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Friday, January 31, 2014

Review: Maddy Bleu Handmade Baby Blanket/Quilt

A few months back, I won a handmade baby blanket/quilt in an online auction benefiting a local family. Shawna, the hands behind Maddy Bleu's handiwork, was kind enough to wait until we had learned the sex of our newest baby (it's a boy!) in order to personalize it for us. It arrived this week and I couldn't have been more blown away.

I had simply told Shawna we were decorating the nursery with a Disney Pinocchio theme and if she had a way to incorporate that into the blanket, it would be great. If not, it was no biggie. Well, in my opinion, she went above and beyond (which was particularly amazing since the items listed in the auction had been donated). Here's what arrived in the mail.




My husband and I were so impressed that we just couldn't stop talking about it. On one side is a vibrant red blanket soft enough to generate sweet dreams. On the other is a beautifully crafted quilt with a fun patchwork design and a large, centered print of the wooden boy himself taken from Thomas Kinkade's painting "Pinocchio Wishes Upon a Star". I was especially excited about this because we have a large print of that painting we plan to hang in the nursery (which I hadn't even mentioned). The blanket is 36" x 36" which is perfect since he'll be able to grow with it.

But wait; that's not all! Also included in our package was an adorable and unexpected lovie (a smaller Taggie-style blanket) perfect for any tot. Shawna, again, went above and beyond on this! As if this weren't already more than enough (with its attached teether and tags), both sides also had screen prints taken from the same painting. On one side is Jiminy Cricket standing on a tree branch and on the other is a view of Geppetto's workshop.



While I was already impressed by her courteousness, dedication, and level of professionalism, it was truly Shawna's craftsmanship that left me (nearly) speechless. (I say "nearly" because I'm too much of a chatterbox to ever stay quiet for long.)

I've already ordered a second Winnie the Pooh themed baby blanket for my daughter as a gift from the new baby. I would purchase handmade crafts from Shawna again without hesitation and I would definitely recommend her business to anyone willing to listen.

Some of her handmade items (see pictures here) include lovies, quilts, game quilts (these are so cool!), boo boo bags (hot and cold packs), purses, diaper bags, tutus, and other specialty items. Check out her Facebook page for information on sizes and prices.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Product Review: ANGRY BIRDS GO! TELEPODS PIG ROCK RACEWAY

*From time to time I may review a product, service or business on this blog. With the exception of occasionally receiving a product free of charge, I do not receive any form of compensation for these reviews. The opinions expressed are my own.

ANGRY BIRDS GO! TELEPODS PIG ROCK RACEWAY 

I recently received the ANGRY BIRDS GO! TELEPODS PIG ROCK RACEWAY set for review. I was not compensated for this review, but I did receive the game free of charge. The opinions expressed are my own.

If you've ever indulged in a game of Angry Birds on your smartphone or tablet, you've probably found yourself hooked. There's also a good chance you've secretly wished you could actually get your hands on those snickering pigs when you've blown up the dynamite and watched enormous towers crumble around them leaving nothing more than a few black eyes and an obnoxious smirk. With ANGRY BIRDS GO! TELEPODS PIG ROCK RACEWAY, you can finally do more than just imagine flicking those little oinkers.
Photo Courtesy of Hasbro
The set includes a racetrack, two karts (one exclusive to this set), a telepod, obstacles, piggies, and stickers. Assembly is required, but it didn't take very long to put together.

Each kart has a starting position and players push a button to send their characters racing down the track toward a treasure chest and its guard - a particularly fat-headed pirate pig. As racers zoom past the first set of pigs, they blast those floating heads with TNT (and possibly get a little too much enjoyment out of it).

Avoid the pendulum or it'll slow you down and give your opponent a wing up on the competition. Be the first player to blast through the finish and send that booty-hogging (get it?) buccaneer back where he came from.

The fun doesn't have to stop there. Download the free Angry Birds GO! app and teleport your kart into your mobile device. Once in the app, place your kart on the clear telepod base over your camera and press the app's teleport button to send it into the game. The trick (which I only learned after several failed attempts) is to first make sure your camera is set to forward-facing; otherwise it won't work. I would've liked the instructions to include this little tidbit since I wasted a good bit of time trying to figure it out.

Since my daughter (a year and a half) was more interested in making the pigs bite her finger than watching them race, I borrowed my buddies, Gavin and Anthony, to play. (Note: this game is not recommended for children under 3 as it contains choking hazards. I let Bailey play under supervision because she's clearly more of a hazard to the pigs.)

Gavin gearing up for another round.
Gavin enjoyed the raceway set and had fun knocking the pigs down, but he wasn't as interested in the app. He had no trouble resetting the pieces each time and had fun racing the karts over and over. Anthony, on the other hand, played both ways, but preferred the app portion of the game.

While Gavin was ready to play again the next day, he needed an adult's help rebuilding the platform. If your kids are younger, you may need to build it for them each time they play - just something to consider.

The game is recommended for ages 5 and up and retails for $29.99. It can be found at major stores like Toys R Us, Walmart, and Amazon.