Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lullaby Earth launches crib mattress collection

CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio - Lullaby Earth has launched a line of lightweight, nontoxic, and recyclable crib mattresses that offer a number of health and safety features for babies, the company said.
Lullaby Earth crib mattresses are made by the same company that makes Naturepedic organic cotton mattresses.

Unlike competing products, Lullaby Earth crib mattresses are free of vinyl/PVC, polyurethane foam (including "soybean" foam), PFC- and antibacterial-treated fabrics. They are also waterproofed with easy-to-clean, food-grade polyethylene, the company said. The primary material in the line is polyethylene, but the beds also use some polyester.

"We saw the need for affordable, nontoxic, and recyclable infant mattresses and developed these two super-lightweight models with the highest Greenguard certification available," said Barry Cik, Lullaby Earth's technical director.

Weighing seven pounds (one-quarter the weight of many crib mattresses), the mattresses are six inches thick. The firm surface and edge support provide a comfortable and safe sleep environment, and the seamless edges prevent bacteria buildup from sitting moisture, the company said
The Lullaby Earth mattress retails for $159, while the Lullaby Earth 2-stage Dual Firmness is $199. The Lullaby Earth line is carried by Buy Buy Baby stores as well as independent retailers.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Local Store Offers Summer Camping Tips

While families are returning from Spring Break, Arden & Earl Edelcup, owners of Ross Boutique are busily preparing for what they call, “Our holiday season at Ross’s - - Camp shopping” and offered many tips and suggestions for parents getting their kids ready for camp.

Ross’ has been one of the “go-to” places in downtown Highland Park for families seeking a large affordable selection of items to help campers be prepared for a summer filled with great experiences and memories created at summer camp.  Ross Boutique, located at 625 Central Ave. in Highland Park has been referred to as the “Camp Headquarters” on the North Shore for many years.

35 years ago Ross’s was a two-aisle variety store. Today this multi-faceted store continues to transform itself to meet the evolving needs of their northshore clientele.  Most importantly, their Summer Camp Headquarters section has grown so popular that it now boasts a large “home” within the store. From Soffe shorts to egg carton mattress pads, there is truly nothing a camper needs that can’t be found inside this summer camp mecca.  Most importantly,  Arden Edelcup states, “Every staff member at Ross’s is armed with the individual camp’s supply lists, as well as years of experience, so parents and kids can actually enjoy their guided tour through the maze of options.”

“Packing your child's bags for an overnight camp can be a daunting task if you're not prepared,” said Arden Edelcup. “The process of gathering their personal items and then packing them into a large duffle can be simplified by following these basic guidelines.
  1. Check with the camp for an up-to-date list of recommended items as well as the type of sleeping and bathing arrangements available. It will also be helpful to know the local weather and terrain. 
  2. Consult with the camp for a list of luggage regulations.
  3. Clear a large area such as a spare room or bed to spread out all the items your child will be taking with him.  Begin gathering the items she will be taking with them at least one month before the trip. Place them in the designated area mentioned
“Most overnight camps provide a detailed list of items to bring,” added Earl Edelcup. “With limited time, and a desire to save money, it’s important for parents to know where to go to find the items required and at reasonable prices. Also, some items, like camp fans are worth the splurge because they can be used year after year. This year, Ross’s will have the best new camp chair with padded seating in fun bright colors, which we expect to be a hit with the campers!! These chairs are designed to last longer and can be used for several camp seasons and can be passed down to younger siblings.”

Ross’s has composed a suggested list of the camp items, almost all of which are available at Ross’s:

Bathroom supplies such as towels, wash cloths, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, hair brush or comb.  This year, some of the camps are requiring a lice comb and preventative lice shampoo.  All of these need to be carried in a bath caddy. Some campers like the collapsible mesh caddy while others like the more durable plastic caddy.  Both are great options. This year, Ross’s brought in a plain terry boy’s bathrobe, while most girls opt for more colorful tie dye terry shower wrap or bathrobe.

Shirts and shorts: (it seems that you are going in the summer, so probably short sleeved tops, but pack a few long sleeved ones just in case it gets cold at night or depending on your climate range), pants (again, short or long, some of each), underwear, socks, shoes, hiking boots (if you'll do a lot of hiking).

Bedding & Sleepwear: Sleeping bag or comforter, sheets, and pillow are a must.  However, most campers also bring a mattress pad to cover the flimsy cot mattresses.   Another popular item is a bunk caddy that campers hang off of the side of their bed to hold their pens, paper, & books and journal.  PS. Don’t forget the booklight.   While some campers like to bring their regular pajamas from home, others like flannel pants and t-shirts to sleep in.  They can also wear these same flannel pants or shorts during the day.

Bags and Luggage: Most camps request that campers use a duffel bag, and at Ross’s you will find a great inexpensive one that can be airbrushed with your camp name.  To identify your bag, most campers put bright colored duct tape on their bag.

Every day Essentials: Don’t forget a battery operated fan for your camper.  Some campers prefer the fans that clip onto their bunk, while others purchase the larger ones that cool the whole room.  Cute small rugs also make for a cozy living space.  This year, a new fan necklace has been popular so campers can be cool all day long.   Of course, make sure that campers remember their glasses, contacts, flip-flops, sunglasses, lip balm, hair supplies, deodorant, glasses. laundry bag, several bottles of suntan lotion, a durable water bottle, flashlight/lantern, and a swimsuit.

Stationery & Color Wars:   When campers and their parents come in, the fun really begins when they can pick out their own unique stationery, pens, & games to bring with them.  This allows kids to express their own individuality, while getting them excited to embark on their camp experience.  Parents & Grandparents, don’t forget to stock up on the popular Penny Laine camp cards to send to your camper.  Some camps do not allow packages of goodies from home, while others limit them to a few per season.  However, sending cards is a wonderful way to put a smile on your camper’s face. Campers also like to bring with a variety of toys and books such as: Mad Libs, Yes& Know books, stickers, journals, pillows, comic books and more.  Most campers choose a variety of these time tested items before they go so they can entertain themselves of the bus ride and in their bunks.

Many camps engage in Color Wars which places campers into different groups for a week of friendly competition.  This is fun and festive time for campers to show their spirit.  Ross’s has everything for Color Wars from Go Green sweat bands to Go Red face paint markers.  First time campers may not know which team they are on until they arrive while returning campers stay with the same team every year. Ross’s has composed a suggested list of camp preparation tips:
  • Place a notepad and pen in the packing area. As you pack your child's things, it will be easier to write items down that you remember at the last minute rather than stopping in the middle of packing to go on a scavenger hunt for forgotten items
  • Many people buy new socks and undergarments to send with their child to camp. If appropriate, plan to leave the new items at home, and pack the old. Then he can throw away old undergarments at the end of each day. This will lighten the return home packing process.
  • Try to select clothes that won't wrinkle easily and aren't too bulky.
  • Check the weather forecast for the camp so that you can pack appropriately. Don't forget to send a rain jacket or plastic poncho.
  • Do a literal head-to-toe checklist for each set of clothes to make sure you haven't forgotten anything. Ask yourself the following questions. "What does my child need for his head/hair?" "What does she need for her face?" "What does he need for his neck?" Ask yourself this question for each part of your child's body, down to the feet.
  • Plan to send your child in their heaviest pair of shoes while traveling to the camp so that their bag will be lighter.
  • Pack a couple of sets of old clothes that your child can wear for messy activities.
  • If you're concerned that the travel size items won't last the entire time your child is at camp, then have them use the items a few weeks before he leaves to see how many days each bottle will last. Then you will know what quantity of each travel size item to purchase. Refill the bottles if you can, instead of buying new ones.
  • Try to purchase containers that close securely to prevent leaks.
  • Most camps do not provide linens and towels. Be sure to check and see if you need to send these items.
  • Place two pillow cases on their pillow on the chance that the outside one gets dirty. Also, they can turn the pillowcase inside out.
  • Placing items in clear zip-top bags allows your kids to find things in their luggage quickly without unfolding clothes and disrupting an organized bag. The zip-top bags also help you pack tightly by removing excess air in the luggage.
  • If your camper is traveling with a group for instance on a bus, place an easily identifiable marker on his bag, such as colorful tape or luggage straps, so that they can quickly distinguish their bag from others.
  • Label all of your child's items with their name in case they are misplaced at camp.
  • Pack a robe and flip-flops for use in the shower area. A bag that can hang on the shower faucet is a handy place for your child to place their shower toiletries.
Arden Edelcup added, “Do not wait until the night before your camper leaves to begin packing. If you have forgotten anything it may be too late to purchase. It is best to get a good night’s sleep before sending your child off to camp”.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Consumer Reports: Safe and affordable cribs

ust because a crib is in the store doesn't mean it's safe for your baby.

Consumer Reports tested a number of cribs for safety.

"We looked at 14 cribs from $160 all the way up to $800. To see how well they hold up, we tested them until we literally destroyed them," said Kim Kleman of Consumer Reports.

Each crib was inspected and measured to make sure it adheres to federal guidelines. For example, testers used a block to check if the crib slats are close enough together so little arms and legs can't get trapped.

Another test simulated a baby's repeated bouncing and jumping to see how well the mattress support system holds up.

"I refer to that test as our temper-tantrum test," said Kleman.

And testers measured the strength of the crib slats when pulled.

While all the cribs met government standards, the test revealed big differences.

"But the good news is you don't need to spend a fortune. We found two cribs that we recommend that cost $200 or less," said Kleman.

One is the Graco Charleston Convertible Crib for $190.

"It converts into a toddler bed, so you'll likely get lots of use out of it," Kleman said.

Consumer Reports also recommends Delta Venetian Convertible Sleigh 3-in-1, which is priced at around $160.


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Friday, April 20, 2012

7 Things That You Should Never Buy Used

For bargain shoppers, hitting up secondhand stores, garage sales and online resellers can be a no-brainer.
Actually, in most cases it is a no-brainer.

But while buying used is a great way to save money and ease our savings accounts – and score some unique items – there are some things that are best purchased brand-spanking new.

Forget infamous online sales like a half-eaten piece of toast or pair of dirty socks; there are some cases where buying second hand isn’t just gross, it can be downright dangerous and maybe even an FDA violation.

Baby cribs

Many parents fantasize about giving their babies the best — until reality hits.

Baby stuff costs a fortune and most kids grow out of it before the credit bill even arrives. That’s why buying used clothes, toys and other accessories for babies and young children is a great option.
But there’s one exception: cribs and children’s furniture. That’s because the safety standards for these items continue to evolve.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Administration enacted new mandatory safety standards for cribs that went into effect in 2011, which means cribs purchased before that time may not meet them.

Cribs are also occasionally subject to recalls, which can be difficult to determine years after the fact. Wear and tear as well as missing parts can also affect a used crib’s safety.

Does all this make a used crib a hazard? Not necessarily, but the problem is that it’s much harder to determine whether it’s safe enough for your baby.

Car seats

Did you know that many car seats have expiration dates?

Manufacturers often voluntarily stamp car seats with these dates (which tend to be about six years in the future) to ensure that parents are using seats that meet the latest safety standards.

Even if a car seat appears to be in good condition, it’s much like a crib: you just don’t know its history. If the seat has been in a crash, this can compromise its integrity, making it less reliable in a future collision.
Used seats might also be missing parts and/or instructions, which can make proper (and safe) installation nearly impossible.

Couches and other upholstery

Whether you’re trying to save money or just looking for some cool vintage furniture, there are some pieces you shouldn’t buy secondhand.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Mattress Firm jumps on outlook, acquisition

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Mattress Firm Holding Corp. climbed to a new high Wednesday, a day after the company posted a fourth-quarter profit, gave a full-year outlook above analysts' expectations and announced a deal to buy Mattress Giant for $47 million.

THE SPARK: On Tuesday, Mattress Firm, which went public in November, reported that it earned 56 cents per share in the fourth quarter. The Houston company lost money in last year's fourth quarter.

Mattress Firm also announced that it expects full-year earnings of $1.40 to $1.48 per share on revenue of $1.03 billion to $1.06 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet predict earnings of $1.36 per share on revenue of $880 million.

Mattress Firm anticipates that its acquisition of Mattress Giant will close during the fiscal second quarter ending July 31.

THE ANALYSIS: Bradley Thomas of KeyBanc Capital Markets said in a client note that the Mattress Giant deal should add to Matrress Firm's earnings in 2013 and strengthen its position in several key markets.
The analyst raised Mattress Firm's price target to $56 from $44 and maintained a "Buy" rating. He said that the company remains one of his top picks for 2012.

SHARE ACTION: Mattress Firm's stock gained $4.32, or 11.5 percent, to $41.75 in morning trading. The stock went as high as $44.83 earlier in the session, which is more than double the $22 that the stock opened at in its first day of trading on Nov. 18.

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