Baby list, do doo, do doo, do do

Camille here, Anna’s Assistant. I have compiled a few of my favorite baby toys and new Mama and Dad gifts! Hope you find something perfect for your little one! This list may contain affiliate links.

New bath toys are the best!

And a Caddy for the said bath toys and cozy towels!

We have the cutest videos of our Daughter trying out her walker for the first time. This will always be a great go to baby gift!

More of a Mom to be gift but these Heart and Oxygen Monitors are genius.

Never met a baby that doesn’t love Sophie the Giraffe.

Let them hit the things you want them to! Classic Pound and Tap toy.

What kid doesn’t want their own personal roller coaster. They look pretty fun!

Rattles are never ever going to go out of style!

I may have just added this one to relive my own childhood playing the Chatter Phone.

This Cookie Monster was dubbed the FAVORITE from my son’s first birthday! It eats cookies, talks, and it just dang cute.

Anything with the word busy, I’m sold. Busy Gears.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom will there be enough room? A told B and B told C…Ok you get it, this one is so good I know the whole thing by heart or this modern First Year book!

Jelly Cat stuffed animals are the softest things ever. Just trust me, these are the only stuffed animals you want hanging around.

Holiday Gift List 2016, for the kids

I am so excited about the kids' Holiday Gift List. I want every one of these items to be under our Christmas tree for me... I mean, for the kids. For the family, whatever.

I didn't get any of my kids a hover board last year, mostly because I didn't want my kids running into walls throughout my house. Then I saw the conversion kit that turns your hover board into a GO-KART! Coolest. Gift. of the year! HoverLikeAKing sells the conversion kit AND the hover board with the kit, if you are like me and didn't get one last year. My kids are going to freak out. Especially when I beat them in races! (By the way, there are similar conversion kits out there, but this is the best deal I have ever seen. Go NOW before they sell out or the price goes up.)

The main reason I bought the home we are in is for the giant tree in the backyard. It even came with a crummy old tire swing, too. This year I am replacing it with the raddest swing I have ever seen: The Swurfer! A swing you can stand on and not have everyone yelling at you to sit on your pockets. Oh, was that just me? The Swurfer can be used by kids and adults, sitting or standing. It is shaped to get speed and height in any direction and has long enough rope for giant trees, if you have one. Swurfs up!

If you have sons, you know how difficult it is to find cool clothes that fit well for them. Rowen Christian offers fashion-forward denim for boys and a portion of every sale goes to charities to help children in need. Fashion with a purpose is always something I love to support--AND my boys can have great-fitting clothes, too! Hallelujah! Check out these awesome denim joggers from Rowen Christian.

We have a couple of rules about using electronic devices in our house, but one that I stick to the most is "turn it down or turn it off" for the device volume. I don't want to hear my kids' music or game soundtrack while we all hang out in the family room. Regular headphones make me uncomfortable because of the damage they can do to my kids' hearing health. Enter: Puro Balanced Response bluetooth headphones. These headphones have the most advanced noise-limiting solution on the market and are the best-sounding kids headphones available. Heavenly Peace.

Speaking of hanging out, I want a mountain full of these Rock Pillows to lounge on with the kids. When we saw the original Rock Pillows at a market a couple of weeks ago, all four of my kids made a beeline for the pillows that look like rocks. They tossed them, sat on them, threw them around, and couldn't stop talking about them the next few days. And they look cool, too! Boulder Fight!

And since we are talking about lounging, I am always looking for cool new pajamas that I wouldn't mind my kids wearing to pajama day at school. Our family elf always brings the kids a new pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve with a note of "good luck" for Santa's upcoming delivery. I would not mind at all if he brought us all LazyOne pajamas. They are cute, fun, and so soft. Plus, we can all match!

You know what I miss the most? My daughter wanting to play with dolls. Isn't that funny how we can miss something that used to feel like a never-ending search for the favorite doll so she can go to sleep? These gorgeous dolls from LatterDayHome are so sweet that my daughter might be getting a new one this year, anyway. Perfect for the little girl or the girl you wish were little. Maybe even the perfect doll for me, too.

What better way to remember when they were little (which might be right now for you) than with a photo book? I have never been a scrap booker, and the old photo books often took me hours to put together. Then I discovered chatbooks! If you haven't heard about them, you are in for a real treat. If you've heard about them, but never ordered a chatbook for yourself, you have to try it. They print and are delivered so fast, you'll be reliving memories with your kids before you know it. My kids can sit and look at these books for hours. They love remembering when they were little(r) as much as you do. Use the code Merry20 for 20% off your order this week!

You know what makes me smile more than almost anything? Seeing someone wearing a funny or clever shirt. It's one of the quickest ways to my funny bone, for whatever reason. StatelyType has some of the most clever and cool shirts I have ever seen. And they are super soft, too, which is a huge bonus. Whenever I wear one of my StatelyType t-shirts or sweatshirt, I get loads of compliments. My kids are all asking for the Mas Tacos shirt and I might see who is best behaved this season to get one. ;)

That's all for the Kids' List this year. There were SO many awesome gifts for kids this year and I love that this list has small businesses and brands who are hustling to be in your home. Check them out and let me know if you have other suggestions for kids!


New Mom Monday, Thirteen

If you have any kids, or know anyone with kids, or know of anyone with kids, then I think you saw this coming after my last post: I didn't really “sleep” last week. Ha!

But while my failures may be many, there is one thing I am doing right. You see, I care about my child’s future. If my daughter is going to have a good life as a wealthy socialite, she has to get good grades so she can get into a good school, start a nonprofit or cure cancer or whatever these teens are doing these days, so she can get a rich husband and take care of me. She will take me to a spa day and say my pores are looking a little lower-middle class. She loves me, it's great.

That's why I only purchase toys that stimulate her highly malleable brain.

It is of the utmost importance that I seize every opportunity to educate, to enlighten, to inspire.

Play time is a time to nurture her growing mind.

Only the best for my Winifred.

Libbie Henrie is a new mother and really smart gal. You should believe everything she writes, especially the super sarcastic parts. She lives in Arizona with her husband and newborn baby. You can read more of her musings on her blog and follow her baby wearing adventures on Instagram @sweetcheeksbabywearing

Birthday bike

This isn't one of those parenting blog posts that tell you how wise I am and what you could learn from my experience. Not this time, at least. It's also not a sponsored post showing you something awesome that I have and you should buy so that you, too, can be awesome like me. I'm sure you're already as awesome as I am. This is a blog post that asks for YOUR expertise and experience for a small problem/question I have.

This is my son, Johnny.

He is going to be 12 next week (oh how does that happen? it goes so fast, I kid you not) and he is seriously one of the greatest individuals who has ever lived. Let me paint you a quick pic of Johnny:

Every morning he is the first one awake in our house; he practices the piano, takes the dog out for potty, wakes his little brothers up. He makes his own lunch for school and often makes his 6yo brother's lunch, too. His mother is lazy, it seems. He never wants to be late for anything, but especially school, his teachers love him, he is a kind kid, he always asks if he can help me with anything. If ever I need something from the storage room, I ask Johnny and he will get it right away. He brings in the garbage cans without being asked. He loves making dinner and cookies and any food that I let him make. As I am writing this, he is on the other side of the kitchen island, peeling potatoes so he can use the spiralizer to make us fries and omelets for dinner. Johnny has his difficult moments and frustrating times, but I am quite certain he is one of the good ones and I am just lucky to have a chance to spend so much time with him during his life.

Because he is such a good and easy kid, sometimes it is easy to not worry about him. Especially during special events and celebrations. He always gets great test scores, so we expect it from him. When his brother gets a good score, we do back handsprings and bake a cake to celebrate. For Johnny's birthday next week, he has asked for new pants because his are getting too small and worn (mother of the year, anyone?), a ski helmet because his is too small, and maybe some gum would be fun, he says. So, I will get him a pack of gum at Costco and take him to buy some pants. The ski helmet can wait until next season (heaven knows his head could grow over the summer... right?).

Then this afternoon we were outside getting the bikes ready for spring riding. Johnny pulls out the bike he got for free from a neighbor and the valves on the tires are all wonky. We try to get the pump on them and the tire completely busts. Guys, this thing is kind of an old piece of junk. But Johnny loves to ride bikes so he doesn't care, so long as it rides. He asks if we can take it to the bike store to fix the tire and that he even has some money to get the repair. I tell him that I will go look online for some nearby shops and see what I can find out. But really, I think, "Johnny should have a new bike for his birthday. If anyone would take care of a bike and treat it well, it's this kid."

So for the last two hours I have been scouring articles and websites looking for a good bike that can last him a few solid years before he gets too tall and needs a new one. So it should be affordable, too, since I know it won't be his forever bike. I would love something sturdy and cool, because he's super cool. I love brands that are small and need some recognition and support. I also love if they are easy to repair and service. Because I've never bought this kid a new bike, I am at a complete loss of what to get. That's where you come in. Tell me what bike is worthy of this kid (and that I can afford--hehehehe... heh!) that you have loved/currently love. Share with us some of the lesser-known companies that need some support and eyes on them. Tag your friends who are bike gurus. Because I am sure I am not the only mom with a ridiculously good-looking and deserving kid who needs a kick-A bike.

TIA, yo.

90's music, aka what was on the radio "ten years ago"

I was trying to come up with a rap for The Tonight Show’s Twitter hashtag game #SuperBowlRaps. I had to dig deep into my history of rap knowledge and went to where rap feels comfortable for me: The Beastie Boys. In high school, I loved the Beastie Boys. Even still when I say “The sun was beating down on my baseball hat” I enunciate “hat” with all the toughness I can muster. 

So I was sitting at my kitchen table after the boys were all in bed and muttering some lyrics when my teenage daughter called out of her room (said in the most typical teenage voice), “What are you doing?” 

“I’m just rapping.”

She came out of her room at this point, incredulously and amusingly watching me rap under my breath as I tried out some Super Bowl versions of Sabotage, No Sleep ’Til Brooklyn, and Paul Revere. 

She wasn’t that impressed. And it is my duty, as her mother, to impress her of my music and rap knowledge. I had to show her that I was not too unlike her, once upon a time. I played a few Beastie Boys songs for her on youtube, as I rapped and danced along. She thought the music videos of the 1990s were ridiculous. I told her that in the 90’s music videos were as important as the songs. Sometimes more important. 

During the next forty minutes I schooled her in some of my favorite songs of the 90’s. She told me that Pearl Jam sounded like country music and I told her that she should never say such things in my presence again. (I may have spit on the ground and turned in a circle a few times so that our home would not be cursed with such heresy.) She didn’t find Blind Melon’s No Rain video as charming as I thought it was. She liked Garbage as we discussed the coolness and vocal abilities of Shirley Manson, and we mused about Courtney Love and if Hole would have been as popular without her connection to Nirvana. 

My daughter has chatted with my husband for hours discussing classic rock—of which he is very knowledgable and a fan. This was the first time she and I have discussed “my” music for more than five minutes (she isn’t ready for 80’s synth pop). I told her that I would make her a playlist of 90’s music (do people make playlists and CDs anymore?) and as I was making it, I couldn’t believe how old some of these songs are. It’s weird, because I’m not old, but the music is. Bizarre. 

Here is my list:

No Doubt — Sunday Morning
Live — Lightening Crashes
Pearl Jam — Even Flow
Garbage — Only Happy When It Rains
Beastie Boys — Paul Revere
Hole — Celebrity Skin
Blind Melon — No Rain
The Fugees — Killing Me Softly
Weezer — The Sweater Song
Sinead O’Connor — Nothing Compares 2 U
Smashing Pumpkins — Tonight, Tonight
Alanis Morissette — Hand in My Pocket

No Britney, no Spice Girls, no Madonna or N’Sync, no Backstreet Boys, not a lot of pop songs, I know. Their music and songs are all a blur in my mind—I couldn’t tell you much more about them other than they were super popular and I heard them a lot. But the music, bands and artists on my list take me RIGHT BACK to the 1990s. Listening to those songs, I can tell you the shirts I was wearing, the Doc Martens I (wish I still) had, the boys’ names I’d write next to mine all over my folder, the JanSport backpack I wore… on one shoulder. These songs ARE the 90s for me. And the kicker is, I still like them. If my daughter were to like them, too, I’d be stoked if she played them incessantly in our family room. I don’t feel the same way about “Hit Me Baby One More Time.”

As for my #SuperBowlRap, well I started writing this instead. As far as I got in that one was:
“Super Bowl 50 I be, All by myself without nobody
Watching the game in my football hat
The food is supa hot, the tv screen is flat”

It’s so literal it hurts. Back to the music for me.

What would you add to that list? What kind of music did you listen to in high school and college? I started listening to 70’s Super Groups in college and that needs to be saved for an entirely different night talking with my teenager... and another playlist.

How To Valentine's Day Like a Boss

Let's be honest for a minute, Valentine's Day is weird. 

It is so weird. And I love holidays. I decorate, celebrate, commiserate, mediate, alleviate, try not to hate... all that. I put up the hearts, I fill the candy jars with conversation hearts, cinnamon lips, and mini sour hearts. It's always been a little uncomfortable, though, how we feel pressured to go out, buy cheesy gifts, and/or feel sorry for ourselves if we don't. When you have kids--especially those in grade school--Valentine's Day is all about making amazing cards for all their classmates, special boxes in which to hold them (our school even has a Valentine box competition!), class parties, and so much sugar that you consider banning all sweets for the next month or three.

It might be weird, but it's kind of cute for the kids. FOR THE KIDS! I have compiled a few different lists of cards, boxes, party ideas, and non-sugar-related items for your kids' best Valentine's Day ever. And if your kids are happy, YOU are happy. Especially when you have to do little work and research. It's all here.

Delicious Valentines

I know there are a lot of ideas, but THIS BINGO set is amazing. My family played it last night and everyone was having a blast. It's adorable, it's smart, it's ready to go. Huge recommend.

Check out this Valentines Pinterest page for more ideas for classroom parties.

Non-Food Valentines

Will Zoo Be Mine
Love is a Battlefield
Bouncy ball Valentines
Blow Me a Kiss Whistles

Or you can just forget all that and buy bags of M&Ms and watch a good chick flick. Yeah, do that!

Guest post: Captain's Log

Captain’s log: What happens when Mom is left alone with three boys under six for five days. 

Three boys, one mom, five days, no dad. There are many strong humans who are used to this sort of thing and roll with the punches. For me, one soft with the presence of consistent reinforcements, it seemed like an eternity; every second brought a crumbling of my mental stature. 

While alone, I documented my condition through a series of logs shared via social media. The following is a transcript and photo-log of how I survived using the my life raft of sarcasm and my 72 hour kit of cynicism. 

Captain's log, Day 3 sans reinforcements: 

Captain can’t remember the last she changed her underwear. Found a band aid in hair this morning, not sure where it came from. Natives are growing restless, their access to sugar and screens is increasing dramatically.

Captain survives nights by watching too many episodes of Hoarders and eating unspeakable amounts of ice cream. 

Captain fears an uprising is imminent, and requests, if she perishes, to please bury her near a quiet bathroom so at least in the afterlife Captain can pee in peace.

Captain's log, day 4 sans reinforcements:

Shower managed, but at the expense of a box of Cheerios, the contents of which still remains ground into captain's new, expensive, and impulsively purchased wool area rug. 

Natives have learned 2 new swears, claiming captain yelled them at various natives throughout the day. Captain denies such claims. 

Morale is looking up as captain's extended family has sent pizza to the ship and crew and natives are now dining in peace. Captain’s motivation to cook meals is all but gone due to crushing fatigue and growing indifference to the ‘five servings of fruits and veggies a day’ rule.

Captain still seeks a quiet place to pee, as solitary urination has not yet been achieved.

Captain’s log, Day 5, help arrives:

Reinforcements have arrived, and not a moment too soon as natives had grown deaf to Captain's voice and anarchy was building. Her commands now make natives laugh and throw food. 

Order has been restored, but reinforcements may be sleeping on couch after complaining about free massage received on voyage.

Also, if reinforcements do not stop talking about luxury of 5-hour-long solo flight, Captain may be forced to feed natives diet coke and leave the house right before bedtime. 

Captain has, at last, peed alone.


"Cooking dinner with a toddler underfoot is always a blast." from Instagram @robynn.garfield

"Cooking dinner with a toddler underfoot is always a blast." from Instagram @robynn.garfield

Robynn Garfield has worked as a professional writer and journalist for 10 years. Her employment adventures have included out of Salt Lake City, freelance work for NPR and CNN, and a fruit salad of writing projects featured in published anthologies, blogs (), and angry letters to the editor. 

Robynn currently stays at home with her three young boys. She staves off insanity by reading crap on the Internet and waiting longingly by the front door every night for her husband to come home.

Five crazy kid alarm clocks

We start school in two weeks. Over the summer some of the kids shifted into different bedrooms and how we managed school mornings last year isn't going to work this year. While we were discussing our new wake-up routines, I told the kids about the alarm clock that I had as a kid. It was a rooster playing the guitar and it sang the most annoying song over and over again until you pushed on its head. And like any millennial parent, I thought I'd see if it was on youtube to show my kids. Ten seconds later we were watching the terror of my childhood mornings:

Can you feel the emotion?

My brother had the alarm clock with a gorilla playing the drums. And my mom had a clock where a wino clown whistled at the top of the hour. That one freaked out my friends during high school movie nights. 

Apparently I don't own enough whacky clocks as an adult. But watching all of these clocks from my childhood caused my children to want a crazy alarm clock for their school mornings this year. We did a little internet searching and here are some of the whackiest and most amazing alarm clocks we found right now:


A dancing, rapping bacon alarm clock. What is not to love? (LINK)

gun alarm clock.png

This gun alarm clock has my little boys the most excited. You have to shoot the target to get the alarm to stop, which sounds fun to them and painful to me. (LINK)

If your kids like cars and racing, imagine how revved they would be to wake up every morning to "start your engines" and the intense sounds of race cars. I might have a heart attack, but if you've got a deep sleeper, this could be your/their answer. (LINK)

Star projection at night and eight different sound options to wake your child. I love this one, but my boys aren't buying it. I love ceiling projections. (LINK)

A cuckoo alarm clock perfect for kids. It's vintage and current and I want one for my room. (LINK)

A new alarm clock might be just what we need to get everyone up on the first day of school. And every day of school thereafter. Let's hope so, at least.

Do your kids wake up with an alarm clock or do you wake them up?