Halloween Costume Basics for Babies Toddlers

I spent way too long looking for base pieces in multiple colors that make a good starting point for homemade baby or toddler costumes. These are all available via Amazon Prime, so you can still get them in time without fitting in a run to the store. Here you go:


A baby pilot cap in BLACK for $10. Boom. In 6 months size, they also have blue, yellow, and pink. The nice thing about these is if you pin costume embellishments to them, you can reuse.


If you need a shirt, it’s cheaper to just order a pack of long-sleeved onesies. I’ll use the rest of the colors anyway. These are $16 for four, and come in a bunch of colors: red, black, brown, blue onesies, and tan, purple, pink, navy onesies.


Leveret baby leggings also come in a zillion solid colors, which supposedly match this brand’s onesies, according to a few reviews, but ymmv. Two for $12.

If reusing the costume as clothes is a main goal, consider Primaries, which are just solid-colored kids clothes in every color. Great quality. It’s most of Ozzy’s wardrobe.

Happy Halloween, guys!

Lights for Your Labor and Delivery Hospital Bag


I just remembered a thing I meant to mention. Before Oz was born, I bought a bunch of these tiny LED lights for a project, but we had a bunch left over.

Each one is a little bigger than a large vitamin, so I threw a handful in my labor bag. They ended up being so useful that a bunch of nurses asked what they were. Our hospital had clear plastic cups for water, so we put a few in each cup to act as lanterns, but you could just set them out too.

They were the perfect soft glow for checking the baby’s breathing, getting up to nurse without waking dad, using an unfamiliar bathroom without turning on the glaring hospital lights. Plus, they just made the room calmer.

Anyway, if you’re having a baby, consider packing a few. They were so nice.

The Best Parent Hacks from the Book


My friend Asha Dornfest runs the site Parent Hacks, and just published the terrific Parent Hacks Book. It’s a quick read, but I learned so, so much, even as a second-time parent. Three of my favorite tips:

#25 After a diaper blowout, take the onesie off top to bottom.


#51 A dry washcloth keeps shampoo out of kids’ eyes.


#119 Use glowsticks as travel nightlights.

Super informative, and a great baby shower gift. Congrats, Asha!

Aloe Free Baby Diapers, Wipes, and Rash Cream

Parenting thing! Putting this here because it was a bear for me to find baby stuff that does not contain Aloe Barbadensis.

Brad gets a severe, burning rash when his skin is exposed to Aloe, and it’s in almost everything you put on or near a baby’s skin. As of December 2015, these are the brands we use that currently do not contain Aloe. If you have some to add to this list, please let us know in comments.


Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers If you’re just realizing your kiddo might have a reaction to Aloe because rash creams are making things worse, and so forth, Huggies Little Movers also don’t contain Aloe.


Pampers Softcare Baby Fresh Wipes don’t currently contain Aloe. But! Their “Sensitive” wipes do. This is true of nearly all brands marked “sensitive” or “natural.”


Boudreaux’s Butt Paste has no Aloe, and it’s terrific.

Anyway, apparently it’s not a common allergy, but if your kid has a rash that won’t go away, even if you’re blow drying his or her bum between diaper changes, this might be something to try.

Artistic Books for Kids

My friend Laura has a son a little younger than Hank and a gift for choosing children’s books with sweet messages and lovely illustrations. So with this new baby in the mix, I asked for her list of books for our home library. Every one I’ve bought has been amazing, so I asked her to share her list with you here. Thanks, Laura!

I’ve been meaning to put this list together for way too long. Here is the abridged version. I left out the more obvious choices – like Richard Scarry, Dr. Seuss, and all the mythology/fairy tale books. Those are all necessary and lovely, but those just show up.

I think I have a kid’s book addiction, I love them so much.

Pemba Sherpa by Olga Cossi, Gary Bernard
Shadow by Suzy Lee
Who Will Comfort Toffle?: A Tale of Moomin Valley by Tove Jansson
In the Night Kitchen (Caldecott Collection) by Maurice Sendak
Flotsam (Caldecott Medal Book) by David Wiesner
The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Dubose Heyward
In the Town All Year ‘Round by Rotraut Susanne Berner
A Giraffe and a Half by Shel Silverstein
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

Little Pea, Little Hoot, Little Oink by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
My Friends by Taro Gomi
Gossie by Olivier Dunrea
Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli
Hippopposites by Janik Coat
Wave by Suzy Lee
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees

Adèle & Simon by Barbara McClintock
A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na (Author)
Otis by Loren Long (Author, Illustrator)
You Are Stardust by Elin Kelsey (Author), Soyeon Kim (Illustrator)
A Balloon for Blunderbuss by Alistair Reid (Author), Bob Gill (Illustrator)
The Girl Who Loved the Wind by Jane Yolen (Author), Ed Young (Illustrator)
The Water Dragon: A Chinese Legend – English and Chinese bilingual text by Li Jian
Animus by Seonna Hong and Shenne Hahn
Around the World with Mouk by Marc Boutavant
Ballad by Blexbolex
Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
I Know a Lot of Things by Ann Rand (Author), Paul Rand (Author, Illustrator)
House Held Up by Trees by Ted Kooser (Author), Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
The Funny Little Woman by Arlene Mosel (Author), Blair Lent (Author)
The Poems and Drawings of Shel Silverstein Box Set
The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

The Red Balloon by Albert Lamorisse
The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman (Author), Bagram Ibatoulline (Illustrator)
Drawing from the City by Teju Behan
Ramayana: Divine Loophole by Sanjay Patel
A Street Through Time by Anne Millard and Steve Noon
Chi’s Sweet Home (11 Book Series) by Konami Kanata

Thanks again, Laura!

Kid Gift Idea: Trading Coins for Games


Last year, I made Hank this fancy box with ten chocolate coins inside, and told him he could trade each one for a new iPad game (under $5, but he only ended up choosing free ones). When he traded it in, he also got to eat the chocolate. The gift lasted for six months, because he kept forgetting he had the coins and then remembering in a fit of ecstatic glory.


This year, I got one of these <a href="http://Super Mario Bros. chocolate coin tins, because hilarious, and I’ll adjust the coins inside. If you have a tablet-obsessed kid, try it.

Gender Neutral Diaper Bag


Brad wanted a cool diaper bag when Ozzy was born, but I wasn’t willing to give up the ease of a bag that hooks onto the stroller handle. We were using Hank’s old Skip Hop Diaper Duo bag, until we came across Topo Design’s Mini Mountain Bag.

It’s not built as a diaper bag, obviously, but we’ve been using it for a few months and it’s perfect. The strap has a clasp near the bag that makes it adjustable, so we’re able to tighten it most of the way and hang it across the stroller handles. It looks small, but it accommodates everything we need, even when we’re traveling.