An ode to the wet wipe

If you think wet wipes are just for messy faces, allow us to open your eyes.

An ode to the wet wipe

The first time I encountered a conversation about wet wipes was when I was about halfway through my pregnancy with my twin girls, Stella and Violet. The discussion was on a Facebook mommy group, and the debate was fierce: Which brand was best, when to use them, whether to heat them... (Note: Don’t get any mommy group started on wipe warmers.)

I didn't understand it at the time, of course, but wet wipes are slippery slopes for parents.

They are not just reserved for the bottoms of your precious children, but for pretty much everything else that comes with sticky little ones. You start with a pack, then a case, and soon you have them in every bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, car and go-bag.

Tonight I was giving my nearly 5-year-old girls a bath—and I managed to use a wet wipe three times for three different reasons in 10 minutes. Sand on the floor from a tennis shoe? Wet wipe. Pink toothpaste explosion on the sink? Wet wipe. Runny nose? Wet wipe.

So, in honor of the wet wipe, my second favorite accessory, here are just a few times they have come to my rescue.

Removing the coffee stains from my jeans, shirt, and car after my kids’ school decided to install huge speed bumps in the parking lot with no warning.

Cleaning up after my kids decided the living room is the perfect place to do a watercolor art project. (As any mother knows, kids and water = recipe for destruction. ?)

Preparing sandy hands for a pretzel break five minutes after getting to the beach and midway through a sand castle.

Pseudo-sanitizing hands and miscellaneous surfaces during a trip to Disneyland where sticky little hands continually journeyed from rail to cotton candy to mouth.

Reviving my car and the car seats from multiple milk spills. (Why can’t someone invent a spill proof bottle–why?)

De-sanding little toes and feet after a trip to the park. (Yes, that’s my second sand mention. I could list at least 10.)

Salvaging once white walls from the marker and crayon art by your budding Picasso.

Dusting surfaces quickly and discreetly when someone makes an unannounced visit to your children’s play zone, i.e. your entire house.

Wiping down toys after a playdate when said playdate shows up with a runny nose and cough.

Removing eye makeup after you force yourself on a date night to remind yourself why you’re married. (It works by the way... Having date nights to remember why you said yes.)

I can go on. I'm sure you can too. The wet wipe has become an essential part of me being a parent who tries to let my kids be kids.

Whatever the mess, wherever the mess, a wet wipe will usually get me 90 percent closer to status quo—which is never 100 percent to begin.

So whichever kind you use—Kirkland brand for me, if you must know—hold up a wipe in solidarity.

We are the parents who allow and embrace the mess. We are ready for it. Thank you, wet wipe.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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