Lefty Munchler

You eat with your eyes [first] ...



Our daughter recently started to join a little playgroup/ pre-school [ a local community effort ] and all kids get together at 10 AM, sit down on their little chairs and eat their snacks brought from home. To make it a bit more exciting and treat it as a special occasion she got a new lunch bag. When she was born we already had a dog at home [ a rescued lab & border collie mix ] and they became best friends quickly. They constantly entertain as much as they tease each other. At times its hilarious. Anyways, her love for animals, dogs in particular grew from the first day she came home from the hospital. So, it was natural to get her THAT lunch bag. THAT lunch bag is a dog shaped BYO Munchler Lunchbox made by BUILT NY and designed by award-winning children's book illustrator Stephen Savage. The bag comes with a little cute tag introducing Lefty, the dog to your child "Lefty is a clever little puppy. He loves to play catch and run in the park, but most of all he loves to EAT. He'll eat anything - meat, bones, veggies, even sneakers. Take good care of him and he'll be your best friend."

Good to know... Munchlers are made from polypropylene, a washable plastic, and are lead free. They are insulated to keep food and drinks fresh. Best of all, Munchlers unzip completely to serve as a placemat [ see picture ] and are wiped clean in a second. BUILT also offers other animal shaped lunch boxes like Benny the tiger, Meadow the rabbit or Boo the pig. They have little handles for little hands and they measure about 7.8" x 6.0" x 5.0" [ 19.8 cm x 15.2 cm x 12.7 cm ].

Get your Lefty lunch bag here.

The PlayTray

No more food mess, knocked over liquids or scratches in your table from kids cutlery



We decided on a STOKKE Tripp Trapp early on as it has been a long loved family piece for a long time before our daughter was born. My little sisters (much younger ... but thats another story) grew up with the Tripp Trapp and as it basically grows with your child from as young as 4 months to your seventies, it was a no brainer. BUT... It doesn't come with a practical tray and has to be pushed to the dining table etc.

Here comes in the brilliant innovation called PlayTray. Kind of your child's own personal little table. Baby can eat anywhere now. But not just eating, but playing, discovering, do arts and much more. Its spillsafe with the raised up edge and super easy to clean (just wipe and voila). Its designed in Danmark and free of Phthalate, BPA, Latex, PVC and all those nasty things. Its also safe in the sense that your child can no longer push away from the dining table and do some dangerous rocking.

On a personal note they have amazing customer service as we had a small problem with our tray and they shipped a replacement all the way from Germany to Panama! Free of charge!

To get a PlayTray you can try one of the following:
In Germany visit play-tray.de.
If you need one in the rest of Europe have a look here.
In the USA you will be able to find the PlayTray on Amazon.

City exploring

Valencia, Spain



Ever since I left Germany many years ago my husband and I are always keeping our eyes and ears open for new places around the world we could call home one day. We have lived together in the States (in the smallest state called Rhode Island) and are now living in the tropics - in Panama.

This spring we decided to pay a visit to Valencia, Spain. We had 5 magical days there in many ways. But the most impressive and satisfying part was how stroller/ bike & kid friendly this city is. Coming from a UNESCO world heritage site ourselves (we live in the old town of Panama City called Casco Viejo filled with Spanish & French colonial buildings, narrow streets and even narrower side walks) where its almost impossible to push a stroller (well, unless you go on the streets...) we realized it made such an impact on our experience, such a relief. It was smooth strolling anywhere, even in the old part of the city which is quite big. Kids can find a park and place to play frequently. The biggest park is the Jardi del Turia which stretches around the city like a ribbon. What used to be a river has been transformed into a 7 kilometer promenade of flowers, parks, ponds, playgrounds, fountains and sports facilities.

We rented bikes and wound our way through the park to the stunning City of Arts and Sciences. A stunning architecture surrounded by beautiful clear waters you should not miss. You can rent clear kayaks and those hamster balls which looked like so much fun. Or visit the planetarium, IMAX theater and laserium ( all under one roof of the "L'Hemisfèric"), the open-air aquarium "Oceanografic" (the largest in Europe and the second largest in the world.) - Valencia's opera & performing arts center ("Palau de les Arts"), the science museum ('El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe") and the walkway/ garden called "L'Umbracle". So much to explore - you can easily fill 2 days just in that park alone. Oh and the best part is it brings you almost to the beach & port. Its an amazing complex not just for kids and its highly educational.

The other end of the Jardi del Turia is home of the Bioparc Zoo, a new generation zoo with boundless nature within the city of Valencia. Their concept is called zoo-immersion: A philosophy and design technique that attemps to immerse the visitor in a faithful re-creation of natural habitats. The animals, the vegetation and the landscape form a setting that invites the visitors to discover the complexity of the natural ecosystems surrounding them.

Another must visit is the Mercado Central which (older) children will love as its very lively, lots of colors and mountains of veggies & fruit etc to look at. Its not only one of the largest markets in Europe (500+ stalls) but one of the most beautiful ones in Spain. Try and get a spot at the tapas bar "Central Bar" inside created by Michelin-star chef Ricard Camarena.

Nutty greens



Tip: Add some veggie protein for extra protein intake. The grapes alone sweeten this smoothie and with the frozen banana there is no extra sweetener needed. Your kid will ask for more without knowing it has something green in it!


Good to know...

Just one banana contains 467mg of potassium, providing powerful protection to the cardiovascular system. The benefits go on and on but keep in mind it provides your little one (and you, too!) with Vitamin A, C and B6, fibers, flavonoids and antioxidants.

Grapes have health benefits for the heart, eyes, brain, blood, and joints and with containing 17% of the daily value of vitamin K, and 33% in manganese its more than just a lunchbox treat or sweetener.


Where is the cat? Outside... or is it hiding inside?



My best friend at home in Germany just gave my daughter one of her favorite new toys - A super colorful Nesting Block Set with Animal Friends from Djeco, a French toy company. The 6 nesting blocks are made of sturdy and safe cardboard, beautiful designs and are representing homes for different animals - starting with a small birdhouse at the top. Each cube has a round or square opening. There are adorable 6 animals which are PVC-free & squeezable and are sized perfectly for little hands.

It's a great start for fun and imaginative play and offers unlimited play & teach time. Interact with your child and develop his/ hers cognitive growth in language, logic, interaction and teach the different shapes, colors, numbers and vocabulary. "What is the cow doing in the pig house?" "Which animal is hiding in the blue house?" or "Where is house number 2?". Although it states for ages 18 months or older my daughter just turned one and has all the fun she could have with it already. But watch out - the little ones might like to chew on the cardboard blocks still.

In need for a gift? You can get your nesting blocks here.

keeping moments & memories





Looking for that unique piece of art to put on your babies wall? The Milestone Poster is a cute and EASY way to track all your baby's exciting firsts, ranging from place of birth, motor skills, hairstyles, first words and foods and much more. If you are a little like us and time is limited but yet you want to create those family heirlooms and something to marvle at a decade from now? The Milestone Poster just offers such an easy and beautiful way to document a baby’s milestones with no excuses. Sweet to know: Each poster is printed on FSC certified, carbon-neutral Mohawk Loop Feltmark paper made from 100% post-consumer waste and manufactured with windpower. In addition to that, the posters are printed using soy inks in a print house that is 20% solar-powered. Thrill a new mama by bringing this artful print to your next baby shower. This "20x30” fill-in-the-blank infographic with over 40 fields for you to draw, write or color in is available from Strange Birdy Studios. They also have a similar poster "My First Year" which can be personalized and was recently launched in 5 different colors.