We've been huge sleep sack fans for all of our babies. From infanthood until they transitioned from crib to bed, our kids have slept in sacks—lighter in summer, heavier in winter. In our current house, Baby Dash's room isn't insulated and temperatures in his room have dropped down to 57º when the heat is not on. That's chilly at night for us Californians. Sleep sacks give us peace of mind, that so matter how cold it gets, our baby will be snug and warm.
Here are three of baby Dash's favorites:
This is the sack Dash wears when we go on our morning walks. The sack is also a signal to him that it's time for a nap, and by the time I hit a half mile, he's usually asleep. Convenient shoulder button to help ease on/off, and zip around bottom and sides make diaper changes convenient. My favorite features are the underarm snaps so that a smaller baby can use the sack without swimming in it, and then grow into it. Well-crafted, thoughtful design make it worth every penny.
Cost to you: about $120
Cost to me: FREE
This is the bag Dash wears most often. Love the toasty quiltedness—it's thick like a comforter—and the double shoulder snaps which make getting it on/off a breeze. This one zips up the front from the bottom up which makes diaper changes convenient. Another bonus are the "modern" stylings and colors.
Cost to you: between $40-$50, depending on the size
Cost to me: Same as you. I bought this sack. (You can get them locally at Day One Centers.)
These were the first sleep sacks we used with our oldest daughter, almost 10 years ago. With Dash we first used the SleepSack Swaddle sacks (simply the best for keeping flailing arms under control), and now that he's 9-months-old, the SleepSacks. The organic cotton sacks are the perfect weight for summertime sleeps. The styling is a little more "classic," but then again, so are Halo SleepSacks.
Cost to you: about $30
Cost to me: Same as you. (I bought ours.)
Structured sandals are in for spring (apprently, not like I follow trends that closely) which is why I was really excited when the Crocs PR peeps pitched me on trying a pair. Actually, they pitched me on trying any pair of Crocs, but I went immediately for the cute wedge sandals knowing that I'll probably live in them all spring and summer long.
Now, I know that people feel strongly about Crocs (love 'em or hate 'em), but no matter how you feel about them—and especially if you think they only make colorful gardening clogs—you must try their You by Crocs line.
I chose the Mimilita wedges in black-on-black (I'm just not a fan of cork heels) and I adore them. Not only do they envelope your feet in the comfortable, marshamallowy-softness that Crocs are known for, they are sexy to boot! I'm thinking I also need them in the silver color. They (along with a sunny pedicure) are the perfect was to say, "Hello, spring!"
You By Crocs "Mimilita" sandals
Cost to you: $99.95
Cost to me: FREE
Bottom line: LOVE. One of the best sandals you can buy.
BABY BJORN AIR
Both J. and I love to "wear" our babies, and after trying what seems like every carrier on the market, we kept going back to two classic products: the Baby Bjorn and the Dr. Sears Nojo Sling. J. prefers the Bjorn because it's comfortable and easy to use right away. I love the sling (which, granted, does take some practice) for the same reasons, but there were times when the Bjorn was just as comfy to use. It comes down to personal preference, but if you had to chose one, you can't go wrong with a Baby Bjorn.
The newest version, the Baby Bjorn Air, comes with breathable mesh, a huge improvement. It's cooler for baby and for parents. It still supports baby's head and neck and folds up small enough to tuck in your diaper bag.
Baby #3 is due in just a few short weeks and not too long after that, he'll be riding around in his Baby Bjorn Air.
Cost to you: about $70
Cost to me: FREE
BRITAX MARATHON 70 CAR SEAT
Britax is a brand that has been part of our children's lives since they were infants. We're huge fans of their convertible car seats. Both children rode in Britax Roundabout car seats, and this boy will cruise in style in his Britax Marathon 70. We're installing it in J's car this weekend. I already love the fact that he'll be able to use it until he's 70 pounds. No other car seat needed!
Here is everything you need to know about the Britax Marathon 70:
Cost to you: about $279.00
Cost to me: FREE
MEDELA PUMP IN STYLE ADVANCE
If you are a breastfeeding mama planning to go back to work like I am, you need a really good breast pump. And the Medela Pump In Style Advance is it. Medela is another brand that has been part of my girls' lives since they were babies—we had to rent a Medela hospital-grade pump when Bunny was an infant, and I used the Mini-Electric with both girls.
Because I'd like to go back to work within a couple of months of having the Bundle, this product is a necessity for me.
The Pump In Style Advanced is an all-in-one solution ideal for working mothers. Its technology is based on the latest results of research.
I also love it because it's BPA free and it's carry-bag doesn't scream "I'M PUMPING!"
Cost to you: about $325
Cost to me: FREE
We only have one bathroom in our house right now, and it's not huge. Once the baby outgrows being bathed in the kitchen sink (my favorite "back-friendly" place to bathe babies), we move them to a tub. Traditionally, baby bath tubs are bulky and take up a lot of space, but not so with the ingenious and delightfully-designed Flexibath.
When I was offered the chance to test out the product, I lept. Drain, fold and stow with one hand? Yes, please! This Danish-made tub is perfect for those of us who live in small spaces or who just don't want a cluttered bathroom. Environmentally safe and BPA-free. Good-looking, too!
Cost to you: about $40
Cost to me: FREE
Thank you to all the manufacturers who provided review samples to me. I am very choosy about the products I accept for review. They have to meet three basic criteria:
If I can answer yes to ALL THREE, I happily try the product and let you know what I think.
One of the things I'm most looking forward to using when The Bundle is born is my Oshi Mat!
I admit that I am one of those slightly germaphophic mammas. I don't go overboard (I don't think), but my kids always have to wash their hands as soon as they come home (from school, play or anywhere), I had to change their clothes before taking a nap if they were playing at the park (no germy clothes in their beds), and I wiped down shopping carts or restaurant high chairs before placing them in it.
For baby "playdates" we always had the "okay-to-be-on-the-floor" blankets that I would spread out underneath them, and those got washed as soon as we got home.
WHY I LOVE THE OSHI MAT CONCEPT
Oshi mat is an environment friendly, recyclable, easy to clean, non- toxic foam mat designed for infants. It is made 100% of Thermal Plastic Elastomer (TPE); which means, it is 100% PVC and Latex FREE!
Oshi mat has a wide range of uses ranging from developmental classes –like music class, mom and baby stimulation class-, to a travel mat, changing mat, play-date mat, outing mat, tummy time mat and many more!
It is light weight, water repellant, and cold resistant. Because it is moisture free, it does not allow bacteria to store. Oshi mat's density and material provide excellent comfort and support for your baby.
Could I just use a blanket? Sure, but I like the idea of having a dedicated (comfy, cushy) mat that I can take from place to place. And I like that I can wipe it down when I'm done. I'll let you know how it goes.
Cost to you: $52
Cost to me: FREE
I was given this Dutch oven to try and all I can say is: WOW. This pot is fantastic. I have been curious to try Scanpan every since I learned about their superior heat retention and conduction, and I have to say, they definitely live up to their reputation. This pot was a joy to use.
I used it to make a batch of turkey chili and it made quick work of browning the turkey (over medium heat) and then, even when the pot was on the very lowest setting of my stove, it still kept the chili and a bare simmer. By comparison, I had a pot of soup in another Dutch oven on another burner and to keep my soup at a bare simmer I had to turn the stove up to 3-4 (medium-low). The energy effciency of the Scanpan is truly amazing.
Other nice touches are the vented, see-through lid, and the sturdy handles which stay relatively cool even when handling a simmering pot of chili.
Once the chili was made and served, the pot was a snap to clean thanks to its green non-stick surface. I literally could have wiped it out with a paper towel.
About the pot:
Do I recommend this pot? Yes. Wholeheartedly. Put it on your Christmas list now.
Cost to you: About $270
Cost to me: Free
End of story.
At least in my opinion.
How do I know this?
Because my family has been using one for as long as I can remember. Also adding "rice cred" to my (un)professional opinion is that I am half-Korean and born in Hawaii and if there is anything that Asians from Hawaii know, it's rice.
Hawaii, rice goes with everything from chicken curry to chicken
cacciatore. This is largely do to the predominantly Asian population; the love of rice is part of the culture. Hawaiians eat rice
for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eggs,
Portuguese sauage or linguica, and rice is so popular you can even
get it at local McDonald's restaurants!). Rice is also eaten for snacks (Spam
musubi), and in pretty much every Hawaiian home you can go straight to the kitchen and find rice in the rice cooker. At my house, you'd find the rice in a Zojirushi rice cooker.
Why do I love my Zojirushi rice cooker so much? I can make a pot of rice and the cooker, with its "fuzzy logic" technology, keeps it warm and fresh for up to 24 hrs. That means if we have rice for dinner, we can have the leftovers for breakfast (a favorite breakfast in our house is ochazuke, we eat it at least once a week) or lunch. I don't know my little rice cooker knows to keep it at the perfect consistency without drying out the rice, but it does. It's magical like that.ZOJIRUSHI RICE COOKER GIVEAWAY
So here's the deal. I want YOU to have a Zojirushi rice cooker of your own. I have two (2) rice cookers to giveaway so that means TWO OF YOU CAN WIN!
Note: you can cook more than rice in Zojirushi rice cookers. How about jambalaya, oatmeal, or even cake!
WAYS TO WIN ONE OF TWO AMAZING ZOJIRUSHI RICE COOKERS
And that's it! I will pick two winners at random the morning of Friday April 30.
PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE A REAL, WORKING EMAIL WITH YOUR COMMENT SO THAT I CAN CONTACT YOU. IT'S A TOTAL BUMMER WHEN PEOPLE WIN AND I CAN'T GET AHOLD OF THEM.
Disclosure: I am delighted to work with Zojirushi—a brand I love—on this giveaway. While they did not provide me with a Zojirushi rice cooker (I
already have two of my own) or pay me or tell me I had to say nice things about the company, they did send me some Free Stuff in the form of a hot water dispenser for review (I drink a lot of tea and it
rocks!). Also, last year I wrote about their awesome
bento boxes and hosted a giveaway.