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)!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

3-Stage Super Seat

Summer Infant has yet a new (ingenious) product for our little ones. Unlike many companies, they seem to realize how much STUFF you seem to acquire as parents, SO - they've come up with a wonderful product that GROWS with your child. Not the "just add water" type of grow...but a product that changes in functionality depending on your child's age and stage.

The Summer Infant 3-Stage Super Seat is a seat designed for infants through the toddler years. For infants, put the cushy, easy to clean insert into the seat and let baby practice sitting up, while freeing your lap and hands. This seat is good for non-experienced sitters and experienced sitters alike (as long as they have neck-muscle control! Then, add the base and the activity tray as baby gets older. With a couple of clicks, the tray can be removed or added, totally changing the functionality of this piece. Next, when baby or toddler is ready for a booster seat, just strap it onto a chair, and VOILA!

One chair, three different ways...and lots more space in the attic.

(Approximately $44.99 at Amazon.com and Walmart.com)

PS - this would be great for trips to the grand-parents'...

SuperMarket Savings 101

Gas prices are soaring, and so is food. Economically, living in America is getting tougher and tougher. Families are learning to "tighten their belts" (so to speak) in order to be able to continue to afford the life they've been used to living.

Personally, one of the ways that we've "tightened our belt" is on food. If we aren't careful, we could be caught spending $300 a month for food (for a family of 3) and STILL feel like we don't have much in our pantry.

I'm so thankful to have found SuperMarket Savings 101, a delightful ebook that teaches you a new way of thinking...and explains step by step how to lower your grocery bill, including tips on using coupons at stores like CVS.

Before this ebook, I had heard of people saving money at places like CVS and Walgreens, but had never quite figured out how they could come out with a bag full of goodies and only pay $5 - or, sometimes...nothing! After countless unanswered emails to them, I began to lose hope in finding out how this process works so I could use it too. Until this ebook, that is. And, I had wondered how it was possible for families larger than mine, on even smaller incomes, managed to feed their families without government assistance. How was it possible to feed your family healthy meals for pocket change?

SuperMarket Savings 101 is a brilliant ebook that lays it all out for you, in a simple and easy-to-comprehend manner. It teaches you to buy more for less and guides you through "baby steps," rather than giving you information overload for your first time out.

Want to save on groceries? Check it out!

By the way, how much do you spend weekly on groceries...and for how large of a family??

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tasty Tuesdays: Waffles and Carmelized Bananas

This is my newest favorite breakfast...and my one year old loves it too!


We bought the Kashi blueberry waffles, as they are not only whole-multi-grain, but they don't have any nasty additives. AND, they were a few cents cheaper (per ounce) than not good for you pretend-wheat Eggos (Eggos are NOT WHOLE wheat...it's like 6% or something).
Kashi tastes just as great, is better for you, and cheaper...why wouldn't you buy these?

Then, you will need Maple Syrup. Try to find some that says no additives/preservatives, etc...

One banana (or more...these are HIGHLY addictive)...


A Generous pat of butter.

How To:

Put a generous pat of butter in the saucepan and let it melt. Add one sliced (or chopped - for little ones) banana. Cook and stir for one minute. Add one Tablespoon of maple syrup and a Tsp (or a really good sprinkle) of Cinnamon. Cook for another minute (while stirring).

Take it off heat and let it cool to desired temp.

Put on cooked Waffle.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Baby Light & Clip

I remember when Baby Girl was just home from the hospital - her nails were long and paper thin. But, holding her hands for very long resulted in a fit and flailing - in only a moment, I'd managed to snip a bit of skin with the clippers. And, I was finished. No more fingernail clippers.

I cringed at the thought of having to cut her nails, and I would sheepishly ask someone else to do it. Occasionally, I'd slip into her room with a file as she slept. Regardless, the task of trimming her nails seemed daunting.

That was, until Baby Light and Clip came into our lives. This nifty invention illuminates the nail and shows where the fine baby nails meet the skin. It also shows any rough edges that should be clipped to keep baby from scratching themselves. And - SAFETY GUARDS! - to keep you from nicking precious skin!

Because it has a built in light, you can use it during the day, or at night while baby's sleeping. Anytime, really!


Learn More.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Is your little one having what seems to be allergies now that seasons are changing? Allergies have many of the same symptoms as colds, except there should be no fever present. And, with allergies, the mucous from runny noses should be clear, not yellow or green tinted (which shows signs of an infection). If you are concerned that either you or your child has allergies, you may want to consult your doctor or pediatrician.

In the meantime, there are a few "all natural" things you can try:

-Many common allergens come from pet dander, dust, and foods. So, try examining each of these. A simple skin test can confirm what the culprits are, but with some extensive cleaning and a few diet changes, you may be able to fix the problem.

-Use humidifiers for congestion.

-Don't open windows in your home, especially in your child's room. If you must open a window, use a box fan with a 3M filter attached to the back to help pull in cool air while filtering it at the same time.

-Invest in a neti pot (approximately $13) for yourself and use saline drops for your baby.

-For adults, try 2 drops of therapeutic grade peppermint essential oil on your tongue.

-Keep linens well washed and don't air dry your laundry.

-For children 2 years and older and adults, try LOCAL honey. Local honey is made by bees pollinating local plants, which can help you combat seasonal allergies. (Remember: children under 2 should NOT have honey.)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Not feeling so HOT?

Not feeling so HOT? Check out this free guide to picking things up a notch. Just because you are a mom, doesn't mean you can't feel and look good, too!

Skipping Breakfast


According to Reuters.com, women who are on a low-calorie diet (or skip breakfast) at the time of conception are more likely to give birth to girls?

"New Research by the universities of Exeter and Oxford provides the first evidence that a child's sex is associated with the mother's diet, and higher energy intake is linked to males....There has been a small but consistent decline, of about one per 1,000 births annually, in the proportions of boys being born in industrialized countries over the past 40 years."

Although gender is genetically determined by the father (and his winning chromosomes - XX or XY), the body may interpret the lower calorie intake as low food availability, since it lowers the blood sugar levels. And, since higher levels of glucose "encourage the growth and development of male embryos while inhibiting female ones," skipping breakfast or counting calories could most definitely impact the gender of your child (while it is NOT the end all say all).

For more information or to read the original article, click here.

It's bath-time: Tubby Bundle!

Have you ever dreaded baby's bath-time? I mean, as if the sore knees and back pains aren't enough, half the time you end up soaking wet - and so does the floor.

SpecialKreations has a wonderful new product called the Tubby Bundle. Let me explain: It's a HUGE, plush towel that goes on much like an apron (for you). Once baby (or toddler) is out of the bath, you just pick them straight up and bring the bottom portion of the towel up and around them. Not only is it easy to use and keeps you dry, but it also helps you hold on to slippery babies!

We absolutely love our Tubby Bundle. It's a wonderful shower gift for moms and dads alike. And, the Tubby Bundles will grow with your child...just use it as a regular towel!

Two thumbs up for the perfect shower gift for moms, dads, and grandparents...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bloggy Giveaway

Everyone knows that I can't pass up a good giveaway, so here goes:

I'm participating in the Bloggy Giveaways (www.bloggygiveaways.com)

I'm giving away a fantastic stretch bracelet and a set of personalized notecards. Want to win? --Just visit www.firstimpressionsbaby.com and tell me (in my comments, here) which item was your favorite and why. Be sure to leave me a way to contact you if you win!!

Good luck!

How to fold a Tshirt

Step 1
Lay down the shirt horizontally and faceup in front of you with the neck on the left-hand side.

Step 2
Pinch the shirt on the side opposite you at two points: with your left hand, at the collar; and with your right hand, halfway down the shirt, parallel with your left hand.

Step 3
While holding the two points, cross your left hand over your right, bringing the shoulder down to meet the shirt’s bottom hem, and grab the hem.

Step 4
Lift the shirt so that it hangs in front of you. Uncross your arms, without letting go of the shirt, and pull the fold taut as you do so.

Step 5
Place the shirt on the table. One sleeve should be sticking out. Fold over the sleeve, and fold over the side. Flip over the shirt.

*From RealSimple.com

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Local Goodness - J. Elaine's & Candy Bouquet

I wanted to introduce you all to a sweet little place called J. Elaine's. They have some of the most WONDERFUL fudge (all different sorts of flavors), as well as candy, cards, unique gifts and specialty gift baskets.

If you live locally, you can check them out at:

405 Broadway St
Paducah, KY 42001

Hours: Tues. - Fri. 10:00 - 5:00 Sat. 10:00 - 2:00 After Dinner Program May - Oct. Sat. 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m

HOWEVER, if you don't live locally, you can still get a taste of this place, simply call them and they will deliver NATIONWIDE!

This would be the PERFECT treat for any parent, grandparent, or....um ...mom (Mother's Day). So, call 'em and let them know I sent ya!

Bebe Belay

It seems like once you have a little one, their "diaper bag" just keeps getting bigger and bigger - a large supply of bottles, formula, burp-cloths AND bibs, a change of clothes, baby medicines JUST IN CASE, a few extra toys to keep them occupied...and the list goes on and on...

But, what if I told you that I found an innovative product that took up almost NO room and could grow with your child? What if I told you, I had found a pacifier keeper, bib, and connector clips (to keep pairs as pairs) ALL IN ONE?

Well, I have: Bebe Belay. And, you are most definitely going to want to check them out.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Babies and Moms Radio - Schedule of Events

Check out www.babiesandmomsradio.com to listen in on any of these great shows:

April 25--Dealing with Whining, Pushing Limits and other Issues with Claire Lerner (give aways and You Know You are a Mom Contest)

May 2--Mother-Daughter Wisdom with Dr. Christiane Northrup (give aways and You Know You are a Mom Contest)

May 9--Learning from and Talking to Our Own Mothers (give aways and You Know You are a Mom Contest)

May 16--Insignificant Things that Add up to Great Mothering; Saving Memories (give aways and You Know You are a Mom Contest)

May 23--Momnesia, Exercising Outside with Kids, Balancing the Household with Kathy Peel (give aways and You Know You are a Mom Contest)

May 30--Dealing with Picky Eaters with Ellyn Satyr (give aways and You Know You are a Mom Contest)

Happy Earth Day!! - Giveaway ONE (Shaklee)

hank you so much for responding to my Earth Day giveaway. There were so many great entries! Congratulations to the winners and they are:

Winner #1 - Lesha (LilacButterfly@earthlink.net)
Winner #2 - Suzanne (LilithSilvermane@gmail.com)

Both winners will be contacted via e-mail by Kristin Grayner so that she may get your mailing address. So be on the lookout for an e-mail from her.

For those of you that didn't win, Kristin has come up with a discounted price on a bottle of Basic H2 and the 3-pack spray bottles if you are interested. It would be $23.50, a savings of $3.50 off the retail price (which is the member price). But the overall savings would be the equivalent of 60 bottles of Fantastik Multi-Purpose Cleaner, 32 bottles of Mop & Glo and 728 bottles of Windex. If you were to use all 16 oz. of Basic H2 concentrate as a windows/mirrors cleaner it would be the equivalent of 5,824 bottles of Windex!
Contact Kristin at graynerfamily@gmail.com that you are interested in purchasing the above at the discounted price and she will send you a PayPal invoice and have it shipped directly to your home!
Also, being that it's Earth Day, she also has a special just for today, Tuesday, April 22nd. Anyone who purchases a Get Clean Starter Kit will receive a free membership. Upon receipt of order confirmation from Shaklee, she'll send a rebate for the membership amount either via check or PayPal. This is not a Shaklee sponsored event, it's her event. You can make a difference with this one purchase. You keep 108 pounds of packaging waste out of landfills, you eliminate 248 pounds of greenhouse gas and it's the equivalent of planting 10 trees! http://www.shaklee.net/kristingrayner/getclean/getstarted/index

Thanks again everyone and thank you Kristin for such a great giveaway!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tasty Tuesdays - Croissants

2 T Yeast
1 T Sugar
1/2 C Water

2 1/2 C Milk
1 C Margarine
1 C Sugar
2 Eggs
6-8 C Flour

Scald milk (put margarine in sauce pan, add milk - done right before it boils, should be a film on the bottom of the pan).
Prepare yeast.
Put sugar and salt in mixer. Add milk. When milk is cool, add beaten eggs and yeast. Then add 4 C flour. Add 2-4 more cups of flour.
Let rise 45 minutes or until double in size.
Roll out and put melted margarine on dough. Use a pizza cutter to cut dough into triangles. Roll into croissant shape and then dip in margarine and put rolls on cookie sheet. Let rise until desired size.
Cook at 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

i can - Earthchild

"We do not inherit the earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children." - Earthchild (established 2004.)

I have come across another great company - one that believes in being environmentally friendly AND socially responsible. Earthchild. Earthchild has an entire line of children's clothing - all made from cool, soft, organic cotton.

And, right now they have these AWESOME children's t-shirts, and right in time for Earth Day! I really really wish they had one in my size, too!! Lorelei plans to rock this shirt, not only for Earth Day, but for the rest of the year (and maybe the next - if it still fits). Not only are these shirts organic cotton, but they INSPIRE others. They inspire and they build confidence in our future generations that yes, they CAN change this world.

And quite frankly, what more could you ask for?

To learn more about the Earthchild brand, visit www.Earthchild.co/za.

To place an order, log onto www.thandanakids.com or call 1 877 518 1555.

Babies and Moms: Birth and Beyond Giveaway

Babies and Moms: Birth and Beyond (www.babiesandmomsradio.com), the Podcast for moms, is giving away hundreds of dollars in products in April including

PediPeds valued at $25
See Kai Run Shoes valued at $25
2 Sign Babies Board Books valued at $6 each
Squeaker Sneakers valued at $25
Robeez Shoes valued at $35
4 Zoobie Pets valued at $35 each
It is easy to win. Just listen to Babies and Moms podcasts posted during the months of April and May and follow the on-air instructions to enter to win at www.babiesandmomsradio.com or listen to Babies and Moms: Birth and Beyond in iTunes. Products given away each show.

Babies and Moms brings important information to moms of babies and toddlers from birth to three years of age each week through innovative podcasts. Babies and Moms hosts Nancy, Shelly, Stacey and Tricia interview experts in every facet of child-rearing. Additionally, the four hosts are experts in their own right. With 19 kids among the 4 hosts, they’ve seen it, done it, used it or lived it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Susan Murphy Inc. - a review

I thought it was time to introduce to you a new line of totes (and other personalized goodies) by Susan Murphy Inc.

Susan makes a lovely assortment of bags (you can even request a specific color and saying) that is great for the whole family! Use these bags to go shopping, as a purse, as an overnight bag, or any other purpose you can dream up!

Susan Murphy Inc. allows you to also choose whether you'd like to turn your bag into a "gift bag" - filled to the brim with goodies.

Check 'em out and tell us WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE??

PS - You know that challenge I issued the other day? This one? This would be a great bag to help you use less trash. Use it as a gift bag or as your grocery bag!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Have you ever stopped to think about the impact we make on this world? Have you ever stopped to think about the garbage that we daily consume and throw out? Have you ever thought about what it would be like if we all reduced our trash for one day...much less, for an entire year...or *gasp* for the rest of our lives?

April 22nd is Earth Day, and with that, comes a challenge for all of us to do something better for our Earth. And so, I have a challenge for you ;)

Between now and April 22nd, for ONE DAY, try to reduce your trash to as close to "zero" as you can get it - And then document it. If you have a blog or website, write about it. Take pictures if you want. Or, if you have no blog/website, come back here and tell me about your experience (in my comments).

For one day, see if you can have no trash (or see how close you can get). Re-purpose the things you would normally throw away...and go out of your way to use things that aren't encased in plastic, paper, styrofoam, paper, etc.

If you are up for the challenge, please sign up in my comments. And, to make the deal a little more sweet, I'm going to do a giveaway (which will be drawn from the participants names). Don't forget to leave a link to your post if you do it!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Tasty Tuesdays

Strawberry Cupcakes

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix (Duncan Hines)
  • 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry Jell-O
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 3/4 cups confectioners sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour three 9 inch round pans.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together cake mix, Jell-O mix and flour.
  4. Make a well in the center and pour in water, oil, and eggs.
  5. Stir in half of the container of strawberries and beat on low speed until blended.
  6. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed.
  7. Pour batter into prepared cupcake pans.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.
  9. In a large bowl combine butter, confectioners sugar and the remaining half of the frozen strawberries.
  10. Beat on high speed until creamy.
  11. Add more sugar, if needed. This frosting can become too runny, if you're not careful.
Tip: Add a dollop of whipped cream and chocolate covered strawberry slices for a bit of extra yumminess.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Earth Day Giveaway

Monthly “Clean Up” Giveaway!!!!

In honor of Earth Day, we're having another giveaway to help you do your part in helping the environment! Have you thought about "going green" but you didn't know where to start? Which products do I use? Are they more expensive in concentrate form? Which company to purchase products from, grocery store or a direct selling company? And last but not least, do green cleaners really work? Those were my exact questions as well.

Here's a great example of what you may not know about household cleaners. Take a look at this video called Toxic Brew. It was done by a Toronto news crew: http://www.theglobalsuccessteam.net/resources/wmv/toxic_Brew.html.

In my search for a non-toxic cleaning line, I found a wonderful company to purchase products from. I was introduced to this awesome line called Get Clean by Kristin Grayner, a Shaklee Independent Distributor. She decided to become a Shaklee Distributor because of this non-toxic line of cleaners. She wanted to make a difference for families and for the environment. Her mission, and one that I agree with, is to speak with families about the toxins they are innocently bringing into their homes through household cleaners. Not only has she helped the environment within homes, but she has affected the outside environment as well.

Every time someone purchases a Get Clean Starter Kit to convert their entire home in one shot, they are eliminating 108 pounds of packaging waste from landfills, eliminating 248 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions and it's the equivalent of planting 10 trees. One of the nice things about using these products is once you get rid of all those undesirable cleaners you may have in your home, you won't have to replace them with 27 more. You'd have to spend more than $3,400 in store bought cleaners, to get the same amount of clean that you do with the Starter Kit!

These products were featured on America’s favorite day time talk show 5 times last year and are considered a “favorite thing!”

If you'd like to enter into a national drawing for $250.00 worth of free products, you can do so at www.goshaklee.info, password XE88705. You need to watch the videos to be entered into the drawing. Shaklee will then choose someone each month! GOOD LUCK! Please disregard the automated e-mail you receive from the system, Kristin will thank you personally for your entry.

If you'd like a free sample of Basic H2, you can send a message directly to Kristin Grayner at graynerfamily@gmail.com. You can visit her website at www.PowerfulClean.com.
Through this blog, you can enter the win a bottle of Basic H2 (windows/mirrors and all-purpose cleaning), a 3-pack of spray bottles and a box of the vegetable based Dryer Sheets, which are recyclable! - Just leave me a comment with: your name, email, and why you MUST win. Two winners will be picked!

We will draw a winner on EARTH DAY, April 22, 2008 - So, check back to see if you won!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Our Favorite Things - Age One

Struggling to figure out what to buy for your one year old?

Lorelei loves:Braincandy DVDs!! I can't tell you enough how much I LOVE these DVDs (and L too). We have the Baby Einstein and a TON of other DVDs...but these. She. loves. them. Usually, she'll watch an educational dvd for 10 minutes tops. These hold her attention for 45 minutes STRAIGHT (if we let her). -And, a quick disclaimer...while I don't recommend letting DVDs and the such being the only way your child learns or acting as a babysitter 24/7, they really are OKAY if used sparingly and as learning AIDS (meaning they have hands on learning too). Anyway. These rock.

Board books and cloth books. We technically don't have the one pictured...but I'm sure she'd love that one too! Books are one of her favorite things!
Little People. She loves these things!! She received 2 of these and 2 mini backyardigans from her Granny for Easter and she'll carry them to and fro in her hands EVERYWHERE.
Fisher Price "walker". It's a walker, interactive toy (with music! - and the buttons make lights flash and all sorts of things), has compartments to put toys in and take toys out, ride-on toy, and roll-y toy all in one! She can spend a good hour playing with this thing - and it will grow with her! (It also helps barricade the stairs - haha)

And, this one...well...technically, it's my pick. Although....Lorelei DOES love turning the pages (and trying to rip them out) and will try to carry it around. But, it's up here for YOU. By now you are totally used to and have probably identified most of the child-raising how-to books that are mostly all the same. But, this one is different: It looks beyond the physical differences and stages your child will be experiencing and focuses on the psychological and behavioral stages and development. VERY GREAT book. Focuses on Birth to 3.

****If you are family/friends reading this (for Lorelei's birthday), we already have this entire list - so, I'm not hinting around. ;) HOWEVER, check HERE for the major hints for things she'd love (or, if you want some more ideas for your own little one).

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thursday Thirteen No. 7 - How much kids cost

According to MSN.com, raising a child from birth to age 17 can cost on average anywhere between 250,000 to 300,000 dollars! Now, that's a lot of money!

Below, I've outlined 13 tips to maximize your cash when it comes to your kids:

1. Disposable Diapers are one of the biggest expenditures when it comes to babies. Check out Cloth Diapers, instead. You pay for them once, and they are yours. It's not nearly as hard as you'd think, either! (Check out my Bath and Diapering section for more on this).

2. Use diaperswappers.com to buy your new cloth diapers. New and gently used diapers (but CLEAN) for sale for a fraction of what you'd pay for them new!

3. Breastfeeding is an obvious money saver, but I won't harp on its goodness (because you already know...that, and not everyone can or wants to)...BUT if you are going to buy a milk-based formula, try the Parent's Choice brand by Walmart. It ranks just as good (read the label) as Similac and Enfamil. My friends and I have compared labels and this brand is just as good...but only $11 or so for a HUGE can.

4. Make your baby's food. You can use food out of your garden (or the farmer's market) when the season is right and frozen veggies and fruit in the winter. Just pop them in the food processor and puree them (I HIGHLY recommend the Magic Bullet for pureeing small amounts (baby sized portions) of food. Plus, you can store the rest in the freezer!

5. Try not to eat out as much. Have one day a week (or every 2 weeks) as your big cooking day - where you cook several huge meals and store them in the freezer...then, when you want them, you just put them out to thaw and warm them up. (OR you can make casseroles but not bake them yet...depending on your recipe and the ingredients).

6. Don't buy designer clothes for baby OR for yourself right after pregnancy brand new. And, stay away from the mall! Hit up consignment stores and sales. There is no reason you should pay top dollar for outfits that you or your little one will only be wearing for a short time. After giving birth to Lorelei, I bought a whole summer wardrobe for under $100 for myself at a local consigment stores (and I bought brands such as AE, Old Navy, Express, Ann Taylor Loft...and tons of others...). Same with babies...you can find great labels that look like they've almost never even been worn - for only a few bucks! If you really want a certain outfit, think of allowing yourself to buy one NEW outfit for baby or for you per season.

7. Don't spend crazy amounts on portraits either. Search for budding new photographers (they are everywhere!) Oftentimes, they'll give you a free session for a trade (their experience). Also, check at colleges for any photography majors or other artsy majors.

8. Make your own fun. Your kids don't need a bazillion toys. Not really. And, half of the toys we buy end up being more for ourselves (esp when the kids are little). So, save your cash and only buy a few really great educational toys. Educational toys don't have to be top dollar or labeled "educational". For example, a large mixing bowl with spoons will fascinate a baby for a really long time. They can make noises, learn to take things OUT of the bowl, and later, learn to put things inside the bowl.

9. Before you buy something, see if someone else is giving it away. Check out Craigslist and Freecycle.

10. For older children, save on toys that are supposed to inspire their imagination. Instead, grab the pillows, blankets, and chairs and make forts and castles. Ask stores (like Walmart, Target, and Lowes) for their large boxes (think refrigerators and such). Take them home and let the kids go at them with markers, paint, scissors, and tape. What kind of things can they make? (Stages, houses, cars, maze, ???)

11. Not buying junkfood can save TONS of money through the years. So, teach your children healthy eating and teach them to cook. Children who cook are more likely to really think about what they are putting in their mouths...especially if they have to cook it.

12. Need something else fun to do? Check out www.geocaching.com and go outside and try it! It's free and totally fun.

13. Instead of buying family vacation packages, think about doing a road trip instead. Or, (since gas prices are climbing), you can visit a neighboring state and visit some really cool things you've never been to before (research your destination BEFORE you go).

Bonus: Only buy your kids new toys (mostly) on their Birthdays and for Christmas (or Hannukah, or whatever you celebrate). Go to the store and make a registry or wishlist so family and friends will know what to buy. Your kids will think long and hard about what they want and how bad they want it when they have to choose what goes on the list....

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hipster Tots

Most people LOVE the idea of scrapbooking...but don't have the time to do it. They want a scrapbook, filled with their baby/child's pictures...but aren't really looking for a new hobby.

Enter, Hipster Tots.

With Hipster Tots, you simply go to their website, pick your book and at least 20 pages for your book - which have already been designed and are just waiting for your pictures. There are LOTS of pages to choose from - in many categories. Simply choose your pages, and then order at your convenience.

Your book will arrive at your door, already put together. Simply grab the adhesive and affix your pictures to the pages and VOILA! It's that easy! Really!

Want to buy as a gift or you just don't know which pages to purchase? Try the boutique book - all of the pages have been carefully selected to make up a great package for any baby and his/her parents.

Parenting 101 Part IV

*Received these in an email. They were not credited. If you are the creator/owner or know who is, please let me know so I can credit them!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Saying Goodbye to the Bottle

At around age one, most experts agree that it's time to wean baby off the bottle. For some parents, this isn't a big deal as their baby has already become accustomed to the cup (or sippy cup). But, for others...this task seems huge and daunting.

If your child doesn't seem to "tied" to the bottle, you can try giving up the bottle cold-turkey - But, if your kiddo is anything like mine (and LOVES their bottle), weaning gradually may be the way to go.

Some parents argue that children should decide when they are ready to give their bottle up - And, while I agree with certain facets of the child-led parenting ideas...this isn't one of them. As a child turns (or has just turned) 12 months old, a window of opportunity opens. Your child is more easily distracted at this point and less set in their own ways. In a few months, however, things will change. You MAY get lucky, you may wait 6 months and your child may fling the bottle to the side one day...never wanting it back. But, you may just as equally may NOT be that lucky, and taking the bottle away (even gradually) could potentially result in lots of throw down tantrums.

For me, I figure I'll have my chance at tantrums as it is, no need to make them worse from a bottle that is not really providing anything extra in her life (she'll still be given milk...just from a sippy cup instead).

To wean your little one from their bottle (around 12 mos + or earlier if they show interest and ability to use a sippy or other cup):

-Begin by taking off the least loved bottle of the day. Our daughter loves all of her bottles, but we are beginning with the lunch-time bottle. Instead, at lunchtime, we will offer her a sippy cup filled with juice or water or milk with her food. We chose lunch time because it is often the most busy and active time of the day for us, so it'll be easy to distract her.

-When you first take a bottle off the schedule, you may (and probably will) be met with some resistance. It's okay. Keep offering a cup - you can even put formula (or whatever was in the bottle) in it. And, when all else fails...distraction.

- Every few days (or week), transition to dropping another bottle off the schedule, leaving the most loved bottles for last. For Baby L, her most loved would be her nighttime bottle. We'll take that one last.

-Another tip: Make bottle feeding less appetizing. If your little one fights giving up the bottle, make them sit in your lap or in a high chair while drinking their bottle. Don't let them play while they drink from it. Chance are, they'll give it up so they can get down.

-Also... You can also fill a bottle with water. Most babies lose interest QUICKLY of their bottles when they no longer are getting formula from the bottle...

IMPORTANT NOTE: Your one year old should still be receiving some sort of milk. Weaning a child off the bottle does NOT mean only giving them juice or water from here on out. When I talk about "bottle", I mean the vessel, not what's in it (milk).

Good luck!

Monday, April 7, 2008

One Year Old

This weekend, baby L will turn ONE! I have been busy researching what exactly this will mean when it comes to her dietary requirements....

The only problem is, most of the NEW baby books are using outdated research and resources. Most of them recommend Whole Cow's Milk once a baby turns one year old. I, however, have a problem with this. First, the hormones. Pretty much everyone has heard about this issue. Hormones in things such as cow's milk can cause HUGE problems for youngsters (and adults). If you have no clue what I'm talking about, just google "hormones in cow's milk". You'll see.

Second, cow's milk was meant for cows. There, I said it. Let me explain: The molecules in cow's milk are large...they were meant for baby cows, not teeny baby humans. So, when a baby drinks too much cow's milk (and some babies can't drink hardly any without having reactions like eczema, ADHD, and other issues), their bodies can't break it up. On top of that, when you buy pasteurized cow's milk, the milk has been heated to VERY high temps to kill off the bacteria...but, it also breaks down the enzymes that could have helped baby digest the milk in their tummies. I am NOT saying to buy raw milk (un-pasteurized).

There ARE alternatives, though. Like...pasteurized goat's milk, for example. The molecules are MUCH much smaller, and easier for baby's tummy to break down. Or, rice or almond milk are also options. (Soy milk should be avoided, however.)

Your (my) baby should get approximately 14-20 oz of milk a day. Depending on your doctor, you'll get different numbers. So, to play it safe just ask your doctor how much your little one specifically needs for their height and weight.

Food, on the other hand is something else that will see changes. Baby L can now eat food that more closely resembles that which is served at the table (although a finely chopped up version).

Here are the nutritional needs for a one year old (with serving sizes!!):

Milk/Dairy: Servings: 16-20 ounces of milk per day. Whole milk or rice milk are recommended. Other equivalents: 1/2 -3/4 ounce of cheese = 4 ounces of milk. 1/4 cup of yogurt = 2 ounces of milk.

Fruits and veggies: Servings: 5 or more per day. Serving size: 1-2 tablespoons - Pureed, mashed, or cubed.

Grains: Servings: 3-4 per day. Serving sizes: 1/2 slice of bread, 1/4 cup of cooked cereal, 1/4 cup of dry cereal. 1/4 cup of pasta, 2-3 saltine crackers, or 1/2 tortilla.

Non-dairy Proteins (meat, fish, beans, eggs): Servings: 2 per day. Serving sizes: 1/2 egg, 2-3 tablespoons beans (i.e. black, pinto, edamame, etc...), 1 tablespoon peanut butter, or 1 ounce of fish, lean beef, pork or chicken.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Nursing with Style

You HAVE to check out Fussypants' blog entry about Nursing with Style HERE.

Basically she says that most women should avoid nursing clothes at all cost. And, to cover your tummy while you nurse with your regular clothes, buy a good quality camisole (like at the sports stores) that is thick and stretchy. Cut out holes for your "girls" and wear under your clothes.

Your tummy stays covered, and you have access where you need it (or baby does).

But, check out her blog...she has pictures and everything!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Parenting 101 Part III

*Received these in an email. They were not credited. If you are the creator/owner or know who is, please let me know so I can credit them!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Thrifty Ideas for your HOME.

Yesterday, I posted some thrifty meal ideas...today, I thought I'd share some thrifty ideas for your HOME. :)

Make your own home cleaners. For starters, they are better for your health than clorox, lysol, pinesol, and most of the other cleaners. By stocking up on things like vinegar, tea tree oil (optional), baking soda, and other things...you can keep your house clean. It's easy, much cheaper, and much healthier. Check HERE for cleaner recipes.

Use your old walmart/grocery bags to line small wastebaskets.

Check out freecycle.org and craigslist.com for anything you may need around the house. And, when you are wanting to give stuff away (from old magazines to a piano), be sure to list it so someone else can get use out of it.

Your furniture and accessories looking a little drab? Before replacing them, consider reupholstering them...yourself. Or, if they aren't fabric, paint them or stain them. Or, try a new coat of paint on the walls to spruce things up.

Need cheap art? Buy some art paper and have the kids go nuts with non-toxic fingerpaints (OUTSIDE). Pick up some cheap frames (and paint them if needed). Frame the art and hang.

Another choice would be to find some of your favorite fabric and staple it to a framed canvas. Hang on walls for a cool effect.

What are YOUR ideas? Leave a comment with your ideas or a direct link to a post (if you blog) with your ideas!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tasty Tuesdays

This week, I'm going to explore some frugal living. For a lot of us, at some point or another, we will have to set budgets. Some of us will have to live more frugally than others, cutting out any unnecessary costs.

Because it is Tasty Tuesdays, I thought that introducing some frugal meals would be a great idea. Please sign up in the linky if you have a meal to share with us...especial meals that feed four for under $4.

Meals for 4 under $4:

1. Chicken crescent Rolls. You may need to buy the offbrands for the chicken (or cut up your own, using the frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts - after you cook a couple) and crescent rolls.

2. Tuna and noodle (could also use chicken). You need tuna (one can), egg noodles, a bit of milk, cream of mushroom soup.

3. Hamburger Helper is also a CHEAP alternative.

4. Chicken breasts (boneless,skinless, frozen) over brown rice. Sprinkle with cheese and some ranch. Voila.

5. BBQ chicken and steamed carrots.

6. Chili cheese dogs

7. Chicken nuggets and fried potatoes. Cut up chicken (from that same bag of frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts...you'll want to thaw it out first). Bread it and deep fry it. Then, in a skillet, fry up some sliced potatoes.

8. Potatoes and eggs. Grandma used to (and still does for my father and uncle) fry up potatoes and eggs in the skillet. Ingredients? Potatoes. Eggs.

9. Use that same bag of boneless skinless chicken breasts, and grill some chicken...or fry it like in number 7. Add some lettuce, and cheese and put in a tortilla with ranch for a wrap...or make it a salad by adding tomatoes and ranch. Add your favorite buffalo sauce for some spice.

10. Freeze the small portions of veggie leftovers (carrots, corn, broccoli, beans, etc) together. When you are short on time and money, pour the veggies you've accumulated into a pot and add some vegetable broth ...and you have soup. If you have some meat, add it. If not, toast some bread, make cornbread, or crumble up some crackers.

What are your ideas? --And fast food does NOT count!