August 31, 2012

It's Field Trip Time! - What's for Lunch? #SmartSnack

Back to school means a lot of things - new bedtimes, the return of the morning rush, replacing outgrown clothes and in our house field trips galore.  Field trips always present a challenge to me in the lunch department.  They mean that anything requiring an ice pack is out and that everything I send has to be completely disposable and not very squishable.  Sadly, this eliminates a lot of  the healthy items I would like to include in Kayla's lunch.

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August 30, 2012

Wrapeaze - Cuddly Cuteness for Fall

Wow - the other day it suddenly went from 85 and sunny to 65 and foggy here in San Diego, which reminds me that fall and back to school are coming, whether we like it or not.  I can't complain because we have had a pretty great summer and lots of park, beach and pool time but now it's time to think about fall and naturally jackets are on my mind.

You may have heard me mention that it's next to impossible to get Kayla to wear a jacket and I'm willing to bet she's not the only one.  A while back I told you about Hoodebaby who makes thick and fuzzy hooded blankets.  I was wondering if there was more of a hybrid between an actual jacket and something like their blankets and of course, there was.

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My friends over at Mompact recently sent me this cute item from Wrapeaze.   It's a fleece poncho-style wrap with crazy adorable little ears that will make any child smile.  Here is one of our kid testers getting his cuddle on with Wrapeaze.  It's good for those fall months in warmer places where you're not quite ready for a jacket but have to get into a chilly car in the morning.

Speaking of getting into a car, one of the best features about Wrapeaze is that it makes it easy to put a child in their car seat.  It's thin enough that they can be buckled in with it.  If you're a slightly paranoid parent (like me) then you can actually strap your child in and put Wrapeaze over the harness to keep your little one snuggly warm without having to adjust the straps on their car seat.

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Kids love the soft construction, the costume-like ears and that there is no struggling to put their little arms into sleeves.  Basically it's a win-win situation.  Wrapeaze also has a line of products for rain and cold weather items that you can check out here: shop Wrapeaze

You can also keep up with Wrapeaze on Facebook right here:  Wrapeaze on Facebook for information about their products and some pretty funny (if you ask me) posts.

Want to win your own Wrapeaze as well as some other super adorable products that are great for back to school courtesy of Mompact?  Just check out the Rafflecopter below!

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August 27, 2012

Mighty Monkey Playset - Mommy's Mind is Blown

Every once in a while (and maybe more) I am completely and utterly wrong.  I am usually quite good at screening out what will and won't be great before accepting a sample of a product to test but still, I've had a handful of occasions where the product just doesn't live up to my standards or I think it's just not nearly as helpful as promised to parents or kids.  Rather than waste your time and my time telling you about those things I'd rather tell you what the great products are.

Recently the very sweet people over at Patch Products sent me the Tall Stacker Mighty Monkey Playset I admit, I usually buy wooden toys and knew that this set would be plastic but I really thought it looked neat in the pictures I saw.  Much like most parents browsing online I could only go off the pictures and hope.

When the box arrived I opened it and my heart dropped a little bit.  Initially, it looked like your average brightly colored plastic toy that I usually won't buy and figured I'd have to let the company know that this product probably wouldn't be for us.  Well let me just say that I could not have been more wrong if I tried on this one.

It was Saturday morning and I left the open box on the floor near our entryway and went off to make coffee in the kitchen.  While I was desperately trying to caffeinate, Kayla wandered over to the box and started playing with the Mighty Monkey Playset.  Her dad was heading to play tennis with a friend and I was thinking of how I was going to entertain her for the next 2-3 hours while he was gone.  

As it turned out, not only was the Mighty Monkey Playset not bad, it was amazing and Kayla played with it almost the entire time he was gone.  I kid you not! My child is famous for doing the 5 minute thanks-now-lets-do-something-else move so this was unheard of.

Kayla needed some help getting the tower and slide together but she loved repositioning the pegs, building the trees, putting the monkeys on their tree swing and of course sliding them down the slide.  With a little help from me she figured out how to build up the monkey stacking pieces to act as a roadblock after the little cart slid down the twisty slide.

When she was done playing with the Mighty Monkey Playset as it's intended use of a monkey playground she started sticking all the pegs into the board to make a pretend birthday cake with candles and then carried the whole thing around the house singing happy birthday.  After that we counted all of the candles as she put them back in the box.

You would think the fun would have ended there right?  But no, before bed she went back for more.  We've had this toy for a while now because I do like to hang onto things and get a fair amount of time with them before telling you about them and I have to say that at least once a week Kayla asks to bring this out and then plays with it for a good 30-45 minutes which is significant for a preschooler.

I like that it keeps changing and becoming new to her because of the variety of elements to it, and that it challenges her to figure out how to make things work - like adjusting the height of the treehouse to make the slide function properly.  Basically, it's shockingly awesome!  If you feel so inclined you can check it out and get your own right here: Get my Tall-Stacker Mighty Monkey Playset

August 23, 2012

Mommy Gives Back - Elmer's Glue Crew #BagItForward

Giving back is incredibly important to our family and this week I got the chance to do something meaningful for Kayla's school and put a smile on the face of one of the hard working teachers there in the process.

I was excited when I was offered the opportunity to challenge the creative portion of my brain and make a recycling box for the Elmer's Glue Crew to encourage the Pre-K kids at Kayla's preschool to recycle their used up glue sticks and bottles of glue.

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I also got to shop for school supplies to donate to the school through the Bag It Forward program.  Sometimes I forget just how lucky our family is that all of our needs and many of our wants are taken care of.  This was a good reminder that there are SO many families across the country that truly can't afford the basic necessities for back to school and so many teachers that reach deep into their own pockets to make up the difference.

Bag It Forward is a movement to help solve this exact problem by working together as a community to donate quality school supplies and help send kids back to school with what they need to succeed. This is a wonderful, teachable and easy way to instill a love of giving from an early age, so I encourage you and your kids to join in and help Bag It Forward by picking up a few supplies to donate on your next shopping trip.

Short on time or resources? Elmer's has made it insanely easy to join in and help donate school supplies.  You can download their 1st Day app on your smartphone and upload a picture of your child heading off to school.  For every picture uploaded, Elmer's will donate supplies to the Kids In Need Foundation.  How neat and easy is that?

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Anyway, back to my Glue Crew recycling box! While perusing our game cabinet trying to find something to entertain Kayla after school I stumbled upon our Feed The Woozle game and got inspired. The kid testers had LOVED sticking things in the Woozle's mouth and I was sure that nothing would be more appealing to a group of 4 and 5 year olds than a glue eating monster!

My goal was to get the most out of every dollar I had and to embrace reducing, reusing and recycling so first I figured out what we had at home that I could up-cycle and put that money towards the actual supplies and not creating my box or donation bag.

#BagItForward Donation bag, Creation Elmer's Glue Crew

I found this old bucket that held some holiday trinkets last year and figured I could turn it into something cute to coordinate with my monster.  I also used some old cardboard boxes from all the packages that Mommy Testers receives each week to craft the monster.

I headed off to Walmart to shop for my supplies because everyone knows that Walmart has "I don't know how they do it" low prices.  I was able to get a bunch of quality school supplies on the cheap.  These bottles of glue were only $.50 each.  I  even saw notebooks for $.17 each-  honestly I really didn't think you could buy anything for $.17 these days....mind blown!

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I grabbed some adorable animal scissors, Elmer's School Glue, Crayola crayons and markers, reward stickers and our house favorite- disappearing purple glue sticks which go on purple so kids can see where they have put the glue and then dry clear...genius!  You can see all the photos from my shopping trip right here: Elmer's Glue Crew Shopping Trip

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After Kayla went to bed I started crafting my glue eating monster and the donation bucket.  We usually do a ton of craft projects together but this time I wanted a chance to do one on my own as some well needed alone time.  I'm not going to lie, this was almost therapeutic.  I wasn't at my computer, I wasn't trying to figure out what to feed my crazy little family for dinner and I wasn't chasing a mermaid/pirate/dragon costume clad child was good!

I made the face of the monster and the body of the box from some cardboard boxes I had put in the garage to get recycled.  I also used some construction paper to cover the cardboard and make it colorful,  Elmer's School Glue, an X-Acto knife to cut out the monster, pipe cleaners for a little tuft of hair, a black marker and some bamboo skewers we had in the kitchen for little flag poles.

Creating the Elmer's Glue Crew recycling box #BagItForward

I also decided to make some printables for the teacher to use as coloring sheets and as a way to bring up the topic of recycling with such a young crowd.  This was the super easy part because there are a ton of pre-made printables available on the Glue Crew site to create a recycling box with right here: Glue Crew Templates

Printables from Elmer's Glue Crew #BagItForward

Kayla was VERY excited and proud to deliver our glue eating monster and our #BagItForward donation to school.  The Pre-K teacher, Ms. Pam was so grateful for our donation and impressed with the monster that she told me I should be a teacher!  I told her I'll stick to projects to help teachers because I don't think I have what it takes in the patience department to wrangle a gaggle of preschoolers (one is hard enough) but I have the utmost respect for anyone who does!

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After school, Kayla wanted to do some "glue art" so I let her go to work with my scraps from the monster and bucket.  She told me she was making a monster just for me which melted my heart, so it goes to show that it pays to Bag It Forward!

Kayla reusing the scraps from our Elmer's Glue Crew Recycling Box #BagItForward

Want to keep up with what's happening in the world of #BagItForward?  You can see more great pictures of charitable creations and some great recyling boxes on Pinterest and you can check out Elmer's on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Just so you know, I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and and Elmer’s.  #BagItForward #CBias #SocialFabric As always, everything you see is my personal (and quite picky) opinion and I was honored to be a part of this charitable event!

August 21, 2012

Modern-Twist Kidz - Coolest Placemat Ever!

I am always looking for ways to make mealtime more fun.  Half the battle of getting kids to eat is keeping them in their seat long enough to do so.  A while back I had gone out and bought a placemat that had some fun pictures printed on it for Kayla and it was OK at best.    

There were a couple of things that drove me crazy about that placemat.  First being that it was a fairly slippery surface which is never ideal when being used by a small child.  The second was that it didn't provide adequate protection for our wood dining table if we were having something hot for dinner.  

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When I heard about the Kidz placemats from Modern-Twist I was pretty excited because it solved the issues the other placemat had and it offered a fun activity to keep Kayla busy while I got dinner on the table which didn't involve destroying the house, which is always a plus.

Modern-Twist sent us the Kidz Box to test out, which contains one of their placemats along with a set of 6 markers  to color it.  The KidZ Placemat is available with or without the markers.  The print we got was Pooch in the Park which was right up Kayla's alley.

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The Kidz placemat is made of food grade silicone so not only is it safe and a non-slip surface, it also prevents heat transfer to the table and I no longer find those white spots under the placemat that I used to after a meal like pasta.

 I wondered if the markers would be a pain to get off but they're not.  I used a baby wipe and it wiped away easily and Kayla was ready to color all over again.  

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Modern Twist also has some wonderful graphic options that feature Dwellstudio designs.  If you're not familiar with Dwellstudio, they are pretty much the pinnacle of chic kiddie decor.

This is another one of those items that I think makes for a creative and original gift.  When the oodles of toys have been shoved into a toy box or closet, odds are that this will remain on the gift recipient's table.          Did I mention that the company also makes a ton of visually appealing home accessories with clean lines for grown ups too?  You can take a look at them all right here: Check out Modern-Twist for kids and grown ups!

August 20, 2012

Tiny Teru - Terrific Graphics for Tiny People

What happens when you pair up a Pixar artist and an Ex-Gap employee?  Apparently, you get incredibly soft clothes with sweet vintage feeling graphics.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm picky.  So much so that I admit to recently pretending a dress Kayla wanted had a hole in it and we couldn't buy it.  The truth is I thought it was downright ugly.  I'm sure she can tell her therapist all about it one day when she's old enough to read this!

When I saw the innocent and airy feeling graphics of Tiny Teru's hand drawn designs I knew they were onto something.  If you cringe when you see graphic tees which say things like "Daddy does what I say" and "I'm the princess" then you would probably find the choices from Tiny Teru to be more your style.

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Each of their very soft, made in the USA (sweatshop free) cotton tees is printed with an adorable graphic.  Rather than feature sayings like the ones I mentioned above, they are focused on children being "able"  Huggable, Unforgettable, and just plain able in general.

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Tiny Teru sent us a baby onesie and a toddler T-shirt to check out and here are a couple of the kid testers looking pretty cute in them.  We mommies think they're soft as can be and have held up well to washing so far.  Plus I love that they're almost like owning a limited edition work of art from a very talented illustrator.

If you like these then you can take a look at the rest of Tiny Teru's inspirational line, most of which retails in the $20-$30 range right here: Check out Tiny Teru  They're so cute you might want one to wear and another to frame and hang in the nursery!

August 17, 2012

I'm a Step2 Test Drive Mom - It's Play Time!

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I was delighted to learn recently that Mommy Testers has been chosen to be a part of the Step2 Test Drive Mom program.  What does that mean?  It means I will be working with the kid testers and some of the other mommies to check out Step2's newest products and letting you know what we think along the way.

Is assembly super easy or is there a step that's difficult and there's a trick for? Alternative uses for a product?  I've used their Summertime Play Center  as a pool instead of a sandbox with great success in the past.  It has a well placed drain plug, is the perfect size for 2-3 toddlers and the picnic table makes a great place to mix up water filled recipes and creations.  When it's time to eat you just wipe it off and sit the kiddos down.  Did I mention that it comes with a big shady umbrella to keep those little ones safe from the sun?

I'm looking forward to bringing you the scoop on the latest Step2 products and hopefully some great ideas and deals along the way.

One of my personal favorite Step2 products we own is the out of production and very coveted Adobe Playhouse and coincidentally I've been working on a how to post for cleaning up your playhouse and giving it little remodel so look out for that in the near future!

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August 15, 2012

Little Pnuts - Brainy Toys for Girls & Boys

A couple days ago I told you about the new educational toy delivery service Little Pnuts and showed you one of their infant Special Deliveries.  If you missed it, you can see it here: Little Pnuts Infant Special Delivery

Have you ever found yourself feeling overwhelmed by choices when trying to buy a toy that's both educational and age appropriate or underwhelmed by the quality of the toys found in mainstream toy stores?  If so, I highly recommend giving Little Pnuts a try.

While baby Lily was having fun with her infant Special Delivery, Kayla was tearing into the preschool Special Delivery for 3 year olds.

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What was in the preschool Special Delivery?

- An Automoblox mini car in pink
- Hape Zoo Animals Mix and Match domino game
- A Plan Toys Shape Sorter
- A Haba Orchard card game

Right off the bat the Automoblox mini car was a hit.  Kayla had her eye on it at a recent visit to our favorite boutique toy store.  It prompted a "Mom, you got that car for me???" No, I didn't but apparently the mind readers over at Little Pnuts did and since they're not here to take the credit I guess I will...score for mom!

Nearly all of the toys Little Pnuts ships are gender neutral which I personally prefer to toys that pigeon hole kids into certain roles.  The Automoblox car is gender neutral but it does come in a variety of colors.  It was nice that there had been some consideration in color choices because while Kayla likes blue, pink and everything in-between most little boys probably wouldn't love getting the pink car.  I've noticed that some subscription services don't do an awesome job of accounting for this but Little Pnuts did.

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Unlike most toy cars on the market, Automoblox are meant to be taken apart and put back together, drawing out the little engineer in your child.  First Kayla sent the car zooming around the living room, then she began to take it apart and eventually all 4 wheels were strung on a shoe lace and became a necklace...I guess it's quite the versatile toy!

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The Plan Toys shape sorter was neat because it was a different approach to more traditional shape sorters and instead of just popping shapes into holes it was more reminiscent of a puzzle.  Like all Plan Toys items, the pieces were wooden, smooth to the touch and carefully colored with water based non-toxic dyes.

This was the easiest of the toys in the Special Delivery for Kayla to master and it served as a confidence booster.  In case you haven't heard me mention it about 4000 times before, she's 3 and a half right now.  While this was fairly easy for her I think it would have been more difficult for a child who had just turned 3.

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I'm glad Kayla got a little boost out of the shape sorter because the Hape Dominoes were far more challenging.  One very neat feature on these is that they are double sided with animal pictures on one side and traditional domino markings on the other.

The pictures are cute, colorful and great for kids Kayla's age who would likely lose concentration counting the dots to make a match.  When your child gets a bit older you just flip them over and give them a new "big kid"challenge.

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The last item in the preschool Special Delivery was the Haba Orchard card game.  I'm a huge fan of cooperative games for preschool aged children and we have reviewed some in the past which you can see here: cooperative games for preschoolers  The Orchard game was instantly visually appealing to Kayla with its cartoony fruit.  This game reminded me a bit of HiHo Cherry-O but without all the teeny plastic pieces. We're often on the go and I liked that unlike most board games all the pieces fit in one very small box so we could take it anywhere.

Did you like what you saw from Little Pnuts?  We sure did.  Their premier September boxes start shipping soon so if you'd like more info about how to join you can find it right here:  Get my Little Pnuts Subscription

Crayon Bungee - A Restaurant Lifesaver

Okay so it doesn't actually save lives but the Crayon Bungee by Nini eliminates the head bonk that inevitably happens when you reach under the table in a restaurant to retrieve your child's 17th dropped crayon.

How do I know?  We eat out once or twice a week and I am famous for always having a load of entertainment options in my bag.  My husband sometimes makes fun of me for having the contents of a small toy store inside of it but hey, at least I get to eat!

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A few months ago we were out with some friends and their 4 year old child so both Kayla and her friend were coloring and dropping crayons left and right.  It seemed like every few minutes the conversation would stop as one or more of the adults reached under the table to retrieve the crayons.  I found myself thinking that there must be a better way.  Sure enough, there was.

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The Crayon Bungee does one thing and does it well.  You stick crayons into the little silicone holders and they stay put.  You then have two options - you can use the loop attachment and strap it onto a high chair or your child's wrist or you can use the suction cup attachment and stick it right to the table.

No more whining (about dropped crayons at least) and no more crawling under the table and enjoying the charming things you might find under there instead of the crayon you're looking for.  I think it would be fantastic for travel - it can easily hook onto the arm of an airplane seat.

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My only wish would be for there to be more than 3 holders for crayons.  Most restaurants give kids packs of 4 different colors so it would be nice if you could fit all 4 in the Crayon Bungee since once they go in it's not super easy to change them out.  Still - given that one issue I thought it was pretty nice to have a meal at which I was not constantly crawling under the table!

The Crayon Bungee retails for about $15 and you can find it right here: Get my Crayon Bungee

Want to win a bundle of some helpful products including some from Nini and the Parking Pal I showed you recently?  You can right here: Win products from Nini and Parking Pal

August 14, 2012

Leveraging the Disney Princess - Buh Bye Diapers

I have to admit that I knew this day would come and I have been dreading it since the moment that I heard the words "I only see girl parts" during our 5 month ultrasound.  I'm not talking about potty training, I'm talking about Disney Princesses.

I'll spare you my speech about why the idea of the princesses didn't thrill me but it has something to do with sitting around in your big old ball gown waiting for some prince to rescue you/fix your problems/generally save the day.

When Kayla turned 3 I knew my days were numbered.  A few weeks ago, after several recent birthday parties featuring Ariel, Cinderella and the rest of the gang my child declared her love for the Disney Princesses and I had to act like a real grown up, hold back the sigh and instead ask questions about which ones she liked and why.  

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This all coincided with my leaving for a trip to New York and while Kayla has been "potty trained" for a long time now, we hadn't yet done phase 2 - giving up the night diapers and it was probably time.   Kayla had been waking up dry most of the time.  My husband and I discussed it and decided that as soon as I got back we'd say bye to the night diapers.  During my many taxi rides on that trip I came up with an idea for how I would leverage those Disney Princesses and make them work for me.  When I came home I brought this along and left it for Kayla to find when she woke up.

We're now 5 nights into the 100% diaper free experience and it's a fabulous feeling!  Kayla wakes up excited every morning and rushes to come tell me that she stayed dry all night. Does it feel like bribery?  A bit...okay a lotta bit.  Would I use something like this for a long period of time?  Definitely not, and not unless it was for a major milestone like using the potty for the first time or giving up diapers for good.  Is it working? It sure is.  

While I'd like to pretend that a couple of star stickers thrown her way on a chart would make my child feel rewarded, that's just not that case.  In part I think it's an age issue and in part I'm sure it's my fault for spoiling her and making her think that stickers pretty much grow on trees.   And of course this could easily be adapted for use with Matchbox cars, Marvel super heroes or just about anything else you can think of that comes in a visually tempting package.  You can even use a holiday advent calendar and put in sweet treats if you prefer to go that route.  Me, I'm almost always trying to find a way to avoid C-A-N-D-Y so while this was a bit more pricey I felt it was worth it.  

And now, for the first time ever....I'm kind of grateful for those Disney Princesses!

By the way, if you do have a Disney Princess lover I can say that these new Magiclip clothes are super easy for a 3 year old to put on by themselves.  I made the mistake of buying one doll that had clothes you had to try to button up in the back and it ended in a lot of "mommy I need help" which clearly was not the desired effect.  If you have to go the princess route I highly recommend them and you can find them here: Disney Princess Fairytale MagiClip 

August 13, 2012

Little Pnuts - Like a Best Friend In the Toy Biz

I probably spend far more time than the average parent checking out baby and kid's toys so when I say that something exceeded my expectations, you know it has to be good!  A few months ago I found myself corresponding with Melissa, the founder of Little Pnuts.  Little Pnuts is a high-end toy delivery service that sends a quarterly "Special Delivery" box of toys to your child or a gift recipient.

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I'll often tweet about the toys and books we test out and love.  Melissa frequently knew exactly which item I was talking about and also had some great suggestions of new items to try.

It's pretty difficult to find a toy that I haven't heard of so one day I decided to ask Melissa what her favorite toy for summer play was and figured it would probably be something I had on my radar already.  She told me that she loved the Haba water park because it was an outdoor activity but required imagination, creativity and problem solving skills.

I was surprised to hear of this awesome toy I had known nothing about.  I can count on one hand how many times that has happened before with fingers left to spare.  Let me just say that we have since acquired a Haba water park and have had several fun mornings at the beach where it was the main attraction for all kids under 8 and a lot of their parents.  To me this was proof that Melissa had true street cred as a toy picker extroidinare.

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One thing I think is fantastic about Little Pnuts is that their Special Deliveries are filled with only high quality toys from reputable brands, not surprisingly many of which are European.   Several of them are also pretty hard to find in the US unless you really know where to look.  Flashing lights? Toys that eat batteries? Unlike most of the toys for babies and young kids that crowd the shelves in the big box stores you won't find things like that from Little Pnuts.

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Little Pnuts will start shipping to the public in September but Melissa and the Little Pnuts team sent us two different boxes to test out a few weeks back.  My niece, Lily who was almost 10 months old was in town visiting and she got to check out one of the Infant Special Delivery boxes for ages 9-12 months.

One of the best things about Little Pnuts is how targeted the toys are to your child's age.   Anyone who has a baby knows that there is a world of difference in what is appealing and appropriate for a 6 month old versus a 10 month old and those few months make a huge difference.

So what was in the 9-12 month old box?

- A fish castanet from Plan Toys (one of my personal favorite toy brands)
- A soft plush stacking ball from Haba - each piece has a different sensory element like a squeaker, crinkle tissue or a rattle inside
-A Sevi giraffe pull toy that's just the right size for tiny people
-A ridiculously cute stacking owl from Janod that has fabric and wood pieces

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As we opened up the different toys you could see an immediate interest in her eyes.  We started with the Haba Stacking Ball and Lily enjoyed playing with the individual pieces and tossing them around.  When she discovered they also made different noises she was even more interested.

Kayla, feeling like the older cousin (and quite cool because of it) decided to help Lily stack them since it was beyond her own capabilities - at least for now. There was also a very sweet moment for my sister when she rolled the ball to Lily and Lily figured out how to roll it back to her. 

For me it was exciting to watch Lily and feel like I could actually see the little gears turning in her head as she contemplated the Plan Toys fish castanet trying to figure out just what it did.

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Since Lily fell in the middle of the age range on the 9-12 month Special Delivery she couldn't yet use the Sevi giraffe as a pull toy since she can't walk yet but she did enjoy checking out its bright colors and the string (which seems like a pretty safe length.)  Now, at 11 months old, Lily is more mobile and ready to take this giraffe along.

The Janod owl also fell into this category - Lily can't stack it but she could enjoy the colored pieces and the different textures and she loved knocking it over when Kayla would stack it for her.  It was very neat to see the two of them playing with it together and giggling the whole time.

Little Pnuts subscriptions are available in two different ways.  You can choose an annual or monthly subscription.  The monthly costs $25 while the annual is $240.  In either scenario your Little Pnut will receive a box of total joy quarterly.

Want to find out what was in the Preschool Special Delivery box?  Want to win one of the very first Little Pnuts Special Deliveries?  Check back in on Thursday this week for both!

August 10, 2012

SimplySmart Bottle - A Formula Mixologist's Pick

I'm not one to get involved in political debates but you'd have to be living under a rock to have missed all the recent press about Mayor Bloomberg giving his stamp of disapproval on formula in NYC hospitals.  I understand where he's coming from in wanting mothers to give breastfeeding a chance but really, does a higher authority need to be involved?

That being said, I'll openly state that from 6 weeks on Kayla was a formula fed baby.  I'm one of the most self deprecating women I know, but all joking aside I think I'm a pretty good mother who puts her child first about 99% of the time.  And as much as she might drive me up a wall on certain days, I think Kayla turned out healthy, well adjusted and pretty smart so far.

Like most mothers I know who used formula at some point I feel like I had a pretty darn good reason. Kayla had bad reflux and after 6 weeks of breastfeeding I was advised by her pediatrician (who is pro-breastfeeding and an awesome doctor) to try switching to a special formula to help combat the reflux.

Over the next few months, I performed what I can only refer to as extreme kitchen experimentation- trying to find ways to mix formula and to reduce the bubbles that occurred in the process since they certainly wouldn't be helpful with gas or reflux.

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Recently, the people over at MomSelect and Similac asked me if I wanted to test out the Similac Simply Smart bottle and I eagerly agreed since I think I have spent enough hours mixing formula to qualify for some sort of baby formula mixologist credential.

So what did I think of the SimplySmart?  I personally wish it had been around when Kayla was a baby because I do think that the EasyMix paddle inside the bottle helps reduce the bubbles.  You will still find some bubbles in there but I felt it was significantly fewer than you would get from shaking up a bottle normally.

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I also love the On-The-Go Powder Cap for it's convenience factor.  You just fill it with enough powdered formula to make a bottle, fill the bottle with the appropriate amount of water, snap them together and go.

Notice that little blue shield that's part of the white collar on the bottle?  It let's you know that the bottle is securely closed when you see it in the viewing window.  Similac calls it the SmartClose feature.  It's not exactly high tech but it is pretty genius!

About 20 minutes ago I just spilled an iced coffee all over the place because gasp - the lid wasn't screwed on the cup correctly and I wasn't shaking it, so imagine the mess this would save a sleep deprived parent who is making a bottle at 3am.

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Is the SimplySmart going to be the be-all, end-all perfect bottle for every baby out there?  Obviously not, and I would question the credibility of anyone who tries to say that about any piece of baby gear.  Babies are picky about which bottles they will take and every single baby is different.

Do I think the SimplySmart is one of the more innovative bottle options out there? Yes, I sure do!  If you have a baby that's prone to spit up, being overly gassy or reflux it's definitely worth trying the SimplySmart.  If you're lucky and don't have one of those babies I still think it's a neat bottle for the convenience factor.

The best prices I found were on here: Get my SimplySmart Bottle but you can also find them at places like Target and Babies R Us.

Just in case you're wondering, Similac sent us this sample to test out but as always I don't accept compensation for reviews....ever.  You'll always see only my true and honest opinion as a parent, and a picky one too!
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