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It’s National Play-Doh Day!

Play Doh

Normally we here at the TeenyManolo are so not about the Hallmark Holidays, but this is one we can all get behind (properly garbed in Play-Doh handler’s uniform of Hazmat suit, latex gloves, drop cloths, and a fine coating of baby powder).

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is National Play-Doh Day. I think you already know how to celebrate it, don’t you?

Play-doh was created in 1955 by Joseph McVicker of Kutol Chemicals in Cincinnati, Ohio. It hit the market in 1956, and has been a popular play toy ever since. It was created because McVicker’s sister-in-law wanted a safe, clay-like product for her nursery school children to use. Noah and Joseph McVicker received U.S. Patent No. 3,167,440 for Play-Doh.

Hasbro Toys, the current makers of Play-doh, say it a little differently. From their website, they state: “The story of PLAY-DOH modeling compound begins in 1956 when scientists at Rainbow Crafts, a Cincinnati soap and cleaning compound company, stumbled upon a new use for the unique dough-like cleaning product. The company realized this product’s potential as a child’s modeling compound; and thus, the original, reusable PLAY-DOH compound was born.”

Come on Down!

Have you ever watched The Price is Right and found yourself cackling gleefully when the overly perky contestant guessed the wrong prices and that poor dude in lederhosen fell off the Alps?

Well then, just picture me with perfectly coiffed grey hair, holding a slim microphone with my pinky sticking out, and a life’s mission to get you to spay and neuter your pets!  Or, if you prefer, big black glasses and a crew cut.  Either way works for me.

Now, I’m going to show you pictures of two similar items, and you are going to use your vast expertise in merchandise pricing to figure out which one retails for less. Finally, an outlet for that precious knowledge, gleaned over countless hours of pawing through racks and scouring internet catalogs.

Or, hey, just take a guess!

One of these baby blankets retails for $42.00, the other sells for $19.95.  Despite what you see in the pictures here, they are approximately the same size, weight, and made out of the same material. And this is where I shake my microphone gently in your direction and admonish you to remember that these are regular retail prices.

Is the cheapie this one:

Is it this one?

or this one:

Or this one?

I want your guesses down below in the comments.  Check back on Friday to see if you were correct!

My Son’s Future Wife Will Thank Me

Speaking of food, I think one of the most important skills you can teach your child is how to cook for themselves.

When your kid is finally able to move out of the house, is it your wish that they subsist solely on EasyMac and frozen burritos? And when they really feel like living it up, some bagel bites?

If not, then you have to bring them into the kitchen. Make no mistake, it is messy. Flour will be spilled all over the counters and the floor. Eggshell pieces will undoubtedly fall into the bowl due to overenthusiastic cracking, necessitating patience and a spoon to fish them out. Not that anything like that has happened in my kitchen. Nope, nosirree.  However, a little bird told me that the key thing to do when something along those lines occurs is to purposely add something crunchy to the recipe.  But I personally have no firsthand knowledge of this.

Bringing children into the kitchen means they need to be protected from themselves, and the most efficient way to do this is with an apron.

Aren’t these adorable? You can’t tell from the picture, but they also have pockets on the front.

  Planes, Trains and Transportation                     apron.jpg

And even if your kitchen doesn’t quite escape from the destruction, at least your kids will have an apron-shaped area of cleanliness on their bodies.                 

 

Mini-Mom

As part of my duties here at Teeny Manolo, I look at a lot of shoes and clothing. One day, I stumbled upon a site wherein my eyes were greeted with this picture. And I apologize in advance for subjecting you to the embroidery close-up. Why did they feel the need to focus on the fact that it is indeed a sunflower? Would people have gotten upset if they ordered it and it looked like a daisy? Were they afraid of false advertising lawsuits? I’m confused. Anyhoo, here it is:

Matching Mom and Girl Jumpers

Now, I’m not really sure about this sort of thing. I don’t have a daughter, so I suppose you could say that I can in no way imagine the type of bond in which it would seem like a good idea to dress as clones. I know that little girls can worship their moms, but is it really a good idea to match?

I was trying to think of a time when matching clothes would be cute and appropriate, but all I could come up with was a family photo. And even then, sometimes it doesn’t look all that great.

The closest I could come to approving the whole “let’s look alike” thing was this concept from Hanna Anderssen:

Hanna Anderssen Matching Outfits

It works for me because you are copying colors and patterns but in different ways. So you look similar but not like you are on your way to an identical twin convention. Which really doesn’t work because you are obviously not twins. Do you see why I have a hard time with this concept?

And, just remember, imitation isn’t necessarily the sincerest form of flattery. Not when there’s only one person buying the clothes.

Airport A Go-Go

McClaren Stroller

I had always marveled at Mariska Hargitay’s cheekbones, and then when I found out her mother was Jayne Mansfield, it all made sense.

And look at her son, so cute with his blankie!

They are sensibly pushing him around in a McClaren Quest Sport stroller. Mariska has excellent taste, because this is exactly the same stroller I bought for my son when we were ready to move him out of his infant system. She joins Gwen Stefani and Sarah Jessica Parker in sharing my stroller preference. I am such the trendsetter, I know!

I can’t say too many good things about this stroller. It is an umbrella stroller with heft, but not added weight. It has an all aluminum frame construction so it won’t fall apart in a year, and which makes it easy to push around without feeling like you are trying to steer a bus. It turns on a dime, and it is very comfortable for the young ones. It folds up very compactly and have I said already that it weighs practically nothing? I have been known to lug it around by the shoulder strap. With no complaint. At Disneyland no less! And I think I only clipped maybe one or two people with it. Because they weren’t paying attention, of course.

Also, my husband loves it because he is 6’2′ and McClaren strollers were the only ones that made the handles high enough for him to be comfortable pushing it instead of having to walk like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Trust me, he has never been able to use that excuse to not push the stroller.

And speaking of husbands, Mariska’s is sporting some pretty fierce loafers!

Panic! At the Clothing Store

When I found out I was going to have a boy, (and yes, I was one of those anal people who had to know in advance what gender of child I was having) my heart began beating a bit faster.   Mostly due to panic.

Panic, of course, because I was going to have a baby and during that first pregnancy, your mind just sort of boggles around the concept.  You try to grasp what is going to happen to your life, but most imaginings fall short.

And panic because I knew that there were just no good clothes out there for boys.  Well, perhaps there were a few, but I wasn’t sure my bank account was willing to give up quite so much for something that would be outgrown in four months, tops.

Before the parents and people with girls in their lives jump all over me, just stop and think for a second.  When you walk into a children’s clothing store, what do you see?  Are your eyes greeted with hangers upon hangers of rugby polos, or are there dresses and stretch pants and bubble skirts and any other variation of clothing the manufacturers can think of that pertain to feminine dressing?  This was also sagely noted by my esteemed co-blogger, raincoaster.

The bulk of the store always contains girls clothes, usually with the boys relegated to some dark corner in the back.  And depending on the retailer, with or without cobwebs.

It’s sort of like being invited to a party, but when you get there, everyone else is being served caviar and champagne.  You, on the other hand, are lucky to get some stale crackers and warm juice.

Why is this?

The women in these little boys’ lives are plenty willing to spring for nice clothes.  If only we could find them.

Oh sure, there are a few clothing lines that try to tweak those standard polos, graphic tees, and cargo pants.  But there aren’t nearly enough.

Part of my mission here at Teeny Manolo is to help shed light on clothing for boys that is made with style and quality, clothing that sets itself apart from the clones found in countless stores.  But, not too different.  Too different leads to being made fun of and not being invited to birthday parties. 

So, even if it takes me hours days weeks a while to discover clothes that meet the Glinda stamp of approval, I promise I will find them! Eventually!

Thinking Out of the Box, As it Were

I remember my school lunches very vividly. My mother was cutting-edge in the seventies in that she latched on to the health food movement when all of perhaps 1,000 people in the United States were doing it.

I went from bologna sandwiches and chips to peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat with an apple. I was devastated because who wants to trade their Twinkie for an apple? Nobody, that’s who.

I also remember hating my lunches because they sat in my lunchbox, moldering all morning long in the coat room. By the time lunchtime rolled around, anything that was supposed to be cold was nowhere near, and anything that should have been warm was no longer. That seems like it should defy the laws of physics, doesn’t it? How does a cold thing get warm and a hot thing cold in the same box? I say the government should spend some of those research dollars on this topic, don’t you agree?

Anyhoo, lunches have evolved greatly since those days, and it’s high time they did. The paper sack was discarded in favor of a lunch box or reusable bag. Then, the reusable bag/lunchbox added insulation to better ensure that food temperatures stayed true.

Apparently for the hip moms, even those are passe now.

It’s all about the bento. And listen, the debate on whether kids today are more spoiled can be for another day. Today I’m all about the lunches.

These are not necessarily the laquered kind served to you in Japanese restaurants, or even the kind that Molly Ringwald had for her sushi in The Breakfast Club. No, some of these babies are pretty high tech.

mr-bento.jpg

 

I kind of like this because it looks fairly indestructible. You can stack the lidded bowls in the stainless steel canister. To me, stainless steel spells long-lasting, and if I’m going to spend that kind of money on a lunch “system” it had better make it through a year of dropping on the floor by accident. Which as we all know happens way more than you would think. Or perhaps my kid is just a klutz. Don’t answer that. Even on sale, it is a bit pricey.

Or you can be creative like my bloggy friend J, and create your own bento with brightly colored individual containers. Behold the beauty of this balanced lunch:

bento.jpg

So, this year, try to do something different with lunches. You just might surprise yourself with your brilliant ideas. And if you have any, please share them with the rest of us!

There is No Known Cure

I hadn’t expected it really.

 

But it is that time of year, and of course, there it was.

 

The Back-to-School sale.

 

Now, my son is still in preschool, so I had planned on carrying over into fall the majority of his summer clothing. Because where I live, you can wear shorts during the day well into October and sometimes November. But, he had the nerve to go through a growth spurt just at the wrong time.  I scolded him on the way over to the store. “Don’t you know,”  I glared at him through the rear-view mirror “that you are only allowed to grow when the weather has changed?  No more growing in the off-season, Mister!”

 

When we arrived, I begin looking through the racks, and suddenly, I was no longer aware of my surroundings.  My son could have climbed out of his stroller and attempted to hitchhike his way across the state, and I would have been none the wiser.

 

The colors and styles of the clothes began to blur, all I could comprehend was that they were 60% off.

And before I knew it, I was standing there with six shirts, four pairs of shorts, a sweater, and a waffled long sleeved Henley.

Nervously, I looked across the rack and saw another mother clutching even more clothes than me.  Her breathing was shallow, and she looked as if she didn’t know exactly where she was.

 

We had both fallen victim to what experts like to term the “Sale Induced Trance” or SIT for short.  SIT gives us the ability to sort through dozens of items placed in the wrong section with lightning speed.  It also gives us an almost superhuman ability to work out proper percentages in our brains, even if we have to use a calculator to tip at a restaurant.

 

By some stroke of fortune or perhaps just too much caffeine, I was able to shake off the effects of SIT.  Because even though the Ralph Lauren shirt was only six bucks, it was pink, orange and blue.   Even Mr. Lauren can’t make me purchase something so badly color-coordinated. I put it back on the rack to join its fellow ugly brethren, of which there were more than just a few.

 

At the checkout register, I caught a glimpse of that same orange, pink and blue combination.  It was my fellow shopper.  I sighed and walked out of the store. SIT had claimed yet another victim.

 

Sale Induced Trance

Woman exhibiting a classic SIT symptom: the glassy-eyed stare

 

 

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