Category: Gear

The Daisy Rock Debutante Junior Miss Short Scale Acoustic Guitar Looks Perfect for the Beginner

Posted on Dec 19, 2014 by 1 Comment

I’m not sure where it came from, but my daughter suddenly decided she needed to learn how to play the guitar so she could have some music to go along with the song lyrics she’s been coming up with since she was old enough to talk (it’s really nice that she can write the words down now instead of asking me to memorize them!).

Guitar Center was having a sale, so we looked around online and checked out the reviews on other sites, too. The Daisy Rock Debutante Junior Miss Short Scale Acoustic Guitar kept showing up again and again with positive reviews overall.

They also had the color she preferred—bubblegum pink. It also comes in cotton candy blue, which is my personal favorite, and popsicle purple.

It’s a ¾ size, which is just right for my seven-year-old, and will probably be fine for at least a few years. It’s meant for kids between the ages of five and nine, then they can graduate to a full-size guitar.

The “slim and narrow neck” makes it easier for small hands to play, which I think is brilliant. I remember trying to learn to play a full-size guitar at age 16; I was turned off because my hands weren’t big enough.

The sound is better than what you get from most of the toy guitars out there that look like the real thing but don’t sound so great. We paid $79 and, thanks to a special December sale (coupon code: DECSALE), were able to pick up picks, a stand, and a book to get her started for about $15.00 more.

Is it the best guitar on the market? No, of course not. Is it perfect for a beginner? From what I can tell as someone who doesn’t play guitar or have a lot of experience with them, I think it’s probably one of the best in this price range, and definitely worth the $79.00.

Photo credit: Guitar Center

Link Round-up: Scrapbook Inspiration, Gifts, Laundry, and More

Posted on Dec 11, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has scrapbook inspiration, gift guides, laundry problem solutions, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie shared some holiday cookie recipes.

A Beautiful Mess inspired us with scrapbook ideas.

Crafty Journal showed us how to turn a Christmas card box into a gift box.

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Kenarry gave us a gift idea for teachers.

One Good Thing by Jillee solved some common laundry problems.

Rad Mom Cool Kid shared a gift guide for teens.

Create Craft Love gave us a recipe for eggnog French toast.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and Kenarry

The Contigo Trekker Kids’ Water Bottle Is Great for Kids Who No Longer Use Sippy Cups

Posted on Dec 10, 2014 by No Comments

Sometimes, you just wish your older kid was still using sippy cups, like on car rides or when they want to take a drink out of the kitchen and into a room with carpet. This Contigo Trekker Kids’ Water Bottle seems like the perfect solution.

One of my biggest pet peeves with reusable water bottles is all wrapped up in how hard it is to clean the straws that come with them. I do my best, but I never feel like I’ve cleaned them well enough, especially when they’re small (wider straws are okay).

This 14-ounce cup is straw-free and comes in a variety of colors, plus they’re available on their own or in packages of two. Even the lid’s attached, so there aren’t a lot of little pieces to worry about tracking down after you’ve washed them or juggle while you’re trying to clean them.

It’s spill-proof, leak-proof, and can be washed in the dishwasher. I love the shape of the cup because it seems easier to hold onto than some of the to-go cups I have in the cupboard at the moment. It’s also a good option for lunch boxes if you’re not into sending boxes of milk or juice.

Also, if you’ve ever poured yourself a cup of coffee on your way out the door and your kid wanted something similar, this is it. While I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t put hot liquids in here, it has a similar enough look and feel to a coffee cup to make them feel grown up.

One negative point: Some users report having trouble cleaning the rubber seal and inside the valve. In this case, soaking it in a mix of white vinegar and water may be advisable.

Photo credit: Amazon

INLET Reinvents the Electrical Outlet

Posted on Dec 10, 2014 by No Comments

Did you know that many electronics suck power even when turned off? This wastes energy and increases your electric bill, but the INLET is an easy way to fix this problem.

Designed by LivingPlug, the INLET turns a standard outlet into three receptacles plus a USB source and features the “UNplug button” which shuts off power and eliminates the need to physically unplug devices from the outlet. This can help you reduce your electrical bill by 15-25%.

unnamedThe INLET is also child-proof and tamper-resistant, making it a good choice for homes with small children. It plugs into your existing outlet with installation required, making it an easy upgrade even if you’re not handy around the house.

Although the INLET’s functionality is impressive enough on its own, LivingPlug has taken things one step further and created a series of interchangeable faceplates for the INLET. You can get holiday themed designs, general decorative designs, or even upload a favorite photo to create your own customized faceplate.

The INLET sells for $25. Decorative faceplates sell for $25 to $30, depending upon the design you select. To learn more about the INLET and faceplate designs or to purchase, please visit LivingPlug.

Since I live in an older home that is woefully short on outlets for all our modern gadgets and gizmos, I love the idea of the INLET being able to expand our power capacity. The fact that it looks cute and saves money on electricity is just an added bonus for me.

What do you think of the INLET?

Photo credit: LivingPlug

The Aladdin Plastic Mason Jar Tumbler: Good for Smoothies and Gifts

Posted on Dec 8, 2014 by No Comments

I think the fact that I get really excited about cups may mean I’m officially getting old, but the Aladdin plastic mason jar tumbler a friend bought for me at Target really made me happy.

I love the old school look of it, first of all. Drinking out of mason jars takes me back to those easy southern dinners with my whole extended family on special occasions or just random days of the week.

The straw is another thing that makes this cup a winner. Have you ever tried drinking a smoothie or protein shake through a regular straw? It’s not always easy! The straw here makes it a little easier to consume thicker drinks because it’s got a wider diameter.

Plus the pattern on it complements the color of the lid, which is a nice touch and makes it an even cuter gift.

The cup’s not completely spill-proof, but I’d much rather hand my daughter use this than a cup with no lid at all. It doesn’t topple over easily, either. It’s just like a lightweight mason jar (since it’s made of BPA-free plastic, not glass).

One more thing I love about this cup: It’s dishwasher-safe! That’s a big deal around here since my daughter’s managed to accumulate quite a few “hand wash only” cups.

There are a few different sizes and color options, and of course that influences the price. The one above is a 32 oz. one, and it’s available for $14.99. Smaller ones, like the 20 oz. style, are less (the 20 oz. cup is $9.99).

Photo credit: Target

Nail Art Wacky Word Stickers Allow a Different Form of Self Expression

Posted on Dec 1, 2014 by No Comments

Move over, Jamberry (but not too far away, because you’re still really, really cool). There’s a new nail sticker option for kids.

Actually, these don’t take the place of some of the more patterned and wider variety of options out there, but they are pretty neat! There are letters in different fonts, plus symbols, to play around with. And quite possibly the best part? The set is $4.00.

You’ll still need your regular polish for these, which you apply before adding the stickers to wet polish. That gives you plenty of opportunities to play around with the color and style of the finished look, though. I would set everything with a top coat, I think, to ensure longevity.

Kids and teens will love coming up with words to wear on their nails and making up color combinations.

The only problem with these is that they look too big to use on smaller fingernails, so they may not work on younger kids. That means they’re not useful in two of the ways I initially thought they might be: spelling and word recognition.

These may not be as versatile as some of the other options on the market, but they’re less expensive and interesting because they’re not just a pattern or solid color. They allow a very obvious form of self-expression—words (and symbols—can’t forget the symbols).

They’re also easy to work with. You peel them off the page, stick them to your nails (paint nails first), and then apply a top coat to seal everything in place and extend the life of the stickers. It’s uncomplicated, which is sometimes just what you and the kids want and need.

Photo credit: Black Wagon

Personalized Chargers Make Great Gifts for Gadget Lovers

Posted on Nov 25, 2014 by No Comments

If you’re looking for a fun personalized gift for the tech lover in your life, Shutterfly has a great new option just in time for the holiday season: a portable charger adorned with your favorite photos.

Shutterfly’s new portable chargers are compatible with most mobile phones, tablets, MP3 players, MP4 players, handheld gaming systems, GPS, Bluetooth devices, and other electronic devices.

The charger has 2 USB ports and 1 micro USB port and includes a 3-in-1 USB cable. You can charge up to two devices simultaneously.

What I like most about this product is that the photos are printed on a faceplate that can be removed and changed as desired. I think this would be a wonderful accessory for anyone who travels a lot and wants a convenient way to keep family photos close at hand. (If you’re looking for a gift for your husband, this is certainly a lot more masculine than many of Shutterfly’s other offerings.)

The portable gadget charger and one faceplate sells for $59.99. Additional faceplates sell for $14.99. Visit the Shutterfly website to check out the full range of designs.

Shutterfly has several sales and coupon offers running now in preparation for the holiday season. If you received their holiday catalog in the mail, there are a few great coupon codes in there. Retail Me Not also keeps a fairly detailed list of money saving offers.

Photo credit: Shutterfly

Link Round-up: Christmas Wreath, Floral Drawer Sachets, a Snowflake Light-up Marquee, and More

Posted on Nov 18, 2014 by 1 Comment

Today’s link round-up has a covered button Christmas wreath, an easy no-sew floral drawer sachets, a giant snowflake light-up marquee, and more.

Olivia Cleans Green shared a tutorial for an easy no-sew floral drawer sachet.

Kids’ Activities Blog showed us some ideas for DIY toys.

How Does She shared a Thanksgiving Mad Lib exclusive free printable.

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A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make a giant snowflake light-up marquee.

Pizzazzerie shared some ideas for Christmas hostess gifts.

Crafts ‘n Coffee showed us a way to make a button ornament.

Create Craft Love showed us how to make a covered button Christmas wreath.

Photo credit: Olivia Cleans Green and A Beautiful Mess

The Old Navy Girls Glitter-Pocket Fleece Dress Is Cozy and Cute

Posted on Nov 14, 2014 by No Comments

My daughter loves wearing dresses, but it’s sometimes difficult to find dresses that are warm, good for playing, and cute enough to meet her approval.

This one’s a winner. I want one for myself.

This one’s got the warmth and coziness of fleece, a decent length (it hits right around knee level), and the glittery front pocket and drop-waist details get the girly-girl seal of approval. It’s fitted, but not tight, and there’s plenty of room for her to move around and enjoy recess.

The only downside to the design is the sleeve length. For a dress that seems designed for warmth, a full-length sleeve would make more sense than the three-quarter length sleeve this one has. They’re dolman style, which adds to the roominess and comfort, but could be uncomfortable under some jackets.

My daughter wore her jean jacket over hers this morning without complaint, but it’s worth mentioning as a potential drawback.

All in all, the dress is still a cute option for cool weather, but it may not be perfect when the temperatures drop too low. Paired with leggings and some boots, it’s good for fall and spring (and even winter in some areas).

This dress is available in black and gray in sizes XS to XXL, and it’s 60 percent cotton, 40 percent polyester. The regular price is $22.94, but it’s currently marked down to $16.00. If you have any additional coupons for the holidays, this could be a steal, but even at the regular price, it’s not a bad deal.

Photo credit: Old Navy