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18 TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH A BABY

By Gen Cohen

Before we dive into this helpful article by Colleen Lanin, it's important to note that whether your vacation goes to beach or snow, protecting your kid's eyes is extremely important, and Ro·Sham·Bo Baby's baby polarized sunglasses are perfect for the job! Check out our pink and white kids' Wayfarer sunglasses!

Have a fun and stress-free vacation with baby by navigating on-the-go naps, time differences and cramped hotel rooms.

By Colleen Lanin via parenting.com

 

Does "vacationing" with your baby sound like an oxymoron? As someone who has ventured on road trips, beach getaways, cruises and more with my two kids, and who is writing a book about family travel—The Travel Mamas' Guide—I know that vacations now are not as easy as they were prebaby. And while there are tons of tips on how to get there, there's not much advice for how to manage once you arrive. A few simple tricks have saved some of my family's trips.

Strategic Unpacking

Just as important as what you pack—and you can check out get-ready checklists here—in my opinion, is how you unpack.

Do it immediately

As soon as you arrive (unless someone in the family is overly cranky or tired), set up your room to make it as close to home as possible. Put the baby in the playpen or hotel crib with a pile of toys and occupy an older kid with a coloring book. Or have your partner take the older sibling out to get the lay of the land while you unpack. Settling in will help you remain organized (and sane) throughout your stay.

Designate a baby-changing station

Bring a box of wipes, lay out a changing pad (I like to put a disposable changing pad on top of a hotel towel) and stack a bunch of diapers in one area. That way, you won't need to chase down the diaper bag when that first big poop occurs.

Create a play space...

Stash toys and books on a low shelf or in a drawer, or keep all the playthings in one corner. Creating a place for your baby to play will make the room feel homey and keep it from looking like a disaster area.

...and a kitchen

Even if your room doesn't have a kitchen or bar area, establish a spot where you'll keep bottles, dishes, baby food, snacks, formula and dish soap. Sometimes the bathroom is best if it has the only sink in the room.

Napping Smarts

Your baby needs her naps, but you don't want to spend your whole vacation watching her snooze. Follow these strategies for squeezing in that daytime sleep:

Start walking

When my daughter, Karissa, was a baby, she wouldn't nap in a strange crib while on vacation. So we planned our days around taking long walks with her napping in a stroller. Some moms advise bringing the lightest, most compact umbrella stroller on vacation to save room, but I always pack a stroller that reclines completely to make stroller slumber easier.

Wear your baby

If your baby doesn't sleep well in a stroller, try a front carrier (like the BabyBjorn) or baby backpack. If you've never used one at home but think it might be convenient on vacation, try it out a few times before you leave. Not all babies will like it, and it might be too hard on your back.

Go for a scenic drive

Try taking leisurely drives to check out the area while your baby naps in the car seat. And on some trips, you can coordinate drive time between destinations with sleep time.

Take turns nap-sitting

If your tot isn't an in-transit sleeper, don't be afraid to schedule naps back in the room. While it's a different vacation rhythm than you're probably used to, an a.m. break and midday siesta can be relaxing for you, too. Just consider your baby's napping style when booking accommodations; if you'll need to return to the room often, a hotel near the beach may be a better bet than a spot farther away, even if it's a bit pricier. If you can, book a room with a balcony or patio so the parent "on duty" can enjoy the outdoors, too.

Easier Bedtimes

One of the most worrisome things about traveling with a baby is getting your tot to sleep in a new place. Here's how to up your odds of at least a few peaceful nights:

Do some trial runs

If you're bringing a portable travel bed, have your baby sleep in it for a few nights before you leave. That way, it will feel like a familiar, comfy spot to go night-night on vacation.

Give it a few days

While it can be tempting to throw in the blankie and drive home in the middle of a sleepless vacation night with an inconsolable baby, I implore you to power through. Eventually, babies will adjust to their new surroundings and schedule, and sleep. If you can survive a couple of nights, I am (almost) willing to promise happy vacation days ahead.

Book the right room(s)

If bedding down in the same room means no one will get any sleep, consider booking a suite or connecting rooms. A suite may offer the convenience of a kitchen area, but connecting rooms may afford more space at a cheaper price.

Stick to the routine

If your baby's bedtime ritual at home includes a bath, lullabies and a bottle, do the same on vacation to make up for the change in location.

Get adjusted

Instead of expecting your infant to shift her internal clock and adjust to a new time zone, shift your day: Stay up later or get up earlier than usual by a few hours.

Meals on Wheels

Sampling local cuisine and splurging on restaurant meals are vacation pleasures I refuse to give up. Dining with babies can be done.

Breakfast in Bed

Because our times to swim, hike, shop or visit an aquarium are limited by morning and afternoon naps, it makes sense for the entire family to eat something quick in the hotel room. So we pack plenty of ready-made breakfast foods like mini-bagels, cereal bars and fruit (bananas, apples).

BYOF

If your baby drinks formula, it helps to pack more than you think you'll need. To save space, empty powdered formula into zipper-lock plastic bags. Or order heavy staples like diapers and formula—even baby shampoo—from a site such as diapers.com or Babiestravellite.com that will ship to your destination (and since you won't have to carry the formula, consider splurging on the ready-to-feed type).

Nurse wherever you feel comfortable

You can breastfeed anywhere you are legally allowed to be.

Bend the rules

To enjoy dinners out, you may have to encourage what you would normally consider bad behavior. I don't let my kids watch TV while eating at home, but we always bring portable DVD players when we eat out. Putting on some Sesame Street for them allows us to actually taste the food we're shelling out big bucks for.

Eat early

Sure, a romantic dinner would normally be at 8 p.m., but by dining out at 5:30, you'll likely have an empty restaurant, room to park your stroller, and a short wait for your food. Alternatively, if your newborn loves to sleep in her car seat, make later reservations and then feed her a bottle or nurse her while you wait for your appetizers. Hopefully, she'll be out for the rest of the meal.

 

Now, go enjoy! Toss out all your old ideas about what a vacation should be and embrace the new craziness that is traveling with a baby. Laugh at the fact that you're at the local playground by 6 a.m. and in bed for the night at 8 p.m. Consider all the gear and baby-lugging as great vacation exercise. And then savor going back home to "regular" life that much more.

Colleen Lanin is the creator of Travelmamas.com.

 

www.roshambobaby.com

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18 Tips for Traveling with Baby

By Gen Cohen

Have a fun and stress-free vacation with baby by navigating on-the-go naps, time differences and cramped hotel rooms

By Colleen Lanin, Originally published on parenting.com

Does "vacationing" with your baby sound like an oxymoron? As someone who has ventured on road trips, beach getaways, cruises and more with my two kids, and who is writing a book about family travel—The Travel Mamas' Guide—I know that vacations now are not as easy as they were prebaby. And while there are tons of tips on how to get there, there's not much advice for how to manage once you arrive. A few simple tricks have saved some of my family's trips.

Strategic Unpacking

Just as important as what you pack—and you can check out get-ready checklists here—in my opinion, is how you unpack.

Do it immediately

As soon as you arrive (unless someone in the family is overly cranky or tired), set up your room to make it as close to home as possible. Put the baby in the playpen or hotel crib with a pile of toys and occupy an older kid with a coloring book. Or have your partner take the older sibling out to get the lay of the land while you unpack. Settling in will help you remain organized (and sane) throughout your stay.

Designate a baby-changing station

Bring a box of wipes, lay out a changing pad (I like to put a disposable changing pad on top of a hotel towel) and stack a bunch of diapers in one area. That way, you won't need to chase down the diaper bag when that first big poop occurs.

Create a play space...

Stash toys and books on a low shelf or in a drawer, or keep all the playthings in one corner. Creating a place for your baby to play will make the room feel homey and keep it from looking like a disaster area.

...and a kitchen

Even if your room doesn't have a kitchen or bar area, establish a spot where you'll keep bottles, dishes, baby food, snacks, formula and dish soap. Sometimes the bathroom is best if it has the only sink in the room.

Napping Smarts

Your baby needs her naps, but you don't want to spend your whole vacation watching her snooze. Follow these strategies for squeezing in that daytime sleep:

Start walking

When my daughter, Karissa, was a baby, she wouldn't nap in a strange crib while on vacation. So we planned our days around taking long walks with her napping in a stroller. Some momsadvise bringing the lightest, most compact umbrella stroller on vacation to save room, but I always pack a stroller that reclines completely to make stroller slumber easier.

Wear your baby

If your baby doesn't sleep well in a stroller, try a front carrier (like the BabyBjorn) or baby backpack. If you've never used one at home but think it might be convenient on vacation, try it out a few times before you leave. Not all babies will like it, and it might be too hard on your back.

Go for a scenic drive

Try taking leisurely drives to check out the area while your baby naps in the car seat. And on some trips, you can coordinate drive time between destinations with sleep time.

Take turns nap-sitting

If your tot isn't an in-transit sleeper, don't be afraid to schedule naps back in the room. While it's a different vacation rhythm than you're probably used to, an a.m. break and midday siesta can be relaxing for you, too. Just consider your baby's napping style when booking accommodations; if you'll need to return to the room often, a hotel near the beach may be a better bet than a spot farther away, even if it's a bit pricier. If you can, book a room with a balcony or patio so the parent "on duty" can enjoy the outdoors, too.

Easier Bedtimes

One of the most worrisome things about traveling with a baby is getting your tot to sleep in a new place. Here's how to up your odds of at least a few peaceful nights:

Do some trial runs

If you're bringing a portable travel bed, have your baby sleep in it for a few nights before you leave. That way, it will feel like a familiar, comfy spot to go night-night on vacation.

Give it a few days

While it can be tempting to throw in the blankie and drive home in the middle of a sleepless vacation night with an inconsolable baby, I implore you to power through. Eventually, babies will adjust to their new surroundings and schedule, and sleep. If you can survive a couple of nights, I am (almost) willing to promise happy vacation days ahead.

Book the right room(s)

If bedding down in the same room means no one will get any sleep, consider booking a suite or connecting rooms. A suite may offer the convenience of a kitchen area, but connecting rooms may afford more space at a cheaper price.

Stick to the routine

If your baby's bedtime ritual at home includes a bath, lullabies and a bottle, do the same on vacation to make up for the change in location.

Get adjusted

Instead of expecting your infant to shift her internal clock and adjust to a new time zone, shift your day: Stay up later or get up earlier than usual by a few hours.

Meals on Wheels

Sampling local cuisine and splurging on restaurant meals are vacation pleasures I refuse to give up. Dining with babies can be done.

Breakfast in Bed

Because our times to swim, hike, shop or visit an aquarium are limited by morning and afternoon naps, it makes sense for the entire family to eat something quick in the hotel room. So we pack plenty of ready-made breakfast foods like mini-bagels, cereal bars and fruit (bananas, apples).

BYOF

If your baby drinks formula, it helps to pack more than you think you'll need. To save space, empty powdered formula into zipper-lock plastic bags. Or order heavy staples like diapers and formula—even baby shampoo—from a site such as diapers.com or Babiestravellite.com that will ship to your destination (and since you won't have to carry the formula, consider splurging on the ready-to-feed type).

Nurse wherever you feel comfortable

You can breastfeed anywhere you are legally allowed to be.

Bend the rules

To enjoy dinners out, you may have to encourage what you would normally consider bad behavior. I don't let my kids watch TV while eating at home, but we always bring portable DVD players when we eat out. Putting on some Sesame Street for them allows us to actually taste the food we're shelling out big bucks for.

Eat early

Sure, a romantic dinner would normally be at 8 p.m., but by dining out at 5:30, you'll likely have an empty restaurant, room to park your stroller, and a short wait for your food. Alternatively, if your newborn loves to sleep in her car seat, make later reservations and then feed her a bottle or nurse her while you wait for your appetizers. Hopefully, she'll be out for the rest of the meal.

 

Now, go enjoy! Toss out all your old ideas about what a vacation should be and embrace the new craziness that is traveling with a baby. Laugh at the fact that you're at the local playground by 6 a.m. and in bed for the night at 8 p.m. Consider all the gear and baby-lugging as great vacation exercise. And then savor going back home to "regular" life that much more.

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22 Outdoor Activities Perfect For Fall Weekends

By Gen Cohen

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11 Ways to Save on After-School Activities

By Gen Cohen

Going broke funding your kid's extracurricular activities? Try these 11 tips on how to spend less on after-school extracurricular activities.

 

1. Register early

Fill out your child's registration paperwork and pay the fees as early as possible. Some organizations give a discount for early registration, and registering early gives you time to prepare for the activity so that you can accommodate it into your budget without last minute surprise expenses, says Clare K. Levison, author of Frugal Isn't Cheap: Spend Less, Save More, and Live Better. Another reason to get your child enrolled early: you don't have to worry about forgetting to do it in time and then having to pay a late registration fee!

2. Ask for a discount

Some activities offer a multi-child or sibling discount, but you may not get it if you don't ask. Even if you only have one child participating in the program, check if there are any other discounts for which your child or family might qualify. You never know. A program may give a small percentage off if you or your spouse are military or law enforcement, or if your child is on the honor roll at school. "It never hurts to ask for a discount because every little bit helps," Levison says.

3. Look for a coupon

Yep, you may be able to find a coupon for your child's baseball team or dance class. "Thanks to sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, there are coupons for just about everything now, including extracurricular activities," says Michael Catania, co-founder of the savings community PromotionCode.org. "Do a quick search for the activity along with the month and year (for example, Pony League Baseball, Las Vegas, August 2016 offers) to see if what discounts might be available before you register," he says. It's also a good idea to look for discount codes when shopping for uniforms, equipment and other required items. Even if it's only a 5 percent off or BOGO offer, those savings add up.

4. Volunteer or barter

Volunteering with the organization can often reduce or remove the participation fees for your child, says consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. "You can offer to help with bookkeeping, coaching, or cleaning a dance studio, or you could offer your professional skills, whether that be marketing or web design," she says. Whatever you do, it doesn't have to be too time-consuming. It could be as simple as running the concession stands once a week. Every little bit helps, so talk to the program coordinators to see if there are ways you can pitch in while also reducing your child's fees. A couple of bonuses: You get to spend more time with your child doing something he enjoys, and depending on the activity, you may even get in a mini-workout.

5. Do a trial run

It's frustrating and financially draining when your child asks to participate in something, you fork over the cash, and then she begs to quit a couple of weeks later. If you're not sure that your kid will stick with a particular activity, ask if there's a way to try it out before making a full commitment. Some organizations will let your child to attend a class or two on a trial basis. It may be at no cost, or you may have to pay a small fee. Either way, it will give you and your kid time to see if this is really an activity she wants to be involved in, without you having to pay (and possibly lose) the whole fee.

6. Think thrifty

Of course, there are some things that should only be purchased new (such as mouthguards and helmets), but for many other things, secondhand is just as good. Asking family, friends, or neighbors for hand-me-downs is a great way to score gently used items like cleats, uniforms, bats, and art supplies for free or cheap. Buying used can keep more money in your pocketbook too. Check out thrift stores, eBay, Craigslist, yard sales, consignment shops, resellers like Play it Again Sports, or swap sites like SwapMeSports.com. And don't think that buying used means your child will get beat up gear. "A lot of times people try something, decide they don't like it (see above!) and then they have a piece of equipment that's practically brand new that they don't have a use for anymore, so it ends up at a thrift store [or other resale shop]," says Levison.

7. Rent equipment

Rather than paying for instruments, which can be expensive, look into renting. You can likely find rental options locally or through an online dealer. Another possibility: your library. "Some libraries, particularly those in big cities, offer rentals of musical instruments with just your library card," Catania says. Since you obviously won't be able to keep a library rental for the full school year, this option is best when your child is undecided about which instrument she wants to play and trying out different options. Once she's found the instrument she likes, you can look into a long-term rental from a music store or online.

8. Make meals/snacks ahead of time

In addition to the costs of the activity, many families shell out extra cash on food and snacks. Think about it: When you're leaving a long day at work and then heading to this or that practice or game, the last thing you want to do is stand over a hot stove. So you load up on snacks at the concession stand or grab takeout on the way home—and increase your spending. "Usuallly we find we spend too much money when we find ourselves in a time crunch," Levison says. "So if you can plan your meals ahead, do your shopping at the beginning of the week, and plan easy but healthy meals on the nights you have activities, it can save a lot of time and money." 

9. Save on gas

Another area that many parents don't factor into their budget with extracurricular activities is the added travel expenses. "Organize carpools with other parents and take turns driving to practices, games, and performances," Woroch says. Since everyone's schedule is likely to be busy, reach out to others to try to create a game plan as early in the season as possible. When it's your turn to drive, make sure you save on gas. "Start off by finding the lowest local prices with an app like Gas Buddy—a crowd-sourced app that offers near up-to-the-minute gas prices sorted by zip code," Catania says. And most gas stations have affiliations with credit cards and grocery stores, so if you carry a card or shop at a specific store, look to see if it can help you lower your fuel expenses.

10. Skip the add-ons

Just because your child participates in an activity doesn't mean he has to have every little item the team offers for sale. "Professional photos, videos, and extra shirts are fun to have, but the costs can really add up," Levison says. So pass on things that aren't necessities. You can take your own photos or videos, and skip the team shirts for mom and dad and show your support by wearing the team colors instead. 

11. Just say "no" 

If your kid wants to do football, soccer and swim, you may have to give him a choice. "I think we tend to want to sign our kids up for a lot of organized activities these days, but you don't have to go overboard, especially if it's affecting your finances," Levison says. Limit your child to one activity per season, and tell him to choose the one he wants to do most. If he has an interest in something else, he can do it at home or find a community center that is more affordable than, says, private art lessons. Sure, there may be some whining (or even tears), but you have to do what's right for your financial situation. And, add Levinson, this is a good opportunity to something else that's beneficial to your child: have a conversation about budgets and the cost of activities.

 

With savings like these, you can treat you and your kiddos to rad rosmbo shades! While your kids are out playing, make sure their eyes are safe! Added bonus that our shades are unbreakable.

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how to stay cool with baby this summer!

By Gen Cohen

17 Items for Keeping Cool This Summer

Nursery Items

HALO Cotton Muslin Sleepsack ~ $20

For hot summer nights, a lightweight wearable blanket (or swaddle) is a must for little ones who still need something to cover them. 100% cotton muslin fabric is breathable and very lightweight.

buy-now

Lasko Baby-Safe Tower Fan  ~ $61

Tower FanIf your nursery doesn’t have an overhead fan, we recommend this blade-less tower fan.

Safe for little fingers, an oscillating fan is also great because it circulates air without concentrating it in one spot. We also love that it helps with air quality. Remote included.

*Note this is just a fan, not an air conditioner.

 

buy-now

 

Baby Carriers

Just because it’s hotter than h*ll outside, doesn’t mean you should stop babywearing. Here are the carriers that we love for summer —

ventus-baby-carrier

Ergobaby Ventus

Ergobaby Cool Air Mesh/Performance Carriers ~ $120+

For babywearing in a warm/hot climate, I highly recommend the Ergo Performance line. They offer the “Cool Air Mesh Performance” carrier ($120), the “Performance Ventus” carrier (for ultimate ventilation) ($123) and the “360 Cool Air,” which is the regular 360 (which allows outward facing), but mo’ meshy ($180).

These carriers are all moisture-wicking and super breathable. The fabric is machine washable and fast drying. *Read more about why we love Ergobaby carriers here.

buy-now

Lillebaby Complete All Seasons ~ $140

Get more bang for your buck with the Lillebaby All Seasons carrier. In hot weather, zip down the front flap to allow air through the meshy back area. In the wintertime, zip it back up to keep baby warm in cold weather. For year-round warm climates, check out their new line of Airflow carriers.

Options, people!!

*Read in-depth review of this carrier here.

Lillebaby All Seasons Carrier

buy-now

Beachfront Baby Wrap ~ $40

This super light and stretchy infant wrap is made of performance athletic mesh, which is extremely breathable, lightweight and fast-drying – you can even babywear in the water. These are SO cool, I wish I knew about them when my littles were little!!

beachfront baby wraps

It’s also great for moms with older kid(s) that need an extra hand in the water. Perfect for everyday use as well. Comes in wrap and ring sling versions.

buy-now

Car Seat & Stroller Accessories

The interior of a car can get up to 170° on a hot day, which leaves every surface as hot as lava. The darker your car seats, the hotter they will get. Here are some tools for keeping your little ones cool(er) in the car and stroller.

Newbie Shade ~ $25

Don’t let the sun get between your baby and a much-needed car nap (right??).

The Newbie shade is low-profile, low-tech and easy to attach to the front and rear headrests. Made of 100% cotton, it blocks UV rays, works in nearly any vehicle and doesn’t interfere with the driver’s line of sight.

Enter promo code LUCIESLIST for 20% off at checkout through 9/22/16.

buy-now

Muslin Car Seat Cover ~ $15+

For infant car seats: muslin car seat covers are airy, breathable, and keep direct sun out of baby’s eyes. There are so many out there, it’s hard to pick just one. Check out the many options that are available at various price points.

buy-now

Brica Infant Car Seat Cover ~ $23

The highly-rated Brica infant car seat cover does double duty: it has mesh (to keep the bugs away) and a retractable sun & rain cover that blocks all UV rays. Oh, and it protects baby from unwanted touching 😉  *Fits all major car seat brands.

Brica Car Seat Cover

buy-now

Protect-A-Bub Convertible Car Seat Shade

And for the convertible car seat, Protect-A-Bub makes a cover for your older kiddo. Rated UPF 50+ and doesn’t retain heat.

*Click here to find a retailer in your area. Not so easy to find…

Protect a bub car seat shade

buy-now

Jolly Jumper Stroller Sunshade ~ $15

Strollers come with a built-in canopy, but most of them don’t cover your entire kiddo. We like the Jolly Jumper sunshade because it fits most strollers, play yards and protects against UV rays. Keeps bugs out too!

Jolly Jumper Stroller Sunshade

buy-now

Cool Mee Seat Liner by Meeno Babies

Cool Mee Seat LinerTypical car seats have a solid back surface or a cushion with material that isn’t vented, so setting a layer of vented material between the car seat or stroller and the child reduces sweating and overheating. In a hot, hot car, it may not guarantee against any sweating, but it sure does help.

One user noted that Meeno Babies car seat liner reduced surface temperature by about 18 degrees in the shade and 15 degrees in direct light (yes, he measured with a thermometer).

*Universal size fits most. Be sure this liner (or any other item) doesn’t interfere with harness placement and tightness. Harnesses should always be snug enough that you can’t pinch any material (95% of parents don’t have their kids harnessed tightly enough anyway — just saying).

Enter code staycool at checkout to get 20% off MSRP each unit until July 31st. Includes free shipping in the USA!

Dreambaby Stroller Fan ~ $13

Stroller fans don’t give off a ton of air, but it’s just the right amount for little ones. Bonus: it doubles as a sound machine 😉

*Another option is a handheld spray bottle fan; check out this one by 02cool. For the heavy duty user, check out this pump mister.

Dreambaby Stroller Fan

buy-now

Car Sunshades by Veneev ~ $12 (2-pack)

Window clings keep direct sun out of eyes and help keep the temperature down. *Be sure they don’t interfere with the driver’s line of sight.

These are the highest-rated shades on the market and use static to stick to your window without leaving residue. They protect from UV rays and provide a SPF 30+ protection. Note that you have to remove the cling in order to roll the window down.

*Check out Enovoe for larger cars.

Window Cling

buy-now

The Noggle Air Conditioner Extender ~ $46

These funny-looking air hoses are called Noggles and parents swear by them. They deliver air to anywhere in your car, especially to rear-facing kiddos who don’t get direct ventilation.  Works with a/c in the summer and heat in the winter, huzzah! Great for older cars that don’t have back seat vents.

*Note: You’ll need the 6′ for forward-facing in the backseat, the 8′ for rear-facing, and the 10′ for a car seat in the 3rd row.

buy-now

Cooling Garment

Cooling Towel by Ergodyne ~ $8

More tools for keeping cool: the best-selling Cooling Towel by Ergodyne. All you need to do is wet it (run it under the tap for one minute), and you can re-use it throughout the day. Bring this one to Disney in August, you won’t regret it.

Cooling Towel

buy-now

Insulated Cups

Polar Bottle Kids Insulated Bottle ~ $7.99

This affordable plastic bottle uses special insulated foil to keep liquids cold. Unlike heavy stainless steel water bottles, this one’s easy for little ones to drink from and the opening is large enough to fit ice. We have 3 and use them almost daily.

      • BPA and Phthalate free, dishwasher and freezer safe

polar bottle insulated

buy-now

Thermos Funtainer 12 oz ~ $15

Drinking lukewarm water in the heat is no fun. The Thermos Funtainer is highly-rated and for good reason — it’s vacuum insulated for up to 12 hours (for cooling only).

*Thermos also makes a Foogo 10 oz for $16 (similar) and a Foogo 7 oz spouted with handles ($19) for little ones. [Related: Favorite Sippy Cups]

Thermos Funtainer

buy-now

Hydro Flask Insulated Water Bottle ~ $50

Another very highly-rated insulated bottle (but for triple the cost), is the Hydro Flask. It keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours AND it keeps drinks hot for up to 6 hours.

      • For every bottle purchased, Hydro Flask donates 5% back to a charity of your choice.

Hydro Flask

buy-now

That is all — enjoy!!

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15 Ways For Moms and Daughters to Have More Fun Together

By Dallas Stevens

15 Ways For Moms and Daughters to Have More Fun Together



With the chaos of juggling our own schedules with our kids' calendars, it's easy for your quality time to be limited to carpool conversations and the bedtime routine. Penciling in some one-on-one time with your favorite girl may require a little extra effort, but it'll pay off in spades. Here, 15 ways to stop stressing and start making memories.

1. Ice Cream Outing

Because calories don't count when you're spending time with your favorite girl!

2. Sign Up For a Mother-Daughter Cooking Class

The weeknight dinnertime rush tends to take the fun out of cooking. Bring it back by devoting a few hours to hands-on foodie fun with your little one. Look up a cooking school in your area — you may be surprised to find how many kid-friendly classes are out there.

3. Spa Day

Source: Thinkstock

Instead of trying to squeeze in a mani-pedi while your kids are at school or during your lunch hour, schedule appointments for two after school or on a weekend afternoon. It's a fun opportunity to indulge yourselves in some girl time.

Keep reading for more great mother-daughter date ideas!

4. Farmers Market Fun

Give her a lesson in where her food comes from by taking your daughter out for a one-on-one farmers market outing. Let her have a say in your selections, and encourage her to help turn your produce picks into dinner once you're back home.

5. Play Tourist in Your Own Town

We often take for granted that our own town or city has some pretty amazing sites to see. Spend an afternoon exploring with your girl. Head off to a destination that you've always wanted to check out, or take her to one of your own favorite spots that she hasn't seen yet.

6. Get Crafty

Source: Thinkstock

Sometimes staying home is the easiest and best way to bond. If she's got siblings, plan some crafty QT during their nap time or when dad or someone else can take them out for a bit.

7. Volunteer

Source: Thinkstock

Do good while having fun by signing up to volunteer for a few hours. It's a great opportunity to learn which causes speak to your daughter and spark a conversation about the importance of giving back.

8. Invite Grandma Along

Source: Thinkstock

What's better than two generations of family fun? Inviting a third along!

9. Get Active

Depending on her age, bring your daughter along for a jog in her stroller, a side-by-side power walk, a class at the gym, or whatever other fitness fun suits your fancy.

10. A Night at the Movies

Let your little chick pick the flick, and treat yourselves to a movie date.

11. The 9-5

Source: Thinkstock

If you're a working mom, make arrangements to bring your daughter in to visit your office for the day (or, depending on her age, an hour or two). Give her a better understanding of what her mom does for a living, and spark a conversation of what she could see herself doing as an adult.

12. Day Trippers

Take advantage of a sunny weekend afternoon, and take a meandering drive down a scenic stretch near your home, either with a drivable destination in mind or just an openness for adventure!

13. Plan a Picnic

Take the experience of planning and preparing a meal together, and make it even more special by enjoying it al fresco — just the two of you.

14. Ladies Who Lunch

Source: Thinkstock

This weekend, skip brunch or lunch with your gal pals, and instead take your special little lady out for a date a deux. A one-on-one meal is a great opportunity to get her to open up on what's happening at school, in her social circle, and more.

15. Explore Nature

Source: Thinkstock

There may be a chill in the air, but don't let it slow you down. Bundle up, and hit up a local nature trail, park, or boardwalk (hot cocoa in hand, perhaps?) for some outdoor exercise and conversation.

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Take a Hike: Essentials for Hikers

By Scott Morris

 

Hey, We Know Those Shades! (and we love to hike with them too!) Our sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection come in both kids' and adult sizes, like our light and flexible junior glasses!

With warmer weather just around the corner, urbanites are getting ready to take a brief break from the city and enjoy nature by going on a hike. New York has several hiking trails just a train ride away and it’s a great way to get moving in the great outdoors. Whether it’s just a day of hiking or you’re going on a longer excursion, be sure to come prepared with these handy hiking products.

Matador Freerain24 Backpack

Freerain24
Taking you through 14 states, the Appalachian Trail is the longest continuously marked footpath on Earth. For a hike this extensive, you will need Matador’s Freerain24 Backpack and an adventurous friend. Nearly 2,200 miles long, the Appalachian Trail has only been successfully completed by 15,000 people.

Are you up for the challenge? If you’re a hardcore hiker then the answer is a no-brainer. The real question is do you have Matdaor’s Freerain24 Backpack to accompany you on this arduous but rewarding journey? Made out of strong and durable fabric, it’s the ideal hiking bag to carry all of your necessities. For a hike this long pack extra clothes, plenty of water, a compass, a map, and a headlamp. If you choose to navigate with a GPS system, be aware that battery life is limited so throw a rechargeable gadget in your Freerain24 Backpack for extra precaution. Its most unique and convenient feature is this backpack’s compact design. It can fold up so small it can literally fit into the palm of a hand.

When unpacked it turns into a 24 Liter backpack with a waterproof main compartment.

– Ultra-lightweight (5.5 oz) for easy transport
– Has 24-liter capacity with multiple pockets for easy-access storage
– Made with Cordura® 30D waterproof materials and Hypalon® rolltop construction to keep gear dry
– Breathable straps with adjustable top stabilizers for improved ergonomics
– Puncture resistant

 

Stojo

Stojo
Rule number 1: Always pack water for an extra day. Whether long or short, staying hydrated is key when hiking and with Stojo you will always have a cup to quench your thirst.

Don’t make a rookie mistake of not packing enough water. It can be a matter of life and death. Seriously! It cannot be stressed enough how important hydration is during any physical activity, but especially during hiking when water supply is limited. The hike you assumed would only take two hours can sometimes take four, a miscalculation that is common for a novice hiker. Bring water and lots of it. Save a ton of room in your bag by packing Stojo’s collapsible pocket cup. Made from mostly silicone and recyclable materials, this leak-proof cup has a unique design that allows it to “collapse” into a 1.75-inch disc that can fit right in your pocket. When opened up the cup can stand at 5 inches tall, about the same size of a standard coffee cup. Stojo is also devoted to making an environmental impact when you use 1 Stojo cup you are saving 500 disposable cups a year from piling up in landfills.

The Stoja Collapsible Cup is loaded with features:
– Available in 6 vibrant colors.
– Works for hot or cold beverages.
– BPA-free with no phthalates, glue or lead.
– Food-grade rated silicone cup and stopper.
– Dishwasher and microwave safe.

 

Ro·Sham·Bo Baby Sunglasses with UVA and UVB Protection

RoShamBo (1)

It was a tough hike but you have finally made it to your destination. As the sun slowly drowns into the horizon and the sky fades into pinks and purples you realize a sunset is the perfect reward. Set your bag down and view Mother Nature’s masterpiece through Ro Sham Bo Sunglasses.

No one goes outside planning to get sunburned. While surrounded by beautiful scenery you may forget that the sun’s rays are relentlessly cascading down on every part of your body. Hiking may expose you to long hours in the sun. Protecting your skin by wearing protective and lightweight clothing, a hat and sunscreen is great but most people forget the importance of sunglasses. Ro·Sham·Bo sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection totally blocks out 100% of those harmful rays. Even during winter hikes sunglasses are ideal. They can prevent snow blindness which is when snow reflects light that can be discomforting to the eye. Available in 8 vivid colors, these shades are durable and lightweight. Due to their flexible design they are virtually indestructible. Bend, twist and stretch your pair of shades without breaking them. Made exclusively in Italy, Ro·Sham·Bo Baby's eyewear is stylish and offers guaranteed protection against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. Make sure your little one has a pair too, their baby corneas will need the protection as well.

 

Matador Pocket Blanket

PocketBlanket (2)

Overnight backpacking in the Grand Canyon can be a little overwhelming with the extra planning and extra packing. It will be all worth it once you are cuddled up in your Matador Blanket gazing at the night skies.

With its dark skies and clean air, the Grand Canyon is one of the best places to star gaze in the United States. Every year in June they throw a Star Party where thousands of people gather to gaze at planets, star clusters and galaxies. Nights can be cool, even in the summer so make sure to wrap up in a warm Matador Pocket Blanket. This ultra-compact pocket blanket can be as small as a deck of cards when folded but when unpacked pans out to about 63” x 44″. Keep yourself nice and toasty during an overnight hike or lay it out on the ground for everyone to use. Puncture resistant, you won’t have to worry about twigs or rocks poking any holes in your blanket. Storage and portability is super convenient just fold it back up and stick it in your backpack or pocket. It will be ready to use the next time it gets chilly or you need to take a rest stop during your hike.

 

Leisure Leash

LeisureLeash

Take your furry friend on your next hiking adventure with Leisure Leash. Your dog will love the physical activity and will keep you motivated along the way.

Dogs are the best hiking buddies you could ever ask for. They are loyal, trustworthy and can alert you if anything is near by. Staying hands free is optimal while backpacking, but after a certain point your four-legged friend may want to roam freely. Holding your dog’s leash, especially while hiking can be inconvenient but with Leisure Leash your trusty companion can carry his or her own leash. This new leash system allows quality time to be more enjoyable and easier for both you and your dog. It’s a two-part system that is equipped with a slip collar and a leash. Simply clip the leash to itself and wrap it around the collar and slip it around your dog’s neck. Comfortable and lightweight, your dog won’t even notice his leash has become a second collar. Leisure Leash is versatile, use it for short-leash heeling, medium-leash running and off-leash training.  Innovative and simple to use, the Leisure Leash ranges from 22” to 27” but extensions are available for additional lengths if necessary.

 

Matador Camera Base Layer

CameraBaseLayer

Dream it. Live it. Frame it! What’s a walk of a lifetime without snapping a few pictures? With Matador’s Camera Base Layer you will always be ready to take the best shots. While hiking in Yosemite National Park, you will inevitably come across some of the most surreal landscapes in the United States.

From Glacier Point to Yosemite Falls, Mother Nature is ready for her close up. For photography enthusiasts, amateurs and professionals, the ultra-lite Matador Camera Base Layer bag is designed to easily slip out your camera to capture precious moments on the next vacation, camping trip or day hike! Accessible and comfortable to hike with you can carry it around your neck or sling it over your shoulder. Remove your camera from the bag in less than a second for full access to all buttons and controls to capture all of Yosemite’s iconic scenery. The one-size-fits-all roll-top design can house DLSR and Mirco 4/3 camera lenses making the Camera Base Layer versatile with every camera model and size. Yosemite is a photographers dream don’t miss out on the beautiful sunsets and scenic pictures.

 

Sydney Paige Backpack

SydneyPaigeBackpack

Known as one of the most dangerous hikes, the Kalalau Trail in Hawaii is only for experienced and physically fit hikers. With steep volcanic slopes and narrow paths a high quality Sydney Paige backpack will be able to endure this challenging hike.

Compared to mountain biking or rock climbing, hiking can seem like piece of cake. Putting one foot in front of the other may be second nature to you but on an insanely hard hike you will need to be in top-notch shape. You’ll want to be strategic with what you bring when it comes to the Kalalau Trail. A Sydney Paige backpack is perfect to travel light but big enough to carry your necessities. With one large main compartment, a drawstring and a magnetic closure you can fit shoes, clothes, water bottles and more. The Guidi Laptop Rucksack has one front and two side accessory pockets with metal zippers and padded back and shoulder straps for added comfort. Created by a mompreneur who wanted to show her kids that anyone could change the world, Sydney Paige will give a child in need a backpack for each one sold.

Sydney Paige’s mission to break the cycle of poverty involves:
– Donating the same high quality backpack as purchased.
– Filling each donated backpack with a full set of age-appropriate school supplies, food, clothing, and hygiene kits.
– Letting customers choose which non-profit company receives their matching bag and supplies.

 

Matador Droplet

Droplet

It’s always a smart idea to pack extra clothes while hiking. Climate changes go change with little to no warning. Depending on the season you pack a set of warmer or lighter clothes with Matador Droplet.

How many times has the weatherman predicted a perfect forecast only to be proven completely wrong? Like that one time he promised sunshine and blues skies but instead it rained for 6 hours straight. Don’t be caught unprepared if the weather takes a turn for the worse. Weather can be unpredictable especially when you are heading into the backcountry. Pack a change of clothes for emergencies or unexpected climate changes in your Matador Droplet. Whether it gets hot, cold or you decide to take a dip in the lake, this handy bag can carry it call. Light and versatile this bag is also waterproof guaranteeing your goods will stay dry. It’s large enough to carry a whole outfit and also other essentials like first-aid supplies, rain gear, an insulated jacket or extra socks. The Matador Droplet Wet Bag can fold up to fit right in the palm of your hand. It’s compact design fits perfectly on a droplet shaped silicon keychain making portability convenient and simple.

 

DryFins

DryFins

Stop Trail Chafing 2016! Painful chafing while hiking can be a guy’s worst nightmare. Next time you are about to go backpacking wear DryFins so you won’t have to cut your adventure short.

Guys don’t like to talk about it but with DryFins they won’t ever have to. Jump into a refreshing lake and swim freely after a long hike without worrying about chaffing afterwards. Designed for guys by guys, this brand was exclusively designed for active males who love to swim, fish or hike. Unlike traditional swim trunks, these top quality board shorts have a quick dry liner designed to eliminate irritation from chafe, rash and burn. The signature DryFins is a comfortable cut board short with a super-soft outer shell that looks great wet or dry. Two deep pockets can hold sunglasses, snacks, a flashlight or any other hiking goodies you may need. Available in men and boy sizes you can choose from a classic red or blue and coming soon, green. Say goodbye to the uncomfortable chafe waddle with DryFins.

 

Matador Surface

Surface
Fishing while on a backpacking trip is the perfect way to take in the beauty and peacefulness nature has to offer. Lay down your Matador Surface at the dock and catch a giant trophy fish.

Backcountry lakes and fishing go together like a fish in water. Lay down your fishing tackle box and fishing poles on a Matador Surface and prepare for an epic day of fishing. Made from ultra composite material, this portable work surface covers a large of space of about 53” x 36.” Equipped with a “hardware trap” you can put hooks, bait, sinkers, bobbers and extra line inside. It’s a hiking essential you would never think you needed until you lose track of your needle nose plier. You can also use it at home for home repairs or when working on your car. It’s gas, oil, grease resistant and 100% waterproof. Printed on an easy pack-folding pattern, the Matador Surface can is compact and thin. It can fit comfortably in a toolbox or in your Matador Freerain24 Backpack. Like the majority of Matador’s products this portable work surface also folds down right down the middle into the size of your palm.

Matador Surface also includes:
– Metric and standard ruler markings
– A precision laser etched mm rule
– Protractor
– Angle Marking detents
– Bottle openers

 

ECOlunchbox

ECOlunchbox

For long hikes with steep terrains make sure to avoid food that will make you fizzle out such as chips, sodas and sweets. With ECOlunchbox you can pack tasty and energy boosting snacks to keep you going until the end.

Whether you are hiking for 2 miles or 20, you will need food that gives you plenty of energy. Some high-energy snacks are trail mix, dried fruit, sunflower seeds or chocolate covered soy nuts if you have a sweet tooth. With ECOlunchbox you can pack simple yet nutritious foods to avoid cramps, nausea or even dizziness while you are hiking. This reusable lunchbox is made entirely from non-toxic materials such as stainless steel, cotton and plastic-free silicone. ECOlunchbox is a socially and environmentally aware company that is on a “Plastic-free” mission to keep the planet as green as possible. Their lunchboxes are specially designed to healthy for people and the planet. Store your food in the most efficient and healthy way with awarding winning ECOlunchbox.

ECOlunchbox also has a line of plastic-free lunch bags and snack containers.
– Dishwasher safe
– 100% Non-toxic
– Stainless steel
– Reusable
– Waste-free
– BPA-free
– Phthalate-free

 

Allison Izu Sunrise Sweat Pants

AlizonIzuPants

Hiking trips don’t stop fashionista’s from looking fierce even if they hot and sweaty. Throw on some of Allison Izu’s Sunrise Sweat Pants with your hiking boots and look like the ultimate outdoors babe.

You’re tired, hungry and drenched in sweat but who cares because yourSunrise Skinny Sweat Pants fit exactly the way they should on your petite frame. Perfect for early mornings in the backcountry and made especially for petite women, these sweat pants are casual and fashionable. For women with a bold and daring sense of style choose Allison Izu’s zebra inspired animal print. If you lean more towards minimalist fashion than their dark grey sweat pants will fit into your wardrobe perfectly. Allison Izu Song spotted a huge problem in the fashion industry while she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. The majority of women’s fashion was designed for tall women leaving petite women at a huge disadvantage. She decided to fix this problem by creating, Allizon Izu a luxurious line specifically for women 5’6” and shorter. Made in Hawaii, you can say goodbye to long pants that drag across the floor and sleeves that swallow your arms whole. Customers will love the quality of fabrics, trims, constructions and variety.

 

Play Again Now

PlayAgainNow

With hiking season quickly approaching you may be training extra hard to reach your fitness goals on time. PlayAgainNow is a daily nutritional supplement drink aiding in muscle recovery that you can feel in just 7 to 14 days. This daily sports nutrition drink supplement is designed to combat soreness and stiffness and can be consumed by athletes or active people of any age or fitness level.

This beverage contains hyaluronic acid (HA) and MSM, which acts as a shock absorber and lubricant for muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. After challenging yourself at the gym make sure to recover your muscles with Play Again Now. This drink is caffeine free, gluten free and contains zero calories and carbs.

repost from http://www.downtownmagazinenyc.com/take-hike-essentials-hikers/

 

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Some Preggers "Rules" Examined...

By Scott Morris

Really? No sushi, no lunch meat, and I can't touch kitty litter?? 

[reposted from Lucie's List] 

There are TONS of pregnancy myths and fact about what you should-- and shouldn't -- be doing during your pregnancy. Perhaps you've already been admonished by an annoying coworker about the dangers lurking inside your turkey sandwich. 
 
The truth of the matter is that the majority of miscarriages, stillbirths, and birth defects occur from reasons that are totally outside of your control. This will either give you comfort or totally freak you out; hopefully it's the former.
 
As it turns out, many of the rules of the pregnancy police come not from actual data or studies, but from the "why-take-a-chance" philosophy that pervades American medicine, no matter how infinitesimal the actual risk.
 
First, a biology lesson.
 

Mr. (or Ms.) Fetus

Only half of your tiny peanut is identical to your own biology (the other half belonging, of course, to your sperm-donor-of-a-husband, or boyfriend, or fiance, or one-night-stand --- no one's judging here).

Fetus: nooo, don't attack meee!!

Because of this dissimilarity, your little ball of baby cells would normally be rejected by your body's own immune system (much like with a transplanted organ). Thankfully, our immune systems have evolved to NOT attack the developing fetus.

Essentially, your whole immune system lets down its guard for the duration of your pregnancy. As a result, pregnant women are more vulnerable to nasty stuff. This also explains why you'll get every strain of cold under the moon during the 3rd trimester, even if you are normally quite healthy.

So which of the rules are justifiable and which aren't? Let's have a look at some pregnancy myths that have been debunked or confirmed.

Listeria Hysteria

Listeria is the big bad bacteria that you want to avoid during pregnancy, mainly because it can cross the placental barrier and infect the fetus, which can result in miscarriage or fetal death.

True, pregnant women are about 20 times more likely to get listeria than the non-pregnant, but EVEN SO, it is EXTREMELY rare, infecting about 50-100 per million for those with a bun in the oven (3 to 5 million without).

~ This is even less likely than your chances of dying in a plane crash (1 in 30,000). 

* For comparison's sake, 1 in 84 people die in car crashes.

It should also be noted that most listeria infections in pregnancy occur in the 3rd trimester, when suppression of Th1-mediated immunity is at its maximum.

The highest risk foods for listeria are preserved fish (lox and stuff), cheese from unpasteurized milk, and deli meats. Pate (pa-TAAAAAY). Under cooked hot dogs. Stuff like that.

Bottom line: With those kinds of odds, you should worry more about your driving and less about your turkey sandwich.

Sushi 

Most American OBs say, "No sushi for you!" However, if you look at the data, 85% of seafood illness comes from eating raw shellfish -- that's right, bivalve mollusks, namely, raw oysters and clams

If you take those out of the equation, the risk of falling ill from eating seafood is 1 in 2 million servings. [By comparison, the risk from eating chicken is 1 in 25,000.] So... can we agree that we won't eat raw oysters and clams? I mean, really? Millions of Japanese women are not wrong (and yes, with some of the best public health officials in the world, they've looked into it).

Furthermore, fish eaten in a sushi restaurant in the US is almost always flash frozen before it gets to the restaurant, so any parasites or bacteria in the fish would have been killed during the process.

Salmon-ella, ha!

Bottom line: No raw shellfish, but your salmon roll shouldn't be any more scary than your chicken sandwich.

Freddy Mercury

"You should eat lots of fish when you're pregnant." No wait... "You should avoid fish when you're pregnant."

Well, which is it?

"Between the warnings about parasites in sushi and about mercury in certain species of fish, pregnant women are being scared off fish altogether. And that's bad news, since the fatty acids in fish are the ideal nourishment for a developing baby," said Steven Shaw, a former food writer for The New York Times.

Furthermore, researchers found that greater maternal intake of omega-3 fatty acids in fish was associated with better fine motor development, more pro-social behavior, and better social development.

So is there a "too much"? All researchers can do is guess at it, but many suggest that the warnings against seafood consumption are dramatically overblown.

In fact, a study in the Seychelles [a high fish-eating population] showed no link between the children's development over their first 6 years and the levels of mercury contained in their mothers' hair during pregnancy, which is a measure of the amounts to which fetuses were exposed.

Bottom line: Common sense would tell us to limit consumption of fish that are high in mercury, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish (sorry, no shark for you this week [snort]). 

The Truth About Kitty Litter

Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite whose only natural host is the cat. Reeeer.

The truth is if you've had an indoor/outdoor cat for years, your chances of being immune from a previous exposure are fairly high - perhaps as high as 90%.

Studies show... of the 10% of pregnant cat owners that are susceptible, about 2% of those are exposed to toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. Of those (now 0.2%), only 30% of the 0.2% become infected. If infected (this keeps getting better, huh?), only 30% of those are "clinically infected", meaning their newborn will be impacted in some noticeable way.

Where are we on the math? About 0.0018 (or, 1.8 in 100,000) of the fetuses of pregnant cat owners will get sick from toxoplasmosis. You can see why doctors really don't see this very often.

Should you tell your husband or partner that this really isn't a threat after all?

Hell-to-tha-NO! Let him think it's highly lethal for, like... the rest of your life (come on, you can't get drunk for the next few months, the least he can do is scoop some kitty crap, yeah?). It'll be our little secret. ;-)


Conclusion: Ladies, I'm not saying you can't get sick from things like listeria, sushi, and kitty litter. I'm just saying they're fairly unlikely (k, so don't sue me). The beauty is that everyone can decide based on their own risk tolerance. I love 'dis country!

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