Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Creativity Blooms With Cool Maker By Spin Master

Spin Master might as well be a household name for us. We love so many of their toys and games! I have posted previous reviews on some of them. But now we got some more of their Cool Maker line that was really awesome. 

*Disclaimer: I was sent these products in exchange for hosting a party and sharing my own personal review. I was not otherwise paid or endorsed. All opinions are strictly my own.*

Cool Maker aren't your typical girls toys. They are for creativity-boosting play. For learning and designing in fun ways. I was sent these two for a fun online party I did. My daughter demonstrated their uses for our guests while I explained the features. 

Stitching creations!

Style 'N Stitch Fashion Studio was definitely our favorite. My daughter has been learning to sew by hand, but some things are easier to do on a machine. Like her doll clothes creations. As her Mom, however, I worry about needles and fingers being in close proximity on my clumsy girl. With this device, that isn't an issue at all. The needle is safely hidden in the cartridge. There are so many features to love besides that though. There is the fact that it runs automatically. All my girl has to do is line the material up under the guide line and it starts to stitch.
The guide line shows her exactly where her sewing will be. There is a drawer for her to keep the needle threader, which just helps her to adjust the string if it comes out of place. In the drawer, there is also a stamper. With a touch of water, she can add decals to her creations that came with it. There are 2 clamps to hold the material in place for her and help her to maintain that straight stitch. Oh yes, there is a pre-printed cloth inside this kit of hers. It has patterns on it and instructions in the manual that allow her to make things like a hair tie, purse or plushie. I find this is a great addition to teach her about patterns and how they work. Almost forgot a couple more things. The machine has an on/off switch as well as a cutting switch to help if the thread catches. There is a pause switch in case she needs to turn the material and can't keep up while it is running. Should the material get stuck, which has happened, there is a knob on the side that allows her to release it manually. 

While there are a lot of good things about this device, we have noticed there are some cons. I would highly suggest reading the manual as thoroughly as you can. We have learned a lot through it. Like how to get material unstuck - something it has done several times. I'm still trying to understand the threading as it keeps stitching on one side only, meaning that once she stops, the seam just comes apart. On a normal machine, that happens because the bobbin isn't connecting or threaded correctly. I'm hoping we will figure it out though as she really wants to be able to use this machine to make more things. Even I want to use it! 

Braiding and Beading come next

That wasn't all they sent. We also received the KumiKreator Bead & Braider.
This one took a little more practice to get used to. If you don't follow the directions, you find it jams. And heaven forbid your 5 year old think it funny to grab it while the older sibling is trying to turn it... That was a tricky time that required my engineer husband to step in and save the day.
But if you do it right, and it isn't so hard to do that, you can create beautiful necklaces and bracelets.
The spools look like we can even refill them. It has beads you can add to make them more stylish. My older daughter loves it. As her Nana pointed out, they make great gifts she can give away for Christmas (something she loves doing). 

Where to find them

If you want to get your own (Christmas is only 145 days away, just so you know), you can find the KumiKreator at Walmart, Target, and Amazon. The Style 'N Stitch is available at Target. I've also seen other versions on Walmart and Amazon for the sewing machine. You can get more refills too. 

What did you think? Which one strikes your fancy more? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Put Down the Screen and Work the Brain!

 These days, we have a lot more time inside. Between a worldwide pandemic and the weather still dreary outside, you might want to hang out in your house. Kick back and chill. 

If you are my age or older, you may remember fiddling with a Rubik's  cube, wishing you knew the secret to solving it. For the younger people reading this, it was a cube with a bunch of bright colored squares on every side. You had to twist the rows until each side was just one color. They even had (may still have) competitions and champions that make it out like a sport! 

I was always so fascinated by them. About the concept and the creation of something that seems so complex, yet for some is incredibly easy to solve. Today, they have them tucked along with board games as a nostalgia piece. Not nearly as popular as they once were. Maybe it is time to bring that popularity back...

*Disclaimer: I was contacted by the company to do a review post. I may receive compensation if you click product links. All opinions, however, are my own.*

Cube Life

How many of you can remember the Rubik's Cube? Was it hours of fun, or did you end in frustration? Talk about a brain teaser! I would have to take breaks from frustration, but I still loved the challenge. In my adult life, I even met a deaf guy who was a champion at Rubik's Competitions. He traveled around the world finding extreme ways to solve the puzzle. Best one, was underwater! It was fascinating to watch. And inspired a desire to strive for such great feats. I say inspired a desire. I won't be trying anything so extreme... 

However! Those challenges have led to some amazing competitions. Check this one guys stats page out for example; Feliks Zemdegs. This guy has lightning fast fingers that really know a cube. 

Now, let's be realistic. Not all of us will ever achieve half of what he has. However, that does not mean we shouldn't at least try. Working a Cube can work wonders on your brain power. Just look at some of the videos they have on the website. When he gets a cube, he looks it over before solving it. He has to plan his strategy. And who better to start with than GANCube? 

GANCube

 GANCube. They have a great variety of styles to choose from. But they don't just sell you the cube and leave you to yourself to learn the process of solving it. They have tutorials that encourage you along. 

Weather has been extreme. As has illness. Ever since the pandemic - those have been the two things that keep most people cooped up in their homes. I have been working more on puzzles and crafting than ever before. And that is all these cubes are - puzzles! Hours of fun and concentration in the palm of your hand. While working that brain muscle to boot.  

What they have to offer

Cubes are more than what I remember. With competition comes ingenuity. With technology, comes advancement in the game. For the younger generation that enjoys getting fancy with tech and fun, they have you covered! Check out the GAN356 i 2 model. This connects to your smart phone. It helps you train. Uses an AI assistance. And even has global battles for you to try out.

My personal favorites are the Alien Cubes. They are odd shaped and add to the challenge. 
This last one, threw me for a loop. GAN356 X cube. This one is made for Speedcubers. Going fast, yet staying accurate. 
 
 This company is based in China and their products are shipped from there. So remember to be patient and don't order something you need delivered too quickly. I don't like walking into an order unknowing that it will take at least 3 weeks, so I didn't want to leave that surprise there for you either. 
 
Let me know what you think! Are you a fan of the cubes? Leave me a comment below.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Bath Time Fun!

Have you ever heard that throwing some glow sticks in the bath and letting the kids bathe in the dark could be fun? Well, I have. And we have tried it! My 5 year old thought it was awesome. But glow sticks are a one-time deal. Short-lived fun. I wanted to make it a little longer-lasting. And thanks to a company that had something fun to try out - we have a solution! 

*Disclaimer: I was sent this product in exchange for a review. I was not otherwise paid or endorsed. All opinions are strictly my own.*

I was contacted about doing a review on some LED underwater lights! Of course I said yes. I mean, I knew we were moving, but let's face it - I can always make some time for fun! 

They are on Amazon. You can get free shipping on them if you have Prime or even if you buy other qualifying items that give the free shipping option. So that is my first bonus. I don't have Prime, but I like to wait and order multiple things at once for the free shipping. Only when I know there are things I need to get! 

Bonus number two - this thing works underwater! You can light up a pool, the tub, a sink! Whatever you want to add a small light to. It would work as a nightlight in the bathroom sink. My daughters like taking baths in the dark with it hanging in the tub. If we do ever get a pool, I'm setting up these lights for fun night swimming! 

Next good thing that I like about it is the remote option. With a click of the remote, I can easily switch between the options of how it lights up. 

Then there are the suction cups. They hold pretty well. Easily slide them into place. There was also a spare one in case I needed it. 

Lastly, is the charging function. I can plug it in for charging using the USB cord that came with it. So if I'm working, I can plug it in the laptop and have it ready when I'm taking my evening bath. Just don't forget to put the waterproof plug back in to keep the water out of the inner workings. 

And that is it! Awesome? Or not so much? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Israel Favorites: Where to Shop!

Every time we go on a trip, we are bound to buy something, yes? Going to Israel was no different. I went with certain items in mind, and I left with other things I hadn't even thought of! 

Shkalim Fashions: We were recommended this shop as some friends in our group, who have been going for many years, had high praise for Uri. This guy is amazing! He is friendly, loves to make friends with his customers and goes beyond your average service to make people happy. We bought a shirt and jacket for my husband, as well as a jacket for me. When I had begun the packing process and checked the weather in Israel, it was saying it would be around 60 degrees. I packed for cooler weather, but didn't think I'd need a heavy coat or more than my sweater. I was incredibly wrong! So getting an IDF fleece jacket from Uri's shop was tremendously helpful to me. I wore it every day for the rest of the trip. His shop was within walking distance of the Dan Boutique where we were staying, just down Ben-Yehuda Street in Jerusalem, Israel. If you take a trip to Israel, you MUST stop in and see him. He has a wide variety of clothing, not just your average tourist-type clothing. Each time we stopped in, people were coming and going, always with a smile. I've included a website link for his shop. There are many things missing from the online store that he had in the shop. From Harley Davidson shirts, to funny sayings. One that I hope to get next is the Sababa shirt. It was something that our tour guide, Shraga, kept saying. My husband has the IDF Softshell Jacket. I have the IDF Fleece Jacket. Amazingly good quality. My husband also got the Jerusalem Coordinates T-shirt from there. That one is super soft and comfortable.

The Garden Tomb: At the end of the trip, we made a stop here. Sobering, yet joyful at the same time. The shop here had so many amazing things. They sell more of these olive wood communion cups that we had gotten as a part of taking our communion in the garden and little carved pendants.

This is where I also found a cross for my mother. It was carved from olive wood and each end reminded me of the fleur-de-lis shape.
My husband purchased this model to set up in our home. I could have stayed and shopped more, but we were getting low on our spending money and had to get back on the road. This is another place that I highly recommend. Especially for gifts to take home to family and friends.

Genesis Land: We had a wonderful lunch here, after riding a camel. Once all that fun was over, we were allowed some time to shop. They have a beautiful little shop there that focuses on local artists and products. This is where I purchased some date honey. I had no idea it was such a thing! They also gave me a recipe to make the date honey chicken that we had had for lunch. It was delicious and I have since made some back home! My husband and I are planning to order more later on from them. As well as perhaps more za'atar spice. We LOVE using it in our cooking here!