November 26, 2012

Reusable Squeeze Pouch Review!!

The cute Squooshi packaging
(and my anxious toddler's hands!)
My 2 year old loves puree pouches. We use them sparingly for a few reasons, though. 1 - they seem to make him 'go', 2 - they are a lot of packaging waste for a quick shot of snack. To solve problem #2 I started looking around for some reusable pouch options and came across two: The Sili Squeeze (with Eeeze model) and Squooshi!

I decided to try them both at the same time, and do a head-to-head comparison:

The two items arrived on my doorstep just a day apart from each other, the Sili first. My son seemed to know what to do with it (since the nipple is very bottle like) but lit up when I told him that we would put 'applesauce' in it (his term for all flavor combos of purees... and sometimes even yogurt). I had perused the websites of both companies, and was excited to see that Squooshi had a blog that, though new, had several recipes (upon further research, I see that Sili's website has some recipes, too). So the next morning, I grabbed the un-carved pumpkin from our front porch from Halloween and blended it with apples and spinach to make our first toddler puree, filled our 'citrus'-colored Sili and we headed to the playground, with the toddler begging to eat the applesauce along the way.

As soon as we set foot on the playground he inhaled the pumpkin puree. He did need some help getting the last bit out of the pouch, but he often does with even the disposable models. The rubber on this is very pliable and allows you to get almost everything out. I was quite pleased with our first experiment. My husband did point out that the orange color we got + the green-hued filling made the pouch appear brown, which was a slight turnoff (light-colored fillings we've tried don't seem to have this issue). I read online further that we could also put the next day's oatmeal in the pouch, since we were getting up early for an hour drive to spend the day with Thomas the Train. I hadn't thought of oatmeal in a pouch!

Squooshi smoothie for breakfast!
When we got home, our Squooshi package was on the front porch! I admit, the packaging is rather nice to receive (to keep in mind for gift-giving) with a modern white box, and a little linen drawstring bag inside that holds the pouches and caps. My son instantly recognized what the pouches were and wanted to hold them. He was giddy with the cute animal designs, too. The package contained 4 pouches, 2- 4.5 oz pouches and 2-3.5 oz pouches, with 4 total different animal designs (lion, bird, panda, and walrus). I got to work again on a fruit-yogurt combo from the Squooshi recipe card that came with the pouches, and put them in the freezer.

Sili at the playground!
We forgot to pack a frozen smoothie or oatmeal for our trip the next day (I was especially sad, given the county-fair-like food options at our train event - this would have provided a much better option), but we did have some for an after-nap snack when we got home! I found the Squooshi's easy to give a quick scrub with the bottle brush, but there were a few more nooks and crannies in the Sili, so we wanted to run it through the dishwasher (which is allowed). Drying the Squooshi was a bit tougher, but I wedged the green cap in the zip-lock-like opening to allow some airflow, and later put some freshly washed ones on the dishwasher tines as the other dishes were drying. If you keep a bottle drying rack on your counter, this would be another convenient place to dry these. All options worked just fine.

Every day this week, I packed a frozen banana-strawberry-orange-Greek yogurt - kids' echinacea smoothie  in M's lunch - replacing his usual yogurt!

- Ease to Fill: at first I was frustrated with spooning smoothies into both models, until I realized I could just pour our concoctions right from the blending cup. The threads on the Squooshi tend to catch a little more, but its not a deal-breaker - just wipe before you zip it up.

squooshi smoothie as a snack at the kids' museum!
- Ease to Wash: The Sili Squeeze can go in the dishwasher after disassembling, but the Squooshi is an easy rinse and once-over with a soapy bottle brush. We do a pretty even mix of both for our regular dishes, so neither is more or less convenient. You do have to reassemble the Sili before using it again (much like a baby bottle- put the collar on the pouch before filling!! I did find that out the hard way!), whereas the Squooshi is ready to go.

- Fit and function in little hands: M needed zero help and zero instructions to break into the Squooshi. This may be a drawback if you rely on your kid having to wait for your permission before starting in on a squeeze pouch (we know the imminent dangers), but in our case, we find this a positive. On the other hand, the M tried to take off and put on the cap of the Sili and had an explosion in the car one day. It does take some firm pressure to snap the cap on, and to a toddler this can also mean getting a grip on the base while you do so... and spilling the contents.

- Price: One 4oz Sili is $7.99. A 4-pack of 4.5 oz. Squooshis are $19.99. For the price, you certainly get more of the Squooshi's. However, the Sili's certainly seem a little more substantial (not sure if that also means they will last longer?). I've only been test-driving for a little over a week, so I can't say how long I think the Squooshi's will hold up (Our Panda seems to currently be missing already... and I hope that since it looks so much like the store-bought versions, that it didn't get tossed in the trash at school?).

- Sizes: The Squooshi comes in 3.5 and 4.5 oz sizes. The Sili comes in 4 oz and 6 oz sizes. For our two-year-old, the 4 and 4.5 oz sizes seem to be perfect. We may enjoy the 3.5 oz more when Baby Sister arrives? Or the 6oz for older kids or grownups?

a look at the inside of the Squooshi (from the bottom)
- Durability with Toddler & Likelihood to Explode/Leak: the toddler was more than happy to help me test here - and I didn't even have to ask! He squeezed the Squooshi while I filled another and promptly dropped it on the floor, and later anxiously massaged it in the car waiting for the green light to eat it. He twirled the Sili by the string that held the cap to the bottle... and then promptly flung it by accident. Everything stayed in tact. Nothing leaded.  No leaks or holes.

- Options:  Squooshi's work with the Boon Spoon, in the same way store-bought squeezes do. In fact, they will soon be releasing their own version. The Squooshis currently come in 4 cute animal designs - two for each size. The Sili offers two nipple types for their pouches - one with a star "no spill" tip, and one "with eeze" tip which is more like the store versions, and easier for kids to figure out. The newly redesigned cap keeps either from leaking into the cap. Both sizes of the Sili come in 4 colors: Red, Orange, Blue, and Green.

I am excited to soon test out some other more grown up ideas for squeeze pouch fillings including mashed potato-veggie and sweet potato combos and oatmeal!!

** note: Squooshi supplied their product for our family at no cost, but requested honest feedback on our experience. Keep an eye out on Facebook for a giveaway where you can get a set for free, too! **

*** giveaway is now closed ***

November 8, 2012

Grown up songs for kids!

Not sure about you, but my toddler has recently gone through a cling-to-Mommy phase, and he likes to suck his thumb and hold my hand. And about the millionth time I heard him whine, "I want to hold your hand, Mommy" I couldn't help but break out the Beatles tune. And he seemed slightly annoyed, "That not a song!"

Whoa: how am I letting this happen? Some of my happiest memories are of singing along with my parents in the car to their music - and to this day there are certain songs that just (happily) remind me of one parent or another. My mom seemed to only have two tapes in her car - kids songs and the Beach Boys greatest hits. My dad was definitely a classic rocker, and would - annoyingly- rewind songs so that I could be clear on the exact lyrics (and when I was older, give me some of the 'hidden' meaning behind them). But now I really love all kinds of music - thanks to them.

So I broke out the iPad and found a video of the Beatles big break into rock n roll, and then we were on a mission to find more songs that were fun for both of us.

This morning (a few weeks later) when he asked again, "I want to hold your hand," I replied with, "And when I..." He responded, "touch you, I be happy..." This made me happy, and a little teary (I am sure some pregnancy hormones are at play) that I was getting to pass along a little family tradition.

So below is a list of songs that I think both parents and kids can enjoy and find fun. Maybe I will put them all on a CD for the car (to replace "Wheels on the Bus" for the millionth time), or just to have handy to hit up YouTube while we wait in the doctor's office (there are some kid friendly videos to go along with many of these, too!)

I want to hold your hand - the Beatles
Octopus' Garden - the Beatles
Yellow Submarine - the Beatles
At the Zoo - Simon and Garfunkel
Me and Julio - Paul Simon (the Sesame Street performance is cute, too)
ABC -  Jackson 5
Rockin Robin - Jackson 5
Wild Thing -  The Troggs (because we have a little Max at our house)
She Drives Me Crazy - Fine Young Canibals
Dance, Sister, Dance (Baila Mi Hermana) -Santana (get some Spanish lessons in, too!)
Puff the Magic Dragon - Peter, Paul, and Mary

Other suggestions-

Curious George Soundtrack - Jack Johnson
Cheeseburger in Paradise - Jimmy Buffett
Your Personal Penguin - Davy Jones
Mocking Bird - Carly Simon & James Taylor
Happy Face - Destiny's Child
Father and Daugther - Paul Simon
Camp Grenada - ?
Johnny Cash children's songs
Not for Kids Only - Jerry Garcia and David Grisman
Bob Marley
If I had a Million Dollars - Barenaked Ladies
Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da - The Beatles
Take me Home, Country Road -?
Kiss Me - Sixpence None the Richer
Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen (the Muppets on this YouTube!)
Somebody to Love - Queen
Penney Lane - The Beatles
Walking on Sunshine - Katrina and the Waves
We will Rock you - Queen
Eye of the Tiger - Survivor
Don't Worry be Happy - Bobby McFerrin
One way or Another - Blondie
Jump - Van Halen
Another One Bites the Dust - Queen
They Might Be Giants (adult and kids's albums - Here Come the ABC's, 123's ,Science or No!)