Gotta love schwag

One of the many perks of having a blog, I’m recently discovering, is that sometimes people and/or businesses will send you cool stuff (aka schwag) for free. In some cases, they are hoping you will write about their business or product, but other times they are just sharing the love. Either way, I think it’s pretty darn groovy. :)

A few months ago, I received an email from a woman with the company Ebeanstalk, saying she saw my blog and wanted to know if I was interested in participating in their “Mother Board,” a nationwide group of over 500 moms that receives, plays with, rates and reviews their toys and products. Free toys for my kids? Sign me up!

I got my first box from them last week which contained four samples of baby/kid sunscreen (unfortunately, not the kind that I like to use on my kids – I prefer California Baby sunscreen because it is chemical-free), a Playtex Hip Hammock baby carrier(!), and a set of plastic molds for making cakes in the sand, etc. I was just saying to Jody that I wanted to try to find a hip carrier and then, low and behold, I got one for free in the mail! Ah, serendipity. It turns out that the hip carry position (at least in the Hip Hammock) isn’t so great for a roly-poly baby of 22 lbs. Maybe it’s the size of my baby or the Hip Hammock itself, but I just didn’t think it was comfortable. Jody tried it out too and said his back was hurting after 5 minutes. Since I can’t foresee us using it again (I think I’m going to try converting my Ergo to the hip carry position to see how I like that) , I might give it away on my blog. I think it would work better for someone with a smaller child. Anyway, even though it didn’t work out, I was still happy to get to try it (for free). The plastic cake molds were fun for Ava in the sandbox, and I think they’d work well at the “beach” if we go back to the reservoir. I’ll likely be “freecycling” the sunscreen. I’m looking forward to my next box from them to see what other goodies I/we get to try. :)

Another thing I recently received is a Maya & Miguel DVD from Scholastic and PBS. They, too, contacted me and asked if I’d like a free DVD, so I said sure. I’ve watched a couple of the episodes on the DVD with Ava and think it’s a pretty good show. I like that the brother and sister seem to get along quite well (unlike the PBS show “Arthur” which drives me crazy with DW’s incessant whining), there are good lessons to be learned and there’s some Spanish language and heritage thrown in as well.

I also recently received a babywearing instructional DVD called Tummy 2 Tummy to try out. I haven’t watched it yet, but it sounds quite promising. I will be sure to write more about it after I’ve watched it.

And I’m still in the process of reading Elizabeth Pantley’s “No-Cry Discipline Solution” book. I admit that after reading quite a bit of it, I haven’t picked the book back up in about a month. This summer has just been so busy. Anyway, I’m already using a handful of techniques from the book with Ava, but I’m looking forward to reading the section on parental anger since that’s something I think most parents struggle with, but very few talk about. I’ll be writing more once I have a chance to read more. :)

Anybody else want to send some cool loot my way? Clothes or shoes for my kids? Clothes or shoes for me? ;) Actually, what I really need is a new purse. hehe. Or a good baby carrier for the hip carry position. ;)