Little girls love playing dress up – to the point where they refuse to ever change out of their princess gowns, even for that fancy dinner you’ve scheduled with your parents. We accept this because we have to, but I’ve found a way to make everyone happy. These adorably ruffled dresses are fun enough for playtime without looking in the least bit costumey. Flowery ruffles decorate the hem of the long dress, which could easily pass for a ball gown or magical fairy outfit when paired with a tiara and sparkling scepter. Plus your tots will love the feel of the comfy jersey knit compared to the usual scratchy polyester costumes! Available on Chasing Fireflies in pink, ivory, and lavender for $88 each.
All moms deserve a break but even if you take the tots out of the house, she will not be able to relax with so many loose ends laying around to distract her with. If you really want to please her and get her something that will make a real difference, get her a hotel room nearby, that way she can feel settled knowing she can be home within minutes. Having absolute peace and quiet is just what the mind and soul needs. She can curl up with a book and actually read more than 2 sentences at a time without interruption. Or even better, if the hotel has a spa, book her a service so she can fully indulge. And when happy hour hits, have girlfriends join her for cocktails by the pool followed by a dinner filled with adult conversation. No talk of diaper accidents.
For me, I escape to the Terranea Resort, just minutes from my house. And look at the view! There is an entire spa retreat with its own gym and pool right at the ocean’s edge. Kids not allowed! This is where I’m spending Mother’s Day weekend. I will roll out of bed Sunday morning and have a lavish brunch with my family and go right back to a nap. If you think my husband planned this out, not a chance. The best gift are those you give yourself. As they say, if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself. So go ahead, book yourself a room if you have to. Leave the guilt at home.
Trust me, those kids riding around the parking lot on their scooters annoy me, too. But children seem to love them, and we all want to make our tots happy. If you’re going to invest in one, then this 3-in-1 mini model is the way to go. Tots can use it from 12 months all the way up to age five (or when they reach 30 pounds – whichever comes first). Since scooters can be expensive, this is a great buy and a safe way to help your little ones develop their motor skills at their own pace. There’s a seat for newbies, then once they hit age 2, you can remove it and let them try scooting around with the support of the O-ring handle. Worried about them being able to stay standing? No fear. They won’t realize it, but with three wheels, it’s like they’ll always have on training wheels. That way even when you replace the O-ring with the taller T-bar, they’ll be safe and sound while they’re on the move. Available on Giggle in pink or blue for $115 each.
After graduating from UC Berkley, yoga teacher Bobbi Hamilton decided to dedicate her career to reversing the childhood obesity epidemic in the US. She came up with a clever way to get kids interested in exercise – Phresh yoga mats. These mats come covered in a “map” of symbols that relate to 108 different positions. Kids can look at cute instruction cards to help them find the right poses (kind of like Twister!). Bobbi has also come up with curriculum manuals for schools to easily integrate the mats into their classes (Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign is just one of the programs that has used the mats). My girls love doing yoga with me, but poses can be hard to explain to adults, let alone kids – these cards make it so fun and easy! Right now the company is having trouble keeping up with demand, so they’re using Indiegogo (a crowdfunding site that raises money for different ideas, programs, products, etc.) to help improve the manufacturing costs of the mats and get them out to customers sooner. Contribute $35 for a teen/adult mat, $50 for a kid mat and card game, or $85 for a mommy and me set. Check out all of the package options on Indiegogo!
If you have a tot who loves Legos, your home can sometimes feel like a Legoland in itself. Well, now there’s a resort with the official title! It opened earlier this month on April 5th in Carlsbad, California. This is the toy company’s first US hotel, but their empire spans the globe with amusement parks everywhere from the US to Germany to Malaysia. The hotel initially had some kinks to work out (like where to pick up the park tickets that come with your room package), so I’m happy we waited a few weeks to go. I got a really great deal by booking before their opening. It was $259 for the room, which came with the offer of two free two-day kid park passes with the purchase of two adult passes. Ordinarily the tickets would have cost $436, and since my total was $489, the room essentially paid for itself. Not a bad way to start off a weekend getaway!
As you’d expect, the hotel is themed from top to bottom. It’s a kid’s dream with every last inch either made from Legos or depicting something Lego-related. Frankly, without those adornments, the hotel would be a lot like the Holiday Inn. There wasn’t much in the way of closet space – just a shelf system and compact hanging bar. I guess most of their guests only need to stay a couple of days to see the park, but more space is always nice. The bathroom was white tile decorated with a Lego shower curtain and some toy bugs on the wall – nothing really impressive or luxe. The best thing to do is ignore the fact that the primary color-themed décor is ugly and enjoy the fun your tots are having. The resort was designed for them, after all.
In fact, your room (which is not considered a suite) is divided by the bathroom to give tots their own space and feeling of autonomy, while parents remain close by. Both sides have TVs, and the wall cleverly keeps the sounds from interfering with each other. Of course there’s a bin of Legos, as well as the thrill of a mysterious treasure hunt on the horizon – mysterious because there are no directions for it, but we were assured there was a treasure chest filled with goodies and gold chocolate coins should we find it.
This is the most inventive recycling idea ever! Using stickers (printed on 100% recycled paper, of course) to revamp used paper goods? Genius. Turning toilet paper rolls into a telephone with just a string used to be novel, but just like landlines, it looks like their time is up. With the help of Box Play, you can turn empty paper towel rolls into bowling pins ($8.75), milk cartons into fire trucks ($8.87), and toilet paper rolls into binoculars ($2.50) or bracelets ($9.06). My favorites are the bowling pins. You’ll have to save up to get a full set of 10 (the pack come with three stickers), but in a house with kids, that won’t take too long. The stickers are uncoated, so once applied, your tots could even monogram them or add some cute drawings. Not only will this teach them about recycling, it’ll save you tons of money. I’m sure this has happened to you, you buy a fancy electronic toy and your tot ends up having more fun with the box it came in. At least now that box will look cute! Available on Amazon.