Jun 29, 2015

Review: Pandaroo Charcoal Bamboo Inserts and Wetbag

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I'm taking a break from my Baby's First Year series to catch up on reviews. I've been meaning to write post about our cloth diapering experience so far but just haven't gotten around to it. I was therefore pretty excited for the opportunity to try out Pandaroo's inserts . It gave me the push I needed to write about cloth diapering with the added bonus of FINALLY seeing what the charcoal bamboo hype was all about.

I love cloth diapering; along with breastfeeding it's probably the best money saving decision we've made as parents. It's also green and earth friendly. We are mostly a prefold and covers family but also have a few pockets, fitteds, hybrids and all in ones, too.

Out of the package the first thing I noticed about the Pandaroo inserts was how incredibly soft they are. This made me a little apprehensive because I was burned by the Kissluvs fleece fitteds that got rough after washing. I was pleasantly surprised that they have remained soft after washing and use.

The inserts are charcoal bamboo fleece on the outside and 3 layers of microfiber on the inside. The fleece gives a stay dry feeling and is safe against baby's skin unlike microfiber. They are gusseted which is a nice feature when not stuffing inside a pocket because it forms to baby better. They also haven't held on to any stink which is great.

I tried them out in a variety of capacities. We added them to all in ones for extra absorption which worked out well. I tried them out in our Bumgenius 4.0 pocket instead of the BG inserts and they worked great for daytime. Overnight it wasn't enough absorption on its own for us which I suspected would be the case. I tried them out in the daytime layed inside of our Thirsties Duo Wraps and liked them that way as well- we normally don't do this so it was a nice change but not something I would do regularly because Baby D still has peanut butter #2 and it's messy.

My favorite way to use the insert has been overnight as a double inside a snappied prefold. It's been bulletproof for us! Before I was using a Thirsties Hemp doubler inside a GMD prefold overnight but it was getting very difficult to snappy shut because D is so squirmy. The gussets really help keep the Pandaroo insert in place.

We took the wetbag to the beach and it was adequate. It's only a layer of PUL instead of fabric with a PUL liner which I prefer but it didn't leak and was a nice bonus with the inserts.

Overall I would give the inserts 5/5 stars and the wetbag 4/5. I loved the inserts and will continue to use them as our primary overnight solution with a prefold.


Jun 24, 2015

Best Toys for Baby's First Year

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The second post in my series on Baby's First Year is on Toys. Toys have taken over my house since Baby D arrived on the scene. That being said, some get more mileage then others. The toys on this list are the ones that have been used the most over this past year. These are the ones that are "must buy" according to our family. None of these items were sent for review- they were all purchased by us or received as gifts at my shower so you can trust that I recommend them because we truly love them. Enjoy!

Anything Made By Oball

Seriously. Anything. These toys are beloved in our home. This rattle ball was literally the first toy D could play with. I now include one in every baby shower gift I give. It's inexpensive and he STILL plays with it daily. It's easy for little hands to grasp and is super light for when babies are first learning to hold things. It also doesn't hurt when your toddler chucks it at you which is a plus.


These cars by Oball are also used daily in our home. It took a little longer for D to be able to pick them up because they are heavier than the ball but he loves them! They rattle, roll, and are all around awesome.

Sensory Balls

Baby D LOVES balls. Sensory balls make different sounds and have different textures to stimulate baby's brain and motor development.


The Bright Starts Roll Shake and Spin Activity Balls are a favorite in our home. They have all kinds of different textures and sounds and are easy for little hands to grasp. D's favorite is the one with the red bird in it. I think he likes the sound it makes.

D's other favorite ball is this Edushape Sensory See Me Ball . The texture makes it easy to grasp and he loves to throw it. They also make smaller balls but we haven't gotten around to buying any of those yet.

Babies love to look at themselves. Montessori Method encourages having a child safe mirror for babies. Our baby gym included a mirror and it was well loved.

Baby Gym

The baby gym was essential for me. It gave me a place to lay the baby down where he could play. He also used it for tummy time. Not all baby gyms are created equal. I LOVED our Tiny Love  Gymini Activity Gym because it was easily folded to be put out of the way and did not require assembly. The music was redundant but once the batteries died I just didn't replace them. The toys were interesting enough on their own. This is a registry essential in my mind.

Taggies Toys

Babies love tags. The people at Taggies have invented an entire line of toys based on this principle. We have a fabric book (with a mirror), a squeaky toy, a dog, and a blankie.  All of these were well loved by baby D (and our dog!).


Although Baby D was technically too young to play with blocks on his own he loved to knock over towers we built for him. We have several different sets including one by Hape , small colored blocks by Melissa and Doug , and LEGO DUPLO (he hasn't grown into these yet). Our favorite by far is our set of Melissa and Doug Unit Blocks . They are a pricy investment but they are the large sized blocks you remember from your childhood and will get mileage for years to come. I plan on making ours an heirloom toy.

Activity Table

Baby D loves his Baby Einstein Activity Table still! I'm not normally a fan of toys that make noise but the Baby Einstein one plays mostly classical music so it's not so bad. Besides music it also teaches colors and numbers in English, Spanish, and French. The legs come off so baby can use it for tummy time and sitting play. Once D began to pull to standing I attached the legs and he used it to practice standing. He still plays with this one daily and I have not had to replace the batteries yet!

Peek and Peep Eggs

 Baby D recieved this toy from his godmother for Easter and it was a huge hit! The Peek N Peep Eggs are another toy that will grow with him. Right now he loves to dump the carton and listen to the eggs peep. They also will work with color, shape, and facial expression recognition when he is a little older.

Playskool Busy Poppin' Pals

The Playskool Busy Poppin' Pals was a hand-me-down but D doesn't care- he loves it! At first he was too small to push the buttons but he enjoy pushing the animals down when I would make them pop up. It's been fun watching him learn to open the different mechanisms as his fine motor skills develop. This is a classic toy and great for parents who want to avoid batteries.


My kid loves these things. I have no idea what is so fascinating about them but he loves them. We have the Bright Starts Lots of Links pictured above and also an alphabet set. He loves to dump these out, shake them, chew on them, and discover various toys we attach to them. They also come in handy attaching toys to his stroller, Tula etc.

I firmly believe you can never have too many books. I wrote a separate post about my favorite books for baby's first year. Make sure to check it out!

I would love to hear what you think of the list in the comments. What are your favorite toys?

best toys for baby's first year one year olds