Ultimate Baby Product Round Up

I am obsessed with the fabulous products we found for our latest round up! Check out these great items and think about adding them to your Christmas shopping list…

  Goumi Kids | Leah Verwey Photo  Goumi Kids Booties, Mittens and Hats

I love the feel of organic cotton. It is just so soft and snuggly and absolutely perfect for baby’s sensitive skin. Goumi Kids makes wonderfully practical booties, mitts and hats for newborns with this amazing organic cotton and special features that make these items actually stay on! The booties and mitts are both secured with Velcro that is comfortably placed. They really don’t fall off! The cute little hats have a tiny visor and they can tie on to keep them in place. You can purchase a set of the three for $40 (or purchase separates) at goumikids.com.

movementmonitorLevana Oma+ Movement Monitor

Let’s face it. All parents worry about their newborns and SIDS when they first bring them home from the hospital. We stare at our video monitors for a sign of movement, but that can be hard to detect on a monitor alone. Levana has come up with a fabulous product to ease the minds of parents with a movement monitor that is separate from your regular video monitor. The cordless and battery-powered movement monitor that can easily be used everywhere you and baby go. Oma+™ clips directly onto the diaper and senses baby’s tiniest movements at the belly button area. The sensor will gently vibrate to help encourage the return of regular movement after 15 seconds of complete stillness and will beep loudly to alert you if no movement is detected for more than 20 seconds. It is a discreet enough size with a flexible sensor that baby doesn’t even notice is on. This is a worry saver and only costs $99 at mylevana.com.

baby alertBaby Alert SoftClip Systems

During the summer months we hear so many sad stories of babies accidentally left in cars and dying from the heat. The fear shouldn’t end when temperatures turn, though. Babies can die from being left in the car at all times of the year. While most of us like to believe there is no way it could happen to us, making sure that we are never at fault can be 100% reassured by using Baby Alert’s SoftClip Systems. All you have to do is replace the chest clip/shoulder harness strap retainer device that came with your car seat with the SoftClip one and the put the Key Ring Alarm Unit on your key ring and you can be worry free. The ChildMinder system reminds drivers with an alarm 8 seconds after the parent or caregiver has moved more than 15 feet from the child in his/her safety seat. What a great thing to have year round for children up to age 6! The system retails for $80 but it is on sale right now for $63.95 at babyalert.info.

blowout blocker soaker stopperBaby Blowout Blocker/Soaker Stopper

Ingenious. These are a must have for any family with babies! So simple, but so brilliant, the Blowout Blocker and Soaker Stopper solve the problem of diapers that leak. The Blowout Blocker is an extension to a standard diaper, reaching up the back of the baby. It is intended to protect against soiling clothes, bedding, car seats, carpets, etc. from up-the-back diaper messes. It contains the mess for fast, easy and stress free clean-up! The Soaker Stopper is an extension of the diaper up the front, containing potty leaks, especially during night time sleep, The material they are made out of are very soft and pliable. My 20 month old actually likes to wear hers! She rubs the material and has never complained about the fit. They can be purchased as singles or packages from $12.95 at babyblowoutblocker.com.

guardian angel outletGuardian Angel Outlet

Safety is the biggest concern for parents. When it comes to outlets, the covers that most of us use don’t always work. Kids can figure out how to take them off and when adults take them off to use them we sometimes forget to put them back on. The Guardian Angel outlet solves any safety issues surrounding your outlets. The Guardian Angel technology is always on – using capacitive sensing to continuously monitor the electrical receptacle’s immediate surroundings for dangerous actions or situations – ensuring a child is safe. Electrodes in the outlet housing allow the circuit to see beyond its plastic walls and distinguish a dangerous object from an acceptable plug. The outlet uses proprietary technology that is aware when your little one’s hand gets too close. This solution works 100% of the time and installation is VERY easy. A 2 pack is available for $40 at guardianangelsafety.com

goosewaddleGooseWaddle blankets

Texture is my obsession and always has been. My girls seem to have the same tactile awareness of everything like me. They absolutely love to snuggle up in the softest fabrics they can find and are very turned off by anyting that is not comfy, cozy. The GooseWaddle blanket might be the softest material I have ever felt. They are made from fine micro-denier polyester, which gives them a lovably soft feel! Available in classic colors in full sized blanket or blankie at goosewaddle.com (Blanket: $65, Blankie: $35, Gift Sets: $90-$120).

Summer Travel & Creativity

Summer time is all about having fun! Sometimes the fun happens while traveling and going on great adventures, while other times the fun happens right at home using creativity. Here is a round up of some delightfully fun and functional items that are ideal for families’ summer activities and vacations.

TRAVEL

SuperMe Backpacks   hoodie_banner

What kid doesn’t love to be a superhero? I thought boys were the only ones that were into it, but my four year old daughter has started embracing the superhero role! It is so cute to see a child grab acapebanner blanket and ask you to make a cape, although this is not something that can be easily worn to school or any other outing. SuperMe is a collection of superhero-inspired products that combine functionality and fun with backpacks, lunch boxes, masks and pouches. They have cape and hoodie backpacks that are awesome. They are made out of high quality, durable, water-resistant, naturally insulating EVA. The hoodie backpacks are loaded with every feature a kid could ever need (MP3 pocket with cord hole, inner sleeve for a laptop or tablet, snack pocket, reflective buckles for safety, adjustable chest strap for weight distribution, plastic pocket for name tag) and a super convenient rain hood that stows away into its own pocket. The cape backpack doesn’t have as many pockets, but it is still totally fun and comes with a matching mask to complete any superhero look! This line of gear is so creative and taps into the superhero mentality of all little ones, both boys and girls, with great color and pattern options (solid, camo, zebra). Backpacks from $39.90 at www.supermehero.com.

safetytatSafetyTat

SafetyTat is a wonderful safety tool that any family with young children needs. They are fun and functional temporary tattoos that detail emergency info.  SafetyTats read ‘If Lost, Please Call’ and list a parent or guardian’s mobile phone number. Designed to be worn on a child’s arm or hand, SafetyTats are easy to apply and are perfect for amusement parks, water parks, shopping at a crowded mall, or even while traveling through a busy airport. It is a great solution for small children that cannot carry around an ID card and cannot remember this important information. www.SafetyTat.com

CARES Child Aviation Restraint SystemCARES Child Aviation Restraint System

Between diaper bags and strollers, traveling with young children is anything but easy, especially when trying to pack light for plane rides. This innovative solution allows parents to check their bulky car seat for a safer – and smaller – option. CARES Child Aviation Restraint System is a quick and easy harness designed specifically for young children while flying. The belt-and-buckle device works in conjunction with standard airplane seatbelt, and is the only alternative to a car seat approved by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). What’s more, CARES only weighs one pound and fits into a six-inch stuff sack, which can easily slip into a purse or carry-on. $74.95 at www.kidsflysafe.com

mobile-clean-and-goMobile Clean & Go

With all the time you spend in the car or airplane, kids are sure to spend plenty of time on your smart phone or tablet. And what child doesn’t feel the need to snack the whole time they are traveling? Their sticky little fingers can leave smudges galore all over your mobile devices. Mobile Clean & Go is a fabulous, safe mobile device cleaner that is pocket sized and does not create any trash (like disposable wipes). It features a compact, flat bottle and a microfiber cleaning cloth, which is smaller than a smart phone. It is TSA approved for air travel and fits easily in any purse or diaper bag. It is insanely effective on all kinds of filth and I love how smooth and clean it makes your device feel. It does not leave any streaks or residue and it dries almost instantly. Mobile Clean & Go starter kits cost $12.99 and value packs cost $19.99 at www.mobilecleanandgo.com.

finders key purseFinders Key Purse

Say it fast, Finders Key Purse–sounds like “finders keepers”! Clever! Our purses and diaper bags always seem to get stuffed with too much stuff and unorganized, no matter how hard you try to keep it clean. When you are traveling it is even worse because your whole life is on the go. Keys fall victim to the lack of organization by being tossed into the great unknown inside. Then when the time comes to find your keys…good luck. Finder Key Purse is a nifty little hook that attaches to any kind of bag or purse with a snap on the end for your keys. Just hang your keys over an edge on your bag and you will always be able to find them. They have over 100 designs so you can easily find you like or that matches your bag. From $5.95 at www.isntthisclever.com.

ATMpacks-kids luggageATM Packs

Kids love having their own adult-like items and luggage is definitely one of those things. Every time we pack up for a trip my girls fight over pulling around the suitcase. Even my 1 year old wants to drag it around! Kids luggage is so nice to have when you vacation with your children. It is great to keep their clothing together and organized in one place and even more importantly, it helps them get excited about the packing process! Kids luggage is usually cute, but ATM Packs cool new collection is the most adorable we have seen for little travelers. It calls upon Spanish culture coupled with colorful, creative designs. Kids will have fun expressing their creative side and learning about Spanish artwork and themes with the new HALBLANDO SOLA collection consisting of school supplies, accessories, luggage, umbrellas and more.  The darling little girl adorned with patches from her worldly travels is too cute. The 24” rolling hard sided suitcase features 360 degree wheels and a retractable handle. From $13-$149 at www.atmpacks.com.

CREATIVITY

rolli stampsRolli Stamps

Art projects are always fun with stamps and every child I know loves stamping. But with stamping comes multiple pieces to keep organized, stamp pads to keep lids on and fingers to keep out of the stamp pads and off furniture. Rolli stamps are a great product for crafty families. These dynamic little rollers can create up to 100ft of continuous fun and creative patterns and colors on almost any surface. Rolli™ is a patented system with no messy ink pad, making it ideal for little kids. Just take off the lid and you are ready to go stamping. Warning: your child might become obsessed with the rolling action and stamp everything in sight! These are just too fun! With patterns ranging from shoes, French bulldogs, hearts and lace, to unique house designs, to tumbling hedgehogs and playful pugs, anyone can find the perfect Rolli™ stamp for their upcoming project or personal use. $11.99 at www.funnybonetoys.com.

fodeezFodeez

All the time spent at home over summer break usually means a lot of artwork is created by your little ones. And, summer may mean no school, but it doesn’t mean you can’t practice some school work, like writing! Displaying kids’ artwork can be tricky for parents who don’t want to resort to magnets, tape, pushpins or clunky frames. Fodeez Frames is a line of reusable picture frames and dry erase boards in one. This new type of “skin” can stick to any smooth surface (refrigerator, cabinet, laptop, locker, walls, desks, windows, etc.), allows you to change the image you display and can be reused hundreds of times. Fodeez’s utilize a clear film to protect photos, which are also dry marker friendly. We love to use Fodeez as a dry erase board! We create letter-writing activities with them for our preschooler to practice her letters (something she enjoys doing). We simply use a piece of paper to create the activity, slide it under the Fodeez frame and stick it to her desk. It really is limited to just what you can come up with to put on paper! Fodeez also has a calendar. It really is a wonderful solution for many different things in a busy family’s life. From $3.49 at www.fodeez.com.

lumi doughLumi Dough

Kids love Play Doh. I love almost everything about Play Doh—the creativity, the colors, the imagination, the get-your-hands-in-something and all the fun tools you can play with it. I do not, however, like the crumbly mess it leaves all over the place and I do not like how it dries up or when it gets really tough for little hands to mold. I found an incredible alternative to Play Doh, that solves both of my dislikes and has a few added features that kids enjoy. Lumi Dough is new moldable dough that glows in the dark ! The unique silicon material stretches like rubber but molds like clay without leaving a mess, mark or ever drying out. You can bake your creations to create a permanent piece of art. It is so much fun to play with and my kids are obsessed with it. My oldest daughter made a blue bunny and stuck it on the bunk bed above her so it glows with her every night. It hasn’t dried out or fallen off, and we had no problem removing the alien buddy that she made before. If your kids love Play-Doh but you just don’t like to have it in your house, Lumi-Dough is absolutely for you! You can buy it for $19.99 at www.lumidough.com.

Bathroom Products For Kids

It is important for kids to have products that keep them not only interested in all of the hygiene-related activities that take place in the bathroom, but also safe from harmful ingredients. This round up is full of products that are made especially for your little ones!

little-green-kids-shampooLittle Green Body Wash: I’m not sure what my obsession is with baby/kid body wash and shampoo, but I absolutely love trying it out. I am always looking for brands that are extra safe with natural ingredients for my kids. I have come across more options tailored to babies than than kids, so I was excited to find Little Green Shampoo & Body Wash. It is tear free, with no parabens, allergens or sulfates, and it is gluten free. It has a unique, very pleasant smell and doesn’t dry out skin at all. I love the convenient pump bottle too! $15 for an 8 oz bottle, www.littlegreencares.com

FF_AngryBirdsReadyGoBrushOrangeFF_AB_MouthRinseStellaFirefly Angry Birds Anti-Cavity Mouth Rinse and Ready Go Brush: I never thought about using mouth wash for my four year old, but when I received samples of Firefly’s mouth wash I thought I would give it a try. My daughter was so excited when she saw the Angry Birds bottle and she couldn’t wait to try it. The bottle comes with a built in cup and a pump bottle to keep consumption to a reasonable level. One squirt fills it up the line so kids know they have enough. The sweet, yet sugar-free berry flavor was delightful to my daughter and got her more excited about brushing her teeth than I have ever seen her. In fact, she started asking if she could do it! Firefly also makes fun light up toothbrushes that time how long kids brush their teeth to help make sure they do a good job. My daughter really likes the one that flashes in different colors like a stop light to let her know that she is almost done and when she can stop. Anything that makes brushing teeth fun and something to look forward to gets a thumbs up from me! www.fireflytoothbrush.com

CapriClearCapriClear Spray on Moisturizer: People seem to really love coconut oil for all sorts of uses. CapriClear boasts just one supremely soothing and emollient component:  all natural, 100% fractionated coconut oil.  Also known as caprylic/capric triglyceride, this purest and most stable form of coconut oil offers all of the ingredient’s skincare benefits, without the overwhelming fragrance.  Hypoallergenic CapriClear is not only colorless and odorless, but is also free of preservatives, additives, dyes, fragrances parabens, sulfates, PABA and other potential irritants commonly found in skin care products. It comes in a convenient spray bottle and feels really smooth, but not greasy on your skin. I do not recommend using this on babies, however as it did cause my baby’s skin to flake/peel when I tried it on her. www.Capriclear.com

eyedoll chatterEyeDoll Chatter: This make up definitely surprised me! I wasn’t expecting such a beautiful, high quality product. Even though it is made for younger girls, I loved it for myself! They have shimmery, scented eye shadow and face shimmers, lip gloss and balms, and blush. The colors are soft, subtle, easy to to apply and blend and formulated especially for young girls. Surprisingly they are affordable at $4/.5 ml mini-jars or girls can create their own trio by picking any three items for $9. www.Eyedollchatter.com

allnaturalandorganicplaymakeupsetEcoPrincess: Little girls love makeup and I found the best “real” makeup for them. EcoPrincess, a 100% organic bath products and play makeup line for kids are all-natural, vegan and toxin-free. The next best thing about it is that it is easy to cleanup—all makeup and nail polish can be removed gently with soap and warm water! Each set includes two eye shadows, one blush, pink shimmer lip balm, water-based nail polish, two applicators and it comes in a handmade cloth purse and is priced at $24.99. www.organicbeautynow.com

handle-extender2Aqueduck Handle Extenders: One thing that every child has difficulty with for a period of time is reaching the bathroom faucet. We need them to wash their hands after they go potty (plus many other times) and the earlier they are able to do this task without your help, the better (for you and them!). Aqueduck makes brilliant faucet and handle extenders for your bathroom that make this possible for even very little kids. Attach a handle extender to the faucet handle so they can turn on the water and attach a faucet extender to the end of your faucet so they can reach the water and they are all set! Aqueduck has a brilliant design in the handle extender that prevents children from turning the water too hot or too cold. The wings of the duck keep the handle in the middle range for perfectly warm water. The design is functional and very cute with a friendly yellow duck. Kids will love their newfound independence! www.peachyco.com/handleextender.html#.U5kR16gaCwR

[Dreaded] Time To Find A Swimsuit

Warm weather has finally arrived and it is time for swimsuit (and other things swim/beach) shopping!

For moms…

Swimwear

vintageflowersmulti chevron mint_cream retro dots
It is fun to pick out swimwear for your little ones, but finding a suit for mom tends to be a little more dreaded. Whether it’s extra weight, body changes, stretch marks, scars or loose skin, finding a swimming suit you feel comfortable in can be really challenging.

When you go to the store you might find a few styles that are cute, but as you bring them into the dressing room, your pile of “no” grows. Perhaps you find one top that you like, but you can’t find a bottom in your size, or one that matches. Or maybe you just can’t bring yourself to buy a bathing suit that requires you to wear a size that is 2x bigger than you normally wear. Maybe you are nursing and your chest is extra full and your breasts are exploding out of every option you try. Maybe you just had a baby (2 years ago counts, right?!) and you need something to hold things in until they tighten up. Perhaps you just don’t like showing too much, but the only full coverage suits you find are for a lot older women. For me, it is the new “love handles” that I possess even though I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight, stretch marks on my hips and thigh and small, deflated breasts. I can go on, but you get the point and you know your scenario.

Me and my daughter playing...swimsuit on a "normal" person!

swimsuit-divinita-sole2 Me and my daughter playing…swimsuit on a “normal” person!

I have found an incredible swimming suit that I became OBSESSED with the second I tried it on. Diviine Modestee has a swimwear line, Divinita Sole, called the “Perfect Fit Swimwear” that truly is perfection. All of their styles are tankinis, although many of them look like a one piece, and they are very, very cute. They have a solution for all body types (and even a guide to help you find which ones will work best for you). They have plenty of color options AND adorable swimwear skirts to match every. Single. One. I selected my sizes based on the sizing chart and had my fingers crossed that they would fit the way I wanted. You know how swimming suits always fit so small?! Well, the fit was ideal. In every way. The bottoms didn’t create that extra bulge with my love handles the way all the ones do in the stores. They are fuller coverage than I have had in swimming suits before, but with a tankini it is perfect. I felt amazing when I put it on and the skirt made the swimming suit look like a little dress you can wear when walking around in public (and it totally covered up my stretch marks on my thigh). I wore it to my baby’s first mommy-and-me swim class and I wasn’t self-conscious at all. It is comfortable, doesn’t ride up or require any tugging. It is the highest quality bathing suit I have ever worn and I highly recommend it to any woman (or teen!). I doubt anyone would be disappointed with the purchase of a Divinita Sole swimming suit.

So, for all you moms that are dreading the search for a new swimming suit this year, just go straight to this site and pick one out. Search over! Right now a top and bottom combo is $99 and a skirt is $36. It is worth the cost to have a swimming suit you will be confident in and that will last for years. www.divinitasole.com

If you are plus sized and looking for trendy and flattering swimwear, check out www.alwaysforme.com. They are all under $90 and they have tons of styles and colors to choose from.

For the Kids…

Beach Wear

daisy-langKids swimming suits are pretty easy I think. It is easy to find adorable designs and your little ones look cute in everything they put on! But, I came across a couple of beachy items that were too cute not to mention. Daisy Lang has a great “resort wear collection” that includes classic shift dresses, shorts, shirts, and sweaters in fun prints including sailors, mermaids, and sea life. Pulling inspiration from 60’s and 70’s design, Daisy Laing incorporates whimsical embroidery and knits in their collection. I fell in love with the crabs! http://www.daisylaing.com

Flip Flops

blue flik flopKids love light up shoes and we found LED light up flip flops! They add safety at night and they are just fun. Flikflops is a family run business, with a 7 year-old innovator coming up with the idea. They come in blue and pink and cost $16.95 (with free shipping). www.flikflops.com

SPF

aubreyProtecting your children’s skin from harmful UV rays is an important job for a parent. I always rush to bathe my children after they have been wearing sunscreen because I am not sure what ingredients are in it, but I found an all natural SPF that would take away some of my fears! This broad spectrum mineral sunscreen contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to block UVA and UVB rays naturally without parabens or petrochemicals. Organic green tea extract, pomegranate, Baobab Oil, Canadian Willowherb and vitamin E are powerful antioxidants that help neutralize cancer-causing active free radicals. Plus, this sheer formula is moisturizing, non-greasy, protecting kids comfortably all day long! What’s even better is that they have a spray version. $15.95 at www.aubrey-organics.com

hello kittySome kids hate putting sunscreen on, but if it had a favorite character on the bottle and come in fun scents they might be more willing. Australian Gold has launched a new Hello Kitty collection, which got my daughter super excited. They have wet/dry body mists, lotion and face lotion in SPF 30, 45 and 50 and in Summer Berry, Krazy Kiwi and Paradise Pineapple fragrances. $8.99 at all major retail stores.

Making Life Easier in the Kitchen!

The kitchen is where we spend most of our time—cooking and cleaning and making memories. I love finding new products that make life a little bit easier, healthier or cuter! These are my recent finds that are worth trying out…

Cookina

cookinaI love parchment paper. It just makes everything you bake cook perfectly on the bottom (and it might have been known to save me some pan washing). My husband and I are both so frugal that I always try to make sure that I am never wasteful on the size sheets that I tear off and we still go through plenty of it. When I saw basically reusable parchment paper I was stoked! I had to try the Cookina Resusable Cooking Sheet, but I soon learned how much better it was than parchment paper. You can actually line any bakeware with it to prevent sticking (like when making banana bread—you can see how in this video). Cookina also makes a Reusable Grilling Sheet and Oven Protector that are just as amazing. These products are made using a 100% non stick, PFOA free, heat-resistant fabric and they wash very easily. They make clean up easier, food tastier and they even give you some new options for cooking on your grill. They seriously are amazing! From $12.99 at www.cookina.co

Squeez’Ems & EZ Squeezees

squeezemsFood pouches for babies have become so popular. I have always made my own baby food and never purchased the filled pouches, but when I saw the reusable ones I was thrilled. They came at the perfect time for my little one to use to eat her yogurt and apple sauce. She likes both of those foods, but with her desire for independence refuses to be spoon fed yet she still is learning to using a spoon herself. I load up both of these pouches and they are handy at home and on the go (which admittedly has been her breakfast plenty of times as we are running late for one of our morning activities). I am obsessed. My older daughter certainly doesn’t need to use these but they have come in handy for food-on-the-go for her as well. You can feel a lot better about your child eating yogurt or applesauce when you are in a hurry instead of the convenient and often not-so-healthy crackers and cereal. I am certain that with my next baby I will end up using these when we are in the baby food stage too!

ez squuezeNow to compare the two pouches that I tried…They both really are great, with some differences that might make one more ideal for you than the other. Most obvious right off the bat are the location of the openings. EZ Squeezees have a large zippered side for easy, mess-free filling, while the Squeez’Ems have a smaller opening at the top. The larger side zip is easier to fill on the EZ Squeeze, but I like how the bottom opens up to stand on its end on the Squeez’Ems. The zipper quality is great on both with no leakage or ability for a young child to open on their own. EZ Squeezees holds 6.5oz of food and can be reused about 15 times per pouch. I am not sure of the exact amount of food that Squeez’Ems holds, but they are very comparable (however, Squeez’Ems do make a larger size that can be found on their site). They are both BPA and Phthalate free, as well as dishwasher and freezer safe. EZ Squeezees can be found at www.ezsqueezees.com, starting at $9.99/3 pack. Squeez’Ems can be found at www.booginhead.com for $5.45/2 pack.

Mackenzie-Childs Bibs/Placemat

bibs placematsI don’t know what my deal is, but I have kind of become obsessed with placemats. I love to use them for my four year old. They save me some extra table wiping (wow—with this and my pan washing avoidance with parchment paper I sound pretty lazy). When I first started using placemats I was surprised how hard it was to find the cheap, easy to wipe off kind. I got in the habit of snagging the holiday ones that I found at Big Lots to create my stash. So when I saw these absolutely adorable placemats from Mackenzie-Childs I fell in love. They are very worthy of being left on the table with their cuteness! And, even though bibs get covered in smashed food and ultimately destroyed beyond stain repair I love cute bibs. Mackenzie-Childs has created bibs that match her placemats that maintain the classic mixed patterns and colors she is famous for. The bibs definitely have a unique style and I adore them. Bibs, $25 and Placemats, $28/pack of 4 at www.mackenzie-childs.com

Pyure Stevia Sweetener

pyureIf you haven’t used stevia for a sweetener you are seriously missing out. It is natural, sugar-free and tastes delicious! I love to use it in my iced tea, and until now I had not seen anything that came in big packages for baking. Pyure makes a Stevia Sweetener Bakeable Blend that is a calorie-free sugar alternative that actually measures cup for cup like sugar. It contains no synthetic ingredients, is gluten free, certified Kosher and sweetened with Pyure Organic Stevia. $34.99 for 6 pouches at www.pyuresweet.com.

Cow Wow Cereal Milk

cowwow_fruity_trudyNot going lie. When I first learned about this I thought it seemed a little bit weird. I actually skipped over it the first time but upon circling back I thought it might be worth mentioning. Some parents might find it challenging to get their kids to drink milk, and most people agree that milk is important for growing children. Well, here is a milk option that just might get picky kids interested. Cow Wow is an organic, low fat milk that brings favorite bottom-of-the bowl cereal milk to life. Yes-it tastes like the milk left over in your cereal bowl! They currently have two flavors, Fruity Trudy and Chocolate Chip Cathy with more on the way. It is made with all natural ingredients with only 6 grams of added sugar. It comes in packaged 8.5 ounce single serving cartons. I haven’t tasted it but maybe if I had it as a child I would have actually drank milk and like it as an adult. $1.99 for a carton at www.cowwownow.com.

Ecovessel-Smashbox Double Compartment Food Container

smashboxI have a crazy amount of food storage containers that I use to store leftovers in the fridge, but I do have some plastic fears so I try not to reheat food in them. I definitely feel better for food storage knowing that the materials are BPA and phthalate free, especially when my babies are eating the food! Eco Vessel makes water bottles and food storage containers of high quality, non-leaching materials that parents can be confident using for their families. They have very cool, two compartment containers that are ideal for lunchboxes and picnics! When you’re done the Smashbox collapses to about half its size, so you can easily carry it in a tote or backpack. Made with food grade silicone, it can go from the freezer to the microwave, making it easy to heat up leftovers. A reusable multi-use spork snaps on the top, so there’s no need to throw away disposable utensils. What makes Eco Vessel even more special is that they have pledged to donate 1% of annual sales to support Water for People, a Denver-based non-profit focused on providing safe water around the globe. $19.95 at www.ecovessel.com.

Candy Alternatives for Your LO’s Easter Basket

Ok, parents it is officially the week of Easter! You have probably been too busy to worry about Easter baskets, but it’s getting down to the wire. When filling baskets for your little ones, candy isn’t always the best option, so we came up with a few other options that are sure to make your youngsters Easter extra fun.

BOOKS

god-gave-us-youBooks really are perfect for every occasion! Since Easter is a Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, books that teach about Him are always important. You can find many wonderful books about the Christian Easter story in almost any store. Grab a simple board book for your youngest kids and one that teaches more facts and details about the resurrection for your older children.

We found another book that, while it’s not about Easter, it does celebrate God’s deep love for each of us, colorfully showing children how “God had a plan at the very beginning… He had you in mind, when He set the world spinning.” Marblespark’s new book God Gave Us You is a cleverly crafted book that is personalized specially for your child, and keeps the message of the Easter holiday, God’s unwavering love for all His children, close at heart. Each beautiful illustration features the child’s name. They’ll love finding the letters of their name hiding in the leaves of a tree, strutting on the feathers of a peacock and shining brightly in the night sky. Even the front, back and spine of this 8.5″ x 8.5″ hardcover book are personalized. Perfect for ages 0 to 6. $32.95 at marblespark.com.

BIBLE COVER

bible coverA Bible cover is a great Easter gift! What a perfect way to get kids excited about their Bible by making it feel special and unique to them. There are many options available for children online or in Christian bookstores. Look for something that has colors, embellishments or features that are fun for your kids. Something with a handle and a heavy duty fabric is great for years of toting to Sunday school! A more delicate Bible cover would be fantastic to for a baby’s first Easter. We found 2 beautiful white Bible covers: a lovely one for a little girl with eyelet fabric, lace edges and a bow on the front and another one that is hand embroidered with polka dots and a cross, appropriate for any gender. $19 & $23 at elegantbaby.com

SPRINGTIME ACTIVITIES

crayola-grab-n-goEaster really welcomes spring so fun activities to do outside are wonderful non-candy options for an Easter basket. This is such an easy way to fill a basket with inexpensive items like a jump rope, bubbles, sidewalk chalk or a kite. I just discovered a wonderful product from Crayola: Crayola Sidewalk Chalk Grab ‘n Go Games. Each game Includes 4 sticks of Washable Sidewalk Chalk, detailed instructions and the final accessory for the game you choose—everything you need to create and play challenging games on sidewalks or driveways. $6.50 at crayola.com

birdhouseWhat screams spring more than bird nests and baby birds?! Birdhouses and birdfeeders are a fun Easter gift. Look for a birdhouse that your child can paint and customize. We also found a super cool birdhouse kids will LOVE. The My Spy Birdhouse has a clear back and suction cups so you can hang it on a window in your house and see everything that goes on inside the birdhouse! It comes with a 3-way mirror so the birds have more privacy but you can still see them. We have ours hanging in a window and we anxiously check it daily for a resident (bird houses are not always inhabited right away so give it time if you get one)! $14.99 at myspybirdhouse.com.

COLORING/ART SUPPLIES

crayola egg crayonsColoring books, crayons, markers, chalk, play-doh all get old and spent. While doing your spring cleaning, throw out all the used up art supplies and replace them with new stuff in their Easter Baskets. Make it Easter-y by giving them an Easter coloring book (you can probably find a Christian one too)! Crayola has adorable egg-shaped crayons, which are made for tiny hands. They are perfect for this holiday but of course are made to use any time of year.

MOVIES

dog who saved easterI know that all parents struggle with the whole screen time thing with their kids, but children love to watch movies and it can be a great activity to do together with your little ones. Holiday-themed movies are extra fun for a holiday gift, too. And don’t worry that your kids won’t want to watch it year-round. If they like a movie they will watch it anytime, no matter the season. My daughter watches her Grinch and Rudolph quite regularly! Our Easter movie pick this year is The Dog Who Saved Easter. It is an adorable story about a yellow lab, Zeus whose family is heading out on a family cruise and sending Zeus to doggie day care. Everything is going according to plan until the daycare’s crosstown rival hires a trio of crooks to sabotage the fledgling business. Zeus will make some new friends and new enemies as he uses all his tricks to save the daycare and Easter! It is a cute movie with a recognizable cast (Beverly Mitchell, Mario Lopez, Dean Cain) that kids of many ages will enjoy. $9.96 at Wal-Mart

Go ahead and put a little candy in your kid’s Easter basket, but use these ideas to get you thinking of alternatives to fill them up with something other than sugar! Remember to teach them about Jesus and the resurrection and have a very happy Easter!

Perfect Children’s Wall Art…with a Cause

horse girl I am obsessed with children’s illustrations. Obsessed. We have tons of books for our girls and of course my favorite ones have the best illustrations. Every time we read one of those I can’t help but visualize them being on the wall and incorporating them into my decorating. If my favorite artwork was available to purchase you can be certain it would already be consuming the walls in my girls’ rooms.  While there are certainly plenty of options for cute artwork for children’s rooms at your favorite stores, the beauty and unique look of a hand painted book illustration is just better!

I was beyond ecstatic when I found about customizable wall art from award winning children’s book artist Phyllis Harris. One look at her web site and I wanted EVERY. Single. Print. They are adorable, beautiful, sweet, colorful, unique, faith-inspired, whimsical and just perfection!

Jesus_and_boyPhyllis Harris is the award winning illustrator of over 30 Children’s Books including ‘On Christmas Day’ (written by the amazing Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Phyllis) released October, 2012 by Booksamillion. In addition to Picture Books, Phyllis’ illustrations have appeared in numerous children’s magazine publications over the past 15 years (‘Highlights’, ‘High Five Magazine’, ‘Jack & Jill’, ‘Humpty Dumpty’). She is certainly the real deal.

In May, 2012, Phyllis launched PhyllisHarrisDesigns.com, her online Children’s Wall Art store featuring over 60 of her original illustration prints which can each be customized for any child’s room or nursery. Every print can be customized with a child’s hair color, hair style, ethnicity, child’s name and inspirational quote; and is lovingly signed by Phyllis. Oh, and it’s not just prints. They have huge murals too! The prices are very reasonable ($25 for an 8.5×11 print) and well worth it.

dancing in the woodsAt the heart of Phyllis Harris Designs is the mission to give back to children in need; and children battling serious illnesses. Phyllis Harris Designs gives back 5% of every sale to Children’s Mercy to help in their fight to save children’s lives.

I have been spending a lot of time decorating my oldest daughter’s room (now being transformed into to be a shared room for the girls) so when I first was looking through the prints I had her room in mind. And, of course, had at least 10 prints that I wanted. But when I saw ‘Dancing in the Woods’ it had to become my first choice to put in the nursery. The theme of our nursery is “Forest Friends” (Carter’s brand bedding set) and this print pulls the entire room together and makes it feel a little less “right out of the box.” elizas-roomI absolutely adore the way it looks. It is the first thing I look at every time I walk into the room and it honestly just makes me smile. Daily 🙂

More of these prints will be making an appearance in the girls’ shared room very soon!

Phyllis Harris Design’s original and customizable illustration prints can be viewed at phyllisharrisdesigns.com

 

Time For A New Mattress?

novosbedWhew! You got through the holidays! How well did you sleep during this crazy time of year? Being out of town and staying at a few different houses and sleeping on different types of beds emphasized to me the importance of a nice mattress. It effects not only how well you sleep, but how fast you fall asleep and how your body feels in the morning. If you have started to look into getting a new bed for yourself, or even a new bed for your child consider a Novosbed. I got to try out this really nice memory foam mattress that is an incredible value.

Novosbed is the zero-risk memory foam mattress company. They match Tempur-Pedic quality at a third of the price – then raises the bar with free two-way shipping, a 120–night trial, and a 25 year warranty to ensure customers are deliriously happy. They offer the longest sleep trial in the industry – so instead of testing out a mattress for 10 minutes at a showroom, you can literally sleep on it for 4 months to ensure it is the best fit for you. (If you do decide to return it, a local moving company will promptly pick it up at no cost for you.)

Here’s how Novosbed.com memory foam mattresses differ:

– They’re made in the USA (Manufacturing in the United States is subject to greater rigor than China – plus American environmental regulations are stricter than their Chinese counterparts.)

– The most popular sizes sell for under $1,000 sonata-0

– They have the longest sleep trial in the industry for 120-nights

– Free shipping anywhere in the U.S.

– All of Novosbed’s memory foam products are CertiPUR-US® tested and approved, guaranteeing the safest and highest quality memory foam mattresses and pillows on the market

When we got one I was impressed with the quality. Even the fabric covering the memory foam is soft and comfortable.  Our medium-firm queen sized “Sonata” (gel memory foam)came with two memory foam pillows and is crazy comfortable. Novosbed.com gives very accurate descriptions of their mattresses, describing the feel and comparing it to other memory foam brands (Tempur-Pedic, Sealy and Serta) and comparing the firmness to spring mattresses. You can confidently choose a bed that you think will work for you and have no worries even if you decide you don’t like it with their long 120 day trial and free shipping both ways. The bed arrives compressed and packaged in 3 protective layers, expands within a few hours of being removed from the packaging and is ready for use within 4-6 hours.

novosflowI have heard a lot of people complain that memory foam mattresses are too hot. Novosbed addresses this concern with NovosFlow technology. In all memory foam mattresses a memory foam layer is glued to a support foam layer. Foam is a natural insulator and foam mattresses of all kinds are generally warmer than spring mattresses. For people that have never slept on a foam mattress before, it can take a night or two to get used to. Discount memory foam mattress manufacturers glue the memory foam layer to the bottom layer without separation, leaving their mattresses with no internal ventilation. Some manufacturers argue that memory foam’s open-cell structure is enough for sufficient air flow, but the fact is that without separation between layers, you may feel unpleasantly warm during the night. This is why all Novosbed memory foam mattresses feature a NovosFlow air flow layer between the memory foam and the support foam that promotes air circulation throughout the mattress. Novosflow is designed to ensure your mattress stays a comfortable temperature throughout the night.

Novosbed has gone above and beyond to provide consumers with an extremely pleasant buying process, excellent customer service and a high quality product at a very affordable price. If you are looking for a new bed for anyone in your home Novosbed is absolutely worth considering, especially if you are already leaning toward a memory foam mattress. And, really, anything that has a true zero risk should be explored because THAT is hard to find! Novosbed.com

Year End Product Round Up

Trying new products is such a fun thing to do and bring to my fellow parents. This is my biggest round up ever, closing out the year with some fantastic products for parents and kids. Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket? Try out one of these great finds!

snooze shadeSnooze Shade

The snooze shade comes in very handy for parents on the go and for families that do a lot of traveling. The lightweight fabric mesh blocks UV rays from your child in their car seat or stroller and has a wonderful “window” you can close for when you want your child to be able to snooze without distractions. They were smart enough to use snaps in the design instead of Velcro so if you want to peek in on baby you won’t wake her! It attaches very easily to a variety of strollers and rolls up to a small size that fits in diaper bags and luggage. It really is a wonderful accessory for kids that need to snooze on the go. From $39.99, snoozeshadeusa.com

venettiniVenettini & Western Chief Kids Shoes

Oh my cuteness! We got our hands on a pair of incredibly trendy, neon patent leather loafers from Venettini and a pair of sparkly, adorable practical shoes from Western Chief Kids. Both are from Venettini extremely high quality, nice shoes and my daughter loved them both. The loafers are by far the nicest shoes she has had on her feet. Every part is made with high quality materials and the insole is super padded. They were a little narrow for my daughter’s chubby feet, but a wonderful pair of shoes nonetheless. They are definitely shoes that will get attention anywhere they are worn! western chief kidsThe shoes from Western Chief’s glitter collection are awesome everyday/school shoes. They have a rubber, sneaker-type sole that is durable but the styles in the collection are more sleek, stylish and girly than your standard sneakers. They look adorable with the cute clothes your daughter loves to wear and they will hold up to daily wear. Venettini, from $60, Western Chief Kids, from $30, washingtonshoe.com

RufflebuttsRuffle Butts/Rugged Butts

With 2 girls, I am addicted to ruffles and frill. Ruffle Butts is a company that has an adorable selection of ruffled accessories for girls (bloomers, diaper covers, leg warmers, swimwear, tees, dresses, hats and more). And, for those families with boys they even have an awesome line for boys, Rugged Butts (tops, bottoms, hats, swimwear, bloomers and more)! It is the place to find those adorable ties, faux suspenders, jackets and fedora hats that the trendiest of boys wear. Everything that this company has for girls and boys is cute, cute, cute! Definitely go check it out and be prepared to fill your shopping cart. They even offer free shipping on orders over $20. Rufflebutts.com and Ruggedbutts.com

back to sleep bearBack to Sleep Bear

Teaching babies to sleep and self soothe is such a tough task. We used a sound machine with both of our babies that has a maximum run time of 45 minutes. Any time baby would wake up we would go in and start with turning the soothing sound back on. The Back to Sleep Bear is a perfect sound machine because it stays on while baby goes to sleep (5 minutes) and automatically turns on again when baby cries or if the bear is jostled (with sound and motion sensors). You can keep the bear in the crib as a stuffed animal (with the soundbox tucked safely inside the bear) or you can hang it on the side of the crib. We had it hanging on our crib and the movement feature still worked because our daughter likes to kick her feet on the mattress when she wakes up, and that shakes the bed enough to turn the bear back on. Another nice feature to the sound machine is that you can record your own voice/sound instead of using one of the built-in ones. One of the sounds it comes with is actual womb sounds, recorded in the womb. The bear comes with a soft “silkie” that you can tuck into your clothes to put your scent on and baby can snuggle with it. It serves as a back up “lovey” in our daughter’s bed. This is a great sleep aid and is a wonderful addition to a baby’s nursery. $39, princelionheart.com

Funnybone-Toys-GamesFunnybone Toys

Games are so much fun for kids and families. The trick can be finding games that are appropriate for a large age range. Funnybone Toys has achieved this colossal task with a large selection of incredible games that encourage thinking and creativity, are small in their (artistic) packaging and are unique. They are a true combination of form, function and beautiful minimalistic design. The games that we tried out were so cool that our 3 year old could actually play a version of them, while mom and dad could truly be entertained for hours.  Disruptus asks players to look at objects and ideas and use different approaches, as determined by the roll of a die to innovate. Arrazzles lets you explore abstract geometrical configurations. Array is a colorful take on dominoes where players compete to place the highest number of multi-color cards into connecting patterns. Spectrix is a colorful take on the classic game of Rummy, played in multiple fast paced rounds. The object is to be the first player to get rid of all the cards in your hand by placing them into color sequences based on the order of colors on the Spectrix guide card or into collections of the same color. CUBU has you try to follow number and color sequences with visual illusion that leads to confusion. It forces players to use their left and right brains at the same time. Any of these games would be wonderful for a family of game-playing thinkers! $24.99, funnybonetoys.com.

baby comfy noseBaby Comfy Nose

This is one mom who ha always despised the nasal aspirator/bulb syringe that they give out at the hospital. I have always refused to use it. They just gross me out. They can’t be cleaned! They are a source of virus-laden mucus that your are putting back into your child’s nose, or worse a sibling’s nose. Not to mention they can be used incorrectly if you squeeze the bulb while it’s in your baby’s nose. So, when I got information about the Baby Comfy Nose I was apprehensive. After looking into it and hearing some great feedback I decided I would go out of my comfort zone and give it a shot. Well, it won me over. I can’t say that it doesn’t gross me out (the sound of snot coming out makes me gag), but I am an official user! The design is actually pretty brilliant. It has a fat, rounded tip that fits comfortably at your baby’s nostril, the snot goes into a tissue that you can throw away and you can completely clean the entire unit (it’s even dishwasher safe) and it uses human suction as the power to really get snot out from high in the nasal passages. Yes, human suction means you suck the snot out with your mouth. But don’t worry, there is no way for any snot to get anywhere near your mouth! My daughter had a pretty gnarly cold and any time I used the Baby Comfy Nose I got a ton of snot out and her nose wouldn’t run for close to 2 hours! When I didn’t use it, her nose ran constantly. I was in total shock. This thing seriously rocks. Get one for each child-you will love it. $14.95, babycomfynose.com

loopygearLoopy Gear

You know that great game of fetch that babies like to play? The one where they repeatedly drop a toy just so you can pick it back up for them? As fun as that is for you to play with them, Loopy Gear takes the floor out of the equation. This simple yet ingenious invention has two Velcro loops-one for the car seat/stroller/high chair/shopping cart or baby’s wrist and one for a toy-connected by a strap so when baby lets go, the toy doesn’t hit the ground. It is perfect for when you are on the go, when a dropped toy can get filthy or go unnoticed and end up gone forever. When they get dirty all you have to do is toss it in the washing machine. They come in a huge variety of colors and patterns and would make a great, unique baby shower gift. $15.99, loopygear.com.

emi jay doodleEmi Jay Doodle Hair Bands

These elastic hair bands are all the rage. They are easy on hair, double as bracelets and are great for mixing and matching. They come in adorable packaging, one that looks like a box of crayons that my daughter thought was so cool. They come in beautiful colors and patterns for every outfit. I love that an everyday ponytail gets jazzed up without the need of an extra hair clip which often times falls out when girls are very active. They are handmade in the USA and 20% of profits go to charity. From $6.99, emi-jay.com.

badaboum dulcetBadaBoum Dulcet Sleep Sack

I really like using a sleep sack once my babies are out of the swaddle but not yet ready for a loose blanket. I have quite a few cotton and fleece ones, which are all relatively similar. But, when I got my hands on the BadaBoum sleep sack it stood out as being different from the rest. The BadaBoum is like an actual quilt covering your baby instead of a light sheet or blanket. It is thick with batting to provide warmth and comfort and it features shoulder snaps and bottom/side zipper to allow for quick and easy diaper changes. My wiggly 10 month old doesn’t particularly like getting dressed or put into our other sleep sacks, but this one is so easy to get her in and own that she doesn’t make a fuss. It is very roomy so it doesn’t restrict movement and they have two sizes to fit up to a 32” baby. Wear it over pajamas that are appropriate for room temperature (recommended for room temperature up to 73 degrees F) and your baby will be as cozy as you all night long! $47, bada-boum.com

cicciabella mishkaCicciaBella Slippers

I live in slippers year round. I hate walking on cold wood and ceramic floors. I always love trying out new slippers and cozy footwear. CicciaBella has an amazing selection of slippers for moms and kids. Their Vintage Cowgirls collection is adorable with their cowboy boot style slippers, their Kwilts collection is dainty with a knit design and faux fur liner and the Mishi collection is a durable boot style with indoor/outdoor soles. I got to try out the incredible Mishka slipper. They have an indoor/outdoor sole, are lined with faux fur and have adorable faux fur pom poms. They are sized like slippers (SM-XL) and are cozy like slippers but the sole is as durable as an actual boot. You can totally wear these out of the house! They don’t have the structure in the heel that a real boot has, but other than that they are as close to a real boot as you can get. I was impressed with how warm my feet got in comparison to my real shearling slippers and boots-they were every bit as warm! They are the best slipper to go from your house to running errands in around town. From $34, available at Amazon

KnixWearKnix Wear

This underwear has a virtually undetectable, chemical-free, anti-microbial stain release hidden in comfortable yet sexy, seamless styles. Knix Wear is a revolutionary women’s underwear brand that targets the 1 in 3 women that experience the occasional “light leak” – also known as stress incontinence – when they laugh, sneeze, cough or exercise. Each pair features Knix’s patented Fresh Fix Technology, a thin yet super absorbent gusset that wicks away moisture and eliminates odor to keep women feeling fresh and dry all day long. The high-tech lining is so comfortable and comforting, you won’t be able to feel it but you will feel protected in any situation – when you perspire, have your period, sneeze or laugh just a little too hard.  Perfect for pregnant women and new moms. From $28, knixwear.com

Braun-Forehead-ThermometerBraun Forehead Thermometer

I have used many types of thermometers and never really fell in love with any of them. Regular digital thermometers take too long when a baby hates having it held under their armpit, arterial thermometers are very inconsistent in their readings and the angle of an ear thermometer changes what you get. When I tried the Braun Forehead Thermometer I loved everything about it. It was easy to use, gave a consistent reading and its design is excellent. The thermometer’s fever guidance system indicates the severity of each reading with a green, yellow or red light, helping parents easily decipher and monitor the status of their child’s temperature. The Braun Forehead Thermometer’s built-in infrared technology takes multiple readings during each forehead swipe, processing the readings using a unique algorithm for an accurate measurement. The thermometer automatically converts the final reading to the oral temperature equivalent, which is important when communicating with pediatricians and would normally be obtained through a more invasive under-the-tongue thermometer.  The backlit screen is huge, with large numbers so you can read it even in a dark bedroom. It is by far the best thermometer I have ever used! $49.99, braunthermometers.com.

Great Stuff For The Kitchen

We spend so much time in the kitchen, so kitchen gadgets are always fun to have! We tried out three things that we really liked and are perfect for homes with kids.

  snugThe Snug

Never has a tiny silicone device done so much in the kitchen.  The brand-new Snug is Apple-esq in its design and lets cooks use it to hold a metal or wooden spoon on the edge of a hot pan, keep a lid open just a bit and prevents serving utensils from slipping into the food.  The patent-pending Snug is made from an FDA approved, heat-resistant food grade Silicone material that keeps utensils from absorbing extreme heat during cooking. These little gadgets are so handy! It’s an alternative to a spoon rest, which in my house is always in the dishwasher. And, if you are using more than one utensil, each one can rest on its own pot/pan. They come in two sizes so almost any utensil should fit. I love how small they are so they take up little drawer space.  From $4.99 for a 3 packwww.thinkhat.com

prk-bottle-organizerPRK™ Products Bottle and Baby Food Jar Organizers

These practical organizers are perfect space savers! The Universal Baby Bottle & Sippy Cup Organizer stacks baby bottles and dispenses them one at a time. They adjust to accommodate different sized bottles and cups, so you only ever need this organizer. The organizer rests at an incline so a new bottle is dispensed instantly once one is taken.  They come with a basket for the lids and little parts of bottles and cups. My cabinet desperately needed some organization and for all of the little pieces to be in something than other bowls and cups. The bottle and sippy cup organizer worked like a charm! PRK also makes a Universal Baby Food Jar Organizer that dispenses baby food jars one at a time, instantly.  An added bonus is that they PRK products are dishwasher and freezer safe. $24.95, www.prkproductsinc.com

 

bumkins snack bagBumkins Snack Bag 

You can’t take kids anywhere without bringing a snack along! Plastic snack bags are expensive and not eco-friendly (not to mention a choking hazard for younger babies), so a reusable, safe snack bag is ideal. They are also perfect for lunch boxes that go to school every day. Bumkins Finer Baby Products has waterproof bibs and snack bags with their own proprietary fabric, designed specifically for babies. They are are BPA, Phthalate and lead-free. You can machine wash and dry, or hang dry and they are ready to use again. With over 24 different patterns available, the bibs and bags range in all sizes. From $4.95, www.bumkins.com