Wednesday, October 31, 2007

So cute it's scary

(If you don't know what Wordless Wednesday is, click here.)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Kid Company for a a grown-up break

After a couple of serious posts, it's time for one that's just fun. If you go to the Sedona, AZ area (you should), I recommend stopping by The Sedona Kid Company. (I couldn't find an official website, but here is an article with more information about them.) Although I don't think they bill themselves as an "educational" toy store, items they stock tend to encourage exploring, imagining, creating, building and maybe accidentally learning something in the process. They carry Klutz books, puppets, rubber band guns, Melissa and Doug toys, dolls, those wooden tracks that you put together and then watch a marble spin down, and lots of good stuff. A lot of the items are out, so you can try them yourself. Yeah, they have t-shirts too, but you can find Sedona shirts lots of places. However, there are not a lot of places - in Sedona or otherwise - you can find windup toys these days.

It's fun even if you don't have kids. The hubs and I were up there today, and we had a great time dropping marbles down chutes and making small wooden figures dance and looking through bug magnifiers and learning things like how to throw a princess-themed tea party and how to never grow up. Honestly, I'm not really against growing up. But it's sure nice to have a break from it once in awhile.

The photo is of the sign out front - they said no photos inside the store. They are currently Sedona's only toy store and are trying to keep copycats at bay.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Keeping your little sitter seated

The fact that you shouldn't leave your baby sitting unattended on a table or counter top seems like common sense. However, if you have the baby in a little seat (like the one on the right), it must suddenly seem like it's okay - especially if it has a name like the Bumbo Baby Sitter Seat. Maybe people thought Bumbo was a babysitter rather than a product for a very young person who sits, i.e. a baby [space] sitter.

In any case, it's made to be used on the floor and shouldn't be put on any elevated surfaces. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has received 28 reports of babies falling out of the seat. Three of those children had been in the seat on top of a table, fell out and cracked their skulls. If your baby has a Bumbo seat (or something like it), keep it on the floor.

There is currently a "recall" on the Bumbo Baby Sitter Seat. It's not the kind where you return anything. The company's just recommending you put a new sticker on the seat with extra warnings. Even if you are aware of how to use the seat properly, it might be a good reminder for anyone else who might be watching your child - like Grandma, older siblings and, of course, the babysitter.

To find out more about product recalls, visit the CPSC site.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Playing it safe

Did you know that there are self-defense classes for kids specifically to help prevent child abductions? I just learned that, and I think it's a great idea. You don't want your child to drown? Teach them to swim. You want to decrease the risk of them being kidnapped? Teach them how to be aware of their surroundings and how to get away from a potential abductor. When I was a kid, they mostly just told us not to talk to strangers, which doesn't always cut it.

There is a FREE Child Safety Open House in Glendale (AZ) this Saturday. They'll teach "breakaway" self-defense for kids, as well as internet safety, how to deal with bullies, etc. They're also giving away Child ID kits and doing fingerprinting. You do need to make a reservation. The noon-2pm class is already full, but last I heard, there were still openings in the 2:30-4pm class. Click on the flyer image (right) for more details. To register, either call 623.561.5425 or email with the names and ages of each child and your phone number.

If you're not in the Phoenix area or if you can't make it Saturday, there are Kidz'n Power classes all over the place. They're offered at all ATA Martial Arts schools. There's also a Kidz'N Power DVD, which you can Google or buy on Amazon. So keep those kiddos safe!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

let's be frank

P.S. Last week I forgot I was supposed to be wordless on Wednesday. Sorry.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Better late-?

This is a little late of a follow up and a little late for Blog Action Day (it's still October 15 somewhere in the world...right?), but I still think it's a handy tip.

Regarding how to dry out bread and newspaper bags that you've rinsed out to reuse, Naomi recommends turning them inside out and hanging them from the fridge with a magnet. This works especially well if you have a little gap between the fridge and the wall/cabinets like I do. What else are you going to do with that space, anyway?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Team spirit

Thanks to a win tonight over the Washington Huskies, the Sun Devils football team remains undefeated so far this season.

Thanks to the large number of fans who brought the kids along, I learned how to take children to an ASU football game. (I'm sure the procedure could be adapted to the sport or team of your choice.)

  1. Make them feel like part of the team before the game even begins by dressing them in maroon and gold jerseys or cheerleader outfits. Let them get their faces painted outside the stadium.
  2. Teach them to chant A-S-U A-S-U...
  3. When you get to the game, give them food. Lots of food.
  4. If you bring an infant, he (or she) may contently ignore the noise of the crowd for a quarter or two then suddenly decide to be bothered by it. Here's what to do: Give him the pacifier. Bounce him on your knee. Rock him back and forth. Repeat as necessary. If you secretly start hoping they don't make another touchdown, try not to feel too guilty. Even Sparky would understand.
  5. Either take the kids to the restroom before halftime in order to avoid the lines and watch the show or take them during halftime to keep them on their feet longer and avoid the show.
  6. By the third quarter, they should be tired. If they are zombie-tired, you should be able to enjoy the rest of the game in peace as they stare blankly at the field. But if they are wiggly-tired (which is more likely), you can take them on repeated walks around the stadium in attempt to wear them out. Good luck with that.
  7. Probably time for more food and/or drinks.
  8. Odds are you'll end up leaving early. Until you do leave, try to savor the moment. Not only is it a memorable family experience, an ASU game is the one time it's okay to refer to your children as "little devils."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Shopping the friendly skies

Whoever thought of putting a catalog of unusual products in airplane seat pockets was brilliant. I had plenty of time to peruse the Sky Mall on the way back from Philadelphia - which, I know, is exactly the point. I get something to look at; advertisers get product exposure; it's a win-win-win situation. So here are the highlights of interesting, funny and/or useful baby and kid products I found...

Why a wipe warmer strikes me as silly but an infant towel warmer seems like a nice little extra, I can't exactly explain. Maybe it's because I can relate to appreciating a warm towel - but not warm toilet paper.

Defintely an upgrade from the fridge, this kid art frame has room for up to 50 pages of your budding artist's work. You can pop the latest masterpiece into the front, and then go through it at the end of the month (or the week - depending on how prolific your little Rembrandt is). Maybe we should get one for our nieces' artwork.

Now running away from home is easier than ever with these fire escape ladders! No bed sheets required.

For a boy's room: life-sized wall stickers of Darth Vader, Spiderman, etc. They claim you can remove it without leaving a mark, which would work great if you're renting or planning to move. If not, I'm sure it's still an easier way to decorate than painting or wallpapering.

For a girl's room: would your little girl be more likely to put things away if they went on shelves in her dollhouse headboard? Or would she just play with the toys she was supposed to be putting away?

Being a kid means most things are too high for you, so offering your little ones a way to see what's going on without a pulling up tipsy kitchen chair or climbing on the counter might not be a bad idea. The Learning Tower is like an extra stable step stool with a railing to keep kids from falling off. It doubles as a place to play.

Would a pop-up hot dog cooker make serving lunch to a crowd of kiddos easier or more challenging?

I hate to say it, but I think the days of "letting your kids roam free" are pretty much over. Well, I guess that's a whole other discussion for another post. But I think this digital child tracker could still be useful - especially for kids that tend to wander off. Better than putting them on a leash.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

We came, we saw, we frolicked...

Yesterday we had a great time at a festival known as the Apple Butter Frolic. Why the word "frolic" is used instead of "festival," I'm not sure. Maybe it's a German thing-?

Some great ideas there for fun kid activities - like corhhusk dolls and making butter in a little jar. (Did you do that when you were a kid? Post a comment if you want more info.)

They also had lots of farm equipment, which, of course, little boys love. So do big boys. Like the ones leaning on the tractor and the one taking the photo. :)

As far as I know, there's only one Apple Butter Frolic, but there are farm-themed festivals all over the U.S. this time of year. Many of them have activities for children as well as adults. So, whether you have kids or not, put on your overalls and go!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The good (in the) old days

Using cloth diapers isn't new. Neither is hanging clothes out to dry or eating organic food or buying locally. These are things are grandparents or great grandparents did. And maybe they were right about certain things. Maybe by turning our backs on some of those "old fashioned" customs, we've thrown the baby out with the bathwater. Maybe the Amish are on to something. After all, they've been using cloth diapers all along.

Yesterday we drove through Amish and Mennonite communities in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. (Didn't tell you we were going on a trip this time, did I? ;) ). It's given me a lot to think about. One reason visiting Amish country is special is because it gives as a window back in time, a window that shows what we've gained...and what we've lost. Most Amish don't have cars, washing machines, phones or blogs, but they do have the ability to raise/grow their own food, make furniture, quilt and many other skills that most of us have lost. They hang their clothing, sheets and diapers out on the line, and I bet it comes in whiter and cleaner than mine comes out from my laundry room.

I'm not saying we should all live like the Amish or forsake all the technological advances we've made and things we've learned over the last century or two. But there's a lot of knowledge from earlier times that is worth holding onto, as well. What can we learn from the way our grandparents lived? What "advances" actually set us back? What can we teach our chldren that will help them navigate whatever technology develops next?

Edited to add a couple photos I took of Amish farms.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

What people are saying...

I just found this site - - that gives product reviews for all kinds of things including baby stuff. (Here's a link directly to the baby section.) For each product, it gives an overall rating and lists pros and cons users have mentioned. It also tells you who is reviewing a product, which can be very helpful, since someone who identifies herself as a "new mom" may have a very different perspective than an "experienced parent." Seems like a helpful site for checking out new products or narrowing down your options. Plus, you have the option of writing your own product reviews, and it's always fun to share your opinion, right? ;)

Monday, October 1, 2007

It's pumpkin season!

Fall is (finally) in the air, so I thought it was a good time to add some new Little Pumpkin products on Bold Avenue. New additions include houseware-type items (like the keepsake box on the left), a couple diaper bags, a journal you can use to record all those cutie pie moments and some other fun stuff. Thought you might like to check those out! :)