DIY iPad stand

Archie and I needed—yes, needed!—to watch Top Chef‘s Last Chance Kitchen. (Would Kristen get sweet revenge against annoying, guffawing Josie? Would she be able to claw her way back into the competition?) But you can only watch it online. So, Archie grabbed a few Duplos and quickly built a simple but effective iPad stand.


What you need:

What You Need


Then assemble like so:

Da Stand


And you’re done! You can insert your iPad and look at your favorite blog, ahem.

Front Vertical


It works both for vertical and horizontal viewing, with or without the cover.

Front Horizontal


And you can place it very upright or at an angle.

Vertical Back, Upright

Horizontal Side, Incline


P.S. Mega Bloks don’t work: They are too flimsy and loose (they are inferior to Duplo even in this kind of usage!); and you can use regular Legos, but you will have to put in much more effort to get the same degree of support.

Cool stuff: Simplehuman sensor pump


After every meal at home, I take Ham’s bib off (if he hasn’t already thrown it to the floor), lift him up, and carry him to the kitchen sink, where I hold him with one arm and use the other to turn on the faucet and pump out some soap. The process used to be easier when he didn’t weight 33 lbs. Now that he does, I find myself wishing fervently for a third arm, a faucet with a motion sensor, and/or a soap dispenser with a sensor.


I can now drive and give the finger totally safely.


I had been thinking of getting a sensor soap pump for a while, but they are quite pricey for what they are, and there are several brands and models out there… and I wasn’t sure if they would prove more annoying than helpful. What if the pump kept dispensing soap when someone just walked by it, or it didn’t quite work, or it went through batteries too fast? But recently my friend recommended the Simplehuman Sensor Pump:


So, I got one, and I love it! Is it gorgeous? No, but its looks will do; it may not make your room more fabulous, but it won’t ruin your decor, either. The dispenser works much better than the ones in public restrooms, you know, when half the time the soap either squirts onto the floor or sink, or doesn’t engage at all, no matter how wildly or seductively you move your hand around. This one never fails, doesn’t drip whatsoever, and the best part is that you can adjust the amount of soap that comes out. If it’s too much, just press the Minus button, and the next time, it’ll dispense a bit less (or press the Plus sign if you think more would be better).

It’s so handy to have one in the kitchen for the after-meal toddler-washing, but I appreciate it most when I’m cooking and have sloppy hands. I can just turn the faucet on with my forearm or wrist and shove one greasy hand under the sensor and not have to muck up my soap dispenser. I can’t yet comment on the battery life (it requires four AAs, which are not included). On the packaging it claims that batteries can last up to a year, but I won’t be holding my breath on that one.

It is not a bargain ($35 for the 8-oz size, when I bought it). But it makes a nice gift; I can imagine it being a good housewarming gift, especially. And maybe you could use that Bed Bath & Beyond coupon that hangs out with your mail every month until it’s time to get recycled. Plus—and this is how I justified the purchase to myself—it is so much cheaper than surgery to graft on a third limb. Not to mention, it’s hard to find arm donors. Which means you’d have to get a cadaver’s arm. And, come on, that is so gross.


Cool stuff: ZoLi straw cup

You know how your toddler or preschooler will be drinking out of a straw cup, and then he leans back so that the straw is no longer making contact with the liquid, or he drinks beyond the reach of the too-short straw? So your kid is just inhaling air, even though there is still water/juice/milk in the cup. Sucks (pun not intended but not edited out, either), right?

That’s what makes the ZoLi BOT Straw Sippy Cup genius.
It’s got a flexible straw with a weighted bottom, so it actually works with gravity to get all the liquid in the cup. Another plus is that it’s very light.

The one downside of this cup is that you really have to get the ZoLi replacement straws and cleaning brush with it. No way are you getting the straw really clean without the brush. And you will definitely have to replace the straw at some point. For us, this is totally worth it, because Ham (19 mos) loves this cup. It allows him to do the toddler equivalent of this:

Smart design makes me happy!