30Aug/121

BuyCostumes.Com – Gypsy Child Costume Product Review

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Last year I made both my daughter's and my step-daughter's Halloween costumes. Let's just say that's not happening again! All of that time and money spent just to put together a couple of costumes was not worth driving to the store and buying a cheap costume. But, I really dislike most of the costumes in the stores. It's getting harder every year trying to find a child appropriate costume and the selection is usually pretty small. It's also getting harder to find a costume in the store that isn't going to fall apart before the hour or two of trick-or-treating is over.

I've been browsing for costumes this year online, and found one I adored on BuyCostumes.com. Because we live in Maine, it's very important for my kids to have costumes that they can put clothes under, or that are heavy enough to be worn on their own. Trust me. No one wants to lug kids around door to door in 32 degree weather with cranky freezing kids. Lucky for me, the price of the costume I had been eying fell within the price limit I was given for the review, and less than 3 days later I had the Gypsy Child Costume in my hands! When it arrived my daughter was playing in her yogurt I gave her for lunch, and even though I was really excited to put it on her to see if it fit, she wanted to take her good ol' sweet time, and then needed a shower immediately afterward.

"Add a little mystery to her life this Halloween in the Gypsy costume which includes a whimsical white ankle length peasant dress featuring large ruffles along the hem and a sequined apron with attached golden coins. A matching sequined scarf is also included in this trendy travelers look." ~ BuyCostumes.com

OK. Fast forward about an hour and I could FINALLY put the Gypsy Child costume on her. How stinkin' CUTE is she!?
I had requested a children's small in size, because while she's not quite 3 yet, she's MASSIVE for her age. (I mean that in the nicest way possible.) The Gypsy Child costume comes with a dress that has an attached sash on it, another sash with gold bangles on it that actually jingle when she moves, and a sequined head scarf. There are also accessories you can purchase separately to go with this particular costume including jewelry and shoes. The dress fit her PERFECTLY. It's just as long as I wanted it to be, and there's plenty of wiggle room. She may even be able to fit into this next year if she hasn't completely turned it into a dress up dress.

The dress and scarves are a mixture of cotton and polyester. This seems to me like it's a good quality costume. It's not super expensive (only $29.99), but definitely well worth it for such a beautiful and unique costume. My ONLY issue is that the shiny gold bangle things are all sewn on with ONE piece of thread. So, if one comes off, they all come off. I will have to go back through and make sure they're more secure since within 2 hours of my daughter wearing the costume, a few of the bangles fell off. BUT, I still love it! (Part of the reason they fell off is because when I tied the sash around her waste, the knot overlapped with the beads and pulled them.)

So, you know I love the costume, but you have got to hear my daughter's reaction. She REFUSED to take the costume off all day. I had to take it off for dinner to keep the white staying white, but she was not happy at all about it. Every time I asked if I could take it off she'd run in the opposite direction yelling, "NOOOOO!!!" She loves her new costume, and I'm sure she'll be wearing it every day after Halloween.

If you're in need of a quality, creative, unique costume for your kiddos, or yourself, make sure you check out BuyCostumes.com! You can also find them on Facebook , Twitter and YouTube. BuyCostumes.com offers FREE exchanges, and if you sign up for their emails you'll save 15% on your next order! BuyCostumes.com advertises as "The Web's Most Popular Costume Store" and I can certainly see why. Their selection is SO vast I couldn't even get through all of the children's costumes within an hour. Orders placed before 4pm also (usually) ship SAME DAY. And, many costumes are eligible for 2 day shipping. I'll definitely be coming back when I'm in need of more Halloween costumes.

30Aug/121

Tommee Tippee – explora Truly Spill Proof Cups, Roll & Go Bibs, Easy Scoop Bowls & Easi Mat Product Review

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If you're a regular follower, you know that I have two kids ages 1 and (almost) 3. Eating, messes, and sippy cups have been some of our biggest challenges. I think I saw somewhere yesterday that toddlers are comparable to tornadoes. We also have this thing we call the "yogurt apocalypse" in my house. This is when my daughter decides that the yogurt she begs to have for lunch belongs anywhere OTHER than the bowl, spoon, and her mouth.

Then the sippy cups. Oh the numerous sippy cups we've gone through trying to find the perfect ones. My son is still struggling to get the hang of them, but my daughter not only knows how to use them, but also knows how to make the biggest mess with each brand and style we've tried. We're talking unscrewed lids, bitten off soft mouth spouts, popped off lids, spitting the drink out, taking the straws out (don't even get me started on sippy cups with straws), and banging/throwing them down so hard that even the best sippy cups will spring a leak. FUN! (Not so much.) We use that knock-off Crystal Light drink mix, and the family can only seem to agree on the fruit punch flavor. Do you have ANY idea how difficult it is to get that nasty red dye out of sippy cups? It's almost impossible.

I reached out to Tommee Tippee because I really (REALLY) wanted to try their sippy cups, and because their products are BPA FREE. And they were so beyond generous and sent not only a set of sippy cups, but THREE sets of sippy cups, a set of four bowls, a place mat, and a set of two bibs. When I opened the box I think I heard the mommy guardian angels start singing. It was like entering mommy heaven!

I want to start with my FAVORITES from Tommee Tippee. My absolute favorite set of sippy cups they sent were the explora Truly Spill Proof Drink Cups. We were sent the "boy" set, so the colors were nice blues with robots and dinosaurs on them. The mouth pieces are solid, and shaped more like an actual cup than most sippy cups. And you know why I love these so much? They are virtually leak proof. I say virtually because, as expected, my daughter managed to throw them SO hard onto the floor that the lid came slightly off of the screw thread. Otherwise, I would say this particular set of Spill Proof Drink Cups are pretty much as impenetrable as an armored truck. These are also the easiest cups to clean.... ever.

Features:

  • 2 x 9floz/266ml Cups
  • Unique drinking spout for Kids on the Go
  • Guaranteed easy to drink and hold
  • Interchangeable lids with all Easiflow® cups specifically for baby's ages and stages
  • Truly non spill - no more leaks and gums, resists biting
  • Insulated base, keeps drinks cooler for longer
  • BPA Free

The next favorite thing Tommee Tippee sent were the explora Easy Scoop Feeding Bowls. These bowls have a great little handle on the side, and a big opening. My daughter LOVES these bowls. We're not quite at the point of my son using spoons yet, but my daughter has an easier time with her yogurt, and we've avoided a massive yogurt apocalypse since receiving the Easy Scoop Feeding Bowls. The Explora Easi Mat (pictured above) goes along with the bowls to help keep them placed on the tray or table. There's a little suction cup that the bowl sits on, and has a tiny pull that releases the bowl. The ONLY problem I had with the Easi Mat, is that while it does help keep the bowl on the feeding tray, it doesn't fully work for us. I'm not sure if it's because it just doesn't stick well to the tray, or if my kids are too rough/clever.

Features:

  • X4 bowls
  • Easy scoop triangular base
  • Use with Magic Mat
  • BPA free
  • Available in two different pack colours

We also received the explora Roll and Go Bibs, explora Truly Spill Proof Straw Cups, and explora Li'l Sipee Flip Top Cups. While these products were also great, they just weren't my favorite. Not because there was anything wrong with them, but because I try to avoid straw sippy cups in general, and my kids don't use bibs. (I really don't like to encourage messes.)

There are two things I really liked about the bibs. I loved how easy it is to clean them. Just wipe them down. If the kiddos ate something that stains like pasta sauce, you can easily use soap to clean them up and get rid of the stain. I also really liked the food catcher. Because the bibs are a thicker material the food catcher actually stays open and keeps the food from ending up in the laps of the kiddos. I do wish the material was a little thinner. It's so thick that it gets a little smushed when behind the high chair tray, and neither of my kids really care for the feeling of it around their necks. BUT they work, and they work well, and I think that's mostly what matters.
As far as straw sippy cups go, I really think the explora Truly Spill Proof Straw Cups and the explora Li'l Sipee Flip Top Cups are really pretty great. The straws don't leak like I've experienced in the past, and the pieces are easy to remove for cleaning. However, we haven't put these through the ringer like we have with the explora Truly Spill Proof Drink Cups. Because of personal preference, I'm going to have to stick with the Drink Cups, but if your kiddo prefers the straws I'd certainly suggest giving Tommee Tippee explora straw cups a try!

Make sure you find Tommee Tippee on Facebook and Twitter! I'm sure they'd love to hear from you, and if you're already a fan of their brand - stop by and tell them how great you think they are!

 

* I received the products mentioned above free of charge from Tommee Tippee in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

 

26Aug/121

Momo Baby – Soft Sole Baby Shoes (Tiger Brown) Product Review

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Remember a few weeks ago I said my little guy started walking? Well, he hasn't stopped and he's just about ready to run full speed wherever his little heart desires to go. We actually found him upstairs this morning. Yes, my little munchkin is now able to climb the stairs all by his lonesome. With his newly acquired mobility, shoes are becoming an ever-increasingly important part of his wardrobe. Of course great support for his growing feet is important, but I also rank comfort, ease, softness, and affordability almost equal to support.

I reached out to Momo Baby because of the soft sole baby shoes that they carry. They were kind enough to offer a pair for my little guy to test out. We ended up going with the brown Tiger Soft Sole Baby Shoes in size 18-24 months. I always request shoes a tiny bit larger than their actual size so they aren't done wearing them within a month. I did however notice that Momo Baby's shoes run a tad large. We have another pair in 18-24 months and that pair is a good half size smaller than the pair we received from Momo Baby. I was informed though that they are working on resizing their shoes down by a half size because a lot of customers had the same feedback I did about the sizing. (Isn't it great when a company hears what their costumers have to say?)

Features:

  • Uppers are made from ventilated, soft premium grade leather. They provide a breathable space that keeps your baby's feet cool and dry.
  • Elastic ankle ensures the shoe stays securley on the foot.
  • Non-slip soft suede leather sole prevents any unexpected slips.
  • Spot clean with a damp cloth and mild detergent.

My daughter had similar shoes when she was my son's age, so I was well aware of how awesome soft sole baby shoes are. The elastic is really important to me because my kiddos have always curled their toes while trying to put their shoes on. I'm sure you've experienced that. You're struggling with shoes that aren't so stretchy (perhaps stressed while rushing to get out of the house), and you're telling your toddler, "Stop curling your toes!" Right. Because they understand exactly what you're saying to them.
These slipped on SO easily, curled toes and all, and sit tight enough around his ankle where they aren't going to fall off. He didn't even attempt to take them off himself. The soles are great on our floors. Our hose is mostly hard wood and linoleum, and he didn't slip once. He did trip over the shoes, but that's because they're a bit big. I love that these move with how my son's feet move. His toes aren't constricted, and he can fully bend his feet in any direction that he needs to. After a few minutes he stopped noticing that they were even on his feet. I also really like that I can take them off easily if need be. I had forgot he had them on, so as I was walking up the stairs with him on my hip, I reached over and quickly pulled them off instead of having to put him down, unstrap, tie or un-Velcro, and he was off to nap time.

Want to know my absolute favorite thing about the Momo Baby Soft Sole Baby Shoes? They're only $16.99! That is a price I'm extremely willing to pay for leather shoes that I know my kiddo will enjoy wearing - not to mention shoes that make mommy's life just a tiny bit easier.

Momo Baby carries several other styles of soft soled shoes (both for boys and girls) that I think are just adorable. These just happened to be some of my favorites.
Momo Baby also carries rain boots, maternity items, rubber sole leather sneakers, feeding items, and bedding items!

Make sure you take the time to visit Momo Baby on Facebook & Twitter. (I will need to update you with the links to their social media pages as soon as I have them.)

 

* I received a product free of charge from Momo Baby in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

12Aug/124

pediped – Originals Jones (Blue) Product Review

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My son started walking! Yup, that's proud mama bragging right there. He started walking two weeks before his first birthday, and I realized, I didn't have a pair of walking shoes for him. He had his baby shoes, but since he wasn't walking, and it's Summer, I didn't worry about getting him a pair of shoes. Then it sneaked up on me. My little boy was no longer crawling, but instead toddling around my house, and here we were without any shoes. Oops!

I reached out to pediped because I've heard so many wonderful things about their shoes, and several of my blogging friends had rave reviews too. Much to my delight (and relief), pediped offered to send my son a pair of pediped Originals in the Jones style (in blue). It was a complete surprise what they were sending, but I don't think I would have picked out anything different. These shoes are just too stinkin' cute, and they have been a great product for my son. I requested a size 18-24 months since my son has big feet, and I'd hate for him to grow out of them within a month. They're a bit big, but they don't seem to be too cumbersome for his newly toddling feet.

"Jones is a sporty style with a casual twist. Jones features two tones of blue and fun, multi-colored stripes across the top and down the sides. Ideal for children learning to walk, this style will keep your little one comfortable all day long!" ~ pediped

I think the pediped Originals are probably better quality shoes than most of the pairs I purchase for myself - a little sad on my part, but definitely awesome for my son. Not only are the uppers made from suede and canvas, but the soles are 100% leather. The Velcro strap is really Velcro-y, and stays in place without having to readjust it during the hours of use. But, I think the best feature of the pediped Jones Originals is that they are approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association for promoting healthy foot development. Not only are these little shoes super adorable they are actually GOOD for your toddler's growing and newly mobile feet!
The pediped Jones Originals are really soft and flexible. Because I requested them slightly larger than my son's actual size, the flexibility paired with the Velcro strap was awesome. His first time up and about he kind of looked like he was doing a weird duck march. He'd kick his leg out higher than usual, and slap his foot down all while waddling through the house. But, after a few attempts he finally got the hang of his new pediped shoes and he was off to the races!

I kind of wish the actual foot opening was slightly stretchier. He hasn't quite gotten the hang of NOT curling his toes while I'm trying to get his pedipeds on, so it tends to result in a slight struggle. I think if the opening was a little stretchier his curled toes would be easier to work around. But, I also think one of the benefits of NOT having a stretchy opening is that it supports his feet better around the back of the heel and ankles, and it makes it harder for him to take them off.

With pediped brand shoes you're always getting quality, and this is something I love. With the pediped Originals priced at $35, as a consumer and as a parent, you want to know that what you are getting is of high quality and will last for as long as your kiddo needs it to. With more than 100 styles to choose from, you're sure to find something for any of your children. Because children's feet never. stop. growing. it's great to see that pediped offers sizes up to age 8 for girls, and up to age 7 for boys. Comfortable shoes, great quality, and awesome styles. What's not to love about pediped?!

Also, please take a few seconds to find pediped on Facebook and Twitter - I'm sure they'd love for you to stop in and say hi!

*I received a product free of charge from pediped in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

14Jul/126

Knot Genie – Detangling Brush Product Review

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I don't know about you, but brushing my daughter's hair can be a nightmare. She's lucky that her hair is straight and fine, or else I think we'd be in for an apocalypse each time. She screams and cries"OUCH!" through every knot which sends my stress levels through the roof, and then having to pin her down just agitates me even further. Just. Sit. STILL!

Just like many other products, I had heard of the Knot Genie before. I think I had initially seen it advertised on TV and thought it was a crock of sh..., but it did stir the curious side of me. It's hard to believe something is as good as advertised, and then having to buy it to test it out first always makes me a little hesitant. That could be good money that I've just tossed down the drain. I contacted Knot Genie several months ago to inquire about reviewing their Detangling Brush. One of the great things about my job is that I get to test out a product in exchange for my opinion. I have a lot of opinions, so this is perfect for me. Anyway, I've been waiting since April to get this product in, and I have to say it was worth the wait!

"The magic trick behind the Knote Genie is one we are happy to reveal. It all has to do with the different lengths of teeth on the brush. When brushing, they bend just right, to chently untangle the hair. And because of this lack of stress, the hair's cuticle stays unharmed... revealing the smoothest, shiniest hair you've ever seen. Voila!" ~ Knot Genie

Knot Genie sent me their Puff of Purple full-size Knot Genie Detangling Brush. The larger size is great for adults, but they do make a Teeny-Genie for children to use. It may be slightly big for people with smaller hands, but it was just right for me. The cloud shape of the Knot Genie allows for easy handling, and fits wonderfully in the palm of your hand. It kind of reminds me of the shape of a computer mouse. It is very lightweight. I expected it to be significantly heavier, and I think that's something I would have preferred in general. I like a little substance to my brushes. However, this does not detract in the slightest from the actual functionality of the brush. In fact, it truly worked like a dream on both dry and wet hair!
Now, does that look like a child who is having a fit?! The Knot Genie's combing teeth are very soft and easily bend. I tried the brush on myself, and since I'm used to putting some force into brushing my hair, I found the teeth a little uncomfortable at first. It didn't take long for me to figure out that even the gentlest of brushing motions actually detangle the hair and this keeps the teeth from pushing too hard against the scalp. It may take additional brush strokes to remove the knots fully, however it is considerably less painful, and the tugging is minimal.

Usually when I brush my hair I lose a LOT. I have to clean out my brush each time I use it, and the massive amount of hair I pull out is rather distressing. When I tried the Knot Genie on my hair it was still semi-wet and hadn't been brushed for almost 48 hours. (Give me a break. To save time I generally just put my hair up right out of the shower.) I found the best trick was not to go after all of the hair at once, but separate small portions while brushing and work through those first. By the time I was done, I counted 3 hairs in the brush. I'm sure that's not a usual result, however I was extremely happy. Even the second time I used it, there were considerably less pulled out hairs when I was done. As a side thought I wondered what it might be like to have this product with an actual brush handle. My hair is very long, and it's a little harder to brush the back of my head because of the length. Needless to say I cannot express how impressed I am with the overall function of the Knot Genie. I don't dread brushing my hair or my daughter's hair anymore. She still doesn't exactly enjoy having her hair brushed, but she at least tolerates it and no longer sounds like a banshee!

Make sure you find Knot Genie on Facebook and Twitter! Knot Genie has offered a Puff of Purple Knot Genie for a giveaway! Giveaway is open to legal residents of the USA who are 18+. The giveaway will run for approximately one week, and readers will be able to enter [HERE] during the time that it is live.

* I received a product for free in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

17Jun/127

Summer Infant – Sure & Secure Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate

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By now I'm sure many of you know I have kids and pets, and they out-number me 6 to 1. That means I have 6 things I need to corral into certain parts of my house; 4 if you don't count our free-ranging cats. This is true especially for my daughter. She loves to let herself outside. Just picture it. A 2.5 year old running down the driveway, with only a diaper and a shirt on. No shoes. No pants. And she is perfectly content to do this all by her lonesome. Apparently she is also perfectly content giving her mother multiple heart attacks. Then there are the dogs who like to get into the chicken feed bags, goat feed bags, garbage that's waiting to be taken to the curb, the cat food dish, and the litter box that we have in our back room. It's pretty much our catch all room of stuff we just don't have room for elsewhere.

We do have a gate that we were using, however it is so old, gives off splinters, is broken, and some of the metal pieces will cut you if you try to walk over it. But, putting it back up is also a hassle because our walls are not flush, it's broken, gives off splinters, and the metal pieces will cut you. (See what I'm saying?). You really can't come out on top with this old POS. It will get you.

Needless to say I am THRILLED with the Sure & Secure Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate Summer Infant sent for us to review! Oh yes, at this point in my life I legit start jumping up and down over a baby/pet gate. Compared to every baby gate I've owned (which admittedly isn't all that many) this - to me - is the Cadillac of baby gates. *They see me rollin', They hatin'....* I no longer have to put up or take down that demonic old wooden gate I was using, but instead I can WALK THROUGH the metal Sure & Secure Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate. Seriously, this is the best feature ever. All I have to do is slide back a button with my thumb, lift up a tad, and walk right through it. Oh, and get this. The gate is SELF-CLOSING! As long as you have it installed properly, which can take a few adjustments, as soon as you walk through the gate, it swings closed on its own and latches back into position. It is most definitely baby, toddler, and dog proof. My daughter thought she'd try to be sneaky. She watched us open it a few times, and then tried it herself. BLOCKED! Huzzah!

There are a couple of reasons why this gate in particular is child-proof. The height doesn't allow for the leverage needed in order to lift up and unlatch the bottom part of the gate from the base. Second, you have to perform both the slide-back latch and lift up motions simultaneously. Third, this gate can be secured by pressure mounting or hardware mounting it. We've only pressure mounted ours, however it's secure enough for my daughter to shake vigorously without it budging an inch. She's the weight of at least a 4-year-old, so she's got some heft behind her. Hubs and I even tested it, and it isn't going anywhere.

The Summer Infant Sure & Secure Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate comes with all of the hardware you'll need, and an additional gate segment in case your doors are wider than the gate portion itself. Some days it feels like we're living in a Polly Pocket sized house, so we'll probably never have any use for the gate extension, but it is definitely nice to have! This gate will fit any opening from 28” to 47.5”, and is a good 36" tall.

I was a bit intimidated by the instructions, but I think it's because I only skimmed through them and then gave up. My attention span these days tends to vary between that of a gnat, and that of my daughter. I watched my husband pressure mount it (without reading the instructions), and it really wasn't that difficult. It does take some trial and error with adjusting the pressure. It won't close by itself if it is too loose or too tight, and opening it can be difficult if it isn't just right. I definitely could have done it myself. I do wish that the gate opening was a little wider, but that's mostly because we use the back door that it is blocking off. It's our primary door which means we're carrying car seats, strollers, groceries, shopping bags, and whatever else into and out of the house through that gate.

I love this gate! Truly, the second it arrived in the mail... OK, well, the second hubs got it up, I said, "Sayonara" to Old Rusty, and "Hellooo Precious!" to the Summer Infant Sure & Secure Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate. I'm now wondering where she has been all of my mommy-hood life!

You can purchase the Summer Infant Sure & Secure Walk-Thru Gate at Babies R Us for only $59.99. You can also visit Summer Infant on Facebook and Twitter! I'm sure they'd love it if you stopped by and said, "Hi." I apologize for my lack of photographs in this review. My house is in shambles, and you really don't need to see my dust bunnies, and feed bags. It does look exactly like the product pictures on Summer Infant and Babies R Us.

 

*I received a product for free from Summer Infant in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

2Jun/1220

Thermal-Aid – “Buckley” Bear Product Review

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I have to admit, I've been trying for MONTHS to win a Thermal-Aid Bear. I frequently check out the Thermal-Aid Facebook page, and enter every giveaway I see. I also try to share their giveaways with you because these look like a great product to have. I even submitted the name "Hugo" in one of their contests to name their new Hippo. Needless to say, I haven't won. But, that's OK, because Thermal-Aid has given me the opportunity to review their Thermal-Aid "Buckley" Bear! Eeep! Yes, sometimes I get excited about little things, but being a mom, I think I have a lot of reasons to be excited about this particular product.
About a month and a half ago or so, my daughter managed to really hurt her ankle. We aren't the type of parents to panic every time our children hurt themselves, but this was different, so we took her to the ER. Her poor little ankle was swollen, and she was refusing to walk on it. Normally she bounces back within 10 seconds and is back to her power-house self, but not this time. Of course we were told her ankle needed to be iced in order to help keep the swelling down, and I knew right then and there I was going to regret not having the Thermal-Aid Bear.

"Our researchers worked closely with milling engineers from the largest agribusiness companies in the world to create a line of products, using a unique process, which allows a specialized corn to hold temperatures for long periods of time. This process removes the germ from the kernel, thus removing virtually all the moisture and preventing mold or fungi from forming. The entire process hardens the corn segments, causing an even temperature in each segment, and creating extended temperature retainment (hot and cold). This also extends the life of the corn beyond that of the material it’s sewn into!" ~ Thermal-Aid

Our ice packs aren't the best. When they're frozen, they are frozen solid. They don't flex very well, and the worst part is that you cannot put them directly on the skin because in a short amount of time it starts to hurt. Putting a towel over it doesn't help all that much either and makes it more cumbersome. Then, throw in the fact that she's 2.5 and doesn't sit still, the ice pack was just not going to work. The Thermal-Aid Bear has two functions. First (and I'll get to this in a bit) it can be used as a heat pack. Secondly, the Thermal-Aid bear can be frozen and used as a cold pack. Within 5-6 hours of freezing, it's cold enough to use for the reduction of swelling, and fever reducing, but the biggest bonus is that this can be applied directly to the skin right out of the freezer.

The Thermal-Aid Bear also works as a great heat pack for the kiddos, or even yourself if you don't fancy rice packs. The bear is made from 100% natural cotton, and is sooo soft. Instead of rice, Thermal-Aid uses specially engineered corn. The corn holds the heat longer, but doesn't overheat (as long as you follow the heating instructions). It seems as if the bear heats from the inside out, so you don't have to wait for it to cool down. I like mine a little warmer, so I put in in for an extra 15-30 seconds. The heat felt great. It was a nice all-over warmth that quickly makes its way into your sore muscles.

I'm anticipating that the Thermal-Aid Bear will get a lot of use this winter when my kiddos get colds. The heat will be great to comfort them when they're feeling a bit chilly, and the coolness will work wonders if they have a fever. You can tell from the photographs that my daughter loves her "Buckley"! This will be much easier to use than an over-heated rice pack or a way-too-cold ice pack. The Bear is meant for children ages 3 and up, however if my son needs it, I'll definitely use it on him under supervision. The other great thing about the Thermal-Aid Bear is that it is washable! I think this is a really adorable and useful product. I'm so happy we now have a Thermal-Aid Bear in our home!

I also wanted to say that Thermal-Aid also makes products specifically for adults and pets, so make sure you check out their web site. The adult Thermal-Aid packs are "...clinically proven to reduce fever, sunburn, earaches, back & neck pain, flu symptoms, sprains, bee stings, headaches, sore muscles, growing pains, insomnia, and much more." As adorable as the little bear is, I have to say I'd feel pretty silly if anyone saw me using it other than my husband and kids. But, it's probably only a matter of time until the kiddos start making fun of me because I'm "Mom".

If you haven't yet, make sure you find Thermal-Aid on Facebook and Twitter. They're very interactive with the fans, and host a lot of great giveaways.

Thermal-Aid is offering THREE Bears for a giveaway. That means there will be THREE winners! Giveaway will run for approximately a week. Entrants must live in the USA and be 18+. You'll be able to enter [HERE] when the giveaway is live.

*I was given a product for free in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

2Jun/1216

InGenuity – Pembrook Smart & Simple Playard Product Review

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When I was pregnant with my first child, my awesome brother and sister-in-law gave us their old Pack 'n Play, and I thought, "What in the world am I going to need this for?" (Feel free to laugh at my naivete.) My answer, almost three years later, is that I would need it for everything. Nap time, toy storage, traveling, general child containment so I can get stuff done around the house, and yes, it was even used for "time outs". Keep in mind this is a pretty old contraption at this point since every year new ones are released with more bells and whistles than the year before. When InGenuity asked that I review their Pembrook Smart & Simple Playard, of course I said, "Heck yes!"

The InGenuity Pembrook Smart & Simple Playard works as bassinet, a changing table, as well as a play pen. It easily transforms from one to the other with very little effort. It also includes an additional attachment to store other necessities in such as diapers, wipes, snacks, etc. The base insert is nicely padded making it a super soft place for baby to chillax. Unfortunately my youngest is too heavy to use the changing table, but as a parent who never used an actual changing table to save space in my very tiny house, this is a really nice all-in-one type feature to have.

When making a direct comparison to my old Pack 'n Play, and the InGenuity Smart & Simple Playard, I noticed that the Playard is a good two inches higher on the sides. Where my son's head is fully above our old one, he can barely get his mouth onto the edge on the Playard. This is a GREAT thing, because by the time my daughter was 18-24 months she would flip herself OUT of the one we were using. We had to pack it away sooner than expected just so we could keep her safe. The height of the InGenuity Smart & Simple Playard will allow for longer usage of the product, which means you really are getting your money's worth.


I really loved the attachment hardware for the additional pieces. The plastic buckles are sturdy, and are hidden by a pocket of fabric. This helps with the aesthetics of the Playard, but also keeps little fingers from getting pinched. The zipper is the easiest zipper ever. It took maybe 5 seconds to get it attached and zipped up. The base padding has little straps that fit through small slits in the bottom and Velcro to the underside. There are only two poles needed that easily slide into the zipper part of the bassinet. As long as your kiddo can't put themselves up, this bassinet will last a long time. It's considerably bigger than the co-sleeper we used in our bedroom. My kiddo is going on 11 months (he's a giant baby too), and he has plenty of space. But, he's almost walking so we won't be able to use that feature either. The Smart & Simple Playard is so easy to put together, we didn't even need to read the instructions. This may be because we're now a little more seasoned when it comes to the mechanics of setting one of these up, but it was super simple.

Personally I get a little frustrated when products like these only come in colors that scream "GIRL!" or "BOY!" However, the Pembrook design is a fabulous gender neutral option! It's a really beautiful light grey with blue and yellow accent colors. The actual pattern is just circles that were cleverly made into flowers - I think they look like flowers - and turtles.

The only thing we struggled with, was getting the changing table attachment to snap together (it comes folded), and then getting it apart. The fabric around it just seemed a little too tight on one side, and it did require some muscle on the part of my husband. At least we know neither of our munchkins will be able to mess with it.

You can view all of the specs of the InGenuity Pembrook Smart & Simple Playard on Kids II, and you can purchase it online at Target for only $99.99. I was really surprised to see how affordable the Playard really is. Just think. Instead of buying a changing table, a bassinet, and a Playard, you have all three in one well-made product.

InGenuity is also on Facebook! I am BEYOND excited to tell you that one of DealPeddler's readers will WIN an InGenuity Pembrook Smart & Simple Playard!! Giveaway will run for approximately a week beginning 06/02. Entrants must be 18+ and live in the USA. You will be able to enter the giveaway [HERE] once it is live.

* I received a product for free in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

26May/129

Zooligans – “Amanda The Panda” Toddler Shoe Product Review

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I was browsing through Twitter a few weeks ago, and happened across a page called Zooligans. Cute name, right?  Well, their Twitter page had a link to the Zooligans web site, so I did what any curious cat would do, and followed it. I found a treasure trove of some of the cutest shoes for toddlers all in various animal designs! What I didn't know, was that Zooligans is brand new. Literally. They just released their shoes into stores this month.
My daughter is taking after her mama, and is becoming quite the shoe fiend herself. Zooligans offered a pair of shoes of our choice for this review. I already had my eye on Amanda the Panda, but getting my daughter to pick was a challenge. It basically involved me pointing to every pair of shoes (multiple times over), and watching her kick and whine until I finally pointed to a pair she liked. Whew - she liked Amanda the Panda too! I'm not surprised since she loves panda anything, and her favorite books are about zoos. We decided to go with a size 9 since 8's are her actual size, but we'd like to have a pair last for more than a month. We also have issues with her feet being too pudgy to fit comfortably in several toddler styles. They're either too narrow width wise, or too tight across the tops of her feet.

Amanda the Panda arrived in a cute little box that can transform into a little "pet carrier". Children have some of the best imaginations, and this allows them to pretend their Zooligans are pets, or they can use the box to carry other toys or stuffed animals. I thought that was a nice touch, and a small detail that's an added bonus to the fun of these shoes. Amanda the Panda also comes with her own little story on the tag that's not only adorable but also informative.

"When Amanda was first born in the mountains of China, she was blind, pink and toothless, but with the help of her mom's milk, she grew big and black and white pretty quickly. Amanda is very shy and likes to spend a lot of time alone. She loves to eat bamboo (up to 50 pounds a day), and spends half of her day eating, so it's a good thing she grew strong teeth! When Amanda is not eating or sleeping, she enjoys mountain climbing and swimming. What adventure will you and Amanda take together today?" ~ Zooligans

My daughter's initial reaction was, "Shoes?!" and then she she immediately requested that I "Putnon" (put them on). Let's just say she took off running through the house testing out her new shoes. These fit her perfectly! Size 9 was just what we needed. They fit well enough for her to be able to wear them now, but they have enough room for her to continue wearing them through the summer (hopefully). The straps were long enough to fit all the way across the tops of her feet while still leaving a little wiggle room so they don't cut in. I really couldn't be happier with the shape and sizing of Amanda the Panda. Even kids with narrower feet should be able to wear these because of the Velcro strap.

The tops of the shoes (the panda part) is made of soft leather allowing the shoes to breathe. The photo above shows Zooligans' Paw Flex Four Way Flexible Sole. The Paw Flex sole is designed to not only look like a paw, but flex like one too. The shoes are also super flexible which is great for tiny, growing, clumsy feet. Many shoes I've tried on my daughter have caused her to fall and stumble a lot due to the inflexibility and weight of the shoe. With the warm days we've been having, I was happy to read that the linings of the shoes are not only padded to help provide support, but they're also designed to breathe. She's not big on socks either (go figure), so the breathability design is great for the warm weather we've been having. You can find more information about the features Zooligan shoes offer on their Features & Benefits tab.

We haven't had any issues with her wearing Amanda the Panda without socks. She hasn't had any blisters, cuts, or rubbing burns. I can tell Zooligans paid great attention to the support and comfort details needed for toddler feet. The overall details of the shoes creates something fun to wear and can really help encourage a child's imagination. The visible stitching, I think, adds to the playful nature of the shoes, along with a raised nose, and huge eyes. Even the ears is a great little detail!

Zooligans have several different animals and styles to choose from for both boys and girls. Right now you can get them on Shoebuy and Amazon - currently the only places to purchase Zooligans online! Make sure you take the time to find Zooligans on Facebook and Twitter too, and if you already own a pair, send them a photo with your kiddo wearing their Zooligans. I'm sure they'd love to see it!

Zooligans is offering DealPeddler readers the chance to win a pair of Zooligans in their choice of style and size! Giveaway will run for approximately a week. Must live in the USA and be 18+. During the duration of the giveaway you'll be able to enter [HERE].

*I received a pair of Zooligans for free in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

19May/122

Hazelaid – Baltic Amber “Super Butter” Teething Necklace Product Review

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Have you ever heard of Amber Teething Necklaces? I hadn't until a few months before my son was born. While my daughter was teething we always used baby Tylenol, and Orajel. This ended up causing us some problems because whenever she'd start cutting new teeth, she would also get a cold; a runny nose, coughing, snotty, mucusy cold. The Orajel always made her drool even more, and this created so much extra saliva and mucus build-up she'd cough to the point of vomiting and choking. Then the FDA put out a warning on products containing Benzocaine (the numbing agent in Orajel), and the warning terrified me. I'm not one to spook easily when the FDA says "this is bad", but this one had me searching for another option that did not include Benzocaine. Luckily for me I have a friend who had been using an amber necklace on her daughter and raved how well it worked. I asked my husband what he thought, and of course he was a HUGE skeptic at first. I decided that it was still worth a try, and purchased a necklace. My daughter was an early teether and I didn't want to be caught by surprise.

Hazelaid is a fabulous site to purchase Baltic Amber Teething jewelry, and Hazelwood jewelry. For the purpose of this review they sent me a Children's 12" semi-polished Super Butter Baltic Amber Necklace. I've heard the lighter in color, and the less polished the amber is, the stronger the affects. (The first necklace I purchased was a polished, darker colored amber from another company, and we have been very pleased with it.) So, we decided to request the Super Butter Baltic Amber this time around to compare the two. Hazelaid's site that says for teething purposes the color and clarity really doesn't matter, but I didn't see the harm in giving something new a try. If he's anything like my daughter, he's going to cut 2-4 teeth at a time.

My son has cut THREE teeth since we received the Super Butter Baltic Amber Necklace. The third one, literally, just showed up this morning (5/19). I had no idea he was teething again! He has been nomming on things a little more than usual, but I figured he was just getting more and more curious about his surroundings. He's been sleeping soundly, and is just his usual happy-go-lucky smiling self. Does that look like a picture of a teething baby to you? No excess drool, no crying, no fever, and no runny nose. Amazing! Plus he looks so stinkin' adorable sporting his Hazelaid necklace - then again I'm by no means objective when it comes to his cuteness.

As you can see, the 12" Super Butter Baltic Amber Necklace is the perfect size. It's light weight, and sits comfortably around his neck. He never plays with it, and probably doesn't even realize it's there. I'm not too concerned about him wearing it at night, but I know some other parents may not want their kids to have a necklace on. Hazelaid also sells Baltic Amber anklets/bracelets. I purchased an anklet from Hazelaid just in case he starts tugging on his necklace, but I haven't needed to use it yet. These necklaces are designed for children to wear, which is extremely important to me.

"Available in 5.5” bracelet/anklets, and 12” & 14” necklaces.  All three sizes are on string, are knotted between each bead, and use a plastic twist clasp system that mimics two beads." ~ Hazelaid

I've been told that the way to get the best results is to keep the necklace under the clothing. This allows the amber to warm up and release the natural oils which then are absorbed by the skin and work as an analgesic. These are NOT for chewing! However, we have great results with him just wearing it - under his clothing or not. I have not needed to use any Tylenol since we started using the Baltic Amber Necklace. I love that he doesn't need any additional medications to get him through, what is usually considered an "awful", phase of his childhood. I recommend anyone with a teething child purchase an amber necklace!

Hazelwood and Baltic Amber are not just remedies for teething children! I also purchase a Hazelwood & Amber necklace for my daughter, and a Hazelwood anklet for myself because I heard that Hazelwood helps with eczema, and heartburn along with several other ailments. The little heartburn I do get seems to have improved, however the redness on my daughter's cheeks and arms has not. That's not to say these don't work. It was an experiment since she doesn't actually have eczema, but I wanted to see if it would improve the redness. She still likes to wear her necklace as a gorgeous piece of jewelry, and I haven't taken my anklet off since I received it since I love the looks of it. You can read all testimonies on the Hazelaid site [HERE].

I'm so excited to be able to tell you that Hazelaid has offered ALL DealPeddler & Eco-Style Life readers a 10% open ended discount. Just use code Eco10 at checkout! It would be great if you'd head over to their Facebook page and Twitter page to say thanks if you use the code.

Hazelaid has also offered a $25 gift certificate as a giveaway! This means you'll be able to get at least 1 necklace for FREE if you win. Giveaway is open worldwide! Must be 18+ to enter. You'll be able to enter the giveaway [HERE] during the duration that it is live.

I was given a product for free to facilitate this review. All opinions and experiences are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.