Thursday, June 19, 2008

Comptoir d'Enfance

Comptoir d'Enfance has extended their discount code. There are lots of new arrivals from France, including some truly adorable wall decals and felt and fabric stuffed animals.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Great Stuff from Nico and Zoe - Store Review

Nico & Zoe is the creation of two moms, Pamela (Zoe's mom) and Stacy (Nico's mom). Their inspiration is their children. They are always on the lookout for high quality, locally made, funky toys - that don’t cost too much.

They carry toys manufactured by green companies such as Plan Toys, Voila, Sparrowkids, Anne Claire-Petit, Kathe Kruse, Chelona, Wee Gallery, Yellow Label Kids, and US designed and manufactured toys by D and Me, Mossy Creek, Maple Landmark, Lauri, Montgomery Schoolhouse, Camden Rose, and Imagination Box Co. They also have small production, hand made items by Sockadoodle Do, Zoe’s Baby Toys, Sweeter Dolls, Monkey Doodle and more.

We recently placed an order with Nico & Zoe, and we love our new toys.

Zita Zoe Felt Ravioli ($17.00)

Arielle loves eating ravioli. She says they are good because "they look like little fishies". So, Zita Zoe's handmade felt ravioli was a great addition to her toy kitchen. The ravioli is made by Pamela, and they are exclusive to Nico and Zoe's. They come packaged just like real, fresh pasta. The ravioli is made of 70% wool felt, and the packaging is recyclable/compostable. The packaging lasted for a few days of play, but then the ravioli were on their own.

Not a problem. Ravioli make an excellent lunch for bears, and you can cook them over and over again. If the bears decide they'd rather eat honey, then the ravioli make excellent pillows for sleepy Anamalz. They can also be sorted, counted and stacked.

Jungle Wall Graphics ($38.00)

This was the purchase that I was most excited about. Now that the last of our big boys is going to college, we are finally converting our computer room into a play room and I needed a way for it to say kid-space without being too childish as it is adjacent to our living and dining rooms. These Blik wall decals are perfect. What a great way to dress-up the dress-up corner.

I wiped the wall with a damp cloth (knocked down quite a few cobwebs) and the decals stuck very easily and smoothly. Repositioning was no problem. Linnea loves monkeys, so she was very excited to see the happy monkeys swinging on the wall.

I like the graphic simplicity of the black and white images. They'd work well in a nursery, and are far more sophisticated than pink bunnies or dancing sheep. Nico and Zoe's also carries Garden Wall Graphics with a squirrel, bird, bugs and worm. It was a very tough decision.

Gymnic Hop Ball ($29.00)

This was one of those toys that required no explanation. This very sturdy hop ball is made by Gymnic in Italy of non-toxic, latex-free and phthalate-free vinyl (which corresponds to the European norms and are TÜV/GS and CE marked). It inflated quickly and easily using a bicycle pump, and comes with one valve and two plugs. Arielle had no problem staying up and used up lots of energy (always a good thing). If you have the space, it can also be used indoors. It's probably a great solution to the winter blahs.

Gymnic Rody Pony ($48.00)

Linnea is too small for a hop ball (although she thinks throwing such a big ball is great fun), but the Gymnic Rody Pony is a sturdy bouncy toy made of the same Italian vinyl. It is suggested for ages two and up, and Linnea is eighteen months old. The amount it is inflated can be adjusted to fit children of different sizes (so can the hop ball). And it can be used both indoors and out.

I wanted to get a picture of Linnea happily bouncing, but it came out a blur! Again, this is a good way to use up some energy. After a week of rainy days, it is just what she needed.

The moms at Nico & Zoe's are always looking for new toys that are good for the kids, environment and health. They just added Soy Crayons ($8.00) and will soon be carrying safe-plastic sand toys by Wader, a German company.

Nico & Zoe has offered our readers 10% off their purchase with the code "nicozoefun08".

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bright October

Bright October offers high quality toys from all over the world that are designed to enhance thought process and the appreciation of our beautiful planet. They want to see young minds have pure fun with cleverly designed toys which are safe and natural.

They offer toys from Selecta, Haba, Anamalz, HaPe, Kathe Kruse and others. You can shop by category, age, price range or brand, and they accept Pay Pal.

Bright October has given us a discount code “sarastoybox” worth 10% on any item. This offer does not apply to gift certificates and can not be combined with any other offer, and is good until 12/31/2008.

Haba Blocks Cordoba ($39.99)

Monday, June 2, 2008

New Toys at Natural Pod

We recently reviewed a few of the new hand-crafted products that are available at Natural Pod.

Wool Felt Crown ($39.95 CAD) by Little Red Caboose.

Natural Pod has a variety of these Canadian-made crowns in styles colors suitable for both girls and boys. Each crown is made of soft 100% wool felt and lined with a blended felt of either 40% or 80% wool. There is a cotton fabric covered elastic at the back, so the crown can fit various-sized children's heads. The buttons are made of wood; the super cute trim on ours has frogs and mushrooms on it, but there are also trims with Matroyshka dolls, birds, squirrels and other fun pictures .

Arielle says it is an excellent princess crown to be worn by the Princess who lives in the Forest when she is kissing frogs. Apparently, Forest Princesses also love mushrooms.

Poot and Boogie Dolls ($39.95 CAD)

Poot and Boogie dolls are individually handcrafted in British Columbia from 100% cotton and wool and are stuffed with eco-friendly, corn-derived fiberfill. The faces are neatly embroidered rather than painted, and no two are alike. They are about 13 inches tall and 11 inches wide with arms outstretched -- about the size of a Groovy Girl Doll, but so much cooler.

Ours is blond with a laughing expression, green mini-dress, and wavy-striped tights. Arielle immediately named her after her sixteen year old sister, Elfie, "because she's so cool-looking." "Elfie" the doll fits nicely into the diaper bag and makes an excellent and cuddly car seat companion.

I've also noticed an absolutely lovely, handcrafted doll pram ($159.95) at Natural Pod that is made of birch and maple with a natural, oiled finish. All of Natural Pod's toys are made of natural and non-toxic materials such as wool, cotton and wood, and are chosen carefully to inspire creative and imaginative play.

Natural Pod ships to both the US and Canada.

Natural Pod is still offering 10% off your first purchase with the code "sarastoybox10" until 6/30/2008.