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 Diapers.com 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 lifewithpooka@gmail.com

2. Follow @lifewithpooka on Twitter and tweet "RT and follow @lifewithpooka for a chance to win a darling Rosie Dress from @pinkchickenNYC - http://bit.ly/a16I6m"

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!