QuickSnaps

Kids can be crazy.  Kids can be hyper.  And kids, unfortunately, can be clumsy.  My kids manage to find enough things to trip over on their own without worrying about their shoelaces on top of it all.  I absolutely love Chuck Taylors but the inevitable time it takes to get them done up and done up again had made me favour the ugly yet practical alternative of Velcro.  No shame to Velcro… it’s handy.  But it certainly does not scream out “I’m fashionable”, which is very important to little kids (or perhaps it’s their moms)!

QuickSnaps are my happy compromise.  They are small, plastic clips that attach to your child’s shoelaces so that they can easily and quickly snap their laces open and closed.  They come in a nice array of colours to match just about every shoe as well as neutrals for those who would rather just blend in (yikes!).  My four year old can now wear her Chucks without my help and any near misses when trying to make it to the bathroom.  What’s even better, they stay where they are supposed to stay and make tripping over their laces a thing of the past. 

After a few months of my kids using QuickSnaps it dawned on me that I may too benefit from these.  So I put them on my running shoes and was happily surprised.  Although I am capable of doing up my own laces (and in a relatively small amount of time), I am often in a rush and sometimes don’t take the time to tighten up my runners properly before each run.  With QuickSnaps I just slide in my foot, snap and go.  It’s so much easier than the alternative and safer than me running with my laces trailing behind me.  After all, I may have just a teeny tiny bit to do with where my kids got their clumsiness.      

All in all I was impressed with what one little piece of plastic and one great idea can accomplish.  There’s nothing fancy or elaborate here… just a great product that does exactly what it claims to do.  So if you have any small children, elderly parents, or a bit of a lazy streak I suggest picking up a pair of QuickSnaps and trying them out for yourself.  I’m a big fan of the pink.

 

WIN IT: Win your very own pair of QuickSnaps!   Simply check out www.quicksnap.ca and then go to the Contests section of Wundermums’ forums and tell us who in your family would most benefit from QuickSnaps and why.  Contest closes July 15th, 2009.  Good Luck! 

 

Reviewed by Melanie Morgan for Wundermums.  All rights reserved.

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Salsa Babies!

I was really excited to try out a Salsa Babies class.  My only problem was that my youngest “baby” was almost two and well, let’s just say very active.  I wasn’t sure that she would stay in a carrier for any length of time but figured that chasing her around the classroom would at least garner me some much needed exercise… and it would be done to salsa music. 

Colour me surprised.  I threw baby “T” into my Beco and she instantly began to complain.  But her squirming was easily tamed by a pair of Salsa Baby maracas and the Latin beat.  She was quite content to wiggle and dance while on my back which left me free to actually try and learn to Salsa, baby style. 

The music was moving and my instructor’s enthusiasm contagious.  At first it felt a little wrong without my husband and some tequila (yes my previous Latin dance experience falls under the “drunk and in a foreign country” category).  I felt almost sexy as I managed to somewhat keep up with the other mums.  The dance routines were challenging yet not threatening and I felt like I was really accomplishing something in a mere 45 minutes.  My pulse was up, my baby was happy, and I had a ton of fun. 

The bottom line on Salsa Babies is this:  I had a blast and kept my toddler happy for 45 minutes.  I got some incredible exercise and the chance to meet some other mums in the community.  Salsa Babies is not only a great way to ease back into exercise (or a way to continue your healthy lifestyle) but it’s a fantastic way to get out there and meet some moms just like you.  Now who wants to join me at a Salsa Babies class?

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WIN IT: Win your very own free Salsa Babies session with Christina and Connie in London (a $75 value)!   Simply check out www.salsababies.com and then go to the Contests section of Wundermums’ forums and tell us what you think the best thing about Salsa Babies is.   Contest closes July 1st, 2009.  Good Luck! 

 

Reviewed by Melanie Morgan for Wundermums.  All rights reserved.

Veggie Crate from Saplings

Last Christmas I decided to make my kids some felt food.  I thought they would love it and it would give me something to whittle away at while I watched TV on those cold winter nights.  I went to the craft store and stocked up on a plethora of felt and thread and a million ideas of what to make.  Around came Christmas eve and I had made… a carrot.  Granted it was a beautiful carrot but I was not sure that the hours of work and pain in my hands (among other places) was worth the end result.  Well my kids loved the carrot and I went on a search for some suitable additions to our more than lacking veggie collection. 

Saplings is a Canadian company that specializes in fun, safe, and sustainable decor and toys for kids.  Sounds good, eh?  What sounded better to me at the time was the veggie crate by Under the Nile.  It comes complete with a carrot friend for my masterpiece, some beans, a tomato, and what appears to be a giant Portobello.  The veggies are made from 100% organic Egyptian cotton which automatically gives them a head up over my felt creation because there are no little felt fuzzies falling off.  Which leads me to my next point of praise:  they are totally safe for babies (or adults for that matter) to mouth and chew and “pretend” to eat.  The veggies wash up great (just threw mine in the washing machine) and they come properly packed in a small wooden crate which doubles nicely as a time-out spot for Barbie. 

The veggies I received from Saplings come adorned with cute little veggie faces which magically transform your play food into a community of food people and hours upon hours of fun.  The imaginative play that has resulted from these four tiny vegetables is incredible and the kids have yet to tire of them after months of use.

The Under the Nile veggie crate from Saplings is a toy that you really should buy for any mini chef in your life.  They stood up to the test of my children and impressed me with little more than some cotton and thread.  I guess I could continue to make my kids felt food but after playing with these veggies I really can’t think of one reason why. 

 

WIN IT: Win a $50 gift certificate to Saplings so you can pick your own prize!   Simply check out www.saplings.ca and then go to the Contests section of Wundermums’ forums and tell us what you would spend your $50 on.   Contest closes June 15th, 2009.  Good Luck! 

Reviewed by Melanie Morgan for Wundermums.  All rights reserved.

Steeped Tea

I’m sure that plants have aspirations.  Somehow I just know that little saplings have inner drive.  And I am fairly secure in my opinion that teeny tiny tea leaves want desperately to be a part of a cuppa Steeped Tea.

I have been a tea drinker for as long as I can remember and have changed my preferences over the years.  From herbal to black, red to rooibos, there are now more teas on the market than shoes in my closet.  Each tea has something special to offer, I am sure, but I rarely strayed from my good old standards:  Earl Grey and Peppermint.  That was until a little leaf in Crème Carmello changed everything.

When I opened my Steeped Tea package the smell was overwhelming… in a good way.  I needed to either make a cup of tea immediately or eat the leaves up as they were.  It smelled like a big fat slice of caramel cheesecake minus the 5000 calories (yes, I can smell them too).  I steeped the loose leaves in my Brew in a Mug, where, nestled under the lid, my tea steeped happily to perfection without my worrying that it would go cold.  I can honestly say that my new Crème Carmello tea tasted like a dessert.  It was sweet and hearty and smooth.  It was a fantastic cup of tea.  I was so satisfied with the tea alone, that I easily could have skipped dessert – if I had really wanted to.

There are endless varieties of teas to tempt your palate and a huge variety of cups, pots, and other products to make your tea experience that much more decadent.  Steeped Tea’s home party format makes it easy (and fun) to pick out a unique gift, restock your tea cupboard, or just find an excuse to hang out with some friends.  I highly recommend trying some of this tea if you consider yourself a connoisseur – or if you’ve never liked tea at all.  The fact is that you are guaranteed to find something to tickle your taste buds from Steeped Tea either way.  And if you don’t have a big enough guest list to have a party of your own, give me a call… chances are I’ll be ready for another order.

 

WIN IT: Win your very own tea sampler from Steeped Tea (a $24.95 value)!   Simply check out www.steepedtea.com  then go to the Contests section of Wundermums’ forums and tell us what you think your favourite flavour of tea would be.  Contest closes May 15th, 2009.  Good Luck! 

 

Reviewed by Melanie Morgan for Wundermums.  All rights reserved.

The Belly Bandit

bellybanditLet me start this off saying that I am a mother of 4 children, 4 children in six years, and that will give you some indication of just how far gone my poor wreck of a body is. When I was approached to do a review of  The Belly Bandit  I could only think “Well, it better be some band!”…and it is.

The bands come in three different styles, The Belly Bandit Original, The Belly Bandit Couture, and The Belly Bandit Bamboo, as well as a wide range in sizes, so there is something to work with just about every mom. Made of sturdy materials and wide Velcro, it means to stay put! The website is jam packed with research on the ancient art of belly binding and information on the benefits of maintaining constant pressure against the abdominal wall, including muscle toning and decreased pain and fatigue.

I can’t tell you that I lost 5 dress sizes since having my baby, but I have found the band to be comfortable and supportive. It has made me aware of my posture and muscles as I move through the day, and has definitely contributed to my feeling human again.  I am well on the road to something called “Pre-pregnancy clothes” which until recently I thought was just a myth. Now, if we could just get a band for baby butt, we would be all set!

 

WIN IT: Win your very own Belly Bandit!   Simply check out www.bellybandit.com  then go to the Contests section of Wundermums’ forums and tell us what you found most surprising about The Belly Bandit.   Contest closes May 2nd, 2009.  Good Luck! 

Reviewed by Sarah Howard for Wundermums.  All rights reserved.

Michaela Devine Photography

Before my session with Michaela, I had never used a professional photographer.  Quite frankly I felt that there was nothing they could do with my screaming children that I couldn’t do with a Polaroid and a bag of marshmallows.  I mean kids making faces look like kids making faces no matter how good the photographer, right?  Wrong.

The day I took my kids to Michaela Devine Photography my baby was teething and my eldest was eager to show off every single tooth in her mouth to the lady with the camera.  I was more than a little nervous about what would transpire and the constant crying from my youngest certainly didn’t help.  Even with all that, Michaela put me immediately at ease and informally went about taking our pictures.  There was no real posing or cheesy smiles; Michaela is a genius at capturing a natural moment and making it spectacular.  She had my eldest laughing in no time and even managed to get pictures of my crying baby that look like she was enjoying herself! 

 

mdp1When I saw the proofs on Michaela Devine Photography’s password protected online gallery I couldn’t help but giggle.  She had captured my kids as they are on any given day… only better.  I looked at the pictures and felt that their presence, like they were right there beside me.  I ended up ordering a tonne of pictures because I couldn’t pick which ones I loved the most and I am still searching for the right frames worthy enough to house them.

Michaela Devine is one hell of a photographer.  She effortlessly manages to capture the essence of her subjects in the most relaxed of atmospheres.  From pregnancy poses to family portraits, Michaela can capture something special.  More than that, she takes the kind of pictures that makes you fall in love all over again.

 

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Reviewed by Melanie Morgan for Wundermums.  All rights reserved.

FREE PRINTS: Check out Michaela’s work at www.michaeladevinephotography.com and book your own private session.  If you book a regular priced session before September 2009 and mention that you’re a Wundermum, you will receive 2 free 8×10” prints (a $60 value)!  Also check out the Contests section of Wundermums’ forums to find out how everyone enjoyed their free pregnancy photo shoots!   

Red Thread Design ~ Caterpillar Dress

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I have a slight addiction to children’s clothing.  I spend more time and money on dressing my toddlers than I do myself.  Maybe it’s because they are so cute or maybe it’s because they simply have better clothes.  I am always searching for good quality, versatile, and unique items for them to wear and it is a happy day in our household when that occurs… even more so when it’s super cute.  That said, you can imagine my thrill at opening up a little package from one Red Thread Design.

The Caterpillar Dress is a super cute dress creatively designed to fit your child from roughly one to three years of age.  First, it is worn as a knee-length dress, then a short dress, and finally a swing top.  I had my doubts but this dress actually fit my super skinny baby and (almost) my size 5 kid.  What’s even better, it looked like it was meant to fit whoever was wearing it (as opposed to me trying to squeeze a too small dress onto my rather large kid).  The Caterpillar Dress really does grow along with your child.

The craftsmanship is fantastic and all of Red Thread Designs are 100% ethically made in Canada.  Our Caterpillar Dress washed up like a dream and kept looking good as new.  The fabrics are fun, and funky, and soft.  These dresses are unique enough to catch your attention but also fit nicely into already acquired (and sometimes bulging) wardrobes.  Truth be told, the only problem I can find with Red Thread Design’s Caterpillar Dresses is that they don’t come in my size. 

 

WIN IT: Win your very own Red Thread Design Caterpillar Dress!   Simply go to the Contests section of Wundermums’ forums and tell us what you love about Red Thread Design.  Contest closes March 31st , 2009. Good Luck! 

 Reviewed by Melanie Morgan for Wundermums.  All rights reserved.