Summer Bugs Me.

I love most things about the summertime. I love the longer days and the grilled dinners and the splashy water play time.

I do not love the mosquitos. And ants and locusts and spiders and gnats and bees (ok I kind of love the bees in theory), but mostly the mosquitos.

We like to use up all the sunshine and stay at the park until dusk which means walking back home during the Mosquito Happy Hour.

Babystar was getting new bites every day. But also, chemicals.

WHAT IS A GOOD HIPPIE MAMA TO DO?

I’m still not sure, but I did buy some DEET-free bug repellent made up of a blend of essential oils. (Kid’s Herbal Armor Natural Insect Repellent $5.50.) It had KIDS and NATURAL right in the name.

Two things:

  1. I don’t know what DEET is but it sounds bad.
  2. I don’t believe essential oils can cure illnesses but I do know that certain plants repel insects so it seemed legit.

I really wasn’t sure what I was looking for but I compared the active ingredients at Target. The Kid’s Herbal Armor had a bunch of oils (citronella, lemongrass, peppermint, et cetera) that were almost identical to the Babyganics and Honest Company kid’s bug repellents.



I bought the Kid’s Herbal Armor because it was $5.50 instead of $9.49 or $12.34. To be fair, the Babyganics and Honest Company’s bottles were larger, but I wanted to make sure it worked first. Maybe we needed the DEET after all? (WTF IS DEET?!?)
The first evening, I only rubbed the insect repellent on Babystar’s ankles, a popular hangout for Arlington mosquitoes. She has pretty sensitive skin and I wanted to make sure there was no reaction. She made it home with no rash and zero bites on her legs!

Those fuckers bit her arm instead.

The next night, I used the Herbal Armor on her legs AND arms. She was bite-free! I have been keeping her arms and legs coated and it is still working. I don’t put it near her face at all but I do a little swipe behind her neck, and she usually has a hat on for extra protection.

I highly recommend this natural bug repellent. Probably the Babyganics and/or Honest ones are good too, since the active ingredients are almost identical. But I have not tried them so I cannot say for sure.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $18,090.14

What kind of bug repellent do you use for your kids or yourself?

Lost in the Park.

This is the last known photograph of Babystar’s favorite water bottle.


It was a blue and yellow (and metal) smaller size Contigo that her grandparents gave to her during her last visit to Myrtle Beach. Blue and yellow are her favorite colors! She loved pushing the button so the straw would pop up! (She could actually open and close it herself and it was still 100% leak-proof in my bag.) And Contigo beverage containers are magic so her water stayed cold all day!

(Seriously, Contigo makes MAGICAL containers. My coffee stays hot for literal hours. This is the most important thing for me as a SAHM so yay Contigo.)

Alas.

We totally left Babystar’s favorite cup at the park last Tuesday. I would have gone back to fetch it but I didn’t realize it until about 10pm and I knew the squirrels had likely taken it by then. Lucky squirrels. I hope they at least figure out how to get the straw open.

I was devastated. Like, way more upset than I needed to be over a freaking sippy cup.

Amazon Prime to the rescue — almost. Apparently, there are no more blue and yellow ones. But at least her water will be cold again. $15.99. (Hella expensive for a child’s cup but completely worth it.)


RAISING BABYSTAR: $18,084.64

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Parents, what is your kid’s favorite kind of on-the-go cup? What is YOUR favorite?

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