Always On The Go: The Perfect Family Bag

Frequent travelers understand the cyclical nature of perpetual packing and unpacking, and perhaps never fully emptying those travel bags.  Adding kids to the mix instantly requires an improvement of one’s organizational game. I’ve been traveling several times per month for quite some time now.  Whether I’m solo on a train, traveling in the car with my husband, or with the kids in tow; I’ve learned that a great versatile bag is an absolute must.  Despite the kids being well out of diapers, I’ve come to rely on the multiple pockets and organizational structure of a few great diaper bags (that don’t scream baby bag!).  Black and white and monochrome have certainly had their day in the baby-gear arena, but we’ve been crushing on a hue that falls distinctly between the two.  When 7AM ENFANT rolled out their palette-pleasing Heather Grey collection and sent us a bag to test, we knew it would be a hit among families like ours who love having functional things suitable for the entire family.

Big Diaper Bag with Pockets in Grey

Longtime fans of the  Voyage bag, now both my husband I can head out in its latest color.  The helpful thing about this bag is the zipper running across the top of the bag, and along both sides. When unzipped, the back portion folds completely down (so you can see everything).  No need to worry about finding that lost paci or missing microscopic Shopkin inside that fully packed family bag.  The interior zipper lined pockets safely store the important stuff.  And sippy cups and bottles can be secured in an upright position to their designated spots – without having a dreaded liquid spill.

Family Travel Bag

This bag is super light (and soft!) and comes with an insulated lunchbox, a separate zippered pouch and a plush diaper changing pad.

Diaper Bag Accessories 7am enfant

Can you see why it’s become our universal favorite?

Great Diaper Bag in Grey

Check out 7AM ENFANT’s entire Heather Grey Collection here. If you have a baby, their snugly footmuffs are an absolute must, along with a pair of WarMMuffs to keep mama’s hands warm.


Keeping Baby Warm + Bugaboo Footmuff Giveaway

As historic heaps of snow clobbered upon our city, we too joined in the snow-play mid-storm.  The children were bundled up like mini sumo wrestlers because I still go a bit overboard in securing their warmth in frigid temps.  And now, as we trudge to school in Blizzard Jonas’ aftermath, I can’t help but be halted by memory lane, much like an internal version of Facebook’s ‘time hop’ feature.  The kids, in their snow boots and waterproof mittens, would much rather propel off every snow mound in site – rather than stay the course that I keep re-directing them too. And although it was eight years ago when I carefully tucked my winter-baby into her Bugaboo stroller and toasty Footmuff to walk to the pediatrician’s office for the first time – I can remember the details of that snowy day as if it were yesterday.

beautiful snow

Cocooned in warmth, both of my babies would fall asleep during our winter walks, and even if I felt cold – I’d rest assured knowing they were warm.  I love how the Bugaboo Footmuff can be zipped open from both sides to make sure baby doesn’t overheat when you finally have the chance to warm up in a coffee shop or stop indoors mid-stroll.  The water repellent material and bamboo charcoal fiber also wick away moisture to keep little ones dry and comfy.

bugaboo stroller bunting

The microfleece fabric comes in fifteen great colors, and is super easy to secure and remove with a Velcro slit opening that fit all Bugaboo stroller seats.  We’re so excited to partner with Bugaboo to keep a sweet baby warm this winter!

bugaboo footmuff giveawayWIN IT:  Enter to win a Bugaboo Footmuff ($129.95 value, in winner’s color choice) via the rafflecopter below.  Best of luck and stay warm friends!

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Organized Chaos + Lily Jade Giveaway

It’s never easy to be the first one out the door in the morning, or away from my children for just a quick trip.  There are always extra hugs and kisses to dole out, backpacks to double check, and the sort of reassurance that only mommy can provide.

lilly jade rosie bag

Chaos has taught me that organization is my friend.  I turn to the same tools and products over and over again, to help keep me on track when it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day available.

Lily Jade Bag Rosie Giveaway

Over the past few years, Lily Jade has frequently popped up here as my go-to-bag – despite my little ones being long out of diapers. I’m at a point in life where I know what works for me, and so I stick to it.  Lilly Jade designer diaper bags are famous for looking nothing like a diaper bag, with top-notch functionality, style, and durability. My Lilly Jade Caroline and Sarah Grace bags have truly withstood the test of time, and my current favorite is the Rosie in camel.

I have a thing for gold and their updated hardware is stunning.

Designer Diaper Bag Lily Jade Rosie

I usually try to plan work functions and meeting during the two days when my kids have after-school classes.  And when I think about it, it’s pretty amazing how NYC’s efficient train system can get me all over the city in a school-days time.  When I’m traveling with a lot of stuff that needs to be well-organized I use the baby bag insert.

lily jade rosie review baby bag insert giveaway

It fits into my bag like a glove.

Lily Jade Designer Diaper Bag Rosie Bag Giveaway Review

Even though I’ve reclaimed by bags, I remember what it’s like to need a wipe or a paci in lightening speed.

From diapering years and beyond – we love Lily Jade.

Win It! Just in time for the Holidays – our generous partner Lily Jade is giving away a gorgeous Rosie bag ($355 value!) to one lucky MB reader.  To enter visit the rafflecopter below. Best of luck friends!

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Thank you Lily Jade for sponsoring this post.  Opinions as always are my own. 


Go Explore: Family Adventuring Favorites

It’s been a while since we’ve shared a list of things that we love – and there have been a few go-to items that we’ve been using on the regular.  The sorts of things that have been our absolute summer favorites through several adventures – and ones we’ll continue to depend on come Fall.

First up, is the best sort of collector (and game!) for kids to admire and arrange bits of nature that they pick up along the way.  We’ve been packing frisbees with us throughout several seasons.  They are perfect for admiring treasures, making flower mandalas and sifting through seashells.  And pretty soon they’ll be full with acorns.

exploring with children in natureteaching kids about nature

Supportive, comfortable and protective footwear is imperative for long hikes. Merrell continues to be our top choice for the children.  They are incredibly durable and seem to last forever.  Every year, we pick them up at Stride Ride.

hiking shoes for kidshikeing with kids glampingstride rite merrell kidsAdventuring

We can always depend on Lands’ End for comfortable clothing that allows kiddos to focus on the important work of exploring and playing.  The clothing maintains itself well, lasting through excursions and camp, dirt and washing. Below, the kids are outfitted in summer favorites, but we’re currently loving their Made Better collection for back-to-school and their Men’s options too!

Buttermilk Falls Waterfalls Ithacahiking buttermilk fallsbuttermilk falls waterfalls new york Ithacaglamping s'mores

Where would we be without Mabel’s labels?  My kids have a tendency to leave things everywhere.  And while we are constantly working on responsibility and accountability – many lost belongings manage to come back our way (even in new surroundings) thanks to Mabel’s Labels.

Mabel's Labels

Bug Bites are awful, yet so is stinky and harmful DEET-containing bug spray.  We’re loyal to Guardian Repellant.  It’s effective, and safe for the kiddos too.

Please chime in the comments, and let me know what you’d add to my list!


RECARO Performance Denali Travel System + Giveaway

Like many urban parents, I drove my strollers like all-terrain vehicles.  I stuffed their under-seat baskets full of groceries, and rocked tiny babies and over-tired toddlers to sleep against the hum of the city’s soundtrack. I can easily recall tucking brand new life into the infant car seat for that very first car ride home – and doing it all over again when the second baby arrived.

We’ve definitely been through our share of stroller/car seat testing, and I’m firm on what I look for in these items.  Safety can’t be compromised, and ease-of-use is paramount.  RECARO, a German company, known for their revolutionary seat design in aircraft, vehicles and the motor racing world, also brings their expertise to child safety systems.  I agreed to put the RECARO Performance Denali Travel System to the test – as I was curious about its performance at a significantly lower price point that the comparable brands we’ve tested.

RECARO stroller car seat giveaway reviewAt around $500, the Recaro Performance Denali Travel System includes:

  • Infant Car Seat
  • Car Seat Base
  • AND Stroller

Let’s break it down into components:

RECARO car seat

The seat’s temperature balancing fabric and cloud memory comfort foam feels plush and cozy, and I found the 5-point harness easy to adjust.  We installed the base and seat in one of our product tester’s cars and the bubble level indicator and straightforward dual-adjusting nob along with a flip foot, make proper installation straightforward.  Our product tester (a new mom!) is actually going to purchase a second base to easily use the seat in two different vehicles.  Brilliant, right? In addition to the extensive safety technology, we love the over-sized multi-position canopy. Baby can be perfectly covered to protect against weather and harsh sunlight.

Here’s where ease of use really comes in.

The car seat (with sleeping baby in it) can easily be removed from the base and securely fixed on the Performance Denali Stroller – completing the travel system.  This is done by simply adjusting the stroller’s child tray to a downward position on the stroller, and securing the seat in place.  We LOVE how the products UV SPF 50+ canopies meet to completely and safely enclose baby.  And if you’d prefer to not take the chance at disturbing baby by adjusting the canopies, simply look through the peak-a-boo window beautifully designed in the stroller’s hood.

Recaro Performance Denali Travel System Stroller Car Seat

The stroller itself easily accommodates a one-handed-push (a stroller must have!) and folds flat in seconds.  The solid, push-petal break, included cup holder with mesh-pocket outer-lining, and optional child tray are fantastic features.  As is the roomy under seat basket that can be substantially stuffed with groceries, a baby-bag or park essentials.  The deep recline is perfect for snoozing toddlers, and the design is sleek and well constructed.

RECARO Denali Performance Travel System StrollerRECARO stroller car seat Denali

We found the travel system to be a solid and safe product at a great price point.

WIN IT:  We’ve partnered with the generous RECARO team to giveaway one RECARO Performance Denali Travel System to one lucky winner.  To enter please visit the below widget. US entrants only please – and note that entry methods are verified.  Best of Luck!

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Product provided.  Opinions, as always, are my own.


Safe Travels + Diono Monterey Booster Seat Giveaway

A second car has done wonders for our adventuring.  Spontaneous plans are often easier; errands become quicker and inclement weather isn’t as cumbersome.  We are all enjoying the added benefits of “mama’s car”.

Like all parents, I want my children to be as safe as possible when traveling in vehicles.  I felt confident moving our well-loved Diono Radian RXT into my car for our five-year-old.  And when it was finally time to move our seven-and-a-half year old into a proper booster seat we went with the award-winning Diono Monterey Highback Booster.  Engineered to be the strongest and safest car seats available, Diono gives me added piece of mind.

Diono carseat giveaway

Our little big girl couldn’t wait to transition to a booster seat. She’s petite and didn’t hit the 40-pound mark until second grade, so up until recently a five-point-harness was the safest choice for her.

I found the installation process for the Diono Monterey Booster Seat (designed to fit children 40 lb to 120 lb) to be a breeze.  An easy-to-adjust dial on the back adjusts the width of the seat to fit a child’s shoulders up to 20″ wide. The 11-position headrest provides solid flexibility (adjusting up to 6.5″ in height) with one hand for the most accurate fit. As a fixed-position booster, integrated LATCH connectors and front adjusters ensure secure installation in seconds (LATCH use is optional) and keeps the seat in position when not in use.

Our little-big-girl has proven to be very comfortable in her high-back booster seat.  I often wonder what’s going on in her creative mind as she looks out the window.  She absolutely feels a sense of maturity in her new booster seat and makes sure to always tuck a water bottle or toys into the seat’s retractable, dual cup holders.

Diono car seat booster giveaway

Best of all, the seat is loaded with safety features: The adjustable head rest and deep, aluminum reinforced sides are lined with energy-absorbing EPS foam for side impact protection.  While the reinforced seat bottom provides extra lap belt safety, strengthening the Monterey and providing superior defense against crash forces.

When our daughter outgrows the high back mode of the seat, we can easily adjust it into backless booster mode.  We think the Diono Monterey Booster is an excellent choice for keeping bigs kids safe while traveling.

Win It:  Our generous friends at Diono are giving away a Diono Monterey Booster ($135 value) to one lucky winner!  To enter visit the rafflecopter below. US only – and please note that all entries are verified.  Best of luck!
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Sample provided.  Opinions as always, are my own.