Friday, April 16, 2010

Hobo Mama Giveaway: Simplisse breast pump — plus breastfeeding accessories ($116 value)! {5.12}

This giveaway is now closed. View the winner here! Thank you all so much for entering!

I'm sorry to suspend this giveaway, but it's come to my attention that Simplisse might be affiliated with a company I cannot support due to violations of the World Health Organization's code with respect to advertising breast milk substitutes and feeding instruments.

I have tried to be professional and courteous and have been in contact with the company over this, but it has now been over a week since Simplisse last responded to my inquiries. I will post more when I find out further information. Till then, I'm closing the comments.

So that this has not been a waste of my lovely entrants' time, if the giveaway ends early, I will select a winner from among those of you who have already entered. If any of you who have entered wish to opt out of the contest in light of this new information, please contact me: mail {at} Please note that the issue is not with the quality of the products reviewed in this giveaway but with the advertising practices of a second (bottle) company that may or may not be related to Simplisse.

I apologize for the inconvenience and confusion, and I'll let you know when I find out more.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hobo Mama Giveaway: Melissa & Doug wooden puzzle from Gummy Lump Toys — winner's choice! {5.12} CLOSED

This giveaway is now closed. View the winner here! Thank you all so much for entering!

Our newest treasure is a Melissa & Doug wooden ABC puzzle from Gummy Lump Toys! And the best news? You can win your own choice of wood puzzle from!

Read on!

Gummy Lump Toys is one of those wonderful online toy companies that carries only toys you'd be proud to have your children own. The toys are creative and educational and multi-purpose to spark kids' imaginations. They tend to be made from natural and durable materials, mostly wood, and they're the type of toys that win awards for excellence.

So when Gummy Lump wrote me and offered me a Melissa & Doug wooden puzzle to review, I jumped at the chance. I have other Melissa & Doug puzzles so knew it was just a matter of choosing the right one to keep Mikko amused.

Boy howdy, did I choose right!

Witness the ABC Peg Puzzle!

N.B. This puzzle has delightful little pegs.
Intended for ages 2 years and up, this sturdily built wooden puzzle features nice little pegs that little fingers can grab. The images on the pieces are the letters of the alphabet, and underneath — surprise! — there's a corresponding picture that starts with each letter.

The puzzle builds matching, reading, memory, and manual dexterity skills. That's just from my observations alone!

But don't take my word for it. Here's a video to see my alphabet whiz in action:

You get to hear him want to eat all the food pictures in the puzzle. It seems all virtuous until he clarifies that he wants a Schokolade (chocolate) egg, not one of those regular nutritious ones. You also get to hear him exclaim with unfeigned delight over a W that's actually an M, but who can correct him when he's being such an adora-toddler?

Mikko loves this puzzle. He asks for it by saying he wants to "play letters!" Within a few days, he memorized what picture was under which letter, even though some of them were unfamiliar to him: "insect" for I, "nest" for N, and "yarn" for Y. (Clearly I need to get out my knitting more…)

Chubby starfish hands grasp pegs with ease! I think that should be their advertising copy, don't you?
This is one of those puzzles where the parent feels good because it seems all educational and stuff, and the child feels good because he has no idea he's Learning Something Useful.

Is there anything I would change about the puzzle? Well, there's nothing I can't live with. Some of the letters fit a little loosely, so sometimes Mikko thinks a piece is in the wrong space or turned the wrong way when it's not. Some of the images they chose are a little obscure, but that's actually turned out fine, since it's taught Mikko new vocabulary ("jump rope," for instance). The images have to fit within the confines of the letter shape, so some letters were probably easier to match words to than others.

As far as my experience with Gummy Lump Toys, I have nothing but good to say about their fabulous response and shipping times and the great shape the puzzle came in. I even appreciate their story of why they're called Gummy Lump.

We've really been enjoying playing with this puzzle at home and on the go. It's the kind of activity that can entertain a toddler while adults have some conversation time. (No, really! Actual conversation!) The only downside is that the pieces of course end up in a big pile in your bag. Does anyone have a solution to this? One of my favorite Melissa & Doug items is actually their travel puzzle sets for easy transport reasons. And, there are some puzzle storage solutions for keeping puzzles organized at home or school, but what do you do when you travel with puzzles? Seriously, if you leave a good solution, I'll give you an extra entry!

Can you hear him saying "P" for "pear"?

Gummy Lump Toys wants to offer you the chance to win your very own wood puzzle, up to $12. You can choose based on the age and interest of your own kidlet(s).

For instance:

That's right: The hard part is picking your favorite!


You can find ours and similar wood puzzles at for very reasonable prices or on Amazon! For instance, the Melissa & Doug ABC Peg Puzzle I received is currently on sale for only $6.39, and there's a whole (jam-packed!) category of toys under $10.

Besides puzzles, Gummy Lump Toys carries all sorts of quality creative and educational toys from respected companies like Melissa & Doug, Guidecraft, Haba, KidKraft, Citiblocs, and more! You can shop by age, category, or brand. The fact that they've subdivided their site into so many helpful categories makes it really easy to find something that suits your kids or a gift recipient.

Gummy Lump offers free U.S. shipping on orders over $75.


For your own chance to win a wood puzzle from Gummy Lump Toys, up to $12 in current price, enter in the comments below! Contest is open to U.S. only (sorry, my dear international friends — you know I would mail to you if I were doing the mailing).

MAIN ENTRY: Head on over to and tell me what glorious wooden puzzle (up to $12) you would choose!

Leave an email address in at least one of your comments if it's not clearly visible on your profile or linked web page so I can contact you if you win. (You can write it like this to foil spambots: mail (at) hobomama (dot) com or similar.)

BONUS ENTRIES, to increase your chance of winning (leave a separate comment for each so I can count them all):
  • Tell me what lovely little one(s) will enjoy this puzzle if you win!
  • Tell me what kind of puzzle your little puzzler(s) would prefer (you can see my list above for types such as jumbo knob, chunky, peg, jigsaw, etc.).
  • Poke around and tell me what other toy catches your eye!
  • Follow or subscribe to the Gummy Lump blog.
  • Follow publicly through Google Friend Connect, or subscribe to the Hobo Mama Reviews RSS feed in a reader or by email.
  • Follow through Google Friend Connect, or subscribe to the Hobo Mama RSS feed in a reader or by email.
  • Follow @GummyLump on Twitter and leave your Twitter name in the comment.
  • Follow @Hobo_Mama on Twitter and leave your Twitter name in the comment.
  • Tweet this giveaway. This may be done once daily for still more entries. Leave the direct URL, which can be found by clicking the time stamp under your Tweet. You can create your own text or copy/paste this: Win your choice of an adorable Melissa & Doug wood puzzle from @GummyLump and @Hobo_Mama! {5.12}
  • It is entirely possible to wear a kicky hat while completing your puzzle.
  • Become a fan of Gummy Lump on Facebook.
  • Become a fan of Hobo Mama on Facebook.
  • Follow Hobo Mama on Networked Blogs on Facebook.
  • Enter another of my current giveaways (1 extra entry per giveaway).
  • Do something lovely for this post, a post on the Gummy Lump blog, or a post on Hobo Mama (StumbleUpon, Twitter, Facebook, Digg, etc.) and let me know what it was and which post in your comment. There is a Share button below each post on Hobo Mama. You can gain 1 extra entry per share, up to 3 extra entries total.
  • Fave me on Technorati and leave your user name.
  • Put my Carnival of Natural Parenting button on your website for 2 extra entries. The HTML code is in the sidebar. Leave your site URL in the comment.
  • Include this giveaway in a post on your own blog for 3 extra entries. Leave the direct link in your comment. Feel free to use this code or craft your own (and here's a tutorial on pasting html code into a Blogger post and one for WordPress):
    <!-- BEGIN CODE --> <center><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Gummy Lump Melissa & Doug alphabet wooden puzzle for toddler -- see inside ABC letters" width="350" height="262"></a></center><p><img src="" border="0" alt="Gummy Lump Melissa &amp;amp; Doug wooden puzzle for toddler ABC letters" align="right" width="250" height="375"><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Hobo Mama Reviews</strong></a> is giving away a <strong>wooden puzzle of your choice</strong> (up to $12) from <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Gummy Lump Toys</strong></a>.</p> <p>Choose <strong>based on your child's age and interests</strong> — jumbo knob puzzles for the littlest tots, chunky puzzles that are sure to delight the terrific twos, or wooden jigsaws for preschoolers on up — in <strong>a variety of themes</strong>, from adorable farm animals to realistic dinosaurs to twirling ballerinas to flashy trucks.</p> <p><strong>Melissa & Doug puzzles</strong> are well-made, colorful, educational, and imaginative, and <strong></strong> is an online toy store selling only the best in creative, high-quality toys.</p> <p><strong>Enter at <a href="" target="_blank">Hobo Mama Reviews</a> by May 12</strong> for your chance to win!</p> <p><em>Open to U.S. addresses only.</em></p><!-- END CODE -->

  • Contest open to U.S. ADDRESSES ONLY. (Sorry, everyone else!) Shipping is by UPS, so a street address is required (no P.O. Boxes).
  • Leave each entry as a separate comment so I can count them all.
  • For actions like following and subscribing, if you already follow or subscribe, just let me know in your comment.
  • For tasks that garner you multiple entries, say something like "I blogged [link here] #1," "I blogged [link here] #2," etc.
  • You don't have to do any of the bonus entries, but you do have to complete the first mandatory one.
  • I will pick the winner through after the contest closes and send an email notification. Leave an email address in your comment if it's not clearly visible on your profile or linked web page so I can contact you if you win. If I can't reach a winner or don't hear back within a couple days, I'll draw a new name.
  • Any questions, let me know: mail {at}

Contest closes May 12 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Disclosure: I received a free puzzle from Gummy Lump Toys
for my review but no other compensation.
I try to seek out only products I think you would find
relevant and useful to your life as a natural parent.
If I don't like a product, I won't be recommending it to you.
That's how I roll. See my full disclosure policy here.