Spring-Break Essential: The Best Sun Hats for Little Vacationers

Hello, spring. (Well, hello officially, at least.) We’ve been dreaming about you, and counting down the days until you’d peek your sunny little head out from behind winter’s bleak and cold and cloudy horizon. Alas, here you are! The Vernal Equinox—could we love you any more?!? The day that signifies the change in seasons. Of course, the weather is still rather unpredictable (is that snow I see in the upcoming weekend’s forecast?). At least, we know the temperature will slowly but surely rise, and the sun will steadily make more of a regular appearance. We’re counting on you, spring!

While we may have to hold our breath a bit for more spring-like conditions, one thing is fast on the way: spring break! Time to go somewhere beautiful and exotic (unless, of course, your a ski fam), and get a sneak peek at the summer weather on its way.

My crew cut out a bit early for our own officially unofficial spring break vacation last week in Florida and the Bahamas. Sunny days, balmy nights, sand, surf, and warm-weather fun—it was exactly what we needed to recharge our tired bodies and minds.

Seeing my two babies soaking up the rays (protected with SPF and wide-brimmed hats) warmed my heart and soothed my Vitamin D-deprived soul. Not only did they look adorable rocking big straw hats in Boca and Sarasota and Nassau, they stayed shady, calm, and cool. So don’t forget to pack your favorite kid-friendly sunscreen, some flip-flops, and a few haute little toddler sun hats (I mean what more could you possibly need?… ahem, diapers?), if you’re headed somewhere tropical these next few spring-break weeks!

I’ve rounded up a few fashionable and functional toddler sun hats for your smallest spring breakers. Enjoy!

  1. Osh Gosh “Poolside” Floppy Sun Hat, $8 / 2. Janie & Jack Color-Block Floppy Hat, $26 / 3. Children’s Place Straw Kitten Hat, $ / 4. Gap Chambray Panama Hat, $ / 5. Cat & Jack Straw Bow Hat, $8 / Janie & Jack Sun Hat, $26

  1. Old Navy Straw Hat, $14 / 2. Children’s Place Straw Bear Hat, $ / 3. Gap Shark Bucket Hat, $20 / 4. Janie & Jack Striped Boater Hat, $26

This is not a sponsored post. It may contain affiliate links. All opinions are our own.

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Hug a Little Longer, Play a Little Longer, Frolic Together a Little Longer

This post is sponsored by Huggies.

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Baby P was a late crawler and a late walker. Fortunately, this gross-motor delay had nothing to do with her development and everything to do with me, her adoring helicopter Mama. You see, I held her and strolled her and wore her—a lot. Like, all-the-time a lot. And, so, she was spoiled, and I was spoiled, and we were both happily content being physically close and entirely codependent. (Sounds healthy, no?)

Alas at her 12-month wellness visit, her pediatrician recommended physical therapy—and some much-needed (though I refused to admit it at the time!) separation. My little girl had to be given the space to grow and thrive—and that had to start with me admitting that she was no longer an itty-bitty helpless infant. (Sniff-sniff.) She had to gain confidence in her capable body, and I had to snip the veritable umbilical cord that was enabling her to rely exclusively on Mommy. It was my job to empower her—“let go of my hand and trust your own two feet, my love. But I will be right here if and when you need me!”

We started PT sessions with some early trial, error, triumphs, and failures, and I, reluctantly, but decisively, put the stroller in the garage and the baby carrier in the closet, insisting that we practice our shaky steps at home, at school pick-up, and even in the aisles of the grocery store. It wasn’t easy at first, one day, P woke up and it was like a light bulb went off in her head. She just decided, “Imma do this.” And, so, she did.

A few months later, and I can barely remember a time when P couldn’t walk. Now, she is off for the races all day every day, and I can barely keep up. Still, despite her tremendous progress, she remains slightly behind and continues to need daily practice. And that’s why I take her for frequent trips to the playground—so she can exert energy, be active, and gain confidence and independence in a fun, safe, and controlled environment.

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Every morning, I get Big Brother ready for school and Baby Sister ready for our solo time together. I put her in a trusty Huggies Snug & Dry Diaper and we’re all set to go! I relish our mommy-and-me play dates, exploring new parks and embarking on new adventures—feeding the ducks by the pond, seeking out new slides, interacting on the swings, and monkeying around by the monkey bars. Occasionally we even invite Daddy! I’ll try to scoop her up for a kiss, but she fights to be out of my arms and on the ground—she just wants to show off all her new skills.

Sometimes I’ll pack a picnic lunch for us to enjoy together. (P definitely works up an appetite with all that moving!) A few bites into her meal, and she’s fueled up and ready for more. I love that we can stay longer and play longer thanks to Huggies Snug & Dry Diapers. I don’t worry about stopping to change her—because I know she’s well protected. (And, BTW, now that she’s no longer immobile, diaper changes have become something of a hilarious wrestling match—of which she usually wins.)

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With long-lasting, 12-hour protection, these diapers surround my baby—so we can walk and run and play and climb and swing and frolic and hug a little longer—if only she’d slow down long enough to let me hold her!

family-at-the-playground

Huggies® believes deeply in the Power of Hugs. The simple, loving act is proven to support babies’ emotional and physiological well-being. Huggies® diapers and wipes are inspired by a parent’s hug, – to nurture baby with care, cradle baby in comfort and surround baby in protection. Huggies® Snug & Dry Diapers absorb quickly to help stop leaks and offer up to 12 hours of long-lasting leakage protection to help keep baby dry throughout all his daily adventures. Learn more at Huggies.com #HuggiesCouncil.

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Traveling With Baby: Lighten Your Load With BABYBJÖRN

baby bjorn 1Traveling with a baby is no easy task. Even if you have the happiest, most easy-going little one in the world, there’s still so much to do– so much stuff to bring, to pack, to carry… It’s positively daunting! From diapers and lotions to gear and high chairs–it’s enough to make a vacation sound like more work than it’s worth.

My husband and I recently took our toddler and five month old to Florida and it was stressful–fun, exciting, and totally amazing, but also really, really hard. By the time we returned home, I was exhausted from carting around those heavy strollers, car seats, portable cribs, and travel toys! (Who leaves vacation needing a massage?!?… This mom does!)

We’re hoping to take a few more family trips this summer–perhaps to Rhode Island or Cape Cod or the Hamptons or to visit family in Kentucky. Regardless of our destination, there are a few new essentials I’ll be packing to lighten the load… These items are absolute must-haves in my book. I can’t wait for our summer journeys to begin.

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DISCLOSURE-BAR-701-300x34(2)BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib Light

Sleeping away from home with small children has never been easier thanks to the BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib Light. It’s easy to set up, pack up, and carry (it weighs only 13 pounds). It can fit in the overhead compartment of a a plane, or can be folded and stowed away in the trunk of a car–making it perfect for adventures, both big and small.

baby bjorn 2BABY BJÖRN Baby Carrier One

Keep your little one calm, happy, and secure with the BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier One. Mom (or Dad) can have both hands free, and Baby will stay safe and snug facing forwards or backwards. It’s great for navigating hectic airports and crowded streets too.

Happy Baby, Happy Travels!

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baby bjorn 4This is a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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(Video): How to Make Your Own Watermelon & Strawberry Popsicles

Watermelon and Strawberry Popsicles

In this fun new food video we are cooking with mom of four and owner of Sage Spoonfuls, Liza Huber. Using only a few steps, Liza shows us how to make a simple, delicious and healthy Watermelon and Strawberry Popsicle.

Liza Huber of Sage Spoonfuls

As Liza mentioned, traditional store-bought popsicles are usually expensive, loaded with sugar and preservatives, and not necessary.

Check out this fun video where she shows a fantastic recipe for how to make a healthy and delicious summer treat both you and your kids will love!

Be sure to subscribe to the Momtrends YouTube Channel for even more delicious food recipes and coverage of the latest trends.

 

 

 

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More Pop Recipes:

Confetti Yogurt Pops from Parents.com
Makes: 6 pops. Prep: 10 minutes
Freeze: 4 hours
View Nutrition Facts

Ingredients:

* 2 cups low-fat vanilla yogurt
* 1 cup assorted berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, chopped strawberries)
* 5 pretzel rods, halved, or 10 baked snack stick crackers

Directions:

1. In a large bowl gently stir together the yogurt and fruit. Spoon into 4-ounce ice-pop molds or 3-ounce paper cups. Cover molds or cups with foil; use a sharp knife to cut a small hole in the foil and insert cut side of pretzel rod or snack stick. Freeze until firm. Remove foil and mold or cup before serving.

2. Store for up to a month. Makes 6 pops.

You can also log onto Parents.com for a other yummy and easy snack ideas.

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Potty Training Tips During Travel

Potty Training Tips During Travel.jpg

With Spring Break and Summer travel on the horizon, many parents are getting ready to make the plunge into the potty training process – warmer weather means less layers to work around and spring breaks mean more time to commit to a process that requires consistency. And, while the extra time on hand can provide parents the necessary resources for continuity, Spring Break can also serve as a major setback to those already working their way through potty training –all the extra activities break from normal routines and can cause confusion for overwhelmed or overtired toddlers. With Spring Break bringing extra car trips near and far, 72 percent of moms agree that having a potty-training tot in the car is the most difficult place to be.

To help us out we chatted with Pull-Ups® Potty Training Partner and Mom Blogger, Meagan Paullin about the obstacles – and solutions – to Spring Break potty training routines. Check out her tips below as well as the Pull-Ups website where you can discover the best tips and tools to get moms and dads through potty training when traveling.

Momtrends: What are some of your packing essentials for parents that are potty training?

Meagan Paullin: Be prepared! Pack an extra change of clothes, Pull-Ups® and wipes. And, when you’re on the go – be consistent. If you have rewards at home, like stickers or checklists, be sure to bring those with you when you travel. Toddlers do much better when you continue as many of their normal routines as possible.

Momtrends: In general, how many breaks should families take on car rides with a potty training child?

Meagan Paullin: This depends on how many breaks you take at home. Each age and stage will have different needs – just follow your usual routine. If you normally take potty breaks every hour at home, try to do that while on the road too. If it’s shorter intervals, like 15 minutes, then be sure to bring a portable potty seat. That way, you can stop anywhere, anytime, for little ones to “go” when they feel the need.

Momtrends: What are some potty training routines that you can still practice while traveling?

Meagan Paullin: I think that almost any routine can be adapted to travel with you. The basics – remember to stop for potty breaks as often as you do at home, not just when driving, but wherever you are. An alarm on your phone works great for this! Bring the same rewards you use at home. If you have a portable potty seat at home, bring it too. Just try to keep things as close to the same as possible.
But, there will still be challenges, since you can’t stick exactly to your home routine. A few tips: Remind kids at each attraction or event you go to, that there is a bathroom there. Little ones might not realize that other places still have a potty too 🙂 Point out each bathroom as you pass it, so they can let you know if it’s time to go.

And the biggest part – keep your sense of humor. Yes, they will possibly have an accident, at the worst possible time. Yes, they will tell you they need to go potty when it’s the absolute least convenient time. That’s the way it goes, and getting stressed will only upset you both. Have supplies like extra Pull-Ups® and wipes, change of clothes, and wet-bags to contain the mess, and remember that life goes on. This stage will only last a while 🙂

There are additional tips and great articles on the Pull-Ups® website to help parents figure out what works for them!

Momtrends: What age, in general, can Pull-Ups® be introduced?

Meagan Paullin: Most parents start potty training with Pull-Ups® between the ages of 18 and 40 months. And, although every child is very different, 2 years old (24 months) is a common age to “officially” begin the process. Not only do Pull-Ups® help kids learn about bathroom independence as they train, the training pants also feature super fun Disney characters and the Big Kid Academy has many tools to help keep toddlers motivated. What’s not to love?

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Gear Girl: Tableware for Your Tot

Once junior joins you at the table, the real fun (and mess) begins. Fortunately a collection of smartly-designed tableware for tots will keep keep mealtime more manageable. Here are some of our favorite divided plates (lest the chicken touch the peas!) and toddler-friendly silverware.

best dishware for toddlers

Whether it’s keeping peas out of the applesauce or noodles not touching the sauce, these compartmentalized plates and bowls will keep foods separate and easier to scoop.

This plate from Boon Inc is divided (no food touching!), edgeless (nowhere to grab it for a Frisbee-style fling!) and has a non-skid bottom so the plate will (hopefully) stay on the table. How cute is this? SkipHop’s Stay-put Mat + Plate comes with a divided, rotatable, removable plate, a built-in placemat and silverware.

OXO’s Divided Plate has one large section, two smaller ones and a center dipper to give parents a guide for portion sizes of proteins, vegetables and grains. The Divided Plate set from Giggle has a silicone suction base, two compartments and a soft silicone spoon, making it perfect for feeding baby or letting your tot feed herself.

Tommee Tippee’s Section Plate comes with two plates that are BPA-free and safe for use in the microwave or dishwasher. Plus it’s $6. For two of them. Half of getting kids to eat is in the presentation. We used Boon’s Groovy + Modware set from 6 months up to 2 years. It comes with a a plate with two compartments plus two attach-anywhere mini bowls for sauce or sides. We used them for things like ketchup, tzatziki, blueberries, applesauce and chocolate chips. Plus, the set comes an with easy-to-hold spoon and fork.

silverware for babies

Yes, a 6-pack of plastic mini spoons will do you fine, but this silverware goes above and beyond. Here are their hidden superpowers.

Boon’s Adaptable Utensils have a chunky handle for little hands to hold and an ingenious bendable tip since tots aren’t often able to maneuver the spoon to the right angle for their mouth. Fisher Price’s Learn-To-Hold Spoons arrive straight in the package, but have handles that can be bent and twisted into the perfect shape whether you’re feeding baby or baby is feeding baby.

These Munchkin White Hot Safety Spoons are perfect for DIY moms making (and reheating) homemade baby food. If the colored tip turns white, the food is too hot. The Boon Swap Spoons have both a soft and hard tip, helping you transition your new eater to a more experienced connoisseur of pureed peas. Plus they are extra long for getting that list bit out of the jar.

Finally, in case your sound effects alone aren’t selling that bite of broccoli, Air Fork One and Oogaa Baby’s Train Spoon give you the extra visual umph to go along with your best motor attempts.

 PICKmeUP napkins

Another favorite for mealtime is napkins, and our latest favorite is from PICKmeUP napkins where you will discover bright prints with fun and positive sayings like ‘Be Creative,’ ‘Have a Nice Day’ and ‘I Love You’ – among many other fun messages. We also love that the napkins are made of reusable cloth that helps the environment while also making mealtime (a little) neater.

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Favorite Toys and Gifts for Kids and Babies

cool products for kids, gifts, gifts for babies

We love fun and educational toys for babies and our kids. During the NY Now and Playtime NY show we were really excited about the newest toys and cool gift ideas. Featuring innovative designs and playful concepts, here are a few of new favorites.

1. Time Capsules: We all know that moments go by so quickly when you have kids. Before you know it, they are in kindergarten and even college. To hold on to these precious moments, we love Time Capsules as a way to capture moments like the birth of a baby, a wedding, a farewell, a graduation etc, where you can use the enclosed stickers, magic tape, tags, wrapping paper, etc to preserve your memories and hold onto to them forever.

2. Milestone Baby Cards: Looking for the perfect baby shower gift? We’ve found our favorite choice with Milestone Baby Cards, a fun collection of development cards that can capture the special moments of your child’s first year. Created by Dutch mom Gemma Broekhuis, the cards are beautifully illustrated that capture moments such as smiling for the first time, eating solids and a major one for parents: sleeping through the night!

3. Mo-To: A new line of heirloom wood toys that are inspired by the iconic car designs of the late 60’s Americana, MO-TO draws on the respect for craftsmanship and minimalist aesthetic. The simplicity of these toys and the romantic undertones with a respect for the Golden Age of American design, create a freeform play experience, where children fill in the story with their imagination. Made from German Beach Wood, finished in water based paint and made with a clear coat. Designed for kids 3 and up.

4. Nickster Collection: A new one-of-a-kind toy, the Nickster Collection encourages children to imagine and create. Children learn as the play by building each toy: first identifying different geometric shapes and then fitting blocks together like puzzles. We love how these toys are fun and playful as they appeal to the left and right brain. The Nickster range of educational toys includes the Wagonimals, Puzzle Truck, Sequence Train and Firefighter Truck. Designed for kids 0 and up.

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4th of July Tips with the Kids

fourth of july

Between cookouts, fireworks and barbecues, the 4th of July is a whirlwind holiday filled with activity and food. It’s important to enjoy the festivities, but also to keep kids on a fairly normal schedule to avoid the meltdowns caused by sugar crashes and exhaustion. There are ways to keep on napping and eating schedules while out and about to keep the whole family happy.


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Here are tips help keep children on healthy eating, playing and napping schedules while on a long holiday weekend.

  • Bring an umbrella. An umbrella can give protection from the rain and sun. It can also be a great place to set up a quick nap for your little one. A blanket and some shade will provide the quick slumber necessary to keep them energized throughout the day.
  • Bring the beach toys. Bring along some water toys, Frisbees and sand castle toys to keep busy. Whether you’re at the beach, the park or the fireworks, toddlers tend to get into trouble if they don’t have something to keep them distracted. Plastic toys can get dirty, wet and messy with easy clean-up.
  • Prepare your meals ahead of time. While adults can find food at most venues, toddlers are picky and need to stick to healthier options. Spouted pouches of Greek yogurt and Superfruits from Sprout Organic Foods don’t require a cooler and can be re-sealed for easy and mess-free snacks. Throw organic quick snacks and meals like these in a purse or beach bag to keep your toddler happy.
  • Keep hydrated. Bringing water will help to stay cool and refreshed throughout the hot summer day. Water bottles with filters are a great way to filter water from a drinking fountain while also being eco-friendly. Your toddler will be dehydrated from the sun and activity so drink up.
  • Bring soft ear plugs. If your toddler is able to stay up for the fireworks at night, remember to bring ear plugs. Their sensitive ears will be protected from the noise while they enjoy the show.

 

  • Sprout Foods

All tips were provided by Sprout Foods, a company whose mission is to provide children, and the parents who feed them, with fresh and delicious whole foods that encourage happy and healthy eating.

For more information, and to see the complete Sprout Food product line, please visit: http://www.sproutorganicfoods.com

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Fun Products for Toddlers

ToddlerEssentials

My active toddler has been keeping me on my toes. Since she is in pure discovery mode, I have been using some products for both her enjoyment and development. Here are some of my favorites (so far):

Monarca Language’s “Las Aventuras de Tutuca” CD: It is belived that children can develop a new language very easily at this stage. To help her learn some basic Spanish we have been using the Monarca Language CD, an incredible collection of music and engaging songs that my daughter loves to bounce to and repeat the words. Designed to help kids develop an ear for the Spanish language, I love how it is fun and engaging both of us.

Educational Apps: I am low-tech mama but even I get impressed with some of the educational apps on the market. For my toddler, we have been using Music Matching With Lisa Loeb, a cool new app from Gabuduck where young children can learn about colors, instruments, sounds and eye-hand coordination all while memorizing and matching character picture cards. As she learns all about music, she is also improving her concentration and memory in this highly engaging app that also features music by Lisa Loeb, ‘Jabo’ Bihlman and Dog and Pony Show. We also love the Wee You-Thing app. This quirky new app that features a colorful crew of characters celebrating “you-things”—those little and big things that, together, make you special and like no one else in the world. This also includes great tips for parents to help kids learn about differences and start conversations that help build understanding, encourage empathy, inspire creativity, develop confidence and induce giggles. We also love how this modern app includes fun music by indie rock band Rabbit and how it focuses on celebrating everyone’s differences through their brillant graphics and fun humor.

Sippy Cups: I have gone through a lot of sippy cups and one of my all-time favorites is Born Free. I used the BPA-free bottles when she was a baby, and now that she is a toddler we have been using the cool Straw Cup and the Drinking Cup. I love the Straw Cup for her smoothies that she easily as access to and then I can close it when she’s done. The Drinking Cup is great for her milk and water and makes it easy to transport on-the-go since they don’t leak or spill. Another sippy cup that I have been using is the assortment from ADIRI. The ADIRI Sippy Cups features a collection of cute and colorful cups that include a soft and smooth spout as well as a leak-free valve so you don’t have to worry about any spills. They aslo include cute animalas and characters that your tot is sure to love. To give our sippy cups even more personality, I have been using the labels from Kidaroo Crew. These fun labels are super durable and reusable that feature 3D designs such as animals, sports items, and even your child’s name. I also love that they are made with using FDA compliant non-toxic material; which is Phthalate, Lead, and BPA-free that make them great for daycare, travel, preschool, play dates, and much more.

American Blanket Company: We recently moved my daughter into a toddler bed and have been covering her in the uber soft and comfortable blankets from the American Blanket Company. Featuring a variety of colors and hand-stitched patterns too, these gorgeous blankets are all American-made, guaranteed for life, and come gift wrapped – making them an ideal gift for a new baby. We also love that they are made with fleece – offering babies and kids warmth, comfort, and the ultimate in softness.

Momtrends was not paid for this post. We were given samples.

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Plum Organics Baby Food

Plum Organics Baby Food

When my own kids were babies (they are now nine and six), I made most of their baby food. Why? One of the reasons was the lack of variety in store bought baby food back then. If I wanted anything other than standard sweet potatoes, carrots, peas or pears, I had to make it myself.

After seeing the variety available from Plum Organics, I wish they had been available years ago.  I would definitely have purchased them for my children.  Plum Organics offerings include:

  • Fruit & Veggie Whole Grain Blends: The first-ever Stage 2 baby food pouch to contain recipes with a variety of ancient grains for baby’??s budding palate. All four varieties contain a delightful combination of organic fruit or fruit/veggies mixed with a hearty, whole grain for a boost of nutrition. Designed for all bellies and for palate development, three recipes include a gluten-free ancient grain like Quinoa, Millet or Amaranth. Available in Zucchini Banana & Amaranth, Apple Raisin & Quinoa, Sweet Potato Mango & Millet, and Plum Berry & Barley.
  • Yogurt Mish Mash: A yummy blend of fruits, veggies & creamy organic yogurt. Unique recipes in bright, natural colors make for a vibrant smoothie snack packed with nutrition. With Yogurt Mish Mash, tots can experience the benefits of real dairy, hearty vegetables, and naturally sweet fruit in their favorite squeezable Mish Mash pouch. A mess-free, no spoon solution, this not-to-be-missed yogurt snack comes in three delicious blends: Apple Spinach, Berry Banana Beet and Purple Roots & Fruits.
  • Teensy Fruits: Soft, real fruit snacks designed for the independent eater. Perfectly sized for tot, these teensy nibbles offer a full serving of fruit in every pack. A unique fun format, Teensy Fruits are available in three tot-friendly flavors like Peach, Apple, and Berry.

Plum Organics are available at retailers nationwide, including Target, Babies R Us and Whole Foods.

Momtrends was not paid for this post. We did receive samples to try. 

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