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National Adoption Day

November 17th is a monumental day for children as it is also National Adoption Day! In the United States, there are over 100,000 children in foster care that are in need of a loving family.  This annual event works to raise awareness, encourage prospective parents to adopt, and to find forever homes for foster children.  National Adoption Day hosts events that run across the nation as well as Puerto Rico and Guam to ensure children are placed in loving homes. Whether you can conceive or not, adoption is a wonderful avenue for parents looking to expand their family and give the gift of love to a child that so desperately needs it.

For those of you thinking of adoption or have adopted, thank you! The gift of love and family is so very precious. To learn more or share your story, visit National Adoption Day.

November 17th is World Prematurity Day

Not only is November Prematurity Awareness Month, November 17th is a day fully dedicated to spreading awareness of the worldwide crisis that affects 15 million babies.

 

Thank you, March of Dimes for your continuous effort to end premature births and give rise to full-term, healthy babies!

To learn more and/or donate to the cause, visit the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign.

Were you a preemie baby?  Do you have a preemie baby?  Tell us your story here or visit our forums page for support.

 

 

Hostess Closes, Mom’s Rejoice

As of today, Hostess has officially decided to close its doors and halt the assembly line that has for decades packaged empty calories and chemicals into unsuspecting snack cakes and other refined foods.  How Wonderbread was ever that white and fluffy, I’ll never know.  Seriously, I never want to know.

But for many of us, Hostess was a childhood staple.  I’ll admit it, back in the day I packed away quite a few cupcakes donned with the loveable white squiggle on top.  I wanted my sandwiches on Wonderbread because the bread was so soft it nearly melted in my mouth (seriously, what’s up with that?).  I would pout at the store when my mom told me I couldn’t have that snack cake I had been longing for.  In retrospect, I understand why.  So now, as Hostess begins the liquidating process, I can’t help but think of all of the mom’s (and dad’s!) out there celebrating it’s shut-down.  As an advocate for healthy eating, Hostess certainly isn’t an item I include in my grocery list.

Though I can’t help but feel a tinge of nostalgia that an era has ended, this time-lapse video reminds me of why I am a-okay that Hostess will be off the shelves and away from the diets of our growing kids.  Maybe saying goodbye isn’t so bad after all…

How do you feel about the closing of Hostess?

PeaPod Travel Bed Recall: An Entrapment and Suffocation Risk

November 16, 2012.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with KidCo Inc., has issued a recall of nearly 220,000 PeaPod and PeaPod Plus Travel Beds/Tents.

According to the CSPC, infants can become entrapped between the tent fabric and inflatable air mattress.  As of now, nine entrapments and one death (though cause was not determined) have been reported in relation to using the tent.  Consumers should immediately stop using the tents and contact KidCo Inc.

Below is the list of affected models with the corresponding tent color:

  • P100  -  Teal
  • P101  -  Read
  • P102  -  Lime
  • P103  -  Periwinkle
  • P104  -  Ocean
  • P201  -  Princess/Red
  • P202  -  Camouflage
  • P203  -  Quick Silver
  • P204  -  Sagebrush
  • P205  -  Cardinal
  • P900CS  -  Green

For more information regarding this recall, visit the CSPC.  To receive a free repair kit, Contact KidCo Inc. toll-free at (855) 847-8600 between 9:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.kidco.com, then click on Recall Info.

Managing Your Mischievious Toddler

Whether you have a screamer, a runner, a nudist, a biter, a disappearing act, or a gets-into-everything type of toddler, mischievous toddlers are difficult to manage.  They have this uncanny ability to innocently get under your skin as they go about their task of exploring life to the fullest. Rather than squash that innate curiosity like an annoying bug, it’s time to learn how to manage your mischievous toddler so that you can preserve what’s left of your sanity.

The biggest tool you have is your ability to out-think your toddler. After all, most toddlers aren’t mischievous because they plan to be. It just happens. Active toddlers never actually know what they are going to do next until they think of it. Life is like one big arena of possibilities to a toddler tempting him or her with the newness of each experience.

Do you remember the five W’s that your teacher taught you in school – who, what, when, where, and why? For a toddler, the exploration begins with WHO or WHAT is this and continues with WHY is it here, WHEN did it get here, and WHERE can I make it go. To answer all of those questions, a mischievous toddler is going to pick it up, take it apart, move it, shake it, bang it, or take it somewhere else. You know that it’s true. If it isn’t tied down or hidden behind locked doors, your toddler is bound to find it as the result of his curiosity.

Fortunately for you, the familiarity of your home and the places you visit are going to be your saving grace. For me, dealing with my “mischievous one,” the last in a line of four darlings, involved being as quick on my feet as I was with my mind, the purchase of a few handy devices, and an awareness that I wasn’t dealing with an average toddler. He had the advantage of watching three older siblings, giving rise to his ability to walk and run by the age of nine months. First lesson learned – ALWAYS EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.

If you have a wanderer, purchase portable door alarms that could also be attached to windows and put them up high so your toddler can’t take the batteries out. Purchase cabinet locks for everything and store dangerous items in high places, even if they are behind locked doors. Never allow your toddler to self-entertain unless you are POSITIVE that it won’t involve something like coating his sister with a tub of margarine. If none of that works, get down on the floor and look around the room to see what might attract your mischievous toddler, and then hide it!

What’s the craziest thing your mischievous toddler has gotten into?

For more on managing your toddler, visit Terrible Two’s How To’s.

 

Gift Idea: Babyprint Ornament Kit

With Christmas decorations available in stores before trick-or-treaters even take to the streets on Halloween, by the beginning of October it is more than apparent that Christmas is just around the corner. Personally, I like to cherish each holiday, but as soon as Thanksgiving is over, you better believe I will be transforming my home into a Christmas wonderland, all the while singing (and dancing) to my favorite Christmas music.

By the way, I don’t care what anyone says; if you play music loud enough, I swear you sound exactly like the artist. I’m certainly no Mariah Carey, but if the volume is up, I totally am. And you can’t tell me otherwise!! Who’s with me?!

…Anyways, I love to be crafty so I have quite a few makeshift décor pieces that line my shelves, but sometimes, there just isn’t enough time in the day to whip up some crafts worth keeping around for years and years to come. With Pearhead’s handy Babyprint Ornament Kit, you can imprint your little one’s foot or hand-print into the ornament as well as your memory forever! Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, we think this ornament kit is the perfect keepsake to remember just how teensy their little toesy’s were. What sets this kit apart from homemade recipes is that there is less hassle, so it truly makes for the perfect gift to new parents as well. The impressionable material is self-drying so in no time at all, the ornament is ready to be displayed. The best part? No mess! :)

When do you plan to start setting up decorations in your home? Is there such a thing as too soon?

Happy America Recycles Day!

November 15th is America Recycles Day! Do you recycle enough? Do your kids know about recycling? Take a moment to reflect and think about your recycling habits and how they can improve. Teach your children at a young age that it is important to recycle, so that they will know the value of it as they get older.

Sometimes it can be a hassle, but the effort it takes is well worth it in keeping reusable items out of landfills. According to America Recycles Day “Tip of the Day”, “you don’t need to rinse out your glass bottles and jars before recycling!” How cool is that?!  Though sign-up is more than likely too late this year, see what events are going on in your area today to spread awareness on the importance of recycling!  If nothing else, go through your soon-to-be-trashed items today and teach your children what items can and cannot be recycled.  You’ll help the environment and get to spend some quality time with your kids!

BabyEarth prides itself in carrying a number of eco-friendly products and items made from recycled elements.  Not to mention, we offer our own recycling program, BabyEarthRENEW, for those hard-to-recycle baby items.  To learn more, read Eco-Friendly Ways to Recycle Baby Gear. Go green and play a role in saving the environment by making the effort to recycle. Let’s do our part to make this world the best it can be!

Happy America Recycles Day!

Thanksgiving With the Kids

Thanksgiving is nearly a week away and if you haven’t stocked up already, it’s time to start the dreaded grocery shopping process.  If you’re attending the get-together, well, lucky you.  If you’re hosting, it’s important to start planning ahead so that your Thanksgiving party can go off without a hitch.  Begin planning your menu now so that you can casually shop for the items on your list.  Guilty of waiting until the last minute myself, I can tell you that the wild goose chase for that one item you need while weaving through the crowded aisles is never any fun.  In fact, I’d go with awful.  Plan ahead.  Your stress level will thank you.

Now, the next issue is, what to do with the kids?

In keeping with a Thanksgiving tradition, more than most of the men in your family are planning to set up camp on the couch.  Perhaps even two TV’s will make their way into the living room for maximum football enjoyment on this momentous occasion.  While I’m sure our forefathers would be proud, have them keep an eye on the little ones while you’re in the kitchen.  If it’s a bigger family party, older cousins are also great at managing the tykes while the meal preparation is in full swing.

If it’s a smaller Thanksgiving get-together, have the kids help you cook.  They can mash potatoes, arrange a veggie plate, and sprinkle on casserole toppings.  When it gets closer to mealtime, have them pass out place cards or slips of paper at each setting so that people can write down what they are thankful for.

Plan some fun activities to keep the kids entertained. There are lots of cool crafts ideas to choose from; but if crafts aren’t your thing, simply have them trace/paint their hand to create the classic turkey art or have them create streamers (just make sure a supervisor is present).  Cut out strips of colored construction paper ahead of time so that they can link them together with tape/a stapler.  For added fun, buy some feathers, glitter, pipe cleaners, and paint.  The activities can serve as décor once they are finished!

Lastly, if it isn’t in your plans already, a kids table is always a great idea.  To keep the kids from getting too restless, have activities set up to keep them seated throughout the meal (here’s hoping).  Instead of throwing on a tablecloth, line the table with a roll of paper and provide crayons in cups.  On second thought, you could place some Styrofoam in a terracotta pot and stick the crayons in there. Voila, a funky and useful centerpiece!

Do some prep-work ahead of time to really enjoy spending Thanksgiving with the kids.  Helpful hint: casseroles almost always taste better the second day so spread out your cooking/baking to help offset the time spent in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day!

 

November is Preemie Awareness Month

Boy or girl, every expectant parent’s greatest wish is to have a healthy baby.  Unfortunately, not all of us can be so lucky.  In fact, according to the March of Dimes, 1 in 8 babies are born prematurely in the United States alone.

November kicks off Prematurity Awareness Month to shed light on the ongoing problem that affects 15 million babies worldwide.  Within the past 25 years, the number of preemies in the U.S. has risen to a staggering 36%.  Therefore, the March of Dimes foundation did something about it.  Established in 2003, the Prematurity Campaign works to raise awareness, help families with preemies, and conduct research to reduce the rate of premature births.

For more information on preemies and/or how to donate to the cause, visit the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign.

 

Family Road Trip Tips: Keeping Kids Entertained

Ah…the holidays…a time to be thankful, to rest, to enjoy quality time with loved ones, and to be trapped in the car with family for potentially hours on end.  Did I say that? I meant, to sing and laugh in the car for hours on end-surely that’s what I meant.

For most of us, traveling is inevitable during the holiday season. If hitting the road is on the horizon for you and your family, here are a few road trip tips to keep your little ones happy and entertained:

  • Save yourself the frustration and check traffic and construction schedules before heading out the door.  There is a fairly small window of time before the kids start getting restless in the car; don’t spend it sitting in traffic!
  • Pack the car efficiently so that:
    • The cooler, snacks, and baby bag (if applicable) are easily accessible.  Hint: A spare set of clothes readily available for baby (or you) is never a bad idea.
    •  You can easily keep an eye on the little ones in the backseat.
    • The windows are visible.  Staring out the window can help anyone who suffers from motion sickness-big or small.  Have a plastic bag on hand in case your little one starts to feel sick (check for holes ahead of time!).
  • Pack snacks and drinks.  Pack bags of dry snack foods or bite-size pieces of fruit like grapes as a quick and healthy option.  Also, though you may want to minimize the consumption of liquid on the road, it’s always handy to have drinks at the ready.  You will have less fussy (and messy) traveling companions if you prepare ahead of time.
  • Bring along some toys and activities.  If you’re in need of some stimulating toys that are equipped for travel, check out these entertaining toys for baby or your tot!

Are we there yet?  No.

  • Bust out the games.  ISpy, Twenty Questions, the License Plate Game, or the Alphabet game are all classics that can keep the boredom at bay and offset any temper tantrum lurking in the distance.

…Are we there yet now?  No, one more tip.

  • Embrace technology.  To lessen the “are we there yet?” phrase that has plagued every road trip with anyone, ever, prepare for even more downtime.  If the classic games and sing-alongs were done and over with 50 miles ago, it’s time for a technological upgrade.  Download some apps before hitting the road.  From music, movies, games, and locator apps (A MUST if you ask me, you can locate the cheapest gas station nearby or find the nearest rest stop!), the smartphone/tablet can truly be a lifesaver.  Start perusing the app store and see what gold you can find before venturing out on the road, many of which you can download for free!

What family road trip tips do you have for keeping the kids entertained?

Flying instead? Check out our Go-To Guide for a Smooth Flight.