I know that I usually do seven favorite things, but I couldn't come up with two more (?!) So, here's my top five.
1. Massages: Massages are my "thing" for 2008 (as in I'm going to have one at least once every 3 months). I had a really great hour-long deep tissue massage at Graceful Services. I felt so fluid and relaxed immediately afterwards. The next day, I felt a little sore (which is supposedly normal). Then, I came down with the flu. So, I'm not sure if the rest of the body aches were from the massage, the flu or a combination of both. Hopefully, I won't be catching the flu again this year, so I'll have a better judgment after my next massage!
2. PedEgg™: My family members (this time it was my mom) keep giving me these products that they see on television. I love this one though. It's this egg-shaped foot file that collects the skin shavings (which is simultaneously kind of gross/kind of fascinating). In any event, this file really works. I just may be able to wear some of those cute open-heeled shoes for the spring/summer after all!
3. Clinique Long Last Soft Matte Lipstick in Pink Chocolate; I've never really thought about Clinique's makeup. I've always associated them with skincare. However, when I was at the Macy's in VA with my mom (that doesn't have either MAC or Bobbi Brown), I tried out their lipsticks. I was looking for a pink shade for the spring and I fell in love with their pink chocolate. (Of course my mom takes the credit for picking it out...)
4. Forever21: This is my new, favorite place for cute, inexpensive trendy spring dresses that I only plan on wearing once or twice. (My rationale: If I don't spend a lot, I won't really care if I get kid "schmuck" all over me.) I'll save my money to spend on timeless, classic pieces.
5. Live Chat: Several online merchants that I've been dealing with (from Clairol to Corbis) use this technology. Basically you talk with an online customer service person by typing your questions and answers back and forth. I love it. I'm not a huge phone person (I never know when one of the kids will decide to use this time to practice their vocal "skills"), but I love getting an immediate answer. This is the best of both worlds!
1. Nintendo Wii: I haven't been a video game person since Pac-man originally came out (wow, time is flying!). Anyway, I gave this system to my husband for his birthday in November. It is so much fun! It comes with a sports bundle (golf, boxing, baseball, bowling) which I find to be a great workout on a cold, wintery day. What's humbling is that my three year old has beat me in boxing by knocking me out the last two times that we played. (I blame it on him being left-handed - I never see my demise coming!)
2.JJ COLE's bundleme: I only hear raves about this product, including from a local mom at a library story hour. I'm not a big stroller user, but I would definitely get this if they made them for front carriers like the Bjorn. They are so much more attractive than what is currently on the market.
3. Ann Taylor Loft: Back in my corporate days, I was an Ann Taylor woman. Now, I lean more towards Ann Taylor Loft. They offer a pretty nice selection of clothes at reasonable prices. (Their shoe selection isn't great, but there are plenty of other shoe stores.) Be sure to sign up for their email list, so that you can get discounts/sale notices in your Inbox. Another good tip when doing your online shopping there is to type "Ann Taylor Loft coupon" in your google search engine. There are usually percent off and/or free shipping coupons available.
4. PBS KIDS: I love that many of their shows are educational. The show of the moment in our home is SUPER WHY!. I like that it uses classic books to teach simple lessons. (I also like that they have a multicultural cast, including a Black princess.)
5. Storybook Escapades: A new thing that I have started doing with my oldest son (inspired by SUPER WHY! and Kids Off the Couch ) is doing activities that relate to the books that we read. I think that I enjoy our little "escapades" as much as (if not more than!) he does. Recently, after reading Pinkalicious, we baked strawberry/pink cupcakes together (in the story, the little girl eats so many pink cupcakes that she turns pink). It was so cute...my son kept saying, "I'm going to eat ALL of the cupcakes so that I can turn pink and then I'm going to jump out and say Pink-a-boo!". It was a great bonding time.
6. Christmas in the City: As a teacher, my husband does not work the week of Christmas. We considered going away, but frankly, I hate the hassle of traveling during the holidays. Besides, in my opinion, there's no place that I'd rather be for Christmas than NYC. So we're going to "vacation in the city". In other words, we're going to do several of the "touristy" Christmas things that people travel from all over the world to do. If you're looking for Christmas activities, I have compiled a list here.
7. Huggable Hangers: I had never heard about these hangers before (even though they are Home Shopping Network's #1 selling product -- I don't watch HSN on a regular basis). Then, I received a gift package of them. They are great! They are velvet covered (so clothes don't slip off) and thin (in order to maximize closet space). They are also sturdy (so you don't have to worry about your clothes ending up on the floor) and cute (the ones that I received were black with chrome hooks). Both my husband and my aunt-in-law liked the hangers so much that I gave some away. Now, I have to get more for myself!
I’m so excited to share our first Holiday Toy Guide. I compiled it based on the following: things that my kids like; things that I see other kids like (at playdates, group events, etc.); new toys that I’ve had sent to me from a variety of toy companies (it’s been like Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa around my house…it has been interesting explaining to my oldest son that he can’t keep everything); other mommy recommendations and research (by now, you all know that I’m an information junkie – if different editorial teams from 3+ parenting magazines considered a toy “tops”, I looked into it).
You will find 7 Favorite Gifts for three groups: Infants (birth to 18 months); Toddlers (18 months to 3 years) and Pre-Schoolers (3 years to 5 years). In addition, the number one gift item that I suggest across the board is one of my favorite things - BOOKS! You can go with the classics, The New York Times Bestsellers or purchase books based on the kid's areas of interest -- there's a book for every kid!
Be sure to leave comments on our blog regarding your favorite items…you just may win it!
1. Stacks & Stacks: When we were at the Long Island cottage in September, my husband commented on two things that were in the cottage that he "wished" we had at home...a mail and key holder by the front door and a hanging towel holder in the bathroom. Instead of the hanging towel holder (his point was that people were coming out of the bathroom with dripping hands even when I put out hand towels), I just got a simple, cute paper towel holder for the bathroom. That should take away any confusion. I found both at this great site.
2. Huggies Extra Sensitive Wash: My oldest son has very sensitive skin, so we've always had to buy special products for his skin (read: more costly). I was pleasantly surprised to discover this reasonably priced (around $5), fragrance-free body wash that does not irritate his skin. (It's also safe for babies and kids with eczema.)
3. Single-item parting gifts at birthday parties: I love, love, love this idea because (being the clutter-phobe that I am) I'm not a big fan of a lot of little tchotchkes that are normally found in birthday party goody-bags. I went to two birthday parties this month where the moms gave single item gifts. One, had an assortment of books that she let the kids choose from on the way out. It was really cute, because it had a picture of the birthday boy as part of the bookplate. (An easy way to make bookplate stickers at home is to use a photo of your child with a few typed words and print it out on labels.) The other had an assortment of puzzles that she let the kids choose from. Since my son loves both books and puzzles, he was happy too. This is one idea that I'll be borrowing in the future. (Except for my son's next b-day party...he has his heart set on Chuck-E-Cheese, so attendees will be getting their goody bags of toys and candy aka tchotchkes - I apologize in advance.)
4. More variety in term life insurance policies: I'm not a financial planner. I just "play" one as a mom. Seriously though, every mom should be knowledgeable about the basics of finances. I really like that there are new options in term life insurance (the best type of insurance in my - and Suze Orman's - opinion). Met Life has a new "Term Life & Disability Package" which combines the two types of insurance that families need the most. Prudential Financial, Inc. also recently introduced a new term life insurance policy that includes a money back guarantee, PruLife Return of Premium (ROP) Term, which guarantees the return of all premiums paid if the insured person lives past the end of the term.
5. "My First Daily Planner" Wall Hanging by Leaps and Bounds Kids: I have been looking for a kid's wall calendar to give my son a visual of the days of the week, the months, etc. I found this and so much more in this wall hanging. It also has space for the day's weather, the season, the activities of the day and there's even a space for how the kid is feeling.
6. It was love at first sight when I saw Staub’s blue, round teapot, but at $120 (coupled with the fact that I already have a perfectly good teapot) it's going to have to wait until a special occassion ... perhaps Christmas. If my husband is looking, he can find it at Sur la Table.
7. I want a BlackBerry, specifically I want the BlackBerry 8830. It includes email, text and instant messaging, a personal organizer, a web browser, GPS and it's cute. I won't get one though because I truly think that it would hurt my relationship with my husband and kids. (I can easily get obsessed with email. At least with the computer, I have to turn it off at times. As such, a BlackBerry would not be a good thing for an obsessive person like me.) It's still one of my favorite things though.
1. Membership to the Children's Museum of Manhattan (http://www.cmom.org/): In theory this is one of my favorite things. I recently purchased a membership as a pre-preschool for my oldest son. (He's one of those March birthdays, so he doesn't meet the 3 year, 9 months pre-k guidelines.) They have a bunch of great activities including circle times, arts and crafts, etc. I would be remiss though if I didn't tell you the two things that bug me about this museum...
a. They don't allow food in the museum nor do they have an eating area. Every mom (that I have spoken to about this) agree that this rule is insane. Many moms (and I won't name names!) break this rule and feed their kids in a quiet corner anyway.
b. The museum can be super crowded on days when the weather isn't nice outside. It can be somewhat claustrophobic. On one such super-crowded day, I saw a little kid with a runny nose wiping his nose and touching the various toys. I tried to get to my son with the almighty wipes after he played in that same area, but it was too late. Of course, both of my sons got sick for a week afterwards. That was the day we got our membership. I briefly considered asking for a refund, but I'm glad that I didn't ...overall it really is a great place and I'm sure that it will become one of my favorite things.
2. City Threads (http://www.citythreads.com/) Winged Guitar Double Layer Tee - Navy: I don't usually get excited about kids clothes (in part, because they grow out of them so quickly or maybe it's just because little boy clothes aren't as cute/don't have as much variety as little girl clothes). However, there are exceptions, like this tee. My oldest son has it. It's too cute! As soon as the tee came in the mail, Michael opened it and declared it his "new favorite shirt". When he puts it on, he says, "this is my rocker shirt", runs to get his toy guitar and puts on a rock show. (Where did he get that?!) In any event, the tee is not inexpensive (it starts at $48.50) but if your little one likes to rock (and you don't mind getting comments about how cool your kid's tee is from total strangers), you should get it.
3. Skip Hop (http://www.skiphop.com) Playspot: I was on the fence about buying this play area, but I decided to give it a try primarily for three reasons: 1. It was cuter than the alphabet coverings; 2. My wood floors are hard and I needed an area for my baby to start practicing his crawling; and 3. Initially, I though that I could find a better price than a $79 playspace, but after researching comparable EVA foam surfaces, I realized that this is a bargain price. Overall, I really like it and it has served its purpose. Both sons like to play on it. The baby is learning to crawl (although it's primarily backwards crawling at this point). Best of all, it is a soft spot for the baby to land when he does that toppling over thing that all babies do. The only negative (that is product-related anyway) is that the surface scratches rather easily. The other "sweet negative" is baby related. Now that Sean (my youngest) has learned that he is mobile, he's all over the place...including off the Playspot, halfway under the sofa, etc.! I tell you, babies find a way to scoot to where they want to get (which is usually the place we moms don't want them to be...very cute though)!
4. Brightly Colored Nail Polish: I'm usually pretty conservative when it comes to nail polish colors...red on the toes, pink on the nails. Lately though I've been trying new colors. I only have them used on my toenails, because bright fingernails require too much upkeep for me. Maybe it's the after-baby effect. After my first son was born, I lightened (highlighted) my hair. With this son, I'm brightening my toes. (Okay, maybe there's really not a link there.) Anway, it's fun to experiment with a variety of shades. Both my husband and I especially liked Huckle Buckle (a lavender shade). OPI's Russian Navy and Golden Rules! are next on my pedicure shades list.
5. Apple Muffins from TJ Bakery & Cafe (http://www.tjbakerycafe.com/): They make some of the best apple muffins that I have ever tasted. I warn you in advance that you may get addicted once you have one. If you try hard enough though, you might even be able to convince yourself that they're healthy (because of the apple chunks that you can see in the muffin) even though with their buttery smell and taste, you will know that they are not. (Their cupcakes are also especially yummy.) Reserve this favorite for a special treat.
6. Bowen's by the Bays (http://www.bowensbythebays.com/): We rented a two bedroom private cottage at this reasonably priced Hamptons resort for a few days and had an amazing time. They had tennis, a swimming pool, a kids' playground, shuffleboard, a putting green and much more. What I really liked is that the cottage was fully furnished, including kitchen necessities which are great when you're traveling with kids. The owner, Eileen, was very friendly and helpful. She directed us to the best family-friendly places to eat and suggested various attractions. (We ended up going to the Atlantis Aquarium, which was a really great pick.) Most of all, I enjoyed the fact that we could just relax as a family. They had a shed full of games that you could take out. We played board games together as a family at night and it was wonderful. Our three year old beat me and my husband at Life (how humbling - he was getting money on practically every turn!) and he had the most real estate at the end of our Monopoly game...so of course, he had a blast. The time flew by and my oldest son cried over the fact that we had to leave. Already he's asking, "When are we going back to The Hamptons?" (We're asking the same question!)
7. Hire My Mom (http://www.hiremymom.com/): Since according to the U.S. Census Bureau, "over 5.4 million mothers put their careers on hold to stay home with their children", this is a much-needed site. It helps moms find temporary and part-time work that the moms do from their own home offices. Of course, I'm a big fan of moms working from home, so it's great to see more businesses adapting to this movement. (Note that membership is $99 per year or $29.95 per quarter. I don't especially like to pay money upfront for the possibility of getting a job, but I would make an exception in this instance.)
This time, I'll be focusing on my favorite September/Fall magazine issues:
1. Pedicures: This summer I have fallen in love with Kris at Think Pink Nails down on 10th Street. She is meticulous and gives great advice regarding at home care (i.e. pumice with lotion, not soap, after your shower – it’s less drying). Practically every time that I go to her, I can’t resist getting an extra foot treatment…I especially like the paraffin treatment and the “callous eliminator”. My feet deserve the extra pampering!.
2. Starbucks Tall Caramel Frappuccino® Blended Coffee with Extra Caramel: I’m not much of a coffee drinker. I prefer tea. However, when I need a caffeine boost, this is my favorite drink because it tastes like caramel ice cream. I try not to think about the calories (300, not including the extra caramel) or the price (almost 3 times the cost of a caramel sundae). That’s why it’s a treat, not a daily drink!
3. The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch (http://www.cnbc.com/id/15838512/): For some reason that I can’t really explain, I love this show. A lot of people (including my husband) think that this show is awful. My husband’s “reasoning” is that Donny tells everyone that their ideas are great even when they’re not. I kind of like that Donny is positive to the point of losing touch with reality. Who knows, he could be right and some of these “awful” ideas could go on to be great. Overall, I like practically anything that gives people hope/ inspires people to go for their dreams. If you’re a Pollyanna like me, you can catch this show on weeknights at 10pm/1am on CNBC.
4. Frogs: A Chorus of Colors exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History (http://www.amnh.org/): My family visited this exhibit (at my husband and son’s suggestion). I didn’t want to go…I thought that there would just be a bunch of big old green frogs which is definitely not my cup of tea. I ended up enjoying the exhibit the most! I never knew that there was such a wide variety of frogs – there were frogs of all sizes and most amazing (to me) was the wide variety of colors. Some were actually beautiful…they looked like fake plastic frogs but they were real!5. parsons desk with drawers by west elm (http://www.westelm.com): This versatile piece can be us ed as an entry console or as an office desk. It comes in black, mushroom, beet red, chocolate and polished white. I definitely want this piece as soon as I can get my baby’s crib out of our bedroom!
6. myshape.com (http://www.myshape.com): I like the way that this online retail store site helps women find clothes that fit us well and flatter our body shapes. The great thing is that they not only sell you clothes but also help you to determine your body type (I’m a “Y”) and gives recommendations based on your type and preferences.
7. Light Iris (http://www.lightiris.com/home.php): This is a search engine for expectant and new moms which organizes online information so that moms won’t have to waste their time (i.e. if you type in “sleep deprivation”, you’ll get results geared towards moms, not everyone). Anything that helps me get accurate information quicker gets a thumb up from me.
1. ExerciseTV (http://www.exercisetv.tv/): Since I still have “pregnancy” pounds to shed, I especially like their FREE On Demand segments. They are great for when you have a spare 10 to 30 minutes. I especially like the 10 minute abdomen workouts and the cardio dance workouts. They also have workouts online and for portable devices.
2. Inexpensive sunglasses: I tend to frequently lose “unattached” accessories (i.e. umbrellas and sunglasses) so it makes no sense for me to spend a lot of money on them. Fortunately, it’s easy to find trendy shades at inexpensive prices. In the city, there are always vendors at street fairs. Forever 21 (www.forever21.com), Nordstrom’s (www.nordstrom.com) and A.J. Morgan (http://www.ajmorganeyewear.com/) also carry trendy, inexpensive lines.
3. Hop Stop (http://www.hopstop.com/): If you don’t have a great sense of direction (like me), you will love this site. You put in your starting and destination addresses and then they give you great subway, bus, walking (and combinations thereof) directions. I have used it several times and the directions have been accurate every time.
4. Life & Style Weekly (http://lifeandstylemag.hollywood.com/): At the newsstand price of $1.99, this is one of my inexpensive “guilty pleasures”. I don’t necessarily believe the celebrity “news”, but I love their fashion and beauty tips. I also like their easy-to-do crossword puzzles.
5. Erika Bloom Pilates (www.erikabloompilates.com/): This Pilates studio is a gem! I attended a Pilates Mat group class taught by Leslie Dorst. It was amazing. The classes are kept small (no more than six people at a time) so that the instructor can customize the workout. Leslie was extremely encouraging as she corrected my (admittedly not so great) alignment and breathing. I walked away feeling like I had just left the spa...centered and relaxed. (I have NEVER felt that way leaving an exercise class before.)
6. Friends with no children: (Okay, so this is more of a person, than a thing BUT since it’s my list, I can include what I like.) Friends with kids are great for obvious reasons, but I had forgotten how important my childless friends are until my birthday. My girlfriend Susan gifted me with a “coupon” for a 2 hour nap; movie tickets with a “coupon” for free babysitting; and a Starbucks (gift card)…she is my caramel frap “date”. How many other moms can give up that many hours of child care? Not that many…we’re too busy watching our own children/ if we had all of that extra time, we’d be taking a nap ourselves. And it’s not just the gifts (of course). I love simply talking and being with my “non-mom” friends because it’s good and healthy (for me, anyway) to get out of my “mommy world” every now and then.
7. Shopaholic & Baby (http://www.randomhouse.com/bantamdell/kinsella/): This is one of those books where I had to read a couple of chapters before I liked it. After the first few pages, I thought that I would just stop reading it…that it was a silly, name brand dropping piece of fluff. I’m glad that I gave it a few more pages though. I became “addicted” and finished it within the day. It is fluff, but it’s also fun and the main character (Becky) may be shallow, but she’s also endearing. Throw in the fact that Becky’s ob/gyn is trying to steal her husband during her pregnancy and there’s enough of a plot line to keep you interested throughout the entire book.
1. Kate's Paperie: They have some of the prettiest paper and paper accessories that I have seen. Recently, I needed to purchase a business card holder and found a really cute, unstuffy one on their site for only $9.95. http://www.katespaperie.com/
2. Mommy Track'd site: My favorite part of "The Working Mother's Guide to Managed Chaos" is their Newsdesk feature. In it, they scan various news sources to share stories of interest to working moms. http://www.mommytrackd.com/
3. New Born Free bottles: I like the air vent on these bottles. It helps reduce the air that babies swallow. With my first pregnancy, I primarily used Avent bottles, which were good. However, I find these bottles to be great for supplemental milk for my one month old son. (A lucky mom will win a gift set of these bottles in this month's giveaway!) http://www.newbornfree.com/Catalog.aspx?categoryid=8756
4. The Container Store: I am not a fan of clutter. That is why I can get lost in this store for hours on end. One of my favorite purchases is their Calypso Toy Trolley ($19.99). It currently holds all of my sons little sports balls. It has lasted for three years so far. It fits in the corner and is on swivel casters, so he can drag it around when he wants. http://www.containerstore.com/browse/index.jhtml?CATID=77427
5. TAZO tea: A good friend (who knows how much I love tea) recently gave me a box of their assorted sampler tea. I especially like their "Calm", chamomile flavored herbal tea. In the middle of a crazy day, it made me feel well, calm. http://www.tazo.com
6. Hands On NY Day: I was introduced to New York Cares almost 10 years ago. One of the first events that I volunteered at was a Hands on New York Day. I remember that our group painted parts of a school with some of the school kids. It was so much fun! This year, the 13th Annual Hands On New York Day will be held on Saturday, April 21, 2007. For more information, visit http://www.nycares.org/volunteer/annual_events/honyd/index.php
7. Pottery Barn Dinnerware: I especially love their Sausalito collection. I like the clean, minimal lines. I have had the blue and white sets since I have been married. They are not only sturdy enough for everyday use but also pretty enough for company. http://www.potterybarn.com
Since my son Sean is due this month, this month's "theme" is my favorite new baby essentials.
1. Gear: - Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier Active http://www.babybjorn.com/ - There are a variety of ways to wear your baby, but (for me) the Bjorn is the easiest and best.
2. Activity: - Ocean Wonders Aquarium Bouncer Seat http://www.fisher-price.com/us/default.asp - I like the compact size and my son was fascinated the bubble action.
3. Diapering: Every mom has their own preference. For me, Huggies http://www.huggiesbabynetwork.com/na/index.aspx diapers works well for my son (Pampers leaked); Pampers http://us.pampers.com/en_US/home/home.jsp;jsessionid=YONP1I1YSQ1MHQFIAJ0X0MQ have my favorite wipes though (I don't like the texture of Huggies wipes); and my favorite diaper pad is patemm http://www.patemm.com/.
5. Bath: The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn-to-Toddler Tub http://www.learningcurve.com/thefirstyears worked the best for my son. We started off with another tub, but my son hated it. The cradle (baby) side of this one made him (and I!) feel more secure.
6.Skincare: My son had dry skin and was allergic to anything with fragrance in it, so the products that we use the most are: California Baby http://www.californiababy.com/ and Aveeno Baby http://www.aveeno.com/ca_babies_skin.jsp body wash products, Eucerin http://www.eucerinus.com/ and Vanicream (which my doctor recommended) http://www.psico.com/ baby lotions.
and last, but not least
7.Books: My favorite mom books are: the What to Expect series http://www.whattoexpect.com/; The No-Cry Sleep Solution http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth and The Happiest Baby on the Block http://www.thehappiestbaby.com/.
Last week, I received a great “thank you” note from a friend. The note itself was nice (I like mail/stationery), but the thing that stuck out the most to me was the mailing label. It was so cute! It was a caricature of her family and their pets. I was happy to find out that they were from Vistaprint. They are reasonably priced, starting at $7.99. If you go to www.vistaprint.com and look under “Caricature Products", you can make some for your family too!
Here’s a list of some more books that my husband and I have to read several times a day at the request of our little dictator (son):
-Bunny Mail by Rosemary Wells. It’s a really cute “Max and Ruby” story combining the Fourth of July and presents from Santa. (Most of Wells’ books are hits at our home.)
-Howdi Do by Woody Guthrie. My husband won’t read it , so I get the honor. (The repeating course is a type of tongue twister…”Howjee, heejee, hijee, hojee….” ) My son loves it though.
-please, baby, please by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee. It’s an adorably illustrated (by Kadir Nelson) book about the things parents beg their children to do on a daily basis. Both parents and kids will get a familiar smile out of this one.
-Hooray for Fish by Lucy Cousins. This colorful picture book follows a little fish as he speaks to his various fish friends. It helps reinforce colors, emotions, numbers, etc. It’s also an easy read so your child will probably end up reading it to you. (Lucy Cousins’ books are also very popular in our home.)
The Daily Stroll highlighted a great new site, http://www.boulevardofblue.com/ today. It’s a site that caters to parents of boys. Since I’ll be having two boys soon, I especially find the clothing, accessories and room décor appealing. Enoy!
My family is addicted to Johnson's Buddies Instant-foam Hand and Face Wash. It all started with a great promotion months ago...to introduce the product, Johnson had coupons for free ones in local newspapers. That was so smart, because now, months later, we are hooked. My son, who it's geared to, likes the foam....so does his little friends who come over. It's not just the kids though. My husband and I love the smell and so do our adult friends (including the men!) who wash their hands in our bathrooms. (I don't really use it as a face wash for my son, because he has extremely sensitive skin. I have used it on my face when I was in a rush...it worked really well (and I have pretty sensitive facial skin myself.)
Try it...you might become addicted too!
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month and in memory of her best friend, Hally Lyn, who lost her battle with breast cancer this year, BabyDish creator Stacie Mindich-Jordan designed The "Hally Bag". Proceeds from the bag will go the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Breast Cancer Research in Massachusetts. The Hally Bag retails for $45, but without the baby stuff so you don't have to be a mom to enjoy this great bag.
You can order the Hally Bag by emailing your order and inquiries to thehallybagATbabydish.com.
Lastly, I checked their website (http://www.shakeshacknyc.com/) and they have passed their health re-inspection...
My new favorite cool drink is the Mango Passion Fruit Smoothie from Dunkin Donuts. They are made with real fruit and yogurt, and are a good source of Calcium and Vitamin C (especially helpful now that I'm eating and drinking for 2!).
What's even better is that there are coupons for FREE 16 oz. smoothies in the September issues of Parents and child magazines (that's how I tried it in the first place).
There is a creative new website, http://magicdogstudio.com, that has interesting jewelry and home decor based on children and their artwork. (It is not beaded jewelry - the mom owner is a formally trained silversmith.) Check it out for unique gifts.
My two year old son is very particular about the books that are picked out for him. We've had a lot of misses, but several hits. His latest favorites... (and what I like about them)
-Maisy Loves You by Lucy Cousins (actually, he likes almost all of the Maisy books...short sentences, simple pictures; friendship focused...my son can "read" this book to me)
-The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort (animal version of the "Wheels on the Bus"; silly; reinforces animal sounds)
-I Can Do It Too by Karen Baicker (very cute!, teaches self reliance and family interaction)
-I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont (although grammatically incorrect, it's a fun read that reinforces colors and body parts)
Warning: Be prepared to read these books over and over again (but that's not such a bad thing).
I came across a really good site for maternity activewear, http://www.maternityactivewear.com/aboutus/home.php.
(While you're there, enter the "Name the line" contest)
"Our maternity activew wear line has been sold under certified hot mama brand in the US or chm brand in Canada since 2003. We need a new and unique name. The name can be cute or simply sounds unique. Submit as many as you can come up with.
This contest is opened to everyone. You don't have to be a pregger to enter the contest. Win for your sister, daughter, friend.
Prizes as follows:
1st place: $500 USD worth of merchandise
2nd place: $300 USD worth of merchandise
3rd place: $100 USD worth of merchandise
Contest ends in Dec. 30th, 2006. Winners will be announced on January 31st, 2007. Chosen names will be property of Sevenseas Apparel, c/o maternityactivewear.com. For more information, contact email@example.com"
If you are a mom who loves dessert (more than dinner at times!), read on...
"The newest addition to the niche restaurant scene is the dessert bar. Room 4 Dessert (New York), Espai Sucre (Barcelona) and our most recent spotting, ChikaLicious (New York), limit their menus to creative concoctions that satisfy even the most ardent sweet tooth.
A tiny 20-seat eatery in New York, founded by husband and wife team Don and Chika Tillman, ChikaLicious offers a 3-course menu for USD 12, consisting of a sweet amuse, the customer's choice of main course dessert, and petit fours to top it off. The menu features dishes such as Honey Parfait in Blackberry Soup with Tarragon and Lace Crisp, and the signature Fromage Blanc Island Cheese Cake.
The owners explain: "The idea behind an all dessert restaurant was something that we'd been thinking of for quite a while. Here in New York City, if you want a really fine dessert that's taken seriously, you have to go to one of those fine restaurants. We wanted to create a place that would allow you to go have noodles across the street and then come here for a very nominal price to have a wonderfully treated dessert."
A fun idea that lets adults live out their childhood fantasy of skipping dinner and going straight to dessert. The dessert bar is also a welcome addition to regular restaurants that work with tight seating schedules and rush customers from appetizers to cheque. Less need to hurry through dessert if it can be enjoyed at leisure elsewhere. A delicious opportunity if there every was one!
For Mother’s Day, I received (upon request) a really great book How to Really Love Your Child by M.D. D. Ross Campbell.
In the book, Dr. Campbell teaches parents how to practically express their love to their children. The chapter that challenged me the most was “How to Show Love Through Eye Contact”. As I read, I realized that the main times that I’m focused on my son having eye contact with me is when I’m trying to make sure that he’s listening to what I’m telling him to do (or moreso what not to do.) I think that different moms will be challenged by different chapters. I’ve already lent my book out to another mom friend (who also loves it and has been helped by it). Although the book is written from a Christian perspective, I think that it can give practical advice to any mom. Put it on hold at your local library or you can buy it at a variety of places, including www.amazon.com .
I heard about a great new show, Kid Fitness, from the Licensing 2006 International trade show at the Javits. It's a (somewhat) new series based on an exercise video of the same title made by fitness trainer Paul Neville in 2003. It is aimed at kids ages 2-8, and has been picked up by several local PBS affiliates.
With concerns about childhood obesity rising, this show is one way to help parents get their kids active. Kid Fitness' goal is "to educate, entertain, and get children moving by mimicking animals exercising." For more information, visit http://www.kidfitnesstv.com/home.html
On a side-note, an even better way to get children moving is to cut off the tv/computer games, etc. and actually go outside and move. There's so many free things to enjoy outside this summer, all (okay most) parents are without an excuse!
You may begin to notice that I write about laundry services fairly often. That is because as a Manhattanite, I didn't do my own laundry for four years. Now that there's a laundry in my building, I've run out of excuses (and it turns out that I actually enjoy getting out stains!). For those who still have a reason (or the extra funds) to send their laundry out, I recommend Flat Rate Cleaners (https://flatratecleaners.com/). Not only do they have (relatively) reasonable rates, but they also pick up baby items for donation to Room to Grow (www.roomtogrow.org) ... one of my favorite charities!