Posts Tagged ‘ shopping ’

American Baby’s Baby Booty: Announcing…

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

I was one of those people who planned each of my baby’s birth announcements while I was still pregnant. Grace’s were from a Martha Stewart kit (oh, the things we do for the firstborn!), and Joe’s were from a stationary Web site. Planning in advance, when when I was in nesting mode, was actually a good move. I didn’t yet know

Birth announcements from

the birth date or the baby’s weight, but  I knew which font I liked and what border pattern was cute. I planned each announcement, then filled in the details after the baby was born.

But here’s what I did wrong: In my postpartum mania (I’m surely not the only person who felt adrenaline-filled euphoria for a week after giving birth, before I crashed), I got those announcements out fast. Like, mailed out within two weeks of the birth. Very efficient.

Unfortunately…newborns are not the most adorable creatures. I had gorgeous babies, but when I look back at their birth announcements, I cringe a little. I don’t think Grace’s was even in focus! And they were each SO much sweeter-looking a month later. I’m not even going to post their birth announcements here. Though I will show you one-month old Joe, because I need to make up in bragging now what I missed when I created those too-early birth announcements.

Tiny baby Joe

Here’s what you can learn from my mistake. Have a plan for the birth announcements, but don’t worry about mailing them out for a good month. Chances are everyone you’re close to will have seen pictures on Facebook anyway. That means the birth announcement isn’t everyone’s first look at the baby, but it IS the picture that will get stuck up on their fridge. Make sure it’s cute! Beyoncé seems to already know this. She waited a month before posting Blue’s photo online!

To kickstart your birth-announcement plans (or to help you create first-birthday party invites, or thank-you cards, or whatever), is letting us give away two $50 gift-certificate codes. The site used to be primarily for building photo books, but they’ve recently expanded to include birth announcements, invitations…lots of good stuff. Just leave a comment here between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, February 29th. You’re welcome to post one comment a day. You can read the full rules here. Goody luck!

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American Baby’s Baby Booty: Support for Nursing

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Breastfeeding is something you both have to learn; Mom and Baby. It’s rarely simple for a first-timers. But once you both get it, you can go on autopilot. I try to encourage pregnant women to have all kinds of tools for those first few weeks: A lactation consultant on-call, a comfy nursing bra you can wear all day and night, and a designated spot to sit where you can keep water to drink and have something to relax your mind, whether it’s the TV or a magazine or your smartphone to scroll through Facebook. Also you need a nursing pillow, which saves you from hunching over in a back-aching position while your newborn nurses every two hours around the clock. A nursing pillow makes everything nice and comfy for your baby, too!

Our readers seem to agree; for years now, in our Bests for Baby contest, the Boppy pillow has gotten the most votes as a new-mom must-have. It’s what I used; in fact, I think I had one on each floor of the house! The C-shape fits plenty of bodies and makes for a baby-propping support later on, when you’re helping your child learn to sit up.

The Boppy

There are a few new pillows on the market now too. Simplisse launched the Gia, which is more of a raindrop or a comma shape. It holds your baby at a slight incline, which could help with reflux, and provides lots of extra cushioning for his or her head. The cotton cover is anti-bacterial and removable. Seems smart!

And finally, this week we met the Mombo, a new U-shaped nursing pillow from Bright Starts Comfort & Harmony line. It’s more fitted to your body, so it stays in place. One side is firm, if your baby likes the support; flip it over for a softer side, if your baby prefers to lay on that. It comes with an optional vibration unit, too, to give your baby a little massage!


The Gia

I’d love to know what you used to make breastfeeding easier. And please, join our community and post on the Baby Bests discussion boards, here. Spout off on all your favorite products: what you buy for friends’ baby showers, what little thing under $10 turned out to be a lifesaver, all that good stuff.

The Mombo

Finally if you leave a comment here at this blog, you’re eligible to win the Gia (worth $40) one of two Mombos (also worth $40 each), a Boppy ($40) or a Travel Boppy ($45). You have between now and the end of the day on Thursday, February 9th, to enter. You can read the full rules here. Goody luck!

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Last-Minute Holiday Shopping: Smart Cases

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Three of the hottest gifts for the holidays are the Kindle Fire, iPhone 4S, and the iPad 2. These big-ticket items may be a little too pricey for your gift-giving budget for friends this season (If not, friend me on Facebook. *wink, wink*), but you can still buy an awesome accessory for these devices. If your sweetie, BFF, or Aunt Marge already owns (or is about to own) one, consider giving a cool case to protect it.


For the iPhone 4S:

Two cases stood out for different reasons. First, the Juice Pack Air from Mophie serves as both a protective case and as a battery charger. This is great for people who are always on the go–and it helps with that pesky little battery-life problem the 4S seems to have. Mophie is also releasing a RED version of the case, which gives a portion of the proceeds to the fight against AIDS.

The other one is the CandyShell Flip from Speck. It solves one of the most annoying things about cases: You have to remove a lot of them to be able to dock your iPhone. Not an easy task once or twice a day. But the Flip’s bottom half bends back (without coming off) for easy docking. Genius.


For the iPad 2:

Speck also has a stellar selection of iPad 2 cases at different price points. But our hands-down favorite is Speck’s innovative case for kids. The iGuy makes it easy for kids to hold and carry the device–and harder for them to drop and break it. Plus, it’s just adorable-looking.


For the Kindle Fire:

G-Form wins the “Most Durable” award for its Kindle Fire case (It also has sleeves for the iPad 2). It’s water-resistant, impact-absorbing, and great for that klutzy friend on your list.




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Last-Minute Holiday Shopping: Video Games for Grown Ups

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Yesterday, we shared some more of our favorite video games for kids, but today, we’re highlighting our picks for the adults on your holiday-shopping list. That’s right! Grown-ups can get some use out of their children’s video-game systems, too. Check out our top three for 2011.


For Your Stress-Out Friend: He or she can mellow out with Deepak Chopra’s Leela–yes, that Deepak! ($40 for Wii or Xbox 360).


For Your Fitness-Loving / Fitness-Phobic Friend: Get your groove on and take the pounds off with Zumba Fitness 2. ($30 for the Wii)


For the Life of the Party: Whether your friend (or you) likes the show or just to show off, Karaoke Revolution Glee: Volume 3 will rock any holiday party. ($40+ for Xbox 360 or Wii)


For an Awesome Splurge: Exercise equipment that works with your Wii? Yes, please! Make work-outs more fun with Cyberbike Magnetic Edition. ($200)


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Shopping Online? Earn a $20 MasterCard Gift Card

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

GiftsHanukkah begins tonight and Christmas is less than a week away, but if you’re anything like us, you still have some holiday shopping to do.

If you’d rather shop from the comfort of your home and avoid the madness of the mall — again, like us — sign up for MasterCard’s “Here’s to Mom” program. It’s easy, just:

1. Enroll your MasterCard in the program here.

2. Spend $200 online between now and December 31, 2011.

3. Receive a $20 MasterCard gift card.

The $200 can be spent anywhere online and doesn’t even have to be spent on holiday gifts. Placing a big diaper order? Want to stock up on formula? Do it before the end of the year, online and with your MasterCard to earn a $20 MasterCard gift card.

Enroll in the “Here’s to Mom” program and read all of the terms and conditions.

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Last-Minute Holiday Shopping: Video Games for Kids

Monday, December 19th, 2011

We featured our picks for the top 15 video games of the year in our December issue. Check them out by clicking here. But there are more great titles than we had space for. If you’re still looking for a great game, here are 15 more of our favorites for 2011.

Cool New Controller: uDraw Game Tablet with uDraw Studio: Instant Artist

Most Realistic (and Awesome) Game Play: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Perfect for Preschoolers: Team Umizoomi

Better Than the Movie: Puss in Boots

Fun for Families (with Little Kids): Carnival Games: Monkey See Monkey Do

Fun for Families (with Big Kids): Twister Mania

Great Get-Active Game: Kinect Sports Season 2

Childhood Flashback Favorite: Kirby’s Return to Dreamland

Best Crossover: Moshi Monsters

Multiplayer Pick: Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One

Most Innovative: Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure

Smart Selection: Fortune Street

Visually Stunning Game: Child of Eden

Terrific for Tweens (Girls): Victorious: Time to Shine

Terrific for Tweens (Boys): Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion


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American Baby’s Baby Booty: Rocking Horse Giveaway!

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Woody the Rocking Horse

“What should I get a 1-year-old?” is a surprisingly frequent question around here, especially around the holidays. Here’s what I tell people:

1-YEAR-OLDS LOVE BLINKING, MUSIC-PLAYING PLASTIC TOYS. Their parents may hate them, but 1-year-olds love love love them. Why not make a kid happy? And though I’m always one to champion the little guys, toys from big companies are often great hits. Fisher-Price (with their Laugh & Learn line), VTech, Leapfrog, and Playskool all test their toys on real kids and pretty much nail what young toddlers want. Just pay attention to the age grading on the packaging. If it says “12 months and up,” don’t buy it for a 9-month-old and expect him to do much with it. If it says “3 years and up,” take that to heart; it usually means there are small parts that a child under 3 could choke on.

We got a lot of mileage out of this toy car!

TODDLERS ALSO LOVE TO IMITATE THEIR PARENTS. I just adore this about 1-year-olds, and 2-year-olds too. Before babes can walk around on their own, they are more or less stuck watching grown-ups, so when they begin to play, they imitate what they’ve seen, to often hilarious results. My daughter Grace had a toy cell phone, but instead of talking on it, she mostly pretended to be listening, and then would give an occasional big, fake laugh. Anything from pretend cell phones and keys (Parents makes these with Manhattan Toy, see them here) to kitchens (Step2 and Little Tikes make the classics) and toy cars have that I’m-just-like-Mom-and-Dad appeal. Both my kids were obsessed with the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe. We got a lot of mileage, ahem, out of that one!

Julian rocks!

1-YEAR-OLDS WILL PLAY WITH PRETTY TOYS TOO. And these will make their parents much happier. Simple wooden cars are nice, or stacking blocks. Or a pretty wooden rocking horse. A rocking toy is such a classic, and there are so many fun versions. Our executive editor’s mom got her grandson, Julian, this adroable one. Is it a dino or a dragon? Doesn’t matter—the birthday boy loved it!

This year I’m liking Woody the Rocking Horse because he’s a modern-looking but totally classic toy. He’s also only $80, which makes him as affordable as many of the big plastic toys. And he’s got a nice story; Prince Lionheart, the company that makes him, started off in 1973 making rocking horses, you can see their story here. Note: Woody is age-graded 18 months and up, so make sure you’re buying it for a kid heading toward his second birthday!

And good news! One of you lucky ducks will win a Prince Lionheart Woody the Rocking Horse of your very own. Just leave a comment below; you can post once a day through Wednesday. I’d appreciate it if you posted what your own 1-year-old loves to play with! Click here for the full rules. Goody luck!

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American Baby’s Baby Booty: Get a $100 Wish Card for Chasing Fireflies

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

I looooove dressing my kids up for the holidays. They look so precious in special clothes. Especially Grace. There’s no denying that it’s more fun to dress up a girl than a boy. Though my son Joe had some cute outfits as a baby.

Check him out in a tie at his very first Christmas, back in 2005.

My kids are 6 and 9 now, and it gets harder and harder to use them as my own living dolls. Grace is hot and cold on dresses. She did don a brown one for two days straight over Thanksgiving because she got it in her head that she wanted to be a Native American maiden. But she never once wore a dress to third grade last year. Now that we’re a few months into fourth grade, she just told me last night that she wants to start wearing dresses “that aren’t too dressy.” So I’ve got to decode that request. My girl was in nothing but gowns when she was ages 2, 3, 4, and 5—those prime princess years. Sigh! Here she is looking like an angel at Christmas 2007.

So pretty!

So how do I satisfy my urge to play with tiny, adorable outfits now that my kids are school-age? Fortunately I work at American Baby, and even more fortunately I have an assistant, Hallie, who loves clothes the way most people love food. Hallie and I look for any excuse to call in outfits. Even if we can’t get the space in the magazine to do a whole fashion spread, we can put up an online slideshow. You can see our latest here, it’s a bunch of comfy Christmas outfits for infants.

Hallie and I have a lot of favorite baby-clothes companies that we call on. But when it comes to just mooning over special dresses, it’s hard to top the Chasing Fireflies catalog. They showcase gorgeous photography, well-made clothes, and happy kids. Their Web site doesn’t do them justice, but it’s still fun to look at: And sign up for the catalog if you want a real treat to arrive by mail. Maybe the upcoming holidays give you an excuse to buy the $44 Santa baby romper, or the $68 angel romper, or their amazing “fireworks dress” that comes as small as 12 months. Go ahead and do it. I’ll try not to cry with jealousy as I wrestle my kids into some reindeer-themed T-shirt and call that fancy.

Their Winter catalog

And now the exciting part: I reached out to our Chasing Fireflies contact, and they’ll give one lucky reader a $100 gift card, which they call a wish card. Enjoy the dress-up years while you have them! Just leave a comment here on this post by the end of the day on Wednesday, December 7th, to be eligible for the wish card. You can post once a day. For full rules, click here. Goody luck!

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