Friday, November 28

With boon, at least the plate Stays Put!

Check out this great new toddler plate from boon! This mod little saucer is the Stay Put Divided Plate, and Buttercup and I love it. Check out our vlog review!

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The Saucer has a nifty little edgeless design which prevents the kiddos from throwin it lifting it off the table. And the slip-resistant base keeps it in place. Add the fact that the divided sections keep foods separared for picky little Buttercups toddlers, and we've got another winner from boon.

And at just $5.99, I'm buying tree more so I can keep one at my mom's and mother-in-laws, and so I can always have one clean here at home. So who wants one? Boon is giving one lucky winner the chance at one of these babies, and I am more than happy to help get it in your hands.

To enter the contest, just visit the boon site and let me know which product you want reviewed here next (and offered up for a contest, of course.!) Entries will be accepted until midnight, EST, on Dec. 5 and the winner has four days from the announcement date to contact me with their information, or alternate winners will be drawn. U.S. and Canada entries only, please.

Additional extra entries are also available if you:
* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* Blog about contest and link to this post.
* Non-bloggers can email three of their friends about the contest at berriesweet.info (at) gmail (dot) com and CC me on the email. Girl Scout's honor that I will never bother these sweet people. I promise!
* Grab my Berrie Sweet Picks button and place it on your blog page. I'll check!
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
* Tweet the contest and leave a comment with your username telling me what you said to your "tweeple"! Please note all entries MUST include a valid email address to be considered for the drawing! That means that well, all entries must include an email address to be considered valid. Simple enough, right? ;)

Thursday, November 27

Contest: What's your funniest bath-time memory?


I've tested my fair share of baby bath products on Buttercup, and one favorite is the new Baby Phisoderm tear-free gel wash. Buttercup loves her baths, and loves to give me reason to get her in the tub (like yogurt in her hair at almost every meal!) so I'm always on the look-out for great baby cleansers that will do the job without drying her skin out. Major points are added if said product also keeps my lil' Buttercup out of harms way regarding harmful chemicals.

We tried the new Baby Phisoderm this evening for Buttercup's bath and I'm very happy with the results. It smells great and left her skin nice and soft. I loved the scent of baby powder and am happy that the gel foams up very easily with or without a washcloth.

Other reasons I heart this stuff? It's doctor-recommended for senstive skin (which I have, so this is a plus since I am the one bathing her!), phthalate-free, tear-free, and leaves no soapy residue.

And thanks to Phisoderm, two of you have a chance to try this out for your own kids!
The funniest bath time stories win for this contest, so grab a cup of coffee and sit back and reminisce about that time that little Suzie decided to make mud pies in her Sunday best, or that time that Buttercup played in the tub for so long that her daddy had to go... um...fishing afterwards for her little tokens of appreciation (and yep-she got hosed off again after that little escapade.)

Two winners will be randomly selected at midnight, EST, on December 4, from all qualified entries. The winners have four days from the announcement date to contact me with their information, or alternate winners will be drawn. U.S. entries only, please.

Additional extra entries are also available if you:
* Visit Phisoderm's site and tell me what other products you'd like to see reviewed here next.
* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* Blog about contest and link to this post.
* Non-bloggers can email three of their friends about the contest at berriesweet.info (at) gmail (dot) com and CC me on the email. Girl Scout's honor that I will never bother these sweet people. I promise!
* Grab my Berrie Sweet Picks button and place it on your blog page. I'll check!
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
* Tweet the contest and leave a comment with your username telling me what you said to your "tweeple"! Please note all entries MUST include a valid email address to be considered for the drawing! That means that well, all entries must include an email address to be considered valid. Simple enough, right? ;)

Oh-and Happy Turkey Day from me and Buttercup!

Wednesday, November 26

You Can Make This: A gift from the heart

I can't sew a button. Seriously. My poor Mexican grandmother would be ashamed of me, with all the crocheting and knitting she put into my treasured baby blanket collection. But it's true: I am sewing-challenged!

And yet, I have high hopes that everyone on my Christmas gift list will get a personalized pillow with the help of an easy-to-follow e-book from YouCanMakeThis.com from me and Buttercup in 2009. That's right...I'm going easy on myself and giving myself a pretty large margin for error.

Seriously, aren't they adorable? I'm already picking up fabrics and can't wait to work on Buttercup's pillows (she'll get one with "Buttercup" on it and one with her real name) as soon as I have more than five minutes to myself and I figure out how to use a sewing machine.

I'll be sure to let you know when that happens.

But just because my life is crazy-busy doesn't mean I have to make you wait for a chance at an e-book of your choice from YouCanMakeThis.com, does it? They've got some great Christmas gift and craft ideas with over 700 e-books in 34 categories, like the Duet Apron set for Adult and Child, or the Donut and Cupcake Felt Food set!

The e-books are very affordable, but every little bit helps, right? Through December 1, you can score 10 percent off your order with code MakeGifts!

So here's the deal: In order to make sure my TWO winners get the time they need to go out and buy their supplies for their e-book of choice ($20 value or less) and still have time to get the gift under the Christmas tree, I'm running a live contest via Twitter for FOUR hours only! That means that at 3:20 P.M. EST, time's up!

To enter, all you have to do is stop by YouCanMakeThis.com and find your favorite e-book, then stop back here and leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me which one you want emailed to you if you win AND a comment sharing your thoughts on the site. You know, do you like it? Is it easy to navigate? Do you like the selection of e-books? Will you be back?

And make sure that your comment included a valid email address, cuz if my email gets bounced back, I'm moving on to the next winner. One extra entry are available for retweeting the contest link.

That's it! Why are you still reading? The clock's ticking, people. Let's get crafty!

The Ergo saves the Day!

I've posted about it before, but I am not complete without my Ergo Baby Carrier. And that is no joke. Check out my latest NewBaby vlog about how this little baby helps keep me sane when trying to juggle a teething toddler and my mascara!

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Tuesday, November 25

Announcement: Kiss my face contest extended

It's bound to happen with all the contests and reviews I post here while the rest of the world is sleeping---I made a major boo-boo.

The funny thing is that no one else has caught it yet!

Remember this contest here? It's for the Kiss My Face kids' product line. One winner gets the whole kit and kaboodle!

Well, I just realized that the original post had no contest end date ( I know, right?) so I went back in and edited the post. The contest now officially ends at midnight, EST, on Nov. 30.

So get to it! Enter already!

Monday, November 24

Thank you Grace and Sugarplum Dreams!

The best thing about reviewing products for this blog is learning about items I otherwise never would have had the chance to discover...and then, of course, sharing these great finds with my readers!

I am pretty picky about what makes the cut for Berrie Sweet Picks, and even then, there are only a handful of products that have made me get all giddy and wish I was a kid again so I could play with it myself.

My current fave is the 20" tall Oopsy Daisy Zebra from Sugarplum Dreams. I'll admit that the $65 price tag might be a bit shocking for a stuffed animal, but it is more than worth it when you learn the story behind this adorable and visually stimulating plush pal.

The Zebra that I can't wait for Buttercup to fall in love with is a Kenana Knitter Kritter, which means it was hand-knit by a group of rural women in Kenya. These women utilize their knitting skills to support their families in developing economies where life is much tougher than anything I can even begin to imagine. And the money earned by the Kenana Knitters directly benefits the women involved, helping them better the quality of life for themselves and their families.

Our little zebra was hand-knit by a woman named Grace Nanyeit', and it brings a smile to my face knowing that there is an actual person who breathed life into this adorable stuffed animal instead of the usual factory line of machines. I don't know if Grace will get a chance to read this, but I'd like to thank her for the time and care she put into this project.

You can learn more about the Kenana Knitter group here, and I really do recommend taking a few moments to read!

And thanks to Sugarplum Dreams, I not only have a chance for one reader to win an Oopsy Daisy Zebra of their own, I also have a discount code for 15% percent off a $50 purchase or more through December 31. Just enter code berrie15 at checkout!

To enter to the contest, please visit Sugarplum Dreams and then leave me a berrie (read: comment)telling me what item ($50 or more) you'd like to purchase with the help of the offered discount code. You have until midnight, EST. on December. 2 and the winner has four days from the announcement date to respond. U.S. entries only, please.

Additional extra entries are also available if you:
* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* Blog about contest and link to this post.
* Non-bloggers can email three of their friends about the contest at berriesweet.info (at) gmail (dot) com and CC me on the email. Girl Scout's honor that I will never bother these sweet people. I promise!
* Grab my Berrie Sweet Picks button and place it on your blog page. I'll check!
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
* Tweet the contest and leave a comment with your username telling me what you said to your "tweeple"! Please note all entries MUST include a valid email address to be considered for the drawing! That means that well, all entries must include an email address to be considered valid. Simple enough, right? ;)

Sunday, November 23

Xeko Mission: Have an earth-friendly Christmas


Green is the obvious buzz word for this year's Christmas push, and with good reason. Eco-friendly products are better for the environment and safer for our children, above all else, so why not make an effort to keep your kids' Christmas wish list as green as possible?

One great way to do this is with the new award-winning, earth-friendly trading card games and accompanying plush animals that encourage kids to learn about conservation, the environment, and the world's most threatened species. I got to take a look at the newest addition to the line with Xeko Mission: China starter set.

Buttercup's too young to appreciate this right now, but I was pretty impressed with the packaging (a beautiful pagoda-shaped box decorated with animals from China's habitats)and am glad to see company's realize how important playing can be to helping teach our children about the world they live in. And with earth-friendly materials used in the packaging and game, you can feel good about what you put under the Christmas tree, too.

I also got a chance to look at the new line of Xeko pals, with each based on the most popular characters from the Xeko eco-adventure game. We were sent a Giant
Panda made from soy and certified organic cotton. He' cute, soft, completely squeezable and huggable, and comes with his own "mission code" to allow kids the opportunity to join in on the fun at Xeko!

The starter kit retails for $24.99 and the 7.5" plush Giant Panda retails for $19.99. Both are available at specialty stores across the country like Barnes & Noble, Borders, and select Whole Foods.

And thanks to the good folks at Xeko, I've got a berrie cool chance for one reader to win a Xeko Mission: China starter set and a Giant Panda! To enter to the contest, please visit Xeko and then leave me a berrie (read: comment)about something you and your kids learned while there. You have until midnight, EST. on December. 1 and the winner has four days from the announcement date to respond. U.S. entries only, please.

Additional extra entries are also available if you:
* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* Blog about contest and link to this post.
* Non-bloggers can email three of their friends about the contest at berriesweet.info (at) gmail (dot) com and CC me on the email. Girl Scout's honor that I will never bother these sweet people. I promise!
* Grab my Berrie Sweet Picks button and place it on your blog page. I'll check!
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
* Tweet the contest and leave a comment with your username telling me what you said to your "tweeple"! Please note all entries MUST include a valid email address to be considered for the drawing! That means that well, all entries must include an email address to be considered valid. Simple enough, right? ;)

Saturday, November 22

Go on a Poingo reading adventure!

Check out my vlog review of the Poingo Reading System!

video

The set I reviewed retails for $34.99, and additional books are available for $9.99 each. Poingo is available at Target, Walmart, Toys R’ Us, Costco, Sam’s Clubs, and BJ’s Wholesale Clubs, and at www.mypoingo.com. Your readers can also purchase the product at Amazon.

And just in time for Christmas, I've got a great contest for on lucky reader to win the same Poingo set I reviewed! To enter to the contest, please visit My Poingo and then leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me which additional book you would most likely buy for your child to supplement the starter set if you were selected as the winner. You have until midnight, EST. on November 30 and the winner has four days from the announcement date to respond. U.S. entries only, please.

Additional extra entries are also available if you:
* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* Blog about contest and link to this post.
* Non-bloggers can email three of their friends about the contest at berriesweet.info (at) gmail (dot) com and CC me on the email. Girl Scout's honor that I will never bother these sweet people. I promise!
* Grab my Berrie Sweet Picks button and place it on your blog page. I'll check!
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
* Tweet the contest and leave a comment with your username telling me what you said to your "tweeple"! Please note all entries MUST include a valid email address to be considered for the drawing! That means that well, all entries must include an email address to be considered valid. Simple enough, right? ;)

Friday, November 21

Get green and cheeky with Cheekeyes wooden toys



There's just something extra special in the simplicity of a wooden toy. No bells and whistles and batteries and flashing lights--just add a little imagination and magic begins to happen.

And when those wooden toys are made from eco-friendly rubberwood, that's just taking the power of green to a whole new level.

Buttercup and I have had the great pleasure to take an up-close-and-personal look at the sweetly simple Cheekeys Farm Animal set from Oompa Toys. And I am in love. The sheep, cow, horse, goat, and pig are easily recognizable in shape, smooth to the touch, and just plain cute. One thing I love about the Cheekeyes is that they are handmade and only partially painted, making each figurine unique.

Dutch designer Rogier van Zijp created his line of dinosaurs and forest, African and Arctic animals with a unique red cheek and painted eye (which is, of course, reflected in the Cheekeyes name.)

And if my opinion isn't enough to get you to order a set for every pre-schooler on your Christmas list, then how about the knowledge that the 2009 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio honored the Cheekeyes line with its prestigious Platinum Award for one of the year's best preschool toys?

The animals sets retail for $29.99 and are geared for children ages three and up. For added fun and imaginative open play, we added the farm fence and tree sets, sold separetly at $16.99 each.

I'd like to thank Oompa toys for offering my readers a chance to win one Cheekeyes set of choice! Perfect timing for Christmas, right? To enter to win a pair, stop by the site and then leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me which wooden toy set you'd choose if selected the winner. You have until midnight, EST. on November 29 and the winner has four days from the announcement date to respond or an alternate will be chosen. U.S. entries only, please.

Additional extra entries are also available if you:
* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* Blog about contest and link to this post.
* Non-bloggers can email three of their friends about the contest at berriesweet.info (at) gmail (dot) com and CC me on the email. Girl Scout's honor that I will never bother these sweet people. I promise!
* Grab my Berrie Sweet Picks button and place it on your blog page. I'll check!
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
* Tweet the contest and leave a comment with your username telling me what you said to your "tweeple"!

Please note all entries MUST include a valid email address to be considered for the drawing! That means that well, all entries must include an email address to be considered valid. Simple enough, right? ;)

Tuesday, November 18

chicBuds: that's "hot"

I am so excited to have been selected as a mom vlogger for NewBaby.com! Not only did I get a sweet lil' flip video camera to share mommy moments on their site, I also get to use my new toy for vlogging reviews of the great products I get to try. I'll still write, of course, but some products just lend themselves to a video, and this was certainly one of them.

My first vlog review comes courtesy from chicBuds, which are a pretty hot commodity right now. (They say Paris Hilton has a pair!) ChicBuds are available at Dillard's and Fred Meyer, and retail for $49.00. Watch the vlog review for my thoughts and let me know what you think!

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So about that contest! but you can win a pair right here!(Everyone together now on a huge THANK YOU to Nikki from chicBuds!) To enter to win a pair, stop by their site and then leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me which color bud and crystal combo you'd choose if selected the winner. You have until midnight, EST. on November 28. One lucky woman gets to bling it up in time for the holidays!

Additional extra entries are also available if you:
* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* Blog about contest and link to this post.
* Non-bloggers can email three of their friends about the contest at berriesweet.info (at) gmail (dot) com and CC me on the email. Girl Scout's honor that I will never bother these sweet people. I promise!
* Grab my Berrie Sweet Picks button and place it on your blog page. I'll check!
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
* Tweet the contest and leave a comment with your username telling me what you said to your "tweeple"! Please note all entries MUST include a valid email address to be considered for the drawing! That means that well, all entries must include an email address to be considered valid. Simple enough, right? ;)

Wear your baby in style with SlingEzee!

Anyone who knows me, or reads this blog reguarly knows that I am a big fan of baby-wearing. Since they day she was born, Buttercup has experienced the skin-to-skin contact and soothing beat of her Mama's heart that I think are so vital to her development.

There are tons of options out there, but the SlingEzee is a great option to look into for those of you who prefer the sling-style carriers. Having undergone a very recent redesign to incorporate better ease of use, increased fexibility in sizing, less bulk, added comfort for mom and baby, and beautiful new fabrics, this sling would make a great gift for a new mom and is a great buy at $59.00. Just make sure to pay attention to the sizing options for the best fit and comfort.

We were lucky enough to try the gorgeous Sage Chocolate Damask design, which is honestly nice enough to wear out for an evening with baby attached! I can't even begin to count how many times I was at a dressy event with a drab baby carrier covering my carefully selected dress or blouse.

As with many other slings I have seen, the SlingEzee is made to carry your child from birth through toddlerhood, making it beyond easy to breastfeed discreetly and comfort your child. I would recommend watching the included instructional DVD, as incorrectly positioning the sling can result in discomfort for you and an unsafe carrying situation for your child. But worn correctly, the SlingEzee is a stylish baby-wearin' Mama's baby carrier of choice!

Monday, November 17

Verterra: True to the Earth

The holidays are coming up and with them come the requisite family gatherings with too much food and too little time to take care of the dirty dishes (at least in my house!) One option would be to make everyone wash their own dish, but that might take some of the holiday cheer after a hearty turkey dinner.

I could try paper plates-but they just don't seem sturdy enough. And while plastic ware would certainly hold up well enough, it's the least eco-friendly option out there.

So what's a busy mom to do? May I suggest leaves? You know, the kind that fall off of trees and land on the ground? Yeah, you read that right!

I had the pleasure to try a few samples from the innovative Verterra product line of reusable, renewable, and compostable dinnerware. Each bowl, plate, cup, and platter is made from a beautifully simple combination of water and leaves. There are no chemicals, no harmful toxins that can leach into your food, no dyes, and no waxes. Just Mother Nature giving us a second chance to say 'Thank You' to our planet.



Not only are these plates beautiful and sure to be a great conversation starter at your holiday soirees, they are also extremely durable. I tried mine out with spaghetti and fried eggplant one night, then rinsed and reused until the plate lost shape. My Verterra went from the fridge to the microwave and back to the fridge before trying them out in the oven. (Take that, plastic-ware!) And as long as I was careful to wash and not soak my plates, they held their own and lasted me well over 7 meals each. Sure, the plates stained after the spaghetti dinner, but I didn't care because the awe of eating off of a leaf plate was pretty much blinding me.

You can pick up a pack of 10 six-inch rectangle plates for $8.99, which is pretty good considering the durability of the products. Who knows!?!? If you take care with your Verterra during your Thanksgiving meal, you might very well be eating off of the same plate on New Year's Eve.

Go ahead, I dare you.

Sunday, November 16

#motrinmoms speak out: ad campaign misses the mark

I spend a lot of time, okay-a ton of time-on here talking pretty about all of the awesome products I get to try thanks to this blog. I've fallen in love with so many products I never would have known about that have since become a part of my everyday life, and for that I am very grateful.

One such item, or way of mothering, is baby-wearing. I you have read this blog for more than a week, I'm sure you have seen at least one baby-wearing related blog post. So why am I bringing this up now? Because for once, I have to step back and write a negative review. It's related to the now infamous motrin.com ad campaign here,and if they have taken the ad down by the time you see this, you can see the transcript here.

I was up all night on twitter (search for #motrinmoms), part of the storm of outrage that struck once people started commenting on the ad, and even vlogged about it for www.NewBaby.com.

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And since it it International Baby Wearing Week, it seems even more important to stress the positives associated with baby-wearing: The connection, the bonding, the sheer joy I experience as a mother with my daughter so close. There are also plenty of documented positives for worn babies, which you can get more info about here.

Motrin: You missed the mark on this one. Baby-wearing is only painful if done incorrecty; kind of like pretending to sympathize with your intended target audience and pissing them off instead. That's why I think it is important to repost all related posts from this blog. Focus on the positives, moms. And wile you're at it, tell Motrin how you feel by taking your dollar elsewhere.

Celebrate Attachment Parenting Month and help students in need

Sling it on

The berrie best carrier ever

Accidentally Attached

It's a wrap!

Wear your baby all summer long

Saturday, November 15

Stocking Stuffer Alert!: Frances England's "Family Tree"


Anyone who has been reading this blog for at least a week will know that I am in absolute love with indie children's singer Frances England. Not only is she a talented musician and lyricist, she also just happens to be "The Buttercup Whisperer." And that pretty much means that anytime I turn France's England's music on in my home or car, the screaming and fussing of a crabby toddler magically turns into the soft and sweet hums of my little girl singing along.

Read my full review here if you don't believe me.

Well, thanks to Frances herself (thanks, Frances!), I have a copy of "Family Tree" to give away to two lucky winners. To enter, please visit France's site here and leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me which track is your favorite! Entries will be accepted until midnight. EST, on November 22 and the winner will have four days from the announcement date to respond or an alternate winner will be chosen. US and Canada only, please.

Additional extra entries are also available if you:
* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* Blog about contest and link to this post.
* 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 Berrie Sweet Picks button and place it on your blog page. I'll check!
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
* Tweet the contest and leave a comment with your username telling me what you said to your "tweeple"!

Please note all entries MUST include a valid email address to be considered for the drawing! That means that well, all entries must include an email address to be considered valid. Simple enough, right? ;)

Friday, November 14

I wanna be an (ALL)Star!

With tons of nieces, nephews, and younger cousins in the family, I am sure to get a mile-long Christmas list this year and am on the look-out for original gift ideas for the 10 and under crowd.

One great idea is the new line of mom-invented AllStar Buddies plush animals and their kid-friendly, mom-approved online home in the town of "Varsity Heights."

Chip the Golf buddy, Blitz the Football Buddy, Deuce the Tennis Buddy, Sriker the Soccer Buddy, Ace the Baseball Buddy, Swish the Basketball Buddy, and Deke the Hockey Buddy are all ready to meet your kids in the Locker Room, where they can log in with their private code (on the ticket that comes with your Buddy) for fitness-related fun!

Varsity Heights is a great online hangout for kids, where they can come together on equal playing ground for fun, competition, and socialization, all while learning valuable lessons about team work and healthy lifestyles. And if that isn't enough to convince you that this is truly a great gift-idea for kids, why not try the site and games out for yourself? You can play for free after signing up!

I have two young cousins who had an absolute blast with Striker and Ace as they browsed Varsity Heights and all the town has to offer. It was amazing, but the new Buddies even pulled them away from the Wii without arguments!

I do have a contest for one lucky winner to win the AllStar Buddy of their choice, but I'm running things a little differently this time, so pay attention!

If you think this might be a great gift idea for a child in your family, you (or you and your child) must sign up for a free account at the AllStar Buddies site and test drive the action. Your entry consists of blogging about your experience on your own site, linking to this blog post and AllStar Buddies. You must also leave me comment with the direct URL for your entry to count. US entries only, please.

Non-bloggers can enter by leaving me a comment with their thoughts on their favorite parts of the All Star web site with a valid email address. I will choose one winner randomly from qualified entries, and 4 days maximum is allowed for the winner to contact me with their shipping address.

To give everyone time to sign up and have fun, I'm running this contest for two weeks, which means entries will be accepted until midnight, EST, on Nov. 28!

So what are you waiting for? Varsity Heights awaits you!

Thursday, November 13

A squirt for your squirt!

You've asked for it, and finally I have a review of the boon Squirt!

The product description says it can hold up to 3 oz of baby food at a time, and as my sister says, it makes it pretty convenient for one-handed feedings. Which, I have been told, are a must with a 3-, 2-, and almost 1-year-old!

Now, this is a pretty nifty idea and I love the concept. But keep in mind that this product only works for prepared baby-foods. I happen to have made my own baby food, which I tested with the Squirt. And long story short, that is how it ended up at my sister's house for her to try.

With a little practice, she told me it's a handy little tool for mom's arsenal. EAsy to feed on the run, easy to clean, and less to wash up after. And that all sounds good to me! Available in orange and pink, the Squirt retails for $7.99.

So who wants one? To enter for the chance at one of these little gizmo's, you need to visit the boon site and leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me which product you would love to try or already own. Entries will be accepted until midnight. EST, on November 17 and the winner will have four days from the announcement date to respond or an alternate winner will be chosen. US only, please.

Additional extra entries are also available if you:
* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* Blog about contest and link to this post.
* 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 Berrie Sweet Picks button and place it on your blog page. I'll check!
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
* Tweet the contest and leave a comment with your username telling me what you said to your "tweeple"!

Please note all entries MUST include a valid email address to be considered for the drawing! That means that well, all entries must include an email address to be considered valid. Simple enough, right? ;)

Wednesday, November 12

Helping baby get some downtime


You know how a good sleep mask can help a frazzles mom catch some zzz's in the middle of a bright day? Well, one mom took that premiuse and ran with it, confident that her idea for the Downtime Sleepy Hat would work just a well with infants who are learning to differentiate night from day.

The Downtime Slepy Hat is made from a light-weight and breathable, 100 percent organic pima cotton. It also features an adjustable top-knot, essentially allowing you to customize the size of your baby's hat.

And yes, it is in fact a hat that can be work during normal waking hours and is a great on-the-go option for creating a sleep-inducing environment for your child. All in all, I think it is a great idea so I was excited to try it. But, old dogs and new tricks, right?

Buttercup isn't exactly a newborn anymore, so I should have figured that this wasn't going to work for us very well. I managed to get her to the point where she will wear the hat to keep her head warm outside, but as for its use as a sleep-aid, we didn't get very far.

But to be fair to the Downtime Sleepy Hat, I probably wouldn't get very far if I tried telling Buttercup that she suddenly was never allowed to sleep with us again (like she does most every night.) And the point, of course, is that introducing something (ANYTHING)new would take a lot of work.

As for infants though, I believe this product would be quite useful. And I have one nephew, in fact, who could only sleep with something covering his eyes as a newborn. The Downtime Sleepy Hat is available for $22 at Mom4Life.

So are you pregnant now? Have a best friend or sister who is about to give birth or a cooing little newborn at home already? If so, ONE lucky winner has the chance to try this smart little product out for themselves. US entries ONLY! To enter, share one of your own sleepy quirks with my readers (like mine, which is I the absolute NEED to sleep with my own pillow, no matter where I am!) Contest ends at midnight, EST, on November 20 and the winner will have four days from the announcement date to contact me or a new winner will be selected.

As always, extra entries will be available for those who:

* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* Blog about contest and link to this post.
* 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 Berrie Sweet Picks button and place it on your blog page. I'll check!
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
* Tweet the contest and leave a comment with your username telling me what you said to your "tweeple"!
*You can also snag a bonus entry by browsing the Mom 4 Life site and naming one sleep-aid, other than the Downtime Sleepy Hat, that interests you!

Please note all entries MUST include a valid email address to be considered for the drawing! That means that well, all entries must include an email address to be considered valid. Simple enough, right? ;)

And that's it! Good luck to everyone who enters.

Tuesday, November 11

The Tuesday Ten: Pregnancy Piercings' Denee Forbes


It's time for another round of Tuesday Ten here at Berrie Sweet Picks! Today's featured mom-praneur is Denee Forbes, forward-thinking momma who took matters into her own hands when she designed pregnancy-friendly body jewelry.

Pretty Sweet, huh? And check out her awesome pic, taken at 34 weeks, sportin' her own goods!

And read on to learn more.

Q.: So tell me a little about your company and the inspiration behind it.
A.: Pregnancy Piercings is all about helping women who have navel rings keep there piercing through pregnancy. I sell flexible Maternity Navel Jewelry that allows pregnant women to do just that. When I was pregnant for my daughter in 2001 I came up with a product and design that worked for me and my first thought was "there has to be other women like me who want to keep there piercing too" so there began my search to find those women. It started with my personal experience and now in 2008 PregnancyPiercings.com has grown to be a resource for pregnant women with navel rings. I love adding real testimonials and pictures of my happy customers to my website.

Q.: Five words. Describe yourself. Go!
A.: Determined, Strong, Unique, Organized, Multi-Tasker

Q.: Why do you think your products hit home with moms?
A.: So many moms these days don't want to loose part of there identity just because they become a mom. The modern mom wants it all (and why not have it all? We're worth it.)

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.: Early on there was a story written in Business week and MSNBC.com recently. Pregnancy Magazine wrote an article finally showing women there is help out there....me!

Q.: The best part of being a mom? And what's the hardest?
A.: The best part is the laugh's and seeing them play, love and grow. If your a mom you know your heart can't feel any fuller then seeing your little ones safe and happy. The hardest part for me is changing diapers (I won't miss that!)

Q.: If you could have one mommy superpower, what would it be?
A.: I wish I would snap my fingers and a nice healthy homemade dinner would appear.

Q.: Sneaky chef or eat-those-veggies-now! What's your parenting style?
A.: My kids are funny they love broccoli and green beans (no need to force feed)

Q.: What's on the menu for dinner tonight? (and can I come over?)
A.: Probably Chicken or if all else fails.... Pizza.

Q.: Where can my readers find you online? www.PregnancyPiercings.com.

Q.: Berrie Blast (read: final thoughts.
A.: If you know someone who has a navel ring tell them about Pregnancypiercings.com. Help me spread the word... You CAN keep your piercing through pregnancy!

Monday, November 10

Kiss my what? My face, of course!


Major Berrie Sweet Pick Alert!

Have I mentioned that I love what I do recently? If it wasn't for this blog, I wouldn't have had the chance to learn about the new kids line from Kiss My Face and personally try each product on Buttercup!

I heart this stuff in a major way. The ingredients are natural and organic, the packaging is downright adorable, and it makes Buttercup smell good enough to eat after each bath.

And I am also very pleased to report that Kiss My Face is one of the only categry leadin companies to have retained its independent status since they opened their doors 25 years ago!

Oh, and did I mention that there is no animal testing, no artificial colors, no animal ingredients, and no unecessary chemicals in any of their products? Now, that is something I can feel good about using on my little girl.

So what were my faves from the kids line? I thought you'd never ask!

*Kids Detangler: Buttercup has got soe major curls coming through, and unless managed, it's heading towards the land of tangles, knots, and tears. I used to use something from a company that happens to rhyme with Shmonsons, but I really only used it because I didn't know what else was out there. But the Kiss My Face Detangler? Oh, it smells yummy, works like a charm, and actually strengthens her hair!


*Kids Toothpaste: Buttercup is a tooth-brushing fiend. After some, most, well...when I remember meal, she lets me brush her teeth before she gets to have a go at it herself. I love the toothpaste because its flouride free which is great for little kids, sugar free (which makes me wonder why anyone would put sugar in toothpaste to begin with),and because even though I don't happen to think the taste is yummy enough to want to brush my teeth three times in a row, but Buttercup sure does...and it's her opinion that counts here, isn't it?

*kids foaming shampoo and body wash: Two-in-one never sounded (or smelled) so good. This stuff eliminates the need for spending money on more than one product, and has wonderfully natural ingredients like aloe vera, green tree extract, and a natural essential oil blend. One little hint: Squeeze the bottle, don't pump the top. It makes it easier for kids to help bathe themselves, and I'd like to hug the Kiss My Face employee who thought of this.

*kids foaming hand wash: Buttercup loves to do as Momma does, so I am all for letting her develop a sense of hygiene at a young age. Everyy time she sees me wash my hands, she reaches up and waits for me to rest her on my knee over the sink she she can wash her own hands with te Kiss My Face kids foaming hand wash. It smells great, free of all that nasty stuff I don't want anywhere near my daughter, and gets the job done.

Kiss My Face has generously offered ONE winner the chance to try the entire kids product line. That's right, folks--the entire product line. Yeah, I know, you can thank me later.

So how to enter? Visit the Kiss My Face site and leave me a berrie (read: comment)telling me what product OTHER THAN the kids line you are most interested n seeig reviewed next. (Warning: if you happen to surf the web lie I do after the kids are in bed, turn the volume off the second the page loads or the Kiss My Face founders may end up waking the wee ones. They look nice enough, but I'd heart the site a whole lot more if the welcome speech was something I could choose to click on instead of having to scramble past it.) Comments will be accepted until midnight, EST, on Nov. 30 and the winner will have four days from the announcement date to respond or an alternate will be selected. I'm shipping this one out myself, so US entries only, please.

As always, extra entries will be available for those who:

* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* Blog about contest and link to this post.
* 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 Berrie Sweet Picks button and place it on your blog page. I'll check!
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
* Tweet the contest and leave a comment with your username telling me what you said to your "tweeple"!

Please note all entries MUST include a valid email address to be considered for the drawing! That means that well, all entries must include an email address to be considered valid. Simple enough, right? ;)

And that's it! Good luck to everyone who enters.

Sunday, November 9

Race Thomas to the finish line!


Even before I entered the Land of Mom, there were a few things I was plenty aware of.

Sleep is for the weak.

Spit-ups happen at the worst possible moment on your last clean shirt.

And Thomas is king when it comes to kids and trains.

So of course I jumped at the chance to review the new "Thomas' Great Race" boars game from Briarpatch. It's the first Thomas & Friends action game, and is sure to be a hit with the preschool set!

I must have never really grown up because the prospect of sitting down with my kid to play this game actually makes me smile. But since she's too young to understand the concept of a board game just yet, I'm going to be playing "Review Fairy" with my 4-yr old neighbor and wish her a happy birthday tomorrow afternoon!

I'm sure she is going to enjoy learning her numbers to earn enough coal to power the engines of Thomas, James, Percy, and Molly all the way to the finish line. Along the way, B's also going to get hands on practice with sorthing, counting, and color matching skills.

And what's B's mom going to like even more about Thomas' Great Race? I'm going to bet it's the fact that the oversized game pieces were manufactured with safety in mind.

Thomas' Great Race retails for $24.99 and is designed for kids three and up and includes a Great Race track, 24 question cards, 30 coal blocks and game rules. Just bring it along to the next play date for some educational fun or even better, add it to the Christmas shopping list and set it under the tree for your own little Thomas the Engine fan!


For more information about all Briarpatch board, puzzle, card and travel games, click on www.briarpatch.com.


So who wants to win a board game for themselves? To enter, visit the Briarpatch site and leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me which game you'd like reviewed next. Contest ends at midnight, EST, on November 16 and is open to US and Canada only. The Winner will have four days from the announcement date to contact me or a new winner will be selected.

As always, extra entries will be available for those who:

* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* Blog about contest and link to this post.
* 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 Berrie Sweet Picks button and place it on your blog page. I'll check!
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
* Tweet the contest and leave a comment with your username telling me what you said to your "tweeple"!

Please note all entries MUST include a valid email address in the body of your comment to be considered for the drawing! That means that well, all entries must include an email address to be considered valid. Simple enough, right? ;)

And that's it! Good luck to everyone who enters.

Saturday, November 8

Moving on up

I finally joined the land of the living, folks. That's right: I now have a facebook account. Someone give me a freakin' cookie.

So here's the deal. I started a group for Berrie Sweet Picks readers. Post photos of you and your kids enjoying prizes you have won! Add me as a friend. Just stop by and say hello!

My page is pretty sparse right now, but with your help I am sure that will change soon enough!

Rockin' the 80's look

They're cute. They're funky. And their good from baby all the way up to about eight-years-old.

Welcome to the height of functional fashion in baby care with the totally cool Skid Pants by Dittany Baby, available at The Cocoa Monkey online boutique.

Think Olivia Newton-John and those oh-so-funky leg-warmers, only imagine them on your baby's chubby little legs or on your 6 year-old's arms to help add a layer of warmth (and fashion) for the colder months. Or just match it up with a cute onsie like I did when Buttercup was seven months old and you've got yourself a complete outfit!

Other creative uses include protection for baby's sensitive knees as they learn to crawl and walk. And they are great for keeping little legs (and arms) warm when baby is in the sling or stroller. Still not sure if you want to try a pair? Just put a pair of your baby's tights on with a cute dress and try to change the diaper. Not fun. See where I'm going with this?

Oh, and I can't forget to mention the plus for baby-wearing mommas like me. Any time you place your kiddo in the sling you end up with pants, dresses, and skirts riding up, right? That leads to chilly baby legs, right? Not so if you've got a pair of Skid Pants on for back up!

These little cuties make diaper change a breeze! Solids and patterns are available for boys, girls, and in neutral options, as well. But don't wait! These little cuties are currently on sale for $9.99 per pair.

Thursday, November 6

Who-whose favorite night lite is this?


I've never been one to stay on schedule (hence the work from home job), so I wasn't even going to attempt the impossible and try to get my kid on one. I'm sure it works great for other people, but for me it would actually create more work and less peace of mind.

But even without a schedule, I do like my little night-night routine with Buttercup. The classic "bath, book, bed" has worked like a charm since she was a little less than a year old, and I'm all about sticking with what works.

And after she has been tucked in and her iPod bedtime playlist has been turned up just loud enough in my iHome2Go to helo her drift off to sleep, I am also expected to press the little star on the Nocturnimals Owl's paw.

Just one press of the paw and the Nocturnimals Owl Night Light Slumber buddy lights up with the gentlest of soothing light shows I have ever witnessed. And with automatic shut-off after four-minutes, it's a great way for me to gauge the time I spend with Buttercup's fingers wrapped around mine until she finally falls asleep. (Did I press it 2 times? 4?)

Granted, the Nocturnimals Owl is not recommended for children under three, and I understand that it is not considered safe to put anything other than the baby in the crib. I also realize that children under three will most likley not be able to turn the Nocturnimal on by themselves, as the star "button" is rather small.

That being said, however, Buttercup didn't get her new buddy until she graduated herself to the toddler bed, and I'm the one doing the star searching when it comes time to get the glow show going. (And it really is a gentle glow and not some weird bulls-eye like you see in the photo.It's just the way it showed up with the flash from the blackberry camera. And yes, in case you are wondering, she did stay asleep.)

In either case, this is a great bed-time pal for kids to help ease fears of the dark. And it's a great way to light the way to the potty for those midnight trips! Ooooh-hello Christmas! Am I right???

The Nocturnimals Owl is available at Manhattan Toys for $22.00.

Tuesday, November 4

The Tuesday Ten: Children's singer Frances England

Wow, it was way back in June that I had the chance to fall in love with the musical stylings of indie-kids music fave Frances England. Now, the woman with the magical voice that can soothe the "terribles" right out of my toddler has made me go all giddy with a girl-crush because she agreed to be interviewed by me! Right here!

I know!

So why am I crushin' on this woman? Because she, and her voice, are magic. Buttercup has deemed it so. Read on for my Tuesday Ten interview with Frances England!


Q.: So tell me a little about your company or product and the inspiration behind it.
A.:I make indie-folk family music and have two cds out – Fascinating Creatures and Family Tree. While life with little ones is at the heart of all my songs, my sound has been compared to Norah Jones, Liz Phair, and Sarah McLachlan, to name a few. The songs I write are inspired by my two boys, by the families I work with at a cooperative preschool here in San Francisco, and by music ranging from Woodie Guthrie and the Carter Family to Cat Power and Yo La Tengo.

Q.: So many good ideas never get past the idea phase...how did you make your dream a reality?
A.: I recorded my first cd, Fascinating Creatures, as a fundraiser for my son’s preschool and really never imagined anyone outside our own circle of family and friends listening to it. At first I was actually burning the cds myself on an Epson printer and using a rickety paper cutter to make the jewel-case inserts by hand. But pretty soon, word of mouth and the Internet took my little homespun cd to a place I honestly never imagined it would go. Later that year, it was named the sole winner of the 2007 Oppenheim Award, which was a total shock. The whole thing happened in a really organic way -- I saw that people were responding to the music and ever since I’ve been trying to get it out there as much as I can.


Q.: What's your "It" factor?
A.: A lot of music critics have said that my “It” factor is my cross-over appeal. If you’re not paying attention to the lyrics, you might not know that you’re listening to a children’s album. Yet at the same time, I want to make sure that the lyrics are really engaging and relevant to children’s lives. The songs are often about finding the beauty and wonder in the ordinary everyday things our kids experience – riding tricycles, reading books, digging in the dirt, painting pictures. As parents we know how precious this time is and how it feels like it’s gone in a flash. I also think that because I’m a mother of young kids, the music reflects how close I am to this world. There is definitely an intimacy in some of the songs that people have responded to.


Q.: What's your favorite part of owning recording CD's for children/etc?
A.: Writing songs is one of my favorite things in the world to do. I’m thrilled (and still sometimes a little shocked) that people enjoy listening to my music. It’s always just been something I’ve done for myself and I really never expected to be making albums and playing concerts. This summer, my band and I were booked to do the Tricycle Music Fest in North Carolina, along with They Might Be Giants and the Jellydots. The organizers of the event made these great posters and I still can’t believe my name is right there beside TMBG – in the same font size, I might add. That’s pretty great….

Q.: What's the nitty-gritty on you!?? Come on! I want age, rank, and serial number!
A.: I’m a Bravo reality TV junkie. Project Runway and Top Chef feel like little slices of heaven after a long day.


Q.: Glass half empty of half full? Or can you not tell because it already got spilled by one of the kids?
A.: I’m Irish so I come from a “half empty” clan. Most people probably don’t see that in me because I’m a fairly upbeat and positive person. But when you are raised on Yeats and Irish ballads, there will always be a place in your heart where sorrow and sadness and disappointment can rest easy. Does that sound too dark? It’s not really….


Q.: Secrets to success? Tips for making it through to tomorrow with our sanity intact? (read: how did you do it?)
A.: Since I’ve had kids I’ve gotten a lot better at knowing and respecting my own personal boundaries. I spend much more time on the front-end weighing how much I can feasibly do and the affect it will have not only on me, but on our entire family. My husband calls it my “crazy barometer.” Mama can only take so much craziness so I try and be aware of that and plan accordingly.

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.: I’ve been lucky to have my cds reviewed in publications like Cookie, Real Simple, Parenting magazine, 7x7 (a SF magazine), and Daily Candy, to name a few. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes: “Each song is a little treasure of creativity, artistry and heart” (Los Angeles Times) and “Calling to mind such performers as Sarah McLachlan, Ani DeFranco, and Neko Case, England is the indie/alt rocker for the preschool set.” (School Library Journal).

If you’d like to read more reviews, you can check them out on my website at www.francesengland.com

Q.: If you could have one mommy superpower, what would it be?
A.: I would add more hours to the day (much of which would probably be reserved for sleep).

Monday, November 3

Say it with me now: MUFF-ah-TEES

Since the moment she was born, Buttercup has soothed herself by sucking on her two middle fingers on her right hand. So cute. So sweet. And a major pain in the duff when it came to trying to keep her hands warm last winter.

Mittens and gloves were out or all hell would break loose the moment she got a mouthful of fuzzy material instead of her teeny little fingers. So when I got a pair of Muffatees(MUFF-ah-TEES) from Go Baby for her to try this year, I was beyond ecstatic.

Muffatees are ultra-soft fingerless gloves made of luxurious baby alpaca wool and are designed to cover the gap between your jacket sleeves and the tops of your gloves or mittens. And on the not-so-cold days, they are perfect to wear alone.

I love these things. They are cute. They are warm. They are oh-so-practical. And they have the most adorable sounding name, to boot! That, and who can argue with a product hand-knit in Peru by a women's collective?

Go Baby offers muffattees in toddlers, children's, and women's sizes, and I was lucky enough to get a pair to try for myself. Buttercup and I donned our new matching gear at a recent outdoor family party that went far into the evening, and I pretty much fell in love. Oh, and Buttercup approves. When she got sleepy and her fingers went into her mouth, her hands and wrists stayed warm while she got cozy and fell asleep in the baby carrier.

Heaven!

Go Baby also has matching hats and scarves in toddler and children's sizes and Buttercup looked freaking adorable in her little get-up.



The whole line is great with fun prints and beautiful details. Who wouldn't want to keep their little ones warm in this stuff? I know, I know...you've already got the credit card out so you can order. And that's cool, but why not try to win a Mommy and Me set first? Go Baby has generously offered one lucky winner the chance to walk away with a set of muffatees for mom and a hat, scarf, and muffatees set for her child!

So who wants to win a Mommy and Me Muffatees set in Green stripe? One lucky winner will get a set of muffatees, a scarf, and a hat for their child and a pair of muffatees for themselves! To enter, visit the Go Baby site and leave me a berrie (read: comment telling me what pattern of muffatees is your favorite. Contest ends at midnight, EST, on November 10 and is open to US and Canada only. The Winner will have four days from the announcement date to contact me or a new winner will be selected.

As always, extra entries will be available for those who:

* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* Blog about contest and link to this post.
* 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 Berrie Sweet Picks button and place it on your blog page. I'll check!
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
* Tweet the contest and leave a comment with your username telling me what you said to your "tweeple"!

Please note all entries MUST include a valid email address to be considered for the drawing! That means that well, all entries must include an email address to be considered valid. Simple enough, right? ;)

And that's it! Good luck to everyone who enters.

Sunday, November 2

Great gift idea for breastfeeding moms

Hold on to your diaper bags, breastfeeding moms, because I've got another product review and contest just for you.

Now I know that many breastfeeding advocates are big into just letting it all hang out for the world to see. Why should they cover up when doing something as natural as feeding their child? I agree with the concept, but no matter how accepting they world might become about that particular subject in the future, modest ol' me is happy to just stay covered up. It's just the way I'm wired.

I mentioned in the past that I was only able to breastfeed for six weeks, and I would have loved to be able to use the Cover-Me strap from Little Carr. Of course, the genius idea of a single, convenient, and oh-so-simple strap that can attach to any blanket, towel, or cloth you have on hand to make it an instant nursing cover came from a mom! And I so wish I had known about it for the short time I had breastfeeding Buttercup.

The Cover-me straps come in a variety of fun prints and run $12, or you can upgrade your nursing gear and get the matching Cover-Me Strap and Little Carr Blankie for $38 in hot pink or blue. Either way, I think this is a pretty sweet baby shower gift idea or Christmas gift for a new breastfeeding mother.

So who wants to win one? I've got a Cover-Me Strap and Little Carr Blankie in blue up for grabs by one lucky winner. To enter, visit the site and leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me what pattern is your favorite. Contest ends at midnight, EST, on Nov. 9 and is open to US and Canada only. The winner will have four days from the announcement date to contact me or a new winner will be selected.

As always, extra entries will be available for those who:

* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* Blog about contest and link to this post.
* 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 Berrie Sweet Picks button and place it on your blog page. 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 means that well, all entries must include an email address to be considered valid. Simple enough, right? ;)

And that's it! Good luck to everyone who enters.

Saturday, November 1

Away in a manger...



It's November 1, the day after Halloween, and the official start of the crazed Holiday season. Gone is the boring old elevator music piped into the malls. It's been replaced with endless rendtitions of "Jingle Bells" and enough Old Navy jingles to drive a sane woman off the deep end.

But amidst all the hustle and bustle remains a solid core of treasured memories of childhood Christmases with tons of presents and lots of laughter.

My four sisters and I may have been spoiled rotten, but we were spoiled with a true sense of respect for what the holiday actually stands for.

My family has always begun our Christmas celebrations on the eve of the holiday with a family dinner and then a round of birthday cake for me, my sister, and my cousin (all with birthdays swallowed up in the days before and after Christmas). Then it was hours of movie-watching, hide-and-seek, naps, and getting ready for the passing out of gifts at when the clock struck twelve.


The piles of presents spilling out from under the tree may have called to us, but thanks to a strong family faith instilled into each one of us by my parents and our large enxtended family all scrunched into the same room, we knew that Christmas was really about baby Jesus. And because it was his birthday we we all celebrating, his delicate little body had to be placed in the manger to signify his birth.

Then a prayer was said. And the gift giving would begin.

As the oldest, I was lucky enough to be allowed to handle my Tia and Tio's (aunt and uncle's) delicate Nativity set which they had brought with them from Mexico. And I cherish my own set, which was also brought back for me on one of their recent vacations.

And while it is important to me to teach the same respect for the holiday to Buttercup, you can bet she isn't touching my breakable nativity set for years and years and, well, years!


This is why I was so thrilled to review the Deluxe Nativity Set from Leaps and Bounds. It's gorgeous and definite heirloom quality, but I won't be having heart palpitions each time Buttercup gets into a 20 foot range of it.

It's all made of wood, so there's no screaming "Don't Touch!" And I can breathe easy while I pass my own family traditions on and create a new set of memories for Buttercup. With this set, she can play and learn the Christmas story, and I couldn't be happier!

The Deluxe Nativity set comes in a keepsake wooden storage box either personalized for $44.95 or plain for $39.95. Seriously, people, just grab your credit cards and buy it! It is that beautiful!

You really have a week to think about it, since that is how long the contest is going for! One lucky readers gets to walk away with her own Deluxe Nativity set! To enter, just visit the Leaps and Bounds site and leave me a berrie (read: comment) telling me what other item you'd love to see reviewed on my blog. Comments will be accepted until midnight, EST, Nov. 8 and the winner will have four days from the announcement date to contact me or an alternate winner will be selected.

As always, extra entries will be available for those who:

* subscribe to my RSS feed and comment letting me know you did so.
* Blog about contest and link to this post.
* 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 Berrie Sweet Picks button and place it on your blog page. I'll check!
* Follow me on Twitter! (nickname: berriesweetest)
* Tweet the contest. To be eligible, you must use "Berrie Sweet Picks" in your tweet and leave me a comment.

Please note all entries MUST include a valid email address to be considered for the drawing! That means that well, all entries must include an email address to be considered valid. Simple enough, right? ;)

Good luck and Merry Christmas!