Friday, September 12, 2008

The Princess Room and the Magic Princess Bed

One of the reasons that I wasn't posting so much this summer (aside from the general chaos of having five kids home full-time)is that we were finishing the upstairs. Arielle finally has her big girl room. She co-slept with us when she was small and then slept in a toddler bed in our room. Moving into her own room was a big deal for Arielle, and I wanted to make it special.

I let her choose the paint color which is Valspar's Perfectly Pink from Lowe's. I used two sets of Seasons Wall Decals ($54) for the trees and a few sets of Djeco's beautiful fairy and flower Garden of Nine wall stickers ($24.49).

But the very best thing, the thing that truly made this a Princess Room is the Rose Silk Canopy ($89.95) from Sarah's Silks. It was very easy to install - just screw the hook into the ceiling - and it fits a toddler or twin bed perfectly. The canopy hangs from four ribbons.

It could also be used in a corner to make a cozy reading nook or princess hideaway.

But, we needed a special princess bed, one that would keep away bad dreams and make a princess feel safe and secure. Since she is as the age where imaginations tend to run wild, Ari was a bit concerned about monsters. But, only the very friendliest of monsters like to be around pink. And pink silk is magical - the monsters can't see in, but princesses can see out.

Blueberry fores
t carries the whole line of Sarah's Silks canopies. Thank you, Sarah - we love it.

Here's Linnea's (mostly not used) bed. Linnea is a little too wild for a canopy, but she loves her Sesame Street posters. The tree house belonged to my older daughter

I painted my son's old dresser and an old cabinet a slightly deeper shade of the same pink for clothing storage. We used a ribbon to display her collection of hair bows. She loves seeing pictures of herself when she was small, so I put lots throughout the room.

Good night, Princess Arielle, safe and snug.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I love these blocks!

Haba's new Eeny Meeny Zoo Blocks ($49.99) are my new favorite toy for toddlers.

I'm pretty sure they rank close to the top of the Haba toy cuteness list - and Haba makes a whole lot of cuteness. Linnea loved them, too. She went right to work as soon as Arielle gave her a chance to play.

The blocks are made in Germany and are stained with nontoxic stains. They are Haba, so they will last and can be mixed with other Haba blocks.

The blocks are available from Bright October who has generously offered our readers 10% off on any item with the code “sarastoybox" until 12/31/2008.

NMC Toys

NMC (Not Made in China) Toys has a new Green and Organic Section. They have given us a code ( "sarasbox" ) for 10% off that expires 12/31/08.

Actually, my favorite toy is this set of four safe-plastic tubs ($48.50). They are perfect for bringing messy play inside. We used them for water play during our long, very rainy summer, and I think we could also use them to bring in some snow in the winter, or play with sand indoors or run cars in cornmeal or rice, or just squish some glop.

The girls really enjoyed testing out my kitchen utensils, but we've also done doll laundry and given the dolls bubble baths.

Monday, September 8, 2008

New Products at Comptoir d'enfance

Emma from Comptoir d'enfance wrote to let me know that they have a few new French lines in their store and that the coupon "sara" is still working for our readers. And, it looks like the cool chalkboard stickers are also on sale.

This flowers and butterflies mobile ($35) is made of silk and bamboo.

Very cute stuff!

PhD Crocheted Flying Disk

The Phd pocket disk ($12.50) is the invention of a third grade Waldorf student in North Carolina. It all began when Savanna Groft tried to crochet a placemat for a handwork class assignment, but a few too many double stitches, and instead, she made a prototype of the indoor disc, now called the Phd.

So the place mat of sorts, which looked more like a small crocheted Frisbee, decorated the living room table for almost a year, until the Larsen family came over for dinner. Dad, Chris Larsen spotted the placemat and, on a whim, picked it up and threw it. It sailed across the living room, and the PhD was born.

The PhD soft flying discs are a hand-made, fair trade toy. They are crocheted out of 100% cotton in Guatemala (mothers crochet while they watch their children play). The designs are awesome - bright and beautiful and remind me of hackysacks.

The disks are very lightweight, easy to stash in a pocket, and easy to throw and catch and suggested for all ages. They can be played with both indoors and out. When thrown indoors, the PhD won't damage pretty knickknacks, and if it gets messy outside, the PhD can be gently washed. What a great idea for thos who need active indoor play ideas for the winter.

The Phd was formally introduced to children at a North Carolina elementary school last spring. Students there use the Phds to play dodge ball, push up hockey, and develop soccer skills. The Phd can safely substitute for a ball or Frisbee in almost any game. And there is a website with games and play ideas

The PhD discs also double as the cute little berets, and this is what Arielle and Linnea wanted to do. But mostly, I found it serving as a bed for small stuffed animals and puppets. My college-aged stepson did spend a few afternoons tossing it, but thenwent back to his hackysack.

So I sent it to Eleanor, thinking her children might find it more fun. Great idea! They had a great time and Eleanor was pleased that nothing was damaged.

Here's Jack enjoying the PhD outside,

and inside.

And, even Alli got in on the action.

Thank you, Larsens and Savannah, and guest reviewers Jack and Alli for all your help.