Friday, June 29, 2012

“Life is just a blank slate, what matters most is what you write on it”

The best part about being on Twitter, is meeting new people and companies.  A few weeks ago a company called BlankZ added me.  They make these really cute stuffed animals that you can decorate, and then wash and start all over. 

I immediately thought back to my childhood sleepovers, where we would all decorate our pillowcases.  I loved taking home a piece of those nights.  However we did those in permanent marker, so they would last forever!!!  Just like our friendships;)  That was the one thing that I wasn't sure if I liked about BlankZ...would I want to wash off all of my hard work??  Not like they would force me to, but for some reason this upset me. (I am not a fan of 

However as I watched their tweets, and kept looking at their product I realized how much I actually liked that idea.  I love items that inspire people to be creative, especially children.  What a great way to get kids to use their imaginations!!  They get to "re-dress" their best friend  whenever they feel like it.  One day their stuffed animal can be a pirate, and the next day they can be dressed for a wedding.  They could be covered in get well messages, and the next day be in a Halloween costume...  You can use these to teach kids about weather changes, holidays, body parts...anything that you like!!  That is the best part, they are literally a "blank slate".

I can't wait to stock up on these for car trips, sick days, birthday gifts, party favors...  I also am thinking this is a great grandparent gift, let my son draw on one for each of them (ok on that occasion we may still use our sharpies:) )  I am definitely a convert, and can't wait to pick a few of these up!!!

Currently they have 7 animals to choose from;  Ele-Faint (elephant), No Bully (bull), Bare Hare (rabbit), Bare (bear), Bloink (pig), White Hound (dog), and Un-Sealed (seal).  You can order them here.

What do you think about these??  I think I need to get a Bare, and make him my official Little Orso mascot...and change his outfit daily of course:)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Love, Love, Love- Magical Backyard Edition :)

If you were lucky enough to grow up with a backyard, then you know what a magical place it can be...especially during the summer!!  Here are some very cool items, that will make your yard even more exciting!!

Huggle Pod Hanging Chair

Garden Fort

Wurlybird Flyer

I am cheating and adding 2 more "Loves" today...hey it's my blog I can do what I want right?!! ;)

Round and Round Outdoor Swing

Eco Friendly Tire Horse Swing

Hope you have a magical summer!!...and remember that you don't need a backyard or any of these items to make summer magical for your kids.  Just put down your phone, computers...and teach your children to use their imaginations :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cool Things I Stumble Upon...

Every parent wishes that they could find items that would do things for us, like scrub the toilets or put laundry away (ohhh one can dream!! ;)) While I wait for that one to be invented, I will  continue to be in awe of this cool new invention.

Not only are these very interesting looking bottles, but they are self warming.  The Iiamo Go is a bottle that warms itself to 37degree Celsius (body temperature) in 4 minutes.  It doesn't use batteries or wires to heat the bottle, just a salt water it is pretty safe!!  Not to mention extremely easy to take with you.  I remember trying to figure out creative ways to heat bottles, when my son was younger.  Including hot water from Starbucks:)

The bottles can be used for formula or breast milk, and even have an anti colic feature.  My first concern was how would I clean such a thing, but they claim that you can take them completely apart and are really easy to clean.  They do contain any PVC or BPA.

I haven't seen these in any of the stores near me (the company is based in the UK, and very popular there), so I contacted the company directly.  They told me that you can buy them online at Dainty Baby.

Even though I am trying to wean my son from bottles, I still want to get one.  I am so excited to see it work in person:)  What do you guys think about these??  Would you buy one??

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I've Been Driving All Night...

Recently I transformed our loft from an office, into a play area for our son.  We are on a very limited budget right now, but I still wanted to do something fun for him. And most importantly find a way to keep all of his toys in one central place!! 

My journey towards a cute play area started with a garage sale to sell all of our office furniture and supplies.  We made just enough to buy a few things for his play area.  Our first purchase was the Lillabo Play Mat from Ikea.

Since the area is extremely small, every thing has to serve a double purpose. This rug is even cuter in person, and it obviously serves a double purpose:)

I then re-purposed a book shelf from another room, and bought some baskets from Ikea to store puzzles and small toys in.

Next came the best part of the project....DECORATING!!!

Just like everything else in the room, I wanted the decor to have a dual purpose.  Since I went with a cars theme, I decided the decor should revolve around that theme.  The first thing I did was blow up a picture of my son in his Little Tikes truck. I had it blown up and made into a canvas on  They were having a sale on canvases, so I got really lucky that day!!

Then my hunt got tricky, but fun!!  I knew I wanted some wooden cars to display, but was very picky about what I wanted.  They had to be made of 100% wood, and handmade. I wanted them to be cute enough to display for years, yet durable enough for my son to play with.  I wondered if I would be able to find such a thing, especially on my limited budget.  I knew my best bet was Etsy.  I headed over, and after 5 minutes of looking found exactly what I wanted at Darlingling.

Darlingling was started by a husband and wife in 2008, when they had their first son Benjamin.  Just like me, they were on the hunt for cute yet safe toys for their son.  They decided the best way to get them, was to make them themselves!!  I am so glad that they made that decision, because their cars are beautiful.  When you see them in person, you are amazed by the craftsmanship and shocked that they didn't cost a lot more.

They were exactly what I was looking for, but the real test would be the day that my son would finally get to play in his new play area. 

I took the cars off the shelf and put them on his rug.  Would he like them as much as the plastic ones at the gym??  Would they move well??...well the answer to all of my questions was YES!!  He loves them.  He even carries them with him to his nap, and to eat.  They move really well, and so far no dents despite a very destructive owner:) (who sometimes likes to crash them into each other).

Darlingling claims that their cars are made with love, and this is very evident from the second that you place your order.  They ship items immediately!! I got them the same week that I ordered them, despite them coming from Canada.  I can't wait to order a few more, especially one of these:

I told Olivia (from Darlingling) how much I loved her cars, and couldn't wait to share them with all of you... and she gave us all a special promo code to use!!  Get 10% off of your order, with code DARLING10 at check out. 

Now everyone can get something great from Darlingling!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

School's Out For Summer!!!

The kids are home for the summer, it is hot out, and you can't think of anything to do...

Try one of these great outdoor items, to keep them cool and entertained.  I know that I want to play with all of these, and probably will relax in the Bat Car with a cocktail after bedtime:)

Batman Pool

Shark Foam Hopscotch

Palm Tree Sprinkler

Shark Beach Ball Sprinkler

1st Pool

Banzai Baby Pool

Slip and Slide Triple Racer

Super Soaker Lightening Storm- No pumping needed!!

Bouncer with Slide

Razor 360 Flash Rider

Battle Pump Water Balloon Toy

Warning these items may make your home the hang out for the summer!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Great Stitch Giveway!!! Woo hoo:)

One of my favorite things about planning my son's first birthday party, was looking for a birthday shirt.  I didn't want anything too dressy (since his party was at a gym), I wanted something cute and memorable.  I started my hunt for the perfect birthday shirt, about 6 months before his birthday.  Finally I found exactly what I wanted from an Etsy boutique called Great Stitch.

On the way to his party...excited about his shirt:)

Great Stitch, owned by Brenda Byers, makes the cutest "special occasion" shirts.  There were a few other sites that sold similar items, but I loved the extra detail that Brenda put into hers.  For example look at the 1 on my son's shirt, it actually has the lines that you would see on a road, running down it.  The extra details, and cute designs to choose from, are what attracted me to Great Stitch.  I was extremely happy with the way my son's shirt turned out.  He not only wore it to his party, but also the entire week of his birthday.  We got so many compliments on it everywhere that we went.  Another huge plus, was how well it held up in the wash (come on you didn't think I let him wear it an entire week without washing it, did you??;) )  Nothing lifted or came apart, and there was no fading or shrinking!!

Look at the train track detail!!

I have gotten a few emails asking me about where to find the best birthday shirts, and I knew I had to share my find with all of you.  I contacted Brenda, and she was excited to share her store and items with you.  Just so you get an idea of the love and talent that goes into each item, I figured I would share the story of how she got started with you.

What are the good things you remember about childhood? For most people birthdays are some of their most memorable moments. Making birthdays special is what we do around here.

I started sewing for my dolls on a treddle sewing machine when I was 11 years old. I sewed for my own toddlers in the late 80's and early 90's. Over the years I have done everything from wedding gowns to leather horse show shirts. I found the most fun people to sew for are kids. Their eyes light up and they smile from ear to ear! One little boy's mother told me he went running through the house yelling, "My choo-choo train, my choo-choo train" when he recieved his shirt.

To me there is nothing more gratifying than making a child happy! After my daughter struggled with and beat cancer 4 years ago, birthdays seem a little more important. It became clear to me that while I wait on grandkids of my own, I can invest in other kids and help their families make lasting memories. So far I have been privileged to be part of more than a thousand birthdays and it just keeps getting better!

Shirts for the entire family:)

Not only are Brenda and I sharing Good Stitch with you today, but we also have two exciting offers!!!

The first is free standard shipping on all orders in the USA, with promo code LITTLEORSO (case sensitive).  Just enter the code at check out.

The second exciting item is a Giveaway!!!

One free children's shirt to a lucky winner!!  Great Stitch has items other than birthday shirts, such as big brother, little brother, big sister, little sister, personalized holiday shirts, personalized shirts....  So many options to choose from.  We know you have an event coming up that you would love one of these shirts for.

To enter the Giveaway:

1. Follow Great Stitch on Facebook
2. Follow Little Orso on Facebook, and then tell us what shirt you would pick if you won (I will start a thread for your answers)

....for a bonus entry follow Great Stitch on Pinterest. (this will help you pick which item that you will choose if you win:) )

Winners will be drawn on Monday 6/25/12 at midnight pst.  They will be picked randomly using  Remember the more entries you have, the better chance you have of winning!!

Sibling shirts:)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My "Go to" Item!!

So my "go to" kid item, isn't even a kids product.  It is my Black and Decker Dustbuster.

I bought my very first one the day that I moved out on my own.  For a while it was my only vacuum. I was so shocked at how expensive vacuums were, and thought that I could hold out for a while with just my Dustbuster.  LOL Needless to say that I bought a vacuum a week later. (and I have been obsessed with having "just vacuumed" lines in my carpet ever since).  My Dustbuster was relocated to my car.  Back then I was a smoker, and could not really vacuum my car as much as it needed. I lived in an apartment, and there weren't any outlets in the parking garage for my vacuum.  The Dustbuster worked great!!

I have been through about three Dustbusters, and I still use it in between car washes. (I no longer smoke, it will be 10 years next month:))  However I now have a bigger dirt issue...he is about 25 pounds, and thinks that throwing Puffs is hilarious!!!  I use my Dustbuster to clean his seat every time we get home.  I then bring it in, because I also use it to clean under his highchair after every meal.  Then I use it to clean up the broken Crayons, clean the bottom of his ball pit, get sand off of him... My son loves it as much as I do.  He actually even makes the noise, every time he sees it.

A few of my pregnant friends have asked me what I think that they should buy, and what one item that I can not live without?" Honestly it is my Dustbuster. It has always been my Dustbuster, since that fall day in 1998.  My Dustbuster and I, are in a committed has always been there to clean up after me at every stage of my life:)

So for those of you moving out on your own, buying a car, having a baby, or already have a family...get a Dustbuster if you don't already have one!!  You will definitely not regret it, and may even start contemplating hanging one in each room of your house. (oh wait that it is just crazy me)

Do you guys also have a "go to" kids item that isn't really a kids item??  If so what is it??

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summertime and the Livin is Easy....

In honor of it being the first day of summer, I decided to post a second post today and share a great online program for you to take part in this summer.

Melissa and Doug have set up a "virtual camp" for you to do with your kids this summer.  It is filled with weekly activities (they are fun ideas and most can be done with items that you already have laying around your house).  I love how this company finds ways to let kids be kids, and still use their imaginations.  Head over and follow them on Facebook and Pinterest today, so that you can stay up to date on the camp activities and share your experiences with them...  They also said that they will be giving away surprises all summer:)

Each month there is a new calendar to print out, and each week you can print out a badge to show that you completed that week's activities.  I love this idea so much.  I am going to post a button on the right hand side (with all my other buttons and ads)...that will be a permanent link to Camp Sunny Patch:)

Here is the link to print June's calendar.  I will also post it below.

The Orso household is signing up for camp today!!  Hope you all join us:)

Come into the Painting on the Wall :)

Have you always wanted to paint murals on your walls, but just don't have the talent to do it??

If so I have found the item for you:)  I am so excited about these!! 

A company called Elephants on the Wall, has created an easy DIY mural kit. First you go to their website and decide which cute set that you want to buy.  Then they send you the pattern, transfer paper, instructions on how to apply the mural to your walls, and a color guide.

They claim that applying them to your wall is as easy as 1,2,3...  First you tape the transfer paper to the back of your pattern, and then tape them both to your wall.  Next you take a ballpoint pen and trace the entire image.  Take down the pattern and transfer paper, and then you use a "paint by numbers" system to fill in the color.
They must not be too hard to do, because the images that customers have sent in (of their own murals) are incredible.  I love the extra touches that many of them added, like lights, personalization, adding a valance (this was done to a carousel mural to look like the top of the that!!)

Here is one of the finished products (this customer won 2nd place in a contest they held):

Head over and check out Elephants on the Wall today!!  They have so many cute murals to choose from, including ones for your Master Bedroom.  These would also be great for all of you teachers.  It seems like an affordable way to upgrade a classroom, or school hallway:)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Clean Up, Clean Up...

Here at Little Orso we not only like to share things to buy with you, but we also want to help you take care of the items that you already have.  That is why today's feature is all about how to clean up difficult situations, and hopefully save your precious items.

*How to clean Stuffed Animals-
(this is an old Orso Family Trick)

-Wipe or pull off any items that are stuck to their fur.
-Take off any clothes or additional accessories.
-Put the animal inside of a pillow case, and then tie the case shut with a rubber band (I use a hair tie).
-Turn the washing machine onto "delicate", and set the temperature to "warm/cold" or "cool/cold".
-Once the cycle is done, take the animal out and fluff up it's fur....then lay it on a clean towel to air dry. It usually takes a day or two, depending on temperature.

**Getting Baby Food Stains out of Clothes-
(with help from )

-Blot excess food and liquid with a white cloth or paper towel.
-Remove excess dried food by gently scraping the stain with a metal spatula or butter knife. (Do not excessively rub the clothing unless the material is durable and tough. Forceful rubbing may cause the stain to spread and may damage the color, fiber and finish of the garment.Avoid rubbing the stained clothing with a dark-colored cloth or terry towel. According to the Iowa State University Department of Foods and Consumer Sciences, using such types of material may increase staining effects. Also, fresh stains should never be rubbed with bar soap, which may set stains and prevent removal.)
-Pre-soak fabrics in liquid laundry detergent and cold water. Allow the clothes to soak for a minimum of 20 minutes.
-After pre-soaking, machine wash the clothing in cold water.
-Remove clothing from the machine and inspect for remaining stains.
-According to Good Housekeeping, if stains are still evident, use a pre-wash stain remover and launder the clothing again. Test stain removal products on a hidden area or seam of the clothing to ensure that the color and finish of the garment are not affected before treating the entire stain area.

***Removing Protein Stains (Formula and Breast Milk) From Clothes- 
(with help from )

-For protein stains, including formula, breast milk, most food stains, leaky diapers and spit up, you'll need a small amount of an enzyme cleaner, such as Wisk or Era Plus, and a soft-bristled brush.
The enzyme cleaner will digest the protein of the stain.
-If there is any remaining stain on your baby's clothes, treat with an all-purpose stain remover, such as Shout or Spray N Wash,
-Then launder in the regular cycle.

**** Removing Head Lice From Clothes and Furniture 
(with help from wiki how )

-Wash your clothes in hot water. The water must be at least 130ºF/54ºC. This will kill the lice and its eggs.
-Dry the clothes in the heat. In a dryer, dry for at least 20 minutes on high heat. If hanging outdoors, it must be a hot and sunny day.-Iron any of your clothes that can be ironed. The hot temperature will also kill the lice and their eggs.
-Treat clothes that cannot be washed. There are several possibilities for clothing that cannot be washed by hand or in a washing machine:
-Dry clean clothing that can be dry cleaned - it's courteous to warn your dry cleaner first though!
-Put clothing that cannot be washed or dry cleaned in a plastic bag and freeze it for at least 3 days. Or, place the clothing into a dryer on high heat for 20 minutes minimum.
-Alternately, leave clothing in a sealed plastic bag in a room for 2 weeks.
-Clean other linen and fabric items. Clothing is not the only that thing that has to be cleaned. Make sure that you clean all of your bedding, and vacuum your carpets thoroughly.
-You can buy lice spray to kill lice that may be on furniture

*****Removing Vomit From Your Car-
(with help from

-Remove the vomit from the interior of the vehicle. Put on some rubber gloves if you have them, and use paper towels to pick up as much of the vomit as you can.
-Next, mix 1/4 cup of ammonia and 1 cup of warm water in a bowl or bucket. Take a washcloth or sponge and dip it into the ammonia and water mixture. Squeeze out the excess water and scrub the stained area with the sponge. Clean the entire stained area.
-After cleaning you will need to rinse the stained area. Take a clean sponge soaked in warm water and dab the stained area with the sponge. Go over the whole area with the sponge.
-Now take a clean white towel and dab the area to lift up some of the water.
-Once you have dabbed the whole area with the clean towel, the stain should be removed.
-If not, repeat step number one and let the cleaning solution soak into the stain for about 5 to 10 minutes. -Then repeat step number two.
-Let the vehicle interior air dry or use fans to speed up the drying process.

 We hope that these tips come in handy!!
...But that you never heave to use some of them (like head lice).  I have heard that washing your hair with Tea Tree Oil keeps your hair from attracting them in the first place:)


Monday, June 18, 2012

Who's Afraid of the Dark??

The answer to that question is no one in the Orso home:)  Because of this great item, that we are sharing with you today!!!

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I saw these adorable light up animals on a morning show.  I had to have one. It was so cute, that I would have wanted one even if I was not pregnant.  I am not usually a dinosaur lover, but there is just something so cute about "Stego Jr".

Stego Jr. became so much more than a toy or night light, for our future baby.  He was my light in the bathroom, during my 1000 nightly visits.  He also is very fun and calming to watch change colors (he changes from blue, to purple, to green....), so we would leave him on in our room at night.  When we lost our daughter, he was the one thing that we were able to hold on to and keep out.  He was no longer a baby purchase, he was our friend:) 

Recently our son has discovered Stego, and is just as in love with him as we are.  He actually saves the day, when our son goes through one of his "I don't want my diaper changed" moments...which unfortunately have been happening a lot:(

Stego Jr is made by a company called Giimmo, and he retails for about $35- $45 (see below for deal).  They make a few other animals including; Merril the Moose, Gilbert the Basset Hound, Whoopie the Duck, Indigo the Hedgehog.....

Right now Heritage Mint has them on clearance for $16.50.  Head over and grab one, or a few....they make a great birthday or shower gift.  They are also cool enough to be an older child's night light.  I think I may need to grab a second for our home, I just realized how much Terry the Bear looks like our Little Orso mascot:)

Here is a link to the Giimmo site, so you can meet all of the animals and see them change colors:) 

Warning you may feel an immediate need to adopt one:)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Little Orso Bookshelf- Father's Day Edition

My son has loved books since he was born, I am assuming that he got that from me:)  I have loved reading since I was little!!  I actually used to win the summer reading contest at my library ever year, for reading the most books:)  I love having this little bond with him <3

The two of us make weekly visits to the bookstore.  Luckily for me they just opened a great clearance bookstore near by (for those of you in Orange County, check out the Crown Books on El Paseo in Mission has a wonderful kids section) Besides his weekly book ( I can't think of a better way to spend $1 a week), I also like to buy him books about each holiday.  I think we almost have a complete collection.  We read these books every day for 2 weeks before the holiday.  I swear his Corduroy Halloween book, is why he had such a great time at the pumpkin patch last year:)

My son and I have decided to share our Father's Day collection with you.  Not only is having a book for every holiday a good way to build your child's library, but it also creates great memories and traditions.

Not to mention a book about dad, is a great Father's Day gift...especially if you let your child write or draw something in the cover.

Our Favorite:)...

A Perfect Father's Day

We actually bought this one because the dog on the cover looks like ours...

The Night Before Father's Day

Our first Father's Day Book...

daddy hugs

We call Daddy a "Bear", so it was fitting...

I Love My Daddy

I loved the Berenstain Bears when I was little...

The Berenstain Bears and the Papa's Day Surprise

Happy Father's Day from Little Orso!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Orso Answers??!!??

Every day I get a handful of emails asking me for shopping advice.  I usually help them privately through email.  Then it dawned on me...maybe others would benefit from reading these questions!! I know I have benefited from helping them.

So starting today, I am adding a new feature called "Orso Answers".  Every week or so I will come on and answer a question that I think will benefit all of you.  This means I need you all to send in your questions.  Is there an item that you can't find?  Suggestions for a Nursery?  Birthday Party ideas? Gift Suggestions?? Questions about Little Orso or the Orso Family.... You send it we answer it.

Here is the fun part...if we feature your question on Orso Answers, then you will get a $10 gift certificate to Shutterfly:)  So send your questions in today to

Our debut question is one that I haven't gotten a few times in the last month is about weddings and what your little men should wear.  It is no doubt why you are asking about this, we are in "wedding season" and as we all know the boys selection is still lacking:(  I did some "research aka online browsing" and found some great choices (at all price points):

Casual/Cocktail Attire:

Ralph Lauren Princeton Jacket

Ralph Lauren Chino

Seersucker Jacket

Blazer and Slacks

Vest Slacks Set

Dressy Wedding:

Scooter Suit

Sean John 3 Piece

Boys Smart Check Blazer

Formal Wedding:

Boys Tuxedo

Single Breasted Tux

Boys Ivory 4 Piece

We hope that these looks help all of you, that are wedding bound!!  Start sending your questions today...we can't wait to start "researching" for you!!!

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