Thursday, December 02, 2010

Great Gift Alert: Personalized Superstructs

If Santa is looking for ideas, tell him to look no further. I've got a GREAT idea for him that your kids are sure to love. Superstructs are award winning construction toys that are designed for children ages 3 and up. Several different building kits are available, everything from vehicles to fairy gardens, you little ones can create architectural masterpieces by following the step by step directions or let their minds run free by letting their imaginations do the creating.

Now, I know Santa likes to get personal gifts, so check out this great idea. Superstructs has a custom kit that they personalize for the holidays. Ordering is very easy and incredibly fast. You simply follow the instructions on the site, choose three sets, choose the box cover that you like and it can be personalized with your child's name along with images of the three chosen kits for no additional cost. Orders are generally shipped within 24 hours, so door to door you're looking at just a few days! We chose the Jet, Forklift and Dune Buggy for our personalized kit and all three are awesome. The instructions are easy to follow, the pieces are sturdy, and the personalized storage box is a great way to keep everything together.

Through January 31, 2011, Superstructs is offering an amazing deal: 40% off of their Big Builder set which is normally $41.95. This makes it just over $25, which is a steal for what you get. The Big Builder set includes 126 pieces and instructions on how to make a working fork lift, dump truck, crane, or utility truck. Pulleys, wheels, and characters are also included, so the possibilities are endless! Everything comes in a self contained cylinder, so no need to worry about storage. Really I don't know where you could find a better gift for under $25.

Visit the Superstructs site today and pick up a Big Builder for all of the little ones on your list. Use the coupon code KQPPB5PB for 40% off (code valid on Big Builder set only).

***OH and another great thing about Superstructs? If an important piece ever goes missing, the company will replace it. For FREE! Gotta love that kind of customer service.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Must See: Disney's Tangled Hits Theaters Tomorrow!

When I first saw the previews for Disney’s 50th Animated Movie, Tangled, I knew immediately that I had to see it. Neither my husband nor my boys ages 6.5 & 9 were as excited as I was. A princess movie…. Ugh! So, when we were invited to a sneak preview of the film at AMC’s Downtown Disney, everyone went along wishing they were seeing a sneak peek of Disney’s Tron instead. That is until the film started. I can always tell if my boys love a film by the amount of talking during the movie that they do. If they ask me a bunch of random questions about the movie or the age old “Is it almost over?” I know they are not into it. Guess what? Not a word was said by either of them. Just lots of smiles and laughs.

What I really loved about the film was that it was the classic Rapunzel story with a twist. It was not too “princessey” and there was a character for everyone to love. Rapunzel’s spunk was adorable and she was so darn cute to look at. Disney did a great job creating the perfect side kick for Rapunzel too. Pascal the chameleon didn’t talk, but he didn’t need to, his actions spoke louder than words and he was really hilarious. Mother Gothel, Rapunzel’s evil “mother” was a great villain, not too scary, just the right amount of creepy. Flynn Rider is a classic “bad boy” but don’t you worry, Rapunzel straightens him out. Without running anything I will say that the “Snuggly Duckling” pub scene was my favorite part of the movie. I absolutely loved the pub thugs. And to top it off, wait till you meet Maximus the horse. Loved him too.

Honestly, I do think that this is one of best movies Disney has put out alone (in other words, not counting Pixar collaborations) over the past several years. The music is great, the characters are fantastic, and the story is uplifting without too much fluff. It’s a great watch for anyone, so gather the family and forget the Black Friday shopping. Go see Tangled instead!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Disney on Ice: Let's Celebrate!

Just in time for the holidays, Disney on Ice is coming to Southern California and we've got a special discount for our readers! Just $48 for a family 4 pack on select showings of "Let's Celebrate."

"Let's Celebrate" is one colossal party on ice with all of your favorite Disney friends. Join Mickey and Minnie as they celebrate a Very Merry Unbirthday Party with Alice and the Mad Hatter, a royal Valentine's Day ball with the Disney Princesses, a Hawaiian Luau with Lilo and Stitch, a winter wonderland with Woody and Buzz, a Halloween Haunt with the Disney villains, and much much more! Bring the whole family to enjoy holidays, celebrations, and festivals from around the world, Disney style!

All you have to do is use the special discount code "MOM." It's really that easy. Tickets can be purchased online at or via phone at 1.800745.3000.

Don't live in California? Visit the Disney on Ice site and find a show near you!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Coming Soon: Disney's Tangled

Who's excited for Disney's 50th animated film, Tangled? Debuting on November 24, 2010, my family can't wait! To celebrate, we've got a fun little giveaway for you. Visit the Tangled site and e-mail heather@swankymoms with the name of the character you're most excited to meet. I can't wait to meet Pascal the chameleon!

The 10th person will receive a prize package from Disney consisting on 3 Different Tangled t-shirts and some Tangled Silly Bands, fun!

For Tangled coloring sheets, activities and facts, click here.
Check out the movie's preview here.
Become a fan of Tangled on Facebook here.

RAPUNZEL may have lived her entire life locked inside a hidden tower, but Rapunzel is no damsel in distress. The girl with the 70 feet of golden hair is an energetic, inquisitive teenager who fills her days with art, books, and imagination. Rapunzel is full of curiosity about the outside world, and she can’t help but feel that her true destiny lies outside of the lonely tower walls. Rapunzel has always obeyed Mother Gothel by staying hidden away and keeping her magical hair a secret… but with her 18th birthday just a day away, she is fed up with her sheltered life and ready for adventure. When a charming thief seeks refuge in her tower, Rapunzel defies Gothel and seizes the opportunity to answer the call of the kingdom. With the unwilling Flynn Rider along for the journey, Rapunzel leaves the tower for the first time, and begins a hilarious, hair-raising journey that will untangle many secrets along the way.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mickey's Magic Show

This past Saturday my family was treated to a performance of Mickey's Magic Show which is currently touring the US! We went to a matinee performance in the late afternoon which was great because it didn't keep us out too late and we still had time to grab some dinner afterward!

The show itself has a little something for everyone. All of the Disney favorites participate in the show, you've got Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald as well as favorite princesses like Snow White, Cinderella, Jasmine, Belle and even Alice in Wonderland was there with some fun friends! What we really enjoyed was that each magic trick focused on a different character. I have to say, Jasmine's was the coolest, but I am not going to ruin it for you! My boys really enjoyed seeing the "saw someone in half" act as well as the "shooting out of a cannon" piece. The show was about 90 minutes long with a 20 minute intermission, so little ones could get up and stretch halfway through.

For more information on when Mickey's Magic Show will be touring near you, visit their official site! Tickets to this event would make a great gift for the Disney fan in your life. The tour goes through April 2011, so check it out.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Disney Live! Mickey's Magic Show

Looking for a fun event to take the family to? Disney Live! presents Mickey’s Magic Show is on tour making stops all over the US. Swanky Moms has a special offer for you that can save your family $3 on each ticket purchased using the discount code "MOM" at, retail locations, theater box offices, or by phone at 1.800.745.3000. Tickets start at just $20, so with the MOM discount, it's just $17 a person. This would make a great birthday, holiday, or "just because" gift for the Disney fans in your life. Visit the Disney Live! Mickey's Magic Show site today to find out when the tour is in your area.

If you live in Southern California, act quick, the shows are just around the corner.

Fred Kavli Theatre at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza
(2100 E. Thousand Oaks, 91362)
Friday, September 24 – 3:00pm & 6:00pm

Long Beach Terrace Theater
(300 E Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802-4825)
Saturday, September 25 – 3:30pm & 6:30pm
Sunday, September 26 – 12:30pm

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

EcoAquarium from Wild Creations: Pets WITHOUT Mess!

We've all heard it before, "Mommy, Can I have a (fill in the blank) for a pet?" Whether you gave in with a yes, or denied your precious little one their own baby goat, pony, piglet or elephant. Here is a pet you can say YES to!

Wild Creations has come up with the EcoAquarium, a self contained mini aquarium with all you need to house the two miniature African Dwarf Frogs that it comes with. The best part about it (other than the cuteness of the teeny tiny frogs)? NO MESS and very little (seriously almost none) maintenance.

Now, you might be wondering how the frogs arrive. I was wondering that myself. You do need to make sure you are around close to delivery time, but really, this is the hardest part of the whole process. If you know it's not an option to be home during mail delivery, have it shipped to Grandma's house, a friend who you know is home during the day or even to your work! The frogs come in a box with all of the other supplies, but they are in air filled bags with water. So, it is crucial that they are let out as soon as possible. A few hours doesn't hurt them, I think mine were on the front porch for about 2 or so hours. AND due to the summer heat, there are cooling packs in the box, so they won't overheat.

As soon as we got home and saw the box on the front porch, I knew what it was, so we immediately cracked everything open and built a cute little home for our new friends, Hoppy and Jumpy (I know, very unoriginal, but it's what my boys chose). The instructions are more than easy to follow, layer the rocks, add the bamboo and "crystal" and fill with spring water (bottled water). Once it's all set up, introduce the slimy cuties to their new abode. The kit comes with a year's supply of feeding pellets. Each frog gets two pellets two times a week.

Here's the kicker though. Cleaning the aquarium is only necessary every 3 months! Moms, that's just 4 times a year. Because Wild Creations has conditioned their "living gravel" the aquarium cleans itself. The gravel acts as a natural biological filter turning excess food and waste into nutrients that are used by the bamboo plant. The plant in turn provides the oxygen for the frogs. The living gravel also removes ammonia so that the water doesn't become dirty and toxic. Oh harmonious nature!!!!

We have had our froggies for a few weeks now and both are doing great. The aquarium looks just as clean as the day we put it together, and it sits in our kitchen for everyone to see. The EcoAquarium would make the perfect gift for anyone on your shopping list. I think it's a really fun "grown up" gift too, perfect for an office desk. Or, if you are a family "on the go" and don't really have time for pets, this is the perfect solution. The kids will be proud pet owners and parents don't have to worry about pet sitters or daily maintenance.

Visit the Wild Creations site today and have your froggies in the next few days. What a fun family surprise this would be!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Let the Funundrum Begin!

The Greatest Show on Earth is coming to Orange County, California! Come to the Honda Center between July 28th -Aug. 8th and soak in the fun of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus: Barnum's Funundrum. There is a show time to fit any schedule with many day and evening shows available.

This will be an unforgettable family experience! I attended the circus last year with my family and can't wait to return for some more fun. Don't miss out, it only comes once a year!

Use the code word "MOM" by phone at 1-800-745-3000 or online at and get an additional savings of $4 off each ticket price (excluding Circus Celebrity, Front Row, and VIP seats.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Celebrate Summer with FUNundrum

Attention Southern California Families, this summer marks the 200th anniversary of the great showman P.T. Barnum. The circus is coming to town and Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey are celebrating by offering a special "MOM" discount to all of our readers. You can choose from a few different discounts. Select dates offer packages for $48 for a family of 4 (ask for the Family Four Pack Offer) or you can get $4 off individual tickets on select shows. Tickets can be purchased directly through Ticketmaster or by calling 1.800.745.3000.

To redeem, use the discount code "MOM"

Don't live in Southern California? Visit the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey site to see when the circus will be in your area.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Vincent Shoes have been a Swanky Moms favorite for years now. They're cute, stylish, on sale! Visit Vincent's Summer Sale and save up to 75% off on certain styles. I've been eyeing these cute "Betty" shoes, too bad I have two boys.... Shop now, styles and sizes are limited.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Father's Day Fun with "Handy Dad"

Looking for a fun little gift for Dad from the kids this Father's Day? Check out Handy Dad by Todd Davis, host of HGTV's show Over Your Head. This super fun book is filled with projects that dad and his "helpers" can make together. There are 25 projects in the book that range from the super easy to the super complex.

I love that each project has its own difficulty level and tells you how much time will be involved. Detailed supply lists are included and the illustrations are fabulous. There are 4 "easy" projects: lava lamp, paper airplane, water pressurized rocket & a good ol' fashioned slip and slide. The "afternoon projects" are a little more complex. These range from a rope swing to tie dying and a water balloon launcher. And then there are the awesome "weekend projects" which look to be pretty serious, but also completely do-able. My boys really want to make the zip line and the bike jump!

Since we are holding onto this book for Father's Day, my boys and I have been secretly checking out all of the cool projects. They've been asking me daily if they can give it to Dad early so they can get started on their slingshots! I know this book will be a hit and can't wait to see what projects they'll dive into.

Got girls? Don't you worry, there are plenty of projects for everyone. There is a great dollhouse project as well as a pattern for some really cute angel wings. I do have to say though, that most of these projects are very unisex and perfect for the whole family to be involved in.

Visit Amazon today and order your copy in time for Father's Day.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Know a Mini Philanthropist? Check Out The Barnum Award

Live in Southern, California? The circus is coming to town and nominations are currently being accepted for “The Barnum Award.” The Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey circus is on a Southland search to honor three stand-out kids who are making a difference in our community. Nominate a child between the ages of 8-14 who is demonstrating the entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirit of P.T. Barnum. Nominating is easy, by answering a few brief questions on the online application at First, second, and third place winners will receive cash prizes to continue their service. The award ceremony will be on opening night at the Honda Center, July 28th.

Keep an eye on the Swanky Moms Blog! We will be putting up some special ticket discount information next week!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Turn Those Mole Hill Math Skills into Mountainous Ones!

From the minute I saw it's name, I was intrigued by the Zillio math system. The teacher in me went straight to the website for more information and the mom in me cheered when I realized that it's not just for the classroom. We received two products for review, the Zillio Mini Mountain and the 2D Playground. Both items went above and beyond my expectations. What surprised me most though, was that fact that as soon as I took it out of the box, before I read any directions, my six year old was spitting out multiplication facts. "Mommy, look, four threes is twelve, five threes is fifteen." And he just kept spinning the mountain while spitting out math facts. All the while understanding the concept of multiplication, not just memorizing the facts. This went on for at least 30 minutes straight and during this time I really saw a "light bulb" moment. My little kindergartner knew how to multiply and understood that it was the "opposite" of division; and this was all on the first day.

It wasn't until a few days later that I had a chance to read the manual and learn about the different games and activities that could be played with the Mini Mountain and the 2D Playground. I was really amazed by how many different concepts are covered: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, number lines, fractions, and ratios. Some games are simple, some much more complex, but the great thing about the games is the fact that you can choose the one that best fits the needs of your child. Some games are individual some are collaborative, some games can be modified for different ability levels and some should be played with players of similar mathematical abilities. The Zillio website has a great page explaining the games by age.

Unfortunately, most children experience the "summer slide" and lose much of what they learned during the school year. Teachers often spend up to 2 months reteaching students skills that were learned the previous school year. With Zillo products, parents can help their children (and their teachers) keep up to par in math while having fun in the process.

Good news for moms! Zillio has lowered their prices just in time for summer. The Mini Mountain is on sale for $69.95 and the 2D Playground is just $24.95. I do have to say that my household preferred the Mountain over the Playground, it's much more tactile and interesting for little ones. Zillio products are recommended for ages 4 to 94, so there's something for everyone. Grab Grandma and brush up on those math skills!

Visit and be the 20th person to e-mail with the name of one of the games you can play with Zillio. The winner will get to choose a Mini Mountain or 2D Playground!!!! Winner must have a US shipping address.

Become a fan of Zillio on Facebook, I did!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Parenting Advice To Combat the Terrible Twos (and Threes) | Hybrid Mom

Parenting Advice To Combat the Terrible Twos (and Threes) | Hybrid Mom

I am a working single mother; my son is three years old. He's in a half-day Pre-Nursery program in the morning, and my mother takes care of him until I return from work in the evening. He is a hyeractive boy, and sometimes he behaves so badly: using bad words, throwing toys at the other children, etc. I give him my full attention when I'm home. How should I address his behavior--to make it stop for good? --Shehla

Hello Shehla,

They say it's terrible twos but most often three years old can be the most difficult time, as your son is testing you. My daughter tried every ounce of my patience at that time as well, I just had to keep reminding myself that four is glorious.

Marva Collins has a couple of books that are amazing parenting resources. Values: Lighting The Candle Within, A Practical Guide For The Family, has been so helpful for me and for my husband. Marva's approach is using positive psychology even for punishments! She gives practical advice and examples that can be immediately applied in your life. We have it on audio and listen to it in the car. My daughter now knows that she is too wonderful and bright to be naughty. (And I do have to remind her all the time.)

It takes practice everyday to break the cycle. There are always trying moments when you or he are sick, tired, hungry, or lonely. Everybody has the potential to be patient and loving, including your child. It takes a child one million times of hearing something for it to take permanent effect in their behavior.

Think about how many times a day you are asking your child to chew with their mouth closed or put a napkin on their lap, say please, thank you, brush your teeth, etc. For your child every day is a new opportunity for you to be the best parent, they don't hold on to yesterday, don't bring it up. All you have to do is be the best person that you can be in every moment.


1. Take a break--even if you put yourself on a time out when you lose it--your child will appreciate the break, too.
2. Make a list of 3-5 house rules--talk about them in weekly family meetings.
3. Listen to calming music.
4. Take a walk--when your little one is physically tired, they will be more relaxed--same goes for you.
5. Listen to Marva Collins she is AMAZING!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Celebrate The Great American Movie Night with Epson

I have been in love with our Epson MovieMate for a few years now. We use it constantly, especially in the summer, which unbelievably is right around the corner. Outdoor movie nights at our house are something that our friends and family look forward to and even put in requests for. It's simple, have everyone bring blankets and/or chairs, pop some popcorn, and plug in the MovieMate. Really, that's it.

You may be thinking, no, that's not it. Home theatre systems are expensive. Well, guess what? The MovieMate is actually quite affordable and because it is a self contained unit the DVD player and speakers are built in, so really you need to buy just the one piece. Want one for free? From May 17-23 Epson is celebrating The Great American Movie Night by giving away a projector a day. They are also holding a Makeover Your Backyard Sweepstakes where you can win $2500 to put towards a backyard theater makeover. To enter to win and to find out more information about The Great American Movie Night Sweepstakes, please visit their official site. There are also fun theme ideas for movie nights.

Personally, my family has done several themes where our food and decor have matched the movie. We've done Star Wars, The Goonies, Monster's Inc., every Halloween we do The Nightmare Before Christmas and for Christmas we celebrate with Elf and How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Fun times!

Side Note: As far as a screen goes there are many options. If you have a white wall outdoors you can use it, or a garage door, or even hang a sheet. We actually bought a pull down screen that we hang on the backside of our house.

Monday, April 19, 2010


ReUsies, made by Seattle green moms Karen and Becky, are reusable sandwich and snack bags which have been floating around our house for the last year. Still in great condition, we use them every day to pack Sara's lunch and take in the car for snacks. Now you can save money and the environment by ReUsing your ReUsies. Love your Mother, Earth. Get your sweet and sassy ReUsies here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pamper Yourself with a Pedi-tote

I am a woman who loves to get manicures and pedicures, but lately with all the news reports, hygiene has become a big concern for me. News reports were talking about how tools were not being cleaned properly and nail fungus and other diseases were being spread. While I trusted my nail salon, I was just never sure enough.

Belle Sorelle Inc. has resolved my worries in style, the Pedi-tote! The Pedi-tote is a fashionable bag with everything you need for a visit to the nail salon. In attempt to meet nail salon hygiene standards many of the items I liked being used in my pedicures have been eliminated and replaced with disposable items that just don't work as well. The Pedi-tote has replaced my ziplock bag of a few personal items that I took with me, and made me the envy of the other ladies in the salon.

The Pedi-tote comes complete with a true long lasting pumice stone, top quality stainless steal tools in a separate carry case, fashionable flip flops, while all being in a perfectly sized carrying drawstring tote. They have even included a key ring clip so you don't have to dig and mess up your manicure looking for your keys! Since bring my Pedi-tote with me to the salon, I have had the best manicures and pedicures I have had in a long time. I attribute them to the quality stainless steal tools and pumice stone. I always had tiny little hangnails after all of my manicures and I thought this was just, my horrible hands, but it was because of the quality of the tools being used by the salon. The stainless steal tools are sharper and of a higher quality than that of what the salon was using. Since bring the Pedi-tote with me, I no longer am having an issue of with hangnails or worry about hygiene!

Belle Sorelle means "beautiful sisters" in Italian. Co-founders Jen and Stacy have been long time friends and believe "a true friendship among women transcends into sisterhood". What a better way to spend time with friends than to get a manicure and pedicure together and bring along your Pedi-tote.

Visit and be the envy in your nail salon with your own Pedi-tote. As a special offer to our readers enter the word "polish" in the "special instructions to
merchant" and they will include a free bottle of nail polish.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

New Yorkers: Whine=No Thanks... Wine=Yes Please!

The 3rd Annual New York Wine Expo, February 26th - 28th (28th for trade only), is an opportunity to swirl and sip wines from around the globe. French wineries and vineyards will have a significant showing this year, and as always, attendees can continue to look forward to Italian, German, Australian, and South American favorites. Not to be missed of course, local New York, Oregon and California wines. In all, the Grand Tasting offers attendees a chance to sample more than 600 wines from over 170 winemakers from around the world. Attend the Expo not just for the sampling, but for the learning experience as well. To date, seminar presenters include Gloria Maroti Frazee and Leslie Sbrocco. The event is being held at the Javits Convention Center in New York.

- Friday, February 26, 2010, 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
- Saturday, February 27, 2010, 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Save $10 on tickets purchased before February 19, AND save an additional $10 when you use the code SWANKY at check out.

Friday admission: $75 in advance; Saturday admission: $85 in advance

Tickets can be purchased from the Web site:

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Loveable Madeline

Its time to introduce your daughter to the wonderful world of Madeline. Madeline's picture books are enjoyed by all ages for the cheerful humor and rhythmic story telling. The Caldecott Award winning books are tales that your child will enjoy reading over and over. Through Madeline's adventures they will travel all around France and learn about historic landmarks and the French culture.

The Talking Madeline Doll is the perfect partner for your daughter to take along on these adventures. Squeeze Madeline's right hand and listen to 4 different sayings in English. Your child can also learn a few sayings in French just by squeezing her left hand. This cuddly doll can become your child's dearest friend.

The Talking Madeline Doll and books can be found online at

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lunchbox Love for Kids

Put a smile on your child’s face with Lunchbox Love note cards by Say Please. I think these are a fabulous idea. My boys love receiving their love notes from me. We too often go through each day without telling our kids how proud of them we are and how much we love them. Your child will appreciate and look forward to their Lunchbox Love note card each day. The notes also has interesting facts on the back of each note, so they are educational as well!

Lunchbox Love note cards are now available at Michaels Stores and can be purchased in Volumes 1-8 with 10 notes in each set. Say Please also just released Lunchbox Love for Teens & Tweens, Birthday Boys, Birthday Girls, Girlfriends, People You Work With and Those You Appreciate! Start spreading the love!!

To find out more visit

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Wow! If you haven’t heard of Orglamix, you HAVE to try it!! I LOVE it!! It is made from 100% pure minerals and it is AMAZING! It is so light and fluffy and easy to apply. You will feel so glamorous with Orglamix! So many great predesigned color combinations, the hardest decision is which ones to buy!! It is affordable and completely fabulous!! Orglamix is so confident in their products, they have 100% satisfaction guarantee. You will not be disappointed I can assure you!

Orglamix definitely receives the "So Swanky" seal of approval!


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If you plan on going green in 2010, Eco-Me has a wonderful starter kit to get you going. It has everything you need to start going green now! For only $55, here is the what is included:

Bill – All Purpose Cleaner

Kate – Wood Polish

Emily – Scrub Cleanser

Suzy – Dish Soap

Emma – Laundry Soap

Matt – Carpet Deoderizer

This family of green products is safe for the environment as they are made with simple household ingredients and pure plant oils. Also, check out the DIY Home Kit, it is currently only $13 and has all the things you need to make your own chemical- free cleaning products!! Eco-Me also has a Skincare, Baby and Pet line!!


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My 7 year old son loves EcoBuddies! He sees me on Facebook playing all sorts of games and always wants to play but it’s really not meant for children. EcoBuddies is the perfect online solution for him. He plays games, buys costumes and decorates his house with his own little avatar. He can chat with other members as he explores this adorable virtual world. I love the fact that this website was created for children, it is a safe virtual world for kids to play on. Ecobuddies has live monitoring and has several chat options for safety. Ecobuddies’ goal is to teach today’s children about eco friendly concepts. It also has coloring pages and information sheets about endangered animals. Come join the fun and create your own special character!! You can play free or upgrade to a more interactive membership.


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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dear Lillie: Tutus to Write Home About

So my almost 4 year old daughter has really gotten into ballet, fairies and dress up; all three of which incorporate the tutu. And we have several versions in our house; some she uses for ballet and some are for dress up and play. But there is one special one that she is going to be wearing for her birthday (which is her favorite day), and it's by Dear Lillie.

I stumbled upon Dear Lillie a few weeks ago and fell in love with their gorgeous tutus because they looked so beautiful on the website. But the real love affair began when I actually received my Dear Lillie tutu. It was so beautiful, hand-made with so much care and attention. My daughter loved it too, and I knew we had found something very special. All the tutus by Dear Lillie are hand-made using the softest tulle and are accented with gorgeous satin ribbon, feathers, hand-made flowers, pearls and lace. They come in an array of magnificent colors from soft pastels to bolder brights. They are exquisite pieces that make even dress up and play time for girls the most special of occasions.

Dear Lillie was created by Jennifer Holmes with help from her mother Heidi Crotty, and sisters Jamie Druke and Dana Crotty. The four women have always loved designing anything and everything including artwork, stationary, invitations, florals, clothing, accessories, wedding items, and items for the home. In August 2009, the first Dear Lillie item was sold on Etsy and interest in the products grew at a shocking pace. Dear Lillie sold more in the first month and a half than they had anticipated to sell in a whole year. To meet the demand for their amazing line, the ladies of Dear Lillie launched and also began selling their items in boutiques nationwide. In addition to making beautiful, high-quality items, the ladies at Dear Lillie are some of THE NICEST, polite and sincere women I have ever worked with. Just goes to show that manners and talent are an amazing combination.

Every exquisite Dear Lillie tutu is hand-made by Heidi Crotty. As a mother, Heidi's love of arts and crafts and reading to her children helped them develop their imaginations and their love of all things fanciful. In doing so, she helped create the foundation from which Dear Lillie was born. Her love of children inspires her to design and create whimsical tutus for infants and toddlers.

And even though I am raving about the tutus specifically, Dear Lillie does make other amazing items (for baby, toddler, girls and women!) such as headwear, t-shirts, tanks and flower clips and pins. It's whimsical girl heaven with a vintage twist! I guarantee that any Dear Lillie piece that you get will be treasured and adored for years to come.

For all of our lucky Swanky Moms: Dear Lillie is offering 15% off your order from their site(! Just use the code swanky15 to redeem the discount. I suggest buying two...of EVERYTHING they have. Check out

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Is Mommy Looking to Catch Some Extra ZZZZZ's?

So, my boys are 5 & 8 and their sleep patterns have greatly improved over the past few years, the fact that they know how to turn on the TV and find the correct channel also helps me sleep a little longer some mornings. However, I SO wish I had this product starting about 5 years ago. Meet the Stoplight Sleep Enhancing Clock by Custom Quest. This little beauty trains little ones to stay in bed (or in their rooms) until a decent time set by their parents. It's obvious this is a "mom invented" product. It's easy to set up, easy to understand, AND it works. The set up instructions are crystal clear. Once you set the alarm, the red "don't you dare get up" light comes on and your little one knows it's not time to wander into your room and stare at you until your eyes open leaving you feel as though you have a stalker. The green "feel free to open your door and present yourself" light comes on at mommy or daddy's chosen time. Really, it's brilliant.

When your big kids grow out of needing the red and green light situation, the fantasticness can simply stay in the room as a clock and/or alarm to get your big kid up in the morning. So, we know red means no and green means yes. At this point, you may be wondering what yellow is for. It's a nightlight! Just press the "Light" button and you're good to go. This feature is great for my 5 year old, as he still likes to use a night light. He's also obsessed with time, so it's a perfect package. Available in 4 different styles, with uses for kids of all ages, you're sure to find the right one for your early riser or deep sleeper!

The Stoplight Sleep Enhancing Clock is available online at Amazon, Lilian Vernon, and One Step Ahead. To save you Swanky Moms the research time, Amazon has the best selection and free shipping.

Fantastic Family Fun with the Epson PictureMate Show

Looking for a sure fire hit at your next party? Send everyone home with photos that very instant! Epson has done it again. Continuing to wow me with their fun "grown up" toys, they have recently released their PictureMate Show. The PictureMate Show is a combination photo printer/digital frame. Other than the ease of use feature, I really love how portable it is. When the box arrived, I was quite surprised by how small it was. Its look is very sleek, and although I do recommend the carrying case for protection, it has a handle for easy transporting.

The PictureMate Show has been such a blast this holiday season. Our first use was at the family Christmas party. We have such a big family that we actually rent a community center out for the night. Literally, there are over 40 kids at this shindig every year. Anyhow, I thought why not set up a craft area where the kids can take photos with siblings, cousins, aunties, uncles, grandparents, or whomever they want! So, I brought the digital camera and the PictureMate Show, snapped a bunch of pics and voila! Instant hit. The kids, and I'm not going to lie, adults too, thought it was fantastic. They loved the instant gratification of a photo printing right out. I also brought craft supplies and cheap frames for the kids to decorate. The cost on this was less than a dollar a kid, and the outcome was priceless. Plus, while not in use, it displayed all of the pics from that evening.

I'm thinking that the PictureMate Show would be a welcome accessory at any party. How fun would it be at a birthday party? Take a pic with the birthday boy or girl, print it out, decorate frames, and there's your party activity and favor all in one! Honestly, even at "grown up" birthday parties it would be fun, I don't know that I'd have grown ups decorate frames, but hey, you never know...

With the Epson PictureMate Show, the possibilities are truly endless. Some of its features include a 7" tilt screen, several slide show options, a remote control, and 270 MB of internal storage. Photos can be printed in color, black and white or sepia from USB thumb drives and all popular memory cards via the built in memory card slots. Prints come out in about 30 seconds and dry instantly. They are smudge, scratch, water, and fade resistant. You can print 4 x 6 photos as well as wallets. Whether glossy or matte, your photos will come out vibrant and beautiful. The PictureMate Show is a complete photo printing lab and no computer is needed. Be sure to visit the Epson official PictureMate Show page for even more details.

The PictureMate Show is available directly from Epson with free shipping. Definitely worth the investment, you will not be disappointed. Everyday I think of new uses for it and I know you will too. In fact, right now, I just had an idea... to bring it into my boys' classrooms to make Valentines for the students' parents. See, endless possibilities in action!