Category: Gear

A Stylish Way to Help Your Child Develop Good Study Habits

Posted on Apr 21, 2014 by No Comments

Having a dedicated desk for your child to use for doing his homework can be a great way to encourage good study habits. But, not all children have space for a desk in their bedrooms.

If you need a stylish looking desk for your child to use in your family room, check out this attractive espresso finished desk and hutch from KidKraft. The hutch features a cork bulletin board that is perfect for hanging up pictures, papers, drawings, and other important keepsakes. There is a center drawer and wide top shelf to provide convenient storage space. The chair fits easily under the desk.

The desk is 43.5 inches tall, 19 inches wide, and 31.25 inches long. It comes with a 90 day replacement part warranty.

You can purchase the KidKraft pinboard desk with hutch and chair on Amazon for for $171.01. Reviewers give the product a 4 1/2 star rating, saying it is attractive, sturdy, and fairly easy to assemble. However, a few reviewers said that they disagreed with the recommendation that it is for children ages 3 to 8. There was concern that the desk is too big for younger children to sit in comfortably and would be better for kids ages 5 and up.

My son is on the upper end of the age range for this product and already tall for his age, so it wouldn’t be worth the money for me to buy a child sized desk at this point. But, if he was a few years younger, I think this would have been a lovely addition to our home decor. I also like that it coordinates well with the other KidKraft furniture pieces sold on Amazon.

Photo credit: Amazon

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

Treats for Allergy-Prone Dogs

Posted on Apr 16, 2014 by No Comments

My dog has so many allergy issues. We have to be very careful about the food and treats we give him, and if my daughter happens to drop some dry cereal on the floor and he gobbles it up, his skin starts to itch and he starts to smell horrible.

We usually stick to the Blue Buffalo brand for almost everything because he’s never had a bad reaction to anything from the line. However, we found another treat alternative that’s working just as well. It’s the Newman’s Own Organics Medium Size Heart Shape Dog Treats. We got the turkey and sweet potato flavor, though I doubt the ingredients vary much from flavor to flavor.

Others include:

  • Chicken
  • Salmon & Sweet Potato
  • Peanut Butter

The ingredients list for the flavor we got includes: organic barley flour, organic ground turkey, organic sweet potatoes, organic carrots, organic apples, chicken fat, rolled oats, and rosemary extract.

Every now and then, we’ll hear that there’s been an issue with dog treats from China. These treats don’t come from China and neither do any of their ingredients. That’s not to say that the company will never have any issues with their products, but it makes me feel better to give him these over some of the alternatives out there.

Another thing I like about these treats is that they’re small (they’re meant for medium breeds). My dog is a large boxer/bulldog mix, but these are still big enough for him to enjoy. He has a tendency to put on weight easily, so we typically do choose the smaller treats. These even break in half easily, so if you want to give an even smaller treat for weight control or to avoid burning through the bag quickly, that also helps.

These bags are 13 oz. and cost about $5.99.

Photo credit: Chewy

BirdAve Offers Affordable Modern Art for Your Child’s Room

Posted on Apr 2, 2014 by No Comments

If you’re in the mood to redecorate your child’s room, BirdAve offers a number of affordable modern art prints. My personal favorite print from their children’s collection is the “You Can Be Anything You Want to Be” print featured in this post, which comes in pastel or primary color options.

Another one of BirdAve’s popular offerings is a customizable city skyline print. Parents can choose a background color, then add desired text such as the child’s name, date, and place of birth to the design.

There are skylines available for quite a few cities throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada, so this would be a neat personalized gift if your child’s birthplace is available. Visit the BirdAve website to search for available cities.

Print prices start at just $20 for an 8.5” x 11” print designed with an 8” x 10” image area. The frame is not included in the sale of the print. However, the 8.5” x 11” print is designed to fit in the 8” x 10” IKEA Ribba Frame, which includes frame, glass, and mat for $9.99. It will also work with other 8” x 10” frames, as long as the frame window is 8” x 10” and the mat is larger.

BirdAve prints are digital reproductions of original illustrations that have been printed on high quality matte paper with archival quality pigments tested to last up to 200 years. Orders are shipped via USPS within one or two business days of your cleared payment.

Photo credit: BirdAve

A Fun Take on a Classic Childhood Pastime

Posted on Mar 21, 2014 by No Comments

The Sparkler LED Jump Rope with Kinetic-Powered Lights from Geospace adds a high-tech twist to a classic childhood pastime. If your child enjoys jumping rope, this would be a great gift to encourage active outdoor play. Imagine the possibilities of a light up jump rope when your child is playing outside during the evening hours!

The jump rope has multicolored LED lights embedded inside the tinted rope. This makes a colorful light show as children jump. No batteries are required, because a tiny generator in the handle produces the low-voltage electricity needed to keep the rope sparkling as your child plays.

I personally think the no batteries design is a stroke of genius, because I hate having to constantly replace batteries for all the toys at our house!

Unfortunately, the Sparkler LED Jump Rope with Kinetic-Powered Lights only comes in a 99 inch size. So, it’s just big enough for a single child to play. I was never much of a jump roper as a child, but I think long ropes for Double Dutch would be awesome if they lit up. Hopefully, the company will release larger sized ropes at a later date.

The Sparkler LED Jump Rope with Kinetic-Powered Lights is best suited for children ages 8 and up. It can be purchased on the Geospace website for $17.99.

What do you think of this idea? Would you consider purchasing a light up jump rope for your child?

Photo credit: Geospace

Lil’ Sidekick Is an Essential Mother’s Helper

Posted on Mar 19, 2014 by No Comments

Is your child constantly flinging his favorite toy or sippy cup on the floor? Are you sick of spending your days engaged in a never ending drop and pick-up game? If so, you need the Lil’ Sidekick!

This new product has an easy to use design that will secure crayons, bottles, teethers, small toys, and other items to your child’s high chair, stroller, or exer-saucer. To use use the Lil’ Sidekick, you simply push the fastener through one of the various holes so the item is held securely in place. This frees you from having to constantly stop what you’re doing to pick up items your child has dropped.

Inventor Amy Vohs came up with the idea for this product based on her own experience as a new mom. “My son is definitely a chucker – I was constantly picking up toy trains or sippy cups from under restaurant tables or mall floors,” she said.  “I couldn’t find a product that was flexible enough to work on a variety of items or was easy to clean, so I came up with the Lil’ Sidekick. I hope parents and caregivers find the Lil’ Sidekick helpful, and the little ones enjoy safely tossing their toys and pulling them back on their own!”

The Lil’ Sidekick is BPA-free and made with dishwasher safe FDA-approved rubber. It’s completely designed and manufactured in Iowa.

The Lil’ Sidekick is sold online and in select U.S. specialty retail stores. It can be purchased in blue, pink, green, red, or charcoal.

What do you think of this idea?

Photo credit: Lil’ Sidekick

Beasty Buddies Hats Make Keeping Warm Fun

Posted on Mar 17, 2014 by No Comments

If you’re looking for cute winter wear for your little ones, check out Geospace’s Beasty Buddies. This new line of fleece hats are designed to look like pirates, jesters, zombies, wizards, and other fanciful creatures. The hats can be purchased with matching plush figurines.

Options include:

  • Zorlag the pirate captain
  • Bumblezor the dragon wizard
  • Bianca Bunny the bunny princess
  • Jasper the jester
  • Eddie Zombie the vegan zombie
  • Bombix the spy
  • Zepplin the scientist

Beasty Buddies range in price from $11.99 to $29.99. The small hats fit young children, medium hats fit older kids, and large hats fit most adults.

Visit the Beasty Buddies website to learn more about the hat designs and the personalities of each character or to purchase products for your child. All of the hats and plush toys are handmade and designed in the USA.

I’m not sure I could get my almost nine year old son to wear one of these hats on a daily basis, but I think he would have loved something like this when he was a few years younger. Now, I think he’d see it as more of a Halloween or dress up type thing. He’d probably still get a kick out of the plush toys, however.

As for me, I think the Bianca Bunny hat the little girl in this post is wearing is adorable. If I ever end up attending another costume party, I’ll be buying one to wear!

What do you think of these hats?

Photo credit: Beasty Buddies

Tuc-Away Tables Are a Clever Way to Save Space in Your Home

Posted on Mar 14, 2014 by No Comments

The next time you’re looking to redecorate, check out Tuc-Away Tables. Tuc-Away Tables attach to furniture such as a couch, chair, bed, armoire, or recliner. The tables fold and unfold easily to provide a surface for your book, drink, or snacks without taking up extra space in your home. They have a simple yet elegant design that coordinates with most home decor styles.

You don’t need any special tools to install a Tuc-Away Table, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally damaging your furniture. The table has a metal bar that slips underneath your couch, chair, bed, armoire, recliner. The tension bar keeps the table from tipping over when in use. The table will comfortably hold about 10 pounds, so it’s safe for most general everyday purposes.

Aside from the obvious space saving benefits, I think a Tuc-Away Table would be great for families with small children. I know when my son was little, he was terrible about paying attention as he raced around the house playing. We ended up getting rid of our coffee table and end tables for fear he’d accidentally injure himself.

The Tuc-Away Table would be something adults could use, then fold down so kids can safely play without the fear of running into sharp corners.

The tables come in either black or walnut finishes and sell for $69.99. Visit the Tuc-Away Tables website to learn more about the different table options or to purchase a table for your home.

What do you think of Tuc-Away Tables? Would you use a table like this in your home?

Photo credit: Tuc-Away Tables

The Squeaky Toy You Can’t Hear (but Your Dog Can) Makes Everyone Happy

Posted on Mar 10, 2014 by No Comments

I’m very sensitive to sounds. They annoy me much more—and more quickly—than they seem to annoy other people. However, puppies can stay entertained for a while if they have a squeaky toy, and if my puppy’s entertained, she’s not sneaking off to play somewhere else and peeing on the floor in another room while I’m working.

She’ll gladly play with the toys I give her in the room next to my office where I can keep an eye on her, though.

I found the perfect combination in these plush toys that contain squeakers that you can’t actually hear. The dog can hear them just fine because they’re squeaking at just above the frequency that humans can hear (the toy squeaks at 28 KHz and the human hearing range tops out at 20), so she’s fascinated without making me feel like I’m being repetitively stabbed in the ear while attempting to type sentences that make sense.

If you have a dog that truly likes to annihilate toys (my older one has a tendency to do that), these probably won’t be the best choice because they’re made just like any other plush toy and probably aren’t durable enough to last more than a couple of days in the jaws of a very determined, large dog. You’ll end up with chunks of fabric and stuffing all over the floor.

For a puppy who just wants a little squeaky buddy to toss around, this is fantastic. If I really listen and I’m the one holding the toy, I can hear air moving out of the squeaker, but that’s it.

They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Prices vary, but they all seem to be under $10.

Photo credit: Amazon

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