Jillian is 2 months & SISTER pictures!

December 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Our Life

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Jillian is 2 months old today! Its been a busy two months and I am just starting to feel more adjusted BUT theres still lots of room for improvement. Now that she has decided that eating is a good thing I feel like I can rarely put her down! Tomorrow is Christmas and the house is a MESS! There are so many things that I’d like to do to prepare but I’m just doing the ones that are absolutely neccesary (like baking cookies). Luckily John has been a good wrapper the last few nights so maybe we’ll get to sleep at a somewhat reasonable hour tonight!

Here are some pictures of Jamie holding Jillian, she has to hold her a lot and its sweet.

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Cutting our own tree!

December 23, 2008 by  
Filed under Family Activities

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Ethan picked our tree this year and he did a great job. We went 2 Sundays ago on a nice, sunny,  not freezing day. All the trees were covered in ice so the kids were eating tiny icicle off of the trees and Jamie was eating snow too. It was a much heavier tree than usual and it took 1 1/2 days to thaw in the garage before we could put it up. I’m really glad we live where people have tree farms, its so fun and our tree was only $15. When I was a kid I always loved getting our live tree but we just got to go to the parking lot of the closed for the winter ice cream stand because we lived near NYC and tree farms don’t exist there!dscf8401dscf8403dscf8407dscf8424dscf8431

BIG See Kai Run Giveaway!

December 22, 2008 by  
Filed under Past Contests, Reviews

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Yes we are having our BIG See Kai Run giveaway finally! I have been meaning to post this all month but hey I am busy with a newborn and her 3 siblings! If you don’t already know it, See Kai Run are some of the most fashionable, comfortable and well made kids shoes out there. Jamie has 2 pairs of See Kai Run shoes that she really loves and they are my favorite of her shoes. I already did a glowing review of her Lolas and since then I got her the Claras. There are so many great styles for both girls and boys AND now they offer their Smaller infant shoes too (oh and don’t forget there are bigger sizes in the Eleven line)! I was given a pair of the Bunnies  Smaller shoes (above) for Jillian that are adorable and very well made. Unfortunately I made my selection before she was born and I ordered way too big so she hasn’t been able to wear them yet (how did I know that after 3 huge babies the 4th would be tiny and not in 6-9 month shoes right from the start!). The Bunnies are a great winter booty and so easy to get on little feet with the side velcro. I was almost going to offer Jillian’s pair in this giveaway but they are just too cute to part with. Even if she won’t be wearing them until closer to spring I think she’ll be able to get good use out of them since its chilly in spring. I’m not giving away Jillian’s Bunnies but 4 lucky readers will be getting the shoes below and everyone can hurry and take advantage of the sale they have right now!

FREE SHIP ON ALL ORDERS!  From now until January 15th, enjoy free shipping on ALL orders!* No minimum purchase is required. And, save up to $10 on select shoes and boots.

Here are the 4 shoes I have to give away:

1. Julie boots in a size 6

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2. Yuna shoes in a size 3

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3. Blue Paul shoes in a size 4

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4. A pair of Smaller shoes OF YOUR CHOICE! Let me know which you’d pick (I like these Rhondas)!!!!

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  • To enter leave a comment letting me know which pair (or pairs) that you’re interested in trying to win and one other shoe you like from See Kai Run. If you are trying for the Smaller pair please tell me which one you’d like if you win!
  • US residents only
  • Contest ends January 30th 2009!
  • Please note that the first 3 prizes I only have in the size/style stated but the Smaller shoes are whichever size/style you choose.
  • We have other great contests running right now (birth announcements &  Build-A-Bear) so go take a look!

Ridemakerz Review and Coupon

December 21, 2008 by  
Filed under Featured Review, Reviews

One of the best parts of doing product reviews is learning about toys that we had never seen before.  Our latest product is Ridemakerz, a remote control car that you put together like a Build-A-Bear.  Their website walks you through selecting the car, chassis, free-wheel or remote control, and additional parts that you can swap in and out like the spoiler, hub caps, engine blocks, and even sound effects.

Everything arrives in a cardboard box with a handle, like a large lunch box.  The boys and I got all the pieces out and started following the directions to assemble the car.

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Assembly

The only tool you need is the one that comes with the kit.  The boys had no trouble putting the tires on the wheels, but I helped get the screws started to attach the chassis and I put the wheels on the chassis to make sure nothing broke.  They finished screwing it all together.

A couple things I really love about the design.

1) The engine block attaches to the hood using a magnet.  Makes it so easy to swap on and off.

2)  Side pipes are also easy to attach, but kept catching on our carpet so we went without.

3)  The spoiler was on really tight so we never bothered swapping it for another one.  This didn’t bother us though since we liked the black one better.

You will need a phillips screwdriver to open the battery compartment.  I was thrilled that AA batteries were included, but unfortunately ours did not have enough juice for the car to drive on our carpet.  We swapped them out for a fresh set and were ready to go.  A rechargeable battery pack is an available option.

Performance

Once we had fresh batteries in I fell in love with this car.  The sound effects are cool, but the working headlights and brakelights are awesome.  The car is a great speed for indoor driving.  Fast enough to be lots of fun, but not so fast to be out of control.  Steering works great although it is almost 12 inches long so the turning radius is a bit wide for smaller rooms.

My worry once I turned the control over to the boys was our brick fireplace.  I gave a lesson on how to stop and do three point turns to get around obstacles, but each crash made me jump.  I was sure our review product wouldn’t last long enough for me to take pictures.  Boy was I wrong.  The car is made out of very sturdy plastic and after multiple high speed collisions into brick,wooden furniture legs, brothers, dad’s shoes, and numerous toys there are no cracks and only minor scuffing.  It works just as well as the first drive

Here’s our car with all the bells and whistles.

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For driving we went with the sleek look.

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Overall

The best thing we can say about Ridemakerz is that we loved our review product so much that Santa will be bringing a second one so the boys will be able race.

I love products like this one where every detail was so well thought.  I also found the pricing quite reasonable for the quality of the car and the extra features (swappable parts) that it comes with.  From ordering, assembly, to driving the experience is a lot of fun.

Ridemakerz is offering $10 off orders of $30 or more.  Just use coupon code 93453.  Offer expires January 4th.

Looking for a last minute Christmas gift?  Their shipping prices are very reasonable.  2 day Fedex is $9.50 and overnight is $16.75.

12 Last Minute Gift Ideas For Christmas

December 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Tips and Websites

This week the Parent Bloggers Network and FamilyAware.org are talking about ways that parents deal with the holiday craziness.  We always seem to fall behind and have a late Christmas eve, but this year I made an effort to at least get my Christmas shopping done in a timely manner so I can avoid any last minute trips to the mall.  There aren’t many stores near where I work so for most of my shopping I went to Amazon and took advantage of my Prime membership with its free 2 day shipping.  A little bonus this year is that Christmas is on a Thursday so there is still time to order gifts and get them in time.

To help any other last minute shoppers here is a list of 12 of our favorite toys that are Amazon prime eligible and in stock.  Make sure to check prices though, because some unscrupulous 3rd party vendors have been price gouging.

Here is our list of 12 last minute games and gadgets that we love:

  1. ThinkFun Zingo – This is a fun version of Bingo that uses pictures instead of numbers. Each player gets a card and the pieces are stacked into the dispenser. Slide the dispenser back and forth and 2 pieces will appear, each with a picture on it. The first one to call out the picture of one of the pieces they need will get it. Have a tie? Put the piece back in the stack. The boys love playing this game and the playing field is even between the parents and kids.
  2. Monza – We LOVE Haba games. They are all the perfect mix of fun and strategy. Monza is a car race where the track is broken into colored squares. Each player takes turns rolling the six dice and then choose the best path to take based on the colors that came up on their dice. The pieces are real cute and the game teaches kids to look ahead. I had to coach the boys the first few times we played, but now they’re beating me on a regular basis. Games are fast paced and last about 15 minutes.
  3. Tangram Puzzles – The boys discovered Tangrams this summer at grandma’s cabin. The game comes with different shaped pieces and cards that have silhouette pictures. The challenge is to use the blocks to create the picture. Heather and I would race using two sets and played this before we had the kids. What a pleasant surprise to find the kids so engaged by the challenge at a young age. There are many versions out there so shop around. I saw a magnetic one that looked great for in the car.
  4. Sequence for Kids – Another game we discovered at grandma’s. The boys absolutely loved this one during our visit. The board and cards have pictures of animals and each turn players match one of their cards to an animal on the board. They then put a chip on that animal. First one to get 4 chips in a row wins. Basically it is an advanced tic tac toe game for 2 to 4 players that is great for kids 4+ years old.
  5. TiVo HD Digital Video Recorder – Here is a big ticket item for the parents, but is also a must have for TV watching with the kids. We recently dropped our satellite service and went to using a rooftop antenna with this Tivo. It has a digital tuner and the picture quality is amazing. Although our channel selection is limited we supplement it with Amazon Video on Demand and just added this month, Netflix streaming downloads. The Netflix selection available for streaming is limited, but we have found some real gems like the complete original series of Inspector Gadget. The best part is that the Netflix streaming comes free and unlimited with any Netflix account $8.99 or over.
  6. Legos – Legos are huge in our house right now. I’m not surprised since Legos were my favorite toy as a kid too. The Star Wars sets and Bionicles are the most popular with the Ethan and Ben, but they love anything that gives them more pieces to add to their creations. Another great gift idea is the Lego Brickmasters magazine. There are 6 issues a year and each comes with a special edition Lego set.
  7. Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 – So we haven’t tried Snap Circuits yet since they are technically still in Santa’s bag, but I can’t wait to try it out. This is a simple electronics project set for kids that has won a bunch of awards. Ethan and Ben love building things on my work bench and I thought this would be a great activity for us to share. If you’ve got a builder in your family, give these a try. I think the burglar alarm project will be a hit.
  8. Big Box of Boynton – I love Sandra Boynton books and this is a boxed set of 3 board books. Great for bedtime reading. Fun to read and great illustrations.
  9. Hyper Jump and Animal Scramble – We’ve become big fans of Wild Planet games. These are 2 great indoor games that our kids love. Hyper Jump times how fast you can hit the correct color or number. There are different levels of difficulty with the harder ones using math and memory to figure out the right one to hit. Animal Scramble times how fast you can find the correct animal. This one is great if the parent sets them up in a room while the kids are in another room. Have them take turns and see who can have the fastest time. Great way for the kids to burn off energy on a rainy day.
  10. Rapelli – This is a great green game, made from bamboo. The challenge is to keep your caterpillar in the burrow the longest. The game pieces are adorable and the games are quick and fun.
  11. Feed the Kitty – This is a great beginners dice game that is based on luck rather than strategy. A fun game that teaches taking turns and rolling the dice. The object is to be the last one with mice remaining. Another good one that puts parents on equal footing with the kids.
  12. Bristle Blocks – When the kids first got these I wasn’t all that impressed. A lot of these construction toys seem pretty limited compared to Legos, but the kids proved me wrong. These are great because they are easy for the little ones to build with, but the older kids can build amazingly creative things. This has become our favorite rotational toy. We put them away and whenever the kids are looking for something to do we bring them out again and they come up with a different theme to build on. Ethan and Ben have built everything from dinosaurs and families of ducks to Star Wars blasters and Spore creatures. There are many versions of bristle blocks under many names so shop around. A set that comes with wheels is great for kids that love cars and trucks.

Amazon has made this mallophobic dad love Christmas shopping and makes last minute shopping a breeze.  Avoiding the malls removes an amazing amount of stress.

Shop around on other websites too since many others are offering express shipping at reasonable prices this year.  A good place to start is right at the source.  I needed to order a set of K’Nex that was no longer available at Amazon and found them on the K’Nex site at a cheaper price.  We also fell in love with RideMakerz remote controlled cars and they are offering 2 day shipping for $9.50.

Before you head to mall and make those panic impulse purchases just to escape the madness, grab a drink and sit down at the computer to shop around.  There’s still plenty of shipping days left for your packages to arrive.

SANTA pictures!

December 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Our Life

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Last night we made a quick trip to the mall to meet Santa. We haven’t seen Santa in maybe 3 years so it was both of the girls first visit with him. No tears but a little apprehension! Afterwards we drove through McDonalds and then ate it while driving around a local park that does a holiday light display.

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3 BIG babies and a Peanut at 2 months old!

December 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Family Activities, Our Life

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Here is Ethan at just under 2 months. He may not look huge in this picture but he was born 10lbs 4 oz, by 2 weeks he was 12 lbs and at 2 months he was 16 even!

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Ben was the real butterball of the bunch, at 2 months he weighed in at 16lbs 10oz! I forgot how little hair he had at this age.

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This is Jamie at a little over 2 months (we lost pictures from when she was exactly Jillian’s age). At 2 months she wasn’t huge at 13lbs 4oz but she sure looks it now in comparison with Jillian!

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Jillian won’t be 2 months until Christmas Eve but she had her 2 month visit with her doctor today and she weighed in at 9lbs 6oz (still an oz less than my previously smallest Jamie at birth!). It is so weird having a little peanut this time! I NEVER had to worry that the other kids weren’t eating enough and even though we seem to be past the major breastfeeding problems I am still on edge that she is not a big eater. Her weight was only 15% today but her length of 23″ is 75% so she is skinny!

*Just looking at all of their pictures together at 2 months old makes me wonder what quadruplets would have been like!

Build-A-Bear Giveaway!

December 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Past Contests, Reviews

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Our kids love stuffed animals and I couldn’t say no to a Build-A-Bear giveaway! Ethan already has a very cute Build-A-Bear dog that looks like our dog Casey. He got it from his aunt and uncle years ago and it came with an adorable Hawaiian shirt, collar and flowers on its ears. His “Casey” dog has stood up well to lots of play and a wash or two and is still well loved. We decided Jamie would be the recipient of our new Build-A-Bear and we were sent a surprise one in the mail. When she opened the box it just happened to be a brown dog and since we also have a brown dog named Reuben it worked out perfectly! Jamie sleeps with her new “Reuben” and she loves to put its shirt on and off all the time. While looking at the Build-A-Bear site for this review I realized that Jamie’s “Super Bunny” (above)  is also from Build-A-Bear. Its even cuter in real life, is the softest bunny and it has washed very well (it was in a few throw up accidents at night). If you’re in the market for a stuffed animal, Build-A-Bear animals are built very nicely and are super cute. They also come in a fun house shaped box that you can color. We don’t have a Build-A-Bear store by us but I’m sure that they are loads of fun! Luckily you can order them online also at the Build-A-BEAR site! Even online you can have fun picking out clothing, sounds and accessories for your animals. There are a lot of options to personalize them and one of my favorites is the hockey outfits!

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We have a $10 Build-A-Bear gift card to give away to one of our readers!

  • To enter leave a comment on this post!
  • US and CA mailing addresses only
  • Contest ends January 1st

Here are two of my favorites from the Build-A-Bear site:

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Vaseline Clinical Therapy Lotion Gift Basket Giveaway!

December 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Past Contests, Reviews

vas10512_c1-64Dry hands are a big problem for me now that I’m a mom of 4 (all that hand washing after diaper changes and everything). Unfortunately I don’t have time or the ability to remember to put on lotion all the time. I was given a supply of Vaseline Clinical Therapy Lotion to review and I’m giving it the thumbs up. Considering that I only use it at night and the abuse I put my hands through I’m very happy with the results. The first day I used it a few times because my knuckles had gotten to the bleeding stage. It went on without stinging and felt good (no greasy feeling). My hands healed in about 2 days and are so much better now.  This lotion is comparable to the much more expensive brands and I would definitely recommend it based on the improvement of my hands since my short time using it!  Another really important thing to mention is that I hate smelly lotions so I was very happy that it comes in unscented. Actually I wouldn’t have said yes to review if it was scented  because I don’t want to get a sample of something I know ahead of time I won’t like! Luckily I liked it because I get to do a  giveaway and  its a REALLY GOOD ONE!

Enter to win a GIFT BASKET that includes: Vaseline Clinical Therapy lotion, Godiva Chocolate, Kona Coffee Gift basket, Kiehl’s hair products, and a Target gift card!

  • To enter leave a comment on this post by Friday Dec 26th
  • For a 2nd entry subscribe to our RSS feed and let me know in a 2nd comment!
  • US mailing addresses only

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Our snowday!

December 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Our Life

There was/is a storm forcasted for today and tomorrow but it didn’t start early enough for a snowday…. so I created one myself (and a good thing since school closed early anyway). The big stuff hasn’t hit yet though and we’re hoping for a REAL big snow day tomorrow with LOTS OF SNOW! Here are some pictures of our day. Ethan had a lazy morning of Inspector Gadget and held Jillian for awhile. Later Uncle Alex walked over and took the boys outside in the “wintry mix” that we’ve gotten so far. Ben is demonstrating the snowplow they invented.

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