Wednesday, 14 December 2011

**Ended**Flash Giveaway!

Merry Christmas to all of my readers! I've changed my work at home mama business in the last few months and now I'm making hats rather than diapers. I love the change and it's been very successful for me so far. As a thank-you to both my blog readers, and those who have helped me succeed with my hats, I'm giving away one ready to ship hat to one lucky winner. The winner will get to pick any one of the following three hats: Child Sized Mini Hat, 0-3M size Penguin hat, or the NB newsie hat pictured.

To enter, simply follow my blog and leave a comment on this post telling me so along with an email address to contact you by.

Want an extra entry? "Like" my hat page on facebook HERE. Leave me a comment telling you that you "like" the page, and include your email address.

This giveaway will end *TONIGHT* at 9pm pst. Winner will be drawn randomly with random.org, and will be notified immediately via email. As long as response from winner is rapid, the hat of choice will ship tomorrow.

Good Luck!

Update! The giveaway has ended and the winner is #2! Congrats Jackie! I'll email you asap :)

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Big Old Stocking Stuffers List for the Kiddos

Last December I was out and about shopping for stocking stuffers at our local Walmart (gasp!). I went down the Christmas isles picking out things like M&Ms in a tube, and I realised that the entire aisle was full of a)things that are totally processed and completely unhealthy, b) plastic craptastic toys (sorry ma') that are only going to last a day or two before they are toast, and c)excess packaging that creates even more waste.

So I went home and vented to my husband and we came up with a plan to keep us out of those isles and from buying things that will be in the trash within a week. Here was our oh-so-complicated-plan: Buy handmade. That's it. After all, these stocking are from Santa after all, and I've never heard of a Walmart on the North Pole. Aren't all his toys and goodies made by elves?

It does take a little bit of planning ahead of time, but if you hit up some local bazaars, small boutiques that offer local goods, and etsy, you should have no problem putting together an awesome stocking. Now, I'm not perfect at sticking to this plan. We always put a couple of things in every year that are store bought, like a toothbrush. Here is the list I made up of stocking stuffers for little ones. A post full of mama and daddy stocking stuffers will follow in the next few days. Enjoy!

  1. An Orange (Why the heck not!? There was always one in my stocking. Economical, Green, and a great space filler)
  2. Play dough (I ordered some from this etsy seller: Mama K's Aromatic Play Clay)
  3. A Book (store bought, but you could always go used on this one!)
  4. Crayons (even better, go for some cool shaped recycled ones like these)
  5. A harmonica/ maracas/ whistle (probably store bought on this one too, but you could always check and see if you have a small local shop that could help you out)
  6. Wooden car/ Train car (I've seen these at every bazaar I've been to this year)
  7. Socks! (you could try and find some cute hand knitted ones, or hand dyed ones)
  8. A Hat or mittens (again look local or on etsy, you could even support my shop)
  9. Bath Toys (probably back to the store for this one too, Green Toys does have some fun ones as well)
  10. Bubble Bath/Bath Bomb/Soap (these are super duper cute)
  11. An ornament (check etsy!)
  12. Cup or mug (like this one)
  13. Hot coco mix
  14. Playsilks
  15. T-Shirt (again, there are some great choices on etsy)
  16. Bean Bags (heck, you could even make these your self)
  17. A hair bow/clip for the girlies 
  18. Felt/Crocheted play food
  19. I spy bag (I like this shop)
  20. Kaleidoscope
  21. Card games (such as Old Maid, or Go Fish)
  22. Small Puzzle (search etsy for wooden puzzles)
  23. Rubber Stamps 
  24. Toothbrush (my kids get a fun one every year)
  25. YoYo
  26. Stickers
  27. Magnetic numbers or letters
  28. Finger/Hand puppets
  29. Small stuffed animal or doll (Etsy baby!)
  30. Undies or a Cloth Diaper (bam! Etsy again
 Check out my Etsy treasury for kids stocking stuffers.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Stroll in Style: Baby Jogger City Mini Review

As time goes by my stroller needs have changed here and there, and we recently unloaded our giganta-stroller and started looking for something new. B does not want to sit in it anymore, so there was no use in hanging on to a triple that barely fit in our trunk. So we went and bought a popular brand of double umbrella stroller from a big box store. That was a huge waste of money! Yes, it folded up nice and small, but if the kids stretched out their legs we'd abruptly stop in an aisle with a foot smashed under the wheel. Screaming children, holding up traffic...not my idea of a good time.

Just as I was complaining all over about that little piece of useless metal stroller, the kind folks at Baby Jogger contacted me. I was thrilled at the opportunity to review the Baby Jogger City Mini Double Stroller. I had heard so many wonderful things about them from other twin moms, and I could not wait to try it out. The big brown truck dropped it at my door and I immediately had it out of the box. This baby was so easy to put together. B did most of it to be honest, with a little mommy help here and there.

We put this stroller through rigorous testing before I was ready to write this review, and let me tell you, the results are great! Along with everyday use, we also tested it out shopping at the mall, to the doctors office, and at a regular preschool drop-off/pick-up.

Let's talk everyday use first. This stroller takes up much less space in the trunk than our last jogging stroller, meaning the groceries will fit around it! It is easy to manoeuvre and the wheels are nice and small, and can swivel or be locked. Also, one of the first things I noticed about it, is that the wheels do not stick out from the side of the stroller. Another great feature is the adjustable canopies. Sometimes L needs to be a little more closed off, than just shaded from the sun. A simple shopping trip can be overstimulating for him. These canopies come way down. He can have most everything blocked out and feel more comfortable. It's like this stroller was made for us!

We rarely go out with all of the kids, especially not to crowded places. It is just such a hassle with all of buckling and unbuckling of car seats and strollers, the hazards of a parking lot, or a little one wriggling out of your grip. Those days may be over for me! We took the City Mini Double to the mall on a busy night with lots of Christmas shoppers about. We had such a relaxed time. We manoeuvred through the crowd with no problem. The store that I never go to, because the aisles are too narrow was a breeze for once! I love, love, love how narrow this stroller is! I seriously can not get over it! My husband pushed it for a while and commented on how much he likes the placement of the handlebar. It is easy to push and he didn't have to stoop over. We made a few purchases that were easy to store underneath in the basket, and when I tired of carrying my purse, it fit snugly in the mesh storage on the back of the seats. We even got a compliment from another shopper about how sleek and stylish the orange and grey is. We give it an A+ for shopping with!

Where I probably complained most about the past strollers was that they did not fit well through the doors at the pediatricians office. I hate (with a passion) handling doctors appointments alone with all three boys, but sometimes I just have to do it. For this I need the stroller. The City Mini Double preformed fabulously here too. It fits through doors with no problem, and can turn in tight hallways with ease. It is also super duper easy to put the kids in and get them out when it is their turn to see the doc. The buckle is easily accessible and manoeuvrable and there is no hassle involved. I give it an A+ for doctors office use (with a couple extra credit points for being so easy to fold up and get back in the car)

Three days a week I have to pick B and his best bud up from preschool. Not only am heading in the building with the twins, but I also have another little one from my home childcare that comes a long with me. Coming out of the building I have 5 kids with me! While it isn't a super busy parking lot, it is still not the easiest thing to get them all to the car without some one trying to run off (most often L). The City Mini has made this much easier too. Before we got it, I would not use the stroller because it was either too much of a pain to get set up and folded down, or because it didn't fit in doors. Now, it saves me time to put them in it, rather than chase a tot around the parking lot while holding a string of hands of 4 other kids. Nice visual right? Not so fun. I love that I can put Mr. Squirm away from mama in the stroller with his brother and the big kids can all help me push. Everyone stays together and we get through the parking lot quickly and safely. After everyone is buckled, it only takes a second to fold up and put in the back. I can even get it put away with one hand. For preschool pickup the stroller gets another A+.

Baby Jogger. There are actually quite a few additional accessories that can be purchased for use with the City Mini, including a glider board that attaches to the back for an older child to ride along.

The Baby Jogger City Mini Double stroller can be purchased through many retailers (check here for a retailer near you) or through various online stores such as Baby's R Us, and Buy Buy Baby.

As always this is an honest review full of my own opinions. I was not compensated for this review other than being sent a sample of the product to review.

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