Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Naptime Shopping

I've found the quickest, easiest shopping trips usually don't include my youngest child-almost 2-years-old. If at all possible I run my errands while someone else is watching him. Other times, I do my shopping during my son's naptime. I know he'll fall asleep in the car and stay asleep once in the stroller.
The only problem is if it's a big shopping trip-like Christmas shopping. How do I push a cart and a stroller?
Well, during my last holiday errand run, I put the umbrella stroller inside the shopping cart, locked the wheels and placed my darling, sleeping son in the stroller and strapped him in. I had plenty of room to place items in the cart and didn't have to fight through crowds while maneuvering a cart and stroller.
(I shopped for an hour and half and he didn't wake up until we were back in the car on the way home!)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Some kids love to have their picture taken with Santa Claus...

and some kids, not so much...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Homemade Christmas Ornaments

I'm big on traditions, and thanks to my daughter's homework this past weekend, I've started a new one. Homemade Christmas ornaments.
The kids always enjoy a craft and making an ornament to hang on the tree or around the house during the holidays will make decorating even more special.

My daughter's project was to color a gingerbread man cut out of white paper for the class tree. (She colored with crayons & embellished with foam cut-outs. Try buttons, jingle bells, glitter pens, yarn or felt for other options)

I thought we could do the same thing each year. The kids can decide what project they would like to create. I'll date the back of their decoration and each passing year, we'll have more homemade ornaments to add to our tree-not to mention all the memories will be adding too!

Need a good, inexpensive gift idea for the grandparents? Why not have the kids make them an ornament. Or buy a simple, photo-frame type ornament and put a nice picture of the kids inside.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Christmas Cards

Are you fretting because you haven't sent out your Christmas or Holiday cards and it's after the 1st of December? If you include pictures with your cards, do you hate the hassle and expense of portrait studios? Take one yourself! Some of the best, funniest and most memorable cards I've received are ones the families took themselves.
I usually mail my cards out after Thanksgiving so everyone can enjoy it through the month of December and I'm usually done with my shopping by now too. What happened to November? Anyway, I didn't want any stress about cards, but I still wanted cute ones to send out to family and friends. I ordered online from Wal-Mart. Yes, Wal-Mart. The 4X8 photo cards are only .33 cents/each if you pick up from the store. If you need a rush xmas card job, the cards are only .40 cents/each for one-hour service. And they look great! Many other stores and websites offer photo and regular cards online too. It's just one less thing you have to worry about. I didn't have a recent family photo or a "holiday" photo of the kids so I improvised. I used a picture my mom took of the kids as they were getting ready for bed one night...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots can teach your children the true meaning of giving this holiday season.
And I know your kids have some extra toys hidden around the house or in some cases spread out all over the house in plain view. Any of those gently-used toys would make great donations!
Tell your kids about other children less fortunate than them and ask your kids to help you sort through some of their toys. Hopefully they'll want to join in and learn giving is as good as receiving. If your kids are not ready to give up a special toy, don't force it. If your child asks about Santa-say he needs help sometimes.
Thanksgiving is a few days away and I'm hearing several radio and television commercials for local toy drives. Check your local paper or online for toy drives in your area. I've noticed some drives only take new toys-if that's the case ask your kids to help you pick out a gift on your next shopping trip. Either way your kids donate, they'll feel good about themselves while they're helping out someone else.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Asthma treatment by chiropractor - alternative to medications

I'm so grateful to a close friend for referring me to a local chiropractor. I wrote a while back about how Dr. Matt, a chiropractor in North Hollywood basically cured my daughter of asthma. You can read the story here. I'm writing about it again, because now my son is beginning to show signs of asthma much like my daughter did three years ago. Plus, I know the amazing results and want to share this alternative and effective treatment with everyone.
I've been trying to find a kid-friendly chiropractor that specializes in treating children with asthma. Locating such a chiropractor was difficult. I finally found one through a friend's referral and took both my kids this past week. My daughter has not visited a chiropractor in almost 6 months and had one night of wheezing. Her previous doctor suggested once a month visits to prevent future attacks or to bring her in when she had a cold in the case it triggered the asthma. The preventive treatment worked wonders and had I continued taking her-I doubt she would have had the one relapse. I'm telling you the results are incredible and DRUG FREE!
I can't stand the thought of putting my son through all the breathing treatments and medications such as albuteral-like I had started out with my daughter. The medicine wouldn't let her sleep and made her so hyper-active-not to mention whatever side effects the meds may cause. Also, the nebulizer and medications are outrageously expensive. My kids' pediatrician suggested Singulair as a preventive measure-with my insurance that medication alone costs $96. The breathing apparatus is about $100 and the breathing meds are $40 each and up. Believe me I think my kids are worth whatever costs to make them well, but it just so happens chiropractic care for asthma only costs me $35 a visit (and that's without insurance).
Recently, my son developed a cold and I could hear wheezing in his chest. Like his sister, he would cough throughout the night and sometimes cough so much, he'd make himself throw up. The night of my son's first visit to the new chiropractor-he had a restful night's sleep. The doctor spent quality time with both my kids to make them feel comfortable and to get to know them. He even played some games with them. The doctor allowed my son to lay with me so he'd always feel secure. The doctor was extremely gentle and careful to explain the treatment. If your child is suffering from asthma and you're worried about the medications, please research chiropractic care as an alternative.
I know you'll be as amazed by the results and benefits as I am.

Dr. Michael Wolff 281-370-3349 9037 Louetta Rd Spring, Texas 77379

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Potty Humor

The caption below the the picture reads, "EFFORTS."

The picture has hung in my mom's guest bathroom for as long as I can remember and it always makes me chuckle...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Once bitten...

I've returned from a wonderful trip.
I asked my sister how the kids did while I was away. My sister informs me that my son has been bitten in daycare three times by the same kid. My sister went on to say that she inquired about the bitings and was told this by my son's teacher, "Yah, he just doesn't seem to learn that he shouldn't do that any more and keeps getting bit."

Does this puzzle you? I'm a bit confused. My son is the one going home with the "Boo Boo" reports not the "Uh Oh" reports for having done the biting. If my son is pushing the kid or not sharing- I'd like to know- but it's still no excuse for getting chomped on.
If my son doesn't share a toy with my daughter and she pushed him as a way of venting her anger, I certainly wouldn't allow my son to think he deserved to be pushed. I'd teach him to share and I'd teach my daughter not to push.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Mind the Gap...

...between my kids and me while I'm enjoying a London holiday. I'm off to a wedding with my husband and so looking forward to getting away-just us.
We parents deserve some alone time whether it's a date night, a weekend rendezvous or better a yet an entire week's vacation. If you have the resourses, uh, volunteers, okay, babysitters available-take advantage of the opportunity. There is no need to feel guilty about it either. You deserve it, your kids should spend quality time with others and as for the babysitters-they'll make sure there's pay back!

Mind the gap and enjoy the space!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

GoodWill Costume Hunting

Having a frightful time trying to find an inexpensive costume for your kiddo-or maybe yourself? Check out your local resale shop. There are countless rows of costume ideas. If you're not creative, most resale shops put together spooktacular displays. The stores usually pull from their stock and set up special "Halloween" clothing racks. Plus, you can find costume kits-some are still in their original packages.
Kids love to dress up and they never seem to be able to make up their minds. My daughter wanted to be Velma from Scooby-Doo and then decided to be a kitty cat. And with all the Halloween activities planned around the actual day, kids want to dress up as something different for each event! It can get pricey! But, you can purchase several costumes at a resale shop for less than one at a department store. If your kids like dressing up throughout the year like mine do, buy some hand-me-down fun-costumes, vintage outfits and accessories.
Then after Halloween, hit the discount department stores like Wal-Mart and Target for 50 to 75% off costumes. Make sure to buy a size larger than your kids are currently wearing. Don’t worry if your kid doesn’t want to be a princess or Superman next year-they’ll love wearing it for dress up! Oh, and if FREE sounds better to you, this is also a great time of year to hit up your neighbors, friends and family for hand-me-down costumes!! Happy Hunting! and have a Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pumpkins and Fall Festival Fun!

My daughter was three-years-old last Halloween and really wanted to help her daddy carve our pumpkins. There are special carving tools available these days that seem to make the pumpkin-carving a little less dangerous for young children and the tools create ornately designed pumpkins or simple jack-o-lanterns.
But, you and the kids can also decorate pumpkins with paint, markers, babbles and beads, and anything else you can imagine.
I bought my kids, nieces and nephew all one small pumpkin each (a size they could easily handle by themselves). My sister and I put out several art and craft items in the center of a newspaper-covered table. We also provided glue bottles and glue sticks.
If you don't have construction paper, buttons, beads, glitter, foam cut-outs, etc. around the house-make an organic Halloween pumpkin. Decorate it with straw or twigs, leaves, pinecones, seeds, or whatever else you can find in your yard or neighborhood.
We let the kids decorate their pumpkin any way they wanted. We allowed them to feel independent and creative. The kids had a fun afternoon and were pleased with their pumpkin creations. Plus, we ended up with great Halloween decorations and less worry about one of the kids slicing their finger!

Don't forget, it's also Fall Festival time!

Check on-line or your local paper for festivals, pumpkin patches, and carnivals in your area. Many of these events are free for kids. My family recently went to the Bayou City Art Fest and kids under 12 were FREE. In addition, there were several booths for the kids to make FREE arts and crafts. The "black cat hat" in the photo above with the pumpkin was one of the crafts from the art festival. The kids loved making the hats as much as they loved wearing them!
(It's made of black construction paper-a 3" wide band taped to fit around your child's head. The base of the cat face is cut out of construction paper and taped or glued to the head band. Use other colors of paper, markers, googly-eyes, pipe cleaners, etc. to create the cat's ears, eyes, nose and whiskers.)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Mamma's Boy

I took the kids to see their grandparents this weekend. We had a lovely visit. Sunday morning my son seemed to have woken up too early and was in a bit of a foul mood. My father-in-law asked me, "why does he cry so much?"

It's a good and valid question, but not one to ask of the child's mother.

Feeling defeated, I simply replied, "I don't know," and put an end to the inquiry.

I've since thought more about it and I have the answer.

My name is Kelley and my son is a mamma's Boy.

The fault is not all my own, yet I'll take the credit anyhow. My son is our second-born and youngest child. I believe having a daughter first and son second perpetuates the whole Daddy's Girl and mamma's Boy scenario. My son is also much more quite and shy than his older sister. Plus, living 1600 miles away from our family during his first year and half of life doesn't necessarily help his comfort level. It takes him some time to get acclimated to new surroundings- even if those surroundings include family. That was the reason for the visit in the first place.
I try to use every weekend to take my kids to spend time with family. I want them to have close relationships now that we live near by to everyone. I just hope that everyone has patience and accepts that to my son they may seem like strangers at first. I want to close that gap, but I know it will take a few more weekend visits.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Did you know groceries can give you gas?

CHEAP gas!

Grocery store chains that also run gas stations have been selling gas at a lower cost than your average gas station. Many of these grocery store-owned fuel centers offer 3 cent discounts per gallon when you use your club card. Here in Texas, the Randall's grocery store chain has a special extended through mid October. With your club card and a $50 purchase of groceries, they'll discount your gas 10 cents a gallon. If you're a parent with an infant and/or toddler, you're spending $50 on diapers alone. You have to buy groceries, take advantage of this great deal! Get rewarded for all those groceries! You simply pull up to the pump. swipe your club card or enter the phone number associated with the account and the savings are automatic. I bought gas for $1.91 a gallon yesterday.

The grocery store/gas stations I use are Kroger's and Randall's. I would imagine several stores are offering these gas reward discounts in other states as well.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Does this look like a book marker to you?

This was a recent craft project my daughter created at day's supposed to be a book marker...

Okay, I realize maybe my mind is thinking out-of-the-box and in the gutter, but COME ON!!!

I can't be the only parent who did a double-take on this phallic, construction-paper craft.

And look at the top edge-the teacher even made inch marks on the book marker like a ruler-a six inch ruler.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Buying a home & keeping the kids in mind

So I've been living with my sister and her family for just over 3 months now. My husband and I really want to buy a home, but working out the logistics has been tricky. First, we work in different states and second, do we want that responsibility? We've decided it's time to buy-to make a home for our family and for the investment. Now, we're trying to decide the all important location. Plus, having kids complicates the search for the perfect home. To give you an idea of why this decision has been so difficult for us, here's a list of our considerations when buying a home and keeping the kids in mind:

-LOCATION I want to be near family in case of emergencies or for a date night with the hubby. Living near my sister makes the most sense in terms of help, but also means a long commute to work. Does an instant babysitter out weigh the extra expense of gas and toll way charges?
We want to be close to good daycare and excellent public schools.
Is the area prone to flooding? In Houston, you have to worry about flooding during Hurrican Season.
We like being close to downtown Houston & being able to stroll down to cafes and museums, but the area has few sidewalks and lots of thru-traffic-is it a good, safe place for kids to play? The homes are twice the cost as the suburbs, smaller and few have garages. Do we choose the lifestyle we're used to and make it work with kids or assume a more kid-friendly community is best to raise children?
-SCHOOLS I don't want to pay for private schooling when Texas has such great public school districts. We pay more in property taxes here for those great schools-but you get what you're paying for. Which school district is the best for our kids and is consistent?
-SIZE Home size-lots of room for the family also means more to clean and more yard to mow. A 4 bedroom home sounds so appealing, but mowing the yard doesn't. How much is lawn service? Is it comparable to maintenance fees with a town home?
Community size-do we want a small, cozy community where everyone knows each other and there are few or no amenities (pools, etc) or a large, expanded community with lots of extras (fancy pools, parks, playgrounds, hiking trails) and more traffic. Can I live in the suburbs? Is it worth a community pool with a lazy river and a playground that includes a rock wall? And what is the difference in home owner association fees? Property taxes?
-INVESTMENT How's the market in the area we buy? Would the house sell or rent well?
-IMPROVEMENTS/REMODEL Do I have the time, money or inclination to upgrade or fix a house we a buy? If yes, how would the improvements/remodeling effect the kids' safety? My son gets into everything.
-LONG TERM Do we plan on living in the house for the duration of the kids' schooling or jump on a good investment and then find something else? I grew up in the same neighborhood for 14 years and went to elementary, middle and high school with the same kids. I really enjoyed the closeness I shared with my friends and the community. Would my kids want that?
-THE HOME One or two story? how many bedrooms? are the bedrooms the same size so the kids aren't fighting for the larger room? how many bathrooms? attached or detached garage? master bedroom up or downstairs? a large or small lot? square-footage? gas or electric? how old is the roof & AC? New or older home? are appliances included? what type of flooring? storm windows? The list goes on for days...

There are so many things to consider when buying a home especially when kids are in the picture. It's not an easy decision. I didn't even get into the financing aspects. Oh, the HORROR!
But, I look forward to making a HOME for our kids soon. It will all be worth it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I recently took the kids to visit their daddy in Venice, CA. We had a wonderful trip and stayed at a motel right on the beach.
Though I was prepared with several kid-distractions for the flight, my daughter discovered the vomit bag in her front seat pocket. She performed a lil' vomit bag puppet show for her brother and me...

My daughter enjoyed a lift along the Venice boardwalk with her daddy...
The motel was nice, but didn't have a bath. I needed to wash the beach off of the kids and the lovely, yet soft, rain showerhead just wouldn't cut it-trying to hold wet kids up close to the showerhead to get enough power to remove the stubborn sand just seemed a bit too dangerous.
I opted for the large, double kitchen sink...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Favorite Teething Remedy - Best Baby & Child Products Series #3

Special thanks to Taralyn for this post-she introduced me to this amazing teething rememdy.

HUMPHREY'S Teething Tablets No. 3
My son has been very fussy during his teething. Baby Oral gel works pretty good, as does chewing on frozen fruit-but these tablets have really done the trick to relieve his fussiness. It's amazing how quickly the tablets calm down my son. Other remedies only help with the pain and swelling. Humphrey's gives my son (and me) more restful sleep-naturally without having to use so much Tylenol or other medications.

Here's some more info about Humphrey's Teething Tablets from

-Safe effective relief for children
-100% All natural
-Fast acting
-Pleasant tasting
-No side effects
-Not tested on animals
-Contains no animal ingredients
-Made in USA
Temporarily relieves minor irritation, pain and wakefulness associated with teething in infants

Place 1 to 3 pellets in 1/2 teaspoon of water and allow to dissolve
After dissolving, apply to child's gums
If needed, repeat every 2 hours up to 4 times per day
If preferred, mixture may be administered under the tongue
If child is persistently irritable, wakeful and restless, administer 3 pellets before bed - repeat in an hour if necessary or as directed by a healthcare professional

Active Ingredients:
Chamomilla 3X HPUS Chamomile , Coffea Cruda 3X HPUS Coffee Seeds , Belladonna 3X HPUS 0000095% Alkaloids , Calcarea Phosphorica 12X HPUS Calcium Phosphate Ingredients Sucrose NF Sugar

Here's a link to other Humphrey's products

Monday, September 04, 2006

Mini Vans sure can fit a lot of attitude...

Since 8th grade, I've been told being short has many advantages. While that statement may be true, it still gets me a seat at the kiddy table during holidays and in the back of this mini van:

(Does my expression say enough for you...luckily most of the kiddos were preoccupied-remember to be prepared on road trips with kids)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ballunar Liftoff Festival at NASA

You can't always get that perfect, "Kodak" moment...

two cryin' kiddos

(or I really need a faster trigger finger with my camera phone)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A career for A Mom?

Fightin Mad Mary sent me this link:
Yummy Mummy
I've just checked it out today and it's very interesting and geared to moms who need flexible schedules and understanding bosses.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Best Sippy Cups - Best Baby & Child Products Series #2

(I can't really do a Best Bottle because every baby is different. My daughter liked any kind of bottle and my son only like Avent.)

But with sippy cups, they are fairly similar in basic design. You need one that won't leak and your child wants one that doesn't require too much sucking and feels comfortable.
I've found for the transition from bottle to sippy cup the Avent Magic Cup is the best. You can see from the design, the mouth piece is closer is shape and feel to a bottle nipple than most sippy cups.

Avent also makes a Magic cup with handles. Both designs are truly spill-proof and the spill-proof valve lasts longer than most. (they are dishwasher safe-but I suggest NOT using HEAT to dry to keep the valve from warping)

For a child who has no problem with transitioning to a sippy cup or toddlers and older kids, I've found the Gerber sippy cups are best. Again, with proper care, the spill-proof valves last longer than other sippy cups. Plus, my kids prefer the easy-grip design.

I like the Gerber sippy cup that comes with an attached snack container too.

SIPPY CUP VALVE INFO-The valves for sippy cups are small and easily lost, but you can purchase replacement valves from most baby product websites/stores. Gerbers valves are simple to use as they are only one "plug" piece.
Other valves, such as Playtex, have two plug ends and if not inserted correctly, they will leak.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I recently overheard the following conversation of my nieces talking about my daughter...

Niece #1: "Why do you blame everything on her?"

Niece #2 replies defensively: "I DON'T. Sometimes I blame things on you."

(My stomach still hurts from laughing)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I dropped the kids off at day care and sat with my daughter while she ate her breakfast. My sister had packed a sack lunch for my daughter's zoo field trip today. As I sat with my little girl, she asked who made the drawings and wrote her name on her lunch sack. I told my daughter that her aunt Tracey had done that.
Several moments passed as well as several bites of waffles and my daughter exclaims, "Mommy, Tracey made love!"
I carefully scan the room to see if any parents were in ear-shot. Thankfully- none. Then, my daughter points to one of the hearts my sister had drawn on the lunch sack. "See,"
My sister "made" a heart-she made love.
Yes, now mommy sees-the lunch sack conversation had slipped my mind which apparently fell directly into the gutter.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Teaching by Example = Learning by Example

I've found one of the best ways my kids learn is by example. Young kids often learn by mimicking others. My son is the best "cleaner uper" in his day care class and I know it's because his first day care provider set such a good example and he copied her (and the Barney song helps too). I've tried my best to use good manners especially around my children- and my daughter (on most occasions) uses her good manners. Every day and often without even realizing it, we're teaching our children with our words and actions.
Recently, I spoke with my best friend and it reminded me of a scene she described to me a few months ago. My friend had been grocery shopping and was getting her kids back into their car seats. A woman in the next parking space was doing the same routine with her two kids. One of the woman's kids was misbehaving and hit her brother. The woman responded by telling her daughter, "don't you hit" while at the same time spanking her kid. Now regardless of how you feel about corporal punishment-how can you possibly teach NOT hitting with hitting?

Do you think that child learned not to hit? That is definitely a situation that calls for teaching by example.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Need some fun ideas?

Looking for fun, new things to do? Running out of ideas to rid boredum?
Check out

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Baby Shower Ideas & Etiquette

Baby Showers are supposed to be a blessed and happy occasion, but often times people and circumstances can make them seem stressful. They don't have to be. If you're hosting or co-hosting a shower-so many party ideas are available on line now. You can do everything from download printable invitations to baby shower games. Plus, there are numerous sites about baby shower etiquette such as this site.
If you're a MOM-TO-BE or a mom having another baby shower always remember this is for YOU and your baby. It's tough trying to please everyone and if your shower is in the last trimester like most, you've got enough to deal with. Don't worry about pleasing everyone and you don't have to heed everyone's advice. If there is ever a time to do what you want-it's now and you can even take advantage of your condition (mood swings) to justify your behavior.

If you're a GUEST, PLEASE ONLY BUY WHAT THE MOM HAS REGISTERED FOR!! Not what you think the mom wants. It's a difficult chore to register for all that baby stuff and new parents shouldn't have to worry about returning stuff they didn't even register for in first place. EXCEPTIONS-If there is some absolutely needed item the mom left off her registry or you want her to have a basket of the little oft-forgot things-I like to call the mom and/or add something from the registry if I go that route though.

I'm helping throw a baby shower for my cousin and found these sites helpful Baby Shower Central and The Baby Shower Site. Hopefully, the mom has a baby book for the guests to sign and for a host/guest to mark the gifts and who gave them. If not, a book will be necessary-talk to the mom-to-be about the style she prefers. It's always fun to have everyone guess the baby's weight & height, the sex if it's unknown or even how long the labor will be and the time of birth. You can print out a simple spread sheet as a keepsake for the baby book and have the guests fill it out when they first arrive.
The guest list for my cousin's shower is large so I'm keeping the games simple and to a maximum of three. For any baby shower size, if games are played-I'd keep the maximum the same-but the games could be more involved with a smaller party.
I loved the guessing the Mother's waistline game at my shower and it's a good way for the large number of guests to get a little one-on-one time with the Mom-to-be. The guests cut pieces of ribbon or yarn to match their guess of the Mom's belly circumference. The person with the closest guess wins. My other favorite game is a memory game. You buy several baby necessities and place them in a basket. Show the guests the basket and the contents and then set it out of sight. The guest who remembers the most items wins. The Mom-to-be is the big winner though as the basket is great for baby items, toys or laundry and most often she'll forget to register for infant gas drops and teething gel!

Here's a list of several items to choose from for the basket memory game or for an "oft-forgot-baby-necessities-gift basket": (Moms-to-be might want to take notes)

-Basket (if one is not on the registry- a plastic laundry basket is just fine-I bought one from the dollar store)
-Baby Ora-jel (for teething)
-Infant gas drops (Mylicon brand is the best)
-Infant Tylenol (Motrin or ibuprofin products can't be used the first 6 months)
-Baby Vicks Vapor Rub
-Extra infant medicine droppers
-Baby Nasal Aspirator or "snot sucker"
-Saline drops (help to clear baby's stuffy nose)
-Diaper Cream (Boudreaux's Butt Paste worked best on my kids)
-Travel baby wipes or baby wipe refills
-Baby shampoo, wash & lotion (can't have too much of these)
-Travel size baby shampoo, wash & lotion (perfect for keeping in diaper bag)
-Travel kleenex (for mom & baby)
-Hand sanitizer (there is even a version that comes with a clip-also perfect for a diaper bag)
-Newborn & size 1 diapers (can't have too many of these-but varied sizes are good as the baby could be big and outgrow newborn diapers quickly)
-Nursing pads (thick & thin sizes if the mom will be breastfeeding)
-Lansinoh Cream (if the mom will be breastfeeding-this is the best & safest cream for cracked skin/nipples)
-Diaper Genie (or similar) refill bags (if the mom's registered for a diaper dispenser)
-Bag of clothe diapers (even if the mom's using disposable diapers-the diaper clothes make great spit-up rags, etc and you don't care about staining them like the real, aborable burp clothes or bibs)
-Gift from the registry- if you're making these items for a gift basket (a grooming kit or thermometer would fit nicely)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Best Bottle Brush - Best Baby & Child Products Series #1

My cousin is having a baby shower in a few weeks and I've been thinking of some of the better necessities she'll soon need. As I cleaned my kids' sippy cups this morning, I realized I was using THE BEST BOTTLE brush. The maker is Munchkin and they make many quality baby/child products.
Their bottle brush is better than most because it is multi-functional. The brush has a small brush that screws into the end of the handle. The small brush gently cleans bottle nipples and gets deep into sippy cup lids and stoppers. Plus, the brush has lasted for years. I just run it through the dishwasher to keep it clean. Also, the bottom of the handle has a suction cup to allow for sanitary drying!

(I'll make this a continuing series and list other best baby/kid products)

Monday, July 17, 2006

keeping in touch...

With a husband who's working out-of-town often, keeping in touch with the family is very important. Luckily, in this high-tech cell phone age, my hubby doesn't just get to talk with the kids, he can see instant pictures. If I upgrade my phone, he can also see video. My hubby sends us video clips of him. He and I often text message too. But, staying in touch shouldn't stop there. Technology is great for immediate communication- be it a cell phone, email, instant messaging, etc.

Writing a letter is truly keeping in touch...
It's tactile-something you hold on to.
It's more intimate.
It's memorable.

I've put together a large envelope for my husband. It includes a letter from me and some drawings the kids created. It also contains some of the daily activity sheets our kids get from day care. The detailed sheets have info about what the kids learned about, what activities they participated in, what they ate, how long they napped, how they were emotionally and for our young son even how many times they changed his diaper. I thought it might help my husband keep up with how the kids are doing.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Great kid-friendly finds at the local grocery store

Why can't every store have one of these parking spaces? Thank you Kroger's!
If you can't read the cell phone pic I took while blinded by the sun, the sign reads "EXPECTANT MOTHER PARKING" and no I don't need one of those spaces-I just appreciate it.

Could a shopping trip get any easier? Well... yes, but this cart sure keeps my son's attention while I get the groceries.

And wipes provided for the cart too? I'll be a loyal customer of Kroger's because of all these kid-friendly extras!

Wow-diapers and wine both on sale for $7.99!! (It's nice to be back in Texas)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Go For A Stroll

Strollin', strollin', strollin' keep those kiddos strollin'-good exercise!

I don't have time for going to a gym and keeping up after my two kids seems like exercise! But, I never feel like I'm getting enough cardio. It's great to take my kids for a light jog/fast walk stroll around the neighborhood or down to the local park. It's also a great way to get a walk in even if it's a leisurely stroll. My kids and I enjoy getting outside. A stroll is especially good after a hard day of play to calm the kids down before nap time or to view the changing colors in the sky before sunset. While it's summertime, take advantage of your stroller and stroll to your neighborhood park or pool instead of driving.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Chucky E. Cheese has it's pros and cons

Having recently moved from California to Texas, I didn't have much time to prepare for my daughter's 4th birthday. I'm all about keeping birthday parties simple and still fun (as I wrote in Happy, Happy Birthdays). I thought about a simple party at one of my family members' homes, and then I remembered that my daughter still talks about her friend's Chucky E. Cheese birthday party that was almost a year ago. Now I hate Chucky E. Cheese's because as a parent, you're so involved watching the kids play games that you don't really get to TALK to any other adults. The conversation is minimal and often interrupted. But, this isn't my party and kids love Chucky E. Cheese. My daughter was incredibly excited to have her party there. I planned the party in less then 5 days and here are some tips to a better Chucky E. Cheese party:
-Have the party early on the weekend (like when they open & before the crowds) Our party was on a Wednesday evening from 5:30pm to 8pm. We had a small party and the location was convenient for the family to get to after work.
-I didn't pay for the Official party. It does include everything but I found it expensive for a small 8 kid/12 adult party. (Most adults don't like the pizza there anyway-they want wings or salad) There are coupons in the paper for combos that include pizza, drinks and tokens at about a $20 savings from the every day combo specials. I bought my own themed plates, napkins and forks. I also brought my own cake. You can still sit in the birthday area with the mechanical Chucky characters.
-I gave each kid a plastic token cup with 15 tokens to start (I'd pass out more as they were needed)-I made the mistake of assuming every Chucky E. Cheese sells beer and wine (most do). I'd call ahead to check.The one we went to had stopped selling it and PawPaw, the great aunts and me were none to happy. It's much easier to swallow a little Chucky E. Cheese with a beer or wine chaser!
-I purchased really cool party favors at the dollar store that didn't look like they were from the dollar store (Disney spinning top, individually wrapped Ritz crackers, individually wrapped Sponge Bob crabby patties, blow pops, mini M&M tubes, glowing rubber bouncing balls, Disney swirly straws)
One thing I do like about Chucky's is they stamp each parents hand with a stamp that cooresponds to their kids. This way is the maze and craze of people you have some comfort that no one can walk out with your child. All kids' and adults' stamps are checked on the way out.


Monday, July 03, 2006

Fourth of July Kid Crafts and teaching the origin of July 4th

Do your kids just know the Fourth of July as firecracker day?
Tell them all about the origins of the Fourth of July and make a craft and why not have a Boston tea party too.
Depending on the age of your kids, the many events that led up to Independence Day can be overwhelming and hard to comprehend. But, several web sites such as this one offer a general, short history you can retell to your children in a way they can understand. I'm telling my daughter about the first thirteen colonies wanting independence and how they finally got the Declaration of Independence passed. I thought I might mention the story of the Boston tea party since she loves playing tea time so much. Then, we'll create a fun Fourth craft.

Family Fun magazine has lots of easy and great July 4th craft ideas:

Flag Fan

Star Spangled Wavers (We used straws and paper instead of a wooden dowel and felt)

"John Adams, a lawyer, the first Vice President and the Second President of the United States, was one of the members of the Second Continental Congress who signed the Declaration of Independence. He wrote to his wife, I believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival... it ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other..."

Thursday, June 29, 2006

We Made It!

My hubby, our two kids and two cats made the drive straight through from LA to Houston and we still have our sanity and a few nerves left. I thought for sure the long hours (about 26 hours) in a car seat would change my kids into tiny demons. The kids were remarkablely well behaved. We planned on making many pit stops to let them stretch their legs and allow us a little peace. We only had to make one stop that wasn't for gas or for one of the parents to potty.
Now the drive itself was horrendous. If you think you can take shifts driving when you have kids in the car-you're wrong! Try as you might to sleep, it's dang near impossible. The kids are babbling or talking or singing, laughing or crying. They drop their toys under the seat and need you to fetch it. The electronic toys that keep their attention so well are obnoxious and echo in your hind-brain so you can't sleep. The kids also get hungry or thirsty. The sleep you need for the next leg of driving is unattainable during this chaotic road trip symphony.

Imagine these sounds all together for hours and hours...

Sesame Street toy: "Rubber ducky, you're the one. You make bath time so much fun"
Daughter: "Mommy, what's that?"
Son: "Ah, ah, ba, ba, dada, dada"
Sesame St. toy: "I love trash, anything dirty or dusty"
Cats: "meow, meow"
Son mimicking cats: "ow, ow"
toy: "beep, beep, coming through. Driving is fun"
Daughter: "I want my rubber chicken. Where's my chicken?"
Radio station in the middle of nowhere: "She living single, so I'm drinking doubles."
toy: "Cookies, yum, yum, yum"
Daughter: "I want some cookies, Mama."
daughter: "can I have some chocolate milk?"
Cats: "hiss, hiss, meeeooowwww."
Daughter: "Aedan's pulling Luna's tail."
Hubby: "No, no, let's be gentle."
toy: "A, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k..."
Daughter: "hey, that's MY toy."
Son: LOUD crying, screaming
Hubby: "Don't take toys from your brother. Use your words and ask. Now give that back."
Son: "Ah, ba, ca, ah, ah..."
cat: hair ball cough
Daughter: "mommy, Remy through up on Aedan."

AAAHHHHHH!! Make it all stop. So basically, my husband and I didn't sleep. But, a few crying sessions is tolerable compared to the nightmare trip I'd imagined.

Friday, June 23, 2006


If you let it, moving can be terribly stressful-especially when kids are involved. I'm lucky enough that my kids are still very young (4 yrs & 17 months). The transition from another state, another day care, a different environment and different people shouldn't be too stressful for them. To make sure the moving transition is smooth for my family these are some of the tactics I used:

1. BE HONEST-tell your kids all there is to know about the move

2. DON'T SHOW YOUR STRESS-kids pick up on that & think they should behave the same way

3. KEEP THEIR IMMEDIATE ENVIRONMENT AS FAMILIAR AS POSSIBLE-favorite toys, stuffed animals, a familiar chair, TV, whatever makes them comfortable

4. LET THEM BE A PART OF IT-if they are old enough & want to help pack, clean, look at new houses, etc.-let them feel involved

5. SHOW & TELL-show the kids on a map or the internet where they're moving to and tell them all about the new place

My 17-month-old really doesn't have a clue as to what is going on. My daughter will turn 4-years-old in about a week and is very aware of "something" going on. I've been very honest with her. I told her we were moving to Texas for mommy's new job and to be near our family. Another lucky thing about our move, is my entire family lives in and around Houston. By letting my daughter know she'll be able to see her Nanna, her Mimi and her cousins more often, the move becomes exciting to her. But, her concept of moving is that of a small child. She believes the apartment we currently live in will be moved on a truck to Texas. She also believes that her day care provider and playmates will also be in Texas. I had to carefully explain that the apartment could not be moved and that we'd be getting a newer, bigger place. I then explained to my daughter that she'd be meeting new friends at another day care in Texas. If she missed her friends here, we could call them, write to them and send them updates and pictures.
I will soon sit down with my daughter at the computer and show her the driving route we're taking from California to Texas-she'll get to visually see the trip.
I allowed my daughter to assist in some of the packing and let her pick out some favorite things she'd like to have during the transition. She felt a part of the process and thought she was a "big girl."
It's best if you can have a place to move to before the actual move. It just makes the move easier on kids if there are fewer changes in the surroundings. In our case, I was not able to pick out a place before our move. And in an effort to avoid, several environmental changes, we're staying with my generous sister and her family while I look for a home. My kids will think it's a holiday visit and will feel comfortable.

For me, the most stress came from trying to decide on a moving van company or uhauling it. I did lots of research. There are several sites you can list your move and companies will contact you with email quotes. The Uhaul quote was almost as much as the cheapest moving company quote and didn't include loading/unloading labor and the cost of GAS! So I went with Golden Van Lines in North Hollywood. Their quote was fair and didn't change too much. Be prepared-the quote will not be the final cost! The company also included free storage for a month.

When choosing a moving company ask these questions:
1. CAN SOMEONE COME LOOK AT EVERYTHING & GIVE ME A DEFINITE QUOTE (they'll have you list everything for an email or over-the-phone quote-but in person they can get a better idea)
2. DO YOU CHARGE BY WEIGHT OR BY CUBIC SPACE USED? The company I went with let me choose. I knew my stuff would be very heavy so I went with space used
3. DOES THE QUOTE INCLUDE PACKING MATERIALS?-IF NOT WHAT ARE THE EXTRA COSTS FOR BOXES, SERAN WRAP & TAPE? Some companies offer furniture blankets free and free use of wardrobe boxes-other materials are usually at a cost
(I had to pay $95 for tape because I didn't provide enough-it's great they wrapped the stuff I missed so well-but $2.50 a roll!)
4. IS THERE A FUEL SURCHARGE? Most companies will charge up to 15% of fuel charges-I paid 6%
5. IF I NEED STORAGE DO YOU PROVIDE IT & AT WHAT COST? Most offer one month free

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Let them be little...

There's a line from a song I like by Billy Dean-part of it goes:

"Oh, let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little"

If they could only stay little...
Because they don't, there are times it's nice to have the kids sleeping in the middle-as long as they understand it's a "special" night and not something they should get used to doing on a nightly basis.

Here's my sleeping cuties

Saturday, June 17, 2006


IT'S HOT in California's San Fernando Valley. I heard the temp was at 108 on Friday!
It gets too hot to hang out in our upstairs apartment so I set up the plastic baby pool in the backyard this weekend. It's nothing fancy, but my kids sure do enjoy it! My downstairs neighbor bought a toddler-size jungle gym from Stage 2 that has a little two foot slide. I positioned the slide into the pool for added FUN! My kids screamed and played like they were at a water park. And unlike a water park, I could relax easier while keeping an eye on them.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

ICE CREAM SONGS -- Great Children's Music on CD


Several years ago, I bought a CD from a guy walking along Venice Beach. He was holding a boom box on his shoulder that was playing children's songs. The song "Itsy Bitsy Spider" was on and it had a fun Jamaican sound to it. The CD was only $10 so I had to buy it. My daughter was under a year-old at the time and loved the CD then as much as she loves it now. My son also enjoys listening and dancing to the CD. Many of the songs are well-known with a Reggae take. A few songs are original. I've given the CD's as great, unique gifts to family and friends.

Here's some info about the artist from his website

Lionel Jean Baptiste is a native of Evanston, Illinois. The first of the Jean Baptiste family to be born on American soil, the rhythm of his Haitian roots can be felt in every note of his music. Lionel holds a B.A. degree from Lincoln University in PA, where he majored in business and minored in music performance. He currently works as a substitute teacher with L.A. Unified Schools and is perusing his music in LA. "Music has always been a big part of my family life and church experience. I studied piano, drums, and guitar while growing up. My father is a musician. I began my career in children's music by working at a childcare center in my hometown of Evanston. I was the after school teacher, but part of my duties during the day was to go to each room with my guitar and sing songs with the younger kids. I moved to Southern California in 2000, and 'Ice Cream Songs' was born."

Since its inception in 2000 Ice Cream Songs” has developed a loyal following throughout California and the nation-thanks to the launch of Due to huge demand, Lionel created several follow up CDs including “Multiplication Raps”, “Ice Cream Christmas CD”, and Reggae Church”.

In 2005, The Itsy Bitsy Reggae Spider was featured in film "“Two for the Money"” starring Al Pacino. “"Ice Cream Song"” was also added to Delta Airline's’ in-flight children'’s music station.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


As parents, we all need to indulge every now and then. But, if you're like me and your mind has become focused on buying diapers, what to feed the kids and cartoons-you may need a few reminders as well as ideas on how exactly to indulge yourself. has made it easy for us to take a moment for ourselves...

YOUR DAILY INDULGENCE--my link button isn't working so please copy and paste the following url:,,indulgence_90938k88,00.html?o=%20nls,pp_jfm,pp,hp_cn,relax,0

Tiny Bubbles (from May 30, 2006)

"There comes a time in every woman's life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne," said the venerable Bette Davis in the movie Old Acquaintance. For busy moms, that time usually comes at the end of a day that couldn't possibly feel any longer.

Test Bette's theory and make time today to buy a bottle of bubbly; you needn't spring for official French champagne -- sparkling wines work just as well. Before you start the kids' bedtime routine, stick a bottle in the fridge. When you're sure they're off to sleep, enjoy a glass with your husband and toast one another for being great parents. On your own? Then cheers to you for holding it together today.

Know someone who deserves a champagne toast? Forward this.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

4' 9" Is the Magic Number Booster Seat Ad Campaign

Have you seen the Disney Cinderella booster seat ad campaign? I drove by a bill board the other day. The sign reads: 4' 9" is the magic number and has a picture of the Fairy Godmother. After I saw the bill board, I thought to myself, "I'm only 3 inches away from requiring a booster seat." I'm only 5' tall.
I searched booster seats on the internet to find out further information about the ad. The booster seats are required in most states for children at least 4 but less than 8, and 40 to 80 pounds and shorter than 4 feet 9 inches tall.
Luckily for me, the driver seat is adjustable or I might just need a booster seat even with my extra three inches and 40 pounds.
As far as safety goes, the law is smart for kids. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, children 4 to 8 who are properly secured in booster seats are nearly 60 percent less likely to be injured in a crash than children restrained only by a safety belt.
A booster seat elevates a child and allows the seat belts to properly restrain a child without causing further injuries in a crash.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

It's Not Easy Being Green...

Not long ago, my daughter managed to secretly color her legs with a green marker. The markings were quite ornate. Though I've told her many times not to color on her body, I couldn't help but be proud of her creativity. Unfortunately, I didn't discover the hieroglyphics on her legs until she was getting dressed for gymnastics class. I asked my daughter if she had drawn tights on her legs to go with her leotard?
The class is early on Saturdays and we had little time to clean her up. Plus, I thought this might be a good lesson for her to stick with coloring on paper and not on her person. When we arrived at the gym and she stripped down to her leotard, my daughter suddenly became self-conscience of her green legs. She hid behind me like a shy toddler. Some fellow daycare friends and their mom were also at the gym that morning. The mom commented on how pretty my daughter's legs looked. She hid herself further into the backs of my legs and insisted she needed to get dressed. I couldn't believe my daughter-who's not even four yet-already felt so awkward in a crowd. And no one had even said anything "mean." This really was a good lesson and one I'd never thought about as we headed to the gym. I reassured my daughter her green legs were beautiful and she should show them off. She tilted her head to the side and read the truth in my face and smiled. The gym coach approached us to take the kids out on to the floor. The coach told my daughter her legs looked great. As my daughter skipped out to the floor, I knew she learned it's okay to be different...