Mrs. Gore Likes: Hearthsong’s Deluxe Platform Swing

This past weekend, we arrived at my parents house to find a surprise hanging from the trees.

Last year, my Mom had experienced one of these swings at my Aunt Susan’s house, and she just couldn’t stop talking about how much fun it was and how amazing it was and how badly she wanted to find a couple…

so we sat down one afternoon last month and finally purchased them.

And now I finally get her enthusiasm.

Without further wordage, I present to you the Platform Swing from Hearthsong, the FUNNEST SWING I have ever…swung…swang?…swing-ded?…from.

For reals.

p.s. the following photographs are candid and genuine and were not taken for this blog post; rather, they inspired this blog post! Special thanks to my sister-in-law, Amy, for capturing the fun!

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When you first load up, you have no idea how great it is…

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and then you find yourself screaming your face off in delight!!

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You can swing with your friends…

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or quite alone (and go REALLY high!)…

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you can swing if you’re young…

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you can swing if you’re old(er)…

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and, if you’re anything like us, you can swing all. day. long.

At some points, the kids were swinging high and laughing shrilly, and at others, they were lounging hammock-like, just staring at the trees.

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But just between you and me, I’m convinced no one loved the swings more than I did…

When I backed into one and laid down, I was expecting it to be fun, but I had no idea how awesome it would be. One of my quirks is that I react really loudly on amusement park rides and during those interactive 3-D rides; thus, when my Daddy pulled me back in this swing and let go, the following words came bellowing out of my mouth: “OH MY GOSH, I’M FLYING!! I’M FLYYYYYIIIIIIIINNNNGGGG!! I FEEL LIKE A GIANT BABY! I’M LIKE A GIANT BABY IN A CRADLE! THIS IS SO MUCH FUN! I LOOOOOOOVE IT!!! I COULD DO THIS ALL DAYYYY!!!!!”

Glad no one was around with a video camera.

And I can’t WAIT until I can cozy up on one of these with a good book and a long afternoon of nothin’. I’m convinced such a day is in my future!

Anyhow, by the end of our second day with the swings, my mom and I agreed that this must be the closest thing to flying that a kid (or an easily impressed adult) can ever feel.

They aren’t cheap, but if your summer budget allows, hurry! Buy one! And if it doesn’t, start saving up. You won’t be sorry!

Find yours by clicking on the picture below:


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A few more things: Do your research before hanging. You need a very sturdy tree with big, sturdy limbs, or something very secure to hang it from, and hardware to hang it with. Also of note: We’ve only had ours for a weekend. I cannot attest to how long they will last, or how many injuries might come from them or how soon we’re going to stretch them out with our (my) postpartum girth. I’ll let you know…

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About “Mrs. Gore Likes”: This blog is not a money-making endeavor, but since I enjoy sharing resources, I signed up to be an Amazon Associate, wherein I have the ability to share products and books and receive a small commission from anyone who shops at Amazon through my links (even if they don’t buy the actual product I shared). This outlet hasn’t allowed me to hire a cleaning lady or anything, but it has been fun to contribute to the family budget, even if it is only $10 a month. (The first month I made a whopping $3.47!!)

That said, I NEVER share anything that I don’t actually have in my home. And then I NEVER share anything that I don’t truly love and use. It is a matter of personal honor that I don’t dangle things in front of your eyes that will entice you to spend your hard-earned money; I want my blog to be a place where you come for rest and humor, not to find more stuff that you don’t really need.

But occasionally, I am so enthusiastic about a product that I feel it would be worth sharing. You’ll see those products and books show up in my Facebook news feed.

And then, even less occasionally, I come across something that just blows me away and I am so geeked out about it that I have to write a 600-word glowing review and share photographs of us enjoying it, whether it is from Amazon or not.

Enter “Mrs. Gore Likes”.

And if you hung in with me through that laborious explanation, Amazon should give YOU a commission!

Mrs. Gore Likes…Little Boy Vintage Awesomeness

So “Mrs. Gore Likes” is supposed to be one section of my blog where I do a little less talking. But, I have a long story today, and I can’t make it short. (My apologies, in advance).

Also, I have not been paid to promote any of the following products or companies.

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I’ve had this problem…

When it comes to his size in clothing, my son has always been about a year ahead of schedule. When he was 2 years old, he started wearing a 3T, when he was 3 years old he started wearing a 4T, and so on and so forth…

(but that’s not really my problem).

My son turned 5 years old in March.

(That is also not really my problem).

My problem is that, as a 5-year old boy who SHOULD still be wearing clothes from Baby Gap, he has outgrown size 5T, and far too ahead of schedule, has been catapulted into the far too grown-up world of (hiss and boo)…Gap Kids.

I don’t have anything against Gap Kids, mind you…

but I DO have something against my baby boy no longer having a wardrobe home while he is still a baby.

Where Baby Gap provided little boy clothing that was sweet and innocent and oh so cute, Gap Kids is edgier, more mature, more modern, more skull-and-crossboney…

and Gideon is SO not skull-and-crossboney (unless it is of the pirate ship variety).

And the worst part of the whole thing is, he was supposed to be a little bitty babyish bubby baby until next March when he turns 6…

he is NOT a…a kid.

All that to say, I’ve been on a bit of a wild goose chase to figure out how to outfit my little vintage boy in a way that represents him well and does my sentimental heart justice while the time and the opportunity is still mine.

And all of that blither blather above has led me to this blog post, where I would love to share with you my happy conclusion, along with links to some pretty awesome products (in my sort-of humble opinion).

That’s right…this was just the prelude to this blog post.

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Obviously, I am a bit of a psychopathical perfectionist when it comes to the things I purchase, whether it is clothing or floor rugs or melamine dishes. While I can fully appreciate a range of styles and colors, and greatly enjoy seeing different tastes in action (in other words, I promise I am not mentally tearing apart your home or your clothing or your birthday party because it doesn’t reflect my style of preference), my own style is extremely particular: vintage, classic, timeless, old-fashioned, with lots of nods to those who have walked before us (until the 1960’s…that’s when I completely stop tipping my hat to our forefathers).

To prove how particular I am, I’ll just fess up now and tell you that I always deeply struggle when my babies gain enough weight to move from Pampers Swaddlers (soft, white, minimal cartoonage) to Pampers Cruisers (purply, stiff, major cartoonage). How I would love to be able to buy a diaper with absolutely NO cartoonage. (p.s. I am sure such a thing exists…but not at my stompin’ grounds of Wal-Mart and Target).

I know. I’m a weirdo.

So it will come as no surprise to you that I really pour a LOT of thought into the toys and wardrobes and even the i-tunes playlists that I craft for my children. I don’t just want to dress them or entertain them or keep them busy; (brace yourself: this is where the weirdness really sets in) I am creating for them an aura, after carefully observing their behavior and their quirks and their personal flare. Because of this, I can see a certain type of floral print and I just die on the spot because its not just pretty…its Rebekah. A shade of pink has Betsie written all over it…

and then there is Gideon.

My vintage boy. My Opie. My classic 1950’s “golly gee wow” kind of kid.

If you have a boy like mine, I’d love to share with you some of the special goodies I’ve come across recently, an homage to classic and innocent boyhood, a few perfect products for the little man who is no longer a baby, but not yet a “big kid”. Clicking on the photos will lead you straight to the products.

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1. For starters, to make up to Gap Kids for all my ranting and raving up there, I have finally crossed over and do continue to some of my son’s clothes from this amazing store. If you plan on having many children, look no further than Gap, because their clothes stand the test of time and heavy duty play. My Baby Betsie is wearing clothes that have been passed down from cousin Abigail to cousin Anna to sister Rebekah to cousin Kate and now to her, and they’re still like new, all the seams still perfectly in line, not a button missing or a zipper broken.

And they won me over ever further this last week when I came across their school uniform line. These clothes were obviously created for schoolchildren who have to meet school dress codes, but they were also made for me, a Mama who has a son who daily begs to wear his argyle sweater or his herringbone sweater vest. In the summer. To play in the sandbox.

My heart rejoiced as my eyes took in the huge variety of unadorned sweaters and polos and cardigans, with nary a skull or a crossbone or a logo in sight. Gid the Kid is going to have a heart attack when he sees the box of school clothes I have hidden away, all of them scored at 30% during the school uniform promotion. They are beautiful and handsome and amazingly soft to the touch. Here’s my favorite of the entire bunch, a perfect topper for a t-shirt or a button-up oxford and tie:

They also have old-school gym clothes in this line, with sweatpants and hoodies that could easily pass for those worn by athletes in the black-and-white movies. I couldn’t resist this shirt, just $7.66 when I purchased it for 30% off! You can write your child’s name on the white blank, a special and personal touch that would thrill any kid.

and how about this button-up cardigan, made of sweatshirt material? Gideon will probably wear this with EVERYTHING, and it will make the perfect lightweight jacket for Fall and early Winter:

Let’s hear it for Gap Kids uniform line!!

2. But my biggest obstacle, really, in finding goods for my boy to wear at this tender age of 5 had more to do with graphic t-shirts than anything else. A sweater is a sweater is a sweater, but t-shirts these days…well, they just say so much! I was hard-pressed to find a message fitting for my boy, until I came across the graphic tees at Crewcuts. Admittedly, I would buy ALL of our clothes at J. Crew if we had the money or the conscience to do so, but…we don’t. That said, I have no problem periodically paying a few extra dollars for a t-shirt that will knock my son’s SOCKS off. The t-shirt selection at Crewcuts was less modern skateboardy boy or adolescent athlete boy and more high seas adventurer boy.

Perfect.

The first shirt I chose is my favorite purchase of the season. True to the school of classic boyhood, Gideon has a longtime fascination with the moon, and just watched the first moon landing on Youtube with a huge grin of wonder on his face (and I cried as I watched him watch it). This shirt is a tribute to all of his affection for one of God’s greatest creations…and it glows in the dark, y’all. Thus instead of buying him 8 long-sleeved t-shirts for Fall that would have cost far less, I bought him this one. Because he will be wearing it every day. (the price on this one was a stretch for us, costing about $10 more than we normally spend on a t-shirt splurge).

But this shirt will be a memory for him. A statement. He’ll wear it on his body, but it will also do something to his heart…

and how about this Out Of Print Clothing tee featuring the boyhood classic Treasure Island? Irresistable.

(and be sure to check out the Sherlock Holmes shirt, as well! If our son was a bit older, we’d have to snag it for sure).

3. and Gid the Kid always has a vintage topper in his wardrobe. He’s had tweed caps in plaid seersucker, in camel-colored wool, in grey knit, but I’m loving Janie and Jack’s Glen Plaid Tweed Cap for this Fall and Winter. Rest assured, it will almost positively go on sale…

But enough about clothes! Here are a few of my other favorite finds for 5-year old boys with old souls:

4. The Dangerous Book for Boys

If you have a son and you do not own this book, buy it now. Run, don’t walk. This book is a treasure from start to finish. If I was a book, I would marry it and we would have little baby short stories together.

5. When Gideon was 2 years old, we bought him a classic lunchbox and thermos combo from Barn Dandy’s in a vintage camping print. We’re still using it today, and I can’t wait to prepare his first school lunch in it! (clicking on the following picture will lead you to the lunch boxes). I also happen to adore the red cowboy print:

6. My friend, Kodi, recently shared with me the boys’ WONDERLAND that is J.M. Cremp’s (the boys adventure store). This website is truly my son in a nutshell and I am so thrilled to have been introduced to it while he is young. I especially love this Medic Bag, perfect for playing doctor or soldier or for actually using as a bag (and please, while you’re at it, look at all the goodies from this amazing website!):

7. I’ve been searching for the perfect blanket for Gideon’s “big boy” bed for years, and came perilously close to purchasing a Pullman blanket reproduction from Victorian Trading Co., regardless of the fact that it was 100% wool. “He needs to toughen up…” I thought, and I NEEDED an old-fashioned blanket to go in his room. I’m so glad my husband and my Mom (and even the staff at Victorian Trading!) talked me out of it, because Land of Nod just released a super-awesome line of vintage-inspired gear, including this perfectly soft (and unwooly) General Store Blanket. I am in love. (and as ever, the customer service at this store is unrivaled – they ALWAYS help this budget-conscious lady out!)

8. I waited too long and missed out on the following treasure at Etsy, but I’ll have my eye out for more vintage patches like this one to put on Gid’s backpack. He adores Davy Crockett and all heroes of yesteryear:

9. My son also likes to use cotton hankies. He would think this box of 16 Western-inspired handkerchiefs was pretty rad…

10. And speaking of cowboys, my son is loving his vintage cowboy i-tunes playlist, featuring men who could croon like Bing and Frank, but while riding a horse. We love Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, but our favorite is Tex Ritter. Search for his songs on i-tunes and prepare to be swept off into the sunset! I’m still working on figuring out how to share playlists with you, so for now, you’ll have to do the searching on your own. But here’s a pretty picture of Tex Ritter for you to look at:

11. And speaking of underwear (huh?), I almost died on the spot when I saw these Cath Kidston “Days of the Week” briefs for boys. The minute they go on clearance sale, they are MINE. I mean…Gideon’s.

(sorry for the tiny blurry picture – best I could do!)

(p.s. these are sadly no longer available…but still go look at them!)

12. Like the boys of the 1950’s (and probably all boys!) my son is also fascinated by simple things like paper airplanes and hand shadows. We just borrowed an amazing paper airplane book from the library, and we have a book on how to make hand shadows, but they are quite challenging. That’s why I LOVE these Moulin Roty shadow puppets, perfect for old-fashioned and imaginative nighttime fun. I also think it would be ridiculously easy to make some of your own:

13. Back to the moon, this one is made by Uncle Milton and hangs on the wall, and is quite educational as far as night lights go…but we love it because it is AWESOME, whether you are vintage or not.

14. Oh goodness, I could go on and on. But I’ll share one last book, a favorite around our house for its amazing full-page illustrations; this beloved tome captures the true adventure of the Christian life as penned by John Bunyan in Pilgrim’s Progress, and my son was captured from the very start. If your son likes adventure, and if you are looking for a foundational book in forming his Christian theology, look no further. (p.s. We had to condense it a bit for his reading comprehension).

I DO love a good shopping trip, don’t you? If you have a little boy like Gid the Kid, I hope this post helped steer you to some new shops and some helpful products.

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A friendly reminder from Mrs. Gore: let us please remember to shop wisely and cautiously and to be good stewards of our money. Even “creating an aura” for our children with all the pure love in our hearts can easily turn sinful when having and acquiring crosses the line into idolatry and excess. But alas, nobody knows that better than I…

Mrs. Gore Likes…Victorian masks

I’ve been a longtime fan and customer of the Victorian Trading Co. – many of their products stock my boxes of holiday decorations, and many stay out all year long, adding nostalgia and whimsy to my home.

I especially love their selection for children – the reproduction games and toys that are available through their catalog are old-fashioned and delightful, and mostly functional. We have wooden blocks and miniature music boxes and seemingly magical trick money banks, all of them cherished and played with often.

But nothing beats the product I want to share with you today…

I first noticed these masks when I was pregnant with Gideon, and swiftly added them to my list of wishes. I pictured winter nights around the fire with theatrics and lots of laughter; I just knew in my heart they would be, for lack of a better word, awesome.

What I didn’t know, however, was how utterly creepy they would be. I bumped into the actual masks one day at a store in Fredericksburg, Texas, and was amazed at how they transformed a face and made everyone who looked at them either gasp or exclaim or yell, followed by giggles. They are so weird and hilarious and…fantastic.

I was more determined than ever to add these masks to our arsenal of family fun.

Every year, as Christmas and birthdays rolled around, they got pushed back for other more age-appropriate gifts – toy tools and baby dolls and boardbooks – but this last year, when my sister-in-law, Amy, had the opportunity to visit the actual Victorian Trading Co. store in Lenexa, Kansas, and called to tell me they had a selection of those masks on sale, I said “Buy them!”

On Christmas morning, they sat proudly atop our mantel…

the kids were amazed, and couldn’t believe their reflections in the mirror!

The masks were put safely on our shelf for other days, but just this morning as I was pouring my second cup of coffee, Gideon asked if he might play with them. My sleepy brain really wanted to say ‘no’ but he looked so hopeful and excited, I put my coffee cup down and we tiptoed in the office together to put on a mask so he could surprise (and perhaps terrify) his sister. We whispered and laughed together and, as I tied the string at the nape of his neck, I realized that the dreams I had so many years ago when I first saw these masks had come true. They might be made of paper and string, but they inspire the incorruptible things that money can’t buy: laughter, imagination, family bonding, and innocent fun. After her initial shock at seeing her brother’s face, Rebekah wanted in on the fun. Beware: the following photos are a teensy bit creepy…

In our pajamas, we jumped in the van and drove down the hill to scare Papa. His horror and delight when he opened the van door and saw his slightly strange but t00-cool-for-school children staring solemnly and eerily at him in their masks was well worth the trouble it took to load the lot of us up. And our fun was compounded when the kids got to tiptoe into our friend Zac’s office to give him a good scare/laugh, as well.

I’m so glad I finally bought these masks and am determined to add to our collection as holiday budgets allow.

And I’m super glad that I put down that coffee cup this morning…

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I encourage you to do business with the Victorian Trading Co., especially over the telephone. They are delightful. Click here to follow a link to their masks and take a look at their other products while you’re there. You can sign up for a catalogue, too!

Or you could also click here to visit the makers of these masks, Mamelok Papercraft. I’ve only begun to peruse their collection of amazing paper products, but I did just notice they carry Beatrix Potter masks, and I’m now a little geeked out…hello, 2013 Easter baskets!!

p.s. I am not being paid by either company to share these links or products. I’m just a happy customer, spreading the news…

Mrs. Gore Likes…Busytown

Today I am adding a new category called “Mrs. Gore Likes” where I’ll share products or books with you that I have personally purchased, and that have found a spot on my favorites list. I am an Amazon Associate, so if you decide to purchase anything at Amazon by following my links, I’ll get credit. That said, I hereby pledge to never share anything in this section that I do not 100% approve of, and I will always share photographs to prove that these items really do live in my home. 

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I have alway loved to make discoveries.

Not so much in the field of science or inventions or mathematics or cartography.

More like in the field of shopping.

Just ask my friends…if you spend too many minutes in my home, you’ll soon here me say “Wanna see what I got?”

So…wanna see what I got?!

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The other day whilst making Gideon’s birthday wish list at Target, I noticed a game in the toy section that I had never seen before. It looked like a load of fun, so I wrote the name down, came home, researched the reviews at Amazon, liked what I saw, and a couple weeks later, purchased it (with free Super Saver shipping).

Great choice.

Funnest game EVER.

My favorite things about it are:

1. The players work together to win the game rather than competing against each other. This is perfect for preschoolers, who easily grow frustrated and jealous when playing board games. This game really did bring my kids together in a fun and entertaining way.  That alone puts this game at the tippy-top of my favorite kids games!

2. The instruction are wonderfully easy to follow. I hate reading instructions, as a rule. I loved reading these.

3. I actually enjoy playing this with my kids. Honestly, as much as I love my children, playing Chutes and Ladders and Candyland is like a slow death for me. But this game? I have initiated playing it twice this week.

4. Richard Scarry. Nuff said.

Without further ado, I present to you Richard Scarry’s Busytown game:

The board is super long with so many pictures to look at!

Each player takes a turn with the spinner, starting with the youngest player. If you land on a number, you move forward that many spaces, if you land on Pigs Eat, you have to remove a food item from the picnic at the end of the game (if all the food is gone before you reach it, the pigs win! OH NO!!). And my favorite part of the game, if you land on the little bug with the magnifying glass, you get to choose a card…

and flip it over. Now turn over the timer and everyone scrambles to find as many of the featured picture – in this case, flowerpots – that you can on the board. When you find one…

place one of 10 orange magnifying glasses on top of it before looking for more. When the time runs out, count how many pictures you found and the whole team moves ahead that many spaces!

Near the end of the game, all the players hop onto a large ferry and move across the river to the picnic waiting for them. Unless, of course, those pigs beat you to it and eat all the food up!

Another favorite thing about this game? That has never happened.

Richard Scarry’s Busytown. Mrs. Gores likes.