11/4/20

How To Choose The Perfect Baby Monitor


Eight years ago, I bought my first baby monitor. It was a heavy little black and white TV thing that sat on my nightstand with a clunky walkie-talkie that let me move around the house and still be able to hear my little guy but not see him. That's right, less than ten years ago, baby monitors were total crap. Heavy, colorless, one function, bad reception, crap. 

Today, baby monitors have so many functions, it's mind-blowing, and so is the price for some. It's safe to say, over the years, I've reviewed loads of baby monitors. I've watched the baby monitor market evolve from clunky boxes to hundreds of brands offering monitors with so many bells and whistles, it can be intimidating. So how do you choose the right monitor in the sea of four-hundred choices of brands and functions? You make sure you get WHAT YOU NEED. I get it, it's hard to ignore the crazy bells and whistles, but don't lose sight of the most important thing, your child's safety and your sanity.  Here's how to choose the best baby monitor to get the most bang for your buck.

Smartphone Enabled Baby Monitors are a Thing

A few years ago, I was given a monitor to review that boasted having the longest range of any baby monitor, 1500 feet. It was a major advancement in the market, a monitor that allowed you to garden in the backyard and still be able to see and hear your napping baby from a handheld device. 

Today, there are baby monitors that allow you to be anywhere in the world and still see your baby. GET ONE OF THESE! These monitors connect to your smartphone instead of a handheld device you keep tethered to your body, in addition to your phone.  You can keep an eye on your prized possession from anywhere. No more wondering how your baby is doing while your away or with the babysitter... And here's the best part, and why this feature should be at the top of your list, you can use the camera as a security camera too- Point the camera at your front door when no one is home and instantly get an alert when there's movement or sound. How's that for the gift that keeps on giving?



High-quality Camera Images Day + Night

Just because your smartphone offers high-quality images doesn't mean the monitor will. You want a camera that offers wide-angle 1080p HD with full range of motion, offering crystal clear images day and night! Many monitors will say they have HD video, but only offer a small slice of the baby's room or crappy night vision. Your baby monitor should allow you to see the whole picture beautifully, even when you zoom in for a nighttime close-up




A Microphone With All the Bells and Whistles. Literally.

The only feature as important as camera quality is microphone quality. Some monitors fail when it comes to microphone placement. Make sure this is a feature you check out thoroughly before purchase. Depending on microphone placement, the sound can be muffled. I LOVE Invidyo's external microphone. I've never seen it before on a baby monitor, and it's about damn time! The microphone extends out from the camera. This means your voice sounds perfect, and so do the lullabies. WHICH, Lullabies on the monitor are EVERYTHING YOU NEED! Even my ancient monitor had lullabies and it was terrific! I could start and stop the songs without going into my baby's room and risk waking the little guy. 






What Do YOU Need?

As I mentioned above, the three most important features of a baby monitor are the ability to use your smartphone instead of an external handheld device that stops working when you leave the house, high-quality HD vision and static-free clean sound. 

Now's where things can get interesting and confusing. 

Today, there are so many extra features offered with smart baby monitors you have to decide what is important to YOU?  


  • Artificial Intelligence Face Recognition
  •  
  • Familiar Faces notification and `stranger' alarm
  •  
  • Your child's end of day `Daily Summary Video'
  •  
  • Smart Auto Smile Detection and Photo Albums
  •  
  • 24/7 live video and smart event recording
  •   
  • Room Temperature Detection
  •   
  • Instant Push Notifications during the day
  •  
  • Two-Way Audio and Lullabies

I cannot stress enough choosing a baby monitor that utilizes your smartphone. There is absolutely no reason you should have to keep up with a handheld monitor and your phone... There's an App for that!  

Plus, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of turning your baby monitor into a home security camera when it's no longer needed in the nursery. I also love the idea of being able to buy two or three cameras for multiple rooms, all linked in the app. Imagine being able to call out the babysitter from dinner! #Winning. 


For more information about the baby monitor featured in this post ($149!!!!), head over to the Invidyo Website. (I won't make a penny if you purchase one. I just love it THAT much I used it to prove all of my points! It absolutely deserves to be the 2019 Best Baby Monitor winner. It should win 2020, too!)








10/17/20

Halloween Eats and Treats The Entire Family Will Love!

 

Thanks to Covid-19, this Halloween will be like nothing we have experienced. And most likely, not in a good way. I keep praying for torential rain so I can blame Mother Nature for ruining Halloween, not the pandemic. Still, we can't ignore Halloween. Our kids won't let us! So, in an effort to bring a little cheer to the holiday fear... below are some yummy Halloween eats and treats to make the day as special as possible...  And I'm not talking about hot dogs that look like fingers. Been there. Done that.







Halloween Tie-Die Bunt Cake






Super simple Cheese puff pumpkin bags. You can buy decorative bags at the grocery or dollar tree and fill them yourself. Cheap and easy!







Monster Marshmallow popsSo easy, the kids can make them...




Ear wax (caramel) marshmallows: SO gross and so easy to make!



Skeleton Cheese Skull





Spider PB&J! I love Healthy Halloween-inspired treats.


This Monster Meatloaf is so gross. I'm totally feeding it to my family.


Pumpkin drink cooler: GENIUS!


Coffin Bread Bowl: SO EASY!  No directions needed...


Homemade gummy worms: We make these a few times a year. Fun and easy!





What's your favorite? Have you ever tried any?

For more Halloween inspiration from costumes to decorations to more eats and treats, check out my Halloween Pinterest Boards.

10/15/20

PRO TIPS For HALLOWEEN Hair + Makeup For You And The Kiddos!

Whether you're going for super scary, super cute or super slutty, these Pro Tips For Party Perfect Halloween Hair + Makeup are super easy to pull off.



HALLOWEEN MAKEUP
These makeup ideas are so cool and so easy!


Use Fishnets as a stencil for perfect Mermaid Scales



For a closed, big mouth Cheshire Cat look, use your natural line as a guide. 



For an open mouth, use your upper lip line and chin as a guide!



For cartoon eyes, use white to draw a large outline under your lower lash, finish the look with fake eyelashes.



Use liquid eyeliner to make precise lines, that last! There are so many colors available today, the possibilities are endless.




For the crazy eye look, without wearing irritating contacts, incorporate design on eyelids. Hold closed for photos and shock factor.

Make sure the makeup you use is safe for little faces. Crappy makeup can end a Halloween before it starts.

Now that the basics are out of the way, here are a few tutorials that look complicated, but are so easy to recreate!

First: Double Vision



Oooohhhhh Cheetah! 





 A Skeleton perfect for boys and girls! 



Spoooooooky



Need a look that you can go from work to party, fast? 




HALLOWEEN HAIR
These Halloween hairstyles will scare, mystify and even melt a few hearts.




Create a ponytail, then wrap a mummy, spider, doll... you get the point.



Turn your child's hair into a spooky spiderweb



 Mmmmm Cupcakes! 



 Tie strips of tulle to a plastic headband for homemade Troll Hair! 





Don't forget the boys! 







10/14/20

PARENT PSA: 5 Halloween Costume Safety Hazards Parents Often Overlook


Whether you are making your little one's costume or buying it, below are 5 Halloween Costume Safety Hazards parents often overlook. Trust me, the last thing you want is a sh!tty Halloween!

1. Make sure the costume is weather appropriate. A frozen Princess is only a good thing for, Disney.  Dress your child appropriately, or face a wasted costume that is either ripped off for being too hot or covered with a blanket or coat. THINK: Avoid the Pretty Woman Hooker Costume in Alaska... Or always. 






2. Don't smother the kids with stifling masks. Make sure the mask is easily removed by your child, does not fit too snugly and allows for ease of breathing--through BOTH the mouth and nose. Babies and toddlers are crappy mask wearers. All they want to do is rip them off. Don't get your hopes up, and make sure the camera is ready the second you put the mask on or you might never get the photo! TIP: Hats are best secured with chin straps using velcro to hold the hat in place. The velcro will easily break away in an emergency situation.









3. Skip facepaint when possible. Facepaint is a recipe for disaster. Especially when put on around the eyes, nose, and mouth. All it takes is little sweat to make the paint run, opening the door to burning eyes and consumption. If facepaint is necessary, it should be free of all toxins. Young skin doesn't stand a chance against the harsh toxins found in cheap paint. Also, DO NOT use last year's paint. NOTE: Face and/or body paint on children under one is not recommended.



4. Make sure the fabric is not itchy or too rough. The itch factor can end a great costume's run in three seconds. Which, will end a happy Halloween. Which, will suck. COMFORT IS KEY!!! 

Think: This...




5. The costume should fit correctly, not too long or tight.  With the constant running, jumping and skipping your child will do in the costume, the costume needs to move easily with the child. Too long, and your child will trip. Too tight, and your child will be miserable trying to keep up with his friends. 

Avoid This:




BONUS TIP: Make sure the shoes your child wears are comfortable, or you will find yourself carrying your child in one arm and four pounds of candy in the other. 


What's your little sprout going to be for Halloween? Are you making a costume or buying one?