Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fin Fin Friends by WowWee

Mason is getting to the age where he loves animals of all kinds, especially fish.  I actually had him at the pet store yesterday and the first section we hit were the fish tanks.  He says, "fush", points and them and makes the fish face I taught him!  I have been considering buying Mason a fish tank for his room, but I'm not quite sure I can trust him alone with anything with water in it.  I can see it now, he will climb up to get to the tank or drink the water and possibly the fish with it.  Then there is always the question of who will clean the tank.  I digress....

Again, my problem is solve by the smart people at WowWee!  WowWee has created a line of interactive fish....yes, interactive fish! The brand new Fin Fin Friends are no doubt headed to be one of the hottest toys for this holiday season.

First off, Fin Fin Friends swim in real water.  Your new pet will "come alive" and respond to lights, sound and motion.  The more you play with them, the more they develop their own personality and different behaviors.

There are two modes that come with your fish, play mode and sleep mode.  In play mode, your fish will swim around his play set happily, but they want to be played with.  The more you play with it, the more active it becomes.  If you press the feeding button, it will make chomping sounds.  Also, if you play with your fish, you will soon discover how to train it!  There are three levels that your Fin Fin can achieve too.  The higher the level, the smarter your Fin Fin becomes.  When you talk to you Fin Fin, it will react to you.  You can feed him, watch him dance and laugh.  You can even watch him sleep.  Sleep mode is the second mode.  Your Fin Fin will find a sleep routine if he is left alone for 3-4 minutes or if you turn your aquarium off.

I set up my WowWee Fin Fin Play Set - Skate Park  and Seaside Shop play set and my little helper, Mason, was right next to me.  Of course, the first thing he did was push to button to feed the Fin Fin.  Little munching sounds came from the tank.  Not only that, but when the Fin Fin was done eating, it burped at us!   Mason loved sending the fish down the slide over and over again.  Each time the Fin Fin entered that water, the tank lit up and played music.  The Fin Fin seemed very happy and after a few times of tapping on the side of the tank, it seemed to actually swim over to where we were tapping the tank.  The Fin Fin also seemed to be be "talking" to us as he swam around.  Pretty cool!  Since this is recommended for 4 year olds and up, it was a little messy playing in the water of the play set with an 18 month old.  But, really, what can you expect, he loves water play!  When I pushed the button for the Fin Fin to go to sleep, he retreated to the back of the tank under the bridge and made sleeping sounds. 

You can also buy accessory packs to go along with your new friend.  I have the WowWee Alive Fin Fin Friends Accessory Pack with Snorkel Fish.  This pack included a Fish Friend, 3 Floaties, Decoration and Sticker Sheet.  This accessory packs retail for around $6.99.

I have read in several reviews of the Fin Fin Friends that they are going to be hard to find the closer your get to the holidays.  Also, you might start to see retailers jack up the prices as they become more popular and scarce to find.

Fin Fin Friends are recommended for ages 4 and up.  There are 4 play sets in all, the Seaside Shop, Tropical Paradise, Hang Ten Skate Park, and the Caribbean Castle.  Fin Fin Friends play set retails for about $19.99-$21.99.  You can have hours of fun connecting the play sets and watching the fish play together.

WowWee provided me with the product reviewed above in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fisher Price Recall

Here's a complete listing of the 10 million different product types being recalled by Fisher-Price:

The trikes - some of which feature popular characters like Dora the Explorer and Barbie - have a protruding plastic ignition key near the seat that children can strike, sit on or fall on, leading to injuries that the commission said can include genital bleeding.

Fisher-Price is also recalling more than 1 million Healthy Care, Easy Clean and Close to Me High Chairs, after 14 reports of problems. The pegs on the back of the high chairs can be used to store the tray, but children can fall on them, resulting in cuts and other injuries. Seven children required stitches, the commission said.

CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said manufacturers need to do more to build safety into their products before they reach store shelves. But she also offered praise for Fisher-Price for "taking the right steps by agreeing to these recalls and offering consumers free repairs or replacement."
The two other Fisher-Price recalls were:
  1. More than 2.8 million Baby Playzone Crawl & Cruise Playground toys, Baby Playzone Crawl & Slide Arcade toys, Baby Gymtastics Play Wall toys, Ocean Wonders Kick & Crawl Aquarium toys, 1-2-3 Tetherball toys and Bat & Score Goal toys. The valve of the inflatable ball on the toys can come off and pose a choking hazard to children, said CPSC. The agency said there were more than 50 reports of the valves coming off the balls.
  2. About 100,000 Fisher-Price Little People Wheelies Stand 'n Play Rampway toys. The wheels on the purple and green cars can come off, posing a choking hazard.
Most of the products were being recalled in the United States, but about 400,000 of them were sold in Canada.
* 72633 Hot Wheels Trike
* 72639 Barbie" Butterfly Trike
* 72642 Lil' Kawasaki® Trike
* 72643 Tough Trike
* 72644 Tough Trike
* 72792 Kawasaki Trike
* B8775 Kawasaki® Ninja® Tough Trike
* B8776 Barbie" Tough Trike
* K6672 Nick Jr./Dora the Explorer Tough Trike
* K6673 Go, Diego, Go! Tough Trike
* M5727 Barbie" Tough Trike Princess Ride-On
* N6021 Kawasaki Tough Trike
* T6209 Thomas & Friends" Tough Trike
* V4270 Go, Diego, Go!" Kid-Tough" Trike

* T4261 Little People® Wheelies" Stand 'n Play" Rampway
* V6378 Little People® Wheelies" Stand 'n Play" Rampway Gift Set

Infant toys with inflatable balls
* 73408 Baby Playzone" Crawl & Cruise Playground"
* B2408 Baby Playzone" Crawl & Slide Arcade"
* C3068 Ocean Wonders" Kick & Crawl" Aquarium
* H5704 Baby Gymtastics" Play Wall
* H8094 Ocean Wonders" Kick & Crawl" Aquarium
* J0327 1-2-3 Tetherball
* K0476 Bat & Score Goal"

High Chairs
* 79638 Healthy Care" High Chair
* 79639 Healthy Care" High Chair
* 79640 Healthy Care" High Chair
* 79641 Healthy Care" High Chair
* B0326 Deluxe Healthy Care" High Chair
* B2105 Deluxe Healthy Care" High Chair
* B2875 Healthy Care" High Chair
* C4630 Healthy Care" High Chair
* C4632 Link-a-doos" Deluxe Plus Healthy Care" High Chair
* C5936 Healthy Care" High Chair
* G4406 Healthy Care" High Chair
* G8659 Aquarium Healthy Care High Chair"
* H0796 Deluxe Healthy Care" High Chair
* H1152 Healthy Care" High Chair
* H4864 Aquarium Healthy Care" High Chair
* H7241 Healthy Care" High Chair
* H8906 Close to Me" High Chair
* H9178 Easy Clean" High Chair
* J4011 Easy Clean" High Chair
* J6292 Easy Clean" High Chair
* J8229 Easy Clean" High Chair
* K2927 Rainforest" Healthy Care" High Chair
* L1912 Healthy Care" High Chair

Consumers can visit the company's website at for more information on the dates of sale and model numbers for the recalled products.

Consumer Product Safety Commission:
Mattel's Fisher-Price recall website:

Source: WPVI Channel 6 News, Philadelphia, PA


Monday, October 25, 2010

LeapFrog Tag Jr Book Pal Review and Giveaway (Closed)

I am very happy to tell you that Mason LOVES to read books.  I have been reading to him since I brought him home from the hospital.  I know it might seem silly to read to a 1 or 2 month old since they mainly lay around like a ball of mush, but I felt the time we spent reading together was great bonding time. 

Now that Mason is 18 months old, he continues to read with me, but he also likes to read independently.  The fact that I can have my son sit for 20 or 30 minutes with a pile of books makes me so happy.  He points and talks to the pictures, makes animal sounds at the pictures and even gives the occasional kiss to another child that is pictured in the book.  My heart just melts.

I don't think you can ever have too many book.  As a matter of fact, I still have some of my easy reader books from when I was a child.  And yes, I have already added these books to Mason's collection. 

I realize that since Mason is reading independently, he is ready for the next step.  Enter LeapFrog Tag Junior Book Pal and Books.  First off, these are interactive board books.  This is perfect since anything resembling paper in my house immediately become shredded.  There are 22 books and games offered in the Tag Jr series, each of which offers a different pre-school skill.  You will find titles from Sesame Street, Curious George, Dora the Explorer, Thomas and Friends, etc.  I think any parent would be hard pressed to find a book in this series that their child would not like.

The Tag Jr set I received included the Tag Jr Book Pal, a USB Cable to download the audio for the books, a Parent guide, and a sampler book, If I were....  This sampler book was already downloaded into the Tag Jr PAL.

Since this is my first experience with the Tag Jr, I had to download the Tag Junior LEAPFROG Connect Application to my computer.  This was easy enough!  Once I installed the program, I was able to download the audio for any of the Tag Junior Books.  There is also an option to personalize the Tag Jr with your child's name.  Your child will be greeted by hearing their name when it is turned on!

I played with the book and the Tag Jr Pal before giving it to Mason.  I wanted to see how sensitive the reader was and accurate the response was. I first tried the book, Monster Faces by Sesame Street.  This book is super cute and goes through emotions like happy, worried, sad, and proud.  You will also find all the Sesame Street characters that your child has come to love.  Each picture says a couple of different sayings before it repeats.  Also, I really like the fact that the voice on the Tag Jr Pal uses a child-like voice that is easy to understand.  Because of this, I believe that children will relate better to the books and have an overall better reading experience. 

I showed the Tag Jr Pal to Mason and the books that accompanied it. He squealed when saw Elmo on the front page of the Monster Faces book.  I showed him the Pal and he swiped it from my hand and started to press the on/off button.  Everything and anything with buttons is a hit with him!  I opened the book for him and showed him how to press the Pal on the page so he would get a response.  As soon as he hear Elmo's voice, he started to giggle and moved the Pal all over the page.  I was glad to see that, as I expected, he had no trouble holding the Pal, as it is definitely made for little hands to use.  Mason also went through the starter book, If I were..., which is an imaginative book about what you would do if you were an animal, and the Toy Story 3 book, which features adventures with the Toy Story gang.

This series is geared for ages 2-4, so this is definitely something Mason will grow into over the next few months.  However, I do not foresee any problems with letting him play with the reader or books now.  It seems durable enough to withstand the occasional fall.  It's compact size will also make it great for travel, taking along in the car, at the doctor's office, or in a restaurant.

As a former teacher and parent, I have no doubt that Mason will learn from using the Tag Jr reading system.  These books can only help to enhance the early reading experience.  Knowing my son it a typical toddler, I believe this will give him a sense of independence that he craves.

Don't forget to check out  You will find other resources for parents and teachers.  You will also find printable activities on that go along with each book in the series.  This is yet another way for you child to be actively involved while learning new skills.

LeapFrog provided me with the product reviewed above in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Winner of the Tag Jr is Therri D!  The winner will be contacted via email and has 48 hours to respond to my email.  If not, another winner will be chosen. 

There are three things you can do to earn an entry.  Please fill out the form for EACH entry, including the bonus entries.  You may enter once a day, including the bonus entries.  Multiple entries other than daily entries and bonus entries will be deleted.  This Giveaway will run from 12:00pm on 10/25/10 until 12:00pm on 11/1/10.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spinach Balls Appetizer Recipe

It's never to early to start gathering ideas for new appetizers for the holidays.  This  is a great recipe that our family makes just about every year!  This is a easy recipe you can throw together, but don't forget, you do have to freeze the balls before you cook them!  This is a great make ahead recipe that you can have in your freezer ready to go, especially when unexpected company drops by!

Spinach Balls


2 packages of frozen, chopped spinach
1 package of Stove Top Stuffing for Chicken
1 cup Parmesan cheese
6 eggs
3/4 cup melted butter

  • Cook spinach and drain well.
  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl and roll mixture into balls.
  • Place balls on a cookie sheet and freeze until hard.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Can be stored in freezer bag until ready to use!