Stuff rookie moms should see {almost October edition}

This is a round up of things I’m excited about or have spent my own money on this month:

In a couple of weeks, I’m going to the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas with our buddy Karen. Karen is pregnant and I hope she can summon the energy required to traverse several football fields-worth of baby gear and merchandise.


I’ve got appointments to see this wicked cool breast milk storage system, the newest Bumbleride strollers, and more.

We’ll also have a chance to hang out with some of our online baby industry buddies like Amy from Pregnant Chicken, Meg from Lucie’s List, and Natalie from Many inappropriate things will be said.

Don’t miss Pregnant Chicken’s Third Trimester Bingo.


Are you pregnant? When I was, I liked having a belly band that (sort of) covered the gap between my shirt and pants at the end, and then held up my maternity pants afterward when my belly began to deflate. I think there were only a few colors to choose from, so when I saw this floral one on GroopDealz, I got a little excited.


Not your style? That’s okay. I’m not offended. They have plain ones too, for $7.99.

[Read more…]

Dressing up as Olaf, Anna, and Elsa: FROZEN costumes for kids

I know it’s early for Halloween, but many of these have been marked down, and I don’t think there’s any reason to wait. Why should kids only wear their costumes once per year?

Who doesn’t want to be Elsa every day? Or at least wear it at your own FROZEN birthday party! always sends us their best deals and I’m excited to share this one:

FREE DISNEY FROZEN DELUXE ELSA COSTUME WITH THE PURCHASE OF ANY COSTUME $15 OR MORE. Add item 805415 to your cart and then use code: getelsa.

Here are the other FROZEN costumes I’ve located across the web.olaf-costume

Olaf Costumes also sells a kids’ Olaf costume. (Seen above.) It comes in sizes from 12-months to size 6.

It’s exactly what my kids love: the costume covers their whole body, including the head. It’s about $25 and it looks warm and cuddly, too.  (Perfect for offering Olaf’s trademarked “warm hugs”.)

Click through to see the Olaf costume.

Updated 9/28/2015: Shop through this link and save 15% on whatever purchase you make.

This Olaf costume is cute as heck and many sizes are less than $10 on Amazon. I’m tempted to convince both my kids to be Olaf!

Now if you have a willing older sibling or parent who wants to be a snowman to accompany a FROZEN princess, and is not concerned about the details, like Olaf’s wide eyes and slightly hooked nose, less expensive, generic snowman costumes can be found. This toddler snowman is $14.99 at Amazon. This one for Dad is $43. Moving on.

Elsa Costumes

Links to all the best deals on Frozen costumes and dress-up items.

Frozen – Elsa Snow Queen Dress Costume – on close-out: $8.97

from: BuyCostumes

From around $15.

Anna Costumes


There are generally two Anna costumes to choose from: her blue dress and the coronation dress, which is black and gold.

Frozen – Anna Coronation Deluxe Girls Costume – $39.99 $17.99
from: BuyCostumes Links: Anna’s regular dress at; Coronation dress at (don’t forget, spend more than $15 at BuyCostumes and get a free Elsa dress with code getelsa.) links: Blue long-sleeve Anna dress for preschoolers at; Coronation dress at; Blue long-sleeve Anna dress for girls 7-8

More bang for your buck:
This combo pack of Anna + Elsa dresses will put both flavors of FROZEN in your dress-up box for twenty bucks. If you have two kids between 4 and 6, this is the deal for you.

You might also do okay in the toy aisle at Target, but the inventory is very unreliable. Let me know what you find there.

And finally, the less descriminating FROZEN fanatic may enjoy this trunk which includes an inexpensive take on both dresses, with accessories. Great gift, plus, you’re covered for Halloween. About $25 for everything you see here.  Click on the image to check availability. As of this writing, free shipping for Prime members.

Where to buy FROZEN costumes

You can and should feed pumpkin to your baby

Pumpkin baby food

One of Heather’s clever “homemade” baby food cheats is to open a can of organic pumpkin and feed it to a baby.

Baby food you can make with canned pumpkin

Adding pumpkin to rice cereal or oatmeal makes a fancy fall breakfast, like something you could order at Starbucks, but without whipped cream. Experiment with cinnamon, nutmeg, and or ginger to help your baby embrace flavors.

A parent with mad kitchen skillz may be harvesting pumpkin meat out of actual pumpkins this season to make pies, breads, roasted pumpkin stews, and more. But I won’t. [Read more…]

Stylish shoes for toddlers that are socially responsible, too!

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Thanks to for sponsoring this post.Morgan and Milo sneakers from FriendlyRooster.comMorgan & Milo slip-ons from

Shoes are an entire new world of responsibility for parents. From deciding when kids start wearing them, to how many pairs of shoes a growing body needs at a time, to managing where they are, and if they are allowed to be worn in the house. I spend way more time thinking about shoes than I could have ever imagined in my pre-mom days.

When Friendly Rooster invited us to browse their online shoe store, I was familiar with most of the brands they carry, but had not heard of  Tip Toey Joey, and I quickly learned that they are both adorable and manufactured responsibly. Yay!

I think both boys and girls should wear shoes they can run and climb in, as those are the main jobs of little kids during the day.

So I was super-digging these vintage-style sneaks. Right?

Tip Toey Joey Sneakers

They sent Scarlett a pair of Tip Toey Joeys (below), but note that the store specializes in baby and toddler shoes– all designed with a growing child’s development in mind. They top out at size 11 or 12. She happens to have small feet for an 8-year old.

Shoes by Tip Toey Joey from

I love the outfit she put together yesterday, all inspired by her new leather high-tops. Her shirt says “If you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you haven’t learned anything at all.” And she has fuschia hair, of course, because THIRD GRADE.

Today, she went in another direction. Knee-highs over leggings and under a dress, all different prints.

Stylish shoes for babies and toddlers, from Friendly Rooster

She likes the shoes, but wants me to tell you that they are more comfortable with thicker socks.

Through Friendly Rooster’s Share Your Love of Shoes™ program, they donate brand new Tip Toey Joey shoes to US charities that benefit infants. So, yes to that.

Guys, we have a discount code for you: Save 15% at with promo code ROOKIE15.

And… a giveaway!

Rookie Moms giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And I leave you with this inspirational quote: 90 percent of parenting is saying “Put your shoes on!”

Most of parenting is telling kids to put their shoes on

Thanks for sponsoring this post today, Friendly Rooster, and for providing this prize!

An all-star rookie mom shares her adventures on Instagram

If I had Kaylie F’s address, I’d send her a gigantic gold star because she is beating down the list of Rookie Moms Challenges like nobody’s business. I love seeing all her victories on Instagram; she tags them with #rookiemoms to let us know what she’s up to.

#rookiemoms challenge - challenge accepted!

Let’s review a few of her highlights:

Challenge #5: Go to the grocery store

5. Go to the grocery store #rookiemoms

A photo posted by Kaylie Flewin (@kaylieflewin) on

Challenge #23: Build muscles at bootcamp

  Amazing double header with two kick ass teachers Ashley and Lindsay #100happydays #rookiemoms #hotmamafitness #hotmamafitshpk   A photo posted by Kaylie Flewin (@kaylieflewin) on


Challenge #16: Walk into nature

Visited Mt Robson with our son Robson. Amazing views daily at Mt Robson lodge #mtrobson #rookiemoms #100happydays A photo posted by Kaylie Flewin (@kaylieflewin) on


Challenge #8: Get a pedicure, you deserve it


8. Get a pedicure #rookiemoms Even though first spa messed up our booking Jessica and I made it out for pedicure date. A photo posted by Kaylie Flewin (@kaylieflewin) on

Challenge #7: Take a postnatal yoga class with your baby

We love baby yoga class #rookiemoms #100happydays #yogawithin   A photo posted by Kaylie Flewin (@kaylieflewin) on

Congrats to Kaylie for going to the farmer’s market, on so many outdoor adventures, and getting out there with her baby in tow!


Browse fifty-two activities for new moms here and tag your Instagram photos #rookiemoms so we can see ’em! (Though we can’t see them if your account is private, but we completely respect that choice.) Or send them to us via the Instagram app at @rookiemoms. Or through old fashioned email to

Activity #239: Play with magnets away from the fridge

Whoever invented refrigerator magnets must not have minded their children blocking access to the refrigerator. I don’t get this.

I like to take the magnets off the fridge. Put them in muffin tins or on a cookie sheet. Lots of fun and much more portable than the fridge.


The stuff (you probably have most of these):

Freaking simple kid and baby clothes. Finally.

The company Primary, which sells affordable baby and kid clothes with no logos, animals, or sayings on them, might be on my top ten list of “Where was this when I first had a baby?”

Plain, solid colored baby clothes

I love a plain, solid-colored garment, and they are so stinkin’ hard to find! Primary sells onesies, leggings, tshirts, tunics, and more, all in dead simple designs.

(save $10 on your first purchase with my link.)

I love customizing clothes for babies and kids, and I’m happy to see there is a new source for blank slates.

Finally! Solid colored baby bodysuits

I mean, one quick Sharpie session and that orange bodysuit will be a newborn Jack ‘O Lantern costume.

Here are six different styles of baby clothes decorating I’ve embarked on in the past.

Customized baby shirt - homemade

Scrappy-style felt with visible stitching. (My friend Nila made the one pictured.)

Using iron-on adhesive to make a design with other fabric.

Buy and sew on a million cute buttons.

Tie-dye (linking to my friend Wendolonia’s comprehensive tutorials)

Use stencils and fabric paint. (I include tips on how to make your project not suck.)

A faux neck-tie tshirt with zigzag stitches.

Are you happy to see a new source for plain baby clothing? Primary clothes go up to size 10 for big kids.

Would you ever: Let an app name your baby?

I worry that I have gotten dumber in recent years, as I am fearful of driving anywhere without my phone reassuring me that I’m making all the right turns. How did I ever get around before? And picking a restaurant in another city? Can’t do that without learning what everyone else thinks of the restaurant I’m standing RIGHT IN FRONT OF first. I get why Yelp rhymes with help. It’s so useful!

When I came across an app called NameMyWorld, designed to enable expectant parents to find the best name for their child, I thought, maybe it’s gone too far.

The app, whose tagline is “Changing the way babies are named worldwide” displays this message on it’s website: NameMyWorld helps parents decide a suitable name for their newborns. With an easy to use app interface and tons of features to choose from, it is the best resource for parents to name their baby.

Do we need to change the way parents name their babies?

I think there are two main methods: 1) Honor your heritage by choosing a name from your family tree and 2) ignore your heritage and select a name because you like the way it sounds, how it looks, or what it means. I mean, after a lot of debate with your partner.

NameMyWorld uses numerology to recommend baby names. I don’t get exactly what that entails, and I am not recommending this app by any means. (You get a list of names where most of the letters in the name are hidden, like AM*****, and to “unlock” the actual names, you must pay.) Plus, it’s just a horrible user experience; you must enter the full name and birthdays of the parents and the due date of the baby. It felt invasive.

But, let’s say it was better. The names are ranked by strength of the algorithm’s recommendation. No explanation, just an assertion about which names are Best, Average, and Totally Suck. Could you be swayed by the numbers? What do you think “Critical” means? In the screenshot below Aaron Walker is critical. Gosh, poor Aaron. His name sounds great to me.


If you are looking for a baby name app, there are some free ones that seem less creepy, and have some cool features.

For parents who met on Tindr: Babyname has 30,000 name cards and you can both swipe right and left to like and dislike the names until you find a match.

Apps that help you pick baby names

For parents who love Game Night: The Baby Name Game app allows partners to compare short lists until they find a name that satisfies both parents via a series of playoff games.


For parents who see the world as a flow chart: Baby Names by BabyBump Preg will give you related names to the name you’re studying when you give your phone a shake.

Apps for picking baby names

Where did you find your baby’s name?

How I ordered eyeglasses without leaving the house

This post contains affiliate links.

Getting new eyeglasses is one of my greatest  triumphs of the summer. Whitney Moss in glasses It might sound minor, but I’ve been wearing the ones you see on the left as long as it took to grow those bangs all the way down to my shoulders, and then go back to having them again.

45 minutes after an eye doctor visit, I had a new prescription in my hand. Now what?

Shopping for glasses is hard. I like to have my husband or my mom with me for opinions. I like not to have children with me so that I can focus. So when can that happen?

Also, it’s so hard to see myself in the mirror at the eyeglass store, because I’ve taken off my glasses to try on the samples. So, now I’m just blurry.

I decided to try Warby Parker, the online glasses store that will send you five pairs of frames to try on – for free. All the frames were reasonably priced at $95 (for non-progressives) and generally inline with my style. And it was fun!

Warby Parker glasses

I carefully studied the notations inside my current frames to understand what size of glasses fit my face (I have a very small face and a wide bridge of my nose). I checked the sizes on the glasses I liked on the website. I found it was much easier to commit to five pairs than to make that final decision on something to wear on my face every single day for the next two years.

I ordered five pairs that fit the bill.

Warby Parker glasses

My “Home Try On” box arrived in a few days.

Warby Parker glasses home try on kit

As encouraged by Warby Parker, I created a mini fashion show and posted a photo on Instagram of myself wearing each pair of frames.

Warby Parker glasses

[Read more…]

Would you ever? (Beauty Services Edition)

It’s not entirely clear to me why the proliferation of home-delivery services is arriving in concert with apps as a way of life, but it does seem that my smart phone is increasingly becoming a remote control through which I can order whatever I want, around the clock. For most moms, this is a delightful thrill.

Everything can be summoned to your house: food, diapers, even an assortment of stylish prescription eyeglasses for you to try on in front of your own mirror. And now: people.

You can order PEOPLE to come to your house.

Why would you? Well, these are specially trained people who know how to do your hair, your makeup, or maybe your nails. And you find them using an app, of course.

Four services that will send a beauty pro to your house:

The Glam App offers hair, nails, and make-up and has three levels of stylists you can select based on your budget. Currently serving NYC, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, Dallas, Phoenix and Las Vegas. The services have names, like “Bombshell” for a blowout or “Smoky Eye” for a heavier make-up look. The prices are listed upfront.

A list of on-demand beauty service apps

StyleBee (West Coast only) and GlamSquad (NY, LA, Miami) are pretty much the same thing, offering updos, makeovers for date night, and blowouts. A 20% gratuity will be automatically added, according to the FAQ on StyleBee.

Glamsquad and other on-demand beauty apps

Priv takes it a step further, offering actual haircuts, not just styling. In addition, Priv has spray tans, mens grooming, fitness, and massage.  (London, NYC, LA, Austin, Orange County.)

Another “Uber for grooming” service, Shortcuts, seems to target men, and encourages group booking, so for example you could have your husband and three sons all get their haircut at home back-to-back, but at a starting price of $75 that only drops to $50 per cut when you book three or more, you would have to be pretty darn fancy to pick that over driving your dudes to a salon. Or just doing what we do in Berkeley, and place haircuts for boys very low on the list of things people care about.

So the question is: Would you ever?

Is it compelling to order up a hairstylist, timed for your child’s nap?

In the case of a failed nap, treat yourself kindly

When Joanne’s son was a toddler, she emailed me her take on “how to cope when baby doesn’t nap.” When I was in this phase, I often felt like I was spending the whole afternoon trying to make the nap happen, stewing in a power struggle. I had not yet discovered my philosophy of SURRENDER.

Joanne’s take on surrendering to the nap fail is a good one.

Learn to surrender when the nap fails

There are days when my little guy does not want to nap. Sometimes, this will happen a couple days in a row. On the days when I’m feeling stretched, I treat myself. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Take wide-eyed baby and their favorite travel size toy and get in the car.
Step 2: Turn on some tunes. My suggestions: Norah Jones, Feist, David Gray…and depending on the album, maybe even Tom Petty. Keep it mellow and upbeat. (Omit Green Day and other rockers for this trip.)
Step 3: Let the adventure begin. After everyone is all buckled-up in car and the tunes are rolling, pick a starting destination that makes you happy. I like the Starbucks drive-thru on San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito. Other drive-in places work just as well. The drive-in saves you from having to lug baby in and out of the car. Order coffee, tea, diet-decaf soda, or even water. Doesn’t matter, just pick something refreshing that you enjoy.
Step 4: Wash your vehicle in a drive-thru. The windows will be nice and shinny and you’ll feel sparkly clean too.
Step 5: Find a place to take in a view. I like to drive to the top of the hills and marvel at the sweeping view of the bay. Take a few deep breaths and feel your energy return.

More often than not, my little guy nods off to sleep in the midst of our travels. Not always. Even if he isn’t asleep when we get home, I feel recharged and more prepared for whatever challenges lay ahead for the rest of the day.

Don’t worry if your baby doesn’t transfer from the car to crib without waking up. Bring some reading material. Roll down the car windows, relax and read while he continues to catch his zzz’s.

Depending on your neighborhood, this little exercise is equally effective with a pair of good walking shoes and a comfy stroller. Take along headphones with upbeat music, grab a latte, and stroll around to all that places that make you feel good.

Be kind and gentle to yourself.

Wow – I’d love to collect tips for people who are dealing with a three-year old who doesn’t nap. How can we be kind and gentle to ourselves when a little elf keeps emerging from his bedroom every 30 seconds asking if “rest time” is over? Thoughts?

Related Rookie Mom activities (in the spirit of being kind to yourself even without a nap-skipper):

Thanks to my friend Joanne for sharing her wisdom. The photo is hers.

Read this book exactly this way to put your child to sleep with success

This post includes affiliate links.

A new night-night book promises to cure bedtime woes for parents around the world, and all you have to do is follow the instructions exactly. Read the words, odd as they may be, and insert your child’s name where indicated.

The best-selling book that claims to put your child to sleep

Based on SCIENCE, this self-published book is selling like hotcakes on Amazon, as we all know that the promise of sleep is worth throwing money at.  The parent is meant to read the book in a quiet, sleepy voice, inserting yawns along the way. The author has used “a specific language pattern based on psychological techniques that will help your child to relax and fall asleep.”

From the author’s website:

By using psychological techniques and the specific way the book is written the children will often fall asleep, even before the story ends.

This unique book is recommended and praised by psychologists and therapists, as a way to help put your child to sleep.

While it’s tempting to order a Kindle version in able to use it ASAP, the light of the iPad or Kindle may be a distraction to the vibe of the room you are going for.

My local mom’s group had mixed results with this book.

Have you heard about it? It is the number 1 best-selling book on Amazon across ALL CATEGORIES. That is how much parents what their children to go the eff to sleep.

See The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep on >