The Robot Book Reveals What Matters Most

Even though I’m in the “Valentine’s Day is everyday” camp,  I can’t help but share some favorite goodies that celebrate all things heart-y.  While chocolates and candy are yummy treats, I can think of so many other ways to spread the love.

Books, even in the era of iPads, will always remain one of my favorite gift-giving ideas. With a love for robots, gear and gadgets, I think this book is a fun gift idea for our fellow robot fans.

The Robot Book by Heather Brown, a thoughtful and multi-faceted book about a robot, gets into the nuts and bolts of what matters most.  From page to page, the interactive book features working and moving gears, cogs, nuts, and bolts throughout the creative illustrations, leading to what makes robots tick.

All of the interactive components of the book, paired with a straightforward storyline, make The Robot Book a fun read for babies to big kids and robot enthusiasts alike.

Because of the kid’s love for robots, The Robot Book always finds its way into our bedtime storytime list.  We love turning the knobs and talking about how each part works together, which usually leads to more silly stories and laughs.  It’s a story that engages imagination, thoughtfulness and conveys a message that everyone should take to heart.

Check out the cool trailer after the jump.
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Free Shipping Day is Today

Haven’t finished your Christmas shopping yet? Yeah, me neither.  If you need to round out that shopping list and were hoping to avoid the crowds and madness at the malls by shopping online, there’s still time.  And lucky us, today, December 17th, is the third annual Free Shipping Day.

Free Shipping Day is a one-day event when consumers can shop online from their favorite brands and receive free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve.

Free Shipping Day features hundreds of retailers and popular brands, making it a perfect reason to wrap up your Christmas shopping without leaving the house.  If you’re like me, and just have those last few people on your list to cross off AND already know what to get, Free Shipping Day was created for busy people (and procrastinators) alike.

Big retailers like Macy*s, Toys ‘R’ Us, JC Penney and Barnes and Noble are participating in Free Shipping Day, and smaller specialty stores are included in the list, too.  In many cases, today, December 17, is the last day that retailers can ship to get products out in time for Christmas, but be sure to pay attention to the fine print, as some stores require a minimum purchase.

To finish my shopping list and take advantage of free shipping, I have my eye on the Discovery Store, Tilly’s and The Big Toy Book.

Happy Free Shipping Day!

NKT Cyber Monday Top Picks

I hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving!  I took an unexpected, but much needed hiatus to focus on our family and home, but it’s always great to get back into the swing of things.

Now that the turkey and leftovers are a fond memory, it’s time to start wrapping all of those Black Friday finds.  What? You didn’t make it out on Black Friday? You, too, can score great deals today, just like many of us crazies did in the wee hours of Black Friday.  And in some cases, the deals are comparable or even better, considering you don’t have to wake up at 3am to deal with crowds.

There are tons and tons of deals all over the web all day today, toys included, but here are NKT’s top Cyber Monday Picks:

  • has a great sale for Cyber Monday.  You can save up to 25% Extra + Free Shipping, and if you buy more, you can save more.  Take an extra 25% off $125+ orders, 20% off $100+ orders, 15% off $75+ orders or 10% off $50+ orders on Cyber Monday. Plus get free shipping on all orders with coupon code CYBER. These cool Toy Story 3 bookends, which weren’t on sale on Black Friday, are currently on my list for the kid’s playroom.  Not really a toy, but a unique, but functional way to fulfill a want for Toy Story fans.
  • has one of the best big department Cyber Monday deals. For today only, they’re offering free shipping for purchases over $75.  Use the code CYBER
    Only caveat? As with all major sales, you have to act quick. My pick for a great Macy’s pick, is this boy’s 4-n-1 Jacket System from Hawke & Co. for just $35. I bought a similar jacket for a bargain at Marshall’s, but this online steal is a great deal. As of 11am, this jacket was still available.


  • Barnes and Noble has quite a selection of DVDs for super cheap right now. These oldies but goodies would make perfect stocking stuffers. Horton Hears a Who and an older version of Green Lantern for under $5
  • Game Stop has a lineup of games on sale for Cyber Monday, but my pick is Just Dance.  Of course, you can’t forget the ubiquitous video games. A big, big trend for this holiday season are the awesome dance games, which are perfect for family gifts.  At just $30, this highly-rated dance game is sure to pick a hot gift for the entire dancing crew.
  • Think Geek is, hands down, one of our family’s favorite novelty shops. These guys have a penchant for curating the most interesting geeky gadgets and gift. Who wouldn’t appreciate plush bacon or wifi detecting hats?  They’re offering free shipping to contiguous 48 states w/ the code, CYBERMONDAY10 or -$10 on $30+ orders w/ CYBERMONDAY10.
  • Amazon is expected to be one of the powerhouse online retailers for Cyber Monday. They’re offering all kinds of great deals, but the Crayola Glow Explosion for $15.98 is my top pick.

Beyond toys and media, the kids need clothes, too, right?

  • is offering 20% off until midnight.  Sweater dresses and leggings for the girlies.  Need I say more?
  • With 50% off of everything in-store, I scored big time on Black Friday at the Gap for, ahem, myself.  But, for Cyber Monday Gap has 10% off  the code CYBER10 and free shipping for purchases over $50.  My top picks are this animal print coat and this sparkly scalloped dress for baby girls are both half off.  Add that 10% off and free shipping for over $50, you can’t go wrong at Baby Gap.
  • Those sweater dresses and leggings need boots, too!  Piperlime is also offering 20% off for Cyber Monday.  Check out thse adorable purple boots.  I need a pair for me!  For 20% off at Piperlime, be sure to enter Lucky20
  • 77Kids, as I’ve said before, is my new g0-to retailer for boys clothes.  I dress my guy in classic clothes with an edge, and 77Kids certainly fits that style.  77Kids and their sister stores,,, are offering 20% off with Discount Code 45838295
    Quality, but affordable snowboots for the boy have been on my must-buy list for the kid, so I’m hoping to scoop these Sorel boots today to take advantage of the Cyber Monday deals at 77Kids.  Whether you live in the city or country and you get a good amount of snow, good snowboots are something I highly recommend in investing.  Cold, frozen feet + kids are a soggy mix.
    And while you’re there, be sure to design your own snowflake for childrens’ hospitals. 
  • The teens on my list are usually the hardest to shop for these days. Aside from video games, electronics and money, what else do they ask for? Tough one, right?
    The teens in our family have their specific likes and wants, but for the most part, they all love music. Maybe Hot Topic isn’t a store for everyone, but you can’t beat the deal they have on music tees. Get two music tees for just $50. For today only, they’re offering free shipping on orders $50 or more. I’m loving this Rush tee for girls and Willie is always timeless.  Discounts for music tees and free shipping are automatically applied to the shopping cart.

Happy Shopping, everyone!


Gift Idea: PetCakes Combine What Kids Crave

One of the best aspects of staying with our family* for the past few weeks is that we’ve been able to hang out with my husband and kid’s cousins.  Since I don’t have a daughter, these two adorable little girls have helped me better grasp the latest in cool girl play things.

I typically cover girls’ products, trying my best to go beyond princesses and dolls.  Ultimately, many girls love princesses and other girly-ish toys, but other that, what else is there?   Two words: cupcakes and pets.


I was introduced to Petcakes, a new collectible plush toy, at the Time to Play Spring and Summer Showcase.  Well Made Toys, the brains behind these plush toys, had the foresight to combine two things that many girls crave:  lovable pets and the ongoing trend of cupcakes.

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Graduation Gift Idea: Yay You!

The month of June typically celebrates summer, dad, grads and the end of the school year.  This past weekend, our family celebrated dad and our very own grad.  Our niece graduated from high school, which undoubtedly closed one chapter and initiated another.

As a writer, specifically one who spends a lot of time focused on children’s products, I knew I wanted to gift our niece with a book.  But which one?  As much as I love Dr. Seuss and the ubiquitous Oh the Place You’ll Go, I knew I wanted to get something a little different.  Thank goodness for this idea I saw on Twitter!

One of my friends on Twitter tweeted about a perfect book and gift idea for grads.  When her son graduated, the famed children’s author, illustrator and definitely one of our kid’s all time faves, Sandra Boynton penned a coming of age book called “Yay, You: Moving Out, Moving Up, Moving On.”  The book embraces the possibilities and the upward trajectory of a new journey, is a perfect gift idea for graduates, or anyone embarking on a new chapter in their life.

Like our favorite children’s board books, “Yay, You: Moving Out, Moving Up, and Moving On” features Boyton’s clever rhymes and quirky illustrations.  As someone who set out on my own in my mid-twenties and left everything familiar behind, myfavorite line has to be, “Whatever you do, now or later, big or small, loud or quiet—whatever you do, don’t worry.  Just try it.”

Sandra Boynton does it again with “Yay, You: Moving Out, Moving Up, and Moving On.”  If you’re on the market for a wise and memorable book for a graduate, be sure to check out this Boynton classic.


Spread the Love (Birds) with Glug Collection

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, love is surely in the air.  Sure,  some people consider Valentine’s Day a Hallmark holiday, but it’s still a great excuse to spread a little extra love for the littlest sweethearts.

While perusing the web for some Valentine’s Day gift ideas, I actually came across a really sweet line of modern children’s clothing by Glug Collection.  The name, itself, is catchy and so are their designs.

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Best of 2009: Baby Genius Toys

At any given moment when a good song comes on in our home, it’s likely we’re having a mini jam session with the kid on the guitar, dad on the keyboard and me often playing the drums. The 2 year old band leader who “distributes” the instruments accordingly, has the rocking out routine down to a science.

Because music is such a big part of our lives, I appreciate toys that encourage musical value and Baby Genius does just that.


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NKT’s Best of 2009

Without a doubt, in 2009 I researched, tested and reviewed more baby and kid products than I could comprehend—truly.  Some of the products I wanted to share with you just didn’t make it on to the blog because of time, especially with the madness of the holidays and wrangling an active kid.  And because of this, I wanted to do my roundup of innovative gear, gadgets and goodies of 2009.  These are all products that I thought made an impression to me and certainly companies that I will watch in 2010.

I’ll post the products in the following days in no particular, with a few giveaways to boot.

First up:


Music Monday: A Family Christmas

Way before tracking trends and kid’s products even became a blip on my radar, I stumbled upon Putumayo Kids music at a local gift store.  A huge advocate for diversity and lover of all things music-related, falling in love with Putumayo Kids was a given.

There are children’s music compilations and then, there is Putumayo Kids.  Putumayo’s various cds, which are geared to entertain, educate and inspire cultural curiosity in children, boast upwards to 3 million cds sold and stands apart from other children’s cds.  The compilations are well-thought out and enjoyable for both kids and adults—a must for our music-loving family.

616FLxA340L._SL500_AA240_This fall, Putumayo released A Family Christmas, which I found to be one of the best recent kid-centric Christmas music collections.  Putumayo’s A Family Christmas is a melodic departure from all the character-based songbooks, shows and cds that seem to monopolize the storeshelves, especially this time of year.  The songs on this cd are ones that we know and love, but the artists featured are none that I can recognize aside from Big VooDoo Daddy, (though you might recognize a few) which makes it even more appealing.  Can you think of a better way to enjoy the songs you hear a billion times over during the holidays than with a new fresh take on the classics for kids?

From Johnny Bregar’s acoustic take on “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy retro-swing version of Louis Armstrong’s song, “Is Zat You Santa Claus?,” to The Christmas Jug Band featuring Angela Strehli and Maria Muldaur’s “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus,” Putumayo’s A Family Christmas covers all the music genre on one fun collection.  This compilation truly appeals to music lovers of all ages and from all walks of life!  My only complaint is that I can’t seem to locate Putumayo on iTunes.  Maybe the next one?

My personal favorite on the cd is definitely Mele Kalikimaka by Debbie Davis & Matt Perrine, which I consider a kind reminder and shout out to one of our family’s highlights of the year—our trip to Hawaii this summer to celebrate the kid’s Godmother’s wedding!
Be sure to check out the Putumayo Kid’s site to check out their other award-winning cd collections.  Also, head on over to Amazon to give a listen to A Family Christmas, which is where I sampled this cd myself.  Music is a wonderful gift for everyone, especially cd compilations that have garnered awards like, Parents’ Choice Awards, National Parenting Publications Gold Awards, iParenting Media Award and Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award.

Without a doubt, after I pick up this cd from Barnes and Noble, Putumayo’s A Family Christmas will be blaring from our speakers on our drive back to Virginia for the holidays.  Putumayo is so cool, they’re offering a free MP3 download!  Just sign up here to receive your free download of the song “Jolly Old St. Nick” by Brave Combo from the new Putumayo CD A Family Christmas.

A Family Christmas can be found at retailers like Barnes and Noble, as well as online.

Gift Glossary: great video games

In the video game sector, titles and technology are constantly evolving. With many new handheld titles and fun family titles to choose from, I had a tough time narrowing down NKT picks. I could go on and on with this exhaustive list for great family video games, but I chose many of the ones below because I had the unique chance to experience them first hand. For the ones that I didn’t try out myself, I felt that their family-friendliness and entertainment value coincided with NKT’s scope.  And as far as giveaways go, this is a biggie!  Enter for a chance to win these recently released video games and NKT picks!
So, here they are:

51zxuPNAUVL._SL500_AA280_Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom
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