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).

Under Wraps

This movie was a definite schocker! I’m not usually into zombies, mummies or science fiction, but this really wasn’t like that.  It was totally different than anything I have seen before, but I really enjoyed watching it with my daughter. It kept my interest, the acting and the animation was good and the moral was very family oriented. It has a clever story line and in the end the family of four learns a lot about each other and becomes closer. It is a great movie to watch around Halloween, but it’s not really a Halloween movie so it is perfect to add to your family’s DVD collection for any time of year. It would definitely appeal to boys, but my daughter really, really likes it too. She is only four and it didn’t scare her, so you don’t have to worry about that factor either. It is a well made animated movie by ARC Entertainment and I recommend it to any family with young kids!
under wrapsAVAILABLE ON DVD: October 14, 2014
DIRECTOR: Gordon Crum

WRITER: Allison Ross

CAST: Brooke Shields, Drake Bell, Matthew Lillard

SYNOPSIS: Danny and older sister Eleanor fall into an adventure of a lifetime when Danny accidentally unleashes a centuries old curse involving mummies, phaoroahs and nefarious villains! When their archeologist parents go on an expedition to an ancient Pharoah’s last resting place, Danny sneaks into the tomb and finds a sacred amulet, which he takes home. When he accidentally breaks the amulet, all sorts of chaos follows, starting with his parents turning into mummies! Eleanor and Danny frantically look for clues to solve this nightmare but the police, an evil assistant, and a mysterious visitor from the past are suddenly getting too close for comfort.

DISTRIBUTOR: ARC Entertainment

Guess Who Series

guess who zoo Kids love interactive books! We found a series of books that are so fun and catchy for little ones. The Guess Who book series by Howard Eisenberg includes Guess Who Zoo, Guess Who Farm and Guess Who Neighborhood. guess who farmThey are full of clever little rhymes that are engaging and keep children interested in guessing the animal, person or place. Starting the books are rhyming stories that introduce a character who the kids are helping guess throughout the rest of the book. guess who neighborhoodThere are clues with each rhyme until the answer is revealed. Even after your child has them all memorized, they will still love to read them over and over again. Having the answers and being right thrills them!!

guesswhozooCDThe Guess Who Zoo is accompanied by a musical CD that my 4 year old was OBSESSED with from the second she heard it. We had to listen to it over and over and over and over again in the car. In fat, she loved it so much that she preferred listening to it over watching a movie (which is a big deal for her)! The CD made our summer travels more bearable and I can now sing you every single song at the drop of a hat! When we go the actual zoo, the catchy tunes come up when we see the animals we sing about. And, again, even when your child knows what animal you are guessing for each song before the words even begin, it doesn’t take away any fun for them. They love it!

These adorable books can be purchased at a discount at www.guesswhozoo.com

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.

LA Fitness Bans Mom From Breastfeeding in Locker Room

Article shared from BreezyMama.com

By Chelsea

Monique Golueke’s 9 month old and 2 year old sons

Monique Golueke’s 9 month old and 2 year old sons

When Monique Golueke was exercising at an Oceanside, California, LA Fitness last week, she was told her sons were having trouble settling down in the child care area. After collecting her 2 year old and her 9 month old baby from the “Kids Klub,” she took her two young boys to the women’s locker room, realizing she needed to breastfeed her baby. What followed has many of us mamas in disbelief. Breezy Mama shares her story.

After breastfeeding your baby in an LA Fitness, an employee told you that you weren’t allowed to feed your child in the women’s locker room and escorted you out. What happened next?

I was holding back tears as we walked through the lobby and I walked out the door. I took the boys outside where we waited for my friend to finish her step class. At that point I was so upset, infuriated and humiliated that I decided to take the boys outside. After my friend met us in front of the building, teary eyed and still in shock, we spoke about what happened. Then I went back in and asked the employee for her business card, she sat at a desk near the manager so I assumed she’d have some sort of contact info. Instead, she wrote down her name and phone number on a piece of paper. Come to find out that piece of paper has all of her employment information on it including the last 4 digits of her social, her address, her pay wage, amongst other personal information that I didn’t need. This just goes to show how under-trained the staff is at LA Fitness.

As someone who has breastfed 5 babies, I know it must have been awful to be treated that way by the LA Fitness staff! What was going through your mind and what did you do next?

I was still trying to process what had happened when the employee and I had reached the lobby. Being approached in such a vulnerable position and treated with such insincerity, I felt I was going to come unglued. I was either going to burst into tears and have a complete meltdown or I was going to let my fury run wild and possibly flip the entire gym upside down. At that time, I realized it was best if I just walk out. I didn’t talk with the manager about my frustrations, I had already dealt with enough. It wasn’t until after I had reported the incident to corporate that I spoke with him about the incident. He came at me with a huge, pompous attitude and told me that if I ever wanted to return to LA Fitness, I was welcome to nurse my baby in the kid’s club restroom. That was the exact thing the female employee who escorted me out of the locker room told me. After the manager said that, I told him that he clearly didn’t understand the legality of the situation. The conversation was over. So, I called corporate back and told them what he said, they were apologetic and explained that if they needed to contact me they would.

It was great to hear other moms held a “nurse-in” in front of LA Fitness on Friday after hearing your story! How did that come about?

I had nothing to do with organizing the Nurse-in. Word spread like wildfire on FB [Facebook] and a group of Moms took it upon themselves to get together. I didn’t even know about it until about 10:30pm the night before.

It just goes to show how supportive the community can really be. I was so touched that neighbors, friends and complete strangers came out to show support and stand up for something they truly believe in.


I saw your story and the coverage of the “nurse-in” on 10 News San Diego. How did that come about?

Just after the incident occurred, I contacted my local LLL [La Leche League] representative. From there I spoke with two other lactation consultants and breastfeeding activists who suggested I share my story.

How has all the moms rallying around you made you feel?

Made me realize that I am not alone and that it is important to stick up for yourself. Complete strangers are willing to organize themselves to promote fairness and social change.


Has LA Fitness gotten in touch with you?

I received a phone call from LA Fitness the day after–I expected an apology. Sadly, it was the trainer who was assigned to me (being that I was new member), he was hoping to set up an appointment for us to work out. He left a voicemail, I never actually spoke with him.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I had no idea children weren’t allowed in the locker room. I never would have taken them in there, had I known. Considering they were in a day care like environment, I took them out of the Kid’s Club and into the locker room to wash their hands. My 9 month old was still fussy and seemed hungry so I nursed him, meanwhile my 2 year old watched Trash Truck videos on my phone. (Not the best thing for kids to do but he was seated next to me and occupied).

Anyway, I’m happy that I decided to seek advice from LLL and go public with the incident. I hope for change in the future, relative to large corporations like LA Fitness and in society in general. I feel strongly that if a place provides child care they should be accommodating to nursing mothers. It’s simple.
I feel like this issue amongst others leads to further the acknowledgement of other important concerns in society, like the fact that there aren’t any changing tables in any men’s restrooms. Yes, my husband gets out of changing a lot of diapers but I am more addressing the issue in regards to single fathers and same sex fathers. Where are they supposed to help their babies?

On another note however, as my friend and I discussed, LA Fitness needs to realize these points. This is quoted from her on FB:

“1) There needs to be signs that say ‘no children beyond this point.’
2) There needs to be signs in the locker room saying ‘no children in locker room.’
3) They need to recognize that their employees and management handled the situation indelicately and in the future offer a space to breastfeed in the lobby or cafe seating… NOT THE RESTROOM.
Even as Jill Grueling stated (which is a lie) they offered you space in the kids club. Well, make that lie a truth and put a chair or two in a sectioned off corner of the kids club.
Their continued adamant statement of no kids in the locker room is just missing the main point!”

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!

Iesodo

Iesodo-LoveTotally impressed. And obsessed. My 4 year old, my husband and I all agree on the Iesodo DVDs. They are very well made and tell Biblical stories in a truly captivating way for children. My daughter asks to watch them (then re-watch them) over and over and over…

Iesodo (YAY-sa-doe) is a highly acclaimed Telly and Accolade Award winning series featuring a cast of animated birds who live in a Cypress Tree on the shores of Galilee.  Iesodo, which means “The way of Jesus”, is a wise and gentle dove that gives an allegory to the stories and messages of Jesus.

All of the stories are simple for young ones to understand with very compelling characters, animation and music. The quality of the animation and the music is impressive! They currently have 3 DVDs in the series and each DVD has 2 episodes (see synopsis below). This is a great way to teach your children about Jesus and Biblical stories. I highly recommend these DVDs to any Christian family with young children. You can find them at Amazon (Faith, Believe and Love) and Wal-Mart (Faith), among other Christian stores.

You can see the trailer here at http://www.iesodo.com/

IESODO DVD SYNOPSIS

Believe Episodes:

“The Gathering– It’s a beautiful day in the Holy Land and Iesodo is gathering all the birds to hear his message of hope.  Rocky takes us back to the day the flock first believed in this amazing dove who would change their lives forever.

“Believing is Seeing” Luke, a blind finch with no gift of flight or sight, seeks help from Iesodo.  The group is amazed when Iesodo not only helps him fly, but also helps him believe, so that he sees what’s truly important.

 

Love Episodes:

“Birds of a Feather, Fish Together”– The wedding of Freddie and Fiona finch is headed for disaster!  Iesodo steps in to calm everyone’s ruffled feathers and make the event a success.

“Love Your Enemies”– Zack, the tax collector, doesn’t play by the rules.  Iesodo shows the flock that treating those who are mean to you with kindness really does make a big difference.

 

Faith Episodes:

“Miracles are Everywhere”– A big event is happening!  Thousands of birds from all over the world have gathered to meet Iesodo, but food is scarce and the flocks are getting hungry.  Iesodo provides in a way no one could have expected.

“The Wind and the Rain”– The flock is soaring through the sky on their way back to the Cypress Tree when a sudden storm approaches out of nowhere!  Trapped at sea and frightened, they learn that when you have faith, anything is possible.