Monday, December 27, 2010

Extreme Floor Restoration

One of the many things that we've been working hard on in our new store is the floor. When we first looked at our building, we noticed there was solid maple flooring underneath the old vinyl tiles that could probably be rescued. After all, what floor covering is greener than restoring the floor that's already there? All we had to do was rip up the vinyl and refinish the maple.

And, after 70 years as a hardware store, it probably had a lot of character, too. Well, it turned out to be a bit more complicated than that...

First, we had to move the stairway which led down to the basement. It was inconveniently located in the middle of the room, which made sense when the basement had been used as retail space. In mid-October, we ripped out the stairs, installed new floor joists, and lay new subfloor. A good weekend project, but we were just getting started.

Next, we had to rip up the old vinyl tiles (after first getting them tested for asbestos--these one dated from the 1980s and were clean). The tiles themselves came up easy enough--our 9 year old son Riley and his cousin Ian popped most of them up in about 1/2 an hour. The 1/2" plywood underneath, however, was nailed to the maple with 1 1/2" resin-coated staples and took a lot longer. We hired a crew of about 6 guys and it took them the better part of two days to rip it up and pull all the staples. By the time they were done, the plywood looked like shredded wheat. It was then that we discovered dozens of holes and thousands of staples and nails in the maple floor underneath.

So, the next step was to fix all the holes in the floor, including where the stairway had been. We went up to the Maplewood Re-Use Center and bought 500 square feet of used maple flooring and hired The Transformed Tree to install it, which took several days. Because the flooring is tongue and grooved, it had to be meticulously feathered in to the existing floor.

We fixed some of the smaller holes, ourselves, too. Here's Millie fixing a hole where an old drain pipe had been.

Then, we had to pull thousands of little staples out of the maple and set thousands of nails that had been face-nailed into the surface of almost every individual piece of maple above every floor joist. It takes quite a punch to set a 9 penny nail into solid maple--usually about three hits with a 3-lbs. maul. Dan, our floor guy Shawn Russell, and 3 other guys got the job done after about 4 grueling days of work.

In one spot, we saw that someone had started to sand the floor previously and then gave up. It seemed clear, after several days on our hands and knees, that the nails and staples had deterred them. Which was probably why the vinyl flooring had been installed in the first place. It seems we were just a little more stubborn.

Finally, Shawn was ready to start sanding. He started off with some extremely course 14 grit sandpaper paper, which showed immediate results. Then, he worked up to finer grits. It took 4 days of sanding before he was ready to apply the polyurethane.

And here's the finished floor, finally completed just a few days before Christmas. We used a commercial grade low-odor water-based polyurethane which won't off-gas and should last for years. The floor is beautiful, although it does look a bit "distressed" in places. This was a hardware store for 70 years, after all. It's one of many things that remind us that our building has a history and has played an important part in its community for a long time. We're proud to be continuing that tradition.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Our Upcoming Move

We've managed to firm up a schedule for our move to our new store on Como Avenue. Here's the details:

We will be closing after Christmas for about 2 weeks. We'll be packing everything up the first week, then putting everything back together the next week. Both our store and our website will be closed during that time.

We are planning to reopen at our new location on January 7.

We realize this will be inconvenient if you need to return a Holiday present, so we'll be extending our normal 30-day return policy to 60 days for all purchase made in December.

We're excited, a little scared, and very overwhelmed about this huge undertaking. Please visit us at our new store when we reopen--we think you'll love it!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Getting the Temperature Right

One of the things we're really excited about in our new store is central air. And when we say excited, we mean pretty excited.

In the 11 years we've been here, we've loved lots of things about our current space, but the radiator heat wasn't one of them. The 85 year old system was controlled from one thermostat for the whole building, so we had a hard time controlling the temperature of our store. Some days we had to wear coats all day and other days we had to keep the doors open in the middle of winter.

And, our only way of cooling the store was four window air conditioners mounted above the doors which sounded a little like a jet airplane when we got them all going.

Needless to say, this was hardly an efficient arrangement. We got a quote at one point to install a more efficient cooling system, but the price was prohibitive.

So, we were really happy to watch the folks from Boehm Heating install our shiny new high efficiency furnace, which is one of two that'll heat and cool our new store. We'll have a constant temperature, smart thermostats that reduce usage when we're closed, and a much smaller carbon footprint.

We though we'd share this because if it all works right, you probably won't notice these improvements at all--it'll just be quietly keeping us comfortable.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Let’s make "Black Friday" less Blechy!

We’ve always wondered about the shopping phenomenon which has come to be known as “Black Friday.” Why do big box stores make their customers and staff get up super early and fight crowds just for a few good deals?

We thought we’d make the whole experience a little more pleasant! No need to get up early—just stop by during our normal hours for a cup of hot cider. And, with a purchase over $30, you can draw an instant-win prize from our Black Friday fishbowl. You’ll draw one of the following fabulous prizes:

  • A $5 Peapods Gift Card
  • A $20 Peapods Gift Card (at least 4 available in the fish bowl!)
  • A $50 Peapods Gift Card (one of these in the bowl)
  • A Moby Wrap gift set including a Moby Wrap, Baby Blanket, and Baby Hat (a $70 value)
  • Our giant “Red” Fraggle Rock Doll (a $120 retail value)
Plus, receive a free extra large reusable canvas shopping bag with every purchase over $50.

Plus, our Buy 5 Get 1 Free sale on Bum Genius 4.0 pocket diapers continues.

PLUS, All Fuzzi Bunz Perfect Size Diapers will be on sale for $11.99. (We've got lots of smalls, fewer mediums and larges)

As always, gift wrapping is free.

Let’s make the day after Thanksgiving fun and fabulous!

P.S. We’ll be closed on Thanksgiving, Have a great day with your family!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Big Announcement: Peapods is Moving!

We are excited to announce that Peapods will be moving in January to a bigger (and in many ways, better!) location at 2290 Como Avenue West in St. Paul. We will remain at our current location through the Holidays.

The new store will be about 50% bigger than our current store, so we'll have even more room for new products and increased selection. What's more, we'll have some great new neighbors. Within one block of our new store is Bibelot gifts, Micawbers Books Store, a branch of the St. Paul Public Library with a special children's book collection, a Dunn Brothers Coffee Shop, the Finnish Bistro and Bakery, a post office, a great neighborhood grocery store, and the Muffaletta Restaurant. There's also two great city parks within easy walking distance.

We'll be easy to get to, too. We're about 3/4 east of Highway 280 on Como, just a hop skip and a jump from I-94 and Highway 36.

Our store will be in the old Saint Anthony Park Harware Store building, which we've purchased and are now busy renovating. With our lease expiring at our current location, we really wanted to own our next building so that we could strengthen our roots in the community, make investments to improve the sustainability of our business, and to ensure the long term viability of our family business.

We've always felt very much at home here in Macalester-Groveland. And, while we're excited about our new store, we're sad to be leaving the neighborhood that's nurtured us so well for 12 years. We simply couldn't find a suitable building to buy anywhere nearby. In many ways, this feels like we are closing our current store and opening something new. We are extremely thankful to all of our current neighbors and we hope you'll visit us often in our new store.

We've been working on this project for over a year; getting our finances in order, looking at buildings, and then long months completing all the work that goes into buying a commercial building, which is about 200 times more work than buying a house.

Over the next two months, we'll be pounding nails, painting, sanding, and scraping to prepare our new space (during the Holiday season no less!) So, if you see us with saw dust in our hair or paint on our clothes, that'll be why.

Millie building new basement stairs, Dan framing in a new restroom.

Finally, we'd like to thank our Realtor, Steve Townley, who stood by us throughout the 6 months it took to complete this transaction; Park Midway Bank, which provided our financing; and Stew and Kathy McIntosh, the previous owners of the hardware store, who allowed us to begin work several weeks before we closed the purchase.

Thank you to all of our customers! We think you'll really love our new store!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Our Trip to the ABC Kids Expo

From Dan: Once again, Millie and I made the trek to the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas. If you can imagine ten gazillion square feet of convention space on two floors jam packed with cribs, strollers, diapers, gadgets and gizmos--that's where we were.

We got a chance to catch up with a lot of our favorite vendors, including Moby Wrap, Ergo, Beco, BumGenius, Thirsties, Babyhawk, and Green Toys. Sarah from SoftBums (yeah SoftBums!) was there for the first time, too. (Although on the day we were there the booth next to her was using a large, mostly naked Sumo wrestler to demonstrate their diaper rash cream, which was somewhat distracting.) We got to see lots of new offerings from many of these companies, several of which will be arriving in our store soon.

There were a whole bunch of new cloth diaper companies on exhibit, which was incredible. There must have been 24 different companies where just a few years ago there were only 2 or 3. Cloth Diapers are really reaching mainstream proportions. We have quite a few choices for new products to add, but we'll probably need to greatly expand our diaper section first--a project which is already very much in the works (more later on that.)

Like last year, there were quite a few "green" vendors, some of whom understood the concept better than others. We asked one company what kind of plastic their product was made with and they said "um...plastic plastic." One the other hand, the rep from another company had a whole report on the low estrogenic affects of his baby bottles versus other similar products, complete with cell growth data. We'll probably be ordering from him.

As always, the Bad Idea Fairy was busily at work this year. We saw a motorized stand for an adult to stand on behind a stroller that propels both adult and stroller (so, who's getting any exercise now?). We saw a special bag designed to lower a baby out the window of a burning building (this might be something we've neglected to worry about so far). And, although we love babywearing, we're not sure about Kindergartner wearing. Yes, there was a contraption designed to carry a 5 year old on your back, standing on a small platform near your waist. It looked somewhat uncomfortable.

All in all, we had a great time. It was a pretty intense 2 days, but we really enjoyed talking to our suppliers and other shopowners. And, next year the show is in Kentucky! See you later, Las Vegas!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

On Learning to Ride a Bike

From Dan: I learned something the other day about parenting when our nine year old son Riley finally learned to ride his bike. I say finally because we've been making sporadic attempts at it since he was 6. It was my fault, really, that he didn't learn sooner; for some reason we didn't do it the summer when he was 5, which is probably the best time to learn. And, even though we sell kick bikes in the store, we never got one for him when he was younger, which would have helped a lot. By the time he was 8, it became a source of frustration for him and we were both kind of avoiding it. And I was feeling a little like I had failed him as a father in this important step.

So, last week, we decided to try again. I fixed up his bike and we walked down to Newell Park, where there's a long grassy slope that's perfect for coasting down. I helped him get started at the top of the hill and gave him a gentle push. And there he went. In five seconds, he became a biker. In 15 minutes, he was biking all around the park. Now, we're going on daily bike rides together.

Afterward, I shared with Millie what I thought to be the lesson from this experience: That I should have taught him earlier, that I should have thought to use a hill to help him learn.

But she said we should have just trusted that he would learn when he was ready, just like everything else. With all three of our kids, whether its learning to read, learning to use the bathroom, or learning to ride a bike--they'll figure it out when they're ready.

All true, I said. Although it might have been useful if we'd learned that lesson a little earlier.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The New Roseville Library

Our family made our first visit last night to the newly re-opened Roseville Library last night, which we've been frequenting since it first opened some 15 years ago. The new spaces were gorgeous, inviting, comfortable, and much larger than before. Riley dubbed it "the library of the future". Suffice it to say we were impressed.

Above is a view of about 1/2 of the new children's room, which was amazing. Plenty of room to sit and read or just hang out.

The library seems to be at least twice as big as it was before, with a new second story housing the majority of the fiction and non-fiction stacks. Again, there was a lot of space to hang out in--it has a bunch of lovely little refuges among the stacks to read a magazine.

Our favorite space, though, is the new Children's Reading Garden, an outdoor space accessible through the Children's Room with gardens, reading benches, and a unique cistern that collects rainwater for play and diversion to a rain garden.
We love this feature because, with three children, we often find ourselves with two kids in a quiet library mood and one who isn't. The Children's Reading Garden provides a place for quiet play that we can hang out in without disrupting the rest of the library.

Finally, we were impressed by some of the library's technological innovations. It seemed evident that they were aware that as the future of books themselves is changing, so will the functions and roles of libraries. They dedicated a lot of space to their media collections and had some very new programs like a new Power Check Meter that you can check out to monitor the electrical use of your appliances. And, the books are now labeled with RFID tags, so you don't have to scan them when you check out, just place them on a sensor pad.

They even had two Xboxes in the teen room, which is certainly beyond the traditional scope of a library. But, there were actually teens hanging out in the new teen room--how often do you see that?

All in all, we were really excited to see the new building. Definitely worth checking out.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Big News form BumGenuis: The BumGenius 4.0 Pocket Diaper

We have just learned that BumGenius is once again updating the design of their very popular pocket diapers. We have placed our order and are hoping to receive our first shipment of BumGenius 4.0's in the fourth week of July. Here's the scoop on the 4.0's new features:

1. Now accommodates even larger babies! Better yet, the diaper still fits small babies too.

2. All new hook & loop closures

3. Accessible, easily replaceable elastic. All elastic tack-points are now visible from the inside of the diaper. To replace elastic, turn the diaper inside out, thread new elastic through the casing and stitch it down at each end.

4. Three new colors. Bubble (light lavender), Noodle (light cream) and Sweet (light green).

5. And the best new feature (we think)... you now have your choice of closures (snaps or hook & loop).

We will still have 3.0's in stock and few more on the way, although color choices may be limited. Stay tuned for more info!

Click on the image below for graphical details:

Announcing the MetroIBA Independents Week Promotion

July is the month to celebrate your independents!

Peapods is joining 24 other local independent businesses throughout the Twin Cities to celebrate Independents Week throughout the month of July. (Why limit it to just a week?)

Throughout July, each time you visit a participating business, you'll get a chance to enter a drawing for $1,250 worth of gift cards--$50 from each participating business. Plus, each of us is offering a special discount or giveaway when you enter the drawing. At Peapods, you'll get a free large canvas shopping bag. Stop into the store for a brochure with a game card to keep track of all the indie businesses you visit.

We're proud to participate in this great promotion along with lots of other businesses we admire, including Bibelot, Izzy's Ice Cream, Birchwood Cafe, Electric Fetus, Grand Hand, The Wedge Coop, Wet Paint, Key's Cafe, and many others. This is a wonderful opportunity to spend the month of July getting some great deals and getting to know other unique businesses. The fun begins July 1! Full details are on the MetroIBA website.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Handmade Toy Alliance Blog Week: Spotlight on American Toy Co.

Many of our customers will be familiar with the work of Mike Spikes, the owner of American Toy LLC in Corvalis, Oregon. We've sold Mike's toys for at least 10 years, and they've been a favorite all along.

Our favorite is his ping pong catapult, which launches a ping pong ball across a room or down a flight of stairs. We've also heard that it'll launch a variety of other objects including dog biscuits, acorns, and chestnuts. In any case, this is probably the perfect toy for a rainy day. We don't know of a better way to burn off a whole bunch of energy than running up and down a flight of stairs shooting ping pong balls into a cardboard box and retrieving them.

Another favorite is the basketball free throw toy, which requires just the right amount of pressure on the wooden spring to land the ball in the hoop. It's one game that a 6 year old can consistently beat an adult at.

Like all the members of the Handmade Toy Alliance, Mike has been forced to do extra testing and labeling because of the sins of big toy companies like Mattel who outsource their production to China. To us, his toys have always been safe and incredibly fun and we're hoping to carry them for years to come.

Monday, June 21, 2010

This Friday and Saturday: Our 10th Annual Sidewalk Sale!

Dan wrote a song to commemorate this event (apologies to Bob Dylan):

Snelling Avenue (aka Highway 51) Revisited

Millie counted her boxes and started to sing
We need some room for more new things
We’ve got trikes with dents and games with dings
Clothes and books we bought last spring
Do you know how we’ll get rid of these things?
We’ll just put some tables out in the sun
And sell them on the sidewalk of Highway 51.

Ok, so that was pretty goofy, but here's the details:

Yes, this is the big event! It only happens once a year—bunches of stuff on sale 25-75% off. Closeouts, scratch & dents, discontinued items, errant purchases...June 25th and 26th 10am to 6pm

Because our sidewalk sale is a busy event next to a busy street, we recommend (but do not require) shopping without small children. Our sale will take place rain or shine. Sidewalk sale purchases are final—no returns or exchanges. No fair arriving early!

Handmade Toy Alliance Blog Week: Spotlight on Camden Rose

All this week, thirty blogs across the country will be profiling the member businesses of the Handmade Toy Alliance. We're happy to participate and would like to start off the week with Camden Rose, one of our favorites.

Camden Rose began in 2003 as an effort to produce in the USA the same kind of high quality wooden playthings as are made in Germany. We stock their rattles, wooden eggs, child-size mops, little wooden cars, and stacking blocks. All are heirloom quality and will last for years.

A couple of years ago, we visited Camden Rose owners Judy Alexander and Jason Gold at their shop in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We got an incredibly warm reception and were impressed by their vibrant business.

Their signature piece is their Cherry Rattle, which many of our customers will recognize. We love it for its organic shape and smooth feel. When you hold one in your hand, you know that it wasn't made by a machine on an assembly line but by human hands.

Back in the fall of 2008, when the toy safety law known as the CPSIA was passed, we called Jason and asked him how the law's new third party testing requirements were affecting his business. He told us that he had already contacted a lab and got a quote for nearly $4,000 to test his wooden rattle for lead and phthalates, a plastic additive, neither of which have ever been found in wood.

We've been working with Jason and a collection of several hundred other businesses ever since through the Handmade Toy Alliance. One of our early victories was when the CPSC declared in 2009 that fabric and natural materials like wood will not need to be tested for lead. Hopefully we can make more progress in easing the burden of the CPSIA on small manufacturers so that we can continue to offer wonderful toys from great businesses like Camden Rose for many years to come.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Toys and Recomended Age Guidelines (and some new ones from Green Toys)

One of the challenges we face as toy store owners is how to deal with our manufacturers' perceptions of age recommendation vs. our customers' (and their children's) perceptions. What does it mean if a toy is labeled for 6 and up? Can I not give it to my 5 year old? Or, my four year old really likes these wooden blocks, but they're labeled for ages 1 and up--does that mean they're too babyish for her?

Usually, these age guidelines are only guesses by the manufacturer about which children will most like a toy. Haba, for example, gets real specific with its wood toys--some rattles are labeled for 1/2 year olds, some for 3/4 year olds, if that makes any sense. Almost all of these recommendations can be taken with a grain of salt except for one: Age 3 and up.

When a child turns three, they are officially trusted by government safety standards to play with small parts. Three year olds generally know not to swallow marbles, game pieces, rubber bands, etc. So, if a toy is rated for ages 3+, it usually means that the product contains small parts or that small parts could break off during normal use and abuse.

It costs more to design, manufacturer and test products to be safe for kids under three. Over the years, we have seen some toy companies make products that will naturally appeal to a toddler or a two year old but, in order to save costs, will label the toy for ages 3+. We've dropped several lines of toys because we felt the manufacturer's age recommendations were not appropriate.

For that reason, we really appreciate Green Toy's announcement this week that they have retested and certified several of their most popular toys for kids under three after it became clear that their toys had wider appeal than they anticipated. This kind of action is very rare in the toy business and we really respect Green Toys making this effort. Their new age guidelines are as follows:

Now Ages 2+:
Tea Set
Cookware and Dining Set
Tool Set

Now Ages 1+:
Dump Truck
Recycling Truck

Now Ages 18m+:
Sand Play Set

So, if you've been holding off on buying one of these great toys because your child is too young, take another look! They're all made in the USA from 100% recycled milk bottles. We really like Green Toys--both their toys and the way they do business.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Newsletter Excerpt: Attachment Parenting & Older Kids

The following article, written by Millie, is a preview of our annual newsletter. If you're on our mailing list, the newsletter will be arriving soon in your mailbox. If not, you can sign up today and/or read the current newsletter online.

When we began Peapods 12 years ago, we were firm devotees of Attachment Parenting. William Sears sets out a list in The Baby Book: shared sleep—check. Breastfeeding—check. Responsive to baby—check. We signed up and drank the Kool-aid.

It was really, really hard and really, really good. Best intentions aside, none of our babies were easy. The fundamental lesson of Attachment Parenting for me was trust—trust in my children, trust in myself, trust in the world. Trust that the baby who was awake at 3:00 a.m., after already waking at 2:00 and 1:15, really does need something. Really does need me. That nursing 10 out of 24 hours is accomplishing something. That holding a cranky baby is always more important than weeding the garden.

And it worked! They walked, they talked, they started growing into fabulous small people. Of course the questions and the choices didn’t go away. Now we had to trust that they would wean before kindergarten. That someday they would be done with diapers. That provided with good food options, they would make good food choices. That the universe is unfolding as it should.

Fast forward a few years: Abby is 14. She’s taller than me. She’s smarter than me. Riley is 9 and wants to be a pitcher on his baseball team. Wasn’t he just playing T-Ball a few minutes ago? And Duncan is finishing up his last year of preschool. Suddenly, it seems, we are no longer parents of small children.

There is no checklist anymore. The question, as always, is what do our children need, now, to thrive, to grow deep and tall. And the answer, as always, both changes and stays the same.

The lesson of trusting hasn’t really changed as they’ve grown older. Nor is it a lot easier. My kids have taken their time learning to read. Not like “get out the flashcards” late, but “is it time to call the specialist” late. Now they read. Incessantly. “Put down the book and go outside!”

Today they’re tackling challenges like climbing really tall trees, using power tools, and traveling around the city on their own. Soon we’ll be looking at driver’s ed. These are all wonderful, important things I want my kids to learn. And they can seem so scary as a parent—those trees can be so high, the saw so sharp.

After all the hand wringing, the answer almost always comes back to trust. My kids are capable, strong, and generally not stupid. They need to be safe, but they also need to be righteous. I trust my kids enough to say yes most of the time. I also trust myself enough to say no when I need to. I try to listen to my kids, and in return, they usually listen to me.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Introducing 'Wood from the Hood' Growth Charts Made From Local Reclaimed Trees

We are excited about these great new growth charts! They're made from reclaimed trees from all around the Twin Cities. Wood from the Hood harvests trees that need to be cut down to make way for construction projects and distressed elms and ashes. They turn them into picture frames, cutting boards, even cabinets and countertops. For us, their growth charts are perfect. Made in Minneapolis, each growth chart is labeled with the zip code that the tree came from. You just can't get any more local than this! It's the perfect way to create an heirloom keepsake of your child's growth.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Introducing the Pacific Rim Woodworking Maple Crib

We're pleased to announce the newest addition to our store--the solid maple crib from Pacific Rim Woodworking. This is the first crib we've ever stocked, so we wanted to offer the best available. Made in Eugene, Oregon, it's made from FSC-certified maple. We think it's the greenest crib on the market. And, the quality of workmanship and finish is exceptional.

This crib is fully compatible with our EcoBaby and Naturpedic organic mattresses or any other standard mattress.

We're stocking a version with 2 fixed sides for extra security, which we aim to always have in stock. We can also ship anywhere in the lower 48 states, which takes 6-8 weeks for delivery.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

We have 50 Eco Recycling Games and great reusable canvas shopping bags to give away on Earth Day, April 22. Both are courtesy of Plan Toys, which is one of the greenest toy companies in the world.

So, stop in early on Thursday and help us celebrate Earth Day!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply

Our very good family friends Audrey Matson and Bob Lies are opening an urban homesteading store called Egg|Plant on Selby Avenue 1 block east of Fairview (about 4 blocks west of Snelling).

Their official opening is tomorrow, April 1 (no fooling!), and they're all stocked up with an amazing selection of gardening supplies, heritage seeds, plants, composters, planters, implements, books, and backyard chicken supplies. Audrey knows her stuff, too--she's the one who turned us on to raising chickens a couple of years ago.

It's been really fun watching Bob and Audrey plan Egg|Plant and make it a reality.

So, before you put in your garden in this year, stop in and check out Egg|Plant. We think it's destined to be another great independent store that makes St. Paul such a great place to live!

Above, a few preview photos of Egg|Plant as Audrey and Bob and their kids (and a few of ours) prepare for opening day.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The BabyHawk Oh SNAP! Structured Baby Carrier

We recently added this new soft structured carrier from BabyHawk called the Oh SNAP! It's a great carrier for older babies and toddlers and can be worn on the front or the back.

It's similar to our long-time favorite the Ergo, but it has a fold-down head support panel instead of a hood and a wider center panel. Like the Ergo, it has a wide padded waist belt, padded sholder pads, and an adjustable chest strap. Unlike the Ergo, BabyHawk doesn't (as yet) make an infant insert to accomodate small babies--it's intended only for babies 15lbs or larger.

We love BabyHawk's sense of style and we get new fabric combinations every time we order. We also love the fact that they're made in the USA. Stop in a and try one on with your baby!

Monday, March 1, 2010

New in Store: Simple Eco-Friendly Toddler Shoes

We just got in our spring supply of toddler shoes from Simple. These are sturdy and wide little shoes made from certified organic cotton, hemp, and natural and recycled rubber. Even the laces are green -- made from recycled soda bottles. We're stocking size 4-10 in both boyish and girlish styles, but they might not last long since we didn't order a huge amount. If you need a pair of super-green puddle jumpers, stop in soon!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Announcing the Peapods Cloth Diaper Bottom Line Savings Program

Get rewards for building your cloth diaper stash!

We know that as your baby grows, her cloth diapering needs will evolve. And, we’d like to help you out each step of the way. From newborns to toddler, from prefolds to training pants, we’d like to reward you for coming back to us for all your cloth diapering supplies.

If you sign up for our free Bottom Line Saver’s program, we’ll keep track of your cloth diaper purchases for you—there’ll be no special card to carry. Then, spend $200 on cloth diaper supplies with us, we’ll give you $15 in store credit for your next purchase that you can use on anything in the store.

Every cloth diaper, diaper cover, or pocket diaper you buy adds to your rewards total. Save up and spend your rewards on a new toy, some great kids’ music, or… some more cloth diapers!

Simply stop into our store and sign up when you make your next purchase. Or, email with your name, address, and phone number and we'll add you to our system. No cost, no obligation. As one of our employees said, "There's really no reason not to do this."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Review of the NY International Toy Fair

From Dan: Earlier this week, Millie and I flew to NYC to attend the NY International Toy Fair. Honestly, we had a lot of fun. In addition to the fair, we met up with other businesses owners members of both the Handmade Toy Alliance and the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association. We also got the chance to shop lots of Manhattan stores, from haute baby boutiques to FAO Schwatrz.

The best news from our trip is that we found lots of great new toys, which we'll be telling you all about as they arrive throughout the year. It seemed like there were a lot more new products on display than there were last year, which seems like a very good sign for everybody.

If there was one product that defined this year's fair, it would have to be mechanical toy animals--in particular hamsters. Yes, expect small armies of Zhu Zhu Pet knockoffs to invade malls everywhere in the coming year. The weirdest thing we saw was probably fake fingernails for little girls. Or maybe it was a product that turned bathwater into something like Jell-o.

The coolest thing we saw was...well, we'll let you know when they arrive. Stay tuned! In the meantime, check out Rocketboom's review of Toy Fair--it provides a good sense of the experience, especially if you keep in mind that the whole things takes the space of about a dozen football fields.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Our store will be closed January 24-30 so that our family and employees can take a much-needed vacation. We will reopen on February 1. All Internet orders will be processed when we return. Thanks!