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by Rebecca Forbes

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PROLONGING SUMMER
Making jam is simple with new no-cook freezer jam pectin.  Kids can help, too; you just have to crush fresh fruit, and add sugar and pectin.  Ball, which makes the freezer pectin, also just came out with plastic freezer jars for storing it..  The pectin is $2 for 5 packets; plastic jars are $2.50 for a 5-pack of 8oz. jars, $3 for a 5-pack of 16oz. jars at grocery stores.  Go to www.freshpreserving.com for recipes. (7/07)

KITCHEN'S OPEN!
Beech-Nut has two new baby foods, Good Morning and Good Evening.  The breakfast food, dry cereals and jarred fruit blends are whole grain and designed to give babies energy.  The Evening products, including dry cereal and jars of vegetables with meat, contain an easy-to-digest whey protein and 'prebiotic' nutrients that promote good bacteria in the digestive system.  At supermarkets. www.beechnut.com. (7/07)

EYES HAVE IT
—Adjusting your kid's swim goggles ranks up with having root canal, but the Swimple offers a better way.  The kid-adjusted goggles, for ages 3 to 10, come in one size, with an adjustable strap that even the least adept child can handle. Seven colors are available; $10, $12.50 for the metallized version.  At Paragon Sports or www.tyr.com.  (7/07)

 —Protect little eyes out of the water with Fisher-Price Sunwear by Greattech Vision sunglasses.  The lenses are scratch and shatter resistant, and the frames are adorned with ducks or polka dots, among other designs.  At CVS and Target, $5.99-$7.99. (7/07)

PAMPER TIME
—Susan Brown's Baby
is a new luxury, chemical-, paraben- and mineral oil-free line of skincare products.  Dead Sea Salt foot soak and foot therapy cream are a treat for any feet, and a few unique products make this line worth seeking.  Suncreen lotion with SPF 30 also has cocoa butter to moisturize ($18.50 for 5oz.).  And the hand sanitizer is a huge upgrade over the typical product, with jojoba and vitamin E, so hands that are constantly washed won't also dry out ($5.95 for 4.17oz.) at www.susanbrownsbaby.com.  (7/07)

 —Gabriel Couzian is a French apothecary line designed for eczema and psoriasis, but it can be used by anyone combating dry skin.  The Washing Oil ($45 for 13.6oz.) is based on ancient Roman practices of oil cleansing, soothes and moisturizes skin while it cleans.  And the foot, hand and hand & nail cream (each $20 for 1.7oz.) offer rich emollients like shea butter and beeswax to soften skin. At www.gabrielcouzian-usa.com. (7/07)

BOYS' TURN
Teen boys with acne have two new products, OXY Bar Soap and OXY Body Wash to combat body acne. The cleansers, with salicylic acid, can be used on the whole body, since they clean and soothe.  Each $6.99 at CVS and Walgreens.  Boys can get more information at www.oxynation; moms, who often shop for teen boys' products, will find tailored info at www.oxymom.com. (7/07)

DUST MITES BE GONE
Protect your mattress and pillow from dust mites and your children from allergies and asthma attacks with CleanRest, a new encasement available for all mattress sizes, including cribs. The product is certified asthma-friendly by Allergy Standards Limited in partnership with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.  Developed by Gary Goldeberg, whose son was allergic to dust mites, CleanRest uses MicronOne fabric to completely block micro-toxin dust mites and mold.  The encasements, which cover the bottom, top and side of bedding, are breathable, waterproof and stain proof. Pillow covers are $19-$25; for mattresses, $79-$119; at Bed, Bath & Beyond or at www.cleanrest.com. (7/07)

COOL YOUR BUNS
Getting kids into a hot car seat can be uncomfortable for parent and child; metal buckles can even burn skin. Cold Seat is a car seat cooler that goes in the freezer and keeps the seat comfortable until a child needs to hop into the car.  At the end of the day, stick the cover back in the freezer. Designed (yet again!) by a creative mom. $49.95 at www.coldseat.com. (7/07)


SUN SAFE
  Shady Day is great for airline travel; Sun Screen Wipes 30 and Face Stick 30 can be packed in your carry-on luggage; they also transport well in diaper bags.  Shady Day Daily Sun Protection Wipes 30 ($14 for 15 wipes) and Face Stick 30 ($9) are available at Saks Fifth Avenue, Ricky's or at www.shadydayinc.com


   Mustela's new 'Sun Protection' line has mineral, not chemical filters, to protect against UVA and UVB rays; both high protection sun lotion SPF 50 ($14.95) and sun cream for sensitive areas SPF 50 ($9.95) are hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and water-resistant. At Buy Buy Baby, Babies R Us or www.mustelausa.com

   Kimberley Sayer of London also has a non-chemical organic 'family' sunblock; it's SPF 25 that soothes as it protects, with chamomile, green tea extracts and cocoa butter, $19.95 at Whole Foods or www.kimberleysayer.com.

   If you're not sure how sunny it is, Huggies has LITTLE SWIMMERS Sun Sensors that change color to let you know when to reapply sunscreen.  A pack of 24 is about $3.49 at drugstores. (6/07)

BUG AWAY
   Get DEET-free bug repellant with BugBand, a natural repellant derived from geranium oil. Their wristbands ($4.95), spray ($6.95) and wipes ($11.95 for a pack of 40), repel mosquitoes, flies, fleas and gnats, among other pests.  At Target and www.bugband.net.  Buzz Off clothing has repellant and SPF 30 built in. Hats, socks, shirts and pants are all treated with an odorless repellant that keeps mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, no-see-ums, and flies away. www.exofficio.com. (6/07)

     
GENTLE  FIRST AID
   When kids are hurt, they often get scared as well.  The Boo-Boo Care first aid kit has Boo-Boo Juice, a non-stinging gentle antiseptic foam; colorful bandages; and a plastic stethoscope so the child can play doctor while his parents nurse his wounds.  The complete kit, $24.95, also includes 'magic' splinter remover and gel burn lotion, burn gel and cold pack, and 'sympathy stickers' so everyone will know to treat the young patient carefully.  For ages 1-9, at Target and www.BooBooCare.com.  Items are also sold separately. (6/07)

DRY RELIEF
When your kids are potty trained, you no longer have that handy zippered part of a diaper bag, essential when you're heading to the beach or pool. Mini Me BabyGear has new wet bags called Wet Happened? The lined bags stay dry on the outside, and come in eye-popping designs.  They're washable and can even be used for dirty diapers. $15.95 for a medium bag; the $19.95 large bag holds the whole family's wet suits - or your sweaty gym clothes. www.minimebabygear.com. (6/07)


DIVERT THE KIDS
   You need to entertain the kids when you eat out. The new Fun A Go Go Dines Out, created by a New York mom, is a reusable drawing board that comes with a dry erase marker, felt eraser and activity suggestions that can involve the whole family.  The creator's kids, Will and Olivia Knowlton, 6 and 8, are pictured. The board is $7.99 at www.FunaGoGo.com. (6/07)



SPORTY DOLLS
   Now sporty girls can dress their dolls accordingly - in new shoes for both girls and dolls by Adidas.  The MyScene dolls ($9.99 each) come outfitted for yoga, tennis or skateboarding; the sneakers, for sizes 10.5-7, retail for $39.99.  Sneakers at  Adidas stores, dolls at K-Mart and Target. (6/07)


NATURALLY DRY
   Many parents have switched to organic baby shampoos and body washes; now kids can dry off after a bath with organic cotton towels from Brooklyn-based Kee-Ka.  The company, which also makes baby and toddler organic clothing, has incredibly soft and richly colored hooded towels, $50 at Modern Tots or at
www.kee-ka.com.  (6/07)


PRO YOGURT
Yogurt has changed over the years - from a health food to one loaded with chemicals and sugar.  Dannon is taking a step back, with its reformulated Danimals.  This has no artificial flavors or colors, and no high fructose corn syrup.  The yogurt also now contains the probiotic LGG - to help digestive and immune function and oral health.  Danimals is available in 3.1-oz. drinkable bottles ($1.99 for a 4-pack), and in 4-oz. cups ($3.60 for an 8-pack) in a variety of flavors.  At grocery stores; for more information, go to www.danimals.com. (4/07)

PARTY IN A BOX
You can plan your child's birthday party online with the new Posh Party Box.  There are four themes:  pirate, tea party, sleepover and campout, with more to come, including party themes for tweens and teens.  Each box includesinspired invitations, decorations, goodie bag; the pirate invitation fits in the included bottle and mailing tube, and the campout kit includes a canteen, mess kit and camo bandana.  Kits are $265 for a party of 8.  For more info, go to www.poshpartybox.com or call (949) 498-0664. (4/07)
 
GERM FIGHTERS
When you take your kids out to eat, you have to worry about more than a kid-friendly menu and your child's behavior. You also have to make sure the restaurant is clean - not just the kitchen, but also the floor, table and high chair.  Life is easier with Write-On Wrap Around Placemats, which stick to the table and wrap over the edge, providing a germ-free barrier.  The mats, which are made from biodegradable mineral powder, are $9.99 for 20 mats and four triangular CrayAngles (which don't roll onto that dirty floor). At Babies 'R Us or www.classy-kid.comThe Clean Shopper, a soft shopping cart cover, can also fit over restaurant high chairs, but the onus is on you to remember to wash it; $29.95 at www.cleanshopper.com. (4/07)

NATURAL GOOD LOOKS
Mineral fusion is a new all-natural makeup for women who want to choose products that are paraben-free, with no chemical dyes or perfumes.  The line, which includes foundations, eye shadows, blushes and lip colors, offers UV protection and antioxidants, in a variety of shades.  mineral fusion is sold at Whole Foods, $14-$37.  For more information, go to www.mineralfusioncosmetics.com. (4/07)

TAG, YOU'RE IT
Tag-Mates are a new way to get out of the sticky situation of losing your kids' clothes - the mini labels stick to clothing care labels so you don't have to iron or sew them on.  You can choose up to 20 letters, in purple on a white background.  Tag-Mates adhere even through washing and drying, and can be customized with one of more than three dozen icons, from fire truck to seahorse.  $18 for 75 labels at www.mabel.ca. (4/07)

DWELL ON IT
Dwellbaby is growing up.  The line of crib sheets in sophisticated patterns is now available for twin and full-size beds.  dwellkids linens are sold in sets with sheets, pillowcase and duvet cover; patterns include cowboy or cowgirl, dots and clover.  The New York parent company, dwell home furnishings, also makes linens for adults, tablecloths and throw pillows. $320 for a twin set, with duvet cover, flat and fitted sheet, pillowcase and sham; $352 for a full set that has two pillowcases. At Mini Jake in Brooklyn, or www.minijake.com. (4/07)

BREAKFAST RE-MAKE
-There's a new mouse in the house, but don't call the exterminator.  Disney cereals have been reformulated to conform to the new nutritional guidelines Disney is following in its licensed products and at its theme parks.  Mickey Mouse Clubhouse berry crunch, Princess flakes and Little Einsteins fruity stars are whole grain, have less sugar than most cereals marketed to kids, and very little sat fat.  $1.99 at grocery stores. (4/07)

-Smucker's Better Beginnings Breakfast Program has recipes from chef Jon Ashton and cookbook author Miriam Weinstein.  The website has new breakfast ideas (peanut butter bread pudding, or a trail mix bar for breakfast on the go) and asks readers to pledge to eat breakfast every day.  For recipes, go to www.smuckers.com/promotions/breakfastbeginnings/default.asp. (4/07)

EASY RIDER
Now you don't have to have the same stroller as everyone else.  At FAO Schwarz, you can customize a Maclaren Volo Buggy.  At the store's computer kiosk, you can choose the hood, seat, harness, frame and liner in different colors ($250); then the stroller is sent to your home in less than three weeks. You can also order online, at www.fao.com.  FAO also just opened a Paul Frank boutique where you can customize a T-shirt. The store is at 767 Fifth Avenue, at 58th Street. (5/07)

DISCRETION RULES
Breastfeeding in public can lead to overexposure, so Bebe Au Lait's new "Hooter Hider" is a welcome idea.  This fabric cover is available in several different patterns, and can be adjusted to make a mom more comfortable and shield baby from the sun.  $35 at www.bebeaulait.com, Full Circle Family Care and Breastchester, Inc. (5/07)

SOOOTHE
Out at the playground - and your little one gets a scrape, a bug bite, too much sun?   Mundo's First Aid Balm covers all the bases.  The salve combines organic comfrey root and calendula with olive oil, in an easy-to-pack tin.  Online only: www.mundoproducts.com; $14. (5/07)

COOKIES TO GO
If you don't have time to bake, two new natural cookies offer healthy treats.  Curious Cookies have no trans fats, no chemicals, and are Kosher.  There are kid-friendly chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin, and gluten-free versions that taste just as good.  The 'muffin top' offers the best part of a muffin, in a reasonable size.  Curious Cookies come individually wrapped, making them a good choice to pop in a lunch box.  $5.99 for 10 cookies at www.curiouscookie.com.  Nana's Cookies has new Cookie Bites, which are trans fat free, chemical free and Kosher.  They also contain no refined sugars, no dairy and no eggs.  There are gluten-free versions, like lemon dream or oatmeal, and the cookies are also individually wrapped.  At Whole Foods or http://healthycrowdcom.host-manager.com. (5/07)

SIP AND SAVE
Taking a drink to the playground often means spoiled juice. Since bacteria in room-temperature food can double in 10 minutes, keeping food and drinks cold is critical. Thermos has new insulated lightweight, stainless steel sippy cups - Foogo. Foogo also comes in a hydration bottle, with a pop-up straw; and an insulated food container so you can tote lunch or snacks.  Each sleek item is $15 at www.thermos.com.  For budding artists, Playtex has the Create My Own sippy cup, with an insert that toddlers can design, with crayons, markers, stickers, or photos. $4.99; www.playtexbaby.com. (5/07)

HAIR TODAY
Hamadi Beauty is an organic hair care line from Los Angeles stylist Jamal Hammadi, whose philosophy is to nourish hair while you style, with natural ingredients including shea butter, essential oils, and honey. These products, $18-$40, are available at Aria Salon and online at www.hamadibeauty.com. Barex has a new line of shampoos, conditioners and stylers, for frequent shampooers, dry, fine, frizzy or colored hair.  The products are $9.50-$28 at www.oloffbeauty.com. (5/07)


DREAMS ON THE GO
Babies can sleep anywhere, but if you want yours to get used to sleeping in a bed, the new Infant Travel Bed is light and easy to set up.  Since the padded side panels can be wiped down, and the sheets are washable, the bed can also serve as a movable changing station.  From Graco, www.gracobaby.com, $49.99 at Babies R Us. (3/07)


KEEPING FOOD FRESH

You can create vacuum seals on leftovers with the VacuWare Fresh Food System, a vacuum sealer that can be used to keep strawberries a few extra days, or lets you cook on the weekend for quicker weekday meals.  The system comes with electric and hand pumps, special containers that can go from freezer to microwave to dishwasher, and universal lids that can ‘reseal’ opened jars.  There are also pouches for the freezer.  A basic kit is $159.96 at www.vacuware.com.  For less expensive food storage, QuickSeals transforms ordinary bags into Ziploc-like bags; a 20-pack is $2.99 at www.quickseals.com. (3/07)


GOT (HEMP) MILK?
If your kids are lactose intolerant or vegan, a new ‘milk’ made from hemp nuts might fill the glass.  Living Harvest Hempmilk, in original, vanilla or chocolate, can be drunk straight for the carton, or used in baking or over cereal.  Each
glass is rich in protein, iron, calcium, and Vitamin D, along with other vitamins and minerals.  And while not certified organic, the company practices ‘sustainable farming’ using no pesticides or herbicides.  At Whole Foods, or at www.livingharvest.com; $3.99 for 32oz. carton. (3/07)

CHIP OFF A NEW BLOCK
Chips will never win nutritional awards, but baked Flat Earth crisps actually have a half-serving of either fruit or vegetables.  Not only that, they are free of trans fat and are low in sodium.  Three veggie flavors — farmland cheddar,
tangy tomato ranch and garlic & herb field — each have 20 percent of the RDA of vitamin A, along with other vitamins and minerals.  The fruit varieties:  apple cinnamon grove, wild berry patch and peach mango paradise, are no substitute for whole fruit, but are an improvement over candy.  From Frito-Lay: $2.99, for a 6oz. bag. (3/07)

SUPPORTING MOMS
Nurse with ease when you wear Top Mommy’s all-in-one T-shirt and nursing bra.  These shirts have built-in strapless bras that provide complete support, and the shirt panels offer coverage so moms can be discreet.  Top Mommy also has stretchy maternity shirts with built-in nursing bras so women can make it from pregnancy through weaning without constantly buying new clothes.  Shirts start at $39.80 at www.topmommy.com (3/07)




DUTCH TREAT
A new stroller system from the Netherlands transports kids in style — and comfort.  The Mutsy Urban Rider has
interchangeable front wheels, with small, swivel wheels for roaming around the city, and or ‘burbs, and large, pneumatic tires for all-terrain strolling.  The Urban Rider also comes with a bassinet for an infant and a seat (forward or rear facing); there is also a car seat adaptor. The frame can even accommodate a double seat for a second child. At Planet Kids or www.kiwi-kids.com, $699. (3/07)
                                                                     
BABY SWEET
Thymes Sweetleaf Baby Blanket Wash tackles the challenge of cleaning a baby’s delicate clothes and leaving them sweet smelling. Like all the products in the new collection, this gentle wash has chamomile and lavender, and is paraben-free.  Super-concentrated, so a little goes a long way, a 16oz. bottle is $16 at Pink on Palmer, Larchmont; at Zitomer Pharmacy in Manhattan; or at www.thymes.com. There is also a gentle body wash and a baby lotion. (3/07)


GREEN & BLUE
Cellex-C Mother & Child offer specialized products for new moms, like Hair Recovery Complex, a volumizing gel with green tea extracts that combats postpartum hair loss, and a Spider Vein Complex reducer.  For baby, there’s Aqua-Vernix Baby Moisturizer, a light cream that is easily absorbed, and Baby SunSafe SPF 30, a chemical-free sunscreen that goes on blue, so you can see where you’ve applied it.  At www.cellex-cjunior.com; mom products are $65 and child products are $35. (2/07)



HEALTHY SNACKS
Cheese sticks are indispensable to parents, but allergies and saturated fat can make them a bad choice. Super Stix taste like mozzarella cheese, but have no fat or cholesterol, and are lactose-free. Sold in the produce section of grocery stores, $2.99 for a six pack; www.galaxyfoods.com. (2/07)





EYES FORWARD
Itchy eyes, whether from allergic conjunctivitis or seasonal allergies, get relief with new Zaditor eye drops, an over-the-counter medication that can be used on kids as young as 3.  One drop relieves the itch for up to 12 hours, and because it does not contain a decongestant, there is no ‘rebound’ redness when you stop using it. Zaditor is in drug and chain stores, $14.99 for a 30-day supply.  For more information, go to www.novartis.com. (2/07)



GET A GRIP 1
Getting kids to use shampoo is easier when they don’t keep dropping it.  Suave has re-launched its Kids line with ‘bubble-grip’ bottles that are easier for little hands to hold.  Fruity scents include Wild Watermelon and Cherry Jams 2 in 1 conditioning shampoo, for $1.92-$1.99 per 12 oz. bottle, at drugstores and supermarkets.  Suave is also going upscale, without the price, in its Exhale Moisturizing Body Lotions.  Calming, with lavender and vanilla, and Inspiring, with lime verbena, both include white tea extracts and vitamin E, for only $2.75 per 18 oz.  For more on Suave, go to www.suave.com. (2/07)



GET A GRIP 2

Flossing can be difficult for kids because they can’t hold the tape properly, or thread a flosser.  During February, National Children's Dental Health Month, get your kids pre-threaded Fun Flossers with fluoride.  These colorful single use flossers have ergonomically designed handles, making it easier for little hands to hold. From DenTek, a package of 48 is $2.49 at K-mart.  For more information, go to www.usdentek.com.


Kids may also brush better with a Crest SpinBrush, a battery-operated brush that has a small handle that is easy for kids to hold.  The brushes, $4.99 -$5.99 at drug stores, come in dolphin, fire truck and astronaut motifs. www.spinbrush.com. (2/07)

DOWNSIZING
The catalog and online merchant Lands’ End now has baby clothes, in newborn through 24-month sizes. From layette items in the softest cotton to tiny sweaters and other knits, you can point and click your way to well-made, reasonably priced baby clothes. Prices start at $7.50 for a bodysuit.  www.landsend.com. (2/07)

DROP A HINT

Find great gifts for women at ThinkHer!, on online boutique that offers jewelry, hand bags, T-shirts and bath products.  And you can feel good about shopping here; for each sale of a gift package of special “Pink Ribbon’ merchandise, a contribution is made to a breast cancer research foundation. Get comfy with Karen Neuberger lounge socks, in pink, $15. www.thinkher.com. (2/07)

NATURAL DRINK
We’ve all heard that breast is best for baby, but some women won’t, or can’t breastfeed.  Now there’s an organic formula option, Similac Organic.  The infant formula has DHA and ARA, naturally-occurring breast milk proteins that lead to brain development.  The formula is sold in powder form, at grocery stores, or at rosstore.com; $27.99 for the 25.7 oz. can (makes about 31 six-oz. bottles).  And if you’re caught out and about without a baby bottle, 7-11 is selling the Baby Sport adaptor for water bottles (pictured); you can convert almost any water bottle into a baby bottle with the plastic adaptor; $1.95 for a set of two. (1/07)


SMOOSHED SNACK

Fruit is a great snack, but sometimes kids want something that looks unhealthy.  FruitaBu has Organic Smoooshed Fruit, pure fruit snacks that offer a 1/2 serving of fruit in a kid-appealing form.  In addition to apricot, apple, grape, strawberry and raspberry “flats”, FruitaBu has new fruit twirls, in strawberry, at Whole Foods ($3.19 for a box of six); these are a whole serving of fruit.  www.stretchislandfruit.com.  And for spreadable fruit with your peanut butter sandwich, Smucker’s has new organic strawberry and raspberry preserves, and grape jelly, for around $3, at grocery stores.  You can find recipes at www.smuckers.com. (1/07)

BEYOND DIAPER BAGS
Skip Hop
, which started with stylish diaper bags about five years ago, has literally branched out.  It’s new Chow baby food organizer  (pictured) has shelf arms that hold up to 12 jars of baby food.  And Splash, their bottle drying rack, is
circular, so it takes up less valuable counter space while drying nine bottles as well as cups, nipples, pacifiers and caps.  Best of all, Chow ($24) and Splash ($26), which come in marine (blue), white, or poppy (red), do it stylishly.  You can find Skip Hop products locally at giggle and Destination Maternity. For more information, go to www.skiphop.com. (1/07)

DIAPER BAGS, LUXURY STYLE

There are gorgeous bags that masquerade as diaper bags, and diaper bags that profess to be stylish, but still leave fashion-conscious moms wanting.  alexandra bee bags, from Italy, natch, are fully lined with a water-resistant interior, and include multiple pockets, so baby’s gear can be easily reached.  The Gaia (pictured), which comes in two sizes, is $550 or $595 in leather, and is truly a bag that will transition to work or weekend bag when diapers no longer need to be toted.  The Allegra stroller bag, with leather handles for securing to a stroller, is $476.  You can buy these at www.alexandrabee.com. (1/07)



HEALTHY TROLLS
Getting kids to take vitamins is no easy task, but Nordic Berries natural multivitamins have curb appeal.  There is Nordic folklore that at twilight, trolls gather cloudberries.  These berries flavor the gummy vegetarian vitamins.  For ages 2 and up, $21.95 at www.nordicnaturals.com. (1/07)


OOPS, I DID IT AGAIN
One of the weird side effects of pregnancy is the day your belly button pops out.  If you want to wear a clingy maternity top, you can cover this bump with the Popper Stopper by Miss Oops.  This disposable, latex-free ‘outie’ cover sticks comfortably to your tummy.  At Mimi Maternity and Destination Maternity, $12.50 for a package of five. There is also a Critical Care Kit for Moms to Be ($28.50), with one popper stopper; Pedicure in a Bottle ($18) to relieve tired, swollen feet; and a Rescue Sponge ($10) to clean up the food you dribble on your big belly.  Go to www.missoops.com  for more information. (1/07)


CLEAN SWEEP
If you have a Christmas tree or wreath in your home, the Christmas Tree Swiper Brush is the perfect way to pick up
dropped needles.  The handheld nylon brush also works on crumbs, pet hair and dirt. No word on Hannukkah bushes. From McNaughton Incorporated, $6.95 at www.mcnaughtoninc.com. (12/06)


TRY THIS ON FOR SIZE
Cheer True Fit, a new laundry detergent, lubricates fibers so clothes don’t stretch out in the washing machine.  Now if anyone could figure out how to make your college jeans still fit…Cheer True Fit is available in grocery stores; for more information, go to www.cheer.com.. (12/06)



CUSTOM CARDS

Baby idesign personalizes cards and stationery for infants and families, and just expanded its holiday offerings.  Cards are personalized with text and photos — either digital or hard copies — and sent to your home.   For retailers, or to see a sample of the designs, go to www.babyidesign.com. (12/06)



BRING-YOUR-OWN AIR

If you regularly filter your child’s home environment, you may be stymied when you travel.  How can you lug a huge HEPA purifier?  Blueair has the answer — the Airpod, a personal purifier that weighs only a pound-and-a-half.  The Airpod, which purifies about 50 square feet, can also be used in small bedrooms or in offices.  It is nearly silent, and has an ENERGY STAR seal of efficiency.  The filters, which last about six months, come in several patterns so they make a design statement as well.  Sold at www.bedbathandbeyond.com for $99.99; for more information, go to www.blueair.com. (12/06)


WHOLE GRAIN BABY
Earth’s Best organic baby food has new choices that include whole grains.  Fruit & Whole Grain Combinations, “2nd food” for babies 6 months and older, include banana apricot mixed grain and peach oatmeal banana, both sold in 4-oz. jars for about 69 cents.  A quick cooking Semolina Pastina, a “3rd food” for babies 9 months and older, can be prepared in just 5 minutes.  Earth’s Best is sold at grocery stores and natural food stores including Whole Foods; for more information, go to www.earthsbest.com. (12/06)


STYLISH STROLLERS
Push your little darling in a fashion forward Graco stroller designed by Cynthia Rowley.  The limited edition Mosaic stroller is feel-good in more ways than one — sales of the compact, yet fully functional stroller benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.  There are only 1,000 of the $299 strollers, the first in a new partnership with Cynthia Rowley.  The strollers are only available online, at www.gracobaby/fashioningthefuture. (12/06)


NATURAL CARE

Breastfeeding is widely considered best for a baby, but nursing pads, which moms wear so they don’t leak, are usually made with petroleum derivatives.  Now Natracare, makers of organic and natural feminine hygiene products, has added a New Mother line.  The natural nursing pads are chlorine-free and biodegradable.  Maternity Pads and organic cotton wipes for diaper changes round out the new line; there are also new baby care products, including organic shampoo and massage oil.  Natracare products are sold at Whole Foods, FoodTown, and at www.drugstore.com. (12/06)



HEALTHIER SNACKING

When you’re playing outside, particularly in the cold, you need a convenient snack.  Nutrition bars are a great choice, but not always the healthiest.  Now little kids have a bar designed just for them, Nutripals.  These bars, in PB & chocolate,PB & J, s’mores, and strawberry yogurt, have more protein, fiber and vitamins and minerals (including zinc, iron and magnesium) than most bars, and are slightly lower in sugar. $5.49 for a box of six at Duane Reade, Walgreen’s, CVS, and Babies R Us.  For more information, go to www.nutripals.com. (11/06)

STAYING WARM
—Under Armour, which makes performance clothing for adults and kids, just added its first line for girls.  The Coldgear Mock is the perfect top for outdoor winter activities, wicking away moisture and keeping girls warm and dry. The top comes in youth small to large, sizes 7-14, and costs $39.99 at The Sports Authority, Modell’s or at www.underarmour.com.  (11/06)


—Hot Chillys has new PepperSkins thermal underwear, in light waffle weave ($24 each tops and bottoms) and a midweight version ($29 each).  These are sold at Paragon and Scandinavian Ski & Sport Shop; check the warmth factor at www.hotchillys.com. (11/06)


—The founder of Burt’s Bees has a new organic clothing line for babies, Happy Green Bee, so kids can go all natural from their skin care products to their fashion choices.  The striped clothes (emphasizing the bee connection) are sized by weight and include leggings, cardigans, dresses and hats.  They are $10-$36 at Baby Yum and Yo Yo Mart and at www.happygreenbee.com. (11/06)


REAL BUG JUICE
ProBugs is a new, organic, whole milk kefir drink, similar to yogurt, that is both kid- and parent-friendly.  Kefir has 10 live and active cultures, and is high in protein and low in sugar.  The drink pouches, which are spill-proof, are also eco-friendly, using less energy and packaging than traditional juice boxes. The Sublime Slime Lime and Orange Creamy Crawler flavors will make kids forget this is healthy stuff. $4.99 for a four-pack of 5-oz. pouches, at Whole Foods and Gristede’s.  From Lifeway Foods, www.lifeway.net. (9/06)


SO SOFT
If you can’t make time to visit a spa, bring the spa home.  Incredibly soft chenille robes used at Canyon Ranch spas and The Sagamore are now sold at the J. Shadow Apparel website, www.jshadow.com..  $70, in six colors. (9/06)


FOR FLAT FOLLICLES
Pregnancy can wreak havoc on your hair, but Osmotics FNS Revitalizing Shampoo, Conditioner and Serum can put life back in your locks.  The products, which also combat aging and chemical treatment damage, nourish the scalp with vitamins, minerals and amino acids.  The all-natural line is sold at Nordstrom and Lord & Taylor, and at www.osmotics.com; $18 for the shampoo, $24 for the conditioner and $68 for the serum. (9/06)


GOT THE FEVER
Temperature taking is never easy with a sick child, but new Vicks’ thermometers have an “InSight” feature to help parents.  A color-changing display gives visual clues: Green = no fever; Yellow = fever is slightly elevated; Red = fever alert.  The ComfortFlex, which can be used orally, rectally, or under the arm, and the SpeedRead both give readings in 8 seconds and have glow displays for middle-of-the-night temperature taking.  From Kaz, at CVS and other drug stores, $9-$14.  For more information, go to www.kaz.com or www.vicks.com

You can also use your child’s favorite Disney character to get the job done.  Dr. Fresh Disney Digital Thermometers feature Mickey or Minnie Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Cinderella or The Little Mermaid, and give a 10-second read whether used orally, underarm or rectally.  $10.99 at drugstores; more info at www.drfresh.com. (9/06)


WHOOZ IN A NAME
You can easily identify your kid’s sippy cup, or a water bottle at a soccer game, with BumpyNames Orbit Labels.  These stretchy labels, which come in a few hundred names, or can be customized, can go through the dishwasher or microwave; they fit small baby bottles or large sports bottles.  Names also come in Braille. BumpyNames in blue or green are $6.95 for a 3-pack. The customized ones, $11.95 for a 4-pack, come in pink, teal or light blue — all at www.bumpyname.com. (9/06)


PLUGGED-IN BABES
Now babies can go to sleep with their iPods; the new iCrib Sound System combines a nightlight with an MP3 player.  You can program your iPod, iRiver or Rio with soothing lullabies, and download free Mozart selections at www.munchkin.com.  The iCrib attaches to the crib’s railing, and features auto shut-off, so you don’t have to sneak back into baby’s room once she is slumbering away.  From Munchkin, $29.99 at Target. (9/06)


REALLY GOOD CLEAN FUN
Plastic placemats can be good for the environment, plus keep kids entertained.  Good Clean Fun Placemats, made from corn, come with soy crayons; you can wipe off what’s drawn and use the placemat again.  When you can no longer reuse the placemat, it can be composted.  These come 10 in a package, in "Number Fun" and "Endangered Animals” designs, with four crayons; the adhesive strips on the back keep the placemats secured.  From Fresh Baby, www.freshbaby.com.  $9.99, available at Nature’s Pantry in Westchester, and in NYC at Giggle and Sons + Daughters. (9/06)


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