Mama Monday: 12-15 month essentials

Lots of things have changed since Larkyn turned one, and I have found a small group of things to be lifesavers in the past few months. Hope they are helpful to you, and please share if you have more to add.

Hats with velcro straps
Last summer, I could put anything on her head and she would leave it alone. This year, she wants nothing to do with headbands or hats. But once I strap one of these on, she forgets about it and her little blonde head is safe from the sun.
This one is from last year's Gymboree summer collection. But we have 2 Circo ones from Target that are great, too.

Take & Toss bowls with lids
I did not register for anything like this because I was a little overwhelmed by products I'd need in the future. And I hated the un-green idea of "take and toss". However, they are recyclable, well-priced, and the perfect size for her finger foods.
Take and Toss bowls with lids: 4.00 at Walgreens

Take & Toss spoons/forks
Long handled spoons were fine for me to hold when feeding her. Now that she is feeding herself, I have found that the smaller the handle, the easier it is for her to use.
Take and Toss spoons and forks set: 2.99 at Target

Secret snack mix
Whenever we go someplace where she will be confined to the stroller and not engaged (Loft, Gymboree, Macy's...maybe she is trying to save me money?), I pack a cup of this magical mixture:
She likes the Super Greens puffs and Strawberry melts best, but I change up the flavors each time.

It is so important to have soft-sold and flexible shoes at this age, but I also enjoy a little style as well. I tend to have mental meltdowns when Larkyn's clothes/shoes get stained, and these shoes solved the problem for the summer. Crocs just wipe off, and Keens can go in the washer! Be careful when you choose your Crocs. I got some "infant" ones at Buy Buy Baby (they were definitely Croc brand) but they are so unflexible that she could only wear them for a month. The Candace Crocs have a flexible band that is much easier to put on and should last her much longer.
Raya Lilac Sachet Keens: $40 at Nordstrom. Candace Crocs: $20 on

Library card and zoo pass 
This summer, we have had a lot of free entertainment at the library by going to the baby lap times, checking out DVDs (which were kind of a dud, but whatever), and checking out books. I want my girl to be a reader and she loves books, but there's only so much space in our "quaint" home. It's nice to be able to load them in the bag and take them back!

The zoo pass could also count as free entertainment because Matt's mom bought it for Larkyn's birthday. I have probably mentioned how amazing our zoo is, and she is happy to just go and people watch if nothing else. Every time we go, we see something new, and it is nice to be able to bring up to 2 guests.
My favorite guys at the zoo.

Playtex straw cups
We cut out the beloved bottle by her first birthday, and luckily it was not a problem for us. I'm not going to say they are without fault (liquid comes up out of the straw if you leave it sitting for a few minutes). But, these cups are inexpensive, and like the Take & Toss stuff, I have been able to pick them up at drug stores and grocery stores rather than making a trip to you-know-where.
Cheers! Playtex Lil Gripper straw trainer: 5.99 anywhere

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