Quick Stick Training Bat

Quick Stick Baseball Training Bat

Quick Stick Baseball Training Bat

We are absolutely loving this new Quick Stick training bat! My son has developed an obsession with baseball over the past few years, and although we just got this product, it’s really proving useful already. Because it’s skinny, he has a harder time hitting the ball, which helps his accuracy. You also hit smaller plastic balls with it, making it even harder. The great thing is that this is something I can help him with – only his dad is brave enough to pitch and catch with real balls! I’d likely get my nose broken or a tooth knocked out.

Available locally at Sports Authority or online from the manufacturer SKLZ for $29.99

New sites!

I know it’s been awhile since I posted here, but things have been busy on the other side of the ‘net, so to speak, and I have two new sites I’d like to share with you! First of all, the site we used to run as a drop-ship business is now an affiliate site, where you can find the best children’s furniture and room decor anywhere online. Stop by and visit Coolest Kids Furniture the next time you need to decorate one of your kids’ rooms! Also just launched is School Supplies 123, a site geared toward students (and their parents) as well as teachers and owners of schools, daycares, and so on. There you can find every kind of school supplies that your heart (or beginning-of-year list!) desires.

So if you like this site, please take a minute to stop by my other endeavors. I’d love to hear what you think!

Susan

Uno Tippo

Uno Tippo

My son picked out Uno Tippo at Target the other day, one of the latest iterations of the classic match-the-last-played card game. This one features a balance that has to stay close to equal on each side, because if it doesn’t, the wheel in the middle rolls off and the player that caused it to fall has to pick up extra cards.

We ALL sat down to play this last night – all three kids, including the baby (who kept knocking the whole shebang over with her hands), me, dad, and my mother-in-law. It was a hoot! There are stop cards, that prevent you from being able to add cards to a particular side, ensuring that someone will HAVE to make the balance tip – along with the typical reverse and skip cards, plus the usual wildcards. There’s a new wildcard too that requires you to add cards to both sides of the balance to determine what colors the next player starts with.

All in all it was a fun night and I recommend this version of Uno!

Retail Price: $16.97
Buy it online

The Land of Nod Sale

One of my favorite sites for room decor and toys is The Land of Nod. I found out today they are having a great sale with up to 80% off some of their products. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Kidirondack Chairs

Kidirondack Chairs

The Kidirondack Chairs are the perfect outdoor relaxation spot for kids of all ages. Here in Florida, these chairs would get almost year-round use! Comes in green and orange.

The bonus: these chairs are made of environmentally friendly eucalyptus wood!


Kid Grill

Kid Grill

While we’re on the subject of the great outdoors, how about grilling up some great burgers and dogs? Now your kids (boys AND girls!) can be just like Dad while they pretend to master the art of the grill. Turn the silver knobs to crank up the (pretend) heat.


Peg Perego Stroller

Peg Perego Skate Stroller

One of the best brands of strollers ever is the Peg Perego. This particular one converts from carriage to stroller, so that it lasts through your baby’s various stages. It also adjusts to three different heights. Plus, you get free shipping!


Honey Brighton Bookcase

Honey Brighton Bookcase

The gorgeous Honey Brighton Bookcase is a great way to showcase favorite belongings or treasured books. It’s made of solid, high-grain pine and hand-stained to a beautiful honey finish. It’s also proudly made in the USA!



Shop the Sale at The Land of Nod

Check out the entire Land of Nod collection and the wonderful items they have on sale.

Puzzibits Flexible Construction Sets

We discovered Puzzibits quite on accident one morning at church. My son was misbehaving so I took him out of the service and we wandered back to the children’s wing. While we were playing, he came across these flexible shapes with pegs on them. Took us a bit but we figured out how to join them together. I had never seen them before, so I can home and tried to figure out how to describe them well enough for a Google search. Took about 15 minutes but I finally found Puzzibits!

Puzzibits are made by Manhattan Toy, the same company that makes Groovy Girls. They have lots of different sets, each with different colors and sample designs. The sets come in 4 different sizes – the bigger ones cost more and have more pieces, so more designs are possible. The good news is that the different-sized sets can appeal to a wide range of budgets.

Puzzibits are joined together by putting the pegs (or posts) of one piece into the holes of another. You can make flat designs, but because the pieces bend, you can also make 3D objects too. They seem to be pretty strong – we’ve not yet had a single post break off.  Connecting the pieces takes a little bit of finesse; my younger kids can’t do it by themselves, but my 7-year-old can. And they all love playing with the finished designs.

Approximate Retail: $10 – $50
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TAGGIES Grabby Elephant by Earlyears

Oh, how kids love to make toys of of things not resembling toys in the least. Cardboard boxes, paper towel tubes… and of course, several years ago, someone turned clothing labels into TAGGIES, one of the hottest baby items to hit the stores in a long time.

I, for one, love the fact that Early Years has turned Taggies from more than just a blanket into actual, wonderful, toys! They make some of the cutest stuffed animals, stroller and crib toys, and even puzzles, all with the signature, multi-colored and multi-textured tags all around.

We bought this adorable blue elephant for our youngest child. It’s one of the softest plush toys I’ve come across in a long time, and like many kids, she loves the tags. It jingles when she shakes it, and she loves that too. Just recently, though, as her motor skills developed, she discovered how to pull the little pink mouse face from the inside of the ball, let it go, and listen and feel as it “vibrates” back into place. She was so funny – it took all of her might to stretch the mouse’s cord, and you could see her head and shoulders literally shake with the effort! But as she practiced, she grew stronger with the technique until it finally became quite easy.

So this has been a favorite toy for over eighteen months now. Many things don’t even last that long in our household, but this one has, and it’s definitely a winner!

Approximate Retail: $19.97
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Butterfly Garden by Insect Lore

The Butterfly Garden is actually one of my favorite toys of all time. I studied entomology for several years, so when I got the chance to introduce live insects to my kids I jumped at the chance. They were afraid of “bugs”, but butterflies are pretty and relatively un-scary so they were open to the idea.

Waiting for the caterpillars to arrive was hard…for me! But it was downright unbearable for the kids. We had to walk down to the mailbox every day to check for them, day after day after day. Hint – if you get this for your kids, don’t tell them about the caterpillars for a couple of weeks or they will drive you crazy! So finally we got this jar full of golden goop with 5 ugly caterpillars inside. Painted Ladies are not one of God’s prettiest caterpillars, but they are fascinating to watch, especially considering how fast they grow. They were also very easy to keep, since the golden goop is both a material for them to crawl around on, as well as food. So you don’t have to worry about feeding them while they are still caterpillars.

Once they get big enough, they crawl up to the top of the container and spin their cocoons or cases (which contain the chrysalis, a term for the pupal stage of a butterfly or moth). These cases hang from the lid. Not all of them do this at the same time, so you have to wait until all 5 do. Then you open the container, remove the plastic next to the lid, and put it into the Butterfly Garden itself.

As the caterpillars turn into butterflies, you can see them changing color inside of the chrysalides. Right before they are ready to emerge, the chrysalides are very dark. Some of what you see is called “meconium” (yes, the same word as a baby’s first poop). Some of it may stick to the butterflies after they emerge or may drip down the side of the habitat.

Feeding the butterflies is pretty fun. They eat nectar, so you can mix boiling water with sugar, let it cool, and then drip it into flowers you put in the bottom. (I went to the grocery store and asked them for free wilted chrysanthemums.) You can also “treat” them to orange slices.

Letting them go is the fun part. i expected them to fly away immediately after we opened the habitat, but they wouldn’t leave! We finally had to coax them out on our fingers. We saw them around the yard all afternoon, but eventually they were gone. They kids loved it though, and the best part is that you can order replacement caterpillars separately and reuse the habitat.

Approximate Retail: $19.97
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K’Nex 400-Piece Bucket

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time reading my two favorite “books” – every volume of the World Book of Knowledge, and the Sears Wishbook. For those of you who group up in rural America like me, the Wishbook represented childhood utopia. Our town didn’t have a toy store, or even a chain retailer like Wal-mart. So I’d spend the better part of the year looking through the Sears Wishbook for what I wanted to ask Santa to bring me come Christmas.

There’s not much about the Wishbook itself that I can remember – except the HUGE Ferris Wheel made out of K’nex. I love construction toys – still do, in fact – and that Ferris Wheel stared up at me from glossy pages day in and day out. So when my son came home from school this year and asked for K’nex, I called up his grandmother and gave her a birthday present idea. Then I sat back and waited (and waited and waited)!

The big day finally arrived, and my own eyes glazed over when he opened the K’nex. It was a huge 400-piece bucket (I think the same one I’ve linked here) and sure enough, one of the designs in the instruction book was a Ferris Wheel. (On a side note, it’s either smaller than the one in the Wishbook, or my mind had grown the size each year since I was a child!)

This thing was really cool! My son and I got some good bonding time while we worked together on our construction project. My older daughter wanted to play too, so I helped her build some of the seats while my son built the second side of the wheel. Then we all worked together to hook up the two sides of the wheel with the seats between each junction.

Although the specialized sets offer a lot of options, I like this giant tub because there were a lot of sample designs, and it has so many basic pieces that it also leaves a lot to a young imagination.

Approximate Retail: $19.97
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