Products you need, products you don’t

Our parent reviewers tell us what works, what doesn’t


The Marshall Bag from The Mustard Sprout,, $80

Aimed at dads who don’t like carrying “girly” diaper bags, this backpack model claims an ergonomic design and lots of dad-friendly features.

At first glance, the Marshall diaper bag looked too small to hold everything my baby would need, especially for a test drive during a weekend stay at my mother’s. The bag has the look and feel of a grade-school backpack rather than the heftier, boxier diaper bags I’m used to. 

But the bag is roomy enough to lug around my son’s 5-month-old life: clothes, diapers, lotions and stuffed toys. The bag balances on the floor in an upright position, making for easy access when you’re tending to your child. And it has an ingenious chute design that allows diapers to be retrieved from both inside and outside. There are separate compartments for creams, medicine and other baby paraphernalia, giving this bag a sort of “trapper keeper” feel.

A large, insulated bag is included for snacks, but I use it to keep my son’s soiled clothes separated for laundering. The shoulder strap includes a pouch to hold a cell phone or MP3 player, and the changing pad is wider than most.

The $80 suggested retail price may seem excessive, but the attention to the needs of a father makes it worth it. Christopher Molina  

Family Facts Family Life Organizer by Family Facts,, $25

This loose-leaf, 3-ring binder promises to streamline family scheduling, safeguard information and reduce paper clutter by giving you one place to keep everything from babysitters’ phone numbers to immunization records.  

I really like the concept of the Family Facts Family Life Organizer. However, it is quite a project to fully utilize all that it offers. 

I love the activity planner which has allowed me to clear some space on the calendar for other things now that the activities are all logged in one place.

I really like having all of the school phone numbers and contacts in one place, but I still have not used the home and auto or health sections. That information is still in my file cabinet. And I still keep my calendar hanging in my laundry room so I can check it as soon as I get up in the morning.

Overall, I would say that it has helped keep me more organized, although I think the $25 price tag is a little high. You could put something similar together on your own for a lot less. Pat Ellison

Kids Eat Chicago

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