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 never dreamed that my kindergartener would visit a spa before I did, but lo and behold, hell hath frozen over. She has since attended two beauty-themed birthday parties–all at the ripe old age of 5–and seems to have had her fill (for the time being, at least). But one take-away that never seems to get old is the experience of having her nails “done.” While she loves the glittery glow and the endless array of rainbow hues in which to adorn her digits, she admits that the stinky chemical smell is something she can live without (you and me both, kid). Because yours truly only breaks out the polish for her own twice-yearly at-home mani/pedi (if you call air-drying on the back deck a true spa experience), I too know her pain. So when we learned about a brand designed just for kids that’s eco-friendly, we were all ears…and fingers and toes! Piggy Paint is a natural, hypoallergenic nail polish for girls that goes on smooth and looks sharp. It dries with a durable finish and when desired, can be removed with its counterpart: a low-odor Piggy Paint nail polish remover. We love the new spring colors: Berry Go Round, Periwinkle Little Star and Mint to Be. The company’s tag line, “Natural as Mud,” says it best. We think it’ll be a medicine cabinet mainstay, as long as there are little piggies in the house.
In a Nutshell: These little piggies went to the spa…and came home with a mani/pedi that smelled just right!
There is no one who knows sleep deprivation like a new parent. Back in the day, when my girls were infants, I was lucky if I could manage 3-4 hours a night in those first few months. (And anyone who told me to “nap when they nap” never offered to do come do my laundry or wash my dishes either.) What I also heard a lot about was the key to getting your baby to sleep better and longer, and that was swaddling. I admit to trying to following the steps that the hospital nurse had demonstrated, but by the time when we were settled in at home, it turned out I was all thumbs and I gave up shortly thereafter. Lucky for us, our new dad tester, Chris Hart, the proud father of a month-old baby girl, was game to try out a new swaddling blanket that came our way. Unfazed by turning his daughter into a willing test subject, Chris unrolled the Bamboo Miracle Blanket and got right down to business. He praises the Miracle Blanket for being “super soft” and for having “great instructions”–a big plus if you consider yourself challenged in the baby gear assembly department. After Chris practiced with the Miracle Blanket a few times, Chris got the hang of it and describes the product as being “very easy to use.” Because this bamboo blanket is made from a breathable fabric knit, it’s ideal for warm climates (like Chris’ family who lives in Southern California), as well as cooler areas. Because his baby was just three weeks old when first swaddled in the Miracle Blanket, her little legs and feet kept popping out of the openings, but Chris thinks that may become a non-issue as she grows. “If your baby is very fussy or needs to swaddled well, the Miracle Blanket will be the go-to swaddle, hands down,” he reports. Hopefully, that translates into more shuteye…for everyone.
In a Nutshell: Sweet dreams are made of this. A swaddling blanket that makes Baby snug and secure.
(Note: The photo featured below was supplied by Miracle Blanket and is not of our tester’s baby. But from what we know, she is just as cute.)
My 5-year-old has an alter ego; she considers herself to be a bunny at times. At first, I thought her double identity was a scapegoat for any mischief-making, but she’s also takes credit for the good stuff, too. No matter what Bunny does, she helps to put a smile on my imaginative little girl–and that makes me happy, too. For kids with a voracious appetite for the make-believe comes Pebble, a standout line of organic, handmade plush. The quality alone blows me away (no cheap, carnival-style stuffed prizes here). Think beautifully crafted knit and crocheted toys that are soft to the touch, and even gentle enough for a baby’s sensitive skin. Among the collection’s assortment are organic blankets and rattles made from brightly colored cotton, making for gorgeous baby gifts. Our favorite, naturally, is the Girl Bunny whose floppy ears and smocked dress are especially endearing. We can’t help but think she’s the perfect pal for any resident rabbit…er, little girl.
In a Nutshell: Adorable, well-made baby gifts that stand out in a crowd. We’re sold.
As much we love to spotlight those big-ticket items on the top of every wish list, we also like to pay fair tribute to the smaller guys: those companies that fuel kids’ imaginations and give us yet another reason to wish we were little again. Urban Canvas is one of our latest favorites. They make eco-friendly toys fashioned out of recycled and reusable cardboard, including trains, buildings and even bugs. We love their Build 52 Playing Cards, a full deck of blank (save for standard numbers and letters) cards that kids can design and customize to their hearts’ content…and then use to assemble their own house of cards (thanks to their interconnecting edges). Not only is this toy a cool craft, but it lets kids show off their building skills. The set comes in its own drawstring tote, making it an ideal when heading to Grandma’s house for the holidays. It’s one of those gifts that works for boys and girls alike, and is great for any age (4 and up works best).
In a Nutshell: Calling all cardsharks…a perfect stocking stuffer idea that beats a boring old gift card any day.
The weekend is upon us, and that means I’ll have more time to read uninterrupted…as if! With a break from the frenetic routine of getting kids off to school, shuttling them to activities, tackling homework, dinner, bath and bed, I make a point of squeezing in some reading before heading off to Dreamland. Because I’m already a full-time bespectacled gal, I don’t need to seek out a pair of reading glasses. But since plenty of friends have been donning a pair during book group, I know that stylish specs are just as important as a fetching pair of shoes (or so I’ve been told). If you’re someone who likes to make more environmentally-friendly purchases, then we’ve found the glasses line for you. Eynack‘s line of glasses are made from organic sustainable bamboo, making them a practical purchase that’s also economical. Because bamboo is known for its sturdiness and durability, these glasses are better designed for wear and tear, and will stand up to long-term use (or should we say “abuse?”). We love the variety of colors and styles that make finding an individual pair a cinch. Figuring out which book to dive into? That’s a whole other matter…
In a Nutshell: Moms and dads looking for reading specs or sunglasses will be able to see things clearly, thanks to this new line of organic glasses that not only make you look smart, but act smart.
Tis the season of baby showers, christenings and any other gift-giving occasion to welcome a new arrival. If you’ve been invited to a bris, baptism or first birthday bash and are coming up empty-handed on your quest for the perfect present , consider the latest trend in gift-giving: subscriptions. We’re not talking Highlights magazine here, but rather a boxed mail-order delivery. Googaro features an assortment of carefully selected baby gifts (think: your own personal baby store shopper) that are eco-friendly and BPA-free. The selections include toys, books, snacks and other items, and are tailored to specific age ranges: 0-6 months, 6-12 months, 1-2 years and 2-3 years. Subscriptions are available on a monthly basis at $35 a pop, or you can place a one-time order. If you’re looking to take the guesswork out of gift-giving, or if you want to surprise an out-of-state family member or friend who’s just had a new baby, then let Googaro be your go-to gift.
In a Nutshell: A gift-giving subscription service for new babies that’s as satisfying for the gift recipient as it is for the gift giver.
Well, the Royal Baby is finally out of the hospital and settled in his new home. Even though we still don’t have any official word of his given name, that doesn’t mean the business of taking care of baby is put on hold–and that includes diaper changing. Like any new father, handling his first diaper change is a rite of passage, and according to Kate, Prince William has successfully completed his initiation into Nappyville. While we imagine this task will soon be relegated to the royal staff (if it hasn’t already), might we suggest a calming accompaniment to this regular routine? The Organic Pharmacy’s Nappy Balm is a princely panacea to the universal diaper rash. Made with soothing ingredients like lavender and evening primrose, this cream works wonders on sensitive newborn skin. We think it’ll be a diaper bag mainstay, especially for this special baby.
In a Nutshell: Because even heirs to the royal throne get diaper rash.
After an enjoyable afternoon at the beach yesterday, my girls were more than thrilled at the prospect of a pre-dinner time bath. Washing off the salty, sticky remains of the day was the perfect way to cap off a fun day spent digging in the sand, splashing in the frothy surf and covering each other with seaweed (not exactly a day at the spa, even if the elements were the same). As they tracked a truckload of sand upstairs, I knew an early bath would be inevitable and for them, cause for jubilee. Truth be told, fresh from the bath is when I like my kids the best. They smell so sweet, it’s hard to imagine these devilish creatures could change their tune in a moment’s notice (yup, sibling rivalry is alive and well). One whiff of their just-washed bodies reminds me of those baby days when burying my nose in their soft, downy heads was enough to get me through the day. It’s why the Live Clean (Baby) Foaming Wash is such a pleasure to use. The intoxicating scent of this baby wash is especially pleasing. Not only does it produce plenty of bubbly cleanser, but it pumps easily and lathers fast enough to get your little one clean and out of the tub in no time at all. Made from organic chamomile, lavender and aloe, this foaming wash is free of parabens and other harsh preservatives, making for smooth-as-silk skin. It works on babies and big kids alike. Yes, there are some moments of motherhood you can savor–and extend for just a little bit longer.
In a Nutshell: Bath time is as pleasant as can be with a foaming wash that gets the job done, and smells good, too.
Summer doesn’t officially begin until Friday, and we’re already off to a buggy start. I can play connect the dots on my 9-year-old’s upper arm, and my 5-year-old has a welt the size of a half-dollar. And that’s only from playing outside one afternoon. Since I definitely get a little kooky when the bugs come out in full force, I do my best to protect my girls from these pesky critters. Because many of the leading brands I’ve tried haven’t quite lived up to the hype, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to try something new. And I’m really glad I did. Fairy Tales Bug Bandit is my go-to weapon in the battle of the bugs. This pesticide- and DEET-free natural bug repellent that smells good as it works. Scented with rosemary oil, citronella, lemongrass and other natural ingredients, it’s a great combination of outdoor elements and fresh-from-the-garden fragrances. One whiff of this spray, and I was instantly transported to a summer night on the porch, fireflies buzzing about (and not a bite in sight). Both my daughters were willing test participants, so I dosed them with plenty of spray before heading out to play. I’m happy to report that no new nips have been taken out of their tender skin. And that makes for a welcome start to a happy, scratch-free summer.
In a Nutshell: Give bugs the brush-off with a natural insect repellent that gets the job done. Perfect for camp days, beach days and anytime the kids are outdoors.