Category Archives: baby / tots

baby / tots life

MOM = Me Only More

The company I had been working for closed its doors in February 2008.  In March, I received an unexpected offer for what would turn out to be the most challenging and rewarding job I have ever had – motherhood.

After the initial shock wore off, I became obsessed with two things – cleaning the apartment and gathering as much information as possible about what was going to happen to my body.  In my new germ free environment, I sat transfixed in front of my laptop for countless hours learning terms I had never heard of before … meconium, colostrum, and [dare I mention it?] perineal massage.  I watched birthing videos with my mouth agape in horror and cringed while reading an article titled “Things That Will Come Out of Your Body”.  I also poured over baby names and was in awe at what was happening inside my womb [thanks to weekly email updates!].  And the best part of the online pregnancy experience …. being able to ask all those questions you are too embarrassed to ask in person.

In addition to all of my questions and concerns about the physical elements of pregnancy, I had concerns about the emotional side as well.  What would happen to me?  Would giving birth mean the death of my former self? Don’t get me wrong, I was super excited to become a mom.  I just wanted to be sure that my identity wasn’t going to be lost when we decided I would not be going back to work.  I didn’t know what being a Stay At Home Mom would do to my creativity, my sanity, or my social life.

Writing about this now, it sounds kind of selfish, but I assure you that’s not where I was coming from … I was about to become a mother for the first time and sometimes, the uncertainty that comes with all of that responsibility can be overwhelming.  And that’s okay.  The good news is that Ava is eight months old now and if anything, I am a new and improved version of the pre-baby me [although my “skinny jeans” might disagree].  I feel more creative than ever and each day brings new milestones, new joys, and new ideas to keep the balance.  For every sacrifice there is fulfillment.  Instead of singing in a rock band, I now write children’s songs.  Instead of writing bios and press releases, I write blog posts and am working on a children’s book.  I still have my independence.  I just have to be a bit more imaginative in how I exhibit and exercise it.   XO.

me & ava

baby / tots

Baby & Toddler Product Recalls – Is Your Child Safe?

We have been planning a trip back to Kansas to visit Mike’s family and lounge around in their pool for a weekend.  Everyone is really excited to see Ava floating around in her assortment of cuter than words swimsuits.  So, in preparation, Mike’s mom went out and purchased a little baby float with a sun shade adorably shaped like a crab.  We wanted to see what it looked like so we went online and typed in “crab baby float” and our search returned with “Aqua-Leisure Industries Recalls Inflatable Baby Floats Due to Drowing Hazard”!!  Apparently the leg straps in the seat that keep your baby afloat [the main purpose of the device] tear – causing your child to fall through into the water!  Now, why this product was still available on the shelves is beyond me, but it got me thinking. If we hadn’t gone online to see what this float looked like, we would have been putting our baby into it and endangering her life.  There has to be a better system for handling these recalls. What if you don’t have the internet?  What if you don’t check every product you buy for a recall?  What if it is recalled months after you buy it – are we expected to keep checking and checking and checking?  I guess the probelm begins at the source – how on earth did 15 different types of floatation devices that Aqua-Leisure made manage to make it past any sort of inspection when their one function fails????  Just a quick look on the internet revealed an alarming number of recalls for childrens’ products for July alone.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers information on recalls and safety standards [which in my opinion need to be higher].  If you have not already signed up for their product recall email subcription, I recommend doing it now.  When you find out about a recall, share the information with your family and friends – you never know when you might be saving someone’s life.

baby / tots cooking

Getting Kids to Eat Vegetables – Tricks and Tips

The other night Mike told me that when his dad was a little boy, he convinced his mother that he was allergic to salad.  I can remember chomping away on radishes from grampa’s garden as a little girl and loathing the sight of them a few years later [I now like them again].   I can also remember sitting at the kitchen table with my brother, staring at the cold red beets left on our dinner plates [We were instructed by mom that we could not leave the table until we ate those beets.].  I hated beets for a long time after that and they still aren’t my favorite, but I can handle them in a nice salad with goat cheese from time to time.

Right now Ava gobbles up everything I put into her spoon.  She especially seems to love peas, butternut squash, and a sweet potato/apricot mix.  After her next check-up, we will be able to expand her palate even further with World Baby Foods [I raved about these in a previous post].  Regardless of my efforts today, one day I will no doubt be giving Ava a lecture on why she needs to eat her vegetables.  Children have finicky palates.  They might love something one day and make gagging noises at it the next.  The best advice?  Don’t give up and don’t give in.  Here are a few tips to help sneak those evil little plants into your little ones’ tummies.

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Mix, mash, blend, bake, boil, chop, and grill. Experiment with the different textures and flavors by preparing vegetables in different ways.

Use familiar foods. Sneak veggies onto a pizza by putting them under the cheese.  Add corn into your ground beef for tacos.  Mash peas into mashed potatoes.  You get the idea.

Make things fun by involving your child in food preparation.  Sometimes kids are more likely to try something new if they helped make it.  For younger tots, make eating veggies a game – for example, place salad ingredients into different bowls and let your child make a veggie face on his/her plate [shredded carrot hair, cherry tomato eyes, etc] and then gobble up the face!

Cupcakes.
Carrots, zucchini, sqaush, and even beets can be made into delicious, nutritious cupcakes.

Recipe for Beet Cupcakes from Straight from the Farm.

Recipe for Butternut Squash Cupcakes from Vanilla Garlic.

Alternatives to French Fries.
-Bake them instead of frying
-Try baked sweet potato fries [You can usually find them in a bag in the freezer section to make it hassle free.  They go great with honey mustard or mayo!]
-Parsnip fries [Don’t knock ’em until you’ve tried ’em.  They are packed with vitamins, folic acid and fiber and most importantly look just like “real” french fries.  Toss with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and salt and pop in the oven for about 25 mins.]

There are tons of resources available these days [cookbooks, websites, blogs] dedicated to this subject so by all means, use them.  Eventually [hopefully] this veggie hating phase will pass and there will be a new “I hate this” phase to deal with.

Have a sneak vegetable trick or recipe of your own?  Post it as a comment!!

baby / tots fashion

Cute and Quiet

My latest baby obsessions will make your cute baby even more adorable and help to keep your little one quietly occupied [especially helpful in public].

First up, leggings.  They make for easy diaper changes and add a bit of extra padding for crawling on those unforgiving wooden floors.  Oh, and they are SO OUTRAGEOUSLY CUTEPork Chop Kids make footed leggings, which I love [because as you know it is close to impossible to keep socks on a baby’s wiggly squiggly toes!].

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There are also tons of footless options at really great prices in the handmade marketplace.  I found these styles on Etsy.

Click on Images to be taken to Etsy Store!

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purple

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And here is a picture of Ava sporting a pair of her own!

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Now, this next baby obsession of mine has been a real life saver on so many occasions.  If you do not have a mesh feeder, run out and buy one. I’m serious.  Not only can you give your baby fresh fruit well before they are able to chew it up and swallow it on their own, but it also serves as a teether when you put a frozen piece of fruit inside.  These qualities aside, the thing keeps Ava busy and has prevented many a tantrum.  I do not leave home without one.  I recommend never putting banana in this, as it was close to impossible to get out.

Item shown, by Munchkin.

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baby / tots cooking creativity decor fashion life

Birthdays and Things to Come

Thursday was my birthday [Happy Birthday to ME!].  Another year older and almost eight months into my first year as a mom.  The day started with a couple of iced coffees and a trip to the playground before Mike had to go to work.  I received a flower delivery from my mom and gramma in the afternoon and then Mike came home early so we could go out for a nice dinner at Walter Foods.  Filet mignon and wine.  After we put Ava to bed, Mike brought out my birthday cake.  He chose a flourless chocolate cake [tortino di cioccolata] from the award winning Grandaisy Bakery in Soho that was DELICIOUS.  I also got to do a bit of birthday shopping this weekend.  This was probably one of my quietest birthdays [I’ve been known to celebrate loudly with lots of friends and wine] and definitely one of the best.

This week is going to be jammed packed with tips and finds! Tomorrow I’ll be sharing all my latest baby obsessions and Wednesday we’ll be focusing on getting your little ones to eat their vegetables.  On Thursday, I’ll be posting more stylish maternity clothes [as this has been one of my more popular posts] and options for what to wear after your bundle of joy arrives.  And on Friday I’ll share some beauty recipes you can easily make at home instead of paying for pricy store bought treatments.  I’m also working on some more interviews with cool and interesting chicks for later in the month and starting next week, Mondays will be a new series titled “Wedding Bells”!  Lots to look forward to, so be sure to keep checking back!  Thanks to all of you for making Furious Shirley such a success!  XO

baby / tots decor

Nursery Porn

Pink for a girl, blue for a boy, and yellow if it could go either way.  How boring!  Preparing your baby’s nursery is one of the rites of passage into motherhood. You want it to be as perfect as your newborn bundle … and you want it to be the envy of your mommy friends.  Just be sure not to go overboard.  Keep it simple, add some personal touches, and remember that this room is for your baby [not you].  Also keep in mind that your baby will grow out of things and into things pretty fast, so design a room that can grow and change with your little one’s needs.

One of the biggest trends in today’s nurseries are modern and playful wall decals.  I found a great selection at blik, including this beautiful “Anise” design by Ilan Dei.

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Another great way to add some personality to your nursery are mobiles [and your baby will love them too!].  This fanciful silk bird mobile by NightByrd is available at Fey Handmade.

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I spent hours on the internet looking for ideas for Ava’s nursery.  Project Nursery is filled with inspiring photos of readers nurseries, inspiration boards, DIY projects, and more.

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And the nursery porn over at ohdeedoh cannot be beat.  They also have tons of DIY and fun kid-friendly activity ideas.

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The most important item for your baby’s nursery?  Love.  You can’t go wrong with that.  XO

baby / tots cooking decor

One Scoop or Two?

Well, the hours quickly turned into days and now I am ready to blog again.  We had a fun filled Fourth of July weekend … shopping, a picnic in the park, trips to the playground, fireworks, more shopping, and more eating.  We climbed out onto our fire escape for a surprisingly excellent view of fireworks being set off on random Brooklyn rooftops and from the massive Macy’s display along the Hudson River.  All in all, it was one of those weekends we wished would never end [but then, I feel like that every weekend].

As I am writing this post, I can hear the ice cream truck making its way down the street.  I was never really an ice cream person, but during my pregnancy that all changed.  There was a time last summer that I actually went out searching the neighborhood for the ice cream man.  Unfortunately, the craving did not end after giving birth.  This weekend, we happened upon a gourmet ice cream truck serving up organic goodness with flavors like pistachio, green tea, and hazelnut – delicious!  I’ve been wanting to make some homemade ice cream … I can still remember sitting on the back porch with my grampa when I was a little girl; helping him crank and crank and crank for that sweet frosty payoff.  If only we knew then that we could just throw the ingredients into a bag and shake it for five minutes like the kid-friendly recipe I found on Kaboose.

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And since ice cream makers do all of the cranking for you now, it’s much easier to whip up cold and creamy delights like this Rocky Road [egg free!] recipe from AllRecipes.com.

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Want a healthier option? Try a fruity sorbet or granita!  I found a great recipe for Tripe Berry Sorbet [sweetened with agave] on The Wind Attack.  Or if you are really short on time [like me!], toss some frozen berries into the blender with mint or lime or lemon and some agave.  I just blended up some strawberries, mint, lemon, and agave and spooned the mixture into popsicle trays and stuck them in the freezer and will share the end result with you later on.  Hot summer day … cool summer treat.  Ahhhhhhhh…..

baby / tots

Lullaby and Goodnight?

Getting Ava to sleep at night has always been a challenge, but since she learned to stand up in her crib it seems like ‘Mission Impossible’.  She is getting a little better every night, but still resists and still wakes up once or twice before morning.  Her bedtime routine begins around 6pm when we put away her toys and she gobbles down her dinner.  Then we read a story and it’s off to the bath.  By 7:30pm she is ready to nurse and fall asleep … but the minute she realizes she has been placed in her crib, her eyes pop open and the panic sets in.  Mike and I take turns laying her back down, soothing her back to sleep, and tiptoeing around the house until it sticks [usually around 9pm].  I wish that were the end of it, but around 12am and 3am the monitor starts to shriek and coo.  At this point, I am used to sleeping in three hour intervals and I find comfort in knowing that eventually she will sleep through the night [pretty please].

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Yesterday I posted some sleepytime luxuries for mommies – today it’s all about the babers

Ava loves bathtime.  We give her a few squirty toys to play with and then we sing our baby massage song [“You get a baby massage … because you work so hard” – silly, but she likes it], while I squeeze and wash her tiny chubby body with Angel Baby Shampoo & Body Wash.  No phthalates, no sodium laureth sulfate, no toxins of any kind … just pure, gentle, and organic – just like baby.

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Massage your baby by hand or with these organic terry washcloths [trimmed in pink, blue, green or yellow wool] from Lolababiez Organics.

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I will admit that for some people reusable baby wipes may not be the most practical choice, but they really are simple and oh so soft and environmentally friendly … Soylicious Bummy Wipes from Smq Organics.

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Now baby is ready for sleep [fingers crossed] and ready to be wrapped up in something soft and smelling like mommy [I sleep with Ava’s blankets for a night or two … she is spoiled rotton!].  Try this silky soft blanket from babysoy [comes in a variety of colors].

soyblanketNothing is too good for baby.  We try our best to keep everything in Ava’s life pure and simple … the way life should be.

baby / tots fashion

Fashionably Late

Some days it’s hard enough getting myself ready to head out the door.  Add Ava to the mix and all of the accessories and necessities that come with her, and I’m lucky if I’m only 15 minutes late to wherever we are going.  I consider myself a fairly organized person – it’s just all those last minute decisions that trip me up.  [Do I really want to wear these shoes?  Maybe I should toss an extra hoodie in the bag for the babers.  Did I pack enough diapers?]  As much as I try to plan ahead, I can’t seem to overcome my last minute second guessing and mind changing habits.  I will work on it, but until then, at least when we stroll in a few minutes behind schedule, we can do it in style.

This cotton batik diaper bag [available at Earth Lover] is handmade by women in Ghana as part of the Global Mamas initiative to help African women become more financially independent.

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Just like the bag above, this reversible handmade diaper bag by Retrofied is cute enough to keep using long after the diaper phase ends.  Completely customizable [choose the fabric and strap lengths] and stylishly practical.  [Be sure to browse the entire shop – sooo many good-looking bags – I have my eye on the Weekender.]

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Keep things organized with this brightly colored diaper purse by babybe.  Toss it in your diaper bag or into your everyday purse for quick trips.  It expands to hold a small wipes case and can be purchased with matching burb cloth and bib.

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People will find a way to make even the dullest necessities look mod.  I just love this polka dot baby wipes case from Blowing Kisses Design. You can purchse a matching burb cloth and bib for this too!

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baby / tots life

Yum Yum Bananas

Yesterday was Ava’s sixth month check-up at the doctor.  17 pounds, 5 ounces, a little over 27 inches, and a normal sized head.  She is crawling, sitting up, and as of last weekend, standing up in her crib!  She also had to have two heart-wrenching shots.  I think they upset me more than they do her … she seems to be fine right now [squealing and climbing up my leg trying to get at my laptop while I sit on the floor and type].   The doctor also drew up a food plan for our little fatty patty.  Until about a month ago her diet solely consisted of breast milk and then we started introducing her to first foods like rice cereal, sweet potatoes, bananas, and peas once a day.  Now she gets to have two meals a day in addition to nursing and will soon move up to three meals and mixed foods.  Exciting stuff – you should see her wolf it down!  I had every intention of making all of my own baby food, but sometimes there just isn’t time so when we buy, we buy organic.  I have found a wonderful resource for when I do have the time to steam and mash that I will list later in this post.  And it’s not just about the food … now I get to buy cute bibs, spoons, bowls, sippy cups, etc.

This Spoon & Bowl set from Camden Rose comes in a neat little netted bag – perfect for gift giving!  They make some really great toys too and all of their products are certified non-toxic and made from natural materials.

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I love Squirt – the “baby food dispensing spoon” from Boon.  It is the perfect size for on the go mommies.  I fill mine up and toss it into a diaper bag pocket next to a fresh ice pack and out the door we go.

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If you do want to make your own baby food [and even if you don’t], you MUST visit WholesomeBabyFood.  This site is amazing and has more information than I could ever possibly absorb about making and storing baby food, allergies, nutrition, and so much more.

Dr. Susanna’s World Baby Foods are such a great idea!  Multicultrual [yes, you read that correctly] and organic baby food selections to start forming those little palates.  With flavors like “Tokyo Tum Tum”, “Sweetie Tahiti”, and “Lullaby Thai” your baby’s tastes buds will be going global.

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I also really like Homemade Baby baby food.  You can find it at Whole Foods [and several other grocery retailers – there is a store locator on their site] or order it online.  They use a “Fresh Chill” preparation method so the food is never frozen or jarred, just fresh and delicious.

homemadebaby

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