Ditto Kiddo is closed.
Thank you.

Please e-mail dittokiddo1@aol.com with any inquiries about fixtures. We have some remaining and would be happy to part with them.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Short Story

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"Big Brother, what are you doing?
"I'm reading a book Little Brother."

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"Can you read it to me? Can you? Can you?"
"Yes, I will read to you, but you must remember to be careful with the pages."

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"I'll help you up onto this big super-comfy chair, Little Brother."
"OK! Thank you Big Brother. I love you."

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And Big Brother read a wonderful book to Little Brother. And the two brothers were very happy.

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And then they reclined their super-comfy glider and took an afternoon nap, dreaming of Winnie the Pooh and all the fun things they could do later in the afternoon.

Glider: Dutalier reclining glider with ottoman $199
Big Brother's clothing: Gymboree overalls, 18-24 months, $8.90 :: Old Navy blue shirt, 18-24 months, $3.90
Little Brother's clothing: Green Dog reversible 2 piece outfit, 12 months, $7.90 :: Starting Out Green polo shirt, 12 months, $4.90

More Recalls Announced

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Because I'm Me at Ditto Kiddo

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We've been lucky enough to expand the line of Because I'm Me products we're carrying at Ditto Kiddo. The line now offers reversible backpacks for kids, handbags for women, burp cloths, quilts, and soft blankets.

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For more information click here.

Florida Prepaid College Plans

The Florida Prepaid College Board is opening its 20th annual enrollment, Chairman Ted Hoepner announced. The new 2007-08 Florida Prepaid College Plan prices are available from October 15, 2007 until the sign-up deadline of January 31, 2008. The price of a four-year university tuition plan starts at about $3 a day for a newborn. The two-year community college tuition plan begins at about $1 a day... (more)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Home Lead Test Kit Information

CPSC Staff Study: Home Lead Test Kits Unreliable

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today announced the results of a special evaluation of consumer lead test kits. CPSC staff used commonly available test kits on a variety of paints and other products containing different levels of lead. Many of the tests performed using the kits did not detect lead when it was there (false negatives); some indicated lead was present when it was not (false positives). Of 104 total test results, more than half (56) were false negatives, and two were false positives. None of the kits consistently detected lead in products if the lead was covered with a non-leaded coating. Based on the study consumers should not use lead test kits to evaluate consumer products for potential lead hazards. These findings are consistent with previous CPSC staff test results. (more)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Spooktacular Halloween Savings

Save 50% on all Halloween Costumes at Ditto Kiddo.

Choose from Thomas the Train, a 50's girl, Stitch, a dinosaur from Old Navy, a clown, Minnie Mouse, and many, many more.

We also have Halloween themed t-shirts and pants.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bike Trailer

Just in!
Schwinn Bike Trailer, seats one or two. Can be used as a bike trailer or stroller. Excellent condition. $89.90
This won't be here long!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Recalls: Childcraft Puppet Theater

For a recall free puppet theater, try Melissa and Doug's. We have one left in stock at Ditto Kiddo ... this is a hot item this holiday season!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mi Familia

My family:

These are so distracting to me when I see them on a car ... for some reason I can't help but be curious, and if the family is more than 3 people it takes a minute to figure out what's what (and who's a person and who's an animal) ... and that's time I should be driving my car, and watching ALL the cars around me, not just the one with the cute family. But maybe that's just me ...

On the internet, it's just fun and not so car accident risky.

Have fun ... Our Sticker Family

Monday, October 15, 2007

How Amoosing!

Udderly adorable these two outfits are!

On the left, BT Kids 2-piece outfit, size 24 months. $5.90.

On the right, Gymboree long romper with long sleeves, 6-9 months. $7.90

I'm sure these will moove quickly, so steer yourself in the right direction and hurry in to Ditto Kiddo.

Don't give me beef for this, but cow jokes are rare and never well done. And that's no bull.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Odds and Ends

A few more recalls ... check here for details.

Don't forget to use your birthday coupon! It expires on October 18th.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, hence the pink font today. Do your breast self-exam. Now is good.

We've gotten lots of great girls clothing in this week, mostly sizes 6 through 10. Of course the great stuff doesn't end there ... our boys racks are full, full, full of Gap, Gymboree, Ralph Lauren, and more.

It's the time of year to look for cool weather clothing and we've got it. Jeans, corduroys, sweaters, jackets, even mittens and hats are all in stock at Ditto Kiddo.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Hut

So, have you been to The Hut? Have you even heard of it?

The Hut is a wonderful restaurant located in Buckingham near the world famous Buckingham Blues Bar (no, I don't know why it's world famous and I can honestly say I've never been there, but with a name like that it really is tempting).

We (Jason, me, and the kids) have dined at the Hut a few times and have always wondered why we don't get there more often. The price is reasonable, the seven of us ate for about $80 without alcohol (but 4 of those 7 were under 10). The service is outstanding, each time we've eaten there we've been more than happy with the service and that's saying a lot coming from current and former restaurant employees. Atmosphere is nice too ... all around a winner in our book.

Tuesday night is "all you can eat fish fry".

The real treats at the Hut are the gardens. Filled with both mature native and exotic species of plants and a beautiful waterfall and goldfish pond, the gardens are not only tropical and peaceful but educational too.

As the condos take over Naples and Fort Myers there are fewer and fewer real tropical restaurants that give that "Florida" feel, so we feel very blessed that the Hut remains. I would never say it has that "old Florida" feel though, as to me that conjures up images of perhaps not the cleanest or most modern ambiance, and the Hut is definately modern (updated a few years ago), clean, and spacious.

The history of The Hut:
Edwin Peace, a German man, sailed in the merchant marines. Upon his ship landing in Tahiti he met Princess Ramira Stephagee. He offered a pocket knife for Princess Ramira's hand in marriage. The couple choose to reside in Fort Myers and acquired the property where the Hut sits today.

Mr. Peace began experimenting growing various species of rare tropical plants. He was granted permission to import plants from all around the world, and succeeded in growing a tropical wonderland, which was admired and enjoyed by frequent visitors and friend, Thomas Edison. As a result of the close friendship between Edison and Peace, many rare specimens on the Edison Estate
today came from the Peace Gardens.

Edwin and Lolita raised two children. A son, Oscar and a daughter, Lolita. Lolita became a famous Tahitian dancer and now resides in Miami. Oscar joined the Navy, and since retired to North Carolina and is now deceased. Princess Ramira Stephagee Peace died in 1967, and the children inherited the Peace Tropical Gardens.

Upon Lolita and Oscar parting ways, together they sold the property to Marie Louise Books Rector, who with her husband, owned and operated the famous Newagen Inn, in Newagen Maine, and the Royal Palm Hotel in Fort Myers. Marie had a dream for the newly acquired property. . . . In her dream, she visualized the gardens restored to their natural beauty, and a majestic tropical restaurant standing on the adjunct property in the unique and beautiful community of Buckingham. The dream became a reality and remains today for all to enjoy. The Hut Restaurant, a gem amongst the gardens. Perfect for a romantic dinner for two, a casual outing with a group of friends, celebrating a birthday with family and much more.

***It has been so busy today that it has taken me hours to write this (and all the italicized history was copied and pasted ) ... my point is simply this: eat at the Hut, go before it's dark and enjoy the gardens, and have fun. It's well worth it!

The Hut 5150 Buckingham Rd Fort Myers, FL 33905 239-694-4178

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Have you celebrated our birthday?

Have you used your Ditto Kiddo birthday coupon yet?
You've got until the 18th of October to celebrate with us.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Coveting thy neighbor's stroller

The quest for the best can drive some parents buggy

The above i'coo stroller is available at Ditto Kiddo for $149, significantly less than new (but you're the only one who'd ever know ... 'cause we're not telling anyone!).

To an extent I think the whole issue of having the best/most expensive stroller is silly, but I do find some of the higher-end stroller to have wonderful features ... and because those features can simplify your life (face it, you'll use your stroller a lot and convenient is very good) they are worth looking into. The i'coo has some great assets - it's lightweight, easy to use, nice big wheels, a carseat adapter, and more ... for $149 it's worth a second look, and a purchase.

More Recalls

Kids II Recalls Baby Einstein Color Blocks Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

CKI Recalls Children’s Decorating Sets Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard; Sold Exclusively at Toys “R” Us

KB Toys Recalls Wooden Toys Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

Eveready Battery Co. Recalls Toy Flashlights Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

There were a few more recalls, available at the Consumer Product Safetu Commision website.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Where the Baby Sleeps

A large amount of our business is, of course, baby stuff ... gear, clothing, furniture, toys, and other necessities. And this stuff can cost a lot of money! But here's the thing: It doesn't have to!

I titled this post "Where the Baby Sleeps" because not every baby gets his own room. Plenty of babies share with a sibling or room with Mommy and Daddy. Our kids are hybrids of sorts. For the first 8 months they were in our room, then shared a room with a sibling. Right now the two girls share a room, the two youngest boys share a room, and our oldest son has his own room (he's a terrible sleeper and would gleefully keep his sibling awake all night long).

When we were expecting #5 we realized it was time for a bigger living space and built a house with 5 bedrooms, and moved in when the baby was 3 months old. Ahhh... K. was the first baby to get his own room, and with a brand new house to work with I had fun decorating that nursery! I had fun, but I didn't go broke (well, maybe I did after decorating the whole house ... but that one room didn't break the bank!), and you don't have to go broke either.

The crib: I purchased my first crib for $45 at a resale store (Rock-A-Bye, that recently closed in Naples, carried new and resale when they had their location near downtown). That crib lasted through three of my kids and my niece. My second crib, purchased because the first crib was already occupied, was an inexpensive white metal crib, and worked quite well for us. Crib #3, the nursery crib, came from Ditto Kiddo. That beautiful crib was about $900 new, and it was priced at $299 at Ditto Kiddo. The moment that crib came in the front door I knew I was taking it home. It was love at first sight.

The cribs at Ditto Kiddo generally sell for between $60 and $299, depending on the original price and the condition. Currently we have a Ragazzi dark wood crib with a drawer, originally $799, for $199. You can't beat that price for a crib of that quality.

Speaking of quality ... some features to consider in your new crib:

  • hard or soft wood, or metal

  • wood color, or painted

  • hardware ... is it hidden or not, plastic or metal, easy to raise and lower the sides

  • style

  • drop sides ... do you want both sides to drop or just one, or none

  • convertible ... do you need the crib to convert to a toddler bed, or full size bed headboard

Some things we've noticed about cribs over the years:

  • a good crib will last a very long time and stand up through a number of kids

  • hard wood will resist dings, toy banging, teeth, etc.

  • very few people ever use their convertible crib as a toddler bed and we've never heard of anyone who used it as a bed headboard

  • a drawer underneath is great (extra storage is always great) but don't let a toddler stand in the drawer!

  • it isn't necessary to buy the most expensive crib on the market

  • wheels ... they are not recommended because a toddler may be able to find a way to rock the crib and move it across the room, but they are so convenient

  • for grandparents: easy to put together is key!

  • why a crib with drop on both sides: the only time this is necessary is if the crib is meant to be viewed from one end, for example a crib with a picture on one end-piece would be set up in the room a certain way, if it drops on both sides you've got more fliexibility with how the crib is placed

  • if you buy a crib without directions call the company, or check online, to get them

  • tight budget ... forego getting the exact look you want and put your money just into quality
  • most babies are out of the crib between 20 months and their 3rd birthday

This is getting long and there's still so much more to crib talk, but it's time to move on ...

Mattress: The two basic options are foam or innerspring. If your crib has a solid board under the mattress the foam will be fine. If you're using the mattress on a toddler bed you'll probably need the stability of an innerspring. On a basic crib with a springboard you can go either way, consider foam for a grandchild, innerspring if you'd like it to last through a few kids. You DO NOT have to spend hundreds of dollars on a crib mattress. We sell the expensive ones for $29.90 ... WalMart sells them for up to $160 ... if you decide to buy a high quality crib at a specialty boutique (but why would you when you can get the same crib at a fraction of the price at Ditto Kiddo?) do not feel obligated to buy a super expensive mattress from them.

Bedding Set: How much did you pay for the bedding set on your bed? The set you plan to use for years on the bed you sleep in nightly. What about your older kids beds? Ok, so why do we feel it makes sense to pay so much for crib bedding? Let me say this first ... Ditto Kiddo sells incredible bedding sets from $29 to $99, very rarely more than that.

First the nitty-gritty on bedding:

  • the quilt/comforter is not to be used in the crib, most people use it as a wall hanging or floor quilt

  • if a crib bumper is used (gray area ... there are many recommendations to not use bumpers), the bumpers should be removed when the baby is able to pull to standing so he doesn't use it as a step to get out of the crib

  • the sheet should fit well, not be loose under the mattress. If you aren't sure if it's secure enough use sheet or mitten clips to hold it securely

  • diaper stacker ... either you love it or hate it, I loved it and used it for all my kids, others can't see any value to it

  • the mobile should be removed when the baby can pull up on the side of the crib

  • DO NOT buy bedding that isn't machine washable ... what a headache that would be! Along the same lines, an extra sheet or two is very handy and you will use them. Crib bumpers are machine washable, but we recommend not machine drying them

  • When looking at bumpers keep in mind that a firm stiff bumper will hold up better and stay upright better than an understuffed one

  • my thoughts on crib sets on cribs ... the lighter the wood the darker the bedding set if you really want it to pop out, and the darker the wood the lighter the bedding set, of course a light colored set will look great on a light crib but to make both stand out we find that opposites work best

  • no blankets, quilts, pillows in the crib, instead dress baby in a warm enough sleeper

  • on a tight budget, or for a grandparent, you'd be perfectly fine to just buy a crib sheet and mattress pad for the crib

  • when looking at bedding be open-minded regarding gender. Painting a wall, or using a different color sheet can take a crib from boyish to girlish, and vice versa
  • remember that by the time your baby is 8 months old most of the bedding set won't be in his crib ... just the sheet
Now this post is just getting insanely long ...

Changing table - I loved mine, it was the perfect height for changing and gave me shelves for storage. I bought mine used and it lasted 10 years in my house, through 5 babies. I now use a changing table in my sewing room for folded fabric and it works perfectly for that. I've talked to other people who just use a bed to change the baby. My sister had a changing pad in her bathroom counter, up against a mirror ... baby could look at himself in the mirror, it was great.

Rocking chair or glider - I wouldn't have liked to live without it, great place to nurse or rock a baby or for Dad to sleep

I'm giving up on trying to format this post. My apologies! I hope this information is helpful to someone, please feel free to post your input and opinions, or disagree with everything I've said! Or ask a question ... I'll try to answer it, as we do daily at Ditto Kiddo. The more information provided to new and expecting parents the more informed their choices can be.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Halloween Shopping at Ditto Kiddo

Today I can believe it's fall. I'm loving the nice breeze we've had yesterday and today. While the beautiful weather doesn't have me digging out the kids winter sweaters and coats (I so look forward to the few days they can wear sweaters!) it does have me thinking more seriously about Halloween.

We do have quite a few costumes at Ditto Kiddo, including an adorable clown and a menacing Darth Vader. All are priced between $1.9o and $7.90.

If you're interested in bringing costumes in they must arrive at Ditto Kiddo by this Wednesday, the 3rd of October.

When I was a child we usually made our own costumes. Some years we were treated to a store costume, complete with stiff plastic mask with gigantic eye holes, but most years we made our own. This was in Wisconsin and back before kids trick or treated at the mall so under or over our costume was our heavy jacket ... which kind of distracted from the costume!

But here we are in Florida, where my kids have never had to wear a jacket on Halloween, but where they still often have home made costumes, often out of parts of other costumes, things from the dress-up box, Ditto Kiddo shopping, and a bit of sewing from Mom.

Not only does the "make your own" technique of costuming save money but it allows the kids to be more self-expressive and creative. AND, we've found that the costumes that win the contests are usually home made ... and really really cool!

Last year three of my kids were the Blues Brothers (when they had the little kid with them), one was a good purple witch (using parts of store bought costumes), and the last was a pirate (he's always a pirate).

So what kind of costume could you make from your finds at Ditto Kiddo? Here are a few simple ideas:

denim overalls + flannel or t-shirt + hat + straw or raffia = scarecrow
jean skirt or jeans + white t-shirt + scissor-fringed vest = cowgirl or cowboy
shredded dirty white clothes + face make-up = mummy
jeans + white tee with sleeves rolled up + loafers = James Dean
white tee + white tights + stuffed pillowcase with arm and head holes cut out = marshmallow

For more great ideas, even some instructions, check out these sites:
homemade halloween costume ideas
JoAnn Fabrics
Halloween kids
Budget 101

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