Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

Back in October I wrote A Mommy's Top 10 List cataloging the things I couldn't live without as a new mom.  Well, times have changed significantly since then and I thought I'd channel my inner Oprah and share a list of my new favorite things.  (Sorry, no giveaways today.)  

1) B Zany Zoo: This wooden activity cube is a must-have for a budding baby.  I got this for Mackenzie when she was about six months old.  She was fascinated by the colors and shapes.  Not long after I bought it, she started using it to pull herself up to a standing position.  The next thing I knew she was "cruising" around the entire house.  Even though she's walking now she still enjoys playing with the zoo animals and the various activities on each side of the cube.  Definitely a worthwhile investment. 

2) Sandra Boynton books: Mackenzie's new obsession is books.  She can't get enough of them.  Praise God.  In an age where technology abounds, I'm refreshed to find that my daughter has taken an interest in good old fashioned entertainment.  Her favorites are the Sandra Boynton books.  Yeah, they're silly.  A hippopotamus on the beach? In a bathing suit? That doesn't make any sense at all.  But hey, she's one.  She's not supposed to be reading War and Peace.  The best part about these classic board books is the fact that they hold Mackenzie's attention, no matter how many times a day she flips through them.  Although we often read together, Mackenzie also manages to keep herself occupied with these for awhile...  a huge plus for a stay at home mom who needs some down time throughout the day.  

3) Babe Ease The Chic Super-Soft Clean Shopper Cart Cover: If you can get past the too-long name, I promise you will love this nifty invention.  There are tons of other similar products on the market but this one lives up to its name: it truly is super-soft and its size makes it a great fit for high chairs and shopping carts (even the double wides they have at Costco and BJs).  There are fabric hooks for securing toys and it has two side pockets for a bottle, a sippy, your wallet... whatever.  (You may have to check these pockets upon leaving the store.  Mackenzie managed to stuff a ball into one the other day and I luckily noticed this just as we were about to set off the alarms at Target.)  The best part is that it's machine washable, which is every mother's dream.  

4) BOB Revolution 12" AW Stroller: I've gushed over my BOB before, but I'm not afraid to do it again.  I heart BOB.  BOB is my friend.  I'm with BOB every day.  This stroller practically steers itself while you're running.  But it's SO much more than a jogging stroller.  It's great at the mall, in the snow, even on the beach (a bit tough to push on dry sand, but glides swiftly on compact, wet sand).  This model differs from the regular Revolution because all three wheels are 12", making it slightly smaller and lighter.  The only caveats? After all the money you spend on this it would be nice if they included the handlebar console.  You'll need to purchase that separately. 

5) Kiddieland Mickey Plane Ride-On Toy: Oh Mickey, you're so fine... except for the fact that you guzzle batteries like a champ.  Otherwise, you blow my mind.  This was Mackenzie's favorite birthday gift.  She can push it.  She can ride it.  She can sing and dance to the music.  She can entertain herself with the shape sorter feature in the plane's cabin.  This has been a huge hit in our house.  If only we didn't have to change those batteries every few weeks! 

6) Coppertone Kids Continuous Spray, SPF 50: I knew I wasn't doing my best at protecting Mackenzie from the sun once people started admiring her golden tan.  Tsk-tsk.  So I've basically invested in enough sunscreen to last until she's a teenager.  I tried a bunch of the lotions and creams but they're a huge pain, especially when dealing with a wiggling toddler who won't sit still for a thorough application of goopy sunblock.  So if you're in the same boat, a spray is certainly the way to go.  I like the Coppertone Kids because it has a pleasant smell and lasts a long time.  It's especially convenient because you don't need to rub it in.  Plus, Mackenzie gets a kick out of the cool and refreshing mist it creates.  Works great on grownups, too!  

7) JJ Cole Essentials Blanket: This water-resistant blanket measures 5' x 5' when fully opened.  It's awesome for the park, the playground, and the beach.  I know so many moms who've purchased these because they stay dry and fold up conveniently, thanks to a sturdy insert.  There's an adjustable, removable strap so traveling is a cinch.  You can sling it over your shoulder or hang it over your stroller handles.  And although all product descriptions say to "wipe clean" you can actually throw this in your washer, then let it air dry.  My only regret is that I didn't buy one in every color.  

8) Soft playrooms and spray parks: Because whether you're faced with Snowmageddon 2010 or the heat wave of 2011, you will absolutely kill yourself if you stay cooped up inside your house all day with your kid(s) playing with the same toys.  And there are only so many episodes of Divine Design and Color Splash to go around.  Enter soft playrooms and spray parks.  Total lifesavers for moms.  Plus, in most cases they're free.  
I also like heading to Barnes & Noble's kid section to scope out the selection of board books while Mackenzie roams around the story time stage.  Just beware (if this is your first rodeo): You will enjoy these experiences.  Your child will enjoy them as well.  Just don't forget to pack the hand sanitizer and do remember that your kid isn't the first one to throw a temper tantrum when it's time to leave. 

9) Tea Collection clothing:  Mackenzie has been wearing clothes from this line since she was an infant and all I can say is, WOW.  The prints are absolutely to die for, the cotton washes extremely well, and the sizes run true.  I especially love the one-piece rompers because they make my life easier and their roomy design keeps Mackenzie comfortable.  While the prices are a little steep (you might ask Grandma to buy) you certainly get your money's worth.  Even better, Tea partners with The Global Fund For Children, which provides grants for community-based organizations that aid the world's little people.  

10) Stroller Strides: This fitness program is designed to give moms the "strength for motherhood." It includes power walking and running as well as resistance training that targets the muscles we lose during pregnancy and need during child-raising.  Stroller Strides classes use the surrounding environment to enhance a mother's workout (think pushups on park benches and speed skaters over parking lot bumpers.) The program's certified instructors incorporate songs and games for the little ones while they lead moms through various workout stations.  If it wasn't for this class I would never have lost my baby weight.  But there's more to it than exercise.  On days when I don't feel like leaving the house, I remind myself how great I feel after this hour-long workout.  Part of that is due to the endorphins.  But part of it is also due to the friendships I've developed with other mothers over the past year.  I could never have asked for a better support group during an overwhelming first year of motherhood.  Plus, it's a great way for Mackenzie to interact with other kids.  Stroller Strides partners with LUNA Mom's Club, providing playgroups for children.  To find a class near you visit

Have a list of favorite things you'd like to share? We welcome your comments.  And don't forget to "Like" A Mommy Is Made on Facebook.  Thanks for reading! 


  1. I love it! All of it! Mary and I are starting our first SS's class tomorrow - I will let you know how it goes.


  2. I just had a great idea for a board book version of war and peace....somebody get Tolstoy's estate on the line. I smell a money maker!