It doesn’t take a genius to know that the organics food market is exploding, and that’s especially true where babies and kids are concerned. When my girls were toddlers, I introduced them to some bunny-shaped cheddar crackers, but truthfully, they were just as happy with their Goldfish. Today, you’d be remiss not to experiment with organic foods; there’s no shortage of options for babies and toddlers alike, and if you’re trying to expand your child’s culinary horizons, this is the time to do it. We asked one of our mom testers to sample Plum Organics’ Mighty 4 Essential Nutrition Bars with her 10-month-old son, and find out whether they were worth checking out. “He LOVES these,” she enthused. “I love that there are vegetables in there.” Available in a variety of fruit/veggie combos like blueberry carrot and strawberry spinach, these nutritious bars are packed with whole grains, vitamins and minerals. If you’re a mom on the go, these bars travel well and are perfect in a pinch. And as your child grows, temperamental tots won’t even know good stuff is hidden in there. Says our mom tester of her growing boy, “When he gets a little older, if he gets picky, I will feel good knowing that he gets a little veggie in his snack! This is something I will definitely keep buying!” Plum Organics Mighty 4 Essential Nutrition Bars come in packs of six, and are available in Target, Buy Buy Baby and online.
In a Nutshell: Healthy eating that’s convenient too, bar none.
I don’t think I can last much longer. Any day now, I’m going to cave and dip into the Halloween candy before it gets the best of me. As if it weren’t bad enough that those chocolate-covered treats are staring me down, every store I enter seems to be enticing me with ‘buy one, get one free’ offers that it won’t be long before we’re buried alive in candy corn. Can you relate? If you’re finding it difficult to resist the onslaught of tempting treats, might we suggest some healthier alternatives? We recently got our grubby little paws on the newest snacks from Annie’s Homegrown and we’re delighted to say that there’s something for everyone in their latest selection. Little ghosts and goblins will surely want to sink their fangs into Halloween Honey & Chocolate Bunny Grahams. (If your kids already know and love the original Cheddar Bunnies, they’ll appreciate satisfying their sweet tooth with a whole-grain crunchy goodness.) If fruitiness is more their style, you’ll want to get your hands on the newest Halloween handout: Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks in Berry Patch. In mouthwatering flavors of strawberry, cherry and raspberry, these yummy bite-sized treats are made with real fruit juice and don’t contain any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives–and no high-fructose corn syrup. Both Halloween Bunny Grahams and Organic Bunny Snacks are available in multi-packs with individual bags that are perfect for trick or treats. Speaking of which, if you’ll be hosting a Halloween party or having trick-or-treaters back to your house, be sure to stock up on Annie’s Mini Pizza Bagels and Pizza Poppers. Available at Target, these toasty treats are the perfect party, crowd-pleaser snacks, easy to make and hard to keep around!
In a Nutshell: ‘Healthy’ and ‘Halloween’ may not sound like they go together, but with these delectable treats in store this season, you’ll feel a little better about indulging this year.
On my kids’ first day of school, I included a handwritten note in each of their lunch boxes. It was the first time I’d done anything like that, but thought it was a nice way to start off the year. Despite my efforts, my missives were met with mixed reviews. “Why did you send me a letter?,” inquired my first grader, who then went off to play without waiting for an answer (clearly, my gesture was lost on her). “Thanks for your note,” my 10-year-old offered later that day, and then told me about a classmate of hers whose mom packs a note everyday. “But it’s not written by his mom; it’s like a fun fact- kind of thing.” Hmmm, maybe that’s something I could live up to, without feeling like I’m adding yet another thing to my to-do list. So I decided to do a little research and came upon Lunchbox Love for Kids. This is one of those ‘why-didn’t-I-think-of-that?’ ideas that seems so simple, yet it took the time and energy of a fellow mom to do it just right. Lunchbox Love for Kids is a series of pre-printed cards that feature a sweet message to make your kid’s day, along with jokes and trivia on the backs. Just tuck them inside a lunchbox or brown bag, and you’re good to go. Each set contains 10 of these, along with 2 blank cards for those days when you’re inspired to jot down an original thought or two (hey, even “good luck on your math test” counts!). There are 80 different volumes, so you’ll won’t run out of cards until your kids are off to high school (yes, there are even sets aimed at teens). I’m all for making my kids’ days a little bit brighter and if Lunchbox Love is the ticket, I just bought a lifetime subscription.
In a Nutshell: Your kid not snagging a seat at the cool table this year? These fun notes may just make up for the lunchroom drama–or at the very least, just let her know you are thinking about her.
Backpack? Check. Lunch bag? Check. Pencils, pens and crayons? Check, check…and check. If it feels like life has suddenly turned into one big “to-do” list, that’s how you know summer vacation is officially over, and the new school year is about to begin. While we know so many of you are already set with all your supplies and new clothes, who says there’s no room on the list for a little something extra? (Don’t worry: these little treats won’t break the bank.) For the tween girl who’s always complaining of dry lips and has grown tired her Chapstick, she’ll want to get her hands on eos Visibly Soft Lip Balms. Designed in an unmistakably unique sphere, this lip balm is as much fun to put on as it is to uncap. Inside, the deliciously yummy balm goes on super smooth and is enhanced with special ingredients that put other lip balms to shame. Available in new flavors like Coconut Milk and Vanilla Mint, your lip-smacking girl is bound to turn some heads at the bus stop this year…Speaking of mints, who doesn’t love their annual Girl Scout cookies fix? But if your hungry gang can’t wait until the next delivery, satisfy their after-school sweet tooth with the Nesquik Girl Scouts line of beverages. Available on store shelves this fall for a limited time, these 14-oz. ready-to-go drinks combine low-fat chocolate milk with two of the more popular Girl Scout cookie flavors: Thin Mints and Caramel Coconut. Sounds like the perfect accompaniment to a snacktime favorite!
In a Nutshell: Back to school doesn’t have to mean back to the same old, same old. These two items help get the new school year off to a tasty start.
When my younger daughter was a toddler, she loved eating a bowl of soup…but the soup didn’t always love her. She’d scoop up a spoonful of hearty noodles, shovel it into her mouth and scream bloody murder because it was “tooooo HOTTT!!!” No matter how long I kept vigil over the stovetop, I could never get that temperature just right (even the ever-fickle microwave couldn’t quite master temperature effectiveness). It seemed I was doomed for a life of servitude: forever blowing and waving frantically over piping hot bowls…until my mother casually suggested tossing in a ice cube, and that was that (moms do know everything, don’t they?). But because ice cubes don’t work on solid foods, what’s a perplexed parent to do? Enter the Coolit, a novel idea in food preparation for particular kids. Simply pop this BPA-free plate into the freezer before mealtime (allow for enough time: about 3 hours). When you’re ready to eat, transfer your child’s hot food into the Coolit, then on to her favorite plate and voila! Dinner is served and ready to eat. No more blowing or burned mouths to contend with. Who knows? Your kid may even eat her veggies now…
In a Nutshell: A feeding dish that makes meals not too hot, not too cold, but just right. Even Goldilocks would approve.
A friend just took her first cross-country trip with her baby daughter…and boy, were her arms tired! No, this isn’t a classic joke set-up, but rather a comment on the reality of today’s parents having to lug too way too much stuff with them. Being on-the-go may sound carefree, but if you’re adding a baby to that equation, traveling is anything but easy-breezy! If you’ve got a family trip on the books this summer, it pays to do a little advance planning to figure out what you’ll need and when you’ll need it, so you can pack easily and have everything within your reach. For that reason, we love the lil’ traveler line from Miamica. This designer has found a way to streamline the travel experience by creating pretty, yet practical accessories for each of your baby’s needs, from dressing to feeding. Always misplacing your baby’s hair clips? Lil’ Bows on the Go keeps clips and bows contained in a zippered bag, with a separate, see-through pouch for those easy-to-lose items. The TSA-friendly Plane to See bottle bag will get you thorough security without incident, and is well-stocked for any transatlantic flight. We adore the Lil’ Wet Suit bag that permits a last swim in the hotel pool right up until you have to head to the airport, and doesn’t take up much room in your carry-on. Sure, traveling with a little one can be challenging, but if you’re armed with a good sense of humor and packed gear that’s well-thought out, you’re good to go.
In a Nutshell: Take the pain out of packing (how much can you fit in one suitcase?) by parceling out your baby’s necessities via this travel-friendly accessories line.
Baseball season is off to a busy start, and if you’ve got your own little slugger to join you in the stands, it’s the perfect excuse to let him (and the world) know just who he’s rooting for. Score a few points in the stands with the sportiest MLB baby gear we’ve seen this season. Baby Fanatic has a full roster of MLB goodies that will get little ones interested in the game long before they can get up at bat themselves. From bottles and bibs, to pacifiers and plush blankies, each item pays tribute to your favorite teams in their signature colors. And for the newly minted sports fan comes our favorite must-have: the Starting Line-Up Essentials Gift Set, which comes with a bib, pacifier and bottle in the team of your choice, be it the Cubs or the Yankees. It’s the ideal gift for a baby shower or a wonderful way to welcome a friend or colleague’s new arrival. Now that’s a home run!
In a Nutshell: Show ‘em who’s their newest No. 1 fan with a line of baseball-inspired baby goodies.
Juggling two kids’ schedules competes for my attention every day. As a mom who’s been working from home for the past decade, I’ve become a master at time management and, on most days, feel like I have a pretty good handle on things. Even though my girls’ lives are undeniably busier than mine was at their ages, their schedules are predictable for the most part. But for moms of little ones, trying to get a baby to nap on queue, or take a bottle when they’re good and ready, is easier said than done. Aiming to make new parents’ a little less overwhelming comes Baby Bundle, a brand-new mobile app designed to simplify your baby’s everyday routine at the swipe of a finger. Monitoring Tools let you record and manage your baby’s sleeping, feeding, diaper-changing and even your breast-pumping activities. Super-techie, on-the-ball parents can even export the data to share with their pediatricians at monthly visits. Wonder how Junior is measuring up to his baby cousin in Denver? Just consult the Growth Tracker where you can record height, weight and other vitals while comparing to national averages. (Right up there for sports dads checking game stats!). Or, get your geek on by linking your doctor appointments to your calendar, while learning what you can expect at each check-up. Of course, no baby development app would be complete with a photo journal–aptly named Stream of Life–that lets you organize pix, note milestones and create journal entries to share with family and friends. Or just to moon over when you look back at how fast that first year went (sigh)…
In a Nutshell: This is one baby app that will help you feel you’re more in control of your life. The sweetest part.
TGIF. It’s been a long, hard week of deadlines, doctor’s appointments, pick-up and drop-offs, and now you’re finally free. Until, of course, that famous question is asked: “What’s for dinner?” Short of turning the kitchen over to the kids (who really wants to clean up the aftermath?), it’d be nice to give your family a home-cooked meal without the prep that goes along with it. And while you’re somewhat tempted to hit the drive-thru, you know they deserve something more than that. That’s where Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza comes into the picture. It’s one of the few, if only, pizza-making companies that puts together your pre-ordered pie, but lets you do the baking at home. We love the concept of all the prep work–the dough-making, the cheese grating, the sauce simmering and the veggies-chopping–being done for us, while we get to take credit for the hot, bubbly creation that comes out of our own kitchen’s oven. (I personally hate walking in the door with a take-out box, then rousing everyone up to wash hands and get ready to eat…before the pizza goes cold.) Instead, you can come in with pizza box in hand, preheat your oven and settle in as your personal pizza heats up. (Hey, you may even have enough time to pour yourself a glass of wine!). Then, take a look around the dinner table, note those smiling faces and breathe a deep, relaxing breath. Dinner is served.
In a Nutshell: Now you can “make” dinner with minimal effort. Papa Murphy’s stores are located throughout the central and western United States, in approximately 38 states and Canada.
*Because the Walnuts reside in New York, we weren’t able to sample a Papa Murphy’s pizza for ourselves, but look forward to a future visit.
Moms always say how much they love the smell of their new baby; there’s something about that all-natural scent that prompts us to bury our noses in their skin and hair, and drink them up! But did you ever think about how a baby may recognize his own mother’s special smell and love it nearly as much, if not more? A new product that has just started hitting stores is tapping into this very notion, and may very well be revolutionizing the way to feed babies who alternate between bottle and breast. Mamascent is a bottle-feeding pad designed to fit inside a bra cup. After wearing one for about 2-3 hours, simply detach the pad’s five petals and store them in the included container until needed. Then, when your baby is ready to feed, just attach one of the petals on to the Mamascent clip and affix to your baby’s bottle. So, whether it’s Mom, Dad, Grandma or a babysitter, your baby may put up less of a fuss because she’s comforted by the scent of her mother. Mamascent is a great solution not only for a new mom who may be returning to work and is concerned that her baby won’t take a bottle from someone else, but for any baby who is transitioning from breast to bottle. Because our sense of smell is so powerful, this product zeroes in on a key element of nurturing, enabling babies to continue to feel the warmth and security of their mother, while letting them experience close bonding with another caregiver. And that’s something any new mom can appreciate.
In a Nutshell: Sure, nothing can ever replace a mother’s love, but this product helps bridge the gap between breast and bottle to ensure a comforting feeding experience.