April 6, 2007
We took a trip to Babies'R'Us the other day to get Andy some new pajamas, since everything he had was more suited to cold New England Winters, instead of hot North Carolinan springs. While we were there we took a quick detour through the toy section and picked up the Playskool Busy Ball Popper. I seemed to recall reading about it before and figured that Anderson needed some bigger toys.
So far, he's really enjoyed this toy. When I first started it up, he laughed and smiled at it. Eventually he came over to see what all the fuss was about. It only took a day or two before he was playing with the toy all by himself. Typically he'll tip the toy over a little and push the button to start it up. Since its not pointing straight up, all the balls go flying out. Then he'll look around for the balls and put them back in, along with a couple of other toys that convienently fit into the popper. At first, the blower was strong enough to blow anything out, but after two weeks the four D batteries aren't strong enough anymore.
When its running, it plays fun songs like "Rockin' Robin" and has other whacky sound effects. The toy is listed for children 9 months to 4 years. I would say that's just about right, but it might be a little advanced for a some 9 month old babies.
I realize that some babies may love a toy while others hate it. But I must tell you about a new toy we added to our household that Andy just doesn't care for. The 1-2-3 Tetherball lights up and makes noises when your baby bats at it. You can adjust the ball so that it's either right on top of the stand or hangs off some. It sounded like a great cause and effect toy, and I thought that Andy would get a kick out of it. But he really could care less. The toy quickly became boring for him, and he was more interested in chewing on the base. At first I wondered if the toy was just not a good fit for him, but I actually think this is more of a design issue. It says in reviews on Amazon that it's very sensitive and would light up and play for no reason. That is true, but it also would not respond many times to the batting of Andy (and later me as I tried to get it to do something). After one night, it ate through the batteries because the lights kept going on after I thought I had turned it off (it must have been just the sound I stopped). And Andy just doesn't care about hitting a random ball around for very long, even if it does have little balls inside of it. We haven't tried it without the base yet, but I'm regretting this purchase. In the future, I will definitely rethink my spontaneous purchases when I go into Babies 'R Us.
April 5, 2007
A few months before Anderson was born, my boss gave me a piece of advice. "Peter," he said, "I'm only going to give you once piece of advice. Buy a Diaper Champ. Do not buy a Diaper Genie like everybody else will tell you. Go with the Diaper Champ." At the time, I had no idea what he was talking about but I listened to him anyway. And I'm very glad I did.
The Diaper Champ and the Diaper Genie both operate on the same principle: contain the smelly diaper so it doesn't stink up your diaper changing area. They accomplish this using very different means. With the Diaper Champ, you put the diaper in the top and flip the lid over. The diaper then drops down into a standard kitchen trash bag. With the Diaper Genie, on the other hand, the diaper is twisted into a special (read: expensive) bag like you're stuffing a diaper sausage.
So far, the Diaper Champ has done an excellent job of containing the smell in Anderson's nursery. I have never noticed anything funky coming from the diaper pail. Occasionally I'll have to clean out the lid when an especially full diaper goes through. If you don't, you'll probably notice it smelling pretty quickly. I usually just clean it with a wipe or two. Changing the bag is easy. You just push a button on the front and the top flips up. Seal the bag as quickily as you can (I find that drawstring bags work especially well for this) and pull it out. A new bag goes in just as easily.
I'm definitely very happy with our decision to go with the Diaper Champ, and I continue to recommend it to all the first time parents that I know.
March 26, 2007
Laura wrote about one of our favorite parenting websites the other day, 365 First Time Parenting Tips. Jeff, the writer over there sent us a copy of his book 365 First Time Parenting Tips: Infant Edition: Day-to-Day Guide to Surviving the 1st Year for review.
For those of you following this great website, this ebook is a collection of the tips and essays posted there. From Day 1 when his son was born, to the day before his sons 1st birthday, the book presents a helpful tip that will be invaluable to any first time parent. For example:
Day 8: Clean your baby's cord stump twice a day with rubbing alcohol
It's black. It's ugly. You hate to touch it. But first time parents have to get over their squeamishness to take care of it correctly. I'm talking about the cord stump. Keep it dry. Keep it uncovered...
Day 36: Breast milk will last for up to 4 hours at room temperature
If you're pumping your excess milk or are taking a trip out of the house and don't feel comfortable breastfeeding in public, it's important to know how long milk will last out of the fridge...
Many of these tips you probably learned in your child birth or similar class. However, many of them serve as a reminder that other parents are going through the same frustrations that you are. Other tips are helpful reminders, and others cover things that you would never thought of before. This book is great for any first time parents, and even for parents on their second go around. I know I've forgotten a lot of things that happened early on in Anderson's life, and this book would be a great refresher. And best of all, the ebook edition is only $9.99. At that price, you can't afford NOT to get this book.
March 21, 2007
You may remember The Bottle Tamer, which I wrote about earlier this month. We were lucky enough to secure a review of this product, and we couldn't wait to try it out. As Andy is getting older and I'm nursing him less, I am finding it difficult to make sure he's getting enough to drink. I give him sippy cups often at home while he's playing on the floor as well as at mealtimes, but when we are out and about, I don't as often because he is in the stage where he loves to throw everything he can get his hands on to the ground (if it doesn't end up in his mouth at least!).
To refresh your memory, The Bottle Tamer is a strap that goes on your child's bottle or sippy cup to keep it from falling on the ground. You can attach it to a stroller, car seat, or high chair, and it ensures that the bottle is always within your child's reach and doesn't get dirty by hitting the ground.
Continue reading: "Review: The Bottle Tamer"
March 20, 2007
Mango Ink is another company in the business of high quality photo cards and announcements. They recently contacted us, and sent us a few samples of their products. We received a "Limited Photo Card", a "Personalized Thank You Note", and a "Personalized Photo Card".
Limited Photo Cards
Limited photo cards are available for a number of different events. Mango Ink carries cards for birthday invitations, baby events (like birth announcements), wedding events and holidays. All designs are availalbe as photos on a stiff cardstock backing, and the birthday invitations and baby events are also available as envelopments where the card stock backing extends to fold around the photo card in the middle.
The limited photo card we received is a birth announcement. It is a two-tone pink design, with a black and white photo in the center. It is mounted on a Coal cardstock backing, which is black with subtle sparkle flecks. The photo itself can be endlessly customized by you and the designers at Mango Ink, but the backing is available only in a dozen or so different colors. These photos are probably hand mounted, so there is a chance that your photo will be slightly off kilter like the one we received. Now, I'm kind of a perfectionist when it comes to things like this, so most of you might not even notice. Overall, the quality of these cards are fantastic. I would love to send these to all of my friends and family at every opportunity I get.
The Limited photo cards are $3.00 each, and must be ordered in groups of 8 ($24.00). The price includes all text, photos, modifications etc, and each card comes with a colored envelope. If you want to spend a little more, for $3.50 each, you can receive each card as an envelopment. Each envelopment comes with a clear envelope.
Continue reading: "Review: Mango Ink"
March 19, 2007
The folks at BabyPro were kind enough to send us their series of sports themed DVDs for review here at Super Cool Baby. The DVDs are labeled for children from 9 months to 4 years. In all, there are 3 DVDs covering basketball, baseball, soccer, cheerleading, dancing, gymnastics, swimming, diving, and surfing. The DVDs were created by a PhD mother and a sports-aficionado father and have garnered more than 15 national awards.
These DVDs cover a range of different sports activities. They're great for introducing your young children to new forms of physical activity. We sat down and watched a few with Anderson this week. He was captivated at times, especially when there were very young children playing on screen. At other times, especially when older children and the pros were playing, he lost interest. So, while the DVDs are targeted at children ages 9 months to 4 years, you may find that your child is not interested in certain parts of the DVD at all.
Continue reading: "Review: BabyPro DVDs"
March 15, 2007
Recently we showed you Maternity Buckles which allow you to continue wearing your regular pants while you are pregnant. Another very popular product is the Bella Band. I had heard rave reviews of this product from a friend of mine, so I decided to buy one myself and try it out. The way it works is you wrap the band around your waist so you can unbutton your jeans. You can also use it to wear your pregger pants a little earlier, keep up your full panel pants up or after your baby is born on any pants.
Continue reading: "Review: Bella Band"
March 14, 2007
Okay, I take it all back. Boon sent us an Oval animal bag the other day, and I totally dig this product now. Andy still doesn't have too many stuffed animals, but I can totally see that this product would make a great addition to any nursery.
Continue reading: "Animal Bags from Boon"
March 13, 2007
We received a copy of The Year Of The Pig: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac the other day. It is the second book in the Tales from the Chinese Zodiac series. It is written by Oliver Chin, and illustrated by Jeremiah Alcorn.
The book begins with an explanation of the Chinese zodiac, and we learn that people born in the year of a particular animal are thought to share a certain personality and identity with their sign. More and more people around the world celebrate the start of another Chinese new year in early spring. This year, of course, is the year of the pig.
The book is the story of Patty, a newly born pig on the farm of Farmer Wu. Patty enjoys doing all the things pigs do, slipping and sliding in the mud, diving face first into her food, and snoring loudly when she is sleeping squeezed in between her parents.
But one day, Farmer Wu loses his valuable jade ring. Patty wants to help, but she is not allowed out of her pig pen. In the end Patty manages to escape her pen and finds the ring in the compost heap, to the delight of Farmer Wu and all the other animals on the farm.
While this book does teach you about the Chinese zodiac, the story of Patty's tenacity is applicable to all cultures. The book is beautifully illustrated, and kids of all ages will be sure to love it. The Year of the Pig contains all kinds of animals: pigs, horses, dogs, sheep and oxen. We learn a little bit about each. Horses like to sleep standing up, sheep like to keep their wool clean, and so on. I think younger children will still appreciate the book, as many pages have a lot going on, and older children will like the story.