Baby Toys

Baby Toys

Contrary to what you may think, babies don’t really need toys. At least the week old ones don’t. When they get a little older, especially when they can sit up, a few things here and there are nice. These items were the ones most played with in our house:

1. Piano play mat- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F2MQDU2/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_DXJovb0NNMX0P

2. Winkle- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BNCA4K/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_jYJovb0D2DVTV

3. Cloth books- we had one similar to this https://www.amazon.com/dp/1586637304/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_SZJovb1AVMA76

4. Lamaze Butterfly- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000I2Q0F4/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_C0Jovb121RZWK

5. Crib mirror- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002J4U8M0/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_90Jovb1G15JAZ

Keep in mind that tissue paper, plastic cups, wooden spoons, plastic mixing bowls, colanders, and other items you probably already have are just a good, if not better. You should just save your money and register for these items, and if you don’t get them, you can probably live without!

Apps aren’t Evil

Apps aren’t Evil

Yes yes, I know you don’t want your kid to use electronics. I know you try your hardest… But then that tired day, or that sick day, or that Monday, or (in our case) that plane flight comes along, and dagnabbit you need the iPhone to entertain the kid for just a little while.

There are three companies that I have numerous (ok, all of them, we take a lot of flights) apps from. Keep in mind Ms Bug is 20 months now.

1. Peek A Boo barn- how do I love Thee? Just so many ways. There’s Peek A Boo Barn, Peek A Boo Zoo, Peek A Boo Fridge, and more. My child has learned animals and sounds from these apps and has enjoyed them since she was 1 or so.

2. Sago Mini- again, there are so many to choose from. When she was smaller she’d watch while I moved the fish around in Ocean, and drove the truck in Road Trip. Now she loves figuring out the puzzles in Pet Cafe on her own.

3. Little Baby Bum- this one is a life saver for long car rides. She watches the videos and we all sing the songs.

Good luck!

Cloth Diapering for newbies 

Cloth Diapering for newbies 

Before Ms. Bug was born, I did the math on cloth diapering. Let’s say one cloth diaper costs the same as a medium box of diapers- $25 ( usually they’re less but I like simple math).  Let’s say you don’t like to do laundry every day, so you need at least 25 to get you through 2-3 days at the beginning. A box of diapers gets you through a week or so. That would mean that after roughly 25 weeks, your cloth diapers would be saving you money.

And they’re cuter. And they double as bottoms, no pants required in the summer. Score!

Now given, they are bulkier, so you have to size up on pants, or in our case, wear a lot of dresses. And you’ll need to buy a wet bag to carry the dirty ones in when out, but those are cheap. Oh, and you’ll want a big wet bag for at home.

Still, I like to save money, so I said sign me up. 

Here’s my list of the diapers we tried with the results and the relative cost. I’d suggest you do what I did and buy a few diapers from few different brands. Each brand fits differently. And remember, every child is different so just because a brand didn’t work for our chunky monkey, that doesn’t mean it won’t work for your string bean.

Before we begin, a few words to the wise- you don’t have to get cloth diaper specific detergent. After weeks being unable to get my cloth diapers clean using cloth diaper detergent, I switched to Tide and lo and behold my diapers were like new. We have hard water, and the cloth diaper detergent wasn’t strong enough.

Also, there are pocket diapers and all in ones, as well as other types . I don’t have the time or patience to be folding and pinning a diaper to my kids bum, so I stuck with all in ones and pockets. All in ones are exactly that- everything you need in one diaper. They are just like disposables- one piece with tabs or buttons- except made of cloth. Pocket diapers are like a duvet- cute outer shell that you need to stuff the fluff pad into. You can wash the dirty pockets with the insert inside, you just may need to take the insert out to dry them effectively. 

Lastly, you’ll see a “diaper sprayer” on the market. We did just fine without one. If it was a poop diaper, we used a baby wipe to scoop the poop into the toilet then threw diaper in the wet bag. If it was just a wet diaper, we simply threw it in the wet bag. There, $30-50 saved not buying the sprayer 🙂

Now onto the brands. All of these are available online. These are the ones that I liked:

Charlie Banana $$$- these are pocket diapers. Cute patterns. One size fits all. I found they were thinner and lighter than other brands and thus easier to manage. Their website has good deals.

Cocalo Perfect Bum $- I was sceptic at first because of the price being so low, especially since the diaper came with an adorable matching shirt. Don’t be fooled, this pocket diaper was great. The shell had plastic like material and kept the wet in, and supposedly you take the pocket out and it could double as a swim diaper (though we never tried). These come in sizes, and are true to the weight.

Bumgenius $$$$- there’s a reason these are so well known. They are great. And such adorable patterns! These all in ones worked perfectly for us. If you go to the Bumgenius website, you can et great deals.

TotsBots $$$- these are also pocket diapers, but the cool was that the insert was attached and when you washed it the insert dislodged itself for better cleaning and faster drying. Again, good deals on the website.

FuzziBunz $$$- this is another popular all in one brand. They were nice, but for some reason they always took forever to dry in our dryer. Literally all of the other diapers would be dry and these would still be wet.

Grovia $$- I wanted these all in ones to work, since the price was fantastic, but they always leaked. You should still try them though, since every child is shaped differently. The quality looked good.

Some of the ones I wouldn’t recommend:

Chelory $$$$- this is a little known brand of all in ones. They also had a long drying time, and were a bit bulky. 

Royal Fluff and Jungle Roo $- I saw these on Zullily all the time and took a chance. I love a good deal, but there’s a reason these are always on sale for cheap. They constantly leaked, and the inside lost its texture and fluff. After a few wears and washes, they looked pretty haggard. 

Alva Baby $- this is similar to the ones above, except you see this one on the bulk other diaper websites and not Zulilly. You get what you cap for with with this pocket diaper.

A side note… We had a Premie.  Ms Bug was born at 5 lbs. I don’t care if the cloth diaper says it can resize to 5 lbs. It’s a pain, it’s bulky, its clumsy, don’t bother. We used disposables until she reached 8 lbs, then started to cloth diaper

Another note… At about a year old, we had leaks every single night. I tried everything I could to make the cloth diapers work with no leak, and eventually gave up and put her in disposables at night. Ms Bug’s sleep and thus my sleep was just more important than my commitment to cloth diapering.

Good luck!

#clothdiaper #bumgenius #charliebanana #perfectbum

Bare Minimum for Baby

Bare Minimum for Baby

What do you absolutely need for baby? If money is tight, what’s the bare minimum?

  1. Diapers- just when you think you have enough, get 5 more boxes
  2. Onesies- you could leave the kid in just a diaper I suppose… But 10 onesies are nice
  3. Car seat- unless you don’t plan on ever leaving the house and your pediatrician makes house calls
  4. Baby wipes- true, you could use face cloths, but you’ll reconsider that after the 3rd diaper blowout of the day
  5. Sleeping arrangements- this is a broad category since it could include a crib, a swing, a rock n play, a bassinet, or a cosleeper. That’s your preference, but remember it’s really not up to you and the kiddo will let you know what they think pretty quickly.

That’s it.

Now let’s say you have a few extra bucks…

  1. Snot sucker- Nose Frieda or bulb will do the job
  2. Receiving blankets/swaddles- that will help little one sleep, which is a glorious thing
  3. Noise machine- you could download an app for your phone for free, though

#babylist

Baby Books to Read

Baby Books to Read

There are SO MANY BOOKS on babies and development and motherhood. It’s overwhelming. Which ones do you read? Which ones are useful? Which ones are crap? There’s just so little time and so little energy when your pregnant… And once that baby comes, there goes your memory. I’m told it has something to do with the lack of sleep, probably so.

After reading- I kid you not- at least 50 books on pregnancy and babies, in the end, these were the only ones I needed:

  1. What to expect when you’re expecting- I’m sure you’ve heard of it? Well, for good reason. While not everything in the book applied to me, there were countless pages of good advice.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0761148574/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_C3Rjvb0PYWB49

  1. Baby Bargains- this book is amazing. It reviews all the products and provides recommendations of the best product and recommendations of the price.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1889392499/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_b4Rjvb0JN6Z3K

  1. Baby 411- this is like the cliff notes version of all the other baby care books. And I like cliff notes!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1889392456/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_G4Rjvb0BBJ3MN

  1. The Vaccine Book- I’m not trying to perpetuate the to vax or not to vax debate here. If you are familiar with this book, you’ll know that it is the happy medium between the two arguments. You give your child all the vaccines, but on an alternative drawn out schedule so you can closely monitor the reactions.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0316180521/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_r5Rjvb1V4PHHV

#babybooks #babyregistry

DIY baby/toddler toys

DIY baby/toddler toys

Let me preface this by saying that I am not a crafty mom. Far from it. In fact, if it involves for than 5 steps, I’m not doing it. That goes for cooking, too, but that’s another story.

That being said, I have managed to make a few toys for Ms B.  And if I can do it, anyone can do it. Here are some of the ones that passed her approval (i.e. she used them):

1. Ball pit- let’s start with her favorite. I threw this together when she was 11 months old and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t do it sooner. I bought a $10 hard plastic pool at toys r us, and a bag of balls. Throw the balls in the pit and you’re done!

  

2. Glitter bottles- Ms B was amazed by these when she was a baby, and as a toddler she likes to roll them around herself. Take a water bottle, add glitter. Done. Now I’m told you can add glue to slow it down, but I haven’t tried that yet…

3. Sensory bag- I found this one on Pinterest and thankfully it wasn’t the all too common Pinterest fail.  Mine involved a ziploc bag, hair gel, glitter and other sparkly stuff, and colorful duct tape. Put the ingredients in the bag, seal the bag, then cover all edges with duct tape for reinforcement.  It’s important to note that you need to monitor the bag closely as if it leaks it’s immediately trash!

http://plainvanillamom.com/2012/04/sensory-bag-for-baby.html

4. Bubbles- kids of all ages love bubbles, my husband and I included. Did you know you can make your own bubble solution?  I bought a couple bubble wand/sets from Walmart, and refill them with homemade solution. The glycerin is the key ingredient.

http://myfrugaladventures.com/2013/06/30-days-to-a-funner-summer-how-to-make-giant-homemade-bubbles/

5. Play doh- Ms B is stil in the “everything goes in my mouth for just a little taste” phase (dear God when will it end?) and just based on the smell and shelf life of store Play Doh, I knew that wasn’t going anywhere near my kids mouth. You can make your own, though, pretty easily. I know there are recipes out there with conditioner to make it soft, but again, this is going in my kids mouth… So no.

http://domesticsuperhero.com/2013/03/28/the-best-homemade-playdough-recipe/

6. Felt board- last Christmas I cut a tree out of green felt, stuck it to the wall with some pins (out of her reach of course), and cut out shapes or various sizes from random searches of felt. You can get rolls of felt at Walmart  or any craft store, and Walmart also sells felt swatches (12×12) for under a dollar.  This article has a few more steps than I took, but it’s the same theme.

http://www.bhg.com/rooms/kids-rooms/shared-rooms/make-a-felt-board-for-tots/

Good luck!