[Service Review] [Product Review] Norwex – Anne Whitmore

Want to know a secret? A few days ago, I was actually pretty excited to clean my house.

Yes, you read that right. I was excited.

 

Want to know another secret? I cleaned my house without a single chemical.

I only. used. water.

Norwex has special microfibre that can remove up to 99% of bacteria from a surface. No spray, no soap, no chemicals. Just water.

 

When I first heard this, I was a bit skeptical. I wasn’t really believing that it would clean much with only water. I figured there had to be some kind of catch – a lot of elbow grease, maybe?

I’ve tried a few of their products before and have been happy with them but I have been very curious about the mop so knew I wanted to get my hands on her lending kit to test it out myself!

 

The kit included :

  • EnviroCloth
  • Dusting Mitt
  • Window Cloth
  • Mini-Mop System
  • Rubber Brush
  • Samples of Cleaning Paste, Ultra Power Plus Laundry Detergent, Odour Eliminator, Blue Diamond All-In-One Bathroom Cleaner, Dishwashing Liquid
Enviro Cloths Rainbow Package
EnviroCloth (photo credit : Norwex)

First thing I tried out was the Dusting Mitt. I used it *everywhere* I could reach and get my hands on. I used it on the hard to reach places that I save for once a month. And I used it on the places that I had used another duster on just an hour earlier. It was picking up so much dust and dirt! I loved how it was soft and smooth on my hand and that it was very comfortable to use. It glided over the surfaces with ease. I could slip it in to certain small areas to get cracks and crevices.

The second, and real reason I was dying to get my hands on the kit, was to try out the Norwex Mini-Mop System. I’ve heard many different opinions on it and had to try it out for myself. It’s very lightweight and the handle adjusts height (as someone who isn’t much past five feet tall, this is wonderful!) I love that it’s just water that I use to wash the floor. I use a steam mop and I always have to time my cleaning around the kids bedtime – vacuum as close to bedtime as possible so that I can then mop after the boys are in bed because the steam mop gets hot and leaves water that takes a bit of a time to dry. The kids leave footprints all over if I mop while they are awake… Ugh! I also have to plug the mop in.. Which doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, except our house has a serious lack of outlets and the cord is about three feet long. Total pain. Well, with the Norwex mop, I didn’t vacuum and I didn’t have to wait for them to get to bed in order to mop! I used the dry mop pad and gave everything a sweep. I used to rubber brush to pull all the hairs and dirt off the pad and into the pile of dirt which I then used our handheld Dyson to suck up. Then I ran the wet mop pad under some hot water, rung it out and slapped it onto the handle to get to work. Sammy was on the couch with a bottle, eyeing me the entire time, while Dean was on the couch playing an iPad game. I got the living room done in record time with very minimal effort and rinsing out the pad once halfway (which I don’t think I needed to do but I did it anyway!) Sammy, the second I paused to admire my work, hopped off the couch and ran right through the freshly mopped floor. He left footprints but once dry, I couldn’t find them anymore, unlike my steam mop.

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Cleaning with just water means that this little man can help me and I don’t have to worry about his sensitive, baby soft skin. Sammy loved helping me with the Window Cloth!

There’s so many reasons to avoid harsh chemicals when cleaning your house. My kids aren’t licking the floor anymore (on a regular basis, at least) but they do spend a lot of time sitting or laying on the floor to play. I don’t want their skin, the largest organ of their body, to be absorbing residual bleach. I also don’t like having strong smells, even if many people associate it with “clean”, overpowering my house. While we aren’t “scent free”, we don’t really use anything that have scents. We’re doing more harm than good by using disinfectants and sanitizers. Not only are we leaving a huge carbon footprint by creating and introducing these chemicals into our water systems, we’re also killing off a lot of good bacteria, as well as keeping all the little bad bacteria that keeps our immune system working and evolving. And well, water is free. Skipping the endless cleaners that are around nowadays, you’ll be saving money.

I was very impressed with everything that she had in the kit. I enjoyed testing things out but was quite sad that I didn’t have more time to clean! It was amazing how easily everything came clean!

 

But don’t just take my word for it – check out the photos below!

 

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One room down… The rest of the house to go!
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After a quick vacuum with our Dyson, I tossed the Dry Mop pad on and gave it a whirl around the house…. I still got dirt, fur and junk off the floor!
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Before and After – Just an EnviroCloth and water after a long winter in the yard!

Interested in ordering or looking for more information?
Contact Anne on her Facebook group or browse her online catalogue!

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[Service Review] [Product Review] Edibles : Steeped Tea

A few weeks ago, I met this wonderful lady at the park by my sons preschool. We chatted and hit it off. We found out that we were both part of the same Facebook mom group and exchanged names.

A few hours later, I was browsing Facebook while getting Sammy to sleep and saw that she was looking for people to sample tea.

DUDE! Sign me up!

Steeped Tea
Steeped Tea

Chelle sent me a list of all the flavours and I spent far longer than I should have dwelling over which flavours I wanted to sample! It was a very hard choice! Naming my children was easy in comparison (honestly, but that’s because I’m a nerd)

I received my package of three samples in the mail and it was CHRISTMAS! And well, it kind of was… Because there was the Egg Noggin’ tea in my envelope. I also got samples of Creme Caramello and Chocolate Pumpkin Chai. SO DELISH!

It’s taken me a few weeks to finally get a chance to savour all three of my samples. I love tea and would drink it all day long if I could but with two little monsters demons boys, I rarely get to finish my tea before it’s cold. And well, this tea deserves to be savoured. Because Oh. Em. Gee. This tea is amazing quality!

I made the swap from the grocery store teas to an actual tea store recently. But this? This deserves to be stashed away and hidden and never shared. Ever. Even if the Queen came over and asked for tea. She can have the cheap grocery store brand!

An added bonus? By buying my tea through direct sales, I am helping support a local mom in her business venture!

I’m getting my order ready to submit to receive it in time for Christmas. A little something for me and a couple of Christmas gifts to cross off my list! Ordering is so simple – choosing the flavours, on the other hand, take a bit of work! Life’s big decisions!

Egg Nogging - HELLO Holidays!!
Egg Nogging – HELLO Holidays!!

If you are looking for some tasty tea, check out Chelle’s Steeped Tea page! She’s been a dream answering my questions and giving me suggestions for flavours!

http://www.mysteepedtea.com/TASTETEA/
https://www.facebook.com/tasteteawithChelle/
Check out her Facebook page and follow it – she does various deals and discounts and even FREE prizes! (Seriously, free tea… How awesome is that?!)

*  I received free samples to review this product. The opinions are entirely my own.

[Service Review] Save On Foods Delivery

Photo Credit : Save On Foods
Photo Credit : Save On Foods

Save On Foods has been doing delivery and pick up offers for a while now. I want to say for the past six-twelve months but I can’t remember exactly when they started.

They rolled out their program to a small section of the lower mainland and it has grown since. Just recently we started being eligible for delivery and when I heard they had a spend $200, get $60 off deal, I knew it was time to give it a try and score some free groceries!

It was a very simple and easy to use website (there’s an app that I am going to use next time – I looked around on it and it’s extremely user friendly) I could select the brands I want and the sizes, just like what options would be available in store. The produce was listed as an “average” price per fruit/veggie and then they weigh and charge you for exactly the amount you are getting when they pick your items and prepare them for delivery. The meat is likely done the same but we buy the set-price items (i.e. 3 chicken breasts for $11, not weight dependant)

I was a bit hesitant to get produce as I am pretty picky about marks and bruising on them but I figured I would give it a try and if it wasn’t a good selection, I would hit the market for produce myself if we did delivery again. I was pleasantly surprised with the fruits and veggies. They were a great selection of apples, oranges, plums, celery, peppers, onions, etc.

Credit : Save On Foods
Photo Credit : Save On Foods

The delivery is scheduled in a two hour window that you can pick from a pretty wide selection – it can be the next day or a week from when you order. They call you a bit ahead of time to confirm when they will arrive. I selected 4-6pm on Friday and at 4:45pm, the driver called to tell me he would be there in twenty minutes. And almost exactly to the minute, he pulled up in the Save On Foods truck. He loaded the groceries into the bins and onto the trolley and brought them to the door. Dean was pretty excited – a delivery of food?! He’s all over that! He loved helping bring the bags from the front door to the kitchen. Sammy was waving fairly enthusiastically at the window when he noticed someone was here. The delivery driver offered to bring them into the kitchen, inside the front door or just pass them to me. With the kids and the dog and the mess, I spared him the trip through the war zone and just had him pass them to me at the door.

I did notice that the 24 pack of individual yogurt pods that I bought, for delivery on October 9th that expired October 12th. I’m not sure if that was missed or if they didn’t have any fresher yogurt, but seeing as my two boys (well, two plus my husband who eats them once in a while) won’t be eating 24 of them in three days, I emailed customer service about it. They told me that I can return items in store but because I had already opened the packaging (which is when I realized the dates) and it was our first shop and an error on their end, they offered a credit on my account.

While I had to plan to be home for that two hour window, it still saved time and so much effort. As I don’t drive, I would either have to load the boys into the stroller, walk 30 minutes (uphill, in the snow… No, wait…) and then try to distract them while I did the shop and then do the 30 minute walk home with a stroller FULL of groceries. It weighs 95lbs with the boys, stroller and diaper bag, on a good day… Never mind when it’s loaded with groceries too! And when I can’t pop up on the curbs because of the weight, it takes us an extra 5-10 minutes to get home because we have to go a different, longer route.

"They're here! YAY!"
“They’re here! YAY!”

Sure, we could do grocery shopping on the weekend when my husband is home to drive. Either as a family or my husband, solo, or maybe with a kid. But that takes away time from our already busy weekends that we would rather spend having family time. I don’t want to sacrifice an hour to grocery shopping.

For $5-8, depending on what time you choose for delivery, it’s totally worth it. And once I get my butt in gear, I can plan meals far enough ahead to be able to do a big shop once or twice a month and only need to pop in for a quick item here and there.

I’m so excited to do this regularly. No more wasting a morning to go to the grocery store. No more having to hope baby naps in the stroller so he’s not antsy about being in the stroller for two hours. And no more having to chase my three year old around while he pulls those darned baskets with the wheels around! My sanity is worth their delivery fee!

If you haven’t tried it already, check it out! You get delivery fees waived the first time so there’s no harm in giving it a try!

 

*disclosure : I did not receive any perks (aside from those available to everyone) for my review. The views expressed are my own.

[Service Review] Photography : Affordable Child Photography; Surrey, BC

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In the summer, just before Dean’s birthday, I decided I wanted to get professional photos of us as a family for Dean’s first birthday. I had tons of photos of just him, but nothing of the three of us worth framing.

I began searching photographers. And felt like I would never be able to afford one! I wasn’t looking for 50 photos of us – I just wanted a handful. I’m not big on the huge, long photo sessions. I find that it’s exhausting but also don’t like having 15893 photos of us from the same day, wearing the same outfits, in very similar poses. I want just a snapshot of that moment in time, not an entire album of an hour that day.

I came across recommendations for Affordable Child Photography. Her minis were beyond reasonably priced and her portfolio showed exactly the kind of photo styles I was looking for.

She met us at a local park and we spent a quick 30 minutes getting photos the day after Dean’s birthday. She kept him interested and amused. He was at the age that he would rather be crawling around, trying to walk, than sitting still but she worked around him and got some great photos.


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She holds many “themed” mini sessions throughout the year. Anything from Christmas with and without Santa to fingerpainting to Mothers/Fathers Day shoots. I got Dean signed up for the Teddy Bear Picnic themed photo shoot, as I thought he would be more open to a stranger, in a new environment, if he got to bring a very cherished teddy bear with him.

We arrived at her apartment building and waited in the lobby while she finished up with the previous clients. Dean had a blast running up and down the ramp, climbing the stairs and just causing a ruckus in the lobby while we waited (perfect to get out his burst of energy so he would be more cooperative for the photos) Tina met us in the lobby and we went up to her apartment where she had her “studio” set up – backdrop, flooring and lights all set up in her living room with everything else pushed aside. Dean spent a few moments exploring while we chatted. He wasn’t too sure what to make of what was happening. He was a bit nervous and just ever so slightly (read : super) clingy but Tina was great about letting him warm up to her on his own level.


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When we started taking photos, I started to get worried. Dean didn’t want to be “on stage” in front of the backdrop. He wanted to be on my lap… And I didn’t want to be in the photos! Panda to the rescue though! I started tossing Panda to the other end of the set so he would run over and grab him then scurry back to me. Tina was able to catch a few quick shots doing so. He is at the fun stage where he is starting to understand “stranger danger” so it’s a hard stage to have someone he isn’t familiar with focusing on him in an unfamiliar surrounding. But after me and him played the throwing Panda game, and I brought out some crackers, he was warming up to Tina. He even offered her his beloved Panda… And that’s the equivalent as giving her a huge hug!

I was nervous at the start with his hesitation but Tina knew exactly how to make him feel comfortable and open up. She has such an amazing talent behind the camera and with children!

I’m looking forward to our next photo shoot – possibly in October after we welcome our second child and do some newborn shots.

You can contact Tina though her Facebook page or her website.

A bit about Tina :


My first love, when I was much younger, was my little brother who came into the picture when I was just turning 10. When there’s that big of an age difference you find out very quickly that you’re expected to be the helping hand. But I really didn’t mind… well yes, I had my teenage “I don’t want to have anything to do with my family” stage, but really, I enjoyed helping out with my little brother and I’m assuming that’s where my love of children began. When my little brother was still young, he was diagnosed with high functioning Autism. I found that I was interested in learning how to deal specifically with him, as he was unlike any other child I had been exposed to. When I was in middle school, I decided to volunteer in the kindergarten class in my school during breaks and lunch. Children always naturally took to me and I seemed to always have a knack for reading a child to figure out what would work while dealing with them. My love of children continued through my whole life, and now I have a little boy of my own. He is currently 4 years old and I feel blessed to be able to be a stay at home mom.

My second love was photography and when I was younger I was often fascinated by photos. I would spend hours digging through old photos even when I had no idea who was in them! I guess there was always a part of me that was interested in photography although I didn’t realize how much until I picked up my first SLR. I fell in love with my first Nikon the first day I owned it and I haven’t turned back. My husband often jokes with me about how I always act like a tourist because of the number of pictures I take. I still enjoy learning new things with my camera all the time and I am always looking for ways to improve my work. I feel very passionate about finding what works for each family, as no two families are exactly alike!

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*Disclaimer : The above views and opinions are solely mine. I did not receive any product or service for free.*

[Product Review] Car Seat : Diono Radian RXT

It’s the one item you hope you never have to use to it’s full purpose but that you use almost every day.

Car seats can be quite overwhelming. There are so many brands, so many models and so many features.

When we first started our research into his new car seat, it was headache inducing just trying to narrow down which ones we were interested in.

We did manage to narrow it down to two. The Britax Marathon and the Diono Radian RXT were the two contenders left standing after what seemed like a hundred matches.

The Radian and Marathon are quite similar in safety and features. From there, it was more so personal preference and price that made the final choice for us. (Which you should be able to guess what we went with from the title of this review!)

The Diono Radian RXT has the following stats :
Rear-facing : 5-45lbs
Forward-facing (with 5 point harness) : 22-65lbs and 57″ height
Booster seat : 50-120lbs

At first glance, you may notice that it’s a seat that will last you from birth until they are no longer requiring a safety seat. At second glance, you may realize that the average 4 year old (around 40lbs) will still be able to rear-face.

This seat (like all seats sold in Canada) meet the Canadian Safety Standards for car seats. However, this seat goes above and beyond the requirements.

It has a steel-alloy frame, which adds to the weight but increases it’s durability. It’s worth the extra few pounds for sure! The car seat even *feels* solid and durable, which is definitely reassuring.

It’s narrow. So narrow that we could fit three across in our Chevy Cruz if the ones on the sides were forward facing. It’s nice to be able to sit back there with him and not feel squished. But even though it’s narrow, it doesn’t take away from the seat. Little D doesn’t look cramped in there and I don’t think he will ever have an issue. It has wing-type things on the sides by his thighs that expand to give more room if you have a larger child.

When your child outgrows it, or you take it on a flight with you, you can fold up the seat and it becomes flat for storage. You can also purchase a shoulder strap so you can wear it as a backpack.

It comes with padded shoulder straps, infant support pillow and an aluminum-reinforced adjustable headrest for when he’s taller. It has rear and forward facing tethers, LATCH straps and a safestop energy absorbing harness system.

It is quite a heavy seat, so if you have two cars that you swap the seat to and from, it may not be the seat for you.

It is also quite tall. We have to move both seats forward and have it in the middle to have it rear-facing in our car. Our car isn’t the most spacious but it’s a decent sized car. If we were to have a second child who needed to rear face, we would have to forward face D on the side seat as it wouldn’t fit rear-facing.

Overall, I wouldn’t trade this car seat for anything else. I highly recommend it when people ask on groups I am part of for recommendations. Hands down, I love this seat. And my son enjoys it to! He was not a fan of car rides until we switched him to this seat around 7 months. He would squeal in excitement when we put him in his seat. A big change from the screams of torment from his bucket seat!

Someone LOVES their Diono!
Someone LOVES their Diono!

If you are looking for a seat that will last your child (and maybe even a second child as it’s got a longer than normal lifespan of 10 years) then look no further.

It retails for anywhere between $300-379 in Canada. You can save some money by buying the discounted (last years) fabric choices.

I do recommend test-installing it in your car before you pay for it though – some car seats don’t mesh with some cars. And car seat returns can be tricky, depending on where you purchase it.

“What Should I Include On My Baby Registry?”

I’ve got quite a few soon-to-be first time mom friends that have had me look over their registry and give my opinion I have one kid, and suddenly I’m an expert or something…If I could redo my list of must-haves, knowing what I know now, I would change a fair amount.Baby Gear

Car Seat – This should be a personal purchase. For one, it’s expensive. For two, there are so many factors into which seat is best for you that unless you are specifically listing a brand and model, you will likely not be satisfied with what you receive.

Stroller – Again, personal purchase for the same reasons as the car seat. And this has even more options to choose from and decide between than a car seat. Do you want it forward facing only or with the option to rear face the seat? Do you want three wheels or four? Jogging stroller or umbrella stroller? Do you want red, black or beige fabric colours? Do you need a big basket for when you cruise the mall in your ample spare time between diapers and breastfeeding and spit up? Do you want it to fold your laundry AND put it away or just fold it and leave it for your husband to put away *hahaha, get it? Husbands putting away laundry?* (My review on my most favourite stroller can be found here!)

Play yard – (When did these stop being called play pens?) Do you see your child sleeping over at Grandma’s a lot before they are two? Do you have a large house and need a bed for them on the main floor? Do you travel a lot with bubs in tow? We bought one, thinking it would be great for my in-laws place and for trips. It’s in our attic now after being used only a handful of times – most of which on our patio at the new place while we were doing renovations and we needed to keep him contained and/or he needed a nap. We never took it on a trip as we usually just co-slept instead of using valuable trunk space or having to lug it through the airport. I think it was used as a giant laundry basket for clean clothes for a while too (I knew I should have gone with the model of stroller that puts laundry away…)

Carrier – I was an avid babywearer. Partially because I loved the hands-free snuggles on a 15 minute walk around the neighborhood, partially because I loved that he wouldn’t scream bloody murder if he was snuggled close. My son was a carrier-baby until about 6 months. And even then, he wouldn’t last too long in the stroller. I use the carrier once a week or so now. But he’s getting too chunky to wear for long. I, personally, LOVED the Moby Wrap. It was great when he was little. However, as he got older (read : heavier) the Ergo was my preferred carrier.

High Chair – Once baby starts wanting to be more than a lump, these are useful. We used to put D in his before he even started solids so he could sit and watch us eat dinner (when I put it that way… it sounds kind of mean! But he liked to be part of the action and loved to sit with us, haha) Check out my review on my favourite (out of the four, yes, FOUR!) high chairs we have had in the past.


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“What is this contraption, woman?!”

Nursery Furniture
Crib – We went and got one of those convertible cribs when I was 8 weeks pregnant. (We were excited, shut up) It was a great deal because Boxing Day sales were in full swing. Honestly, I wish we went with the cheap IKEA one. Sure, ours will go from crib (with two mattress levels) to toddler bed to daybed and then to double bed frame and supposedly be the only bed our son will ever need. But our son is so active that he would fall out of the toddler bed far too much, resulting in very limited sleeping and many wakeful nights kissing dented foreheads. With the IKEA beds, you don’t feel bad only using them for a year and a half and then being done with it and tossing it in the pile of “baby paraphernalia” taking residence in the garage that may never see the light of day again. (Or using them as a laundry basket….)Mattress – You will definitely need one of these if you are going to use a crib. Unless you want to start corporal punishment early on.

Glider/rocker – I wasn’t interested in buying one. It just seemed pointless. What’s wrong with the couch? I ended up getting one (brand new!) off Craigslist for cheap. And I am thankful for it. It made nursing so much easier and more comfortable. And it was great to sleep in for the first two months of late-night feeds. I became very good at sleeping sitting up with baby snuggled close.

Bassinet – We had one given to us from a co-worker of my MIL. It was convenient. I would wheel it around the house with me when I was feeling neurotic and couldn’t stand for my child to be out of sight for a whole 30 seconds it took me to go pee. But it was also great to have him sleep beside the bed so I could wake to his every snort, thinking he was choking on his own mucus again (we had a decent amount of that in the hospital after birth) and then not be able to sleep because I was paranoid. We used it until he was about 8 weeks and he had begun to roll consistently.

Changing Table – We just stuck a changing pad on top of a cabinet that was at a good height and called it a day. It worked and still works for us. You can get tables meant solely for this purpose but it will be sitting in the garage, next to the crib, once they outgrow it (read : learn to fling themselves off, mid-change)

Dresser – Unless you plan on using your playpen like we did, this is useful. We didn’t have a closet in D’s room in the apartment where he was born, but even if we did, I wouldn’t have hung up his clothes. Now that he’s 1.5y, sure. But before I was changing his shirts far too much that hanging just seemed like such a time and effort sink. Plus, it would be harder to do laundry when he was sleeping in bed. Folding meant everything could be ready to put away.

Entertainment/Toys

Bouncy Chair – My son never liked it much but it was great so I could bring him into the kitchen, put him by my feet and kick him (erm, lightly bounce his chair with my foot) as I made dinner.

Swing – Another purchase we thought we would skip. But we got a good deal on a used one from Jason’s work. Turned out it was D’s second favorite place to sleep (First favorite was my arms. While I bounced. And swung him. And patted him. At the same time. And I had to stand – because he would know the difference!)

Exersaucer – Not needed until they are 4-6 months old, but great once they can use them. We got D’s before he was born on a great sale and it was his Christmas gift at 4 months old. He didn’t really use it until 6 months, but loved it when he would go in it. He learned to bounce decently high in it and built up some strong legs! It helped him feel more part of the action than laying down to play.

Toys – Typical, I know, but we went overboard with the toys. We had more than needed. Just a few toys is all they really need at a young age. Crinkle toys, rattles, a small ball with holes for them to grip are great toys that can be used in various ways to promote development. A laser pointer is also fun once they start crawling.


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“To hell with my toys! I want the dog’s toy!”
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Love my JJ Cole Diaper bag!
EssentialsDiapers – Unless you want a big mess on your hands, and couch, floor, bed, bassinet etc, you will want to stock up on these. We had a diaper shower and didn’t have to buy diapers for months, thanks to our amazing friends and family. Either we don’t change our child enough or people exaggerate when they say you go through $50 of diapers a month. That usually lasts us about 10 weeks.
Cloth diapers are quite popular nowadays. However, they are not for everyone. It’s a larger start-up cost (though cheaper in the long run) but you will need to either have a diaper service or a front loading washer. The top-loaders are not good for cleaning them thoroughly.Wipes – You will need tons of these. Especially for the first few poops… Those take a crap-ton (see what I did there?) of wipes to get the sticky stuff off. They are also great for when you get spit up on your face in public. Or find strawberry jam smeared on the crotch of your pants (oh yeah, that has happened! More than once.)

Diaper bag – Planning on leaving the house? A suitcase meant for a 30 day trip with three different seasons and types of weather will suffice. Or you can use a diaper bag. One with many pockets is good so you can pretend to be organized. And one with a diaper change “kit” is great – you can store diapers and wipes in the pad so that when you need to duck into the bathroom of a mall to deal with a poo-explosion, you have everything handy. Unless you husband used it last and didn’t refill it and you don’t have any diapers in the big part of the bag. You want it to be easy to clean. Those Coach bags that are the nice, fancy leather? Not so fancy when your bottle of milk spills all over.

Diaper cream – Great for when your son eats too many oranges on the same day as he eats too much pineapple. You’ll want to keep this handy at the change table and in the diaper bag for when their little butts get angry.

Diaper genie – We love ours. Until it’s overfull that the last diaper you thought you pushed all the way in, didn’t actually fit and left a tiny gap that has now set loose 6 days worth of poop smell into the house. That’s when I usually cram it down and hope that my husband gets the next diaper change and has to empty it. It’s a vicious cycle – sometimes it will go back and forth between us for a day before I finally cave. Then D and I talk about how he needs to start spending more time following daddy through the house when he poops. (We use Finders Keepers to determine diaper duty. Unless I’ve changed far too many. Then I declare that rule void.)

 

NursingNursing Pillow – If you are going to nurse, this is a god-send. It was much easier nursing him with this when he had a floppy head than trying to hold him and guide his screaming face at the same time. Plus, I got to play a lot of Mario on the Wii U while I nursed hands free.Nursing Bra – This has super hand flaps so that you can nurse without having to readjust your bra. Some regular bras work – you can just pull your boob up or under the cup and voila. I found these more convenient and easier to use while nursing on the go.

Tank tops – A bit of an odd thing to have on the list but for moms that want to nurse in public without showing too much skin, wear a tank top under a shirt. You can lift your top shirt up and your tank top down to expose only the nipple and not your stomach and breast. Old Navy’s Tamis were may favourite as they were super stretchy and soft. And had tons of colours to chose from.

Breast pump – Sorry ladies with an A cup, this isn’t the female version of a penis pump. If you are going to nurse and plan on being able to give Dad baby-feeding duties, you’ll want to invest. They can be quite pricey though. I wasn’t planning on pumping very often so I got a single electric pump. I know other people that got double pumps so that they could have regular date nights or so that the dad could do midnight feeds. And I know other people that used hospital grade double pumps so that they could pump for six months and then go back to work while having enough milk to continue their little one on breastmilk until a year. It all depends on your needs – but keep in mind that your plan could be totally different than what actually happens!

Bottles – These are piggy-banks for the liquid gold you produce. Depending on the brand of pump, they may fit right onto the pump. Or you can use an adapter if they aren’t compatible. If you’re going to freeze milk, do it in ice cube trays or milk baggies instead of the bottles.

Nipple cream – For the love of God, don’t forget this. I had terrible cracking and bleeding issues after nursing for at least 12 hours a day (That is NOT an exaggeration) and this was my lifesaver. Medela makes a great kind. I stuffed it into my nursing pillow cover and used it after each nursing when it was bothering me and once or twice a day if it wasn’t. I imagine all brands are safe for baby, but I would double check before you buy it.

Breast Pads – Otherwise people will wonder why you keep looking at your boobs (I would always check throughout the day if I had forgotten them because I would leak often) Also great for when D would decide to let out his “OMG I’m freaking dying of hunger” battle cry and the flood gates would open before I even picked him up to nurse him. And no, I am not talking about his tears.

Formula – Even if you plan on breastfeeding, it’s handy to have a can at home just in case. A lot of times you can register for samples from various brands and they will mail it to your doorstep. Or you can ask at your doctors for samples.

Dishes – Eventually you will want to start solids, right? May as well grab some essentials for it while you do a mass shopping spree.  Plates, sippy cups, bowls, little baby spoons are all great to have for when you decide they are ready to start eating.


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When you find your child like this, you’ll be happy you invested in a mattress protector!
LinensSheets – Needed if you plan on using a mattress. Helpful for faster clean ups when (not if!) diaper leakage happens.Mattress protector – For when sheets don’t catch everything.

Baby towels – I would buy a thicker towel so when the inevitable pee-while-wrapped-in-only-a-towel happens, you can stay a bit dryer. Plus, it’s softer, cozier and warmer for baby.

Baby cloths – Need to wipe spit up milk off your shirt? Have to wipe poop from a flailing foot after a diaper change? These are perfect size. They are also great for wiping hands after meals when they start to learn to feed themselves.

Swaddle/receiving blankets – Keep those flailing limbs at bay. Wrap your child up tight so you don’t get punched during their fit of rage. Also helps keep baby feel safe and secure when sleeping.

Crib Bumpers – We went with breatheable ones so that when D smushed his cute little face into the wall of his crib, he would still be able to breathe. Plus, they are harder to use to climb out of bed as they are flimsy when stood on. They aren’t really “bumpers” to the point that when rolled into, they won’t pad his head from the bumps, but we never had any issues. Plus, the occasional *thud* let us know he was still alive and starting to stir.

Blankets – Good for tucking on baby in the stroller, car seat or for laying on when putting him down on the floor in the mall (don’t judge) It’s not recommended to use them on baby during naps and bedtimes as they can get tangled up.

Sleepsack – Good for if your baby doesn’t like being swaddled like a burrito but still needing warmth at night. Also great for potato sack races.


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Pants Are Overrated!
ClothesOnesies (7-8) – We loved these. And still do. They are great for wearing as a shirt, as an outfit (my kid didn’t wear pants very often, sue me) or under shirts for warmth. D still wears them everyday. They also prevent the dreaded finger painting that may happen when a toddler is left alone with a shirt on that leaves access to their dirty diaper.Sleepers (5-7) – PJ’s. Jammies. Whatever you want to call them. Yes, they do count as clothes if you want to take your child out in them. There are zippered ones and button ones. I found that buttoned ones were great when little because I could undo just the few bottom ones to change diapers at 3am, keeping the rest of him warm and cozy. However, now that he is mobile and feels like he has to keep moving or the world will end and OMG MOM WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME HOLD STILL FOR TWO SECONDS!?!? it’s much easier to just zip him up and be done.

Pants (4-6) – They are good to have. Or so I’ve heard. My son was without whenever we were at home while he was a baby. We did use them when we went out though. Sometimes.

Shirts (0-6) – I wrote zero because we never used actual shirts on D until was 6 months or so. We always used onesies. They don’t pull up when holding baby and they don’t get in the way. Personally, I wouldn’t bother with shirts until they are older. Onesies are the way to go.

Socks (5-10) – You know how annoying it is to lose your socks in the wash? Imagine how many you will lose in the wash when they are the size of your thumb. I used to put them in a mesh laundry bag to wash. Even then, some would escape and the washer and dryer monsters would get their feast. Also, you’ll lose some from baby pulling them off or kicking them off while on a walk.

Shoes – Okay, not needed since your infant won’t be walking anytime soon but who can resist?!

Hats – Weather appropriate. Don’t stick a toque on during the summer etc. Common sense stuff, you know?

Winter wear – If needed. A one-piece snow suit / bunting outfit is great, especially if you babywear. I never got the stroller/car seat blanket bags as I found that a blanket on them was more convenient and faster. Also then you can use lighter weight blankets or heavier, thicker blankets when needed and not have to remove straps and attachments. Gloves are good too.


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We used the Angel Care baby monitor with sensor pad.

Electronics/Gadgets

White noise machine – So flipping awesome if your baby needs a constant noise to help him stay asleep. I bought one when my son was 15 months and really really really really wish I bought it sooner. And the day this one dies, is the day I go buy a new one. It’s helped so much.

Baby monitor – Even if you are in a small two bedroom condo, it’s still handy. We went with the one that has a pad to go under the baby and tells you if they stop breathing (or escape, when they are older) but even just a sound monitor would be beneficial. You can take it into the shower so you can hear baby as they wake up the same second you step foot under the water (seriously, it’s almost like they have one strapped to us and use it to wake at the worst possible moments!) There’s also video ones, which I think would be awful for my sleep since I would constantly be checking on him.

Wipe warmer – This is common on a lot of registries that I’ve seen from friends and online strangers. Personally, I don’t think it’s needed. Or really wanted. I’m only including it on my list because I have been asked my opinion on it a few times and thought I’d give it here as well. I used to just bunch up a wipe in my hand and warm it up while I undid the clothes and diapers before wiping. I can see the desire for one, but it’s for a split second and they are likely going to be mad about the diaper change anyway so a warmed wipe isn’t going to make them suddenly smile and coo with enjoyment.


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Pulling himself to stand in his jail at only 4.5 months old…

Health/Safety 

Gates/Pens – We loved our sons jail. It helped to keep him and his toys contained. Also kept the dog at a safe distance when she got too rambunctious or when I had to leave the room for a moment or two. You’ll want to figure out where you want your child to be allowed to go and where you want him to stay out of to figure out baby gates. Remember, top of the stairs need a wall mounted gate to prevent your super-baby from pushing the gate over and surfing down the stairs on it (though that does sound quite fun!) Gates that swing away, rather than having to be pressure mounted each time, are excellent for in high traffic doorways. Hands free ones are good but not necessary.

Plug covers – Important if you don’t want your child to look like Albert Einstein.

Cord mounts – We used these recently in his bedroom so that he can be in there unattended (read : neglected) and not have to worry about strangulation.

Drawer and cupboard latches – These protect the things in your cupboards from getting dumped out and thrown around the house. Bonus : Little fingers can’t get slammed in the drawers.

Furniture mount – Keeps your child well-rounded and not flattened by a falling cabinet. While it seems unlikely your child can pull a big, heavy dresser over onto themselves, think of how stable that dresser is with all it’s drawers open with a 35lbs toddler dancing while standing on the top drawer.

Bubble wrap – Just be sure to leave room around the mouth and nose as to avoid suffocation.

Did you have any items from babyhood that you found useful and aren’t on the list?
Any particular brands you do or don’t like?

[Product Review] Stroller : Baby Jogger – City Select

Strollers are my addiction. Seriously.

My son is not even a year and a half old yet and I have had four different strollers for him. And he barely even used a stroller for his first six months… Because I had two types of carriers and he preferred to be snuggled close.

Baby Jogger City Select
Baby Jogger City Select

This stroller is AMAZING!

Let’s start with the basics of it.

This is a single to duo convertible stroller. You can use it for one or two children. Or even a third if you attach a buggy board and your child is old enough.

It can accept one or two car seats (with the purchase of adapters) to make it a travel system.

The stroller, as a single, weighs 28lbs. That may seem like a lot (and it is definitely a decent amount!) but most people don’t buy this as a single stroller with the plans of never having a second child.
As a double, this weighs 34lbs. That’s a little more than the average double stroller.

Each seat has the capacity to hold 45lbs.
The basket underneath can hold 15lbs worth of cargo.

The stroller can fold with one, two or zero seats attached. With no seats, it folds quite small. With both seats, you would need either a large minivan or an empty trunk of an SUV to cart it around.

I love the features that this stroller has.

My son is a social boy. He craves interaction. No, wait. He demands it. D usually didn’t last very long in his old strollers without getting upset and feeling lonely. With this stroller, I can have him facing out into the world or reverse the seat and have him facing me so we could chat away as we stroll.

The seat can recline nearly, but not entirely, flat. The manual does say that the seat shouldn’t be used for a newborn or baby until they are at least 6 months old. You can use a car seat with an adapter or the bassinet that is purchased separately.

The brake is one of my favourite features on this stroller. I have lost so many shoes to foot brakes on strollers in the years of being a nanny and a mother. They destroy your shoes when you have to toe the brakes on and off. The City Select features a hand brake on the side of the stroller that is quick and easy and very accessible. It makes using transit so much easier as I usually squish the stroller in a corner out of the way and when it’s my stop and the bus or train is crowded, I usually can’t reach the foot brake very quickly or gracefully. The handbrake is always easy to get to!

The basket on this stroller is HUGE. And I mean HUGE! I have put a diaper bag, lunch kit, my husband’s and my winter jacket, my sons sweater AND a men’s large shoe box underneath. And I had no problem getting them in while my son sat in the stroller! The basket is seriously massive. We even did our weekly grocery shop with the stroller one week, instead of driving up (though the weight was probably a bit past the recommended limit, but shhh) and aside from a jug of milk that would have fit under there, but was quite heavy, we fit everything in the basket.

The basket zips open in the front to allow access when baby is facing outwards. When reversed, it’s open and easy to access any part of the basket from the front. The sides each are elasticy and make room to get things in and out, including a regular sized diaper bag. The rear access area is also stretchy but you can unzip it, as well, so that you can get large items in and out. With the baby rear facing, it’s a bit harder to access this side, unless the foot rest is raised a bit.

The back of the seat features a good sized pocket to keep essentials (perfect spot to keep milk, soother and a toy handy!) The seat is made of a strong, sturdy material. The straps are adjustable in length and you can change the height of the point where it connects to the seat back with a simple unhook instead of having to rethread it. The seat keeps it V-shape when you recline it, which is part of the reason it’s not recommended for babies under 6 months old. The foot rest not only extends for taller children, but it has different positions for babies and toddlers/children.


BJ CS Singles
Singles Mode
The canopy is large and has multiple points that it can stop at. It has a large peekaboo window that is SPF50+ with a magnetic closure – no velcro to make a bunch of noise when you want to peek in at baby when they are sleeping! It can be placed at two positions on the stroller to grow with your child.

The City Select rolls along on four wheels. There are 12″ forever air wheels in the rear, which means you never have to worry about a flat. In the front are two 8″ wheels that can be locked straight for strolling over bumpy terrain. The wheels remove if you end up needing to make it fold more compact for storage or travel.

The handlebar, like many strollers on the market, has a telescoping handle that adjusts to make a more comfortable stroll for parents of many heights. I love that the handlebar is not foam so you can clean it easily.

You can fold your stroller in one simple step (though it is definitely not a one-hand fold!) or you can remove the seat to make a more compact fold. There is, sadly, no automatic lock when it folds, which I wish there was because it would make this stroller all the more awesome. This is probably my only issue with this stroller. A manual lock isn’t too terrible, except when it’s pouring rain out and you want to get it loaded into the truck as fast as possible!

The stroller has 16 configurations between being a single, double and travel system. My favourite thing about this stroller as a double is the fact that one child isn’t stuffed into the basket, staring at the back of the front seat, like many single-to-double strollers are.

I absolutely love the colour options for this stroller. We bought it in red, but there are many options available, from black to a silver-ish colour. There’s new colours that will be released this year, including an all-black frame.

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All the different configurations
The many configurations of the stroller
From a parents perspective, this stroller has lots of thought put into the design. It’s terrific for your casual stroll around the mall or for cruising local streets and parks. It glides across gravel and dirt paths and maneuvers through the aisles of your local stores with ease.

From a toddlers perspective, this stroller gives me the option to ignore or talk to Mom. The canopy provides a nice, quiet cocoon when life gets overwhelming and I can’t have every. single. balloon I see in a mall. I can help push the stroller by the footrest if the seat is reversed or by the support beam on the frame if the seat is forward facing. The basket holds so many items for me to dump out when Mom turns her back on me for a split second while getting everything packed up for our walks.

I have only had this stroller for about 6 weeks but it is a wonderful stroller that I am thrilled to use. I enjoy all the features and thought was put into to make going for a walk in the park… well, a walk in the park!

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Fast asleep in his cozy ride