Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Hops

Smart and Trendy Moms

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A Mommy's Sweet Blog Design Friday Blog Hop
Crazy About My Baybah



Let's Just Give It Away









Stalk Hop Friday
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cloth to Cadillac


            Could we travel for several days using cloth diapers? During a spring break trip to visit family we set out to test our cloth merit.  We’ve never been a staunch cloth family.  We don’t cloth at night, and only recently have we clothed in the afternoon shortly before I return home from work.  Largely due to the overwhelming amount of stuff you already have to pack for a little man we have avoided long travel with cloth up to this point.  I had survived an overnight trip to my sister’s using cloth, but one night supported by my parents is far fewer than three, especially when three results in the need to do laundry.  We packed a bag of disposables just in case.
            Largely we packed hybrids—Flips with stay dry inserts and organic cotton inserts, GroBaby Shells and an Econobum.  In a plastic bag we placed a single load of powdered detergent.  We also traveled with a large home-made wet bag.
            I really loved traveling with the hybrids and believe it was a smart choice compared to the bulk we’d have had with our pocket diapers.  We soon learned a few lessons for next time.  We should have also brought a travel sized wet bag, since we weren’t always at the grandparents house and were separated from a storage container for dirty dipes save spare plastic grocery bags.
            Normally we like to soak soiled dipes.  After our first night, we learned we hadn’t brought a bucket.  The solution was a soak in the washing machine.  We’d brought enough to not need to wash until shortly before our return.  We ended up washing sooner than we’d plan, to ensure we didn’t interfere with our host’s laundry.  Instead of line drying the inserts, we used the dryer.  We don’t usually use the dryer, but oh how soft it makes them—especially the organic cotton.
            As a tangent adventure, we packed our homemade baby food ice cubes.  Our commute to Grandmother’s House took all day, as we were detoured to help move furniture from great-grandmother’s home.  Our cubes were all melted by the time we arrived.  We monopolized grandma’s ice cube trays and refroze an interesting conglomeration of foods.  For the remainder of the trip, peanut dined on veggie surprise and fruit medley.
            In short, we did it.  We’re still not one of those die hard cloth families.  We cheated and left peanut with disposables when he was left with family sitters.  We learned from our mistakes.  No, it wasn’t as easy as it is at home.  But we did survive and are no longer afraid to attempt it again.
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Great Cloth Diaper Change


       Saturday marked the inaugural great diaper change (http://greatclothdiaperchange.com/) and peanut and I did our part to get our hometown on the world record map.  We had the opportunity to participate at a local children’s learning center.  Our event was hosted by Tender loving Cloth Diapers LLC.  I was elated by the experience.
            We had committed to cloth diapering while we lived in Savannah.  In Savannah we attended a cloth diapering class at a locally owned boutique which really answered my questions and alleviate my husband’s apprehensions about cloth.  We knew where to go to for cloth and that there were other people in the area who used cloth.  When we moved back home weeks before peanut’s birth, we lost that sense of community support.
            I think that’s what I loved about participating in the Great Diaper Change.  Sure, there were several cliques who obviously knew each other well, but it was a terrific opportunity for a working mom to socialize with other like minded parents.  Suddenly, I no longer felt like we were the only family in town to use cloth.
            I loved seeing the variety of diapers used.  Oh, how charming are all the colors and styles. There are actually two cloth diaper retailers based in the area who hosted events (Sweet Cheeks is the other). I loved that both publicized their events and got the area talking. 
            I also loved to see the variety of children’s ages—all in cloth.  Some held week’s old infants.  Other parents walked along with squeaky shoed toddlers and kids who spoke in full sentences.  It’s amazing how much change our Peanut will go through in two or three years.
            As for Peanut, he had a pretty good time.  There was a ball pit he crawled through.  He tried to keep up with the bigger kids, or at least was very intent to watch other’s playing.  From a dentist vendor, he received his first tooth brush. It’s blue and maize for Michigan, and kept him entertained for most of the event. 
            Approximately 10 minutes before the official record setting time, we filed into the room and found a place on the floor and prepped for the change.  Peanut took his post fairly well and was moderately well behaved with minimal squirming.  Yet, the longer he waited the squirmier he became.  Waiting for the final minutes to pass seemed to take an eternity.  When the whistle was blown and we began the change, he settled long enough to single-handedly complete a quick change. 
            As a bonus, we received a “swag bag” with a free insert and we also won a new diaper to try out.  Although it took a little more of my Saturday than I’d intended, I believe it was time well spent.    
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

National Library Week

Yes, this post is a week overdue, but it's been a crazy week. As my first year as an official librarian, I was super excited to celebrate National Library Week.  On Monday, I launched a library scavenger hunt.  Tuesday was Faculty book match--a quiz to see if students could match their favorite teachers with their favorite book.  This was very challenging since many teachers picked the same classics.  I really loved this activity because we generated a good variety of quality reads.
On Wednesday students could create a beaded bookmark in the Resource Center.  Thursday saw faculty members judging student entries for the "Dream Library Contest."  In celebration of Teen Literature Appreciation, I also hosted a book swap.  Contest winners were announced Friday.
This was an awesome experience and I can't wait to do more next year! StumbleUpon

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mr. Can't Sit Still: B. Toy's Wacky Ball Review

Peanut is a very active little boy. Most kids learn to sit and then work on crawling. Peanut has no inclination to sit. Sure, he physically could sit if he wanted to. Alas, he has no desire to remain sitting.
At least that was the case until we were given the chance to review the Whacky Ball by B. Toys. Peanut loves it and we love that it is the first toy we have given him that he will sit still for.
In theory, the child uses the mallet to strike one of four colorful balls. The ball then travels through ramps and shoots, reflected by a mirror like background and comes out at the bottom. Okay—so he doesn’t sit perfectly still, because he likes rolling the balls around the room and following them too.

Peanut uses his hands rather than the mallet, which is okay by us. Although one side of the mallet is a little springy with a squeak, overall the plastic mallet seems a little hard. The way he uncontrollably swings objects we could see the potential for minor drama. For the most part though, peanut thinks the mallet is a teething toy.

The entire toy is bright and colorful. Though I would not personally pick the colors used, I do love how they complement each other. I also love that they are not your typical child toy colors—aesthetically, I think it’s probably a good idea that as with his foods, he is exposed to a variety of colors too.

The balls are brightly colored as well and two of the four feature an interesting pattern. They are the perfect size for peanut; neither too big to be picked up, nor too small that they’d pose a choking hazard. If I were to change one thing about this toy, I’d love to see a simple drawstring bag to keep the parts from ending up everywhere.

I also like that the base and tower components of the toy are not fully interlocked. This makes storage of the set a little easier since it disassembles into two flat pieces. Based on peanut’s play, I could see him breaking one from the other if they were constructed to be permanently joined.

Yes, this is not a totally original and mind blowing children’s toy. There are several similar products out there. What makes me a fan of this toy and what will make me a B. Toys customer are the unique and responsible ideas presented by the B. Toys company.

The Whacky ball is not boxed in cardboard, covered in plastic, attached to bases with twist ties and all manners of excessive packaging. If you’ve ever survived Christmas morning with more than 4 small children at grandma’s house—you know the indescribable amount of waste of which I speak. Brand new, the wacky ball is simply covered in a clear plastic cover. More amazing, the plastic is recyclable #1 plastic (a recyclable plastic that’s pretty universally accepted). I LOVE THAT.

I love that for every B. Toy purchased, 10 cents is donated to Free the Children. Doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up. And it’s certainly more than most toy companies give on a regular basis. For more details about B. Toy’s involvement in Free the Children visit http://justb-byou.com/ftc/

The final detail which really made me a B Toys fan was a small booklet included with the toy. Not something I’d share with peanut, but something that as a parent made me smile. The booklet contained funny quotes from kids. You can read some of these quotes and view other B. Toys on their website http://justb-byou.com/ .

B. Toys are available at Target. Shop here: www.target.com/Btoys.

This product was provided by B. Toys for the purposes of this review. I received no additional compensation. The views expressed are 100% mine. StumbleUpon

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

And the Winner Is

Congratulations to Beau.  I'll be sending you an email soon.  I hope you love your Slope Shredding Sean as much as our Peanut does.

Many thanks to everyone who entered my first ever giveaway.  I'm so excited to have received so many entries!
Thanks also to Manhattan toys for sponsoring this giveaway.


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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tastes like Spring

Spring is officially here.  After a crazy weekend filled with out of town guests, finishing a major home renovation and steaming the carpet, we had a sweet moment to enjoy as a family on Sunday evening.  With a beautiful and sunny evening in store and far too much exhaustion to cook dinner, we splurged and went out.  No, not pizza, or burgers--something far more delightful and far less healthy.  We had ice cream for dinner.  Not just any ice cream--Mel-o-cream--the best soft serve ice cream in town.  We drove past three or five other ice cream stands to get there.  While waiting in line, I wavered on what I'd pick when I finally arrived at the window.  My dad waited with Peanut in the car.  By the time we returned with our delectable loot, Grandpa and peanut were had the trunk open and were "tailgateing."  I had a swirl cone in a cup, with Reese's. Peanut had a taste from just about everyone.  He's a big fan of ice cream and I'm sure if he or his grandmother has their way, Mel-O-Creme will soon be on our regular weekend schedule. StumbleUpon

Friday, April 8, 2011

Boysterous Toy Giveaway

What is the difference between a doll and an action figure? In vast generalizations, dolls are cute and cuddly, while action figures are hard, plastic and typically violent.  In most families, boys may play with as many action figures as they like, but will garner strange looks for preferring dolls.

I was surprised by a recent study that reported that young children, both boys and girls prefer dolls and doll-like toys over many other alternative toys.  The study praised playing with dolls for stimulating the imagination and providing a world for children to practice social skills. I even thought about how this study applied to my own young son and how he already prefers toys with faces over those without. 

So for dozens of reasons, there ought to be “doll-like” toys for boys. If a toy is too much like a girly-girl doll, my husband will  not be happy.  If the toy is too violent, I won’t be happy.  What’s a parent to do?

Enter Manhattan Toy’s Boysterous line, which just might be the answer to these parental concerns.  The Boysterous toys are a line of sports themed characters in what I’d call a “hybrid action-figure.”  They lack that hard plastic exterior.  Instead they are made from soft yet durable fabric.  They have an interior frame, making them bendable for posing in sports moves.  Their magnetic feet help them connect with their sports equipment accessories.  Each figure stands about 8 inches tall, making them a great size for their target 3-6 year old audience. 

Check out this video to see the boysterous toys in action. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9qfNDkzQ7w&tracker=False)


In all, there are 5 figures. 
We tried  Slope Shredding Sean--a Snowboarder,  and Golie Gavin--a Soccer player.   


We also got to try the zippable Boysterous Extreme Sports Zone.  I love the sturdy construction.  Designed with many sports field options, this multi-functional storage case/play set provides a flat or curved surface to suit the needs of the character.  I love how the case gives children a forum to start their imagination.  However, I am most in love with storage capacity of the case.  It easily holds our two dolls and accessories, so hopefully those extra pieces aren’t misplaced or left on the floor.

I love the toys as is.  However, the librarian/ teacher in me would love to see a simple storybook line to promote reading for boys as well.  Again, that's the librarian in me.

How can you get your hands on one of these great toys?

Buy It: Action Figures retail for $18 and the Extreme Sports Zone case retails for $30
Purchase these and other great Manhattan Toys from their website www.manhattantoy.com or from a Specialty Store near you.
As a special bonus, Kat's Adventure Book readers can earn Free Shipping on all orders through May 3rd.  just enter the promo code: BLOG040811




Win It:  If you’d like to win your very own Slope Shreddin Sean, enter my giveaway contest by leaving comments below.  Be sure to include your email address in each entry.  Be sure to enter extra entries as separate comments.



Mandatory Entry:
            Visit Manhattan Toys website and comment here on any other toy they make that you would like to have.  Remember to leave your email address.


Extra Entries: comment below after completing any of the following tasks
            Follow Manhattan Toys on Twitter
            Like Manhattan Toys on Facebook –thank them for the giveaway on Kat's Adventure Book
            Follow Kats Adventures via GFC
            Follow kats_adventures on twitter leave your twitter name in your comment
            Tweet about this giveaway including @manhattantoy and @Kats_adventures(up to 4 times per day, 1 hour between tweets)—leave the URL for your tweet.
            Place my button on your blog—comment with the URL of where you’ve placed it.
            Vote for me on picket fences (once daily)
           
Giveaway  open to residents of the continental US and Canada. Giveaway ends April 19 at 12:00 a.m. EST.  Winner will be chosen at random via random.org.  Winner will be contacted via email and must respond within 48 hours. Product will be mailed directly by the company.

I was supplied the above mentioned products by the describe company/ PR representative.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review.  The opinions are entirely my own.

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Ultimate Blog Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2011


Hi--

Kat from Kat's Adventures here.  I started this blog a few years back.  Back then we lived in Savannah and my husband's job had us driving all over the state of Georgia.  I wrote this blog to help chart all of the fun adventures we had.   While I was expecting, this became the place to showcase my crafty-goodness.

This past year has been crazy, but we moved back home, I have a new job and we have a little peanut.  He's 7 months old and is just the cutest thing ever--I'm pretty partial though. 
So although we don't go on road trip adventures as much as we used to, we do have lots of adventures.  Peanut keeps growing and amazing us.  I keep doing crafty things, like sewing things for peanut and working on a quilt that will take forever to complete.  We're not the "greenest" family in town, but we cloth diaper and I make all of peanut's foods.  I'm looking forward to summer and putting in a garden.

This is my first time participating in a blog party, so I hope I'm doing this correctly.  I look forward to the opportunity to connect with so many other blog parents out there.  Please feel free to leave comments.
Thanks,

Kat StumbleUpon