California (Baby) Knows How to Party.

Babystar has discovered the joys of BUBBLES!

bubble bath

This kid used to totally freak out if her shampoo made accidental bubbles in her bath. She would immediately splash them away yelling ‘no bubbles no bubbles!’ But now she is FULL TODDLER and all about them bubbles.

I think I can trace this back to her second birthday, when she received one of the greatest gifts ever, Naked by Micheal Ian Black. She loves this book, and the kid in the book has so many bubbles in his bath. So now she needs SO MANY BUBBLES in her bath. She also does the hokey pokey naked every night because of that book. That book has changed our life. For the better, obvs.

The bubbles made by pumping the Honest Creamsicle soap directly into the water faucet stream were just not doing it for her anymore. NEED MORE BUBBLES.

ca baby bubble bath

I bought some California Baby Bubble Bath. I fully intended to try a bunch of baby bubble bath potions until we found our favorite one but I really see no need to buy any other kind ever.

ca baby cranky to sweet

The bottle advertises that it ‘takes you from cranky to sweet.’ It either REALLY WORKS or the placebo effect is STRONG. And the toddler can read the bottle. (Unlikely. But I’m not ruling it out because I have never called her a Wild Child out loud but she was sitting next to me and I posted a cute picture of her on Instagram and hash tagged ‘wildchild’ and five minutes later she told me she was not ‘wild child’, she was ‘Mabel’. So.)

What was I talking about? Oh. Right. Magic.

California Baby has found the magic blend of essential oils to calm my toddler down at night. I mean, she still runs around naked for about twenty minutes (including Hokey Pokey time) but she’s happy about it and then she calms down quickly and happily puts on pajamas and gets ready for sleep. One night, after a particularly trying day, I got into the bath with her. It totally worked on me too. MAGIC.

California Baby Bubble Bath is cruelty-free, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and vegan. We have luckily passed Babystar’s gluten and dairy sensitivity stage, but some kids are sensitive or downright allergic. And yes, they will probably eat the bubbles. This bubble bath smells yummy — like a garden but not too flowery.

CA baby bubble wand

AND YOU GUYS IT COMES WITH A BUBBLE WAND. What a genius idea! I realize you can probably adapt any bubble bath by simply cleaning a bubble wand and using it with your bubble bath, but I just love that California Baby thought of this for me. Because I did not think of it.

bubble bath with tillie

By the time bath time gets here, I barely know my name.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $21,043.80

VCU and Melissa and Doug and Lucy.

Last Saturday was ‘Admitted Students Day’ at VCU in Richmond, and the Teenager is one of those admitted students. We woke up before the sun to drive down and check out the school. The Teenager has big decisions coming soon, but shhhhh, she doesn’t like to talk about it.

(Side note: Since I have been paying attention, I have noticed that literally every adult asks every college senior they meet if they know where they plan to go to college. Poor kids.)

So, we went to VCU. VCU is cool. Babystar hung out in the Tula for most of the walking tour bits. We all got free lunch at Chick-fil-A (thanks, VCU!) but had to pay $2.88 extra for Babystar. Pretty good deal.

(OMG, Babystar accidentally drank some of my husband’s lemonade instead of her water and then got obsessed. She cannot say ‘lemonade’ but she tries and it sounds like ‘ell-mell-mleh’ and her tongue literally turns upside down in her mouth and it is my new favorite thing. #favoritethings)

After college-ing it up, we did a 180 and went to the Children’s Museum of Richmond to let the toddler run out her wiggles. That place rocks, btw! There are a bunch of different areas all sponsored by local (or regional, I guess) businesses. There was a tiny Wegman’s play grocery store and a kid-sized play Silver Diner and a cool water table area and a tv studio and a stage and a reading room and a separate giant toddler area and and and we didn’t even have time to see everything. Legit cool. If the Teenager decides on VCU, we will definitely buy a family membership there. (No pressure, Teenager.) $30 after AAA discount plus a carousel ride.

IMG_0700

On the way out (we only left because they closed), I bought Babystar some cool Melissa and  Doug activity books. Except they aren’t really books. I bought some paint with water activities and reusable sticker scenes. They were $4.49 each, totaling $24.13 with tax. So far we have played with the puffy barn scene stickers and she is OBSESSED. We also did one of the Paint with Water pages and it was a huge hit. (I did one too — it’s super fun!)

IMG_1297

We were completely exhausted, but still hungry, and we can never leave Richmond without stopping at our favorite restaurant, Lucy’s. This is not the kind of place that has a kid’s menu, and it’s not really for kids. I mean, there’s no strippers or anything, but also their single high chair is from, like, 1973. (But luckily, they let us come eat anyway.) Thank you, Jason Lucy, for making a super yummy grilled cheese sandwich for Babystar. She totally ate one bite and lots of french fries. ($5.) And she loves the homemade ice cream on homemade cookie sandwiches. And omg so do I. ($3.)

The sun was setting as we finished dinner and headed home. So pretty.

IMG_1292

RAISING BABYSTAR: $15,615.20

 

More Adventurous.

I miss Rilo Kiley. I miss when I used to be hip on all the new music. One of my favorite things about Nook is the fact that they play (kid-appropriate) indie music and not in-your-face toddler tune/nursery rhyme/wheels-on-the-bus type of stuff that I get to hear PLENTY of, thank you very much.

So anyway, I paid $120 to join Nook for a month. February 15-March 15 you will find me there A LOT. Especially on Thursday mornings for Baby Yoga. (OMG, I took Babystar for the first time last week and she was SO INTO IT. For like ten minutes before getting bored and wandering off but still. Next week we are shooting for twelve minutes.)

I’m not sure yet if I will join for another month, but maybe. There are lots of other classes that I very much want to check out. Membership gets me in even if there is a wait list, and I love being VIP, even at a baby play place. A day pass is $20 so we just have to go six times to cover membership. And with the membership, I can pop in for 45 minutes so Babystar can play, and then leave before she gets bored, and I don’t feel like I wasted $20.

So far, we dig it.

As I’ve mentioned before, it is the opposite of a place like Busy Bees or a soft play room, so we still go to those too. I recently bought another $36 3-visit pass to Busy Bees. And I went on a 2-for-1 Tuesday with Babystar and my niece so that was another $15. Oh, and I treated my SIL and niece to Chick-fil-a that day too ($23.47 for all four of us, but we wouldn’t have been there if it wasn’t for Babystar and Busy Bees so I think I have to include all of it). We also went to the cool play room with the giant ball pit again ($5).

Cooler than ALL OF THESE is the Building Museum in D.C.!


I recently went with a mama friend who has a membership and so Babystar and I got in free. I helped pay for parking ($4.60) and bought some lunch at the cafe ($9.63) and I really might consider joining also. It’s only $90/year and the Building Museum has constantly changing exhibits. Not all are kid friendly, but they do have a permanent kid friendly area that is so popular that you need timed tickets that you can only get once you arrive at the museum. The area has a fully stocked mini-house, a bunch of building toys, blocks, dolls, a wall of cool latches, and so much other stuff that I can barely remember everything. I remember that none of the kids (age 1-5) were ready to leave when we had to leave. That’s high praise.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $15,091.48

 

Snacks, Pals, and SnackPals

AKA That Time I Tried Tryazon.

Have you ever heard of Tryazon? The concept is pretty cool. You sign up and they email you ‘party opportunities’ which is code for ‘free stuff in exchange for free marketing.’ All well and good, fair is fair and all that jazz. When you see an email that interests you, you fill out a short application and Tryazon then chooses a certain amount of ‘party hosts’. (Usually 100 but I have seen less.) You get a box of goodies and have a party inviting your friends over to check out these goodies and then post about it on social media.*

If you check #tryazon over on my Twitter or IG, you will see some pictures of my party.

I invited about a million people, but the party day turned out to be the first 70+ degree day in our area in MONTHS (last Friday), so lots of mamas took their children outside to play instead. I don’t even blame them. I would have done the same thing. Don’t worry, I did take Babystar to a park before the sun set. I’m not a MONSTER.

img_8963

Before I knew that only a few (wonderful, stunningly gorgeous) friends would turn up, I went to Trader Joe’s that morning and spent $44.09 on fruit and cheeses and crackers and a few bottles of sparkly stuff to drink. Non-alcoholic because BOOOOOOORING but also because it was the middle of the afternoon and I have too much responsibility for day drinking these days. Which, quite frankly, sometimes very much sucks but here we are.

Oh wait, I ate a 0.19 banana while shopping so that’s actually $43.90.

Tryazon sent me plastic snack dispensers called SnackPals from a company called Wow Gear. They also sent a Wow Cup, a cool looking game to play from Madd Capp Games, and three different types of snacks to fill the dispensers (goldfish, gummis, and Cheerios).

 

Ok, so I signed up to do this to see if I was a ‘Brand Ambassador’ type of person. I am not. I am more of an ‘honest review’ type person. I never really learned that lesson about ‘if you can’t say anything nice, STFU.’ I think I will not be asked back. Whoops.

I WILL say that one mama LOVED the SnackPals dispenser. She went home with two of them — the unopened door prize and one of the demos. She said that her son refused to stick his hand into that other variety of snack containers. You know the kind I mean; there are several on the market but they all have a sort of plastic seal with a scary claw like opening that keeps the snacks from spilling out. We have the ubbi tweat container and Babystar digs it. (We had two and lost one and I don’t miss it enough to replace it. So there’s that.)

The point of the SnackPals container is portion control snacks for kids while on-the-go. Or while at home, too, I guess. You fill it with snacks (goldfish or gummis or m&ms if you are competing for favorite parent that day), turn it upside down, give it a solid shake or two, turn it right side up, then open the top to dispense a small portion of snacks. That totally happened when the adults experimented.

However, a three year old in attendance could not figure out how to work it or even open it. That is unfortunate because I kind of think three-year-olds are about the perfect target audience. The one year olds ignored it, even when they saw that there were snacks inside. The five year old shook and dispensed, shook and dispensed, over and over so there was no portion control aspect other that a parent saying hey that’s enough which we could do with literally any container.

The five year old quickly became the hero among the children there and wielded her power like a proper Snack Princess.

Because we were FULLY COMMITTED to this product review, we even checked to see if it fit in the stroller. It did not (we only checked the one already open and parked out front but dude).

img_8982

Also, it has no handles. Little fingers need handles. Mamas holding seventeen things need handles. If it’s not going to have handles, then it should at least fit in a stroller-sized cupholder. Right?

The Wow Cup sippy cup COULD NOT BE SPILLED. If all you are looking for in a cup is that it can not be spilled, look no further. But also, not a single one of the six children at the party could drink from it. (Yes, I washed it in between tries while wishing Tryazon had sent more than one for review. And to be fair, the four month old baby didn’t even try. Lazy baby.) Even I couldn’t get any water out. A couple of other ADULT WOMEN with brains could not get any water out. One of the mamas in attendance luckily had a similar sippy cup for her one year old and told us that we had to sort of squeeze/bite the sides to make it work. We did. It worked. But WHY would you want to teach your child to bite the lip of a cup?!? What about when they drink out of a glass made of ACTUAL GLASS?!? Seems dangerous to me. Hard pass.

(But then later that night I made my husband try it, you know, for research, and he drank with no problem and didn’t even understand my confusion. So, obviously, I need to replace our wine glasses with plastic and metal.)

We did not play the included game at the party. It looks really fun, and it will be played very soon at a child’s birthday party, and I think it will be perfect. It is labeled for players age six and up (which is why we didn’t play it and quite frankly why would you send that particular game along with snack dispensers and a sippy cup??) and it is for 3-13 players. I think the girls will have a blast playing at the party.

The party was fun. Parties are fun. But I would have rather spent $40 on a party on a day of MY choosing and not had the conversation center around baby products. Well, the conversation almost always gets around to baby products anyway because we mamas are #basic like that, and I guess it was kind of fun to have something new to experiment with, so I guess I might do it again but I am pretty sure I will not be asked to do it again.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $14,882.78

*Now the Tryazon web site has an option for something called ‘Tryabox’ where they ship you something to review and you don’t have to commit to a party and that sounds really cool. I like parties but again: $43.90. Which I know I did not HAVE to spend (and I definitely have leftover snacks) but what kind of host invites adult people to a party and offers them only Cheerios? Not me.