If you are looking for stilletto recommendations, you are in the wrong place. I need to be able to run after my kids without falling on my face. Want to know your smartphone's metapix? Sorry. I only write about whether it can survive 5 minutes in the hands of my kids.
While I can rent a lot of baby items or bring a lot of baby gear with me when I travel, there was one item I couldn’t rent or bring: a baby bathtub. It was when I realized the huge benefit of the Gentle All-Over Clean Cleansing Towelettes by MD Moms.
My seven month old and I have done a lot of traveling in her short life: A business trip New York when she was six weeks old to a Disney vacation when she was five months old, and other trip when she was eight months old (and yet another next week.) This, of course, doesn’t include the daily travels we have (grocery store, mall, errands, gym, playgroup).
I give Baby G a bath every night and, when she was especially young, a traditional bathtub was not an option. Too slippery, too dangerous. Plus, she would scream her head off otherwise. So I use a portable bathtub, like this one, but it is most definitely not packable, and hotels don’t offer baby bathtubs. If we are in a hotel, a sponge bath is an option, but there are limited hotel towels and the bathroom was soping wet after we were done. Not something my husband appreciated (or the housecleaning staff.) I also felt like I wasn’t cleaning her very well, so I needed a new solution. It was then I remembered the MD Moms Gentle All-Over Clean Cleansing Towelettes I used for my son when he was a baby.
They are alcohol-free and hypoallergenic. You can use them from “your nose to your toes” as the product states. I especially love the fact that they are made in the USA (yay!) and there is no animal testing.
The added benefit I have found is that the towelettes protected her skin during the winter months. As we go through several extreme cold snaps, her skin got very dry. So we cut back on the nightly baths, and we used the MD Moms Wipes on her non-bath nights to get her clean without the drying effect of water and soap. Even now as summer is upon us, we still have the same routine.
I personally like them for me. When showering is not an option (let’s face it, if you have young kids, that is pretty often) this will do the trick. I throw a Travel Pack in my diaper bag, gym bag or, of course, my suitcase when I head out my travels. Plus, I use them for the moments when my kiddos get pretty dirty on the go (spit up, food spills, dirt from the playground, you name it.)
You can find them everywhere for around $12 for the tub size or about $6 for the travel size. MD Moms also has body wash, lotions and the absolute best Sunscreen Towelettes that, frankly, I could write a whole other post about. They are one of my must-have diaper bag items and my must-have travel item too!
Image Credit: My own. All Rights Reserved
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post.
Logo of Smugglers’ Notch Resort (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When I was invited to Smugglers Notch in Vermont for a Bloggers Weekend with my family, I thought. “Neat”. When I started looking into the resort amenities, I thought, “Wow.” After experiencing a long weekend there? One word: “Amazing”.
So how do you put words into describing “Amazing”?
Therein lies the problem. I have been struggling about how to share my trip to Smuggs since it has been so hard to focus on the awesomeness of everything about it. So I decided that the post should just tell it like it is:
My stay at the Smuggler’s Notch Resort in Vermont was freaking awesome. You should book a trip ASAP. The End.
What? You want more than that?
While the resort brochures say it is a family friendly resort, they really mean it. It is not a marketing ploy. It is family friendly because there are things for kids and adults to do. Together and separately. For tweens and teens. Toddlers and pre-schoolers.
As parents of a toddler, there are not many places we can go where we, the parents, feel like we had a vacation. Then there are even fewer places that actually have activities and destinations that would appeal to a toddler (or places that appeal to a toddler and teen if you have some sort of family combination like that). The list grows smaller if you only want a destination that is drivable from the Boston Area. Yes, can you believe it? A vacation destination that does not require you to pay baggage fees, pack everything into 3 ounce containers and pray that your child will not scream the entire flight.
Seriously, this is an amazing emerald in the Green Mountain State. Ask my friends, family and neighbors. It is all I have been talking about this summer. (Many of them listened and booked vacations themselves.) So to share the details with you, here are the highlights to wet your travel appetite.
The lodging is like a condo. There is a kitchen in every unit, with relevant supplies. It makes traveling with kids that much easier. You can stock up on their favorite cereal or store formula/breastmilk in the fridge. It can keep money in your pocket as it minimizes the need to eat out. Units also have washer and dryers, which is perfect it you have little ones especially. The units have everything you need as well: dishwashing soap, sponges, plates, cups, utensils. You can rent pack-n-plays, cribs, high-chairs, safety gear like cabinet locks, and even strollers for really reasonable fees. While there are some units that are studios, most have bedrooms (1-5). It makes spreading out as a family so much more comfortable than a hotel room.
The location in the mountains of Vermont, about 1 hour from Burlington, 1 hour from Montreal and about 30 minutes from the Ben & Jerry Factory (just sayin’) makes it a great destination in-and-of itself. Yet, the Smugglers Notch Resort has a lot of free activities everyday: Pirate Breakfast, Family Sing-a-longs and more. There is less to do on the weekend as it is a time when most people are checking out and checking in, but the weekdays are jam-packed with free family fun – winter and summer.
In addition to area attractions, there are also a lot of pools and playareas, like an indoor fun zone, at the resort. What I loved most was the fact that there were splash areas just for the wee-ones – both indoor and outdoor so even if you go to Smuggs in the winter, you can still have fun splashing.
They also have resort packages or pay-as-you go activities for everyone from 6 weeks of age upwards. Ziplines in the summer, day camps, daycare, ski lessons in the winter and more. As we spent the weekend there, I met a woman who had been going to Smuggs for 9 years with her 6 children. She said that Smuggs was the one place that everyone had something to do that interested them based on their age. After seeing all that there is to offer, I can totally see that.
For those that live in New England, you can drive. Which saves on airline costs, and all the security and toddler in a flying box headaches. For us, that was already a “Plus 1″ before we even arrived. When we did arrive, we could ditch the car. Everything is within walking distance on the resort, but there are free shuttles that take you around as well. It made it really feel like you could just ‘escape’ from reality, especially since you get a break from have to buckle your toddler or infant in the car seat every two seconds.
To be honest, we didn’t find any great dining in the area, but it worked because, frankly, the food does not need to be steller. We just need to be able to eat it without having to wolf it down, which is usually what you have to do with kids, right? The service at all of the Smuggs restaurants was great with very friendly staff, the kid’s menus are extensive and with it being a family resort, you didn’t have to worry about noise or food falling on the floor. While the unit’s kitchen makes it possible to ‘eat in’, it was great to be able to take a break from cooking, but only have to take the shuttle down to the main part of the resort for a nice dinner. Easy vacationing at its best.
When you are on vacation, you might see something fun to do, like Ziplining or Skiing. Yet, what to do with the baby or toddler? Treasures is one of the most amazing childcare facilities I have seen. I wish I could pack it up and move it near our house. Check out the video interview I did with the manager of Treasures to see what an amazing gem it is at Smugglers Notch. So you can ski in the winter, zipline in the summer, get a massage or have lunch with your partner whenever. They also have babysitting services if you want to make it from a date afternoon to a date night. Even more awesome is that they take children starting at 6 weeks of age. So if you are ready to hit the slopes post-pregnancy, you can. Or if you have a toddler and a newborn, it doesn’t mean you have to put off a vacation for a couple of years. If your child is 3 and up, they have award winning Children’s programs and camps in the summer and the winter.
So whether it be hiking in the summer, snowboarding in the winter or learning how to do either one of those activities, Smugglers understands that parents and kids are looking for fun as a family, and they deliver. We can’t wait to go back this winter and next summer. All in all, I think it is especially a great vacation destination if you are traveling with a baby or toddler for the first time too.
A diaper bag that looks like a handbag or a purse seems allusive. As a second-time Mom, I know how fleeting diaper bags can be. You really need them the first year and after the first year, the need dissipates. You don’t need as much stuff and that huge bag doesn’t fit the new toddler lifestyle you’ve transtioned to. Then you are running around – either with a bulky diaper bag when just need a handbag, or a handbag that doesn’t meet your Mom lifestyle.
So two things occur: (1) you start having tons of diaper bags in your closet to fit these various stages or (2) you get one bag, at the beginning, that does it all and then looks fabulous once the kids start going to school. Needless to say, I prefer the latter. Skip the traditional diaper bags and get a bag that fits your real Mom life and style. Check out the Baby Cargo Georgi Diaper Bag.
Doesn’t look like your standard diaper bag, right? But the flexibility to jam it full of stuff? It is there.
The need for pockets for bottles, diapers, sippy cups, blankets, toys, and pacifiers? You got it.
2-side bottle pockets
7 interior pockets (1 lipstick, 1 wallet, 1 phone, 1 sunglass, 2 diaper pockets and 1 changing pad pocket)
5 exterior pockets (2 side bottle pockets, 1 zippered center front pocket, 2 front pockets)
Ability to attach it to a stroller? Of course.
Universal Handle Hooks
Brass grommet rings for umbrella strollers
Attachment snaps for strollers with one handle
And it doesn’t matter what kind of stroller handles you have.
Crossbody or over the shoulder? Absolutely.
If you are a working Mom, this is one of those bags that you can use to pick the kids up from daycare and run errands, but it can hold your laptop/lunch and looks professional on the way to a board meeting. Just shorten the strap and wear it over your shoulder vs. the longer strap/crossbody look.
It also rocks as a workout bag. Plenty of places for water bottles, headphones, and sweaty gear in lieu of, or in addition to, diapers and wipes if the kids are tagging along to the gym.
In my opinion, it looks like a designer bag – not a diaper bag – but while using it as a diaper bag, it is super easy to clean the spilled juice or milk, the dirt from the playground, or the jelly from sticky little fingers. And if you need to use the bag for supplies while you are sick. No worries, you can chase the germies away. The fabric is easily wipeable.
Currently, the Georgi Bag comes in four colors: black, tan, blue and red, and retails for $60. Yes, just $60 for years of use with amazing versatility, functionality and style. There are a lot of baby big ticket items that we use for a short period of time. This is not one of them. This, my friends, is part of the diaper bag nirvana we have been searching for.
Image Credit: My own. All Rights Reserved.
Disclosure: I received a diaper bag for my review. No other compensation was provided. All thoughts, opinions and content are my own.
There are a lot of cute accessories we buy our babies; everything from fabulous hair bows, fuzzy boots and adorable shoes. Yet, one super cute and trendy look is actually beneficial to our growing babies’ eyes: sunglasses.
You may think, “Sunglasses in the winter?” Yes!
It is not just the scorching rays of a hot summer sun that can harm your eyes. The sun still emits harmful UVA rays in the winter too. Add white snow and the bright white glare off freshly fallen snow can be blinding. So protecting your baby’s eyes from the sun all year long and year after year is essential.
According to Dr. Michael Johnson, a VSP Vision Care doctor in California, “We get 75-80% of our UV exposure before we turn 18, so it’s especially important that kids wear sunglasses from an early age.”
So here are some tips for buying kids’ sunglasses, regardless of the season:
Buy wrap-around frames that block rays coming in from the side, and a strap to help keep sunglasses on.
Look for a UV protection sticker. Then you’ll know the glasses will actually protect your child’s eyes and aren’t just toy sunglasses.
Select polarized or dark lenses that block about 75-80% of light—you shouldn’t be able to see your child’s eyes through the lenses.
Choose lightweight, impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses for extra active kids.
Keep them in your diaper bag so you are ready anytime you head outdoors. While stroller covers do a great job off blocking the sun, the sun’s rays can reflect up from the pavement or snow. So it is important to have your baby wear sunglasses even when in a covered stroller.
When traveling in the car, consider purchasing a shade for the window to minimize the sun’s UV rays too. Hats not only protect your babies’ skin and sensitive scalp, it does help cut down on the sun’s rays.
Also check with your vision service plan or pediatrician to determine when you should start yearly vision checkups to ensure that your baby’s eyes are developing well.
So, as you pull together those holiday presents and stocking stuffers, consider picking up a pair. And ask Santa for a new pair for you too!
Disclosure: This is a post is part of my compensated VSP Ambassadorship! Images are my own.