Friday, May 30, 2008

Wateroos to the Rescue!

Keeping the family hydrated during hot summer months usually falls on mom. Portability is key, and big ol' water bottles are often too bulky to lug around. Wateroos to the rescue.

Wateroos are H2O in a juice box with drinking straw. Genius! Why didn't I think of that? They pack easily in a lunch box or pool bag and are easy to grab and go. 

Flavors come in original (you know, unflavored tap-like), apple, berry, and grape. Water is 100% purified, and each has a game or puzzle on the back of the carton. And there's no denying the packaging is stinkin' adorable. 

Wateroos are sold at specialty stores. Click here to find a retailer near you. Or you can order online here. A package has 6 cartons. Online orders can be placed for 2 packages for $6.58 or 4 packages for $10.99.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cheers to Germ-Free Dining

I can count on one hand the number of times we've taken Olivia to a restaurant this year. We just don't eat out often as a rule, but adding a baby to the mix makes it a special challenge. I thought about investing in a restaurant high chair cover but seemed like a waste of money. Then I found disposable high chair covers. Problem solved!

Made by Clean Shopper, the Disposable Clean Dinner 3-Pack comes with three high-chair covers and a reusable safety strap to keep your tot in place - for $7.99. What a steal. The hook and loop tabs hold the cover to the seat, and the material is water resistant. It compacts easily for toting in diaper bags so you always have it when the need arrises. 

Clean Shopper makes other fantastic mom-friendly products including the grocery-store cart cover, which I use religiously (imagine the germs on the cart handle every one in the neighborhood has touched! ew!). That is worth investing in the real deal if you take your baby to the store regularly. If not, there is a disposable option for grocery carts too.

Cheers to germ free dining and grocery shopping.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Slick Sugar just like a young girl should, yeah

People who aren't from 'round these parts think midwesterners are a bunch of hill jacks - a whole lot country, not so much rock 'n roll. While there's some truth in every stereotype, cool midwest moms can buck the anti-fashionable profile. Thanks to the Internet, we have the power to be and dress our kids just as fierce as any big-city folk.

Slick Sugar is one such Web site that offers moms every where ultra cool clothing choices for their tots. Olivia has several tees and a pair of black capris from their line, and she gets tons of wear out of them. Color stays true through multiple washings. The edgy graphics on the tops are rockin'. Olivia has the Boombox (been a while since you've heard that word, right?), and I'm dying to buy her the Cassette Tonal Stripe tee. If I had a boy, I'd buy the Drummer Tee - better on a shirt than in real life. 

Best part is a portion of Slick Sugar's proceeds goes to Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, which supports music education. Now that's music to my ears.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

No Doubt, Harajuku is Cool

Gwen Stefani's line of clothing and accessories - Harajuku Lovers- is Asian-inspired fashion for girls young and not-so-young. Safely edgy, the newest pieces in the girls collection are so fun for summer. I love the Sakura Doll Tee (left) and the Kids Twisted Tank, which has a cute criss-cross back. Sizes go from 2-14 and prices start at $33. 

Moms can get in on the action too. I'm coveting the HL Training Camp tee and HL Bandana Halter

Hey baby, hey! We're gonna be fashionistas this summer!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Living the Posh Mom Life

You know that mom who is always put together? You hate her, right? She has the most expensive diaper bag and stroller, she wears a bikini to Baby Splish-Spash class... and looks good in it, her stylish boots are never scuffed, and her kids are dressed to the nines. What if you knew all her secrets to pulling off this seemingly impossible feat?

Living the Posh Mom Life by Jara Negrin and Amy Nebens gives the inside scoop on how to be a polished modern mom. They give advice and time-saving tips on keeping your wardrobe up-to-date, entertaining and home organizing ideas, balancing work and life, and keeping your relationships in tip-top shape. The idea is ever woman can be posh with no sweat. It should be effortless and every one has potential to get there. 

Their book is an easy read, perfect for new moms or ones about to lose their minds (that's all mom's, right?). Their writing style can be overbearing and heavy on the buzz words, but overall its worth a peruse. Who knows? Maybe it will convert you to poshness.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Myrtle the, er, Skin Care

With the cost of fuel and food rising faster than the Supercharged Mach 5 takes a lap, any purchase beyond a necessity is well thought out. So when I spent 18 bucks on a facial cleanser, I was hoping - praying- the splurge would be worth the sacrifice. I wasn't disappointed.

Myrtle Leaf All Natural Skin Care is a line made of 100% plant-derived ingredients - essential oils and extracts - and are formulated to be anti aging. Products are handmade and smell so amazingly pure and wholesome. I look forward to washing my face every night. The granulated Lemon Myrtle cleanser has tiny scrubby nubs that leave my skin feeling soft and smooth. And did I mention how good they smell? 

Myrtle also carries toners, eye creams, and moisturizers as well as all natural make up. A package deal of skin care starts $56.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bee Keeper

You know how some baby clothes just make you smile? Happy Green Bee does it for me. So many organic clothing lines are nothing but neutrals. Happy Green Bee nixes that trend and goes right for the bright, happy stripes. 

From top to bottom, Happy Green Bee outfits dress your tot in stingingly cool outfits. Berets are absolutely irresistible all the way down to the stripped socks to complete the ensemble. If you really want to impress the moms at Mommy and Me, buy the matching doll. Yes. A matching doll, also made with organic cotton.

Available in sizes 6 months to 3 years and totally affordable; tees and leggings go for $18, dresses for $36, and skorts $30.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

All Good in the Hood

Finding the right towel for Olivia has been a Goldilocks exercise. This one is too small. This one is too big. But this one is just right. The just right one is from Towel Hoodies, which proudly proclaims their Web site is "Home of the Round Hood." That makes me giggle.

Anyway, their towels, equally appropriate for the bath and beach, really are perfect for the inbetweenie toddler stage when you still needs a hooded towel but the packaged ones given at the baby shower are no longer cutting it. Made from 100% cotton terry cloth, Towel Hoodies come in sizes large (age 5+) and small (age birth-5). 

Even better, shoppers get to customize the ribbon trim. I chose zebra stripe. For an additional fee, the towel can be monogramed making a perfect personalized gift. A cool midwest mom from Michigan runs Towel Hoodies and makes each order by hand and is a total pleasure to do business with. Towels will run 'ya $32.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Who has Stinky Pants?

Stinky Pants, one of my favorite online shops out of Chicago, has done it again; they brought in a great new line of summer clothes from Lola and James that I covet and am sure you will too.

Equally fashionable for little gents and ladies, Lola and James' offers hip parents sophisticated toddler clothing options. Boys can sport vintage rock concert tees layered over structured stripped button downs. Your little man will look oh-so-cool. Princesses can dress like big girls in dresses that will make them look like the just toddled off a Paris runway. 

As a company, Lola and James pride themselves on offering eco-friendly choices to parents. Their frocks are snapped up by big-name celebs like Kelly Ripa, Angelina Jolie, and Courtney Cox. Now your little one can dress just like Shiloh!

Stinky Pants also has other new lines of summer fashions including Right Bank Baby. Check out the Pops Shorts for boys and Leni Dress for girls.

Monday, May 19, 2008

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair..."

While I probably should be praying for something important and worthwhile like world peace or social justice, I pray for Olivia's hair to grow. No kidding. I really cannot wait until her wispy brown curls are long enough for me to play with. The other day, I taught her how to comb her hair and let her practice on me. So girly. So fun. Sigh. 

And when her locks are longer I will totally buy these chic ponytail holders from Jack and Jane. Made in trendy color combos or custom if you wish, there's something for every one. The brilliant signature look is a button covered in fabric. How simple. How smart! Sold in sets of two for $4. Mini versions are also available. 

Shipping is always free on Fridays, if you can stand to wait until then!

Friday, May 16, 2008

OopC! Daisy

Mom to a daughter, coverage is conversation we'll have many times over the years. Cover your mouth when you cough. You're not going out like that unless you cover it up. Right now, we're worried about bib coverage. And, frankly, basic bibs just aren't doing it for us.

Luckily, OopC!, a line of full-coverage bibs by I'm Still Me, gives maximum protection to the clothes I invest a fortune in. Shaped as a C contour, OopC! covers more space than an average bib going over upper arms and shoulders. Held together with a snap, busy baby fingers have a difficult time yanking it off. Reversible, OopC! offers versatility; it doubles as a bib and a burp cloth. Buyers get to choose what fabric they want on their custom OopC!, which is a patent-pending design. 

Olivia gave OopC! the messy test, and it passed with flying colors. Totally worth the $16.50 charged, we'll never go back to an ordinary bib.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Spare Change

Ever reached into your diaper bag for a spare outfit when "spit happens" only to discover you have purple shorts and a navy blue top? Completely mismatched, you're forced to make the decision of having your child go in the nude in public or wear a horrendous clashing outfit. Nude, in this case, is the preferred option.

One smart mama out there came up with a simplifying solution to this conundrum. Baby Spare Wear is a top and pants that come in a sturdy zip-up pouch that keeps your extra outfit together. Even smarter, when you do have to do a switcheroo on the road, the messy clothes go into the pouch to keep them safe from the other junk in your diaper bag; stain and smell are contained. Genius!

Available in sizes newborn to 4T, for $36 this is a worthwhile investment for you and your little one. Free shipping is comes standard. Prefer to shop up close and personal? Check here for a store near you. 

Congrats to Ann S. who won a $20 gift card to spend in their online shop. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Now I Know My ABCs...

I'm obsessing over what to buy Olivia for her first birthday. The push-pull of to go indie or not is killin' me. People expect me to find something amazingly cool, and I don't want to disappoint. But at the same time, I really want to buy her something from a famous doll company (you know who I mean). Decisions, decisions.

Souring the Internet, I found these heirloom-quality wooden ABC blocks. Their not your average building blocks. No way. Only the best for Miss O. They are multi-faceted blocks that work as two puzzles, numbers and letters making them an educational tool, even though Olivia is just going to chew on them at this point. So what? At least I feel good about it.

And they look good too. Their combo of vintage and modern fonts and graphics in black, red and orange make them equal parts cool and smart. Available at Feel More Human and make by notNeutral, the set goes for $36.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Incredible Edible Flowers

What do you give the person who has everything? Its an annoying dilemma for a person (me) who covets so much stuff. Yeah, I'm a coveting, consuming, material-focusing sinner. Lord, forgive me. I digress...

Anyway, the person who has everything surly does not have edible flowers. Now THAT'S original. 

The perfect hostess gift for the many summer cookouts coming our way, BloemBox Tiny Tin Edibles sets are grow-it-yourself flower tins complete with seeds and instructions. For $36, they come in sets of six window-topped tins wrapped in a band and tag that reads, "Happiness held a seed. Happiness shared is the flower. Oh so true.

I'm going to order a set and parse out one tin at a time for hostess gifts (Yep. I'm also frugal.). Ends up only being $6 each. Brilliant!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Vodka with a Side of Matryoshka

Shoppers can't throw a stone without hitting Matryoshka dolls this season. They are every where! Even on kid's clothing. In case your understanding of the Russian language stops at "Grey Goose Vodka, please" like mine, Matryoshka dolls are those nesting toys, usually decorated with the bodies of frumpy European grandmas in aprons, who stack one inside the other. 

PepperhemBABY, an on-trend Etsy clothing boutique, offers delightful interpretations of the Matryoshka doll fashion on infant onsies and toddler tops. Hand screen printed with non-toxic water-based inks, PepperhemBABY's designs are as cute as their methods are safe. Other progressive designs include owls, cuckoo clocks, peacocks, and skulls

I bought a Matryoshka tee for Olivia, and love her in it! The cotton the shirt is made of is super soft, and the print washes well. 

Moms don't have to be left in Siberia; they can join in on the fun with adult-sized Matryoshka tees from Pepperhem's adult fashion store for $22 a pop. Infant and toddler sized clothing starts at $16.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Lying Awake

I love stumbling across music gems, which is exactly what happened when I heard Ellery one evening last spring as they were the opening act at a concert. From the first heart-felt note, I was hooked. Their fresh sound is an engaging blend of folk and pop with insightful lyrics that reach out grab the listener. 

If you've been married or in a significant relationship, there's something for you in Ellery's music. "It's Alright" - the last track on Lying Awake -  is the most poignantly written song I've ever heard - not to mention the incredible arrangement:
What ever ship comes, by dark sea or grey cloud
As long as the well's deep, we'll make it somehow

A husband and wife team, Justin and Tasha Golden are midwest bred and northern Kentucky based. Their debut album, Lying Awake, is a family favorite. It's wholesome, appropriate for all ages. My daughter "sings" along with Tasha on the way to day care many mornings - as a mom, it's hard to say who has a sweeter voice. Tasha and Justin have been making music together for seven years - once you're hooked like I, you'll hope they never stop!

Watch for Ellery coming in concert to a venue near you. Hear samples of their music and order CDs here

Congrats Sue N. who scored Ellery's debut album.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Caring for dePendents

My first Mothers Day is Sunday. I've been dropping hints on what my husband should buy me for pushing out his six-pound daughter, suffering hemorrhoids that caused me to take sits baths for weeks, and nursing (ahem) stitches - seriously, what is that kind of love worth? - and I have just one more to add to my wish list. Unlike the iPhone, perfume, and diamonds on my request list, a Hip Modern Mama pendent costs less than a jumbo pack of diapers. 

These kitch pendents by VM Designs - founded by a cool midwest mom from Indiana - are lovely whimsical decoupage designs on wooden Scrabble-sized squares finished off with a non-toxic seal. Designs are fashion forward in juicy palettes. Silver chains are sold separately.
VM Designs also offers a line of Tween Scene jewelry that would be perfect for the young lady in your life. Looking for a stand-out graduation gift? How about a Personalized Eco-Garden pendent?
But back to moms, cause it's all about us this week. If you don't get a Hip Modern Mom pendent on your breakfast-in-bed trey Mothers Day morning, order one for your self. They're only $9. Surly a year's worth of motherly love is worth that. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Boon Shakalaka

Enter at your own risk during dinner time at our house. It's total chaos. What's really going down is Olivia having fun at our expense. Food is flying, dogs are running, I'm yelling at the dogs to stop running for the flying food. Madness, I say. Madness.
I'm hoping Boon is the answer to my dinner time prayers, enticing Olivia to eat like a polite-society young lady. Their Groovy plate has a slip-resistant base and four customizable food compartments. Boon's Bender flatware for babies has an ingenious u-shape curve so toddlers, like Olivia, who don't have expert hand-eye coordination can get peas from their plates to their mouths. Best of all, Boon is scratch resistant and dishwasher safe. It's sold at one of my fav online haunts, Babesta.
So, I'll give it a go and order Boon's plates and flatware. It's time Olivia started learning how to behave at the dinner table and eat properly with a fork and spoon - and stop having food fights with the dogs. Please. No more food fights.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Kimono Over Here

Olivia is big. I mean so big her pediatrician commented during her 9 month check up that Olivia is as big as a one-year-old. Terrific. My kid is going to be the giant of her class and never get asked to a dance because she'll be taller than all the boys. 
Maybe I'm overreacting, but there certainly are down sides to her size. Like the fact that she can no longer wear baby clothes - this shocked me the first time I had to shop in the toddler section. Sniff. My baby is no longer a baby!
But if she could wear infant clothes, I would totally order this Kimono set from Shop Intuition. Printed with birdies and trimmed with ruffles, this outfit would make excellent lounge wear for cool spring days. It's available in sizes 3 to 12 months and is made in the US out of 100% organic cotton making it easy to be green.
So, someone out there in blog land with a smaller kid, please order the kimono and enjoy it for me. Thanks.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Everybody's Working for the Weekender

Robeez are a favorite children's shoe brand in our house. The flexible suede soles make the perfect for pre-walkers. Pediatricians recommend them because they keep tootsies safe and protected while offering maximum movement of babies' rapidly growing feet. 
We have at least five pairs for Olivia plus more stored away in larger sizes I found on sale, and the different designs makes it tempting to get into a "collect them all" habit. We need the butterfly, the metallic pink, the Mary Janes, the sandals, the boots... Hi. My name is Sarah, and I'm addicted to Robeez.
The Weekender is a new line of Robeez, available at Pacifier Online for $28. I like the casual look of this line, a solid color with stripe accents. They come in perfect colors for spring and summer for both boys and girls to coordinate with any outfit in their wardrobe. 
Okay. You'll have to excuse me. I need to go find my credit card so I can buy one... okay, fine, two pairs of Weekenders. 

Friday, May 2, 2008

Z is for Zutano

Zutano. Humor me. Just say it out loud. Isn't it a fun word? Well, it's also a great line of kid's clothing available online and at boutiques. Their babies basics come in fantastic vibrant colors and prints, and the best part is they mix and match each season, which makes the clothing budget stretch a little farther. Love that!

Sizing starts at 12 months and goes up to a child's 6. Coordinating accessories are hard to resist, including sun hats and headbands for the little ladies. Tees start at around $15. A little high for frugal moms maybe, but watch out for sales at boutiques that carry the line.

If you live in Dayton, OH, GaGas carries Zutano and has some styles marked down right now. I bought a top last week for $11. Not bad. Search here to find a specialty store in your area.

My pick for toddler boys is Catch of the Day - you'll get tons of milage out of those cargo shorts. And for the princesses, I'm all about Mellow Yellow.

Summer is coming soon. So, get to gettin'!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

EZ Breezy Snack Time

My diaper bag is stuffed to the brim. It is ridiculous. How does one little being require so much stuff? The wipes, the change of clothes, the toys, the extra pacifier, the diaper-changing pad, and let's not forget the diapers. Seriously! And now that Olivia is officially eating solids, we have to find room for snacks and sippy cups. 

Luckily, someone smart invented a 2-in-1 snack/sippy combo that will help moms cut down on diaper-bag clutter. EZ-Freeze Snack Time allows moms to store small crackers in the bottom compartment and their child's beverage of choice in the top. The built-in freezer gel keeps juice, milk, and water chilled while you're out running errands or playing at the park. The compartments twist apart and are the perfect size for little hands.

Olivia has one, and - not that I'm bragging or anything - I get tons of comments from strangers about what a genius product this is. Makes me feel like the smartest mom on the block. It truly is convenient and, while it might not be aesthetically trendy, it is practical. And that makes it cool. 

Available to order here for a mere 12 bucks and some change for a set of two.