On the weekends, I try to make something extra special for breakfasts since most mornings we are on the go-go-go. My boys love fresh fruit, eggs and things like that, but they also love things like cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, crepes, etc. They have especially been loving the Swedish Cinnamon Buns we made a while back. I love them too and love how easy they are to make. This time around we decided to switch up the filling and just do a slathering of Nutella, which the boys love. The dough is still so simple to make, just stir together in a bowl. Using the Nutella made these even easier.
I have two boys, who are VERY MUCH boys. It never ceases to amaze me how ‘boyish’ they can be, while still being so different from each other. Aidan is my cautious, thoughtful mastermind with the grand plan. Cole is my wild hurricane daredevil. As you can imagine, put the two of them together and there are days I wonder how we all survived. Aidan has also always been into more of the super heroes/comics/building sets and sports kind of boy, while Cole has always been (so far, he’s only 5 after all) into cars, cars and more cars plus dirt bikes, skydiving like Daddy someday and he basically thinks the whole world is already his very own parkour course.
There are a few things that they can agree on. I want to tell you about two of them in this post – building sets and chocolate. The two combined led to possibly one of the best holiday season weekends I’ve had with the kids so far. Why? Because they were busy, entertained and playing instead of constantly begging me to get on the Wii or my phone or the computer or watch TV or anything electronic. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some electronics too, but we have strict rules and limits about how much time they can spend on those things. Aidan in particular has a ‘plugged in’ limit for the day is about 1 hour total. While this isn’t always so difficult on school days to enforce, the weekends are tough. It involves A LOT of whining, begging and bargaining (and often caving on Mom’s part out of sheer desperation, which I realize just leads to more of the same vicious cycle).
Anyway, this all started when our box of KRE-O Transformers building sets arriving for review from Hasbro. I accepted this review opportunity a couple of weeks ago after asking Aidan if he wanted to do it. I knew I’d get an enthusiastic response because, other than electronics, building sets with lots of little pieces are Aidan’s favorite activity. He can happily while away hours building and creating and imagining his own things to build from all the pieces too. This was definitely a good fit for him. I had two happy, occupied and busy boys on my hands after a breakfast of these buns with a side of scrambled eggs, plus some fresh orange slices and strawberries, and even some hot chocolate since it was cold outside. Easy breakfast for me, special for them, fun weekend of building. It was great, and relatively peaceful.
Telling Aidan about this review and sets coming may have been my first mistake though since he wanted the box to arrive RIGHT. NOW. So I had to deal with several days of, “Did the Kre-O get here?????” I’m not going to lie. It was annoying. Good thing I love that kid to pieces.
Anyway, when I asked him how he wanted to do it, he asked me if we could make a video. So that’s what we did. The kid cracks me up. This review is his. I pretty much just stayed behind the video camera and helped him edit. He may look very serious in most of the video, but apparently that was his camera face. You can see the ‘real’ Aidan at the end of the video when he thought I turned the camera off. I’ll also share my thoughts about the Kre-O set below, from the Mom perspective.
Aidan made a list of his top three favorite things about the Kre-O Transformers set though that I’m supposed to share with you. His handwriting is actually pretty good this time around, but I’ll type them out too.
(The Destruction Site Devastator set is the ultimate gift for advanced builders ages 8 & up! Kids can build four construction vehicles, four Constructicon robots, or the massive Decepticon robot Devastator! You can see Aidan’s giant robot Devastator he built in the video.)
- You can make lots of things.(Smaller sets like the Cycle Chase set and the Decepticon Ambush (shown above) set are great for beginning builders, ages 6 & up)
- You get lots of guys.
- The manual is easy to read.
MOM’S TOP THREE THINGS I LIKE ABOUT KRE-O:
- My 9-year old was happily entertained and not bugging me about electronics because he was too busy building. This is RARE.
- The prices on the KRE-O sets are very reasonable for the sizes of the sets and everything that came with it. Honestly, we’ve paid much more for a lot less in other building sets.
- The big set especially (Destruction Site Devastator) had LOTS of building options. Aidan chose to go straight for building the giant robot, but he can also take that apart to build 4 different vehicles or 4 small robots. He hasn’t made it that far yet, which means we have hours and hours more entertainment ahead for him.
Still not convinced? Here are more details about the KRE-O Transformers sets:
- Hasbro’s KRE-O TRANSFORMERS has options, options, options. Kids can build their TRANSFORMERS characters in either their robot or vehicle modes using the same bricks! (This was possibly the thing Aidan was most excited about.)
- Each set also comes with fun KREON figures, featuring your favorite Autobots and Decepticons! (Thus Aidan’s comment that it comes with lots of guys… “you know Mom, so they can battle and stuff.”)
- The Battle for Energon set includes pieces to build two of the most iconic Transformers characters – heroic Optimus Prime and evil Megatron – all in one set!
- The KREON Micro-Changers Mystery Bags make a great stocking stuffer. 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! (Seriously. Not only are these great for stocking stuffers, but those days when your boys are bugging the heck out of you for a small toy… DONE. I love to keep a few of these kind of things around for a quick reward. They are inexpensive, add to their sets they already have and are therefore exciting, keep them busy while they build and then give them a reason to dig out their other sets to play all over again.)
The KRE-O TRANSFORMERS sets would be a great gift for your budding builder from around 8 years old and up for the big sets, with smaller sets that kids 6 and up could handle as well. The big set was a bit too challenging for Cole to build (no surprise, he’s only 5), but he loved getting to play with Aidan and battle with the pieces and try out the smaller sets. I loved that there were plenty of pieces to share and play together with. The great thing about this is that once their gift is unwrapped, it keeps on giving because they are busy and entertained with a fun activity (that is incidentally GREAT for fine motor skill building). It’s not something they’ll be bored with in minutes.
I think that actually pretty much covers it. This is a good deal. My only complaint, if you could call it that, is that I hope they come up with more ‘lines’. Currently they have a TRANSFORMERS line and a BATTLESHIP line of building sets. Both awesome choices… but what am I going to do after Aidan eventually burns through all those options. (If I may suggest here an idea, the Percy Jackson books would be an awesome choice. Totally self-serving here since Aidan is burning through those books like they are going out of style and keeps saying how he wishes someone made Percy Jackson building sets… just sayin’ 😉
As for these easy Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl Buns, the recipe is below. Watch early next week for an in-depth post about that hot chocolate recipe, as well as some other flavor options. It will make the perfect last minute holiday DIY gift idea.
Chocolate Hazelnut (Nutella) Swirl Buns
Recipe from pheMOMenon.com
For the dough:
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cup unbleached bread flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup milk, warmed to 115 degrees F.
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the filling:
1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (such as Nutella), depending on how much filling you want – we used at least the 2/3 cup
Swedish Pearl Sugar for topping (optional, but recommended if you can find it)
In a large bowl whisk together 2 cups of the bread flour with the yeast and ground cardamom. In a separate, medium bowl whisk together the salt, melted butter, warm milk, sugar and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture and using a wooden spoon, stir well to create a soft smooth dough. Add enough of the remaining 3/4 cup flour to create a smooth dough that isn’t sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for 20 minutes or until almost doubled in bulk (depending on temperature of your kitchen).
In a small bowl, stir the filling ingredients together well until a smooth, spreadable paste is formed.
When the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl to a clean, lightly floured work surface. Pat and roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 14-inches x 18-inches and about 1/4-inch thick.
Spread the filling evenly over the dough rectangle. Working from the long side of the dough, roll the dough into a spiral log, keeping the dough rolled as tightly as possible. Pinch together the dough seam at the end of the roll, and cut into 12 equal pieces.
Place in 12 buttered muffin tin cups, on a buttered baking sheet, in a 9×13 pan or, as shown here, on a baking sheet in large cupcake liners. Sprinkle each bun with the pearl sugar and cover the rolls with a clean kitchen towel to rise for about 20 minutes while the oven preheats to 475 degrees F. Bake the buns for about 10 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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 to create awareness about their KRE-O Transformers building sets. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own, as well as those of my precocious 9-year old son who ran this review for the most part.