Monthly Archives: June 2009

a baby present with pizazz


Always on a quest for “the perfect gift,” but never truly satisfied? This summer, when you’re paying a visit to a friend or family member with a new arrival, the Ice-Qube Baby is one gift the little one’s parents are sure to welcome. It’s a portable package that’s chock-full of both the fun stuff–miniature socks, a board book and snuggly blanket in a whimsical print–as well as the practical. That’s the stuff you think as a new parents you might not ever use, but when it’s 3 a.m. and your baby is burning up, you are so grateful to have: a first-aid kit containing gauze, Band-aids, a nasal bulb and an oral syringe. I know–not exactly the most pleasant stuff to ponder, but if you’re a parent, you’ve been there.

The Ice-Qube Baby is also a life-saver for babysitters who need not only the right tools to handle a crisis on their feet, but the information to get the job done. Parents can fill out the included emergency plan sheet and head out for the night, confident that they didn’t forget anything. (A Baby to Go version is also available.)

In a Nutshell: Forgo the flowers and skip the stuffed bear; the Ice-Qube Baby packs a lot in a small package, and keeps on giving.

bug off!



If you’ve been anywhere near the east coast in the last two months, you know we’ve had no shortage of rain. (When did we move to Seattle or London?) And with the wet weather comes all those pesky mosquitoes, which appear to be relentless this season. Luckily, those blood-thirsty buggers are no match from the appropriately named Bug-a-Bug from Eco.kid. This hypo-allergenic insect repellent comes in a spray bottle that you’ll want to take with you wherever you go. I loved the light, fragrant scent that’s much like a citronella candle minus the wax. In fact, when I checked the label, I noticed the ingredients were nothing but good stuff, like vanilla and soy bean oils. One squirt and we were covered–literally. Who knew a day outdoors could feel like a day at the spa? Well, maybe not exactly, but…if you enjoy spending time outside with your kids like I do and don’t want to spend the better part of the day keeping the bugs at bay, rest easy. Bug-a-Bug will do the job for you.

And when the kiddies have gone off to bed, there’s nothing I like better than relaxing outdoors with my hubby, a glass of vino and…oh no, not those bugs again! This summer, we are putting the ThermaCELL Patio Lantern to good use. It’s reportedly 98-percent effective at repelling mosquitoes, black flies and other winged picnic spoilers. It’s portable, quiet (no snap, crackle, ZAP! noise when they meet their demise) and has no odor. How does it work, you might be wondering? A special cartridge that fits inside the lantern releases an insect repellent while it’s on (you’ll need 4 AA batteries to operate it), and provides you with four hours of protection. This lantern is a practical addition to this summer’s arsenal to wipe out those buggers once and for all.

In a Nutshell: Protecting your family from bug bites is a given this time of year. Eco.Kid and ThermaCELL make this task a no-brainer.

strollin’ in style



When a new stroller hits the streets, it’s difficult not to take notice. (Remember when the Bugaboo first came on the scene?) This summer has its own share of fresh faces to check out. Making its USA debut, the European-based Cybex line of strollers will be turning heads in parks and on sidewalks. Aside from being incredibly fashionable and sporty (Callisto model featured above in indigo), the strollers are lightweight and easy to maneuver. I especially like the aluminum wheels that give a rugged feel to your little one’s ride without making you feel every bump along the way. The extra wide storage basket doesn’t skimp on size; now I can really fit in everything I need to take along for the ride. If you are price shopping, you can take comfort in the fact that Cybex strollers deliver European sophistication without a hefty pricetag (models range from $140-$350).

New Yorkers, take notice: Cybex strollers will make their first official Stateside appearance in the Big Apple this Saturday, June 13. If you’ll be uptown, swing on by Albee’s at 715 Amsterdam Avenue (corner of 95th St.)from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and take one for a test drive.

If money is no object and you are one who loves to shop for the next big thing, then the Maclaren Grand Tour is the ticket for your baby (shown here in racing green). This is the mother of all strollers, complete with all the bells and whistles you can dream of. There are safety lights on the front, a built-in clock and temperature gauge (no more guessing whether you need to throw on any extra blanket during a chilly ride). Moms who stroll for exercise will relish the GT’s Strollometer that tells you how fast you are walking and how far you’ve gone–pretty cool. I’m especially fond of the Maclaren name, having put one through the ringer for the past five years. Two daughters later, and it’s still standing.

In a Nutshell: Expect to shell out $550-$900 (options vary) for this Cadillac of strollers, and watch everyone’s eyes glaze over in sheer jealousy!

getting a “boost” up on eco-friendly living


It’s difficult to shop for kids these days without being confronted with green products at every turn. No matter if you’re at the grocery store, the toy store or even shopping virtually, eco-conscious products are prominently positioned at the end of the aisle or on homepages, beckoning parents who only want the best for their families (and who doesn’t?). The green craze has gotten so intense, it almost makes you feel guilty if you’re purchasing something that isn’t environmentally-friendly.

Yes, I’ve reduced my carbon footprint, but the size of my headache has just tripled!

When I do make a green purchase for my family, I like to make sure it’s an educated one, and it helps when the manufacturer can back me up with information that makes me feel my choice was a smart one. Kudos to Safety 1st for doing just that with its Nature Next line of baby products. The company uses recycled plastic, bamboo and eco-plastic (that’s plastic made from plant resources for all you newbie greenies) in its collection of booster seats, potty seats, safety gates, step stools and bathtubs. I checked out the bamboo booster, and really liked how durable it is and that it complements my wooden kitchen chairs. Speaking of the kitchen, when I toured Safety 1st’s site, I found other ways I could be a bit more eco-conscious while cleaning up after meals. If you consider yourself a relative newcomer to the green craze, you can even take the short and painless online eco-conscious quiz. This is one test you don’t have to study for, but the results might teach you a thing or two about taking better care of your family–and Mother Earth.