Thursday, December 13, 2012

Brain Building with KRE-O

KRE-O Transformers Product Review

As part of the Mom-It-Forward blogger network, I had the opportunity to participate in a review of the KRE-O TRANSFORMERS sets by Hasbro.  Hasbro sent a big box of KRE-O TRANSFORMERS for my two boys (just weeks away from turning 8 and 11), to build, play with, and review.  Pretty awesome – and perfect timing with the holidays and birthdays coming up!   

Okay, now I have to admit up until this point, we have pretty much been a LEGO house.  Two years ago, we also received another brand of "mega" building sets that my boys found to be harder to click together and very frustrating, so we never really ventured beyond LEGO.  When I received this opportunity, I was really curious to see how Hasbro would "stack up" (pun intended!).
For the review, we received 

  • The Destruction Site Devastator set 
  • Cycle Chase
Even though my younger son is just weeks away from turning 8, he’s a pretty talented builder and usually ends up helping his older brother.  After opening the sets, we found that the pieces are high quality, they click together easily, and the directions are easy to follow. The KRE-O sets say that they work with other major brands of building sets, and we found that to be true - they snapped right into our other brand bricks without a problem.

Destruction Site Devastator Set

The Destruction Site Devastator set is the ultimate gift for advanced builders ages 8 and up.  It is 9 sets in one - kids can build four construction vehicles, four construction robots, or the massive Decepticon robot Devastator.  The Destruction Site Devastator set was perfect since my boys decided to share in the building.  Both boys still had a chance to choose their own individual projects, yet once they were done, they were able to trade off and build something totally different, all using the same bricks.  With all of the possibilities, this set will last a long time in our house.  

When building the smaller components, the pieces are not initially organized by project.  You will have to open all the baggies to find the pieces for your project.  This actually turned out to be a good exercise in teamwork/cooperation - my boys had to work together and help each other find various pieces from all the piles.  The robots/vehicles are divided into two books of instructions - again perfect for two kids.  Once a figure is built (we started with the robots), all of those same pieces can be used to build the coordinating vehicle using the same book of directions.  If your child builds one robot, he/she can take that robot to a friend's house or restaurant along with the directions and they will have all the necessary pieces to build the vehicle.

Cycle Chase

Cycle Chase is great for beginning builders ages 6 and up and great for kids who may like smaller projects. The motorcycle in this set has a “rocket launcher” on the front that actually works.  My kids have done other building sets with rockets or missiles that launch, but the pieces that Hasbro uses for this Cycle Chase launcher seem cooler than launchers from other sets.  The Cycle Chase set and other smaller sets, like Decepticon Ambush, make great presents for the holidays or birthdays.  These smaller size sets are also great to take on a trip or to a restaurant when you need something to keep young hands and minds occupied.  And because this smaller set comes with 4 complete figures, it’s also great for shared play.

KREON Figures

Both sets also come with fun KREON figures, featuring Autobots and Decepticons.  My boys like the flexibility of the KREON figures – switching out the bodies, legs, and heads. My younger son immediately pointed out the fact that the legs rotate and swivel around in all directions, unlike other brand figures with legs that only move back and forth.


Building block sets such as KRE-O require kids to use their visual/spatial skills and fine motor skills.  With all of the technology and video games out there today geared towards this age group, it’s nice to find a brain building activity, especially for boys, that provides an alternative to computer/video games.  According to a British study done in 2010, kids who are experts with toy building bricks are more agile with their hands and can typically solve problems faster than the average person.  Improved visual/spatial skills help with geometry and other math/science subject areas, engineering, and even day to day tasks (such as navigating using a map or other tasks that require visualization).

The Verdict?

Thumbs up Hasbro! Both sets provided hours upon hours of fun, and we haven’t even made it through all of the possibilities yet. Once my boys had two of the robots built, they wanted to play with them for a while before building more.  The robot figures held up well to playing and don't seem to fall apart easily, which has been a complaint of ours with some other building sets. If you are looking for a holiday gift that the kids can continue to play with after the other presents are unwrapped, definitely check out the KRE-O sets. I was impressed with the quality, clear directions, versatility, and fun themes.  As a bonus for parents, KRE-O sets don’t require batteries, don’t involve “screen time”, and are pretty much a quiet hands-on activity (until they start running around the house with the Transformers chasing each other!).  

I would definitely recommend KRE-O TRANSFORMERS sets, as well as other Hasbro KRE-O building sets as a great option for holiday or birthday gifts.  You are not only giving a gift that provides hours of fun building and hours of creative play, but you are also giving the gift of brain building through visual-spatial skills, fine motor coordination, and dexterity. If you happen to have several kids who choose to work together like mine did, it also encourages teamwork and cooperative play.  So Hasbro, you have 3 new fans (including mom)!

More KRE-O TRANSFORMERS Sets by Hasbro

We also received some information on other sets that are available - while I haven’t seen these sets in person, these sets sound like a lot of fun as well:
  • The Battle For Energon which includes pieces to build two of the most iconic Transformer characters – heroic Optimus Prime and evil Megatron – all in one set!

  • KREON Micro-Changers Mystery Bags – for just $2.99, each Mystery Bag contains a random KREON figure which can also convert into an alternate mode like a jet or an insect. Great stocking stuffer idea and perfect for goody bags!  Like I mentioned before, my kids really enjoyed playing with the KREON figures that came with our sets and these Micro-Changers sound very versatile.

Disclaimer: I am part of the Mom It Forward blogger network.  Mom It Forward and Hasbro partnered in support of this campaign. Hasbro compensated me for participation in this campaign. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

'Tis the Season!

So the holiday shopping season has officially started for 2012.  As the "Black Friday" sales get earlier and bigger, I find myself doing more and more shopping online.  This also gives me the opportunity to support smaller, independent websites with unique products.  If you happen to be looking for a unique gift for a toddler, make sure you check out our popular Toddler Pillows and Toddler Blankets.  As I always say, they don't require batteries and will actually help your child get a good night's sleep - how many products can make that claim?  We hear from parents all the time about how our toddler pillows helped solve various sleeping issues, and are just cozy and cuddly for their toddlers.  We offer our toddler pillows in a wide variety of fabrics including our cozy warm flannel fabrics (100% cotton), and well as cotton percale (non-flannel fabrics), satin, and organic fabrics - something for every preference.  Don't forget, our toddler pillowcases, toddler blankets, playard sheets, and toddler pillow inserts are still Made in the USA.  And even better, we will personalize your purchase with your child's name in embroidery offering a wide variety of fonts, monograms, colors.  Also perfect for those toddlers starting preschool in January who need a cozy naptime set.  A completely practical and unique toddler gift that will be loved for years to come!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Toddler Pillow Special for October

We are already well into the swing of October, however we do have a Toddler Pillow special that I wanted to tell everyone about.  In our October newsletter, we have a coupon code that you can use to get a FREE extra toddler pillowcase when you buy one of our standard Toddler Pillow sets.  Our Toddler Pillows set comes with a toddler pillowcase in your choice of flannel fabrics plus the 12x16 toddler pillow insert.  Using our October coupon code will automatically add a free extra toddler pillowcase to your shopping cart.  Because of the wide variety of fabrics available, our shopping cart does not have the ability for you to select the fabric for the free pillowcase (the dropdown list would be huge), so make sure to include your request in the Special Instructions field (appears during checkout) - we will try to honor your request for either a specific fabric, or gender/theme.  Limited quantities available while supplies last, offer ends Oct 31, 2012.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New Organic Fabrics available for Toddler Pillows!

organic cotton toddler pillow
organic cotton toddler pillows We continue to receive requests for more organic offerings, especially in our toddler pillow line.  We have just restocked and added to our organic cotton sateen fabrics.  If you haven't tried these fabrics yet, make sure to add them to your wish list.  They are incredibly soft and silky like high thread count sheets, and are still 100% cotton.  They are dyed using eco-friendly dyes and organic cotton.
In the past, we have offered pink and a light blue. We were able to restock the same shade of pink but the light blue is no longer available - we are now offering a beautiful navy color, as well as Natural (pictured here below the navy but it's hard to see - it is a cream color).  All three fabrics are available for our Toddler Pillows, Youth Pillows, Preschool Nap Mat Sheets, and blankets upon request.  Again, these fabrics are incredibly soft and silky feeling - a must try!

toddler pillowsAbout Sateen:  Sateen cotton fabrics are made with a different structure during the weaving process.  Standard cotton weaving using one thread over, one thread under, however in sateen weaving, it is four threads over, one thread under.  This structure has more threads at the surface of the fabric making it extremely soft to the touch and creates an almost "shiny" or silky surface to the fabric.

New Toddler Pillow Fabrics Available!

toddler pillowstoddler pillow
Toddler Pillow

Make sure to take a peek at our newest percale (non-flannel) fabrics available for our toddler pillows and youth pillows!  Butterfly Kisses and Daisy Melody are our two newest girl prints, and we have restocked In Transit for boys.  All fabrics are available in our 12x16 Toddler Pillow size as well as our larger 16x20 Youth Pillow size. We also have these fabrics available for our Preschool Nap Mat Sheets.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Going Green with Organic Fabrics for Baby

BobbleRoos has just added some new organic fabric options for several of our popular product lines.  Our newest fabrics include:

  • Organic Fleece (Cream) - This super soft fabric is actually even thicker than our traditional flannels, but still 100% cotton, which makes it ideal for our playard sheets.  You will be amazed at how soft and cozy this fabric feels to the touch - just amazing.  The thickness adds an extra layer of cushion for the playard.  Also available in pillowcases for our popular toddler pillows.
  • Organic Jersey (Cream) - Think of your favorite cotton t-shirt - this organic fabric is even softer and silkier feeling!  This 100% cotton jersey fabric is a thinner option than the fleece with just a bit of stretch which also makes it perfect for our playard sheets and toddler pillow pillowcases.  
  • Organic Rib Knit (Cream) - The beauty of rib knit is that it is 100% cotton but the "ribs" give this fabric great stretch making it ideal for the backing of our 100% organic playard sheets.  This fabric means we can offer 100% cotton AND 100% organic fabrics in our playard sheets - a great combination!  Right now, we are just using the rib knit for the backing of our playard sheets, but hope to offer a new swaddling blanket with some stretch.
Okay, for those new to organic fabrics, what makes them so special?  Organic cottons offer many benefits both to our skin as well as to the soil where the cotton is grown, and for the factory workers who turn the cotton into fabric:

  • Soil Preparation - first, the cotton seeds are not treated with fungicides or pesticides.  Also, organic cotton crops are rotated which means the soil is not over-harvested and depleted of valuable nutrients.  Re-investing in the soil creates a better crop as well as a balance, making it easier to weed and keep free of damaging insects without the use of chemicals or pesticides.
  • Harvesting - cotton "flowers" are harvested (or defoliated) using natural means rather than chemicals
  • Fabric Production - cotton fibers are stabilized with corn starch or double plying instead of chemical waxes; safe peroxide is used for whitening instead of chlorine bleach; finishing is done with a soft scour using soda ash instead of synthetic detergents (sometimes formaldehyde); fabric is softened with natural soybeans instead of petroleum-based softeners.  If fabric is dyed or printed, low-impact dyes and pigments are used.
Sure, organic fabrics do cost more and the colors might not be as vibrant (although they've come a long way in a short time).  However, as in most cases, you get what you pay for.  If we invest in the soil and organic production now, we will reap the benefits for years to come.  And your newborn baby's delicate (and sensitive) skin will also appreciate these soft and gentle fabrics.  Mom can rest easy knowing that these organic fabrics were created with natural means and without exposure to potentially toxic chemicals and solvents.  Thanks for checking out our new organic fabrics!

    Tuesday, April 3, 2012

    Restocking satin pillowcases for toddler pillows and youth pillows!

    We will be restocking our popular and luxurious satin charmeuse pillowcases in ivory, pink, and royal blue. We are also adding a new color - Lavendar! The satin pillowcases are available for our toddler pillows (12x16) and our youth pillows (16x20). Satin pillowcases will ship out in about 10-14 days.

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

    Laundry Tips - How to Prevent Pilling of Flannel Fabrics

    Ahhh….flannel, so soft to the touch, perfect for newborn babies’ skin. Brushed flannels (like we sell at BobbleRoos) have a raised fiber surface that makes the fabrics so soft to the touch. However after washing several times, sometimes the fibers get mashed down or worse yet, begin to “pill”. Pilling, the little raised balls that create a lumpy surface, can be common with cotton, especially flannel fabrics and any other raised fiber fabrics (fleece, knits, etc). So how can I preserve my soft flannel blankets and sheets? We have several tips to help you out.

    First, let’s look at the some common factors that can contribute to flannel pilling:

    Pilling Problem - Friction
    Friction can be from physical rubbing (think of the underarms of a flannel shirt or fleece sweater), or it can be caused during a vigorous wash cycle. When washing flannel fabrics, make sure you use a gentle cycle as the agitation of the wash is much slower than regular wash cycles, reducing the amount of friction on the fabric. You can turn our playard sheets and toddler pillow cases inside out to also help reduce friction on the outer surface.

    Pilling Problem – Hot Water!
    Another common cause of flannel pilling is improperly washing the fabric. Since flannel is commonly used for bedding items - sheets and blankets - many people wash these items in hot water because of dust mites, etc. However flannel items should be washed in cool or warm water – never use hot water!

    Solution – Cold Water and Vinegar!
    Yes, vinegar – just standard plain old fashioned white vinegar. We recommend trying ½ cup white vinegar added to the rinse cycle to help reduce pilling. If your machine has a dispenser for rinse cycle softener, use this compartment for the vinegar instead of a rinse cycle softener. You can also use one of the balls that you toss into the machine that releases the rinse cycle softener (in this case, vinegar) into the wash. Another great recommendation – when an item is new, for the first wash, use just cold water and vinegar to “set” the fabric as a preventative measure.

    Bonus! An extra bonus of vinegar is that it can also keep any bright colors from bleeding. Another bonus - if an item has already started to form pills, try washing the item without detergent – just cold water and ½ cup vinegar and this may help restore the fabric to the original softness.

    Vinegar? Thumbs up - I love when we can recommend a cheap and natural solution!

    Commercial Rinse Cycle Softeners and Dryer Sheets – Yeah or Nay?
    Some sources recommend using a commercial rinse cycle softener, however in a study done at the University of Nebraska, researchers found that when washing cotton flannel fabrics, rinse cycle softeners (liquid fabric softeners) resulted in an increase of fabric pilling as well as increased fabric breakage or weakening. Using dryer sheets did not seem to affect the pilling. Researchers also found that using laundry detergents containing the Cellulase Enzymes significantly reduces the pilling common with cotton fabrics. So “Nay” to the rinse cycle softeners, okay to dryer sheets if you like them.

    So, for best results when washing our flannel products and other cotton items, wash on gentle, using cold water and 1/2 cup white vinegar for the initial wash. For future washings, continue to use cold water and a gentle detergent (preferably one containing Cellulase Enzymes*), plus ½ cup white vinegar during the rinse cycle, but avoid the use of commercial liquid or rinse cycle fabric softeners. These tips should help keep all of your cotton items (especially flannel fabrics) looking and feeling great for years to come.

    *We've contacted several major detergent manufacturers to find out which brands contain Cellulase Enzymes. We do not recommend one brand over the other. We will update this list as more become available:

    • Most Tide powder varieties (HE and regular)
    • Tide TOTALCARE varieties
    • Ultra Tide Varieties (including HE) and Ultra Tide Free powder
    • Ivory Snow liquid and powder
    • Cheer brightCLEAN liquid varieties (but not powders)
    • Dreft HE Ultra Liquid
    • Dreft 2x Ultra Liquid

    Thursday, March 15, 2012


    I made a quick visit to my local garden center today for spring garden supplies (I will be trying some container gardening this year), and I noticed how many people were sneezing and showing signs of seasonal allergies. Spring has definitely arrived early on the East coast - the cherry blossoms and other trees are blooming and budding, which of course means pollen! We are fortunate in our household that no one suffers from seasonal allergies - we are truly able to enjoy this weather by sleeping with the windows open at night and getting outside to enjoy the longer days. However, more and more of my friends and neighbors have children with allergies - seasonal, food, indoor/dust mites, etc.

    If you have a child who suffers from dust mite allergies or other "indoor" allergens such as mold and mildew, you might want to check out our Allergen Pillow Protectors available for both our Toddler Pillows and Youth Pillows. These special allergen pillow protectors are zippered cases made of specially treated tightly woven yarn, providing a barrier against allergens and dust mites, yet allowing air to flow freely. The fabric is soft, comfortable, machine washable in hot water (up to 50 times), and noise free (unlike some of the vinyl pillow protectors that crinkle when you move around). The special fabric is also treated with a microbe shield to inhibit the growth of microorganism and to control mold, mildew, and odors. Again, these allergen pillow protectors are designed for use with our toddler pillows or other travel pillows sized 12 x 16. as well as our 16x20 youth pillows.

    We also have a lot of customers who use our allergen pillow protectors to help extend the life of their toddler pillow. The allergen pillow protector acts as an extra layer of protection which cuts down on the need to wash and dry your youth or toddler pillow. You can simply zipper off the allergen protector and throw it in the regular wash.

    Just as an interesting side note, I have been reading some theories about why allergies may be on the rise with the younger generations. The current theory that has peaked my interest is the "hygiene hypothosis" or "old friends hypothosis" which says that as we have become more "civilized", we have removed ourselves from nature by processing and sterilizing our foods and kitchens, and sanitizing ourselves. As we have become "cleaner" and more hygienic, our immune systems have not fully developed which leaves our bodies more sensitive to allergens. It is an intriguing theory - I like the idea that we should try to get back in touch with nature. I am reading more about the hygiene hypothosis and will write a more detailed post with some links to articles and websites for those interested.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    Toddler Pillows back in Carnival Bloom Percale Fabric

    Now back in stock - Carnival Bloom fabric for our Toddler Pillows and larger Youth Pillowcases. This beautiful fabric features a rich chocolate brown background with a multi-colored floral motif. Our Carnival Bloom fabric is a percale (non-flannel) fabric that is 100% cotton - it's a great option for a toddler pillow for spring and the upcoming warmer weather. It's a great fabric choice for kids and adults - I personally have a pillowcase in Carnival Bloom that I use on one of our Toddler Pillows that I use as a travel pillow or for extra support when reading. If you want to personalize your child's toddler pillow in this fabric, since it's a busier print, I would recommend one of our bolder font choices such as Whimsy or Fun Block in White thread or our pretty non-metallic Gold color. Please inquire for blankets and other items in Carnival Bloom.

    Friday, February 17, 2012

    Ballet Time Fabric for Toddler Pillows

    Check out Ballet Time - one of our newest percale (non-flannel) fabrics for our toddler pillows with a cute ballerina theme. This fabric is 100% cotton and coordinates well with various shades of pink bedding. Don't forget our personalization option for our toddler pillows - add your little girl's name to this toddler pillow. For thread colors - try dark pink thread, or any contrasting color such as purple, green, red turquoise.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Spotlight on.... Youth Pillows 16x20

    Many of you know us for our toddler pillows, but did you know that we also sell a larger 16x20 Youth Pillow? Many of our customers have toddlers who love our toddler pillows, but as their toddlers grew, they wanted to transition to a larger pillow. We kept hearing the same request so we started offering an in between pillow - our 16x20 Youth Pillow, which is larger than our original 12x16 toddler pillow, but still smaller than an adult pillow. This size is perfect for kids going away to sleepover camps, or just sleepover parties and travel. It also makes a great bed pillow either for sleeping or decoration.

    Our Youth Pillows are made (in the USA!) by the same major pillow manufacturer as our popular toddler pillows- using the same quality and construction: 100% cotton covering over non-allergenic polyester fiberfill - machine washable. Just like our toddler pillows, our youth pillows are not too fluffy, not too firm, just perfect in proportion to support young children's head/necks.

    Youth Pillowcases are also available for purchase separately in most of our popular cotton flannels and percale (non-flannel) fabrics. If you are looking for a particular fabric, color, or theme, as always, send us an email and we'll check the possibility of having a pillowcase made in that fabric. We are now also offering the embroidery option to have your youth pillowcase personalized with your child's name.