Hey y’all! Just like one of her role models, Oprah, sweet baby Jillian also has a list of her favorite things! Yes, as an 8-month-old, Jillian has developed her own preferences and sense of style (with a little help from mom) and she can’t wait to share them with you!
Unfortunately for our dear readers, IDOPT will not be giving away cars, laptops, designer purses, or iPads. We will leave those giveaways to Ms. Oprah herself. Baby steps. However, we will be giving away a special treat to one lucky reader to celebrate our relaunch. How to enter? Click here for details!
Now that Jillian is older, we’ve been able to travel more and get out and about town to try new activities or meet up with family and friends. As first time parents, the idea of being away from home for longer periods of time seemed intimidating and daunting at first. How were we going to care for her away from our safety net of baby stuff at home? Would we ever enjoy a meal out again? How could we keep her (reasonably) safe from airport germs?
It’s been a learning process, but through trial and error and by the grace of God, we’ve discovered a few great products that have made our time away from home easier and comfortable. If you’re looking for some new tools for your little one or gift ideas for a friend, you’re in the right place! Get comfortable and enjoy this installment of Jillian’s Favorite Things: Out and About Town.
We hope you’ll come back and visit frequently as Jillian will be posting more of her Favorite Things on a regular basis!
1. Grapple Toy Tether– $19.99
The Grapple is genius! I first heard about this magical contraption in one of my mommy Facebook groups. Before you think “this is silly” to yourself, hear me out. Yes, I understand that kiddos drop toys and that it’s all part of the learning process. Understanding cause and effect, hearing the sounds of things dropping, the fun of watching mom and dad bend over multiple times are all well and good at home or at a friend’s house. But sometimes, there are those times where you really don’t want to be chasing toys all over a restaurant or at a crowded place. Enter Grapple. This cute apple shaped toy tether works so well for these occasions. It has three silicone tethers that allow you to hook your baby’s favorite toys on the end. The strong suction cup base will work on most flat surfaces and it is safe for baby to chew on. The top of the apple flips up and is perfect for little snacks. Jillian is also happening to give one of these nifty things away to celebrate the relaunch of IDOPT. Check out our contest rules, here.
2. Plastic Table Toppers-18 PK, Neat Solutions- $9.99
Have you ever been on an outing where the tables are just way too grimy or gross? Are you doing baby led weaning or serve wet or juicy foods to baby? Perhaps you’re dining at a fancier place and you don’t want to scratch the table with toys and utensils? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the above questions, head on over to Amazon and add these cute plastic table toppers by Neat Solutions to your cart. They are generously sized, have 4 adhesive strips and they’re strong enough to keep baby from demolishing them yet gentle on the table. They are also BPA and phthalate free and protect from germs. Best of all? They’re disposable!
3. Travel Bottle and Food Warmer, Tommee Tippee- $13.99
This handy and compact travel bottle and food warmer has saved our bacon on more than one occasion. Even though Jillian’s more or less on a “schedule,” there are still times when she surprises us and needs a bite while we’re out and about. Unfortunately, Jillian isn’t one of those babies that will drink cold bottles. She likes them warm and won’t drink if
HRH Jillian deems them too cool. 🙂 Whether it’s a plane trip or just our weekly trip to gym or music class, I always pack this travel warmer. How does it work? Simply pour heated water into the stainless steel thermos and then pour into plastic topper when you’re ready to heat your bottle or food. When we travel by plane, we like to fill the thermos with heated water from Starbucks after we make it through security. Even though the flight attendants can provide you with hot water on the plane, the small cups they give you aren’t really practical and the water cools quickly. This thermos easily accommodates all sizes of bottles and food jars.
4. 5″ Clip-on Travel Battery Operated Fan, 02 Cool- $14.10
I can’t tell you how many times I hear other parents and passerby say “Wow, what a great idea!” as Jillian and I stroll through Houston in this ridiculously hot summer weather! As first-time parents, Brent and I were shocked at how quickly Jillian’s car seat and strollers heat up when we’re in the car, on walks or out running errands. Even in cooler weather, the dark, thick fabrics are a magnet for the heat. We felt terrible that Jillian was getting so warm.
We were at a park play date in our neighborhood when we spotted another mom with a sweet sleeping baby. How was this little girl sleeping in the humid warm morning sun? Well, she was sleeping in style with a similar clip-on fan to the one I have listed here. Talk about the best seat in the house! So, Brent and I quickly ordered one on Amazon and I have used it every week. It’s thick base easily clips on to tables, strollers, car seats, and shelves. The fan has two speeds and puts out a fair amount of cool air. It has been a lifesaver on our trip to the zoo and summer evening walks. I also use it when we’re parked and I’m loading groceries or shopping bags while the car cools down.
5. Ultimate Car Seat Travel Bag, JL Childress- $37.99
Growing up, I remember seeing people send their checked car seats through the conveyor belt at the airport in just a large plastic bag. At the time, it seemed like a wise and cheap way to prevent it from getting dirty on the trip. However, car seat handling and safety has come a looonnnnggg way since the 80’s and 90’s and we now know that a car seat endures the same amount of damage (from rough handling) under the plane as it would in a car wreck. In a perfect world, your car seat would travel with you in the seat or in it’s original padded box through checked baggage. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone who saved their original box. So, what to do to make the best of your situation? First of all, don’t check before security. Gate check in when you board the plane. This way, it’s spending less time being dropped or schlepped from destination to destination. Second, don’t just use a plastic bag for protection. Buy this bag or something similar for safety. I won’t lie to you. The downfall is that this is a HUGE bag. You can carry it on your back, but it’s very large and bulky. However, it will definitely give you some more peace of mind as you travel. This model is compatible with Britax Marathon, Boulevard, Roundabout, Decathlon and Diplomat, also fits Recaro, Evenflo, Cosco, Century, Eddie Bauer, etc. brands. We have the Chicco Keyfit 30 and it fit both our base and the car seat. Another benefit? Fit other items into the bag along with the seat! Airlines let you gate check car seats for free so you might as well make use of the extra space. 🙂
6. Monkey Mat– $19.99
Brent and I are big Shark Tank fans and we’ve found some of our favorite products from watching the show. As you know, I always love supporting small businesses. Many of the Shark Tank participants are regular moms just like me and I find it inspiring to see them turning a practical idea into an overnight success. The Monkey Mat was created by two women who identified the need for a clean portable floor for their kids during a 6 hour layover. The airport is one of the dirtiest places in the world and who wants their baby sitting or crawling on the floor? The Monkey Mat is great for many reasons. The nylon is very durable, machine washable and lightweight. It’s soft and folds into a compact pouch. There is a convenient patch in the center of the mat where you can hook your child’s favorite toys and the four corners are weighted so that it doesn’t fly up with a gust of wind or a strong breeze. Use this outside, at the airport, hotels, or anywhere you need a portable clean floor. We’ve used this many times on our travels in hotel lobbies, airport gates and conference centers.
And there you have it; recommendations from my favorite gal on the go! What are your life-changing, time saving or can’t live without gadgets and products for travel or outings? Share with our readers by commenting below and you may win a Grapple of your own!
I Dream of Pretty Things