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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