Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Three Too-Cool-to-Miss Gadgets

Swiffer SweeperVacHere's a collection of a few great products that have found me recently--fun stuff that will make life just that much better:

Picture It Postage
The internet and digital photography finally get together with the United States Postal service to allow you to create your own postage stamps with pictures from your own files. Simply go to the Picture It Postage site by Endicia, click "Try it Now," upload a photo from your computer and preview/edit before ordering a sheet of custom stamps.

The stamps are slightly larger than regularly sized stamps but they work just like the regular kind and they're more fun. I was offered a sheet as a trial and made up a batch with my Scribbit logo on them and had a great time. They're the same price as regular stamps plus a charge you $4 shipping and handling--though it did take a while for me to receive my order it could be attributed to the holiday rush. It was probably a busy time to order.

Swiffer SweeperVac
This is the greatest thing to hit my floor since . . . since . . . well since anything. I received one of these a couple days ago to try out and had no idea I was 24 hours away from sweeping bliss. I've used the regular Swiffer that sweeps up the hair and dust from my laminate floors, I've used the Wet Jet that mops (though I am less thrilled with this product because the refills and pads are expensive and run out quickly--hardly an economical choice). But this, this combines the beauty of the duster with the power of a Dustbuster handheld vac to work better than any broom or regular old C-class Swiffer.

You plug it in to charge the rechargeable batteries for 24 hours, attach a standard Swiffer dusting cloth to the bottom then sweep away. I'm seriously considering getting rid of my old broom and dustpan, I see no need for them and I have kids arguing over who gets to "sweep" the floor. I'm curious how long the batteries will keep their juice and how long the little filter will work--check back later, I'll work on it.

Money Manager Tool Kit with Moon JarMoon Jar
Tessy and Tab is a preschool reading publication that has monthly heavy-weight paperback books to teach preschoolers basic reading skills. Honestly? I liked the publication well enough I guess but what really caught my eye was the Money Manager Tool Kit they included.

It's just what it says: a kit to help teach young children about managing money and I was highly impressed. Besides all the follow-up information and printable charts that are available at the company's online site to supplement, the kit includes two Tessy and Tab books about saving money, a parent's guide that explains the system, a book to record expenses and income, charts for allowances and a Moon Jar.

Haven't heard of a Moon Jar? It's a three-part cardboard bank, held together by a large yellow rubber band, that is divided into Saving, Sharing and Spending to help teach children the different purposes of money. Teaching children about money can be tricky and this seemed to be a nice package to help parents accomplish a difficult task. I'm going to try this with Lillian and see how it's received.


Edited to add: Congratulations to Lesha of Newburgh, Indiana for winning this week's Saturday Giveaway from Miss Fickle Media.

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sarah said...

I love the moon jar! Thanks for sharing. Its a good concept to follow for all ages (even me!)

Robin said...

I heart my Swiffer Wet Jet (but mine's battery operated). Even though our pets are outside animals, they spend enough time INSIDE to coat our floors in their DNA :/ :).

While I haven't seen the Moon Jar before, I believe it's Dobson (Focus on the Family) who introduced me to the concept of teaching your children to account for their money this way; they, too, have a three-part bank for saving, spending and giving away.

I never purchased those for our kids, but I did (for a time) work with them to do this.

The stamp idea is novel, but I've always been too cheap to pull the trigger...this year we received a Christmas card from someone who used them and I thought, "Yeah...it's worth it..." :).

Geekwif said...

I use the regular old Swiffer. It's nice, but with 6 pets it usually just ends up pushing a giant ball of hair around and leaving bits behind. The Vac thing sounds interesting. I'm curious to see what you find out about the battery. I've tried a few different DustBuster-type products and the battery always runs out long before I'm done. That or it overheats which is equally frustrating.

Amy W said...

Thanks for sharing these...that moon jar will be the gift of choice for all the birthdays coming up for all my daughter's friends!

Amy said...

I love the Moon Jar idea. I might have to look into getting one of those. The Swiffer Vac is really cool too. I have a Bissell Flip Ease that is kind of similar, and I absolutely love that thing. Don't know what I did before that!!

Babystepper said...

I'm currently looking for a small handheld vac for our hard floors. (Which is the whole house, since my husband has an aversion to carpet.)

This is the secret dust bunny breeding ground, I promise you. It's truly incredible. I think we're evolving whole new species.

Becca said...

Ah, I used that Swiffer vac thingy until its poor little heart gave out. It just couldn't take the endless dust bunny slaughter. We bought ours at Big Lots last year and I haven't seen one since...

Norella said...

I LOVE Moonjar too. It’s a great tool to teach children the responsibility of money and giving back to their community. They have a beautiful tin version and also a couple of books that complement the Moonjar moneybox; it was the perfect gift for my niece & nephew. Their website if full of information too; www.moonjar.com.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

We had some good friends who said they were going to teach their children about money the following way:

"Here's your ten-dime allowance, lovely child. We're going to take the first dime and give it to God, we're going to take the next two dimes and put them in savings. Next, the government will come and take six dimes for taxes. So now you have one. What will you do with it?"

I laughed uproariously.

jubilee said...

always wanted to try the personal postage thing, maybe now will

Funky Finds said...

Hi Michelle, you are today's Funky Find! Check it out: http://www.funkyfinds.blogspot.com

kailani said...

I just got my Swiffer SweeperJet in the mail yesterday. It currently charging the required 24 hours. hee hee

I can hardly wait to use it!!!! Who knew cleaning could get so exciting?

Phyllis Sommer said...

moon jar is good idea...we have the money-saver pig which has four slots: save, invest, spend, donate....it seems to be working pretty well for us. i'll have to try those stamps...thanks!

chelle said...

I had the classic swiffer, but alas nothing beats an old fashion broom and mop.

Jo said...

We love Tessy & Tab here! I didn't know about the Moon Jar though. I'll have to look into that. :)