It Really Does Have Everything

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new barbie dreamhouse review

New Barbie Dreamhouse Review 

Barbie has new digs, did you know? Yes, it’s true, after a summer of travels, Barbie realized her heart will always belong in Malibu where she returned to move into her newly renovated, ultra-glam Dreamhouse. Which, like Barbie, really does have everything.

My girls, ages four and seven, love Barbie. It is one of their favorite things to play, so when I was contacted about receiving this new Barbie Dreamhouse for review, I jumped at the chance.

I grew up playing with Barbies with my sister. I always longed for the Dreamhouse back then, but we never got one. Sometimes I wonder if my girls realize just how lucky they are!

My Girls’ Favorite Features: 

Accessories: The set comes with many little fun accessories including plates, cups, food, utensils, laptop, hair dryer, soap, hair brushes, puppy, pet bed and bone, etc. It wasn’t until I was playing Barbies with my girls one day that I noticed that all the kitchen pieces were designed to be “plugged in” to all the surfaces so they stay in place in the cupboards and on the table. Brilliant!

Sounds: All throughout the house, there are buttons you can press for very clear, loud sounds, like a ringing doorbell, blender, hair dryer, flushing toilet, and our favorite, Barbie singing a very catchy tune in the shower, la la la la la la la la la. It will stay in your head, believe me.

Elevators: Perhaps the most intriguing and magical part of the new Barbie Dreamhouse are the two, yes, two working elevators. The Dreamhome can be expanded so the elevator can goes up the middle to the three different levels. There is also a wardrobe elevator that goes from Barbie’s walk-in closet to the bathroom below.

Six Rooms for Playing Fun: The home includes six rooms for different Barbie play scenarios. There is a kitchen with pink stainless steel kitchen appliances, walk-in closet with desk/vanity, bathroom, dining room with light up chandelier, bedroom with extra bed for sleepovers, and a living room with a flatscreen TV that changes channels and a balcony for indoor/outdoor living.

GirlsBarbie

Things to Note:

Assembly: Luckily I have a handy hubby who can assemble  because that is not one of my strengths. I can barely put a battery into something. He said some of the instructions were a tad confusing, but he was able to figure it out. Assembly was time consuming but not terribly difficult.

Lots of small parts: This toy is definitely not for little ones as there are a lot of small parts. For my girls ages, it is perfect.

It’s plastic: It’s plastic construction, so some things will come apart with play. Periodically I will have to reattach the front door, or the balcony, or some other piece. It doesn’t break – but things can come undone. And sometimes the elevator sticks. No biggie, but want you to know.

It’s big: The new Barbie Dreamhouse is big. Bigger than life big, and actually taller than my 4-year-old. It’s about 4′ wide, when expanded, is about 1 1/2′ deep and 43″ tall. Just something to keep in mind when you thinking of where you will keep it.

Case of random flushing: My husband and I think this is quite hilarious. There have been a couple times when the toilet has flushed when no one is playing with it. It is Halloween time. Maybe a Barbie ghost has come for a visit?

BarbieCloset

What Mom Loves the Most 

For little girls, I think playing Barbie is so wonderful for imaginary play. I will overhear my girls coming up with all sorts of funny scenarios when they are playing with Barbie, and this new Dreamhouse is so wonderful for igniting the imagination.

The other day, I caught my little one above going through all of our Barbie shoes to organize them in Barbie’s walk in closet. She then decided that the drawer below should be for all the purses. Disregard bed placement in the closet, for some reason she likes it in there, and with Barbie, there are no rules.

Where to Buy 

The new Barbie Dreamhouse is available at Walmart and retail stores nationwide; MSRP = $184.99. However, when writing this post, I noticed several retailers have the Barbie Dreamhouse on sale now, so it might be a good time to buy if you are thinking of it for a holiday gift!

I highly recommend this product; it has provided hours and hours of entertainment for my girls (and mom too!) I hope you have found this new Barbie Dreamhouse review to be helpful.

Disclosure: I participated in this sponsored campaign for One2One Network. I received monetary compensation and product to facilitate my post, but all opinions stated are my own, of course. 

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Carpooling? There’s an App for That

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shared calendar carpool app

This post is on a shared calendar carpool app called the Cozi Family Organizer ~ a total and complete life saver for me this school year because 2 kids + 2 different schools + 4 different drop off and pick up times = a whole lot of chauffeuring.

So myself and two neighbors got smart and decided to organize an official carpool schedule of who could do what “leg” of the drop offs and pick ups for the week. What was simple in concept turned out to be not so simple to keep track of. One mom doesn’t have a car to fit everyone (there are four carpooling kiddos), so some days she takes three kids, some days two and the other mom takes one or two.  To make things more complicated, some girls go straight to gymnastics some days, the others home.

This is not even accounting for the days when you have last minute changes like, “grandma is actually going to pick up Emma today, she doesn’t need a ride home” sort of thing.

It gave me a headache and I wondered how we were going to keep it all straight? Then I thought, they MUST make shared calendar carpool apps, right?

I soon discovered carpooling apps definitely exist, but finding one that met our needs was a little more challenging.

First off, I needed an app where at least three moms could all share the same “live” calendar to stay up to date with the latest.

Secondly, I needed an app where I could enter more than one person’s name for any given leg, since some days there are two moms driving to drop off or pick up.

I finally found her, the best carpool app and my new best friend Cozi.

It is actually meant to be a shared family calendar, but the three of us use it like a little carpooling family.

Every person is color coded, you can see a description of what kids are riding in what leg and who is driving, you can view by the day or week. It’s awesome.

The app is FREE, but we ended up splitting the $29.99 yearly upgrade fee to get Cozi Gold. Having this app ad-free alone is worth $30/year along with the monthly view, but the most important feature of Cozi Gold is the “alert feature.

That means when I go into Cozi to take my daughter off of pick-up because grandma is getting her, I can click to “Alert” whomever I select and they will get an email notification of the change. Brilliant.

No emailing or texting changes, they are all made directly in the calendar!!!!  I LOVE IT.

So if you are a carpooling mom, cozy up to Cozi. You will heart it as much as I do.

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Mickey’s Halloween Party 2013

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Mickey's Halloween Party 2013

Mickey’s Halloween Party 2013 at Disneyland Resort is creating a spooktacular good time for families and I am here to share the frightfully fun details with you!

My family will be heading to Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland tomorrow night for a special Media Event. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with hashtag #HalloweenTime to see what boo-tiful festivities can be found at this special party.

Mickey’s Halloween Party is a separate ticket event during the Halloween Time season on the following nights: Friday, Sept. 27; Tuesday, Oct. 1; Friday, Oct. 4; Tuesday, Oct. 8; Friday, Oct. 11; Tuesday, Oct. 15; Friday, Oct. 18; Monday, Oct. 21; Wednesday, Oct. 23; Friday, Oct. 25; Monday, Oct. 28; Wednesday, Oct. 30; and Thursday, Oct. 31.

Adults and kids alike are welcome to wear their Halloween costumes and can trick-or-treat at stations throughout Disneyland and collect both candy and healthy treats (love it!)

The separate ticket price includes:

~ Mix in with regular Disneyland guests for 3 hours prior to the start of Mickey’s private party
~ Monsters U Dance Party at Tomorrowland Terrace (NEW!)
~ Halloween Screams boo-tiful fireworks spectacular
~ Mickey’s Costume Party cavalcade featuring your favorite characters performed twice nightly
~ The Cadaver Dans ghoul quartet, performing in a drifting graveyard-themed raft on the Rivers of America
~ Photo locations with characters
~ Disney Villains prowling the park
~ Lively music, creepy crafts and activities for the family
~ Complimentary parking for one standard-size vehicle

Tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party 2013 purchased in advance are $59 each for select nights; tickets purchased day of the event are $67 each. So it really pays off to purchase your tickets ahead of time.

Tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party 2013 for Weds. 10/30 and Halloween Night, 10/31 are $74 each.

Visit www.Disneyland.com for more information and please follow me tomorrow night!

[Disclosure: My family will receive complimentary media tickets to the event to facilitate a review. All opinions are my own.] 

 

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Oktoberfest Giveaway for the Family!

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Oktoberest

I wrote about our favorite family-friendly Orange County Oktoberfest at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim last year, and this year I have a prize pack giveaway.  Enter below!

You can read last year’s post for all the fun details about our experience.

The Phoenix Club Oktoberfest is knows as the oldest, and most authentic family-friendly Oktoberfest in Southern California.

It opened earlier this month and will run every weekend through Sunday, October 27th.

Sundays are Family Day at Oktoberfest 

Every Sunday, families can enjoy bratwurst, pretzels, Bavarian pastries and of course, German beer in the Biergarten.

Live Oohm Pah bands directly from Germany get the crowd going, so get ready to Chicken Dance with your kids!

The event is always family-friendly, but additional activities for kids on Family Day include choo-choo rides or fire engine hay rides, face painting, pony rides at neighboring Rancho Del Rio Stables for $5.00, a playground, bounce house and more.

I take my family every year and it is one of our favorite annual events where my girls can learn more about their German heritage and enjoy the festivities of this cultural event.

www.ThePhoenixClub.com
Follow The Phoenix Club on Facebook 

Hooray! It’s a Tiny Giveaway!

One lucky winner will win four tickets and $20 in food coupons to The Phoenix Club family friendly Orange County Oktoberfest!

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Oktoberfest Entertainment Schedule

family friendly orange county oktoberfest

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Get in the Orange

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sponsor-banner Orangetheory Fitness Newport Beach

Orangetheory Newport Beach is a unique fitness studio nestled in the Westcliff Plaza at the corner of Irvine Ave. and Westcliff Dr. in Newport, one of my regular shopping destinations.

After their Grand Opening early this year, I was intrigued by this juicy new workout, because of course, we’ve got a citrus bond going on, but beyond my “orange” obsession, I kept hearing people around town raving about this one-of-a-kind workout.

The juice on Orangetheory Newport Beach

You gotta try it mamas. Seriously, after my first workout, I was hooked.

First, a little about the physiological theory behind the workout.

The workout is based on what is known as the “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption” or EPOC theory, which is the exercise “after burn” effect. In this case, the after burn doesn’t mean sore muscles (although those are a common side effect!) but this kind of after burn means an increase to your metabolism and calories burned 24-36 hours AFTER you workout.

afterburn

How is the after burn created? 

Everyone is given a heart rate monitor and POD so you can track your 5 Zone Interval training sessions in the Orange 60 one hour workout.

All the names and heart rate percentages are displayed on a big screen during the hour so you can see exactly how hard you are working.

If you exceed 84% of your maximum heart rate –  you “Get in the Orange” – the sweet spot!

heartrates

To get you into your sweet spot, there are multiple intervals designed to produce 12 – 20 minutes of training within the Orange Zone, to create that after burn effect.

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