Mommy Must Haves

All first-time moms put together a wish list, or at the very least a list of the items they think they will need when their precious little one arrives. But, think about it – how many of those items did you really use?

Twelve years ago, when I was baking my twin baby boys, there were not nearly as many “must-have” items as there are now. As a mom of seven, I saw the lists of needed baby items grow exponentially year after year.

There are baby wipe warmers and airtight diaper pails, baby food makers, activity gyms, white noise machines, and changing tables. But, back then, I used warm wash cloths, took the stinky diaper out to the garbage can in the garage, pureed steamed veggies in the blender, played with my baby boys on a blanket on the floor, turned on the fan at naptime, and changed diapers on the couch and bed.

There are, aside from the absolute bare essentials, a few things that I made sure I had when Timmy came along, just as I did when Ethan and Zach arrived almost nine years before — a bassinet (and later a pack’n’play), and a good sturdy stroller.

The bassinet sat in our living room and was a comfy place for the twins to sleep, right where we were. And, I had a big, bulky double stroller that I fought to fit in my trunk every.single.time we went anywhere. What I needed to do to fold that booger up… Oy! What I would have given for a Contours Options LT Tandem Stroller back when my twins were babies!

This fab stroller won the 2012 National Parenting Publications Award, joining an elite list of outstanding “must-have” products for parents!  Check it out —

What is on YOUR must-have list, and why? I’d love to know!

Just a note —
Contours was one of my Blogher sponsors last month. They made it possible for me to attend one of the biggest blogging conferences this year, all the way across the country. Thanks to Contours, Blogher attendees were given the chance to win one of five prizes from me – Bassinet (2 prizes), a Contours stroller, a $50 Amex GC, or a $100 Amex GC – and another ten from my fellow Contours Bloggers – Sarah and Jennifer. If I saw you at Blogher and handed you a Contours branded USB, make sure you check it for a special prize code. So far, only one of the five prizes have been claimed!

Out and About with the Inglesina Avio

I have seen, used, and owned a lot of strollers, first during my career as a babysitter and now as a mom. Some are slim and light. Others are big and bulky. And then, there are strollers that are hard to push and navigate through tight spaces, while others you can stroll with only one hand.

So many designs and options!

Well, when I was asked to review the Inglesina Avio, I jumped at the opportunity. First, because I was excited to have a new stroller for Timothy, but also because I was curious about why the Avio was getting such great reviews elsewhere.

Let me tell you, I was not disappointed. Everything I had heard about the Avio rang true. Here’s my take…


  • The Avio is very light and compact. We just recently had to add a jump seat to the rear  of our Yukon XL and are clean out of storage space in the back. The Avio fits nicely tucked just behind the front passenger seat. Sure, it takes up a seat, but it fits! And, when it’s not in use, it fits nicely in our coat closet.
  • The Avio is easy to maneuver. Most often do I just have one hand available. The turning radius of this stroller is amazing and it’s very easy to push along with only one hand.
  • The Avio has a wonderful one-hand fold feature. Many a time had I been stuck in a parking lot, all by myself – a screaming babe in one arm and a diaper bag hanging off my shoulder – with no way to fold up my stroller.  No such problem with the Avio!


  • Really, there is just one. The Price. At $499, the stroller is way out of my price range, BUT I would certainly recommend it if it’s in yours. You won’t be disappointed.

Avio strollers are available at Order now and you’ll get a free fast table chair with your order by entering promo code AVIOFAST at checkout.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Inglesina and received an Avio stroller to facilitate this review.

A Blissdom Stroll

When I first started hearing buzz about the surprises Christine had planned for the “Blissdom Babies”, I couldn’t help but be excited! While I don’t attend conferences for the swag — and you’ll never find me pushing or shoving to get extra stuff — it’s always fun to have the opportunity to try products that you don’t normally buy. And as a blogger, it’s reassuring to know that companies value our voices and want to get their products in front of us.

As if the teasers Christine threw out there when she asked for our babies’ ages and genders and when she mentioned Hershey’s chocolate weren’t enough, I could hardly contain my excitement when I saw the tweet from her asking if we would be interested in test driving a stroller and possibly winning one to take home!

We have more than a couple cheap umbrella strollers and a huge double jogging stroller that no longer fits in our car, but there are plenty of times that I wish we had a nice stroller for family outings or vacations. However, buying a luxury stroller just hasn’t been in the budget, even if I have spent time drooling over them.

We arrived at Blissdom ready to test drive one of the five strollers that Christine arranged for us, including the Quinny Buzz 3 with the Dreami bassinet insert. However, my sweet girl is easily overwhelmed, and 500 women gathering in one place can send even the calmest person into overload, so it was no surprise that she spent much of the conference crying or hiding out in our room with my sister. Because there were so many babies who looked content riding in their strollers while their mommas networked and attended sessions, I just didn’t feel right swiping one from any of them in order to test drive it.

Fortunately, as the conference came to a close, one of the strollers was free, and Christine gave us a chance to try it out. You should have seen my girl riding around like the queen of the conference, happy as could be to ride in the stroller thanks to the innovative rear-facing option that let her watch us while she rode. She played with her new Baby Einstein’s book, cooed and smiled as we walked the halls.

Sidney in the Stroller 3

Because we were stuck in Nashville for an extra day due to the blizzard that hit the Northeast, I was even more hopeful that we would win one of the beautiful strollers. After 5 months with a fussy baby, I was instantly in love with any piece of baby gear that could keep her as happy as the Quinny Buzz 3 did!

I tweeted, commented, took pictures and generally shared my enthusiasm for the stroller in every way possible to get as many entries in the giveaway as I could, but then I did my best to forget about it because I knew I was going to be so disappointed when I didn’t win. At 10:30 p.m. on Saturday night, I headed back down to take Christine the stroller back, and when I was met with the news that we had won it, I might have squealed. Many apologies to the other guests in the Magnolia wing of the hotel!

There are so many things that make this stroller as wonderful it is. It’s versatile, holding the Dreami bassinet for infants or accomodating the extra large seat in a forward- or rear-facing position for babies, toddlers and kids of all ages. The seat reclines and has an adjustable foot rest as well. And the whole thing folds up easily and unfolds with a unique hydraulic system. Most importantly, it is incredibly easy to push, gliding along smoothly and turning easily.

My sister, Sidney and I spent a lazy day at the hotel on Sunday, enjoying our extra day even though we were anxious to get home, and we used the Buzz 3 all day. When we bundled her up in the stroller and walked to the mall, she stayed happy as we shopped, even sleeping in it for part of the time.

As the mother of four little girls, I’ve come to realize that there are certain pieces of baby gear that are worth the extra cost. I wish I had invested in a nice stroller with my first because I have no doubt it would have gotten enough use to make the price worth it!

Thank you so much, Quinny, for offering us the opportunity to use and win these strollers, thank you to ForBabyGifts, Johnson’s Baby, and Baby Einstein for the great goody bags, and a huge thank you to Christine as well, for all of the time and effort she invested in making those of us with babies feel loved and welcomed at BlissDom!

Blissdom Babies Swag

Mandi Ehman is a work-at-home mom to four spunky little girls. She believes that organizing only lasts if you do it your way – to fit your needs, your preferences and your lifestyle – and she shares organizing and time management tips at Organizing Your Way.