Rave Reviews

Rave Reviews-Gap Pants
May 31, 2009

I know as a new mom I always asked my Mommy Friends...what's the thing you can't live without? And what is the thing that was a waste of money? So this has inspired my new weekly post: Rave Reviews. I have decided to start doing weekly reviews about products Mommy's shouldn't do without. Today I want to rave about Baby Gap.

To be honest at first I hated Baby Gap and Old Navy baby clothes. Mainly because of the sizing. The little newborn sizes are fine but then it is 6-12 and 12-18 and 18-24. Along the same note does anyone know the difference between 24month and 2T? I just don't get it. I hate it. I don't know what the means. There is a BIG difference between my six month old and my twelve month old. But as I got used to the sizing I now love Baby Gap. But one product in particular. The 'play' clothes are awesome. Yes at times they can be pricey...but I always buy on sale. On average I pay 5-10 dollars for a shirt or pant.
My absolute favorite? Their pants. The stretchy ones with the teddy bear on the bootie are so great. They fit well, they hold up well, the don't fade. I love them! I only have two pair that I got sale in pink and green (shocker!) but they are awesome. I have included a snapshot of Lily in one of her Gap play outfits from this weekend. I love that this shirt is long too. It covers her huge belly! It maybe because I bought it in a 18-24 months and it actually fits, but it is still so cute.

So remember look for the little bear on the bootie!

Rave Reviews: Elf on a Shelf
December 1, 2009

Have you heard of this? This was a gift from Santa when Lily was just a baby in Mommy's belly. He was already watching her then! If you have kids and have not heard or requested this, it is a MUST. Elf came to visit us last year but Lily was so little it was hard for her to find him or to really get into any trouble Santa would care to hear about.
But this year when the Elf came of Sunday and Lily promptly named him "LLlllllliiiiiaaalllll" aka Lyle she knew she had a new friend. Now every morning we wake up and search for Lyle and his new landing spot from the North Pole. See Lyle flys to the North Pole every night to give Santa an update on how Lily is doing. If she has been naughty or nice and sweet as pie. And he never lands in the same place so we dash around the house each day before school to find where that silly elf is!
Lyle doesn't talk back but we talk to Lyle. Lily blows him kisses and tells him Hi! each morning. I tell Lyle when I see Lily being extra cute and sweet. Each afternoon she runs to see Lyle when we get home from School. "Hi lllliiiii"
But Lily knows you can't touch Lyle because then he loses his magic and can't fly back to the North Pole and report to Santa! Luckily he always lands up high as to not tempt her. What a silly little elf!
Seriously if you don't get this....you have no heart. Go ahead search it. You know you want to get an elf delivered to your house. 
A great family tradition....

Rave Review: Off Brand Cookies
October 10, 2009

It is hard economic times and I find myself cutting out the things that once just fell into the buggy like the magic money man was going to pay for them. Like liquid laundry detergent, and Charmin Extra Extra Extra Soft. Much to my husbands dismay I have tried many areas of home comfort to pinch a few pennies. Many unsuccessful.

First there was the cheaper toilet paper. But it said it was Charmin! How was I to know that the "Basic" written behind the Charmin indicates it can also be used as sandpaper. I am still working on finding a cheaper solution in this area. I am thinking fall will provide us with a lot of extra leaves to take advantage of.

Second we tried the cheaper paper towels. See above. Except in this case the "basic" stands for it takes four sheets to do what one used to do. But I saved five dollars! Alas I am simply trying to conserve in this area. I don't find this difficult my husband unfortunately has a fear of hand towels.

But then there was Lowes' Brand Animal Cookies. They lured me in with a Buy one Get on FREE sign. How is a girl to resist? I mean you GET ONE FREE! And they are for Lily...she'll never know the difference right?

But then there was this nasty little creature called PMS that came to visit. Every time this awful visit occurs it turns Mommy into the Hoover vacuum cleaner with any sweet stuff in sight. At desperate times she too must eat the Lowes' Brand Animal Cookies and...

They were delicious. Very crisp and lemony. A refreshing change. Yummy in my tummy. And it wasn't just me Michael agreed. The same man that threatened my life if I came home with the cheap toilet paper again. He devoured the box and asked for more. Of course he doesn't know I got one whole box free...and they are in a secret place....that may or may not be in the pantry behind the dog food....

So lessened learned? Trial and error. Not all those awful off brand or Basic adventures have to bad. It is hard work saving money and there are a lot of butts to wipe in this house which means lots of toilet paper. I am willing to try each one by one until I find that special one that brightens my day like an off brand lemon animal cookie. Now where did I hide the buy one get one free chocolate bars....


Rave Reviews: Top Ten Registry Items
August 26, 2009

I had lunch with friends this past week who are expecting and her husband could not get enough information from us. He took notes. No really he did. Right after her told us how excited he was to get an electric toothbrush for his birthday. God I love him!

But when talking about registering I got the idea for this post. These are items you must register for. No matter what. You will need them trust me. In addition, some of my favorite memories associated with that item. So today's rave review is....

Top Ten MUST Register for Items
1. Bobby: Get two of these. Even if you are not breastfeeding. When I was on maternity leave I would spend a good two hours in bed with her watching TV, snuggling, and nursing. She would lounge on this thing like a rock star. But even greater is when she was learning to sit up right before Christmas we used this to protect her from head bumps on our hard floors. I remember at Christmas she sat with the Bobby behind her to open her presents. Sadly she won't need that this year. Oh and keep the plastic it comes in when you buy it. Good for storage in your attic.

2. Pack and Play: If you are going anywhere you will need this. You don't need a super fancy one. Just make sure it has a changing table, bassinet and storage section to it like the one below. The shade cover, vibrating function...all worthless. I still use it when we travel. I used it the first two weeks when she slept in our room. I used this for about ten months as a changing table downstairs. It is really hard to change a diaper on the floor with three dogs and a squirmy baby trying to escape. The best is when we are traveling and we put this at the end of the bed for her to sleep in. In the morning we would wake up and see her little head peeping over and grinning at us!

3. Excersaucer: Every day that I was cooking dinner after maternity leave was over I would think to myself how much I loved Brooke and Jenna for buying me this wonderful little piece of heaven. A Mommy lifesaver. Those people that tell you it is a "babysitter" are just a-holes and tell them to bite you. Those are the same Nazis that won't let their kids watch a little Sesame street to let you relax. No really favorite sweet memory of this just the fact that I am still sane.

4. Pajamas: Why does it seem like I never have enough of these? Never. But listen closely this is very important. Just say no to Buttons. Buttons are the devil when it comes to a child that is not sleeping through the night. Any middle of the night changes become debacles of misbuttoning and flying diapers and mounds of frustration. Ask any parent...only buy zipper pajamas! I am wise...listen. Except for when they are newborns buy the "gowns" that you can just pull up or down. Yes even for Boys! But those usually only come in 0-3 months. I have countless stories of Michael rebuttoning her pajamas at least three times but I won't embarrass him. They do provide a chuckle. So if your husband is irritating you put the button pajamas in the drawer on his bedtime night. Ooops they were the only ones that were clean. Extra tip...the zipper ones are hard to find after 9 months. Go to Children's Place.

5. Stroller: Okay this is a hot debate. To get the travel system of not? I am a no go on this. I am 5'3....okay 5'2 and drive a convertible. Those big ass strollers take up the whole back of a SUV and weigh over twenty pounds. Okay lets do some math. The amount of strength required to hold a ten pound baby in one arm, a 20+ stroller in one hand, trying to open it, your diaper bag on the other arm as well. Yeah just quit now.....they set you up to fail. But you give up some luxuries with the "non" travel systems. 1. The car seat doesn't 'pop' into your stroller. Two options to fix that. You can buy a stroller base that goes with your car seat for about $60 bucks to use during the infant carrier stage or you can do what we did: place the carrier in your cart. The only store I remember getting frustrated with was Kohl's. The don't have good carts for this. So when we went there or the mall we used the stroller and just pulled her out of the cart seat and put her in the stroller. 2. Storage space. Not a whole lot in my compact, 11 pound stroller. But I got these fabulous hooks for four dollars that let you hang your purse on the back on the stroller. Funny story: Trying to take Lily out of the stroller in Pottery Barn kids one day the whole stroller flipped over from the weight of my purse as we pulled Lily out. Yeah that was one of my "I am a new parent" moments in the middle of the mall. It worked fine though and we saved over a hundred bucks. Thousands if you think about the back surgery I avoided, and the new car I didn't have to buy just to tote my stroller around.

6. An extra Car seat base: For your infant carrier. Buy two. Hell buy three...one for Grandma. But for you that have been following us awhile I don't have to tell you the story of us trying to figure out how to install a car seat. Wow. See the spring of 2008.

7. Register for two additional convertible car seats. You may think you have two many big ticket items on there...but you don't. They grow out of the infant carrier quicker than you think. And thinking about what carseat to buy while you are still getting a grip on parenting sucks. Trust us we know. Tip: Babies R'Us lets you take a model and try it out in your car to make sure it fits. Just leave your license up front and go try it out. We did this for my convertible because we could find no car seat that fit in my little car. This worked out great and we got a wonderful carseat. My life has gotten so much easier now that she is forward facing. Now if I could teach her to climb in and buckle herself.

8. Baby Bjorn: Love you! Back...hates you! That is why you make Daddy carry it! Yay! This was made for men in case you were wondering. But properly adjusted it is a great way to actually get some stuff done around the house without sacrificing baby time. Just be careful when you bend over forwards to keep your hands on the baby. Not going to tell you how I know that.....

9. Crib Soother: Lily still has one in her crib. I think it is the Fisher Price Rainforest theme. She wakes up on the weekend and stares at it. It didn't take her long to figure out how to turn it on. When she was really young she would kick it. Now she reaches up and taps it and lays back down. We used this when we were "sleep training" I think it is one of the many reason my child rocks at sleeping. Yes don't hate me because my baby girl goes down without a peep and sleeps twelve hours straight AND sleep until eight on the weekends! Yeah my awesomeness even surprises me sometimes.

10. A Kick Ass Playmat: The more stuff on it the better. Think Lights, Noises, hanging articles of funness. Excessive is not a word that can be associated with a playmat. I recommend the Baby Einstein one below. And then add more stuff to it. Watching her face light up at this before she really got rolling over was so fun. I called it Baby Crack. It would put her in a trance with the flashing lights and songs. I will say she was grown out of it at about six months but who cares!! It was worth it. There is not a whole lot you can do with the bundle of joys when they are blobs. This may be as exciting as it gets.

Honorable Mentions:

Diaper Champ: Michael hates ours so I couldn't but it on our list but I don't mind it...when he empties it. Major selling point? Using kitchen bags instead of Diaper Genie cartridges and is cheaper.

Breastpump stuff. I harp on this enough so I won't torture you with anymore talk of all the stuff you need.

Diapers, Diapers, diapers. If anyone asks what you need...diapers. That is always what you answer. Repeat after me...diapers.

Swaddle blankets. Really this should be on the list. But then I would have to bump a toy and who wants that? Buy these. Learn how to use them. The ones with Velcro make life simple for Dads that couldn't quite get what the deal was in Newborn basics.

Bottles: Especially if you are going pricey with these. Think you have enough? Double what you think is enough. Unless you are HARD CORE breastfeeding. i.e never leaving the baby, quiting your job....buy lots of these. In all sizes. I like Avent but my Sister in Law swears by Born Free. Then I have another friend that loves Dr. Browns. I promote Avent because they are easy to assemble. Some of the bottles get complicated. But a pointer: Don't open them until post baby. You may love Bottle A but Baby may not. Keep the receipts for these but go ahead and pick your favorite. It only becomes and issue with a picky baby or with gas, etc.

Baby gates...especially if you have puppies! Do research, measure, etc. all in advance. We slacked on this. We paid for it in the future.

Highchair. I mean the kids gotta eat! Just get one that is easy to travel with. Or buy the great portable one in addition to your home one.

Now I could go on and on about stuff not to register for but alas that is another post.

Rave Review: Parents Magazine
August 13, 2009


I know a lot of Moms think this magazine is worthless but I recently started reading it and I love it! I got a really cheap subscribtion (12 dollars?) and am hooked. It makes me feel better that other Moms struggle with the same issues and oftern find solutions that work!
Each issue features a section split up into different age groups beginning during pregnancy through childhood years. This month Lily's age section focused on discipline. The funny thing is Michael and I have definitely been discussing how we need to start this process. This usually begins about the time your child melts down in Wal Mart over the Elmo you took out of her hands and continues well into college drinking ticket years. Oh what is a mother to do? This month's section focused on distraction as a tactic for Lily's age. Unfortunately acting like the child was not yours in Wal Mart was not an option.

I will say that I think new parents should definitely considering a subscription to this magazine pre-baby and well into the toddler years. With my new subscription I also got a Family Circle but I haven't read to many of those yet. The downside to getting them post baby is the lack of time to indulge in the magazine. I read my on my lunch break. I could probably get Michael to read them if I left them in the bathroom!

Rave Reviews: What a Pregnant Woman Can't do Without
August 4, 2010

I have been slack with my reviews. Actually I have been slack with the blog in general over the past few weeks. I think the Europe posts drained me. And to be honest my Europe post were suppose to be so much cooler but life has been hectic over the last month....well two months.

Without further adieu my Rave Review this week will be in the form of a list to make up for missed weeks. Let's see I have missed ten weeks...wow it was worse than I thought...so this will be my top ten list for pregnant women.

1. Stretchy Pants: Yay! The best part about being pregnant. I remember it clearly. The miserable day, way to early in my pregnancy, that I had to go shopping for bigger pants. I went to Old Navy and Motherhood and slipped on my first pair of maternity jeans. Heaven. Pure Bliss. Enjoy these ladies. Especially around Thanksgiving. Assuming you are not already getting big and Junior won't let you eat more than a bite at a time. haha!

2. Body Pillow: Get the long ones that you can snuggle with. I also recommend a pillowcase. Because towards the end you get really, really sweaty all the time and pillow gets stinky quicker than you think. Now is a great time to buy them because college is about to start. Some other times of year they are harder to find. This is a lifesaver when you have start sleeping on your left side.

3. Cheap FlipFlops: If you are planning on being preggers (think third trimester) in the winter make sure to buy a pair of flipflops before they go out of season. Buy them a size bigger, maybe two sizes and make sure they are cloth and stretchy. Now some people go the crocs route. I think these are hideous and if I see you wearing them anywhere other than your garden I will publicly point and laugh at you! Now you may ask...why would I wear flipflops in the winter? Because your feet are sausages and your body temp always feels like it is hovering around a million degrees. Trust me the cold air will be welcoming. Just make sure you check them regularly for blueness. My feet got so big they were numb. haha!

4. MooMoos from Walmart: Yeah you heard me. Make sure they have small buttons near your breasts in case you are breastfeeding later they come in handy. You aren't going to be able to sleep in those tshirts and shorts for long! I think I paid 10 bucks for my cotton ones and they are comfy. Hideous, but comfy. And they tend to be longer so they grow with you and don't get to short. They covered enough to wear in front of family when they visited.

5. Cook Out Milkshakes: Nuf Said. I know what I am having for lunch now.

6. Compression socks: These can sometimes be hard to find and look ridiculous but trust me. If you are traveling in the car or by plane at all and you have any swelling issues these are a must. Look in the hosiery section or in the men's socks to find them. They keep you from swelling more and prevent clots while flying.

7. Foot stool: Get two. One for beside your bed if your bed is not low enough to just fall into and one for under your desk if you have desk job. This helps relieve pressure off your back by pulling your knees up. It also helps with swelling.

8. Baby Bargains Book: A friend let me borrow this and it was awesome for those people planning a baby on a budget. It tells you what is worthless and what is worth spending money on.

9. Consignment sales: Sign up for all of them! I mean all of them! You will get info on when they are and most times you get to shop early if you are preggers. Great for budget moms like me. I get tons of clothes (especially the smaller clothes they grow out of each week!) and some bigger ticket items (highchairs, excersaucer) Now I do recommend waiting until after your showers...it is always better to get new stuff! haha! But sometimes you can find almost new stuff and take other gifts back and get diapers. You can never have too much of that!

10. Baby Websites: Sign up now for every baby website you can. Think Similac, Enfamil, Gerber, Beech-nut, Pampers, Huggies. Coupons!!!! I got so much baby formula samples in the mail that when I was done breastfeeding I only bought three cans of formula. Talk about a money saver.

Now remember this when you decide to join in the journey of parenthood. You never know what a margarita night will lead too.....compression socks, moomoos, and cook out milkshakes.

Rave Reviews- Kmart
June 9, 2010

I am not a big proponent of Kmart. Especially since I found out it is owned by my arch nemesis Sears. Many of you know my hatred of Sears and the many battles I have endured with them. Kmart is kind of dirty actually. But I will say this....if you ever have a toy you cannot find due to popularity go to Kmart. They will undoubtedly have it. And you know why? BECAUSE NO ONE SHOPS THERE! It's amazing. Our Kmart is right next to our Walmart. There are hundreds of cars at Walmart and maybe twenty at Kmart. Half of which probably worked there.

We went all over town looking for a water table for Lily's birthday present. Not a sand/water table but just water. I was having a hard time paying 60-80 dollars for ones that we found. Toys R' us had one on sale for $30 so of course everyone in the area was sold out. Target had the $80 ones that had sand/water. And Walmart only had them online for the cheap ones. Finally it dawned on me to try Kmart.

I am a shopping genius. They had like six of them. It was a little more expensive than the sale TRU price at a whopping $40 but I found it! And she will have that water table to open tomorrow on her birthday by God!!!!

So remember when all else fails....try Kmart!