Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Addicted to Melissa and Doug

I have to say that I'm a bit of an educational toy snob. Being a teacher, I am particularly choosy about what toys Little One plays with.  I'm not a big fan of loud, noisy toys with flashy lights. They give me a headache and I purposefully seemingly manage to always misplace the batteries for said toys.

Little One prefers creative play toys anyway. She loves puzzles, toy food, and even just a pad of paper and a bunch of markers! I'm telling you, she spends hours doodling and drawing pictures. She spends hours "cutting" up her fruits and veggies. She also enjoys "baking" brownies and then serving them to her stuffed animals for tea time.

Thankfully for us, there's a company that makes all of Little One's favourite things! Have you guessed yet? It's Melissa & Doug!

A friend of mine introduced us to Melissa & Doug on Little One's first birthday. She gave Little One the

Melissa & Doug Spill and Fill Purse.
Little One loves that purse. She totes it around, counts the coins (which she calls "money"), looks at herself in the compact, talks on her cell phone, etc. That was the start of Little One's Melissa and Doug collection.

Now she has:
Bollie Kickball - Little One received this as an Easter present last year. Bollie is a really cute ladybug ball that is great for outdoor and even indoor play. Bollie is made of durable rubber and is still soft enough that if Little One accidentally gets bonked on the head, it doesn't hurt so much. Ummm...not that Mommy has ever accidentally bonked her toddler on the head. No. Never!
Wooden Puzzles - She has tons of wooden puzzles that are all age appropriate. She is only 2 years old, so the puzzles she has don't have too many pieces. She loves them though. The puzzles teach her shape recognition and she gets to practice her fine motor, hand-eye coordination, and memory skills. This peg puzzle with the cats and dogs is her favourite puzzle at the moment.

Bake and Serve Brownies - Excellent for teaching shapes, counting, problem solving...and just so much fun! Little One loves this so much that we got her cousins a set and one of her friends a set too! We cleaned the store out of these brownie sets! LOVE THEM!

Playtime Produce Farm Fresh Fruit - I was given a gift certificate for one of the freelance gigs I had and I used it to get Little One her first set of play fruit. This was one of the best play sets I could have given her. We were teaching her the names of fruits and vegetables, but these durable plastic fruits were instrumental in Little One learning the names of fruit and learning how to count. She learned her colours from the fruit as well! These are fantastic for grocery and kitchen play.

Little One loves the toys, but Mommy loves the quality! Oh, okay. I love playing with Little One's Melissa & Doug toys too! Melissa & Doug makes thousands of educational toys for tiny tots to school-aged kids. They make classic toys, musical toys, outdoor toys, magnetic activities, puzzles, arts and crafts items, classroom supplies, learning mats, and a whole lot more! If you're a parent, grandparent, daycare operator, babysitter, or even if you just have a special kid in your life, check out Melissa & Doug.

Visit the Melissa & Doug website to see all the products they sell. Also find them on Twitter and Facebook!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Crazy for KIOKKO!

One thing  you should know about me is that I absolutely looooooooove beautiful fabric and paper. When I was teaching and living in Japan, I fell in love with the stunning material that was used in making kimonos and yukatas. I also fell in love with Japanese paper. Some friends thought it was funny that I'd just go shopping for stationery or origami paper. I couldn't help it!

What an art to create something so beautiful!

This fetish--obsession love of beautiful fabric has been carried on and even my toddler is now obsessed with pretty fabric and designs.

When I "met" KIOKKO Baby Couture, I  knew it was a friendship made in Heaven. Awesome Mommy+Lover of beautiful fabric and all things for baby=My soul sista! I don't even know how we "met"! The internet is an amazing thing! I mean, if you think of all the millions of blogs and sites online, it's amazing how we meet the people we meet.

Anyway, back to my obsession. I have won an amazing blanket from KIOKKO. KIOKKO's blankets are super soft and over-sized. There are tons of prints/designs to choose from. Each blanket features premium designer cotton and is lined with super soft minky fabric to make this a very cozy blanket for your baby. They're great for in the car, on the go, for snuggling, for swaddling...

I also entered a KIOKKO contest where fans got to name a pacifier clip from KIOKKO's line of linen pacifier clips.
These clips are made with imported Japanese ribbon. The clasps are made with lead-free metal. My suggestion for one of the names was chosen!! I called that particular pacifier clip "Tomodachi", which means "Friend" in Japanese. Can you spot the clip I named? Pretty cute, don't you think?

Little One received some beautiful washcloths from KIOKKO. I know that probably sounds odd calling washcloths beautiful! They are sooooooo beautiful!
What I love about KIOKKO Eco-washcloths is that they are so thick! All the other washcloths that Little One has are so thin and so tiny. These Eco-Washcloths and Eco-Mini Washcloths  are super thick and super soft! Perfect for washing your baby's delicate skin! On one side, there is premium designer cotton, and on the other, thick, absorbent terry cloth. These washcloths are super strong, durable...and, did I mention pretty???

Like I said, my toddler LOVES her washcloths. Too funny. Yes, we're cultivating a new generation of fabric lovers. She goes around the house with her washcloths and says, "Ooooh! Pretty!"
I got a new mommy some washcloths and a super cool bib for her baby shower. KIOKKO has so many beautiful items that it's so hard to choose!

One last KIOKKO item I am absolutely crazy for is the mitten clip. Well, I should say *clips* because they come in twos! The mitten clips are similar to the pacifier clips, but are shorter and come in pairs. These are the most fabulous things ever created! The problem with mittens is that they get lost so easily. The toddler has a way of taking off her mitts all the time. We had mittens with the string that runs through each sleeve of her coat, but that really freaked me out. All I could think of was "Safety Hazard" or "Accidental Strangulation"! I know, pretty grim. Hey, it's a reality though. Those things can happen! Kids can get stuck and strangled by those old school mitten strings. This is the same reason I don't let me toddler wear a scarf. Maybe I'm a little paranoid, but I'm just saying that these mitten clips are a great alternative!

The mitten clips are made with beautiful high quality grosgrain ribbon. The clasps are lead-free rounded metal clasps with a plastic insert so that they are gentle on clothing. Have I told you how much I LOVE these mitten clips?

Everyone comments on how gorgeous Little One's mitten clips are and ask where I got them. KIOKKO Baby Couture, of course!

Do you want a pair of mitten clips for your little one? How about a bib? Blanket? Set of washcloths? Well, you are in luck. KIOKKO Baby Couture is giving one of my lucky readers a $25 e-gift certificate! How cool is that?

To Enter:
Go over to KIOKKO Baby Couture and let me know in a comment here which item you absolutely love! (4 entries)

*For each entry, please leave a separate comment. Also, please include your e-mail address in each entry so I can contact you if you win).

Additional Entries:

1. "Like" KIOKKO Baby Couture on Facebook and let them know I sent  you! (2 entries)
2. Follow KIOKKO on Twitter and let them know I told you to say hello! (2 entries)
3. Tweet this giveaway (1 entry per tweet, 1 tweet per day)
4. "Like" Random Thoughts and Musings on the Island REVIEWS on Facebook (2 entries)
5. Follow me on Twitter @chancesmommy (2 entries)
6. Follow me via Google Friend Connect (1 entry)
7. Grab my button and leave me the link for where I can find it (1 entry)
8. Follow via NetworkedBlogs (1 entry)

Contest open to residents of Canada and the U.S.  Ends March 31, 2011!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bear Paws: Peanut-Free Crackers That Kids Love

I always said that I would never give Little One any food that wasn't homemade by me. She was never to eat anything from a box, bag, carton, can...You get the idea. Wow. That was a ridiculously lofty aspiration. It was fine when I was taking a break from teaching and was able to make all of her baby food. However, now that she's a toddler and I'm back at work, I am just pressed for time all the time.

I am always on the lookout for healthy, wholesome, great tasting snacks. Now, I don't feel as guilty about giving her snacks like crackers or biscuits. They're also a lifesaver in the van. They're not too messy and she can help herself to her snack bag. I am still very careful about what we feed her. I worry about the amount of sodium, sugar and all the "extras" that "convenient" food contains.

There's also a history of nut allergies on Hubby's side of the family, so I want to avoid exposing Little One to nuts (although, I have a sneaky suspicion that she has been introduced to nuts already). This said, I am very careful about what goes into Little One's body. Not only that, but many products are made in facilities that are not nut-free. Many foods can contain traces of nuts and nut products.

When I was asked to sample Dare Bear Paws kids' crackers, I was excited to see how they tasted and what ingredients were used to make them. Dare has been a company that I trust, as it is Canadian-owned and operated, and has been giving Canadians quality products for the past 119 years! I feel comfortable knowing that if I don't have time to make Little One's treats, at least I can count on Dare to offer wholesome snacks.
I'm even happier knowing that Dare's Bear Paws and all Dare products are made in nut-free facilities. Did you know that Dare became one of Canada's first peanut-free food manufacturers back in 2004?
For reviewing purposes, we were sent a box of each of the Bear Paws kids' cracker flavours: Cheddar Cheese, Vegetable, and Original. Our package also contained the Dare bear colouring pages, stickers, and Crayons for Little One. I cannot tell you how excited my toddler was to receive this package!

She excitedly yelled, "CRACKER! CRACKER!" and wanted to try the snacks out immediately! She enjoyed all of the flavours, but her favourite was the Cheddar Cheese. That didn't surprise me, since Little One loves cheese! Hubby really likes the Original flavour, and I am quite partial to the Vegetable flavour. It's a good thing we got to try out all three flavours!
The Bear Paws kids' crackers are the perfect bite-sized snack to bring to daycare, grandparents' house, school, trips, car rides, etc. They are the perfect size for kids and fit nicely in little containers in lunchboxes and snack bags.

Not only are the crackers peanut-free, but they are:
- Low in saturated fat
- Good source of folate
- Source of vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Source of vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- No trans fat
- No artificial flavours

They retail for around $2.49 at grocery stores and mass merchandise stores across Canada.

Disclosure- I received Cheddar Cheese, Vegetable, and Original flavour Bear Paws kids' crackers on behalf of Dare Foods for reviewing purposes. All the opinions and ideas on this blog are my own.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Saving Women's Hearts Giveaway Winner!

Happy Friday, everyone!

We've been snowed in today (we couldn't even get out of our lane). It hasn't really stopped snowing, but I guess if we want to put things into perspective, we have nothing to complain about. Watching the news of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan really made my heart sink. We're thinking of all our friends living in Japan. I've been frantically trying to contact all our loved ones in Japan.

Times like this makes me realize how fortunate we are to have our family, friends, and health. Speaking of health...
Some of you have been waiting to hear who the Saving Women's Hearts Giveaway winner is. Without further ado, a winner has been chosen via Random.Org.

The winner is...
~Crazy 4 Daizies~ said... 12
~I am a 40 yr old mother of 4 living sons, 2 predeceased--I know all about stress and what it can do to your body and health!!
Congratulations, Crazy 4 Daizies! Please e-mail me so we can get that prize to you!

Disclosure - I participated in the Saving Women’s Hearts program by Mom Central on behalf of Wiley Publishing. I received a copy of the book to review and gift card as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Designs by Dani Giveaway Winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered our Designs by Dani Giveaway! A winner has been chosen via Random.Org.

Are you ready for it?

Drum roll please...

Lise said... 56
Like them on FB#4
You have won a complete outfit from Designs by Dani


Lisa, please contact me so you can claim your prize! :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Simply on Board's Simply Amazing Contest!

My lovely friend, SuperAmazingMommy notified me that I was one of the winners chosen for Simply on Board's most recent contest. I won a set of Simply on Board Straps as well as a set for 5 of my friends! Thanks, SAM for giving me the heads up! Thank you to everyone who helped me win the Simply on Board straps by telling them that I sent you!

If you were one of the kind people who mentioned that I sent you over to the Simply on Board Facebook page, let me know! I've got straps for 5 of you! :)

Simply on Board has yet another fabulous contest on the go! Enter the contest for a chance to win YOUR BABY'S photo on Simply on Board toy strap's packaging!  

Simply on Board is looking for the next Simply on Board baby! How cool would it be to walk into your favourite baby store to see YOUR little one's photo on Simply on Board's packaging?! Too cool!
For more information, click here!