Nine Naturals: Pampering for Pregnancy and Beyond

I don’t know about you, but I could use some pampering.  I have two beautiful boys who are a ton of fun, but I do not get many chances for pampering myself.  Thankfully, Nine Naturals sent me the Nine Naturals Travel Gift Set to try.  And, oh man, I am in love!

 

Because I have curly hair, I am picky about my shampoo and conditioner, and have struggled to find an all-natural set that does not leave my hair limp and greasy.  I found one now, though!  Nine Naturals is 100% Natural. It is Sulfate-free, Paraben-free, Phthalate-free, BPA-free, Triclosan-free, DEA-free, Petrochemical-free. All of the products are free of artificial chemicals, dyes, and synthetic fragrance.  If you read the ingredients list, everything is derived from natural sources (water, coconuts, sunflowers, lemons, etc.).  So, not only is Nine Naturals a great product for use when you are pregnant, but it is also a great way to pamper yourself for years to come!

 

The Travel Gift Set includes: Citrus and Mint Nourishing Shampoo, Citrus and Mint Nourishing Conditioner, Citrus and Geranium Soothing Body Wash, Mandarin and Ginger Restorative Conditioner, and Vanilla and Geranium Restorative Belly Butter in a reusable hemp travel bag.  I lathered up for over a week of blissful bathing, and had amazing results.  My hair was full of body and curl, my skin was soft and hydrated, and my hands were smooth and restored.  Now, you might say, “So what?” But, my hands are so dry in the winter (and thanks to endless dishes) are the equivalent of the Mojave Dessert.  In fact, they often peel and crack.  But, the Belly Butter, while nice on my belly, was most helpful for rehydrating my hands.

Even my husband noticed, which is saying something.  He loved the scents, and mentioned that my “hair smelled lovely” on more than one occasion (which he has never said before).  I think he liked the natural smell of the citrus and vanilla in particular.

With all that in mind, I am sure some of you are still wondering why you should try it.  Why should you pay for natural shampoo, when you can buy a jumbo bottle of something else at Target or Costco?  If you are as concerned about the health of your unborn child as I was, then maybe you will rethink that.  If you are willing to give up certain foods and drinks and other toxins, why not try Nine Naturals for the nine months of your pregnancy?  And, I think you will find that you love it so much, and love that you are being eco-friendly, that you will continue using it indefinitely.  I now use it on my children and myself, and will not buy harsh shampoos and conditioners again.  Make the pledge to shower naturally for the next nine months, and you will love the way your skin and hair feel!  Go ahead and pamper yourself (and your friends…what a great baby shower gift this would be)!

photo10 150x150 Eco Friendly Toys for Babys First Easter BasketKristin is a former high school English teacher and show choir geek enjoying time as a stay-at-home mom to CW and little brother MD.

Thanks to Nine Naturals for sending Kristin the Travel Gift Set to review.  As always, all opinions are Kristin’s alone and weren’t influenced by anyone.

Babies Gotta Have It is an Amazon Affiliate.

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Eco-Friendly Toys for Baby’s First Easter Basket

Even though my boys are nearly five and two years old, I often still find myself browsing for eco-friendly baby toys to buy for friends and family!  And, what better way to ring in Spring than with a quick list of fun baby toys that would be perfect for Baby’s First Easter basket or an upcoming baby shower!

 

Rhino Toys Oball Rattle – What I love about Oball Rattles is that they roll, rattle, and shake; and, they fit perfectly in baby’s fingers!  Plus they are phthalate, PVS, latex, and BPA free!  And who doesn’t love a dishwasher-safe baby toy?

 

Green Toys Stacking Cups  – We love Green Toys in our family, and these Stacking Cups are wonderful!  They are made in the USA from recycled milk containers.  If that’s not reason enough, they teach your baby basic math and counting skills (numbered on the bottom, and “volumetrically” accurate, according to Green Toys)!  They are great for in the bathtub or out!

 

Green Toys My First Blocks – Also made from recycled milk containers, the My First Blocks set has 18 chunky blocks for babies to learn to stack, build, and create.

 

Dandelion Organic Frog Rattle – This organic rattle is made from organic cottons and filled with corn fibers.  Safe for teething, and it is machine washable!

 

Wonderworld Wheely Giraffe Toy – The brightly colored giraffe toy promotes hand-eye coordination and develops hand muscles!  It is made in Thailand from rubber wood, non-toxic paints, dyes, lacquers, and glues.

 

B. Snug Bugs – if you’ve read my reviews before, then you know that my boys love B. Toys!  We cannot get enough of them (we have them all over our basement floor, in the tub, and on the patio)! Snug Bugs are chewable, squishable, and loveable!  And B. Toys always come in a 100% recycled box (which can be recycled again).

 Ecco Eggs – specifically for Easter, if you are looking for some eco-friendly eggs to hide…check out Ecco Eggs!  They are 100% compostable made from corn!

 

Maxim EverEarth Pull Along Duck and Egg – For the older baby, this eco-friendly, pull-along duck is so adorable.  The duck pulls a cart with a puzzle egg in it.  I know MD would love this, as he loves pulling anything along behind him (including sticks and sleds).

 Baby Toy Crab Teether – finally, this crab teething toy is made from a single block of eco-friendly American cherry or maple wood. The only additive is an FDA approved food safe mineral oil and natural wax conditioner to help preserve and protect the wood.  This is adorable and practical!

 

Happy Spring!  Have a wonderful Easter!

 

photo10 150x150 Wreck It Ralph Storybook Deluxe and Hero’s Duty Take Apps to a New LevelKristin is a former high school English teacher and show choir geek enjoying time as a stay-at-home mom to CW and little brother MD.

Babies Gotta Have It is an Amazon Affiliate.

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Bike Baskets Even the Easter Bunny Will Love

Looking for ways to make this Easter even greener? Consider filling a basket that is itself a gift!  Check out Kristen’s review of Basil Bicycle Baskets for a great option!

With Easter around the corner, and the temperatures back on the rise, my thoughts are definitely turning to Easter Preparations.  Easter is early this year!  But even though we’ll be making baskets before Earth month in April, it’s a great time to start to think about strategies for going green this Easter.  Basil bicycle baskets make perfect Easter baskets.  And when the chocolate eggs are all opened, the baskets are ready to roll!  Basil offers a Junior Bicycle Basket in lime or red that is perfect for your little girl’s bicycle (or tricycle).  What a perfect spot to put her favorite doll or stuffed animal to take them for a ride.  And, you can all go on a picnic with the lovely wicker basket for your bicycle.

I originally thought that CW would love the bicycle basket, but the lime is definitely more of a girl’s basket than I had anticipated (with flowers on it, even CW noticed). He was hoping for a place to take his cars for a ride (or store his “binoculars” and water bottle).  But, he suggested that we give the basket to his cousin LC, and I think she will love it.  So, I filled it with (eco-friendly) Easter grass and an American Girl Doll craft kit, and I’m sure she will love putting it on her bike!

 

 

In the meantime, MD loved the basket, and filled it with magnetic letters, Easter eggs, and toys of all sorts!

What a great, creative, and fun gift to encourage Springtime bike rides and outdoor fun!  Hop out and get one for your favorite niece, daughter, or friend!

Thanks to Basil Bicycle Baskets for sending Kristen the lime basket to review.  As always, all opinions are Kristen’s and her boys’ and have not been influenced by anyone.

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Cuz Daddies Gotta Have It Too – Five Four Club

Doc Hubby is a New England boy.  He grew up in New Hampshire, rooting for the Red Sox and the Pats, playing hockey on the pond down the street, and loving maple syrup.  All his life he’s always wanted to tap his own trees and make maple syrup.  This year, we finally did it.  I got him buckets and taps for Christmas two years ago, we waited until fall and labeled the sugar maples in our yard upstate, and as soon as the sugar house down the road started tapping their trees, we followed suit.

Do you know how many gallons of sap it takes to make one gallon of maple syrup?  Forty.  We gathered fifteen gallons.  We boiled for a couple of days.  Doc Hubby was like a kid in a candy shop about the whole thing.  So excited.

Not to sound too 1962 about it, but sometimes I think that we’re so busy letting Pete take care of us, that we forget to take care of him.  Daddies are pretty special too.  And this one anyway, does a whole heck of a lot for our family.  Sometimes he deserves a special treat too–like a whole entire day in front of the barbecue boiling sugar maple sap.

Or some new clothes.  The guys behind the men’s lifestyle brand Five Four Club contacted me a few weeks ago about reviewing their products.  Basically, Five Four Club is a men’s fashion subscription service that keeps your guy in new, cool clothes, without having to spend hours in the store.  Cuz let’s face it, most guys would rather be standing in front of the barbecue than in line at the mall.  So how does it work?  Your guy goes to the Five Four Club website and answers a brief survey to identify his style profile (or let’s face it, you can do it for him).  Then for sixty bucks a month, he gets a new package of clothes every month that suit his taste, at an incredible discount.  Each month’s package takes the season, color and your fella’s style profile into account.  Doc Hubby needs new clothes.  Doc Hubby needs cool clothes.  Doc Hubby does not have time to shop.  This seemed like a really neat way to pamper him a little bit.  So I said yes.

The clothes are all pretty fitted so be sure to order a generous size for your guy.  The flannel shirt and hooded jacket we got were both huge hits with Pete.  He says they fit him perfectly, they are different from what he has in his closet and he feels comfortable in them.  The flannel is a nice light weight and super soft with really great detailing.  And the hooded jacket is just cool, don’t you think?  A great spring weight and stylish cut.  Maybe I’m biased…but I think he looks pretty good.

A Five Four Club subscription would make a great Father’s Day gift for your fella this year.  I also love it as a gift for a new daddy who could use a little spoiling himself.  Mama and baby get so much attention that first year (and rightly so), but what a wonderful thing to send a little something special to a new dad to make him feel good.

Sixty seconds of shopping, total,  and then a new outfit every month.  Something to let your guy know just how special he is.

Yeah, that’s something daddies definitely gotta have.

Thanks so much to Five Four Club for sending Doc Hubby the clothes to review. As always, all opinions are mine and Pete’s and you better believe weren’t influenced by anyone.

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As Long as She Needs to Be Held

I remember very clearly the moment I read the email.  Two days after Bean’s birthday last August I was sitting on a bench at a playground in Riverside Park.   Bean was climbing and sliding.  I was most likely sipping some iced coffee drink or other.   The email’s subject read simply “Hello [Bean’s New School] Parent.”  What followed was a message to all the incoming kindergarten parents from a fellow family.  They wrote to share how excited they were for the start of the school year and also for us to meet their daughter Rafi.  Rafi, they said, has a rare genetic disorder called Epidermolysis Bullosa that makes her skin extremely sensitive and fragile.  The slightest friction or even excessive heat can cause it to tear and blister.  As a result she has many “boo boos” which are covered with bandages both to protect them and to facilitate healing.  The letter was thoughtful and positive.  Rafi’s parents shared how aside from her EB, she is much like any other almost-Kindergartener.  She loves to play and to draw.  She has friends and has been to preschool.  She is funny…

And as I sat there on the bench, watching my brand new five year old leap and run, roll and twirl, my heart just kind of went out to these people I had never met.  Parenthood is hard enough…starting kindergarten and making friends and becoming part of a new community are all hard enough…without the added difficulty of having to send a message to all the parents at your child’s new school sharing with them her delicate medical condition.  And these two parents had done just that with such grace and such generosity that I was rather overwhelmed.

Cate and I went home that afternoon and I told her about the email I had received.  We watched the video put out by DebRA which explains EB in the Classroom in a clear and very child-friendly manner.  I explained to Cate that the top layer of our skin is attached to the under layer like grass on top of the earth.  But Rafi’s “grass” is missing the “roots” so she gets ouchies very easily.

Cate turned to me and said, “But how will she hold her babies?”

I shrugged helplessly and blinked back tears.

We are so lucky that Rafi is in Cate’s class.  We have gotten to know her and her family and Cate and Rafi are friends.  And I have become friends with two of the most wonderful parents you could ever hope to meet.  Brett and Jackie are generous and kind, they are engaged and active, and they are tireless and tenacious advocates for their daughter. And because they are so wonderful themselves, a community of people has formed around them–friends who they support day in and day out, and who in turn decided to reach out and try to help Rafi.  And so, last year, the First Annual Rafi’s Run was held to raise money to find a cure.

EB is an absolutely dreadful disease.  You can read all about it online, but suffice it to say that for Rafi’s condition there is currently no cure.  Every day Rafi comes to school wrapped from neck to feet in bandages.  Every night she undergoes a two hour bath time in which those bandages are painstakingly removed, her wounds are tended to, and her bandages are reapplied.  It is, I believe, excruciating.  Not only is Rafi’s skin involved–her inner organs are as well.  And her eyes.  And her esophagus.  And her teeth.  Her little feet are blistered and torn from the simple act of walking.  She has to wear her clothing inside out because seams cause blisters.  From what I can see, there is no end to the misery of this disorder.

And yet.  Rafi laughs.  She sings.  She makes jokes.  She reads she dances she writes poetry.  She comes to school rain or shine.  She eats black olives.  She loves magic shows and Elmo and “Monsters Inc.”  And when every other kindergartener went ice skating with their 4th grade buddies, she had the courage to talk to the entire middle school and answer questions about herself and her EB.  Rafi blows me away.

The Second Annual Rafi’s Run is taking place on March 10th here in Riverside Park.  10 am.  Enter at 103rd Street.  Rafi’s Run is a 5K Run/Walk to raise money to cure Rafi and all the kids with EB.  It is hard to hear Rafi’s story and not be moved to help.  And there are lots of ways to do so!

Come run with us!  Sign up at the Rafi’s Run website to fundraise and run. Or jog. Or walk.  Just be there.  Donate to a runner or team.  Might I suggest: Team Stetson!  We are so close to our fundraising goal and we’d sure love the help!  All donations go directly to the nonprofit DebRA to fund EB research and are fully tax-deductible.  And finally, spread EB Awareness.  EB is often referred to as the worst disease you’ve never heard of.  We can change that.  Like us on Facebook.  Follow us on Twitter.  And share the run with your friends and family.

How will Rafi hold her babies?

Let’s all fight to ensure the answer to that question is: Closely. Tirelessly. And as long as they need to be held.

 

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Because Raffie Really Needs a Bath

A few years ago I posted a video about lovies.  About how essential they are.  How snuggly and wonderful.  How even grown ups need something to cuddle.

So…cut to five years later.  Man oh man do those lovies need a bath.  And so do the stuffed rabbits. And stuffed monsters.  And of course the teddy bears.  Because not only do those animals get dragged through the mud.  Turns out they are absolutely crawling, quite literally, with bacteria and dust mites.  Have I mentioned the fact that I’m a raging germaphobe.  Ew.

So now.  More than ever.  Teddy really needs a bath. So a mom invented a special stuffed animal washer/dryer bag to do just that.  Teddy Needs a Bath is high-quality, large, eco-friendly cotton bag designed to help busy Mamas restore those nasty old animals to their fresh-off-the-shelf glory.  Now, many of your toys may say “surface wash only” on the care tags.  But the Teddy Needs a Bath bag protects your animal and your washer.  How does it work?  Put Teddy in the bag, zip it up and wash on gentle with mild soap (take out any sound devices or boxes before you do this!).  Then when it’s done, just pop the bag right in the dryer on low and Teddy comes out clean and fluffed dry!  Be aware that Teddy may need a few rounds in the dryer to get him totally dry, but boy is he warm and cuddly when he emerges!

I received a Teddy Needs a Bath sample at Toy Fair.  And one of the features that the lovely woman I spoke with touted, was that the Teddy Needs a Bath bag, combined with the cute board book, gets kids excited about participating in washing their stuffed animals and lovies.  I was skeptical.  Though my kid has a penchant for cleaning that would rival June Cleaver, she has always seemed worried in the past when I put her beloved “Raffie” in the old washer for a bath.  Pretty sure it’s because she thinks he will come to life at night and will complain about the procedure to all of his friends.

Well, no joke, when I showed Bean the special Teddy Needs a Bath bag, the book and the cotton candy scented dryer sheets (oh yeah you heard me), she immediately went into her room and started searching through her animals to determine who was the most in need of a wash.  It absolutely worked.  The animals came out clean and fresh and completely unscathed by the whole process.  And I especially love how the zipper tucks under a small elastic band so even it won’t bang up the inside of your washer.

And how did the animals enjoy it?  Well, guess you’ll just have to ask them…when they come to life in the middle of the night.

You can buy all the Teddy Needs a Bath product online at their website or at our affiliate Amazon.com.

Thanks to Teddy Needs a Bath for the bag, book and dryer sheets to try out!

 

 

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Home Grown Super Heroes for Your Kiddos


The question really seems to be, how had I NOT heard of Super Sprowtz before I discovered them at Toy Fair a few weeks ago!? The Super Sprowtz are in our classrooms, in an app, on the television, on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, even on TV in New York City cabs, and they are on a super hero’s mission: to use the educational power of media to help children learn about nutrition, wellness and the environment!  Now that’s a mission Babies Gotta Have It can squarely get behind!

I walked away from Toy Fair with an adorable plush Suzy Sweet Pea puppet which Bean has taken to both animating and using as a pillow. And also the Super Sprowtz Origins: Picture/Adventure Book which traces the beginnings of the Super Sprotwz as they transformed from well-nurtured rooftop garden vegetables to actual super heroes on a quest to defeat Pompous Pollution.  The story is unique and whimsical, the book is made in the USA of 30% post-consumer waste and the art is a beautiful.  It looks like a combination of a dark and gritty super-hero comic and a fairy tale–just right.

Look, nutritional education is getting the short end of the stick in our schools.  But in some ways, helping our children choose what to eat, where to get that food, and how to care for this Earth that nourishes our food sources, is just as important as Math and Reading.  And I applaud initiatives like Super Sprowtz that are out there presenting nutrition education in a fun, accessible and vibrant way using every media available.  And even for those of us who consider ourselves kinda snotty, local sourcing, farmers-market, composting foodies…well I need help encouraging my kid to choose more colorful, healthy foods.  Her school is about to start a school lunch program and the choice of what she eats for lunch will be up to her.  I hope, that when it’s time to pick what she puts on her little tray, that the image of Suzy Pea’s smiling face may come to her mind, and she may mix a little green in there with the beige.

A lifetime of healthy eating habits starts young.  How many of us had to un-learn the habits we picked up in the high school cafeteria?  Let’s start our kids out right.  So check out the Super Sprowtz website for fun activities, recipes, games, videos and more.  And make a commitment today to make healthy eating fun for your kids.

Super Sprowtz! That’s something babies definitely gotta have.

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Apps fit for a Princess on Sale for Valentine’s Day

There’s a new princess on the block.  And her name is Sofia.  She gives her wicked stepsister a second chance, she rides horses with the boys, and she has Tim Gunn at her beck and call.  She’s Sofia the First.  And she’s got her own series on Disney Junior and, not suprisingly, her very own app.  Bean and I had a chance to try out the new Sophia the First app, as well as two other Disney princess apps.  And let me tell you, they offer a lot to twirl and dance about.

My personal favorite is Sofia.  The Sofia the First Story Theater app is completely charming.  The storybook mode is a whimsical version of the first Sofia movie, with delightful, simple animation, lovely voicing, and a clear telling of the story.  The interactive story theater mode allows your child to choose three characters from the story, a setting, and then to animate them like puppets and record her voice.  And then save her little shows.  It’s creative and adorable and I’m totally on board.

The Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast Storybook Deluxe Apps are also enjoyable and quite similar to the other Disney apps in the same series.  Each tells the story of the movie in multiple reading modes: read myself, read to me, and record my voice.  I have experimented with the record my voice version and it’s SO FUN! Your chance to be a book narrator!  And a lovely idea if you are traveling and want to leave your child with a bedtime story read by you.  These apps also include painting modes, puzzles and games as well as sing-along videos that are lots of fun.

And the best news is that both of these apps are on sale for $1.99 (down from $4.99) until Friday February 15th.  The Princess Dress Up: My Sticker Book, Princess and the Frog Read Along, and Princess Royal Party Disney apps are also on the same sale so be sure to give them a little look see as well.  All are designed for kids ages four and up.

Disney Storybook apps for your little princess on hearts day.  That’s something baby girls definitely gotta have.

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Little Children Big Challenges – Sesame Street Takes on Divorce

 

Did you know that Abby Cadabby’s parents are divorced?  They are.  You won’t hear about it on “Sesame Street”, but Sesame Workshop has created a thoughtful and comprehensive guide for parents to help you help your child through divorce.  Little Children Big Challenges: Divorce is just one of many tool kits that Sesame Street has put together online to offer help to families during particularly challenging situations.  And like all of the materials created by Sesame Street, it is a rich resource for families and caregivers dealing with the difficult transitions that divorce presents.

The Little Children Big Challenges: Divorce tool kit offers videos featuring some of your favorite Sesame Street characters, songs, printable activities, printable tip sheets for parents and caregivers, and a downloadable storybook called “Two Hug Day.”  “Two Hug Day” deals sensitively with the feelings that may arise in kids on days when they switch from Mommy to Daddy’s house, or vice versa. Two-Hug days.

Divorce will ultimately impact 40% of children.  We all will, at some point, encounter children who are moving through this difficult transition–be they our own kids, our relatives, or our children’s friends.  And at any moment we may be called upon to help a kid negotiate a challenging emotion or situation.  It’s just good to know that we aren’t alone in these tough times.  That there are resources available to help us help our children.  And that those resources come from someone as trustworthy, smart and thoughtful as Sesame Street.  Sesame Workshop even has created a Divorce App (available for both iPhone and Android devices), because goodness knows those difficult questions can arise anywhere from in the car to at the ball field and beyond.  These resources are designed for families with children ages 2 – 8, are completely free, and can be accessed on the Sesame Street website here.

Thank you Sesame Street.  Your partnership in life’s difficult transition is something that families definitely gotta have.

I attended a panel discussion at Sesame Workshop this week and received two Little Children Big Challenges: Divorce kits containing a Sesame Street DVD, A Guide for Parents and Caregivers, and a copy of the  “Two-Hug Day” story book.  I will happily mail these to the first two readers who request them.  Please leave a comment on this post if you would like one and I’ll email you for your address. 

 

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Thomas the Tank Engine Rolls into NYC with a Giveaway!

Anyone like Thomas the Tank Engine out there?  Thomas fans?  Anyone?

Here at Babies Gotta Have It we are big Thomas the Tank Engine fans.  Kristen and her boys have been to Thomas events, played with Thomas Apps,  and rode on the Risky Rails with a Thomas train set.

So if, say, there was a fabulous event in the huge mega Toys R’ Us in Times Square…where say you and your kids could meet Sir Topham Hatt, play with the newly launched Thomas Wooden Railway, and receive a fun giveaway…well you could count on all of us at Babies Gotta Have It to tell you, right?

Well, on Friday February 8th, at the huge mega Toys R’ Us in Times Square at 1 pm EST, there will indeed be such an event featuring all that and more!  The first 250 fans at the event will indeed win some super cool giveaways!  And your little train fanatic will even get to attend a story time with Sir Topham Hatt himself!

And how about a sneak peek at the newest Thomas Wooden Trains?  The new Thomas Wooden Railway line from Fisher-Price will debut at this event with tons of engines, destinations, and track sets in a line that will just keep growing in the future.  For more than 65 years, children have enjoyed the adventures of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends on the Island of Sodor through stories and Thomas toys powered by children’s own imagination.  The Thomas story began when the Rev. W. Awdry created a fable about a cheeky blue engine named ‘Thomas’ on the fictional Island of Sodor and whittled a wooden train to entertain his young son.  The introduction of Thomas Wooden Railway is also a journey that takes Fisher-Price back to its roots—which started 83 years ago with wood toys.  In 1931, in East Aurora, New York, children’s book writer and illustrator Margaret Evans Price, wife of founder Irving Price, designed the first wooden Fisher-Price toys.

Great stories.  Wooden toys.  A magical event in one of the toy capitals of the world?  Yeah, that’s something babies definitely gotta have.

And, just for you Babies Gotta Have It readers, we have a special Thomas the Tank Engine wooden train set Giveaway!  One lucky winner will receive the Thomas 5-in-1 Up and Around Set by Fisher Price:  create up to 5 different layouts with this 20-piece playset which includes Thomas, 17 pieces of track, a bridge and a tunnel.   For kids ages three years and up.  Want to enter?  Use our super easy Rafflecopter entry form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: We received the Thomas the Tank Engine set above for purposes of review. As always, all opinions are entirely my own and were in no way influenced by anyone. Babies Gotta Have It is an Amazon affiliate.

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