Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Gladly Giraffe

Disclosure: I do not get paid for reviews.  Though I received a copy of this book free of charge, all opinions expressed are my own.

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When I received an email offering me a chance to review a new children’s book, I, of course, couldn’t resist.  Gladly Giraffe, written and illustrated by a brother/sister team (how cool is that!), is a wonderful book and hits all of the right notes to make it a great children’s book.

First off, there is the fact that it is more like an illustrated children’s poem than a traditional story.  There is a good rhythm throughout most of the story which makes it easy to read and the rhymes only add to the story’s appeal.  The author quite obviously put a lot of time and effort and thought in the text.

Then, there’s the illustrations.  Just as expected from a children’s book, they accompany the text wonderfully.  When I read the story to my French-speaking toddler (I, of course, read it in English because the text was in English), he was always able to understand the big picture because of the illustrations.  Some of them are also quite silly and my son got a few giggles out of them.

Lastly, the story sends a super positive message by exploring the themes of friendship, helpfulness and gratitude.

All in all Gladly Giraffe gets two thumbs up from mommy and another two from Little Dude.

The book is available as an ebook or printed in hardcover or paperback format.  For more information, I encourage you to take a look at the book’s website.

Posted in Blogging

Going AWOL

Well, the school year is officially coming to an end.  That means that despite the fact that I’m no longer working on evenings and weekends (*happy dance*), things have gotten pretty crazy.

Bottom line: I won’t be around for a couple of weeks (or, more precisely, until after June 23rd).

Don’t despair though!  I’ve got a whole bunch of post ideas (some in my draft section, others in my head, others yet to be formed) for my return.  Among other subjects, look out for:

  • A review of an awesome app
  • A post on the birth plan with a sample plan (mine!)
  • A post on the Baby Safe Project
  • A guest posting invitation on childbirth
  • A post on the professionalization of teaching
  • A post on language development

Until then, take care and Happy upcoming Father’s Day!

Posted in Parenting

The Babies ‘R Us 3-In-1 Potty Chair: First Impressions

*Disclaimer: This is not a paid endorsement of a product.  It is just my honest opinion on a product that I recently bought*

So, I finally took the plunge and bought a potty for my son.  After a couple of hours of online shopping and review reading (no joke!), I finally settled on the Babies ‘R Us 3-In-1 Potty Chair.

There it is!
There it is!

It hasn’t had much use yet, but so far there are quite a few things that I like about it.

Pros

1.  It’s compact and can likely fit in a small sized washroom.

Nicely sized.
Nicely sized.

2.  It’s gender neutral: grey, white and lime green.

3.  It is 3-in-1, meaning that it can serve as a potty seat, as a training seat and as a step stool.

You've already seen the potty seat.  Here's the training seat and step stool.
You’ve already seen the potty seat. Here’s the training seat and step stool.

4.  It only has four pieces to it and is easy to assemble and disassemble.

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5.  There is a built-in urine shield (as opposed to a removable one as I saw on a few of the potty seats I looked at today).

6.  The lime green part is a foam cushion which gives me the impression that it will be more comfortable to sit on.

7.  It doesn’t have any bells or whistles.  No lights, no sounds, no batteries.

8.  There aren’t any textured parts or crevices, which means that it will likely be easy to clean.

9.  At 20$, it’s a great value – especially when you don’t really know what you’re getting into with regards to potty training.

Of course, for all its positive points, there are also aspects that I don’t like as much.

Cons

1.  It is easy to take apart.  Maybe a little too easy.  The lime green foam part in particular is very attractive and is one of the first things that my son grabbed.  He then proceeded to make a necklace out of it and parade around the house with his new find (which is cute because it hasn’t come into contact with any waste yet, but…).

2.  The step stool seems a little unsteady to me.  Though it does have grips on the bottom to avoid that it slips, there is no base that attaches to it so I find it lacks stability.

3.  Because the base is the same size as the top (as opposed to the base being a little larger than the top part), it can be unsteady for a newbie toddler trying to get on by himself as best he can.

What my son thinks of it

Little Dude was positively beaming when I sat him on his potty (fully clothed) the first time.  He then spent the rest of the evening either carrying his new seat around, trying to sit on it by himself, or using the foam part as a necklace.  When he signed that he was done with his bath, he enthusiastically pointed to the potty and so I sat him on it asking him if he needed to go pee-pee.  Though he didn’t pee, he happily stayed on it for a minute and then got up.  I put a diaper on him and then he spent the next 5 minutes getting on (or trying to) and off his potty.

So far, everything looks positive.  Little Dude likes it and though he has no conception of what it’s used for yet, he’s interested in sitting on it.  Onwards we go!

Rating

I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars for now.  I’ll update as it gets more use.

What did you use for potty training?

Posted in Parenting, Product Reviews

The Beltlock : Product Review + Giveaway!

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*Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Project5 Creations Ltd. in any way.  This product review is based on my personal and honest opinion.*

A couple of weeks ago, Denise, from Project5 Creations Ltd., contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing a product that was designed for child safety.  After hopping over to the website of the product to check it out, I immediately responded that I would be very pleased to try it out and review it on my blog.

Less than a week later, I received in my mailbox not one, but two beltlocks, one to try out and review and one to giveaway on my blog!

About the beltlock

From their website:

Safety is of paramount concern for every parent, especially when traveling with children. The inadvertent opening of a seatbelt is dangerous for the child and distracting for the driver. As a parent you can protect your children by using Beltlock to secure their car seats in place. It fits easily over the seat belt receiver and can be removed without difficulty by an adult.

Initial impressions

Though not related directly to the product, I think that it is important to consider that it was very easy to communicate with a Project5 Creations representative.  I received replies to my emails very quickly and the shipping was really quick.

The actual product is well packaged (no overpackaging!) and the beltlock comes with easy to follow instructions.  It is small, lightweight, and a bright orange colour.

The claims

– The beltlock is easy to install and remove

– The device fits easily over the belt receiver

– It prevents a child to easily unclasp their seatbelt

The verdict

Even without looking at the illustrated instructions, it is very easy to figure out how the beltlock works.  It is indeed very simple to install and is large enough to fit over any belt receiver.  Once the device is on, it is very easy to secure the seatbelt and it is indeed impossible to unclasp the belt without using an object (like a key) to release the seatbelt.

I like that the beltlock is compact and lightweight thus enabling a parent to stow it in the glove compartment, a purse or a pocket while not in use.  The bright orange colour makes it easy to find too.  I enjoy the simplicity of the product and think that it is useful not only for assuring the safety of very young children, but could also be used with special needs children, teens and adults.

In conclusion

I will definitely be hanging on to one of the two beltlocks I received.  The product does exactly what it claims:  It works, It’s easy to use, it’s practical and it’s a simple solution to a problem that I am certain more than one parent has experienced.

Want to go check out the Beltlock for yourself?  Go check out their blog, website or Facebook page.

The *giveaway*

As I mentioned, I received two beltlocks from the wonderful people over at Project5 Creations and I am super thrilled to give one of them to one of you lucky readers!  If you’re interested, just let me know in the comments section of this post.  Next Tuesday (November 19th), I’ll be randomly selecting a winner from the participants which I will announce in my TTT post.

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Posted in Infant, Newborn, Product Reviews

Baby Product Review #1: Applecheeks Washable Diapers

These ain’t your grandma’s ol’ cotton diapers!

I’d always been interested in using washable diapers for my children.  I’d figured, though,  that I would most likely wait for my kid to be on solids before using them as I’d heard how liquid milk poo was (and, boy is it liquid!).  However, the joys and challenges of giving birth to my first child put many of my ideas on the back burner and so, I (temporarily) forgot about the diapers.

My memory on the subject was jogged when I saw a pitch for the applecheeks washable diapers on an episode of Dragon’s Den Canada.  My first thought was ‘oh yeah, I wanted to use washable diapers’; it was soon followed by ‘wow, I had no idea washable diapers looked like that: they’re so darned cute!’.

During my nightly chunks of awake time, I went onto their website to learn more about them.  Besides being designed and manufactured in Quebec, Canada (way to encourage the local economy!), they seemed devilishly simple to use and care for even and especially with exclusively breast or formula fed babies.  No, seriously: 1. Put soiled insert/diaper cover in odor-free bag; 2. Empty everything (including the bag into the washing machine; 3. Wash them in hot water on a pre-rinse, heavy duty, extra rinse cycle; 4: Dry the inserts on high (without fabric softener) and hang the covers and bag to dry.  Voilà!

Reading about them got me really excited, but there was no way I would know if they lived up to their claims of simplicity without actually trying them out for myself.  So, I went on their online store and purchased a size 1 (there are only two sizes, the second going up to accommodating a forty-pound baby)  starter pack.

Before I knew it (really, the shipping was super fast) they had arrived and I was pre-washing them so I could finally try them out.

My verdict

I personally, really enjoy these diapers.  We loved them enough to purchase three more covers and four more inserts meaning that we have the equivalent of 13 size 1 diapers.  They are very easy to care for and are easy to use and they really are fully adjustable.  The odor proof/waterproof bag that came with the kit we ordered is does in fact keep odors away very efficiently (we keep it in our son’s room, right beside his changing table and there is no smell whatsoever even if it stays there for up to four days).  We are definitely going to invest in the size 2 covers when our son has outgrown the first diapers.

Some suggestions

  1. I would (and did) wait for my baby to be completely past the meconium phase before using them.
  2. The website provides care instructions that states that a “residue-free, scent-free, softener-free, glycerin-free” detergent be used.  They also suggest some detergents.  The shop I went to, which specializes in natural and eco-friendly personal care and cleaning products, suggested the Nature Clean hypoallergenic, unscented laundry liquid.  Personally, I am very satisfied with this product.

Worth the cost?

Our two purchases combined with the detergent cost us in total about 280 CAD.  Now, the detergent is going to last us a long time as we have a 3000 mL bottle and each wash requires only 30mL of soap for a top loader (if you have a frontal, you’ll only need 15mL).  This means that the 3 L bottle that I bought will yield 100 washes (if you have a frontal, you’d get 200 washes).

Now concerning disposable diapers, if you coupon and shop around (here’s a website that does the shopping for you) it can cost you as little as 0.15$ per diaper.  That means that you’ll start getting a return on your investment after changing roughly 1860 diapers.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I change anywhere from 6 to 10 a day.  If we keep things on the low side and estimate 6 a day for a year, we’re already at 2160 diaper changes in one year.  Plus, you can store them and reuse them for a second, third, etc. child.  In my eyes, it’s well worth the money.

Take a look, this is one of the six washable diapers we have.  Told you they were adorable!
Take a look.  This is one of the six washable diapers we have. Told you they were adorable!