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.
When I was pregnant with each of my daughters, my husband presented me with a stash of gourmet sodas in unusual flavors: key lime pie, pomegranate and even Shirley Temple (a throwback to my youth when my dad treated me one whenever we went out for dinner). It couldn’t have been more thoughtful…and depressing at the same time. Did I really think I could make it through nine long months without a sip of Chardonnay? Amazingly I did, but not without developing a strong dislike for pineapple-flavored bubbly stuff. If I’d hand my hands on Momosas while I was pregnant, I would have been able to ditch those fruity sodas once and for all. This paperback book is filled with more than 130 non-alcoholic cocktail recipes that are perfect for the expectant mom who’s grown tired of seltzer with a slice of lemon. These creative concoctions range from blender-friendly beverages and sangrias, to lemonades and mocktails that will be the envy of happy hour regulars. Colorful photos are cleverly paired with creative drink names like Boo Boo Berry and The Bump: memorable even for those suffering from mommy brain. Destined to be a bar guide companion for the next nine months, Momosas is required reading for the woman who wants to bask in the glow of her blossoming bump while satisfying her personal thirst. Cheers!
In a Nutshell: A must-read for the mom-to-be who loves her happy hour just as much as the next woman. Makes for a talked-about baby shower gift.
Tomorrow marks my most favorite day of the year…after Christmas and my birthday, of course. The summer solstice promises to be a sunny and beautiful one. Naturally, that means plenty of time spent outdoors…and plenty of sunscreen. I’m not taking any chances with my kids, having gone through enough skin cancer treatments to keep me forever under a wide-brimmed hat and in long sleeves. They’ll be slathered in sunscreen from head to toe, whether they like it or not! Because we go through so much sunscreen over the course of the summer, I like to stock up on well-made products that go the distance, rather than settle for an inexpensive drugstore brand. Elemental Herbs All Good Kids Sunscreen is a high-quality product that deserves a closer look. The SPF 33 zinc oxide sunscreen touts a new-and-improved formula that now includes calendula and camomile for a calming effective, along with sunflower oil, which is rich in vitamin E. Did we mention that it’s hypoallergenic and PABA-free? Truly good-for-your skin protection, and it smells great, too.
In a Nutshell: Skin protection is all the rage. Make it a safe summer with your kids with a sunscreen that offers full coverage and the added bonus of great-smelling skin.
It’s hard to believe it, but Memorial Day weekend is already here. (After a seemingly endless winter, I wasn’t sure we were going to make it!). As the unofficial start to summer kicks off, that means plenty of sun, sand…and boo-boos. No matter where or how your family spends its days over the next few months, there’s bound to be a few bumps, cuts or scrapes and that means stocking up on bandages (Lord knows how many boxes we have stashed away on our medicine cabinet). How fitting then that Band-Aid would come out with Our Veteran Heroes bandages in time for the start of the summer season. Available in a stars & stripes motif, as well as an urban camouflage style, these specially designed bandages offer the same protection as regular bandages, while letting you show off your patriotic spirit. For each box purchased, Band-Aid will make a donation to Team Red, White & Blue, an organization that seeks to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to people in their community through physical and social activity. We’d call that a ‘feel-good’ purchase for sure.
In a Nutshell: Wear your pride on your sleeve…or wherever needed with these patriotic bandages that show you’re proud to be an American.
Hard to believe that in another month, school will be out for summer. While I’m not about to start singing an Alice Cooper song anytime soon, I do want to be ready–ready, that is, for the kids being at home and having plenty of stuff to keep them entertained before camp begins. We’ve been blessed with a big backyard, so as long as there’s no rain in the forecast, I am usually ushering them out to play, much to their chagrin. Since we know how challenging it can be to keep kids busy without breaking the bank, we love products that multitask like us moms. ALEX’s Gigantic 3-in-1 Net Set maximizes its worth by offering plenty of play options in one toy. An adjustable net is perfect for a number of summertime sports, like volleyball, badminton and tennis. Two over-sized rackets, giant birdie, 2 tennis balls and jumbo inflatable volleyball (with hand pump) complete the set. Designed for kids ages 3-7, it’s perfect for the active kid who loves to change games faster than we can keep up with.
In a Nutshell: Head off the cries of “There’s nothing to dooooo” this summer with an outdoor play set that’s big on fun.
When my older daughter was a baby, she loved to teethe on a smiling-faced snail. At the first sign of pain, I fished him out of the freezer and popped it into her mouth. Before long, she could outmatch that snail’s grin…and that made me a happy mom. By the time her little sister arrived on the scene, that teether had outlived its life expectancy (do snails have long lives anyway?), and she found pure heaven gnawing unexpectedly on a board book (go figure). Today’s tots have so many more choices when it comes to teethers: a baby item that usually isn’t given much thought, but that proves its worth when the times comes. Right now, we’re all over Innobaby’s ez grip massaging teethers. The lightweight handle is a plus for babes who’ve mastered their rattles, while the smooth, colorful teething part itself is free of PVC, BPA, phthalates and lead. We can’t decide which style we love best: the flowers or fruits. Let’s just say it gives us something to chew on…
In a Nutshell: Top-notch teethers offer baby plenty of comfort and are dishwasher-safe.
My kids seem to have more energy than I have in my little finger, so why is it that they’d rather be tapping on a keyboard than playing outside? With the weather (finally!) getting nicer, I nudge them outdoors as often as possible…but it’s never long before someone comes to the back door in tears or telling me they’re bored and “Can I come in now?” Frustrating, to say the least. If you feel you fight a never-ending battle with your kids about less screen time and more active play, you may finally have some ammunition. This summer, LeapFrog is introducing its latest electronic gadget, LeapBand activity tracker, that’s destined to be a big departure from sedentary play. Aimed at ages 4-7, this wearable device centers around customizable virtual pets that prompt kids to play up to 50 different games and challenges, like Pet Chef and Pet Salon, and earn points for their hard work. They might be asked to walk like a crab or pop like popcorn: silly, engaging ways to get them up and off their feet. The more kids move around, the closer they get to unlocking their pets and earning toys for them. Lucky for them (and you), these pets are potty-trained. Now, whose turn is it to walk the dog?
In a Nutshell: Get a move on! This toy is destined to get couch potatoes back on their feet, without giving up their love of hi-tech. The LeapFrog LeapBand will be in stores this August.
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.
A show of hands: How many of you swaddle your baby? If you’re a new mom looking for a way to comfort your little one, you’ve probably heard about the benefits of swaddling (how it can help babies fall asleep and stay asleep). But what you may not know is that the more natural way for your baby to sleep isn’t with her arms at her side, but with her arms UP. Studies have shown that giving babies access to their arms and hands enables them to self-soothe, and may help prevent them from rolling onto their tummies. While we’ve seen quite a few swaddling blankets on the market, there wasn’t any particular product that supported this type of design…until now. Enter Love To…Swaddle UP from Love To Dream, a Australian-based company whose product is launching this spring in the States. We were recently given a sneak peek at the Love To Dream collection and meet Hana Krawchuk, the woman behind the brand. The Aussie mom of two and former fashion designer invented the swaddling line when she couldn’t find a product that enabled her own children to soothe themselves when swaddled. Her ingenious, one-zip design covers Baby’s hands, while giving plenty of room to move and access their cheeks, so they can comfort themselves during naptime. The breathable fabric enables little ones to rest comfortably without the risk of overheating: a big difference from the multilayer designs we’ve seen in other blankets. We also adore the one-zipper design that makes diaper changing less of a hassle. The Love To Swaddle UP product family includes Stage 1 for ages 0-4 months in three different styles (Original, Organic and Lite), along with the Swaddle UP 50/50 blanket for 4-8 months. This transitional product is ideal for older babies who are getting ready to move from a swaddling blanket to a more independent sleep sack, letting moms unzip one arm at a time. It’s a brilliant solution to help babies develop and grow at their own pace, while giving moms and dads a chance to enjoy the journey of new parenthood without the stress.
In a Nutshell: A swaddling line that doesn’t unravel, so new moms won’t come undone. The Love To Dream swaddling collection will be arriving in U.S. stores later this spring and are also available online.