Monday, August 25, 2008

I Was Worth the Wait

A simple onesie and hat set that says it all. The perfect shower gift for your friend who braved infertility or adoption on her way to motherhood. Let her know you noticed all she went through even as you're celebrating what lies ahead.

(Uncommon Goods does a nice gift wrap, too.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Crayons on the Go

I'm always keeping an eye out for small items to stash away as birthday/big brother/big sister/holiday gifts. Handmade items are especially great, as you can find many unique toys that a family is unlikely to already own.

One that I recently picked up was a doodle caddy from Etsy store Blossom Toys. Eight crayons and a small pad of paper ready to roll up and toss into a purse or diaper bag for amusement anywhere. I liked its compact size (about 4" x 6" when folded) and fun retro prints. The pad is a standard size that will be easy for parents to replace.

For an even better bargain, the Feather Hen shop offers a similar crayon tote for less than half the price, but with fewer fabric choices. Older kids might appreciate Creative Keiki's colored pencil version.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Mangoes Made Easy

My two-year-old adores mango. Me, not so much. I hate the time-consuming, awkward slicing process that inevitably leaves me with a sticky, messy pit with a lot of wasted fruit still attached.

Until I found the Oxo Good Grips Mango Splitter. I admit to giving a skeptical eye roll when I first saw it. Does the world really need another overpriced, single use kitchen gadget? Probably not, but it's been a brilliant addition to our kitchen just the same. It's the perfect solution to the problem of how to cut a mango without the mess.

It works just like an apple corer/slicer. One quick push and you have two clean halves ready to slice or dice. It's that easy. If you start with a ripe, firm mango, there is almost no mess. Significantly less fruit goes unused, which does my frugal heart good. And we eat a lot more mangoes now, which makes for one happy mango-loving toddler.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Batik for Baby

At an art festival earlier this summer, we stumbled upon the work of contemporary batik artist Lisa Telling Kattenbraker. Her whimsical, richly detailed batiks were both gorgeous and (quite understandably) way out of our price range. Happily for us, she also offered affordable giclee prints in a number of sizes. They came nicely matted and ready for framing.

We picked up this print for our daughter's bedroom:

This one I plan to send to my sister-in-law for her birthday, if I can part with it:
There were so many I loved that it was hard to choose:

It is so pleasurable to walk into my daughter's room and see original (or, as in this case, close to original) artwork than a generic piece from a giant retailer. It reminds me of the sunny afternoon when we purchased it, chatting with the artist as the baby squeaked in her carrier.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Hide Those Dirty Diapers Away

One of the tricky parts of cloth diapering is figuring out what to do with the dirty diapers when you're away from the house. More than once in the early days I found myself stuck in a public restroom with a freshly changed baby in one hand and a poopy diaper in the other. Not fun.

Some families reuse plastic shopping bags or ziploc bags, but they can be leaky, smelly, and pile up quickly in the trash. A better solution is wetbag: a washable, waterproof bag. If you ask me, one of the best wetbags out there is the Happy Tushies Wonderbag. It has two separate waterproof sections, so you can stash clean diapers and wipes on one side and dirties on the other. Once zipped shut, it keeps out all leaks, dampness and odors until you're safely at home. We've even stored diapers in it during a weekend trip and the waterproof lining never failed.

Wonderbags come in three sizes (mini, regular, large) with scads of fabric options for the outer shell. We carry a mini Wonderbag in the diaper bag (about 8" x 9"--holds one diaper in each pocket, although I've stuffed in two before). We use a large Wonderbag for daycare (about 13" x 13.5"). One pocket easily holds a day's worth of clean diapers, and the caregiver simply fills the other pocket with dirty diapers as the day goes on. Its snaptab loop makes it easy to hang out of the way on a doorknob.

After two years of near-daily use, our first Wonderbag is still in excellent shape. Now that we've entered the transition from diapers to toilets, it's finding new use as a carrier for the inevitable peed-on outfits. It also comes in handy for carting home wet swimming suits and towels from the pool.

As friends switch over to cloth diapering, I always point them towards the Wonderbag. A Happy Tushies Wonderbag makes cloth diapering away from home a breeze.

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