Posts Tagged ‘review’

To Foonf or not to Foonf: Clek makes a kick ass seat!

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

This is probably the most requested review of all times. And for a good reason.

Clek’s Foonf has been the most hyped and anticipated release of a juvenile product in 2012 and 2013.

I cannot tell you how excited and honored I am to be one of the bloggers to be able to try it out and give you guys my opinion.

As my long time readers already know, our car seat experience has been “interesting”, to say the least. If you’re interested in reading our story of the first few months of constant car screams and our solution, read this post.

To be completely honest, while I was absolutely psyched about trying out Clek’s Foonf, I just couldn’t see how there could be a car seat that would be significant better than our trusty Maxi Cosi.

And it took me a good few months to truly appreciate what sets Foonf apart from all other car seats.

I could spend hours writing about the technical specs of Foonf, talking about the unparalleled safety and the technology behind the seat. It is truly one of a kind convertible seat that can arguably be called “BEST FOR BABY” without being melodramatic.

Babyhome Spotlight and a girl who apparently “likes to rock”

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

IMG_9265

A few months ago, I had a talk with Babyhome representatives about trying out and writing about all Babyhome’s products. It was a big undertaking on my part, considering I couldn’t use some of them items due to Lexi’s age, but I was curious enough about it and felt like it would help broaden my “baby gear” horizon, as well as hopefully give some of my readers new ideas as to which products might work for them.

After slightly under 6 months of trying some Babyhome products and thoroughly inspecting others, I’d like to present to you this feature.

{and if you’re not in the market for a stroller, a bassinet, a high chair, a side rail or a bouncer, at least check out the video featuring adorable Alexis rocking out on each one of the aforementioned products. She found a way to have fun with them all. Wait for the last product, it was shot more recently and she’s the most adorable there, at 13.5 months}.

SAFE TOYS FEATURE: B TOYS

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

IMG_4753
If you missed the Toy Safety post, go back to read it here.

B. TOYS are the most original toys that you will find on the shelves of toy stores. Aside from nontraditional baby colors and fully recycled and recyclable packaging, B. Toys truly represent what is, in my mind, creativity and innovation.

I remember when I first bumped into B Toys online. I was going over and over their toy list literally excited for all the toys I will get to buy for Alexis. It wasn’t long after B. Toys sent me a few of their items to try, that I went ahead and ordered most of  their Lexi-appropriate toys.

When it comes to safety, here is where B. Toys are at according to their customer service. B. Toys do not have any BPA, they meet the standard requirements for lead and other substances. MOST of their toys are PVC free, except for soft squishy ones ( damn those soft toys that just require PVC!). And while I personally do not buy ANYTHING PVC if I can help it, if you do have soft squishy B toys, you can breathe a sigh of relief over the fact that B. Toys does not use phthalates at all. Instead they use citric acid as a softener (unlike most other companies that use PVC who DO use phthalates and simply try to keep it under the government mandated maximum)

One fun thing that B. Toys does is include funny quotes from real children in their toy tags, so whenever we get a new BToy, Andrew and I sit down and read through those and laugh.

So here are some of our favorite toys.

SAFE TOYS FEATURE: HABA

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

habaorganic

Heading our SAFE TOYS FEATURE is HABA, a wooden toys giant!

Haba, to me, is an exception to my “rule” that the bigger the manufacturer, the more careless about safety they are. They are the best example of a company that stayed true to itself as it grew, a company with a conscience.

According to Haba their products comply with EU standards, as well as are tested independently.

My two favorite lines of Haba are wooden toys and their new Organic toy line.

The wooden toys are painted with solvent-free, environmentally friendly, water-based stain, which is where the trouble usually arises with some traditional paints having lead and formaldehyde. So you can be sure that it is ok for babies to mouth HABA’s toys.

This Pixie World Stroller Toy was one of Lexi’s favorites to look at when she was little and play with when she got a bit older ( though, I do not recommend leaving your child alone to play with this).

New Kiddy USA City’n Move: Stroller Feature + Giveaway

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

kiddy8

Continuing our stroller feature, I bring to you new-to-USA Kiddy City’n Move, a well-priced lightweight umbrella stroller with features that rival its more expensive competitors.

We have been awaiting the American release of this stroller ever since last year and finally it is here and it couldn’t be better. We got to test drive it pretty well during our trip to Disney.

Let me go over the stats and features, as well as give my personal opinion from weeks of use.

Stroller Feature: Mutsy 4Rider

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

When I was 6 months pregnant and working on our baby registry, the most difficult decision BY FAR was what stroller to register for. I am sure all new moms will agree with me that if you have a decent stroller budget, you are COMPLETELY overwhelmed by the choices and options and your future baby’s needs.

I spent days researching concepts that were so foreign to me at the time. Lightweight? Luxury? Air filled tires? 6 months and up? Bassinet? Reclining seat? Car seat adaptor? Full canopy? UV protective? Expensive? Cheap? Forward facing or rear facing? Tall or adjustable handlebar? Cupholder? Snack tray? Good suspension? iPhone charger? All terrain? Jogging? Shopping basket? EVA tires?

Seriously, your head spins with the amount of options out there. It’s beyond any other item I have EVER had to shop for, including high chairs, which was pretty hard but not THAT hard.

I finally gave up and registered for a reputable  brand because my friend had 2 strollers of theirs. I am sure that is exactly what most people do when they are too overwhelmed by options and don’t want/don’t care to research and make a decision.

I figured that most new mothers are probably faced with the same decision process I had to go through, so I decided to see if I can try to review a stroller in each different category to see which features are a MUST and which ones can be PASSED UP. At least, from my standpoint.

So in the next few weeks, you will see 5 posts that are a part of this STROLLER FEATURE. The 5 categories are: LUXURY STROLLER (Mutsy 4Rider), LIGHTWEIGHT/UMBRELLA STROLLER (Kiddy City’n’Move), AFFORDABLE ALL TERRAIN STROLLER (GoGo Babyz Urban Advantage), JOGGING STROLLER (Baby Jogger Summit XC) and HIGH TECH STROLLER (4Moms Origami).

MUTSY 4 RIDER

 



A Dutch stroller company Mutsy {pronounced [Moot-si] was established in 1937 with the most adorable little carriages you have ever seen. But it wasn’t until 1975 that they came out with their first ADJUSTABLE stroller with a reclining back and then in 1978, one that transforms from a bassinet into a seat. That, for me, is the essence of Mutsy as a stroller company –  ADAPTABILITY.

The versatility of Mutsy strollers is beyond anything I imagined and more than I had hoped for. Mutsy 4Rider, which is the red stroller you’ve been seeing in most of my pictures, is their top of the line luxury stroller that is MADE with your baby in mind ( and a few features to appease parents too). When I was looking at all the options different strollers had, I was convinced that  there wasn’t one stroller that had it all, and that in order to get everything I wanted, I had to get at least 3 strollers. However, after spending the last 7 months using the 4Rider, I can tell you honestly, THIS IS  as close to ALL-IN-ONE as you can get!

Now before I get further into the review, one thing you have to know is that it is by NO MEANS a lightweight stroller. It is VERY heavy. It’s not meant to be lightweight or compact.  It’s meant to be comfortable for baby and parents, and full of features. {Mutsy DID come out with a lighter, more compact stroller just a few months ago, Evo, with similar features as 4Rider, from what I can see}.

My favorite part of Mutsy 4Rider is the amount of options and features this stroller has. In fact, I am STILL learning new features as I write this review ( I’ve gone “Baby, did you know Mutsy can do this?” to my husband three times in the last hour). These guys have thought of pretty much ANY scenario.

We all know how different babies are and you just have NO way of knowing what your future baby is going to like or hate until you try it. This stroller pretty much ensures that you’ll have something to appease your little one with. That’s where the options the 4Rider offers really come in handy.

So let’s go over them quickly, shall we?

Let’s start with the most common configuration of the 4Rider, using its seat.

  • The seat snaps in and out of  the stroller with 1 click.
  • It reclines to virtually any position, including flat
  • It can be flipped to face forward or backwards ( rear facing strollers are very important for the few 6-8 months of a baby’s life, until they get object permanence, since they might get distressed in a stroller that is facing forward  when the parent isn’t visible).
  • It has TWO  slots to attach any of the following to it: Canopy ( it has good coverage, with a large peekaboo window at the top that gets rolled up and affixed with velcro, and a relatively large zip-up pocket in the back. It can also be moved to any of the two slots, making it sit further back or forward for more coverage), dinnertray (sold separately), arm rest.

Other features:

  • breaks
  • lockable front wheels
  • expandable handlebar ( this really comes in handy for us, tall people)
  • air filled tires (big air filled tires means that your baby gets less jostling when you’re walking or lightly jogging)
  • nice suspension ( again, this is by far the smoothest ride out of all the strollers I’ve tried)
  • solid construction (This is where the word luxury comes in (besides its price tag). The stroller feels SOLID, it feels expensive, there’s absolutely no flimsiness to it.)
  • expensive fabrics (In comparison to other strollers, Mutsy 4Rider has a really nice feel. The fabric is woven very tightly and is of excellent quality)



The following are other configurations and add-ons and is why I love the 4Rider so much:
  • Bassinet (It easily snaps in and out of the stroller. Sold separately.)
  • Parasol (It gets attached to the handle bar and moved in any direction you wish to block the sun. Sold separately.)
  • Funseat ( This configuration is the coolest of them all and I cannot wait to try when Lexi is old enough. Basically it’s a cool toddler seat with a fake STEERING WHEEL (!!!!!!) and a huge basket. Perfect for trip to the beach or the store! Sold separately.)
  • Beach bag ( A “gigantic BeachBag fits right inside the basket of the Mutsy FunSeat”. Sold separately.)
  • Extra shopping basket (Sold separately.)
  • Raincover (Sold separately.)
  • Graco, Peg Perego adaptors ( The stroller can house an infant car seat with an adaptor for Graco or Peg Perego car seats. Sold separately.)
  • Footmuff (Sold separately.)
  • Riding step up board for toddlers (A really cool feature, where you add this little step board with a wheel to the back of the stroller so that your 2 year old could ride with you and your infant. Sold separately.)
  • Mutsy Babysitter (A rocker frame that houses your Mutsy seat and makes for a really great infant seat/rocker. It has literally saved my sanity in the first few months because it was the only rocker Lexi would sleep in. It’s even been featured in Lexi Awards. Sold separately.)
  • Duo Seat (Converts your 4Rider into a double stroller)
I know that is a lot of information for a review and probably would get some of your overwhelmed and confused even more, so here is a bottom line:
While it’s expensive when compared to Graco or Safety First, it’s definitely reasonably priced in its class and quality. So if it’s in your bugdet, it’s going to be the best stroller you’re going to have.  It converts into pretty much any configuration imaginable for all stages and needs of life. It is NOT light, nor is it cheap, or made of cheap materials. It’s a large, heavy, solid, nice stroller, perfect for a 2 person family living in the suburbs. It has great maneuverability, amazing shock absorbency and a very smooth ride.
You’ve got all the pros of the stroller writeen out above, so here are the CONS:
  • Heavy (34 lbs with the wheels and seat)
  • Large
  • Doesn’t fold compactly (which is fine by me, because due to it’s weight, you can’t really take it with you while travelling)
  • Due to the size of the wheels, they get caught flipping sometimes, which can get annoying in very narrow areas.
  • The basket that it comes with could be larger.
To me personally, these PROS by far outweighed the CONS, especially if you can buy a cheap compact umbrella stroller to compliment Mutsy 4Rider.
So there you have it! Let me know if you have any questions about it. We’ve been using it almost exclusively for the last 7 months and love it, so I can definitely answer any questions you might have.

For more information on MUTSY, visit the following:

I also made this cute little video of all the times we’ve been going out with our Mutsy 4Rider.

 

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. Mutsy provided me with a stroller sample to review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Finn & Emma Organic Activity Gym

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

FINN AND EMMA ACTIVITY GYM


When I saw this gym on one of the blogs, I knew I had to try it.  Being a huge fan of Finn&Emma (see Lexi Awards), I knew that the gym wasn’t going to disappoint from eco standpoint and design. However, I was wondering if such a simple bar with a few toys would keep Lexi’s attention for long enough, like conventional gyms do.

By the time I received the gym, Lexi was 5 months and already sitting up. That actually worked in our favor, because if she were to be in a lying position, she wouldn’t be able to get the toys into her mouth, and she’s pretty forceful when it comes to tasting everything she can lay her little hands on.

So I sat her next to the Finn &Emma gym and she went to town. She didn’t hesitate to taste every single toy on the bar. Over the next few months, the arch has been empty half the time. Do you know why? Because she was SO in love with the wool toys and the wooden teethers that we had to take them with us EVERYWHERE we went.

It didn’t make much sense to me why she preferred these toys over any others, but she clearly did. The two wool animals had feet just the perfect size for her mouth and 90% of the time she HAD them in her mouth. The wooden teethers were fun to manipulate and easy to hold for her. And the biggest bonus for me? They clip in a way no other hanging toys does. Rather than use velco which ultimately ends up “un-velcroing” under the strength of a 6 months baby, Finn and Emma used a ribbon with a clip at the end, so no amount of pulling would unclip it from the stroller, their wrist, your wrist, etc etc and  drop it on the dirty floor. Dirty floor is where most our toys end up on, except for these toys. That also made the toys mommy’s favorite.


That clip and ribbon is what she loves to chew on the most, so they are always soaking wet, but give her hours of entertainment. No joke!

You know how sometimes you buy something, you use it and then you just shake your head and wonder whether these people ever tested the product at all- it doesn’t work or works poorly. Well, I have to say that the toys of this gym, specifically, work like they have been tested by both parents and babies over and over again. Huge winner in my eyes!

Because we received the gym at the time when Alexis was no longer interested in playing while lying down, I cannot tell you how it’d do with younger babies.  I know Alexis has always been the kind of baby to take toys into her mouth rather than swat at them. I can see where that would present a problem for “pullers” like her since the wooden arch doesn’t bend.

Alexis did spend a decent amount of time just swatting at the toys but soon became frustrated when she couldn’t get them in her mouth. For a younger baby that shouldn’t be a problem since they don’t have the hand coordination to grab a toy and bring it to mouth yet.

Unlike other more traditionally styled gyms, this can be easily used once the baby is sitting up, which extends the lifespan of the toy.  That and the amazing portability of it (we’ll be taking it with us to Disney to do something in the hotel room while we are waiting out the midday heat) have made me a big fan of the gym. And once she is too old to play with it, I already have an idea of covering it with a piece of fabric and creating a puppet show within the arch.

According to Finn & Emma’s description, the gym is made out of untreated hardwood, organic cotton, hand knit , non-toxic toys with wool stuffing. Recently the whole “untreated hardwood” came in handy, since Lexi has gotten into a habit of lifting one of the gym’s leg over her head and then shoving the whole thing into her mouth. Yeah…no further comment.

LEARN MORE ABOUT FINN AND EMMA

*** WEBSITE *** FACEBOOK *** TWITTER ***

BUY IT: Amazon
WIN IT: Finn & Emma would like to give this gym away to one lucky reader.  See details below.

Finn and Emma Gym

BELOW ARE THE GIVEAWAYS RULES
and Mandatory Entries: {read carefully}

There are  mandatory entries , after which you will have additional entries available,
This giveaway is open to US  residents only.
The winning entry will be verified and the winner disqualified if the action is not found or if the mandatory items are not fullfilled.
Each giveaway has specific rules, so read them on the widget (including which countries are eligible)See the rafflecopter widget for additional terms and conditions.

{If you’re not sure how to use to enter, feel free to watch this video tutorial or email me at contact {at} prebabyblog {dot} com
Otherwise, make sure to read everything carefully. Click the DO IT link first, then I’VE DONE IT once the action is completed}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. FInn and Emma provided me with a product sample to review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Exersaucers: Jam Session

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

jamsession6

Ok, I have to preface this review with the following:

{I am not a huge fan of exersaucers/stationary jumpers/jumperoos (whatever else they are called). The crazy bright lights, the annoying repetitive sounds, the upright position when they should be crawling around on their belly – it’s essentially a placeholder for the baby while you go get some stuff done. However, babies LOVE them, and they give mamas a minute or two to get stuff done. }

Note: I couldn’t stop taking pictures of Lexi in it, since it’s so cute, so you get a lot of essentially identical photos :) lol

So when I was talking about reviewing one, I was skeptical. We had a Fisher Price one we borrowed from a friend of mine. A conventional standard Fisher Price that you see in every other house. Alexis really enjoyed jumping in it and playing with toys. But the annoying sounds and music would get us EVERY time. We’d have to turn it off, but then I felt like I was robbing her of full experience in it.

And then she started taking EVERYTHING in her mouth. This spelled the end of the Fisher Price. I don’t particular trust Fisher Price, or any big big corporation for that matter, to not make toys out of some toxic plastic ( nothing to back it up, just a big company and a few lead related recalls, as well as their previous stance on toxic plastics,which I know they have correct ).

Note: If you happened to have inquired with their customer service about the type of plastic this jumperoo is made of, feel free to share, I am sure a ton of parents would love to know.

Anyways…. so we get the Evenflo Exersaucer Jam Session and get it out of the box and I don’t know what I expected, but it’s plastic (duh!)…. Before I get Lexi in it, I email the customer service ( even though I am dying to try it out), inquiring what plastic it is made of and whether it contains PVC, Pthalates, lead or cadmium, which I should have done ahead of everything, but I spaced out. The answer comes back fairly quickly: “[…]polypropylene and does not contain PVC, Phthalates, lead or cadmium.”   Whew!

In the meantime, I wash the seat fabric and the chew toys.

It was fairly easy to assemble, though I have to admit, hubby was doing all of the assembly with me just playing with Lexi and watching.

A few minutes later, Lexi was put into it to play. At first, I thought  it was just like any other jumperoo/exersaucer type deal. She jumped around in it, all wide eyed, excited at this new shiny toys she’s been presented with.

But unlike most products that you start finding flaws with as your baby uses, this one kept getting better and better.

So the concept of the Jam Session is the following:

There are 4 interactive “smart” toys that represent an “instrument” each: percussion, piano, guitar/sax/trumpet and a conductor’s score. Each instrument plays a specific genre of music depending on what has been selected on the conductor’s score. So if the conductor’s score is set on jazz, the rest of the instruments play jazz melodies when triggered. Same happens when she selects rock or classical music There are 67 activities for your baby to play with in this version of the exersaucer.

The piano toy can be set to play notes or melodies. The conductor’s score plays longer songs when triggered. The hanging guitar/sax/trumpet play shorter songs when pulled down on and the overhead lights light up. The drum plays a short little melody, as well and there’s a spin wheel with plastic balls in it. On one of there corners there is a fake microphone with little plastic pellets for noise making. Each side has a detachable teether in different shape and one mirror.

The bottom of the exersaucer has a blue balance base that supposedly helps to “build core strength and coordination”

Like I previously mentioned, at first I was a bit disappointed. Being so used to jumping centers that were filled with multitude of toys, lights, noise and color, my first impression was that Lexi won’t like it because there are not as many toys to play with.

Over the last 2 months, I have been learning why my initial impression was completely wrong.

The lack of overly stimulating toys means that she has to turn and reach and pull and push to get the results she wants. {It’s kind of like the advice of not surrounding your baby with too many toys, but leaving one or two for her to play with so that she would be prompted to move to reach them}. I almost feel like it IS truly beneficial to her and her development which is a far cry from how I felt about activity centers before.

 

– Given that with Lexi who is semi-mobile ( she doesn’t crawl, but easily gets from sitting position into a crawling position, but not always safely or gracefully), we often have to put her in the Jam Session for a minute or two while we get what whatever we need.

Well, I couldn’t believe it, but both me and Andrew would dance and sing every time Alexis would trigger a song. Why? That’s because finally the music in a kid’s toy is one that parents can relate to, as well.  To this day, I dance every time she plays Rocking Robin and she watches me and jumps around (or sometimes shakes her leg in a fun way attempting to dance too).

It’s been 2 months and I have not once thought “Oh, this music is annoying”. In addition to that, rather than have music every time she jumps, it has to be triggered by her specific action, whether it’s pulling on the hanging instruments, turning the page of the score, or pressing the piano keys or drums.

– Teethers are a perfect shape and height for her. They bend, they twist, they turn, they can be manipulated in any way possible. It’s often that you see her with her mouth on the teether while jumping around

 The piano keys are really easy to press and she is at the point where she uses the switch to go from melodies to notes ( not on purpose, of course).

I also was not sure that I’d like the base rather than the floor like most other activity centers have, but I like it  lot, because it adds more bounce to her jumps and keeps her trying to balance her body which is always a good activity for infants.

Evenflo has 3 exersaucers in their new line, but I just really really like this Jam Session. It’s fun, it’s low key and it fosters love for music that is not an annoying repetitive childish tune.

-Another pleasant surprise for me was that the Jam Session is not overly colorful. The toys are bright and happy but the posts and the seat base are white with black accents, so if you’re the type of person who is not a fan of ridiculously bright and colorful baby things in your house, this will probably be the most inconspicuous one of them all. I actually enjoy looking at this bright spot in our living room.  It looks very neat from the distance.

There are very few baby items that I get very excited to review and this is one of them. It turned out to be a great one from both parents’ and baby’s standpoint contrary to my expectations of what a jumping activity center would be.

Note: When we first received the Jam Session, Lexi couldn’t easily turn in the seat. I emailed the customer service and after a few emails back and forth, they sent me a new seat that turns perfectly. I just wanted to mention that in case someone else has that problem. Evenflo customer service is great,so don’t hesistate to contact it.

Note 2: I don’t have a giveaway for you, guys, at this time, since Evenflo didn’t have giveaway units available, but I am hoping in the future I’ll be able to offer a giveaway as well.

Let me know if you have any questions about it, I’d be happy to answer.

*This product was sent to me for review by Evenflo. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.