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New York Life

Happy Family Tot Giveaway

#Happy Family Tot #GIVEAWAY via brunchwithmybaby.com

I have a confession to make. As much as I personally love eating out (make that eating in general), Cheese is happy to just eat fruit and vegetable baby pouches at a restaurant. While we’ve been able to introduce her to enough solid food she’ll now happily eat, she is a total baby pouch addict, particularly when we’re on the go.

So, with that in mind, I did a little happy dance when Happy Family offered to send us some of their goodies to try on the kids. Here are the results of the Toddler Taste Test:

Happy  Tot Super Toddler Bars
Little J: He loves snacking on “bar” (that’s what he calls all granola bars) on the go, so on a screamy, whiny car ride I threw one of these babies in his direction (I unwrapped it first. And I didn’t really throw it at him. That wouldn’t be nice.)  He ate the whole thing and didn’t seem to notice that it was a healthier alternative to his usual Nature Valley bars (sugar, sugar, and more sugar). The bars are all organic and have Chia seeds (a superfood) as an ingredient. I was excited about it too, because I often like munching on Happy Family snack products myself (their Happy Yogis yogurt drops are really yummy). Unfortunately, the Chia seeds kind of overpowered the whole thing for me. But since this isn’t really about me, and Little J liked it, I’d say it got a kid-rated thumbs up of approval.

Happy Tot Greek Yogurt
Little J: This little guy has been refusing anything in a pouch or of a creamy consistency since he was about seven months old. The other day in school the class “cooked” some yogurt with honey and cinnamon. Everyone else loved it, but Little J wouldn’t even look at it. I gave my pouch to another mom friend of mine whose child is in the same camp as Cheese, and loves yogurt and other pouch foods.

Happy Tot Coconut
Cheese: This was a total winner for the little lady. She really enjoyed the berry flavor, and squeeze every last drop from the pouch (with a little assistance — anyone else rush to squeeze up from the bottom before their kid announces they’re done, and the pouch is only half empty?) and I liked that it was an alternative to yogurt, as I’m trying to expose her to other kinds of “milks” and dairy alternatives, like coconut.

Happy Yogis
Cheese: We use these as a treat for Cheese. When we’re out and she starts getting fussy (particularly in the stroller or on the subway), I whip out a bag of these yogis and she’s happy to sit there stuffing her face with them till they’re gone. I love that this “treat” is actually good for her, and she enjoyed the tart berry flavor (she doesn’t like sweet things very much).

#Happy Family Tot #GIVEAWAY via brunchwithmybaby.com

GIVEAWAY!
The kind folks at Happy Family are giving one lucky Brunch With My Baby reader a pack of Happy Family Toddler Food (value at $25). Basically, you get what’s in the pic below — one pack of Happy Yogis, one box of Happy Tot Toddler Meal Bowls, four Happy Tot food pouches, One box of Happy Tot Super Toddler Bars, plus a Happy Family reusable bag like in the pictures above. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

The giveaway is open Wed Oct 16 2013, to 11:59pm Tue Oct 22, 2013.

Entry open to US mailing address only.

#Happy Family Tot #GIVEAWAY via brunchwithmybaby.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We were sent some Happy Family baby food to try out for this article. All opinions are our own. 

petiteParade and Stride Rite at NY Fashion Week

The kind folks at Stride Rite invited me to attend their show at the petiteParade, the junior branch of NY Fashion Week. From my first row seat (wooo!!) I watched two parades – the showcase featuring collections by Andy & Evan, Floatimimi, Oil & Water, Stella Cove, SUOAK and Sweet Lola, and then the Stride Rite Children’s Group runway showcase.

The hosts of the showcases were twins Tristin and Tyler – two very sassy kids with their own website about their adventures in the big city.

It was impressive seeing little kids confident strutting their way up and down the runway, showing (for the most part) no hesitation at the wall of cameras at the end.

The Stride Rite Children’s Group runway showcase was a sneak peek at their Spring 2014 collection – full of floral accents and pops of bright color.

Flowers in the hair, spring sandals on the feet.

Denim, flowers and pretty sandals.

Superheros! Love this nod to Kill Bill.

I really enjoyed the show, seeing these gorgeous children modelling trends for next spring. I’m a big fan of Stride Rite shoes (Cheese has basically worn them since she started walking), so it was really fun seeing the spring line before it hits stores (and also before winter hits – I’m totally in denial).

Oscar de la Renta for Kids Trunk Show

I was excited to receive an invite to a trunk show for Oscar de la Renta for kids, hosted by Rosie Pope.

The clothes were just gorgeous – super pretty dresses and outfits, with delicate lace and beautiful floral prints.

Snacks! Love some sweets to eat while perusing lolly-coloured clothing.

Lots of floaty, fluffy dresses in pretty pastel and vibrant hues.

This dress was a favourite – the hand stitched lace was just exquisite.

I splurged and ordered this dress for Cheese. I thought it would suit her personality – easy to wear, super soft fabric, bright print that will compliment her bright blue eyes. Um, spoiled much??

I really loved Rosie’s diaper bag range, particularly this bag – I’d totally use it as a regular bag!

Brunch Special: Authors Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus: From Nanny Diaries To Motherhood + GIVEAWAY

Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, local authors (and moms!). The friends wrote the bestseller, The Nanny Diaries, and have just released their latest book, The First Affair. Emma lives with her husband, Joel, and three-year-old son on the Upper West Side. Nicola, a New York native, lives with her husband, David, and her three-year-old, Sophie, in Brooklyn.

MelanieDuena_Kitchen
Did having kids change your NYC lives?
Absolutely! A block has never been so long. And we both marvel at the lack of storage space in strollers, the weight of diaper bags, the ordeal of getting your kid ten blocks in a rainstorm. When our kids were little we had raw envy of our friends in the suburbs, throwing the kid and the groceries in the car.
Nicola: I remember pushing the stroller and a carton of diapers uphill in a headwind that was biblical.

An interview with authors Emma Mclaughlin & Nicola Kraus via brunchwithmybaby.com

Where are your favourite places in the city to go with your kids?
Nicola: We love the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the Prospect Park Zoo for toddlers — it’s small and very manageable. The fabulous thing about Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens is that every restaurant, no matter how fancy, is kid-friendly before 7pm so I take Sophie out every weekend.
Emma: I’ve taken up permanent weekend residence at the Met Museum. It’s always amazing to see people lined up on the steps when the family entrance is opened to all. It’s the best-kept secret. And even if you’ve been up since 5am there’s something magical about having an entire exhibit hall to yourselves in the opening hours.

An interview with authors Emma Mclaughlin & Nicola Kraus via brunchwithmybaby.com

Where do you like to take your families for special occasions?
Nicola: I love Red Gravy on Atlantic because it’s quiet enough for old and young to hear small voices.
Emma: I like Elizabeth’s on Columbus because they have a reasonably priced kids menu and it’s organic.

What’s your number one tip for dining out with young kids?
Nicola: Start young and do it frequently. We made sure Sophie went out to eat at least once a week and now she can sit quietly and entertain herself through a three-hour meal. Have a go-bag filled with all those little doo-hickeys you get from birthday parties, plus crayons and playdoh. When she was a baby I would raid the kitchen and hand her a whisk or a wine stopper. She’d be fascinated for long enough for us to enjoy our food. It doesn’t always go smoothly — bring the iPhone in case of meltdowns. Emma agrees that it’s all about coming with a deep bag of tricks.

How did having kids affect your friendship and work partnership?
We just say thank god our kids magically arrived four months apart because it’s invaluable that we’re both trying to schedule flu shots. We both can’t take work calls between 5:30pm and 8:30pm (when LA ALWAYS wants to talk). We both have weird stains on our clothes. It would be so hard because, even having been nannies, you do not understand the life-force suck that is parenting until you’re in the trenches.

How do you fit in writing and parenting? How do you balance both of these important roles?
No procrastinating allowed! We make the most of every hour, every minute. While we’re figuring out our next scene, we fold laundry. While we’re on a conference call with our editor we throw the chicken in the slow cooker. Then we get the kids to bed and lie on the floor.

Your breakthrough novel, The Nanny Diaries, was loosely based on your experiences with nannying. What were some of the things you thought you knew as a caregiver that were challenged when you had your own children?
Honestly, it was really hard and rewarding work then, and it’s really hard and rewarding work now. We will say that when we were nannies we were also in college so sleep deprivation was a result of studying hard or going out. We were usually able to catch up on weekends if we needed to. When you’re the mom there’s no laying on the couch for an entire Sunday watching rom-coms to get back on track. We now reminisce about those Sundays the way people talk about honeymooning in Paris.

What were some of the biggest obstacles you faced when feeding your charges and how have you applied some of those lessons in the feeding of your own kids? 
Nicola: Sophie has gone through long stretches where I swear she was solar-powered. But the girls I nannied for who went through long plain pasta phases one day loved sushi so I breathed through it. The biggest thing I try to do (which is hard because we’re all pressed for time and who wants to make something that won’t be a slam-dunk) is re-introduce things she’s passed on previous nights.  It always pays off but it takes patience. Serious patience.

Tell us about your latest book, The First Affair.
It’s the story of Jamie McAlister, a White House intern sucked into a torrid affair with the President of the United States that threatens to destroy them both. It’s our sexiest book yet, but as Moms we wrote the kind of book we want to read, something thrilling that keeps us turning the pages!

Pick up your copy of The First Affair from Amazon.com.

McLaughlinKraus_First Affair final cover
GIVEAWAY
We’re delighted to offer Brunch With My Baby readers the chance to win an autographed copy of The First Affair, the new novel by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

Competition open Wednesday October 9, 2013 to 11:59pm EST Wednesday October 16.

Open to US mailing addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus are the authors of The Nanny Diaries, which was declared by Newsweek a ‘phenomenon’, the longest-running hardcover bestseller of 2002 and was made into a major motion picture in 2007. They are also the authors of the New York Times bestsellers Citizen GirlDedication, The Nanny Returns, and Between You and Me; The Real Real and Over You are their first two young adult novels. Their most recent novel, The First Affair, hit stands in August 2013.

STOKKE Scoot Review and GIVEAWAY

#STOKKEBABY #Scoot #stroller review and #giveaway! brunchwithmybaby.com

I’ve been known to own a few strollers (four — not all at once — to be exact). But the hunt for the perfect stroller is eternal, especially as one’s needs change with the different ages and stages of a child’s (and your) life. When I bought my main stroller, before Cheese was born, I really didn’t consider my living situation well. Third-floor walk-up, with nowhere at the bottom of the stairs to store a stroller. I bought a stroller that was super heavy  (too heave for me to carry down stairs) and that needed the bassinet or seat removed before the bottom part was folded. Really, this stroller was suited to someone living in an elevator building, and so I didn’t actually use the stroller much after a few aborted attempts where I kicked my shin on the bottom bar, until we finally did move into an elevator building a year later.

We are huge fans of STOKKE in our home, with Cheese’s nursery filled with the Sleepi bed and Care: Change Table, and the Tripp Trapp highchair in the living room. STOKKE is known for their innovative designs and well-made pieces, so I was excited to check out the STOKKE Scoot. It has all the features that make is suitable for urban parents like myself. Check out my husband’s and my road test of the STOKKE Scoot around our home ‘hood in Brooklyn.

#STOKKEBABY #Scoot #stroller review and #giveaway! brunchwithmybaby.com

#Stokke #scoot review and #giveaway burunchwithmybaby.comThe Fold
The STOKKE Scoot comes all in one piece, so you don’t need to remove anything to fold it (except anything you may have stored in the basket underneath). It’s a bit tricky to master at first, as you have to follow a few steps before you can fold it: first, retract the handlebar. Then, fold it by doing the following: lift the bottom portion of the seat, push the seat backwards, then push the button on the wheel axle and pull it up to collapse the stroller into one slim piece. I know it sounds complicated (then again, try to express in words how to fold any stroller on the market these days and you’ll have a similar list), but once you get the hang of it, it’s fast and easy. Remove the cup holder from the handlebar and it balances on its side for easy storage in a small NYC apartment like mine.

#STOKKEBABY #Scoot #stroller review and #giveaway! brunchwithmybaby.com

Collapses In One Piece
One of the biggest things that I love about this stroller is that it collapses into a sleek and thin silhouette — in just one piece. Living in NYC, this is an essential for making life easier for parents. It means being able to call a car to get home if you find yourself in torrential rain (been there!!) and easily throw the whole stroller in the back without having to first remove the seat of the stroller and then having to fold the body of the stroller. It also means you can go out to any restaurant without needing to check if you need to bring an umbrella stroller or carrier instead of the SUV-stroller, because when folded up, the Stokke takes up little real estate. Since we love to eat out, this feature alone was like hitting the holy stroller grail.

#STOKKEBABY #Scoot #stroller review and #giveaway! brunchwithmybaby.com

Storage Space
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that you can never have enough storage space in your stroller basket (or anywhere, for that matter). There is a huge basket underneath the STOKKE Scoot, with plenty of room for groceries, or a huge diaper bag and sand pit toys. The stroller sits quite high, so there is a lot of vertical space as well, and it’s all easily accessible from every side. The only improvement I’d like is for the back of the basket to sit a bit higher so it keeps items in even better. When you tilt the stroller to go over things like steps or curbs, items can fall out if not well-secured.

#STOKKEBABY #Scoot #stroller review and #giveaway! brunchwithmybaby.com

Weight
It’s a hefty stroller, weighing in at 26 pounds. It can accommodate kids from birth (with the STOKKE Scoot Softbag) to 50 pounds — making it a great long-term investment. It’s also a very sturdy, well-made stroller, but doesn’t feel heavy to push. It’s also tall rather than wide, giving it less of a footprint (which is valuable when you need to take it on the subway or park it in a small corridor or apartment).

#STOKKEBABY #Scoot #stroller review and #giveaway! brunchwithmybaby.com

The Ride 
The Scoot features four-wheel suspension, so it’s a smooth ride for Baby, even over Brooklyn cobblestones. The handlebar is adjustable, which is great for changing the height when my husband (who is 6′) takes over the driving from me (I’m 5’7). It’s comfortable to push around for a long period of time, and is easy to steer, even with one hand (not that I’m texting while driving, or anything).

#STOKKEBABY #Scoot #stroller review and #giveaway! brunchwithmybaby.com

Recline
The Scoot features a full recline, that you engage by unclipping a clip on each side of the back of the canopy. It features four recline-to-upright positions: facing you, upright or reclined, and facing away from you, upright or reclined. There is only reclining position — all the way back. It would also be great if there was one button or clip you could use to recline the stroller so it could be done smoothly with one hand, but I didn’t find it as awkward as I expected it to be when I used it, and Cheese had a really good nap in her little cocoon.

#STOKKEBABY #Scoot #stroller review and #giveaway! brunchwithmybaby.com

Canopy
It has a decent canopy, with a cute little visor that flips out (and zips off if needed), which, when tilted downwards, provides that extra bit of sun protection for your kid’s legs. There is a zippered section in the canopy that, when open, lets air circulate better on a hot day, and lets you take a peek at what your kid is doing in there (or, in my case, making sure important apps aren’t being deleted off my iPhone).

#STOKKEBABY #Scoot #stroller review and #giveaway! brunchwithmybaby.com

Adjustable Footrest
I love that I can adjust the footrest to my toddler’s feet so they’re not dangling down. And SHE loves that she can climb up and into it all by herself. What a fun, new game!

#STOKKEBABY #Scoot #stroller review and #giveaway! brunchwithmybaby.com

Accessories
The Scoot comes with a rain cover, mosquito net and cup holder. You can order car seat adaptors ($79.95) for Maxi Cosi and Peg Perego car seats. There is no bassinet with this stroller – but, to be honest, since I never used the bassinet for my toddler when she was a baby, I wouldn’t let this deter me from buying. You could absolutely use it from newborn age by clipping in the car seat for the first few months.

The STOKKE Scoot retails for $599.99 and comes in a range of colors (brown, red, dark navy, purple, beige and black melange).

#STOKKEBABY #Scoot #stroller review and #giveaway! brunchwithmybaby.com

GIVEAWAY

The very kind people at STOKKE are giving Brunch With My Baby readers the chance to win one STOKKE Scoot in the color of her choice. Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

The competition opens Wed, Oct 2 to 11:59pm Tue Oct 8, 2013.

Entry open US mailing addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We were sent a product sample to aid us with this review. All opinions are our own.

Spuni Review and GIVEAWAY

I’ve gone through a lot of baby cutlery with Cheese, with both good results (i.e. spoon helps shovel food into her mouth) and bad (i.e. food spills off the sides before spoon lands in her mouth), so I was super excited to hear about the new spoons by Spuni.

Spuni are ergonomic spoons designed to be the perfect fit for infants’ mouths, resulting in easier feeding for Baby, and less mess for Mom to clean up. Spuni is the perfect tool to help your baby transition to solid food. The recommended age for using Spuni is when the parent believes the infant is ready to make this transition — usually around 6 months and up.

The spoon’s handle length is just right for feeding infants — an infant spoon needs to be long enough for a parent to maneuver  (the short and stubby ones are great for toddlers, but not infants) — plus it is easy for a parent to hold (and not too skinny like other spoons I have tried).

But what really makes this spoon special is the spoon tip. The unique tulip design makes it easier for babies to slurp food off of it.

Now, Missy Cheese is older than the target age, but boy do I wish I’d had this spoon when she was younger, as it’s a million times nicer to use than the ones I used while she was on her first solids. Here why:

  • It doesn’t fade or yellow with use.
  • It fits just the right amount of food (not too much or too little) for a toddler-sized bite.
  • It’s dishwasher-friendly.
  • It’s comfortable for an adult’s hand to hold.
  • It’s sold enough for a young toddler to use to feed themselves.
  • It’s really attractive (the colors are so pretty).

Cheese really loved the spoon. Like me, she was attracted like a bird to the beautiful colours (ours came in Giggle Green and Peekaboo Purple). She’s using toddler cutlery pretty confidently these days, and was excited to use her spoon to “chop chop” her eggs, and then placed the eggs on it to eat.

You can buy your own Spunis from spuni.com or Amazon for $18 a pair of spoons. Follow Spuni on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google +.

#Spuni review and #GIVEAWAY via brunchwithmybaby.com
#Spuni review and #GIVEAWAY via brunchwithmybaby.com

#Spuni review and #GIVEAWAY via brunchwithmybaby.com

 

GIVEAWAY

Spuni - via Brunchwithmybaby.com

The kind folks over at Spuni have offered Brunch With My Baby readers the chance to win one of two sets of their awesome new spoons. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

Competition opens Sept 25th to Tues Oct 1, 11:59pm.

Entry open to US mailing addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We were given a set of Spunis to aid in our review. All opinions are our own.

 

Great Kids' Classes for Fall: Kidz Central Station

As New Yorkers, we pride ourselves on certain qualities: we’re cosmopolitan, confident, and open.  We love our city because of the unique opportunities it provides us to experience the best in education, culture, art, and science.  Of course, as parents we would like to share these values and opportunities with our children, too.  But the curse of having so much available to us is that the choices can be overwhelming. We at Kidz Central Station can help!

Below are our picks for some of the best New York City-centric classes for the Fall.

Best #Kids' Classes for Fall, thanks to Kidz Central Station and brunchwithmybaby.com
Art Adventures and Story Art-Ventures
Does your child lean towards the Pollock school of art (i.e. great when it lands on paper. Not so much on your couch)?  If so, encourage your little artist by enrolling her in a creative adventure. Claire’s Creative Adventures, based on the Upper East Side, boasts a variety of offerings for students ages 2 to twelve. Art Adventures and Mini-Art Adventures introduces children to modern and contemporary artists and gives them the supplies to try their hands at creating their own masterpieces. Field trips to city galleries draw on the wealth of art displayed around New York.  Does talent run in the family?  Try the  Parent/Child Workshop together. To give your child some artistic inspiration, sign her up for Story Art-Ventures at Let’s Gogh Art NYC where students from ages 2 to 4 are read a popular children’s story in every session, followed by the completion of a unique art project related to the story. The class also incorporates age-appropriate math, science, writing, geography and history concepts. Depending on the theme, students might also sing, dance and play games.

Best #Kids' Classes for Fall, thanks to Kidz Central Station and brunchwithmybaby.com
Little Scientists and Magical Math
Many of the best minds in the country are based at New York’s myriad institutions of higher learning.  If your child is a budding brainiac, check out these intellectual outings: Little Scientists, offered in lower Manhattan by Little Peep Prep for kids from 16 months to 3 years old and by the 14th Street Y in the East Village for ages 3 to 5, provides a venue for mini-Einsteins to conduct hands-on experiments and to discover the natural world.  If your son or daughter has more of a mathematical bent, Little Peep Prep’s Magical Math for students from 20 months to 4 years old provides children the opportunity to count, sort, match and explore a variety of materials, allowing them to naturally understand the relationship between everyday life and math.

Best #Kids' Classes for Fall, thanks to Kidz Central Station and brunchwithmybaby.com
Animal Care
Healthy, local food is a New York obsession.  We sign up for farm shares and patronize farmer’s markets, but your city kid may wonder what, exactly, a farm is.  Nurture your child’s curiosity and/or love of animals by signing her up for the Animal Care class at the Art Farm in the City, an indoor organic farm on the Upper East Side.  Students from ages 4 to 7 participate in a variety of stories, games, and other activities.  Every session  includes actively caring for the animals in the farm’s indoor petting zoo, up-close  encounters and time to record observations. Before it’s time to go, students can read an animal-themed book or just relax with a favorite creature on the farm.

Best #Kids' Classes for Fall, thanks to Kidz Central Station and brunchwithmybaby.com

¡HOLA! A Playgroup in Spanish
There are hundreds of languages spoken around New York City.  It’s never too early to begin teaching your child a second language; in fact, as we’ve previously discussed on Kidz Buzz, young children’s brains are primed to learn new languages.  The ¡Hola! program hosts Spanish-language playgroups and after-school programs for aspiring polyglots from ages 18 months to 8 years in multiple locations throughout Manhattan and Queens. The program focuses on a wide repertory of concepts to build vocabulary and to help children acquire the correct use of phonetics from a native speaker while also enhancing children’s cognitive abilities, fine/gross motor skills, and social and artistic capabilities.

Best #Kids' Classes for Fall, thanks to Kidz Central Station and brunchwithmybaby.com
PopFit and JumpLife KIDS
New Yorkers are some of the most physically fit people in the country, but students sit in classrooms for most of the day during the school year; and, with the decreasing prevalence of physical education classes in schools, it’s more important than ever to help your child stay active throughout the year. PopFit Kidssignature class (and their junior class), develops “The Fab Five” (Cardio, Balance, Flexibility, Strength and Endurance), in students ages 3 to 8; through energizing circuits, dynamic drills, exciting games, yoga, and more. JumpLife‘s appropriately-named kids’ class in Tribeca caters to older students, ages 8 to thirteen.  The unique 45-minute trampoline workout distinguishes itself from other classes by its atmosphere of non-competition, where students can express themselves and avoid the pressure of organized sports.

The suggestions above only scratch the surface of the wide range of fun, educational, and enriching classes listed at Kidz Central Station.  KCS does the work of finding and researching kids’ classes for you.  Visit our website, where you can sort offerings by activity type, age, price, schedule, and location and peruse the in-depth descriptions and reviews to identify the perfect class for your child.

Lauren Pohl, Kidz Central StationLauren Pohl is the founder of Kidz Central Station, a website where parents can search for and book fun classes and activities for their kids. Lauren lives with her husband and two kids, her four-year-old daughter and 18-month-old son, in Manhattan.

Britax Carrier Review + Giveaway!

On the surface, the Britax Carrier doesn’t look much different from most other carriers on the market. Believe me, I’ve become quite the baby carrying expert over these past two years. I must have tried nearly half a dozen carriers in the hopes that just one might be comfortable for long treks around the ‘hood or in and out of the city.

Word around the Mommy Block was that this particular carrier was something special. Curious, I had to try it. Especially since Cheese is pretty vocal about not wanting to go in her stroller as often as she used to. And, short of putting her on a leash, I was running out of options to keep her in my grasp. But once I tried the Britax Carrier for myself, it was clear that this was one very unique and well designed carrier.

#Britax #Carrier review and #giveaway! via brunchwithmybaby.com

Here’s what I enjoyed about using the Britax Carrier:

It’s easy to put on
Straight out of the box, just unclip the buckle that folds it together and slide it over your shoulders. Clip the waste band, adjust the straps, and you’re ready to go. It’s just so easy — so easy you almost don’t need to read the instruction manual (Disclaimer: but you should read it anyway! You should always read the manual!).

It’s easy to get baby in and out 
It was super simple to slip even my giant, wiggly, Cheese into the carrier. All of the clips and straps are easy to access and can be maneuvered using just one hand.

It takes you from infant to toddler
The carrier can be used for babies 8 pounds up to toddlers 32 pounds (which is basically newborn to around age 2-2.5, depending on your kid’s weight). Out of the box, the carrier is set up with the removable infant insert, which stays in place until Baby outgrows it; at which point you replace it with the older infant piece, which extends the seating area, making it more comfortable for older babies and toddlers. My Cheese just turned two and weighs 26 pounds. Not only does she enjoy being in the carrier (she actually snuggled against my chest last time I used it), but its nice being hands-free again, plus I love carrying my baby so close to me once more.

It’s REALLY comfortable to wear 
The Britax carrier has a specially designed CarryLong System incorporated into it: a padded waist belt and shoulder straps, which distributes weight across shoulders, back and hips for maximum extended wear comfort. It felt very comfortable, and both my husband and I were able to carry Cheese for long periods of time walking around Brooklyn with no resulting back aches or pain (a miracle!). I can definitely feel Cheese’s weight being well distributed across my hips (as opposed to just my back), making it really easy to carry her for extended periods of time.

It’s a comfortable ride for babies AND toddlers
Baby can face towards you as a newborn, then outwards as she gets older and wants to experience the world. Toddlers can face you again, in a comfortable position where their legs can wrap around your waist. Both our tester infant and toddler really enjoyed being in the carrier (no screams of protest! Hoorah!)

What I’d change:
The Britax carrier is a front carrier only. Now that my toddler is older, I like wearing her on my back as well. If I could change one thing about the carrier, it would be to have the ability to wear my baby on my back as well as front.

#Britax #Carrier review and #giveaway! via brunchwithmybaby.com

#Britax #Carrier review and #giveaway! via brunchwithmybaby.com

#Britax #Carrier review and #giveaway! via brunchwithmybaby.com

The Britax Carrier retails for $129.99, and comes in black and navy. The carrier is also available in organic cotton for $139.99.

Tester #2: The Britax Carrier with an infant

#Britax #carrier review & #giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

We had our good friend Jenna (the beautiful calligrapher behind Love*Jenna Calligraphy) test drive the organic carrier with her four-month-old, Georgette, to get the scoop on how the carrier performs for infants.

A little bit about our tester, Jenna: she creates beautiful custom, modern calligraphy for weddings, magazine features & special styled photo shoots as well as logos & tattoos. Her clients include Martha Stewart Weddings, Balenciaga, The Knot & many happy brides. Jenna lives in the awesome borough of Brooklyn with her two girly girls, Clementine Bea, 2 and Georgette Pearl, 4 months.

Here is what Jenna had to say about the carrier:

#Britax #Carrier review and #giveaway! via brunchwithmybaby.com

What Mama likes:

It’s easy to put on

I love the slip-over-the-head feature. It’s easier than most carriers to put on.It’s super comfy to wear
The carrier is much softer and cushier & less stiff than others I’ve used making it easier to pack at the bottom of my double stroller and in a carry on-bag for plane travel. It’s also more comfortable in general.

The great design for new babies
The carrier has a very smart, intuitive zip in & out infant insert. I like the little hammock it creates for my baby.

What Baby likes:
The soft terrycloth fold over fabric to munch on! Also the tan color. It’s much cooler in the summer than the black one.
What Mama thinks could be improved:
Since the carrier slips on over the head and you can’t remove or flap open the back piece, I can’t lay my already napping baby gently on a bed upon arriving home. I have to slip her out which wakes her up.

#Britax #Carrier review and #giveaway! via brunchwithmybaby.com

GIVEAWAY

The kind folks over at Britax are offering one Brunch With My Baby reader a chance to win a Britax Carrier in their choice of color (RRP $129.99, black, navy, $139.99 for organic cotton). Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Competition opens Monday, Sept 16th, and closes Sunday, Sept 22nd, 11:59pm, 2013.

Open to US mailing addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We were sent a product sample to aid us with this review. All opinions are our own.

Dapple On-The-Go Essentials Kit Review + GIVEAWAY

Dapple - Dapple Essentials Kit - Review and GIVEAWAY via brunchwithmybaby.com
Dapple founders Dana Rubenstein and
Tamar Rosenthal

We were introduced to Dapple’s line of green, baby-friendly cleaners when we were new mothers, terrified of germs (Alexis was especially OCD about it), and uncertain of what cleaning products we could safely use around our newborns. Dapple came to the rescue for all of our cleaning needs. All Dapple products are made with all-natural ingredients, and are free of nasties like parabens, BPA and dyes.

A little bit about the history of Dapple from co-founder (and local NY mom of four), Dana Rubenstein
“Tamar (Rosenthal, co-founder of Dapple) and I have been close friends forever. She had her first baby a couple of years before me so of course I turned to her when I had a question about washing baby bottles and pump parts: Did she know of an all natural and baby-safe solution to clean baby bottles and utensils that actually worked? It’s hard to stump Tamar but this question did. So we decided to do something about this and create our own solution. We assembled a small team of knowledgeable pediatricians and experienced green chemists and the rest is Dapple history.”

Dapple’s offices are in Long Island City, so when you buy Dapple, you’re supporting a great local business.

#Dapple On-The-Go kit review and #GIVEAWAY via brunchwithmybaby.com

REVIEW: Dapple On-The-Go Essentials Kit
The Dapple On-The-Go Essentials Kit combines our four favourite Dapple products into one throw-in-the-diaper bag essentials box. The kit is perfect for keeping in your bag for daily outings around town, or for weekends away. The Dapple range is baby-safe, hypoallergenic and biodegradable, so not only are their products going to help you stress less about keeping Baby’s bottles clean and Baby healthy, they’re also great for the environment. Each item is TSA compliant, so you can keep them in your carry-on luggage when you fly.

Travel Baby Bottle and Dish Cleaner
Christine: I’ve been using this to clean Cheese’s bottles, sippy cups and utensils since she was born. It removes milk film and gets rid of any smells. You can also use this to clean breast pump parts. As well as being a thorough cleaner, it has a subtle, pleasant scent, is gentle on skin, and a little bit goes a long way. Bottle size is 3oz.

Toy & Surface Wipes
Christine: These wipes are essential for sticky situations when you’re out in restaurants and on public transport. They quickly clean surfaces and toys that have hit the subway floor. Since they’re made with natural ingredients, Baby can put toys straight back in her mouth again without you worrying about what chemicals (or subway germs) she is also eating. Contains 20 count wipes.

Food Grade Pacifier Wipes
Alexis: Unfortunately my almost two-year-old is still hooked on his paci. And as much as I am a firm believer in the “5 Second Rule” there are those moments when the paci falls on the subway floor or city sidewalk and a quick wipe on my pants leg won’t cut it. I use the paci wipes for those kinds of falls, and feel a little better about the fact that I almost always forget to bring a backup paci. So far,Little J has failed to exhibit any signs of that third eye or second head springing up due to paci contamination so the wipes must be working! Contains 10 individually-wrapped pacifier wipes.

Baby Laundry Detergent Handwash in Sink
Christine: I’ve taken these small laundry detergent bottles on all of our trips. It’s so helpful to have baby-safe detergent in a small bottle on hand when you travel. It’s also useful to keep in your diaper bag in case of any diaper blowouts that require emergency attention, since you can use it to wash clothes in a sink. I’ve found the detergent to clean clothes well, leave a pleasant smell, and produce zero irritation on Cheese’s skin. Contains three travel sink packs.

#Dapple On-The-Go kit review and #GIVEAWAY via brunchwithmybaby.com

GIVEAWAY The kind folks at Dapple have given us FOUR Dapple On-The-Go Essential Kits to give away to Brunch With My Baby readers. Enter the Rafflecopter widget below for your chance to win one of these four boxes.

The competition is open Wed Sept 11th to 11:59pm, Tue 17th, 2013.

Competition is open to US mailing addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We were sent a product sample to aid us with this review. All opinions are our own.

Brunch Survival Guide: Governors Island Day Trip

Governor's Island Survival Guide via brunchwithmybaby.com

Desperate to get away from the cement landscape that is Manhattan? Us too, especially on days when the heat radiates from the ground up. One of our favourite easy escapes is an afternoon trip to Governors Island. The 172-acre island is just off the southern tip of Manhattan, near Brooklyn. Governors Island was used as a military base for almost two centuries, before 150 acres were sold to the people of New York in 2003. (The remaining 22 acres of the Island was declared the Governors Island National Monument that is overseen by the National Park Service.)

Each year, Governors Island opens every Memorial Day weekend through to the end of September, and is chock full of fun events all summer long. With a young toddler, our choices are a bit limited —so this year the best bets for us were the FIGMENT interactive installations (including the treehouse pictured, above) and a mini-golf course (open summer-long, at the Parade Grounds) the Fête Paradiso and Compost Outpost. Older kids will love the Children’s Museum of the Arts Free Art Island Outpost Program, which is open all season from 11am to 3pm, at Nolan Park. Kids can enjoy hands-on workshops including painting, sound design, sculpture, animation and podcasting.

Governor's Island Survival Guide via brunchwithmybaby.com

As well as enjoying the seasonal events offered, it’s also really nice to simply take a walk around the island. I love this walkway  (above) through the middle of the park, with the towering trees on both sides, and the empty buildings that once housed military personal (which can sometimes make you feel like you’re in a ghost town).  On a quiet day, it’s an eerie vibe. You can walk or bike (BYO bike or hire one when you get there) around the entire island, to take in an amazing view of the Statue of Liberty and southern tip of Manhattan.

Governor's Island Survival Guide via brunchwithmybaby.com

The hot event to visit this summer has been Fête Paradiso, a traveling festival of vintage carnival rides and carousels, making its American debut. The collection includes attractions from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, such as carousels, flying swings and a pipe organ. Not only is it cool seeing rare, museum-quality items in a setting as beautiful as the island, you can also ride most of the vintage attractions. Insider tip: The rides are a bit on the pricey side, particularly if you’re going with a toddler. If you’re riding with your kid, it will cost you each a ticket, even if you’re just holding your kid while they’re riding the carousel. The best value is a buying in bulk.

Governor's Island Survival Guide via brunchwithmybaby.com

There are a lot of rides, mostly suited to adults and older kids due to lack of modern safety features. The best rides for small kids are the carousels.

Governor's Island Survival Guide via brunchwithmybaby.com

Governor's Island Survival Guide via brunchwithmybaby.com

A carousel with cars was the favourite among the junior set (vroom vroom!). The only problem? No seat belts to strap the kids in, so the merry-go-round presents a couple of challenges — a moving platform, plus a moving toddler ON the platform who wants to buzz from car to car to car. TOO MANY CHOICES FOR TODDLER BRAINS!

Governor's Island Survival Guide via brunchwithmybaby.com

This miniature VW van was dubbed “the party bus” by the parents watching the chaos unfold, as all the kids scrambled to squeeze inside and take the wheel at once.

Governor's Island Survival Guide via brunchwithmybaby.com

For a change of pace, calm everyone down at Earth Matter’s Compost Outpost (open all season, 10am-5pm, South Battery). Kids can get up close to chickens, goats, rabbits and worms, all of whom spend their days eating compost, care of Governor’s Island visitors. Older kids can learn about compost first-hand, by taking part in the daily composting.

Eating On The Island
When it comes to food, you have a few expensive choices. Fête Paradiso features an eatery inside a pavilion designed in 1900 for bumper cars. Food is available in a tent, catered by French eatery Le Gamin. You’ll be able to try some traditional bistro fare like Steak Frites ($15), Croque Monsieur ($8) Salade Nicoise ($8) and sweet crepes with Nutella, lemon sugar or jam ($5). Kid-friendly options include hamburgers ($8) and Rotisserie Chicken ($10). Adults can enjoy spirits and wine from the Languedoc region of France. There is also the King Island Food Court, featuring a variety of vendors and cuisines, and picnic tables at which to sit. For a really relaxing day, bring a packed picnic and blanket.

Tips to Know Before You Go:

  • There’s no drinkable water on the island (so no drinking fountains). You can buy water from island vendors and vending machines, but we’d advise bringing plenty of your own. Water bottles can be re-filled in the Governors Island Ferry Waiting Room at the Battery Maritime Building.
  • The only indoor bathrooms are located on the upper and lower level of Building 110, adjacent to the ferry landing. There are plenty of port-a-loos placed around the island if you can’t hold on to find these bathrooms.

Governors Island
Open every Sat, Sun and holiday Monday from 10am-7pm through to September 29. To get there, catch the East River ferry from Manhattan (from Wall St/Pier 11 ($4) or the free ferry from the Battery Maritime Building) or the free Brooklyn ferry from Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6. Check out the ferry schedules before you go, and be prepared for a long line if you’re heading across from Brooklyn.