We're Moving!!

Don't forget to change your readers and bookmarks to www.firstimpressionsbaby.com/blog! We won't be here for much longer (we have a new home)!

Monday, August 25, 2008

And, here is where I beg.

Just one last post - just in case anyone is still reading over here (and, by the way...what are you doing? We moved!! Come find us at www.firstimpressionsbaby.com/blog!!)

Anyhow, I thought I'd divulge a little secret - that, may or may not in fact be much of a secret anymore. You see, I have a personal blog as well (want to go visit me there?).

Okay, are you back yet?

The fun news is that I was just nominated to be among 800 others in the Hot Blogger Calendar! It's a real deal where the winners will get to fly to NYC and get all prettified and get their pictures taken and appear in a real life calendar!

So, will you please vote for me? Well, if you think I'm worthy. I wouldn't want you to lie or anything in the polls. Here's the link to vote. You will have to scroll down to "Boss Sanders" and it's not in A-Z order. I'd very much appreciate it, and once again...my personal blog is up top and there's a picture of me in the main header (in case you need to see before you vote. I understand).

UPDATE: (Or, you can vote here. Look for Boss Sanders)

$100 Winner from Sleepy Wrap!

Come check out who won $100 in our latest giveaway! Be sure to change your bookmarks to : www.firstimpressionsbaby.com/blog so you don't miss out!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Looking For More Kid-Friendly Recipes?

If you've reached the end of your cookbook and are in need of more kid-friendly recipes, take a look at these (they are adult-friendly, too!):

Whole Foods
has a huge range of kid recipes - from breakfast to lunch to snacks to meals - and, it's all healthy!

If you are looking for recipes that kids can cook with a little help, check out this site by Kid's Health. They even have some recipes for kids with cystic fibrosis, diabetes, vegetarians, lactose intolerance, and celiac disease!

Tiny Tummies, another website with some great healthy recipes, is also geared to get little ones in the kitchen to help. The idea is that by getting them into the kitchen, they'll be more likely to eat the fixings. Check out their great list of what's in season and the recipes to go with!

We also found Mollie Katzen's website - she's an author of some great children's recipe books and has listed some of her fabulous (and healthy) recipes online, too!

Wondertime has some more kid-friendly recipes...

Thursday, August 21, 2008


We're loving this new (to us) website called LookyBook.com. On it, you will find picture books galore that you can preview (in their entirety!) before you buy! You never have to buy a crappy picture book again!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Speech Delays - What To Do


If you discover that your child may have a speech or language delay, one of your first steps would be to see a speech pathologist. There can be a number of reasons for these delays, so one of the first things the speech pathologist will do is test your child in the following areas: receptive language (what your child understands), expressive language (what your child can say), body language and gestures, and oral motor status (how the anatomy of the mouth works for speech as well as for eating and drinking). After the testing, the speech pathologist will better know what may be hindering your child and will be able to come up with an individual plan for your child to overcome his delays.

In the meantime, there are some things parents can do to help their children develop in the areas of speech and language:

1. Talk with your children. It doesn't matter if your 8 month old really understands what you are saying, but it's in this time that they are soaking up the sounds of your particular language, which will be part of the framework for later use. If you feel odd carrying on a one-sided conversation, simply explain your routines as you do them.
2. Sing silly songs, especially ones with repetitive sounds and noises. Encourage them to try and imitate you.
3. Start reading to your child by the time he is 6 months old. Start out with books with textures and vivid pictures with simple wording. Read and try to engage them - "Do you see the brown cow?" As your child gets older, start reading more predictable books that your child can memorize. Eventually your child will try and pretend to read the book back to you. It's okay that your child is memorizing and not really reading. Memorizing is one of the first steps to reading.
4. Play the name game as soon as your child begins saying their first word(s). Point at items and name them, encouraging your child to do the same.

Lastly, if your child does have a speech delay, don't panic. In most situations, with the right treatment from a speech pathologist, children are back on track within 1-2 years.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lollipop Cookies

*Photo and recipe by Terri


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • assorted colors of paste food coloring
  • 24 lollipop sticks


  1. In a bowl cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Stir till soft dough forms. Divide dough into fourths. Tint each with a different food color. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Working with half of each color, shape dough into 3/4 inch balls and for each cookie place 1 pink, 1 green, 1 blue and 1 orange ball together to make 1 large ball. Shape into a 12 inch long roll (like a snake), starting at one end, coil roll to make a 2 3/4 inch round cookie. Place cookies 3 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Carefully insert lollipop sticks into bottoms of cookies.
  4. Bake cookies for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and store in an airtight container.

PS - Don't forget to join our giveaway for your chance to win $100!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Speech Delays - Ages 2 1/2 - 4


30-36 Months
  • at 30 months, can't be understood by anyone in her family
  • at 36 months, uses no simple sentences, doesn't ask questions, and can't be understood by strangers

3-4 Years
  • at 3, can't speak in short phrases
  • at 3, is unable to understand short instructions
  • at 3, has no interest in interacting with other children
  • at 3, has extreme difficulty separating from a parent
  • at 3½, consistently fails to add final consonant to words (for example, saying "ca" instead of "cat")
  • at 4 years, still stutters frequently
  • at 4, isn't almost fully understandable

PS - Don't forget the $100 Giveaway!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Be sure to change your bookmarks!

We'll be here for exactly one more week, but come check us out at our new digs! We're all settled in now, and can't wait for you to see us! Every post that is featured here, will be featured at the new place too. And, if you are still only keeping up with us at this site, chances are you are missing some of the new extra posts at the new place!

And, don't forget: We have a $100 Giveaway going on. You can sign up HERE. If you already signed up for the giveaway at this site, you are considered signed up at the other site, regardless of what the comments may show. So, no worries! Winner will be announced at the new digs!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Make Your Own: Tutu

*Photo from Chasing Cheerios

Chasing cheerios has a great little tutorial for no-sew tutus - Make one for your little princess!

And, don't forget the great $100 Giveaway we have going on!

Cancer In A Bottle?

I've posted a lot about toxins in the things we put IN and ON our bodies, and so it came to no surprise to me when Rutgers University found a link between moisturizers and skin cancer. I mean, what exactly DO you expect when you apply lotions filled with parabens (Read: Cancer Causing Agents) on your skin everyday? I mean, really?

So many people are surprised by studies like these - they thought our government had a handle on it, that our government would protect them. I'm incredibly sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the FDA only limits certain chemicals. When it comes to cosmetics and bodycare, there isn't much by way of standards and regulations for what they can put into their products.

It's up to YOU to read your own labels to know what's safe, and what's not. Ignore the label's claims about organic or organic ingredients (I'll talk more about this later), because just because an item SAYS it has organic items, it doesn't make it so (another faulty FDA law...or non-law).

Exercise your right to read the labels, and carefully. For more information about chemicals you should be watching out for, read below. And, for more information, go to Skin Deep- where you can search for your particular product to see how it rates for safety.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

We're Moving!!

We're so excited to let you know that we're moving! We'll give everyone a little time to re-adjust to our new digs, but please start updating your bookmarks and feed readers for our new place: www.firstimpressionsbaby.com/blog

We'll make it official after our latest giveaway is up on this website.

We'll update you a little later on about all the cool new things to come! Come check us out!!


Speech Delays - Ages 0-2

Many of us wonder if our children are saying enough words. And, before we know it keeping up with the Joneses of this world begins to make us doubt our own parenting and our own children. We begin to compare how our child is speaking compared to Sally or little Jack, and try to rack our brains to think of any other children we may know in our child's age range.

And, before you know it, you've convince yourself that your child is behind.

Or, maybe you don't. Maybe you think your child is doing just grand, and then one day the pediatrician blows you mind with the news that your child is behind.

The following are some warning signs for language development delay (borrowed from BabyCenter):

Birth to 12 Months
  • by 4 months, doesn't imitate the sounds her parents make
  • by 6 months, isn't laughing or squealing
  • by 8 or 9 months, isn't using sounds to get your attention
  • by 9 months, hasn't begun babbling
  • at 10 months, doesn't respond to her name
  • by 9 or 10 months, isn't letting you know when she's happy or upset

12 to 15 Months
  • at 12 months, doesn't use gestures such as waving or shaking her head
  • by 12 months, isn't using at least a couple of consonants (p, b, etc.)
  • by 12 months, isn't somehow communicating to you when she needs help with something
  • at 15 months, doesn't understand and respond to words like "no" and "bye-bye"
  • by 15 months, isn't using at least six different gestures (waving, pointing, etc.)
  • by 15 months, can't say at least one to three words

18 to 24 Months
  • at 18 months, isn't saying at least six to ten words
  • by 18 to 20 months, isn't pointing out things of interest, such as a bird or airplane overhead
  • by 20 months, isn't making at least six consonant sounds
  • at 21 months, doesn't respond to simple directions
  • by 21 months, doesn't pretend with her dolls or herself (brushing her hair, feeding her doll, etc.)
  • at 24 months, can't join two words together
  • at 24 months, doesn't know the function of common household objects — toothbrush, telephone, fork, etc.
  • by 24 months, doesn't imitate actions or words of others
  • at 2 years, doesn't point to body parts when asked

PS - Don't forget the $100 Giveaway we have going on!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rugged Idea - A Blanket With No Boundaries

We have found yet another "Parenting Essential" for you - the Rugged Idea Blankets. These awesome blankets are made from Rip-Stop Nylon and Fleece - making them durable, cozy (yet lightweight), and water/wind proof! They come in 3 sizes: small (changing pad), medium (perfect for your stroller) or large (great for a double stroller).

We own the Rugged Idea Medium sized Blanket and absolutely love it! It has ties, so that it can be tied to our stroller in a moments notice, and is lightweight and compact enough that we can carry it with us wherever we go! It has gone to the park with us, watched fireworks with us (we sat on it), and covered our legs when we got chilly.

Fall is approaching, and the possibilities are endless! Cover a stroller so your little one is blocked from the wind/rain and warmth is locked in. Or, use it when wearing your baby to help protect your little one from the elements. Use it to sit on in the park, to cover up infant carriers, or as a mat to play on in public places.

These blankets are great - no matter the season, no matter the activity - and are a new favorite for us!

Go HERE to get yours, now!

PS - Don't forget that great $100 Giveaway that we have going on! What would you spend your $100 on?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ice Cream Cupcakes

*photo from Joy the Baker, as well.

What could be better during summer than ice cream and cupcakes, paired together in one fabulous ice cream cupcake?

Check out this fabulous recipe at Joy the Baker and enjoy!

And, don't forget our awesome $100 Giveaway!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Packing List

Check out this great packing list idea!

And, don't forget our awesome $100 Giveaway!

Back to Dads...

I know a lot of men tend to feel left out when it comes to the whole parenting thing. I mean, many magazines focus mostly on moms - actually, marketing in general tends to. And, then...there are the mommy groups and the such. And, pregnancy? It's all about the moms and babies, and dad often gets overlooked.

I came across this pretty great book called: The Modern Mom's Guide to Dads - Ten Secrets Your Husband Won't Tell You by Hogan Hilling and Jesse Jayne Rutherford. It talks about:

  • What your husband's fears, hopes, desires, and frustrations are
  • How to get him involved in the housework and childcare without manipulating him
  • How to reduce conflict in your marriage
  • And best of all, how to get some rest and time for yourself

It's a great book and my husband and I both recommend it - but, I wanted to hear some of YOUR advice too.

So, dads (and moms, too)...tell us what your biggest piece advice is concerning the fathers of our children. It can relate to anything...from what you're really thinking to housework to raising children...just tell us (in our comments)!

We can't wait to hear from you!

PS - Dad's if you have a certain gripe about society vs. fatherhood, be sure to let us know about it in the comments, too!

And, don't forget our awesome $100 Giveaway!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Giveaway: $100

Sleepy Wrap has agreed to award $100 to one of our readers! The rules are simple, click HERE for more info and how to enter.

Winner for the $50 Gift Certificate

Congratulations to Melanie, the winner of the $50 Gift Certificate for Good For The Kids, who said:

"I love this store! Fabulous!! My daughter got a play kitchen last year for Christmas but we didn't buy her any food at the time (too young to keep it out of her mouth). Now she's ready to have some play food so I'd pick:
-Melissa and Doug Cutting Fruit Crate Wood Play Food Melissa & Doug
-Melissa and Doug Sandwich Making Play Food Set Melissa & Doug
-Melissa and Doug Play Food Set Melissa & Doug

I know I'd go well over my $50!


Your Gift Certificate is on it's way, Melanie!

If you didn't win, now worries! Check out Good For The Kids and their great prices!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Contest!! Build your own Marble Ramp!

*photo from kidmade website

This is an AWESOME idea for kids and parents to participate in together. The idea? Build the longest marble ramp using only duct tape and cardboard. You ARE allowed, however, to use things such as walls, tables and chairs to prop it up.

Go here to check it out and read how to enter (it's really easy).

You have until the end of August to complete it! Be sure to comment here and let us know if you choose to participate! We'd love to feature ALL of our readers' photos of their ramps on our blog post!

And...just in case you haven't already signed up for our $50 Gift Certificate Giveaway for Good for the Kids, you can do so here :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Contest! Prize Package worth OVER $2000.00

Moms, own your own business? Check out this great giveaway: http://moms-united.blogspot.com/2008/07/contest-prize-package-worth-over-200000.html

Check out our $50 gift certificate giveaway, too...

Guest Post: Susanna Tocco on Prenatal Nutrition

Getting Ready to Make a Baby...or You just found out you are Preggers...

by Susanna Tocco

I'm not trying to play doctor here, but over the years of working in a nutrition dept of a health food store and being here on cafemom, i have noticed many moms don't know where to start nutritionally. Hope I can help.

Here's my list of recommendations to talk about w/ your doctor or mid-wife. as we all know, natural is usually best, but it doesn't always mean safe. some people might be allergic to an ingredient in a product i've suggested. so always read everything before you take it and talk to your doctor/mid-wife before beginning anything, even something natural.

1. A good prenatal vitamin will supply you with the vitamins and mineral you'll need. This does not mean you can eat junk food, you still need to eat a healthy diet. Vitamins are supplements and only used to supplement your daily intake, not replace it. My suggestions are limited because in my experience whole food vitamins are the only ones anyone should be taking. They are safe enough to take on an empty tummy and generally don't cause problems for mom's experiencing high levels of morning sickness.

Many of them are made with certified organic ingredients. Prenatals should be taken when you are trying to conceive (before you get preggers) to insure you have the proper vitamins in your system right at the time of conception. Studies show that the need for higher amounts of vitamin b's (found in prenatals) are most necessary in the first 6 weeks of fetal development. Most mamas don't even know they are preggers that early and miss taking a prenatal at this early of the game. So if you are lucky enough to be planning the conception, start the prenatal now!

*Company's who make them in order from what I believe are best to good:

New Chapter (true whole food made with organic ingredients)

Pure Essence Labs (Food based)

Nature's Plus SOURCE OF LIFE (whole food concentrate)

Rainbow Light (food based)

2.Another supplement you should start before conception, if possible, are EFA's (essential fatty acids) these are your Omega's, EPA, and DHA. Most commonly found in fish oils (dha & epa) but you can get omega's from flax oil, primrose, borage, pumpkin seed and chia seeds. Omegas are important because they help lubricate joints, good for mood support/brain function, great for hair skin nails, healthful for heart health, and a good hormone balance. DHA is essentialin fetal brain development and for a new born, up to age 2. "DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) is a polyunsaturated fatty acid, and is an essential building block of brain and nerve tissue. DHA cannot be synthesized by the body, and therefore must be obtained by a diet high is deep-sea cold water fish.

DHA, which constitutes approximately 40% of the brain, supports brain development during the last trimester of pregnancy when the unborn child's demand for neurological growth increases greatly. If added to the mother's diet, it can help prevent the depletion of the mother's store of DHA and support the developing baby's essential fatty acid needs. Currently, the proposed Adequate Intake of DHA for pregnant and lactating women is 300 mg per day. (ISSFAL)*

The omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, play important structural roles as components of cellular membranes. Ongoing clinical studies support the role of EPA and omega-3 fatty acids in health and disease.

Clinical investigations are continually carried out on the importance of DHA and omega-3 fatty acids in health and disease.

*International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids."

*Companies who make them that I like (no particular order this time):

Prenatal DHA by Nordic Naturals

Preg-Natal by Jarrow

Healthy Mom by Barleens

3. Pregnancy Tea by Traditional Medicinals or Yogi Tea. These teas support the uterus. Best to use during pregnancy. Using the tea after delivery, helps the uterus contract back to normal and keeps it toned. This is also part of your water intake you'll need. Ugh, I hated all the water I had to drink. Adding some lemon to the tea is tasty, and gives you a little vit c.

4. Protein. You'll be told to eat a lot of it. Remember Protein doesn't have to be from animals. "What is the difference between animal and plant protein?

Animal foods such as meat, dairy, eggs, poultry, and fish are complete proteins because they contain sufficient levels of all essential amino acids.

Plant proteins come from foods such as beans, nuts, peas and soy products. Milk products and eggs are good sources for lacto-ovo vegetarians.

What is a complementary protein?

Plant proteins tend to be limited in one or more essential amino acids. For example, beans are low in the amino acid lysine, while rice is rich in lysine.

When the amino acids from two or more foods together make up a complete protein with sufficient levels of all the essential amino acids, these food pairings are called "complementary proteins".

Examples include grains and legumes or legumes and seeds and nuts.

People following a vegetarian diet must eat protein foods that have complementary proteins so that the essential amino acids missing from one protein food can be supplied by another.

What are some examples of complementary proteins?

  • Beans and tortillas
  • Peanut butter sandwich
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Tofu with rice
  • Hummus with pita bread
  • Chickpeas and rice

    Do people following a vegetarian diet need to eat complementary proteins at every meal?

    It was once believed that complementary proteins had to be consumed at every meal. We now know that intentional combining at each meal isn't necessary.

  • As long as you eat a variety of plant foods, such as brown rice, corn, nuts, seeds, whole grains and wheat within each 24 hour period, your protein needs should easily be met."

    5. if you experience constipation, you can add more magnesium to your diet. some good ones on the market are Mama Calm by natural vitality and Ionic Fizz by Pure Essence Labs

    6. The Last 6 weeks of your term:Check out Dr. Christopher's Pre-natal. It is used only during the last 6 weeks of pregnancy and it's traditionally used to help prepare the uterus and vagina for delivery.

  • After Baby is Born:

    Stay on that prenatal or switch to the Post Natal by Pure Essence Labs

    Stay on those EFA's especially if you are breastfeeding, because that growing brain of baby's still needs all the help it can get. Up to hte age of 2 at the least.

    Keep up with the water intake. You need it to produce milk.

    Other helpful nutrients we need help getting because of lack of healthful diets:

    Digestive Enzymes:if you eat a lot of cooked foods then the natural enzymes of those foods are killed during the cooking process. Enzymes are needed to digest foods. There are two ways to get enzymes: Fresh, uncooked food, or if it's been cooked then our body supplies the enzymes. Well, this takes away from our reserve of enzymes needed for energy. Help your body by supplementing w/ Digestive Enzymes. My favs: Renew Life, Mega Foods, Enzymatica, Garden of Life and Jarrow

    Acidophilus:these are the friendly bacteria found in our gut. They are the platform for proper immune health and digestion. They play a huge role in our bodies. Small amounts can be found in yogurt, but not enough to support our crazy lifestyles. My fav brands: Renew Life, New Chapter, Mega Foods, and Garden of Life.

  • Be sure to check out our $50 Gift Certificate Giveaway, too...

    Heatstroke And Little Ones

    I've heard that if my toddler gets too hot, he could suffer heat stroke. What is that?

    Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when a person becomes extremely overheated. Basically, the body's temperature rises while its ability to cool off shuts down. Babies and young children are especially vulnerable to heat stroke. Your toddler might get heat stroke if he plays outside in very hot weather, for example, especially if he becomes dehydrated or if he's dressed too warmly. A severe sunburn can also make him susceptible. Leaving him in a parked car — which you should never do — would put him at risk, too. (In fact, heat stroke can occur within minutes in a car, where the temperature quickly climbs much higher than the outside temperature.)

    How will I know if my toddler has heat stroke?

    Your toddler may first show signs of heat exhaustion, which is milder. These symptoms include thirst, fatigue, leg or stomach cramps, and cool, moist skin.

    If heat exhaustion progresses to heat stroke, your child may have any of the following symptoms:

    • A temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius) or higher — but no sweating

    • Hot, red, dry skin

    • Rapid pulse

    • Restlessness

    • Confusion

    • Dizziness

    • Headache


    • Rapid, shallow breathing

    • Lethargy (Your toddler might not respond as strongly as usual when you call his name or tickle his skin, for example.)

    • Unconsciousness

    You'll also want to watch for signs of dehydration.

    What should I do if I suspect my child has heat stroke?

    You'll need to bring your toddler's internal temperature down as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence — a child suffering from severe heat stroke can easily slip into unconsciousness.

    First, call 911. Then undress your toddler completely and lay him down in a cool area. (If you're outside in the sun, find some shade, but if at all possible, move him into a cool room.) While you're waiting for the ambulance, sponge down his body with a washcloth or rag dipped in cool water, and fan him. (You can use an electric fan or simply fan him with something in your hand, like a magazine.) Talk to him reassuringly to keep him calm. Don't give him anything to drink. And though you may be tempted to give your toddler acetaminophen (Tylenol), it won't lower a temperature caused by heat stroke.

    If your child is showing signs of heat exhaustion but it hasn't progressed to heat stroke, bring him indoors — to an air conditioned room, if possible — and give him plenty of liquids (not too sugary or too cold, though, or he might get stomach cramps). You might also give him a cool bath or shower and keep him indoors for the rest of the day. If he doesn't seem to be improving quickly, take him to the doctor or emergency room.

    How can I prevent my toddler from getting heat stroke?

    Keep in mind that it doesn't take much to bring on overheating, especially if your child is active on a hot day or he hasn't acclimated himself to the hot weather (in the beginning of summer, for example). Dress him in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Make sure he drinks more fluids than usual on hot days and takes frequent breaks. When the temperature is really severe, keep him indoors. (If your home is very hot and you don't have air conditioning, seek comfort at a public library, the mall, or a community shelter provided especially for relief from the heat.)

    *From babycenter.com

    And, don't forget to sign up for out $50 Gift Certificate Giveaway!!

    Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    Italian Meatloaf (with Carrot) from Deceptively Delicious

    This is a perfect place to use a food processor to save time. Finely chopped raw carrot will work as well as puree.

    Serves 8

    • Nonstick cooking spray
    • 1 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs (seasoned)
    • 1/2 cup nonfat skim milk
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/2 onion , finely chopped
    • 2 stalks celery , finely chopped
    • 1 pound lean ground turkey
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
    • 1/2 cup carrot puree
    • 1/4 cup ketchup
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 cup bottled tomato sauce
    • 4 slices turkey bacon
    Preheat the oven to 350°. Coat a 9" x 5" loaf pan with cooking spray.

    In a large bowl, soak the breadcrumbs in milk.

    Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the celery and cook 3 to 4 minutes longer. Scrape the mixture into the bowl with the breadcrumbs. Add the turkey, Parmesan, carrot puree, ketchup, salt and pepper, and stir to combine.

    Turn the mixture into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Spread tomato sauce over the meatloaf and lay the strips of bacon on top. Bake until the center of the meatloaf is no longer pink and the bacon begins to brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.

    From the book Deceptively Delicious SM

    And, don't forget about our $50 gift certificate giveaway!!

    Monday, August 4, 2008

    Winners Of Last Week's Giveaways - ANNOUNCED!

    We are so very pleased to announce the winners from last week's giveaways! They are:

    The gift pack (shirt/onesie, cd, and book): Tjbrumlik

    Room Makeover - heidi, bc, and momo3

    Sleepy Wrap - Alaina

    Each of you have been emailed. If we don't hear back from you by Wednesday, a new winner will be selected and contacted.

    Thanks for coming by and we hope you visit again!

    Be sure to check out our latest giveaway for a $50 gift certificate!

    And, for more information about babies, toddlers, cloth diapering, babywearing and MORE, be sure to check out our categories. Or, click the header to see our latest posts! We hope to see you again!

    Sunday, August 3, 2008

    If I had....$50 - Good for the Kids Giveaway

    During one of our latest giveaways (don't worry, winners to be announced from last week's giveaways on Monday), I asked what you would like to see more of on my site. One of the overwhelming responses was ALL THINGS NATURAL AND ORGANIC. So, I thought what better way to kick it off than with yet ANOTHER giveaway AND something GREEN AND ORGANIC?

    We are giving away a $50 gift certificate from Good For The Kids, a brilliant online store featuring some of the best toys EVER. From Melissa and Doug wooden toys to soft cuddlies, you can rest assured that your little one will be playing with toys that will not only be safe for them, but will also nurture their creativity and imaginations.

    In order to enter, please visit Good For The Kids website and visit their website. Come back here and leave a comment, telling us what you would buy from their store if you won the $50 gift certificate (along with your name and email, please). This contest ends August 9 at 11: 59 EST, and a winner will be chosen randomly. If you are the randomly chosen winner and your comment does not include the necessary criteria (name of favorite products from Good for the Kids store, your name, your email), you will automatically be disqualified and a new winner will be chosen.

    **Please note: All entrants are limited to one entry per day, but are invited to enter their name each day during the week that the contest is open (please choose a different products for each entry).

    Good luck!

    Friday, August 1, 2008

    Home Spa

    Summer often comes with aching backs and sore muscles, and taking a day to the spa for every ache and pain just isn't feasible (for most of us). Try the tips below to create your own in-house (and affordable) spa.

    For aching feet:
    Fill a tub or basin with warm water and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. If your feet are really tired and sore, try a mix of lavender and peppermint oils. Soak your feet for 10-15 minutes. Then, apply sugar to your feet (or a store bought or other homemade scrub) and rub in. Use a pumice stone to smooth away any particularly rough spots. Next, rinse your feet and dry them. Use your favorite soothing lotion (or add some lavender essential oil to an unscented lotion) and massage it into your feet and legs. Once your lotion is massaged in, put The Happy Company Soothing Cozy Slippers on and relax as the pain melts away from your feet.

    For an aching back:
    Use The Happy Company's Foot and Body Roller (which is also great for feet) to massage the muscles in your back. For more relief, have a friend or partner apply the therapy. Afterwards, use The Happy Company's Hot or Cold Gel Water Bottle to soothe and reduce swelling in your muscles. For extra relief, try mixing some peppermint oil and a carrier oil (like olive oil) and massaging it into muscles that hurt and reapplying the Hot or Cold Gel Water Bottle.

    In a darkened room, use a carrier oil such as olive oil (about the size of a quarter) and a few drops of peppermint essential oil, massage your into and around your hairline, temples, and the back of your neck. Next, gently press beneath your eyebrows (where they start, closest to your nose) to relieve pressure. Do some gentle stretching of your neck - side to side, and then turn your chin toward your shoulder, gently grasping the back of your head with your hand and lightly pulling down. Repeat on other side. Then, use the Happy Company Soothing Gel Eye Mask to help sooth any eye strain or headaches away.

    Creating a spa at home can be easy, and incredibly affordable with a just a few main supplies. Try recreating your home spa often to keep yourself relaxed and at peace - and best of all, happy.

    WARNING: If you are pregnant, some oils have been shown to not be safe for use during pregnancy (can cause contractions, etc.) Please check with your doctor, first.

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    Sock Monkey Virtual Room Makeover

    The Room:

    The issue: Heidi wants her one year old son, Martin to have a more pulled-together room, but they are on a budget. She prefers to keep the color the same in this room, and for a theme that can be unisex and not have to be redone for future little ones. Storage space is also a problem.

    Because the family was on a budget, I tried choosing inexpensive or DIY projects when I could, centering only a few key items. Here's what I came up with:
    If you are a fan of names being spelled out in a child's room, this is a great option. For a cheaper alternative, try using scrapbook paper in the key colors, and use a contrast color for the letters. Not EVERYTHING has to have the sock monkeys on them. Then, string it up with a ribbon.

    *photo source unknown, please email me if you know where I can link to it

    Another letter option are these great custom-painted sock monkey letters. But, at $18 a piece, they may not be friendly to a smaller budget. If you are handy with a paint brush, consider making your own version. (Click photo to buy)

    I love these two artists: Kelly Pound and Marisa Hopkins (click to buy). Frame them with a solid colored frame (without glass), and you're ready to go.
    by Marisa Hopkins

    by Marisa Hopkins
    by Kelly Poundby Kelly Pound

    Dress up your light switch with this fun piece of art! At only $5, we think it's a steal! But, if it doesn't fit or is the wrong size, consider making your own! (Click photo to buy.)
    Next up - Bedding. We realize that the little guy is still in a crib, but we love these sheets. And, since he's a toddler, we figure it's better to buy up rather than crib sheets that may not be used for much longer. Most of these colors could work in this room, although our favorites were the classsic red stripe or slate blue stripe. (These sheets can also be made into fitted crib sheets.)

    I also liked this quilt - although at $395, it might not be the sort of thing that would fit in a smaller budget. So, consider a solid colored comforter, or perhaps just a throw. Add a few bright throw pillows to pack in a little extra PUNCH. (Click photo to buy)

    What would a sock monkey room be without a sock monkey? This customized sock monkey is not only bright and funky, but he's got baseballs all over him - something our little room owner loves. This little guy would look great on the bed (in the bed) with the more original sock monkey or alone. This guy is about $25. (Click photo to buy)

    Or, if you prefer the look of the original sock monkeys a bit more, consider having one custom made by Tamara (click HERE.) And, for the DIYers, check out how to make your own!


    One of the first things I noticed about the room, was the need for "boundaries" within certain sections. What I mean is, if you have a shelf and place objects on it, most likely (if they are used much), they will spill out all over the place. A great idea is to buy small containers - whether clear plastic, decorative boxes, or woven baskets. Buy several and use them to hold diapers, accessories, toys, etc. This will hold SO much more than if you were to not use them. These 2 baskets (for a set) are right under $16. This will most likely be the cheapest you find them, unless you scour clearance aisles and sales (which very well could pay off!) (Click photo to buy). Also, for a bit more color, you can also line these baskets/boxes with your favorite fabrics.

    Heidi says that she and her husband use their son's closet as well, so finding ample space can be rough. If you haven't already, I HIGHLY recommend one of these closet organizers by Closet Maid. It costs right under $70, and they are awesome. Use the very top shelf for blankets, seasonal sweaters, etc. Put those things in clear plastic containers with lids and stack them as far up as you can. Use the top two clothing racks for your clothing, and the bottom left one for his. Canvas collapsible boxes/buckets (also at Lowes) can be bought inexpensively for the middle section to hold extra clothes or toys and books.

    This storage piece is also great. It has the canvas "drawers" that can easily be taken out, or left in. Use them to stack toys in, or remove a couple of the drawers, and use it to shelve books instead. --Not to mention, the entire top of the piece. Only $79.99 at Target.
    A few other things to consider: Try a hanging hamper to get the clothes basket out of the way, and to free up more floor space. Move the bassinet to storage if you are no longer using it. Use some unique shelves to make neat displays with colorful toys on the wall. To break up floor space, consider adding a fun rug to the room.

    Wednesday, July 30, 2008

    A few of our favorite summer looks...

    Japanese Weekend Top at
    Pickles and Ice Cream - On sale for$59.99

    Notice Top
    Picles and Ice Cream -On Sale $69.99

    Jules and Jim Top
    Pickles and Ice Cream - $99

    Maternal America
    Euphoria Maternity - $82

    Tuesday, July 29, 2008

    School Lunch/Picnic Lunch Ideas

    I have had a few inquiries for ideas for school lunches - where a microwave or oven are not options. So, this my friends is for you:

    Carbs Ideas:
    -whole wheat/whole grain tortilla wraps
    -whole wheat/whole grain bread or toast
    -brown rice
    -whole wheat/whole grain pasta
    -pita bread
    -English muffin
    -whole grain bagel

    Sandwich Fillers:
    -Tuna salad
    -bacon, lettuce, and tomato
    -sliced turkey, lettuce, mayonnaise, and cranberry sauce

    The complete list is HERE.

    Monday, July 28, 2008

    Sleepy Wrap Giveaway!!

    We have paired together with Sleepy Wrap to offer you our HANDS DOWN favorite sling/wrap - The sleepy wrap.

    For more information, you can visit www.sleepywrap.com. This wrap is awesome and keeps your child snug and can be worn in a variety of ways. To see what else we had to say about it, go HERE.

    This sling is great for newborns, and can hold larger toddlers. ONE winner will receive a Sleepy Wrap in their choice of color. To enter to win, the commenter must visit www.sleepywrap.com and come back here and leave a comment, telling us the color name of the sling you'd like to receive, your name, and where you're from. Please make sure you leave your email address as well.

    Good Luck!

    For more great giveaways, go here.

    Room Makeover - Another Giveaway!

    We're doing a Mega Giveaway, here! For this one, we're giving away a virtual room makeover for your baby or toddler's room.

    Here's what it includes:

    - We will look over the photos that you send to us (via email) and we will suggest paint colors, decor, and all the trimmings to make this room all that it can be (we'll even tell you where we think it'd fit best!).
    - You can either tell us a theme you have in mind or we can suggest one for you.
    - Choose a budget, and we'll help you stay in it with our suggestions (this INCLUDES families that prefer DIY projects)
    - We'll gather a list of DIY projects/ craft projects that are easy enough even for beginners.
    -And, you will also be entered into some great drawings for room accessories to match your new theme!!

    So, we help you find that new look for your child's room - you pay nothing, AND you get the chance to win some additional free stuff! What's not to love?

    This service is valued in at over $1,000 - and we're offering it FREE to 3 lucky winners! We will draw the winners this weekend, so hurry and sign up!!

    To enter, please just leave a comment with your name and your email! Your email MUST be a working one! We'll contact you if youw in and get the other information we'll need (pictures, theme, budget, etc.)

    For more great giveaways, visit here.


    We are giving away a nice little bundle here at First Impressions for the Blog Carnival, one lucky winner will win the following prize package:

    Cool Songs Collection by Yesnack.com. You can do a search on our site to listen to one of their songs. Little ones love these songs.

    The book, Baby Steps by Diane Lang - great for any mom considering re-entering the workforce

    A Blink Tee shirt. This shirt is great for holding on to pacifiers! To read more about it just search "blink tee" on our website in the little search bar (look top left).

    To enter to win all of these fabulous prizes, simply leave a comment with your email address and let us know what you'd like to see more of on our site! That's all! We'll be drawing the lucky winner this weekend, and posting the results on Monday! Good luck!

    For more great giveaways, go here.

    2 Great Giveaways!

    Check out these 2 great giveaways this week :

    Choose from 4 books


    A Hotslings Organic Sling

    Friday, July 25, 2008

    Best Of...Babywearing 2008

    CARRIER BRAND: Sleepy Wrap
    EASE OF USE ( 1TO 10): 8
    COMFORT LEVEL (1 TO 10): 10
    COST: $33.95
    WHERE TO BUY: Sleepy Wrap
    FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: We loved the adjustability and softness of this product. Two different people that are completely different sizes can share this wrap, and it will work wonderfully as it can be customized easily to fit anyone.
    OTHER COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS: This wrap also is GREAT for being outdoors and doing lots of walking, etc. Very snug, very wonderful.

    CARRIER BRAND: Hotslings - Everyday Collection
    EASE OF USE ( 1TO 10): 9
    COMFORT LEVEL (1 TO 10): 8
    COST: $48.00
    WHERE TO BUY: Hotslings.com
    FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: We LOVED the large selection of prints. It’s like an awesome new accessory!
    LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: The sizing. Depending on your size and body type, the sizing can be a little off. We’d love to see a new sizing chart.
    OTHER COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS: We adored the look of this sling. Very chic, machine washable, and a beautiful print! And, as will all of the Hotslings, they offer leg padding for your infant’s comfort.

    CARRIER BRAND: Hotslings - Designer collection
    EASE OF USE ( 1TO 10): 9
    COMFORT LEVEL (1 TO 10): 8
    COST: $60.00
    WHERE TO BUY: Hotslings.com

    CARRIER BRAND: Hotslings - Reversible Collection
    EASE OF USE ( 1TO 10): 9
    FABRIC CHOICE (COLOR/STYLE/FEEL) (1 TO 10): 7 - would love to see more choices for the reversible slings. (Especially some of the prints they already carry, but made into reversible slings)
    COMFORT LEVEL (1 TO 10): 8
    COST: $60.00
    WHERE TO BUY: Hotslings.com
    FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: We liked the fact that one sling could be turned inside out and reused. This was perfect for casual wear or more dressier settings. Plus, if one side gets a little spot on it (before you can get home to wash it), turn it inside out and it still looks fabulous!
    OTHER COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS: Wish there was as big of a selection in prints as their other collection, but still great.

    CARRIER BRAND: Hotslings - Organic Collection
    EASE OF USE ( 1TO 10): 9
    COMFORT LEVEL (1 TO 10): 8
    COST: $50.00
    WHERE TO BUY: Hotslings.com
    FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: It’s made of organic material and is still the same trusted Hotslings design!
    OTHER COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS: We want to be earth-friendly and chic, too! We’d love to see more fun colors/prints in the organic line!

    EASE OF USE ( 1TO 10): 9
    COMFORT LEVEL (1 TO 10): 8
    COST: $64.00
    WHERE TO BUY: Modmum.com
    FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: The funky designs - and reversible!
    LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: This sling is not for the really really petite. The smallest size offered is still a little extra roomy for the super tiny ladies.
    OTHER COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS: We’d love to see more design options! Does not have leg padding.

    CARRIER STYLE: Lightly Padded Ring Sling
    EASE OF USE ( 1TO 10): 7
    COST: $55.95
    WHERE TO BUY: Mayawrap.com
    FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: We liked that sling was adjustable in two different places.
    LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: You had to put your baby in and then, it took some time to adjust it properly.
    OTHER COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS: We also weren’t a fan of the fabric selection. They were pretty in a very earthy way, but for those of us that want to sport something more fashionable WHILE carrying our babies, there wasn’t much to choose from.

    CARRIER BRAND: Infantino - 6-in-1-rider
    CARRIER STYLE: Ergo Baby Carrier
    EASE OF USE ( 1TO 10): 3 - The directions left a lot to be desired, and there were an awful lot of snaps and buckles.
    COMFORT LEVEL (1 TO 10): 4
    COST: Ranges from $15 - $25
    WHERE TO BUY: Walmart and Amazon.com
    LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT/USING THIS PRODUCT: If the snaps are weak (as ours must have been) - even though it was brand new - and your baby is put into the carrier, you could hear some snaps popping. You better be ready to catch them.
    OTHER COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS: We don’t recommend this product.

    Save with TAG

    Let your child's first banking experience be a good one with these wooden banks. The banks come in a variety of animals: Choose between a wooden bear, cat, dinosaur, elephant, pig, or snail bank!

    Not only are these banks virtually unbreakable, but they also feature a mirror backing, so the child's money seems to be growing faster, encouraging them to save! These 2 inch thick solid hardwood banks would make a great statement in any child's room!

    Click HERE to check them out!

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    Gypsy Soules

    We've got something on our minds, over here at First Impressions - something that combines some of our favorite things: sparkles, pink, and shoes! Gypsy Soules by Van Glow Jewels are some of the most beautiful flip-flops we've seen yet! All of their flip-flops "are handmade and set with real Swarovski crystals, high quality cowhides, and Italian leathers."

    We're excited because not only are these darling shoes PERFECT to wear with your black pants and skirts, but also because proceeds from this special Breast Cancer Edition will be donated to fight for a cure! How awesome is that?

    We give these comfortable flip-flops a two thumbs up - not only for a well made product, but also for what they stand for. These would make a great gift for any woman in your life, no matter her age (and not to mention, perfect for an expecting mom!)

    Click HERE to buy yours now!

    Monday, July 21, 2008

    Bazura Bags - EcoFriendly Bags

    Want something fun, fresh, and eco-friendly to hit off your back to school appearance? Check out Bazura Bags, and their line of Back To School bags.

    The Zipper Shoulder bag would be great for all of your school essentials, and it's big enough for books, too! You'll never have to worry about getting your bags mixed up again!

    Bazura Bags also makes tiny bags, perfect for carrying around your pencils and pens!
    A really great organizer, that folds up compactly - great whether you want to hang it in your locker, your bathroom (for all of your essentials), or even carry it around with your money, checkbook, and coupons! Best of all, slim chance you'll forget it and leave it lying around!
    Bazura Bags' Two Pocket School Bag is a great messenger-style bag for the young and young at heart. Each bag features 2 exterior pockets, as well as an inside divider pocket.

    These bags are great, not only for back to school, but also for everyday use, including as diaper bags! The colorful juice packets that these bags are made of truly make them one of a kind, funky, and colorful! These unique bags are not only easily washable pretty much waterproof, but they are also eco-friendly and made out recycled materials - a true "trash to treasure" find!

    You can check out the entire line of bags available HERE.