Saturday, February 28, 2009

Supernanny Giveaway Winner!

The lucky winner is comment #10! (E-mail me at snedfam@gmail.com)


Johnson Family said...
I love Supernanny! And I am sure I could use some of the tips in the book!


Thanks for entering everyone.  There will be another great giveaway soon!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

After learning to walk, it seems like toddlers start to get very curious.  They will start testing their limits and getting into anything and everything.  I remember Chandler trying again and again when he was about 18 months old to open a door.  After much effort, he figured it out.  It was ALL downhill from then.  He's gone outside multiple times, opened his brother's door and gotten into his crib with him, gotten into the bathroom and all of my makeup....and much more.  The solution?  Simple - Door Knob Covers!

Pros:  These covers come apart into two pieces.  It then has 3 grooves where it snaps into place as you put it over the door knob.  They then have sort of a loose fit.  If your child tries to open the door, the cover just spins around the knob and They work on all sorts of door knobs.  We've used them on regular round knobs in our apartments and home.  They also work great on door knobs that aren't quite round.  In order for an adult to open the door, you just pinch the two gray grooves on either side together.  This allows you to grip the knob in order to open it.  Chan is almost 3 1/2 and still hasn't figured out how these work.  Nice, huh?  They are also very durable and easy to take on and off.  The picture shows these in white, but I have found them in clear at Walmart and like the clear design better.  They aren't as noticable.  These are also very affordable and are only about $2-3 for a 2 pack.

Cons:  There have been times when the cover is in two pieces that I have a hard time putting it back together.  Maybe it's just me because my husband laughs and does it for me.  I, however, think that it could be designed a bit better so it is easier to put together.  After time, and enough fiddling by your toddler, they come apart easily.  This has happened with 2 of the knobs we have bought.

The Bottom Line:  A great way to babyproof doors, a must have!

Price: $2-3 for a 2 pack  (Diapers.com even sells them in a 4 pack for $3.79.)

Where to Buy: Walmart, Target, Diapers.com

Rating:  Great

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Free Baby Blanket


Babies One Step is giving away a free baby blanket with a cute stuffed animal, until March 15, or while supplies last.  Isn't it cute?  There are 3 to choose from, and you do have to confirm your e-mail to get the freebie. There's definitely one headed my way.   Click Here for the free blanket! I saw this deal on Money Saving Methods. It's a site I have bookmarked and has already saved me tons.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Signing Time DVD's Deal

If any of you have ever watched the signing time dvd's or want to encourage sign language with your baby or child, the signing time dvd's are a great way to start.  Best Buy has 2 different gift sets that have 3 dvds on sale for $14.99.  These are normally retailed at $60, so this is an awesome deal!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Baby Proofing

I had a request for baby proofing and thought it was a really good idea. I don't consider myself an expert, and I've improvised many times to try to baby proof. So here are a few ideas and tips to get you started. In later posts, I will review different products that we are actually using to baby proof and why we do or do not like them.

My very first tip would be to get on the floor. I'm sure you will feel awesome doing this right? Yes you may feel dumb, but crawl around and see things that you could "get in to." Babies have a totally different perspective. They don't see the world from a 5 foot + perspective. By getting down on the floor you will see things that you might not have noticed before. And believe me, your little one will find every cheerio, every dust bunny and more....and then will proceed to eat them all :)

I notice that my home is most baby proofed when I keep it clean. It seems like simple common sense, but it really works. If there is a lot of clutter, you better bet your baby/toddler will get into anything within their reach. By keeping your home clean, you also avoid choking hazards. Babies use their mouths to experience the world and will put anything in their mouth - it's just second nature. In fact, I pulled a crayon out of Rowan's mouth today and found a penny in there the other day. I know well where the crayon came from, it's called his 3 year old brother, but I have no idea where the penny came from. It's scary to think how easily he could have choked on that penny.

Another tip for baby proofing is to give your baby their own designated cupboards.I have a cupboard in the kitchen that just has pots and pans in it. It is easily accessible to Rowan and he knows he can get into it. (It used to be the drawer under the oven when we lived in our apartment - alas the picture.)  He loves having the independence and not being told no, and also getting to play with the pots and pans. This is something I wish I would have done when Chandler was a baby. He got into every cupboard and was always making huge messes. I didn't restrict him or give him his own cupboards, and although it was fun for him, there was always a mess for me to clean up.

Something else that should be common sense is to make sure all cleaners, sharp objects, medicines, etc are kept up high or locked up.

Make sure your bookshelves and dressers are secure. Chandler has a pretty light dresser in his room and Rowan pulled it over on himself one time when he started pulling up. We fixed the problem by making sure there was more weight in the dresser and then tried ourselves to pull it over.

This last tip seems funny but has worked for us. At around 8 months when Rowan started crawling and getting into things, I would tell him no in a firm voice. Although he didn't necessarily understand what no meant at first, he understands it perfectly now at 13 months. I was consistent in telling him no and gave him alternatives of things he could do or play with. We have a gas fireplace in our basement and I was really nervous when we moved into our home 2 months ago. We thought about getting something to go around it, but decided to see how Rowan acted with it. When he would go near it, we would say, "No...hot!" I would hold his hand close to the fireplace so he could feel how hot it was. He kept testing his limits and we kept telling him no in a nice but firm voice. This last month he hasn't gotten close to the fireplace as he knows he isn't supposed to. I thought it was young for him to understand this, but it's been a great way for us to baby proof.

I know some of these tips might not be what you were expecting, but from a mom's view, it is a few things that have worked for us. It is important to try different baby proofing methods and decide what works for you. I remember someone once telling me, "Take what advice you like, and use it. Whatever you don't like, just throw it out the window." Simple enough, right? Good luck with your baby proofing and watch for reviews on different products that will help baby proof your home!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Playskool Shape Sorter

Shape sorters are great educational toys.  They help teach shapes and encourage your child to problem solve.  It is a basic toy that I'm sure you will find in many toddler's playrooms.  


Pros:  This shape sorter is very durable.  It's made of a hard plastic, and measures just over 5" by 5". No matter how much it has been thrown, stepped on, etc, it has still held up.  It has holes for 18 shapes and is great for teaching basic shapes.  We picked this particular toy up at Kohl's just before Chandler turned 2.  He was engrossed in playing with it the entire afternoon while my mom and I shopped.  He continued to play with it at home and still plays with it to this day.  He would hold up a shape, I would tell him the name of the shape and he would try to find where it went.  Chandler can name all of his shapes now, and I'm sure that has much to do with the shape sorter.  Each side of the shape sorter is finished with a different texture to also stimulate touch.  It has stripes on 2 sides, raised dots on 2, and raised triangles on the other two sides.  The top of the shape sorter opens on one side, making it easy access to get the shapes out.  It did take Chandler a bit to get ahold of the concept of opening it, as it is hinged and only opens on one side. The shapes have the fun textures on them and come in red, orange, and yellow.  They are chunky and are great for little hands to hold and grasp. Although this toy is recommended for children 12-36 months, Chandler still enjoys playing with it, and he turned 3 almost 4 months ago.  Another pro - this toy is extremely affordable.  We bought it on clearance for $3, but regular price is $5-6.  So it's a great toy without breaking the bank.

Cons:  The top part of the sorter where you open it up to get the shapes out comes off.  This usually happens if Chandler has been too rough with the toy or throws it.  It easily fits back into the grooves though as it is a hinged lid and is a quick fix.  

The Bottom Line:  Great educational toy, great price, durable, bright and fun.

Price:  $4.99

Where to Buy: Hasbro Toy Shop, Target, Walmart, Kohls

Rating: Excellent

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I'm sure many of you reading have seen Supernanny.  If you haven't, set your dvr, or do a little research on her.  

Jo Frost is her name.  And she is amazing.  I marvel at the homes she goes into and how she turns these children around.  
Here is a little bio about her, from ABC:

"Jo Frost, the star of ABC's new reality show, "Supernanny," says that children have been a big part of her life from the beginning. She's always had a gift for connecting with kids on their own level, and began babysitting as a teenager. After college she embarked on nannying as a career, and over 15 years she has honed her successful methods of child-rearing with hands-on, real-life experience. She has managed all manner of child-rearing challenges -- from potty training and sibling rivalry to sleep issues and tantrums -- over her years working in temporary, long-term and trouble-shooting jobs."

As many of you know, my older little boy Chandler is constantly testing his limits.  He is a VERY free spirit and has been delayed a bit in his communication.  While he is catching up, we've had our fair share of power struggles trying to communicate.  Last year for my birthday, my sister gave me the Supernanny book:  How to Get the Best from Your Children.  At the time we were struggling with discipline and bedtime.  Chandler was extremely defiant and would get out of bed countless times at night.  He'd also scream if we didn't lay with him until he fell asleep.  I was ready to try anything, and so I embraced Supernanny's book with both arms.

Pros:  This book is great for kids of all ages.  It gives you an idea of what to expect from baby to preschoolers and beyond.  Supernanny has 10 rules that she lives by:
1.  Praise and Rewards
2.  Consistency
3.  Routine
4.  Boundaries
5.  Discipline
6.  Warnings
7. Explanations
8. Restraint (for the parent)
9. Responsibility
10.  Relaxation
I wish I could go more into detail, but there is so much in this book as it is over 200 pages.  One Supernanny technique we have implemented is the "Naughty Spot"  I have a whole post about it on my family blog.  You can check it out here.  We also used a bedtime technique that she suggests and it works wonders.  Other things that she focuses on in her book:  Dressing, Toilet Training, Eating, Social Skills, Bedtime, and Quality Time.  
A huge thing that has helped for us is consistency.  If we are consistent with our routine, praise, discipline, eating, etc - then our kids always know what to expect.  I could go on and on about this book, but you get the idea of how I feel about her theories.

Cons:  I can't find one Con with this book or her techniques. 

The Bottom Line:  Great book with great parenting techniques

Price:  $15.95

Where to Buy:  Any bookstore near you, Amazon

Rating:  Excellent

P.S.  I LOVE this book so much, I'm GIVING one away!  Leave a comment below to enter! (You have until Feb 27th to enter and winners will be announced Feb 28th!)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Last week, I reviewed Method's Squeaky Green Baby Wash.  Since I really liked this product, I decided to try out the baby lotion as well.


Pros:  This has the same rice milk + mallow scent.  It's nice to be able to use a wash and then a lotion that smells the same.  That way they compliment each other.  It has many of the same great features as the wash such as:
* 95% natural
*gentle and non-irritating
*pediatrician tested
*hypo-allergenic
*paraben free.
The design of this is also very mod and cute.  The lotion seems to absorb quickly and seems like it would be great for sensitive skin.

Cons:  I loved the baby wash.  I thought it did a good job moisturizing and smelled great.  The lotion on the other hand, I don't think is so great.  It is really thin and watery, so you have to use more.  It does absorb well, but doesn't really moisturize all that great.  I noticed that Chandler's skin looked dry just a few hours after his bath.  And his eczema seemed to start flaring up again after we'd used this a few times.  It's fine to use on Rowan as he doesn't have a problem with eczema.  It's also a little pricey - $7 for 8 ounces.  I use a lot of lotion on my boys after they get out of the bath, and we would fly through this little bottle in less than a month.  If I'm going to buy a lotion, I expect it to moisturize...wouldn't you?

The Bottom Line: An eco friendly lotion that smells great...and that's about it.  Doesn't work well.

Price:  $7 for 8 oz

Where to Buy:  Target, Method Online, Diapers.com

Rating:  Not So Great

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Baby Einstein Winners

Thanks for your feedback everyone!  I'm excited to review some of the products you suggested.  I'm going to be looking for guest reviewers on some of the bigger ticket items, like car seats, strollers, etc.  I don't like to review products that I haven't personally used because I don't feel like I can give an honest review if I haven't used it.  

Anyways, back to the giveaway.  We had 51 entries, and here are the winners via random number generator:
 







Entry #17
Cory and Becca said...

I hope I win!

Entry #47
Oesterle Family said...

I would Love it if you did a review on backpack carriers. Our daughter has outgrown her bjorn and we are looking for a carrier for hikes this summer. There is such a price range. Does more $$$ mean a better product????


Oh, and did I mention I'm feeling generous since it was my birthday yesterday? :)  Remember that cute Land's End wash cloth and duck set?  I think I'll give one of those away too. That winner:


 




Entry #32

Just the five of us said... 

I would like reviews on toddler snacks, example puffs,

If you see your comment here, please e-mail me your addresses at snedfam@gmail.com.  

Thanks everyone!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Land's End Washcloth Deal


I just saw this on slickdeals and thought I would share.  Land's End has a cute Baby Gift Set that includes 5 embroidered wash cloths and a rubber duck for $6.99.  Shipping is free when you use the code TULIP and pin 0000672.  It is originally $16.50.  If you've ever bought anything from Land's End you know what good quality it is.  Great deal!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New Domain!

If you haven't noticed, when you come to the site now, you are redirected to the new domain!  If you would change your bookmarks to: 

http://www.babesandkidsreview.com
Thanks!
P.S. - I accessed this site from a different computer and noticed the header looked funny, it was off.  Does it look ok on your computer or do I need to try to tweak it?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It seems like we are still experimenting with sippy cups.  If I find one that looks new or that I haven't tried yet, I'm up for giving it a go.  If you are a new reader to this site, I reviewed sippy cups last fall.  You can find the reviews in the "sippy cup" labels on the right hand side.  Back to the Gerber Graduates Tossable cups.


Pros:  These are super cute cups.  They come in a three pack, and feature a monkey, tiger, and hippo.  They have held up better than other tossable sippy cups I have purchased.  We've had them 3 months without any cracking, which is nice.  On most take and toss sippy cups, the lid just snaps on.  If you child decides to drop, throw, or drop kick the cup,  (Come on....kids do this right? ;) ) the lid comes right off and the entire drink spills.  These cups have lids that screw on and stay put.  The lid is made of a harder plastic that you see in traditional sippy cups which also makes it more durable.  The lids and cups are all interchangable and my 3 year old loves to use these at meals because they are fun cups. 

Cons:  This is supposed to be a spill proof cup.  I personally don't get this - it isn't spill proof at all.  The sippy spout is open without any type of valve.  From day one, if you turn it up at all, it leaks and starts spilling out quite quickly.  I'm not sure how they can claim these to be spill proof.   The lid is also a bit funny when you twist it on.  Sometimes if you don't do it just right, it leaks, and quite a bit.  

The Bottom Line:  Cute, durable cups, but not leak proof at all.

Where to Buy:  Target

Price:  $3.50 for a 3 pack

Rating:  OK