Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

The Children’s Museum Store polls kid-experts to determine the top 10 toys for the 2014 holiday shopping season.

Parents are always looking for gifts to give during the holidays that are as special as their children. It can be a daunting task: find something educational that appeals to a child’s creativity, their sense of adventure, their unique ability to build something cool.

Don’t forget to browse your local children’s museums! Oftentimes, the best stuff can be found at museum shops –toys that have a special something you can’t find anywhere else. These gifts can also give back: to the community, to other children, to support the museum’s mission. How cool is that?

For 16 years, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has conducted the Kid-tested, Kid Approved event. Local kids of all ages are invited to visit The Museum Store to play with and then vote on their favorite toys. Thirty of the store’s most popular toys are offered up as potential picks, and the kids get to check all of them out, right there in the store … until they decide which ones will make the top 10 list of fun, unique and educational toys that the kids love best –and parents can add to their own lists for holiday shopping. Here, this year’s Kid-Tested, Kid Approved selections are listed in order of most votes:

  1. Super Slam Basketball
  2. Original Flying Turtle
  3. Foxfire Glow Phantoms Thinking Putty
  4. Hoberman Switch Pitch
  5. Snap Circuits – Motion
  6. Mini OgoDisk Set
  7. Switchback Racetrack
  8. Hexbug Aquabots
  9. Playmobil My Secret Play Box – Dragon`s Lair
  10. Take ‘N’ Play Anywhere Fashion Spotlight Magnetic Playset

112614_CRTPost_ChildrensMuseumLogoWith the Kid-Tested, Kid Approved initiative, the museum hopes to lend a hand to parents who are looking to discover what most interests their children, straight from the kids themselves. Each Kid-Tested, Kid Approved selection is available for purchase at the Museum’s award-winning store and online retail site. On each individual online product page, read real reviews from the kid-expert testers and other clues for each toy’s rank. What’s more – all purchases help support the museum’s mission.

As the Children’s Museum tells you, start shopping with confidence – now you know what your kids want and you know what they like!


Itsy Bitsy Knots

New children’s label wraps up classy special occasionwear with a bow.

112014_CRTPost_ItsyBitsyKnots_01Nosh Khurram (aka Nosh Kay) recently launched a new –and fun- fashion label for kids called Itsy Bitsy Knotsgorgeous little bow ties especially for boys, but girls will love ‘em, too, I bet.

Perfect for the Holidays. Like so many Moms out there, Nosh got tired of the slim pickins when it comes to boy’s dress-up, so she did something about it. Each one of her bow tie designs uses colorful fabrics in 100% cotton, silk or wool. Nosh tells me her inspiration for the designs “comes from an era when dressing up was an essential part of everyday life,” she says. They’re classy and traditional with a modern twist. Nice!

112014_CRTPost_ItsyBitsyKnots_03As she gives parents everywhere a wonderful option to dress up their kids, Nosh also wants to support causes that are close to her heart. A percentage of every bow tie sold will be given to a children’s charity. Bravo!


Wee Rascals

111814_CRTPost_WeeRascalsNew line celebrates real heroes.

Wee Rascals is a new children’s brand of casual cool clothing with a little history: From Joan of Arc to Johnny Appleseed, the fun tees and stuff feature the true legends of times gone by, heroes and heroines that can match step for step with any of today’s superheroes or cartoon characters. The rock stars of Wee Rascals’ world are history-making men and women of substance, including Susan B. Anthony, Abraham Lincoln, Isaac Newton and Davy Crockett.

111814_CRTPost_WeeRascals_02Made in the USA. Austin, TX-based Wee Rascals is a labor of love for moms Kylie Clayborne and Elizabeth Rich, who launched brand in March 2014. Inspired by an image of Johnny Appleseed in her son’s folktale book, Kylie set out to share real heroes with boys and girls nationwide while consciously manufacturing in the United States. All Wee Rascals designs are printed direct to garment or screen-printed in Austin to assure high quality and ethical labor practices.

Wee Rascals is redefining the meaning of heroes with printed tees, tanks, and bodysuits for kids from 3-6 months up to size 12. Select tees are made from organic cotton, and all styles are unisex. Available online at http://www.wee-rascals.com.

111814_CRTPost_WeeRascals_03Look for baby raglan tees plus new hero and heroine prints coming soon.

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Suzy’s Zoo

Happy Halloween from Suzy’s Zoo, the home of Suzy Ducken, Jack Quaker, Corky Turtle and all the cute and wonderful characters created by Suzy Spafford.

103114_CRTPost_Happy Halloween_Jano(They’re all getting ready for “trick or treat” in the photo above). Suzy the human says her mission in life is making people happy, and I agree, since I’ve sent many-a-Suzy’s Zoo card to loved ones and friends . My dear husband thinks I look like one of Suzy’s cute ducks (I’m including a picture that may show how right he is!) … wouldn’t it be fun if Suzy had Halloween costumes for big kids like me?

Cards, Books, Coloring, Games and more.

HOJ-Collar Bib-Stone (22)

House of Jamie

New apparel collection features fabulous black and white Breton stripe graphics.

HOJ-Collar Bib-Stone (21)Dutch children’s label House of Jamie is known for soft, clean and minimalist baby essentials and apparel designed with a classic touch. Launched in 2012, Amsterdam-based founder Barbara Gouka designed the line as her own timeless yet affordable nursery essentials for her daughter Jamie, now available for little ones aged 0-4 all over the world.

Just recently, Barbara launched a new clothing collection in addition to the current year-round line, which features the fresh and fun Breton stripes in bold black and white. Love it!

HOJ-Collar Bib-Stone (19)After the launch of the first clothing collection in 2013, we received more and more interest in new items and bigger sizes. The result? A new stylish color, a black and white Breton stripe and brand new timeless designs. By expanding the size range, the collection is now available for little ones aged 0-4. House of Jamie’s signature bow tie and linen details have also returned into this collection.”

-Barbara Gouka

HOJ-Collar Bib-Stone (9)Created with the utmost care and attention for the environment. From sleeping bags to duvet covers, changing mat covers to hooded baby towels, hooded jackets, dresses, sweaters, sleepwear and more – all merchandise is 100% fair trade, completely child labor free and handmade in Holland and Turkey.


Mommy Masters

Voted Parenting Blog of the Year – Congratulations!

102114_CRTPost_MommyMasters_Headshot_2013_SmallEllie Hirsch, aka The Mommy Master® -an award-winning children’s singer/songwriter, parenting expert, published author, blogger and mom – just announced that MommyMasters.com has won first place in the Annual Parenting Blog of the Year Contest sponsored by Virginia-based uKnowKids.com, the software company that helps parents monitor their children online.

“I created Mommy Masters so moms (and dads) would have a parenting community where they could find unique tips, tricks and tools, Ellis says in her announcement. “It has allowed me to connect with amazing families all over the world who share a common theme. We all want to be the best parent we can be. Some days we are Mommy Masters and others, Mommy Disasters, and we are okay with that.”

-Ellie Hirsch

102114_CRTPost_MommyMasters_TMLogo-with-tagline-300pxFlorida-based Mommy Masters® is a go-to trusted source for Moms and Dads to share parenting experiences, ask questions and generally learn from other Moms and Dads how to be the best parents they can be. The blog site features fresh posts, content from “A Dad’s Perspective,” a place to buy children’s music and more.

102114_CRTPost_MommyMaters_CDCoverEllie founded Mommy Masters® in 2010 to help parents create flourishing family environments. She also mentors Mompreneurs and offers a platform for women to share their accomplishments through the Mommy Master of the Month initiative. She released her children’s CD, “Music is Magical, Children’s Songs with Ellie,” to rave reviews, receiving a Parents’ Choice Award.

Ellie is currently working on growing the Mommy Masters brand to include children’s and parenting guide books, television components and interactive activities. She is available for music performances, workshops, guest speaking, personal appearances, consultations, coaching, freelance writing, television appearances, interviews and more. Just drop her at note at  info@mommymasters.com  or call 917-225-0101 with your request.