June 29, 2012

Munchkin Bunch Contest and Scholarship


We're pretty big fans of Munchkin products over at Mommy Testers headquarters.  Our all time favorite is the Snack Catcher.  I won't tell you how many we own between all the mommies, but I can say it's an embarrassingly large number.   In fact, I think it's actually quite hard to have a child and NOT own a Munchkin product... or seven.

So, when we heard about the Munchkin Bunch contest it seemed like the responsible thing to do was spread the word.  If you're reading this then you probably either have a super cute child of your own or know someone who does.

You're probably also familiar with just how much stuff those adorable tiny people go through in their first few years of life!  Until July 23 you can nominate your little munchkin for the Munchkin Bunch class of 2013.

If your child is selected for the Class of 2013 they will receive a monthly shipment of age appropriate products like diaper pails, safety gates, travel items, bath toys and feeding items over a six month period.  Pretty sweet huh?

It gets better!  When they graduate from the Munchkin Bunch Class of 2013 they will receive a $1000 scholarship to put towards their college fund.  I have spent a lot of time obsessing about college savings and can tell you that getting a head start while your kids are young will make a world of difference later on!

So, let me seriously suggest that you head over to Munchkin's Facebook page right here:  Munchkin Bunch Contest and upload a picture of your favorite little person.  You can then rally your friends and tell them to vote for your munchkin!

I and the other mommies wish you the best of luck and can't wait to see all of your cuties!

-Jillian

June 28, 2012

Tegu Blocks Building Contest & Giveaway

tegu blocks review tegu explorer tegu building contest tegu giveaway
A Technicolor Donkey - he was REALLY tall and our kids loved him!

Recently our friends at Tegu asked us to participate in the Tegu Summer Building Contest to launch the new Endeavor and Explorer block sets.  We were pretty excited because these new sets have a bunch of new shapes to take your building experience to the next level.

Tegu sent us the Explorer set to see what we could come up with. Since the blocks are actually magnetic they stick together allowing you to create far more interesting things than regular wooden blocks.

Clearly we had animals on the brain because we wound up creating a Tegu Block menagerie with our kids who insisted we add googly eyes to all the animals to help them see.



We entered our "Technicolor Donkey" into the building contest. If you like our creations then we hope you'll head on over to Tegu's website and vote for us in the Summer Building Contest by leaving a comment with "Mommy Testers"  If you do, you'll be entered to win your own Tegu Explorer or Endeavor set.

If Mommy Testers wins the building contest then we get to spread the love even more and give away a $300 Tegu Block bundle to our readers....now how fun would that be ?!?! You can cast your vote by commenting with "Mommy Testers" on Tegu's blog here: Cast your vote! 



tegu blocks review tegu explorer tegu building contest tegu giveaway
Swan Lake done Tegu Style

tegu blocks review tegu explorer tegu building contest tegu giveaway
Here's our wild west Rattlesnake hanging out with Cacti and Tumbleweeds

If you're feeling like you must have some of these blocks, you're probably right and we've got some help for you - Tegu is offering our readers a 20% discount off all their products with the code TEGUMOMTEST


June 26, 2012

Lunchbox Love - The name says it all

We always think our way of putting love in our kids' lunchboxes is through organic strawberries, dinosaur shaped sandwiches and overall well balanced meals.   I can personally remember the day that my mother sent me to school with a complete color drawing of Snufalufagus on my brown paper bag and that was twenty something years ago!
lunchbox love lunchbox love review notes for lunch lunchbox love for camp

This got me thinking - what could I do to put a little extra sweetness in my daughter's lunch without adding actual sweets?  I don't believe in putting sugary treats in lunches and actually lots of schools forbid it these days.

While I wish I possessed the art skills and the time my mother had to create such elaborate displays of lunch time affection the reality is I have neither.  So when I found Lunchbox Love I had to share! 

lunchbox love lunchbox love review notes for lunch lunchbox love for camp
Lunchbox Love are clever little notes that you can stick in your child's lunchbox or bag to give them a little reminder that you're thinking of them.  They're fairly inexpensive at $2.99 for pack of 12 and much cuter than what I might scrawl on a Post-it note on my own.  Lunchbox Love sent me some of their sweet notes and I decided to try them out with Kayla.

Kayla is only 3 so I had to stick with the more simple phrases like the note pictured above.  She can read "I love you" from lots of practice at Valentine's Day but there are plenty of cards with a little more to them.

lunchbox love lunchbox love review notes for lunch lunchbox love for camp
Lunchbox Love also has a camp version called Lunchbox Love for Camp.  You can use these to sneakily enclose notes sporadically packed in your child's belongings for sleepaway camp - I would hide them in folded socks, between the pages of a Summer reading book and send them in letters and care packages.

If you have a day camper then you can stick them right in their lunchbox like I did for Kayla.  Their positive messages encourage kids  to believe in themselves and to make good choices when encountering tricky social situations. 

You can purchase Lunchbox Love and their variety of options for kids, campers and even grown ups (stick one in your spouse's lunch or wallet) right here: Purchase Lunchbox Love

-Jillian

June 24, 2012

Piggy Paint - No fumes, just fun

Our pedicure kit for the kid testers
Recently my daughter Kayla developed an intense interest in nail polish.  She had been asking me about my "pink toes" and chatting up any cashier who had interesting nail art.  I have never performed a manicure or pedicure on myself or anyone else but after days of hearing "Mommy can I please have nail polish on my toes, pleeeeease!"  I broke down and decided to make my first attempt on Kayla's little toes. 

I took her out to our backyard, sat her on a lounge chair and produced a bottle of the only color I've ever used, Essie Fiji. I went to work trying to paint those teeny tiny toe nails while Kayla watched in pure delight.  A few seconds into painting she said "Mommy, what's that SMELL?"

I had been so focused on trying to do a good job on her toes that I had forgotten about the awful and intense odor that nail polish gives off, especially to a tiny little nose that has never smelled the inside of a nail salon.  I immediately felt pangs of mommy guilt and embarrassment for exposing her to those fumes.

Frustrated and still feeling quite stupid for not thinking about this before offering to paint her nails I started searching for non-toxic nail polish and that is when I found Piggy Paint.

Piggy Paint is made especially for little girls (or boys!) and unlike those kits you find in some stores that are "kid nailpolish" because they have licensed characters on them but are still filled with toxic junk, Piggy Paint was created because of the exact scenario I explained above.  The nail polish is water based rather than solvent based, hypoallergenic and gives off very little odor.

If you're questioning whether you should consider using a water based nail polish then take a look at this picture in which you can see the solvent based nail polish eating through a foam plate - how disturbing is that??

I reached out to the folks at Piggy Paint to see if they would let us test out their nail polish with our girly kid testers and have a mani-pedi party and they happily agreed.  We mommies set up a mini spa for the girls and got to work soaking their little hands and toes, and letting them attempt to file their own nails.

We did the actual nail painting inside to see if we would encounter fumes and you really had to stick your nose directly up to the bottle to smell anything at all.  Even then it smelled nothing like conventional nail polish.

Piggy Paint doesn't last quite as long as regular nail polish but seriously, what 5 year old needs the staying power of a gel manicure?    It's pretty much a guarantee that your child will want to change up their polish color or design before it chips away.

Piggy Paint comes in a rainbow of colors and they make their own nail polish remover which is also far less harsh or fume filled than conventional polish remover.

There are also nail polish pens for less mess and more independence for older kids as well as some neat nail art appliqu├ęs.  Quite frankly we're considering sneaking in some piggy paint time when the kids are asleep!

You can purchase Piggy Paint directly on their site as well as find retailers right here:  Shop Piggy Paint

-Jillian
Piggy Paint Review , Piggy Paint Non Toxic Nail Polish

June 21, 2012

Zoku - Lightning Fast Popsicles

We're all looking for ways to battle the Summer heat and here is our favorite fun way to do so!  The Zoku has been a staple in our homes for a while now but it is surprising how many people have never heard of it! 
Making popsicles back when we were kids was fun but it required HOURS of waiting for them to freeze and getting lectured for opening the freezer countless times to check their progress....boo!

The Zoku changes all of that.  You freeze the actual unit ahead of time.  Be sure to do this before you reveal to your kids that you plan to make these treats because it needs to sit overnight.  

Once the  base is frozen you can use fresh juice and fruit to create all kinds of healthy and fun ice pops.  You insert the sticks, pour juice up to the fill line and stick it back in the freezer for 7 - yes just 7 minutes..which is enough time to get the kids to do a chore (faster than you have ever seen it done before) and voila - you have ready to eat popsicles without all the added sugars and chemicals of store bought ones.

Removing the pops is relatively easy if you read the instructions.  You screw the orange "Super Tool" into the popsicle sticks until they start to pull out of the mold and then you just lift up and unscrew the tool.  An 8 year old can probably do this alone but a 4 year old will need some help. 

Feeling extra creative like one of our Mommy Testers who puts the rest of us to shame constantly?  There are several accessory options out there to enhance the experience.  Like the Zoku Tools set which lets you insert fillings, add fruit shapes and create multi-colored pops.

There is even a Character Kit for creating super hero, animal and people pops.  For those of you who are creatively impaired in the kitchen (like this Mommy Tester) Zoku has created a Recipe Book that even Martha Stewart would have to give props to!

The Zoku and any of the accessories make an awesome hostess gift if you are visiting a friend with children.  It makes a summer day so much better and provides lots of fun when the kids are off from school for those long months!

It is definitely more pricey than your traditional popsicle sets at about $49.99 but for amount of use it gets we think it is an item to splurge on.  Think about how happy you will be when your kids are eating fresh strawberry pops instead of ice cream for dessert!

You can find the Zoku , the Character Kit , The Zoku Tools and Recipe Book right here:  Zoku  Character Kit  Zoku Tools  Recipe Book

Mixed Up Clothing - The Romper Done Right

Rompers have been very relevant on the fashion scene for a while but truthfully none of us mommies have been engaging in that trend.  Call us cowards but we think some things are just better left to the kids...like tie dye and animal print leggings!
Mixed Up clothing review

However, that hasn't stopped us from putting rompers in their rightful places, on the bodies of adorable little girls.

It's always a battle finding  cute kid's clothes that manage to tick all the boxes for design, quality, originality, fit and kid appeal.   Thanks to  Rachel Florio-Urso (the fairy godmother of baby chic) we found all of that in Mixed Up Clothing.
mixed up clothing mommy testersmixed up clothing review
Their rompers come in exciting patterns and the simple shapes make them practical and easy to wear.

All of the Mixed Up Clothing designs are multi ethnic and inspired by the different textiles and cultures from around the world.  We like that each item has it's own cultural story and we can't get over the well edited choices of prints.

Here is our kid tester rocking her Mexican inspired romper! It was her absolute favorite from Mixed Up Clothing's online boutique.

We love the colorful print and breezy fabric for summer days at the park and birthday parties.  The adjustable shoulder ties also allow for an extended life if your kids grow like weeds, we know ours do!

You can find these rompers and many more along with some cute dresses on Mixed Up Clothing's online boutique right here:  Shop Mixed Up Clothing 

June 20, 2012

Kiwi Crate June Box - Busy with Bugs

Okay, an almost Wordless Wednesday.  We're going to demonstrate just how easy and straightforward Kiwi Crate projects are by only using pictures below to show you the activity we did this week from our June Kiwi Crate.

We're pretty confident that you'll get the gist and realize that they would make an excellent source of entertainment this Summer when you are just DONE coming up with things to keep your kids busy!



This sweet little activity provided well over an hour of fun and Kayla, pictured above was very upset to hear that she couldn't have her creation sleep in her bed.  He acted as a night light instead.  Nope, this isn't our review of Kiwi Crate but *hint* - expect one soon.  

If you have a child age 3-7 then take advantage of Kiwi Crate's 15,000 fan celebration going on and get $5 off your first crate or a celebration shop purchase using the code 15KFAN (it expires today!) right here: Kiwi Crate  unlike a lot of other subscription sites Kiwi Crate doesn't do promos often so we used it too! 

June 18, 2012

SwimZip - Extend your day at the beach

Living in San Diego sun protection is constantly on my mind.  It's not a seasonal thought, it's a year round issue.  To complicate things, I've got a little fashionista on my hands.   My 3 year old daughter Kayla has recently developed an opinion of her own when it comes to clothing and that includes swimwear.  It's probably my fault as a veteran of the fashion industry, but don't tell my husband I admitted that.

Swim Zip review Swim Zip rash guard with Zipper Swim Zip giveaway

We have done nothing short of pure bribery to try to get her to wear a rash guard for the added protection from the sun and have struck out every single time.  So much so that I recently donated a pile of rejects because it was becoming more painful to try to convince her to wear one for more than ten seconds than to be a helicopter mom with the sunscreen.

Swim Zip review Swim Zip rash guard with Zipper Swim Zip giveaway



Each time I'd manage to get one over Kayla's big melon head (yes, my kid has one) she'd pretty much freak out and then we'd get to do the whole thing in reverse while she screeched until she was free from the rash guard.  So when I was contacted by Mompact to review SwimZip I was hesitant but excited to see that they offered rash guards that I thought were actually were cute since truthfully, most of the ones for girls I have seen are tacky looking.

Besides the aesthetic appeal what makes SwimZip so different is the zipper that runs the full length of the rashguard.  It got me thinking...if there wasn't a big head/small hole issue then perhaps I'd have a prayer of getting Kayla into it without me aging 3 years in the process.

I think you can tell from the pictures how this experiment in rash guard wearing went.  Kayla was hesitant when she first saw it, obviously traumatized from past experiences but when I showed her the zipper and the clever zipper garage to keep it from irritating her chin she was willing to try it on.  Five minutes later she was still wearing "My pretty ruffle swim shirt" and couldn't put her shoes on fast enough to get out the door to the beach.

Swim Zip review Swim Zip rash guard with Zipper Swim Zip giveaway



We spent a few hours there, Kayla got to spend some time in the water and enjoy the awesome playground that's right on the beach. I felt better about Kayla being in the sun with her back and shoulders covered.  I still slathered the rest of her body that was exposed in Babyganics Sunscreen before we left and reapplied while we were there but I found myself being less of the paranoid sunscreen wielding mother that I usually am and it was kind of nice for all parties involved!

SwimZip's UV 50+ fabric did it's job and Kayla came home minus any hint of browning or a burn on her and without desperately trying to remove the rash guard even once.  Quite frankly, I'm still in awe.

SwimZip has styles for boys and girls and sells for $14.99-29.99 If you have a little one who refuses to wear a rash guard I highly recommend you give them a try.  You can get your own SwimZip swimwear right here on their site:  Shop SwimZip

You can keep in touch with Swimzip and Mompact on Facebook right here: Mompact on Facebook , SwimZip on Facebook

-Jillian


June 13, 2012

The Stork is back! - Stork Stack Giveaway

We promised that the stork would return this week with a Stork Stack giveaway......we hope you thought about whether you would rather give a Shower Stack to a friend or get a Stork Stack for yourself.  
Stork Stack review giveaway june july august september



To enter to win a Stack or a Shower Stack just head back to our review of Stork Stack by clicking the link here: Stork Stack review and follow the instructions for the giveaway.....good luck, may the storks be with you!

June 12, 2012

Daddies Do It Different - Don't we know it!

They sure do!  If you're looking for a last minute Father's Day gift from your child to their dad then we've got it, giggles included.

Daddies Do It Different is a very sweet account of the ways moms and dad's do things differently from a little girl's perspective.  She takes you through the day, showing how mom would get her dressed in clothes that coordinate, meanwhile when dad helps her it's quite a different look.

A trip to the market with mommy involves sitting safely strapped into the shopping cart, reading nutritional labels and using coupons.  With daddy she talks about how they eat all the free food samples they can, he pushes the shopping cart like a race car driver and sticks things in his nose to make her laugh.

Later at the park her mom puts sunscreen on her face while her dad must show off his skills on the monkey bars resulting in an injury.  If your family functions anything like how some of ours do then a lot of these scenarios will resonate with you. 

When it happens in our own homes we're guilty of rolling our eyes at this behavior but the book speaks the truth, daddies definitely do it differently than we do but our kids love almost every minute of the chaos so this Father's Day we're going to embrace it and encourage it when we gift this book!

Daddies Do It Different retails for $16.99 and due to the time of year is sold out on Amazon.com but is available at Barnesandnoble.com or at some wonderful neighborhood stores.  If you are local to the San Diego area, we found this great book at Geppetto's in San Diego and Warwick's books in La Jolla.

June 11, 2012

Babychix - Babyopoly Anyone?


Father's Day is nearly here and naturally we have new daddies on our minds.  For the most part moms have all the fun with baby gear and dad's are usually just kind of along for the ride. In our experience most of them are focused more on the score of the game than the new hot stroller and all it's incredible mind blowing features. 

You can imagine our delight when we had this Babychix Babyopoly blanket sitting on a counter top and one of our husbands picked it up and said "Oh, this is really neat, I like this"  with zero prompting....jaw drop!

The Babyopoly swaddle blanket is obviously reminiscent of one of our favorite classic board games but instead of Park Place and Marvin Gardens you'll find things that only parents can relate to like  like Peek-a-boo Theater, Cuddle Me Field and Pacifier Place.  The Any Chance?  spots absolutely crack us up. 

It's soft, silky smooth and the graphics are printed with sublimation printing which means they are resistant to fading and won't flake away no matter how many times this blanket gets spit up on and subsequently washed.

The Babyopoly blanket sells for $29.99 and we think it makes a fantastic gift for any new dad or dad to be this Father's Day....who knows, it just might motivate them to change a few more diapers too!

You can get your Babyopoly blanket right here:  Shop Babychix
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