We’ve always maintained that books make excellent baby gifts, which is why I plan to devote the next few posts to my daughter’s favorites through the years. Let’s start with best baby books:
Goodnight Moon is always a classic. (On a related note, I tried to take Audrey to a stage production of Goodnight Moon when she was three and she cried all the way through it.)
Owl Babies. She still reads this one!
Hush Little Baby illustrated by Marla Frazee. Audrey still pages through and sings the songs as a part of her bedtime ritual. She’s done this most of her life now, so I think it qualifies as Audrey’s favorite book of all time!
Hush Little Baby by Sylvia Long. Another “Hush Little Baby” book with alternative lyrics.
I’ll throw in a couple holiday books, too, for good measure:
Coming up this Thursday: The Best Books for Preschoolers. Stay tuned!
Do kids even play with wooden toys? Do they always get more fun out of the battery powered plastic gizmos? Will you end up investing a chunk of your holiday budget in something that your child won’t even touch?
(Speaking of your holiday budget, don’t forget to enter our Charlie Banana Hybrid Diaper giveaway! The contest ends on Wednesday and you can enter up to four times!)
I cannot totally guarantee that your tot will love the following toys, but I can attest to the fact that my children have played with them vigorously for hundreds of hours spanning years of their lives. For us, they were worth the investment!
I wrote an entire post about how much we love our daughter’s Green Toys Tea Set. Made from recycled plastic, this sturdy and cute little set has already been thoroughly enjoyed just in the last few months. I love the simple design, interchangeable lids, and lovely colors in this little ensemble. (The Green Toys Recycling Truck was my son’s favorite vehicle for a full year.)
Grandma and Grandpa purchased this Melissa and Doug shopping cart for my daughter, but I wasn’t sure it would be worth the hefty price early on. I was entirely wrong! Both my kids push it around the house on a daily basis and it doubles as a doll stroller and block transporter as well.
Something about the shape and size of City Blocks makes them a staple building tool at our house. The kids have made pirate ships, bridges, and complex skyscrapers over hours of playtime.
I love that the Alex Toys in My Kitchen Set is small and colorful. It’s glorious being able to avoid a giant plastic kitchen while still enjoying hours of imaginative play over those bright burners.
Many of the hand crafted wooden vehicles we have been given have sat neglected over the years, but Automoblox are a grand exception. The fact that each vehicle comes apart and can be combined with other vehicles has made them hugely popular around here. My son received a set when he was two and is still messing with them three years later.
If all of us had a limitless holiday budget, we might buy dozens of sustainably crafted heirloom toys for our little ones. But if you can only buy a few, which ones will you be purchasing? Will you end up buying used or possibly even making some of your gifts by hand this year? What’s on your gift list?
There isn’t much of a demand for holiday-themed diapers, as it turns out. That didn’t stop me from trying to cobble together a seasonally-appropriate diaper wardrobe for your little one.
The Sckoon cotton baby cloth diaper red pear ($14.90). Reminds me of those Harry & David gift boxes from Great Aunt Buzzy.
Red rock star pocket cloth diaper ($10.95). Dazzling!
Itti Bitti bitti dlish cloth diapers red ($19.95). Soft velour is perfect for the holidays.
Happy Heinys one size cloth diaper forest green ($18.95). If you have twins, I recommend putting one in the red velour and the other in this dark green one. A stunning combo.
Rumparooz reusable cloth pocket diaper lux, aplix ($25). Sort of a holiday pattern, right?
Grovia diaper owls ($16.95). Owls are wintry birds.
Well, I tried.
Your life as a semi-professional diaper changer may be about to change in the next week if you’re lucky enough to win this week’s Charlie Banana giveaway! In my cloth diapering conversations, whenever a mother has mentioned Charlie Banana Diapers it seems to be followed by a long list of adorations: They fit so wonderfully, are so flexible, and have such lovely designs….Yadda, Yadda, Yadda…
After trying the diaper for myself, I have to say that I have joined the (sometimes fervent) ranks of the Charlie Banana fan club. The Charlie Banana Cloth Diaper itself is adorable but I also love how their pocket diapers are built to work with a cloth or disposable insert. The washable liner fits inside the pocket, just as it would on a standard cloth diaper, but the disposable insert sits on top of the fleece, close to the baby’s skin. It is secured by simply tucking it into a fold in the fabric. (Which means you don’t have to worry about securing it with complicated snaps or elastics.) When you’re traveling or taking baby to daycare, you can still use your cloth diapers along with the disposable inserts.
Charlie Banana’s one size cloth diapers flex to fit babies from 7-40 pounds with a snap system, but also makes size specific hybrid diapers ranging from extra small to large. Their prints and colors are bright and fun and would make a great holiday gift for baby!
How do you enter? You can enter up to four times. Here’s how:
1. Simply post a comment
2. Like Greenbabyguide.com on Facebook (then tell us you did it in a separate comment)
3. Visit the Charlie Banana website and comment on what you learned.
4. Spread the news about the giveaway! Email someone, post it on Facebook, tweet it, blog it, or send someone a message about it via carrier pigeon. (And again, don’t forget to tell us all about it in the comments!)
Each thing you do (and comment on) counts as a separate entry.
This contest ends on Wednesday, December 7th and is only open to U.S. Residents.
I’m one of those mean mothers who doesn’t want her aesthetic sensibilities offended by blinking plastic toys all over the living room. But, in an effort to prove that my heart isn’t completely dry and shriveled, I do allow tasteful, wooden playthings to cozy up next to the plants and furniture.
The Plan Toy Chalet Dollhouse with furniture ($179.46) won’t fit in Audrey’s bedroom, so it lives right on the living room floor. This toy has endured as one of her favorite-ever Christmas presents. She received it two years ago now and plays with it almost daily. It makes future gift-giving easy for relatives, too, because there are always more accessories to add to it.
Audrey loves the Plan Toy doll house nursery ($15.49), which brings a little wooden baby to the household.
And of course you can’t play with the dollhouse without The Plan Toy Modern Doll Family ($12.22). The Melissa and Doug wooden family doll set ($16.06) look pretty cute, too.
Aside from the dollhouse, the wooden toys that have gotten the most mileage around here are the wooden food playsets. Audrey has had the Melissa and Doug Cutting Food Box ($15) and the Melissa and Doug Food Groups ($13.59) for years now.
We never had the space for a wooden kitchen, but the Kidkraft Suite Elite kitchen ($109) looks like a great deal. Last year we posted a round-up of wooden kitchens you will want to check out.
For babies, I’d recommend old-fashioned wooden blocks (starting around $12). Audrey has had a set since birth and still gets them out and plays with them sometimes. Ditto for the wooden stacking rings (starting around $8).
This year I may surprise my five-year-old with the Melissa and Doug Shape, Model, and Mold ($15).
What are your (oh, and your children’s) favorite wooden toys?
My darling Jovi has been sniffly for the last four weeks and utterly inconsolable for the last two. A pharmacist strongly recommended against medicinal decongestants for toddlers and small children. But due to her serious pacifier addiction, she’s quite uncomfortable at night since she can’t breath and suck on her binky at the same time. So what is a desperate, sleep deprived mother to do?
We loved Hyland’s teething tablets and decided to opt for some of their homeopathic cough syrup and decongestant. Sadly, we didn’t see big results last night. Have you had more success? There are other products we haven’t tried yet, like Sinupet Kid’s Syrup.
Thanks for weighing in with your homeopathic preferences! (And let me know what works for your cold symptoms as well!)
Have you just finished loading soiled cloth diapers into the washer? Are you pumping at midnight while surfing the internet? Are you in your first trimester of pregnancy and polishing off an entire quart of ice cream on a daily basis? Where exactly are you in your green parenting pursuits?
I just strapped a cloth diaper (Fuzzibunz) on my two year old for her afternoon nap and have settled in to get caught up on writing. My five year old is currently at preschool and has pulled fully out of the “green baby” stage. His favorite pastimes include playing with blocks and making binoculars out of cardboard toilet paper rolls, tape, and two feet of white string. Most of the time, my children like each other and share the same sense of humor, as evidenced by the photo below.
At this stage of parenting I’m sleeping far more and changing diapers far less. But I don’t want to forget all those earlier stages that we went through just a few years back. Thanks for reminding me by sharing where you are in this journey!
First, let me clarify. I am still on the the outer fringes of frugality when it comes to mainstream culture. We buy almost all our clothes and housewares at thrift stores, usually at their monthly half off sales. I get my hair cut for four dollars at the beauty school and cut my husband and children’s hair myself. Some of the resourceful green strategies we’ve used while cloth diapering and clothing our children has saved us thousands of dollars, which we carefully document in our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide.
Still, I have to say that there are some money saving strategies I just can’t commit to:
-I don’t make homemade crackers, bars or other substitutes for packaged snacks.
-We buy some pre-made dinner and lunch items at Trader Joes.
-Once a week we go out for a meal.
Growing up, store bought bread, yogurt and cookies were utterly out of the question, so I feel a bit like an underachiever when I seek out prepared foods. And I only started to lean on prepared items once my babies entered the scene.
There was a point (before children) where my thriftiness was so hard core that I would never have considered crazy extravagances like cheese sticks. (I once got a half dozen pumpkins free from a grocery store on the day after Halloween just so that I could sort out the seeds and roast them for free food. It took me three hours, I burned half of them, and we quickly tired of the crazy amount of pumpkin seeds I had acquired.)
But parenting has helped me realize that my time is precious. If I’m spending it doing things that I don’t really enjoy and that stress me out, I’m missing out on moments with my children. Also, if I don’t preplan by buying snacks and convenience foods, we end up going out to eat more often than we should–which is more expensive and less healthy than stocking up on sauces, macaroni and cheese, and even frozen lasagna for those tough evenings a few times a month.
Have you found that parenthood has caused you to slack in your thriftiness? What is your favorite splurge? Or has being a parent caused you to be more careful with money than you were before? Do you prepare all your family’s snacks and meals or indulge in some convenience foods?
“I don’t want my child to have a piece of plastic in her mouth at all times. It’s not natural, it makes it difficult for her to speak, it could hurt her teeth, and I’m not confident that the materials used to make pacifiers are safe for the kind of use I’ve seen in small babies.”-Margaret.
“I waited three months so that we could really figure out breastfeeding and ensure that the binky wasn’t going to get in the way. After that, I had no problem using a pacifier, as long is it was BPA free.”-Kathleen
“From about two months of age, I trained my child to start putting her finger in her mouth. She learned it easily and was able to pacify herself the same way kids have been doing for hundreds of years, using her own body.”-Valerie
I didn’t want my child sucking her thumb, simply because you can’t take that away whereas you can wean a child from a pacifier. For that reason, I did use a pacifier early on to provide her with something that could soothe her but that I could remove as she got older. -Chao
If you read Monday’s post you know that I have used pacifiers with both our children, more out of desperation than conscious choice. My daughter covets them and we search them out on daily basis, despite the fact that we have at least eight lurking somewhere in our home. I’m looking forward to a binky-free future sometime in the next 1-2 years. It does happen, right?
My official stance on pacifier use was influenced by lactation specialists who advised that I hold off until baby reached three months of age to ensure we kept up a good breastfeeding latch. For approximately twelve weeks my son’s remarkably ear piercing wails were the norm, sometimes for several hours at a time.
When he hit three months and we popped that magical little (BPA-free) device into his mouth, we experienced a wee bit of heaven. It was quiet, he was content, and the addiction began. Every night (sometimes while cursing under our breath) we searched the house for pacifiers to ensure that he was surrounded by at least a half dozen while he slept. Otherwise we’d wake to his siren scream at 3 a.m. and find ourselves groping under his crib in the dark to find those tiny providers of peace and quiet.
Consequently, we didn’t worry much about giving our daughter a pacifier when she hit three months. Little did we know that her attachment would be personal and all consuming. She kisses her binkies, carries them around in tiny purses, and wails for them when they are out of reach. The other day she announced, “I’m a big girl. I don’t need my binkies anymore!” I happily packed them away and then began a two hour attempt to get her to sleep during her nap. I could have held the line and pushed ahead, but instead I popped a binky in her mouth and she zonked out in seconds.
So should you ever start using pacifiers? What has your experience been? We’ll share opinions from a variety of my mom-peers on Wednesday, but I’d love to hear more from our readers.