When my husband and I took our young daughters on our annual summer vacation, there wasn’t a single piece of baby gear that we left behind: portable high chair, Pack ‘n Play, stroller, ExerSaucer…we were a regular traveling circus of kiddie equipment. There was, however, one item we just couldn’t bring along, and one that caused me more anxiety than it should have. Trying to bathe a young baby in a standard bath is like trying to dress a cat in doll clothes: cute idea, but they just don’t fit right. Keeping my little one upright with one slippery hand became a Herculean feat that I didn’t care to repeat day after day. Believe me when I say this was no vacation at the beach! How I longed for a tub that would fold up as neatly as her umbrella stroller and stow as easily as her porta crib. For today’s new moms, that wish is about to be granted.The Flexi Bath is a revolutionary product in the world of baby bathing that adapts a simple, yet effective design: a lightweight tub that fills up as easy as it folds up. Not only do we love its generously-sized rectangular shape and eye-catching colors, but it fits right inside a standard tub and drains with a gentle tug of the plug. If you’re packing this tub to go, you’ll love that it doubles as a storage bin, or you can fold it up and store it just as you would a flattened cardboard box. Now you’ve got more room for all those souvenirs…
In a Nutshell: Can’t fit a tub to go in your trunk? Don’t get in a lather; this one’s a perfect fit for any young tot. Just add bubbles.
Once upon a time, there lived a little girl who loved her vegetables. Be it broccoli or string beans, she devoured every green-leafed morsel on her plate. She met each carrot with a zest for eating, every tomato with an appreciation for fresh produce that no 2-year-old had ever been known to cultivate. Until, that is, the day she entered a new phase: the “I don’t like thaaatttt!” stage of development parents of toddlers have come to know, yet not love. How frustrated became her mom. “What happened to that little girl who loved to crunch and munch all things healthy?,” she wondered. She began to fret, since this child was not one for a big appetite as it was. Lucky for both of them that Super Puffs arrived on the scene. At first glance, these snack foods were not unlike some of the other bite-sized, cereal-like puffs she had tried before. But after further examination, the mom noticed their organic, good-for-you ingredients, their colorful hue and how neatly the canister they appeared in fit into a cup holder for long drives. Inventive pairings of spinach and apple, strawberry and beets, mango and sweet potato ensured that her little one would be getting a taste of those veggies cleverly disguised as light-as-air treats. Now that the little girl is happily munching Super Puffs, the kingdom can rest easy…and maybe her mom can even start sneaking those veggies onto her plate once again. And everyone can live happily ever after.
In a Nutshell: Buck up, Mom; fussy eaters are just part of parenting a typical toddler. But with these whole grain puffs, your little princess may resume healthy eating habits once again. The End.
My 6-year-old is already pestering me to buy valentines that she can send to her classmates, but I keep putting her off. I can’t blame her enthusiasm; I was the same way as a kid: always looking forward to holidays and enjoying the experience of finding just the right cards and decorations. (It’s probably why I’m a proud Hallmark platinum card carrier today…). But I know that once those cards are signed and sealed with a kiss, she’ll be anticipating the next valentine-related activity and this year, I’m at a loss…until I came across a fun new craft kit that doubles as a gift for a lucky friend or family member. Petite Sweet Soaps are not only pretty, but they’re easy to make for your school-aged crafter. The kit comes with soft, sculptable clay that you can mold into candy shapes and then top off with icing swirls, hearts, flowers and bath salt sparkles. Once the soaps are to your liking, place them inside candy paper wrappers, nestle them inside the heart-shaped box and finish off with a ribbon and gift card. This is one sweet treat you won’t feel guilty about indulging in.
In a Nutshell: Almost too good to eat, Petite Sweet Soaps are the perfect sugar-free alternative to Valentine’s Day. A creative confectionery that makes a great gift for a favorite teacher, grandparent or (hint, hint) mom.
As the saying goes, “There’s a place for everything, and everything has its place.” And if there’s one place you don’t need used tissues, half-eaten lollipops and the like, it’s your purse. I’m vowing to keep my own new bag as clean as possible this year (I’m considering it my own personal New Year’s resolution, one that I’m doing my darnedest to keep). But rather than taking time to regularly discard credit card receipts, gum wrappers and broken crayons, I can denote a special spot just for this type of refuse. Go Gaga’s Stuff Sack is the answer to the disorganized mother’s prayers–and who can’t appreciate that? This generously sized bag is odor-proof, leak-proof and moisture-proof. Dirty diapers? The Stuff Sack is ready for them. Half-eaten yogurt tubes? Bring ‘em on! Once you’re back home and have emptied its contents, simply pop this bag in the washing machine , and you can use it again and again. When you roll the top of the bag 3 times, clip the bag shut and use the makeshift handle to hang from your stroller handlebar or diaper bag strap. Don’t forget to click your heels and say, “There’s no place like home.”
In a Nutshell: A godsend that prevents your purse from becoming a bottomless pit of refuse? We’re sold. Because I’ve got better things to do with my time. Like laundry…
Practically every Saturday night is takeout Japanese in my family. What started out as a convenient way of grabbing dinner on my way home has developed into a tradition that we’ve come to relish. The fact that my 2-year-old is learning to use my chopsticks and that my 6-year-old knows her sushi from her sashimi is something we can be proud of–really. Perhaps it’s my love for Japanese food that prompted me to take a closer look at the Bento ultimate diaper bag. There aren’t too many other bags that I’ve seen with their own Bento box for keeps baby foods and snacks mess-free in their own separate containers. An insulated cooler bag and freezer pack keep a stash of grapes cool…so you can keep your cool when little hunger pangs strike. Plenty of pockets means ample space for wipes, diapers and all those other on-the-go necessities. And using the Shuttle Clips, you can strap this bay right onto your stroller’s handle bars and away you go! (I don’t know about you, but I’m off to pick up some shumai…yum yum!)
In a Nutshell: Got a diaper bag that’s not proving its worth? Say “sayonara” and pick up the Bento bag instead.
When my husband decided to paint my older daughter’s nursery, it was a nightmare. Her room, which was a makeshift office for the previous home owner, had peeling, faded floral wallpaper and carpeting that had seen better days. Forget trying to imagine how cheery it would look once he redesigned it in a celestial motif of yellows and blues; you really had to be creative to picture that new layout amidst this dated space. For parents-to-be who can’t quite figure on how a bedding/paint ensemble will appear in their little one’s new home, consider the Nursery Designer tool from Carousel Designs. This interactive site lets you choose from over 300 fabrics and customize color options in bedding and wall space before committing to a specific style. Not sure if the love birds printed bumper will mesh well with a yin yang hue? Check it out virtually and you’ll see for yourself. We love the drag-and-drop ease of making fabric selections and then seeing them come to life in a nursery setting onscreen. If you relish the details, you’ll really go for the extras, like opting for bumpers with or without trim or choosing a floor stain. Then, once you’re set on a design, you save it and hold on to for future use–a great memento for your baby book.
In a Nutshell: Envisioning a nursery design doesn’t have to be an agonizing decision. Embrace your inner interior decorator and have a ball as you consider your options for your new bundle of joy. Stay tuned for a Design Your Own Baby Bedding contest, coming soon…
Remember when you opened a diaper bag at your baby shower and it practically screamed “I’m a Mommy…and there’s nothing I can do about it!”?…Well, the days of satchels adored with pastel bunnies and fuzzy ducklings are long gone, thanks to a number of designers that recognize that women don’t have to leave their sense of fashion behind just because they now have kids. One brand worth checking out is the CoCaLo Couture Diaper Bags, a versatile accessory that can help update your grown-up ensemble in a pinch. Not only is there plenty of room inside to stash all your baby necessities, but from the outside, no one will ever believe you’ve actually got wipes and Pampers in there. The bags are available in satchel and hobo styles to suit every fashion type, from the sophisticated to the bohemian. Yeah, you may be stuck changing diapers for a few years, but with at least with these totes, you can still feel like you’re hot to trot.
In a Nutshell: A diaper bag that doesn’t look like a diaper bag? We’re all over it…
Every mother has her least favorite time of day with the kids and for me, that would be dinnertime, hands down. Maybe it’s because I can’t quite keep up with the ever-changing demands of my toddler who once had a penchant for vegetables and now will hardly eat a crust of bread. My 6-year-old is no bargain either, although she is venturing outside the fish sticks realm and into real (gasp!) fried flounder. I proudly claim to be one of those moms who makes a home-cooked meal almost every school night (barring Pizza Night on Thursdays). I figure since I work from home, I should be able to pull off dinner that doesn’t come from a take-out bag, right? Plus, I secretly relish the fact that my kids are learning to eat “grown-up food” since they started solids. But like any Chef Mom, I can always use some inspiration. That’s why I am savoring the Time for Dinner cookbook that I recently received as a Christmas gift. Written by a trio of moms who are the former editors of Cookie magazine, this book speaks to me like a friend walking alongside me as I cruise the aisles of Stop ‘n Shop. They know the lingo that speaks to harried moms looking to get food on the table (“bribery booty”), and have innovative ideas for experimenting with future foodies (ice-cube-tray-sushi, anyone?). One chapter I’m aspiring to addresses my greatest desire: “I Want to Have a Family Dinner Where We All Eat the Same Meal.” But for now, I think I’ll settle for a meal made from scratch…even if I do have to get up to refill milk glasses for the umpteenth time.
In a Nutshell: Make a New Year’s resolution to yourself and your family and break out the dinnertime rut. This book will tell you how, even if you don’t know your way around a blender.