Koala Crate Storytime Review and Coupon Code – November 2015

Koala Crate is for children age 2-4 and used to arrive at the end of the month, but now it arrives in the middle of the month with our Kiwi Crate.

Coupon Code:  If you use my referral link, you will save $10 off your order.

I had peeked at the theme online when my box shipped and wasn’t sure what to think of this.  As Ava gets closer to 4, the boxes have been hit or miss for her (some have been too easy).  But, I shouldn’t have been worried as this is probably one of our all time favorites!

First Look:

Koala Crate Storytime - November 2015

Koala Crate Storytime – November 2015

 

The Directions:  Unlike Kiwi Crate, Doodle Crate and Tinker Crate, the instructions for Koala Crate are geared toward the parents and not the kids.

 

Koala Crate Storytime - November 2015

Koala Crate Storytime – November 2015

I always find that the directions are very clear and easy to follow, but you do have to read all the projects through before beginning because the projects usually share materials.  There have been a couple times we’ve used up a material in the first project only to discover that we should have saved some for another one.

Koala Crate Storytime - November 2015

Koala Crate Storytime – November 2015

Koala Crate Storytime - November 2015

Koala Crate Storytime – November 2015

The Materials:

As always, there were three projects included.

Dress Up Puppets:

Koala Crate Storytime - November 2015

Koala Crate Storytime – November 2015

This is definitely our favorite out of the box.  There are two pages of clothes and accessories that go with the four “dolls” and the four backgrounds for the puppet theater.  The girls played with them in the theater for a day, but really enjoyed putting them on the fridge where they could use all of the backgrounds at once.  I LOVE that Koala Crate included an envelope to store all the little magnet pieces 🙂  It’s been over a week since we did this, and the girls still play with these magnets daily!

Puppet Theater:

Koala Crate Storytime - November 2015

Koala Crate Storytime – November 2015

This made an adorable theater with magnetic backgrounds for the people and props.  The curtain was a cute addition, but it did get in the way of playing (especially if two kids wanted to play).  And unfortunately, the magnets have a black background so if they fell face down in the puppet theater they got “lost”.  It was an adorable idea, but the girls had way more fun using the magnets on the fridge!

Letter Card Games:

Koala Crate Storytime - November 2015

Koala Crate Storytime – November 2015

The front side of the cards have letters while the backs have corresponding pictures.  In the instructions, there were different card games you could play with these, but Ava likes going through the pile and saying her letters the most.

imagine! magazine

Like every Koala Crate, this one came with an explore! magazine.  The girls really love these – they include comics, puzzles and hidden object pictures.

Koala Crate Storytime - November 2015

Koala Crate Storytime – November 2015

The coloring pages are always a hit and I love the instructions for extra crafts!

Koala Crate Storytime - November 2015

Koala Crate Storytime – November 2015

 

  Final Thoughts:

Koala Crate  is $19.90 per month (less if you prepay for multiple months at a time). This was a more successful month than some months – this box was actually a big hit with Ava and Ella (6 years old).  But now that Ava is 3.5 years old, I do feel that she’s more ready for the Kiwi Crate projects and will be changing her subscription once this expires.

Did you get the Koala Crate?  To learn more or sign up, click here (once you create an account, you will receive a $10 credit off your subscription).  The referral code works for Kiwi Crate and any of the new subscriptions (Koala Crate, Tinker Crate and Doodle Crate).

~Elizabeth

This post contains referral links.

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Kiwi Crate Shadow and Light 2 Review and Coupon Code – November 2015

Kiwi Crate is a monthly subscription box of crafts/activities for children ages 4-7.  They offer some past boxes and seasonal boxes for sale on their site as a one time purchase.

If you start a subscription with this or any single crate, you can save $10 with my Kiwi Crate referral code.

First Look:

 

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

I had peeked online, so I knew the theme was Shadow and Light 2.  The first Shadow and Light had come out before we were subscribers, but I had bought Ella the original Shadow and Light as a single box and she loved it.  That was about 2 years ago, so we were excited to see what this one included.

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

The Materials: This box was packed full.  I am really liking the new format of the instructions.  They are larger and have more explanation and ideas to further the projects.

 

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

The Projects: 

Flashlight Fun: The first project involved creating a light box with the flashlight and decorating different colored films with dry erase markers.  Ella had a blast seeing how her shapes looked through the light boxes and seeing how the different colors interacted (a red film with blue marker…)

 

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

I really liked that they included dry erase markers.  The mess was easy to clean up, and if she made a mistake it could be quickly erased and redone.

Shadow Puppets: The second project was creating shadow puppets using the pre-cut shapes and colored sticks.  Again, I love that Kiwi Crate included extra papers for making your own shadow puppets.  It’s great that younger kids can use the pre-cut pieces and older kids can expand the project by making their animals.

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

The New Instructions:

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

Like all Kiwi Crates, this came with explore! magazine.  Ella loves the mazes, hidden pictures and comics in these.

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

Kiwi Crate November 2015 Shadow and Light 2

Final Thoughts:

We absolutely loved this crate!  It’s awesome to see the difference in Ella’s skills from doing a similar crate two years ago and now.  Ella was able to do most everything herself (she only required a little supervision).  As always, I love that she made crafts that she is still using long after the actual craft is done – the shadow puppets are great for keeping her busy after she goes to bed!

To learn more or sign up, click here (once you create an account, you will receive a $10 credit off your subscription).  The referral code works for Kiwi Crate and any of the new subscriptions (Koala Crate, Tinker Crate and Doodle Crate).

~Elizabeth

This post contains referral links.

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Best Online Holiday Gifts – Five on Friday

I’m linking up with a.liz adventuresDarciChristina, and Natasha for their 5 on Friday. :

 

This week I wanted to showcase my favorite online Christmas gifts for easy gift giving.

  1. FOR THE BEAUTY LOVER:  Birchbox and Birchbox Man – I was a subscriber for two years and am now taking a break, but of all the beauty subscriptions I think this is the best.  You can earn points for reviewing what you receive and redeem those points towards any products Birchbox sells.  You can purchase a subscription, gift card or you can get one of the Limited Edition boxes.
Limited Edition: Everyday Glamour

Birchbox Limited Edition: Everyday Glamour

2. FOR KIDS: Kiwi Crate, Doodle Crate, Koala Crate and Tinker Crate – Whether you have a toddler or a teen, the Kiwi Crate family of boxes has one for you.  You can buy individual boxes or you can purchase a subscription for 3, 6, 9 or 13 months.

Kiwi Crate

3. FOR THE TEACHER: Erin Condren Deskpads – I love giving these as gifts because they are undated, so the teacher can start using them whenever they want.

Erin Condren Deskpad

Erin Condren Deskpad

4. FOR THE ENTERTAINER: Erin Condren Trays or Wine Totes – The Wine Totes are brand new and are a great way to personalize the bottle of wine that you are bringing to someone’s house.  I love the acrylic trays because they can work with anyone’s decor and you can buy them Good to Go (no personalization, so they ship much faster).

save 30% on Good to Go

Erin Condren Good to Go

5. FOR THE ATHLETE: Fabletics and FL2 (for Men) – Even after two years, my original Fabletics clothes are still in great shape.  The dark colors haven’t faded the way some dark colors do.  You can buy a gift card or an outfit at full price without signing up for a subscription.

 

Fabletics

 

Thanks for checking out my favorites this week!  What are your favorite gifts?

~Elizabeth

This post contains affiliate/referral links.

 

 

 

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Thursday Thoughts

 

TTGood-copyI’m again linking up with Jennifer at Ramblings of a Suburban Mom for her Thursday Thoughts link-up.

My Turkeys

My Turkeys – 2013

~ Happy Thanksgiving!  After he worked tons of hours this week, it’s nice to have my husband home for the day!

~ We have a pretty low key day planned around here – we are working on our gingerbread houses this morning and then we will be headed to my brother’s house for dinner.

~ I can’t believe it’s officially “Christmas season”.  I feel so unprepared!!!

~ So far, the Amazon lightning deals and the Black Friday deals aren’t appealing to me.  I’m hoping some great stuff will show up soon.

~ If you missed it, this week I posted my review of Thomasland!

Happy Thanksgiving!

What’s on your mind this week?

~Elizabeth

This post contains referral links.

 

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Edaville Railroad Festival of Lights and Thomasland Review

 

Saturday the girls and I completed one of our Christmas conditions which is to visit the Festival of Lights at Edaville Railroad in Carver, Massachusetts.  We’ve been visiting at Christmas with my parents for about 9 years.  (We used to go to Edaville as kids – it was MUCH smaller then!)  For the past 3 years, they’ve been expanding and are still working on making the park better.

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Edaville Railroad Construction

As you enter and are waiting to buy your tickets, you get glimpses of the expansion.  Since last Christmas, they’ve built a beautiful street which I’ve heard will be shops and another restaurant.  The expansion is planned to go through 2017, so there’s a lot more coming to an already great park.

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Edaville Railroad Construction

Currently, the park opens at 3:00, so we were there as it opened to take advantage of the little amount of daylight (and warmer temperatures).

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Cousins at Edaville Railroad

Our first goal was the “old” section of the park – the part you first walk through.  We were pleasantly surprised to see that since Thomasland opened (late summer 2016) Thomas is pulling the train for the Festival of Lights.

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Thomas at Edaville USA

In this section of the park are the classic amusement park rides: a carousel, flying elephants, hot air balloons… Don’t be fooled into thinking these are all little kids rides, there’s plenty for big kids and adults too.  There are 15 rides outside of Thomasland.

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Flying elephants at Edaville

As we continued through the park, we stopped to take a picture with Thomas!

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Pictures with Thomas at Edaville USA

Since we were with little ones, we decided to do the Festival of Lights early before anyone fell asleep 🙂

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Waiting for the Festival of Lights at Edaville USA

The Festival of Lights train ride is my favorite part of visiting at Christmas.  The train cars are enclosed and heated (it gets cold in Massachusetts in December) and there are so many great lights.  I especially love the ones near the water where you can see their reflections.

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Edaville USA Red Baron

After the Festival of Lights train ride, it was time for more rides!  Then, we made our way to Thomasland.  This was the first we had been to Thomasland and I honestly wasn’t that excited because neither of my girls has ever been that into Thomas.

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Thomasland Edaville USA

But, seriously how cute are these?  I thought the blue one above was Thomas and was quickly corrected by my 6 year old 🙂  I love the details that were included in this area – the benches are all cargo crates.

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Thomasland Edaville USA

This is also the spot where the Thomasland show takes place.  Honestly, unless your little one is really into Thomas, I would suggest skipping the show.  It lasted longer than my girls’ attention span for it.  They were much more into the 11 rides in the area.

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Edaville USA Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster

Ella really wanted to do the coaster, but with a 42″ height requirement she was the only kid tall enough.  She absolutely loved it!  When we got off, she told me it was her “dream ride”.

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Thomasland at Edaville USA Rockin’ Bulstrode

Ava’s favorite was the Rockin’ Bulstrode – a boat that swings side to side and up in the air.  This one got a repeat ride.

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Thomasland at Edaville USA Rockin’ Bulstrode

Since Ella is over 42″ she got to ride Cranky’s Crane Drop.  She was definitely the tiniest one on the ride – it was all teenagers and adults!  This is similar to the classic carnival ride that lifts you into the air and drops you.

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Thomasland at Edaville USA Cranky’s Crane Drop

Another hit for Ella!

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Thomasland at Edaville USA Cranky’s Crane Drop

But, it was time to meet up with the rest of the family for Harold’s Lift-Off which is similar to the Dumbo elephant ride (I love the lighthouse in the center of this ride).

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Thomasland at Edaville USA Harold’s Lift-Off

And how cute are the faces on the Harold Helicopters?

Thomasland at Edaville USA Harold's Lift-Off

Thomasland at Edaville USA Harold’s Lift-Off

One ride we didn’t do, but you couldn’t miss was Winston’s Skyline Express.  This ride had one of the longest lines of the night but slowly provided an overview of all of Thomasland.

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Thomasland at Edaville USA Winson’s Skyline Express

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Thomasland at Edaville USA Harold’s Lift-Off

Our last Thomasland ride of the evening was Firefighting Flynn.  In the summer, the fire trucks actually spray water at the building in the middle.

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Thomasland at Edaville USA Firefighting Flynn

I love that kids can ride in the back of the firetrucks and go up and down…

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Thomasland at Edaville USA Firefighting Flynn

or they can drive the truck!

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Thomasland at Edaville USA Firefighting Flynn

The baskets on the back of the Firefighting Flynn vehicles raise up and down to “fight the fire”.

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Thomasland at Edaville USA Firefighting Flynn

On our way out of Thomasland, we passed Bertie’s Bus Tour, but by this time Ella was the only one with enough energy to ride.

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Thomasland at Edaville USA Firefighting Flynn

And of course there’s a shop to purchase all your Thomas the Tank Engine needs!

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Thomasland at Edaville USA Firefighting Flynn

Inside the main building are another set of rides, a ball pit and a small museum.  It’s a great way to get out of the cold and warm up.

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Edaville USA – Ella in the Cranberry Ball Crawl

Most of the inside rides are geared towards the littlest ones – Ella was too tall for some of the rides when she was 5.

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Edaville USA Crusin Cars

And inside you can also meet Santa!  By the time we were done inside it was after 7:00 and we hadn’t eaten dinner yet.  At Edaville, there are some food places with premade sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers and chicken wings.  You can also bring in your own food.  We decided to eat somewhere else, so we slowly made our way out past all the Christmas lights:

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Edaville USA Festival of Lights

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Edaville USA Festival of Lights

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Edaville USA Festival of Lights

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Edaville USA Festival of Lights

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Edaville USA Festival of Lights

If you made it through all these pictures, thanks for reading!  Our afternoon/evening at Edaville was a magical night for the girls that they are still talking about.  Edaville had definitely become a Christmas tradition for our family.

~Elizabeth

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Currently…

I’m linking up with Becky at Choose Happy for her Currently post.

Holding my loved ones tighter… Recent news events and a tragedy effecting a family member have reminded me to give everyone an extra hug and kiss because you don’t know when life could change.

Preparing… for Thanksgiving.  We don’t have much to do besides make a dessert and show up, but I still feel like I need to prepare 🙂

Decorating… for Christmas!  I plan to start tonight and get it done by the end of the weekend.

Celebrating… That I went out Saturday night with family (and totally didn’t follow the 21 Day Fix) but got right back on track the following morning.  I’m usually much more all/or nothing with the program, so I’m happy I fit in a special night out and then followed the plan the next day (and even did 2 workouts!)

~ Elizabeth

 

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Five on Friday

I’m linking up with a.liz adventuresDarciChristina, and Natasha for their 5 on Friday. :

Here are this week’s five favorite pictures:

 

 

 

My parents and I took the girls to the mall to see Santa and got these adorable pictures.  He was great with the girls – Ava isn’t sure what she wants yet, so he offered to “surprise her”.

Visit With Santa

Visit With Santa

Ava wasn’t feeling great on Sunday, so on Monday I was glad to get this text from my Mom that she had perked up.

Ava

Ava

School Picture time:

Ava's Preschool Teacher

Ava’s Preschool Picture

Ella’s Kindergarten Picture

And finally, our Christmas pictures:

Portrait Simple Christmas Pictures

Portrait Simple Christmas Pictures

~Elizabeth

This post contains affiliate/referral links.

 

 

 

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