Category Archives: Chum-Lee’s Choice

Chum-Lee’s Choice – The 2 year old’s Christmas wish list edition.

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Holy crap.  Christmas is in 55 days.  That means there is only 54 shopping days left!

But don’t despair, Chum-Lee and I have been putting in the hard yards for you.  Hours upon hours of toy and goodie research has been conducted and I think I have come up with a pretty darn amazing list of the bestest and the coolest toys and tidbits for the super crazy and active 2 year old.

T wants all of these.  Or rather, I should say, I want them all for T, but I am pretty sure he would tell you he wants them too, if he could.  Some of the items I am about to show you are on my ultimate wish list, but some of them T is actually going to receive, so shhhhh don’t tell him, we don’t want to ruin the surprise on Christmas morning!

When I started thinking about Christmas gifts for the babies, a few things came to mind.  They had to be good quality and made to last.  I am not interested in something they will play with for 5 mins and then leave in the back yard to rot.  I want toys that will stand the test of time with both babies.  The toys need to be something they can play with actively – no screens to stare at.  I want them to use their imaginations and be creative.

 

Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship

I thought I would show this one first because T already has it.  I did originally get it for him for a Christmas present but we had some really hot days here and D had gone away for a boys weekend.  What was I to do?  I couldn’t manage taking both babies in the pool by myself, and the little dude was hot and suffering in the heat!

Needless to say, T got an early Christmas present.  His reaction when I brought the box in was gold.  ‘WOW!!!!! WOW! WOW! WOWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!’ he shouted.  It’s great, he hangs out by the pirate ship all the time.  It has a little motor so running water gets sucked up and comes out the top of the crows nest.  He can press the button himself and it turns itself off after a minute so there is no danger of it being left running and eating your battery life.

Cleaning and refilling it is super easy and T thinks that is the best part because he gets to help with the HOSE!  Chum-Lee likes it too, as there is always a fresh source of water.  Why do cats never want to drink from their actual water bowl?  Chum-Lee would rather drink from the toilet.  Lots of other things like the pirate ship too, like blankies, loaves of bread and hats.

OK, it’s not the cheapest water table out there, but it is strong and made to last.  Mother-in-law gave a little cheapo one to T for Christmas last year and it didn’t even last half a season.  I figure this will last the babies many summers to come, I also scored it in one of the big toy sales so got a bargain.  Money well spent.

T plays with a loaf of bread in the pirate ship.  Because that's where bread goes apparently.

T plays with a loaf of bread in the pirate ship. Because that’s where bread goes apparently.

 

Little Tikes Easy Store Picnic Table

A kids table and chairs was always going to be on my Christmas list.  My parents gave K a table and chairs for Christmas when he was nearly T’s age and it was a great present.  K loved having his own special table that was just his size.  He used it for art and craft, eating, teddy bear tea parties and as a makeshift cubby house.  It was study and lasted us many years.

My prerequisites for a table were that it had to be strong, versatile and tidy.  The Little Tikes table ticks those boxes.  The Little Tikes stuff is tough.  Even cyclone T can’t destroy them.  This table can be folded and stored flat, which makes it very handy for packing in the van to take to a picnic at the park.  What really sold me on this one is the tidy factor.  There are cup/paint holders and a little trough to hold pens in the middle.  There is also a lip around the edge of the table so your crayons won’t roll off.  It’s all made of sturdy plastic so it’s easy to clean AND as it is all in one piece T can’t hurl chairs all over the yard.

LT table

 

Imaginarium City Central Train Table

THIS!  He is going to freaking love this!  I really desperately wanted to get T this train table for two reasons.  One because I think it is awesome and trains are cool, and two because K will love it as well and he’ll love to play trains with T.

Sadly, this train table is pretty exxy, even when it is on special, so I had resigned myself to the fact we simply can’t be spending that kind of cash.  My second option was to get a cheapy table from Kmart that was half the size.  Luckily for us and for T, Mother-in-law kindly offered to buy this as a combined birthday/Christmas gift for T Bear.  I wish we were in the financial position to give this gift ourselves but we are  certainly grateful that she can.  Beggars can’t be choosers!

I love this table way more than the Thomas Tank Engine tables because it has DRAWERS to pack away all the crap!  ANYTHING that helps me maintain some sort of order in this chaos is greatly appreciated.  Also, love that  it is nice stained wood and classy.  I hate the Thomas ones as they have all the landscape stuff painted all around the table, which will look shabby in time when the pain start to chip.  The wooden table can fit in with out decor.

You probably realise that I prefer good quality study toys that are going to last our babies a long time.  These are our big ticket items and a lot of time has gone into researching which will be best suited to us and our family.  I can even get some ‘pink’ trains for H.

train table

 

Crabbie Sandbox

I’ve been on the fence about a little sand pit for a while.  I’m not too keen on more mess being walked into the house, nor am I keen on cat poo in the sand, but after seeing just how much T LOVES playing with sand at our playgroup, I have decided that I can work with these two challenges.

I like this Crab Sandbox a little more than the basic clam shell ones for the simple fact that it has a little seat for this old mumma to sit on, but the clam shell sandpit would also be fine if you had younger knees than mine.  The sandpit needed to have a cover to keep the cat crap out and this one does.  I just need to keep a dustpan brush at the back door to brush down the babies before they come back inside.  Kmart also does a little wooden box with a cover that would work.

sandpit

 

LEGO DUPLO

T is just a bit too young for the massive bucket of LEGO we have in the cupboard and the little pieces are not safe for H.  Duplo is awesome.  You can build cute animals and people.  It is really easy to put together and pull apart.  T really loves building things with blocks and gravitates towards the Duplo whenever he has the opportunity to play with some.  I love the fact that this is a unisex toy, and as with the train table, pirate ship and sandpit, it is a toy that both my little babies and big doodles will get joy out of for years to come before the graduate to the little LEGO.

duplo

 

Fisher-Price Doodle Pro Classic Doodler

This a magna doodle.  You know, what you played with as a kid?  Yep, they have been around for years and are still excellent.  I chose this one as the pen string is attached in the middle of the board so it is good for both left and right handed little artists.  It looks like T is going to be a lefty.  This is just a really handy toy to have.  It is cheap, easy to transport around and apart from the few little stamps there are no pieces to be left all over your lounge room.  Creativity at its best.

magna

 

A Very Busy Sticker Book (The World of Eric Carle)

T loves The Very Hungry Caterpillar and he loves stickers.  Most kids do!  I just stumbled upon this book and grabbed it on a whim but I think it is a winner.  A good cheapie.

sticker book

 

Personalised Peppa Pig Book

T, like a lot of kids his age (and their mums) love that cheeky little pig, Peppa.  T is Peppa Pig obsessed.  He has a Peppa figurine that he tucks into the top of his nappy so she can cruise around with him.  He loves her.  I found that you can have your own personalised Peppa book printed so your child is actually a character in the story.  You get to design what he/she will look like and can even have a personal message to your child printed inside the cover.

I remember when I was a girl, my mum had a personalised book for me printed.  I think it was about fairies?  Anyway, what I do remember was I was so amazed that I was actually in a book!  I mean, this book was about ME, it was the coolest thing ever for a book lover.

T has a couple of Peppa books already which he reads over and over, and I think he will get a real kick out of being the star in one.  I haven’t gone ahead and ordered one yet as they are quite pricey, especially once you add shipping on top of that.  I am wondering if this might be a better present next year, but it is pretty rad, which is why I am including it in the list.

peppa book

 

George Pig Beanie

Now, T does love Peppa Pig, and there are some pretty cool Peppa toys out there but I am not about to shell out the big bucks on something fancy if he is not going to play with it.  This is a safe bet.  It’s not expensive and can be the test to see if your little one is a true Peppa fan.  If he loves it to death and plays with it, then perhaps go out and buy your kid the playhouse or rocket ship of whatever, but sometimes it is a good idea to test the waters first.  You could end up saving yourself a wad of cash.   Oh, and H will be getting a Peppa beanie so they can play together.

george

 

Humpty Beanie

T’s other obsession is Play School.  The kid can’t get enough and I like Play School too.  I have a secret mummy crush on Teo.  I can’t get over the fact that they are still singing the same songs that they did when I was a little girl, and I remember them all!  I would love to get ALL the Play School friends but I’ll just stick with Humpty for T and Jemima for H, for now.  Then we can have our own Play School type fun at home.

humpty

 

Ok, that is 10 of my best (For now.  I reserve the right to add a million toys to my wish list).  Do you have any super amazing toys or present ideas that I can add to my list?

We should all thank Chum-Lee for his help.

We should all thank Chum-Lee for his help in researching these toys.  He was very good at sitting in front of my computer screen and knocking things off my desk when I disagreed with his input.

Chum-Lee’s Choice – The Baby Expo Edition.

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I have decided that I will post a regular feature on my blog called Chum-Lee’s Choice.  It really has nothing to do with my cat, but Chum-Lee’s Choice sounded way better than My Choice, or Sophia’s Choice or The Taco’s Choice.  And besides, D suggested it and I thought it was funny.  I promise to include a silly cat picture with every post.

What this is really about is stuff I like.  Basically, I tell you what I like and why it’s awesome.  Between the four kids I have tried and sampled just about everything child related and pretty much have an opinion on everything.  If I love it, I really want to tell people about it.  Similarly, if I think something is crap I’ll let you know that too!

Every once in a while you can expect to see a Chum-Lee’s Choice post.  No-one is giving me money or products to review, so these are my honest opinions and things that I truly use and/or love.

Today, my very first edition of Chum-Lee’s Choice is all about things I either saw or brought home from the expo.  Chum-Lee and I hope you enjoy.

 

 

Nibbly Bits Silicone Necklace

necklace

I have not worn any jewellery since T was born.  Kind of like, the only time I get to wear my hair out is when I am sleeping.  Those little hands will latch onto necklaces and hair alike and tug/suck/swallow until the cows come home.  Considering we don’t own any cows, he’ll be tugging for a very long time.  What’s a girl to do?  I can live with having my hair pulled back, but this Mumma Bear is sick of looking drab.

Solution?  Silicone jewellery!  Why have I never seen these before?  These are necklaces or bangle that you can wear which will not break when kiddos pull on them (special quick release clasp to save your neck) and are actually designed for your offspring to suck and chew on!  Made from super soft silicone that will not break or chip off in their mouth and feels good on those tender teething gums.  Also, something for little babies to play with while nursing.  H doesn’t do anything while nursing yet, but T used to try and stick his toes on my mouth, hold onto my nose, pinch my neck/nipple/lips and stick his fingers in my armpit.  To think these delightful behaviours could have been combated with a necklace to play with!

Not only are they practical, they look nice too.  I wore mine today, I wasn’t going anywhere, but I wanted to look nice and feel good.  D noticed and commented.  Win.  Guess who is getting lucky tonight?  T noticed the necklace too.  He had a play while quietly sitting on my lap (quiet and T do not usually go together) and had a taste test.  It passed.

You’re probably wondering what happens when it is all gross and covered in teething drool?  Just give it a wash with soapy water and drip dry!  Love it.  Got a super cute little koala pendant too which is sure to be a hit with T.

 

Pat-a-Cake Baby Wetbag

butterfly wetbag.pngsm

I get frustrated with the size of the wetbags I own.  Big enough for a day out with one baby but not for two.  And that is just to put all the dirty nappies, then you need another bag to out all the clean ones!  This wetbag is big.  I hung it on H’s change table and fit nearly her whole day’s worth of nappies in it.

Special features include a big pocket on one side and two smaller pockets on the other, so you can shove your clean naps in a pocket and some wipes and cream in the others.  I also like that it has a clip on handle so you can hang it on your pram or similar and it is made of material not elastic.  The cheapo wetbags I was using at home had a flimsy little elastic handle that was stretched to within an inch of its life after placing just one nappy in it.  This is much better.

Apparently the waterproof material is the top shelf stuff that will not grow mould.  So if you accidentally leave your bag of crappy nappies in the car for a few days to fester, all the nappies might get all manky but your wetbag will remain pristine.  I don’t have enough nappies to leave a bag in the car to rot, but there you go anyway.  Sold!

You can get these nappies here in Australia from Finlee and Me, they have some beautiful gorgeous things.  Check out their dribble bibs (got a couple) and their Christmas stockings!  I wanted one so bad for H but was not in the budget 😦

 

Cheeky Wipes All-in-one Kit

cheeky wipes

While we are on the subject of accessories for using cloth nappies, this kit has so far been worth its weight in gold.  I love it.  I never have to buy wipes again.  We were going through so many packets of wipes it was crazy.  I use wipes for everything – the high chair, messy hands and faces, clean the table, bums obviously, handprints on walls, spilled my coffee… You name it, I clean it with a wipe.

I now have 3 cloth wipe ‘stations’ in my house.  The full kit lives on my dining room table.  I have super soft coloured microfibre wipes in it to use on hands and faces and general cleaning/wiping.  I just pull out a clean wipe, clean what is dirty and drop it in the mucky wipes box and at the end of the day I chuck ’em in the wash with my nappies.

In the babies rooms I have just used a Huggies wipes container and made up a solution with the essential oils provided in the kit.  For nappy changes I use soft bamboo wipes and when they are used I just pop them strain in the nappy bucket with the dirty nappy.  That way, I have different coloured wipes for bums and faces.  Neat hey?

It is such a handy system, making cloth wipes easy and the oils smell lovely.  I highly recommend Cheeky Wipes, but you don’t need to buy more than one kit if you want to have wipes in different rooms, one kit is enough but you’ll probably need extra wipes.

 

Organic Baby Intensive Soothing Cream

baby cream

I needed to get a cream for nappy rash that was cloth safe.  You can’t use zinc based creams on cloth nappies because it wrecks them or something.  I don’t know why really, but apparently it is a big no-no.  I think the cream sticks to the inserts and won’t come out.

Last week T did a poo during his sleep and we with it might have been in there all night long because in the morning his poor bum was red raw, like weeping.  It was bad, real bad.  So bad in fact that I put him in disposables for a couple of days so I could smother his little tush with sudocream at every nappy change.

By the time I bought this, T was back in cloth but his bottom had not completely healed.  This cream cleared it up over night and has kept his butt kissable ever since.  It goes on like a dream and smells gorgeous.  I am not sure how it would go on a really bad rash, but certainly did the job on a medium rash and sped up the healing time.  I was impressed and will be getting a second tube for H’s room.

I got this from Little Innoscents, who have a wide range of lush and nourishing organic skin care for bubs, kids and mums alike.  And they do free shipping, just saying…

 

Love To Dream Swaddle Up

swaddle-me-up

 

I did not buy any of these from the expo because I already have them.  I used them with T and I use them with H.  I cannot rave enough about these swaddles.  I love them.

Have you ever noticed that you see so many ultrasound pictures of babies with their hands up by their faces or sucking their thumbs?  Babies like to have access to their hands, it helps to soothe them.  But how do you let your baby suck on her hand while ensuring they feel secure and not wake themselves back up with the startle reflex?  Easy, zip ’em up nice and snug in one of these little babies.  Unicorn awesome.

 

Pram Liner by Bambella Designs

pram liner

I really really really wanted to get a couple of pram liners to jazz up the double pram (bus).  This lady from Bambella Designs makes the most beautiful liners and car seat covers and trolley seat liners and things like that.  Alas, as much as I like these, the budget was tight so they will have to wait until another time.

She has a huge range of gorgeous fabrics to choose from and can even make a cover to custom fit your particular pram. I am quite partial to owls and the Very Hungry Caterpillar spots print.

I really hate that I am forever trying to clean crumbs out of the seams in the seat of the pram.  Why can’t T eat cleaner?  I would love pram liners so I can chuck them in the wash.  Not an easy job to clean the pram and quite frankly, who the hell has time?  No-one with kids that’s for sure.  But then, if you didn’t have kids you wouldn’t have a dirty pram to clean would you?  This conversation is going nowhere.

OK.  I think that is enough for now.  Well, what did you think of Chum-Lee’s Choice?  Boring?  Interesting?  Helpful?  None of the above?

And now for the silly cat picture I promised.

Silly Chumbelina and Silly Kai

Silly Chumbelina and Silly Kai

I am not impressed.

I am not impressed.