Monthly Archives: March 2011

6971 Smart Heart_sh (2)

heart smart

My 2-year-old loves playing doctor, and so naturally I have been cast in the role of her most popular patient. Whether she is checking my reflexes (ow, that hurts!) or giving me a shot, it’s all for a good cause: helping her understand the value of practicing good medicine. While her older sister could not be bothered with furthering her little sister’s future medical profession, she does get in on the action with the Smart Heart Pulse Monitor. It’s a creative way to illustrate just how fast the heart pumps. Simply hold the monitor over your child’s heart and press the button. Within a few minutes, you’ll be able to hear an audio computation of how many heartbeats per minute, so you can calculate her pulse. For even more fun, first measure your child’s pulse after she’s been reading and follow that up with a second measurement after she’s been kicking the soccer ball around the backyard. Pretty big difference, eh? Now if only my daughter’s heart would race with anticipation when I tell her it’s time to clean up her room…

In a Nutshell: Is there a doctor in the house? If you’ve got a resident-in-training in your residence, have a heart and let her check your pulse with this fun gadget.

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gunapod

snug as a bug

Long after my younger daughter’s arrival into this world, I couldn’t get her doctors’ voices out of my head. “What are you doing all curled up in there?,” they probed during her delivery in the OR. “It’s time to come out.” After a bit of cajoling and a dose of medical magic, she emerged kicking and screaming, and they laughed as they revealed just how tightly she had cocooned herself, refusing to budge and face the world. Smart girl, I thought…Who would want to leave a warm, secure and snuggly place for a cold, bustling and noisy one? It’s this particular memory that makes me think the gunapod is a true gem for any baby–and any temperament. This wearable blanket sets itself apart from others you may have seen with its all-around zipper and extra plush design. Anyone who’s ever tried to put her baby down for a nap will appreciate how easily it is to slip this blanket on without waking her. Ready to bring her outside for a mid-day snooze in her stroller? Simply unzip or unsnap to keep her from overheating. And when the clouds come, zip her back up and she’s protected once again. Diaper changes are also possible without having to remove the gunapod. How great is that? And if you’ve got a wriggly worm on your hands, free up her feet by unzipping and she’s content. And now you can breathe again, too.

In a Nutshell: Call it the Linus of security blankets. We don’t know who loves the gunapod more: the babies who wear them or the moms who can’t quite remember how they lived without them.

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Apple Park Bunny_mini_pal (2)

in search of the Easter Bunny

If you blink, you just might miss him. The illusive Easter Bunny is on the loose, but he needs to get back to bunny business in time for Easter. Want to help track him down? You can join the search by taking part in the Apple Park Cyber Eggstravaganza beginning on March 30. Every Wednesday until Easter, fans of Apple Park organic toys can answer weekly questions that will earn them prizes and eventually solve the mystery of the bunny’s whereabouts. Prizes range from gift cards for Apple Park toys and Whole Foods stores, to a secret grand prize that will be revealed on April 24. Simply “Like” Apple Park on Facebook or become a fan on Twitter. Either way, we’ll need all the help we can get to bring Bunny back home in time for Easter. Please do your part, so we can look forward to those baskets filled with chocolate eggs and jelly beans next month!

In a Nutshell: Don’t let chocolate bunnies become an endangered species. Abandon your own egg hunt if you must, fire up the GPS and help find the Easter Bunny–before it’s too late…

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Appaman

suit up, young man

When my brother was a boy, my mother was lucky if she could wrangle him into a suit for his First Communion, let alone for any other special occasion. He’s now all grown up with a teenage son of his own, and finds that it’s not much easier trying to convince him to dress up, not down. Because we learn early on that clothes do indeed make the man, finding fashionable finery that doesn’t require moms to make harsh demands (no Xbox or Facebook for one week) doesn’t have to be a losing battle. Appaman Fine Tailoring seeks to please both parent and son with its ultra sleek suit collection for young gentlemen. The collection’s euro slim Mod Suit earns points for its sophisticated lines and soft fabrics. Whether guys choose to keep their cool by pairing with a vintage T or adding a slim tie for their buddy’s Bar Mitzvah, the look is sure to catch a few young ladies’ eyes. Maybe he won’t be wanting to play Xbox so much after all…

In a Nutshell: Your first cousin’s wedding right around the corner and Junior refusing to don his Sunday best? This hip line of dress wear for young boys may just have him changing his mind.

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Weebles on the Bus Playset (2)

who drives the bus?

My 2-year-old has a thing for school buses. Whenever we pass one on the road, she wonders aloud where it could be going. And when we drive past her older sister’s school, she is enthralled by the parade of yellow vehicles, all lined up and awaiting their passengers. I find it amusing since the bus often comes into conversation in our household–as in “who’s driving the bus?” when referring to a demanding toddler who professes to be in charge of all our comings and goings. It’s no wonder then that she’s big on school bus pretend play, and why the Weebles on the Bus Playset makes her feel right at home. If you grew up with the Weebles, you’ll really like this brand-new-for-spring vehicle whose passengers so resemble the Weebles of our youth. (These characters have changed in look and design over the years, but this time they’re back to their see-through selves.) As they ride along, they bump up and down–much like the infamous “Wheels on the Bus” song. Push the spinner on top and they twirl in their seats–pure delight to a toddler who dreams of someday riding in a real bus. Maybe the real reason it’s a  favorite is the power trip: My daughter can indeed drive this bus…just not mine.

In a Nutshell: Take a ride down memory lane with the Weebles’ school bus, and your child at the wheel. Beware of aggressive drivers.

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gLovies

with kid gloves

When I hear my daughter utter those famous words, “I have to go to the bath-rooommm,” I cringe. Even though she’s been potty-trained for a few years now, I absolutely dread having to visit public restrooms (and what mother doesn’t)? Forget the fact that they’re filthy, smelly and always crowded; my 6-year-old still holds on to the sides of the toilet bowl no matter how often I remind her to keep her hands to herself. If you’re a mom like me who finds herself in this type of situation more times than she’d like to, you may appreciate gLovies. Aiming to keep germs at bay, these disposable hand covers are perfect for slipping on when making a pit-stop. I was never a big fan of shopping cart covers, which I found cumbersome and could never remember to bring along. gLovies, on the other hand (pun intended!),  are especially convenient as you can stash a pair in your purse and be ready to hit the road. Simply put, they just make bathroom visits a bit more bearable. Now if someone could do something about the smell…

In a Nutshell: Give your kid a hand and make her next rest stop visit less gruesome and germ-free. Pack a pair for your next road trip.

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vt com sweetpea page

brain food

In another lifetime, both my kids ate their veggies. Not on the same days, of course, nor the same vegetables. If one loved carrots, the other suddenly developed a strong aversion to them. And heaven forbid they both ate their greens cooked; now they demanded their broccoli “raw.” Since I don’t run a farm stand out of my kitchen, I have lovingly adopted our preschool’s motto, “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset,” for dinnertime. And when it comes to screen time, we’ve been noshing on VeggieTales.com, a new site that’s chock-full of interactive games, reading activities and amusing antics surrounding the wacky cast of characters that make up the Veggies Tales. While this gang may be known for content that hints of Christian overtones, this site isn’t heavy-duty on Biblical references (passages are tucked in here and there), but rather focuses on basic tenants of humankind: being good and caring for others. Kids will get a kick out of making their own e-cards, creating bookmarks and playing Veggie Football. Yup, you heard that right. Who knows? Maybe becoming a linebacker in the likeness of a cucumber may just inspire my 2-year-old to eat salad once again (sigh)…

In a Nutshell: Let your kid get her daily serving of fruits and veggies virtually. Packed with plenty of activities, this site delivers a fortifying feast of fun that nourishes young imaginations.

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Uncle Milton Dino Poop

the scoop on poop

The mere thought of potty training brings me down. If I wanted to spend my time cleaning up messy, little piles of do-do, I’d have gotten a dog. And yet I’ve successfully mastered this feat with my older daughter, so doesn’t that make me a pro? Nevertheless, it’s something all moms must roll up their sleeves (really) and teach their kids, and one that I’ll be taking on later this spring. Until then, we’re having a blast “experimenting” with Dino Poop, modeling clay inspired by TV’s “Dinosaur Train” that lets kids investigate exactly what makes up a dinosaur’s diet. This brown ball of poop-like dough comes with bone and plant pieces that kids simply press into the clay to create fossil imprints. Was your T-Rex ravenous and devoured an entire school of fish? Or did he just settle for a light lunch of leafy greens? It’s a clever way of jump-starting little ones on science as they learn the difference between a herbivore, carnivore or omnivore. What’s that? You learned something, too? We love a toy that spans generations with an education in prehistoric poop. Time to go dust off the potty seat…

In a Nutshell: All pooped out? Here’s how to have a little fun with your kid before you go back to tackling the bigger stuff.

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Alex_App_Icon_10 (2)

a monster app for your little monster

If I had a dime for every time my 6-year-old asks my husband if she can play Angry Birds, I’d be able to pay for her first semester of college. OK, well maybe just her textbooks, but you get the idea. I shudder to think what will happen once she has her own Smartphone someday. Until hell freezes over, we’ll keep her gaming time limited to apps designed just for kids, like the new Moody Monster Manor that launches this Friday, March 25. Aimed at 3-6 year-olds, this is one app that’s bound to amuse even the most fidgety preschooler. Your child may find his likeness amongst one of the 20 monsters dwelling in this make-believe playhouse where they can join them on any number of adventures. Help Confused Carl throw a monster bash that’s to die for, or allay Worried Wanda’s fears by whipping through her homework with her. Kids can create and name their own monsters, too. Now they can finally see what it’s like to care for a little devil…ahem, we mean angel of their own.

In a Nutshell: Angry Birds overload? Here’s a fun kiddie app that may just satisfy your own finicky little gamer.

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Black strap on bag - front view

lighten your load

Back strain can bring you down–literally and figuratively. Every spring, I make a point of cleaning out my purse to minimize the droop in my already-slouched shoulders. That’s what years of schlepping around a textbook-laden backpack will to do you. And those diaper bag years haven’t exactly helped matters either. To make whatever bag you’re lugging around town a little less cumbersome, Go GaGa’s Urban Sherpa Strap may just be your new best friend. Even if you don’t want to part with your favorite diaper bag, purse or laptop case, you can still use it by updating it with a strap that evenly distributes the bulk across your back and shoulders. Just remove the current strap and clip the Urban Sherpa one onto the metal or plastic loops at either end of your bag. It makes a big difference, even to these worn-out shoulders.

In a Nutshell: A shoulder strap that’s pain-free? With this simple, yet effective accessory, you really can take it with you.

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