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helping moms, one at a time

Olmitos Baby Music Car Potty May 28, 2012

Filed under: Bathtime - getting clean the fun way — zil_aziz @ 12:00 AM
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What is it?

Olmitos Baby Music Car Potty

What’s the price?

RM75.00

Where to buy it?

http://www.myspbaby.com

What are the special features?

  • Bright colours that are simply eye-catching
  • Made of lightweight plastic, makes it easy to bring along while travelling
  • Can be disassembled to be placed on adult toilet seat

Review

Frankly speaking, there are a lot of potty trainers out there. For something to be pooped in, I prefer not to spend too much money on it. Most imported brands potties cost around RM80-200, which seemed ridiculous to me. As long as it functions well i.e. the child could sit on it safely and go, I wouldn’t mind looking for its cheaper counterparts.

For such an adorable looking potty, this one is definitely a steal. The brightly coloured car-shaped potty is simply too cute to resist. The red wheels do turn – so beware! Your kids might want to play around in the car instead of poop in it! That was exactly what happened to me – my daughter wouldn’t let it inside the bathroom because she doesn’t want it to get wet. I had to explain to her the purpose of the potty – to poop and pee in, of course.

There’s a small white button at the back near the lid, which plays music when pressed. There’s also a toilet paper roller underneath the seat, meaning you have to disassemble it to put in the toilet paper. The poop collector, the little orange bowl can be taken out to be cleaned. For parents that feel that’s too icky for you, you can disassemble the car, take the toilet seat and put it on your toilet seat.

What I like about it

The price is wallet friendly, which is the most important part for me. But I also loved the whole cute car look. The potty is made from lightweight plastic, so it’s easy to take apart for cleaning and easy to carry around while travelling in the car. If you want, you can even take the toilet seat with you in airplane trips. It is still compact enough for storage purpose – underneath the sink or even up on a shelf. Be careful though; when wet, it could slip off the shelf and knock someone on the head.

What I don’t like about it

Nothing major on the cons. I can’t figure out if the potty uses batteries for the music. One day the music’s there, the other day it’s gone all quiet. Doesn’t really matter, though. You could always encourage your child to sing by herself, like Boo in Monsters Inc. (Boo is so adorable!!)

Boo singing in the toilet

Another tiny hitch, assembling the potty back again (the seat and the bottom part) is a tiny bit bothersome. It’s not difficult really, just bothersome to attach it back together.

Conclusion

Adorable, does its job well, and doesn’t break the bank. What’s not to love?

 

Hondo and Fabian – picture book May 21, 2012

Filed under: Books for Kids - to show kids that reading is fun — zil_aziz @ 12:00 AM
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What is it?

Hondo and Fabian – picture book

What’s the price?

RM20.00

Where to buy it?

What are the special features?

  • Was named as the Caldecott Honor Book
  • simple illustrations of Hondo the dog and Fabian the cat who lives together in the same house.
  • Uses nice and simple words and sentences that flows smoothly – perfect for reading to little children

Review

The story starts off with the two animals, Hondo the dog and Fabian the cat sleeping in their favourite places, or somewhat designated sleep areas; Hondo on the floor close to Fabian, who is lounging on the window sill.

Then both of them wake up to face the day ahead. “Wake up Hondo. Time to go!” My daughter loves this sentence. Even though she couldn’t read them, she memorizes it from sight. The rhyming makes it more fun to say, like it rolls right off the tongue.

Hondo is going for a car ride to the beach and meet his friend, Fred, while Fabian will stay home with the baby. They are in different places but are having similar adventures and have one primary goal; FUN!

There are only a few words on the left page of the book and a whole picture which takes up the whole right page of the book, which makes the book short and sweet. On one page, Hondo and Fred dives in the waves of the ocean, and the next page shows Fabian diving for the door.

Hondo has lots of fun with his friend Fred, but Fabian is also having fun by himself; unraveling the toilet paper roll! (Fun for the cat, but not so much fun for the human, who’ll need to roll it back later.)

After some time and all that gamboling around, Hondo is getting hungry. As he watches some people catching fish, he wishes he could eat the fish. And at home, the hungry Fabian is eyeing the turkey sandwich, wishing he could have a bite.

At last, Hondo comes home, while Fabian waits for him. It’s time for dinner! Or to get into slang, chowtime! So Hondo and Fabian eat their dinner together, side by side.

The story ends right back where it started, Hondo on the floor and Fabian on the window sill, full and fat. Then they say good night, “Good night Hondo.” “Good night Fabian.” “Good night baby.”

What I like about it

There’s something magical about the illustrations – maybe it’s the soft, earthy colours, maybe it’s the clean drawings with simple, rounded shapes that makes it more appealing. It somehow sets the tone to wind down, relax and settle down to sleep.

The words and sentences seem to flow very smooth and simple. Even though they don’t rhyme exactly like nursery rhymes, it does have a certain ring when you read it. Your voice seem to automatically sing-song when you read it, which is exactly what happened to me. It’s kinda funny, but cute at the same time.

The two animals seem to have somewhat of a kinship between them, despite the common cats versus dogs enmity. Even apart, the book portrays that they are both having fun in similar ways. It’s a comforting way to show their similarities, no matter how different they are. Fabian even waits for Hondo to have dinner together, and later, winding down together, both in their own favourite places. The book is subtly showing a relationship between siblings, which I can see in my own children.

How wonderful that such a simple child’s book like this one could evoke such feelings in a person.

What I don’t like about it

Nothing, really! There’s just one tiny hiccup, in my opinion. The picture of Hondo playing in the waves with Fred is a little bit funny. It doesn’t look like waves; it looks like the dogs are surrounded by some vague white stuff, or something. Like I said, it’s really nothing.

Conclusion

A simple and lovely story about two ‘siblings’ which is also very suitable for bedtime wind down. A must have!

 

Guess How Much I Love You – boardbook May 14, 2012

Filed under: Books for Kids - to show kids that reading is fun — zil_aziz @ 12:00 AM
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What is it?

Guess How Much I Love You – boardbook

What’s the price?

RM20.00

Where to buy it?

What are the special features?

  • Winner of award ALA Notable Children’s Book
  • Beautiful illustrations of hares (my kids know them as rabbits) with physical exercises kids can imitate
  • A pleasant, heartwarming story  of a parent and a child’s “I love you more” game – perfect for bedtime

Review

The first thing that came to my mind when I held the book in my hand was how small it was! It is about 13 x 15 cm, but it looked much bigger in the picture. But the small size made it even better and cute looking, so I’m not really complaining here.

The story is about Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare, who I think must be his father, even though the book doesn’t say so. Little Nutbrown Hare wants to express how much he loves Big Nutbrown Hare, but Big Nutbrown Hare wants Little Nutbrown Hare to know that no matter how much Little Nutbrown Hare loves him, Big Nutbrown Hare loves him much more. I guess it’s demonstrating how a parent’s love for the child is so powerful, it overrides everything else.

At first, Little Nutbrown Hare stretched out his arms wide to show Big Nutbrown Hare “this much”. Big Nutbrown Hare had longer arms, so technically loves more. Then Little Nutbrown Hare reaches upwards, but again Big Nutbrown Hare, being much taller, outreaches him & loves more than Little Nutbrown Hare.

He keeps on showing how much he loves but Big Nutbrown Hare keeps on ‘winning’ in the love-measuring game – loving all the way to his toes, loving as high as he can hop, loving all the way to the river, but Big Nutbrown Hare always find another farther point of love-measurement, being the wiser father figure.

Then Little Nutbrown Hare, getting sleepy, finds the ultimate love-measurement; nothing could be further than the sky. “I love you right up to the moon.” Big Nutbrown Hare acknowledges this as he settled the little one down into his bed, “That’s very, very far,” as he leans over and kisses the little one. I love the last sentence of the book – Then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile, “I love you right up to the moon – and back.” Okay, all together now; awwwwww……

What I like about it

As I read them aloud, I like to act out the hares’ actions, such as the stretching of the arms wide and high, then loving all the way to the toes, and bouncing up and down. My kids would follow the actions, giggling all the way, making this a fun bedtime story. The beautiful illustrations of hares, or rabbits, as my kids know them, are somewhat comforting, and how appealing and cuddly rabbits are to kids, just like cats.

What I don’t like about it

Nothing about the storyline, but the names are quite a mouthful to pronounce. And when you repeat it all throughout the book on every page, it gets rather tiresome. Younger children who have less patience tend to go flip faster to see the next picture, the next page, so you might need to zip through the words and mouthful names to keep their attention from waning.

Conclusion

A lovely bedtime story, which also demonstrates a parent’s love for the child nicely. Definitely a keeper.

 

Counting Animals wooden puzzle May 7, 2012

Filed under: Toys - for the child at heart — zil_aziz @ 12:00 AM
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What is it?

Counting Animals wooden puzzle

What’s the price?

RM22.00

Where to buy it?

What are the special features?

  • Raised, large puzzle pieces
  • Size: 29.5 x 21 x 0.8 cm
  • Weight: 300 gram
  • Painted with non-toxic ink

Review

Wooden puzzles are perfect for a toddler’s little hand; they’re solid & nice to hold in the hand instead of cardboard puzzles. The whole puzzle is lightweight enough to be taken during travels; I’ve taken them on long journeys in the car. The base of the puzzle has no sharp edges – another plus.

Each of the puzzle pieces has pictures of animals on them, the coloured number on the base indicates which puzzle to be put there. The child will need to count the number of animals in the puzzle piece in order to be able to put in the correct piece into the correct slot. This teaches the child hand-eye coordination in addition to the ability to count correctly.

Older toddlers like my 4 year old daughter might be able to recognize the shape of the puzzle by sight, and will be able to put in the correct slot without needing to count the number of animals.

What I like about it

It’s a really simple and affordable toy, but with lots of benefits. Puzzles are a fun tool for bonding time. Parents are expected to sit down with their children and teach them how to put the puzzle together, meaning, spend some quality time together. In this case, I can teach them to count the animals in the puzzle piece and correctly match each piece to its slot. Unlike cardboard puzzles, a wooden puzzle won’t get mangled up when chewed on by a toddler, which sounds icky, I know, but inevitable when dealing with toddlers.

What I don’t like about it

Nothing much about the puzzle itself, really. It’s just the fact that the puzzle pieces can get lost easily, like other small toys around the house. Unless you’ve trained your toddlers to properly clean up after playing, you’ll have to be there yourself during cleanup time to ensure that the pieces won’t get thrown someplace it can’t be found later. It’s quite frustrating to find incomplete pieces the next time your child wants to play. (The child won’t really care, actually. It’s the mom that will be rather upset, believe me.)

Conclusion

A great investment. It’s not only easy on the pocket, but encourages bonding and cuddling with your child. Best friend with benefits indeed.