Kid Favorites: A Great Book Series for Toddlers in the Car

This is our favorite book series to have in the car for times when we're waiting and need entertainment. Sydney (5), Sabrina (3) and Luke (2) all love them. Sabrina has looked at the "Animals to Spot" version every day this year while we waited for Sydney's school pick-up, without ever tiring of it.  

While I was snagging this picture for the blog, I decided to buy four more. 1001 Things to Spot in the Sea, 1001 Things to Spot on Vacation and 1001 Things to Spot in Fairyland and 1001 Things to Spot on the Farm. I had to buy some of these of used, as they're not all still in print. 

Now if I could just figure out how to avoid them fighting over which one they want...

Kid Favorites: Swimming with Dolphins

A couple of years ago, Sydney’s favorite animals were dolphins and whales. I don’t remember how it got started, but like the other animal favorites before – goats, deer and rhinos – this fetish lasted a while. We enjoyed two months of Sydney playing exclusively with her dolphin and whale friends for tea parties, in the bath, to bring on adventures, to talk to, etc. I loved to listen to her talking to them. “Here’s your tea. Don’t worry, I have another fish for you!”

So when we booked our trip to the Big Island of Hawaii a couple summers ago, the first place Michelle called was DolphinQuest to reserve a spot for Sydney to swim with the dolphins. 

Sydney enjoyed everything but the dolphin splashing her in the face and the fact that, when it was over, she had not actually gotten to “swim” with the dolphins. When the class was over, she cried for 10 minutes, feeling very cheated. Even though we’d prepared her for how short it was going to be, and she'd watched the other classes every day for a week before it was her turn, she obviously expected something completely different than what she got, which was to pet the dolphin, feed him some fish and shake his fin.

Still, she said she'd do it again, so it's officially a "favorite" in my mind.

What are some of your kids' favorite adventures?

Kid Favorites: Disney's Frozen

I've been looking for a Frozen costume for Sydney's upcoming birthday party. For those of you who haven't seen the movie yet (anyone? anyone?), it is cute! We know all the music by heart in the Miller house. We have experienced a Frozen Obsession similar to the funny post on Mommy Shorts.

But I digress. So I'm searching for a cute Elsa costume this afternoon when I run across one on Amazon for $1,199. $1,199! My eyes scanned down to the first review, which was 5 stars, and it made me laugh enough to share...

5.0 out of 5 stars This is a BARGAIN!, February 3, 2014

By Jarad Denton - See all my reviews

This review is from: Disney Store Frozen Elsa Limited Edition LE Costume Size 6

I know there are many naysayers regarding this dress, but I have to say - after setting aside my monthly house payment to cover the cost of this item, I am firmly convinced that I made out like a bandit. There are several amazing features that I was able to justify draining our bank account to my soon-to-be ex-wife.

1. This beautiful Elsa dress is made by starving Dominican worker-children - which clearly spells quality. The stitching still has remnants of blood from where they pricked their tiny fingers, a true testament to the dedication the children have for their craft. If you look closely, you will notice that the sparkles are not cheap, dollar store glitter - they are the dried, salty tears of the tiny seamstresses.

2. The cape itself was designed and tested by an executive at Wayne Enterprises. Made from cutting-edge memory cloth, it will transform your beautiful fairy tale princess into a vengeful crime fighter almost overnight. Simply apply an electrical current through the space-age fabric and let the soaring fun begin! The only drawback is that the costume itself is not resistant to electricity, so the advantage of flight comes at the cost of toddler electro-shock.

3. A little known fact is that this dress actually gives the wearer magical ice powers. I myself was ignorant to this when I dressed my beautiful princess as Elsa. Within 20 minutes, she was freezing things all over my house: furniture, electronics, cats, etc. The fun didn't stop there. After two weeks, my angel is completely drunk with power - which unfortunately explains the state of Atlanta and most of the southern United States. I'm certain that this is really a phase she will grow out of, but personally, I enjoy the look of wonder and amazement she has every time she brings about another snowmadeggeon.

So, for all those who think $900 is too high a price, I challenge you to remember that you can't truly put a value on a child's happiness. This dress has literally saved me from hours of quality time that I would normally have to spend with my child. Now instead of precious cuddle time, I simply throw coins or cash and my child. Thanks, Elsa dress, you have saved my life!

Kid Favorites: Pillow Pets Dream Lites

Our kids, like most I'd imagine, are not big fans of the dark. But the scientists say for their eyes, and brain development, and many other reasons, the darker the better. Only a quandary a mother could understand.

I think we've found a good middle ground.

The Pillow Pets Dream Lites are stuffed animals with lights on their backs. Our kids each have one in their beds (the kids chose two bears and a unicorn). When it's time to turn the lights out, we turn these on so that there is sufficient light in their room while they drift off to sleep. You can choose the timer setting, so that they automatically turn off after 15 minutes.

Problem solved - it's light enough in the room to fall asleep, but dark enough for their health while they're sleeping. 

Now if only I could solve all of my kids' problems with a $20 pillow, I'd be all set.


Kid Favorites: Sophie the Giraffe

Sophie the Giraffe, a teether made from 100% chewable rubber, has been around since 1965.

Sophie is large (easy to find), squeezable (good for their fine motor skills), chewable everywhere (great for teeth pain) and squeaks when squeezed (fun). Sabrina loved it. And slobbered all over it.

Sophie is pricey (retail $22, $18 on Amazon), but Sabrina would tell you it's worth it. Now the company, Vulli, makes many more options, like an adorable little fawn...


Kid Favorites: Wubbanubs

I’ve decided pacifiers are good and bad. Good – that they can help comfort your little one to sleep. Bad – that she doesn’t put it back in her mouth when she wakes up, so sometimes she has trouble getting herself back to sleep (or worse, that when she has a stuffy nose, it’s impossible for her to keep it in her mouth and breathe at the same time). 

But if you’re going to go the pacifier route, I love the Wubbanubs. Janis, our great night nanny, told us about the Wubbanubs before Sydney was born, and I bought several to bring to the hospital with me. They’re the only pacifiers Sydney or Sabrina ever used. (Luke never took to one.)

There are lots of positives about these – they stay in their mouth, they’re a pacifier and stuffed animal all in one and they’re easier to find in the crib (if you have a child that actually tries to find them) or in the diaper bag. The only downside is that they’re harder to sterilize than your average pacifier and the stuffed animal part needs to be gently cleaned every once in a while.