Sunday, August 31

Toilets and tattoos...a new love story


I seriously want to re-do my bathroom. We haven't changed anything but the shower curtain since we moved in, and well, it's getting a little boring. That being said, I'm also broke.

And cheap.

So that kinda leaves me at a crossroads, doesn't it?

That's where the Toilet Tattoos come in. They're eye-catching. They're fun. And best of all, they are hygienic and reusable. These decorative toilet lid appliqu├ęs are made from an electrostatic vinyl film, making them easy to apply and remove. With fun prints and designs like swimming fish, cheetah spots, a wrapped holiday gift, or even a design specifically made to encourage potty training, there is a tattoo just waiting to crown your lid.

We have the sunflower design pictured above, and it's just enough to add a little touch of "new" without spending any major cash. With a retail price of less than $10, there is no better way to spice up the bathroom and encourage the kids to put the seat down.

Who wants to win one for themselves? To be considered for the random drawing, visit the company site and leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me which design you'd like to win and why.

Extra entries are also available if you:
* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* 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. (I'll check!)
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
Please note all entries MUST include a valid email address to be considered for the drawing!

I'll pick one name at midnight (EST) on Sept. 6 and post their name to PRIZEYWinners and on my sidebar. The winner has four days from the announcement date to contact me, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

Enjoy your Monday!

Wednesday, August 27

Mod sippy finally gets its due


You've heard of Murphy's Law, right? Damned if you do, damned if you don't, and all that happy jazz?

Yeah?

Great.

Then you are already familiar with the story of my life.

See, my peeps over at boon inc., sent over a load of things to review when Buttercup was, well, not totally mobile. So I sent back a nice note thanking them (I think?) and decided to review items as she "grew into" them, so to speak.

So far, so good. I've managed to get a few reviews posted of the boon products I have come to love, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not get Buttercup to do anything other than look at the Fluid No-Spill Toddler Cup.

I figured it just wasn't for her or maybe that she'd fallen in love with her sippy of choice, and didn't want to hurt it's feelings by dumping it for a newer, cooler looking model who also happened to be ergonomic and require less head-tipping due to its mod design and angled spout.

Whatever the reason, Buttercup was not happy with the Fluid.


Which takes me to the multiple requests I have had from readers to review the darned thing. My little Sweetums wanted nothing to do with it. And honestly, it wasn't like she couldn't use it, just that she wasn't cooperating. So that wasn't exactly helping me get a review written.

Fast forward to this past Sunday and my cousin's 11th birthday party. (No. I'm not 15. My family just likes to procreate.) I had decided to bring the Fluid with me and offer it to my 22-month-old nephew. The little charmer took to it immediately and claimed it as his own.

That's when Buttercup decided she suddenly liked the Fluid, and grabbed it back when he wasn't looking. I swear she winked at me as she took her sweet time on her sip o' water from the now pilfered sippy.

In the end, my nephew went home with the Fluid and I decided I'll just buy another one for Buttercup because THEY COME IN PINK AND WHITE NOW! And at $5.99 for a BPA-free sippy, it's not a bad buy.


My only complaints are that the suggested age should probably be raised to 12 months and up because at nine months, I highly doubt a little mouth could manuever the angled, barely-there spout. Buttercup is almost 15 months and just now took interest in it. And yes, the lid is a slight PITA to get off at first, but after a few choice
words and a little breaking in, me and Mr. Fluid got along fine, thank you very much. Leaks are also a slight issue, but then again, I've never met a sippy cup that didn't leak AT ALL when it was being held UPSIDE DOWN.

All in all, I'm pretty impressed. And it only took 6 months to figure that out. Thanks for being patient, boon!

***********************

Still reading? Yep, I figured you were. Boon is offering one lucky reader the chance for their very own Fluid No-Spill Toddler Cup right here.

Read up for the rules. I'm a stickler

To be considered for the random drawing, visit boon inc. and and leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me what product you'd like to see reviewed next. And because I've reviewed plenty of boon swag so far, you get an extra entry if you do your homework and suggest something that I have not yet featured here.

Extra entries are also available if you:
* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* 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. (I'll check!)
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
Please note all entries MUST include a valid email address to be considered for the drawing!

That's, like, five chances at extra entries! (Aren't you glad I'm slap-happy from no sleep? Live it up, because this won't happen often!) Just make sure you enter a new comment for each extra entry for it to count.

I'll pick one name at midnight (EST) on Sept. 4 and post their name to PRIZEYWinners and on my sidebar. The winner has four days from the announcement date to contact me, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

Monday, August 25

The Tuesday Ten: Mom 4 Life's Heather Ledoboer


Welcome to the first Tuesday Ten at Berrie Sweet Picks!
I have come across so many wonderful mom-invented products that I thought it only fitting to learn more about the moms behind the ideas. My hope is to make this a weekly feature, and I hope you all enjoy!

My first Tuesday Ten interview is with Mom4Life owner Heather Ledoboer. She's got one of the hottest online mom shops around, and so far, has had products featured on Berriesweet Picks here and here.
Read on to learn more!

Q:So tell me a little about your company and the inspiration behind it.
A: Mom 4 Life is an online retail website that focuses on unique products for moms and their children. We offer over 900 of these products and 100% of them are mom invented. It was inspired by my desire to be able to work from home so that I could have more time with my children.

Q: What sets your product or business apart from the rest? What's your "It" factor?
A: My focus is on doing hundreds of little, but important things, very well. Things such as free shipping with no minimum order to all US locations, free gift wrapping, excellent customer service and 24-48 hour order processing are certainly great, but what I like most about Mom 4 Life is that every product on our site is mom invented! We also feature the story and photo of the mom behind the product with almost every product description!

Q: How did you come to decide to open a shop showcasing mom-invented products?
A: When I had my first child 5 years ago, I started discovering how many products were missing from the big box stores that were not only unique but useful. I wanted to offer a place for these “new to the market” products to be found by the moms that needed them.

Q: What's your favorite part of running your boutique?
A: I enjoy talking business with the mom owners of the products I sell and I love communicating with the moms who shop from Mom 4 Life and read the Mom 4 Life blog. Lastly, I love being able to offer support to moms in need through 10% of our proceeds.

Q: Who's the brains behind the operation?
A: Although the idea started within my brain, I was encouraged to act on my idea by my husband (thank you honey). I also am now blessed to have an amazing team of women that help keep Mom 4 Life running while also allowing me to still be a stay at home mommy! You can take a peek at this lovely bunch of ladies on our About Us page where you will also find a 3 minute YouTube video where we impersonate the TV sitcom, The Office.

Q: Glass half empty of half full? Or can you not tell because it already got spilled by one of the kids?
A: I am definably a glass half full type of girl. In general I am laid back and can handle stressful situations without “losing it”. This usually works to my advantage however one time I hired someone that ended up showing up late on her first day, taking off early and then skipped a day of work unannounced to visit her boyfriend in the next state (all in her first week). I had to learn quickly that I maybe shouldn’t look at everyone with my rose colored glasses on!


Q:
Why do you think your products hit home with moms?
A: Moms trust other moms. If a product was invented by a mom, it often is worth considering. I think moms also enjoy knowing that they are buying products that moms created and in the process are supporting moms in businesses rather than some large corporation.

Q: What press have you received since you started? what's the coolest, berrie sweetest press you have gotten to date? (answer carefully....*wink wink*!)

A: Oh you mean besides this awesome interview!?? It was a goal of mine to get on TV and I had a feature on KUSI TV in San Diego and KGTV (also in San Diego) a few years ago. It was really fun to see that goal realized (and a little scary too)! Just recently, I was informed that Mom 4Life was voted the “Best Online Baby Store” by the readers of Pregnancy & Newborn magazine. This was a huge honor, not only because it was through the votes of moms but because Babies R Us was listed in the same category as Mom 4 Life and we got more votes!

Q: Sneaky chef or eat-those-veggies-now! What's your parenting style?
A: Laid back yet involved with a desire to be well informed. I do my best to stay current on things such as products that are PBA and paraben free but yet I am also known to let my kids have a few minutes of fun playing in the snow barefoot (hey, you only live once right?).

Q: What's on the menu for dinner tonight? (and can I come over?)

A: Yes come on over! Papa Murphys pizza is in the oven. I am really blessed because my husband is very involved in the everyday parts of our home. It is very common that he will be the one getting dinner ready which gives me a little extra time to answer some emails before the end of the day.


Next up is Janalee from Ma! Motherhood with Attitude! Read her interview next Tuesday.

Saturday, August 23

Floating away with the Twilight Turtle


I had a few requests from readers for a Twilight Turtle by Cloud b review, and am very happy to oblige. I happen to have received one for my baby shower, and have used it religously since taking it out of the box.

The Twlight Turtle is a plush constellation nightlight that can gently transform any room into a starry night sky. It's soothing to adults and to children, and I love using it for Buttercup. And yes, I will admit to it being a sad day in my house when Buttercup outgrew her bassinet (because that meant that she was taking the turtle with her to her own room. I seriously contemplated buying one for myself.)

All you do is push a button, and voila, you've got yourself an instant star-filled night sky in either blue, green, and amber. My favorite is the blue but I'm not crazy about the amber and rarely use. It's just too soft of a color to really reflect the constellations from the Twilight Turtle's plastic shell.

But that is really my only complaint. We've been using ours for 14 months and have only had to change the batteries one time, thanks to the battery saving time out function.

While the Twilight Turtle is a great night-time companion to help kids fall asleep easier, it can also serve double duty as an educational toy for older kids. Parents can sit with their children in a darkened room with the Twilight Turtle and the included constellation guide and learn how to identify eight constellations.

The Twilight Turtle by Cloud b retails for $34 and is available at Mom4Life. Fair warning: I was just on the site this morning and there are only seven in stock.

Mom4life is offering Berrie Sweet Picks readers a 10 percent discount on orders through the end of September with code "berriesweet"! But make sure to enter the code into the coupon box on the left side of the homepage for it to apply to your order.

Thursday, August 21

Get your groove on with Recess Monkey


Recess Monkey.

It's just a fun name for a band that has me and Buttercup singing along to every song we have ever heard from them!

Our curent obsession is their "Tabby Road" CD, which was released in July. The three-member band is made up of Seattle-area teachers with Beatle's flavor, and is a guaranteed hit for kids and adults alike.

Usually I find myself skipping past at least a few songs that aren't up to par on most CD's I listen to, but not so with Tabby Road. Each of the 17-tracks is a treasure in and of itself, ranging from pop to ballads to you just wanting to jump in and sing along.

Faves (read: I already know all the words and sing along, no matter who looks at me funny) include: Birthday Bite,SL-Double E-P Over, The Sandbox Song (Buttercup sings to that one), and Mummy Don't Allow.

The songs are about monsters, pets, and just plain-ol' fun--with (or without) the kids listening along with you.

I know you're hoping for a contest on this one, and Waldmania PR is happy to oblige.

To be considered for the random drawing, visit CDBaby and and leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me which track gets you and your kids moving! 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.
* 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. (I'll check!)
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
Please note all entries MUST include a valid email address to be considered for the drawing!

I'll pick one name at midnight (EST) on Aug. 28 and post their name to PRIZEYWinners and on my sidebar. The winner has four days from the announcement date to contact me, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

Tabby Road is available at the Recess Monkey site for $15 and CDBaby: $15 for the CD, or $10 for the MP3. (And may I say, rock ON with the reduced MP3 price?)

Wednesday, August 20

Keep your baby cool


Sure, summer is fading fast, but I know that not everyone lives in the Midwest. Year-round heat is a reality for many, and with it comes the associated dangers of too hot car seats for our little ones.

One option is to wait after turning on the air-conditioning until the interior of the car and your child’s car seat cools down, but it isn’t always practical. And what if you don’t own a vehicle with a working air conditioner? I know what that’s like! It takes forever for the interior of the car to get to a comfortable temperature when you can only rely on rolling down the windows.

Remember how hot the metal clips on your seat belt can get? Well, just imagine what those metal clips on the car seat straps might feel like!

One great “Why didn’t I think of that” product geared for just this purpose is the BabyBeeCool Car Seat Cooler Pad. Invented by a mom concerned about the 185-degree-plus interior car temperatures in Arizona, this product is a great idea for those living in warmer climates, or even for those of us living in the Midwest during the hot summer months.

The BabyBeeCool Car Seat Cooler Pad allows you to insert frozen ice packs into the pad and place on top of the car seat when exiting the vehicle, providing a welcome 10 hours of protection from the sun. I've tried it and I can vouch that I no loner worry about Buttercup getting into a too-hot car seat.

The BabyBeeCool Car Seat Cooler Pad can also be placed in your child’s stroller while driving to your destination and then transferred to the car seat upon your arrival. And to make sure you are prepared for the next outing, simply remove the ice packs and refreeze when you get home. You can also use it as a makeshift cooler of sorts for your baby’s food and drink items. The straps on the foldable pad make it easy to slip over your shoulder and transport.

You can buy it here for $49.99.

Tuesday, August 19

Why the Zaky deserves a second look


There's something to be said for the transformation that takes place when you become a parent.

All of the "I'll never's" go right out the window the moment you hold your newborn,suddenly replaced with all of the "I will do anything for you's". And all that baby and kiddie stuff that you really thought had no reason to exist except to make you laugh? Well, that thinking is also replaced with a sudden understanding for all things soft and comforting.

Take the Zaky by Zakeez, for example. I have a very distinct memory of laughing my head off at the thought of an infant pillow shaped like a hand when I happened across it online during my pre-pregnancy days. Ask Sweeter (that would be the hubby) and he'll tell you that he laughed even harder when I sent him the link.

And the price? They certainly don't come cheap at $49.95 for one or $79.90 for a set.
Yeah, that brought on the laughter-induced tears. Why would anyone in their right mind buy a HAND for their baby? And an expensive one, at that?
Can you say "freaky"??

But then Buttercup was born, and suddenly it all made sense. Sure, the thing still does look a little weird, but now that I'm a mom, I'm no longer laughing.

Here's the deal: The Zaky is an ergonomic infant pillow used in NICU's across the country.

It's designed to have the scent of mom (just sleep with it or add a teensy dab of your signature fragrance) for extra bonding points.

Yes, I know you are still stuck on the fact that it's a hand, but really, even Sweeter stopped laughing when he realize its benefits.

Originally designed to comfort premature babies during their long hospital stays, the Zaky is an ingenious way to calm babies because it was invented to mimic the size and weight of your hand and forearm by--who else???--a mother of a long-term NICU baby. (See how it is all starting to make sense now?) And don't worry about baby's sensitive skin; the Zaky is hypoallergenic, breathable, and fully washable.

Now, Buttercup didn't receive hers from Mom4Life until she was about 4 months old, and is not now, nor never has been a stuffed-animal kind of baby, but there were plenty of times where I was able to help her settle back to sleep by positinong the Zaky under her arm. Instead of reaching for my fingers, she was able to get the comfort she needed by wrapping her entire hand around a single Saky finger. If I had been brave enough to smap a photo in the dark and chance waking her up, I totally would have.

Instead, I searched through my photos and found the image above, which I think is the only one I have of her with the ZAky while awake.

There are way to many other benefits to list, but they include the chance for working parents to stay connected with their kids, for grandparents to send a little bit of love from far away, and it would make a great baby shower gift.

Now, I only have one, and Buttercup is fine with that. There are some great tips here on what might work for you, but I have had no problem with one since the beginning.

The Zaky is available from Mom4Life in blue, pink, and flesh color. I got pink. The flesh weirded me out.

Now for the best part! Mom4Life is offering one lucky reader the opportunity to snag one Zaky in the colo of their choice! This is perfect for my preggers readers, or those with friends or loved ones who have a little bundle on the way. Entries from US resident only, please.

To be considered for the random drawing, visit Mom4Life and leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me which other product you'd love to see reviewed. 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 one name at midnight (EST) on Aug. 26 and post their name to PRIZEYWinners and on my left-hand sidebar. The winner has four days from the announcement date to contact me, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

More good news! Mom4life is also offering my readers a 10 percent discount on orders through the end of September with code "berriesweet"! But make sure to enter the code into the coupon box on the left side of the homepage for it to apply to your order.


See you soon with another berrie sweet review and contest!

Friday, August 15

From baby food to algebra


Baby stuff is cute, but when you consider how much of it only lasts a few months the costs really begin to add up.

Cute clothes? Age-appropriate toys? Traditional high chairs? Forget about all of them and check out the innovative Keekaroo Height Right Wooden High Chair and oooh and aaaah over the so-cool and wallet-friendly fact that this little baby will grow with your baby, from that first bite of baby food through about 15 years of age!

Seriously! This thing goes from 6 months to 250 pounds, has a five year warranty, and isFREE TO SHIP! (ummm....i'm thinking this is, like, a total no-brainer here?)

Cool features include the adjustable seat and foot rest, which ensure your baby is supported and isn't left to dangle their legs, which can distract them when eating. It's worked miracles for Buttercup since we changed her over from a traditional high chair, I can tell ya that.



Once your child is secure in the Height Right, just pull it on up to the kitchen table and watch them smile as they take part in family meals. For extra versatility, you can also purchase the Height Right with or without the accessories kit, which includes the tray, a wooden grab rail for toddlers, and the cushion seat and back. Either way, the regular retail of $139 (you can get a free tray with purchase with code T000707!) divided over 15 years works out pretty nicely.

Thursday, August 14

Fit for a Prince (or Princess)


We all know your baby is the prince or princess who stole your heart, so why not celebrate your fairy tale with a classy and dainty style all your own with a gorgeous Prince Jacob necklace from the Alli's Originals.

The wonderfully chic crown is hand-cast in .925 sterling silver by the "mompranuer" herself in her Ontario home, and comes with a 16'' sterling silver regular or ball chain necklace. The crown can be stamped with up to five letters or initials, or even left plain to celebrate the little prince or princess in your life. (I'd show you a picture of mine, but then I'd be giving away Buttercup's secret identity. And we can't have that, now can we?)

And if you really want to personalize your original from Alli, you can go crazy with her unique a-la-carte selection of hand-cut, hand-stamped, and hand-casted pendants and charms like the sweet little "darling" discs or the precious petals charms, which can be customized with names or initials of your choice. It's the cool mom way to celebrate "happily ever after." Prince Jacob, $40.

Get your own original with a 10 percent off discount code from Alli herself! Just enter code ao10%07 at checkout.

Wednesday, August 13

The prettiest flower: A CD review


I have a new barometer for rating the music played in my home. If Buttercup sings along to it, then it stays.

If I find myself listening to it, and singing along, when Buttercup is not around, thn it's deemed "perfection" and gets uploaded to the iPod, the CD goes in the minivan, and we listen to it everyday.

Danielle Sansone's "Two Flowers," which debutes on September 23 (Azalea Records, $14.00) is that CD.

I'm not a music critic, so I can't compare her melodies or her lyrics or her vocal talents to other musicians, as is common practice in music reviews. I am just a mom who loves music, and can't get enough of "Two Flowers."

It sends that little shiver up my spine because it's so beautifully executed, so wonderfully relaxing, and so perfect in it's presentation that it just makes you happy to be alive for the chance to enjoy it.

The 14-track disc is a tribute to the wonder of childhood, with songs that address the magic and mystery of sleep, nightime, and dreams. It's folky with lilting melodies, touching lyrics that are even sweeter when you learn that the CD is a gift to Sansone's two young daughters, and (my favorite) a sure-fire way to get Buttercup to stop crying in the car.

I love the entire CD, but my favorites on the CD are "Bed of Roses," "Like an Angel," "Sleep So Sweetly," "Blanket," and "One More."

If the love a mother has for her child could be described as a sound, it would be Danielle Sansone's CD. I can't say enough good things about "Two Flowers, and will never tire of listening to it.

"Two Flowers" will be available online at www.daniellesansone.com, CD Baby, and iTunes on September 23.

And thanks to Waldmania! for my first win-it-before-you-can-buy-it contest! One lucky reader will get their very own copy of "Two Flowers," before it even (officially) hits the stores!

To be considered for the random drawing, visit CD Baby, listen to the tracks, and and leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me which is your favorite. 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 one name at midnight (EST) on Aug. 20 and post their name to PRIZEYWinners and on my left-hand sidebar. The winner has four days from the announcement date to contact me, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

See you soon with another berrie sweet review and contest!

Tuesday, August 12

Holy wow! 10,000 already!!!???

Maybe I am totally new at this and easily amused, but I just checked my stats for the site and almost did a happy-dance when I saw that I have already topped 10,000 visits since May 18, 2008!

Sure, this might not be too impressive to the big fish in the bloggy sea, but considering my other blog has been up for, ahem!, way longer and has only half the hits, I am pretty impressed with myself.

so I had a glass of wine to celebrate!

Here's to bigger and better things for Berrie Sweet Picks! And thank you to all of my readers!

Sunday, August 10

Mixin' it up, curly-style



I have to laugh sometimes when my relatives look at Buttercup's ever-curling hair and then at mine. It's always with a snap of the lips that they say, "Aye, M'ija, maybe her hair will be more like her daddy's? It might be better, don't worry."

Better? Right....they mean better "than mine."

And people wonder why I grew up with a complex about my frizzy, corkscrew curls?

Remember my review of the Mixed Chicks shampoo? Well, I'm back to tell you about their Hair Silk and Leave-in Conditioner. And I'll tell you all one thing right off the bat; Buttercup could wake up with a 'fro worthy of the 1970's, and I wouldn't even bat an eye.

I've already got my secret weapon.

Up until a former co-worker introduced me to this stuff, I was spending boku bucks on tons of curly hair products and attempting to "mix" my own concoction each morning as I got ready for work. All told, I'd probably use 6 products at a time just to keep my hair from scaring the children on their way to school as I made my way to my car, and I had resigned myself to my fate of crunchy-curls and 'fro 'fro mornings.

Then I hesitantly tried the Leave-in conditoner, not for a second believing that I wouldn't need to use anything else in my hair, and certainly not buying their claims of "lightweight, non-sticky, and moisturizing."
Fast forward to just 48 hours later, and my arsenal of crap was in the garbage and I had already placed an order for three bottles of Happy at $16.99 a piece!

I can't even begin to explain the ego-boost that came with my newfound springy locks. Not only was I getting complimented left and right, but now my hair actually MOVED with the wind! It was heaven and I was loving every minute of it.
And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, Mixhed Chicks sent me a bottle of their Hair silk to try out. I didn't think I could improve on perfection, but wow!

Now, to be honest, I really wasn't thinking I was going to like this stuff. There were too many memories of nasty-oily hair from trying over-the-counter frizz busters that had just left a bad taste in my mouth. But I was pleasantly totally surprised to find that the Hair Silk does what it says it will do (read: leave you with a shiny head of hair, prevent fly-aways and split-ends, and all the while leaving your hair feeling like, well, your hair---only better!)


For what this stuff accomplishes, I certainly would be willing to pay the $11.99 for another bottle!

Now for your favorite part: Mixed Chicks has graciously provided me with one 10 oz bottle of their Leave-in conditioner to offer up to one lucky winner! Remember, this stuff works great on all kinds of curls for both kids and adults!

To be considered for the random drawing, visit their site and leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me what other product you are interested in trying 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 (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 one name at midnight (EST) on Aug. 18 and post their name to PRIZEYWinners and on my left-hand sidebar. The winner has four days from the announcement date to contact me, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

See you soon with another berrie sweet review and contest!

Saturday, August 9

G...that's earth-friendly!


Okay, so I'm figuring you all have noticed I've got a bit of an eco-streak going on with the products I agree to review and use in my home.

And with that, I've really moved awa from using disposable diapers because, well, the idea of a disposable diaper sitting in a landfill for 500 years is just pretty nasty.

And even though I've been cloth-diapering for most of Buttercup's life, I have never been able to find a good solution for night-time or for extrememly long outings where carrying around dirty diapers just didn't appeal to me.

One particular item that has recently moved to the top of my list is gDiapers. It's a great (flushable) choice for the eco-minded parents out there who don't mind little trial and error in the learning process.

First, about the diaper itself. gDiapers are free of elemetal chlorine and perfume, and are a garbage-free (and laundry-free) option if disposables just don't appeal or cloth just isn't your thing.

The flushables themselves are made of a breathable, water-resistant outer material, and are 100 percent biodegradable. snap-in liners are pvc-free pylyurethane, and are actually pretty to rinse and change. Outer covers complete the package and are made of a breathable cotton with a slight stretch. The added bonus is that the colors are just cute.



So how do they work? I got a starter kit from gDiapers with two little g-pants, inserts, and the flushable liner and swish stick. The idea is that you fit the insert into the g-pants and once it needs to be changed, you merely tear the sides on the insert or flushing poopies. Wet diapers can be flushed or garden-composted.
Now, after tons of "practice," a few clogged toilets, and a few choice words, I finally got past the learning curve for the gDiapers and am officially a convert.

Now for cost.

* Starter kits run $26.99 for two little g-pants, 10 flushables, a swisch stick, and a user guide.
* Little g's go for $16.99 or $18.99, depending on what style you want.
* Flushables run $14.49 for a pack of 32 flushables or $52 for a case of 10. You can also save by singing up for automatic shipments. (that's what I did.)

Before you say anything, yes, they are more expensive than traditional disposables. And no matter how much you want to help the planet, the economy tends to take precendence when it comes to decisions regarding what to buy. Now, if I wanted to use these full-time,I admit that I would not be able to do so. But since I cloth diaper and only use the gDiapers for night time and extended outings, I can feel good about Buttercup's gDiaprs and not go broke.

gDiapers can be purchased on the company web site and at Amazon.

Friday, August 8

Rock out with Princess Katie and Racer Steve


If there's one thing I'm learning since starting this blog, it's that kid music totally rocks these days. No more Barney (ughhh....) cuz now it's time for Princess Katie and Racer Steve!

The husband and wife team's CD, "Fast and Feisty," was released in April, and has been playing in a regular rotation in my home since I discovered it still in the package it was mailed in just a few weeks ago. (Bad blogger. Bad!)
But back to "Fast and Feisty" and the Princess and the Racer.

First off, the CD could suck and the lyrics could drive parents to the brink of sanity, and we'd probably still allow our kids to bop incessentaly to the music of their biggest play-date fantasies. I mean, come on! What little girl hasn't wanted to be a princess at least once in her life? And what little boy (or girl) hasn't gotten a thrill pretending to GO FAST like the cool race car drivers?

The added bonus, of course, is that Princess Katie and Racer Steve are a serious rock-n-roll band with the musical talent to match. Katie's got a decidely adult-sounding singing voice that adds a calssy touch to the kiddie lyrics, and even if Buttercup is too young to appreciate the fact that Racer Steve is a master on that guitar of his, I'm not.

My faves on the track include "Holidays," "Sneakers," and "We Dress Ourselves," the last of which will have you singing along at the top of your lungs before you realize that the driver in the car next to you at that red light thinks you have officially lost your mind.

Princess Katie and Racer Steve's "Fast and Feisty" CD is available online for $15.00 at www.princesracer.com, CD Baby, and at loyalty toy and bookstores. But be warned! It's currently sold out at CD Baby, so add your name to the list now to be notified as soon as it's available.

Monday, August 4

Keen sleep ideas to help you get through the night

So go ahead and call me slow, but at about 12-months, I finally decided to throw my whatever-baby-schedule to the wind and try a good, old-fashioned routine. I really didn't think the classic "bath, book, bed" trick would actually work with Buttercup, who fought her sleep on a nightly basis like a warrior child from another dimension (You'll never take me alive!!!), but just a few days later, I was wondering why no one had bothered smacking my upside the head for not doing this sooner.

Now, you may be asking, "What exactly were you doing?"

My answer? "Whatever."

See, I work from home, so I stay up until 3 writing, after Buttercup has gone to bed. And we both usually get out of bed about 10 a.m. I've never been one for schedules, but I really was only getting maybe 2 hours worth of blogging work done each night since Buttercup was hanging on for dear life until the wee hours of the morning every single night.

Not exactly a prime situation for getting anything done.

Then, the magical routine happened, and I suddenly gaained a happily sleepy baby who gets her bath, wrapped up in a Grobag Baby Sleep Bag from Keen Distribution, a few books, and then she is off to la-la land by 10:30. It's amazing.

I really do think that the Grobag is part of the magic. These U.K. best-sellers retail for $34.99 and $39.99, and come in a variety of thickness, sizes, patterns, and are great for every season, and for every child from newborns to thirty-six-months. It is very easy to use, unzips in all the right places for night-time changes, and has turned into a trusty little piece of nighty-night comfort whenever we happen to bed down at a relative's for the night.

It works great for now, but I do have reservations about the feasibility of a sleeping bag for a mobile toddler, who may try getting out of a toddler bed for a night-time visit to mommy's room. But for children in cribs, I think this is a wonderful item to use in place of blankets, which should not be used for newborns, anyway, or which can be kicked off by older babies.(Keen, however, makes a great point that the sleeping bag not only protects baby's feet and legs from getting stuck in crib bars, but it also makes it difficult, if not impossible, to try to climb out of the crib. so majoe points on that one.)

Another great find from Keen is the new (to the U.S) Grobag Egg Room Thermometer, a color-changing digital thermometer retailing for $29.99. The egg has a beautifully soft glow that changes color according to the temperature in the baby's room. Yellow means that the room is in the appropriate temp range of 61 to 67 degrees F, which can help reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Just a peek into the nursery will tell you if you need to adjust the temperature, or at least the baby's clothing or bedding if temperature adjustments are not possible.


Want to try it out for yourself? Keen Distribution has generously offered a package of one Grobag Baby Sleeping Bag and one Grobag Egg to one lucky winner!

To be considered for the random drawing, visit their site and leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me what other product you are interested in trying 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 (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 one name at midnight (EST) on Aug. 11 and post their name to PRIZEYWinners and on my left-hand sidebar. The winner has four days from the announcement date to contact me, or an alternate winner will be chosen.
See you soon with another berrie sweet review and contest!

Sunday, August 3

Berries Says Sunday: Searching for my winners...

Hello all!

It's been a crazy weekend for me, but I'm still wishing it wasn't over yet! In any case, I'm here to make a few announcements, and hopefully get a response from one of my contest winners!

First things first: I am starting a new feature on here called "Berrie's Tuesday Ten" where I'll be bloggy interviewing independent online business owners (and maybe a few cool parent-bloggers for good measure). Questions will be funny, on-point, and make you want to come back for more!(I hope...)

I hope to publish the first interview soon, and will gladly take any suggestions for who you think should go next!

Another reason for this post is my desperate search for a response from divrchk , who won the contest here for the Mircroplane Foot File! While I posted the information on PRIZEY, as I stated in the original post, I have not yet heard from this lucky lady, and got nil on an email query as well.

Now, before anyone starts grumbling about my 4-day rule, keep in mind that this contest ran BEFORE I implented that. So in all fairness, Divrchk really has the rest of time to get back to me, but we're going to be realistic here.

If you are reading this, Divrchk, or someone who knows you has stopped by, the time is now 12:46 a.m. on Sunday night, EST. I am giving you until 12:46 a.m. EST on Tueasday night to email me at pm.lupercio@gmail.com with your info so I can get your prize out. After that, all bets are off and I go back and randomly pick a new winner.

(And while I'm at it, Keep it classy, Jen! has two more days to get in touch with me for the Fine Art of Family necklace!:) :) :)

This also brings me to PRIZEY itself. I post winners names there to make things easier on myself (no hunting for winner's email addresses or beating my head against a wall!) and on the winners (one stop shopping for tons of contests and a simple way to check on all the ones you entered!) for a reason. PLEASE do me the favor of checking that site and getting back to me in the alotted amount of time. Providing your email address in your comments also will save me a huge headache an allow me the time to get to posting my next contest (and working, and playing with Buttercup, and blah, blah, blah...)

I'm also going to run a list of winners on the left hand side of the blog, but that still means you need to do your homework and check back to see if you won!

And that four day rule? As much as I don't like to be a (insert choice name here)about it, but I have implented that rule for my sanity and for the fairness of all who enter my contests. So four days means just that. I'll post winners to PRIZEY, try to email you, and then wait. And yes, I will have already contacted a new winner by the fifth day.

So there ya go! I'll be back soon with more reviews and contests, but for now, it's time to pick some new winners and get to bed before Buttercup wakes up!

Saturday, August 2

Who needs Hallmark when you have Ma!???


"Thank you.
I'm sitting in the quietest spot in my home so that I can tae a few minutes to be grateful to you.
Okay, So I'm on the edge of my tub, door lockd, with the kids' fingers poking under the door but I am essentially alone.
Thank you."


As much as I'd like to claim that little gem of mothering reality as a piece of my own literary genius, the credit goes to Janalee Chmel and Tiffany Hauber, the Hot Mammas behind Motherhood with an Attitude (Ma!), which specializes in to-do-lists, note card sets, Thank you cards, and more in a the-kids-just-peed-in-my-bra-and-i-think-i'm-losing-my-mind-but-i-still-love-them-like-crazy-anyway kind of way.

Here's another one of my favorites in the Thank You box Set:

"Thank you.
There are moments when my child hugs me and my heart fills with gratiude for my beautiful, imperfect life. Your thoughfulness feels like that. Thank you."


That one makes me want to cry with relief that someone finally freaking GOT IT!!!!
The ma! stuff is hilarious, refreshing, and makes you appreciate the tough spots in mothering all the more. You really do have to check this stuff out. And you have to check out my contest for a chance at a Thank You Box set valued at $14.00.



To be considered for the random drawing, visit their site and leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me what other product you want me to beg the Ma! ladies for to review and offer for a contest next (since I have no shame!)! 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 one name at midnight (EST) on Aug. 8 and post their name to PRIZEYWinners. So make sure to check that site!!!! The winner has four days from the announcement date to contact me, or an alternate winner will be chosen.