Our favorite winter styles by See Kai Run and a Giveaway

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, Fashion and Outfits, Life as a Toddler, PHOTO, Photo Stories, PRODUCTS, TODDLER

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If you ever want some eye candy, all you have to do is check out See Kai Run shoes. I am amazed every season at how they manage to come out with the cutest designs.

There is one particular type of shoe that I am most in love with. It’s a high top sneaker, and every season See Kai Run manages to do something amazing with the patterns. It’s the single most complimented shoe since day 1 (different seasons and styles). Every season it’s a different pattern, but same compliments. The most unique shoe in the history of kids footwear.

The reason I am writing this post, however, is to let you guys know three things:

The scooter family is back.

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Life as a Toddler, PRODUCTS, TODDLER

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I remember when Lexi was first born, her development focus was on the visual aspect of her surroundings. She wanted to stay on my shoulder for hours just looking around, and as soon as I would try to put her down, she would fuss until she was up high and looking again. For months she seemed to not be interested in moving as much as she was in seeing. Rolling to a toy was just not of interest until much much later.

Then things changed, and suddenly she just wanted to be everywhere and it didn’t end till she started walking. She didn’t start walking, I am sorry. Let me correct myself: she started runfalling, a process of falling and catching yourself so fast on repeat that you end up running. That’s what she did. Suddenly everything that had to do with physical activity was the shit. Scooters, bikes, climbers- she wanted to move. We got her a scooter. She loved it. Earlier than expected, but she did.

These are the pictures of Lexi lending Alexa her Micro Mini and riding together around the parking lot.

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Then came an era that confused me completely. She refused to use anything on wheels: scooters, bikes, motorcycles, even motorized riding toys. Just NO! She wanted to stay home and play pretend, play role playing games, play with her characters. That lasted a long time. At least it seems like it did for me. While her friends would ride bikes and scooters around the neighborhood, she would demand to play at home, with those same friends.

Now recently I am seeing the shift again. Bicycles are cool again, scooters are no problem, throwing a ball is fun. It’s confusing, but it’s certainly how it’s been happening all along. So tonight as I was going through my photo library I saw these photos. Lexi and me having fun on our scooters at the outdoor shopping mall. And it made me think of the amazing role that we have as parents to expose them and to encourage them to do varied activities. I have a scooter too, and so does Andrew. Mine is a white  Micro Kickboard scooter (seen below), and Andrew’s is a black one. They are pretty hot looking, sleek, solid. I’ve seen Brad Pitt and Angelina ride those with their kids.

And they are fun! Much more fun to ride than I ever thought it would be. And look cool. I feel kind of bad-ass riding a scooter…. skater girl-ish without the skateboard. haha

Sometimes, I take my white scooter out, put Lexi on the front and we go racing around the golf course.

Anyways, I just wanted to share a little piece of our life and activities we do here. Maybe someone will think it sounds like a fun idea. That would make me happy. No one likes to be that left out parent who is bored while their kid is having fun riding a scooter, right? We certainly love being a Micro Scooter family (this should be a hashtag).

Question 1: Would you consider riding an adult scooter with your kid next to your riding theirs?

Question 2: Have you noticed similar eb and flow of the preferred activities (physical vs mental) in your children, like I described above?

Think these scooters are cool? You can check them out and buy them here:

Learn about Micro Kickboard | Buy: Adult Scooter | Mini Micro

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Unique Christmas Wish List: Tried and True

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in PRODUCTS, Tried and True

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So my wish list for Christmas is very difficult to compile. I usually get what I need/want throughout the year, so Christmas becomes a time of really large purchases. Like a computer or a camera.

However, I wanted to put together a list of items that we own or already got for Christmas that I would really love to receive as a gift, had I not had them.

So it’s like

TRIED AND TRUE: Christmas Edition.

I’ll separate these lists into two categories: Elena and Lexi. Some of the items for Lexi we have already bought but she hasn’t received yet, so I don’t have the photos for except for stock images.

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Unique  Christmas Wish List

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I am notoriously hard to shop for, because I just don’t want anything.

Here are some of the items I would gladly receive without question every holiday in any quantity.

High end Skincare: Vine Vera

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I’ve been a fan for the last few years when I first tried Zinfandel and saw amazing improvement in my skin tone. Vine Vera has a line of creams made with reservatol, an ingredient derived from the skin of red grapes and is one of the most powerful anti-oxidants found in nature. Zinfandel line , my favorite, is designed to brighten and lighten your skin tone and it truly works. The new line I’ve been using, Vitamin C, is infused with Vitamin C, Vitamin A (Retinol) and Resveratrol.

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The cream is rich, but absorbs very easily and is incredibly moisturizing. My favorite serum feels like a primer, because it smoothes out pores and makes your skin look perfect for make up application. The Peeling Cream is like a gel and is very gentle and is used once a week. It’s a gel like cream that goes on smoothly on your skin and a few minutes later after you wash it off, reveal brand new skin you won’t believe.

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Since the creams are relatively expensive, this makes for a perfect Christmas preset that you can ask from your loved one, a splurge that actually creates real changes in your life and your appearance.

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Waterproof Camera: Olympus Tough

I have wanted a GOOD waterproof camera for a while now. I’ve gone through different brands and models, unhappy with any of them and their quality. Then a GoPro arrived, but after playing with it, I was still not convinced. So right as I was about to give in and buy a GoPro, I saw Olympus Tough Waterproof Shockproof Camera. After doing some research, I was sold.

  • Bigger camera means slightly better photo and video quality.
  • Wide angle lens without fish eye distortion ( 21mm)
  • 60p movie mode, time lapse and high speed movies
  • Wifi (so you can transfer photos to your phone wirelessly) and GPS ( though I am yet to take the time to figure out the wifi feature)
  • Waterproof to 50ft, Shockproof to 7ft, freeze proof to 14F and crushproof to 220lbs
  • Has a flipout screen and a front shutter button for selfies. This has come in so useful when using a selfiestick because you can see what you’re shooting

I bought it for $290, but it’s on sale right now for $199 ( which sucks, but oh well), so it’s significantly cheaper than a go pro with better features and picture quality than some of GoPros models.

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Bikinis: Khongboon Swimwear

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Don’t laugh. Yes I know, it seems like such a ill-fitting gift for Christmas. Unless you’re giving that gift to me. We do live in Florida and I travel a lot and I enjoy doing things that usually require wearing a swimsuit. A self-proclaimed bikini lover.

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I can never have enough bikinis. So now after discovering Khongboon swimwear on Instagram, I am officially taken. I don’t think you can do better than these swimsuits. Not only do they have unique patterns but the fit is out of this world. I’ve never had a bikini fit me so well or look so good on me.

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Now they have several styles and for my body type ( no boobs, no butt, lean body), the best fitting style is this:

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It goes by different names depending on the pattern style, so you just have to look at pictures to find it.

I just ordered a few more styles (it comes from Thailand so it takes a while), and additional bottoms to bikinis that I already have and I’m super stocked to get them. Eeeeek :) I could receive a Khongboon bikini a day for a whole year a be happy.

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Security: August e-lock

This is an unusual item, but I kept using it and thinking about how awesome it is, so I decided to include it as a recommendation. This could be a present for a guy or a girl. In fact, I’d like to get another one for our other doors.

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August Smart Lock is an electronic lock that is hooked up to an app on your phone using bluetooth. While you can turn it manually, like any door handle, the best feature of August is that you don’t need a key. You can use your phone to open it electronically, give access to other people in your life, track who accesses your home and when, remotely open it (has to be with bluetooth range, like I would open the door for our housekeeper without getting out of bed).

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I can’t tell you how many times I would be returning from our community gym to find the door locked and I don’t have the key. All I ever had to do is open it via my phone. Amazing Gift!

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Fashion: Bandolier (use discount code:  fan16)

Another product that I am a dedicated fan of.

It’s a phone case that doubles as a crossbody purse and a wallet with a pocket for cards and ID in the back, and to be honest, after discovering it, I have started HATING having to carry an actual purse with me.

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Before Bandolier case, I used Pong and Lifeproof depending on the situation. When I first got it, I figured I’d use it to go out where all I need is a license and a card and use other cases at other times. What ended up happening is that I completely switched to this case and refused to take it off.  I discovered the joy of not lugging a massive bag with me everywhere, because let’s admit it, having to keep track of a 3 year old is difficult enough, I don’t need to carry additional 10 pounds of stuff with me.

What happens now is that you’ll see me with this cool looking strap across my body everywhere I go. I no longer wonder where to put my phone, or where I left it, or whether I remembered to bring my wallet. Everything is here inside.

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I have gotten SO many comments on it, I lost count. Aside from being incredibly functional, it just looks really fun on any outfit, especially a black dress. There are multiple styles of the strap and the case to fit everyone’s tastes, but this studded one has always been my favorite.

Since I am pretty rough on my possessions that I use frequently, I go through a Bandolier case every 6 months or so. And when I am in between cases, it’s torture. It quickly reminds me to order another one.

If anyone would purchase me a Bandolier for Christmas, I would be ecstatic because I know I’ll need another one in just a short time.

BUY IT | USE CODE FAN16 FOR A 15% DISCOUNT

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Shoes: Brian James

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If you follow me on Periscope, I mentioned a few times that I am obsessed with Brian James shoes and will not wear anything else. It’s sort of hard to move back to the world of uncomfortable shoes once you’ve tried Brian James.

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It’s really no surprise because Brian James comes from the makers of Pediped, but I have never been so comfortable with footwear (which would probably explain why I prefer walking barefoot when I can).

Every single style I’ve tried just fits right and doesn’t rub anywhere. So needless to say, I will never say no to a pair of shoes from Brian James.

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Make up

I did a periscope on this saying how I found three make up products that work so well I am done looking. Usually, I try different make up products and colors till I find something I love.

So at this point my foundation, eyeliner and brow needs are covered with these three products. I discovered them when I was in Hawaii and needed something that would stay on all day  while I am out in the water. The foundation is water-resistant, so it’s perfect for those active days outdoors. The eye liner is waterproof despite being a gel eyeliner. And my favorite discovery, Stila Eyebrow Pencil, is a valuable find for those with light eyebrows who don’t want to look like they have eyebrows drawn on or have an angry eyebrow face. It goes on very lightly with the gel applicator and just enhances the eyebrows. First product that actually works for my face.

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LEXI

This year Lexi made her own Christmas list. She has remembered every single thing she asked for in the last months that we told her to wait for Christmas for and has rattled off the whole list to me   numerous times. Well, this was easy. Like last year, we are doing 12 days of Christmas

Her three obsessions right now are:

  • Legos
  • Inside Out
  • Plants Vs Zombies

Inside Out

TOMY  has a line of Inside Out characters. Lexi is obsessed with any sort of figurines and love Inside Out from the books we have been reading ( even though she refuses to actually watch the movie). Some of the items that she received:

Big Plush Talking Joy

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Anger, Sadness, Fear, Disgust characters

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Joy and the Headquarters playset

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Joy and the Console

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The playset which can be used alone or with the console is designed to actually project the memories from each of the character memory spheres onto the screen of Consciousness on the playset. You can roll the memories down the path of short term memory.

The console requires 4 AAA batteries, but once powered, the figures and the console glow when brought close to the console for a more realistic play experience. It was really magical when she was sitting next to the lit tree in a dim family room and saw Joy light up: “Mommy, mommy, Joy lit up!!!”

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Biscotti and Kate Mack dress

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This is more of a gift from me than one that Lexi requested, however when she saw the dress and tried it on, she couldn’t stop twirling. “I am a princess going to the princess garden”, she danced as we walked into the garden.

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Biscotti has been my go to store for her special outfits for years now. There is something about their dress styles that just works for me personally. Lots of tulle, sparkle and glitter- a perfect combination for any girls who would love to look like a princess.

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BUY IT: Luminous Lace Ballerina Dress

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Lego

Where do I start?

So a few months ago, Lexi accidentally stumbled onto some youtube videos of Friends Lego sets. That started a current full blown addiction to Legos. Since most sets she was interested in were for 8-12 age group, at first she would have us build with her and was only excited about playing with the finished product. We slowly got her more involved with the process by having her help find pieces.

Now she  takes active part in assembling some of the largest sets and enjoys it greatly. She can build smaller sets on her own with our supervision. So that’s ALL she has wanted to do lately. Needless to say, her top  requests were more lego sets. She has asked for bunny house , Heartlake High, Dolphin Cruiser and Skyra’s Mysterious Sky Castle . She has almost completed Heartlake City, there are only a few sets left and she is asking for them for every holiday she can :)

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Plants Vs Zombies

If anyone has ever played Plants vs Zombies knows how addictive this game can be. Lexi  watched us play it for a bit and then started playing herself. At first I was a bit apprehensive about her playing the game, but after I started seeing the defense she was building and the thought and strategy she was putting into it, I was amazed.

So now that she has been playing the game, she asked for a set of Plants vs Zombies character toys. Not sure how she will be playing with them exactly, but it will be fun. She reenacts the peashooters and the zombies at home an it’s hilarious.

BUY IT: Set 1 | Set 2

 

Is it strange?

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, PRODUCTS

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I suck at picking out shoes for myself. I basically re-wear the same 4 pairs of my trusty and comfy Brain James shoes. However, for Lexi, it’s a different story. Is it strange that I am weirdly obsessed with toddler shoes. They have such amazing styles and fun patterns.

In case you’re wondering I am still a huge fan of Pediped shoes and See Kai Run shoes.

Aren’t these beautiful? And does anyone have a strange obsession with toddler shoes?

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Our travel comfort items and a baby monitor giveaway

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Best for Baby, Fun as a Toddler Mom, New Mom Experience, PRODUCTS, TODDLER, TRAVEL

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Hola, amigos!

Posting here from sporadically sunny Mexico to offer you an insight on our travel must-haves in conjunction with a Levana monitor giveaway.

As I was sitting on the balcony of my room in Generations Resort in Riviera Maya, working away on my computer and periodically glancing at the monitor where Lexi was quietly sleeping, I realized that I  had never traveled without taking my monitor with me. It was an interesting realization because something like packing a monitor has been on an autopilot for so long, I didn’t truly understand I was doing that. Yet here I was with my daughter who is almost four in a one room suite still using a baby monitor.

I looked around the room trying to figure out what other items I still bring with us whenever we travel and it turns out there are a few staples that have been traveling with us for years.

Lexi’s Favorite Snacks

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, BUSY MOM TIPS, Cooking, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Health and Fitness, Life as a Toddler, PRODUCTS, Tried and True

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I haven’t written about what we eat in a long time. Tastes and routines evolve and so do our eating habits, so I want to update what our favorite on-the-go snacks of the moment are.

We still prefer fresh organic whole foods like fruit and vegetables to anything else. However there are times where packing a lunchbox full of perishables isn’t a good idea. Living in Florida doesn’t really help it. So during those days, we resort to nuts  and packaged snacks. I personally love going through the snack isle at Whole Foods trying to discover different types of snacks that would be better than what we are already eating.  This list below applies to both me and Lexi. In fact, our eating habits aren’t that different with the exception that I eat less healthy than she is (I am adult. I can. That’s my excuse)

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So these are the things we enjoy together.

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Seaweed snacks

This one blew my mind. One day we were sitting at the beach with our friends and my girlfriend Carla showed me roasted seaweed sheets that her 3 year old was obsessed with. She swore that Lexi would go crazy over them. I smelled the snack and ew! I am not a person who is normally grossed out by food. But I couldn’t believe Lexi would want to eat that. Two minutes later, she had devoured the whole package and moved onto the second one.

We have been buying these snacks since then and it is absolutely the most favorite thing of hers to eat on the go. A year later and I am now starting to dig them from time to time myself. Open mind, I’ll tell ya, keep an open mind. We can’t order them fast enough from Amazon. Just FYI, do not buy wasabi and teriyaki flavor is the best.

BUY HERE: Seaweed Roasted Snacks

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goodnessknows snack squares

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I consider this a treat which is one of the reasons why it is so awesome. Packed with nutty goodness, fruit/berries and DARK chocolate with specifically retained phytonutrients, it acts like a treat, but is natural and wholesome.

While technically these are a snack I use the word “treat” with Lexi, so she eats these instead of bad treats. It has chocolate, so she is happy. And it is loaded with wholesome nuts, oats and berries, so I am happy. Win win. Natural and tasty treat. 

Wholesome toddler snacks

Each goodnessknows package contains 150 calories, no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. My favorite part is  that it’s divided  into 4 pieces so you’re not tempted to eat the whole bar and give it out as little squares

My favorite is Peach & Cherry with almond and dark chocolate flavor. Lexi loves the apple, almond&peanut, dark chocolate ones. goodness

BUY HERE: Amazon

FIND RETAILERS: goodnessknows

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Edamame peas

Lexi lovingly calls them “mommy peas” ( aw which breaks my heart as I am writing this on the plane to Vegas away from my girl)

When we make them at home, we always buy organic, since they are soy beans and soy is ALL pretty much GMO, unless it’s organic or Non-GMO certified. Unfortunately at the restaurants we can’t really chose organic and non-GMO, so we eat whatever they serve.

You can buy bags of frozen organic edamame peas that are quickly prepared in boiling water and make for a great snack at home or for a lunch box.

BUY HERE: Organic Edamame Peas

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Prunes and Dried  apricots

This is a total throwback to my childhood. My mom used to give them to us and only when I became an adult, did I appreciate their taste of prunes. I love them now and so does Lexi. If dehydrated properly, they are a nutritional powerhouse.

BUY HERE: Dried Apricots | Prunes

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GoRaw bar

I found this bar browsing in Whole Foods for snacks that we could take on a plane with us. My favorite is the banana bread. It has FOUR (4!!!!!) ingredients, all organic. It tastes great, and is very filling. The banana bread has flaxseeds, banana, dates and coconuts in them.

BUY HERE: GoRaw bar

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of goodnessknows. The opinions and text are all mine.

On traveling solo, sleep and being away from Lexi

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Best for Baby, Daily, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, Parenting, TODDLER

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As I am sitting here at 11:40 pm on a Wednesday night, two days late on my promised (to myself) weekly post, trying to decide what I can write about that I have the inspiration for and doesn’t take literally 4-5 hours to complete (writing to formatting to photos). I have a few drafts started but it’s all informative posts that really need some time put into them.

So the easiest, I thought, would be what I personally consider (harshly put) “useless babble”, but people seem to like. I have trouble writing posts that I don’t feel in some way benefit the reader, aside from photo posts or travel posts-I am sucker for those.

So that being said, how about we talk about a huge change that has happened in my and Lexi’s life: having to and being able to leave her with her dad and travel (for work or pleasure) solo.

Juvenile Products Expo fun with Lexi

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Adventures, Best for Baby, Life as a Toddler, PHOTO, Photo Stories, PRODUCTS, TODDLER, TRAVEL

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I guess since I mentioned the ABC, I will post some pictures of how Lexi enjoyed it. The show showcases kid products and is not open to public but often attendees bring their children to the show who have lots of fun going from booth to booth trying out toys.

My Daily Mom editor Megan joined me on this trip with her son Will as well.

Tried and True: Scotchi games

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Life as a Toddler, PRODUCTS, TODDLER

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For over a year, I have been compiling and collecting products that I discover in the course of my work and personal research that are simply outstanding.

I know many readers enjoyed that aspect of my blog. A while ago I started Best for Baby category and then moved into Tried and True.

Who has time to look for new cool better things for yourself and your kids, right? I know I don’t anymore. But I’ve always been passionate about it.

So since my last Tried and True posts, I’ve been writing down things that I have bought or received that I am very impressed with, in hopes of compiling another one of those posts. But every time I look at the long list of products with corresponding pictures I need to take/find, it’s just too overwhelming. I don’t have time for that.

So a few days ago, I bit the bullet and said to myself: “Just get them out one by one! And then compile them into one post later if needed.” (I need to use this approach more in my life)

So here we go.

TRIED AND TRUE: SCOTCHI GAMES

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Really an ingenious concept for educational games for toddlers over age 1.

You have well designed and illustrated sturdy cardboard sets of matching, assembling, memory and educational games for toddlers spanning a multitude of topics from every day living to professions and animal world.

Each peace has a velcro on the back and gets attached to a velcro circle on the board.

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We started with a simple village train that you assemble and then assign the right number of vegetables to each wagon.

As she got older  games like Supermarket where you have to collect groceries into your cart based on their category ( dairy, meats, veggies, etc) and Around the table (where you get to set the table for the whole family) became more appealing, yet challenging.

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To me this is a physical version of many iPad games that Lexi plays with the added benefit of being real life tactile experience that she can do with me. She has been enjoying these games for over a year now and still pulls them out periodically at 3.5 asking to play together or playing by herself.

My first clock can easily be a tool to teach time and numbers in a fun non-intimidating way as early as 2 years of age.

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BUY IT:

My First Clock | Supermarket | Around the Table | Village Train | Girls Dress Up | People at Work  | In Our House