Monday, July 25, 2011

Product Review: Gyrobowl

Please tell me I'm not the only person who has seen the commercial for Gyrobowl and thought, "That is SO COOL!"  It wasn't until my daughter was old enough to carry about her own snacks, but not old enough to balance the containers well enough to keep them from spilling that I finally broke down and ordered them.

I ordered them from their main website,  http://www.gyrobowl.com, taking advantage of their "buy one get one free" special.  Even though they said there would be a 3-week delay, they arrived within two weeks' time.

The one thing that happened that I did NOT like at all was they called me personally to tell me that they were on back-order (that's not the bad part) and then proceeded to try to sell me a membership in some money-saving club thing.  The girl talked SO FAST that I couldn't really grasp everything she was telling me, then she wanted me to verify my credit card number that I'd used to order the gyrobowls.  Ummm, no!!  I got off the phone with her, and then thought, "I better make sure they understand that I did NOT want to have my card charged for anything more than the gyrobowls."  I called them back, and actually got the same girl, and she assured me that I would get no other charges.  I kinda wish I had given her some friendly proper-customer-service advice, but I didn't.  (Don't hate me because I used to be a telemarketer!)

Sooooo, on to the review.....as you can see from the pictures below, the Gyrobowl is a great hit with my daughter!  It is, however, not entirely spill-proof.  The Very First Time she used it, she crammed her hand in the bowl which made the contents come up the sides and spill out. Other than that, as long as she shows a little bit of restraint, it does work quite well.




Disclaimer:  I was not compensated at all for this review.  All opinions are my own.
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Friday, July 22, 2011

In search of baby-friendly cups!

  Pictured above are just a FEW of the MANY cups I have bought for my daughter over the past year or so.

The three in front on the left with the hard spout and handles would probably work well now, but when I started Gracie on drinking from a cup, she had a hard time sucking on that hard spout.  Also, the valves were rather leaky.  When she first learned how to use a straw (just after she turned one), I got the cups in the back that have the straw.  She LOVED them!  The problem was that she also loved to play with them.  Rather than calmly drinking from it, she would make exciting discoveries such as, "Wow! I can take the straw out!  And when I shake it or turn it upside down, my drink comes out, too!"


 
I found these great cups (Nuby brand) to replace the ones with the hard spouts.  Gracie had a much easier time sucking on these soft spouts.  They are valve-free and are spill-proof!  Well, mostly!  If the bottle is, for example, upside-down in a car seat or a diaper bag and the spout is bent, then the liquid will drip out.  I started Gracie on these at about 6 months and we still use them a year later!  I primarily fill these with water.  I also have one (not pictured) that is similar that has a straw.

You probably also noticed the cute name labels!  I ordered these through Inchbug.


 
Once I started Gracie on milk (at a year old), I quit using her regular bottles (Gerber), and searched for something that was all-in-one (no valves or nooks and crannies) so that it would be easy to clean.  Nothing grosser than icky dried-up nasty milk residue!  These Ziploc cups have worked out great!  UPDATE:  I really do not like the lids on these.  I began using a different kind that is similar to this, Take & Toss cups, shown below:






My daughter is now (November 2014) almost five years old, and, besides regular cups (and special cups with straws), we use these the most, especially for when we go somewhere or early in the morning when she's too sleepy to pay attention.  They are easy to get on and off.  Since Gracie is older, there's not as much of a worry if she turns it upside down and drips all of the liquid out.  I downsized down to five cups and that's just perfect for now.


I found these cute little guys in the juice aisle.  They actually come with packs of juice and you screw these toppers onto it.  I like it in that it is spill-proof, BUT if they are dropped in just the right way (which, of course, toddlers have a special gift of doing!), the top comes right off.  If it had a taller screw-on part with more threads, it would stay better.  I don't really like to give her juice that much, anyway.  I did keep a couple of the container parts for when I want to give her something using these toppers.  They also have Clifford the Big Red Dog and Thomas the Train.  I forget the brand name.


 I picked these up to use for Gracie's Valentine's Day and Easter gifts.  The Snoopy one came from Walgreen's and the straw one came from Target. Strictly for fun.  The Snoopy one did light up by pushing a button on the bottom.  It eventually got stuck in "on" mode and stayed that way for several days before the battery ran out.  Now it's a dishwasher-safe cup!


I bought these from Walgreen's a couple of years ago to give to my Sunday School class.  I no longer teach that class, but I kept these extra cups.  They were super cheap.  Gracie loves to take them and fill them with water from our water cooler.  Actually, anything that resembles a cup or water vessel is fair game for the water cooler.  (We still use these 3 years later as well as similar cups that we have collected at restaurants.)


Here are a couple of my favorite cups.  My husband is somewhat of a germaphobe, and he became very concerned that Gracie and other children in our church's nursery would drink out of each other's sippy cup.  He told me to "find something so unique that could be customized so that EVERYBODY would know it's hers," and he also said, "I don't care how much it costs!"  Searching on Amazon, I found these two Create-My-Own Cups -- one with a straw that can be hidden away and one with a regular spout. They both come with several pieces of paper that can be put under the outer layer (easy to do).  Some are coloring pages and some are blank.  I created my own on the computer using a picture of Gracie and her name in large print.  I went to my local Knowledge Tree to have the labels laminated.  The cups are dishwasher-safe, BUT the labels, even laminated, are NOT.  So, I take the labels out each time I wash the cups.  It works great both functionally and for the primary reason for getting it:  all of the workers know which one is hers and several of the other children know that it's hers as well.  Now they just have to keep an eye out to make sure she doesn't use someone else's cup!


Disclaimer:  I have not been compensated in any way for reviewing these products.  All opinions are my own.
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Product Review: Tomato/Onion slicer

I first saw this handy-dandy little gadget in a catalog that I received in the mail.  (I do not remember which catalog.  Sorry!)  I thought it was a great idea, so I ordered one off of Ebay.  I hoped that it would make slicing and chopping onions a lot easier.

Unfortunately, it didn't.  Part of the problem lies in that when it holds the onion (or tomato or whatever) the two sides are no longer parallel which changes the angle of the knife cuts.  In fact, on some of the slices you can't line up the knife at all!

Bottom line: don't waste your money!
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Making Zoobies Toddler Proof

A few months ago, I took advantage of the opportunity to subscribe to Zoobies magazine for babies and toddlers for about $10.  Normally, it is $29.95 per year.  We received our first issue, which is about penguins, about three weeks ago.  Gracie LOVES this book!  It also came with an insert to make a paper penguin.  I put it together and "laminated" it with clear packing tape.  She also loves carrying that around with the book.
Unfortunately, she ripped out a few of the pages.  I was disappointed because I had hoped to be able to keep it intact and keep it for several years.

I put my "thinking cap" on and decided to rebind the magazine to hopefully make it rip-proof.

I got together some cardstock, a paper cutter, clear packing tape, some decorative brads, some cute penguin stickers, and a hole punch.

 I started off by tearing out each of the pages and then cutting the edges off so that they would all be about the same size.  I also cut the cardstock into strips about 1-1/4" x 6-1/2".

 I used the packing tape to tape together the cardstock strips and the Zoobies pages.

 After doing a couple of them, I decided to put a tiny bit of separation between the cardstock strip and the book page in order to make it easier to turn the page.

 I used the hole punch to punch hole through the cardstock strips, and inserted brads into the holes.  I covered the back of the brads with a long strip of clear packing tape.

 Finally, I added a cute Penguin sticker to the new binding.

 I also added more cute penguin stickers to some of the pages in the book.


All done!  "Bye-Bye!"

UPDATE:  Well, the brads didn't last a day!  I had a feeling that the prongs would be too short even with putting clear packing tape on the back.  Any ideas for binding it better?

UPDATE #2:  I put clear packing tape all around the new binding, but that didn't work well at all, either.  Gracie was able to pull out the middle pages.  So, I picked up some book rings from Walmart ($1.88 for a pack of 8 which included 4 small and 4 large rings -- I used the small rings.).  So far, so good.  Gracie has been able to look at her book, it has stayed intact.


The picture is not focused really well, but you can at least get the idea.

I plan on doing this same procedure to our future Zoobooks.
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Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Review: Miss Match

Miss Match by Erynn Mangum is an ebook I got for free for my Nook app.  It's about a 23-year-old self-proclaimed stay-single-forever girl named Laurie who delights in getting other couples together.  I really enjoyed reading this book!  I even sneaked in a few minutes of reading on my phone when my iPad was not available.

Pros:  Very funny.  I'm talking truly Laugh Out Loud funny!  I caught myself grinning just in anticipation of reading what was going to happen next!  Erynn Mangum is a clever writer with a terrific sense of humor.  It's a very clean book, and is a Christian story.  There are two sequels which I really want to read simply because I enjoyed this book so much!

Cons:  The book alludes to Calvinist doctrine which I do not believe in.  I can overlook it because I know what I believe, and I can just ignore it.  The verses quoted are not King James Bible.  Again, easy enough to skip.  From a separated Christian viewpoint, the people do not have the same standards as I do.  However, there's no mention of cussing, drinking, or anything else like that.

Overall, I would recommend this book.  Just keep in mind the cons listed above.
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Book Review: Heart of Stone

I just finished reading Heart of Stone by Jill Marie Landis on my Kindle app.  This is another ebook that I got for free as posted on the Books on the Knob blog.  (Please note that I do NOT recommend all of the books mentioned on that blog.  Many of them are not appropriate for Christians to read.)

This was a very compelling story about Lovie Lamonte (alias Laura Foster), an Irish woman who as a child was separated from her family.  Her parents died, and her uncle got rid of her and her three sisters.  She was sold to a brothel in New Orleans at the age of 11 years of age.  Her sister Megan was also presumably sold to a brothel, and her little sisters were sent to an orphanage to live.  After she becomes an adult, she accumulates a great deal of wealth, enough to allow her to move to Glory, Texas, and start over with a new life.

While reading the book, I was dying to know what became of her sisters.  At the end of the book, we are given a teaser indicating that the whereabouts of one of the sisters has been found out, to be continued in the second book of the series, Heart of Lies.  I didn't care too much for the developing romance between her and the preacher.  Although I totally believe in helping the "downers and outers" of past or present, the Bible clearly teaches that believers are not to be yoked with unbelievers.  Although Lovie/Laura does become more open to Christianity, she admittedly does not become a believer in this book.  It would've been a far better book, in my opinion, had she gotten saved before she and the preacher got together.

All in all, I enjoyed the book, and I am interested in reading the sequels.  The separation of the sisters reminds me of another book I read several years ago by Kim Vogel Sawyer called My Heart Remembers.  That was an excellent book!
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Monday, July 4, 2011

FREE Giveaway! - Courtesy of Rachel's Ribbon Candy

Hidden Treasures and Rachel's Ribbon Candy are sponsoring a giveaway for three free custom hairbows!  To participate, go here.
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A. E. Beatty Park, Bartlett, TN

A. E. Beatty Park is located at 7859 Memphis Arlington Road, Bartlett, TN.  It's a nice little park.  I had to go around the block before finding a place to park behind the fire station.  I'm not really sure if I was even allowed to park there, but nobody said anything.

The little lake is somewhat nice -- until you get up close and notice the green stuff floating in the water.


The playground is obviously not new, but it looks like they try to maintain it by keeping it painted.

Gracie's favorite thing is to climb!

It looks like a fun playset. This picture shows the playset that is geared more towards older children.

Gracie thought it was funny to walk under the playset.  Ah, to be little again!

This part of the playset is more suited for the younger crowd.

You can see swings in the distance.  Unfortunately, there are no baby swings.

My little climber!  I don't know where she gets that from.  ;-)
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Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Review: How to Market and Sell Your eBook

I was excited when I was allowed to review this book.  I believe it to be a very timely book as I have thought for some time about self-publishing.


This is a very well-written, very well-documented book with many helpful links and resources.  I know that once I am ready to self-publish, I have the information I need to not only get the job done, but to get it done successfully!  More than that, though, she provides encouragment, inspiration, and motivation enough to stir me to want to do it and for me to have confidence that I can do it.


Sarah Mae not only has written a great HOW TO book, but she has the credentials of a highly successful ebook to back up what she teaches us to do in this book.  Her second eBook, 31 Days to Clean, generated $20,000 worth of income for her in the first month of sales!  I have to admit that little tidbit of information was extra fuel for the flame inside of me wanting to publish.


If you have any desire at all to be published, I would highly recommend this book to you as a means to do it successfully.


Sarah Mae's blog can be found here:  Like a Warm Cup of Coffee


FTC Disclaimer:
Sarah Mae kindly gave me a free download of this book for the purpose of writing this review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I otherwise compensated for writing this review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
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Madison Arthur Byrd Park, Bartlett, TN

It's probably not fair to include a review of this playground at this time since we didn't actually get out and play in it.  We had already visited two parks and was a little tired.  I do plan on going back because I think Gracie will like it.  When I do go back, I'll edit this post with more information.

The Madison Arthur Byrd Park is located at 3400 Summerdale Drive, Bartlett, TN, and is located in the Summerdale subdivision.

It looks like a nice little playground.  I don't see much that is toddler-friendly except for the climbing alligator.  However, knowing my adventurous daughter, that won't stop her from climbing on the large playset.
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