The Chirping Moms

March 27, 2015

Friday Favorites: Top Baby Feeding Products


I'm shocked at how many new baby feeding items are available this time around. I registered, and got most of my baby items when I was pregnant with my first child only 5 years ago. Now, with baby #3 it seems like there are so many new products on the market! Tommy has just started solids and he loves them. We're exploring new foods and trying some new feeding products along the way. Here are some of our favorite baby feeding items: 
Highchairs

Babybjorn: I have tried A LOT of high chairs and this is the most durable, light weight, easy to transport and easy to use highchair. It also takes up a lot less space than others, especially when closed/legs folded in. Right now it's 35% off on Amazon!

Stokke Steps:  Stokke's new chair is designed to bring baby to the table. You can use from infancy with the baby seat attachment, then a tray when the baby starts to eat, and then as a chair when they no longer need a tray. It's truly a chair that's worth the investment because you'll use it for a long time and for so many stages of your child's life. 

Stokke Trip Trapp: Similar to Stokke Steps in that they will will grow with your child. Children can use them from the time they can sit up until they are adults! Maggie and Alex still sit in a Trip Trapp (ages 3 & 5). They also make great desk chairs for bigger kids. They also come in many great colors! 

Bottles
 Evenflo: I've tried a lot of bottles, most of them with a lot of parts. This time I tried Evenflo's Classic Tinted Glass + Vented Bottles and really like them. I've also used the plastic version too. They are very reasonably priced and come with no extra parts to worry about and clean. The bottles come with Proflow™ Integrated Venting Nipple that directs air bubbles into the bottle - which means less gas.
Plates & Spoons 
Both of these brands are well made, easy to clean and all 3 of my kids have used & loved them.
Babybjorn
Munchkin
Bibs
While feeding my first 2 babies, I never found a brand of bibs that I really liked. We used an assortment, and almost all bibs that had to be cleaned in the washing machine. This time around, I've found 2 brands that I love. Both are really easy to simply wipe clean!
Babybjorn
Bumpkins
Innovative Products
I've seen a lot of new feeding products in the past few months, but these two are by far the most innovative and useful:

Born Free Bottle Genius: Do you use a Keurig to make your coffee? We do, and it's so much easier, faster and less mess than when we used to use a regular coffee pot. The Born Free Bottle Genius does the same thing for bottle making. I couldn't believe how easy it was, and it's definitely a gadget dads will like too.  It has an easy to use dial that lets you accurately  measure how much you want to make: ranging from 2 – 10 ounces. The SmartScale technology automatically portions out formula and water for the perfect bottle, every time. You can even choose between room temperature or warm bottles. The best part is it works with all major bottle brands and all powder formula brands. This is seriously such a cool product! 


Boon SUDS Bottle Washer: With the girls, I'd spend time trying to scrub bottles clean and still felt like I'd see a gross film on them. Washing bottles was always something I dreaded doing at the end of the day. NOW our bottles are super clean, super fast, thanks to the Boon SUDS. This little gadget sells for about $22 (you can find at Target or on Amazon) and washes bottles in just a few seconds with it's simple one-handed pump operation. SUDS fits right in your sink basin and with it's water jet and spinning scrubbing action, ensures thorough cleaning. Here's the best part: it's so easy, you could have the older siblings take over bottle cleaning!

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March 26, 2015

Simple Tips for Keeping the Family Healthy This Spring & Summer

Compensation was provided by Nestle Pure Life via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Nestle Pure Life.



The last of the snow has melted from our yard, and once again we can spend all afternoon playing outside. I've been counting down the days until spring and the return of long, active days outdoors. We are lucky to live in a town with plenty of great places to walk to. We love walking into town and meeting friends at the parks to play. Now that I have three kids in tow, I find getting out of the house a bit hectic. Once we're out, we could stay outside for hours. It's just getting out the door that's tricky! 
A friend will ask us to come to the park and all of a sudden we need to feed and dress the baby, get sneakers and sweatshirts on the big kids, remind everyone to use the bathroom, grab the carrier for the baby, decide if we'll take a stroller, throw everything we might need into a diaper bag and head for the door. Then, it's always as we're walking out the door, I remember everyone is going to want a snack while we're out. So I yell to the kids "grab some fruit snacks" because it's one snack they can grab themselves and carry along with us. I completely forget drinks for all of us. Now as much as my kids love fruit snacks, they're certainly not the best daily snack, and when little ones are running around wild at the park, they certainly need to stay hydrated. Also, the person I was never remembering anything for, was me. As an active, nursing mom, it's really important for me to stay hydrated too.
I needed a game plan before the spring and summer got into full swing. So here's what I did:
I created a "to-go" bin in our refrigerator. I stocked it with mini Nestle Pure Life water bottles, bags of veggies, cheese and fruit. Now, when we are heading out the door and I know we'll need snacks, I can tell the girls "grab a snack and drink from the bin".  I placed it on a low shelf in the refrigerator so they can easily grab the snacks and water themselves. I knew they wouldn't be nearly as thrilled about bags of veggies as bags of fruit snacks, so I thought ahead and got a bin with pink flowers on it. They thought it was "so pretty" and are now excited to see what I put in the snack bin. To stay on top of having the bin filled, I try to cut up fruit and veggies as soon as I get groceries. Another thing I started doing is cutting extra when I already have fruit or veggies out. For example, if i'm cutting up strawberries for breakfast, I cut extra, put them in a baggie or container and then place them right into our "to-go" bin in the refrigerator. This saves time and keeps the bin stocked. 
Next to the bin I lined up some Nestle Pure Life water bottles in an "adult size" for me. With water on hand, right next to the kids' drinks and snacks, I'm finally remembering to grab something for myself too. When I spend hours pushing a double stroller and chasing kids around a park, I feel so much better when I stay hydrated. Now that we have our healthy "to-go" bin and water at the ready, I feel a lot more prepared for a healthy spring and summer. Sometimes it's something so simple that can get the family drinking more water and eating more healthy snacks. 
Nestle Pure Life: 12 Steps to Quality. It's not just our process, it's our promise.
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March 25, 2015

Where to Wednesday: Easter in New York City

If you'll be in New York City for Easter this year, we suggest making Langham Place part of your holiday. There are so many ways to create a festive, memorable Easter for your family in the city: the parade down 5th Ave, Central Park and beautiful services at St. Patrick's Cathedral. If you're looking for somewhere special to eat, Langham Place has a lot to offer families this Easter. 

Their chef,  Chef David Vandenabeele has created a special Easter Afternoon Tea that will be served throughout the weekend. You can attend on Saturday during regular Afternoon Tea service, starting at 2 pm; and on Sunday as part of their regular Family Brunch. Their family brunch, “Tunes with Tina”, is a fun kids’ cabaret with live music performed by Tina de Varon. 

Chef Vandenabeele is a veteran of The Langham, London, which is the hotel that first began serving an Afternoon Tea meal service in 186. So he is well-versed in the tea-time tradition!  

The Easter Afternoon Tea menu features three delicious courses:
Savory: Free Range Egg Rolls with Micro Herbs; Warm Scallop Quiche; and Asparagus and French Ham
Sweets: Carrot Cup Cake, Strawberry Cheesecake Filled Strawberries and Easter Profiterole
Hot: Nutmeg and Cinnamon scones, served with clotted cream and house-made jam.  
Tea pairings are hand selected by the team at In Pursuit of Tea. 

There's even a special Kids’ Easter Afternoon Tea Menu for the little ones! The kids' menu includes the same three courses but with different dishes.
Savory: Frosted Flake Crusted PB&J Sandwich, Devilled Egg Chicks and Cheese & Toast
Sweet: Easter Egg Cup Cakes,  Chocolate Bunnies and Vanilla Ice Cream Puffs 
Hot: Scones with homemade jam and clotted cream.

This sounds like the perfect addition to a family holiday in New York City. There will certainly be special Easter memories made at Langham Place this Easter! 


Photo courtesy of Langham Place.
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March 24, 2015

An Easy Crockpot Recipe the Whole Family Will Love: Honey Sesame Drumsticks

My crew doesn't love chicken drumsticks, but I do because they're a cost efficient way to feed a family. I had a large package of chicken drumsticks and wanted to try a new recipe that might change my families mind. I browsed a few recipes and didn't have all of the ingredients for any of them. I decided to combine a few ideas I saw on Pinterest. The experiment turned into a new family favorite! My husband said it was the best chicken I have ever made and the kids loved it. I made it a few more times to make sure my experiment wasn't a fluke. I've also made it with boneless chicken breasts in the crockpot and used over salad. 
Honey Sesame Crockpot Chicken Drumsticks 

Ingredients: 
8 chicken drumsticks (can also use chicken thighs and/or chicken breasts)
Sprinkle of pepper
Sprinkle of ground ginger (if you have it)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
Directions: 
Place the chicken into the crockpot. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl to make a sauce. Pour over the chicken. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 4-5 hours. I usually serve it with white or brown rice. Enjoy!
Food photos from FreshDirect.com, where I always order my groceries.
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March 20, 2015

10 Car Must-Haves for Families

With spring just around the corner, I know that I need to take some time once it warms up to get that car cleaned & organized.  After a freezing cold and long winter, you don't even want to know what collects in that mini-van of ours.  Cheerios, wrappers, lost toys, socks, & I am sure so much more is sitting on the floor of that van as we hustle in and out of all winter long.  It's time to get that car some love with some much needed cleaning.  (That's usually my husband's job!)  After it gets sparkling clean, it's time to get that car organized and ready for spring and summer adventures.  I don't like to have a cluttered car, but with three kids, there are certain things I have learned to have on hand in the car to keep us prepared for all situations while we are out on the run.  Today, I am sharing ten things to have on hand in the family car so you will be all set to be out and about all spring and summer long!

10 Items to have in Car if you have Kids || The Chirping Moms

1.  Entertainment for the Children:  An easy solution is to get a small basket or bin & stock it with small toys and books.  When the kids get in, they can grab a toy or book to play with in their seat & when they get out, everything goes back in the bin.  Rotate the toys on a monthly basis.  This is also the spot where you can put "happy meal" toys & other random trinkets.  It keeps the toys contained, but gives your child some entertainment while on the road.

2.  DVD's & Music:  Speaking of entertainment, another thing that I always have on hand in my car are a few kid music selections and DVD's (if you have a DVD player).  We often put Pandora on through our bluetooth system in the car, but also will sometimes pop in books on cd of our own (or ones that we have checked out from the library).  My kids don't watch DVD's in the car often as that is their special treat for long car rides (then they can watch as much as they want).  But I do always have a few on hand for necessary measures & try to mix some more educational ones in with the fun ones.  If I'm out running errands right before nap time, sometimes I pop one in to keep my littlest one awake so she will sleep once we get home.  If I am driving during "meltdown hour" during rush-hour traffic, then of course I will pop in a movie to keep the kids entertained and my head on the road!

3.  Hand Sanitizer & Wet Ones:  These are for the moments where you need clean faces & clean hands.  You will use these a lot so keep your car well-stocked!

4.  Snacks and Drinks:  I always keep a stash of emergency snacks & drinks in my car.  For snacks, single-serve snack packs or applesauce pouches work great.  For drinks, keep a few juice boxes & bottles of water in the car and you should be good to go.  No tears about hunger or thirst!

5.  First-Aid Kit:  Stock a small first-aid kit with all your basic needs such as band-aids, neosporin, travel-sized sunscreen, bug spray, hand sanitizer, & whatever else you may need.  

6.  Trash Can:  I keep a plastic cereal dispenser between the driver's seat and passenger seat where all trash goes.  It really helps with trash around the car & is easy to get rid of the trash and reuse.

7.  Spare Clothes:  With little kids, you never know what is going to happen so it's great to have a spare change of clothes.  The full outfit, including shoes, socks, pants, & shirt.  Trust me, we have had moments where we have needed it & an extra pair of shoes has definitely been used when I realize that my kids forgot to put their shoes on when they got in the car!

8.  Diapers & Wipes:  Throw a small container of wipes and a few spare diapers in the glove compartment and you will never run out of diapers and wipes on the go.

9.  Blanket:  I always have a blanket in the car once the weather warms up because we often will have lunch on the go at parks and playgrounds.  Something like this would be perfect!

10.  Stroller:  With three little ones, I always have a stroller in my car as there is at least one who would rather ride than walk.  Right now, my choice of stroller is the Summer Infant 3D Flip Stroller.  This stroller is awesome, seriously!  It is a reversible seat umbrella stroller which means that you can have your child either facing towards you or away from you.  How awesome is that?  Some great features include:  a deep reclined seat, a huge adjustable canopy for shade, a great storage basket, a drink holder, & more.  It's a great stroller for kids of all ages.  My kids love the choice to face out and see the world or to face in so they can talk & interact with me!  

Summer Infant Flip Stroller || The Chirping Moms

I hope this list encourages you to get that car all packed and ready to head out this spring and summer!

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March 19, 2015

Super Easy Portable DIY Lego Tray

I realized that we had a Lego problem when this happened A LOT in our house...


Giant pile of Legos in the middle of the living room.  Awesome, right?
I would love to create a Lego table for my kids but we are living in a rental still for another few months so until we move I need something super easy.  So when I was at the craft store the other day, I saw these shadowboxes on sale & it was time to get started on a DIY Portable Lego Tray.  Now the boys can play Legos, move them around the house, but keep their projects away from baby sister.

DIY Portable Lego Tray || The Chirping Moms

DIY Portable Lego Tray

Supplies Needed:
  • Lego Plate
  • 12 x 12 Shadowbox
  • Craft Paint
  • Scrapbook Paper
  • Mod Podge
  • Glue Gun
Directions:
1.  Paint shadowbox with fun colors.
2.  On the bottom of the shadowbox, put a layer of Mod Podge & add paper.  Let dry.
3.  Put a layer or two of Mod Podge over the scrapbook paper.
4.  Glue a Lego plate onto the scrapbook paper with glue gun.  Let dry! 


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March 18, 2015

Free Printable Superhero Reward Chart

Earlier today, I shared the printable Superhero Reward Reading Challenge Charts.  I also created these fun Superhero Reward charts to inspire kids to be a Superkid!  We are using these reward charts to encourage them to help & inspire our kids to be super kids.  My kids fill each star with tally marks & once they get a hundred tally marks then they can have a reward, but you can really use them anyway you want!  The  kids get to add a tally mark for all sorts of things:  helping unload dishes, playing with baby sister while I'm cooking dinner, cleaning up toys, making their bed, etc.  But, you can use the chart for whatever & whenever you need it!  

Free Printable Reward Chart || The Chirping Moms
Click here to download & print or Right click on the image to open it in a new window.  You can save it or print from there.  Make sure to scale it to size when printing!

Free Printable Reward Chart || The Chirping Moms
Click here to download & print or Right click on the image to open it in a new window.  You can save it or print from there.  Make sure to scale it to size when printing!


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Superhero graphics from My Cute Graphics

Free Printable Reward Chart || The Chirping Moms


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