Hmm...what to do today?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Whimsy's Turning Three! Here's my Updated Review:

Whimsy, circa 2014
Whimsy today (September 2017)

Three years ago this month, Whimsy opened in Saratoga and introduced a whole new concept to the South Bay's play scene: a place made for kids and parents, where little ones can enjoy a gorgeous playroom under staff supervision while parents chat with friends, get some work done, or just relax in the cafe a few feet away. (Comfy chairs. Made-to-order coffee drinks. US Weekly. Need I say more?)

Toddler X and I had the opportunity to visit Whimsy with our pals a few days before it opened to the public in 2014 (being a mom blogger has its benefits!) and I came home and wrote the most glowing of glowing reviews. (You can read it here.)

Our pre-opening "test play" in 2014 -- so cool!

I was seriously blown away by the beautiful space, the attention to detail, the high-end toys, the myriad creative, imaginative, and physical options for kids, and the concept as a whole. It was clearly a winner, right from the start.

September 2014

In the two years that followed, we visited Whimsy frequently, alone and with friends, for special occasions and just everyday play. I've spent hours playing by Toddler X's side in the play room, catching up with pals, sipping coffee in the cafe, and writing blog posts at the tables (more than one seasonal planner was completed thanks to Whimsy!). The worst thing about every visit was convincing Toddler X that it was time to leave.

Halloween 2014

Thursday, August 31, 2017

What does the Whole Foods/Amazon merger mean to us?


(Update 9/2/17: I visited Safeway yesterday and comparison-shopped some of the items that were the focus of Amazon/Whole Foods' big price reductions. The results are pretty interesting! See below for details.)

(Second update 9/4/17: I visited Target and Sprouts for some additional comparison shopping, and the results were even more surprising. See below for details.)

When I think about the corporations that receive the greatest share of my family's spending money, Whole Foods and Amazon definitely place in the Top 5 -- the former is one of our main sources of groceries (though we also shop at Target, Sprouts, Safeway, Costco, and TJ's), and the latter is our main source of...well, everything else (well, there and Target). With its recent $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods, Amazon has catapulted into the lead in family spending for us, and probably for many others in our area as well.

In purchasing Whole Foods, Amazon is (as I understand it) trying to become a family's one-stop shop for everything, whether in store or delivered to your home. They're promising overall price reductions on certain staples (to combat WF's "whole paycheck" image -- see more on that below), and even better deals for Amazon Prime Members (encouraging those who have resisted Prime to finally make the leap). By linking Prime accounts to grocery purchases, Amazon will also benefit from a ton of new information about consumers and their spending habits. I imagine that a woman purchasing prenatal vitamins at Whole Foods in the future will promptly get an email from Amazon telling her of the virtues of an Amazon baby registry; by using her Prime account, she'll announce a pregnancy to the conglomerate before she has revealed it to family and friends. Crazy stuff, but that's the world we live in.

(If you're interested in signing up for Prime now, here's an affiliate link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial.)

Anyhow, on Tuesday, the day after the merger was completed, I visited the Whole Foods on the Alameda in San Jose to see the promised changes for myself. Here's what I found:

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My Top Book and Toy Picks for Farm-Loving Kids


If your little one can't get enough of farms and farm animals, here are some great toys and books to accompany a visit to one of our local farm favorites. For a list of farm-related activities in the South Bay and its environs, check out my recent post here.

(Toy recommendations are below -- books are coming soon!)

Favorite Farm Toys

Toddler X went through a huge farm phase from ages 1-3 (it started with farm animals and -- with some nudging from Mr. X -- grew into a tractor fixation too), so, not surprisingly, many of the gifts he received during that era were farm-related. Amusingly, my niece entered the same phase right as Toddler X was exiting, so in addition to sharing our favorites, we got to give some of the more recent additions to the farm toy scene. Here are some toys that we love: