Category: review

Checking Out the Toyota Prius Prime

I was invited to the New England International Auto Show in Boston and while I was there I was introduced to the new Toyota Prius Prime.

It’s not just a hybrid, it’s electric (boogie, woogie, woogie). It’s a hybrid that you can charge electrically, yes gas and electricity.

The new Prius Prime has several of the regular features, but it also has several, what I call “fancy” features.

Kraus House Mom

The Prius Prime has

  • Rain sensing intermittent windshield wipers
  • Heated outside, folding mirrors
  • Remote A/C
  • Pollen filtration system
  • 11.6 inch HD navigation/multimedia display
  • Hands-free, voice recognition capability
  • Satellite radio
  • Back up camera
  • 60/40 fold-down rear seat
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Smart key system
  • Charging cable for standard outlet
  • Collision detection, lane departure alert, steering assist
  • Emergency Roadside Assistance
  • Intelligent parking
  • Hill start assist
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Estimated driving range 640 miles, EV mode driving range 25 miles (up to 84 mph)
  • Starting MSRP $27,100

These are just a small smattering of what available in the Prius Prime (not all features are available on all models). Besides having all these features, there are also tax advantages available for owning an electric car, they do vary depending on your state.

If you’re in the market for a new car, want to lessen your carbon footprint, save money on gas (and possibly on your taxes) then I suggest you head to your nearest Toyota dealer and check out the new Prius Prime.


Disclosure: I was provided entry to the auto show to facilitate this post, all opinions are completely my own.


Stella Built a House with Arckit

If you have a young builder on your list or a budding architect, then I have a toy for you.

I was sent Arckit GO Colors to review. It was nominated for Best Construction Toy of the Year by the Toy Industry Association.

Arckit Go

What is it? It’s a creative, free form model making system that opens the world of architecture to everyone.It’s a fun way to learn design skills using large floor plates and easy “click and connect” components make this perfect for budding architects.

Well, it was really for Stella, she loves to build. She couldn’t wait, she loves to have houses for her small toys.

When she opened it the first thing she was thrilled about was that all the pieces came in a big ziptop bag, she didn’t have to worry about them getting lost. (Great thinking in the packaging department.)

Kraus House Mom

The instructions are all illustrated, step by step.

I’m not going to lie, she got stuck on some parts. That was because she wasn’t paying close enough attention to which pieces she was using.

Once she realized she was using the wrong piece (a four block instead of a three block) she was good to go. She had the house together in less than an hour.

There are interactive directions on the website (which I suggested she look at) but she wanted nothing to do with it. She was going to figure it out on her own.

It is kind of a challenge to get the ceiling for the first floor on, it takes patience, but she got it done.

Kraus House Mom

She was thrilled to have a new house for her room.

Kraus House Mom

The age suggestion is 10+ and Stella is 8, if it can be built, she’ll get it done.

Stella says she wants a to build an entire neighborhood.

Now, do you have a builder on your list?

There is a sale going on now. You could save up to 30% off the various kits.
Check out Arckit and be amazed.

Shop for the best Black Friday deals on Arckit A60, A120 and A240.
Save up to 30%!
¨Buy Arckit A60 and add an Arckit Mini kit of your choice FREE (Coupon Code: BF2016A60)
¨Buy Arckit A120 and select 2 Arckit Mini kits of your choice FREE (Coupon Code: BF2016A120)
¨Buy Arckit A240 and choose 3 Arckit Mini kits FREE (Coupon Code: BF2016A240)
Add sets from the new Arckit range and take 15% off of each-this weekend only!

I was given an Arckit Go Colors to facilitate this review, but all opinions are completely my own.

Designing with Gemmies

Kraus House Mom

We were sent the Gemmies Design Studio and some Gemmies Activity Packs to review and if there’s anything that Stella loves, it’s a crafty kit.

She was so excited when this arrived. She immediately opened one of the smaller activity packs and went to work.

We opened the Design Studio Create Your Own Kit and it was magnificent. There is storage for all the beads and elastics. Then to top it off, there’s a light up display area where you can place your finished designs.

Kraus House Mom

The kits come with template cards for specific designs. We started to make the ice cream cone. I’m not going to lie, this is where frustration set in…for both of us.

The elastics and beads are easy to maneuver at first, but connecting them takes some finesse.

At times the directions are tricky to follow, but manipulating the beads to match the card helps.

The hardest part was at the end, trying to connect the ends together. She couldn’t get them to connect without other beads falling off, sending her into a mini fit.

We tried another design and she ran into the same problem.

Since the name is “Design Your Own” she decided to start making her own designs.

Kraus House Mom

Within fifteen minutes she made not one, but two bracelets for her and her sister and another for her doll.

Kraus House MomKraus House Mom

She is determined to make the designs that are on the templates and I am sure she will succeed.

Did we like Gemmies? Absolutely!

This is fantastic for anyone that wants to create and sparkle.

You can check Stella out here…


Disclosure: I received these products in order to facilitate this review, all opinions are strictly my own.

Flipping for Triple Flip

I received some clothes from Triple Flip for my girls to review and let me tell you, they are in love.

Have you noticed girls clothes lately?

Especially for tweens, the choices are less than appealing. They are either geared toward little girls or for budding floozies. My girls are neither.

This is when, unfortunately, many girls start to feel self-conscious about what they wear.

One of my daughters is very tall and very slim. Oh yea, and she refuses to wear jeans. So many times when she gets leggings, the are too short. Not anymore.

My youngest is always moving, CONSTANTLY! Not to mention, she a bit of a fashionista. She’s covered.

How do you feel about a company that’s mission is to encourage body confidence and a healthy self-image?

If you want this for your daughter, then you need to check out Triple Flip. They are Canada’s best-selling brand of tween activewear and accessories. Best of all, they’re available in the US.

The fit of Triple Flip clothes isn’t like ordinary styles. They’re shaped differently, to flatter all girls.

Let me tell you both of my girls are in love with Triple Flip.

Maizie received a pair of Accelerate Leggings and a Valley Tee.

Triple Flip
She even wants to sleep in them

It finally cooled down enough here to wear leggings and I don’t thing I will ever get them off of her. They are so soft it is insane. She has told me no less than seven times how great and comfortable her leggings are. She has also worn her Valley Tee constantly as well.
Stella received a pair of Full Force Legging and a Kira Tee. She loves how easy it is for her to do cartwheels in her super soft leggings. She has worn her Kira Tee a few times, she likes how it “goes out on the sides” (the fit is more a-line than a regular t-shirt).

Triple Flip
They move with her

We spend A LOT of time a sporting events, sitting around watching and waiting for games and these are the perfect combination of comfort and style.

I see several more Triple Flip purchases in my future.

Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Be The Cool Mom With Whiffer Sniffers

Kraus House Mom

Do you want to be the coolest mom ever?

I can tell you how.

Whiffer Sniffers!

I was sent some Whiffer Sniffers to review, and now my kids think I am the greatest. They can’t wait to show them off when school starts.

What are Whiffer Sniffers?

Just the cutest, best smelling backpack clips I have ever seen.

The Original Whiffer Sniffers are high-quality scented plush characters with quirky personalities to match their scents.

When the box arrived and I told my kids that Whiffer Sniffers were inside, the first thing Stella said was that she hoped there was popcorn backpack clip in there. There was, and it smells great.

Kraus House Mom

Not only are there Backpack Clips (the ultimate school yard collectible), there are also Super Sniffers; which are 12 inch huggable plush pals that also smell spectacular. (Maizie jumped right on that one and hasn’t given it up yet.)

Kraus House Mom

I thought that only my girls would want them, nope. Teddy couldn’t wait to give them a sniff and he wants to put some on his backpack as well. Although I do think it may be a ploy get his lady friends interested.

To add to the excitement, there are also Mystery Packs…what kids doesn’t love a mystery pack? Here is where the rare characters are hiding. You may even score a super rare gold bag, a mix of two existing characters.

The Backpack Clips we received were popcorn, doughnut, and strawberry. Our Mystery Packs were apple and chocolate chip and our Super Sniffer was strawberry cupcake.

Kraus House Mom

Once you, as a parent sniff these, you will be thrown back to your childhood. Whiffer Sniffers will take you back to all your scented toys and accessories (especially if you grew up in the 80s). Not to mention that there are also Scratch ‘n’ Sniff Stickers!

You can find them here…

The Original Whiffer Sniffers Everything Else Just Stinks

You can watch the Kraus Kids as they first check out Whiffer Sniffers here

Disclosure: I was given Whiffer Sniffers to review, but all opinions are strictly my own.

Hot New Collectibles…Surprizamals!

I was offered the opportunity to review Surprizimals™ by the Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Company and let me tell you, I jumped at the chance. If there is something that is hidden in some sort of container, my kids want it desperately. It doesn’t matter what it is. Blind bags, mystery bags, grab bags, things from the claw machine, it doesn’t matter, they NEED it.

Then you throw in the girls’ love of stuffed animals and now you have a winning combination.

My girls can barely fit in their own beds because they have so many. In fact I had to find a place for Maizie to put her because she was only sleeping on four inches of her bed.

Put together stuffed animals and mystery containers and what do you have? Surprizimals™.

Kraus House Mom
They’re on Stella’s bed…surprise, surprise!

They are a new line of collectible plush stuffed animals made of soft, high quality plush that hide in surprise packaging called Surprizaballs. Series one has twelve characters, with over 60 new characters to collect in series two launching in fall of 2016 (the Wackies, Cutie and Mini Surprizamals™)

They are retailing from $2.99 to $4.99 and are available exclusively at

What did we think about them?

I can’t believe how great these are, and the Kraus Kids fell in love with them.

They come in these round plastic balls and you can’t tell which one you’re going to get, it adds to the suspense.

The kids and I thought they are going to be small, like the stuffed animals that hang from backpacks, but they are not. We were shocked at their size.

Kraus House Mom
They’re sitting down too

Don’t get me started on how soft they are.

Teddy was skeptical on them, he’s a boy and wasn’t sure. He figured that they would be “a girl thing”. He ended up opening the panda, which happened to match some of his other toys, go figure. He was impressed with how soft, cute and big it was.

Just like other mystery collectibles, there are “tiers”;  common, collector, rare and ultra rare. We opened Hailey the unicorn (collector), Mandy the panda (rare) and Ellie the elephant (rare).

Kraus House Mom
The collection

Not only do you get the plush animal, inside each ball they come with their own matching activity sheet and stickers, bonus!

Kraus House Mom
Kraus House Mom
The stickers

The Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Company really has a winner with Surprizamals™. My kids want to collect all of them!

Here’s the unboxing video the Kraus Kids did…

For more information, visit

Disclosure: I was sent Surprizamals™ to review, but all opinions are completely my own.

Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere


I received the Bubble Windstorm and the Bubble Flurry from Bubble Blitz and Imperial Toys to review with my kids. The second that box arrived at our house, they couldn’t wait to open it and see what was inside.

Bubble Blitz bonanza
Bubble Blitz bonanza
Bubble Windstorm: Create endless streams of bubbles with the Bubble Windstorm! This incredible bubble machine shoots hundreds of Bubble Blitz bubbles into the air at the press of a button.
Bubble Flurry: Dip the handheld Bubble Flurry’s wand into bubble solution and press the button to make hundreds of bubbles in seconds.

Once they opened it it was a race to the park to give it a try; we wanted plenty of room to use the bubbles. (They do require two AA batteries each.)

Let the bonanza begin
Let the bonanza begin

I was amazed at the amount of bubbles these created. They were everywhere and it was fantastic. The bubble solution is scented which was an added bonus.

So many bubbles, so much fun!
So many bubbles, so much fun!

The amount of bubbles created was crazy, I can’t get over it.

Bubble Blitz bubble toys can be found at Target, Walmart and other retailers. In March you can also get 25% off all bubble products at with the promo code CELEBLITZ.

My kids have had several bubble toys over the years, but this takes the cake.

Disclosure: I was given the products to review, but the opinions expressed are completely my own.

Sunblocking with Block Island Organics #Review

You know that person that burns in the sun, no matter how much sunscreen is put on? Well, that’s my daughter Maizie.
I can apply it every half an hour and the girl will still get a burn. It gets to the point where she’s smacking me away causing a huge scene (okay, it’s probably me causing the scene because that’s how I roll).
I was given the opportunity to try Block Island Organics Sunscreen. I figured, it’s organic and it’s local.

Block Island Organics grew out of Koru Eco Spa and a desire to provide safe, effective, and pleasing suncare products.

Our mission is to give everyone access to safe, effective, and lovable non-toxic suncare products. We believe in living outside and enjoying the sun and not hiding from it. With a little sun knowledge and the right sunscreen you can live our mantra: “Play Smart, Play Safe.”

I believe when you want something tested for quality assurance, it should be under the harshest conditions. If you’re going to test an umbrella, do it during a torrential downpour, not a light drizzle.
Well, I tested Block Island Organics under some harsh conditions. I used the fairest of them all (Maizie) in Disney World, on a 90 degree sunny day.

My husband slathered her up with the SPF 40 and we were off to the Magic Kingdom for the day. He did say it was kind of thick when he put it on, but once it was rubbed in, she didn’t have a greasy sunscreen feel to her. I feel that if it’s a bit thicker, it’s easier to see if you’ve missed any spots.
All day Maizie kept checking her shoulders to see if it was working, it was. By the end of the day, she was going on and on about how great the new sunscreen worked (believe me, she’s a tough critic).

This was at the end of the day…NOTHING!!

With it being organic, being local (in Rhode Island) and having the convenience of the ingredients listed on their website so you can check their EWG ratings, I say Block Island Organics is a winner.
You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as well.
Happy Sunning!!

Loving Cheese…Sargento Ultra Thin #Review

It’s no secret I love cheese, it’s my favorite food. When I was given the opportunity to review Sargento Ultra Thin I was thrilled.
I received my Voxbox from Influenster and inside was not only the voucher and a coupon for Sargento Ultra Thin, but a snazzy lunch bag as well. BONUS!!

My VoxBox

I brought my post workout snack in my new Sargento lunch bag
I took my sidekick with me to pick out my (yes my) cheese. Stella saw they had Swiss (her favorite), so I got Swiss and Pepper Jack. I couldn’t wait to try it.

My sidekick and I took a while deciding on which flavors

Sargento Ultra Thin is great in sandwiches and just to shovel into your mouth (that’s how I ate most of mine).
Pepper jack and turkey sandwich
I made sure my husband knew that I needed to know what he thought of it. He confirmed my experience. The Sargento Ultra Thin slices melt beautifully, whether in the microwave or just placed on hot scrambled eggs.

Melting over a burger

Adding an extra kick to my morning
They only have 45 calories or less per slice which is great and they are full of flavor.

Disclaimer:  I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. The opinions are all mine.

Dolls and Jewelry, What More Could One Want?

Now is the time of year that you look over your Christmas list and see who you need to buy for. If you have a little girl on your list, I’ve got the gift for you. Our Generation Me & You Jewellery Kit is perfect for that doll lover on your list.
Stella and Maizie were given the opportunity to try out the Our Generation Me & You Jewellery Kit and they were thrilled.

What is it? It is a craft kit that coordinates with Our Generation dolls  (sold exclusively at Target) and little girls. The kit makes bracelets for girls and for the dolls as well.
Stella love dolls and jewelry, she almost exploded with joy when this came into the house and Maizie wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass her by.  They begged and pleaded to get started.
The kit comes with three bracelets for the girls and two for the dolls. There are five ribbons to make the bracelets and four sets of string to embellish them. What more could a girl want?

The hardest decision was which ribbon to use on which bracelet. Once the decisions were made, we started. It took a few tries to get the hang of it, but once we did, it only took a few minutes to complete the bracelet.

The girls couldn’t wait to get them onto the dolls (and themselves).

Stella wore her bracelets to school every day.

*Disclosure-I was given a Our Generation doll and the Me & You Jewellery Kit to facilitate this post, but as always the opinions are all my own.