Dec 142011
2011 Holiday Gift Guide – Stocking Stuffer Suggestions
(Be sure to check out all the other great Gift Guide items and giveaways here.)
Do you remember “cootie catchers” from when you were a kid?  They were those folded paper “fortune tellers” that told you if Billy liked you, or if Sally was going to own a mansion when she grew up.  They were the perfect decision-maker because they were readily available and easy to customize to the situation.

Cootie catchers have been reinvented; the new Cahooties have been developed to enhance the iconic game to deliver fun, learning and connection among tweens and their friends & families.
Cahooties come in nearly two dozen themes, including Birthday Diva, Slumber Party, My Fab Family and Dogs Rule (in partnership with Animal Planet).  Each Cahootie comes with one durable, pre-folded laminated paper game printed with colorful graphics that match the theme, plus 40 removable stickers to help keep the game fresh.  Just open the flaps on the Cahootie and place the stickers under each one – eight total.  You then play the game, choosing flaps as you go, until the final flap is lifted to reveal a coordinating sticker and either trivia, a fortune, or a challenge.
We had fun playing with our Cahootie – it definitely brought back memories!  This would make a cute stocking stuffer for a tween on your list.
Where to Buy:
Cahooties can be purchased from retailers like Amazon or Toys R Us.
Want to Win?
One winner will receive a Cahootie of their own!  To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received product in order to facilitate my review.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% mine and my family’s.

Nov 032011

Piggy Wiggies are collectible plush toys that are made from socks.  The company was launched earlier this year at the New York Toy Fair and has already had the distinction of having their product named Plush Toy of the Year by Creative Child.

Piggy Wiggies are named after members of the creator’s family.  Bingy and Lilly are sister Piggy Wiggies (named after the creator, Emma Louise, and her own sister).  Other family members are also represented such as Doodles (the Dad).  There are even limited edition holiday ones: Loved Santa and Santa Snorz (great stocking stuffers!).

These toys are recommended for ages 3 and up, and because of the buttons used for nostrils, I definitely agree with that recommendation.  However, Baby C. saw them and instantly fell in love.  At first she was only allowed to play with them while sitting on either my or hubby’s lap so we could monitor her play and ensure she wasn’t putting the buttons in her mouth.  She loved them so much, though, that she never wanted to set them down.  So we ended up cutting off the buttons.  Poor Piggy Wiggies!  It was the only way we were comfortable with letting her play with them, though, and it’s good that we did.  She’s grown so attached that she literally cries if I take one out of her hand long enough to just put her arm through her stroller strap.

Joining the Piggy Wiggies family are Howly Owlies.  The first one, Sad Sam, is available now; the rest should be available starting in December.

Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter to keep up with updates and other news.

Where to Buy
Piggy Wiggies start at $13 ($6.99 for key chains) and are carried at FAO Schwarz, various boutiques and zoos around the country, and online.
You can also win your choice of one large Piggy Wiggy and one key chain!  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  Reminder: Rafflecopter takes a moment to load; if you don’t see the form after a minute, please try refreshing your browser.

Enter Here:

May 012011
If you’ve read my “About Me” section – and based on much of the content you read here – you probably know that I’m big on shopping and even bigger on finding a great deal.  So I’ve always looked for deals on anything, including toys, even before Baby C was born.  It was always nice to have a few gifts on hand for baby showers, last minute gifts, Toys for Tots or Good Samaritan shoe boxes, things like that.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m big on organization and clutter-reduction, so I didn’t have stacks of things packed into closets, but I did have a few things here and there.

That shopping helped keep me at least a little bit current on “hot” toys and brands.  I had kind of slacked off on it, though, in the past few years.  So when we found out that we were pregnant with Baby C I felt like I had some catching up to do.  Fortunately there are a number of blogs out there that were reviewing them.  One name that kept coming up which I was unfamiliar with was Melissa & Doug.  I read a number of reviews and everyone seemed to have positive things to say about them.

Occasionally after that I would try and share sales on those items when I would run across them.  At that point Baby C hadn’t arrived yet and we were trying to not go overboard on the pre-shopping since we’re still looking for a larger place, so I was passing on most of the sales myself.  But when had some of their items in their Gold Box a few weeks ago, I was tempted.  And when I saw the adorable Melissa & Doug Plush Bosley Bear, I decided to pick it up.

Melissa & Doug Bosley Bear
It seriously is one of the softest plush animals I’ve ever seen.  I can’t imagine any kid not wanting to snuggle it; I want to snuggle it.

Shortly after it was delivered I needed to change Baby C so I set Mr. Bear down next to her and to my surprise, she actually rolled over on her side (I change her on the floor, she was very safe) to try and get to him – and then rested her hand on him.  Now, this child is not deprived in the “stuffie collection” area.  She received a small collection from various wonderful people during my two baby showers, but up until that moment, she hadn’t shown much interest in any of them other than maybe one of her little grins when we would snuggle them up against her cheek.  So now every time I change her I set it down next to us and she turns and stares him down something fierce while swinging her hand out to try and knock him towards her.

I honestly think that part of the reason she was so instantly interested in him was because he is laying on his belly with his head on his paws.  This lets her look him right in the eyes as she lays there so they can “connect”.  It also makes him a little flatter so it’s easier for her to rest her hand on him and will make him easier to hug as she gets a little older.  And it’s very well made so I envision that it will stand up to hundreds of future hugs.

Now that I’ve had such a positive experience with the company’s products I am looking forward to making future ones with them, like possibly these Linking Crabs that can hook to the stroller or this Picnic Basket Fill & Spill toy which I think would be really fun.

If you are looking for a lovey for your little one – or maybe even a baby shower gift – then I very much recommend the Bosley Bear.

This post is not connected in any way to the retailer.  I received no compensation or product; I simply wanted to share something I think is great with all of you.