Friday, February 26, 2010

The Perfect Diaper Bag – My First Giveaway is a Huge One!

Over at I moderate the New Grandparents group which is growing all the time. There actually are a lot of grandparents-to-be who come and join to share their joy and concerns and sometimes they ask about what are good gifts for them to give to their daughters and daughters-in-law. Although all of us first time grandmothers can’t wait to buy “cute” stuff we really have a responsibility to help “Keep it Real.” This means helping avoiding waste and poor purchases that have to be duplicated with something better latter. Recently I wrote about my frustration with car seats. But today I have a great product to recommend without reservation.

Another complicated purchase is a diaper bag – yes, grandparents – a diaper bag. I remember always digging in the bottom for something that I absolutely needed and periodically not having it and every so often taking everything out of the bag and starting over. I shopped with my daughter for her diaper bag and much like the car seat not much has changed in the last 30 years - except that now they have some ridiculously expensive "boutique" bags.

We’ll guess what – I have just recently learned about Mrs. Smith’s Diaper Bags and it is indeed a big improvement. This bag has some unique features including a drawer at the bottom of the bag – that’s right a drawer – and it is easily changed from being used as a messenger bag into a backpack. The bag is roomy, yet lightweight. But what I liked most is its organization and ability to find things that are most often lost in the bottom somewhere. There is, of course, the convenient changing pad, but there are also three insulated pockets for bottles, sippy cups or baby food. On the outside there are two pockets good for bottles, pacifiers, toys, etc and a big pocket to slide thin things into.

But the really big deal about this bag has got to be the drawer. At the bottom of the bag is a pull out drawer – that comes all the way out - and is a generous 3 1/2 inches deep. It has three compartments so it can easily be used for three different things.

The other reviewing bloggers and people leaving comments on Mrs. Smith’s website and all talk about the drawer. Mrs. Smith’s website has the story of how the drawer idea emerged. It is the story of Rachel Smith being in an airport with a delayed plane and a toddler and baby. In searching for her son’s toy train she spilled her baby’s bottle and wound up with a wet and messy diaper bag. The insulated pockets and drawer idea came to her later when she was settled in on the plane.

Everyone has their own idea of what the drawer is best used for. Although it looks like the perfect place for baby food and pacifiers to me, one commenter whose baby was in day care said it was the perfect place to put her baby’s clothes. I can see using one compartment for socks and others for tops and bottoms. You could just replenish each day what was used. I didn’t have to deal with bringing a baby to day care but many parents do today. Parents who bring their children to day care will love this bag because they can easily see what they have packed and will never forget something important. Diaper bags get used for longer than you think and I suspect that how the drawers are used will be different for a toddler than for a baby.
If you are a walking or hiking family – or one who takes little ones on airplanes - I think you’ll love the conversion to backpack feature of this bag. And it is super easy to do. Men love that one of the color design options is black. Actually, black is one of the best sellers and the color I chose for my sample.

Giveaway Information – Important Details –Easy to Enter
Well, now here is the really good news. You are going to get a chance to win a Mrs. Smith’s Diaper bag right here on this blog. This is my very first giveaway and it is a powerhouse one. I hope you will participate. The “mommy bloggers” often have such giveaways but it frequently is an item of much lesser value. This bag retails for $69.99 so this is a really big giveaway. Many mommy bloggers require that you subscribe to their blogs and do various complicated things in order to enter to win. But my readers are less into these technical intricacies so I am making it easy. All you have to do to enter to win is leave a comment on this blog. Post your email address or if you prefer, send me your email address and let me know the name you posted as. If you post anonymously I have no way of knowing who you are. My email address is: You will get an additional entry if you are on twitter and you make a tweet about this giveaway and then leave a comment on the blog letting me know your twitter name so I can check the tweet. Mrs. Smith’s Diaper Bag will send the bag directly to the winner and I will contact you via email if you win to get your mailing address. Your address information will not be publicly posted. will be used to select the winner randomly. Good Luck and please participate. The deadline to enter to win a Mrs Smith diaper bag is March 20th - so enter today! The winner will have a choice of design. You can learn more details and see the designs available at Mrs. Smith's website.

For full disclosure, Mrs. Smith’s Diaper Bags did provide me with a sample bag for review which I am able to keep. Thank you Mrs. Smith very much. I have not received compensation for this review and I do not have a personal relationship with this company. Any product review I do on this blog is an honest evaluation of my personal opinion. I do not review products favorably for compensation.

You can purchase a Mrs. Smith’s diaper bag at K Mart or on Just click below to purchase via Amazon.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My First Glimpse of the International Toy Fair with Hasbro

I am excited to be attending the International Toy Fair in New York for the first time this week. This is a huge event where manufacturers introduce their new products – some won’t be on the market until the Fall and retailers come to preview and place their early orders. My press pass (as a blogger) is giving me access to information that I will be sharing with you in the next few months as I do reviews and sponsor my first giveaways. I was invited to a bunch of special events and attended two of them – Hasbro and Lego. I’ll be writing about each of them in the coming weeks.

On Saturday I attended the special event at the Hasbro showroom in NY. I was invited to this event for mommy bloggers by the Litzky Public Relations firm who has added this Grandma blogger to their Mommy blogger list. I took copious notes during the small group tours of the extensive Hasbro line. Don’t think you’ve heard of Hasbro toys? Well you definitely have. I’m willing to make a nickel bet you have a Hasbro product in your closet right now. Do any of these names sound familiar: MONOPOLY, TRANSFORMERS, GI JOE, LITTLEST PET SHOP, MY LITTLE PONY, PLAYSKOOL, MR. POTATO HEAD, TONKA, NERF, BABY ALIVE, EZ BAKE OVEN, PLAY DOH, STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE, TRIVIAL PURSUIT, CANDY LAND, LIFE and CLUE.

Well its just too much to cover. So I am concentrating on pre-school only. Here are just some highlights of the Hasbro Showcase:

Sid the Science Kid

Zach, my eight month old grandson, is mesmerized by Sid the Science Kid. Grandparents - This is a popular new show on PBS which preschoolers love. In the Fall Hasbro will be introducing a whole line of Sid the Science Kid toys and they will be on my Christmas shopping list for sure. I want to play with this preschooler science set with my grandson so much. I have all sorts of ideas from using white shirts as lab coats, goggles for lab safety and taking lab notes in a notebook to add to the fun. In case you don’t know my husband and I are engineers and we had a lot of “science play” with our kids.

Wheel Pals
I really liked the whole line of Wheel Pals – small squeezable animals (farm, jungle and Arctic versions) on wheels. These are available in assortment packs or individually. They reminded me that we used small gifts when potty training our kids – they would get to choose a gift from a basket when they remembered to use the toilet – this method really works. If your toddler likes these you can have them earn the whole collection and be toilet trained stress free. These are a nice size for toddlers – not too big and not too small and I see them to have a lot of imaginative play possibilities – a winner.

A crowd of mothers aah-ing gathered around a new line of weebles in their original egg shape, wobbly form. Young children can engage in interactive play with figures and playsets featuring Spider-Man, kids, a musical treehouse and more. This will be another winner.

Mr. Potato Head
I enjoyed Mr. Potato Head when I was a child and when my kids were children. Now there are many versions of Mr. Potato Head but this one really caught my eye: It is a Plush Toy Story version suitable for a toddler. It is larger than the plastic version but the colors are true to the plastic one and it looks like “the real thing.” My only problem with it is that it is a talking version with batteries. You can always not use batteries and enjoy a quiet Mr. Potato Head – as he was intended to be.

Added Note on 3/8/12 - See my review of the new Mr. Potato Head "Mashly in Love" set to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Mr. Potato Head.

There are a bunch of new products for infants in the Gloworld line including this cute rattle that was in our gift pack to bring home. My eight month old grandson got a good grip on this rattle, enjoyed the simple old fashioned rattle sound and bit into the feet and ears. If you remember “Gloworm” you may be attracted to this theme of developmentally oriented infant toys.

Explore ‘N Grow
Hasbro says that the PLAYSKOOL's Explore N Grow line of toys are made for “laughter, learning and lasting value.” Guess what? I think they’re right. I was impressed with many items in this line. The gears are removable and I can picture a toddler having fun figuring this toy out. Maybe it’s the engineer in me that was drawn to this toy which screams “How does this work?” This toy will inspire curiosity and exploration – I can picture Zach playing with it as soon as the putting everything in his mouth stage is over.

My one big disappointment is the Tonka line. As the grandmother of an 8 month old boy I am looking forward to buying “big trucks” – first in plastic and then in metal. A preschooler does not need a $40 talking truck. Talking dolls – maybe, but this Chuck –the Talking Truck is stupid and overpriced. However, the Toy Fair experts thought it was great and it won a Toy of the Year award. At the toy fair I was looking for a basic good quality yellow plastic dump truck without batteries. I didn't see one until the end of the day and I think the guy at that booth was looking at me like there was something wrong with me that I got all excited about this plain old dump truck. It was after 5 PM and by that time no one was excited about anything anymore I'm sure. I'll write about that in another post.

So this is the first of my Toy Fair reports. I think I saw a million toys and I'll be writing about ones I think will be attractive to grandparents. Check back soon, leave your comments and experience with these toys and enjoy playing with your children and grandchildren! And thank you to Hasbro and Litzky Public Relations for providing and informative and enjoyable day with them.