Fun Finds For Mom

Top 6 Kids’ Real Tool Sets

Friday, December 12, 2014

Back by popular demand, I’m happy to share my picks for this year’s top 6 real tool sets for kids. These tool sets are for parents looking for tools for their kids that aren’t pretend plastic tools, but real tools they can actually use to fix and build. We got our kids real tool sets a few years ago, and not only did they use them, but they looked pretty darn cute wearing their kid tool belts and safety goggles. So here they are… this year’s top real tool sets for kids.

1. Great Neck 21046 Essentials 32 Piece Around the House Tool Set

 

($29, Amazon.com)

2. Grizzly H3044 Junior Working Too Length 12-Piece Set

Grizzly

 

($30, Amazon.com)

3. Wooden Child-Sized Real Tools by Constructive Playthings

 

($39.99, Amazon.com)

4. Red Tool Box 10-Piece Tool Set

 

($44 at Amazon.com)

5. Real 5-piece Red tool set and toolbelt with multiple pockets

RED 5 piece

 

($28, Amazon.com)

6. Moulin Roty Les Valises Small Tool Box Set

Moulin Roty tools

 

($33, Amazon.com)

 

 

Comments 0

The Little Spark: 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity Book Review + Giveaway

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Little Spark

Are you looking for a holiday gift for your mom/sister/babysitter/teacher or gift exchange? Well then I’m glad you’re reading this. You see, my wonderfully creative, talented and kind friend Carrie just wrote a book called The Little Spark: 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity. It’s filled with a variety of bite sized nuggets that will shift your perspective and juice up your creativity.

One of my favorites is Spark #11: stashing a jar of markers within reach. This is something I learned from Carrie years ago. In addition to the jar of markers that is usually on my dining room table, I also have a glass jar filled with colorful Sharpies in my office and it makes me happy every time I look at it — just the creative possibility that it represents.

markers

The book has simple exercises that help you tap into the creativity that came so naturally when we were kids, and highlights activities you can do alone or with your friends — like getting together to create vision boards and soul boxes (What’s a soul box, you ask? You must read the book!) Here’s Carrie’s beautiful mom holding up a vision board collage:

vision board

Carrie also highlights the creative endeavors of so many friends and visionaries in our community — Chris Bianco, her neighbor Scotty from the Gin Blossoms, her yoga teacher Anton, the mother-daughter duo behind locally-owned Kaleidoscope Juice and her friend Logan, who designs and makes these gorgeous Silver and Sage malas:

malas

I am so excited to be giving away a copy of The Little Spark: 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity.I suggest you buy one for yourself and enter the contest to try to win one for a friend. You can find them on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or if you’re here in Phoenix, you can pick one up at La Grande Orange.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post by midnight MST on Friday, Dec. 12. The winner will be randomly selected. Watch this video to see The Little Spark brought to life!

Congratulations to Sarita who was randomly selected as the winnter of The Little Spark book!

Comments 2

Stay safe on winter roads with Bridgestone Blizzak Tires

Friday, November 21, 2014

driving

What’s an Arizona girl doing writing about winter tires? Well, would you believe I know a thing or two about tires? I’ve attended three tire press events over the past few years, and written several articles about tires for SheKnows. This year, I was invited to Denver by Bridgestone and Tire Rack to learn about Bridgestone’s Blizzak tires and how they can keep you safe on winter roads. Fortunately for this desert driver, we weren’t testing tires on the open road. Instead, we headed to Denver’s Pepsi Center where we compared Blizzak winter tires with all weather tires on an ice rink!

Before getting behind the wheel, we visited the Denver Zoo, where we learned how Bridgestone used “biomimicry” to develop the technology for their winter tires. They took the properties of polar bear’s grippy paws, geckos’ feet (that can stick to any non-wet surface) and clinging mussels to design the rubber compound and tread design of Blizzak tires.

It’s amazing how much technology goes into not only the materials that the tires are made from, but the actual design of the tires themselves. The angle of the grooves, for example, makes a big difference in the tire’s ability to disperse water, enabling the tire to maintain contact with the road instead of slipping on a thin layer of water or ice. The Blizzaks also have channels in them that act like sponges to “soak up” the water — think of them as water-wicking fitness clothes for your car — but with a much more important job than keeping you sweat-free.

biomimicry

Okay, so how did the Blizzaks perform on the ice, compared with the all-weather tires? As expected, the acceleration was faster, and the stopping distance was shorter. And when you’re slipping on an icy road, every inch counts. After testing the acceleration and stopping ourselves, we got to take a spin as a passenger with a professional driver who showed us just how scary it is to take a turn on ice. Thankfully, the Blizzaks delivered noticeably more control while the all-weathers had us knocking down cones every time.

Blizzak

I was surprised to learn that only 25% of people who live in the Snowbelt will put winter tires on their car this year. From what I experienced, the safety and control that come from winter tires is well worth the investment. If you’re in the market, Tire Rack is an easy way to order your tires online. You can sort by vehicle, tire type, tire size and more. Plus, they conduct their own testing and provide in-depth reviews that help you choose the best tire for your driving conditions. Learn more about Bridgestone Blizzak tires and winter driving at ConquertheCold.com.

Bridgestone and Tire Rack paid for the travel to the event. All opinions are my own

Comments 0

Quick Bread in a Jar

Sunday, November 16, 2014

This post is an oldie but goodie…

I tore this Quick Bread in a Jar recipe out of Sunset magazine a while back, and put it in my recipe/ideas/mishmash binder. I haven’t made these yet, but I think it’s a great idea for a thoughtful holiday gift. (Thinking about the holidays takes my mind off the 100+ degree weather.)

You basically get a milk bottle or mason jar (these jars would be perfect) and layer all the ingredients, then stick a cute label on (and a label on the back with the recipe instructions). The link to the Sunset recipe is here, but in case they take it off their site, I’ll paste it below too:

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Quick Bread

1. In a large bowl, mix the contents of this bottle: 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, and 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips.

2. In a small bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, 2 large eggs, and 1/4 cup melted butter.

3. Stir wet mixture into dry ingredients just until evenly moistened (batter will be lumpy).

4. Scrape into a buttered and floured 9- by 5-inch loaf pan (with a 9-cup capacity), and bake in a 350° oven until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

photo and recipe from Sunset magazine

Comments 1

Minted Holiday Cards + a $150 Minted Giveaway

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tis the season for holiday cards, right? As you may know, I am a huge Minted fan. Their selection of cards is amazing, and best of all, Minted supports the many individual artists who create all the original designs.

Okay — let’s get to it. I’m giving away one $150 Minted gift card to a lucky Fun Finds For Mom reader. Wheeee! To enter, just leave a comment on this post. But first, take a peek at some of this year’s Minted designs.

luggage tag

bejoyful

Happy Everything Holiday Photo Cards

Gorgeous, yes? And just imagine how much better they’ll look with pictures of your cuties in them. Minted also now offers cards with bedazzling real foil — AND they will print addressed envelopes for no charge. Unbelievable, right? If you’re just not a card person, they also have beautiful custom stationery, notebooks, calendars and more. Leave a comment on this post to enter for a chance to win $150 to spend at Minted, or go straight to Minted.com right now and place your order! Update: You can also get an extra entry by liking and/or sharing the contest post on Facebook! (Please send me a note to elaina (at) funfindsformom (dot) com to let me know if you liked or shared!)

This contest is now closed. Congratulations to Deborah Gardner who was randomly selected as the winner of the $150 Minted gift card.

Comments 47

Nekter Juice Bar

Monday, October 27, 2014

Nekter Counter

I told you guys about my “cleanse” earlier this year, and am happy to report that green smoothies (plus lots of coffee) have now become my standard breakfast. Some days I don’t have the time or ingredients to make my own smoothies, so I was happy when I discovered Nekter Juice Bar had opened right in my neighborhood! And I was even happier when they invited me bring in the kids and try a few of their treats for a blog review.

Nekter Tables

As you can see, the Nekter atmosphere is clean and bright, and it smells — well, like freshly juiced fruits and veggies. Most customers are in yoga wear and look like they’re frequent juicers.  (It’s worth mentioning that making fresh juices and smoothies take time, so don’t expect your order to be ready immediately.)

The day I brought the kids, I tried the Pink Flamingo, which was recommended by the manager. Check out this color!

Pink Flamingo

All natural, baby. It’s made with pitaya, or dragon fruit, and tastes sweet and coco-nutty. My daughter got a “make your own” smoothie. She chose strawberries, bananas, apple juice and cinnamon and happily slurped it all up. My son had a PBJ Acai Bowl. I had always wondered what exactly the acai bowls were like. Underneath the fresh fruit and crunchy granola, there’s a frozen yogurt-like icy, creamy, fruity mix. Take a look:

PBJ Acai Bowl

The serving size is huge (my son is a big eater but couldn’t finish it) so I think the next time, my kids could probably split one. I grabbed a Skinny Lemonade on the way out the door and took it to work with me. These are perfect for a lunch substitution on a busy day, or for a nice mid-day drink that you can grab out of the cooler if you don’t have time to wait for a fresh-squeezed juice.

Skinny Lemonade

That cayenne pepper gave the Skinny Lemonade a nice bite (and stopped me from guzzling it down too quickly!) There’s also a Strawberry Lemonade and a few ginger flavored drinks I’m planning to try.

If you’re juice cleanse-curious, check out the 1, 2, 3 and 5 day juice cleanse options on the Nekter Juice Bar website. Currently, Nekter has locations in Arizona, California, Colorado and Texas. Check out all their locations right here. If you go to the 44th Street and Indian School location, maybe I’ll see you there!

Comments 0

FreshTape: a fresh alternative to bag clips

Friday, September 12, 2014

freshtape

I’m excited to introduce you to a new product I discovered this summer. It’s called FreshTape. This product was created by two moms who wanted to keep food fresh in the bag, but were not big fans of the usual bag clips (especially after a run-in with moth larva attached to other bag reclosers. ew.)

Personally, I have used clothespins to close most of my food bags and they seem to work just fine. I did find from using FreshTape that there are certain items that are perfectly suited for this reusable bag-sealing tape. My favorite was lunch meat. So many lunch meat packages are meant to be re-sealable, but they never do stay closed. I usually end up putting them inside Ziploc bags. The FreshTape worked perfectly:

IMG_4237

You can use FreshTape on everything from cracker bags to frozen peas, and they’re designed to be reused dozens of times. When you’re done, pop them in the recycle bin. You can buy a package of 18 for $8.99 on Amazon.

Comments 0

Today’s lunch box

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

8.26.14 lunch

Horizon cheddar snack crackers, strawberries, Trader Joe’s chocolate covered sea salt butterscotch caramel balls, colby jack cheese stick, Mintz’s Blintzes.

PlanetBox lunch boxes can be found on Amazon or PlanetBox.com. For more fun lunch box ideas, enter your email address in the top right corner of this page and follow me on Facebook and Pinterest.

Comments 2

Today’s lunch boxes

Monday, August 25, 2014

8.25.14 lunch 1

Lunch #1: Sourdough pretzel nuggets, strawberries, M&Ms, colby jack cheese stick, DIY ants on a log (celery sticks and peanut butter).

8.25.14 lunch 2

Lunch #2: Sourdough pretzel nuggets, strawberries, Trader Joe’s chocolate covered sea salt butterscotch caramel balls, turkey pita pocket. http://planetbox.com/#oid=1008_1

PlanetBox lunch boxes can be found on Amazon or PlanetBox.com.

For more fun lunch box ideas, enter your email address in the top right corner of this page and follow me on Facebook and Pinterest.

Comments 0

Today’s lunch boxes

Friday, August 22, 2014

8.22.14 lunch

Lunch #1: Horizon cheddar snack crackers, strawberries, M&Ms, lavosh flat bread, string cheese, celery sticks and peanut butter.

8.22.14 lunch2

Lunch #2: Horizon cheddar snack crackers, strawberries, dark chocolate-covered almonds, Mini Babybel cheese, celery sticks, turkey, cream cheese and spinach lavosh flat bread roll-ups.

PlanetBox lunch boxes can be found on Amazon or PlanetBox.com.

For more lunch box ideas, enter your email address in the top right corner of this page or follow me on Facebook.

Comments 0