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Rub-a-Dub-Dub, 3 Men in the Tub Review

September 7th, 2010

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USA and owned and operated by Tim and Connie Long. This couple is the perfect duo for wooden toys. Tim loves working with wood and has since his childhood and Connie has experience as a preschool teacher and understands the importance of play with learning. Every toy they make is nontoxic and safe for both children and the environment. Food-grade mineral oil is used for the finish on the toys and all paints are certified non-toxic. The Longs use scraps to make their toys and donate their scraps to a nearby school. They’ve also chosen a green energy option for their studio (and home) – wind power. The Longs have turned down many mass-production offers from China and know that parents are reassured when they know that Tim and Connie make the toys themselves. Isn’t that so great? When you purchase a toy from North Star Toys, you know that you’re child will be safe playing with it, and that it was sustainably built.

North Star Toys? It’s a small, family-run company that’s located in New Mexico, USA and owned and operated by Tim and Connie Long. This couple is the perfect duo for wooden toys. Tim loves working with wood and has since his childhood and Connie has experience as a preschool teacher and understands the importance of play with learning. Every toy they make is nontoxic and safe for both children and the environment. Food-grade mineral oil is used for the finish on the toys and all paints are certified non-toxic. The Longs use scraps to make their toys and donate their scraps to a nearby school. They’ve also chosen a green energy option for their studio (and home) – wind power. The Longs have turned down many mass-production offers from China and know that parents are reassured when they know that Tim and Connie make the toys themselves. Isn’t that so great? When you purchase a toy from North Star Toys, you know that you’re child will be safe playing with it, and that it was sustainably built.

3_men_medium I was excited to have stumbled upon this company (you can understand why) and thrilled when they agreed to send me their 3 Men in a Tub toy. Holly (my 13-month old) has really enjoyed playing with it. When the toy first arrived in the mail she’d hold one man in each hand and the third in her mouth. I love that this toy has helped her develop some fine motor skills. She can now place each man in each hole, right-side up, and take them out again. She’ll do this repeatedly as well as some other things with it, like stick them in her mouth and twist them around, or try to hold two men with one petite hand. My husband and I discovered that it’s a great quiet toy and it keeps children’s attention for an impressive amount of time. In fact, it’s a favorite not only of Holly’s, but also of some of the other children her age that we attend church with. There’s even enough men to share!

The price of this toy is outstanding – only $10! Wooden toys can be a bit on the pricey side because of course, they last so much longer and are more involved to produce. This toy has the quality and an incredibly affordable (dare I say cheap?) price tag. Holly’s received so much fun and learning from this toy and so will any other children I have. Plus, our 3 Men in the Tub toy is such high quality that I know I’ll be storing it away for when my children are grown and we have other infants visit or I have grandchildren.
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North Star Toys make a wonderful gift for baby showers, birthdays, Christmas… you name it! I love the Nativity they make and the Little Rollie Whale. The prices, the building process and the company just makes sense. These are fantastic toys. -Katie

Give your kids a little Lunchbox Love {giveaway}

April 8th, 2010

Say PleaseWhenever my mom made my lunch she always included a handwritten note on a napkin. I looked forward to her “Have a great day!” or “I love you!” sentiments; they were a nice reminder that no matter how difficult the test or scandalous the gossip, someone somewhere was thinking about me. Perhaps that’s why I love Lunchbox Love, a line of fun, upbeat, “warm fuzzy” notecards from Say Please, Inc.

Say Please was started by life-long friends and fellow moms Judi Willard and Mary Fuller because they were tired of seeing products peddled for kids and adults with messages like ‘My favorite accessory is my dad’s credit card,’ ‘’Boys are stupid,’ or ‘I’m a Biotch.’” I couldn’t agree more! Lunchbox Love means there’s still hope for those of us who feel sayings like “I’m your biggest fan,” “You can do anything you set your mind to” and “I love your imagination” are far more powerful (and far less tacky).

Because “positive words can change someone’s day, a life, and eventually the world,” I couldn’t wait to try out a few cards on my girls. Say Please sent me four volumes of their Lunchbox Love for Kids notecards. The cards have uplifting, inspirational sayings on the front and fun trivia facts on the back. Plus they have the cutest graphic design going on—all bright and cheerful!
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Say Please Lunchbox Love

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My girls don’t usually take a cold lunch to school so I had to get creative with my Lunchbox Love notecards. I paperclipped one card inside their planners, which I knew they’d discover when they got to school…
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Say Please Lunchbox Love notecards

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...and then I taped one to their bathroom mirrors so they’d see it first thing in the morning.
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Say Please Lunchbox Love notecards

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Say Please Lunchbox Love notecards

The next morning I heard the girls all twitterpated about the cards on their mirrors and comparing what each one said. (Note to self: make sure the uplifting, supportive notes sound equivalent or it could backfire.) Fortunately I’d chosen relatively “equal” cards knowing full well my girls would compare. The mirror idea turned out to be perfect because one daughter woke up in the middle of the night after a bad dream, went to the bathroom and saw the notecard. She told me it helped her feel happy and made it easier for her to fall asleep.

I absolutely ADORE Say Please’s Lunchbox Love collection. And I mean really and truly love them. Writing on napkins gets a bit tricky if you only have a ballpoint pen—and your brain is mushy at 7am in the morning. At $3.99 per volume (10 pre-designed cards plus 2 blanks), sending your kids to school with words of encouragement is as easy as trading your Oreos for chocolate milk! If they don’t take lunch then slip one in their backpack, Nintendo DS case or sock drawer. Plus with Lunchbox Love for Girlfriends, People You Work With and Those You Appreciate, you can spread encouragement everywhere you go!—Emily

* Promotion! Say Please is offering Boutique Cafe readers 10% off their order. Simply enter code LBL4ME when checking out. PLUS you can get free shipping with any four (4) Lunchbox Love volumes!

*** Giveaway! Say Please is giving away one (1) set of four (4) volumes from the Lunchbox Love for Kids collection! ***

Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway:

Become a fan of Lunchbox Love on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you joined.
Follow Lunchbox Love on Twitter and leave a comment telling is you’re their newest follower.
•Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: April 15, 2010 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

  • Congratulations to Ashley R., the winner of the Lunchbox Love giveaway! Thank you to everyone who took the time to read the review and add a comment. Keep reading the Daily Dish for your chance to participate in more giveaways!

Can functional be fun? Heck yes! {giveaway}

December 17th, 2009

logoWe are Knock Knock, a product design company with aspirations to greatness. We concoct, manufacture, and distribute witty objects of cosmopolitan panache from our shamelessly sunny perch on the left-hand coast. Our domain is desire rather than necessity, though we seek to infuse our creations with utility and meaning.

12032_DontKillTheKids_thumbnailLike I said, functional can be totally fun if you’re talking Knock Knock and the company’s product line. Oh, and that shamelessly sunny perch? That would be Venice, California. With a perch like that how could you not turn out fabulously witty notepads like the Why I Must Get Drunk With You checklist and Don’t Kill the Kids babysitter pad? I’m a big sticky note user so they’re sticky pads totally tickle my fancy. My faves: Total Crap, Trees Were Killed and I Didn’t Realize You Were Cool Until sticky pads. And don’t get me started on the kits like the Personal Library Kit and the B*tch Kit. (Sorry, couldn’t resist throwing that one in there—we all have an inner one, you know…) By the way, the company’s philosophy is a must read. I couldn’t agree more with their list of beliefs.

70276_BottledWaterthumbnailKnock Knock sent me two of their Forgettable recycled reusable totes to review for our readers. Trust me when I say their humor doesn’t stop with the last checkbox on the Romance Pros-Cons checklist. These bags are infused with just as much humor as they are recycled water bottles (80% by the way). Knock Knock’s Forgettable totes are the most generously sized tote I’ve seen, and I have quite a collection in the back of my van. They include an interior pocket and solid (solid as in well woven) woven handles. Oh, and though the product description doesn’t say so, it seems like they’re slightly insulated as well.

“Remembering to bring the bag is half the battle…” That’s what you’ll read in the product description and oh, how true it is. I have all the good intentions in the world but for the life of me can’t remember those darn reusable bags. It was even a topic of discussion on a past #gno night on Twitter. But since I’ve had these Forgettable bags—and their passive-aggressive, eco-friendly humor—in my car I’ve actually remembered to tote my reusable totes with me when I hit the grocery store. Well, not every time but more often than I ever did before. Don’t believe me? Here’s a photo via Blackberry to prove it:

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It’s like they infuse my van with this sort of environmentally friendly guilt and it follows me as I try to lock my doors and head into the store. Whatever it is, it’s working. They are by far my favorite reusable totes, which is saying a lot since my previous favorites were my Trader Joe’s bags…and I love Trader Joe’s.

50108_coverthumbnailI’m like a kid in a candy store when it comes to Knock Knock. So many notepads, sticky notes, books and bags and so little time. Even their site navigation makes me smile—notice the “Gifts For” has an “annoying people” subcategory. Nice. I believe there’s still time to order for the holidays, so if you have an annoying person in your life or simply a relative or friend who’s hard to shop for, I can guarantee Knock Knock will have the perfect gift. I mean, who doesn’t need the Insults & Comebacks for All Occasions handbook?

Note: The plastic bag you see in my shopping cart is the result of poor planning on my part. I left a few reusable totes at home and bought more than was on my list. Like that’s anything new.

*** Giveaway! Knock Knock is giving away one of their Forgettable reusable totes, winner’s choice! Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each thing you do:

•   Visit KnockKnock.biz and leave a comment telling us which product made you laugh out loud.
•   Follow Knock Knock on Twitter (@knockknock) and leave a comment telling us you’re their newest follower.
•   Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.
•   Blog about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL to your blog post.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: December 24, 2009 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

  • Congratulations to Melissa, the winner of the our Knock Knock giveaway! Thank you to everyone who took the time to read the review and add a comment. Keep reading the Daily Dish for your chance to participate in more giveaways!

Make it a tasteful holiday with unique greeting cards {giveaway}

December 15th, 2009

I’m guessing by the lack of family Christmas cards we’ve received this year, many families are either opting to save trees or they’re as behind in their holiday preparations as we are. (I refuse to consider the option that people just don’t like us any more.) If you don’t feel like doing the 100-strong holiday card thing and yet want to do something “noteworthy” with your kids, give Kookie Stationary a test taste run.

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Kookie Stationary is a line of these delectable cookie greeting cards you can fill out and give to your kids or have your kids fill out and give to Grandma, Dad, Santa or friends and family alike. The kit includes a large cookie and an edible food coloring marker. Fill out the cookie on the lines or spaces provided and then deliver by hand or mail (I’d use extra packaging if by mail). Or in the case of a Santa note, deliver by fireplace and glass of milk! The recipient can then either eat your tasty note or display it using the case in which it arrived. Me, I’m all for eating the dang thing but there are probably a few dedicated grandmas who’d be willing to display it so it’s a good thing it comes with a built-in easel.

11-S035acookieforsantaWe received two of Kookie Stationary’s holiday offerings and we’ve already filled out and delivered one of them. My two oldest were given the privilege of filling out the Santa cookie since they’re the only two and I desperately wanted to snap a few photos but as usual the batteries were dead in the camera. By the time I had them charged and ready to go the girls were done and the cookie was sealed in its box. The cookie did arrive with a broken Santa hat, but once we had it placed in the gift box it was hardly noticeable. The pen worked well and the girls had a great time writing a little note to their grandma.

We hand delivered the Santa stationary later that evening and Grandma proudly displayed it on her piano. Since it was displayed we didn’t get a chance to taste it so I can’t tell you if the cookie is as tasty as the site claims. Of course, we still have the Kookie for Santa card, which I’m going to let my little ones fill out (and by “fill out” I mean draw psychedelic sunshines and crazy stick figures). Once the resident Santa munches on it I’ll be able to tell you if the cookie’s as tasty as the idea behind Kookie Stationary.

E005Searchingforfriends_2Whether or not the cookie is a feast for the tastebuds, the stationary is a treat for the eyes. Kookie Stationary has everything from birthday and get well cards to princess and dragon cards and my favorite, the Searching for Friends card. At about $10 a piece they might be a little more than your typical Hallmark card, though those are close to $4 these days. But then again, the card itself is a great little gift so it’s like a fabulously yummy two-for-one deal!

Note:
Kookie Stationary is located in Canada and ships to the U.S., but I could not find the shipping rates on their site without going through the checkout process. You may want to verify shipping before purchasing.

*** Giveaway! Kookie Stationary is giving away one themed holiday treat to two winners! Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each one you do:

•  Visit KookieStationary.com and leave a comment telling us your favorite Kookie.
•  Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.
•  Blog about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL to your blog post.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: December 22, 2009 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

  • Congratulations to Lisa and Heather, the winners of the giveaway! Thank you to everyone who took the time to read the review and add a comment. Keep reading the Daily Dish for your chance to participate in more giveaways!

What’s NEW At YouCanMakeThis?

October 14th, 2009

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Our good friends at YOUCANMAKETHIS have so many sweet NEW ebooks to make your fall and holiday season a hit! Don’t miss out on a jump start on those Christmas projects, now is the time to get planning. YouCanMakeThis has an incredible collection of everything you need to start your projects off right.

Download Today - Make Today!Download Today - Make Today!You can make this!

CurlyQ Cuties for your little cutie!

October 8th, 2009

logobeveledI seriously think I have stumbled upon one of the greatest children’s gifts ever, at least if I go by how much George has loved his CurlyQ Cutie monster…and how often he’s asked to make another one…and how many times he’s made sure it was in the same room in which he’s playing. I’ve even seen my husband sort of hanging out with the newest addition to our family while watching a late-night movie. Yes, even I’ve succumbed to its charm and found myself giving it a squeeze or two just before I chuck it once more onto George’s bed.

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What’s the draw when it comes to CurlyQ Cuties? Could be how much fun it is to design your own creature online when you get to choose everything: body shape, body color, eye shape (even the number of eyes), eye color, mouth shape, belly shape (love the polka dots) and belly color. By the way, the online graphics don’t do the creature justice. I found myself checking out the cute collection shown at the top of the page for some good ideas on features. George had a grand ol’ time creating his monster and I enjoyed how quickly the creating arrived. And then to open the box and find the little monster so much cuter in person, not to mention so well made…it made both our days!

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George’s little orange CurlyQ Cutie monster, also named George, has been thrown, sat on, loved, forgotten, found and squeezed and looks no worse for the wear. I have a feeling this little guy will be with us for a long time. (Just as long as George takes George with him when he goes to college…) And at only about $30 (including shipping), this really is a truly unique, truly fabulous gift for children of any age. Heck, I’d even make one for my sister!

CurlyQ Cuties’ site says the Monster-Maker has 464,494,800 unique possibilities. It’s been a while since Calculus so I didn’t double check to make sure, but I believe them. Along with creating a truly unique product by changing out the features, your CurlyQ Cutie can be personalized with a name or message on the back. Each one has its own unique serial number and is handmade in the USA. Plus, if you don’t feel like using your imagination you can purchase one of their collectible monsters, which come pre-designed. OH! And I almost forgot to mention their super cute custom Fairy-Teeth. These are little tooth-like critters that come with a pocket on the back to hold a tooth or the Tooth Fairy’s spare change. So fun!

I kid you not, George asks me at least a couple times a week if he can make another monster. I kind of wish they had a frequent buyer program, and that’s saying a lot since I am NOT a big fan of stuffed animals. But I’d give away a basketful for a couple more of these CurlyQ Cuties!—Emily

Holiday Bliss is just a Click Away!

December 10th, 2008

It’s those last precious weeks before Christmas, and now is perfect opportunity to scour the BC Holiday Gift Guide for last minute gift ideas. We’ve found a small sampling of the goodness from our own Guide that you’ll want to check out for your family and friends!

For all our current specials visit our Gift Guide for promos and discounts, to spoil the kiddos and save too!
Take me to the Promo Codes »

Boutique Cafe Last Minute Holiday Gifts

It’s Time to Shop and Save
It’s not too late to get some fantastic deals.



*A little BLING!! Cinnamon Sticks Jewels These sterling, handstamped bangles are a great gift idea for the lady on your list. Stamped with “Faith, Hope and Love” they make a sweet statement and are so hot right now!! (**TIP: use our promo code “fship” for free shipping this holiday season).


*Apron-rrrific! Pamper the Chef! Aprons have made a gigantic comeback the past few years, and with designs like these from D-Lux 57 it’s easy to see why! (**use our promo code “BCDD101130” for an additional 10% off + free shipping). Bake up some holiday memories, and enjoy your apron all year long!


*Artwork is IN! Watch her light up with beautiful canvas creations from Two Little Witches. Charming, dreamy and ideal to update a bedroom for your little miss. Don’t miss our promo code for Free Shipping by using “BCXMAS” at checkout.


Make Shopping with Kids a Breeze!

*Snacks in a Snap! On Tray is changing the way smart mommy’s shop. Tote along some snacks while you have your kids in the cart, decrease the tantrums and increase the fun! ($7 and comes in cool colors, it’s a great stocking stuffer)


*Dress your Pretty Baby! For your growing Fashionista, find bliss with the Baby Bella Maya ruffled onesie gift sets This irresistable set includes baby booties, a matching headband and a onesie with a print ruffle on the tush in an adorable keepsake heart box! **grab our promo code for 10% off your order using “CAFE01”.


*Boy Clothing that is TRULY Cute! We often hear that it’s hard to find cute boys clothing, look no further than Hippos Toes Boutique for fashions that will please. Whimsical clothing for boys and girls With our handy promo code you can also score 15% off your order “BC15”!!


If your company is interested in joining our popular Gift Guide, simply email daria@boutiquecafe.com and we’ll send you all the information you need.

**please feel welcome to grab this logo and link to our gift guide on your site. We love you for sharing!

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