Lulujo swaddling blankets are at Pufferbellies – whoop whoop!

The Canadian brand Lulujo has been making incredibly soft, super cuddly cotton and bamboo muslin swaddling blankets since 2009 — but they weren’t readily available in the States. UNTIL NOW. We are so excited to be one of the first stores in the US to carry Lulujo swaddlers and muslin security blankets.

You can get all snuggly with them here in the store (we have samples of both the cotton and bamboo out to feel), or you can shop right here on our website.

The great thing about Lulujo muslin blankets is that even if you don’t use them for swaddling, there are about a million other uses. Tummy time blanket, changing mat, stroller cover, nursing cover, security blanket, on and on. And they really do get softer with every wash, even though that sounds like a cheesy marketing slogan.

Lulujo muslin blankets on display at Pufferbellies Toys and Books in Staunton, Virginia

Lulujo muslin blankets on display at Pufferbellies Toys and Books in Staunton, Virginia

#hellostaunton Instagram contest

We are working on a project. Something BIG. Something SECRET. We will be able to tell you alllll about it soon, but in the meantime, we need your help!

Our project involves things that are quintessentially STAUNTON. What are the best, most iconic parts of our little town, especially for kids? If you had friends coming into town with their children, where would you take them? What would you show them? We want to know!

Share your photos with us on Instagram and you could win a $25 gift card to Pufferbellies! 

You must tag us (@pufferbellies) and include the hashtag #hellostaunton. We’ll collect photos until July 25, and choose a winner then.

Private profiles: If your profile is private, we can’t see your pictures even when you tag us! Please send your entries to us in a private Instagram message.

You can enter as many times as you choose; just don’t forget to tag @pufferbellies and #hellostaunton.

One winner will be chosen by the staff of Pufferbellies Toys & Books to receive a $25 Pufferbellies gift card. The gift card may be redeemed in our store or on our website.

We can’t wait to see your #hellostaunton pictures!

hello staunton for instagram.jpg

Staunton Easter Egg Hunt 2014 — new location!

For the first time I can remember, the annual Staunton Parks & Rec Easter Egg Hunt will NOT be happening in Gypsy Hill Park! There’s a new venue — Montgomery Hall Park. I love this idea because there’s tons of room at MHP for the kids to spread out. 

The 2014 Easter Egg Hunt is happening on Saturday, April 19th starting at 9AM. For all the details (including start times for the different age groups), visit the official Staunton website

How to reserve your limited-edition Easter Thinking Putty

We have a limited quantity of Easter Thinking Putty in mini tins on the way to us. I think they will sell out fast, so if you’d like to reserve yours for pickup at our store in Staunton, Virginia, when it arrives, please use this form.

Each tin measures about 2 inches in diameter and the translucent putty is packed with pastel, color-shifting glitter.

Easter Thinking Putty

Easter Thinking Putty

Snowball fight at the toy store

We don’t get a lot of snow here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. We can count on about one big snowfall per year, usually after Christmas, and sure enough — it showed up this week. We got about 16 inches of snow here at the store and it was beautiful.

Snow outside Pufferbellies in Staunton Virginia

Belle the giraffe was up to her neck in snow

We never close Pufferbellies for bad weather unless the power’s out, but there aren’t usually a lot of customers when it’s snowing — so we invited the neighborhood over for a snowball fight and some hot chocolate from The Split Banana. We had a great time and even got a little attention from the local paper.

Snowball fight outside Pufferbellies in Staunton Virginia

Snowball fight

It turned what’s usually a pokey kind of day into a lot of fun. I’m almost wishing it would snow some more so we can do it again! Almost.

Snowball fight outside Pufferbellies toy store in Staunton Virginia

Playing in traffic! Don’t tell mom.


Tuesday Crafternoon: DIY Bath Crystals

We had a little special-edition Crafternoon for Valentine’s Day this week. We figured everybody was full-up on construction paper, glitter glue and doilies, so we decided to do something a little different and make our own bath crystals. This is a super-simple project with lots of steps that kids like (pouring, stirring, adding more paint than they probably should …) and it was a HUGE hit with our participants. I know a Crafternoon is good when the parents have to drag the kids away from the art table, and that’s exactly what happened with this project.

Here’s how to make your own bath crystals at home:

Materials for DIY bath crystals

Materials for DIY bath crystals

Gather your materials. You’ll need:

Chunky salt of some kind. Epsom salts are ideal, but we didn’t have those so we used water-softening salt (which happens to be super inexpensive at the hardware store).

Baking soda (optional — we didn’t use it at Crafternoon because I wanted to make the project very simple, but it’s nice to add some)

Food coloring or liquid watercolor. We used our favorite liquid watercolor, Watercolor Magic by Sargent Art. I love this stuff because it’s washable and it actually colors the salt better than food coloring.

Essential oils. We gave the kids a choice of grapefruit, lavender and peppermint.

A cup and a popsicle stick or spoon to mix everything up with

Some sort of packaging. We used inexpensive clear plastic treat bags from Michaels, but a jar would be pretty.

DIY bath crystals made from salt, watercolor and essential oil

DIY bath crystals made from salt, watercolor and essential oil

Then, just mix it all up! For each little batch I used about 1/3 cup salt, a teaspoon or so of baking soda, a couple drops of watercolor and one drop of essential oil.

The hardest part about doing this with kids is keeping them from adding a HUGE amount of paint. Pipettes are too big, and all bets are off if you give them a spoon. I finally decided to put the paint into a paint cup with a brush, then showed the kids how to take the brush out and press it against the inside rim of the mixing cup to get a few drops of paint to come out. Of course, a lot of them went wild anyway — but it’s just washable watercolor paint, and it will be diluted like crazy in the bath, so I didn’t sweat it too much. If it gets too painty, you can always add more salt.

When it came time for the essential oils, I let the children choose which oil they wanted and then I droppered it into the salt.

After your bath crystals are mixed up, you can package them pretty and give them to your Valentine!

Adult amber necklaces and bracelets

Have you heard about the benefits of healing amber? Lots of parents swear by it for their children.

Now at Pufferbellies we’re happy to be carrying amber for grownups, in the form of necklaces and bracelets. Baltic amber contains a relatively high percentage of what’s known as succinic acid — when absorbed into your body through the skin, it’s thought to have pain-relieving properties. People wear amber to help with all kinds of pain, and many folks report just “feeling better” overall when they wear amber. I’m a natural skeptic, and I always thought it was kind of far-fetched to think that a necklace could make you feel better. But I’ve been wearing an amber necklace 24 hours a day for about a week now, and I have experienced better sleep and an overall better mood. I don’t have specific pain issues that I’m dealing with, but I do just … feel better!

We just got a shipment of amber necklaces in sizes from 17″ to 22″, and bracelets in sizes from 5.75″ to 7.5″. They aren’t on our website yet, but you can stop by our store in downtown Staunton to take a look!

Amber necklaces at Pufferbellies in downtown Staunton

Amber necklaces at Pufferbellies in downtown Staunton