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Elf Sighting: December 18th

Beartha reminded us at the office today that there is only one week until Christmas with her cute little chain-link Christmas Countdown!! I think someone is excited…

Oh, and to be clear, that someone isn’t me. Not yet at least. Her countdown is a frantic reminder that I have MUCH shopping left to do! Eek.

Are you all done with your Christmas shopping?

Overwhelmed with Kids? 10 Ways to Unwind

Ever have one of those days? You know, where you feel like no matter how hard you try, you simply just can’t, won’t, don’t know how to keep it together?

There comes a point in every parent’s life where there is simply too much going on. You exert all your time and energy on everyone and everything else and sometimes, it has to be your turn – it needs to be your turn! Don’t allow yourself to hit your breaking point. If you are feeling overwhelmed, try out one or all 10 of these strategies (in no particular order) to clear your head and unwind:

Talk to a friend. Go out and grab coffee with your friend, have a girls’ night, or simply pick up the phone and dish it out. Just by verbalizing the thoughts that run through your head all day will help tremendously in getting it off your chest. You’ll maintain the friendships you’ve already invested in, and you’ll be able to focus more clearly on your daily tasks. Not to mention, a little adult conversation might be exactly what the doctor ordered if the largest word you say on any given day is “Truck” or “Pwease.”

Talk to your spouse. This is such an important part of the day that can sometimes be skipped over when things get busy. Don’t just talk about the funny thing Suzy said or what godforsaken thing was in Timmy’s pants pocket today, talk about your feelings, your passions, your viewpoints, etc. A relationship is hard work, and having a child makes it tough; keep it strong and try to remind each other every day why you fell in love.

Go on a hot date. Once you feel comfortable leaving your baby with the sitter, set up a date night and stick to it! Even if you can only manage it once a month, spicing up the monotony of parenthood evenings is essential! Go to dinner, grab a movie, dance the night away (if you can stay up past 10 anymore), or simply go on a romantic walk – breaking away from the norm and spending time with your sweetie will truly help your relationship and your daily mood.

Take a hot bath/shower. Need I say more? What’s better than this after a long day!?

Exercise. The hardest part, at least for me, is deciding to work out and then gearing up to do so. But boy, once you start, it is totally therapeutic. Not only is it invigorating and emits endorphins (you know, the chemicals that make you HAPPY), you might just slim down and/or firm up a bit, causing a confidence boost. Watch out people, Sasha Fierce is on the move.

Write. Truly a cathartic experience. I am a firm believer in free writing as you will be AMAZED at the stuff that turns up on paper. Feel like you don’t have time for this? Set the clock for two minutes. TWO. And just let it flow; write about whatever is on your mind, your feelings, your ideas, etc. Even if the first couple of times simply ends up being a grocery list or a directory of errands you need to run, at least it’s out on paper and out of your head. Try it. I dare you.

Take a nap. Again, need I say more?

Spend time on a hobby. Find time out of your busy schedule to do something you have always loved to do, even if it’s just for 30 minutes. Whether it’s reading, drawing, running, scrap-booking, etc. it will truly make a difference in your attitude.

Listen to music. Pop in the headphones while the little one is asleep and listen to music, and I mean YOUR music.

Organize. Create a family schedule that is posted in plain sight for all to see. Clear the clutter off that desk. Organize the junk drawer. Make your bed. Write down lists of to-do’s. Sort mail piles. Even if you only do one “organizing” chore a day, it will make a large difference in how you feel.  It is not a myth that mental clutter is directly related to the physical clutter that surrounds us.

If all else fails, never underestimate the power of a deep breath. Oh, and an occasional update on the wardrobe! That seems to help a lot too…

Elf Sighting: December 17th

Beartha was found working on her fitness today. Here she is on an aerobics step – sweatbands and all!

Stretching is a vital part of any workout…

What has your elf been up to?

Dunecraft Water Balz, Flowers, Skulls, and Orbs Toys Recalled: An Ingestion Hazard

Water Balz: One of the recalled Dunecraft products.
Water Balz: One of the recalled Dunecraft products.

December 17, 2012.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with Dunecraft, has issued a recall of nearly 95,300 toys.

These products are marble-sized toys which then expand when in contact with water up to 400 times their size. They were sold as Water Balz, Fabulous Flowers, Growing Skulls, and  “Despicable Me” H2O Orbs that were sold throughout the U.S. and Canada. According to the CPSC, the toys pose a hazard as they can be swallowed and then expand inside the body, causing a serious issue if ingested. There has been one reported incident to date, in which the product had to be surgically removed due to becoming lodged in the consumer’s small intestine.

Consumers should immediately stop the use of these toys and should contact Dunecraft for a free replacement toy. Call Dunecraft toll-free at (800) 306-4168 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST Monday-Friday or go online at www.dunecraft.com.

For more information on the recalled products, visit CPSC.

Connecticut Tragedy: Approaching the Topic with your Kids

I was devastated to learn of the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, but I was even more heartbroken to discover the majority of fatalities were children. In my eyes, a child’s innocence is the most beautiful thing on this planet, and that’s what makes this event so gut-wrenching. My heart breaks for the victims and their loved ones, and I truly cannot even begin to fathom the heartache and trauma that the Newtown community now faces.

Though many of us –myself included – may be overcome with grief, we also have to remember that we have a delicate situation on our hands. As parents, it’s important to convey a certain level of emotion, but if you feel like you’re going to lose it in front of your young children, try to excuse yourself from the room.  Obviously age plays a large factor in our ability to comprehend complex emotions and events like today, so tread lightly when discussing these types of traumatic situations. As outlined by ABC News, here are some guidelines in catering the discussion with your children:

Children younger than 7  -  Shield them from this. They don’t need to know about it.

Children 7-12  -  They need to know that they are safe, and they’ll look to you for cues. If you’re sobbing uncontrollably, overly angry or unable to express your feelings, it might affect how they process the tragedy. But if you’re expressing appropriate emotion – like sadness, concern and empathy – they’re going to see that it’s OK to be worried about this.  You want them to talk about it. You want to ask, “How do you feel about this?” And then it’s important to support their feelings. If your child says, “I’m really scared,” the worst thing you can do is say, “There’s no need to be scared.” Instead, tell them, “We’re going to keep you safe, and they got the bad guy.”

Children Older Than 12  -  With teenagers, you really want to engage them. Ask them why they think this happened? And do they think anything could have prevented this? You can have a real conversation out of that. You might also be able to channel them to a community project, some act of charity so that they believe they are taking positive action.”

Best thing you can do is reassure them of their safety, keep the news coverage/graphic images to a minimum, stick to your normal routines, and give them a great big hug.

On behalf of everyone here at BabyEarth, our deepest condolences go out to all of those affected by this horrific tragedy. Our hearts our heavy for the loss of so many beautiful young children and the wonderful adults that have served them.

Hugs to you and yours today, and always.

Elf Sighting: December 14th

Beartha was zip-lining along our office holiday decorations today! Happy Friday, indeed!

How can you be mad at that face?!

How to Ease Morning Sickness During Pregnancy

There is no greater gift than a child, but all moms-to-be could probably do without the symptoms that pregnancy brings. While not all pregnant women suffer from morning sickness, many women will find themselves dealing with bouts of nausea during the beginning of pregnancy. Normally, these symptoms subside within the first trimester but, whew, it can be painful and frustrating. Thankfully, there are several ways you can ease the symptoms of morning sickness during pregnancy, at least a little.

Peppermint  -  Peppermint has been touted as a great way to ease morning sickness, whether consumed or inhaled in aromatherapy form. Sip a cup of peppermint tea when nausea strikes, chew on a peppermint hard candy or inhale peppermint essential oil from a diffuser to help calm your stomach.

Crackers  -  Before you get out of bed in the morning, nibble on a couple of saltine crackers to help stop nausea before it begins. Having a little something in your stomach before starting your day can help offset the beginnings of morning sickness.

Stick to Appealing Food  -  While pregnant women should make an effort to eat a well-balanced diet, women who have suffered from morning sickness know that certain foods can trigger an attack. For now, stick to food that appeals to you and doesn’t set off a negative reaction. Even if you eat the same foods repeatedly, it’s better to have something in your stomach than no nutrients at all. Eventually, you’ll feel more comfortable to add more foods back into your diet.

Eat Frequently  -  Rather than eating three meals a day, make a point to eat between six and eight small meals each day during your pregnancy. This ensures there’s always something in your stomach, decreasing the chances of nausea. Additionally, small meals are easier to digest than large ones.

Ginger  -  If you can’t stand peppermint, food and drinks that contain ginger have also proven to be effective against morning sickness. Sip a cup of ginger tea, snack on a gingerbread cookie or drink a glass of ginger ale to curb nausea and help alleviate morning sickness.

While many pregnant women have to deal with morning sickness, there are ways to soothe the symptoms. Try one or all of the methods listed above to help curb nausea and vomiting until you find a method that works for you.

Elf Sighting: December 13th

I came into work this morning to discover our office had transformed into the Middle Ages! It’s not everyday you see an organic rhino and elephant participating in a joust with an elf and piggy. ;)

Teen to Meet Hasbro Execs about Easy-Bake Oven

Cooking and baking should not be gender-specific.
Cooking and baking should not be gender-specific.

When McKenna Pope’s 4 year old brother asked for an Easy-Bake Oven, her and her parents were surprised at what they had found. Even at the age of 13, McKenna was taken aback by the obvious gender stereotyping on the packaging of the Hasbro Easy-Bake Oven. The casing was completely tailored to girls, from the pink and purple colors to the lack of boys on the box.

Rightfully so, McKenna didn’t want her brother to feel awkward about wanting an Easy-Bake Oven that is so obviously targeted to young girls instead of boys. I mean, why can’t boys cook and bake too? There are plenty of famous male chefs these days! So she decided to take matters into her own hands. She created a petition on Change.org in hopes of downgrading the very obvious gender roles depicted on the product. She stated in her petition plea that she wants her “brother to know that it’s not “wrong” for him to want to be a chef, that it’s okay to go against what society believes to be appropriate.”

McKenna just may get her wish too. The petition has been picking up steam, with more than 40,000 signatures and a surplus of comments in support of her argument. One commenter wrote, “I loved my easy-bake oven when I was a boy and I love cooking today. all boys should have access to the kitchen. and it’s never too early to let them have that access.” Amen, my friend, amen.

Will you see gender-neutral Easy-Bake Ovens on the shelves soon for the little one in your life? Maybe. The landslide of signatures has not gone unnoticed at Hasbro, and she is now set to meet with executives on Monday. Go McKenna!

For more on the story, visit CNN.com or abcnews.com.

Elf Sighting: December 12th

Today on Wednesday, 12-12-12 (sorry, couldn’t resist putting that in writing!), I found Beartha in the Customer Service department! Apparently she was taking phone calls throughout the night. If you did happen to talk to Beartha, give us a call back, the message may not have been clearly received. ;)

Where has your elf been lately?!