Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

Product Review: BusyBodyBook Organizers & Fridge Sheets

Friday, August 31st, 2007


I have been seeing these organizers everywhere and was so excited when the About Our Time Company contacted us to see if we would be interested in reviewing their BusyBodyBook products. Considering they have been featured in everything, from Redbook Magazine to Parenting Magazine, I was very anxious to get a chance to see what all of the fuss was about.

These organizers are made for moms and come in two different formats and four different chic designs. They offer an Aug ’07-Sept ’08 (for the mom who wants to be on track for the school year) and they offer an organizer from Jan-Dec 2008 (for the mom who has made it her New Year’s resolution to be organized).

These organizers are roomy and have a weekly grid format with a spacious side by side view of your schedule. Each family member can get their own column of activities, making it easy to see who needs to be where (Side Note: The column accommodates up to five family members on each page).

In addition to your standard calendar, the organizer offers extras like a planning calendar for birthdays and anniversaries, another calendar for the next year’s appointments, shopping lists, pockets to store items, a bookmark to mark what week you are on, and plenty of places to leave extra notes. This organizer is priced at $16.95.

While I loved the organizer, I was even more psyched about the fridge sheets they offered. No more questions about who was going to be gone on the evening. This seven column organizer makes it easy to see exactly where everyone will be for the day. It also includes a roomy area on the side to leave notes to each other. This is magnetic and is priced at $11.95.

We thank the About Your Time company for giving us the opportunity to review their great organizational tools for moms.

Product Review: Snack & Play Travel Tray

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

The Family Travel Gear company contacted me to see if I would be interested in reviewing one of their most popular products, a Snack & Play Travel Tray. I am always interested in trying out any product for our children so my daughter Emily was the happy recipient of this awesome product.

This tray is very versatile because it will fit on your car seat, the stroller, or it can be used on an airplane. It is made of all nylon with a foam core, so it would not injure a child in an accident. It has handy mesh pockets on the side to store anything you would like to bring along with you on your travels. The pockets would easily accommodate books, crayons, sippy cups, and any snacks that you would like to bring along for your child.

The tray simply has a plastic fastener that belts around the place they are sitting. It hooks together just like my daughter’s booster seat and can easily be adjusted to fit perfectly with your child.

I think the best part about this tray is that it has a lip around the outer edge so that all of your child’s items will stay in place when you are moving. Snacks and toy cars won’t fall off of the tray making the trip much smoother for you. I can’t tell you how many times I have almost wrecked our car trying to reach for a tiny toy that has been thrown overboard by my daughter.

So far we have used the tray while waiting for my son to get out of school, used it on our stroller during a hospital visit to see a family member, and I have whipped it out during long errand days. My daughter enjoys coloring and reading her books in the car, and this makes the perfect surface to do that!

This company offers a variety of products for all of your travel needs and they have extended a special discount to our readers. You can receive ten percent off of your order by using the coupon code welcome.

We thank the Family Travel Gear company for giving us the opportunity to test their product. Both my daughter and I give your product two thumbs up!

Parenting Magazine Editors Share the Baby Must-Haves

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

The editors at Parenting Magazine have recently come out with a new book called, “Baby Must-Haves: The Essential Guide To Everything From Cribs to Bibs” and wanted to know if I would be interested in reviewing their new book.

This book would be a great guide for a new mom or for an expecting mother because it covers everything your baby would/could need and what items are just a plain waste of money. Included is information on the best stroller, what every mom should keep in her medicine cabinet, how to outfit your nursery, and the essential safety gear that moms will need. They also have mom tips, from the real-life mom experts, on things that they have done that have made their lives easier.

I got the opportunity to interview the editors about their new book and here are some of my questions that I thought our readers might find helpful.

When it comes time to outfit the nursery, what is the one item that you feel it is a good idea to splurge on? Do you have any recommendations for where to purchase this item or what brands you feel confident in going with?

A Baby’s crib should be a safe haven—a place where she can sleep or play comfortably, without any dangers of getting hurt. This is one necessity that moms shouldn’t feel guilty about splurging on, as the child will use it every day (several times a day!) for the first couple of years (it’s not time for a toddler bed until your child is 35” tall, or the top of the side rail is below mid-chest level).

Many of our Mom-Tested retailers, such as Babies ‘R’ Us (babiesrus.com) and Buy Buy Baby (buybuybaby.com), feature countless styles of cribs that meet moms’ highest standards – safety, solid construction, durability and sleek design.

One brand that gets high marks for quality is Pottery Barn Kids (potterybarnkids.com). The “Kendall Crib” ($599) is available in a wide range of baby-safe finishes and combines style, functionality and the highest safety standards. Built of solid pine, the crib can be converted into a toddler bed. This allows mom to truly create a room that grows with the child, and justifies the splurge.

One mom in our survey raved about the durability of her Babee Tenda Crib (babeetenda.com). A mother of five, she attests the crib is just as sturdy for her youngest child as it was for her first. Another tip? Always splurge for a new mattress.

- When moms find the glider of their dreams but debate over splurging on the matching ottoman, it may be worth it: Elevating the legs can help take pressure off the back, especially while nursing. And besides, it just feels good!

Most ottomans sold as accessories to specific gliders also glide, making it easy to keep that gentle movement going. Expect to pay around $200 for an ottoman.

What are some items that parents tend to buy that they really don’t need? Are there any good substitutions for these items?

- Organic bedding and clothing have gotten a lot of press lately. They may be better for the environment, but you don’t need them—some organic fabrics, like wool, can actually irritate delicate skin. Just stick with 100 percent cotton that’s soft and lightweight.

- You’ll spend a small fortune on bottle sterilizer contraptions that steam-clean bottles, nipples, pacifiers and such, but tossing those things into the dishwasher and setting it to “heat dry” will kill germs just as effectively and so will boiling them for a few minutes on the stove. Save the bucks for a date night instead!

- Several companies are turning out infant tubs that come with spray attachments—but they are pricey and tend not to work very well. A plastic pitcher or cup is just fine for rinsing.

You feature tips from real moms in your book. What is one of the best “Mom Tips” that you have received?

While there were a number of really useful “Mom Tips” featured in the book, three of our favorites are:

• Buy a car seat for each car: Once it’s positioned correctly, you’ll never want to take it out again. Spending the extra money will save lots of time and annoyance for everyone. (Pg 151)

• In the store, see if you can lower the crib rail with one hand (which you’ll need to do if you’re holding your baby). Also, make sure it raises and lowers silently so you’ll be able to move it without waking a sleeping baby! (Pg 14)

• When making up the crib, layer on two crib sheets, with a plastic mattress cover/liner in between. That way, if your baby spits up or has a leaky diaper in the night, you can just strip off the top layer without having to change the whole bed.

When it comes time to give baby gifts to your friends and family, what are some frugal baby gifts that are always a hit?

-Brilliant Basics™ Snap-Lock® Beads by Fisher-Price are only approximately $5. Snap them together and pull them apart, over and over again. Babies love repetitive play, and these brightly-colored beads offer stimulating fun while strengthening developing skills. There’s even a bright, shiny surprise with rattling beads inside!

-A number of moms in our survey swore that teddy bears that make womb noises (like a heartbeat) soothed even the fussiest newborns. Check out the super soft and cuddly Womb Sounds Bear, approximately $20, available at Target.

- Ocean Wonders Aquarium by Fisher-Price ($30). For many moms, this is just dreamy! The crib toy resembles a small aquarium, in which sea creatures swim calmly in sync with mesmerizing aquatic sounds and music.

- Changing a crib sheet can be a challenge: Y
ou practically have to lift the entire mattress out of the bed to get the sheet on. This gift could come to the rescue: The Quick Zip Crib Sheet from cloudsandstars.com ($33) a fitted sheet with a rectangular panel that zips on and off for laundering

With September being Baby Safety Month, what is one of the most overlooked areas in a home? Can you offer some inexpensive solutions for keeping your little ones safe?

The best way to approach childproofing is both room-by-room, and age-by-age. Ensure that you cover every room in the home by getting down at kid’s-eye level, going through your entire house looking for potential hazards. Moms should repeat this process as the child grows: What’s dangerous for a crawler will be different than what’s dangerous for a walker.
Some Mom-Tested products to try:

• KidCo Adhesive Mount Magnet Lock Starter Set ($16; kidco.com). A magnetic key gives you—but not your child—easy access to cabinets and drawers.

• First Alert’s Tundra Fire Suppressant ($20; firstalert.com). This compact fire extinguisher will put out small household fires, including cooking oil flare-ups.

• Summer Infant’s Turtle Spout Protector ($5; summerinfant.com). Moms and babies alike love this adorable way to protect from bumps and scalds during bath time.

What are the top three items that every mom should have in her medicine cabinet?

1) Thermometer

It is important to have a thermometer that is both accurate and easy to use; especially in the first 3 months when even a slight fever could be serious. A rectal thermometer is the most reliable. As neither mom nor infant will be pleased with the task of sticking one in baby’s bottom, opt for a digital one that registers quickly and is fail safe.
Try the Timex Acrobat Bendable Thermometer with Indiglo rectal thermometer for $16.

2) Pain and fever relievers

Simply; your choices are acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil). Parenting suggests that you keep both as each one has its pros and cons:

Acetaminophen is gentler on the stomach and can be given to newborns, but only lasts about 4 hours.

Ibuprofen lasts about 6 to 8 hours and may be a more effective fever-reducer, but is only approved for babies 6 months and older.

It is fine to use generic brands of both, as long as they are labeled for infants or children. Of course, check with your child’s pediatrician before giving her any medication. A great mom tip? Check out the Web sites for particular drugstore products. Many offer printable coupons, often for at least a dollar.

3) Rehydrating solution

These are drinks that can help to replace fluids in a child who has been vomiting or had severe diarrhea. The most popular, Pedialyte, comes in liters, single serving sizes and freezer pops.

Sound Off: What do you think is the most useless baby item? What are you glad you splurged on?

Product Review: Silly Billyz Bibs

Monday, August 20th, 2007

The Live Love Dream company sent me one of their Silly Billyz Bibs to try for my daughter. I explained that our Emily was a very messy eater and that I would welcome any bib that could keep her well covered and mess free.

In response, the company sent us their Silly Billyz Long Sleeved Bib in a pretty pink. I knew my daughter could put this bib through some rigorous testing and she did not fail me.

When I got the product I was impressed with how lightweight it was. My first concern was that she would be hot, but the sleeves and neck are both made of a very light nylon. The front of the bib is made of a fleece material that does not pill or stain. The bib attaches with Velcro in the back, but is open to keep your baby nice and cool.

Emily ate pizza in it, smashed up some peas into it, and smeared her peanut butter and jelly all over this bib. With a quick swipe of my washcloth, I was able to take all of the food off of it, with no staining left on the fabric. The bib has also survived several rounds through our washer and is showing no signs of wear or tear.

I would highly recommend this product to any mom who is looking for a bib that will cover their entire baby and especially for any mom suffering through those beginning stages of self-feeding. These bibs are great when you are out and about because they will tuck neatly inside of your diaper bag. They are also great when you have baby all dressed up for church or pictures and want to keep them looking clean and fresh.

The bib is priced at $12 and can be ordered through their website or at one of their listed boutiques. They come in large or small sizes and can be ordered in a variety of colors.

We thank the Live Love Dream company for giving us the opportunity to review their product!

Product Review: Family Life Organizer & Planner

Monday, August 13th, 2007

I have a lot of scraps of paper laying around our house with things that I really need to remember, but I rarely can find them. Our fridge is overflowing with appointment cards and important phone numbers, but sometimes those can get misplaced. Luckily, Pam Socolow, an organizer on HGTV’s “Mission: Organization” came up with a family organizer that can contain all my messy piles and transform them into a very organized format. She offers a Family Life Organizer & Planner that can contain even my giant messes.

Honestly, I was surprised at the quality of it and the thoughtfulness that went into this product. There is a section for everything from health care to carpool schedules. It contains a three year calendar with large boxes that offer ample room for writing down everything you need to accomplish for the day. There are over one hundred sheets that you can fill in with information like the house and car details, kids’ information, household repairs, and insurance information. There are also fun sections where you can write down books you would like to read or wines you want to try. It also contains a pocket folder for each general section and pouches for tucking receipt. In the back is a business card organizer to store all of those important cards that seem to get lost in the shuffle.

I got this calendar a couple of weeks ago and since we had so many car troubles these past few weeks, I was so proud to be able to whip out the receipts and information that we would need at a moments notice. The pockets have also been great storage for keeping track of my rebate receipts and checkbook.

This Life book is huge so it is not intended for you to carry it around, but just something that you can keep in your house to contain the mess and track the activities going in your house. It would be a great addition to the kitchen and a useful resource for babysitters

The only thing that is missing from the Life organizer is a menu planner, but I noticed on their website that you can purchase additional sections for an additional cost.

You can also print out your own free binder through Organized Home, which is something that I have done in the past. In fact, I might print out some of those printables to add to this

This book is available through Barnes and Noble or through Pam Socolow’s website for $19.95. We thank Pam for sharing her organizer with us and giving us the opportunity to share it with our readers!

Product Review: Halo UVX Ultraviolet Vacuum

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

Seven years ago, Ken and Carrie Garcia were blessed with the birth of triplet boys. Like many multiples pregnancies, the triplet boys were born prematurely at 30 weeks, weighing approximately 2.5 pounds each. They spent the next two and a half months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) before being released weighing approximately five pounds.

Doctors warned Ken and Carrie that if the boys became ill during the next year, they would need to be immediately hospitalized again given their under-developed immune systems, and any illness could be life threatening. Wanting to do everything possible to prevent another hospitalization, they researched how they could provide the healthiest home environment for their triplet boys.

In addition to good home cleaning and disinfection, the research and doctors recommended that they rip up the carpeting in their home, as it was the one surface in the home that could not be disinfected, and as a result, all carpeting harbored millions of germs and dust mites. The time and expense involved in tearing out their carpet was just not a feasible option. In addition, studies showed that children can develop life-long allergies in the first 24 months of life when they are exposed to high levels of allergens.

Through research, Ken and Carrie learned that ultraviolet light had been used for decades in various industries to produce some of the world’s cleanest environments. For example, they learned that ultraviolet light had been used to disinfect hospitals and sterilize drinking water. Why couldn’t this technology be utilized inside the home – where people and their children spend so much of their time? If the power of ultraviolet light could be harnessed to use in the home, parents could experience a whole new level of comfort knowing their homes were truly clean. The culmination of years of research and design created Halo Ultraviolet Vacuums; the first and only vacuums in the world that incorporate ultraviolet light to kill germs in the carpets where they live.

When the triplet boys came home from the hospital, extra hands were necessary to get everyone fed, changed and rocked to sleep. Now those extra hands include the Halo Ultraviolet Vacuum. The triplet boys are happy and healthy living in their Halo Home!

I got the opportunity to test-drive this new vacuum and was amazed at the features and the research that was involved in creating it. The company operates under the motto of, “Clean What You See, Kill What You Can’t” and has been featured on the Today Show, as well as many other television programs and newspapers.

The vacuum has many special features that my collection (yes, I did say collection- I am a bit obsessed in this department!) of vacuums does not offer. This includes a height adjusting telescopic handle, a 31′ power cord (much longer than the cord on my current vacuum), a gear driven system, the UV technology, and a HEPA filtration system.

I have been enjoying disinfecting my house with the new vacuum. There is something so cleansing, knowing that you are kill dust mites and bacteria that are living in your carpet. This is the type of product that I wished I would have had when my daughter was crawling around on the floor.

The vacuum literally propels itself and requires very little maneuvering on the operator’s part. I have a lot of back problems, and this vacuum seemed to take some of the work off of me by the way that it moves on its own.

The downside of the vacuum is that it does not come with any tools to get in the crevices of your carpets and you cannot use the vacuum on the stairs. This makes it inconvenient when cleaning the house because you have to switch to using another vacuum when cleaning these areas. Also, one of the places that you really would want to use this type of technology is in those areas of the home and on your mattress.

I would recommend this product for any family who is suffering from severe allergies or have severe health problems in their home. I think it would help to bring peace of mind to parents who have lots of carpeting in their home or who are living in a home with older carpeting.

The retail price on this vacuum is $399. For ordering information, please visit their website.

Sound Off: What is your favorite vacuum? Are there any vacuums that you are dreaming of owning one day?

Product Review: Febreze Candles

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

What does a little apple spice & delight smell like? Well, it smells just like a freshly baked apple pie in the new candles from Febreze.

Like all of the products from the Febreze company, these candles are meant to eliminate odor and offer a fresh scent alternative to your home. The candles come in a variety of scents which include meadows & rain, spring & renewal, linen & sky, vanilla & refresh, and the apple spice & delight scent. All candles offer thirty hours of burn time and come in an attractive glass jar.

You know when you walk by the Yankee candle store and can smell the strong candles throughout the entire mall? People pay for that strong scent because you can actually smell them versus some of the cheaper brands on the market. These Febreze candles are just as strong as the Yankee candles and can take out any foul odors in your home.

I have been lighting my candle in the evening to eliminate the lingering smells of dinner or the smell of smoke coming into the house after we have had a bonfire outside. It definitely clears the air, but the scent can be overpowering at times. To eliminate odors quickly though, I would highly recommend these candles.

The suggested retail price is between $7-8, making it less pricey than the Yankee candles, but higher than the other drugstore brands. Possibly combined with a Sunday flier coupon, this would be an affordable alternative.

We would like to thank Procter & Gamble for being among the first to review this great product! As someone who formerly worked in a marketing department, I have to just say that your presentation was GREAT! The packaging and information included made for a very fun review!

Sound Off: What is your favorite brand of candle and your favorite candle scent?

How I Finally Cleaned Out My Closet

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

I got the opportunity to check out, “It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff” by Peter Walsh. I was excited to read this book because I love to read up on organizing the items in my home. Unfortunately, the book focused more on the psychological aspect of people who cannot part with their clutter, rather than a book that is geared towards an enthusiastic clutter-buster.

I would highly recommend this book to someone though who is not living a life that they desire and feel consumed with the clutter in their home. He shares a lot on achieving the life that you have always wanted by taking action and parting with the “stuff” in your life that isn’t benefiting you, but is hindering you from enjoying your home and your life.

The fact is, I am the type of person that feels attached to very little in my home. It isn’t that I don’t appreciate what I have, but the desire to keep items for sentimental reasons has never been big on my priority list. I have memories of good times…not items that represent those good times.

I don’t like to collect items because I don’t like to maintain and dust collections of things. I don’t like to hang on to things that I think I might need in the future because I would rather free up the space in our home.

Don’t get me wrong, my house has true areas of chaos. Our garage is a disaster and our basement is in disarray. These are projects that I need to devote some time and thought to and seem to be the dumping stations when clutter starts to consume our house. We have definite areas that we need to work on in order to make our home more spacious and to create more organization in my life.

The one area that I have always really struggled with is my closet and the clothing in it. I hate to turn away clothing when friends and family give me things (even if I don’t look good in them) and I have hung onto my work wardrobe for no other reason than the fact that I spent a mint on it and thought I could use it when I returned to work.

The simple fact is that I have no idea when I will be returning to work and the pieces in my wardrobe are already beginning to look dated. By the time I return to work, I will still need to invest in a new wardrobe, and I will also need to get rid of the items that are taking up closet space. Why should I wait until then and just free it up now?

Since our closets are small, and the space there is so premium, I decided to use one of the tips that Peter Walsh had recommended when promoting his book on Oprah. He suggested hanging your hangers the opposite way and flipping them when you wore (not just trying on) an item. Whatever hanger did not get flipped at the end of the specified time, got the boot.

This season I was able to get rid of thirty items in my closet. I loaded them up in bags and took the stuff over to our local thrift store. Not surprisingly, this was very freeing for me and I felt really good about the small accomplishment I made.

My clothes are now sighing with relief because they can breathe a bit. Now that I have room to move my hangers and see my wardrobe, I am able to enjoy the items I have and am noticing all of the the potential outfits in my closet that I had never seen before.

Sound Off: Do you get emotionally attached to your belongings? What is your problem area in your home?

Product Review: OxiClean Products

Monday, July 16th, 2007
The OxiClean company sent to me a big box of their products to try. They included their detergent as well as several different types of stain removers. Most notably, in the box, was their new pocket-sized stain remover, OxiClean Spray-A-Way Instant Stain Remover. This product is intended for moms on the go. The stain remover would be perfect to stick in your purse or diaper bag for all of those emergency stains that seem to come up when your family is out and about.

OxiClean also offers great products targeted towards moms who have to endure numerous baby stains. They offer Baby Stain Soaker and their Baby Stain Remover. A couple of my other favorite products are their Carpet Spot and Stain Remover and the Outdoor Professional Stain Remover.

I love all of the OxiClean products and have had great success using them on new and old stains alike. The price is a bit more than some of the other stain removers on the market, but I don’t have to use as much of the product to accomplish the tasks for cleaning items. I was most impressed with their Baby Stain Remover that they offer. I love to keep a bottle of this handy near our hampers so that I can spray items before they are thrown into the hamper for wash day. I also love to keep the small pocket-sized removers with my bibs and other feeding items for my daughter, so when a stain arises, I can get right to it and not waste any time letting the stain set in.

The only drawback I have found with the baby stain remover and laundry stain remover products is the trigger that is on these bottles. I love a spray that uses more of a spritzer action, rather than the soaker action that is on these bottles. It would be nice if you had the choice between a straight spray and a spritz.

These stain removers are great, but they are much more powerful than many of the traditional stain removers on the market. Make sure you read the directions carefully, to preserve the beauty of your clothing and the color in your items.

Many thanks to the OxiClean Family for sharing their products with me and giving us the opportunity to share our experience with our readers!

Sound Off: While we are on the subject of stain removers, what is your favorite stain removing product? Do you have your own secret formula for removing stains?

Related Readings:

How to Construct an Airing Rack

Should You Buy Brand Name Detergent?

The World’s Greatest Stain Remover

Demystifying the Great Laundry Detergent Dilemma

Washing Your Child’s Lovie

Product Review: Munchkin Fun

Monday, July 9th, 2007

The Munchkin company sent me a package of some of their products to try for review. All I can say is, “WOW!” They offer some really great products and I find them to be very affordable. Included within the box were the following products:

TravelWare Re-usables-Munchkin’s re-usable cups, bowls, spoons, and meal time sets have stepped it up a notch with improved Dora Diego and SpongeBob graphics that will fascinate your child and encourage them to play favorites. Ideal for meals on-the-go, they are durable enough to wash and re-use, yet affordable enough to lose. Bowls include snap-tight lids to prevent spills and cups are perfect for home-made juices.

Snack Catcher Available in four bright colors, the new and award-winning Snack Catcher cup keeps bite-sized snacks inside the container until little fingers pull them out, even if it tips over so less spills in the car or plan! The soft flaps make it easy to access and the little finger cleaning bumps are a special plus for keeping nearby surfaces cleaner. This is one snack holder that will catch mom’s attention and keep messes to a minimum while traveling.

Bling Pacifiers- Your baby’s eyes will sparkle at the sight of glittering BLING™ pacifiers. Besides looking cool, they feature a silicone orthodontic nipple and breathable shield that reduces skin irritation. These sparkly, fun pacifiers are oh-so-fitting for your little prince or princess! Check out all the available styles!

iCrib Sound System- A 2006 JPMA Innovation Award Winner! The iCrib™ is a compact crib sound system that lets you choose the music that soothes your baby to sleep – because some kids are a little bit country, and others a little bit of rock ‘n roll.

Of all of the products, I loved the iCrib Sound System and the Snack Catcher the most! All of the products were really neat, but the snack catcher was a great item that we use a lot with my daughter. The snack catcher is the perfect size for little hands and gives her the opportunity to have snacks, just like her brother, somewhere other than the table. We take this with us a lot of places because of the convenience of the size and how much our daughter likes it.

The iCrib Sound System is very cool for the hip parents. You can download lullabies onto your iPod and it attaches via a small cord inside to make a small baby sound system that can be attached to your baby’s crib. The Munchkin website also offers Baby Mozart downloads to get your collection started.

We want to thank the Munchkin company for giving us the opportunity to try the products and hope that you have the opportunity to check them out at your local stores! They are neat and innovative products for parents today!