Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tollytots Sort and Solve Puzzle- A Review


     

   Remember Rubik's Cubes? I'm sure you do! You know, those colorful cubes of frustration, somewhat reminiscent of a Mondrian paintings? Well the Rubik's Cubes have been reincarnated, in the form of children's toys, by Tollytots. This week we received one of these toys in the form of the Sort and Solve Puzzle.



    This Sort and Solve Puzzle is recommended for ages 6 months and up. At 12 months I found that this shape sorter is still slightly advanced for Weston. I actually view this very much as a positive as there is plenty of room for us to grow and learn with this toy. I love buying toys that will stimulate and grow with my child. I also appreciate toys that lead us into educational play. It isn't always instinctual to remember important things to work on with your children. While playing with the puzzle it leads to talk of shapes and colors. Play with this toy also helps with motor skills. For the older child each shape is also printed with the number of sides that the shape has.




  One of my favorite parts of this toy is that it functions as its very own toy box. As you sort all of the shapes into the Rubik's Cube they are held there until you are ready to play again. Being that this toy has so many parts (to be strewn about my living room and then painfully stepped on) I really appreciate that it has the capacity to hold all of the parts together.







  If you would like to buy a Sort and Solve Puzzle you can purchase them at Toys R Us for $14.99 You can also enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to be one of two lucky winners!


UPDATE: The giveaway has ended. Congrats to the winners Julie and Alanna B. 


Disclosure: I received a product to review for free. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines. 


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

GoodNight Series of Board Books

    Our World of Books

   I have talked about Weston's new love of reading books on the blog a couple times now. First we reviewed Blue Manatee Book Boxes and then we checked out Baby Lit's classic board books. Now we have found an an awesome series of books called  "Good Night Our World." Good Night Our World books are designed to take your child on a virtual ride from morning to night in a variety of places around the world. I love that there is a book in this series that every family will be able to relate to. We were sent an assortment of books to check out including Goodnight Farm, Goodnight World, Goodnight Chicago, Goodnight Beach and several others. There were three books that really touched me personally.



   The first of those books was Goodnight Miami. With homesickness starting to creep in, it really made me nostalgic for all the fun places of our past. It was so fun to be able to read to him about Zoo Miami, Jungle Island, and South Beach. Places Evan and I visited before Weston existed and even when I was pregnant with him.


     The second book that really stood out was Goodnight New Orleans. New Orleans is our new home. We haven't been able to hit all of the family friendly sites as of yet and we have not yet been to our first Mardi Gras (which locals say is really the experience that will make us love it here). It was neat to read about all the sites and adventures we still have to look forward to together as a family. A virtual checklist, if you will, of all of the fun that is to come.  We even chose to have some of our family photos taken with the book Goodnight New Orleans. Such a great way to represent our first year in this new place. You can't see the book very well in this picture but I know that the symbolism will mean something to me as I look back upon these photos years from now.


    The third book Id like to highlight is Goodnight North Pole. The minute the calendar hits December 1st I'm going to bust out the Christmas carols (and menorah...we are a multi-tradition family but more on that later) and the holiday cheer. We are going to carol, bake, decorate, and READ our little holiday hearts out. Enter Goodnight North Pole. Can't wait to read it to Weston with some milk and cookies by our tree.


   The bottom line with this series is that there is a board book for every family and almost every circumstance. Commemorate a vacation, learn about a place your going, learn about a part of the country you aren't even planning on visiting, check out the world. All of these experiences are available through these books. I promise these books are way cheaper than booking a flight :)

    These books are priced at $9.95 and can be purchased wherever books are sold or direct from the publisher at www.ipgbook.com. Make sure to check out their website and enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win one of two sets of six assorted Goodnight Our World books.



UPDATE: The giveaway has ended. Congrats to the winners,
Mindy M. and Ashely S. 


Disclaimer:  I received a product (or products) to review for free. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines. 


Monday, November 26, 2012

Zooligans- A Review



       I feel like two of the largest signs of our transition from baby-hood to toddler-hood have been using a sippy cup and wearing shoes. There have been other signs (crawling, clapping, standing in his crib, causing large amounts of trouble), but the shoes and the sippy cup really stand out to me. Both items just scream, "I am a little boy now."


    Zooligans sent us a pair of Ringo the Raccoon shoes to try. Immediately you can't help but notice the adorable smiling, raccoon face. These shoes definitely get high marks in the cuteness department. I also like this specific style because, while they are full of personality, they are also neutral. They go with pretty much all the clothes that we have for Weston. I'm not sure if you've noticed, but pretty much all baby boy clothes are grey, blue, or brown these days. Not sure why manufactures aren't making a ton of black colored boy clothes but the current selection certainly seems limited. These shoes are the perfect tones to go with all the blue and gray attire we have. 


     Zooligans construction is clearly well thought out. They have very soft leather uppers, which contribute to comfort, and a "paw-flex," bottom, which is super malleable for little feet (especially those that are learning to walk).  Added bonus that this patterned bottom will actually leave adorable little paw tracks behind. I bet in a few months Weston will really appreciate that. The Velcro strap is a must. As a Mom with a little one, I will only buy shoes with Velcro. One thing that I noticed was that the Velcro strap is located closer to the ankle on these shoes than other brands we have tried. This makes putting on the shoes a little more difficult, however, it also functions to keep them in place more solidly(a great thing for sure).


  Zooligans pass all my, "Mommy Musts" for shoes for little ones. Cute, comfy, flexible, and they have Velcro. Make sure to visit them on Facebook, Twitter, and their website. If you would like to purchase a pair of  Zooligan's you can find a list of stores HERE or check them out at Nordstrom.com.





  Also, if you already know that you LOVE Zooligans you can help them out. Vote for them to win the 2012 Red Tricycle Awards. If your interested please place your vote by November 30th.



Disclaimer:  I received a product to review for free. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Very Jane- A Review

    

   When I lived in Miami I had a circle of local girlfriends that constantly inspired my style purchases. It was easy to bounce ideas off of them, try things on for them, and learn about new styles from them. We shopped together, worked together, played together, and threw parties together. Everyday someone would open my eyes to some new look, a new Etsy store, or a fun new craft.

Christmas 2010
Red and Black Wine Tasting Night at Kate and Bryan's
Berta's Baby Shower (I have no idea why Berta is not in the picture at her own shower)
Sarah's Birthday Party 2011 and the night before Weston was born.

    I miss that kind of constant influence so I was excited last month when I came across Very Jane. Very Jane is kind of like Living Social or Groupon but for boutique goods. Everyday I receive an email with six or seven creative products that are always super chic. Very Jane can't make up for missing out on my friends influence, but it can help expose me to the newest trends in jewelry, children's attire, photo-backdrops, household decor, and gifts. Being a member of Very Jane is like having a friend's great ideas sent straight to me, and it allows me to purchase things I love at prices I can afford.

   Everyday the deals at Very Jane change. The deals run for three days or until the inventory runs out. You can stay up to date on new deals via email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and/or Instagram. Check out some of my favorite Very Jane products below.


     A couple weeks ago I was checking out the newest deals and I came across the Anthropology Inspired Briolette Necklace. I fell in love. Selling for only $14.99 this is a piece that would really spice up an outfit, and it is at a price that is totally affordable. I received the Briolette necklace in the red color with a coordinating red tie.  I was so pleased with the quality. I'm excited to wear this necklace this holiday season to give my outfit that little something extra (that it often needs).



   Enter below to win yourself the Anthropology Inspired Briolette Necklace in red. Thanks to Very Jane for choosing to work with me!


UPDATE: The giveaway has ended. Congrats to the winner,
Urmi J. 


Disclosure: I received a product to review for free. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines. 



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

My husband is a busy guy, however, he is never to busy to be a fabulous father. On this Thanksgiving Eve I'm thankful that he is the kind of father that is strong, kind, loving, and funny. Most of all I am thankful he isn't prone to motion sickness. He will be the one riding all carnival rides with our children. 







Saturday, November 17, 2012

Planning of a First Birthday- Getting a Hold of Myself

 
    When it came to the planning and execution of Weston's first Birthday I have to admit I struggled a bit on a few different levels. I had to balance what was important for this party with my own Mommy aspirations.  I would have loved to go all out invite the all lovely people we have met, rent out a shelter at a park, barbecue, have a bounce house, decorate with  fun things, and order a big fondant cake. My husband and I would have really had fun at that sort of thing. Weston? Not so much. His one-year-old self still needs regular naps and being that he isn't walking yet independently he only enjoys parts of the park for a little while (baby swings and crawling up the slides). Based upon Weston's schedule and comfort levels we decided to have the party at our house.


   Then what to do at this party? Back at home our circles of family and friends tend to love a grand ole first birthday party. We have been to first birthdays with a candy bar, a legit hot dog stand, one with a gymboree-esque music class, one party even had pony rides. These parties were all fantastic (if your reading this friends and I'm talking about your party please know that we loved it) but Weston just isn't really at a stage where these things are that important to him. To further put the cards on the table we just cant responsibly afford any of those things either. With me staying home right now we are struggling with our budget. It's a hard thing to admit but its true.




    I also struggled to slay my inner-pinterest demons. I do love a party with all the trimmings. In the past I've been known to etch a beer mug with a caduceus for a med school graduation party, help build jars full of cookie ingredients for a baby shower, and I have bought more than one fabulous cake. Oh, how I love the look of pretty, all matching, party goods, pinterest worthy crafts, and beautiful fondant cakes. I literally had, stand up, shake it off, and get a hold of myself for this party.  I dreamed of a mustache themed, pinterest-wonder-of-a-party however the money and time it would take just was not worth it. So I settled. I visited Target and bought primary colored basic Happy Birthday printed paper goods, matching goody bags, and a few paper balls for decor. I framed two of his first birthday photos and viola- instant easy decor with no muss or fuss.










   In the end we opt'ed to only invite a few friends with babies Weston's age who would enjoy rolling around in our living room. No older siblings (who I thought would be bored) or older kids. Feature of the day? Home made cheapo ball pit (A baby pool filled with $14.00 worth of plastic balls). Our favorite Jimmy Johns subs and a fruit platter were the culinary treats of the day. We finished with a cupcake cake, from the local supermarket, decorated in the primary color theme with trains. Simple. Plain. Weston had fun.




   Weston had a fabulous time playing with his little friends. He played until he was so tired he laid his head flat against the floor. The ball pit was a huge hit, the sandwiches were delish, and the mood was festive. I was so thankful that our new friends came out to celebrate our boys first year. It was a day that I thought I would be homesick, instead my heart was happy and full. I am so grateful that I chose to focus on what was important and not all the pretty entrapment's. We are so thankful for the wonderful day we had and all the kind and fun people (both in attendance and not) that we have met in this fabulous city.









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