free tutorial. summer cargo duffle…

Need a rainy day project or a great overnight bag? Hop over to Coconut Robot’s blog today for a free tutorial!! It’s a ‘must try’.

Coconut Robot's Duffle Tutorial

(Photo courtesy of http://www.coconutrobot.com)

Coconut Robot’s modified cargo duffle.

dress your mess.

feeling like Mary Poppins…

The search is over: I found THE diaper bag. Actually, I found it about a week about but was in the middle of replacing a furnace, fixing a smouldering socket in the wall while I washed the LAST load of laundry, and packing our little family for a vacation. PHEW! So, I present it to you now- and with the ability to share how it handled at the airport, train, beach, stroller and car.

Photo courtesy of BuyBuyBaby.com

Photo courtesy of BuyBuyBaby.com

I headed to Buy Buy Baby last week to see a bit of their selection and really try out a larger bag. A few of the ones I wrote about in an earlier post were there, along with a few new ones. I found that ‘larger bags’ often meant wider but with a narrower opening or shallow depth. That wouldn’t work for me. The few ‘twin’ bags I looked at in person were not much bigger than my Baby Mel bag.

Then I find this beauty. It is decivingly small when you first pick it up and is VERY light (thanks to a durable but thin wipe off nylon shell and light weight lining). It fits nicely over my shoulder and allows for easy access to the outermost pockets, even when being carried. Total compartments- get this- 5 zippered, 2 snapped, 3 exterior pouches (including a true baby changing pouch where dirty changing pads stay away from clean clothes) and 4 interior pouches (including a cell phone pocket). It acts like the PBK bag I had first started drooling over, but without the heavy weight of canvas and extra length that I couldn’t manage. Add on soft faux leather wrapped handles and the built in stroller clips- I love my new bag.

Here’s what I packed for our trip- all in my new bag: (in the 2 outside pouches) 6 diapers, 4 disposable changing pads, 1 travel wipe pack, 1 sippy cup (first front snap compartment) mommy items= boarding documents, zipper clutch, ziploc bag of liquids for security, tylenol, zippered bag with contacts, glasses case, kleenex and Starbucks Via packets (large main compartment with zipper) zippered bag (tutorial still to come) with 2 changes of clothing (onesies were the easiest to pack since they are less bulky), 5 food pouches, 2 Wet Ones pouches for hands/face, 2 Clorox wipe pouches, 4 toddler Mum Mum’s, 1 Nutragrain bar, 1 sippy cup of milk, burp cloth, silicon table cover, 4 disposable bibs, 1 travel pre-sealed carton of Cheerios, and Baby Bunny’s lovie (in the rear snap compartment) TOYS- 4 mini books, leapfrog cell phone, toy camera, stickers, paper, crayons, post-its, Indestructables book, and ear phones for Baby Bunny (on the outside clips) scented travel diaper disposal bags and hand sanitizer. THATS A LOT!!!!

Airplane: the WHOLE diaper bag- still full- fit easily under the seat in front of me with room to spare. I wish it had grommets or feet on the bottom; I didn’t like that the bag directly sits on the dirty floor, but I was able to Clorox wipe the entire bottom. I had to change Baby Bunny’s diaper on the plane: thank you Southwest for having a baby changing station on board! Downside- airplane bathrooms are super tiny so I couldn’t bring the whole diaper bag into the bathroom. Once we were done- the baby changing mat went into the separated outside pouch where it waited for Mommy to disinfect. 🙂

Airplane security: AWESOME- I was very nervous about this leg of the trip- I have to say that all the pouches, zippered wet bag, and built in clear bag, made security a breeze. The whole bag went through the x-ray and then security came to inspect food- they took the sippy cup with milk to test and peeked in the rest of my compartments. They only took about 30 seconds to do so because everything was so organized! The worker loved my bag and so did I- nothing was jumbled and everything was right there.

Subway/train in airport: as you can tell, I FILLED this bag during our travel day. So, it got pretty wide and I did have a hard time with it bumping into other people. I always get a little nervous when in tight situations like this that people might pick pocket me- but inside my ‘Mommy compartment” there is a heavy duty snap (I think meant for keys)- I used it to secure my wristlet, and felt much better. People didn’t really like how WIDE I was when trying to exit the train, but I never saw them again. 🙂

Car: bag fit great behind the seat (although it is not my ideal location for a diaper bag since in the event of a crash it is a missile) but was heavy/cumbersome when trying to hold it on my lap.

Overall- I am very happy with my new purchase. It was a little more than the husband expected ($90 minus BBB 20% coupon), but has proved its worth. It holds everything, keeps me organized, and is easy to sanitize. I never looked at Skip Hop bags before but can’t sing it’s praises enough, and would never buy another brand (that is saying a lot).

Happy travels! (Here’s a picture of my bag- still full- with a little beach, just to brighten  your day)

Grand central diaper bag at refurbishedteacher.wordpress.com

Grand central diaper bag at refurbishedteacher.wordpress.com

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the bag is always greener…

I love ‘research’. Not so much in the educational capacity, although find a topic worthy enough and you’ve got me doing searches until the early morning, but more of the ‘online window shopping’ variety. A topic pops into mind and poof, I search and search until I can find that perfect item. The problem is that once perfect item is found, it is difficult to not hold it. It looks perfect on screen! Wouldn’t it look even better in my hands?

Case in point: I have bag envy for the new PBK Classic Mom Diaper Bag.

With an upcoming family vacation planned, the demands on my current bag are much too large… literally. And in swoops the PBK Classic Mom: a very stylish and pregnant friend of mine (whom also shares my affinity for handbags) picked this gem out in grey. Peeking at it online, it looks to be the ultimate in bags: large, durable (as I can only anticipate canvas being), stylish yet timeless, and easy to access. My hope: it could suffice as both Baby Bunny’s luggage and my personal item. After the trip it could be our ‘Grandma Bag’ for when we visit the in-laws.

However, I felt like I was just looking at bags (Baby Bunny is fourteen months old), could I really utilize such a big bag as my only kiddo is getting close (I hope) to potty training, and how exactly does one justify the need to spend $150 on a diaper bag when there is one for Mommy and Daddy, each, hanging upstairs?

To give you a better idea of what I’m working with in the bag department, check it out (Babymel Slouchy Multidot)

Photo courtesy of www.diapers.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.diapers.com

Some other contenders are below: all with hopes to satisfy the need to store A LOT of things on this trip. While they don’t necessarily scream at my inner designer, they meet with the approving eye of my budget savvy husband.

Skip Hop Duo Double Deluxe: ($80)

Photo courtesy of  www.giggle.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.giggle.com

Vera Bradley Weekender: ($140- I already am a loyal Vera fan but am not sure if this is actually large enough.)

Photo courtesy of www.zappos.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.zappos.com

Kalencom Week-ender: ($90- and a STYLISH bag, but I haven’t been able to find anyone with experience using this brand. Especially since it needs to withstand the abuse of flying.)

Photo courtesy of www.kalencom.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.kalencom.com

So, fellow Diaper Bag wearing Mommies- share your wisdom! What kind of bag(s) have you used for family vacations? Anything that did or didn’t work on an airplane? And most importantly, what are your bag suggestions? I would love to hear them!

And yet again I am struck with the dilemma: do I need it or want it, and is it the best use of my resources at this moment? But isn’t it fun to ‘window shop’?