Babyzen Yoyo part two: The Buddy Board!

Thanks again to being a Stroller Traffic Scout, our family has enjoyed the new Babyzen yoyo+ board. We have always enjoyed our Yoyo (see review here), but now this is our main stay! Retailing for $125, the buddy board carries up to 44lbs. Staying true to all their features - the buddy board is insanely easy to install. Its a one-handed pinch to clip it on or off of the stroller. The saddle is easily removable, allowing for your child to sit or stand. My bike obsessed toddler can't wait to jump on the board when I pull the stroller out of the car!

I recently joined a friend at the zoo who has a 5 month old & 3 year old. They had brought an infant car seat & stroller for the 5 month old and the yoyo for the 3 year old. Perfect scenario to adapt the buddy board: once their baby is old enough for the yoyo, they only have to attach the buddy board for their toddler. The best part for an environment like the zoo, is the ability for the toddler to jump on and off.  We now use this stroller for trips to the beach (it's SO light!), to the park and on every excursion! 

My only bit of feedback in the event that you are on the shorter end, is that the buddy board can make the stroller a bit trickier to steer. I am 5'6'' and found that steering one-handed, while walking to the side was easier & quite doable given how manoeverable the yoyo is. 

For reference, my children are 1.5 & 3.5 in the photos below.

This weekend: West Coast Craft, Sunday Streets in OS & Charity Khan!

This weekend is chock full of fun. Here are a few reasons to get out with your MSM community and family:

West Coast Craft: 

Summer 2017 West Coast Craft is THIS weekend: June 10 & 11, from 10am-6pm at the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason Center! Imagine Etsy, curated and west coast inspired, come to life. With the breathe and air that the backdrop of the Bay inspires, it's an incredibly innovative environment.  

San Francisco MSM, Sara Ewick is thrilled to announce a number of new-to-West Coast Craft vendors this summer, including Counter-SpaceMazama WaresNancy PearceIjjiBathing CultureSana AlouiBaby Cats of California, and Pen + Ink Pottery (among many others--see their complete list of vendors here). 

Plus, the show is built for families, with a kid-friendly lounge set up by Mothermag.com x Lonny Magazine.  826 Valencia will also be in the lounge doing some creative writing workshops for kids.

Best of all?! It's completely FREE

Sunday Streets in the Outer Sunset!

Hooray!  Sunday, June 11 is the annual Sunset/Golden Gate Park edition of Sunday Streets, which means that from 11 AM to 4 PM families will be out west enjoying car-free fun and a slew of fantastic activities. The folks at SundayStreets have also made this great Explore Local guide, a nifty list of some of the best and brightest landmarks and businesses in the neighborhood for you to check out as part of your Sunday Streets adventure.

At Avenues Dry Goods (on Irving between 42nd and 43rd) from 11-4 they'll have our friends and neighbors from Churn Urban Creamery popping up in front of the store with their bounty of both traditional ice cream and dairy-free flavors. Stop by for a scoop or two and snap a photo. Don't forget to tag #msmmoments

Join Charity Khan as she embarks on her FOURTEENTH year of family concerts at Beach Chalet!

Once tuckered out on the Great Highway, meander down to Beach Chalet to hear Charity & The Jam Band from 3-5pm on Sunday, June 11. Reminder: drinks are easy to purchase on a crowded day but food is only served to tables, which are first come first serve. Don't be scared off: pack snacks and a blanket - as picnic-ing is welcome. At the end, you'll see the incredible (almost) sunset and scoot home in time for bath & an early bedtime! 

Using a Sensible Sitter to fill in the gaps!

As parents we have way more hats to wear than hours to switch them out! It occurred to me, 3 years into parenting, that the Sensible Sitters I have used are capable of so much more than babysitting. It was in a recent coffee date with Keatyn that we chatted about her love for keeping a house in order - from organization to laundering. Music to my ears! After share care at our house with two toddlers for two weeks, we were in need of some help in the play room so, the next week we gave it a go! 

Sensible Sitters: Solutions. (Click here to inquire about additional services) 

Keatyn arrived just as Kaitlin, our 1.5 year old, went down for a nap. I gave her a smidge of direction: I wanted the playroom to look less than like the garage sale it currently looked like and more curated. I wanted it to invite creativity. Below were the results and what Keatyn did:

  • Repurposed existing materials : nothing was bought new for storage purposes
  • Created themed vignettes in the storage cubes 
  • Put large, like minded, toys in the storage baskets so that kids could easily find what they were looking for 
  • Small pieces/toys went in small containers to be easily found 
  • created a book nook in the corner of the room with large throw pillows
  • Removed toys that were too small, which are now neatly stored for coffee hour at the Main Street Mamas coffee hour. 
  • Stored baskets of toys for rotation in the closet!
  • Simple solution: turned a basket on it's side to create a book shelf in the living room 

I knew that when my son came home from school he would be excited, but this has changed our lives in a profound way. The kids have learned to play together this week as their playroom is clutter free and they can navigate their play stations so easily. They have also taken pride in putting their things away. 

Playroom B&A

Good Eggs Dinner Kits: Take Back Dinner!

Having landed at midnight on Monday from Hawaii (more to come on our trip!), this beautiful package could not have arrived on a more perfect evening. I had taken a week off work and while the vacation was perfect, I was a crazy combo of exhausted and behind at work. The kids were conked out early, we had a glorious sunset beaming through our kitchen window, and the doorbell rang. Enter, Good Eggs Dinner Kit. Let me walk you through my experience:

  • Delivered in a box and a tote bag, I first unpacked all the greens. The fresh produce came in a tote bag - as if I just stopped by the farmers market! Wrapped in a bio bag & labeled with a sticker for the corresponding recipe.
  • As I opened the box, I was first met with a dinner playlist. No detail left unattended!
  • One of my favorite elements of the dinner kit is the theme: Take Back Dinner! A beautiful nod to this is the wooden "Buh-bye box" that is introduced on top of the refrigerated goods. It's fun to put together and reminded me of the wooden airplanes we bought as children. Now my hands were busy and the worries of the day behind me.
  • My next layer was recipes and fresh, refrigerated groceries, perfectly parsed out. As I pulled the recipes out from the envelope my mouth watered and I was so inspired by the gorgeous photography.

We decided on the spring pasta with english peas, pesto and pea shoots. It was truly as simple as it promised (20 min cook time: TOTAL) and I had zero mom guilt about not having made anything from scratch. This past week my husband and I talked a lot about the mom guilt that I attach to way too many areas of my life. Good Eggs read our minds. The need for a dinner hour full of fresh, nourishing, food and void of our ever-running to do lists. My husband and I had different worries and weights from the day, but we both left them in the buh-bye box and enjoyed our meal.

The meal kit made enough for us and both children! It was bright and cheery, with lemon and mint notes in the pesto. The pasta, sourced from The Pasta Shop, was perfectly satisfying. Garlic greens and peas, cooked together, created an fragrant dish. Accompanied by fresh greens and a balsamic dressing - this was just what we needed to center us as we settled back into life in the fast lane.

Some additional facts about the Dinner Kits: 

  • Customers who sign up for the dinner kit receive 3 meals, which can be ordered and delivered at the same time as their weekly groceries. (Subscription not required.)

  • Kit options change weekly.

  • Cost $69.99

  • 1 meal = 2+ servings

  • Each weekly menu comes with a Good Eggs Kitchen seasonal green salad mix & dressing that can be paired with any meal. (Pairings suggested on recipes)

  • This spring, there will be 2 omnivore meals and 1 vegetarian

  • Coming later this year: vegetarian and other options

Enter below to win one of THREE Good Eggs Dinner Kits. It's easy! Just follow Main Street Mamas & Good Eggs on Instagram and leave your email address. 

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Sign up above to enter to win a Good Eggs Dinner Kit!

Intentional Parenting is a job of it's own.

As a mom to two young people and a business owner, I am often in the limbo land of mom guilt. Let me explain what I mean by this. I am one foot in, one foot out. I have the ability to cuddle a baby just a little bit longer because I don't have to "go to the office." The struggle is real: do I parent or do I work? That's what it boils down to. It's not a passive job, parenting. I am not of the mindset that I can do both at once, and quite frankly I think the notion of being able is causing a larger problem.

If we look back to when we were growing up we see that the mom guilt was not as prevalent as it is now. My mom will tell you, she didn't compare herself to the next door neighbor. They did it together. Where one fell short, the other pitched in. Landlines were just that - attached to the land. Therefore, present parenting was the only option. You could engage with your children as they played or you could tend to work or household duties, but likely work happened in an office & household duties encouraged your child to learn to play on their own. 

Today, we are tricked into believing that our children can be at home while we work in tandem. Hats off to the parent whose child's temperament allows for this fairy tale scenario to play out. The reality is that our children get asked to nap longer, watch iPad just a bit more, begged to look at mom's phone while one more email gets tackled. Is this a respectful way for us to tackle either our children or our business matters? How many times have I jotted off the byline, "sorry for the grammatical errors, there are tiny toes on my lap." 

If we look at case studies of the most coveted working parent work environments, there is childcare in place. Patagonia offers childcare on site run by teachers and educators. They don't expect that you are working alongside your child, that's simple a non-reality. So now, let's look at the effect of "working with child in tow." My colleague called attention to her children being constantly appeased in order for her to mind one more thing. That one thing can be any number of needs in your life - a shower, a transaction at the store, getting through a travel day in a semblance of one piece, an email, or the laundry. We all do it, but if we always appease our children they do not learn the boundaries that are necessary to function in the world. They do not learn how to play with their toys. They do not learn that "no" is an acceptable answer. Their job is to play and engage with their environment, our job is the create that environment and facilitate interactions. No matter how you slice it, you can not be engaged in a phone conversation, email or strategic planning session - and wholly engaged with your child. That's not wrong, it just means that we need to re-assess our societal expectations. We don't expect men to bring babies to the office. It's not realistic or fair to a child. It would be fodder for a comedy. 

This morning my son stumbled upon a sour candy his father had stashed away. He assumed a slumped shouldered, pouty presence and then slowly came around to the idea of a "deal". How about this is an after school treat? It would have been easy to say yes to him in the heat of the moment - already late for school. It also would not have reinforced that we don't eat candy for breakfast or always get what we want. 

Breaking this cycle doesn't take as long as you may think. Children are very malleable and they enjoy following rules. It only take a few long conversations with little people to unlearn unhealthy habits. So today, I will cut my workday short and move on to my primary job - parenting. They are not two jobs that I feel I can do in tandem any longer, not if I want to parent intentially. 

 

Little People. Little Problems.

I am a firm believer that the universe gives to me what I need to hear, in that moment. Over the past month, I have heard a recurring message which has been very comforting. The message has come from elders - those who have paved the parenting path before me.

To set the stage: our children turned 1 & 3, three months ago. All of the sudden I no longer have a baby and a toddler. I still have two little people, and both my babies, but they are increasingly able. Don't get me wrong, Cameron was Kaitlin's age when I became pregnant with her and I now look at her and wonder how I ever thought he wasn't a baby at this age. That said, she's running and babbling and feeding herself. She communicates with a defiant & continuous nod that emulates a bobble head meant for a dashboard. Cameron is my bigger challenge. His feelings are big and I find myself spending a great deal of thought on how his days should be shaped & enriched. 

While Duncan and I both work, being my own boss does give me the opportunity to be with the kids in the afternoon. Life currently feels like a logistics play and the double edged sword of being accessible for the kids was starting to take it's toll. I've often wondered if it would be easier to be expected in an office and not tortured by the teething baby who wants one last snuggle. Which leads me to the wisdom that was imparted to me. 

Jenny, the mother to four children I grew up babysitting, listened to my stresses about Cameron. He started having night terrors and our sleep was rocked again. He has recurring respiratory infections and tubes seem to be on the brink. He still isn't reliably gentle with Kaitlin, and I am increasingly pained by this. Cam is really big personality and I constantly wonder if I have a low threshold for three year olds or he is actually hyperactive. I'm inclined to believe that he is an incredibly spirited child who deserves to be engaged in a very mindful manner. I also refuse to apologize for this, which is in my nature. Jen responded, "little people. little problems." 

I laugh that one of our preschool teachers swears the world can be solved with pasta and hugs. In reality, it likely can at age 3. As Jen reminded me, one day our children will have big problems with real world implications and a band-aid won't fix them. They will make choices that effect their self esteem, for better or worse. They will grow up in a society that teaches them their value is based on the likes a social media post evokes. They will have a heart break. Or vices. Or massive disappointment. They will have problems that pasta doesn't fix. 

So for today I am trying to meditate on the small moments that we are privy to and the simple answers we can offer our children. When my little people have big feelings, I am trying to celebrate their emotions and find teachable moments. After all, their small time is finite. If I remind myself of a credo that has assisted my growing up, spiritually and mentally, "this to shall pass" - and I want to be present before it does. 

Arlexa: A Sensible Sitter Extraordinaire

Sitting to write this post flooded me with more emotion than I could have predicted. The subject of my sentiments is a young woman who I have had the privilege of watching grow up. I've tried this morning to recollect my first meeting with Arlexa, as I tend to categorize folks in my initial contact with them. I love first feelings and first meetings. I am most curious about everyones' stories - and I love the details I learn in that first interaction. 

Arlexa is such a part of my life and such a part of the fabric of Sensible Sitters that I don't remember a time that we didn't know her. Here's what I do know - I know that she taught me the value of Sensible Sitters. The magic of what we do is captured in the moments families experience with our caregivers. It has a little to do with our vetting process and a lot to do with the quality of character in the individual sitters. Arlexa came to us as a high school student. Eager for a summer job and living on the western most end of the Hamptons, Arlexa would drive - sometimes hours - for a honest wage and an appreciative family. As we grew and she grew up, we found increasing responsibilities for her within the organization. One summer she worked in our Amangansett office, answering phones and learning office management skills. The next few summers she was the team leader for large events that we staff annually in The Hamptons. All the while, working toward her private pilots license. This past year we hired Arlexa as a recruitment manager in our New York City. To watch someone mature within the company I built has been one of the most amazing gifts that life has given me. Not only the impact that Arlexa has had on the families shes touches but the clear impact they have had on her.

She has navigated every unique childcare arrangement possible. summer nannied. travel nannied. Visited the swedish alps with a family. Chaperoned teens, who adored her even while she was only minimally their major. she taught herself to babywear and loved on babies as only a mother can appreciate. she loved on our babies when we needed a reprieve, assuring us that she had the situation handled. she became a fabric of our lives.

Arlexa brought to our families a joy that simply put your heart at ease. I recall the day that I transitioned from a the owner of Sensible Sitters to a customer. The porch was speckled with early morning light in the home we rented in the North Fork of Long Island.  The sun was starting to sop up the puddles that Cam, then 20 months, had created from water play. I stood, quite pregnant, awaiting Arlexa's arrival. What never left her side was the bubble that she brought that day. The everlasting smile that meets her freckled cheeks from dimple to dimple. The giggles she evokes from children and the curiosity that coddles. What is absolutely incredible about Arlexa is the way that she befriends the children she works with. 

today we say "see you later" but never goodbye to a girl we will miss incredibly, as she steps out into her next frontier. Arlexa embarks on air traffic control school next week and we marinate on the gifts she has given to us over the past six years. Arlexa, we love you.

Meet Heal : The app that allows you to meet a pediatrician in your living room!

My girlfriend had mentioned Heal in passing to me. Her girls had strep and instead of dragging everyone to urgent care of a weekend when her husband was traveling - she had a Doctor come to her. Genius. I downloaded the app and forgot it was there. Until we had a perfect medical storm... 

I had a toddler with an obvious earache & in tremendous in pain while driving home from having attended my husband's family day at work in the peninsula, an infant at home, a nanny needing to be relieved and a pediatric practice that could not see me until the end of the day. I opened up the app & no sooner did we request an appointment, Dr Chien was confirmed. She arrived promptly, was eager to learn about our son & won him over in no time. She was incredibly professional & even answered unrelated questions about our baby. At the end of the visit she referred us to Script Dash and all for the cost of both our co-pays we received excellent in home care & a prescription without leaving the house. Given the lack of time and energy we had having a 5 month old & 2.5 year old, this was invaluable. To note, Heal takes insurance. This is generally $20-30 depending on your insurance plan. If you do not have insurance, the visit is $99. This is less expensive than more urgent care or ER visits. 

Fast forward, we have used Heal for a myriad of needs. They came to assess me when I had mastitis, they have seen both my children for medical needs, they have seen my nanny at our home for a flu shot & my husband at his office for the flu shot. We have been had great luck in consistency and have enjoyed all the doctors we have met. The PA's have been incredibly sweet & nurturing - offering loads of smiles to the little ones who are generally under the weather.  

From a technical perspective, the app is very user-friendly and allows for you to review the Doctor's credentials ahead of time. You can easily amend any of your information, health insurance and add siblings as they come on the scene.

Download Heal via iPhone or Android.

Ode to my Mom Guilt

Any mom who owns her own business knows: there's no better way to feed mom guilt. Truly. It's a misconception that you can have it all and work post bedtime as needed. So, the double edged sword begins. You can soothe the baby during their endless (read phantom) teething moments (read hours) as your nanny waits for you to finish cuddling and you text-postpone yet another meeting. While friends with an office to report to button up their coats and head out the door, you are forever one foot in and one foot out. You text way too much at the playground - so much in fact, that if you were a nanny their would be a thread about you on the local mom's group. You can go to Friday Lunch at preschool, but it cuts up your work day, but you're supposed to go because that's a perk of owning your own business. RIGHT?

Enter, Little Lane.   Little Lane was founded by a Bay Area mom to two girls - soon to be three! The Class Pass for kids platform allows for you to pay for different monthly packages and drop into classes that you would not have otherwise been exposed to, or would have to purchase a series of.  A taste test if you will. 

For a long while, I chalked Cam's short list of classes up to his age. Now at three, I really want to be a part of his afternoons and I am a bit resentful that his teachers get to pique his curiosity. With a monthly membership of five classes, Cam and I can hand pick an afternoon class each week to attend together. No sooner did I start sifting through the options and I realized that this was a family conversation. Ballet, Art Class or a movie screening at The Walt Disney Museum? such fun options and I can bounce around depending on my schedule. Mom guilt, be gone. Cam and I have a Little Lane date. 

Use the following code for your free month trial of the Discover Pass(2 classes a month): MAINSTREETMAMAS17 

 

Austlen Entourage

Just in time for our local holiday strolls, the Austlen Entourage arrived to our doorstep. Our family has many - MANY - strollers but none are the level of luxury that Austlen affords you. We live out by the beach in San Francisco, so appreciate a stroller that can take us to the beach and the playground but can also be thrown into the car easily and taken wherever the wind takes us. That's not always easy with two children. First off, both our children (ages 1 & 3) love the Entourage. Admittedly, our 3 year old is harder to please these days and he really enjoyed that he could pop in and out of the jump seat on his own. He also really enjoyed having his own handles - faux-leather grip & all!

The expandability and ease by which this stroller expands is remarkable, With the flick of your wrist, the stroller goes from consolidated to fully extended. Once extended, you can add a jump seat or a second seat for a toddler. The under carriage allows for SIXTY FIVE pounds to be carried. That translates into a full grocery run, dog food, your dog himself, or luggage when traveling. A very smart addition to this stroller is the market tote. You can see it hanging right in front of the handlebars. It expands and one half then is attached to handlebars on the primary seat. With smart compartments, there is a spot for everyone's items. 

The canopy is very large and the seat nearly fully retracts. I always enjoy a fully retractable stroller seat as well, bc you can do a non-messy diaper change without needing to find a restroom. Just pack a changing pad for the ride, but don't forget the Entourage fabric seats are removable & washable. 

Driving this stroller feels sexy - it's like a new car that you want to take for a spin. On Sundays, we enjoy getting to our church's neighborhood - Cow Hollow - a bit early for a coffee & pastry pre-service. I had a blast pairing my new Sonnet James play dress (obsession for another post) with my Entourage. After all, isn't that what we all want - a little entourage?! I can't wait for it to join me at the Farmer's Market!

DIY Teacher's Gifts c/o World Market & Trader Joe's

When Cam was an infant, a mama on the east coast passed along an easy & incredibly satisfying recipe for a sugar scrub. This year I couldn't quite figure out what to make for our pre-school teachers. Then, in a trip to World Market it hit me : A bath basket! Super easy, cute & Cam could help. 

Ingredients

  • Mason/Ball Jar
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup of Grapeseed Oil
  • 15 drops of essential oil (I like citrus scents) 

At World Market, I purchased these adorable rustic wire baskets. I added a delicious Castebel soap & an exfoliator mitt in addition to our scrub. 

 

Cam really enjoyed helping & I really enjoyed that it wasn't a very messy project! We measured out the sugar, the oil, some essential oils and voila! There was a sugar spill, which we cleaned up with a painter's brush! Then, all got package with tissue paper on the bottom and a bow on the top. This is a fun gift to make & a an even more fun gift to receive! 

Motherhood Schmotherhood

I feel profoundly lucky to have been raised by the woman I grew up nannying & babysitting for. I am starting a podcast called "Motherhood Schmotherhood" in which I will interview the - now grown - children who I have had the sincere privilege of watching grow up. I am so proud of the people they have become, as a product of their parents' work. How incredibly lucky I am to be able to have witnessed the effect of so many parenting styles and be a part of the fabric of a family. Wild. 

Here are some snippets: 

I want to start every tribute with "...taught me everything." PERIOD. Mainly, because it is true. 

Daria, taught me everything. To be kind to ourselves, even when it's hard. Always when it's hard. To parent as a team. To believe in people, and tell them so. That it's okay to have a massive love affair with coffee, but make sure it's good coffee. That our children's temperament is something we are gifted, not something we determine. That we can shape the folks we raise but we must practice empathy and compassion in direct correlation with boundaries. That being a mother is a large and weighty job. That we must not take it for granted. That it's okay to not love every stage. 

Jodi U. taught me to love our family & accept their flaws. To smile big and laugh. To love our children in all their stages. To encourage the inner dork. That gallery walls existed well before Pinterest. That if you practice self care, you will feel like yourself again. To love sand on bare wood, especially if sticky toes brought it inside. To feed your children pizza and chicken fingers. To feed yourself pizza and chicken fingers. To not take life too seriously but to seriously understand that life is to be lived. 

Trish taught me to match the energy you identify with as "family" in the family you grow. To love a big family, in all their flaws and all their glory. To spend time with friends and to be a partner in your marriage. To love babies. To love puppies. To love puppies and babies as they lose their baby fat and their innocence. That it's okay to be naughty once in awhile if that keeps you young. To not try and be as young as your children, you are their parent and not their peer. To believe in a power greater than ourselves, God. 

Jen taught me to believe in myself. She taught me to buck up & show up. She taught me how to be a role model for our children. She taught me how to prioritize. Jen taught me how to laugh through the tough, how to call uncle when I need to, how to persevere. Jen taught me that laughter is in fact the best medicine, especially when it comes from big cheeked toddlers and is packaged with mischief. Jen taught me to put my running shoes on and blow off steam. Jen taught me to trust people with my babies.  Jen taught me hoe to take a 4 minute shower, I am forever grateful. 

Jodi S taught me (everything). Jodi taught me to love deeply. To be a rebel. To speak my mind. To be a tinkerer. To seek space with children....big wide open space. Jodi taught me to raise children who have opinions they own, not ones folks want to hear. Jodi taught me that children who are big enough for opinions can still be small enough to snuggle, and vice versa. Jodi taught me to always stay a child and play like a child. To be your child's advocate, always. To insist that your partner be your child's advocate. always. To love your partner, in all their wacky ways. To accept people and allow people into your home graciously. To be kind to ourselves, our family and the BIG (little) people in our lives. And that she's always there to count toes and cuddle babies, just to call.

Erica. Love is love is love is love is love. Erica taught me to love what your believe in and believe in what you love. That your children can be whoever they want to be, so long as you teach them to be comfortable in their own skin. My word, I don't know how to do this one, but I will try. Erica taught me to respect our elders and to celebrate them in our parenting. Erica taught me to love a religion I wasn't born into but I practice in my daily principles. Family. Erica taught me that pastini and chicken broth does a sick(ish) child well. Erica taught me how to paint a fresh face if you don't have time for a shower. That a strong personality in a little person requires additional parenting and is a glorious gift. Erica taught me to love New York, as a New Yorker does. That the arts are for the taking, but give back as well. Make art. Share art. Be a part of. 

I'm off to pick up, a bit more calm and very grateful for all the woman who paved the way for me.

Selah. 

 

 

 

 

Munchkin Vibe Gate Review

It was incredibly timely that Stroller Traffic & Munchkin reached out to me to review their new Vibe safety gate. Kaitlin is 8 months old now & Cam is 2.5.

We realized that we needed to convert the nursery to speak to both ages, which means having a way to safely contain Kaitlin and allow Cam to come & go. It also felt like Cam’s space really needed to be aged up and all of the sudden, Kaitlin became a real little person needing her own nook. SO, we began a nursery overhaul. My experience with everything second child has been so bittersweet – so incredibly enjoyable and yet I feel like time is just racing by.

I always drag my heels on handyman work – which baby-proofing falls under in my mind – because I always manage to hammer a nail just a little off. The Munchkin Vibe is pretty genius in this regard. They have a turnkey mount technology that allows you to install in moments. The design is gorgeous and clean, and allows you to view through the center mesh portion. On their website you can choose the width you need for your space, allowing for a range between 30″-54″. Beautiful, functional and easy…what else could I ask for?!

What’s been very fun for Cam is that he can open & close the door. As we  transitioned from a crib to a big boy bed, we have had a tricky time keeping him in his bed and room at bedtime. He now knows that there is a boundary with the gate and we allow for him to get out of bed, but remind him he can’t open the door. We call it the “garden gate”.

Cam is currently head over heels for trucks. Sound familiar? Here are some components of his transportation influenced sleep nook:

While we are chatting about Munchkin, we also can NOT go to sleep without this spoutless sippy cup.

Here are Kaitlin & Cam enjoying their shared space. Now I am off to lessen the blue in the room…

Beaba: Fun with Baby Food

One of my favorite milestones in babyhood is starting solids. There’s nothing more gratifying (for me) than making food and filling my babies tummy. Full disclosure, both my children are very excited eaters.

With Cam I used the stovetop steamer and an immersion blender. This works just fine. However, receiving and trying the Beaba Babycook Original Plus has hands down changed my cooking experience. While I could steam, boil and roast all my veggies & fruits, use the immersion blender or food processor and make the same food – this does it all for me! I didn’t quick appreciate the ease of it until I cubed raw chicken, sweet potatoe and broccoli – threw it in the steamer basket all together, forgot about it, pulled it out when the bell sounded, removed the basket & used the same container to blend it. Voila! Lunch was served.

I do still use the food processor for larger batches or blends, but I steam and puree everything in the Babycook. I might roast veggies for dinner versus steaming them, for flavor and texture, but then I blend in the Babycook.

I have a lot of fun improvising with recipes. This past weekend we used a veggie/fruit recipe and amended based on what we had in the house (almond flour vs regular flour). We cooked the muffins in the Beaba Silicone Trays and the whole experience was super fun.

There’s a few foods I won’t make from scratch because it simply doesn’t seem worth the time, when I can purchase at the store for a few dollars in organic form. Applesauce is one of them. The beaba is SO easy, that I even make my own Applesauce these days. 

Some suggestions for improvising:

  • add yogurt to everything. I add yogurt to just about anything. Sweet potatoes, yogurt & pumpkin pie spice. Meat and grain dishes that I want to make creamier. Cold dishes that I want to take the chill out of. I use Pavel or Straus whole milk plain yogurt. Trader Joe’s has a yummy version as well now. 
  • Cheat. For example: This week I made a delicious stew. In it was a bag of frozen, organic pre-cooked rice from Trader Joe’s (cheat number one), black beans that I had made in the slow cooker (delicious thanks to the bay leaves, garlic and onions they cooked alongside), an organic lentil/veggie/red pepper soup  boxed soup for some liquid (cheat number two), and pureed broccoli left over from lunches this week. The result: fiber-rich, nutritional, filling stew for on the go anything.
  • If you have an early riser, cook then. What else are you doing at 6am? Between 6-7:30am this morning, I steamed and pureed sweet potato & apple, roasted broccoli & threw in some chicken drumsticks. Really, why not?
  • Add coconut oil to everything. steamed veggies. pureed veggies. scrambled eggs.

Don’t forget:

It’s back to school time with BEABA – receive 20% off their site from now until Labor Day! Use code MAINSTREETMAMAS at checkout

Silicone Trays:

I absolutely adore these. They are a generous serving size, incredibly easy to clean, and very versatile. We currently use one for fruit puree and one for veggies. We also have enjoyed putting different foods in each compartment and eating breakfast with our toddler “Lazy Susan Style”

MSM Life Hack: Alively.

Main Street Mamas has teamed up with Alively, a new app that's the talk of tech town.  

Why?  Well, because how irritating is this very scenario??:

  • You're at the soccer game, recital, music class, whatever...and your child is demonstrating his/her amazing talent.  
  • You grab your phone to take a quick video.
  • <STOP> You're out of storage.  You must first delete precious memories to capture this new precious memory.  UGH.
  • Maybe you had enough storage and were able to shoot a video that will most definitely garner millions of views on YouTube.
  • <STOP> You don't want millions of people to see your awesome kid on YouTube.
  • So how to share?  Ah!  Facebook!
  • <STOP> You're not so into sharing this little life moment with former clients, 500 old classmates and the 60 people you don't even remember how you met to begin with.
  • Now what?  Just text it to your husband and mom.  That'll be fine.
  • <STOP> Husband: "What is this??  It's all blurry"  Mom: "Honey, I even tried with my reading glasses...it's just too small"
  • Moment lost.  Your kid was totally incredible and you'll be the only one to witness it.  Not to mention you wasted 8 minutes messing around trying to share a low-quality blurry video that's now taking up 20% of the storage in your phone. 

Enter Alively.  

  1. Open the app.  
  2. Select the handful of people with whom you'd like to share your video.  
  3. Shoot said video.  
  4. The lucky few (or many) you selected are notified and can watch live or later.  
  5. And here's the best part (in our opinion anyway)...your video is automatically sent safe & sound to the cloud and off your phone!  

We're spreading the word!  We want everyone using this game changing app to capture and share their family's special moments.

Main Street Mamas will be utilizing Alively to share snippits from our exclusive classes, events & lunches.  Download Alively on your iOS device to join us (sorry Android users, you'll have to wait)! 

Watch Alively in action:

What the press is saying:

  • Wall Street Journal "Former Facebook Live Manager Launches Live-Streaming App Alively"
  • TechCrunch "Live video minus Facebook equals Alively"
  • Fox Business "Live stream to a select group of friends with new app"

 

Baby Zen Yoyo Stroller Review

As a Stroller Traffic Scout, I recently had to privilege of testing the Baby Zen Yoyo 6+Stroller. A few fun facts about this stroller:

Price: $495

Weight: 13 lbs

Age/Weight: Appropriate for the baby who can sit up on their own.

With two children in tow: one who wants to walk sometimes but NEEDS to sit at the end of an adventure and one who is more comfortable being worn – an umbrella stroller has become my fast friend. We live quite close to the beach and in theory Cam, our 2.5 year old, could walk. However, the way home provides tricky and I really do need the storage that a stroller provides. Our hurdle is always finding a stroller that we can take to the beach and then easily carry once we get to the sand dunes as we don’t have a paved walkway at the beach. Our answer: The Baby Zen Yoyo.

At 33 lbs and 3 feet tall – Cam fits nicely in the stroller. As soon as he grows out of it, Kaitlin will grow into it. The under carriage is perfect for a diaper bag, sand toys or a blanket. Not too large, but great for a trip to the beach or the grocery store for staples.The stroller folds down with one hand and the shoulder strap allows for an easy carry. Baby on one hip, stroller on the other shoulder. It’s is both light and quick – make certain you use the break or without a child in the stroller (to weigh it down) it will make a dash for it off down the street!

The sunshade is 50+ UPF , which I love! It has a single handlebar which allows for more leverage and better control. Let’s be honest, us coffee loving moms appreciate that. You can also buy a cup holder for roughly $30.

The Baby Zen Yoyo is airplane compliant – fitting into the on board luggage compartment & you can buy what looks like a garment bag to house it.

If trying to make a decision, I encourage you to read Magic Beans comparison to the Uppa Baby G-Luxe