Saturday, November 29, 2008

Adorable, Angelic, Awe-Inspiring Kanoodles Kids Review and Giveaway

Oh my! It is a Kanoodles Kids Review and Giveaway!
Kanoodles Kids is a great childrens clothing company that specializes in handmade crochet, knit, and boutique apparel. The owner creates the clothing using high quality yarns and fabrics. Each piece is inspired with a whimsical or vintage flair. My own description of the clothing line is "snugglelicious". I can almost guarantee you'll want to snuggle your little princess when she's wearing this oh so pretty hat. My daughter refers to these hats as her "princess hats". While only 2, she seems already to appreciate quality over quantity merchandisers. Meaning, her toys and clothing that is handsewn and OOAK, she appreciates more.

The owner, Debbie Maxwell, has a real love for creating clothing for children and with 25 years of experience, you know that she has the experience to make a beautiful item.

The first item up for review is this beautiful pink and white hat that is part of the Kanoodles Kids spring line. The pastel colors bring a softness to any little girl who wears it. The crocheted flower in the front brings a lovely touch to the hat. Notice the several pictures listed-if you have this little hat for your darling, you are going to have the same problem! The hat is so dainty, delightful, and adorable that you'll be sure to have many sweet pictures and have a hard time choosing between them. This hat has made me a admirer and long time customer of Kanoodles Kids. My little one is an avid hat lover. Since she was very small she has adored hats! When we go into a clothing store she bypasses the toys and other clothing in favor of the hats. Therefore, you can imagine my delight that she has chosen as her favorite (almost to the point of becoming a lovey) such a precious treasure of a hat.

ahe second item I have to review is this beautiful little spring hat by Kanoodles kids. This crochet hat is a blend of green, blue, and white with crochet flowers along the edge. While it is vintage inspired, the colored add a little modern funk to it that make it irrisistable. I like that the hat is stretchable, so this is something she can continue wearing for a few years. (BTW, my daughter has a play tattoo on her face and unfortunately I couldn't get it off before taking pics, lol).

I really, really love her items. I just have to show a few more of the items she has available.
*This little Christmas hat is the cutest idea for a little one. Wouldn’t this be adorable in holiday pictures? It comes in infant, toddler, and child sizes. That means, your kiddos could all wear one for their pictures! It sells for $40 at

*Crochet Sweater and Hat-This is just so beautiful. I love the pale pink color and the scalloped edge neckline sweater. She makes this set custom in sizes 12 months to 6. One of the prettiest sets I’ve seen. Such love in this set…The direct link to this item is

*Vintage Look Crochet Dress Top and Cloche Hat; Well, it is official I’ve found the perfect dress for Easter portraits. I know $125.00 is a little pricey but when you consider this can be handed down for generations, it is like a gift of memories to your family. Here is the link to this set:

A few more beautiful hats...

The very sweet owner was kind enough to answer a few questions so that we might get to know her better...

Q: Can you start by telling the readers a little bit about yourself?

My name is Debbie Maxwell. I am the proud mom of 4 children and married to my best friend for 11 years. I have been crocheting and knitting for over 25 years now. My mom, who is a knitwear designer, has taught me everything I know. She is a fabulous woman and I'm very grateful for all she has taught me.

Q: What were you doing before deciding to start your own business? Before starting my business, I was a SAHM, taking care of my children. I knew there had to be a way to make money at something I love doing. So I started my business 4 years ago, actually selling my items on Ebay. Now I am looking to get my items in children's boutiques.

Q: How long have you been in business?

About 4 years

Q:What is one of your most popular items? The most popular item is my vintage cloche hat. It 's so sweet and will make any little girl smile. I also love to work with clients on custom made items where the customer will design their sweater or hat and we will make it for them.

Q: Do you actually do all the knitting yourself? If yes, wow! How long does it take to make these items?

Yes, right now I do all the knitting and crocheting myself. I can get a sweater done in a week and a hat done in 1/2 a day. I am now looking for people to help me with the knitting and crocheting because sometimes it can be very overwhelming.

Q: If you could give a one line phrase to describe your business what would it be?Fun....Sweet....Full of Style......

Q: What do you think makes your store unique?

I put my whole heart and soul into my designs and you can see that in the quality of my work. And I love that my clothing has a vintage flair along with looking so sweet on.

Q: Can you tell us about the Modie award you received? Yes, each year on Journal Modiste You can submit your work and the buyers and readers of this site get to vote. I was very proud to be the winner of this award.

Q: Do you make any products for boys?
I don't make any products for boys, right now but will be in the near future.

If you would like to add anything else about your business too, that wouldbe great!

I just would like to say thank you to Candice for giving me such a wonderful opportunity to be on her site. And, I would also like for everyone to keep visiting my site as I add new items. Big things are going to be happening and soon you will be finding a KaNoodles Kids sweater or hat in a store near you.
Would you like your own custom hat for your little girl? The good news is that you have a chance to win one! Debbie is sponsoring a giveaway for everyone. To enter to to and sign up for her newsletter through the month of December. Then, come back here and leave a comment, letting me know you signed up for her newsletter. At the end of the month, will pick the winner. I'll verify with Debbie that the winner signed up for the newsletter. Want a second entry? Leave a comment stating your favorite item from her store. You can see her items at or her etsy store at
Official Rules:IF YOU DO NOT LIST YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS ,IT ISN'T ON YOUR BLOG, AND THERE IS NO WAY TO LEAVE COMMENTS ON YOUR BLOG I HAVE NO WAY OF CONTACTING YOU. ALMOST EVERY GIVEAWAY, THE ORIGINAL PERSON DRAWN TO WIN CAN'T BE CONTACTED THEREFORE THE GIVEAWAY IS GIVEN TO THE NEXT NAME DRAWN.If I don't hear from you within a week, another name will be drawn and you forfeit your prize. This contest is open only to those with a United States Shipping Address .This giveaway begins 11/29/2008 and ends 12/29/2008 11:59 PM Central Standard Time.
I always love hearing about how my reviews lead these wonderful stores to more sales. I'd love to hear posts letting me know you decided to purchase some items!**I'm not responsible for item not arriving; Make sure all shipping info is correct, please.
I highly recommend going over to her store and purchasing an item for your little girls as a Christmas present. You can give your child a heirloom quality, beautiful item and at the same time support a textile artist. Also, be sure to visit her blog at

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I wanted to take this opportunity to express my gratitude. I do not often discuss personal issues on my blog, but like many people this year there have been an abundant of struggles and hardships lately. However, it does help to take the time to realize all there is to be thankful for. First, and foremost, I am thankful today for the health of my neice and her baby boy. She had him two weeks ago and they've been home only one night between her getting hospitalized and having two surgeries since his birth and his own health problems. I thank God that her baby boy and she are doing better. I am thankful that I have a wonderful family to spend Thanksgiving with today. I am thankful for the 10 years I have been with my husband and for his support and love. I am oh so thankful for my little girl who reminds me everyday of all the little things and moments to be thankful for. I am joyous that I have a warm home and food. I am so thankful to have a body without major complications. I am thankful for my country and all of the opportunity it provides. I am thankful that I was raised to know Jesus Christ and his love. I am thankful for my wonderful friends.

I am thankful for the blog community. When I found blogs, it was so wonderful to instantly find other people with similiar interests. The other blog mothers inspire me daily to try and create a magical childhood for my little girl. I am so thankful for my readers. I am thankful for many things in my life. I am thankful for love and that I have the capacity to feel and give it-I think that has to be what I am the most thankful for because all else falls under that.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Out of the Box-A Giveaway

Out of the Box Publishing is the creator of some really neat games that are unique and different from most of the games on retailer shelves. They describe their games as those that can be learned in minutes, are colorfully illustrated and fun to play, can be played in less than an hour, are efficently designed in smart packaging, and feature dynamic play interaction from start to finish. If you go to their website at you can find local retailers. They do sell their games at Barnes and Noble, Borders, BooksaMillion, and Target.

The first game I’ll be reviewing today is a fun game called Cloud Nine. This game is intended for ages 8 to adult. Today, I’ll be explaining two different versions of the game. The first version will be how the game is intended and the second a way to play with a toddler/preschooler.For the first method, my 10 year old foster brother helped me to try out this game. This game is very easy to learn and quick to play, taking about 30 minutes per game. Basically, everyone gets into the balloon to start the game. The roll of dice determine which cards are needed to get through the clouds. The players must decide whether or not to stay inside of the balloon, which is based on if the captain has enough cards to match the rolled dice. The object is to earn the most points which are earned by riding the hot hair balloon toward cloud levels. What I liked about this game is that it appeals to both the young and old. The neat looking game immediately drew in my little brother when he saw the balloon basket and he was anticipating great fun from the start! This is one of the greatest looking games ever! As an adult, I enjoyed the game as it reminded me a little of playing poker, with the calculated risk component. Now, the second version is NOT how the game was designed to be played, but I often make my own rules so that I can play games with my little toddler. The way we played is that we were each dealt out 10 cards. My little one had to find two cards that matched. If she could match the cards, the balloon would rise along the board. If she couldn’t, then I game her another card to try. It was a really fun take on matching with the added board game and fun balloon components. We have a lot of matching games but she seemed to enjoy this more than them. Again, this isn’t how the game was designed to be played, but this game really can be played by the entire age span, even those younger than it was designed for. This game folds up really small and could fit inside of a Christmas stocking. I think this would brighten up any young child’s Christmas and for about $12.00 it won’t break the bank either! When I asked my little brother what he thought of this game he said, “I really like it. I’d even get off my Playstation to play it.” If you knew my little brother, you’d know that statement is a big deal! This game has won several awards including Games Magazine Award, Milwaukee Journal Sentinal Top Board Games, Parents Choice Approved Award, Creative Child Seal of Excellence, and iParenting Media Award Winner.

The second game for review is called Squint Jr. For this game, players use a variety of shapes to build pictures designated by the card they draw. Players earn points by successfully building the shape or identifying the object built. This is the funnest game that I’ve played in a long time. It is similar to pictionary but you don’t have to draw the pictures yourself! You can even move the cards to “animate” them to help the other players guess the object. When I played this game with family members ages 8 to 63, everyone seemed to enjoy it. I’ve always enjoyed Pictionary but find so many people won’t play it because of their lack of artistic ability. This game puts the doodlers and professional artists on the same playing field! This is a seriously fun game. Now, I also played this game with my 2 year old daughter with my own made up rules. We didn’t play Squint as a competitive game, but I simply showed her a card and asked her to try to duplicate the image using the shape cards. She wasn’t extremely successful but I imagine in a few more months this is something she could do the simple cards (ie a circle with two smaller circles becomes a face). It is specified for ages 8 and up, but I definitely believe younger children could successfully play this game. It retails for approximately $17.00. This item has received awards from Parent to Parent, Dr. Toy, Chicago Tribune Toy Cool Games, National Parenting Publications Award, Teachers Choice Award, National Parents Seal of Approval, Parents Choice Silver Award, and Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award.

Zen Benders Dachshund by Out of the Box games is another fun little game that can be thrown into a backpack or purse for on the go fun. You simply select a challeng card and then flip and slide the cubes to duplicate the pattern. The puzzle in available in four different designs: Dachshund, Dragon, Quilt and Race Track,. There are three levels of difficulty: beginner (yellow), intermediate (green), and advanced (blue). I like that this isn’t just a cube sliding game but that the cubes must also be flipped over, which increases difficulty. I enjoyed playing this game as did my little brother. I tried to change the rules and figure out how to play this with a toddler but wasn’t able to do so. Awards received include Major Fun Family Award and Dr. Toy. This fun solo play game would be a great stocking stuffer. It retails for approximately $10.00.

Wallammoppi is a beautiful game by Out of the Box. Players take turns removing wooden disks from a wall them balencing them on the top to make a tower. If the marble timer makes it down to the end of the track before you complete your turn or you knock over the disks, then the other person wins. I’m really impressed by how beautiful the game is to start. The game box is wooden and inside is a pleather bag that holds the wodden disks. The disks are dark and natural wood finish. There are two marbles, which are used as a tiner.
The components are great. The game box is wooden, with a beveled top that slides off from the rest of the box. Inside the box is a large pleather bag to hold the wooden disks used to create the wall and tower. The disks come in dark and natural wood finishes, and are slightly larger than a typical Crokinole disk. The finish is smooth and the pieces have a nice heft to them. There are also two marbles, which are used as a timer. It retails for approximately $25.00. Awards received include Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award, Parents Choice Recommended, Dr. Toy, National Parents Center Seal of Approval, and Parent to Parent.

This giveaway is big! It includes the Cloud 9, Squint Jr, and Zen Benders. Official Rules:IF YOU DO NOT LIST YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS ,IT ISN'T ON YOUR BLOG, AND THERE IS NO WAY TO LEAVE COMMENTS ON YOUR BLOG I HAVE NO WAY OF CONTACTING YOU. ALMOST EVERY GIVEAWAY, THE ORIGINAL PERSON DRAWN TO WIN CAN'T BE CONTACTED THEREFORE THE GIVEAWAY IS GIVEN TO THE NEXT NAME DRAWN.If I don't hear from you within a week, another name will be drawn and you forfeit your prize. 1. Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite Out of the Box product is. The website is For a second entry, Subscribe to my site/follow my site and make a post letting me know about your subscription.This contest is open only to those with a United States Shipping Address .This giveaway begins 11/22/2008 and ends 12/01/2008 11:59 PM Central Standard Time.The name will be chosen by
I always love hearing about how my reviews lead these wonderful stores to more sales. I'd love to hear posts letting me know you decided to purchase some items!**I'm not responsible for item not arriving; Make sure all shipping info is correct, please.

I got an award!

I just received a blog award from Sandy over at Just for Fun. This means a lot to me coming from someone with such a great blog! Thanks Sandy for great ideas and helping to bring more fun to my child's life.

The rules for this award are...1. Pick ten people and pass this award to them.2. Then contact them and let them know you have chosen them and their blog for the award.3. Also link back to the person who gave you this award.So, here are the ten bloggers that I am passing this award to: (BTW this is difficult for me. I read a lot of blogs in addition to the huge blog list to the right!). Today, I've chosen....

1. The Moveable Alphabet for really helping me to understand Montessori.
2. ArtsyMama for having the best blog writing ever and so much creativity.
3. Chasing Cheerios-A great site usually about Montessori activities. She posts nearly everday which is a big plus for me.
4. Teaching Heart: Her blog has so many fun activities. She's a GREAT resource.
5. Having Fun Yet: This writer is funny and real.
6. What Do We Do All Day: Great crafts and fun activities.
7. 1+1+1=Love her lapbooks and other fun activities.
8. The Toby Show: This is one funny lady.
9. Full Circle: Lots of fun projects to do with the kiddos.
10. Makes and Takes: Another fun mom blog with great activities.

There are so many more of you I love dearly! I wish I could put more than 10. Just for Fun and I love some of the sama mamas and if she nominated you I didn't, that was one way to narrow it but I am SO thankful for all the mom blogs I visit...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Homemade gifts for Daddy

It was recently my husband's birthday and like many of us,we were a little strapped for cash. However, even if we hadn't been my husband is very hard to buy for. However, what my daughter and I made for him actually made him so happy tears were brought to his eyes. I wasthought I would share the ideas with you. I got the idea from searching online but tweaked it a little bit.
1. Handprint Wall Hanging-
The first thing I did was have my daughter make little paint handprints onto cardstock. I glued these onto a peice of black foam. Next, I printed this poem onto cardstock-"Sometimes you get discouraged Because I am so small And always leave my fingerprints On furniture and walls.But every day I'm growing -I'll be grown some dayAnd all those tiny handprints Will surely fade away. So here's a little handprint Just so you can recall Exactly how my fingers looked When I was very small". Then I used a holepunch and attached a ribbon for hanging. I covered it with clear contact paper to protect it. If doing it again, I'd probably opt to frame it.

2. Footprints wall hanging. First, I had my daughter make paint footprints on cardstock. Then I printed this poem: "Walk a little slower Daddy,"said a child so small,"I'm following in your footsteps and I don't want to fall.Sometimes your steps are very fast,Sometimes they're hard to see;So walk a little slower, Daddy,For you are leading me.Someday when I'm all grown up,You're what I want to be;Then I will have a little childWho'll want to follow me.And I would want to lead just right,And know that I was true,So walk a little slower, Daddy,For I must follow you." This was glued onto a piece of white foam and a ribbon attached at the top for hanging. It was also covered in clear contact paper.

3. I don't have a picture of this but we also made him a shirt. My daughter stepped into paint and then all over a tee shirt. Note, we used fabric paint. Then we painted at the top of the shirt, "My daughter walks all over me."

He LOVED these gifts. Better than anything I could have bought him at a store.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Octopus and Sour Candy Giveaway

Just in time for Christmas shopping, I have two excellent products to introduce to you today that you might consider for your Christmas shopping list. These products are both a little complicated for toddlers, but I thought you might appreciate some gift ideas for your older children as well.

The first product is the K'NEX Collect and Build Amusement Park Octopus Whirl. K'NEX brands was founded in 1992 and is a leading construction system for children. The company has won over 200 international awards and American made K'NEX encourages children to "imagine, build, and play." K'NEX is a building set but are far beyond Legos. The parts fit together and then are able to move!

K'NEX just recently introduced two new lines to their products: Road Rig Series and Amusement Park Series. Your children can collect four motorized sets in each series. The Amusement Park Series is the only one I've had the pleasure of actually being able to review and I'm very impressed. There are four rides available within the series: the classic Ferris Wheel, Speed Coaster, Octopus Whirl, and Drop-n-Swing. If all four are collected, they can receive free accessories by mail. These are designed for builders 7 years and older.

I was given the opportunity to review the KNEX Octopus whirl and am very impressed with this toy. The ride measures 2 feet wide and is built with 454 rods, connectors, and bricks. It has a motor that spins the ride around. It is for ages 7 and up and retails for $20.00. This is a fun toy for the entire family to put together together. My 10 year old foster brother helped me to review this product, along with my 61 year old mother. I think my mother had as much fun putting this toy together as my little brother! She enjoyed it so much she said, "You can never figure out what to get me for Christmas. I actually really liked this. So much better than a puzzle." I never expected her to like it that much! My little brother absolutely loved it and after finishing it, is so proud to display it in his room. There aren't a lot of toys that can bring together a 61 year old and a 10 year old, so for me this toy is a huge hit. I enjoyed watching them converse about school, his dreams, and other issues as they put together the toy. It is so much fun but still allows for conversation while putting it together. I'm really impressed by the K'NEX committment to a child's education which is evidenced when you go to their site and find that they have lesson plans available for download to accompany their products. For example, the Amusement Park lesson plan teaches about mass and speed. This toy is listed as Dr. Toy's 100 Best Children's Products and 10 Best Creative Products of 2008!

Upon going to the website, I was surprised to find that they also have products for our little toddlers. I haven't seen these up close and personal but am definitely interested in these products as I was very impressed by the KNEX product that I reviewed. Here are a few products by the KNEX company more appropriate for our little ones:

*Abbey Cadabbey Building Set; Appropriate for ages 2 and up

*Playground Pals

*Penguin Pals

Be sure to check out the KNEX site at Right now they are offering free shipping on orders over $75 and 10% off orders over $100.

The second product review for your older children is the Elmers Sour Factory Candy Kit. This was such a blast to play with! This kit includes everything to make sour liquid candy, hard candy, powder candy, lollipops and more. I thought the instructions that go with the kit were great. Throughout the project we learned all kinds of fun facts about candy. The time to make the various types of candy ranges from a couple of minutes to 30+ minutes. This is a good toy for both boys and girls. While some boys aren't drawn to cooking, they will appreciate the scientific side of making the candy. In fact, it may open doors to the cooking world for boys who may have not realized it can be a lot of fun. I certainly had a lot of fun with this project. My little 10 year old brother, mother, and 2 year old daughter all participated in this project. I have to admit that I was VERY afraid of how the candy would taste, but it was actually pretty decent. Below are a few pictures of their fun....

My little brother and 2 year old daughter mixing the ingredients to make marshmellows.

Even a 2 year old can have fun with this!

Fun for all ages-from toddlers to grandmothers

This product brought the whole family together for fun.

My little brother has never cooked anything before. In the name of science and promises of extreme sourness, he found he enjoys it.

He did learn ALOT about the science of candy making. For example, he concluded "citric acid is in almost all the candy." He also learned about how substances can change with heat.

Part of the fun was taste testing. Here, my daughter taste tests the sour liquid candy.
Here is the homemade pixiestix type of sour candy.

Making homemade sour marshmellow

Homemade sour gummy candy

This weeks giveaway is the KNEX Octopus Whirl pictured above. This is not the one featured and is brand new in the box.
Official Rules:IF YOU DO NOT LIST YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS ,IT ISN'T ON YOUR BLOG, AND THERE IS NO WAY TO LEAVE COMMENTS ON YOUR BLOG I HAVE NO WAY OF CONTACTING YOU. ALMOST EVERY GIVEAWAY, THE ORIGINAL PERSON DRAWN TO WIN CAN'T BE CONTACTED THEREFORE THE GIVEAWAY IS GIVEN TO THE NEXT NAME DRAWN.If I don't hear from you within a week, another name will be drawn and you forfeit your prize. 1. Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite K'NEX product. The website is 2. For a second entry, make a second comment about your favorite product offered by Elmers.3. For a third entry, Subscribe to my site/follow my site and make a post letting me know about your subscription.This contest is open only to those with a United States Shipping Address .This giveaway begins 11/19/2008 and ends 11/26/2008 11:59 PM Central Standard Time.The name will be chosen by
I always love hearing about how my reviews lead these wonderful stores to more sales. I'd love to hear posts letting me know you decided to purchase some items!
**I'm not responsible for item not arriving; Make sure all shipping info is correct, please.