Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wow Wow Wubbzy Bounces Into Our Home

I'll admit we watch a lot of kid TV around here. While I miss watching Oprah or some other adult TV during the day, I refuse to let my girls watch commercials about Maury's shocking paternity test results show or personal injury lawyers. We stick to Noggin and Playhouse Disney, with a little PBS Kids thrown in, too.

If you haven't seen Wow Wow Wubbzy, you may not have a four year old. Cordy loves this show, and when it first came on the scene, I worried that it was a little too fluffy without much educational content to it. (Plus, the fast-paced bouncing Wubbzy can be a little overstimulating at times.) But after watching a few episodes, I realized that it was promoting a good social message about friendship and doing what's right.

I recently received a copy of the new DVD, Wow Wow Wubbzy: A Little Help from My Friends to review. The minute it came out of the package, Cordy was begging to watch it. This DVD is a collection of eight episodes, all with a focus on friendship. A few of my favorite episodes (yes, I have favorite episodes now - don't judge me) can be found on this DVD, like Mr. Cool, where Walden is taught how to be Saturday Night Fever "cool" with disasterous results. He later realizes that he only needs to be himself to be liked by others.

Cordy has problems with social interaction, and some of the lessons from Wubbzy have sunk in for her. When she realizes someone is sad, she calls it the "blooey blues" and she's learned that helping your friends can be fun.

I really like the DVD extras - if placed in your computer's DVD drive, you can access games and printable activity sheets. Both Cordy and Mira love the coloring sheets - I have yet to find a Wubbzy coloring book, but now I can print off coloring sheets as needed.

Wow Wow Wubbzy: A Little Help from My Friends is available at Amazon, currently on-sale for $11.49.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Reminders of Childhood with a Strawberry Scent

I don't remember many specific gifts that I received as a child. But one that sticks clearly in my head was a Strawberry Shortcake dollhouse I opened at Christmas when I was five years old. I loved Strawberry Shortcake and already owned a few of the fruit scented dolls. This home for them was the best gift a five year old girl could ever ask for.

(Actually, a few years ago I found my old Strawberry Shortcake dolls. You know what? They don't smell as good as I remember. More of a chemically strawberry scent, really.)

Strawberry Shortcake is now back for our daughters' generation. She's been given a makeover - the frilly pinafore dress is gone and hip shirts and pants are in - but her attitude has not changed. She still stands for friendship and being pretty on the inside.

PBN sent me one of the new Strawberry Shortcake DVDs - Happily Ever After - to review. I was thrilled to introduce a character from my childhood to my girls, and they quickly fell in love with the bright world and friendly characters.

Happily Ever After tells two classic fairy-tales, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel, althought the stories are slightly modified to fit the lessons being taught. I also think they modified the stories for the interests of little girls: Rapunzel isn't kidnapped to a tower, she goes willingly with her tutor to learn how to be a good princess without distractions. And Sleeping Beauty doesn't wake up with true love's kiss (because to a five year old? ewwww!), but instead is woken by the fairies when Brambleberry realizes she didn't give her friends a chance to explain why she didn't receive an invite to the party for the baby princess.

Both stories teach important lessons for young girls. Sleeping Beauty's lessons are that friends should be trusted and allowed to fully explain themselves to prevent miscommunication. How often did we experience fights with friends as a child due to perceived slights? And Rapunzel is about celebrating being yourself instead of trying to be someone you're not.

Seeing how I have two very independent girls, these are great lessons to reinforce for them. I don't think Cordy will have any trouble with staying true to herself, but remembering to commincate with friends to prevent misunderstandings is a huge lesson for her.

Overall, we really like Strawberry Shortcake: Happily Ever After and I think it will be a part of our DVD rotation for some time. Maybe I'll be buying Cordy her first fruit-scented doll soon? I only hope they've worked on the scent since the early 80's.

Want to win a copy of this DVD? Visit Parent Bloggers, where they're giving away two copies!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Valentine's Day Gift With Staying Power

Have you seen the crush of red and pink filling stores recently? I've never been one for pink, so I try to avoid the aisles of cheaply made stuffed animals, boxes of chocolates I've never heard of, and lots of perfumes that would make your nose hairs retreat.

In other words, a bunch of stuff you're likely to throw away months from now.

If you're looking for a gift that won't be forgotten by July 4, look no further than Planet Jill and their collection of beautiful photo jewelry. They have photo lockets, pendants, bracelets, and keychains - all elegant and available in a choice of silver or gold.

I wore my 2-piece engraved photo locket necklace to Blissdom this weekend, and I can't count the number of times people noticed my necklace and commented on how lovely it was. The photo I chose for this locket was of Cordy and Mira at Christmas, and I loved having that happy image so close to me while I was so far away from them.

If you have a guy who spends a lot of time on the road or at work, Planet Jill's keychain or cufflinks might be the perfect gift to remind him of his favorite people back at home.

Planet Jill also features home and office photo gifts, including trinket boxes, letter openers, magnets, and paperweights.

I can't say enough how much I love this necklace. The folks at Planet Jill took care of everything - all I had to do was e-mail them a photo and the initial to go on my locket. They took care of making the photo black & white and editing it to look best in the frame.

Planet Jill is offering readers $10 off your order by using the code mommyblog when checking out. Even if you've already got that Valentine's Day present all picked out, it's never too early to start shopping for Mother's Day, right?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A Better Wipe For Your Counters

There was a time when I believed that the only way to know something was truly clean was the scrub it down with some kind of cleaner that smelled harsh, had warnings about not touching your skin, and was completely toxic. That's the way my mom cleaned in the 80's, and anything else just didn't seem strong enough.

I've thankfully realized that not only are products like that bad for me, but they're also bad for the environment. Last year I had the chance to try out several of the Clorox Green Works products, and overall I was impressed with their cleaning ability and their non-toxic properties. I don't want my girls around something that will give off chemical fumes or leave a residue.

Mom Central recently sent me the newest product from the Clorox Green Works line - cleaning wipes. I've used wipes in the past, but gave them up after I had headaches from the smell and my skin was irritated from touching them. These, however, looked promising. No phosphorous or bleach is used, essential oils are included and the entire wipe is biodegradable. I couldn't wait to try them out.

My first impression of these wipes was how good they smelled! Seriously, after wiping down the kitchen counter I walked around smelling the scent left on my hands. I'm no good with placing scents, but it smells like some kind of citrus oil. They did a good job of removing the drops of grape jam my husband had left on the counter, too.

After using roughly half of the container, I'm still happy with this product. The smell is pleasant, it doesn't irritate my skin, and it does a good job cleaning up. I have no worries about my daughters coming in contact with these wipes, either. And when you're out of paper towels (like I was last week), these wipes can handle anything a paper towel and spray cleaner could handle.

I've never been all that excited about cleaning or cleaning products, but I have to give the Clorox Green Works wipes a gold star for ease of use and for being non-toxic. Anything that makes cleaning the kitchen or bathroom easy without knocking me out from strong fumes is a winner for me!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Parents Need Some Lovin' Too

Valentine's Day is just over a week away now. Remember when it used to be full of butterflies in the stomach, hoping for flowers, wondering if he'll take you out to dinner, and planning a special night that involved candlelight, satin sheets and a bottle of lube?

Sometimes I miss those days.

But now as parents, Valentine's Day is more about scrambling to make sure you bought enough valentines for your kid's class, buying cupcakes to bring in also so you don't look like the lame mom, expecting a card or some candy as a gift from your partner, and if you're lucky a quiet quickie at bedtime with your partner, hoping you won't wake the kids.

C'mon, ladies, it's time to bring some passion back into our sex lives! We're sexual beings - it's how we had our little demons angels to begin with, and we deserve to be sexually satisfied just as much as our childless friends.

To give you a head start, Eden Fantasys has given me a Kama Sutra Earthly Delights Gift Tin to pass along to one lucky reader. If you haven't seen Eden Fantasys before, they are an online retailer specializing in intimate gifts, sensual products, and adult toys that you'd never let your child see.

One thing I really like about Eden Fantasys is how tasteful their website is. With a bright, easy-to-navigate site, they showcase adult products in a way that doesn't make you feel the need to Lysol your keyboard afterward. Reviews are offered for many products, and every detail is provided to help you make the best purchase.

The Earthly Delights Gift Tin is filled with products to help bring some spice back to the bedroom. The set includes sweet almond massage oil, honey almond massage cream, the original oil of love, pleasure balm and sweet honeysuckle dust. While I've never tried out this particular set, I received a set of Kama Sutra products at my bridal shower years ago, and I remember that the honeysuckle dust was so amazingly sweet to taste. The massage cream is great for a post-work massage, whether you're planning a sexual rendezvous or not.

To make this giveaway fun, you have to share a little information with me. Leave a comment below telling me what was the most adventurous place you've ever had sex. If you're too shy to use your normal blog alias, leave an anonymous comment and then e-mail me to let me know it was you.

I'll get you started: it was outdoors at a campsite by the campfire, with a group of boy scouts one camp over.

Entries will be accepted until Sunday, February 8 at 11:59 pm EST. One winner will be chosen by random drawing after that date and contacted by e-mail - so be sure to include a valid e-mail address!

Good luck, and may we all get a great Valentine's Day gift this year!

This contest is now closed - thanks to all who participated!