Archive for Mamanista

Hottest Holiday Toys and 12 Days of Giveaways

Hottest Holiday Toys and Giveaways at MamanistaOver at Mamanista we have our Hottest Holiday Toys 2008 Guide and 12 Days of Giveaways! I spent a lot of time selecting what I believe is a great list of toys for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners in a variety of price range, mostly from smaller independent retailers (although there are a bunch available at major retailers, too).

Then, I added dozens of great coupon codes.

We’re giving extra entries for sharing the guide, too.

I hope you’ll check it out!

Toys to Trust for a Safer Christmas

With all the recalls, I’ve been busy looking for toys I can trust.

So, my personal blog has suffered a bit, but it is for a good cause! I have put together a guide of lead-free, non-toxic, safer toy options. Right now it has online retailers that take special care in identifying where the toys are manufactured, selecting only toys from brands with impeccable safety records, testing toys themselves, and in some cases all three:

Toys to Trust

Toys to Trust from Mamanista!

And we are also giving away lots of safer toys and other gifts:

12 Days of Giveaways of Toys and Gifts at Mamanista

12 Days of Giveaways from Mamanista!

So far we are half-way through:

  1. The First Adventures of the Incredible You, a Fun and Funky Personalized Storybook (ends 11/27)
  2. Name Your Tune, an exciting collection of personalized children’s songs (ends 11/28)
  3. Let’s Play Mail, an imaginative felt play set from Craftsbury Kids (ends 11/29)
  4. Jabber Jot, a fun, educational game from Learning is an Art (ends 11/30)
  5. $100 Gift Certificate to Natural Pod, natural and organic toys and products for living (ends 12/01)
  6. Three Wooden Puzzles from ImagiPLAY’s collection of non-toxic, socially responsible, and environmentally-friendly toys (ends 12/03)

…with more to come!

We also have two more fabulous giveaways on the site:

We aren’t the only ones who are focused on safe, non-toxic, lead-free toys this season. Of course I would like you to browse our guide, do your shopping with our links, enter our giveaways, and grab our buttons to spread the word, but I also really want you to have a safe Holiday with your family! So, for even more information, Cool Mom Picks has a Safer Toy Guide with their favorite picks and My Two Boys is keeping a list of Lead-Free Toys, and checking it twice. I also hear that my favorite Crunchy Domestic Goddess is working on a guide, and you can always check her out for eco-friendly, natural, and child safe tips.

Spicy Witch Fingers

Over at Mamanista! we’re having a Kooky Carnival, where bloggers and webmasters who contribute a will be entered to win an e-subscription to What’s Cooking and a copy of the Shrek Cookbook.

I’m not entering since I own that blog, too, but here’s my recipe for Spicy Witch Fingers:


12 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and cleaned of seeds, etc.
1 red bell pepper
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, or monterey jack cheese
Spices to taste: garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper
1 cup breadcrumbs
salsa, for serving


  1. Halve and clean jalapenos carefully (most people will want to use gloves)
  2. Mix together cream cheese, shredded cheese and spices.
  3. Fill jalapeno peppers with cheese and spice mixture
  4. Roll stuffed peppers in bread crumbs**
  5. Cut the red bell pepper into mini-triangles for witch nails and press into the narrow end of the jalapeno.***
  6. Cook at 350 for 30 minutes on a greased pan or on foil.
  7. Serve with bloody salsa or other dip if desired.

** Some people like to dip the peppers first in flour, then in a well-beaten egg, then the bread crumbs

*** If prepping ahead, you can freeze these.

Captain Dad shows off my spicy witch fingers and bloody monster toes.

More Contest Fun!

Here are the latest plugs for contests around the blogosphere.

I want to win:

  • A $50 Gift Certificate from But I can’t, because it is on my blog. Anyone can enter through the comments section and we’d love for you to submit a photo to get a second entry. We’ve gotten some really cute ones so far–please send us more. Enter by Oct. 5.
  • Mod*Mom’s Dyson Vacuum Giveaway. I mentioned it last time but it is too cool not to mention again. Mod*Mom is a breast cancer survivor and her story is as inspiring as her design sense. Enter by Oct 1.
  • Well, the super-nice ladies at 5 minutes for mom ALSO want you to know that Dyson has Gone Pink and have one to give away, too. If you don’t already have visions of a pink dyson dancing across your carpet, go enter anyway to support Breast Cancer research…and if you win you can give me your vacuum 😉 Enter by Oct. 1.
  • Lots of cool stuff from Two Moms in a Blog, including a stuffed animal kit. Enter by September 30.
  • Mom Views has a copy of Siente. This is a lovely CD and we actually have one to give away later in October, too. We’ve been backlogged with contests but I’ll let you know when ours is up. Enter by Sept. 30.
  • So, a Blonde Walks Into a Review and hosts a shopping spree at Skimbaco. If you haven’t already checked out Skimbaco, make sure to give Katja’s great luxury children’s boutique a looksee. Enter by Sept. 30.
  • Lincoln is currently offering a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate to qualified bloggers who mention his blog, the Habitation of Justice on their sites. Go check it out! Enter by October 24.
  • Cool Moms Rule is giving a way a different prize every day for a week.
  • Finally, who couldn’t use a fresh look, so enter this contest by October 4:

Also, Laura Williams lists lots of contests and she has two of her own going on right now:

Laura Williams' Musings

And you’ll always find more great contests at From Dates to Diapers:

Business and Politics

Do you go out of your way to avoid businesses that advocate different view points from yours?

A commenter on Mamanista! objected to a business’s reference to a logo of the Democrat Donkey as “The Good Guys” and the Republican Elephant as “The Other Guys” on his photo caption.

Obviously the business owner is free to do as he pleases with his site design and consumers are also free to buy or not buy. Freedom of expression and freedom of association are not exactly being threatened here.

I don’t want to go too deep into it but I will say this particular partisan joke did not rise to the level of inspiring me to boycott–I like the shirts and plan to buy them again in the future.

This particular case was just what sparked a train of thought about how I personally make my purchasing decisions and how I support people, companies, and possibly ideologies with my dollars.

What would it take for me to boycott a company? Is ideology sufficient if the issue large enough? Direct financial support by the company of an ideology? Actual actions on the part of the company? What sort of obligation do I have to research or follow-up on stories about these issues?

Just wondering what others thought about some of these issues…what does it take to get you to boycott a company?

Father’s Day Gift Guide, Contest, and Exclusive Coupons at Mamanista!

Hi, everyone…we interrupt your normal bi-polar mommy blogging for this commercial message:

I just published a Father’s Day Gift Guide on Mamanista! If you would like to link to it and/or leave a comment about products you like or products we should add, that would be awesome!

If you need more ideas, we are constantly adding links to our Affiliates’ Father’s Day Gift Guides, too!

Also this month we are having a contest for our newsletter subscribers–two subscribers will win a Miracle Blanket. More contests will be announced, soon!

We have three exclusive coupon codes (check our right sidebar) for:

Miracle Blanket – $5 off
Skimbaco, a Children’s Boutique – 15% off
Sittercity – 10% off

We also have a listing of tons of other coupons to check out.

Of course, I would also like if you visit our sponsors and our affiliates through our links…and if you enjoy Mamanista!, please send us some link love and let me know.