Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Product Review: Elmer's Go Paint! Products

I had an issue with K-'s Elmer's Go Paint! Travel Pad when we were on vacation. The product itself did exactly as was promised. The problem? The portion that held the paint pens closed to easily and didn't open without prying on it with two adult hands. Not a good product designed for a child for self entertainment while in a car during long vacation drives. "Mommy! It closed again!" Yes, I heard that a lot on our vacation.

Then K- was given the Elmer's Go Paint! Mess Free Dry Finger Paint. It comes together as a kit and I've seen it at Target for $7.99. I'll tell you exactly what it is. It is powdered eyeshadow to rub all over paper to crumble and make a giant mess. Now, I'm not bothered by a child making a mess. I have a sweeper. I have cleaners, but this was chippy, chunky and in her bedroom. Had I known that it was going to be such a chunked up mess, I would have had her do it in the kitchen. It said mess free. Who would have guessed?

So, I wrote to Elmer's. I told them that I had contacted them previously and hadn't gotten a response. Here's what we have going on:

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Monday, January 26, 2009 10:31 PM
To: Comments
Subject: Elmer's Web Site User Question 1/26/2009

Sadly, I'm very disappointed in your Go Paint! products. I contacted your facility not long after our vacation to let you know that the travel pad is insanely difficult to open, but way too easy to close. I loved that product, but it kind of defeats the purpose when down the road you keep hearing, "Mom, it closed again!" It was hard for me to open!

My daughter received the dry finger paints as a part of a Christmas gift. She just used them this evening. They are absolutely horrible. I would hardly term them as mess free. The powder falls free from the container and chip-chunks very easily. Not to mention that it doesn't show up on the paper very well. It isn't as dark as your front package photo would suggest. Huge bummer.

I was very sad that I hadn't heard back from you on my last feedback. Crayola e-mails
with answers to questions and even follows up. Perhaps you should take a chapter from
their book.

Unsatisfactorily yours,

Amy - - - -

Dear Amy,

Thank you for contacting us regarding Elmer's products. Unfortunately our database does not show any record of the previous email you mentioned.

We are sorry that your recent purchase was unsatisfactory. At this time, it is difficult for us to say what might have happened to cause the Go Paint products to fail as you described.

We want to assure you that our quality assurance personnel make every effort during the manufacturing process to ensure that only the highest quality product is released to our customers. This includes several inspections at various steps in production and a final check of sample product after it has been packaged.

We appreciate you bringing this situation to our attention and assure you the appropriate quality and manufacturing personnel will be informed. We will be happy to send you some replacement products, which should arrive shortly. We appreciate your past patronage and look forward to serving you as a satisfied consumer in the future.


Consumer Response Analyst

I have to tell you that Crayola is absolutely rockin' with their customer service. I've had to contact them on two different occasions-- one that we had a kit missing parts and another was about markers we received from Toys R Us in the Geoffrey's birthday celebration. (I couldn't figure out how to make them work and they required special paper, which was provided but I didn't know since K- had them in two different places.) Not only do they answer your questions, they make certain that you are happy and follow-up! Way to go Crayola!

So, I'll keep you updated on my Elmer's Go Paint! resolution. In the meantime, I don't suggest it as something to purchase. The paint pad is great, but had packaging issues. The finger paints just flat out sucked.

P.S. I give up on the spacing issues. I've gone into HTML and can't figure it out. Just look at it as a change of pace today.

Edited to add: I received a package from Elmer's on February 2. What did they send me? The exact items that I complained about. Apparently, they are very confident in their products and really want us to try them again. I'm happy to have another travel pad, but the dry finger paint? Mmmm. The disaster it was is still too fresh. It might take me a while to give that one a whirl again. However, they do get a thumbs up for trying to resolve the issue. Very speedy.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Bloggy Giveaways: And The Winner Is--

But first, I bring you something that happens so rarely in Ohio this time of year:
That yellow ball? That blue up above? That would be the sun and BLUE SKY WITHOUT MASSIVE CLOUDS AND SNOW! Oh, drink it in my friends. Enjoy the fair amount of snow we have. See that driveway? I've shoveled that puppy by hand several times this week. How do you think that I've been able to maintain that lovely plateau of a 5 pound weight loss with nothing else gone over the last few weeks?

Anyhow, our grand prize winner of the lovely Bow B's bow organizing board, soon to be illegal for sale on the open market is:

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:4
Timestamp: 2009-01-31 01:01:23 UTC

AmandaSue said...
Very cute bow organizer! I read your post on "Vacation Revalations" your list was funny and the pictures were pretty, looks like a nice place to camp. Thanks for entering me. unforgetable_dreamer_always AT hotmail DOT com

Congratulations, Amanda Sue! You're e-mail will be out as soon as I hit publish and post the link.

Hey, thanks all for stopping in, loving on the blog and the bow board. Come back next time! Heck, check back anytime! I have no idea what I'll have to offer the next go-around, but it'll be something. I'm thinking a potpourri of handcrafted goodness from the gallery. I don't know. But until next time, stay well, stay safe and stay warm!

The Budding Archaeologist

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History was one of the places that we went to celebrate Hubs' 37th birthday this past weekend. K- got yelled at by a guard for putting her hand on a rail (she wasn't touching anything and knew not to) and it kind of bent her out of shape. It didn't help that she was tired and had lost the fly that the gentleman made especially for her at LL Bean just earlier that day. Then, it was like a vision. The museum had an area where children can work on an archaeological dig (staged for them). It isn't easy, but she was able to get her frustrations out on the false accusation as she brushed and chiseled. Boy, that activity saved the museum part of the day.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Gave My Broom a Haircut and Other Caffeinated Tales

I've had an Excedrin Migraine today. I had an afternoon slump with a little bit of a tingy headache that has been after me for a few days. I no longer have the headache. But now I'm running in circles.

So, I went to clean the bathroom today was at the end and couldn't find my broom. Then I remembered seeing it outside of the door. I made my husband go to retrieve my nice I paid a bit of money for it broom and discovered that he had pushed the snow off the truck with it leaving it all looking like it had manic hair. I don't like a manicky hair looking broom. They don't sweep really well. So, in a huff I have the broom a haircut. I also made Hubs promise that he would not use my broom as a heavy snow pusher again.

Onward. The bathroom is sparkling again.

I have done my weekly Lysoling.

I finished painting K-'s step stool/chair and the coat of sealer is drying. The step stool is in the middle of my table to keep both the child and the cat from sitting on it.

I remembered to flip the couch cushions.

I have a load in the washer and need to flip it.

I cleaned up the kitchen before dinner, but you can't tell. Dirty dinner dishes, a table with a painted step stool and drying Valentine's all over don't make for a tidy kitchen. I really must fix that.

I went bargain hunting today at the local Target, got many things bought to put up, but it looks like a clearance rack exploded in the middle of my bed. The good news is that K-'s Easter basket purchases are now finished. What is she getting? Well, the clearance rack at Target provided quite a catch of sports related items last week and this week. Just look!
A pink metal T-ball bat for $4.98 (was $9.99)
A pink T-ball glove for 6.48 (was $12.99)
A pink T-ball for $3.99
A golf/croquet set for $4.98 (was $9.99)
A Dora tennis racket for $3.84 (was $15.39)
Moonsand for $1.99 (was $3.99)
Cars Leapster Game for $6.22 (was 24.89)
Noodleboro Manners Game for $3.24 (was $12.99)

Now, I'm pleased to say that all of these items would have cost $94.23, but I saved $58.52 and paid the grand sum of $35.71 for everything. The Easter Basket is set. I'm not a put candy in the basket kind of mom since my mother-in-law more than makes up for that, so this is good.

Oh, I did play damsel in distress and called my neighbor with the testosterone powered snow blower when the snow plow made it's twice a year trip down my street. Hubs was on his way home and since it was a good 18 inches of heavy street snow, I called Mike. I knew that he would save me. He told me that he would take care of it and not to even bother coming out. He then proceeded to dig out 5 or 6 more driveways before he got to his own. But, I did help him get his soccer mom van out of the street yesterday, so I did my part. Still, it is pretty rockin' to have neighbors that you can call on to give you a hand. We've all been pushing/shoveling and clearing each other out the last few days. It's a great place to live.

Did I mention that I have been able to find a box to fit everything to be shipped off to my friends in Milwaukee? I decided to take full advantage of the mailing service that my father-in-law is able to provide and went with a smallish box of items for my friend's birthday, both of her daughter's birthdays and gifts for the girls for Easter. We'll tuck in one of our handcrafted and recycled Valentine's and be good to go.

Oh, did I also fail to mention that there was another child on the Valentine list that K- brought home from school today. One more than was on the original contact sheet thus making me have to make more Valentine's? I had just enough and K- and I have continued to intermittently work on them. Crafting them should be done tomorrow, but I'll have her write the children's names on the envelopes herself. That should take another few days of work alone!

They've been yelping more about some more snow coming. Argh. Normally I'm a fan of winter. Since we've had the first normal winter in I can't tell you how long, it's beginning to wear on me. Yesterday I called my friend so that she didn't miss the glimpse of sun we had. It was filtered through the sky still, but we were able to make out a yellow ball. It was glorious no matter how filtered it was.

Have I mentioned my caffeine intake? It was only one. I promise.

I have a date with dishes. And laundry. And a pile of gifts to put away. I believe that I'll tackle that tomorrow since we, for the first time in three years, have no Little Gym to go to. Sad.

Thanks for letting me ramble on.

CPSIA: A letter to Congressman Tim Ryan

The following is a letter that I sent to our Congressman, Tim Ryan.

Please consider helping to change the CPSIA guidelines put forth and to be in effect on February 10, 2009. I am one of hundreds of thousands of moms across the United States that handcrafts items for children. I make organization boards for hair bows. As of February 10, I will no longer be able to sell my Bow B's or it will be a felony.

Please know that the handcrafted market is something that our country was founded on. Ever since our country was conceived, there was handcrafted, homecrafted items for sale or trade. We were built on that! In the beginning, it was basically what supplied the original Mom and Pops.

Furthermore, I work at a locally owned art gallery, - - - - -. (Please link to www. - - - - .com.) One of my boss', L-, makes handcrafted fiber dolls that she has sold since the early 1970's. Another co-worker, A-, makes hand-crocheted baby hats. E-, the [boss'] daughter, makes handcrafted painted wall art suitable for adults and children. Along with myself, these handcrafters risk having a sizeable chunk if not all of their business suddenly illegal for sale.

I find this absolutely unacceptable.

We were not the businesses selling lead laden toys to our children.

We were not the businesses that marketed an ill-designed toy that when ingested metabolized to GHB.

We are not the businesses that put our children at risk. We have children of our own and we would never dream of putting them, their friends or the buying market at risk.

How is it that we should be punished for dangerous items accepted from a market that knowingly poisoned their own children with melamine in formula?

How is it that we should be punished because our country failed us by failing to check each container and each shipment that was received from China for merchandise marketed to our precious children?

I plea to you to please help us to rectify the details of this new law and make it so that the home based crafters can continue to sell our wares in our own country to our own children.


Amy - - - - -

I would hope that if you find this subject as upsetting as I do, that you would consider clicking on the link above or the Save Handmade button on my sidebar and following their easy-to-use link to contact your representative.

Please understand that we aren't asking for exceptions. We aren't asking to be kept to a different quality standard than commercial crafters. We are asking for reasonable guidelines that enable us to continue to sell our wares to our children in our country.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Smacked with the Panhandle Hook

Let's take inventory of the day.

K- has no school. It was canceled, thus canceling her bowling field trip. She was very sad.
Work for me was called off at 7:30 AM. Hooray! I get paid to sit at home today.
Hubs went out at 7:45 AM to get the cars started. His county was only on a Level 2 emergency, thus making the Park still open.
Takes Hubs an hour to get to work.
Hubs is at work for 45 minutes and they decide to close work. He gets snow day pay, too.
Hubs decides to go by the record store, as the gift certificate that I gave him was burning a hole in his pocket. He found some good loot.
Hubs stops by the bank to deposit a check. Gets stuck in snow drift. Has plow driver stop to tell him "I'd help but I'm busy," but proceed to sit for 10 minutes and tell him how he should "gun it, wiggle the wheel back and forth and throw it into reverse." Nevermind that Hubs was stuck up to the frame and had to dig said vehicle out (the Tercel, since he didn't want to take my 4WD truck-- duh) with a snow scraper. The UPS man helped to push him out but only with the promise that he wouldn't run him over. I'm glad that he stated that, as Hubs would have never thought of NOT RUNNING THE UPS MAN OVER!
I shoveled the drive for Hubs so he wouldn't get stuck.
Neighbor comes and clears the sidewalk and end of drive out with snowblower.
K- and I worked on making Valentine's intermittently throughout the day.
Neighbor comes home from work and gets stuck on nothing at the end of his driveway. We come to help him out. A car is stuck waiting, since their is a car parked on the street across the street from us regardless to the fact that there is a parking ban in effect. We got his soccer mom van into the driveway and continue to laugh that he has a brand new 4WD truck warm, toasty, waxed and clean in the garage. Hubs helped to push the car that was waiting for the neighbor to be unstuck. Oh the wonders of living on a dead end street.
K- wants to come out to play with her friend E-. That's fine since Mommy is going to shovel the driveway-- again.
Neighbor and I tag-team cleared the driveways as the girls played.
We came in, warmed some dinner and K- watched a movie as I continued to enter my name on far too many Bloggy Giveways.
Hubs has been tinkering in the basement, K- is in bed and a knock on the door was for the "man of the house." The neighbors across the street who don't speak to anyone were stuck and wanted Hubs to come push. "This will be his third car from about that same spot today." Hubs dresses in his outdoor gear, is out for about 10 minutes and the neighbor has decided that she will call a tow truck.
That puts me to now. I'm fairly certain that the snowplow will come in the middle of the night, seal our driveway shut with probably 2 feet of road ice/snow and goo, which will send us out bright and early to shovel-- again.
We had no mail.
K- and I have only left on foot. That's fine.
I've done more exercise today than I have in a long time. I'm sure that I will feel it soon. An Advil before bed is probably not a bad idea.
But for now, I have a step stool to continue painting.

Have a great, snowy night!

Edited to add: Apparently the neighbor with the car stuck in the middle of the street couldn't get the tow services to move fast enough for her so she CALLED THE POLICE. They are out there digging her car out now. We live in a city. Not the largest, but by all means not the smallest city. I'm thinking that it was a low crime evening. And, just for the record, the car is still stuck in the middle of the street. Ahhh, putting our city's finest at work one shovel at a time. Yes, a fine use of the 911 system.

Because I had nothing better do to with my life than watch two men, a two truck and a clueless woman try to get the car out of the middle of the street, I can report that they did get the car out from the street. Somehow the tow truck pulled the car straight so that the ladies brother could use a tow rope and yank her into the very small driveway.

Now, aren't you glad that I watched all this? My husband kept saying, "STOP WATCHING!" Nah. It was a low news night. There was lots of snow and I knew it without them telling me. I decided to watch the neighbors and the tow truck driver instead.

Works for Me Wednesday: 5-Point Harness Booster

This Works for Me Wednesday is a bit of an emotional subject for me. People are torn in either direction and I understand why. This week I'll be discussing our choice for a car booster seat for my 5 year old daughter.

My sister-in-law sent me this You Tube link about a year ago. I had watched it and felt horrible for the family. I'm so grateful that through their loss, they have gone on to tell their story to raise more awareness of their particular situation. The seat belt failed to hold their child's booster in place and he died in an automobile accident. Having watched the video, I knew that we would be purchasing a 5-point harness for K-.

I had friends who thought that I was crazy for continuing to keep K- in the traditional car seat. It was listed up to 40 pounds and she was about 42 pounds. "She's too big for that seat. She's 2 pounds over. You need to put her in a booster." Something in my mommy sense told me to hold off. Then this happened:
On March 1, 2008, K- and I were on our way from swimming lessons with friends and on the way to their house for a play date. We were going to make pizza all together for lunch. We were 2 blocks from their house. We were sitting at the bottom of a fairly sizeable hill with my turn signal on, foot on the brake and waiting to turn left. There was traffic, so I was watching some folks walk a greyhound as we waited. I remember wondering if the dog had longer legs than K-.

Then I heard something hit. I knew that a car had been hit, but had no idea it was us. I looked in the rear view mirror, saw a flash of white, looked forward and discovered that though my foot was still on the brake, we were moving. We were turning around. We are sliding towards another car.

All I could do was yell NO! There was a very large man in a very small car looking absolutely petrified as I slid around in a 180 through the intersection towards him. He could go nowhere, or he would hit the people with the dog. All the sudden, we stopped. Then I started thinking, oh no. K- is in the backseat. I started yelling to her to see if she was okay. I went to jump out of the car and had to give my door the elbow to get out. I yanked her door open and gave her the once over. We did the body part inventory and I scooped her up out of her seat. Then we came around to the back of the RAV.

It was totaled.

Here's what hit us. It was a truck from a local waterproofing company loaded down with bags of concrete and drain tile. He drove into a telephone pole after hitting me.
We all walked away just fine. We did have the EMS called out to give K- a quick check. They asked what we were in and I told them. They told us that two things kept us safe. They said that our vehicle stood up to exactly what it was designed to do and K- being in the 5-point harness is what made all the difference in this accident. That combined with the You Tube video clinched it.

It was a slow day at the park just down the street, so we even had the Metroparks Ranger hang out to direct traffic. He was one of the folks Hubs worked with and hung out to make sure that we were okay.

On an aside, we knew that we were protected by the hand of God. My friend who came to hang with me as all the accident stuff was being settled up told me that it was if God pushed our truck around and out of the way, then gently placed His hand between our RAV and the small car. When we stopped, our RAV was touching the car, but not even a scratch was found. We had turned a complete 180 and was pointed in the exact opposite direction as we were when I initially stopped. I was in perfect position to turn right instead of left! Talk about Heavenly protection!

I went home that night like a crazy mommy with disposable income and bought two Britax Regent car seats from (I knew that the insurance would flip us one, or almost the full cost of one.) They didn't have them in the store. Here are a few things to know about the car seats:

1. They are very large, but it does fit comfortably in both my 2008 RAV4 and my husbands 1997 Tercel.
2. The LATCH only takes about 10 minutes to install on my car. Hubs' car is too old for LATCH, but the Regent installs lickety split for him, too. All told, it takes about 15 minutes to install the seat in my car (or a hair less if Hubs is doing it.) It takes about 5 minutes to install it in my husbands car. We were taught by a friend who worked for the Safe Kids Coalition on how to install it. Truly, it's a cinch.
3. It is a heavy booster, but it has a nice cushy cover and little side pockets to collect all of K-'s little treasures. My new RAV4 was peppered by rocks thrown from a high-powered weed eater and one of those rocks shattered K-'s car window. (No, we weren't in the car and yes it did require a trip to the body shop. Oh, that's an interesting story for later.) We were able to remove the car seat cover (which wasn't at all damaged), give it a good shake, a laundering and pop it right back on. It is really easy and cleans up like a dream.

Certainly, whatever the choice that people make for car seats/boosters is their own. I just wanted to let you know what works for us and how we arrived at the decision that we did. I know that there are plenty of other boosters that are 5-point harness that do cost less. In Ohio effective on 4/6/09, we do have a new booster law that requires children to be in boosters up through age 8. I thought that it was definitely the time to give people some of the information that I had to help them make their car/booster choices.

**BTW, the Browns blanket is for warmth only. We aren't sports fans and I really could care less. My aunt gave it to me as a winter car blanket. However, it is good to know that the blanket was folded and in our back seat. When we got hit, it flew out the window just like that. So for Natalie and Jamie, we'll yell GO STEELERS and ignore the Browns blanket!

Next week: Handcrafted Valentine's!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tales from the Trenches: Curbs Bite Part 2

Remember when I smacked that curb last week? If you don't, you can read about it here. I'll give you the short story. Curbs bite when you smack them. When you smack them just the right way, it will leave a gash in your tire that will leak air very fast. Then, because we bought a car with Sport stamped to the side, we got the pleasure of waiting a few days to get our spare back because they don't have that size in stock. Oh, and even better news? It was $133.00! (That was with a discount since my brother works at a Goodyear Tire garage.) Yes, it was the most expensive trip to the thrift I've taken. Hubs asked me to ask my brother for a BOGO sale on the tire. He said that with the way that I've been going through tires, he believes that I need a spare for my spare.

Good news? I didn't wreck the rim. That is super fantastic news since my brother ran the price and COST only would have been $435.00. I would have had a flippin' heart attack.

Extraneous information that you don't want to know? My tire pressure light remained on after having had my most loving husband change the tire in the 11 degree heat. We worried that there was some ice-jammed sensor or damaged sensor for that matter. The problem? There is a tire pressure sensor on the back door, where the spare hangs, and it was detecting a flat spare. Good to know.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bloggy Giveaways Carnival: Hair Bow Organizer

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

Hey! Welcome to Bailey's Leaf! We'll be giving away a handcrafted hair bow organizer that I made. I call them Bow B's. I'm planning on getting an Etsy store going, but I'm on hold for finalization of CPSIA guidelines so that I know what I can and cannot do.

In the meantime, I have this for you:

I've made the board and bows. I'll be including saw tooth hangers so that you can either hang the board up with those on a wall, in a cabinet or on a door. You could always do what I did with K-'s. I hung it up with a push pin. Klassy, I know. Hey, it works!

So here are the rules:
1. Please leave a comment at the end of this post. Throw me a bone. Pull up a post and give a comment HERE about it. I don't care which one. I don't care how old it is. Just know that if your comment is "Enter me" or something to that affect, it will be deleted. A little effort is all we ask!

Please note: I've had to play deletion police and tossed several entries. If your entry was deleted, it was because you didn't leave a previous post comment. Please try again. I would love to keep you in the drawing!

AND FOR THE LOVE OF PETE and Pete's brother Pete (a statement of frustration in our home), PLEASE! leave contact info. I've had to ditch entries that were anonymous with no way to contact. I'm lovin' the love, but would love to contact you if you would actually win!

2. This giveaway will close on Friday at 8 PM. Any comments received after that will be loved, but won't count as an entry.
3. US only. Sorry. We do love y'all in all the other countries, though!
4. The winner will be notified on Friday night and your prize should be going out sometime next week via UPS. A valid street address is needed, please. No PO Boxes.
5. Don't forget to go to Bloggy Giveways and check out all the other giveways. Love on the other bloggers. They're giving away cool stuff, too! But, don't forget to get to know a few people that you may not know.
6. Please no debate on CPSIA regulations. Let's all make this fun and not stress about that right now.



Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Honey!

You are officially 37 today. We had a great day yesterday in Pittsburgh (hey, Jamie!) going to the Carnegie museums, LL Bean and IKEA. I'm hoping that the chills that you currently have are just from it being blasted cold and my inadvertently using up all the hot water in my scorching, hot bath and not from you picking up some funk from somewhere.

Oh, and--

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
I couldn't find what you wanted,
So what I found will just do!

We love you and hope that you have a great day!