Pack This: Laptop Lunches

Always a fan of promoting healthier eating choices, I spotted Laptop Lunches, these fun lunch containers over on today’s Eco Baby Buys.

I was recently asked to review the toys from the latest happy meal, and as much as my kid is obsessed with the show that said toys are promoting, I had to decline the review opportunity.  I appreciate convenience as much as the next person, especially when we’re traveling, but as we all know, fast food isn’t always the best choice. With the unlimited selection and creative possibilities of packing fun and healthy meals, I think Bento Boxes are the new happy meal.

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Kid Kanteens Come in Fun New Colors

Looks like Spring made its return today.  Like many of you, we are big on the outdoors and taking adventures.  As we spend more time outside in the warm weather we often find ourselves drinking so much water.  And because of that, I love having so many reusable water bottles onhand.

Kleen Kanteen, a brand that I know many of you already know and love, offers a great line of Kid Kanteens.  What sets Kleen Kanteen apart from the usual water bottles is that they have special adapter that works with Avent’s sippy cup spout. It’s BPA-free polypropylene and works with the 12oz Klean Kanteen Classic bottle.  Kleen Kanteen recently added new colors to their Kid Kanteen lineup, including Prevention Purple, Solar Yellow and Reef Blue.

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WEDGiTS: Multi-Dimensional Building Blocks

Our family is in the midst of moving out of our city apartment and heading to the suburbs, all while trying to orchestrate a cast of contractors as we get ready to do some renovations.  All of this has me thinking of not just moving and the whole transition, but also about construction.  So, why not talk cool construction toys?

Besides the obvious favorites, I’ve come across some equally awesome building sets.  One that comes to mind is Wedgits.  I’m not talking the blog kind of widgits, but instead, the building toy variety.

Wedgits are colorful multi-dimensional building sets that can be nested, stacked, linked and wedged.  They come in various sizes and sets, including Wee Wedgits for 1-3 years; Wedgits for 2-10 years and mini-Wedgits for 5 and up.

What’s unique about Wedgits is that they’re squishy but still firm, sort of in a stress ball sort of way.  Building toys are such a great toy for both boys and girls, and keep cater to all age ranges.  They’d be perfect for daycare, schools and of course, the playroom.  Wedgits, which have won a long list of awards, are non-toxic, phthalate free poly-vinyl material.

Wedgits have been around for several years now, but at Toy Fair, I was able to get a glimpse of a few new additions to their great product line, including the Mini FunHundred.  This set, which comes in its own handy carry case, is comprised of 100 different mini Wedgit blocks and can be used with other mini Wedgit products.

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Mishi Design Offers Transformable Wooden Toys

The kid and I were recently at a friend’s house for a playdate, and because it’s been so warm, all the kids hopped on various ride-on toys and were even pushing around their wagons and play shopping carts. And that’s when I was reminded of a really cool line of wooden ride-on/push toys that I saw at Toy Fair.


With their wooden construction and unique design, the toys by Mishi Design are both head-turning and intriguing. Mishi Design Toys are transformable ride on and push toys, meaning they’re multi-faceted and are multiple toys in one. Think of them as wooden transformers, with a bit of European edge and many sustainable qualities.

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Pass the Corn-Fork, Please

Happy Earth Day, everyone!  Many of us do our best to live greener and wiser, especially for our children’s benefit.  Aside from the ever-so-important 3Rs–Reduce, Reuse and Recycle–there are a host of ways families can help Planet Earth.

Year round, I try to feature sustainable products that would complement our lives, but for Earth Day, I thought I’d showcase some innovative green and eco-friendly items that I’ve dogeared just for this week.

Dandelion In line with our family starting a new chapter in the suburbs, we’re implementing quite a few sustainable changes to our everyday way of life.  The kitchen and the way we eat has been an ongoing process, but specifically, I’m hoping to phase out plastics in the kitchen as much as possible.

The kid’s tableware and cups have taken over their own shelf.  I just noticed that more than half of the plates, cups, forks and spoons are plastic, which concerns me.  They’re likely full of pthalates and other elements that we just need to avoid all together.


When I was at Toy Fair, I fell in love with Dandeloin products, including their Natural Tableware Products.


These bright yellow forks, spoons and knives stand out among the crowd of plastic kiddie-sized cutlery.  Dandelion’s line of tableware are constructed of corn—as in, on- the-cob.


That’s right…corn.

I like corn as much as the next person, but I’m not a fan of all the food that’s being processed and engineered with corn.

Dandelion ReUsables tableware thrusts the use of corn into a new light.  According to the company, Reducing our dependency on both petroleum-based plastics and disposable ware in general, is an essential step toward a healthier future for our families and our environment.

Dandelion uses a unique corn (PLA) formula. Unlike conventional plastic, which is largely made from petroleum, our bioplastic is primarily made from corn! Polylactic acid (PLA) requires significantly less fossil resources, and generates far fewer green house gases than conventional plastic. And corn is a renewable and sustainable resource.

Dandelion ReUsables is sustainability at its best.  Before grabbing a package of those convenient plastic kiddie forks and spoons, consider all the resources it took to get them on the shelf.  Dandelion ReUsables is a fantastic alternative to the conventional options out there.  When we move, I hope to replenish our tableware supply and minimize the usage of plastic by going the corn route.


In addition to forks, knives and spoons, Dandelion also has bowls, plates and soon, sippy cups.  Dandelion ReUsables can be found online and I even saw a link to them at Kmart online.  They range in price, but it looks like they are in the $6-10 pricepoint.

alma by bloom Combines Style and Function

Welcome to Baby Week on NKT, everyone!  This week, I will be focusing on the latest and greatest on baby gear.  Stay tuned for my picks for the most notable baby items for modern families.

Outfitting small spaces often demands creativity while combining functionality, especially when babies are added to the mix. But just because a space is small, doesn’t mean you have to forget style.

Cribs, perhaps one of the most pertinent elements of baby’s nursery, monopolize a lot of space.  In some cases, families don’t have the space for a full-sized crib, or perhaps, have the need for a secondary crib.  Earlier this year, bloom debuted its alma crib, a compact, modern, stylish, yet functional solution for space-strived families.

The alma, which comes in a palette of vibrant colors and touts clean, straight lines, needs no assembly, as it opens and collapses with ease.  Described to be as wide as a standard dresser, the Alma is small enough (37x20x33″) to be used an an alternative for co-sleepers, bassinets, mini-cribs or even pack-and-plays.  After use, the Alma can be closed and stored to maximize space.

The alma, like other bloom products complies with all CPSIA requirements, and is a sustainable option for baby gear. According to bloom, alma is crafted from solid birch wood from certified sustainable wood forests. The wood is independently tested to be free of wood PCP and other toxic wood preservatives. The finishes and bedding textiles are lead free, phthalate free, PVC free, heavy metal free, and AZO dye free.  For me, sustainability is a huge selling point.

I love that bloom was founded by four dads who sought to bring contemporary design and intelligent innovation to a range of baby products. bloom’s simple, clean, but innovative products are head-turners and among some of my favorite high-end baby gear.

Just like many urban dwelling families, we know the lack of space predicament quite well.  It might be shocking to those who aren’t used to it, but we’ve managed to coexist in our 1br railroad apartment just fine, thanks to intuitive baby gear and furniture that gives us room to breathe.  Before we opted for our Stokke Sleepi, we were leaning towards investing in a mini-crib for our closet nursery.  We were disappointed at the lack of options for durable, safe and modern mini cribs.  Had the alma been out a few years ago, we could have totally gone this route.  I love the idea of being able to store the crib when it’s not in use, yet not having to sacrifice modern design for function and convenience.  I’ve always been a big fan of bloom products, but somewhat deterred by the price tags.  Though the alma wouldn’t have lasted for us as long since we have a taller kid, this crib is certainly a viable solution for families who crave space, portability and sleek designs.

The alma can be found at retailers such as giggle and retails for $400.  By the way, I love giggle’s Q&A feature on their site.  Great consumer interaction!

The mattress and bedding are all sold separately, and can also be found at giggle.


Go Big, Go Green at Toy Fair

So, it’s here!  For the past couple of days, I’ve been indulging in the excitement of Toy Fair, here in NY.  Because it’s an industry trade show, I’ve been busy working and meeting with various companies that reached out to me.

In case you haven’t already, be sure to join me on The Next Kid Thing Fan Page and twitter to see my updates throughout Toy Fair.

With thousands and thousands of exhibitors at Toy Fair, it’s obviously going to be difficult to cover every single company.  I will, however, try to do a roundup of products that are of interest, and perhaps, the next kid thing.

Yesterday, after my meetings, I spent the majority of my day walking the floor.  There are a lot of really great exhibitors, and of course, many new products that are being launched in conjunction with Toy Fair.  I made it a point to check out green and sustainable toys, and was quite pleased with the amount of products that have joined this category.

Some companies have been in the Green sector before “green” was its own category.  There are literally hundreds of fabulous toys, so for now, here are just a few of my findings.  (Please note, these photos are from my phone, but I’ll be sure to share much, much more tonight.)





Etsy find: Natural Cars from Happy Squash Toys

With toy recalls and reports of unsafe toy manufacturing and imports creating a cause for concern, in an effort to observe more sustainable choices, naturally, some families opt for greener toys made from renewable resources. And of course, a smart and economical alternative to mass produced toys are unique, handmade goodies. Beyond whittling your own collection of handmade toys yourself, thank goodness for the treasure trove that is Etsy! I always say this, but you can’t buy the kind of craftsmanship that you find in Etsy in a mainstream store —no matter what the product might be!

Jack playing with Natural Cars

Today’s Etsy find is from a toy shop that I’ve featured before—I love these toys that much. Happy Squash Toys sent us a trio of Natural Cars for review, and based on the kid’s inability to put them down for one second, it’s official: they’re a hit.

Like most boys his age, our almost 2-year old is fascinated by anything with wheels or rolls. Cars, trains, animals with wheels, bikes, tractor trailers—you name it, he loves it. The Natural Cars from Happy Squash Toys are no exception. He loves wheeling them around the floor, furniture and whatever surface that will let him mobilize these cars. The trick is always finding a way to make all 3 roll at once since his little hands aren’t quite big enough to push them all at once yet. I love the way our little guy makes his own little car sounds when playing with the Natural Cars. I’ll take those sweet imaginative noises over the loud battery-operated honks, beeps and flashing lights any day.

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HiLo can you go?

I first spotted this eye-catching high chair at the Big City Mom’s Biggest Baby Shower event a few months ago.  The HiLo High Chair by Age Designs is an innovative high chair that multi-purposes into a chair for bigger kids.


The dual heights of the chair—its high and low seating features—are interchangeable with a quick flip.  The HiLo can be pulled up to the dinner table or kitchen counter, but when the time comes, its lower height is suitable as an alternative to a booster seat or desk chair for older kids. I like the molded seats in the simplistic, yet modern design and smaller footprint.  But ultimately, the allure of this chair is certainly its sustainability and multi-faceted function.  The HiLo High Chair, which comes in red, beige, green and orange, can be found online at Modern Nursery.