Monday, August 4, 2008

Dad tip #106: Amazon's "Birth to 24 months" toy store

I'm wicked tired tonight. If you've been following this blog, then you know this is typically when I start spouting all kinds of Amazon.com propaganda (like my deal on Amazon Prime).

Tonight's theme is Amazon's "Birth to 24 months" toy store. It's fun to browse what toys your baby can play with. I only wish that they'd break up the "Birth to 24 months" section into even smaller subdivisions. Our kid is only 8-months-old, so it'd be really handy to narrow the search even further. But, it is kind of cool to take a peek at all the stuff that he'll be able to play with soon.

Among the age-appropriate things on the front page of the store was Jacques the Peacock by Lamaze. It's a ridiculously cute toy that has (according to the description): a soft velour body, busy wings with multiple textures and crinkles, a peek-a-boo mirror, and a squeaker. Our kid has TONS of toys like this, but I'm still tempted to buy one.

Among the less age-appropriate and possibly even questionable results was a "Dark Knight" Joker Bobblehead. Even if it's technically safe for kids 12 months and up, it's still kind of creepy. Do you really want to walk into your kid's room every day and see a miniature statue of Heath Ledger every day?

The last thing I'm going to post here tonight is just a reminder for myself to eventually go back and eventually buy the Baby Farm Friends Bowling by International Playthings. THAT is also WICKED cute.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Dad tip #98: Amazon has a "Green Baby" section

Okay, it's getting late and I'm feeling a little uninspired, so I'm going to one of my regular fall-backs: Amazon. Today, I'm going to talk about Amazon's "Green Baby" section (even though we're not the greenest household in the world).

If you happen to be "Green" and you're looking for a great selection of eco-friendly products to support your lifestyle (and your baby's lifestyle), you might as well give Amazon a go. -- particularly if you get free shipping as an Amazon Prime member. I have to admit that a lot of the "Baby Green" contents are a little beyond me, but I'll go ahead and list some of the more interesting things I found:I suppose the few rudimentary bits of advice that you could strain out of this post are that you can even be environmentally conscious when it comes to your baby and that you don't necessarily need to go to some expensive boutique shop to get it done.

Oh, and that there are some really cute baby items that happen to be green (like the Pixel Organics "Lions, Tigers and Kitties ... Oh My" Organic Crib Set).

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dad tip #91: Did you know Amazon has an outlet store?

Anyone who's been reading this blog for any amount of time has probably guessed that I'm a total hooker for Amazon.com. My previous posts about Amazon include bits on the Amazon Gold Box, the Amazon 4-for-3 promotion, and Amazon Prime.

What other Amazon offering could there be left for me to sing the virtues of? Well, there are actually plenty of money-saving features, but tonight's selection is ... the Amazon Outlet.

I'll be the first to admit that there are pile of things in the outlet that I have absolutely no interest in. However, they do have an entire baby section. The #2 item right now is the Fisher-Price Papasan Cradle Swing for $99.99 (which apparently is good for the Nature's Touch, New Nature's Touch, Nature's Wonder, and Butterfly Garden models). Not bad considering some of the models' list prices are as high as $174.49 and the cheapest price (from a reputable vendor) that I can find for any model in Google's product search is $118.99 (Walmart). All of these models are eligible for Amazon Prime free shipping, too.

Oh yeah, if you're anything like me, you might also be interested in the Xbox 360 games and Nintendo Wii games in the outlet, too. (For those of you with slightly older kids than ours, can I interest you in Spider-man: Friend or Foe (Wii) for $15.92? It's apparently a decent "bonding" game for dads and their kids according to the reviews.)

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Dad tip #65: Amazon Gold Box is chock full of treasures

Atop the hustle and bustle of every page on Amazon.com is a mysterious link labeled "Today's Deals" with an icon of a locked treasure chest next to it. You may have clicked on it before and found a "Deal of the Day" and "Lightning Deals" on a page titled "Amazon.com Gold Box: New Deals. Every Day."

You probably looked at the "Deal of the Day" and found a really great deal on set of cutlery or an electric shaver or the complete DVD collection of some random television series. And you probably looked at whatever limited-time "Lightning Deal" that was available at that time and found yourself more curious about the deals that had expired or the deals yet to come. Then you may have scrolled impatiently through a section of "Best Deals" that, for some reason, always look essentially the same.

But did you ever scroll even further down the page and really take a look at what else was there? If you haven't, then you missed the "<insert your name>'s Quick Picks." If you're an avid Amazon browser and nothing else on the page caught your attention, the personalized Quick Picks is where you'll be in heaven. While I don't know the black-box algorithm behind what gets displayed there, I do know that it's all related to other stuff you've looked at.

For example, I've recently seen Nintendo Wii video games, Xbox 360 accessories, some manga, Star Wars books, stainless steel canteens, and baby products ... lots and lots of baby products. In fact, for about as long as I've been paying attention, children's books have dominated my Quick Picks. Of course, Amazon does a great job at recommendations. Most of the books are by authors that we like in particular like Margaret Wise Brown and Sandra Boynton.

The best part (for you and Amazon) is that many of the items listed in your Quick Picks are probably things you would've eventually purchased at some point in the future anyway. While Amazon gets a more immediate sale, YOU get an extra markdown on the price (I think it's usually about 5% off of whatever the current prices is). It's a win-win-win situation. Amazon wins, you win, and in this scenario, your baby wins, too.

The only thing that would make it an even better deal is free shipping and if you were an Amazon Prime member, you'd get that too.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dad tip #38: Use Amazon.com's 4-for-3 promotion for stuff you plan on buying anyway

Did you know that there's all kinds of crap on Amazon.com that you can buy four for the price of three? The Amazon 4-for-3 promotion obviously includes all sorts of select books, but it also covers certain home & garden products (cookware, bedding, pet supplies, etc.), some single issue magazines, as well as some CDs & DVDs (like Adventures in Babysitting, which is listed on the 4-for-3 DVD page but doesn't actually seem eligible for the promotion). And, you're more than welcome to mix and match, but be sure to try to group things in batches of similarly priced items as it's always the cheapest of the four items you purchase that ends up free.

So, as a new parent, you maybe planning on stocking up on children's book by the likes of Dr. Seuss, Margaret Wise Brown, or Sandra Boynton. The 4-for-3 promotion covers all those authors and more.

Alternately, you could pick up something for everyone in the family at once. For baby grab copy of The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (for future reference); for your wife some stainless steel chopsticks (for fashion or for eating); for your cat a plush opossum (for playing or terrifying your wife); and for you ... umm, maybe the Sports Illustrated, Swimsuit Issue 2008 (for reading).

So, I now challenge you the reader to go find cool 4-for-3 combos and post your finds to the comments! (Oh yeah, save even more money by using Amazon Prime!)

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Dad tip #6: Amazon Prime is a worthwhile investment

Babies need lots of stuff. They need BPA-free bottles, they need brain-stimulating toys, they need cartoon-related music, they need potty training books, and they NEED Star Wars-themed costumes. Obviously they need lots of love, too.

However, love is available in abundance at home and fortunately does not require any annoying trips to the mall or pesky charges for shipping and handling. Everything else does. You're either stuck bringing your baby to the germ- and jerk-infested corridors of the closest mall or you pay out the wazoo for the convenience of shopping at home and the shipping charges that entails. UNLESS you join Amazon Prime.

[Cue heavenly fanfare and white light from above!]

For $79/year you get unlimited free two-day shipping (or $3.99 overnight shipping) for orders of any size for up to four members in your household. $79 might initially sound like a lot at first, but think of everything baby needs ... if you happen to think of one new thing a day, you can order it guilt- (and shipping fee-) free. Furthermore, it's a LIFESAVER for Christmas shopping. You'll probably break even on that alone.

[Cue the intro music to "The Final Countdown" by Europe.]

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