Friday, July 15, 2011

Review: Sweet Paper Lane


It's officially summertime, which means most of you are probably knuckle-deep in barbecue sauce and watermelon juice (unlike myself, who wades in spit-up and dirty diapers these days). It's prime time for outdoor parties - from polar pool plunges and backyard birthday bashes to luscious luaus. If you're planning on hosting a smashing summer shindig, I can point you in the right direction: head straight down Sweet Paper Lane.

 


Sweet Paper Lane offers invitations for just about any milestone or occasion. With over 6,000 stationery products from the industry's top designers, you'll find something to match any style. Wedding invitations. Birth announcements. Holiday cards. They've got it all - and more.

 
 


 
In addition to their paper products, they also offer a variety of personalized gifts and favors.


 


As if their product offerings aren't swell enough, Sweet Paper Lane offers extraordinary customer service. Within one business day of order, a professional typesetter will lay out your invitation and email you a free proof with unlimited revisions. Only when you are 100% satisfied with your purchase will it be sent for processing.

For my review, I decided on the Little Artist Personalized Plate. This 10-inch melamine plate, by Kelly Hughes Designs, not only makes dinnertime extra special for your little one but is dishwasher safe for snappy clean-up for mom.

The plate arrived quickly and was wrapped in cellophane, complete with a cute blue bow - perfect for gift-giving. Nate could hardly wait for me to open it before he snatched it.

The size is generous and the plate is thick and sturdy. I love that it can be used to serve lunch or as a tray for our finger paint projects (only non-toxic and vegetable-based, of course). My little Picasso loves to color and paint so I knew he'd love the design. He constantly points to the crayons and identifies the colors. He is in the process of learning the alphabet and we've been practicing how to write his name, so this plate reinforces his spelling skills. Cute, functional and educational!

 


If I could change just one thing, I'd want to make the plate microwave-safe. But in the grand scheme of things, it's no big deal. I just use it more for fresh, ready-made foods rather than reheated ones.

Bottom line: Get your party started right with Sweet Paper Lane. Their awesome customer service and quality items will keep you coming back long after the party's over.

BUY IT: Visit http://www.sweetpaperlane.com/ today to find the perfect card or gift.

DELECTABLE DEAL: Take advantage of their great summer sale! Use code SUMMER10 to get 10% off any order of $75+ or use code SUMMER20 to get 20% off any order of $150+!

 
Disclaimer: I received the above plate at no charge from Jayne at Sweet Paper Lane in exchange for my candid review. I was in no other way compensated for this review.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Big News!

I know it's been almost a week since my last blog update. How could I leave you all hanging without a word for so long?! Well, I promise I have a good reason for my absence...
 

That's right...we're expecting baby #2! Our fourth Clomid cycle was a success and the shock is just now starting to wear off. Nate is going to be a big brother!

We were gifted the beautiful P-word test in mid-August but because of my history, I wanted to wait until we saw a heartbeat to share the news. This past Friday, we got our first glimpse of our "Dewdrop" so I feel safe enough to make the official announcement. (If something does go wrong, I'll need the support anyway, right?)
 

 
We are over the moon! My due date is April 27th-ish but since Nate arrived 2 weeks early, I think this may be more a mid-April baby. Tax Day, perhaps? Only baby knows for sure!

Between the morning, evening and sometimes all-day nausea and fatigue, I probably won't be posting as often but I'll definitely still be churning out some awesome reviews and giveaways as I am able. Once we learn the gender of this little babe (power of positive thinking!), I'll probably even host a little reveal party! For now, I just want to relax and enjoy this time with my firstborn.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Winner's Circle!

Hope everyone had a fabulous Labor Day weekend! It sure was nice to lay back and take it easy. Now it's back to the daily grind! And what better time for winner announcements?!

The winner of the Protect-A-Bed mattress protector giveaway is...


 
Sue E said... 64

Daily Tweet
https://twitter.com/suebaby05/status/22007405358

sueellison@hcecwildblue.com


The winner of the Pillow Pet giveaway is...


 
2kidsand8cats said... 125

follow google friend
amyfedorchak1 AT gmail DOT com


The winner of the Cystex Liquid giveaway is...


 
aledol said... 13

http://twitter.com/aledol4t/status/22820472453


The winner of the Pop Pals giveaway is...


 
Sarah said... 36

I subscribe via e-mail.


And last but not least, the winner of the Pedia-Lax Fiber Gummies is...


 
susan said... 19

I learned that the site has a lot of great recipes! suelee1998 @ gmail.com


Congratulations, winners! I will be contacting you at some point today and you will have 48 hours to reply to my email before another winner is chosen.

Thank you to everyone who entered and to the fabulous giveaway sponsors for making all the fun possible!

Don't forget to check out the rest of my current giveaways, including a $25 gift certificate to Diamond Favors - ending tonight! Also, lots and lots of great children's music ending this week so don't miss out!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Book Review: Naturally Better by Kristen Morrison


 
When you find out you're expecting a baby, you're probably anticipating all the exciting milestones like hearing the heartbeat for the first time, feeling the baby kick and watching your belly grow. You dream about what your baby will look like, what his or her name will be and what his or her personality will be like. Kristen Morrison and her husband Joseph were no different. They were ecstatic to learn that they were expecting their third child, a long-awaited baby boy, after having two perfect daughters. But when their dear son Gryffin was born and diagnosed with Trisomy 21, or Down Syndrome, their worlds were turned upside down. Instead of researching the latest, greatest blue baby gear, they were reading medical abstracts and contemplating technical jargon like "neurotransmitters" and "oxidative stress".

A self-proclaimed homebirthing hippie mom, Kristen was dismayed at the lack of positive online resources and the prevailing attitude of local Early Intervention centers, which encouraged her to prescribe Prozac and "just buy a big TV". She traded her successful fashion design career for the role of full-time medical researcher and took matters into her own hands. Her ultimate goal was for Gryffin to be completely normalized in both appearance and behavior. Forgoing the traditional pessimistic outlook, she set out to make the "impossible" possible.

Naturally Better is the culmination of Kristen's research and methodology, interspersed with diary entries, emails and texts. Using a holistic approach, Kristen chronicles Gryffin's treatments and progress from 5 days old to 3 years old. Some of the therapies she describes in detail are:
  • Flaxseed oil massage
  • Diet / Targeted Nutritional Intervention (TNI)
  • Supplementation
  • Naturopathy/NAET Allergy Relief
  • Osteopathy
  • Yoga
  • IAHP (Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential)
I was simply amazed at Gryffin's transformation. Just a few months after starting supplements, Kristen noticed he appeared less drowsy and more alert. His skin turned from jaundice to red and rosy, almost sunburned. Thick, blonde hair also started to grow where it had once been sparse and mousy. NAET treatments helped to quickly heal symptoms such as astigmatism, constipation, skin rashes, weak grasp and tongue protrusion. Osteopathy helped to lift Gryffin's nasal bridge and dramatically reduce his epicanthal folds, thereby resolving his sleep apnea. By the time Gryffin began the IAHP program at one-year-old, he was functioning at 83% brain function, which was fantastic in and of itself. But by two-and-a-half, Gryffin was operating at 114%! This meant he was no longer underperforming in any one area, and was actually performing ahead of his "normal" peers! His pediatrician is astounded that not only does Gryffin show nearly no characteristics of a typical child with Down Syndrome, but he is growing along a "normal" growth curve.

Kristen also shares personal color photos of Gryffin from birth through age three, in which the changes over time are blatantly obvious. To look at him now, you would be hard-pressed to know that he has Down Syndrome. He looks like your average, beautiful tow-headed toddler!

I loved that the book was written in layman's terms and doesn't bore you with mundane medical terms. You may be more conservative or you may not agree with all of her approaches (such as no vaccinations) but as a parent, you have to respect and admire the lengths she'll go to give her son the life she had imagined for him. Kristen always follows her gut and instinct and the drastic results they've witnessed are due in large part to her relentless determination. One particularly emotional part for me was when Gryffin was just a few days old and Kristen had a private conversation with him, assuring him she would do everything in her power to find a solution. She then recited the words to Coldplay's "Fix You" ("Lights will guide you home, I will try to fix you"...). I admit I welled up a little as I imagined this scene being played out like a melodrama.

Seeing as Nate is dealing with a significant speech delay (for which we are currently seeking early intervention), I was comforted that some of Kristen's natural methods are not exclusive to Down Syndrome but can also be used for Autism and Developmental Delays. After reading this book, I feel so empowered to be an advocate for my son and to never settle for anything less than what my hopes and dreams are for him. No matter what the naysayers may throw my way.

Naturally Better is an awe-inspiring, empowering story about defying the odds. Even if you don't have a child with Down Syndrome, it will open your eyes to the benefits of homeopathy and maybe even move you to tears.

BUY IT: You can purchase paperback or e-book versions of Naturally Better online via www.naturallybetterkids.com (ARV $25.39 excl. international postage or $15.45/e-book).

Down Syndrome Awareness Month is coming up in October! Be sure to visit the website to learn more about the book and follow Kristen on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and updates!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author to facilitate my candid review. I was in no other way compensated for this review. The thoughts and opinions expressed in my review and purely my own. Your experience may differ.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Review and Giveaway: Smelly Towel Cleaner


I have a bit of an embarrassing situation in my house. There's no gentle way to say it. My towels and washcloths STINK. No matter how much detergent I use, I can't seem to fully get rid of the musty, mildewy stench. It may lighten up but it never goes away completely. I am hesitant to have overnight guests because I'm afraid they will think we never do the bathroom laundry! I was determined to chuck them all in the garbage and buy a brand new set before I came across Smelly Towel Cleaner.

From the makers of Smelly Washer, Smelly Towel Cleaner is an all-natural detergent derived from citrus ingredients, specifically formulated to remove musty, mildew smells from towels and clothing. Just a capful (approximately one tablespoon) added to a full load makes even the nastiest of the nasty smell like new again! You can also use a half teaspoon as a detergent booster to enhance colors and prolong the life of that garden fresh scent. Smell Towel Cleaner is safe for use in front and top-loading washing machines and is harmless to septic systems.
 

 
I have to admit I was a bit skeptical at first. I had tried so many detergents in the past that tried to cover up the stink but just couldn't do the trick. Just one capful of Smelly Towel Cleaner made me a believer! My towels and cloths smelled as if they had never been used. Fresh. Clean. Fluffy. I took several big whiffs and could not smell a hint of odor. Success!

I love that Smelly Towel Cleaner is safe and effective. It will certainly help eliminate some of our indoor allergens from mold and mildew. Next, I plan to use it on some of our winter clothes and quilts that have been stored in the attic and garage. I'm sure they will smell stale and will be in desperate need of refreshing. I'm definitely going to use it on our towels at least once a month so we can say farewell to the funk once and for all!

BUY IT: Visit www.smellywasher.com to purchase Smelly Washer or Smelly Towel Cleaner (ARV 16.99 / approx. 24 treatments).

WIN IT: One lucky reader is going to win a bottle of Smelly Towel Cleaner for themselves!

MAIN COURSE (MANDATORY ENTRY): Stop by the Smelly Washer site and tell me something you learned on the site. Remember to please leave your email address in your comment if it isn't visible on your profile or if you are not a blogger!

SUGAR ON TOP (BONUS ENTRIES): To maximize your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following. Be sure to complete the above mandatory entry or your bonus entries will not count!

1.) Follow my blog or subscribe via reader or email. Comment telling me which method you chose. If you already follow or subscribe, that counts! (1 entry)

2.) Follow me and Smelly Washer on Twitter and tweet about this contest. You can do this daily! You may use the following tweet or come up with one of your own:

Say farewell to towel funk with @smellywasher! Win a bottle of Smelly Towel Cleaner @kris10chumley! Ends 9/18 http://bit.ly/9ZfcyW

Just leave a comment with your tweet link. (1 entry per day max)

3.) "Like" Goodie Goodie Gumdrops on Facebook. (1 entry)

4.) Become a fan of Smelly Washer on Facebook. (1 entry)

5.) Add my button to your site and leave a comment with the link to where I can find it. (1 entry)

Giveaway will end on September 18, 2010 at 11:59pm EST. Open to U.S. only. Winners will be chosen via Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond to congratulatory email or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be chosen.

Disclaimer: Thank you to Tomoson.com for this review opportunity. I received a bottle of Smelly Towel Cleaner at no charge to facilitate my candid review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post. The opinions expressed in this review are purely my own. Your experience may differ.

This Product Was a Free Giveaway Sponsored by Tomoson.com

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Review: Costume SuperCenter


 
Am I the only one who feels like it was just July and I blinked and now it's September 1st? Before you know it, it will be time for trick or treating. Which means it's time to start thinking about those costumes for Halloween! And what better place to browse than Costume SuperCenter?!

Costume SuperCenter is the best online resource for all of your family's Halloween needs. They boast a selection of over 1,700 new costumes added just for 2010 - all at affordable prices! They carry costumes for infants, children, teens, adults, couples - even pets! From cute and funny to sexy or scary, you'll find just the theme you're looking for.



 
For the past two years, we've had an animal theme going. For Nate's first Halloween, he was a caterpillar. And last year, he was a chicken. Considering I only have another year or so before Nate will be able to veto my costume choices, I decided to keep the animal trend going and order the cuddly Toddler Lil Lion costume. After all, we have plenty of time for Disney characters and superheroes, right?! And who can resist something as adorable as this?
 

 
This costume, from In Character's Precocious Characters Collection, is of elite, theatrical quality that will retain its shape and texture, ensuring it can be passed down or worn again and again. It features a fully lined, tan fleece zippered jumpsuit with plush trim on the cuffs and attached tail. The hood has a plush mane that frames your child's face but still makes it easy for him or her to see. It also comes with matching plush shoe covers.

I am most impressed with the Toddler Lil Lion costume. It is definitely not thin, cheap and itchy like most of the Halloween costumes around. It is so soft and furry. The inner lining will keep Nate cozy while traveling in the brisk fall weather. The mane is thick and luxurious. And the shoe covers complete the outfit and give it that little something special. The entire costume is well-made and looks so much cuter than any other lion costume I've found.

The Toddler Lil Lion costume is available in two sizes: Small (3T) and Medium (4T). Since costumes tend to run small, I sized up and ordered the Small for Nate (who typically wears a 2T). It fit like a glove. Not tight but not baggy. I would definitely recommend ordering a size up from what your toddler usually wears.

Nate was a good sport and let me put the costume on him for some photos. But admittedly, he's not a fan of hats and hoods so after a few minutes, he had had enough and was tugging to get it off. The great thing was that it really stayed in place, despite his pushing and pulling. I know I don't have to worry about him yanking it off, dropping it on the ground and/or losing it while we're out and about on the big day. I have to say this is seriously one of the best toddler Halloween costumes I've come across!
 

It is a little pricier than what I typically spend on a costume, but considering it can be passed down to younger siblings, it may actually save you money in the long run. Seeing as to the high quality of this costume, I see no problem with it lasting more than one season. I will be keeping it to use for future children or passing it onto family and friends for their infants or toddlers to wear next year.

For the upcoming Halloween season, I highly highly recommend shopping at Costume SuperCenter. The shipping was timely, the service was great and the item I received was even better than I expected. I am a truly satisfied customer. The Toddler Lil Lion costume gets two paws up from us!

BUY IT: You can purchase the Toddler Lil Lion costume (ARV $54.99) or other Halloween costumes online at www.costumesupercenter.com.

DELICIOUS DEAL: Through Sunday only, you have 3 ways to save at Costume SuperCenter! Use code "Ghost5" to receive $5 off a $50 purchase, use code "Ghost15" to receive $15 off a $100 purchase, or use code "Ghost30" to receive $30 off a $150 purchase. Now's the time to buy for the whole family!

Disclaimer: I received the above costume free of charge from Charles at Costume SuperCenter to facilitate my candid review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post. The thoughts and opinions expressed in my review are solely mine. Your experience may differ.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Review and Giveaway: ImagiPLAY


Thank you to ImagiPLAY for participating in the Bloggy Birthday Blowout Event on Goodie Goodie Gumdrops!

Tonight officially marks the conclusion of the Bloggy Birthday Blowout Event. I know, so sad. But I'm ending it with a bang! After all, no birthday celebration is complete without a super fun toy or two.

If you prefer toys that will inspire and encourage healthy development for children of all ages, you'll love ImagiPLAY.

ImagiPLAY is a mom-founded business that has been creating high-quality, educational, imaginative toys for over a decade. ImagiPLAY lives by the motto" "Toys with Integrity". Their goal is to produce quality products that connect with nature, have eco-friendly sources and hold educational value. ImagiPLAY toys not only encourage an ongoing dialogue with the environment, but enrich children's ability to count, learn the alphabet, and identify different animals while gaining a sense of the world's beauty and diversity of species. ImagiPLAY products have won numerous accolades and awards from such reputable media as Parenting Magazine, Creative Child Magazine, Dr. Toy and Parents' Choice Foundation. When you purchase an ImagiPLAY toy, you can be proud of your investment.
 





 
The folks at ImagiPLAY sent us the Safari Stacking Blocks (ARV $24.99) to review. A twist on the classic unit block set, each block is designed to resemble a colorful safari animal. The 10-piece set can be used for stacking or as a playset for imaginative play and storytelling. It also comes with a wooden tray for easy storage.
 

 
I must admit when the blocks first arrived, I was a bit disappointed by how small the blocks were. I was expecting larger blocks, similar to our chunky Mega Bloks. But as I watched Nate play, I realized the size was perfect for polishing his fine motor skills. Because some of the edges are oddly shaped (U-shaped giraffe, ridges on the alligator, curved frogs), they require a bit more carefulness and attention to detail than traditional building blocks. Nate would initially get frustrated when they would fall to pieces but now he enjoys stacking them, knocking them over and trying again.
 

I love that they are safe and made of rubberwood so I don't have to worry about splinters. They are colorful and fun and can really serve a multitude of play purposes. I've even caught Nate putting them in the back of his dump truck for a ride and taking them for a walk in his sandbox. I really appreciate that when we are finished playing, we can organize and store them in the wooden tray. They are a little weighty so word of warning: you may want to wear a helmet if you have a minor-league pitcher on your hands!

Overall, we love our Safari Stacking Blocks and I think they would make a great toy for any toddler aged two and up.

BUY IT: Visit www.imagiplay.com to purchase the Safari Stacking Blocks or other ImagiPLAY toys and games online.

WIN IT: I have another set of Safari Stacking Blocks to give away to one lucky reader!

MAIN COURSE (MANDATORY ENTRY): Look around ImagiPLAY and tell me another toy that catches your eye. Remember to please leave your email address in your comment if it isn't visible on your profile or if you are not a blogger!

SUGAR ON TOP (BONUS ENTRIES): To maximize your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following. Be sure to complete the above mandatory entry or your bonus entries will not count!

1.) Follow my blog or subscribe via reader or email. Comment telling me which method you chose. If you already follow or subscribe, that counts! (1 entry)

2.) Follow me and ImagiPLAY on Twitter and tweet about this contest. You can do this daily! You may use the following tweet or come up with one of your own:

Win a set of @ImagiPLAY Safari Stacking Blocks from @kris10chumley! Ends 9/22 http://bit.ly/abrQnM

Just leave a comment with your tweet link. (1 entry per day max)

3.) "Like" Goodie Goodie Gumdrops on Facebook. (1 entry)

4.) Become a fan of ImagiPLAY on Facebook. (1 entry)

5.) Add my button to your site and leave a comment with the link to where I can find it. (1 entry)

Giveaway will end on September 22, 2010 at 11:59pm EST. Open to U.S. only. Winners will be chosen via Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond to congratulatory email or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be chosen.

Disclaimer: I received a set of Safari Stacking Blocks from Tammi at ImagiPLAY to facilitate my candid review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post. The opinions expressed in this review are purely my own. Your experience may differ.
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