Archive for Decorating

Amp Up Your Apps: Part 2

Resident tech adviser Kristin is here to review two more great apps for parents and kids!

*Learn Chinese: Toy Story 3 ($4.99 on iPad)

Learn Chinese Toy Story 3 App on iTunes

You’ve seen the research that says that children can learn languages much more quickly than adults.  Well now your kids can learn to speak and read Chinese with Woody and Buzz Lightyear, all while they think they’re playing a game!  The story is presented in five levels, the first is all in English, and each subsequent level adds more Chinese words, until the fifth level is all in Chinese.  CW loves level 2 and repeating the random words that are written in Chinese.

CW learns Chinese with the Toy Story 3 App

Learn Chinese: Toy Story 3 is read aloud to your child with fun graphics and sound effects.  Your child can learn about the tonal marks, hear phrases and words in context (and out of context as well), record themselves, and receive stickers for meeting certain goals!  And if your child is not quite ready for reading, they will enjoy having the story read aloud to them (you can do it, or it can be done automatically).  CW begs to use the iPad for this game, and I figure that it certainly cannot hurt!  And, if he learns a few Chinese words, then it’s worth every penny!

Thanks to Disney Language Learning for allowing me to try this amazing App.

*Safety 1st Baby Book App: free

Safety 1st Baby Book App

With this Baby Book app, you can digitize your entire life, including those precious baby memories.  While, I still like the hard copy baby book, the Safety 1st Baby Book app does make my life easier.  I capture the moments on my phone, and then I can transfer them later into the baby book, without the fear of forgetting those important dates and milestones.  Plus, I can use my phone pictures to customize each milestone!

The Safety 1st Baby Book app is simple to use, and is also a helpful resource for tips and articles about your baby’s development.  Although I think it would be great if the app had a place to document immunizations, milestones, and other important developments with prompts and sections like a regular baby book (you can do so in the Notes section, but it does not prompt you for specific information), it is still a great resource and place to keep information all in one place.  And, the price is right.

Kristin with CW and MDKristin is a former high school English teacher and show choir geek enjoying time as a stay-at-home mom to CW and new baby brother MD.


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Girly Girl Babies Gotta Have Piggy Paint

Round about last week, I realized that the New York International Toy Fair was upon me.  And there was one product I had received at Toy Fair last year, that I had yet to review.

PIggy Paint Natural Non-Toxic Nail Polish for Kids

For those of you who are new around here let me fill you in on a little something.  I, Wendy, of Babies Gotta Have It, am a ginormous tomboy. My daughter, Bean, is the girliest girly girl to ever walk the streets of Manhattan. She loves twirly skirts. I love jeans. She loves playing with dolls. I love climbing trees. I hide my heels in the back of my closet.  She pulls them out and tries them on. She loves jewelry and makeup and hair. I am forced to wear jewelry and makeup and do my hair because of my job as an actor. I call myself an actor.  If, heaven forbid, she follows in my footsteps, she will no doubt refer to herself an actress.

Bean has wanted to paint her fingernails ever since she realized her fingernails were attached to her body.  She has colored them with every art supply I have given her: crayons, paint, markers…glitter glue. I was given a sample of Piggy Paint, the natural, non-toxic nail polish for children, a year ago at Toy Fair.  I held out for a year.  Somehow Bean’s first nail polish application kind of felt like her first haircut to me.  She has pleaded for painted fingernails forever.  She has waited patiently. Last week I decided that she had waited long  enough.

Piggy Paint

First we washed our hands.

Piggy Paint...Before

Before…

In love with her nails - Piggy Paint

Drying…

Piggy Paint

The finished product.  She has her Daddy’s hands…

Piggy Paint Non-toxic kid-friendly nail polish

Think she’s glad I did it?

Piggy Paint

Don’t mind me…I’m just hanging up some artwork…with NAIL POLISH!

Piggy Paint is non-toxic, low-odor, hypoallergenic, water-based nail polish and comes in a variety of delightful colors that will make your little one giggle with joy.  It air dries in 60 seconds and is safe for use during pregnancy.  Piggy Paint Nail Polish Remover is acetone-free, hypoallergenic, biodegradable, low odor, and effective–we used it to remove Bean’s nail polish a few days later when it started to chip (mind you we only used one coat and no primer or topcoat).

Piggy Paint is available at a variety of online stores including our affiliate Amazon or search on their site for a retailer near you. It’s everywhere. Thanks Piggy Paint, for making a safe, natural nail polish for kids. And for making my daughter’s dreams of glamor come true!

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Baby Lust – Skip Hop Zoo Bookends

Skip Hop Zoo Bookends

I found these wonderful little Bookends from Skip Hop (of the amazing Skip Hop Diaper Bags) at my little local independent children’s book and toy store, Book Culture.  The Little Bean’s books are piled in and around her little purple and yellow bookshelf.  We are having a hard time convincing her to get rid of…well any of her baby and toddler toys and books.  I have to sneak them out in the middle of the night.

Bookends seemed like a good idea.  Except for the part where they are big and metal, or big and marble, and breakable and dangerous.  A bookend is a weapon in the game of Clue right?  Well, it should be.  You’d do a lot more damage with a bookend than a wrench.

And then I came across the Skip Hop Zoo Bookends.  Part stuffed animal.  Part bean bag.  Part book end.  Completely adorable.  Safe for toddlers and preschoolers.  I got the owls.  Look for them at your neighborhood independent children’s book store or buy them online.

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Sleep Pretty & Sleep Safe – aden + anais Sleep Sacks Giveaway

If you are a new or expecting parent, odds are that you’re doing some reading about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. My understanding has always been that SIDS is a bit mysterious. Doctors can recommend steps to sharply decrease the incidence of SIDS, but can’t really explain what causes it.  The good news is that the wicked smart docs at Children’s Hospital Boston have just published new research linking SIDS to low serotonin production in the brainstem. The great news is that this finding may lead to a concrete test to identify babies at high risk for SIDS, bringing us another step closer to eradicating this devastating syndrome.

The CJ Foundation for SIDS has given millions of dollars to support SIDS research and provide public education and awareness about SIDS risk reduction.  As the largest non-governmental funder of programs meeting the needs of the SIDS community, they participated in funding the research cited above. And I am so excited to share with you the CJ Foundation’s new initiative: Sleep in Safety, Grow in Style. According to the SSGS site,

“The CJ Foundation’s Sleep in Safety, Grow in Style campaign
aims to

educate consumers and
raise public awareness about
what constitutes a safe sleep environment for infants.
We will help parents and caregivers learn how to create nurseries with style
and safe sleeping environments for babies that can cost less, be beautiful and
comforting, grow with your child, and most importantly
significantly reduce the risk of SIDS and
other sleep related infant deaths.”

Let’s decorate our babies’ nurseries with an eye toward style and sleep safety! SSGS offers a webpage with Design Safety Tips as well as Sleep Safety Tips. Let me share their list of Sleep Safety Guidelines with you here (check out the site for more detail about each guideline:

  • Always lay your baby to sleep face up
  • Remove all loose bedding, bumpers, stuffed animals, and pillows from the crib
  • Don’t let your baby get too hot
  • Control room temperature where baby is sleeping
  • Consider using a fan to increase circulation in baby’s room
  • Lay your baby to sleep in an approved crib, on a firm-fitting mattress
  • Don’t share sleep surfaces
  • Don’t smoke while pregnant and never smoke near your infant
  • Create a healthy lifestyle for you and your baby
  • If possible, breastfeed your baby
  • Offer your baby a pacifier at all sleep times
  • Put your baby on his or her tummy to play when your baby is awake and supervised
  • Share these tips with everyone who cares for your baby

aden + anais cozy sleeping bag

One of my favorite baby and toddler products companies, aden + anais, has partnered with SSGS to promote safe sleep. The CJ Foundation recommends the use of wearable blankets and sleepsacks in place of blankets to keep infants warm while sleeping. Each aden + anais cozy sleeping bag is made of 100% breathable muslin cotton, which allows baby’s body temperature to adjust naturally, reducing the risk of overheating. This time of the year I feel like I am always cold. And I have really turned to sleepsacks and wearable blankets to keep my Little Bean warm and snuggy in the winter months without overheating her to a dangerous degree.  aden + anais sleeping bags are the perfect solution, and the muslin they are made of just gets softer and softer with each wash. I have absolutely observed this with the washcloths I bought on babysteals.com! So what’s the deal with muslin?  This ancient fabric, traditional for swaddling, has an open, loose weave that is breathable and allows air to circulate around your baby.

And their mod, stylish patterns are to die for. No need to sacrifice appearance when you add these wearable blankets to your nursery. They are adorable.  And I’m delighted announce that the great people behind aden + anais are giving one Babies Gotta Have It a sleeping bag of your choice! Want to enter? Read on!

aden + anais littleman cozy sleeping bag

To Enter the aden + anais Giveaway

  • MANDATORY ENTRY #1: Browse aden + anais’ selection of stylish cozy sleeping bags.  Come back and leave a comment on this post saying which pattern you would chose if you won. Entering is that easy!

***Want extra chances to win? After you have made your first entry as described above, do anything listed below and leave me additional comments for each one letting me know what you did!  Maximum of nine entries per person.

  • Follow me on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway  just cut and paste): Win a cozy sleepsack and learn about the CJ Foundation’s SIDS education & awareness efforts @BabiesGottaHavT http://tinyurl.com/ydly8tw
  • Become a Fan of aden + anais on Facebook. Click HERE!
  • Become a Fan of the CJ Foundation for SIDS on Facebook. Click HERE!
  • Blog this giveaway (send me the url so I can enjoy your post!)
  • Subscribe to my blog using the button on the left sidebar
  • Grab my button and put in on your blog or website! Button code is in the right sidebar. Leave the link in your entry.
  • Become a Fan of Babies Gotta Have It on Facebook. Click HERE!
  • Email your friends about the giveaway and link to the giveaway post! cc me in the message (babiesgottahaveit@gmail.com)–I promise I will not spam you or your friends. Cross my heart

Your email address will remain private and not be shared with anyone. Giveaway only open to those with U.S.  and Canadian addresses. Must be 18 or older to win. Giveaway begins on Friday February 5th and ends on Monday February 22nd at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time. On Tuesday February 23rd,  Random.org will select the winner,  and I’ll email you immediately. After my daughter called Larry the Cable guy the last time she did a drawing, we have decided to take a little vacation from her choosing the winner. Random.org is in no way as cute and unpredictable as my daughter, but it is much more efficient and does not use any pieces of paper, even recycled ones. I am sure you will understand. Thanks for entering!

Disclosure: aden + anais offered the cozy sleeping bag to the winner of this giveaway at their expense.  Additionally, they gave me a cozy sleeping bag as well for my time and effort in writing the post.  I was not compensated monetarily, and all views and opinions with regard to the product or company itself are my own and were not influenced, nor reviewed, by the company prior to posting.

Update!  We have a winner!  Random.org says “ 70″  Congratulations Kara!  Thanks so much to everyone who entered!  Come back soon!


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Decorate With Flair and Functionality – Q Tips Giveaway

Wendy Bellissimo

Way back in December I had breakfast with Wendy Bellissimo. Well kind of.  Thanks to the generous folks at Q-Tips I ate some super yummy food at a gorgeously decorated restaurant with her and got the skinny on her suggestions for decorating your baby’s nursery…as well as a sneak peek at the pretty darned cute new Q-Tips packaging.  But more on that later.

I am actually pretty proud of how we decorated Bean’s room.  I really couldn’t do anything crazy girly. That’s just not my style. And when we had to make choices about paint colors we didn’t know if we’d have a boy or a girl.  The walls are a gorgeous sagey green (Benjamin Moore’s Silken Pine) and the trim is white.  We found a yellow braid rug at Home Goods that was insanely reduced because of a black mark on one side (yeah, we turned it over).  My Mom made curtains.  And we painted old pieces of family furniture in a lilac and light yellow color so that they all matched.  I splurged on a crib (the Stokke Sleepi Crib) because it’s so small and streamlined and perfect for apartment living.  And we didn’t really spend a thing on any of the other furniture.  Oh yeah, our friends Larry and Lisa gave us their glider.  It was a light blue check but I threw purple blankets over it and it was dandy.   We hung up two of those floating shelves and filled them with a mixture of antique and new things–including a vintage Boston Red Sox pennant (thank you New England branch of the family). As it turned out, according to Wendy Bellissimo we did some of it right. So here are her tips for readying your room for baby:

  • Look to create a calming yet inspiring environment.
  • Drop that paintbrush! Resist the urge to paint first.  Begin by clearing out the entire room and creating a blank palette.
  • Become your own designer! Browse magazines, the internet and books and create your very own inspiration book or board, filled with ideas that speak to you.
  • Go back in your room and consider the arrangement of your main pieces (most likely your crib, changing table, and rocker). Then incorporate your fabrics.  And only then choose your paint color.
  • Then go crazy and stock that nursery!
  • Choose whites or pale greens if you don’t know the baby’s gender…then accent accordingly when the time comes.
  • Think long term when you select your furniture.  Are these pieces that can grow with your child?  Or choose gender neutral pieces so you can pass them along to a sibling to come.
  • If possible, replace all your light switches with dimmer switches so bedtime can be calm and soothing (I LOVE this idea…totally wish we had been able to do it).
  • And finally…incorporate things that were yours or your mother’s when you were children to give the room a really special touch.  I am so glad we did this.  Plus, hasn’t your Mom been bugging you to finally clear out your room so she can put in a home gym? Now’s the time, gals.

And may I say, the food was excellent.

Q-Tips Baby PacksWhen you’re stocking the changing table, be sure to check out the adorable new Q-Tips packaging.  These whimsical decorative boxes will blend in with lots of nursery styles.  They are small and sleek enough that you can easily keep them out where you can access them quickly, without needing to deal with those cumbersome boxes grown-up Q-Tips come in or finding another little basket to put them in.  Super idea, as far as I’m concerned!

Want to try them?  Thanks to Q-Tips, one lucky Babies Gotta Have It reader will win two boxes of Q-Tips Baby Packs. They will be a wonderful addition to your wee one’s nursery, or a great little item to tuck into a Baby Shower gift!  Want to enter?  Read on!

To Enter the Q-Tips Baby Packs Giveaway

  • MANDATORY ENTRY #1: Leave a comment on this post.  Share a nursery decorating tip if you’d like. Or just say hi!  Entering is that easy!

***Want extra chances to win? After you have made your first entry as described above, do anything listed below and leave me additional comments for each one letting me know what you did!  Maximum of seven entries per person.

  • Follow me on Twitter (click the birdy button on the left to do so easily) and Tweet this giveaway (I’ve even made it easy for you, just cut and paste):  I just entered to win Q-Tips New Baby Packs @BabiesGottaHavT Enter today! http://tinyurl.com/yzmd72v
  • Blog this giveaway (send me the url so I can enjoy your post!)
  • Subscribe to my blog using the button on the left
  • Grab my button and put in on your blog or website! Button code is in the right sidebar. Leave the link in your entry.
  • Become a Fan of Babies Gotta Have It on Facebook–just click the link on the left sidebar!
  • Email your friends about the giveaway and link to the giveaway post! cc me in the message (babiesgottahaveit@gmail.com)–I promise I will not spam you or your friends. Cross my heart

Your email address will remain private and not be shared with anyone. Giveaway only open to those with U.S.  addresses. Must be 18 or older to win. Giveaway begins on Friday January 22nd and ends on Friday February 5th at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time. On Monday February 8th,  Random.org will select the winner,  and I’ll email you immediately. After my daughter called Larry the Cable guy the last time she did a drawing, we have decided to take a little vacation from her choosing the winner. Random.org is in no way as cute and unpredictable as my daughter, but it is much more efficient and does not use any pieces of paper, even recycled ones. I am sure you will understand. Thanks for entering!

Disclosure: Q-Tips offered the above pictured baby packs for the winner of this giveaway.  They provided the delicious breakfast I attended and a small gift bag upon leaving.  I was not compensated monetarily for writing this post. All views and opinions with regard to the product or company itself are my own and were not influenced, nor reviewed, by the company prior to posting.

Update: We have a winner!  Random.org says “ 18″  Congratulations Sandra!  Thanks so much to everyone who entered!  Be sure to check out my current giveaways!

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