Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Reviews 2 & 3 (and one extra)

I'm a bit overdue on some of my review party reviews so I thought I'd try to fit two into one post here. First up today is a cute little paper company called lobotoME.

This little company was the brainchild of a self confessed "lister" who kept multitudes of lists for home and work. When her light bulb went on, she started producing pre-printed lists for everything from meal planning to travel packing. They're all printed on recycled papers and have contemporary designs that are infinitely cooler than toting around a crumpled sticky note. They can be found at the Container Store (LOVE that place) and on line. (The "Sit Me" one seemed particularly useful for parents or folks who leave pets with house sitters.)

Next up is an interesting take on packing tape. Yup, that's what I said. (I never imagined I'd be writing about packing tape.) Although I was skeptical at first, I have to say I am a sucker for a cute package and the idea of sending all our annual gifts back east in something better than a recycled Amazon box really got me going.

This was the sample I received at the party. Not surprisingly, the packaging for the packing tape was as cute as the tape itself.

My sample is a pink dotted version with some light pink vines running through the roll. There's a huge variety of colors and patterns (at the party we saw a wood grain, cute little birds, florals, and lace patterns) and there are a few other tape-ish items like envelope wrap arounds and labels. You can find them all at Tapeswell.

Of course, I can't write a post without at least a fleeting reference to Chuck so in his honor I am providing a bonus review.

Say hello to the Frosty Paw. I spotted these little gems in the supermarket frozen section and thought Chuck might enjoy a nice frozen treat during our unseasonably hot June.

Inside the box are four little ice cream cups just like we got when we were kids. (sans the little wooden paddle-spoon.) I peeled off the tabbed top and headed outside to offer it up to the wonder pooch.

This little frozen treat is, quite simply, canine crack. I'm certain that this dog would have stood on his head and cited the Gettysburg Address for just a few licks. He licked that cardboard tub with such ferocity that I don't know how it managed to remain intact. From the time that I peeled back the top until Charlie delivered his last lingering lick, no more than 5 minutes had lapsed (quite impressive considering that the treat was frozen solid.) It was great fun to watch and I look forward to treating Chuck again. Two resounding paws up!

Party Time

We were invited to a party last Friday and the invitation included Tim and Charlie so naturally everyone (including Chuck) had to get spruced up. We ran a little short on time that day so I opted to bathe him in the back yard rather than going to our favorite dog wash and with a little prodding I was able to get Tim on board for the task. So first, we gathered up our gear, ...

... and then got right down to business. Tim happily showered Charlie ...

... and Charlie happily showered Tim.

Now that everyone was clean it was time to fret about the party. Tim LOVES parties but you just never know how things will go (A Club parents surely know what I'm talking about here.) Plus, it wasn't just Tim that we had to fret about ... what if Charlie lost his wits and demonstrated some yet unseen wacky behavior? We (actually, just me) were starting to feel a little pressure about this event.

I'm a big believer that preparation is the key to relieving stress so I decided to work with Tim on preparing for the party. We knew that there would be two other little kids there so we spent the rest of the afternoon practicing names and thinking about ways we could introduce the children to Charlie.

As expected, Charlie was a brilliant ambassador for North Star and our family (except for his need to "download a brown load" in the host's well manicured yard. Did I mention that the host was Andy's former boss? Andy quickly removed any evidence of this minor transgression and I don't think anyone was the wiser.) The children threw tennis balls for Chuck to chase, walked him around the yard like a small pony, offered countless sticks for chewing, and eagerly posed for pictures.

I think Chuck was particularly fond of this little guy because he managed to score a few mouthfuls of pasta from him during dinner. (I saw it all transpire but it was simply too cute to correct!)

While it's always great to see Charlie showered with attention, what really thrills me is when I see Tim being welcomed into a group of kids to play. No doubt Charlie was the ice breaker - these kids clearly adored him. But after wearing Charlie out, the kids all played together and that's what really makes my day.

Yup, that's Tim right in there with the other kids. Can't think of much that makes me happier than that. Of course Tim was tickled pink to play with other kids and their toys. Even today as I type this, he's been peeking over my shoulder looking at the photos and saying, "let's do it again."


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Review #1: Zen Charlie

It's been almost a week since the big "Review Party" and I've decided to kick off my reviews with what I thought would be the most difficult review for me to write. I am compelled to disclose here that I am terminally practical and as such you can imagine my knee jerk reaction when I first saw Cleansing Thoughts.

Cleansing Thoughts: a cute little meshy bag containing 5 heavy weight plastic cards, an adhesive clip and a single bath gel bead. It's billed as being a device to help you create a happy and fulfilling life by reading the inspirational messages each day as you shower. As the mother of an autistic child, I'm forever seeking inspiration so I actually put it in my shower and have read the first of 5 inspirational notes.

I have to admit, the cards seem to be very durable and the messages, although a bit cliche, are sound. (Although I'm not quite sure about my "highest good is already happening.") The card holder easily adhered to my shower tile and the cards fit tightly. Oh, and the packaging really is cute.

If nothing more, this could be a cute and inexpensive gift idea for a yoga pal or a friend from meditation class. I don't expect my life to change but I do believe in positive thinking and if positive messages in the shower help someone to keep their spirits high, then I'm all for it. All in all, a cute and frivolous little gift. (I think Charlie was a bit confused but it was his first time in my shower and his first experience with inspirational messages.)

Apparently when Kris Jones of Cleansing Thoughts sent out her samples for our party, she mentioned in passing that she also has a little card company that she's starting up and she included some samples for us. THESE CARDS ARE HILARIOUS! Check out the sample I got:

Apologies to those who aren't Seinfeld fans but this just cracked me up! All the cards were very edgy - some even down right risque - but I thought they were absolutely uproarious. All the cards are printed on heavy card stock that appears to be recycled with heavy weight envelopes. Check them out at Roast: Cards for the People You Love Most. (Great tag line too ... trust me, you won't send these cards to folks that you don't know well!!!)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pee Spots

See this?

Yup, that's what happens when a well trained dog, capable of voiding on command, chooses to void in the exact same spot every day. This is particularly vexing because Andy just spent several weeks re-landscaping our yard. (I'm talking about a major undertaking involving jackhammers, loads of dirt, and a tractor trailer delivery of a pallet of sod.) Needless to say, my patient husband's patience is wearing thin.

I mentioned this whole thing to my favorite pet shop owner (we love you, Murphy's Paw!) and she informed me that male dogs don't make brown grass. As I blankly stared back at her, she insisted that people actually seek out male dogs because their pee doesn't burn the grass. Has anyone out there ever heard that? If that's true, clearly Chuck has some extraordinary tinkle because his "pee spot" is burned to a crisp.

In my quest to resolve this problem I reached out to my dear friend in Virginia (also the proud mother of two kids and a young dog) and she mentioned a biscuit designed to neutralize whatever it is in urine that burns up my grass. A quick visit to Amazon.com and I had the biscuits in hand within a week.

Today we are well into a non-scientific test using Charlie as my subject. According to the directions on the box, Charlie is to receive two biscuits a day and then after 4-6 weeks we should see results in the form of a lush, spot free yard.

Week four and we're still burned out. I'm giving it two more weeks and then I'm throwing out the biscuits. (Did I mention that the biscuits smell like brussels sprouts? Eew.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Blog-iversary & Some New Stuff

It's official: I'm a blogger.

I'm one year, 100 posts, and countless new "internet friends" into this little project and have to say, I'm hooked.

Of course, it's always fun to write about my boy and his dog but this blogging adventure has opened some doors for me that I would never have imagined. I've met people I would never have encountered in my REAL life and I've become loyally addicted to their blogs. I've also been taken aback by the power of the internet and the masses that will read about Tim and Charlie. (Would you believe this little blog has had 10,000 page views?!!)

Recently, as a result of my blogging, I was invited to participate in a review panel comprised of bloggers. The panel was given a variety of products to test and then blog about. We gathered locally to receive the goods (although the products came from vendors all over the country) and then engaged in spirited discussions about all the products as they were revealed to us. It was a great night with a group of diverse panelists discussing products I would never have even known about.

Anyway, my only obligation now is to blog about each one in a series of posts. I'll be honest, these products are not necessarily dog products nor do they relate to autism. This is more about an opportunity I had and a chance to do something outside the realm of the A Club. (Surely those of you in the Club know the thrill of the rare foray outside the gates of the Club.)

So, expect to see some unusual posts here in the next few weeks. Don't worry, Charlie is still right here, encouraging me to write and I'll keep writing about him as long as he gives me material to write about!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Firedog

I've always been a sucker for a guy in a uniform ... and his cute sidekick makes me smile too!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Artwork

I was recently surfing around on the Etsy site (a great place to find unique artisan type gifts) and I came across this woman who made silhouette prints.  I saw one with a boy, an airplane and a dog and instantly had to have it!  I wrote to the woman and asked if she could make the dog a bit hairy-er so as to look like a golden retriever and within no time I was looking at a silhouette of none other than Tim and Charlie.  (It's noteworthy here that the only thing Tim loves as much as Charlie is airplanes.)  

I haven't had it matted and framed yet but take a peek:  What do you think?