Thursday, August 30, 2007

Here's the Winner!

Lucky Jean of Working Momma24/7 seems to be winning all sorts of prizes these days. I don't know how she does it and apparently neither does she.

I'm sure one of her boys will look awesome sporting the Lands' End Ergo Jr. pack to school, camp, etc.

Congratulations Jean!

Houston, we have a winner!

Yes, I have a winner for the Lands' End Ergo Jr. backpack, the Spatulatta Cookbook and all of my kids old lead-painted toys. Just kidding on that last one, but really what are parents supposed to do with all those recalled toys? Donate them to a charity thrift shop so impoverished children get them for Christmas? Further toxify our landfills? Seriously, people, where do these gazillions of toys go?

I've contacted the winner; she's both a working mom and a blogger, so you know she's pressed for time. I'm sure I'll hear from her by midnight Friday, but if I don't, I'll pick a new winner on Saturday. Right before the back-to-school party I'm hosting even though my kids don't go back to school until September 10. September 10!

Hang tight, everybody.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

From Backpack Hell to Backpack Heaven; My First Giveaway!

As a blogger I get a lot of attention from PR types who want me to know (and write) about their latest books, products or specials. Much of this mail gets ignored. I have no interest in baby items Hello? Have you read my blog? We don’t do babies here. And we don’t do fashion, though many argue that we Moldofskys need all the fashion help we can get.

But every once in a while something good comes along. Something that fits, at least figuratively- like an offer for a Lands’ End backpack.

Here’s my deal with backpacks. Last year I started my first-grader Pikachu (then know as Splinter) with one of those cheap character packs that he picked out a Target. It broke. The Very. First. Day. Of. School.

Who wants to revisit the hell of back-to-school shopping after school has already started? Not me. But I didn’t want Pikachu to show up toting his papers in a plastic grocery store bag. These bags are bad for the environment, they are suffocation hazards, but perhaps such a display would have made us attractive candidates for huge sums of financial aid at the private school
my boys attend

Long story short, I picked up a different, though equally crappy, backpack at Target, which broke after about a week. More trips to Target + misplaced receipts = $40 or so spent on backpacks (plus my time and gas for the car).

Lesson learned: no more cheap backpacks. It’s worth spending money to get a sturdy name-brand pack that will last through the school year and maybe even survive summer camp, too. Hello Lands’ End!

Thanks to Lands’ End, Smartypants (age 9) is headed to school with a stylin’ red Ergo backpack. It's a pack designed to relieve the pain of a heavy homework load in the most literal sense. It’s got specially designed straps as well as back padding that adjusts to minimize back strain- something my 55-pound 4th grader can use when he carries home 12 pounds of books. Heck, I may just borrow it for my trip to the All-Candy Expo next month, during which I will attempt to gather my weight in chocolate and snack food.

The Ergo pack has a built-in pencil case and water bottle holders; I could go on about its features, but Lands’ End provided me with an Ergo Jr. pack to pass along to one lucky reader, like you.

Here’s your chance to check out the sturdy design, reflective safety features and little extras yourself. And you can rest easy because you won’t have to run willy-nilly wasting your time and spending your hard-earned cash on a lousy backpack.

I’ve got a cool, navy, Ergo Jr. pack just like this for one reader who comments below. It's brand-spanking new and just waiting for your 4-7 year old to fill it with delightful drawings, scrawled letter practice sheets and reminders that your day to bring class snacks is…oops, last Tuesday.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment about what you will do while your little one is away at school and include your e-mail or contact info. Please note: I am shipping this myself, so U.S. residents only, please.

The contest runs through August 28, so comment now. Good luck!

8/23 Edited to add:
A great deal gets even better! What good is an empty backpack? I'm going to fill it with a just-released copy of the Spatulatta Cookbook (for kids), a new copy of Take Ten: Meditations for the Hurried Parent, a few sweet creamy caramels from our trip to the chocolate factory and other surprises for you and your little one!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fingerpainting our way to the ER

I've long said that my boys turn even the tamest art project into performance art; tonight was no exception.

DH headed to his guitar class after dinner and by the time the boys and I got organized it was too late to go to the park. I dragged out some large (2 x 3) sheets of glossy paper I found while cleaning the basement and some almost forgotten fingerpaints. We headed outside, enoying the cool evening while painting. It was relaxing and fun.

But when I ran into the house to get some washcloths, it got a little crazy. The boys switched from fingerpainting to foot painting during my brief absence. And then Pikachu (formerly Splinter) took it a bit further, slathering his paper with gooey paint and turning his artwork into a slip and slide.

He slipped and he slid. He had a couple of near misses, but thankfully did not fall. Can you imagine going into the ER and telling them your son fractured his skull while fingerpainting?

Back to School Jitters

Although we've got three full weeks before the start of school (yes, you read that right), the back-to-school jitters have taken over our house. The boys are actually looking forward to it, and I'm looking forward to a getting back into a routine (what's that, no school on the 13th, only four days into the year?), but I'm anxious.

I stopped in at Michael's to get the boys their required three, 2 oz. bricks of Sculpey and noticed a pack of Martha Stewart Halloween-themed scrapbook stickers. Poison. Toxic. Beware. OMG, that is so me.

In fact, a nearby mom who is transferring her kids to our school from public school dropped me a note this morning, hoping to connect before school starts. She wants her children to head into the year with new friends, and maybe she wants one, too. I've walked in her shoes, I get it.

But right now I feel like one of what I believe the staff would refer to as a "toxic playground mom." I don't want to be toxic, but I do have some serious concerns about the coming school year. I will do my best to watch my words around the new mom (unless, heaven forbid she's reading my blog).

Maybe I've been talking to too many wizened parent who share my school concerns. I will give new mom a call. I'll bite my tongue and maybe her enthusiasm about our school will rub off on me. There are some wonderfully unique things about it. Plus there's the new building that is sapping everyone's energy, I mean, will be really great.*

Oh, that reminds me, have you seen this article, Failing Our Geniuses in the current issue of Time? I'm working on a big back-to-school with food allergies piece for Scrambled CAKE, but I hope to offer some commentary o the Time piece next month.

*Damn you Blogger, why don't you have a scratch out feature? it's so much wittier.