Awesome Family Gifts for the 2018 Holidays

This holiday giving season, we’ve compiled our favorite family gift ideas which we’re sure will be a hit with the kids in your household, plus a special gift idea below for the parents who like to be prepared.

Jooki - smart media player for kids

Jooki Smart Media Player For Kids

Jooki is a smart media player which is water resistant, durable and for the kids! Parents load up a playlist into each Jooki character and the child can choose which playlist to enjoy.

I can imagine my youngest son enjoying his favorite EDM music as he loves to dance and Jooki would make a perfect addition to our bedtime stories as well! Jooki gives kids options, choices and freedom to decide what they’d like to enjoy listening to while giving parents the ability to manage the songs and stories on Jooki via direct upload; Spotify Premium account or; web interface (for desktop users) at http://my.jooki.rocks/ . Jooki is also available on Amazon.

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Rescue Guard

Rescue Guard Life-Saving Backpacks

Rescue Guard kits are life saving backpacks, filled with gear to survive the worst of mother nature’s disasters. Available in three kits ($49.95, $99.95 and $179.95) exclusively on Amazon, having a Rescue Guard all-in-one disaster bug-out backpack kit, will put you at ease knowing that you’re prepared and safe.

The zipper backpacks contain food, shelter, blankets, water, first-aid kit and other life-sustaining essentials. The Advance Rescue Guard ($179.95) kit even includes a knife, lantern, gloves and many other survival tools. We plan to keep our Rescue Guard backpack in storage where we’ll know exactly where it’s stored for easy retrieval in case of an emergency!


Moosh-Moosh plushies

Moosh-Moosh Super-Cuddly Plush Pillow Friends

In my household, we love plush animals and stuffed pillows! First we were crazy about Whiffer Sniffers and now we’ve discovered Moosh-Moosh plushies! These super cute and super cuddly plush pillow friends are perfect for me because I love to lay in bed or sit in my night chair and put a plush pillow friend behind my head to rest my neck.

My boys and I are big fans of plush pillows and this Christmas my little dudes will find a few new friends under our Chris tree to cuddle—Moosh-Moosh! As a family, we enjoy plush pillow friends at bedtime, on the couch for TV or movie time or to play with for pretend play. Our favorite Moosh-Moosh plushies are Corey the Puppy, Midnight the Cat and Sparkle the Unicorn which are pictured above. Available in three sizes, clip-on (4 inch); medium (8 inch) and large (12 inch), grab a Moosh-Moosh plushie on Amazon or on their website!

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Not Parent Approved

Not Parent Approved – An Inappropriate Game Kids Will Love

Games are big in our house! We often spend time on the weekend playing board games, card games, video games and so I know the Not Parent Approved game is going to make the perfect addition to our weekend fun!

I can’t wait to show the kids this game as I know that potty humor and other silly word games have been a huge hit for my boys and I as we spend silly family time enjoying each others laughs and giggles. Not Parent Approved is a game that lets kids unleash their silliness and suggested for kids 8 years-old and up! This is going to make the perfect Christmas present in my household of inappropriate boys!

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Top 10 Best Amazon Alexa Echo Dot gifts

Gift ideas for use with Amazon Alexa enabled Echo Dot

Keller with Santa at Shake Rag Alley Center for the ArtsLast Christmas, my daughter surprised me with an Amazon Echo Dot which I love using. Since then, I’ve purchased another Echo Dot which I use both Alexa enabled devices to stream music from Amazon Music, Pandora and I often connect my computer to my Echo Dots to play music from iTunes, YouTube and Google Play Music (thanks CG.) One of my favorite tricks with the Echo Dot devices is to create a group with more than one Echo Dot and have them all play the same music which fills my house with the same song. There’s currently over 50,000 Alexa Skills which are enabled via the Alexa app which connects to your Echo Dot.

I can’t forget to mention how amazing the “talk to me Alexa” feature is which taps into the Alexa Prize Socialbots (a collegiate AI Competition) allowing you to have a conversation, learn and be entertained by Amazon’s Alexa.

works with Alexa logoThis post contains affiliate links which I use to keep the office lights on (and coffee.) Read the Disclosure, Terms and Privacy fineprint here, learn about the giveaway rules and note, no product samples were provided for this review and the opinions expressed here are original, unique and my ideas solely.

In the spirit of Amazon’s Echo Dot, below is my dream list of the 10 best Amazon Echo Dot gifts which all work with Amazon Alexa. The holiday giving season is very close and I prefer to get a huge jump start on the holiday shopping. I hope this Echo Dot gift list offers some fun and amazing gift ideas for you while not breaking the bank. It’s important to note for editorial reasons, the copy below is from Amazon.com.


Echo Dot Kids Edition – Alexa for kids
$69.99

Echo Dot Kids Edition, a smart speaker with Alexa for kids“Introducing a hands-free, voice-controlled speaker with Alexa, designed with kids in mind. Echo Dot Kids Edition can play age-appropriate music, answer questions, tell stories, control compatible smart home devices, and more. Includes a black Echo Dot, a 1-year subscription to FreeTime Unlimited, a fun kid-friendly case, and a 2-year worry-free guarantee. If they break it, return it and we’ll replace it for free.”¹

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Our Family Reviews team at Mount Rushmore, near Keystone, SD 2018

10 secret tips to an awesome life

There’s an awakening inside many of us that’s coming to understand that the secret to happiness is knowing yourself, treating yourself to recreation, our connections with everyone and feeding our body and minds with health. Late last night I discovered some excellent tips to sustain an awesome life and below I’ve abbreviated my favorites in a reshare post for your healthy education.

Tips for having an awesome life

1) Walk

Treat yourself with a short 10-30 minute walk each day and do your best to sustain a smile which really does make you feel so good.

2) Sit Quietly

Take 10 minutes each day to sit (facing the sun if you can) and just be, your mind does not have to be silent but find a quiet place to enjoy these 10 minutes of nothingness, your mind, body and soul with thank you.Read More »

Panning for gold at Big Thunder Gold Mine in Keystone, SD in the Black Hills

The best family adventures in the Black Hills South Dakota

Our trusty family vacation Bound for South Dakota with my 3 boys and mom, we opted to drive on this family vacation as we were camping ⛺️ and the drive from Wisconsin to the Black Hills, SD is only 12 hours (with the exception of our numerous stops for bathrooms, gasoline, coffee, sightseeing and food!) Our vehicle was a 4X4 SUV (seats 7) loaded with our possessions including a waterproof fabric car top carrier and a small trailor with more of our vacation gear (bedding, camping stove, food, chairs, etc.)

This post contains affiliate links which I use to keep the office lights on (and coffee.) Read the Disclosure, Terms and Privacy fineprint here, learn about the giveaway rules and note, no product samples were provided for this review and the opinions expressed here are original, unique and my ideas solely.

The first day of our family travel adventure we drove out of Wisconsin through southern Minnesota to Sioux City, SD where we enjoyed accommodations at the Dakota Lodge hotel. We capped the night on the water slide and swimming at our hotel and then I put the boys down to sleep and walked to the Crooked Pint Ale House which had 18 local craft brews on tap. The Dakota Lodge of Sioux City, South Dakota, was excellent and the Crooked Pint has a full menu of not-so pub grub, healthy food too.

On our second day of our family vacation, we were greeted by a huge statue “DIGNITY of Earth and Sky” at a rest stop in Chamberlain, SD off I-90 westbound.

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Travel as a family with Lonely Planet Kids

We’re headed to South Dakota this week for our big family vacation where we’ll camp at Custer State Park for two weeks! I’m so happy to have some fun activities and books for the kids to enjoy while we road trip leaving from Wisconsin on a two day family travel adventure.

I’ve partnered up with Lonely Planet and my boys and my Mom and I will be using the Lonely Planet Kids books. There’s something special about driving for many hours while having fun books with activities to connect with each other as a family while having fun! Oh how I do love to drive!

I’ve included some introduction photos and a vid’ with my youngest son including some of the Lonely Planet Kids books which we’ll enjoy on the road as we head to and from South Dakota this month.

Check out the kids foldout maps, sticker books and other fun books by Lonely Planet Kids at https://www.lonelyplanet.com/kids/books/

Look for our Lonely Planet Books giveaway next month when we return!

MOTHER'S DAY GIVEAWAY for your choice of 4 rolls of Pattern Duct Tape

10 Awesome Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for 2018 #GIVEAWAY

Spring is one of my favorite seasons. Finally, we can get outdoors, spend time in the sun, enjoy a Sunday with mom and take an afternoon walk with friends or family. My favorite Spring Holiday has always been Mother’s Day. Maybe it’s because my mom is so special and I love her so much! This year for Mother’s Day, I’m attending Allgauer’s Mother’s Day Brunch with my mom, my sister and my 3 boys. This “award winning Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch” features “over 100 decadent items ranging from unlimited Bubbly Champagne and Mimosas, Oysters on the Half-Shell…Dozens of Fresh Salads, Hand Carved Meats…Kid’s Buffet and a Never-Ending Dessert Buffet including Baked Alaska!” I love good food and I love spending time with with my mom so this is going to be amazing.

I am happy this year to celebrate our moms by sharing with you this awesome list of gift ideas of my favorite Mother’s Day gift ideas which I hope you find useful and fun!

This post contains affiliate links which I use to keep the office lights on (and coffee.) Read the Disclosure, Terms and Privacy fineprint here, learn about the giveaway rules and note, no product samples were provided for this review and the opinions expressed here are original, unique and my ideas solely.


ENTER TO WIN 4 ROLLS OF DUCT TAPE

Enter our giveawayThanks to the Duck Brand, creators of the original and beautiful Duct Tape, for sponsoring this Mother’s Day Giveaway (ends 6/5/18.) Enter our #giveaway now for your chance to win a choice of 4 rolls of either of Buffalo Plaid or Vintage Floral Duct Tape.

Click here to enter our giveaway for your chance to win 4 rolls of either of these Duct Tape rolls

>> Enter to Win 4 Rolls of Beautiful Duct Tape <<

To enter the Giveaway:

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Last minute Easter basket gift guide round-up

Easter is a great time for finally enjoying the sunshine and spending time with family right?! In this post, I’m including a roundup of last-minute Easter gift guides by other blogs. Check these out as you make last minute Easter basket gift choices.

Feature image by Popsugar.

Whiffer Sniffers make a great Easter basket gift!
Thank you for reading!

-Matt

10 Best Valentine’s Day gifts to give to a friend

When I was in elementary school, every Valentine’s Day my class would exchange greeting cards and now that I’m all grown up (sort of) I always love giving Valentine’s gifts to those I am close to like friends and family. With the simplicity of online shopping, Valentine’s Day gift giving has never been so easy and so I am happy to present you with my 10 best Valentine’s Day gifts that are perfect to give to a BFF, BAE or close friend. This list is not intended for men or women, him or her but for all! Below each product, you’ll see some manufacturer’s socials too.
 

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This post contains affiliate links which I use to keep the office lights on (and coffee.) Read the Disclosure, Terms and Privacy fineprint here, learn about the giveaway rules and note, product samples were provided to our testing dept. for this review however, opinions are original, unique and our ideas solely.

 

1. Hard Cover Journal

This notebook is perfect for writing, taking down thoughts and come with a 70 sheets for your friend to jot down their ideas. Available for Amazon Prime members for $16.

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2. One Line A Day Memory Book

That’s right. This journal leaves you with just enough space to make a one line entry for each day. There’s 365 daily entry spaces in this book x5 to make five years worth of one-liner entries. Pretty cool gift idea for a friend and available for Amazon Prime members for $11.

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3. Prince – Purple Rain Record

Prince was a one-of-a-kind artist and there will never be another like him. Vinyl is where it’s at from a music listening experience and if you know your friend has a record player, this amazing album is a must-have for any audiophiles collection! Available for $29 in Vinyl format from Amazon.

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4. Portable Charcoal Grill

Everyone likes to grill out right? This amazing portable BBQ grill folds up tight for easy storage and can accommodate cooking for a party of two! It’s small and convenient and locks for easy transport! Available from Amazon for $67 and a perfect gift for the BFF or best buddy in your life!

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5. Echo Dot

This second generation Echo Dot by Amazon featuring Alexa is a must-have for the tech-savvy household. My 6-year-old’s favorite request for Alexa is to make her fart! But seriously, the Echo Dot is an entry point to using Alexa to control so many things for example Alexa will help you with: making a phone call, ordering items on Amazon, chat with you when you are lonely or want to look up information, plays music from Amazon Music or many other music streaming services (Pandora is my fav’) and so much more! Listed at $39 on Amazon, this item is a perfect gift for a friend.


6. Canvas Travel Bag

This rugged backpack doubles as a carry-on and has tons of storage for the on the go friend. Perfect for backpacking, work, traveling, hiking, camping, school or other on-the-go needs. Plus it just looks classy and somewhat old school and for $37 on Amazon, it’s time to gear up!


7. Scented Candle

Send this large candle to a friend who will love filling their home with the scent of balsam fir. This candle may ship from Amazon but it is made in Maine, USA and is high quality and will last a long time too. Available for Amazon Prime members for just $19.

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8. Essential Oil Diffuser

I have this very diffuser and it’s such a joy to use. I can fill it and once it’s empty its auto-shutoff feature kicks in. Use this diffuser with or without the LED lights too, which we love. This is the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for the friend in your life and for $15 on Amazon with fast shipping for Prime members, it’s quite the deal.


9. Mini-Espresso Maker

This self-contained miniature espresso maker is small and versatile and with no plugs needed, makes the pefect travel companion fort the espresso aficionado in your life! Grab this hand operated wonder as a Valentine’s day gift for a friend or loved one for just $49 on Amazon.

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10. Quality Time

The best gift to give to a friend is your time. Be present. Show up, listen, say hello and spent time with those you love.


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Sources: REALSIMPLE - HouseBeautiful - CountryLiving - Amazon Wishlist

6 last minute holiday gifts for kids and kidults + Giveaway

***1-28-2018 UPDATE***

Thank you for all your entries! I’m proud to announce the winner of this giveaway is Hesper Fry who has been notified of their win!

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My three boys, who are now 5; 9 and; 13, and I are often given opportunities to test family products and toys and games. Below are some last minute gift ideas that we’ve recently enjoyed which I think will be a hit with the kids or kidult in your life.

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This post contains affiliate links which I use to keep the office lights on (and coffee.) Read the Disclosure, Terms and Privacy fineprint here, learn about the giveaway rules and note, product samples were provided to our testing dept. for this review however, opinions are original, unique and our ideas solely.


Funtastic DIY Robot Kits by The Young Scientists Club

I’ve been given a chance to document a fun new STREAM science kits where we assembled our own robots! (STREAM stands for science technology, robots, engineering, art and math.)

The Young Scientists Club has four new DIY robot kits called Funtastic Robots. Each of the four kits include a robot with light detection; a robot with infrared detection (like your TV clicker/remote); a robot that avoids obstacles and; a metal detecting robot kit. Read more and shop for their four DIY robot kits.

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I loved working together to assemble these robot kits and found the green robot, Hurdle, to be the funnest in action. I secretly love that these DIY Robot kits required that I spend time with my boys and was a great lesson in using communication, teamwork and helping each other. Find these on Amazon or on The Young Scientists Club website for $29.99.

Who’s The Dude by Identity Games USA

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Who’s the Dude is a new party game for teens and kidults ages 16+ where you play charades with a blow up dude who looks like your harry uncle but much cooler with sunglasses, The Dude is Great! Available on Amazon for $24.99 and find The Dude game at retail stores nationwide including Target, Walmart and ToysRus locations. Check out Identity Games videos about Who’s the Dude on their new YouTube channel too!

Tanzky Men’s Leather Dress Belt

I was provided a very nice men’s leather belt by the Tanzky brand in exchange for my opinion. The Tanzky dress belt is very unique and required some assembly too! I unpacked the contents of the belt box which shipped from Amazon and inside were instructions to cut the belt then I fixed the belt strap to the buckle using the supplied instruction steps.

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Once I completed the easy assembly of the belt, I found it to be my favorite belt in my closet. The Tanzky men’s leather belt uses a unique ratchet instead of typical belt holes, when you put it on. It looks very stylish and at around $15, the Tansky belt makes a perfect gift for the Kidult in your life. Plus, it’s available in 29 styles!


Top Trumps Card Games

Top Trumps makes educational playing cards which we play with our kids often. Intended for players ages 6+, the Top Trumps card game decks are for 2-6 players and playing a round of this fun game takes about 15 minutes to complete. Have a look at the Top Trumps decks at https://www.toptrumps.us/All-Packs-s/120.htm Make sure to enter our giveaway for 2 Top Trump card games (and a DIY Robot kit) below.

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For info on to play the game, look on the back of each Top Trumps deck set for instructions or if you look on the how to play section of the website it makes it pretty easy and I know you’ll see that this is the most simple card game which is one of the reasons we love playing it at home with the boys so much! Simple = FUN!


MAX TRAXXX Tracer Racers Remote Control Infinity Loop Set

The Tracer Racers RC Infinity Loop Set by Skullduggery is an addictive, glow-in-the-dark racing set featuring two high speed R/C cars with undercarriage lights which produce tracing light streaks as these speeders fly around the looped tracks. The R/C cars have multiple speeds and are rechargeable too. Price is $119 is for ages 6+.

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Tactical Backpacks

I’ve been shopping for quite some time now for the perfect travel backpack which is both functional with lots of storage while not being bulky; giving me ample compartments for tucking away and carrying my belongings. The Outlaw Sling backpack is my favorite as it also looks the most stylish too!


Enter our Giveaway

WIN 2 Top Trumps Card Games+Metali DIY Robot Kit

I’m so happy to host this giveaway where I will ship to one winner 3 prizes in all: a “Creatures of the Deep” Top Trumps card game, a Fish Top Trumps card game and a Metali DIY Robot kit by The Young Scientists Club.

To enter the Giveaway:

  1. Choose as many steps below as you like to enter
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Giveaway is active NOW and ENDS 1/17/2018 at 8:00 PM CST. ONE winner will drawn using random.org and announced the following week here on this post and an email to the winner. Entrants must be 13+ years or older living in the continental USA, lower 48 States and excludes residents of AK and HI. 

To Enter Our Giveaway, Complete One or All of the Steps Below And Describe How You Entered In The Comment Form Below

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How to get high-speed data in the USA or International broadband Internet while traveling? Skyroam!

Using the Internet while on the road can be a headache for travelers, especially those of us who need to work remote while traveling. Our last BIG family vacation was to New Mexico from our home State of Wisconsin and finding the best option for high-speed Internet was a daunting task which I needed a solution for working while traveling from State to State. As we planned our family vacation from Wisconsin to New Mexico (insert screams of excitement from atop the SKI APACHE ZIP LINE!) a GREAT solution I discovered for how to get broadband, high-speed data for work, while we were physically driving or in a remote location with no wifi connection was Skyroam?

Some of the links in the post are affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you, I may receive a commission which helps me with things like paying for shipping on giveaway items, to keep the lights on, pay my WordPress.com hosting fees, feed my children LOL.

Before stumbling upon Skyroam, I first looked at my mobile provider/carrier, US Cellular prepaid service (similar to post-paid plan but no paper bill in the mail each month) which turns out, when I roam with my current plan, data is capped for my monthly billing cycle at 450 megs of 4G LTE data and then they throttle down speeds to 2G, ugh. This would not work as I needed a solution which had more daily bandwidth!!

I am so thankful for Skyroam and it provided my whole family with high-speed Internet in the truck while traveling or while at the hotel with slow Internet! This excellent service provides up to 500 megs of 4G LTE data daily for as low as $8 per day and you have the choice of renting the Skyroam hotspot device or you purchase the device outright. All you have to do is sign up is visit the Skyroam.com website and enter your travel details and they ship the device directly to you in time for your travel trip.

Connect with Skyroam’s socials at: Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest or visit the Skyroam for more info!

Feature photo by PCMag