Category: Gear

Link Round-up: Treats, a DIY Planter, Relationship Tips, and More

Posted on Oct 23, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has lots of treats, a colored planter, and tips for relationships and parenting.

Chocolate Covered Katie showed us how to make an avocado chocolate cake.

Mind Body Green shared seven relationship tips that can do more harm than good.

Pint Sized Baker showed us how to make acorn brownie pops.

link ru diy pvc wall planter

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make a colored planter from PVC pipe.

Hungry Happenings taught us how to make Halloween Oreo cookie pops.

Life a Little Brighter showed us how to make a two-ingredient chocolate hazelnut braid.

Play Dates on Fridays shared some wisdom picked up over a decade of parenting.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and A Beautiful Mess

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

Thank Your Child’s Teacher with a Kit from Green ABCs

Posted on Oct 16, 2014 by No Comments

Forbes recently reported that teachers spent an average of $513 of their own earnings on classroom materials and supplies during the 2013-2014 school year.

National Education Week is November 16-22. If you’re looking for a way to show your child’s teacher how much you appreciate all that he or she does during the year, a teacher’s kit from Green ABCs is an excellent choice.

Green ABCs specializes in kits filled with affordable and eco-friendly school supplies. All of the items in their teacher’s kits are made from recycled materials, renewable resources, and innovations in biodegradability.

The elementary teacher’s kit includes a variety of classroom supplies, as well as extra items to share with students who may not have access to the materials they need to learn.

It includes:

  • 5 Marble Composition Books, 100ct, wide-ruled, from recycled paper
  • 10 Folders, 2-pockets, oxo-biodegradable plastic, (assorted: red, blue, green, yellow, black)
  • 2 Boxes of #2 Pencils, 10 per box, from recycled material
  • 1 Ream of Copy Paper, 8.5″ x 11″, 500 sheets, from recycled paper
  • 12 Ballpoint Pens, Assorted Red, Blue, Black Ink, from recycled plastic
  • 2 Pairs of Scissors, 5″ round tip, corn plastic handles
  • 1 Pair of Scissors, 6.75″ pointed tip, corn plastic handles
  • 1 Roll of Tape, with dispenser, from plant-based materials
  • 2 Boxes of Crayons, Soy-based, 24-pack
  • 1 Pad of Construction Paper, 9″ x 12″, 48 sheets, from recycled paper
  • 2 3-ring Binders, 1″, with elastic closure, oxo-biodegradable plastic
  • 2 Bottles of White Glue, from natural ingredients
  • 5 Sticks of Glue, from natural ingredients
  • 1 Ruler 12″/30cm, from bamboo
  • 1 Calculator, 8 digit solar powered, from recycled plastic
  • 4 Highlighters, fine-tip, from recycled plastic
  • 2 Black Permanent Markers, from recycled plastic with non-toxic ink

Many of the items in the kit are made by Onyx + Green, a company dedicated to providing quality eco-friendly school, home, and office supplies.

I was greatly impressed by how durable these items seem. The Onyx + Green bamboo ruler is a huge step up from the cheap plastic rulers I normally buy for my son. The biodegradable plastic used for the binders and folders won’t bend or tear no matter how rough kids are with it. The scissors cut nicely and feel substantial in your hands.

Visit the Green ABCs website to learn more about their teacher’s kits, as well as their classroom kits and general student kits.

If your budget is minimal, please consider pooling together class donations to purchase a kit as a teacher gift. The average elementary class has about 20 students, so even a $5 donation from each parent would be enough to purchase a kit plus a Starbucks or Barnes & Noble gift card.

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

Photo credit: Green ABCs

Link Round-up: Hydration, Halloween, Office Gear, and More

Posted on Oct 7, 2014 by 1 Comment

Today’s link round-up has hydration tips, Halloween food, a monogrammed leather mouse pad DIY project, and more.

Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons showed us how to create a Strawberry Shortcake bento lunch.

Makeup and Beauty Blog shared a review of The Balm’s Frat Boy blush.

Crafty Journal shared some apple buying tips to keep them from bruising.

Cupcakes and Cashmere taught us how to make a cute monogrammed leather mouse pad.

link ru fall foods for kids

Kenarry has fun Halloween food ideas to share.

A Beautiful Mess showed us a cute DIY project that involves a dry erase wall.

Tone It Up shared some recipes that will keep you hydrated (perfect if you’re getting bored with plain water!).

Photo credit: Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons and Kenarry

Hallmark Itty Bittys Are the Perfect Christmas Stocking Stuffer Idea

Posted on Oct 6, 2014 by No Comments

If you’re already thinking ahead to Christmas, Itty Bittys from Hallmark would be perfect for stuffing in your child’s stocking this holiday season.

Itty Bittys are small plush toys from Hallmark that are designed to be collectible. You can download a free checklist on the Hallmark website to help determine which ones you need to round out your collection.

Currently, the list includes:

  • Mickey and Friends
  • Disney Fairies
  • Disney Princesses
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • DC Comics
  • Monsters, Inc.
  • Star Wars
  • Rudolph

A Marvel collection featuring Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, and the Incredible Hulk is coming soon.

Itty Bittys are about four inches tall. They’re a blast of nostalgia for teens and adults, but the small size makes them perfect for toddlers and preschoolers to play with on-the-go and handy for tossing in your diaper bag to keep baby occupied during a diaper change.

I recently received the Wonder Woman Itty Bitty from Hallmark. As a longtime Wonder Woman collector, I think she’s one of the cutest items in my collection. She’s soft and very detailed. She’ll stand up on her own to be displayed on a shelf, but it takes a little fiddling to get her to balance correctly.

The characters in Hallmark’s Itty Bittys collection sell for $6.95 each. If you can’t find the one you want in your local Hallmark Gold Crown store, they are available to purchase online.

Photo credit: Hallmark

Personalized Pencil Boxes Make Back to School Fun

Posted on Oct 3, 2014 by No Comments

When I was a kid, the highlight of going back to school was, of course, shopping for brand new school supplies. I probably got more joy out of that than shopping for clothes.

When I ran across these personalized pencil boxes on Etsy this morning, I had to share. What child doesn’t like things that were created just for him or her? Students are often encouraged to have their name written on everything they take with them to school, so you might as well do it with artistic flair, right?

These pencil boxes are totally customizable, so you can get any name you want, plus you can choose from polka dots, peace signs, and more. That’s good news for kids who have trouble finding personalized items in stores (I have yet to find my daughter’s name on anything at the bookstore, despite the large selection).

You can visit for a look at even more options for artwork, like Batman, butterflies and daisies, hearts, sports, and more. You can contact Amy if you have a special design request, too.

The boxes are 8.5” x 5.5” x 2.5” so they’re great for school supplies, art supplies at home, party gifts, or maybe even some of your own craft supplies. Each one is $9.50.

There’s even the possibility of a matching school supplies set, so you don’t have to stop at the pencil box. There are clipboards, totes, dry erase boards, crossbody bags, book caddies, and more.

Photo credit: ArtworksByAmy on Etsy

Just When You Thought Princess Costumes Couldn’t Get Any Better…

Posted on Oct 1, 2014 by No Comments

My daughter’s obsessed with everything Disney Princesses. I’ve seen my fair share of costumes. Some are cute, while others just aren’t so great.

I’ve seen some pretty amazing ones over the years, but I just found some that really takes it up a notch. I didn’t think costumes could exceed some of the ones I’d already seen, but the ForYouWithLuv shop on Etsy just proved me wrong. The bar has been raised.

These Disney Princess costumes (like the Anna one above) combine the general “feel” of a traditional costume—but then they use tulle, so the skirt is a tutu. The cape is tulle, too, adding an extra dash of girliness to an already adorable take on the younger Frozen sister’s costume.

Sizes go up to a size 10, and prices start at $28.00. Having bought several princess costumes in the past few years, that seems like a reasonable price to me.

This is also fantastic news for older (or just taller) girls. My daughter can’t wear many of the costumes sold in the Disney store (at least not the one near me) anymore, since she’s tall for her age. The interest in dressing up is still there, but the size options just aren’t. They stopped fitting at least a year or two ago.

If you like the idea of these tutu dress costumes, but Anna’s not your character of choice, check out the other options in the shop. There’s Elsa, Snow White, Ariel, Tinkerbell, and more (even superheroes and Hello Kitty!).

Photo credit: ForYouWithLuv on Etsy

Pics ‘n’ Props Makes it Easy to Snap Adorable First Birthday Photos

Posted on Sep 30, 2014 by No Comments

My son’s first birthday has long passed, but I still drag out the pictures every year for a trip down memory lane.

If you’re about to celebrate your child’s first birthday, I love this first birthday photo prop kit from Hallmark. It includes a wide assortment of word bubble photo props, a birthday hat, a high chair banner, and a “1” shirt sticker for the birthday boy. This is everything you need to guarantee super cute pictures of your baby’s special day!

After the occasion, the kit includes a themed album you can use for sharing up to 32 of your favorite 4×6 photos. I took nearly 100 pictures at my son’s first birthday party, so you should have no trouble filling this album up with your favorite birthday memories.

pix2The Boy’s First Birthday Kit sells for $24.95 on the Hallmark website. There is also a Girl’s First Birthday Kit that is similarly designed.

The Boy’s and Girl’s First Birthday Kits are part of Hallmark’s Pics ‘n’ Props line, which includes kits for several different occasions.

I have their First Day of School and Christmas kits, both of which I love. (They’re not currently available for sale online, but I’d highly recommend picking them up if you can snag one at your local Hallmark store.)

All of the Pics ‘n’ Props items are made from a fairly sturdy cardstock, so they hold up well as long as you’re not overly rough with them. I took Christmas pictures on four separate occasions last year and had no problems with my props getting damaged after being handled by a crowd of people.

Photo credit: Hallmark

Goofy Pencil Top Erasers Are More Fun–and Cheaper, Too!

Posted on Sep 24, 2014 by No Comments

I was able to get most of my daughter’s school supplies locally, but there were a couple of things on the list that I couldn’t find, or couldn’t find for a good price. One of the things on the list was two packages of pencil top erasers. I only found large erasers that came with a few pencil top erasers, and they weren’t exactly inexpensive.

I left the store and checked Amazon, thinking maybe I could order enough for the class and get a decent price, plus free shipping with my Prime account. What I found was even better than what I was hoping for.

I got a package of 144 pencil top erasers with goofy faces on them for about $7.00. That’s a whole lot more erasers for the price I was going to have to pay for a few sets of the ones at Target, plus I’m only getting what was requested, not a bunch of extra large erasers, too.

I like these because of their fun variety of colors (not just pink!) and the little faces on them. Plus they are available through Amazon Prime. Oddly enough, they were somehow even delivered on a Sunday, so I still got them within two days—just in time for school to start—even though I ordered on a Friday afternoon.

If your kids haven’t started school yet and the school supplies list has pencil top erasers on them, these may be worth checking out. Even if your kids are older but go through erasers much faster than they go through the pencils themselves, these may be worth just having at home.

Photo credit: Amazon