Category / For the Kiddos

gift ideas for the garbage / recycling truck enthusiast

garbage truck gift ideas | 29thanddelight.com

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If I’ve learned one thing since becoming a mama (to a garbage truck OBSESSED little boy), it’s that there’s a whole subculture of boys — and girls — like mine, who LIVE for garbage day. The garbage truck topic is a super specific one — there’s no Pixar movie or TV show about them, and there are far fewer books (the closest we can usually come are zillions of books about construction vehicles), and you know finding cute clothes or home decor items about, well, trash essentially — is a hurdle.

But if you have a garbage enthusiast in your world, you know they happy dance each week on trash day, you know they can hear the unique rumble of their stop-and-start brakes a mile away, and that they will find any excuse to throw something in the trash and dump it out. I never thought I’d add garbage truck expert to my resume, but here we are, and I feel compelled to share the best of what we’ve found (and loved) for anyone else looking to gift something to a future Waste Management worker. 😉

  1. Melissa & Doug recycling truck — this was Crew’s very first truck and it is STILL a favorite. In general, I find that even with all the bells and whistles some of these have, he prefers to make his own sound effects, and manually fill and dump the receptacles. A LITTLE frustrating for younger (under 2) to get the trash can on the levers just right, but with time, he figured it out.
  2. Dickie Toys garbage truck — this is probably the very favorite of Crew’s entire fleet. Rather large, but still quiet, this one has a simple one-touch button to raise and lower a dumpster into the top of the truck. The dumpster slides open as it dumps and any number of small toys/trash can fit inside. ENDLESS HOURS of entertainment from this one, and it’s still ticking after months of (daily) rough play.
  3. Garbage Truck pajamas — it’s tough, like I said, to make something with garbage trucks particularly cute, but these fit the bill. I do think they shrink but the price is right and they’re soft. I’ve since bought them again in the next size up.
  4. I Am a Garbage Truck — We literally wore out our copy of this, and while a super short/simple read, it teaches the difference between trash and recycling. Added bonus that the book is shaped like the truck.
  5. Trashy Town — I can’t say it’s on my top ten list of kids’ books across the board, but as far as this subject, it’s a cute read with cool illustrations and introduces us to Mr. Gilly, the garbage truck driver. We have since added a truck to our entourage that came with a driver, and of course, he is referred to as Mr. Gilly. There are only a handful of garbage truck books out there (we’ve purchased them all) and many of them stink (pun intended), so if you want a book on the subject, this would be my go-to title.
  6. VTech Go Go Smart Wheels garbage truck — I had to search a bit to find this particular vehicle, but it was worth it for as much as it’s been played with. Crew was a superfan of the VTech parking garage from day one his first Christmas, and we still rotate it in and out of play as he’s since learned to build tracks and play with it on a new level. He would have loved this little truck all on its own, but it’s especially a must-have if your kiddo has any of the Smart Wheels sets.
  7. Pottery Barn Kids recycling truck (currently on sale!) — Like I said, many of the trucks that get played with the most (and have also LASTED the longest) are the simplest ones, without all the buttons and batteries. The fact that there are “guys” that fit these trucks was a big deal for Crew, and the simple dumping truckbed can hold quite a bit.
  8. Garbage truck puzzle — While he needs help to build the puzzle (“it’s almost a garbage truck! we’re doing it!”) it’s a bonus that the truck itself Velcro opens and closes to hold the pieces, and the wheels actually roll.
  9. Play Doh garbage truck — This is one we don’t have but it’s on my list for future reference. Crew loves Play Doh but still needs something to DO with it — cookie cutters, plastic scissors, etc. This would be a fun addition to our Play Doh bin.
  10. Little Tikes Rey Recycler — I didn’t see this one until Crew was too old for it, although it still catches his eye when we see it at the store! For the littlest garbage fan, (or to keep a younger sibling out of an older one’s collection), this is a great starter truck!

And of course, if you want to see how we brought the garbage theme into Crew’s room decor, check out that post here!

toddler bookworm: a 12-24 months reading list

Toddlers Reading List | 29thanddelight.com

Crew is ALL about the books, and has been for some time. Fortunately for us, he’s moving from some of the touch and feel books with no words, to some with a BIT more plot. Of course we have the classics in rotation — Goodnight Moon, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and others — but I’ve discovered so many new favorites in recent months and always love to share hit titles with other parents and caregivers. It’s fun to think ahead to reading some of the more elaborate, classic stories I remember reading as a child, but for now I’m enjoying a toddler in my lap, asking to read these simple but sweet titles over and over…(and over).

Toddlers Reading List | www.29thanddelight.com

Noisy Trucks A title we discovered at our library, I admittedly am a fan of this one because, while there is some verbiage to read on each page, it can also be self-guided. Crew seems to like real-life photos of things he recognizes, as opposed to illustrations, so this book delivers. Each page includes textures like the bumpy tire or the rough ridgy grill. And of course, there is a button on each page with realistic sound bytes of the various vehicles’ noises, along with a re-cap at the end.

Alphabet Crew received this for his first birthday and it takes interactive to a new level! There are things to scratch, sniff, push, pull, and all while learning the ABCs (and tons of animals that Page and I had never heard of — so I guess we’re learning, too?!)

Goodnight Gorilla I have fond memories of reading this to the kids I used to nanny, so it was an immediate add to our baby registry. This story combines simple text with illustration-only pages that allow you to ad-lib what is happening as the pages turn. We read this any time of day, but it’s a particular hit at bedtime.

LittleBlueTruck

Little Blue Truck We were gifted this book at a shower, and thank goodness! I’ve since learned this title is basically an institution with little boys (and girls!). I like the underlying message of helping out friends, and there is lots of repetition around animal noises. We have since accumulated Little Blue Truck Leads the Way and Little Blue Truck’s Christmas (the lights at the end are a big hit!), with plans to pick up the newest release, Little Blue Truck’s Halloween. (PS, if you have a die-hard Blue Truck fan on your hands, you have to check out these pajamas – they are on Crew’s Christmas list!)

All Aboard New York We’ve had a couple of these books, but the New York is both my favorite and Crew’s. The colorful, bright illustrations are delightful and even at only a few months old, Crew would study them in detail. As the adult it’s fun to see the whimsical portrayals of famous landmarks in a favorite city.

Dear Zoo This sweet lift-a-flap book is small and easy to travel with, and great for learning animal sounds.

MaggiesBall

Maggie’s Ball I had never heard of this book until the librarian read it at Book Babies one morning. Obsessed with both balls and dogs at the time, Crew was instantly entranced. I bought a copy for our house, and got out a sleeve of tennis balls to play with while reading (Maggie’s ball is a tennis ball). This book continues to be a favorite nearly a year later.

Red Truck A perfect length book for this age group’s attention span. Red Truck comes to the (very dramatic!) rescue of a stuck school bus. Loved this for learning the color red (and yellow for the bus!). We point out red trucks all around town as a result of this title.

MachinesAtWork

Machines At Work This book was one of my brother’s favorites as a little boy, and my mom lent his copy to Crew. I love the simple three or four-word phrases on each spread, accompanied by colorful, bold illustrations. Great for learning action verbs like “dig”, “build”, and “knock down”!

Down By the Station We are on our second copy of this book, after the first one was gifted to us at a baby shower, and well-loved by a certain someone who’s still learning to not rip paper pages (I do wish this came in a board book!). Crew loves the different scenes (airport, train station, etc) and pointing out each page’s vehicles “all in a row”. (Bonus points if you SING the story!)

TheWatermelonSeed

The Watermelon Seed At a time when it is ALL about the truck books (I think we have nearly a dozen in rotation!) I was anxious for a book about ANYTHING else. It seemed appropriate for summer to add this read to our collection and it has not disappointed. Super bright colors, a dramatic crocodile, and a good dose of burping make this a much-requested read in our house.

Hi! A great title for short attention spans, this book is a fast page-turner, with simple one-word, rhyming, animal sounds on each page. The animals all look to the little boy at the end to hear what HE says, and it was these final two pages I credit heavily with teaching Crew “hi” and “bye”. He enjoyed this book early on before he could repeat back animal sounds, but now that he can, he seems to love it all over again.

What’s on your little one’s reading list???

Toddlers Reading List | 29thanddelight.com

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a baby’s / toddler’s Easter basket

Easter Basket for Baby | 29thanddelight.com

While his first Easter (at three months) was fun (the bunny brought him pacifiers and a bib we still use every day!), this year has been WAY more fun to plan for, as Crew is starting to really react to things and we know what types of things get him especially excited. What a difference a year makes…the contents of this year’s basket crunch, light up, makes sounds, and more. #bigboybasket

It seems the blogosphere has all kinds of ideas for Easter (and Valentines for that matter) that are aimed at girls…so I thought I’d share what I’m pulling together for my car-loving, ball-throwing, cause-and-effect obsessed 14-month-old boy.

Easter Basket for Baby | 29thanddelight.com

  • I ended up going with some other items instead, but I still love this little bunny nightlight. It would be so sweet to put in his room during the countdown to Easter each year!
  • The bunny theme continues with some new Kickee Pants jammies (similar) (the softest you will ever buy!). He’s wearing these already, and of course I’ll be snapping some Easter morning pics in them. This particular style came out last year, but they are still available on Amazon.
  • After reading a rave review by another blogger, I ordered Marco for the bath (get it? Marco Polo!). He bobs up and down in the water and his light turns colors when he’s above versus underwater. Crew LOVES things that light up, and at swim lessons, he is working on identifying what is above/below water and bobbing for toys, so this seemed appropriate. Plus I love, love, love anything Boon makes.
  • I have a book wish list a mile long for Crew, but have been saving this title for Easter. Every parent I’ve talked to has a rave review on this book! Some other titles that would be great for a basket include Pat the Bunny, The Runaway Bunny, or Easter Bugs.
  • Crew got the VTech garage for Christmas and a couple of the vehicles for his birthday. He plays with them every. single. day. so it was easy to justify another car for the collection.  (Page made fun of me that of all the choices, I got the van — womp womp, but truthfully, it was one of the cheapest, Crew doesn’t care, and Mama wanted those bunny jammies!)
  • I might put some jelly beans in an egg and see if he’ll taste them, otherwise his eggs will be filled with the pastel-colored goldfish, mini marshmallows, some white cheddar bunnies and vanilla and cocoa bunnies. I’m guessing even before they’re opened, he’ll love holding and shaking those eggs. They’re nearly balls, after all — one of his favorite things!
  • Last year, I ordered Crew’s basket from Pottery Barn Kids (pictured above). I love the quality of their baskets, and I’m a sucker for anything I can monogram!

It seems everywhere I turn, I see something else I can either justify adding to the basket, or I have to talk myself out of! Just this morning I was in Walgreens and spotted a squishy yellow “chick” shaped ball that lights up and was a fun/new texture to hold, as well as jars of bubbles shaped to look like the “Peeps” bunnies. Must. Stop. Shopping. His basket runneth over. 🙂

I ended up with a couple other add-ins not pictured including a mega-refill bottle of bubbles, a carrot-themed pouch of baby food (he still loves these, especially when a tooth is coming in!), a bouncy ball that lights up, and a little watering can, shovel, and spade from the dollar spot. Bring on the warm weather toys and spring. We can’t wait to get outside!

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our favorite baby gear

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There are about a million too many products on the baby gear market, so narrowing down choices is SUPER hard. It goes a long way for me if I’ve heard first-hand that something is particularly awesome, holds up, washes well, etc. On a nearly daily basis I come into contact with something that I think “ahh, I’m so glad we decided to buy/register for this”. (There are also those items you thought you’d need and are still in the packaging…sigh.) But in an attempt to focus on the former, I give you our “must list”, nine months into this baby gig!

  1. All the swaddle blankets. I thought people were crazy when I was told to register for 8-12 of these. Seriously? Seriously. Crew was a winter baby, so he was constantly bundled in one of these lightweight layers over his outfit, as well as at night. I worried for the investment that the short swaddle stage would be over and we’d have to pack them away, but as it became safe to put him down with a blanket, I felt better knowing these were “breathable”, and he’s become attached to them. He loves to snuggle with one of these at bedtime, nine months later. They also weigh nothing and can wad up pretty small, so they’re fantastic for travel — we’ve thrown them on an airport terminal floor for layover playtime, covered a sleeping baby from glaring sun while we moved him in or out of the car, used them as impromptu changing pads in a pinch, and for countless other nose-wipes, spit-up dabs, and other events you just can’t always plan for and reach for the nearest piece of fabric. 🙂 Aden swaddles are very popular but my favorites were more unusual designs from some newer brands like Lulujo, Coveted Things, and Addison Belle (whose stock hits Amazon exclusively the end of this month). All three are SUPER soft (and get even softer with each wash!).AddisonBelleFOX05
  2. Munchkin Loft baby gates. I was a little taken aback at the price tag, but for something we use daily and provides safety for our child, (and okay…they LOOK good in our house, which was important!) I love that these babies just kind of blend in, don’t scream “baby on board!”. They open/close smoothly, and don’t have the frame across the floor for people to trip on (so annoying!). They also have a quick release feature, so you can take the whole gate off the supports at a moment’s notice — fantastic if you have people over and don’t want them to have to keep maneuvering around all your baby-proofing.
  3. Boon highchair. Another item that we use daily and the ease-of-use factors just make everything a little bit easier when it comes to mealtime. I love that the tray cover pops off to rinse or run through the dishwasher, the whole chair glides around the room if we need it to, the height adjusts should we want him to sit at the counter while we prep, or at the table while we eat, and the style again (ours is grey with green insert) just BLENDS with the house a bit more – no obnoxious baby colors or designs to bum me out.11056629_10103242907609099_132718121208992064_n
  4. The Jolly Jumper. All the credit goes to Page on this one — after my request that a jumper not be “ugly and babyish” (do you see the theme here??), he found this gem that is not only unobtrusive to look at, but folds away flat to stash as needed. And of course the most important part…Crew lost. his. mind. bouncing away!jollyjumper
  5. The Boppy Lounger. If I could, I would go back in time and put this one on my baby registry. We ended up borrowing ours from a friend when Crew hit about three months, and used it daily until he was comfortably sitting on his own. This “dog pillow” as Page refers to it (ha!) is the perfect landing spot for a babe who wants to sit just a bit more upright and see what’s going on – and it’s lightweight and easy to move from one spot to another, as opposed to something larger like a swing or cradle.
  6. Sophie. I didn’t get why a teething toy needed to cost more than twenty dollars…until I saw this thing in action. It was one of the first toys Crew could really get a hold of and maneuver. It’s still one of his favorite things to gnaw on as he works on each new tooth!
  7. Dohm sound machine. A key ingredient to Crew’s sleep was white noise, but as we quickly learned, most devices that provide this turn off after 30 minutes or so. Which would be fine…except that the sudden lack of sound would wake him up. We’ve plugged this machine in on the floor under his crib and it runs all night. The switch is easy to hit with your toe, so if your hands are full with a drowsy baby, no need to bend over and fumble around for the on/off button.
  8. Ktan wrap. Yes. Yes. Yes. At so many points this thing came to my rescue. I admittedly didn’t even get it out until Crew was nearly a month old, after hearing from other mom friends that you need to acclimate babies to wraps early, otherwise they don’t like them. (Not sure if that’s true, but I followed the advice!) When Crew hit his hold-me-all-the-time phase from about week 4 to week 6, this was the ONLY way to keep him calm as we moved to our new house, and just went through daily life in general. As he was able to hold his head on his own, we tried a couple other positions but ultimately didn’t start using it heavily again until he could face out (his favorite) at which point it was awesome for running errands in which we didn’t need to haul a stroller around, or when I wasn’t up for lugging his carseat with us.

  9. NoseFrida Snot Sucker Yes, I was horrified, too, until I saw it in action and the relief Crew felt during his first cold. Have a drink if you need to beforehand, but this sucker (literally) is the bomb when your babe is under the weather.
  10. Natursutten pacifier. I wish they were a bit cooler looking, but this was the pacifier that won out in the long haul for the Crew-man. He began with a wubbanub animal and the newborn stage soothie pacifier that came with it. But as that got too small, he wasn’t interested in the same pacifier next size up, but still wanted something to suck when he fell asleep. This little wonder showed up in a Blum box one month so I offered it to our mini man and the rest is history.

Always curious to hear what others just couldn’t live without! I’m sure I missed some things here!

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new mama essentials.

I share my list of essential items here for mamas-to-be (and those shopping for them!). Some items have to do with the actual recovery, some are about general survival those first days and weeks. (As a note, mamas recovering from c-sections may have some different items that are most helpful, I can only speak for Baby arriving the ol’ fashioned way.) They aren’t the most exciting or adorable things to buy (for yourself or to gift), but you’ll never love anything more than the below items (and the comfort and relief they bring you in those first days!).

Soothies. I think one of the top surprises of this whole having-a-baby gig was the two other arrivals that require sudden and constant attention…Oh. YOU know. They hurt (a LOT), they leak, and they have to be tended to as often as your new bundle of joy. I remember more about the misery related to boobs than to the delivery recovery — they were pretty comparable! So to kick off my list, add these to your cart. And put them in your fridge between uses. And buy an extra set so you never have to be without the cold relief between those first ten days or so of nursing for more than a few seconds. Ahhh.

Lanolin. The hospital sent me home with an impossibly tiny tube of this stuff, so I promptly ordered more when I got home. Turns out, the tiny tube lasted long enough, but one way or another, make sure you have some on hand. The soothies take the cake as far as comfort, but this stuff helps, too, and you’ll want all hands on deck for relief.

Hot/Cold therapy pack. YES. Just…YES. To think I paused for a sec before buying these because it was yet ANOTHER 15 bucks in my Amazon cart. Good god, just buy them and forget about it. I used them both hot and cold (and will likely use them again if needed when I wean off nursing in a few months). Buy them without pause. Regret nothing.

Witch hazel pads and Dermoplast. I wasn’t kidding about the “not adorable” list of things to buy. But if the hospital doesn’t send you home with extra of either, your spouse’s first mission in life is to get to the pharmacy for these, stat. But stock up on pads ahead of time – because the man should get to keep a little dignity, even if yours is completely gone by now.

New pajamas. There’s something about wearing something new that makes you feel better, and what better time than when everyone wants a picture of you and the new baby and you are a total hot mess. At the same time, don’t spend a fortune…there’s a chance these end up stained, and will be too big anyway in a couple weeks’ time. While the first 24 hours, I wanted nothing to do with changing out of my hospital gown (too. much. work!), by day 2 I was ready to feel a little more human, and new pajamas helped me feel as fresh as is possible after just pushing another human out of you.

Etsy bath sachets. Just a hot bath with a little baking soda was all my doctor said I needed, and you’ll be thrilled and relieved to just get that. But, if you want something a little prettier to gift (to someone else, or yourself), these are awesome, and safe for use during recovery.

Ginormous water mug. Someone could make a killing designing these to be half as cute as the chic sports bottles we buy for the gym, but alas, these are pretty boring. The hospital gave me one that was 20 oz. and I think I had ordered this 32 oz. one before we even went home. I couldn’t believe how much water I could chug those first several days – you are constantly dying of thirst. Less refills means less getting up or having to ask someone for more all the time. And more on-hand to begin with encourages you to drink more overall. Granted, I donated mine after a few weeks because I had this whole patient/recovery association with it – ha! – but in those first couple weeks, it was one of my most-used items.

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EOS lip balm — not delivery related, but they are not kidding when they say the hospital is dry… Page and I both found our lips were raw within a few hours of checking in until the first couple days back home. I piled this on during the stay and in the following days at home.

Stuff for the new dad…dads, too, went through the crazy delivery, even if as a bystander, and are also functioning on less sleep as well, and trying to take care of everyone and play director to the nurses, doctors, and well-wishers. It may not be delivery, but it’s a lot. The caretaker needs to be taken care of, eventually! I made a point of having a lot of Page’s favorite, fast, snacks stocked in our pantry for those first days home (pistachios, cheeze-its, vitamin water, etc) and lots and lots (and lots) of his favorite coffee. He also scored some new lounge clothes from both our moms to wear during the hospital stay and those first days at home. He also ordered some Ugg slippers in time to wear in the hospital – a great call on the cold tile floors during our January stay.

Meals and Snacks. Food in general. I didn’t have freezer (or garage, or even Iowa winter patio!) space to stock much in the way of pre-prepared meals, but I did make a batch of spaghetti sauce with ground turkey to quickly throw over some noodles, and some enchilada filling to roll up in tortillas some night. I was super grateful to have both when we ended up reheating them. We also had many ready-to-eat meals delivered by family and friends. It hadn’t occurred to me to “schedule” these out, but many of our friends asked for a preferred night to bring them by. This allowed us to not have to store much, just have dinner ready to go, hot, each evening. We are blessed with family and friends who are great in the kitchen – breakfast burritos and quiche to maid rites and hearty soups – we were set for all meals of the day. Another idea? A gift certificate to a great Thai place that delivers. Just sayin. 🙂 Some friends of ours, knowing we had no room to stockpile food, gave us this instead of cooking, and it was one of the best meals we ate.

Some other favorites were the snackier things – you don’t always need a full meal, just something to munch at a 2am feeding. Energy bites, granola bars, and fresh fruit were all wonderful to receive. Whether it’s takeout or homemade, or just a bag of groceries, to have food arrive at your door and not have to think about what to get, is beyond heavenly.

Extra pillowcases. Pretty ones. About a week in for me, the night sweats – drenches – began. It’s miserable to get up in the night and your pillow is cold and wet. I bought a set of pillowcases that made me happy and added them to my daily laundry rotation of baby stuff and pajamas I inevitably sweat through, as well. Between the extras and the ones that matched our bedding, I always had a clean dry one on my nightstand to quickly swap out mid-night as needed.

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All of the under-eye products. All of them. I’m so glad I have pictures of Crew’s first days with me in them, but I also remembering the horror as I saw myself…dark circles and bags after laboring through the night and then having little sleep to catch up for days on end afterward. When you can’t get sleep, get the next best things. In the form of this (wear it under a little concealer), and this (dot it on OVER your concealer), and these. All worth it – I’m still using these weapons three months later because — spoiler alert — your nights are short and interrupted for quite a while.

A cleaning service. This makes a fabulous gift! I scheduled a deep clean of our home around the time Crew was about eight weeks. The idea of cleaning a whole house when I’d slept maybe a total of five hours a night (split up) for the past two months was just not on my list of things that were possible. I can always find room in the budget for this one, but especially post-babe. (But don’t schedule the first couple weeks home – you don’t want to bother with the whole “clean up so someone can clean” song and dance. Wait until you can get out for a couple hours of errands comfortably, then come home to clean-house-bliss.)

Anyone have others to add to this list? Leave them in the comments! I didn’t even touch on nursing tanks by the dozens and a Netflix subscription (both vital!). Hopefully this list helps a few others prep for those exhausting but awesome first days home doing little more than snuggling your new tiny family member!