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Engaging toy for an infant

Posted by Alina on Friday Dec 26, 2008 Under Baby Products

boomboxMy infant son has been a really big fan of a particular toy we received as a gift. The Pop Tunes Boom Box, by Little Tikes, has been the one single toy that has held his interest for many months, and still continues to provide surprising stretches of entertainment. This is a plastic boombox that plays 4 melodies when a certain button is pressed. There is a spinning disk, which my son seems absolutely fascinated with, along with a button that makes several sounds, a spinning plastic ball which contains many tiny balls, and a few other parts that move and make noise. This toy has been able to calm him when he’s crying, keep his interest during the “witching hours” in the evenings, and has been of interest for discovery and exploration for him longer than any of his other toys. He liked hearing the music and watching the lights early on (about 3 months) and now that he is almost 9 months, he enjoys manipulating the different buttons and sounds in addition to the audio and visual stimuli. I would highly recommend this one for the young and the curious.

P.S. A friend of mine said she has this same toy in blue and the music is too loud, she checked out ours (yellow), and said it sounded much nicer.

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The Mommy Hook

Posted by Alina on Sunday Dec 21, 2008 Under mommy products

themommyhook-01When out shopping with a baby in a stroller, one can fit only so much in the stroller basket. I find The Mommy Hook to be a simple and yet absolutely necessary item. I have two on my son’s stroller. It’s a large metal carabiner which attaches to the stroller handle and is a great place to hang shopping bags, an umbrella, or whatever else you may need to bring along. There are plastic variations on the market, but this seems to be the sturdiest. This item is definitely at the top of my list of mommy products.

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529 College Savings Program

Posted by Alina on Thursday Dec 18, 2008 Under useful tips

The 529 College Savings Program is one way to save for your child’s college education. Each state has it’s own plan with various rules and benefits. One can invest in any state’s 529 program and the money can be used in any other state. If you are a New York resident and invest in the New York 529 program, the money you put in is deductible from your state income tax, up to $5,000 per parent, or $10,000 per married couple filing jointly. Withdrawals are exempt from New York State income tax when used for qualified higher-education expenses. Such expenses include tuition, fees, books, certain room- and-board expenses, and supplies at any eligible post-secondary school in the United States and abroad. If your child decides not to go to college, then the account can be transferred into another family member’s name, including the parents, to be used for higher education. If no one in the family wants to use the money for education, then it can be withdrawn, but earnings will be subject to federal income tax and an additional 10% federal income tax, as well as state and local income taxes. A 529 account can be opened with as little as $25, and can reach an aggregate maximum balance of $235,000.

For more information, check out the official site here.

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Places to visit with kids in NY during the holiday season

Posted by Alina on Saturday Dec 13, 2008 Under useful tips

Here are a few ideas for activities with the little ones in NYC during the holiday season:

Holiday Under the Stars (free)
The Time Warner building in Columbus Circle has huge stars hanging in
the atrium that light up in different colors to classical music. There
is also “snow” that falls every half hour for 15 minutes from the
atrium ceiling after 5pm.

The Station at Citigroup Center (free)
The Citigroup Building at 153 East 53rd St (Lexington Ave) has a large toy-train show exhibit every year, apparently this is going to be the last year. Here is an article about it.

Kaleidoscope Light Show (free)
Light shows choreographed to seasonal music at Grand Central Terminal’s famed ceiling constellations. Through 1/1, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, shows run every half-hour. 87 E. 42nd St., at Park Ave. (212-532-4900)

Santaland at Macy’s (free)
There is an “enchanted forest” set up on the eighth floor, with talking trees, dancing bears, skiing penguins, toy trains, Christmas trees and more.Through 12/24. Mon.–Fri., 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., weekend times vary. 151 W. 34th St. at Sixth Ave., eighth fl. (212-494-4495). Macy’s also has a very cool window display on Broadway, full of lights and things that move, which seems to be a hit with the little ones.

The Holiday Train Show
The Bronx Botanical Garden has a toy-train show featuring handcrafted replicas of historic landmarks made of natural materials like leaves, twigs, bark, berries, pinecones, gourds, cinnamon sticks, and other botanical
resources. Through January 11, 2009.

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Sippy/ Trainer Cups

Posted by Alina on Monday Dec 8, 2008 Under Baby Products

At his 6 month appointment, my son’s pediatrician said that he should start drinking water with a goal of 4-6 ounces a day. I started him with a Born Free Trainer Cup and he has been taking in about 0.5-1 ounce/day. The flow seemed to be quite strong, and my son began to choke after a couple of sips. At 7 months, although he tries, he is not able to drink independently. Because the spout fills up with water and my son tends to bite down on it, he ends up pretty wet all over if I let him play with the cup.

I decided to try a different cup with a soft spout. I chose the Avent Magic Trainer cup, and it seems to work much better for my son. He is able to drink without choking and is actually taking in 3-4 ounces per day. Because the spout is less voluminous, biting down on it does not cause a much of a leak, so that I can let him practice drinking independently without having to change his outfit.

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Clipping baby’s nails

Posted by Alina on Saturday Dec 6, 2008 Under Baby Products, useful tips

I have been having a harder time clipping my son’s nails. I used to do it while nursing, but now that he is seven months old, he is too easily distracted and my trick has stopped working. Some of my friends do this while their babies are asleep but I’m too nervous to wake him up. Well…. I have discovered a new trick. I turn the TV on for a few minutes and he seems hypnotized. I can clip all his nails and as soon as we’re done, the TV goes off. This may work so well because I never really turn the TV on when my son is in the room and thus it is a new stimulus, but whatever the reason, it works!

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