Monday, November 22, 2010

Holy Holiday Shopping List!

The last few weeks have found me wracking my brain as to what to get Pooka for Christmas. She will be 20 months on Christmas day and seems pretty bored with the variety of toys currently residing in her toy basket. Christmas is the perfect opportunity to rejuvenate her toy cache, although let's be honest...she is just as likely to go gaga over the wrapping paper and boxes as she is with the toys!

To streamline the process this year, and to be a good partner parent, I put together a spreadsheet of Pooka's Christmas list and sent it to my husband complete with links to the items and prices. This will likely create a conversation between my husband and I that will go something like this...

Him: "Is she really going to use this?"
Me: "Of course, she's going to love it."
Him: "I don't really think she needs this."
Me: "Well you're not the one home with her all day trying to keep her entertained."
Him: "Is there a cheaper version?"

Anyways, you get the idea. So without further ado, here is the list of items I hope to stash under the tree for Pooka this year:

1) Kitchen Set: I have my eye on two different kitchen sets for Pooka for Christmas. I have to warn you that they are rated for ages 3 and up so it's up to you to decide if it is appropriate for your child. Pooka has used them at other houses and absolutely loves them so I'm pretty confident she can handle having her own kitchen. My first favorite is the WH Swiss - Educo French Kitchen available at Oompa, which comes complete with pots and pans and some food for the bargain price of $99.00. I am also a big fan of the Gourmet Chef Kitchen available at Giggle, although its a bit pricier at $138.00 and you have to add cookware and food. I like this one because it is very compact and stylish!

2) Scooter: Again, most scooters are rated for children ages 3 and up, but there are a few for the younger set too. Last spring we went to a two year old's birthday party and not only was she an expert scooter rider, she was doing tricks on her scooter too! So that's my inspiration behind getting Pooka a scooter at this tender age. I should also clarify that she took her first steps at 10 months and is a pretty good mover, so if your wee one didn't walk until later they may not be ready for a scooter for a while. The two I have my eye on are the Razor Jr. Folding Kiddie Kick available for $40.00 at Giggle, and the Radio Flyer My First Scooter available tons of places like Toys R' Us and Target for $39.99. The Radio Flyer scooter is rated from age 2. And don't forget to grab a helmet while you're at it! I like the Adjustable Hula Helmet from Nutcase or the Giro Me2 Infant Bike Helmet!

3) The Rody Horse: Made in Italy by Gymnic, this inflatable horse is about a cute as it gets. Your wee one can climb aboard and bounce to their heart's content. And as they get older they can even bounce around with it (like those hopping balls we had as kids), rather than just do stationary bouncing. I love the design so much that I won't mind leaving it out in our space constrained apartment, rather than hiding it away when company comes. The good news is the Rody horse is latex and phalate free! And did I mention the Rody comes in about a dozen different color combos? I found the best selection of Rody horses at Red Wagon Toy Co, were they retail for $41.95.

4) Janod Alphabet Puzzle: Referred to as the "Take a Letter" puzzle on Land of Nod, I'm a huge fan of this alphabet puzzle by French toy-maker Janod. Pooka is really starting to get the hang of puzzles, and I love that we can practice our ABC's with it, even if she can't seem to get all the pieces on the board yet. Again, this toy is rated for ages 3 and up, but you must realize by now that we like to live on the dangerous side! The puzzle retails for $34.00.

5) Leap Frog Chat and Count Cell Phone: If your child is anything like Pooka then they are obsessed with cell phones. Up until now I have refrained from purchasing her a faux phone, as she seems to do just as well picking up a wood block, holding it to her ear, and jabbering away. But this phone from Leap Frog has me rethinking my strategy. Part of their popular Scout line for toddlers, this phone has a fun combination of songs and counting games. We've recently noticed that Pooka has been repeating the numbers 1-10 so this phone seems like a fun way to reinforce her learning. Priced at $14.99 it's a great stocking stuffer or gift for toddler friends!

6) Nuts and Bolts by Plan Toys: We love Plan Toys for their quality, non-toxic wooden products and their green manufacturing policies. The Nuts and Bolts toy is a great choice for developing fine motor skills, plus I am hoping it will keep Pooka occupied at the dinner table and out in public when she's feeling a little feisty. Available at Oompa, and retailing for $17.99 this is also a great stocking stuffer or gift for your wee one's bestie!

So I hope this list gives you a few ideas for your dear one this holiday season. To some of you this may seem like a short list, but once you add in the gifts from the fam it should be a reasonable amount for any toddler. Besides, they can only play with so many things at once! And one other little helpful hint: many of these products can also be found on Amazon (often for less money), and if you have an Amazon Prime account you can get free 2-day shipping!

Life With Pooka back in action!

I'm sure many of you have been wondering where I have been these last fews months, as it has been radio silence here at LWP. Some of you may have read in previous posts that it all started last spring with Pooka's bout with croup, then my sinus infection, and then (wait for it...) we were blessed with a brand new pregnancy. That's right, Pooka is going to be a big sister! But unfortunately that meant about 14 weeks of morning sickness, which is an ailment I suffer from in a big way. Combine that with a toddler who barely naps and the reasoning behind the extended blogging hiatus should seem pretty clear. Fast forward to now, I am 21 weeks in and have finally found that second trimester energy which will allow me to get a few posts out.

I hope you will come back and visit again regularly as I rededicate myself to creating interesting posts on the products, classes and events that shape Pooka's world! We missed you and can't wait to be cyber visiting with you again!

p.s. I just ordered Pooka some really cute sale t-shirts from Amy Tangerine on The Mini Social so hurry over and have a look!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fab Find: Anya Hindmarch Canvas Tote

As you may already know from my previous posts, I am a huge Anya Hindmarch fan! I recently visited the store on the UES in search of one of her marvelous Canvas Totes. They are roomy canvas totes with buttery leather straps perfect for the farm market, the beach, or general trips about town. I have fancied them for a while but spent the last year and a half so wrapped up in diaper bags I couldn't embrace their full appeal. But this summer things are different. Toting Pooka around no longer means having an overflowing diaper bag filled with a blanket, a change of clothes, multiple diapers, a nursing cover, pacifiers, get the idea. These days we travel a lot lighter: a Joya Baby Diaper Clutch, a Monkey Foot Designs Wet Bag filled with the summer essentials (sunscreen, hat, baby legs, wipes), snacks, and mama's wallet and phone. For errands we pair down to just the wallet, phone, and wipes. So now the Canvas Tote makes perfect sense for a morning Starbucks trip and a quick jaunt to the swings, but it's still roomy enough for a whole day adventure or a trip to the sprinklers at AMNH. And to put the icing on the cake, Anya Hindmarch now does a tote with moms in mind with the adorable navy blue and turquoise Toys Tote. If you're looking for something more grown up check out the Boat Bag Tote, Beach Bag Tote, Picnic Tote, Gym Tote or others. These totes are a great price at $98 so ditch the diapy as we head into summer!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Great Green Workshop for Babies: June 25th

As you may have read in a previous post, Pooka and I are great fans of Unplugged on a Rug's Great Green Play Date. We been several times and adore Natalie and Ofrit! So if your wee one is under 12 months be sure not to miss the upcoming Great Green Workshop for Babies on June 25th at Kidville on the UES. The hour long event is filled with music, creative play, and special guests. And best of all, 50% of all proceeds go to the Max Cure Foundation to help fight childhood cancers. And if your wee one isn't so wee anymore the next great Green Play Date is scheduled for August 6th for babies 6 months to 6 years. In the meantime Unplugged on a Rug is involved in several fun charity events, so visit their events age. And stay tuned for Natalie and Ofrit's next big adventure, Unplugged on a Rug Daycare rumored to be coming to the UES this fall!

The Chariot: A perfect Father's Day gift for active Dadas

Ok, to be fair I see lots of dads these days unabashedly toting their tot in an Ergo or a Baby Bjorn, and even the occasional sling (like my hubby). But let's be honest, most things baby are not terribly manly. Enter the Chariot! The Chariot is the Swiss Army Knife of strollers. With simple kits you can quickly change the Chariot from a regular stroller, to a jogging stroller, bike trailer, or ski trailer, and even harness it to yourself for hiking. Available in both single and double with three different levels of performance, the Cheetah, Cougar, and the CX (for serious athletes), Dada's most difficult decision will be "what activity should we do today?" Many weekends my husband will take Pooka for a morning run and then an afternoon bike ride. And in the winter he hooks up the skis and harnesses the Chariot around his waist for a cross country ski or snowshoe adventure (that's him with Pooka in the pic below).

We have a Cougar Double because we are planning on popping future siblings next to Pooka in the Chariot, but unlike many systems the harness can be shifted to the center to keep the Chariot balanced when she is in there alone. Plus, the system is a pretty big investment so we wanted to make sure that we'll get plenty of years out of it. Luckily for us my husband found a 2007 Chariot on Craigs List so we were able to pick ours up for cheap. The previous Dada had barely used it and it was in pristine condition. It came with the bike trailer kit and we have added the jogging kit and ski kit. It's hard for us to imagine that this sweet rig was barely used because ours is used several times a weekend, but this should also serve as a warning that the Chariot is not a good gift for the faint of heat-rate. And lest I be sexist, the Chariot is great for athletic Mama's too. It's very light and I use it for serious walks, and even tried it on the cross country tracks this winter even though I no longer consider myself in the athletic mama category)! So if your husband's idea of a fun filled day involves a triathlon than the Chariot may just be the perfect gift for him this Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Celebrate Dada at Big City Moms and Dada Rocks Father's Day Party

What are you doing Wednesday night? We'll be attending the Big City Mom's and Dada Rocks Father's Day Event at Kidville on the UES. We'll be rocking out to the fabulous Little Maestro's, eating awesome food from Din Dins, getting our picture taken by professional photographers, playing in the play gym and more! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

April showers bring decked out babies: Big City Moms Spring 2010 Biggest Baby Shower

The Big City Moms always put on a wonderful event, and their Spring 2010 Biggest Baby Shower was no excception. This time the venue moved from American Girls Place to the spacious Park East ballroom. Products filled the two ballrooms from dozens of vendors. On display were new products from some of our favorite vendors including Orbit Baby, Momma Couture, Zoli Baby, Maclaren, Skip Hop, Bugaboo, Boon Inc., and Oeuf to name a few. Also on hand were fab newcomers like Simplisse Breast Feeding Products, Stride, Hop Pop, Tomee Tipee, and the amazing Taga Bike and Luxury Stroller. Expectant moms had the opportunity to test out multiple brands of strollers, check out furniture, diaper bags, and the latest in all things baby.

Guest speakers included Dr. Alan Greene (see this post to learn more about Dr. Greene) and the wonderful Carley Roney from The Knot empire. Roney spoke about her favorite essential gear for new moms. These included some of our personal faves like the Orbit Baby stroller , which she highlighted as the "Sunday Brunch" stroller thanks to Orbit's patented technology that allows you to pull the stroller up to the table and spin the seat so baby faces you! She also talked about Momma Couture's clever Stinky Bum diaper clutch (another of our favorites and a previous "Fab Find"). Roney pointed out that no matter which stroller you chose, having only one stroller will never fulfill all your strolling needs. She suggested getting a lightweight umbrella stroller for traveling onthe subway on in the airport. Her picks were any of the strollers in the Maclaren line or the Uppa Baby G-Lite. Roney praised the ubiquitous Baby Bjorn carriers for babywearing, and spoke about The Bump's new iPhone app called Baby 411 (see my other favorites in this post).

Finally, Roney, a serious career mom, gave some fantastic advice on being a new mom:

1) Get OUT of the house and take lots of walks!
2) Make sure to network with other moms and build a support system
3) NURSE in PUBLIC (my personal fave!)

Roney explains that breasts are very portable and make it easy to feed on the go and to find places in your neighborhood where you can comfortably nurse such as baby boutiques and department store lounges (Saks has a great one on the fourth floor). Don't hesitate to meet with a lactation consultant if you are having any nursing problems. Other key advice Roney imparted on the expectant moms was to relax, trust your instincts, and give yourself plenty of time to learn this whole motherhood thing! She is truly and inspiring women!

As always, the gift bags far exceeded expectations. The overflowing (and heavy) bags had far too many items to list them all, but some standouts included the new Uppa Baby Car Seat Bubble (universal to fit dozens of car seats), a Bugaboo Stroller Blanket, gorgeous mittens from Oeuf, Robeez shoes, a Company Store Kids crib sheet, a Naturepedic Organic Piddle Pad, a set of Boon Benders utensils, bottles from MAM Baby, Prince Lionhart, Born Free, and Tomee Tipee, and multiple coupons for everything from strollers to nursery furniture. And that's just scraping the surface of the booty moms received in their gift bags. Add to that the individual gifts the moms won in the Baby Bingo Raffle and it almost tops the shower your friends and family throw for you!

Pooka's First Birthday Celebration!

Last month my sweet little Pooka turned one. I can't believe it! I spent the week leading up to her birthday thinking about that same week one year ago when I was awaiting her arrival. I thought about the luxury of laying in bed and dozing until late in the morning that last week of pregnancy (will that ever exist again?), but mainly I thought about the anxiety and anticipation I experienced. What would the birth process be like, and what would I do after I brought Pooka home from the hospital? Who could believe so much can change in one year! My life is so radically wonderful now with Pooka in it. I don't think I have ever spent a year filled with so many intense emotions: overwhelming love for my baby girl, a strengthening of my bond with my husband, fear and anxiety over first illnesses and shots at the doctor's office, and hours and hours of joy and laughter over the simplest things. And that only begins to describe the wonder of our first year with Pooka!

We celebrated Pooka's first birthday with family and friends at my mother's house in Connecticut. We chose a spring flower theme, and filled the house with daffodils, tulips, and grape hyacinths. I made tissue paper pom-poms in shades on blue, purple, and yellow to match the flowers and invitations from Sarah + Abraham (see previous post). I used these easy directions from Martha Stewart to make them. They are unique, more environmentally friendly than latex balloons, and if you have the room you can store them for use at future parties.

I wanted to bake Pooka's birthday cake myself so I could use all organic ingredients and control the amount of sugar that went into them. I had a hard time choosing between a single multilayer cake and cupcakes. In the end I found this adorable Buttercup Cakelet Pan at Wiliams-Sonoma and made individual flower cakes. I Used Ina Garten's recipe for Lemon Cake and it was absolutely delicious! I glazed the cakes and decorated them with Williams-Sonoma's colored decorating pens in blue and yellow.

Finally, Pooka looked resplendent in her simple blue and white Larissa Dress from Baby CZ (it's only available in the Marrakesh Print online). She got so many compliments! All and all it was a wonderful day and we made memories to last a lifetime. The only bummer was that Pooka woke up the next morning barking like a seal...she had croup! That was the start of over a month of sickness in our house that kept us from regular posting. But we are back in action now and thank our readers for their patience while we convalesced!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fab Find: Shinzi Katoh Bento Boxes

Okay, so I just realized I was majorly scooped on these Shinzi Katoh Bento Boxes when I googled them and found they were one of Cool Mom Picks Picks of the Year for 2009. But then I realized there are probably lots of moms who haven't seen them yet so they were worth sharing again. Plus Shinzi Katoh makes tons of cute things besides bento boxes that you might want to check out too. I first spotted him at Flora and Henri on the UES. They carry his adorable kid sized aluminum drinking bottles. When I got home I checked him out online and discovered his sweetly illustrated bento boxes. But then, lo and behold, I spotted more Shinzi Katoh in the form of darling zipper tote bags at one of my favorite haunts, Olive and Bette's (fab clothing boutique chain for stylish mamas in NYC). Turns out Shinzi Katoh is taking NYC by storm right now, and with good reason. Embracing a Japanese philosophy known as Zakka, Katoh's designs are meant to spruce up the common things in everyday life. Using his skills as a children's book illustrator and artist Katoh has certainly done just that. The boxes come in single or double decker, or with a domed lid referred to as Onigiri, or Rice Ball Box. They are perfectly sized for stashing some snacks or a small lunch for your wee one in your diaper bag. And when they start school you can pack these reusable containers in their lunch box. I'm a big fan of the fairy tale characters, and love the Alice in Wonderland and Snow White bentos. Or how about the apple and pear on the Red and Blue or the Lazzy Farm bento boxes. There are several online shops where you can find Katoh's bentos and other cute patootie objects like lunch bags and children's cutlery. My favorites are Queen Baby Bean, Ollie Bollen, and
Little Bean Shop.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pimp My Ride: Our New Orbit G2 Toddler Seat

So it has been nearly a month since the big box housing our new Orbit Baby G2 Toddler Seat arrived, and our love for it has grown everyday. See, the nice thing about the Orbit Baby system is that it grows with your child, from the infant car seat to the toddler car seat and separate toddler stroller seat. And the even greater thing is that even when they come out with a whole new system, they design it to integrate with your current setup so you won't have wicked stroller envy. So what, you may be wondering, do I adore about our new toddler seat? The hard question is where do I start? The new seat still has the same patented spin technology that allows you to move it 365 degrees, but now the seat also reclines so your wee one can get sleepy and nap completely horizontally. Pooka has already tested this feature many times. It fact, she seems to fall asleep much more easily then any other stroller she's been in. My next favorite element of the new seat is the amazing sun canopy. It has three positions, and when fully extended it blocks any rays from hitting your wee one. The seat also has a great bumper bar that has an attachable bento box that holds snacks and a sippy cup. We haven't used it too many times yet because Pooka has a tendency to grab entire fistfuls and shove them all in her mouth at the same time. Then she realizes she can't eat so many at one time and spits them all out. So until she has a better mastery of her snack situation I just gaze at the bento box and dream of its usefulness to come. Oh, I also really love the soft fleece snuggler and matching shoulder pads that come with the seat. It's removable when your child grows, but it's still working great for Pooka at 17 lbs. There is also an extendable footrest that grows with your child. And did I mention that all the fabric on the new G2 is Orbit Green Certified, which means all fabric that comes in contact with your child is Oeko-Tex 100 certified to be free of 100 harmful and toxic substances. It's an industry first for strollers and car seats! You can even feel good about the rain cover because it is PVC-free. Another industry first! Finally, the seat now has awesome ventilation thanks to a panel that zips open to reveal mesh that makes the seat nice and breezy. There is nothing worse than peeling your sweaty child out of their seat on a hot summer day! And I nearly forgot, but there is a new color on offer besdies black or absolutely gorgeous Ruby Red (my favorite color)! I went for the Ruby Red seat, which works smashingly with a black cargo pod on the older models. It is a really snazzy set up!

Of course we are using the new G2 seat on our old stroller base, for for those of you who are going to buy the whole system there is a newly designed stroller base. It is a fab powder-coated white so it will be sure to stand out in the stroller world. It also incorporates new foam filled tires (no more pumping them up or changing flat tubes) and a QuadShock system to give your wee one a cloud-like ride. The double cup holder has changed to a single cup holder designed to accommodate more drink sizes and also gives a place for keys, lip gloss or even your phone. The cargo pod is also more user-friendly with inside pockets and a better shoulder strap. And as with the older version, the fold is beyond amazing, and the stroller takes up much less room in your car than pretty much all of its competitors.

I also added the Panniers to my Orbit Baby and wish I had them from day 1! Now I can do a full trip to Whole Foods and between the Panniers and Cargo Pod I don't even have to hang a bag from the handles. They are brilliant! Oh, and people ask me about those all the time too. And while I don't have it yet, I plan to order the Green Edition Foot Muff for next winter. I was so jealous this winter when all the other strollers had their made to fit foot muffs and I was struggling with a bulky 7 Am Enfant Evolution. To read more about the Orbit Baby system see this previous post. For us it's been a love affair from the start, and the romance keeps get better and better!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Luxe Life: Rebecca Minkoff's Zipper Baby Bag

Some of you may be familiar with Rebecca Minkoff's ubiquitous Morning After Bag (MAB). It's her best selling style and is designed to go to work, then play, and then get you back to work the next morning even if you never made it home. For most of us those days are over and our bag needs have shifted dramatically, although we are probably still suffering from the same lack of sleep. The next logical step in the Rebecca Minkoff line is a diaper bag version of the the MAB aptly named the Knocked Up. With the similar stylings to the MAB, the Knocked Up comes with a wipeable canvas coated lining, stroller straps, a changing pad, and plenty of pockets. I picked one up in Salmon last fall at a sample sale and it never fails to elicit envy amongst moms an non-moms alike. It is released each season in a different palate of colors. They seem to be sold out for this season, but you can still find them at various online boutiques, and they will likely be offered again in the fall. Also new for this season is the Zipper Baby Bag, which is definitely the punk-rock little sister of the grown-up Knocked Up. Like the Knocked Up, the Zipper Baby Bag is not obviously a diaper bag. With its bright red leopard coated canvas, turquoise leather trim, and zig-zagging zippers its flirty and fun for summer. Packed with the same features as the Knocked Up you will not be wanting in function or organization, but I can guarantee that you'll have the most interesting diaper bag in your play group! And while you're visiting the Rebecca Minkoff website you might want to grab a bag for date night or afternoon sangria's with the girls on those days when you have a sitter. Check out the cross body stylings of the Beloved Mini in Moss or the Mini Rikki in Turquoise for the spring season. Heck, considering they are meant to be worn cross body you could wear them while pushing the stroller and leave your diaper bag hanging from the handles. Need something with a bit more space? Then grab a Neon Nikki with it's vibrant neon pink trim. Its frisky, fun, and easy to wear! So wether you are worried about being organized for the kids or looking chic when you head out on the town Rebecca's got you covered!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fab Find: Sarah + Abraham

So as you probably read in my previous post there are tons of options for choosing a birthday invitation. It was really hard to pick the perfect one for Pooka's first birthday. I didn't want anything too girlie, and anything cartoon or super hero related was totally out for me. So what did I choose? You might be surprised to hear it wasn't one of the many that I highlighted. I ended up choosing a simple but lovely silhouette style invitation from Sarah + Abraham. I first found them on Etsy when I was looking for mommy/business cards for the Life With Pooka. Sarah + Abraham designs custom stationary with a vintage feel and modern lines. You can choose from dozens of silhouettes to represent your family, a vibrant pallet of colors, and several fonts so your stationary, invitations, birth announcements or business cards represent your personal style. They did a fabulous job on my business cards and thank you notes for Life With Pooka, and I love our Birthday Invitations. We went with a Scallop Bordered Silhouette Invitation using the "Ella with Balloon" silhouette with a yellow border and lake blue background. The colors are a bit on the boyish side, but the darling little girl silhouette balances it out. Other favorite invitation choices include the Kids at Play and Garden Party invites. For older children I love the Olliegraphic invitations, where you can choose the hair style, hair color, eye color, and skin tone. I particularly like the Kid in Space and Circus invitations.

While visiting Sarah + Abraham's website, be sure not to miss the Personalized Art Prints that would be sure to give classic style to any nursery it adorns. They also do stickers for everything from address labels to favor tags and fab notepads that are perfect for stashing notes in your little ones lunch box or leaving instructions for the sitter. I'm a huge fan of the whimsical new Spring Notepads! Finally, Sarah + Abraham does adorable personalized water bottles with Olliegraphic designs (just be aware that the bottles are aluminum rather than stainless steel). I can't wait until I have another occasion that will call for a an order to Sarah + Abraham.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Some bunny loves you: Pooka's 1st Easter Basket

Wow, this really is a year of firsts, and sadly Easter will be the last of our "first" holidays. So I'm aiming to make this a good one! I've come across lots of darling little baskets and stuffers and thought I should share some of them with you. Last week, our friends at Parentville sent out an email highlighting some of the Easter items I had recommended on their site. Parentville is a member driven site where parents can make requests or give recommendations to other parents about products, classes, services, and more. We use it all the time, and Life With Pooka has a whole second life there with a ton more recommendations. Check the blue box on the lower right hand side of this site to to read my latest recs at Parentville.

First off, the baskets. Pottery Barn Kids has some great wicker baskets in white or chestnut with personalized liners. These baskets will last for years to come and you'll never confuse who's basket is who's. They also have stuffed Puffy Easter Baskets in bunny or chick. They're just like their soft Halloween baskets and can also be personalized. You can also grab some basket stuffers while your at PBKids. I'm a fan of the Nursery Critter Stacker, particularly the jumbo stacker that's over a foot tall. It features a plush hippo, bunny, and frog. Another great option is the Klean Kanteen Water Bottle that has awesome designs and you can have it personalized. And if your little one isn't ready for a water bottle yet you can pick up a sippy cup adapter from Klean Kanteen.

I also found some cute fabric baskets on Etsy. I like the fabric Easter Buckets from Henry and Zoe. Have a look at the My Little Teatime Bucket if you like a traditional pattern. While you're there you can pick up an Artist's Tote Set for your children. Twenty Little Toes has some great fabric baskets that you can use all year round in the nursery after Easter is done. Check out the Blue Cupcake Basket. Rellaroo has similar fabric baskets, like their Sock Monkey Basket. But I think Lunatic Design's features my favorite with their charming Bunny Fabric Baskets.

How about a stuffed bunny for your basket? One of my favorites is the Bunglie Bunny from Jelly Cat. How can you deny those dusty pink ears? If you're looking for an organic stuffed bunny try the soft white bunny from Foundlings. Mi Yim also has great organic stuffed bunnies: the Victoria Plush Bunny, Baby Victoria Plush Bunny with cute white pinafore, or Baby Victoria Knit Bunny. Or skip the whole bunny theme and go with chicks like Mi Yim's Plush Chicken Rattles or Jingle Chicken with Finger Puppets exclusively at Giggle. If your little one is too tiny for a stuffed bunny than try a bunny dou dou like Under the Nile's organic Bunny Blanket Friend (try Giggle for a striped version and don't forget a teething carrot for your little bunny!). Pooka has been sleeping with hers since she was born. Kathe Kruse also has a cute dou dou called the Mimi Activity Towel with whimsical pink flower print.

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary for Easter, perhaps you would be interested in the eco-friendly Wonderworld Hopping Bunny Walker made of sustainable rubber wood and featuring non-toxic water-based paints (see my full review at Parentville). We ordered ours through and had it overnight. Pooka loves pushing it all over the place while giggling her head off!

Finally, if you are looking for a real keepsake for your wee one or a favorite mom-to-be then try Tiffany's ceramic Bunny Bank. Or really splurge and go for the silver Bunny Bank! These are gifts that will last a lifetime and be passed down to future generations. Hope this list of ideas is helpful as you put together your basket for your bunny love. For more Easter gift ideas and reviews check my recommendations at Parentville.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

You're Invited: Invitations for Pooka's 1st Birthday

Pooka's 1st Birthday is rapidly approaching so it is time to choose the invitations. I can't believe it has been a year already. I still strongly remember the feeling of her in my belly, the anticipation of her arrival, wondering what she was going to look like, and then holding her dear little body in my arms. Now I've got a toddling, babbling, 6 tooth sporting bundle of energy! So how do we announce this very special day celebrating Pooka's first year with us? There are tons of options out there!

Some of my favorite cards are from Paper Culture. I'm in love with the First Milestones Card. I mean what could exemplify the first year better than reminding you of all your wee ones exploits such as the first smile, crawling, and waving bye-bye. Want to share a photo with your prospective guests? Then how about the Dinosaur Photo Card for your little man. I'm totally hooked on ocean themed cards and am seriously considering the Whale Spout Card, good for a lady or fella. Or what about a woodland theme? Check out the sweet My Dear Card in gender specific or gender neutral colors. There are also bold and bright cards from the designers at Giggle, like the adorable Costume Party invitation.

There's also Tiny Prints with tons of choices for photo cards, and they tend to be a bit more economical too. I'm a fan of the Big One photo card for first birthdays, and the Undersea Adventure card with three photos. Looking for something more simple? Try the Simply Charming card with photo for your little lady. Not interested in having a photo on the card? Have a look at the vibrant pinks and purples of the Birthday Pop card in azalea.

We're also fans of the invitations on offer by Minted. Check out the gender neutral stylings of the Elephant Balloon Card in red or green. Having a tea party for your baby girl? Chose the elegant Tree Climbers invite in yellow, pink, or purple. Or how about the Orange Balloon invites for your little man with lots of cute vehicles driving across the bottom.

If you decide against the paper invite route there are plenty of great looking options out there besides tired ole' Evites. I'm obsessed with the fab designs at Pingg. Check out the 40's styling of the Tricycle invite! Pinng has also brought on board well known designers like Martha Stewart and Giggle. My favorites include Martha Stewart's Dinosaur Cupcake invites, and Giggle's Robots or Butterfly invites. For a more upscale email invite replete with virtual lined envelopes check out Paperless Post. The first 25 invites are free, but additional invites require a small fee. There are tons of choices, but my favorite is the Balloon Aminal card. You will have to register and log in to check them out.

With so many choices you may have to enlist dada or grandma to help you choose the right invite for this very special occasion. I think the best part of planning for Pooka's first birthday is remembering how much she has changed in the last 12 months!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Win a Rosie Dress from Pink Chicken New York

If you aren't familiar with the charming clothing of Pink Chicken New York then you are greatly missing out. To see my full review of their new Spring/Summer 2010 collection please read my previous post. One of my favorite pieces from the line is the Rosie Dress, and lucky for you we have one to give away. One fortunate reader will take home a Rosie Dress in Pink Chicken's classic Indian Paisley in summery lime, yellow, and orange. It's perfect as a dress or beach coverup, and I love that as your little one grows the dress simply becomes a tunic rather than be retired too soon. When you see how darling this dress is you will want your daughter to wear it until she leaves for college!

You have two chances to enter to win a Rosie Dress:

1. Send an email with "Pink Chicken Rosie Dress" in the subject line to

2. Follow @lifewithpooka on Twitter and tweet "RT and follow @lifewithpooka for a chance to win a darling Rosie Dress from @pinkchickenNYC -"

Or better yet, do both and enter to win the contest twice! A winner will be selected at random next Wednesday, March 24th. The dress for giveaway is sized 18 months. Good luck!

Thanks to Pink Chicken New York for generously offering us this dress for our giveaway contest!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Everything's Coming Up Rosie: Pink Chicken's New Spring Collection

Not everyone likes to dress their little lady in onesies with slogans like "I love Mommy" or dresses with cute applique teapots. For those with more discerning taste craving a sophisticated but unstuffy style take a look at Pink Chicken New York. After 15 years in the fashion industry, creator and mom of two Stacey Fraser moved to the Hamptons and began designing bohemian style dresses for little girls above her garage. She was inspired to become a momprenuer after the birth of her second child. She realized she couldn't go back to the work and travel schedule of the corporate world, and wanted to do something she was truly passionate about. The world's of children's fashion is a better place because of Stacey's passion! When I asked her how she balances work and motherhood she jokingly exclaimed "OMG, barely!" but shared that having her own business allows her to have a flexible schedule so she can take her kids to school and activities. These are things she couldn't do if she were working for someone else.

Designed for "easy, breezy dressing that is no fuss but always stylish," the influence of the beach is evident in the laid back styles and airy prints and fabrics of Pink Chicken. The line now includes fabulous knits, swim wear, and newborn clothing but continues to shine most brightly with it's dress collection. This spring's collection is inspired by her love of summer: sun, surf, and downtime with family in the Hamptons. Prints range from gorgeous pinks and purples echoing lilac and fragrant flowers to vibrant yellows from the sun and a touch of blue from the ocean.

My favorite prints are found on the Belle and Sasha dresses. They remind me of dresses my aunt used to sew for me as a little girl, which makes them timeless and perfect for Pooka. The Rosie dress is Pink Chicken's iconic summer style, and this season finds it in indian inspired prints and with beautiful embroidery. And if those don't wow your pants off with their cuteness, then check out the preppy chic Ella Dress or boho Nellie Dress. For casual play dates check out the knit collection featuring the adorable Lucy Dress and great capri leggings. And you don't want to miss the swim collection. Where else can you find an amazing bathing cap with embroidered flowers for your wee one with a matching suit? And even the littlest ladies can get in on the action with the newborn collection. I love the two piece Belle sets for 0-12 months.

But I think I have saved the best for last...Pink Chicken has now released a women's line so Pooka won't be the only one looking fab at the beach (or in the park) this summer! You too can have your own Rosie or Ella Dress in the same great prints, or maybe a Sasha Top to match your little one's dress. Moms get their own styles too. I love the Beatrice Top, Eva Top and Marcia Maxi Dress. Whichever Pink Chicken ensemble you chose, wether for yourself or your wee one, you will be sure to exude that effortless style and sophistication that many desire but few attain. Toss a few in your bag and you'll be able to travel light on your trips to Montauk, the Vineyard, or Wellfleet this summer!

We'd like to thank the wonderful ladies at Pink Chicken New York for sending us a Rosie Dress for review and giveaway. Stay tuned for our next post featuring a contest to win a Rosie Dress for your little dear.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Twinkle Toes: New shoes for cruising feet

Pooka is a cruising fool these days. She only crawls to travel in between the places where she can hang on and cruise. She has even taken her first tentative steps when passed back and forth between mama and dada. I think the cutest part is that she will take a few steps before she realizes she isn't holding on to anything and then immediately sit down! So now we are in a transitional phase with footwear. She is outgrowing her soft soled shoes but not quite ready for walkers yet. I headed to the fabulous Harry's Shoes for Kids on the UWS to find out about our options. I learned some great things from a wonderful salesman named Neil. Before your wee one is walking they should remain in soft soled shoes with some grip so they don't slip when crawling and cruising. They need plenty of room in the toe box because their little toes fan out and press down to help them to stand, and barefoot is best when you are at home. So even if you can still squeeze your wee one's feet into that super cute pair of shoes, you may be making it more difficult for them to cruise. Once they have moved past the cruising stage and are genuinely walking your wee one should be outfitted with a pair of hard-soled, but flexible shoes to give them a stable platform and provide cushioning and support for their fragile ankles. Neil predicted that Pooka would need the hard-soled style of shoe in about a month and discouraged me from purchasing a new larger pair of soft soled shoes (amzing to meet a salesman who discouraged me from buying!). He tested Pooka's current shoe and said it had some wiggle room and should be fine until she is really walking, barring a major growth spurt.

So what shoe is my little darling wearing? Currently Pooka is wearing a delicious pair of Naya shoes in black from Smaller by See Kai Run. They have a very Parisian flair to them and people are constantly complementing them. We love Smaller by See Kai Run because they have plenty of width, are made of a soft buttery leather, and have great rubber gripper circles on the sole. We also like that they are sized in three month increments, (3-6, 6-9, 9-12, 12-18 month...) rather than six month increments like most other brands. I think they work much better than our Pedipeds that have a harder plastic-like bottom and only come in 0-6 or 6-12 month sizes. Pooka outgrew her 0-6 month Pedipeds by Christmas and is only now starting to wear her 6-12 month size. I am also in love with the soft soled shoes by Umi. We tried some on today and I wish I had known about them sooner! Like the Smaller shoes, they are constructed of supple leather with rubber gripper circles on the bottom. They are less traditional looking than the Smaller shoes, but I love how the toe is rounded up and the color combos are charming!

Before too long though, we will be moving on to the hard-soled variety of shoe. Right now I have my eyes on Livie and Luca's Petal shoe in Red, or maybe the Pio Pio's in Pink. And I will definitely be getting Pooka a pair of Salt Water Sandals for the summer. I love the original sandal, and there are so many colors to choose from! And for a pair of true keepsake shoes, have a look at Rachel Riley's classic styled Double-Buckle Shoes in Red. This timeless style of shoe has been around since the 1930's! I know I have focused entirely on shoes for little ladies, but each of these companies also feature some nifty choices for boys too! Favorites include Smaller by See Kai Run's Seamus and Alec shoes, See Kai Run's Agustin shoe, Umi Dimples, Livie and Luca's Emilios in Red, Salt Water Sandals are unisex, and you can get Rachel Riley's in a Classic Lace-Up. If only I could buy every pair!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tick tock, tick tock, I'm a little cuckoo clock: Decoylab Wall Clocks

"Tick Tock" is one of Pooka's absolute favorite songs. It never fails to elicit a big toothy grin! When we were designing Pooka's sleep space (have I ever mentioned we live in a studio? More on that another day!) I fell in love with Decoylab's faux Cuckoo Clock in orange. It's got a fun woodland theme that meshes nicely with our Amenity Meadow bedding. A friend of mine has the Night Owl Clock and its dreamy too! Looking for something in wood? Try one of the Modern Animal Clocks. I love the Owl! Aren't in the market for a clock? Then have at look Decoylabs whimsical prints. I'm a fan of the Animal Alphabet Poster, and the Snow Bubbles Print. Or how about the Afternoon Walk or Butterfly Lady print for your little ladies room? With Decoylab's great prices, you can afford to buy a clock and a print!

Ride 'em cowgirl! Petit Bateau's new western collection for spring

We recently returned from a lovely family vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. While there I was looking for something cute for Pooka to wear for a photo shoot to commemorate our trip. That's when I found this adorable new collection from Petit Bateau featuring a bandana print with horses, cowboys, and cactus'. What I really love about these prints are that they are not obviously western! The blue and white print looks more like resort wear than cowboys and indians. I got Pooka the Bandana Print Dress for Baby Girls with matching leggings. We're also a fan of the chambray Tunic Dress with gingham cuffs. Pair it with the cotton poplin Bandana with "Western Story" Print for a completely rockin' little cowgirl! For your little cow poke check out the Cowboy Polo Shirt or Cowboy Tee. So hitch up the horses, load the kids in the wagon, and ride on over to Petit Bateau to snatch up these cuties before they're gone and your kids will be singing Rawhide before you know it (...rollin', rollin', rollin', keep them doggies rollin'...)!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Don't stick that there! The Mobi (non-rectal) Digital Thermometer

In most relationships the mother is the big worrier, constantly wondering if her baby is healthy and happy. She bolts out of bed during the night when she hears a strange cry or worries that her baby hasn't met some developmental milestone in an appropriate time frame. In our family that role is reversed. My husband is the big worrier, and in the first few months of Pooka's life he was obsessed with taking her temperature. I'm sure this fear was heightened by our beloved pediatrician telling us that a fever over 100.4 in the first 8 weeks would result in our daughter being hospitalized and given a spinal tap to check for meningitis (eek!). Whatever the cause for his overcautiousness, the thermometer became a staple in our life. For a while we used a Vicks Rectal Baby Thermometer. It is specifically designed for being stuck you know where, with a very short end so you can't accidentally put the thermometer in too far. But eventually it stopped working after getting wet from it's many post-temp taking washes. For a short time we used a regular old digital thermometer until, horrors of horrors, I put it in too far and had visions of a perforated intestine (double eek!). The next day I trekked over to Giggle on the UES, the denizen of all baby things cool, and found the Mobi Digital Thermometer. Life suddenly seemed brighter! No more discomfort for me or Pooka, and Dada can take her temperature anytime of the day or night (and he has!) without disturbing our wee one. We simply hold the thermometer to Pooka's forehead or temple to get a quick reading. And even cooler, the Mobi talks to us! That's right folks, a lovely sounding British woman says " Your body temperature is 98.6 degrees Farenheit." You can turn that feature off for night time temp checks so it doesn't wake baby. The thermometer also has some nice added features like displaying the room temperature and date. The Mobi has definitely given us some piece of mind, and greatly reduced Pooka's subjection to regular anal probing. So far we haven't had a major fever to record on the Mobi, but we have successfully checked it against the old fashioned style to test its accurateness. If Pooka were ever to read a fever on her Mobi, I would likely follow up with a rectal reading from regular thermometer as well, but the key to the Mobi is that my husband can check her fever anytime he feels like it without ever taking off her diaper!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Luxe Life: Kate Spade Bon Mot X-Ray Coal Baby Bag

Kate Spade holds a special place in my heart. I got my first bag in college and it opened my eyes to the world of designer handbags. Her bags were just making a splash back then, and I felt so swank when I carried my brown nylon tote around town. In fact, I still own that bag and it makes a guest appearance now and again. The Bon Mot X-Ray Baby Bag in Coal embodies Kate's signature style with it's whimsical illustrations of the likely contents of your diaper bag. I love the strong navy and orange colors, and it will look great next to your towel by the pool in St. Barth's or on the sand in Nantucket this summer. The bag has plenty of pockets for storing all your baby gear and although it is canvas on the outside it has a waterproof interior to deal with the inevitable spills that come along with mommyhood! Pair it with this marvelous Mysie Top by Calypso (in KNCKERS) and you will look fresh and ready to take on anything your baby throws at you (with Pooka it's usually peas!).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Get Unplugged on A Rug at the Great Green Playdate!

Unplugged on a Rug is the brain child of two moms and former teachers Natalie Cronin Reyes and Ofrit Shirian Peres. Natalie is the National Childhood Development Director for Kidville, and Ofrit's has a music background and is the founder of the Rug Bug music program currently running in Brooklyn. Once a month these two ladies host a fantastic event called the Great, Green Playdate. I'm sure you can all remember how much fun it was to play with a big empty box, well the Great, Green Playdate embraces this idea and takes it a step further. The event, designed for kids from birth to age 4, focuses on creative ways to play and entertain your child by recycling things found in your own home and encouraging imaginative play. The playdate also incorporates music, games, and our favorite part, the call and repeat drum circle using empty boxes. The event we attended in December even had a violinist walking among the children as they played with pillows, scarves, water bottles filled with beads, feathers, or glitter, and the amazingly simple boBle tumbling toys (read more about our love of bObles here). With the motto "Changing the world through play," you will never look at an old scarf or an empty canister of oatmeal the same way again! It's definitely an event you won't want to miss! And did I mention that 50% of all the proceeds go to children's charities? The donations are currently going to support the Max Cure Foundation and their work researching rare pediatric cancers. The next Great, Green Playdate is Friday, February 19th at Kidville in Tribeca. Watch this video to get a better idea of what goes on at the Great, Green Playdate! All are welcome, and you can register for the playdate here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Boon Obsession!

Last week I spoke at the Big City Moms Expectant Moms Dinner on the best items for your baby registry. You can see the five products I recommended last night in this previous post. While at the dinner I had the opportunity to speak some great folks from Boon Inc. and share with them how much I loved their products. Then I realized I should probably share with you, my devoted fan base, the many Boon products we love and why we love them. I should specify that I have never received any free products from Boon, so my love is totally unadulterated.

Ok, where to start? I realized as the Boon folks presented their products that I actually owned the majority of them. I guess I'll start with my first crush item, the Benders Adaptable Utensils. We had a few different spoons when Pooka started eating solids, but found these to be the best. The spoon isn't too big for her mouth, and it's just the right depth to get her a good mouthful without a ton of food squishing back out. As your baby grows they will be able to feed themselves with these utensils because they are the perfect size, and the heads can be bent to help your uncoordinated wee one get the head of the fork or spoon into their mouth (Pooka is working on that). Since we are on the topic of feeding, we are also completely enamored with the Squirt Baby Food Dispensing Spoon. If I had a nickel for every mom who said, "I wish they had that when my kids were young" Pooka's preschool tuition would be covered. The spoon has a reservoir that holds up to 3 oz. of baby food that you can squeeze directly into the spoon. We use it in the car and out and about. Need something to serve your food in? We have the Saucer Stay-Put Divided Plate. We are using it now for finger foods, but will use it for all types of food when Pooka gets more coordinated with her spoon. Wee ones have a difficult time picking the plate up thanks to the rubber ring along the bottom. It should keep the UFO's to a minimum. And don't forget about snacks. We love the Snack Ball because unlike a snack trap, Pooka can only get into this one when I open it for her. It's round shape makes it easy to toss in your bag and find it again, and doubles as a fun ball for Pooka to roll around and play with when we are out and about. Finally, dry your Boon products on the high style design of the Grass Countertop Drying Rack. It's so cute we leave it on our counter all the time (and to be honest there is always something drying on it), and sometimes you can even spy some grownup items drying on the grass.

Boon's products also populate the bath. They are most famous for their first product, the Frog Pod and its newer sister the Bug Pod. They are one of the few products we don't have (we have gorgeous new carrara marble tiles in the bath and I couldn't bare to hang anything on them!) but hear nothing but great reviews. We do, however, have Bob the Odd Duck and the Splat Floating Ring Toss. We love Bob because he doesn't have any holes to fill up with water and leak out later after bath time is over (Pooka loves to bring her bath toys into the living area). She is also infatuated with the rings from the Splat and carries them all over the apartment, and because all Boon products are BPA, phalate, and PVC free I have no problem letting her chew on them to her heart's content.

So needless to say we own quite a few Boon products already, but there are still some on the list we would love to have. I'm dying for a Stash Multi-Room Organizer to keep bottles, snack balls, etc in so they don't clutter up the kitchen counter. Your child will clearly have the coolest sippy in play group with the intriguing design of the Fluid Toddler Cup. And eventually we'll have to invest in the Potty Bench!

Whichever Boon products you choose they will likely became as indispensable as they have for us! And did I mention that 10% of all profits are donated to children's charities like Helping Orphans Worldwide and the Child Crisis Center!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Too Sweet: NYC Valentine's Day Events for your little Cupid

What could be sweeter than spending Valentine's with your wee one? I'm thinking this might be my favorite Valentine's Day so far, and my husband and I have had some pretty good ones. But seriously, what could compete with having your own real live cherub to snuggle with? Maybe I could get Pooka a little bow and arrow, dress her up as Cupid and have her shoot Dada as he comes in the door. Or maybe not...Perhaps the best part is all the Valentine's activities going on this week for you and your cherub. There tons to choose from, but here are a few of the best.

Big City Moms is hosting two fab V-Day events this week. The first is a Mommy and Me Valentine's Soiree on Friday, February 12th from 11:00AM-12:30PM at Dylan's Candy Bar. The event will feature music by one of our favorites, Rockin' with Andy, plus craft activities, candy, food, and photos. If your looking for a whole family event Big City Moms is also hosting the Sweetest Valentine's Day Party Ever at Kidville on the UES on Sunday, February 14th from 11:00AM to 1:00PM. Featuring a Little Maestro's concert, games, food, candy, family portraits with Suzanne Cohen, and use of the amazing Kidville gym. This is a family friendly event, so bring siblings, dadas, grandparents and more! And I can only assume that BCM will be doing their amazing baby gear raffles at these events. I never walk away empty handed from one of their events.

Diva Moms is also getting in on the V-day action with their 6th Annual Divalysscious Valentine's Day Party at Dylan's Candy Bar on Saturday, february 14th from 11:00AM - 1:00PM. Featuring a performance by Broadway Babies and activities including chocolate decorating, jewelry making, picture frame decorating, family portraits, and tasty sweets.

Baby Bites is hosting a Mommy and Me Valentine's Day Lunch at the Roger Smith Hotel on Friday, February 12th from 12:00PM-2:00PM. This event features a Little Maestro's concert, photos, and raffle for a Chicco Stroller and Boon high chair.

Interested in less child oriented music? Then grab tickets to the Baby Loves Disco Valentine's Disco Ball on Sunday, February 14th from 12:00PM to 3:00PM at Le Poisson Rouge on Bleeker St. There will be music, hula hooping, a bubble machine, snacks, juices, and of course dancing to the grooviest tunes from the 70's and 80's.

For more ideas, check the Time Out NY Kids Valentine's Day event calendar. Some of our other favorites this week include Clifford's Valentines Day Party at FAO Schwartz on Thursday, February 11th, Sailor Valentine's made with shells and other ocean items at the South Street Seaport Museum on Saturday, Febraury 14th, and Chocolate for Tinies at Chocolate and I, New York on Saturday, February 14th.

Seems like you can't go wrong with whatever event you chose. We'll be hitting the Big City Mom events, so maybe we'll see you there!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Super Sippy Cuteness: MAM Baby's New Products

I have to say that I totally heart Austrian-based MAM (pronounced "Mom") products. Pooka and I have been through several bottle styles, but really fell hard for the MAM Anti-Colic bottles. Unlike most of the other anti-colic choices on the market, MAM bottles are super easy to take apart and clean without needing specialized brushes or worrying about tiny pieces growing mold where I can't see it. This is especially important to me because I don't have a dishwasher or sterilizer in my tiny NYC kitchen. The bottles have a great nipple style (they refer to them as teats) that mimic Mama's own and is designed to be harmonious with breast feeding. We never had a problem with switching between breast and bottle with our MAM's. I should also mention that the bottles are very cute, coming in pink, purple, aqua and light blue.

New to the market for MAM is a line of sippy cups. The lovely ladies I met from MAM sent me the new sippy's to test and we adore them. You can start with the Hold Me Bottle as a transition from breast or bottle towards sippy cups. Then move on to the Trainer Cup with perfect sized handles for wee ones and a hybrid nipple/sippy spout. Pooka is using this one frequently now, and can even tilt it up and hold it by herself. The final stage is the Learn to Drink Cup which has a harder spout and no handles. Pooka is just starting to try this cup. They became available in stores last month, so go out and get yourself one and be the first on your block to have one.

MAM has tons of other great products to check out like their famous pacifiers. We sampled the new Air Pacifier that is open around the mouth so the skin can breathe and reduce rashes from frequent paci use. Other products we love are the Starter and Clip teether and Massaging Brush for sore gums and first teeth. Oh, and I forgot to mention that all MAM products are BPA free! What's not to love?