Two Awesome Deals at Tea Collection

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and make a purchase.

Have you shopped at Tea Collection? If not, you are missing out! They are a San Francisco-based company that makes unique and colorful clothing for kids (and some for adults, too). Every year their designers travel abroad and immerse themselves in new cultures – then they come back to the US and design a whole collection of clothing based on their travels.

TeaWearLove

Wear the love and give back this month with Tea! Save $25 and receive FREE shipping when you spend $150+ on Tea Collection. Their latest line is flavored with the spice of Morocco and is sure to make your heart go pitter pat! But you’d better hurry because this offer only lasts THIS WEEK: February 11-14. Just be sure to use the promo code: FALLINLOVE at checkout.

 

And, to help you to spread the love to others, Tea Collection’s Spring School Days Fundraiser will give 15% of sales to your favorite school or non-profit organization! From February 24 – March 2, 15% of all sales on Tea Collection made by you, your friends and family can be donated towards a school or non-profit organization of your choice. Just go to http://www.teacollection.com/about-tea/our-values#schools for more information on how to sign up your school or non-profit and start donating!

Jack’s TARDIS Bedroom

I don’t remember when exactly we decided to do it, but once the idea was spoken aloud, it HAD to be. It became official: Jack needed a TARDIS room!

Jack’s been obsessed with Dr. Who for months. He’s watched the (new) seasons 5-7 over and over and he can tell you which episode contains which aliens and when Rory shows up as a Centurion. He’s watched other episodes, as well, but the 11th Doctor and his companions Amy & Rory are decidedly his favorites.

Every empty box that occupies our house is turned into a recreation of the TARDIS. He has also built several versions of the inside of the TARDIS with Legos, which are usually deposited in my lap.

legos

And, of course, there are the drawings.

Inside the TARDIS by Jack.

Recently a good friend of mine decided to take a gigantic cardboard box and make a Jack-sized TARDIS. I admit I wasn’t entirely thrilled (it takes up a LOT of space) but Jack definitely was! He immediately went to work decorating the inside.

cardboardtardis

At first I thought we would just decorate Jack’s door. I found police box decals on Etsy to do just that and decided to buy some blue paint. This is what I hope it will look like (obviously I need to get Jack a bow tie):

http://www.contactmusic.com/pics/lf/doctor_who_11_161012/matt-smith-exits-the-tardis-the-cast_4129453.jpg

Then I thought about it a bit more. David is building Jack a loft bed so that he has more floor space. What if we could make that the control room console inside the TARDIS? Since I wanted to paint the wood anyway, it occurred to me I could paint the bed a silvery-grey to mimic the console! And, while we were at it, we would paint the walls of the bedroom to match the inside of the TARDIS, as well. Jack’s obsession with a toy replica of one Doctor’s TARDIS provided the perfect example for a color palette.

 

paintchips

Paint and decals are all well and good…but my craftiness knows no bounds. The ideas kept coming. I found aqua lights to light up the space underneath the loft bed kinda like this:

http://www.doctorwhotv.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/InsideTardis2010.jpg

Image (c) 2010 Dr. Who TV

And I found some Dr. Who fabric that I can use for a curtain…

But then I got stuck. The one thing I can’t figure out how to do is recreate the circular lights on the walls of the TARDIS. My friend Jana suggested round mirrors, but adding those in are making this project cost-prohibitive… I’m also worried they might fall off the walls during an earthquake and break, so…I don’t know. Maybe plexiglass (but how would I adhere them to the wall?)…maybe some sort of sticker (where can I find those in bulk?). Cheap charger plates or pizza pans that I can buy in bulk?

I may have to say that this is good enough! We shall see.

Regardless, this is going to be SO COOL. Jack’s parents are the best, aren’t they?!

Earn Money Online For Your School This Summer

I know it’s summer but shopping doesn’t end when the school year does, huh? Kids keep outgrowing their clothes and shoes, seasons keep changing, birthdays come along, and the new school year comes around again all too quickly.

Jack’s school sent home helpful reminders last week about purchasing school supplies for next year (minimum requested: $48, plus “suggested” additional donations for the science booster and other supplies) – the price has gone up from last year due to (you guessed it!) budget cuts. They also encouraged us to keep collecting Box Tops coupons during summer break to get a head start on fundraising. Lucky for me, Box Tops for Education itself is helping our family and school out with this goal – I was given a gift card to use while shopping in the Box Tops Marketplace so that I could blog about my experience and spread the word about earning FREE money for your school of choice (you don’t even have to have a kid) when you shop online!

So, first thing’s first – I set up an account online and set my default school in my profile. Then I went and perused the vendors in the Marketplace, which has more than 250 stores. Here are some of my favorite retailers and how much they send over to the school of my choice for every $10 I spend:

  • Target – 1 box top per $10 spent
  • The Children’s Place – 2.5 box tops per $10 spent
  • Barnes & Noble (Nook only) – 2 per $10
  • Build-a-Bear – 3 per $10
  • Walgreens – 3.5 per $10
  • Drugstore.com – 5 per $10
  • Groupon – 2 per $10
  • Living Social – 2 per $10
  • Kohl’s – 2 per $10
  • Overstock – 1.5 per $10
  • Highlights Magazine – 12 per $10
  • Old Navy – 2 per $10
  • iTunes – 2.5 per $10
  • Starbucks – 3.5 per $10

I shop at least one of these stores every week and my average spending is definitely more than $10. Now that I’ve signed up, all I have to do is click through to the store website from the Box Tops Marketplace when I make a purchase and Jack’s elementary school gets free money! (Of course I’m kicking myself now for not going through the Marketplace before now. Knowledge is power, people!)

And not only can you earn money for your school but in some cases you can get discounts on your purchases, as well. The Marketplace has new coupons all the time – right now they have a coupon for 30% off any purchase at Land’s End.

The site is incredibly easy to use and I am liking it better than the traditional box tops collection method because I am not limited to products that have the box tops symbol on them (I really do look for that symbol on the things I buy). So far I’ve purchased coffee from Starbucks (Via in bulk!), delivery food from Seamless.com, and a few ebooks from Barnes & Noble and I’ve already earned $5.66 for Jack’s school. Considering how often I shop online, this is going to be a HUGE moneymaker for Jack’s school. Apparently I’m the only one so far participating so I really need to get the word out, too. I’d love to see out-of-pocket costs for parents go down over the next year.

I received a big response last time I posted about Box Tops for Education – it sounds like a lot of you out there collect those coupons. Now I’m wondering – are you using the Marketplace, too? Am I the last to know about this?? And, if not, are you going to use it now that you know about it? I certainly hope so!

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Disclosure: Information, products and promotional items have been provided by General Mills and Box Tops for Education and its program partners, but opinions expressed are my own. For further information on my media policies, see my Disclosure page.

AT-AT Attack Battle Game Review & Giveaway

Are you ready for Star Wars Day? If your family is a lover of Star Wars, you can celebrate this epic day (May the Fourth) by winning the Angry Birds Star Wars AT-AT Attack Battle Game by Hasbro!

Now, we don’t play Angry Birds at our house. We tried the app – both Jack and I – but it just made us too angry. It is aptly named. Something about those pigs laughing at us hysterically when we don’t beat a level is too much. It was better for us to erase the game than it was to slam our phone and iPad against a wall.

We do love the concept of Angry Birds, though – a puzzle game where you fling birds at jerky pigs hiding in cleverly configured bunkers. Puzzle games and snark are right up our alley! When the Angry Birds Star Wars game came out, I really wished we did like the game (even if they did leave out the ewoks). So I was delighted to see that Hasbro created a physical game to putter around with. Who doesn’t love flinging flying objects in order to knock things down?!

We received the Angry Birds Star Wars AT-AT Attack Battle Game to test out. Here’s the description from Hasbro:

Stack, launch, and destroy with the AT-AT ATTACK BATTLE GAME, which includes 21 blocks to create the signature AT-AT, a LIGHTSABER LAUNCHER and 12 ANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS figures — including two that are exclusive to this set! Players can also unlock ANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS in-app content with a special code in each pack. (Approximate retail price: $39.99; Ages: 5 & up. Available: Now)

Now, I know this doesn’t have anything to do with the actual playing of the game, but I have to give a shout-out to Hasbro with regard to the packaging. There were no zip-ties and only one plastic tray to contain the bird and pig figures – the rest was cardboard folded in creative ways to keep the pieces in order. We got the whole set out of the box in about 30 seconds! THIS is frustration-free packaging!

My friend Sabrina and I went to town setting up the pieces for Jack (we were excited, okay!). The plastic headpiece for the AT-AT was a bit tough to put together, but it is sturdy so I think it will outlast many wallopings by flying birds. There is a beginning suggestion for how to set up the pieces on the AT-AT platform but there are a bunch of different configurations you can come up with – it’s a bit like Tetris. I’m sure if you’ve played the app enough, you can mimic some of the set-ups you’ve seen there.

There are four birds and eight pigs that come with the set. Each of the birds has a hole in the bottom that you place on the peg on the launcher (it looks similar to a sling shot). You hold the base of the launcher with one hand and pull down the lever with the other, then let go. The launcher sends the bird flying right at the AT-AT and those jerky pigs! It’s REALLY satisfying to knock down a bunch of blocks and see the pigs fly. Bonus: If you miss, the pigs don’t make a peep!

Launching things is one of Jack’s favorite past-times these days, so this game had his interest right away. He didn’t seem to have any complaints, although it took him a few tries to figure out how to aim the launcher and determine the necessary distance for his target. Once he got the hang of it, he didn’t want to stop.

I could see older kids getting bored with this ‘game’ somewhat quickly, though – it doesn’t have any rules so it’s more of a toy than a game. Also some may be bothered by the fact that it takes much longer to set up the blocks than it does to knock them down. Jack thinks setting up the blocks is part of the fun, though.

Side note: At a $40 retail value, I would have loved to see this game come with a carrying case because once you assemble the head of the AT-AT, it won’t fit back in the box it came in. If you have babies or toddlers in the house, you’ll want to keep the pig and bird figures away from them as they may present a choking hazard.

Do you live in the U.S. and want to win the AT-AT Attack Battle Game and have your own Hasbro GameNight? Entries will be accepted through May 4th. Modes of entry:

Mandatory:

  • Tweet about this post OR share it on Facebook or Google+ (leave a comment with your tweet URL or Facebook/Google+ info) – 1 entry

Additional Entries:

Good luck and May the Fourth be with you!

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Disclosure: I was provided with the above-referenced product in order to provide my review but am receiving no compensation for this post. All opinions expressed here are my own. For more information on my reviews, please see my disclosure page and my summary of sponsored content.

The Great Shoe Struggle Of ’13

Last week I threw my hands in the air and waved them around like I just don’t care whole self into the challenge of finding shoes for Jack. We did end up finding a pair at Payless. They are Airwalks (really) and look like this:

They only had this single pair in a size 13. 13 is the cap on “little kids” sizes or something. And then they go to 1 again. And have different styles and such.  Or something. I’m no expert in kids shoes. Or adult shoes, for that matter. I own a bunch of pairs of Clarks and a couple pairs of Roxy and that’s it. (I’m picky, too.)

Anyway, these shoes aren’t available in big kids sizes. And they are girl shoes – not that I care but another kid at school did make fun of Jack for wearing girls shoes. Kids are jerks.

Summer is coming and we live in a hotter climate that we used to. It’s likely to be 90 degrees regularly this summer. Not to mention Jack’s feet are going to grow. And a single pair of shoes gets worn out QUICKLY. He needs more shoes!

So, like I said, I threw myself into the challenge. I ordered nine pairs of shoes from Zappos (since they do free shipping and returns) in a variety of brands and styles. They all looked lightweight and comfy. They arrived yesterday and Jack tried them all on and in a matter of 15 minutes or so they were all deemed AWFUL.

I have illustrated the reasons below:

 

 

My kid can’t even wear Crocs, you guys! Or Keen, Lacoste, See Kai Run, Sanuk, Cienta, or Morgan & Milo. He really wanted those brown Crocs to work – he loved the yeti on them. He chanted “please oh please oh please oh please” while trying them on. Still, no luck.

And yeah, I tried to get him to try them without socks. He refuses to not wear socks. He wears socks to bed! Feet must have socks!

So I packed up over $400 worth of shoes into a box, and back to Zappos they shall go. Thank goodness for a generous return policy!

** This post is not sponsored but I would totally accept money to ease my emotional pain.