Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What makes things work...

Several years ago (pre-children, possibly), I discovered a website which many other parents have fallen just as much in love with as I have.  The site has great children's products that offer very little variety because everything is the *best rated* in its division.  In fact, many are created BY this company to improve on a "good idea" to make it a GREAT one.  I must admit... some of their products are just downright weird.  And I certainly think many are useless... but obviously someone else would disagree :)  SOMEONE had to put it there :).

The site?  OneStepAhead.com

No, this isn't a clumsy sales pitch or something that I'm getting rewarded for posting.  Quite honestly, it is my way of passing along something GOOD.

After all, today I got a much awaited package from them with some things that will make life much easier for us here at home.  I'm ALL ABOUT making a hard job easier.  I'm ALL about making a dirty job cleaner.  I'm all for saving time by doing something more efficiently.  And, I'm all for making things better for my kids.

So... here is a post of what I just ordered, simply to pass it along... as well as some of my other favorites from the last 7 years of parenting that can be found at this website (though many of the items I found other places...)

Today, I received a set of reusable swimming diapers.  I have one set, you see, which I ordered last summer. It had a set of 2 swimmy diapers for Lynae, Micah, Brianna, and Emma.  James also had some swimmy diapers last year, but he has outgrown them.  So... this year Lynae still has two that still fit well.  Micah now has ONE, and James has the other.  Brianna now has ONE and Wesley has the other.  Emma now has ONE and Aleksa now has the other.  Funny how that works, isn't it?  Today I received my second 'set' so that when someone *ahem* poops in the kiddie pool and all the swimmy diapers must be sent through the laundry... we can still go back in the pool the next day even if Mom hasn't done the laundry all the way through (of course, after cleaning out the pool too...).

Even better?  The basic swim diapers are on sale right now. $4.95 (regular price $10.95) YAY for sales.  (Free shipping on orders of $85 using the coupon code on the site too!).
Sun Smarties Basic Swim Diaper

I also ordered a necessity for Florida... and one that will make the necessity EASIER for me.  Each of our wheelchairs has a sun hood, but they are all different and bulky, and we don't leave them on all the time.  That means that when we go out in the weather if we haven't thought about it... we don't have it with us.  Our Valco baby stroller is the same way with the 3rd seat that sits in front.  We HAVE a hood, but it's not usually attached except for walks.

What makes life easier?  Two of these that fit in the car and can attach to any wheelchair or stroller, or even the toddler seat on the triple!  No need to keep switching hoods, and, best of all, they aren't expensive. The flexible arm and rotating hinge make them easy to redirect... even easier to adjust than a 'regular' canopy for the strollers or wheelchairs.

Even better?  They're also on sale.  ($9.95 on sale from $19.95)
Sun Smarties Parasol Clip On Sun Umbrella

We are very blessed to have just received a shower chair and a feeding seat from friends here locally whose son has outgrown the equipment.  It has made bath time SO much easier and more pleasant for Wesley to be able to have him in a seat rather than us killing our backs and him being uncomfortable as we attempted to hold him up and wash him and spray him and...  What a blessing to have the shower chair!

Along with the shower chair, another item we've used in our kids' bath tub for some time now is a 'second grip' for the flexible shower hose.  I'd actually recommend this for parents traveling to Ukraine that want a STAND UP shower too! :)  This quick suction (but trust me it holds WELL!) holder keeps the shower wand at a specific place rather than just at the top of the shower.  For me, it means that I don't have to step IN to the shower to put it away when bathing Wesley, and when we're washing the other kids in the tub, we can have it low and not have to keep standing (or letting it SWING!) when we're not using it.
This one's not on sale at the moment, but it is a reasonable price when it keeps our backs from breaking while bathing 7 kids! (one showers himself ;) ).  ($12.95 regular price)

Mommy's Helper Adjustable Shower Arm for Kids

After our most recent move from 3 cribs into TODDLER beds, we have a new issue which we haven't had in a while.  CHILDPROOFING!  Several things have had to be done to childproof our kids' bedrooms including installing a high shelf (a 2-cube unit) which now houses a CD player/radio, a baby monitor for the room, and a night light up above it.  The cube unit has a set of conduit to protect an extension cord that runs down to an outlet below, which is covered by a very handy outlet protector.  The outlet cover allows a plug to be plugged in and unable to be removed.  With our little ones, an exposed cord is VERY likely to be pulled on, and a power outlet is a very dangerous thing.

We did this a little while ago, so it wasn't part of our current order, but I wanted to share anyway.
Outlet Cover & Cord Shortener

The other child proofing thing that we DID just do, was to close up the closets.  We found that more so than the 'pinched finger' issues with bifold doors, that we also didn't want the kids IN TO everything that we've stored away in the closets!  These bifold door locks took 2 seconds to put on the door, are very discreet looking, and the simplest to use... but inaccessible by children!
They weren't overly inexpensive, but considering the lack of product available to do this sort of thing without having to reach the top of the door and turn knobs and do all kinds of 'weird' things... I was willing to pay it to have the peace of mind that my kids aren't unpacking all of the comforters and piling them on top of one another or getting in to bins of toys while they should be sleeping :) Each door lock is $7.95 and if there are two bifold doors (like most closets), then you will need two...

Bi-Fold Door Lock with Handle

Despite the ache that an order like this may put on the pocket book, I am so very glad to be able to find them all in one place!  OneStepAhead is always my first place to look when I'm looking for birthday or Christmas gifts, and my first place to look when searching for a hard to find item.  Plus, it's fun to browse the site and see what other people consider their "essentials"!  I always double check prices elsewhere and often get emails with % off and/or free shipping (tho the site usually has a code for free shipping over $85, the emails often have it for less!)
Some of the odd things... that are probably one someone else's "important" list??  *But not mine.. LOL*
Like this:
Baggy Rack Plastic Bag Holder (yes, it's a baggie holder-opener?)
and this...
Beach Flag ("just" a flag... for the beach...)

and this...
Glow In the Dark Kidswitch Light Switch Extension Handle (we are currently trying to teach our boys how to NOT touch the light switches... and they're the height of an average 2 1/2 year old, roughly (34" and 37")...)

And yet, some useful things like these that, over the last 7 years, we've been able to use with our kids.  Today we tucked our boys in to bed using one of these on each of two beds:
Stay-Put Inflatable Bed Rail Set
Which we'd purchased for travel but found they're very useful for Wesley to not "fall" between the mattress and rail, and for Micah to not roll out of bed!  http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=537078&parentCategoryId=85183&categoryId=85216

And this afternoon while playing outside we put this up, which is the only way I can really let my kids play in the driveway and give them a good visual boundary (and PHYSICAL boundary!) of where they are allowed to be.
Kidsafe Driveway Guard  http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=6794&parentCategoryId=85183&categoryId=85215

We have used this, while James was in a crib since he COULD climb out, but not safely...
Child Safety Cozy Crib Tent II Prevents Climbing  http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=309775&parentCategoryId=85183&categoryId=85216

We have these in several kitchen cabinets as well as all the bathrooms where anything that isn't safe for kids may be stored (and... our DVD cabinet!)
Tot-Lok Starter Set  http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=5785&parentCategoryId=85183&categoryId=85216

They carry our absolutely WONDERFUL, stroller (which we are so blessed to have received as a gift)
Tri-Mode Twin Stroller   http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=536454&parentCategoryId=85184&categoryId=117564
(but I don't see the toddler attachment listed which is the 3rd seat...)

The chairs that are adjustable to keep every child right at the table and not leave their feet dangling!  These were the kids' Christmas gifts last year on an excellent sale...!
Euro II Grow With Me Chair   http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=536833&parentCategoryId=85181&categoryId=85205

Something I leave in my car because McDonald's is only worthwhile if you don't have to change everyone's clothes after the juice box!
Juice Pal Insulated Juice Box Holder  http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=456756&parentCategoryId=85181&categoryId=85206
(Recently in the Target summer area (different design, same function) for $2!)

These are connected to both sides of our double/triple... and also are great to use for a child walking next to the stroller to have something to hold on to (when a cup isn't attached)!
SippyPal Straps Sippy Cup Tether (set of 2)   http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=536676&parentCategoryId=85181&categoryId=85206

Micah learned to eat using these, since they can be 'bent' and then unbent as he learned to turn the spoon himself.
Benders Adaptable Utensils  http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=534787&parentCategoryId=85181&categoryId=85206

And this, the ultra-space-saving, MANY use tent which is not only great for watching cartoons from on a rainy day, but has an inflatable mattress for use as a bed for traveling.  ESPECIALLY useful when said child likes to wander and isn't safe in a bed or playpen...  These are a lifesaver :)  Kristopher (typical son, 7 years old and fairly tall for his age) still likes to play in it and can sit in the center without touching as well as lay flat in it lengthwise.  Also good to use as a contained ball pit or clean spot at the park with no bugs able to access a little one.
PeaPod Plus Baby Travel Bed  http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=537379&cmSource=Search

So... there's my 'favorite things' post about OneStepAhead.com  I could probably do a similar one with Amazon, but really they have just about EVERYTHING there, it's just a matter of whether their prices are good on the item or not :)

Feel free to post links to other favorite places to shop or other great "innovative" child items that make your lives easier!


  1. I love One Step Ahead! I totally agree with you they have many things you can't find anywhere else and also many things I wouldn't ever feel that I really need! I really like their Sunsmarties line I bought some for my newborn a while ago.No need for sunscreen!
    I just had to tell you that the flag on the beach is a fantastic idea! When I first saw the picture I thought it was crazy but then I realized it was in case a child wandered away from the beach blanket and needed to get back! I spend a lot of time on the beach and have seen many children go missing.(they were all found). So I would say it's probably a fantastic idea!

  2. We also love One Step Ahead. I was considering the tent/bed, but it looked little, and I thought we would not use it much after travel. I think I might get one (or two...two new boys) and then offer to share them with others who are traveling. Or, I LOVE the idea of a totally enclosed ball pit! THanks for the info on Kristopher still fitting. It makes it all worthwhile.