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Summer’s chicest products for your outdoor soirée

From kitschy hotdog melamine plates to a sexy fire pit, Motherly has you covered for all your summer shindigs.

Summer’s chicest products for your outdoor soirée

Wether you’re throwing a Labor Day pool party with the kids, or an after-dark dinner party, there’s something on this list for you. From kitschy hotdog melamine plates to a sexy fire pit, Motherly has you covered for all your summer shindigs. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite products to make you the chicest mama on the block this summer.


Ball jars are a classic summer staple. These jars are as versatile as it gets; you can use them to drink out of, store spare change in, or to jar your pickles or preserves. These blue ones are a fun twist on the classic, and a beautiful, inexpensive way to display fresh flowers from your garden (or the corner bodega).

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Nothing can ruin a outdoor party faster than mosquitos. Keep bugs at bay with these all-natural Citronella Incense Sticks; a great, subtle alternative to tiki torches.

This beautiful lacquer and rattan tray from Serena and Lily has a great, summery feel and is useful for serving and clearing the table. It’s also perfect for breakfast in bed when you’re not entertaining.

Everyone loves anoutdoor fire pit.Put chairs around it for drinks with friends or s’mores with kids. Bring out some blankets and continue to enjoy it well into the fall. This simple, elegant cast iron model from Terrain is sure to be the center of any gathering.

These marshmallow roasting forks come in fun colorsand will make sure little hands don’t get burnt.

Scattered cutouts cast a beautiful starry light from these zinc lanterns.The handles make them easy to move around to use indoors or outdoors, creating the perfect ambiance for your after dark fête.

Either in the lanterns or on their own, these flamelesscandles from Luminara aren’t your average LED candle. They are encased in real wax with a surprisingly realistic flame, you may actually fool yourself. They are safe and leave no messy wax to clean up. Buy one or many (they come in various sizes) to put on your table or anywhere you want to add a little glow.

Bright Lab Lights are fully customizable ball lights that you can order to fit any color schemeyou’re aiming for. When the party is over, they make beautiful decor for a child’s room, playroom or anywhere you want a little whimsy. The website is full of fun, unexpected ways to use and arrange them.

Bambu makes a whole collection of chic single use tableware.Opt for these biodegradable bamboo plates and cutlery and skip the headache of doing the dishes. More time to enjoy the party!

There are few things as important as cold beverages for a successful summer party. This steel beer tub can be personalized with your name, year and city. It’s perfect for that informal summer backyard BBQ or as a gift for the host!

This fruit infusion pitcherlets you make subtly flavored water easily using anything you want. Throw in some peach and basil or some mint and berries and you have a beautiful delicious addition to any table. Add some seltzer for a healthy alternative to sodas. This one Includes a removable, freezable ice tube that keeps it cold for those long summer lunches.

Let your guests personalize their wine glasses with these metallic pens. A great alternative to wine charms (and much more chic) you can move around the party without misplacing your glass. You can even use them to write a message on the brim of the plate, to label a serving tray or even write a gift message on a wine bottle you’re bringing to the host. When the clock strikes midnight they wash right off.

There may not be another grill out there with as devoted a following as the Big Green Egg. And once your try it, or taste the food that comes out of it, it’s easy to see why. “The Egg” is a smoker, grill, and pizza oven all in one. It will ensure that any menu you chose for your party will turn out perfectly.

Thesekitschy melamine BBQ plates look just like the paper plates we all grew up with, with all the BBQ favorites already on them! They are light, fun, and reusable, making them perfect for any outdoor bbq or picnic.

This super cute and simple croquet set is sure to add hours of entertainment for the little ones. It isn’t big and plastic so it won’t interfere with the ambiance.

Use this sailboat serve bowlon the kiddie table or poolside as a fun way to serve chips, fruit or crudité.

No summer party is complete without a backgammon set. This attractive beechwood set will hold up to sand, grass, or the occasional spill better than leather and felt. It has notches to keep the wood pieces in place. All that plus the beautiful beachy color combo makes this the perfect summer set.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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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.

$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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There are major health benefits when baby looks just like dad, says study

They had fewer emergency room visits and were less likely to suffer from asthma + illness, according to findings.

We’re the ones who carry them for nine months, so it can be a bit of shock when a baby is born looking nothing like us. It might even feel a bit unfair, but don’t take it too hard, mama. Science proves looking like dad has some big benefits for babies.

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