Read more at Together magazine here, http://togethermoms.ca/.
Read more at Together magazine here, http://togethermoms.ca/.
This holiday season I’m excited to be able to not only showcase some amazing companies in my Holiday Gift Guide, but also to be able to give away some of those family gift suggestions to my amazing readers!!
This next giveaway comes from the “For Dads” section of my Holiday Gift Guide, but really I love it too! Recently one of my favorite stroller companies released a diaper bag. While these Bumbleride diaper bags perfectly compliment the Bumbleride strollers, they are also great for parents that want a diaper bag that is eco-friendly, clean, and gender neutral (meaning Dads can carry this without a second thought).
Designed to keep up with parents’ on-the-go lifestyles, the new Bumbleride Diaper Bag features a unique, adjustable design that can quickly convert from over-the-shoulder to on-the-stroller toting. The urban, messenger-style Diaper Bag boasts a changing pad and nine sizable pockets to safely store essentials like bottles, diapers, toys, cell phone, keys, or snacks.
This diaper bag is perfect for a quick day trip or everyday go to bag.
I was lucky enough to bring this diaper bag home from ABC Kids Expo and my husband was SO excited. He said “Finally, a diaper bag for me!”. We have used it several times, and love it. I also love that it retails at $59 making it an affordable option in diaper bags, and if you already have a diaper bag but want one for your husband this one won’t break the bank!
One Lucky Our Knight Life reader will win a Bumbleride Diaper Bag in the color of your choice (based on availability). This giveaway is open to US/CAN and ends on 12/22
Read more at Our Knight Life here, http://www.familylifeinlv.com.
After all of our travels with Ruby lately (and especially after our two-week trip to France), I’ve gotten to know the ins and outs of being on the go with a toddler. For all you parents out there who are planning trips soon and are nervous about any aspect of it, I thought I’d share 10 tips for traveling abroad with a toddler and what I’ve learned along the way. While this post is focused on traveling abroad, many of my tips apply to traveling with little ones in general, no matter how close or far…
01. Make your list of to-dos in advance, organized by area and type of activity…but also keep your days flexible. If I was traveling just with my husband, I’d love the idea of waking up leisurely and seeing where the day took us. Or I’d jam-pack a ton of activities into each day. But with a toddler’s limited attention span, boundless energy, and need for naps, being somewhere in the middle of those two, agenda-wise, tends to work best for us. Also, it’s super helpful to have your list organized by area so that you’re not wasting too much time getting from one part of a city to another and can really enjoy and maximize one or two areas at a time. For example, my amazing assistant, Casey, had the brilliant idea to compile your suggestions for Paris and organize them into a spreadsheet by district and type of activity. Then she put them in a mini binder that I carried around for the whole trip (and now our whole staff has a version for their next trip to Paris). It was insanely helpful. We also used Yelp a lot while on the go a lot which can be great when you find yourself in an area that you might not have on your list.
02. Stay in an area where there’s lots to do within walking distance. This may seem obvious, but we learned the hard way in Paris, when we stayed in a district that was up-and-coming but didn’t have a ton to do within the immediate vicinity. We ended up taking trips out of the area everyday that took just a tad too long and gave us too little time to enjoy our destination before rushing back for Ruby’s nap. We wish we’d we stayed in a slightly busier neighborhood (even if a tad more touristy) because it would have been more central and easier to get to other areas of the city.
03. Let your little one nap in a stroller when possible. Ruby is a wonderful sleeper in her crib, but not on the go, so we don’t have the luxury of getting to do this too much. But if you’re lucky enough to have a toddler who can nap anywhere and in any position for a juicy long nap, then napping on the go is the way to do it when traveling. That way you can explore more of a city while your little one naps, and you don’t have to go back to your hotel or apartment mid-day (like we do).
04. Pack light. Since I already did a post on packing for a family trip, I won’t repeat that information here, but want to reiterate that the most important part is bringing only your essentials, washing clothes while away so you can bring less, and buying disposable items (like diapers) at your final destination whenever possible.
05. Then there’s flying (the part we all dread the most with kids)…I’ll break this down into three parts.
A. Buy a seat on the plane for long trips. Unless you have one of those magical toddlers who can fall asleep anywhere and in any position, in our case, having Ruby’s own seat made all of our experiences more tolerable. Even though she was still under two for our flight to France, which meant we didn’t have to pay for her seat, we know our kid and know that she does way better on a plane when she has her own space to play and sleep in. So we got her a seat for the 11 hour flight (even though we had never bought her a seat on previous trips). It was so well worth it, as she slept better and played better, and it made the long trip more bearable for all of us.
B. Consider your flying times. Prior to our France trip, we’d always flown during the day and tried to pick times based on Ruby’s nap schedule. However, sometimes you don’t have a lot of options, and we had no choice when it came to flying to Paris, which has one direct flight out of L.A. per day. Everyone differs on the topic of doing a day flight vs. a red eye with small children, but we got to experience both during our flight to Paris. And to our surprise, Ruby actually did much better on the red eye than on the day flight. When it came to her actual bedtime on the plane, we went through our normal routine (minus the bath) of reading her a book and tucking her into her sleep sack. It took her a little longer to fall asleep than usual thanks to all the distractions on the plane, but once she fell asleep, she slept for six hours and woke up only because the plane was landing and all the lights came on. For the daytime flight back, we assumed she’d take her normal nap on the plane, but nope! She was too distracted from all the movement and bright light that she just couldn’t nap and ended up being awake for over 13 hours before finally crashing in my arms as the plane landed.
C. Bring toys and games. I know some moms who are really good about bringing a ton of activities when traveling. One great trick is to wrap up little toys and games your kids have never seen before in tissue paper and unwrap one every hour of the plane ride. I love that idea. While I’ve never brought quite that many items, I usually bring a handful of little toys, crayons, a coloring book, stickers, lots of snacks, and the thing that saves us most of the time: An iPad (in a durable case) filled with educational games and shows.
06. Potty training. If you’re crazy enough to be in the middle of potty training, like we were when we went to France and Mexico, bring those training tools with you. We brought a foldable travel potty (which is always in my diaper bag these days anyway), a stamps/stickers for rewards, and Ruby’s pull-up diapers with us. We knew we might have some setbacks, but we found that for the most part, Ruby kept up with her training and if anything, it actually made her more adaptable having to go on the potty in various locations other than home.
07. Sleep schedule, naps, and jet lag. Adjusting to jet lag with a toddler is pretty similar to jet lag with adults, except toddlers don’t understand what time zones are and why they feel so loopy and tired. So the quicker you get into the new time zone and stick to your usual schedule there, the quicker everyone will adapt. And do your best not to let your little one fall asleep early or take extra naps, because it will take him or her longer to adjust. For example, when we landed in Paris, Ruby had only gotten six hours of nighttime sleep on the plane, and it felt like 2 a.m. our time. But it was midday in Paris so we made sure she got a quick nap (but not so long that it would end too close to her 7:30 p.m. bedtime, Paris time). It will take a couple days to adjust, and you’ll deal with a slightly grumpy toddler for a few days, but once everyone is back on track, you’ll all enjoy your faraway vacation much better.
08. Eating. The great thing about traveling with a toddler is that by this age, you’re usually not dealing with bottles and baby food, so you’ll have very few “special” foods to carry around. These days, when traveling, I pretty much bring the same items I carry when we’re going out to dinner with Ruby back at home—a sippy/drinking cup, utensils, a bib, and snacks. We try to use a high chair at restaurants whenever possible so that we don’t have to bring our own, but if a city (like Paris) is known for not having highchairs, then we bring our Inglesina chair to make her eating experience and our dining experience more comfortable for everyone.
09. Activities. Ruby spends the majority of her days in L.A. outside, playing and exploring, so we made it a priority to have at least one activity per day that was just for her so she could get out all her energy and play. In Paris, there were playgrounds everywhere, so it was easy to give Ruby a play break in between all our other adventures. It can be harder to find play areas in some cities based on the time of year, so we also like finding museums, indoor gyms, or other kid-based spaces that are free or inexpensive where we can spend an hour or two on any given day.
10. Just Do It. So many people tell me they’ve avoided traveling on planes or going far distances because they worry about how their little one will react or how hard it will be for them as parents. But I say you just have to live your life and do the things that you think will be enriching and fun for your family because the not fun stuff (like meltdowns on the plane and jet lag) are such a small part of an overall wonderful experience. Sure, you can’t have the same type of vacation you would if you were traveling with friends or with just your partner, but you can still have an amazing time and make wonderful memories you can look back on together when your little one is older and gets easier and easier to travel with.
If you have any other tips, I’d love to hear! Happy travels!
Read more of oh joy! here, http://ohjoy.blogs.com.
Here’s part two of our Give Thanks series, where more of our participating vendors tell us how they give back to the community. See part one to read more about Room to Grow and our partnership and what some of our other participating vendors are up to.
We’d also like to send a sincere THANK YOU to our vendors participating in our annual Give Thanks Donation Drive to help stock the shelves at Room to Grow giving the children they work with a strong foundation during the critical first three years of development.
At this busy time of year, Room to Grow has made a request for the donation of new and nearly new educational toys appropriate for newborns to age three. Children enrolled in the Room to Grow program receive five educational toys at every visit to guide their developmental growth. Your gift immediately impacts Room to Grow children by giving them opportunities to imagine, learn and play – something that is so often taken for granted, but so greatly appreciated by families who cannot afford to purchase toys. Each of our Boston Area Isis Parenting Centers has a designated drop-off location and we coordinate deliveries of all donated goods to Room to Grow as needed.
What is your company’s mission?
Bumbleride’s mission is to help make baby mobility fun, simple and intuitive, while reflecting a refined sense of style for active, sophisticated parents.
We at Bumbleride feel it’s so important to support the community in which we live and work. We provide strollers to families in need from Rady Children’s Hospital of San Diego and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. We also support local fundraising efforts for schools and families in need in San Diego. We love to clean up local beaches with kids in tow and volunteer at the local food bank. We also support Baby2Baby, an organization that supports Los Angeles families in need with essential baby gear and clothing for their children 0-4 years old.
We love partnering with Isis because they support the community through education, products and support, all under one roof. Isis offers classes on wellness, breastfeeding, safety and even offers sleep support webinars and chats; Isis stands behind its local and global communities. We admire the Isis vision, to be the nation’s most trusted pregnancy and early parenting destination.
Learn more about Isis and read their full give thanks donation drive article here, http://blog.isisparenting.com/give-thanks-donation-drive-part-ii/.
There are a few strollers I really like that fit into the all-terrain category, but the Bumbleride Indie definitely fits that category. This little stroller can go almost anywhere without much trouble. I’ve been on grass, dirt, concrete, rocks, even boardwalks and the ride is still smooth enough to keep your toddler sleeping. The front wheel also locks making it a great jogging stroller. It can also take a lot of use and even a lot of tossing around.
There are so many strollers on the market these days that finding the right one for you can be a daunting task. When choosing a stroller for your lifestyle, there is more to consider than you might think. You may want to ask yourself several questions before you even set foot into a store. Start with the simple question, where are my going to use this stroller the most? Are you going to use it at the mall, or are you going to be off road, in the mountains, the dirt, or anywhere other than pavement? If you are like us, you want a stroller that can handle most anything you throw at it.
Any mother of 3 would tell you that you don’t have a lot of time to carefully fold a stroller and gently set it into your car, or wherever you are going. You need to take care of it fast. When this stroller is folded, you can easily lift it with one hand to toss it into your car, or set it where you need to put it up. The stroller is locked closed tightly so it won’t be stretching out while you carrying it around. One down side to this stroller is that it does take two hands to fold up the stroller, so you can’t have a baby on your hips as you fold it and put it away.
The Bumbleride has great functionality. There has been a lot of thought put into this stroller, such as the addition of an adjustable handle. Not everyone is the same height and you won’t have to worry about that. No more hunching over for you tall people. They have also made sure that the basket is very roomy for all your baby needs.
Everything on this stroller is adjustable to fit your baby/toddler’s needs. There is a great 5 point harness that has easily detachable shoulder straps for your older children. The foot rest is adjustable for little feet, or sleeping baby. The backrest lays flat for sleeping baby or toddler. The only downside to this feature is that you can’t get the backrest to sit up straight for your older children. This can be fixed using a belt to keep it straight.
Overall this stroller is a great buy and worth the extra money for the great durability. You can get several handy accessories for this stroller such as a car seat adapter, a rain cover, and several more. I would recommend this stroller for anyone who is looking for a stroller to last through a few children with a lot of great use.
To learn more about the Bumbleride Indie stroller check out their website. http://www.bumbleride.com/strollers/indie-home.php
Product provided for free by the manufacturer for review purposes.
Learn more about Open Air Life or read the full review here, http://www.openairlife.com/index.php/gear-reviews/children/413-bumbleride-indie-stroller-review.
Bumbleride has recently debuted a new diaper bag to its already popular collection of baby gear. Keeping up with their on-the-go parent audience, Bumbleride designed a sporty and practical messenger bag to go along for the ride. The Bumbleride Diaper Bag comes in 7 Bumbleride colors (to match their strollers, of course!) and is stocked with pockets to keep everything organized. Our favorite features of the diaper bag, besides the gender-neutral design, are the magnetic closures and zipper that keep this bag closed if it happens to fall over. No VELCRO on this baby!!
To get an up close and personal look at this diaper bag to see if it is right for you, take a peek at our quick Baby Gizmo Video below.
Learn more about our Diaper Bag here, http://www.bumbleride.com/strollers/diaper-bag.php.
See Baby Gizmo’s full review here, http://blog.babygizmo.com/2013/11/bumbleride-introduces-new-diaper-bag-collection-video/.
I have to admit, I know a thing or two about diaper bags.
I remember when I had my daughter (6 years ago) I was anti diaper bag. I purchased aregular LARGE bag and called it my diaper bag. Big mistake. I could never find anything, my bottles were always MIA and I was constantly looking for diapers. Once I had my son, I figured out that a REAL diaper bag could be useful. I tested a few out and soon began to recognize what made a good and a not so good diaper bag.
Recently Bumbleride came out with new – pretty awesome – diaper bags. I was so excited to check out these bags. I love Bumbleride products.
I was extremely impressed when I received the diaper bag. I chose the bag in Lotus Blueand loved it right away. I could immediately tell that this bag was well made and that I would get a lot of use out of it.
I really love all the pockets in this diaper bag. The two front pockets is where I’m keeping my diapers and wipes (they are the easiest to access). I put my cell phone in a zippered inside pocket. We’re using sippy cups now and they fit perfectly in the inside bottle holder pockets. I can fit lots of snacks, extra clothes and a few books inside the diaper bag.
I adore the stroller straps, especially when I’m using my Flite because it has a very small basket for stuff. The stroller straps have very heavy duty velcro and fit great on both my stroller handle bars. The bag sits so well on the stroller when I use the stroller straps.
Another thing that must be mentioned about this diaper bag is that it is a unisex design. Both mommy or daddy can carry this bag around and no one will think twice about it. (Yes, that means I’ll be making my husband carry this diaper bag around for a change).
The Bumbleride diaper bag makes my Holiday Gift Guide for so many reasons. Husbands! This diaper bag makes a great gift for your hard working partner! Mamas, this is the perfect gift for your girlfriend that is expecting or just had a baby.
The Bumbleride diaper bag comes in eight colours and is very well priced. You can purchase it for $67.99 online and at approved Bumbleride retailers across Canada and the US.
Disclosure: A sample was provided for my review. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and no monetary compensation took place.
During our trip to France, we spent five nights in Lyon which is just a couple hours of outside of Paris by train. Bob had a conference for work there, so it was mostly Ruby and I hanging together most of the day, and Bob joined us in the afternoons when he was done work (hence why he is wearing such fancy outfits in most of these photos).
We rented an apartment in the 6th district in Lyon through airbnb. It was perfect for what we needed—spacious, cozy, relatively toddler-safe, and close to grocery stores, parks, and restaurants. Since it was on the 6th floor, we made sure that it had an elevator so that we wouldn’t be huffing it every day. However, the elevator was comical. It just barely fit the three of us when all squeezed together.
Once we crammed ourselves in and out of the elevator, here’s a what we did while in Lyon…
One of my favorite places to visit in any city is an indoor food market with various vendors and purveyors of every kind. Similar to the Reading Terminal Market in Philly or the Ferry Building in San Francisco, Les Halles de Lyon is a food lover’s dream with stalls aplenty. We bought some amazing cheese and charcuterie there that topped any cheese and charcuterie we’ve ever had in the States.
We even found the tiniest macarons in all the land at the Richart shop there. Ruby loved them because they were just her size!
Les Halles de Lyon | 102 cours Lafayette, 69003 Lyon
Some of the most flavorful ice cream we’ve ever had was at Terre Adélice. Known for their natural and organic flavors, it had the smooth and creamy texture of gelato. My favorite was the lime basil flavor—tangy, fresh, and so, so good. And, I think Ruby liked the chocolate ice cream, too.
Terre Adélice | 1 place de la Baleine, 69005 Lyon
Since Ruby goes to bed around 7:30 or 8pm, we usually have dinner at 6pm. We had a really hard time finding any restaurants in Lyon (and Paris) that were open for dinner that early, or even at all. When we did find restaurants open at 6pm, they often only had a small selection to choose from because dinner menus typically don’t start until 7 or 7:30pm. Just when we felt defeated by our lack of options, we ended up having one of our favorite meals from an afternoon snack menu at Café Juliette—including the best croque monsieur I’ve ever had and an amazing salmon rillettes and cheese dish.
Café Juliette | 41 rue Juliette Récamier, 69006 Lyon
And, there’s a cute little playground right by the restaurant that Ruby loved.
This week in Lyon was all about me and Ruby as we got a lot of special mama/daughter time exploring unknown territory. We played a lot and ate a lot of sweet treats. I broke my normal rule about no desserts until after dinner as we shared a chocolate croissant every morning on the way to the park.
Our apartment was just a couple blocks from the best park on the planet—the Parc de la Tête d’Or. Seriously, it’s like Central Park but way cleaner and full of so many areas including a botanical garden, a zoo, two merry-go-rounds, a playground, a lake, and so many other things I didn’t even get to see. Ruby and I went to the park every morning for the five days we were there, and every day we discovered something new.
The coolest part is that the zoo is interwoven into the park, so you’ll randomly see animals in areas mixed with totally serene greenery. It just felt so much more calm than any other zoo I’ve ever been to.
Parc de la Tête d’Or | Boulevard des Belges and Avenue Verguin, 69006 Lyon
Our time in Lyon was much more relaxed than our time in Paris. We enjoyed it more like locals and less like tourists by visiting some of our favorite spots daily and by going to places mostly in walking distance. It was a fun start to our trip, and we were happy to have Bob done with work and join us daily for our week in Paris. I hope you guys enjoyed seeing bits from our trip! I have some practical guides coming soon about packing for a family trip and traveling with toddlers abroad, so stay tuned…
Original post here, http://ohjoy.blogs.com/my_weblog/2013/10/oh-joy-in-france-part-3-lyon.html.
The last time I visited Paris, I was 20 years old and visiting my college roommate who was studying abroad. I had a lot of time to myself, so I shopped and ate while my friend was in class. Coming back almost 15 years later, I had such a different (and even more special) experience this time because I shared the experience with my family.
This trip wasn’t about what I wanted, but about what would be fun and entertaining for our whole family— including a very playful almost-two-year-old. A toddler can only walk, sit in a stroller, or shop for so long, so each day we’d put just a couple things on our list of things to do and left plenty of cushion time for Ruby to play in a park, playground, or do something kid-focused at least once a day.
The Jardin des Tulleries is mostly known for it’s beautiful gardens, but it’s also full of some amazing areas for kids that you just stumble upon while walking through…like this gorgeous carousel…
…this playground with the coolest swing/hammock ever…
…and this trampoline area for kids. Ruby was in heaven and cried when we said we had to leave to go get dinner. The parks of Paris are seriously the coolest I’ve ever seen! And I love how so many landmarks have playgrounds nearby.
Jardin des Tulleries | Place de la Concorde, 75001 Paris
And soon after all that jumping, someone succumbed to a nap…
Read the post on oh joy here, http://ohjoy.blogs.com/my_weblog/2013/10/oh-joy-in-france-part-2-what-we-did-in-paris.html
Over the next couple weeks, I’ll be sharing photos from our recent adventures in Paris and Lyon. Since we did so much, I’m going to break it up into three different posts starting today with…what we ate! I went to Paris with the plan to gain 10 lbs. from croissants alone. The food in Paris is certainly indulgent and amazing so I had no intentions of leaving anything on my plate. We took Ruby out with us to every meal, so our eating experience this trip did not involve any super fancy restaurants or fine dining but instead a lot of pastries, lunches, and early dinners.
Here are a few of our favorites spots during the trip—with everything organized by the arrondissement (or district) they’re located in…
[Excerpt from full post below]
One of our favorite areas in the 7th District is a little street full of shops called Rue Cler. It’s sweet and quaint and fun to walk on because there’s not a lot of traffic passing by.
The best ice cream cone I’ve ever had included these light and crispy cones from Martine Lambert.
Martine Lambert | 39 Rue Cler, 75007 Paris
And, a great mid-day snack of charcuterie and pommes frites…
L’Eclair | 32 Rue Cler, 75007 Paris
While some people say this little street is touristy, I found it to be quaint and sweet and a great spot for being leisurely and getting a bite or treat to eat.
We rented an apartment in the 10th District through Paris Address. The neighborhood had a mix of dodgy and questionable areas with some very up-and-coming. Luckily, we found a couple little streets that ended up being where we ate the most and found some of our favorite pastry shops.
Café Craft | 24 Rue Des Vinaigriers, 75010 Paris
The best chocolate croissant I’ve had in my life. And, when the shop is gilded in gold, you know they mean serious pastry-making business.
Above is an excerpt from the full adventure. Read about the rest of Part 1 here, http://ohjoy.blogs.com/my_weblog/2013/10/oh-joy-in-france-part-1-paris.html.