Two Westport Moms sharing their favorite new products, apps, or services that every mom shouldn’t live without!
Megan and Melissa love learning about exciting new(ish) products that make their lives easier, more enjoyable, or just are fun to know about. This includes things for them, as well as for their kids. Each month, we hope to share 1 “pick” for moms and 1 “pick” for munchkins that we have found, and hope you will enjoy too! Any and all products or ideas are welcomed, so email firstname.lastname@example.org anytime!
For Moms: “Look at Mommy” Camera Attachment
What it is: If you’re like most people, your phone is your camera. “Look At Mommy” helps you start taking better pictures of your kids! You can attach it anywhere on your iPhone or Android as long as it avoids the camera lens and the product will work its magic. This $28 funny fuzzy face attachment also comes with 3 lighting modes to draw attention to the lens and project soft lighting for a professional looking photo.
Why we love it: Like us, we are confident that almost every parent would agree that it is nearly impossible to get all the kids to look at the camera at the same time for that picture perfect moment. Now instead of offering ice cream for a winner smile or having to give your kids “the look” – the universal one all moms do when they want to scream at their kids but instead just beg them to look at the camera – you can use the “Look at Mommy” phone attachment, and voila all kids are laughing and looking straight at the camera. It is your very own mommy magic. Who would have thought all it would take was a funny looking face to actually capture the attention of your little ones (tested on kids up to age 5)?
For Munchkins: Fujifilm Instax Mini Camera
What it is: The Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 is a polaroid camera perfect for elementary school kids that brings instant fun and excitement everyday. It is cute, compact and comes in 5 different vibrant fun colors. It is very simple to use. All you do is turn the power button on, adjust the dial to the lit position which tells you the best lighting for the image your shooting and then you shoot and you get the picture instantly.
Why we love it: This mini polaroid camera makes the kids forget about your iPhone (at least momentarily!), and want to spend hours taking great photos of absolutely everything!! It is so easy to use and provides hours of entertainment and lasting memories.
*If you have a younger child who loves to take pictures consider The Kidizoom Camera Connect from VTech. With this real 1.3 megapixel camera your child can capture great digital photos and movies. Your child will become an instant photographer and movie director at the press of a button. They can edit photos with wacky effects, shoot video with fun animated borders, use the voice recorder with five voice changing effects and even play three cool games all right on the camera! This safe and durable camera features a 1.8″ color screen with an easy-to-use viewfinder and it comes with 128MB internal storage so it can hold approximately 800 photos. This camera has our vote for the little ones because it provides endless creative fun! M&M tip: this is a great gift for parents to give to their child when they become an older sister/brother so they can feel like they are a part of all the excitement and taking lots of pictures of the new addition like his/her parents.
What is it? The Nathan 5k Waist Belt is an ultra-lightweight neoprene belt (think super slim fanny pack) with a reflective belt keeper that can hold your iPhone, license, credit card and keys. The reflective belt comfortably fits around your waist – or wherever you may want to put it – and it does not slide up and down on your body. It comes in a bunch of fun different colors, and it is unisex.
Why we love it? With the kids heading back to school, we may now actually get some time to go for that much needed walk or run outside before the weather gets too cold. The Nathan 5K Waist Belt is the key to comfortable stashing all your essentials in one place, and as an added bonus, it’s comfortable to wear! You no longer have to put keys in your pockets, and have them jingling while you run or phones inside your pants getting sweaty against your skin. It is the gift to yourself that you did not realize you needed, but you will wonder how you survived without for so long! WM Tip: It is on sale for $19.99 on Amazon.
What is it? Fred’s DINNER WINNER Dinner Plate takes getting kids to finish the food on their plate to a whole new level. This plate turns mealtime into a board game, where the goal of the game is to eat each item of food along the board in order to reach the finish line where a covered “dessert” or “special treat” awaits. The board can be filled with proteins, grains, veggies, etc., and the treat at the end can be anything from an actual treat to raspberries or even a toy!
Why we love it? After a long summer of meals at Joey’s followed by ice cream, we all could use some motivation to get back into healthy eating – for ourselves and our kids. The plate is molded from BPA-free, 100% virgin melamine, and is food-safe and dishwasher safe. We all know all too well how picky some of our kids have become, and if it takes an enchanted forest plate with 3 M&Ms at the end to get them eating broccoli, it may just be worth it!
Mengo Phone Car Mount
What is it? A game changing $10 piece of plastic that you can mount your phone on in the car. Instead of looking down to your lap to see the Waze directions you are trying to follow or to see who might be calling, your phone is in front of you and you can keep your eyes on the road – where they should be!
Why we love it? As moms, we are – for better or worse – basically attached to our phones. Mengo – and other mounts like these (MagicMount is another one we love!) enable us to get where we’re going, and do what we need to do, while staying safe. They are small, inexpensive, can be moved from car to car, and work for almost all phones and cases. We truly have no idea how we’ve been surviving without them for this long! WESTPORTMOMS TIP: Sometimes your phone provider will throw these in with a new phone or upgrade, so don’t hesitate to ask!
Cool Gear Travel Potty
What is it? A travel potty for kids (or adults…?) that is a $19 life saver. Unlike most travel pottys, this one uses ziploc bags for whatever it is that goes into it, which makes clean up quick, easy, and pretty much odor-free.
Why we love it? All of us have been in the car – or at the beach – with a child who refused to pee before you left home, and suddenly has to go with no time to spare. This potty collapses down to a tiny flat container for easy storage and converts quickly into all you’d ever need. With compartments on the side for plastic bags and extra wipes – or even underwear – this ingenious potty lives in our trunks and has saved us hundreds of times. It even made it to the July 4th fireworks, and was possibly the biggest hit of the night. WESTPORTMOMS TIP: Get it from Walmart for the lowest price by far!
What is it? The one email we read every morning. The Skimm is a daily email newsletter that provides a brief, easily digestible, and pithy – synopsis of the past day’s current events, including politics, world news, sports and entertainment. As the Skimm says about itself: “it makes it easier for you to stay smarter.”
Why we love it? At a stage in life where time is always of the essence, and we are inundated with more information than our brains can consume, we crave simplicity. In 3 minutes, the Skimm keeps you up to date, helps you understand, makes you conversational, and kicks the day off right. It is written by young journalists who speak our language, and let’s be honest – who knows when the current status of Kayne and Kim, or US relations with Russia will come in handy? Skimm it. It’s worth it.
For Munchkins (and moms?):
What is it? Need 10 minutes to get yourself dressed, write an email or just breathe? MSQRD is a free app that kids of all ages will enjoy plus it allows you to get those few free silent moments. This app allows kids to transform their faces into animals, celebrities, spooky creatures and some of the masks even animate depending on your expression. These hysterical filters will have your kids (and even you) laughing for hours.
Why we love it? Of course our phones are filled with educational apps that take up so much memory but sometimes it is also nice to let the kids laugh and have fun. MSQRD is the perfect app to do so with all of the silly digital masks they provide. It is also a great app for people who want to avoid Snapchat (call us old but it overwhelms us) and/or maybe you do not want your kids in your Snapchat account for fear of what they may post. MSQRD will allow kids to use filters that are just as cool as Snapchat for free and safely. As a bonus, you can save the cute selfies the kids take plus their videos and when you find them randomly in your phone you will get a good laugh.
What is it? The new dessert you have to try! Halo Top is a low-calorie, high-protein, and low-sugar ice cream made with all-natural ingredients so that it tastes just like regular ice cream. There are over 15 flavors, including ones we can’t resist like Red Velvet, Peanut Butter Cup and Birthday Cake!
Why we love it? What is better than a guilt-free, gluten-free* dessert? Forget all of the artificial sweeteners in so many sweets these days; Halo Top is the real deal. We already sampled it for you, so can promise you it is stocked at Whole Foods, Stop n Shop, and Balduccis. Buy a few; the pint will be empty sooner than you think! *Over 10 of the 17 current flavors are gluten-free!
What is it? A hands-on learning monthly subscription box with options for newborns to kids 16+. Each box contains high quality materials for 2-3 truly age-appropriate and creative projects and an activity guide for parents to engage their children with. The mantra is to “inspire the next generation of scientists, artists, and makers.”
Why we love it? As parents, we are constantly looking for projects to educate and inspire our kids. If – like us – you’ve done every headband making kit available and can not make another fish out of crumpled tissue paper, Kiwi Crate is your answer! Not only is it great for your kids- and always changing – it is a fantastic group gift idea, and fellow parents appreciate it tremendously!
What is it? It is your own personal closet valet and seriously the best thing to happen to luggage since wheels. The luggage shelf is exactly as described- there are 3 shelves to put your clothes on with a separate pouch at the bottom for your dirty clothes. There is also a top zipper pocket which is good for accessories, appliances or even shoes. This shelf fits perfectly into your suitcase, is incredibly sturdy, and can hold up to 50lbs. This product completely takes the hassle out of packing/unpacking and will help you stay organized. It does not get much better!
Why we love it? Moms know all too well that packing these days is not just about packing for us; it’s often for ourselves, a partner, and several kids in tow. Joyus helps you organize your suitcase, limits unpacking when you get wherever you are going, and keeps dirty clothes separate for you! In our opinion, anything that saves time and keeps you organized at a reasonable price is a must have for that next school break trip!
What is it? It is a do-it-yourself kit where you make flourescently colored slime from scratch in test tubes. It is really easy to follow the instructions and super fun for all. Great for young and older kids
Why we love it? Something about slime just captivates kids. This kit provides hours of entertainment for your budding scientists especially during these cold winter months. Boys and girls will love to experiment with the slime and make different types magic potions. This also makes for the perfect gift for $19.99.
What is it? An all natural sneaker made in New Zealand from sheep’s wool that truly makes you feel like you are walking on air – while also being in style.
Why we love it? Most sneakers are clunky and smelly. All Birds sneakers are lightweight, can be worn sockless, and keep your feet cool in the summer and warm in the winter. They have many color options- for guys and girls, which make them a perfect gift. They are the most comfortable shoes we’ve ever worn. Ps. If we haven’t sold you already, they are machine-washable, so when red pasta sauce winds up on your shoes, just toss them in with your next load!
What is it? “The smartest doh to ever flow”. This new take on Playdoh keeps kids busy for hours. You can shape it, mold it, crumble it, mix it, stretch it, and so much more!
Why we love it? Unlike playdoh, it NEVER dries out, it doesn’t smell, and it’s gluten-free, casein-free, and above all toxin-free.We promise it will give you some sanity back!