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Customer Reviews: 37
Top Reviewer Ranking: 85,059
Helpful Votes: 401

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Cheryl DC "Cheryl DC" RSS Feed (Washington, DC)

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P'Kolino Little One's Art Easel
P'Kolino Little One's Art Easel
Price: $65.50
3 used & new from $65.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We love this easel!, August 6, 2014
Our daughter received this easel as a gift for her 4th birthday and we all love it! We have some other P'Kolino toys and art supplies and have loved their quality, and this easel impressed us too with the smooth sturdy wood legs, great construction, ease of assembling, and great finish. I love the understated colors - it's a really attractive little piece of furniture. (We have a small home and the easel is stationed in our main living area so I appreciated a more neutral and decor-friendly option than some others we had seen.)

It took me about 10 minutes to put the easel together and to install the paper roll - everything lined up perfectly and the instructions were clear. I had read other reviews about chalkboard issues, so I started seasoning it before trying to write on it... but then my little daughter was too enchanted to not participate and began scribbling with ease over the part of the board I hadn't gotten to yet. I don't know whether they changed the composition of the board, but for us it worked right out of the box equally as well as a classroom chalkboard.

While she likes to have help ripping her finished art off the easel, pulling the fresh length of paper down is easy enough for our daughter to to by herself. She has always enjoyed painting and doing projects on her work table or sometimes on the floor on newspapers for bigger projects, but this easel has opened up a whole new level of interest for her and has given her a neat work space to explore her developing coordination, use of materials, practicing and refining her ideas, etc.

Oh - it doesn't come with an eraser, but we found that an old sock does the job perfectly well. The tray is spacious enough to hold a variety of containers for art supplies. (Buckets of markers, pots of paint, boxes of crayons, etc.)

Calico Critters Adventure Tree House
Calico Critters Adventure Tree House
Price: $69.95
30 used & new from $69.95

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adorable, needs some tweaks to be great, June 20, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Our 3 year old really enjoys Calico Critters and after looking over the various choices for playsets, we decided to choose this one for the roominess of the compartments (they can hold some furniture and characters) and the variety of activities in one piece. It also is a cute complement to the wooden doll house that our daughter already has - this sits next to it on her dollhouse table.

What we love:
- our daughter instantly fell in love with it and has played with it regularly since receiving it a few months ago. Characters besides her calico critters are regular guests too.
- The attention to detail is very charming.
- The inner spaces are roomy enough to fit some pieces of furniture and some characters
- The activities work (some with some adjustments - see next section)

What we didn't like:
- some of the parts need a bit of help to really be functional. E.g. the swing: the strings that suspend it on its branch pop out of the notches quite easily. I added a dab of clear glue at each notch opening and the swing doesn't come unhooked anymore.
- some of the pieces don't fit well and/or come apart easily. E.g. the post that suspends the basket pulley - it comes out of its hole with a bit of jiggling. Securing it with strong glue fixed it; same for the tree house on top which just sits on notches - I glued that down too. On the other hand, the large side branch will just not fit securely or flush to the toy no matter how much I try. It stays put when my daughter plays with it, but falls off if a rougher friend handles it.

All in all we do like this piece and find it to be fun and cute enough that I would buy it again despite the extras we've had to do to make it more functional. It was definitely an incentive that I got it on a very good holiday BOGO Calico Critters sale on Amazon.

Hape Fix-It Tool Box
Hape Fix-It Tool Box
Price: $15.70
27 used & new from $15.50

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars My first Hape disappointment, June 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Hape Fix-It Tool Box (Toy)
We have loved other Hape toys and thought that this tool box would be a great choice for our little one. Unfortunately, despite the beautiful quality of the materials, the design leaves a lot to be desired.

- great wood, absolutely smooth with flawless paint
- nontoxic paint
- perfect size for little hands

- there are screws, but nothing to screw them into. The nuts and bolts do screw together of course, but with no threaded holes in any of the wooden pieces there is basically no use for the screwdriver. Ours has never been used.
- there are only 2 nails. They take about 5 seconds for my toddler to hammer in and then she wants help prying them out again (she tries to pry them herself, but the plastic hammer claw on the plastic nail is slippery and she gets impatient). She also asks for more nails "so that she can build something."
- unless your toddler is coordinated/interested enough to hold a wrench supporting a nut in one hand and screw the bolt in with the other hand (by hand or with the screwdriver), the wrench is basically useless. My kiddo just used one hand to hold the nut while she screwed the bolt in with the other - the wrench has never been used.

Overall I regret the purchase and would not recommend it. We found it to be a hard toy to have fun with, which was disappointing as I have fond memories of playing with my own Fisher Price wooden tool bench from way back when. My child has a great imagination, but she took this tool bench pretty seriously and wanted to actually use tools, not just pantomime it.

TL Care Organic Cotton Nursing Pads, Natural, 6 Count
TL Care Organic Cotton Nursing Pads, Natural, 6 Count
Price: $7.30
9 used & new from $6.93

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Messy and painful, September 13, 2013
I dislike disposable products and decided to use these for when I was nursing my baby. After a few days using these, I was sure glad that a well-meaning friend had gotten me a box of disposable pads that I had already put into the giveaway box (but then retrieved and was so glad they hadn't left the house yet)!

The shortest-lived but worst problem I had with them was when my milk came in and the pain was unimaginable. I had an unmedicated birth which was hard work but tolerable - the oh-my-God engorged breasts were pure agony for a couple of days. The pads seemed so smooth and soft until they were put to that test - it hurt to have them against me and it was even worse to pull them away because they stuck a little (and I had no cracking or bleeding). I never would have thought tiny little cotton fibers could be so uncomfortable, but they were (and so was picking off each tiny little fiber that stuck so the baby wouldn't get it in her mouth).

So thankfully my milk production leveled itself off to my tiny baby and I felt fine again. I gave these pads another try and experienced what so many others have said - they will soak up all of the milk but not block it from also soaking your bra and top. It was so embarrassing to be out and about and have my milk let down and then have 2 glaring wet spots right up front.

I wish there could be a product with this basic idea but that would not only keep its shape (so you didn't have the wrinkles and lumps showing through even padded bras), but that would also have some kind of non-toxic wetness barrier sewn in. Or something with the flannel in the middle but with a smoother outside that wouldn't be so painful during sore nursing times.

I love the idea, but can't recommend this product at all.

Monoprice 107116 Headphone Splitter with Separate Volume Controls, White
Monoprice 107116 Headphone Splitter with Separate Volume Controls, White
Price: $5.49
23 used & new from $1.35

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great solution for normal hearing / hearing impaired couple, September 10, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My husband is severely hearing impaired and I have good hearing. We sometimes enjoy watching a TV show on my computer after our daughter goes to bed but in our tiny condo need to use headphones so the noise doesn't wake her up. This volume control splitter is GREAT for us! We each can hear our show at a comfortable level - he can't hear our alarm clock without hearing aids, but can hear our shows fine with the computer volume and the splitter's volume dial turned all the way up. I turn my volume dial most of the way down and it's fine. The sound seems equally good using this splitter as it usually does with the headphones that I use with it.

I even use this splitter when I'm listening to something by myself now too, because the volume wheel give so much more in-between variations of volume than just clicking the computer's volume up & down.

I removed one star because it is a pretty fragile unit. Even with careful use I guess some pulling must occur because the wires at the base always eventually separate from the plug part and it stops working. Because it's otherwise such a helpful product for our particular needs and because the price point is low, it's not a deal breaker for us.

Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Room Diffuser
Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Room Diffuser
Offered by mEssentials
Price: $6.75
54 used & new from $6.75

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay, but would not purchase again, August 8, 2013
I love essential oils and was looking for an inexpensive and unobtrusive way to diffuse them in my home. This plug in is pretty simple, but I think it could have been designed a lot better than it was. This is the second diffuser I've tried (the other was a small ceramic dish from Aveda that held a pool of oils and needed to stay plugged in by a very short cord to heat the oil. I don't have a great place to keep that one anymore with a little kid and two cats added to the household, although it did work considerably better than this one).

Anyway, back to this product. I liked that it was cheap (and I got free shipping for it on another site) and that I could use whichever oil(s) I wanted to. I also liked that it doesn't need to sit on a surface and is up out of the way in an outlet when in use and that it isn't a humidifier. (These summers are already so swampy I can't bear to think of adding to the humidity in here.)

The downside for me was exactly what other people had said: the scent wears off too quickly. It's really just because the product can't hold that much - even when I saturate the pad (25 drops) it doesn't last for more than an hour and a half. I literally get identical results just sprinkling a bit of it around the room (I found out by accident that eucalyptus oil doesn't leave marks on my upholstery). I also don't love the construction of it for basic use - the pads are under a grille of plastic tines and you have to catch the edge of it with your fingernail to pull it out to refill it (because the tines are too close together to drop the oil on it where it is). But then if you've had it plugged in for awhile, it's hard to avoid touching the pad surface which on my unit was really hot to the touch. (Ow.) (But your finger will smell nice.) Also, it's a fist-sized beige plastic ball sticking out of your outlet - in my kitchen/living room that I generally try to keep free of plastic, that doesn't really go with the flow.

I want my home to smell like the spa where I took my honeymoon. I know that a dinky little diffuser like this won't make that happen (even in a dinky little condo like mine), but I thought it could at least be a reliable way to have *some* fragrance doled out, but it's really not made to do that. Maybe if they came up with one that could hold a reservoir of oil (like one of the nasty chemical plug-ins) it would be able to last a more considerable amount of time, but there's no way a few drops on a little pad isn't going to fade away in pretty short order. I'd say save your $ on this one.

13 Words
13 Words
by Lemony Snicket
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.97
103 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful favorite, July 1, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 13 Words (Hardcover)
I got this for my daughter when she was 18 months old and we instantly loved it (and she asked for it at least once a day for the next year). I find it to be a refreshingly funny, smart, different, and elegant little book for young children. We tend to prefer the lovely quirky little finds, and for us this one stands out as a gem among many on our kiddo's bookshelf. It's as fanciful as a fairy tale but without rehashing the same old plots and archetypes yet again, and features good friends on a mission, cake, and hats. I love the references to fine art sprinkled throughout, the sweetly posh and avant-garde lifestyle they all live, the level of detail in the pictures, and of course Lemony Snicket's wit and prose. I've read this book what feels like several million times now, and my now-three-year-old sings along with the mezzo-soprano's song (yes, we set it to music), and it still cracks me up to see the bird relaxing in an armchair reading, with her slippers off, a coffee and sandwich on a table nearby, and a do-rag on her head after being busy all day with her work as what appears to be a modern artist or possibly interior decorator. I like that it's for children but not babyish, independent but not rude, and sweet but not sugary. (Except for the steady supply of cake, that is.)

Hape - Healthy Gourmet Food
Hape - Healthy Gourmet Food
Offered by Hippo Tails
Price: $33.07
4 used & new from $24.95

4.0 out of 5 stars A great set, June 5, 2013
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Hape - Healthy Gourmet Food (Toy)
My daughter received this set as a gift and we love it enough that we plan to expand it by getting other sets. I really appreciate that it's made with sustainable and non-toxic materials, she (an articulate 2 year old) has a great time playing picnic, serving us drinks, etc. I like it so much better than plastic sets and it has a very classic and elegant look and feel to it. The pieces have a great smooth finish with absolutely no damage, even after lots of gentle but enthusiastic use. Another review said that their eggs were unusually large - ours were normal chicken egg size.

My only complaint about the set is about the straw in the juice box. There is a hole in the top to put the straw for pretend drinking, but the slot on the back for storage has nothing to secure the straw in place, so it will fall out if not held or stored flat. Ours came with a piece of tape securing it in place - not sure if it was the manufacturer or the gift giver who did it, but it shouldn't have been necessary. Also, like other reviewers mentioned, it is a small piece - if your kiddo puts toys in her or his mouth, you'll have to be careful with that part.

Overall it's a great set and I recommend it to anyone looking for pretend food toys.

Roland Grilled Artichoke Hearts, 67 Ounce
Roland Grilled Artichoke Hearts, 67 Ounce
Price: $42.21
2 used & new from $42.21

4.0 out of 5 stars We love these, April 15, 2013
My family has received these grilled artichoke hearts a few times and love them. Normally we get the smaller packs of the same product, but when those are out of stock we buy this larger tub and portion it out into freezer packs.

Unlike another reviewer, we have found them to be wonderfully tasty and enjoy eating them as part of a quick casual supper of good warm crusty wholegrain bread, fresh mozzarella, roasted tomatoes, and sizzled Greek olives. I like that they are free of most prickles and tough outer leaves that you find sometimes with packaged artichoke hearts. The "grilled" flavor is subtle but definitely distinct from regular marinated artichoke hearts. If you're looking for a firmer bite, you might enjoy trying the same brand's Roman style grilled artichoke hearts with stems on.

Janod Picnic Hamper
Janod Picnic Hamper
Offered by 88 Market Street
Price: $25.47
20 used & new from $25.47

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful little set for pretend play, January 29, 2013
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Janod Picnic Hamper (Toy)
My daughter received this set as a gift and has had a lot of fun playing with it. The pieces are durable and very charming and I loved that they came in bright colors ( red and lime green vs. pink or purple), that they are made of wood, and that they don't have characters or logos on them. They are sized for small hands and are the perfect size to use with the Educo wooden food that she received along with this picnic set.

The only downsides we've experienced with this set are the durability of the carrying case (or lack thereof) and the fact that these pieces can't really be used to eat or drink from (this complaint is from my small daughter who wants to use them for tea parties like we do with her porcelain set). The carrying case is made of cardboard and the hinge is paper tape and ribbon. Even though used carefully, the hinges disintegrated and the box had to be discarded. (To me it wasn't worth repairing because using the case also required a particular arrangement of the contents in order for it to close, and that was impossible for my daughter to do independently at this stage of her coordination. It wasn't all that easy for me to get the cutlery back into the elastic bands in the case either.)

All in all it's a sweet little set and now that she's accepted that it's for pretend only (no real eating or drinking), my daughter is happy with it too and uses it frequently.

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