play kitchen makeover: from janky to swanky

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swanky

Every so often, I take a peek at Going Crafty, where the posts are not frequent, but when they do occur, they make an impact! This time around it was a “pinktastic” play kitchen picked up at a Big Lots for $20, then painted and updated — including a little on/off light in the microwave — for a little boy’s birthday. It looks as good or better as anything I’ve seen at high-end kids’ stores. Click for the DIY! — Mary T.

teachers: win a grant to kick-start healthier eating at school

fromthecoop

We’ve posted before about the sometimes dire state of school lunches, so this contest caught our eye: The American Egg Board and egg farmers have partnered with Scholastic to launch the Good Egg Project Back to Breakfast Teacher Challenge. In short, if you’re a teacher who writes a winning essay about how breakfast can improve achievement, attentiveness, and attendance in the classroom, your school will receive a $5,000 grant to help get lunchroom offerings on a healthier track. But the deadline is coming up fast: Monday, May 17. Visit Scholastic for contest details.

skip hop products: practical fun for all

skiphopbackpacks
blanketpacked
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I love Skip Hop’s kid products — the Zoo Packs backpacks are cute, reasonably priced, and sized just for toddlers. It looks like their new picnic line is just as smartly designed. Not only is the Central Park Blanket & Cooler Bag, $45, BPA-, PVC- and phthalate-free, it’s completely water resistant. You can pack your picnic blanket and snacks all in one place and not worry too much about clean-up afterward, and you can even use the bag by itself when you’re on the go. — Sarah L.

manny & simon rockers: let the spoiling begin

animalrockers

This is gonna be a big, BIG year for my family. Me, I’m newly engaged and planning a wedding (more on that later). But the real big news comes from my sister who is going to have a baby! We don’t know the sex just yet, but I’m already finding impossibly cute unisex clothes and toys that I’m dying to buy for “it.” One of these Manny & Simon animal rockers is high on the list. They’re made of 100% post-industrial recycled wood residuals and painted with non-toxic and ultra low odor paint. These little guys come with a hefty price tag, but every kid needs an Aunt to spoil him or her rotten, right?! — Erica P.