November 22, 2009

Thank Goodness for Ikea! (and Craigslist).

i have a love/hate relationship with Craigslist but it will be on the list of "Irrelevant Things That Make Me Happy" for a while because the other day, while once again getting weepy at the thought that the nearest Ikea is nowhere near me, i found the an Antilop highchair for sale.

see, i just got new dining chairs and my 20 lb. seven month old is rapidly outgrowing his fisher-price space saver highchair so i was looking at ikea's antilop again. i've wanted one since my three year old was an infant but now it seemed something worth pursuing. the classic, seamless style would complement our new chairs perfectly so i was debating whether or not to order it from the Ikea website even though the cost would have been nearly double, after shipping and handling.

before committing to the purchase of a brand new antilop, i checked my local craigslist.

i found a white chair for sale and thanked my lucky stars when the seller responded promptly and let me know that it was still available. i picked it up that day and was pleasantly surprised to find that it came with the tray. best $15 i've spent on used baby gear in a long time!

these chairs assemble in no time, are ultra-lightweight, yet sturdy and stable. the one-piece molded plastic seat is an amazingly simple, yet brilliant concept! there is not another highchair out there that is as easy to clean as the antilop. that single aspect makes it worth more than it's weight in gold, if you ask me.

one other thing: this simple little chair looks deceptively smaller than it is. while i was cleaning it in preparation for it's debut at our table, i wondered if getting my 20 lb. chubster in it would be a chore but he slides in and out easily and there is plenty of wiggle room in the leg openings and seat area. the tray is a bit difficult to take on and off but once on, it's secure, and doesn't at all effect the ease of getting baby in or out.

hint: to remove the antilop tray, push the four "lips" that clip under the front of the highchair first, then the side clips lift right out.

November 10, 2009

muslin swaddling blankets

...because i don't have the time, focus, or energy for an entry of substance and depth, i'm going to review another favorite product around here.

muslin swaddling blankets. wraps. big pieces of gorgeous, soft, fluffy goodness. whatever you want to call them...

i've only tried aden & anais as well as luna lullaby muslin blankets, and i love them both, for different reasons. so here, i suppose is my comparison of the two brands.

i was introduced to the world of great, oversized, fluffy goodness during my last pregnancy when i registered for a few things and pleasantly received a four pack of aden & anais blankets. i used nothing else after my son was born, save for grabbing a regular, ol' flannel receiving blanket during times of sheer emergency (read: they became oversized burp cloths or lap pads but no longer served as blankets around here). there were even times when i was too tired (or lazy) to put a diaper cover over my little guy's cloth bum, and i'd wrap him right up in his muslin blanket without fear of getting soaked. i'm not sure anyone else would recommend this but if you use cloth diapers and often let your babies go coverless these blankets are just absorbant enough to save your clothes or bedding if baby is wrapped up sans cover. of course, once baby is big enough to squirm out, baby is also probably big enough to soak through a diaper without trying but for the first few months, these were a nice easy alternative to our usual wool soaker routine - and just as breathable!

a few months after my love affair with muslin blankets began i wanted more. and to be honest, i still do. it takes a lot for me to walk away from babyearth's ga ga deals when they offer muslin blankets. but that's another story. i wanted more because the size is perfect, as they say, for providing shade over the stroller, providing the perfect amount of nursing coverage, and just being an awesome snuggling blanket here, there, and everywhere. but i'm weird, you see, and i don't like things we use outside of the home to also be used in the home, unless they've been washed. so i justified the purchase of more blankets so that i could reserve them for the car and diaper bag. this time i hit up ebay and found luna lullaby sets with prints that i actually preferred to aden and anais. i scored a set of "gently used" boyish "zoom zoom" printed blankets and just could not resist the adorable vintage cars on one of the blankets. the other two are pretty rockin', too! when they arrived, they looked like they'd maybe been washed once, but hardly used at all. i was so pleased and couldn't decide if they'd become my new favorite.

so the differences between the two are as follows:
aden & anais blankets are about 3" wider in all direction (i haven't measured mine but the site says the blankets are 47" x 47", whereas luna lullaby blankets are 44" x 44")

luna lullaby blankets seemed softer at first but i think this difference in softness is really just a difference of thickness. the luna lullaby blankets are lighter and thinner than the aden & anais and don't seem to produce as many little "pills" with repeated washings. the fabric on both of them is quite a wonder to behold, though, and at one time i preferred the feel of the luna lullaby blankets but i have to say that our a & a's are my current favorite, once again. i suspect this has something to do with how often they're washed - i also suspect this will change next time i wash the the ll blankets, since i seem to have a renewed love for them each time i pull them out of the dryer.

the aden & anais blankets are more square shaped with folded edges and mitered corners, while the luna lullaby blankets have rounded edges and are serged all the way around. both have fabric tags that babies will love to find and gnaw on. note: aden & anais also have larger, stiffer (more annoying) tags that you might want to cut off, for safety, if your baby really is into sucking, chewing, and biting tags.

both blankets produce a nice waffling effect on repeated washings, which is the nature of muslin, but because the luna lullaby fabric is lighter/thinner, i find it easier to roll them up and store in the diaper bag.

since my love affair has deepened, with time, we also own aden & anais washcloths, which are also oversized - they're perfect lovey size and we use them regularly around here as teething soothers.

and, i also picked up a two pack of a & a's winter warmth blankets, which are two-layers of muslin, fluffy goodness. i got the plain white ones with hopes of dying them fun, boyish colors one day, but so far i actually enjoy the simple, streamlined look of them. and as i'd hoped, even my almost four year old loves them! he wasn't much of a blanket baby, ever, but as it's started to cool down around here, i've found him snuggled up under a winter warmth blanket several times. i also envision the future of all of these blankets - they are large enough to make magnificent playcloths - from capes, to playstand canopies, to table fort coverings! i can see it!

muslin blankets are a traditional australian product and i have to say, they are the msot ingenious product i've ever had the pleasure of using. at first, i wished that i had discovered them sooner - it would have been awesome to have this experience with each baby! but now that i forsee their useful function for years to come and know they're large enough to keep my 13 year old (who is taller than me) cozy on the couch, i'm just grateful that i discovered them when i did.

if you're thinking about trying some, or have a shower/new baby gift to purchase, i wouldn't think twice! muslin blankets, no matter the brand, are the way to go! they will make all other receiving blankets virtually obsolete, they are large enough to wrap and snuggle all babies, no matter their size or age, and they will truly grow with the child providing more than just comfort as their imaginations take flight!