Viewing category ‘Baby gear’

Milk and Cookies

with Kristen

I'm a mother of five, a bargain hunter, a recreational comparison shopper, and always trying to make more time - for me and for you, too. On this blog I'm sharing my favorite tools and finds to help make your work-life juggle a bit easier.

You can find my personal blog at

Gift ideas for a 1-year-old

Categories: Baby gear, Books, Gifts, Toddler gear, Toys


My nephew recently turned one, which is hard for me to believe but the evidence sits before me. Recently there were requests for gift ideas for a one-year-old, so I took notes at his birthday party.

Pewi YBike Walking Buddy and Riding Toy (photo from This is a very stylish looking riding toy. And if the child stands facing it, it’s also a sturdy walker.

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Gift ideas for a 7-year-old (or two 7-year-olds)

Categories: Baby gear, Books, Fashion, Gifts, Toys

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The twins turned seven, and for me it meant not just “O MY BABIES ARE GROWING UP” but also “O MAN THIS IS A LOT OF PRESENT IDEAS TO COME UP WITH.”

One of the more surprising successes was a calculator (photo from for Edward. He’d kept stealing mine, so I wondered if he might like to have one of his own—and although his first reaction was not quite the level of THRILL a person might be looking for in a birthday gift reaction, he’s played with it nearly every day since.

My parents bought LittleMissMatched socks (photo from for Elizabeth. I had the fun of choosing, so I chose all from the buy-3-sets-get-1-set-free section, to reduce the pain of paying THREE dollars PER sock PLUS shipping. This was a great gift idea for grandparents, because I KNEW Elizabeth really wanted the socks but I was having a hard time getting over the hurdle of the price (and the SUPER annoyance of not being able to use a free shipping code on an order containing buy-3-get-1). My mom: “Pish! They’re perfect! Let’s order them!”
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Unusual board books

Categories: Baby gear, Books


One of my favorite gift ideas for a new baby is a stack of board books I liked reading to my own kids: it’s a sentimental gift but also a practical one. I was looking at candidates for that very sort of gift, and I kept running into…unusual board books. Many of them seemed like they’d make great amusing gift ideas for the right recipients—but I’d need to go see them in a book store so I could make sure they were as good as their covers.

Baby Mix Me a Drink (photo from I hadn’t realized until I went in search of a photo/link that the author Lisa Brown is married to Lemony Snicket. We bought a couple of these books a few years ago so I SHOULD know what I think of them, but all I remember is that we thought the titles and the whole concept were funnier than the actual books, but that the actual books were also funny and appealing. They make nice shower gifts, or a book to mix in with some that are more for the baby.

Star Trek Book of Opposites (photo from This seems like it would be a good Father’s Day gift for a new dad. (Or of course for a mother who’s a Star Trek fan, but Mother’s Day has passed.)
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Baby gift ideas for a casual acquaintance

Categories: Baby gear, Gifts, Time savers


Recently I’ve needed to buy baby gifts for two people in the “casual acquaintance” category. This category includes anyone where (1) it seems like it would be a nice thing to buy them a baby gift, but (2) you don’t really know them well enough to know what they’d like/need, and (3) you don’t want to make things awkward by getting something too large for the relationship. In other words, you want a token that shows your general good wishes, but this is not the time for engraved silver baby cups or a $100 baby swing.

I find in these cases I fall back on the same five basic ideas:

Idea #1: A set of board books. (Photo from Books with dust jackets and paper pages make good sentimental gifts and are a fun baby shower idea, but many of them can’t be enjoyed by the baby for years; baby board books can be used almost right away, and they’re less sentimental and more practical. I read this particular set to my particular babies one million times, and they were also good for propping in front of a baby suffering enjoying tummy-time. They’re good basic “a picture per page” board books, nice and bright and durable. And they’re $10ish for four! Perfect.

Idea #2: The sleep-and-play. (Photos from Many new babies wear these around the clock at first, changed not for “daytime” and “bedtime” but instead with every diaper leak and spit-up. Such changes can happen many, many times a day with some babies. I know some parents report getting way too many baby clothes as gifts, but even with handmedowns I was still buying more of these with every baby in the first two sizes (newborn and 3 months). They’re easy, comfy, cute, and no one has to try to match colors on too little sleep.
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Musical instrument toys for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers

Categories: Baby gear, Music, Toddler gear, Toys


Tara writes:

My daughter is OBSESSED with music (and noise in general), and currently her instruments of choice are two metal mixing bowls she drums on with bamboo spoons, but she also really loved a little piano at a friend’s house. We are celebrating her in June (when she’ll be 18 months), and I’ve been thinking about getting her some baby/toddler instruments! Any ideas (preferably that won’t cost me $1M)?

I bought a set of Schylling Musical Hand Bells for my niece for Christmas, and they have been a success. Each bell makes an actual note (the note is labeled on the handle with a sticker, which may need to be replaced by permanent marker), so an older child can use them for reals after using them for just-shake-those-bells-any-which-way play as a younger child.

My brother is very musical (I am more the sort who gets completely stumped as soon as flats/sharps are introduced), and I remember him asking for Music Eggs one Christmas. They’re a….rhythm instrument, I think.
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Baby hats for fall

Categories: Baby gear, Fashion


My nephew was born yesterday, which puts me in the mood to discuss baby stuff. I was mooning over baby clothes and noticed that all the cute HATS are coming in.

Raccoon hat (photo from, $7.95. When it came down to the final decision I’d almost certainly get the bear, but it’s nice to have a novel choice!

Owl hat (photo from, $8.95. This time I’d choose the owl over the bear.
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Favorite baby equipment

Categories: Baby gear


Several bloggers have announced pregnancies recently, and it’s put me in a baby frame of mind. Here are some of my favorite baby things—things I’ve given away and would have to repurchase if we had an unexpected baby at our house.

North States Superyard XT Play Yard (photo from This is not the prettiest item to ever take up half my living room, but it saved my sanity in those days between “the baby is mobile” and “the baby grows brains” (approximately 9 months through 3 years). I could put the baby in the play yard and then I could GO TO THE BATHROOM. Or cycle the laundry. Or get the mail. Or do any of those quick little things that would give a freed baby enough time to get into the cat food.
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