Casey and Bella take on... NYC!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Have any of you had the pleasure of reading Jane Lovascio's Casey and Bella Books? If not, you and the kids are missing out. What a treat we were in for with this book, and Sophia has had me read it to her three times all ready. It does help that one of the dogs, the little Jack Russell Casey, looks exactly like my own Dixie. Casey and Bella are real dogs, and they live with the author, Jane, a Boston University grad and loving dog owner.

Join Casey and Bella as they journey into NYC on the Ferry and meet interesting animals and make new friends along the way. The Illustrations and story are just adorable, and we will be looking to add more booksfrom the Casey and Bella series to our library very soon.

The best part is right now, Cuddlybooks is holding a contest for kids to help develop the next book in the Casey and Bella series! The Grand Prize Winner receives a $500.00 cash prize, plaque, certificate, and his/her story idea will be developed and written by the author, then professionally illustrated and published by Big Tent Books the following year as the next book in the Casey and Bella book series. How cool is that?

For more information on the writing contest, specifically held for third and fourth graders, check out the official rules here. Writing is so liberating for children, and boosts their self esteem and confidence, improves their imagination, and makes parents proud whether they win or not. Get your kids writing when ever they can, and enter this contest before April, 2009. I know entering writing contests was a huge part of my childhood, and did wonders for my self esteem, plus, I still have the savings bonds I won in the 6th grade!

I can't wait to get the next installment in the Casey and Bella series, "Casey and Bella go to Hollywood". 'Can't get enough of the cuteness? They have cute and cuddly Casey and Bella plush animals. I think those will be in the Christmas stockings this year!

Good Criminey, Even Martha Blogs!

Monday, September 22, 2008

I love my homegirl Martha. I make her recipies every holiday, i attack her site with vervent enthusiasm weekly for inspiration. Now, she has a awesome blog I can't stop reading. Stop by and check it out and enter her blog contest to get reviewed on her site! How cool would that be?

Tiffany Ard - Amazing Art for Serious Science Nerds

Friday, September 19, 2008

This post took me a long time to write. I'm literally nervous writing it. Can you sense the nerves from there? That is because I want to celebrate this artist's work in any way I can, and the only celebratory tool I have right now is this blog and these words. Come celebrate the genius of Tiffany Ard with me, won' t you?

Every once in a while, you get that racing feeling in your guts over artwork. This is that kinda artwork for me. You see, ever since I was a child I have loved science, usually, all things biology and astronomy. I hid my love for science because it got me picked on in school, so, I pretended that I was too cool and too sexy to love Earth Science and all things planets. Then years and years later I net my husband, a fellow nerdling, and we fell in love with each other based mostly on our brains... the rest was secondary. Science was once again, sexy. We shared a love for astronomy, computers, and even archaeology, which was my focus in college. We had a couple kids. 'Named one Sagan to honor one amazing astronomer we both loved. We want to share the world and the universe with our son, but we realize now that with the name, comes some serious expectations. And THAT'S the kind of feelings Tiffany Ard's work invokes in me..... feelings of belonging, of sharing with my children. She gets what is cool, and funny and beautiful about the scientific world. Tiffany's art simply said, makes it graceful and glorious... to be a nerd.

I am the proud owner of what is now one of my most prized posessions ever obtained from the bloggy world... a set of my very own ABC Nerd Flash Cards. I am so jazzed. I can't wait to frame them all and make a mural of them on Sagan's wall. Sophia is 5 and she loves science too, so I will frame some of Tiffany's beautiful art work for her room s well. Just look at these:

So you guys are in luck. Tiffany has been generous enough to submit one of her 8X10 prints above for a giveaway. You can own one of these gorgeous prints hand signed by Tiffany. Just go to and do ONE of the following: Tell me your favorite letter of the Nerd Flash Card Set and why. (Mine is H for Hydrogen Bonding but you can not pick that one!) OR go to the "Well Technically..." section and tell me the three animals she has featured on that page. All valid entries will be entered to win the print; drawing held on October 7th. Please make sure there is a valid email where I can find you! Good luck!

New Toys from Thinkativity bring Diversity to Playtime!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sagan got to try out two of the new toys from Thinkativity, the Soar and Explore Story Teller and the Musical Mixer. First off, Sophia claimed the Musical Mixer, because it's really not made for an 18 month old. It's a very interesting toy with lots of options, but it's way to wordy and complicated for a little one. What you have to do is, press a food, then find the magnetic ingredients to put into the mixer. So, for Pizza, you would try to find the crust magnet, cheese magnet, and mushroom magnet. You fish through the colorful half circles and press them into the half moon slots. When you make the food correctly it plays a song. I did like how if you put broccoli OR mushrooms, it still says "Great job! You have made: Pizza!" There is a salad, chocolate chip cookies, Pizza etc. Sophia loves putting the magnets in and figuring out the ingredients. Its a really colorful toy and kids will love it, but I really hope thinkativity rethinks the age to about 2 or 3 years.

The other toy we were lucky enough to play with is the Soar and Explore Story Teller. It is cute. See below.

Ok this is a very unique toy. You spin those panels and then press the button in the left hand corner and it tells a story using different languages. But the lettering is almost too small to read, it's confusing for little ones, and to hear it well, you have to point the nose toward you. I was impressed with the illustrations though.

Overall, Thinkativity toys, which challenges children to create their own learning experience, is on the right track. They have a very impressive line of colorful, unique and challenging toys that actually teach kids. However, I do think these two particuloar toys are little to no interest to an 18 month old, nor a 2 year old. My older daughter plays with them more. Look for lots of cool Thinkativity toys in your local toy store and on-line stores, soon!

I'd like to introduce you to: Flight of the Conchords

Saturday, September 13, 2008

When Im bored, which is rare, or, when I'm down, I love to search YouTube for funny things to share with my sister and friends, you know, corny stuff. I know we all do it. Anyway, my husband introduced me to this hilarious twosome, because apparently, I have been living under a rock for the last year, and never heard of them. Check out all the Flight of the Conchord stuff on YouTube. I hear they have a TV show? I have to look into that. I could watch these guys for hours - and I think that gives quite a glimpse into my warped sense of humor.

and this one, one of my favs - no comment on why:

Acting Out is Fun, Pretty - and Musical.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sophia was incredibly lucky enough to receive a Blue Waltz Dress featuring the music of the Blue Danube from this hip new company called Acting Out Dress Up. Ok, I have to say, at first I was wary. I thought this dress up may be annoying, itchy, poorly made. Man, was I wrong. This is the coolest dress up product out there. I was completely impressed with the quality of the items. They are not cheaply made. They aren't itchy. They are satiny smooth and well stitched. The colors are bright and modern, and there is attention to detail. So right there, it's worth it. But as a bonus, this dress up line plays music - and it's not that tinny sounding music box music either, it sounds like a CD playing inside the dress. Granted a small CD, but the song is good quality, which was also really impressive.

Upon further research, I found that the story of its inventors was pretty interesting too. Anna and Andrea began Acting Out five years ago as an "ah ha" idea while watching their "princess" girls dancing around in their dress-up. Why not add music to the skirts? Anna ever the dreamer and idea person forged ahead with turning the dream into reality. At the time, Andrea was winding down her career as the Director of New Business for a musical instrument company. While commuting to work, Anna would call to discuss her idea of the day. Valuing Andrea's opinion, Anna knew that Andrea would be truthful about each invention and when Andrea loved the musical dress-up idea it was "game on". Anna was extremely persistent in asking Andrea to be her partner. She knew without Andrea this idea could only go so far. Well one month later, Andrea gave into Anna's persuasion and came on as a full partner and has never looked back.

Turning the idea into reality involved sourcing manufacturers in China. Andrea will never forget the day; Anna wrote that $15,000 check against her personal line of credit for the first order. They had never met their skirt manufacturer. He was sourced over the Internet and all communication was via email and one phone conversation. This was a huge amount of money for her and her family -but it sealed the deal of their commitment of turning this from an "expensive hobby into a profitable business".

When Acting Out began Anna was working part-time as a hairdresser. It was tricky business, maintaining a career, being a mom and starting a business. They made many mistakes along the way. One of the reasons the partnership works is they both buoy each other up when one person is down. They never dwell on the mistakes and do their best to learn from them (and hopefully not repeat them) and most of all, they have fun!

Andrea and Anna are both NJ natives (I'm a Jersey girl myself now!) and residents. Andrea has two daughters Haley (10) and Anja (7). Anna has three children Max (9), Carolyn (7) and Ava (5).

In the beginning, they sold our products through craft shows and out of the back of their cars. By December of that year (after only two months of business) they had 100 accounts. They are in almost 1,000 stores, six countries and major retailers such as Target online,, QVC, Toys r Us online, Hearthsong, Highlights, Young Explorers, Toys to Grow on and Sensational Beginnings.

The ladies have won and come close to winning many awards such as Family Fun Magazine Toy of the Year Finalist 2005, Finalist in Family Fun Toy of the Year, and Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum winner. They have appeared on HSN, QVC, and were featured on The View – Mom Inventors.

I know there are alot of you out there who have great ideas like this, savy minds for business, and a knack for getting things done. It can happen for you too, moms. These ladies put their minds to it and their hearts into it, and created and marketed a sensational product that I would be proud to give as a gift to even the pickiest little princesses. Is it time for you to get your ideas out there and make them work for you? Think about it.

Heres a silly video of the kids dancing to Blue Danube. That is actually the dress playing right on Sophia's body!

We Interupt this blog to bring you: Asthma

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yesterday I got quite a shock at the doctors office. Apparently I have Asthma. I have never had a lung problem in my life, but, I have have terrible nasal allergies for about 20 years. I'm allergic to mold, mildew, cats. Dust. You know, invisible stuff in the air and all that. The doctor said that as we get older, our lungs have a harder and harder time healing after all those allergy attacks, and this can happen. Recently, I have noticed that along with my runny nose when cleaning, dusting, taking care of my neighbors cats ( eh hem!) I was also getting a cough. Then about a month ago, I got a terrible head cold that went to my chest and never got better. Then a couple weeks ago, I started wheezing. Then the last few days, I couldn't really, ya know, breathe. So once breathing got hard and the cough was knocking me off my feet, I finally broke down and drove down to my primary care office. A few tests later, turns out, I was having a pretty bad Asthma attack. Well, as we all know, Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways, which are the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. In order for my lungs to work properly, I need drugs to open those passages back up. This is a quandry because I am technically sensitive to the very drugs that are needed to get me back up and breathing. Bronchio dilators,a nd things like Sudeo-nephrines actually raise my heart rate and Blood Pressure. I'm one of those people who can't take most over the counter allergy meds. So now I am basically pumping my body full of steroids and all sorts of fun things That get my heart jiggy wit it. But the benefits outweigh the side effects... being able to breathe.

Listen, if you are coughing for a long period of time, and you can't shake it, go to the darn doctor. don't wait as long as I did to figure out what's up with your lungs. You can do permanent damage to your lungs if you don't take care of the wheezing, and its not good for your oxygenation levels... and low oxygen levels are bad for your organs. If you are hacking and coughing, and your family and friends just poo poo it as a lingering cough and tell you if will eventually go away? Don't listen. Get yourself to the doctor. I am glad I did.

Stride Rite Children's Shoes - What You Want; What They Need.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sagan is a whirlwind. He never stops moving. Jumping. Running. Puddles call his name. He splashes and screams, climbs the playground, kicks the ball, runs laps, throws mud... yes, he is all boy. Feet like his needed something fantastic to keep them safe and dry, but also be fun, comfortable, and light.

the TT Jet Stream Hook and Loop boy's sneaker is the perfect shoe for Sagan. This athletic shoe is packed with features for active boys. Breathable mesh delivers built-in air conditioning while a natural cushioning system provides some serious shock absorption. Best of all, can you believe this slammin' sneaker is Scotch Guarded? Puddles don't stand a chance. Plus, with extra medial and lateral support, Sagan will be better supported on his feet, which means better flexability and less trips and falls for my rapid grower who is currently clumsy on his feet. And with Stride Rites Toddler Tech natural cushioning system, I am guessing they will be comfortable.

I got a pair of Stride Rite Shoes for Sophia to start her school year off with too, and was very impressed with the style and quality of their shoes. There is a reason they have been around for 85 years. They make premium shoes like no other. They use only the toughest materials that are rigorously tested, for wearability. And if you want to purchase on-line, they have a cool "e-fit sizing help" webpage to make sure you get only the best fit for your kids feet. And if you want style, they have the cutest stuff this year!

Right now, Stride Rite has a sweepstakes going on called "Official Rewards of Childhood" . You can win one of of four weekly prizes, or the grand prize - a $2000.00 gift certificate to the Land of Nod. I can't even imagine winning that. I assure you I'd probably blow it on their amazing furniture for kids. Or bedding. Not sure. It's a toss up.
Entry into the Stride Rite sweepstakes is easy, make sure you sign up for it here. Then, go check out their shoes, here. I assure you, Stride Rite shoes are slightly more expensive for a reason. It's obvious in their quality - give them a try, you and your kid's won't be sorry.

Great Wolf Lodge

Saturday, September 6, 2008

How about a video from our trip to Great Wolf Lodge? Im warning you, cuteness ensues.

If you are looking for a great family vacation thats also fun for the wee ones, this is it. It is very kid oriented. There's something for everyone. We wanted to go somewhere close to save in gas, and if you are in the NYC area, it's perfect. Check it out today!

First day of SCHOOL!!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Today was Sophia's first day of Kindergarden. She took it like a pro, completely chill, like she does most things in life. I see her get so stressed out over a little paint on her shirt, but getting on a big yellow bus with a bunch of strangers seemed to be a highlight of her year.

I am having a tough week, lots of ups and downs. Sorry for the lack of products this week, Sophia started school, Sagan saw a neurologist for the first time, and he needs more speech therapy ( like, loads more) but other than that seems to be doing pretty well over all with his "mad skilz". Sophia loves school and made a new friend. Oh, and the Lands End back pack is awesome! I couldn't have gotten her a better suited pack for those hauls too and from school.

Speaking of Lands End, the back pack contest is officially closed! I will announce the winner tomorrow. Good luck everyone!

We Interupt this Blog to Bring You: Tina Fey for VP!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Oh.. wait. What do you mean Tina Fey is not running for VP on the McCain ticket? What, you mean thats actually Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska? Wait I'm confused....

No, Actually, I am not confused about that, I am pretty sure I can tell the difference between Sarah Palin, and Tina Fey. I am a huge fan of Tina Fey, while, like most of America, I hadn't heard of Sarah Palin until 72 hours ago. In that time, I have read that she is not actually the mother of her 5 month old baby, Trig, that rumors are circulating that it's actually her daughter, Bristols baby. Ok, I think thats disgusting to spread a rumor like that, especially since the baby has a disability.... then I hear today that Bristol is infact.. wait... pregnant? What IS THIS, Zoey 101 or the race for leadership of the free world? After today, I am having a hard time telling the difference. Can someone explain to me what the heck people are doing up there in Alaska for fun, and how this kind of family dynamic emulates the conservative right? Was McCain infact napping when Sarah Palin was tagged for VP? My biggest question of course is what matters most to me... When is the season premire of Saturday Night Live and will Tina Fey be the guest star?

My money's on Tina.