Skylar Lunar, the only organic PJ you need to know about

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Alexis, Best for Baby, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, REVIEWS

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I was not asked to write this post, nor was I paid, or sent samples for this post. (I was sent samples initially for something else – that’s how I discovered them, but that was long ago and I have been buying from them since)
This is simply me raving about a company that I love.

I’ve gone through a few organic PJs companies for Lexi and all of them were… good. But it wasn’t until I came across Skylar Luna that I was completely sold and in love and felt absolutely no need to ever buy anything else except for maybe Christmas PJs. The only other real competitor that makes organic pjs is Hanna Anderson, but there is absolutely no comparison here. While I looooove Hanna Anderson patterns and colors and their holiday pjs, the level of comfort is just NOT there.

What makes Skylar Luna so special?

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: Skylar Lunar, the only organic PJ you need to know about

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved

Artifact Uprising Photo Books

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Alexis, Life as a Toddler, Other, photo, REVIEWS

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Working on the Lexi’s classes and activities post, as well as the last one in the Holidays in Review, Christmas Morning, but in the meantime, I’ve had this post prepared since before Lexi’s 2nd birthday.

See I’ve been in love with the style of the photo books by Artifact Uprising, and I even had a code for a complimentary book, but it wasn’t until mid last year that I could put it together and, obviously, now till I was able to blog about it.

I really don’t have to gush about it, because the style is apparent in photos, but this is by far my favorite book to use for my photos. I felt it was perfect for Alexis’ First Birthday because our photographer’s style was exactly what Artifact Uprising is all about- mute colors, blurred edges, softness, calm, peace.

It’s softcover, has the feel of a true coffee table book and the kind of pages that you see on the tables of artists and designers.

It’s the book that you WANT to page through. I’ve always been a fan of hardcovers, but this book just begged to be the soft approachable softcover.

My goal is to put all of our years in Artifact Uprising books and have a stack of them sitting in the living room- matte, soft, beautiful stack of memories. Wouldn’t it be wonderful?

My next project will most likely be their Instagram book- it’s pretty amazing!

Enjoy the photos! Some of them I never got a chance to post on this blog… (the photos in the book were taken by Stacey Downey Photography, the photos OF the book are mine)

Also check out Artifact Uprising website and their inspirational Instagram account.

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This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: Artifact Uprising Photo Books

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved

Fun Toys for 12-24 Months Stage

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Alexis, Best for Baby, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, REVIEWS

fun toys

I have been thinking of ways of structuring this post to make it easier to read and more comprehensive and the only thing that seems to make sense is to go by brand. We tend to be loyal to companies whose products we like, so if you were to walk into our house, you’d see lots of items by the same brands. It doesn’t mean we are not open to other companies and makers. In fact, on the contrary, I am always looking for new ideas and products, but usually when you happen on a product that really really works, you end up sticking with it, at least until something else comes along.

So it’s even more relevant when it comes to toys. I have favorites, companies that I know I can trust from the safety standpoint and those that make beautiful, functional and fun toys.

A while ago I wrote about toy safety from the toxin standpoint and outlined some of the companies that make better toys with fewer recalls, some that claim they are lead free, BFR free and approach safety consciously. If you’re just starting on my blog, make sure to check that post and then go over the toys that we found useful for the 0-12 months stage. Also don’t miss the post on Tag Toys which are the most unique toys I’ve ever come across.

For now, in case you are  looking to replenish your playroom, buy birthday gifts, or are just curious about which toys Lexi plays with on daily basis, or used to play when she was slightly younger, read on!

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: Fun Toys for 12-24 Months Stage

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved

My kitchen help

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Cooking, Health and Fitness, Other, REVIEWS

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I wouldn’t be able to cook and get meals done the way I do if it wasn’t for these handy appliances.

Here is what I use virtually on daily basis.

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Fagor Juicer

{holy crap, it’s on sale on amazon for 42% off!!!)

I’ve only recently started making my own juices but that was something on my to-do list for years. Little did I know what a difference it makes in the taste of the juice. If you haven’t tried squeezing your own apple juice or orange juice, come over to my house and I’ll do it for you, because it is SERIOUSLY night and day. It’s like the juices you drink at restaurants and buy at the grocery stores aren’t juices at all, even if they are organic and not from concentrate.

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The biggest two complaints I’ve heard about juicers from friends and online reviews are that they are hard to clean and assemble/take apart or that they are too hard to use ( especially when it comes to manual juicers).

I have zero complaints about our Fagor Juicer. Once I figured out how to take it apart, it was a breeze – 5 different parts to clean that easily snap in and out of the juicer and rinse clean with simple water, as long as you don’t let the juice bits sit on it for hours. I am not kidding: you just run them under running water and voila (Depending on the fruit sometimes you have to help the stuck skin from under the disposal shute)

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The juicing part is easy. You throw cut up fruit inside and it pours juice out of one end and waste out of the other. It rarely gets stuck or clogged. I honestly have zero issues with it and it makes perfect juice.
It’s considered a slow juicer which means it takes its time to get out every possible drop of juice from the fruit, preserving vitamins, minerals and all the nutrients. All the materials that come in contact with food are BPA free.

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While for those of us who eat fruits and vegetables on daily basis, juicing  might not be such a big deal, aside from  the taste standpoint, for average eaters who rely more on meats or processed food, juicing is almost a must because you can cram so many more fruits and vegetables into a glass of juice than you can actually eat in one sitting. So if you or your baby isn’t a fan of the green stuff, juice it with something sweet and have them drink it – perfect solution! You can find a ton of tasty recipes online by googling “juicing recipes”.

BUY HERE / LEARN HERE

Cuisinart Multi-cooker

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I heard about multi-cookers from my sister who lives in Russia who swears it’s the solution of all world’s problems.
It really is pretty neat. I have a Cuisinart 3-in-1 multicooker (as you can see from the sticker that I didn’t bother removing for months. lol. Also it’s on sale on Amazon as well.) I am not sure if everyone is familiar with the concept, because I didn’t know what it was prior to her mentioning it. It’s basically like a slow cooker with several settings: slow, steam and sautee/brown. It really is as simple as it seems. You throw a bunch of food inside, close the lid and set the correct setting and the timer. On the saute function they recommend that you stir occasionally but otherwise it really can be left to its own devices.

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It is especially helpful because I barely have any time to cook, but it’s something I HAVE TO DO, so I try to find ways to make it less of a time consuming process without sacrificing food quality.

This cooker works well with both veggies and meats on both slow and saute functions. It’s huge and the finish does not contain any cancer causing chemicals (PTFE/PFOA) that are commonly found in non-stick surfaces (I emailed the company and checked). Cooking beans is a breeze on the slow cooker option, vegetables do great on the sautee setting and I would imagine meats would do great in it too.

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The pot itself is removable so you don’t have to move the whole appliance to clean it or serve food. Temperature can be set custom, there is a timer and my favorite “keep warm” feature.

Meals I usually make in it are any type of vegetable combinations, potatoes and mushrooms, beans and peas. It works out really great because I often make 2-4 meals at a time and this doesn’t have to crowd the stove surfaces.

BUY IT/ LEARN MORE

MiTutto Hand Blender

Oh wow, what a tool!

I always despised using those big kitchen appliances that chopped things because they were a pain to clean. At the same time, blenders were not up to par either, because they would only puree/chop up the bottom of the food pile and leave the top untouched. You’d have to shake it in order to get the top food down to the blades.

MiTutto is like this kitchen “wand” that does pretty much everything. It has a bunch of adapters for aerating, whipping, mixing, chopping, crushing, pureeing food, so it replaces many appliances and can be used in any dish not just the provided one.

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The two major uses of MiTutto for me are to make purees for popsicle and smoothies and to get vegetables chopped evenly. The even chopping part is pretty self-explanatory and it’s most likely due to the small and evenly sized bowl. But where it really shines, at least for me, is the pureeing part.  See, because it’s a handheld wand, when you puree fruits or vegetables, you can control the angle and pressure of it. That makes it easy because you can push down on the fruits/vegetables to force them to mush even if they are “resisting” like it often happens in traditional blenders.

Does that make sense? It takes seconds to get things pureed. It comes with a convenient measuring cup with a spout for easy pouring: seriously a great tool starting from baby pureed solids to any kind of daily cooking.

BUY IT/LEARN HERE

Homemade Popsicle recipe

I wanted to share this amazing popsicle recipe I came up with using the MiTutto wand. The ingredients are really interchangeable and I only came upon this because those were the only three ingredients we had in our house. I would not necessarily recommend any of these brands of ingredients specifically. Normally I would go for an organic peanut butter and soy milk creamer, because the coconut one turned out to have titanium dioxide in it (what?). So if you try this recipe, just replace the ingredient brands with the ones that you like to use. I’ve been asked for this recipe a few times on Instagram - it’s really delicious.

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Ingredients:

1 pear

1 spoonful of Peanut Butter (other butter)

1/3 of a cup sweetened creamer ( coconut, soy, dairy- whatever you use)

Add to the blender or MiTutto cup and blend. Pour into a popsicle mold, freeze.

Lexi ate the whole thing in one sitting. A huge hit.

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: My kitchen help

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved

Potty Training, it’s just the beginning (and the end?)

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Alexis, Best for Baby, Daily, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, REVIEWS

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I’ve been hanging onto this post, hoping that there will be enough progress that I will have something else to add to it, but alas it appears that we are at a standstill.

That’s how I started this post 2 months ago and that’s how it would stay up until a few days ago (Dec 26th, 2013) when suddenly something drastic happened!

{Note: if you have problems with potty talk or seeing babies sitting on potties, you should probably go to some other post on The Art of Making a Baby, like this one about flowers and pretty things}

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: Potty Training, it’s just the beginning (and the end?)

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved

Tag Toys – The Ultimate Montessori Toys

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Alexis, Best for Baby, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, REVIEWS

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Before I write a post about the best toys that I have found for the 18-24 months old crowd, I wanted to do a spotlight on my new favorite toy company with the kind of toys that last a lifetime and create many opportunities for learning and development.

TAG TOYS

I learned about Tag Toys in the usual way I discover companies.  I had an idea for a toy that Lexi would really enjoy in my head and I set off to try and find that toy online.

This time it was some kind of board with different switches and locks. It didn’t take me long to find Melissa and Doug products, however being very leery of big toy companies when it comes to quality (on that later) and knowing that many M&D, and other wooden toys for that matter, tested positive for lead and arsenic and a lot of other nasty stuff, I was set on finding an alternative that is safer. That’s how I found Tag Toys.

Check out the video I made of Lexi playing with the toys here:

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: Tag Toys – The Ultimate Montessori Toys

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved

Lexi awards: Favorite Products {3-9 months}

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Alexis, Best for Baby, New Mom Experience, REVIEWS

LEXI AWARDS 3-9 MONTHS

The next installment of Lexi Awards brought to you courtesy of Alexis and me.

I realize it is a very long period of time and much happens in a world of an infant in 6 months.
None of these are must-haves, of course. There is nothing that is a must have for an infant besides a boob and a care taker  , however these are all wonderful and make life easier or fun for both mom and baby.

This post has been sitting in my drafts for almost a year now, so I thought I’d finally get it out. I know many of my readers have young babies, so hopefully this will be of use to them. Since the post was written almost a year ago, some things have changed as Lexi grew but these items were the MVPs for us during the 3-9 months stage.

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: Lexi awards: Favorite Products {3-9 months}

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved