Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Step2 Wild Whirlpool Water Table Review

“I am partnering with Step2 for the following review. I received a product in exchange for my review and honest opinion. No other compensation was provided.”


Here in Florida Spring is here. To us that means playing outside in the great weather! I am always looking for new and fun toys for my girls to enjoy playtime outside. Over the years a lot of our Toys are Step2 because I think they are absolutely top quality! I was beyond excited to review the Wild Whirlpool Water Table with my two girls on one of the first really warm days of the year.



Of course it comes in several pieces but it literally took less than 5 minutes to put together.



  • Water tower connects to the activity table and creates a vortex when water is added
  • Water spinner entertains children as they watch it go round and round when water is put into to the funnel
  • Scoop water into the teetering boat for extra splash-worthy fun
  • Rotating octopus can be spun to create a whirlpool effect
  • Six sea creatures can be captured with the scooper and sent down the funnel back into the water (included)
  • Parents will appreciate the drain plug for quick clean-up
  • 10 water table accessories included
  • Holds up to four gallons (15 L) of water
  • Adult assembly required


Honestly this is HOURS of fun. My 2 year old and 5 year old played with it together and they had a blast. There are so many little things about it that make the fun last. They of course loved putting water in the tower the best. They loved watching the water flow down and into the spinner.


As a parent my all time favorite feature is the plug. No more turning a water table on its side dumping water and all the toys onto the ground. With this one you just pull the plug and let the water drain. It is a feature I have been wanting on our water tables for years! 

Here is our video review:


In the winter or when the weather is not cooperating then just buy one of those huge bags of rice or beans from a warehouse store and use it as a sensory table. My oldest has sensory issues and giving her something like that to give her the sensory input she needs can really give her a toy to enjoy. Step2 has managed to make another fun toy that my girls can enjoy all year long!

Connect:
Step2 Website 
Step2 Twitter
Step2 Facebook

Buy:

You can buy purchase the Wild Whirlpool Water Table on the Step2 website or select retailers.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

VTech’s 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset Fun With Giveaway

~I was provided with a sample to review by VTech~



I don't review too many items here at my personal blog. I have to really feel good about the company and the product. That said here I am reviewing a toy that I knew would be just perfect for my two girls. The girls are now almost 2 and 5 and with that being the age range of this toy I just knew that the 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset™ from VTech would be perfect for them to play with and I was right.



Sure it came in a million pieces but I had no problem putting it together WITHOUT my husband's help. Maybe 10 minutes. It took longer for me to find 2 AA batteries to put in it than it did putting it together. Thankfully Vtech's directions were spot on.
 


The girls were like two salivating dinosaurs waiting to eat their prey as I quickly put this together for them to enjoy.  

We started it out in shopping cart mode.



Then it was on to kitchen mode.



2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset
  • The 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset transforms from a shopping cart to a kitchen in a few simple steps.
  • The cart responds with fun phrases and sounds and when kids are ready to cook their meal, the cart becomes a play kitchen complete with a sink, oven, stove burner and cutting board.
  • The playset encourages pretend play and exploration while teaching about food, colors, numbers, music, following directions and more.
  • VTech has a full line of developmental stage-based infant and preschool learning toys that provide the appropriate tools for every age and stage of a child’s development.
  • With nearly 40 new product introductions in this category this year alone, VTech has one of the largest lines of infant and preschool electronic learning products, each one chock-full of play value for unlimited, open-ended fun.
  • From encouraging mobility and exploration among the youngest of infants, to introducing preschoolers to early learning skills, VTech’s line of infant and preschool toys introduces children to early learning skills and helps establish a lifetime love of learning
  • Ages 2-5 years, MSRP: $49.99
They honestly played with this for over an hour and I made them come inside and put it away because it was lunch time. Ever since we got it several weeks ago they have played with it every single day. They love shopping and cooking. I like that it has different modes so they they can play using their imagination but changing up the sounds.


The girls love the pretend and play mode the best as they love washing their hands and dishes in the sink with the sound of real water. They also really like the Music Time setting as they are really into music right now. I just like that they are doing pretend play together without too many disagreements. So far they seem to be in agreement that the VTech’s 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset is a lot of fun!

 
Connect:

VTech Website 
VTech Twitter
VTech Facebook

Buy:

You can buy purchase VTech’s 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset at the VTech Website and on Amazon for $49.99. 

Giveaway:

Here is your chance to win your own 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset from VTech.




Monday, April 8, 2013

Just Keep Running...Literally

After the Disney Princess Half Marathon I will admit to working out less. I was working out 5-7 days a week before and now it is 3-5. Ever since the DPHM my new goal was to run 3 miles in 30 minutes. This was a biggie for me. I trained 2-3 days a week for this and I finally did it. Proof because I like to be able to look at it in disbelief.


Six months ago I could not even run 1 mile in 14 minutes and now look at me. I contribute my ability to do all this working out with minimum to no injuries to my new found dedication for Yoga. I go 2-3 days a week and each time I feel so renewed and full of energy when I leave. I love the 2 yoga teachers I have here at my local YMCA and I truly enjoy going to class especially since it is usually after a vigorous run on the treadmill.

My kids absolutely love going to the gym daycare room so that makes it feel more guilt free for this Mama for dropping them off in their while I work out for 2 hours.

Right now Violet is in swim class twice a week to teach her strokes and side breathing and she has soccer practice once a week and a game once a week. Somehow out of 16 preschool teams she ends up on the hot pink team...PERFECT. During the first game at the very begining at tip off she ran the ball dribbling and weaving between the other players and scored a goal Her first one EVER. I would love for her to be on the swim team next year.  I feel sports are so important at these young ages because it sets them up for a future of learning to work with a team and playing for fun.


Ever since our big move to Orlando I can honestly say I have been so incredibly happy that unicorns and rainbows are literally busting out of me. Before I had to work so that we could pay the bills. Here I am a stay at home mom and I am literally enjoying ever second of it. It gives me the ability to work out several days a week, take the girls to all their activities and still get home in time to make dinner. I am feeling incredibly blessed lately. My husband is so amazing to lets me stay home with the girls while he works. He too is in full agreement that now that Violet is older it is so important to get her into activities throughout the day.

Not to leave Lily out she will be getting back into swim lessons again soon and she sits and watches Violet during her games. I tell her that one day her time will come and she will get to play too.


Lil girl just crawled out of the crib for the first time...at 17 months old mind you. I see us converting that crib to a toddler bed very soon.


 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Disney Princess Half Marathon



When I first contemplated the idea of running the Disney Princess Half Marathon I googled every blog entry I could find to try and learn ever single thing I could about it. There are some really great blog posts out there but I also wanted to include my own detailed post on everything you might want to know about it. I think this would be especially great for the first timers out there that are thinking about attempting their very first Half Marathon...my advice is to do it!

This is all my experience with the 2013 race. Since Disney tends to repeat themselves....if it ain't broke don't fix it motto...then you can count on a lot of the information to be relevant for future years.


Registration:
Register early. Like months and months and months early. This magical race sells out months in advance. If you sign up super early you can get a very small discount but every dollar counts.

During the registration process they will ask you what your favorite Disney Princess is with multiple choices. This will denote the color race bib you get. Belle is yellow, Aurora is Pink and so on.

It will also ask what size shirt you want. They are tech shirts (great for working out in). They offer both women and men's sizing. I felt the men's ran true to size to slightly large and the women's sizing to be true to size to maybe a little small...plan accodingly. You will want to wear your shirt to show off your awesomeness.

It will also ask you what your expected finish time will be. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. This will help to place you in your corral for race day. This year there were, A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H. Each one starting 7 minutes apart so that all 25,000 do not start at the same time. Corral A would be the people expected to finish first and then moving on down the line to the slowest.

The reason this is so important is that you must keep a 16 minute mile average pace or you will be swept from the race. This means the minute the last person crosses the start line the sweepers (that are riding bikes from what I have read) follow along. At each mile marker if you are behind them you are swept up and put on a bus to be taken to the finish line. If you plan on doing a lot of walking you do not want to be in that last corral because they only start sweeping when the last person starts the race. Being in an earlier corral will give you additional time to finish.

So when you put in your expected race time do not say you will take the full 3hrs and 30 minutes. You will need proof in the form of another timed race's results if you you want to be in a corral that is expected to finish in 2:45 or less. I hope all that makes sense.

You will get an email about a month before the race so you can print off the waiver. It will also have your bib number that corresponds to your corral placement on it as well.



Packet Pick Up:
There is a two day expo to pick up your packet. Friday and Saturday. If you are interested in special race day merchandise then you need to go on Friday. I was literally one of the first ones in on Saturday morning by getting there 30 minutes before it opened and lots of the merchandise was already sold out. Get there early to avoid the lines. About 2 hours after it opens the lines to pick up your race day bib and packet are really long.  So my advice would be to go first thing in the day or later in the day after most people have left.

After you pick up your packet with shirt if you want to exchange it for another size you can. I went up and all they had left was Men's Large and whatever each person changed it for. I have no idea if there were more sizes available the day before.

If you want the special New Balance shoes that are RunDisney with Disney adorableness all over it then go early. Saturday morning they were sold out of most sizes. I saw both the men's and women's pair up close and they were adorable.

If you run a timed run and you have proof of time make sure to bring a printed copy with you. You can take it to runner's relations and use it to get you placed in your proper corral. Up until sometime in December you can email your proof of time so this is if you did not do that before hand.

Give yourself at least an hour at the expo. There are so many great booths to check out and people to mingle with. I enjoyed being at the expo.

Getting to Epcot Race Day:
I live 20-30 minutes from Disney. I left my house at 3am and got there at the perfect time. No traffic yet and me and the person I was with got a great parking spot. Disney warns you of significant delays but most people did not seem to have to wait in more than 30 minutes of traffic to get in. Of course if you stay on Disney property you can use their shuttles and probably get a few extra winks in the process.

Race Day:
Once you get there make sure to check your bag if you are going to and go ahead and use one of the many port-o-potties to empty out the bladder. There are several port-o-potties along the race course but they all had lines and some were long.

They set off fireworks for each corral start. Waiting for my corral, F, to start actually felt like it went fairly quick. I was anxious to get started.

Wear compression socks or sleeves. Feel free to google around to learn about them. I love that I felt zero pain in my feet and calves other than some tiredness and I attribute that to my compression socks. I have done some 7 mile runs without them and when I did my first 8 mile run with compression socks it made all of difference.

Wear moisture wicking clothes under your costume (if you choose to wear one which more than half did). This is especially important because in the Florida humidity you will sweat a lot. This race was especially humid and I have spent my whole life in Central Florida. If you are coming from up north check our weather. If it says it will be hot wear shorts and a tank top.

I also wore a moisture wicking visor and by the end of the race it was soaked through. It worked great. So a moisture wicking hat or headband is a must. I also wore sunscreen on my face since even through the clouds you can get a sunburn.

This race is all about fun. Throughout the course there was so much to look at and see. There were so many places to stop and get a picture with characters but be prepared....the lines to get photos were very long. My favorite would have to be the one of all the Princess Villians. I did not get a picture because the line was incredibly long.



Every place you see on the map with a W was a water station. There were plenty of them. Most also had Powerade Lemon-lime flavor which totally did not agree with me. It fact the first time I took some I burped it right up if you know what I mean. I stuck to water after that. The F was for a Fuel station and I tried 2 different flavors of the goey stuff. I did not like the taste of it one bit. I much prefer carrying my own small fuel snack.

Disney discourages the use of headphones during the HM but I disagree and most people were wearing them. I used Runkeeper to track my run and I had an awesome Disney playlist going to help inspire me along the way. I really want a GPS watch for my next run so that I can just glance at my wrist to check my pace.

After Race:
When it is all over you get sprinkled with fairy dust on top of your head and then you get the most most amazing medal placed around your neck. Then you get a full sized powerade (yay for flavor offerings at the end), water and a small box with a pretty good selection of foods to help give you some fuel after all that running. You can then stop and get a photo with your medal. They use your bib number throughout the half marathon to tie it to you so you can look them up later for purchase.

They also have a tent with the remainder of official Disney Princess HM merchandise. There was not much left but I thought it was nice.

If you want family to meet you at the end they will have to pay to park at Epcot but then they can hang around to congratulate you. If you want family to chear you on along the way in special areas then you have to pay to be in the ChearSquad which is nice if you have traveled all that way so your family can try and see you as you run by!

Final Race Results:
My final place was 14,673 out of 21,222 finishers and a net time of 3:12:55. Not bad for my first time. Next year I hope to do it in 3 hours or better.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Princess Half Marathon Training Update

One one week till the Disney Princess Half Marathon and I am starting to get butterflies in my stomach about it!

I had an amazing run this morning of 8 miles at a 13:24 mile pace. I honestly was feeling great.


Here I am right after I finished. Do I look tired? I was not super tired but I am super lazy so I have a hard time pushing myself!

My fitness from the last 2 weeks.

Monday: 2.5 miles running on the treadmill then 1 hour of yoga
Tuesday: 30 minute cycle class then 2.5 miles on the treadmill
Wednesday: 2.5 miles running on the treadmill then 1 hour of yoga
Thursday: 30 minute cycle class then 2.5 miles on the treadmill
Friday: 2.5 miles on the elliptical then 1 hour yoga
Saturday: 7 mile run at 13:18 avg pace

Sunday: 1.5 hours of weights circuit
Monday: 2.5 miles running on the treadmill then 1 hour of yoga
Tuesday: 30 minute cycle class then 1 hour weights circuit
Wednesday: 2.5 miles running on the treadmill then 1 hour of yoga
Thursday:  30 minute cycle class then 1 hour weights circuit
Friday: 2.77 miles on teh elliptical then 1 hour yoga
Saturday: 8 miles at a 13:24 avg pace

Hoping to get a weights workout in tomorrow.

I have started my long runs at around 6:30am and I run much better at the earlier time. I like watching the sun rise and it is much cooler in the Florida heat.

My next update will be after the race. Here is hoping I finish and don't get swept up by those damn sweepers. I want to earn that medal!



Monday, February 4, 2013

Disney Princess Half Marathon Training UPDATE



This past Saturday I did my first real long run. I ran 7 MILES WITHOUT STOPPING. The best part was I felt great!!!! That is the longest I have ever run at one time in my entire life. It made me realize that I can do this half marathon and that hopefully *fingers crossed* I won't get swept up with those that don't keep the minimum pace.

I started the week off today with 2.5 miles on the treadmill (which is becoming dare I say easy) at a 13.02 pace followed by an hour of yoga. Yoga is slowly making me a better runner (jogger really). It helps me to better focus my mind on runs since the right state of mind is half the battle.

My eye is on the prize....earning that darn finisher medal!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fat Girl Running Update


I have been majorly slacking on my personal posts. I post all the time over at Outnumbered 3 to 1. So make sure to check out my product reviews and giveaways over there. I feel like I am living the blogging dream by being a part of their team!

I have been slowly but surely working out more and more to try and prepare myself for the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Over the holidays we moved so I took a month off from working out. So I have been really stepping it up lately to make up for it. I normally work out 6-7 days a week right now.

This week was the most intense yet. I am trying to step it up every week until the half marathon. After which I will probably drop it down to working out 4 days a week and then I will also add in more weights workouts.

Sunday: 2 miles on treadmill then 45 minute step class
Monday: 2 miles on treadmill then 60 minutes yoga
Tuesday: 30 minute cycle class then 2 miles on the treadmill
Wednesday: 2 miles on the treadmill then 60 minutes yoga
Thursday: 30 minute cycle class then 4 miles on the treadmill

Friday: The plan is 4 miles on the treadmill as long as I have no shin splints, if so then 60 minutes yoga
Saturday: Jog with a friend
Sunday: Not a dang thing

Here is my photographic proof of my best yet on the treadmill. It seems more real with a picture.


For the half marathon the plan is to jog the first 6.5 miles then do walk/jog intervals until the end. The important part is that I stay in front of the sweepers. I really really want to finish without being swept. To be able to open the parks on time Disney sweeps at every mile marker those at a pace of 16/minute mile or slower. Yikes! I will be cutting it seriously close! I wanna earn my princess half marathon finisher medal.

I am just trying to get healthy. I am not the type to sit and watch the scale. Instead my working out is to feel good in both body and mind. Hence my addition of yoga to my workout schedule. I am feeling great and no number can tell me otherwise. I want to make working out a lifestyle change and not a phase. Which is why I am looking forward to scaling back after the DPHM. I hope to jog the whole thing next year. Super ambitious I know and my inner fatty screams no!!!!  No worries, if I accomplish that goal I will surely feed my inner fatty with some candy! I have been eating well but I don't go overboard and crazy like the organic nuts out there. I do a lot of crock pot cooking. Next I want to learn how to make casseroles and bake!