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Morris Gives You the Cat’s Eye View in Cute New Promotion for 9 Lives Lean & Tasty

Posted on Oct 31, 2014 by No Comments

My son is a huge fan of famous Internet cats and Morris the 9 Lives cat is one of his favorites. So, we were thrilled when we recently learned that 9 Lives has introduced a cute Cat’s Eye View promotion in which Morris is fitted with cutting edge wearable technology straight from Silicon Valley.

When you visit the Cat’s Eve View website, you can see exactly what Morris sees. Watch as Morris plays Red Dot Destroyer with his friend Mittens, finds a fresh roll of toilet paper in the bathroom, meets a neighbor with a gold medal in cat petting, and accidentally orders himself 99 bags of Lives Lean & Tasty dry food.

At the end of the video, you can print out two 9 Lives coupons. Our cat Molly has been eating 9 Lives Lean & Tasty dry food for a few weeks now and seems to really like it. Molly’s gotten a wee bit chubby over the past year, so we’re hoping that some dietary changes will get her back on track. One thing 9 Lives says to be careful about is that you’re feeding your cat the right amount of food per day.

22For weight maintenance:

  • A 5 – 9 lb cat should have ½ cup to 1 cup food per day.
  • A 10-14 lb cat should could have 1 to 1 ½ cup food per day.

For weight loss:

  • A 5-9 lb cat should have ⅓ to ¾ cup food per day.
  • A 10-14 lb cat should have ¾ to 1 cup food per day.

You can give your cat a single serving of food in the morning and allow him to nibble freely throughout the day. Make sure he has plenty of water at all times, since water is just as important for your pet’s health as it is for yours.

For more online fun, follow Morris at:

Morris responds to Tweets and comments on his photos, so feel free to have your kids show him some love!

Photo credit: 9 Lives

Redbubble Pillows Add Personality to Your Home

Posted on Oct 30, 2014 by No Comments

If you’re looking for practical holiday gift idea or just want to accessorize your own home, new throw pillows are the way to go. If you’re looking for something more unique than the limited selection at your local Target, Redbubble comes to the rescue with an amazing selection of designs from creative artists around the globe.

pillowRecently, Redbubble invited me to sample one of their pillows for Smart Mom Picks. The sample pillow I received was the Love Bird design by RedBubble user freeminds, but there are thousands of awesome artwork options to choose from. My pillow wish list now has over 30 different items on it and my son has picked out several he wants for his room as well.

When you buy a Redbubble throw pillow, the design you choose is printed on both sides. The pillowcase is made from a soft yet durable 100% spun polyester poplin fabric.

The zipper is concealed to give your pillow a more pleasing appearance, but the case does remove fairly easily for cleaning.  (The fabric is dry clean or spot clean only, however.)

Redbubble pillows come in three square sizes: 16″, 18″, and 20″. If desired, you can purchase your pillow with a 100% recycled fibre insert.

Unless you already have a perfectly good pillow of the right size at home, I would recommend this. Red Bubbles inserts are nice and fluffy. They also seem to be quite reasonably priced compared to inserts I looked at online.

Disclaimer: Product samples were provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of preparing this review.

Photo credit: Redbubble

Organic Healthy Kids Organic Nutritional Shakes Help You Make Amends with Your Picky Eater

Posted on Oct 29, 2014 by No Comments

As a mom, there’s nothing more frustrating than dealing with a picky eater. I know moms with kids who will only eat certain colors of food and require that everything be arranged in a very particular order.

My son hates anything remotely salty, peppery, spicy, or otherwise seasoned and refused to go anywhere near rice, peas, peppers, mushrooms, or onions.

If your child’s dietary quirks are driving you bonkers, Orgain is an easy way to make sure he’s getting the nutrition he needs. Orgain Healthy Kids Organic Nutritional Shakes are  doctor-created, ready-to-drink protein shakes that give kids an extra boost of organic nourishment with 23 vitamins and minerals, an organic blend of 10 fruits and vegetables, and 8 grams of protein.

The shakes are USDA Certified Organic, non-GMO, and gluten free with no added preservatives or artificial sweeteners. All Orgain products are made in the USA and use Tetra Pak packaging made from recycled paper.

Orgain Healthy Kids Organic Nutritional Shakes are available in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors.

My son loved the chocolate flavored shakes. He said they were something he’d be happy to take in his lunchbox at school. Since he’s usually asking me for soda or sugary fruit juice, I figure this means Orgain must be a winner.

You can find the Healthy Kits Organic Nutritional Shakes, as well as other Organic products, in a variety of natural grocery retailers and drugstores nationwide including Whole Foods Market, Costco, the Vitamin Shoppe, Wegmans, Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid.  (Click here to download special money saving coupons! ) They are also sold online at Amazon.com and Orgain.com.

Disclaimer: Product samples were provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of preparing this review.

Photo credit: Orgain

Susty Party Is the Eco-Friendly Choice for Entertaining

Posted on Oct 28, 2014 by No Comments

I generally try to avoid disposable products, but it’s not always practical to have table settings for 20 or 30 people on hand. When you’re entertaining a crowd, but trying to be eco-friendly, Susty Party is a great choice.

Susty Party supplies are made from renewable or sustainably harvested raw materials. The plates and bowls, for example, are made from tapioca and grass. The cutlery is made from sustainably harvested birch and aspen.

sustyAll Susty Party items are made in the North America and packaged in Ohio. As part of their partnership with Clovernook Center, Susty Party helps create jobs for the blind.

Susty Party items come in red, pink, blue, green, yellow, gray, and black so you can mix and match colors as desired. Each color has a slightly different design incorporated into it. For example, blue has a tiny dot pattern and green has chevron stripes.

I really wish they made a purple option, but I do like all of the color selections that are available.

All of the Susty Party supplies have a thick, sturdy feel to them. They are certainly the highest quality party supplies I have ever seen.

When we used Susty Party items at our last birthday celebration, my mother-in-law couldn’t believe they weren’t regular reusable picnic plates!

I assure you that there is no way Susty Party plates and bowls are going to leak or bend no matter how much food your guests pile on them. They’re also safe in the freezer, microwave, or oven.

When you’re finished, Susty Party items can be recycled with paper or composted at home. This means you can quickly clean up and feel good about doing your part to protect the environment!

Visit the Susty Party website to learn more or to purchase supplies for your next celebration.

Disclaimer: Product samples were provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of preparing this review.

Photo credit: Susty Party

LittleBits Are Legos for the iPad Generation

Posted on Oct 27, 2014 by No Comments

Aspiring builders, inventors, and tinkerers will love littleBits. This system of electronic modules is designed to snap together with tiny magnets to make building quick and easy.

Each component has a specific function, such as light or sound, and modules snap to make larger circuits. No soldering, wiring, or programming is required.

The concept is very similar to Legos and designed to be as intuitive as possible so that young children are inspired to create, learn, and have fun. In fact, littleBits are sometimes called “Legos for the iPad generation.”

LittleBits were designed by MIT graduate and TED Senior Fellow Ayah Bdeir. Ms. Beder is an interactive artist, engineer, and a leader in the open source hardware movement.

The base kit comes with 10 bits plus a 9V battery, a reusable storage case, and a motorMate that is used to attach wheels and other materials to the DC motor. There’s also a project booklet that features step-by-step instructions for eight different creations.

The deluxe kit includes 18 color-coded modules that are designed to snap together to make extra-large circuits, as well a battery and an expanded project idea booklet. All of the deluxe kit modules are fully compatible with the contents of the base kit.

The litteBits kits are recommended for children eight and up. I would imagine that this kit would work best if a parent or older sibling is on hand to demonstrate for the first few times, however.

You can purchase the littleBits kits on the MoMA Store website. LittleBits were featured in the 2011 Museum’s exhibition Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects.

What do you think of the littleBits kits? Does this look like something your child would enjoy?

Photo credit: MoMA Store

Melissa & Doug Temporary Jewelry Tattoos Make Dress Up Time More Fun

Posted on Oct 24, 2014 by No Comments

If you have a little girl who loves to play dress up, Melissa & Doug’s collection of temporary jewelry tattoos is sure to be a hit.

For a little over $5, you can get more than 130 temporary tattoos designed to look like real jewelry. There are watches, earrings, bracelets, rings, and more in a variety of colorful, kid-friendly designs.

girl with tattoosThe Melissa & Doug temporary jewelry tattoos come on four sheets that are perforated for easy removal. They can be applied with a wet paper towel and removed with rubbing alcohol or baby oil.

If you want to play with the temporary tattoos as well, make a cute surprise for your daughter’s lunchbox by applying temporary tattoos to a banana. This is easy to do and sure to bring a smile to any kid’s face!

Temporary tattoos can also be applied to party balloons or disposable plastic cups to add a festive touch to a birthday party or sleepover.

You can purchase the Melissa & Doug jewelry temporary tattoos on Amazon. They also have a package of general girl themed designs like butterflies and ballerinas and a collection of temporary tattoos for boys featuring animals and sports motifs.

Do your kids love temporary tattoos? What do you think of this collection?

Photo credit: Amazon

Take a Guided Tour Through China’s Forbidden City

Posted on Oct 23, 2014 by No Comments

In the Forbidden City tells the story of one of China’s most famous landmarks.

Guided by a mischievous cat, young readers go on a tour of the classic architectural structure in the center of Beijing that was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty.

Along the way, they encounter emperors, empresses, rebel leaders, and others who provide exciting tales about what it was like to live in the palace that was home to 24 different emperors.

In the Forbidden City is written by Chiu Kwong-chiu, an artist, designer, and professor who is dedicated to finding innovative ways to promote Chinese art and culture. He founded the CnC Design and Cultural Studies Workshop in Hong Kong, where he provides guidance and leadership to those who are studying both traditional and contemporary Chinese culture.

My favorite part of this book is that great care has been taken to encourage children to interact with the story. There is a plastic magnifying glass included to allow careful examination of the detailed black and white illustrations — which are essentially a more sophisticated version of the popular “Where’s Waldo?” pictures.

Several pages also fold out to give kids a better grasp of the size of the Forbidden City. However, I wish that the text itself was a bit larger. My eyesight is notoriously bad and I have to squint to be able to make out some of the type.

In the Forbidden City is recommended for children ages 9 and up. Even though it is sized like a children’s picture book, the text is quite detailed and the intricate illustrations are designed to appeal to older children.

Younger children might enjoy using the book’s plastic magnifying glass to look at the illustrations, but I think the text would be above the comprehension level of most.

You can purchase In the Forbidden City on Amazon for $13.46.

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Photo credit: Amazon

Charles Viancin Makes Holiday Entertaining a Breeze

Posted on Oct 22, 2014 by No Comments

With the holidays fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about what recipes you’ll be serving to friends and family.

One kitchen accessory that you’ll love for entertaining is the Winterberry Collection from Charles Viancin. A noted French designer and entreprenuener, Viancin specializes in nature-inspired products for your kitchen that are both fun and functional.

ihwx.16535a72-6e1d-45fa-8051-bcb0fabc6b2e.500.500These BPA-free, food-grade reusable silicone lids, drink covers, and bottle stoppers were created as an attractive and eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrap and aluminum foil.

The lids are microwave, oven, dishwasher, and refrigerator safe. Prices range from $1.99 to $18.99 and all items are designed to coordinate with products from the company’s popular Poppy collection.

The designs make this a great idea for entertaining, especially if you have a buffet table where people might be nibbling on goodies for several hours at a time.

Heat stays locked in and your table looks super attractive in the process. You can also feel good about knowing that you’re not contributed to landfill waste by going through rolls and rolls of plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

The airtight and watertight seal prevents spills and can be used with metal, glass, or plastic bowls, pans, or casserole dishes.

My family uses our lids on fairly regular basis to discourage our frisky gray kitty cat from trying to nibble on our meals. (If seasonal designs aren’t your thing, I think their Hibiscus lids are gorgeous for everyday use.)

Visit the Charles Viancin website to learn more.

Disclaimer: Product samples were provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of preparing this review.

Photo credit: Charles Viancin

Amazon Introduces Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet

Posted on Oct 21, 2014 by No Comments

If your child has been begging for a Kindle, but you’ve been worried he or she isn’t responsible enough to handle a tablet without breaking it, Amazon’s latest offering is just what you need.

The Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet retails for $149 with a six inch display or $189 with a seven inch display. It comes with a blue, green, or pink kid-proof case to guard against damage.

It’s a real tablet with all the power you’d expect from a Kindle, plus a two-year worry free guarantee. No matter what your child does to break it in a two-year time span, Amazon will replace it with no questions asked!

The Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet also comes with a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which provides kids with unlimited access to over 5,000 kid-friendly books, games, movies, and educational apps. Built-in parental controls let you set screen time limits and ensure that your child is only accessing age-appropriate content.

I have one of the older Kindle Fire models and my son loves it. He’s finally at the age where I can trust him not to drop it, but I was really worried about letting him play with it when he was younger.

I can definitely see the appeal of a tablet with a kid-proof case and a two-year guarantee against breakage. If something were to happen to our current model, I’m fairly certain I’d replace it with one of these.

Visit Amazon for the complete technical details or to place your order.

What do you think of Amazon’s latest offering? Will you be splurging on one for your child?

Photo credit: Amazon