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Product Review – LuminAID Light

LuminAID_Folded-1024x527Since LTD and BB share a room one of the challenges has been dealing with their different bedtimes. One way we have dealt with the situation is by letting LTD use a flashlight. But as long time BTCS readers know LTD loves anything that is even remotely close to being robotic. I blew it up and gave the little guy the LuminAID solar-powered, inflatable light. Sure the lightweight and waterproof light is designed for camping and disaster relief, but hell it also works awesome in a home-made sheet and pillow fort. The company has also sponsored and lit charitiy project all over the world so I don’t feel so bad using their light under a blanket instead of in Haiti. In short, any light that I inflate in front of LTD is worth the price of admission. 

Product Review – Shower Wands

RickieLargeA confession of sorts, we have never been the best about making the kids take as many baths as they probably should. However, now that BB is getting a lot of food (a lot) in his hair the bath has become more and more of a “have to” instead of a “we should.” Rubber Duckie & Friends showerhead and wand distracts BB long enough for us to get the rice or pasta that usually embeds itself into his mane. The showerhead has a kid-friendly flow that doesn’t blow them out of the water, which is good as LTD always wants to use it as a squirt gun. The showerhead comes in a choice of animal designs including duck, frog and hippo. Our goal of course is not only to rinse the boys quickly which is hard because as difficult as it is to get the boys in the bath, of course, once in they never want to get out, but to transition LTD in to taking showers. 

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Product Review – Robot Turtles

robot-1900-loresspillSeeing this NYT article reminded me that LTD has been digging this game, Robot Turtles. Of course, he would have loved it based on the name alone, but he actually has been understanding it, which makes me feel slightly slow since he figured it out before I did. The game is designed to teach youngsters the basics computer programming and coding. I like it because even though it is about computers it is an actual board game and LTD has no real idea that it is about programming. The game has card like Use Laser and Function Frog so right off the bat we were in what my dad used to call, fat city. One of the “rules” is that the player must make funny turtle noises when moving and I must say that LTD’s robot turtle impression is not to be missed. One cool feature is that unlike the games of Trouble (with the pop-o-matic bubble) Robot Turtles can be played pretty quickly. The future is here when you can play a board game about coding for pres-schoolers and the future will really be here when LTD uses his new knowledge to replace me with a robot as he has threatened to do (don’t worry, he doesn’t use the word replace, he says he just wants a robot version of me as well, but I can see the writing on the wall). 

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Product Review – Think Fun

MoveA-1830-LoResSpill LTD received Zingo as a gift a few years ago and I have seen it in many homes. LTD recently rediscovered it in our house as our BB baby proofing resulted in a few things being put not only out of reach, but out of our memories. LTD’s continued screaming of Zingo got me thinking about other Think Fun items we have enjoyed. BB has been crushing on in his Move & Groove, while LTD has been taking his new 5 year old status out for a spin with Square By Square. BB has been learning to dance with Move & Groove or should I say The Mommy has been re-learning to dance with the bright plush cube. You roll the cube like dice and whatever color it lands on, you pick one of the matching dance move cards. The cards have categories including Workout, Body Parts & Silliness. Truthfully, he isn’t going to win Dance Fever any time soon, but he seems to enjoy watching us make fools of ourselves demonstrating the cards. Of course, LTD has fixated on the card instructing him to Dance like a Robot.

Speaking of LTD, heSquar-5952-LoResSpill has long enjoyed tan-grams and puzzles and so the Square By Square is challenging him pretty good these days. The game has 60 different puzzle cards to try and make on the square using 8 blue pieces and 6 green ones. The cards include hints so you do have to monitor him to prevent taking the easy way out. Okay, yes, I too have occasionally had to resort to using the hint to help him, but rarely. I also like that the game comes with a bag for easy travel.

Product Review – Trader Joes Pancakes

pancakesI never thought little pancakes would be a thing that I would ever care about, but becoming a parent has changed my feelings about many things. In the past five years sure my priorities changed, but so has the places I go and the food I buy. Obviously, Trader Joes has unbeatable prices and certainly is a great place to take the little ones. Of all their products the Little Pancakes that come frozen and heat in less than a microwave minute are the best. Why because you can not beat the simplicity. In short they are a game changer. LTD dips them in real maple syrup (I’m from Maine so our house is exclusively real syrup) and pops them in his mouth. Why is so amazing, because it normally takes him forever to finish a meal as he is easily distracted and has zero time management skills. However, five small pancakes in a circle on a plate with syrup in the middle streamline his breakfast like no other meal. I know what you’re thinking, why is he going on about pancakes? Anyone who has ever tried to get a child out of the house in the morning know all too well that you can’t do it alone. The Fates have to be on your side. And Trader Joes Pancakes may arrive frozen but they heat up our son’s slow morning routine.

Product Review – MAM Cups

MAM Learn to Drink Cup - 9ozSadly, BB is still having trouble in the solids department, but thankfully, he is okay with liquids. Now that we are beyond bottles it has been difficult to find a good cup not only that he likes, but is actually spill proof not just says its spill proof. The MAM line features what they call the Starter, Trainer, Learn to                       Drink, and Sports Cups. Each member of the family is BPA-free, PVC-free, lead-free and CPSIA-compliant (I have no idea what CPSIA is but it is probably good that they are compliant. Additionally, the cups are dishwasher safe which is a very good thing if you have ever left milk in a cup and that cup under the couch for many weeks. However, what is pretty cool is that MAM has a design feature on their site that allows you to pick from themes including animals, nature, rock n roll, but all of that is irrelevant because they only design feature that matters (to LTD anyway) is Monster. Right now we are happy that BB is enjoying his spill proof cups because his brother tends to get animated during meals and has been knocking over glasses left and right.MAM Trainer

Product Review – Ultrasonic Air Humidifier

duxxWinter is taking a toll on BB his skin is getting eczema and even though the heating system in our place suffers from a lack of quality the air is still dry as a bone. In terms of humidifiers the kind that take filters are particularly bothersome to me. I always forget to change them because they are hard to find and expensive. Duux’s energy efficient Ultrasonic Air Humidifier, in addition to making the room look like it is from the future, requires no filter as it generates that cool mist that prevents the boys from hacking in their sleep. The Mommy digs it because it features an auto shut off and because it has a built in nightlight, LTD thinks it’s a robot. Of course, I think it is cool, no pun intended, because it doesn’t make a lot of noise like the humidifier in our room that The Mommy uses on max which sounds like a plane landing on my face. The internal water tank lasts 8-10 hours which I wish was how long the boys slept.

Product Review – Tortle

baby laying downThere are a lot of boutique baby items out there that frankly, only The Mommy knows about and aren’t on my radar, but I think it is pretty cool that Target and buybuy Baby are selling more specialty baby products like the Tortle. I will pause while you laugh at the name. Turns out there is something out there kind of serious called Flat Head Syndrome. The Syndrome affects a ton of little ones. The Tortle is a lightweight knit beanie that helps prevent Flathead Syndrome. I can’t really explain it better than this: “The incidence of Plagiocephaly and Torticollis (or Flathead syndrome) has increased to epidemic proportions since 1992 with more than a million babies being diagnosed with the condition each year in the U.S. alone. This is due to their lack of movement and the amount of time infants spend on their back (the safest place for them to be). If left untreated, there can be long-standing problems. Treatment is frequently expensive and can be somewhat uncomfortable for a baby. Plagiocephaly and Torticollis are almost 100% preventable with repositioning and Tortle makes this safe and easy.” In the future, I expect to see more and more parent or doctor created specialty baby items at bigger stores, but for now my kid’s head is a cueball.

Product Review – Diaper Dude

Diaper DudeMany of the baby products geared specifically for “DAD” usually have some built in cheesiness and a wink that the maker feels is perfect for a product that they perceive to be traditionally female only merchandise. However, I like Diaper Dude’s take on the diaper bag (from Elm Baby) because it is basically gender neutral and sleek. The sturdy bag can handle the in and out constant nature of always needing the diaper bag. I also like the messenger bag design as I’m usually caring two kids. The Diaper Dude also comes with a changing pad that if you are like me you will always forget to use. When I’m carrying a bunch of kids around, I like to keep things clean and simple plus I get to say dude a lot if anyone asks about the bag. A video is here.

Product Review – SOL REPUBLIC

sol republicOne of my favorite things to do is watch Netflix in bed when everyone is asleep. Of course this means headphones. I have never felt comfortable or enjoyed wearing in ear phones and thus seek out traditional cushiony headphones. Tracks V8 headphones by SOL REPUBLIC make sense when you got young kids, who don’t really want you to enjoy watching Man of Steel wicked loud, because one of their main features is the headband listed as “virtually indestructible,” I mean this thing really twists and bends plus you can swap it out for a different color. Another cool feature that is also necessary when you have hyper youngsters or a baby that wakes up frequently during the night is the “single button mic + music control” which I use almost exclusively to pause my movie (at the good part) to calm a crying toddler. As I previously mentioned, since I’m in bed watching movies that The Mommy doesn’t care for and the kids aren’t old enough for the last thing that I think about is the hardcore bass that I dig during said nonfamily Expendables/high-body-count type movies. However, my new pastime could also be the reason I don’t sleep anymore since I added the HBO and Showtime apps to my phone, but publicly I will still blame the kids.