I have a love/hate relationship with “must-have” lists and I don’t think I’ve ever come across one that I’ve though “Wow! I need everything on that list!”. Different strokes for different folks; what works in one fam might not work in the next. So, in saying all that, allow me to add to the masses and stick my foot in my oral cavity all in one foul swoop by posting one of my very own. I won’t tell you that you need these things but I definitely will attest to the fact that they are all awesome products that have made our ride through parenting toddlers (or part-way through) a little less bumpy.
Dis to the claim to the er: Some of the links below are affiliate links which means I’ll get a few cents if you buy through them. Thank you if you do! :)
1. Medela Pump In Style Electric Breast Pump
A friend gave us this after she had used it to pump for her sweet little girl who was in nicu for quite some time. I loved it and the fact that she used it multiple times a day for several months and then gave it to me and I used it a bunch and it still works incredibly well is a true testament to the quality of this thing. If you’re not in the market for an electric pump but maybe just have a need for a manual, I bought this Medela … to get some milk for Sebastian’s first solids and it worked great too.
2. Nuby Tear-Free Rinse Pail
I recently became a Nuby Parent Blogger and as a part of that team, we got a box of goodies delivered to our doorstep. In return, I was asked to review some of those goodies. They didn’t ask me to review the rinse pail on the blog but I have to tell you…this thing is awesome and something I wish we’d known about long, long ago. Let’s back up a minute before we pour out the deets though. Do you remember this?
[Having the time of his/her life, I’m sure. Image via amazon.com]
Well, for one thing, they’re still on the market. For another thing, I remember them and I remember them well. My sisters and I had long hair growing up and when these came out, my mom ditched the head-under-faucet rinse technique for the cool blue ring quick-like. There was nothing like getting that thing squeezed over your head and face onto your neck, getting your long hair pulled over the top of it, and getting it squeezed back up over your face, stuck under your nose for a few, and then tightly wound around your hairline so as to get your hair scrubbed and rinsed in a seemingly tear-free manner. Rub a dub dub, right? But, it’s 2015 now and no kid needs to be subjected to that anymore thanks to Nuby. All you have to do is hold the back of your kid’s neck and press the front of the pail against their forehead. Pour and you get the shampoo out without the squeezing and without any soap or water in the face.
[I know it kind of looks like he’s braced himself for the face downpour but it’s only because this was his first time under the tear-free rinse pail and he was just expecting more of the same water in the face via the cup we used to use. But, if you look closely, you can see the flow of water right above and going behind his ears, not in his face. And, in case you were wondering, pink bath poufs are the only color we own at the moment. Girls rule the roost here so the boys use pink. ;) ]
It’s seriously awesome and I wish I would’ve invented it. Our go-to baby shower gift is #4 and now this too.
Along with the rinse pail, we were also sent a Sea Scooper and an Octopus Bath Time Toss.
We give them both ten thumbs up. The Octopus toss is a hit as far as Sebastian is concerned. It floats around him while he works on that great Tobin hand-eye coordination by sliding the rings on and off. I’m sure the girls would love to toss the rings to the Octopus but they haven’t been able to try yet because somebody’s been hogging it. ;) It’s just an all-around cute toy. It’d make a cute gift!
The whale though. This is so shallow, I know, but I’ve been struggling with where to put the kids bath toys. I bought a plastic basket at the Dollar Tree last year and stored the toys in that under the sink but Sebastian Seeker-and Destroyer-of-all-things-organized kept finding and scattering. So atop the bathroom counter this little basket has sat for months and it’s (almost) driven me crazy.
I’m a sucker for wide-open expanses of countertop and for kids bathrooms that don’t actually look like kids bathrooms (especially when ours is also our guest bathroom) so this was seriously cramping my style. Enter the whale. Not only does it make a great toy but it now harbors all of the kids bath toys after they’ve scooped them straight up out of the water and hangs on an included hook on the bathtub wall.
It was ingeniously designed to allow bath toys to dry easily as all the excess water drains out the bottom/tail; it doesn’t sit and stagnate like it was probably doing in that dang basket. We seriously love it…and so does our countertop. P.S. You can also find them both online at Buy Buy Baby, Bed Bath & Beyond, Buy Baby Direct, and Walmart among other retailers. Go forth and make bath time fun and clean up easy. :)
[Jonahette and the whale?]
3. First Look and Find Books
My mom has purchased a bunch of these for our kids. She gets them for like $5 at Marshall’s and TJMaxx and our kids love them. You can tell by how worn the first ones we received are. It is from reading these books with the girls when they were between 12 – 18 months that they learned their first animals and basic things around the house and in nature. They’re pretty big too so they make great lap books. Oh, and their board books so they’re more definitely more on the in destructive side than all those paperbacks we have stored away for more mature ages…half that it’s apparent have already had twins hands all over them.
4. NoseFrida: The Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator
If we were all stranded on a desert island and could only bring three things, the SnotSucker would be one of them. My aunt bought this for us before we had the girls and I’ll be honest, I took one look at the package and threw it in the back of the bathroom drawer, thinking I’d rather eat moldy cheese than use it…okay, exaggerating a tad but the idea looks disgusting. But, but, this thing is incredible. It works and it works good. I was never a fan of those blue rubber bulb suckers (especially after I read and saw this) because you can’t really tell how much or what color you’re getting out of the kid’s nose. I’m not saying our kid’s love when they have to get their snot sucked out with it, because they hate it (even though, if you act like it’s a game with Sebastian, he’ll go right along with you and laugh after every suck). We usually have to pin them down but you gotta do what you gotta do and I consider this tough love. We love it so much that it’s now our go-to shower gift for expecting friends.
5. Contours Options Double Stroller
We registered for this stroller for the twins and LOVED it. It’s just the coolest and not as pricey as many similar double strollers (the newer model shown in the top graphic is a little more than the $199 our Aunts paid but still affordable when you’re talking good double strollers). The seats can be faced frontwards, backwards, or towards each other, which was always a big hit with the girls.
Instead of the seats, we used the car seat adapter (the stroller comes with one and we purchased a second) when both girls were infants and it made all those trips to Target a breeze…mostly. The maneuvering ability was just amazing too. Tight corners and 180’s are no issue with this beast. Unfortunately, we don’t use it anymore since I need a place for three but while we did, it was awesome and we highly recommend it if you’re in the market for a double shot of wheels.
6. Elizabeth Mitchell Pandora Station
If you don’t want to drive yourself crazy with cheesy kids’ music allllll the day long, switch on this Pandora station. It’s chill and won’t drive you batty. Trust me. We have it on almost all day. It’s for kids but not by kids, which is usually a good thing when it comes to music. ;)
7. Joovy Nook Highchair
We had little to no clue what we wanted in a high chair when we were registering for a couple for the girls. We did know that we didn’t want or need bulky though. Somehow I stumbled across the Nook and read about how it folded and I was sold. My aunt bought two for us and we haven’t looked back. We did get them in the white leatherette which, surprisingly, is amazing (they also come in black faux leather and a couple of colored fabric covers). I liked the idea of being able to simply wipe the chair down vs. having to wash the fabric to get out food messes. I read that the white didn’t stain like you’d think it would by a reviewer and I trusted her words. And it doesn’t and believe me, the kids have had their fair share of tomato sauce and raspberries and all that staining stuff but there are zero stains on the faux leather. Our covers are a tad worn though; the faux leather has started to crack in some places but they’ve been used at least three times a day now for over two and a half years so I’d say they’re doing pretty dang good. Eventually we’ll get the girls eating at the big kid table (yes, they’re still in high chairs because it’s less mess and with three under three, that is critical!) but for now, we love our Joovy Nooks. Before the girls were born I thought I’d fold them up and stow them away after every meal but, HA!, who was I kidding? But even though I don’t fold them up at home, their incredible folding ability has allowed us to easily take them everywhere we go that the kids have to eat - vacation, dinner at friend’s houses, to the beach, etc…
8. Neat Solutions Bibs
Best bibs ever. Ever, ever, ever, ever… Lots of people talk about how they don’t like bibs with pockets because they’re gross. Food gets in them and they’re the worst to clean out and blah, blah, blah. Maybe they’re right but then they haven’t tried these bibs. My mom bought these for the girls at Target but they’re online too. The thing about them is that, unlike other pocket bibs, the pockets on these are velcroed up in the back so that, when the kid is done eating, you unvelcro the pocket so that the entire bib lays flat and you clean it off. It’s a little hard to explain but just trust me. If you want the best of both worlds – a bib with a pocket that catches food and one that easily wipes clean (and dries super fast after cleaning!), then this one is your winner. My only complaint is that, after using the same two bibs on the girls for the past year now (I have yet to go grab some for the boy), the velcro is really starting to get worn out. I recently bought some metal snaps though that I’m going to replace the worn velcro with (and then I’m going to email Neat Solutions and tell them they should make that upgrade) so they’ll be as good as new. Seriously, the best.
9. Potette Plus Travel Potty Seat
I mentioned this little portable potty seat in our potty-training post and now I’m back to tell you that it is the best portable potty seat out there. Now, I haven’t tried any other ones but I don’t have to because this thing had me at first potty and still has me. My sister highly recommended we get it and so we bought it off amazon.com and are so happy we did. You can also buy liners to go with it but we just use plastic bags with about four or five sheets of paper towels at the bottom to soak up the liquid and that words great (just make sure your plastic bags don’t have any holes in them!) The picture doesn’t really do the best job of explaining how this thing really works (once again, see our potty training post for a better play-by-play) but, it folds out to fit over any public toilet seat (we have yet to find one it doesn’t fit over) and also utilizes the same folding technique in a different way to form a little standing potty. It’s a genius product and I hope somewhere, the person who invented it is sitting pretty because they totally deserve it.
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There, that wasn’t too bad, was it? Hopefully not. I’ve had this post drafted for a long, long time so it feels good to finally get it out there to pass along some great products that we really and truly use and love! I wouldn’t say we’re pros at this whole parenting thing but these things help us feel a little smarter than beginners. :)
What “must-haves” am I missing that you love! Share the goods!
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Have a blessed Holy Week everyone! The blog will be quiet for the rest of the week and then next week we’re jetting off to Denver so 1) pray for an easy flight and 2) share your tips on flying with toddlers because we’ll probably need all the help we can get!