Dream Dinners: Making Dinner a Dreamy Experience

How many times have I complained about dinner time here on my blog?  No wait, don’t even try to tally it up, because the answer is more than you would ever want to count.  I’m even a little embarrassed about the sheer number of posts about dinner that are here lurking on my blog.  But there’s so much not to like – deciding what dinner will be (and then the almost unavoidable fight discussion over all the choices), making it, serving it, cleaning up after it, and, of course, that doesn’t even factor in the coordination of schedules so we can all sit down and eat dinner together.  Dinner is much more my enemy than my friend.

So when Aileen from Newsy Parents invited me to try out our local Dream Dinners location in Sunrise, I quickly accepted.  I’m always on the lookout for anything that could make our dinner experience easier, and that’s exactly what Dream Dinners is designed to do.DDgroup

If you haven’t heard of Dream Dinners before, it’s an innovative meal planning and preparation service.  Every month, Dream Dinners posts a menu with approximately 17-20 different meal choices.  Meals come in 3 or 6 serving increments and are priced around $5 per serving.  Once you’ve made your choices (the minimum order is 36 servings, but can be done in any combination of 3 portion or 6 portion meals), you call Dream Dinners and let them know your selections and arrange an appointment to go in and make your meals.  You see, it isn’t fast food.  It isn’t pre-packaged food.  Dream Dinners is real food that you make yourself for your family.  But it doesn’t take all day, it just takes a little planning.DDstory

When you arrive at Dream Dinners they have everything ready for your meals in designated recipe stations.  For those of you that are leery about your cooking skills, please know that these aren’t just any old recipe stations – they are simpler than ever because everything is either pre-measured or the measuring spoons are specifically designed to only accommodate the amount requested in the recipe (for example, if your recipe asks for a 1/4 tsp of garlic, you’ll quickly notice that the spoon in the garlic is actually a 1/4 tsp spoon).  It’s impossible to mess up the recipe.  Impossible.  And don’t forget, recipes are only guides at Dream Dinners.  If you like garlic, add an extra 1/4 tsp.  Really like bacon?  Be liberal with that sprinkle.  Think cheese is the best?  It’s okay to add some extra.  This is food for your family and Dream Dinners is just there to help – you know what you like, and they want to make sure you get it.   DDdemo

Follow the instructions posted on the work station to put together your meal using ziploc bags to keep your ingredients separate – you’re not really cooking at this point, so you don’t need to combine them, you just want to simplify the process when you do eventually make your meal.  Once you finish a meal, you place it in the fridge and move on to the next recipe and workstation.  As soon as you’ve completed all your meals, you take your uncooked meals home to freeze and take out when you need them.  The entire process for a months worth of meals is approximately 1 hour.

Sounds easy, right?  It is!

But, of course (and perhaps unfortunately), Dream Dinners isn’t designed to replace cooking at home entirely, it’s merely intended to provide 3 easy-to-make meals that are already prepped and ready to go.  That’s 3 nights per week (or 12 nights a month) where you don’t have to think about cooking, other than to pull the ziplock bag out of the freezer, assemble, and cook in the oven.  The ziplock bags keep cleanup to a minimum, while the prep you did at Dream Dinners keeps cook time to a minimum.  It’s good, homestyle food on your table in minutes, not hours.

I got a sneak peek at May’s menu and it’s mouth watering.DDMenu

And there wasn’t much left after the tasting…well, except for the fork.DDcleanplate

There was Tarragon Chicken with Potato Wedges on that plate.  Two days later, I’m still dreaming of that chicken…yum!

If you’re looking for a way to simplify dinnertime in your house, and you live in the South Florida area, you should definitely go and visit Sally and Nicole at the Sunrise location – they can help you put together a menu and answer all your questions.  If you’re not in South Florida, make sure to check out the Dream Dinners website to find your nearest location!

Disclosure:  I was invited to an information session and tasting at Dream Dinners in Sawgrass.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Purex Crystals Fabulously Fresh: Helping Me Love Laundry Day {Review & Giveaway!}

Disclosure: Thanks to the Purex brand for providing me with a sample of Purex Crystals Limited Edition Fabulously Fresh to try in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions and images contained in this post are my own.

If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time, you know that I hate to clean.  I do it – you know, so no one feels compelled to call child services – but I don’t enjoy it.  Have you ever met one of those people who feels a sense of accomplishment after they clean all day?  Yeah, that’s not me.  I’m quite the opposite.  And for me, that intense dislike of cleaning seeps well into my laundry room…the piles of laundry on the floor prove it.

Since cleaning isn’t my favorite thing, I’m always looking for ways to make it easier – tips, tricks, short cuts, anything to make it easier.  Because when I take the time to clean I want to do it right the first time.  So when I received a sample of the new Purex Crystals Limited Edition Fabulously Fresh, I was intrigued.  I’d heard of laundry boosters before, but never actually used one.  I wondered if this was just an extra step in the laundry process that I would learn to loathe or if these crystals were going to make laundry easier.

As I opened the packaging the scent was the first thing that I noticed – it’s a little tropical, a little floral, and not overwhelming at all.  The label wasn’t lying, it was fabulous.  Since I liked the scent, I decided to give the little crystals a whirl and sprinkled them right into the laundry tub.

If you’ve never heard of it before, Purex Crystals Limited Edition Fabulously Fresh is a 87% natural crystal laundry enhancer that boosts the scent of your laundry, causing it to smell better, longer.  Simply sprinkle a little in at the beginning of the wash cycle and wash as normal.  While your detergent cleans your laundry, the Purex Crystals infuse it with a fabulous scent.  It’s safe for HE machines, can be used for all loads, and will not reduce the absorbency of your towels.  Best of all, that scent that I like love so much?  That stays with clothes for weeks, not hours.

As that first load of laundry began to run, the great smell of Purex Crystals seemed to take over my laundry room.  It was quite possibly the best air freshener I could have asked for (seriously, I kinda wish they’d make a plug-in out of this scent!).  And as I moved the clothes from the washer to the dryer, I could tell it had done it’s job.  My laundry smelled fresh and clean, and I hadn’t even used a dryer sheet yet!  I didn’t have to worry about re-washing clothes, which has happened before.  And even now, 2 weeks later, those clothes smell the same way they did when I first took them out of the dryer – absolutely fabulous!

While I still don’t love laundry, I do love knowing that it’s going to come out smelling great every single time when I use Purex Crystals Fabulously Fresh.  Purex has found a way to make my job easier, and this mom really appreciates it!

Want to try the new Purex Crystals Fabulously Fresh for yourself?  Great, because I’m giving away a free bottle to 2 winners!  Just use the rafflecopter form below and your laundry could smell as fresh as mine does!
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Beech-Nut: Real, Wholesome Baby Food

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Beech-Nut as a member of MomSelect.  A very special thank you to Beech-Nut for providing samples of their new food for Everett to try out.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

When I was pregnant with Everett, I decided that I would make his baby food.  I said the same thing with the girls, but due to a demanding work schedule, it just never got done.  I was determined that it would be different this time around.  But when we started solids a little after 4 months (at the recommendation of our pediatrician due to his reflux), it didn’t happen.  I was exhausted from all the doctor’s appointments.  I was struggling with my new work schedule.  And the sleep deprivation was (and is) still running rampant in my house.  While I had a Hallmark style picture in my head of what it would be like to feed my little boy food that I had made myself, that just didn’t happen.  Sure enough, I returned to my old ways of buying store bought food.  Nothing wrong with store bought food of course, I just question all those “extra” ingredients that seem to find their way into store bought baby food.  Does my baby really need extra Citric Acid?  What is Absorbic Acid exactly?  ’Cause that’s what’s you can find on some of those labels.  Those “extras” just make me nervous.

Then I learned about Beech-Nut’s new baby food.  A different, simpler baby food than those other baby foods with “extra”, unneeded ingredients.   A baby food that’s as good as homemade, but convenient located in my grocery store.  Check out that label:

No additives.  No fillers.  No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.  Just apples.  That’s all.  In fact, it’s actually called “just honeycrisp apples”.  And to make sure that your baby gets maximum nutrition, Beech-Nut has perfected it’s “just gelntle cooking” process which makes sure to make sure to lock all the flavor and freshness in, while still maintaining the integrity of the ingredients.  But if your baby doesn’t love apples, that’s okay, because this new food comes in 40 flavors with both single ingredient foods like just carrots and just Bartlett Pears and combination foods like Beets, Pear & Pomegranate and just Pear, Raspberry & Asparagus.  And all without those “extra” ingredients that make me nervous.

With each jar containing whole fruits and vegetables – and nothing else – it’s kind of like I’m making my own baby food after all.  And it helps that Everett is a huge fan.He virtually gobbled up the Stage 1 apples and carrots we received.  And I’m sure once we move up to the Stage 2 foods, he’ll be just as wild about those.  Everett is most definitely a Beech-Nut baby!

Win a 4moms Baby Bath Set in the Showered with Love Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to the [2nd Annual] Showered With Love Event hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network!

We all know that April Showers bring May Flowers, but did you know that
some of your favorite bloggers have come together throw a huge Shower of our own – a virtual Baby
! The Showered with Love Event will run from April 1-15, giving you plenty of time to enter all of the great giveaways, in the linky below, including the Grand Prize of a Combi Catalyst Travel System!

And for my giveaway, I have a fabulous prize from 4moms!You may have seen me post about the 4moms baby bathtime giveaway last week.  Unfortunately, that giveaway is over, but 4moms has graciously offered one lucky reader a 4moms Infant Tub & Spout cover!  It’s the ultimate in baby bathtubs, boasting a color-coded digital temperature display, clean water reservoir for rinsing, and side drain.  And to make sure your baby stays safe even when they transition to the big tub, 4moms is throwing in a spout cover too!  Sporting the same color-coded digital temperature display, it will protect your child from bumps and bruises by covering the water spout.

Want to win these amazing baby items?  Great!  Just enter using the rafflecopter form below and they could be yours.  Good luck!

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And now that you’ve entered my giveaway make sure to visit all the other participating blogs and enter to win…

So Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Showered with Love participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

What You Need in a High Chair…and What You Don’t

When I purchased Greenleigh’s high chair a little over 4 years ago [gulp] I did it on a whim, which is funny when you consider the amount of research I put into just about every other baby item that I purchased.  I actually bought an entire book full of baby product reviews.  AN ENTIRE BOOK?!?!  Who has the time?  Oh wait, someone who hasn’t had their baby yet and isn’t completely sleep deprived.  So when we got to the “feeding solids” milestone with Greenleigh, I was…um…tired?  I didn’t even look in that entire book filled with baby gear reviews sitting on my shelf.  Nope, no time.  Instead, I purchased the very first highchair that I saw and liked.  I thought I made a good choice.

Since then, I’ve learned a lot.

Like, what you really need in a high chair…and what you don’t.  Since the nice people at Ingenuity by Bright Starts were kind enough to sent me their new Marlo Trio 3-in-1 Deluxe High Chair to review, I thought that this would be a great time to go through my list of do’s and don’ts when purchasing a high chair.  Because you don’t have time for that big book of reviews and neither do I.

Easy to clean.  I’m convinced that you’ve never actually seen a mess until you’ve seen a toddler eat.  Really, even the neatest, most polite toddler is super messy.  And by the time they’re done eating, there will be food EVERYWHERE.  Promise.  In my experience, patterns can help hide the stains that are no doubt to come, but you’ll also want one that you can wipe clean with a sponge or disinfecting wipe.   

Besides the adorable, gender neutral print, the Marlo boasts 2 layers of padding, each of which can be easily removed and cleaned.  The top patterned part can be wiped clean and the solid grey padding can be removed entirely in about a minute to be soaked.  And those orange dots?  It’s already prepared for those spaghetti stains that are sure to come.

Pick a high chair that will grow with your child.  As hard as it may be to imagine, your baby won’t be a baby forever…but they might not be ready for a real chair for quite a while.  For that reason, consider how long a high chair can be used and try to make the most of your money.  Because they’re way ahead of the game, Ingenuity designed the Marlo to have not 1 but 3 seating options – full sized high chair, booster chair, and toddler seat – covering kids from a few months old to 5 years of age!  And all the parts needed to convert the Marlo from a full sized high chair to a booster seat are conveniently stored inside the chair so there are no loose or additional parts to worry about!  The booster chair is pictured on the left, the toddler seat is pictured on the right:

That kid above in the toddler seat?  Well, that’s the kid that I originally purchased my first high chair for 4 years ago.  I love that she’s nearly 5 years old and can use this high chair.  Funny thing is, she actually wanted to sit in it.  It was the perfect height to reach the table and because there was no tray, she never felt like it was a high chair.

Skip the padded straps.  In an effort to make their high chairs look more comfortable, I’ve seen lots of companies adding padded straps to their high chairs (similar to the basic padding provided on most car seats).  What ever you do – Don’t buy one of these chairs!  Less is more in this category.  Instead, go for a seat like the Marlo that has basic straps that are adjustable for even the smallest babies, easy to clean, and a snap to remove.  Simply feed strap through the slit in the back of the high chair and the corresponding slits in the padding and – voila – those straps are ready for soaking.  Unless you actually like wrestling a high chair covered in peas, carrots & squash to the the straps loose, that is…

Take into account the height of your table; an adjustable high chair might not be necessary.  The first time around, I bought a high chair that was adjustable, but years later, I now know that was a waste.  You know how many times I’ve adjusted that thing?  Twice.  Maybe three times, tops.  Why?  Because it’s a complete and total pain and I always end up pinching my fingers on those pins that you’re supposed to push in while pulling up to adjust it.  Instead, if you plan to use your high chair at the table, consider the height of the high chair in relation to your table.  Bring a measuring tape when you go to the store, if that’s what it takes. 

As you can see from the pictures above, the Marlo is the perfect height for my table and it allows Everett to be a part of dinner, which he loves.  I’ve also fed him while sitting in a chair beside him and while standing (and doing a hundred other things at the same time), and not had any problems with the height.

Forgo the toys.  This is where I got caught up last time around.  I needed a high chair with toys to keep Greenleigh busy while I prepared her food.  Five years later, I now know that there’s no way to keep a kid busy while I prepare food.  A certain amount of whining is to be expected while I cook and get the food to a safe serving temperature.  And that toy I just had to have?  I have no idea where it is now.  I think it got taken off the high chair and thrown in a toy chest at one point, but now?  I’m really not sure.  Bottom line is, you probably have tons of toys that you could throw on the high chair tray instead of buying a pricey one that goes with it.  Do that instead.  

Plus, doesn’t he look happy as a clam?  No toys were involved here at all, just a little bit of applesauce.

Mobility is key.  After I put the Marlo together, I realized how light it is.  I’m not quite sure how they did it, but it weighs a fraction of what our other high chair weighs.  Regardless, make sure that whatever high chair you buy has wheels, because at some point you’re going to need to move it somewhere (to another room in order to mop up all that baby food on the floor, to the dining room for Thanksgiving dinner, etc).

You need 2 dishwasher safe trays (preferably compartmental trays)…even if you don’t think you do.  Okay, so there was a time in my life where I thought I was going to wash everything for my baby by hand to make sure it got really clean.  Needless to say, after a few weeks of sleep deprivation that notion went out the window, but I can’t tell you how much I love, love, love being able to throw the Marlo’s high chair tray in the dishwasher at the end of a a feeding.  And while lots of people will say that compartmental trays aren’t necessary, those little compartments are perfect for sippy cups and “no thank you” piles.

No need to be a big spender.  There are high chairs out there that cost hundreds of dollars.  Like, $500+ dollars.  You don’t need that craziness in your life or your wallet.  Really, you don’t.  Luckily, the Marlo high chair is priced at just $109.99 (you can purchase it here).

What do you look for in a high chair? 

Disclosure:  A special thanks to the nice people at Kidsii and Ingenuity for providing me with a Marlo Trio 3-in-1 Deluxe High Chair to review.  Everett will no doubt enjoy it for years to come!

Splish Splash: A Bubbly Baby Bathtime Giveaway!

A few months ago, I posted about a company called 4moms and their amazing mamaRoo – a baby item that saved my sanity during those first few weeks of Everett’s life and that we still use on a daily basis.  In February I was able to meet some of the fabulous ladies from 4moms where I got to try out their ahhh-mazing new stroller that folds itself.  Seriously, Folds. Itself.  To say I’ve become quite a fan of this pioneering company that makes each of their products with real moms in mind, would be an understatement.  Each product is more innovative than the next.

And just like their other baby gear, 4moms left nothing to chance with their infant tub – color coded thermometer, clean water reservoir for rinsing, and a side drain to clear out dirty water.  It’s not your ordinary tub.  It’s the tub you’d want for your baby’s first bath and every baby bath thereafter.  Lucky for you, 4moms is giving one THREE away.  Even better?  They’ve teamed up with  aden + anais and Skip Hop to giveaway gift packs containing everything you could could ever need for your baby’s first bath.  That’s a $285 value!  Just enter using the rafflecopter form below or on the 4moms Facebook page and it could be yours!  But HURRY because this giveaway ends Wednesday, March 26th!
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Disney On Ice Rockin’ Ever After (& Coupon Code!)

My girls have been counting down the days until Disney On Ice since I first posted about it a few weeks ago.  It’s hard for a 2 and a 4 year old to be patient.  Trust me, very hard.

But yesterday was the day – the opening night of Disney On Ice Rockin Ever After!  Okay, technically, I don’t know if ice shows officially call it “opening night”, but that’s what we called it yesterday when headed off to see the show on the very first night that it was at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.  Donning their princess dresses, my girls could barely contain their excitement (tip: I saw lots of parents there who were upset that they didn’t know it was okay for their kids to dress up – yes, it’s totally acceptable and normal for kids to dress as their favorite prince, princess, or Disney character when attending the show!).

This show was a bit different than the other shows that we’ve seen.  Instead of including all of the princesses, it specifically focused on the stories of Belle, Merida, Ariel, and Rapunzel, with Micky, Minnie, Donald and Goofy coming out to delight the kids between princess stories.  Having seen Disney On Ice shows before, I can honestly say that this one was my favorite.  They spent time developing each of the princesses’ individual stories.  The skating was fabulous.  The sets were amazingly detailed (seriously, check out those lanterns in the picture below – that was Rapunzel’s story).  Each story had one big musical number, each one more spectacular than the last.  The pyrotechnics in Merida’s story were stunning.  That’s right, I said pyrotechnics!  If you’re worried about this being the same as another show you’ve seen, I can assure you, that’s not the case.

My girls were absolutely mesmerized.  According to Greenleigh’s teachers, it’s all she talked about it pretty much all day at school.

If you’re interested in seeing Disney On Ice Rockin’ Ever After, it will be in Sunrise until Sunday, March 23rd and will then be at the American Airlines Arena in Miami from March 26th – 30th!  And that coupon that I posted a few weeks ago?  We you’re in luck because it’s still valid!  Simply enter code “FAMILY” and get 4 tickets for just $54!

Sunrise only
Miami only

No doubt your kids will love the show as much as mine did!

Disclosure: A very special thank you to Disney On Ice, Feld Entertainment, and US Family Guide for providing my family 4 tickets to see Rockin’ Ever After.  This might have been my kids’ favorite review ever. 

The COOLIT Bowl: Easing Mealtime Stress

Disclosure: I received a COOLIT Bowl in order to facilitate my review.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Macaroni and cheese might be my girls absolute favorite dinner.  And because I’m a busy mom, I find myself making it more than I want to admit (seriously, I’m not going to tell you how often I make it for them).  It’s quick and easy and my girls will gobble it up…I can even pair it with some fruit or veggies without protest.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s a miracle food.

But the one problem with making mac n’ cheese is the wait.  Sure it’s ready in 15 minutes or less, but I can’t actually serve it in that time.  No, it’s far too hot just off the stove.  And it all gets worse when my kids notice that their food is ready, but they can’t actually eat it.  Instead, they have to sit and watch it sit on the counter top while it cools.  Or better yet, watch me frantically blow on their food while waving my hands in a fanning motion over it.  Because there’s no way I’m going to let that food hit the table if it isn’t a safe temperature…I’ve learned all to well that putting the food in front of them and telling them to blow on it or wait a while ends badly for all involved.

Then I learned about a brand new product that just hit the market called the COOLIT bowl.  Made from BPA-free materials and infused with a non-toxic gel, the COOLIT is cooling dish specially designed to get food down to the perfect temperature in seconds.  Literally – 60 seconds or less (now that’s my kind of time frame!).  Simply store the COOLIT in the freezer until you’re done cooking, place hot food in COOLIT, and stir.  In less than a minute the food will be table ready for even the most impatient eaters.  It’s easy to wipe clean and dishwasher safe for extra convenience.  And at 2″x8″ it fits perfectly in a diaper bag or purse to bring along for restaurant use.  Bottom line – The Cool-It bowl takes foods from too hot to just right in less than a minute, alleviating mealtime stress!  Naturally I needed to try it!So when my cool it arrived, I put it in the freezer and waited for one of those all to frequent macaroni and cheese nights.  It didn’t take long.  When the food was just off the stove and piping hot, I took the COOLIT out of the fridge, placed a toddler and preschooler sized portion of macaroni and cheese in the dish, let it sit there for a minute, and then stirred.  In about 30 seconds, the food was cooled to a perfect temperature.  I was surprised at how short of a time it took.  Ever since that night, I’ve been using my COOLIT pretty regularly.  It makes meals so much easier and I just love that I can throw it in the dishwasher.  In fact, the only downside that I see to the COOLIT at all is that it takes up room in my freezer – which is pretty packed from all of my couponing and stock up deals.  The COOLIT isn’t big by any stretch of the imagination, but my freezer is pretty packed!

And as it turns out, you can put just about anything in it.  Seriously, this thing is a whiz at cooling down chicken nuggets!  No need to stir, just place them in the dish and flip them after 10-15 seconds.  It can even help with corndogs!  I’ve used this for every kind of toddler food you can imagine over the past few weeks.  To say I’m pretty enamored with it would be an understatement.

So while we may still fight over how many veggies they have to eat, thanks to the COOLIT Bowl, we no longer fight about them having to wait until their food is ready!

The COOLIT is available for purchase online at $11.99, but you could win one here!  In fact, not just 1, but 3 lucky winners are going to receive a COOLIT of their very own!  Enter using the rafflecopter form below and it could be you.  Good luck everyone!
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Comfort & Harmony: mombo play Toy Bar {Review}

Everett is so alert lately.  Although he’s still a very easy going baby, he’s reached the age where he wants to be entertained – constantly.  Whether it’s me holding him, giving him toys, or his sisters singing to him (admittedly, this might be more frightening than entertaining) he wants to interact with the world around him.  At this age, both my girls were holding their heads up and starting to sit, but Everett isn’t quite there yet.  He still lacks the head control to have him upright for long periods of time.  Since I’m always looking for ways to keep him happy and entertained, I jumped at the chance to review the mombo Nursing Pillow and Toy Bar. Remember when I said that every new mom should have a nursing pillow, regardless of whether they plan to breast feed?  Well, it’s true.  And as it turns out, the Comfort & Harmony mombo Nursing Pillow isn’t your ordinary nursing pillow – it’s so much more.  Unlike other nursing pillows, the mombo has 2 different sides – one that’s firm, one that’s soft.  The firm side is designed for providing support during feedings; the soft side is designed for lounging or positioning your baby and also provides a comfortable place for tummy time.  And unlike any other nursing pillow I’ve ever seen, the mombo incorporates vibration using a small battery operated disk (requires 1 “C” battery, not included) that you can insert into the pillow.  Simply push the button on the top of the disk to turn on the vibration and insert it into the pillow.  To top it all off, the mombo has tons of brightly colored, fun covers that are all machine washable.

By simply attaching the mombo play Toy Bar using the elastic straps, your nursing pillow is transformed into an interactive gym for your baby.  The toy bar comes with 2 ultra-soft plush toys (a lion and an elephant) and 4 loops to attach toys – 2 at the top of the arch, 2 towards the bottom/sides.  The lion and the elephant are attached using velcro, so they can be switched around or removed at anytime.  And when your baby is done playing with the toy bar or if you need the nursing pillow for a feeding, simply remove the Toy Bar and fold it up for easy storage.

When I first received the Toy Bar I wondered if it would be enough entertainment for Everett, now 5 months old, but it ended up being just perfect for him.  The mombo Nursing Pillow is thicker than most other pillows than I’ve used, and the combination of firm and soft gives more support than other pillows.  The result was Everett being more propped up, allowing him to not just look at the toys on the toy bar, but also at other things in the room around him.  With traditional nursing pillows – which tend to be flatter – he ends up looking at the ceiling…which gets boring quickly.  And although Everett can roll over, he’s never tried to while playing with the toy bar (and he’s played with his Toy Bar a lot since we’ve gotten it).  I attribute this to 2 things.  First, the toys keep him pretty entertained, and if he’s not playing with the toys, he’s looking around the room at everything else going on.  It keeps him too busy.  Second, I think since this nursing pillow is thicker, it keeps him snug in the middle.  He looks comfortable and secure.But besides being entertaining, the Toy Bar is pretty durable.  Despite the grabbing phase that Everett’s going through, the plush animal toys haven’t once detached from the bar.  And if he pulls at them – causing the malleable Toy Bar to bend – the bar snaps back to its original form once he releases.  Grabbing the toys and then releasing is Everett’s favorite game, and one that always ends with the cutest baby giggle.

For me, the Toy Bar is a lifesaver.  It allows me a safe and entertaining place to put Everett while I’m trying to get things done around the house.  It’s a space that he enjoys and a place where I don’t have to worry about him.  It doesn’t take up a ton of space and is portable, so if I need to move from the living room to the bedroom, I can scoop him up in one arm and carry the nursing pillow and Toy Bar in the other.  It makes my life so much easier!

But where the Toy Bar really shines is as a travel accessory.  When we traveled over the holidays I took so much baby equipment with us.  And all that baby gear was big and bulky and took up a ton of space in our car.  It was a total pain.  But I couldn’t run the risk of being away for 2 whole weeks without some form of entertainment for him.  I only wish I had this back then (and back when I took Hazeline on vacation at 8 weeks old, dragging the nursing pillow, bouncy seat, and playmat with us) – it would have been a lifesaver.  The combination of the collapsible toy bar, the vibration disk, and the nursing pillow have comfort and entertainment roll up into one.  No need to bring multiple, bulky baby items, this gym has it all!  It will be going on our next trip with us.

If you’d like to try the mombo play Toy Bar for yourself, you can pick one up at Babies R Us where they retail for $19.99.  It’s a great way to accessorize your mombo nursing pillow, especially if you plan to travel this summer!Disclosure:  I received a mombo Nursing Pillow and mombo play Toy Bar to facilitate my review.  All thoughts, opinions, and photos are my own.


Take Care People & Join Me for a Twitter Chat Tomorrow!

Disclosure:  I am being compensated as a Twitter Chat Consultant for Bloggin’ Mamas who is working with Element Associates, Get Covered America, and the Ad Council for this campaign.

Did you know that more than 1 in 6 Americans don’t have health insurance (1 in 5 African Americans are uninsured and 1 in 4 Hispanics are uninsured)?  That’s a pretty startling statistic, but it’s true.  And did you know that more than half of the uninsured population could find insurance for less than $100 per month?  In fact, those under 35 might be able to find it for less than $50.

Most are uninsured because they do not receive coverage from an employer, cannot afford coverage, or were previously denied insurance due to a pre-existing condition.  The uninsured are exposed to significant financial risk from medical issues, accidents or emergencies. Even young and healthy individuals are at-risk. One trip to the emergency room for a broken arm or a bad ear infection could cost thousands of dollars.


I am working with the Ad Council and Get Covered America to raise awareness about the Health Insurance Marketplace and the financial assistance available. Many of you may be unaware of your health plan options or the March 31st deadline to enroll in subsidized healthcare, so I encourage you to visit http://www.getcoveredamerica.org to learn more.


Also, I will be participating in a Twitter Chat Tuesday March 11th from 1p-2p EST via #TakeCareChat You can join in to learn more about Get Covered America and your options under the ACA.  I’d love to see you there!  And in case you miss that one, there will another chat on March 18th from 1p-2p EST discussing the same issues.


Take Care & Get Covered America!