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The Curator: Cricket’s Circle

We’ve got a new bestie when it comes to building our baby registry.

The Curator: Cricket’s Circle

There’s a lot of baby stuff out there. And a lot of it is really great. But that doesn’t mean it’s really great for you. How do you know which products you’ll really use and which are just for show? How can you be sure you’re making the right choices for the most important person in your life? Sshhh, just listen: Cricket’s.

The brainchild of NYC mama Rachel Blumenthal, Cricket’s Circle is overflowing with critical information for expectant and new moms. The brand new site (which also happens to be one of the most beautiful we’ve ever seen in the mama space) is a pleasure to navigate, with just three recommendations in every -- yes, every -- product category.

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Blumenthal says she dreamt up the site when she was pregnant with her now-3-year-old son, Griffin. “While pregnant, all I wanted was a straightforward list of what I needed,” she says. “I turned to a like-minded friend who told it to me straight -- she cut through the clutter, spelled out the must-have essentials and helped eliminate what I didn’t need. She was my Cricket. Now I’m returning the favor and doing the same for other new moms.”

Below, Blumenthal tells us how our new favorite technology -- Cricket’s Circle -- is making life a little easier for moms-to-be, and gives us the lowdown on the six technologies that are making her life a little easier as a NYC mom.

Tell us about Cricket's Circle - why did you decide to launch a business in this space?

Cricket’s Circle is the short answer on what to buy for your baby. As the online resource for expecting and new moms, Cricket’s Circle provides honest and concise information on what to buy, where to buy it and how badly you need it (or whether you need it at all).

Why registry stuff specifically?

The sheer number of baby products out there is overwhelming. I wanted to narrow it down. Cricket’s Circle customizes one master list of baby products specific to your needs. All moms are different so we learn about your lifestyle through a quick and easy quiz, and tell you exactly what you need.

Why is curation so important to an expectant or new mom?

When an expecting mom starts research on the Internet or visits a store to learn more about baby products, they are inundated with thousands of options to choose from. A new mom is faced with more than 150 purchasing decisions in the first year alone. We curate to simplify the process and make it easier for her to choose with confidence.

Who's doing the recommending and what are they recommending based on? Why just three picks in each category?

We have curated what we believe are the best products based on our experiences, those of our friends and numerous focus groups with other moms. We only recommend products that we (or our community of moms) have used and feel passionate about. More isn’t necessarily better. When we were expecting for the first time, everywhere we looked there were too many options. It was overwhelming. With Cricket’s Circle, we narrow it down to the best three options in order to make product decisions easier.

What do all of the products you recommend on the site have in common?

The products we recommend are practical, durable, simple, and well designed. No brands have paid or incentivized us to recommend their products. We like to say our top three products in each category pass our tried and true seal of approval.

And why is it even more important for a city mom?

Simply put – we have no room! City moms often need to streamline their product decisions based on the limited amount of space in their homes. We know that suburban and city moms have different lifestyles, so Cricket’s Circle creates a product recommendation list that’s suited best for what they need (or don’t need!).

Any plans to expand in either direction?

We’re focused now on baby products for ages 0-3. As we continue to hear more from our members, we’ll evaluate other product that might be a natural fit, like maternity or clothing that might be right for the site.

What are some of the technologies that make your life easier as a NYC mom?

1. iPhone. my lifeline for all things work and personal (email, photos, The Wiggles and Sesame Street on YouTube, etc!)

2. CardMunch app. Keeps all business cards and contacts organized, and linked to LinkedIn paperlessly

3. Diapers.com app. Everything I need for Griffin or home effortlessly

4. Twitter. Aggregates my news

5. DVR. To catch up on the bits of TV I like to watch these days (The Good Wife and Scandal are always scheduled)

6. QuickVoice app. I recently started recording the conversations I have with Griffin, they are hysterical and priceless

14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

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.

$30

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!

$75

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.

$40

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.

$120

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.

$30

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.

$100

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.

$40

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.

$121

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.

$100

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.

$45

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.

$179

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.

$100

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.

$33

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.

$88

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

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"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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