Is GoogleExpress going to make (mom) life easier?


Last night I attended a launch event for GoogleExpress. It was very well hosted by Alison Ray of SoChicLife and her guest list included some bloggers I met for the first time IRL but have “known” very well on IG or FB, like @stylemeetlife aka Jessica Mefford and @definingtabitha aka Tabitha Green. And it’s always the a treat to connect with my gal pals who I never seem to be able to catch up with if it weren’t for at these types of gatherings. Coiffed and styling, we exchange mom-crazed stories over cocktails and compliments.

The night started with handcrafted libations and hors d’ oeuvres on the rooftop. Here I am with my friend MJ Tam of Chicagonista:

googleexpress me and mj

Here’s a peek at the dinner menu:

googleexpress dinner

I dined with these beautiful moms:

As a busy entrepreneur/mom/wife, I’m thrilled to see another option to help me get things done so that I have time to focus on important things…..or play (!). When comes to “task” shopping (groceries, supplies, etc), I don’t quite enjoy it as I do when I hit Hazel for my summer wardrobe. GoogleExpress provides same-day or overnight delivery from local stores like Costco (love!!), Walgreens, Ulta Beauty, etc. It’s kind of like Instacart or Peapod but with more shopping options.

If you would like to find out more information, go here:

If you would like to try it out, here’s a $25 off code for your first purchase: EXPRESSCHICAGO

But it’s only for the first 2,500 shoppers, so treat yourself NOW!

If you try it out, let me know your experience (comment on this blog) as I am also new to the GoogleExpress service. They gave me a sweet little credit for trying it out too. I’m eager to find out if this is going to be a solution for busy moms!

Cheers to the “easy button”,

Katherine McHenry







Spreading the love, one bear hug at a time…

It is a truly exciting time to be in the toy industry as a specialty toy retailer. Even up to 10 years ago, making a difference in our product offerings meant offering toys that are Made in the USA. The goal was to find as many toys that our customers would want that were made in America. To this day some of our bestselling lines are Uncle Goose Blocks and Maple Landmark Trains, which we have offered since the day we opened. However it seemed that there should be more room to “grow a conscience in the toy industry”.

And grow we did. Founded in 2007, Green Toys products are not only made in the USA, but made out of recycled plastic milk jugs. Plan Toys makes all their kid products from reclaimed wood (discarded rubber wood trees no longer producing sap). More women-owned toy companies entered the market. Some of my favorite women-owned companies to support include Peaceable Kingdom, Baby Paper, and Kaskey Kids. Crazy Aaron’s Puttyworld sources “sheltered workshops” which employ folks with intellectual disabilities. Plan Toys got their employees out of usury-type debts and formed a credit union for them. Just like me, these companies are asking: “How can we make a difference in the world with our toy business?”. This year, Building Blocks switched to processing credit cards with Merchant Giving Project, which donates a portion of our fees to Reading in Motion. These days it’s almost a requirement for us to make a difference where we can, if we know we can.

Now the exciting part…

bears for humanity

Recently my independent sales rep, Mary, came to visit my store so we could talk about new toys, place orders, and catch up on what’s happening in the toy world. She put a teddy bear on my desk and I immediately thought it was such a beautiful classic teddy bear. The entire Building Blocks team swarmed to steal some bear hugs. Then she told us it is made out of it is made out of 100% GOTS Certified Organic Cotton……ooooh! Then she said the bear is assembled in  California……aaaah!… workers in a welfare program (Calworks)…..what?! And just when she had gotten me so eager to order these for our shop, she adds: “and for every bear your customer buys, one exactly like that (EXACTLY LIKE THAT) will be donated to a local charity of our choice.

bears for humanity eva

What local organization do you think the bears should be gifted to? Please tell your favorite charity to fill out this form for consideration:

We will select, with your help, a worthy organization to receive the bears. In the meantime, buy Bears for Humanity!

Thanks for reading,

Katherine Mchenry


My “Bucket List” of Summer Toys

Summer is finally here and this is what we survived the Polar Vortex for. Don’t let sun and warm weather slip past you without making a “bucket list” to ensure your family has a fun-filled summer. Whether that list includes hitting our many Chicago beaches, backyard barbecues, or visiting one of the many water-slashing Chicago Parks,  I’ve got my “bucket list” of toys that will make it an unforgettable summer!

Zorbz Self Sealing Water Balloons

Just pinch for a second after filling it and you’re ready to fire!


Bow & Arrow Set

A Hunger games summer. May the weather be ever in our favor!

bow arrow

Unicorn Pogo Jumper

It’s way more fun when you’re jumping around with your own unicorn.

unicorn pogo jumper


The winner of the foam sabers duel snags the first hot dog from the grill.

mashoonga kids


Bubble Robot

No words needed to tell you how cool this toy is. Just watch this video:

Have a great summer friends!


Katherine, toyshopkeeper

P.S. Would you like to win a set of these cool toys? Tell me what should be on this list by submitting your entry HERE and you could be the lucky random winner!


Candy your kids WANT in their basket!

We know that candy is bad for kids…well, for most adults too. But let’s be honest about why we don’t really want to fill  our Easter baskets with marshmallows, chocolate, jelly beans, and the nougats, caramel and whatever the mystery creme is inside a Cadbury egg. THE SUGAR HIGH. Whoever said it was a myth sure didn’t come to my house when we left the Halloween loot unsupervised for half an hour.

Here’s some fun, non cavity-causing, sweet treats for your kid’s basket:

1. Japanese erasers. Brought to you by the masters of “cute”

japanese erasers

2. Scented stickers. Sniffing won’t give you empty calories.

scented stickers


3. Chocolate Fix. It’s Brain Candy.

chocolate fix

4. Candyland. It’s a very tasty place.

candland retro

5. Gummy bear swim goggles. Need I say more?


What are your favorite non-candy basket stuffers?

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