Kids are Meant to be Heard and Not Just Seen with the VTech Kidi Star Karaoke Machine™!

I’ve never understood the deep discomfort that people have with karaoke, one of my favourite activities from my days before kids. Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose”. Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It”. I used to rock on Magic Mics from the Philippines and shoot for a perfect score with every performance.

Kids are Meant to be Heard and Not Just Seen with the VTech Kidi Star Karaoke Machine™! — Taking a Picture with the VTech KidiBuzz

We worry too much about what others will think. That we might not sing the greatest or that we’ve forgotten a few of the words in a song. Karaoke is meant to be fun, yet societal pressure builds it up as more than what it is. And a lot of that comes from what we pick up as kids—whether the people around us bolstered our confidence or just broke it down. We need to give our kids the space to enjoy their lives, and I feel like I’m doing that with the VTech Kidi Star Karaoke Machine™.

Get Your Kids’ Brains to Connect with LeapFrog and VTech!

Back when I got ready for school after the summer break, it was flash cards and workbooks to get me back in the swing of things.

Get Your Kids' Brains to Connect with LeapFrog and VTech! — The LeapFrog LeapStart 3D Ready to Go!

I’m about to sound like my Dad, but—these kids don’t know how good they have it!

While I didn’t need to walk miles uphill to and from school or forage through the woods with my bare hands for dinner, technology has come a long way in the last few decades!

There’s so much that can distract my kids now. With so much going on, it can be hard for them to learn the skills they should be learning, like reading, counting, and how to tell time on their own.

But just as the Kidibuzz gave my eldest a taste of what it’s like to have his own phone, VTech/Leapfrog came back with a few more tricks up their sleeves to get your little ones ready for September!

Getting Boredom in Order with the PLAYMOBIL Arctic Expedition Headquarters!

I think it’s time my four-year-old start reviewing his own toys.

Getting Boredom in Order with the PLAYMOBIL Arctic Expedition Headquarters! — The Boys and Their New Toy

I apologise to Swerve PR, but I’ve struggled to write a review of PLAYMOBIL’s Arctic Expedition Headquarters, an elaborate playset designed to get kids’ imaginations running wild. Struggling not because it’s a bad toy—trust me, it’s got more than enough facets and features to go around—but because I’m not the one playing with it!

See, I’m in the business of telling great stories, and stories work best when they’re about things you’ve experienced for yourself. I might acquire the toys—if needed, I’ll even assemble them—but the experience is the boys’ and the boys’ alone… so who better to tell you about it?

It was time to kick the authenticity up another notch.

The Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad Christmas Gift Guide… for Kids!

With Christmas ’round the corner, we’re finally at that point where influencers show you the hottest toys and what you should spend your money on this Christmas. You’ll see posts full of affiliate links galore as we sell our pound of flesh… but I don’t want to take that route.

The Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad Christmas Gift Guide... for Kids! — Palmer Family Christmas Tree

Christmas is a strange time for my Christian family.

While we don’t want our kids to feel like outcasts in school when we choose Christ over Claus this December, we find it essential to make Christmas a time to spend with family, friends and our church community as we get ready for another year of challenges and celebrations ahead.

But you’d better believe we’re still going to get them some toys.

The Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad Christmas Gift Guide for... Kids! — Swerve PR — Toys Galore

This Christmas marks the first year we can start moving from toddlers’ toys to ones I might want to play with, and I plan to take full advantage of it!

Despite Sarah’s qualms over the space in our home versus how much I review, I’ve been blessed to check out many of this season’s new toys up close and personal these past few months. From tech to STEM to collectables and more, I’ve hand-picked some toys that I think you’ll find dope for the little people in your life.

So let’s get to it!

(And don’t you worry—for those of us in a rush, I’ve created links to all the product below for easy access!)

Xbox One S Minecraft Limited Edition Bundle
The VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2
VTech Touch & Learn Activity Desk Deluxe
The VTech Zoo Jamz Stompin’ Fun Drums
VTech 4-in-1 Stroll & Grow Tek Trike
#StikBot Farm Movie Bot
Tumblstix
Spin Circuits
The PAW Patrol Sea Patroller
The Etch A Sketch Freestyle & The Etch A Sketch Joystick
Hatchimals Glittering Garden
Mayka Toy Block Tape
Tangles
The Original Fidget Cube by Artsy Labs

TRY YOUR LUCK: Fun’s a Sure Bet with PLAYMOBIL Take Along Sets!

Not many bloggers I know personally have kids as young as mine. It seems almost alien to have kids by 30 these days, something I see reflected in my peers and the opportunities coming my way. So when things do come in with a 3-year old and 1-year old in mind, I feel it gives a fairly unique opportunity to show things from the perspective of our young family—and that’s precisely the case with PLAYMOBIL!

Fun's a Sure Bet with PLAYMOBIL Take Along Sets! — PLAYMOBIL 1.2.3 My Take Along Farm — In Action

Let me tell you—it pays to be a blogger’s kid!

Woe be unto you in Casa de Palmer if you come to the door and my eldest doesn’t know you—in his mind, couriers are the only other people to ring our doorbell, so you’d best not come empty-handed!

I do sometimes worry whether I’m spoiling these little guys, though. I didn’t think much of it at first, but recent events have sent me down other paths. Like when other Moms come over for playdates and mention how many toys we have. Or when the eldest puts two and two together, asking whether people “give me a lot of stuff.” Which in turn means that I need to do more with less, and make sure that the toys they do have are great ones.

Fun's a Sure Bet with PLAYMOBIL Take Along Sets! — PLAYMOBIL 1.2.3 My Take Along Farm — PackagingThat in mind, PLAYMOBIL sent along one of their PLAYMOBIL Take Along Sets for the boys, letting them discover the bits and pieces found within the PLAYMOBIL 1.2.3 Take Along Farm (MSRP $43.99)!

The 2017 100 — It’s Not WHAT You Do, It’s How You DO It.

Unless my life sees some major changes this year, 2017 may mark the last list of 100!

It’s January 13th—I’ve spent nearly two weeks of my new year agonising over 100 items that matter enough to hit a list of goals and aspirations for the year ahead. And that’s a key difference from the lists that came before it.

Before it was a task list—I’d look around at everything that needed doing and jot it down, because my life would obviously be better with them out of the way.

But task lists aren’t inspiring. They’re not motivational. As a creative, that’s like dropping a pile of 100 things I dread on my lap and nagging myself to get ’em done by the year’s end.

Once I realised what I was doing to myself, so much so that I just went through my least successful year yet for my list, I knew I needed to make a change for 2017.

The 2017 100 — It's Not WHAT You Do, It's How You DO It. — New Year, New Perspective

I’m particularly proud of the list I’ve put together for The 2017 100. I didn’t take any shortcuts—I wrote out 100 things that’d help me live the life I’d like to lead and prove instrumental along the path there. Rather than hurriedly scrawl out a list I’d likely ignore ’til December, I wrote one that I’d happily check off, knowing that each accomplishment would take me a step closer to a far better 2018. I feel like I’m finally getting it right this time, and I hope that shines through as you give it a look for yourself!

But that’s enough of my chatter—I’ve already made you wait long enough. Here for your consideration is The 2017 100—because it’s not what you do… it’s how you do it!

GIVEAWAY: A Case Cringle Christmas, Day 5 — Helping Kids Connect with VTech!

You don’t realize how little space you have until you become a parent.

Now — my house is by no means puny: at 1000 square feet, I’ve been in Maasai huts a lot cozier, but we need to stay realistic about how much we can fit in our home. With a 2-year old running around and another little one on the way, when we’re not buying him the cool toys we come across in our daily travels, he’s never wanting for anything with his Grandmas, Grandpas and plenty of aunties and uncles to lavish him with gifts when they see him.

In short, Casa de Palmer’s already plenty stocked to keep Little Man entertained.

So when the VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Ultimate RC Speedway came in the mail, I did what any rational parent whose house is already filled with too many toys would do… I hid it from him and stuffed it in the trunk so we could keep it at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s as a permanent fixture.

A Case Cringle Christmas, Day 5 — Helping Kids Connect with VTech! — VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Ultimate RC Speedway — Packaging