Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Good Stuff - August

Grown-up Good Stuff

Softspots Ivy Mary Jane shoes - This comes from my first guest good-stuffer, my sister Tona. This fall she starts a new tenure-track history professorship at Worcester State College. She bought these shoes at DSW as her perfect everyday nice work shoes. She says, "I like how they look a little like clogs. I also liked the suede cushions at the spots where it tends to rub my feet, at the heels and across the foot. I just love everything about them. And if you look on the bottom view you can see they have this really pretty design on the sole." Every fall I must admit I can't wear by Birkenstock sandals year round, so I must look for cool but sensible shoes, as hard as they are to find in a 9-1/2 W. Maybe I'll give these a spin.

Modal sheets by Pure Beech
- We got a new bed so we needed new sheets. I agonized in the store - Egyptian cotton? Modal? Pima? Bamboo? But two restless kids don't let you agonize for long so I grabbed these because the sample swatch was unbelievably soft and the bittersweet chocolate color whispered sweet nothings to me. They're like silk and we love them. - A cool site aimed at "P.A.N.K.s"— Professional Aunts with No Kids of their own. I used to be one, and I know lots of aunts totally involved in the lives and achievements of their nieces and nephews, so I think this site really fills a gap in the web world of parenting.

The dude they call Dipset (never mind his full name) who does randomly "beautiful" works of dance art/musical interpretation which he posts daily. I can really get behind shameless public dancing with abandon. One of my favorites is "Sittin' on the Dock" here. What's your favorite Dipset piece? Let us not be surprised he is Canadian.

Blogs with giveaways! All the Nie Nie Day auctions got me blog surfing waaaaaay more than I usually do, and it was actually kind of fun to discover some great ones. Like the ones that do frequent giveaways of cool stuff. I didn't realize this was so common, and I will be checking back to get in on the action at: Grosgrain and Suburose. Know of others?

Oriental Carpet Mouse"rugs" - I just like mine; it classes up the otherwise disaster that is my desktop. Who couldn't use more class?

Zyliss corn holders - Though corn on the cob season is coming to an end, I was glad to find these bright plastic holders with a smart link-together design that keeps you from getting poked in the drawer. Great for kids to hold a hot cob, but I use them, too! (Ed is too cool...)

Kid Good Stuff

The Dangerous Alphabet - I picked this up in a bookstore and it appealed immediately to my dark side. What else can you expect from an illustrator named Gris Grimly (please tell me this is a nom de plume...) I dearly wished Dave was there to share it with, but in all honestly I would probably not ever share it with an actual little kid, at least not one the right age for alphabet books. More like 10-year-old boys or something. But it's totally twisted and I want one for myself...

Spending so much time at my parents' house, the house where I grew up, and watching my girls play with the toys there, some of which were mine when I was little, has got me looking back a bit at the Good Stuff from my youth, so it's kind of retro...excuse me, "classic", month for Kid Good Stuff:

Weekly Reader Children's Books - In the late 70's and early 80's we were in the Weekly Reader book club and received a new book every week or month or something. I didn't realize until a few months ago that those books, many of them our very favorites of all time, were not widely published, but only available through the book club, which now no longer exists. So I've gotten a few of them through used sellers on Amazon and other sites, but I really think that 1) they should either be re-released, or 2) they should start up the club again, with equally good new books. I'm waiting. Some of my favorites were: Christina Katarina and the Box, Panda Cake, James the Jaguar and The Giant Jam Sandwich (which I guess you can get new.)

Fisher Price Classic Toys - Wandering the toy aisles of Target, I was stopped in my tracks when I saw three classic - can I say vintage? - toys from my youth, sitting on the shelf, brand new in boxes. The boxes were simple brown cardboard with black print that said something like Fisher Price Classics. They were a wind-up musical clock, a wind-up musical scrolling "television" and a rotary phone with eyes. They were just as the originals, with 60's looking decals and pictures. I grabbed them each in turn and played with them, letting the girls have turns too. I didn't buy them at the time, unsure if the girls would love them as I had. I came home to look them up online, but can't find them - not at Fisher Price, not at Target, nowhere online.

But it got me thinking what other toys do I remember that were really, really the bomb, and I thought of one. I was on Ebay instantaneously; 2 hours later had paid my bill; 2 days later, received this:
Yes, it's a real record player. Real as in it has real records, but it's a music box. You wind it up with a knob, put a record on, and place the arm on. It houses, instead of a needle, a set of prongs that make tones as they flick over the bumps on the record, just like a music box. The 5 records are 2-sided so there are 10 songs total. The girls (and I) love it and I keep it on a high shelf - a "special toy" that requires permission to use.

Anyone else remember this?

What other classic toys were totally the best that you wish your kids could have?

For the girls, August has been all about "making things," especially with
Playdoh and...
Pizza dough!


tona said...

I loved that record player!! One was "Camptown Races"... what were the others?

kat said...

the record player was one of my favorite. mag got us the old phone - from target - and it's funny. even though the kids have never seen a phone like that, they totally get it and fight over it. perfect toy, right? the little eyes move when you pull it by the cord and everything.

Jenifuz said...

We had that record player. It was so much fun!! We have the phone now and my mom saved the little fisher-price circus train with some of the animals and everything! It's been one of the favorites at our house!

cherry said...

i love all the activities you teach your girls....they are so blessed to have a mom like you!

The Finck Five said...

You know I do not always have a lot of good to say about where we live, but one big positive is I were my birks year around. I am buying a new pair right now because I wear them so often.

Disco Mom said...


light green - camptown races, children's marching song (this old man)
purple - london bridges, oh where has my little dog gone
aqua - twinkle twinkle, au clair de la lune
orange - humpty dumpty, jack and jill
dk blue - edelweiss, hickory dickory dock

Lindsay said...

Those shoes are dang cute!

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