Toy Review: Baby Einstein Discovering Music Activity Table

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It is a well known fact by … well, me … that I don’t normally condone battery operated toys. Noise-makers is what I call them. I believe that most battery operated toys only serve to entertain and not educate. I believe that the best toys are ones that are simple and plain. I believe that toys work best when children can learn a useful skill from them.

But, I have to say that Baby Einstein’s Discovering Music Activity Table is different. Even though it is very clearly operated by batteries and makes a lot of obnoxious noises, there are five distinct and useful reasons why this toy is truly one of the best for babies and toddlers.

1–It Is Multilingual

If you know me and my background, you know that I pride myself on my ability to speak more than one language. As a result, I love toys that teach languages in addition to English. I strongly believe that languages are best learned at a young age — in fact, the younger the better. This activity table in particular features three language modes — English, Spanish, and French.

My four year old was playing with this table the other day. She suddenly looked up and informed me that the number five was ‘cinco.’ I agreed with her, inwardly proud that this toy was enforcing foreign language skills. Even though she is bilingual, my goal is for her to be able to speak as many languages as possible.

2–It Grows With ‘Em

It is common knowledge that baby gear and toys are expensive. That is why it is cost efficient to buy things that can grow with the baby. I love that this toy can be used from the time that the baby is, well, a baby up until age four or even five depending on the the interest of the child. It starts off in ‘sitting mode’ sans table legs and then ends with ‘standing mode’ with table legs.

In my case, both my 8 month old and 4 and a half year old love playing with this table. They are both mesmerized by the colors, the lights, and the sounds. It is a combination that is designed to enchant even the most stoic, stubborn child.

3–It Teaches ‘Em About Music

Music is commonly thought of as the universal language. You can communicate with many diverse groups of people and cultures through music, even if you don’t know how to speak the language. Even though I myself don’t have a lot of experience with music or playing music, I still realize the value of music. I still want my children to be able to see, to hear, and most of all, to feel the music.

This table teaches kids about eight different instruments: drums, guitar, trumpet, flute, harp, xylophone, violin, and piano. You can press and hear the sounds of the respective instruments. You can play the piano keys and watch in fascination as it lights up.

4–It Teaches ‘Em About Numbers, Colors, and Shapes

Now, this table seems to have it it all: multiple languages and instruments. But, did you know that it can also teach the child their numbers, colors, and shapes? I love to repeat the numbers one to five in a fun, sing-song voice, and then watch as my baby smiles back at me. As he gets older, I can ask him what color is this, or what color is that. I can do the same with the shapes on the table.

5–It Encourages Their Creativity

A toy that encourages creativity is a keeper. Now it may seem that this noisemaker of a toy may be limited in terms of creativity. But I can tell you first hand that this toy can in fact encourage kids’ creative thinking abilities. For example, as I sit here writing this, my son just tried — and successfully — to crawl under the table. They can pretend that the table is a tunnel and they have to go solve the musical riddles in order to get to the others side.

As he gets older, I can encourage him to play a tune with the five piano keys Or, I can ask him to play a catchy song using the various instruments on the table.

But, what I love most about this table is that there is a huge smiley face in the middle, as a constant reminder to even the youngest of kids that we should never stop smiling. I look at that smiley face, and I just can’t help but smile back. That is the kind of attitude that I want my children to experience day in and day out.

To recap, the Baby Einstein’s Discovering Music Activity Table teaches babies and toddlers three different languages and eight different instruments. Despite the noise, it is a classic toy that does provide value to small children for many years to come. Also, unlike many baby oriented items on the market, it likely won’t break the bank as it retails for less than thirty-five bucks on Amazon.


Speaking of toys, what was your favorite childhood toy?

The Best Little Chair

My five month old boy sitting in his Ingenuity Booster Seat.

(Note: There are Amazon affiliate links in this postAs an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases)

I believe that a good chair works wonders for the body and soul. A good chair can mean the difference between having a sore back and being well rested. It’s why millions of people spend loads of money and time looking for that elusive perfect chair for their office.

Well, it’s no different for babies. Like adults, babies too need a comfortable place to sit when playing, eating, drinking, or just hanging out.

But there are so many baby chairs on the market. How to choose the right one for baby?

I knew that I didn’t want to buy him a high chair. For one, some of them cost upwards of a hundred dollars. For another, they take up a lot of space. Since we live in an apartment, it has taught me that every square foot counts. That’s why it’s even more important to purchase things that are versatile and have multiple purposes.

In the end, I purchased this Ingenuity Booster Seat for my son. I love that it can easily be strapped to the dining room chair. It won’t take up the previous floor space that we desperately need for play and work. Also, he would be able to join us at the table when he begins eating.

I also love that this booster seat is designed to grow with baby. It can be used starting from the moment that baby is able to sit up or around four to six months until the baby is around three to four years old. In fact, my four year old has used it as a booster seat. Just take the support cushion out, store the tray in the handy bottom compartment, and voila! It transforms into a booster seat for the big kid in the family. There’s even a handy dandy seat belt to keep the little one safe.

The seat is not just a high chair for eating. The baby can practice sitting up. Just put a toy (preferably a toy with a suction-base) on the tray for the baby to play with. It’s basically like one of those infamous bumbo chairs but at like half the price of one.

I just love this chair and it is definitely a really great buy for babies, toddlers, and even big kids.

What is your favorite chair?

The Five Best Essentials for Newborn Baby

My baby at 1 month old, sitting in his boppy

(Note: There are Amazon affiliate links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases)

Four years ago, I published a blog post about what I thought was absolutely essential for a newborn baby. Two kids later, I wanted to update that post with some of the things that have come in handy for baby during the fourth trimester.

1–Muslin Swaddle Blankets

I didn’t use Muslin Swaddle Blankets for my first baby, but did so with my second baby. The difference is unbelievable. Unlike the cheap store brand receiving blankets, the Muslin blankets are so soft and versatile. It comes in so many different colors and patterns so it can match any nursery or furniture.

I love that I can use these blankets to swaddle my baby. It can also be used as a floor mat, a baby security blanket, or a burp cloth. It’s so breathable and lightweight and I am so in love with this particular item. I love the Muslin fabric so much that I also bought a Muslin bandanna bib for my baby.

2–Boppy Original Nursing Pillow

I had the Boppy Nursing Pillow for both of my kids, albeit different ones. The one pictured below is the one that I got for my youngest child. But what I love most about this particular pillow is not the pattern (which I love), but how versatile it is. I can prop my baby in it on the floor, bed, crib, or anywhere really. It’s like a bouncer in that it is a safe place for baby to rest, but a lot softer. I like to think of it as a pregnancy pillow for babies.

As baby gets older, it can be used to facilitate tummy time. When baby starts to sit up, the baby can sit in the center of the pillow, which helps to support and keep the baby balanced.

Oh, I almost forgot its most important function. It can be used to nurse or bottle feed a baby. Just put the boppy on your lap and then put the baby on it. It elevates the baby so that you are not straining your back while feeding him.

3–Skip Hop Diaper Bag

This is the diaper bag I got for my second child. With two kids, I knew that I wanted something bigger with plenty of space for the kids and myself. Well, this bag has plenty of that. There are so many pockets that I don’t even use some of them. I love that there are two huge side compartments, one for baby and one for mom. In one of the compartments, I put my personal stuff, like keys, wallet, receipts, etc. In the other compartment, I put the baby stuff like pacifiers, diapers, wipes, and baby towels. There’s a big compartment in the middle, which boasts the biggest space of them all. Here I put spare clothes and blankets.

The two side pockets are perfect for storing drinks. I love that the front pockets are of different sizes for both functionality and aesthetic appeal. I also love that the straps are too long so that the bag isn’t dragging. I can carry it easily on my shoulder.

All in all, I love love love this bag. There’s so much room and I recommend it to any mom who needs something to put in all the baby paraphernalia. Maybe I’ll do a what’s in my diaper bag post.

4–Gerber 4 Pack Sleep n’ Play

If you have to buy clothes, then buy these. Buy sleep n’ plays and make sure that they have zippers. I repeat: make sure that they have zippers. Zippers are amazing. Trust me, you don’t want to have to be putting a newborn baby in one of these at three in the morning working on all the buttons. The zippers are quick and painless. When you are postpartum, recovering, and sleep deprived, you’ll be glad that you bought these.

5–Lillebaby Complete All Seasons Baby Carrier

I actually bought this when my baby was three months old. But I wish I had bought this sooner. This carrier can be used starting when the baby is a week old until the baby child is three or even four years old. There’s a safety strap for the tiniest of babies inside the pouch.

What I like the most is that there is a breastfeeding cover for the baby. If the baby is nursing or even sleeping, you can throw the cover over the baby for some privacy. There is also a pocket for your wallet or phone. Another thing that is unique is that I can adjust the temperature simply by unzipping or zipping up the mesh fabric.

It’s super comfortable for me to wear, with padded shoulder straps and a supporter for the back. I love it and plan on using it for a long time.

Do you agree? What do you need for your newborn? What do you regret buying?

The Best Jumper for Baby

(Note: There are Amazon affiliate links in this postAs an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases)

4 months old & jumping!

My youngest child is four five months old tomorrow. Ever since he was a newborn fresh out of the womb, he loved being upright. He loved it when I would gently cradle him against my shoulder. If he was ever fussy, we would just put him on our shoulders and he would (9 times out of 10) stop crying instantly.

So, with that in mind, I wanted to get him a jumper. He loves being upright. He loves it when I support him in a standing position, letting him push off with his strong feet and legs. I bought this jumper and from the first moment he was placed in it he was thrilled. He loves to stand and jump in it.

What I love about this jumper that is different from other jumpers on the market is that it is extremely lightweight and portable. I can pick it up and put it in the kitchen, the living room, or any room in the house. Most stationery jumpers are just that… stationery. And big and bulky. I can just pick up this with one hand and then put him in the jumper and let him jump away.

Another perk about this jumper is that it can be used indoors and outdoors. It even comes with an attachable canopy to help protect the baby from the sun’s harmful rays. I’ve used this jumper on our patio and plan to take it to the beach or the pool soon.

What jumper have you used for your kids? What baby gear do you like the best?

5 Things You Really Don’t Need for Baby

20160903_130449.jpgRecently, I published a blog post about the five most essential things for baby. Today, I’d like to give you the top 5 things that you really don’t need for a newborn baby. I didn’t realize this before I had my child, but the baby industry sells a lot of things for baby in an attempt to make money (and it works).  But for parents on a budget, you can make do with the main essentials. Here are the five things that I found that I really did not need for my baby girl.

  1. Burp Cloth

You don’t really need a burp cloth. Sure, they are intended to be placed on your shoulder or knee to catch any of that precious spit-up. But, you can just use a wash cloth, towel, or receiving blanket.

2. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (you can purchase it here on Amazon).

Yes, as an exclusively breastfeeding mom, this book was really interesting to read. But, truth be told, it didn’t tell me the things that I hadn’t already found through Google.

3. Pacifiers

Turns out that not all babies take pacifiers. Mine doesn’t.

4. Shoes

You don’t really need to buy shoes for babies because they don’t know how to walk yet. If it’s cold, just slip on a pair of warm socks and the baby is good to go.

5. Play Gym (I have this one from Fisher-Price)

Yes, a play gym is a cute place for baby to play. But really, you can just lay baby on a soft blanket with a bunch of toys around baby.

So, these are the five things that I feel that I really did not need for baby. Tell me what you think. What items were unnecessary when you had your little one?

5 Essential Things For Newborn Baby

 

5Z8QJ8SIHDLike every new parent, I wanted to buy nearly everything and anything for my first child. I wanted to spoil her rotten. I wanted her to have a pink, princess-themed nursery. I wanted nothing but the best for my daughter. But, as it turns out, you need very little for a newborn baby.

So, I’ve compiled a list of 5 things that I found to be most useful for my baby girl.

  1.  Breast Pump

As any breastfeeding mom knows, a breast pump is absolutely essential. You’re going to want it for those times you need to bottle feed you baby.  I have the Lansinoh manual breast pump.

 

2. Several Sleep ‘N Plays

Do you know that all your newborn baby is going to do is sleep and eat and poop and sleep some more? That’s why it’s good to get a couple of Sleep ‘N Plays that you can quickly and efficiently get your baby in and out of for those middle of the night diaper changes. Plus, they are super comfy for baby. I had several of those in the newborn sizes. But looking back, I wish I had bought them in the 0-3 month size. My baby girl outgrew her newborn clothes so fast.

3. Diaper bag

My diaper bag came in so handy. It was big enough to fit all of the baby essentials, such as bottles, breast feeding cover up, wash cloth, extra onesies, reusable changing pad, diapers, wipes, blankets, and all those little odds and ends that a little baby needs. Plus, diaper bags are cute and adorable!

4. Onesies

Onesies are so easy to get baby into. You just slip the onesie over the baby’s head and then snap it shut. It’s super easy for diaper changes. And they come in so many different colors. Baby can lounge in these things all day. Check out these adorable onesies I bought for my baby.

5. Receiving blankets

Receiving blankets are so useful and there are so many uses for them. You can use them to swaddle your newborn baby. You can use them as a burp cloth. You can use it as a comfort item for baby. They are lightweight and come in so many different colors and styles.

Tell me what you consider to be some of the most essential things for baby.

Update on Baby, Future Plans, etc

I know, it’s been awhile since I posted on this blog. Two months, actually. I’ve been really busy with the mom life. My baby girl is almost 6 months old. In fact, her six month birthday is this Saturday. After six months of exclusively breastfeeding her, I’m planning on starting her on baby cereal this Saturday.

The past six months have been 20160817_104645filled with so many firsts. And they all happen so quickly! I saw her find her hands and feet for the first time. I saw her roll over from tummy to back, and then, months later, a few days shy of her 5th month birthday, she rolled over from back to tummy.

The past few weeks, she’s been doing a lot of commando crawling. Commando crawling is when the baby gets around by lying flat on their back. She is going to be crawling on her hands and knees soon. She’s also been holding her own chin up with her own hand. It’s really quite cute.

She can sit up. I have to prop her up but once she’s in that position she does a really good job keeping her balance. Compare that to just two months ago when she could not keep her balance very well.

Having my baby girl has been such a life changing experience. I never really knew what people meant when they say that your life begins with the birth of a child — now I know.

In other news, about a week ago, I made my very first YouTube video. It is a photo montage of my baby girl’s first three months of life. Check it out below. I am open to any suggestions / comments. I used the free YouTube editor to add the pictures. But if you know of a (better) free editing software than please let me know about it below.

I’m planning on posting my (second) YouTube video on my baby girl’s first six months of life. I will post the link as soon as I post it on YouTube.

In other news, I might be going back to school. As many of you are aware, I completed my Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications degree at SNHU last year. I might be going back to get my graduate certificate in Quality Assurance. I’m currently looking for schools that offer the program. If any of you have a degree/certificate in this field, then please leave a comment below. Tell me how you like it and any relevant experience.

Until next time… I’ll try to post again soon.