Saturday, December 17, 2011
This video is hilarious! It is a little girl singing jingle bells. Well, it is a creative interpretation of the song anyway - she goes into some freestyle rap. Enjoy!
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
Harris Teeter recently started a policy of not doubling any coupons that say "do not double or triple". In the past, however, they doubled or tripled everything regardless of whether it contained that statement. (I assume Harris Teeter, not the manufacturers, ate the difference.) With this latest coupon hassle, I now am reminded why I usually shop at their competition. Lowes Foods, and even Walmart and Target, have better prices and less hassle in the form of imaginary "deals". I will be sticking with them in the future.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Since I came across this website, I thought I would share it in case there are others who are scratching their heads trying to find an appropriate gift for a new Jewish baby or child. While many of the items shown are not religious or culturally-specific, even if you order a baby blanket or other item, your friends will appreciate your efforts to honor their religion and culture with your choice of gift purchase. One cute gift, which is probably only appropriate if you have a solid knowledge of Hebrew, is a pacifier that can be personalized with Hebrew letters.
Now if they can only create stores for other niches. Maybe someone should create a store called "Culturally appropriate gifts for clueless Americans".
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
A few months ago, we moved into a new house. The new one is much more practical for our family, and has large rooms for the kids and a great backyard . However, though we have moved several times before, to my son only one place was "home". The first night, I put him in his crib, braced myself, and waited for the screams. To my surprise, none came. Each night after, I waited for things to sink in and for him to throw a massive tantrum, but to my surprise and relief, nothing happened. He was just the same happy kid he has always been. Just in a new house.
As much as I am shocked that the move caused so little disruption in my toddler's life, I am also a little disappointed. If he can really bounce back this easily from changes in his normal daily routine, I guess he isn't so much like me after all.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Of all places, a mother gave birth yesterday in a Waffle House parking lot. Apparently they will be holding the child's baptism at Bojangles and 1st birthday party at Chik-fil-a.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Here are links to some of the books in this series:
Me: "If she keeps asking around, she can probably find one from someone that she knows. She just needs to check the date and make sure it isn't expired."
Formerly Intelligent Person: "Even if it's expired, what does it matter? Who's going to know if it's expired?"
Me: "What are you, crazy? Don't you know that the expiration date is on there because the materials that make up the car seat start to break down, and after a certain number of years it isn't as safe anymore?"
Formerly Intelligent Person: (clearly thinking I am full of it) "Whatever, it's not that big a deal."
Well, folks, it is that big a deal. Car seat safety guidelines exist to keep babies and children safe. They aren't just some scam to get people to keep buying new baby products. Even the Cadillac of Britax car seats starts to lose its ability to keep your child safe after a certain amount of time. The general rule on car seats is that they expire 6 years from the manufacturing date, which you can find on the bottom of the seat. As I learned with my Peg Perego, though, some seats expire after only 5 years or less. This is why it is very important to read the manual for your specific year and model of car seat.
Please don't share the mindset of Formerly Intelligent Person. Take care seat expiration dates seriously. It is your job to keep your baby or child safe. If it means spending a little more money on a safe car seat, and a little less on cute baby outfits, it is worth it. I speak from experience. As I may have blogged about previously, a friend was killed several years ago in a terrible car wreck. Her infant daughter survived- she had some injuries, but she was saved by her car seat. I shudder to think what would have happened if this friend had purchased an older, expired car seat. The family that my friend left behind had enough tragedy to cope with...her choice of car seat not only saved her baby, but also helped to provide her family with some comfort.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Here in the Carolinas, people are used to hurricanes. Many people already keep hurricane kits in their homes, or have already purchased generators, simply because hurricane season is just part of life in this part of the country. Talking to family and friends in the Northeast, however, is quite perplexing. There seem to be 2 major reactions: 1) People who are completely freaking out, stockpiling canned peas like the world is coming to an end; and 2) People who appear to be in denial, who are doing no hurricane preparations and just hoping the whole thing blows out to sea.
Get real, folks. This hurricane is coming, and it is a big one. If Manhattan takes a direct hit, we could see devastation of Katrina proportions. If you aren't taking this hurricane seriously, and you have children, you are an idiot. It is your responsibility to keep your children safe, and that includes being appropriately prepared for hurricanes or any other natural disaster that you can reasonably predict.
Depending on the age of your child, you will have different needs. The general rule is that you should have a gallon of water available per person per day for at least 3-4 days in your home. If you have an infant, even if he or she is breast fed, you should stock up even more, and purchase some powdered formula and bottles as a back-up. If for some reason you are injured in the storm and can't breastfeed, at least you will have something to feed your baby. (Without power, any extra breast milk stored in your fridge or freezer will quickly become unsafe for use.) Also consider other infant items that you regularly use- be sure to have at least 3-4 days worth of diapers, wipes, and diaper cream on hand, in case power is out and stores are closed. When the tornadoes hit my area in April, many drug and grocery stores were closed for almost a week after the storm.
If your children are old enough to understand that a hurricane is coming, try prepping them factually. Don't try to tell them that nothing is happening. Kids are perceptive, and will feel more nervous if they feel that you are lying to them. Explain that a hurricane is like a thunderstorm that has a lot of extra wind. Because of this wind, it is not safe to be outside, because tree branches and other items can blow around and possibly hurt someone. Warn them that the power may go out, and suggest some board games/toys/puzzles that they can play with that do not require electricity. Most of all, reassure them that a parent's job is to keep their children safe, and that you will keep them safe during the storm.
I will be praying for everyone along the coast. Irene is coming, there is no question. I just hope that she is merciful, and that nobody is injured or killed by this storm.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
Daughter: "Who's tap shoes?"
Daughter: "No, who's tap shoes?"
Me: "Yours. They are for you."
Daughter: (getting upset) "No, I want to know who's tap shoes!"
Me: "I told you. They are for you. We are getting them for you."
Daughter: "But I want to know who's tap shoes!"
Me: (Finally realizing she is asking who's and not whose tap shoes) "Oh, do you think tap shoes is a person?"
Daughter: (Smiling) "Yes. Who is it?"
This is when I had to explain what her tap shoes were. It gave me quite a chuckle as I started my day. Just another example of the funny things kids say!
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
What I am trying to say, through this unusual (and maybe a little gross) metaphor, is that people are worried about money right now. I recognize this. So, while I may be in a situation in which I am more secure and less worried than other people right now, I am thinking twice before spending money on trivial things. With millions of people out of work and worried about feeding their families or preventing their homes from foreclosure, I feel a little guilty spending $20 on a tacky Halloween decoration.
For the time being, I am going to continue to talk about great items and recommend products that I am buying. But, I will focus more on sharing coupon codes for baby and children's websites and writing about some of the great deals that I find. For those of you who are in a comfortable financial position right now, I am also going to provide more information on charities and ways to give back to the community. It is never too early to teach your children about the many ways they can help others.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
When my daughter was a few months old, a friend introduced me to the joys of shopping with my baby at our local mall. This mall has the most beautiful family restroom I have ever seen....big comfy chairs and a TV to occupy older children, multiple changing stations with attached sinks and garbage bins, and private rooms for breastfeeding. To top it off, it is always extremely clean, and is attended to by cleaning staff almost constantly. Having previously been afraid to leave the house with my baby, I was excited to have a comfortable place to take her. During the day, the mall was never crowded, and I could leisurely stroll around, sip my coffee, and stop to reminisce with older folks about their children. My daughter loved looking around at all of the lights and different colors in store displays and, when she grew tired, would close her eyes and take a nap.
The unfortunate result of all of these trips to the mall was, as you would imagine, a growing number of unnecessary purchases. With your little angel looking up at you from her stroller, it is tough not to imagine the adorable sight of her in every cute little dress and outfit that Gymboree or The Children's Place are selling. (At least it was in my case!) All of this clothing truly was adorable, but her closet became so full that at most she wore every article of clothing only once or twice. That was certainly not the most economical use of my hard-earned money.
Let's take this one step further, and look at the future implications of my out-of-control spending. Assume that I unnecessarily spent approximately $50 per week on baby clothing. (I spent much more than this, but let's assume that most of the clothing was truly needed). This translates into roughly $200 per month on clothing that would be worn once, then put away, given to friends, or sold on consignment for pennies on the dollar. If I had kept that spending up for a year (assuming my husband wouldn't have cancelled my credit cards first), that amounts to $2400 in overindulgence.
Thankfully, this phase only lasted for about four months. The weather improved, and I began taking my baby for walks outside in the fresh air- which, incidentally, are free. However, in that 4 month period, I had spent approximately $800 on clothing that my daughter had barely used. Imagine if I had instead taken that $800 and invested it for her future. Even if I had placed it in a low-yield savings account, assuming a 3% interest rate, in 18 years it would have grown to $1,182. If I had invested that same $800 in the stock market through a 529 plan, assuming an average 9% rate of return, in 18 years it would have grown tax-free to $4,018. Had I stopped to think about this before, I would have gladly traded in some of those adorable dresses for over $4,000 toward my daughter's college expenses.
Friday, July 22, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
This was just fascinating to me- and a little depressing at the same time. My husband and I have been together for 10 years, and married for most of those years. Our anniversary used to be a major event, but as children came, we gradually pushed the day aside. Now it is eclipsed by our son's birthday, which is only 3 days before. I know that couples who do not have children miss out on all of the love and adventure that children can bring. But sometimes, I do wish that it would be possible for my spouse and I to take a day or 2 and spend time together, talking only about "grown-up stuff". However, it is just impossible. When we do have a free moment together, like in the calm, quiet evenings after the kids are in bed, all discussion inevitably focuses on child-related issues. So, while I wouldn't trade my kids for anything, in some ways I do envy those couples who are childless by choice and are able to focus more on each other. One day when my kids are older and off on their own, however, I know that I will miss these days.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
In recent years, the development of hidden "nanny-cams" has flooded the internet and news programs with images of abusive or inadequate caregivers who appeared to have experience with children and stellar references. Finding suitable, quality childcare is very difficult, especially with the added paranoia that these nanny-cam incidents have caused. Many, if not most, mothers would prefer to rear their own children, without depending on help from potentially unfit strangers. In some cases, even family members are unfit to help with childcare duties. However, for many women, staying home is not an option. Financial burdens require many households to earn two incomes just to pay the bills, requiring many mothers to work. In this unpredictable economy, many couples are fearful of giving up one job in case the other spouse is laid off. Some women have worked to establish successful careers, and feel that giving them up would take away a piece of their identity and in turn negatively impact their home life.
Regardless of the reason, the fact that mothers have to choose between working and raising their children is quite disheartening. Women have made many successful strides in the workplace that have put us on a great track to achieve equality with men. Yet we are hampered by the issues that arise when we become mothers. Some workplaces have accomodated the unique needs of mothers by allowing for telecommuting and flexible scheduling options, but these types of positions are hard to come by. Why is it that more workplaces have not stepped up to the plate? Flexibility in work scheduling allows a parent to have the best of both worlds: a successful career AND priceless time with his/her children. There is clearly a need for such arrangements. Just look at the number of "work from home" advertisements in most parenting magazines, or the number of mothers who choose to sell products from companies such as the Pampered Chef or Tupperware.
How can we make our voices heard and advocate for generally accepted standards for flexibility in the workplace? Are their organizations currently in existence that are already doing this type of work? If you are out there, please add a comment to tell us about your work. I will be happy to feature you in a future post.
I must also add that I am fortunate enough to have found a workplace and supervisor who make every effort to aid in work/life balance and allow a reasonable amount of flexibility. This is after suffering through 3 years in a workplace that was anti-mothers and outright discriminated against parents of young children in their hiring practices. I was relieved and overjoyed to find a workplace that understands if my child is sick and I need to work from home, or if I need to leave early to see my child's school concert. So if you are stuck in a workplace that is making it harder for you to balance work and family, I suggest that you keep looking for other options. Eventually you may find the right workplace that makes you feel better about having to work all day and be away from your children, and still allows you to spend quality time with them.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
If you are seeking a classy, high-end gift for your pregnant friend or wife, this list probably won't help. But, if you are seeking a funny gift, gag gift, or conversation starter, or are just looking for gifts to avoid, here are some ideas.
- Nursing bras. This cringe-worthy gift is practical, but really- is it normal to go bra shopping for a friend?
- The Giant Microbes Sperm Cell (Spermatozoon). Description from the store's website: "Our little man's man is the stuff of legends. You can bank on it."
- Yes, breast cream is another practical gift. But it is a little creepy to think that someone else is buying cream for your sore boobs.
(Though this would be a funny shower gift for a woman who is publicly very squeamish about breastfeeding.)
- Fitness Magazine
What do you think? Have you received any other funny pregnancy gifts? Or did anyone, without trying to be funny, buy you a completely inappropriate gift?
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
The most fun part of waiting to get the call that my new nephew has been born, of course, is hearing 1) that he is healthy and 2) what they name him. In our family, everyone pretty much refrains from discussing baby names until the baby is born. (It is probably because we are all so opinionated and nobody really wants to hear what we all think of each particular name that is under consideration.) So far, they have gone with very trendy names plucked from the top 10 list from each year of birth. I am very curious to see what this little guy is named!
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
- Drinking Castor Oil
- Nipple Stimulation
- Eating Spicy Foods
- Walking, swimming, or other increased physical activity
- Take a bumpy car ride
- Have sexual intercourse
- Drink red raspberry leaf tea or take red raspberry leaf tablets
In a 2008 study (Murray, Kelsberg, Safranek and Crawford, "Clinical inquiries. Do any folk remedies or herbals help induce labor?", The Journal of Family Practice), researchers found that some methods of natural labor induction may actually be unsafe. Traditional methods which were deemed ineffective and possibly unsafe by the study included:
- Evening Primrose Oil
- Black Cohosh
- Blue Cohosh
Interestingly enough, in its review of other studies, this study found that two methods appeared to be effective in starting labor: Acupuncture and Nipple Stimulation. Castor oil was found to cause nausea and vomiting, but not labor. I guess I know where to start when I am ready to evict my little one! While I could not find recent research data on other methods such as eating spicy foods, I may give them a try as well.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Well, I guess that is one restaurant I won't be going to if I travel through western PA. This restaurant owner is tired of noisy babies and children in his establishment, and decided that kids under 6 will not longer be permitted to dine there. I sympathize with his view that many parents allow their children to run hog wild in restaurants. On several occasions, while sitting with my own (quiet, well-behaving) children in restaurants, we have been subjected to screaming and tantruming from other children that went on for an hour or more. However, I think this decision is a poor one, and hope that it hurts his business. Rather than banning all children, this owner should start speaking up when patrons' children are being disruptive and asking them to leave. This would weed out the bad apples and allow parents who are rearing respectful children (or who know enough to get the check and leave when a baby or toddler is screaming) to continue to enjoy this restaurant.
Friday, July 8, 2011
On the day in question (June 16, 2008), or perhaps the night before, maybe Caylee was killed in a horrible accident. Instead of drowning in the swimming pool, which the defense contended during the trial (and may have been made up based on another inmate's story), I believe that Casey tried to use Chloroform to put Caylee to sleep so she could go out and party. Maybe she even knocked her out and put her in the car to sleep. It is clear that Casey was quite the party girl, and also clear that her parents did not treat her as if they thought she was a good mother. So rather than ask them to watch the baby so she could go out drinking, and being forced to have her terrible parenting skills thrown in her face, perhaps she started looking for a way to keep her daughter safe that would allow her to leave her unattended and avoid letting her parents know what she was up to. So, maybe Casey tried to drug Caylee with chloroform and accidentally overdid it, killing the little girl. Still an accident? Yes. An accident that would put Casey in prison? Absolutely.
I did not feel that George Anthony was believable on the stand. Maybe he molested Casey or maybe he didn't. Maybe he had an affair or maybe he didn't. Either way, it did not seem as if he was telling the whole truth on the stand. I really think the jury didn't trust him. So maybe this really was a horrible accident and Casey enlisted the help of her father, who was formerly in law enforcement, to help cover it up. Maybe she had something to hold over his head as blackmail- such as allegations of incest and molestation. She could have used this to get him to help.
Now there is Cindy Anthony. Yes, it seems clear that she lied on the stand regarding who made the searches for "chloroform" on the family computer. But perhaps it is because she is trying to protect her daughter, not because she knows something. What if George helped Casey dispose of the body and Cindy had no knowledge? What if Cindy simply believes her daughter had something to do with Caylee's death, and that it was an accident, so she was trying to help? Or, even worse, what if Cindy believes that George really did molest Casey- and now she is trying to protect her daughter from prison, since she couldn't protect her from him?
So, what do you think of this for a possible theory?
Faced with the choice between making my child miserable by putting shoes on her, or making her outfit look less cute by only putting her in socks, I chose to keep my child comfortable and just try to keep her feet out of pictures. However, one day my sister-in-law came to the rescue with what came to be one of my favorite baby inventions: shoe socks! I had never seen them before, and I was so excited to put them on my daughter. I fell in love with them, and had to purchase other styles. I stuck with the Trumpette brand, and found that the socks were high quality, resisted fading, and miraculously stayed on my daughter's feet, even when she was at the stage when she could pull off socks made by other brands.
When my son came along, I was excited to find that there were versions for boys as well. I ran out and purchased socks that looked like skater shoes and ones that looked like sneakers. The boys' shoe socks seem to earn even more compliments from passers-by than the girls'. They are just adorable.
This is such a cute and unique idea. I hope you enjoy them for your little one!
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
I am not comfortable in these situations. I find it awkward to strike up conversation with strangers, especially when many of them already know each other. However, one thing I have learned is that bringing an interesting hostess gift or party snack can serve as a great conversation starter. It also really starts you off on the right foot with other partygoers, as they immediately know that you have a sense of humor.
Here are some funny and interesting items that you may want to consider for your next hostess gift:
- Nautical Wine Sweaters
I just can't help but look at this little army of wine bottles dressed in sailor sweaters and laugh. It is a ridiculous but cute way to bring a bottle of wine to a party.
- Bumble Bee Honey Pot - I have this and absolutely love it. You can pair it with some local honey and/or tea for a unique gift.
- Bud Vase Set
This unique and inexpensive way to bring flowers is perfect for parties that scientists or people with medical backgrounds will be attending. The rack looks remarkably like a test tube rack seen in many laboratories. You only need 5 stems of flowers. Put food coloring in the water and select unique flowers to make this really special.
- Pot Clip - This clip attaches right to the rim of your pot. The spoon rests in the hole until you're ready to use it again, so any dripping goes back in the pot. This is a great way to keep counters clean and avoid having a messy spoonrest. Everyone will want to know where you got it!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
However, I do hope that Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards are able to remain civil, and that he will not have a negative influence on baby Eloise. He is the father of the other 2 children, so it is reasonable to expect that he will come into contact with the baby, but I hope that he continues to receive proper treatment and becomes a positive male role model for all 3 girls.
Depending on your other child(ren)'s age(s), you can take some precautions and safety measures to help ease the transition (and your mind). Here I will share some ideas that have worked for myself and friends who have been through the adjustment of adding to their broods. Some may be more appropriate for preschoolers and school-age children, who have a better cognitive understanding, while others may be useful for all ages. So, here goes:
The Spoiled Little Baby List of Suggestions to Keep Your Baby Safe From Older Siblings
- Teach your child this rule: "Only grown-ups pick up babies."
- Talk to your child about touching the baby, and explain that everyone has germs that can make little babies sick. This is why we need this rule: "Only touch the covered parts." This is easy for even a 2 year old to remember (worked for mine, with occasional reminders), and will help to keep their hands off of the baby's hands, face, etc.
- Consider installing a baby gate on your baby's door (once he or she is sleeping in a crib) or on your own door if baby will be sleeping in your room. This is appropriate if you are worried about your child sneaking in unsupervised and possibly picking up or harming baby.
- Keep all balls and other toys that your child typically throws or kicks in the garage. This will eliminate any potential for baby to accidentally be hit by an errant throw.
- Teach your child this rule: "Babies only drink milk. They have no teeth so they can't eat." This will help to discourage your child from trying to share food or drink with his or her sibling.
This story is awful, and I apologize to those of you pregnant women who may be reading this and weeping. However, let's use this as a reminder to follow all car seat safety rules and commit to keeping our babies safe. It takes a little bit of time to attend a car seat check at your local hospital or fire department, but it is worth it to make sure that your infant is secure and as safe as possible in a vehicle.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Kudos to Kmart. Even with some of its own financial struggles, it has still managed to be a good corporate citizen and raise funds for a major foundation.
On a side note, I do not support the March of Dimes in many of their fundraising techniques. A couple years ago, a coworker of my husband suffered a stillbirth, and we wanted to do something to honor the baby. We made a donation to the March of Dimes in her name. Within 2-3 weeks, our mailbox was inundated with requests for donations from charities, including many we had never even heard of. There were an average of around 10 requests per day. Now, we have been giving to charities such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association for years, and never had this type of onslaught. It was pretty clear that the March of Dimes had sold their mailing list.
Since then, we have been receiving regular requests for donations from the March of Dimes almost monthly, though we have never donated another penny (and don't plan to). Some of these requests are marked with red "Second Request" stamps. This really angers me. It seems to be a trick designed to prey on the elderly, who may think it is a bill or a commitment they have made. This tactic is dishonest and fools people into making a donation.
For these reasons, I do not donate to the March of Dimes, though they do good work and provide important programs. I just can't support their tactics.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
The vaccine for pertussis is given as part of the DtaP shot given at 2, 4, and 6 months. But before the final dose, at 6 months, infants are most at risk of dying from pertussis. That's right, "whooping cough", which sounds so benign, is actually deadly for young infants. Please follow the CDC's advice and make sure that you and your family receive this vaccine. It could save your own baby, or someone else's.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
It was an extra special present because it came with her name embroidered on it. I loved it because it is very practical, especially since we love to spend a lot of time at the pool in the summer. Aside from the one pictured, there are also many other options to choose from. This list includes some of my favorites:
Jumbo Shark Towel
Flying Dinosaurs Towel
We have put the towel through the wash many times now and it still has not faded. I am also impressed with the embroidery, as it has not come unwoven or bled into the fabric. Overall, I think it is a great product.
On Judgement Day
If God should say
"Did you clean your house today?"
I will say
"I did not. I played with my children....and I forgot."
Yes, I know that the gender is not a big deal. What is between the legs is not as important as whether the baby is healthy. But in an age where we have so much availability of immediate access to information and instant gratification, it is unusual to have to be patient and wait in anticipation for months for an answer to a question. This was very hard for me to do, probably harder than I expected. And really, waiting to find out the gender to go on a shopping trip for the little one is hardly something worth stressing over. But the excitement just built in me. It was so fun to wonder whether they would have a little boy or girl. One day, I was sure I could picture them with a boy. The next, I was sure they were having a girl.
Of course, they happily announced yesterday that they gave birth to a baby boy. It was very exciting news, which of course would have been equally exciting if it were a girl. But since the baby's gender was a surprise, I think among our circle of friends the birth was more anticipated. When we received word of the baby's birth, it was like we were all let in on a big, important secret.
My point in this long-winded explanation is that keeping the baby's gender a secret can be fun, especially in an age where most parents-to-be rely on an ultrasound to tell them the gender by 20 weeks. Though we kept the gender a secret for our first born up until my baby shower, we did find out, and went through the whole pregnancy knowing that it would be a girl. In hindsight, it would have been very tough not knowing, but it would have been even more fun to keep the gender a secret even from ourselves. If you are thinking about this option, I don't think you will regret it. Some people may impatiently give you a hard time, but in the end it will be a fun surprise for everyone!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Your Infant's Mouth Article Infants Colgate® Oral Care Information Infants & Children
It also includes some tips on purchasing and monitoring pacifier use. One important safety tip that every parent and caregiver should know: Never fasten a pacifier on a string or necklace around a child's neck- he or she could accidentally be strangled.
To make a really authentic Italian-style tomato sauce, you need:
Tomatoes (either fresh or crushed tomatoes in a can)
Crushed Red Pepper
*Sugar if desired
Start by browning the garlic in olive oil. Then add your onions, then tomatoes and all of the other seasonings to taste. If you like a meat sauce, brown your sausage or other meat separately before adding it to the sauce. That's it! Making a red sauce is one of the least complicated things there is. AND it is perfectly freezable- I suggest making a large pot, seasoning to your desired taste, and freezing some for later use. When you are ready to make some macaroni, just empty the frozen sauce into a pan and add a small amount of water. Or freeze the sauce in plastic containers and all you will have to do is add some water and put it in the microwave.
This makes a quick and easy dinner when you are in a hurry. You just need to put on some water to boil and make your favorite kind of pasta, and dinner is ready! If you have a child who does not like tomato sauce, it is very easy to separate out some pasta before adding the tomato sauce to serve him or her plain pasta with butter and/or grated cheese.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
As you can see in a previous post, I purchased one of these seats when my daughter was around 2. However, I never felt comfortable putting her in it. We did not have a problem with the buckle detaching, but the seat did not feel very sturdy. As you can see, we ended up giving the seat to her doll. She uses it to feed her doll, or to put the doll in to join us at the dinner table.
While this is a creative use of the recalled product for now, it ultimately needs to be returned to Target. The store is giving a full refund to all who purchased the product. These need to be off the "after-market" to prevent a well-intentioned parent from purchasing a used one and putting their child in it, only to have the buckle open the child fall to the floor. Please take these recalls seriously.
The main function of a stroller is to safely transport a baby or child from one place to another. A secondary function is of course as a storage vessel for diaper bags, bottles, or other items. Some strollers have unique features such as iPod hookups and speakers or one-handed folding, but in general they all have wheels and are designed to hold an infant.
Despite the uniformity of their functions, strollers are available at a variety of price points. If you are very trendy and feel that a custom stroller is important, then by all means get a Bugaboo. If you are looking for a high-quality product and not as concerned with having something that no other mother on your block does, then there are many other excellent options for you to choose from. All of which will, at some point, be pooped on, drooled on, and have milk spilled on them.
I have been very fortunate to never be in a position where I could not be home with my infant in the early months. My earliest exposure to the daycare experience was when my son was 6 months old and started part-time daycare so I could ease back into my work routine. Even at 6 months, it was hard to leave him. He was still receiving breast milk, so my days were a complicated mess of pumping and preparing bottles in the morning, dropping off my baby and hoping he didn't cry when I left, getting in the car and hoping I didn't cry when I left, getting through the work day in between pumping sessions, heading back to daycare at the end of the day, and rounding out the night with feedings, bottle washing, baths, and bedtime.
Dropping my infant off was difficult, but I know that it could have been worse. At 6 months, I already had a handle on his personality, and he had become somewhat predictable in his behavior. Some friends who had to return to work and start their infants in daycare at 6 weeks old were not so lucky. They barely had a chance to bond with their babies before handing them off. Knowing that I was better off than some mothers at least made the inital days of daycare more tolerable.
The absolute best part of the experience of putting my baby in daycare, though, was that I chose a daycare with webcams. These cameras are on a secure, password-protected site, and allow parents to watch their children all day. Our daycare had 2 cameras in each classroom, 1 of which was over the cribs in the infant room. This allowed me to watch my little guy all day, including checking on his sleeping and eating habits. Of course, it decreased my productivity at work, but for the sake of my mental health it was worth it. The daycare charged slightly higher rates than others in the area, most likely due to the cost of the camera service, but it was well worth it for the peace of mind.
One day, my son was sitting on the floor playing with some toys. He was tired, but fighting it because he wanted to play. Eventually, I received a text from a friend who worked at the daycare telling me to check the camera and be prepared to laugh. There was my son, sprawled in the middle of the carpet, sleeping soundly with the toys strewn all around him. It looked like he had a hard night of partying and was passed out drunk. Of course, I was able to grab a screen shot of this and save the picture to share with him when he gets older and wants to know all about his early days in daycare.
Monday, June 20, 2011
None of these fathers were charged as of yet, and all signs are that each incident was in itself a tragic accident. In all 3 cases, none of the fathers knew that their children were outside, and the adult inside the home was unaware as well. This is the ultimate tragedy for all of these families- especially the fathers, who are likely blaming themselves.
Every situation was different, and I don't know how the children in each incident were able to go out into their driveways unnoticed. However, I can understand how it happened. My daughter was around 18 months old and had never opened a door on her own. One morning, my husband and I were in the kitchen with her, and she walked away toward the front door. I heard what sounded like the door opening and went running- and there she was, out the door and walking on the front lawn. It was a frightening experience, but also a good wake up call. That day, I went right out and purchased a Home Safety Kit, including child proof door knob covers for every exterior door in the house, to prevent her from making another surprise escape.
Try as you might, you can't always anticipate and protect your child from every possible danger that exists. However, there are things that you can do to help prevent this type of tragedy from occuring in your own home, including:
- Create a safe baby room or area in your home that includes outlet covers on all electrical outlets, window locks and window coverings too high for baby to reach on all windows, and baby gates on any doorways. Adjustable Locking Straps can be used for any glass doors or lazy susan type cabinets. In this space, tether all furniture to the wall with Anti-Tip Furniture Straps and keep only baby-safe toys in reach. This way, if you have to put your toddler down for a minute to run to the bathroom or tend to another child, you know you are putting them in the safest place possible.
- Purchase childproof door knob covers. These are fairly inexpensive, but will prevent little hands from being able to open a door and sneak out unnoticed.
- Install outlet covers on all of the electrical outlets in your home as soon as your baby is mobile. Even a crawler can get to an outlet if you turn your back for just a second.
- Regularly inspect your home for safety issues. Crawl around on the floor so you can see everything from child height.
I hope that, when reading the stories of these awful tragedies, you do not assume that these families did not have safety mechanisms in place to keep their children in the house. Sometimes, despite every precaution, unsafe situations occur and accidents happen. The absolute best way to know that your baby or toddler will not slip out of the house and into the path of a moving vehicle is to ensure that he or she remains in your sight, or that of another responsible adult, at all times.
On a positive note, the family from North Carolina who lost their daughter to a driveway accident decided to honor her memory by working with the Ronald McDonald House to donate funds to create a waiting room for families of children in pediatric intensive care at the children's hospital that treated her. Though they have suffered this immense loss, they are working to raise awareness and help other families who are coping with injured or sick children. I hope that it is helping them to heal. I also pray that no other family ever has to suffer a driveway tragedy.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
- Read books or watch videos about childbirth. Even at a very young age, my oldest understood and enjoyed watching birth videos on Discovery Health.
- Look through baby pictures of your older child with him/her, especially those that were taken right after birth or in the hospital. I created a photo book for my child that included the messy pictures taken of her right at birth, as well as pictures of various family members holding her soon after she was born.
- Take your child on a tour of the hospital where you plan to give birth. Most hospitals regularly arrange tours of their labor and delivery units. Since your older child will likely be in the care of friends or relatives while you are in the hospital, this will give him/her a chance to see exactly where you and the new baby will be.
- Review baby names together. My oldest named her younger sibling "Elvis". It certainly was not the name we ended up giving him, but it did give her something special to share with everyone.
- If you are comfortable doing this, allow your child to be part of the final baby name decision. Consider narrowing your name choices down to 2 that you like, and allowing the big brother or big sister to choose the name and tell the family.
- Purchase a realistic baby doll and use it to allow your child to practice the rules to follow in interacting with a baby (such as "touch only his/her feet", "don't try to pick him/her up", etc.). You can also use the doll to help your child practice ways in which he/she can help you take care of the baby (such as handing you diaper rash cream or diapers from the diaper stacker or changing the changing pad cover.
- Practice sharing. Depending on your child's age, this may include inviting children over for play dates and helping your child learn to share his toys.
Unfortunately, there is no magic formula that will make your older child instantly adore his/her sibling without any rivalry or jealousy, but rest assured that eventually they will grow to love each other. Hopefully these tips will help to ease the transition as your family expands.
Previously I posted a checklist of the things that I think everyone should carry in their diaper bag. Here are some suggestions of unique products to purchase for your diaper bag as you complete the checklist. The photos below include links in case you would like to purchase any of the items.
- Blanket or nursing cover