Monthly Archives: November 2010
We are proud to announce the newest addition to our Kolcraft family and want your help in naming it!
Early next year, we will be unveiling our newest Contours® tandem stroller – and we’d like your input on what we should name it!
The tandem stroller is designed to fit both babies and toddlers, and will include some of our most popular features including reversible seats, height-adjustable canopies, a large storage basket and the ability to fit most infant car seats. But most importantly, this new tandem stroller will be a full 10 lbs. lighter than our current tandem stroller – weighing only 34 lbs.!
Please vote on the name that you think best fits our new stroller by leaving a comment on our blog. Poll closes at midnight this Wednesday CST!
• Contours® 2 to Go tandem stroller
• Contours® Air tandem stroller
• Contours® Alumina tandem stroller
• Contours® Mod Pod tandem stroller
• Contours® Optima tandem stroller
We first met Dawn, @paintermommy, on Twitter. We fell in love with her artwork and her optimistic spirit and wanted to share her journey with you. Grab a cup of tea or coffee, as Dawn leads us into the world of mommyhood with an artistic flair!
We love your artwork! You do everything from painting to online design. How did you find your “inner artist”?
I have always enjoyed being creative ever since I was a little girl. I enjoyed drawing, doodling, crafting, painting, and just about anything else that allowed me to express my “inner creativity”.
You seem to have found a way to continue doing what you love as an artist and be a mom. In what ways has your work inspired being a mom & visa versa?
Being a mom and being creative really goes hand in hand for me. I am so blessed to be able to work from home right now with my graphic design business as well as go out and paint murals when I can. My kids energy always gives me inspiration. They enjoy anything creative whether it is with playdo, markers, paint, or even mud. I feel honored being able to watch my babies grow up and at the same time work at doing what I love on my own schedule.
Do you have a favorite “mom moment” that you can share with us?
There are so many “mom moments”. I have 4 small children, so those moments happen all the time and in all different ways. I enjoy the small moments the best. I have always cherished the smiles, silly words and most of all laughter. I love when my kiddies say things that make me laugh. Just recently my first-grade son came home from school and he said that there would be no school on the following day because they are having the “electric” (meaning elections). LOL! And I love when my daughter sees that it is foggy outside and she says in her serious voice “Mommy, it’s froggy outside”. These are priceless and precious moments that I will cherish forever. Everyday there is something new and I always want to be attentive to these special moments because time really does go by so quickly.
How about a favorite “artist moment”?
I will never forget when I was painting a nursery in someone’s home and they had triplet boys (around 18 months old at the time). I did a beautiful lighthouse themed mural. The mom would bring the boys into the room to see the progress and their little eyes would light up. I felt so important and so honored to be creating a space for them that they would enjoy for years to come. It makes my job worthwhile to make people happy and allow them to dream – especially children.
Any advice for first-time parents?
I would say to always be consistent and try to keep your child on a schedule. I can go on and on with advice and ideas, but I think those are what has really helped me to keep things running as smoothly as possible in my home. You can read more on my blog.
Now for a quick glance into Painter Mommy’s life.
If you could paint any scene on any surface, what would it be? I would love to paint in my own home. Yeah, I know, that is usually the case – Painters paint for everyone else, but themselves. My children have seen so many of my murals that I have done in other homes and it would be so wonderful to have the time and energy to be able to do that for them as well. I would do an eclectic mix because each child wants something different. It would be fun to bring it all together. Someday!
What’s your guilty pleasure? I don’t necessarily have a “guilty” pleasure, but I do enjoy my nighttime ME TIME. I put my children to bed by 7:30pm each night. My husband also goes to bed early because he works very early in the morning. So, when I have the house to myself, I get a plate of snacks (sometimes healthy & sometimes not ) and I go to my room and watch TV. I do this every night and it really helps me to wind down before actually going to sleep. It is a huge pleasure for me to have some peace and quiet.
What is an instant de-stressor for you? I am a spiritual person, and the #1 way for me to de-stress is to get alone somewhere and just pray about what I am going through. It is wonderful to be able to let it go and give it to God and ask for help. We cannot always do it on our own, so it is nice to have Him to lean on.
If someone was going to write a book of your life, what would the title be? My husband always calls me SUPER MOM, so that would probably be one section in the book, but for the actual book title, I would say a great book title for my life would be More than a Conquerer. This is a part in the Bible and it hits home for me because I have been through a very rough past and I made it through to the other side. I struggled for a few years with drugs and alcohol and I faced a lot of terrible things. It is truly a miracle that I am alive and I am even able to be a mom. I am so grateful for how God saved my life and gave me a second chance.
Thanks Dawn for taking the time to be with us.
If you would like to follow Dawn on her artistic journey through motherhood, here are links to her websites & blogs:
• Painter Mommy – Everyday life of a busy mom and entrepreneur. Focus on topics such as parenting, children, baby, pregnancy, and much more.
• Nursery Murals and More – Inspirational ideas and photos of nursery murals and decor.
• Surfaces with Paint – Postings about Dawn’s recent painting projects.
• Murals and Faux – A blog all about mural painting and faux finishing.
• DPK Graphic Design – Graphic Design blog where I post ideas and information about web graphics. I also post about recent projects.
We all remember the “hand turkey” that we made in school. This is a simple craft that is great to decorate your house with for Thanksgiving and we have given it a “new look” and have dubbed it the Hand Turkey Remix – gobble gobble.
All your child has to do is trace his hand on a piece of paper and color it in. (Smaller children may need you to trace their hands for them.)
- The thumb becomes the turkey’s head.
- Cut out a little yellow triangle for the turkey’s beak and glue it to the thumb.
- Add a little dot on the thumb for turkey’s eye
- Cut out little yellow feet and glue to the bottom of turkey (what is the bottom of the palm of the hand)
- The fun comes in when you decorate the turkey feathers (the other fingers) with creative texture. You can make texture with a variety of things around your house.
A few ideas for creative texture:
- Fruit Loops
- M & M’s
- Reese’s Pieces
- Colored Pasta
- Small Leaves
- Crayons, Markers or Non-Toxic Paint
Hand Turkey Remix Contest
We know that your child is a budding da Vinici and you want to show off their turkey art. We are having a contest to win a $20.00 gift certificate to your local grocery store to help a little with your Thanksgiving dinner!
All you have to do is post your child’s Hand Turkey Remix in our Magical Moments photo album and leave a comment on our blog of which turkey is your child’s creation (so we can contact you if you are the winner). The contest will end next Friday, November 19th at noon CST.
There is a lot going on at Kolcraft and we wanted to keep you up-to-date on the latest contests, news and more!
Contests – We love to party with our Kolcraft fans! Since Thanksgiving is around the corner and we know a lot of people are traveling for the upcoming holidays, we are having a Thanksgiveaway Twitter Party! During this party we will be talking about all we are grateful for, crafts & special recipes for kids at the holidays and (drum roll please) we will be giving away 25 Jeep 2 in 1 Travel Bag/Booster Seats! The Jeep® Travel Anywhere® Sport 2-in-1 Booster Seat & Everyday Bag is the perfect solution to keeping your little ones happy at the dinner table especially when you are away from home.
The Thanksgiveaway Twitter Party will be Wednesday, November 17th from 11am until 12:30 pm CST. Please use hashtag #ThxKolcraft. Please join us & spread the word!
Speaking of contests, don’t forget our Wally Wonderbug Monthly contest. All you have to do is keep your eye on Wally’s Homepage slide and email us at BabyMatters@kolcraft.com every time you see he changes his scenery. Monthly winners will be chosen for a variety of prizes of Baby products, gift certificates and more!
Winner, Winner – Random.org has selected JEannine m as the winner of an autographed copy of The Eco-nomical Baby Guide by Joy Hatch & Rebecca Kelley! Thank you to everyone who participated in our contest!
Veterans Day - Today we remember in a special way all Veterans especially our Kolcraft staff who are Veterans and our Kolcraft fans who are Veterans or Military families. Thank you for your service.
We have all heard of Man Caves. You know – those spots where men can put their sports memorabilia, strange collected objects that don’t match the Pottery Barn furniture in the rest of the house and just be comfortable and left alone with their thoughts/sports/insert whatever noun here.
Finally we are hearing more talk about Mom Caves – places where moms can go to relax, rejuvenate and recharge mommy batteries. These spots can be as big or as small as our house (or yard!) allows.
5 tips to start your Mom Cave:
- Spotted – Pick your spot. Make sure it’s somewhere that gives you some privacy and makes you feel relaxed. It can be near a window, by a favorite painting or photo, etc. If your house is too small to make that your permanent spot, you can buy a screen that you can put up when you are in your Mom Cave so you can have more privacy.
- Scented – Be sure to have your Mom Cave evoke relaxation through your favorite scent. Have a candle, scented sticks, fresh flowers; whatever delights your senses.
- Secure – Make sure your family knows that this is your special spot and when you are there, it is sacred Mommy time and the other adult in the house is in charge.
- Stylish – Let your Mom Cave speak of your personality. Surround yourself with things you love. Your Mom Cave should bring on smiles that soothe you.
- Sensible - Be comfortable. If you aren’t comfortable, it will be hard to relax. Be sure to have a piece of furniture or pillow that is comfortable and soothes your tired muscles.
Most of all have fun building your Mom Cave. You give so much of yourself to others everyday, that you deserve a little oasis just for you. Our friends at Mom Logic are hosting a $250 giveaway to get your Mom Cave started! All you have to do is send in your contact info. It’s that easy!
What Mom Cave Tips do you have?
Yesterday we had the opportunity to interview the authors of The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. They are amazing moms who are passionate about green parenting and are determined to make green living accessible to all parents.
They have great hands-on tips in their book for green living without breaking the bank. As a matter of fact, they list ways to save money while caring for Mother Earth! We loved their tips on living cleaner and greener and wanted to highlight one of their tips on our Tip Tuesday.
- Make your own cleaning solutions. Common pantry items such as vinegar, baking soda, and borax are just a few of the inexpensive ingredients you can use to clean your house. Visit oeconline.org for a list of homemade cleaning recipes you can easily whip up yourself for pennies.
We all want to be “green moms” but it isn’t always easy. It can be daunting, seem too expensive and too time-consuming. Queue the music because two moms, Joy Hatch and Rebecca Kelley, have just released The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. And it’s filled with down-to-earth ways for parents to save money and the planet. We are so excited to share this interview with you!
What inspired you to write The Eco-nomical Baby Guide?
We have been friends for decades and always kept in touch, but when our pregnancies overlapped, the emails started piling up. We shared information with each other about cloth diapering, buying used and buying less. Saving thousands of dollars and heaps of landfill fodder, we wanted to share the win-win concept of economical green living with other expectant families. We started with Greenbabyguide.com and then bit by bit, began working on The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. Since the recession has hit, our message feels even more relevant, and we hope it can reach a large audience.
What has been the biggest surprise for you personally as you began your journey as a “green parent”?
It’s not hard—and in many ways it’s easier than mainstream parenting. Some people think that to be green you have to bake wheat germ teething biscuits in a solar oven or wear recycled burlap. Not true! Going green with baby can actually simplify life in many ways. Cloth diapering helps us avoid desperate trips to the store for pampers. Buying secondhand toys means that you can have more money to splurge on the new items you really want—like The Sealy Naturalis crib mattress with organic cotton.
What has been the greatest challenge to green parenting?
Going green is an endless journey—which can seem overwhelming. There is no point at which you can say, “I’ve arrived!” and drink a toast to your eco-friendly prowess. So, rather than getting discouraged with the fact that there are always new things we can do, we emphasize progress rather than perfection. Green guilt isn’t helpful, but making small shifts on a regular basis can be fun!
What are 3 green choices/changes that any parent can do to start down the path to living a greener life?
- Buy less: Do you really need a diaper wipe warmer? Is your baby going to enjoy a vibrating seat, a bouncer and a swing? Sometimes we get so overwhelmed with baby’s arrival that we feel buying everything will prepare us. Instead, try to minimize those purchases and remember that you can always pick things up later in baby’s life.
- Buy used: With the exception of crib mattresses and bottles which should be purchased new, you can get everything baby needs used. Craigslist, Ebay, consignment shops and Freecycle can provide you with a wealth of top quality goods for 50-90% less. For older kids, you can pick up wagons, bikes, and toys for huge discounts—and your little one will never know the difference!
- Try eco-friendly diapers: Cloth has come a long way over the years (No pins or plastic pants!) Now you can choose from a myriad of cloth options, hybrid diapers with flushable liners, and greener disposables. If you opt to try cloth, you’ll save hundreds or even thousands of dollars and keep one ton of waste out of the landfill.
In many ways, writing a book is like birthing a baby. There is the gestation period, the growing period, the birthing time when the book is published and then the nurturing time as your book “grows up.” What would you say is your favorite part of your new book?
I’m just so proud of this book! Throughout the writing process we were totally focused on creating a simple, practical guide that could entertain as well as educate. We wanted to keep green guilt at bay while presenting the basics that we wish we would have known back when we were pregnant. I’m most happy when new moms share how much they love the book.
With all that you are juggling – mom, wife, writer, speaker, etc. etc.- how do you keep your sanity?
I’m lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband—and it was a tremendous help to have Rebecca as a co-author. One of us would often get overwhelmed or exhausted, but we were able to cheer each other on through hundreds of drafts as we crafted the high quality book that we both wanted for our readers.
Now for a quick glance into Joy & Rebecca’s life.
What is the one thing you look forward to everyday?
Joy: The best alarm clock ever—i.e. my children. They pile into bed with us every morning for a short snuggle and it’s a great way to start the day.
If you had a “free day” with no commitments or obligations, what would you do with it?
Rebecca: Two things I find hard to do with a little one running around are reading and writing—so I’d take advantage of the quiet to get caught up on novels and little projects. A free day with my four-year-old would definitely involve cookies, the library, and—weather permitting—a trip to the park.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Joy: Eugene, Oregon—which is coincidentally where I reside! It’s one of the greenest cities in the nation and is just a few hours drive to coast, mountains, and desert.
Rebecca: And I’d choose Portland, where I live now, for the same reasons!
What is your favorite activity with kids?
Joy: Hiking, camping, and just being outdoors. I love letting them plunk pebbles into river water, make leaf boats in streams, and dig in the dirt. Having that relationship with nature is the heart of my commitment to going green and it’s fun to share that with them. (We know this makes Ranger Rick at the NWF proud!)
What is your one “must have” baby product?
Rebecca: We lived in a really small house when Audrey was born and didn’t buy much—but I couldn’t have lived without cloth diapers! Some may use cloth to save money or help out the environment, which were big motivators for me as well. But somehow I became obsessed with them, reading all about them, fawning over new styles, admiring the way they looked on my baby!
If someone was going to write a book of your life, what would the title be?
Joy and Rebecca: This would sort of be a title for our long and adventurous friendship: From Dorms to Diapers, because we met as young university students in the residence halls and kept up our friendship through years of foreign travel and graduate school, and then co-wrote a book together when we were both in the trenches of early motherhood.
We know you will love Joy & Rebecca’s new book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide and one lucky winner will receive an autographed copy! It’s easy to enter the contest!
Mandatory to enter contest:
- Check out Joy & Rebecca’s Green Baby Guide website and leave a comment on our website about your favorite post.
- Like the Green Baby Guide on Facebook & leave a comment on our blog that you “like” them
- Like Kolcraft on Facebook & leave a comment on our blog that you “like” us.
Contest ends this Wednesday night at midnight CST
“How was school?”
“What did you learn?”
“Well, how was your test in science?”
Sound familiar? Sometimes getting your child to share what is going on in their world can be no small miracle! Enter the Chat Pack for Kids. This amazing little box contains 156 creative questions to ignite your child’s (& your) imagination. All you do is pull a card, share the question and watch the conversation begin!
I LOVE the Chat Pack for Kids. We have used it when sitting around the campfire, to start dinner conversations and during long car rides. (It’s a great way to end the continual “Are we there yet?” questioning.) It’s so fun to ask a question and get insight into how your little one thinks, imagines, hopes and dreams. Everyone has fun answering these questions no matter how old they are. The best part is that is often leads to quality conversations with your family.
We have also used them for parties – even had the Chat Pack at our wedding! We had them at the tables and it was a great ice-breaker for people who didn’t know each other and even those who did. They were an instant hit.
We love the Chat Pack for Kids so much that we are giving one away. All you have to do is answer one of the Chat Pack for Kids questions posted below by leaving a comment. Random.org will pick a winner. For extra entries, you can like us on Twitter & Facebook & leave a comment on our blog that you have done so. Contest ends Tuesday, November 9th at noon CST.
Questions to answer:
If you could pick 1,000 of anything red what would you want most of all? –Chat Pack for Kids by The Question Guys
What particular quality above all others do you look for when choosing your friends? –Chat Pack for Kids by The Question Guys
At Kolcraft we believe in working hard and playing hard so last Friday we celebrated Halloween Kolcraft style. Each department decorated and had yummy treats. From 11-1 everyone trick or treated at each others departments. We had a lot of fun interacting with each other and enjoyed some pretty amazing treats from homemade candy apples to chocolate and beyond!
We captured some photos to share with you!
We even had our very own scene from the Wizard of Oz!
Everyone received a special Kolcraft Trick or Treat bag (eco-friendly ones at that!)
Of course we had a Trick or Treat fashion statement…
Even our president, Tom Koltun, joined the fun!
We hope you all had a fun Halloween. We sure did. Now it’s back to creating great baby products for you.
Last Friday we blogged about unlocking your child’s imagination at the Disney Imagination Center. (Wally is already asking when he can return to the Disney Imagination Center for a play date with Jiminy Cricket. ) Today we are exploring opening your child’s imagination through art.
There are many ways you can help your child get in touch with her inner artist.
- Coloring Books – While coloring books have been a go-to staple for years, they allow your child to “put color on paper” and explore the possibilities of making drawings come alive.
- Blank Paper with a Squiggly Line - Draw a squiggly line on a piece of paper and give it to your little one. Ask them if they can make that squiggly line into something. It’s fun to watch their drawing come together as that line becomes part of a tree, animal, etc. (Let them draw a squiggly line on paper for you to create art too!)
- Test Different Mediums – Give your child non-toxic finger paint, markers, crayons, etc. and let them use all these different art mediums to create a masterpiece. You can even use different fabrics, paper sources, etc. to use in their art exploration.
- Introduce Your Child to Different Artists – There is a wonderful series of books that help your child get to know famous artists in a fun way. Making these artists “familiar” helps your child realize that he too can be an artists in his own way!
- Take Your Child to an Art Museum – Many cities have special art museums just for kids! Your city doesn’t have one? No problem! Your child will love the online art museums that not only introduce them to famous artists, but let them create some masterpieces of their own!
What ways do you help unlock your child’s imagination through art?