July is for Ice Cream and Popsicles.

Babystar is ALL ABOUT POPSICLES. We bought the Popsicle brand (that’s a brand, right?) sugar-free version but then she was eating SO MANY of them that we were like, hold up, aspartame and food dyes are bad, right? (My husband pointed this out and I was a proud Crunchy Mama and also an embarrassed Crunchy Mama because I should have thought of this myself. But alas, I am forever a TIRED Crunchy Mama so I immediately forgave myself and then forgot what I forgave myself for.)

**Blogger’s Note: I learned at Wordcamp DC that you should avoid run-on sentences for better SEO so basically I’m fucked because run-on sentences are totally my bae. And so is (ironic) slang which is another SEO no-no. Um, whoops?

What was I talking about? Was it sleep? It is usually sleep. Oh! Popsicles.

I had previously purchased a pack of popsicle molds at Ikea and I had a bunch of Honest juice boxes left over from Babystar’s birthday party so I filled the popsicles molds with juice and crossed my fingers that she would like them. SHE LOVED THEM. And these are way better for her than the store-bought popsicles. I could make them even healthier by adding vegetable juices but I’m a bit too lazy for all that. I like having that option, though. I can pretend to be a much better mother than I actually am.

 

ALSO: One Honest juice box fills THREE Ikea size popsicle molds and a pack of forty juice boxes at Costco is $9.99 so these babies are less than nine cents each. I let Babystar have as many of these homemade popsicles as she wants, because she only ever drinks water otherwise. If she eats six popsicles in a day (honestly about average) but only eats half of each popsicle (her usual M.O.), she’s basically had one juice box. I am completely fine with that.

Since Babystar usually only eats about half of one before it is a drippy mess, we taught her to put the popsicle stick in the sink when she is finished. (Yay for independent toddlers!) Of course, the grown-ups in the house have to check the garbage disposal for the popsicle sticks and we have failed more than once. I was at Ikea shopping for Dorm Essential (SOB!) last week so I bought three more packs of the popsicle molds (only $1.99 now!) so that we never ever ever run out of popsicles.

We also bought some more food for Babystar in July. Though she really isn’t eating that much right now. And we rolled into July with a surplus (due to lots of family visiting).

  • Strawberries $3, $3, $1.29, $1.29, $1.29
  • Blueberries $3.99, $1.99, $3.12
  • Popsicles $3 (before the switch)
  • Apples $4.99, $3.99, $3.99
  • Honest juice boxes at Costco $9.99
  • Granola bars $1.99
  • Frozen french fries (we bought more but we share so only one on her tally) $3.59
  • Animal crackers $1.49, $1.49
  • Penguin crackers $1.49, $1.49, $1.49, $1.49
  • Pasta Snakes (Babystar’s name for penne) $1.39
  • Sea bass (spoiled baby) $12
  • Cod $4.50
  • Rotisserie chicken (half) $2.50
  • Tots $3, $1.65, $1.65
  • Haagen-Daas ice cream on a stick $3
  • Chick-fil-A kids meal $3.39, $3.39, $3.39, $3.39
  • McDonalds kids meal $2.99, $2.99
  • Cracker Barrel kids meal $4.99
  • La Cantina kids quesadilla $5.50
  • Pizza at food court $3.69
  • Haagen-Diaz cone with sprinkles (yes she had to have the sprinkle cone) $6.83
  • Peter Chang’s Spring Rolls and fried rice $3.50, $3.50, $3.50
  • Estimated overtipping for dining out with a toddler $15 (five meals out)

I’m also going to add in some boring things that do not deserve their own blog post but we totally bought so I need to add into the total somewhere and here is as good as anywhere.

  • Baby nail clippers two-pack (I briefly lost hers but of course I found them again) $4.55
  • Nook membership for May/June/July $360 ($120 per month and we love it; Nook is not boring but constantly posting about the monthly fee is boring. And they are discontinuing the monthly membership option as of today, which makes me sad but might mean cooler things are coming. We shall see.)
  • The train at Tyson’s Mall which is NOT boring but I forgot to post about it $10, $11 (They either charge more on weekends or less with cash but I need to investigate this discrepancy.)
  • White paper pads from Target $2.19 (x6).  Babystar looooves coloring so I have a special drawer for her with crayons and paper so she can color when the inspiration strikes which is every single second.
  • Giant pack of AA batteries from Costco $14.99. I realize that most of these batteries go into Babystar’s toys. (Toys that were gifts because what parent purchased battery-operated toys ON PURPOSE?)

RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,336.21 

Great Plates.

I know, I know. Nobody asked me.  <raises hand>  But I’m going to share with the class anyway.

Design

Babystar uses four different types of plates. I did not research ALL OF THE PLATES (like I did with strollers and that was hell) so there may be better options out there. Pretty please let me know in the comments if you have any of these and like/hate/feel nothing about them. Or if you have a favorite that I have not listed.

ezpz mini mat

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LOVE

  • It fits on our Ikea high chair tray.
  • It is perfect on the living room side table or restaurant table because it does not slide easily.
  • The divided tray encourages Babystar to eat a variety of foods.
  • It’s silicon, so it’s BPA, BPS, PVC, and phthalates free.
  • Dishwasher safe (top rack).
  • It’s freaking adorable!
  • The extra lip around the food sections is a great place to put tiny bites from my plate that she may or may not try. But she does not get upset about them because they are not (apparently) technically in her food areas.

SIDE-EYE

  • It is really easy to move around on the tray or table. It does NOT suction. It is well designed but most kids are smart enough to pick it up if that is their goal.
  • Babystar does like to move her plates from room to room because she takes ninety minutes to finish a meal. These plates are rubbery so very difficult for her to carry without spilling. (I get that this is only an issue for some kids.)
  • These plates are quite expensive. If you want several different colors or have more than one kid, you are spending some serious dough.

VERDICT

  • I like the two we own (one was a gift at a MommyCon session). I also have one of the bowls, which does not fit on the Ikea high chair tray but is great for art supplies. I definitely LOVED these plates a bunch when Babystar was just learning to eat and would get frustrated when her plate or bowl moved around unintentionally. My advice: get one or two for when your baby is first learning to eat. Once he or she can pick up the plate, it’s time to teach them not to do that anyway. I like it as a ‘training plate’. And then as a travel plate.

 

Re-Play Divided Plate

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LOVE

  • Re-Play is a great company that I kind of want to make out with. Their products are made from recycled milk jugs. In America. And did you hear the part about RECYCLED MILK JUGS??
  • BPA, BPS, PVC, and phthalates free.
  • Dishwasher safe (top rack).
  • The sections on the divided plates are deep enough to put actual food in, even runny stuff, like fried eggs or oatmeal or even, EVEN, cereal with milk. Whoa.
  • The divided sections also encourage her to eat a variety or foods. She NEEDS something different in each section. (So it also encourages ME to be a good mama and balance her meals. Thanks, fam.)
  • So far they have proven indestructible but I have not tried them on the bottom rack of the dishwasher (dun dun dunnnnnn). Which is great because Babystar likes to carry her plates around these days. (I really cannot figure out why she needs a change of scenery mid-meal.)
  • There are so many pretteeee colors from which to choose!
  • They are very affordable! I linked the plates from Abby’s Lane above because that online shop offers free shipping, and sells the plates individually for $3.25 each, in case you want to try one. You can buy direct from Re-Play here, but they sell the plates in 2-packs for $5.99. The catch is that you have to spend $79 for free shipping, and I hate that rule. I hate most rules tbh.

SIDE-EYE

  • Ahem. I must spend $79 for free shipping on the Re-Play website? AND their shipping is expensive. No, thank you.

VERDICT

  • Yes, please. We love these. But beware: if you have a plate thrower (opa!), these plates are irresistibly light and frisbee-esque. However, they aren’t going to break so there’s that.

 

IKEA KALAS Plate

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LOVE

  • These plates are SO affordable! Six for $2.49!! I bought a few packs and I use them for everything: play date snacks, stuffed animal birthday parties, and tossing in the diaper bag for picnics. I have lost a few along the way and I DON’T EVEN CARE.
  • The are BPA, BPS, PVC, and phthalates free.
  • They are dishwasher safe.
  • They are kind of the perfect size.

SIDE-EYE

  • The plates are not divided, and Ikea does not offer a divided plate option. Sometimes that is fine. Other times it is less fine. The problem is that Babystar (being a typical toddler) never really gives me a heads up.
  • The plates are almost too light. I like their weightlessness when I am carrying them in Babystar’s bag, but they do tend to get swiped onto the floor a little too easily.
  • They are available online but shipping is $10, so you have to either live near an Ikea or know someone who does. Or buy a whole bunch of stuff from Ikea to make it worth it which would definitely be my preference. Go check out their pillows. I’ll wait. (I definitely sent several packs of the KALAS bowls to my nephew in another state whenever someone was headed that way.)

VERDICT

  • Worth having on hand, even if you don’t have kids. I totally owned some before Babystar was born for visiting children. The price is amazing. The product is good enough.

 

Regular Dinner Plates

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LOVE

  • I’m pretty sure she feels like such a BIG GIRL when her plate matches mommy’s (and everyone else’s if it’s dinnertime).
  • This is extremely economical. Unless. Unless your child breaks them all the time and you have to pay for more adult plates (although this is like the salad plate size) or some ER visits from glass shard related injuries.

SIDE-EYE

  • Ok, first of all, and not plate related, but maybe don’t give the baby metal weapons utensils, even if they were given to you by her grandmother and used to belong to her father. Even then.
  • Also, we so fancy, and our dinnerware (though very cheap to acquire, dude, I bought an entire set of vintage Franciscan Starburst for fifty bucks from some clueless amazing person on craigslist), would be very expensive to replace. That does not mean I do not TOTALLY wish I had the child plate version of this pattern. But I just found one online after an hour of searching and it was $90 soooooooo I’m thinking that’s probably a nope.
  • Babystar likes to carry her food around. I would not freak out about the broken plate if she dropped it, but I would DEFINITELY freak out about the sharp ceramic shards on and around my baby.
  • Again, it’s not divided. (Though the child’s plate version is but I don’t have that one so please mail me one ok thank you.)

VERDICT

  • I don’t think this is a super great idea. Probably don’t do it. But also, you know, live your life.

 

My little Babystar has started this cool thing where she wants to eat twenty-five hours of the day. Yes, twenty-five. Because twenty-four doesn’t seem to be enough. I guess she’s trying to grow so she can reach the cookies.

My stack of five re-play divided plates was no longer even getting us through a whole dishwasher cycle, because of that whole CONSTANTLY EATING thing. I just acquired four more plates. Two were purchased by grandparents and two by me ($6).

RAISING BABYSTAR: $16,297.37

 

 

A Table of One’s Own.

Babystar sat at the kid’s table. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY TINY BABY.

We went to a friend’s event and I’ve cropped out the other kids but omg look!

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She also sits at her cousin’s little table and eats with her. And crawls into the big chairs at the table at home. I am clearly in denial and it was way past time to get this child a table her size. Where is my World’s Best Mom coffee mug??

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Have I mentioned how much I love Ikea? $24.99. Babystar even helped me put it together. She twisted one of the screws and did not eat any of the others and I think that was a huge help.

Also, here is December’s food tally. I know I swore I would make these more interesting for 2017 and I really probably won’t, but this is technically for food purchased last year so leave me alone. Also, I would like to give a shout out to all of the people that sent fruit baskets to my husband’s office and to my parents for sending a fruit and cheese basket because that really cut down on our food bill for Babystar this month. Please send more for January, and include berries, ok thanks.

  • blueberries x5  $17.95
  • strawberries x3  $12.98
  • apples  $3.24
  • pasta  $2.69
  • zucchini  $3.65
  • squash  $1.15
  • diced tomatoes  $1.50
  • so much cheese  $12.00
  • teddy grahams  $2.99
  • animal crackers $1.50
  • donuts (shhhhh)  $2.99
  • frozen microwavable vegetables x10 (various, hell of a sale)  $10.00
  • HER VERY FIRST Chik-fil-a kid’s meal  $3.35

Y’ALL. My tiny little baby has her own table and chairs and she got her very first kid’s meal toy and WHERE IS MY BABY???

Btw, Chik-fil-a don’t play around with their kid’s meal toys. Babystar got a super cool little board book called Fish Kisses and she loves it and she kisses it and I die.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $14,364.37

 

Ikea > Disneyworld.

I went to Ikea again the other day. And by the other day, I mean two months ago. Or was it three? The POINT is, I went to Ikea and I was reminded how much I FREAKING LOVE IKEA.

I had read on dirtydiaperlaundry.com that Ikea was selling a thing that was not called a flat diaper but basically was a flat diaper so I went to check it out. I use all-in-one (AIO) cloth diapers for Babystar, but I have a stack of leaky BumGenius Elemental diapers and I was looking for a fix. I bought a two-pack for $4.99 (one is plain white but the other has stars – swoon) and just so you know — no, they did not fix my problem. Folding up the flat and adding it behind the attached cotton of the Elemental DID stop the pee from leaking but it made the diaper too puffy to be practical. I guess I could cut the flats in half. Or buy half-size diaper flats online somewhere. Or cut the cotton out of the Elementals to turn them into covers. But then I’m no longer really using AIOs which I have kind of gotten used to so I will probably just sell the BumGenius Elementals. I have enough Smart Bottoms and Blueberry Diapers now. And the stupid Smart Bottoms are leaking now too. Long live Blueberry.

BUT I DIGRESS.

Ikea is my bae. Which is teenspeak for luv-ah. I think.

I also bought a pack of popsicle makers for $2.99 to save for when Babystar starts teething. Which is right freaking now as she is getting eight teeth all at the same time. Poor Babystar. So I had to find the popsicle thingies which reminded me that I bought them hence this post.

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If you are wondering, I made the popsicles using some of the frozen baby food cubes from the freezer (thawed in fridge then repurposed) from her puree protest from the summer. I mixed pureed fruit with yogurt and swirled it a bit before refreezing. She enjoyed it but wouldn’t hold it by herself. Lazy baby.

I have loved Ikea since we met many years ago, but my love has def grown deeper wandering that Cave of Wonders with a smol one.

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First of all, there is nothing more boring than waiting in line while your mother returns something. Oh, but look, there is a cool giant toy thingy to play with over here. Nm, take your time, mom.

Did you guys know about this secret room for parents with a comfy chair for nursing and a play table to occupy older kids and a changing table with mobiles hanging over it and FREE FREAKING DIAPERS if you run out and books to calm a cranky toddler and this room is a miracle and I never even noticed it until I had Babystar with me and was looking for a place to nurse her. I think it’s some sort of Hogwarts-esque (or would that be Durmstrang?) Room of Requirement that you can only see/enter with a child. I am only 70% joking. (For those of you Woodbridge Ikea patrons, it’s near the restrooms that are near the restaurant that is near the children’s section.)

And speaking of the children’s section.

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This is the greatest high chair ever and it’s only $19.99. Don’t be fooled by that sign that shows $14.99. The tray is an extra five bucks. We had this high chair long before I was even pregnant with Babystar because my niece visited enough that she needed her own place to sit. And it’s minimalist enough to just blend into the house without screaming BABYBABYBABY.

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Same deal with these bowls and forks and spoons and plates and stuff. So cheap. So useful for when Littles are visiting. I have bought a few more packs now that Babystar eats here daily. And I can toss a bowl and fork or whatever in the travel bag and if it gets lost, ok. Not ideal, but ok. They are so inexpensive and perfectly sized. Thank you, Ikea.

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This little boat is the best bath toy ever. My sister bought it while visiting with her son and left it and it is super cool. The little cups stack on top and one pours and one has holes in the bottom to make a shower in the bath when filled with water. Plus it’s a boat. Babystar loves it.

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The play area is the bomb dot com. Yes, I know they are trying to sell me these things. (Don’t worry. I’m sure will buy them.) It is clean. Clean. I’m telling you, I have recently been paying attention and most ‘kid’s play areas’ are not very clean. And it’s full of actual fun things. I did not post those random kids there. In fact, I had to wait until none were showing their faces because I wanted a picture but wanted to respect other’s privacy. It took awhile because the kids were having so much fun. (I just pretended to be texting.)

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These are the flat diapers sold as ‘burp cloths.’ Did you see the stars? You see the stars, right? Too cute.

I also bought Babystar a set of child-sized kitchen utensils for $3.99 that day a few months ago. I see one or two of them every once in awhile. She loves them but hides them all over the place like a squirrel. At least this one is in the kitchen, right?

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RAISING BABYSTAR: $12,141.10

 

Win an ezpz! Easy Peasy.

So I bought one of the ezpz mini mats. ($19.99.) You know, the one that fits on the Ikea high chair?

You know, the neato baby food tray that is either a MIRACLE or a FRAUD but nothing in between?

(Weird that people in Internetland have such strong opinions.)

So yeah, I bought one. And I liked it. The teenager and I opened the package and had fun sticking it to things. We were pretty amazed. It actually was really difficult to knock over.

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But then, like a good little germ-hating mommy, I put it in the dishwasher before trying it out with Babystar. (It totally says DISHWASHER SAFE right on the package.)

Whoops. I do not think I should have dishwashered it. It lost a bit of its stickiness. But not stickiness, because it isn’t sticky. And it isn’t suction-y. It’s magic. It lost a bit of its magic in the dishwasher.

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The Teenager and I replicated our earlier experiments and we were far less impressed. However. HOWEVER! I think there may also be some ANTILOP versus ezpz drama going on. (ANTILOP is the Ikea high chair’s stripper name.) I think they might hate each other. Or they secretly loooooove each other and don’t want any of us to know.

The ezpz mat seems to work great on this side table. She mostly entertained herself with her toys and books and snacks during So You Think You Can Dance. She even left her snacks on the table in between her dance breaks. (You guys, she can’t even really walk yet but girlfriend loves to dance. Standing up and shaking it. No hands. Adorable.) Babystar probably could lift the ezpz mini mat from that table, but for that matter, so could I. Who would want it to be stuck there forever? (Ok, maybe the baby.)

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Verdict: I like it. I am looking forward to trying it while traveling. I wish I had not put it through the dishwasher. Half of me wants another one to try on the Ikea high chair sans dishwasher action but I probably won’t buy another.

Does anyone else have and love or hate one of these? Did you put it in the dishwasher? Do you have the Ikea ANTILOP?? I am mildly desperate to know how it works if you do not steam it in the machine first.

UPDATE: I wrote this post last week even though I am just posting it today. I have since taken it to a restaurant and it worked quite well. Oh, and the baby can basically walk now. I also reached out to the peeps at ezpz to see about doing a giveaway. They don’t do giveaways. BUT they will give me store credit for another mat if I buy one from their website and then review it. And I kind of already wanted another one to try on the Ikea highchair sans dishwasher action. So I will get a free one for you!

Enter here to win a ‘Babystar semi-approved’ ezpz mini mat in coral!

Shipping to US address only, please. And sorry. (Or ‘soory’ to those in Canada.)

UPDATE AGAIN: Congratulations to Amber R, winner of the ezpz mini mat. And thank you to everyone that played!

RAISING BABYSTAR:  $10,695.56