News from Kolcraft Category
This week is a week of Thanksgiving joy for Kolcraft. We have some great crafts, recipes, contests and more this week. To kick off our Thanksgiving week, employees from Kolcraft are sharing their favorite family Thanksgiving traditions.
Kolcraft Thanksgiving Traditions
- We go around the table and say one thing we are thankful for this year. We especially love hearing what the littlest one has to say! –Kim
- Early in the morning the kids and dads in our family and our friend’s family take a walk in the woods. –Colleen
- We volunteer at a homeless shelter serving Thanksgiving dinner. It reminds us to be grateful for what we have. –Brent
- We light a candle at our Thanksgiving table in gratitude for the love of family members who are no longer with us. –Michelle
- It’s father son bonding day! We eat too much (guilt free) and watch 3 NFL football games! –Chris
- This Cranberry Salad recipe is one that my husband’s family has handed down for 4 generations. It’s very easy and it tastes good! –Carol
Holiday Cranberry Salad
- 2 cans whole berry cranberry sauce
- 2 apples
- 2 bananas
- 2 oranges
- 2 T. lemon juice
- 2 T. sugar (to taste)
- ½ c. chopped walnuts (if desired)
Slice bananas into lemon juice and mix lightly to keep bananas from turning brown. Peel and section oranges and cut into ½ “ pieces. Core apples and coarsely chop. Stir fruit together and fold in cranberry sauce. Add sugar to taste and stir in nuts if desired. Make one day ahead for best blending of flavors.
This recipe can easily be adjusted up or down. The ratio is 1 to 1 on the cranberries and fruit. Adjust the lemon juice and sugar accordingly.
What are your favorite Thanksgiving Traditions?
It’s my first day back to work at Kolcraft which seems fitting since it’s Mom Monday. It feels like an eternity since I’ve last blogged (for those who are not long-time readers, I worked up until the day before I went into labor which was August 9, 2011). In so many ways before baby (now known as BB) seems like a whole other life. What have I been doing since August? I’ve been getting to know the little girl who has truly changed me.
BB I never left the house without looking “put together”. Now if I am able to run a brush through my hair I consider that “put together”. I used to be able to knock out multiple errands in an hour. Now I consider it a victory if I can do one errand. I used to be able to leave the house with just a small pocketbook. Now I resemble a pack-mule lugging a diaper bag, daycare “stuff”, car seat – you name it. But the biggest change from BB is one you can’t really notice from the outside, because it’s one that has happened in my heart. I’ve felt concern on a level I’ve never had to endure before. I’ve learned to love in a whole new way. And I’ve experienced a deep, profound joy that I never knew existed.
Yes, these past three months were about diapers, spit up, sleepless nights, crying and unfortunately sickness. I’m not saying it was easy (I have a whole new respect for Stay At Home Moms), but it was a precious time I will always cherish. Now I’m moving to the next phase of learning the lesson of “letting go”. I dropped off my baby at daycare and it broke my heart to have to leave her. It’s not easy to be a mom who works outside the home, but it is what it is and I find myself having to trust in a whole new way. I have to trust that these people will care for my baby and look out for her best interests and do a good job at it. I can’t control this – I just have to let go. I’m lucky I am returning to a workplace with a compassionate boss, a president and CEO who stopped by to make sure I was “ok” and welcome me back and great co-workers. I also love what I do. I get to work with amazing moms and dads who help me to become a better parent.
Motherhood is a crazy ride I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams how exhausting it is, but more than that how each second bursts forth with love and possibility as I marvel at the gift of my little girl. So here I am – back to work and blessed beyond belief.
Being based in Chicago, the Kolcraft staff knows all too well the challenges of raising a family in the city. When living quarters are tight and the kids are growing up quickly before our eyes, products that offer space saving solutions and extended usage are not only convenient, they are essential! Check out some of our favorite space saving, multi-use products below:
When space in the nursery or child’s playroom is at a premium, 2-in-1 products that offer extended use are a great option. Kolcraft’s Baby Sit & Step 2-in-1 Activity Center easily converts from a height adjustable activity center to a walk-behind walker.
We are home from Kentucky! The Kolcraft team has been at the annual ABC Show which stands for All Baby and Child. There were thousands of baby product manufacturers there and we had the opportunity to meet with moms, media and buyers from baby product retail stores.
It was an exciting week and we can’t wait to share fun and exciting news with you. We have a lot of great news to share with you for 2012. We will have to be quiet for now, but promise to share all of our new ideas with you soon!
The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) annually sponsors September as Baby Safety Month. Kolcraft is a proud founding member of JPMA and all of our products comply with the JPMA requirements for testing. JPMA wants all parents to be confident the juvenile products they purchase are designed and built with baby safety in mind.
Kolcraft will celebrate Baby Safety Month by continuing to provide tips, resources, and information to parents. Also, Kolcraft is a sponsor at the Babies R Us “Great Trade-In” event to help parents get the updated and safest products that they need.
Do you have any tips as a parent to help promote Baby Safety Month?
As many of you know, Kolcraft is celebrating our 65th anniversary this year. In honor of our 65th anniversary we launched a website dedicated to our celebration. We are honoring our family of brands with five sweepstakes throughout the year.
Today we are announcing the winners from our “Families on the Go with Jeep” sweepstakes. This promotion ran in June and July. Congrats to our winners.
Our second promotion, the “Summer of Sesame Street” began July 17. Enter by this Saturday, August 27th for your chance to win over $500 worth of loveable, educational Sesame Street products. The prizes include the Sesame Street DVD bundle, the Sesame Street book bundle, an Elmo 6 Volt Powered Fire Truck, the Elmo Learn with Me Potty Chair, an Elmo lunch box, and Elmo, Big Bird, and Cookie Monster plush toys. Click here to enter.
Beginning this Sunday, August 28, is the “Sealy New Baby, New Bed” promotional sweepstakes. This sweepstakes has over $1500 in prizes. Including a Sealy adult bed set, a Sealy Baby Posturepedic Crown Jewel Firm Luxury Crib & Toddler Bed Mattress, a Sealy Naturals Cotton Crib Mattress Pad, the Sealy Sweet Pea 2 in 1 Maternity & Nursing Pillow, and a Sealy Stain Protection Crib Mattress Pad. Visit us starting Sunday, August 28 through October 8 to enter.
Is there anything better than a yearlong celebration?
We are happy to announce a new member to the Kolcraft family. Michelle, our marketing communications manager, and her husband welcomed a baby girl last week. We wish their family well and we look forward to meeting the newest Kolcraft baby.
Colleen Fahey, our digital media specialist, will be leading the conversation on this blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Take a look at some of the great topics we have coming:
- Balancing work and parenting
- End of summer picnic
- Elephant appreciation day
If there is a topic or craft you want us to share on this blog, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to get it in the schedule.
Happy Mom Monday Michelle! Congrats!
We love to party here at Kolcraft and are really enjoying our 65th Anniversary celebration. Last month we celebrated our partnership with Jeep and gave away some amazing products for families on the go. These next few weeks we are celebrating our partnership with Sesame Street with a Summer of Sesame Street Sweepstakes!
Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie and the other Sesame Street characters will steal your child’s (and your!) heart with these fun, educational prizes. There is everything from DVD sets, to plush toys, to the Elmo fire truck, to the Elmo Learn with Me Potty Chair.
It’s easy to win these prizes. All you have to do is enter the sweepstakes with the click of a mouse on our Anniversary Sweepstakes page or on our Facebook page.
Good luck in the contest and thanks for celebrating our 65th Anniversary with us!
Over the past one and half years that our Baby Matters blog has been up, you have caught some behind the scenes glimpses of how we make products & the people who make these products. We are constantly finding ways to communicate with our consumers whether that is by giving you opportunities to write reviews, post your questions about products, or become part of our parent test group.
To be able to answer more of your questions about baby products, we are starting a monthly Ask An Expert. You will have real time access to one of our experts who specifically works in a certain category of baby products. So if you have been dying to know what is the right stroller for you, what crib mattresses are made of, what are the best products for safe sleeping – you name it – these experts will be ready to answer your questions.
Starting on July 12th from 10:30 -11:30 CST and 1:30 – 2:30 CST our stroller expert and mom of a sweet little toddler, Shannen, will be here to answer any and every question you have on strollers. You can leave questions throughout the day, but know those are the specific times she will be online to answer your questions. It’s easy to participate! You can ask your question is three ways on July 12th:
- Leave a comment on the July 12th blog post
- Ask via our twitter account @Kolcraft
- Ask via our Facebook wall
Shannen is excited to meet you & answer your questions. (We know she’s really smart because we work with her and know you will love her too!)
Walk around Kolcraft and if you run into someone with a hearty laugh and contagious smile, you know you have just met Ted Bretschger – Senior VP of Research & Development. Ted brings so much to Kolcraft from his expertise in developing the next hottest product for moms and babies to his insight into children and their world. We recently had the chance to catch up with Ted and give you an inside glance into Kolcraft’s new product development.
Ted, you have spent your career creating products to make babies and parents happier. Why did you choose this industry?
When I graduated from college I actually began my design career by designing cars for Ford. Through a fortunate set of circumstances I was drawn into the toy industry where I fell in love with designing cars for a slightly younger crowd. Bringing toys to market that stimulated children was far more rewarding to me. While at Hasbro I was asked to tackle the juvenile products markets and I found that even more exciting and challenging. I loved working with parents and creative people to develop the best possible products for their babies.
What is a typical day like for you?
I try to focus on new opportunities for Kolcraft. I am fortunate to have some strong people in the R&D organization and try to insure that they have the needed support to drive ideas forward.
Where do you receive inspiration for your work?
Inspiration can some from many places for me. I am a big fan of research, walking through baby store aisles and watching my own children and now their children. I cannot walk down a sidewalk or through a mall without looking at competitive product or our own products, and wonder what would make that product better. I am also obsessed with Apple. I am always thinking about the radical manner in which that company has reinvented industries.
What do you like the most about your job & what is the most challenging?
I really like the challenge of attempting to find the breakthrough product. They are so few and far between in our industry but when you find them,,,,,,, Wow!
You have been at Kolcraft for 10 years, how have you seen Kolcraft change?
Huge change. We have gone from being a juvenile company that relied on the orient for new product to a company capable of developing our own innovative products. You really need to insure that your destiny is in your own hands as much as possible.
Obviously you are living & breathing baby products at work and you are also a dad and now a very young-spirited grandpa. How has being a dad and most recently a grandparent impacted how you approach your job?
Watching my children and now my granddaughter has constantly reinforced what we have seen in research regarding both how you think your children and grandchild will interact with a product versus how they actually interact with that product. It’s important to be aware of both and address both.
What has been your greatest joy to being a dad and a grandparent?
With regards to being a dad, my greatest joy will always be my relationship with them and seeing that that they are in good places in their lives. Being a grandparent is off the charts for my wife and I! Nobody could have prepared us for the thrill of this.
Ted at a glance:
Funniest thing that one of your children has said? My three year old son saying, “ Remember daddy when you were small and I was big?” (Still trying to figure that one out?)
Favorite granddaddy activity with your granddaughter? Being with her each time she laughs and smiles. (Louise does that a lot!)
If you had no commitments or obligations, what would the perfect day be like? Being with family (being on the golf course or on a sailboat with them would take it to another level.)
Favorite Kolcraft product? Really tough question…. kind of like which is your favorite child! In picking one, I’d lean towards the Jeep Liberty. It’s been a very successful stroller for us. That product was a ground-breaker for three wheel strollers. It has a great ride, is easy to maneuver and can go off the sidewalk and into the park.
And since Ted now has “grandchild on his brain” 24/7, a little fun mind game with Ted. We asked Ted what is the first word that comes to mind when we say:
Baby – Louise
Sleep – Later
Morning – Lake Michigan
Broccoli – Hollandaise
Beverage – Jamaican-Me-Crazy
Lady GaGa – Beatle’s Song?
Thanks Ted for giving us more insight into new product development. If you have a question or comment for Ted, please leave it in the comment section!