteries, to be exact.) All those lights, sounds, and learning toys need to work, so you’re going to have to invest in lots of batteries. Luckily, they don’t seem to wear out quickly. We’ve been using the same batteries since I originally assembled it, and that’s been several weeks. And, we tend to stock up on batteries when they’re on sale, so we always have them on hand.
  • Switching from Stage 2 to Stage 3 is very confusing. My husband understood it better than I did – so maybe it’s a guy thing, but I’d like to be able to do it myself without his help.

So, as you can see, the good obviously outweighs the bad. And once you get past the original assembly, the ExerSaucer is a fantastic learning toy. I would definitely invest in it, I just wish I had known ahead of time and had been prepared for what I was getting into.

I would call this toy an investment – it’s not a toy that your child will quickly grow out of. It will grow with them, and it will last for years to come. Rather than buying several different toys (that can be expensive), you invest one time in a toy that you’ll get tons of use out of.

Right now you can get a great deal on the ExerSaucer at Babies R Us! With this downloadable in-store coupon, you can save 20% from December 5 – 24, 2014. That’s a great deal on a great product! (Just find the product on page 18, scroll over the image, and a box will pop up that will allow you to download the coupon.)

Hurry on over, download your coupon, and grab your Evenflo ExerSaucer today!

#ReadwithMeScout Makes Reading Fun! #Sponsored #Review

Sample ReceivedDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by Leap Frog through Mom Select. I received a sample in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Read with Me Scout

“Scout” is a familiar name around the Vinez House. My friend purchased My Pal Scout for Parker when he was a baby. Parker slept with him every night until Gage was about 6 months old, and then Parker passed Scout down to him. Scout quickly became a part of Gage’s bedtime ritual. For 2 years, he couldn’t go to be without Scout in his crib next to him, and the bedtime music playing. A few weeks ago, we moved Gage out of his crib and into a toddler bed so that Carly could have the crib. I expected Gage to bring Scout with him into his new bed, but he didn’t. He wanted to leave Scout in the crib for Carly. And I’m pretty sure I know why…

Scout has been replaced… by Read with Me Scout. Gage doesn’t go anywhere without him. I think that Gage associates the other Scout with bedtime and being in the crib. But Read with Me Scout is different. He interacts with Gage, reads him stories, and Gage absolutely adores him.

Gage & Scout

Read with Me Scout comes with 5 illustrated books that make reading fun. He also asks more than 70 different comprehension questions, and it’s so neat to see Gage try to come up with the answers. In the few weeks we’ve had this toy, I’ve seen Gage grow and learn so much.

Another great feature of Read with Me Scout is the Sleepy Time feature. Gage can listen to a bedtime story and then 8 minutes of bedtime music. Again, Scout is a part of his bedtime routine, but in a different way than before.

We have had one issue with Read with Me Scout, and it’s that his buttons are really, really sensitive. There are times when Gage can’t listen to a story because Gage has him pressed up against himself, and Read with Me Scout keeps thinking that Gage is “kissing” his cheek. We hear “You’re so sweet” over and over again, and all Gage wants to do is read. When that happens, I move Read with Me Scout a few inches away from Gage, and let him finish the story that way. But, Gage doesn’t like him to be away from his side, so it usually takes us half an hour to get through one little book.

I do love that Gage is learning the process of reading through Read with Me Scout. Scout will ask Gage to pat his (Scout’s) head when he’s ready to turn the page. That’s teaching Gage how to turn pages and how reading works. And the colored books and matching buttons on Read with Me Scout’s collar always ensure that Gage understands which button to push to get Scout to read the book he wants.

Overall, I have found Read with Me Scout to be an excellent addition into our learning toys. Gage absolutely loves him, and I love that Gage often wants to sit down and have Scout read to him. It keeps the TV off and the learning ON! The sensitive buttons are a little annoying, but I will more than put up with it to see how happy it makes Gage to have a new little buddy.

I would recommend Read with Me Scout to any family with children between the ages of 2 and 5, especially if learning is important in your child’s playtime.

I also want to encourage you to interact with Leap Frog in the following ways:

Celebrate Childhood with Caillou {Review}

CaillouParker loves Caillou. And he adores Caillou’s cat, Gilbert. So, when Team Mom offered up a couple of very cool Caillou toys for a review, I jumped at the chance to surprise Parker with them.

We received 2 toys for this review: A Caillou doll and a Caillou bath time vehicle. Let’s do each product separately.

First, the Caillou Classic Doll. I know – boys aren’t supposed to play with dolls. But, who made up that rule? Whomever it was forgot to tell Parker, because he loves “babies.” In fact, he takes better care of Lucy’s dolls than she does half the time. When Parker saw that he got his very own doll, and it was a Caillou doll, one of his favorite tv characters, he was in heaven. In fact, I don’t think he’s put Caillou down for more than a few minutes at a time. Parker & CaillouHe goes in the car with us, Parker sleeps with him at night, he’s become a constant companion. The doll features the classic Caillou outfit with vinyl head, arms, and feet, as well as a super soft body that Parker loves to hug. And he does, all day and all night. You can see how much he loves the toy in the picture!

Next, we have the Caillou Bath Time Vehicle. Parker was SO excited to see Caillou’s cat, Gilbert, on the boat with Caillou! He loves that cat, and seeing him there just made Parker’s day. I’ve got to say that I wish bath toys had been this cool when I was a kid. The boat really floats AND it really moves! When you crank the “motor,” it really makes the boat move through the water. Parker had a blast with it. Every time I put him in the bathtub now, it’s next to impossible to get him out! One great feature of this boat is that all the pieces come apart, which makes it perfect for working on Parker’s fine motor skills. And, because you can pull the motor off the bottom, you can make the boat “sail” over the coffee table, couch, kitchen table, stair railing, and more! I’m pretty sure this boat has sailed over every inch of our house.

If you have a little boy or girl that loves Caillou, I would definitely recommend that you check out these fabulous toys. They are both available at 272 participating Toys R Us stores (visit store locator at www.caillou.com/storelocator) and the following e-commerce sites:   www.toysrus.com, www.fao.com, www.kohls.com, and www.tystoybox.com. The 14.5 inch doll retails for $29.99, and the bathtub toys are just $16.99. It’s a great deal, and these toys are sure to bring your child hours of entertainment.

Caillou Doll Caillou Bath Time VehicleDisclaimer: I am participating in a blog tour with Team Mom on behalf of Caillou and Cookie Jar Entertainment on the release of the new toys available at Toys “R” Us. I received the products necessary to facilitate my review. All opinions are 100% my own. I have not been compensated in any other way for this post.