Archive for the ‘
Shopping & Gear ’ Category
Thursday, December 5th, 2013
One of my favorite things to do as a child was go shoe shopping with my parents. I especially loved slipping my foot into the giant (from my perspective anyway) shoe sizer to see how much it grew.
Though I’m sure my mom and dad probably look back on all the footwear I went through with nightmares, I know it was also a great experience for them, as well. That’s because baby shoes can be great mementos of how the little creature you raised is beginning to navigate the world on their own terms.
With more than 170 years of caring for young ones’ feet, Clarks shoes for babies and kids ages 0-12 ensure your child will never be without a good pair of shoes. From a star-printed pair of high-tops to a sturdy pair of sneakers, Clarks offers a variety of styles and sizes to match every important milestone.
To start your child’s shoe collection on the right foot, Clarks is offering a $100 gift card for TWO lucky winners to purchase new pairs of baby shoes (or other styles for bigger kids, too). To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and December 11, and don’t forget to read the official rules. Be sure to check back on December 12 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck!
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Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
This past weekend my kids declared Despicable Me 2 “The Best Movie Ever,” though it shares that slot with a lot of other movies (my kids are very generous with how many movies can be number one!). It struck me, though, how rare it is for a sequel to be this loved. I’m glad that Despicable Me 2 hit it out of the ballpark.
The DVD came out just a week ago and the Blu-Ray version, with three new mini-movies included, comes out a week from today. And in the meantime if you need some instant gratification, we named Minion Rush one of the Best Free Kids’ Apps of the year.
Also, one lucky winner will receive a batch of Despicable Me 2 goodies, including the first and second movie, a Fart Blaster (NOT one of our Best Toys this year, because we try to keep that semi-dignified, but I will admit that the Fart Blaster had our kid toy-testers laughing hysterically), an action figure, umbrella and a Blu-ray player (!!!!). Thanks to that last item, this is a giveaway worth about $250. To enter, leave a comment below, up to once a day, today through Monday, December 9, and don’t forget to read the official rules. Check back on December 10 and scroll to the bottom of the comments to see who won. We also reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck!
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Thursday, November 28th, 2013
Getting a newborn to fall asleep is not an easy task. While there’s plenty of strategies to employ (my parents would keep the vacuum cleaner on for me) it’s also important to make sure your method promotes safe sleep, too.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, about half of all unexpected infant deaths in the U.S. each year are caused by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). After HALO founder Bill Schmid and his wife lost their first infant to SIDS, he set out to create a solution to ensure sound AND safe sleep for babies.
HALO’s SleepSack swaddles and blankets are not only great at keeping your baby warm, but will also help protect him from sleep hazards, like loose blankets in the crib. Start out using the swaddles, which can be adjusted to keep baby’s arms in or out. Once you catch your baby learning how to roll, you can transition to the wearable blankets so he has his hands free. Both soothers are recognized as “Hip Healthy” by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
Join HALO’s safe sleep mission by entering our latest giveaway, including two SleepSack Swaddles and two SleepSack wearable blankets for ONE lucky winner, worth about $100 total. That means a full year of safe sleep for your little critter.
To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and December 4, and don’t forget to read the official rules. Be sure to check back on December 5 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck!
In the meantime, check out these additional sleep tips to help your newborn drift off peacefully.
Congrats to our winner Rachel Yurkanin Taylor!
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baby sleep, HALO, newborn sleep, safe sleeping, SIDS, sleep safety, SleepSack, swaddles, swaddling, wearable blankets | Categories:
Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Shopping & Gear
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
This is a season of girl-power toys. But I take issue with GoldieBlox, which has an entertaining commercial (mostly featuring toys from other companies) and not yet a great product, IMO…here’s hoping they come out with something better next year. My colleague agrees, and also the Toy Industry Association nominated them yesterday for ”Most Innovative Toy” but not for “Best Girl Toy,” I suspect because they need to up the fun factor a bit.
One thing that was nominated for “Best Girl Toy” is a Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker bow. Yep, we’re breaking ground by giving girls sophisticated weapons, just as we do with boys. We declined to include weapons (except for the ones in a Lego set) in our Parents Best Toys story, but as a mom, I do know that toy weapons make it into the toybox…my son has a bow and arrow set, a Minecraft sword, and so on. I still balk at calling them a “best” toy.
All this makes me want to go back to an oldie but goodie. Several of us here swoon when we look at the two Barbie Dreamhouses sitting in the toy closet. What an awesome toy! Setting up the Dreamhouse is not an exercise in domesticity (who makes Barbie clean or cook?) but a fantasy of living on one’s own. Barbie is not a baby doll who needs to be mothered. She’s a grown-up and when I watch my daughter use Barbies, it’s to try out grown-up roles: Barbie is waitressing, she’s fighting with a friend and making up, she’s meeting a gal who is a mermaid. (There’s some practice in acceptance for you!)
It makes me wish that my son had a toy that could similarly let him try out social situations. Or that there was a more gender-neutral alternative to the Dreamhouse. The best we found for out Best Toys story is this awesome little Lego Treehouse.
In the meantime, these two beautiful Barbie Dreamhouses need to be with children who will love them and play with them. We’re happy to mail a Dreamhouse each to TWO lucky winners after the Thanksgiving break. Each is worth about $185. To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and Monday, December 2, and don’t forget to read the official rules. Be sure to check back on December 3 and scroll to the bottom of the comments to see who won. We also reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck!
Congrats to our winners Tonya Munque and Mary Happymommy!
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Barbie, barbie dreamhouse, best toys 2013, best toys for kids, Giveaways, GoldieBlox, Lego, Mattel, toys | Categories:
Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Shopping & Gear
Friday, November 22nd, 2013
** Guest-edited by Emily Jenkins, 2013 Chair of the National Book Awards Committee on Young People’s Literature and author of Toys Go Out and more
First come my board-book standards. Your baby should have them. All babies should have them. All of them are properly interesting to someone who still wants to chew on books.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illus Clement Hurd
Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, illus Felicia Bond
books by Sandra Boynton (my favorite is Snuggle Puppy)
books by Eric Carle (my favorite is From Head to Toe)
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Bill Martin, illus Eric Carle
books by Dr. Seuss, shortened into board books (my favorite is Hop on Pop)
books by Karen Katz (my favorite is Where Is Baby’s Belly Button?)
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
The Max and Ruby books by Rosemary Wells (my favorite is Max’s Breakfast)
The Duck and Goose board books by Tad Hills (my favorite is Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin)
Freight Train by Donald Crews
Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
All the fun baby-centered books by Leslie Patricelli
Where’s Spot? By Eric Hill
If you’re a book lover, or on your second baby, chances are you already know the books above. You want to buy your baby (or your friend’s baby) something that’s beautiful and worth reading over and over and that might be a little under the radar. Below are my go-to board book gifts for literary folk who have all the others.
I Kissed the Baby! By Mary Murphy
Jamberry by Bruce Degen
More More More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams
Ten Little Fingers & Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox, illus Helen Oxenbury
Have You Seen My Duckling? by Nancy Tufari
Baby Penguins Everywhere by Melissa Guion
Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers, illus. Marla Frazee
Ten Little Babies by Gyo Fujikowa
Peek-a-Boo by Alan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg
Also check out nine new board books from the American Baby Editors.
Remember that your local bookstore can order any of these books, and you can also find many board books in our Parents.com/shop
Activity Tips: Mia Reads Book
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Thursday, November 21st, 2013
My kids are crazy about Build-a-Bear Workshops, where you choose the skin of a new plush friend and then get it filled, right there in the store, with fluff. And they’ve got a new addition to announce: Baby gifts from Build-a-Bear! The line is called Hug-a-Cub. Since the new goods are for babies, you don’t have to wait in a store to get them stuffed (definitely more fun for the older kids). They do encourage you to order online, because there’s lots to chose from there.
For instance, the 5-piece Brown Bear Gift Set can be personalized with Baby’s name. And I was excited to see this Sweet Velvet Bear who is allergy-friendly. There are a lot of Snugglers, too, those blankets-with-a-head that babies love so much.
Build-A-Bear is giving away THREE cuddly Hug a Cub 5-piece Brown Bear Gift Sets, including a soft bear, rattle, snuggler, blanket and bag to tote your treasures.
To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and Wednesday, November 27, and don’t forget to read the official rules. Be sure to check back on December 2 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck!
Our winners have been chosen. Congrats to Charley Elizabeth, Veronica Lynn Willyard and Mary Singer!
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Babies, Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Shopping & Gear
Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
We at Parents put together a great toy guide every year–and you’ll find our latest here–but I admit I’m partial to this one because it comes from my sister, Meghan, a pediatric occupational therapist who works with young children of various abilities. A large part of her job is to engage her kids and help them reach their therapeutic goals by using toys, games, and apps. She is forever on the lookout for the best items, and when she finds them, she enthusiastically writes all about them on her blog, MAC&Toys. (Bookmark it!) And once a year, she pulls together an extravaganza of recommendations, including links to buy and the skills each item addresses (fine motor, visual perception, sensory processing, social, and so on), and sends it to all of the parents of the children she works with. I am making this bold statement: I guarantee you’ll find something on this list you’ll be tempted to buy or know from experience is awesome. I’ll give you a taste with a couple of the items I’m getting for my children.
From Meghan’s 2013 Holiday Gift Guide:
Lazoo drawing books There are nine different books to choose from and I can’t say one is better than the other. I adore all of these and each one is so unique and different from other coloring and activity books. My first book was the Holes book and my kids couldn’t get enough. I quickly picked up the Squiggles and Stickers/Incredible Stickers books. Perfect for preschoolers who may not always love coloring and drawing books because the pictures are motivating and exciting for them to complete. Many of the kids I work with get stressed with coloring books because the pictures are too big and their hands get tired. With drawing, they avoid this task because they aren’t quite sure where to start the picture. These books are great because they give you something concrete to begin with and then you can allow your imagination to run wild. These books allow for success and the more successful they are, the more likely they will be to try coloring and drawing activities outside of their comfort zone. Here is a link to the Lazoo Store….warning, you may not be able to stop yourself! (Improves fine motor grasping skills and in-hand manipulation skills; visual motor skills; eye-hand coordination skills; fine motor skills)
Stack Up A great cooperative game perfect for preschoolers or young school age children. The purpose of the game is to work as a team to build a stack of blocks using sticks (the blocks have a hole on either side and children must work together to put their stick in the hole and place it on top of the other blocks). There are challenges as well that keep the kids on their feet and moving around. I love watching the kids figure out how to work together to make the tower. Cooperative games are great for teaching kids the importance of team work and that sometimes winning is not the most important part of a game! (Improves bilateral coordination/using two hands at the same time; sensory processing skills, such as attention and focus; improves gross motor skills, such as jumping or whole body movements)
Go to Meghan’s list for dozens more suggestions for toys, games, apps, and independent toy stores around the country. Happy shopping!
Image: Gift boxes on a colorful background via Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
** guest-edited by Amy Tara Koch, style expert and author of the pregnancy-style bible Bump It Up
To the pregnant woman, there’s one aspect of this season that triggers anxiety: shopping for dressy maternity clothes. From mid-November until January, women must step up their style to express the celebratory verve of the holidays. But with a watermelon in the belly, dressing for the parade of parties can be stressful.
Here’s the deal: you don’t need to invest in an entirely new wardrobe to create festive and flattering outfits. The secret is having key maternity basics (namely a great dress or tunic) that can be layered into holiday-worthy ensembles. Dramatic accessories are the difference between ho-hum and high wattage. By pairing a flattering silhouette with glammy statement jewelry, fashionable footwear and a great bag, you can pack away your holiday-dressing jitters. Here are four standout looks based on maternity fashion finds from our Parents.com shop.
ON THE EDGE
This starts with one of the ASOS Maternity Swing Dresses on our site for between $26 and $80. Forever 21 accessories kick it up, including Sleek Long Fringe Earrings ($5.80) and a Paneled Clutch ($19.80). The stack of bracelets might be something you already own, or you can consider these from Baublebar for $52. Pull on booties instead of heels for the added edge. These Nine West Junia Booties are $139.
Here we begin with our store’s ASOS Maternity Midi Tulip Dress with Wrap Front for $62. It gets an instant cool factor with the DKNY Jeans Chunky ZigZag Long Cardigan, a splurge at $91 but something you’ll use all winter and, because it’s not maternity, you can wear forever. The chain bracelet is $7.80 at Forever 21 and the Merona Satchel is $35 at Target. Add your own jewelry and booties or try this necklace is One by Dallas + Carlos for $98 and the Marana booties from DV by Dolce Vita for $129.
POISED & POLISHED
This cheery look starts at our shop with A Pea in the Pod’s ¾ Sleeve Drape Front Maternity Dress for $60. Add a gold skinny belt like this $10 number from BDG. The $50 H&M Boucle Jacket, which isn’t maternity and will serve you after pregnancy, too, looks professional and gives you coverage if you’re self-concious about your shape. Add your own gold hoops (these are $25 Sequin NYC Studded Hoops from Nordsrom) and wedge pumps (these are $80 Calvin Klein pumps from DSW). The $144 Heather Belle & Co. wristlet is cool; Vegan Leather!
If you’re more comfy in pants, grab a dressy tunic like our shop’s Jessica Simpson for Destination Maternity Long Sleeve Lace Trim Maternity Tunic for $59 and put them over the AG Jeans Secret Belly Fit Corduroy Pants for $210 (worth it because you’ll wear those suckers twice a week for all nine months, trust us!). Forever 21 has the Rock & Roll Faux Leather Clutch for $21.80, and H&M has the $6 20 Pack of Bracelets and $8 ring. A scarf gives added color; it doesn’t have to be fancy but we do love this Yarnz Geo Eye Scarf for $145. Enzo Angiolini’s Zeric Riding Boots finish things off at $100.
For more pregnancy style tips follow Amy on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Also browse our maternity store; we add new items every day!
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