The Parentville Fave Five
Just like Memorial Day Weekend, where you think about how nice it is to spend time off with friends and family, we get warm and fuzzy about the thoughtfulness of these five great products and services.
Argington has a beautifully-designed, yet simple, Ayers twin bed in birch, ebony or white for when your child outgrows his/her crib! This company is focused on environmental sustainability, using E-Zero (formaldehyde free) birch/plywood. You can also get two guard rails and a trundle bed that slides underneath on wheels, so it's more flexible about where you can use it, or storage. This bed will last awhile, so it's worth the money! Also, Argington's bedding sets are 100% certified organic cotton, and the prints are done with low impact dyes.
If you get to Brooklyn, it's worth the trip to stop in Williamsburg. You won't feel like you stepped into a baby store, but rather a warehouse of boutique-like finds. Mini Jake not only carries all hand-picked items by its dad and owner, but your kids will also be entertained in the curated toy section while you shop.
Rhoost is a wonderful new company started by two moms who create safe, stylish child proofing gadgets. Coming in three modern colors - brown, black and plum - the EDGE table corner cover and SLING cabinet door lock are BPA-free, PVC-free, lead-free, and phthalate-free, are 100% recyclable, portable and will not ruin furniture (no screws or adhesive).
Nattie's Naturals was designed by a mom with her kids' health and dress-up in mind. It's a line of simple beauty products for kids - lip balm, bath bubbler hearts, and glitter shadow - with all natural, organic ingredients. There's no wheat, soy or dairy and free of parabens. Yet the scents of each are wonderful! The 4-product sampler set is the best deal at $12.50, especially for a gift idea.
Our toddler has loved this blanket since the day she received it as a gift. This is not a swaddle blanket, but it is one of our favorites! It's personalized, so soft, easy to clean, and not too small, so you can use it for laying baby on, outside in stroller, tummy time, and then later for your toddler's quick snooze.
We've looked at single strollers in the past, and thought that it was time for a review of some double-strollers. Here's a great list of our favorite twin strollers.
The Jane Powertwin is a "front/back style" twin stroller that is easy to push, and very compact for a double stroller. It has great maneuverability (rubber, air-filled tires) with hand brake, but it can be challenging to fold up (and is somewhat heavy). It's a great stroller for city use, but to put this into and out of a car would be difficult.
The twin triumph is a great, lightweight stroller that is durable and nice looking. It's a bit expensive for an umbrella stroller, but it will last for a while and Maclaren has a great warranty. The rain cover is a must because the sunshade doesn't block full fledged rain storms. It's easy to wheel and is nice that the handles are turned in so that you don't have to stretch your arms out unnaturally wide to wheel it.
This MountainBuggy is the go-to for many twin parents in NYC. It's a big stroller, but lightweight and easy to manuver. It's the exact size of a standard doorway, so can fit into almost any store, elevator, etc. It's a bit difficult to fold up and the accessories are expensive, but if you have the room for a large, side-by-side stroller, this should definitely be on your list of ones to review.
Thanks to Parentville member CamandNoles who writes, this is a "great stroller for two kids of different ages. Do not recommend for urban environments where the kid on the bottom seat is very close to the street – mud puddles, dog poo. Kinda gross. Although, boy do kids love to cruise in that bottom seat! Great for suburban strolling, easily fits in the trunk of a car for trips to the mall, playground, etc."
This is the best way to transport twins around at an early age... This stroller is lightweght, folds easily and fits most car seats. It also has a huge storage bin on the bottom (think groceries, diapers, etc) that's very easy to access. Lastly, it's also inexpensive and pretty durable. The biggest downside is that once the kids reach about 15 lbs each, it's not very easy to wheel them in this.
Thanks to Rowfydad, who writes, "We got this stroller for our 1 and 4 year old in time for a trip to Disney and since then its worked out great. We definitely recommend this to our friends with a couple of minor caveats. Overall, its sturdy, easily steerable and not extremely heavy. One key thing that we look for on any stroller is how hard it is to collapse (and both parents try it). The great things about this "double wide" is that it collapses to the width of one large stroller. It folds forward and then collapses in. This is huge! We compared to some others and the others were too heavy or bulky for travel or easy use. It has undercarriage fabric trays and pockets behind the overhead covers to carry things.
So what caveats? Nothing major but here are the little things. The overhead covers can't be pulled far down in front of the seats. You cannot use them to shield them from wind or rain and the sun cover is so-so because it stops a little past the head. Its not a jogger stroller but we've used in a city, suburbs (malls) and travelled on a plane. Overall, its a great double stroller and worth a look."
If you have recommendations on your favorite cup holders, sun shades or accessories, comment here, or post a recommendation on Parentville!
Happy day after Mother's Day! We of course love our moms, but what do moms love? We have some ideas around browsing and shopping...a favorite pastime.
For on-site browsing, we are rewarding two lucky readers who sign up for our newsletter with a pair of tickets to the ultra shopping, educational and social event, the Mommybites Summit, in NYC on May 20 (a $100 value!) The Mommybites Summit invites all moms (and dads) to hear parent education experts discuss intelligent and informational topics, enjoy wine and light refreshments, mingle with other moms, win awesome prizes, and make their own swag bags!
You can also use "Parentville" to register for $10 off!
Check out these Five Favorites:
This store within a store online at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is like a mini-F.A.O. Schwartz. Every cultural and sensory-targeted item here is carefully-picked to develop your child's skills, and they have a great selection of books!
Until May 31st, get 20% off purchases of $50 or more (with code k913); members already save 10%.
Leave it to Meredith Levy's Pintsizesocial.com to provide the best list we've seen of must-haves on your "green" browsing list. Not only shopping, this is a targeted list of health, education, social responsibility organizations, tips and news sites, too!
Ecomom.com is a good site that has hand-selected, healthy items for you and your family - if you had to stay just with one site after your registry ended, this provides an efficient selection of basic needs. They have a good Eco-Mom pass if you plan to buy numerous times that saves you 15% and provides free shipping!
The Museum of Modern Art's online store is one of our favorites. Uniquely-curated gifts for kids show that you've carefully selected for the recipient, even if it's you're own child! Check out this wooden take on "Go Fish" game. All purchases support programs at the museum, and if you're a member, you get 10% off.
We can't say enough about the variety of these sales - up to 40% off on items for babies, kids and moms! There are some wonderful sales this week - from SOZO clothing to Cloud B sleeping aid plush animals, to Manhattan Toy products and Timi and Leslie diaper bags.
Parentville has seen some interesting products for when your babies are ready to start moving. Check out our Fave Five - a few options for keeping the kids in motion!
My kids love this walker. We don’t let them spend too much time in it, but they definitively get excited when they’re able to move quickly on their own. The “play tray” is also great with a few different settings and easy-to-use features that include sounds, lights, music and buttons.
This is a unique training device for kids who are learning to walk. It saves the parents back (no more bending down for long periods of time) and it keeps the baby standing upright. Plus the pressure holding up the baby is the natural “pants” fit vs the armpit support area (which forces children to unnaturally walk with their arms up in the air).
My boys love this ExerSaucer. They jump up and down and really get excited about being able to play with all buttons, bells and whistles. This one folds up easily and is simple to put together. This also has several settings so the height can increase as your child gets taller (and moving the settings up or down is simple.
This mat is great for when your kids start crawling. It’s not as slippery as a polished wood floor, but not as hard to maneuver through as carpet. Plus you can buy a few of them and the kids love picking out the letters and numbers and playing with them. It’s also easily washable and is fairly inexpensive for how large a size you get. With two of the mats, you can cover most of a room.
We have highlighted Jay Bushara in an earlier column - he is the founder of Onepotato.net, which offers carefully selected, book choices for kids - none of the old standards about which we typically hear - and they can all be purchased through his site. We thought it would be a good break before the upcoming holidays to savor some quiet reading time.
Here are some of his favorites:
In follow up to last week's Earth Day, this is a great story to celebrate the everyday miracle of brooks in the mountains which become our baths and highways and refreshments in the city and beyond.
This is a story about the bond between dad and son and how even simple activities can create special emotions, rather than focusing on the divorce that separates the two.
The good news is, this is sure to elicit encourage endless discussion about the shapes we can see, whenever, and wherever we go.
An account of one girl’s reluctance about the when’s, where’s, and how’s of growing up. There do appear to be a lot of kind of boring-looking corporate types getting blown There by their umbrellas, which makes the reader think maybe he/she'd rather choose Elsewhere - for now - where you can be pretty much anything you like.
A boy is enlightened by a new experience -- not on vacation or in a new place --right in his backyard. Sometimes the wider adventure is a trip around your neighborhood, alone with games one invents and skills learned.
Parentville has seen some unique small businesses breeze through our doors that offer a special touch for your kids - or someone else's! Check out our Fave Five - a little extra could make you look quite clever!
Member Life with Pooka alerted us this too-cute store. Founded by an NYC fashion veteran and Virginia native after the birth of her children, Pink Chicken boutique has a collection with the feel of beach and Summer (they have a store on Amagansett). The online store carries wonderful body suits, PJs, swimsuits, diaper covers, toys!
Member Grace Kang, owner of Pink Olive Boutique, brought our attention to this boutique, Atsuyo Et Akiko, which carries adorable accessories for kids and moms, including these fanciful necklaces with a brass charm and wool "bead". Reach out to Grace to ask her to get you one!
Use Parentville10 for a 10% discount through Pink Olive Boutique.
Jillian Hollmann is a mom who makes personalized, original stationary and framed wall art for your little one, or someone else's. These special letters have corresponding animal characters for each letter in your child's name. A great baby or shower gift!
Another great store Grace Kang has brought to our attention - Giddy Giddy - and who wouldn't be? The store carries great girl accessories. This whimsical handcrafted pouch bag includes recycled fabric, and these barrettes are a conversation piece. Let's not forget that one of founder Teri Dimalanta's goals is to provide a sustainable income for her family in the Philippines, and she helps women around the world gain funding for their own dreams.
Use Parentville10 for a 10% discount through Pink Olive Boutique.
And finally, thanks to member Pint Size Social, we can be intelligently stylish even before we buy these gifts when junior arrives. Bump It Up will help you look your best while pregnant without blowing your budget. With style tips from Amy, fashion and beauty editor for iVillage, and famous experts, this book is a must-read the style-conscious mom.
The nice weather finally arrived! You may find yourself wanting to try Springtime foods and dishes or maybe developing more positive eating habits with your family.
Or, is your social life busier and you can't find the time to cook? With Rolemommy.com in offering up a healthier chicken nuggets recipe, we offer you our favorite guides, tips and tricks for warmer-weather eating.
Got new Springtime eating suggestions or have a question about what to make? Register for Parentville and give or get a recommendation!
Dinner for Busy Moms offers meal shortcuts, explains real-time tips from other moms, and includes tons of advice on what food is good to eat, and what is not healthy - from nutrition and packaging to production. The book guides your planning easy meals ahead of time and making good use of what you already have at home. Jeanne discusses how to avoid the guilt, and she offers tips on how make the most of mealtime together while helping your children develop, learn and mature!
Nalgene Grip N Gulp is a well-designed cup in great Spring colors. We love it because it has one of the larger spouts, so it could also be the last "sippy cup" your kid has until he learns how to use a real cup. It is BPA free, made in the U.S., and is transparent, so kids can see what's inside, imagine it's something "purple-y" and see how the level increases or decreases.
Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater, is a humorous take from a Seattle dad who believes that developing a child’s taste for adult foods starts by exposing him/her to flavors early. Recipes and child's perspective, included!
Stokke Table Top is a must for toddlers eating at the table, and it's BPA-free and phthalate-free. The best part is that it features six sides of drawings your child can see underneath Table Top, each geared to a different stage of learning, ages 6months to 8 years.
The Hungry Monkey comes to life with DinDins delivery service (in NYC only at this time) with meals that can be stored for up to 3 weeks. Offering natural and organic kid-friendly food with just the right variety and flavor, DinDins is our parents' pick for a go-to option when you can't - or just don't want to cook. Try Artichoke, Corn and Chicken Quesadillas and Spinach or Parmesean Crustless Quiche. Your child will be eating well!
Use code PARENTVILLE for 10% off your first order until April 26th.
For those kids who are starting to build an imagination and fine motor skills, we present our favorite recommendations on toys for dexterity!
Zolo-a-go-go is the anti-stacking block toy. It features 48 plastic pieces in a traveling case that can create a variety of scenes and funny creatures. It teaches dexterity because your child has to fit the parts together by using different sized pieces that fit into holes with different angles.
Citiblocs are eco-friendly wood blocks all of the same size and shape that incredibly stack to create precision models without glue or grooves! Because you can buy them in different quantity sets, your child can expand on his imagination as he or she gets bigger.
This Eiffel Tower Puzzle is a showcase for your kid's room - and it can be built over and over because it also does not need any glue - the wooden pieces just snap together!
Boikido, French for "wood for kids", makes blocks that stir the imagination and teach shapes, colors and patterns. This is a great starter set for toddlers - the pieces are not too small.
Magna-tiles have magnetic edges that "stick" easily together. They have transparent colors so kids can see the way pieces create 3-D structures more easily. Because these are larger pieces, an 18-month old could start using these (with parent supervision) and still be excited through pre-school age.
We have been seeing some great recommendations on products to help other parents - especially from our new contributors featured in the slides at the top of the Parentville home page. These women's children inspired them to become experts in their fields, offering must-have services and content. We're proud to introduce our editorial partners and some of their ideas. We also wanted to let you know that you can now find "Rolemommy in Parentville" by clicking on "Product Reviews" at the top of Rolemommy.com or by going directly to http://rolemommy.parentville.com!
SmallforBig was started by Mari Richards, who has an eye for children's toys and gifts - she has 12+years of relative design experience! See her neat take on stacking blocks, er, robots, and a great Top 10 Flash Sale Sites for Kids rec!
MommyMDGuides was started by Jennifer Reich and Dr. Rallie McAllister, two moms with a lot of experience who are leveraging the wealth of knowledge that doctors who are moms have to help other moms. They just wrote a new book on pregnancy and birth to answer your questions! See their Mealtime Manners placemats recommendation - kids can eat and learn at the same time!
Productive Parenting was started by Mother-Daughter duo, Susan Dineen and Emily Rempe, and Early Childhood expert and Physical Therapist, respectively. They see the importance of teaching your child new skills through activities they suggest on a daily basis.
See their recommendation for developing children's reading habits early - and register your child on their site to track his/her progress and get great ideas!
More excitement about Springtime! Here are some of our members' favorite clothing and accessories that work great for the nice weather coming our way!
A new addition to the Polo short line this season, these shorts are not only durable, but also have an elastic back waistband for comfort, babies who are in between sizes and are easy on/easy off capabilities! Great for those warm spring and summer days coming up! At $40, these shorts are some of the more reasonable, given the durability and expansion capabilities (with the elastic bands).
New for spring from the Children's Place are some great dressy clothes. These linen pants are inexpensive and lightweight enough for summer nights or spring days... but they look great for holidays, BBQs or any other "going out" event.
With sunny weather comes lots of sunscreen (and if it doesn't, then take note that it should)! These are soft wipes from MD Moms that are saturated with a sweat/water-proof, SPF 30+ sunscreen. They are also enriched with Vitamins E and B5, marine silk, aloe and oat to moisturize (safe for baby’s skin). The packaging says that "each wipe contains enough sunscreen to cover baby from head to toe," which is definitely true -- these are soaked with sunscreen! For an older (larger) child you might need more than one wipe though. The packaging is convenient, but like other wipes, sometimes more than one comes out and then you can't put it back in... and at $1.73/wipe, that can get expensive. Overall though this is a great product and much easier than the mess of dealing with regular tube sunscreen. Good to keep an emergency package in the diaper bag just in case you find yourself at the park on a very nice day and want to take advantage by staying out for a while.
This outdoor blanket is great for a day in the park, a picnic or watching a little league or soccer game. The two-sided patterns make it easy to keep a "ground" side vs a "kids" side. It also has a great, fairly small carrying case and is water resistant so won't soak through if there's a wet spot in the grass. It's also machine washable, which makes cleaning it easy. This is a must have for the spring!
This is an inexpensive jacket that packs into its pocket so it's very small. A must-have for the April (and May) showers. Great to keep in the pocketbook for those "just in case it rains" moments. It's easy to clean, and the hood and elastic arm cuffs help keep kids relatively dry even if they're running and playing in the rain.
If you have other recommendations on your favorite clothes or spring-time accessories, comment here, or post a recommendation on Parentville!
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