Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review: Pure Fun Kid's Jumper Trampoline from CSN Store

When I first saw the Pure Fun Kid's Jumper Trampoline, I was concerned that my daughters might be constantly hitting their heads on the hand-rail. As parents we've all heard the stories of kids hurt on trampolines, so naturally I was concerned. However, after a small amount of use, it became clear that the hand-rail not only wasn't a danger to them but actually did the job it purported to do (help them stay upright) reasonably well. This by far is one of the best items we have bought from the CSN Stores when it comes to price, shipping and overall fun of the item.

The construction of the trampoline isn't entirely easy. But, honestly, we're talking about something that needs to be both very sturdy and well balanced. Of course the parts are going to be difficult to fasten together. (Also, pay close attention to the orientation of the pieces as you assemble them. They can go together a number of ways until you get further along and then realize one or two of them are backwards.) Not until all of them are in place are they going to counter-balance each other properly. So each step of construction until the last step involves pieces that are trying as hard as they can to separate from one another. :) We also received one with orange foam instead of the pink that's pictured on the site.

But once it's assembled and set up, the girls immediately loved it (2 and 5 years old). It's amazing how something as simple as standing in place and bouncing can entertain a child so well. Naturally, they use it with other toys (pretending their dolls are jumping on it, pretending it's a pool for their dolls since the internal fabric is light blue, etc.) and as an all-purpose play platform. And it's more than sturdy enough to facilitate these creative endeavors.

Like I said earlier, as a parent I wasn't entirely sure about this one. But my kids have convinced me that it's safe and fun. And the fact that it's such a simple item means that the kids are naturally more creative with it, which I always endorse. (Kind of like how a large cardboard box is a better toy than an electronic game... because imagination is required to expand its playability.) For the price, I don't think we've ever bought a toy more enjoyed by the kids.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Review: Snikiddy Baked fries

Are you in need of a new healthy snack for your kid? I was given the opportunity to try out Snikiddy Baked Fries. You hear the word fries and think, "Healthy? How?" These snacks are all-natural, gluten- and wheat-free, and have no preservatives, no corn syrup, no trans-fat, no hydrogenated oils, and 50% less fat than regular potato chips! The Baked Fries comes in four flavors: original, ketchup, parmesan garlic, and cheddar cheese.

I was given a sample of the cheddar cheese flavor to try for free and give my honest review of it. The packaging is like any single serving size bag of potato chips but when you open it and look inside the quantity seems higher then most potato chip bags. The 1.0 oz bag has 130 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. One bag of regular potato chips have 240 calories and around 16 grams of fat! One funny thing I did see was that the expiration date for my bag was Dec 15, 2010 unlike some chips I have which are May 9, 2011! A lot can be said about the shelf life and you can see they are serious about the "no preservatives."

The Snikiddy Baked Fries themselves are perfect for my 2 year old. She enjoyed eating a few then going back to playing. If I gave her a bag of potato chips they'd all be gone in a matter of minutes. The cheddar fries are a perfect snack to not fill up your child before meals and also not fill then up with calories and fat. The 1.0 oz bag lasted two days for her with the same amount of snacking she normally does but took in a lot less calories and fat. The cheddar flavor isn't artificial tasting either. You really can taste the cheddar with a crispy crunch.

Overall, I think these are a big hit in my house and I love the nutritional value they have. You can get these on-line at Snikiddy or places like Whole Foods, Kroger, Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us. They also have a facebook promotion going on at

Review: Ice Breaker Frost

What comes to mind when you hear the word "Hershey"? Chocolate, right? But Hershey's also has other products that live up to its name. The new Ice Breakers Frost sugar-free mints is an example of one! They are available in two flavors: Wintercool and Peppermint. These two new mints join the line of Ice Breaker mints (first introduced in 1999) which already come in Coolmint, Wintergreen, Spearmint and Cinnamon flavors. I am fortunate enough to try the Wintercool mint and write an honest review of what I think about them.

First, the packaging. It comes in a easy pocket- or purse-sized container that stays shut when tossed around. The latch is at times hard to open, but I would rather it be hard to open then have little mints all over my purse. Each 1.2 oz container contains around 30 mints. Overall it's a great design.

Second, the mint itself. They are about the size of an M&M. The Wintercool mints, which is a flavor developed by Hershey's, has a minty flavor with a hint of that holiday scent you get while outside in the snow surrounded by pine trees. The mints are sugar-free which is a plus for diabetics and people watching what they eat. One mint contains fewer then 5 calories, no fat or sugar, and no sodium!

Hershey's states, “Ice Breakers Frost mints are designed for those who are looking for a strong mint, but don’t want to sacrifice taste." "The mints feature the same great flavor of our core Ice Breakers mints, which is then frosted with a combination of xylitol, cooling and flavor crystals for a uniquely powerful taste and texture,” said Anna Lingeris, spokeswoman for Ice Breakers Frost mints and The Hershey Company. “The result is a satisfying and powerfully cool taste experience.” When they say strong they mean it. I bit into one and it was intense to the point it kind of hurt. My mouth and throat felt like an ice cube had frozen them and breathing in was very cold. I drank some hot liquid and fixed myself right up. So I DO NOT suggest biting these like you do to tic tacs and such.

Overall, I enjoy these mints. They are the right size and flavor for when you need to cleanse your mouth after that onion ring you ate! You can get these at participating mass, grocery, drug and specialty retailers.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

CSN Stores Review for the holidays

The holiday season is on its way and that means it's time to shop! Our kids have made out like bandits every Christmas and always ended up with one or two "big" items amid a sea of smaller items. We're running out of room in the house! This Christmas may see less size but more substance. Honestly, as a mom, I think in practical terms. They could use new sling backpacks for school, since their old backpacks are getting a little worn. But that hardly brings out the magic of Christmas for a child now does it? :)

Perhaps we'll focus our attention now on some educational toys for the kids from the CSN Stores. Building sets, educational computer games, maybe some outdoor learning activities since they like to go out into nature with daddy all the time. I imagine they'd love some of those bug catcher science toys, though I dread the idea of them bringing home bugs in plastic cages that they will invariably leave open and laying around the house! We'll just have to see what Santa decides to bring :)