What to Buy & Where

What are some of your baby/toddler/kid must-haves?

What stores do you call your second home?


 March 21, 2012: Hands down, THE BEST Children’s Plates and Placemats I have ever found! Great for a gifts too! Read on how to buy this amazing find!

Who here has been on the search for the perfect kids plates and placemats? Me too! Who here hasn’t? Well, it doesn’t matter because you are about to see some that are a MUST HAVE! I’m not trying to sell you here … I’m just completely and utterly excited to finally have kids plates and placemats that make sense. Welcome, Brinware. (Read on … there’s a MAJOR GIVEAWAY and DISCOUNT to all my readers!)

As a Mom, I want to know what they look like, how safe they are, how easy are they to clean, how easy are they to throw in a bag on the go, what will they do for me and most of all how long will this stuff last me? Bottom line. So, let’s find out if we can get all those questions answered …

Here’s what they look like (you can also CLICK HERE to go directly to the website to see all the designs) they are all really cute!

One of the many designs. Glass covered with silicone.
The animal alphabet printed silicone placemats
The best looking plates out there!

SAFETY: How safe are they? Well, considering Dylan tested these products for the owner by THROWING them on the ground what seemed like 10 too many times … I realized these plates just DO NOT break! Here’s what Brinware says: “Brinware plates are made of the finest materials we could find.  They feature durable, strong tempered glass and come with a removable silicone sleeve for added protection and slip resistance.  They are safe, durable and fun.” Believe me, we tested and they are safe. And another HUGE safety factor with all the toxic yucky plastic materials we all buy in the Target $1 section all the time, this is the best stuff on earth to let our children eat from: “By nature, glass is free of BPA, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of numbers of different plastics to figure out whether they are safe or not. Silicon is (which occurs naturally in sand and rock), carbon, oxygen and hydrogen and therefore is not petroleum based. It is non-toxic, hypoallergenic and will not retain odors. Importantly it does not contain toxic chemicals like bishpenol-A, lead, PVC or phthalates.” Sound safe enough? IT DOES TO ME! :)

Tested, Tried and Thrown a Million Times! 

CLEANING: I swear, it’s a joke. Please tell me there are others out there like me? Do you sometimes base the food you will make for dinner solely on how much clean up you will have after from time to time? Yeah … I hate to clean it is NO secret! So, how easy are these to clean?

Slap it all in the dishwasher!
Easy to rinse in sink!

For cleaning on the go: You can just take a napkin to the mat at a restaurant and wipe off any leftovers …. it won’t smell or anything. Roll it back up and stick it in your purse to take home. Easy as that! I’ve done it a lot!

ON THE GO: How easy are they to take on the go? Well as far as the plates, I typically don’t travel with plates LOL! But the placemats are the best yet! NO BULK WHATSOEVER. See for yourself:

That’s how small they become upon rolling it up.
See the purple mat rolled up? Hard to find, huh?

WHAT DOES BRINWARE DO FOR ME: My kids love their Brinware plates and placemats so much! They each have their own colors and they like to trade off (my son can totally rock the pink!). Their friends like to use them too!  The kids recite the alphabet  and point to each letter on their mats. They tell me which animals are displayed in each square of the alphabet too! As far as the plates, we make a game out of it, like “do you see the fishies yet? If not, eat another broccoli and then we can see them!” I’m telling you, they are THE BEST! You will LOVE!

Because all kids eat off them!
Dylan’s Cousin Paige and friend Bella recite the Alphabet!
Dylan and his friend Tommy eat happily off their Brinware!

And what does it do for me personally? Oh … just one of my favorite parts!

I cut food right on mat!
I easily dump all trash right off!

This is how it works:

The placemats actually stick to ANY surface. Your child won’t be able to slip it around all over the place or you won’t have to peel off some crazy sticker where the mat is made of gross plastic or you won’t have some other bulky rollup mat that doesn’t really stick! Just look:

See my reflection? It’s the high gloss silicone on the back that makes it stick!

As for the plates, the silicone sleeve easily comes on and off. It’s not a crazy tight so that it takes all your might to peel on and off. I swear! It’s designed to perfection.

Plate comes off sleeve easily for cleaning.

Also, you can heat your food right on these plates and/or placemats! The silicone does not get hot! And it’s always safe to heat food up on glass (think glass baby bottles)! No need to do what I have been doing for years now … heat my kids food on an adult glass plate and then transfer it to a plastic kids plate only leaving double the mess and time! These plates and mats make it so much easier! I promise you.

HOW LONG WILL IT LAST ME: Forever! Duh! ;) Well, that part is obviously unknown since it hasn’t been around for 80 years. But, I can tell you that I have washed and washed and dishwasher washed the you know what out of this stuff along with dropping the glass plates a few times and it’s all still here and the colors have NEVER faded!


T W O   G I V E A W A Y S !

Here’s how you can win 2, yes 2, Plates or Placemats! Follow these easy steps to become a lucky participant:

1. Go HERE and “Like” Brinware’s Facebook Page

2. Go HERE and enter your email address to FOLLOW MY BLOG (it’s on the right hand side if you scroll just a tad) *If you are already subscribed to The Valley Mom, then forget this step.

3. Go on either your Facebook Page and/or your Twitter account and copy and paste this link to post as a status update: http://wp.me/pYCRT-7I

4. Email me at thevalleymom@gmail.com and let me know you have completed all 3 steps!

~ I will randomly draw the participants names out of a hat with Brinware Owner, Alana Fields, on Friday, March 23, 2012. You will get an email to confirm that you won! And don’t be one of those silly people to think you never win anything! You have a HUGE chance of winning!


2 Placemats!
2 Plates!

M A J O R   D I S C O U N T   F O R   A L L   V A L L E Y M O M   R E A D E R S !

You heard me right! Just CLICK HERE to shop for Brinware at their online store and at checkout enter the code VMOM30 and receive a whopping 30% off your purchase! That’s huge! Especially since Brinware is EXTREMELY REASONABLY PRICED!

*this offer is good until at least May 1st 2012 or until Brinware keeps code active and while supplies last

I’m sure you have noticed by now that my son Dylan is part of the campaign and brochures of Brinware. Well, that’s because the Owner, Creator and Master Mind of Brinware is his wonderful, super creative and uber talented Auntie, Alana Fields. She has spent years developing these products for everyday families to enjoy and get use out of dish ware that is just not found in today’s marketplace. My hat goes off to Alana to making her dream a successful reality!

Ps, if you ever come to my house … you will for sure see me eating off these plates too! LOL!

Please let me know how much you love Brinware.





Oct. 19, 2010:I need to share with all you Mommies out there about my FAVORITE label company!


AMAZING! I got the school pack of Labels with my son’s name on them and stuck them everywhere! Literally on everything he brings to school. Sippy cups, shoes, clothes, sunscreen, emergency kit, backpack, lunchbox, forehead … okay, maybe not everywhere (or his forehead) but, I stuck it where things needed his name on it! So much easier than my label maker (the labels come off in wash that way) or by sharpie. This is truly the best method. You order as many as you like (school pack is best in my opinion) and you get the zipper tags, big labels, medium sized labels, large labels, some that are circular, some that are rectangular … you basically get labels for ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING you will need to smack a label on!

School Pack

school pack includes:

1 Bag Tag

45 Extra Small

30 Small

20 Medium

10 Large

18 Mini shoe labels

8 Shoe

4 Zipper Tags

Major perks: These labels are Microwave, Dishwasher and Washer&Dryer safe! They do not fall off! Also, they are the only label company contracted with Disney! So, you cannot only choose from a fabulous variety of fun art to go with their name, but you can choose a Disney theme label pack too! If you know my son, well then, you know we picked Disney Cars! So, since Dylan can’t exactly read yet at the ripe old age of 2 1/2, he sees a Lightning McQueen car label and he knows it’s his!!! I love it. It’s Genius.

By the way you get to choose from all sorts of colors, fonts and icons for their labels! Wait … did I already tell you that?

I’m telling you, if you have not labeled the you know what outta everything your child brings to school, daycare or even Mommy & Me classes yet … now is the time and Label Daddy is the place to get them!

Want Your Deal?

Enter “westlamom” for a 10% off discount upon checkout! Hurry while code lasts!

Oh, by the way, they have a million other great labeling ideas to choose from!

Click Here to be directed to their great website where you can buy your own.

By the way … The 2 Label Daddies that started this Company are Valley Dads! ;)

Happy Labeling Moms!


Sept. 2, 2010:


Who doesn’t want to make packing your kids lunch smarter, faster and eco-friendly?

That’s what I thought … so read on!

Strange enough, I was driving in my neighborhood a couple of months ago where I saw a car drive by with EasyLunchBoxes.com stickered on the car. I thought to myself … mental note! {Check out that website} Well, typically those thoughts leave me once the days get going. But, coincidentally, Dylan was in Camp this summer and this AMAZING girl was a CIT (Counselor in Training) in Dylan’s class. She was so energetic, bubbly and sweet and loved getting to know and help Dylan. I mean, she greeted me andDylan with a huge hug every morning!


Upon chatting away one day with the teachers she overheard me talking about my blog and quickly said “My Mom blogs too!!!” She was so excited to tell me all about her Mom and her Mom’s business called EasyLunchBoxes.com! Strange how things sometimes creep up on you like that and say ~ DO THIS ALREADY!!! Before I got to checking out the site, Julia’s Mom had already emailed me and told me how funny it was having her daughter network for her! LOL!!! I told her all about what had happened and just how lucky she is to have such an incredible daughter … must come from her Mom! The rest is History! Not only did I get to make a new friend over email but she sent me the most WONDERFUL package of Easy Lunch Boxes! I am obsessed beyond words! Dylan has had them in his lunch box cooler bag starting the day after I received my shipment! I even use them for my office! I love these kids lunch boxes … they truly are a life saver, time saver and a trash saver!

A major perk: if you are on a budget, this container set is incredibly reasonable for families like us! $21.90 is all it costs for 4 Containers and a Lunch Cooler Bag. And even a bigger perk … you can pack lunches for the whole family and take it on a trip to the beach, park or anywhere! We took ours to Disneyland for the whole family and saved $$$ from bringing our own lunch.  3 Containers can easily fit into a cooler bag!

Here’s a little peek at what it looks like in the morning once both mine and Dylan’s lunches are packed:


What did the ever so fabulous Kelly have to say about her idea? Read below:

“Mornings spent in chaos making breakfast, beds, & lunch boxes?

The EasyLunchbox system makes it simple to organize, and quickly pack healthy lunches without wasting money, time, paper or plastic.

Born out of my response to unhealthy school lunch programs, EasyLunchboxes.com started from the desire to send my 3 kids to school with a nutritious meal, using little to no wasteful packaging. But the EasyLunchbox System is not just for kids. Adult size meals fit perfectly too.

The EasyLunchbox System ‘s design, functionality, and low price has quickly made it a top choice among green lunch box solutions since it came on the market in December, 2009. Named a ‘top 5 Eco-Friendly Mommy Must Have” by Parents Ask, the EasyLunchbox System has been rated TOP CHOICE by many independent reviewers.

I was like other frustrated moms – I didn’t like throwing together lunches during the morning rush. So much time was wasted sorting through a cabinet of mismatched food containers while trying to pack 15-25 well-balanced lunches per week. I struggled to find something that would help me pack lunches fast, without resorting to the ‘convenience’ of expensive, pre-packaged ‘fast-food.’ Most importantly, I wanted something attractive, eco-friendly, and made of food-safe materials that I didn’t have to wash by hand.

My clever solution to the lunch-packing chore is the simple two piece EasyLunchbox container: The bottom has three compartments to hold an entree or sandwich and two side dishes. The fitted lid (which comes in 4 colors) covers all three compartments at once. No more squished sandwiches, mismatched plastic container pieces to keep track of (matching up all those bottoms and lids was the thing that drove me nuts!) or wasteful baggies. Fits perfectly inside the roomy EasyLunchbox custom carrying bag. And there is still plenty of room to throw in an extra snack or two, whole fruit, perhaps a thermos of soup, drink and ice block.  Flexibility is key, and since so many different things can fit, no matter what menu you choose to include, it packs easily and quickly. It’s amazing how much faster, greener, & easier lunch box packing is with the EasyLunchbox system.

Supporting the waste-free lunch movement, EasyLunchboxes.com offers a reusable, superior solution at a much lower price than other companies.

Great for large families and those on a limited budget.

Safe for dishwasher, freezer, and microwave. FDA approved. No BPA, phthalates, lead, vinyl, or PVC.

The simple chic design and bright colors of our Cooler Bags can even be personalized!

We have included a sturdy grommet in the carrying handle so you can easily attach a pretty key ring, dietary restrictions warning tag, or your choice of any type of handcrafted or store bought “flair.” Examples HERE

Our Cooler Bags are made of the highest quality 300D Polyester for premium durability and toughness. Vinyl free (PVC free) & lead free, with an FDA compliant PEVA lining.”

This is a Valley Mom FAVORITE!!!

I can’t say anything negative about these lunch box containers and cooler! They truly have made my mornings so much easier! I open the drawer, pull out a lid and a container, put a sandwich or sliced turkey in the large section and cut up some fruit for one side and pour some fun yummy snack for the other side portion. It’s funny because I was trying to think why this container would make it faster … but it really does! It’s because the proportion sizes are perfect and you know just how much to fill them up! Plus, there is no mess when Dylan comes home! I take the ONE container out of his lunch box/cooler and rinse it out or throw it in the dishwasher. AND JUST SO YOU KNOW: these containers are not made cheaply or out of some flimsy Glad or ZipLock material. They are strong and hard so you know they will last a long, long time!

Try it, buy it and I swear you will thank me!!! I can’t thank Kelly enough for coming out with such a brilliant idea, creative design and eco-friendly container for our kids!

Oh wait … did I mention I have a BACK TO SCHOOL GIVEAWAY???!!! Well, I do! And who wouldn’t want a free lunch bag and 4 containers?

First person to visit www.EasyLunchBoxes.com and then write back to me via email at TheValleyMom@gmail.com with something you learned and loved about the fabulous system gets a FREE set! Wooo Hooo!!!  Hurry up and enter now! This is by far my most favorite giveaway yet!!!! Don’t waste a minute visit the site and write to win! Oh, and you get to choose which color lunch bag you want too!

Contest ends September 3, 2010 at 6:00p. Winner must be able to give The Valley Mom an address where the EasyLunchBoxes containers and lunch bag can be sent (not to PO Box and only ships to U.S. and Canada).

Make sure to get your Easy Lunch Box system today! It’s the best way to pack your lunches!

I promise!


May 30, 2010:

Cutest Headbands Ever!

Alison Beth Company – Children’s Accessories

Alison Beth Company Children’s Accessories is a high fashion line of adorable and stylish Headbands and embellished Hats.

The ABC collection can be seen on the most stylish children from coast to coast.

These headbands are quite simply the cutest girls accessories I have ever seen! And I swear it’s not just because Alison and I have been friends for 26 years… THESE ARE A MUST HAVE!

I mean … look at how cute they are! Not only are these headbands a must-have, but they make for a perfect gift! If I had a girl, I would probably own the entire collection. Please take a look at all of her styles by clicking here.

These headbands have amazing color, fantastic style, make any little girl look like an absolute doll, are incredibly soft and comfortable and are hand-made with much care.

I don’t think I need to say much about these “to die for” headbands as the pictures truly say it all! While their website is under construction, you may visit their facebook page by clicking here or you may email ABC at alison@alisonbethco.com or you may call 646.320.0855 from 9a-5p EST. They will be able to answer all your questions and send you more photographs of their current summer line.

There are also a limited number of headbands available right here in the Valley at The Haute Closet! Please email TheHautecloset@aol.com for details on how you can come and get yours!

Hurry up and get your ABC Headband today!


May 12, 2010:

Thinking of something I personally can’t live without for my son and it is The Twilight Turtle night light. I don’t think Dylan would ever go to sleep so happily if it wasn’t for his “turtle stars” lit all over the walls and ceiling. Probably one of the best gifts we got to date! We started using ours when Dylan was about one. Cannot live without!

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