<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\07518872353\46blogName\75The+Lactivist+Breastfeeding+Blog\46publishMode\75PUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\46navbarType\75TAN\46layoutType\75CLASSIC\46searchRoot\75http://thelactivist.blogspot.com/search\46blogLocale\75en_US\46v\0752\46homepageUrl\75http://thelactivist.blogspot.com/\46vt\0754224927842028678352', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, December 31, 2007

What Did You Do with Your Leftover Breastmilk?

Ok, so I've realized I have about 200 oz of breast milk in the deep freeze downstairs. Most of it has been there for a year or more, so it's certainly bordering on the "been there too long to drink" stage. Besides, with Emmitt just now weaning, I don't think I want to remind him of how yummy that stuff is. :)

WIth it being more than a year old, I'm also not sure I'm comfortable donating it via something like Milk Share either.

But I don't want to throw it away...

I found this site with directions for making mother's milk soap, which sounds very interesting. She says it won't go rancid, so it will last as long as you keep it dry. Could be a nice way to use up what's left, though it sounds like the ingredients would set me back a pretty penny. (I have no idea what things like Lye cost.) I'll admit it sounds like a lot of work though. Especially for someone with toddlers running around. (lye + toddlers = VERY BAD)

So I'm curious what you guys did with your leftovers? I don't want to eat it, so I don't need recipes for yogurt or butter or bread. Anything else creative you thought up?

Labels:

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Could it be This Easy? Weaning Update

I've held off posting this for a few days because I have an irrational fear of jinxing things. ;)

But, for those who have wondered how our continued weaning efforts have gone over the holidays (especially now that you know we've all been sick) here's an update.

I *think* (knock on wood, cross your fingers, say a prayer and all that jazz) we may be done.

Emmitt hasn't nursed in 9 days.

As you know, Greg took over putting him to bed the first week of December. We got zero arguments out of Emmitt about this and viola, he was weaned from his before-bed nursing. About every third night, he drinks a bit of milk in the rocking chair with Greg before going to bed, but most night, they just go in and rock in the chair while Greg sings and then puts Emmitt in his crib. This left him nursing only when he woke up during the night.

For most of December, Emmitt woke up once or twice a night. Generally, he'd nurse the first time he woke up and would simply want comforted (i.e. picked up and gently rocked for a few minutes) the second time.) Starting the week before Christmas, he only woke up once a night to nurse and then went back to sleep.

We went to my parents the weekend before Christmas to visit and while there, Emmitt managed to once again get the beginnings of a cold. The first night we were (Friday the 21st) there, he woke up three times, nursing two of them. The second night (Saturday) he woke up once. I went in and got him, offered to nurse and he turned his head away and said "no." Not one to argue, I simply rocked him for a few minutes and put him back in bed.

He slept until morning.

On Sunday night, he slept from 8pm to 7am.

Monday we drove home, took him to urgent care and got a script for his once again raging sinus infection. (ears were clear, yay!)

Monday night, he slept through the night.

And Tuesday, and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday.

Saturday he woke up twice, but since I was sick, Greg got up with him. He rocked him a few minutes each time and Emmitt went right back to sleep.

Last night he slept from 8pm to 9am.

No crying, no fighting and the only refusing going on was from him that last night I offered to nurse.

So I think we may be done for good. (Yay!)

Honestly, I seem to have gotten off pretty easy. Since night-nursing was all we had left and since he's suddenly sleeping through the night, I didn't really have to "cut" any more sessions. Heck, even the ones I did cut, we never got any argument from him over. I simply stopped offering and he didn't miss them. It took about three months total to wean him this way, but there were no tears or torment involved.

(Which seems ironic in light of the heat I took over my so called "forced" weaning of him.)

That said, I did figure we needed a plan for moving forward. Right now, it's easy not to nurse a kid who isn't waking up. I'm not sure how this will go if he does start waking up again.

What we're going to do is start switching who puts Emmitt to bed. Greg and I will take turns back and forth between putting each of the kids to bed. (Right now, he puts Emmitt to bed and I put Nora to bed.) It's been a full month since he nursed before bed, so I'm confident I can get him to bed at night without him wanting to nurse.

Then I'll have to ask Greg to suck it up for a month and get up with him if he wakes up at night. If that goes well with no complains, then we'll start taking turns getting up with him.

Overall, I'm feeling pretty confident though. I think taking things as slowly as we did has worked really well. We also planned it so we'd be weaning between 13 and 15 months. I'd talked to several LCs and child development experts who said there's are several "stages" where kids are more open to having their daily routines changed up and that these are the idea times to wean. Most agreed that between 13 and 15 months was a pretty easy time to wean, but that if you made it to 16 months, you generally needed to wait until 19-22 months for another "window."

Labels:

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Man! We Must Have the Worst Immune Systems...

Sorry for the silence. Hope you all had wonderful Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanza seasons. (We did!)

Emmitt is now on cefdinir AGAIN. Eye drops too. Nasty sinus infection that came to a head on Christmas Eve. He's doing better, but still sick.

Elnora got it a few days later. Had to take her to Urgent Care Friday night. She's on cefdinir and eye drops as well. Same thing Emmitt has.

Then it got me. I had to go in this morning after my head cold got so bad I woke up at 2am to splitting ear pain. Spent the rest of the night laying on a hot pad and sure enough, I've got a bad ear infection and a nasty sinus infection. So now I'm on antibiotics as well. (And have spent the last 24 hours with my head wrapped in a heating pad.)

So far, Greg's ok.

Family is here, so they're helping with the kids and letting me crash on the couch.

Man I hope we kick it for good this time. This whole "all sick, all the time" thing is getting a little old...

Labels:

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

An Italian Court With Too Much Time on Their Hands

Imagine you name your child. Five months later, you're doing some paperwork with the government and you put your child's name down on the paperwork.

Ten months later you find yourself embroiled in a legal battle with the government because they are forcibly changing your child's name to something they feel is more appropriate. You're told the name you gave your child would keep him from developing "serene interpersonal relationships" and that it will open him up to ridicule by his classmates. The government wins and changes your child name. You appeal and you lose.

All for naming your kid the absolutely outrageous name of..."Friday."

I guess they don't watch Mr. Rogers in Italy...

The mother told Reuters:

"My son was born Friday, baptized Friday, will call himself Friday, we will call him Friday but when he gets older he will have to sign his name Gregory."

*headdesk*

Labels:

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

When They Learn Things From Someone Else...

One of the most interesting things about having kids is the ideas they bring home with them. While I'm home full time with Nora and Emmitt, they certainly have plenty of outside influences.

They spend an hour and a half in Sunday School each week. They go to Mango's Place (Preschool) two mornings a week. They also now spend some time in the kid's center at the gym three mornings a week. (More on that in another post.)

So every now and then they come home with some new phrases or action that alternately confuses me or cracks me up.

Last week, it was a very mild form of backtalk.

Elnora does this thing where she'll go to the bathroom and then decide she has to go again five minutes later. She's been potty trained for eight or nine months and this "go again" thing comes and goes. (I'd imagine as her bladder grows? or just as she decides to annoy me...)

So last week, this happened again. She'd just gone and she was trying to convince me she had to go again. Now she was confined to the back porch with Emmitt while I was cooking dinner, so of course I figured she just wanted an excuse to get off the porch and come in with me. After quite a bit of pestering, I gave in and took her.

The second I set her on the pot, she started to go. In total seriousness, she looked me in the eye and said:

"Tooooold Yuuuuu!!"

:) Now I have no idea where that came from, but it did crack me up.

Story #2: The mystery jig

Like most kids her age Elnora loves to dance. I generally think nothing of her doing a little dance around the room or even trying to sing. But last Sunday, she really had me confused for a bit.

While she talks up a storm now and can say most any word, she's still VERY hard to understand. That means the first time she says something, it generally takes some figuring to see what she's talking about.

So here's what happened...

I was working on my laptop and she was in the living room hanging out with me. At one point I look over and she's flailing her arms and legs about saying

"ri ha in, ri ha ou"
"laf ha in, laf ha ou"

Then she's spin in a circle while doing the chicken dance and spouting gibberish. Finally she'd clap her hands together and shout "about!"

Yeah, yeah, you're smarter than me and you've already figured it out. That's because I set the story up for you. I promise you, if you'd been here, you would have stared for at least five minutes before realizing she was doing the hokey pokey.

I'll guess she learned it at preschool. Either way, I think adding the chicken dance head bop was probably her idea.

If I get inspired this week, I may try and snag a quick video of her doing it. It's fairly amusing.

So what has your kid come home from school/church/friend's house/daycare with?

(Because seriously? I know none of you are working this week anyway...so spend a bit of time sharing a good story with the rest of us!)

Labels:

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Well Now, This is Interesting... (Weaning Update)

Things have been chugging along pretty smoothly for the last two weeks. Greg is still putting Emmitt to bed each night with zero problem (I'm getting to put Nora to bed for the first time in nearly a year, which is kinda fun) and Emmitt is still waking up once (sometimes twice) a night to nurse.

Overall, it's progress. Easy progress I've been pretty happy about.

Last night, Greg put him to bed around 8:30. I was feeling pretty zonked, so I headed to bed at 10, read for half an hour and then went to sleep. Around 12:30, Emmitt woke up and started fussing. I gave him a few minutes, but he started to escalate.

So I came downstairs, went and got him, checked his diaper and nursed him for about ten minutes. He was still kind of fussy, but was done nursing, so I put him back in bed. I sat in the living room and listened for about 20 minute while he fussed on and off. Then he started full out wailing. I headed back in thinking maybe he wasn't quite done nursing.

When we sat down and I offered, he turned his head away. Then he pointed at the door and signed "milk", saying "numah numah numah." So, we went to the kitchen, got a sippy cup of whole milk and headed back to his room. We sat in his rocking chair and he happily slurped most of it down. I put him back in bed and left. That was at about 1am. He slept until 7:30 this morning.

Oh yeah, you read that right. My little boob addict got mad and pitched a fit last night until I DIDN'T nurse him and instead gave him cow's milk. Then he happily slept for 6.5 hours.

So, tonight when he wakes up, I'm going to offer the sippy cup first and see what happens. Again, I don't think it could possibly be this easy, but I can sure hope. If not, that's ok. I've still got more than two months to go before I need to have him weaned. That's plenty of time to ease our way into it.

Labels:

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Help Me Raise Some More Money for the Milk Bank?

This is totally off topic for the Lactivist, but it doesn't mean it's not a chance to spin it toward a Lactivist cause.

There's a dealio going on in my industry right now where a site has put together the "Top 40 Most Influential People in Search Marketing." I've made the list, though that's not really why I'm posting this.

They've opened the list up to votes. Whoever gets the most votes by the end of the year will have $500 donated to the charity of their choice. Obviously mine would be the Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio. So, here's one of those shots where a single vote from you (and some emails to your friends) can help me snag another $500 for an organization that desperately needs it.

Go vote! :)

Labels: ,

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Proof My Kids Are Total Opposites...

Remember how I've said my kids are as different as can be?

Elnora refused the breast, Emmitt refused the bottle.
Elnora slept through the night from 7 weeks, Emmitt still doesn't at 14 months.
Elnora's never been an eater, Emmitt's a human vacuum.
Elnora was always independent, Emmitt's a snuggler.

Well, here's another one to add to the list.

Up until about six months ago, anytime you put Nora in the bathtub, she'd scream her head off. She HATED baths with the fire of a thousand suns. If it was a bath where you were washing her hair, she freaked out even worse. Absolutely hated the water. (which is part of why she doesn't get daily baths, lol.)

In the last month, Emmitt has become the polar opposite of that too. He not only LOVES the bath tub, but he's taken to trying to sneak in there. If we leave the door open, he makes a bee line for the bathroom and tries to climb into the tub. If I see him heading for the bathroom and beat him there in time to pull the door shut, he throws himself on the floor and pitches an absolute fit.

I think my kids are both crazy.

Labels:

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ok, This is Cool!

I'm not generally a video game person. We had an old PS One I got for Greg a few years ago (after PS2 came out) and Greg has an old Sega Dreamcast he bought on eBay.

But last month, I decided to go ahead and get Greg a Wii for his birthday. My cousin has one and we'd played it a few times and I was impressed with how much activity is involved. (I went home and woke up completely sore the next day.) We don't have any real games for it yet, just the basic ones that come with it and the "WiiPlay" add on pack we got with the second controller.

But then I saw THIS.



Now I finally see a game I want. :)

Labels:

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Any San Francisco Area Readers?

I'm wondering if I have any readers in the San Francisco area who happen to be organic food fans. I've had an email request from a company about doing a product review, but what they have isn't available in my area and is too expensive to ship.

EDIT: I've got someone to handle this review, so no more emails please. :)

(To note, since I'm moving out of the "I have a nursling" stage of life, I'll likely be asking readers to do guest reviews more often. I'll post whenever I have requests.)

Labels:

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Lactivist Mom's Meet-up December 18th

NOTE: Yeah, yeah, so I changed my mind. I'd originally posted about doing the mom's lunch THIS Thursday, but it was way too last minute. So, we're going to do it next Tuesday instead.

Ok central Ohio readers... we are going to do the mom's lunch NEXT Tuesday, December 18h at We'll be meeting up at the Northstar Cafe on High Street in Worthington.

I know of at least three of us that are coming, but I'd love to see more. While we're aiming to do a mom's lunch sans kids (some of us are coming on lunch breaks, others are leaving kids at preschool, with sitters, etc) we're certainly not going to kick you out or give you dirty looks if you need to bring yours along. ;)

If you'd like to join us, but need directions, just drop me an email. Otherwise, it'd be great if you could let us know you're coming by leaving a note saying as much in the comments. That way, we can aim to snag a table big enough for the group.

Hope to see you Tuesday!

Labels:

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

YouTube Reposts Nursing Mom's Montage

Last week, I made a post about the fuss being raised over the removal of a breastfeeding video that had been posted to YouTube by the League of Maternal Justice. The video montage featured images of nursing mothers to a soundtrack of "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera.

Just wanted to make a post saying I had an email from Kristen at LoMJ saying the video had been reposted by YouTube with apologies saying the deletion was a mistake.

Now, was it an honest mistake, or is this a quick response to negative press? There's no way to know. It's odd, because the video was reposted even with the Aguilera music as the soundtrack meaning YouTube reposted a video with a clear (and known) copyright violation.

That makes my gut say the move sounds like a response to negative press. On the other hand, no other breastfeeding videos were removed and some were far more graphic or controversial than this one.

I don't think we'll ever know for sure what happened, but from the sounds of things, breastfeeding videos are just fine with YouTube.

Labels:

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Two More Steps Forward (with my fingers crossed)

Well, we've still got plenty of time for set backs, but the last week has gone fairly smoothly in terms of weaning.

In fact, Emmitt has gone to bed without nursing for seven nights in a row now.

It started last Monday. I was leaving for Chicago the next day to speak at a conference and was going to be spending the night while Greg stayed here with the kids. I thought it might be a good idea to try putting Emmitt to bed without nursing him, sort of to prepare him for Tuesday night.

We went in and I changed his diaper and got his pajamas on. Then we sat and rocked and I sang to him for a bit. I put him in his crib and tucked his blanket in around him and put an Emmitt sized teddy bear in there with him.

(We'd learned a few months ago that if Greg went in to take care of him in the middle of the night, the fastest way to get him back to sleep was to curl up with him in the spare bed. Emmitt would still wake up several times, but instead of crying, he'd roll over, grab Greg and go back to sleep. So, we thought we'd try giving him something he could cuddle.)

Sure enough, I only had to get up with Emmitt one time that night and it wasn't until 6am. I heard him at 1am and 3am, but he simply fussed for a minute and went back to sleep. My guess is he fussed, rolled over, grabbed "Grommit" and fell asleep again. (Yay!)

So, off I went to Chicago with prayers that Emmitt would fall asleep easily without me on Tuesday night.

Prayers answered.

I talked to Greg on Wednesday morning and he said Emmitt not only went to bed with NO problem, but he also slept through the night!

I was a little worried that since I'd been gone for a night, if I took Emmitt to bed on Wednesday when I got home, he'd want to nurse. So, I took Elnora to bed and Greg took Emmitt.

We've been doing that ever since.

We've had one night in the last week where he didn't want to go to bed and started fussing after Greg left. My mom was here that night and went in. She noticed his night light was off, so she turned it on, picked him up and rocked him for a few minutes. He quieted down immediately, burrowed into her shoulder and fell asleep.

Yay!

He's sleeping a little better at night too. Twice in the last week I've had to get up with him and nurse him back to sleep two times. Every other night, I've only had to get up and nurse him once during the night. (And two of those days, it was around 6am, meaning he'd made it from 9pm to 6am.)

And so, I call it progress. We've still got a ways to go to get him sleeping through the night and to have him weaned and it has taken two months to cut out the bedtime nursing, but we're getting there.

My advice to other moms who are weaning or planning to wean? Plan on it taking time. Lots and lots of time. As much as I want Emmitt to wean and as much as these last few months have been really rough on me (and by association, our family), I just wasn't ready or willing to cut him off.

I planned five months to get him weaned. We're about two months into that. I hope he'll be weaned by the end of the year, but we'll see how things go. If he hasn't weaned by New Years, I'll start using the night time weaning method recommended by Dr. Jay Gordon to try and speed things along a little bit.

Labels: ,

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

A Good One from Baby Blues

Had to laugh at this Baby Blues comic in the Washington Post today.

(Thanks to Lactivist reader Jennifer M. for emailing it to me.)

Labels:

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, December 03, 2007

2007 Holiday Gift Guide - Unique Finds from The Lactivist

I'm a gift shopping junkie. I don't mean in the sense that I like to buy a ton of stuff. I mean it in the sense that I'm obsessed with finding unique and interesting gifts for people. I Christmas shop throughout the year, adding to a pretty sizable bookmark file whenever I find something unique. As I was out hunting for a ideas yesterday, I realized some of you all might be in the same boat I am. Looking for some great gifts that show you hunted a little further than the Target circular. ;) I'm certainly not buying all of these items this year, but they're certainly some of my favorites.

(Disclosure: No one paid to get on this list. I've tried a few of these, received a few as samples and found a few on my own...but no one bought their way onto this list. That said, most of the toys at the bottom are linked to Amazon using my affiliate link. Go buy a bunch of stuff so I can stock up on some books I've been eyeing. :-P)

Gifts for Moms (Yeah, yeah, they're all "being a mom" related...)

Daisy Gear Bags - $48-$85

I know, I know, it seems like a lot to spend on a diaper bag. These things rock though. If you know an on the go mom, this is a perfect choice. From the integrated wipes container (so you can get at your wipes without digging through the bag) to the reversible cover (so dad can have a manly black bag), they're built for moms. They also look nothing like diaper bags, so there's no reason mom can't continue to carry it even when kids are older.

Check out my review of the Daisy Gear Sport Bag from earlier this year or watch a demo on the Daisy Gear site.

Ergo Baby Carrier - $115

I think this is the one product I wouldn't have survived this past year without. Long-time readers will remember the debacle that was me trying to find a sling or wrap for Emmitt. I'm large chested and nothing seemed to fit properly. The Ergo solved that and was a total God-send. From grocery shopping to airport hopping to trekking through New York City, the Ergo helped me take Emmitt places a stroller couldn't. It was also invaluable for those days when Elnora wanted to play outside and Emmitt was too small to be down on his own. Love, love, LOVE this product.

Honorable Mention: Neat Solutions Baby Einstein Eco-Friendly Table Toppers

For Dads

DadGear Diaper Vest - $82

From the same folks who make the Daisy Gear bags, the DadGear diaper vest lets dads carry around everything they need without having to carry a "girly" bag. This thing is pretty cool, though I never could get Greg to try out the one they sent us since it was far too large for him. Still waiting to pass it on to the right friend some day. Extra bonus of the DadGear Diaper vest? When they're not shoving diapers in the pockets, they can fill it with a million other things before heading off to fish, work in the yard, go to the game, etc.

For Your Tree Hugging Friends

Collapsible European Market Tote - $30

I'm a sucker for reusable bags. I've been carrying my Whole Foods canvas bags for more than a year now and am always hunting cool options for toting around groceries and other items. I spotted this tote just last week and all I could think of was how nice it would be for our weekly farmer's market. It's got a much wider base and holds more than my canvas totes, which would give a lot more flexibility for filling it with produce. ($5 more gets you the fancy fabric version.)

SIGG Water Bottles - $15-$25

I've been reading about these bottles for years and finally ordered a few this year to give as gifts. The company has been making these bottles in Switzerland for nearly 100 years and from what I hear, they last for decades. They've got a special coating inside that gives 0.0% leaching (so you don't have to worry about chemicals or a plastic taste in your drink) and they weigh less than naglene bottles. According to SIGG, the internal coating is tough enough to handle fruit juices, energy drinks and even alcohol. I'm really hoping I get one of these for Christmas myself. (ETA: Lactivist regular Rachel sells these at her online store.)

Bamboo Towels and Blankets - $18-$90

When I got an email from a rep for The Company Store asking if I'd like to try out some of their bamboo products, I was pretty skeptical. Bamboo just doesn't strike me as being...well...comfy. Then my sample blanket and my sample towel arrived. Holy smokes folks. These things are awesome. The towel is, no kidding, the softest, fluffiest towel I've ever used. Greg wasn't a fan (he said it felt like he was drying off with a "shammy") but I love it. I've washed it quite a few times and it's still every bit as soft. The blanket is the same way. Super soft, amazingly warm and enough weight to it to feel like you've got covers on. Besides, bamboo is hypoallergenic AND naturally regenerates. Eco-friendly AND cozy.

Honorable Mentions: Ilumina Organics Body and Baby Care, Membership to a CSA

For Those Far Away

Dancing Deer Bakery Yummies - $20 and up

If there's one thing I know, it's good brownies. I don't have a sweet tooth, I have a sweet mouth. (also a smart mouth and a loud mouth...but that's another story.) I first stumbled across Dancing Deer Bakery a few years back and I've since had a chance to try several of their cookies and brownies. This stuff is amazing. They are far and away the best brownies I have ever eaten in my life and the cookies rank up there pretty highly as well. They ship all over the U.S., so if you want to top the standard "ship a book from Amazon" distance gift, this is one way to do it.

Biggs and Featherbelle - $15 and up

Now I'm not generally a "girly" type, (As if you haven't already figured that out) but I'm a sucker for good bath products. I've never had a chance to try the stuff from Biggs and Featherbelle, but I've sent it as gifts a few times and the folks on the receiving end say they loved the stuff. They've got a great little holiday gift pack for $15 that includes three different products, or you can put together your own set. (Spend $20 by December 19th and get free shipping!)

For Random Gift Exchanges with People You Hardly Know (a.k.a. co-workers)

Write-on Coffee Mugs - $13

Coffee mugs are boring. Everyone knows it. But...these ones do carry some entertainment value. Tic-tac-toe? Hangman? Things to do list? Now you can use that caffeine boost to get something productive done. Besides, these are 18oz mugs, which is way bigger than the standard "empty before you get back to your desk" variety of coffee mugs.

Kikkerland Bobbler Opener - $5

If ever I've seen a random gift that has entertainment value, is practical and can be given to just about anyone, this is it. And hey, if you know the person well enough to live in the same house as them, just tuck one in their stocking. These bottle openers are sort of like the grown-up version of Weebles. Plus, something tells me that if you use them to open beer, they'll just get funnier and funnier with each and every bottle....

Honorable Mention: Jewel bud vases (set of six, split them up), 50 Jobs Worse Than Yours

For Kids

Pottery Barn Dolls - $40

I've been hunting for a doll for Elnora for a few months now. She's been loving anything to do with babies and is constantly putting her stuffed animals down for naps or trying to feed them. She's just not old enough to take care of a Lee Middleton or American Girl doll yet, but I wanted to get her something "special." Then I spotted these cloth dolls at Pottery Barn Kids. We're going to hit the store this weekend to let her look at them to see if she's interested. If we get a "me take home please" out of it, there will likely be one under our Christmas tree.

My First Brio Train Set - $35

I adore wooden toys. There's just something about a simple toy that seems to open up so much more room for the imagination to come into play. So while I see the attraction of Geotrax, I think we're more of a Brio family. I'd already been planning on making a Brio train set Emmitt's "big" gift next Christmas, then I spotted the My First Brio Train Set at Toys R Us. It's a pretty simple little set. Just some track, one train and a "stuffed" tunnel. It all fits together with other Brio sets though, so I think we're going to get him this set this year and just build off of it next year.


Melissa and Doug Magnetic Dress up Doll - $9

Again with the wooden toys. (I'm a total Melissa and Doug junkie...love their stuff!) This one is a modern take on paper dolls. The Melissa and Doug Magnetic Dress up Doll (there are a couple different ones) feature magnetic shoes, hats, pants, shirts, dresses and so on that little hands can mix and match and place on "Maggie Leigh." Paper dolls would get shredded within a day in this house. This set stands a chance of surviving.

Knotwüd Blocks - $15

Yes, I love wood toys, but the reality is that sometimes they get tossed around the room. The sharp corners of wooden blocks hurt. (I speak from experience.) So, if you want the same concept in a much gentler form, check out the various products from Knotwüd. Amazon sells the Knotwüd, but you can find quite a few other products in the educational section of your Toys R Us. We saw puzzles, ABC blocks, even train sets. All made out of this strange foamy type material. Pretty cool stuff.


Honorable Mention: The Dangerous Book for Boys, The Daring Book for Girls, Crayola Color Wonder Products, Anything Melissa and Doug, Dado Cubes, Gorilla Blocks

Labels:

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments: