Big thanks to Randi, the S Club Mama of the S Club 4 blog, for sharing her son’s Blue’s Clues themed birthday party! She was all kinds of crafty and made lots of tasty treats and activities for the party goers to enjoy. She created the invitation on Picnik – and it certainly gave kids a clue of things to come!
The biggest inspiration for the birthday itself was the Blue’s Birthday episode of Blue’s Clues (which we borrow constantly from the local library). That is where I got the idea for the Paw Print Birthday Cake (a smash cake and 4 cupcakes all tinted blue).
I made the cupcake toppers myself using the Pages application on my Mac and cutting out larger blue circles by tracing a cookie cutter & cutting them out. They are attached by tape to a tooth pick. The Blue’s Paw Prints that decorate the cupcake holder are from the Nick Jr. website (the pin the paw on Blue activity).
I have had some compliments on the party and decor, especially the under 3 crowd really liked the blue frosting. Bit hit.
I have to admit I’ve been admiring the beautiful hand stamped jewelry from The Vintage Pearl for quite some time. The pieces are delicate, personalized and affordable - a pretty good combination in my book.
About The Vintage Pearl
The Vintage Pearl began in 2007 as a creative outlet while staying home and raising our kids. It quickly blossomed into a business and continues to grow! I feel extremely blessed to be able to work while home with my kids!
We use only the finest materials in our hand stamped jewelry, every piece is entirely made of sterling silver, from the chains to the jump rings, unless otherwise noted in the description.
I had such a hard time picking one favorite from The Vintage Pearl when given the opportunity to review something. Let me show you why…
I considered getting the perfectly sweet dainty drop necklace with my children’s birthstones. But my kids have rather unfortunate birthstone colors so I thought about personalizing it for my husband and me.
One option to reflect our entire family is the layered circle of love necklace. One layer has the names of our family and the other circle layer says “my hands are almost as full as my heart.” So true, so true.
I ooh’ed and aah’ed to myself about all the possibilities with the dainty eclectic necklace. Seriously, how fun is this? It’s a little funky but the small size makes it perfect for everyday.
See… I told you I had a hard decision. But, as soon as I got a good look at a flower and a circle necklace I knew it was the perfect way to represent my son and daughter.
a flower and a circle
a flower and a circle is one of The Vintage Pearl’s most popular pieces – and I understand why. The necklace features a handstamped, brushed and domed sterling silver flower and sterling silver circle and a single freshwater pearl. You can customize the necklace from your choice of several fonts and can add more flowers or circles to reflect your family. I had the flower stamped with my daughter’s name in the sweet cursive font and my son’s name stamped on the circle in the plain font. I absolutely love how it turned out!
I love wearing the a circle and a flower necklace. The circle, flower and pearl all hang independently on the sterling silver chain, resulting in nice movement to the necklace. Sometimes the flower is in front, sometime the pearl is hidden, but it is always so pretty and easy to wear. The flower and the circle charm are each 3/4 of an inch which is a nice size – the necklace is big enough to get attention (I’ve received many compliments), but definitely not big or intimidating.
To Buy or Not to Buy
To Buy… The price point on all The Vintage Pearl pieces is surprisingly affordable and the product is definitely worth the money. I love the endless possibilities of personalizing your jewelry and anything from The Vintage Pearl would make a great gift.
Or Not to Buy… It’s really hard to find fault with simple, beautiful and meaningful jewelry. Seriously. I love my necklace and can’t think of an improvement.
Shop! a flower and a circle necklace is $42 for one flower and one circle (and a pearl) on an 18 inch sterling ball chain. You can add additional charms for $12. Other necklace designs start at $32. There is also a tasteful men’s collection that’s worth a look.
Win! A $75 Gift Certificate to The Vintage Pearl!
How to Enter: Visit The Vintage Pearl and admire the gorgeous jewelry and then leave a comment here with your favorite piece.
Bonus Entries – valid only after completing the first required entry. Please leave a separate comment for each you do.
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Follow The Shopping Mama on Twitter and tweet this giveaway. You may do this every day, just leave the link when you do. Win a $75 Gift Certificate to The Vintage Pearl – beautiful, personalized hand-stamped jewelry @TheShoppingMama http://bit.ly/dBNFmj
I should represent Energizer as a Smart ChargHER at the BlogHer Conference in August, and I’m going to tell you why. But, first, let me introduce myself.
My name is Kate and I am the blog at home mom to a 3.5 year old boy and a 20 month old girl. As a military family we move every couple of years and are nearing the end of our time in Florida. I started The Shopping Mama in January of 2009 to share my favorite finds for families – everything from the latest and greatest toys and clothes to products to make moms lives easier. (Like, for example, an awesome and convenient product that will save you money.)
Now that we have the introduction out of the way, let’s get on to why I should represent Energizer at BlogHer.
I AM a Smart ChargHER.
As the mom of two (incredibly energetic) young kids and the wife to an Air Force pilot I am used to charging and recharging my whole family. I literally provide energy in the form of three meals (and countless snacks) a day. I ensure my kiddos don’t drop for lack of energy by enforcing nap and bedtimes. But, more importantly, I’m the spirit, the heart, the emotional boost and energy that a family needs. All moms are, really. I know I can’t take all the credit for charging and energizing my family, but my husband travels a lot for his job so I do have to parent on my own quite a bit. In fact, I’ll be charging my kids solo for an entire year shortly when my husband deploys this fall.
Energizer Recharge Smart Charger Features & Me
The Energizer Smart Charger slow charge rate prevents damage to battery during charging and extends number of life cycles.
As a busy mom, I work to protect and nurture my little ones while balancing the demands of The Shopping Mama and tackling life’s challenges.
The Energizer Smart Charger charges 2 (or 4) AA or AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries.
My 2 little batteries
The Energizer Smart Charger large LCD Screen displays charging progress via a countdown clock and fuel gauge.
When my husband is out of town, I keep him up to date on the progress and growth of our little ones via the large screen that is my laptop. We Skype as often as we can and will certainly rely on this next year when he’s gone.
The Energizer Smart Charger is Energy Star Certified.
You’ll have to take my word on this one. But, trust me, I am totally Energy Star certified.
The Energizer Smart Charger has a disposable and bad battery detector.
Ya, I’m not really sure what metaphor I can make here. I clean out the fridge and get rid of bad food? ‘Cause I do.
The Energizer Recharge Smart Charger is Great for Today’s Families
Think about all the times you’ve had the toy ready to play… and thud. It doesn’t work because the batteries are dead. If your house is anything like mine, this doesn’t take much imagination or a particularly long-term memory. Sadly, it happens all too often around here because we NEED a Smart Charger. So, when you’re in that position the last thing you want to do is to run out to the store and buy new batteries to make the toy dinosaur roar. That’s not smart. Not only does the Energizer Smart Charger give you the capability to charge batteries, it uses new technology to allow batteries to last longer and work harder, saving you money. That’s smart. The Smart Charger is $19.99 and a pack of 4 Energizer Rechargeable batteries costs around $12 – 15. A pretty small investment for a long-term return, I’d say.
The hard work, countless hours and tireless energy I put into The Shopping Mama is limited only by my love for and the priority I place on my family. But, the experiences I’ve had and people I’ve met through the blog have been amazing. I have no doubt BlogHer will be one of those amazing experiences that make all the energy seem worth it.
If awarded the sponsorship, I will happily spread the word about the Smart Charger, hand out USB drives in accordance with BlogHer rules, encourage friends to blog about the product, sport some Energizer clothing and blog, Twitter and Facebook about the product and experience. I know I will make an outstanding Smart ChargHER at Blogher ’10 if given the opportunity!
UPDATE July 22 – I was selected to represent Energizer at BlogHer! Thank you so much for your kind words, ReTweets, posts to Energizer, and for all your support. I am so excited and am certain I wouldn’t have won without your help.
There are a lot of products on the market for babies and toddlers that are nice but not necessary. A highchair is NOT one of those products! Every family should have a quality highchair – it’s simply a must have to survive mealtimes that you will use for at least a year or two (or more). The new Nook highchair from Joovy has many great features for a surprisingly affordable price tag.
Nook by the Numbers
Weight: 15 pounds
Seat: 18″ tall x 11″ wide x 7.5″ deep
Tray: 18″ x 8″
Dimensions Assembled: 43″ tall x 24″ wide x 28″ deep
Dimensions Folded: 9.5″ tall x 24″ wide x 28″ deep
Nook Feature Highlights
Swing Open Tray: The Nook tray is a very generous size with a separate round cup holder. The coolest part is that with the push of a button, it swings open making it super easy to put your child in and get her out of the chair. The top of the tray is removable and dishwasher safe.
Compact Fold: The Nook arrived in a very narrow box, which immediately indicated that either the chair folded quite compactly or I’d have one heck of a time putting it together. Thankfully, it was the former. The highchair arrived assembled and I only had to remove some packaging materials and it was ready to go.
The Nook folds nearly flat by pulling up on a lever on the top of the back of the chair. It’s very easy and only takes a moment to do. The result is a seriously compact highchair that could easily stow in a closet, or even under the bed. The handle on top, light weight and compact fold make the Nook a winner for travel or as an extra chair at grandma’s house.
Top-of-the-Line Fabric: Available in black or white leatherette and Green and Orange washable fabric, the Nook is designed for easy clean up and a stylish appearance. We have the white leatherette chair and the seat wipes clean easily and can be completely removed for more heavy duty messes. My daughter has certainly put the cleanability to the test. Example A: the cupcake experiment.
My only issue with the leatherette fabric is that the trim doesn’t clean as easily. The white looks all bright and clean after I wipe it down, but the trim is a different material that doesn’t wipe off so it’s dirtiness is more noticeable next to the clean leatherette. But, I’ll take the slightly mis-colored trim over busy, childish prints any day.
5 Point Harness: My daughter is a climber and if she’s not buckled in to something tightly, she will break free and make trouble. The five point harness of the Joovy keeps her safe and sound in the roomy seat. To help smaller babies, there is a crotch restraint that goes between the legs, but we haven’t installed it as it’s not necessary for my toddler.
The seat is a good size with a maximum weight of 50 pound and maximum recommended age of 4 years old. My daughter is a small 19 month old, and she hasn’t outgrown the height of the seat and her feet don’t reach the foot rest. Safe to say, she’ll be able to sit comfortably in the Nook for a while. My 3 and a half year old fits in it fine, too.
To Buy or Not to Buy
To Buy… I’m particularly impressed with the compact fold, the chair’s light weight and how easy the Nook is to clean. I also love the modern, minimalist appearance and bold and basic solid colored seats.
Or Not to Buy… I like the minimal look of the single bar frame, and it is wide-set so I’m not worried about the chair tipping over. But the seat does move a bit making the chair feel less sturdy than others with a uglier fuller base.
Shop! The Joovy Nook is $129.99 for the fabric seat and $139.99 for the leatherette seat. Purchase directly from Joovy and get free shippping and SAVE 30% with the code nookintrospecial. I’ll do the math for you – that means you could have the brand new Nook delivered to your door for $90.99 or $97.99! But, act quick the code expires July 15. While you’re shopping Joovy, check out The Shopping Mama recommended Joovy Zoom 360 Stroller – on sale for $249.99 with free shipping.
Disclosure: Thanks to Joovy for providing a sample for the purpose of this review. Opinions are my own.
Now that I’m finally willing to accept the fact that my baby daughter has outgrown soft soled shoes and really needs something more sturdy I am having fun finding that “big kid” shoes can be just as cute and easy on her feet as baby shoes. ShooShoos offers leather kids shoes with a rubber sole called “Smiley” shoes and they are a great step up for growing feet.
Leather Kids Shoes
ShooShoos Smiley shoes are classified as a toddler walking shoe that provide “soft comfort with elasticized ankle support with a light flexible rubber sole.” The rubber sole is very flexible and easy for my daughter to walk, run, climb and jump around in. The elastic around the ankle makes putting the shoes on a breeze but also ensures a snug fit so the shoes don’t come off without my help. While I like having the sturdy rubber sole, I really like that the body of the shoe is make of eco-friendly leather. It holds up well to wear and tear by a 19 month old and looks great for years.
The White Flowers Smiley style shoe is the perfect summer basic shoe for girls. It’s white so it goes with everything and the flowers are a perfectly little girlie touch to make the shoes unique. We always get compliments when my daughter is wearing these shoes! And, you might be thinking, “White? With kids? Are you crazy!?” But, you can spot clean Smileys with a little detergent and water.
To Buy or Not to Buy
To Buy… We have had several pair of ShooShoos – both rubber and leather soled – and have really loved every pair. They are extremely well made and hold up to the craziness that is my daughter. I definitely recommend them.
Or Not to Buy… My only concern about the shoe is that it is short and kiddos with a tall or plump foot probably won’t fit in these shoes. (I mentioned this concern in the last ShooShoos review and the same is true with this pair. You can kind of see it that it is tight on the top of her foot in the picture below.)
Shop! ShooShoos Smiley kids shoes are $29.95 and can be purchased at www.shooshoosusa.com. Several summer styles are currently discounted to $19.95, including the girlie Pink and Ruby Sandal, nautical Navy Sandal and classic Brown Sandal.
This review is part of the ShooShoos Mom campaign. I’m one of eight blogs who will feature these kids shoes for the summer and fall and host giveaways. So, be on the lookout for ShooShoos giveaways on The Shopping Mama and make sure you’re following the other participating blogs:
The birthday celebration is in full swing at Magic Beans. Make sure you check out the Magic Beans 31 Days of Giveaways! New prizes are announced every day at noon – and make sure you visit on Toy Tuesday when they giveaway the best toys for kids. The cool part is that even if you don’t win, Magic Beans usually offers a secret sale on the prize of the day. With a giveaway every day until the 31st, there’s plenty of time to get in on the fun.
Our good friends over at Zoolu! have created an exclusive discount for The Shopping Mama readers. Until August 15, use the code TSMROCKS for 15% off your purchase.
Shop for a Cause
Envirosax has teamed up with The Greater New Orleans Foundation, the largest and oldest philanthropic community foundation in the region. They will serve as a conduit between nonprofit partners to help the victims, animals and the extensive clean up of the wetlands and surrounding environment. To help, Envirosax will donate a $1.00 for every BAG purchased from the Flora,Monochromatic, Oxford, Candy, Botanica and Retro Graphic Series and $5.00 for every POUCH from these series!
Zoolu! Save 15% with code TSMROCKS. Expires August 15.
The Crazy Dazy: 10% discount off your purchase with code SHOPPINGMAMA.
Private Sale Sites
* Totsy: Kids Konserve, Sozo Clothes for boys and girls and more.
* Zulily: Pink Vanilla, Hazel, Two Elizabeths adorable clothes for kids, KidKraft (including covered wood sandbox for $100) . Cash Back Tip – click through ShopAtHome.com for 6% rebate on your purchase.
* The Mini Social: Next week is Nursery Week! Now save on Zoobies and clothes from Purebaby, Charlie Rocket, Mariposa Baby and more.
We are big PBS Kids fans in my house. Between Dinosaur Train, Sesame Street and Sid the Science Kid, I’m pretty sure both my kids would be content to sit in front of the television all morning if I would let them. Because they’re such fans, it’s really fun to get toys, games and activities that bring their favorite characters to life.Most recently, we’ve been playing Sid of Sid the Science Kid with the Sid the Science Kid Gotta Know Microphone.
About the Sid the Science Kid Microphone
Just like the SID THE SCIENCE KID characters on the animated television series, preschoolers can ask questions, tell jokes and sing songs with the colorful GOTTA KNOW MICROPHONE! Easy to use push-button features let you play a round of applause after you’ve interviewed someone, hear the sounds of laughter or silly sounds when you’ve told a joke and even play the SID THE SCIENCE KID series theme song when you’re ready to sing along! For extra fun, push the “echo mode” button and listen to your voice echo…echo…echo… everywhere you go.
Playing with the Microphone
We’ve had and played with other toy microphones, but I have to say the Sid the Science Kid Microphone is a great toy that both my kids use and get a kick out of. The Microphone has four different buttons – and you must hold the button down for that function to work. For example, one button plays the Sid the Science Kid theme song, but it only plays when you hold the button down. At first that was a little frustrating for my kids because they just expected it to play the whole song when they pushed the button. But, for me, that function is a lifesaver! It means the microphone doesn’t just randomly play or go on and on wasting battery juice in the toy box.
In addition to playing the theme song, the other functions on the microphone are: laughing, silly sounds (like a cow Moo’ing) and, my son’s favorite, echo. The volume on the Microphone is just right – loud enough for kid fun but not horrendously annoying for parents.
To Buy or Not to Buy
To Buy… At $14.99, the Gotta Know Microphone is a fun buy for any Sid the Science Kid fan. Kids will appreciate the variety in functions and parents will like that it’s not to loud and brings a wholesome TV character to life.
Or Not to Buy… While I really like that the Microphone only works when you’re holding down the buttons, it did frustrate my kids. They had to get used to holding down the button for as long as they wanted to hear a tune or sound.
The Shopping Mama™ was founded by Kate Marsh Lord in January of 2009 to share the latest and greatest in gear, clothes and toys for kids. After graduating law school and moving around the world with her Air Force husband, Kate settled down and had three beautiful little ones.The children changed her online motivation from researching legal issues to tracking down the best in everything for kids from strollers to monogrammed onesies.Kate is proud to partner with several brands as an ambassador