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LittleBLUEPRINT Books Help Kids Take Control of Scary Situations

Posted on Apr 18, 2014 by No Comments

LittleBLUEPRINT books give kids an actionable plan to help them handle a tricky situation. The books cover topics such as dealing with the death of a loved one, the loss of a pet, or the change in routine that comes after your parents get a divorce.

The series was created with the assistance of Dr. Dan Siegel, a world-renowned neuropsychiatrist, best-selling author, and professor of psychiatry.

The littleBLUEPRINT books can be purchased as ready made books or as books that can be customized with photos of your child and special friends or family members.

The personalized books are just $10 more than the ready made books, so I think this would be a nice way to create something meaningful for your child. I can see a book filled with photos of your child and his grandparent being something that could bring great comfort after a loss.

My son is a little too old for these books now, but I think the concept is a great one. I like that the books give specific suggestions for things kids can do to take control of a situation, such as planting flowers in a garden to honor a loved one who has passed or making plans to spend special time with each parent after the divorce.

There’s also a page in the back of the book where the child can write down his own ideas, which further encourages a proactive attitude towards life’s challenges.

Visit the littleBLUEPRINT website to see previews of each book or to order a story for your child. You can also purchase gift certificates in $25, $50, $100, and $200 increments.

Photo credit: littleBLUEPRINT

Etsy Shop Spotlight: The Manic Moose

Posted on Apr 18, 2014 by No Comments

The Manic Moose is one of the more popular Etsy shops today and has been profiled in outlets such as Seventeen, US Weekly, and In Touch magazines.

This Etsy shop specializes in unique handmade photo props for birthdays, weddings, graduations, and other special occasions. You’ll find everything from a Batman mask for a superhero themed picture to Santa and reindeer props designed to add a bit of holiday cheer to your next family photo session.

Most of the props are cardstock images on sticks, but some are downloads that you can buy to print and assemble your own props. If you can’t find what you want from the large selection, you can request to have something made just for you!

Personally, I’m quite partial to the Wizard of Oz photo props featured in this post. They’d be awesome for a little girl’s birthday party or as a playful addition to photos from a family movie night. The set includes Dorothy braided hair with blue gingham bows, a Wicked Witch hat, a Tin Man glitter hat, a Scarecrow hat with straw hair, a Cowardly Lion mane with a red bow, and more.

The Manic Moose has been selling on Etsy since 2011 and has had over 19,000 sales. The shop gets glowing reviews from satisfied customers, who say that the props were just what they needed to create special party photos.

Shop owner Angela Grellner creates her items in St Louis, MO, United States. Orders are shipped via USPS First Class or Priority Mail, depending on your package size. An express shipping upgrade is available for an additional fee.

What do you think of this Etsy shop?

Photo credit: The Manic Moose

A Stylish Game Table for Your Living Room

Posted on Apr 17, 2014 by No Comments

Ordinary coffee tables are kind of boring, but this table from Piazza Pisano is sure to liven up your living room. It features game boards on the top so you can easily enjoy a classic board game with your spouse or your children.

The table is made in the USA and features a design by American artist Al Pisano. If you choose the Peace Table design with words around the edges, the table comes with parts for checkers and Chinese checkers. There is also a plain version of the table that comes with parts for playing checkers and backgammon. You could easily pick up chess pieces to use with either table, if desired.

Regardless of what design you choose, the table tops are covered with epoxy for maximum durability.  There’s a shelf under the table top for extra storage of other board games, blankets, or whatever else you need for family game night.

Minimal assembly of your table is required. The finished table measures 40 inches x 20 inches x 19 inches.

Visit the Piazza Pisano website to order your table for $199.

We got rid of our coffee table when my son was a toddler because it seemed like a safety hazard to have him constantly tripping over it. Now that he’s older, I’d love to get this table for our living room. I think having game boards readily accessible would encourage us to make family game night a regular tradition.

What do you think of this idea? Would you like a game table for your living room?

Photo credit: Piazza Pisano

Etsy Shop Spotlight: MiaBooo

Posted on Apr 17, 2014 by No Comments

If you love unique handcrafted children’s toys, the MiaBooo Etsy shop is worth a look. MiaBooo specializes in handcrafted baby blocks. There are lots of patterns to choose from, including designs for both boys and girls as well as several seasonal themed block sets that you could easily use for your holiday decor once your child has outgrown playing with them.

I’m personally partial to the superhero block set featured in this post. My son has loved superheros since he was a toddler, but it can be hard to find age appropriate superhero toys for young children. The images on these blocks are perfect for emphasizing the brave qualities of your little boy’s favorite superhero without promoting violent or aggressive behavior.

All of the blocks in the MiaBooo Etsy shop are hand cut and measure approximately 1.5″ square. The edges of the wooden blocks are sanded for safety and the images are coated with a non-toxic clear sealer. However, all children should be properly supervised when playing with the blocks.

MiaBooo is owned by Jen Beier from Louisville, Kentucky. She has been selling on Etsy since 2011 and has had over 1,800 sales. If you’re looking for a specific pattern for your child’s nursery or want a set of blocks that spell out your child’s name, Jen takes custom requests for unique block sets.

MiaBooo blocks come packaged in an organza bag for easy gift giving, if desired.

What do you think of this Etsy shop? Do you have a favorite block set design?

Photo credit: MiaBooo

Teach Toddlers About Caring for a New Baby

Posted on Apr 16, 2014 by No Comments

In my experience, books with interactive elements tend to be great for coaxing active children into sitting still long enough to hear a story. Being a participant in the story is more fun for a wiggly little one than simply being told to sit still and listen quietly.

Snuggle the Baby asks your child to tickle the baby, feed the baby, help change the baby’s diaper, swaddle him tight, and pull a warm blanket over him before he goes to sleep. The activities help your child focus on the story while teaching important lessons about empathy and caring.

I can see this book being a hit with toddlers who love playing with baby dolls or little ones who will soon be a big brother or sister. When packaged with an actual baby doll, it would be a great birthday gift for any toddler.

The padded cover of Snuggle the Baby feels like it would hold up well to a child’s curious exploration and the retro illustrations give this book a charming feel. I also really like how the illustrations incorporate babies with a variety of skin colors, since it’s never too early to start teaching your child that we’re all the same on the inside.

Author and illustration Sara Gillingham has published over 15 books for young children, including Now I Am Big!, I Can Do It Myself!, and I Know A Lot!. She lives with her family in British Columbia.

You can purchase Snuggle the Baby on Amazon for $8.73.

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Photo credit: Amazon

Sex Ed for Grown-Ups

Posted on Apr 15, 2014 by No Comments

Sex education in American schools has always left a lot to be desired, which is why books like The New Naked: The Ultimate Sex Education for Grown-Ups are so helpful.

The New Naked answers many of the questions you’ve always had, but were too afraid to ask. If you’re wondering how much sex the average couple your age is having or how long the typical man lasts, Dr. Fisch gives you the inside scoop.

Dr. Fisch also talks about the dangers of chronic masturbation, causes of premature ejaculation, how to treat erectile dysfunction, and excessive pornography consumption as a sign of sexual addition. If you’re in a committed relationship with just one sexual partner, feel free to skip over the parts that don’t apply to your situation.

The New Naked is written for the heterosexual adult female reader, which I suspect is because most men would rather retreat to a deserted island than admit that they’re having trouble in the sack.

Dr. Fisch is a board certified urologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital and a clinical professor of urology and reproductive medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He has been listed on the “Best Doctors in America” list for the past nine years.

Of course, good sex isn’t just about the mechanical aspects. In addition to discussing some of the possible medical concerns you might encounter, Dr. Fisch spends a great deal of time explaining his LSD system for improving your love life. He’s not advocating the use of illicit drugs, but is encouraging you to work on the three components of a strong relationship: listening, security, and desire.

For women, I think his tips for expressing your fantasies to your partner are likely to be the most helpful. Women tend to be culturally conditioned to let men take the lead in the bedroom, so it’s liberating to have someone tell you that it’s OK to speak up and let your partner know what you want.

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Photo credit: Amazon

The Perfect Tale for Your Aspiring Ninja

Posted on Apr 15, 2014 by No Comments

Ninja, Ninja, Never Stop!, written by Todd Tuell and illustrated by Tad Carpenter, is the perfect book for any little boy who loves ninjas. This playful story follows a young ninja warrior as he swipes a cookie, sneaks up on the family dog, and dodges Granny’s kisses before he’s joined by his little brother for group ninja fun.

The little ninja is never given a name, so it’s easy for your son to imagine himself starring in the story.

The book is very short, with rhyming text printed in an easy to read font. So, it’s a great option to read to your toddler if he’s not in the mood for a long story or you’re just really eager to get him down for the night so you can relax with a glass of wine and catch up your Netflix queue.

The story is recommended for children ages 2 to 5, but I think it would also be a good choice as a first book for a child who is just learning how to read independently. My son is past the target age range for this book, but we used lots of rhyming stories to help him learn how to read. I think he would have loved this book!

The illustrations for Ninja, Ninja, Never Stop! are colorful with a slightly retro feel. The hero of the story is portrayed as always in motion, which should resonate well with active little boys who love pretend play. Illustrator and designer Tad Carpenter has worked on several other children’s books and completed projects for Target, Atlantic Records, Hallmark Cards, and Kidrobot.

Ninja, Ninja, Never Stop! is the first book from Todd Tuell, the co-regional advisor to the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Look for it on Amazon.com.

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Photo credit: Amazon

Yoga Pants that Look Like Dress Pants Are a Must-Have Wardrobe Addition

Posted on Apr 11, 2014 by No Comments

I don’t do yoga nearly as often as I should, but I love my comfy yoga pants. So, when I first learned about Betabrand’s new line of yoga pants that are designed to be office appropriate, I was immediately intrigued.

These yoga pants are designed to look like dress pants, complete with faux pockets, belt loops, and a front button. They have a straight leg fit that can be worn with boots, flats, or athletic shoes.

The pants are made of a stretchy rayon blend (65% rayon, 32% nylon, and 3% spandex). They should be machine washed cold and laid flat to dry.

They were launched as part of Betabrand’s fashion crowdfunding platform and surpassed 400% of their goal in just three weeks. Betabrand founder Chris Lindland commented that this is a record response for the company’s fashion prototypes.

Betabrand’s yoga pants come in sizes XS through XL. An XS is the equivalent of a size 2 and an XL is the equivalent of a size 14 to 16. However, like most yoga pants, they are designed to have lots of stretch. The yoga pants are only available in grey at this time, although it sounds like the company will be offering other colors in the future. They are available exclusively from BetaBrand.

Since I work at home, I can easily wear actual yoga pants to work if I want to. But, I think these pants are super cute. I’d love a pair to wear out running errands or going to the movies with my hubby.

What do you think of this idea?

Photo credit: BetaBrand

Etsy Shop Spotlight: Egg-A-Go-Go

Posted on Apr 11, 2014 by No Comments

If you’re looking for unique gifts for the special people in your life, check out the Egg-A-Go-Go Etsy shop.

This Etsy shop sells hand screen printed shirts and onesies, paintings, illustrations, prints, stationery, and postcard sets. The shop is owned by Sarah Coyne. She makes all of her items in Boston and has been selling on Etsy since 2006.

You can follow her on Tumblr to see her creative process in action and get a sneak peek of new items before they’re available for sale.

Ms. Coyne has a degree in illustration and is available for custom design work, if you have something in mind that you don’t see available in her shop. Hiring Etsy sellers for custom projects is a great way to get a really unique gift for a special occasion.

My personal favorite item in the Egg-A-Go-Go Etsy shop is the cute “I’m new here” baby onesie featured in this post. Priced at just $18, this would be an adorable baby shower gift! The onesie is sold in mint, lime, lilac, and coral. It is made from 100% organic cotton from India following all current organic and fair labor standards.

If you’re looking for something for an adult, I think this cotton tote bag with a check mark pin is really cute. It sells for $22.

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What do you think of this Etsy shop?

Photo credit: Egg-A-Go-Go

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