Messy Memorable Moments with Bounty, the #QuickerPickerUpper #ad

Part of raising a family is embracing the mess of daily life.  I love kids, but I don’t love that part of motherhood quite so much.  I tend to be a bit of a germophobe, so I catch myself going through a lot of paper towels.  But so many of the things in life that are fun are a little (or a lot!) messy—first foods, first art projects and first birthdays!  So, Phoenix and I headed to Manhattan to celebrate her first birthday party with Bounty and mother and author Kristin Cavallari, where I knew they’d have my back when it came time for clean-up.

We’re no stranger to Bounty paper towels in our home—as a matter of fact, I think my husband would leave me if I came home with anything else.  But nothing puts paper towels to the test like a bunch of toddlers!  We took an iconic cake smash photo, complete with a cake that Phoenix decorated herself!  (Okay, that’s not true.  I decorated it.  I tried to put a phoenix on it, but it looks like a gooey parrot.)

When we were done feeding each other cake, Bounty and a little hand soap cleared the mess up in a flash.

My favorite part of the party, though, was this awesome paper towel flower craft that we made.  The team at Bounty had twisted the paper towels into flower shapes.  We then took eyedroppers filled with non-toxic dye in different colors and made these gorgeous, tye-dye flowers.  Since Bounty paper towels are twice as absorbent as the leading ordinary brand, the colors absorbed quickly and easily.  They were pretty on their own, but really striking as a garland.  I’d always grabbed paper towels to clean up after a messy craft, but never thought of using them in the project itself!

Bounty paper towels are a must have to have on hand for those messy but memorable moments.  Because the towels are so absorbent, you don’t need to use nearly as many to clean up even the most daunting messes—in fact, the roll lasts up to 50% longer!  I always buy the Select-A-Size rolls, since half a standard sheet is usually enough to do the job.  And since I don’t have to spend as much time—or money—cleaning up, I have more time to enjoy making a mess with my baby.

Best Gifts to Give A One Year Old


On September 10th, my tiny baby turned one year old, and quite frankly, I’m still in shock.  Because she’s not walking yet, I’ve been in denial, but the truth is plain to see—I no longer have a newborn, an infant, or a baby.  I am the parent of a toddler.

I was never really around younger kids growing up (I’m the youngest of my whole family) so I had no idea what in the world to plan for her birthday party, let alone how to answer the well-meaning but totally stupefying question of “what does she want?”  The only thing that she is truly, truly passionate about is food and empty water bottles.  I figured I should probably just ask around to find out “What’s the best gift you can give a one-year-old, and why?”

Here’s what my friends had to say:*

“PJ’s!  We have plenty of toys and clothes.”

“A cute outfit in the parents’ taste/style for pictures or holiday that is coming up. All the cute ones that you got from the shower are grown out of and parents have other higher priority things to worry about.”

“Off the record- Experiences! I wish people (in-laws) gave us a membership to children’s museum instead of mountains of noisy plastic crap that I’m going to get rid of as soon as I think [my son] won’t notice.”

“Savings bonds or college fund. They get way too much in the toy department. A book with a note written in it and dated.”

“I would say I liked getting gift cards. I was able to put them towards practical items we needed. I got a mat for the bath tub, diaper cream, his Halloween costume, and I did get him one fun item, which was a small doodle board. I still have money left over, I’m deciding what to get with it.”

“Jammies, or money for the college fund. I also like the idea of experiences, but only for things I know we’d utilize like swim lesson, the aquarium, or children’s museum.”

“You can never go wrong with books! I also think a subscription to Babybug or Hello Magazine would be great.”

“Zoo memberships are so great at this age when families need some time out and about. Dinner/shopping with a 1 year old usually ends in stress. The zoo is fun for everyone though and mamas need out of the house! And yes, clothes are always iffy and toys just pile up. We’ve gotten lots of duplicate books too.”

“I love personalized books from I SEE Me. I got the “Who Loves _____” one for my older son for his first birthday and it’s so, so cute. I get the baby one as baby gifts for friends and they are always huge hits!”

“My dad and stepmom got [my son] a savings bond and I thought that was a really good gift. He will get that money when he’s ready to go to college.”

“We don’t have any particularly interesting children’s museums around here, but a San Diego Zoo membership or something like that would be cool! Books are great.”

“I have to say the Melissa & Doug shopping cart is the best gift. We’ve gotten almost 4 years out of it and it’s played with daily.”

“I’m not going to say it’s the best gift for a 1 year old. But the Disney Collection Mickey Bath Toy Set has been my favorite thing [my son] got. He’s in love with them (they are pretty big—maybe 6″ each) and carries them all around the house.”

“Musical instruments!  If you don’t mind the noise, they keep baby entertained for a while.  And you can play with them too—I like to get on the floor and ring the little bells.  My daughter loves them!”

Of course, I also wanted to reciprocate a little something for the parents and children that came to the party by way of the gift bags.  My husband will tell you that I’m practical to a fault—any party bag that you get from me will be useful or edible.  I decided to give out Ubbi’s Tweat containers.**  They are useful, come in adorable colors, and are the perfect size for toddlers to manage on their own.  I even had my adult friends without kids asking if they could keep them.  Best of all, they’re spill-proof and dishwasher safe.

What are your favorite gifts to give a one-year-old?

*Names are omitted to protect the feelings of well-meaning but misguided friends/mothers-in-law/grandparents who bought us crap that we will never, ever use.

**I received a wholesale discount from Ubbi because I bought a ton of these suckers, but I was not compensated for saying nice things.  I just really, really like Ubbi.

Product Review: Finding a New Ride at the Britax Stroller Party

Phoenix loves the view from her new wheels.

As many of you may know, Phoenix just turned one year old, and that meant that we’d soon have to say goodbye to the only stroller we’d ever known, the Doona.  Because I’m a first time mama and really didn’t have any experience with any other stroller, I was more than a little nervous.  How was I ever going to fall in love with anything else when the whole reason I bought the Doona was to avoid having a big bulky stroller?  So on the 28th, Phoenix and I packed up and headed over to the ELK Café in Brooklyn to check out the latest additions to the Britax family. Continue reading

National Child Passenger Safety Week (sponsored by Diono)

Phoenix says “Hi!”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a child under the age of thirteen is involved in a crash every 33 seconds.  Fortunately, due to growing awareness of the importance of car seat safety and the dedication of car seat manufacturers to the highest quality and safest products possible, most of those crashes are not fatal.

We can’t control whether or not our child will be in an accident, but we can control some important factors that will increase their chances of surviving in the event of a crash: Continue reading

Shopping From Home With #Groupon Goods #ad

Image courtesy of

This is a sponsored post. As always, all opinions are true and 100% my own. 

When a person becomes a parent, lots of things change.  Life becomes more meaningful in so many ways…and much more complicated in so many others.  Once I had kids to contend with, basic things like shopping for groceries became so much more difficult.  (Ever tried to push a cart and a stroller?)  I found myself spending more money on the things that I always bought, because the convenience of online shopping, as well as buying the first thing I saw that fit our needs, was well worth the premium.

Fortunately, when shopping for household essentials, technology, gifts and baby stuff, I don’t have to feel like I’m always spending more than I should.  Groupon Goods has a ton of items in just about every category that you can think of.  I’ve bought toys, power packs for our phones, extra iPhone cables and headphones (our kids apparently like to eat them), dog beds, playpens, sheets, pillows and even shower heads from Groupon.  I’m always stunned at how well-priced the items are for the value.  There are literally thousands of items to choose from at any given time, and they save me the hassle of lugging a baby gate and a baby simultaneously.  Plus, it’s really fun to scroll down the lists of what’s for sale—I’ve gotten some great gift ideas from shopping around on Groupon!

Groupon Goods is definitely my go to resource when I want to get technology or home goods at a great price with no fuss.  What have you bought lately?

Breastfeeding Almost Made Me Quit My Job

Allaya pumps on her break at work.
I love my job. I’ve been teaching adult education classes for the last three years, and I feel that helping people establish their new careers while simultaneously teaching them about finance is rewarding and important work. However, since I came back from maternity leave, I’ve thought about quitting before every. single. class. Continue reading

National Breastfeeding Month Profiles: Kimmy

Photo courtesy of Kimmy and her family.

Taking on parenthood with passion and a wry sense of humor, Kimmy is the mother to an adorable fifteen-month-old boy.  She shares avidly with her online community her views about politics, breastfeeding and day-to-day life.  Kimmy has been known to spend the occasional Sunday morning dancing with her son and eating pancakes. Continue reading

National Breastfeeding Month Profiles: Kerri

Photo courtesy of Kerri and her family.

Mother of two, Kerri is a teacher, volunteers with her local ministry, and takes graduate classes.  Her youngest child, now nearly eleven months old, struggled with lip and tongue ties as well as gastrointestinal discomfort.  Both children are now thriving thanks to her dedication and selflessness, as well as her apparent ability to get by without sleep.  When she’s not teaching, taking care of her family, or volunteering, Kerri runs an Etsy shop creating keepsakes for parents. Continue reading

I Can’t Afford ‘Em: A Closer Look at Delaying Pregnancy

Back in my day, college was only 25¢ a semester!

For years, I’ve known that I wanted to have children. I’m a Cancer, after all. I grew up identifying myself with a “maternal nature,” and as an adult, fantasized about getting pregnant. But like many other people of my generation, I tempered my baby fever with the knowledge that we were just not financially ready to have kids. So I made lists of all the criteria I would need to meet before having them.  Continue reading