Sunday, December 11, 2011

Super Foods!

Ever wonder what to feed your toddler to make him or her a brighter, healthier child? Here are 15 super foods that, according to, you need to put in your shopping cart this week!

Certain foods can boost your child's energy level, improve their concentration, help build brain tissue and keep their immune systems healthy. Sounds good to me!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How Often Do You Talk to your Child's Teacher?!?!

When I came across this article on the Lil Sugar website, I must admit, it made me chuckle. I am what you call a "need to know" kind of mom. I crave information on what my child does at school. And since I get so little info out of my five year-old, sometimes I may linger at the door at pick-up, just to try to get some scoop.

One way my daughter's teacher communicates with the parents is a communication log. It is stapled to the inside cover of my daughter's folder that comes home with her each day. I can write the teacher a note or ask her a question, and she responds right under my note. The teacher can also use the log to communicate with me, too. The communication log has really cut down the hallway chatter that comes with drop-off and pick-up and I feel more informed than in years past.

The article from Lil Sugar talks about how some teachers' quest to communicate more with parents via classroom email accounts has backfired because they are inundated with emails they don't have time to answer.

Tell me...what ways do you communicate with your child's teacher? What works and what doesn't? Do you wish your child's teacher communicated more or less than he or she does? Sound off in the comments section below.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Holiday Shopping= Holiday Cold and Flu?!?!

Even though online shopping is more popular now than ever, a trip to the mall is usually a necessary evil during the holiday season when shopping for your loved ones. And according to, a shopping mall or center is the perfect place to pick up a virus, cold or flu. Can you say, "Yuck?!?!"

So before you head to your local shopping center, arm yourself with some hand sanitizer and read this very interesting article on the eight "germiest" places at the mall.

Stay healthy this holiday season!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Is your child talking back to you?

One of the things we are working on at our house for our five year-old is to curb the talking back. "No fair," "why" and "you can't make me" can become pretty mainstream from preschoolers all the way up to teenagers, so this is a topic many parents can identify with and would like to eliminate from their households.

Breezy Mama website had a great article entitled, "5 Steps to Put the Brakes on Back Talk." Check it out here!

The third step is my attention to your kids! The step encourages parents to give their child undivided attention daily and you will see an improvement in their behavior. Such an easy thing to do, and very positive for both parent and child.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stay-at-Home Moms- This is a Must Read!

Stay-at-home moms...this is a great read from the website Yahoo! Shine. It has some great tips on how to keep staying at home with your kiddos fresh and stimulating for you and baby.

My favorite tip? Become a joiner...the article encourages new moms to find mom groups and connect with other moms in their communities. Such a good tip, and so true!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mommy Marathon...Literally!

Did you hear about the pregnant woman who ran (and finished) the Chicago marathon when she was only eight days away from her due date? Incredible! Even more hours after finishing her marathon, she gave birth to her baby girl. Read more about this amazing story on the Today Moms website.

This mom's unbelievable story made me wonder, how much exercise is healthy during a pregnancy? Can you overdo it? According to WebMD, if you were physically active before your pregnancy, you should be able to continue your activity in moderation. It really depends on how physically fit you were before your pregnancy as to what is considered safe to do during your pregnancy. It is best to talk to your doctor about your exercise routine when expecting to ensure you don't exert yourself too much.

For some more great tips on exercise during pregnancy, check out the WebMD article here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Can your kids "catch" your stress?

I ran across an interesting article today on a subject I have often wondered about...can kids "catch" your stress and anxiety? When you are feeling stressed, does it affect your kids?

The answer is yes. According to the article on Yahoo Shine, "Stress is highly contagious between parent and child, even if the parent is unaware of his or her own anxiety." Ouch.

Parents, it's time to destress, for the sake of our kids! Check out the article here for more info on how to deal with stress and help your kids deal with stress, too!

Monday, September 19, 2011

September is Baby Safety Month!

Did you know that September is Baby Safety Month? Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an independent product safety certification organization, is asking parents and caregivers this month to take a minute to learn some valuable at-home safety tips to keep your babies safe and sound at home!

Will you accept UL's challenge to commit to learning its top 10 babyproofing tips? UL cited the alarming statistic that over 2.5 million children are injured in their homes every year, so help keep your babies and children safe by checking out the this very informative article on the website, Baby Zone.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Get Up and Go!

Most kids are heading back to school this week. (Moms everywhere are sighing with relief!) With the lazy days of summer behind us, it's time to start gearing back up for our early morning, back- to-school routines. Julie Cole, a mother of six kids under the age of 11, gave some great tips on Celebrity Baby Blog on how to get back-to- school ready. Check it out here!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What Experts Wish Parents Knew…

Parents, this is a must-read from Real Simple magazine!

This is a very informative article on different points of views from experts, including doctors, dentists, therapists, teachers and coaches, on how to handle certain situations with your kids. Here is the scoop on what the experts wish us parents knew!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to School!

With so many kids heading back to school this month, it's hard for students and their parents to not think about the first day of school! Can you feel the butterflies in your stomach just thinking about it?

Of course you want your child to make a good impression on their new teacher, but what about you?!?! Here are seven tips from the website, Shine, on how you, the parent, can forge a positive relationship with your child's new teacher from day one!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Good Ol' Fashioned Fun!

Sometimes I think back to my childhood, and how I would spend my summer days playing outside from sun up to sun down. I wish that for my own kids so much, as we have all grown accustomed to video games, Ipads, and other technologies that keep us from the great outdoors.

Check out the article from Real Simple magazine entitled, "Good Ol' Fashioned Playtime!"

I've been daughter and I are going to skip rocks in the creek near our house tomorrow!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Build Your Kids a Library at Home

Reading to your kids is one of the most important things you can do for your child as you raise them. Experts everywhere say that reading to your children for 20 minutes a day will help them to succeed at school, expands and build their vocabulary, as well s help grow their imagination.

Babble, a parenting website, has a list of the 100 best children's books of all time. If you desire to build your kids a home library, then you must check out this list!

It even puts the books into categories, including infant, toddler, grade school and young adult.

What is your favorite children's book? Sound off in the comments section below.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot? Check out our HOT Summer sale!

Pure and Honest Kids is having a summer sale like no other! We are offering 25% off Last Chance Clearance items. (And P.S.---the merchandise under the Last Chance section is already are going to find some great deals!)

Hurry and place your order now because quantities are limited and the offer ends on August 14. Just use the coupon code HOTHOT at checkout!

Check out our Last Chance Clearance items here!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dads Can Help New Moms...Even with Breastfeeding!

Almost all new mothers get some form of the "new mommy blues." Figuring out how to care for your newborn is quite stressful, and the dynamics of your relationship with your husband or partner can change as you figure out this thing called motherhood.

A friend of mine who has a six week-old called me this morning, and said, "Breastfeeding is so hard. I am so tired. And me and my husband are trying to remember that we like each other." I can totally relate! Those first few months can be tough for everyone.

I ran across this article today from a website called Giggle Gab and thought of my friend. This article touches on how a partner or husband can help a new mom's adjustment, even when it comes to breastfeeding. Your hubby may not have the equipment to actually feed the baby, but they can still help. Check out the article here.

Hang in there, new moms! It does get easier. And remember, ask for help when you need it!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Bucket List....Before Kids!

You've probably heard of a "bucket list" before...the things you want to do or accomplish before you die. Have you ever heard of a "before kids bucket list?" I ran across this article on The Bump website that asks parents for a list of things they wish they had done before they became parents.

It's a very interesting read and it made me think...if I could turn back time (sorry for getting the Cher song in your head), what do I wish I'd done before we decided to have kids?

My favorite answer in the article was, "Go to the movies more." I can so identify with this one! Some answers are more serious than that, but it's a fun read all the way around. Check it out here.

If you could turn back time, what would YOU have done differently before the kiddos became the centerpiece of your life? Sound off in the comments section below.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Playdates for Mom

A blog entry by celebrity mom Brooke Burke recently talked about how moms need playdates, too. I couldn't agree more! Time with girlfriends, mama friends, even your own mother is so important to us as women. If you don't agree, check out this friendship study from UCLA on how friendships even help improve women's health.

According to the head of psychiatry at Standford University, "Among other things, one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends."

Funny, but kind of true, eh? Agree or disagree? Sound off in the comments section below.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Great Lengths...Great Scott!

If you have ever reached your due date (I did twice), you know how maddening it can be that you haven't gone into labor yet. Pregnant moms get desperate to meet their little one and spur themselves into labor with all kinds of crazy techniques. But how far is too far?

Here's an interesting article from IVillage on how far some women will go to try to induce labor themselves. (Herbal supplements and Castor oil and hot peppers, oh my!)

What did you try to do to get the (labor) party started? And did it work? Leave it in the comments section below.

Monday, June 20, 2011

So Advanced....

My friends and I always joke that our kids are "so advanced!" Of course, most parents think their kids are geniuses, but how do you know if your child is truly gifted? Check out this article from Lil Sugar for signs of a gifted child!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Word Explosion!

My husband often jokes with me that I am now being punished for worrying about my daughter’s speech when she was a toddler because as an almost five year-old, she never stops talking!

I often tell people that my sweet little girl has a paragraph in her head when she wakes in the morning, just waiting to come out! Just this past weekend, when she woke up one morning, she told us she had "five things she needed to tell us."

Now that my son is at the age that I used to worry about my daughter’s speech and vocabulary, I have noticed he is way more verbal at 22 months than she was…and I often wonder why? I know that every child develops differently and at their own pace, but I also think my son's verbal ability has to do with the fact that my son hears me and my daughter talking all day long to one another.

There are many things you can do to help build your toddler’s vocabulary and encourage and enhance his or her language development. Here are just a few ways you can help build a vast vocabulary in your little one below.

- Talk, talk and more talk!
Talk to your child all day long. Narrate what you are doing, what you see, and what you hear. There is no better way to teach your child words and how to have a back-and-forth conversation than to talk to your child. According to, a 1991 University of Chicago study documented the vocabulary growth of 22 children from the age of 16 months to 2 years. Half of the mothers of the children were considered "very talkative" mothers and the other half were considered "least talkative" mothers. Children with the “very talkative” mothers learned 295 more words by the age of 2 years than their counterparts, proving that exposure to speech is critical to building a child's vocabulary.

- Read to your child every day.
A child’s vocabulary is built tremendously by reading books to them every day. There are so many benefits to just 20 minutes of reading a day. For one, reading books aloud to your children builds a stronger relationship between parent and child. Children are also more likely to express themselves and relate to others in a healthy way when they relate to characters in a book. Make it part of your daily routine and your kids will be learning new words and gaining self-confidence and a healthy self-esteem in no time!

- Correct the cute-ness!
You are doing your child no favors when you let them incorrectly label something with the wrong word…so correct the “cute-ness!” I am the world’s worst at this. My daughter used to “be-cide” she wanted to do something, instead of “decide,” and I thought it was precious! My son calls his sippy cup his “doddle” (aka- bottle) and I don’t correct him because it melts my heart. Carol Garhart Mooney, author of Use Your Words, says parents need to correct improper word usage because the correction and clarification is essential to help children make sense of the word around them.

- Talk to your children, not at them.
Be sure to engage your kids in conversation, rather than just barking orders or giving instructions. Just talk to them, and let them express how they are feeling and what they are thinking. Ask your kids questions to engage them in conversation make sure the questions require a more in-depth answer than just one word. (Example: Instead of asking a question that can be answered in one word, such as, “Do you want milk or water with dinner,” ask your child, “Which is your favorite drink with dinner, milk or water, and why do you like it the best?” The more a child has the opportunity to use his or her words, the more adept he or she will become at holding a conversation and speaking to friends and adults as they grow.

Remember, you are your little one’s first and most important teacher, so start building their vocabulary today!

How do you help build your child’s vocabulary? Leave your ideas in the comments section below.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Seriously, where was this product when my kids were infants? There is now a self-warming baby bottle system available to parents. This baby product, made by Yoomi, safely and conveniently heats up breast milk or formula in just 60 seconds!

Designed by a husband and wife team, this revolutionary technology warms breast milk or formula to the ideal temperature (86 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.)

What I would have given to have a mechanism such as this to warm bottles when I was out and about with my oldest while she was still nursing! She would not drink cold milk from bottles, so bottle feeding was tough while away from the house.

To boot, Yoomi’s bottles are BPA-free and ergonomically designed so they’re easy for babies to hold. The wide, soft silicone nipple mimics a woman’s breast and it also has well-placed vents that prevent air from bubbling, which helps to reduce colic. It is also lightweight and easy to transport.

The Yoomi bottle system kind of makes me want to have another kid just so I can buy this product. Okay, maybe I don't like the bottle warming system that much, but I definitely will be telling all my expecting friends about this product!

Sound off in the comments section if you or someone you know has tried the Yoomi bottle warming system. Give us the scoop!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

How To Prepare a Child for Outpatient Surgery

Recently I learned my four and-a-half year old has sleep apnea! Crazy, huh? For a while now, we have noticed she holds her breath in her sleep and somewhat during the day as well. A trip to the ENT showed us that her tonsils and adenoids are both enlarged and need to be removed. We have scheduled surgery for our daughter in t-minus two weeks. Aggggghhhh!

My husband and I know we need to broach the subject with her before the surgery to let her know (in terms she can understand) what is going to occur. But when is the right time? We don’t want to tell her too early because of the undue worry she will have about going to the hospital, but we also don’t want to spring it on her either!
We know she needs some time to prepare psychologically for her surgery.

After some research, here are some tips from the experts on how to prepare your child for outpatient surgery.

- Kids of all ages cope better when they understand what type of surgery is going to occur and why it is necessary. Explain in children’s terminology why the surgery must happen and what she is going to experience.

- Allow your child to ask questions and answer them in a way that they can understand. Don’t over explain!

- Most children fear the surgery itself will hurt and this is their main concern. Explain to your child that there is a special doctor- an anesthesiologist- that will help your child go to sleep so they won’t feel a thing during the surgery. Reiterate that mommy and daddy will be with her as soon as she wakes up.

- However, do not lie about the discomfort she may feel after she awakens from anesthesia. Say, “It may be a little uncomfortable when you wake up, but mommy and daddy will make sure you get plenty of medicine to make any uncomfortable feeling you have go away and feel better.”

- Find books about hospital experiences (that are appropriate for your child’s level) that explain surgery and hospital visits. Children often learn best through examples and books are a wonderful way to help explain the difficult concept of surgery, anesthesia, and other hospital procedures.

- Have your child practice surgery on his or her stuffed animals with a toy doctor kit. This will help them become more comfortable with blood pressure, temperature taking, and other routine hospital procedures that must occur before surgery.

- Consider setting up a pre-surgery visit to the hospital so your child can become acquainted with the hospital. This will make it seem like a less scary place.

- Remind your child that having this surgery will make their bodies healthier and stronger. Keep reminding them it will make them feel better.

- On the day of the surgery, pack your child special stuffed animals, toys and books that will make them more comfortable while they wait for surgery.

Have you had any hospital experiences with your child? What helped them (and you) relax before the surgery? Leave any tips you have in the comments section below.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Crib Climber...What To Do?

My 20 month-old decided to make an already stressful week (we move in four days) even more eventful by climbing out of his crib this weekend. This occurrence has pushed this already on edge mama over the brink.

Why so anxiety-ridden about my boy taking the plunge, you ask? Here is the background: My son is such a good sleeper…he still takes two naps a day at 20 months old (each one averaging 1.5-2 hours, sometimes longer.) And to boot, he still goes down for bed at 7 p.m. and sleeps until 7 a.m. (Do you hate me yet? Don’t worry…my first child was not a sleeper, so I was due for one!) When my daughter started climbing out of her crib (at 22 months), that was the end of naps for us. The freedom of roaming her room was too much for her, and from there on out, naps were a struggle. By two-and-a-half years of age, my daughter stopped napping completely. This CANNOT happen again. I don’t think it will since my son loves to sleep, but I can’t risk it. Naptime is too precious!

However, I know that it is much safer to have a toddler walking around a baby-proofed room than it is climbing out of a crib and possibly falling. What to do, what to do? While researching online, here is some advice I found that was a good refresher for me and helpful on deciding what to do:

- If your child is old enough to understand “you must stay in your bed,” then explain this concept to your child. Every time he gets out of his bed, put him right back in it. This may make for some long nights at first, or some challenging naptimes, but your consistency will pay off.

- Try not to speak or interact with your child as you put them back in their bed. Sometimes children even appreciate negative attention, so minimum contact is essential.

- If you know your child is not ready for a big bed or toddler, then consider a crib tent. A crib tent is mesh and attaches to the crib rails with Velcro, to keep your little one safe and unable to climb out of the crib and fall.

- Again, if you feel your child is not ready to move out of the crib, then buy yourself some more time by lowering your crib to the lowest setting possible. Remove the bumper pad so your baby cannot use it to boost herself up over the rails.

My favorite piece of advice I found when researching tonight was from Jodi Mithchell, Pediatric Sleep Expert, found on the popular website, Baby Center. She said, “It's best not to react to climbing out of the crib with a sense of crisis. First, assess the situation and see if you and your child are truly ready for a change.”

Amen! I think I rushed too fast to put my daughter in a big girl bed when she climbed out the crib for the first time. I am going to access the situation this week and decide what we need to do to keep our boy both safe and sleeping.

So go with your gut, parents! You know your child best and you will know if it is time for him or her to move to a toddler bed or big girl/big boy bed.

Oh, and FYI: when we put our baby to bed for nap today, he tried a few times to climb out of his crib, and we went in and firmly put him back in the crib, and he finally went to sleep, sleeping for over two hours. Tonight at bedtime, we didn’t hear a peep out of him. He didn’t even try to climb out! I am sure the saga will continue this week, but for now, we are going to try to keep him (safely) in his crib.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Green App!

A big trend in nursery decorating these days is eco-friendly designs. There are so many ways to go organic when it comes to preparing your baby’s room, and now there is an app to help you figure out how to make your baby’s room as “green” as possible. It’s called “The Peaceful Nursery” app, and it can be yours for $2.

Created by Laura Forbes Carlin and Alison Forbes (authors of the book, also named The Peaceful Nursery), it guides expectant parents on how to best design an organic nursery for their new arrival. The app also shares great tips for how parents can prepare for the early months with baby with eco-friendly and pure products.

Did you know that there are organic baby mattresses on the market? How about organic baby bedding? There is even organic baby furniture that is made from non-toxic means and won’t omit gases from the chemicals and glues normally used to make furniture. Who knew there were so many ways to make a greener and more healthy lifestyle for our babies, even before they get here!

Check out the app here if you are in the market for an organic nursery.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What Does Food Dye Have to do with Hyperactivity?

About two years ago, after a few months of wondering why our sweet kiddo was bouncing off the walls a good majority of the time, my husband and I decided it was time to do some research into what could be causing this behavior. In our findings, some researchers believed there was a direct link between hyperactivity and the ingestion of certain food dyes and additives. We decided to try to cut preservatives and red food dye out of our daughter’s diet as much as possible to see if it helped our daughter’s overly “spirited” behavior. I felt, it couldn’t hurt, and it would only force us all to eat healthier, right? Surprisingly, we felt it made a big difference in our daughter in a positive way! It may have just been the case of the terrible twos rearing its ugly head, but eating healthier seemed like a win-win, regardless of whether it was truly having an affect on our child's behavior. In the months after this little experiment, when we found ourselves backsliding and not being as diligent with monitoring our daughter’s diet, the hyperactivity seemed to intensify, thus confirming how the change in diet was working for us. We would then become conscientious once again. I came across an interesting article today and wanted it to share it with everyone. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now formally weighing the evidence if hyperactivity is truly tied to certain food dyes and additives. If the FDA determines that additives and dyes do intensify hyperactivity in children, then the agency may eventually have to strengthen its regulations with the food dye and additives ingredients. Check out the article here and sound off below in the comments section. Anyone else have an opinion or any experience with eliminating food dyes and additives in their kids’ diets?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to Explain the Unthinkable to Your Kids: Natural Disasters

With the horrendous earthquakes and subsequent tsunami occurring in Japan this week, our children are seeing some pretty horrific images on the television and hearing discussions in the community and in our churches about how we can help the people of Japan. How do you explain such a terrible situation to your young children?

It is important to take into account how old your child is and their developmental stage, because every age is going to have differing levels of comprehension. Even adults struggle with understanding these unthinkable disasters, so can you imagine how a child grapples with such a tragedy? It is important to explain an earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, and any other type of natural disaster in a manner in which children can understand. Here are some tips on how to do just that:

- Answer your child’s questions about the natural disaster, but don’t overload them. Too much information will just overwhelm them.

- Try to keep your emotions in check when discussing world disasters with your kids. If you cry or appear upset or angry, this will certainly spill over into how your child views the situation, thus making them feel even unsafe or insecure.

- Talk about what you can do as a family to help the people of the torn or ravaged nation. This is an amazing opportunity to teach your child about charity and the importance of helping others in need. Volunteer together as a family or do something at home to help the people who need it.

- Don’t keep the television on all the time when the news is covering a disaster 24-7. While, as adults, we can get enthralled in gathering information and learning as much as we can about the disasters as it is occurring, this is not healthy for your children. The images and sound bites used on the news are often too graphic and hard for kids to understand.

- Reassure your children they are not in danger and make them feel safe. Yes, the world can be a dangerous and unsafe place, but it is important to make our children feel loved and secure. Talk to your children about all the things your family does to keep yourselves safe from danger and prepared in case of emergency. Although no one knows what will unfold in the future, it is important to make your child feel safe and secure today.

Monday, March 7, 2011

How To Survive Your House Being on the Market with Kids

It’s day three of having our house on the market, and you know what?!?! It’s not so bad! (Again, it’s only been three days. Ask me three weeks from now if I am feeling the same way.)

The reason I think it hasn’t been so bad is we prepared. We cleaned out. We streamlined. And then we cleaned out some more. It has taken several weeks to get to this point, and now I am kicking myself because our house has never looked so good! I am wondering why we didn’t live like this years ago?

Here are some of my tips on how we keep our house “show ready” with two kids and two dogs. Never a dull moment around here!

- Streamline as much as possible. Determine if each household item is used on a daily basis. If it is not, then pack it away. If you do need it on a daily basis, then it should have its own spot. Every time you use this item, put it back in its designated spot. This will make it so much easier on you when someone calls you for a showing and only gives you a 15 minute warning (this happened to us on Saturday, but we were ready!)

- Consolidate bathrooms. We are all using the master bathroom to bathe, brush teeth, etc. This limits the amount of time I have to spend cleaning bathrooms each night. One bathroom is much easier to clean than three. Bathrooms and kitchens, in my opinion, are the most time consuming rooms in a house to clean and both should be spotless during showings.

- Clean and pick up every night. Make it part of your nighttime routine. This will cut down on the “frantic time” in the morning when you are trying to get your kids ready for school.

- Box up toys in bins or boxes and then rotate them in your child's play area every few weeks. The other bins and boxes go in storage. This way, you keep your toys at a minimum for showings, but your kids don’t tire of them because they get to play with "new" toys every few weeks.

- Make a new rule: Before you leave a room, you must all pick it up. Again, why didn’t I enforce this rule years ago?

- If you know you are going to have a showing that day, clean up, get your house set up how you want it, and then go on a family adventure to get yourselves out of the house. It will be less stressful for everyone to just get out of your house then it is to try to not mess up the house all day.

- Prepare your meals ahead of time. Make a lot of meals all at one time once a week and then freeze them. That way, you only really mess up your kitchen once a week. Then, at night, your dinner is already made and all you have to do is pop it in the oven. This will save time in the long run because you don’t have to worry about making your kitchen spotless every night.

Again, this is only day three for me. If anyone out there has any other tips, please leave them in the comments section! I'd love to read them. I’ll check back with you guys in a few weeks and let you know if my attitude towards keeping a clean house while it’s on the market is still this chipper!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Going Back to Work after Baby? Here’s How to Make Life a Little Easier on You and Baby

Adjusting to life with a newborn is hard enough, but when the days of your maternity leave are coming to an end, here are some tips on how to make life a little easier when it’s time to head back into the office.

• Set up your childcare as far in advance as possible so you can begin to adjust to this new situation.

• A few days before your first day back in the office, if your childcare is not in your home, do a trial-run of leaving your house to the childcare location at the same time you will leave in the mornings for work. This will give you a better idea of how long you need to allot for travel time. Once you figure out travel time, factor in the time it will take you to get your baby in and out of the car, and also leave enough time to give instructions to the daycare teacher or nanny. Always give yourself a few extra minutes in the morning, too, in case there is a spit-up or if you need to do an emergency diaper change.

• If your childcare is away from your home, pack your baby’s bag the night before. Also make your bottles ahead of time. This will save you so much time in the morning. If you have a nanny come to your house, set up the bottles, clothes, diapers and anything else the nanny will need for the next day the night before. This will alleviate stress in the a.m. while you get ready for work.

• To make your mornings go more smoothly, lay out your outfit for work the night before as well. After you have a baby, you may not be back in your regular clothes right away, so finding suitable outfits for work can be stressful. Do this the night before to avoid wardrobe meltdowns!

• If at all possible, try not to have the childcare travel arrangements solely your responsibility. Sometimes work or personal things come up unexpectedly, and you may not be able to always be the one who picks up your baby from childcare.

• If you are nursing your baby, set up a pumping location with your boss and the HR department before you return to work. Pack your pumping necessities the night before, too.

• Take care of yourself and get plenty of sleep when you can. Working all day and then taking care of your baby at night leaves little room for “mama” to take care of herself. If you have a spouse or partner, divide the responsibilities at home so it doesn’t all rest on you. And remember to cut yourself some slack. The laundry can wait another day- get your rest while you can!

• Make time for your friends with babies even when you go back to work. Nothing can substitute your “mama friends” as they provide emotional support and understand what you are going through!

Good luck heading back to the office!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Valentine's Day---Homestretch

My daughter is a holiday-a-holic. What does this mean, you ask? It means she is obsessed with holidays. ALL holidays. So, needless to say, she's pretty excited about Valentine's Day being less than a week away!

We’ve already made Valentines goody bags for her friends. She’s crafted the perfect Heart Day cards for her family and teachers. She’s colored countless Valentine’s Day coloring sheets, and she has made a plethora of V-Day crafts I have been collecting from all over town.

With t-minus six days until February 14, what else can we possibly do to celebrate the holiday?

I came across some Valentine’s Day Apps for the IPad/IPhone today that look pretty cool, so we'll probably check those out tomorrow. Maybe these free or low-cost apps below will bring us into the homestretch of Cupid’s very favorite day!

Julius Harts Cupcakes: Decorate a cupcake on mommy’s IPhone/IPad with the perfect Valentine’s Day decorations app!

KidCalc 7-in-1 Math Fun-Valentine’s Day Theme: This app teaches math skills for ages 3-9 year-olds, but does so with a fun new Valentine’s Day theme.

Valentine’s Day Coloring Books: Get your creative juices flowing with this cute and colorful way to personalize and send Valentine’s Day e-cards on the IPad or IPhone.

Matching Hearts Game: It’s memory time, but this clever game uses conversation hearts to get in the mood for February 14!

Valentine’s Day Countdown: Instead of enduring the, “How many more days until Valentine’s Day, mommy?” question that I will inevitably get every day, I am going to download the V-Day countdown so my daughter can see for herself and tell me all about it!

Talking Cupid: Who wouldn’t be entertained by a cupid that talks, laughs and interacts with you? This is a must-have download for February 14!

Valentine’s Day Painter: Let someone special know how much you love them with this free
Valentine’s Day heart painting app. Send it to your loved ones via e-mail!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Looking for a Rainy Day Activity? Homemade Play Dough!

The weather is cold and rainy this week where we live, and I have been trying to think of something fun to do with my four year-old daughter tomorrow. Luckily her preschool teacher
e-mailed me tonight reminding me I signed up to make homemade play dough for her class for the month of February, so I thought...why not? Let's go ahead and make it! We'll make enough to play with at home, and also enough to share with her class.

I wanted to share the recipe with you, too, in case you are in need of a fun activity to do this week with your kids! Hope you have fun making homemade play dough...I know we will. Now, the question is, will it be more fun making the play dough or playing with it afterwards?

Homemade Play Dough Recipe:

3 cups Flour
1 ½ cups Salt
3 cups Water
2 TBSP Vegetable Oil
1 TBSP Cream of Tartar
Few drops “ Neon” Food coloring of your choice or 1 package unsweetened "Kool-Aid" of your choice

1. Mix ALL of the ingredients in a large saucepan.

2. Cook over medium low heat, until the dough comes away from the edges of the pan and it becomes difficult to move the spoon. Remove from heat. Cool until it can be handled.

3. Place on counter or wax paper. Knead until blended and smooth.

4. Store in a large zip-lock bag or air-tight container.

Tip for you- You must let it cool ALL the way before sealing it off, or it will be gooey--even if it feels like a normal play dough consistency after even 20 needs longer.

Enjoy and have fun!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Are Your Shopping Days Over?!?!

I was talking to a girlfriend the other day about shopping with our toddlers. Let’s just say we both have had our share of shopping struggles as of late and running to the mall has become a bit of a strain.

When your toddler becomes mobile and the stroller begins to feel more like a prison than a mode of transportation to him, are your shopping days over?

Your shopping days don’t have to be numbered, but you do need to start thinking more strategically when shopping with a toddler. Take my morning last week, for example. My oldest child was in preschool, and I had just a few hours to cross off some items on my to-do list. I had to buy three birthday gifts and also had to buy an outfit for myself for an upcoming party. I was not looking forward to taking my son with me. However, the shopping had to be finished and I was on a deadline. Instead of dreading it, I thought strategically and came up with a game plan.

Before we even started our shopping trip, I took my son to the neighborhood playground to burn some energy. I felt like he may be less likely to want to crawl out of his stroller to explore the mall if he was physically tired from playing hard. He happily ran and played at the playground, and when he seemed tired, we headed to the mall to begin our shopping adventure.

At the first store, I fed my son an early lunch in his stroller. He was a happy camper, and so was I! One birthday present down, one outfit and two birthday presents to go.

The next stop at the mall was finding an outfit for me. I chose a store that I have had much success in the past with finding clothes. Since time was precious, I wanted to try to eliminate the need to go to multiple stores. I asked for the biggest dressing room available. While I was trying on clothes, I pulled out toys from my diaper bag and my son ran around the dressing room and played. He was pumped to be out of his stroller and I was happy to try on clothes. And luckily, I found the perfect dress for our upcoming event. Score!

I knew my time was running out. I chose one final store near the mall to buy the other two gifts I needed… good ol’ Target. This is my go-to store. During this trip to Target, I had two strategies. One, I put my son in a cart instead of his stroller so he could have a different mode of transportation to switch things up. He seemed excited to ride around the store and we chatted away, face-to-face. I think he enjoyed the change of scenery, and he also loved being close enough to get about a million kisses from me while we shopped. When the newness of the cart wore off, I pulled out my daughter’s toy MP3 player for him to play with. Since my daughter was at school, (shhh...don't tell tell her), my son was in heaven pressing all the buttons, listening to all the songs. This worked like a charm!

I managed to find a birthday gift for a friend, but struck out finding a gift for my brother. Rather than press my luck and try to make it to one more store, I decided to call it a day and we headed home. When I put my son down for his afternoon nap, I got online and ordered my brother’s birthday gift. Remember that online shopping is always an option if you get in a bind!

Hopefully next time you have to go shopping with your toddler, you can come up with a game plan that will work for you, too. See?!?! Your shopping days aren’t numbered. You just have to be a little more strategic!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Post-Holiday Blues---How To Help Your Kids Shake It Off

After weeks of no school, being off schedule and enjoying the rush of the holiday season, it’s hard for kids to get back into the swing of things. Often times, kids can get what I call the “post-holiday blues.”

Most families go strong from Halloween to the New Year, and then all of a sudden, it slows down and the social calendar is not as full. Kids can get bent out of shape when they are not constantly on the go after many months of going full throttle.
What can we do to get our kids to calm down after many weeks of sensory overload and get them back on schedule?

- Go to bed at normal times and get plenty of sleep. Also, make sure you are eating healthy and nutritious meals. The holidays sometimes bring too many sweet treats, and it’s important to start focusing on eating a balanced diet again.

- Try to get outside each day, even for just a little bit. In the winter, we tend to huddle up and stay inside. Fresh air can do wonders, though, so bundle up and let your kids explore the great outdoors.

- Resume normal activities and get back on a schedule. Children thrive on consistency, and that is the best thing you can give your children after the busyness of the holiday season.

- Exercise is a great way to improve everyone’s mood. Take your kids outside to run and play! If the weather is too cold or rainy for outside time, turn on some music inside and dance away the blues. If you get your kids moving, it will surely put a smile on their faces.

- Take some time to relive the holidays. Talk to your child about their favorite memories, traditions and presents. Show them pictures and home videos from the past month. You’ll both remember the holidays fondly.

- Plan something to look forward to in the coming months. Maybe it’s time to go on a family trip to the zoo or a local museum, or it can be as simple as family movie night, but try to get something fun on the calendar that you can focus your child’s attention on. Let him know there are fun things to enjoy year-round.

- Remember that returning to school may be tough for your children. Remind them of all the friends they will get to see and fun school activities that are right around the corner. Try to be as positive about going back to school as you can.

Good luck beating the post-holiday blues. Hopefully these tips will help ensure a Happy New Year for all!