Friday, December 30, 2011

LA Made

Heading to a New Year's Eve Party and looking for something chic, comfortable and made in the USA?  We found a clothing line for you: LAmade. We agree with the company's website that the line is unique, understated, follows the fashion of today and translates to the fashion of tomorrow.   To read more about their fabulous clothes click here.

Just take a look at some of these perfect New Year's pieces:

We think LAMade's clothes all look so effortlessly chic and super comfy.  Pair them with a striking pair of boots or dramatic heels, some fabulous jewelry and Voila, you are set to go!

LAmade has clothing for women, children and even a fabulous maternity line.  To shop their line, click here.   To find a store near you that carries LAmade clothing, click here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's officially last minute...

We saw something posted that read: "Yes, it is officially last minute.
  Do you have something for everyone on your gift list?  We will admit we are not totally done with our gift picking yet either.  Yes, we are officially part of the last minute holiday rush!
 If you're like us and still looking for one or two perfect gifts, we have a great idea: buy a certificate/gift card for a local business and support the local workers and jobs in your community.

Some great ideas that readers have shared with us:
*A certificate for a haircut, color or style at a local salon
*A certificate for a locally owned restaurant or coffee shop
*A gift card for the local gas station/car mechanic
*A certificate for a local handyman
*A certificate for tickets to the community theater program in your town
*A certificate for local lessons...piano, voice, guitar, a foreign language, knitting

You get the idea.  Be creative and get a unique gift for one of your loved ones and at the same time support local workers.  These gifts are different from the manufactured products in America we usually feature, but all the same, by supporting our local workers we/you are helping to keep and create jobs in our American communities.
Good luck with that last minute gift list.  Happy Holidays to everyone and feel free to share your ideas for locally-based gifts on our blog and facebook page!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A touch of spring in the winter

It is dark and cold today and we could use a touch of spring (although it is a long  way off).  I am sure many of you feel the same way.  Something fresh, bright and alive.  We found the perfect cure for the winter doldrums: Potting Shed Creations.

They sell plants that you can grow right inside your kitchen- such as Paper Whites, Organic Basil, Mini Christmas Trees, and Mini Tomatoes.  Each package is complete with the container to grow within, dirt, seeds, etc.  All you need to add is some water and love!  

All of their products have been made in Idaho for 14 years!   They started as a garage sale business and have grown into a much bigger company.  Throughout their growth they have made a commitment to keeping high quality, affordable and stylish products. These plants are the perfect gift for your mother, sister, best friend and child.  What a perfect activity for children during the winter!  Keep these in mind as a perfect holiday gift this season!  Check out our favorites...

To shop Potting Shed Creations products online, click here.  To locate a local retailer who carries their products, click here.

Enjoy a little springtime during the winter!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Congrats to our first giveaway winner!

Congrats to Mary Dalzell, our winner of the fabulous Inspired Home Candle.  Thank you all for entering our giveaway and stay tuned for another giveaway soon!  Mary, we hope you enjoy the incredible holiday candle!

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Hopscotch Kids

As mothers of girls, there is a lot of nail polish in our homes.  Our daughters love to paint their nails and toes, the brighter the color the better.  What concerns us about many children's polish on the market is they are not made in the USA and thus we question how safe is the polish?  If they are putting their hands in their mouth or biting their nails, what exactly are they ingesting?  

Then we found Hopscotch Kids nail polish.  Their kid friendly, water-based formula is vegan, cruelty-free, gluten free, fragrance free, toxin free, paraben free, biodegradable and hypoallergenic! And it comes in the most adorable it!

Hopscotch was created by a mom in Phoenix named Ginny Cardenas, who set out to make a safe cosmetic line for children.  We salute entrepreneurial moms!

This would be a fantastic stocking stuffer, birthday gift or incentive item for your favorite little princess.  To shop Hopscotch online, click here. To find a local retailer, click here.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Extreme Bubbles

We are so excited about this American made find: Extreme Bubbles.  The company motto is "Get outside and play" and their bubbles will provide hours of outdoor fun. 

Our kids are all bubble fanatics and get extraordinarily frustrated if they blow on the wand and not one bubble is formed or they pop right away.  Extreme Bubbles' Captain Bubbles is the best bubble mixture around...they last forever! Check out this video.

Captain Bubbles come in packs of 6.

Extreme Bubbles also has a ton of huge bubble wands to make x-large bubbles. Check out their Extreme Bubbles Family Pack: World Record Bubble Kit.

This kit comes with their Pro Wand (largest wand), a Starter Wand and 4 bottles of Beeboo Big Bubble Mixture.  The Beeboo Big Bubble Mixture is a concentrate- one small bottle creates a gallon of bubble solution.  They used this secret formula to set the first World Record for "Largest Free Floating Soap Bubble."  Awesome!!!  And they share their top 11 secrets for creating record breaking big bubbles with us all on their blog.  All of their bubble mixtures are made in Minnesota as well as their wands. (except for the red and blue wand that comes in the Dip Stix Giant Bubbles Package)

These products are the perfect gift for both the children in your life as well as adults who enjoy having fun!  Click here to shop their products online.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cookie Making with Nordic Ware

One of our favorite holiday traditions is cookie baking. Growing up we loved to help my mom bake bars and cookies in preparation for Christmas Eve.  We would spend hours decorating cut-out cookies with the right amount of frosting and perfectly placing the sprinkles.  Now we have started this tradition with our children (see picture below) and they love to eat the cookies as much as they enjoy the decorating.  And I am pretty sure Santa loves the cookies as well!

One of the essential tools for cookie and bar making is the right pan.  You need a good cookie sheet that evenly spreads out the heat so that all of your cookies, regardless where they are on the sheet, bake to a perfect golden color.  Nordic Ware, a family-owned manufacturer of kitchenware products, has everything you need for baking, cooking, microwaving and barbecuing.  Their plant is located in Minneapolis, MN and they have made a commitment to keeping jobs in the USA.

They have fabulous aluminum cookie sheets like the ones below in every size.  Aluminum is essential to even baking!
Nordic Ware also has all of your holiday baking essentials.  Here are a few more:

To find Nordic Ware products in retail locations near you, click here.  To shop their extensive line of products online, click here.

Happy Cookie Baking!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Imagination Inspiration: Green Town Toys

There is nothing more special than a child's wild imagination.  They can transform into pirates or princesses and create intricate other worlds within minutes.  Mine can stay in full character and costume for the entire day not caring a bit what anyone else thinks.

We have found the neatest ship and castle to not only spark a child's imagination but foster artistic creativity.  Check out these products made by Green Town Toys, a company headquartered in Indiana that designs and manufactures all their products in the Midwest.

Each of their products are made from 100% recyclable SFI certified corrugated fiberboard that is super strong and can be cleaned with a wet wipe.  In addition, children are encouraged to color or paint on the structures to personalize them.  Another plus is each structure is easily assembled and disassembled for convenient storage.

Not only do we love these for our own kids, but think these structures would be perfect in elementary classrooms.  Green Town Toys must think so too because they are receptive to giving discounts to teachers. We love companies who help our teachers out!!! If you are a teacher and want to read more about that, click here.

To shop all Green Town Toys, click here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tom Bihn Bags

Candle givaway has been extended for one more week!  Ends next Monday, December 12th at 11:59 p.m. Click here for more info.

Our husbands are pretty picky about the bags they use, ie. laptop bags, brief cases, etc.  The bag must look manly, but with the travel they both do for work, they must be functional.  We think that we have found the perfect brand of bags for men.  Tom Bihn makes fantastic bags of all types: messenger bags, travel bags, laptop cases, brief cases, etc. Here are a few examples:

Ristretto 13" for Macbook/Air

Empire Builder

Brain Backpack

These bags are all manufactured at their plant in Seattle, WA.  They say they are dedicated to quality products and quality jobs...we love that.  One of their customers stated on their website: "Their products are tough as nails, with not so much as a thread pulling out despite daily use."  AND, they offer a lifetime guarantee.  If anything is wrong with the quality of the product they will fix it for free.  Now that is quality control.

Don't tell our husbands, but these just might be under our tree this year!

To shop Tom Bihn bags online, click here.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Stay-On Mittens: Review

Winter is back once AGAIN and it's time to get everyone's cold winter gear organized.  One piece of outdoor clothing that always seems to cause a little more angst for us than others are the mittens/gloves.  I can't tell you how many times I have come home from the store with what I think will be the perfect pair for my kids but once we get them on they don't fit right, they aren't warm enough, I can't keep them on my little one's hands or they end up being made out of cheap material that quickly tears... 

When I found out about a company called Cozy Tots that makes what they call the "Stay-On Mittens,"  I was very excited to give them a try!  Cozy Tots generously sent us a pair of  their Toddler Mittens to try with my one year old.

First of all, before we even put the mittens on, we fell in love with this company.  Cozy Tots was started by a Mom in Massachusetts who saw a need for warm mittens that would stay on her children's hands (read her story here).  Not only are the products made from fleece Made in Massachusetts, but (this is the best part) Cozy Tots has paired with MoJo Manufacturing in Massachusetts, a company that trains and employs single Moms in the USA to manufacture products giving these women benefits and child care!  Their slogan is "Helping The American Family Get Their MoJo back."  We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this idea!!!

So, I was already rooting for these mittens and as soon as I actually tried the mittens on my 1 year old, I fell in love with them again!

First great thing about these mittens: they are made from super-soft, stretchy microfleece.  It's not the thin, cheap kind you can sometimes find on kid's clothing, but rather the thick, plush, high-quality kind.

Next great thing: the stay-on mittens cleverly have elastic at the wrist and then more elastic at the end of a longer sleeve.  Believe me they live up to their name...they stay on!

The design was perfect...easy to put on a child's hand because they are pliable and soft but once on they stay put.  The other thing I really appreciated was that the thumb portion of the mitten was appropriately sized for the child.  The pre-school size has a little bigger thumb area and a velcro finger pocket so fingers can come out to eat snacks, etc.  The toddler size has a small thumb pocket perfectly sized for a one year old's tiny hands (see above picture).  And from looking at the website, the infant size are very smartly thumbless.  Seriously, who wants to be trying to get an infants thumb into a mitten.  Bottom line is Cozy Tots has thought of everything in terms of making these mittens functional and easy to use, but oh so cute!

Last but not least because this could be the best part of the whole design, the mittens are ingeniously made with an extra layer of fleece sewn into the fingertips to keep little fingers extra warm.  The entire part of the mitten above the decorative stitching you see in my pictures is double layered.  What a fabulous idea!  On our walk, not only did the stay-on mittens keep my little one's fingers toasty warm but my heavily teething baby also enjoyed biting on the extra layer of fleece too.

The mittens come in cute colors with various contrasting colored stitching, which adds some extra detail.

We give Cozy Tot's Stay-On Mittens two (very warm) thumbs up!  We will most definitely be buying some extra pairs (because some always get lost as winter carries on) and look forward to trying their hats (they are also double layered with fleece).  We think they would make great gifts too.

Thanks Cozy Tots for sharing your fabulous Made in the USA product with us!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

our favorite monsters

Many children find monsters scary, but we have found some that are sweet, cuddly and many a child's best friend.  These colorful, soft, stuffed monsters help children scare away all those other monsters lurking in the closet or hiding under the bed! As the creators of Lyla Tov Monsters describe: "a single snuggle from your Lyla Tov Monster can ward off the most frightening of dreams and make you feel safe and secure in the comfort of your bedroom." Children are drawn to these and so are we...

 Lyla Tov means "good night" in hebrew and they are the "perfect protector for a good nights sleep." Each Lyla Tov monster is individual and unique, as they are all hand made in New York with love and attention.  Lyla, 5 years old, is the creative force behind the monsters and her very talented mother is the head seamstress, click here to read their bios.

We also love that the makers of Lyla Tov Monsters will be donating a portion of the proceeds to a children’s charity to help ensure that children the world over might have a better night’s sleep...great idea!

We think these monsters would make the perfect, unique gift for children. To shop all the Lyla Tov Monsters, click here.

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