Saturday, May 31, 2014

Free Baby Classes: Gymboree, My Gym and others

When our little boy was about 1 month old, I began looking for things to do with him. I had started getting stir-crazy just sitting at home all day. With no plans to return to the workforce anytime in the near future, I needed some reason to get out of the house. And though I would love to go shopping every day, I'm not one to just "window" shop - I always end up getting something. And that's no way to stick to a budget.

I found that some gyms and centers offer infant classes. Most of these classes advertise enhanced development and support of babies' growth - mainly through sensory stimulation. Lots of music and colors and sounds. The class we attend always does 5 minutes of tummy time and a new focus every 2 weeks. (The first 2 weeks were beach balls, and the next 2 weeks were blankets). Some programs involve American Sign Language, yoga, rides and swings, bubbles and some give an informative handout to parents every week.

Tummy time! They always use the rain stick to get babies' attention and practice tracking.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Free Magazines!

I am a little bit obsessed with magazines. I used to buy one or two (or three) every time I went out, and always looked forward to their arriving in the mail. I would hang onto old magazines for years sometimes, thinking I would re-read particular articles (but never did). A few years ago, I started ripping out favorite pages and putting them into a binder. That one binder has become three - my original one which contains pages on hair, makeup, fashion, health, exercise, etc. Generally from magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Redbook, etc. Then a second one on my future dream home - articles on buying a house and inspiration photos of kitchens and stuff. From HGTV and other such magazines. Then my most recent binder on pregnancy, baby, and parenting - Fit Pregnancy, Parents, Family Fun, etc.

Most recently though, I have been reading all my magazines digitally. A new baby takes up a lot more space than I thought and my magazine collection had to go. (Still have the binders though!) Reading magazines on my Nook allows to save specific pages to a digital binder/scrapbook and then there's no clutter. I found a few new magazines I hadn't heard of when searching my Nook store - Parent & Child and Kiwi. And then I decided to see what other little-known magazines I could find (preferably for free) and found quite a few on pregnancy and parenting. Here's the best of the list:

Green Child
Exactly what it sounds like! Articles and tips on raising green and eco-friendly kids, with cool products, healthy recipes, and unique ideas!

Breastfeeding Today
La Leche League's free breastfeeding magazine, with recent news on breastfeeding and lots of helpful articles.

Thriving Family
A family magazine with a Christian focus. You can read it for free through the iTunes store.

Attached Family Magazine
Through Attachment Parenting International, this free quarterly magazine offers a lot of stories from parents as well as lengthy articles that provide a lot of research-based information.

Free Baby Magazine
No recent or current issues, but there are a handful of past issues that you can read online.  On all things pregnancy and baby, including DIY projects.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Unique Father's Day Ideas

Unique Father’s Day Ideas

My husband is celebrating his first Father’s Day this year, and I want to make it special and memorable for him. If you are at all like me, then you are having trouble coming up with something different and unique, and not the standard breakfast in bed or round of golf (though those are perfectly acceptable gift ideas!)

While looking for some unique Father’s Day gift and activity ideas, I stumbled upon some great ones that I hadn’t thought of. Some of these would be better for older children, but even if you have a little one like me (3 months old!), you can still strap on a carrier and head to a car show or the zoo for a few hours!

·      Baseball. The LA Dodgers are having a postgame Father’s Day catch and giving out Father’s Day Sports Bags. The Baltimore Orioles are giving out Father’s Day Fedoras and the Houston Astros are giving away Father’s Day Grill Sets. Check your local teams to see if they too are playing a game that day and doing anything special for dads.
·      Races. For a unique activity, look for local Father’s Day 5ks and races. Road Race Runner has a nice search feature to help you find races, from Kid’s Runs, to Fun Runs, to full on Marathons. There are at least five different race events within an hour’s drive from me on Father’s Day.
·      Zoos and Aquariums. Your area zoo or aquarium may have special events or deals for Father’s Day. For example: the San Diego Safari Park is having a Father’s Day Buffet (where dads will receive one complimentary alcoholic beverage) and the Milwaukee County Zoo admits all fathers for free on June 15. The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach has their annual Father’s Day picnic, and dads get in free the whole weekend at The Florida Aquarium in Tampa.
·      Cars. Head to an auto show. They are happening in abundance on Father’s Day across the country: Road Relics in Austin, LA Roadsters in Pomona… Monroe Washington, Fauquier Virginia, at the Transportation Museum in St. Louis. Usually free, and always fun! When I was a kid, I loved going to car shows because our family tradition was to eat chocolate dipped ice cream cones while we walked around the show.
·      Planes. Check out a local aviation event. Some smaller, local airports like Beach City Airport in Ohio and Columbia Airport in California have Father’s Day “Fly-Ins.” West End Wings in Pennsylvania and the Olympic Flight Museum in Washington are holding Father’s Day Air Shows.
·      Churches. Many churches also have Father’s Day events. Some churches may recognize the fathers during the service and some hold BBQs or Potlucks on Father’s Day. At the Trinity Episcopal Church in Washington Virginia, normally the men cook breakfast on Mother’s Day and the women cook breakfast on Father’s Day!
·      Camping. Kids camp for free at participating Kampgrounds of America (KOA) locations on Father’s Day weekend. At Jellystone Parks, dads get a free souvenir cup and some locations have Father’s Day crafts, activities, and events too! Plus, what dad wouldn’t enjoy a weekend of camping, fishing, swimming, hiking, golfing, and more?!

Hopefully this has helped give you some unique ideas for Father’s Day this year. So what are you waiting for? Get searching!

Note Feb 04 2016: This post was originally published online at Mommy Hot Spot, but it seems to no longer be active. I previously had only a snippet here on my blog, but because the link to the full article was defunct, you can now read the whole thing right here at Prego to Legos!

And although these events were for 2014, many of them are general, recurring events that are good any year, and not just for Father's Day!
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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Separation Anxiety: First time away from baby

Many babies, once they reach a few months of age, often experience separation anxiety when separated from a parent (usually Mom). This post, however, is not about baby's separation anxiety, but my own.

I attended a Pregnancy & Beyond Fair a week before Mother's Day and won a free 30 minute-massage, which I had to schedule later. As a Mother's Day gift, my husband scheduled it and extended it to an hour long. I was told to arrive 30 minutes early for a brief chiropractic consultation, and since it was located half an hour from my home, we decided that my husband should come with me to watch the baby. That way, he'd be much closer to me should he get hungry. (He's still nursing about every 2 hours, and the total massage time, plus the consultation and drive would equal 2 1/2 hours).

Baby G slept in the car on the way there, and we hoped he'd sleep a little longer so we just decided that I should go in for my appointment instead of waking him up to feed him. Since he'd only eaten 45 minutes earlier. My husband was planning to push him in the stroller through the shopping center to keep him asleep.

What was strange to me was that I had discussed with my husband the possibility of interviewing babysitters for down the road. Being able to go out for an hour or two for a quick date without baby seemed like a nice idea at the time. Sometimes I feel like just a milk machine and like the baby is just permanently attached to my breast. I can hardly get anything done around the house, and my husband and I can't really cuddle on the couch and watch tv like we used to. So being able to spend an hour or two just the two of us - even if only once a month - at a restaurant or movie theater or even just a frozen yogurt place seemed wonderful.

But then, I was sitting there, in the waiting area, filling out paperwork and started to stress out. The farthest I'd been from my baby since leaving the hospital was about 20 feet. And the only time I wasn't able to really see him or touch him was when I was in the shower. I just kept thinking, "What's going on? What's he doing? How is he? Are he and my husband ok? Is he crying? Is he still asleep?" and so on. I would attempt to calm myself: "He is fine. He's with his daddy. They are okay, daddy knows what he's doing. He ate less than an hour ago, so he shouldn't be hungry yet..." But still... I was experiencing a bit of separation anxiety.

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

First Mother's Day!

Today was my first Mother's Day! It's not over yet, but it's been pretty great so far! :)

Had a pot of flowers delivered from my parents the other day. I don't have much of a green thumb, but hopefully I can keep them alive... at least for a while!

Love these little pjs, by the way. From Heidi Klum's Truly Scrumptious line. They're made of bamboo and super soft!

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Ethical Blogger: The Blogger's Code of Ethics

I wanted to explain the little image on the sidebar you may have noticed that says "Ethical Blogger Professional Standards." I first came across the image (also shown below) on MomDot and then had to look up what an ethical blogger is. Below is the Blogger's Code of Ethics I found on From The Left (originally posted on - the code is modified from the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. 

"Bloggers who adopt this code of principles and these standards of practice not only practice ethical publishing, but convey to their readers that they can be trusted." ~From The Left

I vow to be an Ethical Blogger. :)


Be Honest and Fair
Bloggers should be honest and fair in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
Bloggers should:
  • Never plagiarize.
  • Identify and link to sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.
  • Make certain that Weblog entries, quotations, headlines, photos and all other content do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
  • Never distort the content of photos without disclosing what has been changed. Image enhancement is only acceptable for for technical clarity. Label montages and photo illustrations.
  • Never publish information they know is inaccurate — and if publishing questionable information, make it clear it’s in doubt.
  • Distinguish between advocacy, commentary and factual information. Even advocacy writing and commentary should not misrepresent fact or context.
  • Distinguish factual information and commentary from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.

Minimize Harm
Ethical bloggers treat sources and subjects as human beings deserving of respect.
Bloggers should:
  • Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by Weblog content. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
  • Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
  • Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of information is not a license for arrogance.
  • Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
  • Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
  • Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects, victims of sex crimes and criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.

Be Accountable
Bloggers should:
  • Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
  • Explain each Weblog’s mission and invite dialogue with the public over its content and the bloggers’ conduct.
  • Disclose conflicts of interest, affiliations, activities and personal agendas.
  • Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence content. When exceptions are made, disclose them fully to readers.
  • Be wary of sources offering information for favors. When accepting such information, disclose the favors.
  • Expose unethical practices of other bloggers.
  • Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

I embrace the Bloggers’ Code of Ethics and endeavor to apply them in my own work.
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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I'm now on Top Mommy Blogs!

My blog is now listed on this wonderful site: Top Mommy Blogs (TMB)! I'm trying to put my blog out there and expand my reader base, now that I've been blogging consecutively for almost 5 months. TMB is a large directory of mommy and coupon blogs and it rates and ranks the blogs based on how many visits to TMB each blog generates. The top blogs obviously have the most active readers - and of course, that's where I'd like to be! :)
If you like my blog, and want to help me get more readers, please just click on the image or on the TMB button on the sidebar. One click equals one vote - and you can "vote" once each day!

Also, I just created my own little blog button:

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="" width="125" height="125" /></a>

If you would like to put my button on your own blog, just copy and paste the above code. And I will post your button as well! A fun little swap to help each other out! :D

Thank you so much!

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Baby Carriers: My reviews on three wraps and slings

There are hundreds of different baby carriers: wraps, slings, structured carriers, backpacks... and in a large variety of prices. Some will work for newborns or 8 pounds and up, and some for older babies 6 months and up. Some carriers you can use until your child is 3 or 4 years old, and some only until they're a year old. Two of the most well-known are probably the Baby Bjorn (a structured carrier) and the Moby Wrap. Though I can't review every carrier out there, I can give my thoughts on the ones I have, and hopefully it'll help someone pick their own carrier!

I currently have three different carriers. My baby boy, ("Baby G" as my doula calls him), is now 7 weeks old, so I can't speak to how any of them will work for an older baby - 6 months or older. But he is a big boy - almost 13 pounds at last check and is already wearing size 3 months clothes (and some larger).

At the moment, I don't have any "structured" carriers or back-pack carriers, like a Baby Bjorn or Ergo Baby. Maybe I'll get one down the road and add it to the list. (Anyone want to send me one?) But for now, three wraps/slings is fine. I have the Moby Wrap, Hotsling, and Balboa Baby sling.

Some notes on wraps/slings/carriers before I get into the nitty gritty:
  • Check eBay, Craigslist, and consignment shops for good deals. Some carriers can get pretty pricey (over $100 for some!) I got my Moby at a consignment shop and saved $15 and got the Hotsling on eBay for $9! The Balboa Baby sling was free from a friend that wasn't using it. (Thank you Karrie!)
  • Make sure you follow the safety instructions for your baby carrier! The Moby and Hotsling both say to make sure baby is "Visible and Kissable" - meaning you should be able to see baby and kiss their head easily. No matter the carrier you do not want baby's chin on their chest - it can restrict their ability to breathe. (This applies to all situations, by the way. Whether they're in a carseat, bouncer, swing, stroller, wrap, sling, or carrier, their chin needs to be off their chest!)

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