You don’t want your wife outfitting your kid(s) all by herself, do you? And who would be stupid enough to let his wife register alone for all the new baby gifts for his first-born child? Not you. A dad’s got to get involved, and to do that he’s got to educate himself so he knows where to shop and what to shop for. Be it clothing, or back to school, backpacking or packing a lunch, we won’t steer you wrong when it comes to separating a fool (you) from his money.
F4F REVIEWS: FUNKINS- REUSABLE CLOTH NAPKINS FOR KIDS
Now, when I'm approached by a company that wants me to test out something that is good for the environment so we can all leave a better world for our kids, I try to keep an open mind. I recycle. I reuse. I'm open to the whole concept of the 3 sea shells from the movie Demolition Man so we can all save on Toilet Paper (even if I still can't figure it out). And sure, a piece of fabric that can be used again and again as a napkin and a placemat and a burp cloth and a handkerchief, and a blanket for your kids dolls sounds cool and all, but what exactly is it saving?
I get it: no more wasting paper towel, or paper napkins. No more having to clear cut entire forests of trees in the Amazon. No more landfills filled to the brim with wads of paper people used to wipe their nose, or mouths, or hands, or those every day spills associated with children.
But, here's what I don't understand. As the father of a 6-month-old and a 3-year-old, I have bins and bins of burp cloths and blankets and placemats - all hand-me-downs. These products have been reused hundreds, if not thousands of times. They are colorful, they are absorbant, and if no one recycles them by using them with their older kids, or handing them down to the next generation of family members about to have children, where do they go? That's right, a landfill.
So I have a dilemma: do I support a novel idea that has won awards, most likely for innovation, or do I look at it logically and say, did we really need this? And at the end of the day, doesn't this product add to the problem we inevitably face in our landfills? Yes, they're cute and moms and kids alike will love them for their colorful patterns and the way they look in a picnic setting, but isn't it just another piece of cloth sold to parents when they already have drawers full of them.
So did we like Funkins, the reusable cloth napkin for kids? Sure we did, but not enough to buy in to the the whole idea that this product is going to save the environment and ours kid's futures. We liked them because they come in a pretty package and do a good job of selling parents on their many uses... even if you already have many small squares of cloth floating around your house that will do the exact same thing.
But that's just our opinion...
For more on Funkins, please visit: www.myfunkins.com
Description: 13" x 15" 100% cotton fabric using low impact dyes, many patterns to choose from (girls and Boys)
Price: 3 Funkins for $30 (CAD)
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F4F REVIEWS: A POCKET FULL OF SUNSHINE BOUTIQUE
As a dad, you'd think it would be no fun to have to dress my little girl, but frankly, I love it. I can accessorize. I can color match and create unique outifits. It's great bonding time with my daughter, as she helps me pick her clothes. So when an online store called A POCKET FULL OF SUNSHINE BOUTIQUE asked me if I'd try out some of their wares on my baby girl, I said, "sure, why not?" And I'm glad I did. There is some great stuff for little girls on their website, and little boys too.
Their clothing is fun and funky and reasonably priced. Hot pinks and purple and pastels for the girls, and cool collections that aren't too shabby for the boys. The were dresses, and bathing suits, tutus, hair bands and waistcoats, hoodies and clip-on ties, suspenders and shoes. It's a good thing I hid this website from my wife, otherwise she probably would have bought them out.
I ordered a dress to try out on my "baby," and it just arrived today. And, well, she loved it (see picture), and so did my wife. So, if you're looking for some cool threads for your toddler or tween, and you want to dress your little ones up in style, I highly recommend checking out A Pocket Full of Sunshine Boutique. Girl or boy, dressed down or dressed up, this is a great place to find some unique finds.
Prices: See catalogue for pricing
Ages: Toddler to Tween
F4F REVIEWS: THE PIGGYBACK RIDER®
If you run a Facebook parenting page long enough, you'll learn that moms love a baby wearing dad- unfortunately, many moms can't stop themselves from commenting on HOW he's wearing the baby, or WHAT he's wearing the baby in. I've seen it a million times - mom baby wearing snobbery. You hear things like, "Oh no, he's wearing a Baby Bjorn... that's not good..." Or "The Ergo baby is the only baby carrier for me!" And that's great- if you're a picky, parenting page patrolling mom looking for an argument. Well ladies, you can keep your Moby Baby Wrap and your slings (although I quite like the one I have from Bubba Moe), and your arrows and your negative comments about how us dads just aren't living up to your baby wearing standards. We're not talking about baby wearing today; we're talking about kidès carriers. And you can keep your contraptions that only hold your kids from 2-12months and only hold up to 30 0r 40 lbs, because I found something any man would be proud to be seen walking his kid around in- The Piggyback Rider.
That's right, if you want to wrap yourself up in spandex Rubics Cube that takes a masters degree to put on so you can take your kid to play group, be my guest; me, I'm looking to take my kid out and have some fun. If you want to carry your kid, bearing all their weight in front so you can feel like you're carrying them inside of you all over again, great; me I'm strapping my kid on my back and trekking them around the way men have been doing for thousands of years, but only smarter.
The Piggyback rider is a kid carrier for toddlers. It's "a standing child carrier for older children that creates a mutually enjoyable, effortless way to carry a child (2½+ years) on your back, replacing bulky backpack carriers and strollers." (Piggybackrider.com, 2013) Sturdy, safe, strong and comfortable to wear, the "Piggyback Rider® kid carrier for older children has unlimited year-round use, while hiking, touring, shopping, walking, watching, exploring, wandering, bonding at amusement parks, carnival, sporting events, malls, markets and everywhere else you may go."
Sounds awesome, right? It gets better.
Moms may forget it, but dads don't- toddlers like to feel like they are contributing to the adventure. Sure, it's easy to push a kid in a stroller and tell your kid where you're taking them, but it's another thing entirely to strap your little thrill-seeker to your back and say we're partners in this excursion. And the Piggyback Rider has teamwork written all over it. This is about "active interaction" not passive passengers. It creates a special bond between driver (Dads) and co-pilot (child) that says, "I'll drive- you navigate."
In essence, The Piggyback Rider is a harness with a dangling rail that your kid stands on. Dad saddles up, and his passenger straps on, and holds on for the ride (see video). It's comfortable, it's lightweight, it's easy to put on and take off and it's perfectly safe for both parent and child.
Now, I have back problems. A car accident where I was literally hit by a Mack (Dump) truck has left me with chronic pain. But I took my almost 3-year-old, 30 pound daughter out for a spin in the Piggyback Rider and I must say, it was like having a new lease on life. Giving my daughter a shoulder ride hurts my neck, and our traditional piggyback rides don't last for very long as they quickly become uncomfortable for me. But The Piggyback Rider with its smart design and soft straps had me feeling no pain while carrying my not so little girl around the mall for a half hour. And I would have gone a lot longer had we not made the mistake of stopping in a toy store where she just had to "go down" and touch everything.
Oh, I tested it out though- I was like a bucking bronco spinning around, bouncing my daughter up and down, but she and I both held on to those smartly placed handles, and she bore down on that no-slip standing rail and we had a whole lot of fun. And there was no time where I worried that she would fall off, as once we were both snuggly harnessed in, you could just tell there was no way we were separating. I took her on the elevator, the escalator, through heavy mall foot traffic, and more. I took her in to the music store, The Disney Store, and numerous clothing stores, where she directed me towards everything she wanted but couldn't touch a thing. And I started to think of all the places I'd love to take her- the zoo, carnivals, amusement parks, local trails - and the amazing new view she would have of the world. I was even lamenting the fact that I didn't have a Piggyback Rider just two weeks earlier when I had to, painfully I might add, hold her on one shoulder above a large crowd of onlookers so she could watch a boa constrictor eat a frozen rat at the local reptile sanctuary. It quickly became Daddy's new best friend.
Of course, no product is perfect, and the Piggyback Rider has it's limitations - mostly the weight and height of your toddler- so if you're looking to buy one make sure your child meets the specifications set out by the manufacturer. But, all in all, I really think any dad (or mom) with a sense of adventure will enjoy this product and really enjoy the fact that it will help you build a great relationship with your kid, while building up their strength and balance. I don't know how long I could have lasted, as sooner or later I'm sure having my 30 pounds on my back would have become cumbersome, but I can't wait to see the next time I take my little girl for a spin in the Piggyback Rider: a great product for the iinvolved father on the go, if not for the "controlling" mom who's always in "the know."
We are happy to say that the Piggyback Rider is Fodder Tested/Fathers Approved.
Weight: Toddler up to 60 lbs.
Age Range: 2-7 years
Price: $89.99 (USD)
Buy Online: store.piggybackrider.com/
This Product is endorsed by Tori and Dean.
GEAR: RUBBERMAID® lunch BLOX™
When your wife tasks you with purchasing some sort of containment system for packing your pre-schoolers lunches, don’t crumble under the pressure, our good friends at Rubbermaid® have you covered. When you need something stackable with airtight containers, for everything from sandwiches to snacks to side salads, Lunch Blox™ from Rubbermaid® is the sandwich kit you can rely on. It’s a snap to use (literally), and it even comes with its own ice pack. No messing with disposable plastic containers with lids that can’t keep their seal or Tupperware containers that claim they stack, but don’t. Rubbermaid® lunch Blox™ stack compactly, keep everything organized, and are both microwave and dishwasher safe. BPA Free, inexpensive, and made to last, these durable, securable containers are the perfect choice for any small child`s lunch bag, and any parent`s budget.
``Rubbermaid® lunch Blox™ – Lunch Perfectly Packed.``
Price: $10.00 (CAD)
Snack containers – 0.5 Cups (118 ml)
Side container -1.2 Cups (283 ml)
Sandwich container- 2.6 Cups (615 ml)
For more information (or a money saving coupon for this product) please visit: www.rubbermaid.com
GEAR: THE REAL DEAL OF THE WEEK
T-SHIRTS: CHECK IT OUT! T-SHIRTS ANY DAD WOULD BE PROUD TO PUT ON HIS CHILD
T-Shirt Hell has shirts for both father and child, both offensive and well, less offensive. Check it out. This is my new favorite website T-Shirt Hell.
5 COOL CLOTHING WEBSITES: FOR NEWBORNS AND TOODLERS
I'm always on the look-out for something new and unusual to deck out my daughter in. And the more retro the look, the better. Here's what I found on my latest on-line shopping trip... Enjoy!