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Holiday Shopping with the Kiddos

holiday shopping with the kids, tips for holiday shopping, successful holiday shoppingI love, love, love the holidays, but ever since I’ve been a mom, I have to admit–the stress gets to be more and more. I’m sure that it’s only as the kids are little–as they get to be more self-sufficient the whole decorating, baking, holiday shopping and present wrapping gets to be much easier (and if I’m wrong, please don’t correct me). This year, I have a 5 year-old in pre-kindergarten, three hours a day and a two year-old. Finding the time to fit everything in before I have to pick up my son, and before/after my daughter’s nap is a bit difficult. And, when I push it, I, like most moms, will get a full-blown tantrum in return. Which I received earlier this week as I was in Border’s Books. In return for subjecting the other Border’s patrons a bit of high pitch screaming I either got Continue reading

And Baby Makes Three

A new baby will bring a slew of changes to your household.

I don’t think anyone can anticipate exactly what life will be like when a new baby joins the family. Yes, we’re excited about our new arrival and that new baby can’t come soon enough, but when it does, life gets turned upside down. And even if you’re the most planned out, organized, Type-A type of person (as I was), a new baby still hits you hard.

When I had my first born, I had a fairly easy, drug-free delivery. It was the aftermath that was difficult–I couldn’t deliver the placenta, which resulted in a lot of blood loss, and a longer healing. I was wiped out and tired–and I hadn’t even made it home yet! When we did leave the hospital, I remember shuffling into my “perfect” nursery, sitting down in my brand new glider, and looking down at this beautiful baby in my arms thinking, “Now what?” Just then, my husband cheerfully announced that he would Continue reading

Mommy Brain = A Better Brain

bonding with baby, benfits of breastfeeding, mommy brain, American Psychological Association, high-resolution magnetic-resonance imaging, Yale-New Haven Hospital, gray matter,post-partum depression,Yes, we’ve all heard and (most-likely) used the term, “mommy brain.” You know, when you’re toting around a newborn and do things like lock the keys in the car, drive away with your precious coffee ON TOP your car, or leave the dog tied in front of the store (yes, this actually happened to a friend of mine). We laugh and blame it on our Mommy Brain, but, new research shows that Mommy Brain is a good thing.

The article, which is on the American Psychological Association’s website, states that, “The researchers performed baseline and follow-up high-resolution magnetic-resonance imaging on the brains of 19 women who gave birth at Yale-New Haven Hospital, 10 to boys and nine to girls. A comparison of images taken two to four weeks and three to four months after the women gave birth showed that gray matter volume increased by a small but significant amount in various parts of the brain. In adults, gray matter volume doesn’t ordinarily change over a few months without significant learning, brain injury or illness, or major environmental change.” How’s that for coolness?

So what triggers this growing? Bonding with your baby. The study showed that those women who were happy, and “blissed out” with their new little bundle of joy had more significant brain growth. All the women in the study were breastfeeding, and none suffered from real postpartum depression. But for those moms who are unable to nurse, such things as skin-to-skin contact, lots of cuddling, and any other forms of constant contact also helped.

To further this finding, the doctors now plan to be studying adoptive mothers and their new babies–to see if the adoptive parents’ brains are growing as well. Which would mean that the actual act of giving birth isn’t needed in order to connect with a baby–something dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles already know.

How Good is Good Enough?

In today’s world, we are always striving for perfection—whether it be keeping an orderly house, making sure you’re put together, or being the perfect parent—people today give 110%. So, when things don’t work out your way, it’s easy to become depressed. One of the recurring themes that I see in the One Mom’s Story interviews is that these mother’s hit a low point because their baby won’t stop crying—and there’s nothing that they, as a mother, can do to make their child feel better.

Andy Borowitz, a writer and pediatrician recently wrote an article for the New Yorker on this exact subject. Though his story is tongue in cheek, it explores the point the same—why, when we become parents, do we have to raise the perfect baby? It’s as if the pressure machine Continue reading

Sneaky Food Tricks

smoothie, sneaky food tricks, cooking for your child, making sure your child gets enough vegentables, healthy eating, easy recipes, easy cooking, recipes with hidden vegetablesParenting comes with all sorts of worries–“Will I raise my child to be a responsible citizen?” “Will I have the playground bully?” “Am I disciplining my child the right way?” But, believe it or not, one worry that consumed me was, “Is my child getting enough vegetables–and is he getting a big enough variety of them?” I always feel as if my family eats healthy enough, but when my first-born was a baby, I felt that all he was eating was peas. Peas are great and all, but do they have all the nutrients he needed? I doubted it.

So, I got creative. Luckily, I love to cook, and I’m not afraid of experimentation. I have found the following to work well–and, since they are used in packaged foods, it makes it all the more easy.

Cauliflower, spinach, and sweet potato all make great sneaky additions.

Pureed Cauliflower:
Cut up a head of cauliflower and then steam. You know it’s done when a fork easily pokes in. Put the steamed pieces in a food processor or blender, with about half a cup of the water that was used in the steaming. Blend until smooth.

Puree can be stored in a airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days, or pour into Ziploc bags and freeze. If using frozen purees, just put the Ziploc bag in a bowl of hot water and it will defrost.

Spinach: I use fresh, and chop it up, or frozen chopped spinach works as well.

Sweet Potato: I usually use canned and make it easy on myself. But, you can also use a fresh sweet potato: Bake at 350 degrees until soft. Scoop out pulp and then put in food processor or blender, add a half cup water. Blend until smooth.

Now, here are three recipes that you can use these purees in:

1) Kraft Macaroni and Cheese

Yes, I said Kraft. Make your macaroni as usual, and when you blend in the cheese packet, milk and butter, add the pureed cauliflower as well. Heat it up a bit if it’s coming out of the fridge. For even more veggies, pour some frozen peas in with the boiling noodles just before they are done.

2) Campbell’s Soup

Take your child’s favorite flavor (Cars, Buzz Lightyear, Princess–you get the idea) and pour into the pan. Add the sweet potato puree, and water (if soup can says it needs it). Stir it up as it heats, and wah-la–healthier soup. For even more veggies, add some frozen peas and/or chopped up carrots (carrots should cook through as soup heats up).

3) Smoothie

This is great for the spinach or the cauliflower–the kiddos never realize it’s in there.

Ingredients: (you can use all of the fruit listed, or a combination of it)

  • 4 strawberries
  • 1/2 banana
  • handful of blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of juice (orange works best)
  • 1/2 cup of yogurt (I like vanilla) — optional
  • Veggies: handful of fresh spinach leaves, or 1/2 cup of frozen spinach. Or, 1/4 cup of cauliflower puree
  • 4 ice cubes

Put all ingredients in blender, and blend until smooth. I usually serve in cups with lids and straws so the kids don’t see the green color of the smoothie.

Enjoy! And have fun being your child’s sneaky chef!

Sleep Positioners are a No-No

In case you haven’t read the news in the last week (you poor, sleep deprived you), sleep positioners have been declared a no-no. They’re often used to  keep baby on their back while sleeping, thus preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but evidence is showing the contrary. According to the NY Times, the positioners have, “led 12 children to suffocate in the past 13 years and should no longer be used,” said FDA officials.

Sleep positioners usually come in two different varieties: Continue reading

One Mom’s Story: Amanda and Twins Charlotte and Sienna

Twins are, no doubt, hard. Though they are “double the fun,” they are also “double the work.” This isn’t more true than when you have colicky twins, as the case with Amanda. Charlotte and Sienna are Amanda’s first babies, and boy did they give her a run for her money. Originally, Amanda thought that baby Charlotte had colic, but came to find that it was severe gas that she was suffering from. Amanda says, “Charlotte would start fussing around 4 pm and go til about midnight. [She’d be] screaming at the top of her lungs throwing her arms and kicking her legs–nothing calmed her down. I was always locked in the back bedroom with her all night long, leaving my other daughter with her father every night. . .” While this was happening, baby Sienna had some issues of her own. Amanda goes on to say, “With Sienna it was hard to realize she had gas because her whine sounded like she was congested and would constantly spit out her pacifier and cry for it back, seriously about 20 times in a minute, it could drive a person mad. She would also make this whining noise early in the morning when I knew Continue reading

One Mom’s Story: Sharyn and Baby Tristyn

This week’s One Mom’s Story was written by Sharyn–she describes how Colic Calm helped her son Tristyn–enabling her household to have some sleep at night!

From Sharyn:

Tristyn was about six weeks old [when I first administered Colic Calm]. I was up one night quite desperate from many days and nights of gass-y cries. I googled colic relief and after some time I discovered the link to Colic Calm. I read through tons and tons of testimonials and was convinced there was a light at the end of this tunnel.

The next morning I Continue reading

Colic–Telling it Like it Is

Babble recently posted a story on colic–and what I love about it is that 1) the story is from the Dad’s point of view and 2) he really tells it like it is. The author point blank talks about how awful colic is, how hard it can be to bond with a baby whose constantly crying, and how it can make every day worse than the last. Fortunately, it gets better–there IS a light at the end of the tunnel, which can be hard to believe. To read the story, click here.

A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

Had enough of your baby’s crying? Then how about looking at someone else’s? I ran across this gallery on ABC.com. The photos are taken by Jill Greenberg in 2006, who got the idea of doing the shoot while she was photographing a little boy who couldn’t stop crying. We’ve all seen our own babies cry (especially those of us who have colicky babies or babies with infant reflux), but when you freeze that face for one split second, it’s amazing how tragic they look.

To make the children cry for the photo, Greenberg took away a piece of candy they were eating, or a toy that they were playing with. This process is called “manipulation” and many were critical of Greenberg for using it to benefit herself. She responded by saying that all the children were fine during the shoot, and only started crying when their parents told them to it was time to go home. Each mother Continue reading