Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tees for Two

When I received an email from Cindy Hoeppner, the founder/creator of MiteTees, introducing me to her products along with an extraordinarily kind request to consider a review; naturally, a peek to the website was in order. Whenever a line offers twin-specific items---as does MiteTees---they get an extra gold star for their inclusion in our book!

A cursory overview of the line seemed to reveal a "baby/toddler only" focus---with sizes topping out at 6T. Within a very short time, my "Do they come any larger?" query to the "Contact Us" link on-site was quicky fielded with an enthusiastic "We can do up to 8T!" response. With our disparately sized duo, this was good news indeed.

Within a very few days after asking Darren and Sarah which multiples-born message best suited their tastes, our gratis-for-our-review consideration* Mitetees arrived in the mail. The packaging was stand-out; a colorful crown adorned Darren's cellophane wrap, a bright flower on Sarah's.

In most instances wherein new articles of clothing are acquired, no matter how charming to my maternal eyes, the items invariably go to the drawer awaiting the Sarah-determined "right time" to wear. In contrast, when our Mitetees arrived, both He-Twin and She-Twin pulled off the shirts they had on, and the Mitetees became the garment du well as their PJ tops for that night!

[Point of clarification: Jam does NOT come with the Mitetees. Jelly face not included.]

Our reviews:
Mitetees' catchy slogans/motifs are printed on high-quality, very soft tee shirts. The old-school typewriter typeface printing complete with trademark appealed greatly to my retro taste sensibilities. This message in particular strikes a fun note for our family as my husband--the twins' Double Daddy--and I have long been involved in TV/Video/Advertising. Assured of the tees' quality, I can easily see us purchasing Mitetees for colleagues and friends in the business---twins or no. The ONLY drawback from my perspective is there is noticeable shrinkage after washing/drying...not unlike other cotton clothing. Select your sizes accordingly.
Mommy's grade for Mitetees: A

"My shirt feels a little bit rough, but I really like it."
Sarah's grade for Mitetees: A

Darren: "Mitetees are fun to wear because I think they are really soft. It's really, really cool and funny."
Darren's grade for Mitetees: A+

*When items are submitted free-of-charge for our review consideration, the providing company is notified prior to submission that Tw-In Reviews are always honest, and not always positive, nor is a review of any product guaranteed by virtue of product submission.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Superlatively Sendak

No big screen adaptation of Maurice's masterpiece for us. Much like I never wanted to see the film interpretation of my much-loved Harriet the Spy (or Little Women for that matter), our family is politely boycotting Spike Jonze's cinematic version of Where the Wild Things Are.

For Darren in particular, the enigmatically illustrated participants in the wild rumpus of infamy are revered---and have been for years.
To tamper too dramatically with my son's minds-eye imaginings based on the Caldecott award winning text originals borders on blasphemy.

Timed impeccably, the folks at Scholastic Storybook Treasures offered to send us a copy of their new DVD release (we had already purchased and nearly worn out their first incarnation) of Where The Wild Things Are & Five More Stories By Maurice Sendak for our review.

We were pleasantly surprised to discover this repackaged presentation has an added read-along function (a facet I like, but in truth, the kids find it distracting), a reading of Wild Things in French and Spanish, and a different, more fleshed out interview with Mr. Sendak himself. Darren often popped in our first DVD of WTWTA to simply enjoy the author discussing the conception of his seminal story and other writings. Our new DVD is providing further insights from the writer himself, and Darren couldn't be happier. Neither could I.
In Darren's words: "This DVD is cool, awesome and fun to watch. When Max hypnotizes the Wild Things it is actually magical."

Watching my children enjoy literary works well-remembered from my youth---maintaining in video form the integrity of the original books---is indeed nothing shy of magical.

As a parent, I give this new and improved DVD a solid, "eat you up I love you so" A...
and thank Scholastic Storybook Treasures very much for our gratis review copy.

How would you like to give your kids---and yourself---the opportunity to enjoy the newly released DVD of Where the Wild Things Are? Leave a comment here along with the title of your favorite book from childhood.
On Tuesday, will select FIVE lucky winners---each of whom will receive a copy of Where The Wild Things Are & Five More Stories By Maurice Sendak!

*You may comment once per calendar day, GOOD LUCK!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Santa brought Sarah her single most-desired request: the oft-advertised Bendaroos.

Despite the negative reviews online, Santa---the consummate positive thinker---had faith, knowing the tenacity of Sarah's artistic commitment, if any child could make them work, she certainly could.

She's done wall drawings with them and decorated her drawer pulls with Bendaroo spirals. She even made me a sweet little swan.

[Overheard after dinner, after she's been laboring 45+ minutes to create her self-portrait in sculpture, using a styrofoam ball for her head and a Vitamin 10 bottle for her body.]

Sarah: "This Bendaroo stuff LIES! I've been working and working and they keep popping off. I love Bendaroos, but they just don't work."

Mommy: "Should we write a bad review? Give them a C...or worse?"

Sarah: "You should say that people should not waste their money on things that don't work like they say they Bendaroos. Also say that they look really fun on TV, but it's not like that in real life. I have to keep pressing and pressing them down...and they still pop off. See? One's popping off right now!"

Mommy: "If you had to give them a grade, what would you give them?"

Sarah: "An F or a D."

So ends our review: Purchase at your own risk.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hooked on a Feeling

As a child---whether by nature, nurture or both---I was happy.

Even today, happiness tends to be my default demeanor...and genuine feeling. Now, as a parent, I find myself occasionally uncomfortable when my kids express "less-than-upbeat" emotions. Somehow, my personal experience of those "negative" emotions is either grossly limited, entirely forgotten, or fully ready to be retrieved in psychotherapy! But in all seriousness, who doesn't feel the need to make loving, worthwhile connections when our children perhaps have a disimilar way of demonstrating their sadness, anger, anxiety, jealousy, disappointment, and the like? And as a twin mama---with a boy and a girl---I've learned the mere fact they shared uterine quarters does not guarantee the efficacy of a "one-size-fits-all" response!

Amazingly, after contemplating these very things earlier this year, I had the great good fortune to be selected as a faculty member* for Pepperidge Farm's Fishful Thinking campaign. As such, I was gifted with the the opportunity to hear the amazing Dr. Karen Reivich speak in person, testifying to the importance of feelings on all ends of the spectrum. Headlong into the activities category of the FishfulThinking website we dove!

[*Yes, I have absolutely been given compensation for my exploration of---and sharing of---the parenting resource. However, I can say with 100% honesty, compensation or no, I would enthusiastically share the positive parenting elements of FishfulThinking regardless. The fact that Pepperidge Farm is "giving back" to parents through this free resource pleases me greatly. With continuing 100% honesty, I can also verify there are a scandalous few websites, brand-affiliated or otherwise, that merit the full exploration and exploitation FishfulThinking does. A friend recently asked, "What company would you like to work with next on your blog?" Short answer: I'm not looking. There you go.]

So back to our emotional rescue...

Knowing full well the exceedingly different children our seven-year-old twins are, I decided Darren and I (while his sister was out with Daddy) would embark upon a game of Emotion Charades. Not only would it help me identify his means of perceiving and conveying key emotions, but it might just help me come to better grips with my own. So we began...

Pick a card, any card.

Our enactments ran the gamut. What do you think Darren was feeling?

I was...
My disinterest made Darren...
But after 45+ minutes of fun and laughter (and very revealing expressions), when Darren picked up his last card to act out---and did so by walking to me for a hug, I knew we'd be playing this FishfulThinking game---and others---far more often.
As it should be with any good product review, we've got something for you to win!

Go check out the website.

Come back here and leave a comment with something from the site you found particularly interesting, compelling or energizing. will select one of the commenters to win a smiley Goldfish cloth cap (like the one I am wearing in the picture above)!

Ten additional commenters will receive a coupon for $3 off any Pepperidge Farm product (mmm...think lots of Milanos, Mamas)

...and all remaining commenters will receive a "Where Will Your Optimism Take You?" tasseled bookmark!

So what are you waiting for? Fun website to explore and freebies...don't ignore!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Better Than a String Around My Finger...

...their initials around my neck.

Mommy: Lisa Leonard of Lisa Leonard Designs sent me a Sarah and Darren-ized version of her "inspired necklace," Kisses & Hugs. The pictures on her site (and mine) hardly do the piece justice! I absolutely adore it.

Sarah: "It has lower-case letters."

Darren: "It has the best letter in the world...'D!'"

Mommy: Shortly after the twins' birth, I purchased an oval silver locket for myself. By its daily presence around my neck, no matter where I am, I'm reminded of my motherhood. Now, my locket has got some serious competition!

Since my Kisses and Hugs necklace arrived, I've removed it only for showering, for sleeping hours, and to take the photograph above! Sometimes the "s" is on top. Sometimes the "d" is on top. Sometimes the delicate little pearl droplet is on top and the kids need to move it to see whose initial is "dominant" at the moment! The little sterling ball chain suits the pendants perfectly and hangs at just the right length for most v-neck collars. As someone who likes to give personalized jewelry to friends and family, I can say without reservation I'll be shopping her designs for future gifts...and for myself!

Soooo...have you gotten yourself a little something for Mother's Day yet?

You haven't? Want to rationalize a little bit of indulgence? I've got a discount code to share for 10% off your order! Leave a comment below with your favorite item from the Lisa Leonard Designs site. I'll reciprocate by leaving a comment on your most recent blog post and will include the discount code. You're not a blogger? Email me your favorite piece using the "Comment" button above and I'll email you the code.

I've already set my sights on what I think I am going to order....

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Talk, Talk...

Oh, we'll be talking!

A cavalcade of reviews, special discounts for Tw-In Reviews readers/commenters and plenty what everyone always wants...GIVEAWAYS!

First review (which will include a commenter-only coupon) goes live Mother's Day Eve.

Be sure to check back in!