Posts tagged: toystores

I am a Blog Capitalist

By , May 29, 2008 10:20 pm

My first real foray in to the world of blog capitalism is open for business. No, I am not plastering Unplug Your Kids with ads for cheap narcotics, online casinos, and get rich quick schemes. It’s just my store!

All my life I have secretly wanted to own a toy store and a bookstore and fill my stores with all the toys and books that I like! (“Mines, mines, MINES!!!” as my 2 year-old would say). As a child, my toys were very meaningful to me. I am a packrat who kept many of them. I guess I just haven’t grown up yet.

Since owning a real “brick and mortar” toy or book store isn’t very practical in this day and age (especially in my small town), and there are plenty of wonderful online stores already, I decided to try setting up my own store through Amazon, just for fun. Besides, the toys and books that I like probably aren’t mainstream enough to ever be profitable anyway.

I have been fooling around with my store for over a year now, so it is finally time to try it out. I am quite proud that I managed to figure out how to fit the iframe reasonably well into my page. I feel like quite a techie!

As with all my Amazon links, I’ll earn a small percentage of any sale, even if someone enters Amazon via my store (or any Amazon link on my blog for that matter) and buys something else.

I don’t expect to become the next Donald Trump from this. My goal is very humble: to fund the purchase of a new book every month to review on my blog. I figure that in this way, I would be passing some of the goodness back to others. Of course I will feel that I have really hit the big time if I can cover the monthly cost of my web site hosting too!

This blog originally started out, long, long ago as a “shopping blog,” inspired by my friend Wishy who liked the gifts I bought her daughter. I guess my store is also a way to preserve that aspect of it, while I delve into other topics on the blog itself, as I have been doing for over a year now.

This leads to my last point…and if you have made it this far in reading my post, I am grateful! In addition to the more monetarily-oriented goals that I have mentioned above, I really hope that my store can help people cut through some of the toy and book junk out there. Having only a Walmart and Kmart to shop at for toys has made me an expert online shopper. I would like to pass along the good finds to others. Most of what I recommend, we have and love. The rest is stuff I would like to have and love!

So, I hope you enjoy the Unplug Your Kids store. If you like it, then check back from time to time because I will add new things as I find them. I also have a seasonal section that I plan on changing every so often. Knowing me, I will be tinkering with the store for quite some time.

The link is the “Shop Unplug Your Kids” tab in the upper right sidebar.

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(Photo thanks to photographer Kevin Rosseel and morguefile.com.)

Some More Toy Shopping Temptations…

By , November 30, 2007 10:46 pm

A couple more Unplugged Toy Stores I have found:

Kid Bean (Organic and vegan toys, clothing and products) – TOYS: Wooden toys, cooperative games, organic cotton stuffed toys and dolls, and arts and crafts supplies.

The Silly Wagon (Boutiquey-type stuff: clothing, toys, decor, accessories, etc.) – TOYS: Wooden toys, arts and crafts, plush and handcrafted. (Exudes a bit of a trendy boutique air, but I thought some of the prices weren’t too bad compared to similar items at other stores, and there were some toys and clothes that I would buy).

Palumba (Natural and Waldorf toys) – TOYS: Large assortment of wood toys, playsilks, dolls, pretend play, arts and crafts, etc.

Gosh, there are really a lot of stores out there, but some of them are just too style-conscious or too expensive for me. If I can’t find a toy that I would buy at the price they are asking, then it doesn’t make my cut. If I feel that it is all more about “trendy baby/mama” then it doesn’t make it either.

Be sure to check for coupon codes here before considering any purchase!

Treasure Trove of Coupon Codes!!!

By , November 29, 2007 10:06 pm

OK, instead of my early bed, I have been doing a little online shopping from some Unplugged Toy Stores. But I have just discovered a huge resource for coupon codes for some of these stores (as well as a few others that are not (yet) on my list). I have to share this link with you:

Go to this motheringdotcommune thread and read the messages. There are some great codes for some wonderful stores! I am so excited!

I used one for Quiet Hours Toys and it worked like a charm.

Happy shopping!

Toy Shopping and the "Need to Have"

By , October 29, 2007 9:54 pm

One of the things that bothers me about shopping for toys is that “need to have” feeling. It seems that there are two ends of the “need to have” spectrum.

One end is the commercial, media and advertising-driven branding that occurs, where children “need to have” the latest Tickle Me Elmo, or Bratz doll. As an unplugged household, my children are not subjected to the same barrage of ads so this is not such a problem. They do pick up some information on the playground at school (even at their small Montessori school). They know who Sponge Bob and the Disney Princesses are, but they really don’t know much about all the character toys out there.

Even if we venture to the toy aisle of Walmart or Kmart (unfortunately our only two local “toy store” options), they are interested in looking, and sometimes express interest, but don’t “need to have” those popular toys. They love inspecting toy catalogs that come in the mail and often see something in there that they “need,” especially my son (age 5) and especially if it involves a weapon (I feel another post coming on about that subject!). But they are blissfully unaware of what is truly popular.

The other end of the spectrum of “toy need” is that of the “natural” toys, Waldorf-inspired toys, or Montessori-inspired toys. I believe that this “need” is driven more by parents than children. Many parents, myself included, want to supply their child with good quality, non-toxic (hopefully), long-lasting, educational toys. We “unplugged parents” don’t believe in the huge wave of new electronic toys marketed as being educational. We believe in simple, classic toys without noises or flashing lights. Toys such as blocks, playsilks, simple wooden vehicles or dolls for example, are what we choose to buy for our children.

As a member of this second group, I love all those “Unplugged Toy Stores” that I link to in my left sidebar. The truth is however, that these toys are expensive for what they are, and the toys are often imported from Europe (which of course leaves a larger carbon footprint). Amanda of The Rowdy Pea recently wrote a wonderful post with some suggestions for making many of these toys yourself.

- Fun! (“Unplugged Project” anyone?)
- Inexpensive, or even free in some cases.
- And quality you can trust because you made it yourself!

I guess I’ll still seek out those websites, and buy those toys, but if I can make it easily myself, then I should really try to do that and feel a lot better about the whole “unplugged toy” shopping process! Thanks Amanda!

A few interesting toymaking links:

MotheringDotCommune-Toys and Dolls Page (discussion forum of Mothering.com) – interesting posts and suggestions for making your own Waldorf dolls and toys.

PlaystandPlans.com
– plans for making your own playstands – $17.99 (but honestly, as Amanda points out, playstands seem pretty simple and a semi-decent handy-person should probably be able to figure it out.

(*Great blog!*) Echoes of a DreamBasic instructions for making a Waldorf doll, her hanging fairies are lovely too!

Waldorf Doll photo from Wikimedia Commons, photographer Sebastian Sprenger, click here for full license information.

Thank You Amanda!

By , October 21, 2007 10:31 am

Amanda from The Rowdy Pea drew my name out of a hat as the lucky recipient of her “crafty giveaway.” I was quite surprised, since I never win anything. But sure enough, Amanda’s package arrived a few days ago much to the excitement of us all!

I wish I had taken photos of how everything was wrapped, because even the wrapping was lovely, but I didn’t get to my camera in time. The children and I joyfully opened the package to find:

- A lovely handmade baby smock (here it is on the baby). Can you see the adorable pattern on the fabric? Kind of a retro kitten print:

- Some clever handmade note cards with sweet illustrations and the cutest little doll I have ever seen (the children have named her Loreena for some reason):

- There was also a very handy Burt’s Bees Lip Balm that my 7 year-old daughter was excited to appropriate.

Amanda’s handiwork is just gorgeous and I am deeply impressed. Not being a “crafty” kind of person, I simply can’t imagine the painstaking work involved in crafting little Loreena for example.

Amanda has just opened an Etsy shop called Dream Child Studio where you can buy your own Loreena and friends, as well as gnomes and adorable wool felt dress-up crowns. Her shop seems to have really taken off as I notice that she has sold most of her inventory already. Please keep checking it though, since I am sure she will be restocking it as soon as she can make some more treasures.

One last thought: Amanda’s acorn-capped dolls and gnomes would make perfect stocking stuffers and they are lovingly handcrafted in Minnesota by Amanda (no toxic ingredients!).

Thank you so much Amanda, for sending us your sweet gifts and brightening our day!

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