My mom was in town for a few weeks this month. When we were driving by the local lake, we noticed an ambulance and water rescue crew near the water. My mom expressed her hope that everyone was okay. But the knowledge I have from being a firefighter’s wife (Jamie has some water rescue experience) told me that was probably not the case. And they weren’t. Guys, water safety needs to be taken seriously. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a little water or a large body of it; whether you’re 2 years old or 35; whether you know how to swim well or not….water doesn’t care about all that. It’s so important to practice water safety habits regularly regardless of your experience level. This will keep you – and everyone around you – as safe as possible.

An article in the Columbus Dispatch earlier this month highlighted some startling statistics. In May alone, SEVEN people drowned in central Ohio. Only two of those were young children. Another was a teen and three others were kayakers. One of them was even wearing a life jacket. So you can see, water safety is something everyone needs to be aware of. Especially since we’re in the middle of summer where water activities are so common.
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So what can we do?

We can be aware that water safety is an ongoing issue. And remind others about the importance of water safety. We can practice good water safety habits ourselves so we can be an example to our kids.

It’s important for us to teach them not to give into peer pressure, especially when the other kids are being unsafe or doing something beyond his or her ability level.

And we must give our kids all the tools and knowledge they need to stay safe in the event that they or someone nearby gets into trouble in the water. Even the most basic of swim skills, like floating on your back, can be helpful.
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One of the things I love about Goldfish Swim School is that my priority for Liam – water safety – is their priority too. The teachers there aren’t just teaching our little ones how to have fun in the water. Or how to be around it without tears. Or turn our kids into the next Michael Phelps. Though those things are very good. But their #1 focus is to make sure our kids are safe. As a mom, I definitely couldn’t ask for anything more. Do you agree?
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This post is part of our partnership with Goldfish Swim School. As always, all the photos, words and opinions in this blog are completely my own.

Did you know that you’re not supposed to place an infant carseat on top of a shopping cart? I do. Now. But before I was pregnant with Liam, I didn’t know that. I saw people doing it all the time, so I just assumed that it was the way everyone went grocery shopping with their baby. I didn’t realize how unsafe it was until I read about it during my pregnancy. I’ll touch more on this in a little bit. But when Liam was born, I wore him in the baby carrier, so grocery shopping was a breeze. Now, with a second babe, thinking about going grocery shopping with both of them gives me anxiety. Thankfully, though, I’ve found a few things to help me get the job done. Like the Binxy Baby shopping cart hammock.
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There are so many great positives about the Binxy Baby. I’ve actually had people stop me in the store to ask me questions about it. Partly because Caleb looks so content in it, but also because people immediately recognize it as a unique (and helpful) way to take your baby shopping with you. It comes in six stylish print options. The one we have is the Indigo Dream print.
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The Binxy Baby is a comfy ride for your little, sure. But it makes shopping so much more convenient too. When we were still waiting out ICPC in North Carolina, we stopped at Whole Foods to grab some things for meals. In case you don’t have a Whole Foods near you, the shopping carts are shorter than a regular grocery store cart. I didn’t have a baby carrier with me either, so I had to put Caleb and his carseat into the shopping cart. This left no room for groceries. So then I was stuck pushing a baby around in a cart while lugging around a heavy basket full of food. I definitely could have used a Binxy Baby then. It allows you to shop with your baby and still have room for your groceries. No need for the extra arm workout (unless you want to).

It can be used until your baby is sitting up on his own, so for 6-8 months or so, and it fits most standard grocery store carts. So whether I’m shopping at Meijer, Kroger, Target or Whole Foods, the Binxy Baby will fit. Which is awesome, because I tend to shop at different stores depending on what we have going on and what’s on my grocery list. Depending on the cart, this also means that you can use two of these side-by-side. So if you have twins, this is definitely still a great option.

Not only does the Binxy Baby hold your baby, but it can also hold the car seat. It supports up to 50 pounds of weight. There’s an extra strap specifically included to secure your carseat to the Binxy Baby. This way, you don’t have to worry about a hard jostle to the cart knocking the carseat over.

And I mentioned safety before, right? 24,000 kids a year get treated in the ER from shopping cart-related injuries. Placing the carseat on top of the shopping cart isn’t secure. There’s a huge chance of the carseat toppling from the cart. And even if it doesn’t, the constant clipping against the cart seat can damage your carseat. Which makes it dangerous to use back in the carseat base. The Binxy Baby is a safe alternative to this. It’s been through rigorous safety testing and has several features for good measure. Like the 2-layer upholstery weight fabric and secure seat harness. You should always be sure to strap the baby in properly, even if they’re sleeping. Can’t be too careful.
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One of my favorite things? The hammock rolls up easily for storage. So you can stash it away in the car or diaper bag until you need to use it the next time. Lots of baby things take up so much space, so I’m happy to share one that is pretty minimalistic.

Cost-wise, the Binxy Baby comes in at just under $50. And you can save 10% on that here. Which, for something that’s well made and will last you 6-8 months, that’s not too expensive.
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A few things to note – I wouldn’t really call these negatives, just things to keep in mind as you’re using your Binxy Baby:

  • Grocery stores are cold. If you’re baby wearing, that’s pretty much a non-issue. And if you’re keeping your baby in his carseat, that helps insulate them a little bit too. But I’ve found that Caleb gets a little chilled pretty quickly when he’s just in the Binxy Baby. It’s especially hard in the summer, since you want to dress your baby for the heat outdoors. I make sure to bring an extra blanket for him to use when he’s in the Binxy Baby. This way, he can be more comfortable while we’re shopping. Plus, a cozy baby means a happier shopping trip for everyone.
  • It’s important to shop strategically. Since the Binxy Baby really is a hammock, it sits in the cart in an incline. So the bottom of it hangs into the cart. You need to be a little more thoughtful in how you put your groceries in the cart. If you stack things too high underneath the Binxy Baby, it will push up against your baby making his ride less comfortable.
  • Have a plan when you get to the store. Especially if you’ve got more than one child. What’s the weather like? Are you grabbing a cart someone has returned outdoors? Or are you carrying the baby inside and installing the Binxy Baby there? Luckily, the thing is easy to install. But trust me, it’s hard to hold a newborn and try to lift a toddler into the front seat of the shopping cart at the same time. It’s equally as difficult to expect said toddler to wait patiently while you get the baby settled first. My personal preference (if it’s not raining) is to park as close to a cart return stall as I can. I grab a cart, install in the Binxy Baby, and then get Caleb strapped in. Then, I get Liam out of the car and get him buckled in the cart. If it’s rainy, I’ve opted to keep Caleb in his carseat instead. I’ll carry the carseat into the store where I can set it on the ground while I put Liam in the cart. Or I just skip the grocery store for that day. I mean, who really likes shopping in the rain?

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You can purchase a Binxy Baby through the company’s website, but it’s also available on Amazon and some retail stores. Don’t forget to check them out on Facebook and Instagram too!

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Disclosure: I received this product as part of a partnership with Binxy Baby. All words and opinions are completely my own. 

When I was pregnant with Liam, I did a lot of reading up on products prior to his birth. But it’s hard to know where to find information about everything you need as a new mom. Now being a mom of two little ones, the number of “mom friends” I have has grown exponentially thanks to play dates, preschool and other activities. Not to mention that I’ve had 3.5 years to see what products other moms are using and loving AND seeing some new things pop up that weren’t available when Liam was a baby. So this time around, I’m having so much fun using products I’ve been eyeing for some time. Including our brand new DockATot. I’ve had friends raving about their DockATots for a long time and I’m so excited to add my own thoughts to the list.
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So what is it? Designed in Sweden, the DockATot is a multifunctional dock for your little one. As in, it’s a great little place for your little to do anything from co-sleeping to playing to just hanging out with the rest of your crew. The idea behind the DockATot is that it provides a safe and cosy environment for your baby to do all of those things. Even as your baby grows, the snug feel of the DockATot is reminiscent of your womb, giving a more comforting, calming feeling.
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The DockATot comes in two different sizes: the Deluxe (which is what we have) and the Grand. The Deluxe size is for babies 0-8 months old and 5-22 pounds. The Grand size is for littles 9-36 months old and 22-40 pounds. So it’s not one of those products with a limited use time and can grow with your child for those first few years. Made in Europe, it’s made from high-quality, 100% cotton, breathable and non-toxic materials. AND it’s OEKO-TEX certified, been tested for safety and is compliant with CPSC’s safety standards.

For several reasons, our family doesn’t co-sleep. Unless you count a toddler sneaking into our bed in the middle of the night. But I have many friends who do and love it, especially if they’re nursing. I have been known to get a little mid-day cat nap in next to Caleb when he’s on our bed in the DockATot, though. The importance is knowing how to do it safely. And knowing whether it’s the right choice for your family. When used properly, the DockATot can be used for co-sleeping. If you want to learn more about safe sleep with the DockATot, you can find that information here.
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My favorite use for our DockATot is as a lounger. It makes it so much easier for Caleb to hang out with me and Liam while we’re playing around the house. He can watch what we’re doing or even get some tummy time in. I also have a little play gym from Finn and Emma that fits over the DockATot so Caleb can have a little fun himself. The company also has a toy arch made specifically for the DockATot you can use too.

I like that this gives Caleb a safe space to be near the action in out house, but it’s more comfortable than the floor. And it also helps Liam to respect Caleb’s space a little better too.
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As with many baby things, I recommend getting a second cover for your DockATot so that you can still use it while the cover is being washed. Speaking of which, the covers are machine washable. Which is awesome, because babies make a lot of extra laundry.

The biggest question people keep asking me is – Does it help them sleep? Well, yes. And not necessarily. If you’re looking for me to guarantee that it comes with sleepy dust for every baby, then you won’t find it. The thing is that every baby is soon different and I don’t know that there’s one single solution that will always work for every baby. Some babies just have a really hard time sleeping in general no matter what you’re using.

Caleb has some reflux issues, so he actually sleeps much better slightly inclined. I’ve never gotten a long nap with him in the DockATot. I can actually hear him struggling with the reflux when he’s laying flat on his back. We have used the DockATot for mini-snoozes here and there. But when we finally figure out how to deal with his reflux, I imagine we’ll use it a lot more for sleeping too.

I think a big reason why the DockATot can be so helpful for other babes when it comes to sleep is how it’s designed. I remember Liam had a hard time sleeping in a crib as a baby. Compared to a tiny baby, a crib is huge! Babies are so used to being snug and cozy in the womb that it’s a big shock to suddenly have so much space. I remember learning with Liam that babies need to feel edges to feel more secure. It’s one of the reasons why many babies love being swaddled so much.

Since the DockATot’s designed with a raised edge, the baby can easily reach around and feel the sides. The feeling of being cozy, safe and secure encourages better sleep. Which is why a lot of babies may sleep better in the DockATot vs another option like a crib or pack ‘n play. And since there’s two sizes, your little can still get that same cozy feeling even when they’re a little bigger.
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Our family likes to travel quite a bit. Both Liam and Caleb seem to be good little car travelers. So any baby gear that’s easy to bring with us is a huge bonus. The DockATot doesn’t take up a lot of space. It also has several handles, making it easy to pack, grab and go. And it can also double as a changing pad. Which is especially convenient when traveling.
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If you travel a lot or intend to fly, you can also get a travel bag for it. Not only does it help keep your DockATot clean, but it has a shoulder strap for easy carrying too. And you can also use the bag for storage when you’re saving it for the next babe.

Function aside, the DockATot is super stylish too! You can choose one of many different prints to match your style aesthetic, nursery or your favorite color. Truthfully, I wanted the Pristine White color (because I’m all about neutrals and having white everything, haha). But they were sold out at the time I chose mine, so I ended up with the chevron Silver Lining and the blue Love Links. I’m SO glad I opted for a little bit of design and color.
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You can purchase a DockATot from their website. If you do, you can use this link to get $10 off your purchase!  They can also be purchased from a handful of online retailers. Their Facebook page has lots of really great info on how to use your DockATot. And you can follow them on Instagram to find out when they have sales and giveaways.

Do you have a DockATot? What do you love about it? Or are you thinking about getting one?
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Disclosure: I received product as part of a partnership with DockATot. All words and opinions are completely my own. 

  • I have heard so many great things about Dock-a-Tot. Anything that helps baby sleep safely is a win in my book! He’s precious!ReplyCancel

  • After having my son, and stressing about why he wouldn’t sleep in his crib, I saw the Dock-aTot. But this of course was way after he had already been sleeping well in his crib. I had been wondering if it would be worth the investment, and after reading this, it seems like it is! I will have to look into it for my next. Your baby is adorable!ReplyCancel

As I’ve been blogging more frequently, I’ve also been trying to get out a little more often to meet some other local bloggers. Community is everything and it’s hard when you’re a work-from-home-mom. I miss having those connections in the workplace from people who understand what it is I do. Not to mention, I’ve had the honor to meet with and get to know some amazing women. Several of us got together recently for a little Columbus blogger Sunday Sunday event last month. It was so much fun to just relax and hang out on a Sunday afternoon. I even brought Caleb along to meet some Columbus blogger friends. It also wouldn’t be a blogger event without some great sponsors to help us put it all together. It was great to network and hear about some businesses that are really making waves around Columbus. I want so share them with you, in case you’re looking to shop for something new or want to grab a little treat the next time you’re out.

J-POPS

J-POPS are popsicles that are unbelievably good and especially perfect for summer or special events. They’re made with whole fruits (locally-sourced whenever possible) and other natural ingredients. They are also have no additives, preservatives, artificial coloring and are completely gluten free. In fact, that average popsicle from J-POPS has FOUR ingredients!

There are over 50 flavors in the J-POPS lineup, but they typically only stock four or five different flavors at a time. This is so they can use in-season, fresh ingredients. My personal favorite was the pineapple cilantro. It surprised me, since it’s not a combo I would have put together myself, but it was so yummy! If you want to check out which farmers markets and festivals J-POPS will be at this summer, you can find out where they’ll be each week right on their website!
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balm skincare

We’re all about raw products for eating healthy, so why not for our skincare too? balm skincare is all about using natural ingredients and reducing the junk in the products that we use. There are so many things, from our cleaning supplies to our personal care products to our food that contain dangerous additives and carcinogens. As a mom, you know how important it is to protect our littles (and ourselves) as much as possible. balm gets it too. They take herbalism and use it to create healthier skincare products, giving those of us who strive for a healthier lifestyle a better choice than the conventional products around. I came away with a little sachet of ingredients for a customized facial steam. It smelled amazing and my skin felt so good after trying it!

You can shop for balm skincare right on their website. If you want to test some of the products out in person, you can also check out their events page to see where they’ll be next.
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Salumi Couture 

So I’ve actually never been a huge cured meat fan. But I’ll also admit that my exposure to it has been fairly limited. When I studied abroad in Spain, my host mother would make us little jamón sandwiches to take with us to the beach. I usually skipped the meat and just ate the bread. Chorizo wasn’t really my jam either. But Salumi Couture has totally changed my opinion. I even went back for a second taste.

Dave Lesgold, the founder of Salumi Couture, is the mastermind behind the meat. He creates each recipe and cures the meat himself. You can totally tell that he puts a lot of love and expertise into each recipe. The Sweet and Spicy Coppa was my favorite, but the Mikey brought me right back to that summer in Spain. You can find a list of Columbus restaurants and specialty shops that sell Salumi Couture here.
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TRU MAN BRAND

TRU MAN is a family-owned clothing brand here in Columbus. I’m pretty familiar with many of the small shop clothing brands around and what I love about TRU MAN is that their designs are fun and unique. Plus, if you’re an Ohio native, this is the place to be shopping for your Ohio-proud apparel.

STUMP Plants

I do not have a green thumb whatsoever and my first foray into succulents ended badly. But it’s been a few weeks and I’m managing to keep my little succulent from STUMP plants alive. Woo!

They have retail shops in the Italian Village and German Village in Columbus, so you can stop in and see what they have in stock. You can also shop online, although they don’t have their full stock on the website. What I love most, though, is their willingness to help educate people on how to actually keep their plants alive. I can’t be the only plant-challenged person out there, right? Their website is full of great information from how to choose the right plant for your home (and for you!), to plant care and other important tips for beginners. And if you’re still stuck, you can actually book a consultation to have someone come out and help you survey your home and lifestyle so you can choose just the right plant. How cool is that?!
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Ridiculously Good Salsa

The name kind of says it all. Ridiculously Good Salsa is really that good. Made in Westerville, Ridiculously Good Salsa is a refrigerator salsa made out of super fresh ingredients. My family is a little salsa-obsessed over here, so we don’t throw out salsa compliments lightly. But man, this stuff is good. And I say this when I make and can my own every summer. I think what really makes them stand out is that you can tell that the ingredients are fresh and the flavor is bold. Which reminds me, I need to go pick up some more.

They have three different flavors: mellow, happy medium and high heat. I like a little spice, but not too much. The mellow definitely had just the right amount of kick for me. If you’re looking to buy Ridiculously Good Salsa, they have a full list of locations around Columbus on their website. You can also order it online and have it shipped to you if you’re not local. Win, right?
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Which local business on this list do you plan to check out first? Leave a comment and let me know!

I had so much fun at this Columbus blogger event – can’t wait for the next one!

When we were getting ready for Liam’s birth, baby mittens were something I felt we didn’t really need. But then he was here and pretty soon, his precious chin was all scratched up from those tiiiiny little fingernails that are so hard to keep short. To protect his face, we used swaddles to make it hard for his hands to escape in the middle of the night. As a result, he also became pretty dependent on being swaddled in order to sleep. While I do still have a few favorite swaddles (more info on those coming soon), Caleb is a completely different baby and doesn’t have as strong of a startle reflex. I wanted to find something that still protects his face while sleeping. Or when he’s awake, since he still doesn’t have control over his arm movements. Enter goumikids baby mitts. Guys, these are awesome, for so many reasons.
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For one, they’re adjustable. There’s elastic that goes around the wrist. This makes it easy to put on and take off. But goumikids goes a step further by adding a velcro closure to ensure a better fit. This means that the goumikids baby mitts can be used continually as your baby grows.
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Their regular sizing options are 0-3 and 3-6 months. But they also offer preemie and micro preemie-sized mitts. And they’re proven to significantly reduce accidental extubation if you’re baby’s in the NICU. The fabric is a bamboo/cotton blend, which not only makes them super soft, but gives them some antimicrobial properties and makes them a sustainable product too. So these mitts over germ protection as well as helping your baby be scratch free.

The regular mitts also have a reversible side. It’s intended to be a high contrast pattern so that it helps to stimulate brain and eye development.
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And, Caleb seems to think they’re pretty comfortable.
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The particular print of goumikids baby mitts we have is their goumigiving print. Goumikids is a really philanthropic company. Part of every purchase goes to their partner organizations. However, when you purchase an item with the goumigiving print, 100% of those profits are donated. So not only is it a really cute print, but it does a lot of good around the world too.
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Price-wise, the goumikids baby mitts are a little more expensive than other baby mittens on the market. They run $12 a pair ($10 for preemie mitts), while the typical baby mitten can usually be found in packs of 2 or 4 for half the price. However, the value goumikids’ mitts bring to the table is totally worth the price. I have yet to see another company with a two-part closure system like the one from goumikids’ that helps get a better fit. And they’re much more stylish too. Sophisticated baby gear, is what I like to call it – these will definitely last as other styles go in and out.

If you want to save a little, you can always opt for a goumibundle too. You can get two pairs of mitts for only $22, or get a pair of mitts and another goumikids product like their boots or jamms. This makes a great baby shower gift too!

Shop for goumikids baby mitts and other products on the goumikids website. You can also save 15% off your purchases through June 30 with the code LFB15! Don’t forget to follow them on Instagram and Facebook for sale info and new releases!

Are there any baby gear items you thought you didn’t need for baby #1 but definitely wanted for baby #2?
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Disclosure: I received these goumikids baby mitts to try out and review. All words and opinions are completely my own.