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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Step2 LifeStyle PartyTime Kitchen

I purchased the Step2 PartyTime Kitchen for my son and for use in my home daycare in 2009 and it has held up to hours and hours of play excellently.  It is an adorable choice if you are looking for play kitchens for your tot and it comes with a lot of fun accessories to keep him or her busy.  It is in the mid-range as far as size goes I would say, so it is big enough to have a lot of features and to accommodate multiple children playing with it at once but not so large that it is taking up a lot of room in your play space.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Avery's Bucket List & SMA Awareness

Although this is a review blog and I typically only post product reviews I feel strongly compelled to share a story that I recently came accross that has really touched my heart.  I want to help a little girl's family spread awareness of an incurable genetic disease called SMA.  SMA stands for spinal muscular atrophy and it affects a surprisingly large number of people.  The family of little Avery Canahuati found out earlier this month that she had this disease and she passed away due to complications of it yesterday afternoon.  Her parents' created a blog, Avery's Bucket List, to promote awareness of the disease and to try to raise money for research on how to prevent/cure SMA. 

From Avery's Bucket List:
"What is SMA:  SMA is the #1 genetic killer of infants & children under the age of 2, yet most people have never heard of it, most OB/GYN's do not offer tests for it, and it's not included when performing genetic pre-screening tests for other potential diseases & disorders. There is currently no cure and it attacks the muscles which causes inefficiency of the major bodily organs - especially of the respiratory system - and eventually leads to death. 1 in 40 people are carriers of the SMA gene. Meaning my mommy and daddy had a 1 in 1600 chance of both having it and even then there was only a 1 in 6400 chance I would get it."

In sharing the link to the blog Avery's parents started and providing people with a little awareness regarding SMA I am just trying to do my part in ensuring that this little girl's and her parents' voices are heard and that her short life makes a difference in as many others' lives as possible.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Puddle Jumper Deluxe Life Jacket

I recently purchased the Puddle Jumper Deluxe Life Jacket and I was really pleasantly surprised at how great it worked and how much my 3 year old son liked wearing it.  We were at Wisconsin Dells this past weekend and I had wanted to find something to keep him afloat while in deeper water with his dad or me; he dislikes the bulkiness of a typical life jacket and I really only was looking for something to keep him up in the pool (with one of us right there with him) so I checked into the "water wing" options and had him try on quite a few styles before deciding to purchase the Puddle Jumpers.  I didn't know how well they would work until we hit the pool and they were great!  He floated and his head was above water at all times, he didn't tip forward or backward in the water, and could easily paddle his arms and kick his legs - his mobility was not comprimised at all.  Without this on he would have sunk like a rock but he was able to float, play, and attempt to move himself through the water with the Puddle Jumper Life Jacket on and it was so fun for him!

Description from the Manufacturer:
  • Coast Guard Approved
  • Patented Design
  • Superior Stability & Confidence
  • Woven polyester - Softer Fabric, Less Chafing
  • Type III Performance
  • Weight: 30 - 50 lbs

In conclusion, I would highly recommend the Puddle Jumper Life Jacket to anyone looking for something to keep their child afloat and help get them accustomed to being in deeper water/learn to swim.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fisher-Price Precious Planet Projection Mobile

I have been using the Fisher-Price Precious Planet Projection Mobile for over 9 months now for my daughter and we both love it.  It has a variety of sounds and songs for her to fall asleep to as well as adorable animals for her to watch above, including images that are projected on the canopy/ceiling.  Fisher-Price is a dependable brand and this is a very well made product.  I especially love the remote control; if baby is not sleeping by the time the mobile turns itself off (about 20 minutes after you turn it on) you can reset it with the remote without letting baby see you, so as to not disturb her (or let her think it's time to get up!)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table

I purchased the Learn & Groove Musical Table for my son when he was first starting to pull himself up to stand and it has been a great investment!  Since 2008 I have used it for my son, children in my daycare, and now my 9 month old daughter.  It has held up wonderfully and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to purchase an activity table for a young toddler.

Description of Features (from the manufacturer)
"Keep baby engaged with 15 musical activities in both English and Spanish. Colorful, interactive learning stations introduce early reading, math and language development skills through fun and engaging activities. Flip the center page to Music mode and your baby will move and groove to more than 40 songs and melodies, including nursery rhymes, real instrument sounds and upbeat dance tunes. Folds flat for easy travel and storage.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hair Accessories from Bitty Bows Boutique

After having my daughter in June (her gender was a surprise to us) I was beyond excited to buy "girlie" clothing and to start adorning her head with bows and other adorable hair accessories.  She was born with quite a bit of fuzz and I could start right away thanks to hair bows from Bitty Bows Boutique.  Bitty Bows Boutique is an online boutique specializing in bows and hair accessories for babies and toddlers.  There are a ton of styles to choose from and also a variety of clips, so no matter how much hair your little babe has she can sport a bow or some other adorable accessory from the boutique.  All of the styles that I have tried have lived up to my high quality expectations and were well worth the money.  Shipping was fast and inexpensive and the customer service was excellent.  Although there are a multitude of options, I'll talk about two of my favorite hair bow styles here:

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bunny Books

As we approach Easter, I wanted to share some books that may make good gift ideas for the little ones in your life.  Here's a (very!) short list of "Bunny Books" that are among my favorites: 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Manhattan Toy's Snuggle Pods

An adorable gift idea for Easter, Manhattan Toy's Snuggle Pods come in a variety of styles and are a perfect first doll for baby!  My daughter has the "Hunny Bunny" and it is beyond cute. 
Description (from the manufacterer)
"Don’t let this bunny hop away! The bunny “pod”, complete with precious bunny ears and a poufy cotton tail, hides a sleepy, 8” doll inside. Perfect as a first baby doll, Hunny Bunny encourages and develops nurturing skills in children. With its thoughtful details, satin-lined interior, and velvety soft exterior, Hunny Bunny is sure to be a favorite snuggle pal for years to come."

Snuggle Pods are available in the following styles:  Hunny Bunny, Peanut, Pea, Snuggle Bug, Two Peas in a Pod (Twins!), and Sweet Who (Dr. Seuss style) in girl and boy

If you're interested in checking out Snuggle Pods online, here is the link:  Snuggle Pod by Manhattan Toy  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gaiam's Prenatal Yoga DVD with Shiva Rea

When I was pregnant with my first in 2007/2008, I didn't follow any type of workout regimen and I really got out of shape and gained more weight than I'd like to admit.  When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter in 2010, I was determined to be more active and stay in shape during my pregnancy for both me and my baby.  I'd read that there are so many benefits to prenatal yoga that I wanted to give it a try even though I'd never done yoga before.  I am really glad that I purchased the Gaiam Prenatal Yoga DVD with Shiva Rea.  I enjoyed practicing yoga while pregnant and I think that it definitely helped me remain limber and not lose a lot of muscle tone/ranges of motion like I did when pregnant with my son.  I also experienced less backache/muscle pain during my second pregnancy.  I believe this was due, in part, to using this DVD at least twice a week (I often used it two to four times per week in conjunction with Suzanne Bowen's Prenatal Workout, review here).

Bumkins Waterproof SuperBibs

I recently discovered Bumkins Waterproof SuperBibs and I have loved them so far!  They are affordable, well made bibs that my kids and the children in my daycare all are wearing now.  They are waterproof, wash well (air dried), and are stain and odor resistant.  Bumkins SuperBibs wipe easily in between washings, as well.  They have a large catch-all pocket to capture crumbs/spilled liquids and also come in a "sleeved" option to protect more of your child's clothing.  I recommend trying these bibs once your baby is starting on cereal/solids.  Due to the adjustable velcro closure your child will be able to use them for years (my son is almost four and still wearing a bib when eating messier foods).

If you are interested in checking these out online here is the link, I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!  Bumkins Waterproof SuperBibs  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Baby Einstein's Musical Motion Activity Jumper

I have been using the Baby Einstein Stationary Jumper and Entertainer for my kids and for the children that I care for in my daycare for years and it is great!  It has held up excellently to all of the use and is very entertaining and stimulating for little jumpers.  It includes a wide array of sensory experiences for babies and is great for mom and dad because it keeps them entertained for long periods of time.  It is affordably priced at around $90 and this sturdy activity center is well worth the money.  It can be found in stores and online:  Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumper  
(From the manufacturer) "Your baby will jump with delight in the Baby Einstein Musical Motion 2-in-1 Stationary Jumper and Entertainer.  The New Secure Support Seat with high back provides added comfort and support for younger babies just beginning to sit up.  The seat rotates 360° to give baby full access to different activity stations and encourages movement.  The seat pad is removable and machine washable for easy clean-up.  Four activity stations surround baby and include 12 activities:

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Winkel by Manhattan Toy

The Manhattan Toy Winkel is an awesome teething and exploration toy for baby; my daughter's been using hers now since Christmas and she is still amused by it for long periods of time.  It is especially great for her now as those first little teeth are making their way through her tender gums and she seems to get a lot of satisfaction out of gnawing on the Winkel's rubbery loops.  When I think of it I stick it in the fridge for a little bit before giving it to her so that it is cool and extra soothing.  She also seems to enjoy the rattle noise the Winkel makes when shaken and the bright colors of the teething/gripping loops.  I purchased this little gem on Amazon for around $12 and would say that it was definitely well worth the money:

Winkel by Manhattan Toy  

It can be found in original colors, as shown here, or in "Color Burst".

Monday, March 12, 2012

Which Diapers to Buy and When

Deciding which diapers to buy can be a big decision as throughout your baby/toddler's diaper wearing days you will spend a lot of dough on them and whether or not they leak will greatly impact your day (and your costs for laundry supplies!).  I have used (all?) of the major brands and varieties and am confident that I can help you decide which diapers will suit your needs during different baby poo and pee "stages."  Some of the brands that I have tried/will be critiquing are:  Pampers - both Baby Dry and Swaddlers/Cruisers as well as Easy Ups, Huggies - diapers as well as Pull Ups, Target (Up and Up) brand diapers and pull ups, Sam's Club diapers, and Seventh Generation diapers.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Activity Triangle by Infantino

I purchased the Infantino Activity Triangle for my daughter when she was about 6 months old and she has gotten hours of enjoyment out of it so far; there are a ton of different, fun activities on it and it is definitely one of her (and my) favorite toys right now!

Description (from the manufacturer):
Brightly colored activity toy has 5 sides of play with over 10 fun activities. 
  • Age grade 6m+
  • Fun activities on every side!
  • Helps develop hand-eye coordination
  • Rattle beads, spinning knobs, texture wheels and more

The Summer Infant SwaddleMe Adjustable Infant Wrap

For anyone who is looking to purchase a great swaddle, I would highly recommend Summer Infant's SwaddleMe.  It is so easy to use and my baby loved it!

My firstborn did not like to be swaddled at all but I thought I would try it this past summer from the start with my daughter as I'd heard that for some babies, it can mean (gasp!) sleeping 4 or more hour stretches right from the beginning; babies feel more secure while swaddled because it mimics the feeling they had in the womb and it reduces or eliminates waking from the startle reflex (a response that newborns have until they are 3-5 months old - they respond to a feeling of sudden loss of support; their arms flail back and this is what generally wakes them from sleep).  There are also some studies that suggest that correct swaddling may reduce the risk of SIDS.  So, before my baby was born, I was equipped myself with an arsenal of different swaddles and proceeded to try them all upon bringing her home.  I was pleased to find that this was the type that she (and we) preferred.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Suzanne Bowen's Long & Lean Prenatal Workout DVD

I purchased this DVD when I was entering my second trimester with baby number two and I'm sooo glad I did.  I was in better shape at the end of my pregnancy than I was in the beginning!

Suzanne Bowen's Long & Lean Prenatal Workout by Ruah is a prenatal workout DVD that is meant to make you sweat.  It integrates cardio, strength, and flexibility to help you stay (or in my case get) fit during pregnancy.  It helps you burn calories, sculpts and tones the body, and lengthens the muscles, helping you to achieve a "long and lean" physique.  It offers three segments:  standing work, mat work, and stretching with some yoga-esque relaxation.  You can choose to workout along with whichever of the three segments you'd like or dive in and do all three (I recommend definitely doing the final stretching segment no matter what else you choose to do).  The DVD also includes a bonus 10 minute postnatal abs segment to help you tone back up after baby comes.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Little Tikes Endless Adventures Tikes Town Playhouse

In 2009 I wanted to purchase something fun for my 18 month old son's Christmas gift that we could also use for my daycare business.  After doing a lot of research I decided to purchase the Little Tikes Endless Adventures Tikes Town Playhouse.  I definitely do not regret my decision.  Over two years later he and the rest of his daycare friends are still using it every day and coming up with new ways to utilize the different features/themes to enhance their play.  This playhouse can be found online for around $370 and in my opinion, is well worth the money:  Little Tikes Endless Adventures Tikes Town Playhouse

In Honor of Dr. Seuss' Birthday...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

KidKraft Table and Benches Set

I purchased the KidKraft Table and Benches set for my son when he was 18 months old for his use and for my growing daycare business.  The kids have been using it for over two years now and it still looks like new!

The KidKraft Table with Primary Benches Features:
  • One red bench and one blue bench which provide comfortable seating and fit neatly under the table when not in use
  • One green storage bin that rolls on casters and fits neatly under the table
  • Sturdy wood construction
  • Table: 32"L x 18"W x 20"H Bench: 16.13"L x 11"W x 18.38"H
  • Item Weight: 55.05 lbs.

It is affordably priced and can be found online for around $100:  KidKraft Table with Primary Benches

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Baby's First Year Keepsake Scrapbook Calendar

I purchased Baby's First Year Keepsake Scrapbook Calendar and Bonus Pack by Dena Design a few months back and I am, so far, satisfied with my purchase.

When I had my son I received a scrapbook calendar to document his first year including cute stickers and a fun layout that was made by Hallmark.  They have since quit making scrapbook calendars for babies and I was on the hunt for months when I was pregnant with my daughter and after her birth in June.  There are a lot of "baby's first year sticker calendars" to be found in stores and online but I love the calendars that are made of heavier "scrapbook" paper and measure 12" by 12" with the cutely designed spaces to include pictures along with the undated calendar.  I am not a scrapbooker and I need this easy to finish layout in order to put something halfway presentable together... 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Baby Einstein Roller-pillar Activity Balls

My 8 month old daughter received Baby Einstein Roller-pillar Activity Balls for Valentine's Day this year and they are now one of her favorite toys - she has spent hours & hours playing with them!

Description (from the manufacturer):  "Baby Einstein Roller-pillar Activity Balls are perfect for little hands and encourage your baby to touch, explore, and discover lots of fun! 5 unique activity balls provide a multi-sensory experience while encouraging fine motor skill development and crawling. Each ball features a different activity: baby will explore light, chime, rattle, real-life imagery, and multiple textures."

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Leap Day Giveaway: Win a Moby Wrap!

Tell me why you'd like to win a Moby Wrap (read review here!) below and follow the entry instructions in the box below.  The winner will be chosen at random on Leap Day (February 29) and notified via email that day.  Thank you for participating and good luck!

Moby shown at right may not be the color/pattern that you receive.  For a complete list of contest rules click on the page titled "Current Contest Rules."

Thanks to everyone who entered and Congratulations to the lucky winner, Melanie!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Share Topic: What Did You Do for Valentine's Day?

What did you do with your little guy(s) or gal(s) this Valentine's Day to make their day special?  Be it a fun day at home with heart shaped lunches, a trip to somewhere special, or a fun little gift, I saw lots of great ideas from my friends on Facebook and Twitter this year!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Trend High Chair by Baby Trend

I purchased the Trend High Chair by Baby Trend when my daughter was about three months old and we've been using it ever since.  I have used a lot of high chairs since having my son in 2008 due to the need for a lot of seating during the week (for my in-home daycare) and this is my favorite so far!

  • 3 - position seat recline
  • 6 - position height adjustment with a 5-point safety harness and soft harness covers
  • Dishwasher safe serving tray
  • Easy wipe-clean/washable seat pad
  • Large storage basket under seat
  • Compact free-standing fold and with tray storage
  • Large castor wheels with brakes

Monday, February 13, 2012

Inchbug's Orbit Labels

The Original Orbit Label is a great solution for labeling bottles, sippy cups, and snack containers.   They are a made of a stretchy rubber that makes it very easy to put them on and they stay on with a nice, snug fit.  They are non-adhesive and just as easy to remove as they are to put on.  Orbit Labels are dishwasher and microwave safe, too!  No more "permanent" marker on your items, these will last as long as you'll need them to and look so cute!  I'd say they are a must have for preschool or daycare.  I always order them for my kids and the kids that I care for because they are such a cute and hygenic way to tell the kids' bottles and cups apart.  Orbit Labels are a great idea for baby showers and birthday gifts.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Share Topic: Favorite Baby Product & One You Could've Skipped

What has been your favorite (can't live without) baby product (aside from the obvious necessities - diapers/wipes/nourishment) and what is something you thought you'd need that you bought or received and never used?

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Urban BundleMe by JJ Cole

I purchased the JJ Cole Urban BundleMe car seat cover this past fall for my daughter for use over her Graco SnugRide 35 and I have been extremely happy with my purchase. 

A description from the manufacturer: "The quilted outer nylon of the Urban Bundleme protects against wind and rain while the luxuriously soft inner thermaplush™ adds style and warmth; use with car seats, strollers, and joggers; wind and water resistant; machine washable; removable top for easy temperature control; allows safety straps to rest directly on child; crash tested..."  This product is sold in infant and toddler sizes.  JJ Cole also sells items that coordinate with this cover, such as teething pads for car seat straps or matching diaper bags.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

BooginHead PaciGrips

I love BooginHead PaciGrips!  They attach easily to every type of pacifier I've tried them on and are used to attach your baby's pacifier to her bib/clothing to prevent it from falling to the (dirty!) ground or getting lost.  They make pacifiers a lot easier to locate around the house, too!

PaciGrips come in a variety of colors and patterns including Pink & Green Stripe, Blue Pinstripe, and Pink Bubble (shown here).  They attach to bibs and clothing firmly with a metal clip but do not damage the fabric.  Awesome!  They are also machine washable (I just throw them in a pillowcase) and are very durable.  They can be found for between $5-10 online, including on Amazon and BooginHead's website. 

Booginhead also sells a variety of other products including:  SippiGrips (sold in patters that match the PaciGrips), Pacifiers, SplatMats, PaciBeds, and PaciPouches.  BooginHead has won a variety of awards for their products and I see why!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bright Starts Baby's Play Place Deluxe

This awesome play space provides endless hours of versatile fun for your little one.  There are a variety of different ways you can use it so that it grows with your baby.  I bought this when my daughter was a newborn and she is still using it now at 7 months old.

The Bright Starts Baby's Play Place Deluxe features walls that reconfigure for baby's development: newborn, tummy time, crawling and sitting.  It includes a removable prop pillow for tummy time play as well as several toys for your baby to enjoy, a nice "starter kit" of baby toys for parents to have on hand:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bright Starts Bounce Bounce Baby

I purchased the Bright Starts Bounce Bounce Baby in addition to a larger jumper that I'd already had for my first baby because of it's size; it's a bit smaller than the large metal framed jumpers and the exersaucers on the market and, with it's triangular shape, it fits nicely in the corner when not in use.  I wanted something lightweight that I could easily move from room to room and bring out on the deck with me and that wouldn't take up too much space when not in use.

This bouncy activity center fits the bill and has definitely served it's purpose.  From the manufacterer:  "The award winning Bounce Bounce Baby is fully loaded with toys, lights, and melodies!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Graco's Quattro Tour Duo Double Stroller

When I found out that I was pregnant with my second baby I immediately started shopping for double strollers.  I love strollers.  I love researching strollers and I love buying strollers.  As a mom of two and a daycare provider I have now owned 8 different strollers.  And you know what?  I have loved buying and using all of them.  I guess I have a thing for strollers... 

The Graco Quattro Tour Duo double stroller was an obvious choice for me after doing a bit of research because:  It was a brand that I knew and trusted, it had good reviews (yes, I do my research and read LOTS of reviews before committing to a product) and it possessed many of the features that were important to me as a soon to be mom of two.  You can find this stroller online and at major baby product retailers for between $210 and $260.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Boppy vs My Brest Friend - Which Nursing Pillow is Right for You?

Here I hope to give a little information on how each nursing support pillow has worked for me in order to help you make an informed decision as to which one you may want to consider purchasing.

The Boppy
With my first baby, this was the only nursing support pillow that I'd tried and I loved it (and still do).  It is simply a "U" shaped pillow that hugs you around your waist and supports your baby to make nursing more comfortable for you and him or her.  It can be purchased for around $25-$30.  You can also buy covers that zip over it for anywhere from $10-25 a piece.  These come in handy as spit up and leaky diapers (yuck!) often soil your boppy while feeding your baby and it's much easier to remove these and wash them rather than having to wash the entire pillow each time.  The pillow itself is, however, machine washable, should you need to do so.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Summer Infant's BabyTouch Color Video Monitor

In my search for a new digital video monitor this past year I purchased and returned quite a few models before deciding that Summer Infant's BabyTouch Color Video Monitor was the best on the market right now.  I have been extremely happy with it so far and have used it countless hours in the last 9 months.

The BabyTouch Color Video Monitor can be found online and at major baby product retailers such as Babies R Us and Target for around $240.  For this price you get the handheld monitoring device and one color video camera.  You can add up to 3 more additional cameras that you sync with the handheld monitor for approximately $90 each.  It is a digital system with great video clarity and clear sound compared to other comparable systems on the market.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The BabyBjorn Babysitter Balance

After having used quite a few different infant bouncy chairs, the BabyBjorn Babysitter is by far the best I've used and can be utilized far longer than any other bouncy chair out there. I love it!

An Awesome Chair for Baby
The Babysitter Balance is a chair meant to be used from the time your child is a newborn through toddlerhood.  It folds flat (4" high) and is very lightweight so it is easily transportable.  It has three different height settings - your baby can be laying practically flat or when she is older she can be close to vertical to see what everyone's doing around her. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wearing Baby: The ERGObaby

After doing a lot of research I decided to buy the ERGObaby when my second baby was about 3 months old. I am so glad I did, it is an awesome carrier and is so comfortable!

The ERGObaby is a baby carrier that is designed to enable you to comfortably carry babies/toddlers from the time they are newborns through 45 pounds. It is available in many fashionable colors as well as organic materials. It's so incredibly comfortable for babies and mom and dad that it really lives up to his name!