Little kids can't tell time. Slightly older kids can tell time, but they sometimes have trouble connecting the numbers on the clock to what they're supposed to be doing throughout the day. Meet a watch that attempts to solve both of these problems. By using the affiliate links in this article, you're helping to keep Busy Nest News going. Thanks for your support!
Over the last several months, it has become clear that Monkey is not the type of child who puts herself on a schedule. Meals, naps, bedtime and everything else all need to be imposed upon her. However, just because she’s bad at creating a schedule for herself doesn’t mean she doesn’t need one. In fact, she thrives on a fairly rigid daily schedule. Sometimes we get doing things on the weekends that are so fun that we don’t want to make her take a nap right after lunch. This is always a mistake; an hour after her nap was supposed to start, she is hyper and belligerent. So now we know, she needs to stick to her routine in order to be her best self. The problem is that I’m not great at sticking to a routine, either, despite knowing that I thrive under one, as well.
Misfit Shine 2
In which Brianna reveals the best activity tracker you've never heard of. The Misfit Shine 2 is just the best activity tracker, especially if your hands are frequently tied up pushing strollers or carrying children, or you enjoy other cardio besides running. Read on to learn why we've rejected the Fitbit.
Activity trackers have been around for a little while now. They started as glorified pedometers but now offer other features, as well. The most popular, or at least the one everyone says they have, is the Fitbit. But is the Fitbit really the best choice for parents on the go?
Mother's Day Gifts for...
By Ariel and Brianna
In which Ariel and Brianna gently nudge their families toward fantastic gift ideas for them. Ahem! Is the mom you are purchasing for a coffee lover or a jet-setter? Is she a mom married to the military or simply a multi-tasking mom who always needs a third hand? Chances are she falls into one of these categories. If so, we have ideas to jump-start your Mother's Day shopping! This post contains affiliate links. By using them you help keep Busy Nest News up and running. Thank you for your continued support!
Reading to Stay Connected
In which Brianna presents a couple of options for military families to stay connected by reading to their littles, even when they're away.
A great deployment strategy for a resilient family
Here at Busy Nest News, we love reading. It entertains us, challenges us, broadens our horizons, deepens our empathy for others, and it makes us smarter. So when we heard that other military families use reading to stay connected to each other during deployments, it seemed a natural and wonderful solution.
Some fortunate families can video chat daily during deployments. Since every day isn’t necessarily remarkable, frequent chats like that are a great opportunity to read books to littles or discuss books with the spouse or older kids back home. However, most of us aren’t in that position. If Monkey’s daddy was deployed right now, the very best he could manage would be an almost daily email, maybe. Worst communication situation would be a phone call once or twice a month. As a couple, we’ve experienced both scenarios. Monkey will not hang out on the phone long enough for her daddy to read her a story. But she would still miss having him read to her, as reading is already an integral part of our family’s routines. Fortunately, I know of some resources to bridge the gap between technologically deprived service members and the littles who love them.
Wherein Brianna introduces and reviews an app for organizing your whole family. This post contains affiliate links, which help keep Busy Nest News going. Thanks for your continued support!
It’s been a little while since I’ve brought you some helpful tech, dear readers, but my review of Glow is still quite popular, so I know app reviews can be filed under Things The People Want. Any time I encounter a problem, I immediately start looking for solutions. If one is not readily available, I stew on it for a long time. Example: I'll look at a disorganized bookshelf or another problem area in my home every day, and work on the problem in the back of my mind until one morning in the shower (obviously it's in the shower) the perfect plan falls into place. So when I tell you that Cozi is the closest thing to a perfect calendar app we have right now, I need you to understand on what a profound level I am enjoying this app. With that in mind, it will take quite a bit of effort to only hit the high points in this review without getting into the weeds of Cozi’s deeper features.
The primary function of Cozi is an incredible calendar, designed with busy families in mind. Each family member has their own username, but the whole family shares one password. You can add accounts for members who do not have email addresses, such as young children and pets(!). All accounts are color coded for extra ease of use. With the basic version of Cozi, you can set one reminder for each event in your calendar. An example of how we use this feature is I have Cozi text my husband a reminder that our anniversary is approaching two weeks in advance. You can set your one reminder to text, email, or send a push notification anywhere from zero minutes to two weeks before the events you schedule.
In which Brianna reviews her daughter's art easel. No affiliate links this time, but we thank you for your support all the same. Enjoy!
Crayola Magnetic-Double Sided Artist Easel
Monkey loves to draw. She will attempt to draw with any implement she can get her hands on. And she will do this drawing on the first flat surface she comes across. Far too often the first surface she finds is a wall. We rent right now, and for some reason the places we rent come painted with entirely flat paint. This is not a semi-gloss, or a wipeable matte. No, flat and absorbent is what we’re working with. Nothing washes off these walls. Just, nothing. So we were pretty thrilled when Monkey was gifted a Crayola easel this past Christmas.
The Magnetic Double Sided Artist Easel by Crayola has a beautiful teal frame. So many kids’ easels come in garish shades of primary colors, but everyone in our family enjoys this bright blue shade, so that’s pretty neat. One side of the easel is a white dry-erase board, and the other is a black chalkboard. Both sides have a yellow clip at the top, for holding a paper in place for other art endeavors. The way the legs are positioned, you can only use one side at a time. Setup of the easel was fairly simple, but I don’t think we could say it was easy. It took some force to snap all the pieces in place to construct the base. There were no screws, pegs, tacks, Allen wrenches or other hardware involved, though, so that is definitely a big plus!
In which Ariel reviews how she mixed and matched accessories from the Pura Kiki to transition from a infant bottle to a toddler sippy cup. She tried them all! This post contains affiliate links to her favorite bottles and accessories.
Pura Kiki Infant Bottle 5 oz. & Vacuum Insulated Bottle 9 oz.
We have been using the Pura cups since Bean was about a 10 months and I am still just as in love with them now as they day I bought them. But mine isn’t the only opinion that matters – Bean is the one who uses them. Does she love them? Who knows, she is a toddler.
App Review: Endless Alphabet
In which Brianna describes an app that has captivated and educated her daughter. This article contains both affiliate and non-affiliate links.
Endless Alphabet by Orginiator
There are loads of apps and games out there for kids. A lot of them are…not great. At best, they’re mindless and repetitive. At worst they can be harmful. There are dress-up games with questionable story lines and bizarre let-the-toddler-perform-a-c-section games. Then there are the ads for things that have nothing to do with the game you’re in. We don’t let Monkey play endlessly with her tablet, but it does have its uses, especially for long car rides. To avoid all the pitfalls mentioned above, I’ve carefully curated a collection of games and apps for Monkey’s tablet. This is about one of her favorites, Endless Alphabet.
We've found board games for kids under three! Are they any fun? Can littles really follow the instructions and have a good time? Read on to learn Brianna and Monkey's experience with one of these introductory games. This post contains affiliate links. If you use one of these links to buy the game, we get paid, and that helps keep Busy Nest News running. Thanks!
Monkey Around game
We are a family of gamers. Monkey’s daddy grew up playing his friends’ GameBoys, and later sharing consoles with his siblings. While he was rescuing princesses, I was learning to play strategy games from around the world, restoring the brain of a mad scientist, and apprehending Carmen Sandiego (I vow that when I’m wealthy, I will pool my resources with others who grew up being called “Gumshoe,” and together we will give a new generation a chance to prove their smarts and win an Encyclopedia Britannica of their very own! Or, a Macintosh computer(?) whatever the contemporary equivalent is.)
Some of our greatest friendships were forged over tabletop battles. Gaming can be a fun, social activity, even for the naturally hermitty, like us. So we couldn’t wait to start playing games with Monkey. But all of our favorites are best enjoyed by someone over three or five. Even educational games are aimed at preschoolers, not two year olds. I figured we’d just have to resign ourselves to not playing any tabletop games with Monkey for a couple more years. Then, Monkey’s grandma came through with this delightful game that even a two year old can play.
Boon Bath Toys
In which Ariel delights in Boon's whimsical bath toys. This post contains affiliate links. By using them you help keep Busy Nest News up and running. Thank you for you support!
Boon's Jellies, Cogs and Pipes
Bean is an aquatic baby. She is happiest surrounded by water. Whether she is in the pool, the bath, the shower or even the occasional puddle – it doesn’t matter – she is in her element! So, here in the Bean household, we are serious about bath toys. Some of our favorites are made by Boon. Boon makes innovative and interesting products, but they excel when it comes to bath time fun! In particular, we love Boon’s Jellies, Cogs and Pipes.
Ariel and Brianna are friends who met while working in a library. Now they collaborate to develop life-enhancing book club experiences.
Let's keep in touch!