Fave A Day: Hanna Andersson Organic Cotton PJ’s

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I’ve always been particular about what I sleep in, because it definitely affects how well I rest.  There’s just something about donning a pair of soft cotton pajamas that erases the stresses of my day and helps lull me off to dreamland. For my daughter, the same seems to be true whenever I zip her into a pair of Hanna Andersson organic cotton pajamas just after bath time and right before bed. These sweet PJ’s come in a huge variety of colors and patterns, and run all the way from newborn to adult size XL. Hello, Mommy & Me Sleepover! 😉

Why they’re my fave: They’re organic and soft against young skin, but resilient enough to withstand multiple washings and wear. I also like that they don’t have feet. With all the growing that goes on in the first few years, footie pajamas are hard to keep for very long.

Not So Much: The price. One pair typically retails for around $32. Yikes!

Out of the Box Use: The adult version of these PJ tops can actually be worn as separates during the day and look and feel just as amazing as they do in bed.

Go Get ‘Em! As I said, these typically retail for a pretty lofty price, so I always wait for a sale (I bought summer patterns in winter for $10-15). Recently, I made the huge surprise discovery that Costco sells these awesome pajamas for $11.99 a pair! They’re only available at the warehouse store (not online), and not every Costco carries them, so check before you head out.

 

Cool, Creative Play on Hot Days

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Today it’s going to be almost 110 degrees in my neck of the woods. I don’t think my Midwestern blood can handle it, although I hear it’s been pretty hot back home as well, lately.

Here are some quick, creative tips for staying cool while keeping your toddler entertained, engaged, and away from the TV. Make sure you check out my cooling tips from previous posts, too!

1) HIT UP AN INDOOR PLAY SPACE: These places are popping up everywhere. Some are age-specific, themed, attached to restaurants and cafes, and some even have on-staff babysitters so Mommy can return some phone calls while her littles play under the watchful eye of a skilled supervisor. My favorites in the LA area are Kidville in Brentwood and Giggles ‘n’ Hugs in Century City. Kidville offers some really fun classes, too, which we love!

2) GET WET AND LET YOUR IMAGINATION DO THE WORK: This seems like an obvious one, but not everyone has access to a beach or pool, so a little creative thinking can go a long way for hours of cool entertainment. Beat the heat by turning your outdoor space into a smorgasbord of water-themed play. Construct “cooling stations,” consisting of several unique areas where your little can take a detour to play, cool off and let their imagination run wild:

-Ice Archaeologist: Fill a bucket with ice cubes and hide small toys or blocks inside. Give your little a toy shovel and and let them have at it. See how quickly they can “dig” out their treasures!

Update: One cautious mama pointed out to me that the ice can burn tiny hands. Yes, it definitely can if you hold it in bare hands too long, so for littler tots that can’t or won’t use only the shovel to dig, let common sense rule and supervise heavily: add some kiddie gloves to the equation if you’re planning on this activity! It’ll help with the “archaeologist” factor!

-“Fairy” Mist. Fill a clean mister bottle with ice water, spray and let your little’s imagination run free with stories of fairy mist and magic clouds. Sounds like a Grateful Dead show but guaranteed toddler fun!

-Rainstorm. Use a garden hose or sprinkler to create a “rainstorm.” Sing songs and dance under the rain to cool off. Make believe you’re escaping the rainstorm by donning rain hats or pitching an umbrella. This is a fun one for us because I literally can’t remember the last time it rained here, so a rainstorm is a huge novelty for The Bear.

-Doll Bath. Fill a tub or basin with water, add wash cloths and gentle, non-toxic soap (I love Episencial’s Playful Wash or California Baby Super Sensitive Hair & Bodywash) and let your toddler give their dolls or toys a “bath.” This will eventually help them learn how to bathe themselves (with supervision) when it’s their bath time, too!

Make sure each station is well-shaded. If you don’t have access to outdoor space, turn your bathroom into a mini water park by adding toys, a freezer pop and you! Hop in the tub with your little one to make it a little more out-of-the ordinary than just a normal bath. [Disclaimer: this method could get a little messy :)]

3) COOL TREATS: Whip up some healthy freezer pops by pureeing your child’s favorite fruit and freezing in a popsicle mold (check out Green Baby’s list of BPA-free popsicle molds here. My pops below are made with pureed blueberries and strawberries with vanilla organic yogurt). Keep a tray of frozen fruit and veggies within arm’s reach. Frozen peas and blueberries are a favorite in our house on hot days. [Common sense disclaimer: Make sure your toddler is old enough to chew and swallow whatever you set out.]

4) GET SOME ERRANDS DONE. Head to a one-stop shop like Target or Wal-Mart where you know the AC will be blasting and you can do double or triple duty (e.g., buy groceries, get a coffee and pick up some odds and ends for craft projects) so you’re not constantly running back and forth between hot parking lots. Turn errands into entertainment by making your little one part of the decision-making process. Narrate your shopping trip as you go to make your little feel like they’re part of the process. Let them help you “choose” which product (within reason) to buy by letting them hold or touch it before you select it.

If you’re spending time outside with a child on a hot day, it goes without saying that you should keep your little one safe from the heat and sun with plenty of hydration, light layers, safe sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat to keep the sun out of their eyes. Sunglasses—if they’ll keep them on—are a good idea, too.

By the way: don’t beat yourself up if you’re so zapped from the heat that you’re fresh out of creative ideas. I’m guilty of this pretty often and should take my own advice: relax, stay cool and just enjoy your time together!

Have a great summer day!

xoxo

Erin

Fave a Day: Chewbeads

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I first saw this genius mommy jewelry when I was pregnant with The Bear. A new mom was wearing these gorgeous royal blue beads that reminded me of the jewelry my funky and stylish great-aunt Norah used to wear when I was a kid. I complemented her great style and asked where she got them, thinking she’d say they were vintage. When she explained her chic necklace was actually a set of baby-safe teething beads, I rushed right out and bought a few pairs of Chewbeads (two Janes and a Hudson) in my favorite colors (black, turquoise and creamsicle).


Why they’re my fave: Great as a nursing or teething necklace/bracelet, come in a huge variety of colors (and a few different shapes), has a breakaway clasp, no detachable parts and you can pop them in the dishwasher to clean them. And the obvious: they’re safe: Chewbeads are 100% silicone, and contain no BPA, phthalates, cadmium, lead, or metals.

Not so much: The gap between the beads can be a trap for pulling and tangling your hair when removing. Ouch!

Out of the box use: We use the bracelets to practice counting when I’m not wearing them (supervised, of course).

How much? Chewbeads vary in price, ranging from $12.50 to $36.50.

Go get ‘em! I found the Hudson necklace (normally $36.50) for $10 cheaper on Natural Little One.

The Princess Pandemic

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Recently I got involved in a conversation with a group of moms at our neighborhood pool about a horrible epidemic that’s invading our preschools and playgroups that should be avoided at all costs. I call it the “Princess Pandemic,” and to a lot of moms, it’s worse than an outbreak of head lice at a daycare center.

The topic came up after one of us brought a magazine with Kate Middleton on the cover to a pool play date (it totally wasn’t me – ok, yes it was – I was dying to find out who made those adorbs tangerine skinny jeans she had on!!!). It then evolved into a princess-bashing, feminist jamboree.

Our chat went something like this…

PC Pool Mama: “I’m so sick of seeing her on the cover of magazines. It is so wrong to teach our daughters that they should aspire to be princesses.”

Me (deciding not to go there when I realized the gals from Teen Mom were on the cover of the magazine she’d brought with): “Why? I think Kate has mad style and seems nice enough.”

PC Pool Mama #2: “It’s so unrealistic, and it’s sending the wrong message. I plan to encourage my daughter to be an architect or an engineer.”

Me (only half joking): “What if she doesn’t want to be an architect or an engineer? What if she hits 25 and genuinely wants to be a princess?”

We all had a chuckle, changed the subject, and I forgot all about the Princess Pandemic until it came up again a few days later when I overhead a conversation between two other mamas in the park  (well, it was more like me eavesdropping, but still):

PC Park Mama: “Did you see what Dave’s mom said about the baby on Facebook? She called her a princess!”

There was that word again. Princess.

PC Park Mama’s friend: “Ohmygod, that is so backward. Well, at least she didn’t call her a cutie pie like my husband’s boss did. So condescending!”

Condescending? Complementing a child’s looks is off limits too? As I eavesdropped on the two Femimamas, I quickly made a mental list of the words I typically use to pay respects to other people’s kids. Words like “doll,” “cutie,” “adorable,” etc., all came to mind.

Then, I checked back on some of my recent Facebook comments:

“What a doll!”
“He could be a model!”
“Your girls are gorgeous!”

Oh, shit. Guilty, guilty, guilty.

Have I been offending my friends all this time when I really just wanted to tell them their kid was pleasing to my eyes?

I took stock further: There was The Bear’s pink, princess-themed first birthday party (complete with crown), and the pink tulle tutu I got her for Christmas.  The fact that I propped her up on the couch to “watch” the royal wedding with me when she was only two months old.

The Femimamas would’ve fainted at all the Princessy-ness… or burned me at the stake. I started to fret: should I have thrown The Bear a Gertrude Stein-themed party instead? How many people are mad at me for calling their kid “cute?” Has being a stay-at-home mom made me a softy?

Back when I was a little girl, I remember Barbie’s girl-power fueled anthem cheered, “We girls can do anything!” It was so cool to me that Barbie could be an equestrian one day and a fry-girl at McDonald’s the next! Today, Barbie’s unrealistic body measurements and permanently arched high-heel-ready feet are symbols of what girls shouldn’t—or, physically can’t—aspire to be. I played with Barbies until I was 14 and I turned out… just fine… Right??

My mini freak-out lasted about 30 seconds until I shook off the self-doubt and gave myself a reality check. I consider myself a feminist and stand up for my ladyrights when I think they’re being infringed upon. I worked my ass off to succeed in a male-dominated industry and I’m proud that I can hold my own in a roomful of male executives with Ivy League pedigrees.

I want those same things for my daughter (that is, if that’s what she wants). A plastic princess crown and a love for Kate Middleton’s orange skinny jeans isn’t going to change that, ever.

The way I see it, everyone should aspire to his or her own version of greatness… there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be a princess, or at least aspiring to be treated like one. That doesn’t make you any less of a badass, ladies. It might make you a little more relaxed, though.

Oh, and to you Super Femimamas: Rock on, sisters. But if you’re seeking compliments on your kids’ intellect and not their looks, stop posting pictures of those adorable cutie pie baby dolls on Facebook 😉

Off to my princess tea party!

xoxo

Erin

Fave A Day: Lily Padz

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Nursing mamas: if you still leak a little from time to time and haven’t tried these, you’re missing out! Lily Padz silicone nursing pads saved me (and many of my shirts!) when I was nursing The Bear back in the glory days of no dirty sippy cups to wash.

These little beauts are ultra-thin, breathable, clear silicone nursing pads that are not only reusable, they’re a zillion times more effective than those little boob maxi pads you have to change every two hours.  They’re completely invisible under clothing, so you can wear them under a bathing suit, thin shirt or evening gown, or walk around bra-less before bed in your favorite vintage ‘NSYNC t-shirt and not worry about leakage. They’re super easy to clean and maintain their stickiness for months.

My only con would be that taking them off after the very first use can be a little like ripping off a Band-aid.  But don’t let that scare you away: you’re saving money, the environment and that cute little silk shirt you bought for Mom’s Night Out (Mojitos and Magic Mike?! Sign me up!).

Normally, these retail for around $23-25, but right now Mommygear is selling them for $19.99. Snatch them up and thank me later!

Happy Friday, Friends!
Erin

 

 

 

Fave A Day: Mason Jars

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Yes, I said Mason Jars.

Anyone who surfs Pinterest (follow my boards here) will see that Mason jars are the new “it” hipster entertaining and decor accessory. Quirky vases, clever party drinks, displaying hip crafty things, etc… (I can practically hear my husband reading this and protesting, “I liked Mason Jars way before they were cool!).

Now, before you start thinking that I’m a lunatic and recommending you let your toddler play with a set of glass jars, read on… What I’ve recently discovered about Mason jars is that kiddos LOVE to play with the screw-on metal rings that hold the jar’s lid in place! The Bear spent a half hour yesterday stacking, clanking and loving these super cheap, wonderfully uncomplicated, up-cycled little goodies!

Here’s what you do:

1)   Buy a dozen Mason Jars at your local hardware or grocery store

2)   Disassemble and wash all parts

3)   Place screw-on rings in a colorful basket or box and set in front of toddler

4)   Watch with self-satisfaction as your child entertains him or herself with glee

5)   Invite hipster friends over and serve old-timey bourbon cocktails in new jars and bask in your own brilliance

A dozen Mason jars will run you right around $10 at any hardware, grocery store, Target, WalMart, etc.

Happy play time!
Erin