Monthly Archives: August 2011

SwaddleDesigns_AB_URB

smile for the angry birdie

Yesterday I was shopping at a toy store on Long Island’s North Shore when I came face to face with some rather irate creatures. It was a window display filled with Angry Birds stuffed animals, keychains and other merchandise inspired by the well-known video game. My 7-year-old, of course, was in heaven, and my 3-year-old was waving–or should I say, “flapping?”–her arms wildly, much like a little bird herself. I can’t deny this trend any longer, even if I don’t admit to playing the game myself. And while these birds have soared beyond the handheld remote and into toy stores, they’re now joining the baby world with their own new arrival: SwaddleDesigns’ Angry Birds Ultimate Receiving Blanket. This gift is sure to delight new parents who are avid game players and first-time moms determined not to leave their pre-baby identities behind, not to mention those who just want their newborn to be blanketed in the softest cotton flannel. Product won’t begin shipping until October, but if you pre-order $50 or more of SwaddleDesigns’ merchandise now , you’ll receive an Angry Birds plush toy with your order.

In a Nutshell: Like a mother bird who instinctively knows how to feather her nest comes an of-the-moment baby gift that’s bound to find a home in the modern nursery.

 

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Math Slam (2)

numbers up

I don’t which subject my daughter loves more these days: reading or math. She devours books just as veraciously as she does numbers, so I’d have to say it’s a toss-up. (Wish I could credit my genes for the math, but I’ll have to settle for helping shape her into a wordsmith…). In the meantime, trying to keep up with her fascination with all things binary is not as easy as introducing her to a new author or making frequent jaunts to the library. What’s a a numbers-challenged mom to do? For kids who love a good math fix, especially during these last few weeks of summer vacation, Math Slam will motivate them to test their skill set. At first glance, it’s an electronic handheld game. But before you shout cries of, “Oh no, not another one of those!,” take a closer look. This is not a character-driven, mind-numbing flurry of lights and noise, but rather a well-paced, question-after-question game that quizzes kids on everything from simple subtraction, to more complex equations (algebra, anyone?). Players are posed with a question, and they must hit one of the corresponding buttons with the right answer…before time runs out. My 7-year-old is delighted to be able to impress us with her rapid-fire right answers, and aspires to make it through all three levels. I hope I can keep up with her; I may have to hide out with my Tina Fey book.

In a Nutshell: If the extent of your kiddie math days only date back to the “Numbers Rhumba,” help your child challenge herself with a mind-blowing math game.

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SS Ready Set Grover FOB_DS

wii for wee folk

My 3-year-old tries to be like her big sister in so many ways. She mimics what she says and how she says it, she sings the same songs (eat your heart out, Katy Perry) and she so desperately wants to join her in playing Wii. Sadly, yoga and go kart racing doesn’t exactly appeal to the average preschooler, so she has been forced to watch her sister and dad from the sidelines…until now, that is. We recently got our furry paws on a copy of Sesame Street: Ready, Set, Grover!, a video game for the Wii and Nintendo DS, and let’s just say she has found her idea of true blue heaven. Right off the bat, the ultra plush remove cover in the likeness of the lovable furry monster is especially designed to keep little digits focused on the game play, and not distracted by which button to push when. The message of developing eating healthy may be a tough pill for Cookie Monster-loving kids to swallow, but the game play itself is so much fun, kids may not even realize they’re absorbing this idea. My two daughters both had a blast moving their bodies as they helped monsters drop good-for-you food into their bowls as it was being hurled toward them. Factoids about how drinking milk is good for your teeth and bones are added in for flavor, making these teachable moments. Our best laugh-out-loud experience? When Elmo flew through the air towards us, that he practically landed in our family room. After all, belly laughter is good for digestion, too.

In a Nutshell: Little ones can join in on the fun of console video games at a speed and style that’s all their own.

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LongbeardsTreasure

no generation gap

I have fond memories of playing Go Fish with my grandma when we visited her during the winter in Florida. As I grew older, the game playing graduated to Boggle and then, because she was a good listener, we would just chew the fat about life in general. Even though Gram’s ‘s been gone more than 20 years now, I still think of our good times together. My own father passed away last summer, and my 7-year-old still talks about how the two of them fashioned pizzas and houses from Play-Doh over and over…precious memories that will last her a lifetime. Because the grandparent/grandchild bond often centers upon play, especially when kids are young, it’s a true wonder when you stumble upon things that help foster that relationship. GrandCamp Adventures helps bridge the world of play for a new generation of grandparents. Made up of entertaining storybooks, music and games, this collection is one that stands out for its brilliant packaging and amazing attention to detail in its game pieces. We think Longbeard’s Treasure Hunt especially takes the cake as an engaging board game that will delight both boys and girls alike, not to mention their grandparents. From the clever clue cards written in pirate lingo, to the blank action cards that enable players to work together when inventing one-of-a-kind moves, this unique game is never played the same way twice. Bet Gram wished the same could have been said for Go Fish…

In a Nutshell: When yet another game of Crazy 8’s is driving you a bit…well, crazy, consider this new line of games that puts the “grand” in grandparent.

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guava-6527_logo (2)

scratch-proof

My 3-year-old has a small scratch across the bridge of her nose–but that’s nothing. When she was a baby, she would scratch herself repeatedly and there was nothing I could do to stop her. While I consider myself a relatively self-sufficient mom, trimming my kids’ fingernails is one parenting task I’ve always managed to delegate. If you’ve got a budding scratcher on your hands (pun intended), there’s no need to resort to the socks-on-hands trick of olden days. Guavamitts are a fashionable way to minimize the chance of letting your little one’s sense of exploration go too far. Perfectly sized for little hands, these bamboo/organic cotton mittens will help keep your little one stylish and safe, sensibly. Available in a variety of prints, including gender-neutral, guavamitts will give you an extra hand or two to stop scratching once and for all.

In a Nutshell: Save those scratches for the playground when she’s a little older; these reversible mitts help get a handle on a pesky parenting woe.

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the sun’ll come out

It should not be allowed to rain on vacation, especially when you’re in a coastal town with 2 young kids. We’re more than half-way through our annual family vacation trek to New England–this time in the Gloucester, Mass. area–and the last 2 days have been wash-outs. We managed to pass the time yesterday by taking in a kid movie (Cars 2) and then heading to our favorite stop at the Christmas Tree Shops (there’s one not far from where we live, but it just doesn’t compare to the variety in this neck of the woods). But when we awoke today to find more stormy skies, the girls’ enthusiasm  began to wear thin–and rightfully so. We had picked a spot that isn’t too far from the beach, but the only waves we’ve managed to see have been from the car windows. Oh, we’ve done the requisite indoor crafts and games that are rainy day staples, but you can’t help but feel a bit cheated out by a seaside experience when it’s been anything but beach weather. Probably one of the more frustrating parts is that aside from a few sporadic showery days, our summer has mainly been a very dry one…until this week, of course. My little thrill is that I remembered to pack both girls’ raincoats, which we have put to good use these past couple of days. Wait, what’s that I see? The proverbial sun peeking through the clouds! All hope is not lost after all. I jump on weather.com and discover that, lucky for us, we’ll have sunny skies tomorrow. Carpe diem! Excuse me while I go find my sunscreen.

Hello Kitty Bento To Go 2 Tier Lunch Container (2)

mmm-meow

Cats and kids are somewhat alike. Although from two entirely different species, each loves to nibble and gaze on multiple meals throughout the day. Our resident kitty is known to visit her food bowl no less than 4-5 times a day, much like my 2 kiddies who relish small snacks from morning til dessert. We’re not surprised then that Hello Kitty continues to be all the rage among girls big and small, and for this school year, she’s a big hit when it comes to lunchtime. The Hello Kitty 2-Tier Bento Container will have fussy eaters purring with contentment, since it keeps different foods separate in their own space (you know how particular girls can be about their stuff). They fit together easily and are easy to clean, making mealtime a snap. And because this bento container is durable, it’s designed to withstand lots and lots of lunches…maybe even nine lives’ worth.

In a Nutshell: Hello Kitty welcomes lunchtime with a delightful new companion that keeps food contained and kitties satisified.

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Bild für die Haba Firmenfamilie

fire up the grill

We recently bought a new gas grill after our other one finally  bit the dust and I must admit, the burgers taste better than ever. As the summer begins to wind down, there are precious few nights left for al fresco dining, so it’s time to live it up! If you’ve got a budding Bobby Flay in your home, let him hone his BBQ skills on the HABA Grill Set Sizzle Expert. Following the tradition of high-quality HABA toddler toys, this playset has all the makings of a year-round favorite in your little one’s play kitchen. We love that the food is soft to the touch, while the sturdy grill and tongs are durable for plenty of BBQing. Our favorite part? The realistic charcoal briquettes and grill marks on everything from fish to steak. All that’s missing is the grilled pizza (my 3-year-old’s favorite food to whip up these days). Mmmmm…is it dinnertime yet?

In a Nutshell: No matter if you’re raising a vegetarian or a carnivore, this grill set is the perfect complement to any play kitchen, with no messy clean-up.

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kids_all copy

thirst quencher

There’s nothing more refreshing than a cold drink on a hot summer’s day…especially when you’ve been outdoors for hours. My 7-year-old takes a water bottle with her to camp everyday, but after so many refills, she craves something with a bit more flavor. Rather than load her down with sugary juice or lemonade, we thought we’d give coconut water, the latest fad in the beverage world, a try. But this isn’t just any coconut water, mind you. O.N.E. Kids Coconut Water with Fruit Juice is specially designed for finicky taste buds who need to rehydrate after a long day at play. Flavored with natural juices and no added sugar, this drink is packed with potassium and electrolytes to replenish growing bodies. We decided to put O.N.E. Kids to the test during a long, sweltering week at camp. The results? One happy camper. “It wasn’t so sweet, but it tasted really good and that made me want to drink more,” said our resident tester. Available in a medley of fruity flavors like apple, fruit punch, raspberry lemonade and orange, O.N.E. Kids Coconut Water with Fruit Juice is one drink your kids will go nuts for.

In a Nutshell: When lemonade and plain old H2O have had their day in the sun, switch over to this delicious, healthy beverage of choice.

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

traveling companion

We’re slowly starting to pack for our annual summer vacation with the kids later this week. For me, that means double loads of laundry, unearthing our travel bags and figuring out how few toys I can get away with packing. If you’re traveling with a little one, you’re already loaded down with enough baby gear to outfit a mansion–forget about the toys! I tell my girls they’re each allowed one special, can’t-do-without plaything, and then the rest is up to me. (Let’s see how well that one works). If you have a little person in your life embarking on her first journey, be it by car, plane or cruise ship, you won’t be able to resist My Little Suitcase. Brought to you by The Baby Bunch, the same company whose baby gift line The Talking Walnut has raved over, this charming little luggage is stocked with a passport cover, cotton sleepsuit (available in sizes 6-12 months) and matching plush bear. We’re a stickler for creative packaging and imaginative design, and this gift has it…right down to the detailed luggage tag. My Little Suitcase comes in green, blue or pink, and makes for a unique send-off for any little traveler. Bon voyage, baby!

In a Nutshell: Precious cargo gets first-class treatment with this adorable travel gift for your favorite passenger.

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