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Customer Reviews: 2353
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Schleich Riding Arena Play Set
Schleich Riding Arena Play Set
Price: $44.99
9 used & new from $37.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Another Quality Schleich Set, August 30, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We're great fans of Schleich products - they are 'heirloom toys' quality meant to last several kids rather than the 'play and destroy' cheap toys so prevalent today. As well as hand details and care, expect a very nice product that you can that displays beautifully when not in use. So yes, very much worth the higher cost.

With the Riding Arena set, we have a nice introduction to the Schleich horse world. The set includes a beautiful hand-painted horse, saddle and accessories that can be outfitted, and a riding paddock area with fence. It may seem sparse at first but when paired with the playmat that is sold separately, it makes for quite a nice set piece. What we like about the arena is that it is open - so the horse can be easily seen when played with - the building doesn't get in the way. Opening windows make an additional nice touch.

We greatly enjoy our Schleich horses and sets and I enjoy having a toy that can be passed down to each child and then saved for grandchildren one day.

Wrangler Little Boys' Authentics Classic Cargo Pant, Desert, 7
Wrangler Little Boys' Authentics Classic Cargo Pant, Desert, 7
Price: $16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable, Adjustable, Decent Quality and Fit, August 29, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These are comfortable, fit well (thanks to an adjustable waistband), and true to size for us. All pockets are usable (not faux) and don't stick out unduly at the hips. The material looks to be durable enough for this age and the length to the knee is neither too long nor too short. In all, a nice quality pair of cargo pants that are comfortable.

Batman Fluxx Card Game
Batman Fluxx Card Game
Price: $15.99
21 used & new from $14.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun For All Ages, August 29, 2015
This review is from: Batman Fluxx Card Game (Toy)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Batman Fluxx uses the same game mechanics as the original Fluxx but with a theme inspiration from the exemplary animated Batman series. Harley, Ivy, Bane, et al are all here wreaking havoc and changing the way the rules are played with each hand. Inspirations from the series/Batman universe are cleverly woven in - e.g., an Arkham Asylum card will take several figures right out of the game.

We enjoy playing this but really the draw is the animated series influence. The cards are simple and it feels like there are quite a few missed opportunities to use stills from the animation. We have simple character sketches but no scenes at all to set the stage. It feels a little clinical and missing the fun of the series that would have drawn in younger audiences. But that said, still enjoyable to play with the Batman characters.

Reboot Your Body: Unlocking the Genetic Secrets to Permanent Weight Loss
Reboot Your Body: Unlocking the Genetic Secrets to Permanent Weight Loss
by Rashelle Brown BS CPT CHC
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $27.95
11 used & new from $17.97

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Thoughts, August 25, 2015
One the one hand, this definitely isn't your typical diet/health/fitness book. But honestly, the title and description didn't match what I was reading within. The book really doesn't have anything to do with genetics and instead is based on CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) and confronting/recognizing/changing habits forcefully/repetitively to create a new, better person. As such, there are no diet programs here, though a lot of the current 'trendy' diets (from paleo to vegan) are discussed. At heart, Reboot Your Body is about mental attitude and has very little about genes or, honestly, your body.

The book breaks down into two sections: a structural roadmap to permanent weight loss and tips, tricks, and practical guidance. Topics include: laying the foundation for success; do your research; what, why, and how; time to talk about food; exercise: move or die; set yourself up for success; step it up a notch; the final pieces of the puzzle; breaking through plateaus; all about exercise; you are how you eat; like it or not, you are in control, making it permanent.

Author Brown makes the case that the the reason there are so many diets out there is because there is no one size fits all for any person. As such, she wants every person to go through steps of accountability by writing down what they eat, when, why, how many calories, portions, examinations of whether they were hungry or not, social eating, emotional eating symptoms, what they want to get as a result of change, who they want to be at the end, what goals they can make to go to an end result, etc. Everything from positive visualization to quite a bit of positive self talking to guide people to believe they will lose weight. It really is almost a sort of self hypnotism where people will believe it if they say it enough - and then they will do it.

And therein lies the problem I had with this approach: you have to become obsessive about food and yourself and pretty much turn it into a form of a religion. It felt almost like a case of Stockholm syndrome but with food instead of a kidnapper. Admittedly, I had already had a problem when the author talked about people in South America who could handle venomous snakes and not died because they believed God would keep the snake from harming them. Perhaps I just lack the faith to walk into a pit full of venomous snakes and not be able to believe hard enough that I won't get bitten.

One of the key points made by Brown in this book is that the one common denominator of successful and permanent weight loss is the level of belief that the person will take the weight off. That those successes had to do with creating change in behavioral patterns and creating new neural pathways that in time translate into better habits. Better habits that, if kept up, result in lifestyle changes to transform poor into healthy - and permanently rewire a body for good.

So yes, this book definitely takes on the subject from a different angle, though CBT (which always involves a lot of writing since it deals with being accountable and not letting oneself ignore the true problem(s)) is very popular right now from diets to teen problems. For many, it likely is time to recognize that the real diet involves taking off the blinders and seeing exactly where they are failing. Doing so means they can then address those problems and begin the process of fixing them - and losing weight/becoming healthier in the process.

Be prepared for a lot of hard work and honest truths, a lot of pep talks, analyzing, recording minutiae, and talking to oneself daily. If you can deal honestly with yourself, then this likely is the book for you. Certainly, I think there is a lot here for those who have tried many different diets and failed. For me, I honestly do not want to become obsessed with food, counting calories, etc. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

Attack of the Journal (Star Wars: Jedi Academy)
Attack of the Journal (Star Wars: Jedi Academy)
by Jeffrey Brown
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $5.38
49 used & new from $4.61

5.0 out of 5 stars Kids Will Love this! (Adults too!), August 25, 2015
Attack of the Journal is a great book for little Star Wars fans - especially those who have enjoyed the Jedi Academy series. What we have is a workbook chock full of fun Star Wars themed imaginative activities. I would say that the age group is likely 6 to 13 or so, but I caught my husband doing some of the exercises as well! This would be perfect for kids to take on an airplane or for a long car trip since there is so much to do and so much diversity. And, honestly, it is fun.

Although this uses Jedi Academy series characters helping out or presenting, kids don't need to have read any of the Jedi Academy books to enjoy. Examples of activities include: drawing a robot, creating an image of a custom lightsaber, learning how to draw Ewoks, putting words to a cartoon strip, starting or finishing a Jedi story, making up 'Yoda wisdoms', turning your friends into Star Wars characters, making a Star Wars themed newspaper, and many, many more!

Because this is like a workbook, I would recommend getting the paper version and not the kindle. A lot of the book is either lines for writing a story, a blank page for making a newspaper, or a paneled page for creating your own comic.

The tone is upbeat, encouraging, and inviting. There's even an activity to find all the 'hidden' cloned vorpees scattered throughout the book. And heck, everyone needs an Ewok and Jawa dictionary. This is a really great idea and fun book. I highly recommend it and will enjoy watching my daughter work through it on our next plane trip (if my husband doesn't finish it first!). Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

Barbie Saddle 'N Ride Horse
Barbie Saddle 'N Ride Horse
Price: $44.44
11 used & new from $34.22

4.0 out of 5 stars Very Fun, August 19, 2015
This review is from: Barbie Saddle 'N Ride Horse (Toy)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This will definitely be a hit with young girls - a horse that walks and with a gimmick that barbie 'jumps onto her back' all on her own. Some things to note:

- You'll need a level and flat surface - such as a sidewalk outdoors or non-carpeted floor.
- The barbie is specifically made for this horse - she can't stand normally, has hollow plastic legs (one of which isn't moveable), and non-articulated arms. So she's not really interchangeable with any other sets/clothing.
- The pants are molded and not a separate item that can be removed.
- The mechanism works most of the time but can be tricky - sometimes barbie knocks the horse over while 'jumping on'
- The horse's tale is fiber but the mane is molded plastic. So only the tail can be brushed with the attached brush.
- The saddle is also molded onto the horse - it's not a separate piece that can be interchanged.
- The horse takes about 8 steps at a time before stopping.
- To get Barbie to 'jump onto the horse' you click her hand into place. Little fingers may find this a bit daunting/frustrating and have a lot of accidents of horse and Barbie falling over.

In all, let's face it, kids will love it. But parents should keep in mind that this is pretty much a 'one trick pony' - not interchangeable with other Barbie sets/clothing, etc.

U.S. Polo Association  Little Girls'  Empire Waist Jumper with Kick Pleats, Navy, 6
U.S. Polo Association Little Girls' Empire Waist Jumper with Kick Pleats, Navy, 6
Price: $17.31
2 used & new from $12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice quality - a bit short., August 19, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a cute, sturdy, and well-made jumper. It fit nicely on my 5 year old, so it may run a bit short (where the skirt ends) on a 6 year old. I paired it with some leggings so she could bend over and pick something up without flashing the neighbors. Since she is a year short of the age, it was just a bit loose at the waist but she is a bit stocky.

Graco Soothing System Glider, Abbington
Graco Soothing System Glider, Abbington
Price: $191.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Very, very nice!, August 19, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
First - yes it is very expensive. But it is also several solutions in one - glider, bassinet, and bouncer. As such, it is very useful and also makes one of the best presents for a new parent imaginable. It's something that will hold up over several kids and not take up too much space in storage.

The glider emits a soft whirring noise that likely will help a little one sleep (adding in a bit of ambient). Fortunately, there is no whine or clunky sounds as it moves. There is a music option with 3 settings or so - standard Graco tunes. While the music isn't of the greatest quality, it is nice enough to add a bit more ambiance to help a child go to sleep.

I love the neutral colors here and how it is great for all genders. It also grows with a child a bit - going from bassinet to bouncer as the child gets older and likes to watch the world.

I couldn't find any detractors here - it really is that nice.

Crayola Story By Me Hardcover Kit
Crayola Story By Me Hardcover Kit
Price: $29.11
6 used & new from $29.11

4.0 out of 5 stars Such a Great Idea, August 19, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is our second time using one of these Crayola kits and they really are a great idea. Kids get to create their own story, parents send in the pages, and back comes a printed book. Included is a fun 'about the author' which is a great keepsake/memento of the child at that age.

Although the book layouts do not allow for a wide variety of customization options or additional pages, what we do have is enough to create a fun little book. It can be about a vacation, first day of school, Christmas/holiday, or just a fiction story using a child's imagination. The directions do recommend that parents create an outline with kids in advance and then go to town on the paper with their creativity.

We really love the idea and how it comes out. It is something to be treasured forever and both an educational and fun exercise for kids.

Fitness After 40: Your Strong Body at 40, 50, 60, and Beyond
Fitness After 40: Your Strong Body at 40, 50, 60, and Beyond
Price: $12.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and Easy To Use, August 19, 2015
In this second edition, revised for 2015, author Wright updates several sections (especially adding new exercises and plans as well as better nutritional information) but essentially keeps a large portion of the original version intact. At heart is her system, nicknamed "FACE": Flexibility, Aerobic exercise, Carry a load, Equilibrium/balance. There is a strong emphasis on running and her perspective seems to come more from people who were fit once than were never fit ever in their life. But on the whole, the book is comprehensive and easy to use.

Among the topics covered are: new science of aging, fitness beyond 40, moving to be stronger/smarter/happier, a six week jumps start to mobility plan (20 minutes at day), maximizing performance while minimizing injury, hip replacement issues, guide to smart nutrition, creating a positive mindset, and choosing the right fitness shoes. She's also included further resources and references.

Her exercise programs come in 'bricks' - a mix and match set of routines/stretches which should be put together in groups of five. She gives suggestions on how to put together the "FACE" components - mixing and matching aerobic, carrying a load, equilibrium, etc. She suggests either the included plans or making one's own depending on needs. Also provided are graphs and charts to help with compiling a fitness plan. Fortunately, they aren't annoying or difficult to either assemble or perform.

Due consideration is given to ages as well as issues with injuries - from broken hips to tendon issues and arthritis. As well, a nutrition section gives suggestions from supplements to the usual avoiding of processed foods.

Due to the formatting, the hardcover is much more useful than a Kindle version (unless you have a graphical version such as the Fire). And I would have really liked to have had more images of the exercises - beyond the small and relatively few black and whites provided.

Author Wright has covered the topic well and the book is suitable for those even well into the 70s to stay fit and alert. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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