March 8, 2007
A week ago, we embarked on an 800 mile car trip with Anderson. Previously, the longest we had been in the car with him was 3 hours. That trip didn't go so well, so we were definitely anxious about this trip. In anticipation, we bought the Snack & Play Travel Tray. We were hoping that it would allow Anderson to feed himself, and play with some toys while we were on the road.
We ordered from Traveling With Kids because they were able to guarantee that the item would arrive before we left. Their customer service people were nice and friendly, and were able to help us through a billing issue (since we had already changed the billing address on our credit card, but the item had to be shipped to our old address).
The problem we had with the tray is that Anderson's car seat still faces backwards. While facing backwards, car seats are still reclined fairly far back. So, when the tray was placed in front of him, Andy could only reach the first few inches of the tray. So any food or toys that rolled away from him were out of reach, and caused him to get frustrated. I think that once his car seat is turned around the tray will be much more useful as he won't be reclined as much.
The tray is made of 100% nylon with a foam insert which creates a relatively firm surface to play with toys and eat dry snacks. At the same time, this allows it to collapse on impact, so it will not present a hazard in a car accident. However, make sure that you don't use any toys that can become dangerous missiles in the event of an accident.
The Snack and Play Travel Tray is also available at Amazon.com
March 5, 2007
We recently received a copy of "Going to School in India" here at Super Cool Baby Headquarters (now in North Carolina!). This DVD is well outside what you would call a baby DVD. However, for those of you with older children, this would be a great DVD to help expose them to other cultures and ways of life.
The DVD is composed of a series of short vignettes including "Going to School in the Lake", "Going to School on a Bus", "Going to school on a Mountaintop", "Going to school in the Dark", and so on. Each of these tells the story of a particular child or family and how they go to school. It is quite remarkable how different things can be in other parts of the world. For example, in "Going to School in the Lake", we see a one-room primary school that teaches children of all ages. The students all live on small islands on a big lake, and must take canoes to school. In "Going to School on a Bus", a school-on-wheels travels around Bombay to teach children living on the street.
Again, this DVD is definitely not for babies, but readers with older children may find this subject interesting. Going to School in India is available from Asia For Kids.
February 21, 2007
We received the DVD, Families of Australia, in the mail the other day. The DVD is part of a larger series called Families of the World. Families of Australia tells the story of two children and their families.
Phoebe lives on a farm in Attunga with her family. The DVD follows her on a typical day where she gathers fresh eggs for breakfast, rounds up sheep, and enjoys Sports Day at school.
Josh lives in Sydney, Australia's largest city. We see him take care of his pet chickens and rabbits, make scrambled eggs, and follow him to school and on a visit to his grandparents.
This DVD was nice and short, about 30 minutes in length, but definitely way outside the range of what you would consider "baby material". This would be much more appropriate for a 6-9 year old child. They could compare and contrast their lives with those of children living in far off countries. In fact, this DVD really reminds me of some of the educational videos that I saw back in my primary school days.
If you'd like to purchase Families of Australia, you may do so through the Families of the World website.
When Andy was first born, he could sleep through almost anything. Then summer came and we installed an air conditioner into his room to keep him cool at night. It was an old one, and very loud. But once October came, we obviously had to take it out as it was now freezing in his bedroom at night. I didn't know what to do about the sound, or lack thereof in his room. Our upstairs neighbors would bang around a lot, and Andy would be woken up from many of his naps as well as at night. One thing we did is put a fan in his room. But what has really worked best for us is the Sound Sleeper (also available at Baby Wise). Originally we kept it in his crib, now it's on the bureau by his bed, and it's allowed him to get much more sleep because he's no longer woken up all the time. And that's lead to a happier baby and happier parents.
Continue reading: "Review: Sound Sleeper"
February 20, 2007
Dr. Manny Alvarez, who regularly appears on Fox News to dispense medical advice, has written another book called The Checklist. The folks at AskDrManny.com were kind enough to send us a review copy a while ago. And while its taken me a little while to read it, I definitely think its a worthwhile book.
The Checklist is a very high level overview of your health. Dr. Manny goes through each decade of your live, from conception into your golden years and highlights the things you should be doing, and the things you should keep an eye out for to maintain a healthy and sound lifestyle.
Most of the parents who read this blog are probably familiar with how to keep a young child healthy. However, with all the stresses that parenthood can bring, it is all too easy to neglect your own well-being. Furthermore, as your child ages into pre-teen and teenaged years, it remains as vitally important to teach them health habits. This book is fantastic at pointing out things that are easy to remember and easy to teach.
For example, in the "Life Is Beautiful" years (ages 10 to 19), the Checklist covers seasonal allergies, the causes and symptoms of chronic childhood asthma, the causes of the great teenage scourge: acne, and more. In the "Welcome to the Real Word" years (ages 20 to 29), the Checklist looks at smoking, birth-control, and gastrointestinal disorders. Each decade is followed by a handy list of important tests and exams that should be covered. It almost seems too simple: follow the checklist and you'll be on the road to a healthier life.
While I might not find that The Checklist is an indispensable reference, it definitely has been able to teach me a few things about what life will hold for me in the coming years and decades. I feel better equipped now to handle the challenges of my own healthcare.
The Checklist is available in hardcover at Amazon.com, and bookstores near you.
February 12, 2007
The folks at Dolca USA were kind enough to send us a few items to review. We received a bib, as well as a size 2 t-shirt. All the items at Dolca are the creation of the well-known Spanish artist Dulce Quesada Magro.
We used the bib right away. It's made of a rubberized fabric, so it's water proof. It fit very nicely around Andy's neck, which has been a problem for some of his older bibs lately. And its large size provided lots of coverage for falling food. The design features two giraffe's with flying hearts between them. It seems to be a pretty common design in the Dolca line, and I have to say it's very nice.
The t-shirt we received is a little big for Andy, since Dolca doesn't make clothes for infants. However, I think he'll be wearing this shirt before we know it. Its a great design for little boys. The torso features "alligator" scales, while the arms depict the head and tail of the alligator. This shirt is sure to capture the whimsy of many a little toddler. It's made from high quality 100% cotton, and is machine washable.
I think the designs from Dolca are fantastic. And their high quality clothing would be an excellent addition to any wardrobe. If you're looking for a unique gift for a new baby, be sure to check them out. Dolca clothing is available from Dolca USA, and Tot Shop is having a sale on select items.
February 9, 2007
I have a thing for purses and bags. I realized this at a young age and have tried not to go overboard buying them. Instead, I do my best to be really picky and only buy bags that I truly love and will use until they fall apart. One of the best ways to find a bag you love is to design it yourself, and that is exactly what you can do at 1154 Lill. Started eight years ago, 1154 Lill "is the original custom handbag boutique that gives you the creativity to design your own handbag!" Diana is the style I chose as it is the standard diaper bag at the store. There are other bags that are big enough, but this one has plenty of pockets, is water proof inside, and I felt it would fit my lifestyle the best. I designed my bag at the boutique in Boston, but there are also stores in Chicago and Kansas City. If you don't live near one of those locations, you could hold a hand bag party in a number of locations so you can make your bag. You can custom make your own bag online and buy a changing pad to go with it as well. If you are unable to design your own diaper bag or don't feel creative enough to do so, you can still buy one already made from their website.
Personally, I love my bag. It fits my personality perfectly, and it's not too girly so my husband feels comfortable using it as well. My fabrics are no longer available because each one is around for a limited time only to ensure your bag is truly unique. But every time I've gone to design a bag, I've always found more than enough great fabrics to choose from, and the employees are a huge help in finding fabrics that match each other well. If you ever have a chance to design your own diaper bag, or a purse in general, at 1154 Lill, I highly recommend that you do!
January 25, 2007
I had never heard of Jim Cosgrove, nor his alter-ego "Mr. Stinky Feet" before receiving the DVD Mr. Stinky Feet's Road Trip: Live. Jim Cosgrove is an entertaining and charismatic kid-rocker from Missouri. He's been described as the "Jimmy Buffett for Kids", and not just because he shows up to his performances dressed like he's going to a beach party. He inspires a dedicated following of kids who know all the words of his songs, and all the moves of his dances.
The DVD shows Cosgrove at his best: entertaining kids live, in concert. He plays lots of fun songs and doesn't resort to any silly gimmicks. He's just an entertainer who seems genuinely interested in having fun and making music that kids age 2 to 6 enjoy. The kids in the audience seemed enthralled, and sing and dance along with the band. On some songs, kids will join the band on stage, with instruments in hand. On other songs, the parents in the audience do the same.
If you or your kids like Mr. Stinky Feet's music, be sure to check out his many albums. There's Stinky Feet, Mr. Stinky Feet's Christmas, Mr. Stinky Feet's Road Trip, Pick Me! Pick Me!, Ooey Gooey, and Bop, Bop Dinosaur.
We were lucky enough to receive two onesies to review from True Genius Apparel Company, a company started in 2006 with a mission "to provide kids of all ages with clothing options that are fun and stylish, with positive messages." We love this idea, and we feel they do a good job displaying that in their products. They make clothing for children up to size 12 and also have many products available in organic versions as well.
There were two onesies sent to review. They were shipped in a box so there is much less potential for a damaged product than in an envelope. The onesies were Kanji Baby in white and Pirate, also in white. These were my favorite designs, Kanji because it's pretty and Pirate because the saying on the onesie "Yo ho ho and a bottle of milk" was one I would often say with my Nana as she handed me bottles of milk. Both also fit Andy very well. They are 12-18 month onesies, which is what Andy's currently wearing. So they don't through you for a loop and size them weird like some companies do. My only issue with the fit was that the arm holes are a bit small for a chunky baby such as Andy. They certainly weren't pinching him, but they were rather snug.
The design on both onesies are great. They are high quality, not a flaw anywhere on either. I'm also pretty sure they are silk screened. They definitely aren't ironed on designs.
Also, exclusively for Super Cool Baby readers, get $7 off your total purchase when using the coupon code "SCB1" at check out!
January 24, 2007
We recently received Discovering Colors from Voy Baby. Voy Baby has produced a series of educational DVDs to help build a cultural bridge between Latinos and those discovering Latin culture. We popped it in the other night after dinner to see what it was all about.
It's a pretty simple and straight forward DVD which reminds me of the popular Baby Einstein DVDs. The first thing you do is choose your language, so the DVD is either in all English or all Spanish. As far as I could tell there is no option to mix the two languages. The DVD displays and announces a color, and then presents a short scene involving the color. Sometimes there are small children playing, and sometimes there are Latin themed puppets, mobiles, or other objects. Occasionally it wasn't always clear to me how the color was integrated into the scene, and sometimes it was absent altogether.
Anderson seemed to enjoy it. He wasn't as enthralled with it as he is with his favorite TV shows like Blue's Clues. He definitely let me have a few minutes to myself while he watched it though.
The DVD is labeled as appropriate for 0 to 36 months. Anderson is 9 months old, so I'm not sure how much an older child would appreciate the DVD. It doesn't contain any memorable reoccurring characters that make other series so successful, so there is probably only a limited amount of re-playability as your child ages. Older kids probably wouldn't find this among their favorites, however there is some education value to it, especially if you play it not in their native tongue.
The DVD is 56 minutes long, and will be available on February 6th.