Because my 8-year-old can read me like a book, I try to surprise her every now and then. Bath before dinner, OJ in a fluted glass (yeah, that one’s reserved for special occasions)…my changes in routine may be subtle, but they throw her for a loop every now and then. And since packing lunches have definitely hit a case of the doldrums by this late in the school year, I thought I might fool her with a small lunchbox treat that was bound to make her think she had mistakenly opened a classmate’s bag. Yesterday, I packed her sandwich in a Wexy Munch & Lunch Bag. Unlike ordinary zipper-locked baggies, these disposable bags are BPA-free, biodegradable and made from 100-percent recyclable materials. How’s that for being eco-friendly? Since I am admittedly bad about remembering to pack reusable containers, these bags absolve me of any unnecessary guilt. Plus, Wexy bags feature one of four fun-lovin’ monster friends–each with his own personality. There’s Sammy the Surfer, Scout the Soccer Player, Dusty the Diver and, my personal favorite, Bailey the Bubble Maker (know any kid who doesn’t love bubbles? Me neither.) So when my daughter returned home from school later that day, she told me how funny it was to open her lunch and find a Wexy bag–and that her friends wanted to know what they were. Score one for Mom who can be a little unpredictable every now and then. Now, let’s see if I can jazz up my husband’s lunch bag next…
Like you, we’re wondering if Mother Nature has the same calendar we do. In March, it felt like May and in May, we’ve seen the April showers that never quite made it on time. If you’re as tired as we are of making a mad dash to the bus stop with a fully clad younger sibling in tow, you’ll love the line of Rainwear Hoodebaby as much as we do. This easy-on, easy-off rainy day-inspired hoodie is the perfection solution to getting out the door in time, minus the battle scars (you know the ones we mean…”I want to wear my fireman hat and my fireman jacket…”). There are no buttons, zippers or snaps to wrestle with. Made from BPA- and lead-free laminated cotton and cotton flannel, the cheery, playful prints are in sharp contrast to those dreary, rain-soaked days (not to mention your toddler’s stormy mood). And once the clouds have parted and made way for the sun once again, this rainwear does double duty in the dress-up box. Call it a poncho in a pinch, if you like; we’re calling it plain genius.
In a Nutshell: “Rain, rain, come and stay.” You’ll be singing a new tune when your happy tot dons one of these the next time it pours.
What do you do when your hair is ultra fine and no barrettes or clips will stay place? If you were like me as a teenager, you got down on your hands and knees and prayed to God for curly locks. But if the powers that be were too busy attending to more pressing matters–heaven forbid, literally!–you learned to get creative and find alternative ways to make your hair look half-way decent. Now if you’re an athlete, you’ve got more reasons than plain old beauty to keep your hair in place. If you’re tired of resorting to those sweatbands that make you look like an 80s throwback (think Olivia Newton John’s “Let’s Get Physical”), well, let’s just say your prayers have answered. Glitter Girlz Headbandz let you look fashionable on the field without causing you to fret over a hair out of place. Created by a hard-working mom/daughter team, these ultra sparkly, adjustable bands are made from metallic ribbon, so you won’t see any glitter coming off on the court. And because the backing has a special ribbon, the band stays in place. We may not have too many natural-born sports stars in this household, but if two active kids under the age of 8 count, then suffice it to say these headbands work! What’s more: no headband headaches (we remember that all too well…ouch!). ‘Cause, as we ladies know, looking good is feeling good.
In a Nutshell: From parties to playgrounds and putting greens (and all those sport spots in between), Glitter Girlz Headbandz are the summer’s hottest hair accessory.
Trying to prep a sitter before heading out of the house is a job in and of itself. Once you write up a list of hour-by-hour “instructions” and show her where all the essentials are, you’ll be ready for a night out on the town, alright! We love a baby product that multitasks as much as we do–and one that make life a little less harried for fill-in help, too. Enter Danzo diaper bags, a line of designer diaper bags that prove their worth just by their built-in organization system. Tons of see-through pockets make it easy to find those wipes right when you need them. And for the more challenged caregiver, 25 interchangeable labels spell out the lay of the land, from “a” (“antibacterial”) to “w” (“wallet). We think these little extras go a long way for the out-the-door parent who’s making a mad dash for the 7:37 train. And because the pockets are transparent, moms can determine which supplies need to replenished at a quick glance. Of course, if Dad manages to stick a dirty diaper in there somewhere, don’t point the finger at us…
In a Nutshell: Here’s to one bag that leaves no question unanswered. Now if only it could pinch-hit for us when our toddler asks why wheels are round…for the fifth time that day.
My 7-year-old’s latest trick? Turning her dinner into her own culinary creations. Chicken and baked potatoes turns into “chicken boat wonders.” Bread folded over and dipped in salad dressing becomes “juicy bread.” As much as it irks me that my daughter just can’t eat a meal without turning it into a project, I’m can’t say I blame her. I remember “sculpting” scoops of chocolate ice cream into igloos, while talking to myself in a Julia Child voice when I was her age (don’t ask). And after being home sick from school recently, she became enchanted with the Food Network and now tunes into episodes of “Chopped” whenever she remembers (I kid you not). So with her birthday fast approaching, I thought a kid-friendly cookbook would be ideal. So when A Very Veggie World , from the makers of Country Crock and written by noted cookbook author Claire Crespo, recently landed on my desk, I knew I had just the right gift for my budding chef. Stocked with tons of meatless dishes, this cookbook features tons of fun ways to pair veggies with food you may very well already have in the pantry or fridge. Recipes vary from basic–”Beautiful Butterflies,” fashioned from squash and carrots–to the more hands-on, like “Pizza Flag, adorned with tomatoes, mozzarella and spinach. Accompanying each entry are glossy photographs that will have little ones salivating with hunger, even fussy ones who refuse to eat anything green. Our favorites? Molecular Model Brussels Sprouts and Mt. Veggie Volcanoes. Sounds like a science lesson in the making…
In a Nutshell: Please pass the peas. This family cookbook may put a stop to the “no dessert until…” argument once and for all.
Baby-soft skin…it’s something I was fortunate to have through much of my childhood. When I was little, my dad used to reach over and playfully rub my cheeks. By the time I became a teenager, this small gesture became mildly embarrassing. But now that I’m a mom, I find myself doing the same thing to my daughters. Their unblemished, tender faces are a thing of beauty, something that makes wish that I could freeze this moment and keep them little forever. Well, since time won’t be standing still for this daydreaming mom, at least I can keep my girls’ skin in top condition. BabySpa‘s new collection of natural skincare is specially formulated to work for different ages and stages, since your kid’s skin changes as she grows. From Tearless Baby Shampoo, to Moisturizing Body Lotion, each product offers the added benefits of pampering young skin through age 4. We test drove the body lotion and loved its refreshing scent and smooth texture. Its aloe and sweet almond oil ingredients make for a thirst-quenching, protective balm for extra-dry skin. We used this citrus-smelling lotion right after bath time, but it also works well in the a.m. or for a little post-nap pick-me-up. And since the hot summer sun can also dry out sun-exposed skin, BabySpa’s lotion will come in handy after a day at the beach.
In a Nutshell: Newborn skin may not last forever, but with this high-end line of natural skincare for babies and preschoolers, you can treat your child’s with tender loving care.
What’s more darling than an outfitted infant? It’s been years since our girls were babies, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t appreciate an adorable ensemble when we see one. One particular collection that’s caught our eye is Qt-Qt by Kissy Kissy. Made from high-quality Peruvian cotton, this line feels especially soft on tender, newborn skin. But it’s the fine attention to detail and oh-so-sweet prints that we love most. Whimsical designs like the retro robots featured here are a far cry from run-of-the-mill cars and trucks motif that keep popping up at the playground. Coordinating sets make this line a no brainer for special occasions, to everyday wear. From bibs, to booties, Qt-Qt will keep your little one in style through the baby (and toddler) years. We think the name says it all.
In a Nutshell: Baby clothes that are incredibly soft and super-cute deserve a spot in your little one’s closet.
Tis the season of BBQs, picnics and all those other outdoor family festivities whose only requirements are a hearty appetite and a willingness to party. And what’s a good time without some tunes to go along with the food, folks and fun? In our house, the month of May features birthdays for both my girls and that means plenty of crowd-pleasing music from preschoolers to older kids. Because my girls are always willing and able to give a listen to a new sound, we were eager to test-drive the new release from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band. Easy on the ears, yet hitting all the right notes, “A Potluck” is a musical feast for the senses. The rhythmic, multi-layered sound of this band proudly proclaims its universal message: having a good time. From taking a neighborhood jaunt on “On My Bike,” to the preschool anthem “Invisible Friend,” the songs feature lighthearted subjects set to a finger-snapping beat. Our favorite is “Lemonade Stand,” an ode to a summertime ritual that will inspire even the youngest entrepreneur. So, when you’re deciding on the playlist for your next kiddie soiree, be sure to make it “A Potluck” party.
In a Nutshell: No R.S.V.P. necessary for this music party. Just bring your listening ears and your dancing feet.
Jessica Simpson is expecting again…but this time, it’s a new fashion collection she’s happily anticipating. And frankly, we weren’t at all surprised to hear about the launch of her maternity apparel collection. After the birth of Simpson’s first child earlier this month, not to mention a staggering amount of press devoted to the very-pregnant celebrity, a stylish line of clothing that accentuates an expectant woman’s changing shape seemed only natural. Given her prior successful stints in apparel, accessories and cosmetics, Simpson clearly knows a thing or two about what women like when it comes to fashion. (Either that, or she has a knack for picking talented, perceptive designers.) And since she just walked the walk of a pregnant woman herself, we give her the thumbs up for putting her name on a brand at a period when a woman’s self-image may need a bit of a boost. We can remember what it felt like to pull on a pair of maternity jeans with the “hidden” panel that felt anything but secretive. From the looks of Simpson’s fall line, we see items that beg to give moms-to-be the attitude they deserve to flaunt. From vintage-print tops, to leopard-print leggings, her collection gets points for its versatility, as well as its practicality. As any pregnant woman knows, comfort is key during those nine months. But, as Simpson clearly understands, preserving your sense of self goes a long way, too. Jessica Simpson Maternity will be available this fall at Destination Maternity, Motherhood Maternity, Macy’s and other select retail stores.
In a Nutshell: Jessica Simpson Maternity in a word? “Irresistible.”
All it took was one beautiful, unseasonably warm weekend to make me realize that summer is not far off. A short visit to our local beach reminded me that I’ll soon be loading up my beach bag with sand toys, sunscreen and towels. While I don’t mind toting stuff that’s worth their weight, I am often dissatisfied with our choice in beach towels. Because they never seem to be the right size to dry off adequately or to completely stretch out on the sand, I wind up chiding myself for forgetting to replace them after the previous summer. Well, just in time for the upcoming season of surf, sand and all things water, Zoocchini has introduced hooded towels that are so generously sized, you might just want to steal one for yourself. The 22″ x 50″ towels, made from pure cotton terry or velour, are especially soft and gentle on sun-kissed skin. With seven new designs, including a duck, dog, frog, flower, owl, polar bear and shark, your little critter is bound to find something she likes. We love that Zoocchini‘s playful styles are as appealing to older, more image-conscious kids as they are to particular preschoolers. Our favorite from this season’s collection is the shark, a friendly fish who puts the Jaws saga to bed once and for all.
In a Nutshell: This summer, it’s save to go into the water…and back out again…with hooded towels that are as fun at the beach as they are on dry land.