Parents

Great gear to make parents' lives a little easier

Do you know someone who's about to have a baby, or already has a little one at home? If so, and if you're looking for a great gift for them, or for your own family, you're in luck. Julie Edelman, author of "The Accidental Housewife," was invited to appear on "Today" with some gear that can make parents' lives a little easier. Here's more information on the items she discussed on the show:

Walking Wings: Minimize your baby's falls — and your back strain — with this natural way to help babies learn to balance and walk. Babies have freedom to use their hands (which they don't if parents hold them). Great for grandparents and easy on the back. Six months to 2 years. Comes in blue and pink. Machine washable. $26.49. (walkingwings.com, also available at Baby's "R" Us and Target.)

Disposable shopping cart covers: Keeps your kids from being exposed to all those germs from other little ones and their parents. Easy to slip on, and they're disposable, so chuck 'em when you're done. (cleanshopper.com, three/$9.99; non-disposable, $29.95; available at Biggs, ShopRite, Once Upon a Child, Whole Foods Markets.)

Disposable table topper, Feeding Kits: Makes mom's life easier when it comes to worrying about all those germs in public eating places. Each pack comes with a set of four Feeding Kits, which includes: plastic sealed disposable red sippy cup; colorful fork and spoon; adhesive backed placemat; and a throwaway bib, all in a fun Sesame Street design. Great when traveling; keep in glove compartment, diaper bag or wherever. $6.00/set of four. (mypreciouskid.com)

Color Changing Spoons from Progressive: Make sure your baby's food is not too hot, not too cold, but just right! Leave it in while heating in the microwave. You'll see it change from blue to white or purple to pink when it's just right! Cool to the touch. Heat resistant to 250 degrees. Not for stove top use. Available in two sizes, 9-inch and 6-inch. $6.99/set of two 6-inch and one 9-inch. (Available at ShopCo, and Ace Hardware; check progressiveintl.com for other retailers in your area.)

Good Bite Crustless Sandwich Cutters: Instead of having your kiddies resuing to eat their pb&j sandwich because of the crust, let them 'cut it' off themselves with no muss or fuss. Comes in square, circle and heart shapes — a simple way to say "I love you." Different shapes make it fun for kids to use, empowers them and helps limit picky eater syndrome. Dishwasher safe. ($2.99 to $3.99; available at mominventedstore.com, Krogers, Winn Dixie, Babies "R" Us, Safeway.)

Chore Chart: Helps mom take a break from nagging kids to do things like brush teeth, do homework, pick up toys, etc. Features timed segments (morning, afternoon, night) and a reward system. Empowers kids and gives mom a chance to relax. ($18, mypreciouskid.com)

Time Scout Monitor: No more playing bad cop! Let this easy-to-install gizmo put a time limit on electronic games and TV. Simply plug a video game player, TV, or computer monitor into Time-Scout Power Box, lock it, and then plug it into any standard power outlet (120 volts). Works like a credit card reader, so each child gets their own card with a specified amount of play time. They swipe it through the reader and are good to go until time's up, when the device automatically turns off. No hassle, no arguments! Also teaches time management. (time-scout.com, $89.95)

Calling Cards: Always looking for something to write your phone number on for play dates or lunch dates? Here's an easy, decorative and personal way to help you schedule your child's life and yours. Choose from a large assortment of originally drawn art, fonts and colors to truly personalize cards for your child and you. (writeaway.com; 30 cards, $26; 60 cards, $40.)

Pursebrite: Always feel like your bag has a black hole? Can't find anything? This gizmo makes finding things and switching bags (handbag, diaper bag, gym, etc.) easy. This lighted purse organizer features more than 10 pockets, so you can separate your phone, wallet, sunglasses, keys, etc. ($19.95 at Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Bed, Bath & Beyond.)

The Fabric Freshner: Takes one more thing off that never-ending to-do list! Removes odors and relaxes wrinkles, making it a big money-saver, since 75 percent of clothes taken to the dry cleaner are to remove odors, not stains. Runs on water, is environmentally friendly and easy to store. At $199, it's a bit costly upfront, but think of the money you'll save on gas and dry-cleaning bills! (whirlpool.com, $199)

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