Family Friday: Crazy Loop Straws

I saw this idea last year, and I think it’s really clever for Halloween if you’re bemoaning the huge glut of candy that your kids get and that you give out to trick-or-treaters. I think it’s a great idea to give out crazy straws, because what kid doesn’t love crazy straws and what mom wouldn’t be happy that her kid got a crazy straw? This is also a nice option if you’re doing a gluten-free, allergy-friendly, teal-pumpkin Halloween. The only thing is, I can’t find links to any that are individually wrapped — they’re all sold in bulk, so you be the judge of how gross you would feel if your kid brought home an unwrapped straw. I think it’s still probably worth it if you’re into the idea. This pack of 50 is $10.99 — also check Party City, dollar stores, Walmart, and places like that. This does look like a great set though! Crazy Loop Straws (Pack of 50)

(If you prefer the idea for a small giveaway rather than a mass one, such as for a class Halloween party, this blogger has some nice printables for crazy straws.)

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  1. Related PSA – you can get personalized crazy straws for not a lot of money at

    Long names are hard to drink from.

  2. Cornellian says:

    I have a dumb question: How do I dress my now nine-month old in the winter months in NYC? For context, we carry him in a baby carrier to and from daycare.

    Today it was high 50s in the morning. I wanted to put him in a long sleeve onesie, pants with feet (he doesn’t walk), and a hoodie. I have no idea where his single hoodie went, so I ended putting him in a cardigan instead, and covering his head with a blanket as we walked. Not ideal. Should I order him a thick winter coat, or a thinner puffer one that we can layer so he doesn’t overheat? He seems to run hot, generally.

    • EB0220 says:

      Here’s my one and only piece of advice. If you plan to carry him on your back at some point over the winter, you definitely want a hat with a strap under the chin and a coat that covers the hand like a mitten rather than actual mittens. Because trying to keep mittens on a child that’s on your back is HELL. Hell.

    • Clementine says:

      We ended up having a puffy snowsuit, a fleece snowsuit (pretty clutch if you can find one) and a fleece jacket. We definitely used the fleece snowsuit the most. If it was really cold, I would wrap the carrier in a blanket as well and/or zip him up in my jacket, but the fleece snowsuit was our most-used item for non-walker winters.

    • We used a fleece one piece suit for mild cold and then a really warm down one for super cold in the stroller since his daycare took all the babies out for walks in all weather (in theory) and we commuted via stroller. For wearing I think you can get away with less warmth but you definitely will need a hat and you might want some warm booties. If you think he will always be carried outside, a thinner coat is probably fine, but if you plan to take some stroller walks you might want a warmer one that can be used with a stroller blanket to keep the legs warm. Either way I would consider a fleece one-piece suit for mild weather and baby wearing, plus a warm hat and warm booties if your suit doesn’t cover his feet.

    • Anonymous says:

      seconding the recs for a fleece snowsuit for this. Old Navy had a few last winter.

    • Anonymous says:

      Get an insert for your coat (I have one that clips on, they also have zippers). Add a hat. That should be fine because he’ll be covered up and getting your body heat.

      For non-babywearing times in the winter, get a snowsuit and/or a stroller blanket (like the 7am enfant or the similar). I love the gap ones. I used a puffy jacket + stroller blanket if we were going somewhere and then going indoors (easier to undress) or one piece snowsuit (maybe + stroller blanket) if we were going to be outside for a while. Check your local list serves, you can usually get this stuff for really cheap and they don’t wear it that hard at that age.

    • bluefield says:

      I bought a Kowalli, which is a fleece thing that went over the baby carrier (with indoor-dressed baby underneath – i.e., the fleece cover was her jacket). This did double duty to keep the baby warm and to keep me warm because my jacket didn’t close around the carrier. Lucie’s List had a whole article on this type of thing (which is how I found the Kowalli), and my quick googling shows that there’s many many available products (including some designed by Ergo and Babybjorn, so maybe it would work better for your specific carrier):

    • Sarabeth says:

      I do this kind of commute, and did it in a much colder climate with my first child. Patagonia puffball bunting (it’s a snowsuit) plus boots worked well, but you don’t need it for weather in the 50s – I just put my kid in a fleece hoodie today.

      Big recommendation, though, for the jolly jumper snuggle cover (or similar product) as an outer layer. It worked for us in weather down to -10 F. Works for a front or back carry, as well as a stroller blanket. I never found a babywearing coat that worked in truly cold weather and didn’t cost $500.

    • I second the recommendations for the Jolly Jumper snuggle cover! And a good hat with a strap. And the thin Uniqlo puffer jacket. I wore kid on my back in this getup to a Women’s March in January, and he slept clean through it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Also a New Yorker with a hot kiddo. I had a “Make My Belly Fit” zip in thing and just wore her inside my coat. Footie pajamas or pants with feet and a hat were perfect.

      Old Navy fleece buntings were perfect for super cold days before she could walk. The hoods ran big, so a light stretchy cotton hat was necessary under the hood. Buy TWO of these. The most bitterly cold days in NYC my baby’s first year were in late March and the stores had nothing but spring clothes.

      Last year when she was walking we had a Patagonia puffer coat, a stroller insert, fleece lined leggings and flannel lined pants (leggings/pants from Target, pants in the boys section).

      This year I bought her a used Patagonia snowsuit (their sizing runs ginormous) for the coldest days. Looking for some more fleece leggings, some sweat pants, a jacket and a pair of Patagonia zip-on toddler gloves.

      Trying to decide if I should by another Misha and Puff sledding scarf this year, because I LOVED it, but if was $50 and I left it in a cab.

    • Cornellian says:

      Thanks everyone! Very helpful.

  3. Anon-omenon says:

    Just wanted to give a follow up and ask the hive for support again.

    I posted last week about my first ultrasound not going well and being a wreck while I waited. I had my (two!) follow-up appointments this week and the news is not good. I should be 9 weeks tomorrow but only measured at 6 weeks with no heartbeat.

    My doctor really wants me to “let nature take its course,” but I’m just not sure how much longer I can wai, mentally.. Can anyone weigh in on using the drugs to help speed the process along? Should I push for the D&C? Wait it out?

    • I am so sorry that you are going through this. I had a nearly identical experience 1.5 years ago. I decided to use the meds but did not have a good experience. I didn’t receive good instructions on how to take them and ended up feeling sick for 2 days (and terribly sad) with no resolution. I had a d&c the following week. In hindsight, I wish I would have gone ahead and opted for the procedure.

      Hugs to you.

    • JayJay says:

      I am so, so sorry you’re going through this. I went through something almost identical and opted for the D&C after waiting a few days for nature to take its course. I didn’t enjoy it, but the procedure gave me a sense of finality and closure.

      Hugs to you. I went through a few miscarriages and eventually had two healthy, beautiful children without medical assistance. I’ll be thinking of you.

    • bluefield says:

      The same thing happened to me. I used drugs and it was a very very intense unpleasant experience. And the drugs didn’t clear everything so I had to have a D&C a few weeks later, which was much easier. If I had to do it again I’d just go straight for the D&C.

    • S Anon says:

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I found out early (around 6 weeks) that I had a blighted ovum. I felt nervous and uncomfortable waiting for nature to take its course — the waiting was driving me crazy, and I was scared to use the drugs, because I heard it could be unpleasant. I opted for a D&C, and am so glad I did. I had a bunch of work events/deadlines at the time as well, and I felt much more comfortable having the planned time off, being in a controlled environment, and having it over quickly. The staff was extremely compassionate, and from a physical standpoint, it was relatively quick and painless (obviously the emotional component was a lot more difficult).

      • S Anon says:

        Also wanted to add, responding to the poster below, that I wasn’t fully “asleep” for my D&C — I think they used what is called conscious sedation, but I didn’t really feel sedated at all, just a little relaxed (although it wasn’t painful). So I felt fully conscious during the procedure and didn’t have the sense of “going to sleep pregnant and waking up not,” which is something I was also worried about. (I’m not implying that one way is better or worse — either way is sad and difficult, but I preferred to be awake for the procedure.)

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m so sorry you are going through this. Hugs – it is a really hard time. I personally waited for nature, and then did meds which (I think?) was the right choice for me. I appreciated being able to go through everything at home, with my husband. It was miserable, but moreso emotionally than physically, although that wasn’t exactly fun. Honestly I think it will be rough no matter what, so do what feels right to you.

    • I’m so sorry. I’ve been thinking about you. I’m one of the ones who responded last time that this happened to me a few years ago.

      It’s completely your choice, but I would push for the D&C. Could you compromise with your doctor – schedule the D&C for a few days out, so you’re waiting for nature for a few days, but have a date set if it doesn’t work out? They can do one last check the morning before the procedure and you can make the call at that point.

    • I am so sorry. I was in the same situation and opted for the D&C. I needed the sense of finality and closure.

    • Jeffiner says:

      I’m so sorry. I started bleeding at 7 weeks, but it was more like spotting. The ultrasound confirmed the miscarriage, though. My doctor wanted to “let nature take its course,” and I spotted for another two weeks when suddenly the bleeding became heavy (that was a fun day at work). The heavy bleeding continued for a few weeks. I wanted a D&C just to get it over with, but my doctor resisted. After 40 days of bleeding, she did finally give me meds to stop that. I think I would have preferred the D&C, just so I could move on sooner.

    • I’m sorry that you’re going through this. I went through something similar and ended up having the D&C, as I was much farther along (12 weeks). For this, the D&C was the right choice for me. I wanted to move on to try to have some finality and be able to move to processing the loss. It was painless, just left me emotionally and physically exhausted. I took a couple days off work to be able to grieve and process things on my own. As much as it was hard, I was grateful to go back to work so I had something else to focus on, and get back to some normalcy. Although I did go through some fits and starts of sadness and anxiety, but as so many friends told me, time does heal. And I encourage you to talk about it with good friends and family. The more I could talk about the loss, emotions and such, the better things got. Especially knowing you’re not alone and you didn’t cause it.

      Hugs to you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Echoing everyone else here – I am so sorry you are going through this. It’s heartbreaking. This was me one year ago – went in for my first US at 11 weeks and no heartbeat. I opted for a D&C as soon as possible (which I was fully awake for, go figure why my hospital does that) and I’m glad I went that route because as other mentioned, I wanted to move on asap.

      Now, my husband and I are currently expecting our first baby due next month. Don’t worry, the pain and heartbreak really does lessen with time.

    • I am really sorry you are going through this. I had the exact same experience a couple of months ago. I’m sorry for your loss.

      My doctor was the opposite — she pushed hard for the D&C, and we did it that afternoon (after my third follow-up appointment showing no progress). I was scared of the procedure — I was also fully awake — but it was over really fast and I was glad to move on. My doctor suggested that the meds were painful and the emotional stress of waiting to start bleeding was not right for me. I work full time and am often home alone with my toddler in the evening, and I totally agreed with her. If you feel similarly, I’d push for a D&C.

    • I’ve had three early miscarriages and did an immediate D&C all 3 times (ie didn’t try letting nature run its course or drugs first). I would do the same if it happened again. I was glad to just get it over with and I think it prompted my hormones to normalize more quickly than letting nature do its thing. I also had morning sickness and wanted that over with asap.

      I now have two healthy children. Thinking of you and sending an internet hug.

  4. Can anyone share an experience about a nursing strike? My 8 month old has not nursed for 48 hours. I was able to get him to latch briefly twice but mostly he just screams when I put him into a position to nurse (other positions haven’t worked either).

    I was gone a lot for work for a few days, then he started biting and then he got sick. I am pumping and he is taking a bottle fine but I am sad and would like for the nursing relationship to resume.

    His ears are fine, no teeth on the verge of popping through, not stuffy.

    Will it get better? Any tips? All this pumping is really consuming and i am not ready to wean.

    • Anonymous says:

      Try advil for him and nursing him in a different position. If he has an ear infection it may put pressure when he lies down. Try having him straddle or sit on your leg when he nurses. Or nurse in a carrier. When mine were fussy, movement often helped. Spent many hours walking back and forth in our darkened bedroom nursing the twins one at a time.

    • We had a strike when my son was close to a year old. IIRC he didn’t seem sick but in hindsight I think he may have had a sore throat or mouth sores from HFM or something that made nursing more uncomfortable than a bottle. He just started being willing to nurse again after a few days. I wish I could remember exactly how long it was, but I know it felt like eternity at the time.

      • I’ve wondered if his throat was sore. He did a lot of crying while sick. I am glad you were able to get back to nursing. I hope I am as lucky!

        • Hang in there! I remember feeling a bit dumb that I wasn’t taking the opportunity to wean but I just wasn’t ready.

    • Cornellian says:

      Mine has been on intermittent strikes recently. I think his did have some relation to teeth, though.

      The two ways I had luck tricking him in to nursing were: (a) having his dad take him away and out of the house for a while, then bringing him back fresh, and (b) waiting until he was cranky bone tired at bed and then lying in a dark bedroom with him. Funnily, he doesn’t seem to ever strike when we are out and about, I think because he uses nursing partially as a tool to comfort himself in new situations. it’s always at home.

    • EB0220 says:

      This is so interesting. Does he seem uncomfortable in that position if you just hold him? Any chance you’ve changed your soap or laundry detergent lately? My 1st kiddo haaaated that Lansinoh nipple cream and would refuse to nurse when I used it. You haven’t put faster flow nipples on the bottles?

      • He just immediately starts to cry when I put him in a nursing position. No change of soap or laundry detergent or anything else that I can think of.

        Daycare was pushing for faster flow nipples. I did it one day because he was struggling to take a bottle but then backed off because he seemed to take the size 1 just fine for me. He even refused when there was milk actually flowing.

        I just really don’t want this to be the end.

        • Cornellian says:

          I totally understand not wanting it to be the end. Have you worked with an IBCLC? kellymom also has great articles online.

    • Cornellian says:
  5. Leatty says:

    I am so sorry. I went through this almost two years ago and opted to take the medicine. I didn’t want a D&C because I needed closure, and I didn’t think I would have it if I went to sleep pregnant and woke up not. I won’t lie, it hurt worse than menstrual cramps, but my doctor prescribed painkillers to help. The first dose of medicine gave me awful cramps but didn’t start the bleeding, so I took another dose the next day. I am glad I used the drugs instead of waiting it out. I was able to control when it happened so it didn’t start at work. I took the medicine on a Thursday night, took Friday off, and it was more or less over by Monday.

  6. Tired Mommy says:

    Need a couple of good ideas to keep a pack of 4 year olds entertained at a birthday party. Plan is to be outside in huge, but very empty, yard. Already have a pinata, but want at least one more activity. Was thinking water guns, but even the thought of play guns makes me squeemish these days :( Bubbles are too frustrating for my kid and I think hoola-hoops would also be too difficult/annoying. Halp!

    • Balls! Stomp rockets are also great if there aren’t too many trees. If you want an actual activity, looking for small hidden things is good, especially if there are tons of whatever and they are poorly hidden and the kids have something to carry them around in. For my son’s train-themed third birthday, each kid received a shoebox with nonfunctional paper wheels on it that was attached to a string. We spray painted rocks gold and hid them in a park, then the kids got to find them and collect them in their “wagons.” some were more into finding rocks than others but all enjoyed dragging the boxes around. For games, you could try red light green light, duck duck goose, or freeze tag. Sandbox, water beads, water table, or other sensory play would also be a big hit. Pool noodle water squirters are easy for young kids to fill and use and not remotely weapon like.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not the OP but that train/painted rocks idea is super cute and sounds pretty easy and fun. You are very creative!

        • I got the idea from someone else online, but thank you! It was fun. I am a lapsed artist and birthday parties are one of the ways I enjoy using my creative energy.

    • Anonymous says:

      If it’s warm enough for water guns where you live, is it warm enough for water balloons? A huge pain to clean up afterward though. Or, better than that, a SPRINKLER!
      Do you have any way for them to use sidewalk chalk like a patio in the yard?
      You may be surprised at how good they are at entertaining themselves, too, with made up running around games. You could just bring some of your regular toys outside and let them have at it.

    • ElisaR says:

      I only have nieces/nephews this age – but I know a bounce house rental is always a big hit but maybe a big cost…. also, I would probably not do water guns – some parents might not be too thrilled with their kid being exposed to any type of guns….

    • anne-on says:

      Can you set up a toddler obstacle course? Those big silk play tunnels and some cones would be great (and are not too much $$ on amazon).

    • Get balls and some of those mini-orange cones. Maybe one of those plastic tball sets – my 4yo DD and her friends play with that constantly, although they fight over who gets the bat.

      Do you have a brick area? You can buy those foam paintbrushes and give them cups of water to let them “paint” the bricks or stones or other hard surface. My kids like to “paint” my deck with water and that will entertain them for a good 45 minutes.

    • EB0220 says:

      We recently went to a party where they had pool noodle & duct tape “lightsabers” that were a total hit. The kids loved running around with them and we even had other kids coming over asking to play with one (it was at a playground).

      • we did these for my kids’ fifth (starwars themed) b-day party. Big hit and easy to make!

    • Anonymous says:

      Is it a birthday party for 4 year olds? Or another birthday party that will have bored 4 year olds?

      If it’s warm enough for water guns, what about water balloons, or those water blasters (they were $1 at target over the summer- dip into a bucket and suck up water then squirt)? My 4 y/o can’t quite operate a water gun. Make targets for them to hit (chalk works great) so they don’t squirt people.

      Get some foam paint brushes and paint rollers and have the kids “paint” the driveway, deck, house, whatever.

      Non water ideas: chalk, BYO ride-on and do a decorating station, hunt of some kind (plastic eggs with a tiny goody (sticker), painted rocks, or better yet have them paint and hide the rocks and have other kids find them), bin of sand with “treasure” buried in it and have sifters and shovels (treasure can be cheap plastic animals/plastic rings/eggs with stickers, or what my 4 y/o prefers: gems aka bag of sequins from the dollar store).

      If this is a party where the 4 year olds will be attending but not the guests of honor, try to do things that require minimal adult supervision.

      You could do a bounce house, but you can’t do a ton of kids at once.

    • We did a backyard party for my 4-year-old and they were pretty good at entertaining themselves most of the time. That said, if there is an area to accommodate it, sidewalk chalk is always a hit. Also, I did a scavenger hunt with pictures and adult assistance for the kids to find prizes that then made up their goody bags (I loathe goody bags). It got them running around and excited. They each got a bag at the start and there was one identical prize for each at the locations. The same kids came over a few months later and asked me to do it again.

    • What about a ball pit? Get a blow up swimming pool and put the balls in it. My neighbor did this and it was a huge hit.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hula hoops are great for things like jumping into/out of, throwing toys/balls/beanbags at, using as “bases” for tag or kickball. using for hopscotch spaces.

      If it’s warm enough for water guns, how about water balloons?

  7. I just bought a babywearing fleece, I look like a kangaroo but baby seems warm and happy.

    • Cornellian says:

      I have one of those sweatshirts, and it was great for last January – April. Now that my kid is three times that size, though, I’m not sure. Maybe I will look for one of those.

  8. These straws have been a big hit! We’ve used them for goody bags for birthdays, and also used them with a printable for Valentines. They were creative, fun and well received, also relatively cheap and easy to put together.

    Hey, nothing wrong with drinking my Friday night GIn & Tonic with a fun twirly straw either… :)

  9. I am so sorry you are going through this. Several years ago I had a missed miscarriage at around 10 weeks. Because it was further along, my doc really recommended a d&c, but I had to wait a few days and that waiting was emotionally one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. If you will find it difficult to work or participate in life while waiting for your body, definitely press your doctor for options to move faster. Sending so many good thoughts!!

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