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Archive for the ‘Stuff I Like’ Category

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We ordered a two-pack of pacifier tethers back when the baby was itty-bitty. He kicked the binky habit at around six months, but we still use them to secure small toys to his bib or shirt. I may buy them for every expectant mother I know from now on, because they’re the kind of thing you need but serially forget to pick up. (Or at least, that was true for me.)

We have the Booginhead brand; you can pick some up here.

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Cue the circus music.

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For the record: I love these.

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Green Tea Time

I’m trying to cut down on my coffee consumption. Again.

I switched to decaf, but it just became a vehicle for sugar and milk — not the greatest thing when you’re trying to banish your muffin-top. Also: The jitters, because decaffeinated does not mean caffeine-free.

Behold, the only green tea that doesn’t turn my stomach upside-down:

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Of course, it’s a vehicle for honey, but at least I’m not putting milk in on top of it.

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In keeping with today’s theme of “nothing serious,” I offer you this glass.

For quite some time, this has been my bathroom glass of choice. Not long ago, I broke its mate, and I was very excited when my husband said we had another stashed in the back of a dark, high kitchen cabinet.

I like the sturdiness, the ridge at the top of the facets where my fingers can rest, and the lack of pretension about it. I also like that it reminds me of my late Aunt Antonia, who, if I remember correctly, had an entire set of these, both large and small. She was the arbiter of culinary taste in our family, a gourmet chef and professional caterer to whom great food and quality kitchen items were of paramount importance.

Whenever I visited her, I thought surely these must be the best everyday glasses there are, because they’re in her kitchen.

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Tea Time

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Nothing complicated today. We all have enough to worry about. So how about a nice soothing cuppa?

This tea is a bit of a butt-kicker, crammed full of everything that makes chai so tasty. It’ll leave your mouth a bit numb — don’t be scared, that’s just the cloves saying hello!

That’s also how I realized why I like it so much — it tastes more or less like those godawful clove cigarettes I smoked back when I thought that was a shortcut to Coolsville. I like being reminded of those days, but Boy Howdy, I’m glad they’re over.

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I am not a visual artist by training, but I am a bit of a design freak in that a well thought-out object can make me go “ooh!” This shape sorter, which my online shopping maven of a husband found, does that — for the baby as well as for me.

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It’s made by a British company called Tolo Toys, and the sucker is sturdy. Like, I could probably sit on it without damaging it, and I am not a dainty person. The six shapes have beads inside them, and each one makes a slightly different shaker sound, which the baby loves to bits. He’ll spend quite a bit of time banging them together and squealing, which is entertaining unless I have a headache. They’re also nice and smooth, so they double as teething toys.

Here’s my favorite design feature, though:

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See that lid? To an eight-month-old, it’s a separate toy, and so is the bucket that’s created when you take it off. My kid spent a good 20 minutes investigating those two things last night. He was all like, “Two new toys! EEEEeeeee!” And the kid was tired. As an official Old Mom, I’m telling you: A toy that can do that is worth a few extra ducats.

The only problem with this toy is that it makes me want everything else the company makes.

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We received this book’s cousin, Little Bee, from my sister-in-law, who chose it because it was much beloved by both her girls. She would have passed her copy along, but the bee had been drooled on too many times to count, and board books are not technically machine washable.

When I learned there was a whole series, I resolved to get at least one or two more, because my son was gaga over the bee book. Wiggling the finger puppet holds his attention and gets him to engage with the book. The illustrations are cartoony-simple and full of contrast — again, great for holding the baby’s attention.

But what I really like about these books is the writing. I know. Crazy, right? Bear with me.

The lines rhyme without being saccharine, there’s a simple storyline (in this case, the fish going to sleep), and the word choices relate to the animal. So Little Fish contains words such as ocean, splash and tails. And the author (there’s none listed on the book) does all of this in only 45 words. As a writer, I find that impressive. As a mom, I appreciate the effect: A fun reading experience for both of us.

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In St. Louis, the full line of 21 books (or damn near the full line) is available at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s gift shop. Reading through them is fun, quick, and a great way to make sure you don’t get stuck reading something you don’t like 88 million times. Like the thing about flies in the spider one. Ick.

Happy reading!

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My husband has a sweet and creatively gifted coworker who knitted this sweater for our baby. People who can knit impress the hell out of me because I’ve tried, and failed, and I know it takes talent, precision and patience to do it well.

Even though this is newborn-sized, the A-line design means it still fits. I love it so much I will put it on him until it won’t button up any more.

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I’ve been reading to the baby for quite some time now. When I started he was, of course, oblivious, but he slowly cottoned on to the fun of reading with Mama, which is the whole point of waving a book at a two-month-old, yes?

Trucks Go, by Steve Light, was given to me by my mom and is one of his favorites. My aunt and uncle were visiting when she gave it to us, and I was commanded to read it to him on the spot. This was, I confess, super fun.

There are eight trucks in this board book, each with a distinct set of sounds to read. That’s it — nice and simple. Here’s an excerpt: “The box truck goes CHUGGADA-CHUGGADA CLANKITY CLANK.” Hilarious, no? And the baby giggles when I jiggle him around while I’m making the truck noises.

The watercolor (I think) illustrations are sweet and engaging, and the large words make it really clear to him that the clumps of shapes I point to go with the noises I’m making. (This also means I don’t need to squint to see them.) Bottom line: This book is entertaining for both of us, which is what I want reading to be about at this stage.

This book would make a thoughtful gift for an impending baby, or an excellent addition to your baby’s library. Anthropologie carried it this summer (weird but true) or you can go here for it.

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Petal Pusher

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The photo above may have caused a few spit-takes, as the term “girly-girl” has never, to my knowledge, been used to describe me. And yet I went well out of my way, baby in tow, on a cold and rainy day, looking for this nail polish. Know why? Because I semi-secretly like how manicures look, but I’m kinda busy, and I’m inclined to laze about when my domestic duties are handled. Also, I’m all thumbs at doing my own nails.

One coat of this, slopped on over the space of two minutes, takes me a level up from a coat of clear polish. Two coats makes my hands look like they’re halfway to a French manicure, which is more than good enough for me. Especially when it’s taken all of five minutes, and it’s dry enough for me to pick up the baby within a few more minutes. And if I smudge a nail, another 30 seconds is all it takes to fix it.

So take it from me, a busy, lazy person with a baby and minimal nail-painting skills: Sally Hansen Insta-Dry in Petal Pusher is your friend. And the CVS on Olive has it in stock.

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