Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Oh Where, Oh Where Have You Been?

Exciting news on my homefront... which explains where I have been for the past week!

I am going back to school to become a paralegal. I spent last week getting my application turned in and trying to sign up for the only class I can take this Spring. That one class had 3-5 openings for 4 weeks. Then it happen to fill up the day I could register. Later that night, a spot opened up (someone had dropped the class). I went to register and had a hold was placed on my account. This was of course at 10pm, so no one was in the administrative offices to help me. I had to sweat it out all night hoping no one would take my spot. I woke up the next morning and called. Sure enough the hold was a mistake and they fixed it. I went to register and on the last step, my registration failed. Again I called and again it was their mistake. If you heard ringing in your ears last Wednesday, it might have been me screaming from Minnesota. But alas, I finally got into the class that day.

And the one lesson I learned... I'm not cut out for drama.

The good news is, since I already have a BA, this process is only going to take about 1-1/2 years!

What is going to happen with Emily Allyn, you ask? Good question. Emily Allyn will stay alive and kicking! No need to shop anywhere else for your basic infant and toddler needs. Stick with us and we'll take you places! As for the Emily Allyn blog. Finding amazing products to share with all of you has been a wonderful journey. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have. I am going to take some time to think about whether I can realistically keep up the blogging. I wouldn't want to short any of you!

So, I'll be back after I mull it over. (I'm sure the suspense is really killing you.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

From our home to yours, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season this year.
Thank you for your reader-loyalty and your business. I can't tell you how much we appreciate it!

I will be taking a little time off while those two little buggers pictured above are off school. I'll be back Monday, January 5th.

If you are relatively new and need your Emily Allyn Blog fix, feel free to read through some of our old posts. That ought to keep you busy (not that you're not busy enough these days)!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Last Minute Cookies

Presents? Check. Christmas dinner menu? Check. Relatives know what time to come for Christmas? Check. Cleaning? Well, it's getting there. All my cookies are baked? Yikes, no, I still need more cookies. We have family coming Wednesday. We are going to the in-laws on Thursday. And we are heading up to the cabin for the weekend. I will need cookies for all the occasions. Plus, I will want to horde some for myself. I mean it is the holidays and all!

If you are still searching for some cookies to bake for the upcoming holidays, I have a recipe for you. I'm not kidding, every time I make these White Chocolate Raspberry cookies, people rave about them. They are delicious.

8 oz white baking bar 1/2 cup butter (no substitutes, though I use unsalted, just my preference)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 oz. white baking bar
1/2 tsp. shortening

Melt 4 oz. of the white baking bar over low heat (or follow package instructions for melting in microwave). Set aside to cool.

Beat butter in a large mixing bowl with for about 30 seconds or till softened. Add the sugar, baking soda, and salt. Beat till combined. Beat in the eggs and melted white baking bar till combined. Beat in as much of the flour till combined. Chop remaining 4 oz. of white baking bar and stir/mix into batter.

Drop batter by rounded spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are (very) lightly browned. Cool for a minute. Move cookies to wire rack and cool.

You can do the following step when cookies have cooled or right before serving.
Heat and stir the jam in small saucepan over low heat till melted. Spoon about 1/2 tsp. of jam onto top of each cookie. Heat remaining 3 oz. of white baking bar and shortening (I do not use the shortening). Drizzle each cookie with some of the melted white baking bar. Refrigerate about 15 minutes to firm chocolate, if necessary.

Makes about 48 delicious cookies.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Last Minute J.Crew

J.Crew doesn't offer free shipping on any amount very often. Usually it's on $150 or more, which I say... whatever.
Anyway, when they do, I want to let you know about it!

Right now you can get free shipping on any amount PLUS there's up to 60% off a ton of products. Check it out and get yourself a little something this holiday season!

For free shipping enter code HURRY at checkout.

Our Winners

Congratulations to all of the winners in our huge holiday giveaway contests! And a big thank you to each of you who entered. Keep a good watch on the Emily Allyn blog; you never know what will pop up next!

Raggedy Ann & Andy set: Ruby from Alabama
Brain Quest DS game: Shannon from Oklahoma
Brain Quest DS game: Carrie C.
Animal Genius DS game: Meredith from Arizona
Say Anything game: Marlena from Iowa
Yoga With Your Baby DVD: Tami from Texas
Fabulous Fun With Puzzles book: Kjessia from Minnesota
Travel Games for Dummies DS game: Deanna from Texas

Monday, December 15, 2008

Giveaway Round-up

Today is your last chance to enter all of our giveaways!
All of the following will be closed by 11:59 (CST) tonight, Monday, December 15th.

Raggedy Ann and Andy
Brain Quest DS games
(3 to giveaway)
Temporal Scanner
Travel GAmes for Dummies DS game
Yoga With Your Baby DVD
Fabulous Fun With Puzzles
Say Anything
Animal Genius DS game

Last time I'll say just how easy it is to enter! Simply send emilyallyn an email with the specified subject line. That's it! See each post for details.

Good luck!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Giveaway: Temporal Scanner

Drumroll please...
We have come to our last giveaway for the year 2008. Though we had some amazing giveaways throughout 2008, these past two weeks have been incredible! Two full weeks chock-full of prize after prize! Now we have come to the end. And we end our two weeks of giveaways with the most practical of gifts, the Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer.

How many flippin' times has your child been sick and either your thermometer is dead or you seem to get a different reading every time? The other trick is getting your infant to sit still long enough to get an accurate armpit read. Then there is the dreaded rectal read. No mother wants to do that procedure because you really have no clue what you're doing. And I love it when the 5 year old sits with the thermometer under his tongue and waits and waits for the temperature and starts to spaz-out because he can't breathe with his nose being so plugged up. With all these problems it's no wonder someone finally came up with an easy solution.

"With a gentle stroke of the forehead [the temporal scanner] captures the naturally emitted heat from the skin over the temporal artery, taking 1,000 readings per second, selecting the most accurate."

This makes temporal scanning more accurate than ear scanning and the rectal read. Not to mention this product makes taking a temperature slick-as-a-slithering-snake. (Try saying that 10 times, and yes, I just made it up.) That ease and slickness comes in handy in the middle of the night when you are dealing with a sick child (or husband) and things tend to get a little stressful.

The cheapest I've seen the Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer is at Costco.com and Wal-mart for $25 - $30, which is a steal.

"It is the gentlest and most accurate method of temperature assessment in the world." And I'll add that it is the most easy to use!

Giveaway Alert!
The very kind people working to publicize this amazing product would love to giveaway a Temporal Artery Thermometer to one lucky winner!

What you need to do:
As always, easy. Simply send an email to emilyallyn and be sure to put Temporal Artery Thermometer in the subject. That's it!

The giveaway will end Monday, December 15th at 11:59 pm. The winner will be notified by email.

And if you don't win this time around, there will be other chances to win on the Temporal Scanner Facebook fan page.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Giveaway: Travel Games for Dummies

Try explaining the title of a DS game to your 5 year old called, Travel Games for Dummies!

5 yr. old: "I thought dummy wasn't a nice word, Mom."

Mom: "It's not, honey."
5 yr. old: "Then why is this game for dummies?"
Mom: "It's supposed to be a joke. They write many books to like, Small Business for Dummies and Computers for Dummies."
5 yr. old: "But I'm not supposed to say the word dummy, right?"
Mom: (the dreaded answer with a sigh) "Well, in this instance you can."

I find the "for Dummies" series flat out hilarious - that someone came up with the title and has basically monopolized the How-To section at Borders. Genius. However, explaining it to my 5 year old was another story!

"Travel Games For Dummies offers three exciting games in one. The game is packed with over 600 puzzles for Solitaire, Sudoku and Crosswords enthusiasts.

In Solitaire, players can try their hand at 10 different Solitaire games from the classic Klondike, to more advanced versions like Pyramid and Scorpion.

Sudoku fans will learn to play like pros as they choose from hundreds of puzzles, using the full-featured practice mode with optional hints to solve them in record time.

Fans of Crosswords will be completing puzzles in no time, using hint options like clues and letter choices when they need help."

Now that your kids have a DS, you just might want to buy one for yourself. Then you can play your Travel Games for Dummies games all day, every day! No need to wait around for Junior to finish his never-ending Madden NFL '09 game.

With Sudoku being still being all the rage these days, your "friends" might come crawling out of that hole in the wall to "help" you play. Crosswords are just plain awesome for the brain. And once addicted to online Solitare, there's no turning back...

Giveaway Alert!
I have a brand new Travel Games for Dummies DS game to giveaway to one lucky winner!

What you need to do:
Easy. Simply send an email to emilyallyn and be sure to put Travel Games for Dummies DS in the subject. That's it!

The giveaway will end Monday, December 15th at 11:59 pm. The winner will be notified by email.


My Happy Holidays tip to you:
Hurry, hurry, hurry is all I have to say - before all the good stuff and/or your size is gone!

Barney's New York CO-OP is promoting their Designer Sale with up to 60% off. I've checked it out and the prices are red-hot!

Now I need to get back there before all of you do...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Giveaway: Yoga With Your Baby

Exercise. Unless you are Michael Phelps, you probably feel you should always be doing more. Some feel they can't get enough. Others feel they need to start doing more. However, when you are a new mom, exercise is just a tad further down on your list than say... oh I don't know maybe... sleep, eat, laundry, and Target-runs!

The Yoga With Your Baby DVD can change that! Watch this video and you'll want to jump right in. It's relaxing, and it's not difficult. These are moves you can perform while cuddling with your baby and enjoying her many smiles. As with all yoga, there are varying degrees of difficulty and you can modify your pose to a level comfortable for you.

I'm a big fan of Yoga. I started it about 3.5 years ago. I will admit I start and stop and start again because I miss it so much and then stop and finally start again. It's a good, strong workout without feeling like you have to run 10 miles in order to get a good workout. There are so many benefits to performing yoga, not just exercise. You involve your mind, body, and spirit. (Which might coincidently be the YMCA's motto???) Meditation for your body and mind is powerful. Moving and holding poses for your body is strength-building, not mention it increases your flexibility. But that's just my take on it!

Here is a formal take on the benefits of yoga and Yoga With Your Baby straight from their website.
Benefits for your baby:
Throughout this program, you will be encouraged to gently move your baby's body rhythmically as you sing with the movements. This rhythmic movement is based on modified yoga poses and has the following benefits for your baby:

  • Facilitates digestion
  • Improves sleep
  • Increases balance
  • Promotes healthy brain development
Benefits for you:
  • Introduces playful, easy, interactive yoga poses
  • Calms and grounds you, so you can relax into a state of attunement
  • Supports a respectful, loving interaction with your baby
  • Encourages physical, mental & emotional levels of connection
  • Facilitates enjoyment of your relationship with your child Helps you develop mindfulness & cultivate compassionate awareness
  • Increases strength and flexibility
Whether you are new to yoga or a lifetime yogi, you will enjoy Yoga With Your Baby. The DVD is designed for babies who can hold their head up (usually around 3 to 4 months) and for toddlers (up to about 4 years old).

Giveaway Alert!
I have a brand new DVD copy of Yoga With Your Baby to giveaway to one lucky winner!

What you need to do:
Easy. Simply send an email to emilyallyn and be sure to put Yoga With Your Baby DVD in the subject. That's it!

The giveaway will end Monday, December 15th at 11:59 pm. The winner will be notified by email.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Giveaway: Fab Fun With Puzzles

It's baaaaaaack and absolutely fabulous.

The Fabulous Fun With Puzzles book started in 1946 when Joseph Leeming created Fun With Puzzles followed by More Fun With Puzzles. Fabulous Fun With Puzzles combines the best puzzles from each edition.
"The challenges are varied, in both content and difficulty. You'll find forgotten classics and original creations, humorous teasers and logical testers, easy ticklers and confounding head-scratchers. And just when you think you've caught on to all the devious angles from which Mr. Leeming's puzzles come at you, a new twist will arise. Prepare to be continually bemused, amused, and amazed."

If you are up for the challenge and ready to concentrate, imagine, use logical thinking and clear correlated thinking, then you are ready to purchase Fabulous Fun With Puzzles... or you are ready to take the LSAT.

I can't begin to explain the number of emotions I went through when trying to figure out these puzzles! I'll try - intimidated, smart, feebleminded, proud, confused, rewarded, frustrated, elated, irked, cocky, clever, and dare I say "puzzled". And that was all with the first puzzle! Just kidding. However, when you get one right, you feel pretty dang brainy. You also want to try it on the first person you see, hoping to stump that person and feel like the genius has sprung within you!

To get a flavor of these ultra-fun teasers, here are a few examples (answers found below).

1. Two mothers and two daughters attended a picnic together. The main courses were hot dogs, hamburgers, and grilled chicken - and yet each made a different choice. How could this be?
2. What is the weight of a fish if it weighs ten pounds plus half its weight?
3. Two of the jacks in an ordinary pack of cards are drawn so that one eye is visible. The other two are drawn with two eyes visible on each. Given that, what is the total number of eyes showing on all four jacks?

You will also find a number of conundrums with drawings, cutting out shapes, mixing up letters/words, number puzzles, longer story problems, etc.

What are you waiting for? Strap on your smarts and buy Fabulous Fun With Puzzles for the mind-teaser on your holiday list. That person won't be disappointed in the least!

1. It was a threesome - a grandmother, mother, and daughter.
2. The fish weighs 20 pounds.
3. Twelve. Each jack has two heads.

Giveaway Alert!
I have a brand new copy of Fabulous Fun With Puzzles to giveaway to one lucky winner!

What you need to do:
Easy. Simply send an email to emilyallyn and be sure to put Fabulous Fun With Puzzles in the subject. That's it! Never has a contest been so easy.

The giveaway will end Monday, December 15th at 11:59 pm. The winner will be notified by email.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Giveaway: Brain Quest

Are you smarter than a 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grader?
Here's your chance to find out - Brain Quest.

My son is in 2nd grade and 8 years old. Recently, he has been playing Brain Quest for grades 3 & 4. He really enjoys it, which is great. I love seeing him play video games where he digs deep into his brain and actually uses those cells! Don't get me wrong, I'm not against any of the other rated-E-for-Everyone video games. After all, I did grow up on Atari. Pitfall, Astroids, or Night Driver anyone?

Brain Quest has a wide range of questions. For example, under the 3rd grade category there are these two questions:
1. "Which is not a fruit?" with choices being an apple, grapes, cherries or a hot dog.
2. "Which of the following civilizations is known for building aqueducts?"' with choices being Colonial America, Ancient Rome, and Early Gaul. (Just in case you are wondering, the answer is Ancient Rome.)

Each game contains 6,000 questions. That's unbelievable! I know I couldn't come up with 6,000 questions for a 3rd grader! The categories vary as well, so the questions never get boring. You can choose questions from English, Science, Math, History, Geography, and Grab Bag.

My son really gets into this game and is quite competitive, however I do end up reading many of the questions and/or answers to him. If you would like your son or daughter to play by him- or herself, I would suggest following the grade designation - 3rd and 4th grade - as opposed to the age designation of 8-10 years.

Brain Quest will make the perfect holiday stocking stuffer for that 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grader on your list. Just make sure you throw in a few "practice" rounds for yourself, so you get the hang of it before you request a challenge. You just may get stumped a few times!

Giveaway Alert!
The generous people at EA (Electronic Arts) sent me a few copies of Brain Quest, the DS game, to giveaway. There will be 2 winners. One winner will receive a copy of the Brain Quest for Grades 5 & 6, the other winner will win two copies, one of each Grades 3 & 4 and Grades 5 & 6.

Brain Quest retails for $19.99 each, but you can get yours for free!

What you need to do:
Easy. Simply send an email to emilyallyn and be sure to put Brain Quest DS Game in the subject. That's it!

The giveaway will end Monday, December 15th at 11:59 pm. The winners will be notified by email.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Giveaway: Raggedy Ann & Andy

Giveaway Alert!

Emily & Allyn. Jack & Jill. Hansel & Gretl. Mickey & Minnie.
All famous :)
But don't forget Raggedy Ann & Andy. Back to Basics Toys sure hasn't. The nostalgic Raggedy Ann & Andy Box Set is available for only $44.99. But, you can win a set for free!

All you have to do is send us an email and be sure to put Raggedy Ann & Andy in the subject line. That's it! You could be our next lucky winner.

The giveaway will end Monday, December 15th at 11:59 pm. The winner will be notified by email.

Back to Basics Toys is another one of my favorite catalogs this time of year. The toys can transport you back in time with smiles remembering your childhood days. They keep the best toys alive and add some modern ones with a twist.

Here are a few of my favorite.

Lincoln Logs. You can't be a kid and not experience the original Lincoln Logs. They are as classic as classic gets. This commemorative tin canister edition with 115 pieces sells for $39.99. There is also a larger set for $99.99.

The Junior Whirly Wheel. Kids (up to 60 lbs. for this version) use their hands to power this ride-on. It looks like so much fun! You can spin 360 degrees on almost any surface. $54.99.

The pendulum clocks are quite nostalgic to say the least. A perfect decoration for any playroom. Comes in Old Smokey Train and Little Princess styles. Each $69.99.

For the Frogger and/or Space Invaders lover. They are back, tabletop-style! Each only $29.99.

For the football fanatic. The Ultimate NFL Tabletop Football Game where you flick the "football" down the field. Brings me back to Junior High... $29.99.

A major indoor tree house. Comes with a crane, crow's nest, swing, rope ladder, water well, and bucket on a pulley to engage your tot for hours on end. $159.99.

The Brio Labyrinth. We have this toy from back in my day. It still drives me crazy! Yet it is quite addictive.

This should be enough to get you started on your journey through the wonderful land of the Back to Basics Toys website. Your turn!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Giveaway: Scholastic DS Game

Scholastic. Simply an amazing company with wonderful products, always. I can't say enough about them.

My son loves to play I SPY computer games on the kid's pc. We own I Spy: Treasure Hunt and I Spy: Spooky Mansion. They are imaginative and I don't feel guilty when the kids play since they combine fun with critical thinking and vocabulary skills.

I'm not the only one who appreciates these games; check out all the awards they have won!
The generous people working with Scholastic sent us the newest addition to the I Spy group, I Spy: Fun House. I played it with my (almost) 6 year old. We had so much fun together, finding objects, giving clues, winning tickets, and then playing in the Fun House. If you ever went to Carnivals as a kid, you will totally love this! It takes you back. My son also thought this was a hoot. He couldn't wait to get out of bed the next morning to continue his Fun House adventure!

"Solve I Spy riddles to earn tickets to the Fun House, a topsy turvy world where nothing is as it appears! Master puzzles and play exciting games while exploring the Fun House! Practice logic and reasoning skills while solving 30 brain-teasing puzzles, 33 I SPY riddles, 4 fast paced games, Scavenger Hunt, and over 185 additional problems!"

Giveaway Alert!
Scholatic's "Animal Genius [DS] puts players animal smarts to the test. Using the Nintendo DS stylus, players must compete in five different games, which require a combination of quick thinking and sharp reflexes. The five games include Creature Collector, Scratch N See, Matchomatic, Maze Munch and Animal Expert. "

Animal Genius for the DS retails for $29.99, but it could be yours for free!
What you need to do:
Easy. Simply send an email to emilyallyn and be sure to put Animal Genius DS Game in the subject. That's it! Slick as snot, eh?!!?

The giveaway will end Monday, December 15th at 11:59 pm. The winner will be notified by email.

Don't forget to visit Scholastic's website where you will find a ton of information for parents and kids - activities, games, videos, family life, books & authors, and more, more, more! Amazing.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Giveaway: Say Anything

Giveaway Alert!
The makers of Wits and Wagers (see yesterday's post) have created another game, Say Anything. And I have one to giveaway!

Say Anything
"Say Anything is a light-hearted game about what you and your friends think. It will get people talking, laughing, and having fun in minutes. Enjoy it with 3 - 8 family members (players must be able to write) or as a hilarious party game with adults. So dig deep into your heart or just come up with something witty -- this is your chance to Say Anything!"

1. Ask a question from the card you draw.
2. Everyone else writes an answer & turns it face-up.
3. You secretly choose your favorite answer. Then everyone tries to guess which one you picked.

Sample questions:
1. If I could have a "BIG" anything, what would it be?
2. Who is the most overrated band of all time?
3. Who's the most annoying celebrity in show business?
4. What's the worst thing to say to a cop after getting pulled over?

What you need to do:
Easy. Simply send an email to emilyallyn and be sure to put Say Anything Game in the subject. That's it!

The giveaway will end Monday, December 15th at 11:59 pm. The winner will be notified by email.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Wits & Wagers

Picture this: Thanksgiving weekend, up North at the cabin, thin blanket of snow on the ground, all cozy next to a fireplace, drinking wine and playing umpteen rounds of Wits & Wagers with the family. Sound like a good time? Without a doubt. (Some of you may need to replace the word family with friends in order to ensure a good time.)

Wits and Wagers by North Star Games is a game for many ages. Our group spanned from age 13 up to 61, and we all had a ball. When the younger kids (ages 5-9) saw how much fun we were having, they wanted in on a piece of the action. So, we gave them clues by supplying them with a range in which to guess and we made up a few questions specific to them.

"Each player writes down a guess to the same question and places it face-up on the betting mat. Think you know it? Bet on your guess! Think you know who the expert is? Bet on them. The player with the most points [chips] after 7 questions wins."

It's a little like bringing Vegas and Trivial Pursuit to your own living room. Only what happens in the living room while playing Wits and Wages doesn't always stay in the living room. For example, I'll be telling you all (a.k.a. the World) a little story about our game.

We had this question, "In 2006, how many knives were discovered during U.S. airport passenger screenings?" Our answers ranged from 50 (yes, 50) to 20,000. We placed our bets, then read the actual answer: 1,607,100. First, all of our mouths dropped and hung open. Then we all stared at our own answers in disbelief... and without skipping a beat, the jabs and jokes starting flying towards the person who guessed 50! (Sorry, Mom.) It's now one of those things she'll never live down.

To give you a better taste for the game, here are a few more examples of questions (answers below):
1. In dollars, what is the average annual salary of a Major League Baseball player?
2. In days, how long was O.J. Simpson's double murder trial?
3. What percent of American families annually spend more than they earn?
4. In days, what was the shortest term of any U.S. president?
5. In what year was Coca-Cola first produced?
6. In what year did Sesame Street first air?
I could keep going because it's quite addicting!

Wits and Wagers would be the perfect holiday gift or hostess gift. But don't take my word for it (or my mother's or my husband's or my brother's or my sister's-in-law, or my nephew's). This game has already won 13 industry awards. You won't go wrong giving this as a gift... unless of course you give this to your friend who is addicted to gambling and wants to play for real money.

Answers to questions above:

1. $3.060,484
2. 252 days
3. 40%
4. 32 days (Harrison died of pneumonia 32 days after his inauguration)
5. 1886
6. 1969
You can find Wits & Wagers at your favorite Target store; I saw it at mine today. It's also online at Target.com and Amazon.com.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Nod To The Holidays

Many of the stores we know and frequent seem to carry many of the same toys and gifts. And quite frankly it gets old. There are few stores that can truly call themselves unique and offer uncommon yet wonderful choices. The Land of Nod is one of them.

Here are a few suggestions for that little one who has everything - but you still need to find that perfect gift...

1. Did you ever see the movie The Holiday with Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Jack Black, and Kate Winslet? If not, go rent it. It's a super cute romantic comedy. There is a scene where Jude Law cuddles up with his girls in a princess "fort" (for lack of a better term) he made for them. It is one of the coolest hideouts for a kid I've seen. If I had a girl, I would want to reconstruct it. But if you don't feel like reconstructing it, you can purchase this pink playhouse or castle playhouse (for a boy). A get-a-way like no other!

2. Do you know a budding Tiger Woods? The Noonan Mini Golf Game would be the perfect gift. Start that little one young and maybe he'll share some of his earnings with you!

3. What kid doesn't like to color? What kid doesn't color on the wall at least once in their lifetime? Now it's ok. Buy the Frames Wallpaper and you can tell little Sammy to go nuts on that wall. I will admit I'm only a fan of this product if you have kids who understand they can't color on the "real" walls. I can just see the 2 year old little brother copying his big sister as she composes her masterpiece. I shudder at the thought! But a very cool idea for the right kids.

4. Blast from the past. Remember the bendable and poseable Gumby and Pokey toys from our childhood? Did you husband think Gumby was cool perhaps? (Or did he just think Eddie Murphy playing Gumby on SNL was a complete riot?!)

5. "Mom, I'm bored." How many times have you heard that line? No more! Purchase the I'm Not Bored Anymore Art Jar and tell those kiddos to snip it!

6. Looking for a memorable newborn gift? Try a growth chart and personalize it. This is one of those things you don't think to buy as a mother, but one of those things you wish you had.

That should be enough to get you started. Now it's your turn. You will definitely find something at The Land of Nod.

Pregnancy & Newborn

Did you get the memo? Emily Allyn's Little Democrat and Little Republican is one of Pregnancy & Newborn's magazine cravings! (November, 2008 issue.)

To all the little politicos out there... thank you!

We only have a few left. Get yours now while they are on sale, only $11.95. Now that's a steal.

Monday, November 24, 2008


My 5 year old son was chomping at the bit to dive into this Poingo pen and book system. You open the book, touch the book with the pen, and the pen starts reading to you. Of course the whole time I'm trying to figure out how does this pen-thing know where you are in the book? The pages are like normal pages in a children's book. Crazy, I tell you. Some of the more difficult to understand words are highlighted in red. When you touch the word, the pen says the word and gives you a brief definition. And, of course, there are games. What kid's product is complete without some interaction. You touch the game icon with the pen, the pen asks some questions about something on the page, and you touch the object on the page to answer the question. Amazing.
"Children ages 3-7 will love using the pen-shaped Poingo to touch pictures or text and bring their favorite characters to life with words, sounds, and music. When touched with Poingo, almost every image on the book's pages triggers exciting elements of discovery, exploration, and surprise, engaging the child and making the reading experience entertaining and fun."

The Poingo starter kit includes the pen-shaped Poingo and two large hardcover interactive storybooks. The suggested retail price is $34.99 and it can be found at Target, Toys 'R' Us, Wal-Mart, Costco, Sam's Clubs, and BJ's Wholesale Clubs, and online at Discover Poingo.

First, you can't go wrong when you offer something with Cars and Nemo. Brilliant movies. Second, it's quite intuitive for 5 -7 year olds. However, a younger child will need more assistance.
This is definitely a hot seller this holiday season. Target online is out of stock at the moment. And I believe it's going to become an even a bigger seller because High School Musical and Hannah Montana books will be available any day now. Get your Poingo system while you can!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ideas Aplenty, One Source

One of my favorite catalogs, Chasing Fireflies, has ideas aplenty for your holiday gifts.

I'll just get started and dive right in.

The personalized Santa hats (shown above) are adorable on anyone, kids and adults alike! $28.
This rich and gorgeous winter white knit dress is simply irresistible, made from luxurious wool-alpaca knit . $158.
Love the classic movie Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Then you'll love the adorable Hermey & the Abominable Snowmonster figures. $96.
Is your little girl mostly a girly girl but at times a hang-out-with-the-boys kind of girl? If so, she'll love this sparkly take on the Chuck Taylor. $35.
All kids love the hoppy balls you sit and bounce on. They are a childhood favorite. Chasing Fireflies carries the alien hoppy version. $38.
Or there is the holiday hoppy reindeer version. $49
"A young swashbuckler will be thrilled to pull this from the holiday treasure chest every year" - a personalized pirate ornament. $48
And for the princess/dancer in your family, every year she can enjoy the personalized tiny dancer ornament. $48.
For the baby on your list, these red shearling booties, are a perfect holiday splash of color to any tiny outfit. $39.
Would your tiny tot like to eat off special holiday dinnerware just like mom and dad? There is the merry mealtime set. $29.

Your turn. Dive in. You can't go wrong at Chasing Fireflies.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Graeter's Is Grrrrreat!

Many nights when I was a little girl, my dad and I would "race" through our bowls of ice cream. Surprisingly we both have some gene that predisposes us from getting brain freeze; I've never experienced it.

So, when the generous people at Graeter's Ice Cream sent me 6 pints of ice cream to review, I thought I had died and (hopefully) gone to heaven. Who in their right mind would turn away that offer?!

As the luck was all mine, I was able to test the following mouth watering flavors:

Toffee Chocolate Chip - The chunks of toffee are incredible, probably because they use genuine Heath® toffee; very nice combination.
Mint Chocolate Chip - A staple flavor, and their chunky version is perfect.
Mocha Chocolate Chip - Mocha can be dry and overwhelming, but not this Mocha. It is pleasing on the palette with a creamy finish.
Double Chocolate Chip - Chocolate lovers look out, you have found your own heaven. Thank the Lord.
Vanilla Chocolate Chip - Another staple flavor done deliciously right by using natural vanilla.
Black Raspberry Chip - My absolute favorite. Out of this world. The pairing of raspberry and chocolate chunks is one of the best combinations life has to offer! I licked the pint clean. I'm kidding, but don't think for a minute I didn't think about it.

Does the picture below make you want to drool? Look at those chunks!

Graeter's makes a whole slew of other flavors - a few more with chocolate chips and many without like, caramel, cookies 'n cream, black cherry, butter pecan, strawberry, coffee, and of course chocolate and vanilla. Their two new flavors are pumpkin pie and cinnamon, just in time for Fall. If you prefer sorbet, they've got you covered as well. You can enjoy the raspberry or lemon sorbet flavors.

Graeter's is first class all the way. The seal on the lid is tight in order to keep your ice cream fresh, and they use only the best ingredients. For example, their cream is fresh and from farms that pledge not to use artificial growth hormones (rBST). There are no hydrogenated oils, therefore no trans fats. They use 100% cane sugar with no high fructose corn syrup. The list goes on. With all these benefits, eating ice cream has never been so good for you!

Go ahead and send some pints to your favorite ice cream-aholic (even if it is yourself)!

It's a tough job having to review ice cream, but somebody has to do it. Graeter's, you have won this mother over. You truly are irresistible.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


For anyone with kids who play sports (and I believe that covers approximately 85% of people reading this blog), you will absolutely love this invention, Cleatskins.

Place these rubber shells over your cleats and you will be ready to hit the streets. You can bop from the field to the car to the house without depositing dirt with every step. Moms, you won't need to worry when junior runs across your new hardwood floor with his Cleatskins covering his cleats. No scratches will be left on that shiny surface! Or when little Lucy comes off the dirty soccer field and hops in the car. Moms, your car will stay nice and clean! Can you even imagine? It's like the days of yore - before your own kids were "invented".

Not only do these nifty covers keep surfaces clean, they protect those expensive cleats as well.
"Cleatskins are a revolutionary footwear accessory for athletes on-the-go." (And let's face it, if you are an athlete, you are always on-the-go.)

"Cleatskins is the perfect fit for cleats worn for a variety of outdoor sports, including baseball, football, soccer, and golf. Cleatskins are versatile enough to match any shoe, team uniform, or outfit in youth, kid, and adult sizes, and the unique machine washable material makes them easy-to-care for and always looking new."
Whoa, wait just a minute there, Mr. Rick Kay, inventor-of-the-Cleatskins-man, you mean you can throw these in the washing machine? SOLD!

Actually, my son already has a pair of these in red. I love that they come in an array of colors, even some girly colors like the pink camo (shown above). My son thinks he is pretty dang cool when he dons his fiery red Cleatskins. And I'm proud to say, I found yet another use for them. My son also plays basketball. Believe it or not, we've actually had a tad bit of snow the last few days up here in Minnesota. So when my son had practice, instead of getting his shoes all wet walking through the parking lot, we slipped on the Cleatskins before we left the house. When we arrived at the gym, we slipped them off and his shoes weren't slippery or squeeky! It reminded me of when I was little and my father used to slip on his rubber overshoes - over his shoes so his good shoes would be protected from the rain or snow. Remember those? (These are even better.)

Currently, Cleatskins are sold at select Dick's Sporting Goods, Shoebuy.com, and SoccerGarage.com. However, their own online store is coming soon to an internet near you.
(Side note: if you buy a pair and they seem too difficult to get on, go to their FAQ section and read number IV.)

Do you want a pair? Enter their contest here and you could win a free pair!

This is an amazing product. Boy tested, mom approved!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Start the Holidays With A Bang!

Here's the kick-off to our 2008 Holiday Gift Reviews for our Emily Allyn readers.

I would be remiss (and you could possibly even use the word stupid) if I did not start off my own holiday review guide with my own amazing holiday products. Call it shameless self-promotion, if you will. What ever you call it, just know these shirts fly off the shelves each year. So, if you are at all interested in these, grab yours now!

The Emily Allyn Snowflake clothing is priceless. It's adorable design also carries the words "One-of-a-kind" beneath it... because each child truly is their own unique, one-of-a-kind little individual. As always, our clothes are 100% cotton, boutique-quality. The Snowflake adorns our our infant bodysuits (also referred to as onesies, though if you didn't know Gerber has that term trademarked!) as well as our infant and toddler tees.

"Think of Children as Snowflakes.
A small snowflake falls to the ground in a huge field. Another snowflake falls beside it. One more comes, and many follow. Each is different, has it's own form and size, but, o, the beauty of each one! There is much mystery in each. We must cherish the sparkle of all of them. They are all unique, special, magnificent."

-- Cynthia R. Sanchez

Monday, November 10, 2008

Holiday Gift Reviews 2008

Our Holiday Gift Reviews will be starting this week! Be on the lookout for some amazing gifts to give this season.

Giveaway Alert!
We will also have a boat load of awesome (yes, I'm thirty-something and I just used the word awesome) giveaways!

We have DS games, DVDs, books, games, and more to give away. Stay tuned throughout November and into December for our fabulous finds and amazing giveaways.

Because it is the holiday season and I want to thank my readers, entering the giveaways will be a piece of cake. All you will have to do is email me, that's it! Look for our Giveaway Alert! and what to type in the subject line. You could very well be the next winner!

Drum roll please...

Simplify the Holidays

The holidays are right around the corner. If you are organized, you've already started the planning. Don't let the holidays get to you this year. For once, enjoy them. Below are some articles found on the net to help you do just this. Enjoy!

Here are a seven tips from See Jane Work that anyone can use on how to handle the holidays. Click the link to read the helpful details.
# 1 Make rules and follow them
# 2 Simplify gift giving
# 3 Party only some of the time
# 4 Create traditions all your own
# 5 Master of none
# 6 Prepare for the unexpected
# 7 Look fabulous or the pictures will come back to haunt you

About.com has a whole section titled Holiday Survival Guide: Manage Stress and Simplify Your Holiday Season.

If you are a person who likes to purchase a book on every topic, so you have something to reference or use, you will find Simplify Your Holidays: A Christmas Planner to Use Year after Year on Amazon.com.

For the list lover in you, you will be delighted to have found these two online articles: How to Simplify the Holidays With a Holiday Checklist and Christmas Planner

And for general organization, check out Organized Christmas (though it doesn't have to be all about Christmas, you can use these tips for other holidays).

And I think it's important to remember these handy tips from How to Simplify the Holidays With a Holiday Checklist.
Keep each section of your checklist as short and as simple as possible.

Remember, simple is best. Do not take on more than what you can handle.

Set specific deadlines for each category. Give yourself a few more days.

Work on everything a little at a time, every day until you are complete.

Do not compare your holiday plans to those from holidays past, or the plans of your neighbors, friends, relatives etc. The focus is on your holiday and what will make you and those closest to you happy this season, all within reason of course.

Try not to add more tasks to your checklist unless it is something that you have absolutely forgotten to include.