Wednesday, July 29, 2009

natalie's ginormous baby shower giveaway

This Giveaway Has Closed.

After my (amazing) baby shower, I started thinking about what made the best baby shower gifts. We all know that diapers and stuff off the registry are good ideas, but what if you want something really special. Something that stands out. I started making a list of some of my very favorite gift ideas. I thought I would write a little blog about it. Then I thought.... wouldn't it be cooler if I gave all of those gifts away? Yea, I thought so. So here you go. My favorite baby shower gifts.

The three winners of this giveaway are going to be very happy.

Having a baby boy threw me for a loop. Diaper changing is a bit different than it is for a girl. There is all this stuff to deal with. And you get peed on a lot more. Bummas was a wonderful discovery for me. "After the wipe and before the dipe, use a soft kiss of cloth to dry bums off!" These incredibly soft, eco-friendly clothes are perfect for drying little toots to avoid diaper rash. AND they absorb an entire (unexpected) pee. They work as the perfect little on the go spit-up/booger wiper and bathtime washcloth. They come in the cutest colors to match your nursery. The winner of this will get to choose their own Bummas color set.

I love bathing Collin, but it is a slippery process. And as soon as babies are old enough to splash, it becomes an incredibly wet process as well. I am crazy about Spa Time Baby Capes. There is no fumbling for a towel because you are actually wearing the towel. Did I mention it has a waterproof panel to keep you dry? Genius! You can even personalize it. One reader will receive a Spa Time Baby Cape of their choice.

Love Aveeno Baby. It is all I use. No over bearing scent. Gentle on my baby's skin. Great price. I think I have tried everything they make and I love it all. I am giving away two surprise baby products to one winner.
Did you know that you are supposed to clean your baby's gums and new teeth? No one really knows how to go about doing that. Tooth Tissues answers that dilemma. And they have xylitol, which I don't really know much about, but my (dental hygienist) sister and her (dentist) husband never stop raving about it, so apparently it is good for teeth. One reader will receive a package of Tooth Tissues to try.
One thing new moms may not foresee is how much paperwork goes along with having a baby. It starts at the hospital and never stops. Why not give the mom-to-be something to help keep the paper clutter at bay. "My Mommy Tote" is a lifesaver. You can keep your desk organized and quickly grab this little baby whenever you need to make a trip out. It comes with pre-printed dividers and a place for your emergency contact info for sitters. I love that there is a panel on the side for your child's photo. This would be a great baby shower gift to fill with little baby products or an outfit. One winner will receive a gift certificate for one free tote, either in pink or blue.

Ah, blankets. I love baby blankets as shower gifts. Handmade blankets become heirlooms and decorate nurseries, thick ones become floor play mats. It is amazing how much use baby blankets get. I have discovered the best baby blanket ever. Swaddle Designs blankets are my personal "cannot live without" baby item. You can quote me. I have three. I could use three more. I always have an Ultimate Receiving Blanket in my diaper bag and another wrapped around Collin when he sleeps. He loves to sleep swaddled. They are just the right size. They work as a nursing cover and stroller blanket. When flannel is too hot, I use my Marquisette Swaddle Blanket. It is lightweight and breathable and folds up so small, it is perfect for travel. (And it is 40% off right now!) Swaddle Designs also sells Baby Lovies. Lydia has one and loves it. (And a certain famous baby carries one too.) One winner will get to choose between a Marquisette Swaddle Blanket in Lime with Mod Circles (as shown) or Ultimate Receiving Blanket in Yellow Dots and Suns (also shown).

If you are looking for some "ooohs and ahhhs" at a baby shower, clothes are the way to go. So tiny and delicate. If you really want to impress, try giving this Heirloom Sweater Set by Forever And A Day. Not only is it gorgeous, but it is probably the most incredible baby deal I have ever seen. You can get the handmade sweater and booties for $35. (That wasn't a typo. $35!) You can even customize the colors. I will be giving this lovely sweater set to one winner.

When I found out I was having a boy, I started looking for clothes that sported things other than sports equipment and cartoon characters. Thus I am obsessed (obsessed) with Reckon Onesies. Silk screened prints are hand-screened onto soft cotton onesies and tees. These duds are a fabulous gift for the contemporary mom. Start your baby out by dressing him in a onesie boasting Clint Eastwood, and you can basically guarantee no one is going to mess with him in the sandbox. The adult tees and toddler tees are awesome too. I am thinking of picking up a Thom Yorke shirt for Lydia. One winner will get to choose one of the onesies shown below...or the newest Reckon Onesie, Dolly Parton.

Collin and his cuz, Thomas, are the models for the day.

Sometimes the best baby gift is the most basic. Something soft and comfortable and cozy. I do a lot of fantasy shopping on Kushies Baby. I have yet to see one thing on their site that I don't want to see hanging in my kid's closets. The prices are very reasonable too. I thought this Kimono Set would be a perfect baby gift. It has all staple newborn needs. Kushie Baby is also offering natalie's sentiments readers a 10% discount on all orders. Just enter NS10 at checkout. (Check out their clearance section!)

Luckily Collin is too young to check out my blog, otherwise he would see what Santa is bringing him for Christmas this year. Sophie the Giraffe is famous in Europe for being the greatest baby toy. Sophie has been around since 1961, but is just now sweeping the US.
Sophie is a teething toy made of 100% natural rubber and food paint. To babies it smells good, it feels good to their sore gums, it looks good. They love this thing. I'm not sure what it is, but it is like the European version of Elmo (but way less annoying). You can read some more about this little French wonder here. One winner will receive a Sophie the Giraffe for their very own.

Baby gifts that can be kept for generations are often limited to expensive silver, and more often than not, stay on a shelf. Little Alouette is an etsy store than creates wooden teethers made of the smoothest maple wood, finished in organic flax seed oil. Not only are they soothing to babies gums, but they are filled with beans so they are also rattles. These classic toys could be a heirloom gift...for an incredible price. One winner will receive a grip stick teether handmade by Little Alouette.

When you think of babies, it is natural to think of getting them something cuddly to love. I wanted something for Collin that was soft and sweet and at the same time stylish and modern. I get a little tired of the selection at places like Babies R Us. I found just what I was looking for at Designs by Nana. I love the fabric chosen for each toy. Babies love the different textures. The back is incredibly soft and comforting. For around $10 you can pick up a priceless little friend for your little one. One winner will receive this ultra soft green giraffe.

A personalized gift is always a baby shower hit. It takes a bit of time to get a gift customized, and it shows that you put time and effort into the gift. My friend Mary Lea, sent Collin the Mitetee onesie photographed below and it is one of my favorite baby gifts of all time. After he has outgrown it, I am planning to display it in his room. When I checked out the Mitetee website, I was thrilled to see toddler tees as well. I thought Lydia deserved a little Mitetee of her own. One winner will get to design a tee or onesie of their own.

Music is a great gift to give at a shower or child's birthday. If you are looking for something original and unexpected, Name Your Tune is seriously awesome. It is a compilation of cute children's music that is made to order and personalized for each child. The child's name is actually entered into the music. I still can't figure out how they do it. It sounds like they actually sang the name in the recording studio. My CD has both Lydia and Collin's name included in the music. When Lydia heard it for the first time, she gasped and stared at the stereo with the biggest smile on her face. Now it is her very favorite album. One winner will get to personalize their own Name Your Tune album.

In an earlier post I mentioned PaperDoll Designs and the cool personalized gear available there. People stop me all the time to ask me where I got my gym bottle. Now Collin has his own special occasion plate and Lydia has a new bottle to take with her to preschool. I am always impressed by the quality. PaperDoll has personalized bag tags, note cards, mommy cards and party favors. One winner will receive a $15 gift certificate to PaperDoll Designs.

Don't forget about big sister and big brother. They tend to feel a little left out when a new baby arrives. Giving them a little gift helps them feel important and loved. And gives them something to play with when mommy is busy with the 9th diaper change of the day.

Lazy Bee is a Chattanooga gem. These adorable little handmade creations can be spotted at local craft fairs and gift shows. Now you can get some of these lovelies customized on line.
One winner will be receiving the Lazy Bee "See What I See" game. Dozens of fun treasures have been hidden in this one of a kind toy, and it is up to your child to find them all! As a child shifts the pellets in the bag, new toys will emerge in the clear vinyl window allowing your child to find all of the hidden treasures listed on the back. I got one of these for Lydia for Christmas and we take it to church, doctors offices...anywhere we need some quiet entertainment. Check out Lazy Bee's Snugglies. So so soft.
nkey "See What I See" game shown below.

Simple toys are always the best. Toys that don't require batteries or instructions. I found the greatest collection of just this kind of toy at Green Toys. Made from recycled plastic, these durable toys are as eco-friendly as they are classic. And who doesn't like to do their part for the Earth. Just check out their selection. The dump truck is too cute for words! I am thinking Lydia may need the indoor gardening kit for her birthday. In the name of good sibling gifts, one reader will receive a Green Toy Sand Play Set. It comes so beautifully packaged, all you need to do it add a bow.
If there is a big sister around, she is going to love some hair accessories. Lydia can almost always be seen showing off one of her clips from Sally's Clippies. Big and bold, or subtle and dainty, these clips are always sweet (and durable, thank heavens!). One winner will receive two surprise clips. Along with that, they will receive a baby headband. Attach the clips to the headband and even the baldest baby girl can sport some hair bling.

And we have arrived at the best part of the giveaway. Shower gifts for the mom. Moms need pampering more than anyone. As my sister recently told me, since having her son she "basically exists in a constant state of exhaustion." Amen sister. Moms deserve a little something extra. More of a tax break for those of us doing the world's hardest and worst paying job would be nice, but until that happens, some bling is good too.

Babies love to chew on things. Mostly things they shouldn't chew on. Car keys, chapstick, hairbrushes, pencil erasers.... and jewelry. Lydia gummed up my entire jewelry box. Smart Mom Jewelry is brilliant. Jewelry that can double as a teether. Imagine chatting with friends and the baby on your hip starts crying. No problem! Just give her the necklace you are wearing to chew on. Or your bracelet. Or key chain. Sounds weird, but that is what Smart Mom Jewelry is all about. I wear my necklace even though Collin is a few months away from teething. It is too cute to wait! Check out the Smart Mom home page to see all of the celebrities who wear these genius little numbers. One winner will get to choose their own Smart Mom necklace.

If you know me well, you probably assume that a diaper bag would be on this list. However, buying someone else a diaper bag can be tricky. It is a large investment that may, or may not, be the recipient's style. Instead, I recommend picking up a Pish Posh Mommy organizer. This heavy duty fabric organizer allows you to transform any large purse into a perfectly organized diaper bag. All the little pockets that keep bottles upright and wipes at immediate access are ready to go. Outside pockets are ready for keys, wallet and cell phone. Keep the organizer stocked and you just move it from purse to purse. When you aren't using it in your purse, it is perfect for keeping all your baby essentials together at home. One winner will receive the pull-string Pish Posh shown. Pish Posh Mommy is also offering 10% off orders for natalie's sentiments readers. Just enter NS10 at checkout.

I saved the creme de la creme baby gifts for last. Sometimes a mother needs to be spoiled. Whether it is a shower gift, birthday, Mother's Day or Christmas, you can't go wrong with J Woods Jewelry. Customized to show the people you love, the pendants are handcrafted from clay and then baked at over 2000 degrees. The picture is actually burned into the clay, making it scratch-proof and waterproof. All the findings are sterling silver. The necklaces can come on leather or sterling silver chains and are perfect to wear everyday. I have one of the Pearl Leather bracelets (as shown). It is stunning. Genuine freshwater pearls, sterling silver and leather, it is classic and contemporary. I had a photo of my kids put on one side, for more everyday wear. My initials are on the other for a more dressy look. I plan my outfits around this bracelet :) One winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to J Woods!

Okay, there you go. My favorite baby shower gifts. There are a lot of prizes here. This is how I am dividing them up.

There will be three winners randomly chosen. The first place winner will get to choose one item from each category, except for the baby basics where she/he will choose two. The second place winner will chose next. The third place winner will get the remaining prizes.

Want to win?????

There are four ways to enter:
  • Comment on this post letting me know the prizes you are most excited about.
  • For a second entry, let me know in a separate comment that you are a natalie's sentiments follower.
  • For a third entry, grab my button and place it in on your blog. (It is on top of my left hand sidebar.) Let me know in a separate comment that you have done so. If you already have my button, you may want to grab the new code. It has been updated by its designer - Redbud Designs - to look better against colored backgrounds.
  • For 3 extra entries, Blog, Twitter or facebook about this giveaway and leave a comment on this post providing me the link.
I will announce the three randomly selected winners on August 10th. Good luck!

This giveaway is for US residents only.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Little Last Minute Love....Update

What did we end up doing on our romantic Saturday evening date? Well, my sister Emily is in town so Saturday afternoon she helped me brainstorm and shop for my little plan.

I took Shane out to the movies and we snuck in hamburgers and sodas. (I know, we're so bad.) While we were out, Emily (who was also taking care of her baby, my baby and Lydia)....... grabbed the basket full of the supplies we had gathered and......

Set up a tent in the backyard....

Filled it with our softest pillows and blankets....

Set out battery operated tea lights (even hung some from the ceiling)...

Arranged a tray with some incredible cupcakes from a nearby bakery..

Along with some sparkling white grape juice.

When we came home from the movies, I asked Shane to come to the backyard for a minute. He was very surprised. :) We even had the baby monitor on so we could stay out there until Collin woke up to nurse. It was fabulously romantic. We needed it. Thank you Emily. You're the best!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Little Last Minute Love

Shane and I have a babysitter tonight. I told him I would plan a little romantic date. Something other than dinner out and a movie. I would love a little beach picnic. However, in a land locked state, that might be a tad difficult. Maybe in a few months when we go on vacation. With two children. Hum....maybe not so romantic.

Anyway, any good last minute date ideas?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Nope, these jeans aren't on backwards. They're mom jeans. Lydia seems to know it too. I don't even know how we came to own them. They are now safely tucked away in the goodwill box.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tagged....a lot.

I am really terrible about responding to tags. I have the best intentions, but right now between Facebook tags and those from bloggers, I am like a dozen behind. I did respond to one - so I won't be repeating any questions from that post. I thought I would just make up my own tag questions, using one or two questions from each tag I haven't responded to yet. Feel free to use the list for your own if you want. I won't be tagging anyone, but if you want to answer one of my questions for yourself (on this post) that would be pretty cool. :)

1. What albums most influenced your life?

  • Smashing Pumpkins siamese dream - Best Album ever?
  • Radiohead Ok Computer
  • Veruca Salt American Thighs - That is the kind of band I imagined myself singing in.
  • Tiffany - 6th grade bliss.
  • Wee Sing Silly Songs
  • 2. What did you want to be when you "grew up"?

  • As a little girl I wanted to be a mother. As a teenager and in college, I wanted a job that was focused on art and traveling. (So I studied art, worked at an art gallery and traveled ...then I became a mother. Win-win)

  • 3. What were your favorite subjects in college?
    • Comparative French Literature, Mayan Studies, American Art and Literature

    4. Least favorite subjects in college?

    Economics (yawn) and all other French classes other than Literature. (I butcher the language of love.)

    5. What are you anal about?

    • Expiration dates. It doesn't matter if the deli meat says it is good until May 1st. If it was opened March 15, you only have 7 days to eat it. It says so on the package!
    • Putting dishes away when they are still wet. Yuk. I am big on using a drying rack.

    6. What are your favorite smells?

    • Cut grass - especially onion grass
    • Burning leaves
    • The beach
    • Citrus candles
    • Basil
    • Saturday night in a big city in the summer (asphalt and cooking food from nearby restaurants)
    • A clean house
    • Everything Christmas time
    • Baking bread
    • Chance Eau Fraiche by Chanel (and I've run out!)
    • Shane

    • 7.What was your best kiss, other than your husband?

      • This question made me laugh, how do you answer this without getting in trouble with someone - or someone else in trouble?! :) I will just say it was on a birthday, on a dark city street, against a brick wall.

      8. What was your best kiss with your husband? (I am adding this one myself.)
      • Our last kiss. They just keep getting better.....

      • Oh, and we had this amazing kiss in some Mayan ruins down in Guatemala once. You wouldn't think of Tikal as being a romantic get away, but you'd be wrong :)

      9. If you could blow $5,000, what would it be on?

      • Great camera and lens
      • Great vacuum
      • New bike for Shane (for triathlons. Not a motorcycle. That would be the LAST thing I would buy.)

      • The rest on a vacation for Shane and I that includes the beach, virgin margaritas and massages.

      10. What is your greatest accomplishment?

      It may not be very P.C. to say, but becoming a wife and mother.

                                                There you go. I hereby claim to have fulfilled all tags. I tag no one.

                                              Sunday, July 19, 2009

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