Wednesday, July 30

Plastic water bottles go eco-friendly

Here's a nasty little eco-tidbit for ya: Did you know that only 20 percent of the plastic water bottles consumed by Americans get recycled?


And I'm no angel. I just ordered a reusable water bottle and am eagerly awaiting it in the mail. But up until I got smacked upside the head with the tree-hugger stick a few months back, I was tossing water bottles in the garbage left and right.
And that's bad. I know. Not only are a disturbing number of plastic water bottles ending up in landfills, the ones getting tossed are made crude oil, which is just plain bad.

One company is making a difference and I wholeheartedly support their cause. I just received a few single serve Primo water bottles for review, and am so happy to share this information with you all.

Primo may look like a regular plastic bottle, but the beauty of it is that they are made from Ingeo. a plant-based natural-plastic that is a 100 percent renewable grown in the United States!

If all traditional plastic water bottles were replaced with Primo bottles, American would save the equivelant of a billion gallons of gas each year! And to add to its eco-appeal, Primo bottles are more envrionmentally efficient, requiring 65 percent LESS fossil fuel resources and emitting 80-90 percent LESS greenhouse gases than traditional petroleum-based bottles.

Not convinced yet? Want to know how it tastes? Well, while certain people (like my husband) might say, "It's what?" I say that this stuff tastes great!
But keep in mind that in order for Primo bottles to actually do good for the environment, we need to do our part and recycle them!

And thanks to the good peeps at Primo, TEN lucky winners will get an 18-pack of bottles valued at $4.99 to try for themselves! That's right: TEN!

To be considered for the random drawing, leave me a berrie (read: comment) after watching this video telling me what you thought about the Primo process. One extra entry is available if you decide to choose one of the following:
* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so (new subscribers only!)
* Add my button to your sidebar and comment (I'll check!).
* Blog about the contest and link to the giveaway.
* Non-bloggers can email three of their friends about the contest and CC me on the email. Girl Scout's honor that I will never bother these sweet people. I promise!
* Grab my button and place it on your sidebar, linking to Berrie Sweet Picks.
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
Please note that non-bloggers MUST include a valid email address to be considered for the drawing!
I'll pick TEN names at midnight (EST) on Aug. 5 and post their names to PRIZEYWinners. The winner has four days from the announcement date to contact me, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

And for those interested in where to buy, click here!
See you soon with another review!

Tuesday, July 29

Stuff this!

If you had aked me when I was pregnant, I would have sworn that my house would NEVER become overun with stuffed animals just because a baby was on the way.
Then Buttercup arrived, and with her the small European country's-worth of stuffed pals that magically appeared--attached to every baby shower present, welcome card, and well-wishing relative's hands when they stopped by for a visit.
So where do I store them? Forget the crib--that's just not safe. The toy box is out because, well, she has too many toys. And that leaves...where again?
Thanks to the oval boon animal bag, I'm at least not tripping over her stuffed friends anymore. This berrie sweet pick is a great solution for rounding up those annoying--I mean cute!-- stuffed animals that have most likely taken over your own home, as well, and is extra practical in the sense that kids can use the stuffed bag as a bean bag chair!

The oversized, plush bag (measuring 30" x 26" x 19") is covered with zippered compartments made of durable and transparent mesh. The zippers themselves are oversized and easy for kids to grip, allowing for no-fuss play. And when it's time to put everything away, it's just as easy to shove every teddy bear, and then some, away for safe-keeping.
We have ours right in the living room and I love that I can put away Buttercup's stuffed animals in plain site. Talk about no stress!
The Boon Animal Bag earns more points for its machine-washability (is that a word?) or the fact that you can drop it off at the dry-cleaners, if need be.
And my absolute favorite part is that the Animal Bag is earth-friendly. Instead having to rely on foam fillers for a soft bean bag seat, you already have all you need in your home to stuff the bag to your little one's precise specifications.
The Boon Animal Bag is available in green or pink and retails for $59.99.
But before you whip out that credit card and order one from Boon Inc., why not take a minute to enter for a chance to win one here???

To be considered for the random drawing, leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me what boon product you'd like to see reviewed next. One extra entry is available if you decide to choose one of the following:
* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* Add my button to your sidebar and comment (I'll check!).
* Blog about the contest and link to the giveaway.
* Non-bloggers can email three of their friends about the contest and CC me on the email. Girl Scout's honor that I will never bother these sweet people. I promise!
* Grab my button and place it on your sidebar, linking to Berrie Sweet Picks.
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
Please note that non-bloggers MUST include a valid email address to be considered for the drawing!
I'll pick one name at midnight (EST) on Aug. 4 and post their name to PRIZEYWinners. The winner has four days from the announcement date to contact me, or an alternate winner will be chosen.
See you soon with another review!

Monday, July 28

This Little Band rocks!

First things first: the CD I am about to review is NOT new. In fact, I got the PR packet in January, so I'm more than a little bit behind on this one. But then again, I have since received plenty of PR packs with kid music CD's, and not all of them are making it on the berrie sweet list.

And yes, this is the list to get one, musical peeps. Give me enough time and I'll be, like, the Oprah of the mommy blog world. (And then I'll wake up, but that's another post.)

Anyhoo, back to the review. Back in March, Brady Rymer released his newest album, "Here Comes Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could
" It's a long title, but worth the time it takes to ask the kids if they want to listen to it.

Rymer was a founding member of the RCA roots-rock group, From Good Homes, and toured annd recorded with the likes of Bob Dylan, Dave Matthews, and Bob Weir, which in my eyes, gives Rymer plenty of points in adult-music land, and makes him all the more fun to listen to with the tots.

Since having kids and going off the road to be with his family to touring again with The Little Band that Could, Rymer has won 11 national awards for four of his family/kid CD's. And for good reason!

Like other CD's I will be reviewing here, Rymer and his band are able to hit on the heart of kid music without entering "Barney-ville," which I happen to not be crazy about. But Rymer does it in his own take on modern American roots, like early rock 'n' roll, 60's country rock, blues, and more.

The songs are fun and upbeat, and the CD's been in my mini-van's CD player for a week straight now.

Unfortunately, I can't offer a contest on this one. But Rymer's CD is worth the purchase.

Get it for $15.98 at Brady Rymer's site, CD Baby, Amazon, and retailers nationwide.

Saturday, July 26

New cream to protect baby's tushie

First, let me state that I cloth diaper, like, 75 percent of the time, so Buttercup's tushie is not prone to diaper rashes like she was when I used disposables like they were going out of style. BUT-and there's always a "but"-she still does get a doozy of a red and irritated tushie from time to time.

When that does happen, I try to stick to the least irritating and most natural of the diaper rash creams that I can find.

Recently, we received a package of the new LANSINOH DIAPER RASH OINTMENT in the mail. And yes, we like it.

Thanks to Lansinoh and their awesome PR crew, I am lucky enough to be the first Mom blogger to try this out!

As you may already know, Lansinoh is known for the comfort they've provided to breastfeeding mothers everywhere. The company has since taken its expertise in breastfeeding skin care and expanded with the Diaper Rash Ointment, which contains a unique blend of ingredients providing triple protection for baby's skin.

The hypoallergenic formula was created to soothe, heal, and prevent diaper rash, and is fragrance-free and preservative-free to boot. I also love the fact that the non-greasy white ointment rubs into the skin clear, so you are don't have to worry about any gukky stuff on clothing or your hands.

And in case you are wondering, this stuff does work. I apply it at night when Buttercup is in for more than a few hours in a wet diaper, and of course, when she needs it during the day. And so far, I am very pleased with the results.

Lansinoh Diaper Rash Ointment retails for $6.99 for a 3 oz tube, and is available nationwide at baby stores, supermarkets, drug stores, as well as online at places like, Toys 'R' Us, and Amazon.

So who wants to enter for a chance at their own Lansinoh Diaper Rash Ointment?

To be considered for the random drawing, leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me why you would like to try this product out. One extra entry is available if you decide to choose one of the following:

* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.

* Add my button to your sidebar and comment (I'll check!).

* Blog about the contest and link to the giveaway.

* Non-bloggers can email three of their friends about the contest and CC me on the email. Girl Scout's honor that I will never bother these sweet people. I promise!

* Grab my button and place it on your sidebar, linking to Berrie Sweet Picks.
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)

I'll pick one name at midnight (EST) on Aug. 3 and post their name to PRIZEYWinners. The winner has four days from the announcement date to contact me, or an alternate winner will be chosen.
See you soon with another review!

Going out of busines sale

Well, I had been hoping to post a review and contest of a great clothing site I found for boys and girls, but instead found out that Kea + Joby is closing its doors. That's too bad because the clothing available looks really great.
Interested in checking it out? Everything is 50 percent off, so shop away!

Friday, July 25

A Fine way to keep family close

Just one look. That's all it will take for you to fall in love with museum and gallery-exhibited photographer Monica Rich Kosann's Image Locket Case Necklace from The Fine Art of Family.

It's simple, stunning, and oh-so-beautiful.

Granted, it's a bit on the pricey side (at $165.00) for a sterling silver bauble, but keep in mind that Kosann's jewelry collection is much-sought after by the Hollywood Mommy set. (Katie Holmes has one of Kosann's necklaces in sterling silver and in gold and Madaonna and Eva Longoria keep images of loved ones close with Kosann's jewelry, too.) And perhaps even more importantly, the locket is certainly heirloom-quality and meant to be passed down to the next generation.

The Image Case Necklace is meant to be worn with the image down, close to your heart. What is left for the world to see is a beautifully detailed floral pattern, which happens to be the signature of The Fine Art of Family. Measuring 1 3/8'' X 1'' and hanging from a black silk cord, the locket is big enough to be noticed and yet small enough to be wear anytime, with anything.

One lucky winner will have the chance to add this incredible piece to their wardrobe. That's right, I am crazy enough to part with this and share this locket with one of my readers.

To be considered for the random drawing, visit The Fine Art of Family site and then leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me what other item you'd love to see reviewed (and offered for a contest!) on my blog. One extra entry is available if you decide to choose one of the following:
* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* Add my button to your sidebar and comment (I'll check!).
* Blog about the contest and link to the giveaway.
* Non-bloggers can email three of their friends about the contest and CC me on the email. Girl Scout's honor that I will never bother these sweet people.
*Grab my button and place it on your sidebar, linking to Berrie Sweet Picks.
I'll pick one name at midnight (EST) on Aug. 1 and post their name to PRIZEYWinners.

I'd also like to thank The Fine Art of Family for generously offering, you--my dear readers--FREE GROUND SHIPPING with discount code free ground shipping with code FAMILY through August 31. (Just call it a early Christmas splurge.)

As for the contest, just be sure to check PRIZEY and respond to me within 4 days or I will randomly select a new winner.

Good luck!

Wednesday, July 23

Berries says: Sign up for PRIZEY

So I'm pretty new at this Mom Blogger Review thing, and slowly learning the tricks of the trade, so to speak, that are helping to make this a great experience.
When I first started Berrie Sweet Picks in May (Oh, so very long ago) I was lucky to get 10 entries for a contest. Double digits made me want to delegate a national holiday and throw together a parade.
Then, with the help of a fellow mom blogger, I found PRIZEY. And my contest entries shot through the bloggy rooftops.
I'm sure many of you already are familiar with the site, but for those of you who are not, here's the deal (and the reason you need to stop what you are doing right this very second and sign up!):
* You either love to enter contests for free stuff online or love to post contests for free stuff online (or maybe both...but let's not confuse the issue here...). I'm guessing this to be true of anyone reading this right now (cuz I read Nancy Drew as a kid and have detective-like skills) so that means...
* would be so much easier for you (and a lot more fun) if you signed up with PRIZEY. Bloggers like me get great way to list our contests, and seriously drive traffic, with listings at their site, and anyone interested in entering contests can find hundreds at their finger tips on just one site.
when I signed up, I earned PRIZEY points to use when I wanted for premium (read: gauranteed) listings. So did my referrer! So here's the deal: Because I know you love me, and I know you are going to sign up for a free membership, why not just show me some berrie sweet lovin' and enter my blog title, Berrie Sweet Picks, as your referral member.
That way, you get points, I get points, and the world keeps spinning happily.
Good? Good.
Now, I am off to bed so I can get some sleep before Buttercup summons me for her nightly 3 a.m. wake-up call.

Tuesday, July 22

(Polli)Walk this way....

I think I have made it perfectly clear by now that I have a raging baby feet fetish. They're just cute. So it really can't be helped.

And when you add these cute little Polliwalks in the picture, I'm pretty much sunk.

I mean, come on! Buttercup with ladybugs on her feet that leave little lady bug footprints?

Seriously, it's the freaking cutest thing EVER. (Well, this week, at least.)

Polliwalks come in a variety of colors and aside from the ladybug, you can also choose from a duck, frog or happy-looking alligator. All styles, of course, feature the patent-pending footptint-er botttom, which gaurantee giggles and fun as your kids leave tiny little Polliwalks prints in the sand or the dirt wherevever they step.

Sure, summer is soon coming to an end, but who says these little cuties can't be spruced up with some cute socks for fall fun? Imagine your child helping with some gardening and the fun they will have as they leave prints in the dirt as they work.

These things are adorable and totally worth the $24.95, but who wants to pay that when they can score a pair for free?

That's right, we got ourselves another contest here. Thanks to the good peeps at Tip Tops Shoes, one lucky winner gets to walk away with one pair of Polliwalks, in the size, style, and color of their choice. Pretty sweet, I know.
(You can thank me later.)

All you have to do visit the Tip Top Shoe site and leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me what other shoes you'd love to see reviewed here. Oh, and for your entry to count, also be sure to tell me which Polliwalks you'd want if you won!
Contest ends at midnight (EST) on July 29, and one randomly selected winner's name will be posted to PRIZEYWinners.
So what are you waiting for? Enter already!

Sunday, July 20

Clean those curly locks (the right way)

Have you ever had a bad hair day?

Oh, you have?

Well, whoopie for you! I have you beat! Cuz, in my book, a bad hair QUATER CENTURY pretty much wins that pity contest. (Who's got a violin?)

I was, ahem!, blessed with some majorly kinky curls, which, when not cared for properly, led to my being mistaken for a renegafe Chia Pet. And let's just say that I new SweetER (that would be my hubby)was here to stay the first time he saw me in the morning, looking like I had decided to stick my finger in a light socket just for the hell of it.

I'd post pictures for proof, but I'd like to maintain at least a sliver of dignity here. But feel free to point and laugh at the images in your head.

In my quest for curl control, I have tried E_V_E_R_Y_T_H_I_N_G under the sun, from chemically straightening it (bad idea), to extensions (not so bad of an idea), to the cheap and the expensive for hair cair products designed to make me look a little less like a black show poodle and more like I wasn't embarrased to leave the house.

Unfortunately for me, nothing worked, until I discovered Mixed Chicks Hair Products a few years ago. And yes, curly-haired Mommas, this is indeed when the heavens parted above and the angels started singing.

I love, love, love their shampoo, ($11.99 for a 10 oz. bottle) which is designed to get corkscrew curls squeaky clean. You get a rich lather that adds protein and strength, and a clean head of curls to love.

Most curly-haired chicks already know this, but the curlier the 'do, the drier and more fragile the hair. And since our hairs natural oil's help keep our thick and slinky-like locks under control, Mixed Chicks recommends limiting shampooing to no more than two times per week.

Want to give it a shot for yourself or your curly-headed kid? Just visit the Mixed Chicks site and then leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me what other product you'd love to see reviewed on my blog. I'll pick one luck winner at random at midnight (EST) on July 27 and post to PRIZEYWinners.

Good luck!

Thursday, July 17

This Mommy's "Hooked"

Sometimes, it's the little things that make you go, "duh." Take the The Mommy Hook from Keen Distribution. It's basically an oversize caribener that holds all your bags so you don't have to.

(Okay, so why didn't I think of this?)

It's so simple that it is pure genius. The Mommy Hook is made of durable, heavy-duty aluminum, and is made to hold diaper bags, purses, shopping bags, and more when hanging from your shopping cart or stroller.

I tried it out on a full-day's outing to IKEA with my mom, Buttercup, and my friend the other day, and was pretty impressed with how the rubber guide kept the Mommy Hook from sliding all over the place. We purposely overloaded it to the point of ridiculousness, and at the end of the day, the Mommy Hook was still hanging strong.

And for only $7.99, it's a berrie sweet buy, considering how versatile a product it is. Really, how can you not want to buy one of these right now?

The Mommy Hook is available on the Keen website, and at Burlington Coat Factory/Baby Depot, Buy Buy Baby, and at Happy Baby Products.

Still reading? Good. That means you get to enter for a chance at your own Mommy Hook right here! Just visit the Keen web site and tell me what other product, aside from the Mommy Hook, interests you. I'll randomly choose one winner on July 25 and post their name to PRIZEYWinners.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, July 15

Baby soft feet for Momma

I'll admit to a baby foot fetish; those little toes are just so freakin' cute that it's all I can do to keep from trying to eat up Buttercup's at any chance I get.

Kid feet? Also cute.

But I am one of those people who can't really stand adult feet. My own, in particular. And since mine have been in dire need of a pedicure since about my fifth month of pregnancy, you can only imagine why I was really too embarrased to hand my nasty feet over to some stranger to slough off all the dead skin and calluses.

(Don't worry, I will spare you the horror of a foot photo. I like you all too much.)

So when I heard about the Microplane Foot File, I was hopeful but not banking on going from nasty-rough mommy feet to pretty-soft mommy feet in any reasonable amount of time. Sure, the product information pretty much gaurantees a noticable difference in just one use, but I have tried other products (can you say "as seen on TV"?) and have been sorely dissapointed.

But this thing? It works. In just one shameful-hiding-in-the-bathroom session, I scraped off a year's worth of nasty and found the feet I used to like.

I'd go into more details, but honestly, it's kind of gross. But with results like this with the surgical grade stainless steel blade? I'll gladly continue to use the Microplane Foot File on a regular basis and never have to bother with tipping some poor schmo for having to touch my feet again.

So-who else wants to "pretty-cize" their nasty feet? If you want to enter for a chance at your own Microplane Foot File in sage, visit their web site and leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me what other product catches your interest. The contest ends at midnight (EST) on July 24 and I will post one randomly selected winner's name to PRIZEYWinners.

Oh, and good luck to you, and your feet!

Sunday, July 13

The berrie best baby carrier...ever

My berrie sweet friend, Sara, is 19 weeks pregnant and just found out she is having a little girl. I am SOOOO thrilled for her, as I know she and her hubby (also a good friend) already have made this baby very lucky to have them as parents.

And I couldn't help but feel touched when Sara called me just a few days ago to ask for the names of those "baby-carrying things" I use. (Yay! Someone values my opinion!) It was cute, and I just love being able to help my friends get straight to the good stuff (read: skip all the crap I waded through to find said good stuff.)

Which brings me to the Ergo Baby/Child Infant Carrier .
Simply put-this things rocks. Even if you are not a die-hard baby-wearer (which I am), this carrier beats out anything else I have tried for all-day events like zoo trips or 6 mile hikes with 10-month-olds (yes, I did that with Buttercup!). And, as pictured above, my lil sis, Pati, has enjoyed a bit of Wii-time with Buttercup along for the ride.
And for those who do wear their babies like they'll never go out of style (like I do), this is little bit of mom-invented genius really is a lifesaver. Not only is it a truly hands-free carrier, it's well-constructed, and Buttercup loves being carried in it.

Since receiving it, I have taken the Ergobaby carrier everywhere with me. As Buttercup gets older, I let her tell me when she had had enough of the stroller and needs some Mommy/Ergo time. So when the arms reach up, the Ergo goes on, and Buttercup usually falls right asleep against me.

I also rely on the Ergobaby carrier for those days when I am home alone and Buttercup is having one of her infamous "Velcro-Baby" days. Without having the opportunity to strap her onto my back, the cooking and cleaning would never get done. Heck, I've even scrubbed the floors (that's right, scrubbed the floors on my hands and knees!) with Buttercup fast asleep on my back! How's that for hands-free baby-wearing?

But what about "insert-other-brand-name-here?" baby carriers that you see in the magazines or at the stores? And what about those carriers where your baby can face front? Aren't those just as good, you might ask?

Well, since I like to focus on the positive here, I will only say that the Ergobaby carrier is the one to buy. Sure, it's $105.00, but since it will take you from birth to about 45 pounds with ease, it's well-worth the money and then some. In fact, I would have not purchased a stroller before Buttercup's birth had I been smart enough to listen to all of my friends who have one!

Its ergonomic design supports a correct sitting position for baby's hip, pelvis, and spine growth (read: cups baby's butt so their little legs aren't just dangling in the wind when they hang by their crotch), and balances baby's weight through the parent's hips and shoulders. I can honestly say that both Buttercup and I have been happy to be connected for hours at a time while putzing around the mall, the zoo, or neighborhood without a problem.

Now, I can't say anything about the infant insert since I have never tried it, but I do have the back pack and the front pouch accessories, which are wonderful ways to simplify your life even more when out and about with your little one. The backpack can be used independently or can be attached to the Ergo, and the front pouch also comes with a strap so you can use it as a purse. (and for the record, that infant insert is the first thingI am buying whenever the decision is made to open the baby-making factory again.)

And holy moly! I just found sucking pads available on the site! Guess what I'm ordering after my nex pay day thanks to Buttercup's love for eating the straps of the carrier while she's in it!?!?

See, inventor Karin Frost really did think of everything! So Sara, if you're still reading, I have the cranberry...and I love it.

A bloggy apology

Hello dear readers. Let's get right to the point: I am an idiot. B-I-G time.

"Why?" you ask?

Well, let me tell you a story.

See, I try to do too much. All the time. And sometimes, some of the eggs I am trying to juggle just fall on my face and turn into a runny, yokey mess.

What does this have to do with my blogs?

See, that's the funny part. (Well, not really, but I'm hoping you all don't hate me and can laugh instead.) I have been pulling my hair out wondering why readers were not responding to comments, why readers were not emailing me back at the address I use, you get the picture...
And the whole time I am wondering why I am geting comments from readers wondering where they got the Deadlines and Diapers email address from (that's my other blog) and how they thought they had already emailed me. (Read: my frustrations with readers for not getting back to me for the Blog Bash contests were mostly unfounded.)

Then today, it strikes me as odd (finally) that another reader mentions contacting me at a different email address for her prize, and I think,"Maybe I should check this out." (Duh.)
So I do, and to my surprise and total shame, I find that I do indeed have an email address at Deadlines and diapers linked to my bloggy profile. What the Hell! I have 60 emails? PR Reps were contacting me? Readers are still waiting for prizes?

Oh, the horror.

Readers, I can't remember where I put my keys five minutes ago, am trying to juggle a velcro-like 13-month-old, housework, trying to lose the so-called Baby Fat, and write for a living...all while blogging for the fun of it. And I wonder why I end up with egg on my face?

So readers, consider this an apology. A big one. I let you all down and feel terrible for it. To make things easier, I am currently trying to figure out how to adjust my profile to reflect the email I do use, and will be going back through my Blog Bash prizes to make sure everyone who did contact me is accounted for.

For the record, if you are still waiting for a prize, please email me at

And as for those you like scrambled?

Thursday, July 10

Happy feet

It’s a given that baby shoes are going to be cute. After all, anything made to fit those tiny, kissable feet is bound to get a few “oohs” and “ahhhs” from anyone within view. The Mini Frog from Vincent, however, is going to not only get you to smile every time your little one kicks their feet, they also are sure to delight your baby.

Designed for pre-walkers, the Mini Frog is made of high-quality leather with soft suede sole designed to form naturally to your baby’s feet. Available in blue, green, red, pink, and light pink, the Mini Frog is a great choice for both boys and girls wearing up to a size 4. These shoes are a great source of entertainment for babies who are not yet mobile. Just slip them on and place your baby on a blanket near you and laugh with delight as your child giggles and grins at the happy froggy feet. The best part is that these cute little shoes, which are regularly $24.95, are currently on sale for $12.95.

Vincent Shoes is offering one pair of Mini Frogs in the color and size of choice to one lucky Berrie Sweet Picks reader! To enter, visit the site and leave me a comment telling me what other style interests you most! One winner will be selected on July 17 at midnight (EST) and their name will be submitted to PRIZEYWinners.

Tuesday, July 8

Bend it like Buttercup

What a milestone when your little one can start feeding themselves! Sure, there are messes galore (and cottage cheese in the hair, on the walls, and how the hell did that Cheerio end up in my bra???) but the second your baby shows interest in handling their own utensils, your heart swells with pride. (Just like it swells with pride for all of life's sweet and goofy moments, too.)

That pride, I believe, is what keeps me in a good mood as I mop smooshed blueberries off the floor. In part, the mess comes because Buttercup's fine motor skills are not yet perfected. This can make it a bit difficult to maneuver traditional "straight" utensils into her little mouth.

So what's the answer? boon benders, of course! At only $5.99 for the set, these are perfect startet utensils for little ones, starting at nine-months and up.

Now, I'm not saying that messes won't happen, because they will, but these bendable and BPA-free utensils allow you to custom bend to the appropriate angle for your child to better connect with their mouths. And as Buttercup's grip and fine motor skills improve, the Benders can be slowly unbent until they are perfectly straight, allowing for a great transition to the "big kid" utensils!

Wanna give benders a try with your tot? boon is offering one set of benders to a lucky winner! All you have to do is visit the Boon web site and leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me what product interests you most! Entries will be accepted until midnight (EST) on July 15.

Thursday, July 3

Flipping for my FitFlops

Unless you have been living under a rock, or are, like the one person in the world who doesn't know who Oprah is, you have already heard of the media frenzy over FitFlops.

These are the famed fitness sandles that claim to burn fat and strengthen and tone leg muscles while you walk. According to information presented on Tip Top Shoes, the FitFlop ,which retails for $49.95, works by destabilizing your foot while you walk, wich creates continuous tension in the leg and foot muscles, almost as if you were walking on individual micro-wobble boards. Every step is said to trim and tone your legs, thighs, calves, and glutes because they are biochmechanically engineered to absorb shock, lessen joint strain, and recreate the gait of barefoot walking.

Well, that's all well and good, and Oprah might have given them the kiss of the success when she listed them as one of her Favorite Things for Summer, but do they work?

I've worn mine on a fairly regular basis since receiving them a few weeks ago, and let me start by saying that the little yellow warning card that comes in the packaging which tells you to start slow and build up how often you slide them on should absolutely be followed. And I can tell you that I know this because I didn't listen, wore them all day the first time I tried them, and my calves, legs, and butt felt like I had been attacked by an elliptical for a few days afterwards.

It wasn't pretty.

So, yes, wearing them, I would say, has actual benefits. And, to top it off, now that I am used to wearing them, they are the most comfortable flip flops I have ever worn in my life. I used to prefer being barefoot, but now that I have these little babies, I wear them more often than I go without. I wear them to and from the gym, when doing housework, and when I'm running to the grocery store.

Now, I know that the burning question in your minds is, "But do your legs and butt now look like the model's?"

Yeah...about that.

The long and the short of it is, well, no.

I have not suddenly morphed into Kate Moss in skinny jeans. I have not magically shed every ounce of body fat. Nor have I decided that celery is the new chocolate.

But that's not the FitFlop's fault, now is it? They only promised to help me work out while I walk. And I am plenty satisfied that they are living up to their end of the bargain.

If you'd like to try for a pair of your own FitFlops Walkstar, visit the Tip Top Shoe site and leave me a berrie (read: comment) comment telling me what color and size you would prefer if you won. I'll draw one winner at random at midnight (EST) on July 9. The winner's name will be submitted to PRIZEYWinners.

Tuesday, July 1

How sweet it is

Go ahead. Ask my mother-in-law. And my sister. And my neighbor.

They all think I'm crazy-obsessive about a lot of what I do with Buttercup, what with my homemade baby food and rules about what she can eat and what she can't and keeping Buttercup's car seat rear-facing until she's at least 30 pounds, and yes, the list goes on so I'll just stop there.

I just have very strong feelings about how to parent my daughter and keep her as safe as I can, so it would only follow that I'm the same about what I choose to use on her skin to keep it soft and moisturized.

So you can only imagine how happy I am to find the Thymes Sweetleaf Baby line of products. Made of calming organic lavendar, chamomile, and aloe vera, the products are gentle enough for newborn skin and smell so baby sweet.

Since finding Thymes Sweetleaf Baby Lotion ($16.00), I have fallen in love with the barely-there scent of rose, jasmine, sandalwood and amber on my little baby. And since receiving the lotion, Buttercup has come to expect a sweet little baby massage after her baths, which are now required to end with me pretending to eat her toes.

The whole thing ends in giggles, nuzzles, and hugs, and I love every minute of it.

I also love that the Sweetleaf Baby Lotion, which includes shea butter and honey in its ingredients, is Paraben-free.

Another favorite is the Sweetleaf Baby Nursery Diffuser ($40.00). I love scents, and this is one way to allow for that in Buttercup's room without having to worry about a candle flame. Thymes' reed diffuser utilizes bamboo to gently release the light aroma into the nursery, and I couldn't be happier with the results.

You have the chance to enjoy a Sweetleaf Reed Diffuser in your own little one's nursery or bedroom. Just visit the Thymes site and leave me a berrie (read: comment) by midnight EST on July 8 telling me what mom or baby product most interests you and why.

I'll pick one lucky winner at random and will be submit the information to PRIZEYWinners.

Good luck!