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HOT baby stuff: Goods and gear for expectant and new parents

Mount Vernon artist and designer Kristin Loffer Theiss has given birth to KLT Kids, a line of handcrafted and just plain fantastic toys and products for babies and kids. Using a vibrant color palette, soft textures, and bold shapes, Loffer Theiss has created whimsical and modern plush toys, mobiles, finger puppets and onesies based around an invented set of characters from the "Planet Dot." Loffer Theiss also creates and sells an array of functional art for grownups, including greeting cards, thread drawing pillows, and porcelain/felt pins. Visit the website to learn more about Loffer Theiss and her unique blending of art, craft and imagination.

Do you aspire to feed your little ones fresh and healthy meals but lack the time and creativity to prepare stuff they'll actually eat? Full Tank frozen organic meals for babies and young kids are a guilt-free shortcut. Full Tank (formerly TotPots) was founded by Seattle couple John and Whitney Anderson, parents of two young boys. (Whitney is also a pediatrician.) Their products include Baby FuelTM, conveniently spoon-free baby food for parents on the go ($2.79 per serving), and Secret AgentTM kid entrees ($3.99 per serving), which incorporate a patent pending method for hiding the flavor of veggies in kid-friendly foods (like mac and cheese). Full Tank recently partnered with Seattle chef Tom Douglas to develop a signature line of baby foods and a school lunch program featuring local and seasonal ingredients.

The organic craze has extended well beyond food, as anyone who has browsed the clothing aisles at Whole Foods knows well. It's a lucky baby who finds herself snapped into onesies by Kee-ka. Almost as aesthetically pleasing as the luxurious, organic cotton bodysuits, bibs and bedding (which feature words and images such as "sweetpea" and "peanut") are the self-sealable and ready-to-mail brown boxes they come packaged in. Visit the website for local retailers or to order online.

Design-conscious and environmentally aware moms and dads will also want to check out the baby clothes line from babysoy. With simple designs that mix and match easily, Babysoy clothes are made from soft-as-butter and earth-friendly soybean fiber. The line includes everything from onesies and one-pieces to blankets and outerwear. Babysoy also sells carefully selected products from other design-savvy manufacturers, including outrageously cute baby bonnets and caps by Bebello.

If you're looking to outfit your baby with a little more spunk and edge, check out Mercer Island's own Pixie Rock, founded by husband-and-wife team Jeff and Erin Underwood out of "a love for style and an endless love affair with rock 'n' roll" (according to their Web site). Their onesies and T-shirts for babies, toddlers and kids feature clever parodies of rock, punk and hip-hop icons, such as the highly popular "Ipoo'd." Visit the Pixie Rock website to view designs, find local retailers or order online.

If you're not averse to spending as much on your baby's skin care products as you likely do on your own, here are some that are worth knowing about:

Noodle and Boo makes a complete line of products for babies' hair, skin and bottom that are gentle, hypoallergenic, and specially formulated for highly sensitive skin. For diapering, check out the Ultimate Cleansing Cloths, which contain lanolin, are alcohol-free, and have just a hint of Noodle and Boo's signature crème douce fragrance. Products are priced from $9 and available online and from select retailers.

Using naturally derived ingredients and essential oils, Duvall-based Babeez has created a line of aromatic skincare products -- from its lavender-and chamomile-based baby line ($13.95-$15.95) to a yummy Chocolate Vanilla Body Crème ($23.95) for mom. Though the fragrances are natural and pleasing, they are strong -- not for the faint of nose.

Here's an ingenious and simple solution to a dangerous problem: Little Bear Industries has created the Stroller Safety Flag ($12.95), designed to mount easily on any stroller. The flag is height adjustable, collapses for storage or travel, and can also be mounted horizontally, so drivers on roads without sidewalks are forced to make a wide path around the stroller. It's a smart purchase in the Northwest, where weather can make for bad driving conditions and compromised visibility. It also works on kids' bikes and ride-on toys.


Originally published in the May, 2007 print edition of ParentMap.

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