Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hammer Time!! Orso Daddy Post

I know my wife did an Ikea product yesterday, but I couldn't help but jump on today and share my favorite new toy.

Toy Hammering Block

In the past couple of weeks, I have had some time to play with my son during the afternoon.  I usually come home during dinner and bed time, so I miss out on playing with him.

Typically we play with a modern toy or sports item, but now we are addicted to smashing things with a hammer...and it couldn't be more fun!!  My wife always said that old toys are the best, and I finally agree. 

Who would have thought a basic wooden toy would bring my son and I so much fun?  The best part about this toy is that I bought it for $5.99.  Ikea is seriously the best place to buy kids things!

I don't post often, but when I find something I really like I like to share it.

It is also great for big kids too, because I get a lot of daily stress out with it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Maybe The Best $19.99 I Have Spent In A Long Time??!!??

As I have mentioned in previous posts, my son is obsessed with crafts...especially coloring!!  I used to let him color at his highchair, but then he started wanting to color during meals.  I realized it was time for a craft table. 

For months I had been putting different tables in "my carts", so that I would be ready for this day.  Most were fun and expensive tables.  Just like every other child/baby item, I got caught up in needing the best one that I could find.  Then you have a moment of clarity when you remember that expensive doesn't equal best. 

I figured I would search Amazon and a few others sites, for tables with high customer ratings, but still affordable.  However first I needed to run out for a few items.  One of my stops happened to be Ikea, I figured why not check out what they have.

...and then I saw this adorable little table and chair set (it comes with two chairs), for $19.99.

Seriously $19.99, how sturdy could it be??  I checked it out and it seemed to be great.  I asked my husband what he thought, and he said "how bad can it be"??  So we bought the set, and figured we would give it a try.

Four weeks later, and it has become one of my favorite buys.  My favorite things, always seem to be items that I stumble upon.

I can't say enough good things about this table; it is the perfect height for my son to sit at, it is easy to wipe Crayon off of, it is not too big or small, it is a neutral color (does not over power the room like most kids furniture does)... The chairs are sturdy too, my husband and I can even sit on them.

Anyone in the market for a table and chairs set, I would recommend heading to Ikea.  They have so many cute kids' items. (and stuff for mom, like the candles and $1 dark chocolate bars... they are unusually good)

***Find out more about the "crayon truck" here or purchase it here

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Adventures in My Shopping Cart...

So we have been really busy lately, but it hasn't kept me from a little of my favorite late night activity...throwing items in my virtual carts.  Here are some of the items on the top of my "to buy" list!!

Eco Kids Personalized Letter Pillows
I love these!!  I am a big initial and monogram fan, so of course I would love these.  But there is something about the colors and font, that makes these extra exciting.  I can think of so many things to do with these...write your child's name on their wall with them (pillows look cute hung on the wall), put initials on the family couch, give these to newlyweds, put the first letter of a child's name on their new "big kid bed", party favors for a sleepover party, spell out a sports team, get the entire alphabet for your playroom.... I could go on for hours! 

Needless to say I will be getting a few of these!! ...and they are upcycled, so you can feel good about buying them:)

Soda Can Magnets

Anyone that knows me, knows that I love my Coke a Cola!!!  I also love crafts, especially those that make something new and cute out of something else.  These magnets are adorable, and I love that they are made out of an old Coke can. 

There are so many cute shapes and designs to choose from at this store, head over and check them all out.  They use all types of drinks too!!

Eco Friendly Fort Kit

I have featured a few forts on brothers and I used to build forts every day.  There is nothing better than hiding out in your fort, and having fun.  I really like this kit, because it helps you build one yourself.  It reminds me of the ones that we used to make, with old sheets and pillows.

Not everyone has an extra set of sheets and pillows laying around for fort construction, so this kit is fabulous.  It comes with everything that you need to make a fort like this one, and a great tote to store it all in.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Robby's Rabbits ♥

I know I have covered a lot of infant loss organizations lately, but as I have mentioned before they will always come first.  You can shop any day, but helping a grieving family means so much more!! 

The best part about all of the organizations that I have covered lately, is that they are coming from you. I have asked for my readers to share any great infant loss (or any charity that affects children), so that I can feature them.  My email has been over flowing with great organizations.  Keep it up:)  I am amazed by how many amazing people have started organizations to give to this community.  It is a horrible community to be a part of , but made up of some of the greatest people in the world.

Today I am sharing another wonderful organization called Robby's RabbitsRobby's Rabbits was started in August of of 2011, by Robby's parents.  Robby was born in August of 2009, and sadly grew his wings after 4 days.  They started Robby's Rabbits on his 2nd Angelversary, and a year later they have sent out over 300 rabbits.

The idea of Robby's Rabbits, is to get a stuffed rabbit in the arms of every grieving family. Families that have lost a child, can request a rabbit here.  Make sure that you include the age of your child, because they try to match the size of your rabbit to your child. Each rabbit comes with a tag with this beautiful passage written on it,

" 'Real isn't how you are made', said the Skin Horse, 'It's a thing that happens to you.  When someone loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but Really loves you, then you become Real'. " The Velveteen Rabbit

The rabbit we received

The rabbits are free for these families, and this organization runs strictly on donations.  Not only do they collect rabbits, but they also collect other stuffed animals to donate to near by hospitals.  They have already touched so many with their rabbits.  As a fellow infant loss parent, I can't even describe how much receiving something like this means to us.  To have a little a piece of our child to hold on to, is the greatest gift that you can receive.

If you have lost a child, or know someone that has please visit Robby's Rabbits today.  Like I mentioned before they run on donations, so please consider giving to them today.  I can't tell you want a difference your donation will make.  When you open your mail and see something like this, it gives you a bit of hope.  It reminds you that your child existed and has not been forgotten...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Love, Love, Love...Halloween Style

We already have our costumes for this year, we dress up as a family (you will have to wait until Halloween to see what we are going as). 

Having our costumes, does not stop me from my adorable costume hunt.  My favorite part of Halloween is opening the door, and seeing all of the cute costumes. Here are some of my favorites, hopefully they help those of you that are still deciding what to do:) 

I would love to see any of these come to my door:)

Little Gnome

Woopie Cushion


Venus Flytrap

Car Freshner

...Also here is a link to a great site that shows you how to make funny "last minute costumes"...including this cute "baby carrot" costume

Baby Carrot

What are your kids going to be?  Are you dressing up with them?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dinner Date!!

Going out to eat is such a production when you have a little one.  I have to bring his silverware, snacks, his tray, sippy cup, and something to distract him.  If I keep everything organized, we do pretty well.

However we started relying on the fact that every place would have a highchair or booster seat to use.  Unfortunately that is not always the case, and you can't really get around using one.  We can try to hold him on our laps, but that usually means the meal will be anything but enjoyable.  We have a highchair with a detachable booster seat, but some meals out are not planned.  We obviously can't leave his highchair in the trunk.  So I started my hunt for something portable, yet still safe.

After a lot of research, we decided that the Brica Fold N' Go Travel Booster was the way to go. 

It is soft, and made of fabric that you can easily wipe clean.  The seat boosts my son up enough, so that he can reach the table.  It is also very safe!  There is a 3 point harness to secure him to the seat, and then the seat straps firmly to the chair.

It says that the seat is safe for children up to 40 pounds, and the straps are adjustable.  But my favorite part of the seat, is how easy it is to fold it up and go.  It collapses so small, that you can easily store it in your trunk...and you will not knock into people as you walk through the restaurant. 

The key to "restaurant gear", is finding a way to bring everything that you need without looking like "Cousin Eddie." :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fairy Tales for Hope ♥

About a month ago a friend of mine sent me an email asking me if I had seen Fairy Tales For Hope, they sell fairy tale prints for stillbirth awareness?"  I immediately went over to the site and fell in love!!  It combines so many things that I love; fairy tales, reading, art, infant loss awareness, charity...

I knew right away that I had to order a print, and contact them about featuring them.  I ordered a "Three Bears" print, and sent them an email.  I immediately heard back from Sally, who was thrilled to have us feature them. She also mentioned how busy they are, and that some prints were actually already selling out!!  I figured I better squeeze them in to my schedule in the next few weeks.

So here they are Fairy Tales For Hope.  The organization was started by Sally and Simon Heppleston, who lost their daughter Hope in August of 2008.  They decided to sell fairy tale prints, because reading fairy tales was something that they had looked forward to doing with their daughter.  They have 31 different images to choose from (although by the time this post goes live some will be sold out), and they were all done by the talented artist Tonia Composto.  The proceeds go to Stillbirth Awareness, and research.

You do not have to be a Baby Loss Parent to appreciate these prints, or even a parent.  The prints are absolutely stunning.  I would have loved to have decorated my apartment in them, back in my "single days".  They are great for kids' rooms, dens, schools, doctors' offices, bookstores, clothing stores...basically every where!!  They are also very affordable, and they ship worldwide:)

Head over to their site and check them out today, they will not last long!! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Good Things Come in Small Packages!!

Some of the items that have helped me the most with raising my son are the smallest.  Here are some of my recent favorites...

Hopefully they can help you too:)

Oxo Tot Straw & Sippy Cup Cleaning Set

The brush on the far right cleans everything!!  You can literally squeeze it into any nipple, straw, or top.  Cleaning sippy cups and bottles became a lot more enjoyable the day I bought this:)

Dapper Snapper baby and Toddler Adjustable Belt

It is impossible to find a belt for little ones (sold separately anyway).  I searched everywhere, and finally stumbled on these.  It is not a "full belt", you attach it on the back of your child's clothes and it pulls the waist in.  It is great for when they are a little in between sizes.  I wish they made them for moms!!

Nuk Graduates Kiddy Cutlery

When my son started eating solids, we bought soft tip spoons for his gums.  As he has gotten older and started feeding himself, we needed something a little easier for him.  I can not say enough great things about these spoons (they also make forks and knives).  The handles are easy to grip, and do not stain like some other brands do.  Since getting these my son has gotten really good with feeding himself.  Before a lot of food would spill off the side of his spoon, and he had trouble holding it straight.  These are the perfect size and weight for little hands:)

What are some of your favorite "small items"??

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Barber Bracelets ♥

For some reason every time I look at Barber Bracelets I get teary eyed.  I think it is because of the empathy that Laura Barber, the owner, shows towards us infant loss moms.

Laura started making her bracelets, after a cub scout project with her son.  Her adorable bracelets are made out of paracord, yep the cords from parachutes.  Some how Laura has found a way to make them into something adorable and fashionable.  She also figured out how to add "awareness ribbons" to them:)

This is where I start getting emotional...Laura decided to start making special "Angel Bracelets", because she was inspired by Tricia Pyatt. Tricia is the founder of the fabulous Lil Angel Hankies, which we featured back in February.  Laura and Trcia have been friends since high school.

"She was a close friend when we were both in high school, and seeing how much she helped others was amazing. I haven't lost any pregnancies myself, but many women in my family have. I had no idea how much it would mean to the mothers to have a bracelet like this, but I'm glad if it helps them in any way."

Barber Bracelets are not only for infant loss parents, you can get them made for any cause.  Or you can just get them made in colors that you love.  They are also great for sports fans, your kids sports team, sororities... and since they are soft you can wear them around the clock.

Many of us have remembrance walks coming up, what a great way to show team unity, and remember why you are walking.  I am doing the OC Walk to Remember next month, and plan on getting these in the colors that we had done our daughter's nursery in.  It will be our way of showing everyone that we are walking for her...

I not only like what this company stands for, but I also think that they are right in touch with the current "arm full of bracelets" trend.  I see a lot of people sporting the 80's friendship bracelets (takes me right back to those days), however I like the idea of putting a modern twist on the trend with these:)

You can visit Barber Bracelets on their Facebook page, and to order a bracelet (s) head over to their website.

Barber Bracelets has offered to do a special giveaway for Little Orso fans.  One special fan will win the bracelet of their choice:)

To enter this giveaway you must do two things:

1.  Head over and "like" Barber Bracelets on Facebook.

2.  Leave a comment below letting us know what colors you want your bracelet to be:) I am going to paste Barber Bracelets color choices here to help you decide:)

Good luck!!  

A winner will be picked using tomorrow (9/14) at midnight pst.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Little Sprouts

Anyone with kids knows how fast they grow out of everything!!  I swear they grow out of the expensive stuff even faster;)

That is why my friend Megan's company Little Sprouts is such a fabulous idea!!  Little Sprouts is an online site, where you can buy gently used kids items.

Megan started Little Sprouts this year after a company layoff.  While out searching for cute items for her own son, she realized that others may be looking for nice yet affordable kids clothes too.  She decided that she would start searching for anything great, and then sell her finds.  Everything on her site is "gently used", and is in great condition.  Megan personally inspects each item for stains or rips. If there is a defect, it is clearly mentioned in the description. She has a great eye too, because everything is adorable!!

All of the items are separated by size and gender, and compiled in to separate "photo albums.  This makes searching her site very easy!!

Item Currently Available

If interested in an item the buyer just has to comment "interested" and leave their email address on the photo of the item.

Right now you have two choices for delivery.  You can buy the items online through Paypal, and have them shipped to you.  Or if you live in the Kirkwood Pennsylvania area (where Little Sprouts is located), your items can be hand delivered.

Item Currently Available

The business is 100% online right now, but Megan is in the process of expanding to a store front in the near future.

Item Currently Available

I love sharing great ideas, especially ones that make other parents lives easier.  It is a triple bonus when I can share a small business that one of my friends started.  Megan is a great woman, and her Little Sprouts is a fantastic company!!  Check it out today, her stuff does not last long!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Smitten With My New Jeans

Little Orso Council Feature

Today Staci, from November Sunflower, is going to take you along on her journey of weight loss, and then searching for the "perfect jeans" to fit her "new" body.  It is something that most women struggle with especially moms.  She will share her new favorite brand of jeans, and some tips for getting them for less.  If you have any question regarding her weight loss, the jeans mentioned in the post, ways to earn money/gift cards, or anything else money related please feel free to comment below.  Staci is part of our Little Orso council, and is available to help you all.  Hopefully her advice will help us all get to experience a great jean shopping session...I know I dream about that day;)

Have you ever wished that you could find those perfect jeans?  You know the ones.  They make your butt look good, they feel amazing on, you could sleep in them if you had to. 
The jeans that fit your curves to perfection...

Personally it has never happened for me before.  It's always been that one piece of clothing that I can never get "just right".

Here's the thing: I am short.  I'm only 5'3.  I need petite items for height.  However until earlier this year, finding petite sizes, as well as a size that fit me, was very difficult.  Until December 2011, I was not just short, but I was "a squeeze myself in a size 8" size 8.  You've seen ladies like me out there, laying on our beds to be able to zip up our jeans, and then the muffin top appears. Yup, that was me.  I admit it  However I wasn't about to accept that I had gained weight, and should be in a much larger pair.

An amazing gift was shown to me, and I was able to lose 20 pounds by February 2012.  The size 8 jeans that I had been struggling to close, I was now struggling to keep up.  My mother had to loan me a belt to use on my Old Navy jeans.  Yeah, can you just picture how horrible those looked, all bunched up?  Old Navy was my "go-to" jeans place.  I loved them even if they didn't fit perfectly, they were petite, and they made my butt look decent.  Once I was ready to buy jeans that actually fit the new, slimmer, fitter, me, I headed to Old Navy.

Old Navy failed me Miserably.  I didn't know what size I was now, so I got a size 6, 4 and Little Miss threw a size 2 for good measure.  Shockingly I tried on the size 6s, the size 4s, and finally the size 2s.  Even the 2s were a bit big, so we headed back out for a 0.  We found very little in size 0, and they weren't petite.  However when I tried those on they were super small.  Muffin top showed  up again...we couldn't have that, so I settled for size 2s.  I had never been so disappointed with Old Navy Jeans.  It was a sad day for me.  I am tearing up at the thought of it now...

One pair of jeans from my "go- to" store...Bummer!! Plus they didn't fit well.  Major Bummer!!  I searched so many stores, it wasn't funny.  Still only one pair of jeans.  It was coming up on summer, so it wasn't a big deal.  But guess what??  Summer has to end at some point, right?

Luck struck.  Recently I got invited to a Sears Style Brunch, where they were giving away jeans to all bloggers that attended.  Wahooo!  Who knew I would get so lucky at Sears?  Plus the Juniors Department?  What?  But it's true.

Hello Bongo brand jeans, you're my new best friend.  You make my butt look fabulous, you're the perfect length, and you fit like a glove...and you're comfortable, plus you feel so dang soft.  I'm completely smitten.

The only thing I'm not in love with is the price tag.  I love these jeans, and am glad that I got them for free.  However it is hard to find them on the Sears website, so I have to go to the physical store. Ugh.  Plus when they aren't on sale, that price tag is super uncool.  When I put them on, I just forget about the price tag....and sometimes when you feel that good about a pair of jeans, the price tag isn't as upsetting.  It's why I'm so thankful for the ability to earn lots of points online, so I can redeem the points for cash or gift cards.  The guilt just disappears, and I get to "feel good" minus the dread after seeing the receipt!

***For any of you inspired to check out Bongo jeans after this post (like Staci's), head over to by Friday.  They are offering 10% off (some are already on special too), and free shipping.  No promo code needed, your order just needs to be $49+

Staci Gerard is the owner of the blog November Sunflower. Living on Long Island isn't financially easy for a household with just one income, but Staci has mastered the art of Strategic Shopping online, and in stores, for herself, as well as her family. Who else can shop FOR FREE online for all of the gifts she purchases throughout the year, along with during the holidays? Even better, she teaches people to do what she does! She's the non-extreme savings guru, who now has a rocking pair of jeans in her closet!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Soft Blocks

It is always fun to get a sneak peek of one of the hot items for the fall.  In the past it was fashion that I was getting excited about, now it is kids products:)  It is also really fun when some of your closest friends created the hot item, and gave you a set before any one else could buy them:)

The item that I am hinting at is called Soft Blocks, and they are the hot toy item for Fall 2012!!  They were created by close friends of ours named Damian and Kristen Monteleone.  They are the parents of three adorable boys, and they decided they wanted something new for their playroom.  A different type of block for them to build with, one that you could use in any environment...playroom, outside, pool, bath....

And with that the Soft Block was created!!  A block that you can bend and squish...and even step on!!

Not only are they fun to build with (our entire family sat on the floor with them for a few hours the other night), but they are great for child development.  Soft Blocks are unique interlocking blocks that foster problem solving skills and constructive building techniques.

They are easy enough for little ones to stack, but exciting enough for older kids and adults to play with.  They also come in a great carry along bag, so you can take them everywhere with you (every parent loves an item that is easy to put away and comes with their own storage).  My son likes to walk around the house with his set!!

Baby Orso Enjoying his set:)

He built this all by himself!!

These have definitely become a new family favorite in the Orso home, but we are not the only ones that love them!!  They were only released to the market recently, yet they are already selling out.  They are going to be the hot holiday item, so if you want a set I would recommend getting them soon!!  You can find Soft Blocks at many top retailers including Amazon and Think Geek.

...or you can be friends with the right person (or adorable kids website) and win a set. 
That's right we got our hands on a second set of these fabulous blocks for you.  One lucky Little Orso reader will win their own set. 

To be entered in our giveaway you must do 2 things:

1.  Head over and "like" Soft Blocks on their Facebook Page

2.  Leave a comment on our "Soft Blocks post" (on the Little Orso Facebook) letting us know who you would give your Soft Blocks to. You must "like" Little Orso for your comment to count, so double check that you are already our fan.

If you do both things by Wednesday (9/12/12) at midnight (pst), then you will be entered into our drawing.  One random winner will be picked using, and will get a complete set of Soft Blocks sent to them:)

Good luck!! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Little Orso Council "Go To" Items...

Little Orso Council Feature

Back in June, I shared one of my favorite items in the world.  The item I run to multiple times a day, my Dustbuster!!  I know I am still getting emails from people laughing at me, but I swear buy one and see how many times a day you use it...then we will see who is laughing;)

Today I am going to share a few of our Little Orso Council Members' go to items.

Amy- We LOVE Lush Shampoo Bars and Body soap. We love that their products are handmade, smell amazing, and all ingredients are listed up front, so with our many allergies in the family and gluten free diet we know what is in our products. Their bath jellies are super fun too -- its like jello you wash with. Remember they look pricey but a little goes a LOOOOOONG way. My son with all the allergies uses the Trichomania shampoo bar from head to toe. It's cured his scalp issues and also along with diet keeps his eczema away no steroid creams needed.

Jessica- Our 3 iPads for sure. Guaranteed 30 minutes of peace for me while I clean up breakfast or dinner, and have my daughter do her breathing treatment twice a day. Before this it was chaos while I tried to clean up. The kids call them TVs and say "TV time" in 3 very excited voices. I can get them to clean up whatever toys are out before TV time (much tougher with anything else). They used to get frustrated when they couldn't do what their "neighbor" was doing. I stopped getting involved and just asked the other kid to help him/her and they really enjoy helping each other out. They're recent video from our new camera has been a big hit on the iPads. Today they turned them off on their own when I asked..yay...they all got an 'obeying' bean (our reward system).

Misty- I really like the baby mesh feeders. I put fruit in them and my little girl goes to town. When she is teething I freeze grapes and watermelon. It soothes her gums and gives her a treat at the same time.

I love having our council share with us.  It is always fun to hear what other people love, and what helps them get through their day.  

Please share your "go to" items below.  I can't wait to hear what you love!!

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