Thursday, December 3, 2009

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

It may seem far away, but Valentine's Day is not too far around the corner!  Thoughtful gifts are a great way to express your love and build up the romance.  Choose the perfect gift to make love and romance bloom in your life.  The extensive gift range at has a special section designed exclusively for Valentine's Day.  The gifts included there have been chosen with care to reflect the spirit of Valentine's Day and with special regard to their quality and appeal.  Some gift ideas includegift baskets, fruit baskets, chocolates, flower arrangements, cakes, wines, soft toys, accessories, mugs and lots more, all touched with a tinge of romance.  They deliver to 184 countries across the world so that you can reach loved ones even when they're far away.

If you're considering showing off your creative side, check out my recent articles, Valentines Day Crafts for Kids and Homemade Valentine's Day Presents.  And for even more gift ideas from everyone's favorite online superstore, Amazon, check out this article:  Valentines Day Gift Ideas for Her.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fair Trade - Eco Conscious Gifts

If you are looking for socially conscious gifts, as more and more consumers are nowadays, Gifts With Humanity, has a range of products that are 100% fair trade, mainly recycled and eco. Make Mother Earth happy when you buy a gift from Gifts With Humanity. Tons of gifts to chosse from, from coffee to clothing, jewelry and stationary. I love the hand carved salad servers and other accessories that are carved from the olive tree.
Gifts With Humanity

Whimsical Watches - A Very Cute Gift Idea

Find the perfect gift for mom or grandma or sis or aunt or teacher at Whimsical Watches.  Their hand-crafted watches include unique miniatures of themes that may send out a reminder or show your appreciation of them. If your mom supports you at your soccer games or takes you to your games in her mini van, check out the Soccer Mom Watch. If you know someone who loves shoes (ME!), check out the Shoe Shopper watch.  Or, if your grandma is part of the Red Hat group, check out the Red Hat Watches. Other themes include Jewelry, Birthstone, Cure for Cancer, Mom's Kitchen, Cooking, Shopper Mom, Unicorn, Hot Air Balloons, Makeup, and Cheer Mom.  Check out all the creative watches at the link below:
Whimsical Watches

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday Deals Online & Cyber Monday!!

Black Friday deals start today! You shouldn't have to stand in lines a mile long to get a great deal - the Black Friday page at Amazon is the central point to find all their deals and thousands of products that are on sale for a limited time only. Also, don't forget to visit again on "Cyber Monday", November 30th for more great deals!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas Tree Delivered!

Buy a christmas tree online and have it delivered to your front door the same day it is cut - how cool is that?!

Quality Live Plants And More Delivered To Your Door

For all you green thumbs out there - even those of you who don't have a green thumb - here's a great place for you to get quality live plants and trees, as well as seeds and bulbs delivered to your door.  Nature Hills Nursery has a huge selection of perennial plants, over 100 different live trees, shrubs, bulbs, seeds (flower, veggies, herbs ...), and more for great prices.  Start or add to your garden now.

Cool Photo Filters for Your Cell Phone

Do you take a lot of pictures with your cell phone? Here's your opportunity to have some fun with those pictures with Jelly Camera Phone Filters. A three filter kit includes Kaleidoscope, Starburst, and Wide Angle for $15. Great holiday gift idea or stocking stuffer!  Click here to get them or read more.

Here's an example of a picture taken with the starburst filter:

This one was taken with the kaleidoscope filter - fun!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cheap Yoga Accessories offers high quality yoga supplies at some of the lowest prices on the web. They are dedicated to providing the best yoga, meditation, spiritual, wellness and holistic living supplies to support your well being and enrichment. Because of their unique combination of low prices, high quality products, fast shipping, and great customer service, they will win you over! New products are continually added, so the available inventory of products is always growing. You can even get a gift certificate to give as a gift to your favorite yoga lover ... check out all the great stuff here:

Handbag Hanger

I recently read a report that discussed the amount of germs that can be found on the bottom of ladies' handbags. Think about it - when in public places such as restaurants, restrooms, parks, grocery store, the you put your purse on the ground? The bench? Countertop? If I recall correctly, this report referred to the floor of public restrooms as the dirtiest in terms of germs - ick! We place our purses on all of these dirty surfaces, then we hang them on us...well now you can keep the bottom of your purses and bags dirt- and germ-free with the ingenious Clipa Handbag Hanger. It's basically a ring - you clip it onto your bag's handle and leave it there. When you need it, just open either end and it hooks onto table edges, chairs, doors, rails and carts and holds up to 45 pounds! Check it out at this link:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Personalized Letters From Santa (and more!) is the fastest growing Santa Letter service on the web. In addition to unique personalized letters from Santa, they offer personalized nice list certificates, Rudolph letters, reindeer food, and other delightful gifts from Santa Claus.

When you place an order for a letter, you get a personalized letter from Santa shipped directly to your child from the North Pole!

Click the link below to go to the site and create a FREE personalized Christmas countdown calendar and a FREE personalized Nice List Guide.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Yay! Boots for Wide Calves - Wide Width Boots

The ONE thing my 150+ pair shoe "collection" has always lacked is knee-high boots.  Having grown up in South Florida there really wasn't much opportunity to wear boots, but the real reason why I didn't is that I have always had wide calves. They used to be "athletic", now they're just "big" - but that's a whole other story!

Enter!  I never knew, until a few years ago when I discovered Wide Widths, that anyone made wide calf boots specifically for those of us with big / wide calves.  I was so excited that I bought a pair right away and I look forward to getting more!  Click the link below and check out the incredible product selection - it's the largest on the internet for anybody searching for wide or extra wide calf boots.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Romantic Gift Ideas - Fun Stuff!

If you like simple, fun design, then you'll love the "romantic" gift ideas at Bold Loft. Their offerings include unique couple pillowcases, body pillow cases, his and hers coffee mugs, couple t-shirts, and novelty drinking glasses. There are several different, very fun, "animated" designs to choose from.

I wanted to be able to tell you which design is my favorite, but they are all so cute, it's hard to pick just one. Ok, I'll try.....the "Shower Me with Your Love" and "All My Love for You" designs are my favorite right now! The "Together" and "Sweet Dreams" pillowcases are pretty cool, too.
Check it out here -->
Boy Meets Girls My Heart Belongs To You Couple Gifts

Digital Photo Frame - A Great Gift Idea!

Digital photo frames are one of the hottest must-have items for today’s consumers and they’re only growing more and more popular. Ceiva invented the digital photo frame. They are the industry leader in providing top-of-the-line digital frames and the world’s best photo delivery service. While other digital frames only target tech-savvy customers, Ceiva's digital frames appeal to every generation — from teens to grads, parents to grandparents.

Ceiva Digital Photo Frames are the only ones on the market that offers phone connectivity, or you can connect via Wi-Fi. They offer PicturePlan, which us their award-wining photo delivery service - you can send photos directly to the frame from anywhere in the world; automatic display new photos sent by family or friends; send photos from a computer or camera phone; no PC or internet needed; photos are displayed perfectly with no cropping, stretching or squishing; unlimited online photo storage.

click the link above to check out the digital frames

Custom Cards and Stationary on 100% Recycled Paper

Minted is a new online store offering fresh, modern, custom invitations, stationery, and announcements for all of life's special occasions. Their designs are exclusive and customizable. They offer a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. Not only do they offer beautiful designs and fabulous quality, but they have opted to print all orders on 100% post-consumer waste fiber (put simply, recycled) and it's even manufactured with wind-power, giving you the most environmentally friendly paper in the online card market!
Free Shipping on Holiday Photo Cards With Code AFSHIP09
Check out their newest product, Minibook Holiday Cards - they are a great way to tell a "story" and you can include 3-6 pictures and text. Most importantly, they're cool and cute!

Capture a Picture of Santa in Your Home

This is so cool and fun! At Capture The Magic, parents can upload a picture of their home, insert an image of Santa and download it for "proof of Santa." Imagine the look on the kids faces when they see a picture of Santa Claus in their home? This is a fun, and funny, idea!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Personalized Gifts for Kids!

I'm on a roll today (if I might say so myself!) with cool gift ideas for all. Kids Personally has a full line of unique and wonderfully exciting gifts - over 500 cool personalized gifts! Each product is custom made to order incorporating the child's name, photograph, or both! Their most popular and best selling item is their photo personalized DVD movies. Using any photo, they transform a loved one into a 'Star' of their very own animated movie! My Christmas Adventure Personalized DVD
Touted the most romantic gift on the web by the Oprah show, Timeless Message has something for every budget. This is a great romantic gift idea for Christmas or next Valentines Day; whatever the occassion, it's a unique gift that will be treasured throughout the year.
Get your Key to my Heart Message in a Bottle for Christmas Now! Limited Quanties
Choose from over 500 pre-written messages or write your own personal message. This is truly a gift for all ages. Click picture above to go directly to Timeless Message.

Send Someone Special a Beautiful Floral Bouquet...

Do you like to send flowers for the holidays, or any other special occassion? Well, I only recently heard of Flora2000 and let me tell you, they have some incredibly beautiful arrangements - and the prices are pretty great, too! It's a one-stop-shop for beautiful bouquets and a wide variety of items to add on, such as teddy bears or chocolates. They have wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas bouquets for the upcoming season, or for any occassion at all - check out what's available at the link below:
Thanksgiving Arrangements for US

Personalized Storybooks - A Great Gift Idea

Create a keepsake gift with Flattenme's award-winning personalized storybooks. You can magically transform your child's name and face into an adorable story with them as the star!

Choose from 6 different story adventures. You can also create personalized photo cards and invitations. Click the link above to check it out.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Practice CPR skills with CPR Teddy Jr.

Did you know that only about 30% of what's learned in a CPR class is retained after 3 months?  Parents and caregivers can practice infant/child CPR skills and choking rescue with CPR Teddy Jr.  Just squeeze the bear's paw for voice prompts of what to do in a breathing emergency and press the red heart on the chest to go directly to CPR counting and a metronome.  You can also turn the voice prompts off by squeezing the paw or pressing the heart a second time.

The adorable CPR Teddy Jr. is only 8" and can be attached to a diaper bag, car seat, stroller, crib - anywhere your child is, so that you can rest assured knowing that you can review what to do in a chocking or breathing emergency anytime, anywhere.  Every order includes a CPR and first aid training DVD.

This is also great to have at home to test your babysitter's CPR skills!

I own the larger version and our Teddy sits on the entry bench right next to my girls' playroom; I always know where he is if I need him, but I hope I never do!  Retail price is $39.95 ..... but through January 1, 2010, you can enter Promo code 110901 for a 10% discount on your order.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Manic Trout - "Treat Yourself to a Little Pretty"

I recently discovered this cool site for jewelry that's a little different - just the perfect touch to dress up an everyday outfit.  The jewelry is handmade and inspired by vintage materials, vivid colors, photography and beauty.  The designs are by Sierra Bailey, who is an artist who paints energetic pieces with oils, watercolor and collage in addition to designing jewelry.

Check out what's available at the Manic Trout website.  The Sweetest Thing vintage earrings ($10-$15 a pair), crafted from recycled lucite, are the perfect pick pick for tight wallets - beautiful and a bargain!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What to do with all your digital pictures?

Are you one of those mom's like me that takes thousands of pictures?  Wondering what to do with all your digital pictures that nobody's ever seen?  Well I recently learned about this website, Photojojo, that has tips and tricks on all things photos.  You can sign up to receive a twice-weekly newsletter, too.  Check out the Shop Photojojo tab on their site for many cool products.

Recently, Photojojo published a book that is full of creative ideas and projects to do with all those digital photos that are quick and easy.  One example:  a foldout montage that fits neatly into an Altoids tin!  The book is available at Amazon:

This one's on my wishlist!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Kids Hanging Daily Activity Organizer

Take too long to get your kids dressed and ready for school in the mornings? It used to take us a while even with my four year old because she has strong opinions already about what she wants to wear. She just changed schools, however, and wears a uniform now. There was the initial expense of having to buy the uniform components, which I did't like too much, but it's been well worth it now that I'm realizing how much more quickly we get ready in the mornings!

For those of you with similar dilemas whose kids don't wear a uniform to school, a great problem solver is this hanging closet daily activity organizer. It has six shelves labeled Monday -Friday and Weekend. It also has 12 shoe-size pockets in the back and 3 large pockets on each side - and it rotates so you can easily access all of the pockets!  Click below to check it can also see this organizer and more great stuff in my aStore, on the right.

Thanks for the suggestion, Coco!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Just Feed Birds with a Yankee Flipper

Help restore the balance of nature by feeding birds in your yard.  Feed birds and improve their survival rate.  More birds eat more insects.  Less insects, less chemicals we have to use to get rid of them.  Fewer chemicals means a cleaner environment and more natural insect predators you 'll have.  Fewer chemicals also means a healthier environment for you and your family, pets and water supply.

Check out these great bird feeders by Droll Yankees that are squirrel proof and a hoot to watch them try (the squirrels, that is!)
Droll Yankees YF Flipper Bird Feeder

Friday, September 18, 2009

Eco-Friendly Sandwich and Snack Bags

My kids snack - A LOT. I am finally free from diapers, but I still cannot carry a small purse because I'm always loaded down with snacks! I cannot even begin to guess how many plastic baggies we contribute to the local landfill per week, and not that my oldest is in preschool and having to bring a snack daily it's even more.

I recently came across this product called snackTaxi, which is simply a cotton pouch lined with a nylon material to hold sandwiched and snack. It comes in sandwich size and snack size and can be wiped clean or put in the dishwasher or washing machine. Most importantly, they are free of heavy metals and pthalates. They come in several different designs - check them out at snackTaxi and see them in action at Daily Grommet.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Earn Money From Shopping Online

I recently learned about this website, BigCrumbs, where you can find great shopping deals - coupons and discounts - from retailers we all love. You can sign up to earn commissions and you get paid every time you or someone you refer makes a purchase - forever.  Big Crumbs connects you to hundreds of great deals at places you already shop online, even Ebay. To learn more and join, for FREE, click the link above or click the Big Crumbs button link on the right column. Someone I know made about $1200 last year from Big Crumbs! I joined - can't beat free money! Check it out.  Earn extra online just for shopping...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Parenting Help - Virtual Parenting - Cool Gift

I just happened to be browsing what's new at one of my favorite online shopping sites, Spoon Sisters, and saw this hilarious Control A Kid - Remote Control and had to post about it.  When you've exhausted all other options to control your little angel, reach for this remote control  - virtual parenting at the touch of a button.  Parenting help the way we wish it was - buttons include be quiet, stop, no, do homework, eat greens, say please and more.

While you're there, check out the "Mute Button Pacifier Holder" - my little one has a pacifier that says "mute button" right on it and I think it's very appropriate.  While I'm on the subject, I must say - to anyone who's interested - that at three months shy of her 3rd birthday, my youngest finally (almost completely) gave up her pacifier.  She only uses it now to sleep, nap, or when in the car and never asks for it otherwise.  She told me the other day that she's ready to give her "fipis" (that's what we call them) to other babies who don't have their own - how cute!  We decided we'll give them to the Switch Witch along with her candy on Halloween night and then she'll get an extra special gift in exchange the following morning.

How To Create A Photo Display

If you're like me, you have tons and tons of pictures of your kids and family.  Don't know what to do with them, but want to display them?  I compiled a few tips and tricks on creating a photo display in a recent article, "Wall Decor - Photo Display".  Whether you have a small spot on a wall or a large open wall space, there's a way to artistically display your treasured photographs.  Just remember, try to maintain uniformity if using multiple frames - they don't all have to be the same, bu they should be similar, and they do not have to cost a lot.  There are a lot of inexpensive frames at places like Target or on that function perfectly when used in a photo display.  Check out the article link above for great design ideas.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gag Gifts & Funny Gift Ideas

I previously mentioned World Wide Fred (aka Fred and Friends) as a source of cool gadgets and gag type gifts.  Well, I recently realized that Amazon sells these items by fred and friends, and many of them are eligible for Amazon's FREE supersaver shipping (minimum $25 purchase is all you need to get FREE shipping).  I know it's only September, but some of us (you know who you are!) are already thinking about, and shopping for, holiday gifts.  This type of product also makes great birthday gifts.  Check out the link above!  Thanks for visiting today!

Wide Calves?

I have never been able to wear knee-high boots, due to my calves being wide - and, well, I grew up in South Florida where the need for high boots was just not there.  Those of you who know me know that I LOVE shoes, and not having ever been able to wear stylish high boots always bothered me.

I thought I'd post this for anyone else who has a similar problem.  I discovered this site,, a couple of years ago and was elated.  I immediately searched their site and found a great selection of stylish boots for wide calves.  I ordered right away even though it was off-season.  They arrived and they fit great, so on the closet shoe shelf they went, waiting for the right day...

Then I got pregnant with #2.  Unlike with my first pregnancy, this time my feet grew almost an entire size!  Needless to say, I never got a chance to wear the boots :-(  Now I'm back in Florida and never put anything on my feet other than flip flops - even in the dead of winter -so it may be a while before I order my next pair of boots, but I know I will eventually - I just can't resist.  Hopefully this info will help someone else in need - of wide calf boots, that is!  Many of widewidth's boots and more are available at Amazon - I featured many of them in my latest hub article, Wide Calf Boots.

To see the great selection at Amazon, click here:  wide width boots

Ever wonder what the heck the "Disney Vault" is?

Well, let me start off by saying that it's not a vault at all - it's a process - and it will be re-releasing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on October 6, 2009 (Blu-ray & DVD Two-Disc Combo) and on November 29, 2009 for the DVD by itself.

Want to read more fascinating facts about the Disney Vault?  Read my article, "Snow White DVD Is Out Of The Disney Vault..." , then go to Amazon - through my site (please), if you wish to support my efforts :-) - and pre-order your copy now before it's too late!

By the way, in addition to Snow White, I just added pretty much every Barbie movie there is to my Amazon aStore (at right) as they are all so enjoyable.  If you haven't yet had the pleasure of watching any of the Barbie films, I highly recommend starting with Barbie as The Princess and the Pauper - the music is the best!  My girls can't get enough of Barbie movies - and Barbie as the Three Musketeers, the latest release, can be pre-ordered - it will be available on September 15th.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What I want now ... for my kids

Yesterday I finished my holiday shopping.  I know - WHAT??  We have two roof leaks in my living room and it's going to take some bucks to fix so I was budgeting and decided to avoid the holiday craziness and stress and just get it all now so I know what my budget looks like for the rest of the year and I can figure out how I'm going to pay for this dang roof repair!  Get on with it, you say?

We are traveling across country for Christmas this year and I came across these LeapFrog toys that stood out to me as having great potential as travel toys for my girls. 

They are the LeapFrog Scribble & Write, where the child traces the lights to get practice drawing simple shapes and pictures, then graduates to learning upper- and lowercase letters with step-by-step guidance...

...and the LeapFrog Text & Learn, which lets little learners play in a grown-up way! Children can exchange text messages with their puppy pal Scout and more in the pretend browser mode. Other learning modes offer practice with letter matching, shape identification and QWERTY keyboard navigation through silly animations and sound effects.

You can check these out in my Amazon store, at right, or check out my new page on LeapFrog Toys for Kids and LeapFrog Toys for Babies & Toddlers.

Monday, August 31, 2009

eeBoo Tell Me a Story

Thanks, Megan, for bringing the Tell Me a Story cards from eeBoo to my attention!  I'm sure the concept isn't new, but I haven't come across one like this before.  It's an imaginative pre-reading activity for the young children and adults. Contains 36 3"x4" different images and props to spur creative storytelling.  Instructions include a variety of games and activities.  Includes: packs of 5 per style and a sliding tray box for easy storage.  Four styles available, chose from Fairytale Mix-up, Mystery in the Forest, Little Robot's Mission, or Circus Animal's Adventure.

At bed time, my 4 year old loves to tell us stories she makes up "on the fly" and it's so much fun to watch and hear.  I'm sure she will love these story cards and I look forward to more wonderful stories from her!  You can buy them through the link above or visit my new Amazon store, on right.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I made the cut!

I know this has nothing to do with shopping, but I'm so excited that I just had to post this here, too:

I just found out that I've been selected out of 2000+ articles to the top ten list of HubNugget Wannabes on HubPages! What a great week - found out I'm officially cancer-free, made my first Amazon commission, had my ovaries removed and now HubNugget Wannabe contender! Sorry if I'm going over board here, just haven't had a good week like this in over a year and it feels real good. I would appreciate your votes should you peruse my article, Parenting Help - How to Teach Your Child to Say I'm Sorry, and feel it's worthy ... here's the link to vote for my article. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Go Go Babyz

Traveling with baby or toddler? Looking for a way to lighten the load? Check out the Go-Go Kidz Travelmate(you can see it in my Store, on right, or click on the link below.) The Go-Go Kidz Travelmate makes traveling with toddlers a breeze! The Go Go Kidz Travelmate is a convenient and safe attachment for a variety of convertible/toddler car seats. Instead of carrying your car seat and child through an airport, they can now be wheeled through a crowd! The Travelmate is easily mounted or removed and it allows one hand to be free. It features 5” razor wheels and telescopic handle, and weighs 5 lbs. The quick release wheels provide extra clearance for storage and smaller x-ray machines. It attaches to airplane seats without having to remove anything, too. I just sold my two because my girls are getting old enough now that they won't be traveling with their cars seats any longer, but we used our many times - every time we traveled and they were completely indispensable!

MoMa Design Store

The MoMA Design Store (Museum of Modern Art) sells so many cool products...recently I came across this cool item - it's a light switch rack - you attach it right over an existing light switch cover and it contains two knobs on the bottom that can function as key holders and the top can hold mail or anything of the sort. I thought it was cool, along with many other products they sell. Check it out here. All purchases support the Museum of Modern Art.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ebay Shopping

If you are or ever have been an eBay shopper, like me, you know how anxious you can get when that auction nears the end and you end up being outbid in the last few minutes ..... so frustrating. Well, if you've never heard of Auction Sniper, you need to check it out - my father-in-law actually introduced me to it over a year ago and I signed up. When you join, you get free introductory try-it-out "snipes", no cost and no strings. Actually, I'm posting this today because I just won an auction this afternoon that I sniped. How it works: Find a product you really want on eBay, copy the item number, determine what the most you will pay for the item will be, then simply enter that information at Auction Sniper, after logging in, of course. Their server will snipe eBay just a few seconds before the auction ends, so you can rest easy. Sure, it's not guaranteed, but as far as my experience goes, the only time you won't win the auction is if you're outbid. I have won every auction that I have sniped. Check it out here or the links above and get your free try-it-out snipes - no catch - then get shopping and winning on eBay!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Looking for simple recipes?

Those of you who know me know that I'm not much of a cook, but I can follow a recipe! I published a couple of articles with some of my favorite simple, delicious ones. One contains three different tomato recipes, one has three great lasagna recipes (gotta give a shout-out to my good friend Jen for the Tex-Mex slow cooker one - everyone LOVES it, and the other is for my super-duper easy and delicious meatloaf - this is my favorite (see picture)! You can click the highlighted words to go to the articles or you can click here to see see all my articles.

More shopping to come...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Looking for great books for children?

I've compiled a list of my and my kids' favorite books from babyhood to toddler-hood - check out my favorites list here.

Find Coupon Codes

Worth a mention: Before I buy anything online, I always try and find discount codes first. It doesn't always work, but I've gotten pretty lucky with Retail Me Not. This site has saved me a lot of money!

Honorable Mentions

Buy these now! Look at this price! If only I had a place for these..... Sprout Bottle Vases from for $2.50 & $3.95!! I take that back - I found a place and just purchased them! Lots of great deals can be found on the sale pages at CB2, check it out.

Salt Water Canvas has perfect beach bags .... I went to the beach recently with my two daughters and I had a ridiculous number of bags for everything - towels, toys, change of clothes, sunscreen, my car keys and wallet, snacks, hats - did I mention snacks and more snacks? There just had to be a better way, I thought to myself. I found the answer! The Whale Bag from Salt Water Canvas. It is perfect - big enough for everything we need - it has tons of well-sized compartments and the material is screen-like and is super strong and durable and, best of all, the sand just falls through the tiny holes (but nothing else falls through!). I love all the color combinations, too, they are so fun! I bought the Salsa & Chartreuse Whale bag and since they were having a special promotion at the time, I got to choose another whale bag for free! I chose the Yellow with Kelly Green. Right now they are having a 30% off summer promotion with $5 shipping no matter how many you buy (well, they are limiting it to 8).

I must give a SHOUT OUT to my stay at home mommy friends (working mommy friends, please don't take offense!) and tell you about a new book by Dr. Laura Schlessinger called In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms. I don't know about you, but I sometimes feel like I'd be better off going back to work because the kids are driving me crazy, but Dr. Laura helps remind me why I'm doing this and it's a nice pick-me-up! I recently found this book at Borders on the Bargains table for $4.98!!

Everyone has already heard of Zappos, right? I'm pretty sure you have, but I like it so much that I just have to mention it here. I love shoe shopping at Zappos - the site is very user friendly and the search options are great, especially when you are looking for something very specific, stylewise. Their customer service is terrific and they offer free shipping (usually) and free return shipping, so you can't go wrong! I recently needed to find shoes to match a dress for an upcoming party and I ordered 8 pair with free shipping, tried them all on to see what worked and I sent back 5 for free (sorry Zappos - Love you!). It's like having the shoe department come to your house!

Want to find something cool? Original? Different? and Affordable? Then you should check out Fred & Friends. Fred says it best (from website): "...I have travelled the four corners of the globe in search of truth, justice, and the ultimate in style. Stuff that works, puts a smile on your face, and doesn't cost a fortune. I'm Fred. Why not let me into your home? I promise to help around the house..." I'm currently craving the Bloom clip light and the M-cups - measuring cups that stack inside each other like one of those Russian stacking dolls! Check out the hundreds of great products Fred has to offer!

Back to school time!

Mabels Labels has a large selection of labels for all those things on your kids' supply list. They have labels for everything from clothes and shoes to bags, lunch gear and stickers for toys, dishes, bottles and more. You can purchase just one type or in specially packaged sets. They also sell these great "My 411 Wristbands" which can be customized with names, phone numbers, allergies and/or other special needs a child may have - great for field trips, amusement parks, or everyday.

The Foogo Straw Bottle Thermos is leak-proof and made from BPA free materials. It is dishwasher safe, keeps liquids cool for 12 hours, and has a hygienic push button lid with pop-up silicone straw. It's made to be kid-proof - has an unbreakable stainless steel interior and the exterior withstands daily wear and tear and is only $14.98 at WalMart!

These Crocodile Creek lunchboxes are adorable. They are padded, insulated, 100% Phthalate PVC free, and they wipe clean with a damp cloth. Amazon has a great selection of these in many different colors and themes and they're between $13-$15.

The Ultimate Green Store has all things green! I love the Kleen Kanteen Reusable Water Bottles and check out the Bento Lunch Box Sets - its sturdy containers keep food from getting squished and it fits in most backpacks or you can purchase a carrying case separately, or purchase the whole thing as a kid - several designs & colors available.

Let's get organized!

Since I'm always trying to get my life organized, I must mention Neat Receipts. This product is for those of us (yes, I am one!) who hoard receipts and business cards and such - or for those of you who just want a better way to organize it all. These small scanners use technology to read and extract key information from your paper, so you can organize it, export it, or securely store it in their easy-to-use database system. You can get a mobile scanner or a desktop scanner, but you can use the mobile one as a desktop as well (and it takes up much less of a footprint)! It is available for Windows as well as for Mac. The price is a little on the high side, but isn't being organized worth it? More organization = less stress, right?

See Jane Work is a great web store for all things office and organizing. You can find so many things here - from pen pockets (love these!), paper clips and holders, and cool page tabs, to cool chalkboard decals and overnight and laptop bags. They have a lot of great ideas for you or to give as gifts. I love this: there's a kit you can buy called Habit.Former ($6) that is designed to help you organize your life and make order a part of your daily routine in 30 days. I really should try it out!

Holiday Ideas - Why not start early?

I first saw this Christmas-Tree-In-A-Box at Spoon Sisters last year and wanted it but it was sold out everywhere. It's very cutesy and seems like it would be a fun decoration for an entryway or side table - and it's just $14.95. While you're there, browse this site and you're sure to find lots of cool, fun stuff - like the Baker's Edge Brownie Pan, for those of you (like me) who LOVE the edges and corners of brownies!

Shutterfly is my favorite site for creating photo projects, especially photo books. Their program for creating the books far exceeds others I have tried with so many layouts and backgrounds! I began creating photo books for every 6 months worth of pictures rather than buying costly photo albums and pay for prints. Not to mention, the photo books take up much less space on my already crowded bookshelf! Another thing I like to create on this site is ornaments - every year I create a ceramic ornament with a picture of each daughter - one for each - to hang on our Christmas tree. My thought is to give each daughter all of her ornaments (18 years worth?) when she's an adult and hopefully it will be something special that she hangs on her own tree. Is that corny? Maybe, but I like it. I also like the photo coasters - they make terrific grandparent gifts, as do the small photo books and picture mugs!

Looking for a cute grandparent gift? Flipclips. This is a great idea - turn your digital video clips into these adorable and fun flip books. I've made at least 3 of these and they really are fun - everyone who sees them loves to flip through them. They start at just $4.99 and are super easy to create. The website offers great tips and instruction and walks you through every step. My parents loved getting these little books of their grandchild when they lived 3000 miles away. These are also great coffee table books!

Baby & Kid Related:

Ticche & Bea ~ I have wanted to do this for a long time. Ticche & Bea make baby size (and larger) memory quilts. You can cut up pieces of your baby's clothes and have a quilt made from them or you can even create a grown-up version from t-shirts! I have a couple of large bins of baby clothes from each of my girls that I couldn't stand to part with. I have always thought it would be great if I could make a quilt out of their baby clothes. The best part? It's actually reasonably priced! You buy a kit which includes everything you need to make the quilt as well as detailed instructions. Even better - if you don't want to sew it yourself, you can send the cut squares and kit back to them and they'll do it for you, for an extra fee, of course! You can also pay a little more and send them the clothes and THEY will cut out the squares for you! I can't wait to do this.

Jan Brett is a children's book author. On her website you can choose from tons of wonderful black & white illustrations from her books and print them out for your kids to color!

Nashelle has beautiful jewelry, specifically worth mentioning here are the initial pendants. I had wanted charms that were simple and had either my daughters names or initials on them for the longest time. Most of the ones that I found were either too pricey or they were sterling silver or some other material that required maintenance (I do not like to polishing jewelry)! Nashelle's customer service was great, too - I ordered two of the "identity" initial charms with my daughter's names on each. They're 14 carat gold fill - NOT plated - so virtually maintenance free - they can be worn in the shower! I love them and they go with everything! UPDATE: enter promo code "hotmama" at checkout to receive 10% off.

Patemm Pad is a beautiful, compact, practical and smart solution for on-the-go diaper changing. I've had mine for years and still use it all the time. I keep it in the back of my car and change my daughter's diaper there every time we're out - check out the website to see how stylish they are. These make a great shower gift.

The Zipbin is describe as "The toy chest that's also a toy". This is a great toy storage solution that parent and child will both appreciate and love. It comes in regular and mini sizes. The material is very sturdy and it has a carry handle and lid; it unzips at all 4 corners and turns into a play mat. There are many different designs to choose from, from fairy castle, to road and rail (we have this one), fairy castle, dinosaur playscape, farm and more. You can store toys inside the bin when it's zipped up and when play time is done, just zip up with toys inside and all is nice and neat! And also can be folded flat to fit inside it's lid for storage when not in use. Also comes in a mini size which would be terrific for travel!

Goodnitelite offers an innovative solution for parents who's kids get out of bed way too early. The goal is to teach kids to stay in bed until it is morning. It is a combination of a nightlight and a timer that changes the visual display to either a sun or moon to teach kids "day" and "night". Best of all, YOU choose the time you want the sun and moon to be displayed - just don't expect your little one to stay in bed until noon just because you programmed the sun to shine at that time!

Cool Home Decor

Magnetic Trimmings is a really neat idea for decorating. They make magnetic charms that will instantly attach to most metal objects (think lamps, sconces, chandeliers, candle holders...) to dress them up. They have so many different designs, from classical "crystal" shapes to fun fruits and lots of fun holiday related trimmings. My dining room chandelier is dressed up with these and I love how it looks!

I love those removable wall decals that everywhere lately, but they won't work anywhere in my house because we have "knock-down" walls - texture. The decals won't stay unless you have a flat surface. The answer is Tatouage Designs! I've used these many times over the years and they are very easy to apply - just rub on with a "popsicle" stick that comes with them and -voila! - it looks like someone hand painted it on your surface. When my oldest daughter was born, my mom hand painted roses on her nursery walls and loved it, but is was not easy, especially on my mom's back. When we moved, I wanted to recreate her nursery and I used tatouage instead for the flowers and everyone who sees it thinks I hand painted her room!

What's this all about?

Over the years, I've found and purchased a lot of cool items and lots of people have asked me where I find so many neat things. I tell them that I spend too much time shopping online and just come across a lot of great stuff. My sister has told me over and over that I should start my own blog for my friends and family with links to cool shopping items or sites. Well, here's my attempt at it. I'm still learning, so don't judge too harshly! Check back often for updates and please share it with your friends and family...