The end of Thanksgiving 2007...

...and the beginning of the 2007 holiday shopping season!!!

We hope you all had a "filling" Thanksgiving Day! Laura had some friends over for dinner today and Amy spend the day with family. It was truly a day to be thankful for. Good company and good food. That's what it's all about. On the way home this evening, I noticed a lot of houses had their Christmas lights up. Guess we'd better get on the ball! Although, if you haven't already noticed, our MTW banner is all decked out in its holiday gear. Thanks to MTW friend, Christine Campana for "decorating" our little home online! If anyone would like Christine to spruce up your banner, contact us and we'll put you in touch with her.

BLACK FRIDAY is now upon us, the biggest shopping day of the year. Will you all be out at 4 am beating down those retail doors? I've never been one to jump on the Black Friday wagon but I wish you all the luck if you're heading out that you get those great deals being offered.

Please remember if you're out there shopping for your child to be aware of the products you are purchasing. MTW is on board with the Consumers Union (Non-Profit Publisher of Consumer Reports) to help continue to raise awareness of toxic toys. It's so important that you have done your research and be continually aware of the recalls that are published to ensure the safety of your loved ones.

Here are Consumers Union's 12 shopping tips that will help families enjoy a safe and merry holiday:

Do not buy metal jewelry
- especially cheap metal jewelry - for young children. About 20% of children's metal jewelry has high levels of lead lurking beneath the surface coating. A child who mouths or accidentally swallows a piece of lead-laden jewelry can suffer lead poisoning.

You can test toys for lead by using a home lead test kit.
Although they are not always accurate, a positive test result indicates a high likelihood that the product you're testing has lead. Consumer Reports recommends the Lead Check and the Lead Inspector which performed best in our tests.

Be careful of toys with magnets. Many toys have small magnets that can fall out and, if swallowed, can cause serious health problems that are hard to diagnose. Don't buy toys with magnetic parts that are small enough to be swallowed.

If you find loose, small magnets anywhere around the house, track down the source. Immediately take the product away and any of its other magnetic components from your child and contact the manufacturer and the Consumer Product Safety Commission at

Avoid no-name products and be careful of toys purchased at dollar stores,
street fairs, vending machines, thrift stores, or yard sales.

When purchasing arts and crafts materials, stay away from permanent paints and marke
rs. Look for water-based paints and glues. For a child under three years old, purchase age appropriate material your child can't swallow rather than small foam pieces or small pom-pom balls.

Look for the age grading on toy packages and purchase only age-appropriate toys for your child. The age grading not only relates to play value but also to safety.

Some toys may be inappropriate for your toddlers and babies
. Toys labeled for children 3 and over may have small parts that can be a choking hazard for children under 3 years old. If you have children under 3 don't buy a toy with this warning label.

Do your own safety check to determine if you child's toys are choking hazards for young children. If his or her toy fits through a toilet-paper tube, it is a potential choking hazard. The government approved test for choking hazards is done with a smaller tube. The more stringent toilet-paper tube test helps you keep questionable toys out of your child's hands and mouth.

Beware of toys, which can be broken into smaller pieces
such as chalk, crayons or caps from markers. They can pose choking hazards to toddlers and babies.

Small balls that cause choking are the leading cause of deaths attributed to toys, tricycles are the second and the third is latex balloons. Some latex balloons have been responsible for more than 110 deaths since 1973. Children can suffocate while trying to blow up a balloon or while chewing on or sucking a balloon.

Before you shop, be
sure to check out and to check for recent toy recalls. You can also sign up for automatic recall notifications at

Tomorrow morning, I will be on the Magnificent Mile with representatives from Consumers Union and a number of other volunteers passing out the coupon books and stickers you see to the left. The books contain coupons for us, the consumers, to give to store managers while we're out shopping. Since there are only about 1% of product and food imports inspected, it is our responsibility, as parents, to protect our kids and raise awareness about these products. To read more about "The problem", click HERE.

If you live in one of the following cities, please feel free to stop by and volunteer to help spread the awareness this Friday, November 23rd:

10am ET
Herold Square, SW corner of 34th and Broadway
Group Support: NYPIRG
CU Support: Chuck Bell, Jean Halloran

10am CT
Original Water Tower, 806 N. Michigan Ave.
Group Support: ILPIRG, Kids in Danger
CU Support: Kathy Mitchell

10am CT
Courtyard above Aquarium
Group Support: MPIRG, possibly Senior Federation
CU Support: Mel Trevino and Brent Scott

10am ET
Park Street T-Station (Corner of Tremont and Park) Then will walk over to Downtown Crossing.
Local Support: MassPIRG
CU Support: Morgan

*If you happen to make it out or see us passing out the coupon books and giving away t-shirts, let them know that you heard about it at!

Good luck finding all you are looking for on this major shopping day! Don't forget about all of the great mom and pop shops we talk about here on, you will find some fabulous, unique products and get some very personal customer service from these wonderful boutiques!


Anonymous said...

There was an article about lead in toys in the Chicago Tribune, Sunday, 11/18. There are many items on the shelves that are not recalled that have high levels of lead.