Archive for the 'Cute stuff that IS functional!' Category

Girls’ Bathing Suits That Don’t Suck

It’s 2 degrees today in the Chicago burbs, but there’s an overnighter at a water park on my family’s horizon. We cannot wait!

D needs a new swimsuit. I struggled with how to present the utter disappointment I felt searching for one online. I have to assume if you like my blog, you would agree it’s not OK clothing designers sell string bikinis, high-cut bottoms, halter tops and so forth FOR BABIES. But that’s what I kept seeing over and over again online. Grrr.

For people who are curious as to how real this issue is – thinking maybe I’m exaggerating – google-image search “toddler girl bathing suit.”

I take solace in the fact that many of you parents with girls have crossed this horrifying bridge before – probably at least once a year. It just doesn’t seem right.

Well, instead of focusing on my icky feelings, show you some shocking examples and proceed to rant (I think I’ve done enough of that), I’d wanted to create a resource for parents seeking baby and toddler girl swimsuits that are age-appropriate, closer to the middle on the gender spectrum, affordable and cute as hell. And I have to say, putting this together demonstrated to me, to my relief, that there so many good options  that fall under one or more of those categories, I had trouble narrowing them down. Focusing on the good!

 Here we go:

One Piece 


One Piece with Sarong 


Two Piece/Tankini


Suit with Rashguard


Suit with Swim Brief



Rockin’ Gift Guide Part 1: Ideas For Big Kids

For the first Rockin’ Gift Guide installment, we’re sharing some “sound investments” for the grownups on your list.

DIY Uke – (in stock 3/2012)

Tattoo MOM Ornament or DAD Mug –

"The Rockabillies" Book (on sale!) –

Punk Shirt ("Metal" also avail.) –

"Cool Bands" Gum –

Perosnalized Pick & Key Chain –

Jam Band Ornament Set –

Gig Posters Vol. 1 & 2 –

Flying V/Coffee Shirt –

Mix Tape Flask –

"You Weren't There" Ltd. Ed. LP/DVD –

Amp Mug –

Fun for All, CONSTRUCTOR-Style – Craftaholics, Cupcakes, Tunes and More!

The annual CONSTRUCTOR Craft Fair Saturday promises DIY goodness.

Saturday!!! Saturday!!! Saturday!!! Prepare to get CONSTRUCTOR-ated!

It’s the “bad-ass” 4th Annual CONSTRUCTOR Craft Fair, an all-ages, free admission gathering in beautiful Berwyn, Ill., with something for everyone – homemade goods, grub, music, booze and CUPCAKES!

Organizers Norah Utley,  Fly Bird’s Julia Nash and 45 like-minded crafters gather to share their wears and eats with fellow craftaholics. The first 50 folks who show up receive a free swag bag full of goodies. The event is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at FitzGerald’s Nightclub.

Find jewelry, soap, house wares, clothes and accessories, plushies, earth-friendly creations and baby goods made from crafters nationwide – plus food trucks  stocked with fresh, locally made yums, including everyone’s favorite – CUPCAKES! Check out the vendor list.

No fair is complete without some jams (would you expect any less from Utley, Ms. Shit Sandwich Records herself?). Show goers enjoy performances by Girls Rock! Chicago (GR!C) campers (Woot! Our April Charity of the Month!). Indoors, the grads of GR!C June DJ camp spinning records (on the very same stage graced by Elisabeth Shue in “Adventures in Babysitting,” as a matter of fact). The outdoor stage will feature performances by camper band C4 at 3:30 p.m., and GR!C solo superstar Alex Lund at 4 p.m. GR!C’s booth will be selling posters, drink coozies, tote bags and more! Don’t miss it!

Sound It Out: Children’s Music Reviews

Children’s music has come a LOOONG way. I won’t name names, but not too long ago, a singing purple dinosaur roamed the earth. Thankfully, times have changed and now our children have access to everything from beloved folk songs given the indie rock treatment to pop punk with a friendly message. I admit to head bobbing to the better kids’ music out there and I would without a doubt take my family to see these bands live. In that vein, Mommy’s Alright will regularly round up some of the best new children’s music via “Sound It Out” posts. Here’s what we’re jamming to now …

Frances England: “Mind of My Own” – It doesn’t hurt that Frances England is ADORABLE, but looks aside, her indie-folk ditties are additively upbeat and imaginative. She so channels Ani DiFranco in “Cookies & Milk” and I’m falling hard for her aquatic homage to “friend of the ocean” Jacques Cousteau.


The Boogers: “Let’s Go!” – It’s a no-brainer to combine the basic three-chord, two-minutes-or-fewer arrangements of punk legends The Ramones with the simplicity of children’s song lyrics. But in the wrong hands, it could be a complete disaster. Thankfully The Boogers came along and nailed it. With catchy pop punk tracks like “Let’s Go!” and “I’m Ridin’ My Bike,” The Boogers will definitely tide your tot over until he’s ready for the “Blitzkrieg Bop.”


Keller Williams: “Kids” – Twangy Keller Williams is another artist who really gets it: simple, folk music with lyrics that are catchy and memorable combined with some background vocals by kids equals children’s music gold. It doesn’t hurt that it’s completely tolerable to mom and dad from a few-minute ride to preschool to a road trip. And, um, “Mama Tooted” is cracking me up right now. “It was not me/It was not you … It was mama – mama tooted.” Ha ha!


Justin Roberts: “Jungle Gym” – With James Taylorish vocals and a super-catchy, jangly sound, Justin Roberts lives up to his hype. I’m really digging the horns in “Sleepoverland” and “Gym Class Parachute” was the story of my life in Mrs. Houlihan’s kindergarten class ca. 1983. Looked forward to that every single day.


Elizabeth Mitchell: “Sunny Day” – This album is a breath of fresh air because it features simple sing-along songs for all ages. I particularly dig the traditional American folk pieces (“This Little Light of Mine”) and  ethnic nursery rhymes (“Tsuki”). I also love that Elizabeth Mitchell’s husband Daniel Littleton and their daughter Storey make numerous cameos, giving it that real family-oriented feel without sounding corny or contrived.


Laurie Berkner Band: “Best Of” – Laurie Berkner Band super fans and newbies alike will want this disc. Between her playful songs about rocket ships, bumblebees and pigs, pretty harmonies and sing-along leanings, it’s no wonder her music is so well-loved. “Fast and Slow” is still my favorite with its jig-ability and changing tempos. You might have seen the uber-cute vid on Nick Jr.


DidiPop: “Goes to Hawaii” – What better place to draw inspiration for a children’s album than where the ukuleles riff in a tropical breeze, the ocean is at your doorstep and plumeria of every color seem to appear out of thin air? A word of caution, though: DidiPop “Goes to Hawaii” could end up being the most expensive album you ever buy your kids – no doubt they are going to want to see what all the fuss is about in the Aloha State.


Mommy’s Alright – Holiday 2010 Gift Guide!

Unique gifts for cool kiddies and their hip ‘rents (links below).

Click link to go directly to the product:

Lunch Punch Packs a Lunchtime Punch

I admit, before I had Ollz, I used to think parents who trimmed the crust from their kids’ PB&Js were a bunch of milquetoasts (pun alert!). Consider me enlightened. Lunch Punch sandwich cutters available at Spoon Sisters make mealtime an adventure (the good kind). The set we have includes shapes of Ollz’s favorite things in life: cars, trucks, trains and planes (natch!). For the little divas, there’s a princess set – fab!

So what did my lil luncher think? Judging by his mouthful of cheese sammy, I’d say he was pretty much lovin’ it. Trains being his favorite, we tried that cutter first, which included an engine and caboose. When he wasn’t chew-chewing, he was “choo-choo”ing (that’s what he’s doing in the bottom left pic, BTW). I haven’t seen him this enthusiastic about mealtime in a long time, so I’d definitely recommend these cutters to not only crust critics, but any parent looking to make noshes a little nicer fun for everyone!

Cool Stuff for the Kid Who Has Everything

I can’t think of a single thing my 21-month-old needs (well, except for some diapers – I have about four left. It’s noted on a Post-It somewhere at the bottom of my purse).

He has toys in his closet form last Christmas and his January birthday earlier this year that haven’t even been opened yet. He’s been sick for the past few days, so I tried cheering him up by breaking open Mr. Potato Head he got for his birthday, but I think he was a little freaked out and feeling too icky to appreciate this classic spud’s fun extremities and accessories.

My mother-in-law took us on a Kohl’s shopping extravaganza in August (she had mad coupons and they were having a crazy-awesome sale), so he has clothes to last him well into next fall.

So what do you get a kid who has – not to sound cliche – but everything?!

Oh, don’t worry. If you’re in the same boat, I’ve got you covered!

Wish list collage for Ollie. Amature design by me.


  • Michael Ian Black books. I follow comedian MIB on Twitter – he’s seriously demented and hilarious – my two favorite characteristics in a person. Even better, he’s a children’s book author with three titles: “Chicken Cheeks”, “The Purple Kangaroo” and “A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea.” Who knew? Do you have a favorite actor or comedian who also writes children’s books?
  • Any book with Oliver in the title. “Oliver” (by Syd Hoff), “Oliver Finds His Way” and “Oliver Who Would Not Sleep ” – they are all different books by different authors. One character is an elephant, one is a bear and one is a boy. I’m sure there are more! I already have a book about Oliver the owl, so these titles would help round out the Oliver collection. See if there are books named after your little one – or make your own!
  • Jumping Beans Li’l Sierra Sandals. A boy my son goes to daycare with wore these all summer and I finally asked his mom where she got them. I searched and searched the Kohl’s site and elsewhere and could neither find them or something similar (that’s what you get for waiting all season). Thankfully, I stumbled back across my Kohl’s bookmark the other day and they came up as available – and on sale! Can’t beat it. I’m buying two pairs!
  • Potty Chair. Wow, potty chairs have come a LONG way with a spectrum of prices, colors and themes. There’s actually a princess chair that looks like a throne with a picture frame on the back of the seat. Really?! I’m going to have to investigate this a little more, but the simple white BabyBjorn chair at $30 seems reasonable. What do you think? Who much did you/would you spend on a training toilet?
  • Weebles! My sisters and I loved Weebles when we were little. My family always jokes around about how upon seeing them when she was little, my oldest sister quipped “No hands, no feet!” It’s nice to see a new generation has the opportunity to wobble Weebles. Do you remember these tiny egg-shaped dudes?
  • Racetrack. I’m sure any brand and style would do. My kid loves his race cars, monster trucks, dump trucks and excavators. I think it’s time he gets to race them.
  • Bead Maze. My son sat and played with his cousin’s bead maze for probably a half hour straight at a recent family gathering (read: a half hour I could sit on my duff not chasing him around!). Circo (Target) makes a nice one for $16. Is there one toy that totally captures your kid’s attention?


  • Evgie ABCs. I’ve featured these before in my blog. I just think they’re kind of adorbs. I bought foam rubber bath time ABCs and 123s from Target that ran me about $6 and Ollie LUH-oves them. But I still can’t get these handmade softies out of my head. Actually, I adore everything on Evgie’s site. Go Canadian crafters!
  • Ryan Heshka’s “ABC Spookshow (book). The eerie, pop-art illustrations are right up our alleys. Hope Ollie can appreciate them someday. Do you think the art is too gory for children?
  • The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey. “A is for Amy who fell down the stairs. B is for Basil assaulted by bears. C is for Clara who wasted away. D is for Desmond thrown out of a sleigh.” What’s not to love, right? Or am I totally twisted?!

Can you think of anything else a toddler boy absolutely needs (or would at least love to have)?!

Enter your email addy to subscribe.

Join 21 other followers

Bettie Page Kids Clothing

140-Character Musings