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Credit: BUILT
The one place kids are guaranteed to build up an appetite is the playground! Whenever we bring a picnic with us, we pack all of our goodies in a Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote by BUILT. The tote is made out of neoprene (wetsuit material) so it stretches to fit an ice pack in it along with that last juice box, or just one more string cheese! It makes a great snack bag for traveling as well since it packs completely flat. We love our French Bull Wine/Raspberry Sorbet pattern, and it really does bring a little sophistication to a kids' meal! Pictured here is the Big Dot Black & White/Magenta bag. ~ What are your favorite playground snacks? ~

 
 
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Credit: Little Uni
No one can deny that personalized gifts are all the rage! But my question to Little Uni's co-founder Andrea Needlman, was simply, "Why?" Here are her top reasons for creating and recommending personalized gifts this holiday season. 

"New parents love seeing their baby's name, especially if it is a unique name or a family name.  

Personalized gifts last longer. Outgrown personalized clothing can be worn by stuffed animals, framed as a keepsake and personalized plates can become wall decor.

It makes a memorable gift. In the sea of new baby presents or holiday gifts, the personalized gift will stand out from the rest.  

Ownership. For siblings, there is no arguing over who gets the 'princess' plate. Everyone gets their own."

CONTEST NOW OVER! Congratulations to Darlene & Heather B! Everyone seemed to love the owl plate, among many others!

PROMO CODE: Use HOLIDAY2012 for 15% off on the plates. Expires December 15.

GIFT GIVEAWAY:
Now it is your turn to be the gifter or recipient of two of these adorable personalized plates! Just visit Little Uni and pick out the two plate designs you like (not all of them are featured in this post) and comment below with your choices. The Chanukah menorah and Christmas tree plates make great gifts this time of year. Two winners of two personalized plates each ($52 value) from the combined Blog and Twitter comments will be picked at random on Wednesday, November 21, at 12:00pm PST. Just in time for the start of the shopping season! 

 
 
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Credit: Acopladitos
This is the most adorable way to teach a child about flavors and tastes! And this print from Acopladitos has it all, bitter, sweet and even umami! Which is great for all the mini sushi loves out there! This piece could easily decorate a child's bedroom, playroom, play kitchen, or the real kitchen or dining room. After all, good food is universal! Proceeds from artwork by the artist Tatiana Arocha, originally from from Bogota, will benefit the New York Aquarium in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, since she now lives in New York. ~ What is your child's favorite flavor? ~

 
 
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When I received this Lily pattern bib from PKBOO, I was impressed with the adorable pattern and bib, and also by the packaging. Tiny was in agreement, as she insisted on putting the bib on my Little Guy and feeding him as well. She also had just as much fun playing with the little box it came in with the blue logo sticker. She keeps jewelry in the cardboard box, and pretends she is shopping. But enough about the box. The sturdy bib in this floral pattern brings style to messy mealtimes. And the print is big and muted enough that it works well for a little guy or gal. Sweet potatoes never looked so good! And the bib looks nice hanging in our kitchen too.

 
 
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Credit: Curly Cupcakes
Just the other day, after buying Tiny some cute Hello Kitty plastic storage bags, I was thinking about how much money we all spend on things we know we are going to eventually throw out.  Paper towels, plastic bags, gift wrap. Yes, some can be reused or recycled, but eventually we toss it all. The very same day I found out about Curly Cupcakes from my friends at the apparel company One Eared Cat.  Austin-based Curly Cupcakes makes reusable cloth versions of everyday household items such as Sandwich Wraps, Cloth Wipes and UnPaper towels. I asked the founders for the inspiration behind their ingenious creations. Here is what co-owner Courtney Power-Freeman shared with me:  Our inspiration comes from other mamas, actually.  We are very active in the local mama community, and we heard several mothers wanting to purchase sandwich wraps and snack bags.  My business partner and I were already making UnPaper Towels, Cloth Wipes and Wet Bags, all reusable products made out of designer fabrics.  We knew we could add snack bags and sandwich wraps to the product line to fill the needs of the market. The mamas we made them for loved them, and so we went into business producing more.  They really are the hipper picker-upper.  ~ Parents: Do you have tips for getting more than one use out of common everyday items? ~