Just incase you're looking for a last minute Thanskgiving craft, I've rounded up a few from around the web that look pretty fun to do with the kids.
Tanya is the mother of 2 boys, and a writer for several publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle. Danielle also has 2 boys and is a partner and designer in the SF based design studio — the Vega Project.
Every week we will be sharing things we've learned, giving tips on parenting and life, recommending products we love, interviews with successful moms, and more.We’re always interested in new ideas, so let us know what you think — and please come back for more.
Just incase you're looking for a last minute Thanskgiving craft, I've rounded up a few from around the web that look pretty fun to do with the kids.
I just heard about the latest crib recall of more than 2.1 million Stork Craft drop-side cribs and I'm freaked out because Catcher is already asleep -- in his crib -- and I don't know what brand we have because it was a hand-me-down from a friend. And when I went to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website, I saw that many other brands have already been recalled for the same sort of problem
Apparently, "the cribs’ drop-side plastic hardware can break, deform, or parts can become missing," causing the drop side to detach in a corner, creating an entrapment risk between the crib and the mattress, according to a news release by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The drop side can also be accidentally installed upside-down, which could create a problem. The recall includes some cribs manufactured as far back as 1993.
To find out if your crib is included, check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission website. Call Stork Craft toll-free at (877) 274-0277 to order the free repair kit, or log on to http://www.storkcraft.com/Recalls.aspx?Recalls=USA
Now I'll be on edge all night worrying until I can inspect the crib in the morning. It is one thing to have a stroller that can cut off your child's finger but it is another to have a crib that can strangle him to death.
My son Cash starts planning the theme of his next birthday party literally as the last guests are out the door of the current party. Although he loves characters like Mickey Mouse, Spiderman and the like, he's mostly shied away from traditional commercial themes and we've thrown some pretty creative parties over the years. Ok, the first few years were my ideas because he was too little to participate, but he's jumped onto the creative bandwagon. Last year we had an "I Spy" party where we had to make everything, including the pinata, because you can't find I Spy birthday party supplies anywhere. We even made a cake that was like an "I Spy" page with literally dozens of different types of gummy candies, from penguins, sharks and spiders to a gummy egg. His birthday is in April but we are already talking about it at least weekly, planning what we will need for the party — a carnival theme. The only thing not on the table at this point is a backyard roller coaster.
So needless to say, I'm one of THOSE parents when it comes to parties...
I love these beautiful books from Pixtorie. They are stylish and dimensional, using real photos and other layered elements. They start at around 69.99 for a 6 page book— but with linen covers, real photos, and decorative titles and captions, they are worth the price. And the online editing tool is very easy to use.
Pixtorie is a great option if you want to invest in a beautiful keepsake book, but don't have the skills or time to put what you want together.
Are you dreading the winter skin blues? Here is a short to do list to keep your skin healthy and ready for winter.
1. Update your home regime to include corrective products.
(One of Danielle's favorites is the Glytone System)
2. Boost your moisture level from the inside out. Drink plenty of water and Japanese green tea.
3. Maintain your sunscreen use. The sun might be hiding — but it's not gone!
4. Schedule a facial treatment to begin repairing the summer sun damage.
These tips were provided by Susan Perry, a medical skin care specialist located in San Francisco.
If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area you're in luck! Susan is offering M&M readers $25 off a treatment now through December 15th. Just click on the coupon below, print and bring it in. Susan offers treatments such as Skin Vitalizing Peels, Microdermabrasion, Visit Susan's website to see more.
Today, just before his first birthday, my sweet little baby took a turn. After I cleaned out the "trough" (see previous postings on "Fast Food") of his Bibbity bib, he turned to me with a mischievous look and picked up some spaghetti and dropped it slowly back in. The look on my face must have been what he was looking for because he did it again. Then I couldn't help but laugh. Oh no, he is his brother.
When Cash was about the same age, he kept touching the stove and I kept saying no. Finally, we came to such a standoff that he would stand straight bodied about an inch from the stove and just turn around and just look at me as if to say, "Ha, ha, ha." Either that or he'd rub his butt on the stove and laugh.
Since Cash has maintained that defiant and mischievous streak, sometimes driving me absolutely to the end (see Wild Things posting), I'm hoping to nip it in the bud now. Time to pull out, "Raising a Happy, Unspoiled Child," by Burton L. White. While I had the book when Cash was a baby, I never read it. This time I'm going to be an A student and do the reading! But if that fails, I always have a second chance with "1-2-3 Magic, Effective Discipline for Children 2-12," which gives you a technique to help you to stop trying to rationalize with your kids when they are doing something you don't like.
I don't need another "King" in the house.
Being a graphic designer, I'm naturally drawn to this book, Alphabeasties: And Other Amazing Types, by Chronicle. I know there are hundreds, maybe thousands of alphabet books out there. But what I like about this one is that beyond the usual alphabet book, each animal is created with the letter it starts with in the alphabet.
After reading this book, try finding a bunch of the same letters in a magazine, and cutting out and making your own Alphabeastie... or Alphabot...Alphamonster. You get the idea!
Once you get over freaking out every time your child touches your iPhone, there are some great iPhone applications to educate and entertain your kids. This comes in particularly handy in instances such as, mmm, at a restaurant when they bring the kids food out first, the kids are done eating and now you are trying to have your dinner but they just want to go and run around... But I digress.
Cute Math: games that teach math basics
Peek a Boo Barn: behind the barn doors an animal makes a sound and the player has to guess.
Jirbo Match: a super cute memory game (that you can catch me playing once in a while).*
ABC Animals: interactive flash cards that aid in teaching letter recognition and pronunciation.
First Words and Word Magic: the player drags in the letters to spell the right word.
There are also apps for learning spanish, story and entertainment games and more.
And for Mom and Dad...
Babyphone: turn your iphone into a baby monitor.
Mom Maps: find local parks, kid friendly restaurants and more.
*Dillon (3 yrs) has better scores than I do on Jirbo Match!
I'm sensing a theme here in my product postings. Fast food that isn't quite "Fast Food." I can only offer the justification that I'm constantly on the move with my older child. My latest discovery is squeezable baby food. Fruit and vegetables pureed and packaged in a pouch! A few years ago, the energy gel in a pouch became popular among athletes. Now there is something of the like for babies.
I was first introduced to the concept a few months ago at a wedding reception in a very remote location. We didn't have access to a refrigerator or a kitchen even though we were staying overnight. For me, that meant feeding Catcher from a jar or scrounging mushy foods from the reception dinner. But another parent was feeding her baby "Mashups" squeezable fruit by Revolution Foods during the ceremony. It was better than a pacifier! And unsweetened! I was instantly intrigued. I'm pretty good about packing food for Catcher when we go out of the house but sometimes it is hard to lug around a lunch box of cut fruits and vegetables. This seemed to be the perfect solution!
And then recently during a diaper run to Babies R Us, I discovered that quite a few companies have jumped into the game.
I had big ambitions for my son Cash's baby book. My mother-in-law had passed down the baby book she kept for my husband, chronicling everything from his first foods and when each tooth came in to the time he got the gold ring on the carousel (yes, he's that old). It was overflowing with minute details about his first years. Hoping to capture the moments of Cash's life as carefully, I bought a charming hand-made book from a crafty friend. I bought dozens of scrap booking pages and little accents for them. I never did anything with any of it. And I've uploaded thousands -- literally like 6,000 -- photos to Shutterfly. But I stopped ordering them after Cash's first Christmas. They are just there. What I regret most about the gap between my ambitions and reality is that I constantly thought, "Well, I'll remember that because it was so sweet...or so funny" and didn't take the time to write things down. So many memories lost.
My friend Kate has come up with the perfect solution for the mom who is too busy (or lazy or whatever) to do a baby book or even a journal. She set up a gmail account for her son and she sends him e-mails detailing his life and the memorable moments. That way, there isn't the pressure to carve out time. She can just whip out an e-mail whenever she has something to say. You can even attach photos.
“Stand Back”, said the Elephant, “I'm Going to Sneeze”, by Patricia Thomas is a great book for cold season. I first discovered this book on Vintage Books My Kid Loves, and I have to say, It is one of my favorites. Really fun to read. Now that the whole country has colds, I thought it was a good one to bring out again.
The book is a rhyming story and goes through a tale of last time the elephant sneezed... the zebra lost his stripes... monkey flew out of the trees. In the end they decide to make the elephant laugh instead... and the outcome is the same. My boys giggle the whole way through.
The first I heard of the Maclaren stroller recall was in an e-mail from a mom who said, "Usually I don't get too flustered about recalls, but severed fingers, yikes!!" Yikes indeed!
Maclaren has recalled about one million strollers because "the elbow joint of the stroller's hinge mechanism poses a risk to the child when the consumer is unfolding/opening or closing the stroller," according to the Maclaren Website.
There have been 12 reports of finger amputations related to the dangerous hinge, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The recall includes all Maclaren umbrella strollers.
The New York Times had an article recently reporting that “shouting is the new spanking”. Parents who wouldn't think of spanking their children are instead yelling their heads off. And the experts think it might be just as harmful. Apparently my kid is going to be seriously screwed up because this week I did both. Talk about guilt.
I'll admit that we tried spanking a few times a couple years ago because no punishment seemed to work with Cash. But we never had the heart to hit him hard enough to really hurt him and he just mocked us. "I liked it, I liked it, spank me, spank me," he would say, shaking his booty at us. I quickly realized that it just wasn't the way to go and as we all know, it sent the wrong message. We were saying that he shouldn't ever hit anyone and yet we were hitting him.
But on Wednesday, I had to take both kids across the bridge to Ikea to buy new mattresses for Cash's bed.
Once everyone is finished eating gross amounts of chocolate and Smarties, and you still have a big pile of candy that you don't know what to do with, send it overseas. You can mail Halloween Candy to the troops in Iraq through Operation Gratitude. You only pay to ship it to California, and an extra $11 donation covers the overseas postage. They also have YouTube video. You can also visit halloweenbuyback.com. There you can find a dentist near you that is buying back candy from the kids - $1 a pound and sending to troops.
A few other ideas friends have shared with me:
- Pumpkin fairy. Leave out the candy and a surprise is left in its place.
- Design with it. Use it for art projects. Smarties take the place of macaroni pictures.
- My method... I let my kids pick 10 pieces each. about 5 of those disappear, somehow... and they eat the rest over the next 2 weeks. Then we're done. No arguments so far!
I've been obsessed with replacing all of our plastic food containers since I sat across from The Chronicle's environmental reporter during a meeting a few years ago and she held up a note reading, "STOP, put that down, don't drink!!" and pointed to my Nalgene water bottle. She told me that the hard plastic bottle was not safe. A couple years later, the uproar over BPA erupted and that sealed it. I threw away virtually all of our plastic cups, plates and containers.
When Catcher was born last year, I vowed to use all glass bottles to feed him. That meant throwing away all the plastic Advent bottles I had saved from when Cash was a baby (that poor kid is clearly filled with toxins).
Initially I was obsessed with the WeeGo baby bottles because of the attractive silicone sleeve. They were designed with asthetics in mind and were even sold at the SF MOMA because they look so cool. I registered for them but didn't get any at my baby shower - probably because they are really expensive. And I realized that I could get cheaper regular glass bottles and buy a protective sleeve separately. They wouldn't be as attractive but I couldn't be THAT choosy. So I have been using the Born Free bottles to feed Catcher. Truth be told, I ended up staying home with him and he rarely had a bottle so it was a bit of a moot point anyway. But I digress.
The Lifefactory company, which produces the WeeGo glass bottles recently sent Milkshakes and Margaritas a sample of their 9 oz. bottle. It certainly looked good. In the name of testing the product's durability, I gave it to Catcher with water. He immediately started sucking on it even though his normal bottle has a much different nipple. And even though he threw it down repeatedly during the day, even onto pavement, it never shattered.
Even more importantly, I found that it fits on the breast pump attachments for the Madela Pump In Style. I have been using Evenflo and Medela glass bottles for pumping and I was pleased to see that the WeeGo glass bottle worked as well. What is the point of feeding your baby from glass bottles if the milk you are giving him is pumped into plastic and stored in plastic? I bought about 20 Evenflo glass bottles from another mom and use them to store and freeze my milk. While you would spend a fortune doing that with the WeeGo bottles, in blue, yellow, orange and pink, they are a great accessory to your baby.
I don't know how body healthy these are, but they are definitely healthy for the heart. I brought these to my son's first grade class on friday, and one of his friends told me that:
a — these were the best muffins he has ever had in his whole life.
b.— he wanted to have a playdate, not just so he could play with my son, but so he could see me again.
So sweet, my heart melted.
Here's the recipe...
My 11-month-old son, Catcher, loves to look at pictures. He is always pointing to framed photos we have around the house and I try to talk to him about the people in them. But my husband has four siblings in addition to several cousins who are considered just as dear, so we haven't come even close to representing everyone on our walls. So when I saw the "Wall of Fam" that my friend Kate put up on her wall for her baby, I thought it was brilliant.
Last week we interviewed the ladies behind the Glug Collection. This week they are giving away a clothing item to 2 lucky M&M readers! To enter, just visit the glug website and tell us your favorite item in the comments below. You can enter a second time by becoming a fan on the Glug facebook page. Just don't forget to come back to M&M and let us know you became a fan.
Winners will be selected by random on November 15th. And don't forget to check out the interview with Kristen and Meredith.
In our house, we love gingerbread houses in any form. So when we found a kit for a haunted mansion gingerbread house at Cost Plus, Cash and I were ecstatic.
It comes complete with the pre-cut gingerbread pieces, frosting mix, and candy decorations. Cash drew a cool spider and web on the roof and made adorable skeletons with the candies.
With a little research, you can find a gingerbread house idea for any holiday, including Easter, Valentine's Day and even St. Patrick's Day. The I found a great selection of inspiration on about.com
And the best thing about gingerbread houses, of course, is that you eat them at the end!
Kristen Pena and her husband Luis started the Glug Collection of clothing after their daughter Sadie was born, seeing it as an opportunity to channel their creative energy into something that would allow them to spend more time with her. The two, who both worked in advertising, started out selling their eclectic designs at a few boutiques around town and they are now sold around the world and have been pictured on celebrity babies in magazines. As the business (and her family) grew, Kristen invited her friend, Meredith Ashworth, to join the company. The women, who each have two young children, work side-by-side and help each other juggle the demands of work and parenting.
Read on to hear how they got started, what inspires them and where the name "Glug" came from.
Tags: glug baby, glug collection, glug t shirts, glug tshirts, inspiring moms, kids clothing, kristen pena, kristen pena, luis pena, luis pena, meredith ashworth, meredith ashworth, mom interviews, successful moms, successful moms
I always feel guilty whenever I turn to the freezer to feed my two sons but so often we are running to or from something that it is hard to make a fresh meal even though I usually have vegetables in the crisper. The biggest hurdle for me seems to be chopping. So this weekend, I diced a bunch of different vegetables and put them in glass containers in the fridge. If I don't use them all, I will move some to the freezer in baby food jars. That way I can thaw them out in one portion at a time.
This time, I included yellow, red and green peppers, zucchini, onions and butternut squash. But it could be anything, asparagus, beets, parsnips, whatever. I figure I can throw them quickly into a little olive oil and saute them to put into mini frittatas, fold into a crepe or quesadilla, or throw into a quick omelet. They will also go well with macaroni and cheese or even pasta. It seems like a quick and easy way to get a variety of vegetables into dishes all week and easily whip up a fresh meal.
If you are looking for some great prints for your child's (or your) room — check out the art of Wayne Pate. He has several charming prints for $35. They are all standard sizes so you can easily pick up a frame from ikea or aaron brothers... and voila! I love the sea gull, it'd be super cute in a nautical themed room.
My baby Catcher loves to eat. But in juggling his six-year-old brother's busy schedule, I don't always get time to sit him down in his high chair to eat every meal. And if I give him a container of food to hold in the stroller, he'll just dump it out. Yesterday I made the greatest discovery -- if I put food in the scoop of his Kiddopotamus "Bibbity" he can eat directly out of it! I tried it first with banana pieces and he reached right into the bib's pocket and gobbled them up. Brilliant!
I love the Kiddopotamus line of feeding accessories anyway. We made one trip to a local spaghetti restaurant without one and left nearly an entire plateful of dropped pasta (with sauce!) on the floor. But when we went back with the combo of the Kiddopotamus place mat and bib, Catcher barely lost any food.
Both items are made of BPA-free plastic, are easy to clean up and roll up compactly. In addition, they are harder for kids to pull off because they have a little knob that fits into a hole to fasten it.
I just got back last night from a work trip to Washington, DC, without the baby and my boobs were the size of Pamela Anderson's and as hard as a rock. I had been pumping all along during breaks in my meetings but I didn't get a chance to do a last pumping session before I headed to the airport with my bag full of milk bottles. Because San Francisco International Airport has a nursing room, I figured that I could at least find a family restroom where I could hook up. Nope. No such thing, at least in the United terminal of Dulles airport. And I was turned away when in desperation I went to the elite traveler's "Red Carpet Club" to ask if they had a private bathroom or area where I could pump. The woman at the front desk had no sympathy. "This is a club for paying members," she sneered at me. So my pumping options were to sit on the floor in the terminal and pump in front of everyone or to stand at a sink in the shared bathroom and pump. After walking through the entire terminal in an attempt to find just a corner of privacy, I had only a few minutes left before boarding. So I opted to go for the big boobs.
You can bet that the officials at United Airlines and Dulles International Airport are going to hear from me tomorrow!
We live on a "halloween safe street" in San Francisco. This means that the street is blocked off from cars, police are present and hundreds of kids come to trick or treat. It's fun, but can be a little overwhelming and expensive — if you're buying peanut butter cups and milky way bars. Plus, my kids end up with a lot of candy that is either eaten by me, or it get's thrown away.
So in an effort to keep costs and waste down, I've been on the hunt for halloween goodies that are an alternative to candy. Here are a few favorites:
I am always starving when I wake up but my six-year-old son Cash doesn't seem to care about breakfast at all. Actually, he doesn't much care for lunch either. It seems like he is a bit of a food camel because he survives on literally almost nothing all day and then he usually will eat a hearty dinner. But that doesn't stop me from trying to cram something down his throat in the morning.
Because he often says he wants a certain thing and then rejects it when it is placed before him: "I didn't say I wanted THAT! You misunderstood," I decided to make up a menu. Now, every morning, I place the laminated menu before him and make him choose from the eight items. Most of them are things he sort of likes (he doesn't REALLY like any food), but I also put a few "trying" items on the list. I figure it can't hurt for him to at least see it on the menu. Of course, I'm not talking real adventurous stuff here. His trying list includes cereal and milk. He'll eat cereal dry and he loves milk but he literally runs from the room when you try to combine the two.
Anyway, my experiment seems to be working pretty well. He now eats at least part of one of his menu items most mornings.
Read on for Cash's Breakfast Menu
I have been admiring Georgianne Fastia's work from afar for some time now. She holds a studio space where my husband used to paint, and I've always been drawn to her paintings. There is a sweet but eerie quality to each work that I find captivating.
Read on to read what inspires her and how she got her start.
Read on to read what inspires her and how she got her start.
My son has been counting down the days to October. Why? Because October brings halloween of course! Costume discussions began in August. Trick or Treat strategy a few weeks ago. And I'm sure a blow by blow of who's wearing what will be coming up next.
One thing I've found to help my kids curb the anticipation is enjoying a halloween book a couple of nights a week. Dem Bones, by Bob Barner is a cute lyrical book stringing together different parts of the body while singing things like "Leg bone connects to da, knee bone". This will be a great one to read together with my little skeleton this year.
Here are a few more of my favorites for halloween.
The other night my mother came over to watch the kids because I had a doctor's appointment late in the day. When I was finished, it was nearly 7:30 p.m. I walked down to a coffee shop to get a Chai Latte and retreated to my car.
I wasn't planning on driving. I just wanted to be alone to relish a rare moment to relax and read. I turned on the overhead light and pulled out the previous Sunday's New York Times.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a bit paranoid about safety. So I got a bit of a shock today when I was casually looking up the instructions for the Kelty K.I.D.S. Trek backpack I had bought at a neighbor's garage sale. I had used the backpack a few times but could never quite get Catcher strapped in comfortably. I figured I could quickly find the right way on-line before heading out for a hike.
What I found was that the backpack had been recalled because of a faulty seat height adjustment strap. The strap that holds the loop under his body -- and keeps him from falling out -- could slip out of its buckle.
Do you remember the Ladybug picnic song from Sesame Street?
In dropping my son Cash off at a play date today, I was surprised to walk into what I thought was his friend's bedroom and find no bed. At first, I figured that it was a playroom and she had a second room as her bedroom. (We do go to a private school after all — hooray for scholarships!).
But it turns out that she has a Murphy Bed. Her dad popped it down, and presto, there was a fully made bed! I always kind of associated Murphy Bed's with my parents' generation or with those single room occupancy hotels the transient often live in temporarily, but this one was upscale and super cool.
Apparently Murphy Bed's have entered the 21st Century, and honestly they kick my kid's bed's butt. There are a bunch of options through the "More Space Place" store, which has more than 50 locations around the country.
When Cash was four years old, his favorite book was the Berenstain Bears and the Slumber Party book. All of his drawings and dictated stories were about squirting soda and throwing popcorn around the room (the bear party gets a little out of control and he loved that).
So when my husband went out of town for work this week, I decided to throw out the house bedtime rules (which are actually my rules, but whatever) and stage a slumber party in the living room.
Just because I have two little boys doesn't mean I don't peruse the girl stuff anymore. I mean, it's all so cute, how could I not. Look at these orange patent boots! I so wish I was a mini me so I could get these from Mini Boden.
My 6-year-old Cash first discovered the Gallop! Scanimation book by Rufus Butler Seder at Target when we were just hanging out looking at books. Then a few weeks later, my 9-month-old randomly pulled the same book out of the shelf when we were at a local bookstore. Both had the same reaction -- amazement.
The books nearly jump out at you from the shelf. Seder uses a technique with sliding paper and stripes to make the figures seem as if they are moving as you turn the pages. It is a little like a hologram but way cooler because they seem to continue moving. So the horse takes off galloping, the dog runs, and the turtle swims. In Seder's other books, "Swing" and "Waddle," there is a baseball player swinging a bat and penguins waddling, among others.
The text is simple with catchy sounds, "Can you gallop like a horse? Giddyup-a-loo!" that Cash enjoyed reading aloud to me and that made Catcher squeal.
I'm always on the lookout for books that engage both my kids and this did more than that, it left them with a sense of wonder.
Image from www.workman.com
I love one dish dinners. Less to clean up and you can usually prepare them ahead of time. Which is great while I'm trying to get back into the swing of a back to school schedule. In the Kitchen had a great post of 10 one dish dinners. I can't wait to try the potato, squash and goat cheese gratin! If you have a favorite one dish meal - please share it with us.
I am not the sort of gal who "cans." In fact, I've never even really wanted to. Don't get me wrong, I think it is cool as hell. Whenever someone offers me a jar of homemade jam I am in awe. That said, it's just not my thing. But you know, I thought that same thing about knitting. Then a friend taught me on a camping trip and. . . six hats, four scarves and one sweater later, I am indeed a gal who knits. So, I decided maybe I shouldn't be so quick to put limits on my abilities and interests. And whenever people have offered me homemade jam, I have envisioned hours of intensive labor and eons of patience in every jar. So much so, I am hesitant to even eat it. Like that would somehow be sacrilegious. It was joy enough to be a person who could merit a homemade jar of preserves.
Well, school photos are coming up soon and my oldest just lost one of his front teeth. He looks adorable, but I wouldn't have minded getting that school photo in first. Ah well. Aside from getting dentures, there are things you can do to help ensure a good (or better than usual) school photo...