Vendor Spotlight: Zero To Two Online Boutique

Hi all! Happy New Year!

Sorry it’s been a bit since I’ve posted last, we just ended a five-week long sprint where we visited my parents, my in-laws and then vacationed in the mountains.  It was a blast, but I am ready to be home for awhile!

Anyways, for my first official 2017 post, I wanted to share a vendor whom I met in one of my entrepreneur groups online.

Her name is Brenda, and she runs Zero To Two, an online boutique for baby shoes and accessories.

Anyways, she was kind enough to send me a pair of her soft sneakers for us to review, so I selected the pair below.

Zero To Two's Leather Lace Shoes

Zero To Two’s Leather Lace Shoes

I mean, how cute are these little leather soft sneakers??

My style is usually the preppier the better, so my poor son will be dressed that way for as long as I have control!  Hopefully he likes that one day too 🙂

Anyways, I received these shoes right before we went to the mountains, so I packed them along.

What I like about these is the same reason that I have been buying Cabooties shoes from my friend Kelly for my children since they were born.

They are soft, flexible and offer a wide toe box, thus giving the toes room to spread naturally.

I feel like so many of the infant shoes out are inflexible and restrict babies’ toes. According to many doctors, the toe box should be spread out and should be able to feel and grip the earth.  Especially when they are learning to walk and are very precarious on their feet!

(I have several thoughts on this from doing my own research on running and walking shoes, so feel free to reach out to me with any questions, but I digress.)

tristan zero to two shoes

Tristan rocking his leather lace sneakers!

So we took these brand new shoes off to the mountains. Even though Tristan is not walking yet, they were perfect.

They matched his outfit, kept him comfortable and were still flexible enough for him to move and crawl around.  Which he is doing all the time now!

I also really like Brenda’s website.  Zero to Two has several styles of adorable moccasins, and a section for hats ‘n’ bows which are super cute as well.

Bonus – everything is reasonably priced and they are super responsive! Pretty awesome!

Now off to buy more baby shoes!  Talk with you guys soon.

 

 

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Happy New Year & Thank you!

our family Christmas 2016

Hi all.  Happy (almost) New Year!

Thank goodness!  2016 was tough.

We lost many celebrities and musicians, saw one of the deadliest attacks in a Florida night club, watched many cities try to balance racial tensions with police,  and were a deeply divided nation after the November election.  Whew.

However, on a brighter note, I know many folks that had a good year, despite the difficulties. Many of us have enjoyed new jobs, new houses, new additions to the family – and we’ve enjoyed an economy that seems to be cautiously moving forward.

On a personal note, my husband and I added to our family, and my son has brought me more joy than I have thought possible. He is now 8 months old, and is actively involved in his environment.

8 month old baby

During my maternity leave, my husband and I launched this website, and just three months later, our sister website, www.topbabytoysfor.com,  What can we say? We love all things baby, and we want only the best.

We are so excited for what this website has become.  We’d like to thank all of our readers, followers, partners for making it such a great thing.  It’s been an amazing creative outlet, and one that I hope will truly help people.

Our mission has always been to help people save time by providing a quick hit pro/con review summary on the best baby products out there.

Because of the research I’ve done with this site, I’ve been able to take a bigger part in picking our baby products and toys for my son, and share that information with friends, family, and expecting new parents.

I’m excited to share that our plans for next year include growing our top rated baby product categories! We will be adding:

  • Sippy Cups
  • Cloth Diapers
  • Diaper Pails
  • Baby Wipes
  • and more!

We’ll also be updating each of our existing category pages to reflect the newest, most popular and of course, top rated models. Be sure to check back around March timeframe as we will have updated most of our pages and links.

Thank you again for all of your support and readership. Here’s to a wonderful 2017!

Love,

The Top Rated Baby Products Team

 

Do you have a suggestion for another category or page? Send it to us!  topratedbabyproducts@gmail.com

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5 Christmas Gift Ideas for Your Pregnant Wife

pregnant woman with heart on belly
Dudes, we’ve all been there. Okay, so maybe not all of us.

But it is a tough gig to be living your normal life, tending to a glowing (and growing) pregnant wife, and getting ready for a baby.  God bless you guys.

You guys take the brunt of all our hormones, happy tears, sad tears, aches and pains, and the roller coaster we call pregnancy. And we love you so much for it.

Which is why I’m here to help make your life easier – and share some Christmas gift idea insights that hopefully the pregnant lady of the house will love.

I’ve got a pretty stellar top 5 list below – check ’em out and hopefully it’ll at least give you some good ideas!

PS – If any pregnant ladies happen to read this, feel free to shoot this to your hubby, or better yet, shop for yourself! You deserve it – you’re growing a life! 


Electric Heat Massager

So – I own this exact model, and let me tell you – it’s AMAZING.   We happened to buy this mainly because my hubby got tired of constantly rubbing my lower back while I was preggers, so it was as much a gift for him as it was for me.

What I like about this massager is that it comes with heat, and you can position it anywhere you want on your back.  Much easier than trying to arrange your back on an actual massage chair, and cheaper too. Love!


Cute, Comfy, Amazingly Soft Pajamas 

pregnancy pajamas

I had a couple of times where I was feeling nauseous and super sorry for myself, and when I tried to go shopping for retail therapy, it was even harder because I couldn’t buy normal clothes.  And sometimes the maternity sections … leave a lot to be desired.

So I always looked forward to picking out a nice new pair of stretchy pajamas, especially since I spent most of my time in them anyways.  Every pregnant woman wants to feel pretty, and a brand new pair of PJ’s will go a long way.


A Gorgeous, Classic, Sparkly Necklace

The reason behind this idea? While we know that it’s logical to gain weight during pregnancy, the fact is that many of us struggle with dressing our bodies and still feeling good.  Accessories also go a long way in helping dress up those same five maternity shirts.

A gorgeous necklace helps to show off her beautiful neckline, catches the light, and will make her feel special.

Bonus if you can figure out a way to work in family symbols like 3 stones for 3 children, birthstones, etc! 


A “Just for Fun” Pregnancy Shirt

So this is actually something I never had, and I so wish that I did. I think part of me just didn’t want to spend the money at the time, but I’ve always wanted a shirt that called attention to the fact I was pregnant. There are so many cute ones out there now!

Long sleeves, short sleeves, classy ones, not so classy ones…  many of us would get a kick out of these!  Again, it’s all about what her style is.  


A Gorgeous Glider

This one hits home with me. You know why? I have some of the best memories rocking in the glider in the nursery even BEFORE my daughter and son were born. I was imagining what they would be like, enjoying the quiet of the room, and the calming motion of rocking.

Afterwards, I loved to rock them to sleep, inhaling their baby scent and trying to enjoy every second before they grew.  Gliders = happy memories. Enough said.


There ya have it!  One note though – gifts are nice, but sitting down with her, listening to her, and rubbing her feet or back – those are the things she will remember the most in the long run.

Good luck to you guys!  

PS – are you a new parent?  Check out our new parents pages! 

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8 Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Toddlers

toddler at christmas
Happy Holidays to you and yours!

It’s that wonderful time of year.  We’re in the middle of decorating our house, stringing up lights outside, and you guessed it – hanging up our stockings on the mantle.

Which leads me to my “oh, sh*t” moment this week when I realized that we need to fill these!  My 8 month old son isn’t old enough to know what’s going on, but my 3-year-old daughter is beginning to understand what’s up.

That said, I needed stocking stuffer ideas STAT for toddlers.  And unique ones at that! 

So I perused several lists online and selected my favorites below.  My criteria for excellent, unique and different stocking stuffers were as follows:

  • Needs to be useful and/or last longer than five seconds
  • Ideally doesn’t come with tons of little pieces that get spread across the house and lost instantly
  • Ideally doesn’t really add to the clutter of the house….. but who are we kidding, we live with toddlers. There is ALWAYS clutter. 

Hope these ideas give you some good inspiration this holiday season.  Share your other ideas with me in the comments below!


8 Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Toddlers*

*Note that the gifts below do not always FIT into Christmas stockings, but are good gifts nonetheless… Santa always laid out our stockings with presents arranged around them anyways! 


Gazillion Bubble Hurricane Machine

I LOVE this one. For instance, what toddler doesn’t love bubbles? Not to mention, this machine blows 500 per minute. Creates entertainment for hours, and you don’t have to lift a finger.  This is the gift that keeps on giving.

Tip: If you want to keep this in the stocking, place a bubble wand in their stocking, and when they take it out, show them the bubble maker! 


Magic Milk Milk Magic Flavoring Straws

These are super cool and a fun treat for kids. Each straw has a different flavor, and you can buy different ones such as banana, chocolate, cotton candy, etc.  There is some sugar added in each straw, but far less than adding syrup or powder to milk.  A fun and portable treat!


Crayola Color Bath Tablets

So I have a love/hate relationship with anything “color” wise in the bathtub. Some products I’ve tried are great; others are a mess and don’t seem to do much.

These color tablets are rated 4.5 stars on Amazon, and toddlers seem to love them. They don’t stain your child, washcloths or anything but the water. Great fun and easy clean up!


Pull Back Racer Cars (set of 12)

Pull back cars have been around for who knows how long – but children love them!  These are friction powered – pull back and watch them race off.  This particular model above comes with a set of 12. Great for putting in several little stockings or gift bags.

Tip – Pull six out and save the other six for a moment where you need something new (like on a plane or long car ride)


Munchkin Traveling Flash Cards

These are superb – my daughter has a set like these from our day care, and she is constantly pulling them out.  She loves pointing out which letter is which and making the sound that the letter makes.

This is a perfect one to have on deck in the car as well, for your littles in their car seats or in your diaper bag while you’re shopping.


VTech Spin and Learn Color Flashlight

I love, love, love Vtech – they make some of the best toys around. This Vtech Spin & Learn flashlight is pretty awesome, top rated on Amazon, and easily fits into a stocking.

The best part? After 45 seconds of inactivity, the toy automatically turns off. Which means you don’t have to worry about batteries running out after someone leaves it on!


Olive Kids Trains, Planes and Trucks Backpack

So again, I get that this one may not fit into a stocking, unless you have really big ones or you fold it down tightly.  However, this is always a fun one that you can sit next to the stocking, or put some Christmas gifts into the backpack!

Toddlers LOVE their backpacks, especially ones with older brothers and sisters. An all around good gift. Plus this one comes in different patterns, and you can probably also get it monogrammed. Win!


Paw Patrol Kids Toothbrush, Toothpaste & Rinse Cup

If your toddler is like mine, brushing teeth can be challenging. Some days she wants to, other days she wants nothing to do with it. I’m a huge fan of this Paw Patrol bundle – the toothbrush, toothpaste and fun cup all come together.

The bundle also comes in other fun characters – Curious George, Star Wars, Frozen and more on Amazon.


There ya have it!  Even if you don’t like any of these ideas, they hopefully inspired other thoughts.

Still stuck on Christmas gift shopping? Check out our Best Christmas gifts for Toddlers and Best Christmas gifts for Babies posts, in addition to our top rated toy pages for ages 6 months to 3 years.    

Our sister website www.topbabytoysfor.com also has great learning & development toys for ages 0 – 2!

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5 Tips for Flying with Young Children

flying clouds

It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.

However, many of us with young children are trying to balance working full-time, decorating for the holiday, buying gifts, and you guessed it – booking travel plans.

(This blog post will mainly focus on flying with young children (infants and toddlers), but you can apply many of the tips here to long car rides)

Flying these days is stressful enough.  Add in five straight hours with a toddler and infant, and I’m sweating bullets.

I think I’ve mentioned in my prior Cosco Scenera car seat review post that my husband’s family is in California, while we live in North Carolina. Hence, we make two trips across the country each year to go see them.

I love to see family on those trips, but man, it is a beast to plan, organize, and pack for those trips. Trying to anticipate the needs for each kid is tough, and then you still have to take care of yourself and your partner as well.

After many trips with an infant-now-toddler, and now another infant, I’ve put together my five best strategies for flying below.  Hope these help!


1. PACK A SPARE OUTFIT FOR EVERYONE IN A CARRY-ON 

I cannot stress this one enough.  When we first started flying our infant daughter, we took the whole “feed your baby during takeoff and landing to help with air pressure” seriously, and tried to give our daughter a bottle each time.

Unfortunately, she ended up drinking too much milk and threw up on herself and my husband.

Our mistake? We had a spare outfit for her, but not for him.  Lesson learned – ALWAYS keep at least a spare shirt handy for everyone so you don’t reek the rest of the flight.

2. BRING SOMETHING BRAND NEW ALONG FOR THE KIDS TO PLAY WITH

If your toddlers are like my toddler, their attention span is 3 seconds, especially with items that they are familiar with. However, when you show them something new, it (fingers-crossed) can be a game changer.

When choosing your item to bring on, make sure you pay close attention to your child’s interests. Some of my best suggestions?  A small container of Play Doh, Melissa and Doug’s Water Wow books, crayons and a new coloring book, or a new app on the iPad.

Some of you might worry about the mess you’d make with play-doh, crayons, etc. Trust me, when I tell you – you paid a lot of money for your flight.  People get paid to clean up your mess. It’s okay if you leave some things on the floor, especially if your kids are happy and engaged when playing.

3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SCREEN TIME

So the AAP just came out with new evidence screen time for toddlers older than 18 months old can be beneficial, especially if parents are watching along with their kids.  That is fantastic news, especially for those of us trying to distract little ones on a flight.

The solution?  Baby Einstein videos, Daniel Tiger, and other educational videos we downloaded to bring along on our iPad.  We started doing this religiously, even if she wanted to look out the window the whole time on some flights.  We had it available just in case.

And now Netflix has introduced offline streaming... this made my year!

4. THINK HARD ABOUT WHAT YOU CARRY ON THE PLANE

This is the diciest one by far. You want to be prepared for EVERY possible scenario, yet you don’t want to be SO laden-down that you can’t find anything or have any room.

We’ve run into both situations. I’ve brought every possible medicine, enough food for 3 days, a nose frieda, and two cartons of almond milk aboard one of our flights. (TSA had a field day with me!)   On a separate flight?  I forgot to pack enough diapers.

The key is balance. Think hard about what you need for everyone, and make sure you account for delays on the tarmac, not making connections, etc. Run through the scenarios in your mind about where your flight might get delayed or cancelled, and then try to pack the absolute necessities for those.

My rule of thumb is always bring enough food & diapers for the kids to last a day beyond when the flight would originally end.  This sounds like a lot, but keep it it to portable, easy foods – pouches, crackers, apple sauces, raisins, etc.

5. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY – GET COMFORTABLE WITH BEING THAT FAMILY

At the end of the day? There is no fail-proof solution for traveling with children, short of a magical pill that would put them to sleep the whole time.  And even that could fail!

My biggest lesson is learning to set realistic expectations. I was petrified of being that family with a crying baby or screaming toddler.

You know what? Life happens. People understand.  It’s a small moment in time that no one will remember, except you, and it will be a funny memory in the future.

Get comfortable with it and get over your anxiety – because your child will never remember it and he or she will be fine, and all flights (and car trips) do end 🙂


Safe travels to all of you and good luck this season!   Also – If you happen to be that family this season on a plane, know that other moms have your back!

 

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